Simeon Cragin, born in 1761, of Acton, MA and later of Temple, NH served in the Revolutionary War and joined other area settlers during the 1780s in making the trip up the Kennebec through Woolwich, probably with his Cleveland cousins, and staked out their settlers’ lots sometime before 1790. Through his two marriages and 13 children, Simeon became the patriarch of a large family, which grew further through his son John, who married three times and had 12 children.
In early records Simeon described himself as a bricklayer, and he also owned a cooper’s shop. In those days, Embden had a thriving industry in making barrel staves.
Simeon built a colonial-style home, large barn, and several outbuildings in the Seven Mile Brook area of Embden. This location, on a main thoroughfare leading to the New Portland villages, was one of the oldest and most important of the local roads.
Roads became a divisive issue for the town in the early 1800’s. Travel between the Kennebec River and Seven Mile Brook settlements was difficult. In a town meeting in 1804 votes were taken to build cross-roads connecting the two sides of the town, but progress was slow, provoking discord. The isolation felt by the Seven Mile Brook inhabitants culminated with a petition to create a new town of East Brookfield in 1818. This initiative was led by Simeon Cragin and his son-in-law Benjamin Pierce, who was married to Hannah Cragin and lived on Gordon Hill. The effort initially had the support of 50 farmers from the area, but their case dragged on and was eventually defeated during a town meeting vote. Shortly thereafter, in 1820 Simeon was appointed the leader of a town committee charged with addressing the critical issue of cross-town roads.
Simeon, along with his neighbors, was also a key figure in in establishing one of the town’s early schools on land between his and the Clevelands'. Known as the West Ward School, it was completed in 1810. Many Cragin descendants were teachers at the school.
Simeon is buried beside his daughter Hannah and son-in-law Benjamin at the Cragin Cemetery, not far from the Cragin House that he built in the late 18th century.