The following description is primarily taken from the Maine State Year Book for the Year 1879 – 1880 (Hoyt, 1879) and A Centennial History of Alfred, York County, Maine (Parsons, 1872). 1879 is the year that Sumner Abraham Ives married Alice Dunbar. Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820. In 1876 it casts its seven electoral college votes for President for the Rutherford B. Haynes, the winner, who earned $50,000 a year and William A. Wheeler who made $8,000 a year as Vice President. The cabinet members also earned $8,000 and the Supreme Court Justices earned $10,500. The Senators and Congressmen earned $5,000. A first class letter cost 3 cents.
By 1879, Alfred ME was 115 years old. It is 32 miles from Portland and on the Portland and Rochester (NH) Railroad. Alfred was first settled by the English in the early 1764 by Simeon Coffin, son of Stephen Coffin of Newbury, MA. Alfred was initially part of Sanford, ME, known as the North Parish of Sanford and then was incorporated into a separate district on Feb. 4, 1794. It was named for Alfred the Great. At that point the name officially became Alfred, prior to that the area was called Massabesic. Alfred became a town in 1808. There were 1319 residents in 1850, 1255 in 1860 and 1224 residents in 1870. In 1860, 307 people voted and real estate value was $381.024 and in 1870, 297 voted (only men could vote in the 1800s) and the real estate value was $427,140. Alfred is a shire town and the Court House was erected in 1806; it was enlarged in 1852. It became the court of common pleas and county court in 1807. There are five justices in 1879.
Albert Dunbar is first recorded there as the minister of the First Baptist Church in 1855. In 1879 he listed as the minister for the First Baptist Church and S. A. Ives is listed as the minister for the Second Baptist Church. There are also a Methodist, Congregational, Shaker and Seventh Day Advedentist churches. The manufacturing firms include lumber (2), harnesses, clothing, earthenware, lumber & oak staves, jeweler, marble worker, smiths (2), carriage repair (2), cabinet maker. There are four merchants: general stores, millinery and fancy goods, merchant tailor, fruit and confectionary. In addition there are three doctors and five lawyers. There are two hotels: Central House and Alfred House. The newspaper is the Eastern Star, started in 1821.