When Epsom was
first settled, it was the twenty home lots on Center Hill. The power to grow
the area came from the Little Suncook River below the hill, which included some
parts of the westerly end of some of those home lots. The First New Hampshire
Turnpike later came through the area, further enhancing its growth around 1800.
Various mills continued to serve the area for another one hundred years, and
the slabs of lumber, byproducts of the saw mills, gave way to its nickname, Slab City.
By 1823 there were eight grist mills, ten saw mills, three carding machines,
three clothier’s shops and four bark mills in the town, according to the
Reverend Jonathan Curtis. Many of these were in the area from about the old
Epsom town hall to Cass (or Bixby’s) pond. The earliest mention of a saw mill
is from a 1742 deed when Samuel Blake bought home lot 14 and part of a saw
mill. That same year, and perhaps part of the same mill, were shares bought by
John and Samuel Libbey. Isaac Libbey
had a grist mill on the Little Suncook, and a lathe on which he make old
fashioned wooden dishes. A shurking mill stood near
where the old Knowle’s grist mill was located, and,
according to John Mark Moses, may have been the site of the first saw mill. The
mill for a time was owned by Ephraim Locke, who sold seven eighths of it to his
brother Francis Locke. By 1785 it was called Locke’s Mill. It is not clear
whether this is the same mill John Cass sold one twelfth of to Ephraim Locke,
‘commonly known by the name of Civility’s mill’ in 1778. In this same area,
Jonathan Pearson established a fulling mill. A
Francis Locke also had an agreement to use a mill at Cass falls where a saw
mill and grist mill were built, and in 1811 Bennett Libbey
bought rights for a carding and fulling mill.
Folk lore gave rise to two stories relating to the early mills and
local Indians, which perhaps would have been lost if they had not been written
down by George H. Yeaton in 1962, he relates: An old Epsom legend as told to me when I was
a small boy in Epsom, seventy years ago – A man was cutting wood not far from
his cabin and was intently splitting a large log. Suddenly he found himself
surrounded by a number of hostile Indians. They made him understand that they
were not going to kill him but that he must go with him as a prisoner. Knowing
that resistance was useless, he appeared to accept the situation, but explained
to them that he wanted to finish splitting the log before he went and asked the
Indians to help him – the Indians agreed. They arranged themselves on both
sides of the log – putting their hands into the large crack the man had made,
thinking they could pull the log apart, suddenly the white man knocked the
wooden wedge out that was holding the log apart, and the log closed on the
Indian’s fingers and before they could release themselves, their captive
One of the early settlers had a saw mill
on the river and one day he stayed late to finish sawing some logs. The sun had
set and the daylight was growing dim inside the mill. As he was sawing the last
log he saw long shadows coming from the up river end of the mill. A quick
glance confirmed his first suspicion. A band of Indians had come down the river
in a canoe and were standing in the end of the mill. Knowing they were not
friendly Indians, he, while seemly paying no attention to them, suddenly
reversed the log carriage sending it straight back toward the Indians and
before they recovered from their astonishment at this unexpected action, the
carriage, log and all struck them, knocking them into the river. During the
confusion that resulted, the mill owner quickly escaped.
As told to me when a small boy.
Hiram Holmes, who lived at Slab
City, was most knowledgeable about the
mills in the area, and wrote a paper ‘A Sketch of the Mills and Water Power in
the Town of Epsom, New Hampshire’ which describes in some
detail the mills on the Little Suncook. The information on those mills is as
follows: Down the river with a fall of 55 feet we come to Cass Dam where there
is seven feet head (referring to the little Suncook River).
November 3, 1803, Francis Locke entered into a contract with John Chesley, Daniel Philbrick, John Downes and Philip Stevens to build a saw and grist mill to
be leased to them for 20 years. Soon after the contract closed, the mills were
allowed to go down.
July 13, 1830, Ephraim Locke sold the right to run a carding and fulling mill to Dearborn Lord, who sold the same right to
Joseph B. Cass on September 19, 1846, together with a right which he had bought
of Bennett Lawrence, who was running a hat factory with water across the road
from the dam. J.B. Cass took out the machinery and put in a lathe for making
bobbins for the Lowell
cotton factories. He continued running the carding mill for many years.
In 1846 the saw mill privilege was bought by George Batchelder and sold by him to Hiram A. Holmes, March 4,
1865. Down river a half mile, with a fall of 50 feet was Isaac Libbee's fulling mill, with ten
feet head. He sold out to a man named Kyer or
Currier, who soon sold the machinery and let the mill go down.
About a quarter of a mile further down river with 8 feet fall was
Capt. Samuel Locke's saw mill and grist mills, with 8 feet head. He sold out to
a company of which Deacon Frederick Sanborn and his brother were members. They
rebuilt the mills, Benson Ham was the millwright. (Across
from the old Knowles' Store).
About 1858 Alonzo Wallace bought the mills and sold them in 1859
to a man named Smith. He reconstructed the saw mill putting in circular saw
machinery. About 1867 he sold out to Albion Locke. James D. Paige was the
millwright and miller. About this time Mr. Paige moved the grist mill to the
dam on the south side of the stream and added a shingle mill. Mr. Locke sold to
Ephraim Heald in 1871. He had the mills rebuilt in
1873, millwright on the grist mill was William Shackford;
on the saw mill was Hiram Holmes.
At 12 o'clock on a September night in 1877, the mills were burned
with all their contents. Mr. Heald sold the dam and
privileges to Henry Knox, who sold it again in 1878 to Henry Knowles who built
the grist mill now standing in 1880, as a merchant mill fitted with elevators
and storage bins. Albert Ladd was millwright.
A half mile down the river with 25 feet fall is Horace Bickford's
dam with 11 feet head. At this place on March 12, 1778, Capt. James Gray bought
the mill privileges and grist mill of Isaac Libbee (Libbey). Capt. Gray soon added a saw mill just below the
grist mill which was afterward burned. Present saw and shingle mill build by
Horace Bickford in 1870, with H. A. Holmes as millwright. In 1873 H.A. Holmes
built a planning mill for himself and in 1875 added a grist mill, in 1894 moved
them both away.
The First New Hampshire Turnpike provided plenty of travelers from
the seacoast to Concord,
and there were many taverns to accommodate them. One of the earliest belonged
to Samuel Locke, which passed through many owners over the years. There was
also the Suncook Valley House of Benjamin L. Locke, and a tavern owned by
Dearborn Batchelder. There were several stores,
including that of John Wallace on the corner of the turnpike and New Orchard Road. A
local blacksmith shop stood at Slab
City for many years. In
1845, the Congregational Society moved down from Center Hill into a new
building, and when the old meetinghouse was sold, the new town house was also
built at what was also known as Epsom Center. The town pound also moved down
from Center Hill to Slab
Homes were plentiful on both sides of the turnpike, and the area
prospered, only slowed down when the railroad was established at what was to
become the village
about the time of the Civil War.
None of the old mills stand today, the church no longer stands,
and the pound was lost to the building of Route 4, which followed part of the
old New Hampshire Turnpike. None of the businesses are operating, and many of
the old homes and buildings have disappeared. Some memories of the area have
been preserved in old photos and are presented here along with information on
the buildings, owners and families that inhabited them. The sequence is from
the western end of Slab
City where it meets the
old Gossville Historic District, heading east, then
the north side of the highway heading back towards the west.
THE CHARLES LEIGHTON HOUSE
There is no structure on this lot in 1858, but there is at least a
building present when the land is bought by Thomas J. Ames from Horace Bickford
in 1876. It is not known whether the building at the time of the sale is the
current house, but its style is of the period. The lot it is on was part of the
estate of Capt. James Gray, and upon the death of his surviving heir, Moses P.
Gray, there was some dispute as to its division, which was resolved by Probate
Court relinquishing some of the property to Lucretia
Billings Gray Brown, a daughter of Capt. James Gray.
Thomas J. Ames had married Martha Jane Bickford, daughter of
William and Polly (Rand) Bickford in 1858. For
a time they lived on Goboro Road in her families
homestead before moving to this location. He died in 1900 and his heirs sold
the home to Charles W. Leighton. Leighton was a Civil War veteran and was
active in town affairs and the local Grand Army of the Republic. Like Thomas
Ames, he first lived in the homestead of his wife's parents, Eliza Jane Bickford,
daughter of Daniel C. and Jane (Staples) Bickford. Charles deeded the
house and pew in the Free
Church to his second
wife, Ella, in 1910. She died in 1926 and her heirs sold the home the next year
to Walter H. Quimby and his second wife, Jennie R.
Moore. The couple sold the house in 1936 to Philip H. Tilden who owned
the property for a decade when it was sold to Raymond S. Dower Jr., of Exeter. In 1953 it was
owned by Earl and Isabella Luckenbach who in turn
sold the home to Frank A. and Ruth E. Quimby in 1962.
THE HAROLD S. BICKFORD HOUSE
Susan Elizabeth Parsons Brown was the daughter of William and Lucretia Billings (Gray) Brown, and inherited a part of the
James Gray estate through her mother. In 1859 she sold a portion of the
property to Horace Bickford. The property stayed in the Bickford family, and
Horace's widow (Emily G. Sanders, daughter of William and Rachel B. (Wallace)
Sanders) and her only son Samuel W., deeded a portion of the land to his son
Harold Samuel Bickford in 1924. Soon after Harold erected his
home. Additionally in 1942 heirs, Emma H., Samuel's widow, and Hester
E., sold them six more acres. Harold S. Bickford married in 1912, Laura Mae
Young, a daughter of Burt D. and Lottie M. (Dempsey) Young. The Bickford's had
two sons, Jackson Rockwell in 1913, and Donald Grafton in 1918. Donald died in
1920, and Jackson
married in 1934 Wirna Renfors
and lived on Black Hall Road
for a time before leaving Epsom. Harold S. Bickford
died in 1956, and his widow Laura married for a second time in 1959, Edward E. Beane. That same year Laura Beane
sold the house to Kenneth H. and Elaine Little of Concord, being 'the same
premises conveyed to Harold S. Bickford by Emily G. and Samuel W., Bickford,
and part of the premises conveyed to Harold S. Bickford by Emma J. and Hester
This site also was where in 1778 James Gray bought the grist mill
and privileges of Isaac Libbey. Gray added a saw mill
which later burned. Horace Bickford, Harold's grandfather, built a saw and
shingle mill on the site in 1870, with Hiram Holmes as millwright. Later,
Holmes built a planning mill and grist mill in 1875, and removed them by 1894.
The Little's held the property until
1963, and the land with buildings on two acres, the easterly part of the
property, was sold to Paul G. and Charlotte Jackson.
HIRAM A. B. HOLMES HOUSE
The lot that this house sits on was part of lot 94 which was
originally drawn by Shadrach Walton. It was sold several times before it was
owned by Jeremiah Prescott. In 1764, Prescott
sold half the lot plus six acres to John Cass. It is possible that the
'Civility's Mill' stood nearby on the Little Suncook River. John Cass
sold the property to Theophilus Parsons of
Massachusetts in 1789. The connection to Epsom of the Parson's family was
through Susanna Parsons, sister to Theophilus, who in
1777 had married James Gray of Epsom. Theophilus
later became a Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and sold the
Epsom property to his merchant brother, William Parsons in 1810. During this
entire time, James and his wife Susanna were tenants at will and here kept
their home. A biography of James Gray appears in the Hurd's
History of Belknap and Merrimack
Counties, and is worth
Capt. James Gray 1749-1822
The Gray Family. - Another family that was prominent in
town for many years, but leaves no male descendent bearing their name, was that
of Captain James Gray.
Mr. Gray was born in Newburyport, Mass., October 8, 1749. He came
to Epsom when nineteen years of age and was employed by the town to teach
school. In July, 1769, he married Jane Wallace, who lived but a few years.
At the breaking out of the war Mr. Gray at once joined the
American forces and received a captain's commission in the First New Hampshire Regiment.
As will be seen by the accompanying papers, he was appointed an enlisting
officer by Colonel Marshall, of Boston, and did
valiant service at Ticonderoga. He married,
for a second wife, Susannah Parsons, of Newbury,
Mass., daughter of Rev. Moses
Parsons and sister to Judge Theophilus Parsons. About
1778 they moved to Epsom, bringing into town the first chaise ever owned in
They lived for several years in the house of the widow of Rev. John Tucke, the first settled minister in town, which we
understand to have been where George W. Bacheldor now
lives. They then moved on to Sandborn's Hill, and
owned and occupied the farm now owned by Samuel Quimby.
Afterwards they bought on the turnpike, on what has ever since been known as
"Gray's Hill." He had a grist-mill on the Little Suncook River,
near where the mill of Horace Bickford now stands. He was a delegate to the
Constitutional Convention in 1788, and was also town clerk, selectman and
representative. His appointment or commission as coroner for the county of
Rockingham, dated December 25, 1784, signed by Mesheck
Weare, President of the State, is still in a good
state of preservation, in the hands of his daughter, Mrs. Susan M. G. Perkins.
He was a teacher of vocal music and for several years was church chorister.
The mother of Mr. Gray was with him when he first came to town, and she was
employed as a school-teacher.
Moses Parsons Gray, the oldest son of James and Susannah Gray, was born in
Epsom June 29, 1779. When quite a small boy he went to Byfield, Mass.,
to live with is Grandmother Parsons, with whom he moved to Boston and attended school there. At the age
of fifteen years he became a clerk in a store for a short time, but soon
entered his uncle's employ as a sailor, that he might learn the art of navigation.
When he became of age, he took command of the ship "Diana" and made
several voyages to the West Indies and other foreign ports, having, while
following the sea, visited Spain,
Portugal and Russia.
When about thirty years of age, he returned to Epsom, where
he resided until his death, which occurred November 8, 1858. After
coming to Epsom he taught school in the Cilley
District and also in the Centre District.
While in Boston, after he had left school, he employed his spare
moments in the study of surveying, which art he was very frequently called upon
to practice while in Epsom, there being hardly a division line in the town but
what he was acquainted with, and he was often called to other towns in the
capacity of a surveyor. A plan of the town drawn by him is now in the
possession of the town.
Although he never studied law, yet his reading and his intercourse
with his uncle, Chief Justice Parsons, made him familiar with much that
pertained to the profession, so that he was often called upon to assist in the
settlement of disputes.
While he was hardly ever elected to any office by the town, yet he very
frequently assisted those who were elected, and his peculiar handwriting can be
found in several places upon the records.
Theodore Parsons Gray, born August 8, 1781, followed the sea, and
was killed by falling from aloft to the main-deck, September 20, 1796, and was
buried in "that vast cemetery where there are no monuments."
Katharine L. Gray, born February 19, 1783, married Dr. John
Proctor, and lived in Epsom, where he died in June, 1837. She died in Georgetown, Mass.,
March, 1854. They left no children.
Lucretia B. Gray, born May 5, 1785, married
William Brown and lived in Epsom, where she died May 11, 1875, leaving one son
and two daughters, one of whom, Mrs. Susan E. P. Forbes, has recently purchased
"Fatherland Farm," the old Parsons homestead, at Byfield, Mass.,
where she spends her summers.
James H. Gray, born June 29, 1787, was also a sailor, and died
when but twenty-three years of age, upon an island off the coast of Florida.
Judith Parsons Gray, born March 12, 1789, married John Rand, of Epsom.
Of the eight children born to them, only one had died, - James G.,
who died December, 1850.
The following found among the well preserved papers of the late Captain James
Gray, we deem of sufficient interest to be given a place in the history of
Letter from Captain Gray to his wife.
(No. 4), May 18th, 1777.
"My Dear Susie: As I would not, if possible, let any
opportunity of writing to you pass unnoticed, therefore I embrace the present
by the post to Exeter,
viz. : Mr. Waldo. I arrived here last Tuesday at
night, as you will find by my Journal, transmitted to your Father; but it was
attended with some difficulty, the roads being so excessively miry and my horse
taken sick that I was obliged to walk a considerable part of the way; but at
present am very well. I expect on Tuesday next to take my departure for Ticonderoga, to put my baggage upon my horse & travel
through the woods, which journey is eighty miles from here. When I left Exeter I forgot my Coffee pot and thought not of it until
I got to Keene,
so that I am now at a loss how to make use of my coffee. Since I came here I
have heard from my Brother, by Mr. Tucker, who left him about a fortnight since
in good health and high spirits. Capt. McClary has
been very ill here, but has marched since through the woods.
"My Love and duty to the family. The reason of my putting my Baggage upon
my horse or going on foot is because the wagon cannot get through the
Letter from Captain James Gray to his father-in-law, the
original being in the possession of his granddaughter, Mrs. A. W. Perkins, of Chichester.
"TICONDEROGA, June 26, 1777.
"Hon. Sir: The last letter which I sent you by Col. Little I
hope came safe to hand. I have now the pleasure, by Dr. Conner, of Exeter, to write a
second. The Wednesday after the date of my first I set of from No. 4 for Ticonderoga. Our wagon not being able to carry our
Baggage through the woods, I was obliged to load mine upon my horse and venture
my body upon my Legs through to my Journey's end, which, perhaps, may be said
to be no small risqué. However, after a tedious Journey, I arrived at Ticonderoga, distance from No. 4 eighty miles, the 28th
of May. Nothing worthy of observation has occurred to me since I came into Camp
until the 17th instant, at which time the Camp at Ticonderoga was alarmed by
the report of small arms at about half a mile distant from the Line, in the
woods, which proved to be a party of Indians, about thirty in number, which lay
in ambush for us and had then fired upon some of our men as they were returning
from duty into Camp, three of which were killed and one carried off by the
Savages, upon which a scouting-party was immediately sent in pursuit of them;
but so precipitate was their retreat that we could not overtake them; but in
their hurry to Crown Point they were met by a party of Rangers, eleven in
number, who readily gave them fire. The Indians returned the same, upon which
three or four rounds were exchanged, when the Commander of the party of
Rangers, Lieut. Little, received a wound in the arm & was obliged to
retreat with the loss of three men. The next day a scouting-party came upon the
same grounds, where they found one Indian dead and took another who could not
keep up with his party; him they brought into Camp and now have him confined.
"Sir: If I am not to tedious, I would observe that those four
men who were killed and taken belonged to one Company and one mess, and the
fifth, who was the only one left of the mess, was the next day standing with
his gun loaded in his hands, leaning his chin upon the muzzle of his gun, when
it went off, as he was talking with is Brother, and drove the whole charge
through his head, dashing his brains through the side of the house by which
they were standing.
"I have just received news from Ticonderoga that the British
Troops are landed at Crown Point; this I believe
to be depended upon as a fact, so that we are now preparing for Battle.
"Gen. St. Clair has the Command of the Troops in this
department. We have fit for duty about 3000 men and about 1000 unfit for duty,
by reason of disorders that are incident to Camp life.
"The 18th I was ordered, with my Company, to take command of
this post, where we are to keep Garrison within the stockade. How long we shall
remain here I can't say. I will endeavor to write again by the post who goes and comes through this Garrison.
"A letter, sir, would be very acceptable.
"My Duty and respects to all.
"REV. MOSES PARSONS, Newbury Falls.
"To be left at Mr. Davenport's
In 1831 William Parsons deeded the property to Moses Parsons Gray
and Catherine (Gray) Proctor, second wife of Dr. John Proctor and their heirs,
to pass to Judith (Gray) Rand, wife of John
Rand. Moses Parsons Gray died in 1858, Catherine Proctor in 1854. Judith (Gray)
Rand died in 1855, and her son Gorham P. Rand
inherited the estate in 1858. Gorham, who lived on Goboro Road,
sold the Gray homestead to Charles W. Rand (not a direct line) in 1866.
Charles W. Rand was the son of Stephen and Betsey (Wood) Rand, and was
also of Goboro
Road. He married Jennie L. Case and had no
children. He sold the home to Hiram A. Holmes in 1874.
Hiram A. Holmes was a resident of Nottingham when he married in Gilmanton, N.H.,
Caroline Annette Yeaton, daughter of Warren and
Catherine A. (Yeaton) Yeaton
on March 30, 1863. Shortly after purchasing the Gray estate, he built a new
house on the lot. His children included Fred H., who lived about a year; Eliza Jennine who married Horace Bickford Sherburne; Burt E., who
died in1890, unmarried; Waldo A., who married Emma C. Knowles; and Carl Yeaton, who married Mary J. Coulter. Hiram married as
his second wife in 1903, Sarah N. Wallace, daughter of John and Sarah Huse (Towle) Wallace. Hiram died
in 1916, his second wife in 1930. Son Carl inherited the homestead and sold it
in 1944 to Lorne A. Skinner.
Lorne Skinner was the son of the Reverend George and Magdalen A. (Cook) Skinner. His sister, Lena Skinner
married Arthur A. Wells and lived in New Rye. Lorne married in Epsom on June 7,
1919, Ella Mae Harvey of Northwood, daughter of Ladd P. and Mary Frances
(Mallard) Harvey. They had two daughters, Barbara and Blanche. In 1983,
daughter Barabara, by will, owned the house and sold
it in 1992 to Michael & Darlene Loso.
John Goodhue came to Epsom with his family
in 1833 when he purchased a small parcel of land from Abel Brown. The land was
a small portion of the estate of the late Samuel Locke which his son, Daniel E.
Locke, sold to Abel Brown in 1819. John Goodhue and his second wife, Betsy
Goodwin were well into their later years. Betsy died
in 1838, and in 1840 mortgaged the home to Thomas D. Merrill. Merrill in 1843, deeded it back to John and his son Edward H. Goodhue,
both blacksmiths. The deed included a blacksmith shop where they both worked. A
few months later John deeded his portion of the land and buildings to his son.
John Goodhue died in 1844.
Edward Hilton Goodhue was born in Nottingham, though the Goodhue genealogy gives his birth
as Epsom. He married first Mary Knox, daughter of Isaac and Sally (Wiggin)
Knox, April 8, 1841 in Epsom. She died May 29th of that year, having one
daughter, Mary H., who died age 9. Edward married second, Mary Ham, born in
Epsom, probably a daughter of William and Nancy (Hopkinson) Ham. Together they
had ten children: George W., who married a Margaret Marshall in Lynn, MA, her
second marriage, her first to an unknown Ham; John H. Goodhue, died in the
Civil War, 1864, unmarried; Alfred N., married Mary Ella Perry and died in
Waltham, MA, 1911; Charles S., died about age 4; Edward H., died about
age 10 in 1860; Frank P., died about age 8 in 1860; Charlie, died
about age 7 in 1860; William H., died just over the age of one year; Mary Dora,
died about age 10; and Eliza H. who married in 1888, Charles H. Kempton.
In 1866, Edward and his wife Mary sold the
homestead to Lowell Eastman, with a caveat, to warrant and defend the said
Eastman against any damage he may sustain from being legally compelled to
remove the aforesaid buildings on account of their being within the limits of
said turnpike. Lowell Eastman sold the property in 1870 to Andrew S. Evans of
Allenstown, with a similar caveat which appears in most of the deeds when the
property is sold. Andrew S., Evans married in 1871, Mary Ann Brown, daughter of
Capt. James and Nancy B. (Robinson) Brown. He had married previously in 1854,
Ruth Richardson Dowst, daughter of Henry and Abigail
(Brown) Dowst, who died in 1867. Andrew wrote the
following note to the Selectmen in 1876: ‘June 16, To the Selectmen of Epsom. I
hereby notify you that the pound in this town had been and is now out of
repair. I therefore hereby request you to put it in repair in accordance with
the law of the State. If this request is not complied with I intend to bring
suit against the town. Andrew S. Evans.’ Andrew died in 1886, his second wife
in 1917. Her first marriage was in 1857 to William S. Morrill of Chichester. Heir Gamelia A. Grant of California
sold the home to David Barton in 1917, who sold the house to Olin L. Davis of
Epsom in 1920. Olin Leroy Davis had married in 1913, Ruth D. Kimball, daughter
of Rufus F. and Annette Alice (Hartford)
Davis only owned the home 9 years, selling in
1929 to Harrison C. and Ella R. Hadley of Pittsfield,
who simply turned the property over the next month to Leona A. Tobine of Concord.
After four years of ownership, the next family to own the home was George P.
Foss of Strafford, who deeded the house to Stella A. Foss, as it was Stella A.
Foss who sold the property in 1938 to James and Viola Frost of South Hamilton,
The Frost's held the property until 1963
when James W. Frost, single man, still of South Hamilton,
Massachusetts, sold the house to Ruth I.
Sheppard of Marblehead, MA. and the next
year she sold the home to Alfred E. and Mary B. Bell of Londonderry.
In 1981, the widow Mary R. Bell sold the home to Michael and Charlotte Grandmont.
DR. JAMES BABB HOUSE
James Babb was the son of John and Anna (Holmes) Babb, and was
born in Epsom March 12, 1800. He married September 28, 1825 in Epsom, Anna
Maria Lang, daughter of Bickford and Abigail (Locke) Lang. His sister, Lydia
Ann, had married Anna's brother David Locke Lang in 1823. From the History of
Merrimack County, in the Epsom History by John H. Dolbeer,
he writes: (He) studied with Dr. Josiah Crosby and suceeded
him in his practice (in Epsom). He lived for a time in the parsonage house on
the hill, and then built the house now owned by Hosea L. Hilliard, in "Slab City."
He left town about 1840, and moved to Manchster.
Probably all except their last child, were born in Epsom and included Francena Malina (1825-1826); Emeline Augusta (1827-1901), died unmarried; George Alanson
(1829-1831); Georgeanna (1831-1910) married Reverend
John Wason Ray; Mary Frances (1833-1833); Leonona (1835-1897, married George A. Hassam; John A.,
1837-1915; and William Henry Harrison (1841-1842).
Dearborn Batchelder sold a small section
of land containing 26 square rods, next to the house where he was currently
living to James Babb in May of 1833. The Doctor built the house and sold the
land and buildings in October of the same year to Thomas D. Merrill. Merrill
likely rented the house, perhaps to Babb until 1840, and by 1849 it was
occupied by Morrill Hoyt. Hoyt that year bought an additional land of 29 square
rods from Dearborn Batchelder at the northeast corner
of land now owned and occupied by the said Hoit.
Thomas Merrill died and his widow, Anna (Green) Merrill, deeded the original
lot and house to Morrill Hoyt in August of 1851. Morrill Hoyt married Ruth Sargent of Northwood in October of 1829. They raised a
family of 11, which included: Charles K., who drowned in Pembroke while bathing
in 1850, unmarried; Ebenezer B. who married Mary Ann Tripp, daughter of Thomas
and Mary S. (George) Tripp in 1858 and resided in Epsom; William Gilman who
married Lucy Spencer and resided in Lynn, MA.; Joseph M. who married Mary A. DeBaker and died in Lynn, MA., in 1914; Jeremiah
(1836-1837); Albert (1838-1840); Hannah M., (1839-1840); Eliza J. who married
in 1862, Morrill D. Bickford; Albert Johnson, who died in the service during
the Civil War in 1863, unmarried; George Henry, who also died during the
Civil War in 1864; and Frank E., who married Mary Galvin and lived in Lynn,
Massachusetts. Morrill Hoyt died in 1873, and his heirs (brothers and sister Eliza J. Bickford) sold the home to Hosea L. Hilliard
Hosea L. Hilliard owned the property for a dozen years before
selling the home with the buildings, except the store, in 1900, to Mattie S.
Hart. Information as to operated a store remains
unknown, nor when it was sold. She was the wife of John W. Hart, and she sold
the home in 1907 to Herbert S. Little of Deerfield. Mattie S. Hart died two
years later in 1909, her husband John W. Hart in 1930. Little sold the home in
1910 to John W. Yeaton.
John Warren Yeaton and his wife Rowena
(Adams) owned the home until 1926 when they sold it to their nephew Thomas R. Yeaton, son of Alvah L. Yeaton. Thomas married in Tilton in 1923, Augusta Judith Merrill, The couple had two children, Herbert I. and Eris
The one hundred year old home was sold by the Yeaton's
in 1933 to Sally, Ralph C., and James Colarusso Jr.
A parcel of land on the west side of the entrance to Center Hill Road
was a part of the Samuel Locke estate. By his will, Samuel passed much of his
estate to two sons, Samuel Jr., and Daniel Evans Locke. This lot was part of
that which went to son Daniel E., who sold most of his share to Abel Brown in
1819. In 1821, this parcel was sold by Abel Brown to John Ham Jr., of land
beginning at the junction of the turnpike and Canterbury roads, thence on said turnpike to
a stake and stone, to a stake and stones near
the river, thence by said river to Mrs. Davis’ house lot. This was near
the mill where Abel Brown and John Ham Jr. sold a privilege in the mill to
Jeremiah Prescott in 1821. Two years later, John Ham Jr. sold adjoining land to
Jeremiah Prescott, that same piece that was near the river and the house of
Mrs. Davis. In 1831, Jeremiah Prescott, now of Meredith, sold the property,
again that near the house of Mrs. Davis, with all the buildings erected on the
same, to Dearborn Batchelder of Meredith.
Dearborn Batchelder was born in
Northwood in 1778, son of Henry and Sally (Reynolds) Batchelder,
one of nine children. He left Northwood for Meredith after he married in Deerfield, 1798, Mary 'Polly' Neally.
There is no record for children Sally, Ira or Neally.
Daughter Betsey married a James Matthews in Meredith, 1827;
Henry married Sarah Veasey Dolloff in 1831 and resided in Maine; son John is seen living with his
parents in 1850, but no further record; Gordon married first Charlotte Rand of
Epsom who died in 1838, and he married second, Nancy A. Hope. He had a daughter
from his first marriage and resided in Lowell,
MA. Son George W., married Abigail B. Wells in 1836, daughter of Samuel and
Hannah (Brown) Wells and resided in Epsom; Charles N. died unmarried in Epsom
in 1840; Adaline married Darius Philbrick
at Goffstown in 1846; and Samuel B. who married in 1858 in Concord, Keziah
White, daughter of Reuben and Mary (Mack) White, resided on Goboro Road.
Dearborn Batchelder died in Epsom in 1860, his wife
Mary the prior year.
In 1831 Batchelder also bought from
Jeremiah Prescott, all the right and privilege of erecting and maintaining a
Bark mill and machinery for the purpose of grinding bark, fulling
hides and rolling leather under and adjoining the saw mill situated on Little
Suncook river. He is seen in various deeds as
Dearborn also ran a tavern at this location, which
is known from a newspaper article from 1839 when the structured burned:
3-12-1839 DEARBORN BATCHELDER TAVERN - The tavern house of Mr. Dearborn Batchelder was destroyed by fire Wednesday March 30th,
1839. The loss of $1500 or more, besides several hundred dollars in money, was
suffered by Mr. Batchelder, who up until a few weeks
prior to the blaze was insured in the NH Mutual Office, but the policy recently
lapsed. He probably rebuilt, as the 1858 map shows two houses on this lot, and
only one was still standing in 1892, according to the county maps of those
years. The 1858 map shows dwellings occupied by D. and S. Batchelder,
and news reports for October of 1860 indicate that the dwelling house, barn and
out buildings of Samuel Batchelder burned down on the
morning of the 11th, and included the adjoining barns of Darius Philbrick and Morrill Hoyt.
THE DEARBORN BATCHELDER HOMES
Dearborn Batchelder appeared to own two
homes on the property where his tavern burned in 1839. One was on the corner of
Center Hill Road
and what is Route 4, the other adjoining to the west. This second house was
deeded to his son Samuel in 1850, with the provision that he care for his
parents. What became of this house is unknown, as it does not appear by 1892.
One half of the house on the corner was deeded by Dearborn to his son George in 1838, and may
have been the tavern which was lost to fire in 1839. The description places the
house, as in earlier deeds for this parcel of land, as being near where Mrs.
Davis lived, but now where Mrs. Davis' house formerly stood. In 1847 George W. Batchelder bought the house at Bixby's (or Cass) Pond, and
sold his house to his brother Samuel in 1848. The next year Samuel sold the
house to Mary and Caroline Hopkinson, called in the deed the 'George W. Batchelder house.' Caroline and Mary were sisters,
daughters of Noyes and Dorothy (Scribner) Hopkinson. Mary died in 1858, and her
sister Caroline married in 1860, Joseph Morse. The sisters sold and swapped
houses with Darius Philbrick in 1855, moving just
across the street. Darius Philbrick, son of Perkins
and Lucy (Ham) Philbrick, was born in 1823, and
married Adaline, the daughter of Dearborn and Mary Batchelder. He sold the house about 1864 to a Charles
Smith, who sold the property to Albion Locke in 1865. Albion Locke and his wife
Mary Anna (Locke) daughter of the Deacon David and Polly (Carleton) Locke lived
at Slab City, selling this house to James D.
Page of Epsom in 1867. James D. Page, of Ryegate, Vermont,
had married in Epsom in 1846, Elizabeth P. Locke, sister to the wife of Albion
James D. Page and his wife after 4 years,
sold the house to John T. Cotterell, who moved to
this location from his Short Falls Corner home. He and his wife, Clara A.
(Sanders), daughter of William and Rachel B. (Wallace) Sanders, kept the home
until their deaths, he in 1898, and she in 1917. Their
lone surviving child was Bertha Thirza who married in
1900, Timothy Bryant Langley.
Marion L. Mank, heir to the family, sold
the homestead to George P. Kelley in 1925. George Peabody Kelley was a son of
Edward M. and Sybil Harriett (Brown) Kelley, born in Epsom in 1899. He married
in 1922, Edna Esther Rowe. They owned the house for ten years, selling it
to Susie J. Hardy in 1935. After three years the house was sold to Louis A.
Demers, in whose family it remained until 1994.
SARAH DAVIS HOUSE
This house remains much of a mystery. As early as 1821, land 'by
said river to Mrs. Davis's house' is sold by Abel Brown to John Ham. In 1831,
Jeremiah Prescott sells land to Dearborn Batchelder
near the Little Suncook River, and 'by said river easterly following the course
of said river to a rock near Mrs. Davis' house.' Dearborn Batchelder,
who sells land to his son George W. in 1838, near the Little Suncook River, to
a rock near where Mrs. Davis' house formerly stood.'
The house which is no longer standing in 1838, was sold by Sally
Davis of Epsom to Abel Brown of Epsom in November of 1834, with no mention of
land, just 'a dwelling house situate near Abel Brown's grist mill in Epsom,
formerly Jacob Whipple's hatters shop.' Jacob Whipple is shown in Epsom
records marrying Ruhama P. Locke in Deerfield,
December 10, 1818. Ruhama was the daughter of Capt.
Samuel Locke, upon whose estate this property is located. Some arrangement was
probably made when the estate was sold by her brother Daniel E. Locke to Abel
Brown allowing the Whipple’s, Jacob and Ruhama, to
continue to occupy the premises. By 1840 they are in Concord,
and in 1850, Jacob and wife R. P. Whipple are in Franklin. No record has been found for their
deaths or any family. It is also not known when they left Epsom, but it would
appear that at least Sally Davis was next to occupy
line is not well traced. There were 2 Davis
families in Epsom according to the 1790 Census - an Ephraim who owned land on
lot 50, and Samuel of New Rye. The 1800 census only shows the Ephraim Davis
family, and by 1810 there were several of the name – Caleb Davis with 2 young
males; Ephraim Davis; Ephraim Davis Jr. with 3 young females; John Davis with
no children yet; Samuel Davis of New Rye; and Samuel Jr. with one female under
10, which would be Samuel and Sally (Locke)
Davis with their only known daughter. In 1820 the only Davis families are those shown in 1790,
Ephraim of Epsom Center and Samuel of New Rye. Samuel Jr., it would appear,
died before 1820 as he does not appear in that census, although Sally does. It
is known he was the son of Ephraim, as seen by deed (Rockingham County 193-183
of January 3, 1806) – Samuel Davis of Epsom in consideration of a
warrantee deed this day executed to me by my father Ephraim Davis of 46 acres
and 100 rods of lands in Epsom being in three pieces, the first being part of
the lot No. 103 in the third range in said Epsom to take its beginning at the
easterly end of said lot then to run westerly carrying the full width so far as
to contain 26 acres and 40 rods. The second being part of lot No. 4 in said
range to contain 9 acres and 60 rods, as by said deed from the said Ephraim
Davis to me will appear. The third being a part of the lot No 50 in the second
range being the same lands that the said Ephraim purchased of Francis Locke to
contain 11 acres. All the premises hereby quit-claimed unto the said Ephraim
Davis and to Anna Davis, wife of the said Ephraim for and during the term of
their natural lives, that I the said Samuel Davis shall cultivate and manage
said premises in as good husbandry and farm like manner as the same has
heretofore been carried on and managed, and yearly and every year to return to
the said Ephraim and Anna the full 1/3 part of all the produce of every kind
that may be raised on said premises. I the said Samuel Davis to carry on the
said premises at my own expense and to find every farming utensil and pay all
taxes applied on the same.” This deed does not reference land that Ephraim
Davis bought of Levi Brown, part of lot 51 bounded on the third range on May
13, 1799, but not recorded until much later in Merrimack County
27-532. Both Ephraim and his wife Anna (Yeaton,
daughter of Philip and Hannah Pinkham Yeaton) died in
Epsom 1826, she in January and he in November.
Samuel Davis, son of Ephraim and Anna (Yeaton)
Davis, married Sally Locke, daughter of Deacon Abraham and Molly (Sanborn)
Locke. The marriage was in Epsom in 1801. It is odd that her sister married
Ephraim Davis, son of Thomas and Joanna (Keating) Davis in 1838 and resided in Weare. A daughter Sally married in Epsom, October 30. 1827, Richard M. Chesley.
Knowles Grist Mill
There were several mill operations at Epsom Center
near the entrance to Center Hill
John Mark Moses in his Epsom history talks of a shurking mill where the Knowles grist mill stood, being
perhaps where the first sawmill was on public land on the main road. This area
and the early mills were owned by Capt. Samuel Locke. He was the son of
Ephraim and Comfort (Dowst) Locke, who bought land in
Epsom in 1747, home lot number seven. This lot was the original right of Samuel
Dowst of Rye,
which was later owned by Nathaniel Huggins and sold to Joseph Baker. It was
Baker who sold this lot, on West
Street, just past the McClary Cemetery, which stretched down over the
Little Suncook River. In 1773 he bought additional land from John Cass
adjoining his land of 26 acres. At this same time Ephraim deeded 23 acres of
this land along with five eighths privilege in the Shurking
Mill. In 1778 John Cass sold one twelfth part of a saw mill, called Civility
Mill to Ephraim Locke. In 1784, he deeded one twenty fourth part of the saw
mill, now called Cass's mill, to his son Samuel along with one half of the
grist mill. By the time he died in 1816, Capt. Locke owned both the grist and
saw mill over the Little Suncook River. In his will he deeded each of his sons,
Samuel and Daniel E., one half of each mill. Samuel sold his half to his
brother Daniel Evans Locke in 1818. Daniel was also the executor of his
father's estate and sold his portion to Abel Brown of Gilford in 1820. In 1821,
Abel Brown sold one divided half of the saw and grist mill to John Ham Jr., and
the following year, sold a privilege to Jeremiah Prescott to erect a bark mill
to grind bark and a fulling mill for the purpose of fulling hides. Jeremiah Prescott sold his Epsom property to
Dearborn Batchelder in 1831, including all the
buildings. Dearborn, who also ran a tavern on the property, sold his right and
interest of erecting and maintaining a bark mill and machinery on the Mill
privilege in Epsom owned by the said Brown, being all and singular the same
interest which I acquired by purchase of Jeremiah Prescott to Abel Brown in
Abel Brown maintained the former Locke estate for nearly twenty
years, selling out to Ebenezer Gove in 1839, including
"the saw and shingle mill standing on said privilege together with the
screws and mill irons belonging to the same, and also the grist mill
standing on the west side of the bridge over little Suncook River with the
conductor for the water from the dam underneath the road."
In 1842, Gove sold the land with the Grist Mill to Enoch Eastman
of Amesbury, Massachusetts, who ran the mill for 8 years,
selling it to Nathaniel Smith of Epsom. A deed of 1857 shows the sale from
Nathaniel Smith of South Hampton to Charles C.
Smith of Epsom.
Ebenezer Gove died in 1843, leaving the rest of the estate to his
wife Nancy and minor children David Locke and Sarah Ann Gove. To support the
children, part of their portion, being the saw mill together with the shingle
mill in the same building, was sold to Frederick Sanborn on December 22, 1846.
The deed excluded a house leased to Mrs. Sarah Wellman. One third part of the saw mill was sold to Alonzo Wallace in 1852, the
sale was by Frederick Sanborn's son, Henry F. Sanborn, along with George
Sanders. The millwright, according to Hiram Holme's
account, was Benson Ham, probably George Benson Ham (1807-1852) who in town
records is often referred to as Benson Ham.
The trio of Sanders, Wallace and Sanborn sold the operation in
1859 to Charles C. Smith, who two years earlier became owner of the Grist Mill.
According to Hiram Holme's account, Smith
reconstructed the saw mill, installing circular saw machinery. After a half dozen years, in 1865, he sold to Albion Locke.
During Locke's tenure as owner he employed James D. Page as millwright and
miller. The grist mill was moved to the south side of the stream and a shingle
mill was added. Albion Locke sold the entire operation to Ephraim Heald of Manchester
in 1873. The mills were rebuilt in 1873, with William Shakford
millwright on the grist mill and Hiram Holmes on the saw mill. Holmes tells of
the mills and all their contents being consumed by fire at midnight on a
September night in 1877, though it would appear it might have been a year
earlier. In May of 1877, Heald sells the mill
privileges, with no mention of buildings, to Henry Knox, who operated the hotel
across the street. In June of 1878, Henry Knox sells all his Epsom property to
Henry Knowles. Henry Knowles constructed a new grist mill in 1880, fitted with
elevators and storage bins, and Albert Ladd as millwight.
The mills were passed to his son William, and his sons Gilbert and George. The
mill building was abandoned and eventually tumbled down.
SARAH WELLMAN HOUSE
The 1858 map shows a house just beyond the Grist Mill occupied by
Sarah Wellman, in 1892, it appears to be owned by
Henry S. Knowles. In a deed from Nancy Gove and minor children, to Frederick
Sanborn in 1846, the property is singled out - a sawmill and privilege together
with the shingle mill in the same building, subject to a lease to Mrs. Sarah
Wellman during her natural life of the land whereon her house stands. She is in
Epsom by herself in the census of 1840, and at age 73 in 1850. She is buried by
herself in the McClary Cemetery,
died at age 82, September 8, 1859. Nothing more is known of Mrs. Wellman.
JOSEPH BLAKE CASS HOUSE
Home lot number seven was drawn by Samuel Dowst
of Rye and sold in 1729 to Nathaniel Huggins Junior of Greenland, who after
three years, sold it to Joseph Baker of Durham. None of them appear to have
settled on the fifty acre lot, as it was sold without buildings to Ephraim
Locke of Rye in
1747. Ephraim came to Epsom with his wife Comfort Dowst
and raised a family of twelve, building a home across from the McClary
Cemetery on Cass Road. His home
lot and additional land of lots 57, 58 and 59, extended across the Little
Suncook River to include part of what is now Cass Road Extension, and four
homes were eventually built on the lot. He deeded three tracts of land to his
son Francis in 1789, including the home lot where currently resided, part of
lot 59, and part of lot 57, excluding a part of that lot previously sold to his
In 1803 a deal was struck by Francis with John Chesley,
Daniel Phlbrick Jr., John Drowne
and Philip Stevens, for a saw mill privilege, commonly called Locke's Mill.
Francis was to receive one half of the mill privilege. The Locke's had
established a grist mill on the site, and Francis sold one half of each to
Francis Locke Jr. in 1813, part of an indenture to take care him, and his
mother Mary and sister should they survive his father. Just prior, in 1811,
Francis Locke, Ephraim Locke, Daniel Phlbrick Jr.,
and John Chesley, extended to Bennett Lawrence of
Epping, a privilege by the grist mill for a
carding and fulling mill. According to Hiram Holmes,
Bennett ran a hat factory. Lawrence sold this to
his brother Edward in 1815, and he, with Josiah Lawrence of Epping and Joseph
Lawrence of Epsom, sold the operation to Sewall and Nathaniel Dearborn of Deerfield in 1817. The brothers sold out to Edward
Dearborn Lord of Epsom in 1828.
Edward D. Lord married Betsey Osgood, daughter of Abraham and Lucy
(Randall) Osgood at Concord
in 1817. They are known to have had four children; Charles Henry, born in Exeter in 1818; Lucy Ann
who married in 1846, Nathaniel Sawyer Webster of Boscawen; Samuel Dearborn,
born at Epsom in 1826, married Mary A. Colbert; and John Putnam Lord, born
Epsom, May 24, 1828.
Not much is known of the family. One item is a curious piece of
Epsom history, in which it is pointed out that Edward was a bass viol player.
The information comes from the 'Reminiscences of Rev. Enoch Corser'
and is as follows: A somewhat ludicrous incident is related as occurring on one
occasion in connection with a pulpit exercise. He [the Rev. Corser]
was preaching at Epsom, N. H., and announced for his text the words: "Up,
get ye out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city!" casting
his eyes at the same time up to the gallery, where sat a colored woman, who,
construing the warning literally, instantly started and rushed out of the
house, as if the alarm of Fire! had been sounded.
(We have this on the authority of Mrs. N. S. Webster, whose father, Mr.
Lord, player on the base viol, was at church on that occasion.)
One other item, a tragedy, appeared in the Salem Gazette on
October 4, 1824 - LORD, Charles Henry - In Epsom, N.H., Charles Henry Lord,
aged 6, only son of Capt. Edward D. Lord, killed instantly by his clothes
getting entangled in the gearing of a water-wheel in a fulling
mill. It is likely this event happened in the same mill his father bought. The
mill was sold in 1846 to Joseph Blake Cass. The saw mill privilege was bought
that same year by George Batchelder, who bought the
house opposite the Joseph Blake Cass home. It in turn was sold to Hiram A.
Holmes in 1865.
Hiram Holmes states that Joseph Cass took out the machinery and
put in a lathe for making bobbins for the Lowell Cotton factories and continued
the carding mill for many years.
Joseph Blake Cass was born in Epsom in 1813, son of Levi and Mehitable (Osgood) Cass. He married in 1847, Mary Lucy
Brown, daughter of William and Lucretia Billings
(Gray) Brown. They had four daughters; Katherine A., who married George B. Cook
and died in Salem, MA, in 1928; Elizabeth McClary,
who married in 1867 at Northwood, George S. Bixby and died in 1937; Mary
Parsons, who married in 1890, Maurice C. Philbrick;
and Alice J. Cass, who married John Waldo Philbrick
about 1905, he being from Canada, she died in 1948. The homestead stayed in the
family, and was owned by Blanche C. Philbrick,
daughter of Maurice C. Philbrick, when in 1971 she
deeded 'the homestead farm of Joseph Blake Cass' to her niece, Mary E. Steele.
In 1813 Francis Locke deeded to his son Francis all his Epsom
land. The elder Locke died in 1835, and Francis sold the homestead on September
12, 1844 to Edwin Dearborn. On that same day, Locke bought the home of Edwin
Dearborn, the former homestead of Samuel Osgood which was partly in Deerfield and partly in Epsom. Francis was the son of
Francis and his first wife, Mary Abigail Katherwood.
He married Mary Philbrick, daughter of Daniel and
Ruth (Merrill) Philbrick about 1814. They had for
children: Daniel Philbrick Locke, who married as his
first wife, Abigail Fowler, daughter of Winthrop and Abigail (Davis) Fowler; Emaline, who died young; Lovie
Chase who died in 1861, unmarried; Arthur Caverno
Locke, who married in 1847, Salino O. Bickford,
daughter of Nathan and Eliza W. (Dickey) Bickford; and Sarah Emeline who married in 1849, Joseph H. Veasey.
He moved from there back to Slab
City in 1865 buying
property from Albon W. Perkins. His first wife died
in 1855 and he married second in 1856, Rhoda (Collins) (Locke) of Gilford, who
was a widow, the third wife of his brother Ephraim.
Edward Dearborn kept the Locke homestead for only three years,
selling it to George W. Batchelder in 1847. George W.
Batchelder was the son of Dearborn and Mary (Nealley) Batchelder, and was born
in 1816 in Meredith, NH, marrying in Allenstown, 1836, Abigail B.
Wells. Abigail was the daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Brown) Wells. The couple
first settled next to his father Dearborn, owning the house on the west side of
Center Hill Road
and the turnpike (Route 4). Their children included: Lucetta
M., born in 1837 and died unmarried in 1905; Orison, born in 1838 and married
in 1859 at Concord, Ann Maria Clark, daughter of John and Rebecca (Withee) Clark; Charles C., born 1840 and married in Epsom
in 1862, Ursula Knowlton; Elbridge G., born in 1844, married in 1865 Vienna
Ramsey Yeaton, daughter of John and Sarah (Bickford) Yeaton; and Alonzo Elbridge, born about 1844, married in
1869 Carrie E. Page, and married second after her death, Laura Abbie Haynes, who after the death of Alonzo in 1905,
married as his second wife, Timothy Bryant Langley.
The Batchelder's sold the house to Hiram
A. Holmes in 1865. Holmes also bought the former Moses P. Gray house nearer Epsom Center
in 1874, which is where he made his home. He may have rented the Batchelder house, and eventually sold it in 1905 to
Elizabeth M. Bixby. The 1900 US Census shows the Bixby's at this location, but
does not indicate that they owned the home.
George S. Bixby was born in Manchester in 1842, came to Epsom at
age 6 and married in Northwood in 1867, Elizabeth McClary
Cass, daughter of Joseph Blake and Mary Lucy (Brown) Cass, who lived right next
door. George was a Civil War veteran, and was captured during the conflict. His
narrative in the GAR Post of service is fairly lengthy, and his reprinted here.
From the GAR Post 66 Personal War Sketches Book, Epsom, NH
Comrade George S. Bixby of Epsom,
NH relates the following
experience of Prison Life. Not only did out Government adopt the non-exchange
policy" during the last year of the war; but the Southern Confederacy
Adopted the "deliberate and diabolical system" of exposure and starvation
towards the prisoners of war in their hands; so that if any should live to get
out of their hands, they would never be able to enter the Army against them.
This was the plan as stated in a conversation between the Commander of our
prison and General Winder, who visited us at Salisbury N.C.
December 12th 1864. I was captured together with 21 others of Co. H 4th N.H. Vols at Deep Bottom, VA the 16th of August 1864 and taken
to Libby Prison, Richmond. Our blankets, overcoats and everything else but the
clothes we had on were taken from us, they compelled us to disrobe, our clothes
were searched and what money we had was taken from us, with everything else. We
were kept here three days and two nights; then taken to Belle Isle the 19th of
August where we were kept two months. Here we were used better
than at our next place for we had tents to sleep under, and a chance to go to
the James River under guard to bath and wash
our clothes. We got two meals a day, sometimes it would be cooked for us and
sometimes we had to cook it ourselves. Our rations were a pint of cob meal a
day; when cooked for us it was made in a loaf of bread. We left this place in
Box Cars under guard and arrived at Salisbury N.C. the 19th of October; we were
turned into an enclosure of four or five acres surrounded by a fence ten feet
high containing a large building which had formerly been used as a factory and
there were four smaller buildings. Until our arrival it had been used as a
Military Prison to confine Union Citizens, deserters and a few Officers. Here
we were kept without shelter until the 24th of October when they gave us a
Sibley tent for each one hundred men. Those who could not crowd into the tents
burrowed in holes dug in the ground or crouched together without shelter with
nothing beneath but the ground and the heavens above us. The weather thought
for a great part of the time was pleasant with hot sun shiny days followed by
cold chilly nights, yet from Nov. 22nd to the 25th - December 22nd to the 27th
- January 1st to the 4th - and January 5th to the 30th, the ground was frozen
quite hard and from December 9th to the 13th and February 7th to the 10th three
inches of snow fell and remained through these days. These cold spells were
preceded by rains which wetting the garments of the men and then turning cold,
froze them to their bodies causing intense suffering. Our rations consisted of
corn bread and a little rice, soup; and those who did not have a tin dipper to
get their soup in the rations were served would take off their shoe (if they
had any on) and have their soup turned into the heel part of the Shoe. We
frequently went without food for thirty-six hours and at one time seventy two
hours, this time being the 25th of December, one of our holidays here at the
North, when we used to get something extra on those days at home. They thought
it would be a great punishment to go without. We could not keep home and
friends out of our minds on these days above all other days.
No tongue or pen can describe what we went through. My Chum who was with me from the first, went through it all
till sometime in January 1865 when he was called to answer the last Roll Call.
This was George H. Hoyt (the one Post #66 is named for). His constitution was
not strong enough to hold out - long at the last of his life he would say every
night when I went in to see him and say good night "I shall not be here
tomorrow." I would try to cheer him up and say don't give up.
"Hen" ( for that was the name he went by in
the army) Keep up good courage and we will see New Hampshire once more." But I could
see he was failing fast and one morning when I went into the building to see
him he was gone. I asked the one that lay next to him where he was; he told me
he died sometime in the night and was taken to the dead House where they were
put till day light - then the Dead Cart came round and the dead were all thrown
in and hauled off and all dumped together into a trench they would have dug. I
was confined in these three Prison 197 days. The question has been asked was
the suffering from exposure and starvation as great as has been represented.
Let us look into the dead house this morning: one, two, ten, twenty, thirty aye
forty of them. Here is one man with his nose gone, one with but one ear, a
finger or a hand; one has toes another with feet frozen and gone. We look still
farther & we see men on their knees striving couching and kicking in the
dirt for the crumbs that have been swept from the cook house door. See that man
hatless, shoes gone, his (rainunt?)
in tatters - see the Vermin he is alive with them; the lice have eaten the skin
from his hand, his scalp is gone.
Can the Government ever recompense the few survivors for what it
caused them to pass through; can it bring back to health the physical wreck;
the fruits of the Hell Pins of the South; and can it compensate for the
suffering caused by being without shelter, drenched by rains and frozen by cold
or still more those unfortunate who escaped. From these fearful tortures with
mind weakened almost to imbecility and in many cases with reason dethroned! I
have learned that the fall and Winter of 1864 & 5
were the coldest that had been experienced in South Carolina since 1856 & 7. Every
night ice formed varying in thickness from a quarter to five eighths of an inch
and as the Prisoners were very scantily clothed they suffered severely from the
bitter blasts of winter.
After being in the Hospital recruting
four weeks I was able to take the journey home. I was weighed in Concord on my arrival
there and my weight was 94 lbs. I was in the Army 46 months and 12 days and I
received an Honorable discharge at Concord,
NH July 11th, 1865.
George S. Bixby died in 1918, and
his wife in 1937. Her heirs, Mary P. Philbrick and
Alice J. Philbrick, deeded the home to Ellsworth B. Philbrick in 1938. Ellsworth Blake Philbrick
was the son of Maurice C. and Mary Parsons (Cass) Philbrick.
He married in 1927, Doris A. Batchelder, daughter of
Alonzo and Laura A. (Haynes) Batchelder. By divorce
decree, Doris had ownership in 1956.
WALTER JACKSON PHILBRICK HOMESTEAD
Francis Locke and his first wife Mary Abigail Katherwood, had two sons;
Deacon Ephraim Locke (1783-1855) and Francis (1791-1869). Francis lived at Cass Falls,
and later moved to a home at Echo Valley, partly in Epsom and partly in Deerfield. Deacon Ephraim built a home across from the
falls and the turnpike. Deacon Ephraim raised his family there, with his son
Ephraim Jr. having a home a little to the east of his father.
Ephraim Locke Jr. was born in Epsom May 4, 1809, and married in
Loudon in 1835, Sarah Cram Dyer, daughter of the
Reverend Samuel B. Dyer. He may not have owned his home, as on the county map
of 1858, the two homes are shown as owned by Ephraim Locke, likely his father.
On the death of his father, the property was deeded by the widow Rhoda Locke
(Ephraim's third wife), to son Ephraim and daughters Margaret K. Swain, and
Mary Wells. Both daughters sold their shares to their brother Ephraim. Ephraim
and his wife sold both homes, the house further east
was sold to William and Mary J. Yeaton. The sale took
place in 1859. This William Yeaton was the son of
John and Lucretia G. (McDaniel) Yeaton,
who married in 1846 at Deerfield, Mary Jane
Stearns, daughter of John and Margaret McClary
(Wallace) Stearns. Their children included: Margaret C., George H., Mary Emma who married a George William Currier;
William F.; Samuel E.; and Anson L. who died young. After five years, in 1864,
William and Mary sold the home to John Wallace of Epsom. John Wallace was
already a resident of Slab
City, having run a store
at the corner of Route 4 and New
Orchard Road, next to the old Town Hall. He sold
that home to Arthur C. Locke.
John Wallace married twice, first to Nancy Sanders in 1839, and
after her death married in 1853, Sarah Huse Towle, daughter of Benjamin M. and Hannah (Sanborn) Towle. There was one daughter by his second marriage, Sarah
N. Wallace, who became the second wife of Hiram A. Holmes. John Wallace died in
1876, his second wife in 1899. The house was sold through a succession of deeds
involving Sarah and the daughters of her father's first marriage, Mary A.,
Eliza J., and Abby G.. Of these three sisters, only
one married, Abby, to a James McAllister, who resided in Chicago. Mary was the guardian to her sister
Eliza, who was decreed insane, selling their share of the home to Walter J. Philbrick. Sarah N., sold her share to her step-sister Abby
McAllister, who in turn sold to Walter J. Philbrick,
making him sole owner by 1904.
Walter Jackson Philbrick was a son of
Jackson Clark and Eliza (Crawford) Philbrick, born in
Allenstown in 1870. He married in 1905, Mary Emma (Quimby),
daughter of John and Mary S. (Colby) Quimby. They had
no children and resided at the homestead until their deaths, he
in 1941, and she in 1943. She was known as Mary E. Q. Philbrick in most records and was very active in town
Waldo H. Quimby was the administrator of
the estate of Mary E. Q. Philbrick and sold the
homestead in 1944 to John P. Yeaton. Yeaton sold the home in 1946 to Robert and Danny Main of Arlington, MA,
and for the next dozen years went through a series of owners including Eric and
Sylvia Brown, Nellie and James Commerford, Robert H.
Fischer, and in 1952 back to John P. Yeaton.
John Philip Yeaton died in 1961, and his
heirs quitclaimed the property to Richard and Phyllis LaClair,
who sold the house to Helen and Clyde Campbell in 1968.
JACKSON CLARK PHILBRICK HOMESTEAD
This house was the home of Deacon Ephraim Locke, son of Francis
and Mary (Katherwood) Locke. Ephraim married first
Deborah Wells. His son Ephraim Jr., who lived in the house just to the east,
inherited his father's homestead, and the deeds are similar for each house.
Ephraim also had daughters Eliza T., who married Samuel B. Dyer in 1832; Mary
S., who married Capt. Samuel Wells as his second wife; and Margaret K. Swain,
who married Abraham D. Swain of Chichester, who was a
player in property in Slab City. Ephraim and Deborah also had a son Silas M.,
who died at age 19 unmarried. Deborah died in 1831, and Epharim
married second a Lydia Yeaton, who died in 1841,
widow of Samuel Chesley; and he married third in
1842, Rhoda Collins. The Deacon died in 1855, and the following appeared in the
diary of the Reverend Moses A. Quimby - "Sad News. Dea. Ephraim Locke is no
more. He drowned himself in his well. He probably was insane. This funeral was
attended by Bro. E (Enoch) Place and myself. For many
years he was very useful in leading souls to Christ. In exhortation he was
decidedly gifted. In later years he has not walked with the ch.
owing to some differences of opinion, till very recently he has felt different,
attended the meeting of the ch in part, and seemed
more like himself." Rhoda, his third wife, married his brother Francis as
his second wife.
The heirs sold their portions of the property to his son Ephraim
Jr., who sold the homestead of his father to Jackson C. Philbrick
in 1873. His son Walter Jackson Philbrick, bought the house next door by 1904.
Jackson Clark Philbrick was the son of
Simeon and Olive W. (Bickford) Philbrick, born in
Allenstown in 1835. He married in 1857, Eliza Crawford, born Scotland to James and Elizabeth (Rogers) Crawford. Her
sister Janette married Edmund W. Cox, and her sister Margarett
married John Perkins as his second wife. Jackson and Eliza had children:
Maurice Crawford, who married Mary P. Cass, daughter of Joseph Blake and Mary
Lucy (Brown) Cass; James Eugene, who did not marry; Robert Elmer, who married
in 1885, Almina Harriet Quimby,
daughter of John and Lydia P. (Colby) Quimby; Eliza,
who married John S. Philbrick; Emma Janette, who
married in 1889, Samuel W. Bickford; and Walter Jackson, who married in 1905,
Mary Emma Quimby.
Upon their deaths, the family inherited the homestead, being owed
by son Walter Jackson Philbrick, and on his death,
his wife Mary E. Q. Philbrick. Probate
and deeds to Walter J. Philbrick from Eliza Philbrick in 1924; Emma J. Bickford in 1925;
and James E. Philbrick in 1936, show the chain of
title. As with his home, the house was sold by the administrator of Mary E. Q. Philbrick's estate, Waldo H. Quimby,
to John P. Yeaton in 1947.
ALBERT F. YEATON HOUSE
John and Samuel Libbey together bought
two of the original home lots, and by a deed of 1748, decided that John would
own lot number nine and Samuel lot number eight. Samuel's lot was the original
right of Jethro Goss. He moved to Epsom, as he
and his second wife Penelope (Huntingdon), sold 'land containing fifty acres
with my house and barn, being a home lot, bounded easterly on land of John Libbey, and southerly on land of Ephraim Locke to Isaac Libbeys. The deed is dated April 18, 1759, and Isaac and
his wife, along with sons Isaac and Reuben, moved to Epsom. Isaac's wife Mary
(Bennett), daughter Joanna, son Isaac Jr. and his wife, and son Reuben, are all
considered founding members of the first church in Epsom. Isaac and his wife's
family consisted of the following: John, who married Eleanor Berry and lived
for a time in Epsom on home lot number 7; Elizabeth who married Amos Knowles;
Mary who married James Knowles; Isaac, who married first Ann Symmes, who died in Epsom before 1766, and married second
in 1766, Margaret Kalderwood; Arthur; Ruth; Jane;
Reuben, who married Sarah, daughter of Jethro and
Esther (Rand) Goss, lived in Epsom until 1767; and Joanna who married Amos Blazo in Epsom in 1761, son of William and Catherine Blazo, who also resided in Epsom.
It would appear that Isaac Jr. inherited his father's estate about
the time of his death in 1774. The homestead was on Center Hill, and the lot
crossed the Suncook
River where he
established a grist mill. He also owned a lathe where he made wooden dishes. He
is also shown as a Selectman for two terms. He married in Rye in 1747, Ann Symmes, and they had children: Mary, who married Abner Evans, lived in Epsom for a time and moved to Barre, Vermont; Isaac, who married first an Abigail, and
second, Abigail Dillingham, lived in Chichester and
Pittsfield before moving to Vermont; Bennett, married Eleanor Haynes, daughter
of John and Olive (Weeks) Haynes, became a Shaker and moved to Canterbury;
Abigail, married Jethro Libbey
and resided in Allenstown; Susannah, married in Epsom 1786, Theophilus
Cass; Job, married Rebecca Pearson, daughter of Jonathan and Abigial (Burbank) Pearson, and after living in Epsom, moved
to Vermont; and Anthony, baptized in Epsom in 1765, and of which nothing more
is known. Isaac, after the death of his wife Ann, married second in Rye, Margaret Kalderwood. The couple had for children: Nathan, who
married in Epsom in 1791, Abigail Fowler, daughter of Symonds and Hannah
(Weeks) Fowler; Lucy, who married in 1787, Capt. John Ham, and died about 1801;
Joshua, baptized in Epsom in 1771, of which nothing more is known; Abraham,
married Abigail Pearson, daughter of Jonathan and Abigail (Burbank) Pearson, and
perhaps married first, John McClary, the family
removed to Stanstead, Canada; Margaret, married in
1795, William Sherburne, and moved to Stanstead,
Canada; and Joshua, married in 1800, Sally Grant, daughter of John and Dorothy
(Foss) Grant, also moved to Stanstead, Canada.
Isaac Libbey Jr. signed the Association
Test in Epsom and died in town in 1810, his second wife Margaret, in 1807.
Their son Nathan inherited the family home, which was on Center Hill Road. Nathan was born July
20, 1767 in Epsom, and married Abigail Fowler in 1791. The family included 8
children, many of whom died young: Nathan (1792-1792); Abigail (1792-1792);
Lucy, born 1793 and married John Sherburne Haynes, son of Jeremiah and Margaret
(Derborn) Haynes; Hannah (1795-1802); Margaret, also
seen as Peggy, (1797-1802); Nathan (1803-1807); Nathan, born 1808 and married Savalla Abbott; and Benjamin Fowler, born 1813, married Almira A. Rogers and resided in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Nathan Libbey died in Epsom in 1814, and
in his will, he left all his real estate to his wife Abigail until his son
Nathan came to turn twenty one, at which time he was to provide his mother one
third of the income generated by the property. At some point, Nathan and
Abigail built a new house across the Little Suncook River and their grist mill.
His son Nathan was living in this home when he sold it in 1831 to Benjamin L.
Locke, whereon I now live and where my grist mill privilege is, land conveyed
to my father Nathan Libbey by Isaac Libbey, May 14, 1790.
The house begins to change hands, first being sold in 1835 by
Locke to Samuel B. Knowles, now scaled down to basically a house lot with one
additional tract of land. Samuel B. Knowles adds a barn 'standing on land
adjoining said premises' when he sells to Newell Brown in 1835. Newell Brown,
blacksmith, sells the property to John C. Hall of Dracut, Massachusetts in 1838
along with a barn. John C. Hall moves to Epsom and settles on Center Hill, and
sells the Libbey home, including 'a barn standing on
land of Abel Brown adjoining said premises' to Thomas Rand of Chichester one week after he made the purchase. John C.
Hall's wife was Martha E. Rand, a sister to Thomas Rand, both children of
Richard and Anna (Lake) Rand of Chichester.
Thomas was born about 1808 and went west. He married a Jane Kamp in Wisconsin in 1845. He
died in Epsom in 1889, and his will mentions sons Napoleon, Eugene and
Lafayette, daughters Anna and Victoria, each getting one dollar, with the
exception of Victoria, who was to receive one thousand dollars. The family
seems a bit disjointed. Son Napoleon is seen in 1860 with Eugene, Anna and
Victoria in Ohio,
but not with parents. Napoleon is seen in 1870 in Wisconsin, in a poor house, and is given as
'inmate' at the same location in 1900 and 1910. Victoria
is last seen in 1870 as a dress maker; Anna is only found in the 1860 Census; Eugene in 1870, was a farm
laborer in Illinois; and Lafayette is seen having married in 1896 Mary L. Kennedy,
and in 1900 is in Springfield,
Missouri with three children. The
mother, Jane, is last seen in Ohio,
but not in the same household as the children. In 1842, Thomas Rand sells the
house to B.L. Locke, this time with a small barn and hogs pen.
Benjamin L. Locke, owning the property for a second time, sells
the house lot to Lewis Brown in 1844.
Lewis Brown was born in 1816 in Epsom son of Enoch and Eleanor (Rand) Brown, and married in 1838, Elizabeth O. Goodhue,
daughter of John and Betsy (Goodwin) Goodhue. They had two surviving children,
Enoch T., and Eleanor who married in 1867, John Calvin Lear. Lewis sells the
home to the brother of his wife, Edward H. Goodhue in 1847, being the house he
currently occupied. The property now had the town pound adjoining it, and was
sold by Goodhue to Alonzo Wallace in 1850, who kept the dwelling house for some
Alonzo Wallace was the son of Philip Babb and Rachel (Babb)
Wallace. He married in 1851, Mary Griffin, who died in 1854, and he married
second, Statira B. White. The couple sold the
homestead in 1867 to Ellen A. Ayer. Ellen was a daughter of Warren and
Catherine A. (Yeaton) Yeaton,
who married in 1860, Daniel C. Ayer. They had no children. Daniel died in 1906,
and Ellen in January of 1927. The heirs, John W., Yeaton,
Waldo A. Holmes, Carl Y. Holmes, Eliza J. Sherburne and Alvah
L. Yeaton sold the house to Albert F. Yeaton in October of 1927.
Albert Frank Yeaton was the son of Alvah L. and Etta (Bartlett)
Yeaton, who married Beatrice M. Wallace and had two
children, Albert Glenn and Clara Louise. The couple occupied the home until
their deaths, Albert having died in 1975, Beatrice in 1986. The house is no
The Isaac and Nathan Libbey grist mill
was part of the property kept by Benjamin L. Locke, who likely abandoned it
favor of the grist mill across from his Suncook Valley House tavern. Though this was not the only mill at this site. Back in
1778, Isaac Libbee Jr. of Epsom sold part of the lot
where he was living to James Gray. Gray built a fulling
mill just above Libbey's grist mill, which he sold to
Jonathan Pearson in 1782. Jonathan Pearson moved to Epsom from Byfield, Mass.
with his wife Abigail (Burbank).
Jonathan ran a successful operation for nearly thirty years, selling the fulling mill with the implements and tools to Ephraim
Currier of Loudon, clothier. Currier shared part of the operation with Thomas
D. Merrill, and the two sold their shares to James S. and David Batchelder, providing they pay the price and interest. It
apparently did not work out, and Currier sold out to Thomas D. Merrill in 1823.
Merrill, in turn, sold the operation to Douglas M. Heath, also a clothier, in
1825. It is not known when the mill ceased to operate.
Jonathan Pearson's son, Caleb, married in 1786, in Epsom, Mary
Locke, daughter of Moses and Mary (Organ) Locke. The couple moved to Chichester and Canada. Their son Caleb married Mehitable Libbey, daughter of
Samuel and Mehitable (Seavey)
Libbey and operated a mill in Chichester at the end of Goboro Road.
His sister Abigail married James Sanborn, son of Josiah and Anna (Locke)
Sanborn in 1814.
Benjamin Lovering Locke bought two small
parcels of land on the northerly side of the old turnpike road near the
intersection with the old Deerfield
Road, which would be the later Route 4 and Center
Hill. The sale was on February 20, 1828, and according to a newspaper obituary,
built the Suncook House hotel that same year. This business he ran for some 32
years with his wife and family. He was a member of NH Company, 18th Regiment of
the New Hampshire Militia which he joined in 1825, and his last commission was
to the rank of Major General in 1838, affording him the title of General. In
town affairs he was clerk, treasurer and selectman for the town, treasurer for
the county, and at various times postmaster. Later in life he moved to Chichester to live with a daughter, and then to Winchester, Massachusetts.
General Locke married in Chichester,
May 5, 1825, Hannah Parker Moses, daughter of James and Betsy (Chesley) Moses, born in Epsom in 1804. Their children
included: Lucinda Maria who married William McMurpahy
of Epsom in 1850; Henrietta C., born 1828, died 1830; Almira
Elizabeth who married in 1852, Joseph G. Whidden, and
died in 1857; James Lovering, married in 1858, Sarah
M. Swallow, and later worked for the Boston and Lowell Depot in Boston;
Marianna Jane, born in 1834, married in 1859, William Hawes of Chelsea, Ma.;
Annie Lovering, born in 1836, married in Epsom in
1859, George Warren Lane of Chichester; an unnamed
child, born and died in 1838; Adela August, born in 1840 and married in 1870,
John D. Gale; Sarah Merrill, born 1843, and died unmarried in 1860; Benjamin,
born 1843 and died the following year; and William F. Estes, born in 1850 and
died at age ten. The General died in 1883 in Winchester, Mass.,
where his wife Hannah died in 1885. The family is buried in a family plot in
Cemetery. The Suncook
House was sold by the Lockes to Henry Knox of Epsom
on February 26, 1866.
Henry Knox bought and sold several house lots where he lived with
his family at New Rye before purchasing the Suncook House and moving down to
Slab City. He was the son of Isaac and Sally (Wiggin) Knox, born in Epsom in
1794. His uncle, Robert Knox, owned a store at the corner of New Orchard Road and the present Route 4.
Henry Knox married Caroline Wells, daughter of Capt. Samuel and
Eleanor M. (Dickey) Wells in Epsom on June 12, 1851. His father died in 1834,
and his mother, who was the daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Dow) Wiggin, died in
1840. They left a family of minor children, the family having been the
following: Robert, who moved west; Mary, who married as his first wife, Edward
Hilton Goodhue, resided at Slab City, and died in 1841; Eliza, who married
Franklin Goss as his first wife, and died in 1848; Elvira, born about 1824 and
died in Epsom in 1843, unmarried; Sarah Jane, born about 8126 and died in Epsom
in 1831; James W., born about 1827 and died in 1829; Henry, who married
Caroline Wells; and Albert who also went west. Henry and his brother Albert had
appointed guardians after the death of their father, James and Eliphalet Wiggin and Sally, their mother and sister to
James and Eliphalet.
Henry married Caroline Wells in Epsom, June 12, 1851 and they had
three children: Cyrus H., who married Annie Lougee in
1876, and died in Concord
in 1853; Fred P., who married a Carrie Chamberlain and died in 1932; and a
daughter Eleanor who was born and died in 1861.
Henry and his wife moved from Epsom to Rye, selling the hotel and mill privilege,
which he bought in 1877, to Henry S. Knowles in June of 1878. Henry Knowles
operated a store out of the former hotel, and rebuilt the grist mill on his
privilege in 1880. Henry Smith Knowles was born in Northwood in 1848, son of
Smith and Harriet T. (Durgin) Knowles. He married Genella Cate, daughter of
Jonathan Dowst and Hannah (Cole) Cate
in 1871. They had three children: William Henry, who married first in 1897 Elise Norine Warren, and
second in 1908, Nellie Eudora Johnson.; Albert Cate,
who married first in 1910, Mary R. Simpson, and second in 1921, Sarah Ela; and Mary Genella, who
married Albert Barton of Epsom. Henry S. Knowles
died in 1909, and his wife Genella in 1929. On
September 15, 1928, Genella C. Knowles, widow, Mary
G. Barton, widow and an heir of Henry S. Knowles, sell the family property to
William H. Knowles. The deed being the same property sold by Henry Knox to
Henry S. Knowles, along with land deeded to Henry Knowles by Marvin F. Smith,
and also the mill privilege. William and his second wife, Eudora Johnson, had bought
land back in 1908, land where the Congregational
Church formerly stood. Four fifths of that lot was owned by Roscoe Hill and
sold to Eudora, and the other fifth, owned by Henry S. Knowles, was sold to his
son William. They built a home on this lot.
William Henry Knowles had two children by his wife Elsie Norine (Warren);
Gilbert Henry, who did not marry; and George William, who married in 1927,
Madeline R. Greene. The two sons inherited the home and store on the death of
their father in 1949 and continued the family store, which remained pretty much
unchanged from the time of their father and grandfather. It was featured in the
former Profiles Magazine, and was the post office for Epsom Center
for many years. The property passed to Gary and Joni Kitson
of Epsom, who later had the store torn down.
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING HOUSE
In 1845 the Congregationalists decided to move from using the town
meetinghouse on Center Hill to a new building and location. Ebenezer Gove had
bought the land and buildings of Abel Brown, and died a short time later in
1843. His widow, Nancy Gove, sold a parcel of land next to their home to Joseph
J. Moses on behalf of the church. The parcel is described as westerly of land of B. L. Locke, then running by the
turnpike road to a stake and stones, then south to another stake and stones,
thence south to the first bound with the right of passing with carriages to and
from, easterly in front of the buildings on the adjoining land. Moses conveyed
the property to several pew holders, but that deed could not be found.
Additionally, on January 8, of 1848, B. L. Locke sold to David
Locke Jr., Nicholas Dolbeer, Benjamin Bickford,
Benjamin M. Towle, Joseph J. Morse and Jeremiah G. Marden, land on the westerly line of the Congregational
meeting house to be divided equally to the six individuals for a horse shed and
lots. A similar deed was issued twelve days later to James M. Sherburne, Joseph
S. Dolbeer, John S. Haines, John S. Cate, Nathan Griffin of Epsom and Lowell Eastman of
Deerfield, land on the east line of the meeting house for horse shed lots nine
feet by eighteen feet, in order as named in the deed.
The small lot may also had a parsonage,
if one was even built. When sold, it was described as being bounded by the home
of Sullivan A. Taylor, westerly by land
of Varnum Fisk,
and southerly by the turnpike road, on one acre.
The only description and history of the building was written by
Gilbert Knowles, who later lived on the lot:
It had a broad open platform across the whole front, with a
lot of steps leading down to the lawn. There were two front doors, a steeple,
and inside a hallway with stairs at either end leading up into quite a sizeable
gallery which, I believe, was where the choir used to be. The auditorium of the
Church has white-painted pews and a platform at the far end where the
minister’s desk, or pulpit, was.
The Congregational Society used this second building for about forty years. The
first half or two-thirds of this time, the Church was a very active and
thriving organization. The Rev. Fifield was the first
minister and Rev. Rufus M. Putnam was the second minister there on the main
road, and the Rev. E.C. Cogsell was, I think, one of
the last to preach there. For quite a while they used to have meetings both
morning and afternoon. It is said that Prescott
Locke (of Locke Hill) used to lead the singing in the meeting house. He used to
walk down in the morning (from the next house above where Neil Reid now lives)
and after the morning service he would walk back home, take care of a barn full
of cattle, and get back down to the meeting house in time to lead the singing
in the afternoon service. I do not know too much about the decline in
connection of the second meeting house. It was not another “storm”, but after
1870 a lot of other churches had sprung up in the surrounding territory and
towns. Many of the older members had passed away and a lot of the young people
had moved and so there was a gradual dwindling of membership and less of
interest. I remember when I was a boy of hearing an elderly person say that
there had been some misappropriation of church funds; that someone had used
some of the Church funds to pay off personal indebtedness. That may or may not
have been true. We do know that the situation became so acute that the members
could no longer support a minister and the meetinghouse was closed. The last
few years they held meetings only in summer. My aunt remembers of the building
being used for a singing school when she was a little girl; then someone else
thinks it was used a few times for political rallies. When I was a small boy
the meeting house was still standing, although in a very dilapidated condition.
I used to play on the steps and because the roof had partially collapsed, was
cautioned not to go inside. I sometimes did venture in with other boys and I
have a very good mental picture of the way the inside looked.
In 1887, the old Congregational Church combined with the Christian
Society to form the Union Congregational Church of New Rye.
In January of 1887, a meeting of the proprietors and pew holders
of the church was held at the Congregational Meetinghouse, those members being
John L. Brackett, Henry O. Cass, Benjamin Towle,
Benjamin Bickford, Samuel Bickford, Albon W. Perkins,
Mrs. L. A. Eastman and John H. Dolbeer. They elected
a committee to sell the land and building, the buyers being Robert C. Brown,
Cyrus O. Brown, Alvah L. Yeaton,
Henry S. Knowles, Marvin F. Smith, George Sanders, Horace Bickford, Jacob E.
Griffin and Christopher S. Heath, all of Epsom, and Rufus Baker of Deerfield. Over several years, each began to sell their
1/10 shares, all selling to Roscoe Hill. He ended up with four fifths of the
property, the other fifth owned by Henry S. Knowles.
In 1908, Dr. Roscoe Hill sold his four fifths to Eudora F. Johnson
of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Henry S. Knowles selling
his portion to his son William. William H. Knowles married Eudora Johnson as
his second wife, and they built a home on the site of the old church. William’s
son Gilbert, from his first marriage, lived in the house until he died in 1983.
It is not clear when the Congregational Society owned the
parsonage building which shows on the 1858 map. Whether one was constructed, or
an existing building was used is unclear, and there are no known deeds which
specify its early use. Later deeds seem to indicate the property was connected
to the property where the Albert J. Yeaton house
stands. The house was sold to Abraham D. Swain in 1849, and he appears there in
the census of 1850. Abraham sells the property of about one acre to his
brother George W. Swain in 1853, but when George W. Swain sells it, it appears
to be sold in two halves. In April 1856, he sells to John Langley and John S. Cate, which in part was defined as bounded westerly by a
line drawn northerly and southerly through the middle of the dwelling house and
the right of taking all the water they may require from the well on the land
adjoining now in the occupation of William Wallace .
The next month he sells to William Sanders in a similar deed, land bounded
easterly by a line beginning at the road and running northerly through the
middle of the dwelling house, and being the land and buildings now occupied by
William Wallace reserving the right of taking all the water from the well on
said premises. There is no mention of this being the parsonage,
and it is not known who this particular William Wallace was. Tracing the deeds,
the half bought by William Sanders was by Sanders in July 0f 1856, in a quitclaim
deed to Frederick Sanborn and his associates (named in the deed as Frederick
Sanborn, Henry F. Sanborn, William Tarlton, Mark S.
Moses, Dearborn B. Moses, Joseph S. Dolbeer, John S. Cate, Joseph J. Moses, David Sherburne Jr., L.W. Peabody,
and Edward H. Goodhue, which were members associated with the Congregational
Society). This group kept control up to 1869, and between that year and 1875,
Frederick Sanborn, heirs of Mark S. Moses, Joseph J. Moses, David Sherburne
Jr., and L.W. Peabody, sold their various shares to Benjamin Towle. All the deeds specify the property as being the
Congregational Parsonage. On March 10, 1875, Benjamin Towle,
along with Henry F. Sanborn, Dearborn B. Mosses, William Tarlton
and Joseph S. Dolbeer (those who did not previously
sell their share to Benjamin Towle) sold the property
to Ephraim Heald.
Ephraim Heald held the property until
1881 when he sold it to Emma O. Cilley, who is seen
as the resident in the map of 1892. Emma was the daughter of Nathan B. and
Emily Ann (Bennett) Hoyt of Northwood, who married George D. Cilley. He died in 1873, having two children: Charles E.,
who married first Edith F. Maxfield, and second, Ada E. Locke, daughter of Albion
and Mary A. (Locke) Locke, who resided on Locke's Hill; and a daughter, Hattie
Emma O. Cilley, who died in 1911, lived
in the old parsonage building until 1898 when she sold to True W. Center of
Loudon. Nine years later (1907), True W. Center sells to Roscoe Hill, with the
following reservation, that reserving the use occupancy and income of said
property during my natural life except the bed room on the first floor and the
privilege of changing the cellar and occupying a portion of the same.
Roscoe Hill had previously bought that property that was the other
half, the westerly portion, of the property sold by George W. Swain, reuniting
the two parcels of land. Hill moved to Pittsfield
in 1920 and sold his home to Albert J. Yeaton on
September first. The deed still had the following reservation,
that the use, occupancy and income of that part of said property I
purchased of True W. Center April 9, 1907, to the said True W. Center during
his natural life. True W. Center married first in 1855, Augusta S. Morrison who
died in 1886; second in 1891, he married Olive E. Towle.
Though the parsonage is shown on the 1858 and 1892 maps as
separate residences, it may indeed be the westerly wing of the main house. The
well which contained the water rights was at the southwest corner of what was
the parsonage lot.
SAMUEL LOCKE TAVERN
Captain Samuel Locke was a veteran of the Revolution, serving from
February 1, 1777 to December, 1781. He was the son of Ephraim and Comfort (Dowst) Locke, and was probably born in Epsom in 1761. The
family was from Rye,
and Ephraim bought land in Epsom as early as 1747, being home lot No. 7. In
1773 he bought land near a shurking mill from John
Cass, and both lots became part of Slab
City. Land adjoining the
Cass lot that same day was deeded by Ephraim, of Epsom, to Francis Locke of Rye. The deed included part
of a privilege in the shurking mill. Five years later
John Cass sells 1/12th part of a saw mill, known as Civility Mill to Ephraim.
In 1783, Ephraim sells to his son Samuel 50 acres of land previously bought by
his father and brother Francis, and a few months later Ephraim sells to Samuel
17 acres of land with half of the grist mill, and 12 acres on the east side of
New Orchard Road. It is here that Samuel Locke establishes a tavern, for which
a license was granted by the town as early as September 7, 1792 to1807.
Additional land is sold to Samuel by Abraham Locke of Epsom in 1789 'adjoining
the northeasterly side of the road opposite to land owned by the said Samuel
Locke on which his buildings now stands.'
Samuel Locke married in Epsom, December 28, 1785, Mary Evans,
daughter of Abner and Mary (Libbey)
Evans. Her parents eventually moved to Gilmanton, and later to Vermont. Together they
had ten children, of whom for several, information is scarce, or not known: Ruhamah P., who married Jacob Whipple; Irene, who married
Dr. Jacob Williams, and probably died around 1832 when he married second,
Betsey Wakfield; Hannah M., who married in Epsom,
1820, Daniel Smith, and she died in 1831; Comfort, not mentioned in the will of
her father in 1816; Betsey, who married in Epsom in 1807, Abel Brown; Eleanor
who married in 1820, Winthrop Smith; first born son, Samuel, who married in
1809, Lydia Buzzell, the couple moving to Lowell,
Massachusetts; Daniel Evans, who married in Portsmouth in 1819, Ann Coleman,
and died in Gilford in 1873; Polly, who married Weare
Prescott of Deerfield about 1815; and Charlotte, who married in Epsom in 1817,
Ezekiel Elkins, she died in Lowell, MA., in 1868.
Samuel wrote his will April 1, 1814, and died in Epsom, March 28,
1816. From his will, his son Samuel received all the land I own which was of
the estate of Abraham Locke south easterly of land owned by Moses Locke, and
one half of my grist mill and saw mill and the privileges thereto belonging
during his natural life – also the dwelling house he now lives in and
the barn standing near it. His son Daniel Evans, all the land and buildings
thereon I own in Epsom excepting what I have heretofore bequeathed to my son Saml Locke Jr., also one half of my grist mill and
saw mill and the privileges thereunto belonging during his natural life. To his
wife, he bequeathed food to be provided by the two sons, as well as rooms in
his house as long as she remained his widow. The only daughter that was
married, Betsey Brown (wife of Abel Brown), received one dollar. The other
daughters mentioned, unmarried were Eleanor, Polly, Charlotte, Ruhamah, Irene and Hannah. Samuel also deeded to his
grandson George Evans Locke, son of Samuel and Lydia, for when he reached 21, but
he died in 1814. The Epsom Historical Association has a bible with the vital
records of this son Samuel and his wife Lydia.
Son Daniel Evans Locke was the administrator of the estate. In
1818, his brother Samuel deeded Daniel his half of the saw and grain mill.
Samuel also sells to his sister, Irene, his house and barn in 1819, and she
married in 1822, Dr. Williams. Daniel sells his father's homestead, along with
the saw and grist mill, to his sister Betsey's husband, Abel Brown of Gilford,
in 1819, with his mother selling her portion of the household and dower in
1820. Jacob and Irene (Locke) Williams sell their house which they bought of
her brother Samuel, to Abel Brown, March 1, 1822.
Abel Brown married Betsey Locke in 1807 and had three known
children: Clarissa, born in Gilford in 1814, of which nothing more is known;
Benjamin F., born in Gilford in 1817 and died in Lowell, Massachusetts
in 1844; and John McClary Brown, born in Epsom in
1821, died about 1832. He kept up the tavern, with licenses granted by
the town in 1820, 1823, 1826 and 1827. In 1828 he sold an undivided half of a
blacksmith shop located near his mills, a few rods easterly of his house, to
Benjamin L. Locke.
By deed, Abel Brown was of Lowell, Massachusetts, when he sold the Samuel Locke estate to Weare Prescott of Deerfield,
who was the husband of Polly Locke, sister to Abel's wife Betsey. The next
year, Abel is again listed of Epsom when he buys the property back on the 12th
of October, only to sell the property, including the mills, twelve days later
to Ebenezer Gove of Epsom.
Ebenezer Gove was born in Kensington about 1800, and married in Chichester, Nancy Locke,
daughter of David and Anna (Towle) Locke. She ws born August 1801 in Epsom and grew up on Locke's Hill.
Ebenezer died at age 42 in 1843, leaving his wife Nancy with two minor
children; David Locke Gove, bon in 1833 and died unmarried in 1903; and Sarah
Ann Gove, born in 1835 and married Josiah S. Clifford in 1858. To support he
children she sold land for the building of the Congregational Church to that
society in 1845. Nancy
sold the large home with forty acres of land to Benjamin L. Locke in 1847. The
property was all located on the north side of the old turnpike, with the mills
having been sold earlier by Abel Brown and John Ham. B. L. Locke already was
running his tavern, and sold the former Gove house to Abraham D. Swain in March
of 1849, keeping all the land and selling just the house on a one acre lot.
Abraham D. Swain, son of the Reverend William and Sally (Drake) Swain of Chichester, married first Almira
Eaton of Pittsfield, and after her death in 1840, married as his second wife,
Margaret K. Locke, daughter of the Deacon Ephraim and Deborah (Wells) Locke.
Abraham and Margaret sold the home to his brother George W. Swain in 1853.
George W. Swain married Mary C. Sanders, daughter of William and
Rachel B. (Wallace) Sanders about 1850, and sold half the house to her father
William in 1856. As mentioned earlier, even though the earlier maps show the
parsonage and the old tavern as separate buildings, the deeds indicate
otherwise. When William Sanders sells this lot to members of the Congregational
Society, it is bounded easterly by a line running from north to south through
the middle of the dwelling house, that occupied by William Wallace, reserving to
the owner or occupant of the adjoining tenement, formerly owned and occupied by
George W. Swain, water rights. This would then make the parsonage the west side
of the dwelling house.
The east side of the dwelling house, occupied by George W. Swain,
was bought in 1856 by John Langley and John S. Cate,
who immediately sold it to Doctor Leonard W. Peabody. The 1858 map shows two
occupants, the Doctor and Charles C. Smith, lending credence to what once was a
tavern, as a two tenement house. Charles C. Smith ran the mills across the
street. He had married Sally Berry of Pittsfield
in 1846, and in the 1860 US Census for Epsom had three children, Hannah,
Jeremiah and Charles.
By 1870, the US Census shows again, two occupants in a single
structure, the Doctor, and his brother, the Reverend Charles Peabody. The
Reverend preached in Epsom for about three years, and is further evidence that
half of the house may have been used as a parsonage. About the same time the
Reverend Peabody left Epsom, his brother Doctor Leonard Wood Peabody, sold out
to Doctor Sullivan A. Taylor in April of 1873. Meanwhile in 1875, the
Congregational Society sold to Ephraim Heald. (follow the parsonage owners, page 62). Dr. Taylor stayed in
Epsom about two years before selling to the town's next physician, Dr. Albion
French in 1875. Deeds at this time still give the dividing line of the property
as running through the middle of the dwelling house with water rights from the
well on the adjoining land
of Ephraim Heald.
Though not specifically stated, it would appear by the 1880 census
that the tenants were Dr. French and Henry and Caroline Knox, former owners of
what was later Knowles Store. Dr. Albion French sold his residence, along with
additional land that was sold to L. W. Peabody by Henry Knox in 1867, to Mary
Smith of Pittsfield
in 1883. Mary's husband was Doctor Marvin F. Smith. Their stay in Epsom
lasted four years, and the next owner was William F. and Addie Wallace, making
the purchase April 13, 1887. Unlike the previous Doctors, William F. had
some Epsom roots. His father, William T. Wallace, was born in Epsom in 1819, a
son of John and Mary (True) Wallace. Adelaide
was his second wife, and they decided not to stay in Epsom and sold out in a
month. The buyer was Doctor Roscoe Hill, born in Northwood, son of Ivory and
Eliza (Fogg) Hill, and his wife Flora J. Holt. They
were married in 1885, just two years before settling in Epsom. Their only son,
Howard Park, was born in Epsom in November, 1899, and died in January of the
following year. The doctor's life is outlined in an obituary from an unknown
LONG LIFE OF SERVICE IN COMMUNITIES ABOUT EPSOM ENDS WHEN HEART
The community was much saddened by the news that Dr. Roscoe Hill
died Sunday at the Margaret Pillsbury hospital at Concord. He had gone there a few days ago for
an expert study of the condition of his heart, which had been giving him
trouble for a considerable time, and was resting comfortably until at a late
hour Sunday when his heart failed.
Dr. Hill had been a resident here a few years. He came here from
Epsom where he had served for more than 30 years as a typical country doctor.
Finding that his strength could no longer stand the demands made upon it by his
patients, and possessed of too sympathetic a nature to deny the calls of his
neighbors in distress, he felt that his only course was to move away from such
His health had not been rugged for a few years past and of late he
had spent his winters at St.
Petersburg, Fla. From
there he returned only a few weeks ago.
Born in Northwood 68 years ago, he attended the schools of that
town, taught district school in winter and chose medicine as his profession.
After a term of hospital training in New York City,
he maintained an office for a time at Lynn,
Mass. Then he came to Epsom for
his real life's work.
His calls were not only in Epsom but also in the neighboring towns
of Northwood, Deerfield, Pittsfield, Chichester, Pembroke, Loudon
and Allenstown. Long hours and long trips over country roads with fleet horses
did not slacken his courage or kindliness, although at length they wore out his
No man was more widely known or more loved in the community. He
was of a social nature, a member of the Odd Fellows, Masonic and Grange
fraternities. Besides his widow, he is survived by two brothers, Clarence and Eugene, both or Florida,
and a sister, Mrs. Alice Ineson. Funeral services
were held from the Free Will Baptist church at Gossville
Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock.
In 1907, the last owner of the parsonage, True W. Center, sold his
home to Roscoe Hill, with the provision that he be allowed to remain on the
premises until his death. The Hill's left Epsom in 1920,
selling their portion of the house and land to Albert J. and Flora Yeaton, with the same provison
regarding Mr. Center. True W. Center died in 1924, and the old tavern
once again had a single owner. It remained a two tenement building, with the
1930 US Census showing Albert J. (also known as 'Slab' from the nickname for
the area) and his family, along with the family of Harry E. Sherburne as
Albert James Yeaton was the son of Edwin
R. and Ella Melinda (Eastman) Yeaton, descended from
William (1756-1831) and Hannah (Towle) Yeaton. He was born in 1896 and married in 1921, Flora F. Lane. They
had one son, Albert J., who married Virginia Huckins,
daughter of Charles N. and Doris E. (Waterhouse) Huckins.
True W. Center was the son of Abel M. and Lois
Center, who married first in Canterbury in 1855,
Augusta S. Morrison, and second, in Loudon, 1891, Olive E. Towle.
No children by either spouse.
Harry Sherburne was born in Epsom January 4, 1880, son of Stillman E. and Clara (Alton) Sherburne. His first wife was Lottie
Allen, and their family included: Grace B. Sherburne; Arthur P., who died at
age 15; Allen who died young; and Helen A. who died at age 2. Harry's second wife was Edith M. Johnson, and their
children included: Phyllis G.; Evelyn L.; Arlene
Elizabeth; Audrey Alice; ad Philip Eugene.
THE BLACKSMITH SHOP
The earliest mention of a blacksmith shop is in a deed from Abel
Brown to Robert Knox, being a one undivided half and the land it stood on that
was located a few rods easterly of his house. The deed was from 1828, and may
have been converted to a carpenter's shop when Perkins Philbrick
Jr. quitclaims to Robert Knox, the shop which he currently occupied.
By 1841, Ebenezer Gove owned the Locke tavern, and the land just
to the west was owned by Dearborn and his son, George W. Batchleder.
The Batchelder's sold 22 square rods of land just 4
feet west of Gove's land, to the blacksmith Edward H. Goodhue. Goodhue's father, John, likely built a blacksmith shop, the
building 'now occupied by Edward H. Goodhue on land owned by the said E. H.
Goodhue' in June of 1842. Edward H. Goodhue ran the shop for nearly twenty five
years, selling the 1/8 lot to Lowell Eastman. The Eastman's sold a few years
later, the land to Andrew S. Evans. It stayed in the hands of the Evans family
until 1917 when the heirs sold the small lot to Roscoe Hill. During the period
prior of the sale of the shop to Roscoe Hill, the blacksmith shop was probably
leased out, with one of the last blacksmith's being William Lent.
Roscoe Hill sells the 1/8th acre to Albert J. Yeaton
in 1920, who in turn, five years later, sells the lot to Edward B. Demers and
James M. Steele. The old blacksmith shop was replaced by the Epsom Garage.
NANCY RICHARDSON HOUSE
Dearborn and George W. Batchelder sold a
small parcel of land on the north side of the turnpike road, next to the home
of Ebenezer Gove in 1841. John Goodhue built a blacksmith shop on part of the
land which was run by his son Edward. It would appear that about this time a
house was also erected, which was owned in 1851 by Ambrose D. Haynes.
Haynes married the widow Elizabeth O. Brown in 1851, who was the
daughter of John and Betsy (Goodwin) Goodhue and sister to Edward. Haynes
mortgaged the property to John C. Morrill who obtained title to the house
bounded in part by the blacksmith shop. The following year, Morrill sells the
land and buildings to Joseph Lawrence of Epsom. A rather quick succession of
owners followed, with Darius Philbrick and his wife Adaline buying the property in 1854, and selling to Mary
and Caroline Hopkinson in 1855. Philbrick and the
Hopkinson's in effect swapped houses, the other residence being on the corner
of the turnpike and the road to Center Hill. During the time the Hopkinson
sisters owned the house, Caroline married Joseph Morse.
Caroline and Mary were daughters of Noyes and Abigail (Coffin)
Hopkinson of Deerfield. The family of Noyes Hopkinson included: Nancy, who
married William Ham and lived in Epsom; John, who married Hannah F. Ring and
resided in Epsom; Charles who married Julia Merrill and lived in Massachusetts;
Mary, who did not marry; Harriet, who married a Mr. Sleeper; Joseph, who died
at about age 19; and Caroline, who married in 1860 in Epsom, Joseph Morse. Mary
Hopkinson died in 1858, and with the marriage of her sister Caroline in 1860 to
Joseph Morse, became sole owners of the house. Joseph and Caroline lived in the
home for about six years after their marriage when they moved to Chichester and sold the house
to Nancy Richardson of Northwood.
Nancy Richardson was the daughter of Benjamin and Nancy (Batchelder) Morrill of Northwood. She married John Church
in Northwood, NH on January 8, 1854. They had one son,
John E. Church, born about 1855. John died prior to 1864 when Nancy
married second, George Richardson at Newmarket. It was the second
marriage for each, both widowed. It is not known when George died, but Nancy died in Epsom
August 3, 1878. Nancy and her son John E., are living with her parents in
Northwood in 1860, and her home in Epsom in 1870 is occupied by a Nathaniel
Richardson, and her father Benjamin Morrill, age 83. It is son John E. Church
who sells the home in 1899 to George E. Warren Jr. of Epsom. George held the
property only a year before selling to George E. Critcherson
George died in Manchester in 1904, and his wife
Anna, daughter of Samuel S. and Deborah R. (Rollins) of Deerfield,
sold the house, being one quarter acre with buildings, to Edward B. Demers and
James M. Steele. The house was located next to their business, the Epsom
View looking east just past the entracne
to New Orchard Road.
The second house on the left was for a time the store of Israel Chesley.
Robert Knox bought multiple small parcels of land from Abel Brown
from 1825 to about 1830. Among the small lots was
where the blacksmith shop was located, and the land adjoining that lot. It is
not clear when the adjoining land was actually purchased, but it was owned by
Robert Knox for some time, whereon a house was built. Robert Knox sold 'a
certain dwelling house in Epsom, standing near the junction of the main road
and the road which was formerly the New Hampshire turnpike, with all the land
said house stands on excepting that portion of the turnpike road which said
house covers, being land which I purchased of Abel Brown, meaning all the land
near said house which I purchased of said Brown.' The sale was made to Israel
R. Chesley of Lee. He established a store in the
dwelling house which he ran for four years. Benjamin L. Locke held a mortgage
on the property and became the owner in 1845 when Chesley
moved to Newbury, Massachusetts. Israel Randall Chesley was the son of Israel and Betsey (Folsom) Chesley of Lee, and was born September 6, 1815. He married
first, Elizabeth Glass in Nottingham in 1847.
She died giving birth to their only child, Irving G., in 1850. He remarried,
and died April 6, 1862 and is buried on the Folsom-Chesley
Farm in Lee. N.H.
On the same day Chesley deeded to B.L.
Locke, he deeded the store to Abraham D. Swain, trader and his brother William
A. Swain of Chichester.
The brothers kept the store for about three years, with Abraham D. Swain buying
the old Locke Tavern, and selling the store to David Bennett of Northwood. The
deed places it bounded by land of E. H. Goodhue, land of Robert Knox Jr.,
and Dearborn Batchelder, containing about 30 rods
with the store, woodshed and all other buildings. David Bennett and his wife
Mary ran the business for nearly ten years, and appear in Alton, NH
when they sell the house to Louisa C. Fogg on April
Louisa Catherine Fogg was a recent widow
when she bought her home, as her husband Uriah Fogg
died December 16, 1856 after just less than four years of marriage. Louisa was
the daughter of Capt. William Manson and his wife Catherine, born in Chichester, January 9, 1805,
and she had no children. She lived at this residence for 23 years before
selling the house to Albert L. Sanders in the summer of 1880.
Louisa had a sister Eveline, who married
in 1825, Edward T. Sanders, and their son William Albert Sanders, was the
father of Albert L. Sanders who purchased the home. Within six months he sold
the house to Mary C. Swain, widow of George W. Swain who died in 1869. Mary C.
was the daughter of William Sanders and his wife Rachel B. Wallace, and was
born in Maine
on August 30, 1830. George W. and Mary C. Swain had one surviving child, a
daughter Sadie D. Swain who married Reverend Horatio Wilson in 1885, and died Rochester in 1901. Mary
C. outlived her only surviving child by 5 years, having died in Epsom on
December 22, 1906. Prior to her death, she sold her home to Emma J. Chase of
Epsom in 1898.
Emma was born Emily Jane Baker on March 2, 1845 in Pembroke, NH,
daughter of Stephen and Hephzibah (Kelley) Baker. She married first in Epsom
James Worth, who died in 1875. She married second, March 1, 1877, Benjamin
Franklin Chase, son of Nathan and Eliza of Deerfield. Benjamin died in Epsom in
1897, and Emma did not marry again. She had a daughter by her first marriage,
Nellie Abbie Worth; and a son by her second, Benjamin
Franklin Chase. She remained a widow for the 23 years she lived in her home,
and sold it to Joseph and Moena Judkins,
who only stayed a half dozen years, selling to Mary M. Sanders in 1927. The
property was sold by Mary M. Sanders, (widow of Albert L. Sanders) to Pauline
F. Ring in 1946. It was owned in 1951 by Iona W. Kiersstead, and in 1974 by
Hazel and Jim Steele. The house is no longer standing.
HOME OF JIM AND HAZEL STEELE
The lot on the east corner of New Orchard Road and the current Route 4
was part of the Samuel Locke estate which was sold by his son Daniel E., to Abel Brown in 1819. It changed hands frequently,
being sold to John Ham Jr., in 1821; to Jeremiah Prescott in 1823; and to
Dearborn Batchelder in 1831. Batchelder
already had a tavern across the street and involved with a bark mill. The lot was
only 40 square rods, and Dearborn Batchelder sold it
to Samuel B. Knowles in 1833. What plans Knowles had for the lot
are unknown, but he sold it to Benjamin L. Locke in May of 1835, and in
September of that same year, married Olive S. Bunker of Barnstead. Up to this
time, there were no mention of any buildings in any of
the transactions. That changed in 1842 when Benjamin L. Locke sold to the widow
Abigail Libbey land of about 30 square rods with the
building on the lot, bounded westerly by the store of Israel R. Chesley, land
of Dearborn Batchelder,
and New Orchard and the turnpike road. The Libbey place was just east of Knowles Store, which
the family sold, and Abigail died on December 17, 1843. Her heirs,
surviving sons and one daughter - Nathan of Wentworth, Benjamin F. of Concord, and Lucy Haynes,
wife of John S. Haynes, sold the home to Robert Knox Junior of Epsom in 1844 .
Robert Knox Jr. is not to be confused with Robert Knox, who for a
time owned land and buildings across New
Orchard Road, who was his uncle. His father was
Isaac Knox who married Sally Wiggin. Robert Jr., born about 1820, married Sarah
Goodwin who was born in Rumford, Maine, in Manchester
April 17, 1842. The couple had three children: Harrison W., born in 1844, and
died in Epsom July 3, 1848 and is buried in the McClary
Cemetery; Freeland C., born in Epsom in 1845, and died in Boston, May 28,
1893; and Lucian, born in Epsom about 1848. The marriage of Robert Jr.
and his wife Sarah apparently came to an end by 1854, when Sarah sells the
property - Sarah L. Knox of Boston, spinster, the same premises conveyed to my
former husband, Robert Knox, the same assigned to be by decree of the Superior
Court of Judication for said court of Merrimack July
term 1854 to hold in my own right upon the dissolution of the bonds of
matrimony between myself and said Robert Knox, my former husband. Robert Knox
Jr. apparently went west, and nothing more is known of him. His former wife is
last seen in the 1870 Census, living in Boston
with her two sons. Nothing more is known of son Lucian.
The new owner was Stephen Quimby of
Hopkinton. He and his wife Lydia of Concord, sold the
house after three years to Samuel P. Cilley of Chichester in February of 1857.
It would appear from the 1858 map that the house was occupied by his son Joseph
R. Cilley. Joseph was born in 1831, and was a veteran
of the Civil War, returning to Concord as a
recruiting officer, and died in Chichester
March 6, 1865. In 1860 he was living with his sister Hannah Swain in Chichester. The Cilley's sold the house in 1859 to Moses Chamberlain of Chichester.
The Chamberlan's transferred ownership
in a matter of days to George W. Batchelder, and
after nearly a decade, it is his wife Abigail who sells the house to Mrs. Emily
A. Hoyt of Northwood.
Mrs. Hoyt was from Northwood, born Emily Ann Bennett, daughter of
Samuel and Susan (Demerritt) Bennett. She married in
1835, Nathan B. Hoyt, and had children: Byron D., who married Emma H. Fogg; Emma O., who married George D. Cilley;
Mary S. and Margaret A. Hoyt. The couple apparently separated, as Nathan Hoyt
married twice more, once in 1856, and again in 1880. She is living in the house
in 1880 with her grandson, Charles E. Cilley, son of
her daughter and George D. Cilley. By March 29, 1900,
she was living in Nottingham, and sold the
house to Maurice C. Philbrick, who resided on the
opposite corner of New Orchard
Road. Mrs. Hoyt died a few days after the sale.
Maurice eventually took down the old house and constructed a new
one, and deeded it to his daughter Hazel Alice, who had married October 26,
1929, James McClary Steele. He was co-owner of the
Epsom Garage. Hazel was for many years Epsom's town clerk, following in the
footsteps of her father.
ARTHUR C. LOCKE/MAURICE C. PHILBRICK HOMESTEAD
John Mark Moses in his history of the early settlers of Epsom,
mentions Samuel Bickford - In 1765 Samuel had a house in or near Epsom Center.
He soon removed to the farm he had bought of his brother. He was living April
23, 1773, but probably died soon after. He left seven children, of whom five
were Benjamin, Samuel, Thomas, [Mary] John and Joseph. His widow, Mercy, lived
until 1824. He bought lot number three of common land owned by the town from a
committee consisting of John McClary, George Wallace
and Ephraim Locke. This is the property he owned in 1765, and in fact,
according to the deed, the land was 'the whole of lot No. 3 where the said
Samuel's house now is'. After his death the property was probably owned
by his son Thomas, who married in 1786, Olive Haynes, daughter of John and
Olive (Weeks) Haynes. They had children: John, who married Eliza Lane; Samuel
Weeks, who inherited the homestead with his wife Lucy Coolidge Learned; Nathan,
who married in 1823, Eliza W. Dickey, daughter of Robert and Hannah (Osgood)
Dickey; Daniel C. who married Jane Staples and lived off Black Hall Road; Mehitable, who apparently died unmarried; Dearborn, of whom
nothing more is known; and Olive W. who married in 1825, Simeon Philbrick and resided in Allenstown. Simeon and Olive had a
family of eight, including a son Jackson Clark Philbrick.
Jackson and his wife were the parents of Maurice C. Philbrick.
According to the deed of Thomas Bickford, tanner, of Epsom, to
John Batchelder, trader, Batchelder
had bought, through two deeds in March of 1806, a quarter acre of land from
James H. McClary and Thomas Bickford, upon which he
was running a store. This deed of 1808, Thomas Bickford sells about 14 acres to
John Batchelder, bounded in part at the southeast
corner of Batchelder's store, including the one
quarter acre where John Batchelder was living, it
being on the southeast corner of the tract being sold. This would place the
home and store of John Batchelder on the west side of
New Orchard Road
bordered by the turnpike.
John Batchelder was from Kensington, son
of Nathan Batchelder and Elizabeth Page. His mother
married as her second husband, Francis Locke of Epsom, his first wife, Sarah
Page, died about 1760. John was the only surviving son of the first marriage,
and after the death of his step-father in 1787, he and his mother moved back to
Kensington. By 1790, he is running an inn in Concord where his mother died in 1805. He
married in Deerfield, March 21, 1782, Martha
Parsons. He moved to Epsom in 1806, and ran his store until 1815. His wife,
according to the NH Patriot Newspaper, died in Epsom, May 19, 1829. He was
living in Chichester
in 1833 when he applied for his Revolutionary War pension, and was back in
Epsom in 1840 living in the household of Levi Locke. Early census records
indicate that there were some children in the household, but none are known.
John Batchelder died in Epsom, November
20, 1843. The burial place of he and his wife is unknown or unmarked. Batchelder sold his store to Richard Webster Junior of Rye, April 4, 1815. After
two years, he sold the building, now with 20 acres, to Alexander Salter of
Epsom. Salter did not keep the business, selling out to Robert Knox in June of
Though not known where, Robert Knox was already in business in
partnership with James McCutcheon, which according to a newspaper account, came
to an end in 1814. At the end of that year, in December, he married Polly Dole Cilley, daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Plumer)
Cilley, who operated the Cilley
Tavern at Gossville. The couple had five children:
Mary Dole Cilley, born in 1815 and married in 1837, Asa Fowler; Sally C., born in 1820, and according to an
entry in the diary of James Babb, Feb. 6, 1821, died occasioned by the child
pulling from a table a vessel of hot fat, which fell upon its breast; Sarah,
who married Lewis Lillie and in 1880 resided in San Francisco; Robert William,
born June 1825 and died unmarried in California in 1867; Eliza Jane, married
Joseph D. Bristol and removed to San Francisco.
Robert Knox died April 28, 1850, and an obituary appeared in the
May 9 NH Patriot Newspaper: At Epsom, April 28, of strangulated hernia, after
an illness of but four days, Robert Knox, Esq., eldest son of the late William
Knox of Pembroke, aged 61. Appointed Deputy Sheriff for Rockingham in 1818, he
had held the office for that county and Merrimack
almost without interruption for thirty two years, and was extensively known as
a prompt, efficient and faithful public officer, and an upright man. He was
also for many years Postmaster at Epsom. He died in the strength and vigor of
manhood, and in the full possession of all his faculties to the last moment.
His heirs, Asa Fowler and Mary (Knox) his wife,
Robert W. Knox, Sarah S. Knox, and Eliza Jane Knox, sold the business, excepting
a house lot on the southwest corner, to John Wallace of Epsom. Of interest in
the deed is the addition to the twenty acres, the carriage house and land on
which the same is situated being upon the southerly side of said turnpike road
directly opposite the dwelling house on the first described tract, the land on
which said carriage house is situate being believed to have been conveyed to
the late Robert Knox by the late Abel Brown.
John Wallace raised his family on Center Hill, just behind and
below what is known as the Carter
Place. He sold his Center Hill home in October of
1850, and bought the Knox store in April of 1851. John Wallace was the son of
John and Mary (True) Wallace, and was born in Epsom in 1807. He married August
25, 1839, Nancy Sanders, daughter of John and Anna (Locke) Sanders. The couple
had three daughters: Mary A (or L)., born 1841, and died unmarried in 1910;
Eliza J., born 1842, and died unmarried in Concord in 1916; and Abby G., who
married James McAllister and resided in Chicago. Nancy died in 1852, and John married as his
second wife, Sarah Huse Towle,
daughter of Benjamin M. and Hannah (Sanborn) Towle.
There was one daughter from the second marriage, Sarah N. Wallace, born in
1857, who married as his second wife, Hiram A. Holmes. John and Sarah moved to
one of the Ephraim Locke homes, selling their store and home to Arthur Caverno Locke November 16, 1864, who previously was living
Arthur Caverno Locke was born in Epsom
in 1824, son of Francis and Mary (Philbrick) Locke.
He married in 1847, in Epsom, Salino O. Bickford,
daughter of Nathan and Eliza W. (Dickey) Bickford. He and his wife had four
children: Truman Ranson, who died young; Frank T.,
died in 1878 in Leadville, Coloardo, unmarried; Sarah
E. Locke, died about age 2; and Daniel Lincoln, who became a doctor and married
in Chichester, 1884, Lizzie L. Hoyt.
Arthur C. Locke was a respected Civil War Veteran, Lt. Company E.,
11th NH Regiment, was promoted to Captain and wounded in September of 1864.
There is a tribute to him by his sister, Sarah E. Veasey,
which appears in the History of the Eleventh NH Regiment, and is as follows: He
was a farmer by occupation, teaching school during the winter. He was one of
the selectmen of the town, and filled other positions of trust. His biographer
says of him, -
"When the old flag was fired upon at Sumter,
his patriotism was aroused, and when men were asked to volunteer by the beloved
said, 'Shall I remain at home in such a time of need? No !
While the blood of my ancestors courses through my veins, I feel it my duty to
go, and I must go.' He told me that he was in sixteen battles, and he had no
fear of death. He was severely wounded, and came to his home for a short time,
but his courage and patriotism did not abate. When the war was over, he came
home and resumed his former occupation, and as a trader in a country store for
awhile, for his system had received so many shicks
that he was not the strong man of other years. He had rheumatism very severely, which culminated in paralysis. For twelve more years
he was lame, going upon crutches, and for three years before he died could not
dress or feed himself. During all these long years of
suffering he loved to recount his battle scenes, and when his comrades called
to see him, his vigor and patriotism seemed renewed. He was patient through it
all, and never regretted that he gave his life for his country."
Capt. Locke died May 10, 1884, his wife before him in 1877. Their
son Daniel L. Locke sold the property to Otis W. Gove, and by deed of the same
date, sold the estate of his father to Daniel's wife, Lizzie L. Locke. After a
year of ownership, she sold 30 acres and the buildings to Maurice C. Philbrick, excluding the site of the town house.
Maurice Crawford Philbrick was born in
Allenstown in 1859, son of Jackson Clark and Eliza (Crawford) Philbrick. He married September 22, 1890, Mary Parsons
Cass, daughter of Joseph Blake and Mary Lucy (Brown) Cass. They had three
children: Blanche C., born in 1894 and died in 1980, unmarried; Ellsworth
Blake, born in 1902, married first in 1927, Doris Abbie
Batchelder, daughter of Alonzo and Laura A. (Haynes) Batchelder, and married second in 1957, Louise B. Barlow;
Hazel Alice, born 1904 and married in 1929, James McClary
Steele, son of Charles McClary and Helen E. P. (Yeaton) Steele. Maurice died in 1986, his wife in 1953. The
house passed to his son Ellsworth, who died in 1986, and his widow Louise sold
the property in 1987 to his sister, Hazel A. Steele. In 1998 the house was
owned by Mary (Steele) Frambach, the daughter of Jim
and Hazel Steele.
Obituary of Maurice Crawford Philbrick:
Special to the Union - Epsom, NH,
Dec. 25, 1942 - Town Clerk Maurice Crawford Philbrick,
serving his 46th consecutive term in office, died at his home Friday
afternoon after a short illness. He was born in Allenstown,
NH, Nov. 23, 1859, son of Jackson C. and Eliza
M. (Crawford) Philbrick, and moved to Epsom, NH
69 years ago. In 1890 he married Miss Mary Cass, who survives him.
Other survivors include two daughters, Miss Blanche C. Philbrick
and Mrs. Hazel A. Steele, both of Epsom, NH; two sisters, Mrs. Eliza Phibrick of Concord and Mrs. Emma J. Bickford of Epsom, NH;
and two brothers, Robert Philbrick of Concord and
Eugene Philbrick of Epsom, NH.
EPSOM TOWN HOUSE
The old meetinghouse on Center Hill was built in 1764 at the site
of the McClary
marked by a monument erected by the former Center Hill Historic Club. The
building was also used as a house of worship. The Congregational Society built
a church of their own at Slab City
in 1845, next to the site of the former Knowles Store. Between 1845 and 1850,
the town voted to construct a new town meeting house, which was built in 1850
on land purchased from Robert Knox for $25.15, on land not much larger than the
building itself. It was built by Jonathan Ayer Knowles at a cost of $654.00,
according to an entry in an early town report. Henry F. Sanborn supplies,150 feet of stone for the foundation. The project was
overseen by Benjamin L. and Ephraim Locke Jr., and began serving the town, not
only for town affairs, but other uses as well.
Receipts show a room in the hall was finished by Albert Cass in 1858, and Walter Tripp for stair sears, probably for the
upstairs office. New windows were installed in 1893, the interior was
plastered, painted and a new floor laid. Water was
installed in 1922, and it was wired for electricity in 1927.
The hall was rented for use as a dancing school as early as 1856.
According to a speech by Mrs. Ruhamah Locke, the town
hall in 1854 was fitted up by certain interested citizens, purchasing the old
seats that had been removed from Pittsfield
Academy and on the 3rd
day of August, Samuel G. Lane
began a school. It lasted some six years. Diaries of some Epsom residents
mention its uses, including in 1860 for a singing school, which were held up to
at least 1940, and there are references in the 1880’s that it was used for
evening writing and spelling schools. The building was added to the NH State
Register of Historic Places January 26, 2004.
ALBON W. PERKINS - LOWELL
Robert Knox owned the store formerly owned by John Batchelder, buying the 20 acre lot which extended from New Orchard Road west
to the range. In 1848 he sold a small parcel of land of 85 square rods
beginning at a stake and stones on the northerly side of the turnpike road at
the range between the second and third ranges of lots in Epsom, and running by
said road south to a stake and stones, thence north to a stake and stones,
thence northerly to a stake and stones on said range to the bounds first
mentioned. The land sale did not included any
buildings. It would appear that Albon moved one or
two buildings to the property to make his home. During recent renovations, the
house was inspected by James Garvin, who authored a book "A Building
History of Northern New England" [University Press of New England, 2001],
and established its construction as a style identified as a plank house, circa
1820. (refer to the book which includes a photo of
this house, page 22). In 1850 Albon is taxed for a
half acre, ten years later the value of his buildings increased significantly,
and he was taxed for 20 acres of land. When Albon
sells the property it includes the land across the street.
Albon W. Perkins was the son of Albon
and Polly W. (Marden) Perkins, born in 1822, and
married in Pittsfield
in 1847, Susan P. (also seen as Susan W.) Rand, daughter of
John and Judith Parsons (Gray) Rand. They had no children.
After living in their home about 15 years, it was sold to Francis
Locke. Locke had lived on the hill over Echo
Valley before moving down to Slab City
in 1865. He was in his later years, and three years after moving into his home,
he died, and his widow, Rhoda (Collins) Locke, sold the property to Arthur Caverno Locke, a son from the first marriage. Arthur C.
Locke lived on the adjoining property, having bought the estate of Robert Knox.
Arthur sold the property one year later to Lowell Eastman.
Lowell Eastman was born in 1808 in Deerfield,
a son of Deacon John and Mary Worthen (James)
Eastman. He married on May 22, 1843 in Epsom, Phebe
Griffin, the dauther of Nathan and Mary (Cate) Griffin.
His wife died five years later, leaving one surviving son, Albert S. Eastman. Lowell remarried in
Pembroke in 1845, Nancy Noyes, and in 1852, married Lydia A. Whitney, widow of
Charles Whitney who died in 1849. Lydia
was born Lydia
A. Newhall, daughter of George Pickering and Thankful (Hoyt) Newhall. She had
one daughter from her first marriage, Emeline A.
Whitney. Lowell died in 1883, and Lydia in 1916.
They had four children: Mary Frances, born in 1854 and married Frank T.
Coleman; Charles A., born about 1857, married Harrie
M. Rowe; James Edward, born in 1863 and married Francena
M. Parker, daughter of Hiram and Lavina E. (Place)
Parker who lived at Gossville; and Ella Melinda, born
in 1865 and married August 23, 1886 at Epsom, Edwin R. Yeaton,
son of James A. and Martha A. (Randall) Yeaton of New
Orchard Road. Edwin and his wife Ella lived in the home before moving to the Yeaton Farm in New Rye.
Lydia and her surviving children sold the
family home in 1904 to Herbert S. Little. In 1906 the property was purchased by
the C. S. Hall Lumber Company, with Herbert Little
reserving the new hen house in the rear of the dwelling house, and the right to
remove it within one year. C.S. Hall sells the house in 1907 to Henry E. Dotey.
The Dotey family lived on New Orchard Road,
and sold the Slab
City house in 1908 to
James O. Fiske. James O. Fiske was the son of Varnum
and Dolly (Cloudman) Fiske, who moved from Deerfield to Epsom and lived in the next house up New Orchard Road
from the Jim and Hazel Steele home. James O. was the only surviving son,
inheriting his father's home before moving into the former Lowell Eastman
homestead. He married in Deerfield in 1856, Mary J. Moulton and had two
children, Stella L. who died in 1873, unmarried, and Alma (or Elma) D., born in
1862 who married James H. Bickford, son of Henry W. and Orilla
H. (Locke) of New Orchard Road. His first wife Mary died in 1871, and James O.
married second Augusta (Hester) A. Wiggin, daughter of
John and Esther (Langley)
Wiggin of Deerfield. She had previously married Calvin D. Johnson of New
Rye, who died in 1871 after having one son, Kidder C., who later took the Fiske
surname. Kidder later married Emily B. Brown, daughter of Charles J. and Hattie
(Lyford) Brown of Gilmanton. James and Augusta had one surviving son, George Varnum Fiske who married Stella May Morrison.
James O. Fiske transferred the property and home to his wife
Augusta, seen as Hester in the deeds, in 1911, and he died two years later in
1913. Hester outlived him by twenty one years when she died in 1934. Her will
left the homestead to son George V. Fiske who sold the home to Mary S. Curtis
of Epsom in 1943.
Mary S. Curtis was born Mary S. Clark in 1894 in Deerfield,
daughter of Herbert N. and Ada L. (Griffin) Clark. Her father, Herbert had
married Ada Griffin, daughter of John Manson and
Emily A. Lawrence of Center Hill. Mary married Howard A. Curtis of Danvers, Massachusetts in
Deerfield on June 8, 1915. They established
the Cobweb Antique shop in the barns across the street from the home. They ran
their business for almost thirty years when they sold the house and business to
Arthur I. Mooers and Arthur F. Lawrence in 1972.
The two Arthur's continued the shop as Arthur's Antiques until
1979 when they sold the business. In 1984 they sold the house to Kenneth and