Benjamin Chase.

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

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the amendments proposed to the Constitution. The amend-
ments were taken up separately, and almost unanimously

Mr. Flagg had become infirm, and unable to perform his
ministerial duties, and two committees were sent to enter
into arrangements with him. A vote was tried whether
the parish would give him three-quarters of his salary dur-
ing his life, but it did not pass.

May 30, 1793, voted to give Mr. Flagg thirty pounds and
twelve cords of wood yearly during his life, he relinquish-
ing his pastoral charge.

October 2, began to take toll at McGregore's bridge,
the first bridge across ]\Ierrimack river.

October 27, Isaac Hill's negro had the small-pox.

1793. The revised (our present) constitution was rati-
fied and in force. The senators were chosen by districts,
the councilors by counties.

Joseph Blanchard, Stephen Chase and Stephen Dear-
born were empowered to sell all the parsonage lots in
Chester, reserving the proceeds of the hundred-acre lot to
the Long Meadows, should they be incorporated into a
parish before 1801. There was an attempt this year to
unite the two parishes. The Congregational parish chose
Stephen Chase, Esq., Capt. Benj. Currier, Capt. Simon
Towle, Capt. Locke, and Josiah Flagg, Esq., a committee to
try to agree with the other parish relating to settling a
minister. In the warning for a meeting of the Presby-
terian parish, March 12, 1793, was an article " To see if
the parish will choose a committee to Joyn a committee of
the Congregational Parish to confer and report the pro-
priety of settling two ministers in said town to be paid by
the town at large, or otherwise to make proposals of con-
ditions for both Parishes to join together as one, and lay
the same before said Parish at some future meeting,"


Ensign Sherley, Esq. White, Samuel Sherley, Esq. Blanch-
ard, and William Bell, were chosen a committee. There is
nothing more on the Congregational records about it. The
Presbyterians voted not to accept of the report, whatever
it might have been.

At a meeting of tlic Congregational parish, May 30, it
was voted to give Mr. Nathan Bradstreet a call ; to give him
£75 yearly during Mr. Flagg's life, aiid a parsonage worth
fifty-four dollars per annum, and after Mr. Flagg's decease,
a salary of £90 as long as he should perform the work of the
ministry. Jethro Colby, Jacob Hill, Amos Merril, Stephen
Merril and David Hall entered their dissent against the
vote. Tlie parsonage was afterwards, at Mr. Bradstreet's
request, exchanged for the money. The last Wednesday
in October was appointed for the ordination. Esquire
Flagg was to entertain the ministers free of cost, Edmond
Webster was to provide for the delegates, and a room for
the council.

At a meeting of the Presbyterian parish. May 6,

" Voted, that the old Meeting house Shall be taken Down
and Set on the Ground that Capt. Underbill Purposes to
them, Near Joseph Calph's.

" Voted, that Will™ Bell, William Wilson, John Grimes,
Hugh Tolford, and Joseph Lins, is empowered To take
down these old meeting houses, and Build a New one, or
Cause it to be Done."

The first Presbyterian meeting-house, built about 1739,
and the " Little meeting-house," which stood where the
Rev. Mr. Holmes' house stands, were taken down, and the
materials, as far as could be, were wrought into the Long
Meadow meeting-house, which stood where the burying-
ground is, on No. 73, 2 P. 2 D. The new house was raised
July 4th, and the pews were sold July 11th, 1793. Dedi-
cated January 1st, 1794.

The Chester Social Library first opened June 9, 1793.
It was incorporated in 1797.

















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1794. The account of the committee to sell the parson-
age lots was rendered. They sold for .£219 8s. 9d. Ex-
penses, £5 7s. 6d. ; remains, X244 Is. 3d.

There was an article " to see if any encouragement
should be given to raise our quota of 80,000 men that had
been called for." Dismissed.

The Presbyterian parish chose William . Mills, Joh)i
Grimes, William Shirley, Joseph Blanchard, David Currier,
James Wason and Benjamin Melvin, ruling elders. Joseph
Blanchard, William Wilson and John Grimes accepted,
and were ordained by the Eev. David Annan.


This year was remarkable for the forwardness of the
season, and for the "great frost" the night of the 17th
and morning of the 18th of May. Richard Melvin, Esq.,
recollects that when Esquire Blanchard moved his wife
home, April 23d, the apple-trees were in blossom. Tiie
rye was headed and the flax up, but the apples and all w jre


killed by the frost. It is said that the canker worms,
which had been very troublesome for years before, were
greatly checked by the frost.

1795. The two parishes chose committees to make rules
iu regard to taxing, and changing from one parish to
the other, which were adopted ; Init the document is too
long to be copied. The Congregationalists refused to divide
the parsonage money. They voted to take up seats, and
have a singing pew built. November 19th, the Presbyte-
rian parish voted to hire the Rev. David Annan two-thirds
of the time for four years, and pay him two hundred dol-
lars each year. The committee engaged Mr. Annan a
house to live in, and they entered into a strong written
obligation, which, however, Mr. Annan proving intem-
perate, was dissolved October 7, 1799. This is the first
intimation we have in the records of those who had been
employed to preach. Money had been voted, collectors
chosen, and committees to supply the pulpit, and nothing

1796. May 18th, David Carr's wife was buried — the
first in Long-Meadow burying-ground.

November 7, the town voted to divide the proceeds of
the sale of the parsonage lots equally between the two
parishes. It was done March 28tli, 1797, each parish
receiving £572 9s.

There remained in the hands of the treasurer six hun-
dred dollars, the proceeds of the sale of the school lots.

Nov. 14, Rev. Ur. Flagg died.

1797. There was an attempt to build a new pound, or
remove the old one, which stood near Ebenezer Townsend's
barn. It was voted that it should remain there ten years,
and to sell Mr. Townsend the land incumbered by his

June 14, 1786, there was a meeting-house raised in Ray-
mond, at what was considered the centre of the town, near
where David Page lived. October 18, 1797, it was moved
to the present centre. It is the present town-house.


1798. Gov. Gilman in two or three years reviewed all
the militia in the State. October 5th of this year, he re-
viewed the Seventeenth Regiment. The muster was on
Benjamin Brown's (now Woodbury Martin's) field. Col.
Stephen Dearborn commanded, and he killed an ox and
save a lunch of beef and bread to the regiment. It was
said that the whole expense cost him one hundred dollars.
They were late in forming the line and the Governor kept
them and performed the firing after dark. There was a
Col. Hubbard who made powder at King's Falls in Exeter,
of which it was said tliat a cask of it caught fire, and more
than half of it burned up before they could blow it out.
Something of the kind was used on this occasion, and a
stream of fire could be seen two yards from the muzzle of
the gun when they fired.

1799. There was another attempt to have the upper end
of the town annexed to Pembroke, and a hearing was to be
had in June. There was an article in the warning of the
annual meeting respecting it. It passed in the negative.

Josiah Flagg died April 25. The bell was broken while
tolling for his funeral. There was a parish meeting called
May 29, on the subject. It was voted to have a bell to
weigh eight hundred pounds. Benjamin Brown, Isaac
Hills and Edmund Webster were chosen a committee to
procure it. They were to take the old bell and a subscrip-
tion of 827 that had been raised, and draw on the parish
treasurer for the balance. Aug. 14, the bell was raised.
The committee rendered their account Oct. 9, 1799. They
paid Aaron Holbrook for casting and new metal, ^£23 12s. ;
paid for more metal in Boston, .£12 15s. lOd. ; other bills,
so that it cost besides the old bell, X-17 6s. 4d, when it
•was hung.

December 14, Gen. Washington died.

1800. " On Monday the tenth day of February, Anno
Domini 1800, a number of the inhabitants of the town of
Chester met at the lower meeting-house in said town, to
determine on some suitable mode of paying respect to the
memory of Gen. George Washington. After choosing



Joseph Blan chard, Esq., moderator of the meeting, and
Amos Kent, Esq., clerk, the following resolves were unan-
imously passed :

" l*"'. That it be recommended to as many of the Inhab-
itants of Cliester as convenient, to meet at or near the
House of Mr. Benjamin Brown in said Chester on Saturday,
the 22P- of this Ins'. Feb^., to pay a Tribute of Respect to
the virtues of the late Deceased General George Wash-

2''. That the Inhabitants when met form in Procession
and march to the meeting-house, and that the Rev*^. M"".
Bradstreet be Requested to officiate on the occasion.

8*^. That the front of the gallery and Pulpit be mantled
with Black.

4"". That Cap*. Abraham Towle with his company of light
Infantry, be requested to attend on the occasion as a Mil-
itary Escort.

5'". That messrs. Benjamin Brown, Benj^ True, Ju"",
Ozias Silsl)y, Joseph Blanchard and Amos Kent, Esq", be
a committee to carry the foregoing Resolves into effect, and
to make such other arrangements as they shall think suit-
able on the occasion.

" The committee above named having met, unanimously
agreed to recommend to the inhabitants of Chester, and of
other towns who should think proper to attend on the occa-
sion, to meet at the house of Mr, Benjamin Brown at ten of
the clock in the forenoon of February 22, — each having a
black crape on the lower part of the left arm. The com-
mittee also recommend to the keepers of shops and to the
different mechanics, to shut sheir shops on the 22d of Feb-
ruary, and to the different classes of citizens to abstain from
labor on that day. On the morning of the 22d of Febru-
ary, a large concourse of people from Chester and the
neighboring towns met as requested at the house of Mr.
Benjamin Brown. At half-past eleven o'clock a procession
was formed in the following order :

" 1*'. Music — Drum muffled and fifes trimmed with black,
2*^. Cap*. Towle's company of Light Infantry, with arms
reversed, as a military escort.
3^. Committee of arrangements.
4'^. Selectmen and town clerk.
5**^. Chaplain and orator.
G**". Civil magistrates.
7"*. Field officers.


8*^. Capt. and subalterns of the Infantry and troop in
their uniform with their side arms trimmed with Uack.
9"^. Deacons, elders and wardens of churches.
lO***. Musicians,
ll'**. Professional characters.
12'". Private citizens.

" The procession marched a slow march toward the meet-
ing-house, the bell tolling, and the military escort moving
with their arms reversed. On arriving at the meeting-
house the military opened to the right and left, and rested
on their arms until the procession had marched through.
Tlie solemnities were opened by a funeral anthem. A judi-
cious prayer followed, a discourse, pertinent and well
adapted to the occasion, delivered by the Rev. Mr. Brad-
street, and several pieces of music suited to the occasion
were performed to general acceptance by the singers. After
the services were over, the procession returned in the same
order as they came, a quick march to the place Avhere they
first formed, when the militia opened to the right and left,
the procession walked through and each one retired to his

" A solemn and decent deportment appeared in every class
of citizens upon this occasion ; the countenance of every
one bespoke the most sincere and unaffected sorrow for the
loss of a man who had rendered such signal and eminent
service to his countrv."

At the annual meeting, Benjamin Brown, Simon Towle
and Stephen Chase were chosen a committee to consider
the petition of Nathl. Head and others, praying to be
annexed to Pembroke. They reported that they had been
on the ground and heard the parties ; that nearly one-half
the residents of the territory were opposed to the measure ;
and that it would be a greater burden on Chester to main-
tain the road through Chester woods, and recommended
that an agent be chosen to oppose it. Simon Towle, the
representative, was chosen agent.

There was also a committee chosen, consisting of Joseph
Blanchard, William White, Benjamin Brown, Amos Kent
and Daniel French, to make report on the expediency of the
revision of the Constitution. Joseph Blanchard, in behalf
of the committee, made a report in favor of the measure.


I give some of his statistics and calculations that they may
be compared with present expenditures. The Legislature
then held two sessions.

Travel of 158 members to Concord .... $1500

II days' attendance 3476

Travel to Exeter 1550

28 days' attendance . . . . . . . 8840


They were in favor of reducing the members to as few
as one hundred and twenty, and alter the time of sitting so
as to have one session of twenty-five days only, and foot up :

Travel, about $1200

Pay of members 6000


Making a saving of $8096

This is but a specimen. The committee went through
the whole expenditures of the State, and made so good a
case that there were ninety-six votes in favor of a revision
and none against it. But the Constitution, after sixty-
seven years' further experience, remains unchanged.


FROM 1801 TO 1868.

1801. The Presbyterians from the lower part of the
town owned pews and attended meeting at the Long
Meadows, more or less. Quite a number of families of Eng-
lish descent, as a matter of convenience, joined the Presl^y-
terian parish, and they considered their meeting-bouse too
small ; and at a parish meeting, May 7th, the parish voted
" to cut the meeting-house asunder and put in 1.5 feet."
Joseph Blanchard, Esq., Mr. James Wason, and Mr. Paul
Adams, were chosen a committee to build the addition and
sell the pews. The house was cut in the middle, moved


apart, and fifteen feet put in, October 1st. It created some
difficulty, because it removed people's pews further from
the pulpit. James McFarland left the meeting, and went
to Candia.

1802. The Presbyterian meeting-house was not finished,
and the committee was instructed to finish it all but

1803. The Presbyterian parish voted "to have the sing-
ing carried on in the singing pew all of the time." They
probably had had congregational singing a part of the
time. At a parish meeting, May 30th, the parish voted to
give the Rev. Zaccheus Colby a call to settle, and voted three
hundred dollars as an annual salary. Mr. Colby made a
long communication, giving his views respecting baptizing
the children of parents who had been baptized, but were
not in full communion with the church, which was called
the half-way covenant. (See Ecclesiastical and Religious
History.) Mr. Colby had been the ordained minister at
Pembroke, and was re-installed October 13th.

May 8th, there was a fall of six inches of snow. The
peach trees were in blossom, and tl\e grain and flax were
up. Benaiah Spofford says that he went from Hawk to
Haverhill in a sleigh the 9tli day, but came home on bare

The bell was broken, and there were a number of indi-
viduals who were taxed in two places, and a parish meet-
ing was called December 5th. Josiah Hall, Joseph Hall,
and Benjamin Hall, were taxed by the Presbyterian parish,
and probal}ly attended meeting there. The Congregational
parish voted to relinquish Benjamin Hall's tax, and not
the others. William Murray's and John Murray's taxes
were relinquished, they procuring receipts that they had
paid in Candia.

" Yoted, to sell the old bell, and purchase a new one."

Henry Sweetser, Josiah Bradley, and Benjamin Brown,
were chosen a committee " to transact said Business."


1804. At the annual town meeting, Henry Sweetser
■was chosen an agent to petition the General Court to have
the line altered, and established in the following manner :
" to begin at the S. W. corner of s'' Chester, being a pitch
pine No. 134 ; then on the east side of said lot No. 134, in
the 4'*' Division of the fang of the pond, so called ; then di-
viding the waters so as to leave Great Island in Derrylield
and Deerneck in Chester, to the south west bounds of lot
No. 41, in said 4*^ Division ; and on Northerly between
it and No. 42, to the N. E. corner of s"' 42 ; then about W.
N. W., on the middle of the reserve between the 8*'' & 9^^
ranges, until it comes to No. 102 ; thence to run N. 10 W.
to the original head line of Chester ; then on the said head
line to the river." The alteration was not made.

The General Court passed an act December 30, 1803,
requiring the several towns in the State to make surveys of
their respective towns, and make plans and send to the
Secretary's office, for the purpose of making a State map.
At a meeting August 27, Stephen Chase, Joseph Blanchard
and William White were chosen a committee to make the
survey. The town lines, the principal roads, including two
turnpikes, Massabesic pond and Exeter river, were sur-
veyed, and a plan made by Esquire Chase, aided by his son
Stephen Chase, Jr., which is now in the Secretary's office..
The expense was : Joseph Blanchard, twelve days, $18 j
William White, eleven days, 814.67 ; Stephen Chase,
thirty-six days, $47.

The General Court made a contract with Philip Carri-
gain to get up the map, which after long delays was pub-
lished, and a copy sent to each town. It was called
" Carrigain's Map."

At the same meeting it was voted " That the selectmen
be Impowered to build a stone pound on the main Road
leading to Pembrook, on the N. E. corner of David Under-
hill's Land, he giving the same for s"^ use." The pound
cost $46.45.

The committee to procure a bell sent the old one to a
Mr. Holbrook, of Brookfield, Mass., to be recast. His bill


was $236.95 ; the wliole expense, $298.05. The bell was
raised August 20th. At the same time a town clock was
purchased of Mr. Holbrook by subscription, at a cost, I
think, of one hundred dollars. The parish paid the ex-
pense of putting up a dial, &c., $22.14. The clock proved
a bad bargain, as it never went well, and a great deal of
money was expended on it to little purpose.

John Emery and Stephen Heath shot a bear, and about
the same time Capt. James Orr caught one in a trap, — the
last killed in Chester. A little later B. P. Chase saw one.
The late Judge Bell states that as late as 1810, as Col.
Israel W. Kelley was riding on the river road in Goffstown,
about a mile above the falls, he saw two girls very much
frightened, who said they had seen a bear ; when, looking
up the bank in the direction they pointed out, he saw the
bear. He walked his horse and guarded them to the next
house. Probably this was the last in this region.

1805. Chester turnpike was built this year, and the
bridge across the pond for the Londonderry turnpike.

The Presbyterian parish gave liberty to some individuals
to build horse-sheds on the parish land. Hitherto the
horses, some of them coming six miles, stood entirely ex-
posed to the weather.

The singers had liberty to extend the singing pew.

There was a very unfortunate occurrence this year.
December 12th, in the evening, several men who were at
work on the Straits bridge started ostensibly to go to Peter
Severance's to procure his cattle the next day. One by
the name of Barnes arrived there long enough before the
rest to have Mrs. Severance get up, dress herself, and draw
a mug of cider for him, and he went to the door and threw
it open against her two or three times. By this time, the
rest of the party having arrived, Mr. Severance, suspecting
that some violence was intended, fired his gun, the charge
passing Barnes, who still stood in the door, and killed Ben-
jamin Whittier, of Boscawen. At the February term,
1806, he was convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to
twelve months' imprisonment, and pay costs.


1806. The town voted to pay a bounty of twelve cents
for killing crows. The question of having a work-house
came up and was dismissed.

There was an act passed Dec. 28, 1805, authorizing
towns to divide the towns into school districts. The town
was divided into twenty districts, rather indefinitely

June 16, sun totally eclipsed four minutes and a half.

1807. There had been an act passed for furnishing sol-
_diers with rations muster day. The bill this year amounted
to $63.25.

Great Britain and France were carrying on a most san-
guine war, and were not at all disposed to respect the
rights of neutrals, and American commerce suffered se-
verely. The Americans enjoyed, notwithstanding all of
their losses, a lucrative carrying trade, but the government,
to protect their rights or to prevent further wrongs, laid
an emf)argo on all foreign commerce. This entirely par-
alyzed all business in the sea-ports. As an illustration of
its effects, Edward and Stark Ray had bought the Oswego
mill, with some two hundred acres of land, covered with a
heavy growtli of pine timber ; at this time tliey drevv their
lumber to Martin's Ferry, rafted it to Newburyport, and
sold it for eiglit dollars per thousand, and the market was
limited at that price.

1808. At a town meeting held Sept. 26, a committee,
consisting of John Bell, John Folsom, Benjamin Brown,
Henry Sweetser, Nathaniel Head, Joseph Blanchard, Wil-
liam Moore, Benjamin Eaton, John Wason, John Wilson,
Amos Kent and Ebenezer Townsend, was chosen to consider
the propriety of pr.eparing a respectful petition to the Pres-
ident of the United States, praying him to suspend the
operation of the laws laying an embargo on the ships and
vessels of the United States so far as relates to Spain,
Portugal and their respective colonies. The committee
made a very long report that it would not be expedient, but
useless, inasmuch as respectful petitions from a great num-


bcr of large and populous towns had been presented to the
Picsident, praying to have the eml)arg-o suspended so far a^s
relates to the countries against which we have no cause of
complaint, and where we could have exchanged our provis-
ions and lumber for articles of the first importance, &c. ;
the answers to these petitions have iniiformly been of the
same tenor, that while the causes for laying it still existed,
the embargo must remain, &g. They vindicated themselves
from the charge of want of patriotism and exhorted the
people to gain and impart correct information on political
subjects, &c.

June 27, there was a tornado which blew down the barn
of Wells Chase while he and his grand-daughter Sarah
Chase were in it milking. They escaped with little injury.

1809. Rev. Mr. Colby had a paralytic shock in the desk
while reading the last hymn, in the summer of 1808, which
disabled him from preaching. There was a parish meeting
called Jan. 2, 1809, to which Mr. Colby made a communi-
cation, saying that if he were no better before March meet-
ing he would resign his charge. At the annual meeting
he asked a dismission, which was granted.

There was a petition presented to the Congregational
parish by certain individuals, for the privilege of having
ministers of other denominations preach in the meeting-
house when it would not interfere with Mr. Bradstreet's
meetings. Liberty was granted for the admission of Meth-
odists, Baptists and Freewill Baptists, but only of those
that the committee, consisting of Rev. Mr. Bradstreet,
Benjamin True and Nathan Knowles, should approve.

1810. There were individuals who once paid taxes to
the Congregational parish who were inclined towards other
denominations ; and being dissatisfied with Mr. Bradstreet,
they declined paying taxes. At the annual meeting there
was a committee of twelve chosen to confer with Mr. Brad-

Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 14 of 60)