The Old Tavern

693 Middle Road
photograph dated ????

This home is reported to be one of the oldest still in existence from the earliest days of Steep Falls. According to Marshall Pierce, (writing in 1881), Robert Higgins lived here, about a mile from from Steep Falls. "He was an industrious though eccentric man, farmed, and for a few years kept a country tavern." At this time the Higgins family was one of only two families (the Strout family was the other), known to be living at Steep Falls.

Albert Sears in The Early Families of Standish provides more infomation about the Higgins family.

  • Robert Higgins was the son of Willam Higgins and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Young. William was born in Eastham on Cape Cod and was one of the earliest settlers of Standish. Sears noted that William and two other settlers bought 2 of the 100 acre lots in Standish on May 15, 1779 and that these men were listed as living in Standish on October 1, 1779.

  • Robert was the 5th child of William and Elizabeth and was born on January 17, 1767, (probably on Cape Cod), and he married Sarah Whitney (of Gorham or Standish?) who was born in 1769. Their first child, Hannah, was born February 4, 1791, the same year Robert purchased lots 73, 80, & 81 from his father. (These are not Steep Falls lots.)

This would appear to be the earliest date possible to place Robert & Sarah in Steep Falls. It has yet to be determined exactly when they settled in Steep Falls.

  • Robert and Sarah's 9 children were born between 1791 & 1810
It is most likely that this home was built within these years. They were probably well established when Elisha Strout moved to Steep Falls from Limington in 1818 and built his house nearby.

Marshall Pierce also notes that Robert Higgins was one of the original 9 associates, led by Capt. William Pierce, that built the first dam and sawmill on the Saco River at Steep Falls.

Property ownership research at the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds provides further information about Robert Higgins & his family.
  • It appears that Robert Higgins purchased all of lot #34 in the 3rd division of lands in Standish from James Ingraham on August 6, 1823. This is the land that would soon be home to the new double sawmill.

  • Two of Robert's children, Jerusha & Simeon were also involed as early mill owners. His daughter Jerusha was 23 years old, (and unmarried as she is listed as "Spinster"), when she acquired some or all of lot #34 on the same August 6, 1823 from her father.
  • Jerusha soon after (April 9, 1824), sold her interest in the 100 acre lot #34 (no mill mentioned) to Ebenezer Howe.

  • Robert's son Simeon, age 26, on February 21, 1825, sold his 1/4 part in the double saw mill, which is 1/2 of the shore saw to the same Ebenezer Howe.

Photo copied from Standish, Maine, Then & Now in Pictures

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