Bowtown – Pierce, Sanborn, and Collins – Laweryson, Morris, Meservey, and Bragg

[Continued from previous post]
The Chace map of 1860 shows three households in the northeast corner of Carrying Place Township that were part of “Bowtown.” There was also a household to the north, where Thomas Brown lived, which was part of this neighborhood. Nathaniel Pierce, Aaron Sanborn, and Edward Collins were occupants of the Carrying Place lots in 1860.


“Bowtown” Neighborhood, 1860 (Chase map of Somerset County), detail.

In 1831,  Joseph Spaulding, Jr. sold Lots 18, 19 and 24A to Samuel Holway of Fairfield, who later moved to The Forks. Holway’s son John married Fidelia Pierce, daughter of Nathaniel and Adra (Baker) Pierce; his daughter Lucinda married Pierce’s son James.  The lots in the Bowtown neighborhood passed within this family group for several generations.

Nathaniel Pierce, son of Calvin and Deborah (Blackwell) Pierce, acquired all three lots, and sold the North half of #19 and #24A to his wife’s cousin James Baker, in 1834. This began the division of the two upper lots into north and south parcels (see red dividing line in map below). Seth Baker, who married Samuel Holway’s daughter Mary, bought  the north parcels of lots #19 and #24A from his brother, James Baker, in 1836. Seth also bought the lower half of those lots, and a portion of of #18 from Nathaniel Pierce in 1838.


Lots in Bowtown and Carrying Place Townships that made up the “Bowtown” neighborhood. Detail of Coburn’s 1820 Survey of T1R3WKR (annotated by the author), Maine Archives.

Seth Baker sold the north parts of lots #19 and 24A to Aaron Sanborn in 1840. Aaron was born in Baldwin, Maine about 1815, a son of Rufus and Sarah (Cram) Sanborn. He married Irena Pierce, a daughter of Nathaniel and Adra Pierce, and was still living on his lot when the Chace map was made in 1860. Aaron died in 1871, and is buried in a small plot on the west bank of the Kennebec near his Bowtown home, with his son Nathaniel, who died at the age of eighteen in 1863.


Gravestone of Aaron Sanborn, Bowtown,Maine.

Aaron’s widow Irena married William J. Arno, a widower formerly of Troy, Maine, and they lived in Caratunk. William moved to Fayette after Irena’s death in 1889, but the Arno name has carried on in the area through some of his children who remained in the valley.

One of Aaron Sanborn’s noted descendants was his granddaughter, Dr. Genoa Sanborn of Skowhegan, an osteopath who practiced in Skowhegan and Auburn, Maine. She is included in a book about Maine’s early women physicians, written by Annette Vance Dorey, published in 2013.


Dr. Genoa Sanborn (1876-1950), granddaughter of Aaron Sanborn and Irene Pierce (photo detail from the cover of A.V Dorey’s book).

No deed has been found to document the arrival of Edward Collins in Bowtown by 1860, but his connection to Carrying Place is clear.  Collins, born in Ireland, married Sylvia Bates, daughter of Josiah Bates, an early settler in Carrying Place Township—likely the person for whom Bates Ridge is named.  John Black’s agency records show that Josiah Bates, of Fairfield, purchased lot #18 in the fourth range, along the Old Canada Road, in 1830 . Josiah’s wife was Sophronia Maxim, whose brother Andrew settled in Pleasant Ridge.

By 1840, Josiah Bates had moved to Palmyra, but his son-in-law Edward was living in Carrying Place by that time. Josiah and his family moved to Aroostook County by 1850, where he was listed in the census for Dayton Plantation (later called Hersey). Edward and Sylvia Collins were shown in the 1850 Bowtown census, with their children, William Henry, Catherine, Sophronia, Loretta, and Jane. The couple had five more children by 1860, when they were still living in Bowtown.

By 1870, the Collins family moved to Moro in Aroostook County. Their son, William Henry (who was generally called Henry) married Mary Love of The Forks in 1862. She had been married previously to Joseph Livingston, whom she divorced. Joseph and Mary were the parents of William, who married Nellie Fitzmorris of Moscow, and Olive who married Edward J. Haley (or Healey) of Solon. There are many descendants still living in the area.

By the time the 1883 Colby Atlas was published, the lots had changed owners. C. Cavanaugh is listed on the northernmost lot in Carrying Place, and south of him were  Thomas Morris, Osborne Pierce (son of Nathaniel), and Joseph Adams.


Bowtown, detail from the 1883 Colby Atlas of Somerset County.

C. Cavanaugh was actually Celey Carbino, whose daughter, Susie Carbino, married Mont Miller and lived in Bingham for many years. This is the lot on which Robert Laweryson later lived, probably though his connection to the Miller and Carbino families. His wife was Melvina Miller.

Thomas Morris, whose wife was Henrietta Meservey, bought his lot in 1884 from Joseph Lacasce, who married Effie Pierce, daughter of Osborne Pierce. The Lacasce family moved to Skowhegan.  Members of the Meservey family are shown in Bowtown after 1883.

Joseph Adams, a Madison native, bought Nathaniel Pierce’s holding on Lot #17 from Osborne Pierce in 1867. Joseph’s wife was Aurilla Adams, a daughter of William and Abigail (Runnells) Adams of Caratunk.

By the early 1900’s, the occupants of the Carrying Place lots in the Bowtown neighborhood were Robert Laweryson, Thomas Morris, O. Meservey, and Thomas Meservey (brother to Henrietta, wife of Thomas Morris). Alonzo Bragg bought the old Hannibal Brown lot in 1900. Bragg’s mother-in-law was Lucy S. Bumpus, daughter of Sylvanus and Lovina (Kealiher) Bumpus. Bragg’s wife, Lovina Sumner, died at The Forks in 1906. Hosea Bean lived on the old James Pooler lot.


Bowtown Neighborhood, early 1900’s. Map included in a genealogy of the Stuart (Laweryson) Family, Old Canada Road Historical Society.

There are no buildings on the old Bowtown intervale at present. Leona Laweryson Ricker of Bingham, now deceased, was born there in 1919. Though her family moved when she was very young, she had fond memories based on the stories told her by her family and friends. The family of Hosea Beane has also kept the memory of the place alive. Fortunately, we have a few precious photographs to remind us of the once thriving little community.


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