|Maine House||District 145|
|Maine Senate||District 2|
|Area sq. mi.||(total) 37.6|
|Area sq. mi.||(land) 37.6|
Total=land+water; Land=land only
[MER-ril] is a town in Aroostook County, organized as a plantation for election purposes on September 6, 1858 from township T6 R4. It became formally organized as a plantation for general purposes in 1876 until it was incorporated as a town on March 4, 1911.
Captain William Merrill, for whom the town is named, bought the township about 1840 and his son Edward moved there in 1844.
The town is served by Maine Route 212 just west of Smyrna. The village of Smyrna Mills straddles the adjoining boundaries of the two towns.
In 1886, George Varney noted the close relationship:
“The post-office is at Smyrna Mills, nearby. The settlements are about here, and along the Smyrna and Rockabema road, with a few in the south-western part.” Rockabema was the early name for Moro Plantation, just west of Merrill.
In 1880 the town supported two schoolhouses with a population of 206.
According to Roger Mitchell, in the 19th century,
The State of Maine had large holdings in this thickly forested region, and sold its claims for fifty cents an acre. This charge could be paid off by working on the roads, and many early deeds show that much land became private property following the required amount of labor. In effect one could gain land by helping build roads to it. Most settlers were subsistence farmers in the summer and in the winter they sought extra income as woodsmen in the surrounding forests. . . .
[In 1979 as woods work had became mechanized], The forests remain, and many marginal farms have once more slipped back to woodland. There has been no heavy influx of people and industry. . . . As of old, farming and woods work are the mainstays of the economy.
The Merrill Mill Stream Park was created from land, acquired in 1997, between the East Branch of the Mattawamkeag River and Route 212. Photos below show the East Branch just below the confluence with Cold Stream.
Beyond the Smyrna Mills village area, Merrill is a very rural town. Route 212 cuts northwest, then west briefly through Moro Plantation terminating at Knowles Corner on Route 11. Clark Road is the only improved town road, connecting Route 212 and Townline Road in the center of the township. A few small ponds and brooks break the forested landscape. The 1385-foot Scholler Mountain in the northwest is the only high spot.
Mitchell, Roger E. I’m a Man That Works: The Biography of Don Mitchell of Merrill, Maine. Orono, Me. Northeast Folklore Society. c1978. pp. 9-10.
Varney, George J. A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. 18861. pp. 361-362.