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Cleveland Family

Embden's Cleveland family became the owners of perhaps the largest settler's tract in Embden. They sprang from Joseph and Dorothy Cragin (an aunt of Simeon Cragin) Cleveland, both born near Acton, MA.  The family began their progress by stages to the Upper Kennebec region around 1765, residing in Dresden and later Bloomfield, which is now a part of Skowhegan.  Joseph was a wheelwright and a builder and he is credited with building the first frame house in neighboring New Portland in the 1780's.


Joseph and Dorothy both eventually died in Fairfield, Maine, but through their family established roots in Embden.  They had eight sons, four of whom were owners of the big settler's lot, which was more than a mile long, north and south.  The oldest son, Jonathan, was born in Acton in 1764.  A bricklayer and farmer, he was married to Polly (Mary) Burns.  Together they had 10 children and occupied a choice parcel within the large tract of Cleveland land.  

Jonathan was active in early town affairs, and his name is recorded in many early town meeting records.  He, along with his neighbors Simeon Cragin and Asahel Hutchins, oversaw the building of the West Ward schoolhouse on Cleveland land.  

Jonathan and Polly's children were eight daughters and two boys.  One son moved to the Province of Quebec, Canada, and the other to Dead River, Maine.  As neither son remained at home, Jonathan deeded half of his homestead to his nephews, Amos and William Jackson.  William eventually became the sole owner. 

The other three brothers of the original settlers included:

  • John, born in Bloomfield in 1776.  A Major in the militia who declined a colonel's commission.  He became a man of consequence in Fairfield, where he died in 1836. 

  • Timothy, born in Dresden in 1770.  First married to Jane McFadden of Embden in 1794 with whom he had a large family.  Then later married to Betsey (Malone) Marston.  He is said to have built the first gristmill in Skowhegan.

  • Luther, born in Dresden in 1774.  A farmer and mechanic, married to Abigail Young of Woolwich.  He moved to Wisconsin in 1850, eight years before his death in 1858.  

The Cleveland farmhouse, which was built by Jonathan, is still standing more than 200 years after being built.   Jonathan died there in 1842.

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