N.H.) Manchester Historic Association (Manchester.

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Historic . Association


Manchester Historic Association,



OFFICERS — 1896.

President. — JOHN C. FRENCH.

Vice-Presidents.— HENRY W. HERRICK.

Treasurer.— JOHN DOWST.

Recording Secretary.— HERBERT W. EASTMAN.

Corresponding Secretary.— GEORGE W. BROWNE.

Librarian.— SAMUEL C. KENNARD.

Historiographer.— GEORGE C. GILMORE.

executive committee.



publication committee.





The officers for 1897 are the same as for 1S96, with the omission of George
F. Willey from the Publication Committee, resigned, and George W. Browne
appointed to fill the vacancy.


THE undersigned hereby associate together to be a corpora-
tion under chapter 147 of the Public Statutes of the state
of New Hampshire, to be known as the Manchester Historic
Association, the purpose of which Association shall be to col-
lect, preserve, and publish whatever may relate to the early and
later history of the city of Manchester and the surrounding towns,
that formed in its early history and settlement one and the same
community, and to preserve such articles or relics of the aborig-
ines and early settlers of the country, and records of colonial and
later wars, as may be obtained by the Association.

The first meeting of the Association shall be holden, with-
out further notice, on the iSth day of December, 1895, at eight
o'clock in the afternoon, at the rooms of the Manchester Board
of Trade, at which meeting, or some adjournment thereof, there
shall be chosen by ballot, such officers of the Association as shall
be provided for by the constitution adopted by the Association.

The annual meeting, qualification of, and condition of
membership, raising of iiioney, and all other matters necessary
to be done and performed to fully carry out the objects of
the Association shall be provided for by the constitution and
by-laws to be by them adopted.

The place of business and chief office of the Association
shall be located in the city of Manchester, county of Hills-
borough, and state of New Hampshire.


Witness our hands and place
of December, A. D. 1895.

of residence this the i8th day


All of Manchester, N. H.

City Clerk's Office, Manchester, N. H.
Rec'd Jan'y 2, 1896, and recorded in City Book of Cor-

porations, Vol. 4, Page 77.
By me,


City Clerk.


Office of Secretary of State,
Concord, Jan. 17, 1896.
Received and recorded in Record of Voluntary Corpora-
tions, Vol. 8, pp. 314-16.

[l. s.] Secretary of State.


Article i. The object of the Manchester Historic Associa-
tion shall be to collect, preserve, and publish whatever may relate
to the early and later history of the city of Manchester and the
surrounding towns, that formed in its early history and settle-
ment the same community, and to preserve such articles or
relics of the aborigines and early settlers of the country, and
records of colonial and later wars, and other objects of interest,
as may be obtained by the Association.

Article 2. The Association shall consist of such persons
as shall be elected by major vote of members present at any
annual or quarterly meeting of the Association, and who have
paid the amount of the membership fee provided in this consti-
tution. The election of members shall be by ballot, except by
unanimous consent of the members present.

Article 3. The membership fee shall be the sum of two
dollars, to be paid at the time of the application, and any person
who shall be refused membership shall have the amount so paid
refunded. The annual dues of the members shall be one dollar,
to be paid on or before the annual meeting of each year. The
Association may assess taxes at the annual meeting on its mem-
bers, provided that such taxes shall not in any one year exceed
the sum of two dollars. Any member neglecting to pay the
annual dues, or any tax assessed, for the space of one year shall
cease to be a member. Any person may become a life member
of the Association on the payment of the sum of twenty-five
dollars at one time, and any person becoming a life member
shall be exempt from the payment of annual dues or any tax that
may be levied by the Association. Such persons, not residents
of New Hampshire, as the Association shall deem for its interest
to make honorary members of the same, may become such on a
vote of the Association at any meeting thereof, and no fees or
dues shall be required of such honorary members.


Article 4. The annual meeting of the Association shall
be held on the third Wednesday of December in each year, at
such time and place in the city of Manchester as the President
shall designate, notice thereof to be given through the daily
press of Manchester. Quarterly meetings shall be held on the
third VVednesdavs of the months of March, June, and September,
notice of the same to be given as is provided for annual meetings.

Article 5. Special meetings shall be called by the presi-
dent, and in his absence by one of the vice-presidents, on ap-
plication of six members, notice of such meetings to be published
in the daily papers of Manchester and notice sent through the
mail to each member at least two days before such meeting,
which notice shall contain the purpose and object for which the
meeting is called, and seven members shall constitute a quorum
for the transaction of business, but a less number may adjourn.

Article 6. The officers of the Association shall be elec-
ted at the annual meeting and shall be a president, two vice-
presidents, a treasurer, a recording secretary, a corresponding
secretary, a librarian, a historiographer, an executive com-
mittee of seven members, of which the president and recording
secretary shall be ex-officio members, a committee of five on
publication, and such other officers as may be deemed necessary
by the Association. The executive committee shall be the
auditing committee and have general supervision and direction
of the affairs of the Association.

The officers herein provided for shall perform the duties in-
dicated by their respective titles, and shall hold their office for
the term of one year and until others are elected in their place,
provided the first election of officers under this constitution
shall be made at such time and place as the Association may de-

Article 7. This constitution may be amended at any an-
nual or quarterly meeting, as the Association shall deem expedi-
ent, by a vote of two thirds of the members present, provided
that written notice of the proposed amendment be given at the
last preceding regular meeting.


THE following pages will attest their own value. With two
exceptions the articles have been prepared expressly for the
Association, and it was deemed fitting those should be included.
The first year of the Manchester Historic Association has met
with a success which seems to assure it a flattering future. It
certainly is of the utmost importance that the historic data
passing away with the decease of our older citizens should be
obtained and placed on record before it is forever gone. One
personal statement often makes valueless the hearsays of many.
The first is history, the other tradition. If such facts as can be
are gathered from time to time and presented to the Association,
the printed volume from year to year will be of inestimable
worth. The valley of the Merrimack is rich in its legendary
lore as well as history that has been such an important factor in
the making of the state and nation. If the Association awakens
the interest of the inhabitants of what was once old Derryfield to
the importance of preserving those facts, it will have performed a
mission which following generations will have reason to appre-
ciate. Said Hon. Edward Everett, "Know the history of your
own town first, then that of your state and country."
Respectfully submitted.


Publication Committee.




Reminiscences of Manchester, i84i to 1896,

David L. Perkins .... 9

New Hampshire Men at Louisburg and Bunker Hill,

Rev. IVilliam H. Morrison . .27

^ Derryfield Men at Bunker Hill,

Hon. George C. Gilmore . , 32

Boating on the Merrimack,

George Waldo Browne . . -35

Derryfield Social Library,

IVilliam H. Muse . . . .44

Castle William and Mary,

Hon. John G. Crawford . . .51

New Hampshire Branch of the Society of Cincinnati,

Hon. John C. French . . .66

J Grace Fletcher,

Hon. John C. French . . .73

/ " The Sweet By-and-By,"

S. C. Gould . . . . .81

Old Derryfield and Young Manchester,

David L. Perkins . . . .84

Semi-Centennial of Manchester,

Fred IV. Lamb . . . .112

J Election Sermons in New Hampshire,

S. C. Gould 117

1841 to 1896.

An Address by David L. Perkins before the Manches-
ter Historic Association, March i8, 1S96.

Mr. President and Gentlemen :

It has been said of us, almost by way of reproach, that we have
no ancient castles in America ; no stately ruins to remind us of
mediaeval times; but, on the whole, our transatlantic friends
must admit that we have got along quite successfully without
them, and let us hope that the time may never come when baro-
nial castles shall dot the horizon of our fair land. As for ruins,,
our people are too busily employed in their various avocations
in building up the new even to think of them, much less to
lament their absence from our virgin landscape. Our perspective
is altogether too bright and alluring for that. Some hundreds
of years hence our successors may cultivate the scars and wrin-
kles that will serve a purpose in that line ; but at present we are
full of life, full of resources, full of hope and youth. But it is
not the present purpose to dwell upon ruins, or castles, even in
the air ; but merely to suggest as best we may, a few milestones
which in the experience of a single life have brought us to our
present magnificent estate.

There are scores among us who can recall a time when the
present site of Manchester was hardly more than a worthless sand
bank; a prolific fishing resort; and with nothing more sugges-
tive of thrift or of value in its character and surroundings than
an obscure little spinning mill at Amoskeag. Later on a manu-



facturing village grew up on this side of the river ; and as the
cotton industry throve, the village blossomed into the beautiful
and far-famed city of to-day. My father came hither in June,
1841, as the first male instructor in the public schools of the new
Manchester, in the new high school building on Lowell street at
the corner of Chestnut, then almost literally in the woods. There
were no railroads here, no telegraph wires. Even gas as an illu-
minating agent was practically unknown. The telephone, elec-
tric lights, street motor cars, and the modern fire-alarm service
are of comparatively recent date; and the steam fire-engine only
preceded them a very little. There were no street pavements
here, and the sidewalks were limited to the village needs, — a
village of about three thousand five hundred souls. I doubt if
there was a private bath-tub, a domestic heating furnace, a coal
stove, or an elevator in the town.

There was little to attract attention south of Merrimack street
or north of Lowell, and east of Union street there were no build-
ings at all until the suburbs were reached. The now elegant
northeast section, then of uneven surface, covered with little
patches of feed for cattle, rude granite boulders, scrub oaks and
pines, not arable, and hardly fit for grazing, was yet used for a
pasture, and was enclosed with a rough stone wall. The tmie
came when the authorities placed a neat wooden rail fence
around Concord common, then the only park of any pretensions,
and it seemed almost like a case of metropolitan extravagance.
The vicinity of Birch and Washington streets, now known as the
" Barbary Coast," was wet and marshy, and abounded in alder
bushes, where the rabbit and the partridge lingered as if regretful
of the coming change. The territory south of Hanover street
and east of Union was covered by a heavy pine forest as far out
as Hallsville ; and through the woods to the south a tract of
cleared land, comprising some twenty acres or more, was famil-
iarly known as " the Ryefield." As late as 1850 or 185 1, Daniel
Webster delivered an address from a raised platform at a fair of
the New Hampshire Agricultural Society, held in this immediate
vicinity. He was the "observed of all observers" in a proces-


sion that marched up Ehn street, and from his open barouche,
with bared head, he bowed, like the god that he was, to the ladies
on either side of the street, who waved their handkerchiefs.

A deep glen or ravine extended northeasterly from the Valley-
cemetery, and a brook that rippled down between the heavily
shaded banks, thence through the cemetery valley, is well remem-
bered by thousands of our fellow-citizens. This shaded dell
served us boys as a not too remole Arcadia, where we often re-
paired of a school holiday with wooden tomahawks, in imitation
of the Indians. It was only at long intervals that we got as far
out as the shores of Lake Massabesic, for we had no other means
of transportation than those afforded by nature. At a point near
West Brook street, where Judge David Cross now lives, the Old
Falls road, so called, curved around, first westerly and then to
the north, until the Amoskeag bridge and the north River road
were reached. On a high bluff, at its intersection with Elm
street, a small weather-stained house stood guard for many years ;
and halfway around the curve, at the foot of the hill, a small,
ancient, black-wooded schoolhouse was a familiar object. The
pasture, the outlying orchard, and the adjacent graveyard have
now disappeared forever. Cows no longer feed placidly along
the hillside ; the school children of the olden days are gathered
to their fathers, or scattered far and near ; while the bones of the
dead have been ruthlessly removed. This ancient burying-
ground was in the immediate vicinity of, and perhaps included,
the present site of the Manchester Locomotive Works. The
father of General Stark was buried here.

The sand bluff where the Governor Smyth mansion now stands,
and the one south of it across West Salmon street, then under
the shade of willows and elms, were rich with the deposit of In-
dian arrowheads and other aboriginal curios, and many a valued
collection has been exhumed therefrom. There was a deep ra-
vine just north of Penacook street, crossing Elm from the old
fair ground, with its riotous little trout brook now rapidly disap
pearing from human view. When Smyth's block was built at
the corner of Elm and Water streets, as late as 1853, it was


thought by some of the wise heads of that day to be a crazy en-
terprise, because it was so far removed from the business center
of the town ; and now even Rock Rimmon bids fair to become a
huge setting like a gem of nature in the midst of a thriving, busy
settlement. I have a distinct recollection of a deep ravine south
of Granite street and west of Elm, where nature had formed a
charming amphitheater. A platform was erected in this temple
of nature, where temperance lecturers and Fourth of July orators
held forth to audiences seated upon benches arranged one above
another on the hillside, and all under the grateful shade of prim-
itive trees. Along in the forties a man from over the river was
found drowned in a shallow pool in this ravine, with a jug of rum
by his side. In view of this tragic event some of the temperance
people conceived the idea of giving the town an object lesson,
and it took the form of "a drunkard's funeral," in which the
corpse played a conspicuous part. A procession was formed, and
marching through Elm street a halt was made before several
places where liquors were dispensed, and the "mourners"
groaned several times in unison.

Political feeling, then as now, was exciting and absorbing.
July 4, 1844, 3- presidential year, the two parties held rival meet-
ings in Manchester, — the Whigs in this same ravine, and the
Democrats among the pines in the neighborhood of Tremont
square. Some fifteen thousand strangers were in town, and no
end of the militia. Charles Francis Adams, of Massachusetts,
addressed the Whigs, and George Barstow, the historian, was the
Democratic orator.

I caught many a fine brook trout on Hanover common in my
boyhood, out of an artificial pond that existed there for fire pur-
poses, supplied by the " Mile brook," so called. This brook
had its rise on Oak hill, and thence from Hanover square by a
culvert it supplied another artificial pond on Merrimack com-
mon, now known as Monument square, and still another small
reservoir on Concord common, at a point where the fountain
now stands. These small bodies of water afforded the school
children of that day excellent facilities for skating, and, alas ! at


times, even for drowning ; and for the latter purpose several
adults availed themselves of the little pool on Concord common.
In recent years these ponds have been filled in and completely
grassed over, as they were no longer needed for fire purposes,
and with an increasing density of population the impure waters
were thought to be a menace to the health of those who lived in
their vicinity. I recall with pleasure the sunken barrel on the
south bank of Hanover cominon, from which the thrifty house-
wife, the ruddy maid, or perchance the man of the house, Avith
pail in hand, drew a supply of sparkling spring water for family
use. The children were wont to slake their thirst at this same
perennial fountain, and occasionally one of them fell headlong
into the barrel, a fate that once befell the writer of these notes.
From this bounteous spring the public fountain at the corner of
our city hall is supplied with the pure juice of the rock, and in
the heat of a summer's day it is an untold blessing to our weary,
toiling, care-worn masses. Yet Mayor Abbott was unmercifully
ridiculed for introducing this boon, though if he had done noth-
ing more, this alone would serve as a fit monument to his mem-

At the southeast corner of Merrimack common there was a
low boggy place, where for many years an irregular clump of un-
gainly trees served as an eyesore and reproach ; but, like the mile
brook that meandered across Elm street and lost itself in the
deep glen south of Granite street, they have long since disap-
peared from view.

In that day the neighbors around Concord common were ac-
customed to parcel out among themselves small garden spots on the
upper or east section, where they raised such vegetables as suited
their fancy, and he was thought to be a slothful farmer who could
not supply his table therefrom with green peas and cucumbers as
early as the Fourth of July. We chased rabbits among the scrub-
oaks, pines, and granite boulders north of Concord street and east
of Union, for in this whole section there were no houses west of
Janesville, and one may know now that he is in Janesville or
Towlesville when the streets run crossways like the great avenues
in Washington.


The ground where the Governor Straw mansion stands, north
of Harrison street and east of Ehu, was occupied by a little black,
weather beaten, single-storied farmhouse and barn, and it was
then away out in the country to us boys. Here we spent many
delightful hours hunting hens' nests on the haymow, and chasing
butterflies over the sun-clad fields with a schoolfellow whose
father occupied the premises. Sweet flag was found here along
the margin of a little brook. There were picturesque relics of a
decaying wooden mill of small pretensions on the river road, this
side of the General John Stark place, and another near the pres-
ent intersection of Lake avenue and Massabesic street, where
leeches were found and where we sometimes went in bathing.

On the west side, from the eddy at Amoskeag to Granite street
south, a long mile, there were hardly more than a half dozen
houses, including the Agent Reed mansion, now standing, and
the Butterfield farmhouse, a district that is now densely popu-
lated. And who can forget the ancient pound and the pest-
house on Bridge street just north of our Derryfield park? The
colonial buildings on the poor farm over the hill on the Mam-
moth road presented a stately aspect of thrift and comfort to
our minds, and Stevens pond, a little farther east in the low
land, where hornpouts and pickerel were found in abundance,
was to us a perpetual joy. Many an old inhabitant would
think he had strayed beyond his bailiwick if found within the
limits of " the new discovery." A few years ago this territory
was a dense jungle under the shadows of Amoskeag hill ; now it
is a flourishing settlement in the northeast section. In the early
times Thanksgiving shooting matches were held near a little tav-
ern stand at the intersection of Bridge and Russell streets in
Janesville. Very many interesting changes in the topography of
our city might be noted here, but time and space forbid. In
preparing a paper like this, where the material is so abundant, it
is always difficult to know just what to include, and when done
it is ever a source of regret that something more had not been
added. Yet something is due to the cause of brevity. Prolixity
is easy enough, and with the best endeavor a selection of the fit-
test is not always easy of attainment.


The character of the pupils who then attended our public
schools, as I remember them, was vastly different from those of
today, being largely composed in the higher grades of young
men and young women, at least they seemed so to me. In those
days both urban and country teachers were often compelled to
fight for the right of way, and sooner or later the test was reason-
ably sure to come as to whether a new teacher could fight as well
as teach, and frequently the fighting preceded the teaching.
In the large audience room of the Lowell-street school, where
nearly two hundred pupils were frequently assembled, an iron
box stove four feet long was the only heater, and when well
packed with chunks and well fired it was thought to be a pretty
safe reliance, though in zero weather the occupants of the back
seats near the windows may now be pardoned if they entertained
a different opinion ; but they had the best that the market then
afforded. In fact, it is only within recent years that modern
heating appliances have been introduced into our public schools,
and water was only to be had by going after it among the neigh-
bors. When I attended the Spring-street grammar school, there
were two large box-stoves, one on either side, east and west, the
boys occupying the east half and the girls the west, divided by a
broad aisle, and there were times when the privilege of standing
around one of these stoves was esteemed an especial favor. It
was the custom in the early days for the larger boys to take turns
in the care of the schoolrooms, and it was no idle pastime to
sweep out and build the fires on a cold winter's morning. The
dainty pupils of today would think they had fallen upon hard
lines if required to exchange their luxurious surroundings for the
meagre school facilities of their parents. And yet, though edu-
cation is now rendered comparatively easy and pleasant, it can

Online LibraryN.H.) Manchester Historic Association (ManchesterCollections (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 28)