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Lincoln, Maine

A Town of Hearty, Resilient Souls

Benjamin Chesley

Responses from four students in Mr. Koscuiszka's class can be viewed below:

Benjamin Chesley, Lincoln, ca. 1850
Benjamin Chesley, Lincoln, ca. 1850

Item Contributed by
Lincoln Historical Society

Tori Jordan
"Research your topic and summarize the ‘who, what, when, and where’ in the form of a few paragraphs"

Benjamin Chesley moved to Lincoln in 1822 or 1823 on the Indian Trail that linked Old Town to Lincoln and many other cities in Maine as well. He came to Lincoln when he was 44 years old. He was the oldest of nine kids. His brother’s names were: Samuel, Jonathan, Nicholas, David, and William. His sisters were: Sarah, Betsy, and Charlotte.

His grandfather was an “Indian” in the Boston Tea Party. His father, Nicholas Sr., was married to Sarah Hammond, daughter of Benjamin Hammond. Almost all of his brothers ran away from home and were never heard from again until after they got married. The only one that didn’t run was Benjamin.

When he was about 18 he married Bethia Keith. Together they had two children: Benjamin Jr. and Edward. After 20 years of happy marriage, Bethia died from an unknown cause. After Bethia died, Benjamin decided to give his two sons another mother. He decided to marry Polly Hathaway. Together they also had two children: Belia and Jefferson. They raised their kids up the right way even after their childhoods.

Once Edward was old enough to start working with him, Benjamin took him to sell properties to the new settlers. Whenever Ben was sick or injured, instead of shutting down the shop, they kept it up and running with Edward in charge. That way they still had money coming in to pay for their house, their crops, and feeding their animals. Ben also had sheep and cattle. He usually used his sheep for selling the wool and for his wife to make clothes for herself and the family. He used his cattle for meat and hides for clothes as well. He owned over 30 sheep and he bought a herd of cattle every summer. He also sold his meat and hides to people in the town.

Many people thought that after Bethia Keith died that Ben would never re-marry but he did. His second wife, Polly Hathaway, died of unknown causes right after Ben. They had few grandchildren. Some of his grandchildren were Olive, Ben Chesley Jr.’s only daughter, and she’s the only one we know about.

Benjamin Chesley mobile by Michelle Tilton

Lexi Tash
"Create a ‘how’ question, research the answer, and create response answering the question."

How did Benjamin Chesley make a living in Lincoln?

He came to Lincoln at the age of 44 and when he was here he sold properties and raised sheep at his house for wool. All of the wool that he collected went to all of his family’s clothes that they wore in their days. They must have had a lot of wool to make all of the clothes, but the mom must have made some of the clothes because all of the clothes couldn't have come from wool. To go along with the other animals, he also had cattle when he lived in Lincoln. Sheep and cattle could help his family a lot for what they need. Sheep gave them wool, while cattle gave them milk, hides, and meat for them to eat. That way they don’t have to buy as much for their family because they will have it right at their house. Ben’s family probably drank a lot of milk in their days so it was good to have cattle to provide milk for them.

Ben also sold properties to people who were the settlers in the town of Lincoln. The properties probably weren’t as much money back then, compared to today’s property prices. Five hundred dollars would have probably been a lot back then for people, but now it is not as much to us. Ben had sold many properties and made his living while he resided in Lincoln, but he only lived here for two years.

Riley Coburn
"How did Benjamin Chesley impact your life?"

Benjamin Chesley was a great figure in history. He raised sheep for their wool, and the wool would have been sold for money, made into clothes, or used for household work. Benjamin Chesley also sold properties for new settlers in the town of Lincoln; therefore he was a real estate pioneer.

If Benjamin Chesley did not come to Lincoln and sell properties for new settlers, my ancestors may not have been able to get property in Lincoln. My whole life could be different because I could live somewhere else. Also, my ancestor may not have had my other family members because they may not have done the same thing they did in Lincoln so it would have changed my life dramatically. I might not have been born because he didn’t sell any of my ancestors property to live on. That is what may have happened to my life if Benjamin Chesley didn’t do what he did in Lincoln.

Works Cited

Fellows, Dana Willis. History of the Town of Lincoln. Lewiston: Dingley, 1822-1928. Print.

Goodwin, Kathrine B. Personal Glimpses of the Early Settlers of Lincoln, Maine. Print.

"Gravestone Record." Mattanawcook Observer. 5th ed. Vol. 1. Alan Hawkins, 1983. 207-14. Print.

Mattanawcook Observer. 1st ed. Vol. 1. Alan Hawkins, 1982.

Mattanawcook Observer. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. Alan Hawkins, 1982. 71-75. Print.