The Union area was used by
the Wawenock native Americans of the Abenaki
nation. The Wawenock or Walinakiak Indians resided on the banks of the
Saint George River at European contact in 1605. The Wawenock Indians were
one of four related tribes of the Abenaki, who inhabited central and
southeastern Maine. Walinakiak means "People of the bays".
Numbering about 10,000
people in 1500, the Wawenock tribe was decimated by a series of epidemics
during the latter 16th century and through the 17th century, falling to
about 1,000 people by the end of the American Revolution. Two members of
the Wawenock tribe were captured by Captain Weymouth in 1605, and one
Wawenock was returned from England in 1607 aboard either the Gift of God
or the John & Mary by the Plymouth Company.
The Wawenock along the
Saint George’s lived on cultivated products including pumpkins, maize and
beans, along with fish, shellfish and game. A large Wawenock shellfish
midden at Damariscotta dates back 2,200 years. Captain Weymouth observed
this midden in 1605. Other tribes of Native Americans frequented the area
for hunting, fishing and gathering berries and other vegetable food. They
maintained no permanent settlement but there is evidence of campsites and
burial sites. The native Americans of this area and the white settlers had
relations which were mostly cordial and cooperative, but cautious and wary
on both sides.
The first white settlers
arrived in September or October of 1772. With the names Anderson, Malcolm
and Crawford, they were natives of Scotland and called their bachelor
logging camp "Sterlingtown" or “Sterling” after their native Scottish town
of Stirling. In the spring of 1774 Dr. John Taylor of Lunenburg,
Massachusetts entered into negotiations with the heirs of the Waldo
on purchasing the entire gore of unappropriated land
belonging to the patent.
Accompanied by John and
Phineas Butler, he landed near the mouth of the Crawford river on Monday
July 18, 1774. Taylor's deed to the land was executed on November 17,
1774. The Butlers and Benjamin Packard continued to work the land until
the arrival in 1776 of the first family of settlers, that of Philip
Robbins. Philip's son David and his wife arrived in May and were followed
in the fall by Philip and his wife and family, including an unmarried
daughter named Mima.
The Robbins family crowded
into a small cabin on the west side of Seven Tree Pond for the first
winter. These beginnings and the early days of many settler-farmers are
vividly recounted by author Ben Ames Williams
in his 1940 historical novel Come Spring
. The plantation of
Sterlingtown was incorporated on October 20, 1786 by the name of UNION, so
called because of the "uncommon harmony" among its people.
Eventually there were several small villages associated with Union - Union
Village, North Union, South Union, East Union and Happy Hollow, also known
briefly as West Union. Over time these smaller centers combined to be
These beginnings and the
early history of the town are well documented in John Langdon Sibley's History of the Town of Union
written in 1851. Sibley's father was a doctor in Union who knew the early
settlers. The author was well educated and became librarian at Harvard.
His account is considered to be an accurate one of the settling of the
town. The early days of the settler-farmers are vividly brought to life in
the historical novel Come Spring
Ben Ames Williams in 1940. Williams read Sibley's book, walked
the trails and canoed the waters to get to know his characters, who were
the actual founders of Union.
The Civil War
<<< ADDED INFORMATION -
PLEASE SCAN DOWN THE PAGE for 20th Maine Infantry, 24th Maine
Infantry and some unknowns! >>>
The Union Historical Society continues to
research the town's involvement in the Civil War. We have added new
information to our holdings and are pleased to share our findings
If you have information about men from Union, Maine, in the Civil War,
please share that with us.
News from the Civil War
Information taken from Pete and
Cyndi Dalton’s UNION VS
and INTO THE VALLEY OF DEATH
Image from Harper’s Weekly
By May 20, 1861, “most
of the 4th Maine Volunteer Regiment had assembled in Rockland.... There
were four Knox County companies, and several other area companies, with
1,085 men in all.”
In the fall of 1861,
there was a mutiny among the ranks of the 4th Maine, by men who had
signed up for 30 days were being forced to serve for three years. One
hundred men were transferred and several left the service.
According to the
Daltons, the men of the Fourth Maine, who were connected to Union
included this list below.
We invite you to see the added short article on Elijah Walker
(You may click on blue
underlined names to view gravestone images)
||Transferred to 38th New York then to 2nd Maine Cavalry;
||Wounded at Fredericksburg in December 1882, left service May
1863; buried ???
||Discharged for disease in September 1861; Common Cemetery
||Left service July 1861; buried ???
||First casualty for the town in the war, KIA at Bull Run; GAR
post was named for him
||Transferred to 38th New York, left the service in September
1861; buried ???
||Transferred to 38th New York, re-enlisted, discharged 1865;
buried in Washington, ME
||Honorably discharged in 1864; buried in Warren; connection to
||At Gettysburg, honorably discharged in 1864, connection to
Union unknown; buried ???
||Transferred to 38th NY, returned to the 4th, honorably
discharged in 1864; buried ???
||Discharged for disability in 1862, connection to Union
unknown; buried ???
||Born in Appleton, resided in Union, honorably discharged in
1864; buried ???
||Died in Washington, DC, in 1862
||MIA at Gettysburg, died in Libby Prison, Richmond, VA, 1863;
||Wounded and MIA in 1862, stone in Warren; connection to Union
||Captured at Gettysburg, died in Richmond, VA, in 1863;
||Re-enlisted 2nd Maine Battery of Artillery 1863, left the
service 1864; Common Cem.
||Discharged in 1862 for medical reasons; Common Cemetery
||KIA Fredericksburg, VA, 1862
||Left service 1861; Common Cem.
||2nd Lieut. - taken prisoner in July 1863, survived the war;
||Left the service in September 1861; Sidelinger Cemetery
||Discharged due to disease in 1862; Sidelinger Cemetery
||Taken prisoner, then paroled, in 1862; transferred to 19th
Maine 1864, buried ???
||Wounded at Gettysburg, transferred to Invalid Corps in 1864;
||Captured in 1861, discharged for disease in 1863; buried ???
||Transferred to 38th New York then left the service in 1861;
||Wounded in 1862, transferred to Invalid Corps; buried ???
||Colonel, wounded at Gettysburg, honorably discharged in 1864;
buried in Mass.
||Transferred to 38th NY, returned to 4th ME in 1863, connection
to Union unknown
||Captured in 1861, paroled in 1862, died from wounds in 1863;
A Profile from the Civil War
The sesquicentennial of the Civil War is being recognized during 2011 -
2014. The Maine State Archives has large holdings, which document
Maine’s role in the Civil War; consider a trip to Augusta or a visit to
their website. The Union Historical Society has research
material relating to men from Union who served.
Elijah Walker was born in Union on July 2, 1818, the seventh of nine
children of Amos and Judith Bayley Walker. At the outbreak of the
Civil War, he enlisted in the 4th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in
Rockland, where he was a lumber merchant, carpenter and builder.
On June 15, 1861, he was commissioned Captain and commander of the
unit's Company B. In November 1862 he was promoted to Major, and
in March 1862 he was advanced to Colonel and commander of the regiment.
In the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, he led his regiment in the brutal
combat to defend the Union Army position near the rocks of Devil's
Den. He received a serious wound to his left leg, and after his
recovery he returned to the regiment. On July 19, 1864 he was honorably
discharged, having served over 3 years in the War. Today his name is
inscribed on the 4th Maine's monument, located among the rocks of
Devil's Den, in the Gettysburg National Military Park. The 4th Maine had
an enrollment of 1440 men, of whom 170 were killed in battle or died of
their wounds; 443 were wounded, 137 soldiers died of disease and 40 were
imprisoned in Confederate prisons.
(This information on Col. Walker is online, written by Russ Dodge and
20th Maine Soldiers from Union
We have researched the names in Peter Dalton’s book, Union
VS Dis-Union, in order to list the men from Union, who served
in the Civil War. We have some “gaps” in our material and would
like to have input from our readers who know of their ancestors who
served in the Civil War from Union.
Dalton lists 31 men that may have had connections to Union - born or
resided in Union or buried in Union. There are some names for
which the curators’ group has not found the connection to the town of
Union. Perhaps there are descendants to assist us. If you
can provide information on any of these soldiers, please contact us
through this website or email us at email@example.com
Charles G. Batchelder - Private - Co. E - resided Union; bur. Common
Sherman Batchelder - Private - resided Union; no grave recorded in
Rufus R. Blackington - Private - Co. I – resided Hope; bur. East Union
Chandler Brackett - Corporal - Co. E - born Warren; resided Union; bur.
Lakeview Cemetery, Union
John L. Bradford - Private - Co. I - resided Cushing; bur. Common
William J. Briggs – Private, Corporal - Co. I - born and resided Union; no
grave recorded in Union
Augustus Burns - Private - Co. E - resided Union; no grave recorded in
Henry H. Butler - Private - Co. E. - bur. Lakeview Cemetery, Union
Emerson Creighton - Sergeant - Co. I - Warren? connection to Union?
John Creighton - Private - Co. I - bur. Common Cemetery, Union
Sherman Cummings - Private - Co. E - from Waldoboro? connection to Union?
Thomas A. Davis - Wagoner - bur. Common Cemetery
William L. Davis - Co. E - born and resided Union; farmer; died in “rebel
prison” Richmond, VA; buried there?
Benjamin N. Fish - Private - Co. I - wounded in the head - born Appleton;
resided East Union; farmer; bur. Pine Grove Cemetery, Appleton
Henry E. Fuller - Private - Co. I - bur. East Union Cemetery
James Adelbert Grinnell - Private - Co. E - KIA; marker in Common
Isaac Jones - Private - Co. E - no grave recorded in Union; connection to
Dexter A. Leach - Private - Co. E - bur. Common Cemetery, Union
John Lenfest - Co. E - born and resided Union; died in “rebel
prison" marker in Common Cemetery, Union
Elijah Lermond - Private - Co. E - died in Army hospital; bur. Lakeview
Aaron Maddox - Private - Co. E - born and resided Union, cooper, no
grave recorded Union
Samuel L. Messer – Private - Co. E - no grave recorded in Union;
connection to Union?
Adolphus L. Oxton – Private - Co. E - buried Togus?
Jason Thompson Peabody - Private - Co. E - born Hope; resided
Thomaston; farmer; died Appleton, buried? connection to Union?
Benjamin Robbins - Private - Co. D - no grave recorded in Union;
connection to Union?
Henry F. Sidelinger - Lieutenant - Co. E - wounded a finger - born Union;
resided Waldoboro; mechanic; bur. Sidelinger Cemetery, Union
Jacob C. Sidelinger - Private - Co. E - KIA - marker Sidelinger Cemetery,
Cyrus Gail Stewart - Private - Co. E - bur. Common Cemetery, Union
George F. Sumner - Private - Co. E - no grave recorded in Union;
connection to Union?
Albert E. Titus - Corporal - Co. E - born and resided Union; farmer; no
grave recorded Union
Hiram W. Trundy - Private - Co. E - born Dover; resided Union; carriage
maker; no grave recorded in Union
Union Men Serving in the 24th
Maine Regiment during the Civil War
Below is a list of men with connections to Union, Maine, who served in
the 24th Maine Volunteer Infantry during October 1862 through August
1863. This is the largest group from Union - 39 soldiers - in any
of the Civil War units. The 24th Maine fought in the Battle of Port
Huron, LA, where just one man died from injury. However a total of 190
men in this regiment died of disease during their term of service.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have family
information regarding these men from Union. The list was taken
from Cyndi and Peter Dalton’s UNION
VS DIS-UNION, 1993:
Austin and Francis Bachelder
James and Oliver Fuller
Alden and Elijah Lothrop
Hampton and Vinal Messer
Albert and James Moore
Can you assist the UHS with information
about a number of men from Union, Maine?
They are listed online on the FOLD3 -
Historical military records website as having served in the
Civil War from the town of Union, Maine.
We are looking for details about the soldiers listed below.
We have noticed that these names are not listed in Peter Dalton’s book,
UNION VS DIS-UNION.
We would appreciate your help in learning more about these men and their
The earliest record of the Common appears in a record from a Town
Meeting on April 5, 1790, when a motion was passed "denying boars and
rams the liberty of going abroad on the Common.
" At the same time
the vote "permitted hogs to roam at large.
In May 1801 the town voted to accept from David Gilmore a donation of
the land which now forms Union Common, and also approved clearing out
the stumps and stone to make it fit for drilling the militia. The deed
was eventually recorded on June 15, 1809. The enterprising Gilmore had
just built the
Cobb Tavern on the Common's north
side to attract travelers on the stagecoach route to Searsmont, and
wanted to redirect the business center of town, at that time in South
Union, to the Common. His strategy was successful and the Union Common
is one of the oldest public Commons in the state.
Its stately elms have long gone but the Common is still a beautiful
place with mature maples and birches, a flower planter made from an old
water trough, and a map of historical sites mentioned in Come Spring.
A young sugar maple, one of many recent plantings, is dedicated to the
memory of Ben Ames Williams
author of Come Spring
. There are
benches for the public, a bandstand built in 1897, a war memorial and of
course a fine Civil War memorial made from local granite with its
pensive statue of a young Union soldier
A time capsule from the town's Bicentennial celebration is buried on the
Surrounded by commercial structures and fine homes, the Common is a
favorite venue for outdoor public events such as Founders Day
weekend, band concerts, the Vose Library plant sale, and the annual
"Tree Lighting" (organized by the
Union Area Chamber of Commerce
). The Union Common was placed on
National Register of Historic Places
November 7, 2007.
For several years each Friday
afternoon a Farmers Market has been held on the Common, between 3 pm
and 6 pm, May through October.
The vendors are local farmers and artisans; the venue is unique in
the Midcoast area. Feedback heard at the annual Maine Farmers Market
Convention is that Union's Farmers Market is the prettiest in all of
Maine! Come and see for yourself.
Modern Union is an agricultural community with dairy and blueberry
farming. There are two wineries, the Savage Oaks Vineyard and Winery
and the Sweetgrass Farm Winery
, the Union Pottery
along with service related businesses and tourism.
Past industries included quarrying, transporting limestone, growing
apples, canning, barrel making, and many small mills. Small
manufacturing businesses made furniture, caskets, carriages, parlor
organs and granite monuments.
Museum of Maine Heritage
Union is home to the
Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage
, located at
Union Fairgrounds, home of the Annual Union Fair
and Wild Blueberry Festival
, a volunteer organization
independent of the Union Fair.
The Museum is open from July 1st through the end of August, Wednesday
through Saturday from noon to 4:00 pm., although special visits by
groups or individuals can be arranged in June and September, if
volunteers are available. The museum is also open from 10 am. through 8
pm. during the Union Fair offering free entrance to Fair visitors
(regular entrance fee is $5.) This little-known museum has been called
the finest collection of agricultural artifacts outside the Smithsonian.
The museum concists of 4 sections:
The one-room Hodge School House, was built in 1864 in
Washington (about 10 miles west of Union)and moved to Union to join
MMoMH from in 1958. When the school closed in 1954, it became exposed to
vandalism, so it was moved to the Union Fairgrounds to become a part of
the Matthews Museum and thus be preserved and maintained.
The Main Museum was started by Edwards Matthews, a Union-born
collector whose house is still standing close to the Common. In the late
60s Matthews sold his collection of approximately 900 items to the Union
Fair, which in turn passed control of it to the "Matthews Museum of
It became one of the best agricultural museums in the country, with many
hand-made artifacts that farmers built to ease their work. It contains
over 12,000 exhibits.
The Carriage House was terminally damaged by flooding and had to be
rebuilt from the ground up. This time it is level with the rest of the
museum and thus handicapped available. Most of the carriages and sleighs
exhibited are made in Union.
It is the home of the "One-Horse Shay", a beautiful two-person carriage.
There are two remaining. The other one resides at the Smithsonian.
is the official Maine soft drink. Moxie's inventor is another Unionite,
In 2008, MMoMH fulfilled their dream of building a house
for the one and only "Moxie Bottle House," which turned from a
sales stand to a 3-floor house, and is now the centerpiece of the Moxie
Museum, the last section of MMoMH.
The means of worship was one of the urgent demands of the early
settlers, but this was difficult to fulfill in a wilderness setting such
as the St. George River valley. There were few ministers within range of
the town at that time. There were no roads. The building of basic
shelter was the most urgent need in the beginning and it was difficult
to find either time or money to build churches. In May of 1779, with but
a few families in the community, three of those families attended their
first worship service by making the long, tedious boat trip down the
pond and the river to attend services in either Warren or Cushing, in
both of which towns a Presbyterian minister, Dr. John Urquhart, was
For two years, they made this trip - but only about four times a year.
People with that dedication were certain to have the means of worship
set up in Union. In February of 1782, Rev. Urquhart preached at a
service to those gathered in the log cabin of Philip Robbins. In March
of 1784, Rev. Isaac Case, a Baptist minister from Thomaston, preached at
a service in the Robbins' cabin. That year and the following,
unsuccessful attempts were made to vote to hire a part-time preacher on
a permanent basis. It was not until 1796 that the first minister was
offered the post, a Rev. William Riddel of Massachusetts, but he turned
down the offer.
A renewed move for a community preacher was made in l797, when it was
voted to hire a part-time Methodist preacher, to be paid by a voluntary
$100 tax. Rev. Aaron Humphrey was offered the post and accepted and he
held the post until 1799. While this struggle to find a preacher and to
set up a meeting house was going on, denominational differences began to
appear and as a result, the next direction of activity was toward the
establishment of denominational churches, rather than a community
church. In 1802, a Rev. Abraham Gushee, a Congregational minister,
supplied the pulpit and was offered it permanently, but he turned it
down because of differences between the denominational groups. In April
of 1792, the Town voted to build a Meeting House on the north side of
the Common. The building was put up in October of 1793, though it was
left in very rough condition - no pews, no windows or doors, no heat -
for four years. The town’s history says little else about this building
except to note that it was taken down in 1839.
The first of the denomination to organize and set up its own meeting
house was the Methodist Church. The first sermon preached in town by a
Methodist was in 1793, when Jesse Lee, presiding elder of the Boston
District of the Methodist Church, led a service in the barn of Rufus
The Free Methodist Society in Union was organized in 1797 by Rev. Aaron
Humphrey, town minister at the time, at a meeting held in the house of
Jason Ware. Methodist meetings were held in the Town Meeting House for a
number of years, but in 1810 the Methodists built their own church at
Burgess Corner (now Rte 17 and North Union Rd.) at a cost of $1,625. For
a short time before this, they met in the homes of Jason Ware and
Matthias Hawes and then in the Round Pond School House.
In 1834, the Methodist congregation had a parsonage built up the road
from their church. Recognizing some disadvantage in their location so
far from the Common, in 1871 they build a chapel on what is the site of
the present People’s United Methodist Church and used the chapel for
evening services. Sometime before 1900, they sold the Burgess Corner
church building and used the chapel until 1902, when they erected the
present church building.
The Universalist, or Free Church, held its first meeting in 1814 at
the home of George W. West, two miles northwest of the Common. There was
only intermittent activity until 1825, when 33 people who had withdrawn
from the Congregational Church became interested in the Universalist
movement. In 1840, the First Universalist Society in Union was
organized, with 60 members. Their church had been constructed in 1839 on
the north side of Common next to the Moneka Block (both these buildings
were on the site of what is now the Common Market.) This building was
later used as a store and then burned in 1925.
The Congregational Society was formed in 1816, though the
Congregationalists had been the most active leaders in the old Town
Meeting House services and the First Congregational Church had been
organized in 1803. Some of the membership had withdrawn over a
controversy involving the minister and the covenant of the church, and a
Second Congregational Church had been formed in 1809. In 1826, the two
churches were united and in 1839 the Congregational Church was built
east of the Common, at the cost of $3,300. The parish became inactive in
1928, despite the $10,000 that had been bequeathed by Lucy Rokes of
Thomaston to try to keep the church active. This bequest reverted to the
Rokes’ estate, and in 1942, the church was sold at auction for $475. It
stands now, used as an apartment building.
The Church of the Nazarene was organized in 1926 in Union's Town Hall.
Previously, tent meetings had been held on the present church lot on top
of the hill above the Common. There were 15 charter members, of whom
some were from North Waldoboro and who later transferred to the North
Waldoboro Nazarene Church after that was organized. The charter group
met for services in the home of Mary and Eva Ware until the present
Nazarene Church was completed in 1928.
The Union Bible Church began in town in the early 1960s, when Rev. Roger
A. Cousins of Calvary Temple, Hartford, Connecticut arrived under the
Christian Missions to Closed Churches and reopened the North Union
Chapel which had been built about 1899 as a Free Church, but had fallen
into disuse. Union Bible Church built a new structure in South Union in
1968. Later the congregation disbanded and the building was used as a
residence before it was taken down.
There are 5 public cemeteries in Union. The Union Historical Society
(UHS) has a listing of the graves in these cemeteries done by Beniah
Harding of Thomaston in the 1980's. The UHS also has some information on
the Butler Cemetery, an old private family burying ground. Please visit
us at the Robbins House to see our Cemetery Books.
The Common Cemetery is the largest in town; it overlooks Seven Tree
To locate this cemetery, travel south on Depot Street from Union Common
and the Union Post Office at the corner of Common Road and Depot Street
(State Route #235 ). Continue about one half mile on Depot Street to
Ayer Hill Road, which is a fork to the right off of Depot Street. A sign
for Common Cemetery is at this fork in the road; the cemetery is on the
right a few hundred yards up the hill. Part of this cemetery was known
at various times as the Sterlington Cemetery and Union Town Burying
Ground. Other parts were called the Tolman Burial Ground and the Ayer
Burial Ground. The Cameron Annex was added, as well as a newer, Soule
Lakeview cemetery is located Round Pond and 7 Tree Pond. It overlooks
farm lands and Round Pond north of town.
To locate this cemetery, travel west about one mile on Route #17 from
Union Common to North Union Road (formally Gleason Road). Turn right
onto North Union Road and continue north about one half mile on North
Union Road to Overlock Hill Road, the first left hand turn. The cemetery
is reached from a long drive on the left, one tenth of a mile on
Overlock Hill Road.
The Sidelinger Cemetery is a small town cemetery in an area west of
Travel west about 2 and one half on Route #17 to Bump Hill Road and turn
left. Continue south about one mile on Bump Hill Road to where
Sidelinger Road joins it. (Bump Hill Road turns sharply to the right and
goes west at this point.) Continue (straight) south about one half mile
on Sidelinger Road to Sidelinger Cemetery on the left.
The Skidmore Cemetery is another small town cemetery, located in the
area once called North Union.
To locate this cemetery, travel west about two miles on Route #17 from
Union Common to Shepard Hill Road. Turn right (north) onto Shepard Hill
Road and continue about two and one half miles to Skidmore Road, after
passing over a small bridge over the Medomak River. Turn right onto
Skidmore Road; Skidmore Cemetery is on the left about one and one half
miles from the turn.
The East Union Cemetery is in an area that was once the separate village
of East Union.
To locate this cemetery, travel east about two miles on Route #17 from
Union Common to Wottons Mill Road. Turn right onto Wottons Mill Road and
continue south about one half mile to Miller Road where the cemetery is
a short distance from the corner of Wottons Mill and Miller Roads. The
oldest graves, in the center of the cemetery, were moved from the
original location of the cemetery which was close to the village center
of East Union on Payson Road, north of Route #17. The graves were
relocated due to high water level in this previous area.
The Butler Cemetery is on private property and contains the graves of a
few of the Butler family.
Stones with the last name Butler: Catharine, Hannah D., Maria J., Melea
E., Mima R., Phineas, Phineas S., and initials P.S.G. There is also a
grave marked Olive Amelia Pressey.
Mid-coast Maine's 225-square-mile Georges River watershed is a unique
and historic area of mountains, sea coast, lakes, tidal streams and
inlets through which the beautiful St. George River flows. The watershed
extends from Montville in Waldo County to Port Clyde in Knox County
where the 51-mile-long river flows into Muscongus
The Georges River Land Trust's mission is to conserve the ecosystems and
traditional heritage of the Georges River watershed region through
permanent land protection, stewardship, education, and outdoor
Union's beauty is enhanced by 4 Ponds as shown on the maps. They are:
Seven Tree Pond; Crawford Pond; Round Pond and Sennebec Pond.
The ponds are accessible to the public and available for fishing,
boating and other seasonal sports.
Campgrounds are available at Crawford Pond (Mic
Mac Cove Market and Campground
) and Sennebec Pond
(Sennebec Lake Campground)