It seems like no matter how long you’ve lived at a certain place, there’s always something you didn’t know about an area. The town of Raymond had some interesting characters years ago.

For example, Edgar Welch, born in 1849, worked on David McLellan’s farm on the east side of Rattlesnake Mountain, where he spent many hours rolling loose rocks off the top, trying to ward off the early sunsets that shortened the workday. His attempts still litter the woods there.

Raymond-Casco Historical Society members Betty Watkins Glassford and Pam Grant have co-authored a book about the history — including the Welch anecdote — of the eastern Sebago Lake region that was once known as “Raymondtown.”

“Raymond and Casco” came out this summer and is part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing.

The two women are second cousins as well as fifth-generation descendants of one of the area’s first settlers.

“Jacob Watkins had 14 children,” said Pam Watkins Grant, Society president and lifelong Casco resident.

The introduction to the book notes that large families were common to the area. One Elijah Cook takes the prize; he fathered 20.

Raymondtown was originally designated as repayment for Massachusetts soldiers who tried, largely unsuccessfully, to stop French and Indian War raids. The men were under the command of Capt. William Raymont of Beverly, Mass., for whom Raymondtown was named.

Raymondtown once included Naples, which seceded in the 1830s, and Casco, which broke off in 1841.

The book took about a year and a half to complete. The Raymond-Casco Historical Society put out calls for historic photographs, and many in the community answered.

“I was amazed at what I learned,” said Glassford, lifelong Casco resident and Society historian.

It seems only natural that Raymond, bordering the town of Poland, would also be home to a once-grand hotel that sought to lure Victorian-era tourists to its magnificent and reportedly healing spring water.

Built in the 1880s, the Wilson Spring Hotel in North Raymond, near the intersection of Valley and North Raymond roads, was some five stories high and competed with the Poland Spring House. It was just as fancy, too. It had gas lamps, was heated year round and had spring water piped to all floors.

However, it was less successful than the proprietors had hoped, and it burned only five to 10 years after it opened.

Today, the Society’s headquarters is on Route 302 in Casco in Watkins Flats, in a red building just south of the Crooked River bridge and Route 11.

Open to the public three days a week during the summer, the building houses a wonderful display of the area’s early history. This time of year, it’s open by appointment; copies of the book are available for $22.

With so many artifacts being donated, the society hopes to refurbish the adjacent big red barn, which boasts a beautiful hand-painted mural. The society expects the structure will also be used for dances and other activities in the near future.

To purchase a book or tour the Society’s exhibit, call 655-4854 or 655-2438.

Don Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Raymond. He can be reached at: [email protected]