Front: Byron Stevens, Stephen McLain Back: Patricia Oh, AARPMaine, Lise McLain, Alfred Leighton :
In the late 1700's, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sold land in Maine to encourage the settlement of the area. In 1772, Oliver and John Peabody, of Andover, MA and John and Samuel Bodwell of Methuen, MA bought 6000 acres above Sudbury Canada (early name of Bethel). It was granted as Peabody's Patent. In 1804, there were 20 families and the need for schools, churches, roads and other community necessities had become evident. It was time to raise money to bring this about. The petition was granted on June 23, 1804 and Peabody's Patent became the Town of Gilead.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.67 square miles (50.95 km2), of which, 18.88 square miles (48.90 km2) of it is land and 0.79 square miles (2.05 km2) is water. Gilead is the first town encountered when crossing into Maine from New Hampshire on U.S. Route 2, which is the major road in the town. 1