Leonard’s Mills is named after Oliver Leonard, one of the earliest landowners in what is now the town of Bradley, Maine. To help you get a feel for the time period in which Oliver Leonard lived, here is a brief glimpse at this region during the late 1700’s:
Not long before this period, in 1763, the struggle between England and France for control of northeastern North America ended, breaking up the French-Indian alliance. The American Revolution ended in 1783.
In 1793, Massachusetts reached an agreement with the native Indians to purchase lands along the Penobscot River, including Township 4 – Old Indian Purchase (which is now Bradley).The northern boundary of Maine was not determined. People migrated to this part of Maine from all 13 states, as well as from Europe and Canada. Some received grants of land and some just “squatted”.
On Thursday, September 7, 1797, surveyor Park Holland ran a survey line from Nichols Rock at the head of tide on the east side of the Penobscot River to “land flooded by Leonard’s Mills on Nichols Stream,” officially establishing the lot, which actually may have been settled as a mill as early as 1787.
Oliver Leonard was originally from Norton, Massachusetts (born in 1764). He graduated from Brown University in 1787 and set his signs on practicing law and speculating in lumber in the new and growing Penobscot County. After his death in 1828 (he was buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Bangor), Leonard’s Mills or a similar mill on or near the same site was operated by the Blackman Family through the late 1800’s, and Nichols Stream was renamed Blackman Stream.