Benjamin Chase.

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

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By an act of the General Court passed July 4, 1838, the
charter of the Chester Turnpike Corporation was repealed,
making it a free road.

In 1838, the road from near Candia line, passing below
the Oswego mill and to Manchester Centre, was laid out by
a court's committee. Chester made no opposition, but the
selectmen attended to advise as to its location. It was
built in 1839.

In the town account for 1838, there is a charge of 8137
for the selectmen's services and expenses about the Araos-
keag road. There is also a charge of 8405 for compen-
sation for highways, all but 835 of which was paid for the
Poplin road.

In the account for 1839 are the follow

Road Committee's services and expenses
Compensation for the new Eaymond road
Making the Poplin road .
Piece of new road by Jeremiah Ray's,
The Amoskeao- road

Paid in one year for new roads
Add paid in 1838 as above

ng charges :

. $430 97

. 1,145 70

227 29

50 00

. 2,732 83

$■4,586 79
542 00

$5,128 79

February term, 1838. Petition of John Moore and others
for a road from John Locke's to Adams' saw-mill, in Derry,
to go into Sandown. The committee reported against it.


t)ct. 14, 1840, the road from near the Dearborn saw-mill,
in Auburn, easterly across Chester turnpike to the Candia
road, near Seavey's, was laid out.

In 1840, upon the petition of John Clark and others, a
road was laid out from below the Blanchard mills across
Candia road, over Bald hill to Manchester. July 16,
1841, the selectmen were instructed to build it imme-
diately. They purchased a team and hired help and
commenced, but a town-meeting was called at the request
of the opponents of the road and counter instructions
given. A part of the petitioners for the road turned
against it and had to pay the petitioners' expenses of the
contest, and be taxed to the town to pay for the opposition.
It was built, however, to the Candia road, and one hundred
and thirty-seven dollars for land damages paid and six hun-
dred and thirty-eight dollars for building it. Beyond the
Candia road it was discontinued.

Oct. 28, 1840. A road was laid out from near Reuben
Senter's (the old Crosett or William Brown place), to the
road to Derry, south of No. 4 school-house in Auburn,
across 86 and 87, 2d P., 2d D.

1843. A road was laid out from near Joseph Smith's
house westerly to the Borough road, laid out October, 1840.
December 4, 1843. The road from near Amos Morse's or
Dinsmore sawmill to the Derry road, was laid out.

Nov. 2, 1844. A road from the road to Candia, south of
the Methodist church, southeast to the old Berry place, in-
stead of one over the hills laid out March 3, 1769, was
laid out.

1846. The road commissioners, on the petition of John
Moore and others, laid out a road from near Hale True's
(the old John Moore place) to near the Methodist church
in Sandown. This was to lead towards Lawrence.

1846. Jona. B. Sanborn and others preferred a petition

to the commissioners for a road from Daniel Sanborn's (the

Lt. William Moore place), in Chester, to the Methodist

church in Sandown. Not granted.

June, 1846. The petition of Stephen Dearborn and others,


for a road from Auburn Village to Lovereign's Corner in
Raymond. Final action September, 1847 ; laid out. Au-
burn built from the Village to the Murray road and paid
landholders 8691, and for building the road 8IT8I.0O. The
whole damages were for Auburn, 8973 ; Chester, 8323, and
expenses, 8138.83.

February term, 1748. Raymond petitioned for a discon-

August, 1848. Chester petitioned for a discontinuance.

February, 1850. Auburn petitioned for a discontinuance
of that part not built, all of wliicii was granted ; afterwards
laid out and built, Chester, 1864 ; Auburn, 1868.

September 3, 1847. A new road laid out from Osgood
True's to the old road from the Locke place, and the old
road widened and straightened to Hale True's, towards
Lawrence or Haverhill.

Oct. 16, 1847. A road was laid out from near Ebenezer
Marden's, southwest to the road from Chester to the Branch.

Oct. 23, 1848. An addition to the above to near Wal-
ter Basford's shop.

July 15, 1853. A road was laid out from near Frederic
* "Wason's (the old David McClure and John Knowles
place), southeast to Wason's.

In 1847 a road was laid out from Londonderry turn-
pike passing the steam saw-mill to the Senter road.

In 1849 a road was laid out from Londonderry turnpike
southeast to Londonderry line towards Wilson's Crossing.

In 1853 a road was laid out from the corner near school-
house No. 2 in Auburn, southwest to meet the road laid
out in 1847.

In 1864 the county commissioners laid out in Chester
the road laid out upon the petition of Stephen Dearborn
and others and discontinued, and in 1867 the selectmen
of Auburn laid out the part of the same in Auburn.

The Mammoth road, leading from Hooksett to Lowell,
was laid out after a long contest in 1831, which passes a
long distance in Old Chester, in Hooksett and Manchester,
which cost the town of Hooksett between three and four
thousand dollars.


A foad was laid out in 1840 from the Factory Tillage
across the farms to the old Suncook road near Matthew
Gault's. When the Londonderry turnpike was laid out as
a free road in 1836, Hooksett bridge was reserved by the
corporation, which the town of Hooksett purchased in 1853
for $1,610, which was burned with the railroad bridge Sept.
30, 1857, and a new one built at a cost of 86,000, which
was carried off by a freshet and ice, March 20, 1859, and a
new one built by the town at an expense of about $8,000.



Before giving a history of the building of mills I propose
to give a description of the early mills, and of the modern

The early saw-mills were built with flutter or undershot
waterTwheels, with heavy rims, and at least three feet and
a half high, and about four feet wide, with a wrought-iron
crank, from sixteen to eighteen inches long. The water
was brought on in a tangent of about forty-five degrees.
The gate hoisted perpendicularly. The saw-frame ran in
rabbets in the fender posts, secured by wooden knees called
" hook pins." The pitman, to connect the crank to the
saw-frame, was all of wood. The saws were of iron, so
that when the breast was worn hollow they would heat the
saw and strike the back on an anvil, and straighten it. The
saw was strained by a key or wedge. The carriage ran on
pieces of plank, called " nogs," about two feet apart, set
perpendicularly in timbers, the corners cut out to receive
the carriage. Only one carriage side was cogged. Reel
dogs were used at both ends, so that the dogs were drawn
every run. To feed, a roller went across the mill, in front
of the saw, resting on wooden bearings on the plates, and


a head hanging down, from which there was a pole* some
ten feet long, with a pawl or hand on the end, to work the
rag-wheel. They had no apparatus for raising the hand,
but always had to be there, to take it up and lay it on a pin.

They had no negro-, or gig-wheel, but ran the carriage
back with their feet ; and to have it go back easier, would
have the mill incline a foot and a half, or two feet, in the
length. I have seen all of this in operation in my day.

About 1808 there came along a millwright by the name
of Oliver Hawkins, who introduced wider and lower wheels,
with the floats fastened to arms. He used short cranks,
and had the water brought on nearly perpendicular, and
after striking the wheel, the water was brought round in a
curve. The gate was drawn horizontally on the bottom of
the flume. He introduced cogging both carriage sides, and
running upon a continued track in the centre of each side.

Some mills were built by Joseph Wilson, of Hudson, with
the rolling gate, and other improvements, perhaps earlier
than Hawkins'. The first change of water-wheel from the
flutter, was the spiral vent, invented by Clark Wilson, of
Swanzy, in 1830. It was a reacting wheel, with iron
buckets and wooden rim.

The first balance wheel I ever saw in a saw-mill, was at
Osgood's, at Methuen, Mass., in 1827. It was a heavy
wooden wheel, five feet in diameter, with a cast-iron seg-
ment, for counter-balance. It was put in by James Butter-
field. It waded so heavily in the water that it did no good.

In 1838 the Exeter manufacturing company built two
saw-mills, and sent to Hallowell for their irons, and had
iron balance-wheels.

The first slides for saw-frames, so far as I know, were in
the Locks and Canal Co.'s mill at Lowell, in 1832, Y slides
on the saw-frame running in grooves in the posts. It was
nearly impossible to keep them tight on the frame, and
there were other difficulties. The next was Y slides on the
posts and grooves in the saw-frame. The Exeter mills, be-
fore spoken of, had square slides on the inside of the posts,
and composition boxes on the saw-frame. In 1839, larger


square slides on the inside of tlie posts, with wooden bear-
ings on the frame, were introduced. About 1845, round
slides in front of the }30sts, and soon after the present
form of square ones in front of the posts were introduced.

So far as I am aware the first belted saw-mill was built
for Ralph Bricket, of Hampstead, in 1836, in connection
with a shingle-mill, to split the stuff. It had no counter-
balance, and was not substantial enough to do great busi-
ness. The first iron segments on the carriage running on
an iron track, so far as I know, were in a mill built by the
Amesbury Flannel Manufacturing Co. at the Tewksbury
mills. The track was round on the top. This was in 1839.
The first steam saw-mill in this region was built by "Webster
& Page, at South Kingston.

The clapboards and shingles were all riven. The earli-
est clapboard machine was introduced a little previous to
1820, and the log hung upon centres, and passed over the
saw, and was so adjusted as to saw the requisite depth for
the width of the clapboard. It was self-setting, and had
sappers attached to the saw to straighten the edges. The
shingle machine was a later invention. The first of either
of these machines in Chester was by John Clarke, in 1833.

The early grist-mills were driven l)y undershot water-
wheels, about fifteen feet high and four feet wide, the
water brought on at an angle of about twenty-five degrees.
The gears used were wooden — face or crown gears. The
runner was hung on a stiff horn, sometimes a tripod, so
that the spindle had to be exactly perpendicular to the face
of both bed, stone and runner. The tub-wheel was in-
vented by a Mr. Hitchcock, the first part of the century.
It was at first a small and deep wheel, with the runner
, attached to the top gudgeon. They soon, however, made
larger wheels, usually six to eight feet in diameter, fifteen
inches deep, and geared. These wheels were mostly used
from 1810 to 1835, for grain mills. The spiral vent,
and other reacting wheels, and then centre-discharge, and
various combinations of direct and reaction wheels, super-
seded them. In the early mills, wrought-iron gudgeons or


bearings were used. The earliest cast-iron wing-giidge^i saw
was put into N. Clark's mill, Sandown, by Joseph Wilson,
in 1812, though they were probably used earlier. The cap
or flange-gudgeon was invented by Butler Wilson, a son of
the above, at a later date.

As the cloth was of home manufacture, fulling- or cloth-
ing-mills were common. The fulling-mill or stock was
driven by an undershot wheel about ten feet high, with two
wooden ovals or cams set opposite to each other on the
shaft, to force the feet or mallets alternately against the
cloth, and they fell back by their own gravity. AVhen the
ovals were too flat, or the motion too quick, the mallet
would not fall back as fast as the cam, and they would
meet with a heavy concussion. Cranks, with smaller
wheels, were introduced about 1810.

The raising the nap on cloth was done by a small card,
by hand. Mr. Haynes got up a machine for raising the
nap on cotton and linen cloth, called " fustian." It con-
sisted of a main cylinder on wooden bearings, two or two
and a half feet in diameter, covered with teasels, and the
cloth passing over rollers above and below. Instead of
getting motion by attaching it to his water-wheel, he had a
rope attached to»the shaft of the machine, and passing over
a sheave at the beams of his mill, with a heavy weight at
the other end of the rope. This was wound up until the
weight was raised to the beam, and then the machine would
run until the weight had run down ; then it must be wound
up again.

The shearinsr of fulled cloth was done with hand shears.

The blades of these were about seven inches wide, and

about thirty inches long. The cloth was laid across a

cushion about as wide as the length of the blades of the

shears. The bottom blade lay flat upon it, and weighted

down with fifty or sixty pounds of lead ; the other blade

connected by a large bow or spring, and standing at an

angle of about forty-five degrees. A strap was attached to

the bottom blade, and to a wooden handle or lever made to

bear against the top blade, by means of which the shears


were sprung. In shearing, the shears were sprung with
one hand, and, weighing in all nearly one hundred pounds,
moved evenly across the cloth, and then lifted and moved
back again. It required a great deal of skill, and was
very laborious work. These shears were exclusively used
until 1812 to 1814, when Hovey's vibrating shears were
introduced, in which by turning a crank the shears were
s])rung, and the cloth-beams moved, also a brush to raise
the nap. About the year 1825, spiral blades were in-

The dyeing of fulled cloth for every-day wear was mostly
with butternut, or oilnut, bark ; for handsome, black or
London brown, dyed with camwood darkened, and much
later indigo blue was introduced. There was, for men's
summer wear, a cotton and linen cloth made, called fustian,
which was dyed with fustic, darkened, and a nap raised
and the cloth pressed.

At a general meeting of the proprietors of " Checher,"
held at Hampton the 11th day of January, 1720-1,

" Voted, To Coll" Packer, Coll'' Wiar, Caleb Towle, and
Sam" Ingalls, the whole Priviledge upon the upper Falls of
the great Brook forever, to build a Saw mill or mills on,
and also ten acres of Land Gratis, on EacJi Side s^ falls for
the s'' mills Conveniency, with Condition That the s*^ mills
shall be fitt to Cutt boards in a Twelvemonth from this
Time ; and that they Sliall Saw at halves the Proprs.
Loggs, So much as they Shall have occasion for Building.
And those props, that Shall have Occasion to buy boards
shall be Supplyed with So many as they Shall have occa-
sion for, at the Rate of thirty shillings per Thousand at the
mill. And if the making a pond or ponds for s*^ mill
damnifies any of the proprs., the society shall make good
the damages."

At a meeting at Hampton, March 16, 1720-1,

" Voted, That the four persons to whom the Stream is
granted, Shall give each a bond of Fifty pounds to the
Comittee, to perform the Conditions of s*^ Grant, and if
any of them Refuse to do it, the Comittee is Impowered to
admitt others."

At a meeting of the committee, September 29, 1721,


" A^oted, That the proprietors of the upper Falls on the
great Brook have the priviledge of the Lower falls also, for
their Further Icouragen*, to build a mill according to a vote
of the Society, at a publick meeting held Jan. 11''', 1720-1,
and in consideration of which Additional Privilege they are
to build a Grist mill as Soon as the Town will need it."

James Basford at one titne owned most of the mill. In
1731 he sold Ebenezer Dearborn one-fourth of the " old
sawmill." In 1732 he sold to William Wilson one-eighth
of the " old sawmill." In 1734 he had some difficulty
with the proprietors about the mill, and they voted to have
a reference.

In 1735 Ebenezer Dearborn deeded to his sons Ebenezer,
Jr., Benjamin, Thomas and Michael, one-fourth of the "old

In 1743, in consideration of <£22 bills of credit, Ebene-
zer Dearborn, Ebenezer Dearborn, Jr., Thomas Dearborn
and Michael Dearborn convey to Thomas Wells four-sixths
of the " old sawmill."

We know little more about the mill or its owners until
about 1780, when Hugli Tolford, Jacob Wells, Capt.
Clough, Moses Haselton, John Haselton and Benjamin
Haselton rebuilt it. It was rebuilt once after that, and
again in 1848, and is now owned by Edwin Haselton and
Parker Morse.

Jonathan Blunt had a saw-mill previous to 1730. He
owned home lot No. 12, and it was probably on that, near
the Blake tan-yard.

aiken's grist-mill.

At a meeting, March 7, 1730, it was

" Yoted, that there be encouragement given for building
a Grist mill on the middle falls of the Grate Brook, that is
to John Aiken's, and fourteen or fifteen acres of land to the
Eastward of s*^ falls, as convenient as can be had of com-
mon land, provided s'' Aiken build a sufficient Grist mill by
this time twelvemonth, and keep s*^ mill in good Repair
from time to time, and at all times hereafter."


Mr. Aiken built the mill on his lot, No. 145. This was
probably the first grist-mill in town.

William Graham, who married Mr. Aiken's daughter
Margaret, purchased the mill and land adjoining in 1745.

In 1750, Graham purchased at the Long Meadows, and
Mr. Aiken died, and gave by will his three home lots to his
sons John and James. As the mill was on one of those
lots, it had probably been re-deeded. John Aiken, Jr., lived
where John Plasclton now lives, and I think owned the
mill. It was on that lot.

haselton's grist-mill.

The privilege of the " Lower falls on the Great l)rook "
was granted to the proprietors of the ujjper falls, Sept.
29, 1721, but they probably never availed themselves of
the grant.

May 5, 1746, it is recorded, " William Crafiford having
built a grist-mill upon the Great brook in Chester at the
Lower falls so called, the fifth day of May, 1746, doth
Record his son Rol)ert miller of said Grist mill." Henry
Lunt owned the mill in 1753, died in 1761. Samuel Cur-
rier owned it in 1770.

In 1779 Samuel Currier, of Hampstead, conveyed to
Richard Haselton thirty acres of land with the grist-mill,
the land bounded on Crawford's and Mark Carr's. In 1780
he bought a pair of millstones of Francis Chase, of New-
town, for one hundred and fifty pounds ; so he probably re-
built at that time. Tlie mill was once carried off by a
freshet; Peter Haselton thinks about 1793. It was T)nce
burnt. It descended to Thomas Haselton, then to his son
Amos Haselton. He put in a machine for sawing clap-
boards from the logs in 1839. In 1853 the mill was en-
tirely rebuilt, using the timber of the old Long Meadow
meeting-house. Machinery for making pails was put in in
1857 ; planer and box machine in 1858. Water being
short a steam engine was put in in 1860 ; a second pail-
lathe in 1862. In 1866 about thirty-two thousand pails were


made, and fish-kits to the value of six thousand four hundred
dollars, and about one hundred and fifteen thousand feet of
boards made into boxes.

carr's, morse's, now couch's mills.

Previous to 1741 John Karr had built a saw-mill and
grist-mill where Couch's mills now are, for in his inventory
for that year there are two mills set down to him.

In 1743 there was an effort to have a new road to Lon-
donderry to go by " Karr's mills." In the return of the
road, March 21, 1754, it " Began at a stake near the
Bridge Between Capt. Morse's saw-mill and grist-mill."
In Capt. Morse's will, proved May 25, 1763, he gave his
sons, Josiah and Oliver, the mills in equal shares. Oliver
had the homestead farm, and died in 1770. The dam was
carried away by a freshet, and at the time Josiah got wet,
took cold, and died in 1794, and the mills went down.
Oliver Morse's widow married Taylor Little and had a
daughter Hannah, who married Isaac Dinsmore, who
bought the place and rebuilt the saw-mill about 1806 and
again about 1830. It was some time owned by Henry
Abbot, who in 1834 put in a shingle-mill, the second in
town. He sold to Col. Couch, who put in a run of stones
below the road with the shingle-mill.


In the inventory of 1741, James Campbell (who lived
at the Pearly Chase place at Walnut hill) is set down as
having a mill, and Daniel McDuffee (who lived at the
Daniel Kimball place in Derry) had also a mill. The re-
turn of the bridle road from where Oilman Morse now
lives, through the south woods, March 25, 1740, ended at
Campbell's saw-mill. This had been the road to the
Long Meadows. In the return of the road, March 5,
1747, it runs by the west end of Hugh McDuffee's corn-
mill. Hugh McDuffee owned the corn-mill during his life,
and Archibald and Mansfield McDuffee the saw-mill.


James McDuffee is taxed in 1801 for two mills, which is
the last tax on them. They soon went down. John Mc-
Duffee, son of Hugh, fell through the place for turning the
runner and broke his neck. The saw-mill stood just above
the present road leading to Derrj, the corn-mill several
rods below.

NUTT'S, CRAIGE's, CROSETT'S and brown's mill, — AT THE


It is uncertain when or by whom the first mill was built.
There were two men by the name of Nutt who lived at the
Pierce and Brown place and might have had a share in it.
The first title which I have seen is Thomas Shirley sold to
James Wilson one quarter of a saw-mill, commonly called
" Nutt's mill standing on Cohas brook," in 1750, and An-
drew Craige, Jr., sells to Andre \y Craige one-half of lot
No. 93, 2d P., 2d D. (on which the mill stood), and one-
fourth of the saw-mill, in 1764. Andrew Craige bought
one hundred and sixty acres, a part of No. 87 and one-half
of No. 93 (a part of the Nutt place), and sold to James
and Benjamin Crosett. They sold half the land and one-
half the saw-mill to Robert Fulton. James and Benjamin
Crosett sold to Benjamin and Samuel Pierce and William
Brown two hundred and seventy-four acres in 1771, and it
is understood that they had the mill, but it eventually went
down. The mill stood on the Long Meadow brook some
seventy or eighty rods above the steam-mill.

In 1802 Lt. William Brown and his son John built a
new mill down the stream near the steam-mill. It' was
afterwards owned by Stephen H. Reid, Alanson Tucker,
Esq. (who new geared it in 1836), and John B. Adams.

In 1846 a company was formed, consisting of Johri B.
Adams, John C. Pillsbury, George H. Taylor and Nathan-
iel Brown, who built a steam saw-mill, including circular
saws for various purposes, at an expense of about five
thousand dollars.

In 1855 it was sold to the Land and Water Power Com-


pany of Manchester, and since owned by William Vincent
and Robert Thompson, and is now, 1868, out of use.

shackford's corn-mill.

When the first mill was built is uncertain. In 1776
John Shackford conveyed to John Shackford, Jr., mil-
ler, one-half of his home farm ; so the mill was built
previous to that time. John, Jr., died in 1779, and his
son Samuel inherited it and held it during his life-time.
The gears were rebuilt in 1836 and 1837, and a run of
stones added. Samuel's son, Jonathan, sold to James


Josiah Forsaith says that his grandfather, Dea. Matthew
Forsaith, purchased the privilege of Dolly Worthen, and
built the first mill. She was the widow of David Worthen,
who died Xovember 19, 1766, and she married Jacob Chase
about 1776. The mill was probably built before 1770.
There was a new mill raised in 1785.

In 1790, Matthew Forsaith, Josiah Forsaith, Michael
Worthen and Benjamin Currier are taxed one-sixth each,
and Gideon Currier one-third. Capt. Shackford subse-
quently was an owner, and Cyrus Eaton, George Weeks,
Daniel Clay and Alfred Dearborn. Samuel. M. Edwards is
now, 1868, the principal owner, and has put iu a circular
saw for sawing boards.


Previous to 1741 Benjamin Hills had built a saw-mill on
the North brook on his farm. He sold one-eighth part of
it in 1718 to Thomas Craig. Whether there were other
owners, and how long it stood, is not known.

June 3, 1781, Benjamin Hills, 3d, and others, raised a
mill farther up the same stream. In 1791, Stephen Hills,
Benjamin Hills, 3d, and Joseph Long were taxed one-third

Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 19 of 60)