The History of its Discovery
In 1845 as a Remedial Agent
The Poland Spring is located in the town of Poland, Androscoggin County, Maine, twenty-six miles north of the city of Portland. The water issues at the rate of about eight gallons per minute from a fissure near the crest of a magnificent mound of the oldest of the sedimentary rocks. The formations through which the Poland Water percolates, as is shown by the uniform temperature of the water at all seasons of the year, point to the fact that the Spring has its source at a great depth and passes through formations or strata from which it derives its renowned freedom from impurities and its medicinal properties. The spring boils up from an intrusion of porphyritic rock from three four feet wide.
On the footwall of the vein there is a clay seam of a few inches in thickness and the porphyritic rock which fills this vein shows plainly the changes of time in its formation.
In as much as porphyry is the intrusive rock of the old red sandstone era, it would appear that this section of Maine country received its chief topographical features during that early period.
One of the best evidences of the real merit of any natural spring water lies in the honest history of the discovery of its remedial measures. No on can set a limit to the remedial forces of anything produced by nature, and no famous medicinal water on the face of the earth has ever been found by looking for it or by analysis.
There is positive evidence of the fact that the Poland Spring was well known to the aborigines of the country and tat they must also have known something of its curative properties is alike presumable, for in this vicinity Indian relics have been exhumed that comprise arrow heads, townahawks and stone tools for various uses.
The first settler built a dwelling in this vicinity in 1779, being followed by others in 1782, which dates the discovery of this spring by the white man. Durning the year 1783 a preacher from Lebanon, NY came into the neighborhood preaching the Shaker doctrines of Ann Lee. All in this vicinity were converted except one family, and so the first Shaker settlement was formed on the Poland Spring property.
In the winter of 1793-94 Jabez Ricker exchanged his property in Alfred Maine with the Shakers for the Poland Spring property. With him came his sons Samuel, Wentworth and Joseph.
Joseph Ricker was the first blacksmith in town and made all the nails used in building the Mansion House, which was opened by Wentworth Ricer the father of Hiram Ricker in 1791, when the first sign was swung with the words "Wentworth Ricker, 1797."
The circumstances developing the knowledge of the efficacy of Poland Water, as is true of many European Springs, where purely accidental and extended through a long period of time.
In 1800 Joseph Ricker lay sick with a fever and physicians pronounced his case hopeless. Begging for water to quench is burning thirst the doctor ask Joseph Thurlow the nurse to go to the spring that "ran north" and get the sick man a jog of water, adding " He might as well drink it as not for he will be dead before morning." The water was procured and he drank freely of it during the night and when the doctor came the next morning he found the patient free from fever and on the way torpid recovery. He lived fifty-two years afterward.
In 1827 Wentworth Ricker who for some time had been afflicted with severe kidney trouble while clearing the land around the spring began drinking the pure water simply for refreshment. He soon observed that the pain form thich he had suffered was gradually leaving him and his disease soon left him altogether without his knowing that it was the water from Poland Spring that had cured him.
In 1844 his son Hiram was suffering severely from an attack of dyspepsia, aggravated by a so-called humor in the stomach. Unable to work himself he went to that part of the property near the spring to oversee his men. His constant thirst led him to drink of the water frequently and to his great surpass and gratification he was speedily cured. From that time he had great faith in the water and urged all his friends who were similarly afflicted to use it, but until fifteen years later he did not dream of its being efficacious in any other disease than dyspepsia.
In the summer of 1859 a neighbor, William Shellinger, who had been afflicted with a serious form of kidney disease for several years came to work near the spring. He drank freely of the water and ere ling discovered that he was cured. He never had touch of his complaint afterward and lived to the ripe old age of ninety-two years.
Mr. Schellinger having an ox very sick and emaciated and so weak that he would frequently fall while walking got Hiram Ricker to put the ox in a field near the spring where he could drink the Poland Water. The ox soon showed signs of improvement and continued to improve until the following September, when he had gained six inches in girth and was pronounced good beef and sold as such. The examination of the internal organs which had to be made before the meat was sold showed that the liver had been terribly affected and from this cause he would have soon died but for his timely removal to the pasture and spring.
These with instance induced Hiram Ricker to call upon Dr E Clark of Portland and urged him to make a trial of Poland water for kidney trouble. A quantity of water was sent to the doctor who used it in the case of Hon M J Miller a victim of bloody hemorrhage of the kidneys with wonderful success.