Benjamin Chase.

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

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PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 31

third division. There were probably rough plans made of
all the divisions at the time, which accompanied the pro-
prietors' records.

At a Proprietors' meeting, Jan. 6, 1747, it was " Voted,
That the Proprietors Shall Pay for Riting a Return and
Drawing a Plan of the fourth Division Lotts."

Hon. S. D. Bell says, in the index which he prepared for
the two volumes of the Proprietors' Records, that the plan
there inserted, of the home and additional lots, was made
from a copy which he made from the original plan in the
first volume. I recollect the plan perfectly well in 1819
and 1820. That plan is now lost ; but it was far from being
accurate.

The corner of the additional No. 101, lying on Sandown
line, is, according to that plan, the corner of Sandown ;
whereas the record of the lot says that it is about thirty-
two rods west of it, and it is thirty-one rods and a half.
The range-way (the road passing Benaiah Spofford's), on
the plan, is four lots of about thirty rods each above the
corner of Sandown ; whereas it is actually but one lot.

In that plan three home lots, Nos. 41, 42 and 106, have a
corner cut off by Sandown line ; whereas, according to the
record, and as a matter of fact, the additional lot No. 131,
at the north end, is thirty-two rods wide between the home
lots and Sandown line. The additional lot No. 132, accord-
ing to the plan, is some forty rods from the home lots, but
the records bound it on the home lot. And Three Camp
Meadow is not correctly represented on the plan.

I have seen several plans of the Old Hundreds (and
have one in my possession), apparently ancient copies, and
similar, drawn on a scale of eighty rods to an inch. I
think there are some old copies of the third division.

When I was first acquainted with the records in 1819
and 1820, I think there were vestiges of plans of some of
the other divisions. This was earlier than Judge BelFs
copies. But I copied from the plans of Stephen Chase,
Esq., the same that Judge Bell copied from into the Index ;
and as he commenced surveying about 1785, I supposed



32 HISTORY OF CHESTER,

that he might have originally copied from the old plans,
though the plans I then copied from were comparatively
recent, made, I think, in 1810, by his son Stephen Chase,
Jr. Esquire Chase made a plan of all the lots in town
much earlier than that, which I think is yet extant.

An act was passed December 30, 1803, requiring the sev-
eral towns in the State to cause surveys to be made and
plans to be sent to the Secretary's office for a State map.
The map was contracted for by Philip Carrigain, and was
called " Carrigain's map." Stephen Chase, Esq., made the
survey and plan of Chester, Joseph Shepard, Esq., of
Raymond, Richard Emerson, Esq., of Candia, and David
Patten, Esq., of Derryfield. There are great discrepancies
in their measures and some in the bearings of their lines.
Patten makes the line of Derrvfield, from Xo. 134 across
the pond, 80 rods longer than Chase does.. Shepard makes
Raymond line 62 rods shorter than Chase. Shepard's plan
had been returned and a letter was endorsed on the back,
saying that he at first drew partly from other men's sur
veys, but he had now surveyed for himself and he knew
that he was correct. In making a preliminary plan for the
map I followed Shepard, as he was so positive ; and Ray-
mond was too short, and crowded the lots out of place, so
I am confident that Chase was nearer right than Shepard.
Massabesic Pond agrees, essentially, with a more recent
survey.

In making the plan, the outlines were drawn as near as I
could from these survevs. I then made an examination of
Candia lines, in respect to the lines of the lots, and made
extensive examinations and some surveys in respect to
roads, etc., and have availed myself of my own surveys
and those of Stephen Chase, Esq., to make corrections,
but mathematical accuracy is not claimed. It has been a
very perplexing job to construct the map, for many times
when an alteration was made to correct one place it in-
jured one or two more.

It is, after all, what the lawyers would call a " chalk,"
but it gives a good general idea of the situation of the lots,
of the roads and the early settlers.



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 33



THE LAYING OUT OF THE LOTS.

We have seen that the Home Lots, of twenty acres each,
were laid out in the fall of 1719, before, so far as I have
seen, that thej had obtained any grant of the land. They
laid out small lots, so as to live compact and be safer from
the Indians. The settlement seems to have commenced at
Walnut Hill and Hall's Village, and the first burying-
ground was near " Three Camp meadow." But it seems
that they had an idea that the " town,"' the " centre," was
to be at its present location, and it was laid out on rather a
magnificent scale, for in laying the lots they reserved a ten-
rod way northwest and southwest one mile, and northeast
half a mile to Shackford's, and southeast as far as the lots
extended, to near where G. "W. Everett now lives.

In laying out the road from Sandown by Asa "Wilson's,
July 5, 1731, the selectmen allowed " Every one of these
men to take up six Rods of the ten Rod Highway that
Lyeth at the southend of their home Letts." The lots
were laid out in squares, and reserves left lor roads, many
of them traveled a long time before there was any formal,
legal laying out. What induced them to make the offsets
in their squares of lots and reserves is incomprehensible to
me. The idea of Haverhill line running northwest gave that
direction to the lots. The home lots, when laid out in
1719, were not recorded in the book, if any record was
kept. There was afterwards a committee chosen to renew
the bounds of the several lots when called upon by the
owners. Only a portion of them were re-surveyed, and
those returns were made by the committee on separate
sheets of paper, and were not recorded until December 1,
1791, when Capt. John Emerson and Stephen Chase, Esq.,
were chosen a committee " to record, in regular order, in
the Proprietors' book all the Home lots they can find on
old records, and other matters that appear to concern the
Proprietors." They did it, and most of the home lots are
dated about 1740.
3



34 HISTORY OF CHESTER.

At a meeting of the proprietors held March 16, 1720-21,

" Voted, That y"^ Lott layers lay out a Second Division
of 100 acres each Lott, and such Highways as they See
meet."

These lots were never laid out.

At a meeting of the proprietors of the town of " Checher,"
held February 5, 1721-2,

" Voted, That the Second Division be two hundred acres
instead of 100 before voted."

This was not laid out at that time.



THE ADDITIONAL LOTS OF FIFTY ACRES.

At a general meeting of the proprietors of Chester, held
the 28th day of March, 1723 (the first under the charter),

" Voted, That the Comons be laid out in fifty Acre lotts
for an Addition to the home lots ; and what is wanting to
accomodate all the home lotts, to have as many of the 200
acre lotts divided into 50 acre lotts as will Compleat it."

These additional lots were laid out nearly all around the
home lots, extending from Sandown and Derry to near
the Long meadow, and it was voted that " The Proprietors
draw for their addition on the same Quarter of their home
lott Lyes." They were laid out in 1724.



THE OLD HUNDREDS OR NORTH DIVISION.

This division includes the town of Raymond. " At a
meeting of y® prop'^ of the town of Chester, held at the
house of Sam' Ingalls, 10th of June, 1728,

"Voted, That there Shall be a Division of Land Lay^
out, Containing 100 acres to Each originall prop"" which is
halfe y® Second Division which was formerly Voted to be
200 acres. It is to be understood that this Division of land
Shall be laid out in parish order, viz, beginning on Exeter
head line where Nottingham line Divides between them &



to be a Committee



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 35

US, & SO Extending five Miles upon Each line or so farr as
to Make up Eveiy full prop'' 100 acres to his Share."

" Yoted, m"" Ichabod Roby
m'' Nath. Heley

m"^ Jacob Gilman )• to lay out

m'^ Eben^ Derbern | y^ 100 acre lotts."

m'" Ephraim Heselton J

" Nov. 27*'^, 1728. The wages of the committee set,—
Ichabod Robie 15 Shillings, the rest 10 Shillings per day."

The report of the committee was accepted Nov. 19, 1729.

Before these lots, called the Old Hundreds or North
Division, were laid out, there was a mill built at Freetown,
and a road made from there to Exeter line. Some of the
lots were bounded on the mill pond, others on the " Easterly
side of y^ highway y* leads to the afores"* mill pond." There
was one tract of about forty acres where the mill stood,
and another of about sixty acres between the 6Gth and
mill pond, not lotted. There were a great many votes
passed, and committees raised, about these tracts, and some-
thing was sold to James Wilson and Robert Wilson, and
the residue was finally sold at auction, Sept. 6, 1774, to
Capt. John Underbill for eleven dollars ; he to have no
claim on the proprietors if he did not recover any thing.
The lots appear more regular on the old plans than they
lay in reality. The lots in the twelfth range, the one
bordering on Chester, were not bounded at the south end,
and were supposed by the early purchasers to extend south
to the reserve where the road now is, and they settled
there. The proprietors called them to account, and in 1773,
the owners employed Nathan Lane to survey these lots, who
decided that the lots extended only to where Raymond line
now is, forty-three rods north of the road. In June, 1773,
the proprietors chose a committee to prosecute the owners
of these lots unless they would settle, and the first of
October, 1773, they voted to John Lane the land against
Nos. 12(3 and 128 for twenty-four shillings ; to Joshua Hall,
against No. 129 for twelve shillings ; to John Lane, Jr.,



36 HISTORY OF CHESTER.

against No. 130 for twelve sliillings ; to Abigail Smith,
against No. 127 for twelve shillings ; to the owners of 123?
125, 127, 131 and 132, twelve shillings each.

THE MEADOWS.

ChesJiire abounded in beavers that built dams across the
various streams, which, by flowing killed the growth, if
there was any before there were beavers ; and when the
liunters killed the beavers, the dams went down and the
land came into grass, which was of great use to the early
settlers. Beaver ponds and beaver dams are frequently
mentioned in the records.

At a meeting of the proprietors held Feb. 5, 1721-2,

" Voted, That the Lott Layers survey the principal mead- .
ows and Reserve them out of the Second Division for the
Publick use untill the Prop"^ See Cause to Divide 'em."

April, 1727, it was

" Voted, That The Inhal)itants, and those That are com-
ing to Settle, divide y^ Cutting of y^ meadows in Equal
Proportion among Themselves for y® Year Ensuing ; and
that none Cutt any before the Last day of July on the
penalty of 20s. to be paid Ijy each person for Every day y*
he or they shall offend, to be paid to the Selectmen for y®
use of the Poor of the Town."

March, 28, 1728, it was

" Voted, That there shall be a Division of Meadow to
Every Right according as it will hold out in quantity &
quality, according to y*' goodness or badness of y*" Meadow,
to make every man's share as Equal as can be."

The meadows were in all parts of the town from Three
Camp meadow to the White Hall mill and Derryfield.
The most prominent one commenced just below the Con-
gregational church in Auburn, and united with the north
branch just back of the burying-ground, and extended to
Londonderry line, and was the " Long Meadow" ; hence
that part of the town was called until recently the " Long
Meadows."



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 37

SECOND PART OF THE SECOND DIVISION.

At au adjourned meeting held December 11, 1785, it was

"Voted, That there shall be a Division of Land of one
Imndred acres Laid out to Each full Proprietor's Share for
Quantity and Quality, beginning at Kingston Line and so
filling up the Yaquency between the additional Lotts and
the north division Hundred acre Lotts, so Extending Round
the additional Lotts, which is one half, and to Compleat
the second division formerly voted to be two hundred acres.

" Voted, Cap' Sam" Ingalls, Lisin Jacob Sergent, Eph-
raim Haseltine, Sam^ Emerson, and James Campbell, be
the Committee to Lay out the same."

This division was laid out in 1736, and fills the space
between the additions and Old Hundreds, and extends into
Candia and Auburn to the neck of the pond.

THE THIRD DIVISION.

At a meeting held Jan. 17, 1738-9,

" It was put to vote whether to Lay out another division
or divisions of Land. Past in the negative."

At an adjournment of this meeting May 16, 1739,

" Voted, That the Vote Relating to Laying out another
Division or Divisions of Land, that was Passed in the neg-
ative, shall be Reconsidered."

And it was

" Voted, That there shall be a third division of Land
Laid out for Each full Proprietor's Share, Containing Eighty
acres ; bounding the same Easterly on the old Hundred
acres Called the north division, Northerlv on Xottinoham
Lme, and Southerly on the Second part of the second divis-
ion, so Extending Westerly to Compleat the same ; the Com-
mittee having Power if they meet with mean Land to give
reasonable allowance, and if they meet with Exceeding
mean land to leave it undivided.

" Voted, That Lt. Ebenezer Dearborn, Insin Jacob Sar-
gent and Mr. James Campbell to be the Committee to Lay
out the s'^ third Division of Land.

" Voted, That Sam^ Emerson be Sirvaior to assist to Lay
out the s*^ third Division of Land ; but if by Sickness or



38 HISTORY OP CHESTER.

otherwise he be disabled, the Committee to Pi'ovide sum
other Sirvaior as to them shall appear needful ; aud for
Each Lott shall l)e Paid fourteen Shillings before the Lotts
be drawn, by the Proprietors Respectively."

This division lies in Candia and the lots are more regular
on the old plans than they are in reality, though it is pre-
sumed the committee did not meet with any exceedingly
mean, or even mean land.

What was the inducement to lay out the upper end of
the first range at such an angle, I cannot explain. The
upper lot, instead of N. 29° E., is with the present variation
of compass, N. 68° E. This division lay entirely in Candia.



THE FOURTH DIVISION.

At a meeting March 27, 1745,

" Voted, That Capt. John Tolford, Lieut. Thomas Wells
(fe Capt. Sam' Ingalls be a Committee to lay out another
Division Containing 60 Acres to each fidl Proprietor's
share ; considering the Quality, If it don't exceed 120
acres to a Lott.

" Voted, That the Afores*^ Committee for Laying out
each Lott shall have tiiree shillings Lawful money to be
paid to them by the Proprietors.

" Voted, That the afores'^ Committee shall lay out the
afores'' Division of land & make return to the Proprietors
by the first day of Deccmb'' next."

The return is dated 1746.

The Fourth Division lay partly in Auburn, but mostly in
Manchester and Hooksett.

FIFTH DIVISION.

At a meeting held December 28, 1749,

" Voted, That the Remainder of the Common Lands in
this town Shall be Divided and Laid out and Called the
fifth Division.

" Voted, That Messrs. William Crafford, Anthony Towl
and John Tolford shall be the Committee to lay out the
fifth Division of Lands agreeable to the foregoing Vote, and



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 39

to Lay it out for Quantity and Quality as near as tliey Can,
So that Every Proprietor may liave their equal Proportion
as near as may be, and as soon as may be."

The return is dated 1752.

The Fifth Division lay between the Fourth Division and
Allenstown line in Hooksett.

SIXTH DIVISION.

The vote for laying out the Sixth Division was passed
Nov. 9, 1772. Tlie lots were called ten acres each. The
committee Avere John Tolford, John Underbill and William
Crafford, who made their return June 7, 1774. This Divis-
ion was made up of tracts of undivided land, and of super-
numerary lots in the other divisions in all parts of the
town.

THE GOVERXOR AND LIEUT. GOVERNOR'S FARMS.

It has been seen that the committee for managing the
prudential affairs of the proprietors of the Chestnut Country,
April 25, 1720, voted a home lot and a farm of five hundred
acres to the Governor and the same to the Lieut. Governor.
This was also a condition of the Charter.

Gov. Shute's home lot lay on the southeast side of tlie
Derry road, southwest from the meeting-house. His farm
was bounded on the southwest by Pennacook path, sixty-
four rods, extending from the farm of Jacob Chase south-
east by east, and extending back nearly two miles. To
whom it was originally sold I have not learned. There is
recorded in the Rockingham Records, Book 21, page 448,
an indenture dated 1785, in which Samuel Shute, of the
Parish of St. James, Westminster, England, gives to his
nepliew, John Yeomans, of the same place, all his lands in
Chester, Nottingham, Rochester, Bow, Barnstead and else-
where. It is made in two parts and certified by the Lord
Mayor of London, and the great seal affixed.

A power of attorney was made by Yeomans to William
Shirley, Richard Waldron, John Boydel, Samuel Ingalls,
Ephraim Haselton, Samuel Emerson, Hugh Montgomery



40 HISTORY OF CHESTER.

and John Morrison, to enter and take possession in his
name. Dated April 21, 173G ; July 1, 1736, proved in the
Inferior Court of Boston ; June 18, 1736, John McMur-
phy, John Calf, John Boydel, Samuel Ingalls and Ephraim
Haselton entered and took formal possession.

Yeomans brought an action of ejectment against Eliz-
abeth Underbill (Sampson's widow), in September, 1738,
who appeared and entered a disclaimer.

Gov. Wentworth's home lot lay from the meeting-house
to Shackford's Corner, and was sold by him to Rev. Moses
Hale, May, 1730. Mr. Hale sold to Rev. Ebenezer Flagg
two home lots, September 22, 1736. The corner was about
eight rods north of the meeting-house. Jabez French
bought five rods of the ten-rod way, and James Yarnum
live rods against liis lot.

Gov. Wentworth's farm was laid out in 1728 in three
tracts. Two hundred and fifty acres, nearly tlie square on
the southwest side of the road southeast of the Congrega-
tional church in Auljurn, sold to Andrew and Alexander
Craig ; two hundred acres in the south part of Auburn set-
tled by Nathaniel Linn ; fifty acres sold to John Moore on
Sandown line.

There were a great many tracts laid out as amendments
of lots and compensation for highways. Many tracts were
sold to pay debts. One hundred and fifty acres lying on
Oswego brook, from Clark's mill to the Oswego mill, ex-
tending back northeast, were sold to the Rev. Moses Hale,
to pay arrears of his salary. Land was sold to the Coch-
rans to pay arrears for building the meeting-house, and a
gratuity for their loss in building it. A large tract was
sold Robert Boyes, Esq., on which is the Head tavern in
Hooksett.

Joseph Brown, Samuel Gault, a Knox and Andrew
Octterson settled at the upper end of the town on land not
lotted, and claimed by the proprietors, and long lawsuits
were carried on, commenced in 1749, some of which were
carried before the Governor and Council as a court of ap-
peal, but were finally settled by the individuals purchasing



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 41

and quieting their titles. June 19, 1753 it was " Voted,
that an agreement be made with Messrs. Gallt, Knox,
Brown and their associates that the proprietors have Sued,
of the northwest part of the town, they paying the Pro-
prietors of Chester Sixty pounds old tenor in part pay of
our Charges, and Sink their own charges and pay twenty
Shillings per acre for their Land they are Sued for, that
they have Deeds of, according as what they were laid out
for in Quality by them." They probably settled under
title from Suncook, which was granted by the General x\.s-
sembly of Massachusetts, as Tyngstown, was granted.
The deeds were dated 1754. The proprietors kept during
nearly the whole time of their corporate existence equiva-
lent to a standing committee to prosecute trespassers, and
held hardly a meeting without passing a strong vote on the
subject. When the Eev. Mr. Flagg was settled the pro-
prietors gave him, by way of settlement, two hundred
acres, lots No. 20 and 21 in the second part of the second
division. The Presbyterians dissented, and in return a
large tract was given to Eev. John Wilson :

" That piece of Common Land about the west meadows,
bounding southerly on Londonderry line and Easterly and
Northerly on Cochran's land and on Governor Wentworth's
farm of two hundred acres, northerly on the Highway by
the side of the 39^'' lott and westerly on the 88''' and 92^^
hundred acre lotts, which Land was set apart for the use of
those who dissented against giving away Land. At their,
the dissenters request, it is voted and given to the Kev. mr.
John Wilson their minister."



CHAPTER III.

THE ORIGINAL GRANTEES AND THEIR LOTS.

The grantees of Londonderry were actual settlers, who
were on the ground before they procured their charter.
The grantees of Chester, on the other hand, were non-resi-
dents, very few of whom ever resided in Chester. They
may be chiefly placed in three classes : First, the original
association for settling the " Chcsnut Country," formed
at Hampton or Hampton Falls, which included, from the
first, some Portsmouth gentlemen like Clement Hughes,
Col. Packer, etc., but was mainly composed of residents of
Hampton and Hampton Falls, and a few from Exeter and
Kingston. A second class consisted of people belonging
to Haverhill, Bradford and other towns in that vicinity.
Some of them were proprietors or purchasers in Haverhill,
and laid some claim to the Chesnut Country, or wished to
procure a grant of it, and tried to obtain possession, and
were admitted proprietors by desire of the government.
A third class were the Governor and Council and their
friends, and others in and about Portsmouth. Many of
these secured their places in the list of grantees as a mat-
ter of personal favor, or by such means as were suspected
to have influence, in those days no less than our own. We
cannot always be certain that individuals are arranged in
their proper classes, though in most cases there is little
doubt. Then, some not belonging to either class, and some
who were not petitioners, and some were petitioners who
were not grantees. The first class had some men known
to our day as prominent men, men in public stations ; but



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 43

the mass of them and the second class were the substantial
yeomanry of their towns — the farmers and mechanics.
Their motives were probably various ; some went them-
selves as settlers, others settled their sons there, and still
others soon sold out their rights, either to make money or
to get rid of paying bills without any immediate profit.
The third class were induced to take an interest in the
grant chiefly from an expectation of realizing a profit from
the sale of their lands. But probably their lots fell in such
locations as, in many cases, to disappoint their expectations.
"We will now give some facts obtained in regard to them :

Joseph Batchelder, Josiah Batchelder, Nathaniel
Batchelder, Nathaniel Batchelder, Jr. They were de-
scendants of Nathaniel, son of the Rev. Stephen Batchel-
der, the first minister of Hampton. Both were early
settlers of Hampton and ancestors of a numerous race
widely scattered. Nathaniel Batchelder was one of the as-
sessors of Hampton Falls in 1719-20, and Nathaniel Batch-
elder, Sen., probably the same man, was selectman in
1722-3.

Jacob Basford. (See " Early Settlers.")

Moses Blake, Philemon Blake, Samuel Blake. They
were all tax-payers in Hampton Falls in 1727, and were
descendants of Jasper Blake of Hampton, who died 1673.
Philemon and Samuel were petitioners, but Moses was not.

Abraham Brown and Jonathan Brown. They were
descendants of John Brown, an early settler of Hampton,
whose descendants are numerous and widely scattered.
They were tax-payers in Hampton Falls in 1727. Numer-
ous persons of the name of Brown, and probably of the
same origin, are found in ancient Chester.

Amos Cass was a tax-payer in Hampton Falls in 1727.
He was a descendant of John Cass, an early settler of
Hampton, who was selectman in 1653, '7, '8, and in 1672 and
'5 to his death in June, 1775. In 1727 five of the name,
Amos, Ebenezer, Jonathan (ancestors of the Candia fami-
lies), Samuel and Joseph, Jr. (ancestor of Gen. Lewis
Cass), paid taxes in Hampton Falls.



Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 4 of 60)