Batchellor’s Small Grist Mill


Batchellor’s Small Grist Mill

This location near Bailey Brook has a small stone retaining wall that may be the foundation for the “small grist mill” that is shown in Breed Batchellor’s settlement survey prepared in 1773. It may also be the location of a cider mill operated by James Clark in the 1830’s.

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“Come to Nelson’s Birthday Party” (Written 50 Years Ago!)

As we continue to celebrate Nelson's 250th anniversary, we thought it'd be fun to go back 50 years to get a glimpse of Nelson's 200th birthday party as written by Lael Wertenbaker. A "witty and interesting article," although probably not 100% factual! Thanks to WKNE for giving us permission to print this.

By |June 4th, 2017|Categories: 1951 - 2000, How People Lived, Lael Wertenbaker|0 Comments

03: About The Pennsylvania Settlement

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A Bicentennial Profile of an Old Farmhouse

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By |December 23rd, 2016|Categories: 1951 - 2000, Farms and Forests, Floppy Tolman, How People Lived, Stories, Summer Folks|0 Comments

A Look at Nelson’s Past

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By |January 14th, 2017|Categories: Bert Wingerson, Government, Library|0 Comments

A New Discovery

Our neighbor Bill Dunn was out exploring with his metal detector the other day. After exploring a cellar hole he was returning home, with the machine still turned on, he got a signal of something just northeast of his house. The site seems to be the outline of a rectangular building [...]

By |October 23rd, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Life in Nelson, Rick Church|0 Comments

A New Minister

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By |December 13th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Churches, Rick Church|0 Comments

Aaron Beal

C-2-2 Aaron Beal Aaron Beal (also Beel) was an early settler and blacksmith by trade who purchased about 200 acres of land east of Pleasant Pond (now called Silver Lake) in 1769. By the time of the Settlement Survey in early 1774 he had 27 acres cleared, a log cabin [...]

Abiather Gates

C-4-12 Only surface foundation walls remain at the site today. Three Gates brothers arrived in Packersfield from Bolton, Massachusetts in about 1790. Abiather bought land here and built a house in 1791. In 1793 he married Lois Holt, the daughter of Daniel and Alice Holt. They had two children born [...]

Abijah Brown

D-5-4 The cellar hole here was filled in about 1995 when a new house was built on the site. Both Struthers and the 150th Anniversary Celebration (probably Struthers; source) state that Brown’s farm was located above the lead mine where John Breed later lived. Brown’s deeds and the official surveys [...]

Abraham Goodenow

E-3-1 Abraham was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1749. In 1772 he married Lucy Perry. The couple had one child, Abraham JR, born in 1774. Abraham served two enlistments in the Revolutionary War serving in Rhode Island. Lucy died in 1777 and he married Silence Ingersol three years later. They [...]

Albert Quigley’s Nelson: An Artist’s Vision

Albert Quigley's Nelson: An Artist's Vision was a PowerPoint presentation prepared and presented by Lance Tucker for the Nelson, NH Summer Library Forum Series on July 13, 2017. This youtube was made by merging the live recording from that presentation with accompanying photographs to help tell the story of the life and work of Albert Quigley.

By |July 19th, 2017|Categories: 1851 - 1900, 1901 - 1950, Artists, Lance Tucker, Musicians, Profiles, Stories|0 Comments

Amos Child

C-3-15 Amos Child Amos Child was a signer of the Packersfield Association Test (1776), an oath of loyalty during the Revolutionary War. He was born in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1753.  He built a house here in 1776. He and his wife, Sarah had five children. His wife died and he [...]

Amos Heald

C-3-18 Amos and Sybil (Brown) Heald came to Packersfield from Temple in about 1789 and had built the house here by 1790. Amos was a housewright. Their first child (of eight), Oliver, was born here in October 1, 1790. The Healds seem to have moved to Dublin in 1828. Sybil [...]

Amos Skinner

D-3-7 Amos Skinner was an early settler coming in 1774 from Mansfield, Massachusetts with his wife, Elizabeth and two children. Their son, Zelotus was born here. Held numerous town offices during his brief stay including moderator and chairman of the Committee of Safety. He signed the Association Test in 1776 [...]

An Early Nelson School

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By |December 7th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, Rick Church, Schools|0 Comments

Apple Hill

Apple Hill began as the brainchild of Gene Rosov, a young cellist and Harvard undergrad who taught cello at the All-Newton Music School in a suburb of Boston. Inspired by his experience as a teenager at Greenwood Music Camp in Cummington, Massachusetts, Gene’s dream was to start a chamber music camp for his own students and their friends and siblings.

By |December 16th, 2020|Categories: 1951 - 2000, 2000 - present, Life in Nelson, Music, Musicians|0 Comments

Apple Hill Music Camp

B-3-10 Apple Hill Music Camp:  The cape that is the center of Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music campus was built by William and/or Oliver Wright in about 1790. (This is a different Wright family that the one that settled at F-3-4.) The property was owned by Jonas Minot of [...]

Archaelous Wilson

E-4-13 Archaelous moved to Packersfield from Temple, New Hampshire during the Revolutionary War. Was an early town selectman and hired by the town as an assistant workman when the second meeting house was built. Bought the property from Joseph Stanhope and built a new house on this site – Stanhope’s [...]

Asa Robbins

C-1-1 Asa Robbins bought the land here in 1793 and built the house still standing there. Asa was born in Westford, Massachusetts in 1769 and moved to Packersfield with his brothers, Noah and Josiah in about 1790. He married Hepzibah Adams, daughter of John and Mary Adams (C-2-3). They had [...]


B-3-14 There have been two dwellings here. The current cabin was built around 1897 by Dr. Seneca Egbert, a resident of Franklin, Pennsylvania, who used the old farm as a summer place until his death in 1939. More recently it has been owned by Fred French. The Egbert cabin was [...]

Batchellor Sawmill House

C-4-14 Batchellor Sawmill House Nothing remains of this home today.  It was probably built originally as the house for the operator of the town’s first saw mill located at C-4-20.  It was probably occupied by Joshua Kitteridge when he first purchased the mill. It was small and he, soon built [...]

Benjamin and Tabitha Sawyer

F-5-3 Benjamin and Tabitha Sawyer Benjamin Sawyer was born in Amherst, New Hampshire in 1758 to Josiah and Hannah Sawyer. He married Tabitha Kitteridge of Tewksbury, Massachusetts in 1778 when he was twenty and his wife a year younger. Their first child, Benjamin, was born in Amherst in 1779.  That [...]

Benjamin Pierce

B-4-13 Many Packersfield settlers struggled and failed. Benjamin Pierce moved here from Gardner, Massachusetts with his wife, Azubah (Richardson), and their three-year-old son, Benjamin. It was 1794; Benjamin was 26 and Azubah, 22. They bought 100 acres of land from the Packer family in 1797, but probably built the home here the year they arrived.

Beriah Wetmore

E-3-4: Beriah and Abigail Wetmore and their family arrived in 1771 building a pole house on a 104-acre piece of land here. In 1773 they had 18 acres cleared and had built a cabin. For some reason, probably poor financial circumstances, the family was “warned out of town.” This was a process towns used to force possible welfare cases to leave before they became a burden.

Bethuel Harris

E-1-2 Bethuel Harris This substantial brick home in the center of Harrisville was built c. 1819 by Bethuel Harris.  He was born in Medway, Massachusetts in 1769 the eighth child of Erastus and Rebecca Harris’ nine children. He moved with his parents to Packersfield at about age 12. [...]

Billy Wright

B-3-2 Billy Wright bought this 20-acre piece of Robert Sheldon’s sprawling farm in 1807 and built a house here.    Wright added modestly to the size of his farm before moving to D-3-14. Alpheus Davis, brother of Isaac Davis (A-2-5), moved here in 1816 (from B-3-5) buying the somewhat larger farm [...]

Breed Batchellor: Land Shark?

In 1751 the Masonian Proprietors granted forty square miles called Monadnock Number Six to another group of proprietors responsible for settlement. They were granted the entire town except for a large section referred to as the “land reserved for the Masonian Proprietors”, a 4,000-acre section of the Southwest Quarter of the town.  

By |October 25th, 2018|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Government, Rick Church|0 Comments

Breed Batchellor: The Enemy

Breed Batchellor, the man who had worked so hard to transform Monadnock Number Six into Packersfield, refused to sign the Association Test, an oath of loyalty to the new country. He became the enemy within. In a very short time the people who had ardently supported him in the struggle against James Blanchard in the incorporation fight turned against him as a traitor.

By |October 24th, 2018|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Government, Military, Rick Church|0 Comments


E-3-5 Nelson’s oldest and most productive brickyard. Started by Abiel Smith in about 1777, though bricks from chimneys in earlier Nelson structures suggest a brick source earlier, It was worked by him until acquired by Ebenezer Tolman in 1789. Tolman was a housewright by trade but soon operated a sawmill [...]

Charles Rice

A-2-12 The Newcomb Place: A well-developed site with a large barn foundation to the west. William Banks built the house here prior to 1791. When Charles Rice bought the place and moved here from D-4-1 in 1791, the deed included the following: “the same farm on which William Banks now [...]

Come Early Summer

We think that the northern part of heaven lies down a stretch of dirt road that leaves the paved Harrisville Road in southwestern New Hampshire. We get there, as we say, by going down the rabbit hole. That’s a bit of fantasy, I know. The “rabbit hole” is a 500-foot descent down a tree-covered road that opens onto a kind of Wonderland—Tolman Pond and vicinity.

By |December 24th, 2016|Categories: 1951 - 2000, 2000 - present, Roy Edelfelt, Stories, Summer Folks|0 Comments

Contra Dance – Byron O’Brien

Listen carefully, these are the symptoms: increased heartbeat, memory loss, neuromuscular discoordination, heightened respiration, profuse sweating, confusion and fatigue. The above symptoms are exhibited by all greenhorns, newcomers and beginners at a Nelson Contra Dance. I speak from recent experience.

By |January 6th, 2017|Categories: 1951 - 2000, Byron O'Brien, Contra Dancing, Cultural, Dance, Musicians, Stories|0 Comments

Dancing Forever

Not too long ago a piano tuner submitted a bill for work done on the piano in the Nelson Town Hall. With his invoice he included the following comment: “Because of the age of this piano and long abandoned construction practices, it is impossible to give this piano a highly accurate tuning. It has numerous false beats, inharmonicity, and heavy wear. Surprisingly, the overall tone is superior and the action is still fast and responsive. I suspect the piano is favored by those who play on it.”

By |January 14th, 2017|Categories: Contra Dancing, Cultural, Dance, Gordon Peery, Musicians, Nelson Town Hall, Recreation|0 Comments

Daniel Town

B-3-12 Daniel Town Daniel Town bought the land here in 1790 and built a large house. It sits on a knoll and must have had beautiful views into Vermont to the west. He lived and farmed here until 1827 when James Phillips bought it. Phillips, an early settler of Packersfield [...]

David Felt

F-5-13 David Felt Aaron Felt of Temple, NH bought 100 acres in the northeast corner of Packersfield in 1782 from the confiscated estate of Breed Batchellor. Owing to an early dispute over the location of Packersfield’s eastern border, the lot was partly in Packersfield and partly in Antrim. Tax records [...]

David Kimball 2

D-3-15 David Kimball sold his original house (C-3-16) and half of the farm to his brother, James, in 1799 when he built this house.*  David and Lydia lived here until  until their deaths (1842 and 1847). In 1817 their daughter, Mary, married Jared Pratt of Jaffrey. The young couple bought [...]

Deacon Samuel Griffin

D-3-6 Deacon Samuel Griffin Samuel Griffin was one of the early settlers of Packersfield coming after military service around Boston including Bunker Hill. He bought land here in 1777 and is thought to have moved to Packersfield in 1779. He built a house here and married Sophia Foster, the daughter [...]

Dick Upton Remembers Life in Nelson in the Early 1900s

In 1992, as Dick Upton was looking out the window at the leaves already turning, yellow, orange and red, he was wondering what the world will be like for his great grandchildren, and will they wonder what the world was like for him in the early 1900's. Thus, he wrote this story for the benefit of his grandchildren.

By |August 18th, 2017|Categories: 1901 - 1950, Dick Upton, How People Lived|0 Comments

Dr. Nathaniel Breed

D-4-7 This modest cellar hole is the site of Nathaniel Breed’s “double pole” house built in 1768.  He, likely, replaced it with a proper board house at D-4-8 in 1773. Nathaniel Breed was the second settler of Monadnock #6 and the first in what is Nelson today. Born in Lynn, [...]

Early Meetinghouses

D-3-16 Early Meetinghouses Towns granted by the Masonian Proprietors were required to build a meetinghouse for religious and public purposes. Therefore, called a “duty” meetinghouse, Monadnock #6 built a 25 x 30’ frame building that was 8 ½ feet high at the eaves. This was authorized at a proprietors meeting [...]

Early Road Construction

Nelson’s earliest roads were made and maintained by hand, using men and teams of oxen — the same methods that cleared farms. Road layouts reflected that labor intensity. They tended to be built straight up and down hills rather than be bench cut, and they were likely to follow property lines [...]

Ebenezer Perry

C-1-5. This modest 20 x 28’ cellar hole was probably the home of Ebenezer Perry. Perry’s tenure here was short. He bought land here in May 1777 though he may have begun improving the place before then. It is difficult to imagine a man with a wife and six small children living in Wilton, building a home for them all in a matter of a few months.

By |June 17th, 2023|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Building Sites, Maps, NA, Rick Church, The Land and Its Settlement|0 Comments

Ebenezer Tarbox

B-5-5 Ebenezer Tarbox: This site was in the town of Stoddard until 1835 when the Tarbox Farm was annexed to Nelson at the request of the Tarbox family. Ebenezer Tarbox family settled in the southwest corner of Stoddard as early as 1800.Th original house on this site was bult by Jacob [...]

Ebenezer Tolman

Ebenezer Tolman, a housewright by trade, moved to Packersfield from Fitzwilliam in 1790 with his wife, Mary (Clark) and 4 children. Tolman served in the Revolutionary War and kept a diary detailing his experiences as part of Arnold’s expedition against Quebec in late 1775. He is the founder of the Tolman family in Nelson.

Elliot J. Davis

B-5-8: Represented by a small foundation today, this house was built by Elliot J. Davis in the summer of 1858. It is likely that Davis was associated in some way with the steam sawmill at B-5-7. Born in Gilsum, Davis moved here from Vermont with his wife, Roxanna E. Brown, and two children. He became the owner of the whole site when the mill ceased operations in 1860.

Excerpts from “Family Notes by Beth Barrell”

Beth, Newt Tolman's first wife, helped with the family business at Tolman Pond: running the boarding house, the summer camps and entertaining the many guests. The following, excerpted from her family notes, gives a delightful accounting of what life was like at Tolman Pond during the 1930s:

By |December 29th, 2016|Categories: 1901 - 1950, Beth Barrell, How People Lived, Recreation, Stories, Summer Folks|0 Comments

Ezra Sheldon

E-3-2 Upon this site stood a well preserved late 18th century house built by Ezra Sheldon in 1791. Ezra had been born in Reading, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, on 11 Jan 1763 to Abraham Sheldon and Sarah Hayward and came to New Hampshire with his parents. They made their home in Temple.Ezra [...]

Ezra Sheldon’s New House

E-3-3 Ezra Sheldon bought the 250-acre Goodenow Farm in 1807 after Abraham Goodenow died. The purchase did not include the sawmill at E-3-8. This was Ezra’s “new house.”  His original house was at E-3-2. By 1807 Ezra and Sarah (Day) Sheldon needed a larger house; the couple had nine children ages [...]

Finding the Benjamin Sawyer Cellar Hole

A snowy morning in February found Dave Birchenough and me crammed into the cab of a grapple skidder rumbling through the woods of the northeast corner of Nelson. There was a logging job underway on the old Sawyer Farm. We were able to drive my ageing truck up the old town road (abandoned since 1860) to the landing near the farm.

By |October 30th, 2016|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, Rick Church, Roads and Trails|0 Comments

First Meetinghouse

The charter granting Monadnock Number Six to its proprietors required that a central place be set off and reserved for public purposes and that a meetinghouse be built. Batchellor laid out ten acres of common land in the center of the town at the location of the village cemetery today.

By |October 24th, 2018|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Churches, Government, Rick Church|0 Comments

Flying Loon Farm, 1935-45, Part 1

When I was fifteen I went to live with a farm family at the Nelson end of Lake Nubanusit in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. This became a second home to me all through my adolescence. I was a high school drop-out, intrigued with country living and eager to learn how to split wood, harvest ice as well as vegetables, milk cows and braid rugs.

By |January 18th, 2017|Categories: 1901 - 1950, How People Lived, Meg Cline, Profiles|0 Comments

Foster’s Dismissal

The Reverend Jacob Foster served the town of Packersfield for ten years from 1781 to 1791. During that time twenty-seven families joined the church. We do not have census data that exactly match the years Foster served, but the population of Packersfield in 1783 was recorded as 511 and [...]

By |December 13th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Churches, Rick Church|0 Comments

Founding the Church

The original charter of Monadnock Number Six stipulated founding a successful town in accordance with the king’s requirements. The charter contained requirements to establish and support of religion and education. Three of the grantors’ shares in the town, a total of six one hundred acre lots, were reserved  “free from [...]

By |December 13th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Churches, Rick Church|0 Comments

Frank’s Kitchen

Frank Upton was the consummate Nelson story teller. Perhaps it was yesterday’s social media, but news got passed along around Frank’s table – the good with the bad. Stories that now make up a large part of our local lore were told. This was a true gathering of community vitality where things were shared and ideas were born. Frank’s kitchen was a “happening” place, where a kind of grassroots democracy thrived.

By |December 1st, 2016|Categories: 2000 - present, How People Lived, Karen Tolman, Profiles, Stories|0 Comments

Frederick Taylor

B-4-11 Frederick was the son of Danforth Taylor who moved to B-4-1 from Stoddard and occupied the farm of Robert Sheldon.  Sons, Frederick and Henry Danforth came with him. Frederick Taylor bought the sawmill (B-4-7) from Abel Kitteridge in 1841. Since the creation of the mill in 1798, the mill [...]

Goodenow’s Mill

E-3-8 Goodenow’s Mill Abraham Goodenow was born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1749 and moved to Packersfield in 1783. He came with his second wife, Silence, their three children and his oldest, Abraham Jr. They had six more children here. He established a sawmill at the outlet of Long Pond, now [...]

Haying at Tolman Pond

When I was a boy, my grandfather kept three or four cows. He had just enough hay fields to provide enough hay to last them through the winter, although if the hay crop were particularly poor, perhaps he might have to buy an extra ton or two to tide them through until the cows could be put out to pasture in the spring.

By |December 24th, 2016|Categories: 1901 - 1950, Farms and Forests, How People Lived, Renn Tolman, Stories|0 Comments

He Perished of Cold by the Wayside

In 1864, Jonathan Whittier moved with his family into a 60-year-old farmhouse in the southwest corner of Stoddard. In late December of 1876 the family was running low on supplies. A storm was threatening, but Whittier felt that he could walk to the Munsonville store and post office, some 3 miles distant, to get supplies and the family’s mail before the storm arrived.

By |October 16th, 2021|Categories: 1851 - 1900, Alan Rumrill, Life in Nelson, Local Lore|0 Comments

Heating a One Room Schoolhouse

The subject of heating the building consumed approximately one third of the written record of early school district meetings. In 1820 men bid to keep the fire at the school at $1.00 per week.  Five different men supplied both wood and fire lighting for that 8-week winter school session. It is quite a modern idea: subcontract a whole function. In this case heat.

By |December 14th, 2020|Categories: Life in Nelson, Rick Church, Schools|0 Comments

Holt Family

C-4-6 The Holt Family Joseph Stiles acquired the property from his father in late 1792. The record of the road layout that year indicates that the house had been built by Joseph, but before the actual purchase, probably 1791. Stiles sold it to Samuel Holt and it would continue in [...]

Home Life in Nelson: The Old Village on the Hill

Two manuscripts of historical interest came to light during the closet-cleaning needed to ready the contents of the Hardy homestead for the auction held last July. One details a lifestyle in our town that has long since vanished. The second manuscript is concerned with the physical setting of the old town center.

By |January 7th, 2017|Categories: 1851 - 1900, 1901 - 1950, Bert Wingerson, Edwin Noah Hardy|0 Comments

Ichabod Crane, Who Built Your Schoolhouse

When I took over as Treasurer of the Nelson School years and years and years ago, I also took over a large beat-up carton of old school papers – receipts, vouchers, etc. – which had been tossed higgledy-piggledy into the carton. Eventually I bundled all these together and tossed them higgledy-piggledy into a new carton and left them for the next treasurer to cope with.

By |January 7th, 2017|Categories: 1801 - 1850, 1851 - 1900, Floppy Tolman, Schools|0 Comments

Isaac Davis

A-2-5 Isaac Davis Isaac and Mary Davis, moved from Rutland, Massachusetts in 1782 after Isaac had served a number of enlistments in the Revolutionary War including the Battle of Bennington. They lived here until their deaths in 1836 (Isaac) and 1837 (Mary). They were followed by their son, Isaac, who [...]

Isaac Jewett

C-4-5 Isaac Jewett Deeds and road descriptions make clear that this was the homestead of Isaac Jewett, the founder of that family in Nelson. Parke Struthers has him at B-4-6, but the first Jewett there was Isaac’s son Willard. Isaac was born in Hollis, New Hampshire, bought the land from [...]

James and David Beard

D-3-3 This cellar hole on the west edge of the Village Cemetery was part of the cluster of buildings that formed the original center of the town surrounding the meetinghouse. It was built and first occupied by a succession of Beard family brothers. James and David Beard JR, came to [...]

James Bancroft

D-2-6 This was James Bancroft’s second house.  Timothy Bancroft of Barnstable, Massachusetts bought the Right of Benjamin French (400 acres) in the southeast quarter of Monadnock #6 early. His son, James, acquired this part of the French Right after his father’s death in 1780.  In approximately 1786 he built the [...]

James Blanchard

F-2-3 James Blanchard In the 1773 surveys, James Blanchard was recorded as having built a cabin and having cleared 8 acres. Blanchard came from a prominent Portsmouth family which at one time owned the entire southeast quarter of Packersfield. His father was one of Packersfield’s founding proprietors. This may be [...]

James Field

E-4-11 Little is known about this place or Field himself. He may have come from Mansfield, Massachusetts. It was apparently settled after the departure of John Stroud (about 1777) and occupied until shortly after the death of James Field in about 1789.  His widow, Mary, appears in the 1790 census [...]

James French

C-4-4 James French James French, a cordwainer from New Ipswich, bought 100 acres of land here in 1791 and is undoubtedly the builder of the old part of the home on the site today. Little is known of him. In 1794 he sold the house and five acres to Dr. Samuel [...]

James Phillips

A-2-16 James Phillips James Phillips Came from Rutland, Massachusetts and had cleared 7 acres of land and built a pole house by 1774. Built a frame house soon after and was succeeded by his brother, Gideon Phillips in 1792. In 1827 Gideon sold it to Gideon Newcombe and his widow [...]

Jesse Wright

E-2-2 This location is difficult to find.  All that remains is a rectangle of stonework where the cellar ole of the house used to be. There has been extensive logging in the area and structure has been largely destroyed. Jesse and Lydia (Parker) Wright moved to Packersfield from Woburn, Massachusetts [...]

John Adams

John Adams was born in Sherborn, Massachusetts in 1750 and was one of Packersfield’s earliest settlers. He bought 300 acres from his father, Captain Moses Adams, an early investor in land in the town. His name appears in the record of the first recorded road laid out in the town – the road from the meetinghouse to Dublin laid out in December 1773.

John Boynton

C-3-6 John Boynton came to Packersfield in 1781 after service at Saratoga in the Revolutionary War. He bought 100 acres here and probably built the house soon after. John is said to have been a blacksmith. John and Sarah Boynton welcomed their first child here in 1785; The couple had [...]

John Breed

D-4-6 John Breed's cellar hole An interesting old foundation and difficult to find, it is located off Old Stoddard Rd and above the Osgood Mine. It was part of the original Nathaniel Breed farm. John Breed bought the land from his brother, Nathaniel breed JR., in 1780 and [...]

John Chamberlin

D-5-3 John Chamberlin: This is a small, well preserved cellar hole on Abijah Brown’s original farm. In 1800 John Chamberlin of Weston, Vermont married Abigail Brown. Abijah sold the half of his farm north and west of Old Stoddard Road to his son-in-law in 1801 and John built the house [...]

John Farwell

D-2-5 John Farwell John came from Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1772 at age 33. By the year 1774 he had 9 acres cleared and a frame house built with his family in residence. He probably responded to the Lexington alarm and marched from Packersfield in April of 1775. Later, in 1777, he [...]

John French

F-5-14 John French John French bought several lots of land in the Northeast Quarter from Breed Batchellor in 1774 and built a two-room log cabin (One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Settlement of Nelson New Hampshire 1767-1917) near here in 1775. He moved to Dublin in 1784 selling [...]

John Osgood

D-4-8 Nathaniel Breed moved to Packersfield in 1767 and built a “double pole house” at D-4-7 as there was no sawmill in town at that time.  He probably built a proper board house on this site in 1774.  In 1782 he sold the place to Samuel Cummings  -- a 240 [...]

John Richardson

D-3-13There have been three houses on this place. Thomas Richardson came to Packersfield from Attleboro, Massachusetts after the Revolutionary War, bought 200 acres on land in this area in 1784. In 1794 he sold 90 acres to his son, John, who built the first house here in 1786. John died in [...]

John Sprague

E-5-5 John Sprague bought 140 acres here from Uriah wheeler in 1784. He was a blacksmith by trade and came to Packersfield after service in the Revolutionary War. Born in Attleborough, Massachusetts, he arrived in Packersfield with his wife, Betsey. They had six children. They lived on the place until [...]

John White

E-5-4 The house currently at this location is a modern one built on the cellar hole of an older house built by John White in 1781. The original house burned the night of October 1, 1966. John White was a minuteman from Mansfield, Massachusetts who came to Packersfield in 1781. [...]

Jonas Brigham

The first settler here was Joseph Eayers (also Eyars) whose name appears on Breed Batchellor’s map accompanying the town’s petition for incorporation. Joseph cleared seven acres cleared and built a cabin. The specific location of the Eayers cabin is unknown. After all that hard work, he never took title to [...]

Jonas Davis Farm 2

D-4-26 Jonas Davis Farm: Approximate location of the second home of Jonas Davis. Remnants were obscured when the current house was built in 1882. Jonas Davis was one of three brothers to come to Packersfield from Rutland, Massachusetts after the Revolution. He purchased 100 acres of land from his father, [...]

Jonathan Haild

B-2-7 Jonathan Haild Jonathan Haild (also Hale and Heald) moved here from Templeton, Massachusetts. He was born in Acton, Massachusetts in 1740. The Acton connection is undoubtedly how he met William Barker (C-4-1) and his family marrying that man’s oldest daughter, Rhoda. He served in the Braddock Campaign with his [...]

Jonathan Lovejoy

D-2-10 Jonathan Lovejoy was born in Hollis in 1754, enlisted from there and settled here in 1791 after service in the Revolutionary War. He and his wife, Rebecca, had three children. Their youngest daughter, also Rebecca, married Absolom Farwell and lived with Jonathan until he died in 1825. The Lovejoys [...]

Joseph Baker

B-5-4: Joseph came to Packersfield with his parents about 1790. He followed his father at B-5-12 before buying lot four, range four of the northwest quarter in 1816 and building the house here. He left for Weld, Maine in about 1820 and Asa Stone (who may have held a mortgage) was awarded title by a court after Baker’s departure. Sometime between 1816 and 1827 a second dwelling was added. The property was acquired by Joseph Osgood in 1827.

Joseph Briant

B-3-13 Joseph Briant The origins of this house are somewhat mysterious. The property seems to have fallen into tax arrears and was purchased by Jonas Minot, a Concord, Massachusetts investor in land in Packersfield and the father-in-law of Josiah Melvin, founder of the Melville family in Nelson. His partner in [...]

Joseph Felt

C-5-7 Joseph Felt The place was originally cleared by William Priest starting in 1779. The sold the place to Joseph Felt in 1781 and bought Felt’s land further north at C-5-6. Joseph Felt came from New Ipswich, New Hampshire built a large house here following his service in the Revolutionary [...]

Joseph Stanford

Joseph Stanford was one of Monadnock #6’s earliest settlers buying 100 acres from Jonathan Blanchard in 1769 for forty schillings. By 1773 he had a log cabin built near here and seven acres of land cleared. He answered the alarm at Concord on April 20, 1775 and served outside of Boston until November of that year.

Joseph Stanhope

D-4-12 Joseph Stanhope Joseph was born on 16 November 1715 in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan Stanhope and Abigail (Howe) Stanhope. At the age of 40, he married Sarah Howe on the 31st of January in 1755 at a ceremony performed in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. She was [...]

Joshua Felt

D-5-5 The exact location io this house is uncertain. It seems to have been several hundred feet north of today’s Old Stoddard Road though the location can’t be identified. Joshua Felt came to Packersfield by 1778 from Lynn, Massachusetts. He marched from Lynn to the Lexington alarm in 1775. He [...]

Joshua Kittredge

C-4-1 The settlement survey in 1774 lists a sawmill and house here that had been built by Breed Batchellor as early as 1772. This was part of Batchellor’s estate that had been confiscated by the State of New Hampshire when he joined the British Army. It was bought first by Elisha [...]

Josiah and Sophia Parker

B-3-5 There is a nice cellar hole and barn foundations here about 1500’ along an old town road that runs north from Apple Hill Road. This property was purchased in 1803 by Nathaniel Breed III, grandson and namesake of one of Nelson’s founders, who built the house here. The following [...]

Josiah Atwood

C-4-20 ~ John Atwood was born in Medford, Massachusetts in 1729 and married Eunice Lawrence in 1751.  They moved to Templeton where the couple had ten children including two sons who moved to Packersfield. One, Philip,  preceded him to town,  arriving in 1778 (B-3-8.) In 1789 the other, Josiah, bought 50 acres of land south of the junction of  land south of the junction of Blueberry Lane and Center Pond Roads today and built a small house.

Josiah Billings

A-2-1 Josiah Billings Nelson’s first resident. “Site of a small building said to have been erected by Josiah Billings before Breed Batchellor settled at K-4-7. [A-2-2] The occupant ran away leaving the house and contents which Mr. Batchellor occupied and appropriated.” Mr. Billings whereabouts were not entirely unknown at the [...]

Josiah Flint

B-2-8 Josiah Flint This lot was one of the Proprietor’s Lots in Monadnock #6, land reserved for the original proprietors with three lots reserved for the support of town functions: support of the gospel (2) and support of schools (1). The Town leased lot number one in the eighth range [...]

Josiah Parker

C-4-19 Josiah Parker: The approximate location of the Josiah Parker homestead. The site is occupied by a much more modern building. Stone enclosures and potential barn foundations suggest it as the site for Parker’s house. Josiah Parker came to Packersfield from Wilton, New Hampshire in about 1789 with his wife [...]

Josiah Robbins

B-4-3 Josiah Robbins One of the founders of the Robbins family in Nelson, Josiah was born in Townsend, Massachusetts and came to Packersfield after his Revolutionary War service. He bought the property, partly in Sullivan and partly in Packersfield in 1807, built the home here and moved from B-3-4. He [...]

Josiah Whitney

D-5-2 Josiah Whitney bought lot #2 in range 10 in Packersfield’s northeast quarter in 1779. Clearing had been done there earlier by Elihu Higbe. He built first at D-5-7 and afterwards here. Nancy and Josiah Whitney came to Packersfield with their first two children; they added seven more.  In 1822 [...]


A-2-13 - This is a grand cellar hole today with nicely cut granite in its walls. It sits on a hill overlooking and just south of Otter Brook. The grand home here was likely built by Solomon Kingsbury and improved and maintained by three generations of that family until it ceased being occupied on the death of Elbridge Kingsbury in the early twentieth century.

Ladies Braid

After forty years of use, I’ve finally had to discard a braided rug Ma Tolman made at the Ladies Aid. Her workmanship, with its great careless leaping stitches, wasn’t up to the standard of, say, Mrs. Cora Tolman. Besides, Ma had a tendency to use what-came-to-hand, and the section which came from an old pair of Pop’s brown serge trousers was a mistake.

By |January 7th, 2017|Categories: 1951 - 2000, Cultural Organizations, Floppy Tolman, Stories|0 Comments

Lead Mine Farm

C-3-4 This beautiful example of an early Nelson home is probably best known for its service as Nelson’s Town Poor Farm from 1851 to 1858.  It takes its name from a quarry on the property where graphite was mined in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Lead Mine Farm Joseph [...]

Leavit Phillips Place 

A-2-19 Leavit Phillips Place This homesite was built on an unfavorable north slope and was abandoned early in the migration of Packersfield farmers west for better land. Leavit Phillips had built it around 1808 and sold to Joshua Lawrence Jr. in 1819. Moses Clark bought it in 1824 and abandoned [...]

Levi Wilder

B-2-6 Levi Wilder Levi and Sarah (Moody) Wilder and their infant daughter, Clarissa, settled here in 1786 moving from Templeton, Massachusetts after his service in the Revolution. According to his pension records, his house burned in August of that year while he and his family were are church. They rebuilt [...]

Live from the Tolman Pond Archives

Live from the Tolman Pond Archives is an iMovie, turned youtube. Karen Tolman merged the audio from her 2013 Library Forum presentation with photographs to help tell the story of an unlikely resort at Tolman Pond, a small neighborhood, in the small town of Nelson, in the small state of New Hampshire.

By |January 4th, 2017|Categories: How People Lived, Karen Tolman, Nelson Town Hall Programs, Photos, Stories, Video|0 Comments

Lucy Nichols Barrett

F-5-15- The origins of this home site are not precisely known. It seems likely that John Barrett built this house on his father, Nathaniel Barrett’s, farm at about the time of his marriage to Lucy Nichols in 1802. If so, the couple lived there from then until John abandoned his wife and six children in 1812.

Lucy Nichols Barrett

This is the story of Lucy Nichols Barrett, a women deserted by her husband at age 32 with her six children and thrown on the mercy of the town and her neighbors. The scanty records that exist document the desertion and the support of her husband’s family and their neighbors. It also illustrates the town’s treatment of its poor. The story may even have had a happy ending.

By |October 25th, 2018|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, Biographies, Government, How People Lived, Rick Church|0 Comments

Luther Heaton Homestead

A-2-6 Luther Heaton Homestead Luther Heaton’s original house stood here on land he purchased from his father in 1784. Luther and his wife were childless and adopted his nephew, Samuel Wadsworth, as toddler. Samuel’s father had died before his on was born and his mother, Luther Heaton’s sister, gave her [...]

Lyman Stone

B-5-3 Barker place in the late 1800s Lyman Stone This home is associated with two of Nelson’s founding families. John Breed JR was the grandson of one of Nelson’s founders, Dr. Nathaniel Beed. He was born to Nathaniel Breed’s second son, John, and his wife, Sarah Felt at [...]

Melville Farm

D-4-19 The Melville Farm The house rebuilt after a 1925 fire. Uriah Wheeler was an early, large landowner in Packersfield owning some 400 acres that included the current village. The land had been owned by Breed Batchellor and was confiscated and sold when Batchellor joined the British Army. He [...]

Melville Store

D-4-16 Melville Store Uriah Wheeler built a house and tavern here as early as 1781. The establishment must have been quite commodious as town meeting were often adjourned to his house. The Wheelers sold the place to Jonas Minot of Concord, Massachusetts and Thaddeus Barker seems to have kept the [...]


D-3-18: Its most well-known owner was Parke Hardy Struthers who purchased the farm in 1932 and named it Merriconn because the property is situated on the watershed divide between the Merrimac and Connecticut Rivers. It was a brick house of a grand size for Nelson and situated on an imposing location. Perhaps the height of its prominence was as the home of Louis C. Cabot of Boston who made it into his summer estate.

Munsonville School

B-5-13 In 1889 the town voted 33 to 32 to raise $1200 to build a new school here to replace the schools at C-5-9 and B-4-8. It took two years to agree in the site and build the school. Bricks from the two earlier schools were used in its construction. [...]

Music and Dance in the Nelson Town Hall: The Myth, the Magic the Truth

What's behind the legendary status of the Nelson Town Hall? This video is from a Zoom presentation made for the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library, on December 19, 2020. Lisa Sieverts (dance caller) and Gordon Peery (piano player), both long-time participants in Nelson contra dances, have unearthed some charming nuggets of [...]

By |December 22nd, 2020|Categories: All, Contra Dancing, Music, Musicians, Nelson Town Hall, Video|0 Comments

Nathan Wesson

E-2-4 Nathan Wesson (also Weston) bought 105 acres of land here from James Bancroft in 1782. He came here from Hollis after two enlistments in the army serving in the Ticonderoga campaign and elsewhere. His introduction to Packersfield probably came from serving with Allen Breed and Joseph Felt. He built a [...]

Nathaniel Barrett

F-5-6 Nathaniel Barrett Nathaniel and Mercy Barrett bought land here in 1778 from John French. His record of enlistment in the Revolutionary War (he enlisted from Mason, NH) suggests that he built here after the war – perhaps in 1783. The had six children including John who married Lucy Nichols (F-5-14) [...]

Nathaniel Parker

D-4-31: The site of a house built in about 1817 by Nathaniel Parker. The current house on the site is a renovation of a barn on the original place. The old home stood between the current house and the well.  The original home burned sometime in the early 1950’s.

Nehemiah Rand: 

D-4-28 One of the first settlers of Nelson Village, Rand bought a 3-acre lot from the estate of Henry Melville in 1839. Dr. Rand bought Dr. Calvin Hubbard’s practice in Nelson and moved here from Hancock. Dr Rand practiced medicine in Nelson and was a partner with Ruel Nims in [...]

Nehemiah Wright

F-3-2 Brothers, Nehemiah and Oliver Wright grew up in Dunstable. In those days Dunstable straddled the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border where Dunstable, Massachusetts is today. Dr. Ebenezer Starr also lived there; he was the owner of some 700 acres in the southeast quarter of Packersfield. The Wrights bought 100 acres (known [...]

Nelson History: Early Settlement

The task of settling Monadnock Number Six, a town eight by five miles in the middle of the wilderness, must have been daunting. It would take a strong will to make it happen. The 25,000 acres had been granted to a set of proprietors with the requirement that there be 50 families settled in houses with 12 acres cleared and fenced within six years of the grant.

Nelson History: In the Beginning

King James I awarded John Mason a charter of new land in the New Hampshire/ northern Massachusetts in 1623. The grant included all the land between the Naumkeag (today called the Merrimack) and Pascataqua Rivers extending 60 miles inland. The place was to be called New Hampshire and Mason’s charge was to settle the area.

By |January 18th, 2017|Categories: Farms and Forests, Pre 1750, Rick Church, The Land and Its Settlement|0 Comments

Nelson Population Trends

Nelson's population in the Census of 1790 was 721. The most recent (2020) Census shows a population of 734 - a whopping increase of 13 people over a 230 year period. Of course there are some twists and turns in the story, and we've added some graphics to spice up the tale.

Nelson’s Civil War Hero

Simon Griffin was born in Nelson on August 9, 1824, the son of Nathan and Sally Wright Griffin. The Nathan Griffin family lived on Center Pond Road about a mile from the village. Simon Griffin's grandfather, Samuel, had fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill before coming to Nelson in about 1779 and settling at the top of Dixon Hill.

By |January 15th, 2017|Categories: 1851 - 1900, How People Lived, Military, Parke Struthers, Profiles|0 Comments

Night of Horror – the Hurricane of 1938

A tropical hurricane is impossible in New England? It might have been so once, but no longer. Mark Twain once said “If you don’t like New England weather, wait a few hours.” That may not be what he actually said, but it undoubtedly is exactly what he meant. It has rained more or less steadily since last Wednesday night, seven days and nights of almost uninterrupted rainfall.

By |January 28th, 2017|Categories: 1901 - 1950, Ralph Page, Stories|0 Comments

Noah Robbins

C-3-5 This modest cellar hole is difficult to find being more that 100 yards west of an old road abandoned in 1828.  Born in Templeton, Massachusetts in 1771, he moved to Packersfield in 1796 and married Lydia Felt that year. The couple probably lived with her parents, Jonathan and Martha [...]

Nurse Place

B-2-9 This is one of the older sites in Packersfield. Note there are two cellar holes at this location about two hundred feet apart. One is small and, clearly abandoned many years ago. Built originally by Benjamin Nourse (also Nurs or Nurse) who came in 1772, they may have been [...]

Oliver Whitney

D-3-10 Oliver Whitney was born in Needham, Massachusetts in 1744. He responded to the Lexington alarm from Natick on April 19, 1775 and served a short enlistment afterwards. He married Hanna Chase and moved to Swansea. The couple moved to Packersfield with two young children in time to have Betsey who was born here March 2, 1783. The

Oliver Wright

F-3-4 There is no trace of this house today. From road and property records we know its approximate location on the old road to Hancock a few hundred feet east of Nehemiah Wright’s cellar hole. The foundation was, likely destroyed when the house now occupied by Mary and Dennis Dellagreca [...]

Our Write Wing: The Authors of Nelson, Part I

"There's gold in them thar hills," the ever hopeful western prospector used to say. But the only ore in the hills hereabouts was "lead" (which was really graphite), and the two so-called lead mines in Nelson have long since ceased operating. In our hills, however, there runs another kind of rich vein, and that is the writings of various Nelson authors.

By |January 6th, 2017|Categories: Henry Putzel, Writers|0 Comments

Our Write Wing: The Authors of Nelson, Part II

The subject of writing families - that is families that have produced several authors -would be an engrossing topic all by itself. In England we have the Bronte sisters, the Sitwells, Nicolsons, Woolfs, Powyses, among others. In this country there are far fewer writing families. But don't underestimate Nelson - for here we have the Tolman family of authors.

By |January 6th, 2017|Categories: Henry Putzel, Writers|0 Comments

Our Write Wing: The Authors of Nelson, Part III

Princeton University over the years has been well represented in this area by summering scholars. Walter P. Hall, a history professor affectionately known to Princetonians as "Buzzer," was one of these. He often graced the podium on Nelson's Old Home Day. He has written several history books as well as numerous scholarly articles.

By |January 6th, 2017|Categories: Henry Putzel, Writers|0 Comments

Packersfield’s First Minister: Jacob Foster

D-4-15 Packersfield’s First Minister: Jacob Foster Nothing remains of this home today. The cellar hole was probably filled in when the village cemetery was extended to the north in the 1970’s. In 1781 Packersfield settled its first minister, Jacob Foster. He bought 100 acres of land near here from Uriah [...]

Party Lines

When Barry and I first moved into the Farmhouse at Tolman Pond in 1969, our only available telephone service was a six-party line. Of course we knew all the neighbors who shared the line, and after conquering the established art of discreet eavesdropping, we also knew most of their business. As they surely knew most of ours!

By |November 30th, 2016|Categories: 1951 - 2000, How People Lived, Karen Tolman, Stories|0 Comments

Peletiah Day

E-5-7 The Peletiah Day Place This is the oldest standing house in Nelson. The original settler on this place was John Proute who is listed in Breed Batchellor’s list of settlers in 1773. He arrived in 1770 with his family of four and had cleared 16 acres by 1773. He [...]


A small problem can itch and harass as much as a black fly bite and can be as hard to get rid of. For instance, 59¢ showed up on a town bank statement one year when I was treasurer. It didn’t belong to the town’s account. I had receipts for every cent I’d deposited - receipts for dog licenses, taxes, car fees - everything.

By |January 7th, 2017|Categories: Floppy Tolman, Government, Stories|0 Comments

Philip Atwood

B-3-8 Circa 1890 James Banks bought land here in late 1778 and is credited by Struthers with building the house. Perhaps he built a small part of the substantial house that strands there today though he did not own the property long. It is likely that Philip Atwood [...]

Ralph Page’s Northern Junket

From 1949 to 1984, Ralph single-handedly published 165 mimeographed issues of his Northern Junket magazine, which contained editorials, recipes, stories, dance notes, and sheet music for squares, contras, and international folk dances, and sheet music for many folk songs. Though he lived in Nelson, his popularity had him traveling all around the country and beyond.

By |November 27th, 2020|Categories: 1901 - 1950, 1951 - 2000, Contra Dancing, Cultural, Dance, Gordon Peery|0 Comments

Reuben Wellman

E-4-6 In 1774 Reuben Wellman built a home on 3 acres of land in the town's northeast quarter that had been previously been cleared by Michael Woodcock. Mr. Woodcock had arrived from Stoughtonham, Massachusetts in about 1772 and then removed to Chesterfield two years later. It was not long before [...]

Reuel Nims

D-4-34 Born in Keene in 1807, Reuel moved to Nelson in about 1830 and seems to have worked for Henry Melville in his store. At the time of Henry’s death in 1838 the men had a partnership called Melville & Nims. Following his partner’s death, Nims formed a partnership with Henry’s son, Jonas, and purchased this lot and the land that is now occupied by the Nelson Common and the church. The new partnership built the three-story brick store in about 1840. Jonas lived in Jaffrey; Reuel was the active partner.

Richard Farwell

C-2-1 Brothers Richard, Absalom and John Farwell arrived in Packersfield from Marblehead, Massachusetts early. All were signers of the Association Test in April 1776. Richard saw service early in the Revolutionary War serving with his brother, Absalom at Bennington and Saratoga. Richard, the youngest of the three, bought 120 acres [...]

Rick Church’s Tidbits

Rick Church has been plowing through old town records accessioned into our Town Archives and property records registered at the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds for many years now. Please see the posted articles that he has contributed to this town history website.

By |January 26th, 2017|Categories: Rick Church|0 Comments

Roxbury Meeting House

A-2-3 Roxbury Meeting House A large number of Packersfield’s early settlers came from Rutland, Massachusetts in the mid to late 1700s and settled in the southwest part of Packersfield near the Batchellor farm, Ruth Batchellor herself had been a native of Rutland. As such the settlers formed a natural community [...]

Sally Minot Melville: A Woman of High Respect

“Sometime prior to 1792, Josiah Melville, the first of the family in Cheshire county, came to Packersfield with his wife, Sarah (Minot) to whom he was married January 28, 1790.” This entry in the Struther’s History of Nelson is all we would have known of Sarah (called Sally) Melville if not for the survival of two insightful reflections written after her death in 1811.

By |January 27th, 2017|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, Bert Wingerson, How People Lived, Profiles|0 Comments

Samuel Adams

E-4-1 Samuel Adams built the first house here, moving here with his wife, Sarah Felt, and their oldest child, Sarah. As so many early settlers did, he came from Massachusetts after extensive service in the war. From his pension application we know he was” 5’ 5” tall and 28 years [...]

Samuel Eames

Samuel Eames had a twenty-year tenure here 1793- 1815. We know little about Samuel. He was the resident farmer for most of those twenty plus years but the ownership record suggests he was a tenant on the place much of the time. Though 53 acres in size, the active farm was never more than six acres in size and the livestock consisted of only a couple of cows.

By |June 18th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, Building Sites, Maps, NA, Rick Church|0 Comments

Samuel Foster

F-2-2. Born in Boxborough, Massachusetts in 1765; he married Phoebe Teachout in early 1790. The couple moved to Packersfield from Williamstown, Massachusetts in the summer of 1790. Samuel grew his family (five children born in Packersfield) and his farm (almost 300 acres in the southeastern corner of the town by 1799. He sold in 1806 and moved briefly to Canada before settling in Chazy, New York where he died in 1831.

Samuel Wadsworth Place

A-2-7 Samuel Wadsworth Place The land here was originally settled by Luther Heaton who bought it from his father in 1784. He built a house near here (A-2-6) where he lived with his wife, Joanna, until they sold the farm to his nephew, Samuel Wadsworth, and his wife Hulda (Heaton) [...]

Samuel Warren

D-2-11 Timothy Bancroft of Barnstable, Massachusetts bought the Right of Benjamin French (400 acres) in the southeast quarter of Monadnock #6 early. He sold 100 acres here in 1770 to his son, James. James acquired the balance of the French Right after his father’s death in 1780. James bult a [...]

Saying Goodbye to a House

In October of 2020, the house most recently known as the Seaver house was torn down. In the year 2000 my husband and I were young, and we looked at that house that was old and alone and thought we would go pretty well together. I’m going to do my best to tell you a story of that house, but you’re going to have to hear it in the style of Paul, the last man to own it. Per his tradition, you won’t get any answer here about why the house had to come down, or what will happen next. Answers have to be earned by understanding how a thing matters in the grander scheme.

By |December 26th, 2020|Categories: F2, Farms and Forests, How People Lived, Jodi Farwell, NA, The Land and Its Settlement|0 Comments

School #5

B-3-15Packersfield established nine school districts in 1791 and raised 270 pounds with which to build them. The early schoolhouses were frame buildings completed sometime around 1795. They were replaced with brick ones in about 1820. This is the only original brick schoolhouse that still from that period. It was sold by [...]

School #7

D-2-12 School #7 This was one of nine schools built by Nelson in 1789-1790. It served the families in the southeast quarter of the town and was located “on the road between Captain James Bancroft’s house and Dublin”. This one-room schoolhouse, originally built from wood, had perhaps as many [...]

Scripture Place

D-2-13 Eleazur Twitchell was one of the earliest settlers on Monadnock #6. He bought his first land here in 1769 and built the home here in 1772.The family was originally from Sherborn, Massachusetts. Though he built a log house here early, owned hundreds of acres (Including all of Harrisville Pond) [...]

Second Meetinghouse

A possible resemblance to a service in the Nelson Meetinghouse. The Second Meetinghouse was built in 1786 when the town, then called Packersfield, replaced its original Meetinghouse with a magnificent one modeled on one in Wilton. The town of Hancock, in turn, modeled their new meetinghouse on Packersfield’s. It was [...]

By |December 12th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, Churches, Rick Church|0 Comments

Shadrach Hill

D-3-9 Born in Southborough, Massachusetts in 1744, Shadrach Hill settled in Packersfield in 1776 buying 200 acres of land from John Estabrook. He moved from Framingham, Massachusetts where he served in the army fighting at Bunker Hill. He built the house here and moved his wife Ruth (Graves) and three [...]

Simon Goodell

C-3-7 Born in Westminster, Vermont, in 1785, Simon Goodell attended two courses of lectures in medicine at the Dartmouth College. In 1812 he was recruited to practice in Packersfield by some influential members of the community. One of those members, Josiah Melville, sold Dr. Goodell the property here in 1815 [...]

Solomon Buckminster

A-2-4 Solomon Buckminster Place The house was probably built in 1783 by Benjamin Nurs JR. He sold it to Samuel Frink who owned it less than a year before selling it to Solomon Buckminster with “the dwelling house theron standing”. He was instrumental in the formation of the town of [...]

Solomon Ingalls

F-5-2 Deacon Ingalls A short biography of Solomon can be found on page 93 of the pamphlet "Celebration by the town of Nelson" written and published for the town's 150th anniversary. Solomon and Mercy (Mary) Ingalls moved here from Andover, Massachusetts in 1783. Solomon had served several years with George [...]

Solomon Kitteridge

F-5-4 Solomon Kitteridge Solomon Kitteridge moved to Packersfield from Amherst, New Hampshire after service in the Revolutionary War. According to his pension records he served at Bunker Hill in 1775 and at “The Cedars” southwest of Montreal where he has taken prisoner. He was exchanged and reenlisted, fighting at the [...]

Sophia Griffin’s Sampler

The cross-stitched sampler that Sophia Griffin created as an eleven-year-old girl in Packersfield in 1801 has come home to Nelson.  This is a story of an old Nelson family; interest in family heritage and local history, the marvel of communication that the Internet can be and the generosity of Nancy and [...]

By |December 16th, 2020|Categories: Artists, Rick Church|0 Comments

Stephen Osborn

F-5-10 Stephen Osborn There are foundations for two houses on this site within a few hundred feet of each other. They are what remains of homes built by Stephen Osborn beginning in 1799. Stephen Osborn was born in 1771 and married Rachael Baker of Marlborough in 1792. In approximately 1799 [...]

Stephen Osborn’s Sawmill

F-5-12 Stephen Osborn’s Sawmill Signage Along the Trail - credit: Kathy Stickley Mullen - 2020 Probably constructed in 1815, the mill sits beside a 25’ water fall in Bailey Brook. Charles Bemis’ unpublished notes on the history of Nelson “manufactures” written in 1913 states that the mill produced [...]

Stephen Parker

E-4-15 Stephen and Mary Parker moved to Packersfield from New Ipswich, New Hampshire in 1778 when Stephen was forty.  At one time owned extensive property on Osgood Hill. Stephen saw substantial service in the Revolutionary War. He seems to have had some financial difficulties, selling his land back to the [...]

Suzanne (Vincent) Murray, an Interview

From Summer to Settler: This interview with Suzanne Murray, as enhanced by Tom Murray, is one of a series of interviews conducted by Tom Murray, her son. He is especially interested in talking with people who became “year-round people” after having spent time in Nelson as “summer people.”

By |February 18th, 2017|Categories: 1901 - 1950, 1951 - 2000, 2000 - present, Profiles, Summer Folks, Tom Murray|0 Comments

The Abenaki

As early as 20,000 years ago, small groups of hunter-gatherers began to enter the pristine environment of this continent.They followed the wild game on which they depended across the ancient exposed bridge of land into the new world. They eventually expanded from the Arctic to the very tip of South America and moved eastward toward the shores of the Atlantic. Over the last hundred years, archaeological excavations have revealed some of their wandering, their hunting sites, their more extended camp sites and later their villages. All of this growth and social development occurred before the arrival of another group of people on the opposite shore that followed their need to find new territory to increase their food supply.

By |April 29th, 2021|Categories: Bert Wingerson, NA|0 Comments

The Bailey Place

E-3-7 The Bailey Place This small house was built in 1933 on the foundation of Ebenezer Tolman’s second house in Packersfield. Ebenezer was a housewright and built three houses in the area between Tolman Pond and Nubanusit Pond when he first arrived. He built here in 1800 and lived here [...]

The Banks Place

A-2-20 The Banks Place Rutland, Massachusetts provided many of the early settlers of this part of Packersfield. James Banks of Rutland built the place with its neighboring barn  in about 1780. His son, William, succeeded in 1807. Deacon Reuben Phillips and his wife Rebecca bought the place in 1836. They [...]

The Blood Farm

E-2-1 Jesse and Lydia (Parker) Wright moved to Packersfield from Woburn, Massachusetts in 1780. Their initial lot was 104 acres, the common size for an uncleared lot. That year they built a house at E-2-1. There were here 13 years before they acquired additional property to the south and built [...]

The Burnap Farm

D-4-2 Noah Hardy built the cape cod style house on 100 acres of land here in 1785.  He came from Hollis, New Hampshire. His last enlistment (1780) was from Packersfield. It is not clear where he might have resided prior to 1785. He sold a small piece on the brook [...]

The Center School (reflections from this student)

There were as many as seven one-room schoolhouses, of which the current Nelson town office (known as the Brick Schoolhouse) served as one, in Nelson from 1838 through the spring of 1945. Ethan Tolman submitted this article in January, 2019, shortly before he died on February 20 of that year. At the end of the very cold day, the other children left to walk home. Miss Stewart and I waited, and waited, as she got more nervous. "Well, Ethan," she said, "let's call your house." So, we walked next door to the Quigley's (where the library is now) and found Mrs. Quigley on the phone to Gordon, who had called. Fortunately, the Quigleys had recently got a phone – I think by only a few months. (None were installed during the war, of course.) His information was that the car would not start, and he had been unable to contact anyone who was both home and whose car would start. So, Miss Stewart and I set out for home. By the time we got to Tolman Pond we were both cold, and Miss Stewart suggested we go in and get warm. So, we went in, Sadie (Barry Tolman’s grandmother) gave us a hot drink and a fresh off-the-stove doughnut, and we soon were ready to head home, where my mother did much the same. Finally, someone thought to look at the temperature: minus 36 degrees F. That's the coldest I have seen in Nelson.

The Chandler Place

E-4-2 The Chandler Place Peter Chandler was born in Andover, Massachusetts in 1755 and moved to Packersfield with his wife, May, from Wilton after service in the Revolution. His pension application states that he enlisted in 1775 and served until May of 1780. He “received a wound through the body [...]

The Chapel-by-the-Lake

In the early development of manufacturing, areas that afforded the potential for water power were prime locations for community growth. In 1814, the Cotton Factory was built in a remote section of Nelson to take advantage of the water power from the outflow of the dammed Factory Lake, now known [...]

The Curious Case of Ithamar’s Button

In a previous article I told a story about the discovery of an unknown colonial homesite on our property and the 1770s relics I found with my metal detectors. Research revealed a gentleman named Ithamar Smith and possibly two other men living here from 1772-1773. It is speculated that Ithamar possibly moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, after departing Nelson in 1773. Three years after my first article and many, many hours detecting this site, I thought I had found every relic. I went out with my detector this past summer, returning to the cabin site, assuming I would be finding 18 th century handmade nails. After ten nails, I found a pewter button – the signal had been blocked by the nails. After cleaning the button, I noticed a number 23 on the front. Guessing a numbered button is usually military, I was super excited!

By |October 29th, 2023|Categories: 1751 - 1800, Bill Dunn, Life in Nelson, Military|0 Comments

The Dogs of Nelson

Among the many interesting items I discovered while organizing the Nelson town archives was a slim volume entitled “Registry of Dogs.” My original intent was to compare dog’s names of 100 years ago with contemporary ones. So, I kept a mental note of it, deciding then to take a closer look later when time afforded it.

By |January 14th, 2017|Categories: Bert Wingerson, How People Lived|0 Comments

The Eames Place

A-2-10 The Eames Place John Estabrook of Rutland, Massachusetts bought the land here from Breed Batchellor in late 1774. He probably built the house the following year. He signed the Association Test in 1776. He sold the place to Daniel Estabrook, probably a son, in 1784. He sold it to [...]

The High Drive Concert

The stage of the Nelson Town Hall has seen many prominent musicians over the years. March 24, 2019 brought the band High Drive, featuring Bonnie Bewick and Larry Wolfe, both members of the Boston Symphony, joined by our own Gordon Peery for a concert of (mostly) fiddle tunes. Bonnie and Larry and, three nights before, played at Carnegie Hall, but they found the energy and intimacy of the Nelson audience to be more satisfying.

By |December 17th, 2020|Categories: Cultural, Music, Musicians, NA, Nelson Town Hall Programs, Video|0 Comments

The Hunting Farm

D-4-1 The Hunting Farm Charles Rice came to Packersfield from Sudbury, Massachusetts after service in the Revolutionary War and built a house on the 38-acre property. He sold the property in 1786 to his neighbor to the west, William Barker (C-4-1) and, likely, continued to live there until 1791. That [...]

The Jonas Davis Farm

D-4-4 Jonas Davis bought 100 acres of land here in 1778. He served in the Revolution from Rutland, Massachusetts responding to the Lexington Alarm and serving several enlistments as late as the end of 1777. In 1783 bought an additional 50 acres, married Hannah Woods and built this house. Their [...]

The Kimball Place

C-3-16 David Kimball came from Boxford, Massachusetts.  He bought 100 acres in the original right of Alexander Parke JR.  in 1784.  The property was 100 acres and would eventually hold three houses. David Kimball saw much service in the Revolutionary first answering the call at Lexington in 1775, then only [...]

The Kittredge Farm

C-4-3 Joshua Kittredge (also Kitteridge) married Solomon and Tabitha Kittredge's daughter Lydia on November 29, 1787 in Amherst, New Hampshire. They had three daughters, then she died. He remarried Beulah Baker on June 10, 1796. The following year he built a much larger house here using lumber [...]

The Management of Early Schools

While school districts were largely self-governing, they were subject to town oversight and a growing body of state regulation on the qualifications of teachers. There were two bodies established during this period to oversee the operation of Nelson’s schools: The Prudential Committee and the Superintending Committee.  These committees seem not [...]

By |December 11th, 2020|Categories: Government, Rick Church, Schools|0 Comments

The Nelson Congregational Church

At the first town meeting held in 1772, it was voted to build a meetinghouse on a lot designated for that purpose in the center of the town. It was a simple log building, twenty-five by thirty feet, described by Rev. Edwin N. Hardy as “roughly constructed, unpainted, unheated and unadorned.”

By |January 21st, 2017|Categories: Bert Wingerson, Churches|0 Comments

The Nelson Music Collection

The Nelson Music Collection was first published in 1969, as a “Collection of Authentic Square Dance Melodies. Compiled by Newt Tolman, a flute player from Nelson, and his piano accompanist, Kay Gilbert from Peterborough, it contains 64 tunes that might be heard at one of the local square dances. I

By |April 17th, 2023|Categories: 1951 - 2000, Gordon Peery|0 Comments

The Nelson Town Hall Front Door

In 2013, the Town of Nelson received a grant from the State of New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources Moose Plate Program “to repair the historic windows and front door of the Nelson Town Hall.” The door was taken apart and each piece was studied, dissected, stripped, repaired, primed and painted. Here are excerpts from an example of the scrutiny that each piece received.

By |December 7th, 2016|Categories: 2000 - present, Karen Tolman, Nelson Town Hall, Photos|0 Comments

The Nelson Town Hall Over the Years

D-4-18: Reuel Nims gave land here to the Town of Nelson if it would, at its own expense, erect a 34×48’ meeting house, Nims to get full use of the basement as a store house. The Congregational Church had given up its use of the Second Meeting House on the hill above the village and built its own church at D-4-11. The old second meeting house, 45 x 60’ and built in the period 1786- 1790 was disassembled and parts of it used to construct our current Town Hall. Sometime after fire destroyed Nims’ store, the tall basement Nims had used for storage was lowered to create the building we have today.

By |November 1st, 2016|Categories: 1801 - 1850, 1851 - 1900, 1901 - 1950, Government, Nelson Town Hall, Rick Church|0 Comments

The Osgood Farm

B-5-2 The Osgood Farm Levi Warren purchased 100 acres here from Thomas Packer (III) in 1790 and probably built a house. Struthers writes that Warren lived here; he is listed in the 1790 census as a Packersfield resident. The Rev. Seward, in his Sullivan History, credits the house to Nathaniel [...]

The Osgood Place

C-4-13 This two-story brick house was built by Abel Richardson about 1815. We know little about this energetic early citizen. He operated the mill at D-4-7 then lived and may have operated a tavern at D-3-11 before building this brick home on a hill in 1815. He seems not to [...]

The Priest Farm

E-4-5 This cellar hole, the remains of a house built by Jeremiah Barrett in about 1775 is on the side of Green Gate Road, a private road today. Jeremiah Barrett, from Ashburnham, Massachusetts, bought the land here late in 1774 and probably built the house in 1775. He was here [...]

The Sawyer Family Provides for Old Age and Succession

Families moving to a frontier town like Packersfield employed a number of strategies to sustain themselves. They often came with others they knew from their hometowns and settled near one another in their new home. Often those clusters of new arrivals were related. In the second generation they often took steps to keep the farm in the family and provide for their old age. The Sawyer Family who settled in the northeast corner of Packersfield did all of these things.

By |December 16th, 2020|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, How People Lived, Life in Nelson, Rick Church|0 Comments

The Seaver Place

Nathaniel Breed Jr. acquired the property and its grist mill (C-1-3) in 1782. He was the oldest child of Nathaniel and Anne Knowles Breed and came to Monadnock #6 with his parents in 1767 at the age of fourteen. The Breeds lived at D-4-7 until 1782 when Nathaniel Sr. moved to New Ipswich, New Hampshire, selling the farm.

The Stoddard Farm

C-3-2 The place was first settled in about 1774 by Thomas Upham, an earlier settler of Packersfield who had pioneered at D-5-6. He probably built the house before moving to Wilton in 1777.  The Stoddard Family in the form of Richard and Rachael from Templeton, Massachusetts bought it from him. [...]

The Story Farm

E-4-4 The place known today as the Story Farm is a substantial cellar hole on the north side of Greengate Road and a barn foundation across the road. The place was settled prior to 1774 by Abraham Griffith who bought 100 acres here and had cleared 12 acres and built [...]

The Taft Place

C-4-18 Nathan JR married Sarah Barstow in 1825 with whom he had three children. Sarah died in 1828 and Nathan remarried Achsah Hardy with whom he had three more children including Edward who served in the Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862.

The Tolman Farmhouse

The original settler of the land on the north end of Tolman Pond [then Little Pond, later, Byrant Pond] was Jabez Grover who built the house at E-3-13 just up the hill. We lack deeds to definitively determine who built this house and when it was built, but a brick in the central chimney has “1791” inscribed into it and there’s no reason to doubt that date.

Thomas Butterfield

E-1-1 Thomas Butterfield A modest cellar hole today, this place was the early home of Thomas Butterfield. We know little about his origins. He came prior to 1780 as that year, and for several thereafter, he held Packersfield town offices including selectman in 1780. In 1787 he married Hulda (Heaton) [...]

Thomas Holt

E-5-6 Thomas Holt was the oldest son of Daniel Holt and married Polly Bevens in early 1785. They moved to his father’s house in Packersfield (E-4-3) in 1785 and welcomed their first child the same year. A tanner by trade and part of the Holt family from Andover, Massachusetts, Thomas [...]

Thomas Knowles Breed

D-3-11: Thomas was the 3rd son of Nathaniel and Ann Breed born in Sudbury, Massachusetts in 1761. He came to Monadnock #6 with his parents in 1768. He was an entrepreneur. He bought Nelson’ s first meeting house in 1788 and moved it to this location.Today, a well marks the site of what was once a home, store and tavern.

Thomas Wood Gurler 

C-1-2 Thomas Wood Gurler Thomas was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1775 and came to Packersfield with his parents, Nicholas and Betsy (Scripture) Gurler immediately after the Revolutionary War.  Nicholas, Thomas' father, died in Packersfield in 1785 and the young Thomas went to live with Samuel Griffin’s family at (D-3-6) where [...]

Timothy Bancroft

E-2-3 By Magicpiano - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, on Wikipedia This house is in what is now Harrisville, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Timothy Bancroft is believed to have built the ell of this house in about 1785; the larger main block was [...]

Town Pounds Overview

New England’s ancient Town Pounds are seen near the center of most towns even today. Substantial, square and made of large stones, town pounds are New England’s most  enduring and emblematic features of our agrarian past. Most towns have one that survives; Nelson has two!  They were built to hold the largest and most agile of domestic animals in temporary custody, protecting crops and precious cows, pigs, horses, sheep, oxen, etc until their owners could recover them.

By |January 2nd, 2021|Categories: 1751 - 1800, 1801 - 1850, 1851 - 1900, Life in Nelson, NA, Rick Church|0 Comments

What’s Up with these Old Photographs?

Postcards of these photos are available at the Harrisville General Store (Harrisville, NH) and at various town events.    A load of basket-seat porch rockers, the L.J. Colony Chair Factory in Munsonville (NH), c. 1880.   Early view of Nelson (NH) village including school (center), an elevated Town Hall and [...]

By |March 24th, 2019|Categories: Life in Nelson|0 Comments

Whitcomb’s Blacksmith shop

D-4-10 Whitcomb’s Blacksmith Shop Levi Whitcomb bought the land just up the brook from the road in 1786 from Jonas Davis (D-4-4). He moved to Nelson following his marriage in Templeton, Massachusetts on the 4th of December 1786 to Hannah Baker and opened a smithy on the land. Parke Struthers [...]

Willard Jewett

B-4-9 Willard Jewett bought the old Henry Wheeler farm (B-4-6) in 1836. In 1844 he sold two acres at the junction of the new road from Nelson to Sullivan and the Keene to Concord Road to Alanson and Olive (Beverstock) Bingham of Alstead. They built the house here and moved [...]

William Barker 2

C-4-11 William Barker moved to Nelson in 1779 and, occupied the farm first cleared by Richard Newton (C-4-16). There is no deed evidence of his purchase of lot #3, range 12 in the Northeast Quarter, but road records and a subsequent transfer of a half interest to his son, Leonard, [...]

William Beal

B-3-11 William Beal William Beal seems to have come to Packersfield before 1772. He succeeded as miller at the grist mill (at the outlet of Pleasant Pond (now Silver Lake, C-1-3)) succeeding Daniel Wood as operator. In 1785 he left the mill and moved to this location to begin his [...]

William S. Buckminster

A-3-1 William S. Buckminster William “Stoddard” Buckminster bought land here from his father Solomon and built a frame house here about 1810. The brick house that stands there today was an addition likely added in the 1820’s. Born in Rutland, Massachusetts in 1778, he married Hannah, daughter of Bartholomew Grimes [...]

Winslow Atwood

B-4-10: Winslow was the third son of Philip Atwood II and his wife Eunice. Philip and Eunice seem to have left their old house at C-4-19 sometime prior to 1858 and built here. They died in 1867 (Philip) and 1871 (Eunice) and are buried in the Village Cemetery. Their son Winslow may have built the house here around 1858.

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