Georgia Drew Merrill.

History of Coos County, New Hampshire . online

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Andrew J. Magill, Henry F. Marston, Ira Mason, Hartwell Mason, Lorenzo Mason, Roscoe Mason, John
McMann, James McMann. Raimond R. McCaslin, John McPherson, William Moffit, William W. Noyes, Charles
C Noyes, Charles H. Noyes. John B. Noyes, John L. Oswell, Gardner C. Paine, John M. Banerway, Samuel
E. Paine. James W. Parker, Patrick Pendergast, Elliot Perkins, Frank W. Rowell, Daniel R, Spaulding,
William D. Sanborn, Horace C. Sawyer. Edson B. Sawyer, Eugene W. Scribner, H. E. Smith, Erastus F.
Thurlow, Will C. Turner. Jesse Tuttle, X. F. Wardwell, Frank Weld, Frank L. Wilson, George S. Wilson,
William M. Wilson, John Wilson, Michael Wilson, Robert Wilson, Cyrus Wheeler, Dexter Wheeler, Reuben
H. Wheeler, Hiram Wheeler, Franklin Wheeler, Ozman Wheeler, John B. Wheeler, William F. Young, David
Walsh, George F. Sibley, Joseph Scribner, Henry Richards, Herman E. Oleson, Otto Oleson, Alexander
■Godette, Alvin Collins. Louis Careau, Charles Labrecke, Chris Barbue.


Early Settlers — First House (William Sessions) — Second House (The Lowes and Cates) —
Simon Evans— Joseph Wheeler— The Thompsons — Samuel Blodgett— Thomas Wheeler— Daniel
Davis— The Bean Family — Joseph Blodgett— Hazen and John Chandler — Merrill C. Forist— John
Y. Dustin — Lorenzo Mason — Past and Present Business Interests — Thomas Green— J. D. Horner &
Co. — Daniel Green— Ira and Oliver H. Mason and other Early Traders and Manufacturers — Rail-
road, Station Agents, Etc.

T~7 ARLY Settlers. — First House.— William Sessions of Grilead, Me.,
|7r came to Maynesborough about 1S21 or 1822, and commenced clear-
\^ ing what is now the Thompson farm. He occupied a camp which
was located on the banks of the Androscoggin river, on the south side of Mol-
locket brook. This camp was built by parties who had come here some
years previously to manufacture " salts " from the elm trees that abounded
in that part of the valley. Mr. Sessions felled trees and continued clearing
the land, and, with the assistance of Cyrus Wheeler, erected the first
building that could be honored with the name of house about 1823 or 1824.
March 27, this small number of inhabitants was increased by eighteen
persons from Gilead, Me., who accompanied Mrs. Sessions and her three
children into the wilderness to her new home and to make their homes in
this and adjoining towns. One of the pleasantest features of pioneer life
was the spirit of fraternity, sociability, and mutual helpfulness which
pervaded every locality. Each felt an impulse to assist his neighbor when-
ever and wherever assistance was needed, realizing that he might any day
Jbecome the grateful recipient of similar service.

Town of Berlin. 789

Mr. Sessions's house was of logs, the Horn- being made of very large
ones nicely split. It was situated just east of the present fa i-m buildings
on a little knoll. All signs of occupancy are nearly obliterated. There has
never been a deed given of this land. After making Ins payment, Mr.
Sessions walked to Boston to obtain one but from some reason did not
succeed. No claimant ever showed a conflicting title. He sold tins prop-
erty to Benjamin Thompson prior to the organization of Berlin, and it has
been in the possession of the Thompson family ever since. This is the
best farm in the town. Mr. Sessions was a noted prospector, settling and
clearing thirteen farms. He had a peculiar faculty for selecting the best
land and location. After selling out in Berlin he went to Dummer and
settled on one of the first farms developed on the Andoscoggin, at a point
several miles from any inhabitant. From Dummer he removed to Stark.
where seven of his children died from the terrible throat distemper. This
veteran pioneer died at Milton Plantations, Me., in August, 1885, aged over
ninety years.

Second House. — Justus. Amos or Levi Lowe (some authorities say
Clovis Lowe) built very early a " nice little camp" on lot 3, range 4, estab-
lished a shoe shop, remained a year or so, then removed to Randolph.
" Lascar" Jackson took possession of this camp and occupied it two years.
Andrew Cates came three or four years later, and built a house against
the end of the camp which was located on the upper end of the farm now
owned by Harvey Smith. The first town meeting was held in this house.

Simon Evans came from Shelburne in 1825, and settled on the east side
of the river on the next lot above Sessions. He developed a good farm
which was afterwards owned by Thomas Wheeler, Jr. He had a large
family, and there are many bearing the name.

Joseph Wheeler cleared the farm on the east side of the river just below
that of Mr Sessions, but sold and removed to Milan in a short time.

Samuel S. Thompson, an old Revolutionary soldier, and bis son Benja-
min came in 1827. He was a carpenter, and, according to Mr. Blodgett,
he made and painted the ballot and jury boxes now in use in Berlin. He
also built the first school-house; this was in the Wheeler district, No. 1.
He has no descendants living here.

The first settler on the west side of the river was Samuel Blodgett,
brother of Mrs. Sessions. He cleared what is now the Reuben Wheeler
farm. He came soon after the arrival of Mrs. Sessions, and built a log house
on the bank of the river, but did not remain there but a shorl lime. Ben-
jamin Bean came from Success, purchased Blodgett's interest, and the
latter moved to the lot above, which subsequently became the Daniel
Davis farm. After a short stay Mr. Blodgett returned to Gilead, Me.,
where he resided for a vear or more, then removed to Berlin and settled

;: mi History of Coos County.

on Cates hill — Berlin Heights. He has numerous descendants in town, all
reputable citizens.

Thomas Wheeler, son of Samuel Wheeler, (an old Eevolutionary soldier
and original settler of Gilead, Me , whither he removed from Temple, N. H.,
in 1799.) located on the farm now occupied by his son Cyrus. He came
here from Shelburne, in 1826, with his wife and ten children, all natives
of Gilead, Me., Thomas, Amos, (who, with a companion, Samuel Phipps,
lost his life by the burning of a logging camp at Jericho in 1837,) Cyrus,
Polly (Mrs. Daniel Green), Sarah (Mrs. Benjamin Thompson), now living
in Stark at an advanced age, Dexter, Hiram, Reuben H., Daniel, and
Jonathan. This honest pioneer has a large posterity in Berlin and vicinity,
besides many in Pennsylvania and Arkansas. He was a good citizen, and
brought his children up to work, and thus add to the weal of the town.

Daniel Davis came to Berlin when the town was yet in its infancy
(December 31, 1831,) from Buxton, Me. He lived on lot 4, range 3, had a
large family and held numerous town offices. Fletcher I. Bean, Job Insley
Bean, Lovell Bean, and a family by the name of Coffin were early comers.
Fletcher I. Bean was a prominent town officer. Greenlief Coffin is still a
resident, and seventy years old.

Joseph Blodgett (son of Jonathan, a Revolutionary soldier,) came from
Gilead, Me , January 1, 1823, to work for Mr. Sessions. He married Mary
L., daughter of Nathaniel Wight, one of the first settlers on the river in
Milan. He cleared and developed the farm now owned by William D.
Sanborn. Here he lived for more than twenty years, then removed to
Berlin Falls and followed the avocation of a carpenter, in which he excelled.
It was said that he could cut down a large pine tree with the squarest,
smoothest cut of any man in the section. He has but three children sur-
viving of his family of ten or eleven. He has attained the age of ninety-
two; his wife is seventy-eight. They are still residing in Berlin.

Hazen Chandler came quite early from the lower part of the state, and
purchased the farm originally settled and partially cleared by Nathaniel
Wight, and now known as the Dustin farm, the buildings of which are in
Berlin, and the farm in Milan. He had a family of six or seven children.
The oldest daughter, Daphne, married Reuben H. Wheeler. Mrs. Chand-
ler is now living in town, aged ninety-one.

John Chandler, a brother of Hazen, was a blacksmith, and also land-
lord of the Berlin Falls House for some }^ears. He came here from Shel-
burne and removed to Milan. His daughter, Elizabeth L., married Merrill
( '. Forist, who was a prominent man in Berlin for years. He was a school-
teacher, superintendent of schools, representative, justice of the peace, and
tilled other offices. Mt. Forist bears his name. This was originally called
'Plumer's Fort" in honor of Gov. William Plumer. who was a large land
owner in the town. Mr. Forist built theMt, Forist House as a hotel about

Town of Berlin. 7'.' I

L866, and was its landlord until his death. Before building this house he
had been proprietor of the Berlin Falls Hotel for many years, succeeding
John Chandler. With Mr. Forist departed the glory of this old-time
' k hostelrie." He was a kind hearted man, and in that period of Berlin's
growth did much to enhance its prosperity.

John Y. Dustin, of Gilead, Me., purchased the Chandler farm about
1850, and now resides there with his son True P. Mr. Dustin attained his
eighty-ninth year, May, L887.

Lorenzo Mason, also from Gilead, came lure about LS50, and bought
the farm cleared by Seth Kimball on the east side «f the river opposite
Pine Island. He lived here the remainder of his life, dying in 1881, aged
eighty. He was an honest, industrious man, and left a numerous pos-

Past and Present Business Interests.— The first trader, hardly to be
called a merchant, was Thomas Green, who had a small store opposite his
grist mill as early as 1S35. He also built in connection with his grist-mill
a ''dry-house " for the purpose of hulling oats for making oatmeal. After-
wards, when •' boughten" flour was to be had, this enterprise failed to be
remunerative, and, taking up the perforated zinc floor of the dry-house,
Mr. Green introduced wool-carding machinery, which was operated for
half a dozen years or more.

The advent of the railroad and the development of the water-power
gave a great impetus to the manufacturing interest and traffic, and caused
several persons to embark in trade. In 1851 J. D. Horner & Co. built,
and stocked with general merchandise, the building at Berlin Falls now
occupied as a clothing store by A. W. Jones, in connection with the mill
which they had erected on the site in the rear of the Clement block on what
is known as the Horner and Hastings privilege. They failed after some
years, and the store was vacant until Ira Mason, in 1868, put in a stock of
goods, and conducted business until his death in 1883. John W. Green
then sold dry-goods here for a few months. E. W. Scribner and H. H.
Abbott, as •• Scribner & Abbott," were the next firm engaged in merchan-
dising here, commencing in L881. Mr. Abbott soon gave place to John B.
JSToyes, who, in the summer of L886, purchased Mr. Scribner's share of the
business, and. in the autumn, removed to his present location.

Daniel Green opened a store about L850 very near the site of the drug
-tore of J. W. Green, and conducted it nearly two years, when he sold it
with all his other business interests in town to Grower & Wilson. This
store was made from the shop, where for some years Mr, ( rreen had man-
ufactured clapboard and shingle machines. Grower & Wilson conducted
this store until their failure in L859, when itagain came into the possession
of Daniel Green, who remodelled it, and it was occupied by various traders
until it was opened as the first drugstore in town by Henry Marble in

792 History of Coos County.

1883. George P. Emerton succeeded him; in a short time he sold to F. L.
Wilson, who moved to his present location. It was then refitted by John
W. Green, who put in a fresh stock of goods, and began trade in the sum-
mer of 1886.

Oliver H. Mason, some time after 1850, built the store where John B.
Noyes now trades, and conducted merchandising until he sold to Moses T.
Cross in I860. Mr. Cross sold to J. W. Wheeler. Dexter Wheeler pur-
chased his interest and admitted G. C. Paine as partner as "Wheeler &
Paine." They afterwards moved into Eagle Hall, and were in business
until the death of* Mr. Wheeler in 1881. Wilson Brothers succeeded
Wheeler & Paine in the occupancy of the 0. H. Mason building, as gen-
eral traders. After two years they failed: and, in 1868, C. C. Gerrish &
Co. established themselves as merchants. In 1885 they moved into their
new building where they are now located. After being entirely rebuilt
and enlarged the store was occupied by Mr. Noyes.

G. C. Paine, after the death of Mr. Wheeler, continued business in the
branch store which they had established near the railway station, and now
conducts it in connection with his extensive trade in grain. (Mr. Paine
died July 5, 1887.)

Eagle Hall building was built by the Reform Club in 1875, with contri-
butions from the friends of this temperance movement. After about a
year's occupancy by the club as a reading-room, Jecture-room, etc, the
upper story became and remains a public hall, and the ground floor was
occupied by Wheeler & Paine. In 1881 Stahl Brothers opened a clothing
house and grocery store here. They were in trade here some months after
the opening of their large store in the Clement block in 1883. They were
succeeded by F. C. Stevens with a stock of clothing, drugs and medicines.
He now occupies it as a clothing and " notions" store. In 1886 Mr. Stevens
erected the large building on Main street, which bears his name, and
removed his drug business there, and sold it to F. W. Foster in December,

The building in which George L. Vincent has this year established a
book and variety store was constructed in 1881, by L. J. Cote. Several
people have dealt in fruit, oysters, etc, there previous to Mr. Vincent's

In Hie spring of 1886 " Hodgdon & Crowell" opened their hardware
store in the building put up on Depot street by L. N. Clark. They erected
their present store the same year, removing their goods thither in the fall
of 1886. They do # a business of nearly $10,0no per annum.

( '. C. Gerrish & Co. built their " great store " in 1885, at an expense of
from $10,000 to $12,000. It is the finest mercantile establishment in town,
with annual sales of $60,000; is heated by steam, and has machinery for

Town of Berlin. 793

the manufacture of gas, by which it is lighted. The upper story is Pyth-
ian Hall.

The Clement block was erected in 1883, by F. L. Clement; in 1886 he
added a photographic studio.

The Folsom block, put up in 1881:, was occupied by Lambert Brothers
& Co. as a grocery store until the completion of their new building in
1*86. Then Olivier Lambert, who had occupied the Fernald block (built
in 1882), removed to this building, where he is now doing business.

C. C. Leighton started a blacksmith shop in the old Grower & Wilson
shop near Dead River bridge. This was burned in 1882. He then put up
a building just south of the Clement block, and carried on blacksmithing
and wagon-making for some time. Now, after various removals, he is
located in the large three-story building which he erected in 1886, on the
street south of Dead River pond. A twenty horse-power engine, black-
smith shop, band and bench saws, and planer occupy the first floor; a
carpenter and wood-working shops, with machinery for the manufacture
of moldings, the second; and his paint shop is in the upper story.

Daniel Green began the manufacture of mill machinery in a small way
in 1813. The first side-clapboard machine built in town was made by him
in that year, and used in the old Green mill until 1819, when Mr. Andrews
bought it for his mill at " Jericho."

Thomas and Daniel Green used to haul their clapboards forty miles to
Harrison, Me., from whence they were shipped by canal to Portland, Bos-
ton and Providence, where they were marketed once a year. They con-
tinued to do this until the railroad was built. In early days the long
lumber was rafted down the Androscoggin to Bethel and Rum ford from
Cascade Falls. The last raft was run in 1851, by Daniel Green. Lumber
was sold at Gilead and Bethel at 81 or $5 a thousand for good pine; extra
quality was worth $6.

Ira Mason, in 1856, built a shingle-mill on Bean brook, one quarter of
a mile east of the A.udroscoggin, opposite Berlin bridge, which did a fine
business for some years until destroyed by fire.

Samuel M. Andrews came from Effingham, Carroll county, in 1841,
(after marrying the widow of Thomas Wheeler, Jr.,) and carried on the
Wheeler farm for several years. He then purchased timber land in "Jer-
icho," and built two mills on Dead river in J.S19, about half a mile above
the steam mill now run by Ezra M. Cross. One of these took its power
from an immense overshot wheel nearly thirty -five feet in diameter. This
was destroyed by fire after several years of good work. The other one
had a " tub " wheel, and was carried down stream by a freshet in 1853 or
1 854. (Two of Mr. Andrews's sons were soldiers in the Union army of
the great civil war.

The steam-mill owned by E. M. Cross at "Jericho," succeeded one built


794 History of Coos County.

by R. H. & J. W. Wheeler about 1870, which stood on a steep bank some
rods above the present mill. This was operated about two years, when it
was burned, and the present one erected by J. W. Wheeler. Mr. Cross
has been its owner since 1884. A large amount of lumber has been cut by
these mills.

R. H. Wheeler built a small steam mill back of his residence, and cut
the timber on about 200 acres. He then moved the engine down to the
interval, and used it to run the starch mill which he built there.

Railroad, Station Agents, Etc. — The completion of the railroad to Berlin
was the first step to the permanent prosperity of the town. The first
station agent was Simon Cole, who was succeeded by Aaron Knight, who
served six or seven years. Dexter Wheeler was appointed in 1860, and
held this position until 1869. The present efficient agent, Abner K. Cole,
began his long term of service February 15, 1870. At that time he did all
the work of the station, sold tickets, sent messages, attended to baggage
and freight, etc. The next year he had one assistant, and since 1S85 the
work has kept four men busily employed. The passenger traffic has
increased fourfold since 18S0, and the freight business in the same pro-
portion. In 1870 the net earnings of the road at this station were $40,000:
in 1886 about $110,000. June 22, 1872, the buildings connected with the
depot were burned with loss of life. Others have since been erected, but
the present structure is by no means adequate to the commercial needs of
the town.

The height of land between the Androscoggin and Connecticut valleys
is six miles west of Berlin Falls. Berlin Falls station is 1,011 feet above
tide water.

The Berlin Mills branch road was constructed and opened in 1854, by
the Grand Trunk, under a guaranty that a definite amount of business
specified was to be done annually.

We tract- 1 he record of early and other important settlers farther as
they appear in describing the industries of the town. Those already named
comprise most of the pioneers who came here when the country was an
unbroken wilderness, and. amid untold hardships and arduous toils, laid
the foundations of their future prosperous homes, and prepared the way
tor an intelligent community. As the settlements increased, roads were
laid out, mills wore built on the Androscoggin, schools were established,
and sociot ies organized. The lumber interest was of paramount impor-
tance. The heavy growth of pine furnished abundant occupation for men
and mills. It was not until after the pine had been nearly exhausted that
the value of spruce lumber was discovered. The apparently inexhaustible
supply of this wood gave a new impetus to lumbering operations; larger
mills were established, more men employed; a. market was thus provided
for the products of the farm' and the growth and development of Berlin

Town of Berlin. 795

was assured; and with its rush of business, its rapid increase of popu-
lation, fine public buildings, and electric lights, it is now almost a city.

In the sixty years of her existence Berlin has developed from an un-
broken wilderness into a thriving and prosperous town. She has always
been loyal to her state and the government to which she belongs. She has
always been loyal to her convictions of right in all matters pertaining to
education, religion, and politics; and where her heart has been, there her
purse has been also. The foundations of her prosperity are struck as deep
as the granite that underlies her, whilst the structure she has and is build-
ing, towers upward and upward, keeping pace with the hopes, aspirations,
and enterprise of her citizens.


Civil List: Town Clerks, Selectmen, Treasurers, Representatives— Extracts from Town
Records — Berlin in the Rebellion — Action of the Town.

/~YlYIL List, — 1830. Peter Wheeler, clerk: Amos Green, Thomas Wheeler, Jr., Samuel Blodget, select-
I / men. (No treasurer.) " Thomas Wheeler collector of taxes at one cent on the dollar."
\Jj 1831. Peter Wheeler, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Joseph Wheeler, Peter Wheeler, selectmen;
>^ Peter Wheeler, treasurer; Barker Burbank, of Shelburne. representative from the classed towns of
Berlin, Shelburne, Shelburne Addition, and Success. "Thomas Wheeler bid off the taxes at nothing per

1832. Peter Wheeler, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Joseph Wheeler, Peter Wheeler, selectmen.

1833. Daniel Davis, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Daniel Green, Uriah Evans, selectmen; Benjamin
Thompson, treasurer. "Seth Kimball agreed to collect the taxes, and to give five dollars for the privili -
Robert Ingalls, of Shelburne, representative.

1834. Daniel Davis, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Daniel Green, Fletcher I. Bean, selectmen; Benjamin
Thompson, treasurer.

1835. Daniel Davis, clerk: Benjamin Thompson, Daniel Davis, Uriah Evans, selectmen; Benjamin
Thompson, treasurer; Benjamin Thompson, representative, classed as above.

1836. Daniel Davis, clerk: Benjamin Thompson, Fletcher I. Bean, UriahEvans, selectmen and a

iel Davis, treasurer. May 11. William Evans chosen selectman in the place of Uriah Evans, remos d
from town.

1837. Fletcher I. Bean, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Daniel Green, Cyrus Wheeler, selectmen and
( \ rus Wheeler, treasurer.

1838. F. I. Bean, clerk: Benjamin Thompson, Daniel Green, Cyrus Win (lei-, selectmen and assessors;
Cyrus Wheeler, treasurer.

1839. Benjamin Thompson, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Cyrus Wheeler, Edmond Green, selectmen;

Cyrus Wheeler, treasurer.

1840. Daniel Green, clerk: Daniel Green, Cyrus Wheeler. Thomas Wheeler, selectmen; Thomas Gi

1841. Daniel Green, clerk ; Insley Bean. Benjamin Tl ipson, Edmond Green, selectmen; [nslej Bean,


1842. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; F. I. Bean, Insley Bean, Daniel Davis, selectmen; Benjamin Thompson,

Isi3. F. I. Bean, clerk: F. I. Bean, [nslej Bean, Daniel Davis, 'selectmen; Daniel Davis, treasurer.

7ii<; History of Coos County.

1844. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; F. I. Bean, Daniel Davis, Samuel Blodgett, selectmen; Dexter Wheeler,
treasurer; John Morse, representative. Classed with Gorham and Shelburne.

1845. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Insley Bean, Dexter Wheeler, selectmen; Dexter
Wheeler, treasurer.

1846. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Dexter Wheeler, Insley Bean, selectmen; Dexter
Wheeler, treasurer.

1847. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Daniel Green, Samuel M. Andrews, Benjamin Thompson, selectmen; Dexter
Wheeler, treasurer; Thomas J. Hubbard, representative. Classed with Gorham and Shelburne.

1848. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Daniel Green, Cyrus Wheeler, Insley Bean, selectmen; Dexter Wheeler,

1849. F. I. Bean, clerk; Daniel Davis, F. I. Bean, Paul Perkins, selectmen; no record of treasurer.

1850. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Reuben H. Wheeler, Daniel Green, selectmen; Dexter
Wheeler, treasurer.

1851. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Benjamin Thompson, Daniel Green, R. H. Wheeler, selectmen; no record
of treasurer; Hiram T. Ellingwood, representative. Classed with Milan.

1852. Charles Mason, clerk; Daniel Davis, Timothy H. Hutchinson, William Y. Merrill, selectmen; Dexter
Wheeler, treasurer. Bailey K. Davis appointed town clerk July 30, 1852, on removal of Mr. Mason from town .

1853. Dexter Wheeler, clerk; Daniel Davis, James H. Hall, Daniel Cates, selectmen; B. K. Davis, treas-
urer; Reuben H. Wheeler, representative. Town classed with Milan.

Online LibraryGeorgia Drew MerrillHistory of Coos County, New Hampshire . → online text (page 99 of 119)