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 escaped.


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 City.


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 of Gossville 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.




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 Will Baptist 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.




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 E. Bickford.


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.





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 noting:


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 that place.

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 Epsom:

Letter from Captain Gray to his wife.

"CHARLESTOWN (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 woods."

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.

"Your Son,


"REV. MOSES PARSONS, Newbury Falls.

"To be left at Mr. Davenport's Tavern."


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) Kimball.


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, Massachusetts.


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.




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 in 1888.


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 May.


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 'tanner'.


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.




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 Locke.


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 Pittsfield 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.




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 the home.


This Davis 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 Road.


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 1838.


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.




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.




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 son Asa.


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.




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 organizations.


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.




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.




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 seventeen years.


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 longer standing.


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 the McClary 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.




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 M. .


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.




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 newspaper:



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 demands.

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 physical system.

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 occupants.


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 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.




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 of Manchester. 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 Garage.


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 4, 1857.


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.




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.



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 1818.


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 on Goboro Road.


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 Lincoln, he 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.




The old meetinghouse on Center Hill was built in 1764 at the site of the McClary Cemetery, currently 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.




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 Carole Brown.