Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

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

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ward." The conference invited requests from any villages or
neighborhoods that wished to have such an institution. In
response to this appeal Elder William Demeritt of Durham, pastor
of the Christian Baptist Church, and other citizens of Durham
became interested in securing the location of this academy. They
were successful in their efforts, and the act of incorporation was
passed in 1840, locating the institution at Durham, to be known
as the Durham Academy. Elder Demeritt was the chief finan-
cial and business manager. The original design was to have an
institution that would accommodate 250 pupils, and donations
were solicited throughout the conference. A large share of the
expense, however, was paid by Elder Demeritt, who left his farm
and moved into the house now occupied by C. E. Hoitt, where
he boarded pupils. The academy was located on an acre of
land between the village cemetery and the brick church, bought
of Widow Hannah Young. It was a two-story edifice built of
brick and stone and consisted of a large room and two class rooms
on each floor, besides a basement. The lower story was devoted
to the boys, and the upper story to the girls, while the basement
was used by the Christian Society as a vestry. The building had
a tower and bell. The site can be seen easterly of the present
schoolhouse fence.

The first term of the academy commenced 27 August 1841,
with Joshua D. Berry as principal, assisted by his sister. Among
those who taught in the academy might be mentioned Trueman K.
Wright, Miss Martha Bridgman of Hanover, who married Mr.
Wright, Maurice Lamprey of Hampton, Mary F. Kent, O. D.
Adams, Mr. Hills, Mr. Pease, Mr. Courser, Miss Richardson,
Miss Allen, Orrin Payson, Edward Lancaster, Ira G. Hoitt,
James Bates, Dr. John G. Pike, Joshua M. Pitman, Mary E.
Kelley, George K. Hilton, Abraham Burnham and George F.

Among the pupils who attended were Hon. Joshua B. Smith,
Miss Mary P. Thompson, Maj. Enoch G. Adams, Dr. John G.
Pike, Dr. T. J. W. Pray, Hamilton Smith, John S. Hayes, J. W.
Coe, John E. Thompson, Dr. R. L. Hodsdon and Dea. Winthrop
S. Meeerve.



Elder William Demeritt died in 1842 and the academy severely
felt his absence. An effort was made to cancel the debt and to
raise an endowment. The tuition and other resources were not
sufficient to meet expenses, and thus the institution gradually
declined. Higher institutions of learning must give much for
little in order to attract students. Education has to be about
as free as the Gospel before many will be induced to receive it.



1} ,

Village School House
Erected on site of the Brick Meeting House

But while Durham Academy flourished, it ranked high in efficiency
and was a credit to the town.

In one term sixty-eight males and forty-four females were
enrolled as pupils, about thirty per cent, being non-residents and
some coming from other states. The academic year consisted
of four terms of eleven weeks each. Students were fitted for
college, and there were other courses of four years. The tuition
was $4 per term, with additional expense for extras. Board was
from $1.25 to $1.50 per week, including everything except wood.

In 1864 John S. Smith, pastor of the First Christian Church,
proposed that the academy building be sold at auction and the


seats used for the brick church that had been built near by. The
walls were cracked and the building was unsafe. The brick and
stone were taken to Portsmouth. The bell was stored in Mark
Willey's shop, and in 1879 it could not be found, and an effort was
made to collect $42 for it.

For about sixty years the people of DuVham have missed the
advantages of the academy and have been obliged to pay tuition
and car-fares to have their children attend the high school,
academy, or seminary in Dover, Newmarket, Exeter or other
towns. Some families have removed from town in order to
educate their children, and other families have not moved into
town because of this lack of educational facilities. This has been
a serious loss to the town. The growing college and increasing
population demand a preparatory school of first grade. Such
an institution would help Durham in many ways. The conse-
quent increase of value to real estate would indirectly pay for
the building. It would attract students and families to the town.
It is hoped that some generous person may imitate the noble
example of Benjamin Thompson and give or bequeath funds
sufficient to establish an institution that shall even surpass in
honor and usefulness old Durham Academy.

The following is Durham's Collegiate Roll of Honor: John
Sullivan, James Sullivan and George Sullivan, Harvard, 1790;
Jacob Sheafe Smith, Harvard, 1805; Henry Smith, Bowdoin,
1810; John A. Richardson, Dartmouth, 1819; Richard Steele,
Dartmouth, 1815; John Thompson, Harvard, 1822; Hamilton
Smith, Dartmouth, 1829; Charles Ingalls, Dartmouth, 1829;
George P. Mathes, Dartmouth, 1834; William B. Smith, Dart-
mouth, 1840; John S. Woodman, Dartmouth, 1842; Enoch
George Adams, Yale, 1849; Hilliard Flanders, Union Seminary,
1849; John Isaac Ira Adams, Yale, 1852; George T. Wiggin
Dartmouth, 1859; William A. Odell, Harvard, 1864; George S.
Frost, Dartmouth, 1865; Gen. Charles W. Bartlett, Dartmouth,
1869; Edwin DeMeritt, Dartmouth, 1869; Frank DeMeritt,
Dartmouth, 1870; George E. Thompson, Dartmouth, Chandler
Scientific, 1879, and Harvard Medical, 1884; George W. Ran-
som, Dartmouth, 1886; Miss Ada M. Thompson, Wellesley,
1886; Rev. William J. Drew, Berea, 1891; Miss Margaret A.
Coe, Smith College, 1896; Miss Anne H. Coe, Smith College,
1902; Roy W. Mathes, Dartmouth Medical, 1906; John R.


Mathes, Dartmouth, 1900; James M. Mathes, Dartmouth^
191 1 ; Miss Ruth E. Thompson, Denver University, 1912; Cal-
vert King Mellen, Norwich University, 1884.

The following residents of Durham have graduated at the New
Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts:

Miss Carrie L. Comings, 1897; Miss M. E. Comings, 1897;
Leslie D. Hayes, 1897; Miss Mabel L. Hayes, 1898; Miss Etta
L. Simpson, 1899; Miss Fannie Burnham, 1900; Charles E. P.
Mathes, 1900; Miss Alvena Pettee, 1900; Miss Blanche M.
Foye, 1900; Harold M. Runlett, 1901 ; Eugene P. Runlett,
1902; Ernest F. Bickford, 1903; David A. Watson, 1903; Frank
R. Brown, 1903; Everett G. Davis, 1903; Albert N. Otis, 1903;
Horace J. Pettee, 1905; Warren C. Hayes, 1905; Miss Lucia S.
Watson, 1907; Miss Sarah E. Pettee, 1908; Miss Katharine
DeMeritt, 1908; Miss Margaret DeMeritt, 1908, M. A., 1912;
Mary A. Che^ley, 1908; Stephen DeMeritt, 1912; Miss Bernice
M, Hayes, 191 2; Myles S. Watson, 1912; Charles F. Scott, 1913;
Miss Marie L. Robertson, 1900.

The New Hampshire College of Agriculture and

Mechanic Arts

It was a great day for Durham when this institution, which
began its existence in 1866 at Hanover, was removed here. The
inducement was the bequest of Benjam.in Thompson, of which
mention is made in the biographical sketch of that benefactor.
The bequest, by accumulation of interest, now amounts to an
endowment of nearly $800,000, and its annual income of about
$32,000 became available first in 1910. The State appropriated
$100,000 for building in 1 891 and an additional appropriation
of $35,000 in 1893, when the college entered upon its new career.
New buildings have been added from time to time, made neces-
sary by the rapidh- increasing number of students and by new
courses of study. Its halls and campus are taking on the appear-
ance of the old New England colleges, except that the campus
is larger and has greater variety of landscape, with much natural
beauty. The college owns 380 acres, of which sev-enty acres are
forest and one hundred and twenty acres are in tillage. There
are hill and dale, orchard and woodland, meadow and stream,
gardens and greenhouses, race-track and ball-ground. A special

^^^ x^^WPSHlRE cou^^^





dormitory has been built for young ladies, and the young men in
clubs hire spacious houses with all needed accommodations. The
removal of the railroad track toward the west and the disappear-
ance of several unsightly buildings have made possible the further
beautifying of the campus.

The growth of the college has been phenomenal. In 1893 the
enrollment of students numbered only thirty and there were only
seven professors in the Faculty. Now there are 354 students
enrolled and the Faculty has forty-two instructors. Nearly
2,000 students have already availed themselves of the privileges
of this institution, perhaps induced in many cases by the reason-
ableness of expense, which need not exceed $300 annually. There
are also a goodly number of scholarships, besides opportunities
for partial self-support. Here may be found an earnest set of
young people, who go to college for hard intellectual work more
than for athletics and a general good time. However, they get
athletic exercises and good times incidentally, the way happiness
must always come. There is an excellent gymnasium and the
play-ground adjoining welcomes often enough teams and ball
clubs from other New England colleges.

The buildings of the college can not be described in a few
words better than by quoting from the last bulletin:

Thompson Hall is the main administrative building and contains the offices
of the President, the Dean, the Registrar and the Purchasing Agent. Here
also are located the departments of Drawing and Machine Design, Modern
Languages, Mathematics and Zoology.

Conant Hall is given ovei wholly to the departments of Chemistry, Physics
and Electrical Engineering.

Morrill Hall contains the Experiment Station Library of over twenty-five
hundred volumes, the office of the Director of the Expciimcnt Station, and the
laboratories, lecture rooms and offices of the departments of Agronomy, Animal
Husbandry', Horticulture and Forestry.

Nesmith Hall is occupied by the departments of Chemistry and Botany
of the Experiment Station and contains the laboratory and lecture room of the
department of Botany of the college.

The Mechanical Engineering Building contains a wood shop, a machine
shop, a forge shop, a foundry and the laijoratories of the Mechanical Engineer-
ing department.

In the Armory are the lecture rooms and offices of the Military department,
the rooms of the College Club and a large drill hall or gymnasium.

The Dairy Building is arranged and equipped in the most up-to-date and
sanitary manner. It contains a commercial creamer^', with separator room,
churning room and cold storage room; laboratories for giving instruction in






milk testing, milk inspection, farm butter and cheese making and bacteriology;
a reading and exhibition room; a class room and offices.

The college has also an insectary, a large modern dairy barn, several smaller
barns for sheep, horses, etc., and a range of greenhouses especially planned for
carrying on up-to-date work in greenhouse management.

Smith Hall, the woman's dormitory, was made possible by the generosity
of Mrs. Shirley Onderdonk, of Durham, who gave sixteen thousand dollars as
a memorial to her mother, Mrs. Alice Hamilton Smith. The remainder of
the cost, ten thousand dollars, was provided by the State. The building
furnishes accommodations for thirty-two students.

In accordance with an act of consolidation between the lil)raries of Durham
and the college, the books of the Durham Public Library and the college are
all shelved in one building and form the Hamilton Smith Public Library.
This consolidation makes an especially good collection, the scientific books of
the college supplementing well the more popular books of the town library.
The consolidated libraries number about 30,000 bound volumes and 10,000

On the thirteenth day of April 191 3, the Governor of New
Hampshire signed the bill appropriating $80,000 for a new engi-
neering building, which will be erected at once.

Thus have been brought together in twenty years buildings
and property to the value of about half a million of dollars, besides
the endowment fund. Surely a firm basis has been laid, and the
future growth of the college is assured. The application of
science to agriculture has made farming in New England a new
and attractive business, demanding brains as well as brawn. The
trolley, the telephone and the rural delivery of mail no longer
leave the farmhouse in lonely isolation. Good roads are bringing
the markets nearer. Will women become farmers, and is this
the reason why they are admitted to New Hampshire College?
Why not.'* Indeed, this is actually the fact and one of growing
importance. It has been proved that women have business
enterprise and scientific knowledge sufiicient to manage large
farms successfully. There is reason to think that they will soon
compete with men in this vocation, as they are now doing in
many trades and professions that were once closed to them.
Good agriculture is the basis of human welfare in material things,
and should be considered an honorable occupation and made
sufficiently lucrative.

Look at the list of sui:)jects taught and wish \'ourself young
again, such as the study of soils, seeds, farming machinery, domes-
tic animals and their proper care, dairying, orcharding, horti-

Kappa Sigma Beta Phi Theta Chi

Gamma Theta Zeta Epsilon Zeta

Houses now or once used by College Fraternities


culture, forestry, botany and chemistry. Thus equipped the
young farmer begins his work, knowing what to do on his par-
ticular farm and how to do it. He can raise a profitable crop of
something almost anywhere, if he only knows how. He can
draw nutriment out of the air, by proper rotation of crops. If
one does not like farming, one can here become fitted to be a
chemist, an electrical or mechanical engineer, a surveyor, a
machinist, a teacher, and to handle a great variety of tools.
The student learns to do things as well as to philosophize about
them. Here is pragmatism in contrast with speculative phi-

The military drill, optional in the senior year, is a useful train-
ing for many, but will be abandoned with the growth of the
college into a State University, for the time is hastening on when
international arbitration will keep the peace of the world and
the nations shall learn war no more.

Education by the State is taking the place of education by
Christian denominations, and the former is no less Christian
than the latter. New Hampshire ought to have at least one
institution of learning, where women have equal privileges with
men and both may pursue any lines of study they may choose.
A course in Domestic Science and Household Arts is the latest
attraction. Why not have also courses in architecture, sculpture,
painting, music, and literature? All these departments will
be added in due time. An endowment by some noble patron or
alumnus will hasten the desired end.

It is gratifying to know that the college recognizes that it
should be an educator of the people at large as well as of the
students that flock to Durham. Bulletins of very valuable
information go forth from the Experiment Station. "A College
on Wheels" is the name given to its Extension Service, that
sends lecturers throughout- the State to teach farmers how to
raise fruit, hay, stock, etc., that makes exhibits at fairs, and
enrolls whosoever will in agricultural reading courses.

The first president of the college, after its separation from
Dartmouth and removal to Durham, was Dr. Charles S. Murk-
land, who took charge in the fall of 1893 and served for ten years.
Perhaps the richest legacy left by this able and erudite president
is the spirit of true scholarship which characterized his adminis-
tration and which still remains. President William D. Gibbs

Edward Thomson Fairchild, LL.D.
President of New Hampshire College



serv^ed as chief officer during the past nine years. He was singu-
larly strong in his administration of financial affairs, and during
his term the college prospered greatly. Several buildings were
added and the number of students more than doubled.

Edward Thomson Fairchild, Ph. D., LL. D., was elected presi-
dent of the college in August, 1912. He is a native of Ohio, edu-
cated at Wesleyan and Wooster Universities. His whole life has
been devoted to educational work. He taught in Ohio Normal
School and served as state superintendent of schools. Later he was
city superintendent of schools in Kansas and for eight years was

Residence of the College President

a member of the board of regents of the Agricultural College.
Three years he was state superintendent of public instruction in
Kansas, when he formulated workable and up-to-date courses of
stud\' in rural, graded and high schools throughout the state.
At the time of his election as president of New Hampshire College
he was president of the National Educational Association and
also superintendent of public instruction for Kansas. The latter
position he resigned upon coming to New Hampshire. He has
already impressed himself upon the college and town as a man of
unusual graciousness and tact in handling administrative prob-


Dean Charles H. Pettee, LL.D.


lems and as a scholar particularly well informed in educational

Mention ought to be made of the work of Prof. Charles H.
Pettee, LL. D., who has served as dean of the college fourteen
years. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1874 and from the
Thayer School of Civil Engineering in 1876 he accepted the chair
of Mathematics and Civil Engineering in the New Hampshire
College, then at Hanover. He assisted in planning and providing
for the erection of the buildings at Durham and has been a posi-
tive force in the development of the town. He is a deacon and
constant helper in the church and in the prosperity and future
growth of the town he shows his faith by his works.

At the commencement exercises held ii June 1913 the presi-
dent of the college conferred the degree of LL. D. on Dean Pettee
in the following words:

Charles Holmes Pettee, Dean of the College, for thirty-eight years you have
served this institution faithfully and well. Your loyalty has been such that
no task has been too humble or too difficult to enlist your quick sympathy
and earnest action Vou have worked for its interests in season and out of
season. Ever ready with kind advice or sympathetic assistance, you have
been a consistent friend of the thousands of students who have been enrolled
in this college. Hundreds of former students and the alumni of this institution
will join in approval of the action of the trustees in bestowing upon you the
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, and I now declare you entitled to all the
rights and privileges belonging thereto.


The educational history of Durham demands that something
should be said about the public libraries that have done so
much to stimulate desire for sound learning and to enrich the
minds of readers. The Durham Social Library was incorpo-
rated in 1815, and the Durham Agricultural Library was incor-
porated in 1862. For a long time the books of both were on the
upper floor of lawyer Richardson's office and were in constant
circulation. After Squire Richardson's death no use was made
of them until Mr. Albert DeMeritt initiated a movement to
secure them as a nucleus for a new library. Money was raised,
Benjamin Thompson being a liberal contributor, and, 9 March
1 88 1, the Durham Social Library was organized. The books of
all the libraries were kept in the Congregational Church and
Maj. H. H. Mellon was Hlirarian. The Durham Library Associa-


tion was incorporated 8 March 1883, and the Richardson law-
office and land were purchased, the building remodeled, and the
upper floor leased to Scammell Grange. Maj. H. B. Mellen
continued as librarian on the lower floor, and he was succeeded
by Hon. Joshua B. Smith, Miss Mary E. Smith and Miss Char-
lotte A. Thompson.

Mrs. Lydia Simpson died in 1895 and left about $8,000 to the
Durham Library Association, in trust, the income to be used.
March 8, 1892, the town voted to accept the provisions of an act
to establish free libraries.

March 18, 1893, the town and Durham Library Association
signed a contract, securing the union of the library of the town
with that of the association.

January 13, 1906, a contract was signed by the New Hampshire
College, the town of Durham and the Durham Library Associa-
tion, whereby the three libraries were consolidated, all three
contributing toward its support. The running expenses are
paid by the college, and the library is open to all the citizens of
Durham. The funds for the Hamilton Smith Public Library
building were contributed by Hamilton Smith and Andrew
Carnegie, and the building was furnished by the State of New
Hampshire. There are 30,000 volumes in the library, five daily
papers, twenty New Hampshire weekly papers and a large num-
ber of magazines. Thus it is seen that Durham has exceptional
library advantages.

In connection with the libraries of Durham honorable mention
should be made of Maj. Henry B. Mellen, who was born in
Durham 2 March 1828. He served during the Civil War in the
Second California Cavalry, continuing in military service till
4 October 1872, when he was retired "for loss of right foot at
ankle and left leg below the knee, from injuries rceived in line
of duty." His service was in California, Louisiana and Texas,
and he had charge of the erection of several frontier forts. Begin-
ning as first lieutenant, he gradually rose to the rank of major.
Soon after his retirement he settled in Durham and became
interested in the Library Association, serving gratuitously as
librarian and on the book committee. He died in Durham 20
June 1907, aged 78.


Ichabod Bartlett was born in Salisbur>-, 24 July 1786. He
graduated at Dartmouth in 1808 and was admitted to the bar
in 1812, beginning at once to practise law in Durham. He
removed to Portsmouth about 1818, where he resided till his
death, 19 October 1853. He was one of the ablest lawyers in
the State. He was clerk of the senate in 181 7 and 1818, rep-
resentative from Portsmouth seven times and speaker of the
house in 1 82 1. In 1822 he was elected to Congress and served as
representative three terms.

James Bartlett was born in Salisbury, 14 August 1792. He
graduated at Dartmouth in 18 12 and studied law with his brother,
Ichabod Bartlett, in Durham, and practised in partnership
with him a few years. He was appointed registrar of probate
for Strafford County in 181 9 and removed to Dover. He married,
28 June 1820, Jane, daughter of Joshua Ballard of Durham.
He served four terms as representative from Dover in the legis-
lature, 1823-26 and as State senator, 1827-28. He married
(2) June 1831, Jane AL, daughter of George Andrews of Dover.

William Boardman was born in Newmarket, 31 July 1779*
He was educated at Phillips Academy, Exeter, and studied law
with Ebenezer Smith in Durham. He began practice in Farm-
in gton about 1806 and within two years returned to Newmarket,
where he died soon after.

Joseph Clark was born in Columbia, Conn., 9 March 1759,
and graduated at Dartmouth in 1785. He studied law with
Gen. John Sullivan and began practice at Rochester about 1788.
About 1 8 10 he removed to his native town, where he died, 21
December 1828.

Nathaniel Cogswell was born in Haverhill, Mass., 9 January
1773. He graduated at Dartmouth in 1794 and studied law
with Ebenezer Smith in Durham. He commenced practice in
Gilmanton, in 1805, and removed to Newburyport, Mass.,
about 1808, where he died in 1813 or 1814.

Richard Ela was the son of Joseph and Sarah (Emerson)
Ela, born in Lebanon, 21 February 1796. He studied law with
Ichabod Bartlett in Durham and was admitted to the bar in



1819. He practised law in Durham from 1819 to 1830. He
removed to Portsmouth, and in 1835 he was appointed to a posi-
tion in the Treasury Department in Washington. He died in
Washington, D. C, 8 January 1863.

Peter French was born in Sandown in 1759. He graduated
at Harvard in 1781. He studied law with Gen. John Sulliv^an
and practised for a short time in Durham. He died in Maine.

John Ham was born in Dover, 30 December 1774. He gradu-
ated at Dartmouth in 1797 and studied law with Ebenezer Smith
at Durham. He was admitted to the bar in 1800 and began

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 23 of 34)