Walter Harriman.

The history of Warner, New Hampshire, for one hundred and forty-four years, from 1735 to 1879 online

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Online LibraryWalter HarrimanThe history of Warner, New Hampshire, for one hundred and forty-four years, from 1735 to 1879 → online text (page 1 of 33)
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Most intelligent people have a desire to know
something of their country and of their forefathers.
Edmund Burke, the great English statesman, says, —
"They who never look back to their ancestors, will
never look forward to futurity T To rescue the early
history of Warner from oblivion, and to perpetuate a
knowledge of it in the generations to come, has been
my purpose in this undertaking. Records become
dim with age, and are destroyed ; the traditions of
events which occurred in the preceding century are
rapidly fading from memory. It has been a hundred
, and forty-four years since the first grant of Warner
was made. The last surviving original grantee of the
township has been dead ninety years. All the first
settlers, and all their children, long since departed this
life, and it is felt that the writing of a history of the
town has been delayed too long.

In July, 1878, I decided to undertake this task, a
task in which I have expended a large sum of money
beyond any expected remuneration, and thrown in
my personal services as a gratuity. My labor has
been a " labor of love." Warner is my native town,
and there cluster all my earliest and fondest remem-
brances. Every brook and rock and tree that I knew


in my chilflhood is still dear to me, and, if my wishes
are regarded, Warner will be the place of my final

I have travelled nearly 2000 miles in gathering
materials for this book ; have searched the province
records at Boston and at Concord ; the countj^ records
of old Hillsborough at Nashua, and of Rockingham at
Exeter ; the Masonian records at Portsmouth, and the
town records of Amesbury, Salisbury, Newburyport,
Haverhill, Bradford, Andover, and Ipswich, Mass., and
of Concord, Hopkinton, Boscawen, and Sutton, N. H.

Remembering the injunction, "neither give heed
to fables and endless genealogies, which minister ques-
tions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith." I
have made this work not a genealogical register, hut
a Jdsiory of the toion.

Names of individuals have been wa^itten strictly in
accordance with the letter of the record, and when-
ever quotations from ancient documents have been
made, the original orthography, capitals, abbrevia-
tions, punctuation, &c., have been preserved.

The XXXVIth and last chapter embraces an ad-
dress which the author gave, in 1878, on the Bound-
aries of New Hampshire. As no student of history
within the state can fail to be interested in the angry
and prolonged controversies which grew out of this
boundary question, and as the inhabitants of Warner
must be specially interested in those controversies,
that address has been deemed a fitting close to this
volume. At one time it was supposed that the terri-
tory of Warner would constitute a part of Massachu-
setts ; at a subsequent j^eriod it seemed probable that


Warner would make the fractional part of a great and
noble state extending westward to Lake Cliamplain,
and embracing the wdiole of the present New Hamp-
shire and Vermont ; and at a still later day there was
danger that the town would stand on the very bor-
ders of a despoiled and dismembered state, embracing
only the meagre territory which constituted the grant
to Capt. John Mason.

The small, rough map which accompanies this book
is intended, mainly, to represent the outlines of War-
ner,, and its mountains and streams. Entire accuracy
(particularly in regard to the roads) is not claimed for
the map.

Omissions and inaccuracies of various kinds will of
course be found in this volume. Several of these
have already been noticed since the body of the book
was printed. By the merest accident the name of R.
Eugene Walker, son of Abiel, is not included in the
list of college graduates, nor in that of lawj^ers. Mr.
Walker graduated at Brown University in 1875 ; read
law with Sargent and Chase, and w^as admitted to the
bar in August, 1878. He opened an office at Concord
the next month, and is now in practice there.

The book has been open to all who were willing to
contribute portraits to embellish its pages, and I am
grateful to Mrs. Abner Woodman and Benjamin E.
Badger, for the portrait of Benjamin Evans ; to Mrs.
George H. Witherle and L. Willis Bean, for that of
their fother ; to Mrs. Herman Foster, for that of her
husband ; to Abner D. Farnum's family, for that of
Franklin Simonds ; to John E. Robertson, for that of
his father; to the officers of the bank at Warner, for


that of Joshua George ; and to the sons of Asa Pat-
tee, for that of their father. To those who have
furnished portraits of themselves, I am also under
special obligations,

I am indebted to Levi Bartlett, whose recollection
of early incidents and historical events is remarkable,
for many facts herein set forth ; to the late H. H.
Harriman, whose knowledge of the topography of the
town, — of its roads, of its divisions and sub-divisions
into ranges and lots, — excelled that of any other man ;
to Mrs. Hardy, of Hopkinton, an intelligent old Jady,
94 years of age, the mother of Col. Tyler B. and
Geo. B. Hardy ; to Charles Davis, of Davisville, S. S.
Bean, L. W. Collins, Rev. Wm. H. Walker, and others,
for valuable items found in this work.

In conclusion, I can only express the hope that the
reading of the book will afford the people of Warner
(and others) as much satisfaction as the publication
of it has afforded the author.

W. H.

June 24, 1879.



Chapter I. — Grants ; Township Number One 11

CHAiPTER II. — Description of township Number One ;
Its boundaries ; Its soil and productions ; Its
ponds and streams ; Its mountains 24

Chapter III. — Proprietors' records ; A new start ;

First saw-mill ; The inevitable tax 41

Chapter IV. — First meeting in the township ; Dam
and flume ; First proposals to settlers ; Troubles
accumulate ; New Hampshire appealed to ; No re-
lief ; Indian depredations ; The Masonian propri-
etors ; Further encouragement to settlers ; Grant
to Rye , 50

Chapter V. — A new epoch ; Settlement of the town;

Daniel Annis ; Reuben Kimliall ; The first child 6o

Chapter YI. — -Proprietors' record ; Efforts for colo-
nization ; Gift lots ; Settlers' bond ; Early settlers 78

Chapter VII. — Early settlers, continued ; Boat on the

Contoocook ; Second saw-mill 92

Chapter VIII. — The Rye grantees ; Records of Ames-
bury proprietors ; First meeting-house ; Hedged
in ; The Potash ; The old tavern ; First grist-mill 111

Chapter IX. — The Masonian proprietors ; A new grant ;

Organizing under it 129



Chapter X. — Delinquent rights ; Second meeting-house ;

Another town ; Trespassers ; Running the lines . . . 141

Chapter XI. — Settlement of" first minister ; Steps
towards incorporation ; A church organized ; The
survey; First bridge; Proprietors' records 151

Chapter XII. — Proprietors' records ; The Rye grantees ;
Board of 'arbitrators; Their award; "Parmer"
again 1 ^^^

Chapter XIII. — The town incorporated; Mills at great
falls ; More trouble with Rye ; Burying-yard and
Parade ; Captain Francis Davis ; Nearing the end ;
Final meeting lOo

Chapter XIV. — The intermediate state ; First meeting
of the settlers ; Fast day ; Rev. Mr. Kelley called ;
His salary ; His ordination ; Tlie first juryman ;
Town charter 1T6

Chapter XY. — Name of the town ; Daniel Warner ;

Col. Seth Warner ; His character and services. . .. 190

Chapter XYI. — Warner's first meeting; Town records;
War-notes ; The census ; Sage tea ; The crisis at
hand; Convention of the people; Governor Went-
worth 211

Chapter XYII. — The Exeter convention ; Not a col-
ony, but a state ; First representative ; Town and
class records 224

Chapter XYIII. — Constitutional conventions ; Town
and class records ; President of the state ; Loca-
tion of meeting-house 237

Chapter XIX. — The federal constitution ; Half-shire
town ; Court's committee ; Court-house ; A pro-
test ; Town records ; House under the ledge 253

Chapter XX. — Town records; Half-shire again ; Anti-

pedobaptists ; Gen. Aquila Davis; The first pound 270



Chapter XXI. — Town records ; Pauper sale ; Hon.
Henry B. Chase ; First school committee ; A new
pound ; Hon. Benjamin Evans 287

Chapter XXTI. — Town records ; The cold Friday ;
War of 1812 ; Rev. Jolin Woods ; A cold season ;
Masonic ; Divorce of church and state ; Heresy ;
Quaker women whipped 800

Chapter XXIII. — Town records ; The tornado 318

Chapter XXIV. — A new county ; The nation's guest ;

Town records ;, Cattle show 327

Chapter XXY. — Town records; Presidential election;

Henniker celebration ; First poor-farm 312

Chapter XXVI. — Town records ; Second poor-farm ;
Farmers' and mechanics' library ; Cranberry and
hoop-pole parties 357

Chapter XXVII. — Town records ; New town hall ;
Railroad opening ; The banks ; Constitutional con-
vention ; Homestead exemption 374

Chapter XXVIII. — The war ; State aid ; Bounties to
Soldiers ; Raising the bid ; Bounty-jumpers ; More
men ; The army moves 391

Chapter XXIX. — End of town records ; Mountain
road ; Warner High School ; River-Bow Park ;
Road and reservoirs ; Funding the debt ; Constitu-
tional convention ; County buildings ; Under the
new constitution 103

Chapter XXX. — Kearsarge Gore ; Tlie Masonian pro-
prietors ; The curve line ; Survey of the Gore ;
Wilmot incorporated ; The Gore records 429

Chapter XXXI. — Post-masters; Deputy sheriffs ; LaAv-
3^ers ; Physicians ; College graduates ; High-school
teachers; Debating clubs; Literary men and women llo




Chapter XXXII.— Military history of Warner; The
Revolution ; Alarm at Coos ; War with France
threatened ; War of 1812 ; The Rebellion ; State
militia -l^^

Chapter XXXIII. — Ecclesiastical liistory of Warner... 500

Chapter XXXIV. — Local names ; Population of War-
ner ; Four-score years and ten ; Manufactures. . . . 521

Chapter XXXY. — Fatal casualties ; Suicides ; Priva-
tions ; Woman lost ; Wild beasts ; Witchcraft .... 535

Chapter XXXVI. — The Boundaries of Xew Hampshire :
An address by Gen. Walter Ilarriman, delivered at
Canterbury, N. H., May 8, 1878 550



Walter Harriman [^^^i^.To^']

Map of Warner 2(5

Orison Hardy 105

George Runels 123

Daniel Barnard 136

Asa Pattee 257

Benjamin Evans 298

Gilman C. George 313

Ezekiel A. Straw 331

Daniel Bean, Jr 354

Robert Thompson 361

George A. Pillsbury. . . . 375


Joshua George 382

Ira Harvey 387

Harrison D. Robertson.. 392

Franklin Simonds 410

Nehemiah G. Ordway . . . 423

Alonzo C. Carroll 447

Albert P. Davis 452

Herman Foster 455

Levi Bartlett 469

John C. Ela 494

Isaac D. Stewart 515

Walter Scott Davis 532



IHE English claimed the whole of North America,
from Labrador to Florida. They claimed it by
virtue of its discovery by the Cabots, in 1497, and of
subsequent explorations, and efforts to colonize it.
They found their claims, however, interfered with, to
some extent, by the occupation of Canada by the
French, and of New Netherland (now New York) by
the Dutch.

By the English constitution, the title to all the
lands of the natives was vested in the king, and he
might grant them when, to whom, and for what con-
sideration he pleased. His grants might be absolute,
or they might be conditional.

The grants of the king, with corporate powers, con-
stituted what were denominated charter governments.
Such were the grants to Massachusetts, Connecticut,
and Rhode Island. Then there were royal govern-
ments, — governments in which the king, untrammeled
by grants of the soil, still retained his original author-
ity. They were presided over by a governor, who


was appointed by the Crown, and who was removable
at the king's pleasure. The governor was assisted
by a council, generally recommended by himself, but
appointed by the king, and he had a negative upon
the proceedings of any assembly of the people, with
power to prorogue or dissolve it whenever he saw fit.
To the governor, also, was committed authority to
grant, in the name of the king, any unchartered lands
in his province. Such was New Hampshire.

Kino; James the First chartered "The Council of
Plymouth " on the 3d day of November, 1620. To
give a clear understanding of what this council was,
a paragraph from its charter is here introduced :
" There shall be forever, in our town of Plymouth, in
our county of Devon, a body corporate, consisting of
forty persons, with perpetual succession, called by the
name of the Council established at Plymouth, in the
county of Devon, /or the planting, ruling, ordering, and
governing of New England in America^

To this council was granted by the king a broad
extent of territory, reaching nearly to the mouth of
the St. Lawrence river on the north, to considerably
below the southern limit of New England on the
south, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean.
The language of the charter is, " all the lands from
forty to forty-eight degrees of north latitude, from
sea to sea."

This Plymouth Council, on the 7th day of Novem-


ber, 1629, granted to Capt. John Mason, of the county
of Hampshire, England, "All that part of the main
land in New England, lying upon the sea-coast, begin-
ning from the middle part of Merrimack river, and
from thence to proceed northwards along the sea-
coast to Piscataqua river, and so forwards up within
the said river, and to the furtherest head thereof, and
from thence north-ioestward until three-score miles be
finished from the first entrance of Piscataqua river.
Also, from Merrimack, through the said river, and to
the furtherest head thereof, and so forwards up into
the land westwards, until three-score miles be finished ;
and from thence to cross over land to the three-score
miles end accounted from Piscataqua river."

This is the state of New Hampshire in its incep-
tion, and Warner is included within the limits of this
grant. But this is not the state of to-day. These
boundaries have been extended, and the domain has
been doubled in amount.

The king in his grant, and the council in theirs,
were not entirely unselfish in the performance of their
deeds. They made valuable reservations. They were
actuated, in large degree, by the hope of gain. When
King James chartered the Council of Plymouth in
1620, and when the council, in 1629, made the grant of
New Hampshire to Capt. John Mason, it was believed
that immense quantities of gold and silver existed in
these mountains. This country was compared to


Mexico and Peru, from which plunderers had re-
turned laden with the shining dust. Indeed, "all
Europe began to dream of America as a land where
the sands sparkled with gold, and the earth was paved
with glittering gems." So, in the charter of King
James aforesaid, a reservation is made of one fifth of
the gold and silver ; and in the grant of the Council
of Plymouth to Mason, one fifth is reserved for the
king, and another fifth for the council, and these two
fifths were to be taken from the whole amount
"brought above ground, to be delivered above

Governors of provinces made grants in the name
of the king, to individuals and companies, for various
considerations. Innumerable cases occurred in which
they granted lands for actual or supposed service to
the king or to his local governments. Especially were
such grants made for military service. Many who
had been engaged in the French and Indian wars
were afiectionately remembered in this way. Grants
were also made with valuable reservations of land
and timber, the reservations being worth, after the
settling and opening up of a locality, more than the
whole of the territory granted was worth before.
Grants were also made for stipulated sums of money ;
and in some instances the grantees simply paid cer-
tain incidental expenses. Such was the case with the
proprietors of Warner.


It is not known that the grantees of Warner had
rendered any particular service to the king, or to his
provincial government of Massachusetts. Only a
small number of the sixty had been engaged in any
military service, except in the "home guards." They
gave nothing for their township of land, as has al-
ready been stated. But at the time this and many
other grants were made, the boundary line between
Massachusetts and New Hampshire wa;s in controver-
sy. Massachusetts claimed the territory of Warner,
and all the country between the Merrimack and the
Connecticut, to a line far north of Warner. New
Hampshire, of course, claimed the same territory.
The dispute had been warm and long continued. To
gain ground in the contest, Massachusetts used every
endeavor to induce men to accept grants of townships.
It had become apparent that the line between the
provinces must soon be settled, and the government
of Massachusetts feared that their claim mig-ht be
greatly restricted. In this apprehension, the general
assembly of that province, under the recommendation
of the governor, commenced granting the lands in
controversy to actual settlers from their own province,
in order that, if she should lose jurisdiction over the
lands, her people would have the fee in the soil. Ac-
cordingly, in 1725, Penacook (Concord) was granted
to actual settlers from Andover, Bradford, Haverhill,
and other towns- in that vicinity. Pembroke was


granted in 1726, and in the course of a few years,
Amherst, New Boston, Bedford, Boscawen, Hillsbor-
ough, Keene, Swanzey, and Peterborough were grant-
ed. About the same time it was proposed in the
legislature of Massachusetts to grant two tiers of
townships from the Merrimack to the Connecticut
river, under the pretence of having a line of settle-
ments on the frontier as a protection against the Ind-
ians, but in reality to secure the lands to the people
of that province, and, if possible, to forestall the deci-
sion of the boundary question. Hence, grants were
made with rapidity, and on terms unusually favorable
to the grantees. Hopkinton, Henniker, and Warner
were all granted in 1735.


In the Massachusetts House of Representatives,
Thursday, January 15th, 1735, Edmund Quincy,
Esq., from the committee of the two houses, on the
petitions for townships, presented the following re-
port :

"The Committee, appointed the 14th current to
take into consideration the several Petitions for Town-
ships, before the Court, and report what may be prop-
er for the Court to do thereon, having met, and ma-
turely considered the same, are humbly of the opin-
ion that there be a careful view and survey of the
lands between Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers,


from the northwest corner of Eumford [Concord], on
the Merrimack, to the great falls [Bellows Falls], on
the Connecticut, of twelve miles at the least in
breadth, or north and south, by a committee of
eleven able and serviceable persons to be appointed
by this Court, who shall, after a due knowledge of
the nature and circumstances thereof, lay the same
into as many Townships of the contents of six miles
square, as the land in width as aforesaid will allow of;
no Township to be more than six miles east and west ;
and also lay out the land on the east side of Connecti-
cut River from said falls to the Township [Winches-
ter], laid out to Josiah Willard and others, into as
many Townships, of the contents of six miles square,
as the same will allow of; and also the land on the
west side of the River of Connecticut, from said falls
to the equivalent land, into one or two townships, of
the contents of six miles square, if the same will allow
thereof [Massachusetts, at this time, laid claim also
to a part of Vermont.] Five of which Committee to
be a Quorum for surveying and laying out the Town-
ships on each, from Rumford to Connecticut River as
aforesaid ; and three of the committee aforesaid shall
be a Quorum for surveying and laying out the Town-
ships on each side of Connecticut river as aforesaid ;
and that the said committee make report of their do-
ings to this Court at their session in May next, or as
soon as conveniently they can, that so the persons


"whose names are contained in the several Petitions
hereafter mentioned, viz. ; In the Petition of Hopkin-
ton, in the Petition of Salishiiry and Ameshury, in the
Petition of Cambridge, in the Petition of Bradford and
Wenham, in the Petition of Haverhill, in the Petition
of Milton and Brookline, in the Petition of Samuel
Chamberlain and Jonathan Jewell, in the Petition of
Nathaniel Harris and others, in the Petition of Ste-
phens, Goulder, and others, in the Petition of Morgan,
Cobb, and others, Jonathan Wells and others, Lys-
com, Johnson, and others, in the Petition of Isaac Lit-
tle and others, in the Petition of Jonathan Powers and
others, John Whitman, Esq., and others, Samuel Hay-
ward and others, Josiah Fassett and others, John
Flynt and others, Jonathan How and others, of
Bridgewater, that have not heretofore been admitted
grantees or settlers within the space of seven years
last past, of or in, any former or other grant of a
Township, or particular grant, on condition of settling ;
and that shall appear and' give security to the value
of Forty Pounds to perform the conditions that shall be
enjoined by this Court, may, by the major part of the
Committee, be admitted Grantees into one of the said
Townships ; the Committee to give public notice of the
time and place of their meeting to admit the Gran-
tees ; which committee shall be impowered to employ
Surveyors and chainmen to assist them in surveying
and laying out said Townships ; the Province to bear


the charge, and be repaid by the Grantees who may
be admitted ; the whole charge they shall advance,
which committee, we apprehend, ought to be directed
and impowered to admit sixty settlers in each Town-
ship, and take their bonds, payable to the committee
and their successors in the said Trust, to the use of
the Province, for the performance of the conditions of
their Grant, viz. ; That each grantee build a dwellhig-
house of eighteen feet square and seven feet stud at the
least on their respective hort%e lots, and fence in and
hreak up for ploiaing, or clear and stock with English
grass five acres of land, within three years next after
their admittance, and cause their respective Lots to he in-
habited; and that the Grantees do, within the space of
three years from the time of their being admitted,
build and furnish a convenient Meeting House for the
publick worship of God, and settle a Learned Ortho-
dox Minister ; and in case any of the Grantees shall
fail or neglect to perform what is enjoined above, the
committee shall be obliged to put the Bonds in suit
and take possession of the Lots and Rights that
shall become forfeited, and proceed to grant them to
other persons that will appear to fulfil the condition
within one year next after their last mentioned grant.
And if a sufficient number of petitioners that have
had no grant within seven years as aforesaid, viz.,
sixty to each township, do not appear, others may be
admitted, provided they have fulfilled the conditions


of their former grant. The committee to take care
that there be sixty-three house lots laid out in as reg-
ular, compact, and defensible a manner as the land
will admit of; one of which Lots shall be for the first
settled minister, one for the second settled minister,
and one for the school ; to each of which an equal pro-
j)ortion of land shall accrue in all future divisions,"

The foregoing report was adopted by the house,
the council concurred in the measure, and the gov-
ernor approved of the same.

"Friday, January 16, 1735, In the House of repre-
sentatives, ordered that Joseph Gerrish, Benjamin
Prescott, Josiah Willard, and Job Almy, Esqrs., Mr.
Moses Pearson, and Capt. Joseph Gould, with such as
the honorable board [Council] shall join, be a commit-

Online LibraryWalter HarrimanThe history of Warner, New Hampshire, for one hundred and forty-four years, from 1735 to 1879 → online text (page 1 of 33)