AGRICLUTURE IN ALEXANDER - 1850
This list includes each name in order as found on the original 1850 agriculture census. The number is the dollar value of the farmland.
FROST, Simon - $400
CRAFT, Varian - $1000
PIKE, Sewell - $800
CHANDLER, Joel - $600
HUNNEWELL, Jonathan - $350
LOVERING, Joseph - $1000
BROWN, Ebenezer - $500
ABBOTT, Abiel - $500
KNIGHT, James - $500
TOWNSEND, Nathaniel - $800
SPEARIN, Jeremiah - $1000
BROWN, Michael - $650
DAVIS, Edward - $600
BERRY, Hiram - $800
SPRING, William - $800
HARMON, Peter - $600
SPEARIN, John - $400
CROWLEY, John - $500
BOHANON, John - $500
WHITNEY, Henry - $400
BOHANON, William - $300
GRIFFIN, Hugh - $450
BROWN, Samuel - 4700
SIMONS, Samuel - $300
BILLINGS, Stephen - $800
BABCOCK, Stephen - $850
GOOCH, Joel - $600
HACKETT, Moses 850
PHILLIPS, John - $1000
GOOCH, John - $600
STEVENSON, Luke - $400
MORSE, Paul - $800
DAMON, John K. - $1000
GARNET, James - $800
FENLASON, Reuben - $400
TYLER, Daniel - $800 son of George
COTTLE, Samuel - $800
COTTLE, Samuel, Jr. - $1000
LYDICK, Godfrey - $350
GODFREY, Joseph - $350
HUFF, Claudius M. - $850
CROCKETT, William - $600
FENLASON, Henry - $400
KNIGHT Alfred - $300
DUNN, Levi - $500
SCRIBNER, Phebe - $600
COLE, William - $500
BROWN, Ephraim - $350
MESERVE, Nathaniel - $700
BOHANON, Ananiah - $600
STROUT, Solomon - $700
STROUT, Benjamin - $500
FROST, Stephen - $550
BAILEY, Abraham - $350
PERKINS, James - $850
BAILEY, Isaiah - $400
PERKINS, John J. - $500
PERKINS, Joseph - $400
THISTLEWOOD, Robert - $700
CRACKEN, Andrew - $400
LYONS, Greenwood - $300
To provide contrast, we have selected to study the five most wealthy and the nine least wealthy farmers based on value of their land. Their names are underscored above. What things allowed some farmers to prosper and others to just get by? We will look at age, tenure in Alexander, and number of helpers available (sons and extended family). Was the land itself a factor of success? Some farm locations are noted and can be found on the map.
ASA LIBBY was 56 in 1850. Although born in Scarborough, Maine, he arrived in Alexander from St. David Parish NB likely in 1832 when he acquired lots 61 and 81. Lot 61 had been a Lottery Lot and it was here that he settled. He had married Sarah (Caldwell) Gray and brought her two daughters and son John into his household. Asa and Sarah had the following children: Asa (1820), Richard (1821), twins Oliver and Ann (1823), Alice (1827), Abner (1830), and twins Amanda and Amelia (1834). Asa had help from 4 sons and a stepson. The 1850 census shows Oliver and Abner still at home along with Alice and Amanda. Sarah’s daughter Cordelia Berry and three of her children were also living in the home. Her husband, Samuel, was a master mason, must have been working out of town when the census taker visited. At the Alexander Cemetery we find marked graves for Asa, Sarah and other family members.
Asa’s farm had a cash value of $2000 and the implements added another $50. He owned 130 acres of improved land and 130 acres of unimproved land. For 1850, improved land would include cropland, hay fields and pasture land. Unimproved would be woods, swamps etc. Asa owned 3 horses, 4 milch (milking) cows, 3 pair of working oxen, 3 other cattle, 22 sheep that yielded 40 pounds of wool, 1 swine all valued at $595. His livestock required 18 tons of (English) hay. His gardens produced 90 bushels Irish potatoes and 15 bushels barley. His milch cows gave 250 pounds of butter.
ALMEDA TOWNSEND was 38 and the recent widow of Manly. Manly came from Calais to Alexander about 1842, acquired parts of lots 68 and 69, and built his big house. He was a gentleman farmer. Almeda stayed on in the big house on Townsend Hill for many years and operated the farm. Almeda had to care for a large family: Abner, George, Mary, Manly, Thomas, and Phebe. In 1850 they ranged in age from 17 down to 3. The census record shows others in the household: Robert Ellis age 48, Catherine O’Brien age 18, Jeremiah Spearin age 22, and A. K. P. Townsend age 27, a teacher. Obviously Almeda depended on hired help to run the farm. At Alexander Cemetery we find marked graves for Manly, Almeda and their extended family.
Almeda Townsend’s farm was purchased with cash; her husband had been a gentleman farmer. Her farm is included here because it is part of our history. The cash value of the farm was $8000; it had 150 acres improved land and 250 acres of unimproved. The farm implements were worth $125. She had 1 horse, 8 milch cows, 3 pair working oxen, 6 other cattle, 28 sheep that produced 84 pounds of wool, 3 swine, all valued at $500. The cropland yielded 12 bushels of peas and/or beans and 200 bushels of Irish potatoes. The milk churned 300 pounds butter and gave 600 pounds of cheese. The livestock needed 25 tons of hay. Products of animals slaughtered in the past 12 months were valued at $100.
ISAAC CRAFTS came to Alexander just before the 1830 census. In 1833 he bought 240 acres of lots 68 and 69 from William Vance. Later he acquired the west part of lot 89 and lot 96 where he lived. Isaac was from Hebron, Maine and had lived in Waterborough NB before coming here. He and his wife had 9 children: Mary, Hiram, Frances, Sarah, Phebe, Rebecca, William, Emma and Augusta. Only 4 were alive by the 1850 census; Sarah, Phebe, William and Emma. Also in the household was John Mills age 40. Isaac was 56 in 1850. Isaac and Rebecca and four of their children are buried at the Alexander Cemetery.
Isaac’s farm was valued at $2500. He had improved 100 acres and had 180 acres unimproved. His implements were worth $40. He had 3 horses, 5 milch cows, 1 pair oxen, 3 other cattle, 14 sheep that that gave 60 pounds of wool, and 1 swine. His stock was valued at $300. He raised 70 bushels potatoes (no sweet potatoes were reported in Alexander), and 50 bushels of buckwheat. He churned 300 pounds butter. His stock ate 25 tons hay. His slaughtered animals were worth $60.
JOHN PERKINS was born in Mt. Vernon, Maine in 1793 and moved to New Brunswick before coming to Alexander where he purchased 150 acres of lots 79 and 80 from Samuel Barker in 1833. He and his wife Marie (Williams) had the following children: Deborah, Harriet, Lydia, Emma, Sarah and Philip whose mother died after childbirth in 1836. Charles Augustus was born on December 31, 1839 and John married neighbor Lucinda Bohanon in June 1840. Their children were William, Frederick, Maria, Jasper, Adelaide and six children born after 1850. Even with all these children, John had no family help creating his farm.
John’s farm was worth $1500. He had 46 acres of improved land and 60 acres unimproved. His implements had no value to the census taker. John has 3 milch cows that gave 250 pounds of butter, 2 pair oxen, 3 other cattle and 1 swine all valued at $200. His stock ate 10 tons hay. He grew 100 bushels potatoes and 20 bushels barley. His slaughtered animals were worth $30.
JESSE STEPHENSON was 66 in 1850. He came from Cohasset, Massachusetts and met and married his wife Elizabeth Lilly at Eastport where it is said that Jesse was a merchant. They came to Alexander before 1816. In 1829 he bought from Alexander Baring land on Pleasant Lake including the mill site (part of lot 94). Likely he was living on that lot since his arrival in town. They were the parents of 11 children: Margaret, Caroline, Elisha, Elizabeth, Lucia, Hannah, Jesse, Rachel, Luke, James and Harriet. The 1850 census lists sons Elisha and James at home along with Matthew Frane and James Moore in the household; son Luke had recently married and lived nearby. Son Jesse, Jr was married and also lived nearby. Jesse built a sawmill in 1816 and a gristmill in 1820, both near his home at the outlet of Pleasant Lake.
Jesse’s farm was valued at $2000. He had 80 acres of improved land and 890 acres that were unimproved. This acreage indicates he came to town with more cash than most. His implements were worth $125. He had 1 horse, 7 milking cows that gave 300 pounds butter, 1 pair oxen, 4 other cattle and 3 swine. His stock was valued at $200 and they went through 10 tons hay. He grew 11 bushels of peas and/or beans and 100 bushels potatoes. He slaughtered animals worth $100.
ADAM AVERILL or as spelled in 1860
AARON AVERILL was 56 in 1850. He had a wife Sally or Sarah and 6 children. Sewell at 21 was the oldest. They arrived in Alexander after 1840 and before 1850. Sewell married Ella Black in 1865 and remained in Alexander until after 1872. No deed has been found, but he may have been in lot 44 on Robb Hill.
Adam had 50 acres of which 20 acres was improved. It was worth $150, the lowest value listed. He had 1 milk cow worth $15.
HUGH ROBB, aged 45, arrived in Alexander after 1840. He never owned the farm, but his sons acquired it and it is lot 25, on the Baileyville line. With him were his wife Ann and two teenage sons Hugh and Thomas.
Hugh’s farm was valued at $250. He has 30 acres improved land and 120 acres unimproved. He had 1 horse, 1 milk cow, and one pair oxen all worth $100.
EPHRAIM SCOTT came to from Baileyville to Alexander after 1840. He was 40 in 1850 and with him were his wife Ann and 7 children: Isaac, Ephraim, Elizabeth, Elmira, Abbe, Minerva and Manly; the older boys were 15 and 12. Ephraim never owned land in Alexander, so we don’t know where he lived.
Ephraim had 40 acres
land of which 10 were improved. He had 1 milk cow worth $15.
TIMOTHY HUN, 34 and Nancy Fravern arrived in Alexander likely after 1848. She apparently left Ireland after 1844 when her second child was born. A child was born in New Brunswick in 1847 and the youngest in Maine in 1849.
All that is recorded about Timothy’s farm is that it is worth $250. His name may have been Athun. Apparently he never owned his farm, so we don’t know where he lived.
GILES HUTCHINS came to Alexander before 1835 when he married Eliza Bailey. She was a daughter of Nathaniel and Mary (Frost) Bailey of Alexander. Their children were Stillman, Christopher, Winslow, Mary Elizabeth, Louisa and Caroline. Stillman and Christopher died young. No record exists of their burial place. The 1861 map indicates this farm was on lot 46, and the deed lists at the south 140 acres of that lot.
Giles had 150 acres of which 10 acres were improved. That is all that was recorded.
FRANCIS JAMES BURNS is listed as a 37- year old laborer in the 1850 census. His wife Elizabeth was the same age. The tradition is that he was a brick maker. Elizabeth died in 1857 at Jesse Stephenson’s home. They were neighbors; Burns living on either lot 94 or 98, no deed found. Francis does not appear on the 1860 census.
Francis owned 80 acres, 35 were improved. He had 1 milk cow and 1 other cattle, of no apparent value to the census taker.
JESSE STEPHENSON, JR. was born in Alexander in 1821. He harried Sabrina Knight in December 1845. In 1855 he bought lot 87 from Samuel Cottel and lived there. Had he set up housekeeping there by 1850? They had three children according to the 1850 census, eventually they had eight.
According to the census, Jesse, Jr. farmed 80 acres and had improved 30 of them giving his farm a value of $250. He had a milk cow, a pair of oxen and a swine, all worth $100.
JOHN MOORE was born in 1795 in Ireland and came to Alexander before 1820. He married Nancy (Moholland) in 1823. The 1850 census lists John as a laborer, indicates neither parent could read or write, and their son Albion was still at home, which was a part of lot 78.
John owned but 40 acres of which 30 were improved. [His deed was for 21 acres] His farm was valued at $250. He had a milk cow that produced 300 pounds of butter. He raised 5 bushels of peas and/or beans and 260 bushels of potatoes. He also grew 9 bushels of buckwheat and 20 tons of hay. John had an orchard that produced $10 worth of fruit. The family sold $30 worth of homemade manufactures. John also slaughtered animals worth $40, quite a lot of activity for a small farm.
DAVID BAILEY, son of Nathaniel and Mary (Frost) Bailey was likely in Alexander before 1820 with his father and family, but as an adult lived many years in Baileyville. He and his first wife had 7 children between 1827 and 1838. In 1850, he and his second wife Rebecca Tucker were living with his parents and two hired men.
David was 52 years old. This Nathaniel Bailey, along with his son David, lived on lot 77.
David’s farm was 40 acres with but 15 improved. He owned a milk cow worth $15.
CROPS NOT MENTIONED ABOVE
Jeremiah Spearin and Stephen Billings were the only two reported to have grown Indian corn. Corn was a favorite food of many wild animals, thus was not planted by many farmers.
Oats were raised by 12 farmers. Among them Simon Frost grew 110 bushels, John Phillips 85, Andrew Cracken 70, Stephen Billings 50, Varian Crafts 25, Jonathan Hunnewell 20, Joseph Loverin 40, Edward Davis 40, Stephen Babcock 10, James Perkins 40, Sam Cottle 22 and Sam Cottle Jr. 40.
Stephen Babcock was the only one to grow wheat; he harvested 8 bushels. No one kept bees.
G. R. Moody in his Directory of Alexander, Meddybemps and part of Cooper; on page 15 relates that in the year 1847 the animal census of Alexander counted 157 oxen, 614 sheep and 45 horses.