Benjamin Chase.

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

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" Put to Vote whether to Petition for an assembly man ;
Past in the Negative."

'• Put to Vote whether to set off a parish in that part of
the town Called Harrytown ; past in the negative."

Tlie ungranted land between Chester and the river above
Londonderry was called Harrytown.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 105

Rev. Mr. Flagg receipts for <£240 pounds, old tenor, in
full for bis salary.

1747. At the annual town meeting, March 26,

" V^oted, that the whole of this meeting shall be Carrjed
on by hand vote."

The Congregationalists voted Mr. Flagg twenty-five

pounds, old tenor, to purchase firewood, giving every person

the privilege of paying his part in wood at twenty-five

shillings a cord, if delivered in season. The Presbyterians

voted one hundred and forty pounds to Mr. Wilson ; " also

To build a Session house 18 feet in length, 16 feet in width

and 7 feet post," and chose John Moor and John Aiken

a committee "to see what way will be most proj^er to

build it."

" Voted y* the people at the long meadows is not to have
any sermon up ther till furder orders."

By an act passed in 1701 a penalty was inflicted for pro-
fane swearing, of sitting in the stocks not exceeding two
hours, and for a second offence not exceeding three hours ;
for drunkenness to sit in the stocks three hours. Theft
might in some cases be punished by whipping, not exceeding
twenty stripes. The stocks and whipping were legal pen-
alties, by an act passed in 1791, and in force in 1815. So
the stocks and whipping-post were a part of the police of
the town, and would naturally be erected near the meeting-
house. In the selectmen's account for 1747 is, " Paid unto
^Yilliam Turner, for making the stocks, £3 00 0." The
guide-post at the Centre has, within my recollection, had
staples and rings in it as a whipping-post.

1748. A leaf is lost from the town records, containing
the warrant and a part of the proceedings of the annual
meeting.

" Relating to the third artikell In the warning of Said
meeting. Put to Vote whether to Set of [off] a Parish at the
Southwest Corner of the town, agreeable to Petition, or
not ; past In the " [not said how, but probably in the neg-
ative] .



106 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER.

They voted not to petition for the privilege to send a
representative.

"Voted, That Capt, John Tolford and Capt. Thomas
"Wells be Impowered to Prefer a Petition to the Governor
and Conncil, In order to Stop and Save any men from be-
ing Sent out of town Into the Service ; and further, when
their may be a Convenient opportunity Regularly to Pro-
ceed, to have a Suitable number of men Put and kept in the
Service In our own town."

There seems to have been more fear of the Indians this
year than in any other. There were several garrisons kept
in town. The house now occupied by Benjamin Hills still
has the port-holes through the boarding. Lieut. Thomas
Smith's, Maj. Tolford's, Abel Morse's and others, tradition
says, were used for that purpose. Mr. John Butterfield
said that they used to go from there (the Lane district) to
town to garrison. The old Gault house in Hooksett was a
garrison. There was a man killed by the Indians near
Head's mill in Hooksett this year.

The three following petitions to the captains of Chester
were from different parts of the town, and accompanied the
petition of Messrs. Tolford and Wells to the General As-
sembly :

To the Jionorahle Captins of Chester, Greeting : —

Whereas there is a Considerable number of families
scattered in the wilderness in the oiit skirts of Chester,
some lives four miles and a half, some three and a half;
We are so scattered that we think we are very unfit to live
as we dund, nevertheless we would be willing to imatat
something of the spirit of the people of zeljulan an napt-
lem who joperded there lives on the high place of the field;
and whereas we have a velue for our loss liberties, we Earn-
estly beg that your honours would look upon us in our Dis-
tress, and help with some suldiars, a sertain number ; we
are not willing to arm, yourselfs Knowing our surcum-
stances and how it is with us. believes you will help us
this way now, then we with prudence could arm, and in
so doing your poor fellows will ever pray, if no help



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 107

comes wc must leve our houses and horns and go lik scat-
tered sheep.

James Basford, Jonas Clay,

David McChier, John Clay,

Joshua Prescott, David McClure,

Jabcz French, Jacob Basford.

To the honorable Capts. of Chester, greeting : —

Whereas we y*" subscribers live remote from the town,
and for some years past have been obliged to leave our
places for want of a sufficient number of men to Keep a
garrison, which has been greatly to our damage, and we
being desirous to live here if we can have three or four
men to help surport a garrison. We remain yours ^ to
serve.

Thomas Carly, Philip Grifen,

Zachariah Butterfield, AUet Bery, [Berry]

Stephen Webster, Joshua Hall.

Alerson [Aaron] Butterfield,

To the Captins of Chester : —

we the subscribers earnestly Request your aid and as-
sistance in petitioning the General Court for some help,
yoursclfs knowing how we are Scattered and how far a
Distance from the Meeting House, some 7, some 8, some 9
miles from it. Gentlemen, we are your humble servants,

William Allet, William McClinto,

Walter McFarlan, Nathneal Boyd,

William Gimel, [Gambel,] Micheal McClinto.

To his Excellency Benning Wentworth, Esq., Captain
General, Governor and Commander in Chief in and
over the Province of New Hampshire ; the Honorable
his Majesty's Council and House of Representatives in
General assembly convened, the Tenth day of May,
1748:

The petition of John Tolford and Thomas Wells of
Chester, in the Province of New Hampshire, in behalf of
the inhabitants of s'^ Chester, most humbly shews, that the
s*^ town of Chester exposed to the Indian Enemy, and find-
ing of the Dwelling houses in s'^ Town so exposed that un-
less there be more men to defend them than the Town
itself can afford they will unavoidably be obliged to leave
them and their lands also ; that thereby the Enemy will



108 HISTORY OP THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

gain an advantage and the Frontier be bro't nearer the
Center ; That Sundry Persons who live in the out Skirts
of said Town have prey'd for help, as by their respective
Petitions hereunto annexed and herewith presented may
more fully appear. Wherefore your Petitioners most hum-
bly pray Your Excellency and Honors to allow such a num-
ber of men for the Defence and protection of s'' Town as
in your great wisdom shall be tlio't reasonable.

John Tolford,
Tho« Wells.

In Council May 11, 1748, read and sent Down to the
Hon"*" House.

The° Atkinson, Secretary.

It does not appear that any soldiers were granted.

The Presbyterians " Voted, two hundred pounds old
tenor of yearly Celery to y*^ Revt. nir. John wilson as long
as lie Dispenses y*^ Duty of a presbyterian minister amongst
us." The money used was bills of credit issued by the
province, and it depreciated in value, hence there is in both
parishes a continual fixing of the minister's salary. June
29, they

" Voted, that y'' Long meadow people shall have their
proportionable share of tKe Gospel according to their pay-
ment.

" Voted, y* the preaching is to Be held at andrew Crags
howes. [Andrew Craig lived at what was the Presbyte-
rian parsonage, where John Ray now lives.]

" Voted that their meting howes is to be Builded at y*^
Crotch of the Road between andrew mcfarlands <fe peney
Cooke Road on peney Cooke Road. [Where the Congiega-
tional house now stands ; but it was built where tlie Rev.
Mr. Holmes' house stands, the opposite side of the main
road.]

" Ther was a vot tried if the parish would refund the
money y* the long meadow pepole laid out to Build this
meeting howes, But y*^ vote did not Cary.

" Lift. Thomas Craig, John Shirla, wilam Gilcrist, Each
of them Enters their protests against mr. wilsons preach-
ing up at the long meadow, likewise against settling two
hundred pounds Celery to the rever* mr. John wilson;
likewise adem dickey Enters his protest against mr. wil-
sons going up to the long meadow to preach ther."



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 109

The Presbyterians who then lived at the Long Meadow
had helped build the Presbyterian meeting-house, and had
thus far gone there to meeting; but now that they were to
have preaching a part of the time, and were about to build
a new meeting-house, they wanted their money refunded.

" The Little Meeting House," as it was called, was prob-
ably built by subscription, as there is no mention of build-
ing it on the records. The first that there is any intimation
that there is one is in a warning for a meeting, February,
1754, at their " first meeting house."

1749. A town meeting was called, to be holden January
2d, " in obedience to a precept Directed to us by the
Sheriff of Said Province, to elect and choose one man to
represent this town in General Assembly." Capt. Abel
Morse was chosen. The House had not ordered the writ
issued, but the Governor, as before.

" Capt. John Tolford and Matthew Forsaith Desents
against the Elegallness of this meeting." But Mr. Morse
was promptly at his post, for in the House, January 4, a
" Message from His Excellency to enquire whether all the
members that were returned had taken the oath, particu-
larly Abel Morse, of Chester."

The Governor disapproved of the choice of a Speaker,
and the question arose whether Mr. Morse should vote.

Jan. 17th, the Governor directs that the members from
the new towns have a vote. Mr. Morse had his seat.
Chester had been taxed some five years, and not repre-
sented.

At the annual meeting, March 30,

" Voted, that the Selectmen, or major part of them,
shall be a Committee to Sell off from all the ten Rod High-
ways at any time, near the old meeting house, as they shall
think fit and Proper, without Infringing any nearer Said
house than the fences now stand and are already made,
nor to make Said Highway Less than five Rods wide ; and
so purches a Burying place from mr. Jonathan Blunt for
Said town, and to build a Pound."



110 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

There had been several attempts to exchange land with
Mr. Blunt, but without success. But now they sell the land
and purchase a burjing-place. At the annual meeting,
March, 1751,

" Voted, that mcssrs. Jonathan Blunt, John Robie, and
Capt. Abel morss, Shall be a Committee to fence the
Burying place with Bords as they Shall Judg Suitable and
Hansom."

Mr. Flagg acknowledges the receipt of three hundred
fifty-live pounds, old tenor, in full of salary and wood.

John Mills, Arcliibald Dunlap and William Kilchrist,
former collectors of the Presbyterian parish, were in ar-
rears, and a committee was chosen to look them up, and
" jDroceed according to law."

" Voted, that the present wardens is to rais as much
money as they see needful to defray law charges."

Jolni McMurphy lived in Londonderry, but was a pro-
prietor in Chester, and a large landholder. He signed the
Presbyterian petition in 1737, as being aggrieved in being
taxed for the support of Mr. Flagg. The Presbyterians
taxed him for the support of Mr. Wilson.

Mr. McMurphy complained to the Court of Sessions by
petition, saying that he lived in Londonderry, and ought
not to be taxed in Chester. Entered September term,
1746. xVn order of notice was served on the selectmen of
Chester, wdio not being parties, the Presbyterian parish
was notified. The case was heard, September, 1748, and a
verdict given for the parish. Tlie complainant appealed,
and the judgment in the court below was reversed, and there-
fore Mr. McMurphy was released from taxation.

1750. In the warning for the annual town meeting,
March 29, is an article, " To see if the town will appoint,
Chuse and Impower a Committee to Sue, Receive and Re-
cover of the Last year's Selectmen the town Booke Called
the Selectmen's Booke ; and also what money they have
which belongs to said town of Chester : To prosecute them



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. lit

to final Judgment and Execution." Put to Tote, and
passed in the negative. Tlie book is lost.

The Congregationalists voted Mr. Flagg twenty cords of
wood yearly during the whole of his ministry, or money
equivalent.

1751. In the warning for the annual town meeting,
March 28th, is an article, " To see if the town will vote
that a Certain parcel of Land Laying at the south west
corner of the town, Containing four miles and a half in
length and about two miles and three Quarters in wedth,
beginning at the South East corner of the lol"' Lott in
the fourth Division, and Running north four miles and a
half to the north East corner of the 71'' Lott in Said
Division, then went north west to the head Line of the
town, — may be adjoined to a part of Londonderry and the
Lands about ammoskeag not Incorporated into a parrish, or
otherwise as the town shall then think and Judge Best."

" Relating to the Second artikell in the warning,
" Voted, that the Land may be Set off as a parrish upon
the following Conditions (viz.) : That any Person that has
any Land fall within Said Tract never pay any Taxes for
the same until they make Settlement upon the Same ; and
that this Vote shall be of none Effect unless they obtain a
Grant of the Governor and Council to be Incorporated into
a Parrish, taking in Land not Incorporated into a township
by amoskeeg and part of Londonderry, as is Set forth in a
jDlan presented in meeting this day.

" Capt. John Tolford, Archibald Dunlap, William Craw-
ford, Robert Wilson, Decents against the foregoing Vote,
because it Cutts of part of the Parrish alredy set of by the
General Court, and further Cutts them of from a Priveledge
to their own land."

The territory was incorporated by an act of the General
Assembly, September 3, 1751, into a township by the name
of Derryfield. It will be seen that the following bounda-
ries do not correspond with the vote of the town :

" Beginning at a Pitch Pine Tree Standing upon the
own line between Chester and Londonderry, marked (134),
being the bound of one of the Sixty acre Lotts in said



112 HISTOEY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER.

Chester, being the South East corner of said Lott ; Thence
running South into the Township of Londonderry one hun-
dred and sixty rods to a stake and stones ; thence run-
ning West to Londonderry North & South Line ; thence
running upon Landonderry Line to the head line of Litch-
field to a stake & stones ; thence running upon the head line
of Litchfield to the Bank of mcrrimack river ; thence run-
ning up said river as the river runs Eight miles to a stake
& stones Standing upon the Bank of the said river ; thence
running East South East one mile and three Quarters
through Land not Granted to any Town untill it comes to
Chester Line ; thence running Two miles and a half and
fifty Two Rods on the Same Course into the township of
Chester to a Stake & Stones ; thence running South four
miles & a half to tlie bound first mentioned."

There is a tract between Chester line and the river, ex-
tending above this tract to Martin's Ferry, since annexed
to Dcrryfield.

John McMurphy was to call the first meeting, which was
done, and held at the house of John Hall, September 23,
1751. John Hall was one of the most active men in town ;
■was paid £251, old tenor, for time and expenses in procur-
ing the charter. He was the first town clerk, and his rec-
ords are a literary curiosity, as may be seen by the return
of some roads in this work. Also

" Voted, to Rase 24 pounds, old tenor, to be^ rased to
paye fore Preeching for this present year."

The members of the Presbyterian parish lived from Wal-
nut hill to Dea. William Leatch's and John Orr's at Massa-
besic pond, a distance of nine miles. They had voted in
1747 to have Mr. Wilson preach at the "Long Meadow," a
part of the time ; but there seems to have been some uneasi-
ness, and an effort was made to move the meeting-house to
a more central location. At the annual meeting March 12,
1751,

" Voted, Capt. John Tolford, Hugh Cromey, Thomas
Crag, William Leatch & James Quenton a Comite to Ex-
amin and try to find out a Convenient place to move the
meeting house to."

At a meeting June 27th,



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 113

" Yoted, y" meeting howes is to be moved to a proper
senter.

"Yoted, no money to be Raised to move the meeting
howes.

" Yoted, the proprietors is not willing to give np their
Rights of the meeting hows, Because tliose that has Lately
Come into the parish is not willing to give any more
towards y® moving of said meeting house than those that
Build it.

" Yoted, mr, Wilson is not to preach any more at y*= long
meadow.

" Yoted, No Comitte Chosen.

" Yoted, The parish Except of the Comitte's report for
the senter Between Capt. John Tolford & Wilam Leatch's
for to set the meeting howes."

1752. It appears that the small pox was in town this
year.

" It was voted to pay £5 5s. old tenor for taking care of
Thomas Grear's family."

1753. The Congregational parish March 28, 1753,

" Yoted, That the hind Seat upon Each Side of the
Grate alley that goes from the South Dore to the Pulpit
Shall be taken away, and that thair Shall be preveledges
for Building four Pues, two upon Each Side of Said alley.
Each Pue Shall be four feet and Eight Inches wide and as
Long as halfe the Seat ; the Platfornie for Said Pues Shall
be but eight Inches high from the meeting house flore.

" Yoted, Capt. abel morss, John Robie, nathan webster.
Shall be a Committee to Sell to the highest Bider Belong-
ing to Said Parish the Preveledges that was voted for
Bulding four Pues in the old meeting house, and that the
vandugh Shall be on the fust wensday in april next, at
three of the clock in the afternoon, at the old meting
house."

November, 1753,

" Yoted, That the money that the 'Last (pewes) was
Sold for Shall be put to the parish youse to Defray charges
this present year.

" Yoted, That if any Number of young persons in this
parish Sufichant to fill any Seat on the Back Side of the
Seats in the Galleries Shall agree to Buld them into pews,
they have the Liberty to do it."
8



114 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

An attempt is made this year to divide the Presbyte-
rian parish. An article was inserted in the warning for
the annual town meeting to see if the town would vote
to set off a parish, including nearly the same territory as
the present town of Auburn, which was voted. Seventeen
Presbyterians protested against it because it would ruin
the parish. It did not come to a head until 1771. The
Presbyterians chose William Tolford, Andrew Jack and
Samuel Aiken a committee " To see Dissatisfaction of some
people in the Parish." The same committee was to "Build
one pair of Stairs against the fall sacrament."

Their collectors were in arrears, and one of the articles
in the warning was, " The Collectors from John Mills to
this present time are to meet at Capt. John Tolford's the
Eighteenth Day of September next, to make lip their ac-
counts with the Comity upon their Perile."

1754. A parish meeting was called Oct. 8th, to make
an addition to Mr. Flagg's salary, but the parish refused to
do it. The Presbyterians voted to add forty pounds old
tenor to Mr. Wilson's salary.

1755. The Congregational parish at a special meeting
voted to pay the collector eighteen pence old tenor for
gathering the rates (on the pound.) The Presbyterians
voted to raise twenty pounds to repair their meeting-
house.

This year was noted for the most violent earthquake ever
known in North America. It occurred Nov. 18th at about
4 o'clock A. M., and lasted four minutes and a half. In
Boston about one hundred chimneys were leveled to the
roofs of the houses, and about fifteen hundred were in
jured.

1756. Mr. Flagg's salary was raised to ,£640 old tenor,
including wood. The Presbyterians voted to raise £200 to
repair the meeting-house.

1757. Mr. Flagg's salary was X800, and £60 for wood.
The Presbyterians voted to raise .£100 old tenor to build
a pulpit.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER. 115

1758. In the warning for the annual town meeting was
an article " To see if the town will pay the Damage of
flowing the Land Round Massabesick pond, so called, by
Capt. Alexander McMurphy's mill." " Past in the neg-
ative."

The Presbyterian parish " voted one hundred pounds old
tenor Be Raised to Repair the long meadow meeting
house."

The town was called upon for jurors, and Jonathan
Blunt was chosen grand juror, and Jacob Chase petit
juror, to the May term of the Superior Court. These were
the first called for. Lieut. Thomas Heseltine and Mr.
Zephaniah French were chosen petit jurors to the Inferior
Court of Common Pleas at the September term. " Insin "
Enoch Colby was chosen grand juror, and Capt. Thomas
Wells, petit juror, at the November term of the Superior
Court. The selectmen have a charge " to making a staff
for Constable Bean £1 5," old tenor.



1759. There were articles in the warning for the annual
town meeting, to see if the inhabitants should be required to
return an inventory to the selectmen, and whether they
would doom tradesmen and shop-keepers. Passed in the
negative.

The Presbyterian parish voted Mr. Wilson six hundred
pounds, old tenor, salary, and voted money to repair the
meeting-houses.



'o



1760. Mr. Flagg acknowledges the receipt of £1060
in full of salary and wood the year past, and the parish
voted X1200 the year ensuing.

The Presbyterian parish voted to add <£50, old tenor, to
Mr. Wilson's salary, and to raise X300, old tenor, for finish-
ing the two meeting-houses.

They " Voted to major John Tolford six foot in length,
five and a half in widtli, of ground in their old meeting-
house on the right hand of the south Door."

" Voted, The meeting house is to Be seated with long
seats."



116 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

1761. Samuel Dudley, who lived in Raymond, was
chosen surveyor of highways in 1760, and he built a bridge
near Raymond Centre across tlie Lamprey river. The
selectmen refused to pay him and he sued them.

In the warning for the annual meeting was an article to
" To See if the Town will Chuse a Committee To Defend a
Case or Cases Now Depending at Law Between Sam' Dud-
ley, Plaintiff, and this Town, Defendents, or to act and Do
what may then be thought Proper and Needful."

The old selectmen, who were sued, were made agents and
attorneys with power to prosecute the suit " to fmal judg-
ment and execution." Dudley recovered.

There is also an article " To See if the Town will Vote
that the North Parish Shall be Set off by the authority as
set forth in a Petition to the Selectmen by messrs. Jethro
Batchelder, Daniel Lane, Benjamin Smith and others."
" Past in the negative."

1762. At the annual meeting March 25, 1762,

" Voted, That the following Tract of Land may be
Incorporated into a Parrish, being about five miles and a
Half in length, and about four miles in width. Bounding
Northerly on Nottingham Line, Easterly on the old Hun-
dred acre Lotts, so called. Southerly on the Long medow
Parrish, so called, as that is voted alredy, and westerly on
the forty acre Lotts."

The Long Meadow parish, as voted in 1758, was from
Londonderry line to the northwest corner of the 43d lot,
then west-northwest to Tower-Hill, and then to the corner
of Derryfield.

(For the petition for Candia, see a sketch of the history
in this work.)

1763. At a meeting Jan 26, 1763,

" Voted, That that part of the Town of Chester Called
the North parrish, or Freetown, as much as was laid out in
Parrish forme, Shall be set of as a Town or Parrish."

This includes the Old Hundreds or North Division.

March 31,

" Voted, That it be Left with the Selectmen to Inquire



HISTORY OP THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 117

into and See how much is justly Due the Xorth Parrish, so
Called, for their proportion of the school money Raised in
this Town for three years past ; and if they have not had
their share, they Deliver the same to them, Provided they
Lay out the same for schooling among themselves ; and
also all the other parts of the Town that have not had
their proportion of the schooling, nor money as above men-
tioned, shall be Considered and have their proportion on
the same Condition.

" Voted, That a work house be Built or Provided by the
Selectmen To Putt and keep those Persons in that Idle,
Pooer, Disorderly and Lasey, and will not work ; and to
provide a master to Take Care of all such Persons as shall



Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 10 of 60)