Athens Maine

Main Street, Athens, ME

Main Street, Athens, ME

Athens Settled by Revolutionary War soldiers, this town in Somerset County was, incorporated on March 7, 1804. In 1821 it annexed land from Hartland, and later from Brighton in 1838 and 1862. Somerset Academy, the early educational institution, now acts as the town office, the American Legion hall, and a Christian Fellowship meeting place.

The first settlement of Athens dates back to about the year 1800, and the first settler to make a permanent home in the town was Samuel Hall, the son of Daniel Hall of Wakefield, N. H.  His wife’s maiden name was Hannah Leighton and to
them was born a large family of children.  His grandson, Gil-
man, (b. 1801) is said to have been the first male child born in Athens.  Mr. Hall owned the first mill in the village, which was located a short distance above the bridge.

Another family of prominence in the early settlement of the town was that of Col. Jonathan Kinsman, (who was of the fifth generation of the descendants of Robert Kinsman, who came from England in 1634).  He was b. in Ipswich, Mass in 1750,
was educated at Brown University, and was a man of excellent business ability.  He came to Athens in 1798, and was one of the first proprietors of the town, which he named Kinsman town.  He cleared land, making a home for his family at the corner above the place known as the Dow place  Col.  Kinsman raised a family of nine children, of who the oldest, Joseph, was also very prominent in the early settlement of Athens and later Cornville, where he made his home.

Thomas Fox was b. in Parsonsfield in 1800, and came to Athens with his parents when twelve years old.  They settled on what is known as Fox Hill.  He m. Eliza Cas in 1829, and to them were born the following children:  Mary E. b. 1830,
Eliza b. 1832, Thomas b. 1836, Sarah b. 1839, Simon b. 1842.

Francis Bunker came from New Hampshire among the early settlers about 1800 and took up a farm a mile square.  His wife was Susan Foss.  He settled on Bunker Hill and lived for some years in a log house which he built on the place now occupied by John Thompson.  His children were Francis, Jonathan, Clement, William, Mary m. Thompson, Susan m. Tuttle, Elizabeth m. Bigelow.

The first member of the Dore family to come to Athens was Joseph b. 1749.  His wife was Phoebe Lord, b. 1750.  He settled in the northeast part of the town.  Their children were: Samuel, John, Phoebe, Lydia, Betsey, and Hannah.  The oldest son, Samuel, (b. 1776), from whom most of the name living in this locality are descended, m. Lydia Corson (b. 1778). Their children were:  Richard, John, Samuel, Levi, Caleb, Silas, Phoebe m. Woodman, Sally, Betsey m. Tucker, Tryphena, Susan m. Tucker.  By his second marriage Mr. Dore had the
following children:  Asa, Joseph, Greenleaf, Lydia, Catherine, Nancy, Hannah, Tryphena, Abigail, Mary and Martha, Josephine. Including those who died in infancy, this remarkable family contained twenty-eight children.

Joseph Hight was born in New Hampshire in 1754, and m. Mary Ayer, b. 1776.  They came to Athens in 1800, and went to live with their son William, who had settled a few years previously on the place were Bradbury Barker now lives.  His
children were:  Fanny m. Webb, William, Mary m. Smith, Joseph, Winthrop, Lydia m. Quimby, Olive m. Joseph Littlefield, John, George, Thomas, Nancy m. Hall.  Thomas came to Athens about 1817 from New Hampshire.  He lived for a time
in a log house on the farm now occupied by Leonard Tibbetts, but later took up and cleared from wild land the place his son Frank had always lived upon.  His wife was Sarah Horn.  The children:  Sarah, Josiah H., Elvira m. Horn, John, Mary J., Anne, Almeda m. Wm. Brigges, Frank, Jane m. Greene, Ellen m. Lord, Fred.

James Hall, whose wife was Anne Steward, came for New Hampshire and lived on the place adjoining Samuel Taylor’s. He owned all the land from where Alanson Hall lives to the stream.  His children were:  Aretus, Ira, Sumner, John, Frank,
Mary A., Alanson, Sarah.

Samuel Locke, who felled the first tree to make a settlement on Lord’s Hill, came from New Hampshire also.  He is said to have brought with him on his long journey thru the forest a bushel of corn, and an ax with which to make the clearing for his new home.

John Tibbetts (m. Lydia Dore) came from New Hampshire about 1820 and settled in the west part of the town were Mr. Hatch now lives.  Their children were:  Asa, Leonard, Greenleaf, Joseph, Solomon, Polly m. Quimby, Lydia m. Hussey.  The
oldest son Asa, m. Lovina Quimby, and took up the place where James Fouchier now lives.  His children were John, Salmon, Mary m. McLaughlin, Josiah, Albert, Eliza, Charles.

James Taylor came from Sidney, Maine about 85  years ago, and settled where Samuel Taylor now lives.  His wife was Mary Hight, and they had the following children:  James (b.1830) who still lives in Athens, Mary m. Hall, Isaiah, Leonard
(b. 1837), Albert, Annie, Samuel (b. 1847), Abbie m. Farmer, Sarah.  The descendants of Mr. Taylor settled about him, so that the section of the town has taken the name of “The Taylor Neighborhood.”

Comfort Taylor, the brother of James, came a few years later, and brought an adjoining farm.  He lived for some time in a log house.  He was a Baptist minister, and preached in the surrounding town.  His wife was Marth Hight.  Children born to them were:  John H., b. 1832, d. 1910; Charles, b.1834, d. in youth; Comfort b. 1836; Rufus, b. 1888, d. in youth; Lovey, b. 1840, m. Bixby, d. 1905; Laura, b. 1846, m. Whittier of Skowhegan.

John Wentworth (b. in Limington 1761) came to Athens among the first settlers and cleared a piece of land near where Chester Wentworth now lives.  A year later he discovered for the first time the sheet of water known as Wentworth’s Pond,
which lay within half a mile of his house.  He had three sons, John, Jr., Ebenezer and Robert, who lived on the old place.

Philip Leavitt (b. Exeter, N. H. 1774) came to Athens with his wife, Mary (Pike) and child, Caleb, settling on Stickney Hill.  His daughter Sarah (b. 1798) is said to have been the first female child born in Athens.  She m. Robert Wentworth. Mr. Leavitt traded farms with William Stickney, who lived on what is known as Chapman Ridge and there built and ran the first store in town.

Samuel Williams came to the town from North Anson and lived on a farm and kept the hotel in the village years ago.  He was deputy sheriff when the town was a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and was often called upon to make long
trips in that office.

Among other early settlers were Hoyt H. Tucker, Lazarus Jones, Jabez and Daniel Bradbury, Eliphalet Quimby and Aaron French.

Geo. Bixby, who was one to the prominent citizens of the town, came here from Boxford, Mass.  He was one of the first trustees of Athens Academy, and was the first representative from this class of towns in the Maine legislature of 1820.  His
first residence was on the place now occupied by Lawyer Holman, and he later built the house now occupied by Robert Hayden, whose wife is a grandmother of Mr. Bixby.  His wife was Rachel White, and their children were:  Henry, Charles,
James, Edward, Maria m. Showell, Annie m. Hale, Sarah m. Martin.

One of the members of the Bunker family to come to Athens was Robert Bunker, who is said to have come through from Mirimichi on horse back, following a blazed trail through the woods.  His wife, who was Polly Alexander, accompanied him.  Their children were:  Betsey m. Elisha Pinkham, res. Wisconsin; Porter m. Esther Tibbetts; Margaret m. Joel Wing; Joseph m. Maria Manter, res. Cambridge; Mary m. Alex Bagley, res. Ripley; Robert m. Olive Norman, res. Harmony.

Moses Corson came to Athens among the earliest settlers and cleared a farm in the north part of town were Mr. Huff now lives.  He is said to have brought corn on his back from Skowhegan when he came.  For some years after his arrival In-
dians were wont to camp on his farm near Wentworth’s Pond. Mr. Corson’s first wife was Betsey Tuttle and his second wife Polly Wyman.  His children were:  James, Moses, Greenleaf, David, Hiram, Aaron, Enoch, Emily, Lydia.  The oldest son James m. Hannah Lord and cleared the place now occupied by Cyrus York.  His children were:  Charles, Louisa, m. Williams, Jane m. Boston, Francena, Daniel, Fred, Alfred, Alva.

Henry Morrill, another of the early settlers, came, as did many others, from New Hampshire to make a settlement in Athens.  He had three sons, John, Abel and Micajah, beside several daughters.

Benjamin Rines came for Waterville in 1819 and settled on what is known as the “Old Rines Place.”  His wife was Lucy Stover, and the children were:  George, b. 1801; William, b. 1803; Stover, b. 1805; Amos, b. 1806; Charles, b. 1809; David,
b. 1811; Lucy, b. 1813, m. Pratt; Richard, b. 1816; Mary, b. 1817, m. Stevens, Moses, b. 1820.  His son Amos cleared the place were Amos E. Rines now lives.

Nathan Small (m. Susan Corson) came here from Clinton, and settled first on the place now occupied by Ray Jones.  In 1813 he moved to the farm in the east part of the town were Preston C. Small now lives.  His children were:  Alvin, Cushman, Hiram, Harrison, Harris, Franklin.

Amos Stickney came to Stickney Hill over 100 years ago. He built a log cabin and later a frame house on the place which he cleared.  His wife’s name was Ruth and their children were:  Amos, William, Hiram, Rose m. Cleveland.

Bethiah (Rose) Tozier, one of the most remarkable women in the history of the town, was born near Bangor and m. Benjamin Tozier of Fairfield.  She lived to be 108 years old, retaining her faculties and powers in a remarkable degree to the
last year of her life.  Here children were Thankful m. Gullifer, John, Amy m. Tripp, Lucy m. Williams, Bloomy m. Cook.

James S. Tobey (b. in Fairfield, 1808) came to Athens when a young man, and m. Sarah P. Williams.  To them were born five children:  Annie E., Horatio C., Charles M., Stephen, Frederick.

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