Salma Hale.

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

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Eliphalet Briggs, Jun.



Jtnnals of Keene. 41

From votes of the town, it appears that Nathan-
iel Niles and Augustine Hibbert preached this year,
as candidates for settlement ; and that, in

1774,

WilHam Fessenden and Elias Jones preached al-
so as candidates. To the latter, the town unanim-
ously gave a call, and offered him £133 6s. (id. as
a settlement, and seventy five pounds as an annual
salary. What answer he gave to the call does not
appear.

Elijah Williams, Esquire, an attorney at law, who
came to Keene, in 177 1, was, this year, appointed
a justice of the peace, as appears from the follow-
ing precept.

Province of JVetv-Hampshire, )

Portsmouth, 2iith May, 1 774. \

To Mr. Simeon Jones, Clerk of his majesty's
court of General Sessions of the peace, for the
county of Cheshire, in said Province.

I am commanded by his Excellency the Gover-
nor, to direct that you enter, in the general com-
mission of the Peace, for said county, the name of
Elijah Williams, Esquire, who is appointed, by his
Excellency, a Justice of the peace, for said coun-
ty. You'l, therefore, hereby take order according-

ly-

By his Excellency's command,

THEODORiE ATKINSON, Sec'ry.

The discussions and excitement, which preced-
ed the revolutionary war, began, about this time, to
extend to the interior towns. In Keene, nearly all
the inhabitants were decided whigs ; but a few
were neutral or silent,and a very small number were
avowed tories. Against the two last classes, the
popular indignation was often directed, and some-
times with such irregular violence, as called for the
interposition of the sober and considerate citizens.

In a warrant, calling a town meeting, to be held
the 26th of September, the following articles were



42 Annals of Keene,

inserted : " To see if it be the mind of the town
to provide ammunition for a town stock, and grant
money for the same." And " to see if it be the
mind of the town to sign the covenant and engage-
ment, which was sent and recommended, by the
committee of correspondence, relating to the non-
importation agreement."

Upon the first article, the town " voted, to get
a stock of ammunition for the town, viz. 200lbs. of
good gun powder, 400lbs. of lead, and 1200 flints;
and to raise twent)^-four pounds, lawful money, for
providing said articles."

Upon the other article, the following preamble
and vote were adopted : " Whereas the towns, in
this province, have chosen members to represent
them in a General Congress of all the colonies, now
sitting, at the city of Philadelphia, to consult and
determine what steps are necessary for the colo-
nies to pdopt, voted, therefore, not to sign the non-
importation agreement, until we hear what meas-
ures said congress have agreed upon for them-
selves and their constituents."

October l7th, Capt. Isaac VVyman, and Lieuten-
ant Timothy Ellis, were chosen delegates to attend
the county congress, at VValpole. No information,
concerning the object or proceedings of this con-
gress, has been obtained.

1775.

On the 4th of January, at a legal town meeting,
the inhabitants voted, " to come into the measures
recommended by the Continental Congress, in their
association agreement." They chose, agreeably to
said advice, Isaac Wyraan, Timothy Ellis, Thomas
Baker, Dan Guild, and William Ellis, a commit-
tee of Inspection. They also chose Isaac Wyman
to represent the town, at the meeting, to be held at
Exeter, on the 21st day of said January, for the
choice of delegates to the Continental Congress.

At a town meeting, held February 2:^, Captain
Isaac Wyman was chosen " to represent the town



Annals of Keene. 43

in the general assembly, liolden at Portsmouth, on
said '2:id clay of February, and so, day b}' day, dur-
inj:; their sessions "

On the l9th of April, was fought the battle of
Lexina;ton. An aged gentleman, then an inhabit-
ant of Keene, gives the following account of the
proceedings of the citizens, on that occasion. The
instant that news of the battle arrived in town,
which was in the forenoon, Capt. Dorman, who
then commanded tlie militia, called upon Capt.
Wyman. " The regulars," said he, " have come
out to Concord, have killed six men, and the battle
was raging when t!ie messenger started. What
shall be done .'*" " Send expresses," " said Ca[)t.
Wyman, " to every part of the town, notifying the
inhabitants to meet, forthwith, on the green, and be
governed by their decision." Expresses were sent,
the citizens met, in the afternoon, and a vote was
unanimously passed, that a body of men should be
sent to oppose the regulars. The question was
asked, who shall lead them ? Capt. Wyman was
nominated, was chosen, and though far advanced in
years, cheerfully consented to go. Volunteers
were then called for, and about thirty presented
themselves. Capt. Wyman directed them to go
home immediately, and prepare provisions tor their
use, for, said he, " all the roads will be full of men,
and you can procure nothing on the way ; and he
appointed sunrise, the next morning, the time, and
his house, the place of rendezvovis. At sunrise
they met, and immediately started for Concoud. In
the afternoon. Gen. Bellows, CoL John Bellows, and
Thomas Sparhawk arrived from Walpole, and rid-
ing to his house, enquired for Capt. Wyman. Be-
ing answered, that he started at sunrise, at the
head of a company of men, they exclaimed, " Keene
has shown a noble spirit!" and hastened onwards.
They were soon followed by a party of men from
Walpole.



44 Annals of Keene.

At an informal raeetinac of the inhabitants, held
the 27th of April, they chose Timothy Efiis a del-
egi.te to meet the committee, at Exeter, and to sit,
as a member, in the provincial congress, whenever
they convene. He expressed his willingness to
accept the office, but declared that he had not, and
could not, in season, procure money enough to bear
his expenses. The inhabitants, thereupon, voted,
that he might draw from the treasury four pounds,
lawful money.

Soon after the battle of Lexington, several to-
ries, among whom was Elijah Williams, Esq. left
this vicinity, and joined the British, in Boston.

In the warrant calling a town meeting, on the
7th day of December, one of the articles was, " to
see if it be the mind of the town, that the names
of those persons, who buy, sell, or make use of bo-
hea tea, be advertised in the public prints." At
the meeting, held on the day appointed, this arti-
cle passed in the negative ; but a committee of in-
spection was appointed to see that the resolves of
the Continental Congress be complied with. Af-
ter dismissing two other articles, relating to the
troubles of that period, the town unanimously
adopted the following Resolves, which may be
termed the Satute Law of Keene. And here it
may be proper to state, that no judicial courts were
held in the county, from 1774 to 1778.

" Whereas, by the unhappy disputes now subsist-
ing between Great Britain and the American Col-
onies, the laws of several of them have been en-
tirely subverted, or wholly neglected, to the great
detriment of society, and of individuals, whereby,
many disorderly persons, taking undue advantage
of the times, and taking upon them the name of
liberty, as a cloak to put their revengeful designs
in execution, do wickedly and maliciously threaten
to abuse and destroy the persons and property



^innals of Keene. - 45

of many of the good and wholesome inhabitants of
the land, and the Executive ])Ovv« r heing thrown
bv ; and the Congresses, neither Continental or
provincial, have, as yet, found out, or pubUshed,
any method or system of government, for the se-
curity of our persons or property ; and until such
a system as they in their wisdom shall see fit, or
some other, be proposeil —

*' We, the inhabitants of the town of Keene, in the
County of Cheshire, and province of New-Hamp-
shire, legally convened, being desirous of order
and good government, and for the security of our
lives, persons, and property, do pass the following
Resolves :

** \st. It is resolved, that a committee of three
good and steady men of the town, be chosen to
a^ t upon, and a proper officer appointed, to prose-
cute the Resolves hereafter mentioned.

" ±d. Whereas, profane cursing and swearing are
highly provoking to Almighty God, and offensive to
every true christian, which we fear, if not discoun-
tenanced, will provoke the Divine Majesty to bring
heavy judgments upon us, and still heavier, deliver
us up to the desire of our enemies ; to prevent curs-
ing and swearing, be it Resolved, that if any per-
son, or persons, shall profanel}' curse or swear, and
shall be thereof convicted, before the committee,
by sufficient witnesses, or by confession of rhe
party, every such offender shall foileit, and pay to
the committee, for the use of the poor of said
town, a sum not exceeding three shillings, nor less
than one ; according to the repeatedness of the of-
fence ; and pay cost of prosecution, which cost
shall be ascertained by the committee, before whom
the person shall be convicted ; and in case any
per^on, convicted as aforesaid, shall reiuse to pay
the sum or sums, so forfeited and adjudged, he, she
or they shall be immediately committed to the com-



46 Annals of Keene,

mon goal, not exceediug ten daj^s, nor less than
three, for said forfeiture, and until he pay all just
costs.

" 3d. Whereas, it is highly necessary that every
person, of able bod}^ should betake himself to some
honest calling, and not misspend their time, in loi-
tering and tippling, in licensed houses, or else-
where, in this town ; to prevent which,

" Be it resolved, that if any person or persons, fit
and able to work, shall refuse so to do, but loiter
and misspend his or their time, w^ander from place
to place, or otherwise misorder themselves, by
drinking or tippling in any of the licensed houses,or
elsewhere, in this town, after nine o'clock at night,
or continue in any of the aforesaid houses above
the space of one hour, unless on necessary busi-
ness, all such persons, being convicted of any of the
aforesaid articles, before said committee, by suffi-
cient w itnesses, shall, for every such offence, forfeit
and pay to the said committee, for the use of the
poor of said town, the sum of two shillings, and all
just costs of trial, wdiich shall be adjudged by said
committee, and in case any person, convicted as
aforesaid, shall refuse to pay the sum or sums, so
forfeited and adjudged, he, or they, shall be com-
mitted to the common goal, there to remain not ex-
ceeding ten days, nor less than three days for said
forfeiture, and until he pay all just costs.

" Ath. Whereas, personal abuse tends to promote
ill blood and discord among society, to prevent
which, be it Resoked, that if any person or per-
sons shall smite, or strike, or threaten to abuse, or
destroy, the person or property of another, he or
they, so ofiending, siiall,for the first offence, pay to
the said committee, for the use of the poor of said
town, the sum of five shillings, and costs of prose-
cution, and double that sum for the second offence ;
and for the third, or any after oflence, shall be im-
prisoned, or publicly whipt, according to the judg-



^^mials of Keene. 47

merit of the committee, before whom they are con-
victed ; ai)cl in case any person, being convicted as
afortsitid, shall refuse to pay the sum or sums, so
forfeited and adjudged, he or they shall be commit-
ted to the common goal, there to remain, not ex-
ceeding ten days, nor less than four, for said for-
feiture, and until he pay all just costs.

'* bth. Further, be it Resolved, that if any person,
or persons, shall j)resume to purchase, or bring in-
to this town, any teas, of what sort soever, until
the minds of the Congress, respecting that article,
shall be fully known, shall, forthwith, deliver up
such teas to one or more of the committee, to be
stored by them and kept for the owner, until the
minds of the Congress be known respecting that
matter ; and in case any person shall refuse to de-
liver up said teas, the committee have power to im-
prison him until he does.

" 6M. And for the better execution of all and ev-
ery the foregoing articles, it is resolved, that all
and each of the said committee shall have full
power and authority to bring before them any of
the inhabitants of this town, or any person resid-
ing in said town, that shall offend in any of the
foregoing resolves, and upon his or their own
views, or other sufficient conviction of any such
offence, to impose the fine and penalty for the
same, and to commit the offender until it be satis-
fied.

" llh. It is likewise Resolved, that the officer ap-
pointed shall have power and authority to carry
any person, that shall be found trespassing in any
oi the foregoing particulars, before said committee
for trial, and if need be, may command aid and as-
sistance in discharging his trust ; and any person
retusing to give aid or assistance, as aforesaid, he
or they shall forfeit the sum of three shillings for
eveiy oflf'ence, and have their names inserted in the
public Gazette, as unfriendly to good order.



48 vinnals of Keene,

" And all masters and heads of families, in this
town, are hereby directed to take effectual care
that their children, servants, and others under their
immediate jyovernment, do no trespass, in any of
the fores^oing particulars."

" Chose Thomas Baker, Eliphalet Briggs and Dan
Guild, as a committee to judge, determine, and
act upon said Resolves, and put them in execution,
and chose Elijah Blake officer for the purpose men-
tioned in said Resolves."

'i he town voted, 37 to 27, to give Mr. John Rem-
ele a call to settle as a minister. They offered him
£1.33 05. 8rf. as a settlement, and 75 pounds as a
salary. His repl}' was, " that the town had offered
generously enough for his support, but he could
not think it his duty to settle in any place, where
there was so much opposition."

The population of Keene, this year, was 756.
1776.

The representatives of the General Assembly,
having desired their constituents to nominate jus-
tices of the peace, the inhabitants, April 3d, " voted,
unanimously, that it is the mind of this town that
Col. Isaac Wyman be apj)ointed."

August 2d, " Capt. Eliphalet Briggs was chosen a
a delegate, to meet with other delegates, at Wal-
pole, to consult and agree upon such methods as
shall be thought necessary for the general good,
and our mutual defence and salety." This conven-
tion was called by order of a sub-committee of the
several committees of safety in the county.

The small pox having been introduced into the
town, hospitals had been erected, where such per-
sons as chose to resort to them, were inoculated.
This disease, it seems, had been spread by persons
leaving the hospitals without being sufficietiily
cleansed ; whereupon, at a town meeting, held Se«»-
tember 27, eleven resolves were passed, prescrib-
ing strict regulations for the government of the



Annals of Kee?ie. 49

hospitals. Eliphalet Bricjas, mentioned in the pre-
Cfdina; })arajj:i'a[)h, a worthy citizen, and stauncli
wing, (lied ot this disease, and was buried at the
foot of the hill, on the road ieadina; to Koxbury.
In December, Jeremiah Siiles was chosen one of
the committee oi" salety in his stead.

1777.

In the beginninj? of this year, Samuel Whitman
preached as a candidate.

January 1 4, the town nominated Jeremiah Stiles
as a justice of tlie peace. They also voted to raise
sixteen pounds for ammunition.

The following memorandum is copied from the
records ot this year :

" VVHiereas orders were sent from the court to
the selectmen, desiring tiiem to assist the com-
manding ofiicets of the militia in the town, by caus-
ing a town meeting to be called, in order to raise
men for the continental army during the war, ia
obedience to which, a legid meeting was warned,
and the town met on the 3ist of March, made scv-
eral proposals tor encouragement, and voted thirty
piunds to each man, if a sufticient number would
turn out, but as not any appeared, the meet ins: was
dismissed and nothing voted, that was conclusive
or valid."

In May or June, a court, appointed by the com-
mittees of safety in the county, was held at Keene,
before whom were brought the principal tories in
tlie county, to be tried for their offences or opin-
ions. It has not been ascertaiYied who were mem-
bers of this court, but Benjamin Giles, of New-
port, and Col. Hammond, of Swanzey, were prob-
ably two. The tories were guarded by a bod} of
men, of whom Mr. Floyd, oi Walpole, was com-
mander. The court sat nearly two weeks, before
they came to any deci»jion ; and it was supposed
by sonie, at the time, tiiat the object of tliis delay
7



50 Annals of Keener

Was, that the viojcnt whigs, by whom they Were
surrounded, might become weary and disperse, .i id
leave them at liberty to give a more lenient judg-
ment than WHS demanded. In the end, the court
decided that the tories should be confimul to their
farms, and give bonds for their good l)ehaviour.

At a town meeting, held June 1 1, a committee
was chosen " to state the price of articles, labor,
&c. as a late law directs." The town voted tc pay
to each man that has or shall enlist into the con-
tinental army, for the term of three years, or dur-
ing the war, to make up the quota of this town,
tlie sum of thirty pounds, exclusive of the bounty
given by this State ; and also to allow those that
have done service in the war heretofore, in the
«ame proportion as fifty-six pounds is for three
years ; and a committee was chosen to make an
ex^ct proportion of what every man had done ia
the wai i J time past, in order that an exact assess*
luoit may be made for the above said charge.

In December, in town meeting, Capt. Stiles,
Capt. Howlet, and Jabez Fisher were successively
chosen representative, and each declined accepting
the office ; Timothy Ellis was then chosen, and
consented to serve. The town voted " to 'empow-
er the representative to act in behalf of ttie town,
in the choice of delegates to the continental con-
gress. A similar vote was afterwards annually
passed, from which it may be inferred, either that
the town did not consider their representatives
Jbad authority, or that the latter were unwillui to
take upon themselves the responsibility of acting
in this behalf, without such a vote.

At the same meeting, the town " voted unani-
mously to give Mr. Aaron Hall, who has been
preaching among us, a call to settle in the work of
the gospel ministry in this town." They also vot-
ed to give him as a settlement £1 -$3 6s. bd., and an
annual salary of eighty pounds, both sums " to be



*dnnals of Keene^ ^1

made equal in value to what the same sums were
four \ eai s ago, when silver and gold were current
among u>."

The committee, chosen for the purpose, laid the
proceedings of the town before Mr. Hall, who ac-
cepted the call. The ordination took place on the
1' th of February, 1778. Mr. Hall was a belovid
and popular miuister to the time of his death, lO
1814.

1778.

At a meeting, lield January 17th, the inhabitants,
" after reading and confeiring upon the articles of
confederation of tlie continental congress, voted
that it is the minds of the town that they be estab-
lished by this State."

" Voted further to instruct the representative to
Use his infl'ience, in the General AsNcmbl}, that a
free and full representation of every town in this
State take place to a convention, to meet at such
time and place as the General Assembly shall ap-
pomt," to form a plan of government for said
State.

Chose Capt Stiles, Maj. Ellis,and Capt. Griswoldj
delegates to meet at Surry, and consult with the
delegates of the other towns.

V April 27, Jeremiah Stiles was chosen a delegate
to meet in the convention to be held at Concord for
the purpose of forming a constitution and plan of
government for the State.

It must be well remembered, by those at all ac-
quainted_with our history, that the territory now
constituting the State of Vermont, was originally
claimed by New-Hampshire ; and that long before
the revolution, the executive of this State granted
many townships within its limits. It was subse-
quently claimed by New- York, the government of
which in many instances made grants of the same
townships. This produced an animated,und in some



52 Jlnnals of Keene.

instances a virulent contest, between those wh©
claimed the same land under these conflictnig
grants; and between the officers appointed bv the
cliff' rent States and their adherents. At a conven-
tion of delegates from most of the towns in tiiis
territory, then called the JNew-Hampshire Grams,
held at Westminster, in 17 T7, it was declared an
ii)dependent State, by the name of Vermont. — ■
Against this proceedinii, New- York pretested, and
brought the subject before the Continental t on-
gress. In June, 1778, sixteen towns, l\ingon
Connecticut river, in New-Ham})shire, were, at
their request, made to the legislature of \'ermo!it,
admitted a part of the new State ; and, in Octcber,
proposals were made to New-Hampshire, that all
the towns lying west of the Masonian or curve
line, should also be admitted to a union. WitI) sub-
sequent proceedings of the Vermont legislature,
not only these six.een towns, but most of the
tovM.s lying on the west bank of the river were
dissatisfied, and tlie project was started of so ex-
tendmg the acknowledged boundaries of New-
tlampshire as to embrace the dissatisfied towns in
VernK)Yit. And many were in favor of erecting a
Tn\ S ate, to be compostd of the western halt of
INew-Hampshire, and the eastern half of Vermont.
1 o determine on the course to be pursued, a
convention ol delegates from the towns on both
sides of the river was appointed, to be held at
Cornish, on the J 9th of December. In the warrant
calling a town meetnijj to be held at Keene, Dec.
7th, an article was inserted, " to see if it be the
ii^ind of the town to choose a delegate to meet at
Cv'rnish, to take into consideration matters relating
tt the St;)te of Vermont." At the meting, this ar-
ticle was dismissed.



Annals of Keene, 53

1779.

At a TYieetinfic, held March 2d, the town
voted " that tlie selecinjen be a committee to <^\ve
the representative instructions to use iiis influence
that the delegates from this State to the Coutin-
eutal Congress lay claim to the New-Hampshire
grants, so called, provided that Congress will not
coiifirm the same into a new State."

In this year, Capt. Maik, of Gilsnm, probably
incited by some of the zealous whigs in Iveene,
collected a party with a view ot apprehending sev-
eral tories, who resided here, and who were sus-
pected of furnishing the enemy with provisions.
On the evening of the 3Uth o( iVIay,* they assem-
bled at Pattridiie's tavern, near VV right's mills, on
tiie road to Surry. In the night. Mack sent forward
several men, with directions to place themselves
se'paratel\ at the doors of those houses where the
tories resided, and prevent their escape. At sun-
rise he rode into Keene, at the head of his party,
with a drawn sword ; and when he came to the
house of a tory, he ordered the sentinel, standing
at the door, to " turn out the prisoner." The pris-
oner being brought out, and placed in the midst of
his party, he proceeded onward. Having gone
through the street, collected all of them, and search-
ed their cellars for provisions, of which he found
little, he returned to the tavern of Mr. Hale, situ-
ated where Dr. Twitchell's house now stands, and
confined them in a chamber.

But when he first made his appearance, infor-
mation was sent to Mr. Howlet, who then com-
manded the militia, ot the commotion in the village.

* The first lint's of a song, remembered by arj aged citi/.en, fixes the clay wheo
this party visited Keene.

'' Upon 'he thirty-first of May,

" Appear'd in Keene. at break of day,
" A mob boti) bold jnd stout."

Those who lived in these times, well remember that the mnscs Trere not silent
' ^inid the din of arms.



54 vinnals of Keene,

He instantly sent expresses to warn his company
to appear fortiiwith in the street, with their anns
and ammunition. About noon, the} assembled,
Mere paraded before the tavern, and ordered to
load their muskets with powder and ball. Col.
Ellis, a firm patriot, and frequently the represent-
ative of the town, came also. He asked Capt.
Mack if he intended to pursue his object ? I do>
replied he, at the hazard of my life Then, said


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