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.
C-1-4 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 Daniel SR moved to New Ipswich, [...]
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.
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.
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. There is an extensive [...]
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 as Granite Lake. A [...]
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 two to twenty. They [...]
This is a video presentation about Merriconn, a legendary piece of land and buildings that is now gone. It is told by Lindy Black, whose father, Parke Struthers, created it.
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 fifteen. He went on [...]
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 the house at E-3-7 [...]
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 Concord, Massachusetts at the [...]
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 the store on the [...]
B-4-9 Orrel P. Atwood bought 12 acres here in 1853 from Nathan Taft JR. He was the 4th child of Phillip and Eunice Farwell Atwood, born in 1822. Orrel married Sarah Weston in 1848. Between 1851 and her death in 1856 the couple had for children and bult the house here. After her death Orrell [...]
E-2-6 In 1856 Joel Bancroft sold 85 acres here to Appleton Parmenter. The site included a good mill site just downstream from the Bancroft sawmill. Parmenter built a saw and grist mill here. In 1864 he sold the mill to his brother, Isaac, from Brooklyn, New York. Sometime later the mill was sold to [...]
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 us Nelson today. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1727, he [...]
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 be related to the [...]
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 died in 1837 and [...]
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 four more. They sold [...]
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 of land here in [...]
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 and he built the [...]
E-4-17 formerly the Samuel Adams Farm Our earlier article about this property ended with the owners leaving the property and the town taking ownership sometime after 1814. The course of ownership is not known until 1904, when William S. Hall bought the old Samuel Adams Farm from Wilmer Tolman. The old Adams home was [...]
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.
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 the town in February [...]
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 build most or all [...]
D-3-13 There 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 1795. John died in 1814 and [...]
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 Sheldon married Sarah ("Sally") [...]
B-5-4 Ezra Wilder was born in Sullivan in 1813 bought land here from John Osgood and built the house. On 09 January 1845 he married Elizabeth Saville Hathorn of Henniker. The couple began to build a large family farm and would become the parents of eight or nine children. In 1888 he sold the homestead [...]
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 probably added in the [...]
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 Josiah sold his 160-acre [...]
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 a log cabin by [...]
C-4-18 The Taft House today Nathan Taft was born in Westminster, Massachusetts in 1771. He married Betsy Bolton of Gardner. He bought the land here in 1799 from Thomas Packer III and built the cape that exists today. They had six children including their oldest, Nathan Taft JR (born Nelson 1805). Nathan [...]
C-3-17 This graphite deposit was discovered in 1853 on what was then the 156-acre Nelson Town Farm, and the selectmen were quickly authorized to sell the mining rights. The S. C. Griffin Company had a lease on the graphite veins as early as 1855; Parke Struthers (1968) reported that the Griffin company showed “some [...]
C-3-4This 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 Beal, a blacksmith from Lynn Massachusetts, probably moved [...]
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. . Richard features prominently [...]
C-1-1 Asa Robbins: 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 two children [...]
D-4-18 Reuel Nims gave land here to the Town of Nelson if it would, at its own expense, erect a 34x48’ 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 [...]
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 Skinner who moved here [...]
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 was born in Sudbury, [...]
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 Osgood. The current two-story [...]
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 built near the cellar [...]
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 D-4-9 in 1785. That [...]
C-4-11 William Barker moved to Nelson in 1779 and, probably first built and occupied C-4-2. 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, are proof that he built the place [...]
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 old” when he began [...]
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 to Thomas K. Breed [...]
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 his father, Nathaniel, and [...]
B-4-6 Betsy and Henry Wheeler came to Packersfield from Concord, Massachusetts in 1796 and built a home here. They farmed the place until 1801 when they moved to B-3-11. Andrew Stiles followed and lived there until his death in 1828; his wife, Dorcas Beard, lived there after him until just before her death. Willard Jewett [...]
B-3-11 William Beal William Beal seems to have come to Packersfield before 1772. He took over the operations at the grist mill located at the outlet of Pleasant Pond (now Silver Lake, C-1-3) succeeding Daniel Wood. In 1785 he left the mill business behind and moved to this location (B-3-11) to begin his life as [...]
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) and Nathaniel JR [...]
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 this investment was Oliver [...]
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 father-in-law. The Hailds bought [...]
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 and welcomed another four [...]
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 (1773), moved here from [...]
B-4-1 Robert Sheldon Robert Sheldon settled here and built a large house and barns in 1795. Starting with 100 acres, he built a farm of several hundred acres. He and his wife, Polly Spoffird, raised eight children. He sold the farm in 1843 to Danforth Taylor JR. Danforth and Martha raised at least five [...]
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 in 1806. They had [...]
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 probably originally built a [...]
This article by Newt Tolman, with illustrations by Mark Kelley, appeared in Yankee Magazine in August 1973. It is posted here with Yankee’s approval. Family photographs have been added by Karen Tolman.
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 1946. 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.
It is the second Tuesday of March 1946, and, just as in each of the years since, the Nelson Town Meeting will decide many of the directions the Town will take the following year: who will lead, how much must be raised in taxes, what will be done about the most pressing issues the Town faces.
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.
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.
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.
This biographical essay about Albert "Quig" Quigley was written by his son Barney. It reflects on his life as an artist and a musician - in both capacities he made significant contributions to Nelson' cultural legacy.
One of the chief items on tonight’s agenda at the Nelson town meeting will be to mourn the passing of Sidney Partridge as the town’s tax collector.
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.”
From Summer to Settler: This interview with Ben Smith is one of a series of interviews conducted by Tom Murray, his nephew. He is especially interested in talking with people who became “year-round people” after having spent time in Nelson as “summer people.”
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.
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.
The old kitchen was the best loved and most used of all the rooms of the house. It served not only as kitchen, but as dining room, sitting room, parlor, and general living room for the whole household.
Here are a few more letters written to Meg Cline by Frances Upton from the Upton’s Flying Loon Farm at Lake Nubanusit in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. See Flying Loon Farm, 1934-45, Part 1, for more about Meg’s life on the Upton farm.
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.
In 1891 Olivia Rodham bought the Collins place on Lead Mine Road in Nelson, New Hampshire. Her barn there, itself, stood as mute witness to Miss Rodham's influence. She cleaned it, shored it up, shingled it, converted it to bedrooms above the original stalls and tucked her library in one end.
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 Tolman Pond
Postcards from Munsonville: Miscellaneous Buildings
Postcards from Munsonville: Munsonville Village
Postcards from Munsonville: Twin Hills
Postcards from Munsonville: Water Views
Postcards from Munsonville: Granite Lake Island
Postcards from Munsonville: Camps Oahe, Winnenomack and others
Postcards from Nelson: Nelson Village
These photos show Nelson’s first fire “truck”, a 1931 Chevrolet Coupe donated by Catherine Robinson about 1939 or 1940. The Nelson Volunteer Fire Department mounted a siren on the hood, and cut out the rumble seat to make a pick-up bed for carrying hose and a portable pump.
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.
When I was a boy I lived in a house on the edge of Tolman Pond where in the morning I could look out from my bedroom window and see the sun rise behind the black spruces of Thumb Mountain that turned the lake into a sparkling causeway of little suns dividing two blue fields of water.
I had a great uncle named Bill French, a tall, raw-boned old Yankee, who worked around my grandfather’s farm. Generosity was his virtue and his pleasure, and nothing so delighted him as going to country auctions from which he would return with a truck load of booty to bestow upon his friends or to donate to the farm.
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.
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:
I’ve just lugged a couple of green plastic chairs up to the top of the Jack Rabbit, a hill overlooking Tolman Pond and the 1790's vintage Farmhouse, which was cleared for skiing in the 1920’s - we're told one of the first such hills in New England.
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.
What's up with the steps in front of the Town Hall in this old photo?