XI. Eighteenth Century Migrations
North Yarmouth, ME
New Gloucester, ME
A Merrill Memorial
Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983
Eighteenth Century Migrations - Chapter XI,
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.
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,
does Mr. Merrill live?"
asked the wayfarer in surprise, "why, they're all
M-Merrills in this t-t-town, except m-me, and m-my name's
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.
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
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