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History Boscawen-Webster : fifty years 1883-1933 online

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1883 — 1933

Compiled by

Printed by
W. B. Ranney Co., Penacook, N. H.


Two generations have passed since Charles Carleton Coffin
told the story so impressively of the past glories of Bos-
cawen and Webster.

As the people of these towns are celebrating the two
hundredth anniversary of their existence in pageantry and
sons: there is a feeling that this historv should be brought
down to the present time. There has, of course, arisen no
one of wide fame or achievement to adorn such a history.
Only such supreme greatness comes in cycles of a century.

But these grand old towns still stand in their picturesque
beauty and strength, the Church spires pointing the up-
ward way, well kept homes and school buildings, the long
stretch of the Village Streets over-shadowed by the wide-
spreading branches, round about the sweep of the hills and
the sparkling river. Time has not dimmed the lustre but
has added to their charm.

We are confident that the unfolding of the tale of these
towns during the past half century, while lacking the bril-
liancy of the great names of the past, will disclose an ad-
herence to the same lofty ideals and patriotism that ani-
mated the fathers. The policy of the towns has continued
to be progressive, resulting in a better and happier con-
dition of the people.

We trust that the depression will soon be of the past
with a better and higher outlook.

The contents of this history includes many contributions
written by those having a special interest and knowledge
of the subject presented.

That part pertaining to Webster has been under the ex-
clusive control of Miss Jessie Pearson of that town.


I Ion*. Wilms (i. Buxton.


Hon. Willis G. Buxton has been a citizen of Boscawen
for the past fifty-one years, coming here while a young man.
He at once entered upon a large and lucrative practice of
the law that was maintained for some years. For a short
time he was associated with Judge Nehemiah Butler and
upon the latter's death, succeeded to his practice and the
confidence in which he had been held, thereby contributing
much to a successful career.

From the first, he has actively participated in all the
public and political affairs of the town, and been accorded
the most generous treatment and confidence, sharing in
leadership with the strong men of this town during the en-
tire period. He has had an extensive acquaintance and
association with leading men of affairs throughout the

Like many lawyers, Mr. Buxton has made the insurance
agency a side line, locally representing strong companies
and building up a large and profitable clientele. First, in
association with Isaac K. Gage and Luther Gage under the
name and style of Gage, Buxton & Co., and from 1897 to
1930 with Horace B. Sherburne, as Buxton & Sherburne.

Since 1885 Mr. Buxton has served as secretary and
trustee of the New Hampshire Orphans' Home.

After twenty years of strenuous work, intermingled with
service at the State House as senator, representative and
member of Constitutional Conventions, relaxation cam?
in three trans- Atlantic tours in which the historic worth
and beauty of Europe was seen and admired. Not only
was the continuity of his life and business broken by these
travels but also by attendance at the World's Fairs at Chi-
cago, Buffalo and St. Louis, and visits to that most de-
lightful of all cities, Washington.

The next decade was broken by adherence and devotion
to the principles of the Progressive Party, with attendance


at the National Conventions of 1912 and 1916 at Chicago,
the acme of political interest. Although the end of the
party was disastrous, it left an influence for good, most
potent and far-reaching.

The services required from all lawyers in the time of the
war were exacting and in his case caused some impairment
of health.

In this decade, 1910-1920, he was interested and active in
Church affairs.

Interest in European travel gave way to the pleasure of
the automobile, and each year he visited the beauty and
grandeur of our own mountain scenery, with the attractive-
ness of neighboring states.

Since 1920, owing to the rigorous climatic condition,
he has spent but one winter in New Hampshire, having
passed the others in Southern California, Florida or Wash-

With the urge of activity resorted to by many elderly men,
he commenced to write and publish books. The following
works have been presented : "Vacation Days", in 1922,
"Washington and Sunny Lands," in 1925, "Four Constitu-
tional Conventions and Congress," in 1928. While the
royalties received may not be affected by the fluctuation of
the gold standard, there is, however, great sentimental value
in the many kind letters of friendship and appreciation.

Mrs. Buxton has participated in all these travels and her
enjoyment has been most keen and helpful. She shares
the enthusiasm of her husband in the study of the personnel
and proceedings of Congress.

The history in which this sketch appears, discloses the
genealogy, education and positions held and services ren-


(Compiled by the Rev. Daniel Mclntyre)

The printed history of Boscawen takes vis down to
1878 or the first one hundred and fifty years. It hecomes
my pleasant duty to carry on and give a brief account of
the last fifty years from a church point of view. Since
living in your midst a series of interesting questions have
been asked by my people. I would like to answer them.
These years naturally divide themselves into eight epochs,
the length of time each of the eight pastors were with us.
I would like to gather the important events that happened
in each epoch.

The First Epoch.

Dr. Frank Haley, was educated in Bowdoin and Dart-
mouth colleges, where he took his medical course, and
graduated from Andover Theological Seminary in 1863 and
came to us as pastor. It was a notable council that installed
him over our church on October 11, 1882. Rev George B.
Spaulding, D.D., of Dover, N. H., Rev. Edward Buxton, of
Webster, N. H., the former preaching the sermon, the latter
giving the installing prayer. He was dismissed June 11,
1885. From 1889 to the time of his death, March 28,
1904, at the age of 69 years, he served as trustee and
librarian of the Nute Free High School, Milton, N. H.
Mrs. Sarah Plummer Haley, his wife, at his death, took
up his work as librarian at Milton and served until her
death in the early part of 1932.

Dr. Haley was a prolific writer and not a few of his
sermons got into the press. It might be well for a col-
lection to be gathered for our library.

10 history of boscawen and webster

The Second Epoch.

The second period of five years from November, 1885.
to November, 1890, gave us as pastor, Henry Warsen
Lyman Thurston. He was born in Hartford, Vt., Nov.
20, 1823. He married Eliza Ann Burnham on April 12.
1848 and they had two children, Charles Henry and Elzena

His first wife died April 2, 1857 and he married Mary
Elizabeth Choate, Nov. 20, 1858. She was born Dec. 25.
1836 and died May 1. 1800. They adopted twin girls.
Letitia Delia and Celeste Elizabeth and while 'living here
also had in their home, a granddaughter. Amy Eliza
Walker. He died of apoplexy in Wilmot, N. H., Septem-
ber 21, 1900. aged 76 years.

The Third Epoch.

The third period gave us Rev. Albert Carlos Hurd, who
came to us in 1893 and remained until his sudden death
of heart disease, December 6, 1897, aged 66 years and six
months. He married on Octcber 3, 1858, Sarah A. Tucker
of Sterling, Conn., and left two daughters and a son.

On January 4, 1893, Frank L. Gerrish began his duties
as treasurer of this church, holding the office for forty
years. A splendid record of which any church, might well
be proud. It was this year that gave us the annual meeting
and roll call that has been held every year since that time.
The question of a church manual was considered at the
second annual meeting. The W. C. T. U. commenced work
that year, 1894.

At a special meeting held June 25, 18 ( ^5. on account of
the death of Charles E. Chadwick. March 3, 1895, Frank
L. Gerrish was elected clerk, to fill the vacancy, holding
this office until January 7, 1930.

In 1806, the record reports great activity in Christian
Endeavor, giving a long list of active and associate mem-
bers, but few members are with us now, vet the few re-



maining, are the active workers in our church today.

On January 9, four clays after the annual meeting at
the ofhce of Dr. E. E. Graves, a committee was appointed
to prepare resolutions on the sudden death of Rev. A. C.
Hurd. I quote a sentence from it.

"To our brother who has just closed a pastorate of five
years with us, we cheerfully testify to his faithfulness in
whatever position he has been called to fill, and join with

the text: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, even
so, saith the spirit, and their works do follow them.' '

The Fourth Epoch.

The fourth epoch gave us Andrew Gibson, born in Glas-
gow, Scotland, June 12, 1863. He received our call, De-
cember 21, 18 ( J7. and began his work with us in 1898, re-
maining until 1904. He died at East Hartford, Conn.,
July 2, 1925.

We find from our records, that a vote of thanks was


given June 11, 1899 to Deacon Leander Flanders, Mrs.
Ellen F. Raymond, and Miss Esther D. Gill, also to Mrs.
Elvira P. Carter who solicited the three hundred and sixty-
eight dollars, and ninety-nine cents that purchased the beau-
tiful vocalian organ which we used for a number of years.

The pastor, Mr. Gibson, was asked to draw up a church
covenant, more in harmony with the idea of the present
times. On January 2, 1901, Mr. Gibson presented a new
manual and it was accepted February 18, 1901, by the
church. The minister was to act as moderator at all church

On June 7, 1902, a vote of thanks was extended Mrs.
John Kimball for the picture of Miss Elizabeth F. Gill.

On March 1, 1903, before the Communion Service. Rev.
Andrew Gibson accepted on behalf of the church, the in-
dividual communion set given by the W. C. T. U. while
Mrs. E. P. Carter was president. It was suggested on Jan-
uary 3, 1905, that the church be incorporated, but no action
was taken at that time.

The Fifth Epoch.

The fifth epoch gave us Rev. Frank Park, who was born
in Viola, Illinois, December 27, 1863, and graduated from
Monmouth College, and from Yale Divinity School in 1894.
He was with us from September 1, 1904 to April 1, 1913.
He died October 16, 1923 in Clinton, Conn., of Brights
disease. He was one of the most popular of our ministers.
He was also an expert grower of asters, and an expert
player of checkers. The church in our records speaks of
him as follows.

"We cheerfully recommend him to you as one whom you
can respect and esteem, and find in him an able preacher
and a kind pastor."

He married Sadie Lowell, of Dexter, Maine, October 9,
1901. She died June 9, 1921.

On January 16, 1907 a vote of thanks was given to the


Ladies' Aid, the Grange, Good Templars, and the King's
Daughters for aid furnished in wiring the church.

On January 5, 1909 votes of thanks were given to the
Ladies' Benevolent Society for carpets placed on the plat-
form and aisles, to Mrs. Clara Morey for providing
a psalm rack for the church, also to Frank L. Gerrish for
frescoing the walls of the church, refinishing its floors, and
for recushioning the pews.

The most important event of these fifty years was when
Boscawen entertained the New Hampshire Congregational
Conference in 1909. Just a century before this in 1809
the Conference had met with our church. Only a few of
the largest churches are expected to entertain so large a
gathering but our church did and found a great deal of
joy in the doing of it.

At the meeting held January 4, 1910 a vote of thanks
was given to the Ladies' Aid for help rendered in the
repairs of the parsonage also thanks were given to Rev.
Edward A. Tuck of West Concord for his assistance in
special meetings.

On January 9, 1912, a vote of thanks was extended
to Frank L. Gerrish for repairs in the parsonage.

At the annual meeting held January 7, 1913 resolutions
regarding the death of Deacon George W. Fisher were
presented and voted to be placed on our records. "May
the memory of his devotion to home and church and country
raise our ideals of noble and useful manhood."

The Sixth Epoch.

This epoch contains the shortest of our pastorates per-
haps in the history of the church. Rev. Henry A. Ryder
was with us less than two years, 1912-1914. He is now
residing in Lowell. Mass. He will be remembered for his
accomplished family ; the queenly mother and their able
son, Lorraine, who will be heard by larger audiences as
he uses his trained voice in singing the praises of Zion.

14 history of boscawen and webster

The Seventh Epoch.

The seventh epoch was the Melvin J. Allen period. It
gave us the most scholarly, yes. the hest educated minister
in the fifty vears we are considering, and only the untimely
death of Mrs. Allen, his efficient helper, compelled him
to leave us. He was educated at Amherst College, 1879,
and Andover Theological Seminary, 1882. He married
Ella D. Hanks, of Saxtons River, Vermont, October 10,
1882, who died April 12, 1917. He was with us from 1915
to 1^22. and died at his sister's home in Richford, N. Y.,
on July 3. 1924.

( )n January 2, 1923, the following beautiful In Memor-
iam was passed by vote of the church at the annual meet-
ing ; Whereas, death came to our brother, Deacon Samuel
Choate, February 14. 1922;

"The church feels the loss hard to fill. He united with
the church, November 7, 1876. He was made deacon, May,
1881, and continued in active office until 1911, when in-
firmities kept him at home a great part of the time and
he was elected deacon emeritus, 1919. It is a great thing
to so live one's life, that when we leave the world, the
world is better for our influence and example."

The Eighth Epoch.

( )ur eighth epoch gave the church its present pastor,
Rev. Daniel Mclntyre, one of our New Hampshire men,
having lived in Dover from early childhood days, educated in
the schools of that city, in Lincoln Academy, Maine, Bow-
doin College, and Andover Theological Seminary. He em-
phasizes the great importance of the prayer-meeting and
pastoral work, often thinking and saying, "Not great preach-
ing, but constant attendance in the House of God, where
in all simplicity the Gospel may be given to all." His
labors began with this church on August 1, 1923.

This period will be long remembered for the generous
gift of the beautiful pipe organ, from Frank L. Gerrish.


We have lost by death two of its deacons, Edgerton
Raymond, and Frank B. Folsom ; one noted for his grace-
ful approach to God in prayer, and the other for his great
executive ability.

This church should be proud of its strong and worthy
laymen ; for its clerk, and its treasurer ; for its Sunday
School Superintendents and teachers. Others within and
without the church give it an outlook that is more than
encouraging for another fifty years of spiritual life.

The Boscawen Auxiliary to the N. H. Female Cent
Institution and Missionary Union

(Contributed by Mrs. Alia J. Carter)

The N. H. Female Cent Institution was founded by Mrs.
Elizabeth McFarland, wife of the pastor of the North
Church, Concord, in 1804.

An auxiliary to this society was formed in Boscawen in
1813. A receipt for dues paid that year is still among the
records of the society. Until the Society was reorganized
in 1890 the work of the Cent Union was confined entire-
ly to our State. In that year it came into line with the
Home Missionary Unions all over the country.

November 20. 1890, Mrs. Martha Pillsbury Webster,
invited ladies to meet with her to consider what should be
done about forming an auxiliary to the "Cent Union" in
accord with the new movement in the State. Fifteen
ladies were present and an auxiliary was formed and the
following officers chosen: President, Mrs. H. O. Merrill;
Vice-President, Mrs. Mattie Webster ; Secretary and Treas-
urer, Mrs. Alia J. Carter.

Our last receipt from Miss Cochran, State Treasurer of
the "Cent Union" was dated April, 1927 for thirteen dol-
lars. Since then, the work of the "Cent Union" and


Woman's board has been done by the "Department of
Women's Work" of the State Conference and we have
given our contributions to our church treasurer to be added
to the appropriation voted by the church. For several
years we have held only one meeting a year, "a silver tea,"
making collections and giving the money to the church
treasurer. In 1932 we gave the church treasurer only fif-
teen dollars and ten cents to be added to the amount given
by the church.

There has been no change in officers for a long time,
Mrs. Mary Durgin being President and Mrs. Alia J. Car-
ter, Treasurer.

The Ladies' Social and Benevolent Society
of Boscavven

(Contributed by Elizabeth G. Hall.)

The Ladies' Social and Benevolent Society was or-
ganized in 1837 and re-organized in 1877 with the fol-
lowing officers elected: Mrs. J. G. Coffin, President; Mrs.
E. G. Wood, Vice President; Miss Esther D. Gill, Secretary
and Treasurer. During the past fifty-six years the
following have served as Presidents of the Society :
Mrs. Frank Haley, Mrs. J. A. Freeman, Mrs. Mary Dur-
gin, Miss Adeline Pillsbury, Mrs. J. A. McClure, Mrs.
Eliza Chadwick, Mrs. Goldsmith, Mrs. Alia J. Carter, Mrs.
Elvira P. Carter who served nineteen years, Mrs. Marian
Flanders and Airs. Elizabeth G. 1 rail.

Those who have served several years as Secretary -Treas-
urer, are: — Mrs. E. E. Graves; Miss Esther I). Gill, twenty
years; Mrs. Samuel Allen; Miss Lizzie Choate, thirteen
years; Mrs. Helen Holmes, seven years.

In reading the records of the past years the women cer-
tainlv deserve much credit for carrying on in the church


work and welfare of the community. In the records of
Fehruary 14, 18 ( >7, I quote the following: "It was a red-
letter day for us, beautiful with sunshine and a fit day for
re-opening and re-dedicating the church. Our hearts were
made glad by the presence of many friends and their words
of cheer and appreciation. May the Lord give us His
blessing and this be the dawn of better days for Boscawen.
We now have not only a commodious church, but a chapel
named for our beloved and honored member, Elizabeth

At this time the women had raised by special subscrip-
tion the sum of $350.50 for Memorial Windows, painting
and decorating church and chapel.

Many entertainments were held and money contributed
for various church institutions. Two of our oldest mem-
bers. Mrs. Alia J. Carter and Mrs. Mary Durgin, are still
with us and are an inspiration for us to carry on the good

During the past few years many socials have been held.
These were made popular by the excellent suppers that the
Boscawen ladies are noted for, usually followed by a good
entertainment. Local talent has presented many good plays
and fairs. At the autumn season a harvest supper is served
to a capacity house attended by many out-of-town people.
Large sums of money have been realized and generously
given by the ladies toward the support of the church, repair-
ing parsonage, improvements at the Town Hall, horse sheds
and various other ways in charitable and missionary work.

"Ah!", said the men, "the way to heaven
Is long and hard and steep ;
With slopes of ease on either side
The path 'tis hard to keep ;
We cannot climb the heights alone ;
Our hearts are sore dismayed ;
We ne'er shall get to heaven at all
Without the Ladies' Aid."


Since 1879 the Church now hearing the name of Con-
gregational Church of Penacook, New Hampshire, has had
eleven pastors. These ministers were of various attain-
ments and mentality: some, whose shadows of life were
lengthening; some, at the zenith of physical, mental and
spiritual powers and others fresh from theological semi-
naries, with all the enthusiasm and earnestness of youth
entering upon a great mission of life. They all had in
common a pious determination to give of their hest in the
service of the Master.

Rev. John Hale Larry.

John Hale Larry, who as principal of the School
of Practice, had gained much popularity and influence,
especially with the younger element, was selected as min-
ister and commenced his labors in 1879. He was strong
and earnest in his principles, particularly in his advocacy of
temperance and prohibition. He was blessed with a large
and attractive family of children entering upon manhood
and womanhood, some members of much musical talent.
His strength had become such that members of the Church
deemed it advisable that he be installed as pastor. December
21, 1882, an ecclesiastical council was called and convened
representing some nine neighboring churches, by pastor
and delegate. A vigorous protest by twenty-seven members
of the church was entered assigning various reasons why
Mr. Larry should not be installed. After a protracted
session, much of it with closed doors, the council voted to
proceed with installation. Within four months from that
date Mr. Larry received a ''call to a wider field of labor,"
so tendered his resignation.




Rev. Charles E. Milliken.

Charles E. Milliken occupied the pulpit some seven
years from 1884 to 1891. Mr. Milliken was a graduate
of Dartmouth College and Andover Seminary. He had

been ordained and installed as a pastor at Littleton for some
twenty years. He possessed a dignified and impressive
personality. He was able and tactful and his ministry
very successful.


Rev. Edward G. Spencer.

Edward G. Spencer, a recent graduate of the An-
dover School, so favorably impressed the people of the
church that shortly, a council was convened to ordain and
install him. The proceedings and examinations had not
proceeded far before a wide variance between the religious
views of the candidate and the creed of the church, was
disclosed. The church was ready to change its creed and
so voted. The situation still remained unsatisfactory to
the council who voted that it be dissolved. June 8, 1893,
another council was called. As the differences apparently
had been adjusted, ordination and installation were voted
and carried out. Another council March 1, 1897, dissolved
the relations of Pastor and church, thus ending a rather
unfortunate controversy.

Rev. Edwin E. Burrows.

For two years Edwin E. Burrows an elderly man with
scholarly taste, occupied the pulpit until his health gave wav.

Rev. John E. Whitley.

From 1900 to 1903, John E. Whitley, a young man
of dynamic force and zeal, occupied his first pastorate. He
was sustained by a united church and society. In support
of the activities of the minister, an association was formed
under the name of the "Penacook Congregational Church
League." "It shall lie the object of this league to advance
social and moral welfare of its members and to interest
men in the religious work of this church." The motto
adopted, "Go forward. Quit you like men, be strong."
John C. Pearson was the first president, followed by James
M. Masson; there were some thirty active members. Reg-
ular meeting's were held the first and third Thursdays of
each month with various forms of entertainment. Ad-
dresses or debates of some ethical question, being the most


common. Mr. Whitley's promise of great service did not
escape the notice of other churches and he accepted a call
from the Congregational Church of Lebanon.

Rev. Timothy C. Craig.

Owing to certain events Mr. Craig only served a few

Rev. Samuel R. Smiley.

Samuel R. Smiley came from Colebrook to commence
a happy and successful ministry of eight years, un-
til his health gave away, compelling the surrender of the
pulpit that he had filled most happily. Mr. Smiley had a
dignified and pleasing personality. He was never married.

Rev. James Greer.

Online LibraryWillis G. BuxtonHistory Boscawen-Webster : fifty years 1883-1933 → online text (page 1 of 31)