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WEST POLAND HISTORY

Part I

The town of Poland was separated from Mechanic Falls in 1796-7. It is said to have been named for the hymn POLAND, a favorite of an early settler, Moses Emery.

According to Poole's History of Poland, the first storekeeper in West Poland was Eben Smith whose father Gen. John H Smith built the house where Ara Goss now lives. John Smith manufactured potash for many years, Potash Brook on the Johnson Hill Rd being named for the industry. The store was then located near the brook.

About 1840, a store was built at the corner by Jasper Haskell but the one now standing was built by C F Jordan. Many different men whose names are well known in former years have operated this store: Jesse Patride, Francis Storer, J H Fernald, O S Keene, James Gerry and Daniel Hutchinson. Silas Megquier son of Edmund Megquier who was the first settler of West Poland, ran the store in 1867, and was succeeded by Storer and Goodwin, who ran it for many years.

Eliphalet Dunn built a store in Herrick Valley. Herbert Gerry conducted a jewelry business since 1881 and in my day he was in a corner of Clarence Storer's store and Post Office. There were several mills operating in West Poland. A shingle mill was run by Hiram Keene. Solomon Knights built a mill on Taylor Brook. Daniel and David Brown later owned this mill. Jesse Patridge erected a new mill on this location in 1861 and he sold out to Orrin and Samuel Taylor, who sold it to Samuel H Dudley.  

In 1876 Corey Keene organized a cornet band with 16 members a more than half of them were Keene's. Lake Grange was formed May 23, 1874, with thirty-two members. N M Faunce was its first master. They met at various houses until 1880 when a house was purchased by Anthony Emery and remolded into a large and commodious hall which was for many years an ornament and convenience to the town. For lack of interest Lake Grange #84 was taken over in 1963 by Riverside Grange in Raymond, and the hall was sold to Willard Stone who converted it to use as a chicken house. In 1969 the building was torn down.

In 1790, Edmund Megquier came to what is now Johnson Hill from New Gloucester. There were no settlements of any kind in the region until then. He stayed on the hill a few days, and finally climbed an oak tree near the Ed Hanscom farm, and just at sunset spied the beautiful ridge later to bear his name. The Story in Poole's history says that the next morning chilled by a cold fall night, shot a brave of partriage and has a sumptuous breakfast. Then he climbed the hill from Thompson Pond, finishing his explorations near the Joseph Macdonald farm. He returned to New Gloucester for supplies and came back with a hired man whose name is unknown. Together on the site of the present Megquier homestead they built a log cabin. In the winter of 1791, Edmund married Sally Merrill of New Gloucester and they came to the log cabin the following spring.

 

To be continued