Merrill family history and genealogy to the benefit of all.


XI. Eighteenth Century Migrations
      Concord, NH
      Conway, NH
      Plymouth, NH
      Warren, NH
      Corinth, VT
      Kennebunkport, ME
      Topsham, ME
      Falmouth, ME
      North Yarmouth, ME
      New Gloucester, ME
      Lewiston, ME
      Buxton, ME
      Greene, ME
      Fryeburg, ME
      Brownfield, ME
      Andover, ME

A Merrill Memorial

    Samuel Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983

Some Eighteenth Century Migrations - Chapter XI, pp125-152

Topsham, ME

       John5 Merrill, son of John4, was born in Arundel 29 Jan. 1733/4. (See page 357.) As a young man he had little opportunity for education, but managed to learn something of surveying, and was employed by Sir William Pepperell of Kittery, and later by Governor Bowdoin of Massachusetts, to survey their lands in the District of Maine. In his capacity as surveyor John Merrill had seen much of the unoccupied lands of Maine, and finally he concluded to settle in Topsham. He built a log house there in 1760, and this served as his home until 1785, when he built a commodious homestead near the site of the log cabin. This second dwelling was occupied by his descendants for more than a century.

   A plan of Topsham in 1768 shows that at that time John Merrill owned four lots, aggregating about three hundred acres. In that year he purchased also an island in the Androscoggin River at Topsham, which has since been known as Merrill's Island.

   When the town was incorporated, in 1764, John Merrill was chosen a member of the first board of selectmen, and he was many times reelected. He was a member of the Committee of Correspondence and Safety in 1775, and served several times as a justice of the Court of General Sessions. As a member of the General Court of Mass achusetts, before the separation of Maine, he visited Boston on horseback, and returned with a square-topped chaise. This was a strange conveyance in those days for use on the primitive roads which the settlers laid out through the pine-tree forests, and people from all around came to see it.

   John Merrill was studious, and sought to correct the deficiencies of his earlier schooling by reading. He sent to Boston for many books, including what was said to be the first encyclopedia ever owned in the District of Maine. For many years he was the principal surveyor in Lincoln County. He died at the age of ninety-four. "The 'old squire' settled all disputes, drew the deeds, married the young, counselled the old, and in his declining years witnessed in his son, Col. Abel Merrill, all these qualities in a more extended sphere." (See page 531.)

   Miss Mary-Jane7 Merrill, granddaughter of John5 Merrill, wrote, 17 May, 1905: "I remember very distinctly hearing Dr. McKeen, son of the first President of Bowdoin College, say, 'Your grandfather was the man of both Brunswick and Topsham.' . . . The farm was one of the loveliest in town, to me the loveliest - - - my childhood's home a paradise. After brother Obed's death it passed into brother William's hands, and he sold it, much to my sorrow. I have never seen it since, nor do I wish to. I have never recovered from the shock." Miss Merrill died in 1906 at the age of eighty-nine years. She spent the last years of her life in Brunswick, two miles from the old homestead.

Falmouth, ME

   If you have further information on the book, "A Merrill Memorial" and would like to share it with others, please contact me.

     © - Updated 8 July, 2002