A history of the town of Industry, Franklin County, Maine
The novice in the literary arena is prone to apologize for his work, but, for the nonce, he has no apology to offer. His work is to be weighed by a discriminating public; should it be found wanting, of what avail will apology prove? In undertaking this work the author was actuated by a higher motive than mere love for sordid gain. Though not widely known, Industry is a town that has a history of which every citizen may justly be proud. Larger towns may claim the peerage in other directions, but when its part in furnishing the brain and brawn of the busy world is taken into account, Industry is entitled to high rank among her sister towns. To rescue the life-story of these noble men and women from oblivion has been the author's aim. How well he has succeeded let the intelligent reader decide. Many years ago the author conceived the idea of writing a history of his native town, but not until 1882 did he become actively engaged in the work. The results of his researches are embodied in the following pages.
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The Industry Rifle Grays
The law requiring enrollment in the militia the names of all able-bodied male citizens, between the age of eighteen and forty-five years, brought together on training and muster days a heterogeneous crowd ranging from the beardless youth to the gray-haired veteran. Each person thus enrolled, though required to furnish his own equipments, was not restricted in selecting, but every one was permitted to follow his own taste in the matter. Consequently, as one would naturally infer, these equipments varied greatly in pattern and were often of the most primitive kind. Their muskets were of every conceivable pattern from the old-fashioned Queen's Arm down to the more modern weapon with its percussion lock. A company differing so widely in the age of its members, and present- ing such striking dissimilarities in style of dress and equipment, could hardly be expected to make an imposing appearance on muster days, or attain distinction for the precision of its drill. For years these conditions were a source of much dissatisfaction, especially among the younger members, and in some way it had gained the pseudonym of "String-bean Company" by its unpopularity. At length a large number of the dissatisfied members withdrew, and with a small addition to their number from Farmington, formed an independent company known as The Industry Rifle Grays. The company was mustered in by General Enoch C. Belcher, but the date of its organization can not be learned, as the records have either been lost or destroyed. The uniforms were of gray satinet trimmed with red, and the rifles of the most approved pattern and carried a bullet weighing thirty-two to the pound. The total expense of equip- ping the company was about thirty dollars per man, and each member bore his proportional part. At the first meeting for election of officers Newman T. Allen was chosen captain, and John West and William Webster lieutenants. Capt. Allen was a thorough-going tactician, and under his instruction the men made rapid progress in their drill, and the company soon took rank among the best disciplined in the county if not in the State The company had probably been organized some four years when the militia disbanded. This is not definitely known, however, though one of the members is confident that the company mustered four times during its existence as an organization.