Short Falls and River Road 



The town of Epsom voted in 1778 to lay out two roads from Short Falls, one to Allenstown (River Road) and one, including a bridge, near the short falls (Short Falls Road). River Road would be populated primarily by Bickfords, and the Short Falls Road by Tripps. Short Falls was a close knit community and had a country store, creamery, function hall, railroad, grist mill, school, cemetery, blacksmith and shoe shops. The opportunities for employment saw the number of houses increase over the years, but many of them began to disappear after 1900. The area included parts of lot No. 7 in the second division owned by Thomas Critchett, and from the third range, lots 83 to 74. One of the earliest settlers was Nathaniel Kinneson at the four corners.


The newer Tennant's store (left) and the original store (right) at Short Falls Four Corners.

The Four Corners

Short Falls Store


The store at the corner of Black Hall Road and Short Falls Road has gone by many names – Tennant’s store, Tripp’s store, and O. C. Lombard's. The locals usually just referred to it as the Short Falls Store. The four corners at Short Falls for many years went by the name of Jenness Corner, named for William T. Jenness. The property went through a multitude of owners, and has an interesting history.


Lot 83 was divided into many parcels, and the small corner lot was only about half an acre. When the lot was sold in 1821 by Thomas Bickford to Abraham W. Marden, there is no mention of buildings. Marden was a trader by deed, and ran a store and tavern. He is also known to have had some credit issues. In 1824, he sells the half acre lot with buildings to Wendell Marden, their relationship still unknown. Wendell turned the property over in just a few months to Jonathan Yeaton. Whether Jonathan Yeaton ran any business there is unknown, but fell to ill health and deeded the property to his minor children shortly before he died. The guardians of the minors, namely James Hersey, and his widow releasing her rights, the business was sold to Nathaniel White of Deerfield, a trader. After about four years, White, now of Lawrence, Massachusetts, sold the business to William T. Jenness, in 1835. Jenness was a fixture at Short Falls, staying on the lot for about 18 years before selling back to Nathaniel White.


The next owners were Theophilus Wells who obtained the property in 1859, selling it the next year to his son in law, Moses Critchett. Deeds during this period give a little more detail as to how the property may have appeared. Moses and his wife lived in the house, but leased the store and the adjoining horse shed. The lease, which included water rights, was for twenty years, was to Joseph C. and Josiah B. Cram, of Allenstown and Pembroke. They eventually owned the store building, but not the land on which it stood, and moved to Allenstown. By 1865, Levi and Sally Robinson had bought the property and two years later sold it to Eben S. Dutton of Hooksett. It was only three years later when it became the property of Arthur Tennant of Deerfield. The Tennants moved to Epsom, and Arthur sold the business to his son James B. Tennant in 1874. James grew the business and expanded his business and eventually moved to Concord, keeping the Short Falls store for nearly a quarter of a century. The next owner was Warren Tripp, and though he owned the store, it was run by Walter H. Tripp. For just over a decade, the Tripp’s ran the business, selling to Oliver C. Lombard in 1919.


The longest single owner was Oliver C. Lombard, who ran the store for nearly 40 years.


Original Tripp home at Four Corners, the house replaced, but not the barn.

Four Corners

Walter Tripp/Fowler Home


Lot 83 was the original right of Nathaniel Rand and was later sold for unpaid taxes. It was sold by James McCutheon in 1824 to Samuel Whitney and John Goss. John Goss was a son of Samuel and Abigail (Lucas) Goss, born in Epsom about 1798. His sister Abigail, born about 1786, married in Epsom in 1807, Samuel Whitney, born Bradford, Mass., died Epsom. John Goss sold his share after moving to Wilmot in 1832, with Whitney selling out in 1832 to Daniel Cilley. Samuel Whitney operated a store the site, and is referred to in many deeds as 'the Whitney place.' Daniel Cilley was well known as a tavern owner of what was later the Gossville Hotel, and his sons, William P. and Jonathan L. married daughters of Samuel Whitney, Emeline and Harriet. In 1836 Cilley sold the land and buildings to John Smith of Epsom. John Smith, of which little is known, married Rachel H. Prescott, daughter of John M. and Hannah (Dickey) Morrill, and they owned the property only a year before selling to Isaac Smith of Hampstead in 1840. There is no known relationship between John and Isaac.


Isaac Smith sold the property to Levi T. Yeaton in 1840. Levi already owned the Worth house at Short Falls which he bought in 1821. He died suddenly and John Yeaton 3rd and Nathan Bickford, guardians of his minor children, sold the property to James Tripp in 1848.


Levi T. Yeaton, one of the sons of William and Hannah (Towle) Yeaton married Mary Mathes of Northwood in 1830, and by the deeds, had children John A., Horace, Levi, George W. for sons, and a daughter Angie M..


James Tripp was a son of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp and was born in Epsom in 1814, marrying Isabella Dickey (Prescott) in 1843. She was a sister to Rachel H. Prescott who married John Smith. They had one child, James H. Tripp who married Sarah Locke Moses, parents of Walter H. Tripp who later ran the store at Short Falls. James and Isabel Tripp sold the property to Richard Tripp, his brother, in June of 1848 while he was living in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He died that August, and Thomas D. Merrill, guardian of his only heir, daughter Marzett N. Tripp, sold the homestead to Jeremiah Burnham of Epsom. Marzett died in 1854 at about age 11. The property was sold excepting an undivided half of the barn, and still called the Whitney place.


Finally, for a time, the house was occupied as the Burnham's owned it from 1849 until 1864. They sold it to David and Clara Robinson, but they turned the house over to James W. Marden within a year. James W. Marden, who operated the Short Falls grist mill until 1911, sold the house to Paran Philbrick in 1872. He lived there with his wife Susan A. Straw, whom he married in 1868, until the marriage dissolved about 1886. His former wife lived there until she died in 1914. Ella B. Munsey, formerly Ella B. Philbrick, the only living heir, daughter of Paran and Susan, passed to her upon her mothers death in 1914, and sold it to Alice F. Tripp in April of 1919.


Bob Tripp related in 2003 that the house was moved from Fowler Road in Epsom in 1919. It was dismantled piece by piece and put back together on this lot. The Munsey (Philbrick-Straw) house was torn down and replaced by the moved house, the old barn and ell were saved and connected to the rear of the newly located house. Alice (Fowler) Tripp was the daughter of Benjamin and Sarah M. (Brown) Fowler who married in 1898, Walter H. Tripp. Bob Tripp was one of their three sons, the other two were Harold, who married Esther Mott; and Russell F., who married Dorothy Lane. Alice F. Tripp died in 1968, and the house was sold by the estate to Richard and Joan Fowler.



Four Corners

Abram L. Ricker/Dowst Home


The house on the corner of New Rye Road has its entrance on River Road, but the associated blacksmith shops are off New Rye Road. The house on this lot appears to have been built and occupied by Richard Webster, the family having acquired the land from Benjamin Robinson who had a shop on the premises. The Webster's lived on the corner for about 25 years before selling five acres and buildings to Thomas Cotterell of Manchester in April of 1847. The family is seen at this location in the 1850 census, though Thomas is listed as 'William Cotrill, blacksmith' with wife Jane and children: Sarah Jane 13; John F., 11; and Mary A., age 9. Thomas Cotterell appears paying taxes in Epsom in 1848, and there is an increase in the value of his buildings between 1853 and 1855. On April 9, 1855 there is a deed from Thomas Tripp of Epsom to Albert Pearson of Pembroke for 'a parcel of land on the northeast side of the road leading Short Falls Mills to New Rye, (so called) on which the blacksmith shop built by Thomas Cotterell now stands.' Two days prior to the sale by Thomas Tripp, Thomas Cotterell mortgages his property to the same Albert Pearson. In September 1857, Albert Pearson, now of Chicago, sells the 5 acres and buildings to John T. Cotterell of Epsom, and he is shown paying taxes on this same property in 1858. John T. Cotterell also mortgaged the property to Albert Pearson which was discharged in 1858. By trade he was a blacksmith and shoemaker.


Thomas and Jane Cotterell moved to another area of Short Falls in 1857 and sold that homestead in 1863. In 1864 Thomas and Jane are in Chichester, and in 1865 are of Salisbury, Massachusetts before moving to Haverhill, Massachusetts by the 1870 census. They both died in Haverhill, MA, he in 1877, and Jane in 1878. Thomas and Jane had three children: Sarah Jane, who married Jesse Flanders and died in Newton, NH in 1898; John F. Cotterell who died in the Civil War and is buried in the Gossville Cemetery; and Mary A., who married in Epsom, 1860, Horace Holden.


Death records indicate Thomas Cotterell was born in England in 1801, son of Thomas and Lydia Cotterell. It is not known when he arrived in the United States, or met Jane Tripp, but their three children were born around Troy, New York. They were of Manchester for a time before moving to Epsom in 1847. His wife was the daughter of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp. There is a relationship between Thomas and John Thomas Cotterell, as it is no coincidence that John Thomas next owned the Epsom homestead of Thomas and Jane at Short Falls Corner. John Thomas Cotterell became a US Citizen in 1857, and his papers provide information on his arrival in Epsom. According to the court records, he turned twenty one August 29, 1856 and was a minor when he arrived in the United States, arriving in Epsom, September 10, 1852. Though it is not stated, he apparently lived with Thomas and Jane Cotterell, and Thomas and John Thomas were both blacksmiths. John T. Cotterell in his death record gives his parents as John and Martha (Minett) of Cheltenham, England. A guess at the relationship between the two Cotterell's would be that John T.'s father was a brother to Thomas, son of Thomas and Lydia.


John T. Cotterell had a sister Thirza who arrived in the US in 1869, and married in Epsom in 1877, Charles E. Morse. They resided in Haverhill, Massachusetts (as did Thomas and Jane by 1870), where she died June of 1905.


John T. Cotterell married January 11, 1860 in Epsom, Clara A. Sanders, daughter of William and Rachel B. (Wallace) Sanders. They had four children, of which only one lived to adulthood. Minett Wallace, James Malvern and Myra A. all died young. Daughter Bertha Thirza Cotterell married as his first wife, Timothy Bryant Langley, and she died in 1903 and is buried in the Gossville Cemetery. Her spouse married after her death, Laura A. Haynes, widow of Alonzo Batchelder.


John Cotterell moved his family to the area known as Slab City in 1871, selling the home to Arthur Tennant, and after four years, Tennant sold the house to Samuel Whittier. Both Tennant and Whittier were from Deerfield and were merchants at Short Falls. Whittier probably lived in the home until he sold it in 1887 to Mrs. Ada Ricker of Allenstown, she being the wife of blacksmith, Abram L. Ricker. Abram Ricker was from Alton, New Hampshire and son of Asa and Hannah (Bunker) Ricker. The couple did not have children and owned the house until their deaths.


Abram L. Ricker died in 1927, his wife Ada M. Dowst died in 1929. Ada's parents were Henry and Abigial (Brown) Dowst. Her brother, Henry Dowst, died that same year, the homestead passed to his son Henry. Henry, born in 1890, married in 1920, Emma Mathilda Dauth. Henry and Emma raised their two sons, Henry and Robert J. in the home which they occupied for nearly thirty years. It was sold in 1956 to William and Pat Moore. Through the next couple decades the house had several owners, including in 1960 Robert Zimmerman, and in 1968, Charles and Constance Pitcher.


River Road

Worth House


Nathaniel Rand's original lot 83 in the third range was sold for taxes to James Gray of Epsom in 1779, along with part of lot 84. Richard Tripp of Epsom already had bought part of lot 84 by the time Gray sold 83 acres of lot 83 and 37 acres of lot 84 to John Dolloff in 1791. Five years later Dolloff sold the lot to William Tripp of Epsom on the westerly side of the highway that goes by Nathaniel Keniston's. When William Tripp sold the lot to John Sander's Jr. it included 85 acres and to contain 'all the buildings standing thereon'. William, who married Sally Langmaid of Chichester in 1796, does not appear in tax records or US Census in 1800. The property passed from Sanders to Nathaniel Kennison (numerous variations in spelling) in 1802, and Kennison to Levi Haynes of Epsom in 1806. Little is known of Nathaniel, who married at Deerfield in 1775, Elizabeth Clark, daughter of Ichabod and Elizabeth (James) Clark of Allenstown.


Levi Haynes was born in Epsom April 8, 1779, son of John and Olive (Weeks) Haynes. He married at Epsom in 1802, Polly Dolbeer, daughter of Nicholas and Mary (Randall ) Dolbeer. Levi and his wife likely occupied the lot which they sold in 1811, 35 acres and buildings, to Benjamin Robinson (Robertson) in 1811. Benjamin and his wife Betsy settled on Jug City Road, and after ten years, sold the River Road property to Levi Yeaton of Epsom in 1821.


Levi T. Yeaton, son of William and Hannah (Towle) Yeaton, married at Epsom in 1830, Mary Mathes of Northwood. His wife Mary died in 1844, and Levi T. died in 1846, the couple leaving minor children: John Augustus, born 1832; Horace, born 1836; Levi, born 1837, died 1848; George W., born 1839; and daughter Angie M., born 1842.


Nathan Bickford and John Yeaton 3rd were the guardians of the minor children, and on their behalf sold the family homestead to James Tripp. Tripp was the son of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp, born in Epsom in 1814, and married in 1843, Isabella Dickey Prescott, daughter of John and Hannah (Dickey) Morrill. The Morrill's lived at Short Falls, and James and Isabella settled at New Rye. James sold the property, which had grown to three tracts of land, to his brother Richard of Chicopee, MA in June of 1848. Tragically, Richard died two months later, leaving one child, a daughter Marzett N., (seen in birth records as Nancy M.) and his wife Nancy (Folsom). In a deed of 1849, Thomas D. Merrill, guardian to Marzett, and her mother releasing dower rights, sell to Thomas and Jane Cotterell, Jane being a sister to James and the late Richard Tripp. The Cotterell's also lived at Mill House Road, and only kept the River Road property for two years, selling it back to James Tripp in 1855. James and his wife Isabella left their home in New Rye for their Short Falls home, selling it to nephew's William and Warren Tripp with the reservation that he and his wife have the use and occupancy of the buildings and of the pasture land and plowed ground assigned for planting. William and Warren were brothers and sons of Jeremiah and Chloe T. (Prescott) Tripp. In 1867 the brothers sold the home to James Spurlin.


James Spurlin, son of Benjamin and Sally (Green) Spurlin, married as he second spouse, Sarah Fife of Pembroke, daughter of Jeremiah and Abigail (Holt) Fife. They had no children. Sarah had married first, Samuel Worth of Epsom, son of Joseph and Hannah (Tripp) Worth. With her first husband, she and Samuel had for a family: James, born about 1838, married at Epsom in 1863, Emily Jane Baker, daughter of Stephen and Hephzibah (Kelley) Baker; Abby J., born about 1840, married at Epsom in 1859, Samuel Stanley, resided New Orchard Road; Sarah V., born 1844, married at Deerfield in 1865, Moses O. Cass of Deerfield; Samuel Mark, born 1847, married Charlotte unknown and had one daughter, Abby Gertrude; and Gorham Rumsey, born 1850, married at Epsom in 1872, Lizzie S. Marden, daughter of Franklin and Sarah J. (Chapman) Marden. An exchange of deeds put the property in the name of Sarah Spurlin in 1868, and after the death of her husband James Spurlin in 1874, sold half the homestead to her youngest son by her first marriage, Gorham R. Worth. Sarah died in 1905, and Gorham and his wife Lizzie occupied the premises with their family of two sons, the first, Frankie T., who died about age 4, and son Almon Marden, born 1881 and married Florence L. Seaver at Epsom in 1908. Almon succeeded his father on the homestead, as did his son Richard Gorham, born 1909, who married Lena Colby in 1933.


Call - Fife House


The house, just south of the Worth homestead, was built or moved there by Almon Worth. It first appears in the US Census of 1920 when it was rented by Eugene C. Call and his wife Annie, and her mother, Emma E. Leavitt. Almon Worth sold them the family home in 1937, land and buildings, citing his father's probate for title. Eugene C. Call, son of  Chellis and Emily (Durgin) Call died in 1952, and his widow sold the home shortly after his death, to Raymond and Elsie Fife of Epsom. The Fife's sold the home in 1968 to Bernard E. and Gladys C. Phelps of Concord.


Nathaniel Kennison


According to historian John Mark Moses, Nathaniel Keniston was in town in 1771, though no deed has been found as to when he first bought land. He appears in the town records in 1772 when the town voted that a committee be chose to view the ground from the road already laid out near where Nathaniel Keneston lives to the short falls so called and pitch on the most suitable place for the road and to build a bridge over the river. He next appears in 1778 when the town then voted to lay out a road from Nathaniel Kinnison's house to Allenstown line.


Nathaniel Kennison (various spellings, Kineson on gravestone), of whom nothing is known of his parents, bought 50 acres of land in lot 82 in the third range in 1781. The lot was originally owned by 'the widow Hicks' and sold for taxes to John Casey, he selling to Kennison. He is shown on a plot map of the town as the owner of lot 82 in 1800. In 1802 Nathaniel buys from John Sanders, part of lot 83. This lot was sold to Sanders in 1799, being 85 acres and included buildings, probably built by William Tripp who sold the property to Sanders, having bought the land three years earlier. Whether Nathaniel Kennison used this house is unknown, as he had a residence as early as 1772. Nathaniel's last known transaction was selling all the land he owned in lot 82 and 83 on the easterly side of the Suncook River to Levi Haynes in 1806.


Nathaniel Kennison married Elizabeth Clark, daughter of Ichabod and Elizabeth (James) Clark of Allenstown at Deerfield, July of 1775. Their family, not well documented, probably had the following family: Bradbury, born 1777, married in 1803, Judith Plaisted, removed to Canada; Nancy, born about 1779, married at Epsom in 1799, Robert McDaniel; Rhoda, born about 1781, married a Daniel Kenneson, of whom nothing more is known; Mercy, married as his second wife, Thomas Bickford of River Road; John, born 1793, married at Epsom in 1815, Lydia Haynes, daughter of Elisha and Betsy (Bartlett) Haynes, removed to Stanstead, Canada; Charlotte, born about 1796, died 1818; and Ruah, born 1799, died unmarried at Cambridge, MA in 1877.


River Road

George R. Carleton Home


George Ritchie Carleton was living in Manchester with his family in 1850, and appears in Epsom in 1866 paying town tax. He appears in his River Road home on the map of 1858, but does not buy the property until 1859.


The land was owned at the time of the sale by James Tripp, part of his land where he was living in what was later the Worth home. George R. Carleton had married Nancy Tripp, daughter of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp and a sister to James Tripp. She died in 1851, and George married her sister Susan in 1852, widow of John Critchett. She died about 1881 and he married for the third time, Martha Libbey, daughter of Jethro and Abigail Libbey who died in Allenstown, January, 1864. The only children were from the first marriage and included: Ellen, born 1834, died unmarried in 1861; Susan, born 1837, married at Epsom in 1860, John Locke Perkins; Mary A., born 1839 married at Billerica, MA, Alanson Stewart; Nancy, born about 1842, married George Ordway and had one son, Albert Alanson Ordway; and Georgianna, born about 1844, died 1848, unmarried. Notes on the back of a photograph of the home from the family states that George R. built the house on the lot.


The back of the photo also states that the children of daughter Mary A., who married Alanson Stewart were born in the house. Alanson Stewart and Mary had children: George William, born 1860, married Lizzie Nutt; Mabel Evelyn, born 1854, married at Epsom in 1882, Samuel Roby Yeaton; and Nettie Alice, born 1869, married at Epsom in 1888, George E. Batchelder. Alanson died before the birth of his last child, and his wife Mary raised the children in the home of her father. After the home was sold, the widow Mary Stewart lived at the end of Black Hall Road at Short Falls four corners.


George R. Carleton died in Epsom in 1886, and James H. Tripp administrated his estate, selling the family home to James L. Bickford of Epsom. Bickford inherited and bought a great deal of the Bickford family property on River Road, well over 12 tracts which were later sold by his widow Lizzie Bickford. She sold the small two acre lot in 1946 to Fred  W. and Ethel M. Yeaton, which they sold in 1955 to Llewellyn M. Cushing. Later owners included Clifford A. Heath and Robert Gelinas.


The Bickford's of River Road


Samuel Bickford and his wife Mercy (Blake) lived near Epsom Center where their family of seven was raised. He died intestate and the first probate document, Rockingham County #4582 is dated November 8, 1779, when eldest son Benjamin was appointed, as oldest son, administrator. He is to divide two thirds of the estate (one third is the widow's portion) amongst the co-heirs. A committee was formed - John McClary, James Gray, Ephraim Locke, Reuben Sanborn and John Casey to 'divide the estate in the following manner, viz: to the oldest son you are to set off two shares and to each of the other children one single share. Eldest son Benjamin, James Gray of Epsom and Samuel Blunt of Chester, reported back that the appointed committee on oath 'they thought it could not be divided among all the heirs of said deceased without prejudice to or spoiling of the whole and that the  had appraised the same in order to its being settled upon the oldest son of said deceased, that the oldest son, Benjamin Bickford shall well and truly pay to his co heirs their several proportions.' (Jan. 31, 1781). An inventory and account of the estate is given by Benjamin Bickford.


The dower's third was set off to widow Mercy, beginning at the south westerly corner of said farm being number 95 in the third range at a stake and stones thence running south to a stake and stones, thence north etc. containing 20 acres together with the privilege of one third part of the buildings and all ways and waters upon the same.


Benjamin Bickford had married at Deerfield in 1779, Hannah Locke, and lived at the homestead of his father Samuel. He had three sons, Samuel, born 1779, Benjamin born 1781 and died young, and Thomas, born 1785. Benjamin sold the family homestead to his brother Thomas in 1785, and Thomas soon married Olive Haynes in Epsom in 1786. Benjamin's eldest son Samuel Bickford Jr. gave his title and interest in the land of his father to Thomas in 1802, and Benjamin's widow signed over her dower rights to Thomas in 1803.


Benjamin's surviving sons, Samuel and Thomas, having no title to the homestead farm of their father, made other land purchases.


Thomas Bickford


Thomas Bickford bought land, part of lot 81 in the third range from Elisha Haynes of Epsom in 1808. About this same time he married Keziah Dow Collins, daughter of Robert and Keziah (Dow) Collins of Deefield. The family settled on the lot and added additional land in 1811 from Levi Haynes, part of lot 82. Later, in 1821, he purchased parts of lots 83 and 84 from William and Lucretia Brown. Thomas and Keziah's children were: Henry D., born 1809, married Julia Ann Rand of Rye in 1869; Robert C., born 1811, married in 1838, Sarah S. Sanborn of Deerfield; Levi Bean, born 1816, married at Ashburnham, MA, Lydia Kennison, daughter of Nehemiah R. and Abigail (Dean) Kennison, resided Hyde Park, MA; James R., born 1820, died unmarried in 1846; Keziah D., born 1822, married at Epsom in 1848, Abraham Seth Sanborn of Deerfield; and Silas G., born 1825, married in 1857, Laura J. Sanborn, sister to Abraham S., daughter of John Prescott and Sarah (Bartlett) Sanborn of Deerfield.


Keziah Dow Collins died in 1830, and Thomas Bickford married second after her death, Mercy Keniston, daughter of Nathaniel and Elizabeth. Thomas Bickford died in 1865.


Thomas deeded to his youngest son Silas G. in 1858, the homestead farm now occupied by us containing 100 acres and is all the land and buildings we own in said Epsom, reserving the burying ground on said premises. Silas died in 1896, his wife, Laura, before him in 1890, and are buried in the family burying ground, the Bickford Cemetery, on River Road. They had one son, James Luther Bickford, born in 1859, and who inherited the property. James L. Bickford married at Deerfield in 1889, Lizzie J. Fowler, daughter of William and Sarah E. (Kelley) Fowler,  and they had a son, Walter Silas, who lived to age 10. James L. died in 1923, and his wife Lizzie inherited a wealth of property the family had accumulated, and by an inventory included some 17 parcels of land. She sold off the various parcels, with the homestead parcel sold in 1926 to Frank E. Brown.


Frank Everett Brown was born at Epsom in 1891, son of William and Sarah J. (Nickerson) Brown. He married Lulu Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Josiah D. and Susan N. (Bartlett) Smith, at Epsom in 1928. It was her second marriage, having married at Pittsfield in 1915, Edward R. Davis. She had two children from her first marriage: John Dudley and Ruth Alice. Frank E. and Lulu had one child, William. The three children were raised on River Road.


A portion of the homestead was deeded to John D. Davis in 1941 on which he, with his wife Florence (Fisher) built a home. Ruth Alice Davis, married Matthias Krenn in 1945 and resided at Short Falls. William Brown, married at East Longmeadow, MA in 1952, Shirley M. Worthing. Through probate of his father Frank E., he sold the family home in 1962, to Philip S., Sidney T., Calvin B. Yeaton, and Charles B. Yeaton of Epsom. The Yeaton's sold the home in 1965 to Henry Hazeltine, who sold the home in 1968 to Llewellyn and Martha J. Barton.


Samuel Bickford 


Samuel Bickford bought lot 80 in the third range from Clement Weeks in 1801, containing 80 acres. Originally drawn by Joseph Meloon, it was purchased by William Weeks before being sold by his son Clement to Samuel. The lot was just south of Samuel's brother Thomas, and the family built and settled there. Samuel married at Epsom in 1797, Sally Pervear and raised a large family: Abigail, birth date unknown, married Joseph Wood of Epsom and resided on Goboro Road, seven children; Benjamin, married first at Concord in 1819, Sarah L. Eastman, and after her death, married second in 1865, Nancy F. Johnson, resided on the homestead; Francis, born about 1801, married Betsy Prescott, last seen in the 1860 census in Allenstown; Hannah, born about 1802, married as his first wife at Epsom in 1828, Hopley Yeaton of Epsom; Abraham, born 1806, married first in 1831, Sarah Morey, married second about 1844, Nancy M. Wells, widow of Otis Foss, and third Ruth B. Burrell, eleven children; Sarah, born about 1810, married at Epsom in 1828, John Yeaton, son of John and Rebecca (Bickford) Yeaton; Lydia P., born about 1811, married first at Lowell, MA, Henry Dodge, and second, married 1837 at Sudbury, MA, John Sawyer; Martha G., born about 1813, married in 1837 at Lowell, MA, Hiram Hanson; James N., married at Epsom in 1835, Hannah S. Trickey, resided on New Rye Road; Ann, born about 1818, married David M. Marden, son of William and Mary (Norris) Marden, resided Epsom; Betsey N., born about 1820, married at Acton, MA in 1837, Joseph Tilton; Caroline, born about 1824, married at Lowell, MA in 1841, Samuel C. Cilley; and Berintha (seen with various spellings) born 1824, married in 1848, Edward F. Tilton, brother to Joseph.


Sally (Pervear) died in 1828, and Samuel married second an unknown Elizabeth who died in 1835. Samuel married third, Polly Blaisell at Deerfield in 1839, and she died in 1855. The fourth spouse of Samuel was Rebecca Noyes, who he married at Epsom in 1857. Samuel died in 1863.


Samuel and Sally shared the homestead with their son Benjamin, as seen on the county map of 1858. Benjamin married as her second husband, Sarah L. Eastman of Concord. She married first Jonathan L. Blaisdell with whom she had four children. Benjamin and Sarah had children: Benjamin, born 1819 at Concord, married in 1847 at Lowell, MA, Emily J. Gray, resided on Black Hall Road; Lovina Hoit, born 1821, died 1825; Samuel (1) born and died 1822; and Samuel (2), born 1826, married first at Epsom in 1847, Elvira B. Wells, second in 1884, Mary F. Cottle, and third at Manchester in 1904, Lizzie Upton, widow of Franklin J. Fellows. Benjamin's first wife died in 1864, his second wife in 1881. Benjamin died in 1880, and the property was later in the hands of his brother Abraham.


Abraham owned a small lot across the street, probably the land he purchased of Thomas Tripp in 1846. Abraham also had a large family, first with his first wife Sarah Morey, who he married in 1831: Sarah Elizabeth, born 1832 at Lowell, MA and married at Hooksett in 1850, Francis Lakin; Martha Maria (1), born 1835, died 1837; Martha Maria (2), born 1837, died 1838; Berintha, born 1838, married at Lowell, MA in 1858, Lyman Hodge; and Hannah Jane, seen in records as Jennie H., born 1841, married Freeman J. Rowe. Abraham's first wife died in 1844, and he married second, Nancy M. Wells, widow of Otis Nicholas Foss with whom she had children Ebenezer, Emily Ann, Sarah Melissa and Hannah Jane, and resided with Abraham. Abraham and Nancy had children: Mary Blaisdell, born 1845, married at Epsom in 1863, Dennis W. Phelps; Abraham, born 1847, married Anjielette Marsten; John T., married at Epsom in 1871, Lizzie B. Dickey, daughter of David and Lucinda M. Dickey of Epsom and widow of Chadwick B. Jones; Francis, aka Frank, born 1851, married at Epsom in 1873, Florence Juliette Gray; Warren S., born 1853, married at Epsom in 1873, Sarah Jane Hall, daughter of Charles Henry and Lucy Jane (Langley) Hall of Epsom, resided Elkins, NH;  and Nancy Elvira, born 1857, married Andrew Ford, resided Haverhill, MA. Abraham's second wife Nancy died in 1859, and he married at Allenstown in 1860, third, Ruth B. Burrell, no children. She died in 1876.


Abraham Bickford died in 1882 and his estate was administered by John H. Dolbeer in 1883. He sold the estate to Frank (Francis) A. Bickford which contained three tracts, one pasture of 30 acres, a quarter acre tract which appears to be his home on the east side of River road, and the third described as the premises occupied by the late Abraham until his decease and formerly owned by Benjamin Bickford, deceased, together with all the title  Abraham held at his decease in the homestead of his father the late Samuel Bickford.


Frank A. Bickford resided on his homestead farms, having married at Epsom in 1873, Florence Juliette Gray. The couple had only one daughter, Minnie R., born in 1875. Frank died in 1914, his wife in 1929, and daughter Minnie inherited the two houses. Minnie R. Bickford married at Chichester, George Walter Mason, son of Jonathan and Sarah Maria (Lake) Mason of Chichester. They raised a large family: Harley Lendall, born 1893, died 1899; Della May, born 1895, last seen in the 1910 US Census; Gertrude May, born 1898, married at Northwood in 1914, Leslie E. Reynolds; Harris Samuel, born 1900, married at Grafton, NH in 1925, Viola K. Doe; Ruby Natalie, born 1903, married at Enfield, NH in 1921, Frank B. Hatch, resided Chichester; Clayton Frank, born 1905, married at Epsom in 1935, Esther Louise Waterhouse, daughter of Daniel C. and Mertie L. (Marden) Waterhouse, who married first in 1913, Elmer H. Palmer; Ethel Esther, born in 1907, married at Chichester in 1926, John B. Dennis; Viola Maud, born 1910, married at Chichester in 1926, Wilfred Edward Mack; Anjelour Florence, born 1912, married at Concord in 1932, Alvin R. Davis; and Celia Cynthia, born 1918, married John R. Brown at Chichester in 1935, resided Epsom.


George W. Mason died in 1929, and after his death, Minnie R. (Bickford) Mason sold the family home on the westerly side of River Road, the Samuel and Benjamin Bickford homestead, to her daughter and son in law, Wilfred E. and Viola M. Mack.


The property across the road was sold by Minnie to her son Harris Samuel Mason, with a proviso that she be able to reside there if she so desired. Harris and his wife Viola were the parents of two children, Harris S., born 1927, and Elizabeth Lillian, born 1929. Harris died in 1941, and his wife Viola K. Mason, sold the home to George and Ruth Downing in 1967.


Short Falls Road

I.O.O.F. Hall


The land for the International Order of Odd Fellows Hall at Short Falls was sold to the Evergreen Lodge in 1876 by Sarah Spurlin and Gorham R. Worth in 1876. John H. Dolbeer in his History of Epsom gives an account of the beginnings of the Lodge and the McClary Grange.

EVERGREEN LODGE, No. 53, I.O.O.F., was organized in the New Rye Church, Friday evening, May 10, 1872, by a delegation of the Grand Lodge of the State, Amos Jones, Grand Master.

The charter members of the lodge were Paran Philbrick, Warren Tripp, James B. Tennant, John H. Fife, and Charles A. Chapman.

It held its meetings in a hall over the store of James B. Tennant for a few years, but finding themselves outgrowing their accommodations, they built the commodious and convenient building that they now occupy, which was dedicated to the purposes and uses of Odd-Fellowship Tuesday evening, September 5, 1876, by the officers of the Grand Lodge, George A. Cummings, Grand Master.

The lodge has received, during the thirteen years of its existence, one hundred members, and lost by death six; has paid more than one thousand dollars for relief, and received upwards of three thousand dollars in the way of fees and dues. The lodge has held a levee every year, which has been fully attended, and has always been a success financially.

The officers of the lodge for the term beginning July 4, 1875, were as follows: James F. Towle, Noble Grand; Morrison S. Bachelder, Vice-Grand; John H. Dolbeer, Recording Secretary; Samuel Martin, Per. Secretary; George W. Lane, Treasurer; William H. Straw, Junior Past Grand. Its meetings are held every Saturday evening.

, was instituted at Short Falls by George R. Drake, of Pittsfield, District Deputy, October 10, 1884, and the following officers were installed: Warren Tripp, Master; George Sanders, Jr., Overseer; Horace Fowler, Secretary; William Fowler, Treasurer; William Goss, Chaplain.

They meet in the Odd-Fellows Hall the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.


The Creamery


The creamery was located on the west side of the railroad tracks across Short Falls Road from the Short Falls Station. The land, part of lots 83 and 84 was about 30 acres when it was bought by Timothy M. Frost from Thomas and Mercy Bickford in 1853. Timothy Frost had married a Sally Bryant in 1812 and had 10 children, and after her death, married Mary Grey Prescott at Epsom in 1846. She was the daughter of John Morrill and Hannah (Dickey) Prescott. They had one child, Timothy Prescott, born in 1850. The couple moved to Vermont where he died in 1865. His widow Mary married after his death, and as his second wife, the Reverend Lorenzo B. Pettingill. She died at Weston, Vermont in 1909.


Before Timothy Moors Frost moved to Vermont, he sold his 30 acre lot to George Sanders. Sanders continued to own the property and sold a portion of it to James H. Tripp, James B. Tennant, and Samuel R. Yeaton, directors of the newly formed Suncook Valley Creamery Association. The directors built the creamery and ran a successful enterprise selling and exporting milk, cream and butter. The sale came with the right to run the waster water and milk into the remainder of the adjoining meadow.


The remaining portion of the meadow, 27 acres, was sold after the death of George Sanders, to Warren Tripp of Epsom. A newspaper article of 1897 mentions that extensive repairs were being done to the creamery, and for a time it was managed by Daniel C. Waterhouse. The land and buildings passed to the heirs of Warren Tripp, Harold, Russell and Robert Tripp, who sold the premises to Robert K. Hale, organ maker, in December of 1968.


Short Falls Station


Land for the depot at Short Falls for the Suncook Valley Railroad came from James and Sarah Spurlin in 1869 - commencing at a point on the southerly side of the highway leading from Jenness Corners to Short Falls on the westerly side line of the right of way of said railroad, thence southerly by said line of the right of way, thence westerly at right angle to said railroad to a stake thence northerly to the highway on a line parallel with said railroad and at such a distance there from as will include two acres, thence by the highway to the point of beginning, reserving the crops on said land and the use of the same during 1869.


Conveyances made to the railroad from Short Falls residents included: Abraham Bickford, Silas G. Bickford, George R. Carleton, James Spurlin, and George Sanders.


The first run left Pittsfield December 6, 1869 at 8:45 am and arrived at Hooksett at 10:20 am. The last run of the railroad was December 15, 1952.


Josiah C. Lear


Samuel and Sally Lear settled on New Rye Road with a family of six children. Son John A. B. Lear lived on River Road in a 28x20 foot home he mortgaged to John S. Dolbeer in 1851. Dolbeer owned the land on which the house stood, and is shown as occupied by J. Lear on the map of 1858. The family is shown on the premises in the census of 1860, the house no longer standing by 1892.


Samuel and Sally's son Samuel Langdon (aka Langdon Lear) married Polly T. Cram in 1835, and their youngest son was Josiah Calvin Lear, born 1846 in Epsom and married in 1867, Eleanor Brown, daughter of Lewis and Elizabeth O. (Goodhue) Brown. In the census of 1880 the family is living near George R. Carleton on River Road with their only son, Fred Calvin. It is not clear, though it would appear they were not property owners and perhaps rented. In a deed of 1886, George T. Tripp sells Eleanor (recorded as Elinor Sear), a lot of 290 square rods on the southerly side of the highway 'leading from the Shorts Falls Rail Road station to the Short Falls grist mill.'


Fred Calvin Lear inherited the property. He married first at Chichester in 1896, Nettie A. Sanders, and second in 1911 at Epsom, Frances A. Bennett. Fred and Frances had two children born at Manchester: Eleanor, born 1912, married Albert Briggs and resided at the homestead; and Lionel McKinley, born at Manchester in 1914.


Charles E. and Percy K. Elliott homes


The home next west of the Lear house was owned by Charles E. and Pheobe Jane (Bickford) Elliott. The house does not appear in 1858, and in 1862 Jeremiah Tripp deeded to his son Warren Tripp, half the homestead farm 'where I now live.' Jeremiah was the son of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp who married Chloe T. Prescott, daughter of John Morrill and Hannah (Dickey) Prescott in 1823. The other half was deeded to son William in 1864. Jeremiah and son Warren deeded the home to William in 1867.


Jeremiah and Chloe had children: Harriett Ann, born 1824, died 1827; Chloe P., born 1827, married at Epsom in 1845, Jeremiah Burnham; Harriet Morrill, born 1831, married James Lewis Prescott and moved to Maryland; William, born 1834, married about 1865, Nancie E. Preston, daughter of Worcester and Nancy Preston and widow of William B. Perkins; Ann Maria, born 1836, died 1840; and Warren, born 1839, married in 1861, Katie M. Bickford, daughter of James N. and Hannah S. (Trickey) Bickford.


William and Nancie Tripp had two children: Harriet L, born 1868, married at Epsom in 1888, Fred Sherman Heath, son of Christopher S. and Rosilla (Clough) Heath; and John C., born 1871, married at Concord in 1895, Kathleen Woodbury. William sold his house back to his brother Warren in 1875. Warren's homestead was further down the road, and he appears to have used the house as a rental property, as census shows several renters in the area. He kept the house for some thirty plus years, selling it to Hollis E. Sanders in 1909. Sanders did not keep the home, selling it to Charles A. Chapman of Barnstead in 1911.


Charles A. Chapman, son of Samuel T. and Deborah (Dow) Chapman, was born in 1844 and married first, Sarah Ann Barrett about 1864, and second at Epsom in 1907, Ida A. Emerson, daughter of Richard J. and Sarah E. (Nutter) Emerson. Charles died in 1921 and his widow Ida sold the home where they resided to Charles E. Elliott in 1923.


Charles E. Elliott was born in Deerfield and married at Allenstown in 1893, Phoebe Jane Bickford, daughter of Samuel Thomas and Sarah Melissa (Foss) Bickford of Epsom. The family included: Maud Beatrice, born 1896, married at Manchester in 1915, John Frederick Clough; Percy Kimball, born 1900 at Hooksett, married at Chichester in 1924, Loella M. Perkins; Edward Bickford, born 1903, married at Pembroke in 1933, Madeline L. Robinson; and Wilma Leola, born 1913, married at Manchester in 1935, Gustave Kretschmar. Charles E. Elliott died in 1952, his wife Phoebe in 1963. Daughter Wilma E. (Kretschmar) and son Percy Elliott, were the surviving heirs, and Wilma was administratrix of the estate and bought the home.

Across the street from Charles E. Elliott was his son Percy K. Elliott. As with several of the homes in the area, it does not appear prior to 1858, and in 1892 it is occupied by J.W. Marden. The lot was part of that owned by Thomas Tripp, and after his death in 1871 his widow sold the small lot to Jesse C. and William H. Smith of Lowell, MA in 1871.


Jesse, born 1839, and William H., born 1837, were brothers, sons of John and Rachel H. (Prescott) Smith. William married at Lowell, MA in 1863, Mary Jane Upham, and Jesse C. married first at Epsom in 1864, Sarah A. Brown, daughter of Lt. Jonathan and Maria (Libbey) Brown, and after her death in 1891, married second at Northwood in 1893, Addie J. Pease, widow of a Mr. Roberts.  After a half dozen years, Jesse and William sold the house and lot to James B. Tennant. The home changed hands several times, with Tennant selling to Waldo G. Weeks in 1886, and Weeks to Emma Marden in 1888.


Emma Marden, seen also as Emily, was a daughter of Samuel T. and Deborah (Dow) Chapman of Epsom who married at Epsom in 1861, James William Marden, son of James and Dorcas (Pattee) Marden. The couple had for a family: James Eugene, born 1865, married at Rochester, NH in 1899, Grace E. Rollins; Mertie Louine, born 1868, married at Northwood in 1887, Daniel C. Waterhouse; a daughter born 1874, perhaps died young; and Grace Evelyn, born 1875, died 1962 unmarried. The couple lived out their later years in the home, James died in 1919, his wife in 1917. Their daughter Grace Evelyn probably inherited the home which was sold in 1934 to Percy K. Elliott.


Richard Tripp Jr. homestead


Richard Tripp and his wife Agnes deeded property to two sons, the eldest John and the youngest, Richard Jr.  Richard Tripp Jr. was baptized in Epsom in 1772, and married Sarah Critchett, daughter of Edward and Abigail (Gordon) Critchett. The family included Mary, born about 1794, married Samuel Robinson; Hannah, born 1897, married at Epsom in 1815, the Reverend James McCutcheon; Sarah Ann, married in 1831, the Reverend James Morrill; Thomas, born 1809, married Mary S. George, resided on the homestead; Charles, born 1812, married in 1849, Margaret Henning, resided Ann Arbor, MI; and Samuel, born 1824, died 1831.


In 1798, Richard Tripp sold land in lot 84 in the third range, being all that he owned on the southerly side of the Suncook River, along with several other tracts. In 1805 Richard Jr. sold land to Jonathan Marden, part of the same that my father Richard Tripp and myself now live on, which would indicate he is not yet settled on the land he bought from his father. Epsom tax records do not show Richard Tripp Jr. paying on any land or buildings until 1810, showing owning about 68 acres. It remains the same through the records of 1825. In 1836, Richard deeds his son Thomas, all the land that I own in said lot that lays on the southerly side of Suncook River, in addition to two other tracts.


The land is not referenced again until 1945 for a mortgage, when it is stated the same conveyed by deed of Richard Tripp to Thomas Tripp, Dec. 10, 1836 and recorded Merrimack County and has not been deeded since, title mean while passing by will or inheritance to the present.


The line of descent goes through Thomas and Mary S. (George) Tripp, whose family included: Caroline A., born 1833, married at Epsom in 1852, William Yeaton, son of John and Sarah (Bickford) Yeaton; Mary Ann, born 1834, married at Pembroke in 1858, Eben B. Hoyt of Northwood; Ellen Jane (1), born and died 1839; Ellen Jane (2) born 1842, seen as Nettie, married at Lynn. MA  in 1866, Silas J. Gibbs; and George Thomas, born 1850, married first at Candia in 1869, Betsey B. Sanborn, and after her death in 1877, married second Susan Ida Yeaton, daughter of Solomon M. and Mary A. (Hilliard) Yeaton.


George T. Yeaton inherited the homestead from this father Thomas who died in 1871, and raised the following family: with his first wife Betsey, Mabel B., born 1870, died unmarried in 1891; and Ernest M., born 1875, and died the following year. Thomas and his second wife Susan Ida, had one child, Leola Ida, born in 1881 and married at Epsom in 1901, Olaf Albert Ring. Leola I. was the only heir of George Thomas Tripp who died in 1905, his wife Susan Ida in 1928.


Olaf A. Ring was born in Canada, son of William T. and Eliza (Wood) Ring, and with his wife Leola I., had two sons: Howard Tripp, born 1902, married at Concord in 1936, Helen J. Belrose; and Raymond McClary, born 1904, married at Epsom in 1930, Bessie H. Reid, daughter of Charles A. and Lillian M. (Adams) Reid.


John Tripp homestead


Richard Tripp deeded his holdings to his two sons, John and Richard in 1798, and in 1799 John is first seen paying taxes on buildings and land of 122 acres. Included in the 1798 deed was ownership of his father's saw and grist mill, and excepting a new barn on land sold to John's brother, Richard Jr.. The same day his brother William sold him part of lot 84, land on the north westerly side of the Suncook River, and William sold his home to John Sanders. William, who married Sally Langmaid, has no further record after he sells his land, apparently leaving Epsom.


John Tripp was baptized in Epsom in 1770, and married in town, Sally Gordon, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Dolloff) Gordon. The family raised a family of nine: Jane, born 1799, married George Robinson at Epsom in 1818; Jeremiah, born 1800, married at Epsom in 1823, Chloe P. (or T.) Prescott, daughter of John Morrill and Hannah (Dickey) Prescott; Susan, born 1803, married at Epsom in 1820, John Critchett, son of Benoni and Sarah (Marden) Critchett; Nancy, born 1805, married George R. Carleton and resided on River Road; John, born 1807, married Elizabeth Chase and resided Lowell, MA; Andrew, born 1809, died 1816; James, born 1814, married 1843, Isabella Dickey Prescott, sister of Chloe; Richard, married at Lowell, MA in 1841, Nancy Folsom, he died in 1848 leaving one child, Marzett N.; and Sally, born 1816, married at Epsom in 1832, William M. Baker of Loudon.


John Tripp deeded the whole of his homestead farm to his son Jeremiah, 130 acres, in 1823. John Tripp died in 1844, his wife Sally in 1860. Son Jeremiah and wife Chloe had children: Harriet Ann, born 1824, died 1827; Chloe P., born 1827, married at Epsom in 1845, Jeremiah Burnham; Harriet Morrill, born 1831, married James Lewis Prescott, son of Amos and Lydia H. (Dugan) Prescott, moved to Maryland; William, born 1834, married about 1865, Nancie E. Preston, daughter of Worcester and Nancy Preston; Ann Maria, born 1835, died 1840; and Warren, born 1839, married 1861, Katie M. Bickford, daughter of James N. and Hannah S. (Trickey) Bickford.


Jeremiah Tripp deeded one half of his homestead farm to his son Warren in 1862, and half to son William in 1864, both deeds expressing life occupancy for himself and his wife. Son Warren resided with his parents, and William sold his half of the homestead to his brother Warren in 1867, moving to Concord. Warren and his wife Katie had two children: Florus W., born 1864, married at Epsom in 1893, Mary Nettie Bartlett, daughter of James L. and Sarah E. (Yeaton) Bartlett, he having died in a logging accident in 1894; and Annie M., born 1868, married at Epsom in 1891, Blanchard Holt Fowler, son of William and Sarah E. (Kelley) Fowler, she being sole heir to the homestead.


Blanchard H. Fowler and wife Annie M. (Tripp) had one son, Warren Tripp Fowler, born 1897, and married at Pembroke in 1919, Gladys R. Rose. Warren and Gladys inherited the homestead. The complex of barns were located across the street from the family home and burned May 14, 1975.




Additionally there was a second home next to the Fowler barns which appears after 1910, which it is said may have been moved there from the west end of Short Falls Road. The US Census does not definitively show which families occupied the two residences, but in 1920 the families were Warren Tripp, Blanchard H. Fowler and his wife Annie, with housekeeper Helen Ring; and the other was Warren T. and Gladys Fowler. In 1930 one household included Blanchard and Annie, the other Warren T., Gladys and children Marjorie, Geraldine and Richard. In 1940, in one home was Annie M. Fowler, widow, and boarder, Lotta C. Cook, widow and in the other the family of Warren and Gladys Fowler. The house continued to be used as a rental and is still standing.


Mill House, Richard Tripp homestead


The book The McCutcheon Family Records, gives the only early account of Richard Tripp, though it remains speculation. Born 1720, he 'found' himself at Portsmouth at about age nine, arriving on a British ship, having been stolen by a pirate ship. Nothing then is known of his parentage. He is 'of Allenstown' in 1762 when he buys land in lot 61 on Sanborn Hill, a house later owned by Samuel Quimby. The same year he sells his Allenstown land with his wife Agnes releasing dower. Agnes was a daughter of Andrew and Agnes McClary of Epsom, and according to the McCutcheon book, were married July 1, 1762, though the marriage does not appear in the records. Richard sold his Sanborn Hill property in favor of 100 acres of lot No. 7 of the common land in the second range, second division, bought from Bradstreet Gilman in 1777. He accumulated additional land, which is shown in a deed of 1786 when he sells his Epsom holdings to Amos Morrill: land in Epsom containing 100 acres being the whole of lot 7 in the second range being the same I purchased of Bradford Gilman - also 13 acres of land in the westerly end of lot 84 in the third range being the same I purchased at auction of Eliphalet Sanborn in 1779 - also 8 acres of land in the easterly end of lot 9 in the first range and second division I purchased of  Eliphalet Sanborn June 23, 1778 - and 8 acres of land in lot 8 in the  first range and second division being the same I bought of Benjamin Goodwin, collector of taxes April 25, 1780 - and 3 acres in lot 8 in the first range second division I purchased of James Gray collector of taxes February 7, 1781. Amos Morrill sells the property back to Richard Tripp in 1792, reserving a quarter part of a saw mill.


Richard, and his wife Agnes (also seen as Ann and Nanny) had the following family: Richard (1), baptized Epsom April 8, 1764, died young; John, baptized Epsom February 24, 1765 and died young; Margaret, baptized the same day and a twin of John (1), probably died young as there is no further record; William, baptized at Epsom July 26, 1767, married Sally Langmaid, daughter of John and Hannah (Edmunds) Langmaid of Chichester; John (2), baptized at Epsom, April 8, 1770, married at Epsom in 1798, Sally Gordon, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Dolloff) Gordon; Richard (2), baptized April 26, 1772 at Epsom, married at Epsom in 1792, Sarah Critchett, daughter of Edward and Abigail (Gordon) Critchett. Epsom Church records of the period end in 1774, and McCutcheon gives additional children, Andrew, Hannah, Sarah and Thomas. Of these children, only Hannah is known, marrying at Epsom Joseph Worth at Epsom in 1799.


Richard Tripp was a Revolutionary War veteran and died about 1810, his wife before 1815, and are buried in a small cemetery behind the homestead of his son John. There is little left of the cemetery, and no Tripp stones are visible though McCutcheon states that in 1928, what was his tombstone had the date obliterated, but in 1914 the letters RICH TRIPP were plainly visible. Their home was just on the west side of the Suncook River where he established a saw and grist mill. His son Richard Tripp Jr. sold the home, part of lot 7 and 'the same that my father Richard Tripp and myself now live on' to Jonathan Marden, containing 2 1/2 acres.


The small lot and house went through many owners: 1806, Jonathan Marden to John M. Prescott; 1808, John M. and Hannah Prescott to Benjamin Merrill of Epping, school master; 1809, Benjamin Merrill, then of Epsom, to Ebenezer Gunnison of Newburyport, MA; 1812, Ebenezer Gunnison to Martha Gilbert, both of Newburyport, MA; 1816, Martha Gilbert of Epsom, widow, to William McMurphy of Epsom, saddler; 1824, William McMurphy of Epsom to Richard Park and Nehemiah R. Kennison.


Park and Kennison established a paper mill in the area, and Kennison lost a mortgage to Boswell Stevens. Boswell died and his heirs sold the property to Samuel B. Marden about 1840. There are also deeds where Boswell Stevens sells to Nathan Bickford, who sells in 1825 property to Mary G. Prescott. Samuel B. Marden sells land in Epsom, the corner of Mill Road and the road to Pembroke, to Timothy M. Frost in 1852. It is not clear how they are connected, though Mary G. Prescott married Timothy M. Frost, and the couple, after moving to Weston, Vermont, sold the following to John and Rachel H. Smith of Epsom, February 1864: land in Epsom commencing at or near the shoe shop formerly owned by James Marden, thence north to the south bank of a small brook, thence east to the road leading from Chichester to Short Falls Mills thence south on the highway to the road running west from said mills, thence west on said road to the school house and said shoe shop to the first mentioned bound, with right to the water running in said brook together with the occupants upon the north side of said brook at a point nearly equidistant on the north line said premises to contain one acre. The 1858 map and 1860 census indicate that John and Rachel occupied the home prior to the purchase.


John and Rachel H. Smith only owned the property for a month and sold it to William Burnham of Epsom. William E. Burnham was born in 1838, son of Jeremiah Gordon and Sarah (Worth) Burnham. He married at Epsom in 1860, Emma Clara Wells, daughter of Theophilus and Lucy M.  (Critchett) Wells. They had one son, Fred W. Burnham, born in 1861. William and his wife Emma made this their home until 1883, and sold the one acre lot 'being the homestead of said William Burnham' to what was the Mill Association and William Knox and Winthrop Fowler of Pembroke, Samuel Fowler, Samuel Martin, James B. Tennant and Warren Tripp of Epsom. By the time the Mill Association sold the property, owners were Warren Tripp, Martin J. Hart, Samuel R. Yeaton, Walter H. Tripp, and Ernest Dowst. They sold the building, now with one half acre of land, to Leo and Ella Lagasse of Lynn, MA. After 10 years it was sold to John W. Keveney of Epsom, with the description land in Epsom with buildings and contents therein known as the Short Falls Grist Mill House and field. Keveney sold the property to Robert K. Hale of Epsom in 1941.



Short Falls Bridge


The town of Epsom first considered a bridge over the Suncook River at Short Falls when they chose a committee in 1772 to view the ground from the road already laid out near where Nathaniel Keneston lives to the short falls so called and pitch on the most suitable place for the road and to build a bridge over the river. The finding of the committee does not appear in the records, but at the town meeting in 1778 it was voted to lay out River Road to Allenstown and add a road and build a bridge near the Short Falls in the most convenient place. The bridge was built and compensation for the builders was discussed at town meeting in 1780. There was some concern about the condition of the bridge in 1801, and a warrant article in 1818 asked the town to consider to either rebuild or repair the Short Falls Bridge. Nothing appears to have been done until 1830 when Jeremiah Tripp received from the town, $112.67 for timber, labor and rum to rebuild the Short Falls Bridge. The remnants of the old bridge were bought by various individuals - as town received money for old plank and timber at the Short Falls bridge.


Several articles were written about the bridge and many photographs are included as part of the Epsom Historical Association.


"Who Remembers Short Falls?" NH Profiles magazine April 1976

Covered bridges and grist mills were once common all over New Hampshire, though only a few of each remain today. It was unusual to have two of these landmarks side by side, so when such pairs did exist, they quickly became popular stops for photographers. One of the better known of these scenic spots was once in Short Falls, part of the town of Epsom. Today little remains of the bridge and the grist mill at Short Falls, but their story has been preserved in the notes of Russell S. Yeaton. Yeaton was an alumnus of the University of New Hampshire, a dairy farmer and holder of numerous town and county offices. He was also the last man to operate the Short Falls grist mill. His property was near that on which the bridge was built, and he had crossed it many times. It was his prudence and imagination that saved it in the spring floods of 1937. And it was his foresight that saved the story of the bridge - and of the mill - for future generations. Before his death in 1974, Yeaton compiled detailed notes on both the bridge and the mill. According to those notes, the bridge was probably built in the 1830's. Its abutments were of split granite (that is , quarried without the use of explosives), which supported a latticework structure about 110 or 115 feet long. When the bridge was less than three quarters of a century old, in 1893 or '94, ice coming down river during flood season snapped the tips off the lattice work. Russell Yeaton's father, Samuel Roby Yeaton, was road agent at the time, and he reinforced the structure with wooded arches. The value of this precaution would not become fully apparent for another 50 years! During the disastrous spring flood of 1937, immense ice floes again came downstream, jamming up against the bridge, flooding its floor and preventing passage across it. All traffic between the village of Short Falls and Route 28 had to detour around the site. But the bridge withstood the dirge, thanks to the ingenuity of Russell Yeaton. Recognizing the potential catastrophe ahead, he and seen to it that the bridge was supported in the crisis by actually chaining it to ancient and sturdy trees on both banks of the stream. The stout chains, coupled with the arches Russell's father had added, preserved the bridge. It was not until the 1950's, when a new bridge was built downstream, that the covered bridge at Short Falls was destroyed. At that time, some feared that the eventual collapse of the old structure would threaten the new one downstream. There are others who found the destruction of the old bridge an irreparable loss. For its true devotees, the Short Falls covered bridge never died. It has appeared in numerous paintings, on locally sold stationary, in the pages of New Hampshire PROFILES and its predecessors, and in the listings of covered bridge fanciers' publications. The grist mill was probably built about 1818, just as the grain growing period was beginning on New Hampshire farms. During World War I, as farmers were starting to grow more wheat to compensate for existing shortages, the mill was reconditioned to grind more grain. When it became necessary to replace a pinion gear to one of the grinding stones at the same time, a new one was cast from the original pattern, which had been stored all that time in the Old Concord Foundry. Even as late as 1920, the mill was a taxable property, which brought out a remarkable talent in a local tax collector.....After World War I, the mill was purchased by Suncook Mills, but it was not kept in repair and was eventually torn down. At the same time the new bridge was built, the dam and the mill's foundation were removed. Today all that remains are a few pictures, and for those who walked over the bridge to school or brought grain to the mill, many memories.

Russell S. Yeaton 

The old covered bridge was probably build in the early 1830’s. Originally it had lattice work construction from bottom to the surface of the water - about 18 feet. In 1893 or 94 ice coming down river at flood stage broke the tips of the lattice off and at that time wooden arches were installed by my father, Samuel Roby Yeaton, the road agent at the time, to strengthen it. It was originally completely covered on the sides. The shingles on the roof were hand split and shaved and were 3 ft. long. The abutments are split granite probably quarried back on the hills. Eighty feet actual space between the abutments plus the overhang at each end, probably measuring 88 feet. In winter snow was carried into the bridge so that sleighs and sleds could more easily be drawn across by horses and oxen. Up until 1910 snowing of the bridge was done for $100.00 according to records. The floor was of double plank construction with 3" and 4" planks. With the coming of trucks which first had solid rubber tires, the cross flooring timbers were sometimes cracked and about 1918 these were replaced - double layer being used. (Barton’s lumber operation from Ring’s pasture.)  Sometime in the 40’s heavy 12" x!6" southern pine timbers were purchased in Portland, ME, and installed on horses built of similar materials. n the 1937 flood the bridge was chained to up-river trees to prevent its going out, water covered the floor at that time. In the 1950’s a new steel and concrete bridge was installed downstream some 100 feet and engineers considered it dangerous to leave the bridge as it might go out during a freshet and take away the new bridge. Consequently it was removed much to the displeasure of those who cherished it. Timbers were taken to an area in the woods between Webster Park and the river.



The Grist Mill


Richard Tripp bought all of lot No. 7 in the second range, second division from Bradstreet Gilman in 1777 and sold the same lot to Amos Morrill in 1786, with no mention of any buildings. Amos Morrill left Epsom and sold the lot back to Richard Tripp in 1796, reserving a quarter part of the saw mill and grist mill privileges. Richard sold his home and mills to son Richard Jr. in 1798, who sold the home lot only in 1805, known as the Mill house. It is not clear when the mills changed hands, but it was Richard Jr.'s brother John who sold in 1821 to Benjamin Robinson, a certain mill and privilege in Epsom on Short Falls on Suncook River to take its beginning at a large stone standing below the said grist mill thence running westerly across the river to land that is owned by Benjamin Robinson, thence northerly up the westerly side of said river to stake and stones above the bridge standing 2 rods from the westerly side of the water in said river, thence easterly across the river up the bank from the same to the top of the bank, thence southerly down the river across the highway to the bound first mentioned with the grist mill standing thereon ALSO a piece of land lying on the westerly side of the river adjoining said mill privilege to take its beginning at a stake and stones standing one rod and three feet west from northwest corner of Benjamin Robinsons house thence running south, thence southwesterly to a white pine tree standing near the spring thence southeasterly to a white maple near a small brook thence easterly by said brook to the river, thence northerly up the river to the mill privilege, thence running westerly on Robinson's land to the bound first mentioned to contain all the land within the bounds aforesaid.


At this point there is no mention of any saw mill, and Benjamin Robinson, at the time he bought Tripp's mill, purchased a half acre with buildings from Alexander Salter which was easterly of the mill yard. Two years later in 1823, Robinson sold out to Thomas D. Merrill - three tracts, one the grist mill and privilege; second, land on the westerly side of the river adjoining the mill privilege; and third, the land and buildings bought from Alexander Salter.


Though Merrill, by deed bought the complex in 1823, there was an advertisement to sell the property in the New Hampshire Patriot in February, and if for nothing else, it does give a description of the property:


To be sold at Auction on Tuesday the 2d day of March next on the premises, at one o'clock, P.M. a GRIST MILL with two runs of Stones, situated in Epsom, on Suncook River at the short falls, so called, being a never failing stream of water. Also a small House and Barn with three acres of good Land near said Mill. The buildings and mill have been recently erected, and are in good repair. A liberal credit will be given for a part of the payment. BENJAMIN ROBINSON Epsom, Feb. 2, 1824.


The following year, 1824, the entire property, grist mill and house, was bought by Richard Park and Nehemiah R. Kenneson of Taunton, MA. Park and Kenneson announced their partnership in the NH Patriot newspaper on February 28, 1825:



THE subscribers have commenced the Paper manufacturing Business at Epsom Short Falls, N.H. under the firm of PARK & KENNESON, where they will pay CASH for unsorted RAGS; and for those of a good quality they will pay the highest price.



Epsom, N.H. Feb. 9, 1825.

Park and Kenneson sell the grist mill privilege in 1827 to Thomas D. Merrill, stating it was all the land they purchased of Benjamin Robinson. They put their paper mill up for sale in 1832: 

NH Patriot 2-13-1832


If not previously sold at private sale, will be sold at PUBLIC AUCTION, on the premises on Monday, the second day of April, next, at nine of the clock A.M., a PAPER MILL in complete running order, situate on Suncook river in the town of Epsom, County of Merrimack and State of New Hampshire; said mill is abundantly supplied with a spring of water of the purest kind, a good aqueduct and cistern - also a convenient DWELLING HOUSE & BARN, With 20 rod of said mill, with a good well of never failing water, a young orchard of choice ----- fruit, and several never failing springs of water, near the house. ALSO One other convenient DWELLING HOUSE & BARN within about 50 rods of said mill with a good well of water, and a young orchard, also a GRIST MILL with two run of stones, situated on the opposite side of the stream. The town bridge crosses directly from one mill to the other. For terms and further particulars apply to NEHEMIAH R. KENNISON on the premises or to RICHARD PARK, in Taunton, Mass.

Epsom, Jan. 23, 1832.


What is interesting is that the property with the paper mill now includes two houses. It appears that it was Thomas D. Merrill who bought the paper mill, as shown by the deed of 1837 when he sells the following to Winthrop Fowler of Epsom and William Knox of Pembroke: land in Epsom near the Short Falls, about half an acre with the Grist Mill and privilege thereon meaning all I purchased of Park and Kenneson together with the paper mill and machinery thereto belonging and the house and barn.


According to later historians, the paper mill complex was lost to fire on April 30, 1839.


The year following the purchase of the grist mill by Fowler and Knox, they sold shares to James Martin, James Critchett and Jeremiah Tripp of Epsom, and Norris Cochran of Pembroke. Through the years the shareholders changed, some by deed and some by probate, making it difficult to make an accurate list. Using the Epsom tax records, the shareholders in 1846 were Samuel Fowler Jr., James Martin, Jeremiah Tripp of Epsom, and non residents Winthrop Fowler and William Knox. In 1855, Samuel Fowler Jr., Jeremiah Tripp, Norris Cochran, Winthrop Fowler and William Knox. By 1864, they included Samuel Fowler, Winthrop Fowler, Samuel Martin from his father James, Jeremiah Tripp, Norris Cochran and William Knox. In 1880, the heirs of Norris Cochran sold their shares to J.B. Tennant, and the share holders of 1888 included James W. Fowler, son of Samuel, Samuel Fowler, Winthrop Fowler from his father Winthrop, Samuel Martin, James B. Tennant, William and Warren Tripp, from their father Jeremiah, and the heirs of William Knox. In 1896, the heirs of Winthrop Fowler sold their shares to son Edward M. Fowler, and they sold out to George G. Dowst of Allenstown in 1923.


1924 was the last year the shareholders operated the mill, with Warren Tripp, Samuel R. Yeaton, Walter H. Tripp, Martin J. Hart and Ernest G. Dowst selling the operation to Suncook Mills. What is interesting in the deed is the inclusion of 'the Park and Kenneson' field, referencing that tract to the 1821 deed of John Tripp selling to Benjamin Robinson.


Additional information on the grist mill was included in a paper on mills by Hiram Holmes, and an article by Russell Yeaton:


A Sketch of the Mills and Water Power in the Town of Epsom, New Hampshire by Hiram A. Holmes (excerpt)

After passing down the rapids of Long Falls, with a fall of 14 feet, the water stands nearly level to the dam at Short Falls where there is a 6 foot head. About 1786 John Tripp built a dam and sawmill. A paper mill was built here and burned April 30, 1839. The present dam and grist mill were built in 1839 by a company consisting of Jeremiah Tripp, Winthrop Fowler, Squire Martin, James William Knox and Norris Cofran. Theodore Elliott was the millwright. The mill was reconstructed in 1873, with new flume, water wheels and machinery. H.A. Holmes was the millwright. This mill has been the most successful of any in the vicinity. Farmers have brought wheat thirty miles to be ground. There have been but five millers during the 63 years that the mill has been run.

Millers; John Harvey assisted by James Marden and later Andrew Ladd for 8 years, Worcester Preston for 30 years, William Burnham for 7 years, to James W. Marden who has filled the place for 25 years. Long may he last! 

THE OLD GRIST MILL by Russell Yeaton 


The grist mill at Short Fall was older than the bridge. Date of building is unknown. In the early part of the 1800’s a John Tripp built a dam at the site, and had a saw mill at the left end on the west side of the river. Later a carding mill was operated there. I have been told water held back by this dam extended back some four miles to a point where Round Pond empties into the river. There is a flowage right mark on a rock upstream from the dam, I have been told, but have never found it. The Mill was about 30 feet by 50 feet. Perhaps the diagram best describes it. (See diagrams #1 and #2.) The dam was built on the original site in fact the original log-mud sills were used in 1917- 1918. I personally worked on this project as well as my brother George, George Haynes, Ellery Straw, etc. Wooden timber horses were used and place on the mud sills. It was about 90 feet long and 8 feet high. Because of the shortage of wheat during World War I, farmers were urged to grow more wheat. Therefore, the mill was reconditioned to grind grain. Special flour mill experts from Stratton Flour Mill in Penacook put Belgian Silk on the wheat bolt and the mill was in shape to grind. The corn and cob run had a stone called a French Burr. I believe this was imported from France. This stone ground quite fast. The shell corn stone had a special granite stone. The date 1818 was cut into it and this presumes that the mill was built about this time. (Mr. Whittemore of Pembroke Street now has this stone in his front yard.) History also tells us that this was the beginning of the grain growing period for New Hampshire farmers. At the time of reconstruction, it was found necessary to replace a pinion gear to one of these stones. In searching, we found in the Old Concord Foundry all the gear patterns (Walter Tripp), hence a new one was cast. There were separate water wheels for each stone and a few more smaller water wheels for other uses, notably the carrier bets and buckets that lifted grain, wheat, etc. In the flume, when a gate was turned on or lifted, the water came in through racks (upper mill side) in the flume or penstock, turned the wheels, ran down through the center, and went out through the spillway. The wheels were of semi-turbine construction - mounted flat with vertical axis shaft. The mill ownership was in the hands of a group of farmers who invested some had one/eighth ownership, some two/eighths and so on and received according to their ownership, as stated on shares, which remained with their estates for three or four generations. There were some well known names such as Prescott, Tripp, etc. At the time of reconstruction of the dam, my father, Samuel R. Yeaton, owned a certain portion of the property. The house at the west end of the bridge, known as the Mill House was part of the property. Finally, the water rights further downstream were taken over by the Suncook Mills and a new dam installed at Allenstown. This backed water up damaging the outflow poser of the mill. So grinding had diminished and some of the investors wished to get some of their money back. The mill house was sold and Suncook Mills bought out the water rights. Some of the millers who ran the mills within memory were James Marden, Olaf Ring and I, Russell Yeaton, was the last. The mill, under the ownership of Suncook Mills depreciated and was taken down for the scrap it contained. Later when the new bridge was built south of this point, the dam was torn down and foundation of the mill removed. All that is left is a fond memory.



Short Falls School


Just when and where the first Short Falls School was built is unknown. There is no mention of it in any of the early town records, but it is one of the first six school districts. George H. Yeaton, without giving any source, mentions there was a school house “on the Jug City Road at the top of the long hill, on the west side of the road near some ledges.” He speculates that was about the year 1830. He also speculates that it was taken to the Short Falls District and used to enlarge that school building. He further speculates that might of happened about 1853 when a new Short Falls School was built. No reference has been found for any school district in Jug City, and it is unlikely, looking at later records, that such a building was moved in 1853. If indeed any of this was true, the original school in this part of town might have been in Jug City and moved at a much earlier date. The fact that the town had 6 districts in 1808, and all are accounted for from then on, would make any school at Jug City much earlier and was perhaps the first location of a Short Falls schoolhouse. The school built in 1853 was on the same site as the school it replaced, as will be seen.


A new schoolhouse was erected in 1853. The information comes again from George H. Yeaton who hand copied the minutes of the meetings from the District No. 4 records. To date, the whereabouts of these records remains unknown, and may yet resurface, in the event they do not, it would seem prudent to reprint them here.


From 1879 to 1886 annual town reports gave a brief report on each district. Starting in 1887 these reports became school committee reports, which addressed issues with the schools in a single report as opposed to by district. In 1890 it was reported that the Short Falls School needs better seats and re-plastering, and the exterior was painted in 1895. By 1901 the interior needed plastering and paint, work which done by 1903 along with having the stone work straightened and cemented. Scarlet fever interrupted the Short Falls School one week in 1907. The schoolhouse was again painted about 1909 and shingled in 1911. All the schoolhouses received upgrades about 1920, including the oiling of the Short Falls floor, and work on the outhouses and out buildings. The stove had to be replaced in 1923 with the old one taken to the New Orchard School to replace its stove. The interior of the Short Falls schoolhouse was painted in light colors in 1925, as the walls had become badly discolored by smoke. The outside of this schoolhouse and the shed were also painted.


The schools began a school lunch program about 1947. In 1951 the sixth grade was added to the seventh and eighth, and the grades remained that way until the school closed at the end of the 1954 school year. A warrant article for the school district in 1955 asked the voters to sell the school house at Short Falls for one dollar, to the Elwood O. Wells Post No. 112.


Ham - Marden - Preston


Worcester Preston was born in Cabot, Vermont and married at Lebanon, NH in 1823, Nancy Evans. He was a miller by trade and moved to Epsom and worked at the grist mill at Short Falls. The paper and grist mill complex included two houses, one just east of the school house, where Preston is shown living on the map of 1858. Two years later he bought a house on the other side of Short Falls Road, north of the school house and just west of the Mill House.


The small lot west of the Mill House was part of the lot number 7 which was bought by Richard Tripp. His son sold a small portion of the land to Jonathan Marden which was the homestead farm of his father, and became known as the Mill House. The remainder of the lot at the same time was sold to Thomas Critchett in 1805. The Critchett's erected a house on the lot and by deed, Thomas and his wife Peggy sold it to Benjamin Robinson in 1809. Whether the Robinson's occupied or rented the house is unknown, but sold it in 1817 to William Ham of Pembroke.


William Ham was born in Epsom in 1791, son of George Wallace and Margaret (Dickey) Ham. His father died in 1797 and his mother married second, Joseph Cochran of Pembroke, where she resided with her children. William Ham married at Deerfield in 1818, Nancy Hopkinson, daughter of Noyes and Abigail (Coffin) Hopkinson. They bought an additional 2 acres from the Critchett's in 1924. In this house they began to raise their family of Eliza, Mary and George W. Ham, selling their home about 1833 when they moved to Black Hall Road.


The deeds of the Ham's sale of their Short Falls home were not recorded, but in 1836 the property is owned by James Marden. When Marden sells in 1836 the house and lot to James Critchett, it included two tracts, one acre with the house, and an additional 2 acres, the land they had purchased from the Critchetts. In 1839, James Critchett sells the same property back to James Marden, who resided there until 1852 with his shoe shop.


James Marden was born in 1814, son of Thomas Marden of Epsom and Deerfield. He married Dorcas Savory Pattee at Salem, NH in 1834. The family included: Franklin, born 1835, married Sarah J. Chapman, daughter of Samuel T. and Deborah (Dow) Chapman and resided at New Rye; Sarah Elizabeth, born 1837, died 1853; Anna C., born 1839, died unmarried in 1871; James William, born 1840, married at Epsom in 1861, Emily C. Chapman, sister to Sarah J.; David, born 1842, possibly the David who died at East Concord in 1892; Dorcas, born 1844, died 1853; Susan Gordon, born 1847, married at Lowell, MA in 1868, Charles F. French of Bedford, NH; and Asenath Margaret, born 1851, married 1872, Charles Augustus Richardson, resided Orleans, MA.


James sold off the two acre lot of his property to Timothy M. Frost in 1852, and the following year his wife died. He married second at Concord in 1854, Mrs. Lucia Allen, widow of Hart Allen. In 1859 he deeded the home to Elijah T. Locke, son of Lucia and her first husband, and he turned the property over to his mother at the same time. James and Lucia sold the homestead on March 19, 1860 to Worcester Preston.


Worcester Preston and his wife Nancy Evans had the following children: Caroline F., born 1832, married at Hopkinton in 1854, Charles Emerson Prescott, son of Asa and Sophronia (Bunker) Prescott of Lord's Mill Road in Epsom;  Alonzo, born 1835, died 1867, unmarried; Nancie E., born 1836, married in 1865, William B. Perkins, son of Albon and Polly (Marden) Perkins of Epsom and Allenstown; Franklin (Worcester F.), born about 1838, died 1874, unmarried; and Elizabeth, born about 1842, of which nothing more is known. Nancy (Evans) Preston died in 1860, and Worcester married second at Epsom in 1862, Annah Davis of Chichester,  NH, daughter of John and Lydia (Yeaton) Davis of Chichester, who had married first, Benjamin Colburn.


Annah (Davis) Preston died in 1873, and Worcester died in 1881. The house is seen on the map of 1892, but no occupant's name is given. The house is no longer standing.


John Gordon and Lydia Davis


Nothing is known of the early history of this lot. John Gordon was living on the lot as early as 1836, but how he acquired it is unknown. Little is known of John Gordon, but it appears he may be the son of Jeremiah and Susannah (Marden) Gordon of Epsom. Jeremiah died in 1840, and he willed to Alphonso J. Burnham, his wife and two of her sisters, and the Epsom Freewill Church, no children mentioned. The fact there were no children in his will made the assumption that the couple had no children. The US Census for 1810 shows a female under the age of 10, a female between the ages of 16 and 26, and two males under 10.


The Marden Genealogy by Sylvia Fitts Getchell, page 106, offers the following: at a Court of Probate held at Epsom on the 18th of September 1805 before Nathaniel Rogers Esqr Judge, Jeremiah Gordon, yeoman was chosen and allowed to be guardian unto WIliam Marden a minor upwards of 14 years of age son of James Marden late of Chichester, gentleman, deceased, who with John Marden and Nathaniel Marden gave bond as the law directs. This would account for one of the males. Jeremiah is joined on the tax rolls of Epsom by John Gordon, and are the only family by the name in Epsom. John, based on his age at the time of his death would have been born about 1795, making him likely the other male in the household. Gordon, and are the only family of the name in Epsom. J


John married at Pittsfield in 1814 Polly Gordon, with the record giving no names of parents, and makes it unclear if his spouse also had the last name of Gordon. In the census of 1830 the household had 1 male under 5, a female under 5, and a female between the ages of 5 and 10. The only identified of the children is a son Charles S. Gordon, born 1826 and married a Nancy B. Hill, and resided in Epsom. John Gordon died in 1855, his wife Polly in 1874, their burial places unknown. Before he died, he sold this home to Lydia Davis, widow of Epsom.


Lydia Davis was the widow of Major John Davis of Chichester who died in 1833. The census of 1820 gives them a male between the ages of 10 and 15, and four females under 10. Known children were Orman M., born about 1808, married Sophronia Garvin and resided at Pittfield; Annah, born about 1811, married as his second wife, Worcester Preston; and Sophronia G., born about 1827, married in 1849, Orin C. Barnes, and died in Boston in 1891, she is buried at Short Falls. Lydia, the wife of the Major, died in 1873, and her daughter, Sophronia G. Barnes, a widow was the last known to occupy the home which no longer stands.


The Young and Batchelder families


Thomas Critchett owned the property across Short Falls Road and north of the Short Falls Cemetery. In a rather unusual arrangement, George G. Young built a house and blacksmith shop without owning the land. In 1832, in a mortgage deed to Nathaniel White of Deerfield he puts up a dwelling house (nearly finished) in Epsom standing on land of Thomas Critchett, also a blacksmiths shop standing neat the above dwelling house, said shop is where I now work and together with said dwelling house was put up by me. It was mortgaged several times, and in 1840 White conveys the buildings to George. Thomas Critchett died and his son James inherited the property, and he died in 1841. Silas M. Green was the administrator of the estate of James Critchett, and sold the land to Young in 1842, which George mortgaged to Jeremiah G. Marden.


George G. Young married at Deerfield in 1816, an Abigail Seavey and had a family of three: Eleanor S., born in 1820, and married at Epsom in 1843, Samuel B. Marden, son of William and Margaret (Bickford) Marden; Levi G., born 1823 at Pembroke, married at Epsom in 1850, Mary Jane Perkins, daughter of Albon and Polly W. (Marden) Perkins; and Abigail D., born about 1831, married at Epsom in 1858, William C. Merrill.


Son Levi G. Young established a lease in 1855 whereas he would inherit the property, and to his parents, right to the aforesaid land and buildings during their natural lives, reserving the right to occupy and improve and equal proportion of the buildings standing upon said premises during said term. George G. died in 1856, and in 1862 sold the home to his sister Eleanor S., who had married Samuel B. Marden. Levi went to battle in the Civil War, where he died at Falmouth, VA in 1862. He, with his wife Mary Jane had one son, George Albon, born in 1851, who married at Rochester in 1881, Stella Medora Parks of Richmond, Maine. He moved there, and his mother was residing with him at the time of her death in 1906.


Samuel B. Marden and his wife Eleanor S. (Young) had a family of the following: George William, born 1844, married Annie R. Robie; Mary Ellen, born 1847, married first, William H. Bartlett in 1866, and second in 1903 at Concord, Charles H. Davis; Caroline (Clara) Maritta, married at Concord, in 1876, Richard E. Strickland Wells; Dr. Sumner Davis, born 1852, married at Concord in 1872, Annie Maria Woodman; Maria Burley,  born 1854, died 1855; Burley (Burleigh) Ayer, born about 1855, married at Epsom in 1877, Annie Melissa Lake, daughter of Benjamin and Mary L. (Saturley) Lake; an infant son, born and died in 1861; and Annie Maria, born 1864, married at Epsom in 1882, Orriman S. Ball.


Samuel B. Marden died in 1882, and his wife remained in the home until her death in 1900. They family was likely the last occupants of the home, which is no longer standing.


Benoni Critchett


Much of the land west of the Suncook River was owned by Thomas Critchett who lived on the west side of Route 28 and just north. The property included the land across from the Short Falls Cemetery which in 1858 showed three homes west of the Mill House. In 1892 there are four, two of which do not have any occupants names attached. The area was populated with the building of the various mills in the area, some of the homes occupied by mill workers. In addition, there is a house north of the mill house occupied by John M. Prescott, and a house west of the Short Falls School. Neither of these two homes were standing by 1892. Deeds are scarce and incomplete, and one residence, mentioned as being in the vicinity was occupied by Benoni Critchett. Benoni was a brother to Thomas Critchett and likely resided in a home provided by his brother as there are no land deeds for Benoni. They most likely resided on the lot across and north of the Short Falls Cemetery, and on the lot that George G. Young later built.


When Richard Tripp Jr. sold his father's homestead (the mill house), the rest of the lot was sold to Thomas Critchett in December of 1805. The parcel was described as follows: part of lot 7 and part of the same lot that my Father Richard Tripp and myself now live on to begin on the range way near Thomas Critchett's land in said lot betwixt said range way and the road leading from the Saw mill to Jeremiah Gordon's, on the north side of the road leading from said mill by Benoni Critchett's to said range, excepting two acres this day sold to Jonathan Marden. One half acre with buildings thereon, at the corner of Benjamin Merrill's (Mill House) land by the road leading from Tripp's Mill to Benoni Critchett's house, was sold to Benjamin Robinson Jr. in 1809.


Benoni Critchett was the son of Edward and Abigail (Gordon) Crithetts. He married at Epsom in 1799, Sarah Marden, daughter of James and (Sarah) Worth Marden. They had children: Abigail, born about 1800, married Samuel B. Bickford, son of Samuel and Abigail (Cook) Bickford; John, born about 1803, married at Epsom in 1820, Susan Tripp, daughter of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp; Judith M., born 1804, married in 1832 as his second wife, John Lovejoy; Lucy M., born 1806, married Theophilus Wells; Aaron C., born 1810, married at Bow, NH, Mahala Noyes and moved to Vermont; Moses, born 1812, married at Lowell, MA in 1832, Almira Haskell who died in 1851, and he married second, at Concord in 1852, Mehitable S. Tenney; Mary, born 1814, married Moses Cummings and resided at Pittsfield, NH; Hannah, born 1816, married Herbert Lovejoy, brother to John; James H., born 1819, married Eunice L, Marden of Chichester; Asa P., born 1822, married Lydia Ann Brigham and resided at Boston, MA.


Benoni's first wife Sarah died in 1861 and probably remained at the family homestead. Her husband, Benoni, had abandoned his Epsom family and married at Chelmsford, MA in 1825, Rebeckah Mears, with whom he had children: Lydia, born 1828; James A., born 1829; and Mercy A., born about 1830, all at Dracut, MA where Benoni died in 1847.


Timothy M. Frost

John Morrill Prescott, John Smith, George Sanders


John Morrill Prescott was born in Deerfield in 1777, son of the Reverend John and Mehitable (Morrill) Prescott. He married at Epsom in 1798, Hannah Dickey, daughter of David and Rachel (Hanover) Dickey. Their children were: Chloe T., born 1799, married at Epsom in 1823, Jeremiah Tripp, son of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp; Morrill, born 1802, married 1823, Harriet Seavey, resided in Maine; Rachel H., married at Epsom in 1823, John Smith; Mary Grey, born 1814, married at Epsom in 1846, Timothy M. Frost, lived in Epsom and moved to Vermont; and Isabella Dickey, born 1816, married in 1843, James Tripp, son of John and Sally (Gordon) Tripp, brother to Jeremiah.


It is not clear when John M. Prescott bought his home on the Mill House Road, behind the Mill House. He owned the Mill House from 1806 to 1808. His home is shown on the map of 1858, and was eventually owned or controlled by his son in law, Timothy M. Frost. In a deed of 1862 of Levi Young, Young's  property was east of land of Timothy M. Frost and now occupied by John Smith which was formerly occupied by John M. Prescott. John Smith had married Prescott's daughter Rachel H. and had children: Morrill P., born 1824; John W., born 1826; Jesse C. (1) born 1828, died 1830; Andrew J., born 1829; Clement, born 1832, died 1832; William H., born 1837, and Jesse C. (2), born 1839 and married at Epsom in 1864, Sarah A. Brown, daughter of Lt. Jonathan and Maria (Libbey) Brown, who died in 1891, and he married second at Northwood in 1893, Addie J. Pease.


It is not known how long Frost owned the property, and the house is gone by the map of 1892.


Jesse C. Smith and his wife Sarah (Brown) and his brother William and his wife Mary Jane, bought land from Mary S. Tripp, widow of Thomas, and her son George T. Tripp in 1871. The lot was on Short Falls Road just west of the Creamery. The deed does not give the size of the lot, but it did include buildings. The home does not appear on any map, and was sold in 1877 to James B. Tennant.


Timothy M. Frost sold a thirty acre lot to George Sanders in 1855. It is not known when he acquired the parcel, or whether it might have been part of the John M. Prescott property. The land was bordered by Black Hall Road and Short Falls Road, and Sanders sold a portion of it for the building of the Creamery. Sanders erected a house on the lot which shows on the county map of 1892. Sanders, whose homestead was on Sanborn Hill, died in 1886, and the property was sold by John H. Dolbeer, assignee of his estate to Warren Tripp in 1899, with no mention of the house, which is no longer standing.


Short Falls Cemetery


The original part of the Short Falls Cemetery was probably owned by Thomas Critchett and is the site of his families burials. It contains the remains of many Short Falls and Jug City Road families, all prior to 1864. Some of the family names include Burnham, Carleton, Clark, Critchett, Dolloff, Gordon, Green, Jenness, Keneson, Knox, Marden, Prescott Robinson, Tripp, Wells and Young. Among the earliest stones is one inscribed A+F 1806 ae 85-7m, and one of the latest, Levi Young in 1862. Many of the early stones have disappeared over the years due to time and various changes to adjoining area roads. Some of the stones were replicated on newer stones in the newer portion of the cemetery.


On April 9, 1864, members of families around Short Falls met and established the Short Falls Cemetery Association in order to purchase a suitable lot of land near the residence of Samuel B. Marden in Epsom, the land to be purchased of Jeremiah & Warren Tripp of said Epsom, enclosing the same with a suitable fence, grading, and otherwise improving the same, and forever thereafter holding the same for the burial of the dead. Those meeting were: Samuel Yeaton, Warren Tripp, James W. Fowler, Samuel B. Marden

David M. Knowles, Rufus Baker, James Baker, Jeremiah Burnham, Samuel M. Green, Alphonso J. Burnham, Samuel Fowler, Jeremiah Tripp, Thomas Tripp, James Worth, Ebenezer B. Hoitt.


The Association purchased the land from Jeremiah and Warren Tripp, 'commencing on the easterly side of the road leading from Pittsfield through Epsom to Manchester at a stake and stones at the end of a post fence about 12 rods south of the brook near the house of Samuel Yeaton, thence running northerly and north easterly on and by the said road to the intersection near the house of Samuel Marden of the road leading from the grist mill to the said Pittsfield road, thence easterly on said mill over the brook and to a stake and stones on the southerly side of said mill road about 9 rods from the southerly side of said brook thence westerly on a straight line to the bound began at and containing two acres.' The lot was east of the old burying ground, and the two areas separated by a small brook.


On April 18, 1864, the members made their choice of lots:

No. 1 John C. Burnham

No. 2 Rufus Baker

No. 3 James Baker

No. 4 Samuel Yeaton

No. 5 Samuel Fowler

No. 6 Samuel M. Green

No. 7 James W. Fowler

No. 8 Ebenezer B. Hoit

No. 9 Thomas Tripp

No. 10 Jeremiah Tripp

No. 11 Jeremiah Burnham

No. 12 Samuel B. Marden

No. 14 John Spurlin

No. 15 James Tripp

No. 16 Samuel Stanley

No. 17 James Worth

No. 18 David M. Knowles

No. 19 Alphonso J. Burnham

No. 20 Nathan G. Marden


The Association began to sell plots, with the first being sold to Dustin Clark, No. 21, on which he added new stones for members of the family that were buried in the old section. The stones on this plot are large and elaborately carved. In 1869 the Association met and discussed having a tomb added to the cemetery, and voted to do so the following year. It appears that this may not have been done until 1906, built by Hiram Holmes. In 1879 they discussed what could be done to fencing the cemetery, and approved buying the materials to repair the fence. The fence was again the subject of the Association in 1884 when they looked at the cost of a more permanent fence. It was decided to build a fence around said cemetery as far as the road goes to consist of stone post and iron rails, but the vote was later rescinded.  In 1893 the Association looked into purchasing more land, which it did in 1895, buying from Warren Tripp, 'land in Epsom on the southerly side of said Short Falls Cemetery thirty feed in width running parallel with the present line between said Tripp's land and the Cemetery, said lot to extend from the New Road, so called, to the road from the Pittsfield road to the Short Falls Grist Mill.' The fence was finally erected in 1897 at a cost of $540.41. It was painted the following year and again about 1925. The association became newly incorporated in 1925. The cemetery is currently town owned.


Webster Park


Benjamin Franklin Webster bought three tracts of land at Short Falls in 1902, being 22 acres from Warren Tripp, and 4 acres from Horace Fowler. A short biography from Stearn's volumes of genealogy:


"Richard Webster and his wife Mary 'Polly' Philbrick, left Rye and settled in Epsom, NH to raise their family. He was a shoemaker by trade. He later returned to Rye where he had previously taught school in addition to farming. The family appears in Epsom in the 1820, 1830 and 1840 US Census. His third son and sixth child was born in Epsom September 7, 1824, and was named Benjamin Franklin Webster. From the Stearns Genealogy:


(he) received his primary education in the public schools of that town (Epsom). He was also a student at Pembroke and in Rye. At the age of seventeen years he went to Portsmouth and was employed by Benjamin Norton as an apprentice to the carpenter's trade. He was a ship joiner for several years and since then has been engaged in building operations in Portsmouth. His operations have included the erection of the following notable buildings: The Kearsarge House, the Cabot street school house, remodeled three churches, also built many residences. In politics he is an ardent and enthusiastic Republican. He is a valued member of the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained the thirty-second degree. He was married, January 2, 1849, to Sarah A. Senter, and they have a son and daughter, Merit V, and Stella C. Webster.


Though as an adult, Benjamin Webster did not live in Epsom, he never forgot his roots there. In three transactions in 1902, he purchased land of Warren Tripp, Horace Fowler and Abby J. Holt, land in the amount of about 26 acres. This land was developed into a park for town use, not much different than it appears today. The original plans still exist, showing even the current ball field as it is today. In his will, he writes "I give and bequeath to the Town of Epsom New Hampshire, or the Old Home week Society of that town, or in whatever way my executor may determine (if I have not previously disposed of) the land at Short Falls in Epsom that I purchased of Warren Tripp and Mr. Fowler to have and to hold as a Park, and if not wanted for that purpose to revert to my estate." The town accepted the gift that same year (1916)."


Riverside Poultry Farm

Fred C. Fife and Ernest G. Dowst established the Riverside Poultry farm which was located next to Webster Park at Short Falls. Fred C. Fife sold his half of the home and business to Dowst in 1929. The widow of Clayton Fowler, Hazel, and her daughter Patricia, of Maryland, deeded their interest to Ernest Dowst in 1943. Ernest sold the property in 1945 to Edwin Ketay of New York.


Poultry farming became a major industry in Epsom as shown in the following article:


by Earl P. Robinson, County Agent Published in Granite Monthly


Some places they are taking about quitting farming and moving to the city. But over in Epsom they say that the carpenters are all rushed with work and have more jobs scheduled with farmers than they can do in weeks. And furthermore, the writer did not hear the doctrine of reduced production advanced. He did learn that many were increasing their enterprises. In fact the activity of carpenters is in considerable part due to the expansion of business on poultry farms, and in lesser degree to the setting up of new poultry establishment. Since there are so many communities in Northern New England where a decreasing population, a decreasing number of farms in operation and a reduced acreage of crops and number of livestock indicate communities hastening on to dissolution, it seems the part of wisdom for all public spirited citizens to study communities that seem most successful stemming the tide and swinging back toward vigorous and healthy development. Epsom is such a community. Once a thriving dairy town with milk shipped out to Manchester and Boston, it later experienced hardship, discouragement and defeat. Then something happened. They gave up dairying for poultry. The story beginnings appear to be about like this. Mr. S. W. Bickford, becoming dissatisfied with the unsettled condition of and small returns from dairying about fifteen years ago, began to look around for a more remunerative type of agriculture, and noticed Mr. A. N. Peaslee of South Pittsfield, who had been in the poultry business for years and appeared to be very successful. Mr. Peaslee was helpful in his advice and encouragement with the result that Mr. Bickford got a good start with poultry more than a dozen years ago, and had progressed rapidly since then. Mr. Bickford states that the introduction of the coal burning brooder stoves had considerable to do with his expansion of the business. This new apparatus enables a man to take care of much larger flocks of chicks than does the old style of brooder with lamps. Another man who was a pioneer in the business in Epsom was Mr. W. C. Burnham. Another thing that has been of great importance in the development of the industry is the fact that Senator Walter Tripp of Short Falls, for years a merchant in the community, watching the developments taking place, noted with deep concern that there was less and less milk being shipped out each year. Realizing that a decreased output from the town meant a decreased income and consequent hardship and perhaps failure in the end, his voice was soon upraised in encouragement of the poultry enterprises that were starting in a small way. Mr. W.C. Pickard, employed in Mr. Tripp’s store, was also spreading the gospel of poultry raising, with a good success. There undoubtedly were others in the community pointing the way toward a happier economic situation. These men were among the to first recognize that Epsom was not holding its own with the old type of agriculture, and with considerable courage and initiative, they launched into something that from the evidence looked more profitable. And subsequently developments seem to have proved the wisdom of their choice. Today Epsom is known far and wide as a poultry center. The assessors figures give it the largest number of hens of any town in New Hampshire. In January, 1923, one thousand and eightyfive cases of eggs were shipped from the two railroad stations of the town, bringing in close to 30,000.00. The buyers of baby chicks from many states come to Epsom, and even New York City commission men accorded distinction by establishing buyers at its two shipping points, Epsom Depot and Short Falls Depot. Within the past six years, Professor A.W. Richardson of the State University, with his sound advice, infectious enthusiasm and substantial help in improving methods and meeting the problems of the business, has rendered a splendid service. The store-keepers report that the increased prosperity is clearly reflected in the improved business and the prompt payment for goods. And they tell stories of laboring men and others who, once having a pretty stiff fight to keep even with the world, now have from 500 to 2,000 hens each and are rapidly getting ahead. One of the leading poultry men is quoted as saying that with 300 hens well managed, a laboring man would find himself as well situated as with steady work at good wages working out. The writer, having the prosperity of the community as a whole in mind, did not investigate cases of individual poultry men to see what the profits are. But the success of this community is significant because New Hampshire needs encouragement. And she also needs examples. What do we get from the success of Epsom that will turn other towns from their drift toward failure, right-about-face toward permanent success: In the first place many communities will have to make radical changes to adapt themselves to changed conditions. Once the cities of Southern New England were under the necessity of buying their dairy products near-by. That practically settled the question of the type of agriculture for thousands of farmers near the cities. Now dairy products are easily secured from a more distant zone, and at the same time strong demands for vegetables, fruits and other heavy perishable products make their product relatively more attractive. That calls for readjustment of agriculture in many communities. The writer does not imply that there is no longer a place for dairying, but he does insist that in view of the rapid and decisive changes that have taken place in industry - including agriculture -every farmer needs to subject his farming enterprise to a most vigorous test to see whether it does shape up well with the new conditions. Try to see where one is likely to arrive in twenty years. Such a forward view by a prominently successful dairyman in Peterboro has led him to the policy of starting an orchard on some of his rough fields that are difficult to cultivate. In his case dairying has been and still is profitable, but he is looking forward to the time when he will no longer want to wage the stubborn battle stubborn battle with boulders in a rock-strewn field, and when that time comes he wants to be prepared to fall back on a crop that will give him returns and satisfaction comparable with the business he has for years handled so successfully. In the second place Epsom community forcefully emphasizes the fact that our fortunes are very closely bound up together. Failure for a part of any community is in some measure failure for all. And success for many also betters the fortunes of all. Take the matter of production. There is no place so favorable for a beginner to start as in Epsom or some other community where there are many successful poultry men. He can get his stock easier, can watch the methods employed and learn from the failures as well as the successes. In such communities new discoveries and better methods make their first appearance, and there also warnings of danger are first sounded. The writer believes also, from his brief survey of the community, that Epsom realizes that any failure in the community hurts all of the members. There is therefore, a sympathetic interest in the new ventures and hope that they will meet with success. And marketing, that great unsolved problem of the farmer, becomes much simpler where a large volume of business develops in a given community. One man said it amused him this past summer to witness the discomfiture of hucksters who previously had done a flourishing business there, who now return to their home towns in Massachusetts almost empty-handed, because local representatives of two large wholesalers from New York, recently established in Epsom and Short Falls, have put the market above what it had been. There are rumors that these firms plan to establish a service of carload shipments of poultry. That means reduction of handling and shipping costs, which will at least in some measure benefit the poultry raiser. It appears, therefore, that Epsom has prospered. That should encourage every community in the state and should suggest the means of turning the tide where it is now flowing in the wrong direction. There has been little written about the poultry business in Epsom. However, during the era of this writing, there were large poultry plants all over town. Cow barns had been converted into hen houses, many long one or two story buildings built to house large numbers of chickens. Ernest Dowst had a large plant next to Webster Park. Scott Monroe had large hen houses where Rick Harkness now lives, Fred Fife on route 28, John Cox up at the Center are some of the larger ones that I remember. Most every farmer had some chickens. The general stores each had grain rooms. I remember the incubator house at home that my father had built. The basement had that long wooden structure with doors that opened into the many compartments that held wire trays for the eggs that were to hatch. There was a crank that was used to move the trays and the eggs several times each day so that one did not have do this by hand. The incubator was heated by a coal heater at the end I believe that eggs sold for about $1.00 a dozen making them a valuable crop. Herbert Hoover’s campaign promise to put “a chicken in even.’ pot” was to be a step up for the working class. The crash of 1929 took its toll on the poultry industry as it did on all other industries. However, many survived that set-back and continued to make a living with their chickens for years after that. Robert Cass is a poultry man who could tell a great deal about a successful poultry business that he shared with his father in the Mountain District.