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Poland: Past and Present

Chapter 1

The history of Poland really begins with the Bakerstown Grant. In 1736 the General Court of Massachusetts granted a petition for two townships of land to the officers and soldiers who had served in the disastrous campaign of 1690 against Canada.

No real attempt to settle the grant took place. Perhaps now and then solitary hardy survivor with is ax and gun, guided by blazed trees found his 60 acres lot and built a cabin. If he did he found in 1741 that his hard-earned claim with all its improvements was lost. Gorge the II in that year decided a boundary dispute by creating the Province of New Hampshire. The land for Bakerstown Grant fell within the new province boundary lines and the title issued by Massachusetts was invalidated.

In 1765 Major Samuel Gerrish Captain Moses Little and Colonel Jonathan Bagley were made agents for the proprietors under the following agreement: " Sollicite the great General Court for a Grant of a Township of the unappropriated Land in these Province in lie of a Township granted to a number of Officers and soldiers in the Canada Expedition called Bakers Town, which township but the late running Province Line has fallen into New Hampshire. That they shall have and enjoy all the all the lands the Great and General Court shall Grant to the former Owners or Proprietors of said Bakers Town over and above Six Miles and three Quarters of a Mile Square in full satisfaction for all their trouble charge and expense in preferring the said Petition and getting a township Granted.

And if the said General court should be pleased not to grant a township over and above six miles and three quarters of a Mile Square, then they our said Agents Gerrish Little and Bagley to be at the whole expense withour any charge to the Proprietors and if any more than six miles and three quarters of a mile Square should be granted they the said Agents to have it and take it in proportion in every Division of Lots that shall be laid out in said Township."

As a result of the efforts of these three men in 1765 the general court granted a township of land to Bakerstown proprietors. This was to be laid out on the east side of the Saco River was to adjoin some former grants but was not to be interfere with the Pejepscot Claim or New Gloucester and was to b e seven and one half miles square with 8600 acres being allowed for water in ponds. Of the sixty proprietors of Bakerstown none can be traced as becoming actual settlers.

Some of the first settlers names that have come down to us are Nathaniel Bailey, Daniel Land, Moses Emery and John Newman, who settled at the Empire in 11768-69. David Pulsifer settled here in 1790 and planted the Pulsifer tree whose branches now reach over entire New England.

Moses Emery was one of those rare geniuses who could build a sawmill with a broad axe and pod-auger. Worthley Brook was not large enough for his aspirations so he built Bakerstown first mill on the Little Androscoggin at Mint Corner established a ferry and became the happy father of the first boy of Bakerstown winning the price of a farm.

 The boy he named Moses. He was born September 20, 1772 and built the first mill at Hacketts Mills. The now quiet village of Minot Corner a hundred and seventy five years ago was the metropolis of Bakerstown and Moses Emery was the principal man of the place. After much inquiry and search it was found he buried in the ancient church cemetery at Center Minot. Marble stone was erected in his memory.

On February 17, 1795 Poland was incorporated. It is believed that the name was taken from the old hymn tune "Poland" a great favorite of Moses Emery. As an agent to secure incorporation he presented that name with the petition to the General Court of Massachusetts. In 1802 Minot was set off from Poland to become the 129th town. The part of Poland known as Marston's Corner was set off to Auburn in 1852. The town of Mechanic Falls comprising areas of both Poland and Minot, became a separate town in 1893.

The following excerpt from geography lesson on Poland is undated but apparently is quite early in the history of the town. It is included here more as an interesting anecdote than for its informational value.