Named by the proprietors from Gloucester, Massachusetts, New Gloucester began as a frontier town, as it was the most inland settlement in Maine at the time. Incorporated in 1774, the town has been called home by such notables as mapmaker and author Moses Greenleaf, artist D. D. Coombs, original proprietor of the town of Foxcroft Joseph E. Foxcroft, traveling minister Ephraim Stinchfield, Abraham Lincoln's secretary of treasury William Pitt Fessenden, and abolitionist Samuel Fessenden. Shaker societies were set up in nine states, but the Sabbathday Lake Society, founded in 1783, is now the only active Shaker community remaining. With a long history of lumber mills and farms, New Gloucester is also home to Pineland Farms, the former site of the Maine Home for the Feeble-Minded, established in 1908, and now a renovated 19-building campus and 5,000-acre working farm.
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