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Halifax Explosion Centennial Commemoration

Canton's  beginnings

In 1886, George J. Varney wrote the following about Canton’s beginnings in “A Gazetteer of the State of Maine,” published by B. B. Russell, Boston:

The first efforts at settlement were made in 1790 or 1792.  William Livermore, William French, Joseph Coolidge and Alexander Shepherd were among the earliest settlers. This township was included in the tract which first became known as Phipp's Canada.  It was first incorporated as a part of Jay in 1795, but was set off and incorporated under its present name February 5, 1821.

In 1888, Canton was described this way in the following excerpts from “Leading Business Men of Lewiston, Augusta and Vicinity,” published by Mercantile Publishing Company, Boston:

Canton, the easternmost town of Oxford County, is one of the most beautiful and charming in all this attractive region.  It is about six miles in length by nine broad, and is divided into two sections by the Androscoggin river, which runs through in an easterly direction.  The town is surrounded by hills, which form a protection to the smooth plain in which it sets.  The scenery is very beautiful, the soil fertile and the agricultural interests are considerable.  At Canton Point, there was formerly a headquarters of the Indians in this vicinity, who named it Rokomeko.  This tribe was entirely exterminated by small-pox during the French and Indian wars.

 Canton took an honorable and devoted part in the Mexican and Civil wars, the memories and traditions of the latter being most tenderly cherished.  Most of its growth has been since the war of the Rebellion. 

Canton is easily accessible and forms a most delightful summer residence, the surrounding country furnishing every rural attraction and recreation.  The town socially, educationally, and morally, is among the most advance in the State, and is worthy of the pride which its citizens take in its condition.

Story by Liz Rothrock