Such being the habits of the peo])le, the legitimate consequence
was that intemjierance cast its <laikening sliadow and blighting
curse over many households, and crime, its twin sister, then, as
now, bore it company. Men neglected their families, and spent
for liquor that money which shoidd have been expended for the
necessities of their own househol^ls. Property was squandered,
"sprees" were indulged in for days and nights, and it was no
170 HISTORY OF WINDHAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
uncommon thini; for men to return from military trainings and
to\vn-moetin<2;s witli shining faces, and this lustre they obtained
not on Mount Horeb.
LIGHT BREAKS IN. â€” TEMPERANCE REFORMATION, 1831.
But the dawiiing of a brighter day was at hand, and the hour
of liberation of many from this evil was rapidly aj)])roaching.
The conscience of the community was to be aroused to newness
of life, and the fruits of this quickening were to be found in
hajtpier homes, in nobler and j)urer men and women, and in the
discanling utterly of the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage.
Ap])arently, the minds of the people were first called to the
subject of temperance by the "Society for the Reformation of
Morals," organized in 1815, and noticed elscAvliere. About 1828,
a temperance society was formed, and a number signed the total-
abstinence pledge. This society did not take deep root in the
community, its fruits were not abundant, and its members were
the subjects of ridicule.
The first real temperance reformation commenced in 1831.
That year a powerful revival of religion took place, and Tem-
perance being the handmaid of Cliristianity, they went together,
and the results are felt to the i)resent time. At that period, a
large nund)er of men and women changed their course of life,
abandoned the use of liquors, and became the true friends of
temperance and workers in its cause.
Tlie prevailing sentiment of tlie town now is strongly on the
side of temperance.
PAUPERISM. â€” FIRST WARNING OUT OF TOWN, MAY 21, 1751.
There were few paupers in our early settlement. Tlu)se who
became needy were undoubtedly aided by tlieir friends, or ])y the
gratuitous aid of the ])eople, and tlms avoided l)eing a town charge.
i find mention of only three persons who were aided by the town
previous to the KeVolution. After that time, those needing
assistance l)ecame more numerous, on account of the war, the
disturbed condition of affairs, depi-eciation in the currency, and
By an act passed May, 1719, it was tiiacti'd, "That if any jter-
s(m come to sojourn in any town in the ])rovinci' and be tlii're
received and entertained by the space of three montlis, and not
having been warned by the constable to leave tlu' place, and the
names of such jiersons, with the time of their abode there, and
when such warning was given, retunu'd to the quarter sessions;
such person sliall be reputt'd an inhabitant of such town, ami the
town liable to maintain such person, it is also enacted, that any
])erson so warned out, and neglecting for fouiteeii days to remove,
may, by wan-ant from the ni'xt justice of llie peaci', be sent, from
c<mstable to constal)Ie unto the town where lie properly belongs.
FIRST PERSON WARNED OUT nV TIIK TOWN, MAY 21, 1751. 171
or li:i<l his last residence, at liis own cliari^e, it" able to ]Â»av the
same, or otherwise at the charm* of the town semliiii; him."
The law seems harsh, hut ajÂ»|iarently no real cruelty was occa-
sioned by it. If the individual was "warned out" according to
l.iw, the town was rt'lieved of the expense of sujiportinu: him if
111' became a public chari;i', and the county or town of which he
was a resident became responsible.
By the town reeords it apj)ears that. May 21, 1751, Robert Adams
was till' tirst person warned out of town, and was j>i'obably the
first }).iupei' after ineorporation. The followinLi; was the form
geneially used for warning persons from the town: â€”
Province of | To Mr. Joseidi Clyde Constable of Windham,
New Hampshire ^ Greeting.
We the subscribers being infornuM] tliat one Robert Adams, a
transient jterson with a family hath eome to Windham to inhabit
from Lt)iidon(lerry some time in Ajiril last, and we being sensible
that he the said Adams hath not wherewith to maintain himself
and family at present, these are therefore to command you in His
Majesty's name, forthwith to warn the said Robert Adams to
depart forthwith out of Windham, Avith his family, or at least in
fourteen days after the date hereof, and of this make return to
us, and your doings tlierein, and this shall be your warrant.
Given under our hands and seals at Windham this twentieth day
of Mav, and in the twenty-fourth year of His Majesty's Reign,
SAMUEL CAMPBELL, )
HUGH BKOWN, I Selectmen.
GEUKGE DAVIDSON, J
Windham, May the 21st 1751. Then was the above warrant
made service of as the law directs. Joseph Clyde, Cotistable.*
The next person who a})pears ujion the scene is "Mary Gait, a
widow," from Londonderry. She was " Avarned out of town"
July 31, 1751. The warning seems to have been j)ractised upon
every new resident, and often upon those Avho became the most
respectable and thrifty citizens. The first case on record was in
1751, and the practice continued till 1780, and perha])S later.
In 17S0, Jose|)h Corliss Avas constable, and in the discharge of
his official duties warned out of tow^n an attractive yoimg French
girl, who sul)sequently became his wife. This romance will be
found recorded in the history of the Corliss family.
This custom did not always shake off the person warned, and
sometimes the town was obliged to render aid. For many years
after 1751 the name of noone aj)pears upon the records, who Avas
aided by the town. If there Avere such, no mention is made of
the fact. "Exceeding peace" reigned in the toAvnship. Xone
* Town Records, vol. i, pp. 50, 5L
172 HISTOKY OF VVINUHAM IN NEW UAMPSHIliE.
were rich, most were poor; but by frugality and perseverance
tliey kept tlie "wolf from the door."
Oct. 2'2, 1770. â€” In the warrant was an article to see what the
town "â€¢ thouglit })roper to be done Avith [a poor person], in his }>res-
ent indigent circumstances." Also, what it would allow "Arthur
Darrali for his care and charge" of liim. Voted, tliat the
selectmen })rovide "A good Strong Cloath Jacket and Bridies"
for him, and "line them both with red base â€” and carrie him
to boston free, and then give him hve Dollars to help him for
time to come." *
Voted "Arthur Darrah 18 shillings for his trouble" with this
Jan. 14, 1774. â€” The selectmen of Windham petitioned the
Council held at Portsmouth for the "allowance of their acc'ts"
for the support of one James Gillespy, an indigent stranger who
came there about the middle of December, 1772, and died Oct.
29, 1773. On this Â£15. 8s. 3c?. was voted, on condition that the
selectmen of Windham furnish proof that the sd Gillespie was
a pauper stranger, and could not have been removed from town
during his sickness, t
This was proven, and the town paid no provmce rates in 1774,
they l)eing balanced by the amount expended by the town for
Gilles})y. The next person in necessitous circumstances was
James Bi'own. He was a hard subject, and occasioned iiuich
legislation. "Voted, Dec. 15, 1774, that William Campbell and
William Gregg, Jr., shall go through the Avest side of this parish and
receive what grain they can get gratis to support James Brown,
as long as it will last, and when that is done the selectmen shall
make further provision for him, and the selectmen shall agree
Avith any person to get liis fire Avood this year that Avill do it
cheapest." "James Brown and his wife troubled the tOAvn in
1770. Voted "to have James l^rown to be continued in the
house he noAV lives in â€” at the discretion of the selectmen for
In 1777 a new method Avas inaugurated. It was selling the
])au]Â»ei"s at public auction.
)Se2)t. 4, 1777. â€” Voted, "That James Brown and his wife is to
be vendued to the loAvest bidder."
THEY STILL TROUBLE THE TOWN, SEPT. 8, 1778.
Sept. 8, 1778. â€” Voted, "Concerning Janu-s IJrown and wife â€”
tliat tliey be vendued for the ensuing year to the lowest bidder
by the selectmen."
James Brown troubles tlie town no more, ImU his widow <h)es.
Sept. \)^\ll*d. â€” "Voted, that the widow Uidwu be si't up to
the hnvest Bi(hler. "
* Town Records, voL i, p. 163. t Provincial Papers, voL vii, p. 25.
Till, TOWN I'ASSKS A SENSIBLF. VOTK, .H'LY 1Â». I78(i. 173
April 10, 17S(I, â€” an article to set' what tlie town will <lo lo
in-ocure a place for Mary Kyle to stay at, lior grandfatJier payinj;-
while lie is aide. She was a " youu<; woman." It was voted to
ven<hu' Mary Kyle for three months "to tlie lowest bidder."
July 14, i78(*. â€” '' Voted, that the si'lectmen assess money to
defray charges for suit])orting Mary Kyle."
" Voted, to support .Mary Kyle and Janet Kyle for one year
lÂ»v classing the town into thirteen classes, acconling to poll and
estate, ami each class to take care oi them four weeks." *
A SENSIBLE VOTE.
July 14, 1780. â€” "Voted, that the Selectmen treat with Dr. or
Drs. in order to helj) those Lunatick Gorrils, and in case they do
no vit^ible good they are to have no pay P
Aug. '29, 1780. â€” Voted, that Sarah Brown be maintainc^d for
one year lÂ»y classes, the same as the Kyles are snpjtorted.
Sept. 17, 1781. â€” Widow Brown maintained by classes tliis year,
four weeks to a class. IMary Kyle becomes insane, and occasions
Sept. 10, 178'2. â€” Wid(n\' Brown suj)])orted by classes.
Aug. 15, 1783. â€” Voted, AVidow Sarah Brown to be vendued
for the year. Voted, that the three lunatic Gorrils ])e classed, or
support ('(1 by classes.
Aug. 81, 1784. â€” Widow Brown was vendued to the lowest
The same in 1785.
1786. â€” Widow Brown vendued.
1787. â€” Widow Brown vendued to lowest bidder for one year,
" if she lives so long."
1788. â€” She still lives. " Votted, to let the Widow Sarah Brown
to the lowest l)idder." She i)robably died during the year, as her
name is not met again upon the records, and the town and her
own poverty trouble her no more. For in the "grave's democ-
racy" there is no distinction between the rich and poor, but all
tind a quiet resting-place in the calm, peaceful bosom of mother
March 12, 1789. â€” " Voted, that James Waugh have eight
bushels of Indian corn at the end of one year from the 12 of
March, 1789, providing he keeps the Widow Collins Clear of any
other cliarges of this town."
April 24, 1792. â€” "Voted, that the town be classed as formerly
for the support of Mary Kyle."
1798. â€” The town pays Dr. Wood six dollars for attending
Nancy Currier in her last sickness, and paid Samuel Senter for
troul)le and funeral charges.
1798. â€” Paid funeral charges of Polly, formeidy wufe of Ezra
Wilds, 18s. M.
* Town Records, vol. i, p. 235.
174 IIISTOKY OF WINDHAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Aug. 27, 1798. â€” Mary Kyle's ((U'ccasi'd) cft'eots are dis-
N^ov. 30, 1798. â€” Margaret Caswell asks aid of tlie town.
Voted, to send her to Boston, and Abner Canipbell jierforms the
service at the lowest figures.
And so the record goes, â€” some persons being aided by the
town as a toion^ and some a|)})arently hi tiie town's capacity as a
parish; for church and state were not then separated.
Nov. 4, 1808. â€” John Plummci-, an iiuligent person, was ven-
dued, "and John Simpson bid him off at 55 cents per week to the
first day of April, 1809."
C'ci. I'J, 1810. â€” Alexander Brown was vendued ; struck off
for eight weeks at $1.95 per week, another eight weeks at $2.00
per week, and struck off for the succeeding four weeks.
Aitg. 10, 1811. â€” John Walkins was vendued for three months
at $1.00 per week, and the next three months at 98 cents per
1811. â€” Francis Adams was struck off for six months at $1.00
1814. â€” Kebecca Montgomery cared for by selectmen.
" Voted, that the selectmen use a discretionary power to sup-
port the poor in the cheapest manner they can have them decently
taken care of." â€” An7iual Meeting, 1814.
March 10, 1818. â€” "Voted, that the selectmen sell the town
paupers at auction to the lowest bidder."
Aug. 17, 1818. â€” The town voted to defend the suit In'ought by
the town of Nottingham West (now Hudson) against the town
of Windham for the support of widow Sarah J^ynch.
IToiK/t/y o, 1819. â€” Voted, and chose an agent to ]Â»rosecute to
final judgment and execution, any town in this State that lie the
said agent sliall find chargeable with the maintenance of one John
Willson, a transient person who has become chargeable to tlie
town of Wiiulhara. Chose Lieut. Samuel Davidson.
FIRST OVERSEER OF THE POOR CHOSEN, 1820.
The custom of venduing the poor to the lowest Ifidtler, or sup-
porting them by classes (the town being dividi'(l into classes or
districts), continued till 1819, probably till March 14, 1820, wlien
the town for the first time chose an "overseer of the poor," he
being Capt. l^arnet Hughes.
Tlie practice of selling the })oor was an exceedingly bad one,
and could not but have a demoralizing eifect upon the community
which in-actised it. The auction took j)lace usually immediately
after the town-meeting, and the })auj)ers weie bid off for longer
and shorter periods, but oftentimes for one year. Many of the
unfortunates were so by their own habits and life;, and their coni-
* Towu Records, vol. ii, p. 151.
A T(i\V\ IAI;M lil;(ll \Si:i), JAN. is, 18:i8. 175
|i;mi()iisliiii umild not hi' soiiLilit lÂ»y thrifty, wdl-to-dd people.
Tlie cuiise<jiieiic'(.' was tlu-y were coimiioiily ''hid otT" hy peisoiis
of small means, and oftentimes hy those who harely escaped
heinii,- town charÂ«,a's themselves, hut to whom tlie prospect of a
few dollars of leady money was very temptins^. The treatment of
the poor was harsh, and in some instances cruel, when they fell
into the hands of an unsympathizing and avaiicious family. This
practice was common in most tow'iis, and was continued in some
many years after it -was discontinued in Windham. It hecame
re])uunant to the moral sense t)f t)ur people, and was discontinued.
A more humane and Christian method took its place.
Overseers were elected as follows: â€”
1822. â€” Samuel Anilersou.
1823. â€” Jercniiah Morrison.
1824. Nov. 1. â€” Janet Kyle married Lid^ard. She was still deransjcd,
and was very troul)l('S()me to some of our people. It was voted in
town-meetinj:: on this date that ('apt. John ('niiiphcll sliall convey
her to tlie towu where her husi)and lives.
1825. â€” Alexander Gordon.
1H2C>. â€” Alexander (iordon.
1827. â€” John Hopkins.
1828. â€” Jonathan Coc-hran.
182'.>. â€” Eben C. Foster, third selectman, had " sjiecial care of the poor,"
and it became a rule for the third selectman to have charge of
A TOWN KAUM PURCHASED. JAN. 18, 1838.
From this time to the date of purchase of the town farm,
the selectmen had soh' change and care of the jioor. Improved
methods in their niaii:iuement had heen adopted in otlier towns,
and cai-ried on successfully and economically. Farms had heen
puichased and stocked, where the poor were placed in charge of
a superintendent, to be supported. The plan worked well. So,
March 18, 1837, at the annual meeting, the selectmen, Samuel
W. Simpson, Robert M. Cami)bell, Alexander Park, were aj)-
pointed a committee to find at what price a suitable farm could
be ])urchased and stocked for the support of the poor, and to see
what would l)e the probable expense of the farm and hiring an
agent, over and above the probable income, and report at the
next legal meeting. They investigated and came to the conclu-
sion that it was expedient to purchase a farm.
Dec. 4, 1887, it was voted "to purchase a farm on which to keep
the l*aui)ers of this town, also household furniture, stock, and
necessary im])lements to carry on the same." A committee was
chosen, consisting of Jonathan Parker, Alexander Gordon, and
Cai)t. William Camj)bell, with "discretionary power to make said
purchase," and were to act for the interests of the town.
Jan. 18, 1838, a farm of eighty-five acres, to which small
])ieces were subserjuently added, and wliich is iiow^ owned by
Frederick J. Hughes, was }Â»urehased of Levi York, of Lowell, for
17(1 llfS'l'OUY OF \VINDIIAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
fifteen Inindivtl dollars. The fai'iii was Foi-iiu'rly owikmI Ly Henry
Cani])hc'll, and also his son David Canijtbcll. Tlie buildings were
fitted uj) for the " almshouse," and the })laee became known as the
" town farm."
SURPLUS REVENUE APPROPRIATED FOR TOWN FARM, 1838.
In 1836, the "surj)lus revenue" of the United States tlien in
the vaults of the treasury at Washington, consisting of twenty-
eiglit millions, was by act of Congress distributed among the
several States. By an act of the New Hampsliirc Icgislatuiv,
ai)])roved Jan. 18, 1837, her amount was divided among the sev-
March 14, 1837, Windham voted to acce])t her share under the
provisions of the act, and David Armstrong was appointed an
agent to receive it. This money was appropriated for the pur-
chase of the town farm.
March 13, 1838, it was voted that the almshouse shall be a
house of correction, and a code of rules and by-laws was
ado])ted for the management of its inmates. These by-laws and
regulations were "iron-clad, " and gave the superintendent and
overseei's of the poor almost absolute power over persons com-
mitted to the house of correction. These rules were made
in conformity with an act which passed the Legislature Dec. 16,
One of these rules provided that any rogue or vagal)ond, kn\d,
idle, or disorderly person or persons, going about juggling or beg-
ging, or j)ersons using any subtle craft, unlawful games, or plays,
or persons pretending to have any knowledge in physiognomy
or ]>almistry, or persons ])retending they can tell destinies or
fortunes, or discover by any spells or magic art Avhere lost or
stolen goods may be found, common pij)ers, fiddlers, runaways,
stubborn servants or children, common drunkards, etc., upon
a com])laint being made in wi'iting, and a conviction before
any justice of the peace for Rockingham County, may be com-
mitted to said houses of correction for the term of 90 days, and
"shall be confined to liard labor, and to wear fetters or shackles
or be confined in a dark cell and fed on ])ri'ad and water." The
su])erintendent "was empowered to inflict any or all of these
piiiiisliments as he might think reasonable." '^I'he overseers of the
])Oor had authority, l)y a written order to the su]>erintendent, to
remit the ])unishment of any offender, and release any one from
the house of correction at any time before the expiration of term
Though these rules sound hard and .arbitrary, there is no
reason to sup])ose but that the worthy ])oor were ])ro)Â»erly cared
for, or that the idle, vicious, an<l disordi'Hy received more ])uni8h-
ment than they deserved. 'I'lie "dark cell" was never occu-
jtii'd, to my knowlcilge, nor wi're "fetters or shackles" applied.
Sup(M-intendents were hired year by yeai', who, with their fanii-
ANNUAL KXI'KNSKS lOU TIIK I'ooK, I'KOM 187(1 TO lS,s-2. 177
I'n's, iii()\Â«'il into the :iliiisli(Â»iis(' :iii(l liuusc of correct ioii, .-iiid
sii|icfiiitcii(K'i| tlic affairs of tlic lioiiscliold, tlic paupers, crim-
inals, and tlie farm. The pauper class was supjxtrted conifort-
altly in this manner, and it was a gri'at inijtrovenu'nt upon the
former harsli method of venduing the depen<lents upon town
cliarity to the lowest bidder.
In the warrant <*f the annual nieetini;, March, 1S()7, was this
article: "To see if the town will vote to aholisli ]Â»auper settle-
ments in towns, and throw the entire su]ij)ort of ])aupers u|Â»on
counties." Also another, containinu' this clause: "Is it exjie-
dient to have a county farm?" On lÂ»otli aiticles the town
decided in the atKrmative.
Till-: TOWN FARM SOLI). â€” DICED GIVEN, NOV. 14, 18t!8.
Aug. 29, 18G8. â€” Voted to sell the town farm, in the
autumn of that year, l)ut gave the selectmen power "to i)roeeed
as they thought best for the interest of tlie town." They sold
the farm to James C. Cloyd, and Nov. 3, 1868, the town
instructed them to give a deed, and the money received for it
was paid to Col, Thomas Nesmith, of Lowell, to whom the town
was indebted. The farm of 128 acres was sold for $2,200, and
deeded to James C Cloyd, Jr,, Nov. 14, 18G8; the personal
])roperty was sold for 81,097.75, Total, $3,297,75.
Since the sale of the town farm, the annual ex])enses for the
poor have been as follows, as shown l)y the town reports of these
1870, $510 GO 1874, .^787 95 187'.), Â§240 30
1871, 405 04 1875, 583 88 1880, 358 86
1872, 446 95 1876, 555 42 1881, 297 95
1873, 441 95 1877, 364 96 1882, 37 25
1878, 293 71
The appropriation for the purchase of the county farm was
made June, 18G9. Tlie farm was bought in Brentwood, and the
house was built by a building committee, consisting of John B,.
Radding, of Portsmouth ; H. P. Hood, of Derry ; and "William
Robinson, of Exeter. Its first occupants Avere received April,
1870. The first itemized. re})ort and inventory of county
ex])enses was made for 1871-72, by W. S. Pillsbury, of London-
derry, of the board of county commissioners.
But tew of our })0or have been suj)ported at the county farm.
Since the sale of the town farm they have been wholly under the
charge of the selectmen, and they have ever been treated with
kindness. Those "to the manor born" have not been forced to
go to the county farm, away from the friends and acquaintances
of a life-time, but with a delicate consideration for their feelings,
parties have been hired to provide for them, where they would
fare as well, and have as many comforts as would be found in the
homes of many of our most thrifty citizens. Others who i)re-
ferred, or had no clioice, have been sent to the county farm.
178 HISTOKY OF WINDHAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
AccroENTS. â€” Sudden Deaths. â€” Freshets. â€” Fires, Etc.
It is impossible to give a complete list of tlie fatal accidents
wliich have occurred in Windham, of the numerous tires, of the
sudden deaths. In many cases the dates are wanting. The fol-
lowing catalogue does not always record them in the order of
1721. â€” About this tune a boy was killed by the Indians on Golden Erook.
1780, Aug. 25.^ Jane McCoy was killed l)y the bears in the woods of
West Windham, according to tradition. Before John ]M orison,
coroner, the verdict was, "The said Jane McCoy did die in the
woods . . . without the knowledi^e of any person wiiatsocver,
part of the bones of the said Jane beinu; found in the woods."
â€” A child of Sanuiel Kiukead was drowned in a well, at the
place uow occupied by Isaiah W. Haseltine.
178G, Nov. 5. â€” "Mary Spaulding, a widow woman, did die by misfortune
on the morning of the aforesaid day by falling backward into a
small well and was drowned."
1787, July 31.â€” Sarah, daugliter of Ko1)ert Stuart, five years of ago, was
drowned in a well. This well was in the i)asture of AUhm-I A.
Morrison, in the Range. â€” One of the ladies of Windham, who had
been to Salem, Mass., and sold the products of her loom, when
near her house was thrown from her horse and had her leg
1794, Sept. â€” The barn on the W. D. Cochran place, owned l)y James
Coehran, was struck by lightning and consumed.
]7<)G. â€” George I)a\idson was run over by his loaded team and killed.
179'.), Sept. 17. â€” Caleb lialeh slid down tlie side of the barn head-fore-
most, between the boards and Ihc iiay, and was smothered to
1801, June. \C,. â€” Benjamin Dow was .struck l)y lightning in a house in
Maiden, Mass., and was killed. â€” The house on the Baleii pl.-ice,
now occupied by Moses C. Pagi', was destroyed by tire, previous
to 180G. The family were at church on the Hill, and when the
news reached them, there was a general stampede for the scene
of the fire, and the services l)roke ui). â€” Theophilus Dinsmoor was
using a cross-l)ow. Upon snapping the string, it slipped over
the arrow, and the re])ound of tlie bow caught the string on the
head of the arrow and drove it back into his head, putting out
an eye. â€” John Montgomery dropped dead in the Held wlnle
making a band to ti(! his grain.
1804, Sept. Â«. â€” A great fire in Simeon Dustin's woods.
1807. â€”The bridges on Beaver IJrook wen; (;arried away by ;i freshet.