Place:Alfred, York, Maine, United States

Watchers


NameAlfred
TypeTown
Coordinates43.467°N 70.717°W
Located inYork, Maine, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Alfred is a town in York County, Maine, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 3,019. Alfred is the county seat of York County and home to part of the Massabesic Experimental Forest. The Alfred Historic District includes 48 houses on the National Register of Historic Places.

Alfred is part of the PortlandSouth PortlandBiddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Abenaki Native Americans called the area Massabesic, meaning "large pond," or "the place of much water." It was in the western portion of a large tract of land purchased from Indian chiefs Fluellin, Hombinowitt and Meeksombe (also known as Captain Sunday), between 1661 and 1664 by Major William Phillips, an owner of mills in Saco (which then included Biddeford). According to historian Jim Brunelle, editor of the Maine Almanac, the price was "two large blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of powder, four pounds of musket balls, 20 strings of beads and several other articles."

Simeon Coffin of Newbury, Massachusetts arrived in 1764 and lived for a time in a wigwam, although the first permanent settlement took place in 1770. Known as the north parish of Sanford, the community was set off and incorporated as a district on February 4, 1794. Sawmills and gristmills operated by water power at the streams. A log jail was built in 1803, with a brick jail in 1869. The courthouse was built in 1806, the year Alfred became the shire town of York County. It was incorporated as a town in 1808, named in honor of King Alfred the Great. Land would be set off to Sanford in 1828, and annexed from Waterboro in 1847.[1] The Rochester & Portland Railroad entered from Waterboro in 1864, connecting to Rochester, New Hampshire in 1871. More than 30 trains passed through Alfred daily between 1910 and 1920, but use would decline in the age of automobiles. Passenger service ceased in 1949, with the final train departing in 1961. A severe drought in Maine tindered the Great Fires of 1947, burning of woodland and two residences in the town.


A Shaker religious community once thrived in Alfred. In 1783, members of the Shaker Church settled on the hill near Massabesic (now Shaker) Pond. Others dubbed them the "Merry Dancers," because of their ecstatic worship. "They were," as historian George J. Varney writes, "at this time fanatical in religion and intemperate in their indulgences." Organized in 1793, Alfred Shaker Village practiced the religion's celibate communal living, with equality among the sexes and races. They built plain architecture and furniture, honest expressions of their faith. At the movement's height in the 1840s, Shakers operated 19 utopian communities scattered from Maine to Kentucky, and as far west as Indiana. But among all the "societies," Alfred Shaker Village in particular was noted for "spiritualistic healing of the sick." It was also where Elder Joseph Brackett wrote the famous 1848 Shaker dancing song, Simple Gifts. The Shaker community is part of the Alfred Shaker Historic District, preserved and listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2001.


Only Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester survives under the control of the last few Shakers. Some former communities operate today as museums because, like Alfred Shaker Village, they closed when the congregation dwindled. In 1931, the Alfred property was sold to the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who allow the Friends of Alfred Shaker Village to operate a museum in one of the site's original Shaker buildings. Although the Shakers are gone, some of their apple orchards and blueberry fields are still yielding fruit, the sale of which helps support the York County Shelter.

In 1872, the District No. 5 School was built in northern Alfred. It was used as a school until 1921, thereafter providing a number of community functions. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

In 1873 Louis H. F. Wagner rowed out to Smuttynose Island in the Isles of Shoals, off the Atlantic coast near Kittery, intending to rob but eventually murdering two of the three women left alone on the island. When the authorities finally caught up with him, jurisdiction for the case was given to York County and the county seat, Alfred. The biggest trial in the state at that time was held in the Alfred Court House.

Wagner having little defense was quickly found guilty and sentenced to be hanged on the gallows of the Maine State Prison at Thomaston. While he was awaiting transfer he broke out of the Alfred jail and made his escape, eventually being caught in Farmington, New Hampshire.

Research Tips


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Alfred, Maine. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.