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Western Maine Foothills Region

Byron

A Brief History of Byron, Maine

By Judy Boucher

C. Vivian Richards Logging, Byron, ca. 1900
C. Vivian Richards Logging, Byron, ca. 1900

Item Contributed by
Byron Historical Society

Byron is a small town located in the northeast corner of Oxford County. To the west is the town of Andover, and to the south is the town of Roxbury. Byron is approximately eight miles long and six miles wide. The Swift River runs north to south through the town.

There are nine mountains in Byron: Old Turk (Mount Turk and Broad), Whaleback, Durham Hill, Hedgehog Hill, Pleasant, and Record are a few. There are many ponds and small tributaries, including Garland Pond (Little Ellis) and Silver Lake (Ellis Pond or Roxbury Pond).

Before Byron was named Byron it was called Skillertown, a name the Indians had called it. It became incorporated in 1833 and was renamed Byron after the well known poet Lord Byron, who had just come from England to visit America.

Mendearth Mine, Byron, ca. 1900
Mendearth Mine, Byron, ca. 1900

Item Contributed by
Byron Historical Society

In the early years Byron was known for its forests of maple, birch, spruce, and pine, and logging was a major industry. The soil was quite good and yielded good crops of corn, potatoes, wheat, oats, etc. Later, hops were grown and exported to the Boston area for beer making.

District 7 School, Roxbury, 1915.
District 7 School, Roxbury, 1915.

Item Contributed by
Byron Historical Society

Over the years Byron has seen businesses come and go: spruce gum, several lumber mills, farming, mining of phosphate, and even gold mining, which continues today.

The first settlers of Byron were Samuel Knapp, Jonas Green, James Bawn, John Thomas, J. Stockbridge, Richard Morrell, and Abraham Reed. Many of the residents to this day can trace their ancestry back to some of the first settlers. In 1870, there were 242 residents; in 1900, there were 204; in 1950, 96; and in 2000, 121.

At one time there were five different schools located in Byron. The last school closed in the 1940s, but the building still remains and is used to hold town meetings and the Byron Historical Society. The Historical Society has a collection of artifacts and old photos on display. It is open to the public every Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.