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Gray Family

Early Embden settlers, Capt. John Gray, and his wife Elizabeth Boyington, originally lived in Georgetown, near Woolwich, Maine.  Their Embden home was located on a fertile tract of land by the Kennebec River.  Capt. John soon became an influential man in Embden and adjacent river towns. In 1792 he was one member of a committee that selected the site for a meeting house in Norridgewock.   It is believed that his title of "Captain" probably came from service with a militia company or from command of a sailing vessel, as there is no record of his serving during the Revolution as a soldier nor as a sailor.  

 

The Grays had three sons and eight daughters. Over the next two generations the family became owners of farm frontage extending two miles along the Kennebec.  This was about one-third of all such land between Anson and Concord.  Their holdings were in large part within the area between the Kennebec River and the east shore of Fahi Pond. 

 

The Grays' son Joshua was the grandfather of Joel Gray.   Joel went to Boston and was very successful in the hotel business, namely the old United States Hotel.  He built and owned the first Carrabassett Hall in North Anson in 1870. 

Once he returned to Embden he was an advocate for building the Somerset Railway. Joel Gray married Elvira Drury.  He built the house at an estimated value of $40,000.00 at the time. It was located on the West side of Kennebec River Road, the site of an agricultural field now. The house had a Mansard roof and was known as one of the most ornate dwellings in Embden at the time. 

 

Joel died in 1874 at the age 44.  Elvira sold the farm in 1888 to Randall Ellis of Belfast.  Later Randall Ellis’ son, Harlan sold the farm in 1915/16 to Joseph Guerette of Canada.  Embden Town of Yore (copyright 1929) states that “Not many years ago one of the spacious rooms upstairs was used as a Dance Hall.”  Joseph Guerette no longer occupied the house by about the mid 1930’s and the house was left vacant for a few years until William “Will” and Doris Tasker bought it in 1939/40.  They lived in the house until it burned July 31, 1946 destroying the house, a barn full of hay, and farm animals.  Furniture and a piano in the front room were saved.  Doris Tasker was a descendant of Capt. John Gray and was Embden’s Tax Collector for many years.

Joel Gray

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