D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire online

. (page 1 of 189)
Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire → online text (page 1 of 189)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


fXxiberal Hrts



l/Ectmoltrgg







HISTORY



OF



HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY



NEW HAMPSHIRE.



C0I*I:PI XiEID TJ1TI3EE, THE S XJ F E I?/ ^A I S I O IT OE



D. HAMILTON HURD.



ILLUSTRATED.



PHILADELPHIA:

J. W. LEWIS & CO.

1885.



COPYKIGHT, 1.SS5, BY J. W. LEWIS & CO.



■T



1 i



;h



PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.



Nearly three years ago the attention ot the publishers, who have long made a specialty
of this class of work, was called to the fact that a history of Hillsborough County was needed.
After mature deliberation the work was planned and its corajiilation commenced. The best
literary talent in this section of the State for this especial work was engaged, whose
names appear at the head of their respective articles, besides many other local writers on
special topics. These gentlemen approached the work in a spirit of impartiality and
thoroughness, and we believe it has been their honest endeavor to trace the history of the
development of the territory embodied herein from that period when it was in the undis-
puted possession of the red man to the present, and to place before the reader an authentic
narrative of its rise and progress. The work has been compiled from authenticated and
original sources, and no effort spared to produce a history which should prove in every

respect worthy of the county represented.

The Publishers.

Philadelphia, August, 1885.



^^



BIOGRAPHICAL.



PAGE

Adams, Phinehas 123

Atherton, Charles G 12

Atherton, Charles H 10

Atherton, Joshua •••. 9

Averill, Clinton S • 579

Ayer, Benjamin F 34

Ayer, Samuel H 13

Balch, Charles E 133

Balch, Mark 300

Baldwin, Samuel 288

Bartlett, Charles H 32

Bell, Samuel D 17

Berry, Augustus 647

Blood, Aretiis 75

Bradford, Ephraim P 606

Bradley, Denis M 104

Briggs, James F 29

Brooks, Isaac 249

Buck, William D 126

BurnUam, Abel C 426

Burnham, Henry E 32

Burns, Charles H 39

Campbell, Charles H 250

Campbell, Daniel 250

Campbell, Daniel, Jr 251

Chamberlain, James L 526

Champney, Ebenezer 9

Cheney, Person C 83

Christie, Morris 262

Claggett, Clifton 10

Claggett, Wiseman 8

Clapp, Allen N 132

Clark, Daniel 17

Clark, Lewis W 26

Clarke, John B 55

Clarke, Joseph B 33

Clarke, William C 20

Clough, Lucien B 32

Cragin, Daniel 725

Crombie, Ninian C 609

Crosby, Josiah 125

Cross, David 31

Cumner, Nathaniel W 129

Currier, Moody 66

Cutler, JohnH .. 665

Dana, Samuel 10

Davis, Joseph 364

Dearborn, Cornelius Van M 207

Dearborn, Samuel G ... 201

Dodge, Perley 35

Dunlap, Arcliibald H 211

Eaton, Harrison 547

Edwards, Supply W 676

Farley, Benjamin M 39

Fellows, Joseph W 39

Ferguson, John 128



PAGE

Fitch, Charles D 348

Forsaith, Samuel C 84

Foster, Herman 26

French, John C 133

Fuller, John G 425

Fulton, James 389

Gilbert, John 431

Gilman, Horace W 209

Oilman, Virgil C 210

Goodale, John H 379

Goodale, Levi 429

Goodale, T. N 429

Goodell, David H 260

Goodale Family 428

Godfrey, Reuben 214

Goffe, John 47

Gove, Charles F 12

Graves, Josiah G 199

Gray, H. N T26

Greeley, Horace 250a

Gregg, James 389

Griffin, George 496

Grimes, Francis 422

Grimes, James F 423

Hall, James H 216

Hall, James Harvey 296

Hamblet, Eli 484

Heald, David 580

Hildreth, Jothani 512

Holman, Charles 201

Hosley, John 135

Howard Family, The 213

Hutchinson, John W 581

Jones Family, The 427

Kimball, Gilman 263

Kingsbury, George 300

Lincoln, Leavitt 630

Livermore, Solomon K.., 573

Lund, Charles 216

Maynard, John H 135

Merrill, James B 483

Moore, Joseph C 60

Moore, Norman J. M 202

Morrison, George W 13

Murray, Orlando D 203

Newell, Joseph '22

Parsons, William M 137

Partridge, S. H 347

Parker, John M 326

Parker, William T 549

Pattee, L. N 330

Pevey, Peter ^^49

Pevey, Zebediah 344

Pierce, Franklin 10

Potter, Chandler E 136

Preston, John *>28

vii



VIU



BIOGRAPHIES.



PAGE

Bamsey, John 347

Bawyer, Auruii F 36

Sawj'er, Aaruu W 36

Sawyer, Most'S 694

Seconib, John 2o0a

Shirley Family, The 327

Simons, llinini 691

Simons, Lewis 692

Smith, George L 608

Smith, Isaac \V 27

Smith, John B 429

Smith, Luke 607

Smyth, Frederick 67

Spalding, Isaac 199

Stanley, Clinton W 22

Stark, John 46

Stevens, Aaron F 37

Stevens, William 743

Stinson, Charles 327



PAGE

Straw, Ezekiel A jjO

SuUoway, Cyrus A 32

Swallow, Stillman 217

Tarbell, Joel H 511

Tuttle, Jacob 261

Upton, Samuel 34

Wallace, Alonzo S 294

Wason, Elbridge 605

Webster, Kimball 482

Wells, Charles 127

Weston, James A 121

AVhite, Jeremiah W' 205

Whitford, Elliott 215

Whiting, David 723

Wilkins, Alexander M 550

Woodbury, John 648

Worcester, Joseph E 455

Worcester, Samuel T 39



ILLUSTRATIONS.



Adams, Phiuehas 124

Averill, Clinton S 578

Balch, Charles E 134

Balch, Mark 300

Baldwin, Samuel 288

Berry, Augustus 047

Blood, Aretas 75

Bradley, Denis M 104

Bradford, Ephraim P 606

Brooks, Isaac 249

Buck, William D 166

Buruham, Abel C 422

Burns, Charles H 40

Campbell, Charles H 250

Campbell, Daniel, Jr 250a

Chamberlain, James L 526

Cheney, Person C 83

Christie, Morris 262

Clapp, Allen N 132

Clark, Daniel 18

Clarke, John B 55

Clark, Lewis W 27

Clougli, Lucieu B., 32

Crosby, Josiah 125

Cross, David 31

Crorabie, Ninian C 609

Cumner, Nathaniel W 129

Currier, Moody 66

Cutler, Jolin H 666

Davis, Joseph 364

Dearborn, Cornelius Van M 206

Dearborn, Samuel G 200

Dodge, Perley 35

Doe, Geo. I. Resof 704

Dunlap, Archibald H 211

Edwards, Supply W 676

Ferguson, John 128

Fitch, Charles D 348

Forsaith, Samuel C 84

Foster, Herman 26

French, John (' 133

Fuller, John G 424

Fulton, James 390

Gilbert, John 431

Oilman, Horace W 208

Oilman, Virgil C 210

Godfrey, Reuben 214

Ooodale, Levi 428

Goodale, Thomas N 429

Goodell, David II 260

Graves, Josiah G 199

Gray, H. N 726

Gregg, James 389

Griffin, George 496

Grimes, Francis .' 422

Grimes, James F 423

Hall, James Harvey 296

Hamblet, Eli 484

Heald, David 580

Hildreth, Jotham 512



PAGE

Holman, Charles 201

Hosley, John 136

Howard, Ezra P 212

Hutchinson, John \V 582

Jones, Parker 427

Kimball, Oilman 263

Kingsbury, George 301

Lincoln, Leavitt 630

Livermore, Solomon K 574

Lund, Charles 216

Map of Hillsborough County 1

Maynard, John H 135

Merrill, James B 483

Moore, Joseph C 60

Moore, Norman J. M 202

Murray, Orlando D 203

Newell, Joseph 722

Parker, John M 326

Parker, William T. . 549

Parsons, William M 137

Partridge, S. H 347

Pattee, L. N 330

Pevey, Peter 349

Pevey, Zebediah 344

Pierce, Franklin 10

Potter, Chandler E 136

Preston, John 628

Ramsey, John 346

Sawyer, Aaron W 36

Sawyer, Moses 694

Shirley, E. C 328

Simons, Hiram 691

Simons, Lewis 692

Smith, George L 608

Smith, Isaac W 28

Smith, John B 430

Smith, Luke 008

Smyth, Frederick 68

Spalding, Isaac 198

Stanley, Clinton W 22

Stark, John 46

Stevens, Aaron F 38

Stevens, William 743

Stinson, Charles 327

Straw, Ezekiel A 80

Sulloway, Cyrus A 33

Swallow, Stillman 217

Tarbell, Joel H 611

Tuttle, Jacob 261

Upton, Samuel 34

Wallace, Alonzo S 249

Wason, Elbridge 605

Webster, Kimball 482

Wells, Charles 127

Weston, James A 121

White, Jeremiah W 204

Whitford, Elliott 215

Whiting, David 724

AVjlkins, Alexander M 550

Woodbury, John 648

ix




•^^:^



HISTORY



OF



HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE.



— ^ t./Rv-*'"—



CHAPTER I.
EARLY HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF COURTS.



BY GEORGE A. KAMSDELL.



For many years previous to 1740 the boundary lines
of the province of New Hampshire were in dispute.

Massachusetts claimed that the division boundary
between that State and New Hampshire was defined
by a line drawn from a point on the Atlantic coast
three miles north of the mouth of the Merrimack
River, and running on the northerly and easterly side
of the river, and at a distance of three miles from it, to
a point three miles beyond the parallel of the junction
of the Winnipiseogee and the Pemigewasset ; thence
due west to the Connecticut. This covered all the
territory included in the present limits of the county
of Hillsborough, excepting the town of Pelham and
such portion of the town of Hudson as lies more than
three miles from the Merrimack River. It also in-
cluded the whole of Cheshire County and the larger
part of the present limits of Merrimack and Sullivan
Counties.

New Hampshire claimed for her southern boundary
a line produced due west from the same point on the
ocean. By this claim the towns of Pelham, Hudson,
Litchfield, Nashua, Merrimack, Hollis, Amherst and
other towns lying within some fourteen miles of
latitude were conceded to be in Massachusetts. The
ancient town of Dunstable, containing more than two
hundred square miles, and including all of the towns
above named and portions of other towns within the
present limits of New Hampshire, made a part of the
county of Middlesex, in Massachusetts, and had not
before 1740 been regarded by any party as in part the
territory of the province of New Hampshire.

Previous to 1740 a board of commissioners, acting
under the royal authority, had established the eastern
1



boundary, but failing to agree upon the southern line
the King himself terminated the controversy in favor
of New Hampshire, fixing the present boundary and
granting the State a much larger territory than had
been claimed. The decision, though somewhat arbi-
trary and not in accordance with the prayer of either
party, was founded upon sound suggestions. By the
letter of the grant to Massachusetts it would seem that
her claim was good, but it was urged by the King's
Council that when the Massachusetts grant was made
the country was unexplored, and the course of the
Merrimack was supposed to be substantially at right
angles with the ocean its entire length, and that it
would be just and equitable between the parties to
follow the river so far as its general course was from
the west to the east and no farther.

This act of the King annexing so much territory,
before that time under the government of Massachu-
setts, to the province of New Hampshire was not
satisfactory to the people of Massachusetts, or to the
inhabitants of the lands so virtually annexed. It was
very naturally urged by the people, who were thus
made to attorn to New Hampshire, that it was unfair
to sever them from a more powerful province against
their remonstrance and annex them to a weaker at a
time when it seemed there would be no end of Indian
wars and depredations. An attempt was made to have
the matter reheard, which failed, as well as a proposi-
tion to re-annex the entire province to Massachusetts.

Upon the settlement of a question which had
troubled the province for half a century, the towns
which had had a corporate existence under Massa-
chusetts were rechartered by the province of New
Hampshire, and new towns were formed from those
portions of existing towns cut off from Massachusetts.

The political history of New Hampshire to the
middle of the eighteenth century is simply the history
of the southeastern portion of the State, Portsmouth,
Exeter and Dover being the towns of consequence at



HISTORY OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE.



that time. Previous to the year 1770 the entire State,
for all financial and judicial purposes, was a single
count. All Itusiness ol'a j>ublic nature was transacted
at one of the three towns named, and most of it at
Portsmouth. All the royal executive officers resided
there. Portsmouth then had a ])opulation of more than
four thousand, and was practically the capital of the
province.

As the province increased in population the people
deniandetl other and smaller political divisions, in
which ordinary business could be transacted.

In 17(37, John Wentworth, the second of that name,
was appointed Governor of New Hampshire, and one
of tiie measures brought forward at the opening of
his administration comprehended the division of the
province into counties, and the erection of a judicial
system to meet the wants of the entire State. It was
opposed by the residents of Avhat is now Rockingham
County, on the ground that it would increase the ex-
penses of the i)r()vince without corresponding advan-
tages. The Governor favored the measure as one likely
to develop the province, an end to which he devoted
his entire energies; penetrating the wilderness so far
as to lay out an estate and erect an elegant mansion
at Wolfborough, upon the Winnipiseogee.

The matter was debated in several sessions of the
Assembly before all points of difference could be rec-
onciled. The number of counties, and lines of divi-
sion were not easily agreed upon. It was finally
settled that the province should be divided into five
counties, with an ample judiciary system. The act was
finally passed, suspending its operation until such
time as the King's pleasure should be known. The
act took effect in the spring of 1771.

Governor Wentworth named the counties (after his
friends in England) Rockingham, Strafford, Hills-
borough, Cheshire and Grafton. It may be remarked
that by the efforts of parties opjiosed to any division,
the counties of Strafford and Grafton, by an amend-
ment to the act, remained connected to the county of
Rockingham until 1773. Sullivan has since been
taken off" Cheshire, Coos from Grafton, Merrimack
from Rockingham and Hillsborough, Carroll and
Belknaj) from Strafford,

Hillsborough County upon its organization in-
cluded all the territory of the preaent county, except-
ing the town of Pelham, which for a time formed part
of Rockingham County. It also included all of the
present county of Merrimack west of the Merrimack
River, excepting the town of Bow, the city of Concord
and portions of other towns whose lines have been
changed within a few years. The territory thus set
off" for the county of Hillsborough was not all incor-
porated into towns. Some of it was not even settled,
and some lands then settled remained unincorporated
for several years. The population of the county at
the time of its organization was not far from fifteen
thousand. There were eighteen incorporated towns
within the present limits of the county, ranking as



follows in point of population and valuation : Am-
herst, Hollis, New Ipswich, Dunstable, Merrimack,
Nottingham West (now Hudson), Peterborough,
Litchfield, Bedford, Goffstown, Derryfield (now Man-
chester), Wilton, New Boston, Mason, Weare, Lynde-
borough. Temple and Hillsborough. More than half
the pojjulation of the county at this time resided in
the six towns Amherst, Hollis, New Ipswich, Dun-
stable, Merrimack and Nottingham West.

New Hampshire was settled by immigration coming
in through four different channels, the Portsmouth
and Piscataqua colonies, the Londonderry colony,
the settlers coming into the State by way of Dunstable,
and the line of immigration coming up the valley of
the Connecticut River. The county of Hillsborough
was i^eopled from the second and third of these sourcesj
and very largely from the Londonderry settlement.

No sooner was the demand for the division of the
State into counties in a fairway to be answered affir-
matively than the question of the selection of the shire-
town began to be agitated. Three towns were named
in this connection, — Amherst, Hollis and Merrimack.
The attention of the Governor of the province was
called to this matter as early as October, 1767, by the
Rev. Daniel Wilkins, the first minister of the town of
Amherst, in the following letter :

"Hon. and Dear Sir :

" After due salutations I beg leave to inform your Hon"' that the pro-
posal of the general Court, that Merrimack be the shire-town of the
county on the west side of Merrimack river, has caused a general un-
easiness throughout the county, aud many thinking men in Jlerrimack
itself (as I have been credibly informed) are well satisfied that if the pro-
posal be established, it will be greatly to the town damage in general, as
they are small in numbers, consisting of seventy odd families, no more,
and those much scattered, and many of that number are new places and
no ways accommodated to entertain a Court, especially with hay and pas-
turage ; neither do they ever expect to be accommodated within the pre-
mises, as a great part of their land is poor and clothed with shrub. The
uneasiness of the people arises from the said proposal not being for Am-
herst rather than Merrimack, not only as Amherst has been talked as for
a shire-town ever from its infancy, thereby fixing the mind of the
people upon it, being from its situation nearer to the Heart of the county,
so that many towns can come from home in the morning and return
home in the evening. They could not possibly do the like if the Court
be at Merrimack, and thereby save a great deal of charge to poor people.

"And now, honored sir, I beg leave to give a description of Amherst
in a few words : ' Tt is situated about eight miles from Mr. Lutwickes'
Ferry, on Merrimack river, the contents of which is about six miles
square, contiiining about one hundred and sixty families and accommo-
dated, according to men of the best judgment, to settle one hundred fami-
lies more than is already settled, and near a hundred of them are good
country farms, well accommodated with fields and pjistures, and chiefly
all goo<l Husbands.'

"Tlie middle of the town is pleasantly situated, a good coach road
from the eastern and southern parts of the province, and all roads center
there. The people in general, knowing the situation and accommodations
of Amherst to entertain the Court, suppose that the General Court's
proposal foi- Merrimack springs from a misrepresentation. The occa-
sion of these lines to your Hon' was the cries of the people, and I beg
leave to subscribe your humble servant.

"Daniel Wilkins.

"Amherst, Oct. ye 1, 17G7.

" To the Hon. George Jeffrey, Esq., in Poitsniovth."

The arguments of this divine, reinforced by other
expressions of the voice of the people of the county,
prevailed, and Amherst was made the shire-town. It



EARLY HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF COURTS.



was a just decision, it being the most populous town,
and located near what was then the centre of popula-
tion and near the present geographical centre of the
county. Amherst then had as large a population as
to-day, but it must be remembered that its territorial
limits have been contracted, the towns of Milford and
Mount Yernon having been taken from it. For a long
time it was a place of business and social consequence ;
many people of culture and distinction have there re-
sided. A lack of water-power and railroad facilities
have cost the town the prominence it once had, and it
has receded from the first to the ninth place in rank
among the towns of the county in the matter of popu-
lation and valuation. It was sole shire-town for the
present county limits until 1846, when a term of court
was established at Manchester, and another term at
Nashua in 1857. In 1865 a jail was legally established
at Manchester, and the old stone building at Amherst
was discontinued. In 1866 the records, for so long a
time at Amherst, by vote of the county, were removed
to Nashua, where they are now kejit in substantial
buildings and vaults. In 1879 the only term of court
then held at Amherst was abolished, and the town,
after an honorable record of one hundred and eight
years, ceased, in the language of Parson Wilkins, to
entertain the courts.

It is not generally known that a town of consider-
able " importance, called Monson, had a chartered
existence in this county previous to the year 1 770,
It lay upon the south of the Souhegan River and
measured upon the river about six miles, extending
from a little above Jones' Corner, in Milford, to a point
a little below Danforth's Corner, in Amherst. The
breadth of the town from the river south was some-
thing more than four miles. The inhabitants of this
town made several attempts to be annexed to Am-
herst. The principal reason given in their jjetition
to the Assembly was the lack of any central place in
the town suitable for a meeting-house. Amherst at
first opposed the annexation, but afterwards voted to
take a part of the town if Monson would be at the
expense of the annexation. Accordingly, an act was
passed annexing to Amherst that part of Monson in-
cluded in these limits : " From Souhegan River,
southerly by the town of Merrimack, two miles ; from
thence west to the west line of Monson ; from thence
northerly to the river, and from this point down
the river to the first place mentioned." The
remainder of the town was annexed to Hollis.
Thus was dismembered a town of the best natural
facilities for no better reason than that the geographical
centre was not smooth and level enough for a meeting-
house common. Amherst held these rich Monson
intervales until 1794, when, on the incorporation of
Milford, she surrendered them, with other choice lands
upon the north side of the river, giving up in 1794
more than she had received in 1770.

The act of the Assembly by which the counties were
organized was entitled " An Act for dividing the



Proviujc into Counties and for the more easy admin-
istration of Justice."

It provided for the erection of three courts of justice
and for necessary county buildings.

The courts were named, — First, the Superior Court
of Judicature, which was to be the supreme tribunal
of the province ; this court existed until 1813, when
the Federalists, having the political power in the State,
abolished it for the purpose of getting rid of politically
obnoxious judges and erected the Superior Judicial
Court, which, in turn, was overturned in 1816 by the
Democratic Republicans, and the Superior Court of
Ju'licature re-erected. The last-named court con-
tinued to be the court of last resort until the year
1855, when the American or Know-Nothing party, com-
ing into power, abolished it and re-established the
Sujtreme Judicial Court, which, in turn, in 1874, was
abolished and the Superior Court of Judicature estab-
lished. This court existed until 1876, when it was
succeeded by the Supreme Court, now in existence.

In 1813 it was claimed that the Legislature could
not, by changing the name and, in some minor partic-
ulars, the functions of a court, get rid of its judges in a
summary manner; that the only way was by address for
cause shown or by impeachment. But however much
politicians and jurists may differ as to the soundness
of the policy of such radical legislation, it seems now
to be well settled that this method of procedure has
been and is constitutional, else the first court erected
under any fundamental law could never be changed,
though time and experience should show it to have
grave defects.

The chief justices of the Supreme Court of the State,
under its various names, have been as follows : Before
the Revolution, Theodore Atkinson and Mesheck
Weare ; since the Revolution, Mesheck Weare,
Samuel Livermore, Josiah Bartlett, John Pickering,
John Dudley, Simeon Olcott, Jeremiah Smith, Arthur
Livermore, William M. Richardson, Joel Parker,
John J. Gilchrist, Andrew S. Woods, Ira Perley,
Samuel D. Bell, Henry A. Bellows, Jonathan E. Sar-
gent, Edmund L. Cushing and Charles Doe. But two
of these distinguished men were born in Hillsborough
County, — Jeremiah Smith, at Peterborough, and
Samuel D. Bell, at Francestown.

But one judge has been removed by address of the
Legislature (and in this case nothing worse was
charged than inability to discharge the duties of the
office by reason of old age), and no judge of our State
courts has been impeached; a judge of the United
States District Court for the district of New Hamp
shire was charged with drunkenness and conduct
unbecoming a judge, and was tried by the Senate of
the United States ; he admitted his irregularities, but
defended upon the ground that he was not intoxicated

as a justice, but as plain Mr. ; the Senate, however,

were of opinion tiiat when Mr. was intoxicated

the court was drunk, and he was removed from office.

The next court in order of jurisdiction was the



HISTORY OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE.



Inferior Court of Common Pleas. While the Superior
Court of Judicature had cognizance of all questions of
law and divorce, and ultimately was clothed with
equity powers, the Inferior Court of Common Pleas
was the tribunal in which all ordinary controversies
were settled; this court, established in 1771, continued



Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire → online text (page 1 of 189)