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The Granite monthly, a New Hampshire magazine, devoted to literature, history, and state progress (Volume 53) online

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father, Joshua C. Berry, the blacksmith, prior to 1870, the large heavy wheels
of which finally were used on the rear of a hayrack.

In 1807-1808 there were the Embargo and Non-Intercourse Acts, which
injured American merchant shipping and caused great disrontent, which led
up to the War of 1812 waged along the border of Canada, along the Atlantic
Coast and some in the Gulf States.

In 1814 there was a great alarm at Portsmouth because several English
warships were just outside the harbor threatening to send in men to destroy the
town. The New Hampshire Militia were hastily called. Capt. Godfrey of the
Epsom Light Infantry Company volunteered its services and asked for men from
Pittsfield. Enoch Blake, son of Sergeant Enoch Blake, a Revolutionary War
Veteran, and others volunteered. The Company from Epsom and Pittsfield
marched behind a good band to Portsmouth and were acclaimed by the people
there as being the handsomest company that ever marched through the town.
I fail to find any record of a battle being fought there, and therefore assume that
the mere appearance of Pittsfield and Epsom men as being ready for a fight was
quite sufficient to discourage the British.

In 1813, this town and vicinity was visited by an epidemic of what was then
called Spotted Fever, since known as Spinal Meningitis, and many of the af-
flicted died within a few hours of being attacked by it. Dr. Shannon was the
leading local physician and sent to Londonderry and other towns for doctors to
come who worked day and night. At that time Thomas Berry, a son of Capt.
Joshua, made a famous ride from here to Portsmouth to get medicine, making
the round trip by relays of horses of relatives and friends along the road in nine
hours, greatly to the surprise of the doctors. Remarkable as that trip was, com-
pare the means of transportation with the fact that to-day we could telephone


Portsmouth and have the medicine here within two hours by automobile.

In 1815 there was a wide-spread destruction of old growth pine by a storm
which lasted several days.

In 1816 there was a frost every month, to the ruin of the crops. If our
friend, Mr. Frank Muzzey the auctioneer, were telling this story, I suppose he
would try to make you believe that men wore their overcoats and gloves and
earned their bread by the icicles on their brows at haying time. It is said that
famine in the winter was such that many men walked down country and toted
back corn on their shoulders to save their families and live stock.

From, 1800 to 1818, Rev. Benjamin Sargent ably performed the difficult
feat of persuading the Orthodox Congregationalists and the Baptists of all be-
liefs in the village and westerly part of the town to unite and worship under his
ministration. He certainly was a theological diplomat, apparently living about
one-hundred years ahead of his time, since, not until comparatively recent years,
was it known that such good people have been willing to consolidate and co-
operate. It is said that during the most of that period there were two deacons
of his church, one a Congregationalist and the other a Baptist. It is easy to see
how, with such an ancestor, our present Dr. Sargent is popular with all the

In 1817 there came to this town from Durham, Mr. James Joy, whom I
consider as the successor of John Cram, Esq. He was a skilled blacksmith and
iron worker. He soon bought the mill privilege and property remaining in the
village which had been John Cram's on the easterly side of the river, and estab-
lished a scythe factory which was carried on by him and some of his sons until
about 1840. He established a great reputation for himself and the town for
the quality and quantity of the scythes made and sold. He caused the town to
advance from a country village to a factory town. He was a quiet, thoughtful
and very systematic man, and, in a broad way, a great benefactor of the town
and of its people.. As a result of his efforts the cotton factory which you now
have here was established by him in 1827 , which, as you know, has been a stand-
ard and unfailing industry of the town ever since, giving employment first to
the native-born men and women and then, as they emigrated, to others until, for
many years, the town has had the valued assistance of sturdy and industrious
people generally known as of French Canadian ancestry. Great credit is due to
Mr. George E. Kent for the success of that business here.

In 1818 John Berry opened a general store on the site of the present Valley
Times Office. He was a son of Major William Berry, of Catamount, previous-
ly mentioned. Major William had a large family of sons and daughters, named
Edward, Thomas, William. John, Hannah, Mehitable, Katherine, Cotton, Isaiah,
Gilman and Abigail. When asked who his children were he readily answered

"Ned, Tom, Bill, John,
Han, Hit, Kit, Cot,
Saiah, Gil, Abigil,
And the baby."
which is the only triplet I have heard of among the Berrys.

Of these sons, Edward, Thomas and William had good farms and buildings
on the road running east from the village to Northwood Narrows and, with
three sons of Capt. Joshua Berry, located farther on ; then Major William Berry,
and, down near Tucker Hill, Jerry Berry, son of Lieut. Thomas. Those families
gave the name of "Berry" to the road. John Berry built a large house next to
his store here on the site now owned by Mr. Everett Clark. Most of those
families had numerous children who were brought up in the old fashioned way


to attend church every Sunday. Their regular attendance at church accounts
for the statement of Mr. William Henry Berry in his address previously refer-
red to, "that thirty persons by the name of Berry have been members of this
church, and I can well remember when 50 persons by the name of Berry were
in constant attendance here Sabbath days."

To go back a little, we should remember that in 1791 Elder David Knowlton,
as he was called, established the First Free-Will Baptist Church within the town-
ship on Catamount, at the junction of Governor's and Berry Pond Roads. He
and his son, Ebenezer, his successor in the ministry, were famous as eloquent,
strong preachers and their congregations were composed of people who came
from a considerable distance to hear them. As the growth of the population
changed, that Baptist Church was moved down on to Berry Road at the foot
of Shingle Mill Hill and a modest cottage was built for a parsonage alongside of
it. For several years that church flourished there until about 1830 when it was
transferred to the village where it now flourishes under able pastorate of Rev.
W. H. Getchell who is also an understudy for the Angel Gabriel.

Also since about 1802, our Quaker Friends who had settled on Catamount
and particularly on its beautiful southern slope in and just beyond what has so
long been known as Dowboro have had their meeting house on the Dowboro
Road at corner of Berry Pond Road with a burying ground at the summit of
the road above Knowlton's and now Sanderson's Corner. The original meeting
house was much larger than the present one and had galleries.

I find that Jacob Peasley did business with Capt. Joshua Berry in 1789.
The Peaslee family have long been known as eminent antong our Quaker neigh-
bors in the southerly part of the town. Another was Jacob Jones, maker of the
tall old fashioned eight-day clocks much in demand here 100 years ago. When
preparing this address I wrote Mr. Albert N. Peaslee for information as to the
earlv Quaker settlers here. On my arrival here Thursday evening, the 23rd inst,
I found his letter saying that Elijah Peaslee, in 1766 or 67, located on the easterly
side of Catamount, where Everett Stockman now lives, on a 500 acre farm and
had a large two-story house, which was burned. Can you beat the Quaker? He
was here a year ahead of John Cram and hasn't dropped behind his descendants

John Berry occupied the store spoken of for fifty years, succeeding James
Joy as a Town Benefactor and most prominent man, in the latter years of his
life familiarly known and endeared as "Uncle John. "He was assisted in his busi-
ness by his brother Thomas, who also ran a saw mill. When asked what he
kept in his store Uncle John used to say "a little salt, a little fish, and lots of
rum." In those days rum was drunk on all occasions and at births, marriages
and funerals. Uncle John's rum was teamed from Newburyport by his brother
Thomas, and others. In preparing this address the query arose as to why it was
obtained at Newburyport rather than in Portsmouth. Whereupon I wrote my
class-mate, Arthur O. Fuller, Esq., for many years a lawyer in Exeter, for answer
to my question, and he says in his letter of July 12th last that, until about 1840
and the building of railroads, Newburyport was on a par with Boston as a port
and business center, and the trading of Exeter and towns above in New Hamp-
shire was clone there ; that, since Caldwell's rum distilled there was famous and
in great demand by the ancients, it probably helped to hold the trade for New-
buryport. He added that it was the custom for ships to sail from there having
tall masts, which were sold abroad at high prices for Jamaica rum and molasses,
and the vessels returned with shorter masts which they carried to replace those


Uncle John Berry was very patriotic. Robinson says of him, in the Civil
War he was the agent for the Soldiers' Aid Society, visited every man from
town after he went to camp, saw that he was supplied with everything he want-
ed, and afterwards looked out for his family.

John McDonough Berry, son of Uncle John, went to Minnesota years ago
as a lawyer and was for many years distinguished as a Judge of its Superior and
Supreme Courts, the decisions "of which latter have long been cited as standards
by the Courts of our land. He had the reputation of being one of the great
lawyers of that State in the period of the development of law in connection with
its great railroading, milling and other industries in its early years.

The Grace Fletcher previously spoken of was one of the beautiful and
notable girls of her time. She met Daniel Webster in his home town of Salis-
bury, became his wife in 1808 and lived in Portsmouth until 1817, when they
moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Webster began his national career as a rep-
resentative to Congress from Portsmouth from 1813 to 1817. In later years
they occasionally visited Mrs. Webster's sister here.


In 1804 the Pittsfield Social Library was formed, with many proprietors
or shareholders. Their list and transfers of shares show the trend of people
from Catamount towards the village where the last meeting was held in a tavern,
indicating that their thirst for knowledge had abated or been overcome by the
thirst then prevalent. But that Association was soon followed by the Pittsfield
Atheneum Club maintaining a library in the Academy Building and then circulat-
ing libraries in the apothecary stores of Dr. Mack and G. D. S. Noyes. These
were succeeded in 1895 by the Town Library under Dr. Edgar L. Carr, Henry
L. Robinson, and Frank E. Randall, as trustees, and maintained in the drug
store of G. H. Colbath. In 1901 the present Public Library was established by
the gift of Hon. Josiah Carpenter and his wife, Mrs. Georgia B. Carpenter of
Manchester (formerly of Pittsfield). Its dedication was the feature of Old
Home Week Day on August 21st, 1901, and it is known as "The Josiah Carpen-
ter Library," standing on Main Street opposite the Park. The building is an
ornament to the town and its interior is well arranged for its purpose. In books
of reference and for general reading it is kept up to date and is well patronized.
Also, it is intended to be a receptacle of treasures of Art, Science, and Litera-
ture, and to serve the interests of an educated community. To be fully appreciat-
ed it should be visited and patronized.


Dr. Blake has said that "In the beginning of the last century, Dr. Abram
Blanchard, who had settled in the town as a physician and was well educated, of-
fered the town $500.00 as a fund towards building an academy, but that, at a
Town Meeting called to consider the matter, it was voted not to accept the gift
lest it should make the boys and girls lazy and unfit them for work. Not long
after that Dr. Blanchard moved to Pembroke, made a similar offer to that town,
which accepted it, and an Academy was built there."

But about 1828 Uncle John Berry and others, appreciating the need of an
Academy in the town, incited the townspeople to subscribe for it in land, labor,
money or material, so that in 1830 an Academy was built on land donated by
James Joy; my grandfather, Joshua C. Berry, accepted an assignment to furnish
$40 in hewn timber for the sills which were hewn by a man called Hewer Goss
because he was famous for hewing timber.



The building was dedicated with an oration by Moses Norris, Jr. and singing
of "Ode on Science" by a good chorus led by Enoch French.

In its earlier years the school was well taught by students and graduates,
frequently from Dartmouth College. My father taught there. This Academy
was maintained for about 60 years. In 1892 the present building was erected
largely by the gift of J. Wilson White of Nashua, a native of this town, for an
Academy, but was thereafter used for the High School of the town.

In 1854 the population of Pittsfield


No. of

legal voters

No. of


No. of

neat stock

No. of


Common schools






Value of lands



Value of mills



Stock in trade



Money at interest


Among the early settlers as a soldier of the Revolutionary War I have men-
tioned Moses Norris. While he was a solid man of the town, he and his descen-
dants have been made famous by the career of his son. Moses Norris, Jr., who

Moses Norris,
U. S. Senator, 1849-1855.

attended school here winters under Master Odiorne. He was the first graduate
from Dartmouth College from Pittsfield in 1828. He then studied law with
Isaac O. Barnes, Esq., of Barnstead and succeeded to his practice. In 1834 he
moved to Pittsfield and continued to acquire great reputation as a lawyer. From
1837 to 1840 he was a member of the House in the New Hampshire Legislature,
in the latter year being its Speaker. In 1841 he was a member of the Governor's
Council, and for several years about that time was County Solicitor. From 1843
to 1847 he was a member of Congress from the district including this town.
In the latter year, responding to the demands of his practice, he moved to Man-
chester. In 1849 he became United States Senator from this State and died
while holding that honorable position in 1855. The great questions before the
United States Senate during the term of Senator Norris were to the admission
of California, where gold had just been discovered; the compromise of 1850 as to
slavery in new territory or states urged by Clay to prevent the secession of
the Southern States and also favored by Webster. In those serious and mighty


struggles Senator Norris took a leading part, both in committee and upon the
floor of the Senate, making very able speeches upon the tariff and the admission
of Texas as a State and upon the Kansas and Nebraska question. He stood
with Webster in favoring the 1850 compromise of Clay in order to prevent the
secession which came eleven years later. Undoubtedly Senator Norris was the
greatest man in political life born here. He rightfully acquired a reputation
which should be perpetuated for his public service as a lawyer, a member of our
New Hampshire legislature, and finally as an effective member of the United
States Senate when it had and needed the services of some of the greatest men in
our history. Senator Norris was ah ancester of Mr. Sanderson, our President,
on his mother's side.

Stage Lines.

Robinson in his book on "Pittsfield in the Great Rebellion" says that early
in 1861 the town was small without railroad or telegraph. It was connected with
the outside world by three stage lines ; one a daily running to Concord, owned by
True Garland, a man well-known throughout the State and to whom the soldiers
were indebted for many acts of kindness; another to Dover, owned by Jackson
Freese ; another running to Laconia by way of Alton driven by Pike Davis. The
last two were tri-weekly ; not, however, like the one out West the driver of
which, when asked what he meant by "Tri-weekly," replied that he went out one
week and tried to get back the next. I had the pleasure of riding with True
Garland during Civil War times and later. He was a jolly, rotund man,
with a cheery voice, liked by everybody. He was very kind to me as a small
boy, allowing me to ride on one of the top seats, although his passengers were not
always quite so kind. He could work his horses over a hard hill better than any
driver I ever saw, making them take it cheerfully on the run for about two-thirds
of the way up and then allowing them to take their own time the rest of the
way and along on level ground until they got their wind to start fresh again.
He performed almost all the duties of common carrier, an expressman and a
newspaper. During the War he shouted the chief news of the day to those
who came out to get it as he drove along. I knew Jackson Freese but never
rode with him. He bought the stage line between Pittsfield and Dover in 1852
from Jackson Fogg and drove the stage until 1871 when he sold out the line
to C. B. Leavitt. Like True Garland he was always courteous and obliging and
was highly respected by the travelling public and people along his route. He
was a most patriotic member of the Legislature from this town in 1860-61. On
July 21,1896 he died here respected by all, leaving his grandson, Mr. Courtland
Freese, who has always been a very progressive citizen, for many years past
conducting the Globe Manufacturing Company.

I have purposely omitted the history of the town during the period of the
Civil War from 1861 to 1865, because it is a special subject so fully treated by
Robinson in his book previously referred to and the time allotted to me does not
permit me to attempt to review it.

That was a fitting culmination of the end of the first century of a town
founded in the patriotism of its early settlers trained in the Revolutionary War,
who, with their descendants, kept up military training and their zeal to maintain
the Union.


In 1869 largely through the efforts of Hon. John Cate French then living in
Manchester, the Suncook Valley Railroad was brought into town. He estab-


lished a newspaper here mainly with a view to educating public sentiment up to
the desirability of having the road and subscribing for its bonds and stock, the
stock of which may now be more valuable as a memento than as an investment.

Shoe Business.

For about one hundred years prior to 1850 shoemaking by men who had
small farms was customary during the winter months in their small shops with
the help of their women folk and outsiders. In 1850 the introduction of the
McKay and other machinery caused factories to be built in Lynn and Haver-
hill from which it became the custom to send out the uppers, soles, heels and
other parts to be made up into shoes in such shops in this town and vicinity, the
shoes being made and paid for by the case. The material was brought and the
manufactured product carried back to the factories by shoe freighters, as they
were called, teaming between this town and the best railroad connection. A sur-
vivor of such shoe freighters is Mr. Philester Seavey Elliot (grandson of the
early settler from the Revolutionary War, Isaac Seavey) now towards eighty-
five years old and living on Berry Road.

Also I lately met on the train another freighter, seventy-five years old, re-
turning for Old Home Week here and in Barnstead, Mr. Plummer Goodwin
now a general storekeeper in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Upon the introduction of the railroad here in 1869 Mr. Plummer, Mr. J.
Orrin Tasker and others were very influential in getting shoe manufacturers to
locate here, greatly to the benefit of the town. Mr. lasker, now a retired minis-
ter, is well-preserved and probably the oldest man in town at the age of ninety-
five. The list of factories and firms who have occupied them, as furnished by
the Hon. N. S. Drake, is as follows: —

Old Shoe factory near the depot was built in 1870, and was first occupied by
three firms viz. Charles D. Pecker, Benjamin F. Doak, and L. G. Sweatt, and
was known as the Pecker, Doak and Sweatt Factory. They remained here sev-
eral years and then moved away.

The next firm to occupy the factory was Morgan, Dore and Libbey who
came here in 1881.

Since they left the town the factory has been occupied by : Knowles and
Poole (for whom a new factory was built), Edward Randall and Company
Randall, Adams and Company, Eugene P. Hill, Hill and Drake Shoe Compny,
Hill and Greene, George D. Merrill Shoe Company.

At the present time Adams Brothers occupy a part of the old factory and
all of the new factory. The remainder of the old factory is occupied by the
Globe Manufacturing Company.

In 1879 the firm of Charles B. Lancaster and Company came to town and
established their shoe business here in a factory situated on Joy street which
was built by the citizens of Pittsfield for their use. This factory was run by
water power. Later Mr. Lancaster built another factory located one hundred
and fifty feet from the first and continued to operate both of these factories
for many years ; also a factory at Centre Barnstead, doing the largest shoe busi-
ness of any firm that ever operated in Pittsfield.

Since they removed from town the factory has been occupied by : W. F.
Morgan, Jr., Blake, Allen and Company, Drake and Sanborn Shoe Company,
Pittsfield Shoe Company, Adams Brothers who own and run it at the present



Pre-eminent among the farmers and milk producers, not only in this town
hut in the State of New Hampshire, is Professor J. W. Sanborn whose farm
of many hundred acres is in the towns of Gilmanton, Loudon, Barnstead and
-Pittsfield and whose local market place is in Pittsfield.

As a young man, about fifty years ago, he was a member of the State Board
of Agriculture, and after that, on account of his scientific knowledge relating to
farming, he has been many years in the Agricultural Department of the Univer-
sity of Missouri and President of the Utah State College, and has always been
a great contributor to education for everything relating to farming and its pro-
ducts. He has been an inspiration to the farmers of this vicinity, teaching them
to fertilize and rotate their crops, select their live stock, and make their farms
pay. While Professor Sanborn is the largest shipper of nlilk from here he has
said "Milk is produced at a not very generous profit when all costs are rigidly
examined, yet at a larger margin than the staple products that such farms as
mine, located too far from the markets for the vegetables and small fruits, must
produce. Milk would not be produced at all but for the necessity of its by-
product manure, which is our cheapest factor for the production of plant food."
A saying of his is "Great things cannot come by small effort."

Some of the people prominent and successful as farmers years ago were
Sylvester H. French, John J. Jenness, Capt. Isaac Smith, Miss Eliza Jenness,
David Tilton, Sherburn J. Winslow, Daniel Watson, M. Swain Clough, J. C.
Mcintosh, George R. Drake, now Secretary of the New Hampshire State
Grange, Moses Perkins, Col. James Drake and Isaiah Berry. But in recent years
farming in this vicinity has changed to the production of milk, eggs, poultry and
fruit as the best money-getters, since it is difficult to compete with the Western
packers and shippers of hogs and beeves and their products.

Incident to farming is the apple growing industry of the town. Several
years ago Mr. William White, a wealthy leather manufacturer of Lowell, Mass.,
bought the Edward Berry farm on Berry Road called "Maplehurst" and con-
verted a large area of wood and pasture land into one of the largest and best
apple orchards not only in this State but in New England. It is under the very
able management of Mr. Richard B. Bartlett, a man educated in fruit culture,
who has for years had charge of it and has taken many prizes for the excellent

Online Library1884 numbers of the Bay state monthlyBe the first and subjects of first 10 volumes and List of porThe Granite monthly, a New Hampshire magazine, devoted to literature, history, and state progress (Volume 53) → online text (page 51 of 57)