Bowtown – David Young Jr, First Recorded Settler

Bowtown was part of William Bingham’s Kennebec Purchase, designated as Township No. 1, Range 4, West of the Kennebec River.  When estate agent John Black conducted a survey of settlers in 1820, David Young, Jr. was the only occupant listed within Bowtown proper. Black sought to reach purchase agreements with each of the settlers.


List of the Names of Settlers on the River, lots not run out, 1820 (John Black Papers, Maine Archives)

David was born in 1778 at Pownalborough, a son of David Young, Sr. and his first wife, Rachel Grant. The family moved to Seven Mile Brook (Embden area) by 1790. David Jr. married Elizabeth Jackson, probably a daughter of Laskey Jackson and Elizabeth Runnells, who were listed near the Youngs at Seven Mile Brook in 1800. Several members of the Young and Jackson families were settlers in the towns along the Upper Kennebec.

We can place David at Bowtown in 1823, when a newspaper article appeared describing the drowning of a man who had stolen a horse in Solon, and tried to cross the Kennebec about three miles below The Forks.  “David Young, Jr who lives near this place, was awakened by his cries for assistance, and hastened to the river.” They found the unidentified man’s body ten days later, about eight miles below Young’s, and buried him. When the man had stopped at Boies’s Tavern in Solon, he told local residents that he worked for Gen. King and was there to scout timber. A mystery for another day!

In 1827, John Black’s letters reveal that he was frustrated by the amount of unauthorized timber cutting going on in the Dead River region. Bowtown seems to have been a prime location for such “depradations.” In one letter, Black referred to David Young as a “trespasser” whom he suspected of cutting timber on land he hadn’t yet purchased. There must have been pressure on Young to pay for his lot, and in 1828 he agreed to purchase it, in installments over four years.

In 1831, the Bingham Estate sold the whole township (Bowtown) to Col. David Webster of Fryeburg, reserving only the four public lots and two others: those of David Young and Nathan Taylor. Taylor, then of Winslow, had been caught cutting timber on a lot and was required to purchase it. His lot comprised about seventy-six acres along the Kennebec river in the lower quarter of the township. He didn’t move to Bowtown, and continued to live in the Winslow area.

Col. David Webster had many business partners in his land deals. In 1832, he deeded four fifths of his Bowtown purchase to Daniel Brown, a mill owner and lumberman from Waterford. Interestingly, Brown’s wife,  Anna Hamlin, was a sister of Hannibal Hamlin.

David Young never paid for the land in Bowtown, and John Black finally sold the reserved lot to Daniel Steward, Jr. of Anson, a very active buyer and seller in the Upper Kennebec.  Steward soon sold it to Jonas Brown of The Forks, formerly of Baldwin. The deed describes the lot as follows:

“Beginning on the West Bank of the Kennebec river at a cherry tree marked number twelve, and running West one hundred and Sixty rods to an Alder marked #12, standing on the East bank of Young’s brook – thence south one hundred and sixty rods to a corner, – thence to a white Ash tree mark’d number twelve, standing on the bank of Kennebec river twenty rods above the mouth of Young’s brook (so called), thence by the river to the bounds first mentioned, and containing one hundred & sixty acres more or less…”


Approximate Location of David Young’s lot in Bowtown (Maine Archives, detail, annotated by the author)

David’s wife must have died shortly after the birth of their last child, around 1836, for he was alone with his children in the 1840 census. He had moved, and was now living across the Kennebec at The Forks. Deeds as early as 1836 mention his lot lines in The Forks (or West Moxie), about two hundred yards west of Moxie Stream. David conveyed that land at The Forks to Moses W. Burnham in 1844, and by 1850, he was living in Madison with his son, McDonough Young.

David and McDonough Young moved to New Glarus, Wisconsin.  It is likely that David died there sometime after 1860, when he was shown in the New Glarus census at eighty-one years old. His son, McDonough, lived in the next household.

David and Elizabeth Young left a legacy in The Forks. Their son, Cyrus C. Young, married Huldah Bumpus, and they raised several children there. He is the ancestor of many Concord Youngs. Cyrus’s son, William Worth Young, married Lucy Bumpus and lived at The Forks. Cyrus’s granddaughter, Artie B. Young, married Charles Collins and lived in Moscow and Bingham.

Note: The next installment on Bowtown will cover the settlers who followed on David Young’s possession: James E. Powell and William Hanson.


  • John Black Papers. Microfilm. Maine Archives.
  • Map of Bowtown by Frank H. Sterling, 1908. Maine Archives.
  • Vital Records.
  • “Singular Occurrence,” Maine Gazette [18 JUL 1823, page 3] (subscription service)





6 thoughts on “Bowtown – David Young Jr, First Recorded Settler

  1. Thanks for this article. I also liked the snippet of map showing the crossing place of the Old Canada Road (on the west side of the River). Louise Melcher once told me that the early travelers paved that crossing with pieces of slate to make it easier.

  2. Pingback: Bowtown – James Edwin Powell | Canada Road Chronicles

    • I’ll plan to address Hangtown in a future post. Several families lived out there, including my own Love family. It was quite a busy neighborhood for a time. We aren’t sure why that name was given to the area, but may have a theory. More to come later on. Thanks for reading and responding.

  3. My paternal grandfather was the only brother of Artie Young Collins and his name was Carson Edwin Young. He married Argenta Mae Vaughn and they lived on Fletcher Mountain Road in Concord Twp raising a family of three boys and four girls. Only the youngest, James Rupert Young born April 1932 is still living. Carson had another sister Jenny, she taught school but died young from tuberculosis. Their parents were Cyrus Albion Young and Annie Fraser Young and they lived at the Moscow end of the Wyman Dam and his parents were Cyrus Calvin Young and Hulda Bumpus Young.


    • Thank you for that information, George. I descend from David Young and Jenny McKenney of The Forks, through their son James M. That makes us some sort of cousins!

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