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Brownville lies in the south-eastern part of Piscataquis County. Pleasant River runs from north to south through the western part. The area of the town is 21,320 acres. The stage route from the Bangor and Piscataquis station in Milo to Katahdin Iron Mines runs through the town. Brownville is bounded on the north by Township Number 5 (next east of Katahdin Iron Mines), west by Williamsburg, south by Milo, and east by Schoodic Pond township,-the pond lying on a portion of the boundary line. The upland ridges constitute the chief portion of the town. On these the soil is stony but productive. Along the stream it is a light, rich loam. The productions consist chiefly of slate, of which three or more quarries are wrought. The Bangor and Piscataquis Slate Company opened the first in 1843. This quarry has sent out from 8,000 to 12,000 squares of slate annually, which sold in Bangor at from $35,000 to $40,000. When fully operated, it employs about 60 men, paying out in wages $25,000 a year. Merrill's quarry was opened in 1846. Mr Merrill owns in connection 1,500 acres of land and has put up the buildings to prepare annually 30,000 squares of roofing slate. About 80 men are steadily employed. This quarry is about 2 miles from Brownville Village, on the narrow gauge railroad to Katahdin Mines. The Highland quarry, more recently opened, shows slate of superior quality. Many of the inhabitants are Welsh, having been brought in to work the slate, to which they were accustomed. They are industrious, arid in most cases excellent citizens.

The principal manufactories of the town are saw, clapboard and grist mills, a shovel-handle and a carriage factory,-at the village in the southern part of the town.

The first two or three purchasers of the township failed to meet their engagements, and it reverted to the State. In 1805, a Mr. Holland explored it, and soon after this it was purchased by Moses Brown, Esq., and Major Josiah Hills. of Newburyport, who commenced its settlement. In 1806, they built a dam and mills on Pleasant River, where the mills at the village now stand; and Major Hills, moved in and took charge of the business. Dr. Isaac Wilkins moved his family in in 1808, or earlier; Rev. Hezekiah May, a Congregationalist, came in the same year, preaching on Sunday through the year, and teaching school winters. Deacon Francis Brown, from Newbury, Massachusetts, who came into town in 1812, was the first trader in the place, and a man who exerted a healthful influence upon the community.

The inhabitants organized as Brownville Plantation in 1819, and in 1824 it was incorporated as the town of Brownville.

The town now has a Congregational and also a Methodist church. It has eight public schoolhouses, valued at $4,400. Its valuation in 1870 was $157,626. In 1880 it was $212,452. Its population in 1870 was 860. In 1880 it was 896.

History of Brownville, Maine From A Gazetteer of the State of Maine
By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886

  • In 1808 Rev Hezekiah May came to Brownville as a missionary.
  • On August 25, 1819 Brownville Congregational Church was established with eight male and three female members
  • The first permanent pastor was Rev. N. W. Sheldon, who was paid $150.00 by the town per year for his services.
  • 1823 Moses Brown, for whom the town is named, gave the church a silver communion set.
  • Also in 1823, ahead of many other denominations, women were allowed to vote on church matters.
  • The main part of the church was built and completed in 1839, with pews auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Before then services were held in private homes or the village schoolhouse.  The vestry was added in 1868
  • The bell in the belfry was forged in 1866 in Boston by Henry N. Cooper & Co. and is still operational.  You can hear it rung every Suncay
  • In July of 1932 the church changed its name to Brownville Community Church.
  • Up until the 1940's the church was heated with wood, much of it contributed by local businesses and individuals.
  • In August 1957 the auction was added to Old Home Week.
  • In 1996 the Fellowship Hall was added, with church member Tony Kindamo operating as the chief contractor.  Richard Thomas donated 3,000 square feet of timber from his woodlot.  Lumbra Hardwoods sawed the logs and transported them to the church. 

Postcard Picture c. 1910
Photo by E.I. Clemet Milo, ME
The Brownville Congregational Church 
Mailed to Mr. D.W. Sawtell, McMinnville, OR

William Stinson Sewall, son of Rev. Henry and Esther Minot (Moody) Sewall, was born 19 June 1807 at Bath, Maine.  He graduated from Bowdoin College and became minister at the Congregational Church in Brownville, Maine in September of 1839.   His father was a minister at Sangerville, Maine, also in Piscataquis County.

MEMORIAL HYMN. We wait now with weeping. Where heroes brave are sleeping, Who live in song and story. And deeds of fadeless glory. Though dead they live, to memory dear, The nation’s dead are resting here. A wreath for brows immortal We twine around death’s portal. And leave it here above them, To show that still we love them ; Though dead they live, to memory dear, The nation’s dead are resting here. The past comes up before us, — Our battle flag is o’er us ; The battle call is sounding. And men to death are bounding; Though dead they live, to memory dear, The nation’s dead are resting here. In space sublime above us, Unseen they wait and love us; And there we hope to meet them, In Heaven’s peace to greet them ; Though dead they live, to memory dear, The nation’s dead are resting here. —REV. L. S. COAN. REV. LEANDER S. COAN. The quotation and the poem above were written by the Rev. Leander S. Coan, who was pastor of the Cong, church in Brownville, 1800-1871. He was the eldest son of Deacon Sam- uel Coan of Garland, Maine; was gradu- ated from the Theological Seminary at Bangor in the summer of 1862; preached till August, 1864, when he enlisted as a private soldier in the Sixty-first Mass’. Volunteers; served his time out, and at, the close of the war resumed his profes- sional work, which he continued until his death.

Picture c. 1941
Brownville Community Church