Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes online

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Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 19 of 34)
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aid of the aforenamed society and also of the New Hampshire
Missionary Society, together with the strenuous exertions of a
few persons in Durham, provision was made for the support of a
minister, and 18 June 1817 the Rev. Federal Burt was installed
as the fifth pastor of the church. His ministry was one of un-
surpassed prosperity. Old prejudices were laid aside, and gen-
uine piety was promoted. Soon additions were made to the


church and continued from time to time. The largest addition
was in 1826, following a revival, resulting in part from a
meeting of the General Association. Thirty-seven new mem-
bers were thus gained, not all stable converts, since five of
them were afterwards excommunicated. This revival was
greatly aided by the labors of the Rev. Henry Smith, son of
Ebenezer Smith, Esq., of Durham, a graduate of Bowdoin Col-

Rev. Federal Burt

lege and of Andover Theological Seminary. During Mr. Burt's
ministry the membership of the church increased from seven to
about seventy.

The Rev. Federal Burt was born at Southampton, Mass.,
4 March 1789 and, therefore, named Federal. He was graduated
at Williams College in 18 12. He married Mary Pickering of
Newington in July 1819. In 1827 he suffered the amputation
of a finger and then of an arm. His health being impaired, he


was appointed editor of the Neiv Hampshire Observer, and he
edited that paper till his death, 9 February 1828. He is des-
cribed as "a man of large stature, of generous, magnanimous
spirit, of ardent temperament, yet of sound judgment. Pos-
sessing superior conversational powers, much ability in extem-
poraneous speaking, and being skilled in adapting himself to
people of different classes and conditions, he was a leader among
his associates." When he was called to Durham he had another
invitation to Salisbury, Conn., where the prospects were more
flattering, but a committee of ministerial brethren from the vicin-
age expressed their "desire to have the assistance of another
fellow labourer in the hard & barren ground of the part of the
vineyard in which our Divine Master has seen fit to station us,"
and so Mr. Burt accepted the call to Durham. This record may
convince some that in "the good old times" the churches were
not more prosperous than at present. The people were not
more religious, nor did they like to go to meeting any better than
now. The ministers had more trials and it was harder to collect
regularly their meager salaries. The Revs. John Buss, Hugh
Adams, John Adams and Curtis Coe, all had great trouble in
collecting amounts due to them according to terms of contracts

It is recorded that Mr. Burt was accustomed to wear in the
pulpit the clerical gown of black silk, and that after the preach-
ing service the audience respectfully arose and stood while Mr.
and Mrs. Burt passed down the broad aisle. Have reverence
and respect decreased in these latter days?

It was during the pastorate of Mr. Burt that the first Sunday
School was formed in Durham. At a meeting held at the
school house, Sunday evening, 23 March, 1819, James Bartlett,
Jedediah Ingalls and Abraham Perkins were chosen directors
of the proposed school, whose duty it was to select instructors and
have the government and management of the school. Joseph
Hanson, Benjamin Mathes, Jr., and James Joy were another
committee to procure clothing for the destitute and funds for
the school. The following instructors and pupils are on record.
Valentine Smith's class consisted of Hamilton Smith, Charles-
Parks, John Parks, John Odell, Daniel Holt and John Hanson.
Miss Martha Leighton had under her care a class whose names
are not recorded, and the same is true of Mr. Joseph Hanson..


Miss Abigail Ballard taught the following, Mary Jackson, Mary
Chesley, Laura Emerson, Susan Leighton, Louisa Doe, Jane
Chesley and Sarah Chesley.

The class of Miss Sarah Richardson consisted of Mary Hull
13, Eliza Meserve ii, Rebecca Pickering ii, Betsey Henderson
9, Charity Willey 8, Dorothy Garland 7, and Adaline Griffin 15.

Miss Margaret Blydenburgh had for pupils, Martha Board-
man, Harriet Pickering, Sarah Garland, Harriet Libbey, Mary
Thompson, Mehitable Doe, and Elizabeth Holt.

Miss Charlotte Gregg had in her class Eliza Chesley 12,
Eliza Ingalls 9, Clarissa Coos 12, Caroline Tego 17, Jane Parks
5, Fanny Hull 11, Abigail Emerson and Mehitable Morse 7.

Miss Abigail Joy had as pupils Mary Davis, Caroline FoUett,
Lucy A. Hull, Jane Boardman, Mary Chesley, Lydia Yeaton,
Elizabeth Yeaton 7, and Mehitable Bunker 7.

The successor of the Rev. Federal Burt was the Rev. Robert
Page, who was born 25 April 1790, graduated at Bowdoin Col-
lege in 1810, at Andover Seminary in 1815, was ordained and
settled at Bradford, N. H., in 1822 and was installed at Dur-
ham 3 December 1826. He specified in accepting the call that his
small salary should be paid regularly. This was not done, and
so he resigned his pastorate after a little more than two years.
He was dismissed by Council 31 March 1831. The Council
declared him to be "an able minister of Jesus Christ, highly
esteemed in our congregations and approved and beloved by his
brethren in the ministry." He afterwards labored with success
at Hanover, Hillsborough and Lempster and died 12 January

The Rev. Alvan Tobey, D. D., succeeded Mr. Page. He was
born at Wilmington, Vt., i April 1808, graduated at Amherst
College in 1828 and at Andover Seminary in 1831. He began
preaching at Durham the, first Sabbath of October of 1831 and
was ordained 20 November 1833. His salary was $500, of which
$100 were paid 1)\ the New Hampshire Missionary Society.
In 1854 the salar>- was increased to $650 in consequence of Mr.
Tobey's proposal to withdraw. More than once he had to
stir up the brethren to make due collections for his salary, yet he
remained till Januar\- 1871. In 1867 subscriptions were ob-
tained to nearly double his salar>\ Before that he declared
that he received only half enough to comfortably support his



family. He was greatly esteemed and the church prospered
under his ministry of nearly thirty-nine years. One hundred
and forty-nine members were added to the church, thirty-four
of them in the year 1868. Mr. Tobey removed to Somersworth,
where he died 20 September 1874.

It was during his pastorate, in 1848-49, that the old meeting

Rev. Alvan Tobey, D.D.

house was torn down and the new church was erected, which con-
tinues unto the present day. Mr. Tobey saw the need of this and
advocated it several years before the work was accomplished.
Elder John Adams of Adams Point bought the old meeting house
and with the lumber erected some boarding houses at Salmon
Falls and Great Falls. Some of the round posts under the gal-



leries now form a part of the pagoda on the shore of the bay near
the residence of Mr. Adams.

The new meeting house, or church, as some have since pre-
ferred to call it, was erected on a lot purchased of Samuel Dun-
star for $250. The contractor and builder was Moses H.
Wiggin, Esq. The plans cost $31, and the cost of the furnace for
heating it was $150. The total cost was $3,325. In 1851 an
organ was put in at a cost of $500. The church was paid for by

Congregational Church

■sale of pews, a method of church building then much in vogue,
which public opinion now ^lisapproves as hostile to the general
spirit and purpose of a christian church. The rich and the
poor should meet together for worship, the Lord being the maker
of them all. The easiest way of getting money for religious
purposes is not always the best way. The new church was dedi-
cated 13 September 1849.

The successor of Mr. Tobey was the Rev. Henry Laurens
Talbot, born 4 August 1836 at East Machias, Me. He was
graduated at Andover Seminary in 1870 and was installed at




O -^
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Durham, i January 1873. He was dismissed at his request 13
March 1882 and made his residence in Durham until his death.
During his pastorate twenty-five new members were added to
the church.

The Rev. Samuel H. Barnum was the next pastor. He was
graduated at Yale College in 1875 and at Yale Theological Sem-
inary in 1879. He preached about three years at Salisbury,
N. H. He began his ministry in Durham 30 July 1882 and was
installed 25 April 1883. During his pastorate was organized the
Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. He was dis-
missed 25 March 1890, having accepted a call to Cornwall, Vt.

The church was then without a settled pastor till 30 April
1895, during which time the Rev. Charles H. Chapin acted as
pastor. He was educated at Cornell University and had preached
at Acworth and Lyme, N. H. During his pastorate the church
was repaired and enlarged, and a new organ and a new furnace
were put in.

The Rev. Oliver D. Sewall commenced preaching in Durham,
I April 1895. He was born at Chesterville, Me., 23 January
1865 and was graduated at Bowdoin College in 1887 and at
Andover Theological Seminary in 1892. He was pastor at
Strong, Me., two years. He was installed at Durham 30 April
1895, and remained two years. He was assistant pastor at
Brookline, Mass., from 1897 till 1909, and has since been pastor
at Great Barrington, Mass.

The Rev. W'illiam S. Beard was born in Harwich, Mass., 9
June 1870, son of the Rev. William Henry and Mary Adelaide
(Parker) Beard, grandson of the Re\-. Spencer Field Beard. He
was graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1890, from
Yale Academic in 1894 and from the Yale Divinity School in
1897. After serving a short time at Westchester and at South
KillingK', Conn., he accepted a call to Durham, where he began
his work in July 1897. He was ordained and installed 28 Sep-
tember 1897, and remained till the last Sunday in June 1908.
During his pastorate the parsonage was purchased and en-
tirely remodeled; the chapel was moved from its old location to
its present one and was enlarged, providing parlor, study, dining
room and kitchen. The church and chapel were painted and
renovated, newly cushioned and carpeted and refitted with elec-
tric lights, and water was introduced. Mr. Beard was secre-



tary of the Village Improvement Society and served six months
on the school board. He was called to the First Congregational
Church at Willimantic, Conn., where he began his work in
September 1908, and where he still is pastor.

The successor of Mr. Beard was the Rev. Telesphore Taisne,
son of Augustin and Clara (Le Vigne) Taisne, born in Caulery,
France, 29 May 1876. He was educated at the French-American
College, Springfield, Mass., graduating in 1899, and in Hartford

Congregational Church

Theological Seminary, graduating in 1902. He was ordained to
the Congregational ministry at the French church, Marlboro,
Mass., 25 November 1902, and remained with that church two
years. From 1903 to 1909 he was pastor of the Sixth Street
Church, Auburn, Me., where he was a member of the school
board. He began preaching in Durham the first Sunday in
February 1909, and was installed as pastor 18 May of the same
year, where he remained till his death, 23 December 191 1, from


typhoid fever. He married, 2 July 1902, at Westfield, Mass.,
Winifred N. Chisholm, daughter of Oscar H., and JuHa (Cuson)
Chisholm, who survives him. During his pastorate he taught
very acceptably several classes in French in the college and the
last year of his life he had charge of the chapel exercises. Mr.
Taisne was regarded as one of the stronger preachers of his
denomination, and his untimely death cast a gloom over the

The present pastor of the church is the Rev. Fred T. Knight,
who was born in Boston, Mass., 12 August 1859. He was edu-
cated at the Boston Latin School, Harvard, 1881, Harvard Law
School, 1884, Hartford Theological Seminary, 1895. He prac-
tised law ten years in Boston. His pastorates have been in
Quincy, Mass., 1897-1900, Stamford, Conn., 1902-04, North-
bridge, Mass., 1904-08, Harwich, Mass., 1910-12, Durham,
I December 1912 to the present time. He married, 29 June
1898, Cara W. Hanscom.

Deacons, and Dates of Their Election

Nathaniel Hill, 1718 Valentine Mathes, 1781, de-
Samuel Emerson, 1718 clined to serve

John Ambler, 1718 Walter Bryant, 1781

James Nock, 1721 Abraham Perkins, 1819

John Williams, 1722 William Wiggin, 1826

James Langley, 1724 John Thompson, 1835

Joseph Wheeler, 1732 William Tuttle, Jr., 1869

Jonathan Thompson, before 1738 James M. Smart, 1869

Ebenezer Smith, before 1752 John E. Thompson, 1874

Benjamin Wheeler, before 1766 Winthrop S. Meserve, 1877

Jeremiah Burnham Albert Young, 1894

Hubbard Stevens, before ^1765 Charles H. Pettee, 1896

Lieut. John Smith Arthur F. Nesbitt, 1907

Nathaniel Norton, before 1777 Forrest E. Cardullo, 191 2

Samuel Joy, 1791 Charles E. Hewitt, 1913


The first parsonage, occupied by the Rev. John Buss, was near
the first meeting house, by the oyster bed, and was burned in
1694. Just where Mr. Buss lived afterward does not appear, but



there is a tradition that he Hved on the parsonage lot, just south of
the road from the Falls to the Point.

Another parsonage was built in 1739, on an acre of land bought
of Lieut. Samuel Smith, and Lieut. Jonathan Thompson and
Lieut. Francis Mathes were a committee to receive a deed for
the same. The price paid was £31. This land was near the
top of the hill as one goes from the Falls to the Point, on the
north side of the road after passing the road to Newmarket, in

The Parsonage

the rear of the small house now called the Johnson house. The
town records say that this parsonage was sold in 1831 for $26.50.
Here lived the Rev. John Adams and the Rev. Curtis Coe.

The house built about 1720 by the Rev. Hugh Adams, a
few rods south of the so-called Sullivan house, was occupied by
him and later by the Rev. Mr. Tobey, and has been called a
parsonage, though it was never owned by the parish. It was
removed to the north side of Denbow's brook, on the road to
Newmarket, was repaired and is still in good condition.


The present parsonage of the Congregational Church was
built by Capt. Andrew Lapish Simpson before his marriage to
Lydia Kelley, 23 September 1840. The barn was the old house
owned and occupied by William Odiorne, ship-builder and com-
missioner for the preservation of forests. He married Avis,
daughter of the Rev. Hugh Adams. He sold his "mansion house "
to Timothy Meader in 1770. Afterward it was owned by Robert
Lapish, and then by his son-in-law, Andrew Simpson, and by
Capt. Simpson until about the time of his marriage. His widow,
Mrs. Lydia (Kelley) Simpson, died 31 May 1895, aged 81 years
and four months. She joined the church in Durham, 10 February
1833, and was always liberal in its support. She is remembered as
kind and benevolent, a friend to the church and to all in need,'
one whose social qualities drew around her many friends. She
bequeathed this house to the Congregational Society in Durham
and to the Durham Library Association. The latter sold their
half to the former, and the house has been used as a parsonage
since 1895. Capt. Simpson was a noted sea-captain and doubled
Cape Horn twenty-six times. He was representative several
years in the State legislature. He died 18 December 1870.

The First Christian Church in Durham

The organization of this church was due to the efforts of the
Rev. William Demeritt, who was ordained at Lee, ii July 1816,
together with the Rev. Israel Chesley. The audience was so
large that the meeting house could not hold them. A hay-rack
was turned upside down, and the bottom of it was used as a
platform for the ordination ceremonies.

Elder Demeritt was a minister of commanding presence and
popular gifts. He served in the ministry gratuitously on prin-
ciple. He also acted as selectman in 1812, 1833 and 1834. He
is said to have baptized and married more persons than any
other minister in his'region of country. The baptisms were by
immersion just below the bridge, and sometimes the ice was cut
from the river in preparation for the solemn rite.

The First Christian Church was organized 4 December 1819
and held its first meetings in private houses and in the old school
house west of the residence of Mrs. Albert L. Comings. The
brick meeting house was built on the site of the old George


Chesley dwelling house, which was burned 24 September 1823^
when widow Sarah Chesley and Patrick Cogan, who had been a
quartermaster in the Revolution, perished in the flames. The
brick church was dedicated 20 January 1825.

The following brief but sufficient agreement was made by the
first members of this church :

We the subscribers, professed followers of Jesus Christ, agree to strive ta
walk together in the spirit of a Church of Christ, to take the scriptures for our
guide and Christ our head, to watch over each other for our benefit, the strong
to bear the infirmities of the weak, and so fulfill the law of God, to be known
by the name of the First Christian Church in Durham.

The organizing members were Daniel Mathes, Robert Mathes^
■James Chesley, Benjamin Mathes, Ebenezer Doe, Richard Kent,
John Meader, Ebenezer Parsons, Benjamin Dame, Isaac Water-
house, William Demeritt, Aenon Barhew, Deborah Chesley, Mrs.
Lapish, Elizabeth Durgin, Sally Chesley, Susan Mathes, Betsy
Mathes, Sally Doe, Olive Emerson, Mary Demeritt, Comfort
Laskey, Sally Parsons, Susan Chesley, Mary Dame, Drusilla
Wiggin, Hannah Pendergast, Nancy Fowler, Abigail Demeritt,
Betsy Randall, Lovey Whitehouse, Margaret Appleton, Lois
Smart, Mrs. Henderson, Loisa Doe, Abigail Leighton, Lovey
Edgerly, Olive Smart, Avis Bodge, and Sally Mathes.

Elder Elijah Shaw became the minister of this church in 1842,
wiien there were thirty-four male members and fifty female
members; notwithstanding twenty -three members had died since
its organization and forty had joined other churches. Rev.
Elijah Shaw was born at Kensington, N. H., 19 December 1793
and died at Fall River, Mass., 5 May 1851. He served as pastor
at Salisbury, Mass., Portland, Me., Lowell, Mass., Durham,
Franklin, N. H., and Fall River, Mass., and also as editor of the
Christian Journal. Elder Mosher was chosen pastor in 1850 and
Elder J. S. Smith in 1862.

The Christian Society was incorporated, in 1850 and the fol-
lowing persons signed its Constitution: James Langley, Daniel
Mathes, Stephen Reynolds, Gideon C. Pitman, James Smart,
Jacob Sheppard, Thomas B. Mathes, Clement M. Davis,
Thomas Bartlett, Samuel Runlett, Richard Follet, Daniel Lee,
John Ellison, William J. Chesley, William Walker, Samuel E.
Mosher, William W. Jackson, Timothy Demeritt, Nathan
Keniston, Caleb G. Cloutman, Albert L. Gleason, J. S. Smith,


H. W. B. Grover, Charles H. Whitehorn, Willard C. Tufts,
William D. Langley, Marcus M. Estabrooks, Albert Young, and
Job. R. Giles.

The church gradually declined and the brick meeting house
was sold at auction, with the land adjoining, ii June 1889, to the
Town School District, for $255. The proceeds were divided
among the pew owners, the final dividend being made in 1894.


For some years after the first settlements in. Dover the rivers
were the only highways, and the only vehicles were boats. When
horses came into use, bridle paths were made through the forests,
following probably in some instances old Indian trails. These
were gradually widened to permit the hauling of masts and tim-
ber. The winding paths of least resistance were followed, little
care being taken to avoid steep hills or to cut them down. The
brooks and shallow streams were forded. Bridges and carriage
roads came much later. For the Mast Roads in Durham see
Miss Mary P. Thompson's Landmarks in Ancient Dover for a
full description.

The first road of which there is any historical mention is that
from Oyster River Point, now Durham Point, to "Hills Mill,"
at the Falls, in 1659, when this highway was presented at Court
because of its bad condition. The path at the head of John-
sons' Creek w^as presented at the same time. This was the path
leading from the Falls to Cochecho.

In 1663 Philip Chesley and Patrick Jameson w^ere chosen "to
lay out the heigways from 0>'ster River to Cochechae and make
the heigways fitt for horse and foot and bring thear a Compt
of thear charges to the Townsmen."

In 1664 Capt. Ralph Hall and Dea. John Hall were ordered to
lay out a highway from Lamprill River fall to the water side in
Great Bay, through what was afterward called Doe's Neck, in
Newmarket, then a part of Dover. See page 32.

In 1686 John Woodman, Thomas Edgerly, Nicholas Harrison,
John W'in,gate, and John Tuttle, selectmen, reported that they
had laid out highways as' follows: "from Willies Creeke near
Bickfords Ferry unto Oyster River fall," and also a road to " Bel-
limans banke falls, neare along as the path goes fouer Rods in
breadth as it was formerly laid out by John Bickford and John
Woodman by a Towne order." They also reported that they
had "bin Uppon the high wayes betwixt Oyster River and Lam-
perele River & have laid out the high wayes as the path goes to
be fouer Rod wide from Oyster River falls to Lampriele River
falls, or about fortie Rods above it as may be most conuenient,

















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and we have Laid out a highway from oyster River falls unto
the freshett or over the River into the Commons by Edward
Smalls of fower Rod wide near as the Path now goes."

In 1701 it was voted in Dover town meeting "that a highway
be laid out from the mast path to the Cheslies mill on Oyster
River over the freshet, to run by Edward Smalls and so clear
threw to the old way formerly Laid into the commons by
Edward Smalls and so to Lamperele Second Falls maintaining
the same breadth." This is the southerly branch of the Mill
Road, after crossing Oyster River at Chesley's Mill, where the
ruins of the old dam are plainly seen. On this road or near it
lived Jabez Davis and Dea. John E. Thompson in more recent
times, whose lonely abandoned house is perched upon the bank
close to the railroad cutting. Here was once a fine farm, with
beautiful shade trees and orchard and five miles of well laid stone
wall. Further out on this road, now abandoned, lived Edward
Small two hundred or more years ago. In Mr. Caverno's lower
field and near the river is an old cellar, where some say Mr. Bal-
lard built a house, but the land seems to be described in a deed
from Jonathan Woodman and his wife, Elizabeth, of Dover, for
"y^ Natural Lov^e & affection w*"^ I have & bear to my Sister
Mary Small of Moniemay." The conveyance was of twenty
acres on the "south Side of Oyster River Betwixt y^ Mill Pond
& y® River" and the date was lo June 1707.

In the year 1719 there was a petition for the reopening of the
old road from the Falls along the northwesterly side of the
freshet, or mill-pond. The original petition is of great interest,
since it has the autograph signatures of over fort\- of the men of
Oyster River at that time. The petition is here given with the
names underwritten, except two or three that can not be de-
ciphered easily.

To the Worshipfull Justices now siting at porthmouth the Compleint of us the
Subscribers hombly shueth that where as the town of Doucr have granted
and Laid out highways at the hed of oyster River and also Land Laid out for
a Landing place for Laying of Timber & other goods which now fenced up by
Cap Nathanil Hill and sons is great damage to the Inhabitcnc there for their



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hailing of timber wood and fencing which we hope your Worships will consider
the matter and do his Majesties subjects Justice in that affair.

Solomon Davis Thomas Davis

David Kincaid Moses Davis

Joshua Davis

John Tasker Abraham Clark

Edward Pomry Thomas Drew

James Clark William Drew

Tomas Drew Eli Clark

Clement Drew Samuel Davis

Joseph Jenkens Peter Mason

Joseph Smalle William Pitman

Benjamin Smalle Daniel Davis

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 19 of 34)