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 4 of 34)
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also thirty acres of meadow ground lying "on the westerlie side
of the greate baye neere unto a cove called the greate Cove,"
excepting ten acres given unto John Ault by the said Thomas
Larkham, also one hundred acres on the easterly side of the said
marsh ground given by Dover to said Larkham. Goddard paid
for all this land 16,500 of merchantable pipe staves. Goddard's
Creek, an often mentioned landmark, ran through the thirty
acres of land above mentioned.

John Goddard was one of Capt. John Mason's colonists, who
came over in the Pied Coiv in 1634. He aided in erecting the
first saw mill and grist mill run by water in New England, at
what is now Great Works, South Berwick, Me. It would seem
from what is said above that his house, which was a garrison,
stood south of the creek.

Mention has been made of land butting upon two small islands
granted to Richard York. His son John inherited this land and
islands and, i June 1676, he and wife Ruth sold to Michael
French of Oyster River "all that tract or point of land lying and
being in Lubberland, bounded by the Great Bay on the South

3



34 HISTORY OF DURHAM

east side, by the lands of Nicholas Doe on the North west side,
by the lands of the said John York on the North east side, and
by the creek called Goddards Creek on the South west Side,"
"with a parcel of marsh on the South side and two little Islands
containing by estimation six acres be it more or less." One of
the witnesses was Thomas Ladbrook. October 14, 1680, John
York conveyed to Roger Rose eighty acres granted to York's
father, with all meadows, flats, creek, thatch-bed, islands, and
islets belonging to said grant. Roger Rose sold this land to
John Rawlins of Newbury, and Rawlins sold it to John Smith, 20
July 1705, "a tract of land and salt marsh, houses, ffeilds and



Davis-Smith Garrison, Lubberland

orchards scituate, lying and being in Lubberland." Roger Rose
died 6 August 1705, leaving no issue, so far as learned. He was
born about 1638 and married in 1661 Abigail, daughter of Chris-
topher Grant of Watertown, Mass. In early life he was a servant
of William Hudson. He is called "tailor."

Joseph, son of John Smith, sold above mentioned land and
islands to Nicholas Doe, and Sampson Doe, his son, sold the
same to Joseph Chesley, 27 March 1707. The latter is said to
have had a garrison house here and the islands were called
Chesley's Islands. Some have supposed that the first Philip
Chesley lived here, but the evidences are all against that
supposition.

John Alt, "aged about seventy-three years," deposed, 2



HISTORY OF DURHAM 35

March 1677/8, that Robert Smart senior of Exeter did own and
possess all the meadow on the southwest side of John Goddard's
Creek "and y"^ said Smart did possess it twelve years before
Dover was a township & he did possess it sixteen years together. "
This takes us back to 1636. Others testified to the same effect in
a controversy that arose. A part of this marsh came into the
possession of Sampson Doe, and the rest was sold by Robert
Smart to Joseph Smith and his son John, 8 April 1706.

It has been said above that the Rev. Thomas Larkham gave
ten acres to John Ault before 1642, lying next to Goddard's land.
The town also granted to John Ault, 10 August 1653, eighty
acres at "y^ Great Cove above needums poynt, 40 rods in length
upon y^Cove. " This was laid out to him in 1669, beginning at
Richard York's marked tree and running thence by the water
side forty rods toward Needoms point. The place is called
Broad Cove and also Needham's Cove. It seems that John
Ault did not live here. He sold this land, in 1670, to John
Cutt of Portsmouth. Ault's home lot will be shown further on.

It was in this vicinity that David Davis, who was taxed in
1680, built his garrison house in 1695, which until recently stood
about a quarter of a mile west of where Warren Smith now lives.
The road has been changed so as to run over the site of the old
garrison. Davis was killed by Indians, 27 August 1696. John
Smith got possession of this land also and kept adding to his
landed estate till he owned a stretch of about four miles along the
northerly shore of the Great Bay, and here his descendants have
lived unto the present day.

Needham's Point, called later Jewell's Point, derived its name
probably from Nicholas Needham of Exeter, though no record has
been found of land owned by him here. Needham's Cove is
northeast of the Point, and the point of land at the easterly
extremity of the Cove was anciently called Pinder's Point. The
next point of land was called Morris's Point, and between the
two points was Clift Cove. John and Ruth York 14 October
1680, sold to John Pinder, brickmaker and bricklayer, "land
beginning at the little point in Clift Cove adjoining to Thomas
Morris and so over the neck to a pine tree by the path going to
Lubberland." John York had bought this land of Thomas
Roberts, senior, i July 1669. Here lived the Pinder family for
several generations.



36 HISTORY OF DURHAM

Lubberland seems to have been a name given first to the region
between Lamprey River and Goddard's Creek and to have gradu-
ally been applied to all the adjoining region along the north
shore of Great Bay.

Thomas Morris was taxed in 1663 and died 30 July 1707, as
Pike's Journal says. His will gives his land to his friends James
and William Durgin. James Durgin's son, John, sold to John
Smith, 2 January 1735, twenty acres of land "with one dwelling
house thereon situate lying & being in Durham ajoining on y^
north west side of y^ Great bay & bounded by John Finders land
on y® Southwest & on y^ North by John Smiths land & on y^
northeast by y® Creek call Thomas Morrys [Morris's] Creek."

Next east of Thomas Morris came land of Thomas Footman,
granted to him in 1653. He first lived on the shore of Little
Bay, as we shall soon see. An island, still called Footman's
Island, was granted to him on the 19th of 8th month, 1653, con-
taining one acre of land more or less, in the mouth of the Great
Bay. The island, "laying against the house," is mentioned in
Thomas Footman's will, 1667. The site of the Footman house
is easily found in about the middle of the field.

Next to Thomas Footman lived William Durgin. This ap-
pears from the following citation. December 20, 1723, Francis
Durgin of Exeter sold to John Smith his right, title and interest
in "one certain neck of land situate lying & being on y® norwest
side of great bay & aioyning to Matheses Creek so called which
being y* half of s*^ neck of land which my father William Durgin
lived on in his life time & died in y® Persetion." December ii,
1694, William Furber was licensed to keep a ferry from his house
at Welchman's Cove, to transport travelers over to Oyster
River, at the rate of three pence for each person and eight pence
for man and horse, if landed "at Mathews his neck," and six
pence for each person and twelve pence for man and horse, if
landed "at Durgins the west side of Mathews his neck." See
N. H. Province Papers, Vol. H, 146-47.

Eli Edgerly has long lived on the old Durgin farm. In front
of his house and about two rods distant there was a cellar where
now is a large cherry tree. Here was probably the Durgin garri-
son mentioned in 1695. The ferry landing seems to have been
in a little cove at the southeast corner of the field. The site of



HISTORY OF DURHAM



37



Thomas Footman's house is plainly seen from Mr. Edgerly's
doorway.

South of Crommett's Creek and west of the road a winding road
near the creek led to the home of the Daniel family in the old
days. Certainly John Daniel lived here and probably his father,
"Davey" Daniel. The cellar can be found easily.

On the 23d of the loth month, 1654, a grant was made to
Francis Matthews of "all the marsh in the Great Creek on the
norwest side of the Great Bay, being the first creek, and one




Adams Point, First Called "Matthews Neck"
In the distance, beyond Crommett's Creek, is the old Durgin farm



hundred acres of upland adjoining to it." This creek was for
many years called Mathes Creek, till Joshua Crommett and his
son, Jacob, settled on the north side of it and west of the road,
where a Mr. Quimby has recently lived. They managed the
grist mill, the ruins of which may be seen on the west side of the
creek, south of the road. Crommett was living here before 1772.
It is still known as Crommett's Creek.

All that neck of land, which is almost an island, has been known
since 1654 as Matthews, or Mathes, Neck. Benjamin Matthews



38 HISTORY OF DURHAM

had a grant, loth of 2d month, 1654, of "a Little Plott of marsh
at the head of the Little Bay, with the neck of land there."
Matthews Neck is now called Adams Point, from the name of the
present owner. This is now a beautiful summer resort. The
view of the extensive meadow, of Great and Little Bays, and of
Furber's Point opposite in Newington is one of the best in all
this region of fine scenery. The present house is the fourth that
has stood on the same site. Here lived Capt. Benjamin Mathes
for a time.

Next north of Matthews Neck and stretching from Crommett's
Creek to the head of Little Bay is the old Kent farm, where eight
generations of the Kent family have lived. There were laid out
to Oliver Kent, 3d of 2d month, 1658, seventy acres of land,
"bounded betwixt William Drewes and Mrs. Mathes and Charles
Adamses by the cricke side commonly called Mr Mathews
Cricke." Oliver Kent was taxed in Dover in 1648 and perhaps
had lived here from even earlier than that date, since grants of
land were often made years after occupation and improvement.
His house stood on the hilltop westerly of the present barn of
Mr. Eben Kent, and the old Kent burial-ground is southeasterly
of said barn. It contains marble headstones of some of the later
generations and rough unlettered granite stones to mark the
resting places of the early families. The outlook from the Kent
lawn is alone enough to make life happy. Oliver Kent's son,
Joseph, added to the original grant the above mentioned lot of
Charles Adams by purchase from his heirs, 15 February 1714/5.
It had been granted to Charles Adams as an out lot in 1656,
"one necke of land lying on the south side of Bronsons Crick
bounded from the western branch upon a south line to the Great
Bay." Oliver Kent bought of George Smythe, administrator
of the estate of George Webb, in 1651," an acre and a half of
land in Oyster River Plantation heretofore in the possession of
said George Webb," who in 1642 was presented at court "for
living idle like a swine." This is all we need to know of him.
He probably lived as a fisherman, in single wretchedness, on the
south shore of Branson's Creek.

Jonas Bines had a grant of "an out lot being on the south west
side of a Creeke caled by the name of Bransons Creeke being
ten acres, the west side ioyning to George Webb, from a great
white Oke marked and the east side coming to a little gutt,



HISTORY OF DURHAM 39

right over against a place called the hay stack and lyeth next to
Charles Adams Lott." This lot was sold to John Hill, 26 Febru-
ary 1668, by John Bickford, senior, who may have acted as
executor of the estate of Jonas Bines, since there is no record of
Bines after that date. It was laid out to John Hill thus "The
head line begins at a pine tree by Bransons Crick and runs south
west 29 or 30 rod along Georg web his lot to the corner tree and
from the pine tree down the Crick 40 rod Est South Est to a letell
gut by the Crick and from that gut it Runs south west 37 rods
to a little Pine tree marked and from that tree it Runs west
south west 60 rod to a marked tree and from that marked tree
it Runs to the upper Corner of George Webes lot." This lot
seems to be now a portion of the Kent farm.

Branson's or Bronson's Creek next engages our attention, a
small inlet, about the. size of Willey's Creek, which is better
known. It is on the south side of the old Thomas Drew farm and
was named from George Bronson, or Branson, who was taxed in
1648 and was killed by a bull, 2 July 1657. John Ault testified
that "Bronson went well out of his house and he went after him
and found Bronson lying on the ground crying that the bull had
killed him." He left nothing to perpetuate his name but this
creek. There is no grant or sale of land in his name. Even the
creek is called Brands Krick in 1691 and half a century later it
is called in a deed Blanchard's Creek. Let the old name be
retained. It is better than a tombstone for George Branson.

The next lot was granted to William Drew, loth of 8th month,
1653, "sixty acres of upland being on the north side of Bransons
Creeke joining to his marsh." This was assigned to his son,
Francis Drew, and laid out in 1669, "on the north side of Bran-
sons Crieck from the marsh thirty rods north est to a marked
tree at the cricke next to Thomas Wille^ land and from thence
160 rods northwest to a marked tree and from thence 90 rods
southwest to a marked tree." Francis Drew deeded this to his
son Thomas, 9 October 1691. Some time after the return of
Thomas from captivity in Canada he settled here with his wife,
Tamsen, but the other heirs of Francis Drew long afterward
claimed some right in this farm. This explains a deed of Elijah
Drew, son of Thomas and Tamsen, dated 15 May 1744, when he
conveyed to Joseph Wheeler and Zachariah Edgerly "all right
in lands and tenements which did belong unto Mary Green of



40 HISTORY OF DURHAM

Stratham, being a fifth part of sixty acres of land lying by ye
Little Bay & by Bransis Creek. "

John Drew, brother of Thomas and son of Francis, escaped
from a window in the old Drew garrison at Drew's Point, on the
south side of Oyster River, at the time of the massacre in 1694,
and was slain by Indians in 1706. He left two daughters, as a
deed shows, Mary, who married Joseph Wheeler, and Joanna,
who married Zachariah Edgerly, A deed of partition, dated 13
July 1747, between Joseph Drew and John Drew, sons of Thomas,
and Joseph Wheeler and Mary his wife and Zachariah Edgerly
and Joanna his wife, gives to Joseph and John Drew their part
of sixty acres, "Beginning at a stake and stones standing half
a rod south west from the south corner of the old house cellar
& from said stake and stones it runs south fifty Degrees and
a half Degree east to the Salt River, with lands, buildings and
appurtenances thereto belonging, " and to said Wheeler and Mary
his wife & Zachariah Edgerly and Joanna his wife all on the
other side of a line, "with all that Land which Thomas Drew
late of Dover afores'^ son of Francis Drew late of the same place
purchased of Margaret Squire." This land also reached down
to the salt river. Margaret Squier, widow of Bernard Squier
probably, conveyed to Thomas Drew, 24 July 1701, eighteen
acres on the northwest side of little bay, joining to lands of
aforesaid Thomas Drew. This land had been granted to her
first husband, Thomas Willey.

This old Drew farm many years ago came into the possession
of Richard Kent. The buildings now standing unoccupied
were erected by him, but the old Drew residence could not have
been far from the same site. Old residents in this vicinity say
that it stood a little lower down, eight or ten rods from the present
barn. It was demolished about one hundred years' ago and Mr.
Joseph Adams has now one of its doors. The Drew burial-
ground is in the field below the house, on the west side of a gulley
through which flows a small brook into Branson's Creek. The
cemetery is unfenced. The inscriptions on two headstones can
be read with some difficulty. Many rough granite stones appear.
Here sleep the ashes of Thomas and Tamsen Drew and many of
their fourteen children and more numerous grandchildren.

In 1653 there were granted to Rice Howell twenty acres "next
to William Drews grant." This he exchanged with Thomas



HISTORY OF DURHAM • 4I

Footman for land further north, and Footman sold these twenty
acres to Thomas Willey, who, 4 August 1666, sold land adjoining
to Henry Hollwells to William Perkins, who seems to have added
thereunto, for, 10 June 1694, William Perkins and wife, Elizabeth,
who had removed to Exeter, conveyed to their daughter, Eliza-
beth Wheeler, sixty acres of land with house, "over against Little
Bay," reserving a moiety of mowing land and of growth of
apples during lifetime. Here lived John Wheeler and wife,
Elizabeth, till they were killed by Indians, in 1706. His son,
Deacon Joseph Wheeler, inherited the farm, added more to it and
passed it along to his son, Benjamin Wheeler. The old cellar near
the stone house, belonging to Mr. Edward Rollins of Boston and
formerly belonging to Charles H. Mathes, and built by James
Fernald, perhaps seventy-five or one hundred years ago, on the
farm next north of the old Drew estate, is probably that of the
Wheeler family. October 30, 1765, Benjamin and Elizabeth
Wheeler of Gardners Town, Lincoln County, Mass. (now Gardiner,
Me.), Daniel Edgerly and Hannah, his wife, of Madbury and
Abigail Wheeler, spinster, of Durham (who married William
Buss), children of Joseph Wheeler, tailor, sold to Daniel Warner
all right in half of a certain farm joining on Little Bay, " between
the land of John Edgerly and Joseph and John Drew." The
farm then contained one hundred and twenty acres.

In 1658 the selectmen laid out for the use of the town a grove
of pine trees, "lieinge and beinge on the north west sied of the
letell Bay half a mile or thereabout from a creeke called the
Long Creek, bounded upon the South by Tho Willey his grant. "
On the loth of the 2d month, 1654, Thomas Willey had a grant
on the northwest side of Little Bay, "threescore rods by the
Water side to begin at the mouth of the Long Creeke and so
upwards eight score rods into the woods." Willey sold this to
William Perkins, and, 28 January 1669, William Perkins and
Elizabeth, his wife, conveyed to Thomas Edgerly a parcel of
land "lying & being on the northwest side of the Little Bay and
on the southwest side of the long creek in the town of Dover
afores'^ containing twenty pole by ye water side, being marked
and bounded by the long creek afores*^ on the north east side of
said parcell of land and by a hemlock tree on the other side which
standeth by the water side, . . . containing twenty acres
more or less, the which parcell of land is a part of the sixty acres



42



HISTORY OF DURHAM



purchased of Thomas Willey. " These twenty acres passed to
Thomas Edgerly's son John, and, 4 February 171 1, John Edgerly
and wife, Elizabeth, conveyed to Samuel Edgerly (his brother)
twenty acres on the northwest side of Little Bay, bounded on the
north "by the Creeke called and known by the name of the Mill
Creek, bounded on the east with the aforesaid Little Bay, bounded
on the South with the land of John Wheelers lately deceased."
Thus it seems that John Wheeler had acquired before 171 1 the
land laid out in 1658 for a pine grove for the use of the town. This
land of Edgerly's is now in the possession of James Meader,
and Long Creek is called today Meader's Creek. A two-branched




Mouth of Long Creek



brook flows through the field in front of Meader's house and
empties into the head of Long Creek, called also Mill Creek in
some deeds, because a mill was erected at an early date near the
mouth of it.

Long Creek winds up into the woods that conceal it perhaps
less than an eighth of a mile. It is broad and deep, an admirable
refuge for fishing craft in the old days. Just south of it, on the
elevated land, amid the woods that may have formed a part of
the pine grove reservation, have recently been built some summer
cottages.

North of Long Creek it is difficult to locate with precision the
first settlers, because there were so frequent transfers of small



HISTORY OF DURHAM 43

;grants of land. The following citation from Dover records will
aid us. The record has been slightly mutilated. "The grant of
land by the Town of Dover to Thomas Footman of twenty acres,
as appears by ye date of ... of the first month, 1651, and
also a grant of ten acres granted to John Hill, granted to him by
ye town of Dover at a meeting they had ye lo of ye 8 . . .
These two grants are laid out and bounded as follows, 65 rod
along ye shore from Thomas Humphreys next John Alts long
creek near ye mill and from thence west nor west 90 rods to a
marked tree marked T. C. and from y* tree it runs north north-
east 50 rods to a red oack tree marked again with T. C. and from
thence it runs east south east till it comes to ye same brook where
it began, and whereas the Town intended a high way & landing
place att long Creek it is ordered y* there ... all be three
Tod in bedth as it is now marked to the end of the lott and what
wast land is between the high way and ye creek, eqall with y®
creek, is Thomas Edgerlys in consideration of ye high way. This
land we find to be Thomas Edgerlys by ye consent of his father
in law John Alt and John Bickford of Oyster River senior, so
then we finde that the brook that is between John Alts and
Thomas Edgerlys is the bound given by John Alt to ye said Ed-
gerly his land and is laid out and bounded this 18 of November
1678." Signed by John Davis and Robert Burnum.

Here mention is made of a mill on Long Creek and a highway
therefrom. These are again mentioned in a deed from Thomas
Edgerly, senior, and his wife, Rebecca, to their son, Samuel Ed-
■gerly, dated 21 May 1700. It conveyed fifteen acres "bounded
from a marked pine tree at y® head of y^ old dam, seated be-
tween the long Cricke brook and the high way that goeth out
into y® Commons, lying to y® west of y^ little bay in Oyster River."

January 28, 1711, Thomas Edgerly and wife, Rebecca, sold to
their son, John Edgerly, seventy or eighty acres of land on the
northwest side of the Little Bay, "bounded on the north by land
of John Rand. It fronteth on the aforesaid little bay and is
bounded on the south by the creek called and known by the name
of the mill creek, at the water side and from there into the woods."

Thus we see that Thomas Edgerly owned land on both sides
of Long or Mill Creek. That on the north side came to him by
marrying Rebecca, widow of Henry Hallwell, and daughter of
John Ault. The marriage took place in 1665. His garrison



44



HISTORY OF DURHAM



house was evidently north of Long Creek, now Meader's Creek,
and was burned by the Indians in 1694. Shortly afterward he
petitioned that the neighboring house of John Rand should be
made a garrison. Rand had married Remembrance, the other
daughter of John Ault, and so had half of the original estate of
John Ault, who was one of Capt. John Mason's colonists and
must have settled at Oyster River about the year 1635. His
farm lay between Long Creek and the next brook north called
in ancient deeds Plum Swamp Brook. John Ault conveyed to
his son-in-law, John Rand, 21 April 1674, "all y'' place or planta-
tion whereon I now live."




Shore of Little Bay
Durham Point on the left, Fox Point on the right



November 17, 1718, John Rand, son of the John Rand, who
with wife. Remembrance, was probably killed by Indians in the
massacre of 1694, conveyed to Francis Mathes thirty acres of
"Rands Plantation," "on the northwest side of y® Little Bay,"
between John Edgerly's land on the south and John Ambler's
land on the north.

November 26, 1720, Job Runnels sold to John Ambler land
which John Ault gave to his son-in-law, John Rand and wife,
Remembrance, in 1764, which land Runnels bought of Nathaniel
Rand and Francis Rand.



HISTORY OF DURHAM 45

In August, 1912, Hon. Lucien Thompson and myself carefully
explored this region. We found what seems to have been the
landing place at the mouth of Long Creek, on the north side,
where in later times bricks were made. The mill dam may have
been that of a tide mill, at the very mouth of the creek, where
upright ledges form natural abutments and where a dam could
have been built at little expense. The supply of water from tide
and brooks would have been abundant for those times. An ex-
cavation on the hilltop, perhaps ten rods from the mouth of the
creek and on the north side, probably marks the site of the Ed-
gerly garrison, burned in 1694. The pasture land around it is
now overgrown with small pines and bushes, yet traces of the
old road from the landing to the main road are easily discovered.
Walking in a northerly direction over this wooded and hilly pas-
ture one comes to a large field of the John Emerson farm, where
Mr. Bela Kingman has a camp. In the southeast corner of that



Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 4 of 34)