History from The New Hampshire Gazetter 1623-1680

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Taken from The New Hampshire Gazette 1817

History.—Under this head it will only be attempted to ex­hibit some of the principal outlines of the history of this state. It will be observed that many of the events in the following chronology belong to this state only as an integral member of the union.

This territory was discovered in 1614, by Capt. John Smith, and received the name of New-Hampshire from Capt. Mason, the original patentee.

1623—In the spring of this year, Edward and William Hil­ton, fishmongers from London, with some other persons land­ed at Little Harbour, but not being satisfied with that place, they erected their stage eight miles higher up the river to­ward the N. W. on a neck of land which the Indians called Newichawaunat, which name was changed by the English to Northam, and afterwards to Dover.

1624—In the month of March of this year, Mr. Edward Winslow arrived at Plymouth in New-England. He convey­ed with him in his ship three heifers and a bull, which were the first neat cattle ever brought into this country.

1627—Mr. Allerton of the Plymouth company went to En­gland to procure patent for a trading place on the Kenne­bec river, the planters at Piscataqua having threatened to ob­tain an exclusive patent for the same ground.

1629—Some of the planters who were scattered over Mas­sachusetts, wishing to make a settlement in the neighbour­hood of the Piscataqua, and imitating the example of those at Plymouth, who had purchased their lands of the Indians, (as they conscientiously thought this necessary to give them a just title) procured a general assembly of the Indians at Swamscot Falls, (now Exeter) where a deed was obtained from four Sycamores.

1631—The whole plantation of New-Hampshire was this year divided into two parts. •Capt. Thomas Wiggin was ap­pointed agent for the upper and Capt. Walter Neal for the lower. The former of these divisions contained what is now called Dover, Durham, &c. and the latter contained Ports­mouth, Rye, Newcastle, Newington, and a part of Green­land. A house was this year erected at Strawberry Bank, called the Great House. Humphrey Chadbourne had the care of the saw mills at the upper plantations : the descend­ants of this man are to the present day persons of considerable Rote.

The proprietors this year sent over from England several pie­ces of cannon which they directed their agents to mount at some place most convenient for a fort. They accordingly stationed them on the northwest point of the great island which lies at the mouth of the Piscataqua harbour, and laid out the ground about a ” bow shot” distance from the water side to a high rock, on which, it was contemplated to build the principal fort.

1632—During this year the coast was alarmed by reports of a pirate, one Dixy Bull, who with a company of fifteen, being employed in the Indian trade at the eastward, had taken sever­al boats and dismantled the fort at Pemaquid : Capt. Neal, col­lecting a small band, equipped four pinnaces and shallops from the Piscataqua and manned them with forty men, which was all the force that could be spared from the plantations ; this fleet, after uniting with a barge containing twenty men from Boston, sailed for Pemaquid, but were forced by contrary winds and bad weather to return without meeting with the enemy. This was the first naval armament equipped from New-Hampshire. The pirates having proceeded further eastward, arrived after­wards in England, where Bull met with his just punishment.

1633—Neal and Wiggin joined in surveying their respective plantations, and in laying out the towns of Portsmouth and Northam, and another, which was afterwards called Hampton, although at this place no settlement had as yet been made.

1634—By this time Mason and Georges had become, either by purchase or common consent, the principal, if not the sole proprietors of this territory. These gentlemen, perceiving that as yet only five or six houses had been erected in both planta­tions, renewed their exertions and sent over a fresh supply of labourers and materials for carrying on the settlement. They appointed Francis Williams the FIRST GOVERNOR. He was a gentleman of sound sense and discretion, and ao acceptable to the people, that when they afterwards united in a body politic, they unanimously continued him their ruler. A meeting house was this year erected at Dover Neck, which was the first edi­fice of the kind in New-Hampshire.

1635—Sir Ferdinand Georges and Capt. Mason, having be­stowed upon these settlements more pains and expense than the other members of the grand council of Plymouth, and seeing no prospect of any equivalent reward, fearing also from the great clamour in England against monopolies, that they should soon be forced to resign their charter, entered this year upon a new project, which was to procure a general governor for the whole territory of New-England, to be immediately sent over, and to have jurisdiction from St. Croix to Maryland. In this plan however they did not succeed.

1636—This year one Burdet who had been, a minister of Yarmouth in England, came over to Dover, and continued for some time in high estimation with the people, until by artful in­sinuations he excited such a jealousy against Wiggin, the gov­ernor of the place, that they deprived the latter of his office and elected Burdet in his stead, who was in reality, a vicious and profane man.

1637—Several eminently pious persons this year removed in­to this colony from Massachusetts. That religious persecu­tion was the cause of their removal, is evident not only from Mrs. Hutchinson, but it appears from other public proceed­ings, that inquisition had been enforced over their private opin­ions as well as over their declarations and conduct, Toleration in rulers, had been preached against as a sin, which would bring down the judgments of heaven upon the land.

1638—This year John Wheelwright commenced his settle­ment at Exeter. His followers immediately formed them­selves into a church, and decreeing themselves beyond the ju­risdiction of- Massachusetts, they formed a separate political body, and made choice of Nicholas Needham, Isaac Grosse, and Thomas Wilson as their rulers for the first year. The laws were enacted by a popular assembly and formally sanctioned by the rulers. Treason against the country or the king, (who was styled the Lord’s-anointed !) were made capital crimes, and sedition was punished by a fine of ten pounds. This asso­ciation lasted about three years. At this time a settlement was formed at Winnecumet, which was afterwards called Hampton. The first house in this place was built by Nicholas Easton, and was called the bound-house, (See Hampton) Nicholas Easton afterwards removed to Rhode-Island, and ereoted the first house in Newport. Oxen were at this time sold at Hampton for twenty-five pounds sterling per head. This year was made memorable by a remarkable earthquake, which happened on the 2d day of June. Its approach was announced by a low rum­bling noise, similar to that of distant thunder. Its passage was from the northward to the eastward. As the sound increased, the earth began to shake so violently as to drive people from th( houses, nor could they stand without supporting themselves by posts and fences. About half an hour after this, anothershock commenced, was not so violent as the first, which was felt even a great distance at sea.

1639—This year Capt. John Underhill’ was made governor at Dover. As soon as he was fixed in authority, he proceeded to gather a church, over which Hanserd Knolleys was appoint­ed minister. He was a baptist of the antinomian order, and like the governor his patron, was a man of bad character. Be­fore the end of the year, Underhill was displaced and one Rob­erts was appointed in his stead.

1640—During this year the troubles at Dover increased. One Larkeham, a native of Lime in England, and formerly minister at Barnstead, came over ; possessing good talents as a preacher, he eclipsed Knolleys and was chosen in his place. On this occasion a council was called, composed of Simon Broadstreet, Esq. of Boston, the celebrated Hugh Peters minister of Salem, and Timothy Dalton, minister of Hampton. They travelled on foot to Dover but did not succeed in effecting a permanent ar­rangement. Underhill, Knolleys, and Larkeham removed out of the colony. During all this period the people of Portsmouth, Dover, &c. had no right of self government delegated from the British crown, but finding the necessity of some more determinate form than they had as yet enjoyed, they combined themselves in sep­arate bodies politic, after the example of their neighbours at Exeter. The inhabitants of Dover, by a written instrument, sub­scribed by forty persons, agreed to submit to the laws of England and to such other regulations as should be formed by a majority of their number, until the pleasure of the king should be known. The date of a similar association at Portsmouth is not known.

Mr. Hutchinson supposed the whole number of neat cattle in the colony of Massachusetts in 1640, to be 12,000, and the sheep about 4000, and he says, that ” a cow, sold two years ago for 301. may now be purchased for 5 or 61.” It is proba­ble that there were in New-Hampshire at this time, about 1200 neat cattle and 300 sheep.

1641—At this tinle, all the settlements by a voluntary act submitted to Massachusetts and were comprehended in the county of Norfolk, which extended from the Merrimack to the Piscataqua. By a subsequent order, a very extraordinary concession was made to the towns of Portsmouth and Dover,
which indicated a strong anxiety on the part of the govern­ment to retain these towns under their control. The test, which had been established by law, was dispensed with in their favour. Their freemen were allowed to vote in town affairs, and their deputies to sit in the general court, although they were not church members. (Sept. 28th.)

1643—About this time, several persons at Boston were whip­ped, fined and banished for the crime of what was then called heresy. In this year also, Boston castle was built. The church at Boston refused the church at Exeter the privilege of set­tling a minister. Mr. Belknap remarks, that this stretch of pow­er, which would now be regarded ‘as an infringement of christian liberty, was then agreeable to most of the fathers of New-England.

1645—An union having now been formed between the set-dements on the Piscataqua and the colony of Massachusetts, their history for the succeeding forty years is of course in a great measure identified. In the year 1646, Mr. Winthrop was chosen governor, and Mr. Dudley, lieutenant governor. In 1647, an epidemic sickness passed through the continent. En­glish, French, Dutch, and Indians were indiscriminately the vic­tims of it. It was attended with a slight fever. Those, who resorted to bleeding or who used cooling medicines general­ly died. Its ravages extended to the West-Indies, where 5 or 6000 were destroyed by it. A similar contagion has passed over the country at several successive periods.

1648—This year, Rhode-Island requested admission into the New-England confederacy, but she was not received.

The first instance of an execution for witchcraft, was in June, 1748. Margaret Jones of Charlestown, was indicted as a witch, condemned and hung. She was charged with having such a malignant touch, that if she laid her hands upon any person in anger, the person was immediately seized with deaf­ness, vomiting or some other violent affection. After the exe­cution of this woman, her husband took passage for Barba-does in a ship which was well ballasted, and which had eighty horses on board. The vessel happening to roll on a sudden, in an alarming manner, an officer was ordered to apprehend this man and put him in confinement ; the ship was then said to roll no more. Such was the wonderful credulity and infatu­ation of that day. Happy would it have been for New-England if this had been the only specimen of those fol­lies.

1649—Early in this year died Gov. Winthrop, one of the fa­thers of New-England. He was succeeded by Endicot. Mr. Dudley remained deputy governor. It is asserted by some writers, that when Gov. Winthrop was on his death-bed, he was solicited by Mr. Dudley to sign a warrant for the banishment of one of those persons then called heretics. Winthrop refused, and observed that ” he had done too mach of that work al­ready.”

In every age, many actions indifferent in their nature, have been regarded as sinful and been classed among the greatest enormities. The text in the Apostle’s epistle to the Corinthi­ans against wearing long hair, led our ancestors to suppose that this of course must be a sin in all ages and nations. They treated long hair therefore as one of the enormities.

It is wonderful, that a certain text in Leviticus, ” ye shall not round the corners of your head,” was never urged the custom of short hair. It was the regulation at this period in New-England, that the hair should not be worn below the ears. This regulation was enforced with peculiar rigour upon clergymen. They were especially required to appear, “paten-tibus auribus.” A few years before this, the use of tobacco was prohibited by a heavy penalty. Some of the writers of that day compare the smoke of it to the smoke of the bottom­less pit. Some of the clergymen however, yielded to the sin of smoking, and tobacco was accordingly set at liberty by an act of the legislature. Beards as well as wigs were also prohibited by authority.

1650—Capt. Wiggins and Edward Gibbens were added to the council, and •Mr. Endicot was chosen governor for the years 1651-3, and Mr. Dudley, lieutenant governor. It was in this year, that the new District of Maine fell into the ju­risdiction of Massachusetts.

1652—This year a mint was established in Boston for coin­ing shillings, six-pences, and three-pences. The first pieces be­ing struck in 1652, the same date was continued upon all money for thirty years after. The court ordered, that all the coins should have a double ring, with the inscription of the word ” Massachusetts,” with a tree in the centre on one side, and New-England and the date of the year on the other. No oth­er colony in this country ever presumed to coexist money.

1656—Ii this year, began, what is generally and properly termed, the persecution of the quakers. A fine of ten pounds was inflicted on any person, who harboured a quaker. In October of this year, eleven of the sect, received sentence of banishment ; and the mister of the ship) which brought them from England, was required to bind himself with sureties to the amount of 5001. to carry them all out of the country. (See Hutch. Vol. .I p. 97.) Mr. Hutchinson observes, that ” he could not find what law they had for this.”

In this month also, an act passed imposing a fine of 100/. upon any master of a vessel, who should bring a quaker into the colony, and that if a quaker should arrive, he should be immediately sent to the house of correction, receive twenty stripes, and be confined to hard labour until he could be transported. At the next session, an act passed, by which all persons were liable to a fine of forty shillings for harbouring a quaker one hour. After the first conviction under this act, the offender, if a man, was to lose one ear, and upon the third conviction, the other ; if a woman, she was for each offence to be whipped, and upon the fourth conviction, the offender, whether man or woman was to have the tongue bored through with a hot iron. In May, 1658, a penalty was inflicted upon every person, who should attend a quaker meeting. Under this act, a child only eleven years old, by the name of Pa­tience Scott, was tried and imprisoned. The imprisonment of such a child was as strange as any further severity would have been horrible.

1660—Two quakers, by the names of William Robertson and Marmaduke Stevenson, were executed on the 27th of Oc­tober. Several persons were fined to the amount of 101. for entertaining quakers at their houses, and one man, of the name of Wharton, for pilotting them from one port to another, was ordered to receive twenty stripes. Several others were executed, banished or whipped. Bishop says, ” they cut off the ears of Holden, Capeland, and Rouse in prison, and that others were whipped and banished upon pain of death.”

In this inquisitorial persecution, the clergy were the most active. The sufferings of the victims excited the compassion of the people, many of whom resorted to the prisons by day and night, so that the keepers were forced to establish a constant guard to restrain them. Wendlock Christopherson among oth­ers was sentenced to die. This man implored the court to con­sider, whether they gained any thing by the persecution. For the last man, said he, that was put to death, five rose up in his stead ; and although you have power to take my life, G,od can inspire the same principles into ten more of his servazts and send them among you, that you may have torment upon tor­ment: This man was executed June 13th, 1660. Some of his persecuted companions were tried at Hampton. May those unhappy days never return, when men suppose they are doing God service by sporting with the lives of his children.

1662—On the 26th of January of this year, there were two shocks of an earthquake, and on the 28th a third.

1664—The people of New-England were this year alarm­ed by the appearance of a very large comet, which continuedfrom the 17th of November, to the 4th of February. When it first appeared in the east it was without its tail. This ap­pendage however became visible when the comet was in the west.

1665—The first persecution of the anabaptists, found on re­cord, was in 1665. William Turner, Thomas Gould, Edward Drinker, and several others were accused before the governor and magistrates of the crime of ” gathering themselves into the form of a church, in opposition to the church of Christ estab­lished in the colony, and with intermeddling with those holy appointments of the Lord Jesus, which belong only to office trust.” Several of these men were afterwards imprisoned and banished. In this case, like all others, the severity against the sect made new converts to it, and it was therefore thought ex­pedient to desist from the persecution. These were not the first appearances of antipedo-baptism in the colony. Mr. Dun­stan, the president of the college joined that profession, and was on that account expelled from his office. Mr. Chaney his successor believed in the necessity of immersion. In Mr. Hooker’s time it appeared that the doctrine was gaining ground, and he expresses his belief that the converts to it would in­crease in number.

1666—In the course of this year the small-pox made its appearance in the colony.

The commissioners, sent over this year by the Xing prevail­ed on some of the people of New-Hampshire to sign a petition and complaint to his ,majesty of the wrongs they had suffered from Massachusetts in the usurpation of government, which that state had exercised over them. The inhabitants however, of Dover, Portsmouth, and Exeter, .assembled in their- town meetings, rejected this proposal and expressed their wish to be continued as they had been for many years, a part of Massa­chusetts colony.

1669—New-Hampshire had now remained in a quiet and peaceable condition ever since the year 1641, and were heart­ily united in all their civil and religious concerns,. with their sister colony.

1675—In September of this year the Indians made their first predatory incursion against New-Hampshire. They at­tacked the plantations on Piscataqua river, now constituting Durham, and hero killed two men: This species of hostility continued till the year 1678, when a treaty. was made with Squando and other chiefs at Durham. (For particulars of this war see Durham.)

How To Make Good Cyder

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New Hampshire Gazette
Thursday October 21 1756

To maturate the juices it is necessary to collect the apples into heaps, in an open airy part of the orchard, unsheltered from the rain and dews, which instead of doing harm, will dilute the juices and promote a fresher fermentation. Apples of various kinds which have dropped from the tree, are to be gathered up and laid in a heap by themselves, and may be made into cyder after having lain about 10 days. Apples which have acquired some degree of maturity, and are gathered from the trees are to be laid in a heap by themselves for about a fortnight. The later hard fruits, which are to be left on the trees till the approach of frost is apprehended, are to be laid in a heap for a month or five weeks, by which they will receive such a maturation as they could not have attained on the trees. The riper and mellower the fruits are at time of laying them in heaps, the shorter be their continuance there, and the harsher immature and harder they are, the longer they should be left. In some counties the method is to make these heaps of apples in a house, or under some covering enclosed on every side; but this occasions a great lots of juices, a general rottenness rancid smell, and disagreeable taste. *

Various presses are in use, but none are compared to the great wring, or cyder press with two screws. The mechanism is so obvious that it needs no explanation. As the cyder runs from the press it is to be received into a vessel fixed within the ground, from whence as it fills it is to be ladled out and put into a cask with its head struck out, and a course hair sieve over it that the cyder may be strained and the grosser part of the pulp intercepted.

From this vessel it is transferred into a large open vat which will contain a whole pounding or making of cyder, or as much as can be pressed in one day. When the cyder has remained in this vat a day, or sometimes less, according to the ripeness of the fruit and state of the weather, the grosser parts of the pulp will rise to the top and in a day or two more grow very thick; and when little white bubbles of the size of the top of your finger break through, it is then , presently to be drawn off through a cork or faucet hole within 3 inches of the bottom, if large, but not nearer than four inches, if small, that the less may be left behind

If the cyder be not immediately drawn off on the first appearance of these white bubbles, all the head which is then thick crust, will sink to the bottom, and the making of sweet cyder will be lost.

On drawing off the cyder from the vat, it must be turned into close casks well scented. Upon letting it remain a longer or shorter time in these casks with the lees and impurities, the hardening of it depends.

To have cyder perfectly sweet, it is to be carefully watched after it is turned into close casks, and when the white bubbles arise at the bung hole, it is to be immediately racked off again into another clean and well scented cask, which operation is to be continued till the cyder ceases hissing, and is as sweet as you desire. Weaker cyders will only bear one or two rackings: But to make the bolder and stronger cyders soft, mellow and perfectly sweet, the rackings must be repeated till the fermentation ceases.

The manner of making rough cyder differs from that of the sweet, in this that the first appearance of the while bubbles may be disregarded, and the liquor not drawn off till the next separation. After the fermentation is over every hogshead must be filled up to the bung, once a month; if this be neglected the cyder will grow flat and heavy, and contract an ill taste and smell from the rancid air lodged in the vacuity. Vent should be sometimes given at a spile-hole for three months. Until it has done hissing, the bung hole would be best covered with a tile or flat stone, after that it should be closely bunged.

*Note, Grinding the apples too small produces acidity and bitterness.






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Jewett, Jeremiah Peabody, d. 1870

The first instance of a trial for witchcraft in Massachusetts occurred in 1648, when Margaret Jones, of Charlestown, who being indicted as a witch, was found guilty, and under the laws of England against such supposed crime, was executed. ” She was charged of having such a malignancy that if she laid her hands on man, woman or child in anger, they were seized presently with deafness, vomiting or other sickness, or other violent pains.”

In 1692 a great excitement was again revived on account of its supposed prevalence. It commenced at this time in the town of Danvers, then a part of Salem, about the last of February. Several children at first began to act in a curious, unaccountable manner. Their strange conduct continuing for several days, their friends betook themselves to fasting and prayer. During religious services the children were still, but after the service they would renew their former unaccountable conduct. This was deemed sufficient evidence that they were
moved by an evil hand, and every exhibition of the sort was then regarded as witchcraft. After a while these children began to bring accusations against divers individuals in that vicinity, being severally charged of bewitching them. Unfortunately the children were credited, and the suspected persons were arrested and imprisoned. From that time the contagion spread rapidly over the neighboring towns, and soon appeared in several parts of Essex county as well as cases now and then in Middlesex and Suffolk. Individuals at Andover, Ipswich, Gloucester, Boston and other places, were accused and held for trial.

For some time those who were accused were persons of the lower class. But at length accusations were extended even to persons of high rank and distinction. This delusion had now become fearful. Before the close of September of that year nineteen persons bad been executed for witchcraft. Among the victims was one Giles Gory, who was pressed to death for refusing to put himself on trial before the Jury. Most, if not all of these persons died declaring themselves innocent of the crime laid to their charge. At length the courts began to be convinced that their proceedings had been rash, and their judgments without any just foundation. A special session of the court was then holden on this subject, and fifty persons then being held for trial, were acquitted. Others wrere reprieved by the Governor. These proceedings were followed by a release of all who were then in prison.

It ought to be said, perhaps, that if human testimony, coming from credible witnesses, is to be credited, many things happened at that time inducing a belief in witchcraft, which even to many people of our day have never been satisfactorily explained.



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No bells, bonfires nor cannon announced the arrival of the little barque which sailed up the “deep waters” of the Piscataqua in 1623, and landed on Odiorne’s Point, the founders of a new State. Tradition does not repeat nor history record the name of the ship nor of the captain who commanded it. The Mayflower and the men who landed on Plymouth Rock, in 1620, are as famous in history as Jason and his associates, who sought the Golden Fleece, are in ancient mythology. New England men never weary of eulogies of forefathers’ day; and they will, probably, never cease to commemorate the heroism and piety of those forty two god-fearing men, who signed the first written constitution known to human history. Still, the Plymouth Colony,  by itself,  wrought no nobler or better work for mankind than the unnoticed, almost unnamed colonists who founded New Hampshire. Massachusetts Bay settlers, the Puritans, eclipsed the humbler efforts of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. The Pilgrims bore the sufferings of exile, privation and toil ;  but the Puritans at a later date appropriated the fame and the honor which rose from the laws, government and institutions of Massachusetts. Capt. John Mason, the Proprietor of New Hampshire, sent over fifty Englishmen and twenty-two women, besides eight Danes who were employed in sawing lumber and making potash. This number exceeded that of the Mayflower. It is not probable that all these men and women came in the first ship. Many of them arrived several years after the first company of planters occupied Odiorne’s Point. There is no reason to suppose that many women, possibly not one, came in 1623. Some writers suppose that the Hiltons and a few other leading men brought their wives with them. For, ten years after the first settlement, the letters of the proprietor and his agents in Loudon, speak of sending the wives of some, of the colonists or of supporting them, at the company’s expense, at home. The very slow progress of the settlements at Cocheco and Strawberry Bank show that the laborers were few; for only three houses had been built, on the Bank in seven years, and only three in ten years, at the upper plantation. If families were united in these labors, six houses would scarcely suffice for eighty persons. Why were these colonists less renowned than the Pilgrims of Plymouth? The previous history of the Pilgrims, their persecutions at home, and their residence in Holland made them famous. Religion occupied the thoughts of all Englishmen. The Pilgrims were exiles for conscience’ sake; they suffered for the common liberties and rights of the whole people.

The first settlers at Portsmouth and Dover were adventurers, bold, hardy, and resolute, like all pioneers who go into the wilderness to better their condition. Such is generally the character of emigrants who found new states. Philosophers tell us that from the race, the epoch and the surroundings of a people, their future history may be accurately predicted. Here then is a problem for the prophet’s solution. The race is Saxon; the epoch is one of progress, enterprise, discovery and controversy, both with the pen and the sword. The surroundings are the wilderness before them and the ocean behind them. The soil is rugged; the climate is severe. Tell me, then, thou boasting seer, what will be the fate of this handful of men, as destitute and helpless as though they had dropped upon the earth from some distant planet. Will they die of starvation, be devoured by wild beasts or be massacred by savages? By occupation, they were fishmongers, farmers and mechanics. “Their several businesses” assigned by their employers, were to fell the trees, till the soil, fish, hunt and mine. Incessant labor in these occupations failed to support them; and the proprietors were obliged to sink their fortunes in the abyss of debt which these plantations opened. John Mason, who was a man of mark, and would have been distinguished in any age, was financially ruined; but like Phaeton, guiding the chariot of the sun, he fell from great undertakings. Instead of securing coronets and mitres for his posterity he died the victim of disappointed hopes:  “No son of his succeeding.”  The men he hired to plant his colony had not sufficient education, religion nor integrity to make them true to their trust. That they were illiterate,  appears from the fact that many of them could not write their names. So little is said of their religion that, it may be presumed they had none to speak of. They did not attempt to gather a church, at Dover, till 1638. Then, they were broken up by quarrels, and some of their early clergymen were fitter for the penitentiary than the pulpit. At Portsmouth, no provision was made for preaching till 1640, when a Glebe of fifty acres was granted for the support of an Episcopal chapel;  and Richard Gibson was the first incumbent. The first Congregational church was formed much later. The founders of Exeter and Hampton were led by clergymen, and churches sprang up with the towns themselves. That the servants of Mr. Mason were dishonest appears from the fact that, after his death, they plundered his estate, drove away his cattle that he had imported at great expense, and sold them in Boston for twenty-five pounds sterling a head, and appropriated his goods. There was no local government sufficiently powerful to punish great crimes; while the proprietor ruled through agents, factors and superintendents, there was little restraint over servants but the personal influence of the so called governors. The laborers were the “hired men” of the proprietor who lived three thousand miles away. They were neither masters of their time, their labor, nor of its rewards. If the value of plantations and mills was enhanced, the profit was not for them. They neither owned the premises where they worked, nor shared the gains nor losses that resulted from their labors. When they became free-holders, and made compacts or “combinations” for the better government of the plantations, and the more certain punishment of crimes, the stimulus of property, liberty and suffrage elevated the laborers, and fitted them to do, dare and suffer more than any other New England Colony. The people of Portsmouth formed a political compact as early as 1633, but it gained from the crown no authority to make laws or punish offenders. Dr. Belknap says, that, till 1640, the people of Dover and Portsmouth had no power of government delegated from the King. At that time, they formed themselves into a body politic as the people of Exeter had done the year before. The next year, 1641, all the four plantations formed a union with Massachusetts, and voluntarily submitted to her jurisdiction. They were allowed peculiar privileges, for in 1642, the following decree was passed by the General Court of Massachusetts: “It is ordered that all the present inhabitants of Piscataquack, who formerly were free there, shall have liberty of freemen in their several towns to manage all their town affairs, and each town [shall] send a deputy to the General Court, though they be not church members.  From this date the laws, usages and customs of the larger colony became the inheritance of the smaller; and the union which continued for thirty-nine years, was ” a consummation devoutly to be wished,” by both the high contracting parties.

Merrimack River Ferries


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Inasmuch as the proprietors of Penny Cook were to live on both sides of the river, a frequent crossing of it would be a necessity. To meet this, preliminary action was taken by the proprietors at a meeting holden on the 15th day of May, 1728. At this meeting it was voted :

” That Mr. Ebenezer Eastman, Mr. Abraham Foster and Mr. Joseph. Hall shall be a committee to agree with some suitable person to keep a ferry on Merrimack river, at Penny Cook, in the most con­venient place they can find for that purpose ; and that they lay out and clear the best way they can to the ferry place, and after they have stated the place where the said ferry shall be kept, that the ferry-man shall have and receive the prices following, viz., For fer­riage of each man and horse, six pence ; for each horned beast, four pence ; and this establishment to remain and be in force for six years.”

A year later, on the 6th day of May, 1729, at a meeting of the pro­prietors holden at the house of John Griffin, in Bradford, Mass., it was voted :

” That Mr. Nehemiah Carlton be desired to build a ferry boat of about nineteen feet long, and a suitable breadth, to be well timbered, and every way well built, workmanlike, at the charge of the com­munity and to be done by the 20th of May current. Said boat to be delivered at Penny Cook for the use of the society.  And a pair of good and suitable oars to be made by the said Carlton, for said boat. Said boat to be well and sufficiently caulked, pitched or turpentined, and finished, fit to carry people and creatures.”

And later, at the same meeting, it was also voted :

” That the sum of seven pounds, eighteen shillings and six pence, paid by several persons and several subscriptions to the sum of forty-one shillings and six pence, be put into the treasurer’s hands, and by him paid to Mr. Nehemiah Carlton for the ferry boat when it is fin­ished,—which was accordingly delivered to the treasurer.”

Ten years later still, when the plantation had been pretty fully peopled and had become the town of Rumford, it was further voted:

” That Mr. Barrachias Farnum, Mr. James Osgood and Mr. George Abbot shall be a committee to agree with any person to take the Ferry against Wattanummon’s and make a return of their doings to the Proprietors for their acceptance.”

Some eleven years later (April 26, 1750) the proprietors appointed a committee, consisting of Dr. Ezra Carter, Lieut. Jeremiah Stickney, and Capt. John Chandler, ” To dispose of the Ferry against Watta­nummon’s Field, so called, to such persons and upon such terms as they shall think will be for the Proprietors’ advantage.”

This ferry seems to have been known for a time as ” Eastman’s ferry,” and later, as ” Tucker’s ferry ” or the ferry of Lemuel Tucker, to whom the legislature, in 1785, granted the exclusive right of ferriage across the river for one mile above and below his house.

There was also another, possibly the one first above alluded to, near the south end of Main street, known as Merrill’s ferry, operated for many years by Deacon John Merrill, who came to Concord in 1729, and upon the organization of the church, the following year, was elected its first deacon. This ferry subsequently became the property of Samuel Butters, and was known as ” Butters’ ferry.”

Midway of these two, at the east end of Ferry street, Benjamin Kimball operated a third, between Hale’s Point and Sugar Ball, which was continued in use until 1831.

Of these three ferries, Tucker’s seems to have been the only one operated under the privileges and limitations of a charter, eleven only having been previously incorporated in the entire state. Its charter provided :

” That the sole and exclusive right and privilege of keeping a Ferry over said river in any place within one mile of the now dwell­ing house of the said Lemuel Tucker be and hereby is granted to and invested in the said Lemuel Tucker, his heirs and assigns, he and they from time to time as the same fall, giving bond, with surety, in the sum of one thousand pounds to the clerk of the Court of the General Sessions of the Peace for the county of Rockingham, that the said ferry shall be well kept and constantly attended.

” That if any person or persons shall for hire or reward, transport over said river within one mile of the said dwelling house, any per­son, creature or thing, such person so transporting shall forfeit and pay forty shillings for each person, creature or thing so transported, to be recovered by action of debt before any Justice of the Peace in said county, one moiety of which shall go to the complainants, and the other moiety to the county of Rockingham.”

In -addition to these, in the early part of the last century, a fourth ferry was established at the south end of Hall street, near the head of Turkey Falls. It appears to have been a private enterprise, and was managed for a time by Col. John Carter. For lack of sufficient patronage, or for some other cause, its maintenance was not of long continuance.



When this village was first settled there were, of course, no bridges over the Merrimack or Contoocook rivers, and it was soon found necessary to establish ferries. The first was established in 1737 by the town of Boscawen, on the Merrimack river near the site of the present iron bridge, and Stephen Gerrish, the first settler on the intervale on the east side of the river, was the first ferryman. Later, towards the close of that century, the ferry at this village was owned by a private corporation known as Blan­chard’s Ferry, and was doing a large and profitable business as late as 1800. The landing on the west side of the river was just above the freight station, and near the lower railroad bridge. All travel from the south was here carried across to Boscawen and to Canterbury for many years. This ferry continued in business until the first bridge was built across the Merrimack. at which time the stockholders of the bridge bought a controlling interest in the ferry, and the bridge corporation made a suitable contract with the remaining shareholders of Blanchard’s Ferry to compensate them for loss of business by reason of opening the bridge for public travel.


In the early days of the present century the land now occupied by the railroad station buildings, and extending from the Merri­mack river west to the street running parallel to the tracks, was a public landing, and was used by the lumbermen for depositing logs and sawed lumber before putting it into the river to be floated down to market. Lumber was here made up into rafts of suitable size to be passed through the locks of the Middlesex canal, and so delivered to the Boston market. This lumber business was quite extensive about 1825, and was the leading industry of the village, the business being carried on by the Rolfe and Gage fami­lies at the lower falls, and by the Elliott and Morrill families at the Borough. Lumber was also brought to this landing from Hopkinton and Warner, being run down the Contoocook river as far as the upper falls at the Borough, and then taken out of the river and hauled overland down to the public landing, the Mer­rimack river at that time being the only available way for trans­porting lumber to the markets in Boston and the other cities of the coast.


PENACOOK, NH — When settled and by whom.


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Taken from The History Penacook, N.H. by David Arthur Brown

Concord was first settled in 1726, being at first called Penny Cook; one of the original proprietors of the town, Henry Rolfe, acquired land on the south side of the Contoocook extending from the Merrimack river to the Borough, but when the first of the Rolfe family settled on this land can not be determined. Probably some of the sons of the first Henry were the first settlers of this land, as it is recorded in the history of Concord that Benjamin Rolfe came to live on the Rolfe farm in 1758; being then but sixteen years of age, it seems probable that he came to live with some of the older generation who had settled there before that date.

The first settlers of Boscawen (first called Contoocook) came up from Newbury, Mass., in the spring of 1734. One of the first party was Stephen Gerrish, who secured land on the intervale on the east side of the Merrimack river and settled there, as in 1737 the proprietors voted” that Stephen Gerrish shall have six pounds paid him by the proprietors for his building a ferry boat and keeping said boat in good repair, and giving due and constant attendance to ye proprietors to ferry themselves and their creatures over Merrimack” . The ferry was located at the bend of the Merrimack, just above the mouth of the Contoocook river, that being the same location as the present bridge. Another of the first party of Boscawen settlers was William Dagodan, and tradition affirms that he built a cabin at the foot of what is now called Dagody or Dickeatty hill. John Chandler was one of the proprietors of Boscawen, though not one of the first party of settlers. He was grandfather of the John Chandler who built the old tavern, and secured the land on the Boscawen side of the river from the Merrimack back to the vicinity of Hardy’s brook. His son John was probably a settler on this land soon after 1734.

At the Borough end of the village the first white settler was Joseph Walker, who built a log hut near the present residence of  George E. Flanders about 1750. He remained but a short time, as the Indians were not desirable neighbors. The next settler in that part of the village was Richard Elliott, who arrived about 1760, and came to stay. Two of his brothers, Jonathan and Benjamin, came in 1768, and Joseph Elliott came in 1778. These families all came from Newton, and their descendants were the principal families at the Borough for three generations. Mrs. Lydia Elliott, wife of Joseph Elliott who came to settle at the Borough in 1778, had the distinction of being the oldest person that ever lived in this vicinity. She was born January 30, 1753, and died June 24, 1856. For many years the family lived in a log house. On the hundredth anniversary of her birth a religious service was held at the house of her son, David Elliott, with whom she resided. The exercises were conducted by Rev. Asa Tenney of West Concord, and Rev. Dr. Bouton of Concord ; many of the prominent citizens of Concord were present, as well as many neighbors. Mrs. Elliott was in good health at the date of this meeting. On the morning of that day she rose in season to breakfast with the family, dressed herself without assistance, and made the bed in which she slept. She was at that time quite deaf, yet possessed her bodily and mental faculties in a remarkable degree. In earlier years she often walked to church at Concord, many times carrying an infant in her arms. She said that she never had a physician in her life except at confinement with her children ; never took physic, or an emetic, or had a tooth drawn, or was bled. Mrs. Elliott had eleven children, all of whom reached mature years, and ten were married. Her grandchildren, at the hundredth anniversary, numbered seventy ; her great-grandchildren one hundred, and of the fifth generation there were at least eight at that date. She was truly a very remarkable woman.

Narrative of the Captivity and bold Exploit of Hannah Duston by Dr. Cotton Mather


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On the 15 March, 1697, a band of about 20 Indians came unexpectedly upon Haverhill, in Massachusetts; and, as their numbers were small, they made their attack with the swiftness of the whirlwind, and as suddenly disappeared. The war, of which this interruption was a part, had continued nearly ten years, and soon afterwards it came to a close. The house which this party of Indians had singled out as their object of attack, belonged to one Mr. Thomas Duston or Dunstan, in the outskirts of the town. Mr. Duston was at work, at some distance from his house, at the time, and whether he was alarmed for the safety of his family by the shouts of the Indians, or other cause, we are not informed; but he seems to have arrived there time enough before the arrival of the Indians, to make some arrangements for the preservation of his children; but his wife, who, but about a week before, had been confined by a child, was unable to rise from her bed, to the distraction of her agonized husband. No time was to be lost; Mr. Duston had only time to direct his children’s flight, (seven in number,) the extremes of whose ages were two and seventeen, and the Indians were upon them. With his gun, the distressed father mounted his horse, and rode away in the direction of the children, whom he overtook but about 40 rods from the house. His first intention was to take up one, if possible, and escape with it. He had no sooner overtaken them, than this resolution was destroyed; for to rescue either to the exclusion of the rest, was worse than death itself to him. He therefore faced about and met the enemy, who had closely pursued him; each fired upon the other, and it is almost a miracle that none of the little retreating party were hurt. The Indians did not pursue long, from fear of raising the neighboring English before they could complete their object, and hence this part of the family escaped to a place of safety.
We are now to enter fully into the relation of this very tragedy. There was living in the house of Mr. Duston, as nurse, Mrs. Mary Neff, a widow, whose heroic conduct in sharing the fate of her mistress, when escape was in her power, will always be viewed with admiration. The Indians were now in the undisturbed possession of the house, and having driven the sick woman from her bed, compelled her to sit quietly in the corner of the fireplace, while they completed the pillage of the house. This business being finished, it was set on fire, and Mrs. Duston, who before considered herself unable to walk, was, at the approach of night, obliged to march into the wilderness, and take her bed upon the cold ground. Mrs. Neff too late attempted to escape with the infant child, but was intercepted, the child taken from her, and its brains beat out against a neighboring apple tree, while its nurse was compelled to accompany her new and frightful masters also. The captives amounted in all to 13, some of whom, as they became unable to travel, were murdered, and left exposed upon the way. Although it was near night when they quitted Haverhill, they travelled, as they judged, 12 miles before encamping; “and then,” says Dr. Cotton Mather, “kept up with their new masters in a long travel of an hundred and fifty miles, more or less, within a few days ensuing.”
After journeying a while, according to their custom, the Indians divided their prisoners. Mrs. Duston, Mrs. Neff, and a boy named Samuel Leonardson, who had been captivated at Worcester, about 18 months before, fell to the lot of an Indian family, consisting of twelve persons, two men, three women, and seven children. These, so far as our accounts go, were very kind to their prisoners, but told them there was one ceremony which they could not avoid, and to which they would be subjected when they should arrive at their place of destination, which was to run the gantlet. The place where this was to be performed, was at an Indian village, 250 miles from Haverhill, according to the reckoning of the Indians. In their meandering course, they at length arrived at an island in the mouth of Contookook River, about six miles above Concord, in New Hampshire. Here one of the Indian men resided. It had been determined by the captives, before their arrival here, that an effort should be made to free themselves from their wretched captivity; and not only to gain their liberty, but, as we shall presently see, something by way of remuneration from those who held them in bondage. The heroine, Duston, had resolved, upon the first opportunity that offered any chance of success, to kill her captors and scalp them, and to return home with such trophies as would clearly establish her reputation for heroism, as well as insure her a bounty from the public. She therefore communicated her design to Mrs. Neff and the English boy, who, it would seem, readily enough agreed to it. To the art of killing and scalping she was a stranger; and, that there should be no failure in the business, Mrs. Dutton instructed the boy, who, from his long residence with them, had become as one of the Indians, to inquire of one of the men how it was done. He did so, and the Indian showed him, without mistrusting the origin of the inquiry. It was now March the 31, and in the dead of the night following, this bloody tragedy was acted. When the Indians were in the most sound sleep, these three captives arose, and softly arming themselves with the tomahawks of their masters, allotted the number each should kill; and so truly did they direct their blows, that but one escaped that they designed to kill. This was a woman, whom they badly wounded, and one boy, for some reason they did not wish to harm, and accordingly he was allowed to escape unhurt. Mrs. Duston killed her master, and Leonardson killed the the man who had so freely told him, but one day before, where to deal a deadly blow, and how to take off a scalp.
All was over before the dawn of day, and all things were got ready for leaving this place of blood. All the boats but one were scuttled, to prevent being pursued, and, with what provisions and arms the Indian camp afforded, they embarked on board the other, and slowly and silently took the course of the Merrimack River for their homes, where they all soon after arrived without accident.
The whole country was astonished at the relation of the affair, the truth of which was never for a moment doubted. The ten scalps, and the arms of the Indians, were evidences not to be questioned; and the general court gave them fifty pounds as a reward, and numerous other gratuities were showered upon them. Colonel Nicholson, governor of Maryland, hearing of the transaction, sent them a generous present also. Eight other houses were attacked besides Duston’s, the owners of which, says the historian of that town, Mr. Myrick, in every case, were slain while defending them, and the blood of each stained his own door-sill.

The Land of the Pennycooks


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Excerpt from “History of Concord:  The Amsden Manuscript

Long before any settlers arrived on our New England shores, the fishing grounds from Cape Cod north to Labrador, were famous among European fishermen who made annual trips hither with rich returns. Adventurous sailors followed them and explored the bays and inlets along this coast and in 1622 a settlement was made by Englishmen at Odiorne’s Point-the first in present New Hampshire. These settlers purposed to develop the fishing industry and hoped for trade in furs with the Indians. This venture survived only a few years but neighboring ones at Dover Point and Strawberry Bank (Portsmouth) developed into the towns of today. These early settlements were financed by groups of Englishmen organized for the purpose, many of whom were Royalists and Church of England folk seeking wealth and fame.

Less than two years after the settlementat Odiorne’s Point, a group of Englishmen organized for settlement in New England but with very different purpose. They secured a grant of land extending from three miles south of the Charles river to three miles north of the Merrimack and west to the “South Sea” (Pacific Ocean). Only the coast of New England had been mapped by explorers and it was assumed that the Merrimack river followed a course consistently from west to east. When this error became known confusion resulted for the Massachusetts Bay grant was found to overlap grants made earlier in New Hampshire. The boundary was in dispute for more than a century a dilemma aggravated by the fact that the settlers in the two areas had little in common except their English origin.
The pioneers in Massachusetts By arrived in 1630 under leadership of John Winthrop and they were a part of the Puritan movement then sweeping England toward civil war and the execution of King Charles I. The spirit of these 300 pioneers was hatred of the immoral governmental tyranny in England and the part played in that tyranny by certain dignitaries of the Church of England. Whole-hearted reformers, these pioneers “turned to the New World to redress the balance of the Old.” No adventurers, they were substantial men of landed estates, the professional and middle classes-who had left much that they held dear for the sake of an ideal; hence a ruthlessness of spirit toward those who dissented from them. Compromise would be fatal to their spiritual concept.

Pioneer life in New England depended in no small degree,upon knowledge of and adjustment to the native Indians. The early settlers found themselves neighbors to the Pawtuckets who roamed northern and eastern New England. A component tribe was that of the Pennycooks who, with a man-power of four to five hundred warriors, controlled the Merrimack valley from Winnipesaukee to Pawtucket falls near present Dracut, Mass., with hunting grounds which stretched easterly to the Piscataqua river. Passaconaway, chief of the Pennycooks, was a leader both wise and able and he seems to have lost no time in approaching the white men who settled near his southern boundary. Among all the Indians of New England he was known as a great sagamore and with such a reputation he could not retire before the white invader.

Passaconaway was believed to have a power of sorcery granted to a chosen few by the Great Spirit and there is evidence that even the white men recognized a mysterious gift for they left a record that he was devil-possessed. In spite of such reputation as a “Powah”(PowoW), the chief was consistently a good friend to the pioneers even though from fear,at times, they treated him and his with indignity. With his two sons he came under the influence of John Elliott who visited Pawtucket falls on a missionary trip and they became converts to the Christian faith.

Friendliness with the Indians opened up their trails in the Merrimack valley to the white men who began at once to trade with the natives. One of the traders named Jenkins, must have given some provocation to the savages for, during a trip in 1632, he was killed by one of the Indians, Passaconaway,  delivered up the treacherous red man to the white authorities. John Elliott bore witness to the chief’s excellent qualities and wrote that, although “he hath been a great witche in all men’s esteem”, he himself had found Passaconaway a very wise and politic man.

During early trips up our valley, traders heard tales of a fortified place on a bluff overlooking a wide and fertile plain, through which the Merrimack followed so twisted a course that the Indians had called it Pennycook, or Crooked Place. This intervale was said to be a favorite planting ground for the tribe and there they made their headquarters during the summer season until their crops of corn, beans, pumpkins and melons were harvested. As traders viewed Pennycook they carried back enticing reports of the place.

In 1638 Massachusetts men made a first official visit to Pennycook on a trip in quest of the source of the Merrimack. Passing Sugar Ball bluff  “in a Bote” their Indian guides rehearsed the legend of a battle when, during one of the periodical raids. by Indians from the north, the Pennycooks had come near extermination. Unsuccessful in early attacks, the enemy came down at harvest time in strong force and camped on the site of Fort Eddy directly across the river from the Pennycook fort. The local tribe had gathered its harvest and stored it in plaited baskets against the walls of their fort and, with their women and children safe inside, they accepted a state of siege with little misgiving. Sometimes the warriors rallied forth for a skirmish, without advantage, until the enemy devised a stratagem.

Crossing the river secretly, the Mohawks from the north surrounded the Pennycook fort in ambush while a single warrior acted as decoy and strolled across the plain below. The Pennycooks rushed out to capture him, leaving the fort at the mercy of the ambushed foe. No one, even among the local savages, knew who won the victory but evidence of the the slaughter appeared for generations to come. Whenever floods rose or heavy rain washed down the sandy bluff, the white men who farmed the intervale found bones and skulls uncovered, grim proof of that pre-historic battle. Such was the tale heard by the men who travelled up our river in 1638 as a surveying party. They went as far north as Weirs, long time fishing grounds for the Indians, and there they left a record cut it a granite rock. Favorable reports of the lovely fertile plains in of valley, multiplied through the years and in 1659, in recognition that “Pennicooke is An Apt place for a Township”, the General Court of Massachusetts considered a petition for a grant of  land to people from Newbury and Dover. Other petitions followed until, in 1663, the General Court granted a plantation six miles square at Pennycook, to a group of Salem men. They built a trading house on the grant, but Indian war prevented settlement.

Troubled years of intermittent warfare brought a temporary compromise between New Hampshire and Massachusetts and our province was content to combine its government with the latter for better protection against the savages. So feeble was the government of New Hampshire dating most of the 17th century that the only enterprise in Pennycook under its protection seems to have been a trading post maintained by Capt. Richard Waldron and Peter Coffin on the east side of the river and near the old Indian fort at Sugar 1311.

In 1668 two Englishmen stationed at this trading post, sent two Indian servants to Waldron and Coffin at Piscataqua, to bring back guns, powder, shot and cloth to trade for furs. The Indians returned with a load of cloth and rum. The Englishmen, desirous only of trade dispensed the rum freely and it is said that a hundred Indians drank steadily for a day and a night. The marvel is that all save one left the trading post peaceably after the orgy, but that one savage lurked about until one of the white men left the post on an errand to the nearby fort, whereupon he attacked and killed the lone man at the trading post. To the great credit of the Indians,they themselves condemned the guilty man and he was shot the following day. Tahanto, one of the Pennycook chiefs, used his influence nobly and sought to persuade the traders to bring no more rum to Pennycook since, as he said, “It would make the Indians all one Devil.”
In those days, Passaconaway exceedingly old, had given the  ‘leadership of the tribe to his son, Wanalancet, who continued the honorable tradition of his father in dealing with the white men, this despite frequent suspicion and injustice directed against the Indians. Greatly reduced in numbers through war and pestilence, the Pennycooks moved their headquarters away from this valley and became a wandering and unorganized people. Only a few remained in Pennycook to see the white settlers claim the old-time dominion of their tribe. Kancamagus, last chieftain of the Pennycooks, was a grandson of Passaconaway but he proved unworthy of his heritage. On pretense of fear of a Mohawk attack, he led his warriors eastward in 1685 and entered into a peace agreement with the white men. Then he joined in a treacherous Indian conspiracy and the attack upon Dover with the massacre of a number of white men followed. One of the victims was Maj. Waldron, the Pennycook trader.

The year 1697 records the first white women known to have lodged in Pennycook, and that under duress. In bleak March of that year, northern Indians came down through our valley and raided Haverhill, Mass, and carried Hannah Dustin and the nurse who had been tending her and her new born babe, into captivity. On the return trip, the savages made camp on the little island at the mouth of the Contoocook river and there Mrs.Dustin carried through her bold plan for escape. Down the Merrimack on their flight the two women and a captive white boy paddled their canoe under the very walls of the deserted fort at Sugar Ball and, in due time, reached Haverhill in safety. After an interval of nearly thirty years, the first white settlers came to Pennycook and their record mentions only two Pennycook warriors left in the neighborhood – Pehaungun on the east side of the river and Wattanummon on the west side. Wattanummon’s land lay along the brook still called by his name and the white men found him setting his eel pots in the brook while his squaws cultivated the crops of corn and beans and cut his scanty hay. His wigwam stood on a little knoll south of the brook and closely east of the highway bridge which now crosses the brook. This knoll has been leveled off for the railroad track, but in the old days it was reputed to be the one spot in the vicinity never submerged by flood.

Now and then traces of the Indian life of ancient times have been found in our township. As late as the year 1855, when the cellar was dug for the house at 36 Penacook St., an Indian grave was uncovered about ten by fifteen feet in size. Within lay the skeletons of nine bodies and the local authority of the day, Dr.William Prescott, identified them as a male of great stature, two females and six youths or children. Each skeleton was enclosed in a case, several thicknesses of pitch pine bark except that one of the females was wrapped with a babe on either side. These skeletons lay each upon its right side with head toward the south and with face toward the east and rested upon the right hand. Perhaps this was the grave of a mighty warrior chief when his entire family was wiped out in the plague of 1612 which is known to have ravaged New England before the white man ever settled along our coast. This grave was a tangible link between the Concord of 1855 and the days when the proud Pennycooks lived, loved, hunted and battled in this fair valley of the Merrimack.
A much more detailed account of the local Indians may be found in the Lyford History of Concord, in the chapter entitled ” Aboriginal Occupation” by Amos medley.

Print in New Hampshire


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Excerpts from “The History of Printing in America” by Isaiah Thomas 1810

The printing for this colony was executed in Boston, Massachusetts, until 1756. Only two printing houses were opened in New Hampshire before the year 1775, and one of these had for several years been shut. The productions of the press were few: the largest work printed was the laws of the province.


Although this place was the capital of the colony, and had been settled a long time, yet no means had been used to introduce printing into it until about the year 1755, when several of the influential inhabitants exerted themselves for this purpose; and, in the year following, the press was established there, at which was executed the first printing done in New Hampshire.

Daniel Fowle, who had been arrested and imprisoned in Boston, on a charge of having published a libel against the government of Massachusetts, was, as has been stated, solicited by several gentlemen in Portsmouth, and afterwards encouraged by the government, to set up a press in that town. He accordingly removed from Boston to Portsmouth in July, 1756, and soon after published a newspaper. Fowle did but little at book printing; it being his principal business to publish the newspaper. He was appointed printer to the government; and the laws,  were issued from his press.

In September, 1764, he took his nephew Robert Fowle as his partner. The firm of the company was Daniel & Robert Fowle. They remained together until 1774, when they separated, and Robert soon after removed to Exeter.

Daniel Fowle continued in business until his death, but did not acquire much property. He married into a very respectable family in Boston, some years before he removed from that town, but had no children. He received the commission of a magistrate a short time after he settled at Portsmouth. He was a correct printer and industrious. He was mild in his disposition, agreeable in his manners, liberal in his sentiments, and attached to the cause of his country. He died in June, 1787, aged 72 years. 

Thomas Forbes was born in Portsmouth, and served his apprenticeship with Daniel Fowle. Some zealous whigs, who thought the Fowles were too timid in the cause of liberty, or their press too much under the influence of the officers of the crown, encouraged Forbes to set up a second press in the province. He in consequence opened a printing house in Portsmouth, toward the end of 1764, and soon after published a newspaper. In 1765; he received as a partner Ezekiel Russell. Their firm was Forbes & Russell. Excepting the newspaper, they printed only a few hand-bills and blanks. The company became embarrassed, and in less than a year its concerns terminated, and the partnership was dissolved. Upon the dissolution of the firm, the press and types were purchased by the Fowles. Forbes became their journeyman, and Russell went to Boston.

Forbes had been taught plain binding, and undertook to connect it with printing. Although he was not very skillful, either as a printer or as a binder, he began the world under favorable circumstances; and, had he been attentive to his affairs, he might have been successful. He was good natured and friendly, but naturally indolent; and, like too many others, gave himself up to the enjoyment of a companion, when he should have been attending to his business. He died in Baltimore, at the house of William Goddard, who had employed him for a long time and shown him much friendship. He left a widow and several children.


A difference in the political sentiments of D. and R. Fowle, printers and copartners at Portsmouth, was the cause of their separation in 1774; and probably the reason of the establishment of a press in Exeter.

Robert Fowle was the son of John Fowle, who was several years a silent partner with Rogers & Fowle in Boston, and afterwards an Episcopal clergyman at Norwalk in Connecticut. He served his apprenticeship with his uncle, at Portsmouth; and when of age became his partner, as has been mentioned. This copartnership being ended they divided their printing materials. Robert, who was neither a skillful nor a correct printer, took the press and types which had been used by Furber, and settled at Exeter. He did some work for the old government, and, in 1775, some for the new. He made several attempts to establish a newspaper, and in 1776 began one, which he published more than a year.

The new paper currency of New Hampshire had been printed by Fowle, and it was counterfeited; and suspicion rested on him as having been concerned in this criminal act. He was a royalist, and fled within the British lines in New York. By this step the suspicion, which might not have been well founded, was confirmed. Thus ended the typographical career of Robert Fowle. With other refugees from the United States, he was placed upon the British pension list. Some time after the establishment of peace, he returned to this country, married the widow of his younger brother, who had succeeded him at Exeter, and resided in New Hampshire until he died. Robert Fowle had very respectable connections.


Sewalls Falls Concord, NH


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More photos of the plant and dam.

Sewalls Falls Dam

In 1657 this land of 500 acres was surveyed and laid out under right granted to Massachusetts Governor John Endicott. In 1668, the land was conveyed to John Hull, a wealthy mintmaster from Massachusetts. Upon his death, the property was willed to his daughter Hanna, wife of Samuel Sewall, a judge in the days of witchcraft. Legend has it that this land was the favorite abode of Indian Chief Passaconaway.
The area was also used to launch logs from the mast yard into the Merrimack River to float downstream to be used for the construction of Royal Navy vessels.
The Sewalls Falls site was also the site of the longest rock crib dam in the world. Constructed in 1894, the dam was 633 feet of timbers and hand packed stones. On April 7, 1984 pressure from spring floodwaters breached the dam.
Much of the hydroelectric canal and gates still exist. It is planned that the site will be redeveloped with a historic museum giving the history of the dam and hydroelectric power in New Hampshire and further providing a wildlife area for all to enjoy. The State of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is developing fishing piers and canoe access points near the hydroelectric plant.
The dam was constructed as part of a plan of a major industrial and residential development (the first in Concord) that was not completed.

In 1835 an attempt was made by the “Sewall’s Falls Locks and Canal Corporation” to. utilize another water-power for manufacturing purposes. Already, some ten years before, a sawmill had been erected by Ebenezer Eastman, Simeon Virgin, and Jeremiah Shepard on the east side of the river, about midway between the place of the modern dam and Sewall’s Falls bridge, and by them was used for sawing all kinds of lumber until it was destroyed by fire in 1837.  The new enterprise contemplated the construction of a dam at Sewall’s Falls, whence a canal was to be excavated terminating near Federal bridge in the village of East Concord, the site of the contemplated cotton mills. The works were begun, but never finished, and the enterprise was given up, “with heavy loss to the corporation,”  and with not a little disappointment to many who had grounded upon its anticipated success high hopes, especially for the growth and improvement of the east village, and generally for the consequent advancement of the town. At the same time, however, just above on the Contoocook, where, for some years, miscellaneous manufacturing had been carried on, the property of the chartered Contoocook Manufacturing Company came into the possession of Freeman and Francis Fisher, of Boston, by whom were commenced operations, destined to a better issue than were those at the falls of the Merrimack, just below, and for whom a precinct of the town was long to bear the name of Fisherville.

 Historical Background
Timber crib dams are typically built across streams to generate waterpower. Part of the flow is diverted into a power canal, whereas excess water flows over the top of squared timber cribbing which forms the spillway.    Large stones are packed inside the cribbing to make the dam strong enough to withstand the impact of floods and ice rafting. Sometimes these dams are straight, and sometimes they are slightly convex upstream. Often an inclined plane (or “apron”) is constructed upstream of the dam so that the force of the water cannot undermine the structure, and a second inclined plane is needed on the downstream side so as to break the fall of the water. When a timber dam is especially important or is meant to be particularly long-lasting, then the abutments that anchor the ends of the dam to its riverbanks are built of solid masonry.    This prevents leakage around the ends of the dam. Another possibility is that sturdy sheet-piles may be driven into the bottom of the river to help anchor the dam.
While some of the longest timber crib dams were constructed across rivers in the western United States, easily the longest such dam in the east was built at a falls on the Merrimack River in Concord, New Hampshire.    Known as the “Sewall’s Falls Dam” and positioned at the eastern end of Second Street in Concord, this was formerly a popular fishing site for the Penacook Indians (a tribe of the Western Abenaki) and the site of a European trading post in the 1650s.  Later, Judge Samuel Sewall purchased land in the vicinity of the falls, giving the site its name, and then the first white settlers arrived here in 1726.
Much later, in 1833, the New Hampshire Legislature granted a charter to the Proprietors of Sewall’s Falls Locks and Canal, “empowering them to build a canal from the head of Sewall’s Falls to the mouth of Mill Brook, a distance of about two miles.” This was to have been a transportation canal, and the adjoining property was to have been developed for mill sites.    The company partially dug the canal but finally gave up and lost about $80,000. It was the first of several companies to incorporate for the purpose of developing the Falls, but each failed.
The next effort was made in 1871, when the New Hampshire Legislature granted a charter to the Sewall’s Falls Transmitting Power Company, whose purpose was “to develop the water-privilege and to transmit power to the city of Concord by a vague scheme for compressing air.”  Their intent was to erect a dam, they were capitalized with $500,000, but they never began construction.
The next company to contemplate a dam at Sewall’s Falls was the Sewall’s Falls Land & Water Power Company. They incorporated in 1881, acquired title to the water privilege, and purchased land on both sides of the Merrimack River.
An assessment of the falls was conducted that year by Ray T. Cile, C.E., who concluded that, the total fall in a distance of about one mile and a half is found to be 19 3/4 feet, thus furnishing ample power for all the manufactories that would ever be located there. The width of the river at the point where the dam would probably be built is such as to require a dam 350 feet in length. The cut granite already on the ground in the abutments built by the old canal company is sufficient to build more than half of a dam of this length.    The deepest cut that would have to be made eastern section is approximately 50 feet. The first apron and second apron of the spillway are clearly visible, although in poor condition, and much of the steel nosing (1/4″ thick x 24″ x 42″) is still present which protected the timbers from ice flows.    Remains of the cofferdam–which channeled water toward the power canal–are still visible in front of (north of) the western section of the spillway, and a couple of “deadmen” (logs used as an anchor for guy ropes) are still positioned north of the spillway. At the present time the top of the spillway is approximately 15 feet above the current water line in the Merrimack River.    Only the dam’s east and west abutments–rising 14 feet above the crest of the dam–are as sturdy as ever, and both abutments are flanked on the south with piles of granite quarry waste (rip-rap).

A few days later the Concord Land & Water Power Company was, in fact, delivering power to the City of Concord.
Floods in 1895 and 1896 caused extensive damage to the middle and lower aprons of the dam, and in 1896 the cribs were repaired and the surfaces were replanked with Georgia pine.” It was not long, though, before the company ran into financial problems, went into receivership, and then on July 1, 1901, the Concord Electric Company was organized to take over the operation. After that time the dam, canal, and powerhouse were maintained in their original form, except that the canal was widened and the dam strengthened.    As noted by R.G. Knowlton, “When the Concord Electric Company first started operations in 1901, it is believed that there were 22 employees and only 222 customers …,” but “In 1905 the plant at Sewalls Falls was expanded and.the capacity of its generators was doubled from 1000 to 2000 KW.”  This expansion is described in the following passage:
The new installation consists of two units, each consisting of 3–55″ bronze runners of the Francis type, mounted on a vertical shaft and hung on a step bearing. The machines are of the Escher-Wyss type built by the Allis Chalmers Company, American representatives of the EscherWyss Co.    The gates are of wicket pattern, controlled by Escher-Wyss mechanical governors, also built by The Allis Chalmers Company. The generators, which are direct connected to the vertical shaft wheels, are of 500 k.w., 3-phase, 60 cycle, 2,000 volt, 100 r.p.m., revolving field type.    Excitation is furnished by one 75 h.p., 3-phase, 2,600 volt induction motor, direct connected to a 45 k.w., 125 volt, compound wound D.C. generator. The exciter unit runs at 680 r.p.m.
Soon afterward, a new building was erected in 1908 containing a steam engine (a steam relay plant) for standby service when the waterpower was shut down.
After these beginnings, the history of the dam and canal at Sewalls Falls was one of periodic maintenance, typically in the late summer of each year when the river level was at its lowest. Repairs during the 1930s had to be especially extensive because of flooding in 1936 and a hurricane in 1938. On March 20, 1936 “the Merrimack River reached an all-time record of 16.8 feet above the crest at Sewalls Falls”, and the wing walls of the dam had to be sandbagged. And then on September 21, 1938, a hurricane caused the river to crest some 13.9 feet above the dam. There were repairs to the dam in 1933 that involved the removal and replacement of approximately 208 of the volume of the timber crib and rock filling. The five wooden gates of the headgate structure were also replaced in 1933.16
Finally, at the end of the 1966 power year, generation at the hydro plant was suspended because it had become cheaper for the Concord Electric Company to purchase power from the Public Service Company of New Hampshire, which was
burning fossil fuel. Then, in 1969, Concord Electric turned over its operating license for the dam to the Federal Power Commission, and the State of New Hampshire purchased the dam for $1.00. Concord Electric gave the State $10,000 with which to cover future repair costs for the dam; but the money was deposited in the State’s General Fund, the annual maintenance work on the dam ceased, and the dam was allowed to deteriorate to the point that many individual timbers washed out, weakening the structure.
The final blow came during the night of April 7-8, 1984 when a 100-foot-long section of the dam gave way after several days of heavy rain, and the Merrimack River has been rushing through the breach in the dam ever since.    The silt that had been deposited north of the dam has all washed through, much of the timber cribbing has washed out, and with the river level radically lowered, the exposed spillway.of the dam is an imposing sight.

Description of the Dam Site
The original drawings of the Sewall’s Falls dam and canal were prepared by a civil engineer, E.F. Smith of Philadelphia; the canal was built under the direction of Daniel Ulrich; while the powerhouse was designed by Eugene F. Carpenter. The dam itself was constructed by William H. Ward of Lowell, Massachusetts, and was intended to develop 5000 horsepower. Work on the dam and canal began in August of 1892, and the company ran a track to the dam site in order to supply construction materials.    They also set up a temporary arclighting plant so that the work could be continued around the clock, and what may be the remains of this plant can now be found several hundred feet to the west of the dam site, where a foundation and the remains of a steam boiler have been located.
The people of Concord were fully aware of the importance of what was being built. In the Concord Evening Monitor of August 8, 1893 this was described as “the finest dam in New England,” spanning 497 feet between abutments and with a height of 22 feet.    The approximate cost of the dam was $125,000, and it was predicted to last for at least 40 years. The paper also noted that “Nine times so far the work has been baptized in blood, six of the victims being employed on the dam and three being lumbermen”.

Slightly later, on September 29, 1893, the Concord Evening Monitor reported that, at the Bridge street powerhouse of the Concord Land & Water Power Company this afternoon at 2 o’clock, was made the first practical demonstration of the use of the triphase current system of electric power distribution in the United States, and in fact the first on the American continent.
It would thus appear that they were quite unaware of the generation of three phase current in Redlands, California, just 22 days earlier.    Still, if the coffer dam had not washed out in October of 1892, Sewall’s Falls would probably have had priority over Redlands by several months.

The Dam
The dam was built in three stages, each about 20 feet wide, with the lowest step being downstream. The top of each step was covered with heavy planks spiked down to the timbers in the cribs, and the spaces inside the cribs were hand-packed with stones.    The abutments and wing-walls were made with squared granite blocks laid in cement. The spillway was constructed with 12″ x 12″ longitudinal timbers, hemlock and fir, and 10″ x 10″ cross ties fastened with bolts. “About 1,500,000 feet of timber and 20,000 cubic yards of rubble stone were used in the spillway, and 5,0003 cubic yards of hammered granite were used for the abutments and head gates”.

The Head gate Structure
The head gate structure, utilizing five gates with masonry piers between them, is located west of the west granite abutment.    Each of the five brick arch conduits has a timber gate approximately 10′ wide and 11’5″ high. The head gate structure is made of granite blocks, and the hoisting equipment for the gates was operated by a rack and pinion system, powered by electricity.    The gatehouse that housed this equipment is now gone, having been burned by vandals.    The canal that begins at the head gates runs for a distance of 1280 feet, and water in the canal ran through a 50-foot waste weir (trash rack) at the southern end of the canal into short pen stocks and then to the turbines in the two brick powerhouses. The canal is 60 feet wide and 13 feet deep at its center, and it has an L-shape–it bends sharply in the middle. The sides of the canal are “formed of wooden cribs buried in earth embankments, with vertical sheet-piling spiked to the canal faces of the crib”.  After water passed through this channel and through the powerhouses, it then was carried by a tail race channel, approximately 200 feet long, back to the river.

Powerhouse No. 2
In the original powerhouse (No. 2 Station), there were five wheel-cases with draft tubes, four of which had a pair of wheels (turbines). This first powerhouse utilized Rodney Hunt turbines.    The water wheels were in the basement of the powerhouse, and belting extended upward through the operating floor to the shafting. There were four 3-phase generators made by General Electric, rated at 225 kilowatts each and operating at 2,300 volts and 50 cycles.    (The current “alternated” 100 times/second so there were 50 cycles/second.) There were two Edison bi-polar dynamos used as exciters, and five Thompson-Houston arc-light dynamos. Transmission lines were carried across the river, through East Concord, and then south to the city of Concord.

Powerhouse No. 1
A second powerhouse (No. 1 Station) was built in 1905, and it became completely operational in 1907. The turbines in No. 1 Station were built by the Allis-Chalmers Company (two Allis-Chalmers triplex turbines of 900 horsepower each).  All generating equipment was finally removed from the powerhouses when they were decommissioned in the mid-1960s. Both powerhouses are presently used as storage space by the New Hampshire Water Resources Board, and wooden flooring overlies the penstocks and draft tubes which are still intact.

Wooden Spillway
When the wooden spillway washed out in 1984, it split the dam into two sections, and the span of the western section is approximately 250 feet, while the eastern section is approximately 50 feet. The first apron and second apron of the spillway are clearly visible, although in poor condition, and much of the steel nosing (1/4″ thick x 24″ x 42″) is still present which protected the timbers from ice flows.    Remains of the cofferdam–which channeled water toward the power canal–are still visible in front of (north of) the western section of the spillway, and a couple of “deadmen” (logs used as an anchor for guy ropes) are still positioned north of the spillway. At the present time the top of the spillway is approximately 15 feet above the current water line in the Merrimack River.    Only the dam’s east and west abutments–rising 14 feet above the crest of the dam–are as sturdy as ever, and both abutments are flanked on the south with piles of granite quarry waste (rip-rap).



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