Benjamin Chase.

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

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dler, however, thinks that on the earlier pinions the teeth
were sawed out by hand. The pivots were turned in a
lathe composed of a spring pole overhead with a line pass-
ing from it and around the piece to be turned, to a treadle
operated by the foot, so that when the treadle was borne
down tlie piece turned towards tlie oj)erator and his tool
would cut, the spring of the pole carried it back again.
Sometimes, in such light work as clock-making, a bow sim-
ilar to a fiddle bow was used, the string passing round the
piece to be turned, and operated by one hand and a file held
on by the other. I think the spring pole and treadle was
the only lathe then in use by chair makers and cabinet
makers. Tobias Cartland, of Lee, born 1765, did quite a
business at chair making, and got out and carried a great
deal of stuff to Portsmouth on horseback, and his lathe
was standing two or three years ago. Mr. Chandler says
that when Low & Damon set up chair making in Concord,
in 1806, and for several years after, they used such a lathe.
Levi and Abel Hutchins, of Concord, learned their trade of


Mr. TVillard and set up the business there about 1788, per-
haps a little later than Maj. Chandler. The first, or one of
the first clocks made by Abel Hutchins, is now owned by
his grandson, and is running. The dial or face was made
of an old brass kettle. Quite a number of their clocks
came to Chester and sold for from fifty to sixty dollars each.
They were well made and in well finished cases, and some
of them at the top of the face showed the phases of the
moon; Levi Hutchins, in his autobiography, says that
probably he and his brother Abel made the first brass clocks
that were made in New Hampshire, but Isaac Blasdell made
clocks in Chester twenty-five years before they did in

James Critchet, of Candia, was a man of great mechani-
cal genius. When a young man he saw a clock which had
a cuckoo that crowed instead of striking, which excited his
curiosity, and he made quite a number of wooden clocks
which ran twenty-four hours ; one he made for Dea. Abra-
ham Bean, and altered it to an eight-day clock. Making
wooden clocks was not much of a business previous to 1820.
From 1820 to 1830 the Connecticut clocks were hawked
about the country by peddlers, and the movement sold for
about twenty dollars, and many of them were put up in a
corner of the room and run for many years without a case,
and did good service.


It is said that there were a few umbrellas used in France
and England early in the eighteenth century, but were not
common there until about 1775, and a few were imported, but
were not common previous to the year 1800. I think the
first owned in the Long Meadows was bought by my mother,
in 1804, and is yet in existence. The first in Chester is
said to have been bought by Josiah Morse, Jr., the precise
date not known, but probably a little earlier. The first
owned in Sandown is said to have been purchased by a
daughter of Deacon Nathaniel French, soon after the death
of her father, which occurred April 30, 1803, for which she
paid five dollars.




Ill order to show liow our ancestors lived, in what thev
trafficked, and the prices of articles, I make extracts from
various old accounts :

Exeter, Nov. 14, 1754.
Eec^ of Mr. James Wilsou, two thousand and a lialf of red oak
hogs'' staves, at sixteen pounds old tenor, per thous"^.

John Oilman, Jr.

That would 1)C five dollars and thirty-three cents jDcr
thousand, drawn to Exeter.

The next is from a ledger of " Merchant" Blasdell, who
traded at Chester Street and did an extensive Itusiness,
commencing in 1759. The money was old tenor, of which
it would take six pounds to make a dollar. ITc charges
Jesse Johnson with

& 8.

200 board nails, 2 4

A pound of Coffee, 1 G

A gallon of Molasses, 3

A puuud of alum, 12

A thousand of boards, 24 00

He gives credit for " 30 primers, at c£6 each ; 67 pair of
buckles, large ones, at XI : 10 ; small ones, at XI : 5."

This seems to have been with a dealer, as it is all on one

£ s.

2 doz. and three buttons, 116

3i yi^ of serg,

. 22 1;3

i y'^ buckram.

« • • •


4i y'^* black shaloou, .

« • • «

. 12 7

h. y'^ cotton cloth.

• • • •


Wife making a coat,

• « t •

4 10

" " jacket an

cl bveecl;es,

9 00

Bed blanket,

i « • t

, 15 00

2 gallons N. E. rum,

• f • •

8 00

2 qts. W. I. rum.

* 9 «

8 00

4 lbs. sugar,

. . •

2 8

4 thousand shingles,

* * *

. 32 00

1 paper of pins, ,

• • •


A mug,

• • •

1 00

1 lb. powder,

« « t




Pewtei- bason, ^ ^^

An oirnce of iudigo, ^^

14 yard of broadcloth, 18 00

Id ibs. cotton wool, 2 17

1 gallon of molasses, 3 00

2 bi-ead pans, 1 ^

1 pair of cai'ds and a slate, 6 18

2 bushels of corn, 6 00

1 gill of rum, 1 10

He charges James Croset with articles " when you broke
vour les:."

From Wells Chase's account-book, 1771, Caleb Hall is
charged " for self and oxen to Suncook, 12s." This was to
the Catamount hill, in AUenstown, after mill-stones.

1791, Samuel Shirley is charged with " ashes at 8 pence
per bushel." He is credited with " rum, at Is. 4 per quart,
and tobacco at 2 pence per yard." They had tobacco for
chewing, called " pig-tail," which was twisted into a cord
about five-sixteenths of an inch thick, and rolled into bun-
dles and sold by the yard.

I will next give some items from a ledger of Lt. Josiah
Underbill, commencing in 1797. The money is lawful, six
shillings to the dollar. Although Mr. Underbill began very
small at first (probably not far from 1780), his business
was now large, extending to Daniel Davis and Jedediah
Kimball, at White Hall in Hooksett, to John Clarke,
Bricket and Murray, and to Dea. John Hills and Simon
-French, in Candia.

John Clarke is charged "for a mill-saw, £2:8:0; for
breasting a saw. Is., 4." Their saws were iron, and when
worn hollow, were heated, and the back struck on the an-
vil and straightened. " Mending a mill-saw."

In 1799, Alexander and James Shirley were charged
with " paying for a German mill-saw 13 dollars." This
was probably one of the earliest steel saws. The Shirleys
owned the Oswego mill. They are at the same time
credited with " 1000 boards at the mill, $5.00." There
are several saws charged which he made, and quite often
breasted. Scythes are quite frequently charged, usually at


7s. 6d.,or 8s. each; narrow axes, at 8s.; new steeling, 4s.
to 5s ; new hoes, 5s., new steeling, 2s. 6d. ; shoeing oxen,
7s. 6d. ; horse, 5s. 4d. James and Silas Hunter are charged
"to making an instrument to haul teeth, 2s. 6." So it
seems that he made surgical instruments. Stephen Chase
is charged with " a pair of corks for his hoys. Is. 4 ; shoe-
ing a shovel, 2s. 6 ; for a gripe for the sTiay^ Paul Adams
is charged for " a hook and buckles for a sleigh harness
and bits, 4s. 6." The hooks were attached to the leading
lines to hitch to the bits. He is also charged with " mak-
ing a loggerhead, 9d." They had a drink called flip, for
cold weather, composed of rum and beer. The loggerhead
was heated red hot, and immersed in the liquor to warm it
and make it foam. There is work charged to the Folsoms,
for " making and repairing their nail machinery." There
are several charges for flax-comb teeth ; mending and
making cranks for linen wheels ; spindles for woolen wheels,
<fec. He took much of his pay in barter. Heading was
about four shillings per hundred, and staves about the same
price. They were counted six score, or one hundred and
twenty, to the hundred. They were then drawn to Haver-
hill at about four dollars per thousand. He took coals at
six cents per bushel. There are frequent credits for loads
of pine' (pitch wood for lights).

From the account-book of Richard Dearborn the follow-
ing prices are learned :

1811, rum, 70 cts. ; molasses 60 cts. ; scythe, $1.00 ; salt,
$1.00 ; souchong tea, 81.00. 1812, mowing G7 cts. per day ;
bark at Hampstead, -^iG.OO per cord ; cotton, 23 cts. ; sugar,
17 cts. ; dry pine wood, $2.00 per cord at Chester ; calico?
34 cts. ; glass, 9 cts. per light. 1815, war prices, N. E.
rum, $1.33 ; nails, 12 1-2 cts. ; scythe, $1.00. 1816, N. E.
rum, 67 cts. 1817, rye was two dollars, in consequence
of the cold season of 1816. James French is credited for
a "napt hat," $4.00; a wool one, $1.75. 1815, James
Wason is credited with a " four-wheel carriage to Deer-
field." This was the first gig-wagon at the Long Meadows.

From B. P. Chase's book : 1804, Polly Blasdcl is cred-


ited with twenty-one weeks' work — housework and nursing
— 810.50, and witli an umbrella (the first in the Long
Meadows and yet in a condition to he used), 83.00.
She is charged with " a yard and a half of baize, 75
cts. ; Pair of calf skin shoes, 1.12 ; Six yards of calico
and a fan, 2.06 ; Five'yds, drugget, 2 1-4, checked, 3.50."

1803 to 1806, another girl, who worked for fifty cents per
■week, is charged : " Horse and side-saddle to Bow, 16
miles, 83 cts. ; Sheeting, 50 cents, & India cotton, 42 cts.;
[This India cotton was a yery coarse and thin cloth, not so
good as the lowest priced shirting of the present day]
1 1-2 yds. striped linen for a loose gown, 50 ; 8 yards of
calico, at 3s. 8, and a pair of mitts, 5.65 ; 4 yds. of woolen
cloth for a great coat, & making, 4.83 ; one pair silk gloves,
1.08, 1 pr. shoes, 1.04, — 2.12 ; 6 yds. cotton and
linen cloth, 3.00 ; Yellow baize, 42 cts. per yard."

In 1819 he charges another girl, who, I have good reason
to know, "was one of the very best, who worked for sixty-seven
cents per week at house-work, including spinning, milking,
and nursing an invalid woman, " 1 pair cow-hide shoes, 1.34 ;
1 pair calf-skin shoes, 1.42 ; 1 pair morocco shoes, 1.57."


Capt. Samuel Ingalls was the first settler, had the first
child born, and built the first framed house about 1732,
"which was taken down several years since to give place to
the one where Humphrey Niles lives, on Walnut Hill.
Probably the oldest house now standing is the old Fitts
house. Dea. Ebenezer Dearborn deeded to his son Benja-
min home lot No. 132, in 1735, and he is rated for a D
(two-story) house in 1741, and the house was probably
built between those periods. Dearborn sold to Nathan
Fitts, in 1767. Lt. Ebenezer Dearborn was married in 1730
or '31, and the L part of the house ( where James R. Gor-
dan lives ) probably was his first house, and older than the
Fitts house. He afterwards built the front part, date not
known. Francis Hills says that the house where Benjamin
Hills lives, built by his great grandfather, Benjamin, Sen.,


was a garrison, and that the port holes may yet be seen
through the boarding, though covered on the outside with
clapboards. If that be the fact it jwas probably built as
early as 1750. Wells Chase and a fellow apprentice by the
name of Moses Haskall took their tools on their backs,
at Newbury, and came to Chester and built a house for
Stephen Morse, in 1755, being the old part of the house
where Gilman Morse now lives. The L part of the John
Bell house, where William Grecnough lives, was built by
the Rev. Mr. Flagg ; time not known, but probably as early
as 1750 or '60. It was moved back, and the front part
built by John Bell, Esq., in 1806. Col John Webster built
what is now Bachelder's hotel, in 1761.

Probably the oldest house in Auburn was built by Joseph
Calfe, wlio was married in 1746, and it might have been
built previous to that, or they might have lived awhile in a
log house. Barnard Bricket built the house where his
grandson David P. Bricket lives, in 1766. Wells Chase
built a one-story house where his grandson, Pike Chase,
lives, in 1771 ; second story added in 1828. Col. Stephen
Dearborn built a house the north side of the Borough road,
cast of the saw-mill, in 1761, but soon moved it on to the
hill, and it is a part of the L or low part of the present
house. The front, or two-story part, was built in 1776 or
1777. Samuel Murray lived in the cellar kitchen while
building his house in 1781. Isaac Blasdel built the house
in which John West lives ; Lt. Josiah Underbill and Jacob
Chase built houses in 1785. Tappan Webster built where
Mr, Orcutt lives, in 1787.

1788. William Hicks built where Woodbury ^Masters

1791. Dr. Benjamin Page's house was burnt, April 5 ;
a new frame raised April 30, sold to Joseph Robinson, who
finished it.

1793. Alexander Eaton built the house opposite the
Long Meadow meeting-house.

1794. Dr. Thomas Sargent built his house where John
White lately lived. Cornet Isaac Lane built where his son
Isaac lives.


1796. Nathaniel Woods and Joseph Linn Luilt at the
Long Meadows, and the Rev. N. Bradstreet where John Y/.
Nojes lives.

1798. Samnel Underhill built where Geo. S. Underhill

1799. Amos Kent bnilt where Mrs. Aiken lately lived.

1800. Daniel French, Esq., built his house. Joseph
Wetherspoon built where Henry Moore lives. It has been
occupied by Moses Emerson, Charles Goss, John Bryant,
and others.

1804. Gilbert Morse Imilt what has been the Congrega-
tional parsonage, where Sarah Robinson lives.

1807. Jacob Elliott built about this year.

1808. Thomas Anderson built where his son Samuel
now lives, in Auburn. Capt. David Hall built where Hazen
Davis lives, in Auburn. Joseph Mills built about this year.

1809. Benjamin Hills built at the John Powel place?
where Daniel Wilson lately lived. He had not moved into
it before the cold Friday, January 19, 1810, and the wind
moved it on its foundation.

1812. Josiah Haselton built where Lewis Kimball lives,
on Walnut Hill.

1822. Thomas Cofhn built where Rev. James Holmes

1832. Jay T. Underhill built where Mr. Chamberlain
now lives.

1833. Hon. Samuel Bell built his house.


Samuel Eastman and Samuel Eastman, Jr., house and
goods, Candia, 1759 ; James Fullonton's house, Raymond,
1763 ; David Bean's mill and house burned in Candia 5
Dea. Richard Hazelton had his grist-mill burned, time not
known ; Jonathan Berry's house, April 15, 1786 ; Phillip
Griffin's house, March, 1788 ; Nathaniel Head, two barns
and six oxen, Nov. 25, 1788 ; John Crawford's house, July
10, 1789 ; Dr. Page's house and barn, April 5, 1791 ;
Joseph Blanchard's clothier's shop, July 10, 1795 ; Capt.


Locke's saw-mill, March 27, 1796 ; Haselton's barn, Octo-
ber, 1799 ; John Haselton's house, June 14, 1800 ; Daniel
True's house, Jan. 6, 1801 ; James Stevens' blacksmith-
shop, Dec. 12, 1801 ; Silas Cammet's house, May 1, 1802 ;
Moses Preston's shop, Sept. 7, 1805 ; John Melvin's black-
smith-shop, Dec. 11, 1807 ; Capt. Fitts's blacksmith-shop,
Jan. 7, ]814 ; John Clark's house, July 15, 1818 ; William
Coult's fulling-mill, and two carding-machines and cloth-
iers' tools, 1820 ; Samuel Anderson's tavern-stand in Candia,
including a large two-story house with L, a large stable and
barn, and all of the contents, including twenty-three horses
and eleven swine, Oct., 1821 ; the house of the widow of
Robert Forsaitli at Walnut Ilill, May, 1822 ; the saw-mill
and grist-mill of Samuel Hook and Sebastian Spofford,
April, 1825 ; the grist-mill and old nail-shop at the Blanch-
ard mills owned by Col. S. D. Wason, burned in the fall of
1825 ; the house of John French of Candia, April 21,
1831 ; Zaccheus Colby's house, May 24, 1837 ; Candia
meeting-house, Jan. 25, 1838 ; Jesse J. Underbill's edge-
tool shop, 1841 ; the Hall grist-mill, owned by Noah Clark,
about 1845; the Knowles saw-mill, 1847 ; Ephraim Kelly's
house and shop, April 25, 1850 ; William P. Underh ill's
barn and L to his house, Sept. 20, 1850 ; John Moore and
John Wason's saw- and shingle-mill, 1851 ; Samuel Colby's
house and barn, March 2j 1853 ; Hale True's house,
formerly the house of Robert Wilson, Esq., 1853 ; Rich-
ards and Greenough's store, and school-house No. 1, Dec.
28, 1856 ; William P. Underhill's house and barn, Dec. 20,
1857 ; Capt. Moses Haselton's barn by lightning, 1862 ;
Pollard's steam saw-mill, 1864; the Perley Chase house,
June, 1867.


Paul and Sylvanus Smith came from Hampton to Chester
about 1730. Soon after making an opening they brought
from Hampton some apple-trees on horseback and set out,
one of which bore a peck of apples in 1868. A large elm
at the Templeton place, at the Long Meadows, was set out
when Matthew was just large enough to steady it, probably


about 1745. Barnard Bricketcame to Chester in 1765, and
the great elm, whose top now extends eighty-five feet, and
whose trunk at four feet from the ground, whicli is its
smallest place, girts about fourteen feet, was then a small
sapling, which he then pruned. It has several large
branches, so that it is larger ten or twelve feet from the
ground. The elm at Isaac Lane's was either a sapling
growing there when Cornet John Lane came there in 1749
or set soon after. The elms in front of the French office,
opposite the house, were set by H. F. French about 1829.
The other trees above the old Melvin place were set by Mr.
French, aided by T. J. Melvin and others, from 1831 to
1834. Those opposite the Melvin place were set by Mr.
Melvin and John White in 1843. The trees on the Haver-
hill road, near where the old Baptist church stood, were set
by Silas F. Learnard in 1845. The three elms nearest the
house of the writer, were set by Benjamin Chase, Jr., in
1855. The other elms and maples were set a year or two
later. The maples in front of the house were set in 1867.



It may not be improper, preliminary to giving a list of
town officers, to say something about the duties of some
that have become obsolete. There probably were laws on
the subject previous to those I have examined.


It was supposed to be beneficial to preserve the deer and
to destroy the wolves, though deer, being the natural game
of the wolf, probably had a strong tendency to preserve
the wolves.

By an act of the 14th of George II, it is enacted that
no deer shall be killed from the last day of December to


the first day of August annually, under the penalty of ten
pounds ; and in case of inability to pay, to work forty days
for the first offence, and fifty days for subsequent offences.
Any venison or skin newly killed was evidence of guilt.
Every town was required to choose two proper persons to
inspect and search suspected houses.

An act was passed in 1758, forbidding the killing any
buck, doe or fawn, from the first day of December to the
first day of August annually, under a penalty of fifteen
shillings. Towns were authorized or required to choose
two suitable persons annually, whose peculiar office it shall
be to prevent as much as may be, the breach of this act ;
and shall have full power to search in any place within
their respective limits, to open any doors, chests, or other
places, locked or concealed, where they shall have any
reason to suspect any flesh or skin of buck, doe or fawn
to be hid., etc.

In 1741, James Campbell, Thomas "Wells and Joshua
Prescot were chosen a " committee to prevent the killing
of Deer contrary to law." Deer-inspectors were chosen
until 1797.


By an act of 4tli George the First, 1719, towns were re-
quired to maintain pounds, and that other persons, as well
as hawards or field-drivers, take up and impound any s\v^ine,
neat cattle, horses or sheep, as shall be found damage-feas-
ant in any corn-field or other inclosure, or swine found
unyoked or unringed, &c.

An act of February 9, 1760, enacts that towns shall have
full authority at their annual meeting to make rules and
orders to prevent cattle and horses of such as are not free-
holders going at larg€ and grazing on any unfenced land.
Animals found at large, contrary to such rules, shall be
taken up and impounded by the field-driver, &c. Field-
drivers were chosen in 1729, and until 1790. They had
such officers in England.



By an act of 4th of George First, 1719, towns are re-
quired to choose two or more meet persons to see to the
due observance of the laws and orders relating to swine?
and with a penalty of twenty shillings for not serving.

The hogreeve, upon complaint that any person neglects
to yoke and ring his swine, is " to notify the owner ; and if
he still neglects to yoke and ring them, the said officer
shall yoke and ring them and have twelve pence." All
swine going at large from the first day of April to the last
day of October are to be yoked, and all the year to be
sufficiently ringed. No yoke shall be accounted sufficient
that shall not be the depth of the swine's neck, aiid half so
much below, and the sole or bottom three times as long as
the thickness of the swine's neck.

There was an act passed in 1759, authorizing towns hav-
ing commons to make by-laws respecting swine going at
large, but they must not go without being ringed. The
ringing was to insert a piece of iron wire through the hog's
nose, bring the ends together, and twist them so tliat it
should project about an inch above the nose, which would
prevent roottlig.

There was a by-law made in 1792, that swine might go
on any highway or common, being well ringed and not
yoked, provided they did no damage ; but if damage was
done, complaint might be made to the hog-constalile (hog-
reeve), who was to proceed according to law ; and such was
the law for twenty-five years. Hogreeves were cliosen in
1771. Until about 1820, most of the swine ran in the
highway. It was a custom in Chester to choose every man
lately married as hogreeve.


An act was passed February, 1761, the preamble of

which recited that, " Whereas, the catching of fish at

Amoskeag Falls has been of great advantage," &c., and


enacts that fisli shall not be caught at Amoskeag Falls be-
tween sunset Saturday and sunrise Monday, under penalty
of twenty shillings sterling.

An act was passed May 5, 1764, forbidding catching fish
in Merrimack river more than three days in a week — Tues-
day, Wednesday and Thursday — under the penalty of four
pounds. There have been various other acts passed regu-
lating the catching of fish, and fishwards were chosen until
a recent date.


By an act passed in 1701, it is enacted tfiat no currier
or shoemaker shall be a tanner, and no tanner or shoe-
maker shall be a currier. Tanners and curriers were re-
quired to do their work well, and shoemakers were for-
bidden to work bad leather.

All leather was to be searched before it passed out of the
hands of the tanner or currier, by searchers or sealers
chosen by the towns, who should have two seals ; with one
they should seal all leather well tanned, and with the other
all leather well curried. They were empowered to search
any house or place where they suspected there was leather
unsealed, and sieze all insufficient leather. The sealers
were to have one penny per hide for searching and sealing,
and three pence per mile, after the first mile, traveling fee.
Sealers of leather were chosen up to 1829.


By an act passed in 1715, it was enacted that no taverner
or retailer should suffer any apprentice, servant or negro to
drink in his house ; nor any inhabitant after ten o'clock at
night, nor more than two hours ; nor suffer any person to
drink to drunkenness, or others than strangers to remain
in his house on the Lord's day, under a fine of five shill-

The second section provided that the selectmen should see


that at least two tythingmen should be annually chosen,
whose duty it was to inspect all licensed houses, and inform
of all disorders to a justice of the peace, and also inform
of all who sell without license, and of all cursers and
swearers. Each tythingman was to have a black staff two
feet long, with about three inches of one- end tipped with
brass or pewter, as a badge of office. In 1763, in the town
accounts, is " Paid to Jabez Hoyt, for a tythingman's staff,
£1 ;" and in 1775, " Paid Wilkes West, for a tythingman's

Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 36 of 60)