Hiram, Maine

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Hiram is a town in Oxford County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,423 at the 2000 census. It includes the villages of Hiram, East Hiram, South Hiram and Durgintown. Located among the rugged and unspoiled Western Maine Mountains, Hiram is part of the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area.

Contents

History

It became a stage stop along the Pequawket Trail, the former wilderness path of the Sokokis Abenakis which runs from Standish to Fryeburg (site of Pequawket, their stockaded village). First known as Great Ossipee after the Ossipee River, the town was settled in the 1780s and organized as Hiram Plantation, named after Hiram I, the biblical king of Tyre.[1] Like King Hiram's domain, Hiram Plantation was set among forests. It was incorporated as a district on February 27, 1807, then as the town of Hiram on June 14, 1814. Peleg Wadsworth bought a tract of land here in 1790, and in 1792 or 1794 began clearing a farm for his eldest son.[2]

Although uneven at the center, there was good and fertile farmland in the intervales. The soil was sandy loam, yielding wheat and hay, the principal crop. Sheep grazed the pastures, and their wool became an important product. In 1830, the town's population was 1,148.[3]

Various ponds and streams supplied water power for mills, and manufacturing timber became an important industry. In 1859, town industries included a number of cooper shops, two blacksmiths, several shoemaking shops and a harness making shop. By 1886, the town had five sawmills and planing mills, producing short and long lumber, barrel staves and shooks. It also had two gristmills and a carding mill. Other products included men's clothing, harness and slate blackboards. Described as "a pretty village amid charming scenery," [4] Hiram was a junction where the Bridgton and Saco River Railroad met the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, which first opened service through the White Mountains on August 16, 1875.

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