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Saturday, December 31, 2005

1796 Petition for Creation of Waterford County

What follows is a petition by representatives of several towns and plantations for the creation of a new county to be named Waterford. The county would have excluded several towns later part of Oxford County, and would have included the present towns of Baldwin, Sebago, Naples, Bridgton, Harrison, and Otisfield—only the last of which has come to be part of Oxford County.

Source: Eastern Herald of Portland, Me., issue of Mar. 3, 1796.
To the honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in General Court assembled.

YOUR petitioners being deputed by the Towns and Plantations hereafter mentioned laying in the northerly part of the county of York and the northwesterly part of the county of Cumberland, met in convention (viz) Simon Frye, from Fryeburgh, Eliphaz Chapman from Sudbury Canada, Lemuel Jackson, from Paris, Enoch Perley, from Bridgton, John Watson, from Brownfield, Nathaniel Chamberlain, from Waterford, Jacob Holt, from Oxford, Ingals Brag, from East Andover, Francis Keyes, from New Pennecook, Benjamin Sterns, from New Suncook, and Jonathan Barker, from Sunday River—Humbly sheweth, That the inhabitants and plantations before mentioned, together with the town of Hebron and plantations of Otisfield, Flinstown, Hiram, Pottersfield [sic], Cumming's Gore, Ruses Gore [sic], Lee's Gore, and Peabody's Grant, labour under many inconveniences by means of the great extent of the before mentioned counties, and the few Courts that are held in the same—that your petitioners from the back part of the county of York, are necessitated to travel at least one hundred and twenty miles to do business at a Probate Court, and seventy five miles to a Court of Common Pleas—that the northwesterly settlements in the county of Cumberland are situated seventy miles from the Courts aforesaid—that those Courts are commonly thronged with business, by which means causes are frequently put over till the cost of travel and attendance amounts to a greater sum than the debt justly to be obtained—that the cost of settling a small estate in a Probate Court at such a distance often amounts to the greatest part thereof—this is a matter very affecting to the widow & the orphan, for whom we doubt not but your honors have a tender feeling. Under these disadvantages, we in behalf of our constituents, solicit your honors, that an inland county may be made up of the towns and plantations, gores and grants beforementioned, by the name of Waterford, and that the plantation of Waterford be established as the shire town in the proposed county, and that all appeals from any Court in the new county be made to the Supreme Court to be held in the county of Cumberland—or that your petitioners may be relieved in such a manner as your honors shall think best. And as in duty bound shall ever pray.
Simon Frye,
Enoch Perley,
Eliphaz Chapman,
Ingals Bragg,
Jacob Holt.
John Watson,
Benjamin Sterns,
Jonathan Barker,
Nathl Chamberlin,
Francis Keyes.

Waterford, Dec. 2, 1795
Place names mentioned:
  • Sudbury Canada (now Bethel)
  • Oxford (now Albany Township)
  • East Andover (now Andover)
  • New Pennecook (now Rumford)
  • New Suncook (now Lovell and Sweden)
  • Sunday River (now Newry)
  • Peabody's Grant (now Gilead)
  • Cummings' Gore, Rust's Gore, and Lee's Gore (now Norway)
  • Flintstown (now Baldwin and Sebago)
  • Porterfield (now Porter)


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