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Massachusetts History and Genealogy Project


Subject: Maine Settlers from Groton, MA
Source: Groton Historical Series by Dr. Samuel A. Green Vol III 1893

Just before the Revolutionary War, an act passed in the General Court of Mass., granting a township of land to the "heirs of Capt John Gorham for services rendered against Canada in 1690, provided they settle thirty families and a learned Protestant minister in the new town with- in five years." The proprietors all resided in Massachusetts - in Boston, Groton, Woburn, Watertown and Wrentham and they held frequent proprietor's meetings to advance the settlement of the new town. But it was more than three years after the confirmation of the grant by the Legislature when the first settlement was made.

GEORGE PEIRCE, Esq., grandfather of Hon. George Peirce, now living in Harrison was the pioneer. Mr. Peirce came in 1775 from Groton and built a saw-mill on Crooked River, at Peirce's Falls, now Edes's Falls.

BENJAMIN PATCH, the father of Levi and Tarbell came the next year, also from Groton, then unmarried, but in a few years married Mr. Peirce's daughter and settled on the lot where Capt. Levi Patch since lived, now (1893) owned by Cyrus Moore.

DANIEL COBB the father of Elder William Gorham Cobb came from Gorham, ME in 1778 and settled on the east side of Crooked River about a mile above Mr. Peirce's place. His son, Elder William G. Cobb, was the first male child born in Otisfield, born Oct 14, 1779.

JOSEPH SPURR, the grandfather of Mrs. Joseph Knight and Miss Sally Spurr, came in 1779 in September and settled on Lot No. 77, just south of Spurr's Corner. He moved from Wrentham in 1776 to Mansfield, ME, thence to Windham and thence to Otisfield. His children were Joseph Spurr Jr., Enoch Spurr, William Spurr, William Spurr, Samuel Spurr, Robert Spurr, Polly Spurr, Jemima Spurr, Sally Spurr and Lydia Spurr.

MAJOR JONATHAN MOORS came in 1779 from Wrentham and located on the place since owned by George P. Holden. He afterwards built the house where Merrill Knight since lived and kept a public-house.

SAMUEL REED, the grandfather of William, came the same year and settled on the place where William Reed now lives. Mr. Reed came from Groton to Machias, ME then he moved to Windham and thence to Otisfield. He was killed by lightning a few years after in the town of Windham.

MR. RAY came in 1780 in the spring and had reached the town of Windham and was stopping for a few days' rest at Noah Reed's when occurred the memorable "Dark Day" May 19th, when candles were brought on to the table at dinner-time. He first located about half a mile from Esquire Peirce, on the west side of Crooked River, now in the town of Naples. Here he made a clearing, built a house and planted apple trees. There was an open meadow on his lot, sixty rods from the house where he cut hay; and his two eldest daughters, Eunice and Polly Ray, then ten and eight years old hauled hay from the meadow on a hand sled. Ten years ago a small pamphlet was printed in Boston entitled "A Sketch of the Life and Times of Dr. David Ray," which is, in all but the name, a short account of the early history of Otisfield, ME. It contains an allusion to Major William Swan as well as other facts connected with the history of Groton, MA. It is evident that Dr. Ray once lived in Groton as his contract for building a saw mill at Otisfield was dated Groton, Sept. 6, 1786 and another contract for building the frame of a meeting house at Otisfield was dated "Groton, Jan 3, 1795."

The following account of the Holden family is found in Whitney's "Kennebec Valley," by S. H. Whitney, 1887 (Augusta, 1887). The state- ment therein contained that Mrs. Rachel Holden died at Moose River in 1822, is probably a mistake as her death is announced in the "American Traveller" (Boston) Feb 20, 1829 as follows:

"At Moose River on the Canada Road, widow Rachel Holden aged 91 formerly of Groton, Mass." She was the 2nd daughter of Amos and Lydia (Longley) Farnsworth and born at Groton on Jan 29, 1737/8.

-Break here for Farnsworth Memorial Records-

She was Rachel Farnsworth who married Capt. Jabez Holden who is buried at Groton, MA at the Old Burying Ground. Rachel (Farnsworth) Holden went to Maine with her son, Samuel Holden and his wife, Jane (Farnsworth) Holden. He was the lst settler of Moose River, ME

p. 211 Benjamin Farnsworth/Mary Prescott Line, Groton, MA

Rachel Farnsworth b. Jan 29, 1738 dau of Amos Farnsworth and wife, Lydia Longley of Groton, MA; Rachel m. June 16, 1761, Capt. Jabez Holden of Groton, b. May 12, 1735 and d. Aug 11, 1787; she died Jan 26, 1829. They had: Sarah b. 1762, Jabez, Jr. b. 1766, Olive b. 1768 Samuel b. 1772, Rachel b. 1775 with twin, Benjamin. Capt. Jabez Holden is buried at the Old Burying Ground, Groton (see p. 95) and notes he m. June 16, 1761 Rachel Farnsworth

p.225 of the Farnsworth Memorial:
Benjamin Farnsworth/Mary Prescott Line

Jane Farnsworth b. Dec 7, 1776 m. Oct 1, 1797 Capt. Samuel Holden. He removed to Norridgewock, ME in 1798 and from there to Moose River and had eleven children: Almira b. 1798 m. Abrose Colby; Melentus Holden b. 1800 m. Joanna Kelliher; Jane Holden b. 1802 m. Mr. Felker Samuel Holden, Jr. b. 1804 died young Jonas Holden b. 1806 all trace lost Sarah Holden b. 1808 m. John Moore and she d. 1852 at Anson Lorinda Holden b. 1811 m. Galen Newton at Moose River ME Mary Holden b. 1813 at Norridgewock, ME m. Asa Churchill and d. at Michigan; Samue Holden 2d b. 1815 m. Annis Hughy at Moose River, ME where he died. Lovina Holden b. 1817 d. young James Holden b. 1819 at North Anson, ME m. at Quebec Eliza Hughes and m. (2) 1848 Margaret RAY of Moose River; he m. (3) 1864 Hannah RAY at Solon, ME amd d/ 1902

Back to Groton Historical Series

Captain Samuel Holden was the first settler in this place (Holden Town) now known as Moose River Plantation. He was born at Groton, MA in 1772 on June 17. In 1797 (Oct. 1st) he married Jane Farnsworth. Two daughters were born at Groton, namely Almira Holden and Jane. About the year 1800 Capt. Holden, his wife and two children and his mother who was at that time a widow, came to Norridgewock. Melintus Holden the oldest son was born in Norridgewock in 1801; Jonas Holden, Sally Holden, Lorinda, Mary and Samuel and James were born in Anson.

Capt. Holden started from Anson for Moose River on Mar 4, 1819. They made the journey from the Forks of the Kennebec River to Moose River upon snow shoes as the snow was deep in the woods at that time of the year. Capt. Holden built him a log cabin, covered it with bark, and here they made their home in the wilderness. There was not an inhabi- tant for miles around and had it not been for the abundance of fish in the river and the game in the forests they could not have lived; but with this and his account book shows the small amount they received from travellers that were passing back and forth from Canada they were able to obtain a living the first 2 or 3 years. After the first two or three years they were enabled to raise small crops and before long Capt. Holden had plenty. Before his death there was quite a settlement formed around him. Rachel Holden, Captain Holden's mother, died at Moose River in 1822.

The following account is taken from Knowlton's "Annals of Calais, ME and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, including the village of Milltown, ME and the present town of Milltown, N.B. by Rev. Isaac Case Knowlton, Calais, 1875.

The two EATON brothers, sons of Jonas Eaton, Jr. and Polly (Correy) Eaton.


Joseph Emerson Eaton a native of Groton, Mass. born in 1809, May 27; came to St. Stephen in 1830 and at once engaged in lumbering. Soon after the death of his brother-in-law, David Wright left to him the management of a large business, which he conducted with great energy and ability. He continued in the lumbering business until the brief illness which terminated his life in 1869. His fortune at death amounted to nearly a million dollars. His children were Charles B. Eaton of St. Stephen; Joseph E. Eaton of Calais, Herbert Eaton, Albert Eaton, Bradley Eaton of Calais and Elizabeth (Eaton) Benton of Phila- delphia.


Henry Franklin Eaton b. at Groton, Mass in 1812 November 22, a brother of Joseph Emerson Eaton, came to St. Stephen in 1833. He soon became a partner with his brother in the firm of J. E. Eaton & Company. In 1842 the name of the firm was changed to H. F. Eaton & Company and the partnership continued until 1864. Mr. Eaton was esteemed as one of the most energetic, reliable and wealthy men on the river. His children were, George Eaton, Henrietta Eaton, Henry Eaton, Annie R. Eaton, Frank Eaton and Wilfred Eaton.

DAVID MOORE was a native of Groton, MA where he was born Jan 29, 1767. Upon entering the state he settled at Norridgewock and began trade alone but subsequently formed a co-partnership with that prince of country merchants, John Ware, which continued until 1799 when Mr. Moore sold his interest to his partner and came to Farmington. He first occupied a part of Mr. Church's dwelling house as a store but sub- sequently erected a house in a portion of which he sold his goods. This was the third framed house built upon the site of the Center Village. Mr. Moore was engaged in a lucrative and prosperous business until 1813. He died at New Orleans Oct 8, 1815. Mrs. Moore, (Elizabeth Tarbell) was born April 18, 1770 and died Aug 16, 1855.

The History of Gorham, Maine by Josiah Pierce (Portland, 1862) contains the following paragraph among its Biographical Notices:

EBENEZER KEMP came here after the Revolutionary War, from Groton, MA; he died in this town in 1833, aged 83 years.

Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth
Used with permission by Janice Farnsworth

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