History of Dexter was origionally written by Honorable Stanley Plummer
"WATERPOWER AND MILLS"
Before I go on with the history of waterpower and mills I would like to say something about the signing of a petition to be sent to the Senate and House of Representatives of Massachusetts because at that period in time Maine had not yet become a state but was still a part of Massachusetts.
In the fifteen years or so after the first settlers had come and cleared the land and built homes in the township, they had to take care of their own roads and support their own schools. For this reason in the year 1816, Samuel Copeland drew up a petition of the community. The petition as printed by The History of Dexter: "To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in General Court assembled AD 1816." "The petition of the inhabitants of the Township No. 4, in the 5th Range of Townships north of the Waldo Patent, and in the County of Hancock, humbly shows that now are actually in said Township upwards of forty families which find by experience that they are under many inconveniences by reason of bad roads and for a regular way of supporting the gospel and the establishment of schools, etc. Therefore, that these inconveniences may be remedied, we, the undersigned inhabitants of said township, humbly petition Your Honours that said township be incorporated, with all the privileges of other new towns in the Commonwealth, by the name Dexter, or any other name that you in your wisdom may think proper to direct, and as in duty bound will ever pray."
Samuel Copeland, Conelius Coolidge, Seba French, Raymond Copeland, T. Cahill, John, Hugh Maxwell, William Smith, Benjamin Jennings, Samuel Tucker, Briggs Curtis, Richard Herrick, Jesse Smith, Samuel Wheeler, Samuel Copeland, Jr. Asa Hayward, Samuel Brown, Stephen Leighton, Jonathan Corliss, Isaiah Lincoln, James Fields, Parker Copeland, Andrew Morse, Simeon Safford, Elijah W. Sprague, Luther Copeland, John Bates, Calvin Copeland, Joseph Nash, Ebenezer Small, John Tucker, David McG. Jones, James Sprague, Ephraim Severence, James Jumper, Daniel Webber, Edward Jumper, John Safford, George W. Gordon, Stephen Sprague, Isaac Smith, John Jumper.
WATER POWER AND MILLS
The first one was located in back of Varney Agency, Inc., formerly Abbott Agency. There was a large millpond on the side of Amos Abbott Woolen Mill, now the Guilford of Maine Inc. Warehouse. Both of these ponds had fish in them because when I was just a young fellow, I can remember catching pickerel, yellow perch and sunfish, fishing off the Iron Bridge and off the shore beside the railroad track along side the mill pond. The stream flowed by the Amos Abbott Mill, crossed the road and continued on in back of Tillson's Hardware Store and somewhere near the Gazette Building it crosses over the Main Street and down the side of the Dexter Historical Museum.
There was another millpond further downstream from the Museum for the Dumbarton Woolen Mill. What is now the Chaia Apartments, a home for Senior Citizens. The mill pond was located on the lower part of the Wayside Park and back in my time we used to have a short-cut that came up through the back yard of the mill and on up to the Park Theater. I can remember some of the folks that worked at the Dumbarton Mill. We used to watch them as they slowly walked down the 'Holler' on their way home from work. There was Perley "Cooney" Robichaud, Francis "Hotdog" Clukey, (sometimes known as Cram) Eddie Cogan, (I used to deliver the Bangor Daily News to his house early in the morning)Eddie Pullyard and Anthony "Doc" Rabideau just to name a few.
The Lower-end or "Tough-end", as we were sometimes called, had a ball field at the South end of the Dumbarton Mill. It was a large field but pretty rough so that the catcher's backstop was right along the edge of the stream because that area was the most level place. There was only one drawback..... If the ball ever got by the catcher, it was a lost ball!! I mean, it was gone for good, especially if the water was swift. And it was swift most of the time!!
The millpond in between Center Street and Mill Street was quite large and was located right in behind the houses on Water Street. This millpond supplied the water for the White Mill, so called. Trembley's Trailer Park now occupies the area where it stood for many years before it burned during the 1930's or 40's.
The George Park Manufacturing Co. Inc. or Brick Mill, now Dexter Shoe, had a millpond in what is now the parking lot. All of the neighborhood kids back then used this pond as a skating rink. Sometimes when the water was low the ice would drop to the bottom, even when we were skating on it. Of course, we had to make sure not to skate anywhere near the canal as there was always water flowing underneath this ice. The stream continued on by the Brick Mill across Liberty Street to another millpond and dam. A canal veered left out of the pond towards Fay & Scott Machine Shop and then under and through, continuing on and circling right and joining the main part of the stream as it flowed straight down from the original mill pond and then continued on towards Corinna. The stream coming out of Puffer's Pond flowed down between Phil Chabot's house and Herbie Brook's garage and then into the main stream.
Contact Jim Wintle by email or call 207-924-7598.
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