A Brief History of Monson, Maine

          The territory that is now Monson, like the state of Maine itself, was first part of Massachusetts. In 1811, Massachusetts granted two tracts of land, each three miles wide and six miles long, on the east side to Monson Academy in Massachusetts on February 27 and on the west side to Hebron Academy in the “District of Maine” on June 17. Maine became a state in 1820, and two years later, the two tracts of land were joined and incorporated as the town of Monson by an act of State Legislature on February 8, 1822.

          The first settler to the region prior to Maine’s statehood and Monson incorporation as a town was Joseph Bearce, who had come from Hebron in 1816. During that summer, he cleared a field and built a small log cabin, establishing the first house in the region. He married Nancy Ricker in the spring of 1818, but died by autumn of that same year.

          The path Bearce and others took to Monson branched off an existing path to Million Acres, now Blanchard. As a guide to travelers, Bearce, finding a pair of moose horns, placed them on a post as a guide board for the many settlers traveling these trails to the new settlements. Placing, and replacing, moose horns continued at that spot from 1817 to 1955. On October 29, 1961, the DAR, Tisbury Manor Chapter, placed a bronze marker at the “Moosehorns” to preserve the historic marker. This marker is clearly visible from Route 15 between Abbot and Monson.

          In the summer of 1818, the trustees of Monson Academy sent Abel Goodell to explore the township, thus to be able to recommend to others to relocate there. In 1820, seventeen men, some with their families and some without, came from Monson, MA, and started a new settlement, where the current village now stands, arriving on May 8. Among these seventeen were Capt Samuel Whitney, Justin and Calvin Colton, William and Lucius Hyde, Royal Day, Aus

tin Newell, and Horatio Sherman. The first home built by this group was the home of Capt. Whitney. By 1823, no less than five families were living in this small house until the could complete homes of their own.

          That same summer of 1820, a dam was built across the outlet of the pond, flooding the pond and more valuable the water power. Within a year, a saw-mill and a grist-mill had been erected. Monson was growing in number and industry. An old tax list reveals that in 1822 there were 32 resident taxpayers.

          On April 22, 1822, the first meeting to form a town government was held, “for the purpose of completing the 

organization as a town by the choice of the necessary officers.” The total population of the new town numbered ninety at that time, and from that number, they chose the following “good and true men” to fill those positions:

Moderator                           Andrew Cushman

Town Clerk                         Samuel Whitney

Selectmen & Assessors     Samuel Whitney

                                               Andrew Cushman

                                               Abel Goodell

Treasurer                             Lucius Hyde

Constable & Collector       Austin Newell

School Committee             Abel Goodell

                                               Lucius Hyde

                                               Chauncey L. Colton

 Timeline of Early Monson Settlers

1816    Joseph Bearce (Hebron, ME) – 1st settler & 1st house      

              George Doughty (Gray, ME) – brought 1st children (5)

              Simeon Irish (Hebron, ME) – 1st frame house & 1st child born

              Samuel Rowe (Hebron, ME) – 2nd child born in town

 1818   James Stanchfield (Albion, ME)

 1819   Joseph Jackson (Abbot, ME)

              Samuel Weymouth

              Amos Atkinson – 1st settlement north of Hebron Pond

              Abial Packard

              Capt. Amasa Chapin

 1820  Capt. Samuel Whitney (Monson, MA)

             Joseph Colton (Monson, MA)

             William Hyde (Monson, MA) – 1st child born of MA settlers

             Calvin Colton (Monson, MA)

             Lucius Hyde (Monson, MA)

             Royal Day (Monson, MA)

             Austin Newell (Monson, MA)

             Horatio Sherman (Monson, MA)

             Isaac Tyler (New Gloucester, MA)

 1821   Abel Goodell (Monson, MA)

 1822  Andrew Cushman (Oxford, ME)

             Hiram Vinton (Monson, MA)

             Cyrus Packard (Oxford, ME)

             William Bowker (Oxford, ME)

             Cornelius Barrows (Oxford, ME)

             Zibeon Packard

             Nathaniel Bennett

             Reuben Cushman

             Samuel Tobin

             George Hathaway

             Isaac Stone

             James Whiting (Wrentham, MA)

1823   Frederic F. Gates – established first post office

             Alexander Greenwood, Esq. (Hebron, ME)

             Samuel Robinson

             Zenas Scales

             Abel Janes

             Daniel Wallace

             Joseph Goodell (Vt)

             Dr. A. Davison (Vt) – 1st physician

             Samuel Thomas

             Zebedee Thomas

             John Packard

             Daniel Briggs

1824   William Connor

             Simeon Davee

             John Crafts

             Solomon Cushman

             John Morton

             Oliver Eveleth

1826  Capt. J. Mathews

             R. K. Packard

             Joseph Barrett

             Roland Taylor

             Warren Dudley

             Joshua Buck

             David Goodell

             Benjamin Ward

             John P. Packard

1827   Joseph Booth

             H. G. O. Harmon

             George Dunham

             William Goding

             Abel Jewett

1828   Abner Brown

             William D. Hoar

             Milton Hoar

             Thomas Towns

             Solomon Bray – largest family in Monson, 14 children

(Complete text without pictures)

This publication was initially produced in 1972 and updated and reprinted in 1997 on the occasion of Monson's 175th Anniversary Celebration. 
It is the collected energy and dedication of Jeanne Brown Reed, Althea Haggstrom French, Elizabeth Emanuelson Davis, and Julie Sargent Anderson that made this History of Monson, Maine possible.