Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB
October 27, 1892
GLIMPSES OF THE PAST
Contributions to the History of Charlotte County and the Border Towns.
XXXIX THE MACHIAS MEN.
The settlement at Machias, of which mention has been made, is of considerable interest to us; both because some of the earliest permanent settlers on the Schoodic came from Machias, and because of the part taken by the residents of that place in the events of the revolution.
Two seasons of extraordinary drought, in 1761 and 1762, followed by terrible forest fires, had brought suffering and despondency upon the western part of the district of Maine. In the autumn of the latter year, a little party from Scarborough set out for the country east of Penobscot, for the purpose of cutting marsh hay to support their cattle through the winter. Arriving at length at Machias, they found not only extensive marshes with abundance of grass, but rich pine forests, and unlimited water power. The account of this favored region which they gave upon their return was doubly attractive to their friends and neighbors because of the calamities from which they were suffering.
As association of sixteen persons was formed in 1763, to found a settlement and build a mill at Machias. Fifteen of the sixteen associates, thirteen of whom were from Scarborough, embarked at that place in April, arriving at their new home, after a stormy and dangerous passage, on the 20th of May.1 Their names were Samuel and Sylvanus Scott, brothers; Timothy, George and David Libby, brothers; Solomon and John Stone, brothers; Daniel and Japhet Hill, brothers; Isaiah Foster, Westbrook Berry, Isaac Larrabee, Daniel Fogg, Thomas Buck and Jonathan Carlton. Two of the associates, Berry and Larrabee, brought families, each consisting of a wife and three children. There were also on board Joel Bonney, a millwright, and Wooden Foster, a blacksmith, who came to assist in building the mill. Nine others brought their families in August, when houses had been erected for a temporary shelter. Permanent houses were built in the following year.
In 1765, other settlers arrived, among whose names we find Joseph Libby, Ebeneser [sic] Libby, Benjamin Foster and Joseph Getchell; and the two first named, with some others, began the erection of another mill. By the year 1770, when they received their grants of land, their numbers had increased to eighty, more than half of them heads of families; and seven saw-mills had been erected in the neighborhood. The names attached to the petition for grants include, beside most of those already mentioned, such familiar names as Dyer, Crocker, OBrien, Andrews, Sprague and Holmes. Those of Albee, Pineo, Harmon, McAllister and Horton appear later.
The success of the Machias settlement had induced others to follow; and at the outbreak of the war there are said to have been more than 200 mills on the rivers and streams of the Penobscot district and eastward, and a population of about 16,000.2 The inhabitants of this district generally were loyal, but the Machias men were from the first strongly opposed to the restrictions of British law, and, as the sequel shows, ready to take up arms at the first indications of rebellion.
Of the few who remained loyal, or were opposed to armed resistance, nearly all, it may be supposed, contrived soon to make their way to Schoodic or Passamaquoddy.
1These and following statements are on the authority of the Historical Sketches by William B. Smith, in the memorial of the centennial celebration at Machias in 1863.