lived near the R. P. Morrison farm, when alone one night with
her children, was troubled by the wolves, which surrounded her
log house, and stuck their noses in between the logs. She drove
them off by pouring scalding hot water u])on their snouts, which
sent them back to their haunts in the wilderness, howling with
The " Rustic Bard," Robert Dinsmoor, when he first built his
barn where John H. Dinsmore lives, used to close uj) the barn
very tightly at night, locking in his stock securely. After a light
snow, when he would return in the morning, the tracks of wolves
would be plenty about the barn. The country then was mostly
covered with large forests.
About 1775, Margaret Dinsmoor, who lived near George W.
Ilanscom's, learned to weave of one William Dickey, whose
house stood in what is now a sheep pasture of L. A. jNIorrison ;
when returning one evening, a wolf sprang u])on her, and she
fainted. The wolf tore her shaAvl, but was frightened away by
accomi)anyiiig friends, without doing her otlier injury.
Deer. â€” They abounded in the country and roamed the forests.
At certain seasons they were ])rotected by law. During the
months of protection, Robert Park, who lived where John A.
Park lives, got one so tame that it would eat from his hands.
After the season of exem]>tion expired, he went to feed his pet
deer one day, and rewai-ded its confidence by shooting it. It
hurt his feelings to do so, but he ol"fei-ed the old excuse, if "he
did n't shoot it, some one else would."
Wild-ciit, Li/ii.i\ uv ( 'ntaiin>u>il^ wcvv inict' licii-, lÂ»ut have
(li.s:i|)j>e:ire(l with othfr \vilÂ«l animals as civilization ailvanced.
IVriodically tlie foiiimunity is startlu<l by tlio ivporl ut' tlio
appearance of a lynx or wild-cat, I)ut only at intervals of several
years. A catamount was once killed upon a rock in the east side
of the town, and the rock is known as "Catamount Kock/'
Jieavers were very numerous. Beaver Brook, or River, derives
its name from the fact that beavers lived ujjon the stream. They
were found in town exercising; their wonderful skill in constructing
d.inis to brooks, so to control the running waters as to suit their
convenience, necessity, or pleasure, â€” one of .which is yet visible.
This (bun is where the brook empties into the northerly end of
C'obbett's Pond. Across this brook they had for ages kept their
dam, tiowing the water back upon the meadow south of rJohn H.
Dinsmore's house. Across this dam people pass when walking
across lots in going from Windham Range to the meeting-house.
In the wet season they could convert the whole meadow into a
pond or lake. There was a holloxo at the easterly corner of the
meadow, which the first settlers said was a canal the beavers had
dug inland, and when it was full of water they would cut down
trees into proj)er lengths, and also l>ranches, and float them down
to rejtair and kee|) in order their dam. A few years since some
of these logs cut by beavers were found in this meadow several
feet below the surface. This was undoubtedly the place of their
queer habitations, so built as to enter from lieneath the surface of
the water. Their fur was of great value, and was used as cur-
rency between the whites and Indians.
Hedgehog)^ were once residents. The hist one was killed near
W. D. Cochran's about A. D. 180U.
Otters were here at one time, but now are nearly or (|uite
The woodchuck^ raccoon^ and rabbit are still plenty, to the sor-
row of many farmers. Musk-rat and mink are still here, and are
caught year by year. Foxes are ))lenty, and tales of their cunning
are often told. They are much hunted. iSquirreh^ striped, red,
and gray, are numerous. Flying squirrels are occasionally seen.
The birds found here are those usually found in New England.
A few will be mentioned : Wild geese, and several varieties
of ducks, frequent our lakes and ponds in their semi-annual
transits, spring and fall. Loons always have nested on the bor-
ders of Policy Pond, and perhaps other ])laces. They are often
seen riying from one pond to another, or swimming upon their
surface. On dark, stormy nights in summer their shrill and mel-
ancholy notes are often heard, and seem in perfect harmony
with the sombre aspects of nature.
The iiitail is here, but not abundant. In some parts of the
32 IIISTOIIY OK WIXDIIAM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
town the \vliii)-ii()or-\vill is i)lenty, and disturbs the stilhiess of
the night by its unpleasant and monotonous song.
Pigeons are not so plenty as formerly. The yellow-hammer,
or golden-winged woodpecker, is plenty. The red-headed wood-
pecker is also here.
The robin, golden robin, or oriole, are plenty. The scarlet
tanager is occasionally seen. Indigo bird, bobolink, blackbird,
snow-bird, yellow-bird, kingbird, butcher-bird, blue-jay, and crow
all appear here, besides numerous birds of other varieties, such as
niglit-hawk, pigeon, and hen-hawk, and several varieties of owls,
woodcock, turtle-doAie, and cat-bird, or "American mocking-bird
of the north," as it is called. The bat â€” that link between beast
and bird â€” is found here. But the bird most prized and sought
after by sportsmen is the partridge, the loud, whirring noise of
whose beating wings as. he flies from the ap])roach of visitors, is
generally the first notice of his proximity. Its flesh is a
The black snake, small water-snake, small brown adder, house
adder, large water-snake, striped and green snake, are occasion-
The town was once heavily wooded. The hills and the valleys
were covered with forests of oak and hard wood. But these
have disappeared, and the arboreal products of the town at pres-
ent are the white, yellow, and Norway ])ine; different kinds of
ma))le, but the sugar-maple is scarce; white, black, yellow, and
gray birches ; white, red, gray, and black oak prevail, but are of
young growth ; walnut, butternut, hemlock, chestnut, spruce,
white and black ash, white po])lar, willow, and the locust are
found ; also lever wood, hornbeam, basswood, slippery elm, elm.
The latter are considerably used for shade trees. Red and poison
sumac, or dogwood, and alder exist in lowlands.
Windham is a natural country for wood. It is a noticeable
fact that nature favors rotation of crops; as wlien a forest of
hard wood is removed, the next growth is generally pine. Within
twenty years an immense amount of wood and lumber has been
cut and carried out of town.
The usual varieties of fruit trees are cultivated, and great
attention has been jtaid to this branch of industry within thirty
years. In fruit-bearing years, hundreds of barrels of choice
apples are shipped from town, besides the large (piantilies which
find their way to Lowell, Lawrence, or iManchester.
FLORA OK WINDHAM.
l)y my re(piest, W. S. Harris has kindly furnished the fol-
Wild Flowers. â€” "The town of Windham has an extensive
and varied llora, nundtering probably about five hundred varie-
FLORA OK WINhllAM. 33
tics of llovvt-'riiii^ plants (including, of course, tlie trees). Stinic
very rare plants occur in town ; among tlieni are tlie purple
eloniatis, known t<i grow in only one other locality in New Haniji-
sliire, and the walking-leaf fern, e<jually rare in the State, this
heirig the second town wliere it has been found ; the scarlet
painted-cuj), and wliite azalea. A number of plants whose natu-
ral home is farther north are found here sparingly, the red cur-
rant, Linna-a, and creeping snowberry among the number.
"The Mayflower, the earliest and favorite spring blossom of
New England, grows only along the western border of the town.
The hepatica, which appeal's very early, the anemones, the golden
caltha, the graceful scarlet columbine, dwarf cinquefoil, early sax-
ifrage, the violets, of which eight species are found here, dande-
lion, rhodora, and bluets, are among the early spring flowers
which are abundant and well known.
"Later apjiear the buttercups, daisies, lu))ine, cone-flowers,
crane's-bill, St. Johns-worts, yarrow, pink lady's-slipper, and wil-
low-herb. In muddy brooks and small |Â»onds the lovely white
watei"-lily is found, and the gorgeous cardinal-flower rears its
flaming s]>ikes along the l)rook-sides. The blue pickerel-weed, the
iris, trum))et-weed, milkweeds, and three kinds of wild lilies are
"The white clematis, Virginia creeper, wild grapes, ground-nut,
and ]>oison-ivy are among the most common of the climbing
plants. Of flowering shrubs, the June-berry, choke-cherry, thorn,
wild roses, sweet-brier, cornels, viburnums, elder, meadow-sweet,
and hardback are abundant, and the fragrant clethra is found
along the borders of the ponds. The mountain laurel is scarce.
The climbing bitter-sweet and the black alder are noticeable in
autumn on account of their scarlet fruits.
The wild strawberry, high and low blackberries, red and l)lack
raspberries, three kinds of blueberries, blue and black huckleber-
ries, and cranberries are the most valuable of our wild bei'ries
and fruits. Many of these kinds are annually gathered in large
(piantities, the surplus being sold in neighboring cities, and form-
ing quite a source of income. The pitcher-plant, Indian-jtipe,
l)ladder-worts, and dodder are remarkable for peculiar forms and
habits of growth.
" Various kinds of beautiful asters, purple and white, and
sliowy golden-rods, are very abundant in autumn ; the fringed
and closed gentians are found s])aringly. The witch-hazel is the
latest of all our autumn flowers, the yellow blossoms sometimes
remaining until the middle of November. Very many species of
sedges and grasses are found. The fern family is represented by
no less than twenty-three varieties, including the beautiful maitlen-
hair, and there are four species of lycopodium." *
*W. S. Harris has a liorbarium representinir the flora of Wiiulhauj,
not yet completed, but coiitaiuin,i>: specimens of nearly three hundred
vaiieties of herbs and flowering shrubs, all gathered iu this town.
34 IlISTOKV Ol' WIN'DIIAM IX NKW IIAMI'SIIIKE.
TIr' place aiu'iently called the (tIcii is the valley or liollow
where the old llt)pkiiis farm was situated, now owned by Mr.
Golden or Golding's Brook, tradition says, is so called from
the fact that an ox by that name died upon its banks at an early
date. This was at the time when the Chelmsford and Dracut
peo])le used to turn their cattle into this neighborhood in spring,
to get fresh grass and to browse during the summer. They also
set the forests on tire to kill the Avood, so that the gi'ass would
grow more luxuriantly, and in early days the hills in that part of
the town were black with the burned and dead trees, caused by
these devastating tires. A Mr. Golding owned land in its vicin-
ity. This undoubtedly gave it its name.
Catamount Rock., so called from the fact that a catamount was
killed upon it. It is a large circular bowlder, and rises some four
feet above the surface of the ground. It lies in the pasture of
L. A. Morrison, some twenty rods west of the road leading from
his house to E. O. Dinsmoor's, and in close proximity to the
boundary lines between J. H. Dinsmore, W. D. Cochran, and L.
Indian Rock is a large rock close to the highway between
John II. Dinsmore's and Windham meeting-house, and about
fifteen rods east of the spot where the cross-road from Olin
Parker's strikes this highway. This rock rises some five feet
above tlie ground, and on the top is a circular hole about four
inches dee}Â» and six inches in diameter. Tradition says this was
used by tiie Indians in which to ])ound their corn.
Rutterjield\s Rock deserves a fuller description. It is one of
the curiosities of the town. Some have sup))osed that it took its
name from an old hunter by the name of Butterfield, who anciently
pitched his cabin there, and was accustomed to find shelter by
night under its shelving sides. It was known by this name long
before the huntei- existed, and Avas probably included in the land,
or took its name from a INIr. Butterfield, of Chelmsford, Mass.,
who had land in Londonderry anterior to the Scotch settlement,
and possibly an ancestor of the hunter. This rock is situated on
one of the most lofty eminences or swells oi land in -the town,
and from which surrounding towns can ])lainly be seen. It is a
large bowlder of granite or gneiss, seated upon the outcroj>ping
surface of mica slate, and rises twenty feet in height, its sides
measuring sixteen or eighteen feet. In ap))earance it is erratic,
there being no rocks of a similar kind in the vicinity. It rests
uj)on a very small base, and is almost a rolling stone. It evidently
came from a distant locality, and is upside-down, as there is a
basin on the under side of half-a-bushel's capacity, into which
you can thrust your head, and where your voice will sound like
speaking in a brass kettle. Tradition says that the old hunter
used U) tluu.sl Ills lu-ail in licru ;it iiiglit. Thu .sitk'S ul' tliisciivity
or basin an- |ii'rt"i'etly smooth, showing that they must have been
\vt)rn by the grinding action of pebbles anil rapidly Howing water,
and that the jtresent position of the bowMer is the reverse of what
it once was. On the ledge which supports the bowlder are frac-
tures or distinct marks of the great ice sheet wliich ages ago, in
tlie glacial period, overs|)read the country, and of whose carrijtJig
force the rock is an exhibition, as it was brought to its present
position by the glaciers, from its home miles away in tiie north-
west. The level top of this rock affords a rectangular play-
ground of sixteen or eighteen feet upon a side. Its general form
is like a hopper supported upon the apex. [See engraving.]
Deer Ledye lies north of J. W. Simpson's pond, and is situated
on the- high, romantic, and precipitous sides of the hill of ledges.
Its name is derived from the traditional fact, that an Indian drove
a deer over the precipitous sides of this ledge into the water.
The pond was called Deer-ledge Pond. Golden Pond was called
DeviVs Den lies some thirty rods northwest of the house once
owned by John Kelley. It is a cavern among a great ledge of
masses of rocks, a few rods west of the extemporized road which
goes around a hill upon the legal highway.
Raccoori's Den. â€” About twenty-five rods on the south side of
the brook which is the outlet of Mitchell's Pond, and on or near
the land of William D. Cochran, there is a den, the entrance to
which is on the top of a ledge, where raccoons have made their
winter quarters apparently for centuries. They remain in a
torpid state during the coldest of the weather. Six were killed
by one j)erson soon after they had left their den. A little west
of this den, on the same side of the brook, and in close proximity,
is a cavern in a ledge called the
Wolf\^ Den. â€” It is not known that any wolf was ever killed
there. John Cochran, the early settler and emigrant, in exj)loring
this cave, jienetrated so far that his tobacco box fell out of his
pocket and tumbled down into the region of darkness. This
adventure of one of AViudham's earliest settlers may be consid-
ered the prelude to the bolder act of General Putnam, who not
only looked into a wolf's den, but pressed in till he saw the wolf.
Porcupine Corner, at the corner of the old road now discon-
tinued, foot of Senter's Hill, so called in early times, since called
Porcupine Meadoxo lies east of Isaac Emerson's.
Buck Hide Meadow lies east of J. P. Crow ell's.
The surface is broken, and the larger part of the town is hilly.
In the south are the j)ine i)lains, very regular and even, and easily
tilled ; but usually its soil is not so strong and productive as the
36 HISTOIIV OF WINDII.UI IN NKW II AM I'Sll I KK.
hillii'i- and rougher land. The soil ot" the town is hard and
rocky, but productive. There is hardly n i"od of land but what
S07nethin(/ is growing upon it, and from many a crevice in a ledge
a tree will spring forth. The farms have been greatly improved
since the advent of the mower, and the rocks removed from very
many of the fields. Grass is almost wholly cut by the mowing-
machine, which made its first appearance in town about 1857.
We have many hills, but no very higli eminences; none wliich
are five hundred feet above sea level ; some four hundred feet and
over. Among these is tliat elevation on which stands Butter-
field's Rock, and Jenny's Hill. Other slight elevations are scat-
tered through the town.
The business of the people is maiidy agricultural, and there are
many good farms in town. Some of the best farming land is on
and in vicinity of the Mammoth lload in the west ])art, and also
the farms in and near the Range.
The first settlers prized very highly the natural mowing land.
The meadow-grass was used to sustain their stock till the uplands
could be put in grass-bearing order. The natural meadow land
was large in extent, and a great amount of hay has been produced
ujion this during the one hundred and sixty years or more since
the first settlement. The town is well watered, and nowhere is
there better or purer water than gushes forth from our granite
INDICATIONS OF THE GLACIAL PERIOD.
The northwesterly portion of the town would be interesting to
the geologist. The valley or meadow between fFohn A. Moore's
and Kendall's Mills, and the surrounding hills, are all of interest
to an in(]uii-ing mind. Years ago my attention was called to
the "Kettle Hole" near the corner of the roads at Ephraini
McDaniels's, and also the ridge which crosses the highway near
this, being lost there in the hill, and running in a southwesterly
direction with the regularity of a railroad bed, passing over the
meadow west of Dea. Samuel Campbell's and Gardner Eobinson's.
There its appearance is the most remarkable, and from a distance
ai)])ears as if it was the work of man. The l.Jeaver J>rook is upon
one side, the meadow upon the other, and this long, high ridge
reseml)les a curve in a railroad where it is lost to view. At the
spot where the highway cuts through it, it is composed of sand
and small rocks appai-cntly not mucli dUl'cri'nt from the imme-
This' ridge is what geologists call a "â€¢ kame," meaning a sharp
ridge. Their explanation is, that the ridge mai'ks the courses
of the fiow of surface water duiing tlie latter stagi's of the
melting ice sheet, away back in the far-distant ages of tlie
glacial period. Tlie ice at that period was of great depth, and
at the time this ridge was formed, filled all the valley. The sur-
face streams, swollen by the action of the summer sun, wouM at
tliat pfriod tlow w itli uroat violence during the iiot season, and
their course wouhl be marked by vast masses of gravel or stones
which would be lodged in ice channels, or spread out over masses
Â«Â»f ice. vVs the ice linally melted, the gravel and stones would
settle down from it into the form in which the ridge exists.
The e.\|ilanation of the "Kettle Hole" is that it marks a place
once filK'<l by a great mass of ice, wliich was covered up by the
sand and gravel, and when in "the latter (biys the ice melted," a
deej) hole was formed without any outlet.
Any notice of Windham would be exceedingly faulty wliich
did not describe the beauty of its scenery. The diversity of
the landscape is such that the eye never tires in beholding
its l)eauties. Our grand old hills, our valleys, our lakes and
streams of water, or broken masses of granite promiscuously
])iled together, all have their attractions, and to native as well as
stranger eyes are charming. A number of towns are visible i'rom
Hutterfield's Rock, and from the house of Mrs. Sally Clark on
the same elevation of land the view is beautiful. The eye can
scan the country for many miles, and the mountains in the dis-
tance, forest-clad, green with summer verdure, or snow-capped
in winter, call forth feelings of admiration. There are many
])retty views in the Range. From Cemetery Hill, the eye sweeps
Cobbett's Pond and takes in the abrupt prominence of several
hills. Northwest of Isaiah W. Haseltine's, the scene is changed
and is eciually good.
Jennif.^ Hill, called for Miss Jenny McGregor, daughter of
Rev. James McGregor, of Londonderry. This is a great swell of
land, and is as high as any in town. It is good grazing land to
the top. The view takes in many towns, and many churches
ajipear in the distance, with their sjiires of faith pointing heaven-
ward. Only a few rods from the summit of this hill stood the
house in which the elder Gov. Samuel Dinsmoor was bx)rn. This
is in the easterly ])art of the town.
Spear Jlill is on the Potash Road, near the Salem line.
Breiik)i.eck Hill is in the northerly part of the town, near the
l>lace lately owned by James Smith.
Mount J^phrain), is the highest elevation on the highwa}'
between the James Noyes and Charles Campbell farms.
Golden Hoir; or Boio lioad, is the road leading from Wind-
ham meeting-house to Pelham line. It follows the general course
of Golden Brook.
Stone Dan}. â€” A natural stone dam across Beaver Brook at
Butler's ]V[ills. Holes were drilled into it, and a ])lank or wooden
dam is above it. Stone Dam neighi)oi"hoo(l includes a large part
of School District No. 5, and derives its name from this dain.
Buck Hide Meadow lies east of Joseph P. Crowell's, and
38 HISTORY OF WINDHAM IN NKW UAMl'SHIRf:.
derives its name from tlie fact tliat an ox was mired there and
Marble Head. â€” The street leading by Isaac Emerson's to
(Jarr Hill. â€” From the house of Mrs. Sally Clark, in the north-
west part of the town, the view is extensive towards the west.
The range of mountains passing through Peterboro', Temple, and
NcAV Ipswich, N. H., is in full view, and far beyond is seen the
sharp blue peak of Mount Monadnock, in Jaffrey, N. H.
Bear Hill is the first rise on the liighway west of Joseph C.
Armsti'ong's house, so named from the fact that Capt. .Tose])h
Clyde shot a bear on a large hard ])ine on the top of the hill.
Dinsmoor'' s Hill is in close proxiniity to Jenny's Hill, and was
owned by Robert Dinsmoor, the " Rustic Bard," and brother of
the first governor, Samuel Dinsmoor. A part of this land, com-
mencing at the top of the hill and running to Cobbett's Pond,
was laid out to Richard Waldron before the settlement. The
view from this hill is the loveliest in town. It can hardly be sur-
passed. To the west for miles is seen a long range of mountains,
blue in the distance, and which have a sublimity about them grand
to behold. To the south, the winding valley, and Cobbett's Pond
lying among the hills, bright and sparkling in the sunlight. On
the east of it, the farm-houses in the Range, and the farms lying
in gentle slope from the highway to its shores. On the west of it,
the land is covered with wood, dense and green in summer foli-
age, in autumn clothed in a garment of many colors, and at the
head, the sepulchres of the fathers. On the north, tlie eye has
a sweep of country for thirty miles, and the church spire of
Chester, the villages of IJampstead, Atkinson, churches in Haver-
hill, Salem, Methuen, Lawrence, and houses in Andover are all in
view. No person with any poetry in his soul can see, unmoved,
the loveliness of the landscape and grandeur of this scenery. It
must and does have an influence upon character, and one invol-
untarily exclaims in the language of poetry, â€”
" Tell nic, Avhoro'cr thy silver Ixirk be steerinii',
Ey l)riiilit Italian or soft Persian lands.
Or o'er those island-studded seas eareerinii'.
Whose ])earl-chai'.ii('(l waves dissolve on coral strands;
'i'ell iC thon \isitesl., thou heaxcidy I'ovei',
A lovelier scene than this the wide world over."
Tin; iii;si' (;i;ANr of i..\m> in uimhiam. 80
Till'. FiKST GiJAXT OF Land in Windham. â€” LAYixo-orx ov Land in
Windham aktkk iiii, Ai>\ knt ok tiik Scotch Setti.kus in Lon-
DONDKKKY. â€” OUItilN OF TIIF. FaWMS IN WiNDIIAM RaNCK. MlNI.S-
TKKiAi, Lot OF" Windham.
Tiik first grant of land in Windham w.is one of five hnndrcd
acres orderetl by tlie Legislature of ^^assacllusetts, to Rev.
Thomas Cobbett, of Ipswich, Mass. It was surveyed and laid out
in October, 1(102, by Joseph Davis, Jeremiah Belcher, and Simon
Tuttle. This was ap])roved by the General Court at Boston,
May '27, lG()v>. The bounds were renewed May 2, 1728, by Jona-
tliaii Foster, John Jacques, Thomas Gage, and David Ilaseltine.