D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Cheshire and Sullivan counties, New Hampshire online

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HISTORY



OF



CHESHIRE#SULLIYM



COUNTIES,



NEW HAMPSHIRE.



EDITED BY

D. HAMILTON HURD.



PHILADELPHIA:
J. W. LEWIS & CO.

1886.



COPYBIGHT, L886, BY J. W. LEWIS & Co.



IA<. U. EODOERS PR) \ I I s MPANY,

PHIL IDE] nil v.



N



PREFACE



In presenting this work to the public, the publishers claim that they have
at least endeavored to faithfully fulfill their promises. The most competent
persons have been employed in the preparation of the work, and it is sincerely
hoped that readers in the various towns of the counties will find the narratives
! of their special localities interesting and instructive. The work has been com-
piled from authenticated and original sources.

The preparation of the "History of Cheshire and Sullivan Counties" upon the
within elaborate plan imposed upon both editors and publishers a task of no
small magnitude, and one which they have keenly felt. They submit the work
to the public trusting that their just expectations may be fully realized.

The Publishers.



m



CONTENTS.



CHESHIRE COUNTY.



CHAPTER PACE

I. GENERAL HISTORY 1

II. BENCH AND BAR 9

III. INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS 20



TOWN HISTORIES.



ALSTEAD H4

CHESTERFIELD 123

DUBLIN 180

FITZWILLIAM 200

GILSUM 207

HARRISVILLE 210

HINSDALE 357

JAFFRET 220

KEENE 24

MARLBOROUGH 231

MARLOW 314

NELSON 318



PAGE

RICHMOND 322

RINDGE 332

ROXBURY 320

STODDARD 331

SULLIVAN 340

SURRY 342

TROY 346

SWANZEV 375

WALPOLE 408

WESTMORELAND 457

WINCHESTER 04



SULLIVAN COUNTY



CHAPTEB

I. GENERAL BISTORY
II. BENCH AND BAR .



TOWN HISTORIES



PAGE

ACWORTH 19

OHARLESTI >WN 23

CLAREMONT 40

CORNISH 141

CROYDON 150

GOSHEN 168

GRANTHAM 170

LANGDON 181



PAGE

LEMPSTER 185

NEWPORT 200

PLAINFIELD 310

SPRINGFIELD 317

SUNAPEE 336

( MTY 384

WASHINGTON 3'Jl

APPENDIX 406

V



ILLUSTRATIONS



CHESHIRE COUNTY



page

Appleton, Jesse R 191

Ball, David 582

Boyden, Elijah 302

Boyden, Frederic 368

Briggs, Oliver L 522

Buffnm, C.T 106

Buffuni, Haskell 518

Burt, William H 15

Carpenter, Algernon S 112

Cole, Theodore. 520

Dickenson, Ansel 584

Elliot, J 104

Esty, Henry 524

Faulkner, F. A 12

French, Abijah 516

Frost, Rufus S 300

Fuller, John II 108

Graves, Josiah G 454

Greenwood, Colonel ,W. H 304

Ilaile, William, Ex-Governor 367



pagx:
Hale, Samuel W 107

Harris, Gordis D 109

Hemenway, Luther 306

Holhrook, Daniel H 110

Holbrook, John J Ill

Know] ton, James ::il

Lane, F. F 11

Leonard, Levi W 103

Map (outliue) of Counties 1

Map — plan of Westmoreland 466

McCollester, Rev. S. H 295

Patten, Daniel W 528

Robertson, George 371

Stearns, John 37-1

Thompson, Albert 525

Turner, James B 583

Twitchell, Dr. Amos 113

White, Shubael 527

Whitney, Charles 308

Winch, Nathan 310



SULLIVAN COUNTY.



PAGE

Adams, Daniel N 356

Baker, Edward D 15

Balcom, George L 131

Barton, L. W 302

Clark, Judge William 132

Colby, Ira 13

Dunbar, George W 165

Eastman, Charles H 134

Farwell, George N 130

Fisher, Leonard P 139

Freeman, P. C 14

G Ihue, David P 362

Goas, B. F 177

Craves, L. J 137



PAGE

Hall, Rufus 178

Hatch, Mason 298

Howard, Rev. Lewis 359

McDaniel, Charles 363

Parker, H. W 9

Quimby, Samuel 358

Richards, Josiah 138

Runals. A > 382

Sanborn, Thomas 300

Smith, Alvah 1H4

Swett, John L 297

Tolles, Nathaniel .'. 135

Wait, A. S 16



Vll



BIOGRAPHICAL



CHESHIRE COUNTY.



PAGE

Apple ton. Jessie R 191

Ball, David 582

Boyden, Elijah 302

Boyden, Frederic 368

Brings, Oliver L 522

Buffum, Caleb T 106

Buffum, Haskell 518

Burt, Charles W 19

Burt, Lieutenant-Colonel William II 15

Carpenter, Algernon 8 112

Chamberlain Family , 513

Cole, Theodore 520

Dickinson, Ansel 584

Elliot Family 104

Esty, Henry 524

Faulkner, Hon. F. A 13

Faulkner, Francis A 12

French, Abijali 516

Frost, Bufus S 300

Fuller, John H Ids

Graves, Josiab G 454

Greenwood, Colonel W. II '. 304

Gustine, Edward 113



TAGE

Haile, William 367

Hale, Ex-Governor Samuel W 107

Harris, Gordis D 109

Heinenway, Luther 306

Holbrook, Daniel H 110

Holbrook.J. J ill

Horton, Edgar K 530

Horton, Egbert C 530

Knowlton, Janus 311

Lane, F. F 11

Leonard, Levi W. C 193

McCollester, Rev. S. II 295

Patten, Daniel W 528

Robertson, George 371

Stearns, John 374

Thompson, Albert 525

Turner, Family ;,83

Twitchell, Dr. Amos 113

White, Shubael 527

Whitney, Charles 308

Wilkinson, Solon S 313

Winch, Nathan 310



SULLIVAN COUNTY,



PAGE

Adams, Daniel N ."•. 356

Baker, Edward D 15

Balcom, George L 131

Barton, L. W 302

Clark, William 132

Colby, Ira 13

Dunbar, George W 165

Eastman, Charles II 134

Earwill, George N 130

Fisher, Leonard 1' 139

Freeman, P. C 14

Goss, Benjamin F 177

Goodhue, David P 362

Graves, L. J 137



PAGE

Hall, Rufus 178

Hatch, Mason 298

Howard, Rev. Lewis 359

McDaniel, Charles 363

Parker, II. W 9

Paris, Sherman, residence of 33

Quimby, Samuel 358

Richards, Josiah 138

Runals Family (the) 382

Sanborn, Thomas 300

Smith, Alvah 194

Swett, John L 297

Tolles, Nathaniel 135

Wait, Albert S 16

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HISTORY



OF



CHESHIRE COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE.



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CHAPTER I.

GENERAL HISTORY.
BY WILLARD BILL.

Geographical — Topographical — Geological — Botanical —
Manufactures — Courts and County Buildings — County
Officers — Aboriginal Occupancy — Population from 1867
to 1880.

Geographical. — The province of New
Hampshire was divided into five counties in 1771.
One of these was named Cheshire, deriving its
name from a county in the west of England, cele-
brated for its manufacture of cheese; hence,
the name originally. Keene and Charlestown
were made the shire-towns. July 5, 1827, the
county was divided, the northern portion taking
the name of Sullivan County. This division
left Cheshire County with its present limits,
situate in the southwestern part of the State,
bounded on the north by Sullivan County, east
by Hillsborough County, south by the State of
Massachusetts, and west by the west bank of
the Connecticut River. It extends its greatest
length thirty-one miles north and south, and
twenty -six miles in extreme width east and
west. It contains twenty-three towns, eight of
which were incorporated in the reign of George
II., — namely, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Keene,
Richmond, Swanzey, Walpole, Westmoreland
and Winchester, — ten in the reign of George
III., — namely, Alstead, Dublin, Fitzwilliam,
1



Gilsum, Jaffrey, Marlow, Nelson, Rindge,
Surry, Stoddard, — and five under the govern-
ment of New Hampshire, — namely, Harris-
ville, Marlborough, Roxburv, Sullivan and
Troy.

Topographical. — The surface of Cheshire
County is greatly diversified. From the valley
of the Connecticut on its west to the towering
height of Grand Monadnock on the east, rising
to an altitude of three thousand one hundred and
eighty-six feet, is a succession of hill and valley
and plain, in various places of great natural
beauty.

Numerous lakes and ponds feed a network of
streams of greater or lesser extent. The Con-
necticut River is the largest stream in both
State and county. Rising among the mountains
of the extreme north of the State, it flows in a
southerly direction, forming the boundary line
on its west low-water bank between the States
of New Hampshire and Vermont ; thence, pass-
ing through the States of Massachusetts and
Connecticut, it empties into Long Island Sound.

Its valley is noted for its productiveness. Ex-
cluding the falls, the average fall of the river
is about one and one-half feet to the mile. At
Bellows Falls its descent is forty-nine feet,
furnishing ample power for manufacturing uses.

Other streams lend beauty and utility to the
surface of the county, the principal of which
are the Ashuelot, Cold and branches of the



HISTORY OF CHESHIRE COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE.



Contoocook. The Aslmelot River, rising in
numerous ponds in Washington", Sullivan
County, flowing in a southwesterly direction
through the towns of Mario w, Gilsura, Surry,
Keene, Swanzey, Winchester and Hinsdale,
where it empties into the Connecticut, is one of
the most important manufacturing streams in
the State. All along its course are many im-
proved water-powers. It is fed by branches
from ponds that have been converted by dams
into reservoirs, and thereby affording many
water-powers of themselves. One of these rises
in Stoddard and flows through the northwest
corner of Nelson, southeast corner of Sullivan
ami northwest corner of Roxbury to Keene,
and one from Dublin through Marlborough to
South Keene, where it joins the branch from
Stoddard. Another stream comes from Troy,
flowing through the southwest corner of Marl-
borough and joins the Aslmelot in Swanzey.
The Aslmelot is about forty miles in length,
from its source to the Connecticut ; falls about
one thousand feet, and drains a basin of three
hundred and seventy-five square miles, or two
hundred and forty thousand acres.

The Cold River, rising in Sullivan County,
flows, in a southwesterly direction, seventeen
miles through Alstead and Walpole, and
furnishes water-power to a limited extent. It
drains a basin of sixty thousand acres nearly.

The branches of the Contoocook River, in
the eastern portion of the county, furnish some
good water-powers. The Partridge Brook,
rising in Lake Spofford, flows through Chester-
field and Westmoreland, where it empties into
the Connecticut, is a rapid stream, falling five
hundred feet in its course of nearly six miles,
and affording constant water-power, but only
partially utilized. In a tabulated form we give
the principal bodies of water in the county,
with ana of each in square miles and decimals
thereof, with altitude in feet above the sea,
and towns where located, —

Area. Altitude.

Warnn Pond, Alstead 0.5 550

Spofford Lake, Chesterfield 1.0 738

Breed Pond, Nelson 0.7 1250

Woodward Pond, Roxbury 0.3 1150

Swanzey Pond, Swanzey 0.2

Stacy Pond, Stoddard 0.7



Area. Altitude.

Spoonwood Pond, Nelson 0.25

Long Pond, Nelson and Hancock 1.2 1338

North Pond, Harrisville 0.2 1218

Geological. — When, in the beginning:, this
planet, earth, was hurled, revolving, into space
by the power of an Almighty hand, a seething,
fiery, gaseous mass of molten elements, it
gradually took form from its revolutions, and
thereby consistence and compactness. In the pro-
gress of centuries the surface became crusted
over, holding within its bosom a mighty mass of
molten matter, frequently convulsed by throes of
sufficient power to elevate mountain heights and
depress to ocean beds, separating, disintegrating
and mixing the earth's crust in a manner to
print in ineffaceable characters the great story
of the Creation, — a creation not yet completed.
In Cheshire County we find those characters
frequent and prominent. Briefly — very briefly,
for space forbids otherwise — we will endeavor
to sketch a few of the more prominent " Foot-
prints of the Creator." From the elementary
or molten period the earth passed into the
igneous period. We now see the unstratified
rocks, of which the enduring granite is the low-
est of the series and the great frame-work of the
earth's crust, and by far the most abundant,
rising to the greatest heights, thrown up by
the subterranean forces. From an endless
monotonous plain these forces are now operat-
ing with a power beyond all human conception
to transform this plain into a broken surface,
from mountain peak to ocean bed. Of granite,
Cheshire County contributes her full share of
earning the sobriquet of the "Granite State."
Her quarries of granite are unsurpassed. The
coarser granites are of the oldest formation.
Cotemporary with the beginning of the
igneous period, the atmosphere, heavily
charged with minerals in a gaseous form,
condensing from the enecf of the cooling earth,
was deposited, forming another coating of rock
material. This was the vaporous period. So
far the earth had been surrounded by an
atmosphere so dense and dark that the light of
star nor moon nor sun could penetrate. Now
the progress of creation was ripe for the settling
of the atmospheric moisture into the hollows of



GENERAL HISTORY.



the earth. It became nearly covered with
water. This is the aqueous period. Then came
the long, cold night, when the summer sun
failed to thaw the snow and ice that gathered
in mighty masses, covering mountains in
height, forming glaciers of continental extent,
that planed and transformed the rugged
volcanic surfaces into new vestments, and
printing its history in characters the plainest of
all. An enormous mass of ice, thousands of
feet in depth, moved down the valley of the
Connecticut, grinding, crushing, planing its
way. A tributary glacier flowed down the
Ashuelot Valley. This mass of ice pressed so
heavily downward as to compact the earth into
the lower hill, or, what is generally known,
and appropriately so, as hard pan.

This ice-sheet carried along in its track huge
fragments of detached rock, which, grinding
and rounding, it deposited in the form of boul-
ders, generally upon the higher lands. In var-
ious places they are plentiful. The glaciers
moved in a southeasterly direction, and this
movement must have resulted from a different
chorography of country than exists at the present
time. The interior of the continent must have
been elevated many feet. This elevation and
after-depression must have been of slow prog-
ress. This movement is still operating in var-
ious places. As the glacier moved down the
valley, hard -rock fragments were frozen into
the bottom of the ice-sheet ; these, driven along
by fearful power, acted as chisels or gouges,
deeply scratching the ledges along the course of
its progress. These strise are everywhere found.
Mount Monadnock is striated from base to brow.
Mr. G. A. Wheelock, a local geologist of repute,
entertains the belief that this mountain was an
island in a sea of icebergs, which struck equally
strong upon the northwest and southeast sides.
Could our rocks be uncovered from the over-
lying earth, they would generally show the result
of their mighty planing and rounding in their
striae. Now the continent slowly depresses, a
geological spring-time dawns, a warmer climate
prevails, the vast fields of ice and snow melt
rapidly, mighty floods pour down the valleys
with resistless fury. Changes impossible to be
wrought by a moving river of ice, mountain-



high, are easily effective before a rushing torrent
of water. Now comes the era of modified
drift, with its deposits of stratified, water-worn
gravel, sand, clay or silt, an era extending from
the departure of the great northern ice-sheet
down to the present time. The glacial or drift
period embraces two eras, — the drift and the
alluvium. The former is characterized by re-
peated elevations and depressions. It was then
a " foundering land, under a severe sky, beaten
by tempests and lashed by tides, with glaciers
choking its cheerless valleys, and with countless
icebergs brushing its coasts and grating over its
shallows." The alluvium era witnesses the per-
fection of the earth to an extent that fits it as
the proper abode of man.

" From harmony — from heavenly harmony —
This universal frame began ;
From harmony to harmony,
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man."

The eastern portion of the county is a prime-
val ridge, though it was submerged at times,
and is underlaid by the oldest rock formations.
This ridge belongs to a chain of ridges that was
the first to appear above the ocean. The de-
pression of the Connecticut Valley, that embraces
a large portion of the county, carries with it the
later rocks, and has been, and is, the source of
drainage of the highlands to the northward.

The eastern part of the county, comprising
portions of Jaffrey, Dublin, Harrisville, Nelson
and Stoddard, rests upon the edge of a large
area of porphyritic gneiss. Another area of it
forms the elevated and rugged portions of the
towns of Chesterfield, Swanzey, Winchester and
Hinsdale, while it appears in Fitzwilliam, Jaf-
frey and Marlow. A variety of gneiss known
as the protogene gneiss extends from the State
line, through Winchester, Richmond, Swanzey
and Keene, to Surry, where it changes its form
and extends to and into Sullivan County. In
Surry and Keene the protogene is often found
of a deep red color. Encircling this protogene
we find hornblende, schist, and, girting this,
quartzite. A large surface area of the Montal-
ban schist in one tract extends from Stoddard to
the State line through the towns of Rindge,
Fitzwilliam, Richmond, Troy, Jaffrey, Marlbor-



HISTORY OF CHESHIRE COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE.



ough, Roxbury, Sullivan, Nelson and Stoddard.
These rocks are feldspathic and ordinary mica
schist. The mica is seen in large spangles,
either black or white. In Rindge a variety is
found in which quartz predominates, heavily
charged with iron pyrites, that decomposes when
brought in contact with the atmosphere; the
rock crumbles and the soil is colored reddish-
yellow from the presence of the iron peroxide.

The Montalban rocks in Cheshire County
arc supposed to be of the same age with that
which composes the summits of the higher
White Mountains. A band of micaceous
quartzite, full of fibrolite, two miles wide, crosses
the towns of Marlow, Alstead, Gilsum and
Surry, carrying gigantic veins of granite, in
which the mica plates arc large and of commer-
cial value. For many years they have been
mined in Alstead for glass. The latest group
of rocks so far found in the county are known
as the Coos group. Its constituents are quartz-
ite, argil lite and calcareous schist. A large
area of Walpole is covered by the former, and
ii is found in all the towns adjoining the Con-
necticut River. Mount Wantastiquet, in Hins-
dale and ( liesterfield, is composed of argillaceous
and mica schist. The eruptive rocks are very
sparingly represented in this county. The only
eruptive rock of any extent in the valley of the
Connecticut in this county is found in West-
moreland and forms most of the hill southeast
of the west depot. Inclosed in the Montalban
schists of Fitzwilliam, Troy, Marlborough and
Roxbury we find oval deposits of eruptive
granite. These are extensively quarried, and
are held in high repute for building and monu-
mental purposes. Permeating Surry Mountain
are veins of quartz, bearing metalliferous depos-
its. A large outlay has been expended in efforts
to mine it, but not, so far, with success. De-
posits of infusorial silica, formed of decayed
organisms, are found of excellent quality in
various place- and especially so in Fitzwilliam.
Bog iron-ores of the nature of ochre occur at
Chesterfield, Walpole, JafFrey and Surry.

BOTANICAL. — From papers prepared by
William F. Flint, B.S., of Winchester, we
glean the following facts relating to the botany
of Cheshire County. Altitude has much to do



in the distribution of plants. A large part of
the area of the county has an altitude of more
than five hundred feet above the sea-level.
Following the trend of the Montalban rocks,
in the eastern part of the county we find vege-
tation of the Canadian type. In the valley of
the Connecticut and of its tributaries we find a
larger number of species, some characteristic of
Southern New England. The county was
formerly covered by a dense forest, through
which the sun scarcely penetrated at mid-day.
Along the valleys of the Connecticut and
Ashuelot Rivers were forests of the finest white
pine,' the most valued of our timbers, and
reserved by King George in his grants of the
several townships for His Majesty's navy. I lis
officers provoked the displeasure of the early
settlers by carving their "broad arrows" on the
tallest mast-trees. The higher lands were
covered with heavy growths of hemlock,
maples, birches, beeches and red oak, while belts
>f spruce were common.

The original . forest presented the same
characteristics as at the present day, save the
restrictions imposed by the lumberman. The
old pine forests are represented by thick,
thrifty growths of their saplings. These are
general all over the county. • Their conversion
into wooden-ware has been and is a source of a
large industry and of much wealth. Next to
the pine, the hemlock is the most frequently
found of any conifer; originally they competed
with the pine in diameter and height. In the
cold swamps of the river towns and throughout
the eastern towns we find the black spruce and
the balsam fir, and upon the dry drift knolls
and sandy plains we find the pitch-pine. In
the cold peat swamps and springy lands of
Fitzwilliam, Rindge and Jaffrev we find the
tamarack in abundance. A variety of the yew,
generally known as the "ground hemlock," is
common. Passing from the sombre evergreen,
we turn to the deciduous trees, presenting every
phase of change, from the leafless branches of
winter-time to the delicate green of spring, the
full foliage of summer and the gorgeous hues
of autumn, when nature's artist paints with
every conceivable shade of color in tints that
art cannot produce, and giving to the American



GENERAL HISTORY.



5



forests a beauty nowhere else to be found. Of
the deciduous trees, the maple is the best
represented. The white maple is mostly found
in the valleys, upon the intervale lands. The
red maple is common everywhere. The rock
or sugar maple is the largest of the genus, is
found in all of the towns, and fills an impor-
tant part in the economy of the county, furnish-
ing both sugar and timber. The largest groves
of the rock maple are found in the northern
and eastern towns of the county. Gilsum,
particularly, is noted for its manufacture of
sugar. The birch is generally found, but
attains its fullest development in the eastern
towns. The gray and black birch are more
common in the southern and southwestern
towns, while the yellow and white birch arc
found everywhere. The bass is quite common
upon the banks of the river terraces. The
black cherry and the white ash are found
sparingly in nearly all the deciduous forests.
Confined to a strip of territory five to ten
miles wide, bordering the Connecticut River,
we find the elm, chestnut, white oak, black oak
and three species of the hickory. The red oak
is very generally distributed. Upon the
alluvial soil of the Connecticut we find the
cottonwood, the butternut and the balm of
Gilead, or balsam poplar. Two species of the
poplar are found, — the one of small dimensions,
often springing up in great abundance where
woodlands are cut away ; the other, the black
poplar, is of more pretentious proportions. In
spring its young leaves are clothed with white
down, that can be seen a long distance, and
thereby readily distinguished. Of the shrubby
plants, the heath family has about twenty
species in the county. This is a family distin-
guished alike for beauty and abundance of
bloom, and for economic purposes. Included in
this family are two cranberries, three species oi
blackberry and the huckleberry. The rhodo-
dendrons are the finest of the heaths. The
maximum species is found in Fitzwilliam and
Richmond. To this family belongs the kal-
mias, including the mountain laurel, found in
the southern portion of the county. The rose
family is numerously represented. Of the
herbaceous plants we have a large family.



Wild flowers abound everywhere. The space
of this article will not permit us to mention but



Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Cheshire and Sullivan counties, New Hampshire → online text (page 1 of 164)