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Turner is a town in Androscoggin Countymarker, Mainemarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 4,972 at the 2000 census. Turner includes the villages of Turner Center and North Turner. The town is part of the Lewistonmarker-Auburnmarker, Maine Metropolitan New England City and Town Area.


First called Sylvester-Canada, the township was granted by the Massachusetts General Court on June 20, 1768 to Major James Warren and others, survivors of Captain Joseph Sylvester's company for their services in the 1690 Battle of Quebec. It replaced a 1735 grant of the same name located at what is now Richmond, New Hampshiremarker, but which was ruled invalid in 1741 because of prior clams from the heirs of John Mason. Reverend Charles Turner of Scituate, Massachusettsmarker acted as an agent for the dispossessed grantees, and would become the first minister of their new town.

It was settled in 1772 by Daniel Staples, Thomas Record, Elisha Record, Joseph Leavitt and Abner Phillips. Many of the first settlers came from Pembroke, Massachusettsmarker, where most of the proprietors of Sylvester-Canada resided. Nearly all the early settlers came from towns which had sprung up around Plymouth, Massachusettsmarker, including the Leavitt family, descendants of Deacon John Leavitt of Old Ship Churchmarker in Hingham, Massachusettsmarker, and the Bradford family, descendants of Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony. Following the Revolutionary War, settlement began to pick up, and by 1784 the expanding village had 30 families. Incorporated on July 7, 1786, Sylvester-Canada was renamed for Reverend Turner.

It was primarily a farming town producing corn and apples, but with exceptional water power sites on the Nezinscot River. Here, Samuel Blake built in 1775 the first mill, both a sawmill and gristmill, although it was destroyed by the great freshet of 1785. It was rebuilt the next season. There were 5 sawmills and 3 gristmills in the community when a fire destroyed those at Turner Village in 1856. They were replaced, and by 1886, industries included not only sawmills and gristmills but a box factory, carriage factory, shoe factory, tannery, paper pulp mill, cheese factory, fulling mill and pottery factory.

The Turner Beast

An animal, at first unidentified but later confirmed by genetic testing to be a wolf-dog hybrid, was struck and killed by a vehicle in Turner on August 16, 2006. Prior to its identification as a dog, some speculated that it was the mysterious creature described in recent local legend, supposedly responsible for attacks on domestic animals, some fatal. Initial reports and photographs of this "hybrid mutant" rapidly generated widespread attention from news media and Internet users around the world, though less reported photos clearly showed an animal that looked like a large dog.

The Turner Beast was the subject for the History Channel's regular series MonsterQuest in a show titled Mutant Canines which aired December 5 2007. The show explored the mysterious beast with the analysis of experts in the field as well as trying to capture the animal on camera. Nothing new materialized from this exploit.

Notable residents


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 62.7 square miles (162.4 km²), of which, 59.6 square miles (154.3 km²) of it is land and 3.1 square miles (8.1 km²) of it (4.98%) is water. Turner is drained by the Nezinscot Rivermarker, Martin's Stream and the Androscoggin River, which forms the town's border to the east.

The town is crossed by state routes 4, 117 and 219. It borders the towns of Hartfordmarker, Buckfieldmarker and Hebronmarker to the west, Livermoremarker to the north, and Minotmarker and Auburnmarker to the south, and Greene, Leeds to the South West.


As of the census of 2000, there were 4,972 people, 1,768 households, and 1,393 families residing in the town. The population density was 83.5 people per square mile (32.2/km²). There were 1,977 housing units at an average density of 33.2/sq mi (12.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.78% White, 0.10% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.78% of the population.

There were 1,768 households out of which 41.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.0% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.2% were non-families. 15.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.3% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $46,207, and the median income for a family was $52,241. Males had a median income of $34,917 versus $24,975 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,439. About 2.6% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Leavitt Area High Schoolmarker


  1. A History of Turner, Maine, from Its Settlement to 1886, W. R. French, Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, Portland, Maine, 1887
  2. Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, George Thomas Little, Henry Sweetser Burrage, Vol. I, Lewis Publishing Company, New York, 1909
  3. Leavitt Farm, Turner, ca. 1900, MaineMemoryNetwork
  4. A Brief History of Turner, Maine,

Further reading

  • History of Turner, Maine (1886)
  • A. J. Coolidge & J. B. Mansfield, A History and Description of New England, 1859; H. O. Houghton & Company, printers; Cambridge, Massachusetts

External links

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