John Leverett Merrill.

History of Acworth, with the proceedings of the centennial anniversary, genealogical records, and register of farms online

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Online LibraryJohn Leverett MerrillHistory of Acworth, with the proceedings of the centennial anniversary, genealogical records, and register of farms → online text (page 1 of 33)
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It is believed that the pledge given the subscribers to the " History of
Acworth " has been redeemed. As full a report as possible has been made
of the doings and sayings of the Centennial Anniversary, only two speeches
being omitted. These were not reported to the compiler. The early history
of the town has been made as full as the materials at hand would allow.
Great pains have been taken to make the list of the owners of homesteads
and the genealogical records accurate. Where families have taken the trouble
to send in their family records, they will probably find but few mistakes.
Sketches of professional men, natives of the town, are given so far as known.
In many cases materials have not been at hand to make as full sketches as
desirable, and in other cases the scissors have been fi-eely used, both in gene-
alogical records and sketches, that a disproportionate space might not be
occupied. Comparatively few, and very brief sketches of the early inhabi-
tants have been prepared, partly for want of materials, but more especially
because, while the general standard of energy and thrift has always been
high, there never has been an aristocracy of wealth or of worth — or rather
the aristocracy of worth have been so numerous, and there has been such a
sameness in their characteristics, induced by similarity of training, that it is
impossible to select a few, without being unjust to the many necessarily passed
over in silence.

It has been found necessary to adopt as a rule, that no sketches of the
present inhabitants of tlie town should be written, for the same reason.

The book has been open for all to contribute portraits, wlio desired. But
few likenesses of the early settlers could be procured, which fact we deeply


Funeral sermons, obituary notices, college catalogues, oral and written
statements of friends, and all other accessible sources of information have
been consulted to perfect the sketches and other parts of the History, and
we take this opportunity to thank the many friends of Acworth who have
assisted in this work. The book has really had a large number of authors,
so large that it is useless to give even a list of those whose very words have
been used to convey the information they communicated, much less to give
authority for every fact stated. J. H. Dickey, Esq., has contributed the list
of owners of homesteads, a large part of the military history, many genea-
logical records, the sketches of the soldiers, besides many incidents in the
other parts of the History. Rev. Daniel Lancaster has communicated many
facts. ]Mrs. Sally Wilson of Ohio has contributed largely to the history of
the first quarter of the present century, her very words being used in many
instances. Mrs. Harvey Howard furnished the history of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and Rev. J. L. Whittemore the sketch of the Baptist

The principal books of reference have been " Parker's History of London-
derry," "Belknap's History of New Hampshire," " Sketches of New Hamp-
shire Churches," "Dr. Chapman's Alumni of Dartmouth College," "Jack-
son's Genealogical Report of New Hampshire," etc.

J. L. M.

AcwoRTii, April, 1869.




Centen^nial Axxiversary, 9 — 117

Officers and Committees — Centennial Morning — Gathering at the
Church — Letter from Col. I. 11. Silsby — Song of Welcome — Address
of Welcome — Centennial Address — Poem — Adjoiu-ned to the tent —
Song, " A Hundred Years Ago " — Remarks by Rev. Daniel Lancas-
ter — Rev. Dr. Orcutt — Dr. William Grout — J. M. Barnard, Esq. —
Rev. Amos Foster — Ode — Remarks by Dr. A. R. Cummings — Rev.
George Cooke — Song, " Our Acworth Home " — Remarks by Prof.
Hiram Orcutt — George R. Brown, Esq. — Col. Thomas Clark — Part-
ing Invocation — Response of Dr. E. G. Cummings — Rev. Hiram
Houston — J. Davis, Esq. — George B. Brooks, Esq. — L. V. N. Peck,
Esq. — David Campbell, Esq. — Jonathan Robinson, Esq. — Letters
from President A. D. Smith, Hon. George W. Xesmith, Dr. E. S.
Wright, Maj.-Gen. Cram, Hon. Nedom L. Angier, President N. J.
Morrison, Rev. George Cooke, John Wilson, and Miss Lurinda



Chapter 1. Civil History, 118— 142

Geographical and Geological Description of the Town — Charter —
Settlement — Character of Settlers — A Secession Movement — The
Village in 1800 — Emigration — Spotted Fever — The Common —
Cemeteries — Schools — Temperance — Ladies' Charitable Society —
Merchants-Mills — Present Condition of the Town — List of Town

Chapter H. Ecclesiastical History 14:1— 1G3

Congregational Church — First Meeting-House — Organization of the
Church — Rev. Mr. Archibald — Rev. Mr. Kimball — Rev. Mr. Cooke —
Rev. Messrs. Grosvenor, Merrill, Wright, Foster and Merrill — Sketch
of the Baptist Church-^Sketch of the Methodist Church.



CHArTER in. Military History, 161 — 177

JMilitia— Kovolutionary War— ^V\ar of 1812— "War of the Eebellion —
Sketches of Soldiers Dying in the Service.


Genealogy of Families and Sketches of Individuals, . 178 — 289


Register of Homesteads, 289 — 306

List of Homesteads in Town and Names of the Lidividuals who
have Owned them.


Rev. Phinehas Cooke,

Col. 1. H. Silsby,

Rev. Giles Bailey,

Milan Davidson,

Rev. Amos Foster and Wif

Rev. Dr. John Orcutt,

J. M. Barnard, Esq.,

Dr. a. R. Cummings,

Prof. Hiram Orcutt,

Dr. E. G. Cummings,

Rev. Hiram Houston,

Dr. Lyman Brooks,

Rev. Dr. Wright,

Daniel Grout, Esq., and Wife

Mrs. Sally Wilson,

Granville Gilmore, .

S. A. Reed,

Daniel J. Warner, Esq.,

Rev. Joseph Merrill,

Rev. J. L. Merrill,

David Blanchard, Esq.,

Theron Duncan,

Nathaniel AVarner,

Hon. Nedom L. Angier,

Mrs. Barnard,

Lewis Campbell, Esq.,

Morris Clark, Esq., .

James G. Dickev, Esq.,































Ko. 1 — Rev. J. L. Merrill, Gr. Gilmore, D. J. Warner, George Bailey.
District No. 2 — James Wallace, Thomas Ball, D. Blanchard. District
iVb. 3 — Jesse Slader, Joseph Hayward. District No. 4 — John Grout, Dan-
iel Clark. District No. 5 — Samuel McLure, Robert McLure, E. Cram.
District No. 6 — J. Tracy, S. P. Barnard, C. J. Davis. District No. 7 —
T. M. Dickey, Dexter Copeland, P. W. Pettingill. District No. 8— F.
Hemphill, E. Grout, J. Gleason. District No. 9 — Rev. J. L. Whittemore,
Adna Keyes, Rodney Buss. District No. 10 — George R. Brown, E. M.
Kempton, S. Beckwith. District No. 11 and 13 — George Houston, Rev.
J. H. Lord. Rev. A. K. Howard, H. Howard. District No. 12 — David
Whitney, J. H. Dickey.

Committee to furnish historical sketches of the several churches, resident
ministers and Sabbath schools — Rev. J. L. Merrill, Rev. J. L, Whittemore,
Rev. J. H. Lord, Rev. A. K. Howard.

Committee of invitation — ^Jesse Slader, Nathaniel Warner, Granville Gil-

Committee of finance — Zenas Slader, Charles B. Cummings, J. F. Mur-

Committee of publication — Rev. J. L. Merrill, Rev. J. H. Lord, Rev. J.
L. Whittemore.

Committee of roll of honor, to report lists of revolutionary soldiers, of the
war of 1812, and the late war — Ebenezer Grout, C. M. Woodbury, C. E.
Spencer, J. F. Page.

Committee to prepare a list of town oflBcers — D. J. Warner, C. M. Wood-
bury, S. McKeen, Jr., J. G. Silsby, C. B. Cummings.

Committee to prepare a list and short sketches of those who have obtained
a collegiate education, and those who have entered the ministry and profes-
sions of law and medicine, including resident physicians — Jesse Slader, Dr.
N. G. Brooks, Dr. S. T. Smith, H. N. Hayward.

Committee to sketch notices of merchants, manufacturers, mechanics and
mills — C. M. Woodbury, E. Cummings, William Hayward, Nathan Adams,
J. M. Reed.

Committee to furnish band music — Maj. E. Cummings, J. B. Richardson.

Committee to furnish vocal music — S. H. Bascomb, William L. Woodbury
William Atwood.

Committee to prepare sentiments and appoint persons to respond thereto —
George Bailey, J. A. Wood, Rev. A. K. Howard, G. Gilmore, C. J. Davis.

Committee to furnish gun and powder, and manage the same — R. Hilliard,
Samuel McKeen, Jr., L. Buswell, Henry T. Buss.

Committee to furnish lumber and erect seats and tables — Barnet C. Finlay,
Sylvester A. Reed, Alvin Davidson, Levi Prentiss, S. Harding, Francis Buss,
Asa Dodge, G. W. Lathrop, D. G. Osgood, Benjamin Nichols, G. Gilmore,
W. W. Johnson, L Campbell, C. K. Brooks, C. A. Snow, S. Finlay, Curtis
Warner, A. W. Barney, J. S. Symonds, P. Monroe, D. A. Ryder, R.


Walker, Warren Thayer, Levi Davis, 0. B. Burnham, B. P. Wood, Theron
Hull, A. W. Sparling, Amasa Lincoln, Boswell George, L. Morse, R. G.
Bascomb, Joel Porter, B, S. King, I. Newton, 0. E. Kemp, H. Heard, Jr.,
A. M. Bragg, G. M. Gowen, J. B. Buck, D. Peasley.

Committee to solicit and receive contributions for, arrange, decorate, and
wait upon tables. The chairmen of the District Committees to constitute a
supervisory committee : District No. 1 — John Blanchard and lady, M. 31.
Warner and lady, George Bailey and lady, D. C Anderson and lady, E. S.
Chatterton and lady, Mrs. L. Harding, Miss Josephine Brooks, Miss Mary
Chatterton, Miss Susan Dodge, Miss Lucia Perham, Miss Emma Howe, Miss
Ellen jMoore, Miss Lizzie Gould, Miss H. F. Warner, Miss Esther Finlay,
Miss Ella Wood, Miss Eliza Prentiss, Miss Philetta M. Slader, Miss Nettie
Neal, Miss Georgianna Hay ward, W. C. Neal and lady, J. P. Cram and
lady, M. M. Woodbury and lady, Harvey Lincoln and lady, C. A. Hull and
lady, John M. Smith and lady, H. Murdough and lady, M. P. Thornton and
lady, W. F. Hilliard, Henry Cram, E. A. Warner, William Brooks, L.
Tracy, A. M. Dodge, S. A. Hayward, A. 0. Hayward, H. D. C. Tracy, E.
Carey. District No. 2 — S. Blanchard and lady, S. S. King and lady, G.
H. Heard and lady, A. A. Mathewson and lady, A. H. Church and lady,
J. H. Clark and lady, H. B. Eeed and Jady, J. Osgood and lady, J. Braekett
and lady, F. E. Braekett and lady, William Whipple, T. B. Hayward, J.
Warner. District No. 3 — S. S. Finlay and lady, L. Grout and lady, S. 0.
Taylor and lady, F. S. Trow and lady, 3Iiss Jennie Finlay, Miss Emma
Grout, A. S. Finlay, N. G. Slader, Samuel Slader, J. Finlay. District No.
4 — Daniel Clark and lady, D. Eaton and lady, D. C. Walker and lady, M.
D. Gould and lady, I. J. Page and lady, Misses Johnson, Misses Stevens,
G. W. Stevens, G. P. Johnson, W. Copeland, Miss Sarah Whipple. Dis-
trict No. 5 — Daniel Gay and lady, W. B. Eeed and lady, J. W. Howe and
lady, M. V. B. Peck and lady, J. Vinton and lady, R. L. Howe and lady,
A. Buswell and lady, D. W. Thompson and lady, H. D. Wallace and lady.
Miss E. Lathrop. District No. 6 — C. J. Davis and lady, J. N. Davis and
lady, G. AV. Neal and lady, H. F. Burnham and lady, J. B. Tracy and lady,
G. F. Youngman and lady, Misses Barnard, Miss Sarah Davis, L. H. Davis,
J. Buswell, 0. Symonds. District No. 7 — D. Nye and lady, J. M. Davis
and lady, C. A. Lawton and lady, 0. Chapin and lady, T. B. Bachelder and
lady, H. Buswell and lady, W. M. Pettingill and lady, M. O. Kennedy, J.
T. Mitchell, D. J. Thayer, Miss Anna Thayer, Miss Mary Bachelder, Misses
Richardson, Miss B. J. Pearson, Miss Nellie Kennedy. District No. 8 —
George W. Young and lady, G. F. Nichols and lady, J. B. Clough and lady,
G. W. Hilliard and lady, J. L.'McKeen and lady, M. Gassett and lady, J.
Crossett and lady, Mrs. L. Sanborn, Miss Abbie Ware, J. Perham, H. G.
Perham. District No. 9 — J. W. Moore and lady, F. Buss and lady, F. P.
Fletcher and lady, W. Dana and lady, J. H. Dyer and lady. Miss Mariam
Symonds, Misses Mitchell, A. M. Mitchell, M. A. Boynton, M. P. Howe,.


J, Symonds. District No. 10 — J. H. Brown, D. C. George and lady, W.
B. Tinker and lady, C Richardson and lady, F. Ellen wood and lady, Miss
Jennie Greeley, Miss Amanda Kempton, G. Smith, C. Metcalf. District
JVo. 11 — J. A. Wood and lady, J. F. Richardson and lady, S. Symonds
and lady, T. B. Richardson and lady, L. Randall and lady, J. McKeen and
lady, G. B. Fields and lady, C. Dingman and lady, C. E. Hardy and lady,
H, N. Hayward and lady, C. D. Peck and lady, A. Graham and lady, S. E.
Mann and lady, W. Gassett and lady, Miss Olive Wood, Miss Minerva Ad-
ams, Miss E. Barney, Miss Maria Mann, Miss Ella Monroe, Miss Clara
Howard, Miss Ellen Houston, Miss Mary Houston, Mrs. C. D. Whitman,
G. Reed, U. Peck, S. Howard, C. E. Spencer and lady, H. L. Silsby and
lady, Miss Ella Reed, E. G. Campbell. Districts JVo. 12 and 13— J. A.
Dickey and lady, George P. Dickey and lady, L. R. Hardy and lady, D.
Peasley and lady, E. Green and lady, M. Moulton and lady, S. W. King,
G. H. Howard, G. F. Watts, Miss Watts, Miss Buck, Miss Julia Osgood,
Misses Heard, Miss Gowen.

Committee to provide for guests — William Hayward, C. K. Brooks, A.
Lincoln, A. W. Sparling, E. Cummings.

Most of those appointed on the committees cheerfully per-
formed the work assigned them, so that the old adage, "Many-
hands make light work," was verified. Upon the chairmen of
the leading committees, however, came the principal part of the
care. This was especially true of the chairman of the Committee
of Arrangements, who was indefatigable in his efforts to make the
celebration a success.

The Committee of Invitation sent letters of invitation to all the
former citizens of Acworth, whose address they could ascertain.
These were very generally accepted in person, especially by the
aged, many verging upon threescore years and ten, and several
past that age, returned once more to visit their native town. Mrs.
Sally Wilson, aged 82 years, though unable to walk without
crutches, came from Ohio, and Mrs. Hammond, aged 89 years,
a daughter of the first school-teacher in Acworth, Mr. Samuel
Smith, was present from Fairlee, Vt. Probably every Northern
State was represented and many of the Southern States.

The extra stages arrived, for days preceding the Anniversary,
filled with passengers. So many people never lodged in Acworth
at one time as during the nights preceding and following the Cen-
tennial, and yet thousands poured in from every quarter upon the
morning of that day, and returned to their homes in the evening.
,To the disappointment of all, the morning was dark and threaten-


ing, and before the exercises at the church commenced, the rain
began to fall, and hundreds went away from the crowded church,
not knowing where to find shelter, though the citizens of the villao'e
threw open their houses to all. The scene is best described in the
following lines extracted from a poem suggested by the occasion :

" Acworth ! it is thy gala clay,
And banners now are floating gay,
And though the raindrops from the trees,
Are shaken by the soughing breeze,
And mist-clouds on the hills around,
Are swaying downwards to the ground,
And all think in a short time more
The threatening heavens will surely pour.
Yet rolling drum, and bugle note.
Are on the breezes heard to float,
And thousands in thy streets are met,
And thousands more are coming yet.
For creaking wains, and rattling stages,
Freighted with bipeds of all ages,
Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters,
Are rushing hither from all quarters,
And you have but to ope your eyes
To see of every grade and size;
Here loud the puling infant screeches,
There struts a chap just out in breeches;
The short, the tall, the thin, the stout.
The fat, the lean, for all are out.
Some sitting down, some walking slow,
Some looking, seeming not to know
Exactly where 'tis best to go
To get the focus of the show.
And thus some hasten up the hill
The crowded church more full to fill.
While leisurely the steps are bent
Of others, towards the mammoth tent.
And all are sure a crowd to meet
Whichever way they turn their feet.
For not in mansion or in cot,
Or yard, or lane, or street, or lot,
Can any one discern a spot
Where Mr. Somebody is not,
Arid all is blithe apparently
As if no cloud obscured the sky.


But what came all this crowd to see?

The products of a century ?

Why, 710, friend, but each hungry sinner

Has come up here to get the dinner,

Which generous Acworth tenders free

To all this goodly company.

For fonder mammoth tent now holds

Beneath its overarching folds,

As good a dinner as a man

Can find this side of Hindoostan,

And every guest desires in heart

Shortly to bolt a bounteous part.

And verily there is enough,

This mighty multitude to stuff",

For turkeys, chickens, puddings, pies,

In long succession greet the eyes ;

And cake of every kind, and fruit,

The daintiest appetite to suit ;

For know, for all that's good and sweet

The cooks of Acworth can't be beat.

So every guest may take his fill

Of every dainty that he will,

And some there'll be who'll doubtless say,

As they go on their homeward way,

I never yet in ail my life,

Ate dinner, cooked by maid or wife

So good as that I've ate to-day.

Old Acworth ! Oh how many hearts

Are thrilled with rapture to the core.
At the sweet joy thy name imparts,

As now they look on thee once more,
Who from their far abodes have come

To breathe once more thy blessed air.
And see again their dear old home.

And think of all who once were there.
Whose tears drop fast as they recall

The memories of their early days;
Their father, mother, friends, and all

The blessings strewn along their ways.
And well it is that they should throng

To view their native hills once more.
These glorious hills from which were drawn

The principles that made them men.


Where first tbe inspiration came

From father's prayer and mother's song,

That led their souls to love the right
That led them to despise the wrong.

And where the love of country first

Was in each youthful heart so nursed,

That as they saw her banner fly

They grudged not for her weal to die,

But in a hundred bloody fights

Stood up, and battled for her rights."

The exercises of Centennial Day commenced at 10 A. M. The
following letter had befen received from Col. I. H. Silsbj of Boston,
Mass., who had been appointed to preside :

Newton Corner, Mass., September 14, 1868.

Gentlemen of the Executive Committee, — When you kindly tendered me
the honorable position of presiding officer at your Centennial, I at first de-
clined ; not because I did not feel a deep interest in my native town ; not
because my heart was not in this celebration, but simply because I thought
you had others better qualified by nature and experience to discharge the
duties of that office, and it was only at the most earnest solicitation of my
dear lamented father, that I consented to serve you. From the first intima-
tion he had from you of your intentions, his whole heart was in the project —
and he ever gave the various committees with whom he was in correspond-
ence, all the information he could, most cheerfully. And as the day drew
near, his thoughts were more centered upon it ; morning, noon and night it
was his theme. Though our hearts bled at his sudden departure, depriving
us of a dear and affectionate father, and thus breaking the circle of eleven
I had hoped to present at your festival, yet I had determined, as far as possi-
ble, to forget my affliction, and serve you to the best of my ability.

But, alas ! how little do we know what a day may bring forth ! The
ways of Providence are past finding out.

It was hard for me to see a fortune just within my grasp, swept from me for-
ever in the twinkling of an eye, by devouring fire. It was heart-rending for
me to hold in my arms a dying father ; and now imagine my bitter anguish as I
stand by the bedside night and day, of my poor, sick, dying son. It is this
double affliction that keeps me from you to-day, and much as I regret this ab-
absence, and much as you are disappointed, yet I sincerely hope and pray that
you and your people will bear with me in this affliction, and Jtistify me in my ab«
sence from the duties you had assigned me ; painful as it is to me, and embar-
rassing as it is to you. It would have been my pride to be with you, and to pre-
sent my dear father to you, thus delighting him. But an all-ivise Providence
has ordered it otherwise ! Man proposes, God c?^sposes. Wishing you much
success, I remain, with much esteem, your obedient servant, I. H. Silsby.


Eev. Amos Foster being invited, acted as President of the day
in the absence of Col. Silsby. The opening prayer was made by
Eev. Davis Brainerd of Lyme, Ct. The following song of greet-
ing, composed by Miss L. Curaraings of Ashburnham, Mass., was
sung by the choir :


Tune — Edinhurg.

We welcome our absent ones home, with a zest,

From the North and the South, from the East and the West —

For Acworth a true mother's heart would display,

As she gathers her children around her to-day.

" Happy greeting to all — Happy greeting to all —
Happy greeting — Happy greeting,
Happy greeting to all."

To the sweet scenes of childhood, we welcome you back,
To wander again o'er each turf-beaten track —
And children adopted, who hither have come,
Our birthright shall share in the ancestral home !
" Happy greeting to all" — &c.

We welcome you all, to our glorious hills —
To our beautiful river, and bright dancing rills —
To our noble old forests — so dense, and so grand.
The homes of our song-birds — the pride of our land.
" Happy greeting to all" — «&c.

To our dear sacred altars, we welcome you, too ;
Our homes and our fire-sides are waiting for you ;
Our hearts' cherished treasures — our own precious friends
Are the very best gifts the All-merciful sends !
" Happy greeting to all" — &c.

The aged we welcome, with reverence due,
And cordial affection, from hearts that are true;
Our hands to all others we freely extend,
And meet every one as a personal friend.
" Happy greeting to all " — &c.

Then let us rejoice, this Centennial Day,
Enjoying the bright hours of life while we may ;
When Fruit, Buds and Blossoms together we see,
Unitedly crowning our Century Tree!

"Happy greeting to all" — &c.


Lyman J. Brooks, Esq., of Newport, delivered the following
address of welcome:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: — It is always pleasant to speak
words of welcome — to extend hospitalities to our friends, but it is especially
so at this time, when in the name of all the citizens of Acworth, I bid you a
sincere and hearty welcome.

The custom of celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the settle-
ment of our towns and cities, and the formation of social and literary societies
and institutions, is a beautiful and appropriate one, and in accordance with
such a time-honored usage you have been invited to visit us this day, and
participate in these memorial exercises.

We have met to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the settlement of
the town — to do honor to the memory of those, who one hundred years ao-o,
left home, and all its comforts, and in a wilderness laid the foundations of
those new homes, and social institutions, which we of the present day enjoy.
The presence of so many of the sons and daughters of Acworth with us to-
day, gives us, I assure you, great satisfaction and pleasure.

While the occasion furnishes a favorable opportunity to renew old and form
new acquaintances, which we trust, you will all fully improve, still the gi-eat
end to be achieved in this centennial meeting, is to gather up and preserve
in some suitable manner the unwritten and legendary history of the fathers
and the mothers, that the future sons and daughters may better know and
appreciate the hard labors, severe trials, and sterling worth of their ancestors,

Online LibraryJohn Leverett MerrillHistory of Acworth, with the proceedings of the centennial anniversary, genealogical records, and register of farms → online text (page 1 of 33)