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
Grand Isle, a post-office in Aroostook County.
Gray is situated near the middle of Cumberland County and
16 miles north of Portland. The Maine Central Railway passes
through the eastern part of the town, about two miles from the village
of Gray Corner. The bounding towns are New Gloucester on the
north-west, North Yarmouth and Cumberland on the south-east, Wind-
ham on the south-west, and Raymond on the north-west. The larger
part of Little Sebago Pond lies along the north-western side of the
town, and in the north-eastern part is the small body of water called
Dry Pond. The town is regular in its form, being nearly square.
It is about 12 miles long by 10 wide. Gray Corner, near the centre
of the town, is the largest village. It is situated on elevated plains
surrounded by hills. The location is remarkably healthy ; and—as
might be supposed—there are many aged people living in the town.
The soil is chiefly a clayey or sandy loam, and fairly productive.
There are many farms under superior cultivation. Granite is the
prevailing rock, and is quarried to some extent. The larger manu-
factures are at Dry Mills and North Gray. They consist of the Fal-
mouth Mills, at the latter place, manufacturing repellants, one grain-
mill, twelve saw-mills (one of which is driven by steam), in different
parts of the town, manufacturing lumber into its various forms for use.
There are also a tannery, several manufactories of granite and marble,
marbleized slate, horse-blankets, carriages and sleighs, patent shuttles,
The territory of Gray was granted to certain inhabitants of Boston
in 1735, upon petition to the General Court representing that they had
large families and were in straitened circumstances. The first settler,
or one of the first settlers, was Moses Twitchell, who came from West-
boro, Mass., Jabez Matthews and William Webster followed soon
after; and in the course of fifteen or twenty years several other fam-
ilies moved in. The Indians once made a descent upon the settlement
and destroyed the cattle, the meeting-house and all the dwelling-
houses, obliging the inhabitants to fly to other towns. After peace
was restored they returned, erecting a new meeting-house, and build-
ing a block-house 50 feet long and 25 feet wide, around which they
erected a garrison 100 feet long and 75 wide. There were rumors of
intended attack by the Indians, but they were not further molested.
The township had been without a name until about. 1756, when it
began to be called New Boston. In 1778, it was incorporated under
the name of Gray, in honor, it is supposed, of Thomas Gray, one of
the proprietors. The town furnished men and supplies for the army
in the Revolutionary war, and Moses Twitchell, the first settler, died
in the public service in Canada. The first lawyer of the town was
Simon Greenleaf, who will be remembered as among the first of
American jurists. The Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists,
each have a church-edifice; and the Universalist society worships in
the town-hall, which is an excellent two-story building of brick. The
Pennell Institute is intended to serve as a high-school for the town.
Gray has twelve public schoolhouses, valued at an aggregate of $6,000.
The valuation of estates in 1870 was $480,780. In 1880 it was $572,-
122. The rate of taxation in 1880 is 13T7^ mills on a dollar. The
population in 1870 was 1,768. The census of 1880 places it at 1,798.
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