Benjamin Chase.

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

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ground that a little did him good, and he did not Avish to
deny himself of a good thing because others abused it.
He, however, afterwards signed the pledge and became a
warm advocate of the cause. He said that he found all of
the drunkards in town hanging to liis skirts. The meet-
ing was held and a society formed, pledging its members
to total abstinence from all distilled liquors. I have
not been able to find the records of that society. But
meetings were held and the pledge was circulated, and the
community were aroused as never before on the subject.
Among other things enquiries were addressed to the retail-
ers as to the quantity they sold, and the result was that
about ten thousand gallons of Xew England rum were re-
tailed in Chester that year, at a cost of at least four thou-
sand dollars, besides the West India rum, gin, <fec.

In April, 1835, the Session of the Presbyterian church
passed a preamble and resolution, adopting a pledge to
abstain from ardent spirits as a drink, and requesting the
present members of the church to sign it, and requiring its


signature by all candidates for admission. (See History of
the Presbyterian Church, in this work.)

There was an idea prevalent that the whole evil lay in
distilled liquors, and that it was best rather to encourage
the use of fermented liquors as a remedy, rather than a part
of the disease. But the idea was soon found to be falla-
cious, and the most active friends of the movement changed
their base, and adopted a pledge of abstinence from all in-
toxicating liquors. A society was formed and a constitution
adopted on that basis at Chester, Feb. 13, 1838, called the
" Cliester Washington Total Abstinence Society." There
are the names of ninety-one males and one hundred and
seventy-four females attached to the pledge.

March 17,1858, another society, called the " Chester To-
tal Abstinence Society," was formed, and the pledge circu-
lated by a committee of females, and the names of two
hundred and twenty-nine males and two hundred and fifty-
six females are attached to the pledge.

In April, 1849, the " Auburn Total Abstinence Society"
was formed. The pledge was afterwards circulated by a
committee of females, and the names of eighty-one males
and one hundred and one females are attached to it. These
female committees were nets which caught quite a number
who did not stay cauglit.

In the winter of 1858 and '59, Auburn was canvassed
l)y Rev. James Holmes and Rev. Joseph Scott, meetings
held in the different school-houses, and names of children
up to sixteen years of age obtained to a pledge to abstain
from all intoxicating liquors, tobacco, and the use of pro-
fane language. Jan. 18, 1859, tbcy were organized into
the " Auburn Band of Hope." There are the names of
one hundred and fifty-eight males and one hundred and
thirty-seven females attached to the pledge.


In order to duly appreciate the formation of an anti-
slavery society it will be necessary, for the benefit of those
not acquainted with the history of the time, to relate some



facts showing the state of public opinion on the subject at
the time. Yery nearly everybody, South as well as North,
had professed to believe slavery to be a great evil, some
time and in some way to come to an end. Benjamin Lundy
had advocated gradual emancipation without making any
disturbance. But when Mr. Garrison started the " Liber-
ator," January 1st, 1831, advocating immediate and uncon-
ditional emancipation, without compensation or expatria-
tion, it produced a great excitement through the whole
country. The excitement was at its height in 1835. The
American people have never been so well united on any
question as that abolition must be put down. The most
eminent saints and the most eminent sinners were for once
united. The jarrhig sectarians for the time forgot the
other heresies in view of the greater one that the negro
was a man within the meaning of the golden rule. Eccles-
iastical bodies passed resolutions denouncing abolition, and
religious newspapers and theological quarterlies published
long and labored articles defending slavery from the Bible.
The most conflicting and contradictory reasons were brought
against emancipation. In one breath the negroes were a
lazy and indolent race, and if free would either live by
theft or starve ; in the next they would all come North and
would come into competition with white laborers and wages
would be down to the starving point. One moment God
himself had made such a line of demarcation between the
races that civilization or education or religion itself could
not remove it — that they could never dwell together in
peace ; and the next moment that if emancipated universal
amalgamation of the races would ensue.

October 20th, 1835, the Rockingham Western Confer-
ence met at Oandia, and Stephen Chase was a delegate and
on the business committee, and Ijrought forward a resolution
saying that it was the duty of Christians to examine every
moral question and engage in every right one. It was ad-
mitted, with the supposition that it meant temperance
merely ; but when it was found to mean abolition also, it
threw the Conference into a great excitement. One mem-


ber, generally very quiet, said that if this question was to
be mooted in the Conference he would leave it. The minis-
ter of Candia (who was one of the business committee and
had consented to the introduction of the resolution) se-
verely rebuked Mr. Chase in private, saying, " You
knew I did not want my people to hear one word on the

Members of the Londonderry Presbytery argued by the
hour in favor of taking evidence to convict a minister of
saying something derogatory to the doctrine of a particular
election, because it was against the " standards of our
church," and then opposed the passage of a very weak
milk-and-water anti-slavery resolution, because it was de-
rogatory not to the " standards " alone, but to the church
itself. The resolution, however, passed, and the editor of the
" New Hampshire Observer," the Congregational paper, re-
fused to publish it. At the meeting of the General Associa-
tion at Plymouth in 1835, a request was made that they hear
George Thompson of England, on Anti-Slavery. The mo-
tion was negatived by Dr. Church saying, " We won't hear
one word on the subject."

Mr. Thompson went to Concord and took lodgings with
George Kent, and was there mobbed. The " Observer"
apologized for the mob, saying that they only wanted a
little sport. The " Statesman " said that it was as harm-
less as a military muster. The " Patriot " contradicted
both, saying that it was the determination of the people of
Concord that the Abolitionists should not be heard tliere.

The politicians were equally devoted to stopping the
heresy as the ministers, — the heresy that a negro is a man
within the meaning of the Declaration of Independence.
In Concord they held a great meeting, and Isaac Hill,
the very soul of Democracy in New Hampshire, and Dea-
con Samuel Fletcher, a leading Whig, stood shoulder to
shoulder and made speeches.

In Portsmouth they also held a meeting, at which Abner


Greenleaf, the quintessence of Pemocracv, and a leading
Whig, Mr. Hackett, I think, valiantly faced the enemy.

August 21, 1735, there was an " immense gathering" at
Faneuil Hall, in Boston, and great speeches made to put
down the heresy. This resulted in a great mob, October 21 ,
1835, of five thousand gentlemen of property and standing
to quell a meeting of the Female Anti-slavery Society, com-
posed of thirty or forty inoffensive women ! Like meetings
were held in all the principal cities and villages.

The abolition heresy did not take much root in Chester
until 1834. About the first of January of that year a copy
of the declaration of the convention which formed the Amer-
ican Anti-slavery Society strayed into town. Mr. Henry
Abbot, who owned the Dinsmore saw-mill, had the " Lib-
erator " that year, and the leaven spread. Early in 1835,
the "Herald of Freedom" was started in Concord, and
some half-a-dozen copies were taken in town.

September 12th, 1835, a meeting was called at the Pres-
byterian meeting-house to discuss the subject of slavery.
The Rev. Mr. Clement had a special invitation to attend.
But a few weeks before he had preached at Haverhill, and
the Rev. Samuel J. May preached to the Unitarians and
was to deliver a lecture in the Christian Union Chapel in
the evening ; Mr. Clement went to the meeting, but it was
entirely broken up by the mob outside throwing stones and
gravel against the windows, breaking the glass. A loaded
cannon was being drawn to the spot, to add to the noise of
the mob, if nothing more, and it was understood to have
been the intention to have removed the stairs leading into
the chapel, so that those inside rushing out should be
plunged headlong some eight feet. Mr. Clement deemed
discretion the better part of valor, and declined. Rev. Mr.
Sargent had agreed with the Rev. Mr. Feckham for an ex-
change to have him speak at the meeting, but he deemed it
prudent to stay at home. The meeting, however, was held,
and a society formed.


A preamble and constitution drawn up by Stephen Chase
were adopted. The following are the leading articles :

" Believing that slaveholding is a sin against God, as
well as a violation of the dearest rights of man, and that its
continuance involves the dissolution of the Union, the insur-
rection of slaves, and curse of God upon our country ; and
feeling it our duty unitedly to remonstrate against it, we
have formed ourselves into a society, to be governed by the
following constitution."

" Art. 2. The object of this society shall be to enlighten
the puljlic mind on the subject of slavery, and if possible to
persuade the slaveholder to emancipate his slaves.

" Art. 3. This society will never advise or countenance
a resort to force, but will use for the accomplishment of its
object those means, and those only, which are sanctioned by
the Constitution and Laws of our country."

One would hardly, at first sight, see in the above either
treason or infidelity, but it was held to contain both. The
constitution was signed by those present, and officers
elected : B. Pike Chase, president ; Isaac Hall, vice-pres-
ident; Amos Chase, secretary; Benjamin Chase, treasurer.
The constitution was afterwards circulated through the
town, and there are now the names of fifty-one males and
sixty-one females attached to it. Little more was done by
the society than electing officers and sending delegates to
the various conventions. The following extracts from the
Treasurer's report show about what was done.

" Early in the season of 1835 your Treasurer, on his
private account, ordered a few publications of the A. A. S.
S., for distribution, and in the sununer extended the num-
ber to six Emancipators, sixteen Human Rights, forty Anti-
Slavery Records, and forty-eight Slave's Friends. The pub-
lications were distributed in this town, and more or less in
the following towns : Candia, Raymond, Poplin, Brentwood,
Exeter, Plaistow, Haverhill, Hanipstcad, Hooksett, Man-
chester and Goffstown. Several individuals contributed to-
wards the expense of the publications."

The "Emancipator" was a large-sized paper; the
" Human Rights," a half-sheet paper ; the " Anti-Slavery
Record," a large tract ; " The Slave's Friend," a small one
for children, printed monthly.


" In March; 1S36, four individuals, memljers of this
society, namely, John Clark, Amos Chase, Benja. Chase,
and Stephen Chase, engaged to sustain one twenty-fifth part
of the '' Herald of Freedom," which was issued at a very
low price to subscriljers, and distributed gratuitously to some
extent, and upon the settlement of the accounts were as-
sessed in the sum of fifty dollars, or twelve dollars and
twenty-five cents each, which has been paid.

"In January, 1837, when the Rev. Mr. Root lectured in
this place, a collection was taken up in behalf of the
A. A. S. S., amounting to ten dollars and seventy-five
cents, which was paid over to Mr. Root. Two other indi-
viduals gave him one dollar each.

" One hundred of the A. S. Almanack for 1888 has been
purchased by Mr. Wm. B. Paine, which are in a course of

July 4th, 1837, the Rev. T. H. Miller, of Portsmouth,
delivered an address on slavery in the Baptist meeting-



The first military law passed in New Hampshire was in
1718. All the means of knowing about the military organ-
ization in Chester is the titles prefixed to the names of the in-
habitants. The first found on our records was in 1731. Sam-
uel Ingalls has the title of captain ; Ebenezer Dearborn of
lieutenant ; and Jacob Sargent of ensign ; which is prob-
ably nearly as early as there was any military organization.
Thomas Smith is lieutenant in 1732 ; John Tolford is
captain, and Thomas Wells lieutenant, in 1714 ; Abel
Morse is captain in 1746, and Thomas Wells in 1748 ;
Thomas Craige is lieutenant, James Varnum is ensign,
and Robert Calfe sergeant, in 1749 ; Enoch Colby is also
ensign, and Eben Dearborn, Jr., sergeant, in 1749; Silra-
nus Smith lieutenant, in 1752 ; Samuel Robie in 1753 ;


and Benaiali Colby in 1756 ; and Jonathan Blunt captain
the same year. John Lane was appointed cornet of the
ninth troop of the first regiment of cavalry, commanded
by Col.* John Downing, September ITth, 1754, by Benning
Wentworth ; John Tolford is major, and Andrew Jack
lieutenant, in 1757 ; James Shirley is captain, and James
Quentan ensign, in 1759. Henry Hall is ensign in 1761 ;
Sam. Robie captain in 1761 ; Robert Wilson lieutenant in
1765 ; Captain Underbill, Lieutenant Joseph Basford, and
Ensign Joseph True, in 1765 ; Oliver Morse and Henry
Moore lieutenants, and Samuel Ilazelton cornet, in 1766 ;
Richard Emery major, in 1769 ; Andrew Jack captain, in
1770 ; Joseph True captain. Lieutenant Witherspoon, in
1775 ; Major French (Jabez), 1774 ; Hugh Shirley, 1775 ;
David Witherspoon captain, and James Dunlap lieuten-
ant, in 1766. Stephen Dearborn had a commission of cap-
tain under the king. May 3, 1767 ; and under Congress,
September 5, 1775 ; major, March 25, 1785 ; lieutenant-
colonel, April 5, 1793 ; resigned, September 18, 1800.

A militia law was passed, September 19, 1776, enroll-
ing in train-bands all able-bodied men from sixteen to fifty
years of age ; exempting nearly all officers, ministers,
Quakers, negroes, Indians, and mulattoes ; each company
to be mustered eight times a year.

Then there was to be an " alarm list," composed of all
male persons from sixteen to sixty-five years of age not in-
cluded in the train-band, with some exceptions, if of suffi-
cient ability, to be inspected twice a year. The captains of
the alarm list by custom had a brevet title of colonel.
There was to be a military watch kept by those belonging
to the train-band and alarm list, under the direction of the
commissioned officers of the town.

In looking over the rolls of the men in the French and
Indian wars from 1745 to 1760, in the Adjutant-General's
Report, vol. ir., 1866, 1 find the following Chester names,
although it is not certain that they were all Chester men ;
and some Chester men may have been overlooked.


111 the winter of 1745-6, Captain John Goffe had a com-
pany of thirty-seven men scouting the woods on snow-shoes,
of which Samuel Brown was a sergeant ; under Jeremiah
Clough, Henry Ervine ; under Andrew Todd scouting at
Canterlmry, 1746, Archibald Miller, Adam Wilson, Wil-
liam McMaster, John Grimes and James Wilson. Adam
Wilson and Archibald Miller afterwards lived in Chester,
but probably went from Londonderry.

Captain Daniel Ladd's company, at Canterbury, 1746:
Enoch Rowel, Zebedee Berry, Paul Healey, Samuel Moore,
and John Xutt ; William Presson and Henry Ervine, July
to December, 1746 ; Samuel Moore again in 1747. Daniel
Foster (lived near Martin's Ferry) was in Eastman's com-
pany. Under Moses Foster at Suncook, John Moore, John
Carr. John Webster was lieutenant in John Goffe's scout-
ing party in 1748 ; he might have been Col. Webster of
Chester. He -was afterwards captain and raised a scout
of twenty men, and none of them Cliester men ; it is prob-
able that he was not the man. In what way the men com-
posing these scouts were raised, whether by voluntary en-
listment or impressment, or both, I do not know.

It has been seen that in 1747 the town voted to petition
the Governor and Council " to stop, and save any more
men being sent out of the town into the service, and to
have a suitable number of men kept in the service in our
own town." In 1748 there were petitions sent from differ-
ent parts of the town to the captains, and by John Tolford
and Thomas Wells to the Governor and Council for men ;
but probably Chester never had any direct aid. (See 1747
and 1748 in the history.)

In the expedition against the French Forts, DuQuense,
Niagara and Crown Point, in the winter of 1755, New
Hampshire furnished a regiment of six hundred men, un-
der Col. Joseph Blanchard, in which the following Chester
names appear : Joseph Morril, Daniel Martin, Caleb Dal-
toii, Robert Gordon, John Shackford, Nathan Morse, Saml.
Towle, Samuel Emerson (son of Saml. Emerson, Esq., died
at Albany, Nov. 17, 1755), Robert Kennedy, John Rowe,


John Craig, Saml. Dudley, James Eaton, John Hall, clerk,
(might have been the first town clerk of Derryfield,) Ithiel
Gordon, James Fulerton, Sam'l Daulton, Reuben Towl,
Curtis Bean, John Dal ton, Jonas Clay, William Aiken,
Robert Witherspoon, "William Wilson, Daniel Wilson,
James Aiken, John Gage, Nathaniel Etherage.

For the expedition against Crown Point in 1756, New
Hampshire raised a regiment of seven hundred men, under
the command of Col. Nathaniel Mcserve, of Portsmouth, in
the roll of which the following Chester names appear :
Jesse McFarland, William McMaster, John Nutt, Robert
Gordon, Francis Towle, Joseph Dudley, John McClellan,
Benja. Fuller, William Baker, Gideon Rowel, Ben. Bachel-
der, James Shirley.

In 1757 New Hampshire furnished a regiment of five
hundred m(3n for the Crown Point expedition. Chester
names : Robert Kennedy, Hugh Quinton, John Carr, Sam-
uel Towle, sergeant, Paul Healey, corporal, Benj. Bacliel-
der, Edmund Elliott, EI)enezer Eaton, Samuel Hazelton,
Amos Merril, Jonathan Towle, Stephen DearV)orn.

The sixth company was commanded by Richard Emery.
Richard Emery, of Chester, married Mary Blunt, 1765, and
is styled major in Chester records in 1767. The Kenne-
dys might have been GofTstown men, and the Chester Dal-
tons did not spell their names Daulton.

In August, 1757, a reinforcement was sent to Charles-
town No. 4, which served until November. Timothy Foss,
David Weljster, David Hill, Samuel Dalton, Isaiah Rowc,
Benja. Fuller and Samuel Brown are Chester names.

There was a company sent in 1757 to garrison Fort
William and Henry. Chester names : Benjamin Libley,
Stephen Marden and Nathl. Rand.

In 1758 another regiment was sent to Crown Point, in
•which . Samuel Towle is second lieutenant, and several
Chester names before mentioned ; and James Clay, Benja.
Currier, NatliT Wood, Hugh Quinton, Thomas Wason, John
Mills, Joseph Linn, Mathew Tcmpleton, Hugh Shirley, Rob-
ert McKinley, Oliver Morse, second lieutenant of the eighth


company, Josliua Prescott, Ezekiel Morse and John

In 1760 a regiment was raised to invade Canada. John
Goffe was colonel, and Richard Emery, probably of Ches-
ter, major. Hugh Quinton, David Weatherspoon, James
Graham, Archibald McDaffee, Eobert McKinley, James
Quinton, Hugh Shirley, Robert Wasson, James Weather-
spoon, Samuel Haseltine, David "Webster, Jacob Basford
(died), Ebenezer Basford, Jonas Clay, David Craige, Jona-
than Emerson, (son of Samuel Emerson, Esq., died at Crown
Point, November 7th, 1760,) John Gage, Samuel Ingalls,
John Karr, John Seavey, Titus Wells, Jacob Griffin, Stephen
Webster, John Mills, Jacob Quimby, Nathaniel Maxfield
and Nathaniel Rand were from Chester.

Besides the foregoing found on the rolls, it is said that
Matthew, son of Samuel Gault, was an officer, and died at
Cape Breton, 1759. His will was proved August, 1759.
William Otterson,the grandfather of the Hooksett Ottersons,
is said to have been in the army and drowned in crossing
Lake Champlain in 1760. It has also been said that Abra-
ham ]\Iorse was in the French war, and that Elijah Pills-
bury was before Quebec when Wolfe was killed. He prob-
ably enlisted at Newbury. Wells Chase went from New-
bury a campaign under Governor Shirley to Norridgewock
in 1754, and was in the battle of Ticonderoga in 1758.
Archibald McDuffee was in the French war. The king
issued a proclamation, dated Feb. 19, 1754, offering certain
bounties in land to such officers and soldiers as should en-
ter his service against the French ; and another proclama-
tion, dated Oct. 7, 1763, ordering the land for the New
England states to be laid off" in the state of Virginia, about
one hundred miles above the mouth of the Ohio river. In
1816, James Miltimore, of Windham, came along and pro-
cured powers of attorney from the Chester soldiers, among
whom were Wells Chase, Robert McKinley, Matthew Tem-
pleton and Archibald McDuffee, empowering him to re-
cover and sell the lands, and gave bonds back to pay them
one half of all that he should receive. I think nothing fur-
ther was heard about it.



The news of the battle at Lexington spread with amazing
rapidity. Nathaniel Emerson received the news at mid-
night at Candia, and aroused the people, and drummer
David Hill beat up for recruits, and Moses Dustin is said to
have been the first to fall in, and he served through the
war. They soon raised a squad, which soon started for
the scene of the war. Probably more than half the able-
bodied men started, with such arms as they had and with
such conveyance as was at hand, and went to Cambridge,
the headquarters of the army.* A portion of the men en-
listed, and the rest returned home. So far as the action of
the town of Chester is concerned, by votes in town-meet-
ing, it has been given in the history of those years. The
army rolls, and other papers relating to the war, are con-
tained in eleven large volumes in the Adjutant-General's
office. The matter is very voluminous and difficult to
arrange, and I know of no better way than to give the rolls
containing Chester men, always including Candia and Ray-
mond, designating the respective towns, Chester A, Candia
B, and Raymond C, so far as practicable. I will also sup-
ply any seeming deficiencies by documents or tradition.

According to the Report of the Adjutant-General, 1866,
vol. 2, New Hampshire had three regiments in 1775 ; the
first commanded by John Stark ; the second by Enoch
Poor ; the third by James Rcid. Stark's and Reid's were
stationed at Medford, and were at Bunker Hill ; and Col.
Poor remained on duty at home. The tenth company of
the third regiment was commanded by Hezekiah Hutch-
ins, and Amos Emerson of Chester was lieutenant ; and
the names of David Currier, Josiah Morse, Peter Severance,
Thomas Wilson and Samuel Moore appear on the roll.
Capt. David Shaw says that William Gross, his mother's
half bi'other, was in the Bunker Hill battle, under Emer-
son. There were two other men known to be in the battle
whose names I have not found, — Caleb Hall, who went
down at the time of Lexington battle and enlisted, and
Dea. John Hills of Candia, who, while lying behind the

* See page 132.


rail fence stuffed with hay, had a ball strike his foot, which
he picked up, and not fitting his gun, he brought it home.
There is a letter from Parker Morse to Dea. Hills extant,
directed to him as belonging to Hutchins' company at Mys-
tic. Some of the men who went down at that time and
staid, might have enlisted in Massachusetts regiments, be-
fore the New Hampshire ones were organized.


Simon Merril, A, Joseph Spillad, A,

"William Shannon, David Currier, A,

Joseph Smith, A, Thomas Wilson, B,

Saml. Brown, A, John Lane, Jr., A,

James Gross, A, John Tucker, C,

Peter Severance, A, John Lane, 3d, C,

Saml. Morse, Simon Norton, A,

Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 30 of 60)