Caribou, Maine

According to George Varney’s, Gazetteer of the State of Maine, published in 1881,Caribou is situated in the northeastern part of Aroostook County, at the junction of the Madawaska with the Aroostook River. It comprises two contiguous townships; the northern one having formerly been Forestville Plantation, while the southern compromised Lyndon on the west, and the Eaton Grant, lying in the northeastern bend of the Aroostook. The principal hills, and these are not large enough to have a name upon the map, are a little southeast of the middle of the town, enclosed in a bend of the Aroostook.

Limestone is the prevailing rock. The soil is a dark loam, yielding excellent crops of wheat, oats and potatoes. Maple, birch, cedar and spruce form the build of the forest trees. The Aroostook River passes up through the southern half to the center of the town, then turning to the southeast, passes out on the eastern side. Caribou Stream enters from west, discharging into the Aroostook at Caribou Village, near the center of the town. 

The Little Madawaska River comes down through the northern part of the town, forming a junction with the Aroostook near the eastern line. Otter Brook flows in from the northwest between the two other streams, while near the southern line of the town Hardwood Creek comes into the Aroostook from the west. There are several other streams of considerable size, forming a remarkable confluence of water courses, several of which afford some available waterpower. There are mills on the Little Madawaska near the middle of the town, on the eastern side, and on Otter Brook near its junction with the Aroostook but the larger number are on Caribou Stream at Caribou Village. There are saw, planing, carpentry, shingle and grist mills and a starch factory, four of which are run by steam power. Boots and shoes and harnesses are the principal other manufactures. This town is the terminus of the New Brunswick Railway from Fredericton and Woodstock, N.B., and of stage lines to Van Buren, New Sweden, and Fort Fairfield.

It was incorporated April 5, 1859. There are meetings of the Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, Universalists and Episcopalians, some of which societies have houses of worship. There is a high school in the village part of the year. The town has sixteen public schoolhouses, valued with other school property at $6,800. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $155,702. In 1880, it was $337,388. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 2 percent. The population in 1860 was 297; in 1870, it was 1,410; in 1880, it was 2,500.

1880 Caribou Agricultural Census

These census records have been transcribed and names have been spelled as well as they could be deciphered. If you see any mistakes, please email

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