Farmington Historical Society celebrated the town’s 225th birthday at the North Church on Monday, Aug. 26. Franklin Journal photo by Nicole Carter

FARMINGTON — In 1776 a group of six men from coastal Maine set out through the wilderness to explore sites for a new settlement.

Led by hunter Thomas Wilson, the men established themselves along the Sandy River at the spot now known as Farmington Falls. Using a make-shift survey chain constructed of basswood bark, they measured out six 100 acre plots.

The survey point for the lots was a boulder that came to be known as “the measuring rock.” The measuring rock remains today alongside Routes 2 and 27. Official surveys were done in 1780 by the Kennebec Proprietors, who then contracted Rueben Colburn to create more 100 acre lots for settlement.

One of the original explorers was young Stephen Titcomb, and he became Farmington’s first permanent settler. For four years he traveled from Topsham to Farmington to build his home and establish his claim, making the final trip with his young family during the winter of 1780-81.

The welcome Titcomb received was as cold as the season. Snowstorms forced his wife Betsey to remain with their children in Readfield, and after snowshoeing onward from there he found that bears had broken into his stash of food and devoured the corn he had grown and harvested, as well as the salmon he had smoked and buried.

Undeterred, he went to work tapping maple trees, making syrup to provide his family with trade currency for when other settlers would arrive at their claims. And so the roots of Farmington were established.

By 1783 Farmington had a solid enough population that its first known meeting was held in the home of Samuel Butterfield. In February 1794 the town was incorporated, enabling the community the means to build schools, roads and bridges and formed its local government.

From those beginnings, Farmington has thrived through eras  of agriculture, industry, education and culture, and members of the Farmington Historical Society gathered to celebrate the town’s first 225 years. After a potluck dinner and business meeting, about thirty guests took part in old-fashioned party games. First up was “Pin the Measuring Rock on the Town of Farmington,” a spin off from the circa 1899 game featuring a donkey and his tail. Using sticky-notes cut in the shape of the measuring rock, party-goers were split into two teams, blindfolded, and attempted to pin their measuring rock at the correct spot on Farmington’s 1794 map.

Emile Richard of Farmington attempts to pin the measuring rock on the town of Farmington, as Layne Davis looks on. Franklin Journal photo by Nicole Carter

Simultaneously, the teams competed in “Figure out the Famous Farmington Folks.” Each player had a name tag with an historic town leader’s name placed on his or her back and worked to figure out their identity by asking yes or no questions (i.e., am I a woman? Am I an Olympian? Did I invent the earmuff? Am I a governor? Am I a suffragette?).

From there, FHS secretary Claudia Belle led the group in a game based on Bingo, substituting numbers with historical Farmington facts. Some of the milestones highlighted included: 1816 – the year without a summer; 1886 – the Farmington village fire; 1961 – the founding of FHS; 2018 – Farmington daughter Janet Mills elected governor. Party-goers also competed in a word scramble, forming as many three-letter words as possible from the phrase “Happy Birthday Farmington” in five minutes.

Claudia Bell leads a round of the game Farmington Bingo. Franklin Journal photo by Nicole Carter

The evening ended appropriately with a giant marble birthday cake.


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