Benjamin Chase.

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

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was rebuilt. In 1833 a clapboard- and shingle-mill were
put into the old grist-mill — the first in Chester. In 1838
a new grist-mill was built. The same year the Oswego
dam went away, and carried away a part of the dam and


the shingle-mill. In 1866, George P. Clark put in a new
water-wheel, and a circular saw for cutting boards.


A saw-mill was first built by Robert Wilson, Esq. I
have lieard my grandfather tell of working on it, I think
the jear he came to Chester, in 1771. The mill stood
a few rods above the present mill. There was probably a
considerable period that there was no mill there.

In 1799 James Shirley is taxed for a mill, and also in
1800, and Samuel Shirley for one-fourth and Alexander
Shirfey for three-fourths of a mill. So probably James
built a saw-mill in 1798, and the others a corn-mill in 1799.
These mills were a few rods below the present mill. The
Shirleys sold to Edward and Stark Ray, in August, 1806.

The one hundred and fifty acres sold by the proprietors
to the Rev. Moses Hale, called the " Boston lot," with a
heavy growth of timber, went with the mills, and they in-
tended to do a large business luml)cring, but the embargo,
non-intercourse and war so depressed business, that after
manufacturing lumber, drawing it to Martin's Ferry, and
rafting it to Newburyport, they sold it for eight dollars per
thousand. •

About 1819, Edward Ray, who had acquired the whole
title, sold to John Clark, and he soon after to John H.
Reid,who held it about ten years and sold it to Butterfield
Carken, and he to James Davis.

In 1835 Jay T. Underhill purchased, and commenced a
dam. A stock company, " The Oswego Mill Company,"
was formed, a stone dam erected to flow Tower Hill pond
(partly for a reservoir for the Blanchard mills), and a saw-
mill was built.

In June, 1838, a portion of the dam went away, under-
mining and carrying away the mill. The privilege was
sold to David and Franklin Howe, who built the dam about
two-thirds its original height, and built a saw-mill and
shingle-mill, with planing-machine, &c. It is now owned
by Mr. E. P. Offut.



The first mill at White Hall, in Hooksett, was built by
Major John Tolford, but the precise time is not known.
What should induce him to build there is a mystery. The
land flowed is a very little lower than the head of Isle
Hooksett brook, which passes through Lakin's pond to
Head's saw-mill, and the first season the water ran that
way, giving him no head. He then built a dam at that end
of his pond.

In 1801 Hugh Tolford rebuilt it, and in 1803 or '04 sold
to John S. Wheeler, and he soon sold to Captain Daniel

In 1834 Captain Sawyer built a grist-mill and shingle-

head's saw-mill.

The Browns early built a mill below the road, on Isle
Hooksett brook. In 1790 Nathaniel Head, Esq., owned
three-quarters, and Dr. James Brown one-quarter.

About 1802 Nathaniel Head, Esq., built above the road,
and owned the whole mill.

In 1816 or '17 the present canal and wheel-pit were
excavated, and a mill built.


The first saw-mill at the falls was built by Thomas Coch-
ran, of Bow, in 1787, which was carried away by a freshet.
Cochran died in 1791, and it was sold to Rufus Harriman,
and he sold to William Reside and Isaac Rowel, who built
two mills, which they owned in 1803. William Reside
was drowned in the falls.

William Otterson bought, and sold to the Hooksett
Manufacturing Company in 1823, and they rebuilt, and
built a grist-mill. The Hooksett Manufacturing Company
was incorporated in 1823, and was composed of Messrs.
John Bell, Samuel Bell, Isaac Hill and Richard H. Ayer,
who erected a cotton-mill, forty by eighty feet, three stories,


exclusive of basement and attic, and run at first by iub-

In 1831 they blasted a canal through the ledge, put in
breast-wheels, and rearranged the machinery. It was
eventually merged with the Amoskeag Manufacturing

About 1789 Nathaniel Martin and Laban Harriman built
a saw-mill above where the Mammoth road crosses Bush-
nel's or Lousy brook. There was a saw-mill afterwards
built lower down on the same stream, at what was called
the " Smoke House," and was once owned by George

About 1790 there was a saw-mill Iniilt on the same
stream, above the road, near Martin's Ferry, by a man by
the name of Thompson, for John Stark, a son of General

Benjamin Hall, son of Obededora, of Candia, built a mill
on the stream from Beech-Hill pond, just above Chester
turnpike. He owned it when Chester turnpike was built,
in 1805, and several years after. It passed into the hands
of James Sargent, and went down. About 1822 or '23 it
was rebuilt by a Mr. Greer, and, I l>elieve, afterwards

Lieut. Joseph Whittier built a saw-mill on Dalton's
brook, which empties into the river above Martin's Ferry,
about 1810.


The precise time when this mill was built, or who built
it, is not known. The earliest tradition I have about it is
that Captain John Wason, born in 1764, told that when he
was a lad or young man, the owners met to take down the
old mill. After they had completed the job, they tried to
see who could lift the crank, weighing one hundred and
sixty or one hundred and seventy pounds, the highest, at
arm's end. He said that Benjamin Eaton could easily
throw it over his head, and that Major Jesse Eaton was the
next strongest, but. could only get the crank about as high


as his breast. The story has been told that Mr, Eaton
threw it over his head with his teeth, but that is rather
apocryphal. The present mill was built in 1830.

hook's mill.

Israel Hook, or Hawke, owned lot No. 116, 2d P., 2d D.,
as early as 1796, and it was taxed to him until 1807. He
probably built a saw-mill and grist-mill that year, and put
his son James T. Hook there, as he was taxed for two mills
in 1808. Phineas Hook owned an interest in the property.
He sold to Samuel Sargeant and Jesse Eaton,

James T. Hook exchanged places with Samuel Hook in
1818, The mills were then owned by him and his son-in-
law, Sebastian Spofford, The mills were burnt in 1825,
and rebuilt, Abraham Hook and H. G. Smith, the present
owners, have a circular saw, for sawing boards.

MOSES Preston's mill.

Moses Preston built a saw-mill in 1799, on the stream
leading through the spruce swamp to Dearborn's saw-mill.
It stood on additional lot No. 75, near the southwest end,
and near Chester turnpike. It was owned by John Melvia
and Samuel Underbill, Jr., in 1808, afterwards by Lt.
Jacob Elliot, then by Daniel French, Esq.

Lieut, Joseph Hill built a saw-mill on the Long Meadow
brook, about half a mile below the main road, in 1801.

Lieut. Josiah Underbill built a corn-mill on the .small
branch of the Long Meadow brook on his farm, in 1812.
In 1832, his son, Jesse J. Underbill, conyerted it into an
edge-tool shop, with tilt-hammer, grinding, polishing, &c.
It was burnt in 1841, and rebuilt.

Deacon E. H, Kelly built a saw-mill in 1812 ; rebuilt by
his son Ephraim Kelly in 1833.

CHESTER steam-mill.

In 1847 a stock company was formed, and a steam saw-
mill and grist-mill, with two runs of stones, were built on


the old Lt. Dearborn place, near the Derrj road, at an ex-
pense of about fourteen thousand dollars. It proved an
unprofitable speculation, and after disposing of some por-
tions, the residue was sold to the Amesbury Manufacturing
Company, and removed.


In 1849, Porter and Heath, of Haverhill, Mass., pur-
chased additional lot No. 30, which had a heavy growth of
timber on it, also some other land, and erected a saw-mill
wdth a single saw, and also a gang, and light stones for
grinding corn, at an expense of nine thousand five hundred
dollars. After working up the timber at little or no profit,
the mill was sold and carried to Alton Bay.


The first mill in Candia was built by William Turner, at
the Village, and was a saw-mill, and stood where the grist-
mill now stands, above the road. In 1756, Jona. Blunt
sold to Winthrop Sargent " one-eighth of a sawmill on lot
No. 35, 3 D., which he bought of William Turner." When
the road was laid out in 1758, it went " at the tail of the
sawmill." Joseph Bean built the first grist-mill there, the
date not known.

Mr. Elihu B. Cheney carried on cloth-dressing there
many years. Asa Ordway purchased a carding-machine
and put it into a mill which stood above, back of the church,
where there was a saw mill. Mr. Ordway died in 1812, and
Mr. Cheney bought the machine and ran it. Charles S.
Bagley, of Goflfstown, put up a mill below, and sold to
Freeman Parker in 1821, who finished it and put in ma-
chinery, and did carding and cloth-dressing till 1846, when
he sold, and a saw-mill was put in.


February, 1756, William Eastman, of Kingstown, deeded
to Samuel Eastman, of Kingstown, one quarter of lot No.


78, 3d D., on which a mill was built. In 1760 a road was
laid out from the " reserve at Eastman's mill" northeast to
the road from Dudley's. In 1760, Samuel Eastman and
Samuel Eastman, Jr., had their rates abated on account of
having their house and goods burnt. The house stood
thirty or forty rods south of the i^ill. The road they prob-
ably traveled to get there was from Chester by Lane's, and
the first road into Candia, laid out in 1719, and following
upon or near the gore between the old hundreds and third
division. David Bean purchased the mill, and probably a
house, both of which were destroyed by fire running in the
woods. He rebuilt, and the property descended to his son,
Dea. Abraham Bean, who built at the Island, the present
location, in 1812, and the saw-mill is yet standing.

hall's, or north road mill.

Obededom Hall was the first settler in the northwest part
of Candia, about 1764, and soon after built a saw-mill on
No. 42, 3d D., which has been kept up, and owned by the
Halls, Browns, and others.


This mill stands on the reserve between fifth and sixth
ranges of lots in the third division, on the Oswego brook.
Aaron Brown, Benj. Cass, Samuel Morrill, Theo. Clough,
Benj. Rowe, Benj. Hubbard, David Brown and Samuel
Cass have been proprietors. Date not known.


This mill is on the stream from Moose meadow to Tower
Hill pond, and built by Benj. Hubbard, John Camet, Ste-
phen Fifield and Capt. Jona. Brown. Date not known.

patten's mill.

There was early a saw-mill built on No. 128, 3d D., on the
North Branch stream. The precise time when, and the
owners, are unknown, but it has always been owned by a


company of the neighl^ors. This is said to be the fifth mill
on this privilege. It was built in 1833.


Ezekiel Knowles was the first settler, and built a corn-
mill on No. 116, 3d D., in 1777. It was afterwards rebuilt
by the Knowles family in 1805, and purchased by Col. Sam-
uel Cass. He new-geared in 1830, and his son, J. Q. Cass,

again in 1853.

Emerson's mill.

A saw-mill was built before the Revolution by the Emer-
sons, on the stream below Knowles's, and rebuilt some
twelve rods lower down the stream in 1805 or '6, and an-
other one built below the new road by Abraham Emerson
and Cofiin Moore, with a circular saw, about 1855.



The Old-Hundred-Acre lots were laid out in 1728, and
the 22d and 23d lots bound on the mill-pond, and 31st, 32d,
83d and 34th bound on the " highway that leads to the mill
y' stands on Lampereel River." There was therefore a mill,
and a road made from it, previous to that time. In July,
1736, Epbraim Oilman, of Exeter, sold to James Campbell,
of Chester, one half of all his undivided land in Chester,
reserving " The mill and mill-pond At Freetown ; " and in
1760, Nicholas Oilman, who had in 1732 bought Edward
Oilman's right, sold land at Freetown to Daniel Robie, and
to J. Dudley at the same time. It is probable that the Oil-
mans, and perhaps the Dudleys, of Exeter, built the mill
and made the road. The mill stood a few rods higher up
the stream than the present mill, and the dam was high
enough to flow up by the Center to where Horatio Page
lives, and the waste water ran a few rods north of the mill,
where there was a mill just below the road, which was
called the " Outlet mill " in the return of the road in 1759.



The road from Chester by the " Branch " to the old
Exeter road was laid out in 1748, and it crossed the " N.
Branch of Exeter river below the sawmill ;" so there was a
mill there previous to that time, but it is unknown who
built it or owned it for many years after. It is said that
William Todd and perhaps Jethro Batchelder and Stephen
Harden were owners. There was a mill there until about
1801, when it was carried away by a freshet. •

Dudley's mill.

Samuel Dudley came from Exeter and settled on No. 87,
old hundreds, where Judge John Dudley afterwards lived
and built a saw-mill. In 1759 a road was laid out at the
request of him and others, from Freetown by the Center,
to the " river below Dudley's mill." There has probably
been a mill there since that time, and now a very dilapi-
dated frame yet stands. Joseph Dudley, a nephew of the
Judge, came from Exeter and built a mill on Lamprey
river, near where EHas True's mill now is, on No. 89, old

Jones's mills.

June 14, 1760, for the convenience of Ephraim Robin-
son, Charles Rundlet and .John Leavitt, there was a road
laid out " Beginning at the outlet of the pond above Jones'
mill " which " crossed the brook between the two mills ; "
so there were two mills there at that time. John Leavitt
lived where they now, 1868, are building a large house.
These were probably Exeter men, and the other two might
never have lived in Raymond. I have learned nothing of
Jones who gave name to the pond and mill. Clement
Dollof lived a little lower down the stream and once owned
some share of the iliills. He perished in a snow storm
February 1, 1794. One of the mills possibly miglit have
been where the Hodgkins mill now is. Now, 1868, pre-
paration is being made by blasting to lower the pond, and


by raising it four feet to create a power and do an exten-
sive lumber business, making boxes, shooks, etc., owned
bv Moses Nutter and others.

There was a mill on the Lamprey river, below Freetown,
called Wallace mill, burnt in 1765 and the rates abated.

John Fullonton and Jonathan Dearborn built a mill on
the Patuckaway, on No. 2, old hundreds, called " Stingy
Mill " because the liquor fell short at the raising.

Jonas Clay deeded to Cornet John Lane No. 112, old
hundreds, with one whole saw-mill and half of another.

Daniel Lane and others had a saw-mill on the Branch
brook when the road was laid out in 1772.

Joshua Hall once had a saw-mill on his lot. No. 129, and
George S. Smith and Henry H. Lane built a circular saw-
mill on the same site in 1868.




I do not propose to give any detailed history of pauper-
ism in Chester, but to state a few cases as specimens of
what the town was compelled to do. By an act passed
May, 1719, it was enacted " That if any person come to so-
journ in any town in the province and be there received and
entertained by the space of three months, and not having
been warned by the constable to leave the place, and the
names of such persons, with the time of their abode there,
and when such warning was given, returned to the quarter
sessions ; such person shall be reputed an inhabitant of
such town, and the town be liable to maintain such person.
It is also enacted, that any person so warned out, and neg-
lecting for fourteen days to remove, may by warrant from
the next Justice of the Peace be sent from constable to


constable unto the to^vrn where he properly belongs, or had
his last residence, at his own charge, if able to pay the
same, or otherwise at the charge of the town sending him."
In 1772 Robert Patten is paid for carrying Peter Lurvie's
wife and three children to Coos ; but whether by legal pro-
cess or not does not appear. There is also a charge " to
going to Moses UnderhilFs in order to find out y^ Names of
y® People that come into y" long meadows, which was four-
teen in Number, and Drawing y® warrants, and committing
it to y® Constable, to warn them out of town." Sixteen
were warned out by John Patten, and one carried out of
town. The pauper laws of one state have never been rec-
ognized by the courts of other states, so that Chester could
not go into Massachusetts or Vermont to find a residence
for paupers. Such was the case of Mrs. Smith, mentioned

There is on file a letter dated Dec, 1808, to the clerk of
the court, enquiring if from 1782 to 1785 one Hannah
Seaver was warned out. Answered in the negative. In
the town account for 1809 is a charge, " Paid the town of
Enfield for the maintenance. Doctor's bill, and funeral
charges of Hannah Seaver, ^40.37." This did not prove a
very protracted case.

In 1789, Aquila "Worthen, of Amesbury, in consideration
of certain provisions for house-room, and specific articles
for the maintenance of himself and wife, Rebecca Worthen,
deeded to his son Stephen a place in Chester, now Auburn.
Aquila Worthen lived in Chester one year, and probably
was not warned out, and his wife, Rebecca, became a pau-
per in 1798, and was supported by the town at a heavy ex-
pense until her death in 1819, at the age of ninety-four

Joshua Currier, a young man from Sandown, resided in
Chester as a hired man, two years. In 1791 he was taxed,
and the tax abated on account of minority. In 1792 he
was taxed, and probably paid. He was either non compos
or deranged, and became a pauper, and a lawsuit was had
with Sandown, and in 1796 an execution was paid, of


$50.67 ; and to Alpheus Ferrin for boarding fifteen weeks
and four days, *$15.57 ; and he was supported at an expense
of about a dollar per week until 1816, when he strayed off,
and it was supposed that he died in the woods in the north
part of Hooksett, or Allenstown.

I give the following case in detail as a matter of curios-
ity, and to show the general fortune of Chester in pauper

State of New Hampshire, ) To Capt. Simon Towl, Constable

Rockingham, ss. j for the town of Chester,

[l. s.] Greeting : —

[l. s.] Sir, You are hereby required, in the name of the
[l. s.] State, forthwith to warn Jei'craiah GrilTui, Sarah
GrifiTui, his wife, and Rachael Griffin, Lydia Griffin and
Nathaniel Griffni, their cliildren, (if they may be found
within your precinct) forthwith to depart out of the town
of Chester, that they may be no further cost or charge to
said town.

Hereof fail not, and make return of this warrant with
your doings thereon to the Clerk of the Session of the
Peace of said County within sixty days of the date. Given
mider our hands and seals, this twentie-th day of July, 1789.

Isaac Blasdel, ^

William White, > Selectmen of Chester.

Stephen Chase, )

State of New Hampshire, )

Rockingham. ) Pursuant to the within pre-

cept, I have executed the within warrant according to law.

Simon Towle, Constable.
Chester, August 24, 1789.

Chester Paupers, rec'd on file Aug. 26, 1789.

Attest, N. Emery, Clerk.
Copy Examined by N. Emery, Clerk.

Griffin and his family became paupers, and it was held
that Constable Towle's return was bad, not stating the facts
of what he had done, and the town was held chargeable for
their maintenance ; and in the town accounts for 1792, '3,
and '4, are charges for their maintenance.

James Calfe, a son of John Calfe, made a settlement near
the school-house at Auburn Tillage, and had one or more


children born there. He soon removed to Massachusetts,
and a daughter Elizabeth married a man by the name of
Smith. She became a widow, and removed to Rochester,
N. H., and purchased a tenement, and became poor. At
the February term of the Superior Court, 1823, Rochester
commenced a suit for the support of Mrs. Smith, who had
not been in Chester for fifty or sixty years. Chester proved
that Mrs. Smith's property in Rochester was sufficient to
give her a residence there, and Chester for once recovered
their case.

There are a large number of notices served upon Ches-
ter, on file, claiming support of paupers. In 1799, Han-
over claims for the support of Mary Wormwood. She and
William Wormwood were supported for a long period.
In 1818 Londonderry claimed for the support of Sally
Aiken. Samuel Aiken, 4th, of Chester, (Peter's son) mar-
ried Sally Coffin, of Londonderry, who had inherited a con-
siderable property. Between them they soon spent it, and
Aiken abandoned his family, and they became paupers.
Londonderry commenced an action for their maintenance,
which was contested, but was decided against Chester, and
in 18^20 an execution for 1193.49 was paid, and 8101.00
for further support. She and two or three children were
supported several years. In 1817 Weare claimed for the
support of Joshua Willet's children ; Chichester claimed for
the support of his wife. In 1835 Deering claimed for the
support of Joshua Willet. They were supported a long

Previous to the purchase of the farm and almshouse in
1822, it was customary to vendue the board of such of the
paupers as were in town to the lowest bidder. They fre-
quently fell into poor hands. As a specimen I give some
of the conditions of sale, names of paupers, prices and
purchasers in 1814, Joseph Blanchard, William Graham
and Josiah Worthen, selectmen :

" The purchaser to take them from their present res-
idence, supply them with necessary meats and drinks,
washing and lodging ; the selectmen to _^furnish clothing.



If any die, are to be paid in proportions ; the purchaser to
find them rum, tobacco and snuff, if needful.

" Pay per s' Names.

Nanny McDuffee,

Eebecca AYoi-then, .

Ruth Badger,

Mrs. Hodgkins,

Joshua Cui-rier,

Thomas Bennet,*

Nancy Allen,

Daniel Allen and wife,

Ruth Hills,

Rachael Sanborn's lame boy,

Solomon Seavey,

$40 00
51 70



56 50





16 50








to Elizabeth Shirley.

James Holt.

Joseph Hills.

Jeremiah Rand.

Joseph Brown.

Joseph Brown.

Jesse J. Underhill.

not sold, supplied.

Nathaniel Head.

Mrs. Sanborn.

his daughter Joanna."

At the annual town meeting in Candia, 1824,

" Voted, That the services and keeping of the paupers,
twenty-four in number as per list presented by the tSeloct-
men, should l)e let by auction for the term of one year from
the 20th of March, instant ; that they should be well used,
and kept as well clothed as they now are ; and that one
or more of the Selectmen should visit them as often as once
in each month ; the purchaser to pay all bills incurred on
their account, whether in health or sickness, or deaOi, for
the above term of time."

They were struck off at $131.50.

In the warrant for holding the annual meeting, March
13, 1821, was an article, " To see if the town will make
any alteration in the mode of supporting their poor, by
building or purchasing a work-house, and buying land to
set those to work who are able to labor ; or take any other
measure that shall be thought best when met." It was

" Voted, John Folsom, Esq., Capt. William Graham and
Capt. Samuel Aiken be a committee to report on the sub-
ject matter of said 14th article at the next annual town

At the annual meeting, March 12, 1822, the committee
made a very elaborate and able report, drawn up by Mr.

* Thomas Bannet was non compos, and was brought from some place unknown and
left in Chester in the night, and was a pauper ten or twelve years.


Folsom, stating replies they had received from Londonderry
and Exeter as to the result of their experience. The com-
mittee recommended to the town to purchase a farm, estab-
lish a house of industry, and keep their poor all together
in one place.

At a meeting holden April 2, 1822,

" Voted, That the town purchase a suitable farm and
appropriate the same to the residence, support and employ-
ment of the poor of said town."

Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 21 of 60)