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John N. (John Norris) McClintock.

Colony, province, state, 1623-1888. History of New Hampshire (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryJohn N. (John Norris) McClintockColony, province, state, 1623-1888. History of New Hampshire (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 58)
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friends were by no means an.xious to settle. The New Hamp-
shire authorities became more zealous to have the line deter-
mined than Massachusetts, although they realized that it would
not greatly benefit them personally, as the territory would either
revert to the King, to again grant, or become the property of
the heirs of Mason and Allen.

The governor, as obliged by his instructions, frequently urged
the settlement of the lines in his speeches ; and a committee
from both provinces met at Newbury, in the autumn of 1731, to
arrange the affair ; but the Massachusetts party prevented an
accommodation ; whereupon the New Hampshire authorities de-
termined no longer to treat with Massachusetts, but to petition
the King to decide the controversy.

Accordingly, in 1732, John Rindge, a merchant of Portsmouth,
who had influential friends in England, was appointed by the
Assembly agent for the Province. He visited the old country,
and presented to the King a petition, requesting the establish-
ment of the line between the two provinces ; and upon his re-
turn to America the affair was left to the management of Cap-
tain John Thomlinson, a merchant of London, a gentleman of
great penetration, industry and address. This petition, how-

1/6 IIISTOKV ()!■■ Nl-.W llAMI'SiilKE. [^73-

-ever, was not entlorscd by the governor or by his council ; but
was authorized by the iVssembly and the lieutenant-governor.

Governor Belcher charged Dunbar with being " false, perfidi-
ous, malicious, and revengeful, a plague to the governor and a de-
ceiver of the people." The opposition alleged that the governor
consented at every session of the Massachusetts Assembl)- to
grants of land within the disputed territory.

In 1732, a vote of the proprietors of Suncook is the first
mention in the town records of the Bow controversy. In case
the claim of Massachusetts was sustained, the right of the gran-
tees of Suncook would be established ; in case New Hampshire
obtained jurisdiction, the right to the land would be legally
vested in the heirs of John Mason.

Oyster Ri\er, a parish of Dover, was incorporated as Durham
in 1732. It had been made a parish in 165 1 ; separated in 1675;
incorporated in 17 16. It had suffered severely during the Indian
wars, the enemy frequently committing depredations within its
limits. A church was built in 1655. The first minister, settled in
the parisli in 1674, was John Russ, who died in 1736, at the age of
one hundred and eight years. He was also the parish physician.
Rev. Hugh Adams was settled in 1718 ; Rev. Nicholas Oilman,
in 1 741 ; Rev. John Adams, in 1748 ; Rev. Curtis Coe, in 1780,
who was dismissed in 1806.

The township of Narragansett No. 3, Souhegan West, or Am-
herst, was granted, in 1733, by Massachusetts. The first settle-
ment was commenced, in 1734, by Samuel Walton and Samuel
Lampson and others from Esse.x county. A meeting house was
built in 1739. The town was incorporated in 1760, as Amherst,
and upon the organization of Hillsborough County it was made
the shire town. Milford, in 1794, and Mount Vernon, in 1803.
were separated from Amherst. A church was organized in
1 741, and Daniel Wilkins was settled as minister, and continued
there until his death, in February, 1784. Rev. Jeremiah Bar-
nard was settled in 1779 ; Rev. Nathan Lord, in 18 16, after-
wards president of Dartmouth College.

The township of Contoocook, afterwards Boscawen, was
granted by Massachusetts in 1733, and a settlement was made


the next year by Natlianiel Danforth, Andrew Bohonnon, Moses
Burbank, Stephen Gerrish and Edward Emery, a colony from
Newbury, Massachusetts. Soon twenty or thirty families were
settled within the township. A fort, one hundred feet square
and ten feet high, was built in 1739, in which the inhabitants
were obliged to take refuge for a period of twenty-two years.
Rev. Phinehas Stevens was settled as minister in 1737, and a
meeting house was built the next year, as large as that at Rum-
ford and " two feet higher." Mr. Stevens was succeeded, in
1761, by Rev. Robie Morrill ; in 1768, by Rev. Nathaniel Merrill ;
in 1 78 1, by Rev. Samuel Wood, who continued in the ministry
for over fifty years. The town was incorporated in 1760, and
named in honor of Admiral Boscawen.

Settlements were pushed up the valley of the Connecticut as
far as Charlestown soon after 1735, in which year that town, by
the name of No. 4, was granted by Massachusetts to the citizens
of Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield, Deerfield and Sunderland.
The fifst settlers were several families by the name of Parker,
Farnsyvorth, Sartwill from Groton, Hastings from Lunenburg,
and Stevens from Rutland. In 1743 a fort was built, under the
direction of Colonel Stoddard of Northampton ; and the first
mills were erected the following year. The town was temporarily
abandoned by the inhabitants in 1 747, on account of the Indian
war, but a garrison was stationed at the fort as a protection
to the frontiers. Charlestown was incorporated in July, 1753.
Rev. John Dennis was settled as minister in 1754; Rev. Bulkley
Olcott, in 1761 ; Rev. Jaazaniah Crosby, in i8io; Rev. J. De
F. Richards, in 1841 ; Rev. Worthington Wright, in 1851.

In the meanwhile, the relations between Governor Belcher
and his lieutenant-governor, Dunbar, were not of an amicable
character. Dunbar had no seat in the council, and was de-
prived of command of the fort at New Castle, and as many of
his perquisites as possible, by the governor. In anger, Dunbar
retired to his fort at Pemaquid, where he remained two years,
Upon his return, he was treated with less severity by the

Dunbar, in his office of surveyor-general of the King's woods,


was frequently arbitrary in his dealings with the people upon
the Piscataqua, and incurred their enmity. At Exeter, while
enforcing some of his obnoxious regulations, he was set upon by
a force disguised as Indians, and, together with his party, re-
ceived rough usage. They were obliged to tramp back to
Portsmouth, as their boat was rendered unserviceable. For this
offence he could receive no legal redress, as his assailants were
unknown. As a retaliation, he ordered that courts should be
holden only at Portsmouth, instead of at E.xeter, Dover, and
Hampton, as formerly. He was caressed by the opponents of
Belcher, and, in 1737, went to England to prosecute his design
of creating New Hampshire into an independent province, of
which he desired to obtain control. Disappointed in his ambi-
tion, he accepted an office offered by the East India Company,
and was appointed governor of St. Helena.

The trade of the Province at this time consisted chiefly in
the exportation of lumber and fish to Spain and Portugal, and
the Caribbee Islands. The mast trade was wholly confined to
Great Britain. In the winter, small vessels went to the south-
ern colonies with English and West India goods, and returned
with corn and pork. Woollen manufacture was diminished, as
sheep were scarce, but the manufacture of linen had greatly in-
creased by the emigration from the north of Ireland, ^

In 1732, an Episcopal church was organized at Portsmouth,
and a chapel built, which was consecrated in 1734 ; and two years
later. Rev. Arthur Brown was settled as their minister, with a
'salary from the " Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign
Parts." In 1735, the Province was visited with a new epidemic,
known as the throat distemper ; and of the first forty who had
it none recovered. It first appeared at Kingston. In the
whole Province not less than one thousand persons died of the
disease, of whom some nine hundred were children. Over two
hundred died at Hampton Falls, and over one hundred at
Exeter, Kingston, and Durham.

In 1737, the settlers at Suncook bargained with John Coch-
ran of Londonderry to erect a saw-mill and a grist-mill on the

■ Belknap.

1737] KOVAI. I'K()\IN-CE. 179

Suncook river, and agreetl to deed to him lot No. i, which
embraced the compact part of the present village of Suncook,
in the town of Pembroke. The conditions of the grant he evi-
dently complied with, for the deeds of all property within th^it
area can be traced to him.

In accordance with a vote the first road to Rumford was laid
Out. It led diagonally across the lots, very directly from the
first meetinghouse, built in 1733, at the north-east corner of the
cemetery, over intervening land to the bridge over the Sou-
cook, thence by the river bank to the great bend in the Merri-
mack, where a ferry was early established, about a mile below
the lower bridge in Conctird, and nearly as far above the rail-
road bridge.

A bounty of sixpence a tail was voted for every rattlesnake
killed in the township.

The north and east part of the town was then a wilderness,
covered by the primeval forest. The Suncook settlers, for the
most part, were on the home lots, which were on each side of
what is now Pembroke street. Their meadow lots, on the Sun-
cook, Merrimack and Soucook rivers, were reached by winding
paths through the forest, and were valuable to the pioneers
from the wild grass that grew upon them. The intervale lots
along the Merrimack are said to have been open at the first
settlement, from inundations of the river, or kept so by the
Indians, the former occupants of the land, as corn fields.

An old man once said that the pioneers settled on high land,
not on account of its fertility, but to avoid the trails of the
savages, which were made by the river bank ; that the Indians
would never turn from their march to do malicious injui'y,
except when on the war path ; and because from an elevation
the clearings could be better protected by a stockade and
garrison house.

Thomlinson, the agent of New Hampshire in England, was
indefatigable in his efforts in behalf of the little Province. It
was greatly due to him that the chapel was built at Portsmouth,
and that a minister was settled over the parish. Through his
instrumentality, commissioners from among the councillors of


New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Nova Scotia, all
from royal governments except those from Rhode Island, and
with that colony Massachusetts had a controversy respecting
boundaries, were appointed to adjudicate the dispute on boun-
dary line. The commissioners, three from Nova Scotia, and
five from Rhode Island, met at Hampton, August i, 1737.
Here they were met by a committee of the New Hampshire
Assembly, who presented the demands of the Province, while
agents of Massachusetts stated their claims. On the loth of
August, the General Court of Massachusetts met at Salisbury,
while the General Court of New Hampshire met at Hampton
Falls. The latter, however, were fiot united, as the Council
were of the Massachusetts party, while the Assembly favored
the New Hampshire pretensions. The commissioners, how-
ever, could not determine definitely the line between the two
Provinces, but referred the matter to the King and Council.
Here the New Hampshire interests were again entrusted to
Thomlinson, who was a host in himself. Not receiving the nec-
essary papers from the New Hampshire authorities to prosecute
their claim, he manufactured such as he thought would be most
powerful for the benefit of his clients of New Hampshire.
While the matter was pending, in 1738, Thomlinson bought up
the Masonian claim to the Province for ^1,000, on his own
responsibility, in behalf of the New Hampshire Assembly.

In this appeal. New Hampshire had the advantage of the
most skilful advocates, who represented the " poor, little, loyal,
distressed Province of New Hampshire " as crowded and op-
pressed by the " vast, opulent, overgrown Province of Massa-
chusetts ; " and New Hampshire won the case. The question
was settled by his Majesty, in council, March 5, 1740, and the
present southern and eastern boundary of New Hampshire was
established. Many townships granted by Massachusetts were
found to be without the jurisdiction of the Province that had
granted their charters, and within a Province governed by differ-
ent laws, and where the title to the wild land was in dispute.

This was the more bitter to the inhabitants of the territory
because of the Masonian claim. This hung over their heads.

1737] K()\AI, J'KOVINCE. iSl

ami affected their ownership in the lands which they had
recovered from a wilderness by years of toil and exposure. The
Province of New Hampshire gained jurisdiction over a strip of
land fourteen miles wide, extending its whole width, and was
supposed to include the present State of Vermont. Twenty-
eight newly granted townships, between the Merrimack and
Connecticut rivers, were cut off from Massachusetts and
annexed to New Hampshire. The latter Province gained seven
hundred square miles more than the authorities had claimed,
besides the territory west of the Connecticut river.'

Kensington was detached from Hampton, and incorporated
in 1737, when Rev. Jeremiah Fogg was settled as minister over
the town. He was succeeded, in 1793, by Rev. Napthali Shaw;
in 18 1 2, by Rev. Nathaniel Kennedy.

ICivil Engineer Nelson Spoft'ord, of Haverhill, boundary line .surveyor on
the part of M.issachusetts in the present controversy' with New Hampshire,
is in receipt of valuable and important copies of maps and other documents
relative to this subject from the Public Records office of England.

In 1SS3 Mr. SpofFord made inquiries of Minister Lowell as to the necessary
proceedings in order to ascertain what documents might be found on record
relative to the settlement of the boundary line controversy in 1741.

Mr. Stevens was employed to search the records, and he forwarded to Mr.
SpofTord a list of twenty-five documents and maps relating to this subject,
with the cost of copying; and here the matter rested until the Boundary
Line Commission was organized, in 1SS5, when Mr. Spoft'ord was directed
to order copies of such documents as might appear to be of the most import-
ance, but owing to delays from various causes these documents have been
but recently received.

The list embraces some three hundred pages foolscap of closely written
matter, and copies of three maps. Among the documents appear the

No. L
Public Record Office of England.
Colonial Correspondence Bd. of Trade New England.
Oreder of the King in Council. 9 April 1740.
Indorsed, New England, A/assachusei/s Bay Ne-v Hampshire Order of Council
dated April 9th 1740 directing the Board to prepare an Instruction
to the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire for
settling the Bounds of these Provinces pursuant to a report of the
Committee of Council.

At the Court of St. James the 9th. April 1740


The K'UL's mos: EKcellant .".r,i;..-~(v in Council


iV/icrecif: His Majesty was this day pleased by his order in Council, to
signify liis approbation of a Report made by the Lords of the Committee in
Council upon the respectiye Appeales of the Provinces of the Massachusetts
Bay and New Hampsliire for tlie Determination of the Commissioners — ap-
pointed to settle tlie Boundarjs between the said Provinces, and to direct in
what manner the said Boundarys should be settled, and also to require the
Governor and the respective Councils and Assemblys of the said Provinces
to take especial care to carry His Majestys commands thereby signified into
due execution. as by a copy of the said Order hereto annexed may more fully
appear. And His Majesty being desirous to remove all further pretence for
continuing the Disputes which have subsisted for many years between the
said Provinces on Account of the said Boundary, and to prevent any dehiy
in ascertaining the Boundary pursuant to the said order in Council, Doth
Hereby Order that the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations do
prepare the Draught of such an instruction as they shall conceive proper to
be sent to tlie Governor of those Provinces, for enforcing the due execution
of the said order and requiring him in the strongest ternis to cause His
Majestys Commands in tliis behalf to be executed in the most effectual and
expeditious manner, to the end that his Majestys Intentions for promoting
the Peace and Qjiiet of the said Provinces, may not be frustrated or delayed.
And thev are to lay the said Draught before the Right Honorable the Lords
of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs. —

(Signed) Temple Stanyan

No. n.
Order of Committee of Council 9 April 1741
Indorsid (with petitions) Massachusetts Oreder ol the Lords of ye Com-
mittee of Council dated ye 9th of April 1741 referring to this board ye
Petition of Thomas Hutchinson of Boston Esq. praying his Majesty
to direct that the several Line Townships which by the Line directed
to be run by his Majestys Order in Council of ye 9th April 1740 will
be cut off from the Province of Massachusetts Bay may be united to
that Province.
At the Council Chamber Whitehall

the 9th. of April 1741 By the Right Honorable the Lords of the
Committee of Council for Plantation Afl'airs.

His Majesty, having been pleased by his order in Council of the 9th of
February last, to refer unto this Committee the humble petition of Thomas
Hutchinson of Boston in his Majesty Province of Massachusetts Bay Esqr.
humbly praying that His Majesty will be graciously pleased to direct that
the several Townships, commonly known by the name of the line townships.
which by the Line directed to be run by his Majestys Order in Council of the
9th of April 1740, will be cut off from the said Province of Massachusetts
Bay may be United in tliat Province — The Lords of the Committee this day
took the said petition, together with several others thereto annexed, from the
said Township into Consideration, and are hereby pleased to refer the same


to tlie Lords Comnussioners for Trade and Plantations, to examine into tlie
said Petitions, and report their Opinion tliereupon to this Committee

(Signed) Temple Stanyan.

Benning Wentuorth to the Board of Trade Sth December 1742
Indorsed New Hampshire Letter from Mr. Wentworth Governor of New
Hampshire to the Board, dated Portsmouth \e Sth December 1742

Referring to the petitions of the inhabitants who had without their consent
been summarily transferred from the jurisdiction of Massachusetts to that of
New Hampshire, and who had petitioned the King to be returned to Massa-
chusetts, Wentworth says, —

And unless it should be His Majesty's pleasure to put an end to Applications
of this Nature, It will be impossible for me to carry his Royal Instructions
into Executi on.

New Hampshire sits down bv liis Majesty's determination, and has showed
the greatest obedience thereto by paying the whole expense of running and
marking out the boundaries in exact conformity to the royal deter-
mination, and therefore thinks it a great hardship that Massachusetts should
lead them into any new charge, in a dispute that had subsisted near four
score years, and which has been so solemnly determined.

And it inay be added here, also, that the legislature of New Hampshire
supplemented the above appeal of Governor Wentworth with a prayer to the
King, never, under any circumstances, to admit of the slightest infraction
of the boundary line, thus determined and established according to his royal
will and pleasure ; and to the credit of that Province and State it may also
be stated here that that work, the boundary line as then established and recorded,
has never been called in question by either, and the State has never gone back
on her own record

Jonathan Belcher to the Board of Trade.
7 May 1 741.
Indorsed Massachusetts, new Hampshire Letter from Mr. Belcher Governor
of New England, dated at Boston ye 7th of May 1741, concerning a difficulty,
arisen upon ye construction of His Majesty's Judgment respecting ye Bounda-
ries betwixt ye Province of Massachusetts Bay and that of New Hampshire.

This isavery important document, and, as will be seen, effectually disposes
of all claims New Hampshire may have been supposed to have to a slice of
Massachusetts, and forms a very valuable and important State paper.

In connection with these documents, Mr. Spofford has also received copies
of three very important and valuable maps relating to the boundary line con-
troversy of 1741.

No. I is a map of Merrimack river and the boundary line at three miles
distant on the north side thereof, by George Mitchell, surveyor. This map
is about 18x24 inches, and bears the following inscription on the upper left
hand corner, enclosed in scroll work:


His Excellency Benning Wentworth Esqr.
Captain General V Commander in Chief over His Majesty's Province of New
This map is humbly inscribed by
His Excellencys
Most Obdt. Servt.

George Mitchell Surv'r.
And immediately under this we find the following note :

By Lines drawn on the North side of ye River there is as much land as
water, which have their corresponding parallels at three miles distance ; but
as ye Sudden Bends renders it impracticable to come up to the Truth, the dif-
ference is divided equally in General.

In the lower left hand corner is the following note :

Received April 20th, with Governor Wentworth's Letter dated at Portsmouth
in New Hampshire 6th March i'/^ik.2

In the lower right hand corner is tlie title enclosed in scroll work.
Of the River Merrimack
from the Atlantick Ocean
to Pawtucket Falls de-
scribing Bounds between
His Majesty's Province of
New Hampshire and the
Massachusetts Bay, agree-
able to His Majestys Or-
der in Council 1741
On the back of the map we find the following sworn statement :
George Mitchell makes Oath, that this survey made by him of the River
Merrimack, from the mouth of said River to Pawtucket Falls, is true and exact
to the best of his skill and knowledge, and that the line described in the plan
is as conformable to His Majestys determination in Council, as was in his
power to draw, but finding it impracticable to stick to the letter of said deter-
mination, has in some places taken from one Province, and made ample allow-
ance for the same in the next reach of the River.
Portsmouth. New Hampshire. March Sth, 1741.
George Mitchell,

Sworn C Jothani Odiorne ") fus.

1' " \oi the

before [ H. Sherburne J Peace

Thus it will be seen that Mitchell was no tool or emissary of Belcher's, but
he drew the boundary line according to his interpretation of the King's De-
cree, as it appears from examination of the map that he surveyed the river,
made his plan, and then proceeded to lay off a strip of land three miles wide
on the north side thereof. This he did by first drawing straight lines along


the north shore of the river, passing so as to take one half of the river into
his estimate, proiectini; these lines from the ocean to Pawtucket falls, and then
draws the boundary line at three miles distance from these straight lines.
Consequently no part of his line appears on the south side of the river.
Mitchell does not seem to have understood the gymnastics of modern survey-

This map shows no small degree of artistic ability in the surveyor who pro-
jected it, so much so that Mr. SpofFord already has applications for copies
from parties interested in works of this description.

But this map not only indicates a superior draughtsman, but a remarkably
skilful and accurate surveyor.

His plan of the river, reduced by pantograph to the scale of the map accom-
panying the recent report of the New Hampshire Commissioners to the leg-
islat\ire of that Stats, shows the survey to have been made and platted with a
wonderful degree of accuracy.

This latest survey and plan were executed with the very best of modern ap-
pliances, by a skilful and experienced surveyor but recently from the United
States Government survey of the Mississippi river, and neither time nor ex-
pense was spared to make it as accurate as could be platted on a scale of ^. 500
feet to one inch ; still, on comparing the latest product of modern skill, it is
little more than a fiic simile of Mitchell's work done with the rude instru-
ments of a centurv and a half ago.

Map No. 3.
This map is on a sheet about 24x36 inches, and is the work of the same
surveyor, and executed in the same general style as No. 2. The title reads
as follows :

A Plan of the Rivers and Boundary Lines referred to in the Proceedings and
Judgment to which this is annexed. George Mitchell Surveyor

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