Gazetteer of the State of Maine, 1882 page 318
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Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations, by Geo. J. Varney

BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY B. B. RUSSELL, 57 CORNHILL. 1882. Public domain image from


erable sheet of still water. It is about a mile long, and is half a mile
wide at its widest part. The falls, which furnish the water-power of
Lewiston, are the third on the river, reckoning from tide-water, which
is about 20 miles distant. The descent is formed by a ledge of gneiss
and mica-schist which crosses the river diagonally, and is so extended
as to form the bed of the river above and below the falls. The rock
is above water level on the eastern shore, and on the western rises to
a little hill; while in the stream it forms two islands of over half an
acre of extent. The natural fall is about 38 feet, which is increased
to 50 by the excellent stone dam. There is a tradition that a terrible
catastrophe happened at these falls to the Indian tribe dwelling on the
river above. The story varies considerably, but the most credible
version is that two scouts in search of a party of Indians who had
carried a girl away captive, encountered at the falls, near night, an
Indian who had just landed from a canoe, and was gathering material
for a fire at a point just above the falls where it would serve as a
beacon. They killed the Indian; and suspecting a large body of
Indians to be coming down the river in canoes, they quickly retired to
a hill below but in view of the falls, and in a line with the point where
the Indian was preparing the beacon. Here they kindled a fire, and
lured by its deceitful ray beyond the point of safety into the swift
rapids, they were unable to escape, and all went over the fall and

The territory comprising the city of Lewiston was included in the
Pejepscot Patent, granted to Thomas Purchase and George Way in
1682. On the death of the two original proprietors, most of the tract
became the property of Richard Wharton, a Boston lawyer. To
make his title secure, he obtained in 1684 a deed of this territory from
Warumbee, and five other sagamores of the Anasagunticooks. On
Wharton’s death his administrator, in 1714, sold the claim to Thomas
Hutchinson, John Wentworth, Adam Winthrop, John Watts, David
Jeffries, Stephen Minot, Oliver Noyes, and John Rusk for £140. These
persons were commonly styled the Pejepscot Proprietors, and their
lands were called the Pejepscot Claim. Its limits were finally fixed on
the western side of the river at Lewiston Falls, and on the eastern side
so as to embrace about two-thirds of what is now the town of Leeds.
On the east side of the river there was a difficulty in regard to the
boundary rights of this and the Kennebec purchase, both on Merry-
meeting Bay and at the extremest northern part of the Pejepscot
Claim. By the action of the courts of Cumberland and Lincoln the
entire line was settled in 1814. The grant under which Lewiston was
settled was made by the proprietors to Jonathan Bagley and Moses
Little, of Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1768. The territory commenced
at the falls and extended 5 miles up the river, from thence in a north-
east course 5 miles, from thence in a south-east course 4 miles, from
thence on a southern course to Androscoggin River, and from this
point up the river to the falls, whence it started. The conditions wmre
that Bagley and Little should settle 50 families in as many bouses
within the limits before June, 1774, and should also clear a road to
Royalsborough (Durham) to meet one to be coustructed to Topsham.
The houses vrere to be 16 by 20 feet, and of 7 feet posts. The name
of the town was to be “ Lewiston.” The first settler was Paul
Hildreth, who, in the summer of 1770, built his log cabin just below


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