Hope's First Medical Doctor

Moses Dakin of Mason, N.H. came to Hope as a young man to teach at the corner school following Otis Hawes. At first he probably boarded with the local families during the school term as was the custom. In 1821 he bought an acre of land from Henry Handley. In June 1821 he married Sarah Whiting of Mason and the next month they returned to Hope to build their home next to Handley's, where they lived the remainder of their lives.

Moses was a well educated young man, born in Mason in 1794. Along with teaching school, he was studying medicine. As early as 1821 and 22 he is listed as the Surgeon's Mate for the 2nd Brigade, Fifth Regiment, 4th Division of the militia made up of northern Lincoln County towns. In 1828 he received his M.D. from the Medical School of Maine, which was affiliated with Bowdoin College. The Medical School of Maine was created by an Act of the Maine Legislature in 1821 and placed under the superintendence and direction of a Board of Trustees and the Overseers of Bowdoin College. By joint authority of the two boards, all medical degrees were conferred. The medical sessions commenced near the middle of February and continued for 14 weeks each year. By 1852 they had conferred 674 medical degrees.

A point of interest concerning Moses Dakin's move to Hope might be traced to Charles Barrett. Moses' grandfather, Amos Dakin, came from Concord, Mass. and moved to Mason, N.H. not long after Charles Barrett and his brother Thomas established mills there. Amos Dakin went into business with them and bought them out when Charles Barrett moved to New Ipswich to start new mills. All three men, Charles and Thomas Barrett and Amos Dakin, were married to Minot sisters of Concord. Through family association, no doubt, Moses knew of Charles' efforts to settle Hope and may even have been encouraged by him to move here.

Dakin was a talented musician, played the violin and owned the first piano in town. He became a member of the Universalist group, was a leader of the church choir and taught singing school as well. Although he had no children of his own he was keenly interested in the neighborhood children, many of whom he brought into the world.

Hope folklore handed down through the years tells that Dr. Dakin had a good practice but not a very remunerative one. Soon after he came here, he assisted the stork at one of the homes and did not get his fee until the son became a man, when he paid it: the fee was $1. Another incident related that in his later years he went through a period of depression and, as he said, "he lay in hell seven years". During that time he even tried to commit suicide. At that time Hope also had a family by the name of Daggett who were very beautiful singers. Occasionally they would give a serenade to all who were fortunate enough to hear them. One evening, knowing the love Dr. Dakin had for singing, the three sisters, Mary, Carrie, Helen and their brother John, sat under Dr. Dakin's window and sang "Lillie Dale". The entrancing music, it is said, broke the spell and clothed him in his right mind. In politics Dr. Dakin was a Whig and afterward a Republican. He died in 1864 at the age of seventy. The Dakin house no longer exists.

From History of Hope Maine by Anna Simpson Hardy p.67