Benjamin Chase.

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

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his estate. The report was accepted and adopted. Some
persons signed the book after the first day of June and
were not taxed, but claimed the right to vote. A meeting
was called September 22, " to see if the parish will admit
such persons to vote before the next annual meeting." The
article was dismissed.

At a meeting September 22 it was

" Voted, that the contract between the Congregational
parish in Chester and the Rev. Joel R. Arnold be dissolved
at the expiration of six months from the time Mr. Arnold
shall receive this vote,"

At the annual meeting, 1830, a proviso was added to the
by-laws, *' that no person shall be allowed to vote in any
matter coming before tlie parish, without the consent of the
parish, until he shall become actually liable to pay a parish
tax."

1830. At a meeting of the Congregational parish,
August 2d, a committee of nine persons was chosen to
present the parish book to persons for their signatures to
the following, to become members of the parish, viz. :
" The subscribers promise the Congregational parish in
Chester that so long as they continue members of said
parish they will pay all parish taxes assessed upon their
polls and estates, provided the same does not exceed the
rate of eighty-four cents upon the single poll, and in the
same proportion upon their taxable property."

At an adjournment August 7, the parish invited the Rev.
Jonathan Clement to become their minister on the follow-
ing terms : " That the parish will pay him so long as he
continues to be their minister the sum of five hundred dol-
lars annually, and that he shall at all times have the right
to put an end to said contract, giving six months' notice of
his intention so to do, and that said parish shall in like
manner have the right to put an end to said contract, giv-
ing six months' notice."

Mr. Clement accepted the call, and the second Wednes-
day of October was appointed for the "ordination.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 183

1831. August 20, Stephen Heath and Oliver Welch
having been to Derrj with a team, Welch for some cause
struck Heath with a stake so as to cause his death. He
was convicted of manslaughter and sent to the state
prison, and in a few years was pardoned.

August 15, the Presbyterians voted to hire the Rev. Ben-
jamin Sargent.

November 22, William M. Richardson and others formed
the " Chester Musical Society " and assumed corporate
powers.

1832. The representatives were instructed to use their
efforts in the legislature to have the courts removed from
Exeter to Chester.

1833. The Presbyterian parish voted to give a call to
the Rev. Benjamin Sargent, and offer him the use of the
parsonage and two hundred dollars. He was installed the
last Wednesday in May.

1834. The town voted to purchase of Jonathan Dear-
born half an acre of land for an addition to the burying-
place, and pay one hundred and fifty dollars.

1836. A record of marriages and births had been kept
in an unbound book from 1726 to about 1806, when a
bound book was procured for the purpose. The old book
was much worn and at the annual meeting, 1836, the town
clerk was authorized to copy the old book into the new one.
This was done in a good bold hand by Mrs. Tompkins, the
town clerk's wife.

November 7, voted, ninety-two yeas, two nays, that it is
expedient for the State to grant an appropriation to build
an insane hospital. It was also voted to authorize tlie se-
lectmen to cause the accounts of the town to be printed,
which has since been done, I think, annually.

1837. There had accumulated in the treasury of the
United States a large surplus of revenue beyond the lia-
bilities of the government, which by act of Congress had
been apportioned among the several States. At a town



184 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER.

meeting February 1, it was voted to receive it, and an
agent was chosen to receive it and directed to loan enough
to the town to pay their debts, and the residue to individu-
als, and the interest of the money to be divided equally
among the several school districts.

1838. At a town meeting Aug. 28, the agent reported

that he had of surplus revenue $4,718.67.

The selectmen reported that when they came into oflSce

the town owed $2724 06

Liabilities for roads, bridges, &c 4933 66

Total indebtedness $7657 72

It was voted to appropriate all the surplus revenue and
interest, excepting one year's interest to be added to the
school money, to defray town charges.

1839. In the warning of the annual meeting of the
Congregational parish for 1836 was an article " To see if
the parish will consent to alter or repair or otherwise dis-
pose of the meeting-house," and similar articles were in
the warnings for 1837 and 1838, all of which were dis-
missed. This year was an article " To see if the Parish
will alter the meeting-house, and choose a Committee to do
the same, or to authorize John Picket, John W. Noyes,
Nathaniel F. Emerson, and others, members of the Parish,
to alter the meeting-house, provided they will give satisfac-
tory bonds to the Parish." On motion of Henry F. French,
Esq.,

" Voted, That the Parish authorize a Committe to alter
the meeting house, provided they give a bond satisfactory
to the Wardens of said Parish to indemnify said Parish
against the expenses of said alteration ; and complete said
alteration by December 1, 1839, and pay over the amount
received by them above the expenses of said alteration to
the Parish ; Yeas 34, Nays 17."

John Picket, Nathaniel F. Emerson, Thomas J. Melvin,
John W. Noyes and Benjamin White were chosen for the
said committee. John Lane of Candia, Nathaniel Parker
of Perry, and Isaac Smith of Hampstead, were chosen to
appraise the pews when the house is altered.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.



185



The noble structure built in 1773, which faced the south-
west, with a steeple at the northwest end and a porch at the
southeast end, was turned around, the spire cut away, the
posts cut down, the whole interior altered, having only a
singing gallery. It was finished into seventy-eight pews,
which were appraised at from fifteen to eighty-five dollars
each.




Congregational Chukch in Chestek, Remodeled in 1839.



1840. Seventy-five dollars were appropriated to pur-
chase a grave-yard near the Methodist meeting-house.

Oct. 10, the Presbyterian parish voted to dissolve the
contract with the Rev. Benjamin Sargent.



186 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

1843. This year was remarkable for the lateness of the
spring. There was a "great snow storm March 16, and
sledding till about the middle of April. Pike Chase sled-
ded down the Dearborn mill-pond April 21.

1844. By a statement of the treasurer, the town owed
more than was due to it, 84,300.25.

A motion was made at the meeting of the Congregational
parish that it is expedient to dissolve the connection be-
tween the parish and Mr. Clement ; negatived. Mr. Clem-
ent took a strong interest in the alteration of the meeting-
house, and that and other things raised so strong an oppo-
sition that he gave notice, Dec. 1, to dissolve the contract
after six months.

A town meeting was holden for the choice of electors
Nov. 4. The Whig candidates, headed by Gen. Joseph
Low, received one hundred votes ; the Democratic, headed
by William Badger, one hundred and seventy-one votes ;
the Abolition, by Jesse Woodbury, twenty-three votes.
The Democrats prevailed in the State, and voted for James
K. Polk, who was elected. The question was taken respect-
ing the abolition of capital punishment : affirmative, thirty-
one ; negativ'e, one hundred and twenty-two.

1845. The town voted to instruct the selectmen not to
grant licenses to retail spirituous liquors.

A petition by John Clark and others having been pre-
sented to the Legislature in 1844 to have the town divided,
the west part to be named " West Chester," and an order
of notice having been served on the town, there was a com-
mittee, consisting of John White, Jacob Cliase, David Cur-
rier, Stephen Palmer, Abel G, Quigg and James Brown,
chosen to report a line for the division at an adjourn-
ment. The question was taken by ayes and noes, whether
the meeting would consent to a division provided the com-
mittee should report a satisfactory line : ayes one hundred
and forty-eight ; noes eighty-three. There seem to have
been two reports, and the one made by that part of the
committee from the westerly part of the town was adopted :
ayes two hundred and ten ; noes fifty-nine.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 187

There was a strong opposition from individuals in the
"west part, headed by Jesse Patten and Pike Chase, a re-
monstrance sent in and counsel employed before the com-
mittee, but the petitioners prevailed, and an act passed June
23, 184:5, that all that part of Chester " lying westerly of
the following lines, to wit : beginning on the line between
Chester and Candia at a stake and stones in the reserve
between lots numbered fortv-three and fifty-two in the
second division of lots in Chester ; thence south seven-
teen degrees thirty minutes west, five hundred and sixty,
two rods to a spruce tree marked; then south twenty-seven
degrees west, two hundred and ninety-eight rods to a stake
on the northerly side of the road leading from Jesse
Wood's to Chester turnpike ; thence south sixty-eight de-
grees east, seventy rods, to a stake on the northerly side of
said road ; thence south twenty-five degrees west, two hun-
dred and eighty-seven rods, to a stone set in the ground,
on the southerly line of the road leading from Concord, N.
H., to Haverhill, Mass. ; thence north seventy-one degrees
west, twenty-four rods by the southerly line of said road to
a stake and stones ; thence south twenty-three degrees
west, seven hundred and seventy-two rods, to the line be-
tween Chester and Derry ; — be, and the same is hereby, sev-
ered from the town of Chester, and made a body politic
and corporate by the name of Auburn." Samuel D. Bell
of Manchester, Nathaniel Parker and William Choate of
Derry, were named in the act to divide the property and
debts. Auburn was to pay two dollars and twenty-six
cents and Chester four dollars and two cents, of State tax.

The first meeting of Auburn was notified by John Clark,
David Currier and Stephen Palmer, and holden July 28,
and officers chosen at an adjournment.

1846. There had accumulated a surplus of revenue in
the treasury of the United States, and Congress had passed
an act for dividing it among the States, and the question
was laid before the towns whether it should be received.
Chester voted unanimously to receive it, and Auburn forty-
six to seven to receive it.



188 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

The Congregational parish voted unanimously to give the
Rev. Lauren Armsby a call, with a salary of five hun-
dred dollars. The Congregational society in Auburn voted
that it is expedient to sell the old meeting-house and ap-
propriate the proceeds towards building a new house.

1847. The building of the new house was taken in
thirty shares of fifty dollars each. The share-holders and
society chose David Currier, Pike Chase and Graham Hall,
building committee. Miles Burnham gave the land. J. •
"W. Spofford took the contract of the wood-work and David
Hall gave the bell. The house was raised October 5,
1847, and dedicated February, 1848.

1848. The question of a prohibitory liquor law having
been submitted to a vote of the people, Chester voted: yes,
ninety-six ; no, 33. Auburn voted in the affirmative.

1850. A convention to revise the State constitution
having been ordered, John White was chosen delegate by
Chester and David Currier by Auburn.

The snow laid till April 20, and some drifts till the 26th.
Froze hard the 24th and froze May 10.

1741. The Constitutional Convention having been held,
and many alterations proposed, fifteen questions were sub-
mitted to the towns. In Chester the highest affirmative
vote was twenty-four ; the lowest, nine. In the negative
the highest was one hundred ninety-eight ; the lowest, one
hundred eighty-two.

In Auburn the highest affirmative was thirty-seven ; the
lowest, eleven ; the highest negative, one hundred and five ;
the lowest, one hundred and four. The whole work of the
Convention was rejected by the State.

Chester voted, sixty-eight to forty, that it is expedient
for the Legislature to pass a law exempting a homestead to
the value of five hundred dollars, from attachment.

From September 8th to 13th was the warmest weather of
the season ; 15th and 16th, frost ; 23d, the ground froze.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OR CHESTER. 189

1852. April 15th, a seyere snow-storm ; 19th and 20th,
a great rain, carrying off all the snow, and causing a great
freshet, the water being over the bridges at Auburn Village,
and up above the base of the great rock at the pond shore.

October 18th, a heavy thunder shower. There were sev-
eral barns burnt by lightning.

1853. The Legislature had proposed the question of a
new county, Manchester to be the shire town. Chester in-
definitely postponed the article.

At a meeting of the town of Chester, July 19, adjourned
to September 13, it was voted to erect a town-house two
stories high, thirty by fifty feet, the upper story for a school-
room, provided that 8500 be furnished by donation, and
the expense to the town not to exceed $1000. Passed,
seventy-five to fifty-one.

1854. In 1854 the building was erected by a few indi-
viduals, at an expense of 82500, including furniture. In
1855 the building and land, were sold to the town of Ches-
ter for a town-house, for 81250, reserving forever the sec-
ond story for school purposes, to be under the control of
the trustees of Chester Academy. A high school has been
kept in it a portion of each year since that time.

The question of building a town-house has several times
come before the town of Auburn, but has always been neg-
atived.

The town of Auburn voted, seventy-one to thirty-seven,
to instruct their representative, in case the famous Ne-
braska Bill, repealing the Missouri Compromise, should
come before the next Legislature for approval or disap-
proval, to exert his influence against it.

Nathan Griffin and a Mr. Kendall had the small-pox.

May 7, ice froze an eighth of an inch. No rain from
July 26th to September 1st.

1855. Chester appropriated 8200 to purchase a piece of
land for a burying-ground, and a committee was chosen to
purchase and lay out the same. Auburn appropriated



90 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER.

$250 for a hearse and house at the biirying-ground near
the village.

February 6th, the thermometer 19° below ; December 25,
there was a cold rain, and there was no more rain till
April 2,1856.

1856. December 18th, thermometer 10° below; 19th,
8" below.

1857. January 12th, thermometer 19° below, and at
night a very severe snow-storm ; a gale, which did a great
deal of damage to shipping. January 23d, 22° below ;
24th, 20° below ; 25th, 6° below; 26, 2° below at Auburn,
and in many places it was from 30° to 40°, freezing the
mercury. Portsmouth harbor froze over, which was never
known before.

1858. The question of purchasing a county farm for
the support of the poor was submitted to a popular vote.
Chester, yeas, four ; noes, ninety-four. Auburn, yeas,
thirty-five ; noes, forty-two.

1860. The question of a new county was again taken.
Chester voted, yeas, thirteen ; noes, two hundred sixty-six.
Auburn voted, yeas, forty ; noes, one hundred forty-seven.

1861. The question of a convention to revise the Con-
stitution, to be limited in its compensation to travel and
ten days' attendance, and in its action to diminish the num-
ber of representatives, to increase the number of senators,
and to make provision for future amendments to the Con-
stitution, was taken. Chester voted, yes, forty-six ; no,
fourteen. Auburn voted to dismiss the article.

Several town meetings were held about raising men for
the army, the proceedings of which are given in the Mil-
itary History. There is nothing more of much interest on
the records.

The summer and fall of 1865 were remarkable for the
drouth. There was no rain but some small showers till
September 17. The Bald Hill in Manchester was burnt
over, destroying large quantities of wood. The fire got



HISTORY OF ROADS. 191

into the spruce swamp in Auburn, and burnt three weeks,
burning out large trees by the roots. It remained com-
paratively dry through the winter and ensuing summer.

The spring of 1868 is remarkable for the quantity of
foul weather and rain. May 8th, six inches of snow fell.
From May loth to 27th was a continued storm, with very
little sunshine, and large quantities of rain fell, causing
more than an ordinary spring freshet. There was little
plowing and planting done before June.

At a town meeting, September 12, the town voted to in-
struct the selectmen to subscribe for two hundred shares
in the Rochester and Nashua Railroad, and appropriated
120.000.



CHAPTEK IX.

HISTORY OF ROADS.

Most of the roads were cut out and traveled before they
were formally laid out, — some of them on reserves, others
across lots, and many of them are described in the returns
as " where, or near where, the path now goes."

The first travel from "• Walnut Hill " was down the hill
by tlie Jack place, and through Hall's Village, and up by
the Presbyterian meeting-house and the Rev. Mr. \Yilson's
to the Derry road. In laying out Governor Shute's home
lot, the cross-road is called " the road to Haverhill,"

The first that is said in the records about laying out
roads, was at a meeting, January 14th, 1729-30. It was
voted to choose a committee " to View two Squeers of lotts,
one that lays by John Boyd's, & y*' Squeer that m"" Blunt's
Saw Mill is built on." Blunt's mill was probably below
the tan-yard, and Boyd lived on lot No. 69, between John
Hazelton's and Edwin Hazelton's. Ichabod Robie, Alex-
ander Craig, Jonathan Blunt and Wm, Powel dissented.



192 HISTORY OF CHESTER.

The first road laid out and recorded was June, 1730.
The selectmen say, " There behig a grate necessity of an
highway across 6 homb Lotts," proceeded to lay one out
" three rods wide by marked trees, as the path or rode
now goes, " First threw James Boid's homb Lott [No. 59] ;
2'y, threw John Ailvcn's homb Lott [No, 145 where John
Hazelton now lives] ; 3'^, threw Jonathan Marshes homb
Lott [No. 56] ; 4'-^, threw Zachariah Chandler's homb
Lott [No. 146, where Mr. Aiken subsequently lived] ; 5^^,
threw John Powel's homb Lott [No. 57, Daniel Wilson
lived on this lot] ; 6'^', threw Robert Wilson's homb Lott "
[No. 147, j\[r. Wilson and his son John lived on this lot].
The next laid out was March 6tli, 1730-31, " Three rods
wide, for convcnicncy to goe to meeting, and General Ben-
efit of the town ; which highway begins first over against
Enoch Colby's, Southwest corner of his homb Lott, and so
goes a litel anguling across six homb Lotts, running nor-
norwest, or thereabouts, by marked trees, across Jonathan
Emerson's homb Lott, and William Powel's liomb Lott, and
across Alexander crage's and Jonathan Blunt's home
Lotts ; then north and by west by marked trees and staks,
across Ichabod Roby's homb Lott, and Morice Hobbs and
Richard Taylor's homb Lotts, and bringing out s*^ highway
to the Ten Rod highway about 40 rods to y® south cast of
y® meting house, at the nor west corner of hobbs and Tay-
lor's homb lott." The terminus of this road was between
James Bell's and Deacon Lane's, but probably was never
built there.

^, In 1756 it was " Voted, That the Highway that was Laid
out acrost Taylor's Lot So called may be Exchanged for a
Highway by the Side of Sam' Robie's land, where the Cart
way now Goes, whom Taylor's Land So Called."

February 23, 1732-3, it was exchanged to " Lay some-
thing to the west of the aforesaid Highway, near where
the old path used to go, and now goes." The lots crossed
by this road are 52, 14, 110, 12, 116 and 13.

The next was from Sandown line by Asa Wilson's, four
rods wide, July 5, 1731, " Beginning on Kingstown head



HISTORY OF ROADS. 193

line whare the Road now goes through Jeffries' additional
Lott, through Jacob Gihuan's home Lott as the path now
goes; next through James Basford's home Lott and a half;
next through William wilson's home lot and half; next
through Page Bacheldor's home lot ; next through Enoch
Colby's home lot."

At the June term of the Court of Sessions, 1736, the
grand juror from Londonderry complained that there was
no road from Kingstown to Chester. There was an order
of notice, and the selectmen of Kingstown appeared at the
September term and promised to lay one out as soon as
possible.

At the annual meeting, 1732, it was

" Voted, That, the Highways Shall be Repaired by a
Rate this year.

" Voted, To Rais Sixteen Shilings upon Every Propria-
tor's Share to Repare the Highways this year.

" Voted, that Every man Shall have the Liberty to pay
their part of this Rate in Labour at four Shilings pr. Day.

"•Voted, that the hole shall be Compleated and paid by
the last of September next."

September 20, 1732,

" Voted, That their Shall be a hors path or Cart path
Cleared from this meeting hous to the Senter in the north
parrish, and that the Same be Left with the Sovairs."

This was to near where David Page did live in Ray-
mond, and went by the Lanes.

June 20, 1732. The road from the main road below
Edwin Haselton's, through additional lot No. 127, " to the
mill brook at the tail of Said Sawmill," was laid out.

May 25, 1738. The road from the main road below
Samuel Haselton's to Londonderry line, across additional
lot No. 2, was laid out.

August 28, 1738. The road to Londonderry from near
the meeting-house to the southwest corner of Insine Jacob
Sargent's home lot, ten rods wide, thence four rods wide
to Londonderry line, was laid out. It was returned
straight on the reserve between the 16th and 17th addi-
tional lots, but was built further west.
13



194 HISTORY OF CHESTER,

August 28, 1738. A highway beginning at a red-oak tree
near the meeting-house, the southwest corner of Jonathan
Bhint's home lot, where he now lives ; then southeast to
John Silley's bound (home lot No. 35) ; then southeast to
the bound of Samuel Smith's lot, No. 39 (below Jacob
Green's), to be ten rods wide ; beginning again at Silley's
corner ; thence northeast to Cram's lot (this is across
from Robie's hill to the Hills road) ; then a highway from
thence northwest on the reserve to Gov. Shute's farm (the
North Pond road), and southeast to William Wilson's land.

August 28, 1738. On the reserve from Haselton's on Wal-
nut hill, northwest, down the hill by the Jack place to
Three Camp meadow. This was on the first traveled road
through Hall's Village to the Centre.

June 28, 1742. A road ten rods wide, from the meeting-
house northeast to Shackford's Corner, " Not to infringe
on the burying-ground."

In Bouton's History of Concord, page eighty-three, it
is said : " At a meeting held at Ipswich, 9th of Septem-
ber, 1726, Ensign Jolm Chandler, John Ayer and Wil-
liam Barker were chosen a committee to go out and clear
a sufhcient cart way to Penny Cook, the nighest and best
way they can from Haverliill." Richard Hazzen also Avas
one who went " to search out a way from the place where
Chester meeting-house stands to Penny Cook, and mark
the same."

On page eighty-eiglit: " According to tradition Ebenezer
Eastman's team — six yoke of oxen with a cart — was the
first that crossed the wilderness from Haverhill to Penacook.
It was driven by Jacol Shute, who, in order to get safely
down Sugar Ball felled a pine tree and chained it top fore-
most to his cart, to stay the motion of it down the preci-
pice." He also relates the following of Ebenezer Eastman,
page 552 : " Among the many traditionary anecdotes it is
related that soon after settling in Penacook, he made a
journey to Haverhill on horseback and purchased a barrel
of molasses, which he intended by some means to carry
home with him. He contrived what was called a car, that



HISTORY OF ROADS. 195

was formed of two shafts, one end of which was fastened
to the horse, and the other to drag on the ground. Lash-
ing the barrel of molasses to the car with ropes he pro-
ceeded on his way homeward along the path through the
wilderness. He got along very well until he came to Sou-
cook river. After crossing, the hill was very steep and in
ascending the horse would stop to rest a few moments.
Having nearly reached the top of the hill, on starting, the



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