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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Missionary Tour in Maine, 1797

Rev. Paul Coffin of Buxton in 1797 made a second tour of the frontier towns of Maine. Below are those entries in his journal that refer to places in Oxford County. Annotations in square brackets are my own.

Source: Collections of the Maine Historical Society, 1st Series, Vol. 4. (Portland, Me., 1856).
[p. 337]
MISSIONARY TOUR IN MAINE, 1797

Left home, Aug. 28, and returned home, Oct. 28.

Not having books from the Society, as was expected, I brought five of Packard's Catechisms, and five of D. Hitchcock's Essays on the Lord's Supper, and gave them in the following way:—

[Indicates that one copy of Packard's Catechism was given in Philips' Gore (now part of Otisfield), Bethel, and Livermore, and one copy of Hitchcock on the Lord's Supper in Pennycook (Rumford) and Norway.]

Aug. 28, 29, 30. Raymondton [now Raymond and Casco]. Rode to this, by the way of Portland. Preached from 1 Tim., 1:5.

[p. 338]
31. Otisfield. Preached from Matthew 1:21. Hearers were serious and satisfied. Visited faithfully a Mr. Kneeland and a Mrs. Sawyer, both in a dangerous and decaying state of body. Saw my little trout in a spring, and fed him as my last year's acquaintance. In this spring of Benj. Patch, he has lived three years.

Sept. 1. Philips' Gore. A fine day. All well. Preached from Matthew 1:21, to a few hearers.

Sept. 2. Rustfield. alias Norway. Grasshoppers here, and at Philips' Gore and Paris, hurtful. Rode to Paris, and found friends well, particularly merchant Prentiss and Capt. Bolster.

1st Sabbath, Sept. 3. Norway and Paris. Preached at Paris, from Math. 1:21, and Mark 15:15, 16; and then at Norway, from Jeremiah 7:22, 23. At Paris, the Baptists heard their minister Hooper, and the Methodists heard a Stoneman. So that I had only about one hundred hearers, very attentive and respectful. Paris would make a fine parish, if united. Rustfield, Cummings' Gore, and Lee's Grant, are incorporated or made a town called Norway. Capt. Rust and his lady, rode to Paris, in a chaise, and heard two sermons. We then returned to his house, and gave a sermon to near an hundred attentive hearers. They were satisfied, and I hope benefitted. Mr. Rust and lady treated me with great generosity.

Sept. 4. Norway, Pennycook. Sat off from Pennycook,1 a Plantation of about thirty families, on the Androscoggin, twenty-five miles north-west of Norway. I rode alone through seven miles of their inhabitants in Paris, and then through real woods from eight o'clock, A. M., to four, P. M. Put up with Edmund Page, son of Colonel, of Fryeburg, and

1Rumford.

[p. 339]
preached from Acts 17:30, 31. The land of this ride is good. Rode over the Whale's back [in North Woodstock], a ridge of land of three miles, often but a few rods wide, and the vallies on each side very deep; the tops of very tall trees hardly even with my horse. Pennycook is rich land, lying on both sides of the river, which is wide. The Plantation has interval. Here are the Great Falls, nearly two hundred feet high.

Sept. 5. Pennycook, Bethel. Rode to Sudbury-Canada, now Bethel. This lies on both side of the river, and has much good interval, and is pleasant in several places. Here live Deacon Bartlett, Deacon Kimball, and a number of Yorks from Standish. Maple sugar was plentious here, and in Pennycook. It is sixty miles from Standish to Bethel, through Bridgton, Waterford, and Orangetown [Albany]; and eight from Bethel to Portland. Bethel has about one hundred families. Preached from Math. 1:21. Put up for the night with Deacon Kimball, who has a capital farm, interval enough, which yielded last spring one thousand pounds of sugar.

Sept. 6. Pennycook. Preached from Jer. 7: 22, 23, to a numerous and attentive audience, and rode three miles from Aaron Graham's to Philip Abbott's, last settler in the east of the town. This town is hilly and rocky, with poor roads. At Abbot's, the river makes a half moon to the left, some miles, so that from his house east to the river, is two and a quarter miles. Then crossed the river by swimming, to Holmantown, alias Dixtown, alias No. 1 [now Dixfield and Mexico].

Sept. 7, Holmantown. Turned in with Jona. Holman, son of him of Sutton, from whom the town bears its present name. Dined in his camp with him. From this we go to Paris, through Butterfield [Hartford and Sumner] and Buckfield. To Hallowell, through Jay, Livermore, Fayette, and Readfield. From this

[p. 340]
to Jay, is about six miles, through good land, well timbered. From this, I rode to Messrs. Austin and Livermore, the two men who own Rocemeco Point [Canton], or, as in the original, Merocomecook; two fine farms of four hundred acres of interval. From Aug. 10, to this time, they have plenty of good watermelons. Here the Indians lived in abundance. Mr. Livermore at his first entrance among them, was obliged to be soft and gentle in his dealings with them. The grass on the interval was very tall and large, and the roots strong; so that plowing was very hard.

Sept. 8. Livermore. Crossed the river and rode seven miles to Dea. Livermore's. Rode three miles to Mr. Morse's, and preached from Jerem. 7:22, 23. This Morse is an admirable smith for shoeing horses, and cured a lame foot of my horse. In this town are Messrs. Williams and Robertson, baptistic preachers, and Mr. Hillman, a Methodist one.

II. Sabbath, Sept. 10. Livermore. Preached at the house of Nath. Perly, from Matthew 1:21 : and Psalms 141:2. This Perly is son of Rev. Perly, of Gray, and married a daughter of Rev. Strickland, of Turner. A son of said Strickland has married a daughter of said Perly. Both families live in vicinity. Was treated very well by both, and seemed at home. Rev. Strickland kept Sabbath with us. Baptised Isaac, child of Hastings Strickland and Sally.

Sept. 11. Jay. Rode to this from Livermore, and put up with a Mr. Craft, near the meeting house. His wife is a fine woman, sister to Mrs. Parker, in Standish. Mr. Craft's parents lived near me. P. M. But the people were very busy, and not warned, and we had no lecture. Jay and Livermore

[p. 341]
have about one hundred families each. The land and timber are good. The houses are scattered. There seems no compact place filled with houses, no pleasant banks, or intervals, save Rocomeco. Fayette appeared in view, on the hills, east of Livermore.

[Rev. Coffin the next day proceeded to Farmington.]

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