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

Falmouth, ME

    In the fourth and fifth decades of the eighteenth century a number of the Merrills of Newbury migrated eastward, and settled in Falmouth and North Yarmouth, Maine. In both towns those bearing the family name became relatively more numerous, before the end of the century, than persons bearing the name have ever been in any other towns in the country. (*) In these towns the Merrills were not pioneers, however.

   Falmouth had been the site of various settlements in 1632, and intermittently through the remainder of the seventeenth century. But wars with the Indians and the French repeatedly proved disastrous, and resulted in the extinction of the remote settlements on Casco Bay. The territory of Falmouth remained practically uninhabited after the destruction of the town by the French and Indians in 1690, until about 1716, when settlers began to return. In 1719 the town was regularly organized, and thereafter its growth was slow but constant.

   John4 Merrill (Nathan3, Abel2) moved to Falmouth about 1732, followed soon after by his brother Richard4. (See pages 272, 276.) James3 (Abel2) moved to New Casco, a village in the eastern part of Falmouth, in 1738, and his six sons left numerous descendants in the town. (See page 209.) Edmond4 Merrill (Daniel3,2) also joined the Falmouth colony not many years later, living in the western part of the town. (See page 258.) At this time the town included the territory now known as Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Westbrook, as well as that of the modern Falmouth.

   The descendants of these Merrills in Old Falmouth were very numerous. A story used to be told of a traveler who was driving into town, and meeting a man on the road he asked,

   "Where does Mr. Merrill live?"

   "Merrill?" asked the wayfarer in surprise, "why, they're all M-Merrills in this t-t-town, except m-me, and m-my name's M-Merrill Noyes!"

   Perhaps Merrill Noyes was addicted to exaggeration, as well as to stammering. (**)

   An old newspaper clipping in my possession mentions "The Musical Society in Falmouth," which was organized in 1807, and which was the earliest organization of the kind in what is now Portland. The seventeen original members included Moses Merrill, Jr., Ephraim Merrill, Jr., Ebenezer Merrill, Jeremiah Merrill, Humphrey Merrill, Sr., Jacob Merrill, Jr., and Giles Merrill.

   In many States of the Union Merrills are living today who trace their descent through one or another of these Falmouth branches of the family.

* The numerical strength of the Merrills in Maine is indicated by the fact that the General Catalogue of Bowdoin College published in 1916 contains the names of 82 Merrills who have been connected with the institution since its foundation. No other name but Smith is represented in the catalogue by so large a number of individuals.
** In Pine Grove Cemetary, Falmouth, is a tombstone marked:
"Merrill Noyes, died Oct. 24, 1879, est. 85"
He was son of Josiah and Charity5 (Merrill) Noyes. (See page 288.)

North Yarmouth, ME

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     © - Updated 8 July, 2002