East Blue Hill abounds in community spirit.
We are about 150 families within the bounds of Friends Corner and the Surry town line. East Blue Hill, although on Route 176, is off the beaten track and most of the traffic is local. East Blue Hill is a cohesive community of artists, musicians, farmers, doctors, lawyers, lobstermen, diplomats, builders, etc. East Blue Hill has its own post office with a unique zip code, a library, a community hall, a playground, a boat ramp, and other property owned communally by the East Blue Hill Village Improvement Association.
The village of East Blue Hill was first inhabited by a trapper named James McHard in the 1790s. He built a cabin on the cove that bears his name and subsisted on hunting and fishing. There is no record of when he died and no deed that showed that he owned property here. We do know that that part of town was simply called McHard’s by the early settlers of Blue Hill and it remained McHard’s until 1871 when a semi-weekly mail was established and the village officially became known as East Blue Hill.
The next to come on the scene, around 1810, were two Blue Hill men: Franklin Spofford and Nathan Ellis. Both were from milling families. Franklin was the son of Daniel Spofford who was part owner of the two tide mills at Blue Hill Falls. Nathan Ellis married Sally Osgood whose uncle ran the legendary Osgood Grist Mill in downtown Blue Hill to which farmers near and far carried their corn and grain to be ground into flour or waited in line.
“Blue Hill is a pretty town; it’s built quite near the hill,
And through it runs a rapid stream that runs the Osgood Mill.”
Spofford and Ellis never made their homes here. They were interested in McHard’s Stream as a power source for a business venture. In those days water power ran all the saw and grist mills in New England. They built a dam at the northeast corner of the cove where the stream runs in and constructed a sawmill there. They ran it for two or three years and then looked around for someone to run it for them.
While we don’t know much about James McHard, we do know quite a lot about Joel Long, the second settler to build a home at the head of the cove. He was living in Sedgwick with his wife Elizabeth and three children. He had built and was running the two tide mills on the Benjamin River. He was a capable and industrious young man, thirty years old. He came to McHard’s and according to Gerald E. Long’s “The Early History of East Blue Hill:”
The EBH News, the monthly newsletter of the East Blue Hill Village Improvement Association, always comes out on or near the first of the month.