“Maine Place Names and the peopling of its towns”

Excerpts from “Maine Place Names and the peopling of its towns”, by Ava H. Chadbourne


Geographically, the smallest town in Maine, Randolph, Kennebec County, was a part of Old Pittston with the exception of a 50 rod strip of land which had formerly belonged to the Town of Chelsea.  Gardiner, including our present West Gardiner, was separated from Old Pittston in 1804, and Randolph was set off from the town on March 4, 1887, and incorporated under the name of West Pittston.  Two weeks later the name was changed to Randolph, in honor of a Massachusetts town which in turn had received its name in honor of Peyton Randolph, of Virginia, the first President of the Continental Congress.

Of the old settlers of Pittston, it is very difficult now to determine who was the first on the soil.

I am indebted to Mrs. Ruth J. White for the following statement:
“The first settler in Randolph was Alexander Brown about 1670.  He was killed by Indians in 1675.  A century passed and then in 1760 a number of families moved from Portland (Falmouth) to this town: Benjamin Fitch, Jonas Winslow, and William Philbrick.”  Another writer says that Daniel Sewell and George Williamson were here at an early date; Captain James Bailey, Gideon Barker, and John Jewett were old men in this territory.  Prominent among those of past generations were Caleb Stevens, James and Alexander Stevens, and Daniel Jewett who, while employed on the Gardiner estate, transplanted the large elms, the pride of the village.

In Maple Grove Cemetery, marked by a large boulder, is the grave of Lieutenant Nathaniel Berry, the last survivor of General George Washington’s Life Guards.

This portion of Old Pittston, now Randolph, was prominent in the business life of the past.  Shipbuilding was an early industry; saw mills and other large lumber mills were erected as early as 1808.  There was also an old carding and fulling mill on the Togus Stream.  A tavern was established early in the 19th century by Samuel Hodgedon.  The Gardiner and Pittston bridge was opened as a toll bridge, October 18, 1853, but in 1887 the two towns joined in the purchase of the shares of the bridge and made it free.