Benjamin Chase.

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

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iV ;?";-';?■

(fyO~e'<ny JL^^r^

HisTOEY OF Old Chester,

FROM 1719 TO 18(5 9.





Entered according to Act of Congress, iu the year 1869,

By Benjamin Chase,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of New Hampshire.



In my youth I "was accustomed to hear my father, and other
aged people, relate the incidents of olden time, in -which I was
always interested, and therefore remembered. When Dr. Charles
Bell's '^ Facts in lielation to the History of Chester" appeared in
the seventh volume of the N. II. His. Soc. Coll., it was so small
in compass, containing little or nothing respecting the Long
Meadows, I thought of collecting and preserving the traditional
history of that i)art of the town.

Upon mentioning the subject to the Hon. Samuel D. Bell, he
insisted that wc should have a history of the whole old town, and
have it published, and wished mo to undertake the work. I at
lirst declined, but seeing that the alternative was presented of my
doing it or having all the traditional part pass away and be lost, I
at length consented, having the assurance of Judge Bell that he
would aid me. He has done me the favor of perusing most of the
work as it has been written, and has greatly aided by his advice
and suggestions. Upon our comparing notes, our ideas have run
nearly in the same channel. He furnished most of the mate-
rials for the notice of the grant ees of Chester. I greatly regret
that he did not live to see the work completed.

I have endeavored to ascertain and show who the early settlers
were, who their ancestors were, where they came from, the iden-
tical spot where they settled, who their children were, and Avhat
became of them. To do this, it was necessary to examine thor-
oughly the records of deeds and probate, and also to have a mai)
of the town as laid out into lots, which is an important part of
the history of the town. These locations are thus lixed for all


I am a^varc that main' will object to so much space being taken
up with the genealogy. It was according to my own taste and
that of Judge Bell, and may be an aid to descendants of Chester
abroad, in tracing back their lineage. I have suppressed many
dates, and much respecting the later generation which I had, or
which was easily accessible, that many will yet wish had been
printed. I have attempted to show how those pioneers lived,
what they did, and the energy they exerted, &c., not in a poet-
ical style, being sadly deticieut in imagination, but by a plain
statement of facts.

Where documents are coi^ied, they are literal copies, capitals,
orthography and abbreviations, and arc indicated by quotation
marks. I have used the orthography of names as found on the
records from which I was copying. Judge Bell, when residing
in Chester forty-five years ago, collected the tradition of some of
the old families from Col. White and others, of vvdiich collection
I have availed myself. Stephen Chase, Esq., kept a diary from
1784 to his death in 1819, from which I have derived a good deal
of information. I would gratefully acknowledge the courtesies
extended to me by those having charge of the various public
offices I have had occasion to examine. I am greatly indebted to
Capt. William F. Goodwin, late Librarian of N. H. Ills. Soc, for
finding and copying documents in the Secretary's office. While
all of whom I have made inquiries have treated me courteously,
and cheerfully given such information as they possessed, I can-
not refrain from acknowledging my great obligations to Miss
Margaret Shirley for the information given resi^ecting the ancient
families; she and her sister having much more traditional knowl-
edge than any other persons consulted. I am indebted to Henry
M. Eaton, Esq., for aid in putting the names of the early settlers
of Candia on the map, and also to John Brown, Esq., and the
Eev. Joseph Fullonton for those of Eaymond. Last, though not
least, I woiild acknowledge my obligations to the compositors and
proof-reader for their skill and x^af ience in deciphering bad copy.

I lay no claim to literary merit for the w^ork. There are, no
doubt, many errors, some merely clerical or typographical ; others,
from uncertain and sometimes conflicting traditions; and prob-
a])ly I did not always uudcrsUind the idea meant to be conveyed;


besides, -when I liuvc msulo statements from my own recollection
I may liavc fallen into error.

The -work has greatly exceeded my ex]icctations when I com-
menced, and the labor of preparing it many times wliat I then
anticipated ; but I have never regretted the nndin'takiug. What-
ever may be its merits or demerits, or the labor bestowed upon it,
I have derived a great amount of satisfaction in its compilation,
and if the reader shall derive a quarter as much in reading- it, he
•will be amply repaid for his money and time expended.

Benjamin Cuase.

Auburn, N. H., May, 18G9.




The Proprietary Ilistoiy from 1719 to obtaining the Charter, IMay 8, 1721, i


The First Settlement and Laying out of the Lots, 25'


Original Grantees and their Lots, 42


Settlement of the Lines, 59


Settling Ministers — Presbyterian Controversy — Closing the Proprie-
tors' Affairs, 69


History of the Town of Chester from 1737 to 1773, .... 89


History of the Town continued, from 1774 to ISOO, • . . . .128


History of the Town continued, from 1800 to 1868, . . '. .164


History of Roads, 191



History of Mills, 222


Pauperism — Rates or Taxes— Mail aud Stage Facilities, . . .252


Literary and Professional History, 272


Ecclesiastical, Religious and Moral History, 315


Military History 365


How the Early Settlers Lived, or the Industrial History, . . .409


Town Officers, or Official History, 447


Genealogical and Biographical History, 462


History of Candia, 632


History of Raymond, . C54


1. ThcIMap.
J 2. Portrait of the Rev. El)cnezer Flagg, opposite title page.

3. A Ground plan of the Old Meeting-house, ....

4. A View of the New Meeting-house, .....

5. A View of Long-Meadow Meeting-house, ....
C. An Inside View of the Long-Meadow Meeting-house, .

7. A View of the Congregational Church in Chester,

8. A Portrait of Dr. Nathan Plummcr,

9. A Portrait of Dr. James F. Brown,

10. A View of the Congregational Church in Auburn,

11 . A View of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Auburn,

12. Carding and Spinning Wool, Cotton or Tow,

13. Breaking and Swingling Flax,

14. Combing Flax and Spinning Linen,

1."). An Old-fashioned Plow,

16. A Snow-shoe, .......-•

17. A Portrait of Samuel D. Bell,

18. A Portrait of B. Pike Chase,

19. The Besidence of Benjamin Chase,

20. Portrait of Benjamin Chase, face his residence,

21. A Portrait of Stephen Chase,

22-23. Portrait of John Clark and E. C. Clark, face each other be


24. A View of the Residence of George P. Clark, face,

25. A Portrait of Hendrick Dearborn,

26. A Portrait of John Folsom,

27-28. Portraits of Nathan and Sally Griffin, face each other between

29. A Portrait of Natt Head,

30. A Portrait of Frederick Smyth, •

31. A Portrait of Jesse J. Underbill,

32. An Old-fashioned Ax,


1 .'39


490, 391



I (liiiik lliat the earliest of anything which I liave ^ecn about
Chester is Oct. 23, 1717. Samuel Smith of Ilavorliill deeacd a
rig-ht in Kingstown to Sanuud Ingalls of Cheshire. Clement
Hughes, the first clerk, spells it " Chccher." The records com-
mence Avith "A Society for Settling the Chestnut Country, ■' and
in the charter it is called '' Chester." It is useless for me to spec-
ulate about the origin of the name, any further than to say that
they arc all nearly related in orthography and sound.

The surface of Chester is very uneven, and most of it stony, —
much of it not susceptible of cultivation; but v.iieu it is culti-
vated, the soil is strong and produces such crox:)3 as are adapted
to a Xew England climate. The forests, which were heavy, were,
at the lower i)art where the settlement- commenced, composed
mostly of walnut and chestnut, intermixed with oak and pine
and other woods. At the Long Meadovrs the same, vrilh less
walnut and more hemlock. Ilooksett, or Chester Woods, abound-
ed more in the yellow- or pitch-pine and oak, and when bunit
over, as it frequently was, the oaks came up and grew rapidly,
and produced an abundance of material for hoop-poles. Candia,
and perhaps Raymond, luid a greater predominance of maple,
beech and hemlock. There is a great tendency when the growth
is cut otl' for the hard woods to sprout from the stump, aud the
soft woods, especially white pine, to come up from the seeds,
which makes even the roughest land valuable.

Although the laud is uneven, there are no large hills, but
simply swells which have names: Walnut Hill, near the lower


corner, so called from that timber; lugalls Hill, because Capt.
Iiigalls settled there ; Robie's Hill, because John Eobio lived and
had a tan-yard near its base; and Stockman's and Severance's
Hill, from people of that name who lived on its side. The farms
of Thomas Richardson and Thomas Craige went back ou to Great
Hill. At the Long- Meadows is Mine Hill, in which the Devil's
Den is situated. The Devil's Den is a cave on the southwesterly
side of the hill, near its base, and some thirty rods from the
road. Peter French of Sandown gave Dr. Belkuap a description
of it (which was published in his History in 1792, and copied
into Morse's Geographies) in wliich he drew largely from his
imagination, telling of a room fifteen or twenty feet square.
1 have never had the curiosity to explore it, but it is only
a mere tissure in the rock, and so large that a man can with
ditRculty go in sixty feet. Rattlesnake Hill lies south of the
l^ond and west of Londonderry turnpike. The swell between
the two bays of the pond is called in the records Mount Misery.
The hill lying north of the Oswego mill, mostly in Candia, is
called in tlie records Tower Hill; but a small circumstance, which
occurred a little more than fifty years ago, gave Hazen McDuffee,
who lives there, the appellation of " the butcher,'' and the hill
has since been called "■ Butcher Hill." A few years ago a liberty-
pole was raised and a Fourth-of-.July celebration held on the
swell of land near school-house No. 5, in Auburn, when it was
named Bunker Hill, which name it has since borne.

There are no larr/e streams, but an abundance of small ones.
A stream has its head in Beech Hill pond in ITooksctt, and pass-
ing through Tower Hill pond, partly in Candia and partly in
Auburn, taking the name of Oswego brook, empties into Massa-
besic pond. Another branch passes through' Little Massabesic
pond and unites with Oswego l)rook, near the old Calfe fulling-

The pond is said to have derived its name from the circumstance
that an Indian whose squaw's name was " Massa," being inquired
of in regard to the health of his fiimily, replied, " My massa be
sick." It is a beautiful sheet of water with a hard shore and
bottom, and some fine beaches of sand. The stream leading from
the pond to Merrimack river is called the Cohas, and has a fall of


about one huiulrcd and fifty foet. Alewivos, and pcrhaprs sliad,
formerly passed into the pond.

Tliove arc tAVO of the sources of Exeter river which liave their
rise in Chester; one risiii:^' in Tliree Camj) Meadows, passing I'v
the old saw-mill into Sandov.'n, and ag-aiu into Chester, and
another flowing from the North pond, uniting witli it and passing
through Haymond. Another hi'anch rises in Candia, passing near
the station and through rjaymond, unites with the main river
near the lines of the towns. This last is called the North Brand;,
and the locality near their junction, the Branch.

The stream rising near the Congregational church in Auburn,
and passing through Auburn into Londonderry, and thence into
Manchester, and emptying into the Cohas, has meadows most of
its leugth, which were called the Long JNFeadows, and hence llie
west part of the town is called the Long ^Meadows. The stream
in Manchester is called the Little Colias.

There is a stream rising in Candia, passing the village and the
island into Bayniond, and through Jones j^oud; and another com-
ing from Deerfield, uniting near Baymond Centre, forming Laiii-
prey Eel river, whicli passes Freetown mill, and into Epping.
Merrimack river passes a short distance into Old Chester, the line
being .some distance west of the river at Martin's Eeri-y. The
Falls are called in (lie records "' He Iloxey Falls," but were not in
Chester, the line crossing belovr. The stream from Lakiirs pond,
passing Head's mill and entering the river above the tails, is
called " He Iloxey brook " in (lie records.

A small stream entering the river near Martin's Ferry is called
in the records " Lousy brook." The meadow on this brook, near
the old Concord road, was called Bushneli's meadow, and the
hills on the south and west Avere called Bushneli's hills, from
the fact that a man by that name had a camp near the meadoAV,
where Sranuel Bowell formerly lived and Josiah Clark now li\'es,
in Ilooksett. It Avas a stopping place for travelers in early times,
and Avas called Bushneli's Camp.



There T\'ere different species of money used. Four shillings six
pence sterling was equal to a Spanish milled dollar. Six shil-
lings lawful was equal to a dollar. The principal part of the
money in actual use was bills of credit issued by the Province,
which depreciated, and its value was continually changing. The
following values are extracted from Belknap's ''New Hamp-
shire," Yol. III., p. 125:

In 1720 an ounce of silver was worth 7s. 6d. ; 1725, 16s. ; 1730,
2Us.; 1725, 27s. 6d. ; 1740; 28s.; 1745, 3Cs.; 1750, 50s.; 1755, 70s.;
17C0, 120s., or one pound was equal to one shilling lawful.

This was called " old tenor," and sometimes when there had
been a new emission, was called " new tenor." I And by old ac-
counts that from 1760 up to the issue of the Coutinental money
by Congress, one pound '' old tenor" was equal to one shilling
lawful. Massachusetts also issued bills of credit, which did not
depreciate so much as those of New Hampshire. One pound
Massachusetts "old tenor" was equal to two sliillings sixpence,

]N[ay 10, 1775, Congress issued two millions of dollars, and in
July three millions more, and in December three millions more,
which was called " Continental money," and promised to pay in
Spanish milled dollars, or its equivalent in gold or silver. This
was assigned to the several States, and they were to redeem it;
but tiiis State (New Hampshire) had more of its own paper than
it could redeem, and it was counterfeited to a great extent, and
therefore depreciated. One hundred dollars in silver was equiv-
alent to the following sums :

January, 1777. it was at par; July, one dollar in silver was
equal to 81.04; January 1, 1778, to $;).25; July, to $4.25; Jan-
uary, 1779, to .s7. 42 : July, to $14.77; January, 1780, to $29.;;4;
July, to 860.00; January, 1781, to $75.06; June, to $120.00.

Paper money Ijccamc entirely worthless, and the currency came
to a specie basis. I gi\-e copies of the bills of sojue of the issues
of paper money, and would give fac-similies, but the expense is
too great for mv work.


The following" is a sami)lc of the Province bills of credit :

"Tins rNDKXTKi) ]>iLL of Uircc Pounds & ten
shillin<>\s Due from y*-' Province of Ncav Hamp"^
in New England, to y" Possessor thereof shall
be in Value equal to Money and shall be
accordingiV accepted by the Treasurer and
Receivers subordinate to him in all Publick
payments & for any Stock at any time in y**
Treasury. Portsmouth tlie Twentyeth of May
1717. i)V Order of the General Assemblv."

The following" is a copy of a nicely engraved bill. On the left
of the siguatures is a boat with men in it, uearing a wharf:

( N'O ( 4039 )

VII Shill» & 6 Pence Vn Shill= & G Pence

Wk Joiktly -VXD SEVERALLY promise to pay
Isaac Wixslow Mcrch' or order in Boston
seven penny w'; & half (Joiu'd Silver Ster=,
Alloy, Troy -Weight or Gold pro Rata by the
31' Decemb"^ 17oi3; Value Rec''; Boston.
7^— G"! N.E. It Augt; 1740. 7"— G'^

Edw*^ Ilutchinson
Thomas Oxnard

[ E.NGRAVI>-G.] JosllUa WluSlOW

Sani' Sewall

(Xo. 220) 6d

i Colony of the Massachusetts
\ Bay, June W' 177G.
J^ITTS Bill entitles the Beaver to rece/'re
,SIX BBNCE L. M. out of tlie
Treasury, hy the ISth o/ June, 1778; and
shall be reccircd for that Sum in all Pay-
ments agreeable to an Art of the Assembly
of said Colony.

J. Pautiudge, Com.



The following is a copy of a Contiueutal bill : — ,

*** * No. 476427 ^


to a Besolution


passed at Phi-
ladelphia, F E -

B R U A K T 17,


In this space is a Jig-
uro of a siiu-dial, with i
" Mind your Basi>ie\sii" |
beneath it.



Ou the reverse side is a chain with tlurteeu links, to represent
the thirteen United Coloiiies. "Printed by Hall & Sellers in
Philadelphia, 1776."


In ancient writings a great manj^ abbreviations are used, such as
y*^ for the, y' for that, y" for them. For the lots I have used
II. L. for Home Lot, O. H. for Old Hundreds, 2d P., 2d D., for
Second Part of the Second Division, 3d D. for third Division, «fcc.
In the Genealogy, b. is used for born, m. for mari'ied, unm. for
unmarried, and d. for died. In one generation I have used
Roman numerals, and in tlie next figures, to denote the number of
the children ; also the parent in one generation is printed in small
capitals, the next in Italics, and the next in Roman.



CHARTER, MAY 8, 1722.

The records of Chester commence with the proceedings
of a meeting of " The Society for Settling the Chesnut
Country, held at Said Country the fifteenth day of October,
1719." This society liad proltably existed some time, and
held meetings and kept records. It was composed princi-
pally of Hampton people, witli a few Portsmouth men.

At a meeting of the proprietors of Chester, held by ad-
journment, at the house of Joshua Wingate of Hamjiton,
Oct. 7th, 1729, it was

" Voted, That Capt. Henry Sherburne and Dr. Edmond
Topin be a Committee to Examine and Compare y" town
book, and y" Duplicate book, & see y' they Exactly Agree,
they being upon Oath to Compare 'Em.

"Voted, That Dr. Edmond T©PP"i keep y*^ Duplicate
book, and it be kept at Hampton from year to year, and
that y'' town Clerk Send attested Copi»ys after Every Meet^
ing to him y' keeps y*" Duplicate book, in order to be En-
tered in said book."

The records of the earlier meetings were probably en-
tered in the book kept at Hampton; but it is, proluilily,
with other papers, lost. The Hon. S. D. Bell has made
enquiries for it, but without success.


There were also otlier parties who petitioned for a grant
of this territory, or hinds adjoining, and made efforts to
have possession, wliich I will notice before following up the
proceedings of the society.

In Council,
August 24, 1720. " The petition of John Calf k Compa.
prefered to this board, praying for a township above Exeter,
was read."

This was by Massachusetts men, Mr. Calf being an in-
habitant of Newbury.

There is a deed on the Rockingham records, dated Oct.
23, 1717, from Samuel Smith of Haverhill to " Samuel In-
galls of Cheshire, Blacksmith," of a right in Kingstown.
If Capt. Ingalls was in Chester at all at that time, it is
probable that it was to have possession for some of the

In Council,

Oct. 26, 1720. " A message to the board by Mr. S})eaker,
and Lt. Col. Wear, praying that the Consideration of the
petition of Mr. John Calf and Company be suspended for
the present."

In board,
" Ordered that the Petition of Mr. John Calf and Com-
pany praying for township north westward of Exeter be
suspended till the land disposed of in that part of the
province be laid out and bounded to prevent interfering of

Richard Waldron, Cler. Con."

In Council,
April 19, 1721. " A petition signed by about one hun-
dred persons was prefered to this board by Messrs. Ezekiel
Walker, John Calf and Elisha Story, praying for liberty
and Encouragement to settle a town on a certain tract of
land North westward from Exeter, lying partly between
Cheshire and New Portsmouth and partly above new Ports-
mouth adjoining Ciieshire line, containing the Quantity of
ten miles Square, upon Such Conditions as in Said petition
as is on file is contained: Wherefore it is ordered in Coun-
f'il that the petitioners have liberty To build and Settle

proprif:tarv history, 3

upon tlic said tract uj)on the Conditions in Said petition
mentioned, ])rovided it in no way infringe on or Interfere
with any former grants or possessions or propertys.

Richard Waldron, Cle. Con,"

'Mr. Calf's former ])etition was probably for Chesliire,
wliich being postj)oned, he witli others now petitioned for
Nottingham. There is a deed on the Rocl^ingham records,
dated 1721, from Mary Cottle to John Calf for Moses Lit-
tle, of a right of settlement in land lying westward of
Exeter, called New Boston, The New Portsmonth was
probably Barrington, Barrington was granted to the tax-
payers of Portsmonth, according to the amount of rates
they had paid for the last four years, May 10, 1722, It is
said to have been used as an out-lot to settle their poor peo-
ple on.

Nottingham charter is not in the Secretary's office, f)rolj-
ahly having been burnt in the office in 1786. It was, how-
ever, granted in 1722, shortly after that of Chester, In
the House, Aug. 26, 1720 : " Whereas our House having a
pettion from Mr. Brown & Company for a town Ship, We
Think Itt Infrindg on our towns, especiall on Cheshire
whare We have a pettion on file for this two years. Have
sent up the petition and Memorial to the upper House
which Lays on file In y'' Clark's office,"

Who Mr. Brown and his company were, or where they
resided, does not appear.

Stephen Dudley of Freetown (Raymond), who was of
Exeter before and afterwards, obtained a deed from an
Indian named Peter Penuet, and Abigail his squaw, of a
tract of land at Freetown, as appears by a deed on Rocking-
ham records, dated May, 1722, wdierein,in consideration of
affection, Dudley conveys to Francis James of Gloucester
" his right in four hundred acres of land in Freetown to lie
taken out of that tract bought of Peter Penuet and Abigail
his squaw, by deed dated Jan. 17, 1718-19, also in virtue of
a power of attorney from John Tickers of Charlestown."
The deed to Dnlley is not on the records. This was ])rob-


ably a move for color of title and possession for some of
the parties.

AVe now return to the proceedings of the Society and the
Governor and Council in relation to them.

At the aforesaid meeting Oct. 15, 1719,

" l^S Voted, That Capt. Henry Sherburne be Modera-

" 2^'y, Voted, That Joseph Tilton be Clerk of the So-

" 8'^'-'', Voted, That Capt. Henry Sherburne be Receiver.

" 4'^'y, Voted, That Joseph Tilton, Ichabod Rol)ie, Caleb
Tole, Clement Hughes, Capt. Henry Sherburne, Eph. Den-
net and Jacob Stanyon, be a Committee to manage the af-
fairs of the Society; And That the s'^ Committee Shall
have power to Call meetings of the Society as often as they
Shall Think Necessary, and to act in all other matters that
they Shall Think proper for the good of the whole Society.

u 5thiy^ Voted, That Ichabod Robie, Jacob Stanyan, Ca-
leb Tole & Michael Whidden be a Committee to Lay out
the Lotts.

" 6*'^ Voted, That all priviledges of Streams shall be
Reserved for y"" Use of the Society.

Online LibraryBenjamin ChaseHistory of old Chester [N.H.] from 1719 to 1869 → online text (page 1 of 61)