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Alfred Town

Alfred Town Hall is located at 16 Saco Road, Alfred ME 04002; phone: 207-324-5872.

Beginnings [1]

Alfred is a typical New England village with quiet streets and dignified houses. The territory that includes Alfred was acquired in 1664 by Major William Phillips, who bought a large tract of land from the Indian sagamore, Captain Sunday. This purchase was not recorded, but another deed signed in 1668 by Captain Sunday and preserved among the court records, conveyed 20 square miles of land, between Great and Little Ossipee and the Saco Rivers, to Francis Small of Kittery in exchange for two large blankets, two gallons of rum, two pounds of powder, four pounds of musket balls, 20 strings of beads, and several other articles. Captain Sunday's signature was the picture of a turtle. The first white settlement was made in 1764, nearly 100 years later. Alfred was the North Parish of Sanford until 1794, when it was incorporated, and its Indian name, Massabesic, changed to the one it now bears, given in honor of Alfred the Great. With the town of York, the original county seat, Alfred became a half-shire town in 1802. In 1832 records were removed from York and Alfred remained the shire town. It developed as a farming and lumbering community, and has changed little in the past half century.

The Whipping Tree, a large oak, on State 4 north of the junction with State 111, was used between 1800 and 1830 for the public flogging of certain types of offenders.

The Courthouse, cor. of Kennebunk and Main Sts., holds complete court records from 1636 to the present.

The Holmes House, opposite the village green, was built in 1802 for John Holmes, one of the first two United States Senators from Maine and chairman of the committee that drafted the State of Maine constitution. The most interesting feature of the exterior is an iron balustrade with a design of bows and arrows that rises from the eaves of the house. Among the traditions regarding this decoration is one that Senator Holmes had the pattern used to indicate his friendliness toward the Indians; another that it was his reply to those who believed he had Indian blood in his veins; and still another that it had romantic significance, the house having been built for Holmes and his bride.

  1. Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, State of Maine Development Commission, Maine: A Guide 'Down East,' 1937, American Guide Series, Riverside Press, Cambridge MA; Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston
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