THE TOWN OF WARNER
BY DR. MOSES LONG
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WARNER, N. H.
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HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF
WARNER, N. H.
By Dr. M. Long
WARNER, a post town in Merrimack County, is situated west of Boscawen; fifteen miles northwest of Concord, in the latitude of 43 degrees 16 minutes north. It has Sutton, Wilmot, and Salisbury, on the north, Boscawen on the east, Hopkinton and Henniker on the South, and Bradford on the west, and contains 29,620 acres, including Kearsarge Gore, which was annexed to Warner by an act of the Legislature, June 1818. The Gore, which is a strip of land lying between Salisbury and Sutton, extends from the original north line of Warner to the highest peak of Kearsarge mountain, and contains 4,620 acres.
Warner was first granted by the government of Massachusetts Bay to sundry petitioners in Amesbury and Salisbury, in that then province, as early as 1735. The conditions of the grant were specified in the report of a committee to the legislature of that state as follows, viz:
At a great and general court or assembly for his Majesty's province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England began and held at Boston, upon Wednesday the twenty-eighth day of May, 1734, and continued by several adjournments to Wednesday the nineteenth day of November, and further continued by adjournments to Wednesday the thirty first day of December following, then met Thursday, January 15, 1735.
Edmund Quincy, Esquire, from the committee of both houses on petitions for townships, &c., gave in the following report, viz:-- The committee appointed the fourteenth current to take into consideration the several petitions for townships before the court, and report what may be proper for the court to do thereon, having met and maturely considered the same, are humbly of opinion that there be a careful view and survey of the lands between Merrimack and Connecticut rivers, from the northwest corner of Rumford (Concord) on Merrimack, to the great falls on Connecticut, of twelve miles at the least in breadth or north and south; by a committee of eleven able and. suitable persons to be appointed by this court, who shall after a due knowledge of the nature and circumstances thereof, lay the same into as many townships of the contents of six miles square as the land in width as aforesaid will allow of; no townships to be more than six miles east and west; and also lay out the land on the east side of Connecticut river from said falls to the township laid out to Josiah Willard and others, into as many townships of the contents of six miles square as the same will allow of; and also the land on the west side of the river of Connecticut from said falls to the equivalent land into one or two townships of the contents of six miles square, if the same will allow thereof. Five of which committee to be a quorum for surveying and laying out the township on each, from Rumford to Connecticut river as aforesaid; and three of the committee afore named shall be a quorum for surveying and laying out the townships on each side of Connecticut river as aforesaid; and that the said committee make report of their doings to this court at their session in May next, or as soon as conveniently they can, that the persons whose names are contained in the several petitions hereafter mentioned, viz. in the petition of Hopkinton, in the petition of Salisbury and Amesbury, id the petition of Cambridge, in the petition of Bradford and Wenham, in the petition of Haverhill, in the petition of Milton and Brookline, in the petition of Samuel Chamberlain and Jonathan Jewett, and in the petition of Nathaniel Harris, &c., in the petition of Morgan Cobb, &c., Jonnatlnan Wells, &c., Lyscomb and Johnson, &c., in the petition of Isaac Little, &c., in the petition of Jonathan Powers, &c., John Whitman, Esq., &c., Samuel Haywood, &c., Josiah Fasset and others, John Flint and others, Jonathan How and others of Bridgewater, that have not heretofore been admitted grantees or settlers within the space of seven years last past of or in any former or other grant of a township or particular grant on condition of settling; and that shall appear and give security to the value of forty pounds to perform the conditions that shall be enjoined by this court; may by the major part of the committee be admitted grantees into one of the said townships; the committee to give public notice of the time and place of their meeting to admit the grantees; which committee shall be empowered to employ surveyors and chainmen to assist them in surveying and laying out said townships. The province to bear the charge and be repaid by the grantees who may be admitted. The whole charge they shall advance, which committee we apprehend ought to be directed and empowered to admit sixty settlers in each township, and take their bonds payable to the committee and their successors in the said trust to the use of the province for the performance of the conditions of their grant, viz. That each grantee build a dwelling house of eighteen feet square and seven feet stud at the least on their respective house lots, and fence in and break up for ploughing, or clear and stock with English grass five acres of land within three years next after their admittance, and cause their respective lots to be inhabited; and that the grantees do, within the space of three years from the time of their being admitted, build and finish a convenient meeting house for the public worship of God, and settle a learned orthodox minister. And in case any of the grantees shall fail or neglect to perform what is enjoined as above, the committee shall be obliged to put the bonds in suit, and take possession of the lots and rights that shall become forfeited, and proceed to grant them to other persons that will appear to fulfil the condition within one year next after their last mentioned grant. And if a sufficient number of petitioners that have no grant within seven years as aforesaid, viz. sixty to each township, do not appear, others may be admitted, provided they have fulfilled the conditions of their former grant. The committee to take care that there be sixty-three house lots laid out in as regular, compact and defensible a manner as the land will admit of; one of which lots shall be for the first settled minister, one for the second settled minister, and one for the school; to each of which an equal proportion of land shall accrue in all future divisions.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 1735. In the house of representatives, ordered, that Joseph Gerrish, Benjamin Prescot, Josiah Willard, Job Almy, Esqrs. Mr. Moses Pearson, and Capt. Joseph Gould, with such as the honorable board shall join, be a committee to all intents and purposes to effect the business projected by time report of the committee of both houses to consider the petitions for townships, which passed this day, viz. On the proposed line between Merrimack and Connecticut rivers, and on both sides of Connecticut river; and that there be granted and allowed to be paid out of the public treasury, after the rate of fifteen shillings per diem, for every day he is in the service in the woods, and subsistence, and ten shillings per diem for every day to each one of the said committee while in the service in admitting settlers into the said townships, and subsistence, to be paid as aforesaid.
IN-COUNCIL, Read and concurred, and William Dudley, Samuel Wells, Thomas Berry, Joseph Wilder, and John Chandler, jr., Esqrs., are joined with the committee of the house for the line between Merrimack and Connecticut rivers, &c.
At a great and general court, held in Boston the twenty fourth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and thirty six, the following vote passed the two houses, and was consented to by the governor, viz. Voted, that Mr. Thomas Stevens, of Amesbury, be and hereby is empowered to assemble the grantees of the township, number one, (now Warner) lying in the line of towns between the rivers of Connecticut and Merrimack, giving timely notice to the said grantees admitted into the said township by the committee of this court, to meet and assemble at some suitable place, in order to choose a moderator and proprietors' clerk, and committee to allot and divide their lands and to dispose of the same, and to pass such votes and orders as by them may be thought conducive for the speedy fulfillment of the conditions of their grant, and also to agree upon methods for calling of meetings for the future. Provided, none of their votes concerning the dividing or disposing of their lands, that shall be passed while they are under the care and direction of the committee of this court, shall be of force before they are allowed of by the said committee.
By order of the great and general court to Deacon Thomas Stevens, the proprietors of the township No. 1 met April 25, 1737. After organizing their meeting, the proprietors chose a committee to lay out and divide the township according as they may receive instructions from time to time from them. At that meeting it was voted to divide the intervale equally among the proprietors according to quantity and quality; also to divide the upland lots where it may be thought most eligible for settlements. The proprietors appointed the third Wednesday of March as the time for their annual meetings.
At a meeting of the proprietors holden at Amesbury, Mass., March 15, 1738, it was determined to lay out sixty-three five-acre lots for settlement. Chose a committee for that purpose. Also chose their first board of selectmen. March 17, Thomas Rowel and Jonathan Barnard took the oath of office as selectmen, before Orlando Bagley, justice of the peace.
At a meeting of the proprietors of the township No. 1, June 23, 1738, the committee appointed to make some surveys for settlements, &c. reported, that they had laid out sixty-three house lots, containing about five acres each. These lots were laid out in the vicinity of Gen. Aquila Davis' mills.
The following individuals drew for their lots at that time, and continued their interest in the town till its final settlement, viz: John Allen, John Hoyt, Jacob Currier, Joseph Quimby, Samuel Barnard, John Challis, Ebenezer Wells, Nehemiah Ordway, John Jewet, Joseph Jones, John Nichols, David Ring, Elihu Gould, Stephen, Morrill, John Pressey, Stephen Sargent, William Straw, Benjamin Tucker, Aaron Rowell, Jonathan Pressey, Gideon Rowell, Jarvis Ring, Francis Davis, John Sargent, Jonathan Barnard, John Jewel, James Ordway, Paine Wingate, Samuel Straw, Ichabod Colby, Jeremiah Flanders, Thomas Rowell. One lot was reserved for the first settled minister, one for the second minister, and one for the use of a school. As the remainder of the complement, sixty-three, were not connected with the proprietors till the town was settled, their names are here omitted.
At a meeting of the proprietors Jan. 21, 1733, they took some measures to clear a road from Contoocook River to the meeting-house lot in township No. l, also to erect a saw-mill.
At a meeting of the proprietors of the township No. 1, holden in Amesbury (Massachusetts) March 21, 1739, Voted to pay Orlando Colby, Joseph Jewell and John Challis, Jr. one hundred and twenty pounds in province bills of the old tenor, to build a good saw mill; and if any proprietor should neglect to pay his proportion for said mill by the last of August, his right in the township should be exposed for sale at auction for the payment as the law directs.
At the same meeting the following preamble and vote passed, viz. "Whereas the proprietors of the township No. 1, before they had received any particular directions from the General Court to call a meeting in order to the laying out land in said township for settlement, supposed they had power to call a meeting for business aforesaid, and accordingly assembled on October the 7th, 1736, and then chose a committee to lay out a division of upland as by the record of said township whereas the committee chosen laid out sixty-three forty acre lots and made return of their doings to the acceptance of the proprietors, who drew their lots, as by said records may appear; but whereas for want of direction and formal orders from the General Court to call a meeting and proceed in said business as aforesaid, the said meeting and the business done at that time and consequent upon them not being authentic and binding, it was proposed whether the proprietors of said township being now legally empowered to assemble and pass any acts for their own benefit, did approve of their original meetings and the division of land and draught of the lots referred to, and would prefer the same to the General Court's Committee for confirmation. Voted in the affirmative."
The meetings referred to in the above preamble and vote, were held at. Amesbury, the first in Oct. 1736, at which meeting David Ring, Benjamin Tucker, Timothy Colby, Joseph Jewel, and Isaac Chandler were chosen as a committee to survey sixty-three forty acre lots, leaving it at their discretion to make the lots as near equal as may be as to quantity and quality. The second was holden Nov. 25, of the same year, at which time the committee exhibited a plan of surveys of the number of lots as alcove named, in four ranges, which report was accepted. In order to understand more fully the relative situations of places, reference should be had to the plan of the town.
May 28, 1740, the proprietors held their first meeting in this town for the purpose of examining the saw-mill and other improvements. The mill was accepted. At a meeting of the proprietors in June, 1740, provisions were nude for building a dam at the saw-mill, and shortly after measures were taken to induce settlers to move into the town. At a proprietors' meeting holden at Amesbury, August 29, 1740, they voted to give twenty pounds to each of the five first settlers that will settle on the conditions of the grant and make such improvements as are therein required. In October following, the proprietors chose an agent, Capt. Thomas Rowel, to petition the King's Most Excellent Majesty to allow this township to remain under the government of Massachusetts. Nov. 17th, the proprietors of the township No. 1, in the line of towns, as it was denominated on the clerk's book, chose two agents to petition the Governor and Council of New Hampshire, to issue orders and direction to bring forward the settlement of said township. From the foregoing date to Jan. 1749, there was but very little done towards the contemplated settlement. In 1749, the proprietors erected at their expense four houses on the five acre building lots near where Gen. Davis' house now stands. The persons employed for that service were Thomas Colby, Moses Morrill, Jarvis Ring, and Gideon Straw.
The war with France commencing about this tinge, occasioned a suspension of all proceedings relative to the settlement of the town. The saw-mill, which had never been put in operation, and the houses erected for the accommodation of settlers, were abandoned by the proprietors, and finally destroyed by the Indians, and the place again left for years to the peaceable possession of the savages and thirteen wild beasts, that, for aught we call know, they had enjoyed for thousands of years before.
In 1763, the axeman's blows again broke silence in this then howling wilderness. June 21, 1763, the proprietors met at Amesbury, and voted to choose a committee to perambulate the lines of the town; chose agents to build another saw-mill; also voted that a forty acre lot should be given to each of the first ten settlers for their encouragement to settlement, provided they would settle immediately. In August next following, the proprietors voted to give up their former division of lots, and that there should be sixty forty-acre lots laid out, and a plan of the same made Out to be returned at the next meeting. The following persons engaged to go to the township No. 1, in the line of towns which took the name of New Amesbury, about this time to settle, on condition of receiving a forty-acre lot for settling, viz., Enoch Blaisdell, Eliphalet Danforth, Barnard Hoyt, Elijah Blaisdell, Jeremy Fowler, Pasky Pressey, Thomas Jewel, Nathan Currier, Bartholomew Heath, Joshua Bayley, Daniel Chase, Isaac Chase, Abner Wadkins, Francis Davis and Nathan Goodwin. At a meeting, Oct. 10, 1765 the first eighty-acre lots were drawn by the proprietors. At the same meeting it was voted that six shillings should be paid on each right to Mr. Farrington to build a meeting-house. In 1766, a committee was appointed to lay out a sixty acre lot to each proprietor; also to make an equal division of the intervale lands. In the same year the proprietors voted to raise sixteen shillings on a share to defray the expenses of the surveys and to build a meeting-house, the first meeting-house having been by accident burnt. In 1740, the divisional lines between Massachusetts and New Hampshire were settled, and soon after this town was granted by the Masonian proprietors to sixty three inhabitants of Rye, by the name of JENNES-TOWN. This grant caused controversies and lawsuits between the Amesbury proprietors and Rye proprietors, which continued to 1773, when the parties mutually agreed to submit all disputes and contests respecting the claims to the final determination of Thomas Westbrook Waldron, Benjamin Greenleaf, Humphrey Hobson, Benjamin Chadbourne, and Woodbury Langdon, Esqrs., or any three of them, and entered into bonds of a thousand pounds to abide their judgement. The arbitrators awarded 140 pounds lawful money to the Rye proprietors, and all controversies ceased.
The town was very irregularly laid out. The proprietors' first surveys were in 1736, sixty-three forty-acre lots; next the same number of five-acre lots were laid out and drawn in 1738; and in 1765 an eighty-acre lot was laid out for each proprietor. The proprietors sent a committee to survey sixty-three sixty-acre lots in 1766. The next survey was made of sixty-three forty-acre lots in 1770. In the above named surveys but little regard was had to the lines of the town, nor were the several surveys made with any apparent reference to each other, as to contiguity or regularity. The consequence was, many gores of land were left in very inconvenient alma irregular forms. And what added much to these irregularities were the changes the proprietors were allowed to make in their lots, when they chanced to draw those of little or no value, by making out surveys of other lots where they pleased in the individual lands.
The first settlement was in 1762, by Daniel Annis and his sons-in-law Reuben Kimball and Daniel Floyd. Isaac Waldron, his two sons, and Pasky Pressey moved into town with their families the year following. It is difficult to ascertain the precise order in which the settlers came into town afterwards.
Those who came and occupied the settlers' lots were for the most part very poor and illiterate.
Those mentioned above, and the following persons, with their families, constituted nearly all the population in town in 1773, viz.: Daniel Flanders, Isaac Chase, Eliphalet Danforth, Francis Davis, Samuel Roby, Richard Goodwin, Joseph Currier, Philip Flanders, Abner Watkins, Elijah Blaisdell, Joshua Bagley, Daniel Chase, Daniel Young, Daniel Currier, Jeremy Fowler, Barnard Hoyt, Enoch Blaisdell, Parmenas Watson, Nehmiah Heath, Joseph Sawyer, Jacob Tucker, Moses Clark, Ebenezer Eastman, Theodore Stevens, Jonathan Fifield, David Gilmore, Seth Goodwin, Ezekiel Goodwin, Joseph Foster, Abner Chase, Stephen Edmunds, Hubbard Carter, Thomas Rowell, Robert Gould, Theophilus Currier, and Nathaniel Trumball.
The customs and manners of the first settlers' were very simple and plain. Being circumscribed in the social circles and very limited in numbers, each seemed to take an interest in, and seek his neighbor's welfare with fraternal affection. Before the roads were made comfortable for carriages, horses were not so much used for the transportation of heavy articles as oxen. Produce was carried to market by ox-teams. Oxen were used also to convey families to and from meetings, funerals, &c. And wheel neither oxen or horses could be conveniently used, a ready substitute was found by the athletic husbandman in his hand-sled. In mid-winter, when the snow was deep and no paths were made, three men went to Hopkinton, five or six miles, and brought female help in case of sickness, Oil a hand-sled. Three families in the south part of the town, living on the "Parson Kelley hill," owned each a cow; they cut their forage for their cows in a meadow back of Caleb Jones', in the north part of the town, four or five miles distant, stacked their hay, and hauled it home in the winter, on hand-sleds. Some inhabitants on "Waldron's Hill," improved a meadow west of Mink Hills, two or three miles distant, in like manner. Nor could even this vehicle be used in all cases. In the first years of the settlement of the town, several of the inhabitants had to carry their corn and grain at least thirteen miles on their backs, to Concord, to mill.
Marriages were then entered into in earlier life than latterly. It was not uncommon for females to marry at the age of fifteen or sixteen years, and sometimes the contracting parties closed their business in a very summary way. Rather a humorous instance of this kind occurred about sixty years since, between a young man of this town and a young woman of Hopkinton.
Our adventurer went to Hopkinton to attend an ordination; while in the crowded assembly, and the faithful preacher was probably inculcating the doctrine of placing the affections on things above, HIS were directed to quite a different object. His attention was arrested by the appearance of a blooming youth, whose native beauty and fair form had never suffered martyrdom by tight lacing, the unhallowed fashion of modern times. By hint her attractions were irresistible. The more he gazed the more he admired. And when the exercises were closed, he, fixing his eye upon her, rushed forward in the crowd and caught her in his arms, exclaiming at the same time, "Now I HAVE GOT YE, YOU JADE, I HAVE, I HAVE!" The sequel to this rude introduction was a marriage -- and might be considered one of Dr. Watt's "few happy matches.''
In 1775 there were 262 inhabitants in town, in 1790, 863; in 1800, 1569; in 1810, 1838; in 1820, 2246; and in 1830, 2221.
In the charter of New-Amesbury, now Warner, granted Dec. 1767, one right was reserved for the first settled minister, one for the use of the ministry forever, and one for the benefit of schools; which rights were laid out in the same manner as the others were and free from any public taxes. The conditions of the grant were, that the proprietors build a meeting-house and maintain constant preaching from and after three years from the date of the grant.
To aid the settlers in fulfilling these conditions, the proprietors in November, 1770, voted to pay one dollar and an half on each right for one year; then one dollar a year for four years; then half a dollar for one year, on condition that the inhabitants settle "a learned orthodox minister in town, on or before Dec. 1772." In 1769, a second meeting-house was erected; the first, a poorly constructed log house, having been burnt one or two years before. This house was built on the site of the first, near the most elevated spot enclosed in the old burying ground. Its dimensions were about thirty by twenty-four feet on the floor, one story high, covered with long shingles, and boarded. But very little finishing was done till the pew ground was sold, three or four years afterwards, when the pews were sold at auction for from three to three dollars and a half each, and the avails of the sales in part laid out on the building; but at best it was a miserable house. The first candidate employed to preach in the town was Mr. Timothy Walker (afterwards Judge Walker, late of Concord,) in the former part of the year 1769. In Dec. 1770, the settlers, forty-five in number, found themselves jointly and severally in the penal sum of 10 pounds "to pay their proportion according to poll and estate, of the expense of supporting an able and learned minister of the gospel, who should be approved by the pastors of the neighboring Churches.'' In the spring of 1771, Rev. William Kelley, a native of Newbury, Massachusetts, was employed to preach as a candidate, and in the November following he received a call to settle in the ministry, with a salary of 40 pounds the first year, to increase 1 pound 10 shillings a year till it should amount to 60 pounds, and twenty cords of wood annually. This call he accepted, and was ordained on the 5th February, 1772, and on the same day a Congregational Church was gathered, consisting of seven male members. On this occasion the zeal of Isaac Waldron in forming the Church was, perhaps, snore commendable than his discretion; for, said he, though not a professor of religion, "rather than they should fail for members, I will take hold and join the church myself." There were at this time between forty and fifty families in town.
Mr. Kelly was graduated at Harvard College in 1767. He sustained his connexion with the Church and town till March, 1801, when at his own request it was dissolved. After this he resided in town and preached occasionally till his death, which took place suddenly, 18 May, 1813. From the time of Mr. Kelly's dismission, there was no settled minister in town till the ordination of the Rev. John Woods, June 22, 1814. Mr. Woods was native of Fitzwilliam. He graduated at Williams College in 1809; he sustained a reputable standing as to scholarship while in college, and no less so since entering the ministry. Mr. Woods was settled by a Congregational society. The town voted to concur with the church and society in giving him a call to settle; but soon after, a town meeting was called, and that vote reconsidered; and at the same meeting it was voted that the parsonage interest money should not be allowed for his support. The society, though small, gave him a salary of, $400, and twenty cords of wood, per annum, and $500 settlement.
In June, 1823, Mr. Woods was dismissed from his pastoral charge of the church and society by and ecclesiastical council convened to take into considerations the subject of his support. From this time to the settlement of time present minister, Rev. Jubilee Wellman, Sept. 26, 1827, time town was again destitute of a settled minister.
Mr. Wellman is a native of Greenfield, Massachusetts: he fitted for College, but on account of a feeble constitution, he did not enter. He attended to his theological studies four years at the seminary at Bangor, Maine, and was honored with the first appointment in time exercises at the close of his studies.*
Till about the year 178S, the inhabitants were almost entirely of the Congregational order. About that time, a Baptist society was formed, who built a meeting-house and partly finished it. They had no regular preaching. After a few years the society dwindled away, and their house went to ruin, and the fragments were sold at auction in 1825. Since the formation of the Baptist society, other denominations, particularly Freewill Baptists, have been somewhat numerous, but no church of any denominations, except Congregational, has ever been formed, nor any minister ordained.
At present, there are in this town Congregationalists, Baptists, Freewill Baptists, Universalists, Osgoodites, and probably many leave their religion yet to choose.
* The Deacons of the Congregational Church have been as follows:
|Elected||Died or dismissed|
|David Heath||a. 1809||dism. to Hopkinton 1831|
The town has never been blessed with a general revival of religion. The greatest revivals ever witnessed in the place were in 1816, 1827, and the present time, July, 1831. In the time of the first revival, about thirty were added to the Congregational Church, and a few united with the Baptist
There is a Social Library in town incorporated in 1796, containing from 60 to 80 volumes, but has been for several years in a neglected and ruinous condition.
The following persons have graduated from this town; John Kelley at Dartmouth in 1804, attorney at law in Northwood and one of the founders of the New Hampshire Historical Society, and its Recording Secretary from 1823 to 1831; Rev. Hosea Wheeler, at Dartmouth in 1811; who was a Baptist minister, and died at Eastport, Maine, 27 January, 1S23, Age 32; and John Morrill and Asa Putney, at Amherst College; and Stephen C. Badger, at Dartmouth in 1823, attorney at law at New London. Richard Bean received a liberal education, although he did not take his degree owing to a difficulty with the authority of College rather than a deficiency in scholarship. He studied the profession of Law. He survived but a few years after obtaining his education.
A third Congregational meeting-house was erected in 1791. The old house being much out of repair the town voted to take it down, and sell the nails, glass, &c., to defray the expense of building a fence around the burying ground. There was but little done towards finishing the inside of the new meeting-house for several years. It was never finally finished, and is now nearly in ruins. A fourth meeting-house was erected by twenty-nine individuals of the Congregational Society in 1819. It is a very comfortable house and well finished. The whole number of graves or interments in town discoverable at this time (Dec. 1830) amount to seven hundred and sixteen.
This town for the most part may be considered rather a healthy place. It has not been exempt, however, from epidemic diseases, which have in some instances proved very mortal. In 1776, and '77 the dysentery prevailed to an alarming extent. In the first of those years, it carried off sixteen, and in the second, seventeen of the inhabitants, among whom were several adults and heads of families.
On the 9th September, 1821, this town was visited with a most violent and destructive hurricane, by which four lives were lost, a number seriously injured and considerable property destroyed.
The terrible effects produced by this whirlwind could be traced with the eye sixteen or eighteen miles, through forests years afterwards. Its path was of various widths from ten to thirty or forty rods. No trees of the forest could withstand its violence. Even in some instances the bed stones in walls were removed out of their places. Several buildings were demolished; some whirled into the air, their parts flying in every direction like feathers. Several persons were carried to a considerable distance. Its general course was from north-west to south-east through the whole extent of the north part of this town. It began in or west of Wendell, west of Sunapee Lake, passed through New London, or part of Sutton, over the south-west spur of Kearsarge Mountain into the Gore, now Warner, prostrating forest trees and buildings, and whatever crops were upon the ground in its way were entirely destroyed. Samuel Savory, an aged man, who lived in the Gore, observed the cloud approaching, hastened to secure the windows of his house, but before he could get from the chamber the whirlwind struck the house, there seemed but one crash before it was whirled into atoms, himself carried several rods and fell his head upon a rock, and killed instantly. An infant child of Daniel Savory's was killed at the same house. About two miles farther east in its course it came unawares upon the houses of Joseph True, Esq., and Peter Flanders. Its violence here seemed unabated. Their houses were destroyed in an instant. Anna Richardson, an elderly woman, and an infant of Peter Flanders, were crushed to death under the ruins. Several others grievously wounded, of whom a little child of Mr. True's died a short time afterwards. This whirlwind was seen by several at a distance. To those who were on elevated ground and near its path, it somewhat resembled an inverted tunnel at the lower part of it, and the reverse of that at its upper part. It was seen by several on Burnt Hill when it destroyed Mr. True's and Mr. Flanders'' buildings, about a mile distant, and as it passed on through Bagley's pond and expended its violence after destroying Morrill's house linear Boscawen line, which was in full view. In passing the pond it carried up large quantities of water into the air, which at first altered the complexion of the cloud from a dark appearance to a greenish hue, when at that moment time sun's rays darted through from between the clouds upon it, which immediately altered it to a yellowish or brassy appearance. *
The first settlers of this town were very much annoyed by the depredations of bears, raccoons, and other mischievous animals in their cornfields. It required great watchfulness and care in the husbandman when the corn was in the milk, to preserve a moderate share for the harvest. That species of the bear which were numerous here were particularly fond of corn in the milk, sweet fruits, homey, &c. It was that kind denominated by naturalists URSUS AMERICANUS, or the American Bear, has a long pointed nose, and is generally smaller than most other kinds. It abounds in uninhabited parts of our country, particularly at the north of us. It is said to live exclusively on vegetable food, extreme hunger only being able to induce it to eat the flesh of animals. These bears reside in trees, mounting and descending them with great alertness. They are frequently found burrowed in hollow trees, upon the ground end clefts of rocks. Their flesh, when young, is thought delicious food, and they were so frequently taken that it was not uncommon to find the tables of hunters well supplied with it. There are several aged men now living in town who have killed and assisted in killing many bears. It may not be uninteresting to relate a rencounter Thomas Annis, Esq., had with a bear. One day late in March, the snow being deep, he mounted his snow-shoes and in company with Abner Watkins and their dogs set off towards the Mink Hills for a hunt, armed with an axe and gun. In the neighborhood of the hills, the dogs were perceived to be very much excited with something in a ledge of rocks. Annis left his companion, Watkins, and ascended a crag twenty or thirty feet to where the dogs were, having no other weapon with him but his staff which was pointed with iron. After exploring a little, he cencluded there was no game there of more consequence than a hedge-hog or some other small animal, and being fatigued laid down on the snow on his back to rest, reclining his head upon the place he had been examining; he had belt just laid down wheel he heard a snuffing under his ear; he started up and turning round found an old bear pressing her head up through the old leaves and snow which filled the mouth of her den; he thrust his spear pointed staff at the bear's brisket, and thus held the bear which was pressing towards him, at his staff's length distance and called to his companion Watkins to come up with the axe and kill the bear, which, after some little time was effected. After the action was over, Annis complained of Watkins' dilatoriness, but Watkins excused himself by saying he could not get his gun off, that he had snaps, snaps, snaps, several times. Where did you take sight? said Annis, knowing that he was directly between him and the bear; I took sight between your legs, said Watkins.
Very unlike the resolution of these men was that exhibited by two young men who began a clearing on Pompion Hill. They built a camp, and made a beginning to clear on the spot where Timothy Davis' house now stands. They passed two nights in their camp. On the morning of the third day as they went to felling trees, an old bear came at them with her mouth wide open, having been alarmed for her cubs which were near by; this so terrified our adventurers that they took to their heels, ran to their camp, picked up their provisions, utensils, &c. and were off; no persuasives of the people who were then in town could induce them to stay longer; they left the wilderness and the bears, for the land of their nativity, and never returned afterwards.
Wolves were also troublesome to the first settlers, making great ravages among their sheep. They seem not to be satisfied with a competency for their wants, but destroy numbers of sheep and lambs, when in their way, out of mere wantonness. There is no animal whose carnivorous appetite is stronger than that of the wolf, and he is endowed by nature with all the means of satisfying it, being strong, agile, subtle, and enabled not only to explore, but to seize and subdue his prey.
The Catamount and Wildcat were sometimes met with by the first settlers. In 1766, Solomon Annis shot at a catamount on a tree, brought him to the ground, when he seized his ace and dispatched him on the spot. There were some beaver about the streams, also some otter, mink, and musquash. Wild turkeys, partridges, pigeons, and other small game were found pretty plenty in the woods.
We can but faintly conceive the privations and hardships endured by the first settlers, without knowing something of their circumstances in life, and the hard condition to which they were unavoidably subjected for several years, before mills, bridges and roads were constructed for their convenience. To commence poor in the woods, without houses, without clearings or roads, often destitute of almost all the necessaries of life, might seem just occasions to call forth and employ the resolution, ingenuity, and energy of all who ventured into the forests, to make themselves habitations and farms. Yet many there were, who, to avail themselves of the privileges held out by the proprietors, came to occupy their forty acre lots for settling; subjecting themselves to all the inconveniences and privations incident to pioneer adventurers, into new and uninhabited countries. But, however dark and gloomy a true picture of the times might appear in the main, there were some bright spots and vivid colors in it. Instead of a great variety of gewgaws and luxuries, the people were clad in plain homespun; and their tables were furnished with plain, simple, but nutricious food. One consequence was, that diseases were less frequent and less numerous. The people enjoyed more social and friendly intercourse; felt more interest in each other's welfare, and more ready to contribute to each other's wants. Before the fire-brands of discord were thrown among the people, they were united like a band of brothers and sisters; to which time the survivors will now refer as the happiest of their days. There seems to be a charm in encountering difficulties and dangers. We may observe this propensity from infancy to manhood, and from manhood to old age. This trait of character is not peculiar to hunters, sailors, or soldiers, but is common to all, and will continue to be so, so long as mankind are entertained with history, travels, and voyages; and more particularly so, when associated with hazardous enterprises, bold daring, and feats of bravery. The first settlers considered every additional family that moved into town as a valuable acquisition to the place. All were ready to welcome the new comers into the fraternity.
This town has not been settled long enough to furnish instances of remarkable longevity. It is not uncommon, however, to meet with some of the first settlers who have attained to the ages of 70, 80, and some of 90 years. The first white male child born in town was Daniel Kimball, born October, 1762, and is now living in Canaan. The second was a female, Molly Goodwin, who is also living, aged 67 years.
When the war of the revolution commenced, Warner was not behind her neighbors in preparing for the contest. Though the number of inhabitants was small, and the people poor, they promptly furnished their quota of men for the field; some of whom were perhaps as effective and brave as any that could be found in the service. Those who took up arms in the cause of their country in 1775, previous to the organization of an army by Congress, were Charles Barnard, James Palmer, John Palmer, Richard Bartlett, Jonathan Roby, Francis Davis, and Wells Davis. They enlisted for eight months; the three last mentioned, Roby, F. Davis, and W. Davis, were in Bunker's Hill Battle. R. Bartlett, Esq., and C. Barnard, were in a skirmish with the British near New-Brunswick, New-Jersey.
In 1776, the following persons enlisted into the continental service, viz. Hubbard Carter enlisted during the war; and Aquila Davis, Amos Floyd, and Philip 'Rowell, enlisted for three years. In the same year Isaac Walker, Pasky Pressey, Daniel Young, and John Palmer were in the militia service. During the campaign of Burgoyne, in 1777, several men from this town were in the service at Bennington, Ticonderoga, Saratoga, &c.
After the expiration of the term of the first three years' men, William Lowell, Isaac Lowell, Stephen Colby, and Ichabod Twilight, a mulatto, were enlisted for three years. Considerable bounties were engaged to the Lowells and Colby, by the town, for their encouragement to enlist, and were afterwards paid, though they were so fortunate as not to be retained in the service the term for which they enlisted, or exposed to the dangers of a battle with the enemy.
During the last war with Great-Britain, early in 1813, there were upwards of thirty men from this town enrolled in a volunteer regiment, commanded by Gen. Aquila Davis, commissioned as a Colonel. Col. Davis's regiment was marched to Burlington early in the year 1813, and put under the command of Gen. Wade Hampton. They were twice slightly engaged with the enemy, at Chateaugeay, and at the Stone Mills, at La Cole; neither of which were celebrated for any thing gained or lost. Col. Davis commanded a detachment of about 200 men on an island near the mouth of Otter Creek, in Lake Champlain, where he repelled an attack of the British naval squadron on that lake, May 14, 1814. The main design of the British was probably to bring on an action with Commodore M'Donough's squadron, some distance up that creek. No soldier has ever been wounded or lost in battle from this town.
Warner is divided into twenty-one school districts for primary schools, for the most part comfortably provided with school houses; in which are taught reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, geography generally, and in some, rhetoric, history, philosophy, chemistry, &c.
The town is well watered by Warner river and its tributaries. This is a small river of from twelve to twenty yards in width, which rises in New-London and Fishersfield, enters at the northwest corner of the town, and runs diagonally through the town to the south-east corner, and falls into the Contoocook river in Hopkinton, about a mile beyond the limits of the town. This stream divides the town pretty nearly into two equal parts, and affords several valuable mill privileges. There are six grist-mills in town, two with three, and the remainder with two runs of stones each; Also, one paper-mill, two clothing mills, and twelve saw-mills. There are four ponds, Thom Pond, Pleasant, Bear, and Bagley's, which afford a variety of small fish. In certain seasons of the year the salmon trout is caught in Bear Pond, of a good size and very fine flavor. Pleasant Pond contains perhaps 15 or twenty acres. It has apparently no natural channel for an inlet or outlet to it; but is probably supplied through subterranean passages, which raise the water at times, without any apparent cause, sufficiently high overflow its banks.
MOUNTAINS. Warner has a full share of mountains and high bluffs within its limits. Kearsarge mountain, on the north, rears his majestic head from the bosom of a dense forest of evergreens. This mountain, which is estimated at 2461 feet in height, is not excelled in beauty of form, from a southern or eastern view, by ally in this part of the country. It is frequently visited by the lovers of nature's rude and majestic scenery. It is easy of access by the new road front Warner to Sutton, and round the north part of the mountain inn Wilmot and Andover, where people can ride comfortably to within a mile of the top of the highest peak. From this bluff, the spectator may, by a glance of the eye, bring to view nearly all of Merrimack County, and parts of Hillsborough, Rockingham, Strafford, Grafton, Sullivan, and Cheshire counties. The Mink Hills are a range of low mountains, extending from The river to the south part of the town, a little west of a centre line. The farms in the neighborhood of these mountains are valuable for grazing, and. afford good orcharding.
The principal timber trees of our forests are pine, several species, oak, white and red, maple, birch, beech, chestnut, ash, hemlock, spruce, bass, &c. Pine and oak were found in the greatest abundance and of the best quality. So insensible were the first settlers to the value of timber, that thousands and thousands of dollars worth of the finest timber trees were destroyed by fires, and others wantonly cut down, and left to perish upon the ground. Many samples of this waste may be seen at the present day. Great quantities of excellent clear boards have been sawed at the several mills in town. The white oak also has been found in considerable quantities; and of an excellent quality. Our navy yard has been furnished with several very fine keel sticks for seventy four gun ships,. from this and the adjoining town of Hopkinton. Timber, however, is now becoming scarce.
Warner may be considered strictly a farming town. Beef, pork, butter, cheese, mutton, poultry and some wool, are the principal articles raised for the market. Corn, rye, wheat, oats, peas, beans, potatoes, turnips, and most garden vegetables are raised for home consumption. There is generally a very considerable deficiency in bread stuffs. Hay of a good quality is cut upon the upland farms, consisting of clover, herdsgrass, redtop, &c. and in the intervales and meadows, foulmeadow, bluejoint, and several other kinds of grasses. Apples are raised in great abundance, but little attention has as yet been paid by farmers to the improvement of their quality by grafts Pears, peaches, cherries, and most kinds of stone fruits may be easily raised hare to great perfection. Melons, squashes and pompions flourish well. Flax was raised formerly for home use, but latterly cotton cloths supersede linens, and the raising of it is almost entirely neglected.
On the general scale, we may consider genius, not altogether as an exotic, but a native plant, common to all the human family, not confined to any locality, nor such a faculty as will vegetate and grow luxuriantly without care and cultivation. And the stinted growth of it here, is not so much attributable to any natural deficiency, as to a culpable neglect of literary and scientific pursuits.
The physicians who have been in practice any considerable time in town
are the following, viz. Doctor John Hall was the first, and is now living in Maine, *John
Currier, ** Cogswell, *Thomas Webster, *William Dinsmoor, *Henry Lyman, **Silas Walker,
the writer of these sketches, *Caleb Buswell, and Leonard Eaton. They are inserted in thc
order in which they came into town and commenced business. There are two attorneys in
town, the only two who have ever resided long in the place; Henry B. Chase and Harrison G.
Harms, Esquires. There are three stores and two taverns in town. A town Lyceum was formed
in June, 1830, which will it is hoped exert an influence in favor of mental improvement,
the great object for which it is formed.
The following Table, which was taken from the records of RICHARD
BARTLETT, Esq., will show the important information of the opening of Spring on the hills
in Warner; the pine lands are ready for the plough usually at least a week or ten days
earlier; this indicates the near close of foddering time of young cattle and sheep.
|In 1801||Ploughed||March||28.||Sowed Wheat||April 5.|
very good crop
BILL OF MORTALITY IN WARNER, KEPT BY
MRS. BENJAMIN EVANS