Benjamin Chase.

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

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theyr famelyes Shall be Supplied with Such Nesicaries of



144 HISTORY OP THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

Life as tlioy Need, agreeable to the Resolve of the Generell
assembly."

April 5, 1779,

"Voted, That their Shall be a Committee of Safety
chosen in this Town.

" Voted, That mathew Forsaith, Joseph Lynn, Capt.
Benjamin Currier, Lt. John San. Dearbon, Lt. Jabcz Hoit,
to be the Comitte for that purpose."

April 19,

" Voted, That the Town will advance and Raise the
Bounties to Hier the Solders for the Town's proportion as
Demanded or Required by the Committee of Safety for the
continent and State.

" Voted, That their Shall be a Committe of three men
Chosen to Inlist Twelve men as Soldiers to Serve in the
Continentel Servise During the war.

" Voted, That Ro])ert Wilson, Esq.,Lisin William Litch
and Capt. John Underbill to be the men.

" Voted, That the Select men Shall Hier money to Pay
the Bounty allowed to the above Solders when Inlisted, and
the muster master Shall muster them and Request the
money to Pay said Bounties."

July 5,

" Voted, That Jacob Chase and William White, Esq.,
Shall be added to the former Committe in order to pro-
cuer and make up our proportion of the Contentell Battel-
ion according to the order of the Committe of Safety in
April Last; and that the Committe be Lnpowered to pro-
cure and Get the men upon the Best Terms they can, and
what they are obliged to Give more then the Continent and
State have allowed as a bounty, the Town Shall Repay
them.

" Voted, That the above mentioned Committe (viz.), Rob-
ert Wilson, Esq., Cap* John Underbill, William Litch,
Jacob Chase and William White, Esq'', Shall procure and
get five or six men for Solders to Goe to Road Island for
six months upon the best terms they Can for the Town.

" Voted, That the above Committe Shall Call upon the
Select men for what money they Shall Hier as Solders as
aforesaid ; and the Select men Shall Ingage to pay those
men they Sliall Hier or Raise, and pay the Same to them
or their order."

August 11,

" Voted, That we are willing to Joyu with Portsmouth,



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 145

Exeter and other towns in this State for Redusing the
prices of the Nesecerys of Life as Recomended by them
to us.

" Voted, That the town Except and approve of what the
Commite and Select men Did withe Regard to Hiering two
men as solders to Goe to Portsmouth."

September 6,

" Voted, That Capt. Stephen Dearbon, Capt. David With-
erspoon, Capt. Benj'' Currier, Shall be a Committe to Pro-
cure our proportion of what men is Sent for to Goe to
Portsmouth as Solders upon as Reasonable terms as they
can be Got.

" It was put to Vote "Whether to Except and approve of
the Plan or forme of Government as now Read in said
meeting formed by the Convention at Concord : and 52
Voted to Receive and approve of it, and five voted against
it.

1780. At a meeting held June 20, 1T80, it was

" Voted, That a Committe be Chosen to Procure our pro-
portion of men for this town to fill up the Battalion in the
Continential army, till the Last Day of December next,
being Eleven men,

" Voted, That Capt. Stephen Dearbon, Capt. David
Wetherspoon, Capt. Benj^ Currier, Lent. Jabez Hoit and
major William White to be the Committe to Procure s,^
men.

" Voted, That the above Committe be Instructed and
Desired to Procure the above Number of men to Serve as
aforesaid at as Reasonable a Rate as they can ; and what
sum Soever the Said Committe Shall Ingage to Pay any
man so Hiered, the Selectmen Shall furnish the Committe
with money or Specie soficient to pay them ; and Raise the
Same of the town by way of assessment."

At a meeting held July 5, 1780,

" Voted, That those Twenty men that is Required to
make up our proportion of men Shall be Hired.

*' Voted, To Chuse a Committe to Hire said men.

*' Voted, That Capt. John Underbill, Jacob Chase, Esq',
and maj' William White be that Committe.

" Voted, That the Said Committe Shall Call upon the
Select men, and they Shall Give theyr Securety to those
men that they Shall Hier for what they shall agree with
them for, and Pay them."
10



14G HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

At an adjourned meeting held July 10, 1780,

" Voted, That wliat men the Committe Have Eaised, be
Excepted on the Terms the committe ajireed with them for
(Viz.), that they have 30 Bushels of Indian Corne \f month,
and 250 Dollers for three months, and in proportion for a
Longer or a Shorter time.

" Voted, That the Selectmen Proceed as they have Be-
gun in Respect to Beef untill they have Compleated the
Sum the Court Have Called on the Town for (Viz.), that
they Ingage money Equal to Corn at three Shillings p''
Bushell for what they Purches."

At a meeting in November,

" Voted, That the Selectmen Shall make a Corn Rate on
the Inhabitants, to Pay the Solders what Corn they have
Ingaged to them."

The Presbyterians voted to raise one thousand dollars to
hire preaching, and to pay the ministers fifty dollars per
day.

The winter of 1780 was remarkaljle for its severity.
Coffin's history of Newbury and Chase's history of Haver-
hill both say that for " forty days, thirty-one of which were
in March, there was no perceptible thaw on the southerly
side of any house." It is my impression that it was in
January instead of March that it did not thaw.

David Allen, Esq., of Salem, N. H., related to me, about
forty years ago, the circumstances as they occurred there.
He or his father owned a grist-mill, and the people wanted
a path to get to it. It would snow one day and blow the
next. They broke with oxen until the snow was so deep
and the oxen so cross, that they gave it up and tried a sin-
gle track, so that they could go to mill on horseback ; but
they had to give that up also, and carry their grists on
their backs, traveling on snow-shoes.

The same year is also memorable for the " dark day,"
the 19th of May. The sun was seen at its rising, but was
soon obscured by clouds and smoke, and it was so dark in
the middle of the day that the fowls went to roost and
candles were needed. It continued dark through the day
and first part of the night.



HISTOEY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 147

1781. At a meeting held Jan. 29, 1781,

" Voted, That a Committe Shall be chosen to Procure
. our proportion of Solders for three years, or During the
present warr.

" Voted, That the above Committe Consists of five men.

"Voted, Capt. underbill, Leut. Jabez Hoit, Rob* Wilson,
Esq., Capt. Stephen Dearbon and John Graham to be the
Committe to Procure the Said men.

" Voted, That the above Committe be Desired to Procure
their above proportion of men upon as Reasonable terms as
they can for the Benefit of the Town ; and that the Select-
men Hier money and pay what they Shall Ingage them ;
and as soon as Reasonaljle Raise ye money of the town
according to Law, by way of assessment, as other town
Charges are Raised."

At a meeting held March 5, 1781,

" Voted, That the Selectmen procuer in the best manner
they can, and Deliver agreeable to the Court order, one
third of the Beef called for by Congress for the year 1781,
by the Last Day of march Instant (Vz.), 9206 pounds.

" Voted, To add four men as Committe men to joyn the
Committe chosen to Inlist Continentell Solders.

" Voted, Joseph Lynn, Callab Hall, Cap* Benj* Currier
and Cap' Henry moore, for the Said Committe."

At a meeting held July 5,

" Voted, To Raise our proportion of Beef for the armey.

" Voted, To make a Beef Tax.

" Voted, That the selectmen Shall Divide the Town into
classes in order to Procure the above said Beef.

" Voted, That the Selectmen be Impowered to Set a
value upon Beef, that any Delinquent class Should have
provided, or any Lidividiial belonging to any Class; and
make assessments on them Soficient to purches Said Beef,
and that one half of s'^ beef be paid within three weeks,
and the other half in Septembr next.

" Voted, That Leut. John San. Dearbon and pearson
Richardson be added to the Committe for Procuring our
cota of the Contentel Solders."

At a meeting July 30,

" Voted, That in order to Procure the three months
men now Required, the Selectmen Shall Divide the Town
into Classes according to their Poles and Estates, and make
as many Classes as there is three months men Required



148 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

out of this Town ; and that Every Class be obliged to pro-
cure one man for that Service ; and if any Class, person,
or persons in Said Class Shall Refuse or Neglect to pay his
proportion towards Hiering or paying said man, the Select-
men Shall assess him Duble his proportion for the Hier of
said man ; and he or they Shall be obliged to pay it."
At a meeting Nov. 1,

" Voted, That Jethro Coll)y Shall be a Collector to Colect
and Gather what Corn is vet Due to the Town, and that the
present Selectmen Shall Give the Said Colector a warrant
to Colect Said Corn, or the Value thereof in money, as the
Said Selectmen Shall Judge Right and just."

Capt. John Underbill and Robert Wilson, Esq., were
chosen representatives to the General Assembly " To trans-
act such Business, and Pursue such mesurs as they may
Judge Necessary for the Pu])lick Good, and Particularly to
vote in the Choyce of Delegates for the Continental Con-
gress."

]\Ir. Flagg acknowledges the receipt of eight thousand
continental dollars in full of his salary the year past. The
Presbyterians voted to raise four thousand dollars this
year.

1782. January 8, 1782,

" It was Put to Vote to See if the Town Will Except of
the plan of Government as it now Stands, and it was past
universally in the Negative ; 149 Voters being present.

" Voted, That Lent. Jabez Iloit Shall carry these Votes
past with Regard to the plan of Government, with the
Commite's proposed alterations and amendments, to Con-
cord, and Deliver them to the president of the Convention
to be held there the foarth Wednesday of Januar-^ Instant.

" Voted, That six more persons be added to the former
Comraitte to make any further Remarks or amendments on
the plan of Government that tliey may Think Nesecery,
and make return at the adjournment.

" Voted, Leut. Sam" Hesseltine, Joseph Linn, Joseph
Blanchard, Capt. Benja. Currier, Sam" Emerson, Esq., and
the Reve*^ mr. Flagg be the men.

" Voted, That Jethro Colby be Cleared from Colecting
the Corn that Remains Not Colected."

January 14,

" Voted, That a Committe be chosen to Take the minds



HISTORY OP THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 149

of Such Inhabitants of the Town as have not Voted in the
meetings Respecting the Plan of Government.

" Voted, That the Committee Consist of five persons.

" Voted, That L' William Lock, Theodor tShackford,
Joseph Blanchard, Joseph Linn and Richard Hesseltiue be
the members of the Committee.

" Voted, That Hezekiah L'nderhill and Sam" Crumbie
be Colectors to Colect the Remainder of the Corn tax which
was Due for the year 1780."

April 9,

" In order to procure our Quota of men to fill up the
Contentinetel army it is Voted, that the Selectmen class
the Town into Seventeen classes Equel as they can accord-
ing to poles and Estate ; and that Each Class Shall Procuer
one man Each Class ; and Further Voted, that if any class,
or any Perticular person in Said Class, Shall Refuse or un-
reasonably Neglect to pay his proportionable part of the
charge Toward Hiering and paying Said man as atforesaid,
the Select men Shall assess Such Class, or Such Perticuler
man in Said Class, Duble his proportion for Such Neglect.
Said money Shall he paid by the 20'^ Day of may next.

" Voted, That the Select men Shall pay for the Rum that
will not be Received by tbe State as Soon as possable, and
make the Best of the Rum the Town has now at Haverhill."

The following was found among the papers of Col. Ste-
phen Dearborn :

To Capt. Stephen Dearborn and Mr. Robert Howe : —

Agreeably to an act of the General Court and a vote of the
town, the following persons who are named, with the
amount of their ratable estate, are to procure one able-
bodied, effective man for the continental service three
years, or during the war, to be ready to be mustered in, on
or before the 10th day of May next, or pay the fine agree-
able to iaw and vote of the town. You are desired to
notify each one in this list to meet and prescribe such
method as they shall think proper in order to procure said
men.

Jabez Hoit, ^ Selectmen

Stephen Morse, > of
Joseph Blanchard, ) Chester.
Chester, April 29, 1782.



150



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.



£


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£ 9.


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Barnard Bricket


2 1


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John Clark


1 7








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Abraham Morse


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Capt. S. Dearborn


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Caleb Hall


1 12


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Jonathan Emery


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Samuel White


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David Richardson
Joseph Carr
Ezekiel H, Kelly
Wid. Ann Carr
Lieut. John Lane
Jonathan Norton
Simeon Norton
Joseph Norton
Jonathan Berry
Jeremiah Grifflu
Robert Rowe
Samuel MuiTay

May 23, 1782,

" Voted, To Send Two men to the Convention.

" Voted, That Jacob Chase, Escf, and major William
White Shall be members of the Convention to be held at
Concord the first Tuesday of June Next, by adjournment,
to frame a permanent Sistem of Government for the State
of Newhamp."

December 23,

" It was put to Vote to see if the Town will Except of
the Report of the Committe appoynted by the Town to
Revise the plan of Government ; and it was Voted that said
Report be Received and sent to the Convention at Concord,
as their Reasons and objections why they will not Receive
Said plan as it now Stands, by the N° of 78 yeas and not
one Nay."

Jacob Hills refused to serve as constable, and paid his
fine. Two others were chosen, and it was voted that
they should have nothing for their service. They had the
rates to collect.

The money last year was the old continental, at about
its lowest point. This year it must have been upon a
specie basis.

Capt. Pierson Richardson agreed to deliver twenty cords
of wood to Mr. Flagg for $28. The Presbyterians voted to
raise 8150.

1783. At a meeting held May 15,

" Voted, that Lent. Jabez Hoit Shall Represent the
Town as a member at the Convention to be held at Con-



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER. 151

cord on tlie first Tuesday of June Next, for the purpose of
framing a permenent Plan of Government for the State of
New Hampshire, in the place of Jacob Chase, Esq"^, who
is Dismissed at his own Request."

May 26,

" Put to Vote whether to Except of the plan of Govern-
ment as it Now Stands, past in the Negetive by 127 ; one
for it. Then it was put to Vote to See if they Will Except
of it withe the proposed amendments ; And it Was Voted
to Except of it when the proposed amendments were made
to it."

August 28,

" Voted that the Last Peace published by the Last Con-
vention held at Concord, Called the Alternetive, Be Ex-
cepted by the Town : 65 Votes for it ; Two against it."

There was " a great frost " August 10.

1784. Two important events transpired this year : Peace
had been made with Great Britain, the independence of
the United States being acknowledged and the army dis-
banded ; and a constitution of State governments formed.
The chief executive was a president, and Meshech Weare,
of Hampton Falls, was nearly unanimously elected. The
Council was to consist of a certain number from each county,
and Rockingham was to have five.

The votes in Chester were nearly unanimous. Chester
was entitled to one representative, and Capt. John Under-
bill was elected. Two hundred dollars were voted for
schools. A committee of five was chosen to sell all the
wood and timber on the school and parsonage lots. The
Congregational parish " Voted to take up the two Hind
Seats Each Side the Broad alley in order to Build four
pews for the purpose of procuring a Bell." They chose
a committee to build the pews, sell them at auction, and
purchase a bell. The pews were built and sold and bell
bought. See 1788.

May 28, in a drunken row at the raising of Hatter
Underbill's barn, Sam. Blunt struck Matthew Templeton
with a stone in the forehead, and broke in the skull. Dr.
Kittredge was sent for, who removed the fractured bone



152 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER.

and replaced it with a piece of silver ; it healed and he
lived more than forty years afterwards.

1785. The Congregational parish, March 30,

" Put to Yoate to See if the parrish would take up the
Short Seats at the Right and Left hand of the Galery
Doors in the meeting house and build two pews whear s^
Seats now air, and Sell the pews at A^andue and Let the
money Be Laid out as tlie parrish shall think best, and
past in the Affarmative.

" Voated to Leave it to the wardens to Sell the ground
for the pews or to Build the pews and then Sell them at
Vandue to the Highest Bidder, as they think Best.

" Voted, that the money which the pews Shall Fetch
Shall be Laid out toards Colloring the meeting house."

The Presbyterian parish chose a committee to settle with
all wardens, collectors and committee-men who had the
parish money, and to pursue it to final judgment and exe-
cution.

" Voted to raise thirty pounds to hire preaching, and
chose Dea. Forsaith, Thomas McMaster and John Grimes
to supply the pulpit."

In a warning for a meeting April 19, is an Article " to
See What Method the parish Will take Relating a petision
By a number of parsons Belonging to Said parish, about
Removing the Meeting house to a Senter to aComedate
the Parish," &c. John Crawford, John Grimes, Capt.
Henry Moor, Benjamin Melvin, Col. William White, Capt.
David Wetherspoon and Robert Grimes were chosen a
committee to fix a place. They reported " to set the Meet-
ing hous in at about Esqr. Chase's Brook." " the parish
not Satisfied." " Adjourned and continued the committee."
At the adjournment the committee reported " to set the
meeting hous on Cap* John Underhill's land on the South
Side of the Rode, as Near his old hous as we Can Conve-
niently Set it as the Ground Will allow ; " and it was
" Voted that the Meeting house shall Set their."

This year was remarkable for the quantity of snow, the
hardness and lateness of going off. James Graham at the



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 153

Long Meadow died April 14. John Waddel, of Deny,
came witli horse and sleigh to the funeral across, over all
fences in his way. It came on wa^'m, the snow went off,
and plowing was done the 25th.

October 12, a daughter of Moses McFarland had her
arm torn off in a cider mill.

1786. The currency before the war had been bills of credit
issued by the Colony, depreciated and called old tenor.
During the war Congress had issued what was called Con-
tinental money in large quantities, which had been largely
counterfeited and had depreciated, it is said, to one hun-
dred and twenty to one, and had been by universal consent
laid aside. There was little gold and silver and little for-
eign commerce, and we can hardly conceive the difficulties
they experienced. There was a wide-spread dissatisfaction.
As a specimen of the pecuniary condition of this time :
My father, B. P. Chase, in November, 1785, purchased a
tract of land of the proprietors, and to raise the money to
pay for it, he made hogshead lioops shaved fit to set, and
carted them to Newburyport and sold them for ten dollars
per thousand ; took his pay in Xew England rum, carted
that to Chester, and sold it to the traders for the same he
paid in Newburyport. Staves were sold six score to the
hundred, and I think hoops were.

About September 20th a company of men, that may be
called a mob, assembled at Exeter and demanded of the
General Court to issue paper money. The Court put them
off, and meanwhile called in the militia and dispersed
them. A man by the name of Eaton, of Sandown, and
one by the name of Morse, of Londonderry, were im-
prisoned.

In the warning for a town meeting, November 14, were
articles : " To see if the Town will accept the plan the Gen-
eral Court have sent to the Several towns and places of
this State for Emiting a paper Currency as it now stands,"
" To see if the Town will Yote to have Sum alterations
made than what is set forth in Said plan." Both articles
were voted in the negative.



154 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER.

This year -was remarkable for the number of -wolves.
Stephen Chase says in his diary : " February 6, Hunting
wolves ; started seven ; plentier than for fifteen years.
Feb. 14, Shot a wolf. March 8, Mr. Brown killed a wolf."
William Graham, Esq., told of his mother taking him to
the door to hear the wolves howl, and that they came
around the barn in the night after the sheep, but the barn
happened to be shut up. Col. Thomas Wilson, who lived
on the mountain in the upper part of Candia, related to me
that one day in the spring his cattle were in the woods to
browse. He heard a roaring among them, and ran to them,
and a wolf had a young creature by the flank. He went
up, put his hands on the creature's back and drew his foot
back to kick the wolf, but the wolf let go his hold, gave a
snarl and ran away.

March 28, the Presbyterian parish voted to build a meet-
ing-house on the plan appointed by the committee. They
chose Mr. Morse, Hugh Tolford, Thomas McMaster, Col.
Wliite, Samuel Sherley, Anthony Stickney, William Bell,
John Grimes and Peter Aiken a committee, " To Consider
the Bigness of the house and draw a draft of the Pues, and
make Return as soon as may be."

April 24,

" The Comitys plan of the house and Pues is Excepted.
V*^, that this former Comity is empowered to sell the Pues."

1787. Samuel Emerson, who had been town clerk
since 1734, was chosen again this year, and John Emerson,
his &on, was chosen assistant clerk, and the hand-writing
of the records chano-es.



'O^



1788. At a town meeting held January 1, Joseph
Blanchard was chosen a " Delegate to set in a Convention
that is to Be Holdcn at Exeter Court House on the second
Wednesday of Febu'' next, for the Purpose of taking into
Consideration the Purposed Constitution made by tlie Fed-
eral Convention the 17'^ of Sepf, 1787, for the approba-
tion or Disapprobation of the same when meet."



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 155

The first meeting to choose representatives to congress
and electors of president and vice-president, under the
Federal constitution, was held December 15. The com-
mittee had purchased a bell weighing about six hundred
pounds. It was said to have been a first-rate one, having
been heard at McFarland's tavern, a mile and a half this
side of Haverhill, being more than fourteen miles as the
road is traveled. It was raised the 12*^ day of June. A
parish meeting was held June 26, at which it was " put to
Vote to see if the parish would Except of the Bell as it
hang, free of all Costs Except what the pews sold for ; past
in the affirmative." They voted to be at the cost of ring-
ing it Sunday, and other public days, and that others might
ring it at their own expense at eight, twelve and nine
o'clock on other days.

1789. The town voted to vendue the poor of the town
to the lowest bidder.

1791. The town voted to sell all of their school lots.
Joseph Blanchard, Esq., " was chosen to set in Convention
to be holden at Concord, the first Wednesday of Sept. next,
for the purpose of Revising the Constitution."

February 17, 1791, an act was passed to give Jacob
Green, Enoch Noyes, William Duncan and Daniel Liver-
more, their heirs and assigns, the exclusive right to build a
bridge across Merrimack river, at any place one mile above
or one mile below Isle Hooksett Falls, to be held as tenants
in common and not as joint tenants.

1792. There was an article in the warning of the an-
nual meeting, " To see if the town will Tote to Give their
Consent that the General Court should annex the Xojth-
westerly part of this town to Pembrook," &c. Jethro
Colby, Jabez Hoit and John Porter were chosen a commit-
tee " at the expence of the petitioners, to Join with Pem-
brook Committee and see if it is expedient, &c., and report."
There was no report.

The committee to sell the school lots made a return that



156 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

the ^yhole amount of all the lots was £139 8s. 3d, Richard
Dearhorn purchased No. 67, 2 P., 2 D.

May 7th a meeting was held for accepting or rejecting



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