Benjamin Chase.

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

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" Voted, that there shall be one Hundred and twenty
Pounds Paid to the Rev'^ M"^ Ebenezer Flagg, as silver at
twenty shilings an ounce, per anum. During his ministry in
Chester."

The following protest of the same tenor, and more
numerously signed than those before mentioned, was en-
tered :

We the Presbeterian Congregation and Propriators, In-
habitants and Freeholders of Chester afforsaid, do Enter
6



82



HISTORY OP CHESTER.



tills our Protest and Desent against hiring, calling, or sct-
tlinof, any other ministers or minister in this town other
than the ReV^ M'' John Wilson our Pastor, and also we pro-
test against paying any charges or charge or salary that
shall arise from or by such hiring, calling or settling any
other minister then w^e have as afforsaid, or giveing or
setling any Lands for that or any other uess. given under
our hands the day and year above, and farther we Insist
upon the Benefit of the Province Law with Respect to the
suport of the ministry, and also we declare this meeting



Ilegall.




James Wilson,


James Wilson,


Robert Grimes,


James Quanton,


Elexeandr Crage,


James Whiting,


AVilliam Wilson,


John Boid,


John Cai'swell,


James Croset,


"William Carswell,


William Craford,


John Sherala,


William White,


Thomas Smith,


Thomas Glen,


Eobert Wilson,


Robert Grames,


Robert Gillcreast,


James Parson,


William AVilson,


Robert Boyes,


Andrew Crage,


Joseph Steel,


Joseph Xeill,


John Steel,


John moore,


Thomas megee,


Charls moore,


James Wilson,


Robert mills,


Thomas Colwell,


John aiken.


John macmurphy.


John Dickey,


John mills.


Paul mcferson,


John Tolford,


John mills,


Thomas Horner,


Patrick melven,


John Ramsey,


Hugh ATilson,


William Patterson,


archebald Canigham,


William Tolford,


James Campbell,


Samuel Brown.


John Wadell,





Rev. Ebenezer Flagg was ordained Sept., 1736. The
selectmen continued to rate the Presbyterians and some
rates were collected, and the Presbyterians presented the
following petition to the General Assembly :



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 83

To his Excellency Jonathan Belcher. Esq. Got"" and Com-
mander in chief in and over His Majesty's Province of
New Ham}/, the Hon"^'' His Majesty's Council, <fc House
of Representatives for the Province aforesaid.
The Petition of sundry of the Inhabitants of Chester in
the Province of Xew Hampshire, Humbly Showeth :

That your Petitioners, though at present Inhabitants of
Chester afor^*^, formerly belonged, most of them, to the
Kingdom of Scotland & Ireland, where they were educated
in the principles of Kirk of Scotland, for which they have
a great Veneration : That while Mr. piloses Hale was the
Minister of the Town, your Petitioners paid taxes towards
his Support, tho' they went many of them to Londonderry
to meeting, & most if not all of them constantly to receive
the sacraments, not then being in a Condition to settle a
minister of the Presbyterian order ; After Mr. Hale's mis-
fortunes had necessitated him to lay aside the work of the
Ministry, the Town being Destitute of a Gospel Minister,
your Petitioners proceeded to call & ordain a Minister of
that Denomination among them, tho' Scarce able to pay the
charge, that they might worship God & enjoy the ordinances of
the Gospel in a way (which they apprehend) more agreeable
to Script^ & the primitive pattern, at least more agreeable to
their consciences than they could among the Congregation-
alists : That during the time that y^ Town was Destitute
of a minister of the Congregational order, your Petition'^
often invited the Brethren of that Denomination to join
with them, if not longer at least till they were better pro-
vided for, & that such Conformity should be no Expense to
them, for that your Petition"^ would support their own Min-
ister themselves ; But they refused to accept the orffer :
That about two years after Mr. Hale had left Chester those
of the Inhabitants who Ditfer in Sentiments from your
Petition'*', in conjunction with the non-resident Propriet"^,
proceeded to call and settle in the town a Congregational
Minister who is still there : That your Petition", appre-
hending that those who had called & settled such a min-
ister would be for supporting him by a tax on all the In-
habitants, representing to them in their Public meeting &
to the Selectmen of the Town that it was highly unreason-
able and unkind, all things and circumstances considered,
to oblige your Petition'^ to pay towards the support of a
minister they did not call, nor hear when settled, &c., &
prayed they might be Exempted, & the rather because they
conceived themselves to be such Persons as were Intended



84 HISTORY OF CHESTER,

and Exempted by the Proviso in the Law of the Province,
Entitled an Act for maintenance & Supply of ministry
within this Province. But all would not prevail ; the
Selectmen of said Town rated all the inhabitants without
Exception of any sect, & have Distrained & Imprisoned
some of your Petitioners for such Rates. Your Petition™
therefore pray the aid of this Court as the Dernier Resort
of the Distressed, that you would be pleased in your Great
Wisdom and Goodness to explain the Proviso in the afores'^
act & say whether your Petition''^ are Exempted thereby
from being taxed to the Settling & Supjwrt of the said
minister. And if your Excellency & the Hon"® the other
Branches of this Court shall not think the law already
made excuses your Petition"^ from the aforesaid charge,
that you would be pleased to Commiserate the case of
your Petition''^ (being as it now Stands they must either
act against their own Judgment, or dearly purchase the
Liberty of the Contrary) and make a special act whereby
they may be Discharged & Exonerated from any part of
the Burthen of Settling &, supporting any minister except
their own, & from paying the afores'' Rates already made ;
and that such may have their money allowed them from
whom the Same has Ijeen distrained by virtue of the afore^*^
Rates. And yo'' Petition" in duty bound shall ever pray.

his his

Alexander -|- Crage, William -|- Poul, [Powel]

mark. mark.

James Campbell, Joseph Nill, [Neal]

Andrew Crage, William Carswell,

William Whit, Robert Kilcrist,

Franciss Cooks, John Dickey,

Robert Mills, Thomas Colwell,

William Colwell, Hugh Willson,

James Wilson, David Crage,

John Carswell, William Graham,

Samuel Brown, Thomas Glen,

John Waddel, James Whit,

Robert Graham, John Akan,

John Bold, Thomas Smith,

John Karr, John Smith,

Robert Wilson, James Whiting,

James Quentou, Samuel Ingalls,

Paul McFerson, William Crafford,

James McFerson, Robert Dayer,

William McFerson, William Patterson,

Samuel McFerson, William Willson,



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 85

Robert Knocks, John Tolford,

Robert Grimes, John Mills, Junr.,

liis

John -j- Pouel, John Mills, Senr.,

mark.

James Crossett, John Shei-ala,

Robert Campbell, Charles Moore,

James AVillson, John Waddall,

James Willson, Junr., John Boid, Jan."

The petition was received in Council March 23, 1736-7,
and sent to the House, who voted an order of notice, which
was served on the selectmen of Chester by John Sherala.
It was postponed to the next session, when the parties were
heard. The ' House voted to dismiss the petition ; the
Council non-concurred, being of the opinion that the peti-
tioners are within the saving clause of the act of this prov-
ince, " Entitled an act for the Maintenance and supply of
the ministry within this Province," in which the House
concurred Oct. 19, 1737, and Gov. Belcher assented Oct.
20. So the Presbyterians had the decision in their favor.

The act referred to was passed 1714, and provided that
the freeholders of the respective towns in this province in
town meeting might choose a minister, and agree upon a
salary, and he should be considered the settled minister of
the town ; and the selectmen shall make rates and assess-
ments upon the inhabitants of the town, for the payment of
his salary, &c .; " Provided always that this act do not at all
interfere with her Majesty's grace and favor in allowing lier
subjects liberty of conscience ; nor shall any person under
pretence of being of a different persuasion be excused from
paying towards the support of the settled minister or minis-
ters of such town aforesaid ; but only such as are conscien-
tiously so, and constantly attend the public worship of God
on the Lord's day according to their own persuasion; and
they only shall be excused from paying towards the support
of the ministry of the town."

The following is the reply of John Calfe, John Tolford,
Ephraim Haselton and Enoch Colby, selectmen of Chester,
to the Presbyterian petition : —



86 HISTORY OF CHESTER.

" That after the Rev. Ebr. Flagg was Settled in s"^ Town
a consideral)le No. of persons petitioned the Gen. Court for
an explanation of the law of Liberty, Supposing they, being
Presbyterians, were exonerated from paying Mr. Flagg,
which was explained in their favor. Since which time they
have proceeded in a cordial manner, and have endeavored
to take the best method the circumstances will admit of to
Raise money for the Respective ministries as follows : at a
Town Meeting warned for that purpose they voted separate
for Mr. Flagg's salary, and the Presbyterians voted a Salary
for the Rev. Mr. Jno. Wilson their minister, and the select-
men Signed the Respective Warrants to y" Constabel or
Collectors to collect the same.

" If this method were not agreeable to the G. C. they pray
for i)articular directions.

" It was ordered Aug. G, 1740, that the two congregations
act se})arate."

The tradition is that John Tolford and James Campbell
were imprisoned for their minister rate, and that they sued
for false imprisonment and recovered. That somebody was
imprisoned is made nearly certain by the words, " some of
your petitioners have been distrained and imprisoned," in
the Presbyterian petition. But I have examined the court
records pretty thoroughly, and cannot find any lawsuits
there.

There was a petition, dated Aug. 20, 1735, preferred to
the selectmen, representing that " Whereas it often hap-
pens that Business of Importance Requires Consideration
Relating to the Common or undivided Land in Chester
which Cannot be so well accommodated at a general town
meeting as by the Respective Proprietors of said Lands dis-
tinct." The petition is signed by seventy-three individuals
with their respective interests attached to their names in
rights and quarters of rights. They represent sixty-seven
rights and three quarters. Of these seventy-three, so far as
I can tell, thirty-eight were residents and thirty-five were
non-residents. They asked to have a meeting called, which
was done by John Calfe and Samuel Emerson, selectmen of
Chester, and held at the meeting-house Oct. 16, 1735.
I have already given, under the heads of Settling the Lines



PROPRIETARY HISTORY. 87

and Laying out of the Lots, what they did on those siil>
jects ; I shall now follow them to the close of their corpo-
rate existence, before taking up the town of Chester. Mr.
John Calfe was chosen moderator, and Samuel Emerson
proprietors' clerk. Esq. Emerson held the office until his
death. The last record that he made was the first Monday
of September, 1793. On the second day of June, 179-4, his
son, John Emerson, was chosen clerk, and held the office
until his death. When he was superseded as town clerk
in 1817 by Lemuel W. Blake, he claimed to be proprietors'
clerk and held the books during his life, when they went
into the town clerk's office.

The Proprietors' Records are contained in two volumes,
and have often been called into court in the settlement of
controversies about land. These volumes were nearly out
of their binding, and otherwise injured by continual exam-
ination, and in 1853 were in court in Hillsborough county,
and the Hon. S. D. Bell took them into his possession, car-
ried them to a binder, and at his own expense had them
put into substantial binding, and otherwise repaired. He
also, with great labor, prepared a copious and valuable
index, which greatly facilitates the examination of the rec-
ords, and prevents their wear. The town of Chester, and
everybody who shall ever have occasion to examine these
records, should hold Judge Bell in grateful remembrance,
— and nobody more so than the writer.

At the aforesaid meeting it was

" Voted, that the Proprietors' Clerk be impowered to
warn meetings for the Present at the Request of twenty or
more of the Proprietors of the undivided land in Chester,
they Setting forth the occasion of the same, and the time
when and where ; and for the warning of such meeting it
shall be accounted sufficient warning to have Notifications
posted up, one at Chester, one at Portsmouth, one at
Hampton, one at Newbury, and one at Haverhill, at sum
Publick Place, fourteen days before said meeting ; and the
present Petitioners for every meeting shall be at the Charge
of setting up the Notifications for the said meeting."

Some of the home lots fell short of measure, and Capt.



88 HISTORY OF CHESTER.

Samuel Ingalls, Samuel Emerson and Ephraim Haseltine
were chosen a committee to examine them and report.

John Calfe owned two home lots and a half, and the
lot-layers had laid out eighty acres between the ponds at
Massabesic, which the proprietors refused to accept ; but
at an adjournment they reconsidered and accepted, and
also

" Voted, that Mr. John Calfe have Liberty to luiild a
fulling mill at massabesick brook between the two Ponds,
agreeable to his own Proposals."

What these proposals were does not appear, but he Iniilt
a fulling mill there, opposite Nathan Griffin's barn. (See
History of the Calfe and Blanchard Mills.)

It was also

" Voted, That for settlement of the Rev. Mr. Timothy
"White, or the Next Lawfully Settled minister, their shall be
given two Hundred acres of Land in the Next division, or
two Hundred and fifty pounds of Land fairly apprised."

Mr. White not Ijeing settled, it was given to Mr. Flagg ;
lots No. 20 and 21, second part of the second division.

At a meeting held May 16, 1739,

" Voted, That Mr. John Macmurphy, his heirs and Suc-
cessors, have Liberty to set up and Erect a grist mill at
massabesick River below the Create Pond in tAvo years,
not hendring Iron Works or saw mill if the town shall see
it needful to have them or either of them built," &c. (See
History of the McMurphy or Webster Mill, on a subsequent
page.)

The proprietors held many meetings for the transaction
of their business, which consisted in laying out the differ-
ent divisions and making amendments, and about their
lawsuits, and selling land to pay expenses.

A vote was passed the first Tuesday of November, 1785,
choosing Dea. Jonathan Hall, Capt. John Underbill, and
Robert Wilson, Esq., a committee " to sell all the common
land in this town that Lays scatring about in sundry places,
to any Person or Persons as the Committee shall Judge
Best."



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OP CHESTER. 89

November 14, 1794, Stephen Chase, who had been chosen
in the place of Robert Wilson, deceased, and Samuel.
Underbill in the place of John Underbill, advertised all
the undivided land belonging to the proprietors at auction,
which was sold to Stephen Chase, Esq., for one pound
seventeen shillings.

March 16, 1795, they adjusted their accounts, and had a
balance of X 2 17 8, which was divided between "William
White, Stephen Chase, John S. Dearborn, Samuel Wilson
and Thomas Shirley, representing one right each, and John
Emerson, representing eight and a half rights.

Thus ended the affairs of the Proprietors of Chester.



CHAPTER VI.

HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER FROM 1737 TO 1773.

1737. At an adjournment of the annual meeting April
7, 1737,

'• Voted, That their shall be a sufficient Pound built
with Loggs thirty foot square. Six foot High, with two posts,
a good gate, and a Lock and Key, and set on the Left hand
of the way a Little to the southward of John Boid's, and
Completely finished by the first Day of July next.

" Voted, That their Shall be five Pounds Raised to pay
for building a Pound agreeable to the foregoing Vote.

" Voted, That Capt. Ligalls Shall build a pound for five
Pounds and finish the same as hath been before men-
tioned."

There had been a vote passed in 1735 to build a pound,
and Jonathan Blunt in 1733 was chosen pound-keeper, but
probably without any pound.

John Boid lived between where John Haselton and
Edwin Haselton now live. The first road laid out in town
was through John Boid's lot toward the meeting-house. In
1748 the road was laid out from there, " Beginning at the



90 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

bridge by the Pound where the Highway is laid out across
James Boid's home Lott originally," and extending south-
erly to Epliraim Haselton's. This fixes the location of the
pound.

" Voted, That their shall be fiveteen Pound Raised to
Purches a town Stock of ammunition for the town's use."

1738. The Presbyterian parish records commence this
year.

" Jnn. y° 19, 1738, at a meeting held at Liftennnt Thomas
Smith's of rar. wilson's Congregation, Caj)t. Samuel Ingalls
chosen moderator ; James Quenton Chosen Clerk.

"1. Voted, Ther meeting hous is to be sect on mr. "Wil-
son's lot over against mr. wilam Powel's hous.

"2. Voted, That s'^ meeting hous shall Buildcd 38 foot
long & 33 foot wide with a 20 foot post.

"3. Voted, Capt. Samuel Ingalls <fe John Tolford & wil-
liam wilson, Lift, thomas smith &, John Kar sliall be y®
Comitee to oversee the building of s'' meeting hous."

William Powel lived on lot No. 14, at the southwest end,
and the meeting-house stood southwest across the way on
No. 119, which Mr. Wilson purchased in 1735.

Sept. 18, 1744,

" Voted, John Moor, John Tolford & Andrew Craig a
Comity to take a deed from y*^ Rev. mr. John wilson of the
land wher y* meeting hous stands, or half an acre in all,
for a burying place of y^ s*^ Congregation."

The town this year voted to raise five pounds to add to
the town's stock of ammunition.

1739. At an adjourned town meeting held April 4,

"Voted, to Rais Sixty Pounds' to pay for the Supplies
in the ministry we have had in time past, and for mending
the glass of the meeting house, and for other necessary
uses.

" Voted, that two hundred and forty Pounds ])e Raised
on the Presbyterian inhabitants towards building a meeting
house for the Rev*^ mr. John Wilson."

At the Presbyterian parish meeting Jan. 3, 1739,

"1. voted, that Capt. samuel Ingalls, mr. James Camp-
bell & John Aiken, Chosen a [committee] to sess mr. wil-



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 91

son's Celery for this present year ; likewise to sess y'' money
for building the meeting' hous, for the first Innidred pound.
" 2. voted, y' John Moor & John Shirlee & John Smith'
& Robert mils & Andrew Cra2:e, Chosen for a Comite to
Chus a workman with the undertakers of the work of s*^
meeting hous ; & likewise to give security to y'' undertakers
for y'' money for Building s*^ hous, providing y^ Congregation
Give security to them for s'' money ; & likewise to take secu-
rity of the undertakers for their performance."

1740. In the warning for the annual town meeting
March 27, 1740, is an article (6) " To take Effectual means
and methods to prevent the killing of fish as they Come
into massabesick Pond, any more than what is for family
support," &G. There is no action on it recorded.

At an adjournment of the meeting April 8tli, it is re-
corded,

" Whereas at the Settling of the Rev*^ mr. Ebenezer
Flagg in the work of the ministry at Chester a number of
Inhabitants Entered their desents, alledging that they were
of a different Persuasion, — Presl)yterians according to the
Kirk of Scotland, — and supposed the LaAV freed them from
Paying ;. they applyed themselves to the general Court
where the Law was explained in their favour, the Rev*^ mr.
John Wilson being their minister, and they have Paid mr.
Wilson distinct from the Rest of tlie towne, separate from
mr. Flagg's herers. But now it happens that the filth article
inserted in the warning for the Present meeting is to Settle
a Sallary npon the Rev*^ mr. John Wilson ; the moderator
not thinking this meeting Proper for that affair, they insist-
ing to Have Sumthing done upon it, the Rest of the town
being first withdrawn from mr. wilson's Herers the moder-
ator addrest himself to them in the following manner : If
it be vour minds that the Rev'^ mr. John Wilson, minister
of the Presbyterians, shall have one Hundred Pounds
money for his sallery for the year Ensuing, to be Paid by
the presbyterians his herers, manifest it by holding up your
hands ; they that are of a Contrary mind, manifest it by the
same Signe.

" Passed in the affirmative by mr. Wilson's Hearers."



92 HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER.

The following act was passed by the General Assembly
Aug. 7, 17-40, constituting two parishes, which quieted the
controversy :



w Province of ) ^^^^° ^^^'^^ ^^^^^ Georgii Secundi, mag-
9 XT TT 1 r / 1186 Britainae, Francise et Hibernice,
< NewHampsh^ i n • n \
5 1 ) Decimo Quarto.

^ An act of inable the Two Congregations in the Town of
a' Chester in the Province of New Hampshire to raise
t* money to pay their Respective Ministers' Salary, &c.

Whereas the Inhabitants of the Town of Chester in the
Province of New Hanp"^'' have represented to this Court
that they labour under great dificulties with Respect to
raising their Ministers' Salary and collecting the same, and
have petitioned the Court for Relief :

Be it therefore enacted by His Excellency the Govern',
Council and Representatives convened in General Assem-
bly, and by the authority of the Same, That Each Congrega-
tion in Said Town be and hereby is authoriz*^ and impow-
ered to Act Separate and Distinct from each other as to
Parrish affairs, and that Each Respective Congregation
be and hereby is authorized and Impowered to Raise
Money to pay their Respective Ministers' Salary, for the de-
fraying the charges of Building and Repairing their Respec-
tive Meeting houses and other Parrish charges, and to
chuse Wardens in each Congregation to assess the Persons
and estates of Each Congregation as shall be rais*^ by them
Respectively for the ends & purposes afores*^ ; And to Chuse
Collectors to Collect the Same, which collectors Shall have
the Same power and Authority as Constables in this Prov-
ince by Law have to gather or Collect Rates ; and that Such
Wardens Chosen as aforesaid be and hereby are authorized
and Impowr'' to give a warrant to Such Collectors as fully
and Amply to all intents and purposes as Selectmen are
authorised and impower*^ to do.

And that John Calfe, Ephraim Hazeltine and Enoch
Coll)y be and hereby are authorised and impower*^ to call
the first meeting for y" Congregationall Parish, And Capt.
Sam'^ Ingalls, John Tolford and John Carr to call the first
meeting for the Presbeterian Parrish, and the said Congre-
gations shall have power to Chuse all officers necessary to
manage & Transact Parrish affairs, as other Parishes have
or ought by Law to have within this Province.



HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF CHESTER. 93

Aug. 7"", Read three times in the House of Repre-
1740. sentatives and Passed to be enacted.

Andrew Wiggins, Speaker.
Eadem Read three times at the Council Board, and
Die. Voted a concurrence.

Richard Waldron, Sec.

Same day I ascent to y® foregoing Bill.

J. Belcher.
Coppy Ex.

Theodore Atkinson, Sec'.

The Congregational records commence with a copy of the
act. A warning to call the first meeting, dated August 27th,
1740, the meeting to be held on the second Wednesday in
September, is signed by John Calfe, Enoch Colby and
Ephraim Hazeltine. John Calfe was chosen moderator,
and adjourned to the 17th. At the adjourned meeting,
John Calfe was chosen clerk; Benj. Hills, James Yar-
num and Eliphaz Sanborn, wardens, and Paul Smith, col-
lector.

At a parish meeting, November 7, 1840, a committee
was chosen to repair the meeting-house (but not to glaze
it), and to sweep the meeting-house and buy a burying-
cloth.

1741. At the annual town meeting, the last Thursday in
March, " John Tolford and James Varnum were chosen In-
voice men, to take the Invoice of the heads & estates of the
Whole town." They took and returned to the Secretary's
office an inventory of the town. Chester had not hitherto



Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N. H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 8 of 60)