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

Fryeburg, ME

    Gen. Joseph Frye was a brave officer of the French and Indian War. In 1762, in recognition of his military service, the General Court of Massachusetts granted him a township six miles square, the territory to be selected by him on either side of Saco River, in the District of Maine. General Frye promptly made choice of the tract now known as Fryeburg.

   The Indians of this neighborhood had been pacified nearly forty years earlier as a result of the battle known as "Lovewell's fight" (8 May, 1725). In this engagement, fought near the site of Fryeburg village, thirty-four Massachusetts rangers were pitted against eighty warriors of the Pequawket tribe. Each party suffered a loss, in killed and wounded, amounting to two-thirds or more of its fighting strength, and both leaders, Captain John Lovewell and Paugus, the Indian sachem, were killed. It was a severe reverse for the white men, but it ended for all time the military power of the Pequawkets.

   In the Summer of 1762 pioneers arrived from Concord, N.H., eighty miles distant, and set about clearing land and building log houses on the present site of Fryeburg village. Their families remained at their former homes, awaiting the completion of cabins and other conveniences of a permanent settlement. In the Fall most of the pioneers returned to Concord, but Nathaniel5 Merrill (John4,3, Nathaniel2) (see page 297), being unmarried, remained through the Winter, with John Stevens and a negro known as Limbo, to continue preparations for a settlement, and to care for the cattle which had been taken to the valley of the Saco. An abundant stock of hay for the cattle was secured from the intervales beside the river.

   The families of the settlers began to arrive in the Summer of 1763. Nathaniel Merrill was one of the owners of the "Seven Lots" at Fryeburg village. He was a farmer and a skilled surveyor, and lived on the lot opposite the modern site of the academy. Fryeburg Academy, it may be mentioned, in 1802 enjoyed the distinction, then not duly appreciated, of having for its preceptor Daniel Webster. The great Expounder of the Constitution had received his college diploma a few months before.

   Nathaniel Merrill had been one of Rogers' Rangers in the French and Indian War, and had received a wound in the head from a musket ball while in the service of the Colony. He married, in 1764, Ann Walker of Concord, and raised a sturdy family of seven sons and seven daughters, the sons being men of consequence in Brownfield, Conway and Portland. The average age attained by the parents and their fourteen children was sixty-nine years.

   Fryeburg received its act of incorporation in 1777, and on the 31st of March in that year the first town meeting was held. At this meeting Nathaniel Merrill was chosen a member of the board of selectmen. He was known as "Squire" Merrill, and was often intrusted with public duties. In 1786 he was a delegate to a convention held in Portland to seek the separation of Maine from the jurisdiction of Massachusetts; in 1787 he was a member of a committee to draft a plan for the first meeting house in the town.

Brownfield, ME

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     © - Updated 8 July, 2002