In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Farmington: Franklin County's Shiretown

Farmington's Agricultural Pursuits

In the early 1800’s, as farms became more established, crops in Farmington expanded to include clover for cattle feed, flax, barley, hay, pumpkins and beans. Plums and pears were added to the orchards. Hives of bees were part of every farm, pollinating crops for higher yield as well as providing honey and wax. (In 1849, Stephen Titcomb, Jr., the son of Farmington’s first settler Stephen Titcomb patented a bee hive. U.S. patent # 6,285).

In 1840, a local store advertised: “Wanted: 500 bushels of wheat, 1000 bushels oats & 100 bushels white pea beans in exchange for goods @ cash prices.” Another ad states, “Seed Wanted: 10,000 lbs. Clover seed wanted for which cash will be paid” (newspaper ad March 7, 1840). These ads are informative in the types of crops being sold and that the barter system was still very much alive.

Many backyards, such as that of Dr. Lafayette Perkins (116 Main St., now the home of Frank and Luanne Underkuffler) had gardens and grew grapes. Varieties included: Iona, Delaware, Concord and Sweetwater.

Early in the 1800's, carding mills were built that combed, spun and wove wool into a variety of cloths. Examples include Cassimeres: 40-50 cents per yard, flannels 17-25 cents per yard and pressed cloth for 25 cents per yard. (25 cents is the equivalent to approximately $5.13 today). Cash price for carding wool was 4 cents per pound (approx. $.82 per pound today). Wool and hay continued to be large exports of Farmington well into the early 1900’s.