William F. (William Frederick) Whitcher.

History of the town of Haverhill, New Hampshire online

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Online LibraryWilliam F. (William Frederick) WhitcherHistory of the town of Haverhill, New Hampshire → online text (page 1 of 95)
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HISTORY



OF THE



TOWN OF HAVERHILL



NEW HAMPSHIRE



By
WILLIAM F. WHITCHER



1919






A



At




PREFACE

In 1840 Grant Powers caused to be published " Historical Sketches of
the Coos Country and Vicinity." The major part of this history was
devoted to the early settlement of Haverhill.

Bittinger's "History of Haverhill," published in 1888, served to show
the need of a carefully prepared authentic history of the town that would
preserve for future generations a record of their ancestors who suffered
so many privations that their descendents might enjoy the comforts of
civilization.

At the urgent request of his friends, William F. Whitcher consented
to undertake the work and for some years devoted his time to interview-
ing aged people, visiting cemeteries, looking up records, etc. It was his
aim and hope to fully complete and publish this history, but before he
could finish the work he was stricken with what proved to be his last ill-
ness. His earthly career closed on the thirty-first day of May, 1918.

As a public speaker Mr. Whitcher was often called upon to deliver
orations and addresses; if not a graceful he was a strong and impressive
speaker. When much interested he spoke with animation and at times
with an eloquence which rarely failed to stir the feelings of his hearers.

He took a prominent part in the legislative work during his services in
the State Legislature both in the committee room and in debate.

He did naught to extenuate his faults, nor did he magnify his virtues.
He suffered no man to prevent him from exercising his own judgment and
expressing his own opinion. He was independent in forming his convic-
tions and positive and outspoken in advocating them. He suffered at
times from the mis judgment of his fellow citizens.

He contributed liberally to the support of the church; a constant
attendant upon divine service and listened with attention to the sermon.
A great reader, he collected a large and valuable library. His collection
of books bearing on genealogy, history and biography was one of the most
extensive and valuable in the state.

In politics he was true to his political friends and fair with his political
enemies.

In private life his genial manners and fine conversational powers made
him a most desirable and interesting companion.

His death left a void in the community which will not soon be filled.

The history is almost wholly as it came from the author's hands. A
few expressions have been changed and some parts have been slightly



rearranged, but these changes are only such as the author himself would
doubtless have made in the final revision. To him belongs the credit
of the whole.

It was not possible to give full genealogies, many of the biographical
sketches are regrettably incomplete and no history ever was free from
errors.

Had Mr. Whitcher lived to publish this work proper credit would have
been given to the many who assisted him in collecting information. As
it is the thanks must be general.

The publication of the history is made possible through the public
spirit of the town, as shown by the vote at the annual meeting of March,
1918:

"Voted, That a committee consisting of Henry W. Keyes, E. Bertram Pike and George
E. Cummings be appointed to purchase the History of Haverhill manuscript by Hon.
William F. Whitcher and cause the same to be printed and placed on sale."

G. E. C



TABLE OF CONTENTS



CHAPTER I— GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Haverhill — One op Six in 170,000 Names — Named for Haverhill, Mass. — ■
John Hazen a Discoverer — Fortunate in Location — Rich in Drives —
Irregular in Shape — Hitchcock's Description — Dearth of Lakes and
Ponds — Ores and Metals — The Whetstone Industry — Lime and Soap-
stone — Roads — Local Names — Farming Town but Filled with Vil-
lages 1-8



CHAPTER II— INDIANS, AND FIRST VISIT OF WHITES

Little Known of Indians — "The Swift Deer Hunting Coosucks" — Have
Decreased — Penhallow Tells Us in 1704 of Corn Planted High Up the
River at Coos — Capt. John Stark — Capt. Peter Powers in 1754 — Maj.
Robert Rogers in 1759 — Survey Made by Thomas Blanchard 9-14



CHAPTER III— THE CHARTER AND PROPRIETARY

John Hazen and Jacob Bailey in Coos in 1760 — The Promised Char-
ters by Governor Wentworth — Began Settlement in 1761 — Charter
Granted May 18, 1763 — Hazen Looked Out for Friends — First Meeting
Held in Plaistow in June, 1763 — Twenty-five More Held — Division of
Land — Grants for Mills — The Piermont Controversy 15-31



CHAPTER IV— SETTLEMENT AND FIRST SETTLERS

Friendship between Hazen and Bailey : Hazen Came up in 1672 — His Char-
acter Seen in First Settlers — Brief Sketches of Each — Joshua Howard,
Timothy Bedel, John Page, John Hurd, Asa Porter, Charles
Johnston, and Others — Town Meetings — Census Growth from 1767 to
1773 32-65



CHAPTER V— ATTEMPTED SECESSION AND REVOLUTIONARY WAR

Haverhill During the War of the Revolution — Officers Appointed by
the Exeter Government — Cause of Disaffection in Coos and Attempted
Secession — Its History and the Result — Haverhill Stood by the Patriot
Cause — Col. Hurd Leaves Town on Col. Porter's Return Home — In
Double Revolt — Names of Haverhill Soldiers — One Hundred and
Nineteen Men 66-82



VI CONTENTS



CHAPTER VI— READJUSTMENT AFTER THE WAR

Readjustment Came after the War — Depreciated Currency — Mr. Powers
Concludes His Work — Tories Asked To Leave Town — Paper Currency
Voted To Be Issued — Census, 1790-1800 — Difficulty in Securing
Selectmen — Vaccination Controversy — Brook and Corner Outgrow-
ing the Plain — Federalists in Power — Haverhill, a Community of
Farmers — Social Life — Each Home a Manufactory — Church and
Tavern 83-96



CHAPTER VII— CHURCHES

Oldest of Organizations in Town — The Church — Mr. Powers Called as
Pastor in 1765 — Town Divided into Two Parishes — House at Horse
Meadow Built First — Ladd Street Organized in 1790 — Discussion Over
Tax Rate for Ministers — Difficulty Settled — Controversy with
Church at Newbury over Timothy Barron and Captain Wesson —
John Smith Settled by Town as Minister — Grant Powers — Bought
Methodist Episcopal Church at Corner — "Smooth as a Bone" — North
Parish — Pike — Methodist Episcopalian — Four Churches — Baptist —
Union Meeting House, Now Adventist — Protestant Episcopal —
Universalist — Evangelical Association — Mental Liberty Society —
Pastors Born in Haverhill 97-135



CHAPTER VIII— SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION

Timothy Curtis, the First Schoolmaster — Schoolhouses at Two Hundred
and Fifty Dollars Each — Woodsville House Cost Less — Interior of
Old Schoolhouse — Text-books and Superintendence — First Commit-
tee in 1815 — Records of Two Schools — Town Schools in 1885 — Unsuc-
cessful Attempt to Secure a College — Haverhill Academy — List of
Scholars and Teachers — Mr. Samuel Southard 136-161



CHAPTER IX— CIVIC AND POLITICAL

Town Meetings from 1800 till 1918 — What Was Done and What Failed —
New Names — Exciting Events — New Town Hall and Clerk's Office —
Town Seesawed — Appropriations Grew Larger Year by Year 162-216



CHAPTER X— IN THE WARS OF THE REPUBLIC

New Hampshire, a Federalist State — John Montgomery — Haverhill Town
Meetings Take Part — Names of Soldiers at Stewartstown and
Portsmouth — Moody Bedel — Mexican War — Captain Batchelder and
Names of Soldiers — The War for the Union — Money Voted — Soldiers
with Each Individual Record — The War with Spain — The World
War — Names of Soldiers 217-244



CONTENTS Vll



CHAPTER XI— ROADS, BRIDGES AND CANALS

Roads in the First Place Poor Apologies — Laid Out but Little Done — In
1783 £100 Was Raised to Repair Highways— In 1807 $800 Was Raised
and in 1898 and 1899 $8,000 — Three Bridges Across the River — For a
Long Period All Toll, Now All Free — The Last Made Free in 1917 —
The River and Attempts to Make It Navigable — All Failed — The Rail-
road — President Quincy's Remarks — Connection with the Passumpsic —
Great Celebration at Woodsville in 1853 — Additions to Road — Land
Damages — Has Built Up Woodsville 245-271



CHAPTER XII— COURTS AND BAR

Courts Established in Grafton County in 1773 — Court House in Haverhill
— First Term April 21, 1774 — Suspended During the Revolution —
Court House Built — Dissatisfaction — Moved to Corner in 1793 —
Burned in 1814 — Rebuilt in Connection with Academy — New Court
House Erected in 1846 — Registry of Deeds, Probate Office and Jail
Followed — Removed to Woodsville — The Bar — Moses Dow, Alden
Sprague, George Woodward, John Nelson, David Sloane, Joseph Bell,
Nathan B. Felton and Others — Gilchrist in Case of Statute Lawyers —
Haverhill Police Court 272-300



CHAPTER XIII— THE MEDICAL PROFESSION
Dr. Samuel White Came to Newbury in 1763 — The Only Physician in Coos

UNTIL AFTER REVOLUTIONARY WAR — Dr. MARTIN PHELPS FlRST IN HAVER-

hill — Followed by Drs. Edmund Carleton, Ezra Bartlett, John
Angier, Phineas Spalding, Henry B. Leonard, John McNab, Samuel P.
Carbee, Charles R. Gibson — Present Physicians — Drs. Miller, Law-
rence (died 1919), Dearborn, Speare — Dentists — "Goold" Davis — The
Cottage Hospital 301-319



CHAPTER XIV— NEWSPAPERS AND LIBRARIES

Printing Was Begun in Haverhill Previous to 1800 — Four or Five Small
Papers — In 1820 the "Grafton and Coos Intelligencer" Appeared; Sketch
of No. 3, Vol. 1 — "New Hampshire Post," Anti-Masonic — Removed to
Lebanon — " Democratic Republican," 1828-1863 — Woodsville Register
1883 — Grafton County Register by Bittinger Press — Removed to
Woodsville in 1890 — Sold to W. F. Whitcher in 1899 — Sold March 1, 1916
to F.E. Thayer — The Social Library — The Haverhill — The Woodsville,
Gift of Ira Whitcher — North Haverhill, Town Assisted in Building
—Town Libraries 320-336



Vlll CONTENTS



CHAPTER XV— TAVERNS, MAILS AND STAGES

Taverns — Capt. Uriah Morse — John Hazen — Luther Richardson — Capt.
Joshua Howard — Mr. Cobleigh — Ezekiel Ladd — At the Corner — The
Bliss — Edward Towle — The Williams — The Grafton — Joseph Balch,
First Post Rider — Joseph Bliss, First Postmaster — Multiplied in
Later Years — Stage Line Projected in 1811 — Stage Routes — First
Stage Owners — Names of Postmasters 337-347



CHAPTER XVI— BANKS AND BANKING

Coos Bank Incorporated in 1803 — Large Territory Covered for Twenty
Years — Grafton Bank Chartered in 1822 — Lasted till 1845 — Payson

AND BrITTON — WOODSVILLE GUARANTY SAVINGS IN 1889 — WOODSVILLE LOAN

and Banking Association in 1891 — Succeeded by the Woodsville
National Bank 348-353



CHAPTER XVII— LODGES, FRATERNITIES, SOCIETIES

Free and Accepted Masons — Charter Granted in June, 1799 — Moved to
Orford in 1809 — Charter Forfeited in 1844 — Restored in 1857 — Odd
Fellowship, Charter Granted in 1848 — Surrendered in 1858 — New
Lodge at Woodsville in 1874 — Grand Canton Albin — Owns Lodge
Block — Mountain View Lodge, 1902 — Now Owns a Block — Patrons of
Husbandry — Independent Order of Good Templars — Two Lodges K. of P.
— Woman 's Reading Club — Three Chapters of Daughters of American
Revolution 354-359



CHAPTER XVIII— CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT

Under N. H. Laws There Were 15 Crimes Punishable by Death — In 1917
But One, Murder, Remains — Murder Trials— First, That of Toomalek —
Thomas Webster — Josiah Burnham — His Trial and Execution — Sermon
by "Priest" Sutherland — William F. Comins — Enos Dudley — Samuel
Mills— Frank C. Almy 360-366



CHAPTER XIX— MANUFACTURERS AND MERCANTILE

Lumber, Beginning in 1764 — The Mills Built Since — At the Brook Various
Flourishing Industries — Shovel Handles at Woodsville — Lime Burning
— Pike Manufacturing Co. — The Merchants 367-371



CHAPTER XX— THE CORNER, NORTH HAVERHILL, WOODSVILLE

AND PIKE

The Corner — Old Times — Livermore Reminiscence — Change Began after
1860 — Fires Broke out in 1848 — Another in 1902 and Another in 1913 —



CONTENTS IX

Business Directory in 1827 and Another in 1916 — North Haverhill
First Settled — Swasey's Mills — Slab City — Horse Meadow — Brier Hill
and the Centre — Cornet Band — Town Hall in 1847 — New Town Hall —
Notable Celebration op 150th Anniversary and Unveiling Soldiers'
Monument, Woodsville — Governor's Farm — J. L. Woods — Growth
Begun by Charles M. Weeks — Others C. B. Smith, Ira Whitcher, Ezra
B. Mann — George E. Cummings — More than a Railroad Village —
schoolhouses — business houses — banks — hotels — directory 1916 —
East Haverhill and Pike 372-415



CHAPTER XXI— THE CEMETERIES

Six in Town — Haverhill — North Haverhill — Number Six — East Haver-
hill — Haverhill Centre — Woodsville — Under Care of Cemetery Com-
mission 416-418



CHAPTER XXII— APPENDIX

Officers — Court House — County Farm — Fisher Farm — Militia — Population
— Superintendent Cummings' Address — Haverhill Bibliography. . . .419-447



CHAPTER XXIII— GENEALOGY



HISTORY






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CHAPTER I



GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Haverhill — One of Six in 170,000 Names — Named for Haverhill, Mass. — John
Hazen a Discoverer — Fortunate on Location — Rich in Drives — Irregular
in Shape — Hitchcock's Description — Dearth of Lakes and Ponds — Ores
and Metals — The Whetstone Industry — Lime and Soapstone — Roads —
Local Names — Farming Town but Filled with Villages.

The number of names of places and localities found in the "Century
Dictionary Atlas" is about 170,000, and of these there are six Haverhills:
One in England, and five in the United States. It is an English name.

The English Haverhill is an ancient parish and market town in Essex
and Suffolk counties, on a branch line of the Ancient Eastern Railway,
eighteen miles southeast of Cambridge. It is delightfully situated in a
valley and consists of one long street. It has a population of about
4,500, and "a more typical or picturesque English town of its size — with
its chequered lawns, its quaint shops, its pretty church and graveyard,
and the fine trimly kept estates of its gentry and wealthier folk — it wouid
be difficult to find."

John Ward was born in Haverhill, England, November 5, 1606. He
was the son of Rev. Nathaniel Ward, who came to New England in
1634 and became the pastor of the church at Ipswich, Massachusetts
Bay, then called Agawam, and the grandson of Rev. John Ward, a worthy
and distinguished minister of the English town. John Ward, the younger,
received the degree of A. B. in 1626, and that of A. M. in 1630, and in
1639 followed his father to New England, where it was hoped that he
might secure a settlement as pastor of some church. No opening ap-
pearing, Nathaniel Ward conceived the idea of a new settlement on the
Merrimack at a place called Pentucket, and in 1640 twelve families from
Ipswich and Newbury worked their way up the river to the locality
agreed upon and began the work of building homes in the wilderness.
The new settlement grew rapidly, and in October, 1641, John Ward
became the first minister. The Indian name of Pentucket was dropped,
and in honor of their minister the name of his English birthplace was
given to the new town — Haverhill.

John Hazen (Hazzen) was born in Haverhill, Mass., August 11, 1731,
the son of Moses and Abigail White Hazen. He was resident of that
part of Haverhill known as Timberlane, which was found to be on the
north side of the boundary line between New Hampshire and Massa-
chusetts, on the settlement of that line in 1741. A part of this tract,
2 1



I HISTORY OF HAVERHILL

sometimes called Haverhill District, was incorporated by the New Hamp-
shire government as the town of Hampstead January 19, 1749. John
Hazen was one of the leading citizens of the new town and rendered
valuable service in the old French war as an officer. He stood high in
estimation of the Province authorities, and when in consideration of
such service, he, with a large number of friends and relatives, was granted
a township in the Cohos country on the Connecticut River, which he
promised to settle, the township was given, at his request, the name of
his native Massachusetts town, Haverhill.

There are three other Haverhills in the United States, all small towns.
Haverhill, Ohio, is in the southernmost county — Lawrence — was set-
tled by a party led by Asa Boynton who went from Haverhill, N. H.;
while the leading spirits in the settlement of the little towns of Haverhill,
Iowa, and Haverhill, Kan., were from the Massachusetts town.

The New Hampshire Haverhill is like no other New Hampshire town.
Indeed, no two of these towns are alike. Towns, like people, differ.
Each has a life peculiarly its own, depending upon geographical location,
physical features, time and manner of its founding, character of its found-
ers, the industries and customs of its people, its institutions, social,
religious, educational and political. Haverhill has little or nothing in
common with other Haverhills mentioned. It differs from the other
towns of the state and county, indeed, from its next-door neighbors,
Bath, Benton and Piermont. Newbury, Vt., is its twin sister. The
charters of the two towns bear the same date. The leading grantees of
each town were the same. John Hazen and Jacob Bayley headed the
list of the Haverhill grantees and Jacob Bayley and John Hazen the list
of Newbury proprietors. The twin towns were settled by the same class
of people; their first church was the Haverhill and Newbury Church.
They had for nearly a quarter of a century but one meeting house.
Peter Powers was the minister of the two towns, but their growth and
development has been along different lines. Each town has had its own
peculiar life; each town has its own individuality. Haverhill is fortunate
in location. Lying on the east of New England's great river, the Con-
necticut, it is bounded on the west by Newbury, Vt., north by Bath,
east by Benton, and south by Piermont, though a glance at the map will
show that a small area in the southwestern section of the town is also
bounded on the north and east by Piermont, an explanation of which
will be given later. The parallel 44 degrees north latitude crosses about
a mile below the southern boundary, and the meridian 72 degrees west
longitude passes through the town about a mile east of the river. The
length of the town on the river side is about ten miles and on the east
about eight miles, with an average width of a little over six miles, the
width on its northern boundary exceeding somewhat that of the south-



HISTORY OF HAVERHILL 6

era. The narrowest part, that from the village of North Haverhill
eastward, is something less than six miles. The western boundary,
conforming to the winding of the river, is very irregular.

Few if any towns in New Hampshire, a state famous for its scenic
beauty, have more of which to boast in natural attractiveness and charm
than has Haverhill. Its ten miles and more of winding river down the
valley from "the Narrows" of the Connecticut and the mouth of the
Ammonoosuc at Woodsville, flanked on the right a part of the way in
the broad intervals of the Great and Little Oxbow, and by the wooded
hills of Newbury, the villages of Wells River, Newbur} r and the hamlet
of South Newbury, and on the left by like Oxbow intervales, the rich
uplands and the villages of Woodsville, North Haverhill and Haverhill
Center, furnish Connecticut Valley prospect than which there is none
more beautiful the entire length of the noble river. The Mount Gardner
range stands at the north like a sentinel overlooking the town. The
drive down the river to North Haverhill, through the Horse Meadow
street, on over Brier Hill if one chooses, gives views unsurpassed. From
the North Haverhill Village plateau, there is to the west the superb view
of the beautiful Oxbow intervales, and to the east Black Mountain, Sugar
Loaf, and, in the background overtopping all, grand old Moosilauke,
finest of all the mountains of New Hampshire, standing solitary guard
over the two beautiful valleys of the Connecticut and the Merrimack.

The valley views from Ladd Street and Powder House Hill at "the
Centre" are of unsurpassed loveliness, while the drive up through the
valley of the Oliverian to East Haverhill, thence over the Limekiln road,
or Brushwood road to the Centre then over the Pond road to Swiftwater
just on the border of Bath, and thence over the hill to Woodsville, in
case one did not choose to go from Swiftwater up over Bradley Hill to
Benton, and turning there almost under the shadow of Moosehillock
take the old County road to North Haverhill — this drive, or this
series of drives, will be found all the way a wonder and delight. Haver-
hill, with its rivers, its ponds, French and Woods, its hills and near
mountains, its valleys and uplands, is a gem of beauty among beautiful
New Hampshire towns. It has not, like the English Haverhill or its
nearer godmother, the Massachusetts Haverhill, mills and machinery,
manufactures and commerce of which to boast, but it has its unrivalled
scenery, its fertile acres, its productive farms, its thrifty and prosperous
villages, and its honorable history in which it may justly take worthy
pride.

The old historic Corner and Ladd Street, as well as Horse Meadow,
are rich in old-time associations if not in modern hustle and business
enterprise. East Haverhill, a little hamlet on the Oliverian — the railroad
station is now named Oliverian — nestles at the foot of the hills, gateway



4 HISTORY OF HAVERHILL

on the east from Warren and Benton. Pike is Pike, that is all, the
center of an industry known the world over for its manufacture of scythe
stones, and in fact all stone sharpeners of edge tools, an industry which
with its ramifications from Pike is a monopoly, if not indeed a trust.
North Haverhill— once " Swasey's Mills," later "Slab City," now North
Haverhill post office but "Blackmount" railroad station — beautiful
village of residences and farm houses, centre of town official life, with
town hall and town clerk's office, is no unimportant part of the town,
and is the business centre for the Brier Hill and Centre sections. Then,
in the extreme northwest corner, on a peninsula jutting down between
the Ammonoosuc on the north and east, and the Connecticut on the west,
lies Woodsville, alive, bustling, optimistic always, county seat, railroad
centre, business resort for a large surrounding territory which patronizes
its wholesale houses, with its concrete streets, sidewalks, its electric
lights, its water and fire department service, opera house, high school,
hotels, free postal delivery, its — well, — everything up-to-date — one of
the most beautiful of northern New Hampshire villages. It would be an
ideal summer resort had its residents time to make it such, but they are
looking after things which they deem of more importance. Woodsville,
with more than half the population of the town, the growth of a little
more than a single generation, is in a sense the new Haverhill. It has as
a village but little past. Its annals require but little space in a town
history. Woodsville's history lies in the future.

The area of the town is about 35,000 acres, much more than one half
of which is under profitable cultivation, and in the value of its agricultural
products it maintains the highest rank, in some decades standing first in
the state, according to the official census returns. It has a large acreage
of excellent pasturage, and its woodland, such as has escaped the
lumberman's axe, has a constantly increasing value. Much attention
has been given in recent years to caring for the second growth of white
pine, birch, maple and hemlock which has come up where the original
forest has been cut by the lumberman, and increasing attention will be
paid in the future. There are but few acres which are not valuable
either for farming purposes or for the growth of wood and timber.



Online LibraryWilliam F. (William Frederick) WhitcherHistory of the town of Haverhill, New Hampshire → online text (page 1 of 95)