Turner, Maine

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Turner is a town in Androscoggin County, Maine, United States. The population was 4,972 at the 2000 census. Turner includes the villages of Turner Center and North Turner. The town is part of the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine Metropolitan New England City and Town Area.



First called Sylvester-Canada, the township was granted by the Massachusetts General Court on June 20, 1768 to Major James Warren and others, survivors of Captain Joseph Sylvester's company for their services in the 1690 Battle of Quebec. It replaced a 1735 grant of the same name located at what is now Richmond, New Hampshire, but which was ruled invalid in 1741 because of prior clams from the heirs of John Mason. Reverend Charles Turner of Scituate, Massachusetts acted as an agent for the dispossessed grantees, and would become the first minister of their new town.

It was settled in 1772 by Daniel Staples, Thomas Record, Elisha Record, Joseph Leavitt and Abner Phillips.[1] Many of the first settlers came from Pembroke, Massachusetts, where most of the proprietors of Sylvester-Canada resided.[2] Nearly all the early settlers came from towns which had sprung up around Plymouth, Massachusetts, including the Leavitt family[3], descendants of Deacon John Leavitt of Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, and the Bradford family, descendants of Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony.[4] Following the Revolutionary War, settlement began to pick up, and by 1784 the expanding village had 30 families. Incorporated on July 7, 1786, Sylvester-Canada was renamed for Reverend Turner.

It was primarily a farming town producing corn and apples, but with exceptional water power sites on the Nezinscot River. Here, Samuel Blake built in 1775 the first mill, both a sawmill and gristmill, although it was destroyed by the great freshet of 1785. It was rebuilt the next season. There were 5 sawmills and 3 gristmills in the community when a fire destroyed those at Turner Village in 1856. They were replaced, and by 1886, industries included not only sawmills and gristmills but a box factory, carriage factory, shoe factory, tannery, paper pulp mill, cheese factory, fulling mill and pottery factory.

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