Henry Harrison Metcalf.

New Hampshire in history, or, The contribution of the Granite state to the development of the nation [microform] online

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I>up. to
Be Kept



Damkl Webster

(From liis last portrait.)
Heproductioii hy Kiinl all Studio, Concord. N. H.



The Contribution of the Granite

State to the Development

of the Nation



state Historian Under Governor Samual D. Felker;

President N. H. Old Home Week Association;

Secretary N. H. Ter-Centenary Commission



541.739 4



R 193i L,



Concord, New Hampshire


The basis of this little volume is a lecture
which was originally prepared for delivery
before the Conway Woman's Club, in
March 1921, and which was repeated, with
some additions, under the auspices of the
Men's Club of the Universalist Church in
Concord, a year later. On each of these
occasions there was a very intelligent and
appreciative audience in attendance, among
those present in Concord being Governor
Brown, Secretary of State Bean, and Judge
Corning, President of the New Hampshire
Historical Society, as well as many others
of prominence, all of whom expressed great
satisfaction with the lecture, and the hope
^ that it might be published, in some form, in
Nt the near future.

?^ In view of these expressions and the fact

r- that in Old Home Week of 1923 the 300th

/ anniversary of the settlement of the State,

at Portsmouth and Dover in the spring of

1623, is to be formally celebrated, by virtue

' of a joint resolution passed by the last

Legislature, providing for a Commission

U to make the preliminary arrangements

^ therefor, the lecture in question, somewhat

"^ elaborated and extended, is presented in

the following pages, illustrated by por-



traits of a few of those persons whose lives
and labors have been a part of New Hamp-
shire's contribution to the life and progress
of the nation at large.

From early boyhood the writer has been
interested in the history of New Hamp-
shire, and particularly in the lives of those
who have aided in giving the state the
proud position it holds among the states
of the Union. What first called his atten-
tion in this direction was a little poem on
"New Hampshire," published in the old
"Boston Cultivator," about 75 years ago,
the only lines of which he can now recall
being these:

"Her names of Burke and Woodbury,

Of Webster and of Cass,
Pierce, Greeley, Hale and Atherton,

No sister states surpass."

It was not until many years later that
the identity of the author of this poem,
which appeared over the pen name of
"Jack," who subsequently became one of
the successful educators of the country and
who is mentioned in the body of this work,
became known to the writer.

If there ever was a time when the
thought of every loyal resident, or absent
son and daughter, of the old Granite State
should be turned toward its grand, historic
record, and the lives and achievements of


those who have made that record what it
is, that time is now, upon the near approach
of the great anniversary occasion to which
reference has been made. If this modest
publication shall contribute in any meas-
ure to the furtherance of such object; if it
shall stimulate in the minds of any a deep-
er love for the state of their birth or the
home of their adoption, and stronger pride
in its magnificent contribution to the na-
tion's history and especially if it shall call
effective attention of those in authority to
the crying need of a simple, but compre-
hensive history of New Hampshire, for
universal use in our public schools, the
writer will feel abundantly rewarded for
his work.

Concord, N. H., 1922.


The strongest incentive to future prog-
ress is the knowledge of past achieve-
ment, in individual, state or national life.

Familiarity with local, state or national
history develops civic pride, which is the
basis of true patriotism and the surest
guaranty of loyal citizenship.

New Hampshire is one of the smallest
states in the Union. Territorially it em-
braces less than one 300th part of the en-
tire forty-eight states. Its soil is rugged;
its climate severe, and all its conditions ad-
verse to the prolific production of material
wealth; yet through the patient industry
and sturdy effort of those who have tilled
its soil in generations past, it has produced
larger crops per acre than any other state.

It is reported that once on a time an in-
quisitive Westerner asked a distinguished
representative of the state what they rais-
ed in New Hampshire: He replied — "They
raise men," using the term, of course in a
generic sense, including men and women.
In this he was, indeed, right. More men
and women, who have made a marked im-
press for good upon the life of the nation
at large, have been bom in New Hampshire
than in any other State in the Union, in



proportion to population, and it would al-
most be safe to say it without the qualifica-
tion as to population.

The struggle against the adverse condi-
tions, to which reference has been made,
has contributed to the fuller development
of the physical, mental and moral powers
of the people, so that, at home or abroad,
whenever their lot has been cast, the sons
and daughters of New Hampshire have
made a record in character and achieve-
ment, comparing most favorably with that
of any other State.

Some inquiring person who looked the
matter up, finds that of the 23,000 men and
women whose names were found in the
1919 edition of "Who's Who in America,"
352, or one in every 65, were bom in New
Hampshire, although the total population
of the State is less than one 250th part of
the total of the country at large.

The people of a state which has con-
tributed so much to the life and progress
of the nation should be proud of its his-
tory, and teach their children to cherish a
like sentiment of loyalty and devotion. I
venture to suggest, moreover, that the
study of New Hampshire history should
be made a part of the curriculum, in all
the schools of the State above the primary
grades, and that the state government

John Langdon

ReprodiKliun l>y Kinihull .^tiiditi. Concord, N. H.


should take steps, at once, to secure the
compilation and publication of a proper
text book for use in the schools in carrying
out such purpose.

Of the 258 cities and towns in the state,
only about 75, or less than one-third of the
entire number, have published histories,
and many of these are of comparatively
ancient date and far from being complete.
It is most desirable that every town, which
has not already done so, should take meas-
ures at once to secure the preparation and
publication of as complete and accurate a
history as possible.

It is not my purpose, here, to deal with
the history of New Hampshire, in general
or detail. To do either in a satisfactory
manner would require an extended series
of addresses whose publication would fill
a large volume. I am simply to speak of
"New Hampshire in History" — to con-
sider, briefly. New Hampshire's part in the
upbuilding of our republic — its contribu-
tion to the life of the nation and the prog-
ress of the world. Some reference, how-
ever, to the beginnings of the State and the
development of its government may prop-
erly be made in the outset.

What white man, or men, first saw the
New Hampshire coast is now unknown.
The Norse explorers of the 10th century,


may or may not have landed at Hampton
Beach, as some ancient legends have it.
Whether they did or not is immaterial ; nor
does it matter whether or not Bartholo-
mew Gosnold, the early English explorer,
who visited the coast of Maine in 1602, and
made his way thence to Cape Cod, observ-
ed any part of New Hampshire as he pur-
sued his voyage. It seems to be admitted
that Martin Pring, who came over from
England in 1603, with an expedition of 43
men, in two small vessels, was the first
Englishman who really visited the New
Hampshire coast. He is credited with
having sailed up the Piscataqua River for
several miles, and must consequently have
seen, if he did not land upon, the territory
now occupied by Portsmouth and Dover.
In the following year a French expedi-
tion under De Monts, who was accom-
panied by Champlain, sailed along the same
coast, and on the 16th day of July, as
Champlain writes, a party from the ex-
pedition made a landing at a point or cape,
since determined to be Odiorne's Point in
the present town of Rye, where they met
some of the natives and gave them small
presents. This is the first credible ac-
count of the landing of any white men on
the New Hampshire shore. Nothing came
however, of the visits of either Pring or


De Monts, and it was not until after the
visit of Capt. John Smith, with a small
party from his Monhegan Island expedi-
tion, to the Isles of Shoals, in the summer
of 1614, that any attention was directed to
this region. He made a map of the coast,
and gave a glowing description of the coun-
try on his return to England. To the
islands, which he traversed extensively, he
gave his own name, calling them "Smithes
Islands," and at his suggestion the name of
New England was applied to the country
at large.

In 1622 Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Capt.
John Mason received from the King of
England a grant of all the territory be-
tween the Merrimack and Sagadohoc
rivers, and running back to the great lakes,
the same being then named "Laconia."
They proceeded to form a company, with
a view to settlement, and in the following
spring sent over an expedition, in two
parties, one headed by David Thompson,
and the other by Edward and William Hil-
ton. Thompson's party landed at Little
Harbor, then included in the territory of
Portsmouth or "Strawberry Bank," but
now in Rye ; while the Hiltons went up the
river to Dover Point, and there located.
A year or two later Thompson and his
party, who had become dissatisfied with


their location, abandoned the same and re-
moved to an island in Boston Harbor, and
it was not till several years later that any
permanent settlement was made at Ports-
mouth. The Dover settlement continued,
however, and was undoubtedly the first
permanent settlement in the state.* Here,
in 1633, the first church building in New
Hampshire was erected, the present First
Parish Church in Dover being its legiti-
mate successor.

In her thrilling poem, entitled "New
Hampshire," written for the 250th anni-
versary celebration of the settlement of
the state, by the N. H. Historical Society;
Edna Dean Proctor, New Hampshire's
female poet laureate, speaks as follows:

"A goodly realm, said Captain Smith,
Scanning the coast by the Isles of Shoals,
While the wind blew fair as in Indian myth.
Blows the breeze from the land of souls;
Blew from the marshes of Hampton, spread
Level and green that summer day,
And over the brow of Great Boar's Head,
From the pines that stretched to the West away.
And sunset died on the rippling sea,
Ere to the south^ with the wind, sailed he.
But he told the story in London streets

♦This is in accordance with the account adopted by Bel-
knap and other early historians; but recent writers have
sought to make it appear that the Dover settlement -viras
not made until a later indefinite date.


And again to court and prince and king.
"A truce," men cried, "to Virginia heats —
The North is the land of Hope and Spring!"
And in sixteen hundred and twenty-three,
For Dover meadows and Portsmouth river,
Bold and earnest, they crossed the sea.
And the realm was theirs and ours forever!"

For fifteen years these settlements re-
mained the only white settlements within
the limits of what is now the state of New
Hampshire. Fishing and trading with the
Indians were the primary objects of the
first settlers, and no more attention was
paid to agriculture than was absolutely
necessary for the maintenance of life for
the first few years, notwithstanding the
superior richness of the soil in the ad-
jacent country, where now are found some
of the finest farms in the state.

In 1638 two other settlements were made
— one at Hampton and one at Exeter, the
former headed by Rev. Stephen Bachilor,
and the latter by Rev. John Wheelock, both
noted religious leaders of their day, and
the settlements largely made up of their
devoted followers.

These four settlements — Dover, Ports-
mouth, Hampton and Exeter — were prac-
tically all there were in the province for
more than 40 years, their grants cover-
ing the entire eastern portion of what is


now Rockingham county and the larger
part of Strafford. Each had its own local
government and enacted its own laws,
though acknowledging allegiance to the
British crown, and nominally under the
jurisdiction of Massachusetts. It may prop-
erly be stated that there were fishing set-
tlements on the Isles of Shoals, which were
partly within New Hampshire limits,
though of transient and changing nature,
nearly if not quite as early as any on the
mainland, but there is no recorded evidence
of any government or organization there,
till considerably later.

In March 1679-80 a separate government
was set up for the New Hampshire prov-
ince, with a Governor, or President as
then called. Council and Assembly, — the
Governor and Council being named by the
King and the Assembly chosen by the
people of the several towns or settlements.
John Cutt was appointed President. The
call for the Assembly included the names
of the men in the several settlements en-
titled to vote of whom there were 71 in
Portsmouth, 60 in Dover, 57 in Hampton
and 20 in Exeter.

This first General Assembly of New
Hampshire, which met at Portsmouth on
the 16th day of March, 1679-80, enacted a
"body of laws," establishing courts, pro-


viding for trial by jury, prescribing severe
penalties for various crimes, levying taxes,
fixing the age of majority, etc. Represen-
tatives were chosen annually thereafter,
and the assembly met once each year, or
oftener, Portsmouth being the meeting
place for the first four assemblies. The
fifth met at Great Island or Newcastle, as
it is now known, which had formerly been
a part of Portsmouth. Subsequently the
meetings were sometimes held in Ports-
mouth and sometimes in Newcastle.

It was not until the Eighth Assembly, in
1692, that a representative appeared from
any settlement outside the four originally
named. At that time one came in from
the Isles of Shoals, the southern portion of
which belonged to New Hampshire and
subsequently became the town of Gosport,
where quite a settlement of fishermen was

Meanwhile, from December 20, 1686,
New Hampshire became a part of the
Royal Province of New England, including
all the territory now included in Maine,
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and
Rhode Island, to which Connecticut was
subsequently added, which arrangement
continued about three years ; then followed
a year with no province government at all,
and in 1690 a union with Massachusetts


was effected which continued till 1692,
when separate government for New Hamp-
shire was again established.

In the Tenth Assembly, which held two
sessions, in Newcastle, October 18, 1693 to
May 24, 1694, that town first had represen-
tation, two delegates appearing therefor,
while Dover had three, Portsmouth three,
Exeter two, Hampton three, and the Isles
of Shoals one. The Fourteenth Assembly
which held two sessions, met once in Hamp-
ton. In the Twenty-third Assembly, cov-
ering the time from July, 1704 to Novem-
ber, 1714, the town of Kingston (then
known as Kingstown) had a representative.
Stratham came in, in the Twenty-sixth, in
1716, and Hampton Falls in the Twenty-
eighth, in 1718. Rye was the next town to
have representation, then Londonderry,
Greenland, Newington and Durham, fol-
lowed, later, by Newmarket. Concord
came in, in the Forty-third assembly, in
1745, as did Chester and South Hampton,
and there were gradual accessions, as set-
tlements had been extended, till, in 1775,
there were thirty-four towns and places,
represented by thirty-five members, some
having two or more members, and some
members representing two or more classed
towns each.

Many towns had been established in the

-•S.-0.. LEJIOI 4KB

Gen. John Sullivan

Reproduction by Kimball Studio, Concord, N. H.


southern part of the province, up the
Merrimack valley, in the southwestern
section and along up the Connecticut, and
the province had been divided into five
counties — Rockingham, Strafford, Hills-
borough, Cheshire and Grafton. The set-
tlers had endured hardship and privation,
suffered from Indian depredations, hard
winters and crop failures, but had develop-
ed strength of character and a spirit of in-

It was about this time that New Hamp-
shire began to take a prominent part in the
making of American history, although the
people of the province had rendered their
full share of service in the French and
Indian wars in the middle of the century,
which had resulted twice in the siege and
capture of Louisburg by the forces under
command of Sir William Pepperell, a New
Hampshire man; the reduction and cap-
ture of Crown Point, and the conquest and
capture of Canada from the French. More
than 2,500 New Hampshire men had been
engaged in the service, of whom 500 had
been engaged in the last seige of Louis-
burg and as many at Crown Point.

The independent spirit had begun to as-
sert itself, however, at an even earlier
date. The Assembly, elected by and re-
sponsible to the people, had all along claim-


ed the right to determine who should be
admitted to membership therein, and re-
fused to allow men to occupy seats who
had been called by the Governor from
places not previously represented. This
disagreement became so sharp that during
the entire life of the Forty-fifth General
Assembly, from 1749 to 1751 inclusive,
there was no legislation at all enacted.

The impositions put upon the colonies
by the British government had long been
resented. The Stamp Act, followed by
the tax on tea, and other oppressive im-
posts, had so aroused the indignation of
the people that armed resistance seemed
imminent; while the manifest purpose of
the government to enforce its edicts by
military power kindled the fire of revolu-
tion in the popular mind.

It was on New Hampshire soil, on the
night of December 17, 1774, that the first
overt act of the Revolution was perform-
ed. This was the assault upon Fort Wil-
liam and Mary, at Newcastle, by a party of
patriots, led by John Sullivan of Durham
and John Langdon of Portsmouth, which
resulted in the capture and taking away of
a large quantity of gunpowder and other
munitions, the small garrison being taken
by surprise and no bloodshed ensuing.
This powder, by the way, as is generally


known, was furnished to the patriot forces,
who fought at Bunker Hill, nearly two-
thirds of whom were New Hampshire men
under Stark and Reid, stationed at the
"rail fence," who held their ground and
covered the retreat of the Massachusetts
men from the hill, thus preventing the
threatened rout, and turning what seemed
at first a disastrous defeat into a practical
victory for the patriot forces, in that it
demonstrated their valor, and ability to
resist effectively the trained forces of
Great Britain, It was in this contest, that
one of the bravest and most promising of
New Hampshire's soldiers lost his life —
Maj. Andrew McClary of Epsom, who was
struck by a stray cannon shot near the
close of the action.

The population of New Hampshire at
this time, as shown by the census of 1775,
was 82,200. Portsmouth, then regarded
as the capital, was by far the largest town,
having a population of 4,590. Second in
population was Londonderry, then includ-
ing what is now Derry, Windham, a part
of Manchester, and some other territory,
which then had 2,590 inhabitants, Exeter
had 1,741, Dover 1,666, Rochester 1,548,
Amherst 1,428 and Durham 1,214.

It is proper to mention that from May 17,
1774, till January 1776, no legislation was



enacted in the province, and no regularly
constituted government existed during a
considerable portion of the time. The
Assembly, whose members were chosen by
the people, and were generally imbued
with a patriotic spirit and a disregard for
the royal prerogative, could not, or would
not, conform to the demands of the Gov-
ernor, Sir John Wentworth, who, while
a native of the province, and sincerely de-
sirous of promoting its material interests,
was a thorough loyalist, and would brook
nothing which, to his mind, smacked of
disloyalty to the King and mother country.
Because of the disloyal or insubordinate
spirit manifested, the Governor had dis-
missed the General Assembly in June, 1774.
He soon came to realize that revolution
was "in the air." His efforts to secure men
to go to the assistance of Gen. Gage, the
British commander in Boston, in the erec-
tion of barracks for his troops, were un-
availing, as nobody would respond, and his
proclamation ordering the arrest and pun-
ishment of the men engaged in the assault
on Fort William and Mary, fell flat and
was utterly ignored. He remained in
Portsmouth, however, for some time long-
er, though little respect was shown for his
authority by the people generally, and he
was subjected at times to actual indignity,


SO that he finally repaired to the fort, and
in August, 1775, embarked for Boston, re-
maining some time under the protection of
the British fleet or army, and later depart-
ing for England, where he remained till
the close of the war.

It is proper to remark in this connection
that Sir John Wentworth, whose knightly
title came later in life, was really the best,
the most enterprising and progressive, of
all the royal governors. He was a pioneer
in the cause of advanced education, and
was mainly instrumental in the establish-
ment of Dartmouth College. He really
originated the "Summer home" movement,
which in later years has done so much to
promote the prosperity of the State, by
establishing a summer home for himself
on the shore of Smith's Pond, (since called
Lake Wentworth in his honor) in Wolfe-
boro, and erecting there a fine residence.
Moreover he did more than all his prede-
cessors to promote the building of roads
in the province, extending them to the new
settlements, and particularly to the north-
ward, with the view of making direct com-
munication with Canada, a scheme which
had it not been interrupted by war might
ultimately have made Portsmouth instead
of Boston the great commercial city of


New England, and the main seaport of the
North Atlantic coast.

But although government under royal
prerogative had disappeared, the people of
the colony were alive to their own interests,
and representatives, duly chosen from the
several towns, met in convention or Con-
gress to consider the situation and take such
action as might be deemed expedient. Five
of these Provincial Congresses were called
and held between July, 1774 and December,
1775, all at Exeter. The first of these met
July 21, 1774, having been called through
the action of the members of the Assembly
which although dissolved by the Governor,
had been recalled by the Committee of
Correspondence, — a body whose previous
appointment by the Assembly had been ob-
jected to by the Governor. This Congress
elected delegates to a General Congress of
the Colonies, to be held in Philadelphia, and
John Sullivan and Nathaniel Folsom were
the men chosen; while John Wentworth
(the Speaker of the Assembly, not Gover-
nor John) Meshech Weare, Josiah Bart-
lett, Christopher Toppan and John Picker-
ing, were named as a Committee to "in-
struct" the delegates and to name others
in their places, if necessary.

A second Congress was held January 22,
1775, and a third on April 25 of the same


year, the latter called because of the crisis

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Online LibraryHenry Harrison MetcalfNew Hampshire in history, or, The contribution of the Granite state to the development of the nation [microform] → online text (page 1 of 6)