The history of the small village of Munsonville is a familiar New Hampshire story as it has all the elements of the history of similar villages throughout southwestern NH during the 100 years from the 1850s to the 1950s.
Among the distinctions that grace Nelson and its environs is the presence of three historic graphite mines. The mines – small “open pits” – are inconspicuous to the casual visitor...
Especially in Nelson, because of the available lumber and water supply, the early farmer found that he could keep up with rising living costs by supplementing his income through a small mill or shop and by manufacturing within the home.
George Washington Holt wrote a journal which provides detailed, but brief, accounts of his daily activities. His life probably typified the lives of many who grew most of their own food raised in small gardens, kept a few animals, bartered time for time or for goods and worked for several individuals or one of several manufacturing operations of the time for wages.
The solid stone walls of the foundation of the large mill built in Munsonville are all that remain of this early industrial site at the outlet of Granite Lake. In 1814, Asa Beard built the Cotton Factory and a boardinghouse for mill workers in what was then a remote section of Nelson to take advantage of the waterpower provided by the dammed up Factory Lake.
Postcards from Munsonville: Munsonville Village
The period from 1790 to 1830 has been called the Age of Self-Sufficiency in northern New England. Nearly everything needed for daily living was made on the homestead. For exceptional needs, there were local shops, the most prevalent of which were grist mills and sawmills.
In the woods off Old Stoddard Road lies the site of the home farm of Stephen Osborn. All that remains today is an extensive array of building foundations that once housed Osborn and his extended family.