Lucy Crawford.

The history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket online

. (page 1 of 13)
Online LibraryLucy CrawfordThe history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket → online text (page 1 of 13)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

\^-OV^O^^- S^^^S^

o- ^














By Lucy, Wife of Ethan Allen Crawfjird, Esq.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year IS46\


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of

New Hampshire.

PBINTSil) BY F.' Ar^i'l' TTGEBBisS^
No^ 74, Middle Street, Po^tlamSV




It may be enquired, by some persons, what has be*
come of Crawford, the Mountaineer, or Ethan of th«
Hills ? It will be the endeavor of the Authoress of this
Tale to relate some of his misfortunes and adventures,
briefly as possible, it being always a rule with him to
'£nake short sfejries and not go a great way round to effect
a- small thing.

This she has done, in his own language, as nearly as
she could, for the information of others and the benefit
of all of her own family whom she is desirous of bringing
up and making useful members of society. These aro
all true statements of things which have taken place
'within her own knowledge, since sheiias been living with
him. These facts he was unwilling, at first, to have pub-
lished, as he did not wish to expose those who seemed to
he against bira : they have been stated in as moderate
terms as possible, as we do not wish to injure the feelings
even of enemies if we have any such. It will readily bo
seen why he was always involved in debt, if this history
is read with candor, and viev/ed in a right manner, as it
will show his misfortunes to have originated, first, m the
fire, which left him a large sum in debt; next, in being
obliged to build, almost every year, so far from comaie*


privileges} ; and, then, in the two freshets, which caused
him a heavy loss of property. Taking all these things
into consideration it may be wondered how he succeeded
in getting along as well as he did, under so many losses
and dissppointments. But, saith the poet —

"Pigmies placed on Alps, are pigmies still;
And Pyramids are Pyramids ia vales."

And, as the Scripture saith of men of ancient times —

•'There were Giants in those days."






Hannah Hanes was born in Brimfield, Mass.,
August 3rd, 1744; aMd, at an early age, she
experienced Religion — at the age of seventeen,
I think she told me ; and this religion supported
her through many trying scenes of life ; neither
did it forsake her in the time of death.

Eleazer Rosebrook was born in Grafton, Mass.
1747 ; was married to Hannah Hanes, in March,
1772, and there they lived, until after the birth
of their first child, a daughter : and (when this
child was one year and a half old,) he, like
many Dther enterprizing men, took his wife and
child and came into what was then called Upper
Coos (pronounced Quos) as far as Lancaster.
Here they made a temporary stay, while he
could look about and find a place to -settle, until
after the birth of their second child, a daughter.


They then rnoved into woods, up the Connecti-
cut River, as far as Monadnuc or Monadnock,
now incorporated Colebrook, nearly thirty miles
from any inhabitant, and without a road. They
took the River, in some places, for a guide;
and, in other places, the}'' followed by marks of
spotted trees, which were spotted for the purpose
of shortening the distance , and then went into
a little log cabin, which had been previously
prepared by Mr. Rosebrook, my grandfather.

Now, in the woods, making a beginning,
setting an example for others to follow, suffering
many hardships, and enduring many privations,
common to beginners in a new country, they did
the best they could and tried to be content with
their situation. They had provided themselves
with a cow, the only favored domestic animal
they possessed, and, having no pasture, nor fence,
she was at liberty to range about and go wherever
she pleased. Many times did Mrs. Rosebrook,
my grandmother, in the absence of her husband,
shut her dear child up in her cabin, and taking
her infant in her arms, proceeded into the w^oods
in search of her cow, which she would be
directed to find by the sound of her bell.
Sometimes she was under the necessity of wad-
ing the river to get where the animal was, and
then she would return home and find the
deserted child safe, and, with the infant still in
her arms, and followed by the other child, did
she milk her cow. What courage must this
woman have possessed, after being for many
years among near relatives, such as parents
brothers, sisters and a numerous circle of friends


and neighbors, who were near and dear to her,
and changing them for the woods ! What a
contrast between having a large society and now
being confined entirely to these her lisping child-
ren ! What woman in these days could do this
and not complain of its being hard or severe ?
But she had made up her mind to be content
and industrious in whatsoever situation she
should be placed, and having a monitor within,
Avhich would say to her that although separated
from earthly friends, yet she had one that would
" stick closer than a brother," and while hlled
with these thoughts, her fears of wild beasts,
and many other things, would flee from her.

Their living was principally upon animal food;
as God always provides suitably for every one
who depends upon him and will apply himself
industriously to obtain.

The woods were beautiful, and well stored
with game, such as Moose, Deer, Bears, &c.,
and hunters might, in a short time, kill and
proci7re a sufficient quantity of this kind of food
to supply their families a long time. Some of
the flesh they would dry, and some they would
smoke ; and, in various ways, did they preserve
it and make good wholesome food of it.

One grand article wanted now was salt,
which was scarce and hard to be got, and they
could not well live without it, in this fresh and
mountainous country. Some families suffered
considerably, by their children having their
necks swollen — the disorder was attributed to
the want of salt, which was afterwards rem-
edied, in a measure, by carrying them to the



salt water, and giving them a plenty of salt fish
to eat, and applying the skin of the salt fish to
their necks ; but they never wholly out grew
this trouble. I have heard my grandfather say,
that while living in the Monadnuc, at one time
he went on foot to Haverhill, and bought one
bushel of salt, and carried it home, through the
woods, on his back, a distance, at that time, as
they followed the river the most of the way, of
not less than eighty miles. Can this same
country produce a man now, with such wonder-
ful power of muscle and strength of mind, to
endure this and not complain of its being hard ?
But such was the courage of these hardy new
beginners that they did not mind trifles. One
circumstance I think worth recording.

One Major Whitcomb, vv'ho lived in this
country, went on foot to what was then called
Lower Coos, a distance of fifty miles from
where he lived, and it was late in the spring;
as the people had planted, in that place, he had
great difficulty in finding potatoes, which it was
his whole business to obtain; but he at length
succeeded in getting one bushel of small ones,
and these he carefully carried home, on his
back. Those which vrould answer to cut, he
cut in pieces, and then planted them. After-
wards he counted the hills, and there were four
hundred hills of these planted potatoes ; and,
in the fall he harvested them, and had one
hundred bushels of good potatoes. Such was
the plentiful increase of almost every thing
put into the ground. So much so, that this
country was considered by people, two or three


liiindred miles distant, to be equal to ilie western
country now ; and those who left their friends
to come to this, (Upper Coos, as they then
termed it,) w^ere, generally, a robust and self-
denying people; and the friends whom they left
behind thought much more of the distance, than
we do now of going two or three thousand
miles ; and their expectations of seeing them
again, were much less than now ; which may
well be imagined, when we reflect that it is
more practicable to travel ten miles now, than it
was to travel one then.

About this time was the Revolutionary War
between the United States and Great Britain.
Grandfather volunteered his services ; as he
possessed the same independent spirit of our
forefathers, and was determined, as they were, to
free our country or shed his own blood in its
defence. Before he started, fearing for the
safety of his family, should he leave them alone,
lest they might be destroyed by the enemy, he
removed them down to Northumberland, and
])laced them in a sort of fort, which was then
erected and guarded by the husbandmen ; they
then em^braced each other, and he took his leave
of his iamily, having a Arm belief that if he
had entered rightly into a good cause, he should
be prospered, and impressed with these feelings,
they separated, while his wife's prayers were
constantly for him and the general good of the
r.ountry. But here, in this situation, she did
not remain long, having then the addition of
iinother child — a son. A gentleman, by the
name of White, kindly gave her an Asylum in


his house. As his wife was sickly, and not ablt
to work, he gave her and her three children
their board for what they could do ; which she
considered a great kindness, as it gave her the
privilege of supporting herself and family with-
out being chargeable to her husband.

Mrs. Kosebrook remained where she was, on
permission, until her husband came home. He
then moved his family to Guildhall, Vermont,
and having settled them there, returned to his
duty for a number of months, discharging it
with brav^ery, and encountering with his foes,
"whenever he was called upon, like a brave

He and an officer were once -sent to Canada
as spies. They were suspected, and finding it
out, they made good their retreat; they were
closely pursued by the enemy. Grandfather
was aware of it, and they travelled, night as
well as day, until they came to a considerable
stream of water; here they built a fire, and then
put it out, to make it appear as though they had
been gone for some time ; they then waded the
stream, and, when at a proper distance, struck
up another fire and dried and rested themselves.
The enemy came soon after, and found where
they had made the fire, which they had ex-
tinguished, and, supposing they were out of
their reach, returned; as one of the pursuing
party told him, afterwards ; and he likewise
said, that he told them it was useless to follow
farther, as Mr. Rosebrook was a Hunter and a
Woodsman, and knew better than to suffer
himself to be overtaken.


Grandmother, while living at Guildhall, in
(he absence of her husband, was frequently
visited by the Indians. As she was a womany
and alone, they seemed to make her habitation
their place of resort, their being no man to resist
them. By disposing of their fur, they would
provide themselves with a plenty of what they
called Uncupy, or spirit, which they carried in
Madders, taken from Moose, and, at times, they
Would have a great drunk. This troubled her
much, knowing their savage dispositions ; she,
fearing she would offend them and incur their
displeasure, bore with them ; at one time, how-
ever, she became decided and cleared her house
of them, all but one, and she was so far gone
tinder the influence of the spirit, or liquor, that
she lay motionless upon the floor ; grandmother
took her by the hair of her head, and with the
strength of her feelings, dragged her out of
doors ; and the squaw by being put in motion,
came to herself so much that she had the use of
her limbs ; she drew her tomahawk and aimed
it at grandmother, who had just closed the door
after her, when this tomahawk came so near as
to take off the wooden thumb-piece from the
door handle ; thus she Providentially made her
escape. Some time in the night, the squaw so
far recovered as to move herself out of sight of
the house ; and, the next day, after getting
sober, and recollecting how ridiculously she had
appeared, and what trouble she had caused the
good woman, the evening before, came back and
freely asked her forgiveness, and likewise said
she would not do the like again ; and she strictly
kept her word.


Grandfather came home again, on permission,
and as his wife had so much trouble with the
natives, and her family being again increased,
she did not Avell know how to have him return;
and as he had enlisted during the war, he hired
a man to take his place, and remained at home
to assist his helpmate in bringing up her young
family. As they had begun to fulfil the com-
mandment which was giv^en to Adam, at the
beginning, it became necessary she should hare
help; and as a reward for his toils and hard-
ships during his services, he was paid off in the
old Continental money, which proved a nuisance
to him. I have now some of it still in my pos-
session, which I keep in remembrance of his
courage and valor.

Peace was proclaimed, and they remained in
Guildhall, and the people were, for a number of
miles, seemingly, all of one family, sharing in
each other's bounties and enjoying one another's
company, like so many brothers , and if one
happened to get a dainty, or a rare nice thing,
an invitation would immediately be given to the
neighbors, who would assemble, and thej all
■would have a social time of it. There was no
distinction in those days in point of dress or
grandeur, but all wore their own manufacture ;
I have heard my grandmother say that when
she was dressed in her striped, short, loose
gowm, and her clean starched and well ironed,
blue and white checkered linen apron, she felt
much better then to appear in a meeting, among
Christians, than she has, since, when dressed in
silks. They then, had no ruffles, no ribbons, or


any thing that appeared like ostentation, but all
was neat and tidy ; as this was the uniform
manner of dress, in those days, they all enjoyed
it, without a murmur, and felt happy. The
men wore garments made of the skin of Moose,
which they had learned to dress of the Indians ;
they were, as ihey said, cold things to put on in
the morning, but when once warmed, the cold
weather could not penetrate through, and they
would last a long time. For shoes, they made
of this same kind of skin, a substitute called
Moccasons, until the country began to be opened
a little, and then they got sheep; the wool, the
women would card themselves and spin ; and
such were their habits of industry, as this was
a slow way to get their wool Avorked up, I have
heard grandmother say that she used frequently
to work a whole week, both night and day,
without undressing herself — she would only lay
down, for a short time, with her clothes on,
while carding and spinning ; when this was
done, she would weave it, and then with the
bark of some forest tree they would give it a
color ; without the process of a Clothier, or the
woikmanship of a Tailor, they would cut their
own garments and make them — and in this
cheap, humble, but happy way, these people
lived for many years, until the enemy of con-
tentment began to introduce articles of merchan-
dize, which soon created pride, and a sort of
rivalship commenced, and as soon as one came
in possession of a newly inported dress, it stim-
ulated others to follow the fashion, and one
extreme generally follows anothei. In this wa^""
has our country since been infested with this


foolish pTidc of dress, making" gay tho outside ;
while some, it is feared, have neglected the most
important part, the sou] ; but another era, it is
hoped, will take place, which will yet cause all
who watch for it, to be more and more happy.

Now while living at that time in this countr}^,
the gfi'eatest disadvantage which they felt, most
seriously, was the want of good schools for
their children. As they seldom had any schools
so near as to have the privilege of sending them
at all, their eldest went but one day, their sec-
ond, one week — which completed their school
education. But as their mother had in early
life acquired a knowledge of letters, and the
proper use of them, she instructed them so well
that they could read and spell with considerable
accuracy. This they found to be. useful in after
years, as they could read for themselves and
sometimes for others. For instance ; the hus-
band of the eldest became afllcited with weak-
ness of his eyes, so that he could not himself
see to read, and being drawn up with the rheu-
matism so much that he could not walk, it. has
been a matter of great consolation to him, in his
dull hours, to sit still and hear her read : and
thus time passed more swiftly away than it
Avotild have done otherwise. I have often heard
my grandmother tell with great interest the pro-
ceedings of former years. One instance, I rec-
ollect, \Y?.s this : that at one time when the
State Legislature met, a man of rather ordinary
appearance presented himself. The members
viewed him and then asked him if he was the
choice oi the people ? His answer was this :


Sirs, I am the only man in my tov/n ; of coiirso
there was no one to set up against me ; there-
fore I copsidercd it my privilege to come here,
and I have made my appearance. This caused
some glee, but the honest man was not refused
a seat. At another lime, as the military lavv's
were in those days similar to ours, a neighbor-
ing town legally warned a meeting for the pur-
pose of choosing military officers and to have a
training. After tlie officers were chosen there
was but one remaining soldier : and he looking
wishfully upon his superiors, said : Gentlemen,
I have one request to make, that is, as I am the
only soldier, 1 hope your honors will not be too
severe in drilling me, but will spare me a little
as I may be needed another time. He could
form a solid column, he said, but it racked him
shockingly to display. At another time, when
they were to have a training, an officer v.^ent
iifty miles to Lower Coos, as it was then called,
or Haverhill, now — for two quarts of spirit, to
treat his company with. As they had no car-
riages in those days, neither had they a road
suitable for one, he took his horse, put on a sad-
dle and then a pair of large saddle-bags, filled
with provisions for the journey, and a jug for
the spirit, and provender for his horse, and as
they travelled at that time, it took him three or
four days to perform this journey. When on
his way home, by some unknown accident, the
cork got loose and the bottle was emptied of its
contents into the saddle-bags. The liquor would
have been saved had not the oats soaked up a
part of it ; he, however, saved enough to treat


his company with. They did not require so
much then as too many have required since that
time. V

It had been a matter of considerable enquiry,
how they should get a passage through the
White Mountains ? Two men, who went in
search, by name Timothy Nash and Benjamin
Sawyer, discovered an opening through the
Notch. One of then climbed a tree to be sure
of the fact. Here one of them lost a mitten,
it being on a high hill, and from that circum-
stance they gave it the name of the Mitten
Mountain. When satisfied there might be a
way found here to get to the fertile country on
the Connecticut Eiver, without going so far
round, thev gave thi3 information, and were re-
warded by having the whole tract of level landi
given them above the Notch, and it was granted
to them by Governor Wentworth in 1773, as
Nash and Sawyers' Location, upon condition
that they should cut and make a good road
through this Tract of Land, and rause five
families to settle on it in five years. This land
was surveyed by General Buckman, a Deputy
Surveyor of public land, then belonging to the
Province, now State of New Hampshire ; and
they had got some families settled here, and the
people had began to settle in Conway and
Bartlett, and likewise in Jefferson, all of whom
had an example set them by Colonel Whipple,
from Portsmouth, who, for years, was a real
Father to them. He placed them on his land,
and all they could raise, more than they needed
lor their families, he bought : and paid them


Iioncstly to even a half a cent. He used to
bring from Portsmouth a bag of half cents to
make change, for the purpose of being honest
himself and trying to make his tenants honest.
This little surplus of grain was carefully laid up
for the inhabitants in case of their own need, or
that of other persons w*ho should move in.

At one time, provisions in Bartlett were
scarce, and some of the people took their sacks
and money in their hands, and came through
the woods, a distance of not less than thirty
miles, to buy bread. This was refused by the
Colonel, saying his own inhabitants wanted all
he had; and they were obliged to return empty.
They, however, had the precaution to examine
and find where the grain was, and shortly after-
w^ards returned, and with an auger, bored a hole
up through the floor under Vvhere the grain was,
secured by a lock, held their sacks under, and
they were iiHed. When satisfied they stopped
the hole with a plug, and then, on their backs,
carried the filled sacks to the woods, w^here they
had hand sleighs prepared to draw the grain on
with, and thus returned in safety. The'Colonel
finding it out, and being sensible of his error,
made but little fuss about it, yet took care how
he dealt with them afterwards.

The inhabitants now Vviiile clearing the tim-
ber off their lands, made ashes, which was
boiled into salts, and exchanged for goods.
Every thing was very dear. As the distance
was so great to go round to get to the sea-board,
they began to contrive means to go to Portland,
or, perhaps, Portsmouth wa:^ the first place


where th?y went to market. With one horse
fixed to a car. they first went throuQ;h the woods.
The form of the car was simply this : two poles
cut ten or fifteen feet in length, the smaller ends
seiving as thills for the horse to draw by and
the largest ends dragging on the ground ; and
nearly in the middle fastened with some short
poles, on which they would place a bag, or other
articles of loading. In this way the}^ got along
quite well until they came to the Notch. This
was a trying place to get through. To go
where they now do, was then utterly impossile.
They then turned out at the top of the Notch
and went over the edge and so managed to get
to the top, and by taking a zizzag course, as
much as possible, got down : but in doing this
there was danger of the horse tipping over — the
hill was so steep. And when they returned,
they would tie a rope around the horse's neck,
to keep him from falling backwards. At one
time, however, one horse did so fall ; but he
was helped up without receiving much injury.
At length a committee was chosen to search and
look out the best road. They agreed in all
places until they came to the Notch. There
they held a council. One-half was for making
the road on one side of the stream, and the
other half, on the other side ; but after consid-
erable consultation on the subject, one of them,
turned and voted to make the road on the side
of the Saco, where it is now. Header, when
you pass this place, now spoken of, please to
look and judge for yourself, if you would devise
a way to make a road on the other side of the


Stream, and then imag^ine what courage and
perseverance our forefathers possessed. They
never seemed to take hold of the plough and
look back, but drove on.

At this time, grandfather remained at Guild-
hall. He had settled on a beautiful piece of
land, easy to cultivate, on the Connecticut river,
and things began to look flourishingly. He
seemed to be in a way to live without' much
hard labor himself, as his two eldest daugliters
were married, and his four sons growing up to
help him. But in this easy situation he could
not long remain. Having an ambitious, enter-
prising, public spirited disposition, and 'after
going to market in the manner spoken of, and
knowing there must be more help and persever-

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Online LibraryLucy CrawfordThe history of the White Mountains, from the first settlement of Upper Coos and Pequaket → online text (page 1 of 13)