Sumner F. (Sumner Franklin) Claflin.

Claflin's red book of rambles online

. (page 1 of 7)
Online LibrarySumner F. (Sumner Franklin) ClaflinClaflin's red book of rambles → online text (page 1 of 7)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

>py 1

M&nchestei", N. II,

Class __ __y
Book ^(jVm


Sumner F. Claflin,

Manchester, N. H.


Red Book «^ Rambles




Legend — Don't ask Posterity to
print the stuff you "write — print it




Aid -j 13;^


A Page Dedicatory

Moving.— The Men One Meets .

The East Branch Tragedy (illustrated)

Hampton and Stratham

Two Fires (illustrated)

On the Portsmouth Road .

Benediction ....

Newfields and Nottingham

Ten Fingers ....

" Up Country " (illustrated)

One Woman's Soul

Ohocorua (illustrated)

You '11 be True ....

In the Penacook Country .

A Way in a Wilderness

In the Merrimack Valley .

The Case of the Poor

In Classic Exeter

If They Want To

Florida and— Seabrook (illustrated)

The Skunk

Along by the Atlantic

Dexter Franklin Rich

Bound Boys ....

In Carroll County

Emma (illustrated)

Sam Smith of Brentwood .

Blue Day Yarns (illustrated)

The Honest Forester .

Blue Day Yarns ....

Jury Stories ....
















The Granddad Order 63

Around the Ossipees (illustrated) 64

The 'Mobile and the Horse 66

Snowville and Thorn Hill 67

Left ! Major Coflfin and Friend Hobbs 70

Him and Her '^^

"From Greenland's Icy Mountains" (illustrated) ... 74

Relics.— The Salvation Army 78

Barnum's Amiable Gorilla 81

In " Hawke " and Vicinity 85

In Candia, Deerfield and Northwood 88

A String of Incidents 93

A Trip " Down in Maine " (illustrated) 96

A Word Political 98


" The Great Stone Face " .

Scene on the East Branch .

Scene of the " Two Fires," Hampton Beach, N

The Mountains from Summit of Chocorua

" The Beauties of Chocorua "

The Picturesque Weirs

An Heirloom

Wife and Home of the Author

"The Major"

The Whittier Pine

The King's Highway in Stratham, N

" On the Saco"



Facing 6

Facing 38

Facing 64


To the memory of my father, Preston Claflin, born June
8, 1833, deceased April 30, 1906. He was noble, kind and
good, though he never belonged to any church. He was one
of the millions who are not exploited in the newspapers,
simply because the simple and unostentatious virtues of life
are not so unconnnon as to need advertising. He was one
of the many men and women whose upright lives teach us
that as this old world of ours grows older it grows always
better. He saw the good that is in men and women, and he
thought no evil. Peace to his ashes.

The Author.


He Works Five Days and then Moves. — Edward Primrose;
Moses H. Kogers.

A busy week? Well, just a little. Kind reader did you
ever move? I don't mean have you packed your little grip
or your bachelor's trunk and flitted to greener fields and
pastures new ; that is easy enough, and it is not to such that
my earnest inquiry applies; but have you enjoyed the
sweet anticipation of going to a new abode with family —
bag, baggage, heirlooms and household goods? Have you
thought with emphasis as you jammed your fingers in an at-
tempt to remove that dust accumulator, the best room car-
pet? Have you groaned in spirit as you surveyed the ac-
cumulation of old truck that somehow settles down upon
a man with a family cook stove, or used a justifiable oath
when the soot from a section of pipe run down upon your
back? Did you get a load of the best things in the house
safely on the road, onlj^ to be drenched in a thunder shower
and heave into port looking for all the world like a wreck
on a storm-bound coast? If so, then you know how to ap-
preciate my statement that this has been a busy week with
me — I have moved and I never, never, never ! want to move
any more.

But I have been busy in the field also during the five
days. The country from Great Hill to the banks of the
Merrimack at Haverhill, Mass., was explored in the inter-
ests of the Gazette, the result being most satisfactory. One
never knows who his friends are till he looks for them, and
the friends found for the Gazette this week in new cor-
respondents in some of our strongest towns will be looked
for with interest in the coming weeks.

6 claflin's rambles

My course Tuesday was through South Kingston, where
Henry P. Collins is the genial and obliging postmaster, and
through him I learned of Edward Primrose, who lives here
at the age of about one hundred and ten years, if we may
believe his evidence. He says he ran away from his home
in the Island of Jamaica at the age of 13 years, and followed
the sea until about forty years of age, when he met and mar-
ried his present wife at Newburyport and settled down.
He distinctly remembers seeing Napoleon Bonaparte at the
time he was exiled to St. Helena by the victorious allied
powers. He does not claim to know his exact age, but it is
evidently about what we have given.

I also met, in South Kingston, Moses H. Rogers, who had
a paper route for several publications, embracing Kensing-
ton, Plaistow, Atkinson, Kingston, Newton and South
Hampton some forty years ago, for eight years, delivering
about sixteen hundred papers a week direct to the sub-
scribers. He sold out to a Mr. Webster and a few years
later the practice was discontinued. The plan now pro-
posed for carrier service in country districts is somewhat
similar in some respects.


The East Branch roared and fumed and strained,
Like an angry bull with a ring in the nose,

All night, all day, had the heavens rained,
And faster and faster the river rose.

Down from the camp on the mountain side,
Came Broncho Dick, with the six-horse team

Headed for Henry's ; the whip he plied.
And now and again he eyed the stream.

The river roared, and the iee fields crashed
Together and broke in the rushing tide,

While the untimely lightning flashed,
And thunder rolled from side to side.



Scene on the East Branch.


In " Devil's Gulch," at the turn of the road,
The swirling waters eddied and stayed,

"While out midstream, the ice jam tliroed
Till Broncho Dick, he was fair dismayed.

Urge as he would the frenzied team,
Clear to their girths in the icy wave.

He could not budge that outfit lean,
So he turned at last himself to save.

And just as he climbed the beetling cliff
Above the gulch and the leaping flood,

A heavier crash seemed to freeze him stiff.
And shook the rocks where he trembling stood.

Gone like the froth on the breaking wave.
Swept from the road by the mountain stream,

And into the depths, as into a grave.
Went Henry's six-horse team !


The Historical Houses of the Dearborns, the Leavitts' and
the Hobhs' in Hampton; the Wiggins' in Stratham. — The
Gazette Representative Cordially Received.

My way last week was among the manor born residents of
Hampton. The Gazette, with three regular correspondents
in Hampton, of course had a right to expect a welcome
there, and got it in the addition of over fifty new names to
the list in about three days, while the other three days in
North Hampton and Stratham were proportionately pro-
ductive. Our new correspondent at North Hampton is by
no means a stranger in these columns, has a first-rate repu-
tation as a careful itemizer, and we feel assured will fill a
long felt want.

It is odd, perhaps, that it should happen so, but my first
night out was spent in a house that had been 200 years in

8 claflin's rambles

the family and name of the Dearborns, upon land that
never was deeded except to its present owner, Hugh Brown,
in the large west room in the older part of the house. It may
have been odd, and certainly was fortunate, as Mrs. Brown
comes of a large family of manor born Hamptonians,
"given to hospitality" and excellent cooks. My last night
out for the week was spent in a house and upon land in
Stratham that never was deeded at all. It was grabbed
from the "savages" by the "merrie king's men" and en-
granted to the Wiggins' family (a tract about four miles
square, I believe), in which name it has remained continu-
ously ever since, though of course large parts of the origi-
nal grant have been deeded to others. B. F. Witham leases
this place, while Bartlett Wiggin, Esq., a direct representa-.
tive of the original grantees, lives in a very ancient country
house upon land that has neither been deeded nor leased,
next adjoining.

The Wiggin and Foss families are among the oldest in
Stratham, and the question once propounded by an Exeter
lawyer to a witness from Stratham in a certain case, "Well,
I suppose your name is Wiggin," will usually get an affirm-
ative response. Of course I do not wish to be understood
as speaking for the entire population of Stratham. There
are others, you know, the Odells, the Lanes, the Wingates,
and so on, and they are pleasant people to meet.

Tuesday was a dull and misty day, spent in Hampton
village and along the beaches from Boar's Head and Leavitt
Brothers' comfortable hostelry to J. B. Leavitt 's inviting
place at North Beach, along the new road, a day in which
the gray mists massed out on the vast deep and marched
in upon the land with the swift and shadowy tread of mar-
shalled hosts, wetting one to the skin, and driving the beach
population behind their glass doors and windows, secure
fram the elements, the grand and solemn wash of the great
Atlantic around the head of the Boar and the silent, swift
rush of the mist clouds across the marshes and over the
main, could be most advantageously seen.

claflin's rambles 9

The night of such a day was heavy and gloomy, but
within the comfortable home of Harrison Hobbs on Wind-
mill Hill, a pleasant party made up the by no means small
Hobbs family and some seventeen regular giiests, besides the
writer, passed a very enjoyable evening. The Hobbs family
is also one of the oldest in Hampton, their ancient homestead
standing near the present residence of Horace Hobbs, and
the land they occupy on and near Windmill Hill has al-
ways been held in the name.

The first Hobbs to come to Hampton from England,
about 164:0, was Maurace or Morris Hobbs, and it is said
he came because he Avas jilted by a fair English maid, who
at the last moment repented and tried to dissuade him from
coming, but it was his turn to play the jilting act, and an-
other "fayre ladie" became the mother of the American
family. The ancient windmill on the hill was torn down
years ago, but many of my readers will recall how the boys
nsed to ride round its great arms and occasionally one
would get "carried over." Mr. Horace Hobbs showed me
a desk, made of some massive wood, a hundred and fifty
years or so ago, and a sword used in the time of the Revo-
lution by a Hobbs who raised a company of Hampton men
for the patriot cause.

Among other ancient timepieces I saw, was one in the
home of Clarissa J. Sanborn, made by Daniel Wood of
Newbury port for Woolbridge Sanborn, one hundred years
or more ago. A clock in those times cost money; time was
literally money with them ; this one cost no less than $75,
and there are others that cost even more.

Not far from here, on the Exeter road, lives friend
Drake, whose "colt" caused the scribe a little uneasiness by
his frisky movements till friend Drake explained that
the colt was 35 years old, and only a little bit kinky because
of lack of exercise.

The tallest monument in the Hampton town lot is erected
to the memory of Godfrey Dearborn, who came over from
Exeter, England, in 1641.

10 claflin's rambles

Wednesday night, after a run to Exeter over one of the
best bicycle roads in the state, and back into North Hamp-
ton, I stopped with the accommodating family of Andrew
J. Marston, whose hospitality, like that of many others, I
shall not forget.

In passing, I want to refer to the Perkins' at the "Land-
ing," so-called. I met James W. Perkins here (who Avent
to Kansas City, in '66), at J. O. Perkins', Avhere he is
spending the season. At Elias H. Perkins' I got one of
those dinners that we always look back upon with regret —
that they don't come every day.

In conversation with jNIoses Leavitt, he mentioned that
for 40 years the Massachusetts Ploughman had been taken
in the family, an instance of the attachment that is fre-
quently found among Xew Englanders for the old family
ncM^spaper. The price may be high, the paper may be very
different under new managers from what it used to be, but
if ' ' father took it, and grandfather before him, ' ' no one can
blame the devoted subscriber for a certain filial, though
blind loyalty, to the time-honored guest of the family.

An evening spent with Deacon Leavitt at North Hampton
was profitable to me as an opportunity to look over the
valuable history of old Hampton, with its mass of bio-
graphical and chronological lore. These books should be
in the hands of every Hampton family.


What ! Again ? Will wonders never cease ?

That fire, foretold by Mistress Ellen Brown
DoNVTi by the ' ' landing, ' ' — may she dwell in peace

Came at the beach as the other came in town.

A year ago or more, the gossips say,

Ma'am Brown was riding by the village school,
When a rude lad, in jesting play,

In-\dted the answer we return a fool.

Scene of the "Two Fires," Hampton Beach, N. H.

claflin's rambles 11

" Ma'am Browu ! Ma'am Browu ! I waut to know

When we shall have another fire ;
Can ye give me a ticket to the show ?

An' send me word by wire."

Quick as a flash from threatening sky

Ma'am Brown her answer then returned :
" Next Saturday, lad, and if you go nigh,

You '11 surely get your coat tail burned ! "

You who are ^vise in things unseen.

May tell from whence that true word came.
But the lad will mind Ma'am Browu, I ween,

For he burned his coat tail in that flame !

There came a man to Mistress Browu
From Exeter, one autumn day.

To learn if Fate should smile or frown
Upon his future untrod way.

The deep sleep of the medium fell
On the eyelids of the comely dame.

And, from the hidden forest dell.
Her Indian sachem came.

In crooning tones the ' ' brave ' ' she told
The secrets he desired to know ;

Like witch and seer in days of old,
And she told him true, I trow.

"And, brave, before the moon again.
Shall wax and wane in the .sky.

Five wigwams of the paleface men.
Flat by the weed-strewn beach shall lie.'

The slow, October days were almost gone ;

From Hampton Beach the summer crowds had fled :
Dame Browu to Mistress Bach appeared one morn

" To spend the day in gossiping," she said.

Two dames well met, and eager ran their lips.
As good dames do, they had a lot to say,

As from the porch they watched the passing ships.
Or the trolley spinning on its iron way.

12 claflin's rambles

" Say, ma'am," quoth Mistress Bach, "tell me in sooth
When comes that fire your sachem advertised ?

I do believe he didn't tell the truth ;

Think you, Mis' Brown, your sachem ever lies? "

•' He needs more matches for so big a job.
And do n't you fear but what the fire will come,"

Quoth Mistress Brown, then quickly said : " It 's odd.
What mean those smoky clouds that hide the sun? "

" Oh, that 's the car smoke drifting from the marshes."
" Not so. Mis' Bach, the cars are miles away."

"Then 'tis a marsh fire turning grass to ashes."
" Not so, good dame, my fire is due today."

And, as she spoke, the telephone was humming
From Exeter ; the fire lads hurried down ;

The word went forth that Hampton Beach was burning,
And teams came racing from the nearby town.

The sachem's fire had come on schedule time.
And no man knows the wherefore or the why.

The facts I give, I spin no theory fine,
I can 't explain it, and I will not try.


He Jumps In and Out of the "Frying Pan." — 3Ieets
Former Barkeeper Wlio Has Never Drank. — Visits a
Near Descendant of Capt. John Locke. — Kept hij a Po-
lice Commissioner at Portsmouth, and Next at the
Famous Hotel of the Late Ann Wiggin at New fields.

A few miles out toward Stratham I passed through the
neighborhood of the Folsoms of Folsom Kidge. The Fol-
som farms, under the management now of John F. Pick-
ering, are among the best in the state. Passing around by
the left, I visited Stratham Ridge, where most of the wives
seemed to be off huckleberrying, as half the houses were

claflin's rambles 13

empty. AVhen I go there again I'll send a postal, so as to
find them at home.

From the ridge I descended into the "Frying-pan," bnt
did not go from the frying-pan into the fire, as some do. I
called at the ancient home of the Wingate's and had a
pleasant chat with J. C. A. Wingate, Esq., who practiced
law at Concord for a time, and afterwards was cashier of a
national bank at Concord till failing health compelled him
to retire.

When I left the "Frying-pan" I bronght np at Mark
Garland Roberts' and spent the evening listening to ac-
counts of travels in the far West, and through the sunny
South. Mr. Roberts has spent years in those sections, and
his opinions upon manners, customs and people there are
those of a well-informed man. Mr. Roberts had scarcely
returned to Stratham when his fellow townsmen elected
him first selectman, and a man might as well be mayor, as
"chairman of the board." Sam Walter Foss, the poet,
who was born and reared in Candia, now editor of the
Yankee Blade, in his inimitable poem on the "Selickman,"
did n't half exhaust the theme. It's a dull day when half
a dozen different matters are not brought to the chairman
of the board for adjustment.

Tuesday, I passed through a part of North Hampton,
calling at John G. Sleeper's, the cider manufacturer, din-
ing at Eli G. Bunker's hospitable table. Mr. Bunker is at
present a painter and I am not sure that he would like to
be advertised as an ex-barkeeper for some of the first-class
beach houses in this section, but the fact stands to his credit
that he has stood the trying ordeal of dealing out liquor to
his thirsty fellow citizens for 13 years without either
drinking or using liquor or tobacco himself. I doubt if
there is another such a record in New Hampshire.

From Little River, bearing to the left, I avoided Little

Boar's Head, with its numerous summer houses, and passed

by Irving H. Lamprey's, down into the neighborhood of the

Philbriek's, the Jennesses, the Browns, and so on. Most


14 claflin's rambles

of the beach houses are completely full. The Sea View,
the Farragut, Hon. David Jenness' cottage and one or two
others were, so I happen to know, and I began to think
that I would have to take up with the generous offer of ]\Ir.
Jenness' hired man, and bunk with him in the barn on a
camp bed, but fortune has a way of favoring me, and in-
stead, I stayed in with i\Ioses Philbrick, out of the drench-
ing rain of Tuesday night, and occupied "the best room."

Wednesday I visited the Rye beaches, Foss', Jenness',
etc., and " Locke 's Neck, " near which the great Atlantic
cable plunges into the sea. Could we follow that cable
with the eye of fancy, what scenes of Neptune's dominions
might we conjure out of the gray depths. Away out in the
bosom of the moaning waters, where the great ships went
down and the dead mariner clutched it with his pulseless
hands, "where the monsters of the deep hold carnival and
wage war; where IMcGinty went to, etc. You see 'tis but a
step from the sublime to the ridiculous, but there is a really
good article on Rye and the New Hampshire Coast in the
July Granite Monthly, from the pen of Lewis K. Lane of
North Hampton, which all "up-to-dates" ought to read,
if they have not already done so. I met with an aged pen-
sioner, Mrs. Alice Brunt Philbrick, out towards the cable
station and she sent me for the doctor,— that is one of the
things an agent is expected to do on occasions. I did the
errand, as I am always glad to when I can.

On the road to Rye Center I met Daniel D. Locke, who is
caring for his aged kinsman, Lemuel Locke, 90 years of age
and slowly sinking towards the dreamless sleep that waits
for all. Born in Rye, he has always followed the occupa-
tion of a farmer, is third or fourth, I believe, in descent
from Capt. John Locke, who was killed by the Indians at
Locke's Neck. I say "Locke's Neck" advisedly; why the
naine should ever have been changed because some city
gentleman happened to come here and buy a piece of land
and put up a summer cottage is more than I can under-
stand. It is hoped that the aged Lemuel Locke will sur-

claflin's rambles 15

vive to be present at the Locke family reunion, that occurs
on the 23d of August, at that place.

I took a spin from the Center out over Breakfast Hill,
across the Eastern Division tracks, and thence into Green-
land, from which Portsmouth is an easy side trip, and I en-
joyed the hospitality of Police Commissioner John E.
Dimick, not, however, at the police station. I "had a pull"
with the family, and being one of the few able-bodied men
who never hankered to "get on the force," I was well

Greenland is a beautiful town, of which the Weekses were
among the first settlers and the Frinks, Hatches, Chap-
mans, Adamses, and so on, are noted in passing. Bayside
and Kiverside, two stations near Great Bay in Greenland
and Stratham respectively, claimed my attention, and I
Avant to pause right here to predict that sometime the shore
of Great Bay will be dotted with scores of summer cot-
tages. Nature has done her part, and henceforth sits wait-
ing till man shall discover and appropriate her beauties.

The tollbridge at Newfields over the Squamscott, kept by
Henry F. ]\Iarden, is about half a mile from the old ferry
that it supplanted many years ago. In the house built by
Andrew Wiggin 100 years ago, now the home of Frederick
A. Caverly, I spent Thursday night. Andrew Wiggin had
the care of a female Indian supposed to be the last of her
tribe, who became the wards of the Wiggins' when the
grant of Stratham was made to them by the English crown.
The Caverlys are also an old family, iMoses Caverly being
one of ,the original grantees of Barrington, in 1722. The
family history, written by Robert B. Caverly of the Massa-
chusetts bar, and published in Concord in 1879, is an inter-
esting book.

Friday night, Charles E. Smith, in Xewfields, entertained
me in a house that has a history, as most of the older houses
have hereabouts. Ann M. Wiggin, spinster, kept a hotel here
for 50 years, and out in the barn in a pile of old truck I
found the sign, reading "Elm House, A. M. Wiggin, Pro.,

16 claflin's rambles

1835." The great elms that furnish a refreshing shade
over the yard and house, and the door, whose latchstring
always hangs out, are all the signs at present that weary
travelers are accommodated.

About three miles out on the Epping road lives Mrs.
Elizabeth (Hobbs) Hersey, aged 76. Her grandfather, Na-
thaniel Hobbs, w^ho died in 1832, came from England, and
raised a company of soldiers for the Revolution, in Hamp-
ton, using the sword I mentioned a week or two ago. His
son, Mrs. Hersey 's father, Joseph Hobbs, moved to Ossipee
and settled there. This information I gleaned from ]\Irs.
Hersey. Thus one thing leads to another and with your
consent this thing leads to the end of what to me has been
an interesting week's ramble.


"When the moon is sleeping
Ou your pillow and your hair,

My augel shall be keeping
His constant vigil there.

No harm shall come a-nigh you

By starlight or by day,
My angel shall be by you

To drive all harm away.

And, in the dewy morning,

When my love shall arise,
With fond thoughts your bosom warming,

And lovelight in your eyes,

My augel shall attend you

From morning until night ;
With valor to defend you

And guide your steps aright.

claflin's rambles


A Hot Trip into New fields, Wadleu's Falls and Notting-
]^am. — Took a Subscriher and Neither of us Spoke a
Word.—Saiv Some Very Old Clocks.— The Swedes as
Good Citizens.

IMonday, August 5, was a scorcher, and the up and down
nature of the road to Xewfields was particularly adapted
to bring- out what little sweat there was in me, and hence I
perspired. Let no thoughtless reader of the Gazette im-
agine that rambling on a wheel is one long drawn out round
of pleasure. "Far from it," in the language of Josiah

1 3 4 5 6 7

Online LibrarySumner F. (Sumner Franklin) ClaflinClaflin's red book of rambles → online text (page 1 of 7)