Benjamin Chase.

History of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 online

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HiSTOEY OF Old Chester,

FROM 1719 TO 1869.





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869,

By Benjamin Chase,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of New Hampshire.



lu my youth I wsls accustomed to hear my father, and other
aged people, relate the incidents of olden time, in which I was
always interested, and therefore remembered. When Dr. Charles
Bell's " Facts in Relation to the History of Chester" appeared in
the seventh volume of the N. H. His. Soc. Coll., it was so small
in compass, containing little or nothing i-especting the Long-
Meadows, I thought of collecting and preserving the traditional
history of that part of the town.

Upon mentioning the subject to the Hon. Samuel D. Bell, he
insisted that we should have a history of the whole old town, and
have it published, and wished me to undertake the work. I at
first declined, but seeing that the alternative was presented of my
doing it or having all the traditional part i^ass away and be lost, I
at length consented, having the assui'ance of Judge Bell that he
would aid me. He has done me the favor of perusing most of the
work as it has been written, and has greatly aided by his advice
and suggestions. Upon our comi^aring notes, our ideas have run
nearly in the same channel. He furnished most of the mate-
rials for the notice of the grantees of Chester. I gi-eatly regTet
that he did not live to see the work completed.

I have endeavored to ascertain and show who the earlj'^ settlers
were, who theh* ancestors were, where they came from, the iden-
tical spot where they settled, who their children were, and what
became of them. To do this, it was necessary to examine thor-
oughly the records of deeds and probate, and also to have a map
of the town as laid out into lots, which is an important part of
the history of the town. These locations are thus fixed for all


I am aware that many will object to so much space being taken
up with the genealogy. It was according to my own taste and
that of Judge Bell, and may be an aid to descendants of Chester
abroad, in tracing back their lineage. I have suppressed many
dates, and much respecting the later generation which I had, or
which was easily accessible, that manj'^ will yet wish had been
printed. I have attempted to show how those pioueei-s lived,
what they did, and the energy they exerted, &c., not in a poet-
ical style, being sadly deficient in imagination, but by a plain
statement of facts.

^Yhere documents are copied, they are literal copies, capitals,
orthography and abbreviations, and are indicated by quotation
marks. I have used the orthography of names as found on the
records from which I was copying. Judge Bell, when residing
in Chester forty-five years ago, collected the tradition of some of
the old families from Col. AVhite and others, of which collection
I have availed myself. Stephen Chase, Esq., kept a diary from
1784 ta his death in 1819, from which I have derived a good deal
of information. I would gratefully acknowledge the courtesies
extended to me by those having charge of the various public
oflB.ces I have had occasion to examine. I am greatly indebted to
Capt. William F. Goodwin, late Librarian of X. H. Ilis. Soc, for
finding and coijpng documents in the Secretary's oflB.ce. While
all of whom I have made inquiries have treated me courteously,
and cheerfully given such information as they possessed, I can-
not refrain from acknowledging my great obligations to Miss
Margaret Shirley for the information given respecting the ancient
families ; she and her sister having much more traditional knowl-
edge than any other persons consulted. I am indebted to Henrj-
M. Eaton, Esq., for aid in putting the names of the early settlers
of Candia on the map, and also to John Brown, Esq., and the
Rev. Joseph Fullonton for those of Eaymond. Last, though not
least, I would acknowledge mj^ obligations to the compositors and
proof-reader for their skill and patience in deciphering bad coi^y.

I lay no claim to literary merit for the work. There are, no
doubt, many errors, some merely clerical or typogi-aphical ; others,
from uncertain and sometimes conflicting traditions; and prob-
ably I did not always understand the idea meant to be conveyed ;


besides, when I have made statemeuts fi'om my own recollection
I may have fallen into error.

The "work has greatly exceeded my ex^Dectations when I com-
menced, and the labor of preparing it many times what I then
anticipated ; but I have never regretted the undertaking. AYhat-
ever may be its merits or demerits, or the labor bestowed upon it,
I have derived a g'reat amount of satisfaction in its compilation,
and if the reader sliall derive a quarter as much in reading it, he
will be amply repaid for his money and time expended.

Benjamin Chase.
Auburn, N. H., May, 1869.




The Proprietary History from 1719 to obtaining the Charter, May 8, 1721, 1


The First Settlement and Laying out of the Lots, 25


Original Grantees and their Lots, 42


Settlement of the Lines, 59


Settling Jlinistcrs — Presbyterian Controversy — Closing the Proprie-
tors' Affairs, 69


History of the Town of Chester from 1737 to 1773, .... 89


History of the Town continued, from 1774 to 1800, . . . .128


History of the Town continued, from 1800 to 1868, . . . .164


History of Roads, 191

• • •



History of Mills, 222


Pauperism — Rates or Taxes — Mail and Stage Facilities, . . . 252


Literary and Professional History, 272


Ecclesiastical, Religious and Moral Histoiy, 315


Military History, 365


How the Early Settlers Lived, or the Industrial History, . . . 409


Town Officers, or Official History, 447


Genealogical and Biographical History, 4G2


History of Candia, 632


History of Raymond, 654


1. The Map.

2. Portrait of the Eev. Ebenezer Tlagg, opposite title page.

3. A Ground plan of the Old Meeting-house, 96

4. A View of the New Meeting-house, 122

5. A View of Long-Meadow Meeting-house, 158

6. An Inside View of the Long-Meadow Meeting-house, . . . 159

7. A View of the Congregational Church in Chester, . . . 185

8. A Portrait of Dr. Nathan Plumnier, 312

9. A Portrait of Dr. James F. Brown, 314

1 0. A View of the Congregational Church in Auburn, . ... 346

11 . A View of the Slethodist Episcopal Church in Auburn,

12. Carding and Spinning "Wool, Cotton or Tow, . . . . 417

13. Breaking and Swingling Flax, 419

14. Combing Flax and Spinning Linen, 421

15. An Old-fashioned Plow, 426

16. A Snow-shoe, 530

17. A Portrait of Samuel D. Bell, Jd4 >V"7 /

18. A Portrait of B. Pike Chase, 487

19. The Kesidence of Benjamin Chase, 488

20. Portrait of Benjamin Chase, face his residence, .... 488

21. A Portrait of Stephen Chase, 489

22-23. Portrait of John Clark and E. C. Clark, face each other be-

tiveen, 490, 391

24. A View of the Residence of George P. Clark, face, . . . 492

25. A Portrait of Hendrick Dearborn, 506

26. A Portrait of John Folsom, 522

27-28. Portraits of Nathan and SaUy Griffin, face ea«h other between 536,537

29. A Portrait of Natt Head, ......... 543

30. A Portrait of Frederick Smyth, 596

31. A Portrait of Jesse J. Underhill, 605

32. An Old-fashioned Ax, 606


I think that the eai'liest of anj'thing which I have seen about
Chester is Oct. 23, 1717. Samuel Smith of Haverhill deeded a
right in Kingstown to Samuel Ingalls of Cheshire. Clement
Hughes, the first clerk, spells it " Checher." The records com-
mence with " A Society for Settling the Chestnut Country," and
in the charter it is called " Chester." It is useless for me to spec-
ulate about the origin of the name, any further than to say that
they are all nearly related in orthogi'aiDhy and sound.

The surface of Chester is very uneven, and most of it stony, —
much of it not susceptible of cultivation ; but when it is culti-
vated, the soil is strong and produces such crops as are adapted
to a iN'ew England climate. The forests, which were heavy, were,
at the lower j)art where the settlement commenced, composed
mostly of walnut and chestnut, intermixed with oak and pine
and other woods. At the Long Meadows the same, with less
walnut and more hemlock. Hooksett, or Chester Woods, abound-
ed more in the yellow- or pitch-i»ine and oak, and when burat
over, as it frequently was, the oaks came up and grew rapidly,
and produced an abundance of material for hoop-poles, Candia,
and perhaps Eaymond, had a greater predominance of maple,
beech and hemlock. There is a great tendency when the growth
is cut off for the hard woods to sprout from the stump, and the
soft woods, especiallj^ white pine, to come up from the seeds,
which makes even the I'oughest land valuable.

Although the laud is uneven, there are no large hills, but
simply swells which have names : Walnut Hill, near the lower


corner, so called from that timber; Ingalls Hill, because Capt.
Ingalls settled there ; Robie's Hill, because John Eobie lived and
had a tau-yard near its base ; and Stockman's and Severance's
Hill, from people of that name who lived on its side. The farms
of Thomas Richardson and Thomas Craige went back on to Great
Hill. At the Long Meadows is Mine Hill, in which tlie Devil's
Den is situated. The Devil's Den is a cave on the southAvestei'ly
.side of the hill, near its base, and some thirty rods from the
road. Peter French of Sandown gave Dr. Belknap a description
of it (which was published in his History in 1792, and copied
into Morse's Geographies) in wliich he drew largelj^ from his
imagination, telling of a room fifteen or twenty feet square.
1 have never had the curiosity to explore it, but it is only
a mere fissure in the rock, and so large that a man can with
difficulty go in sixty feet. Rattlesnake Hill lies south of the
pond and west of Londouderr.v turnpike. The swell between
the two bays of the pond is called in the records Mount INIisery.
The hill Ipng north of the Oswego mill, mostly in Candia, is
called in the records Tower Hill ; but a small circumstance, which
occurred a little more than fifty years ago, gave Hazen McDufFee,
who lives there, the appellation of " the butcher," and the hill
has since been called '' Butcher Hill." A few years ago a liberty-
pole was raised and a Fourth-of-July celebration hold on the
swell of land near school-house No. 5, in Auburn, when it was
named Bunker Hill, which name it has since borne.

There are no large streams, but an abundance of small ones.
A stream has its head in Beech Hill pond in Hooksett, and pass-
ing through Tower Hill pond, partly in Candia and partly in
Aubui'u, taking the name of Oswego brook, empties into Massa-
besic pond. Another branch passes through Little Massabesic
pond and unites Avith Oswego brook, near the old Calfe fulling-

The liond is said to have derived its name from the circumstance
that an Indian whose squaw's name was " Massa," being inquired
of in regard to the health of his family, replied, " My massa be
sick." It is a beautiful sheet of water with a hard shore and
bottom, and some fine beaches of sand. The stream leading from
the pond to Merrimack river is called the Cohas, and has a fall of


about one hundred and fifty feet. Alewives, a.M. pei'haps shad,
formerly passed into the pond.

There are two of the sources of Exeter I'iver which have their
rise in Chester ; one rising in Three Camp Meadows, passing by
the old saw-mill into Sandown, and again into Chester, and
another flowing from the jS'orth pond, uniting with it and passing
through Raymond. Another branch rises in Candia, passing near
the station and through EajTuond, unites with the main river
near the lines of the towns. This last is called the Xorth Branch,
and the locahty near their junction, the Branch.

The stream rising near the Congi-egational church in Auburn,
and passing through Auburn into Londonderry, and thence into
Manchester, and emptying into the Cohas, has meadows most of
its length, which were called the Long ]\readows, and hence the
west part of the town is called the Long Meadows. The stream
in Manchester is called the Little Cohas.

There is a stream rising in Candia, passing the- village and the
island into Eaymond, and through Jones pond ; and another com-
ing from Deerfield, uniting near Eaymond Centre, forming Lam-
prey Eel river, which passes Freetown mill, and into Epping,
Merrimack river passes a short distance into Old Chester, the line
being some distance west of the river at Martin's Ferry. The
Falls are called in the records " He Hoxey Falls," but were not in
Chester, the line crossing below. The stream from Lakin's pond,
passing Head's mill and entering the river above the falls, is
called " lie Hoxey brook " in the records.

A small stream entering the river near Martin's Ferry is called
in the records " Lousy brook." The meadow on this brook, near
the old Concord road, was called Bushuell's meadow, and the
hills on the south and west were called Bushnell's hills, from
the fact that a man by that name had a camp near the meadow,
where Samuel Eowell formerly lived and Josiah Clark now lives,
in Hooksett. It was a stopping place for travelers in early times,
and was called Bushnell's Camj).



There were different species of money used. Four sliillings six
pence sterling was equal to a Spanish milled dollar. Six shil-
lings lawful was equal to a dollar. The principal part of the
money in actual use was bills of credit issued by the Pro\dnce,
which depreciated, and its value was continually changing. The
following values are extracted from Belknap's "New Hamp-
shire," Vol. III., p. 125:

In 1720 an ounce of silver was worth 7s. 6d. ; 1725, 16s, ; 1730,
20s.; 1725, 27s. Cd.; 1740; 28s.; 1746, 36s.; 1750, 50s.; 1755, 70s.;
1760, 120s., or one pound was equal to one shilling lawful.

This was called " old tenor," and sometimes when there had
been a neio emission, was called " new tenor." I find by old ac-
counts that from 1760 up to the issue of the Continental money
by Congress, one pound "old tenor" was equal to one shilling
lawful. Massachusetts also issued bills of credit, which did not
depreciate so much as those of New Hampshire. One pound
Massachusetts " old tenor " was equal to two sliillings sixpence,

May 10, 1775, Congress issued two millions of dollars, and in
July three millions more, and in December three millions moi'e,
which was called " Continental money," and promised to pay in
Spanish milled dollars, or its equivalent in gold or silver. This
was assigned to the several States, and they were to redeem it ;
but tliis State (New Hami)shire) had more of its own paper than
it could redeem, and it was counterfeited to a great extent, and
therefore depreciated. One hundred dollars in silver was equiv-
alent to the following sums :

January, 1777, it was at par; July, one dollar in silver was
equal to $1.04 ; January 1, 1778, to $3.25 ; July, to $4.25 ; Jan-
uary, 1779, to $7.42; July, to $14.77; January, 1780, to $29.34;
July, to $60.00; Januaiy, 1781, to $75.06; June, to $120.00.

Paper money became entirely worthless, and the currency came
to a specie basis. I give copies of the bills of some of the issues
of paper money, and would give fac-similies, but the expense is
too great for my work.


The following is a sample of the Province bills of credit:

"This Indented Bill of three Pounds & ten
shillings Due from y'^ Province of New Hamp«
in N'ew England, to y« Possessor thereof shall
be in Value equal to Money and shall be
accordingly accepted by the Treasurer and
Keceivers subordinate to him in all Publick
pajTuents & for any Stock at any time in y«
Treasury. Portsmouth the Twentyeth of May
1717. By Order of the General Assembly."

The following is a copy of a nicely engi-aved bill. On the left
of the signatures is a boat with men in it, nearing a wharf:

( N« ) ( 4039 )

Vn Shills & 6 Pence YU Sliills & C Pence

"We Jointly and severally promise to pay
Isaac AYinslow Merch* or order in Boston
seven pennyw'; & half Coin'd Silver Sters,
Alloy, Troy -Weight or Gold pro Eata by the
31' Decemb"^ 1755; Value^; Boston.
7^—61 N.E. 1' Aug'; 1740. 7«— C^

Edw*^ Hutchinson
Thomas Oxiiard
[EXGRATiNG.] Joshua Winslow

Sam' Sewall

(Xo. 220 ) 6d

j Colony of the Massachusetts
\ Bay, June IS"* 1776.
J^HIS Bill entitles the Bearer to receive
SIX PBNCE L. M. out of the
Treasury, by the 18th o/ June, 1778; and
shall be received for that Sum in all Pay-
ments agreeable to an Act of the Assembly
of said Colony.

J. Partridge, Com.


The following- is a copy of a Coutiuental bill: —

* * *


to a Resolution
of Congress,
j)assed at Phi-
ladelpliia, Fe-
bruary 17,


No. 47642T ,

In this space is a fig-
ure of a sun-dial, with
" Mind your Business" \
beneath it.



On the reverse side is a chain with thirteen links, to represent
the thirteen United Colonies. "Printed by Hall & Sellers in
Philadelphia, 1776."


In ancient ■wi'itings a gTeat many abbreviations are used, such as
y*' for the, y' for that, y"" for them. For the lots I have used
H. L. for Home Lot, O. H. for Old Hundreds, 2d P., 2d D., for
Second Part of the Second Division, 3d D. for third Division, &c.
In the Genealogy, b. is used for born, m. for mamed, unm. for
unmarried, and d. for died. In one generation I have used
Roman numerals, and in the next figures, to denote the number of
the children ; also the parent in one generation is printed in small
capitals, the next in Italics, and the next in Roman.




CHARTER, MAY 8, 1722.

The records of Chester commence with the proceedings
of a meeting of " The Society for Settling the Chesnut
Country, held at Said Country the fifteenth day of October,
1719." This society had probably existed some time, and
held meetings and kept records. It was composed princi-
pally of Hampton people, with a few Portsmouth men.

At a meeting of the proprietors of Chester, held by ad-
journment, at the house of Joshua Wingate of Hampton,
Oct. 7th, 1729, it was

" Voted, That Capt. Henry Sherburne and Dr. Edmond
Topin be a Committee to Examine and Compare y*" town
book, and y'^ Duplicate book, & see y' they Exactly Agree,
they being upon Oath to Compare 'Em.

"Voted, That Dr. Edmond Toppin keep y° Duplicate
book, and it be kept at Hampton from year to year, and
that y*" town Clerk Send attested Coppys after Every Meet-
ing to him y* keeps y*" Duplicate book, in order to be En-
tered in said book."

The records of the earlier meetings were probably en-
tered in the book kept at Hampton ; but it is, probably,
with other papers, lost. The Hon. S. D. Bell has made
enquiries for it, but without success.


There were also other parties who petitioned for a grant
of this territory, or lands adjoining, and made efforts to
have possession, which I will notice before following up the
proceedings of the society.

In Council,

August 24, 1720. " The petition of John Calf & Compa.
prefered to this board, praying for a township above Exeter,
was read."

This was by Massachusetts men, Mr. Calf being an in-
habitant of Newbury.

There is a deed on the Rockingham records, dated Oct.
23, 1717, from Samuel Smith of Haverhill to " Samuel In-
galls of Cheshire, Blacksmith," of a right in Kingstown.
If Capt. Ingalls was in Chester at all at that time, it is
probable that it was to have possession for some of the

In Council,

Oct. 26, 1720. " A message to the board by Mr. S])caker,
and Lt. Col. Wear, praying that the Consideration of the
petition of Mr. John Calf and Company be suspended for
the present."

In board,

" Ordered that the Petition of Mr. John Calf and Com-
pany praying for township nortli westward of Exeter be
suspended till the land disposed of in that ])art of the
province be laid out and bounded to prevent interfering of

Richard Waldron, Cler. Con."

In Council,

April 19, 1721. " A petition signed by about one hun-
dred persons was prefered to this board by Messrs. Ezekiel
Walker, John Calf and Elisha Story, praying for liberty
and Encouragement to settle a town on a certain tract of
land North westward from Exeter, lying partly between
Cheshire and New Portsmouth and partly above new Ports-
mouth adjoining Cheshire line, containing the Quantity of
ten miles Square, upon Such Conditions as in Said petition
as is on file is contained : AVherefore it is ordered in Coun-
cil that the petitioners have liberty To build and Settle


upon the said tract upon the Conditions in Said petition
mentioned, provided it in no way infringe on or Interfere
with any former grants or possessions or propertys.

Richard Waldron, Cle. Con."

Mr. Calf's former petition was probably for Chesliire,
which being postponed, he with others now petitioned for
Nottingham. There is a deed on the Rockingham records,
dated 1721, from Mary Cottle to John Calf for Moses Lit-
tle, of a right of settlement in land lying westward of
Exeter, called New Boston. The New Portsmouth was
probably Barrington. Barrington was granted to the tax-
payers of Portsmouth, according to the amount of rates
they had paid for tlie last four years, May .10, 1722. It is
said to have been used as an out-lot to settle their poor peo-
ple on.

Nottingham charter is not in the Secretary's office, prob-
ably having been burnt in the office in 1736. It was, how-
ever, granted in 1722, shortly after that of Chester. In
the House, Aug. 26, 1720 : " Whereas our House having a
pettion from Mr. Brown & Company for a town Ship, We
Think Itt Infrindg on our towns, especiall on Cheshire
whare We have a pettion on file for this two years. Have
sent up the petition and Memorial to the upper House
which Lays on file In y" Clark's office."

Who Mr. Brown and his company were, or where they
resided, does not appear,

Stephen Dudley of Freetown (Raymond), who was of
Exeter before and afterwards, obtained a deed from an
Indian named Peter Penuet, and Abigail his squaw, of a
tract of land at Freetown, as appears by a deed on Rocking-
ham records, dated May, 1722, wherein, in consideration of
affection, Dudley conveys to Francis James of Gloucester
" his right in four hundred acres of land in Freetown to be
taken out of that tract bought of Peter Penuet and Abigail
his squaw, by deed dated Jan. 17, 1718-19, also in virtue of
a power of attorney from John Vickers of Charlestown."
The deed to Dudley is not on the records. This was prob-


ably a move for color of title and possession for some of
the parties.

We now return to the proceedings of the Society and the
Governor and Council in relation to them.

At the aforesaid meeting Oct. 15, 1719,

" 1*', Voted, That Capt. Henry Sherburne be Modera-

" 2^'y, Voted, That Joseph Tilton be Clerk of the So-

" S'^'y, Voted, That Capt. Henry Sherl)urne be Receiver.

" 4^'^'y, Voted, That Joseph Tilton, Ichabod Robic, Caleb
Tole, Clement Hughes, Capt. Henry Sherburne, Eph. Den-
net and Jacob Stanyon, be a Committee to manage the af-
fairs of the Society; And That the s** Committee Shall
have power to Call meetings of the Society as often as they
Shall Think Necessary, and to act in all otlier matters that
they Shall Think proper for the good of the whole Society.

" 5"''^, Voted, That Ichabod Robie, Jacob Stanyan, Ca-
leb Tole & Michael Whidden be a Committee to Lay out
the Lotts.

" G""y, Voted, That all priviledges of Streams shall be
Reserved for y" Use of the Society.

" 7^"^ Voted, That the Number of the Society for the
settling Shall not Exceed ninety persons.

u gthiy^ Voted, Tliat the Committee Shall have power to

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