Life in Nelson

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 Concord, Massachusetts at the [...]

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 Packersfield with their parents, [...]

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 the store on the [...]

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.

The Parmenter Mill

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 [...]

The Bancroft Mill

E-2-5 As early as 1830 Joel Bancroft built a sawmill at the outlet of the Great Meadow.  The elaborate foundation including a dry-stone arch and mill raceways can still be seen today.  In the late 1850’s the mill had been sold to the Sheldon and Tolman Clothes and Rolling Pin Factory. The proprietors were [...]

Thomas Knowles Breed, Fuller: 

D-4-3: 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. After leaving home, he established himself at D-3-11 where he may have operated a small tavern and inn. He lived here while he operated the fulling mill [...]

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 us Nelson today. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1727, he [...]

Nelson Cotton and Woolen Company

C-5-10 The mill site is the lowest of three on the stream that empties Granite Lake. The broken grindstone near the mill’s tailrace is evidence of its early use for grinding grain into flour.  Joseph Baker likely built the mill in the 1790’s as a saw and gristmill. By 1816 it had been purchased [...]

Josiah Parker

C-4-19 This is the approximate location of the Josiah Parker homestead. The site is now 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 Eunice (Pierce). Their [...]

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 be related to the [...]

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 died in 1837 and [...]

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.

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.

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.

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 four more. They sold [...]

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 of land here in [...]

William Orville Upton

D-4-27 Upton bought the former Jonas Davis farm and replaced the original Davis farmhouse which was slightly further up the hill. Moved in in 1882. He was married to Sarah Yardley. He was a wheelwright and Nelson Road Agent; Sarah seems to have been a mill worker. Their children included Horace and Frank Upton.  [...]

Jonas Davis Farm 2

D-4-26 Approximate location of the second home of Jonas Davis. Remnants obscured when the current hose was built in1882. 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, John Davis, in 1779 and added another 50 soon [...]

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.

Daniel French

C-3-7 Daniel French was born in Bedford, NH in 1797 and married Polly Riddle in 1820. The couple had five children including Silas and Edward. In 1841 Daniel was called to be the minister of the Nelson Church. He bought 26 acres of land “just south of the burying ground” from Oliver Stone who [...]

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 charge, one for the [...]

A New Minister

Editors note:  This is the third and final article in a series relating the founding of the first ministry in Packersfield.  The first detailed the many efforts to acquire a minister for a small, remote community. Several ministers came for trial periods and several offers of employment were made before Jacob Foster accepted the [...]

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 in 1790 as 721.  [...]

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 forty-five by sixty feet [...]

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 to have existed simultaneously [...]

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 house here in 1782 [...]

An Early Nelson School

Settlement in Nelson had increased remarkably in the years immediately after the revolution increasing from 186 in 1776 to 721 by the first national census in 1790.  With that growth came things that made settlements, proper towns: things like schools. In an era when we worry about dwindling school enrollment in our town of [...]

Greengate

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 [...]

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 as the David Cook [...]

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) and had 25 acres [...]

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 the town in February [...]

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 build most or all [...]

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 as 40 students ranging [...]

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 Wheeler in 1781 and [...]

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 mortgage holders eight years [...]

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 home being a pole [...]

Brickyard

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 and this brickyard. Tolman [...]

John Richardson

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 [...]

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 here. He transferred ownership [...]

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 he milled himself. He [...]

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 Sheldon married Sarah [...]

Ezra Wilder

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 [...]

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 probably added in the [...]

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 house here and sold [...]

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 late in life. Their [...]

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 about 12 x 18’. [...]

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 Josiah sold his 160-acre [...]

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 a much larger house [...]

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 was wounded in the [...]

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 make it clear that [...]

The Taft Place

C-4-18 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 JR married Sarah Barstow in 1825 [...]

Abijah Brown

D-5-3 This is a small, well preserved cellar hole. One of the earliest settlers, Abijah Brown bought 104 acres that was lot #2 range 9 in the northeast quarter from Breed Batchelor in 1771. He was born in Eastham, Massachusetts, original home of the Nathaniel Breed family. He married Deliverance Breed, daughter of Nathaniel [...]

The Osgood Mine

D-4-9 The Osgood graphite veins were discovered in 1848 and property owner Horatio Osgood leased them to Moses Carelton of Lancaster, Massachusetts. Two years later, Calelton sublet them to J. and J. Seabury, a New York mining company; Jacob Seabury also bought the Town Farm Mine in 1858. The Osgood, or J. Seabury Lead [...]

The Town Farm Mine

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 [...]

Lead Mine Farm

C-3-4 This beautiful example of an early Nelson home is probably best known for its service at 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 [...]

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. . Richard features prominently [...]

Asa Robbins

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 [...]

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 are burried in the [...]

Third Meeting House

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 [...]

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 held at Breed Batchellor’s [...]

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 Wheeler his neighbor at [...]

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 33 years of age. [...]

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 of the first settled [...]

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 Skinner who moved [...]

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 tavern here from 1787 [...]

Melville Farm

D-4-19 The Melville Farm The Melville Farm:  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, Massachusetts in 1747 and seems [...]

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 he later would rescue [...]

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 Osgood. The current two-story [...]

B-3-14

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 [...]

Goodenow’s Mill

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

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 for five years. He [...]

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) Wadsworth, the widow of [...]

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 D-4-9 in 1785. That [...]

William Barker 2

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 [...]

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 old” when he began [...]

David Kimball

D-3-14 David Kimball Originally built by David Kimball in 1784 who came from Boxford, Massachusetts. Kimball saw much service in the Revolutionary first answering the call at Lexington in 1775, then only fifteen. He went on to serve for most of the war. Kimball married Lydia Simmons also from Boxford and moved to Packersfield [...]

The Jonas Davis Farm

D-4-4 Jonas Davis: 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 first child, [...]

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 to Thomas K. Breed [...]

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 his father, Nathaniel, and [...]

Taylor Mill

B-4-7 Taylor Mill This site is popularly called “Taylor Mill” because Frederick Taylor was its last operator from 1841 until well past the Civil War. When Monadnock #6 was settled, there were a number of small mills built (1773) on small but reliable brooks to furnish early settlers with the means of grinding their [...]

Henry Wheeler

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 [...]

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 Washington around New York. [...]

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 responded to a call [...]

Banister Maynard

C-3-3 Banister Maynard Bannister Maynard moved to Packersfield from Templeton, Massachusetts in 1785 following his service in the American Revolution.  He brought with him his new bride, Hannah (Fletcher) who he had married earlier that same year. Their daughters Ruth and Eunice were born here in Nelson, Ruth in late 1785 and Eunice in [...]

William Beal

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 [...]

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 the farm to Ezra [...]

Batchellor’s Small Grist Mill

F-5-9 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. [...]

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) and Nathaniel JR [...]

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 Battle of Bennington in [...]

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 year they bought 104 [...]

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 if the Melville family in Nelson. His partner in this investment was Oliver [...]

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 father-in-law. The Hailds bought [...]

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 and welcomed another four [...]

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) Wadsworth. Samuel was born [...]

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 son to the Luther [...]

Josiah Woodward

B-2-5 Josiah Woodward Josiah Woodward bought land and water rights here in 1804 and moved here from Marlborough with his wife, Keziah, building a large two-story frame house. His wife died in 1810 and he remarried Sally Wakefield of Dublin. Josiah deeded half the home, mill and 110 acres to his son, Josiah M. [...]

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 Robert Eames from Sudbury, [...]

Robert Sheldon

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 [...]

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 raised 14 children there. [...]

Small Foundation Found at A-2-11

A-2-11 Unknown There is a small foundation with associated paddocks at this location. An extensive and well cultivated collection of fields surround the home site and a well-constructed road connects it to the main road. Samuel Wadsworth was told of this location, but never found it. He attributes it to Joshua Lawrence in about 1810. [...]

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 tool handles including those [...]

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 they moved to Packersfield [...]

Samuel Foster

F-2-2 Samuel Foster 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 [...]

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 writes that Whitcomb succeeded [...]

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 in 1806. They had [...]

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 lived there until his [...]

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 within that corner of [...]

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 time; deeds in the [...]

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 probably originally built a [...]

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 Roxbury and was chairman [...]

Harrington Brickyard and Tannery

C-4-15 Harrington Brickyard Stephen Harrington purchased part of the Burnap Farm from John Burnap in 1802. He clearly intended to develop business enterprises there as the purchase included lots that contain the foundation of the tannery (C-4-8), a shoe shop (C-4-6) and the site of a bark mill (C-4-9) in the southeast corner of [...]

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 church. Look at the [...]

2020-12-18T13:45:14+00:00Life in Nelson|

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 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.

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.

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.  

Building a Town

Settlement in Monadnock Number Six came quickly once it got started. A list of settlers in the Masonian Papers in 1770 showed 5 settlers. In the three reports on settlement produced in 1773 and 1774 there were fifty-four different family names identified as moving into Monadnock Number Six. The final pre-incorporation survey of settlement detailed [...]

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hotel Nelson Burns!

A glow in the darkened sky alarmed Wayland Tolman and his father, Orson, as they turned towards home after a long winter’s day of logging near Long Pond (Nubanusit). The date was February 6, 1894. They raced ahead and as they rounded the road to the village their worst fears were realized. Fire!

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.”

A Sense of Nelson/Munsonville with George Washington Holt

George Washington Holt wrote a journal which provides detailed, but brief, accounts of his daily activities. His life probably typified the lives of many who grew most of their own food raised in small gardens, kept a few animals, bartered time for time or for goods and worked for several individuals or one of several manufacturing operations of the time for wages.

The Cotton Factory in Munsonville

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.

A Look at Nelson’s Past

The first meeting of the Proprietors of a tract of land then called Monadnock No. 6, later named Nelson, was held in Portsmouth in December of 1751. An early sense of the necessary elements to establish a successful community was reflected in the stated intent of the meeting; settlement should be encouraged by offering land in a way thought to be “most convenient for making good settlements, for the public good.”

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.

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.

Pests

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.

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.

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.

A Bicentennial Profile of an Old Farmhouse

Of the several houses in these parts as old or older than the Tolman Pond farmhouse, it’s the only one that looks its age - grey, wrinkled, gnarled like bark that woodpeckers have worked over. Then at the turn of the century, it was jerked to its feet and during the next hundred years given a series of transplants and internal transfusions that wrought wonders.

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.

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!

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