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 [...]
In this New Hampshire Crossroads Program from 1983, Gordon Peery innocently perpetuates the myth that there had been dancing going on in the Nelson Town Hall for 200 years.
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.
The amazing story about how their experience in the Nelson Town Hall inspired this legendary band from Ireland to bring the Nelson Village Dancers to dance on stage with them for four performances, including Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.
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 was built in the [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
B-3-15 Packersfield 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 [...]
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 [...]
Center Pond House & Mill Development Upper left: French Farm. To the right, Nelson Village. Breed Batchellor was Nelson’s first settler and its developer. In the early days, he owned thousands of acres in the town. He built a small sawmill and a house here in [...]
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 [...]
C-5-8 Asa Stone sold 6 square rods to School District #4 in 1830. “To be held by the school as long as it is maintained as a school.” A Brick school was built here and served the mill village of Munsonville until the Munsonville School as built in 1891. In 1878 the school district, [...]
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. It has had three [...]
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 year he sold it [...]
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 [...]
E-5-6 A tanner by trade and part of the Holt family from Andover, Massachusetts, Thomas Holt bought the southern half of his father, Daniel’s, lot in 1788 and built a house with his wife, Polly. They sold the place to Nathan Town of Andover in 1804 and moved to New York State. The home [...]
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 [...]
E-4-14 A barn on the Archaelous Wilson farm.
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 [...]
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 of Packersfield. The only [...]
E-4-9 Samuel was one of the early physicians. He came to Packersfield in 1788 at the age of thirty-six bringing his wife and two children. He bought land and built a modest house on the south side of Osgood Hill. In 1791 he bought and moved to the James French Place (C-4-4) and the [...]
E-4-7 Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Jacob Wheeler moved to E-4-7 in 1777. Jacob and his wife, Mary, had numerous children. One of those, Jacob JR, was born on the place in 1782. Mary died in 1808; her husband in 1841 at age 92. Jacob Jr. stayed on the place and started his own family [...]
E-4-3 Part of the large Holt family from Andover, Massachusetts. Bought this place in 1786 and moved here with his wife Alice. He was a cordwainer by trade. They sold the northern half the lot to their son, Thomas (E-5-6) who built there also. He followed Thomas and his family to New York in [...]
E-3-6 Nathaniel Woods built this house on part of his farm after he sold the place to his son, Samuel, with the right to live there until he died. Perhaps the house was built to facilitate management of the brickyard across the road. The Woods and Felt families all operated the yard in turn. [...]
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 [...]
D-4-6 Part of the original Nathaniel Breed farm. John Breed bought this from his brother, Nathaniel breed JR. in 1780 and built the house there. He lived there until he sold it to John Osgood as part of that man’s consolidation of his holdings of Osgood Hill to pasture sheep. Sources say that Abijah [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
C-2-5 Nathan brobably lived here from 1815 to 1830. Nathan Nye appears in the record of the discontinuance of a road in 1830, but was not mentioned when the road was laid out in 1799. He is likely the tenant of George Dodge who owned the property from 1815 on. [...]
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 continued to run [...]
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 Reuben and his wife, Mary [...]
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 [...]
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 mid-19th [...]
D-2-11 Samuel Warren bought 124 acres here from his neighbor to the south, James Bancroft, in 1786. He built on top on the hill just a about a hundred feet west of the road that connected Bancroft to the meetinghouse. He sold to Noah Hardy in 1797 who moved here from D-4-2. Hardy established [...]
D-2-6 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. Soon thereafter James bult a board house [...]
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 [...]
E-4-12 A small cellar hole and accompanying barn foundation just below the top of Hurd Hill was built by Beriah Wetmore in 1774. Wetmore his wife Abigail and their six children had built at E-3-4, sold that property back to Breed Batchellor and bought this less desirable property. Probably they had not been able [...]
E-4-16 A recently discovered rectangular depression here may be the site of the cabin of Ithamar Smith. Coins, musket balls and a pewter spoon are evidence that this was a home site. Smith appears in the list of settlers submitted by Breed Batchellor in support of the petition the Monadnock #6 proprietors to the [...]
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’. [...]
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-4-5 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 before moving to D-1-1 [...]
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 [...]
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 in 1780. There were [...]
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 [...]
D-5-7 There is a small cellar hole at this site. Elihu Higbe cleared 12 acres of land here in 1773, but did not settle. Josiah Whitney bought the property in 1779 and built a modest house. There is a story that this house burned and he built a new one at E-5-2 in 1794. [...]
D-5-6 Little remains of this home site. It was graded in when a large field was cleared recently. Thomas Upham was one of the earliest settlers on Monadnock Number Six arriving in 1769. By the settlement survey if 1773, he had 18 acres cleared, a pole hose built and his family living there. He [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
D-3-5 In 1851 brothers Silas, Edward, and Payson French leased mining rights on the Newell property from Oliver and Gad Newell, paying $7 per ton of graphite extracted. Powdered graphite brought 3 to 5 cents a pound at the time, about $80 a ton, so they probably made a fair profit. Savvy businessmen, they [...]
C-5-6 There is a modest cellar hole and barn foundations at his site. Joseph Felt bought this lot in 1779 and probably built the house. William Priest came to Packersfield the same year after service in the Revolutionary War. He enlisted from Temple, New Hampshire, but appears to have come originally from Walpole. He [...]
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-3-4 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 [...]
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-2-3 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 [...]
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 [...]
B-2-10 Asa Robbins seems to have moved here from C-1-1 in 1799. He did not own the property formally until he purchased 26 acres in the southwest corner of lot #3 range 8 in the southwest quarter from Bannister Maynard in 1807. He was certainly living here at his death in 1813. His widow, [...]
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 [...]
D-2-7 The Razey House: This is a small cellar hole just a few hundred feet from Childs Bog. It is identified as the “Razey House” on the 1858 County Map, but not in the 1877 map.
D-1-1 Jeremiah Barrett This existence of this cellar hole was only discovered because the town laid out a road to his house in 1780. The record reads as follows: The bounds of a road leading from the corner of the road near Captain Twitchell’s unto Dublin line. Beginning at a stake and heap of [...]
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 and [...]
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 [...]
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. It was in 1781 that Packersfield settled its first minister, Jacob Foster. The Rev. Jacob Foster had been born in Holliston, Colony of Massachusetts [...]
C-4-14 Sally Baker Nothing remains of this home The 1858 county map shows a home here occupied by S. Baker. Sally Baker’s husband, Zolvy, died on October 17th 1834 at the age of 37. Zolvy married Sally (Holmes) in 1828 and died a few years later leaving her with 2 infant children, Sally, born [...]
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. [...]
D-3-2 Town Pound The third pound established in Nelson. It was a replacement for the earlier one at D-4-20 built by vote of the town in 1795: “build a pound of stone 35’ square the committee to recommend the height of the walls. Voted to set the pound in Capt. Ezra Smith’s pasture on [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
D-4-16 Melville Store Josiah Melville established a store near this location in the 1790’s. Henry ran it after him and, his son, Josiah, after that. It probable ceased operation when Jonas Melville, Josiah’s brother, partnered with Reuel Nims to build the large brick store in the new village center in about 1840. [...]
D-4-19 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 to have acquired [...]
D-4-20 Town Pound There have been two town pounds on this location. Nelson’s first pound was built at the same time as the meetinghouse (1773) and almost directly across the road from it. This suggests they were of similar importance in the early function of the community. It was a twenty-foot-square stonewall six feet [...]
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 [...]
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; The Rev. Seward, in his Sullivan History, credits the house to Nathaniel Osgood. Warren likely built a small house here; he is listed in the 1790 census [...]
C-3-1 Allen Breed Allen Breed, a carpenter by trade, came to Packersfield in 1781 and built the house here. He and his wife, Ruth, had four children born in Nelson. He sold to John Burnap (D-4-2) who added this to his holdings but did not live here. Burnap sold it in 1813 to Noah [...]
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 sold it in 1812 [...]
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-3-6 The Jonathan Lovejoy Place There are two small cellar holes here. John Wright was here as early as 1800. His name appears in the record of the road laid out early that year. He was here until 1804 when Ephraim Adams acquired the property. He sold in 1806 to Abraham Stiles who occupied [...]
B-3-4 Josiah Robbins Josiah Robbins, the first of his family to settle in Packersfield, acquired this place on a 999-year lease from the Town. This lot was one of the lots reserved in the original grant of Monadnock #6 for the support of religion in the town. Josiah acquired the property in 1802, built [...]
B-3-2 Alpheus Davis Alpheus Davis, brother of Isaac Davis (A-2-5) moved here in 1816 (from B-3-5) buying 26 acres from Samuel Griffin. He sold the place in 1826 and it was abandoned then.
B-3-1 Tilly Moors Davis Purchased three acres of land here from his father, Alpheus Davis (B-3-2) in 1819. He was a fiddler who played for dances. Tragedy struck when his son, Jarvis, drowned in Woodward Pond in 1826. He moved to Langdon. The house was abandoned by 1835.
E-4-8 Comfort Day Came from Mansfield, Massachusetts and may have moved with his father Benjamin and his brothers Noah and Peletiah. He bought 90 acres of land from Samuel and Daniel Skinner on the south side of Osgood Hill and built a small house there in 1782. He sold in 1791 and left Packersfield. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
E-3-1 John Morse Born in 1719, he moved to Packersfield in 1776 in time to sign the Association Test. He probably lived here until he died in 1806 at the age of 87. He is buried in the Village Cemetery.
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 Samuel [...]
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 William Barker moved to Nelson in 1779 and, probably first built and occupied 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, are proof that he built [...]
A-2-11 Unknown Image from LiDar There is a small foundation and associated paddocks at this location. An extensive and well cultivated collection of fields surround the home site and well-constructed road connects it to the main road. Samuel Wadsworth was told of this location, but never found it. He attributes it to [...]
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 by a musket ball in [...]
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-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 at [...]
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 remarried Lois Skinner in 1788. [...]
D-5-1 Martin Lawrence Martin Lawrence, a cordwainer by trade, and his wife Sally moved to Packersfield in 1794, buying 35 acres of land and a modest house from Timothy Pierce at C-5-2. Two years later he bought 100 acres to the south and across the road. He constructed a much more substantial home and turned [...]
D-4-4 Jonas Davis bought 100 acres of land here in 1778. He was serving in the Revolution from Rutland, Massachusetts and is thought to have built here in 1785. In that year he bought an additional 50 acres where he built. Shortly after that he sold two small pieces on the brook that drains White [...]
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 moved [...]
C-4-16 This small cellar hole was, likely, the first house built by William Barker in 1779.
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 grain [...]
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 [...]
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. They [...]
F-5-1 Nathaniel Barrett Jr. This place is in Stoddard. Nathaniel was the second son of Nathaniel Barrett (F-5-6) built the house here around 1800. He died in 1847 and his widow, Relief, continued here until her death in 1866.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 and his family was in [...]
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-5-14 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 Sheldon [...]
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.
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 who [...]
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 1777. [...]
F-5-5 Jonathan Nichols This is a very small, primitive cellar hole approximately 18 x 20’. Nichols came about 1772 from Princeton, Massachusetts. By the end of 1773 he had built a log cabin, cleared seven acres and moved his family here. He was gone by the time Solomon Ingalls bought the lot in November of [...]
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 and early dispute over the location if Packersfield’s eastern border, the lot was partly in Packersfield and partly in Antrim. Tax records show him as a non-resident [...]
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 [...]
B-5-1 Isaac Brown This is a small cellar hole just west of Route 9. Parke Struthers has Isaac Brown here succeeded by John Breed JR. It was built by Isaac Brown sometime between 1790 and 1800 when he sold it to John Osgood and Henry Wheeler for $70 and “a yearly rent of one barley [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
C-5-9 William Dewey The area just east of Granite Lake had a number if small farms establishes around 1800. William Dewey bought this land in 1805 and built a house. He wasn’t here long selling the place to Jesse Bennett of Ashby, Massachusetts in 1810. He was there two years before moving back to Ashby. [...]
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 [...]
Bricks from the house that Samuel Wadsworth built. A-2-8 Luther Heaton Luther and Joanna Eaton were the original settlers of the Wadsworth Place (A-2-7) but sold that to Samuel Wadsworth in 1807 and reserved ten acres here where they built themselves a small house and barn. In their later years they moved [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 to Josiah Flint for [...]
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. [...]
B-2-2 John Brown There is no extant record of John Brown’s ownership here, but Wadsworth supports the idea that he did. John Brown had a mill at the outlet of Woodward Pond (B-2-1) prior to 1788 when a road description mentions his mill. Brown may have lived at the mill itself or he may [...]
B-2-1 Woodward Pond Mill We know of the existence of a mill here prior to 1788 because of a road laid out by the Town of Packersfield in November of that year as follows: “Voted to accept of a road laid out December 3, 1788 beginning at a hemlock stump marked on the south [...]
A-2-18 Samuel Heaton There are two cellar holes here. The one near the road is small (20x25’) and 150’ up the hill is a much grander one (36x45’.) This was first settled by Samuel Heaton prior to 1794 for in that year he sold it to Dr. Cooke Lott and moved to Keene. Lott [...]
A-2-17 Eli Clark Samuel Wadsworth states that the records of occupancy here are unclear. Eli Clark bought land here in early 1808. He died in 1850 and was succeeded by his son, Eli Clark JR. He was here until 1861. The brick cottage was burned in 1892.
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, [...]
A-2-9 The Bassett Place There are two cellar holes here. The one near the road is small (20x25’) and 150’ up the hill is a much grander one (36x45’.) This was first settled by Samuel Heaton prior to 1794 for in that year he sold it to Dr. Cooke Lott and moved to Keene. [...]
B-4-2 Eleazur Hawthorn The remnants of this modest home are difficult to find today. The old road that connects it is used as a wood road today and that traffic has compromised the foundation of the building. Little is known about the occupants except what can be found in their deeds and in town records. [...]
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 [...]
B-2-9 Nurse Place 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 inhabited by [...]
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. [...]
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 it a little later. [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 becoming [...]
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 [...]
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 Reuben [...]
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 year he moved to [...]
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 War. His record shows that [...]
C-5-3 Nathaniel W. and Mary S. Fay This couple bought 110 acres on land on the Stoddard line east of Granite lake. The came from Lowell, Massachusetts. They built a small house here in 1851 and sold it in 1865. Nathaniel died in 1888 at age of 70 and Mary in 1891 aged 80. They [...]
C-5-2 Timothy Pierce Timothy Pierce: He came from Wilton, New Hampshire and bought 35 acres here in 1788. Built a modest house on the west side of the road to Stoddard just south of the Stoddard line. Sold the place to his neighbor, Martin Lawrence in 1794. Martin probably lived here until i797 when he [...]
C-5-1 Thomas Russell Thomas and Daniel Russell bought 40 acres here on Felt Hill in 1798 and built a small house. Russell sold the place in 1809 to Dr. Francis Appleton of Dublin. It is not certain that Appleton lived in the house. In 1831 the place was annexed to the Jerry Felt farm to [...]
B-3-7 Jason Harris Both Samuel Wadsworth and the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary book ascribe the founding of this place to Benjamin Rice in 1813. The deeds for this part of Nelson record that Jason Harris bought this piece of land from the estate of John Penhollow, one of the original proprietors in December [...]
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 sold it after Gideon’s [...]
A-2-15 Joshua Lawrence Joshua Lawrence was a cordwainer by trade and originally moved to Keene. In 1782 he bought this land and built a house here. It was subsequently occupied by Asa Lawrence, Eli Clark and Joshua Lawrence JR.
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 [...]
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 lives together with all [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
A-2-2 Breed Batchellor He was the first official settler of Monadnock #6 coming here in 1766. He moved here from Keene with his wife, Ruth. By the time of the 1773 survey, he had 100 acres cleared, a frame house, and a barn. Breed was the Clerk of the Monadnock #6 proprietors and the [...]
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 [...]
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 log [...]
E-4-10 John Stroud An early settler arriving in 1771. Had a pole house built and 8 acres cleared in 1773. Marched from Packersfield in response to the Lexington alarm under Lt. Abijah Brown in 1775. Served at the battle of Bennington (1777). Left Packersfield in 1777 for Peterborough.
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 the Holt family until the [...]
B-2-4 William Parker Came to Packersfield in 1789 with his wife, Mary, at age 24 after service in the Revolution. Died on the place in 1842 and was succeeded by his son, William, JR. He sold it to Reuben Phillips (B-3-7) in 1847 who sold it to his son, Joseph, the following year. It [...]
B-4-5 Joseph Felt Jr. Joseph Felt Jr. was part of the numerous Felt family that moved to Packersfield after the Revolution. They came from Lynn, Massachusetts. Joseph bought the property at B-4-5 from Stephen Harrington in 1816, but didn’t petition for a road to connect him to the center of town until 1822 when a [...]
by Alan Rumrill, reprinted with permission, from a recent Newsletter from the Historical Society of Cheshire County A load of chairs from the Colony Chair factory in Munsonville. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in substantial numbers of people working from home as a way to accomplish social distancing. This process has the potential [...]
B-2-3 Joseph Brown Thought by Wadsworth to be an outbuilding in the William Parker Farm, it was more likely the home of Joseph Brown who purchased several lots in this part of Packersfield in 1788. He sold part of the property to William Parker and the balance, in 1793, to two Boston Merchants, Wilson [...]
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 [...]
A-2-13 The Kingsbury Place 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. James Clark was likely the first to build on this site in 1787. The first settler was actually Henry Bemis who built a log [...]
A-2-14 Henry Bemis Henry was born in Weston, MA on January 28 of 1750 0r 1751. He moved to Monadnock Number 6 prior to 1773, bought 85 acres of land from Breed Batchellor, cleared 3 acres of land and built a pole house by the time of the 1773 settlement surveys. (There is a [...]
F-2-4 Jonas Brigham Jonas Brigham bought 100 acres here in 1796 and built a comfortable home with a well-developed set of barns and outbuildings a few hundred feet to the south. He lived and farmed there for thirty-three years before selling it to his son, Ruel.
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 the site of that cabin. [...]
F-2-1 David Marshall/Stephen Cobb David Marshall is recorded as living near here on the 1773 settlement survey. He had built a pole house, cleared 8 acres and moved his family on the place. He was there as late as mid-1776 as his name occurs in the record of the road there. He may have built [...]
F-2-5 Samuel Felt Samuel came to Packersfield in 1777, and built the house at this location. In his later years he must have gotten into some financial difficulties as the place “all of said Felt’s home farm” and some property Felt owned in Keene was foreclosed on in 1821 by Bethuel Harris. Felt seems to [...]
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 [...]
Ezra Smith House D-3-1 Ezra Smith was born in Sudbury, MA in 1755. It is not known exactly when he came to Nelson. He built this house in 1781. He was a farmer (as was most everyone) and he became the pound keeper in Nelson from 1786 until his departure for New York [...]
The misconduct of public officials is hot stuff these days. In the past, there were newsmen who searched out and wrote up scandals. They were “muckrakers.” And right here in Nelson, back in the thirties and forties, we had our very own muckraker––“Jack” ––William J. Sherrard.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in substantial numbers of people working from home as a way to accomplish social distancing. This process has the potential to remain commonplace into the future, perhaps resulting in social and economic impacts on the country. The residents of the Monadnock Region were involved in some of the earliest work from home undertakings in the 19th century, which were the result of social and economic changes occurring at that time.
The wooden table was long, narrow, and roughly-made often supported by saw-horses in the early days. The tablecloth, then known as the board-cloth was made of the most durable hand-woven linen. Napkins were not used until later.
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.
While driving around town looking at old barns, and imagining those long lost to decay, we wonder the plight of our old New Hampshire barns. Here's the scoop on our own barn!
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 [...]
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.
Nelson’s population had peaked by the time Nehemiah Flint bought his farm in 1827. The sheep craze had resulted in 85 -90% of the land being cleared. It was the height of the family farm producing surpluses sold into other states. But farmers were beginning to move west for more fertile, stone-free soils.
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.
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.
At the proprietor’s meeting in March 1773 the town voted to petition the royal governor for incorporation as a town. Breed Batchellor was appointed agent to present the petition on behalf of the Monadnock Number Six proprietors. Almost immediately Batchellor heard rumors that the Blanchard family would fight him.
Rick Church 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 [...]
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.
It is difficult not to view life in Nelson in the mid-nineteenth century as a stereotype -- a bucolic farming community relatively untouched by the national issues like industrialization and immigration. Indeed Nelson was a bit on the sidelines.
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.
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.
This was in the mid-sixties. It was a rather warmish, foggy night in January. I had come back to New Hampshire to go to the contra dance - in Dublin, as it happened. I ran into Barry (Tolman)..........
Chris Salmon of Old Hancock Glassworks produced these medallions for the town's sestercentennial in 2017
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.
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.
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.
If an informed citizenry is the best basis for democracy, Nelson has certainly become one of the most democratic places in the world.
It was 100 years ago at the Nelson Picnic on August 12, 1896, that an account of the Revolutionary War experiences of Capt. Stephen Parker and his family was given by his grandson, Horatio G. Parker.
When I was a kid back in the 1930s, Old Home Day was held in Melville’s Grove – a stand of hardwood trees along Center Pond Road a few hundred yards from the center of Nelson.
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.”
Among the distinctions that grace Nelson and its environs is the presence of three historic graphite mines. The mines – small “open pits” – are inconspicuous to the casual visitor...
Dried apples were staple articles of food. Families were large and pie was a necessity—apple pie set the standard. In the fall an apple-bee was a social event.
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.”
From Summer to Settler: This interview with Henry and Judith Putzel is one of a series of interviews conducted by Tom Murray. 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 Bonnie Riley is one of a series of interviews conducted by Tom Murray. He is especially interested in talking with people who became “year-round people” after having spent time in Nelson as “summer people.”
HERE are some "snippets" that Don Bennett found in some of his stuff, although the attached photographs don't necessarily depict these dates:
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.
In 1997 and again in 2010, The Hotel Nelson, a musical theatre, was created by, for, and about the Town of Nelson. The original was researched, written, composed, acted and produced, under the direction and guidance of Larry Siegel. The later was revisited from that earlier performance with some new material.
The wooden table was long, narrow, and roughly-made often supported by saw-horses in the early days. The tablecloth, then known as the board-cloth was made of the most durable hand-woven linen. Napkins were not used until later.
The leaves have fallen, the days are getting shorter, and the smell of wood smoke brings nostalgic thoughts of the past; but most of us just turn on the furnace when days really get cold. What was it like before this convenient way of heating?
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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!
Do you know Floppy Tolman? If you don’t you might like to. Maybe you have heard of her “confabulations,” the whimsical creations made of such practical discards as watch parts and buildings scraps. Or maybe you do know Floppy. If you do you know someone special.
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.
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.”
Settlement began in Nelson, then called Packersfield, in 1767. The first town meeting was held in 1772 but it was not until 1785 that the town voted to raise thirty pounds to support a “reading and writing school."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Thomas Packer, for whom the town had been named, had died in 1771, but after the Revolution his son, Thomas, began to sell the family holdings which included the land from the French’s Farm and the Warners all the way north and west to the Stoddard and Sullivan town lines including all we know today as Munsonville.
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.
In the old days, if you made a braided rug, you could look into it and see the discarded blankets and outgrown coats of your family’s history. I had a pair of blue jeans like that once.
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.
Eulogies for Francis W. P. Tolman (1902-1969) and Albert D. Quigley (1891-1961)
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.
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.
This year, the pond in my front yard froze over on November 15, a full three weeks before the deeper, clearer, windier lakes in the area. Our pond is a small, shallow puddle ringed by a protective army of white pines.
Everyone in New Hampshire knows that there are far more than four seasons. There are sub-seasons, mini-seasons, seasons that hide in the woods, and seasons that last for just a day. There are seasons that happen in the hills but not in the valleys, and vice-versa.
The first snow is like a distant relative you thought wasn’t going to come for her annual visit for a while yet and so you had time to clean the house. Suddenly, in mid-November, there is the guest, waist-deep in your clutter.
I heard the ice go out on Tolman Pond one year. My garden is next to the pond, and as I was breaking through the tough, heavy sod, I heard a soft music like silvery bells. Looking around me I realized that it was a warm breeze blowing the ice out of the pond. In a minute, it was over.
When the electricity goes, it takes the world with it. The incessant hum of incoming information from telephones, e-mail and CNN falls eerily silent, and we are cut off from events on other continents, in other towns, even down the road.
Where I live, everything gets quiet on the day after Labor Day. Where there was splashing at the dock, the thunk of tennis balls, and echoes of cocktail parties rising off the glassy water of later afternoon, suddenly there is only silence and space.
When Jack Sherrard wasn’t tending the animals in his rabbit factory (first located in the substratum of the old Munsonville brick mill) or working as a house painter, he dedicated himself to the art of hunting down miscreants.
In the 50 years since her death, my great-grandmother’s diaries have resided under a built-in bench in a sunny spot on the south side of the farmhouse that looks out on Tolman Pond, in Nelson.
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 Moose Plate Grants are funded by the sale of “moose” conservation and heritage license plates.
This block print of Fran’s – as a work of “art” – is both typical, and terrible. Look at all those legs, table and human. Which is which? Are there enough to go around? I haven’t counted yet.
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.
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!
Roxbury was born in an Act of The New Hampshire General Court in 1812 and was formed from pieces of Packersfield [now Nelson], Marlborough and Keene. The creation of Roxbury was a co-operative effort led from within Packersfield by respected citizens.
Imagine driving back to Nelson from Keene along Route 9 and coming to a store called the West Nelson Country Store. Today that’s the Sullivan Country Store. But for two fraudulent signatures on a petition in 1786, East Sullivan might be in Nelson today.
The Sawyer Family’s contract transferring the family place from father to son in return for lifetime of support was a common arrangement many families found useful. Historians call these “maintenance agreements.”
The issue of social security is prevalent in our lives today. But this has always been a concern. In exploring our town’s archives, Rich Church has come across information about how people met the needs of being cared for in their later years.
What's up with the steps in front of the Town Hall in this old photo?
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.
In the woods off Old Stoddard Road lies the site of the home farm of Stephen Osborn. All that remains today is an extensive array of building foundations that once housed Osborn and his extended family.
High above Spoonwood Pond sits a special place called Greengate. Today the scene is one of a beautiful house sited to take full advantage of majestic views and surrounded by nicely kept landscaping. What was it like in 1904 when William S. Hall bought the property from Wilmer Tolman?