Salma Hale.

Annals of the town of Keene, from its first settlement, in 1734, to the year 1790 .. online

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commandtT wounded, but yet alive, they removed
hi in to the bank of the river, where he had left
them. Supposins; his wound was mortal, ajid
alarmed for their own safety, they then left him,
and returned precipitately to Canada, informini^ Ins
father, a wealthy old gentleman, who resided near
Quebec, that his son had been killed by the Eng-

Rambout remained as he was left, until the next
morninsj. Feeling his strength revive, he then at-
tempted to rise, and, after several efforts, succeed-
ed. Prompted by the lov^e of life, he then deter-
mined to endeavor to reach some settlement, and
give himself up. Wandering about, he at length
came to the road leading to Northfield, then about
five miles distant. This road he followed, and with
much difficulty reached that place. The man
whom he first saw, was Alexander, who had shot
him, and to him he surrendered himself. Alexan-
der immediately conveyed him to the hruse of Mr.
Doolittle, who was then surgeon, physician, and
clergyman, of the place, where he was carefully
attended to, and his wound completely cured. He
was an interesting young man, and, by his behav-
ior, gained the res[)ect, and affection of the inhab-

During the winter, he made a visit to Boston.
He was very anxious to return to Canada ; and the
relatives and friends of Samuel Allen, a young
man, who had been captured, at Deerfield, in l7^(i,
were desirous of procuring his release, in exchange
for Rambout, Application was therefore made to
the governor of Massachusetts, who consented to
send a party, with a flag, to Canada, to negociate
the exchange. Rambout also engaged, that some
other Ejiglish prisoners should be released, in ex-
change for liim. As he was an officei, considera-
ble reliance was placed upon tins engagement ; and

Aiinals of Keene, 29

it was asreed that, should it be ratifietl by the ijov-
erwoY ot Canada, tiiu otiier prisontr sliould be Mr.

The party consisted of John Hawks, Matthew
EHsson, and John Taylor Hawks was ore of the

{Droprietors, though not an inhabitant of Keene ;
le commanded tort Myssachus'^tts, ncyr lioosac k,
■wlien i< was taken, in t (3, and had just rctnriitd
from captivity ; he was an active officer in all the
L-dians wars of this period, and rose to tiie rank
ol lieutenant colonel, in the war of i7:)0.

Considering it possible that the French governor
might refuse to iMtify the engagement of the lieu-
t -ant, Mrs. Blake furnished Hawks with fimds to
rt deem her husband. 1 he paiMy, accompanied by
B Mubout, set out from Deerfseld, for Citnada, in
February, l74tH. The season was inclement, and
the snow was deep. 'I hey tra\ elled on snow
shoes, and carried their provisions on their backs.
A r;ight, the} encam])ed on the snow, in the In-
di;:n mode, at;d oftetj, without shelter or covering.
Tlieir route led up the Connecticut^toTJ'iarles-
tow n ; thence up Black river, to the present tov> n
of Ludlow ; thence over the highlands, in Mount
lloily, to a branch oi Otter Creek ; thence down
Otter Creek, about twenty four miles ; thence a
westerly course, until they stru( k a stream, which
they followed to its junction with Luke Champlain,
opposite liconderoga; thence on the ice of tlic
lake, by Crown-Point, to Canada.

At Montreal, Rambout was delivered to the
French commander, and search was made for
yonng Allen, who was at lenoti, found among the
Ii'dians ; and though he had resided with them
only eighteen months, yet, unaccountable as it may
appear, he had become strongly attached to their
mode of life, displaced great aversion to returning
ht>n!e, and even attempted to avoid his deliverers.
"When brought into tne presence of Coi. Hawks,

30 ^innah of Keene.

he acIfnov.'ledc;e(i, with reluctance, that be rpeoojniz-
ed him, though he was his uncle, and had been well
known to him. at Deerfieid — nor wouki he con\etse
in English. Various means were used to weaken
}iis strange predilection, hut all wit? out effect, a..d
Jus obstiuacj was only conquered by threats, aiid
force. Nor did his Indian attachments cease in his
old age ; and he often declared, that tlie Indian
mode of life was tfie most haf)py.

After obtainitJg Allen, Hawks, and his part}^ pro-
ceeded to Quebec. On their v. ay, tliey stopped at
the house of old Rambout, whose feehiigs niay be
imagined, when he saw, standing before him, that
son whom he believed to be dead. Unwilling to
be delayed, Hawks promised to visit him again, on
his return. Arriving at Quebec, he made applica-
tion for the release of Blak •, according to the en-
S"agement of Rambout. The governor refused, al-
leging that the lieutenant had no authority to make
such an engagement. Hawks persisted in urging
his claim, as a matter of right. He also appealed
to his feelings, as a man, representing to him the
forlorn situation of Mrs. Blake, and the expecta-
tions she had been permitted to indulge, and pray-
ed that be might not be sent back to her, the mes-
senger of disappointment. The governor still re-
fusing, he declared that he could not return to her
without her husband ; and requested to know what
sum was required as his ransom, adding that he
would endeavor to pay it. The governor, pausing
a moment, replied, " take him, and keep your mon-

Expressing his gratitude, Hawks hastened to the
prison, and gave to Blake the glad tidings of his
release. On their way to New-England, the party
again stopped at the house of old Rambout. Tiie
neighbors were invited ; a sumptuous feast was
prepared; " wine," to use the languige of Blake,
" was as plenty as water :" the evening, and the

Jlnnals of Keene. 31

^jiiiVit, were spent in dancing ; the Iiappy father and
mot iter opening- the ball, and displaying all tlie
liveliness of youth. Quebec, it should be remem-
bered, had then been settled nearly a century and
a half, and was far in advance of all the English
colonies in refinement of manners. To the rough
and sedate Knglishmen, who had seldom been out
of the woods, the whole scene was novel, and ex-
cited emotions, to which they had not been accus-

Jlauks, and his party, then proceeded on their
journey. Apprehending that the savages would
pursue them, and attempt to release young Allen,
^vdieh they had shew n a strong inclination to do,
iuutenatit Rambout accompanied them a part ot
tlie way. In the beginning of May, 1748, they ar-
rived at their homes

In October, « T4H, peace was declared between
England and France. 'I he Indians, however, con-
ti.iued their depredations until June, i749, and a
treaty oi peace was not made with them, until Sep-
ttmber of that }ear.

On the restoration of peace, the settlers who had
been diiven from their lands, by the war, made
preparations to return. The exact time when
Upper Asiiuelot was again ocrupied, l»as not been
ascer ained. It was, probably, some time in 1750 j
ceitainly as easly as 17'') I ; as it is within the re-
collection of Tiioinas Wells, now living, who came
to reside here in 1752, that eight or ten dwelling
houses had then been erected.


On the 11 til of April, the proprietors, on
application to Benning Wentworth, then governor
oi New-Hampshire, obtained a charter, grantisig
thenj the land embraced in the original limits of Up-
per Ashuelot, and a small additional strip on the
eastern side. The preat)d)le recites that, "• Wh.ereas
sundry of our loving subjects, betore the settlement

32 Jltinals of Keene.

of the dividinc: line of our Province of Nevv-Hamp-
shiie, oiu- otht-r goveriinnMit of the Massicliu-
settsBav, had by permission of our said government
of iVlassachusetts Bay, bei^un a settlement of a tract
of huid on Ashuelot river, and made sundry divis-
ions of, and improvements upon, said tract, and
there remained until the Indian war forced tht m
off, and being desirous to make an immediate set-
tlement upon the premises, and having petitioned
our 2;overnor in council for ids majesty's grant )f
the premises to be so made as might not subvert
and destro} their former surveys;" therefore a grant
is made to them of the said tract, they are consti-
tuted a corporation by the name of Keene. and
the inhabitants are declared entitled to all tiie priv-
ileges, and immi'.nities, that other towns in the prov-
ince, exercise and enjoy. A reservation is made of
all white, arid other pine trees, fit tor masting the
royal navy, and of a rent of one ear of Iiuhaa corn,
annually, until l7b.^», and afterwards, of one shilling,
proclamation money, for (very hundred acres. And
Benjamin Bellows is authorized to call the first
meeting of the proprietors, and inhabitants.

The first meeting of the proprietors, under tiiis
charter, was held at Ktene, on the first Wednes-
day of May Votes were passed, granting to Benja-
min Bellows 122 Spanish milled dollars, for his ser-
vices and expenses, in obtaining the charter; and
to Ephraim Dorman JJ dollars for goiiig to Ports-
mouth — raising i22 pounds, old tenor, to procure
preaching ; and granting to Theodore Atkinson,
the secretary of the Province, three hundred acres
of land.

On the same day, a town meeting was held, and
various town officers were chosen.

The inhabitants immediately directed their at-
tention to the concerns of religion. As a place for
public worship, they erected a bmiding, on a green
])lat, near the house of Aaron Appleton. It was

Annals of Keeiie. 33

built of slabs, the earth serving as a floor. And,
with the inhabitants of Swarizey, they made a joint
arranpienit nl for the settlement of a pastor.

In the warrant, calHng a town meeting, to be held
June 13, IS the following article : "to see if they
(the freeholders, &c.) will make choice of the Rev.
Mr. ('arpenter for our minister." From the expres-
sions, here used, it is probable that the church had
already acted on the suhject. At the meeting, iMr.
Carpenter was chosen ; the sutn of •' fifty poudds,
silver money, at six shillings and eight pence the
ounce, or equivalent in our own province bills,'"
was offered hisn as a settlement ; and the town en-
gaged to find him, yearly, twenty cords of fire wood.
A contract was subsequently made with Mr Car-
penter, which was to continue in force three years,
and, in w hich, it was stipulated that he should re-
ceive, trom Keene, a salary of twenty-six pounds,
lawful money. He also officiated as the minister of

In December, the inhabitants voted, to build a
Bieeting house, 45 feet lona;, and 35 wide ; and
agreed to set it at " the crotch of the roads, so call-
ed,one road leading up the river,and the other across
the river to Ash swamp." This place must have
been several rods west of Aaron Hall's house.


In Januar}^ of the next year, " in consideration
of the unfitness of the ground, and the exposed-
ness to fire, and to the enemy, in case of a war,"
they voted, to set the house " on the road that go-
eth from the town street to the mills, on the high-
est ground, between the causeway, by William
Smeed's, and the Bridge, by the clay pits." Smeed
lived where Dr. Twitchell now does, and the
bridge w\is north of Col. Perry's store.

In this year, the savages again committed acts of
hostility. Sometime in the fail,an express arrived at

34 Annals of Keene.

Keene, bringing information,that a partj'^ of the ene-
my had appeared in the vicinity of Peuacook, (Con-
cord,) where they had killed, and captured, several
w^iites. This was in the afternoon. The inhabit-
ants immediately assembled, and appointed sever-
al persons to keep guard, through the niglit, direct-
ing them to walk, continually, from the house of
David Nims, (near Lewis Page's house, in prison
street,) to the meadow gate, (near Mr. Carpen-
ter's ;) and agreed immediately to complete the
fort, the re-building of which had already been com-
menced. The next day every one able to labor,
went to work upon the fort, and soon prepared it
for the reception of the settlers.

When traces of Indians were discovered, near
any of the frontier posts, it was the custom to fire,
as an alarm to all within hearing, three guns in reg-
ular and quick succession. If heard at any of the
posts, it was answered in the same manner ; if not
answered,the alarm was repeated. In June,the peo-
ple at Westmoreland, discovering traces of Indians,
fired an alarm, which was heard at Keene. A body
of men was immediately sent to their relief; but
they returned without discovering the enemy. That
they nere lurking in the vicinit}', and that they fol-
lowed home the party irom Keene, is probable, as,
the next day, they captured Benjamin Twitchell.
He had been to Ash swamp ; on his return^ he took
with him a tub, which, it is supposed, he carried
upon his head. This tub Avas iifterwards found, on
the east bank of the river, near where the mills now
stand ; and there the Indians probably seized him.
He was conducted up the river ; in the meadows,
west and north of deacon Wijder's, the Indians kill-
ed several oxen, a horse and f-olt. The colt \\as
cut up, an<^. the best pieces of meat carried off. In
this meadow, they left a bow, made of lever wood,
and several arrows. They encamped, for the night,

Annals of Keene. 35

in IVrCurdy's meadow, in Surry, where four crotcli-
ed sticks were discovered driven into the cjrouud,
in such positions, as led to the belief, that to each
was confined one of the limbs of the prisoner.
The party ihen proceeded to Quebec, where Twit-
chell met with Josiah Foster and his family, who
were captured at Winchester. For the honor of
Foster, the particulars of his capture should be
recorded. Returnin^i; home, one evening, he tound
his house in the possession of Inchans, who had
captured his wife and children. He could have
escaped, but he determined to £*ive himself up,
that he might share their fate, and have an oppor-
tunity to alleviiite their sufferings. He acconipan-
ic(i them to Quebec, carrying his wife on his back,
a great part of the way. There the\- remained
until, being ransomed, they were sent, by water,
to Boston. Twitchell was put on board the same
vessel, but, being taken sick, he was set on shore,
and died in a few days.

A month or two afterwards, a party of Indians
were discovered in the meadow, south of the town
line, by the ])eGple of Swanzey. They, with four
soldiers to guard them, were coming, in a body,
and armed, to work in their north meadows. The
soldiers who were in advance, heard a rustling in
tlie bushes, and one, supposing it caus>ed by a deer,
filed his musket at the spot. The Indians, suppos-
ing they were discovered, rose, and lired at the sol-
diers, who, frightened, ran to the quarter, now call-
ed Scotland. J lie people, coming up, saw the In-
dians, attacked them and drove them to the plain,
west of the factory. An express was instantly
seht to Keene ; and a party of 15 men, under Capt.
IVietcalf, went out to meet them.- This party went
first to the foot of the hill, beyond Mr. Heaton's,
supposing the Indians would there cross the branch.
Remaining there a short time, without discovering
any Indians, a Mr. Howard proposed to go to an-

36 Annals of Keene,

other ford still farther up. Josiah French, a
shrewd man, observed, " those who wish to meet
with the Indians, had better stay here : I feel no
desire to see them, and will go over the hill with
Howard." It was agreed to go over the hill ; but
no sooner had they reached the top of the nearest
eminence, than they discovered nine Indians cross^
ing at the ford they had left. The^ lay in wait for
them a tew hours, but did not see them afterwards.
Returning to the fort, Howard receivt^d no mercy
from the men, women and children within it. Sev-
eral days afterwards, the men went, in a body, and
armed, to hoe Mr. Day's corn, near Surr}^ and dis-
covered that an old house, in that neighborhood,
had been burnt ; it was supposed to have been set
on fire by the same party of Indians.

Afterwards, but in what year is not recollected,
another, and the last party of Indians made a visit
to Keene. The inhabitants had cleared and fenced
a large common field consisting of about two hun-
dred acres, laying southwardly of Mrs. I^anman's
house. This field was used as a cow pasture, and
the access to it was by a path which led southward-
ly along the high ground east of the place where
the turnpike and Baker's lane unite. When driv-
ing their cows to this pasture, it was the custom of
the inhabitants not to go in the path, for fear of a
surprise, but on one or the other side of it. Early
one morning, they came suddenly upon a party of
Indians, concealed in thick bushes, and busily en-
gaged in mending their mocasins. They instantly
started up and escaped. It was afterwards ascer-
tained that the leather, with which they were mend-
ing their mocasins, had been stolen, the night be-
fore, from a tannery at Walpole or Charlestown.


The terra for which Mr. Carpenter was settled
having expired, the town October 5, 1756, voted

Annals of Keene. 37

" to carry on and maintain the worship and ordinan-
ces ot God in unity with the people of Swanzey,
in the manner we have lor tliree years past, for the
space of one year to come."


A similar vote was annually past until 1760, when
the town " voted not to join with the people of
Swanzey in niaintainius and carrying on the wor-
ship and ordinances of God."

In the warrant calling for a town meetina: to be
held the 3 1 St day of December, 1760, an article
was inserted, to see if the town will give a geniie-
nian a call in order to settle in the work of minis-
try among us" The proceedings of t!)is meelins:,
and also ot another meeting lull February iO, \ 761,
are lost. But from the proceedings of a meeting
held iVIarch 26, l7bl, it appears that the had
given a call to the worthy ISir. Ctnieni S niner."
His salary was fixed at thirty-five pounds sterling
and his fire-wood, with an annual increase of one
pound ten ^hilling'< sterling, until fifteen pounds
should be added. Tiie amount of his settlement is
not known.


In April, the town voted, " that the Rev. Mr.
Sumner's salary be stated on commodities as they
be now and so from year to } ear. Commodities as
they be now : wlieat at ."35. 2 { - Id. sterling per hush-
el ; pork at 3</. per pound ; beef at 2r/. per pound ;
Indian corn at \s. Hrt. per bushel; rye at 2^ Qd.
per bushel ; labour in thesummei at 25. per day."
This was afterwanis rescinded upon the suggestion
of Mr. Sumner, that the article of beef was stated
above the market price.

Mr. Sumner accepted the call, and the ordina-
tion took place on the 1 1th of June.

For several years from this period, but few in-
teresting facts can be gleaned from written docu-
ments, or Irom oral tradition.

38 Jlnnals of Keene.

Amos Foster, an inhabitant of the town died
this year. In his will \\f bequeathed one half of
his estate to the town. The value of tlie leii;acy
is not known ; but in August the town voted that
Mr. Sumner's settlt nient, and his salary for the first
year, should be paid from this tund.

In September, the town voted to build a house
for sick soldiers,

Among the town officers chosen this year was a
clerk of the market, and a deer reif. \V hither
the former had any duties to perform is not known.
It was the duty of the latter to enfosce the laws a-
gainst killing deer in the spring. The first office
was annually filled for the succeeding ten years,
and the latter until 17o2.

At the annual meeting this year, the town voted
six pounds sterling to defray the charges of a

By a vote ot the town, each man was to be allow-
ed for labour on the highway, two shillings and six-
pence (probably lawful money) per day, until the
last of September, and afterwards, two shillings per
day ; one shilling for a yoke of oxen, and six-pence
for a cart.


The following votes are found on the records of
this year.

" Voted, that Benjamin Hall be agent to repre-
sent the town in behalf of a shire town.

" Voted, that the security for the money given
to the town by Capt. JNathaniel Fairbanks, deceased,
the interest of which was for the use of a school in
this town, be delivered to the rare of the town trea-
surer, and his successors in office for the time be-

Annuls of Keene. 39

According to an enumeration made the 7th of

October, t!ie number and description of inhabitants

were 51s t'ollows :

Unniarried (ueii from 16 to 60 51

Manjt-d nun from J 6 to 60 66

B'\ys from lb and under S4

]M«'^n upwards ot 60 4

Femal* s nr/married 146

]\' (Tried women 68

Widows 8

Total, 427
Josiah Willard was chosen to represent the town
in thfi Geaeral Assembly at Portsmouth. He was
the first representative chosen.

The town was now first divided into school dis-
tricts, being four in number.


This year, the state, which before consisted of
but one county, was divided into five, and Keene
was made one of the shire towns for the the coun-
ty of Chesfiire. The Inferior Court held its first
session here, in October, 1771, and the Superior
Court, in September, 1772.


The inhabitants, having become dissatisfied with
the Rev. Clement Sumner, he was this year dis-
missed, in pursuance of a vote of the town, his own
consent, and the result of an ecclesiastical council.


The following muster roll has been handed to
the compiler, by a veteran of the revolution :

40 Annals of Keene.

A List of the Foot Company in Keene.

Lieut. Benjamin Hall,
Ensign, Miciiael Metcalf,
Cieik, Simeon Clark,
Serj. Elijah Blake,
Serj. Thomas Baker,
Serj. Isaac Esley,
Serj. Jedidiah Carpenter,
Corp. Dan Gnihi,
Corp. Joseph Blake,
Corp. Ahijah Metcalf,
Benjamin Archer,
Jonathan Arclier,
Asael Blake,
John Brown,
Eli'<ha Hriggs,
John Balch,
Benjamin Balch, jr.
Luther Braa;g,
Samuel Bassett,
John Burt,
Natlian Blake, jr.
Obadiah Blake, jr.
Rial Blake,
Naboth Bettison,
Thomas Baker, jr.
John Pray Blake,
Cephas Clark,
Seth Clark.
Eliphalet Carpenter,
Ebenczer Carpenter,
Samuel Chapman,
Silas Cook,
Isaac Clark,
Simeon Clark, jr.
Jonas Clark,
.lohn Day, jr.
John Daniels,
Reuben Daniels,
John Dickson,
Adington Daniels,
Ebenezpi Day, jr.
Jacob Day,

James Dean,
Timotiiy Crosfield,
Joseph Etles, jr.
Gideon Elles, jr.
Simeoii Elles,
Timothy Elles, 3d.
William Elles,
Caleb Elles.
Stephen Estey,
James Eady,
Henry El'n's,
Benjamin Elles,
Benjamin Elles, jr,
Joshua Elles,
Jabez Fisher,
Silas French,
David Foster, jr.
Peter Fiskin,
Aaron Gray, jr.
William Goodenow,
John Grisigs,
Joseph Gray,
Samuel Hall,
Jesse Hall,
Peter Hubberf,
Seth Heaton, jr.
John Hougliton,
Joseph Hills,
Davis Howletf,
Ziba Hall,
Jonathan Healon,
Luther Heaton,
Nathaniel Kingsbury,
Daniel Kin!;s;iury,
Stephen Rarrabee,
Daniel Lake,
Ezra Metcalf,
Jonathan Metcalf,
Moses Marsh,
Eli Metcalf.
D.iuiel Metcalf,
William Nelson,


Keene, August 7, 1773.

David Nims. jr,
Ebenezer Nuton,
Asael Nims,
Eliakim Nims,
Zadock Nims,
Alpheus Nims,
Joshua Osgood,
Benjamin Osgood, jr.
Amos Partrige,
Jonathan Pond,
Abiather Pond,
Nathan Rugg,
Josial) Richardson,
Eleaser Sanger,
Ahner Sanger,
Robert Penser,
Ji^reruiah Stiles,
Richard Smith,
John Swan,
Jacob Town.
Joseph Thacher,
Abrfiham Wheeler, jr.
Joseph Willson,
William Woods,
Oliver Wright,
Jedifliah Wellman,
David Willson,
Daniel Willson,
Thomas Wells,
John White,
James Wrii^ht,
Zadock Wheeler,
Walter Wheeler,
Samuel Wadsworth,
Ahijah Wilder,
Jonathan W heeler,
Thomas Wilder,
Thomas Morse,
F.praim Leonard,
Peter Daniels,
I Luke Metcalf,
I Isaac Wyman, jr.

Errors Excepted.

The Alarm List belonging to Keene.

Lieut. Seth Healon,
Dea. David Foster,
John Day,
Abiaham Wheeler,
Nathan Blake,
Joseph Ellis,
Uriah Willson,
Ebenezer Nims,
Duviil Nims,
Gide'in E'lis,
Lieut. Andrew Balch,
Aaron Giay,
Ebentzer Day,
Eliphalet Bri-^gs,
Benjamin Archer,

Capt. Isaac Wvman,
Doct. Ohadiah'Blake,
Lieut. Timothy Ellis,
Tiiomas F^ink, Esq.
Doct. Josiah Pomeroy,
Diet. Gideon Tifl'any,
Elijah Willianis.
Israel Houghton,
Samuel Woods,
Samuel Daniels,
Jesse Cl-rk,
Joseph Brown,
R ibert GiUmare,
Obadiah Hamilton,
Peter Rice,

Elisba Ellis,
Isaac Billings,
Josiah Ellis.
Timothv. EHis,Jun.
Ichabod Fisher,
William Gray,
Benjamin Hall, Jan.
Benja.'.iin Osgood,
Nathaniel Hall,
Samuel Woods, Jun.
John Coulee,
."^amuel Colhoon,
Ebenezer Cooke,
Daniel Snow,

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Online LibrarySalma HaleAnnals of the town of Keene, from its first settlement, in 1734, to the year 1790 .. → online text (page 3 of 6)