Mica Mine at the Schmid Preserve
From Selectmen's Returns about 1865
First, on a branch of Sheepscott river, a mile from Wiscasset village; tide grist mill, 80 bushels per day; pond of five acres; fall eight feet. Kendall wheel.
Second, on a pond in center of the town; grist and shingle mill, fall 18 feet, 300 bushels of grain per day; will work without cessation; pond about 200 acres. Blake wheel. Power only part used.
Third, below, a grist mill; fall 15 feet, 60 bushels per day. Works about six months; pond about 20 acres. Tub wheel.
Fourth, on branch of Sheepscot river, four miles from Wiscasset, formerly saw, grist, clothing and carding mills, now in ruins; fall 15 feet. A reservoir might be formed, of 500 acres, and receive all the water from Second and Third mills. If said water-power were improved, it would be one of the most valuable in Lincoln County.
There is no doubt that there were some industries in Edgecomb before laws were established to record the activities. Diaries and letters tell us of early grist and lumber mills. In the first recorded issue, we find:
Allen Brown as a Shoe maker with a capital investment of $700. 100 s (?shoes) tan leather, valued at $250 in raw material. Hand power employing 2 males at an average monthly wage of $44. An annual production of 400 pair of boots and shoes with a value of $900.
Stephen Parsons saw mill with a capital investment of $1000 which is crossid out to $500, 100,000 ft. of logs, a value of $600, crossed out to $300. Power: water and hands, employing 1 male at an average wage of $32. a month. The annual production of 50,000 ft. planks, value $600; and 100,000 shingles, 15,000 clapboards value $300; and the shingles $250.
Austin Greenleaf at this time was a Brick Mason with a capital of $600. In raw material he had or used 75 cords of woods with a value of $150. The power used was horse and hands, employing .3 males, an average monthly wage of $84-:- The annual production was 200,000 brick at a value of $600.
By 1870, business had picked up considerably, and we find the following:
Huff, Elbridge —with a corn packing factory. Capital investment of $16,000. Employing 13 males above the age of 16, 40 females above the age of 15, and 15 children and youths with a total wage of $2,500; 45,000 lbs of corn, value of $2,000 yielding 30,000 cans at a value of $10,000. Lobsters 2,500 lbs. packed with a value of $3,000. Power was wood, 45 cords, value of $180.
Huff, Elbridge—can factory by hand power and molding, cutting he used 2 people, molding 1 person, 5 males above 16; using 10,000 sheets of tin with a value of $2,000, producing 30,000 tins, a value of $5,000; 2,000 lbs. of sodder, value of $800. He used 9 tons of coal valued at $100.
Page, Henry—had a brick yard using horse power and hand in molding with 2 males, employed 4 over 16 years of age, total amount paid in wages $500; the yard active for 4 months. Materials used clay and sand, 180 loads, value $150; wood 80 cords, value $320. Production: Bricks 300,000, value $1800.
Brown, Allen—Brick yard, $300 investment; horse and hand power; molding, with 2 males and 3 males over 16, salary $350; active 4 months of the year. Raw materials used clay, sand and wood: clay and sand 120 loads, value $100; 60 cords of wood, $240. Producing 200,000 bricks at a value of $1200.
Greenleaf, Austin—Brick yard investment of $2,000. Using horse power and hand; molding with 4 men and 10 males over 16, annual wage $1000; active 4 months; using 300 loads of clay and sand, value of $280; wood 136 cords, value $550. Producing 500,000 bricks valued at $3,000.
Gove, George—Brickyard with an investment of $500. Using horse and hand power, molding with 2 men and 4 males over 16 yrs. of age, with wages totaling $500. Active 4 months. Raw materials used clay and sand 150 loads, value $140, wood 70 cords, value $280. Producing 250,000 bricks, value of $1500.
Cunningham, Thomas—Saw and grist mill, investment of $3,000. Using 3 wheel and 1 run of stone with water power (40 horse power) making shingles with 1 man and staves using 1 man, 3 males over age 16. Using 75,000 ft. of lumber value of $200 to make 300,000 shingles value of $900, and 20,000 staves with a value of $100. The grist mill using 2500 bushels of corn and grain value of $2500. Making meal into 2500 bu., value of $3,000.
Allen's grandfather, Allen Brown, made shoes and boots in the ell of the farm house. (present N. Dean's residence) Hanging on the wall of the room were around 200 patterns. Many of the boots were made high to just below the knee while others were ankle length. Allen said, "he had seen a receipted bill of $500. made out to his grandfather for leather.
From Dear Capt. Fess
Nov. 24, 1867
"Harry Clark, Elbridge Huff and others have leased land of Link Davis and are going to build a factory for canning meat, fish and vegetables. The factory building will stand at the junction of the roads just around from the Folly near the old spring—Link is going to build a wharf in the cove that makes up near the spring. Then I understand our moneyed men are going to establish a large corn and flour store somewhere!"
Feb. 1866 "Ell Huff caught his foot in the machinery of their crusher and took off his big toe, and has had to suspend work for the winter—The company had bought a claim in the mines lately which he says is going to make them rich."
1868 "A Mr. Ring, one of the factory men thinks of buying our house, and Uncle Tom has raised the price to the modest sum of $1,200, so I expect to have no where to lay my head."
Feb. 1868 "The folks say the Lobster factory is in process of erection and Land in Edgecomb had gone up." 1874 "Merrill has come back to the brick yard with men from his own town to work for him, they have gone to work in earnest and intend to make a million brick this season."
Under Factory From Newspaper
Oct. 1869 The sweet corn canning season at the Edgecomb .factory is over, lobsters next.
Aug. 1, 1870 The lobster "factory" took fire on the fore noon of the 26th. Wiscasset engine was soon on its way but
the fire was extinguished without its assistance.
In 1872 The corn canning factory was leased for a term of years to J. W. Jones & Co. of Portland.
Edgecomb Mica Company
We have not been very successful in obtaining information on the mines on Mount Hungar and in East Edgecomb. Registered with the Secretary of State, Dec. 10, 1883, is a list of stockholders of the Corporation and their residence. Andrew T. Bean of Auburn holds the largest amount, 1025 shares; one man from Edgecomb, Wm. S. Blen, holds 80 shares. At the end of the list we quote; "Par value $100 per. share. 2331 shares of stock have been sold, 169 shares are in the-treasury. I do not know the amount of money that has been paid in." Signed by the Treasurer, N. I. Jonlaw. On another sheet is a list of stockholders: one Josiah Bean of Edgecomb holding 50 shares. At the end of the list: "Capital stock $250,000. Par value $100. all paid in." Signed N. I. Jonlaw, treasurer.
Chapter 487. An act relating to the Edgecomb Mica Company. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in Legislature assembled, as follows:
Sect. 1. The Edgecomb Mica Company, a corporation duly organized under the general law of the state, on the second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-one, is hereby authorized and empowered to engage in the business of mining or quarrying all minerals or metals found on property now or hereafter owned or controlled by said company for mining or quarrying purposes, and of working or manufacturing the minerals or metals so quarried or mined, and to purchase the right of quarrying or mining the same; and all acts of said company, heretofore done in quarrying or mining on premises now controlled and operated by said company in Edgecomb, Maine, are hereby confirmed and made valid.
Sect. 2. The annual meeting of said company shall hereafter be held in Auburn, Maine, and the location of said company is hereby changed from Portland, Maine, as mentioned in the certificate of organization, to Auburn, Maine.
Sect. 3. Nothing contained in this act shall affect pending litigation, and this act may be accepted by a majority vote of said company.
Sect. 4. This act shall take effect when approved.
Approved March 4, 1885.
In the Annual Register of Maine 1885 under Edgecomb, Mines, Edgecomb Mica Mining Co.; Smithrick Mining Co.; Bath Mining Co., Haggett, Wyman & Co., feldspar.
From a newspaper item under Edgecomb June 9, 1882: "The Mica mines are to open for labor soon." Nov. 24, 1882: "A few men have found work in the Mica mine. It is said a steam drill is expected soon—will give more employment."
"Dec. 14, 1883: "Messers Eben Haggett & Samuel Wyman again began work on their feldspar mine. M. H. Small crew at work.*
Commenced about Dec. 1 under the direction of Mr. Sombes of Edgecomb. The Newcastle Company expects to do better after the ledge is opened up right. They have been at work since Nov. 1st. The Edgecomb Mica Co. have closed their mine for the winter. Mr. Turner in charge has gone home. There probably are no bounds to the spar mines here but it takes time & money."
*Author's note: At this time we have little information on the feldspar mine except that the feldspar was hauled to Poole's Landing and was taken by boat to Bath or Topsham to be ground into powder.
The Granite Quarry on Cross Point Road
From old deeds and miscellaneous accounts we find that this quarry was opened up before 1812. How much earlier we have not been able to determine. For some time the town did not know who owned it; however, it is said that the granite was shipped to Philadelphia for street paving and cornerstones for buildings. We do know that a charter and bylaws were established in 1836 with a capital of $300,000 in the name of The New York City & Portland Exchange Granite Company. "The present and original estate belonging to this company, being situated and lying in the town of Edgecomb, etc. known as letter A, in the plan attached to a power from I. C. Shaw to Robert Aikin, and filed in the office of the Register of Deed at Wiscasset, and left at said office as by reference on the 14th of December, 1835, to entitle the stockholders to the benefits of this Company."
In 1812 Benjamin Brown of Edgecomb went to Damask Cove in search of granite for the goal (jail) in Wiscasset, not finding it, historians claim there was no other quarry where he could have obtained the granite but Edgecomb. In Mr. Brown's petition to the County of Lincoln "it was necessary for him to open a new quarry for the purpose of obtaining floor stones for the said Goal." The author is very reluctant to say that Mr. Brown's bill presented to the County was wholly for opening up the Edgecomb quarry, but we will share it with you.
Expenses: Petitioners work for 468 days worth 2 $ pr day
Labourers do 476 do 1 $ pr day
Thaddeus Gates (Smith bill)
Thos. S. Richardson do
Darius Wilder's do
Enoch Greenleafs do
Powder for blowing quarries
Receipts—Received from the county treasurer
Balance of expense against B. Brown
Freetown Grange, No 191—Established about 1876, F. G. Clifford, Master. This Grange was reorganized September 30, 1899, and closed some time in 1922. At the time of the reorganization the Master was W. A. Smith; Lecturer, Nettie M. Bragg; and Secretary, Charles T. Somes. The Grange met on Saturday evenings in the hall above the Four Corners Chapel, now a gift shop. When it closed in 1922 the Master was Jennie B. Somes, Lecturer, W. W. Cochran; and Secretary, F. E. Somes.
Edgecomb Grange No. 518 was organized by E. H. Libby on Nov. 7, 1911, with 64 Charter members. In 1912 the Master was Frank Dodge; Lecturer, Tena Haggett; and Secretary, Fannie Stone. This Grange also met on Saturday night in the Town Hall, and the building was commonly called the Grange Hall. The interior of the building was kept for many years by this organization. The kitchen stove, piano, and many incidental items were purchased by the group.
The Grange put on many entertainments, creating an active social life in the community. From the money raised by these activities, an addition was added to the town hall including a stage and rest rooms, in the basement of the addition a one pipe hot air furnace was installed sometime in the early 1930s.
One must remember that all the water, wood, and necessaries had to be brought in for every activity.
Two churches also shared the responsibility for putting on the town meeting dinner.
On Dec. 6, 1975, the Grange closed with Evan Chase serving as Master, Donna Chase as Lecturer, and Margaret