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John Butler was married this year, though it is not known when he moved his wife into Stirling. ton. After living seven years at the Mill Farm, he settled on the farm subsequently owned by Capt. Nathaniel Bachelor, and resided there till the spring of 1791, when he moved to Thomaston.
1778. In the fall of 1778, Philip Robbins introduced from Boston Andrew Suchfort, a German, who was captured at Stillwater. It is said that he was a very strong man, and once brought two bushels of rocksalt on his back from Waldoborough. When Philip Robbins moved from the Packard House, which was probably in the fourth summer after he came here, Suchfort became the occupant. He lived in it till after the town was incorporated. He settled in Appleton, near the head of Sunnybec? Pond, on its west side, and died at an advanced age in Washington, where he was living with his son.
For several years there was no blacksmith in Stirlington. The inhabitants occasionally employed Caleb Howard, of Waldoborough. In December of this year he made his annual visit. He brought nails and the number of shoes which the settlers sent word to him would be wanted. There being no floor, an ox was “ cast” on the ground in the barn of Philip Robbins. From an iron pot, placed for the blacksmith's convenience in the lean-to, on a stump which had not been dug up, the sparks rose through the poles, of which a scaffold-floor was always made in those days, set the hay and grain on fire, and the barn was immediately enveloped in flames. The fire spread so rapidly, that the fowls were burnt, and the ox was singed nearly
1 He purchased all Dr. Taylor's furniture. Among the items on the bill of sale, which is dated July 23, 1777, is “Mr. Willard on the Catechism, £3. 0. 0.” It was the first folio printed in British America, and is now in the possession of his son, Charles Butler, of Thomaston.
? By the Indians probably pronounced Soony-bech.
half over.” Mrs. Mero says, that, as her mother, Mrs. Robbins, was hastening to the burning barn, the children following her, she observed to them, “ It is of no use to go, we will all go back." Upon entering the house, they found that also on fire. In the hurry the door had been left unlatched, or the wind had blown it open. The draft, which was very strong when it came up from the pond, had carried fire into the ends of the logs, which had been cut off to admit a stone for a chimney-back. All the water used was brought from the pond, and there was none in the house. The snow was very deep, and consequently abundant; but it was not practicable to apply it to the interstices between the logs. Mrs. Robbins immediately attached a rag to the end of a stick, and kept dipping it in the snow and applying it to the fire till she extinguished it. As the logs were dry spruce, it is probable that the house would have been burnt, if the discovery of the fire had occurred five minutes later, or if Mrs. Robbins had not adopted this expedient to put it out. Her hands were severely burnt.
The loss of the barn was a grievous calamity. The people generally stacked their hay, and built small loghovels to cover their cattle. With the exception of the barn on the other side of the pond, where nobody lived but in the Taylor House, this was the only one in the plantation. It contained the rye of Philip Robbins raised on twenty acres, besides all the other grain on the west side of the river, and about twenty tons of hay. Thirty bushels of wheat, belonging to Richard Cummings, were burnt. Several tons of the hay were saved by throwing snow upon it; but the “cattle kept lowing about, and would not eat it, because it was smoked.” Philip Robbins saved one bushel of rye. Mr. Porterfield, of Thomaston, gave him one bushel of corn, which, it being winter and no boating, he and Suchfort " backed up” to Stirlington from Lermond's Mills on Oyster River. This was all the grain Robbins had till the spring opened, which was late. Then, with depreciated continental paper, he bought a hogs
head of Indian corn, for which he paid twenty-five dollars a bushel.
The barn was burnt on Friday. On Saturday a shelter for the cattle was put up.
To add to the misfortunes, on Sunday a yoke of oxen broke through the ice and was drowned, on the way to bring home hay from the Round Pond Meadows. In consequence of this fire, ten head of cattle died during the winter. It was probably after this that David Robbins's family, consisting of the parents and three children, were reduced to such extremities, that, for fourteen days, they subsisted on “two quarts of rye-meal, which they ate with birch-sap, in which was put a little pickle. A few boxberry leaves and buds finished the daily repast."1 There is said to have been a time when David Robbins, after having planted the seed-ends of potatoes, dug them up, and cut off for food all but the eyes.
PLANTATION HISTORY, 1779-1782.
1779, Wheaton's Purchase. Settlement of Joel Adams, Matthias
Hawes, and Jason Ware. Woodward. - Fairbanks.— Settlement of Moses Hawes. — Ebenezer Robbins. — 1780, Jennison's Purchase. — 1781, First Wedding. - Jessa Robbins. — 1782, Settlement of Phinehas Butler. – Elisha Partridge. — Taylor's Conveyance to Reed.
1779. “ JANUARY 2. John Taylor conveys to Mason Wheaton land in Sterlingtown, containing 1,000 acres, bounded as follows: Beginning at Bowker Brook near where it empties into St. George's River; thence west by land sold to Philip Robbins 436 rods; thence north 240
1 Mr. Noyes P. Hawes, who several years ago prepared notices of the town, which he has generously permitted to be freely used, as may be seen from the extracts credited to him.
rods; thence east 682 rods to St. George's River; then southerly by said river about 240 rods; then west 214 rods to the first bound.” Col. Wheaton resided here a short time, but did not move his family from Thomaston. He raised a barn in July, 1780. He returned to Thomaston, and was the first representative from that town to the Legislature of Massachusetts.
May 15. Joel Adams, Matthias Hawes, and Jason Ware, three unmarried men from Franklin, Mass. came and settled on the north-west side of Round Pond. Their land, which had been bought by Joel Adams, was divided into three farms of different sizes. Lots were drawn for choice, and each obtained the farm he preferred. Hawes had 255 acres, Ware 230, and Adams took two lots making 410 acres. They lived together in a log-house which they built on Ware's land, below the present Hawes House, and near the pond. Their oven was on a ledge near their house. Becoming rather dissatisfied with their mode of life, they hired Jemima Robbins, who began to keep house for them, June 29, 1780. Here they continued till the “ Royal Mess," as they called themselves, was
Each member contributed his share of the provisions, and their accounts are still preserved. Joel Adams settled on the farm south of Muddy Brook, now owned by the Rev. Mr. Irish. Jason Ware settled on the north side of the same brook, where his son, Vinal Ware, now lives; and Matthias Hawes immediately north of him, on land now in the possession of his descendants.
With these persons came Nathan Woodward, who did not settle in town. He began to clear the farm north of Matthias Hawes. It is now owned by Nathan D. Rice. Having a great aversion to hemlock-trees, he hired a man to girdle all on the farm, and they have been dead many years.
A man named John Fairbanks, from Franklin, came at the same time; but he did not settle. He lived for
1 Abstract from the deed recorded at Wiscasset.
a while on the farm now owned by Benjamin Litchfield, went back, and kept a store in Roxbury, Mass.
In the same year came Moses Hawes, also from Franklin. He settled on the farm now owned by his son, Col. Herman Hawes.
Amos Lawrence, from Franklin, a young man who had served in the revolutionary war, came probably this year. He exchanged the Simmons Farm on the hill back of Mr. Seiders for one in Warren.
Ebenezer Robbins, from Walpole, a half-brother of Philip Robbins, “ had made a beginning" at Fox Islands. The exposed situation of the islands on the seacoast during the war led most of the inhabitants to abandon them. Ebenezer Robbins came to Stirlington soon after the battle of Biguyduce or Penobscot. He settled on the place more recently owned by Asa Morse. His children were Bela, Philip, Zilpah, Azubah, and Molly.
1780. 6 July 19. John Taylor, of Pomfret, Conn. conveys to William Jennison, of Brookfield, Mass. land in Sterlingtown, bounded thus: Beginning at the northeast corner of Waldoborough; then east 256 rods on land of Philip Robbins to the south-west corner of Mason Wheaton's land; then north 697 rods and 14 links to the north-east corner of said tract; then west 4 miles 96 rods to the west line of Sterlington, being north-west corner of said tract; then south by said line 697 rods 14 links to north-west corner of Waldoborough and south-west corner of said tract; then east by Waldoborough line 3} miles to first bound.”
1 Abstract from the deed recorded at Wiscasset.
In this transaction, Dr. Taylor agreed to take Dr. Jennison's real estate, consisting of three farms, with their improvements, and wild land in Douglas, Mass. The consequence was quarrels, lawsuits, and executions, till the end of Taylor's life. According to Jessa Robbins, Dr. Jennison, in endeavoring to dispose of some of his land here to one Tucker, recommended it upon the strength of what Taylor had said. Taylor also wanted to sell to Tucker, and said to him, " Buy of me, and get good land : it will take 1,000 acres of Jennison's land to keep