Enoch Adams, Surveyor and Second Settler

Enoch Adams, son of Henry and Mehitable (Emery) Adams was born in Massachusetts, July 20, 1752. As a young man, helocated in Andover, Mass. August 6, 1775 he married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Bragg and sister of Ingalls Bragg, one of the proprietors of East Andover, Mass. and an early settler there (June 14, 1775) Sarah Bragg Adams was born in Andover, Mass.

Enoch Adams was one of a company of fifteen proprietors (and had the largest financial interest in same) which bought what is now the town of Andover, Maine from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 1600 pounds lawful money in September, 1778. [1788]? The Company had been formed a few years before by residents of Andover and Methuen, Mass.; Pelham, N.H.; and what is now Bethel, Maine. In 1787 a committee of two, Thomas Poor and Enoch Adams, had been sent to explore and select a suitable site for the new township. After considerable exploration, on the advice of Col. John York of Sudbury, Canada (as Bethel was then known), they settled and recommended the valley of the Ellis River as the most feasible site for the new township.

Their report was accepted and the purchase made of a tract of land to be 6 miles wide and 8 miles long, for the above-mentioned sum. They received their deed September, 1788 and began to lot and divide their purchase into homesteads. (But previous to the consummation of the trade, Ezekiel Merrill, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, one of the company and then a resident of Pelham, N.H., had visited the region and selected a site for a home, built a small camp, and began to make a clearing to become the first person of the town, moving his family here in May, 1789.) Shortly after receiving their deed, the company decided to have the land surveyed and laid out in four hundred-acre lots, along the course of the Ellis River, on both sides.

Enoch Adams was a land surveyor and he was given the task of surveying and spotting the lots; beginning at the Rumford town line on the West side with No.1; on the East side numbering down the line to No. 16 on the Rumford line. For the work, which required 2 assistants, Mr. Adams is said to have received 30 shillings per lot, having laid out most of the 64 lots.

A Question Is Answered
During a question-and-answer period following a talk about the history of Andover, a pupil of the fourth grade asked, "Which was the first house on the WEST side of the Ellis River?" Finally the answer is found after many other questions and much research -- the Enoch Adams House.

This is the first house built on the west side because Enoch Adams, a surveyor from Andover, Mass., drew lots eight (8) and nine (9), Range One (R1W), West side in the year 1790. He built a small cabin on lot nine, but he sold lot eight to John Farrington.

The next year (1791) Mr. Adams brought his wife and six children to this humble abode. Of course he found it necessary to enlarge the house at once. Some years later the push-out windows were added.

His family was the second that moved into this town, and he put up the second framed house in it, Ezekiel Merrill having built the first house in town, but located on the East side of Ellis River.

In the recently-published scrapbook, "Glimpses of Olde Andover," on page thirty-five (35), No. 18 there is a picture of the house. Kenneth and Janet Field now live there. It is located in South Andover, at the foot of Lone Mountain, just before the road that turns off to go to several new houses built since the airport and ski association ceased to use the land.

This lovely old homestead has been lived in by Neal and Louise Smith, Mrs. Ida Reiss, Arthur and Flora Whitten, Richard and Kate Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Hervey Hall, and several other families between Hall and Adams.

Source: Andover: The First 175 Years, Prepared by the Andover Friday Club, Andover, ME (1979), pp 12 - 14. Reprinted with permission of current owner, The Andover Educational Fund, Inc.

Copyright 1998 by Robert A. Spidell, All Rights Reserved

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