Jay, Maine

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Jay is a town in Franklin County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,985 at the 2000 census. Jay, which includes the village of Chisholm, is the regional commercial center.



This was once territory of the Anasagunticook (or Androscoggin) Abenaki Indians, whose main village was Rockameko, located on Canton Point. They were wiped out by smallpox in 1757. The township was then granted by the Massachusetts General Court to Captain Joseph Phipps and 63 others for their services in the French and Indian War. Called Phipps-Canada, the plantation was not settled until after the Revolutionary War. On February 26, 1795, Phipps-Canada was incorporated as Jay for John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court. In 1821, Canton was set off and incorporated as a town. [1]

Farmers found the soil to be loamy and productive, yielding great quantitites of hay, corn, wheat, potatoes, oats and apples. In 1793, a tavern was constructed at Jay Hill. On the Androscoggin River near Jay Hill was erected a toll bridge, then in 1839 a sawmill. At North Jay was built a sawmill, brickyard and granite quarry. White granite from the North Jay Granite Company, established in 1884, would be used to construct numerous important buildings throughout the country, including Grant's Tomb. East Jay had a sawmill, and Bean's Corner a carriage factory. In 1857, the Maine Central Railroad reached town. [2]

Jay had a population of 1,490 in 1870. The following years would see papermaking develop into the town's predominant industry. In 1888, industrialist Hugh J. Chisholm built at southern Jay the Otis Falls Pulp & Paper Company mill, then the 3rd largest paper mill in the country. Nearby developed the mill town village of Chisholm. In 1898, it became one of the founding mills of International Paper. [3] In 1905, International Paper built a mill on the opposite side of the river, which became known as the Otis mill. In 1978, this mill was sold to Wausau Paper. In 1965, International Paper opened the Androscoggin Mill. It is an integrated pulp and finished paper goods plant employing 990 people operating 5 paper machines. In 1987, it was site of the International Paper strike. In March 2009, Wausau Paper announced the closing of the Otis mill. Operations there stopped permanently at the end of May, 2009. [4]

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