Rev. Jonathan Curtis in his 1823 town history, without any detail, gives the following information:

"There are within the limits of the town, six taverns and as many stores, at which there is more or less of such business transacted as is commonly connected with similar establishments."

Blogs over the next few weeks will try and determine who owned taverns, where they were located, and how successful they were. There is a mention of three Epsom taverns in provincial records before the Revolutionary War, but that may not be a definitive number. From the Revolution to 1792, no records for taverns have been found. Starting in 1792 to 1827, the town records, excluding a couple years, lists taverns and liquor licenses, so that becomes the primary source. Those records, found at NH Archives, are in the old town books, and includes the dates in which Rev. Curtis was writing.

Another area which might reveal information would be if on old deeds, the grantor or grantee is given as an Inn holder or merchant, and if such a building is listed on the deed. Family histories also might reveal individual's occupations, perhaps Inn holder or merchant. These would be rather hit or miss sources.


Thomas Blake, Inn Keeper


The earliest known mention of a tavern in Epsom comes from the following short provincial document:

"September ye __ 1749

It is the Desire __ We the Selectmen of the town of Epsum that Thomas Blake may be Inn Keeper. Francis Lock, Samuel Liba."

There would be few families living in Epsom in 1749. George Wallace, Andrew and John McClary had homes, and John Blake had (what is said to be) the first male born in Epsom, William, in 1741. The only other known structures would be the first meetinghouse of 1733, and perhaps a garrison. Questions, of course, abound, as it would not appear that Thomas Blake was a land owner in 1749, but perhaps had a home on his father's property. There certainly was a Blake home on Center Hill during this time, but sometime after the death of John Blake, Thomas sold off his Epsom holdings, but in none of the transactions is he called an Inn Keeper.


Grantee Oct. 11, 1759 (83-446) John Blake of Ipsom to my well beloved son Thomas Blake of Ipsom, husbandman, about 50 acres of land on which my now dwelling house stands, Lot No. 4, original right of Thomas Berry.


Grantee Oct. 29, 1754 (84-71) Dearborn Blake of Epsom, yeoman to Thomas Blake of Epsom, gentleman, land, the fifth Lot in No. 6, home lot original right of Jude Allen. 59 acres.


Grantee May 31, 1774 (117-392) Samuel Moulton of Hampton to Thomas Blake of Chichester, land in Chichester.


Grantor Nov. 30, 1764 (84-72) Thomas Blake of Epsom, gentleman to Jethro Blake of Epsom, yeoman, the fifth Lot in No. 6 containing 50 acres, home lot, original right of Jude Allen.


Grantor Aug. 31, 1765 (84-290) Thomas Blake of Epsom, gentleman to Joseph Hoit Esq. of Stratham, land in Sanborn town.


Grantor Jan. 1, 1770 (117-197) Thomas Blake of Epsom, gentleman to Peter Robinson of Pembroke, gentleman, land in Epsom, 100 acres on the west side of Suncook River, lot No. 2 in the first range, second division, sold to John Blake at auction.


Grantor May 11, 1771 (102-55) Thoms Blake of Chichester, gentleman to Andrew McClary of Epsom, gentleman. One of the home lots, 50 acres bounded southerly by the main road, easterly on land of Andrew McClary, northerly on land of Jacob Treadwell, and easterly on land of said McClary.


Grantor June 8, 1771 (106-387) Thomas Blake of Chichester, husbandman to Tabitha Barnard of the town of Amesbury, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay, widow, one thirty acre lot of land in Epsom laid out to my father John Blake, deceased, as a settler and since given to me by my father John Blake's last will.


Grantor April 18, 1775 (110-24) Thomas Blake of Chichester, gentleman to John McClary of Epsom, yeoman, a tract of land in Epsom containing 1/2 lot No. 23 in the first range of lots originally belonging to John Johnson containing forty four acres, to be divided in quantity and quality.


Grantor April 8, 1775 (127-235) Thomas Blake of Chichester, gentleman, to Andrew McClary of Epsom, gentleman, a tract of land in Epsom containing 1/2 lot No. 23 in the first range of lots originally belonging to John Johnson containing forty four acres, to be divided in quantity and quality.


The 'Descendants of Jasper Blake' gives some background on Thomas Blake. In 1759 his fathers house and 50 acres was deeded to him. He was a selectman in town in 1759 and 1760. He married in Hampton Falls Sept. 1, 1748 Hannah Dearborn and had children:

Dearborn, baptized 1749 in Hampton

John, baptized Mar. 23, 1751

Miriam, baptized Hampton, 1756

Nanny/Nancy, baptized 1760 in Hampton

Olly (female) baptized Nov. 28, 1762 in Epsom (probably Olive)

Hannah, baptized Sept. 7, 1766 in Epsom

Thomas, baptized May 28, 1769 in Epsom

Sarah, baptized Jan. 19, 1772.


He was one of the first pew purchasers in 1764, and therefore a supporter of the first church in Epsom, as once the church was organized, had his children baptized in town. Previous to that, though probably living in Epsom, traveled to Hampton to have his children baptized.

Andrew McClary, Inn Keeper


The next tavern seen in town records after that of Thomas Blake, is when a proprietor's meeting was held May 2, 1752 'at the house of Andrew McClary, Inn Keeper.' These meetings continue until about 1755, then starting in 1756, they were held at the home of Captain Andrew McClary's, son of Andrew, who inherited his father's home. After the Major McClary died in the Revolution, the property passed to his son James Harvey McClary, who continued the tavern, as will be seen in a later post. He built a new home and sold the old homestead to Joseph Lawrence. These taverns were also homes.


Life during the time was described in brief by Horace P. McClary in his book. “There was little time for idleness in the McClary household; the large farm must be tilled, the potash factory looked after, the stores to attend, and presumably some portion of land to clear each season – plenty of healthy work to develop brawny muscle. There was, outside of the home, work waiting for everyone – roads to build, churches and schoolhouses to locate, erect and maintain, dams to construct, mills to build and the thousand and one other things which play a necessary part in the change from the forest primeval to the cultivated and productive farm.”


Charles McCoy, Tavern


The third mention of a tavern in Provincial Epsom is the petition of Charles McCoy to license a tavern. His establishment was at or near Sanborn Hill, land he had deeded to his sons. One of the first settlers in Epsom, possibly pre-dating the actual incorporation, he bought land from Joseph Simpson. His wife, Isabella, is well known for her capture by Indians and removal to Canada, from whence she returned later to her family. It would appear that the license was granted, and will be seen in the next post. The petition:


1759, January 31 
Province of New Hampshire.
Epsom. To the Honorable his Majesties Judges of the Superior Court of Common Deas or Judges of serious or others whom it may concern of granting of licenses for keeping on Taverns and Houses of Publick Entertainment in said province.

The humble petition of Charles M’coy of Epsom aforesaid, yeoman humbly sheweths that your petitioner living at Epsom aforesaid near the Publick Road leading from Nottingham East to Bow the distance between which 2 places is upwards of sixteen miles and no place of public entertainment between them, whereby several persons have suffered for want of some the refreshment, Your Petitioner therefore as his request and desire of several persons who have hereunto subscribed their names and others humbly request your Honours, he may have and that you would release to grant him a license to keep a Tavern or place of Publick Entertainment for all sorts of sociable liquors and ___ at his house in Epsom aforesaid, and that he will be bound as other Inn Holders are to pay, exercise and observe all other duties as required by law in such cases and said petitioner will ever pray &c. Charles McCoy, Ephraim Locke, Samuel Blake.


Eliphalet Sanborn, Tavern


It is most likely that Charles McCoy ran a tavern according to his petition of 1759. The McCoys sold out to Reuben and his son Eliphalet Sanborn in 1760. The following year, Eliphalet files for a license. The site of this building was probably somewhere near the present Sanborn homestead on Sanborn Hill, the current home being built at a later date either by Eliphalet, or his son Josiah Sanborn.


1761, July 2

Province of New Hampshire.
To the Honorable Judges of His majestyes General Sessions of the Peace to be holden at Portsmouth on the second day of July 1761. We the Selectmen of Epsom do judge that Eliphalet Sanborn is a suitable person to keep a House of Entertainment for Horse and man and travelers in said Epsom. John McClary, Nathan Marden, Ephraim Lock, Selectmen


1792 Town Records


The first time a listing of licenses being granted to tavern owners and stores selling liquor, appears in the town books for the year 1792, and were as follows:



Locke, Samuel to keep a public tavern

McClary, James Harvey to keep a public tavern

Locke, Jonathan to keep a public tavern

Duncan, William to sell liquors in Epsom

Gordon, Nicholas to sell liquors in Epsom


None of these owners appeared in the earlier records, though of them, the James Harvey McClary tavern would be a continuation of that tavern run by his father Major Andrew McClary, and his father Andrew McClary. This tavern would already be third generation in 1792, a testament to its success.


Jonathan Locke, Inn Holder



Of the 5 licenses granted in 1792 was one to Jonathan Locke. The tavern stood on the location of the current Deinhart house on Center Hill, not far from the old parsonage. It is likely that the current house was built at a later date.


Jonathan Locke's home passed to him from his father Moses Locke in 1793, with the provision he take of Moses and his wife Mary 'for the rest of their natural lives.' It can be assumed it was being used as a tavern before the recording of licenses in town records in 1792. Jonathan Locke is identified in a 1795 deed, buying land from Nathaniel Kennison, as Inn Holder. The property was advertised for sale in 1802, to be sold 'on reasonable terms, 120 acres with good buildings, wee wooded and watered, within 50 rods of the Meetinghouse in said Epsom.' It does not appear to have been sold, as Jonathan Locke died May 27, 1803 in Epsom. The property passed out of the family, being divided up and 60 acres land and buildings was sold to Thomas D. Merrill and then to the William McMurphy family. Abraham Swain owned the property in 1841, further dividing up the lot. Other owners included John Morrill, Joseph W. Rand, Alexander B. Forbes and Charles J. Brown. Charles McClary Steele bought the 13 acre lot and house about 1900 and remained their through 1961. His wife was Helen E.P. Yeaton.


There is no known burial for Jonathan Locke, but most likely he is buried in the McClary Cemetery.


His business was fairly successful as can be seen by the number of licenses granted:

Oct. 15, 1792 public tavern
Dec. 9, 1793 public tavern
Mar. 3, 1797 rum, brandy and gin
Mar. 8, 1797 tavern
Mar. 11, 1798 open tavern and liquor license
Mar. 18, 1799 open tavern and liquor license
Mar. 18, 1800 tavern and liquor license
July 20, 1801 liquor license


William Duncan, Store Owner



William Duncan (1762 Haverhill, MA - 1799 Concord, NH) was granted a liquor license in 1792, and likely ran a store at this site. The small two-acre section of land was sold off from the eastern part of the parsonage lot and facing East Street. Originally sold to James Gray by the town to raise money for schools in 1778, he sold it in 1789 to John McClary Jr., one of the son’s of Maj. Andrew McClary. Though bought with no mention of buildings, he sold the lot ‘with the buildings thereon’ to William Duncan of Concord on Sept. 14, 1792 (R 131-459). William Duncan did not hang on to it very long as he sold it about two years later to Solomon Sutton (Dec. 5, 1794, R 138-234), who may have lived there a while. Solomon was ‘of Epsom’ when he sold to Ebenezer Virgin of Concord – the complete two acres, land and buildings. It came back into the hands of the McClary family in December of 1799, as James Harvey McClary, brother to the John McClary who sold it in 1792, bought the property. At the time James Harvey McClary was living on his father’s and grandfather’s homestead, which he sold to Joseph Lawrence, and moved down to this lot. Most historians agree that he built the house currently standing there, and the architecture probably bears this out. He was running the old tavern and store from the homestead, and apparently ran some sort of store from his new home. In 1810, suffering from an illness, he sold the property ‘being where he now lives’ to his cousin Michael McClary. James Harvey McClary died eight days later. By deed of February 1814, his widow again owned the property, and years later rented the store to James Babb who bought the property in October of 1825. Just a few weeks later, he sold it to Thomas D. Merrill, who was soon to become one of the most successful businessmen in Epsom. (click photo above for larger image). Even though he was in Epsom for only about 2 years, his daughter Mehitable married the son of Michael McClary, Andrew, June 11, 1812 in Concord.


William Duncan was from Concord and had a store there, as well as Epsom and Sanbornton, as seen in the ad that ran in a local paper in September of 1792 -


G O O D S,



William Duncan,

Informs the public, that he has for sale, a general assortment of

English and West india


at his Stores in

Concord, Epsom, and Sanbornton,

Which he is selling cheap for

Cash, Ashes, Salts, and Flax Seed.

He also informs the public in general, that those GOODS were received before the Small Pox broke out in Boston and the adjacent towns; and that he will not receive any Goods into his Stores, from Boston, Charlestown, or any towns where that contagious disease prevails, until they are thoroughly free from the infection.


And the highest price, given for

Good Salts.

Wanted, a quantity of

Good Staves & Heading.

Concord, Sept. 7, 1792


James Harvey McClary, Tavern Owner



James Harvey McClary is one of 5 people who received a license in1792, this case to run a tavern. James H. McClary would be a third generation owner, continuing the family business started by his grandfather Andrew McClary, and his father, Major Andrew McClary. By 1792, the McClary family had been running a tavern on Center Hill, nearing the Deerfield town line, for 40 years. The tavern on this site would remain open another decade, before being sold to Joseph Lawrence around 1807. Shortly after it was sold, the building burned completely, and Joseph Lawrence rebuilt on the same site. This second house was destroyed by fire in 1848 - from the newspaper:

Fire In Epsom. - The large three-story house in Epsom, which, for many years, has stood so boldly in the traveler's eye as he passed on either of the leading roads in Epsom, owned by Mr. Joseph Lawrence, was consumed by fire, last Wednesday morning, soon after sunrise.


 Once again Lawrence built a new homestead, the one currently on the site of the original McClary tavern

Obviously the McClary tavern was very successful, and was a focal point of town affairs. The license's granted to James Harvey McClary:

Sept. 15, 1792 public tavern
Nov. 18, 1793 tavern and liquor license
Mar. 7, 1795 tavern and liquor license
Oct. 1, 1796 liquor license
Feb. 25, 1797 tavern
Sept. 30, 1797 liquor license
Mar. 11, 1798 open tavern
Sept. 14, 1799 liquor license
Mar. 17, 1800 tavern and wine
Mar. 4, 1801 liquor license
Feb. 13, 1804 liquor license
Aug. 27, 1808 open tavern (at new location)


Nicholas Gordon, Liquor License


One of the five licenses granted by the town of Epsom in the first list of such records of 1792, is to Nicholas Gordon. Nicholas and his father Alexander lived in the Short Falls area of Epsom, likely on the road then leading to Pembroke. There are few deeds and information, making it impossible to pinpoint the location of any building or establishment requiring a liquor license. There is only the one entry, so whatever it was, it was short lived. He does not appear in tax records 1795, 1806 or 1825.


His parents were Alexander Gordon and Sarah Dolloff, and Nicholas married an Elizabeth Unknown. He died in Epsom June 21, 1824, and his wife February of 1850, according to Allenstown records of John Dowst. Both deaths are recorded in the Dolbeer records of deaths in Epsom. His brother, Jeremiah Gordon, who married Susannah Marden, was a well known town resident of which much more is known.


Capt. Samuel Locke, Tavern Owner



Capt. Samuel Locke is identified as a tavern owner starting in the 1792 Epsom town records as having received a license for a public tavern, and was probably in business before that time. John Goodwin's "Book of the Lockes" says he kept a tavern, and the "History and Genealogy of Capt. John Locke" also mentions he kept a tavern, though incorrectly puts it in Dover, NH. His tavern run was quite successful, as can be seen in the number of licenses recorded in the town records:

Sept. 7, 1792 public tavern 
Dec. 28, 1793 public tavern
Feb. 16, 1795 tavern
Feb. 25, 1797 tavern
Feb. 19,1798 tavern
Mar. 20, 1799 open tavern
Mar. 21, 1800 tavern
Apr. 13, 1801 open tavern
Mar. 29, 1802 open tavern
Apr. 7, 1804 open tavern
Sept. 16, 1805 liquor license
Dec. 2, 1805 open tavern
July 26, 1807 liquor license


Capt. Samuel Locke was a son of Ephraim Locke and Comfort Dowst. He bought property from his father in March of 1784, this land aquired earlier by his father, part from the right of Andrew McClary, and part of land sold for payment of taxes and incidental charges. There may have been additional tracts added later, but by the 1784 deed, the property included a 1/2 interest in a Grist mill standing on the lot, and the twenty-fourth part a saw mill and privilege known by the name of Cass' mill. It would appear the tavern was on the north side of the current Dover Road, as deed research does not indicate any buildings, except the mills, on the south side. The site of the tavern is the former homestead of A.J. Yeaton.


Capt. Samuel Locke also had the right to land of a cousin, Abraham Locke. His father was appointed guardian to Abraham Locke, and adult "non compos" in September of 1791, with Capt. Samuel becoming guardian to Abraham's children in 1805, acquiring property rights. When he died, his son Samuel received the Abraham Locke property, and his son Daniel Evans Locke, the rest, including the tavern. The mill privileges were shared by the brothers.


Between the dower rights of his wife, and that willed to son Daniel E., the tavern and mill property was sold to Abel Brown, who had married Daniel E. Locke's sister Betsey in 1807, being at that time from Gilford. Abel Brown continued the tavern, with the following record of licenses:

Mar. 29, 1820 public house

Mar. 7, 1823 (Lieut) open tavern at house where he now lives

Mar. 11, 1826 open tavern

1827 for two dollars, open tavern license 

From this point town records do not record licenses.


Abel Brown later owned some of the property jointly with John Ham Jr., with both eventually selling part, including mill privileges, to Jeremiah Prescott 1822-1823. Prescott held a license in 1826 to sell liquor at his store in 1826 and sold out his land on the south side of the turnpike in 1831 to Dearborn Batchelder of Meredith. 


Joseph Tucke, Liquor License



1792 was the first year that town records listed liquors for individuals in Epsom, and as time permits, they will be chronologically searched and added to various blog postings.


The 1793 list included the same indivuduals with the exception of Nicholas Gordon. Added that year was Joseph Tucke, who received liquor licenses for three consecutive years:

1793 Tucke, Joseph to sell liquors in Epsom

1794 Tucke, Joseph a retailer of liquors in Epsom

1795 Tucke, Joseph to retail rum, brandy and gin in Epsom


Joseph Tucke lived in the house of his father, Epsom's first minister, Rev. John Tucke. The Reverend built his house on the 50 acre lot given him as being the first minister, the lot reserving a place for a meetinghouse and included the old part of the McClary cemetery. Rev. Tucke was dismissed in 1774 but remained in Epsom, joining the cause of the Revolution and died of small pox in New York in 1777. The family struggled to remain in Epsom, selling land to stay solvent. As part of that effort, their son Joseph apparently began to sell liquor out of the home (presumed at a store as the records do not indicate a tavern, though the house was probably large enough). What would his minister father have thought? The family finally sold out to Simon Ames Heath in October 1797. Simon A. Heath himself used his new home as a tavern starting about 1807, as will be discovered in a later post. The tavern, known for years as 'the old tavern' on Center Hill, was just east of the McClary Cemetery, and burned down some forty years ago. 


Solomon Sutton - Tavern Owner


Seven license's were granted in 1795, one to Joseph Tucke for liquor, one to Jonathan Locke for an inn, one to Samuel Locke for a tavern, two to James H. McClary, one for a public tavern and sell mixed liquors as well as one to retail liquors for one year. The other two were to Solomon Sutton, one to keep an inn or tavern in Epsom, and the second to retail rum, brandy and gin for the coming year. One could surmise that having two license's - one for a tavern, and the other perhaps to retail liquor at a connected store. Sutton's tavern was not new, as he bought the tavern of William Duncan, but sold it the following year, and by 1799 was bought by James Harvey McClary, who would later move from the homestead to this new location.


NH Patriot 6-22-1813

ABSCONDED from the town of Epsom, SOLOMON SUTTON, a town pauper. All persons are hereby forbid harboring or trusting him on the account of said town, for we shall not pay any debt of his contracting after this date.

Samuel Morrill

Richard Tripp

Bickford Lang - Selectmen

Epsom, June 10, 1813






Daniel Cilley, Tavern Owner



The list of licenses granted in 1799 included two new names, of being the right of Daniel Cilley to keep an open tavern. Daniel Cilley received land by will from his father, General Joseph Cilley of Nottingham, who had ownership of several tracts of land in Epsom. The General died in 1799, but Daniel Cilley was already located in Epsom as he appears on a tax list for 1796, and the value of land and buildings increased through 1803. It was one of the most successful taverns in Epsom, and is probably the only original surviving structure of a tavern still standing and in use. It is located across the street from the old library. A list of Daniel Cilley's license's for a tavern include:

May 27, 1799 open tavern
June 2, 1800 open tavern
June 5, 1801 open tavern
May 27, 1803 open tavern
June 6, 1804 open tavern
June 6, 1805 public tavern
Mar. 21, 1806 open tavern
July 30, 1807 open tavern
Oct. 3, 1808 open tavern
Sept. 11, 1809 open public tavern
Oct. 25, 1810 tavern
Dec. 17, 1811 open tavern
Oct. 27, 1812 open tavern
Apr. 27, 1813 open tavern
Mar. 9, 1816 open tavern
Apr. 7, 1818 open tavern
Apr. 8, 1820 public house
Apr. 5, 1822 public tavern at his house
Apr. 5, 1824 public house
Mar. 7, 1825 open tavern at his house
Mar. 11, 1826 open tavern
1827 for two dollars, open tavern license


Even though the town records stop here, the Cilley Tavern continued through his lifetime, and he died in 1842. From the book "General Joseph Cilley" by Scales:

A very large concourse of people attended his funeral. At the service, one of his fellow-ministers, the oldest among the number, who knew him in early years, arose and said: "I knew this king among men all his life. How powerfully he could preach; how fervernly he prayed, and oh, how sweetly he sang."
He had a remarkable vibrant, strong and resonant, but sweet, high voice. I have seen few men so noticeable in personal port and fineness of feature. He was very daintly in his habits, clean of life and tongue, high-minded -- and with all the fighting impulse of the soldierly clan of the Cilleys, on occasion.


George H. Yeaton wrote about a story about the road being built in front of the hotel:

There is a legend connected with the building of the turnpike through the town of Epsom. The legend is that in building this road the company in charge of its construction had planned to built it on the level ground just back of the now Epsom Town Library and Huckins garage, connecting with the present highway near the old railroad crossing. But Colonel Cilley made a deal with the construction company to build the road past his home. The deal being that Colonel Cilley was to furnish a barrel of rum if the road was built up the hill near his home. The road was built up the hill, Colonel Cilley furnished the barrel of rum. It is said that Colonel Cilley rolled a barrel of rum out near the hill. This hill derived its name of “Rum Hill”. Years ago, the help building bridges and highways would be paid so much money a day and one or more gills of rum each day in addition (from old Epsom Town Records).


There were several fires at the site which prompted several articles in newspapers at the time:

5-18-1833 and 5-20-1833 DANIEL CILLEY BARNS On Sunday night last, three barns, with a stable and shed belonging to Col. Daniel Cilley, of Epsom, were consumed by fire: supposed to have been set by an incendiary. Loss not particularly stated; probably about $1000. Insurance $350 in the N.H. Mutual Company.

On the night following the 5th instant the barns of Daniel Cilley, Esq. were consumed. His dwelling house was saved with much difficulty. There is no doubt that this was the work of an incendiary. Epsom has for a few years past been peculiarly unfortunate in fires and in the suspicion at least, that it is infested with a very few miscreants, who have occasioned them.

NH Patriot 6-17-1833500 REWARD !
WHEREAS, on the night of the 5th of May last, three Barns and a Stable, the property of Col. Daniel Cilley, of Epsom, were destroyed by fire, - supposed to be the work of an incendiary or incendiaries. The Town, at a meeting legally warned and holden for that purpose on the 3d day of June, 1833, unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing and empowering the Selectmen to offer the above reward to any person or persons who will furnish evidence sufficient to convict any, who have been guilty of the crime.


Epsom, June 7, 1833
The family later auctioned off the estate and it was bought by William Goss.


NH Patriot 8-30-1849FARM FOR SALETHE subscribers offer for sale their farm in Epsom, well known as the Cilley place, lying on the Turnpike road and near the centre of the town, and close to the line of the contemplated Railroad from Hooksett to Pittsfield. The home place contains upward of 200 acres, a large proportion of which is Mowing and Tillage, the buildings are two good dwelling houses, two barns with shed, and all other out buildings suitable for two families. Also, a large pasture about two miles from the home place, containing about 90 acres, well watered, lying by the side of Odiorne's pond (so called). Also, a wood and timber lot, containing about 90 acres, about one and a half miles from the home place, and very handy to Long Falls Saw Mill. They also offer the crops now growing, and the hay in the barns, being sufficient to winter 50 head of cattle; the greater part cut on the home place the present season. If not disposed of at private sale the present season, it will be offered at Public Auction the 20th day of February, 1850.

Conditions of sale for the whole or such parts as may be agreed upon, will be liberal.

W.P. Cilley
J.L. Cilley
Epsom, August 6, 1849


Goss continued the tavern as the 'Suncook Valley House' about 1858 and his family sold off the property upon his death in 1887. After that, there were several owners, including Ed White, who changed the name to the 'Gossville Hotel'. It later belonged to Charles Sumner Hall, and it was called the 'Hotel Sumner' by 1924. Again the property was sold by the heirs of Charles S. Hall as was known as the 'Pine Grove Inn', and later the 'Sherwood Inn'.


Thomas Bickford, Liquor License


Of the two new individuals receiving permission to sell liquor in 1799 was a Thomas Bickford. There is a little confusion, as said Thomas Bickford also was granted a license in 1800. The first license was to a Thomas Bickford Jr., the second without the junior the following year:

1799 Bickford, Thomas Jr. to sell liquors as high as half a pint at his coopers shop in Epsom

1800 Bickford, Thomas to mix and sell liquors by the small in the town of Epsom


Epsom tax records for the period only show one Thomas Bickford, though an older Thomas Bickford was in Pittsfield and may have resided in Epsom earlier. The 1800 US census also shows only one Thomas Bickford in Epsom, so the license must be for Thomas Bickford, son of Samuel and Mercy (Blake) Bickford who was born in Epsom in 1764, and died in 1819. He married November 23, 1786, Olive Haynes. His wife married Francis Locke as his second wife after the death of Thomas.


The Beckford's swapped property around, but Thomas and Olive lived at the old Bickford homestead on Route 4, on the right side of the road before Cumberland Farms. The first license was for his cooper's shop, which may not have been located at the homestead, but elsewhere on the property, probably near the old town hall. One such shop is identified on the 1858 town map, no owner given.


John Godfrey, Inn Keeper



John Godfrey (son of Moses of Northwood, NH) appears in the town records having been granted a license to keep an open tavern in 1800 and 1803. At this time there are no records to indicate that he either owned any land or buildings in Epsom, in fact, the 1800 census lists the family in Deerfield, with 1 male under 10, 1 male 10 to 15, 2 males 16 to 25, a female under 10, a female 10 to 15, 1 female 16 to 25, plus a male 26 to 45 and a female of the same age, probably John and his wife. It would appear, as with several other license holders during this time, that they ran taverns in buildings belonging to others.


In a deed of July 3, 1803, George Frost of Northwood, trader sells to John Godfrey of Epsom, Innholder, land in Northwood, northerly on the road leading from Col. Johnson's and McClary's mills so called, westerly on land of Joshua Hoit, southerly on Suncook Pond, and easterly by land of Moses Johnson, together with al the buildings standing thereon and is a piece of land I purchased of John Bickford Oct. 7, 1801.


This definitely is the case later. Though it is not known exactly where the 1800 tavern is, John Godfrey did buy land from John Ham on January 7, 1805 (R 169-295). The deed describes the purchase as 2 parcels of land part of lot #25 in the first range – one to contain one half of one acre, on the south side of the turnpike where it crosses north road leading to Pittsfield. The other 10 acres of the same lot. No buildings are found at this time. John Godfrey also appears on the 1806 town tax list, still no building. Typical the inventory for the tax lists were done in the spring. He likely built a tavern during late 1806, along with buying land, and is listed on one such deed in 1807 as Inn holder. He sells all his property and buildings in July of 1806 to Levi Mead of Northwood (R 176-49), though continues to live and run the tavern, with a liquor license in 1806. Levi Mead puts the property up for sale in February of 1808 –


NH Gazette 3-1-1808


NOTICE is hereby given that all the real estate, formerly owned and occupied by John Godfrey, lying in Epsom, will be sold at Public Auction on Monday the 4th day of April next, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, consisting of about 50 acres of LAND, with the buildings thereof, viz. - A new and convenient dwelling house, thirty by forty feet, one story high, well finished with a good cellar under it; a new and convenient Barn, Shed, and a Coopers Shop, situate on the first New Hampshire Turnpike Road, leading from Concord to Portsmouth, and on the road leading from Gilmanton to Newburyport, which renders it an excellent stand for a Tavern or Trader.

Sale to be on the premises, when the conditions will be made known. – Further information may be had by applying to LEVI MEAD & JOHN HARVEY of Northwood, - or JOHN GODFREY, living on the premises.

Northwood, February 22, 1808


On May 7, Levi Mead sells the entire property back to John Godfrey, Inn Holder (R 184-116), who in turn, on the same day, sells it to Ephraim Eastman of Deerfield (R 184-114).


Ephraim receives a license to keep an open tavern in 1809, and sells the entire operation back to Levi Mead July 21, 1809 (R 186-125). The 1810 census for Epsom shows John Godfrey in that part of town where the tavern was located, probably again running the tavern for Levi Mead. The tavern and operation is again sold in 1813, and John Godfrey removes to Northwood.


Also of interest, John appears in 1800 census in Deerfield, and buys land in Northwood in 1803 of George Frost land and buildings, being already Innholder of Epsom. It would appear through several transactions that he was in back in Northwood, as by deeds of 1804 and 1805 (Rockingham deeds 168-395 and 169-292). There is also mention of a Godfrey in Cogswell's History of Deerfield, discussing that part of Deerfield called 'Coffee Town' -

"This part of town took its name, it is believed, from the circumstance, that a man by the name of Godfrey lived here, who, with his family, made an extravagant use of coffee, as was thought by his fellow-townsmen. May it not be that by this Godfrey an attempt was made to raise this berry, as has been often done since elsewhere, and hence the name?"


Then there is the ad selling Godfrey's tavern in Deerfield. The contact is Mark French, but there is no deed showing he owned the property, and was perhaps acting as agent for the sale.

Concord Gazette 5-5-1813
To be Let,
ON liberal terms, and possession given the 6th day of March next, that pleasantly situated Farm, in Deerfield, well known by name of Godfrey's Tavern, near Pleasant Pond, so called, which is considered to be one of the best stands for a Tavern and Store, in the State. There is on said farm, a good house, Store, two Sheds, Woodhouse, and a complete Stable, well finished, and an Orchard that produced apples sufficient to make from 15 to 20 barrels of Cider the last season. It is also well wooded.
For further particulars, enquire of Mark French, of Epsom, where the conditions will be made known.
Jan. 5, 1813.


Ephraim Eastman, Inn Keeper


Ephraim appears only once in the Epsom town records as receiving a license for an open tavern in 1809. The property was owned by John Godfrey who added the buildings to the lot he bought from John Ham. Levi Mead owned the buildings several times, with John Godfrey running the tavern. Ephraim Eastman sold the property to Levi Mead in July of 1809.


Ephraim Eastman was a resident of Deerfield, living on the Griffin road near the border of the two towns. He was a Revolutionary War veteran and is buried in a family lot on Griffin Road.


McClary & Gookin, Liquor License



James Harvey McClary appears to have continued the family tradition of running a tavern and apparently a store as well. Town records show the following in 1801:


James H. Mcclary to mix and sell run, brand and gin by the smalls

McClary and Gookin to retail liquors and wines.


Perhaps one license was for liquor at the tavern, and the other for a store, at the tavern that was still at the old McClary homestead, which he sold to Joseph Lawrence in 1807. Daniel Gookin was in a similar partnership in Gilmanton which was later dissolved. His partnership with James Harvey McClary did not fair much better:


Portsmouth Oracle 7-21-1804
Epsom October 28, 1803
THE Partnership betwixt JAMES H. M’CLARY of Epsom, and DANIEL GOOKIN of North-Hampton, is this day by mutual consent dissolved. All Persons indebted to said Company are to make payment to said McCLARY, by whom all debts of the Company will be paid.


Andrew Sanborn, Inn Holder


Andrew Sanborn is found in the town records for receiving the following licenses -

Mar. 16, 1802 open tavern for 1 year

Mar. 16, 1803 open tavern

Apr, 7, 1804 open tavern


Andrew Sanborn was a son of Eliphalet Sanborn and Margaret (Wallace), born in Epsom Feb. 17, 1773. He married in Boston Feb. 10, 1801, Sarah Hewes, daughter of Solomon Hewes and Elizabeth (Hunt) and widow of Capt. John Alexander Etheridge. They had 2 known children, Solomon Hewes (1802-1872) and Nathaniel Noyes (1804-?). The two boys were born in Boston where the family resided, and according to deeds, Andrew was a windsor chair maker. He died in Norwich, VT in 1830 (Newspaper obit) In Norwich, Vt., Feb. 26 Andrew Sanborn, aged 57, a native of Epsom in this State.


His older brother, Josiah, inherited the family homestead, which for a time was a tavern run by their father Eliphalet. Josiah married Anna Locke, daughter of Moses Locke. Her sister Hannah married John Godfrey, and Inn Keeper in Epsom, and their brother Jonathan also kept a tavern in Epsom for many years.


There are only two deeds in which Andrew Sanborn buys land in Epsom, and two disposing of the same property. Only one shows a building, and it is a barn which formerly belonged to Rev. John Tucke. The property bordered the old burying place, and there is no building thereon that could have been used for a tavern. Like John Godfrey, he likely ran a tavern belonging to another person, most likely that of Jonathan Locke.


Deeds from Rockingham County:


R 156-334 Jan. 19, 1801
Simon A. Heath of Epsom, yeoman for $800.00 to Andrew Sanborn of Boston in the County of Suffolk, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Windsor Chair Maker - 
Two certain tracts of land being in Epsom, the first being part of one of the home lots, so called, laying on the easterly of the main road in said Epsom and is a part of the same lot that includes the burying yard - one of said tracts being the same that I purchased of the heirs of Reverend John Tuck, formerly of Epsom, deceased as by seed from s aid heirs dated February 15, 1797 as will appear excepting one acre I have sold to Doctor Samuel Morrill adjoining said burying yard.
The other tract to contain about (five?) in the same lot it being the same I purchased of John S. Sherburne Esq., which was set off by execution to one James Marden October 3rd 1792/3, the whole of both tracts to contain 45 acres be the same more or less. - Simon A. Heath and Elizabeth Heath, releases right of dower.

R 169-92 June 29, 1801
Jonathan Lock of Epsom, trader for $60.00 of the same Epsom, Windsor chair maker -
A certain piece of land in Epsom with a barn standing on a part of the same, being the same barn formerly owned by the Reverend John Tuck, deceased, and the piece of land to take its beginning at the southerly corner of said barn, then to run southwesterly a parallel line with the line betwixt land, barn & me to the highway to contain all the land betwixt said line and land owned by the said Sanborn. -Jona Locke.

R 167-85 March 24, 1804
Andrew Sanborn of Epsom, chair maker, for $20 dollars to Benjamin Moody of Epsom, Esq. -
Land in Epsom on the northerly side of the Province Road, so called, bounded beginning at the southwesterly corner of land owned by the heirs of Jonathan Locke, thence running westerly on said Province Road thirty one feet to a stake and stones, , thence northerly at right angles with said side line, 16 feet 6 inches to the bounds first mentioned, it being part of the land I purchased of Jonathan Lock as appears by his deed dated June 29th, 1801. - Andrew Sanborn

R 169-93 August 21, 1804
Andrew Sanborn of Epsom, Innholder for $1100 dollars by Simon A. Heath - 
A parcel of land in Epsom being part of one of the home lots in said town, and formerly owned by the Reverend John Tucke (now deceased) lying on the northeasterly side of the main road, said tract to take its beginning on the north side of said lot on land of Francis Locke, then to run easterly carrying the whole length of the same (excepting the burying yard and one acre owned by Dr. Samuel Morrill and a small piece sold to Benjamin Moody, being 31 feet in part and 16 feet and 6 inches wide) to land belonging to the estate of Jonathan Locke, being all the land that I own in said lot to contain 45 acres be the same more or less - being all the land that I purchased of the said Heath by ded date Jan. 19, 1801 and what I purchased of Jonathan Locke excepting the small piece sold to Benjamin Moody. - Andrew Sanborn and wife Sarah Sanborn releases right of dower. Signs as Sarah and mentioned as Sally.


 As can be seen from the dates of the deeds, they correspond with his time in Epsom and being a license holder. Jonathan Locke held Inn licenses to 1800 and died in 1803. Though he tried to sell the property, is apparently was not sold, as the family heirs sold it to Isaac Towle in 1819. It is likely this tavern that Andrew ran for the family. After the death of Jonathan, he removed back to Boston until he removed to Vermont later in life.


NH Gazette 7-19-1803
ALL persons who have demands against the Estate of
late of Epsom, husbandman, deceased, are desired to exhibit them without delay; and those who are indebted to said Estate, are requested to make immediate payment to the subscriber, Administratrix to said Estate, or to SAM'L MORRIL, her Attorney.

David Locke III, (R 224 115) of Epsom, husbandman to Isaac Towle, of Epsom, husbandman, a certain tract of land lying in Epsom, being one half of the homestead of Jonathan Locke late of Epsom, deceased with the buildings thereon, consists of 84 acres be the same more or less. Jan. 19, 1819

David Locke and Florinda Locke (R 224 116) wife of said David of Lyman, NH, to Isaac Towle of Epsom, release and quitclaim to Isaac Towle, all the right title and claim to the estate of Jonathan Locke late of Epsom, together with the widows dower. March 15, 1819

John Locke jr of Epsom, yeoman to Isaac Towle of Epsom, husmandman, all the right title and interest in the estate of Jonathan Locke late of Epsom, deceased, together with the reversion of the widows dower. July 1, 1819


Possibly the Andrew Sanborn, 1810 US Census, Lunenburgh, MA, 3 children under 16 plus parents.


Merrill and Morrill, Tavern License


From the town records, a license was granted in 1801 for Merrill and Morrill to operate an open tavern. It is the only year a license was granted to the pair. The 1800 census for Epsom shows David L. Morrill in Epsom, and no Merrill's. David Lawrence Morrill lived in Epsom from about 1797, having married Jane Wallace of Epsom. He sold his property to his brother Samuel in 1801, so Samuel would be half of the duo for the license of 1801. From Rockingham County Deeds:


February 14, 1801
David Lawrence Morrill of Epsom, gentleman to Samuel Morrill of Epsom, physician, parcels of land in Epsom, the first being the same which I purchased of William McClary and a part of the parsonage land on which Mr. Hazeltine now lives, reference being had to said deed dated at Epsom the 4th day of April 1796. Also a tract of land which I purchased of Simon A. Heath containing one acre being a part of the land which the said Heath purchased of Samuel J Tucke, reference being had to said deed dated at Epsom January 15th 1799. Also a tract of land which I purchased of John Wells and Nathan Marden Jr. being a part of lot No. 18 in the first range, reference being had to said deed dated Epsom February 18, 1799, with all the buildings privileges thereunto belonging.


The tax records of 1806 show Samuel Morrill as a land owner with buildings. He stayed in Epsom until about 1819, and during some of that time was town clerk. His brother David went on to be Governor of New Hampshire, and Samuel State Treasurer.


Thomas D. Merrill appears in the same tax records with an inventory of stock and trade and is shown in deeds as a trader. He did not own any land or buildings in 1806, but was running a store or business from about the time of the tavern license in 1802. It is likely he boarded at or near where the store was, but there is no record or recorded agreement that would place the location. Though he did not own property, he was certainly in the real estate market.


His property dealings remained extensive even after Epsom became part of the new Merrimack County. He remained in Epsom.

From History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America vol. 2:


HON. THOMAS D. MERRILL. He was born in Salem, N. H. He married Anna Green. 484049. Merchant at Epsom, N. H., for half a century. Town Clerk. Representative at Epsom, NH. He retired and removed in 1849, to Concord, N. H. He left by will several thousand dollars to charitable institutions. He died April 12, 1851. No children.


Levi Brown, Tavern License


Town records show one license for an open tavern in 1803 to Levi Brown. Levi was the son of Jonathan Brown and Miriam Clough. He married March 21, 1781, Lydia Thompson. The following is from the Epsom Early Settlers of John Mark Moses:


There were several Brown families. Enoch settled on the North road before 1790, on land given him by his father, Jonathan, of Kensington. Levi, probably a brother, was of Epsom in 1781, and bid off the John Yeaton lot, adjoining, for taxes. He died in 1816, having bequeathed to wife, not named, to daughter, Mercy Brown and to sons, Abel and Levi.


From Rockingham County deeds, 129-140 June 8, 1791

Thomas Berry of Epsom, husbandman, to Jonathan Brown of Kensington and Levi Brown of Epsom, yeoman, a parcel of land in Epsom the same being a part of the lots 48 & 49 in the second range of lots in said town, the original right of John Blake and John Philbrick, said tract to contain all the land belonging to the aforesaid lots that lays on the easterly side of the road that leads through said lots to Pittsfield, said tracts to contain 40 acres be the same more or less.


From Rockingham County deeds, 195-125 January 11, 1796

Jonathan Brown of Kensington, husbandman, to Levi Brown of Epsom, land in Epsom being a part of lot No. 50 in the second range of lots, to take its beginning at the southerly corner of that part of said lot that Enoch Brown now lives on, then to run northeasterly 7 rods then southeasterly a parallel line with the line between lot 50 and 51 to the range.


No deed has been found for when Levi first owned land in Epsom, unless it is the land bought with his father in 1791, when Levi is already listed as 'of Epsom.' It appears the homestead on North Road was passed to his son Abel, who appears later in records with tavern licenses for the house in which he lived.


Joseph Towle, Inn Keeper



Epsom Town records indicate the following licenses issued to Joseph Towle, which would indicate one of the more successful taverns in Epsom.


Mar. 4, 1803 liquor license

Feb. 13, 1804 liquor license

Mar. 9, 1804 public house

Mar. 9, 1805 open tavern

Feb. 25, 1806 open tavern

Mar. 9, 1807 open tavern

Mar. 22, 1808 open tavern

Feb. 13, 1810 public tavern

Jan. 22, 1811 open tavern

Nov. 22, 1811 open tavern

Apr. 7, 1812 public house and retail spirits

Apr. 5, 1813 open tavern


The tavern was located on Black Hall Road and still stands today. Early Black Hall Road (so called as early as 1806) was settled primarily by the Wallace brothers, Joseph, Nathaniel and Abraham along with their sister Martha, who married a cousin, Weymouth Wallace. Weymouth and Martha settled on lot 89 which was later sold to Jonathan Towle and his son Joseph. Jonathan later deeded his half, the westerly end, including one half of the barn and orchard, in 1793. It is likely that Weymouth Wallace had a house on the lot, which he purchased from Joseph Cilley of Nottingham in 1777. The Towles probably built the house that stands on the lot today about the time it was used as a tavern.


Joseph died in 1828, leaving a wife and three daughters, one of whom, Sally, had married James Hersey and inherited the homestead. The Hersey's moved to Manchester and sold the property to Silas Green of Methuen, MA., who in turn sold it to Elihu Scott. Scott sold it to the town of Epsom which used it for the town poor farm, with Elihu Scott the first operator.


Joseph and his wife Sarah (Wallace) are buried in the family plot near the old tavern, in what is now called the Poor Farm cemetery.


Mark French, Liquor License


Mark French appears in the Epsom Town Records receiving the following licenses for a store:
June 30, 1804 liquor license for 1 year
July 24, 1805 liquor license
July 20, 1807 liquor license
June 4, 1811 liquor license

By deed it is known that Mark French was the son of Thomas French and Anna Tilton, born in Stratham, NH June 27, 1775. He married first Nancy Wallace of Epsom, likely daughter of Joseph and Betsey (Batchelder) Wallace. The marriage was in Epsom, November 15, 1804. She died in 1807 and he married Mariam Moses Oct. 1810 in Epsom. She was the daughter of Sylvanus Moses and Miriam Young.

In March 1804, Mark French buys a 1/2 acre lot 52 rods from the house and tavern of Daniel Cilley Rockingham deeds 169-408), and in 1809 buys a very small portion of adjoining land "to the northerly end of French's new building" (Rockingham deeds 186-155). Mark sells the 1/2 acre with the buildings thereon to John B. Girard of Portsmouth, confectioner March 9, 1815 and buys it back February 2, 1816. Mark French also appears in deeds in this time period for lot 126, where he is now called 'Gentleman" as opposed to 'trader.' The same day he buys back the property from John B. Girard, he sells it to Michael McClary (Rockingham deeds 208-284). Shortly after he leaves town for New York State.


Mark French, who ran a store in Epsom from 1804 to about 1815, located next to the tavern of Daniel Cilley, was originally called a clothier when he resided in Northwood before moving to Epsom and establishing his store. He also bought and sold other real estate in Epsom and Chichester, NH. He apparently left Epsom for New York State, and the rest of the story was published in the Albany Advertiser newspaper November 13, 1816.


A man whose name appears to be MARK FRENCH, from various papers found in his possession, came to this city sometime about the 20th of September last, and feigning distress, obtained a written license from the Mayor to ask of the citizens charity, and actually received from sundry persons sums of money. He stated that he belonged to the county of Rockingham, New Hampshire, that he had been sick, and wished to obtain means to get home to his family. But instead of going home, he continued to loiter about this city, and on the 2d of October, he exposed for sale at the auction store of Messrs. Clarke and Moore some articles of goods and clothing, and then embarked on board the Steam Boat for New York. On the 18th instant he returned to this city in the Steam Boat Paragon from New York, and put up at the Columbian Hotel, kept by Mr. Fobes, where he continued until Thursday last. He stated to Mr. Fobes, that he belonged to Montreal; that he was poor and almost destitute of money. On Tuesday morning, however, he was about to take the stage for Whitehall, when all of a sudden he discovered that his trunk had been broken open and his pocket book stolen, with all his money, which he had counted over but half an hour before and locked up safely in his trunk. A stranger having lodged in the house, suspicion fell upon him, and immediate pursuit was made, but without effect. Mr. Fobes then went with the above named French, to the Police Office where he made oath to the robbery, and gave the Police a description of his pocket book and papers, stating that there was between 15 and 18 dollars in the pocket book, and among the bills stolen was one five dollar bill on the Middle District Bank. – He appeared much agitated and wept freely.
The villain had now another opportunity to impose upon the citizens. He told the story of his misfortunes, and again obtained money from different persons – five dollars from the Humane Society and two from the Board of Magistrates. But notwithstanding his most artful manner to conceal his real character, Mr. Fobes began to entertain suspicions that he was an imposter and rogue, and accordingly took measures to ascertain the fact. French went about begging during the day, and at night he was discovered in houses of ill-fame, gambling away his charity. In this manner he continued until Friday last, when Mr. Fobes, being perfectly satisfied with his character, examined his baggage, which discovered his suspicions to be well founded. The articles described below were found. Mr. Fobes then instantly seized him by the collar and led him to the Police Office, where he was searched, and the identical pocket book, containing the sum which he had sworn was stolen, and amongst the money, the five dollar Middle District bill, was found upon him. He was examined and committed to prison. From the manner in which the goods were found stowed away, he probably had stolen them from various persons, and at various times, as the articles, which were rolled with old clothes, and shoes, &c. were found in many small bundles. They have no doubt been stolen in New York and Albany, and on board the Steam Boats. He had also on board a large assortment of clothing which he had unquestionably plundered. Mr. Fobes has already discovered an owner for two of the articles which were taken from the Steam Boat paragon, and a woman of this city has appeared and claimed two of the most valuable shawls.
Mark French appears to be about 50 years of age, stout made, sandy complexion, and about five feet nine or ten inches high.
The frequent instances in which villains of this sort commit depredations upon the community, and especially such a flagrant case as this, ought to put all people, and especially the charitable and benevolent upon their guards; for as has happened here, their bounty is not only thrown away, but it proves the means of enabling them to commit more extensive frauds and robberies upon the public.
INVENTORY of the goods found in Mark French's Trunk, taken in presence of Richard S. Treat, Philander Fobes, and Alonzo B. Bigelow, in Albany, 25th October, 1816.
Two flag silk handkerchiefs – 1 silk and cotton shawl; 2 7-4 imitation shawls; 2 8-4 olive Levantine do; 1 do bisck do; 1 do red cotton twilled; 1 do light blue Cassimere do, soiled; 3 scarlet Bandanoes; 2 cotton flag handkerchiefs; 6 red spotted cravats; 4 pair beaver gloves; 1 do cotton do; 1 do women's black silk hose; 3 lbs. Col'd sewing silk, marks off; 2 dozen apron tapes, No. 25; half dozen tobacco boxes, japanned and flowered; 1 6-4 white cotton shawl; 11 4-4 buff do do; 11-2 yards lilack Canton crape; 1 piece Brussels cotton lace, No. 1723, 36 yards; 3-4 yard of black Lutestring; 1 vest pattern; 9 ladies combs; 1 pair mix'd worsted hose; 1 do black do do; 1 do mix'd do 1-2do; 2 pieces Nankeen Cotton ferrit; 9 Madrass handkerchiefs; 3 pair calf skin shoes; 1 case razors, containing 6 marked 1,2,3,4,5,6, with Ivory handles – case mahogany, with brass butts, hooks and eyes, a brass plate on the top marked 15 dollars with pen and ink; 1 pair socks; 2 napkins.
Articles which appear to be partly worn.
3 shirts; 3 cravats, one marked 1.B.; 1 7-4 imitation shawl; 7 pair woolen, worsted and cotton hose; 4 do, do; 7 vests, one a blue superfine double mill'd cassimere, lined with white flannel, with a black ratinet back; 4 pr. Pantaloons; 1 morning gown; 6 hdkfs, very much worn; 1 pair black gaiters; 3 do. Shoes, some worn; 1 pair mittens; 1 cork screw; 1 pillow case; 1 towel; 1 white damask shawl; 1 green do. Do.


William Yeaton, Liquor License


Epsom Town records indicate a license to retail liquor to William Yeaton Jr. in 1804, and to William Yeaton (no Jr.) in 1808.


In Epsom there were the following William Yeaton's during this period:


Willaim Yeaton, born 1756, died Epsom 1831

William Yeaton, his son, born 1783, died Epsom, 1830

William Yeaton born 1777, died Epsom, 1816


In records they would be listed chronologically, regardless of relationship, so the above should appear as:

William Yeaton born 1756

William Yeaton III, his son born 1783

William Yeaton Jr., born 1777


In 1795 there is only one William Yeaton paying taxes. In 1800 census for Epsom there are three Yeaton families, 2 Williams and one Philip (being the brother of William born 1756). The 1806 tax records show William (1756)  and William Jr. (1777) as owning land and buildings, the son of William not showing. Deeds do show William Yeaton the 3rd buying land, part of lot 84 from Nathaniel Sanders of Epsom Nov. 10, 1804 (R 171-331); he buys additional land in lot 84 from Nathaniel Sanders, 100 acres, August, 17, 1805 (R 199-440); he buys land from Thomas Bickford September 28, 1809 (R 199-441). No buildings mentioned. This William Yeaton 3rd eventually moves to North Road by 1813.


In 1804, the time the first license was granted, William would be 48, his son, William III 21, and William Yeaton Jr., 27. William III will not marry until 1808. William Yeaton lived on Black Hall Road and William Jr. up around North Road.


There is no way to really identify which William Yeaton held the liquor licenses of 1804 and 1808, the designation of William Yeaton Jr. (born 1777) would make him the likely person.


Jonathan Godfrey, Tavern License


Little is known of Jonathan Godfrey. He was a son of Moses of Northwood, and brother to John Godfrey, Innholder of Epsom. He was born about 1778, and with his father and most of his siblings, eventually settled in Vershire, Vermont. He was still living in 1850 with a son Sewall. The name of his wife and other children remain unknown.


He appears in Epsom records receiving the following licenses:

July 15, 1805  public tavern
Aug. 27, 1808  liquor license
Feb. 24, 1810 open tavern
Mar. 9, 1811  open tavern
Mar. 9, 1812  public tavern
Apr. 5, 1813 public house of entertainment

Jonathan Godfrey is taxed in Epsom 1806 with buildings and 30 acres of land, but no deeds to support a location. His location, in relation to others in the 1810 census, puts him on Center Hill. The list is as follows:
Simon A. Heath, and across the street, Elizabeth McClary, Ebenezer Hazeltine, Jonathan Godfrey, Samuel Morrill. His household included his wife, 2 males under 10, 2 females under 10 and one female 10 to 15.

One would have to guess where he ran a tavern. With no deeds to support any property, he may, as his brother John Godfrey did, was run a tavern for other people. In the years that he has a license to keep a tavern, James Harvey McClary does not. It is know that the McClary's rented out store space, and the last licenses McClary had was 1804 to sell liquor, and a tavern license in 1808, the only year Jonathan Godfrey had only a liquor license and none for a tavern. That information, along with his location in the census in 1810 being near the widow McClary's residence, it is possible he ran the tavern for the McClary family.

In the 1820 census, he is back in Vermont.


Capt. Simon A. Heath, Public Tavern



Epsom Town records show the following licenses granted to Capt. Simon Ames Heath:


Mar. 9, 1807 public tavern

Mar. 13, 1809 open tavern

Nov. 9, 1810 public tavern

Mar. 9, 1813 open tavern

May 23, 1815 open tavern

Feb. 14, 1818 open tavern

Mar. 10, 1820 public house

Dec. 7, 1824 open tavern at house and out building

1827 for two dollars, open tavern license


By 2 deeds it is known when Simon A. Heath purchased the old homestead of Reverend John Tucke, deceased, from his heirs:


Rockingham Deeds 146-173 February 15, 1797


Thomas Rand of Rye and Polly Rand his wife; Samuel J. Tucke of Boston and Judith his wife; Simeon Drake and Love his wife of Pittsfield, NH; Joseph, Richard and Abigail Tucke of Boston; to Simon A. Heath of Epsom, yeoman, all interest unto the estate of John Tucke, late of Epsom, deceased, tracts or parcels of land in Epsom, taking its beginning at the southwesterly corner of land set off by execution to James Marden, then westerly a parallel line with the road to the burying yard fence, then as the fence goes to land of Ephraim Locke, then northerly on the line between Lockes and Tucke's land the full length of said lot, then easterly on the north end of said lot to land set off as aforesaid to said Marden, then southerly on said Marden's land to the bounds first mentioned, including all the buildings standing thereon.


Rockingham Deeds 147-338 October 3, 1797


Mary Tucke of Pittsfield, widow and administrix of the estate of the Reverend John Tucker, formerly of Epsom, deceased, to Simon A. Heath of Epsom, yeoman, a parcel of land in Epsom taking its beginning at the southwesterly corner of land set off by execution to James Marden, then westerly a parallel line with the road to the burying yard fence, then as the fence goes to land of Ephraim Locke, then northerly on the line between Lockes and Tucke's land the full length of said lot, then easterly on the north end of said lot to land set off as aforesaid to said Marden, then southerly on said Marden's land to the bounds first mentioned, including all the buildings standing thereon.


The tavern was one of the more interesting places in Epsom. From the diaries of James Babb, a store owner, come the following notes of interest.


-A violent dispute between Mr. Curtis and Capt. Heath in store in the evening. Mr. Curtis accused Capt. Heath of reporting he would be the best customer at his own tavern and he Capt. Heath said it was false.

-Mr. Curtis said that Capt. H told him in this store before the last annual meeting that he (Capt. Heath) intended to go to the general Court. Capt. Heath told Curtis that he was a liar. Mr. Curtis said that he had as many cents as Capt. Heath had dollars. Capt. Heath said that Curtis might live to see the time that he would want them - and thus the matter ended for the Capt. went out and doubtably both thought they were injured.

-Probate court at Capt. Heaths. Court at Capt. Heaths between Messrs Lord and Ladd.

-J. Steele bet a bottle of wine that (Benjamin) Moody would live a year from this day (Tuesday Feby 8, 1820). Capt. Heath bet against him. (Heath won, Benjamin Moody died 20 days later).

-At a caucus this evening at the house of Capt. Heath.

-Evening Capt. Heath fell through stable floor, broke one bone of his right leg and dislocated his left ankle - went with Dr. & assisted in setting it.

-New Hall for meeting of the Congregational Society raised near Capt. Heaths.

-Severe gale of wind in evening - blew down the Gilead Tree near Capt. Heaths.

-Caravan of animals exhibit at Capt. Heaths, about 150 came to see them.


The old tavern dated back to 1762 when it was built by Reverend Tucke on what was to be the parsonage land, but was bought by the Reverend. The property passed from Simon Ames Heath to his son Benjamin Moody Heath in 1830. It left the Heath family in 1864 when it was sold to George W. Batchelder. The widow of Alonzo Batchelder sold it to Charles Sumner Hall in 1907, who turned the property over to Bernard S. Anderson. Anderson only owned it a few months before selling it to Albion Ambrose. By inheritence, it was owned by Watson True Ambrose in 1928. It was destroyed by fire August 12, 1971.


Simon Ames Heath married as his second wife, Elizabeth McClary, daughter of Andrew McClary who died at Bunker Hill, and Elizabeth McCrillis. The children of Simon Ames Heath and his wife Elizabeth were: Betsey Heath who married Samuel Weeks; John McClary Heath who married Abigail Cate, daughter of John Cate and Mary Towle; Douglas M. Heath who married Rebecca Currier and died 6 years later; William Heath who died unmarried age 21; Benjamin Moody Heath who married Rachel Dolbeer Sanborn; and Andrew McClary Heath who married Jane Cram Cass. George W. Batchelder was born in 1816, son of Dearborn Batchelder and Sally Nealley. He married in 1836, Abigail Wells, daughter of Samuel Wells and Hannah Brown. They had children: Lucetta M.; Orison Batchelder who married Ann Maria Clark; Charles C. Batchelder who married Ursula Knowlton; Elbridge G. Batchelder who married Vienna R. Yeaton; and Alonzo Elbridge Batchelder who married first Carrie Page and second Laura Abbie Haynes. Alonzo and Laura had one daughter, Doris Abbie Batchelder who married Ellsworth Blake Philbrick.

Albion N. Ambrose married Susie F. Colburn and had children: Byron, who died young; Jesse Gertrude who married Edward R. Kelley; Frank Eben who married Edna Witherspoon; Forrest Everett who married Alfreda Gustafson; Watson True who married Helen Ordway; Alice Flora who married John L. Barton; and Hattie Elizabeth who married Elmore Bickford.


Jonathan Clark & Co., Liquor License


From town records, one liquor license was granted to Jonathan Clark  & Company in 1807. There are no Jonathan Clarks in the Epsom records other than this license.


From "A Guide to the History and Old Dwelling Places of Northwood, New Hampshire" by Joann Weeks Bailey (1992):


"Jonathan Clark settled on the Ridge in the exciting years before the Revolutionary War. he and his wife, Susannah, were married in Stratham just two days before Northwood officially became a separate township. He brought her to the new town that spring. Together they helped make the settlement a success. Their home was used as a tavern for many years and they established a trading place at the corner of the roads."

"Jonathan, the youngest of Jonathan and Susannah's children, carried on the family business. In 1836 he sold the house, the store and the one hundred acres of farm land to John Wingate and moved with his family to Gilmanton."


It is most likely that this was the Jonathan who leased or rented space in Epsom for a store in 1807.


Joseph Lawrence, Tavern Owner



According to Epsom Town records, Joseph Lawrence was granted the following licenses:

Nov. 25, 1807 open tavern

Jan. 4, 1809 open tavern

Aug. 31, 1810 public tavern

1827 for two dollars, open tavern license


James Harvey McClary kept up the family business and the tavern of the original Andrew McClary homestead, built a new home and sold the homestead, including both home lots 2 and 3, to Joseph Lawrence in 1807. Not long after this the homestead burned, and Joseph Lawrence built a new house and promptly opened for business. His tavern and business was very prosperous and allowed for several generations of this family to retain this property well into the 1960’s. The house he built in 1807 burned, as reported in this newspaper account.


From a period newspaper:

Fire In Epsom. – The large three-story house in Epsom, which, for many years, has stood so boldly in the traveler's eye as he passed on either of the leading roads in Epsom, owned by Mr. Joseph Lawrence, was consumed by fire, last Wednesday morning, soon after sunrise.


Rockingham Deeds 179-51 August 14, 1808

James H. McClary of Epsom, Esq., to Joseph Lawrence of Epsom husbandman, a parcel of land in Epsom being two of the home lots numbered 2 & 3 lying between the road leading to Northwood and land owned by Henry Chapley (Shapley) and the same land that the said McClary formerly lived on and occupied by said Lawrence, the same to contain 100 acres by grant, to be the same more or less. James H. McClary and wife Elizabeth reliquishing her right of dower in the premises.


Thomas D. Merrill, Tavern and Store


Though it is well known that Thomas D. Merrill ran a store for many years, these are the only two licenses in Epsom records.

Mar. 7, 1808 liquor license

Mar. 26, 1813 open tavern


His early years in Epsom are difficult to trace, as it would appear he rented or leased property and did not own his own land and buildings. By 1815 he had buildings valued at 450, stock at 500 and land, owning a horse and buggy, one of 30 in town. Ten years later his stock in trade was 2000 and was the largest tax payer in Epsom, a distinction he still held in 1847. He held many town offices, was a justice of the peace, and presided over small court cases. Above all, he was a real estate mogul, having bought and sold properties throughout Epsom. He was involved in settling estates of many town residents.


Among his early transactions were the following:


R 181-353 February 25, 1808


Thomas Thompson of Epsom, man of color to Thomas D. Merrill of the same Epsom, Merchant, a certain one story house standing in Epsom containing two rooms with a brick chimney standing in or near the Center, said house now stands on land owned by John Philbrick of said Epsom, and the same house that I now live in.


R 199-154 May 23, 1810


Francis Locke of Epsom, yeoman to Thomas D. Merrill of Epsom, trader, a parcel of land in Epsom bounded as follows: Beginning at an apple tree near the main road and running north 22 degrees 39 minutes, east 13 rods 8 links thence north 65 degrees west 3 rods 13 links thence north 23 degrees 15 minutes, east 22 rods 16 links thence north 2 degrees 45 minutes, east ten rods and 10 links, thence north 2 degrees 30 minutes, west 25 rods & 5 links thence north 46 degrees 15 minutes, east 23 rods to a stake and stones; thence south 56 degrees, east 34 rods to land owned by Simon A. Heath, thence north 32 degrees east on said Heath’s land 86 rods 11 links to the main road, thence north 54 degrees west on the main road 10 rods and 7 links and to the bounds first mentioned containing 14 acres.-Francis Locke and wife Mary Locke relinquishing dower.


The above deed is from the son of Ephraim Locke, and may be the land that became his home, which would be part of what is now the McClary Cemetery, which would border land of Simon A. Heath. This location is accounted by Mary L. Cass for an address given Old Home Day 1901 talking about the old meetinghouse:


The young women and girls usually went out for a stroll in the graveyard just back of the church if the weather was favorable and then over to squire Merrill’s shed to get a drink of cold water from the deep well.


James Babb also gives an account of an incident at Merrill's store:


July 18, 1821

This morning about 2 o'clock, was called up by Richardson who said some person was breaking open Mr. Merrill's store. Went over with Dr. and found Mr. Steele forced the window open and the man in the store and when came out we secured him and took him to Capt. Heath's. I went for Mr. M. He came with me to the Store, went in and found 12/ missing from the draw which the follow give up to Mr. Steele at Capt. Heath's. He says his same is Samuel Libbey, that he is in his 21st year, that his parents are both dead, that he belongs to Plattsburgh, N.Y. and has lately arrived at Portland Me. From the island of Cuba. He was arraigned before General McClary this day, plead guilty and was committed by Mr. Knox to the gaol in Exeter.


An unknown source gives the following brief description of the property - "Another old store was at Epsom Old Center and was kept by Thomas D. Merrill for nearly half a century. It was said to have been a long low building and was the center of trade for this vicinity. It is said that he came into town with his worldly goods tied in a handkerchief. Je was one of the old schoolmasters of the town before going into business. After he moved to Concord, Griffin and Knowles kept the store and the building was burned while occupied by them.


From History of the Treman, Tremaine, Truman Family in America vol 2:
HON. THOMAS D. MERRILL. He was born in Salem, N. H. He married Anna Green. 484049. Merchant at Epsom, N. H., for half a century. Town Clerk. Representative at Epsom, NH. He retired and removed in 1849, to Concord, N. H. He left by will several thousand dollars to charitable institutions. He died April 12, 1851. No children.

There are no remnants of the property or buildings of Thomas D. Merrill's home or business.


Benjamin Merrill, Liquor License



Benjamin Merrill received a liquor license from the town of Epsom in 1809. Just who Benjamin and wife Sally were remains unknown, but the property was on Lot No. 7 in the Short Falls area of Epsom, known as the mill house. The land was owned by Richard Tripp Jr. and his father, and was part of the property on which they lived. Richard Tripp Jr. old 2 1/2 acres to Jonathan Marden on December 12, 1805, no buildings mentioned. It would appear that Jonathan built on the site and sold it to John M. Prescott on September 2, 1806. John M. Prescott, tanner, sold the 2 1/2 acres with buildings to Benjamin Merrill of Epping, Schoolmaster in March of 1808. After running most likely a store, Benjamin sold out to Ebenezer Gunnison of Newburyport, MA, a baker, on September 4, 1809. After a few years, he sold to Martha Gilbert, widow, of Newburyport, April 30, 1812. On April 8, 1816, the widow Gilbert sold the property to William McMurphy of Epsom, saddler, and his wife Sarah Critchett.


Most of the deeds describe the property as follows:

A tract of land being part of Lot. 7 and takes its beginning on the west side of the road leading for Tripp’s Mill, so called, in Epsom to Chichester by Jeremiah Gordon’s dwelling where he now lives, thence running westerly 9 rods and 13 links adjoining on said Gordon’s land to a stake and stones and from thence southerly about 41 rods to a stake and stones standing by the road leading to Benoni Critchet’s dwelling house where he now lives, and from thence easterly and northerly by the last mentioned road leading to said Gordon’s, and then on said road to the bounds first mentioned to contain 2 acres and one half acre and all the land and buildings.


William Yeaton 3rd - Tavern Owner



Though a license for liquor was not granted to William Yeaton until 1822, it is known the tavern was in operation earlier, as it appears Epsom town records only show those taverns that sold alcohol.


The book "On the road north of Boston: New Hampshire taverns and turnpikes, 1700-1900" by the Garvins, there is a picture of the sign above with the following caption - "Sign from the tavern of William Yeaton (also spelled 'Yeton'), Epsom, N.H. 1813. This sign, depicting a stylized sun, retains the style of the eighteenth century in ist turned side columns, high curved pediment, and flame finial. The Yeaton tavern stands at the intersection of the First New Hampshire Turnpike and a once-busy local road leading from Deerfield to Pittsfield."


In July of 1809, Ephraim Eastman sells to Levi Mead buildings, including a house, barn and coopers shop to Levi Mead. The buildings were erected about 1806 by John Godfrey, who ran a tavern at this location on the intersection of the First New Hampshire Turnpike and North Road. Earlier, Godfrey had bought the land from John Ham, and sold it to Levi Mead, while still running the tavern. Mead sold back to Godfrey, and on the same day, Godfrey sold to Ephraim Eastman. After Eastman sells the property back to Mead in 1809, Mead sells it to William Yeaton the 3rd on September 4th, 1813. From 1809 to the time it was sold to William Yeaton, it is possible William Yeaton was already on the site, running the tavern much as Godfrey had done. William Yeaton also likely added the second story and additional out buildings.


This William Yeaton married Elizabeth 'Betsy/Betty" Ham on May 11, 1808. It was her father, John Ham which sold the small lot on which the tavern is located, to John Godfrey in May of 1805. He died in 1830 and is buried in the Yeaton Cemetery on North Road. His wife married after his death, his brother John Yeaton as his third wife in January of 1834. He resided on Black Hall Road.


George H. Yeaton in his memoirs gives some background on the Yeaton Tavern.


"William Yeaton 3rd was born in the year 1783 and died July 3, 1830, age 47 years. As a young man he left his father's home on Black Hall Road in Epsom, at or near the location of the Epsom Central School, and settled at Yeaton's corner. In the year 1807 he was taxed for one hundred acres of land and buildings in Epsom. On May 11, 1808, he married Elizabeth (Bstsey) Ham, born 1788, died August 10, 1867."


"The original house at the four corners is still standing, it is on the north side of the turnpike at the corner of the North Road. Before it was converted into a tool shed, it contained two rooms with a fireplace in each room, plastered, and of the style that the farm houses were built by the early settlers. The original barn was located ust above the present one, on the same side of the North Road. William Yeaton 3rd was the toll gate tender and he also kept open tavern at this place."


"The old colonial style house "Yeaton's Tavern" must have been built shortly after the turnpike passed through Epsom, as it is of the style and construction of the early 1800's. One of the Yeaton Tavern signs had the date 1813 on it, another 1814. In the old Epsom town records we find that William Yeaton 3rd was given a license from time to time to keep Open Tavern in the town of Epsom."


"This staunch old house with its wide paneled double doors between two large rooms, where, when the were opened, formed a spacious dance hall used by the guests at the Old Tavern for a night of dancing, is still one of the old landmarks of Epsom, and if the old house could talk they would tell us much of the history and the legends of those early days; the gay parties, the romances, quarrels, business deals, political discussions and plans, together with the births and deaths that took place within its walls. The narrative would fill a large volume with interesting reading."

"The old tavern with its other buildings and large farm was in the William Yeaton family for more than one hundred and fifty years. William Yeaton 3rd and his wife Betsey, together with many of their descendants are buried in the Yeaton family cemetery nearby on the North Road."


"The old house block at the corner of the house is still there. Anyone familiar with the old tavern could show you where the wine cellar is located and which room was the 'tap' or 'bar room'." A visit to the old cider mill just across the road, where in the days long gone the horses walking in a large circle, turned the huge wooden screw that ground the apples into pulp ready for the cider press."


"When the turnpike was completed abut the year 1800, a toll gate was installed at the junction of the turnpike with the North Road, at Yeaton's Four Corners in Epsom. It was at this time that Yeaton's Four Corners became a place of much importance and a landmark for surrounding towns. When a post office was established in the town of Pittsfield, they came by horseback from Pittsfield Upper City to Yeaton's Corner in Epsom to get the mail, where the stage moving between Portsmouth and Concord, left it at the toll gate. The stage made a round trip once every two days from Portsmouth to Concord one day, then from Concord to Portsmouth the following day."


Family lore tells that the original house, known as the 'Betty House' was the original building, and later where Elizabeth "Betty" (Ham) Yeaton resided. Unfortunately, the advertisement of the property and history disprove the early family story. When Levi Mead sold the property, the house size was given as 30 x 40 feet. The 'Betty House' is much smaller, and the main house, recently measured by Charles Yeaton, who lives on the property, as 30 x 40, making it the original structure. Since Betty married the brother of her deceased husband William, she likely either resided with him on Black Hall Road, or remained in the tavern. She died in 1867 and is buried next to William. The building known as the 'Betty House' was more likely the old coopers shop. The building was upgraded to living use as shown by plaster on the walls, and it was lived in at one time, though not by Betty. The 1858 map, which assigns names to residences, shows a William Haskell living there - and in 1892, both the house and the smaller building are shown as Mrs. W. Yeaton, which would be Catherine, widow of Warren Yeaton. The 1892 map would indicate that the smaller building was still suitable for occupancy.


The tavern stayed in the direct line of the family until Phyllis LaClair, Catherine Belanger and Theresa Yeaton sold 'the premises conveyed by William H. Yeaton to John P. Yeaton' to Howard Saturley in 1963. It was later sold to Philip S., Charles B. and Calvin B. Yeaton.


Jeremiah Durgin, Open Tavern


Epsom town records show a license for an open tavern granted to one Jeremiah Durgin in 1812 and 1813. There are no records showing he owned any property and likely leased the business. The only Durgin families were from Northwood, and though Northwood historian John Mark Moses discusses the Durgin families of that town, there is no complete picture of the family.


In researching Jeremiah Durgin, a deed appears in which members of the family of Samuel Durgin, release their claims to part of the homestead to Jeremiah. This gives a good list of his siblings.


Rockingham County Deeds, 206-473 May 10, 1815
Jonathan Durgin of Barnstead, yeoman; David Durgin of New Durham, yeoman; John Durgin of Middleton, yeoman; Samuel Durgin of Lee in the County of Hancock in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, yeoman; Nathaniel Durgin of Northwood, yeoman; Joseph During of Northwood, yeoman; Judith Welch, otherwise called Judith Cole of Northwood, spinster; Benjamin Sherburne of Northwood, yeoman, in right of Nancy his wife, and Nancy Sherburne, wife of the said Benjamin in her own right, for $411, paid by Jeremiah Durgin of Northwood, yeoman, release and quitclaim to Jeremiah Durgin one undivided half part of all the land in said Northwood which was the homestead farm of Samuel Durgin, late of said Northwood, deceased, being the same which he bought of Mehetable Burleigh and all the right and claim in whcih we have unto said one undivided half part of said farm by us herby conveyed.

Thus the children of Samuel and Maray (unknown Durgin) were:
Judith (Welch and Cole)
Nancy (Sherburne)


Knox & McCutcheon, Liquor License



A license was granted to Knox and McCutcheon by the town of Epsom, to retail liquors in 1813. Their establishment was likely leased as neither own property in 1813, though both within a few years settled in Epsom. The partnership did not last long as it failed the following year.


James McCutheon shows paying poll tax, but no property in 1815, and Robert Knox will follow shortly thereafter and run a store and tavern. Robert Knox married in 1814, Polly Dole Cilley, daughter of tavern owner Co. Daniel Cilley. James McCutcheon was born in Pembroke, married in 1813, Hannah Tripp, and he later became a minister.


Timothy Barnard, Liquor License


The town of Epsom granted a license to retail liquors in 1816 to Timothy Barnard. He was the son of John and Elizabeth (Fairbank) Barnard and was born in Bolton, MA in Nov. 3, 1770. He married Aug.27, 1801 in Pembroke, Esther Newell, daughter of Ebenezer and Sarah (Bannister) Newell. This family moved to Pembroke for a short while, and Timothy Barnard, trader and merchant, is shown by deed to buy property in Pembroke 1800, 1802, 1805 and 1808. He had no land holdings in Epsom, and likely leased a place in Epsom for the year 1816.







Abram W. Marden, Tavern & Liquor License



Nov. 7, 1818 liquor license

Dec. 13, 1819 liquor license at his store

July 23, 1821 public tavern and liquor license

Aug. 18, 1821 public tavern at his dwelling house and liquor license at his store adjoining his house at Short Falls

Aug. 22, 1823 liquor license at his store in Epsom

Mar. 9, 1824 as a tavern keeper and liquor license

Mar. 5, 1825 retailer of liquors and a tavern keeper

Mar. 11, 1826 open tavern

1827 for two dollars, open tavern license


Abraham W. Marden lived in Epsom all his life, ran a successful store and tavern enterprise, yet little is known about him. His parents are unknown, and despite even the extensive research done by Sylvia Fitts Getchell in her "Marden Family Genealogy", only speculation about his place in the family is available. He appears in the Epsom History database through the marriage of his grandson Charles B. to Tryphena Leighton. The 1830 census gives his age between 40 and 50, which would put his birth between 1780 and 1790. The same age range is given for the 1840 Epsom census, putting his birth 1790 to 1800. Born about 1799, he died in Epsom Nov. 23, 1847 and was buried in a small family cemetery, his death recorded by John Dolbeer having died Nov. 23, 1847 aged 48. He married in Newmarket, March 27, 1821, Mary B. Messer. Her parents are unknown, though there are some deeds between her and some Messers for land in Epsom.


It was speculated that perhaps he was the son of James Marden and his wife Rachel Blake Wallace, daughter of Abraham Wallace, but they married in 1802, a couple years after the birth of Abram W..

He must have been an industrious youth, as the first liquor license was granted to him in 1818, at the age of 20. It was renewed in 1819, but the location is unknown. One possibility is he leased land of Samuel Bickford and was able to build on the site. He buys a 1/4 acre of Samuel Bickford on July 10, 1821, and is granted a tavern and liquor licenses July 23, 1823, just 13 days later. The buildings had to have been erected before, as the license is renewed in August of the same year "a tavern at his dwelling house and liquor license at his store adjoining his house at Short Falls." From deeds, there is no doubt that his dwelling house and store were at the location of the later Short Falls store.

He mortgages his property to Isaac Waldron of Portsmouth November 19, 1822, and it is paid October 24, 1823. He renews a liquor license in 1824 and tavern and liquor license in March of 1825. He sells out to Wendell Marden of Epsom as seen in the following Rockingham County deed of April 1, 1825.


Abraham W. Marden of Epsom, trader alias Inn Holder, to Wendell Marden of Epsom, a parcel of land in Epsom that is part of the lot of land numbered 83 in the 3rd range of lots, to take its  beginning at the southeast corner of that tract of land that I purchased of Thomas Bickford as will appear by deed dated July 10th, 1821, thence running northerly on Suncook old road to the top of the back that descends down to Cider Brook ( so called) thence running westerly carrying its full width from the road last mentioned to the top of the bank of said brook, so far from said road as to contain ½ acre full and complete, together with the buildings thereon. This deed to convey to Wendell my Short Falls Store (so called) with the whole of the lot and buildings thereto belonging and nothing more.


Abraham W. Marden continues to receive licenses in 1826 and 1827, and likely beyond, though at a different location. It would appear he followed his earlier practice of erecting a tavern and store on property of others, in particular William Marden, as these new buildings, not any property, are sold to William in a quitclaim deed in 1829 as follows:

I Abraham W. Marden of Epsom, trader, to William Marden of Epsom, yeoman, all the buildings which I now own in Epsom situated and standing on land owned by the said William Marden, which buildings I now occupy as a tavern stand and store, consisting of one dwelling house, one stable or barn, one store and shed, all which is known by the name of the Marden Tavern. A.W. Marden, Mary B. Marden. Recorded June 4, 1834.


This property was probably in the area of the current Epsom traffic circle, though the exact spot is still unknown. He owned a home near the current Tim's Truck Capital off the Epsom circle where the family plot is located. The property was at the current traffic circle, his son Philip C. Marden is shown living in that location on the 1858 map of Epsom.


Short Falls Store




Abraham W. Marden erected the first store on the site of what was commonly called Short Falls store, though there were other stores in the area. Abraham may have been on site by 1818, definitely by 1822, and sold the property to Wendell Marden, a full 1/2 acre with buildings. Wendell turned the property over after about 6 months to Jonathan Yeaton of Epsom in October of 1825. Whether or not Jonathan Yeaton ran a business, or leased it, is unknown. Jonathan Yeaton died suddenly on November 14, 1828, leaving his wife and minor children. His wife Hannah, and James Hersey on behalf of the minors, sold the property to Nathaniel White of Deerfield, trader, "a parcel of land with house and barns." White, seen in the deed already as a trader, likely continued a business there, but by this time, the town of Epsom had discontinued putting license information in the old town books. After about four years the land and operation was sold to William T. Jenness, of Epsom, trader.


From deeds it is known that there were a house and barns, and deeds mention also a store. William T. Jenness was one of the longest proprietors of an establishment at Short Falls. He was born April 5, 1802, son of Jonathan Jenness and Abigail Garland. His father died in 1840 and is buried in the Short Falls Cemetery. William was at Short Falls until 1853, about 18 years, and long enough that the four corners where the store sat is often referred to in later records as Jenness' corner. At this point in time the property runs quickly through a variety of owners.


1853, William T. Jenness sells the operation back to Nathaniel White, now of Lawrence, Mass.


1854, Nathaniel White sells the property to Theophilus Wells. Wells, and his wife Lucy Critchett and family, who live in the house, and lease to Joseph C. Cram of Deerfield, and Josiah B. Cram of Pembroke "a store and also a shed adjoining said store with the land in front adjoining said buildings to the highway" for twenty years. In four years Theophilus sells the same to Joseph and Josiah Cram, "a certain building situated at Jenness corner, so called in Epsom, formerly owned and occupied by William T. Jenness, late of said Epsom as a store, and the shed adjoining said store together with the under pinning of the said buildings." He then sells them the store and shed adjoining the store together with the under pinning of the buildings. Within four years the house and land, less the store and horse head and the land on which the store and shed stands and the land in front of the store, which was sold previously to the Crams, was sold to Moses and Mehitable Critchett of Concord.


In 1859 the Critchets sell, less what the Crams owned, to William Burnham of Epsom.


1860, William Burnham of Epsom sells the entire land and buildings to George W. Swain, the Crams having moved the store to Allenstown and used as a store by a Mr. Russ, where it later burned down. From this point, the next owners ran the business out of the large house.


1865, George Swain sells to Horace G. Silver. A month later, Horace Silver sells to Levi and Sally Robinson.


1867, Levi Robinson sells to Eben S. Dutton of Epsom. In turn, 1869, the Dutton's sell to Arthur Tennant of Deerfield, "a parcel of land with buildings thereon situated in Epsom on the west side of the road leading from the Baptist Meeting house is said Epsom to Allenstown (at the Jenness corner, so called) containing 1 acre of land, bounded easterly by said road, southerly by the road leading to the Grist Mill" the property enlarged to 1 acre with land from George Sanders.


Arthur Tennant was from Deerfield, and died there, his family buried in a family cemetery in Deerfield. Of his 8 children, Emma O. married Charles Baker Fowler and resided some time in Epsom; and James B. Tennant, who married Ella M. Fowler, sister to Charles Baker Fowler. The parents of Ella M. and Charles Baker were Samuel Fowler and Elivira Ann Critchett. Arthur sold the Short Falls store to his son James B. Tennant in 1874. James B. Tennant was very successful, and tore down the original buildings about 1894, building a new store, which still stands today. A post office was added to the store in 1871, James B. Tennant the postmaster.


Moving on, James B. Tennant sold his Short Falls holdings in 1910 to Warren Tripp, and are described as follows:


Merrimack County Deeds 389-423 January 18, 1910


James B. Tennant of Concord to Warren Tripp of Epsom, a parcel of land with the buildings thereon in Epsom bounded as follows: Commencing on the westerly side of the highway leading from Epsom to Allenstown, at the south east corner of land of heirs of John Spurling, late of said Epsom, where the same is marked by a short piece of stone wall running westerly from the westerly side of said highway, thence running westerly in a line continuing the direction of said piece of wall, to land occupied by the Suncook Valley Railroad, thence southerly by said land occupied by the Suncook Valley Railroad to the highway leading from the New Rye District, so called, to the Short Falls Grist Mill; thence easterly on said last mentioned highway to the point where it intersects the first before mentioned highway; thence northerly by said first mentioned highway to the point of beginning. The said tract bought by me in two parcels, the first being from Sanders et al by deed of April 26, 1870 (208-203) and the second from Arthur Tennant (217-500).


Also, another parcel of land on the northerly side of the highway leading to Short Falls Grist Mill, and bounded by land of James W. Marden, and northerly and easterly by land of Warren Tripp, to said highway, being a part of land I bought of J.C. and Wm. H. Smith by deed Oct. 22, 1877 (239-101), excepting what I sold to Waldo G. Weeks and James W. Marden.


This deed is subject to the lease from said James B. Tennant to Walter Tripp and James H. Tennant dated April 7, 1905 and renewed April 15, 1907, which lease with my rights, obligations thereunder is hereby assigned and assumed by said Warren Tripp. – James B. and Ella M. Tennant, relinquishes right of dower.


Walter H. Tripp, son of James Tripp and Sarah Moses, ran the store until Warren Tripp sold it to Oliver C. Lombard in 1919. Lombard's store was in business for almost 40 years, It continued as a country store for 1 more decade with William and Patricia Moore. It ceased operation in 1967.

George Robinson, Liquor License


Epsom Town records show a liquor license being granted to George Robinson in 1818, presumably for a store. There is no record of George Robinson buying any land in Epsom, so as with many of the early store owners, likely ran a store located in another home.


There was a large contingent of Robinson families at Short Falls, and George may have been related, but there are no known parents known for him. He died in Epsom in 1827 and is buried in the Short Falls Cemetery. He married in Epsom, November 11, 1818, Jane Tripp, daughter of John Tripp and Sally Gordon. No know children. She married as her second husband, Thomas Cotterell. They may have lived on Mill Road, close to where Benjamin Merrill ran a store in 1813.


John Chesley, Tavern Owner



Epsom Town records show the following tavern licenses granted to John Chesley.

Dec. 13, 1819 open tavern

May 1, 1820 open tavern to March 1821

Apr. 2, 1821 open tavern to March 1822

Mar. 28, 1822 open tavern to Mar. 1823

Mar. 10, 1823 open tavern at his house in Epsom

Apr. 7, 1824 open tavern at his house

March 7, 1825 open tavern

Mar. 11, 1826 open tavern


 John was the son of Lemuel and Sarah (Randall) Chesley of Lee, and he married Feb. 27, 1797, Elizabeth Blake, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Bickford) Blake. He bought a small parcel of land from Samuel Blake, and in 1811 bought substantial parts of the original home lots, shown in the deed below.


Rockingham County Deeds 195-51 April 18, 1811

William Locke of Epsom, husbandman to John Chesley of Epsom blacksmith, three 50 acres lots, being three of the home lots on the northerly side of the main road leading from Epsom to Chichester, the same land lying between land owned by Joseph Lawrence and land owned by Abner Blaisdel Junr., including all the buildings standing thereon.


Chesley likely ran his business from the buildings already on the property, but the house pictured is from a later date, as a newspaper report of 1831, describes the fire that destroyed the homestead:


1831 The dwelling house of Mr. John Chesley was burnt just before the fourth of July in 1831. There is no doubt that the fire was deliberate in nature. Fire had twice before been applied to Mr. Chesley’s barn and twice had gone out. The house was so much on fire before it was discovered that only a small portion of furniture in the front part was saved.


Fire struck the barns a decade later - from another newspaper account:


1842 A barn belonging to Mr. Chesley was burned March 29, 1842 along with about a dozen head of cattle. A person by the name of Hoit was committed to prison under the charge of setting it on fire. The youth, identified as 13 year old Samuel Hoyt, was found guilty in September of that year and sentenced to one day solitary confinement and three years hard labor in the State Prison.


The tavern hosted courts, caucuses, and on occasion, hosted the town's Fourth of July festivities. Though he stayed on his homestead on Center Hill, he did buy at auction Samuel Blake's farm in June of 1823. The home on Center Hill was conveyed to his son Jonathan Steele Chesley, who in turn passed the property to his son Walter who used it as a summer residence. His daughter, Mary Chesley Oldfield was the last of the family to own the home. The old house was later dismantled and moved to Maine.




John Campbell, Store Owner


John Campbell's connection is unknown. He married in 1816 Judith Ann  Kimball, and was in Epsom for the baptism of a daughter, Lucia Ann in 1817. It is known he made several visits to Epsom, and operated a store in or attached to the house of the widow Elizabeth McClary on Center Hill. James Babb in is diary writes that John Campbell died of consumption in Newburyport, MA., and that he "formerly traded in the store now occupied by me. His remains were committed to the tomb this PM (July 22, 1821) at Newbury New town."

Newbury records record the death, and the baptism of a son John in August 1821 to the widow Judith Campbell. It is possible a son David married an unknown Mary Goss in Epsom, April 20, 1819.


Fourth of July 1828 @ Yeaton Tavern


The Fourth of July was widely celebrated, and part of the rituals of old was a gathering where toasts were exchanged. This from the Epsom Celebration form 1828.


NH Patriot 7-28-1828

Fourth of July at Epsom.

The annual Fourth of July Celebration included the fine Light Infantry company, commanded by Capt. Samuel Wells, met at the inn of Wm. Yeaton, jr. where a respectable number of the democratic republicans assembled, and the following sentiments were delivered accompanied by the discharge of musketry. Col. Daniel Cilley presided, and William Ham, jr. was Toastmaster.

The day we celebrate. While it awakens gratitude in the hearts of freeman, it speaks terror to the traitor and tyrant.

The heroes of the revolution. Their names breathe a sweet perfume.

Lafayette. Though seas divide us, the heart of every American throbs with gratitude at the recollection of his virtue.

These United States. Not withstanding the vile courses pursued by aspiring demagogues, may they flourish to the latest posterity, under the same pure republican principles, so strictly observed by their venerable father - the immortal Washington.

Hon. Benjamin Pierce. The inflexible republican - all the allurements of men in power, or the prospects of emolument of office, have never turned him from the straight line of duty.

Hon. Levi Woodbury and Hon. Jonathan Harvey. Bright constellations in the political horizon.

The Democratic Republicans.

"Firm, united let us be,

Rallying round old Hickory.

As a band of brothers join'd."

Clay and Adams foes shall find.

John Q. Adams. Educated in the political school of his father, feigned a change of politics, and made pretensions of attachment to the republican party, for no other purpose but to destroy the effects of democratic policy. Eighteen hundred twenty-nine will, we trust, give him leisure to reflect on his many transgressions.

Isaac Hill - Who has so eloquently reminded us not to withhold the homage of grateful hearts from the sages and heroes of the revolution 0 his services demand our gratitude and affection.

Gen. Andrew Jackson. A republican in principles, in feelings and manners;

"Like the Eagle will soar on high,

Above the sphere where Vultures fly"

Amalgamation and Coalition. May they sink, with John the second to rise no more.

Epsom Light Infantry. Descendants of the hardy yeomanry; should their services be required, they would neither prove Arnolds or Hills.

The Fair. May the never yield their hearts to those who are unwilling to defend them from the battle cry of "beauty and booty."


By Mr. S. Whitney. Hon. Samuel Bell. For the false information he gave last March may he drive a hearse loaded with the six coffin handbills.

By Capt. B.L. Locke. Death to a federal Administration - annihilation to amalgamation - and prosperity to our nation.

By Mr. S. Lear. Richard Bartlett, present Secretary of State; the political weather cock. May he feel the influence of the word of the royal psalmist applied to Judas Iscariot - "let his days be few, and his office let another take."

By Mr. Perkins Philbrick, jr. Gov. Bell - a traitor to the federal party: a deceiver of the republican part; may he, and those who raised him to office, be considered as mean as the Hillsborough Bills; and may the republicans of New Hampshire, at the next election, Pierce him to the heart.

By Mr. William Yeaton, jr. America. Her good blooded sons will have reason to rejoice, when the present ruler of our nation, or otherwise the United States' pauper, shall leave to retire, and Andrew Jackson be placed in the chair of State.

By a citizen. Ichabod Bartlett - The little Bullfrog of New Hampshire: may he never beget another brood of twaddlers.

By Capt. B.L. Locke. William Pickering, who has lost his office by being a man of integrity: may he be chosen to the office of an Elector.

By R. Knox, Esq. Gov. Pierce. He carries with him into his present retirement the proud consciousnesses of unsullied integrity.

By Mr. S. Whitney. The pitch pine Judge: as fit for a Senator as Judas was for a disciple.

By Benvoli Sandborn. John Q. Adams; the present idol of the federal party, a traitor to the republicans: who robbed the public treasury to secure an office for himself; may his double salaries, double outfits, billiard tables and Indian portraits, be long remembered by the democratic republicans: may his agents, paid out of the treasury, who circulated the coffin handbills and other infamous lines to defame the character of Gen. Andrew Jackson, have place in history, and be read by our children, and children's children to the last generation.

By William Ham, jr. New Hampshire. May the twenty thousand republican sons, who recently distinguished themselves, like Leonidas, maintain their integrity, or perish in the last ditch.

By a citizen. Thomas Whipple, jr. A political Juda, who sold his birth right for a mess of pottage.

By a citizen. The Toastmaster. Though modest and unassuming, fears not the threats of aspiring demagogues.

By Perkins Philbrick, jr. The President of the day - son of the late Gen. Joseph Cilley, the only remaining one who has never been swerved by the prospects of office, and who has remained true to the pure republican principles, so strictly adhered to by his venerable father.


James Babb, Store Owner


Epsom Town records show the following licenses granted to James Babb:


Mar 10, 1820 liquor license for store

Aug. 25, 1821 to retail spirituous liquors and wine at his store adjoining to the house of Eliza McClary one year from this dateMar. 8, 1823 liquor license for less than 1 pint at store

Mar. 6, 1824 liquor license for store less than 1 pint

Mar. 25, 1826 liquor less than one pint at his store in Epsom


James Babb kept extensive diaries, most are lost, but between the New Hampshire Historical Society and the UNH special collections, there exist those which cover September 18, 1819 to November 1, 1821 and June 16, 1822 to October 19, 1823. At the time the known diaries begin, James is already boarding and operating a store at the residence of the widow of James H. McClary, Elizabeth. The diaries include his personal affairs and his journey to secure the affection of one Susan Mead; events in Epsom, both major and minor, shedding light on many activities which otherwise would have remained unknown; and nearly entries on store business and the weather. He was friendly with all the locals on Center Hill, including General Michael McClary, Dr. Josiah Crosby, Thomas D. Merrill and John Chesley. He traces the comings and goings in Epsom, as well as his own travels, on pleasure to Northwood and business in Portsmouth. He also relates most of who preached where, and what sermons on many Sundays. He was a member of the school committee, he officially copied the 1820 US census, postmaster and was town clerk 1823-1827. He also was postmaster in 1824 and he dabbled in real estate, buying and selling several properties.


James Babb was born in Epsom January 11, 1794 to Captain Thomas Babb and his second wife, Sarah Blake. He married in Northwood, August 24, 1825, Susan Smith Mead, daughter of Levi Mead. Together they had 6 known children. Around 1828 he  moved to Lynn, MA., where he was a 'trader' and 'merchant'. He died in Lynn, May 27, 1868 and is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery there. His wife Susan met a tragic end by fire at their Lynn home in 1852.


Early Taverns - Description and Function



Donna-Belle Garvin and James L. Garvin wrote a wonderful book in 1988, last published by the University Press of New England, titled "On the Road North of Boston - New Hampshire Taverns and Turnpikes 1700-1900." Freely arranged excerpts from the first two chapters below would seem to apply to many of Epsom's early taverns. The book goes into much greater detail, is well documented and illustrated. Highly recommended.


The excerpts:


"The first step in seeking a tavern license was a petition, often to the governor (or lieutenant governor) and Council, explaining the need for a tavern and the applicant’s qualifications as a tavernor The next step was approval by the town selectmen, both for the initial license and the necessary annual renewal. Competition for licenses could be intense, since provincial law set a maximum number to be granted for any town.  As late as the 1820’s, this tradition of strict governmental regulation limited the average number of taverns in New Hampshire towns to 2.2. Yet communities located along major highways, having a legitimately greater need for taverns, might have as many as eleven at the same period. Since traffic was a key justification for the granting of licenses, applicants often emphasized that their house stood where two ‘great roads’ intersected. The law also governed other essential aspects of the tavern. Tavern keepers were required at all times to ‘be furnish’d with suitable Provisions and Lodging, for the Refreshment and Entertainment of Strangers and Travelers; Pasturing, Stable room, Hay and Provender for Horses; on pain of being deprived of their License.’

The tavern played a special role in relation to the unheated meetinghouses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. People attending Sunday services or town meetings needed warmth and refreshment, and the licensing of a tavern  near the meetinghouse was seen as essential. The tavern filled many roles in addition to those required by law. As a building open to all and visited by many, the tavern was a natural place for the exchange of information, for formal and informal meetings, and for business contacts with the wider world. Expanding on their natural role as delivery points for the mails, many taverns doubled as post offices. The tavern barroom often served as a community bulletin board, either by custom or by vote of the town meeting. The tavern also provided a temporary office for itinerant officials such as probate judges, or for businessmen whose affairs were spread throughout New Hampshire. Most taverns could provide rooms suitable for private meetings, and many offered large halls which could accommodate large numbers. The tavern was home to celebration and revelry, and thus to music. Other forms of entertainment were held in the long rooms and halls of taverns. Lectures on curious subjects, always advertised as enlightening and educational, were a favorite diversion from the eighteenth century onward. The tavern was also the most common site for more general auctions, even more impressive were the land auctions commonly held at New Hampshire taverns. After the Revolution, the Fourth of July became the most enthusiastically celebrated American holiday, one that usually began with an early afternoon parade or procession that formed at a tavern and was frequently led by local militia companies.

To accommodate the public and fulfill the functions assigned to it by law, the tavern required a few special features. The tavern needed a place to mix and sell liquors. This could range from a simple closed to a bar of impressive opulence. The tavern needed a place to prepare and serve food. This could be nothing more than a farmhouse kitchen or could be a dining room seating over a hundred. The tavern needed beds for the traveler. These could range from bearskins spread before a fireplace to luxurious feather beds in private rooms. To take its place as a political and social center, the tavern needed a hall for meetings and dances. This could be nothing more than a finished attic, or could be an imposing ballroom with a platform for speakers and musicians and with adjacent retiring rooms. Since bathing was rare until the nineteenth century, most travelers did not expect bathrooms wither in home or tavern. The tavern was home to beast as well as man, and the well-appointed tavern lavished much on the shelter of animals. Tavern yards were also prized assets, often including large fenced lots for impounding animals being driven to market."


Capt. Abel Brown, Inn Keeper



Epsom Town records show the following licenses granted to Abel Brown:

Mar. 29, 1820 public house

Mar. 7, 1823 (Lieut) open tavern at house where he now lives

Mar. 11, 1826 open tavern

1827 for two dollars, open tavern license


Abel Brown was the son of Levi and Lydia (Thompson) Brown, who moved to North Road next to his brother Enoch about 1781. His son Abel married in Epsom Betsey Locke, daughter of Capt. Samuel and Mary (Evans) Locke, a taverner in Epsom, May 10, 1807 in Epsom. He removed to Gilford and returned to Epsom about 1820 shortly after the death of Capt. Samuel Locke, the father of his wife.


Capt. Locke's estate was passed down to his children and widow, and was sold in 1820 by the widow, Daniel E. Locke and the other heirs to Abel and his wife. The estate was on the turnpike and included land on both sides of the road. On the south side were several mills, and the homestead was on the north side of the turnpike, the original tavern of Capt. Samuel Locke. The south side saw and grist mill privileges were sold in part to Jeremiah Prescott and John Ham Jr., and later some of the property, some 46 acres to John Ham Jr.


In 1828, Abel Brown of Epsom, alias Inn Holder, sold a one undivided half of a blacksmith shop to Robert Knox, the shop located "a few rods easterly of my house, viz. Inn." From the "NH Militia Officers 1820-1850" by Lanzendorf, it is learned that Major Abel Brown was promoted Lt. Col. in June of 1823, Colonel in June of 1825, and discharged the following year.


A deed of 1838 places Abel Brown in Lowell when he sells his Epsom holdings to Weare Prescott of Deerfield, all of which was sold back to Abel the following year. A few days after the land is purchased back, it is sold to Ebenezer Gove of Epsom, "a tract of land in Epsom on the north side of the turnpike road (so called) being bounded west by land of Dearborn Batchelder, north by land of Robert Knox, east by land of Ephraim Locke and of B.L. Locke, south by said turnpike road, reserving and excepting such parcels of land adjoining on said road as I heretofore sold to B.L. Locke, Robert Knox and John J. Merrill, reference to my deeds to them being had for a description of the same, with the buildings thereon. Also the mill privilege on Little Suncook River, bounded north by said turnpike road, east by land of B.L. Locke and south by the main road, together with 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 to the same, and the land adjoining the same, bounded by land of Dearborn Batchelder and on the other side by the road and river with all the mill stores bolts gearing in the same." Abel Brown with wife Betsey relinquishing dower rights.


Just where Abel Brown resided after selling the tavern remains unknown, as there is no record of his death or burial.


Ebenezer Gove died not long after purchasing the inn, and his wife Nancy sold most of the property to Benjamin L. Locke, and a small portion to Joseph J. Moses which became the site of the Congregational Meeting house.. Locke may have rented the property, but  kept the land when he sold the house and one acre to Abraham Swain in 1849. In 1853 Abraham Swain sold the same land conveyed to him by B.L. Locke to George M. Swain, their relationship unknown. At this point the description changes, with the parsonage house likely just north of the main house. George sold the tavern to speculators John Langley and John S. Cate who sold the house to Dr. Leonard W. Peabody, whereby a succession of Doctors occupied the premises, including Sullivan A. Taylor, Albion H. French, William F. Wallace and Roscoe E. Hill. Dr. Hill sold in 1920 to A.J. Yeaton, in whose family it still remains.


Gove & Woodman, Liquor License


Epsom Town records show a single liquor license granted to Gove and Woodman, April 12, 1820. Probably nothing more would be known about them if it were not for the diaries of store owner James Babb.


The building the store was in was sold to Michael McClary of Epsom by Mark French, after he had sold it previously to John B. Girard, confectioner of Portsmouth in 1816. The building was sold by Daniel Cilley to Mark French in 1809, and McClary sold it to Cilley's oldest son, Bradbury on April 25, 1816. Bradbury most likely rented out the property, as seen by the information from the Babb diary.


Friday Apl. 14, 1820
Messrs Woodman and Gove (who have hired Cilley's store and pay 75$ rent) moved their goods into it - understood they purchased their goods of Jonathan Smith of Exeter. Neither of them have been in business before


Wednesday July 12, 1820
Gove and Woodman who have been trading near D. Cilley's three months ( 13 inst) failed this day- had their property all attached and removed from the store & their books assigned to Bradbury Cilley & put into Mr. Steele's office for collection. And they made themselves scarce with a wagon and two horses ~ the demands principally are against people who cannot pay.
They were unacquainted with doing business & have probably purchased at a high rate a severe lesson in the School of experience ~ may they learn wisdom thereby ~


So for four months this store was in operation by John Gove and Lewis Woodman. Nothing more is known of the pair.


John Batchelder, Store Owner



The lot that this building stands on was common land sold to Samuel Bickford in 1765 and sold by heirs of Samuel Bickford to John Batchelder, at the time with no buildings. Looking at the progression of deeds it can be seen that when buys the property from Thomas Bickford it includes a 1/4 acre previously purchased, and that Batchelder already has a store on the property, mentioned as one of the bounds. The corner of the 1/4 acre and the store are both mentioned as the southeast corner. It would appear John Batchelder built the house on the corner of New Orchard Road and the turnpike by 1808. There is no record of any license, so the store most likely did not sell liquor.


Rockingham County Deeds 111-526 August 7, 1765 (Recorded Nov. 3, 1779)

Town of Epsom, selectmen Ephraim Locke, George Wallace, John McClary for the sale of the common and undivided lands, to Samuel Bickford, yeoman, the whole of the lot No. 3 where the said Samuels house ___ or by the plan of the same lot doth or may appear reference thereunto being had.


Rockingham County 194-116 May 19, 1808

Thomas Bickford of Epsom, tanner, to John Batchelder of Epsom, trader

A certain tract of land in Epsom, the same being part of the Estate of the late Samuel Bickford of said Epsom, deceased – beginning at a white oak tree marked standing by the side of New Orchard Road (so called) thence running westerly by the Orchard fence and the same course to a stake and stones at the range; thence southerly by said range to a stake and stones at the Turnpike Road to the southeast corner of said Batchelder’s store, thence northerly by said New Orchard Road to the bounds first mentioned. In this tract is included one quarter of an acre which said Batchelder bought of Col. J.H. McClary in March 1806 and took a deed from said Thomas Bickford for the same it being at the southeast corner of the said tract where said Batchelder now lives, the same containing ten acres be the same more or less. – Thomas Bickford. [no copy of the J.H. McClary deed to Batchelder found]


Rockingham County 208-45 April 4, 1815

John Batchelder of Epsom to Richard Webster Jr. of Rye, a parcel of land in Epsom the same being part of the estate of the late Samuel Bickford of said Epsom deceased - beginning at a white oak tree standing by the side of New Orchard Road (so called) thence running westerly by the Orchard fence and the same course to the range to a bound; thence by the east side of said range southerly to the turnpike road, thence by said turnpike road to New Orchard Road, above mentioned; thence by the west side of said road northerly to the bounds first mentioned, said tract contains 14 acres be the same more or less with the buildings thereon. – John and Martha Batchelder


John Batchelder lived most of his life in Epsom and was the son of Nathan Batchelder and Elizabeth Page, born in Kensington in 1761. His father died in 1765, and his mother married as her second spouse Francis Locke (1724-1787) of Epsom, his first wife having died about 1760. John Batchelder was raised in Epsom by his mother and step-father, and was a Revolutionary War veteran, applying for a pension in 1838 while living in Chichester. His wife was Martha (unknown), no date of marriage known and no known children.


Robert Knox, Tavern Owner



The town of Epsom granted the following licenses to Robert Knox:


Apr. 8, 1822 open tavern at house and out buildings

Apr. 4, 1823 open tavern at house and out buildings

Apr. 6, 1824 open tavern at house and out buildings

Apr. 9, 1825 wine and liquor license in his store

Mar. 13, 1826 liquor license

1827 for two dollars, open tavern license


Robert Knox (1789-1850) married Dec. 1, 1814, Polly Dole Cilley, daughter of Col. Daniel Cilley and Hannah Plumer. He was in business a short time with James McCutheon, with that partnership dissolved in 1814. He had for children, Mary Dole Cilley Knox who married Asa Fowler; Sally C. Knox who died young; Sarah Knox who married Lewis Lillie; Robert W. Knox; and Eliza Jane Knox, who married Joseph Dewey Bristol. At the time of his death in 1850, according to a Rockingham County deed, none of the children appeared married.


The lot that this building stands on was common land sold to Samuel Bickford in 1765. The progression of deeds is as follows:


Rockingham County 214-379 July 21, 1817

Richard Webster gentleman to Alexander Salter, a parcel of land in Epsom bounded at the turnpike road at the mouth or entrance of New Orchard Road (so called) thence running on said Turnpike westerly as said turnpike runs to the range; thence northerly on said range to New Orchard Road aforesaid; thence southerly on said New Orchard road to the bounds first mentioned, containing 20 acres more or less. [No buildings mentioned]


Rockingham County 217-401 June 5, 1818

Alexander Salter of Epsom yeoman to Robert Knox of Epsom, yeoman, , a parcel of land in Epsom bounded at the turnpike road at the mouth or entrance of New Orchard Road (so called) thence running on said Turnpike westerly as said turnpike runs to the range; thence northerly on said range to New Orchard Road aforesaid; thence southerly on said New Orchard road to the bounds first mentioned, containing 20 acres more or less. [No buildings mentioned] Wife Anna Salter relinquishes dower rights.


Merrimack County 106-59 April 14, 1851

John Wallace from Asa Fowler, wife of said Asa in the right of said Mary; Robert W. Knox, Sarah Knox and Eliza Lane Knox, all of Epsom, heirs of Robert Knox late of said Epsom, deceased, a certain tract or parcel of land with the buildings thereon bounded as follows: Beginning at the Turnpike road at the entrance of the New Orchard Road (so called) thence running on said turnpike westerly as said turnpike runs to the range, thence southerly on said range to the New Orchard road aforesaid, thence southerly by said New Orchard road to the first mentioned bounds containing twenty acres, being the same premises conveyed to the late Robert Knox by Alexander Salter by deed dated June 5, 1818, recorded Rockingham records 217-401, excepting and reserving from said tract a house lot off the southwest corner conveyed by the late Robert Knox to Albon Perkins, and the town house lot by the late Robert Knox to the town of Epsom, both said reserved lots lying upon the Portsmouth Turnpike - also the carriage house and land on which the same is situate being upon the southerly side of said Turnpike road in said Epsom directly opposite the dwelling house on the first ascribed tract, the land on which said carriage house is situate being believed to have been conveyed to Robert Knox by the late Abel Brown.


1864, Arthur C. Locke from John Wallace;


1888, Otis W. Gove from Daniel L. Locke, heir of Arthur C. Locke, all real estate inherited from my father and Lizzie Locke from Otis W. Gove of Pittsfield (same day);


1889, Maurice C. Philbrick from Lizzie L. Locke (3 pieces, 1 with buildings)


Late in life he was appointed postmaster, but apparently not without controversy, as cited in local newspaper accounts:


NH Patriot 10-16-1845
Robert Knox Jr. has been appointed Postmaster at Epsom, N.H., in place of Benjamin L. Locke.

NH Patriot 10-23-1845
"The State paper can point out the 'individual distinguished' or otherwise, who has effected the removal of Gen. Locke living beyond the limits of Epsom." – Hill's print.
"The "State paper" can do no such thing. The reckless falsifier who conducts the 'Great Corporation Advocate,' state that 'probably' the removal was effected 'at the instance' of Col. Pierce. We are authorized to say that Col. Pierce has exerted no influence, directly or indirectly, in relation to the removal and appointment of postmaster at Epsom. No man in Concord, to our knowledge, had the least thing to do with the removal of Gen. Locke. We did not know that any effort was made for his removal, till the notice of the removal was sent to us for publication. Hill must hunt up another 'clique' to hold answerable for Gen. Locke's removal, and other removals of which he complains.

His newspaper obituary:
NH Patriot 5-9-1850 ROBERT KNOX
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.


Nathaniel K. Badger, Liquor License


Epsom Town records show a single liquor license being granted to Nathaniel Badger December 13, 1822. The store opened, according to James Babb, on October 2, 1822, when "Nathaniel K. Badger commenced store keeping at Short Falls." The enterprise was not long lasting, as by May 21, 1823 "Mr. N.K. Badger stopped payment and had his goods attached and moved from his store." James Babb went to the store the next day to try and secure the demands for P. & Taylor, but was unable to do so. On May 26, there was an auction at the store. This store was probably leased as there are no deeds for any land or buildings for Nathaniel Badger in Epsom. Nathaniel K. Badger married in Boston April 28, 1822, Caroline Marden, daughter of Jonathan and Sarah Marden. He was an 1812 veteran and died in Malden, MA, in 1826.

James Babb in his diary also mentions a Leander Badger. Nathaniel and Leander were sons of Thomas and Abigail (Bennett) Badger. Thomas resided primarily in Newmarket, Sanbornton and Gilmanton, NH. The Badger family in Epsom descends from the father of Thomas, William and Antiss (Emerson) Badger who had, among other children, William who married Abigail Beal who at the time of his death lived at the old Moore place on Sanborn Hill; the aforesaid Thomas; and Samuel Emerson Badger who married Susannah Churchill in 1793 and resided in Deerfield.


Of the children of Samuel and Susannah were:

Thomas who married 1823 Mary Goss, daughter of Daniel and Alice (Locke) Chapman, who a son Daniel G. who died age 20 in Epsom, unmarried and buried in the McClary Cemetery;

Susan Churhill Badger who married Simeon C. Goss, son of Daniel and Alice (Locke) Chapman. He died in 1846 and his buried in the McClary Cemetery - she married as his second wife, Michael M. Libbey. She died 1862 and is buried in the Brackett Libbey Cemetery.

Deeds [Rockingham 176-321] show Nathaniel Treadwell of Portsmouth selling land to William Badger of Kittery, shipwright, lot number 60 in Epsom containing 284 acres, original right of Charles Treadwell, in June of 1806.


A second deed [Rockingham 217-338] of February 1818, Joseph Allen of Epsom, Windsor chair maker sells to William Badger of Kittery, ship builder, land in Epsom and part of the lots 2,3,4,5 & 6 in the second range, land where Joseph Allen currently resided containing 120 acres with all the buildings standing thereon. The land was bounded westerly on land owned by Joseph Towle; southerly on land owned by William Badger; easterly on land owned by Samuel Blake and Daniel Goss; northerly on lands of Daniel Goss, Simeon Chapman and Robert Sanders.


George W. Marden, Store Owner


Epsom Town records show two licenses associated with a George W. Marden:

DOPKINS (Henry) and MARDEN (Geo. W.) Nov. 18, 1822 liquor license for store in Epsom.

MARDEN, George W., Nov. 3, 1823 as agent for Sandyman B. Marden liquor for his store in Epsom.


Nothing is known as to location, and there are no deeds indicating any ownership or property. The Mardens, as seen by early records of Abraham W. Marden, and Wendell Marden, during this period, where in the Short Falls area. It was not the location of the failed Nathaniel Badger store, as he did not go out of business until May 21, 1823, and the Dopkins and Marden license for liquor sales at the store was November 18, 1822. This venture, as other similar partnerships, was not long lasting, and two references are made about the store by James Babb in his diaries.


January 29, 1823 Wednesday - The Marshal was d___k this evening. Had been to Dopkins & Mardens.

July 15, 1823 Tuesday -Vendue (auction) of Dopkins and Marden's Goods.


So the enterprise between the two ended in July 1823, but George W. Marden, by himself, received a license in November of the same year, as agent for one Sandyman B. Marden, for his Epsom store.


There is no other mention of Henry Dopkins in Epsom, nor has any other record of him been found. George W. Marden is also a mystery, as is Abraham W. Marden, a taverner in Epsom. No parents for either has been found. Connected with them through deeds is a Wendell Marden, buried in the small Marden Cemetery with other members of the William and Mary (Norris) family, making them his likely parents. Also mentioned is Sandyman Barrell Marden, who is an assumed brother of Wendell.


It would seem that there should be a connection between these four Mardens. The leading research on the family is the "Marden Family Genealogy" of Sylvia Fitts Getchell, of which appear the following exceprts:


Page 256 - Sandyman Barrell Marden of Portsmouth, born Portsmouth (c. 1794?). His parents on his death record are given as "William and Mary (both born Portsmouth)". Presumably his parents could be identified with William and Polly Marden. In 1822 and 1823 George W. Marden agent for Sandyman B. Marden was licensed to sell liquor at this store in Epsom. George W. Marden appears on original Epsom Tax list 1824. Could Geo. W. Marden possibly be the same man as Wendell?


Page 259 - Perhaps these deeds (transactions between Abraham W. and Wendell) reference to Wendell's ownership of a store do confirm the suggestion that Geo. W. and Wendell same man? A George W. Marden appears on original Epsom Tax list 1824. However, Wendell Marden appears original Epsom Tax lists 1824-1825.


The fact that both a George W. and a Wendell both appear on tax lists in 1824, would seem to indicate two different individuals.


Abraham (Abram) W. Marden is tentatively based in a different Marden line (as opposed to Wendell's parents, William and Polly) as a possible son of James and Rachel Blake (Wallace) Marden. James was the son of James Marden and Sarah Worth, born about 1779 - his wife, daughter of Abraham Wallace and his wife Hepzibah Blake. James and Rachel married July 8, 1802 in Epsom.


Page 291 -  The only reason for placing Abraham W. Marden as a possible son of James & Rachel B. (Wallace) Marden is that he was perhaps named for Rachel's father Abraham Wallace. However, Abraham was also a name used in the Wendell family of Portsmouth which could make it more likely that Abraham W. Marden might somehow be related to the family of William5-78 (see the book for more detail). Perhaps a cousin of Wendell. Note that the 1830 census would indicate that Abraham W. was born between 1780 and 1790 making it quite unlikely that he could be a grandson of Capt. James Marden. Probably the tempatation to presume a connection between Abraham W. Marden and Abraham Wallace should have been completely ignored, and this family somehow connected with the descendants of Jonathan4-37. (again see the book for more detail).


It should be pointed out (see earlier blog on Abraham W. Marden) that he was, based on age of death, likely born in 1799, and that James and Rachel B. (Wallace) Marden married in July 1802, which would pretty much discount his being their son. Unfortunately, others without any other research, have continued this placement.


Simeon D. Johnson, Store Owner


Epsom Town records show one license granted to Simeon D. Johnson in 1824, to sell liquors at his store. As to whom Simeon was is speculation. In 1806 there were no Johnson families paying taxes in Epsom, in 1815 a Stephen Johnson was taxed for a mill and 80 acres of land, and in 1825 is taxed for 49 acres and no buildings, though he owned livestock. Also in 1825, a Samuel Johnson is taxed for land and buildings.

 In the US Census for Epsom during this period, the first to appear is Stephen Johnson in 1820, with a family of 4 males under 10 and one female under 10, along with his wife. That would have all his children born between 1810 and 1820. Stephen is not in Epsom 1830, but Samuel is, with his wife and one female between age 15 and 20.


Deeds indicate that Stephen Johnson, already of Epsom, buys from Isaac Osgood in November of 1811, land in Epsom, part of lots 24 and 25 in the first range, to contain 80 acres, and one quarter interest of the saw mill commonly called McClary's Mill. This corresponds to the 80 for which he was taxed in 1815. However that same year, in November 1815, he sells 30 acres and 1/24th part of the Mill privilege to William H. Dickey, which corresponds to the land he was taxed on in 1825.


Samuel Johnson resided in Deerfield and came to Epsom about 1823 when he buys land of Samuel Osgood of Epsom, the farm "lately owned by Samuel Osgood Esq. late of Epsom deceased." This land was deeded to Samuel by his father, and that land deeded to his father by John McGaffey of Epsom in 1777. The property was actually conveyed by 3 deeds, the first from son Samuel Osgood, the second from Abigail Osgood, widow of the deceased to Samuel Johnson of Epsom, and from Thomas D. Merrill, guardian to Abraham Osgood, a minor, the land sold at auction on the premises June 16, 1823.


Samuel Johnson, known as Deacon Samuel, was born in Northwood, NH Sept. 8, 1774 son of Moses Johnson, and married September 23, 1802, Catherine Ham, daughter of Joseph Ham and Mary Peverly. They are both buried in the McClary Cemetery in Epsom. The 1810 census for Deerfield indicates a household with 1 male 10 to 15; a female under 10; one male 26 to 44 (Samuel) and one female 26 to 44 (his wife). This would indicate a son born between 1795 and 1800, and a daughter born after 1800.


The only Simeon D. Johnson found in the US Census is in Lawrence, New York with wife Polly and one 2 year old daughter. His birth is given as New Hampshire, 1805, with his wife having been born in Vermont. Considering the census information, this Simeon could not be a son of Stephen as he was born before 1810. The household of Samuel Johnson of Epsom in 1810 has no male by age to be born after 1800. So the placement of Simeon remains unknown. Any relationship between Stephen and Samuel is also known.


Whitney and Goss, Tavern License/Store


In 1824 a license was granted by the Town of Epsom to John Goss and Samuel Whitney to keep a tavern, and to Samuel Whitney, the same in 1827:


WHITNEY (Samuel) and GOSS (John)

May 13, 1824 to keep tavern in Epsom


1827 for two dollars, open tavern license

Samuel Whitney was also known to keep a store at Short Falls near the Worth home.

The building housing this tavern and store at Short Falls no longer exists, and was first sold to Samuel Whitney of Concord, blacksmith and John Goss, husbandman of Epsom by James McCutcheon of Epsom, also sometimes seen as 'trader'. The deed is as follows:


Merrimack County Deeds 1-550, May 8, 1824
James McCutcheon of Epsom to Samuel Whitney, blacksmith of Concord and John Goss, husbandman of Epsom, a parcel of land in Epsom part of lot No. 83 in the 3rd range beginning on the highway leading from Epsom to Allenstown about 6 feet north westerly from the northwesterly corner of said James M. McCutcheon's house, and to run about easterly 8 rods to the corner of the wall, thence southerly about rods to the corner of the wall, thence westerly as the wall runs to the highway, thence by the highway to the bounds first mentioned, to contain all the land within said bounds being about 1/3 part of an acre together with the buildings thereon. James McCutheon and wife Hannah, relinquishing dower.

Samuel Whitney sells the same land and buildings to John Goss in 1824, who sells it back to Samuel Whitney in 1828. John Goss at the time was of Wilmot, New Hampshire, and Samuel Whitney is now referred to as 'merchant' as the tavern is now most likely a store, and is the building in which Whitney was living.

The relationship between John Goss and Samuel Whitney is through Samuel's wife Abigail Goss. Both John Goss, who married Eliza H. Wallace (daughter of Joseph C. and Betsey Wallace) in 1827, and Abigail Goss, are children of Samuel Goss and Abigail Lucas.

John Goss and his wife both died in Medford, Massachusetts, he in 1878, and she in 1882, and are probably buried in Concord. Samuel Whitney, according to newspaper accounts died in 'Epsom, Aug. 25, 1854, Mr. Samuel Whitney, formerly of Concord, aged 70.' Abigail, his wife survived him, but her date of death is unknown.

Samuel and Abigail had at least two children, and two daughters, Emeline and Harriett, married twin brothers William P. and Jonathan L. Cilley, children of Col. Daniel and Hannah Cilley. One son, Charles, married Lydia Newhall, and he died fairly young in 1849 and is buried in the Old North Cemetery in Concord. His wife married second, Lowell Eastman and lived in Epsom.


Jeremiah Prescott, Liquor License


A liquor license was granted to Jeremiah Prescott by the town of Epsom in 1826 to sell at his store in Epsom.


Jeremiah Prescott was the fourth generation of the name who married April 13, 1815, Betsy Chesley, who had previously married James Moses, who died 5 years into the marriage. One daughter of James and Betsy survived, Hannah Parker Moses, who married Benjamin Lovering Locke, who operated a tavern across the street from the Prescott store.


Jeremiah Prescott bought land from John Ham Jr., which was bought from Abel Brown, which was part of the estate of Samuel Locke, also a tavern keeper. Prescott bought the land in December of 1823 and erected a building which served as his store and likely residence. The year prior, he bought mill privileges to erect a bark and fulling mill near the Saw and Grist mills owned by John Ham Jr. and Abel Brown. In March of 1831, Jeremiah Prescott, tanner, now of Meredith, NH, all his land and buildings in Epsom to Dearborn Batchelder, also of Meredith. According to Merrimack County Deeds 27-372 it is described as, beginning at the junction of the turnpike and Canterbury road (so called) thence running N 63 degrees by said turnpike to a state and stones, thence S 27 degrees W 27 rods to little Suncook river, thence by said river easterly following the course of said river to a rock near Mrs. Davis’ house, thence N 11 degrees W 8 rods to the first mentioned bounds with all the buildings erected on the same containing about four 46 acres.


Benj. L. Locke - Tavern Owner



The town of Epsom records shows a license to keep an open tavern in 1827. It is unknown where this tavern was in 1827, but deeds show the following purchase:


Merrimack County Deeds 14-483, Feb. 20, 1828

Abel Brown of Epsom alias Innholder, to Benjamin Lovering Locke of Epsom, gentleman,

A lot of land on the northerly side of the Turnpike road in said Epsom nigh the intersection of that road and the old Deerfield road and nigh Browns Mills, so called, the whole containing one half acre - also another lot ot land adjoining the above lot containing 200 square feet. Abel Brown with wife Betsey relinquishing right of dower.


This same year, according to Benjamin L. Locke's obituary, he built the Suncook House in Epsom, and was its landlord for 32 years. During this time he aquired much of the land in the area of Epsom called 'Slab City' including the Abel Brown tavern and lands of the late Nathan and Abigail Libbey. In addition to dealing in real estate, he was a farmer and postmaster.


By deed (Merrimack County deed 180-525) Benjamin L. Locke sells on February 26, 1866 the business to Henry Knox of Epsom, son of Isaac and Sally (Wiggin) Knox. After a dozen years, Henry sells it in June of 1878 (Merrimack County deed 128-52) to Henry S. Knowles. The Knowles family kept the tavern and eventually just a store, passing from Henry S. to his son William H., and then to his sons, Gilbert and George Knowles.


Benjamin Lovering Locke was a General in the New Hampshire militia, and was born in Epsom July 8, 1802, son of Levi and Hannah (Prescott) Locke of Locke's Hill. He married Hannah Parker Moses, daughter of James and Betsey (Chesley) Moses on May 5, 1825 and were the parents of 11 children. After selling their tavern they moved to Epsom, and later to Massachusetts where General Benjamin L. Locke died Mar. 26, 1883, Winchester, MA. They are buried in the McClary Cemetery.


Dearborn Batchelder, Inn Keeper


The Town of Epsom discontinued recording taverns and stores obtaining liquor licenses in 1827, though through newspapers and deed research, several others appear. From an early newspaper, the following article was published:



The tavern house of Mr. Dearborn Batchelder, of Epsom, N.H. was destroyed by fire a few days since. Loss $1500 or more, besides several hundred dollars in money. The property had been insured in the N.H. Mutual Office; but the owner suffered his policy to expire a few weeks since, without renewal.


Exactly where the tavern set in somewhat questionable, but it was on the south side of the turnpike road (so called) nearly across from the old Knowles store. The land was bought from Jeremiah Prescott in 1831, as Prescott, a tanner of Meredith sold to Dearborn Batchelder, also of Meredith, about 4 acres 'with all the buildings erected on the same' of which one was used as a store by Jeremiah Prescott. It likely was that building which was used as a tavern. What makes it difficult to pinpoint where on the property the tavern was located, is that according to the 1858 map there were four buildings on the south side of the turnpike commencing where the road from Center Hill intersected the Turnpike (see map above). The house on the corner does not appear to be of a style suitable for a tavern, and may be the rebuilt tavern from after the fire. The adjacent house to the left does not appear by the 1892 map, but was the homestead of Dearborn and son Samuel B. in 1858, making it also a possible site for the tavern.


Though Dearborn came to Epsom from Meredith, he was the son of Henry Batchelder and Sally Reynolds of Northwood. He married Sally Neally, born in Meredith, with no marriage date known. Most of his children born in Meredith, with son Samuel B. showing a birth in Allenstown. George H. Yeaton, among his many memoirs, writes about the family.





By George H. Yeaton


Dearborn Batchelder born in the year March 30, 1778 died February 16, 1860, age 81 years, 11 months. Mary Batchelder, his wife born about the year 1782, died February 13, 1859, age 77 years. Both are buried in the McClary Cemetery at Center Hill, Epsom.

Dearborn Batchelder, who was born in Northwood, NH married Polly Nealy, born in Meredith, N.H..  Their son George W. Batchelder was born in Meredith and died in Epsom march 26, 1889, age 73 years, 5 mo. 19 days. He married Abigail B. Wells who died December 14, 1881, aged 69 years. They are both buried in the McClary Cemetery. They had for children four sons and one daughter, perhaps others. The daughters name was Lucetta M., she died at Epsom November 29, 1905, age 68 yrs 5 mo 18 days. (never married), lived with her brother Alonzo who married Carrie E. Page, she died February 14, 1894 age 45 yrs. Carrie E. Page was the daughter of James D. and Elizabeth (Locke) Page.

Alonzo married second Laura Abbie Haynes of Deerfield, NH, the daughter of Jonathan P. Haynes and his wife Abbie Maloon. Laura A. (Haynes) Batchelder died at Epsom December 17, 1947, age 80 yrs 1 mo 10 days. She was born in Bedford, her father in Deerfield and her mother in Epping. Alonzo and Laura A. Batchelder had one daughter born July 11, 1902 named Doris Abbie who married August 25, 1927, Ellsworth Blake Philbrick. They had one son born September 1, 1933 named Maurice Crawford Philbrick.

Alonzo Batchelder died January 3, 1905, age 61 years.

By his first wife he had two daughters. First, Hattie L., born 1870 married October 18, 1888 Albert D. Sherburne, the son of James M. and Lucy (Bickford) Sherburne of Epsom.

Albert D. and Hattie L. Sherburne had one daughter named Nellie Florence born April 23, 1889, not married at this date, July 1963. Hattie L. Sherburne died October 13, 1932 age 62 yrs 8 mo 20 days.  Albert D. Sherburne died October 19, 1947 age 82 yrs 4 mo 23 days.

The second daughter of Alonzo and Carrie (Page) Batchelder, Myrtie E., born January 16, 1873, married Clarence H. Sanborn, who was born March 29, 1875 and died March 21, 1943. He was son of Henry M. Sanborn and his wife Laura J. Brown of Chichester. His age at death was 67 yrs 11 mo 22 days. Myrtie E. (Batchelder) Sanborn died October 10, 1936 age at death 64 yrs 5 mo 24 days. Clarence H. and Myrtie E. Sanborn did not have any children.

The third child of George W. Batchelder and his wife Abigail B. (Wells) Batchelder was a son named Orison Batchelder, born 1838 and died December 13, 1884 age 46 yrs 4 mo 21 days. He married Ann Marie Clark who died January 24, 1917 at Nashua, NH, age at death 76 yrs 3 mo 19 days. She was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, he father born in Epsom, mother in Winslow, Maine. Fathers name John Clark, mother’s maiden name Rebecca Withee. They are buried in the McClary Cemetery.

The fourth child of George W. and Abigail B. (Wells) Batchelder, a son, Charles Batchelder, who lived in Pittsfield, NH.

The fifth, a son name Elbridge G. Batchelder, who was born in 1842 and died May 15, 1884, age 42 yrs.  He served in the Civil War, Eleventh New Hampshire Volunteers, Company E. wounded October 1, 1864, rank of Corporal. He married Vienna R. Yeaton, the daughter of John Yeaton 3rd and Sarah (Bickford) Yeaton. Vienna R. Batchelder died February 5, 1915, age 73 yrs 2 mo 11 days.

Elbridge G. and Vienna R. Batchelder had for children; first a son born in the year 1866, died September 26, 1932, age 66 yrs, name George E. Batchelder. He married on June 4, 1888 Nettie A. Stewart, the daughter of Alanson Stewart and his wife Mary (Carleton) Stewart. Nettie A. Batchelder was born September 24, 1869 and died December 18, 1939, age at death 70 yrs 2 mo 24 days. They had children – Leonard Stewart, born June 12, 1893.

1) Leonard Stewart Batchelder married August 12, 1925, Sarah Blanch Harvey of Northwood, NH, the daughter of Ladd P. Harvey and wife Mary F. Mallard.

2) Percy Carleton, born December 23, 1896, married July 29, 1922, Gladys Pickard

3) Chester Yeaton, born December 23, 1896, married December 25, 1920, Harriet Lydia Harvey. Children; a son Harvey W. Batchelder, born April 16, 1924.


The second child of Elbridge G. and Vienna R. was a daughter that they named Edith G. Batchelder; she was born in the year 1872 and died March 20. 1933, age 61 years, 1 mo and 30 days. She married on December 22, 1897 Ansel C. Heath, who was born in the year 1874, and died March 2, 1928. age 53 years 3 mo 20 days. He was the son of Christopher S. Heath and Rosilla W. (Clough) Heath.

Abigail B. Wells, wife of George W. Batchelder was born in Allenstown, New Hampshire. The mother of Carrie M. Page, (wife of Alonzo Batchelder) was Elizabeth P. Locke, the daughter of Deacon David Locke and his wife Polly (Carleton) Locke of Locke’s Hill, Epsom. She was a sister to Mary Ann Locke who married Albion Locke.

In the McClary Cemetery there is buried Charles N. Batchelder, who died December 20, 1840, aged 22.

Samuel Batchelder died March 7, 1891, age 66 y 5m 6 days

Keziah White, his wife, died April 27, 1911, age 72 yrs 8 mo 12 days.


Adaline Batchelder, wife of Darius Philbrick died February 16, 1895, born Sept. 25, 1818.

William Yeaton, born July 29, 1793 married Sarah Blake Locke, the daughter of Simeon Locke, his wife Abigail (Blake) Locke. She was born March 28, 1801.

William Yeaton and Sarah Blake Locke were married December 28, 1825.

Simeon Locke was the first of the three Locke brothers who settled on Locke’s Hill in Epsom.

In the year 1792 his brother David Locke came and in the year 1800 Levi Locke came. 


Israel R. Chesley, Store Owner



Israel R. Chesley, born 1815 (son of Rev. Israel and Betsey (Folsom) Chelsey) bought a dwelling house in Epsom from Robert Knox in 1841, excepting 'that portion of the turnpike road which said house covers' it being land the said Knox bought of Abel Brown. A few months later, according to a deed of 1841, he buys a lot of land from Benjamin L. Locke adjacent to 'the store now occupied by the said Chesley & Company.' On the same date he mortgaged to B.L. Locke the land and the store or buildings thereon. Israel and partner Merrill sold the building in 1845 to Benjamin L. Locke, as Israel R. Chesley was then in Newbury, MA.


The store building is not longer standing, and was just west of the former residence of Jim and Hazel Steele.


Abraham D. Swain, Store Owner


Benjamin L. Locke bought out the store of Israel R. Chesley, and on the same day, September 4, 1845, sold it to Abraham D. and William A. Swain of Chichester, "land with the store formerly occupied by Israel R. Chesley." He owned the store and property for about three years and sold it in March of 1848, being referred to as 'merchant' to David Bennett of Northwood, "land with the store, wood shed and all other buildings standing on the same." Bennett holds the property for about a decade when he sells the property, now a residence and not a store. It appears that Abraham D. Swain also mortgaged the property by deed to Ephraim Locke Jr..


Meanwhile, Abel Brown had sold his tavern to Ebenezer Gove, and after his death, his widow Nancy, sold it to Benjamin L. Locke. Prior to the sale to Locke, Nancy Gove sold part of the lot in 1845 to Joseph J. Moses which becomes the parsonage, sheds and Congregational Church lot. Locke, keeps all the back land, and sells one acre with the buildings thereon, to Abraham D. Swain on March 29, 1849 (Merrimack Deeds 96-514). It appears that Abraham D. Swain also mortgaged the property by deed to Ephraim Locke Jr. on March 6, 1849, and transferred to Swain December 3, 1853. With the property free and clear, the one acre with land and buildings was sold by Abraham D. Swain to George W. Swain. It is not clear whether either Swain used the building as a functioning tavern.


M 117-416 December 3, 1853

Abraham D. and Margaret K. Swain to George W. Swain,

A certain tract of land bounded southerly by the turnpike road, so called, west and north of land now of Samuel Batchelder, east by a line running southwesterly from the southeast corner of said Batchelder’s land and the same course as the line between the said Batchelder and B.L. Locke to the north end of the horse shed lot belonging to Jeremiah G. Marden, being the northerly lot of sheds on the westerly side of the lot of land attached to and belonging to the Congregational Meeting-house, thence by the westerly side of the said shed lots and on the same course to the said turnpike toad, containing one acre, being the same land conveyed to Abraham D. Swain March 29, 1849, Lib. 96-574.


The deeds for the properties mention three Swains, Abraham D., William A., and George W., and the family was from Chichester. The three were sons of the Reverend William Swain and his wife Sally Drake, who moved from Brentwood, to Pittsfield, then in 1827 to Chichester. Son William A. also becomes a minister and later lived in Lynn, MA.


Abraham D. Swain married Almira Eaton in 1826 and had two children, Abraham O., born 1837 and Almira about 1840. He is already of Epsom in the 1840 census having bought in 1836 land of John M. Wells which he had bought from the widow Harriet Sanborn. In June 1840, his wife Almira dies and is buried in the McClary Cemetery in Epsom. In 1841, Abraham D. Swain of Chichester buys the homestead formerly owned by Jonathan Locke, from William McMurphy. Abraham married for his second wife, Margaret K. Locke, daughter of Deacon Ephraim and Deborah (Wells) Locke on April 8, 1841. They had a son Silas who was born in Epsom August 11, and died August 28, also buried in the McClary Cemetery. In 1850, the family is in Epsom, but by 1860 had moved to Ohio, and had two more children, Silas L. and Aretus D. In Ohio they are living next to Samuel B. Dwyer and his wife Eliza T. (Locke) sister to Margaret K. Locke. Both Abraham D. Swain and Samuel B. Dwyer were sons of ministers.


George W. Swain, Tavern & Store Owner


George W. Swain bought the Abel Brown/Ebenezer Gove tavern on the Turnpike Road from his brother Abraham D. Swain in 1853. Deeds do not indicate whether he continued to run a tavern from the home, but sold it to John Langley and John S. Cate in 1856. Langley and Cate sold it the same day to physician Leonard W. Peabody, and it was the home to Epsom's doctors until 1920.


1860, William Burnham of Epsom sells the entire land and buildings at Short Falls corner to George W. Swain, where the Crams, having moved the adjacent store on the property to Allenstown where it was used as a store by a Mr. Russ and later burned down. A store was operated out of the main house, and possibly was done so by George W. Swain. In1865, George Swain sells to Horace G. Silver, and a month later, Horace Silver sells it to Levi and Sally Robinson. Swain bought multiple properties in Epsom. He was born in Pittsfield Nov. 25, 1825 and died in Epsom March 4, 1869 and is buried with his wife in the Gossville Cemetery. She was Mary C. Sanders, daughter of William Sanders and Rachel B. Wallace, having been born in Parsonfield, Maine in 1830. They had one surviving daughter, Sadie D. Swain, who married 1885 in Epsom, Reverend Horatio Ellsworth Wilson.


William Sanders, father of Mary C. died in 1865, her husband George in 1869. A relative, Albert L. Sanders, bought the old Chesley store, formerly owned by Abraham D. Swain in 1880 and sold it to Mary C. in February 1881. Mary C. Swain sold the house to Emma J. Chase in 1898. She died December 22, 1906, some 37 years after her husband.


John & son J. M. Griffin, Store Owner



John Griffin and Aaron B. Grant, both of Epsom bought the homestead and store of Thomas D. Merrill in January of 1849. The area is divided by the burying ground (the old section of the McClary Cemetery). The homestead farm set to the west of the cemetery, and the store to the east. Aaron Grant likely sold out to David M. Knowles, who mortgaged his one undivided half to Joseph Lawrence in 1856, and sells to Andrew M. Heath in September of 1857. By 1858, according to the 1858 map, the store is labeled as belonging to J. Griffin Jr. and son, the son being John M. Griffin. It would appear that at some point, that half bought by Andrew M. Heath was bought by the Griffins. Joseph Lawrence also had a stake in the store and land, partly through a claim by the Sherriff and John Griffin, when Lawrence quitclaims the farm, less the store, to John M. Griffin in 1861. John M. Griffin married Emily A. Lawrence, daughter of Joseph, in 1859. There were at least two buildings on the east side of the cemetery, with some special arrangement having been made by Thomas D. Merrill to John Wells as shown in the following deed:


M 117-36 December 13, 1851

WE John Griffin Jr. and David M. Knowles of Epsom to John Wells of Epsom,

A certain tenement  or house situated in Epsom aforesaid being about 20 feet square one story high, being that part of the old store formerly owned by Thomas D. Merrill and by him fitted up for said Wells to live in and in which he now resides.


John M. Griffin and Abigail Griffin, along with John's wife Emily, in 1866 sell the majority of the farm to Hiram A. Holmes, and part of the land east of the cemetery, less the 1/2 acre store lot, to Andrew J. Hall. The portion with the house was sold by Joseph Lawrence to John C. Hall in 1859, which was occupied by John C. Hall's son James. They likely rebuilt the old John Wells house. This house and land was sold to Andrew J. Hall in 1864.


The Hall's sold the combined house and lots to Horace Robinson who in turn sold it in 1869 to Daniel Clough.


Joseph Lawrence continued to own the small 1/2 acre store lot, and in 1870 sold that property to Daniel Clough, who now owned the complete lot and land east of the cemetery. His heirs, Rosilla Clough Heath, wife of Christopher Heath, passed the property to their daughter R. Estelle Heath and her husband Charles Hall, who used the old store as a cobbler shop. Their son Roland Hall was the last of the family on the property.


Daybook 1857 of J. & J.M. Griffin



The Daybook (ledger) of John Griffin and son John M. Griffin is part of a private collection. The ledger uses about 1/3 of available pages, using 137, of the book which measures 13 1/2 x 9 1/2 and almost 3 inches thick. It is in very good condition. From the names included, it appears to have been a profitable venture.


Appleton, Thomas

Babb, Philip

Babb, William P.

Batchelder, Dearborn

Batchelder, George W.

Bickford, Daniel C.

Bickford, Mrs. William

Bickford, Nathan

Brown, Charles

Brown, Charles J.

Brown, David

Brown, Newell

Brown, Samuel Jr.

Brown, Widow Nancy

Burnham, Joseph W.

Buzzell, Mrs.

Cass, Henry O.

Cate, John

Chesley, John

Chesley, Jonathan S.

Clark, James M.

Clark, John C.

Clough, Charles

Cofran, Charles

Curtis, Thomas

Dearborn, Richard C.

Dennett, John R.

Dickey, David Jr.

Dickey, Robert O.

Dowst, Oseum

Eaton, Elisha

Epsom Town Farm

Estabrook, A.G.

Evans, Reuben

Fellows, John

Fogg, Enoch

Fogg, Jeremiah

Fogg, Widow Uriah

Frost, Meserve

Giles, John B.

Giles, Perly G.

Goodhue, E.H.

Goss, Daniel

Gove, Elijah

Grant, Andrew M.

Grant, John

Grant, William T.

Griffin, David

Griffin, Dominicus

Griffin, John

Griffin, Nathan

Griffin, Widow Sarah

Hall, Benjamin

Hall, Charles H.

Hall, John C.

Hall, Lemuel

Haynes, Caleb B.

Heath, A.M.

Heath, Benjamin C.

Heath, John M.

Hill, Joseph

Hoyt, Morrill

James, Timothy B.

James, W.H.H.

Lamprey, Charles

Langley, Josiah D.

Lawrence, Joseph

Lawrence, Joseph Jr.

Locke, Albion

Locke, Daniel P.

Locke, Francis

Marden, Nathan

Marden, Philip C.

Marden, Widow Betsey

McDaniels, Robert

Merrill, Warren

Meserve, Frost

Meserve, George F.

Meserve, Ira

Morrill, William S.

Moses, Dearborn D.

Norris, James

Page, George W.

Palmer, Andrus

Peabody, L.W.

Pervier, Jonathan G.

Philbrick, E.T.

Quimby, M.A.

Rand, Joseph W.

Rand, Widow Betsey

Rand, Widow Mary

Reed, E.G.

Robinson, Frank B.

Robinson, Stickney

Sanborn, Austin E.

Sanborn, Clara

Sanborn, Frederick

Sanborn, Henry F.

Sanborn, Joel L.

Sanborn, Moses

Sanborn, Mrs. B

Sanders, Edward T.

Sanders, William

School District No. 1

Sherburne, A.J.

Sherburne, James M.

Sherburne, John

Smith, Hilliard

Stanley, E.A.

Stearns, John Jr.

Towle, Simeon

Veasey, Coker

Veasey, Joseph

Wallace, Capt. William

Wallace, William

Watson, Jonathan

Weeks, Samuel

Weeks, Simon A.H.

Weeks, William

Wells, J.L.

Wells, John

Wells, Lovy

Wells, Samuel Jr.

Whittier, William

Wiggin, James

Wiggin, James Jr.

Williams, Nathaniel

Yeaton, Benjamin

Yeaton, Charles

Yeaton, Warren


John Wallace, Store Owner



The 1858 map of Epsom identifies 2 stores (though there may have been others), one on Center Hill belonging to John and John M. Griffin, and the other at Epsom Center, a store and post office, of John Wallace. The same property had been a store starting with John Batchelder then to Robert Knox. The heirs of Robert Knox sold to John Wallace April 14, 1851, he (Wallace) having previously maintained the family farm on Center Hill, what was later the Carter place, which he had bought from his siblings following the death of his father.


The store ran at this location until the house was sold to Capt. Arthur C. Locke on November 16, 1864.


John Wallace was the son of John Wallace and Mary True of Deerfield, who moved from the Griffin Road to Center Hill about 1806. It was there that John and Mary had 11 children and passed the farm to their eldest son John about 1840,who ended up purchasing the homestead from the rest of his siblings. He moved from Center Hill to Epsom Center about 1850. He married in 1839 Nancy Sanders, daughter of John Sanders and Hannah Locke, and had three daughters, Mary and Eliza, who never married, and Abbie who married a James McAllister. Nancy (Sanders) Wallace died in 1852 leaving the three young daughters, and John married as his second wife Sarah Huse Towle, daughter of Benjamin and Hannah (Sanborn) Towle. They had one daughter, Sarah N. Wallace who became the second wife of Hiram A. Holmes, no children.


The only heirs of John Wallace is daughter Abby born in Epsom October 17, 1847 who married James McAllister in Chicago Feb. 27, 1877. He died in 1891 and they had one daughter Edith. Edith married Andrew George Mackie in Chicago, July 12, 1899. Andrew died in 1915 leaving Edith with two children, Robert and Amy L. Mackie. Abby, who died in 1922, lived with her daughter in 1900, and with her and her grandchildren in 1910 and 1920. Last known information from the 1930 census shows the widow Edith Mackie still living with her two children, neither which was married. Robert aged 27 and Amy 25.


Henry Knox, Tavern Owner


Benjamin L. Locke built his tavern in 1828, and late in life moved to Chichester to live with one of his daughters, selling the "Suncook House" to Henry Knox on February 26, 1866. Henry Knox was the son of Isaac Knox and Sally Wiggin and born about 1829, with his father passing away in 1834 leaving 8 young children. Henry married Caroline Wells of Epsom in 1851, she the daughter of Samuel and Eleanor (Dickey) Wells. Together they had children Cyrus, Fred and Eleanor. Eleanor died young and the two sons kept their Epsom connections, and all are buried in Epsom.


The relationship of Robert Knox, who had the store just west of the entrance to New Orchard Road, was a brother to Isaac Knox, father of Henry. The father of Robert and Isaac was William Knox, of Pembroke, who had married Elinor McDaniel in 1779. Elinor McDaniel had a brother Robert, whose namesake son resided in Epsom.


Henry sells the tavern business in June of 1874, to Henry S. Knowles.


Knowles Store



Henry Smith Knowles was born in Northwood, NH to Smith Knowles and Harriet T. Durgin on August 20, 1848. February 15, 1851, he married Genella Cate of Deerfield, and they had three children; William Henry, 1875; Albert Cate, 1879; and Mary Genella 1883.


The building in which the store was located was built in 1828 by Benjamin L. Locke and run as a tavern, which was sold to Henry Knox in 1866. The deeds from Knox to Knowles describes the property:


M 248-52 June 14, 1878


We Henry Knox of Epsom and Caroline Knox, his wife, to Henry S. Knowles of Epsom,

A tract of land with the buildings thereon in Epsom bounded as follows: beginning at the southeast corner of land of Albon H. French and from thence running northerly, easterly and northerly by said French to land formerly owned by Samuel Batchelder, thence northerly by said Batchelders land to land of Joseph W. Hoyt, thence easterly by said Hoyts land and land of Ephraim Locke to land of Jackson C. Philbrick, thence southerly by said Philbricks land to land of Lowell Eastman, thence south westerly and southerly of said Eastman's land to land of Daniel C.  Ayer, thence westerly and southerly by said Ayers land to the turnpike road, thence westerly by said turnpike road to the bounds first mentioned, reserving the Congregational Meeting House lot and the Horse shed lot included in the above described premises as deed to the proprietors. also reserving all personal property on the above mentioned premises.


M 248-51 June 14, 1878


We Henry Knox of Epsom and Caroline Knox, his wife to Henry S. Knowles of Epsom,

All our interest to a certain mill privilege and land thereto lying on the southerly side of the Turnpike road, and on either side of the little Suncook River containing all the land and buildings deeded to me by one Ephraim Heald May 31, 1877 (233-453) reserving a lot of boards near the guide post, also all the shingles in the building also all lumber belonging to other persons.


The first deed excludes property which was sold by the proprietor's to Henry Knox and nine other persons, which by 1908, four-fifths was owned by Roscoe Hill and one fifth part by Henry S. Knowles. Roscoe Hill sold his portion to Eudora Johnson October 27, 1908 and Henry S. Knowles sold his portion to his son William H. as shown by the following deed:


M 386-29 October 27, 1908


Henry S. Knowles to William H. Knowles,

One undivided fifth part of a parcel of land in Epsom, beginning on the northerly side of the turnpike road so called at other land of said Henry S. Knowles, thence westerly by said road 110 feet to land of Henry S. Knowles, thence easterly by said Knowle's land 100 feet ot the horse shed lots, now owned by said Knowles, thence southerly by said horse shed lots and by H.S. Knowles land to the bound begun at, being the land that Nancy Gove conveyed to Joseph J. Moses by deed Merrimack County 79-472, and by said Moses conveyed to John S. Cate and others who formed the Congregational religious Society of Epsom in February 1846 and by said Cates and other proprietors through a properly constituted committee conveyed to me the said Henry S. Knowles and nine others.


William H. Knowles, after the death of his first wife, marries Eudora Johnson, and in 1930 inherits the estate of his father through deeds from this mother, sister Mary Barton, and brother Albert. C. Knowles.


William Henry Knowles married first Elsie Norine Warren on September 29, 1897, and had two children: Gilbert Henry (1899-1983) and George William (1905-1989) who married Madeline R. Greene in 1927. Gilbert never married and George and Madeline had no children. Upon the death of William Henry Knowles in 1949, the two sons continued the family store, which remained pretty much unchanged from the time of their father and grandfather. It was featured in the former NH Profiles Magazine, and was the post office for Epsom Center for many years. The property passed to Gary and Joni Kitson of Epsom who had the building torn down.


John C. Hall and Son, Store



What little is known about the store of John C. Hall and his son Charles Sumner Hall, comes from a biographical review, volume 22 of Merrimack and Sullivan Counties. John C. Hall was a native of Lee, NH and early on was a carpenter. Later in Epsom he opened a store and became a prosperous merchant while running a large farm. He and his wife, Martha E. (Rand Hall) had nine children, the youngest, Charles Sumner Hall, was born June 3, 1854. Charles S. went to school in Epsom and later took commercial courses at the Bryant and Stratton Business College in Manchester, and after finishing school, went into business with his father for several years before starting a partnership in Gossville in 1883. He married Ellen M. Dolbeer in 1876 and built a house next to the Gossville District School. They did not have any children.


The store was most likely on the farm and homestead of the family on Center Hill, which burned down in a lightning storm in August of 1916.


William Goss, Hotel & Store Owner



William Goss grew up in the Fowler District of Epsom, off Jug City Road, the son of Jonathan Goss and Sally Yeaton. He married in Pembroke June 2, 1846, Maryetta Abbott. In March1855 he bought at auction the estate of Col. Daniel Cilley, including land, the large farm and the Cilley Tavern. His daybook, with entries starting March the 26th 1855, gives the exact date he opened his Suncook Valley House for business, January 8, 1856, when he served 1 meal and housed oxen over night. For almost 40 years the family ran the hotel. On May 26, 1859, James M. Sherburne reported in his diary that the barn burned down, and in later entries notes it was rebuilt, and by the end of June a new barn had been built. The Goss family ran the hotel for nearly 40 years before the heirs sold it to Chapin Osgood in 1894.


The tavern was just the first foray of William Goss into that part of town which later bore his name, Gossville. He moved a family home across town for his father, and shortly after starting the hotel business, helped build a house for his son John A. Goss. In 1861 he helped out the Freewill Baptist Society by buying their old meetinghouse and moving it to Gossville so a new meetinghouse could be built. It is unknown for sure what the first use of the building was, but Benjamin Towle in his writings says that the building was formerly a carriage or wheelwrights shop where a Jim McGuire worked, and was later made into a store. The opening  was advertised in the local paper:


From the Valley Times March 17, 1870

New Store New Store
In the Suncook Valley

The subscribers offer for sale at their new Store just opened at Goss' Village in Epsom, a good variety of West India Goods and Groceries at extremely low prices. Having purchased goods for cash in Boston and vicinity, at great discount, we are prepared to place them before the public lower than they can be bought elsewhere, in this vicinity. We solicit a liberal patronage. Come one and all and examine out stock of goods for yourselves.
Motto, Quick Sales and Small Profits.
Wm. & John A. Goss. Epsom, Feb. 28, 1870 


The one story building was raised, with the original church becoming the second floor, and it opened as the Grand Army of the Republic Hall and was dedicated by the post September 20, 1883, in which they have since held their meetings.


The operation of the store by William and his son John A. was not long, as within two years, Andrew Silver and Jacob Robinson are operating out of the building which they buy in 1873. 


Gossville Store



The store at Gossville opened its doors for the first time in 1870 with William Goss and son John A. Goss the proprietors, but within a couple years were leasing the space to the team of Silver and Robinson. Jacob Freeze Robinson was from Deerfield, as was his partner, Andrew J. Silver. In January 1873, John A. Goss sold his half of the store to Silver and Robinson, his being the southerly half, and in April of 1873, William Goss sells to Andrew J. Silver "a certain tract of land with the buildings thereon, the same being the northerly half of the store occupied by Silver & Robinson in said Epsom and the horse shed connected therewith and the land running in a straight line with the westerly side of the shed in a northerly direction, to the Post standing at the south side of the gate which is the entrance to land of James Batchelder on the west side of Goboro Road." This partnership lasted a decade when Robinson sold his share of the business to Charles Sumner Hall. Charles S. Hall had previously worked a store with his father on Center Hill. The store thrived and the duo were successful for just over 30 years. In 1914 Andrew Silver and Charles S. Hall sold the store to Andrew's son Harry Silver and his partner Burt D. Young. The store continued a most successful venture with  Silver and Young another 30 year period, making the Silver's co-owners for some 63 years. The store also housed the Gossville Post Office, and was sold in 1946 to Frederick A. Burnell of Barnstead, and they in turn sold in in 1950 to Herbert R. Seldon who ran the store and Post Office to close to another decade. From 1959 to 1971 the store was owned by Melvin J. and Rowena P. Severance, and from 1971 to 1979 by the Hahn's.


Gossville Hotel



The Gossville hotel is the longest running establishment in the history of Epsom. Started in 1799 as the Cilley Tavern: then in 1858 as the Suncook Valley House of William Goss; continued by Chapin Osgood in 1894; sold or leased to Edgar F. White in 1903 as the Gossville Hotel; 1909 owned by Charles Sumner Hall and called the Hotel Sumner; leased by Helen L. Smith, and sold in 1926 by the heirs of Charles Sumner Hall to Sarah G. Ford; 1928 to Beulah K. Doherty; 1931 to Dorothy Frost as the Pine Grove Inn until1957. From 1957 to 1963 it was owned by William and Helen Smith as the Sherwood Inn. To that date it had been in constant use for 164 years.From 1964 to 1972 is was used as a convalescent home operated by Frank and Barbara Anderson, sold by them in 1972. For the next couple of decades it was owned by the Universal Grace Church of Epsom and sold July 1994 to Edward and Lynne Buckus. The Estate of Lynne E. Buckus sold the property to New Age Development.


The western portion of the building was removed and moved just down the road and raised as a 2 story dwelling house, and replaced with a new addition with a surrounding veranda. The barn, while owned by Chapin Osgood was twice burned around 1896 and rebuilt, only to burn down again just a few years ago. Besides serving as a hotel, it was a large farm, with the back land almost reaching New Orchard Road, and where Charles Sumner Hall, after selling his portion of what was later the Gossville store, raised extensive cattle. The building stands today.


The Old Tavern on Center Hill



Ray Ring, among his other endeavors, was known for his photography. The Epsom Historical Association recently scanned 36 of his slides of primarily Epsom scenes from the late 1960's to the mid 1970's. This particular photo is probably the last picture of the old tavern on Center Hill before it was lost to fire. The tavern was built by Epsom's first minister, Rev. John Tucke and was later sold by his heirs to Simon Ames Heath. For those not familiar with the old tavern, it is the building set off from the road across from the telephone pole in the photo.