Revolution and the Stone Wall Era

Presented by the Epsom Historical Association for the Epsom Public Library
Friday, October 16, 2009, 7 pm

Prior to the French and Indian War, the young town was doing its best to fulfill its charter. The home lots had been drawn, but were slow to be settled. Back in October of 1732, a vote to build a meetinghouse thirty feet long and 24 feet wide was agreed to. This original meetinghouse was built, as Mr. William Locke received thirty seven pounds five shillings towards building said meetinghouse as per his receipts. The minutes of 1733 give the 'name of the street from the meetinghouse upward West street and downward to Nottingham from said meetinghouse East street'. Records also indicate that there was a proprietor's meeting held at the Epsom meetinghouse in May of 1743 and with a meetinghouse in place, the proprietor's and inhabitants voted to raise 40 pounds for the support of a minister. This was probably the only condition of the charter made on time. The fate of this first meetinghouse is unknown, there is no further mention of it and in November of 1743 the proprietors met in Greenland - and for the next five years, all the proprietor's meetings were held outside the town, returning for a meeting in Epsom in 1750 at the home of John Blake. One must assume that the meetinghouse came to some ill fortune sometime around 1743.
August 21, 1747 was when Isabella McCoy was captured by the Indians, and we know that about this time there may have been as few as 5 families living in town. Just when the Indian threat was assumed over is not known, but this time period is given as 1745-1749, and says much about the families living here at the time. Rev. Jonathan Curtiss wrote the most about the incursions of the Indians in Epsom. Writing in 1823, he had access to members still living within a generation of many of the events. His account is as follows:
"In the early days of the town, the inhabitants were kept in a state of almost continual alarm by the incursions of the Indians. For a considerable time after the settlement was commenced, only the men ventured to remain in the place during the summer season: and then they must keep their arms by them, while they labored on their lands. During the winter, there was much less danger from the Indians. Even long after the men had removed their families into the place, so feeble was their defense against the attacks of their savage neighbors, that when ever any immediate danger was apprehended, they either sent their families away or fled with them to the garrison at Nottingham. At length a house was erected by Captain Andrew McClary within the limits of the town, and near the present residence of Mr. Joseph Lawrence; which was made proof against the assaults of the Indians, being surrounded by a high wooden wall, entered by a heavy, well secured gate. Thither the inhabitants fled at night, whenever danger was apprehended.


The Indians were first attracted to the new settlements in the town by discovering McCoy at Suncook, now Pembroke. This, as nearly as can be ascertained, was in the year 1747. Reports were spread of the depredations of the Indians in various places; and McCoy had heard that they had been seen lurking about the woods at Penacook, now Concord. He went as far as Pembroke; ascertained that they were in the vicinity; was somewhere discovered by them and followed home. They told his wife, whom they afterwards made prisoner, that they looked through cracks around the house, and saw what they had for supper that night. They however did not discover themselves till the second day afterwards. They probably wished to take a little time to learn the strength and preparation of the inhabitants. The next day Mrs. McCoy, attended by their two dogs, went down to see if any of the other families had returned from the garrison. She found no one. On her return, as she was passing the block-house, which stood near the present site of the meeting house, the dogs, which had passed around it, came running back growling and very much excited. Their appearance induced her to make the best of her way home. The Indians afterwards told her that they then lay concealed there and saw the dogs when they came around.
McCoy, being now strongly suspicious that the Indians were actually in town, determined to set off the next day with his family for the garrison at Nottingham. His family now consisted of himself, his wife and son John. The younger children were still at the garrison. They accordingly secured their house as well as they could, and all set off next morning: -McCoy and his son with their guns, though without ammunition, having fired away what they brought with them in hunting.
As they were travelling a little distance East of the place where the meeting house now stands, Mrs. McCoy fell a little in the rear of the others. This circumstance gave the Indians a favorable opportunity for separating her from her husband and son. The Indians, three men and a boy, lay in ambush near the foot of Marden's hill, not far from the junction of the mountain road with the main road. Here they suffered McCoy and son to pass; but as his wife was passing them they reached from the bushes, and took hold of her, charging her to make no noise, and covering her mouth with their hands, as she cried to her husband for assistance. Her husband, hearing her cries, turned, and was bout coming to her relief. But he no sooner began to advance, than the Indians, expecting probably that he would fire upon them, began to raise their pieces, which she pushed one side, and motioned to her friends to make their escape, knowing that they would doubtless be killed if they approached. They accordingly ran into the woods and made their escape to the garrison. This took place August 21, 1747.
The Indians collected together what booty they could obtain, which consisted of an iron trammel, from Mr. George Wallace's; the apples of the only tree which bore in town, which was in the orchard now owned by Mr. David Griffin, and some other trifling articles, and prepared to set off with their prisoner for Canada.
Before they took their departure, they conveyed Mrs. McCoy to a place near the little Suncook river, where they left her in the care of the young Indian, while the three men, whose names were afterwards ascertained to be Plausawa (1), Sabatis and Christ!, went away, and were for some time absent. During their absence, Mrs. McCoy thought of attempting to make her escape. She saw opportunities, when she thought she might dispatch the young Indian with the trummel, which, with other things was left with them, and thus perhaps avoid some strange and barbarous death, or a long and distressing captivity. But, on the other hand, she knew not at what distance the others were. If she attempted to kill her young keeper, she might fail. If she effected her purpose in this, she might be pursued and overtaken by a cruel and revengeful foe, and then some dreadful death would be her certain portion. On the whole, she thought best to endeavor to prepare her mind to bear what might be no more , than a period of savage captivity. Soon, however , the Indians returned, and put an end for the present to all thoughts of escape. From the direction in which they went and returned, and from their smutty appearance, she suspected what their business had been. She told them "she guessed they had been burning her house." Plausawa, who could speak some broken English, informed her they had. (2)
They now commenced their long and tedious journey to Canada, in which the poor captive might well expect that great and complicated suffering would be her lot. She did indeed find the journey fatiguing and her fare scant and precarious. But, in her treatment from the Indians, she experienced a vary agreeable disappointment. The kindness she received from them was far greater then she had expected from those who were so often distinguished for their cruelties. The apples they had gathered they saved for her, giving her one every day. In this way they lasted her as far on the way as Lake Champlain. They gave her the last, as they were crossing that lake in their canoes. This circumstance gave to the tree on which the apples grew the name of "Isabella's tree," her name being Isabella. In many ways did they appear desirous of mitigating the distresses of their prisoner while on their tedious journey. When night came on, and they halted to repose themselves in the dark wilderness, Plausawa, the head man would make a little couch in the leaves a little way from theirs, cover her up with his own blanket; and there she was suffered to sleep undisturbed till morning. When they came to a river, which must be forded, one of them would carry her over on his back. Nothing like insult or indecency did they ever offer her during the whole time she was with them.. They carried her to Canada, and sold her as a servant to a French family, whence, at the close of that war, she returned home. But so comfortable was her condition there, and her husband being a man of rather a rough and violent temper, she declared she never should have thought of attempting the journey home, were it not for the sake of her children.
After the capture of Mrs. McCoy, the Indians frequently visited the town but never committed any very great depredations. The greatest damage they ever did to the property of the inhabitants was the spoiling of all the ox-teams in town. At the time referred to, there were but four yoke of oxen in the place, viz. McCoy's, Captain McClary's, George Wallace's, and Lieutenant Blake's. It was a time of apprehension from the Indians; and the inhabitants had therefore all fled to the garrison at Nottingham. They left their oxen to graze about the woods, with a bell upon one of them. The Indians found them; shot one out of each yoke; took out their tongues, made prize of the bell and left them.

Sergeant Blake
The ferocity and cruelty of the savages were doubtless very much averted by a friendly, conciliating course of conduct in the inhabitants towards them. This was particularly the case in the course pursued by Sergeant Blake. Being himself a curious marksman and an expert hunter, traits of character in their view of the highest order, he soon secured their respect; and, by a course of kind treatment, he secured their friendship to such a degree, that though they had opportunities, they would not injure him even in time of war.
The first he ever saw of them was a company of them making towards his house, through the opening from the top of Sanborn's hill. He fled to the woods and there lay concealed, till they had made a thorough search about his house and enclosures, and had gone off. The next time his visitors came he was constrained to become more acquainted with them and to treat them with more attention. As he was busily engaged towards the close of the day in completing a yard for his cow, the declining sun suddenly threw a long several enormous shadows on the ground before him. He had no sooner turned to see the cause, than he found himself in the company of a number of stately Indians. Seeing his perturbation, they patted him on the head and told him "not to be afraid, for they would not hurt him." They then went with him into his house; and their first business was to search all his bottles to see if he had any "occapee," rum. They then told him they were very hungry, and wanted something to eat. He happened to have a quarter of a bear which he gave them. They took it and threw it whole upon the fire, and very soon began to cut and eat from it half raw. While they were eating, he employed himself in cutting pieces from it and broiling upon a stick for them, which please them very much. After their repast, they wished for the privilege of lying by his fire through the night, which he granted. The next morning, they proposed trying skill with him in firing at a mark. To his he acceded. But in this, finding themselves outdone, they were much astonished and chagrined; nevertheless they highly commended him for his skill, patting him on the head and telling him "if he would go off with them, they would make him their big captain." They used often to call upon him, and his kindness to them they never forgot even in time of war.
Plausawa had a peculiar manner of doubling his lip and producing a very shrill piercing whistle, which might be heard a great distance. At a time when considerable danger was apprehended from the Indians, Blake went off into the woods alone, though considered hazardous, to look for his cow that was missing. As he was passing along by Sinclair's brook, an unfreguented place, northerly from McCoy's mountain; a very loud sharp whistle, which he knew to be Plausawa's suddenly passed through his head like the report of a pistol. The sudden alarm almost raised him from the ground; and, with a very light step, he soon reached home without his cow. In more peaceable times, Plausawa asked him if he did not remember the time, and laughed very much to think how he ran at the fright, and told him the reason for his whistling. "Young Indian," said he, "put up gun to shoot Englishman. Me knock it down, and whistle to start you off." So lasting is their friendship, when treated well. At the close of the wars the Indians built several wigwams near the confluence of Wallace's brook with the Great Suncook. On a little island in this river, near the place called "Short Falls," one of them lived for considerable time. Plausawa and Sabatis were finally both killed in time of peace by one of the whites after a drunken quarrel and buried near a certain brook in Boscawen.
It has also been said that Segeant Blake, who was Samuel Blake, paid the Indians 19 shillings and a jack-knife for 200 acres of land. Records indicate that he bought home lot number 14 around 1742, his payment to the Indians must have been more of an appeasement.
One of the earliest references to problems with the Indians comes from the McGaffey family genealogy. It relates that in 1734, Neal McGaffey, whose family came from Ireland and settled first in Londonderry, along with the McClary and McCrillis familes, settled in Epsom where he was killed by the Indians. He was at work in the woods hewing timber and was surprised by the Indians, who overpowered him and killed him with his own broadaxe.
Andrew McClary was a leader in local expeditions against the Indians. The August 15th 1754 attack on the Philip Call home in Salisbury (then Stewartstown) was reported to the garrison in Contoocook, and eight men were dispatched and took pursuit. Just missing an ambush by the Indians, seven of the men escaped, and an account of the affair was sent to Portsmouth, delivered by Andrew McClary. His account survives in the public records.
"Council Minutes."
"PORTSMOUTH, August, 18, 1754.

The said Andrew being examined, declared that Eph'm Foster, and Stephen Moor acquainted the declarant that they were at Stevenstown the day after the mischief was done by the Indians and found the body of Mrs. Call lying dead near the door of her house, scalped and her head almost cut off, and upon further search, found the body of a man named Cook, dead and scalped. That the Indians were supposed to be about thirty in number according to the account of eight men, that upon hearing the news, went immediately from Contoocook to Stevenstown and in that way passed by the enemy, who soon followed them and seeing the Indians too many in number to engaged, they parted and endeavored to escape. One of the company, one Bishop, stood sometime and fired at the Indians, but was soon obliged to run. Cook was found dead by the river's side. Bishop supposed to be killed and sun in the river, he being still missing,--that there were two men belonging to the plantation at a distance working in a meadow that as yet were not come in. And it was feared they had fallen into the hands of the enemy,--that as the declarant had understood, all the inhabitants, consisting of about eight families were come down into the lower towns and had left their improvements, corn, hay, and cattle."
Upon this information the council resolved,
"That his Excellency be desired to give immediate orders for enlisting or impressing such a number of men, as he may thing proper in this immergency, and dispose of the men, to encourage the settlers to return to their habitations and secure their cattle and harvest and to encourage the other frontiers in that quarter."
John McClary and his younger brother Andrew McClary, were scouts and Andrew is later an officer in Rogers's famous company of New Hampshire Rangers, formed in 1755. Other members included Joseph Cilley and John Stark, both to resurface with McClary prior to Bunker Hill. Among the rolls of the company is a Charles McCoy.
It appears when the Indian threat was over, that an effort was made to populate the new town. The selectman in 1749 petitioned that is was their desire that Thomas Blake may be an Inn Keeper. Once again it was voted in 1750 that 50 pounds old tenor be raised for support of the Gospel. From 1751 on, with the exception of one year, the proprietors met at the home of Andrew McClary, Inn Keeper. On December 28, 1757, Andrew McClary, the original immigrant, 'very sick & weak in body' makes out his will. The exact date the Andrew McClary moved his family to Epsom is unclear. According to historian John Mark Moses, "Andrew McClary was "of Epsom" by a deed April 30, 1741. He is said to have settled there in 1738. He came from the north of Ireland in 1726, reaching Boston August 8 of that year. October 8, 1728. Andrew "McCleary" of Hanover, Plymouth County, Mass., bought land in Nottingham, N. H. He was '''of Nottingham" by a deed October 16, 1735, also "of Nottingham" February 27 and March 7, 1747, but "of Epsom" again June 10, 1747, and onward. He died there between September 13, 1764 and October 15, 1765, leaving a widow, Agnes, and children: John, born in 1719; Andrew, said to have been about ten years younger; Jane, who had married, January 8, 1756, John McGaffey, and a daughter that had married Richard Tripp. An older deceased daughter, Margaret, had married George Wallace early enough to have a child baptized in 1740."
It would appear that McClary moved freely between the two locations. An early entry in the Nottingham town records for May 1729, at a meeting at the block house, 'Joseph Hall and Andrew McClary are to Lay a Flore and fit one End of the block house for a minister to preach in.' He was selectman in Nottingham 1733-34. The garrison or block house in Epsom is mentioned in 1736, presumably that of the McClary's, placing him back in Epsom. The town records for August 1744 has this brief mention: "the proprietors of Epsom for Andrew McClary living in Nottingham leaving the town book in his possession and deliver it up to the town Clerk of Epsom," placing him back in Nottingham. His oldest son John had a house from 1741 across the street from the homestead. The garrison's old foundation was disturbed the summer of by building the new house for Augustus Lord, Esq. about 1885, later known as the Carter Place,
In 1759, Charles McCoy petitioned for a license "to keep a Tavern or place of Publick Entertainment for all sorts of sociable liquors at his house in Epsom," But the end of 1759 there was still no minister, no school, and once again, no meetinghouse. After the Indian outbreaks in 1754, things quieted down, and the threat was over by 1760.
To get an indication of how the town grew, a look at the development of when various roads were built before the Revolutionary War, will give a better picture of which parts of the town were populated, and by whom. It would also be remembered that homes were built on lots before the town built the roads, with transportation by horse through whatever footpaths or trails were made by the settlers.
The road either side of the first meetinghouse, East and West streets, was in place by 1733. In 1744, a road had been cut to the Suncook River, along the hill north of Gossville, in the vicinity of the old Sherburne homestead, now owned by Al Bickford. A petition came before the Provincial Legislature for the town of Canterbury to build a bridge "sufficient for carts & carriages to pass & repass on over Suncook River … to travel from Durham to Canterbury & will warrant to maintain the same Bridge for ten years." A committee in 1758 laid out a road from Nottingham to Chichester, the committee consisting of Andrew McClary, John Blake and Joshua Berry.
With what was called the Canterbury Road in place, travelers from the more developed coast had to pass through Epsom to get inland. As the inland towns developed, the population increased as the lands off of Center Hill was settled. The new settlers cut their own paths to their property with the town following later with official town roads. Early roads included 'road to Pembroke' over Sanborn's Hill to New Rye.
Town records indicate that Ebenezer Barton was the surveyor of the New Orchard Road in 1761, with that road being laid out by 1774, from what was the old Knowles store to the Chichester, late Pittsfield town line. This same year, 1774, a road from Deerfield to Abraham Green's in Pittsfield was laid out, which today is North Road.
In 1768 two new roads were laid out, one from the main road to the Prescott Bridge up to where Samuel Wallace lived. That road today would take you from Center Hill to Black Hall Road and stop at about the site of the current Epsom Central School. Ten years later this road was extended to Allenstown. The second started near the house of Samuel Blake, now the Nutter home, up over Sanborn Hill to the property line between Jonathan Chapman and Richard Tripp, in New Rye. The latter moved in 1781 to Short Falls. The former Jonathan Chapman house is now the area where Richard Harkness resides.
In 1773 a new road was built from the Prescott Bridge (on Black Hall Road behind Cumberland farms) up to within 10 rods of the 'great bridge' where the Canterbury Road crosses the Suncook River. This would be basically a road from Black Hall Road up the old Rand Road, now Goboro Road. In 1782 a road from Thomas Babb's down Prescott Hill to the Pettingill Bridge toward Northwood was built. Today this is Cato Road and was where Cato Fisk's family lived and takes you to the end of Northwood Lake. In 1784 the Locke Road was added off New Orchard Road, and Mountain Road was added off Center Hill.
By the middle of the Revolutionary War you could get to New Rye; you could take Black Hall Road to Short Falls; you could travel from the coast to Canterbury; you could get to Pittsfield from New Orchard and Locke's Hill Roads or from North Road. A new road came off Center Hill headed back to Northwood. East Street still provided a route to Deerfield and Nottingham. With these new roads it became easier to access many more lots in Epsom's four ranges.
The population was still meager. By the end of the French and Indian Wars there were probably 30 families or less. In 1762, a petition to the Governor was signed by 27 residents to get some relief to support a minister and build a meetinghouse. The result of their prayer is unknown, but assuming those who signed made up the majority of tax-paying residents, the population of the town was indeed sparse. A few others apparently did not sign, as Ebenezer Barton and Charles McCoy were in Epsom, and probably a few others. Nonetheless, the list shows that the majority of the initial laid out lots were unoccupied, with few families living away from East Street or Center Hill.
The selectmen met and the hiring of a minister was the top of the agenda. Rev. John Tucke came to Epsom and preached on the 18th of April 1761. It was voted that June at a legal meeting at the house of Andrew McClary, Mr. John Tucke to be their Gospel minister. The deal was one hundred acres of land as a settlement as the charter allowed with 50 acres laid out and the other 50 in some convenient place, reserving the privilege for setting of a meeting house. At the same meeting, it was voted six hundred pounds old tenor towards building a minister's house. The Reverend Mr. Tucke did not accept the original offer, and the subsequent offer was 5 pounds sterling as an addition to Mr. John Tucks salary as soon as there shall be fifty families in this town, which 5 pounds is to be added to the 35 pounds which together make forty pounds sterling for his stated salary. At the same meeting as the terms were amended, it was voted "that the meetinghouse shall stand on the same lot where the old meetinghouse formerly stood, at or near the Burying place".
Rev. Tucke accepted the call in August, and was ordained September 23, 1761.
"To the inhabitants of Epsom:
"Grace, mercy and peace from God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied among you.
"Brethren: It is some time since you gave me a call to the sacred work of the ministry among you in this place, and now I understand by the committee sent to me by you, that you have both renewed and ratified that call and confirmed further offers. And now, after a very serious, mature and most deliberate consideration, and fervent looking-up to Heaven for direction, assistance and God's blessing, and hoping that there is a good prospect of doing good service among you, and in building you up in His most holy faith; I now, confiding in and relying on the strength of divine grace for assistance, as God hath graciously promised His ministers, accept your call to me.
"But, Brethren, I now must say to you, as in 1st Cor. 14: `So hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel.' Now the very same I expect of and from you as long as God shall be pleased to continue me among you. And while I am with you I earnestly desire and crave your prayers for me as you pray for yourselves. The apostle says, 1st Thess. 5, 25: `Brethren pray for us,' and I hope my prayers to Almighty God will not be wanting for you, while I minister among you, in holy things. I hope by God's grace, on which I wholly rely and depend, to say with the apostle in Colos. 1, 9: `I do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that we might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.'
"I do now subscribe myself,-Yours, to serve in the Gospel of our Blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ,
John Mark Moses gives some insight into the early history of the young church. '[It was] organized September 23, 1761, its covenant being signed by the following persons: Rev. John Tucke, John Blake and wife Mary, Abraham, Isaac, Isaac, Jr., and Reuben Libby, Nathan Marden, William Wallace, Margaret, wife of Reuben Sanborn, Sr., and Widow Sarah Nason. October 9 there were added the wives of the two Isaac Libbys, and Joanna, daughter of Isaac, Sr. These fourteen were regarded as the original members. There are records of seventy-two members. There are records of one hundred and sixty-seven baptisms of children, and among them, of the following three adults: Mr. Tucke's servant, Abraham; Phebe, a young woman, about twenty, no surname given; and Samuel Blake's man-servant, who seems not to have had even a first name. From Mr. Tucke's antecedents, and evident success in a pioneer community, there is every presumption that he was a man of ability and personal worth.'
The scarcity of records makes it a little unclear as to his actual settlement in town. It appears that he may have had more means then the town, as he ended up owning the land and likely built his house. As there was no meetinghouse at the beginning of his pastorate, many of the church meetings were held at his home. He married, March 4, 1762; Mary, daughter of Rev. Samuel Parsons, pastor at Rye. No doubt he had a home for his bride, and records show a meeting there June 22, 1762 when John McClary joined Nathan Marden as a Deacon of the church. George Wallace was to join them in 1769.
It is at this point, with the first minister in place that the majority of the members of the town petitioned the Governor to restore previous years taxes as they are 'not able to build a meetinghouse; that our Minister is obliged to Preach in some of our Dwelling houses, and was signed by John McClary, George Wallace, Nathan Marden, John Blake, Ephraim Locke, Reuben Sanborn Jr., Elphalet sanborn, Reuben Sanborn, James Wood, Abraham Libbey, Abraham Wallace, Benjamin Blake, Thomas Blake, Isaac Libbey, Isaac Libbey Jr., Reuben Libbey, Amos Blazo, Samuel Bickford, Samuel Blake, Thomas Haines, John Blazo, Ephraim Berry, William Blake, Benson Ham, John McGaffey, Andrew McClary, Abner Evans.
Again the result remains unknown, though that aside, April 19 1764 it was voted 'that a meetinghouse to be built in Epsom, the length fifty feet and the bredth forty feet. Voted Isaac Libbee junr, Thomas Blake, John McClary esq., George Wallace, Nathan Marden be a committee to carry on the work of said building and they shall have full power to act and do in behalf of the town in the best manner they can and take -- also said committee to vandue of the pews in said meetinghouse, or the privileges for said pews and to take the security for the same. Voted one thousand pounds OT to be paid when said committee shall call for the same.' The 1761 meeting "that the meetinghouse shall stand on the same lot where the old meetinghouse formerly stood, at or near the Burying place" would seem to have been followed, the land a portion of that which had been set aside for the home of Rev. Tucke, and at the burying place. In short, the structure was built. Pews were sold May 15, 1764, the buyers being the following:
The pew No. 1 bid of by Capt. Andrew McClary Senr at 164
No. 2 to Samuel Blake 187
No. 3 to Saml Jackson at 116
No. 4 to Benson Ham at 152
No. 5 to Richard Tripp at 152
No. 6 to John McGaffey at 152
No. 7 to Thomas Blake at 114
No. 8 to William Blake at 154
No. 9 to Eliphalet Sanborn at 154
No. 10 to Eliphalet Sanborn at 170
No. 11 for the use of the person _ or a town privilege
No. 12 to Samuel Blake at 164
No. 13 to Nathan Marden at 120
No. 14 to Benjamin Blake at 157
No. 15 to Isaac Libbey at 150
No. 16 to John McClary Esq. at 157
No. 17 to John McGaffey at 155
No. 18 to Capt. Andrew McClary at 175
No. 19 to George Wallace at 185
No. 20 to Nathan Marden at 186
No. 21 to John McClary Esq. at 180
No. 22 to Thomas Blake at 160
No. 23 to Capt. Andrew McClary at 155
Exactly when the meetinghouse was completed, or when the first meeting was held there is unknown, but it can be ascertained that it was being used by Thanksgiving Nov. 14, 1765.
Mr. Moses continued. 'By the latter part of 1773, some of the leading citizens had become seriously disaffected; among them, Capt. Andrew McClary, Doctor Williams and Jeremiah Prescott, who made formal complaint. Ephraim Locke, also had " grievances," quite a number, it would seem, as a meeting was appointed to settle "some" of them. A change of pastor had become expedient.
Had the church been free to act, this might have been effected without scandal. But the consent of a council was necessary; and, as in a divorce case, there must be charges.
January 3, 1774, the town voted to call a council '' to settle the difficulties subsisting between the Rev. John Tucke and the inhabitants of Epsom.'' Six weeks later a church meeting, thinly attended because of a snowstorm, voted the same.
The council met March 15, and reported March 18. The report fills four finely written pages of the town records. As twelve men had spent three days investigating complaints against Mr. Tucke, we should be well informed of his faults.
No serious charge was sustained. In some small business transactions he had taken liberties, apparently not complained of at the time. In general, he was not disposed to over-reach, as "it evidently appears to us that Mr. Tucke did not take the advantage when he had fair opportunities, and freely offered to pay in divers instances what persons knew of no claim to."
As to discharge of pastoral duties, the only serious criticism made by the council was the following: '' We think Mr. Tucke chargeable with neglect of duty in not visiting Mr. Ward when desired; and we can't but censure his hard speeches with regard to some of the church and people."
Mr. Tucke humbly acknowledged himself guilty of the '' faults and follies" of which the council had convicted him, and asked the forgiveness of church and people, promising reparation to any that had been wronged. Thereupon the council advised the continuance of his pastorate for three months, in the hope that the discontent would subside, giving the town permission to dismiss him after that time.
The council also gave good advice to the people, deploring the "heat and passion" shown by Mr. Tucke's accusers, and their efforts to "magnify small and trivial matters" into grave crimes, and regretting "that many have forsaken the house, and some the table, of the Lord, and (as some express it in your articles of charge), wandered among devouring wolves."
June 18 the town voted to dismiss Mr. Tucke, and "that the meetinghouse' shall be shut up till the town sees cause to open said house again." One almost wonders if they did not nail up the door.
Thus Mr. Tucke's ministry closed under a cloud. His life went out a few years later, under circumstances of unusual sadness. He died [at the house of one Deacon Close] at Salem, New York, February 9, 1777, probably of smallpox, while on his way to join the Revolutionary army as chaplain, leaving a widow, and at least six children.'
Discussions were underway to build a schoolhouse as well as the meetinghouse. Money was still an issue, and it was voted in the summer of 1764 ' that the whole or part of the hundred acres allowed by charter in the town of Epsom for the benefit of a school be sold and applied to the use of a school as far as it will extend or as said committee chosen for the purpose shall think proper. Voted that but 50 acres be sold at present. Voted that Samuel Blake, Capt. Andrew McClary and Eliphalet Sanborn give security for said land and to apply said money to the benefit of a school in the best manner they are capable of said committee having authority to complete the same.'

Shortly after the meetinghouse was under construction, it was agreed in June of 1765 to build a school house, said house twenty one in length and seventeen in bredth. It's location on the lot commonly on on the lot called the school lot where the selectmen think proper. Voted that the cost of said house be paid in land or money. Voted that said house be bid at auction. House bid to Ens McGaffey at 312 OT to raise board shingle clapboard and stone.' It was probably erected shortly thereafter, and is in use for meetings by the spring of the next year.

In 1767 and 1768, Capt. Andrew McClary, Ephraim Locke and Eliphalet Sanborn were chosen to be a committee to take care of the parsonage, school lot and all other lands lying and being in concern in the town of Epsom, to see that the timber is not destroyed, and said committee having power to prosecute all such offenders and said committee to have power to sell any timber that shall be deemed proper on said land. The town also voted in 1769 that the Burying ground be fenced in order to defend it from being exposed. Throughout the period from the building of the meetinghouse and the schoolhouse, the town continued to grow with the building of new roads, and money being appropriated for education. The population continued to increase, easing somewhat the financial strain of the period following the French and Indian Wars. From the dismissal of Rev. Tucke in June of 1774, political discussions were well underway concerning the treatment of the Colonies by the Royal Crown. The effects of British taxation were felt everywhere, and the town of Epsom was home to some of the brightest minds of the state - many of them with the last name of McClary. The entire history of the town could be written and viewed through what several generations of this family accomplished. Through many of their actions, the McClary's were known to and friendly with all the notables of the state during this period. Andrew McClary shows up in a local paper with Joseph Cilley in 1774 erecting a Liberty Pole; Michael McClary involved with a tea party in 1775 in Pembroke; according to an article by Warren Tripp "We find record of his visiting Portsmouth, and while in an argumentative state of mind entering into discussion with six British officers, who, not being pleased with his sentiments, undertook to eject him from the room, with the result of themselves being thrown through the window by this doughty patriot."

The town, with the Canterbury Road being the main thoroughfare from the coast to inland regions, with its several taverns accommodating travelers, was one of the early centers of awareness of the struggle to come in building a new nation. As early as December of 1774, the minutes of a meeting at the meetinghouse gives us insight into the mindset of the citizens of Epsom prior to the start of the Revolution.

Voted there shall be a stock of powder and balls and flints provided for said town.
Voted ten pounds four shillings lawful money to be laid out for a stock of powder and balls and flints.
Voted that said Andrew McClary shall be the said man to purchase said powder, lead and flints and deliver the same to the Selectmen of said Epsom.

A year later it appeared that the British were worried that the local colonists would take the powder and weapons stored at Fort William and Mary. Paul Revere, hearing the rumors, traveled north to alert the citizens that indeed there was movement of British troops to Portsmouth. Immediately plans were made for the colonists to secure the powder at the Fort. On December 15, 1775, A committee consisting of Andrew McClary, Jeremiah Bryant and Thomas Stevenson - a group apparently ill-suited to their joint task - met with Captain Cochran, who with five men were guarding the fort. Talks failed and the Fort was raided, the powder taken and distributed to various towns. The next spring events escalated with the skirmishes at Concord and Lexington April 19, 1775. John Cate French wrote extensively in 1868 about the events, his words pick up the story.

"Signals flamed from the hilltops, and fleet messengers transmitted news from town to town.
A swift rider, blowing a horn, passed through Nottingham and reached Epsom on the morning of the 20th. The alarm found Capt. McClary plowing in the "old muster field." Like Cincinnatus of old, he left the plow in the furrow and hastened to obey the summons. With little preparation he seized his saddle-bags, leaped into the saddle, swearing as he left, than he would kill one of the Devils before he came home.
"Jocky Fogg," who was his servant in the army, used to speak of his horse as "a large powerful iron-grey, four year old stallion, so exceedingly vicious that no one could mount or govern him, except the captain. He could spring upon his back, and, by the power of his arm, govern him with the greatest of ease."
The sturdy yeomanry of the Suncook Valley snatched their trusty firelocks and powder horns, and started for the scene of hostilities, with spirits as brave as ever animated a soldier, and with hearts as noble and honest as ever throbbed in the cause of liberty and freedom.

The men from this section reached Nottingham Square about 1 o'clock where they found Capt. Cilley and Dr. Dearborn with a company of about 60 men making with themselves, about 80 men. Leaving Nottingham Square at one o'clock in the afternoon, they pushed on at a rapid pace as if the destiny of the Province, or hopes of the nation depended upon their alacrity and speed. At Kingston they took a double-quick, or "dog trot," and followed it without a halt to Haverhill, crossing the Merrimack River in a ferry boat, at sunset, having made twenty-seven miles in six hours.
But this is not all: - they halted at Andover for supper, and then started for a night march, and, on the morning of the 21st, at sunrise they were paraded on Cambridge Common, 'spilling for a fight. Those from Epsom had traveled seventy miles in less than twenty-four hours, and the whole company from Nottingham, fifty-seven miles in less than twenty hours."

From Cambridge, Andrew McClary sent a letter back to the New Hampshire Provincial Congress, dated April 23, 1775.

'Pray read the following Letter to the Congress now sitting at Exeter. Honourable Gentlemen, being in great haste, but beg leave to give you some broken Intelligence relating to the Army that is now assembled here; the Number is unknown at present, and as there's a Counsel of War now sitting, their Results is still kept a profound secret, the Army has already provided a Number of Canon, there is more still coming, and is providing a great plenty of war-like stores, Implements and utensils, there's now about Two thousand Brave and hearty resolute New Hampshire men full of vigor and Blood from the Interior parts of the Province, which labour under a great disadvantage, for not being under proper Regulation, for want of Field officers. In our present situation we have no voice in the Council of War which makes a great difficulty. Pray, Gent. Take these important matters under you mature consideration, and I doubt not your Wisdom will dictate and point out such measures as will be most conducive to extricate us from our present difficulties. The Conduct of a certain person Belonging to New Hampshire will have a vast tendency to Stigmatize the Province most Ignominiously; yesterday it was reported throughout New Hampshire Troops that one Mr. Esqr. Who appeared in the character of a Capt. at the Head of a Company, had been to the General & recd a verbal express from him that that all New Hampshire men were dismissed and that they might return home, and by the Insinuation of him and his Busy Emissaries about five or six hundred of our men Inconsiderably marched off for Home. Capt. Cilley and I was three miles from Cambridge when we recd the Intelligence which was to our unspeakable surprise, for to return before the work was done. We immediately repair'd to the General to know the certainty of the Report, and on making application to him he told us that it was an absolute falsehood, for he never had any such thought. Whereas he very highly valued New Hampshire men always understanding them to be the Best of soldiers, and that he would not have any of them depart for Home on and consideration whatever, till matters were further compromised and strictly enquired for the man in order to have him confronted. We reply'd the man was departed and therefore we could not conform with his request. But since we understand that his conduct hath stopped a number of men from coming in, and some officers that tarried has sent for their men to return back.
Pray Gent: don't let it always be Reported that New Hampshire men were always brave soldiers, but never no Commander; the desertion of those men causes much uneasiness among the remaining Troops, for we are obliged to use our utmost influence to persuade them to Tarry. Gentlemen, I am with all imaginable Respect,
Your's & the Country's most obedient Humble servant,
Andrew McClary

Mr. French alludes that there were others from Epsom who made that infamous march, thirty four of whom were led by Andrew McClary , but the names of the individuals in that Company is unknown. Once at Cambridge, the fighting had already concluded, and there did not appear that there would be any. Some soldiers returned home, others stayed. Those returning were urged to recruit for the upcoming struggle, and in May 1775 New Hampshire raised three volunteer regiments for more permanent duty. John Stark, by a unanimous voice, was chosen to command the first under the rank of Colonel with Andrew McClary as Major. The company, composed of soldiers from Pittsfield, Chichester, Epsom, Deerfield and Nottingham, was commanded by Henry Dearborn of Nottingham, Captain, Amos Morrill of Epsom, Lieutenant, and Michael McClary of Epsom, Ensign.

The story of the death of Major Andrew McClary at the Battle of Bunker Hill June 17, 1775 is well known, and the account given by Dearborn and John Cate French are still definitive.

As the Americans retreated across the neck, Maj. McClary was remarkably animated with the result of the contest. That day's conflict and the glorious display of valor which had distinguished his countrymen, made him sanguine of the result. Having passed the last place of danger, he went back to see if the British were disposed to follow them across the neck, thus exposing himself to danger anew. His men cautioned him against his rashness. "The ball is not yet cast that will kill me" said he, when a random shot from one of the frigates struck a button wood tree and glancing, passed through his abdomen. Throwing his hands above his head, he leaped several feet from the ground and fell forward upon his face, dead.
Thus fell Major Andrew McClary, the highest American officer killed at the battle; the handsomest man in the army and the favorite of the New Hampshire troops. His dust still slumbers where it was lain by his sorrowing comrades in Medford, un-honored by any adequate memorial to tell where lies one of the heroes that ushered in the Revolution with such auspicious omens. He was the favorite officer of the New Hampshire soldiers and his death spread a gloom, not only over the hearts of his men and through the scattered homes of the Suncook Valley but throughout his native state. His sun went down at noon on the day that ushered in our nation's birth, an early martyr to the cause of freedom with the affections of his countrymen to grace his burial.

A list of the pay roll of Captain Henry Dearborn's Company in John Stark's Regiment to August 1st, 1775, would include the participants at Bunker Hill on June 17th. Comparing the list with other sources, one can pick out the Epsom participants. Towns included were Nottingham, Deerfield, Chichester, Epsom, Exeter, Barrington &c.:

Lieut. Amos Morrill
2nd Lieut. Michael McClary
Sergeant Andrew McGaffey - wounded
Drummer Noah Sinclair
Theophilus Cass
John Casey
Israel (Ithiel) Clifford
John Dwyer
Moses Locke
Francis Locke
Bennett Libbey
Francis Locke Jr.
Neal McGaffey
Abraham Pettingill
Simon Sanborn
Weymouth Wallace - wounded
John Wallace
John Wallce Jr.
Possibly William McCrillis- killed (Deerfield ?)

Appointed to Colonel Stark's staff in May, 1775 were Major Andrew McClary and Sergeant Majoy James Gray.
From the New Hampshire Revolutionary War Rolls, the following were participants from Epsom:

AMES, Samuel Jr.
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
ATWOOD, Joshua
BABB, Thomas
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
[pension info]
BERRY, Benjamin (B.)
.[pension info] [Valley Forge]
[pension info]
BLAKE, John*
[pension info]
BRACKETT, Ebenezer*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
CASS, Theophilus*
[pension info] [Valley Forge]
CHAPMAN, Jonathan*
CHAPMAN, Solomon*. [Valley Forge]

COOK, Paul*
[pension info]
DAVIS, Samuel*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
DROUGHT, Richard
[pension info]
GILMAN, Jeremiah
[Valley Forge]
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776 (Benjamin Goodwin)
GRAY, James*
[pension info] [Valley Forge]
HAM, Benson*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
HAM, John* . [pension info]
HAYNES, Elisha*
[pension info]
HAYNES, Jeremiah*
JIMMINGS (Jenness?), John.
[pension info]
KENNISON, Benjamin
KENNISON, Nathaniel*
[pension info]
LIBBEY, Bennett*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776 [pension info]
LOCKE, Francis*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776 [pension info]
LOCKE, Francis Jr.*
LOCKE, Jonathan*
LOCKE, Ozem*
Father signed Association Test in Epsom 1776
LOCKE, Moses*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776 [pension info] [Valley Forge]
LOCKE, Samuel*
[Valley Forge]
McCLARY, Andrew*
McCLARY, John*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
McCLARY, John Jr.*
John McClary, Jr., was killed at the battle of Saratoga in 1779
McCLARY, Michael*
[pension info] [Valley Forge]
McCRILLIS, William* of Deerfield
Account of the killed and wounded at Bunker Hill
McCRILLIS, William*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
McGAFFEY, Andrew*
Wounded at Bunker Hill.
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776 [pension info]
McGAFFEY, Andrew*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
MARDEN, James*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
[Valley Forge]
MOSES, Sylvanus*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
MOULTON, Joseph* (seen as James)
[pension info]
MOULTON, Samuel*
[pension info]
died at Chimney Point, New York."
[Valley Forge]
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
[pension info]
[pension info] [Valley Forge]
POMP, Peter
[Valley Forge]
PRESCOTT, Jeremiah*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
RAND, William*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
RANDALL, Jonathan*
[pension info]
SANBORN, Eliphalet*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
At the expiration of his service he died of smallpox, unmarried in Epsom.
SANDERS, George Berry *
Signed the Association Test Epsom 1776
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
SINCLAIR (St. Clair, Sinkler), Noah
[pension info] [Valley Forge]
TRIPP, Richard*
Signed the Association Test in Epsom 1776
WALLACE, Ebenezer*
WALLACE, Weymouth*
[pension info]
WOOD, James*

In order to carry the underwritten RESOLVE of the Hon'ble Continental CONGRESS into Execution, You are requested to desire all Males above Twenty One Years of Age (Lunaticks, Idiots, and Negroes excepted) to sign the DECLARATION on this Paper; and when so done, to make Return hereof, together with the Name or Names of all who shall refuse to sign the same, to the GENERAL-ASSEMBLY, or Committee of Safety of this Colony. - M. Weare, Chairman

John mcClery John Mcgaffey Elipht Sanborn
Ebenezer Bracket Aaron Burbank Reuben Sanborn
Samuel Blake Simon Cass William Nason
James marden John Cate Ephraim Locke
Thomas Babb Benson Ham John McClary Jur
Andrew McGaffey Neal McGaffey Jeremiah Prescott
Samuel Daves Francis Lock Jonathan knowles
George Sanders Levi Cass Jeremiah Page
Benjamin Johnston samuel Rand William Drought
Jethro Blake Israel Folsom samuel ames juen
Thomas Holt Junr William Rand mark moses
John Casey George Wallis George Uren
Joseph Sharborn Simon Knowles Benjn Gooddwin
Josiah Knowles moses Locke Abraham Walles
Richerd treep Ephraim Pettingell Nathaniel Payn ?
Ebenezer Wallias Henry mcCrelles moses Osgood
Waymuth Wallas Obidiah Williams Simeon Chapman
Nathan Marden John mccreles Joseph Seavy
David Knowlton Joseph Towle hennery Seavy
Nathniel willes Isaac Lebbee John Haneis
William McCreles James Nelson Samuel Ames
William Holt Silvanus moses Samuel meses
Epheraim Beray Beneet Lebbee
Refused to sign - John Cass and William Odiorne
There are probably many individual stories of participants in the Revolution, such as Moses Locke, He served 7 years in the Revolution and had been given up for dead, and was nor recognized by his family upon his return. He was at Bunker Hill at served primarily with Co. McClary's Regiment. He enlisted under Gen. Stark and took part in the Battle of Bunker Hill and other engagements in one of which a bullet pierced his hat; in another battle his coat was struck by a ball and his gunstock was shot off. For his services in the Revolutionary War he received a sum of money which he paid out for a pair of yearling heifers after he returned home.

During the War against the common enemy, the town voted in 1776 that all the men in this town that went down to Cambridge when the battle was at Concord shall be paid a half dollar (per?) day while gone. In 1777 voted 75 dollars to purchase powder, lead and flints; 1778 voted fifty dollars to each Continental Soldier that went for the Town of Epsom's proportion; 1781 Voted a gift or consideration to each of those soldiers who are engaged during the war in the Continental Service for the town of Epsom five heifers on the following conditions; according to their continuance in the service of the States viz. for three years service from this date five of three year old heifers; for two years service five of two year old heifers and for one years service five yearlings. But should any or either of these soldiers die or be killed in the service within the term of three years, the heirs of such upon providing a Certificate of the death or deaths of such to the Selectmen of Epsom for the time being shall receive from town the aforesaid Consideration (computed?) from the time of service; 1781 Vote this towns proportion of beef not yet furnished for the use of the Continental Army for the year current shall be bought on the following condition viz - that the present selectmen for this town be and hereby are empowered to buy the same and engage therefore silver money, Indian corn, Rye, wheat or Continental Currency at the Common Exchange and also it is hereby voted that the price by them given for said beef shall be agreeable to the minds of the town universal; 1782 Voted to empower the selectmen for the time being to class the inhabitants of said Epsom to two portion each man he part in procuring those heifers that have been formerly voted by way of Encouragement to our Continental Soldiers now in the Service of the United States of America.

During the war, business as usual had to be carried on. They collected on unpaid taxes, paid for schooling off and on, built roads as the town continued to grow. Epsom was still without a minister, and believe it or not, the Meetinghouse was an issue. In 1779 it was voted to remove the Singing Pew in the Meetinghouse in Epsom from where it now stands and erect it in the front gallery for the Singers and such persons as are or shall be admitted to set in said pew, their qualifications are to be left to the direction of the Master Singer. And a petition of a number of inhabitants of the town of Epsom to the Selectmen of said town. "That your petitioners pray that a meeting of the Inhabitants of the town of Epsom may be called as soon as may be with legality & when met to determine what they shall do respecting a difference subsisting (?) between Col. McClary, Dea. Marden & Deacon Wallace and any others that may be concerned with them - & the town concerning the shutting up of the meeting house after the dismission of the late Rev. Mr. Tucke and what proposal the town will make in order to a reconciliation - also to determine upon the settlement of Mr. Thurston or other Reverend (?) as the town may think proper. - Isaac Libbey, Samuel Blake, John Cass, Ephraim Locke, Joel Ame, James Marden, Benjamin Goodwin, James Gray."

The next census in 1773 showed 53 married couples, 13 more than in 1767, with one male over 60 and four widows. The population had grown in that period from about 200 residents to 387 at the beginning of the war. After the war many participants in it moved into Epsom, and several left town. Those who moved into town include the following:
BLAKE, David* -
BLAKE, William* -
BROWN, Enoch* -
BURNHAM, Benjamin* - [pension info]
CHASE, Jonathan (Ensign) -
CURTIS, Lieut. Jonathan* -
DOLBEER, Nicholas* -.
EMERSON, Mark* - [pension info]
FISK, Cato - [pension info]
FOWLER, Symonds* -
GOSS, Samuel* - [pension info]
GRANT, John* - [pension info]
HOWE, David* - [pension info]
LEAR, Samuel* - [pension info]
LIBBEY, Samuel* - [pension info]
LOCKE, Ephraim* -
LOCKE, Simeon* -
OSGOOD, Samuel* -
PHILBRICK, Daniel* - [pension info]
ROBINSON Levi* - [pension info]
TOWLE, Simeon* -
YEATON, William* -.

Among those who left Epsom was Amos Morrill. He basically replaced Andrew McClary in the service upon the death of Andrew McClary. His name can be seen on numerous deeds as he was heavily involved in buying and selling land in Epsom. He was with Ethan Allen at the taking of Ticonderoga and was one of the eight men to go into the enemy's camp at night and demand surrender 'in the name of Jehovah land the Continental Army." Shortly before he moved, this tidbit appears in the town records: "Epsom, 16th March, 1791"
"March 16, 1791:
This May Certify that Amos Morrill has made it appear to me that he has within twelve months past wrought one Hundred Thousand of Ten penny Nails in his own Blacksmith Shop in Epsom."
"Attest" Michl McClary, J.P.

Not everything was peaceful after the war. There were still some hard feelings following the dismissal of Rev. Tucke. Though Tucke died on his way to New York, the family still lived in Epsom. The death of Andrew McClary at Bunker Hill elevated his status, and the grandson of Rev. Tucke wrote a defense, portions of which make for interesting reading:

The same person also lost his line in the time of the Revolution and before him whom he had sought to destroy. Every reader of the history of the revolution well recollects the high encomiums lavished upon Capt. Andrew McClary whom every considerate person must acknowledge, cast away his life like a fool.
Mr. Tucke was at first in favour with McClary and received some assistance from him in his settlement, tho no more then from any other citizen according to his property. The disposition and character of him was at most desperate, overbearing and arbitrary. It is well known that in new settlements it often happens that some ill natured, overbearing fellow or set of fellows go on regardless of all law and in time bring almost everyone to do as they say. This character was Andrew McClary. He swore implacable vengeance to all who would not join him in effecting his designs. His difficulties were frequent among his neighbors. After a long train of difficulties, in which many worthy members of society had suffered severely, some by his giant power (for he was an overgrown man) and others by his skill in gambling. (He being a professor in the black art) The Rev. Mr. Tucke, in performing such duties as every faithful minister should, fell under his displeasure.
It was a sermon delivered in June 1774, it is believed, in which he [implies] strongly against vices of every kind and endeavored to dissuade his people from joining in them. This coming to the ears of McClary, he supposed the whole force directed at him, knowing himself guilty of introducing the worst of vices. An uproar now commenced. His rugged voice, on which floated the most abominable oaths, like bubbles from the raging cataract, was soon heard in every part of the town, and vengeance was proclaimed against all, and in some instances, death to such as would not join with him in breaking up the ministry.
He next nailed up doors of the meetinghouse and threatened anyone with death that should attempt to open it. Some persons tried to reason with him but this only increased his rage and at one time he was heard to say 'I have shut the house and I defy God Almighty to open it,' at which his brother observed to him 'depend upon it brother as you have shut the doors of the house of God against our Godly minister, so I fear has God shut the doors of Heaven against you.'
On receiving the news of the battle of Lexington in 1775, McClary raised a company and marched to Charlestown, where after the battle of Bunker Hill, he was exposing himself, boasting of his courage in a place of imminent danger, when a cannonball thrown from a ship put an end to his life on the 17th June. Mr. [Moore] of Deerfield NH was near him when he was shot and repeatedly urged him to retire. Said he 'God damn them, the ball's not cast yet to kill me,' and from these words escaped his lips, a cannon ball shot from the Glasgow cut out his bowels and he had only time to say 'I am a dead man.'
This is the true account which has been kept in the dark, lest it should have some effect of the concerns of his relatives, but no one except the most suspicious would reflect anything there from, and says every fine historian, 'the truth must be told.'
Mr. Tucke now receiving an appointment in the army as chaplain and prepared for his departure. He set out from Epsom and after several days travel arrived at Danvers, here he was seized with a violent headache to which he had been always more or less accustomed through life, tho not to such an uncommon degree as at this time. A physician was called in, and some medicine administered which proved directly opposite to his complaint, or in their words greatly enraged it, for it proved to be the small pox, and he died Feb. 9th 1777, with all that composure or mind which arises from a rectitude of conduct and a consciousness of having committed no crime.
The deplorable condition into which the family of Mr. Tucke was thrown on his being obliged to desist from preaching, cannot be described. His wife, a widow, of a delicate constitution, with several young children, was now left in a great measure to the will of his enemies, as will be explained.
The most frivolous law suit, and to Mr. Tuck the most fatal, were brought against him by or at the instigation of McClary. On being driven from the meetinghouse, Mr. Tuck preached in the hall of his own house, where his good friend would assemble for instruction on days of meetings. But the number was gradually lessened by the [madness] of McClary. He at length hit upon the most effective and perhaps the only means, utterly to destroy his victim. They were suits of law! Swayed by the will of the prosecutor!!
No cushion had been furnished to the meetinghouse, and after a time Mr. Tuck, at his own charge procured one and placed it in the pulpit. This was of course wrested from him when the church was nailed up. When it was found that the house was not again to be opened to Mr. Tucke, he caused it to be entered, and the cushion taken out. This he had a right to do because it belonged to him. This was no sooner known to McClary but he brought a suit against Mr. Tuck in which he was arraigned at thief.
It was considered very remarkable at that time and is so at the present day by all old people who knew the circumstance; which was this; General Andrew McClary was killed near Bunker Hill just one year, on that very and to him fatal day, from the time he nailed up the meetinghouse at Epsom, before related.

Attempts were made to hire Benjamin Thurston as a new minister, but he refused. Articles in the warrants of 1780 show additional issues- 1) To hear and determine upon a complaint made to Lieut. Ephraim Lock Grand Juror against said town for said towns neglect for not keeping a stated school in the same, the complaint on file. Voted that above be left to the discretion of the selectmen (that is) to raise what money they may judge necessary for the support of a school the ensuing season. 2) to see if the town will note that the schoolhouse which was lately built at or near Capt. Prescott's in Epsom aforesaid shall be at the General Case & charge of the town or otherwise as they see fit. (voted in the negative). By 1784, the war was over, the town hired Rev. Ebenezer Hazeltine to preach, and he commenced January 21, 1784. A new country, and Epsom was ready to boom.

New roads were laid out, in 1778 a road from Nathaniel Kinnison house to Allenstown line, now River Road; 1779 from McClary's Mill to Northwood line agreeable to a petition from them that purpose, 3 rods wide, being from the current junction of Route 4 and 107; and later the First NH Turnpike. Upon the acceptance of Rev. Hazeltine to preach, the town chose a committee for the purpose of building a parsonage and buildings in 1784. Work began and apparently was not complete as in a town warrant for 1786 there was an article to see if the town will choose an agent to finish the Parsonage building in Epsom as far as the same is to be completed at present, as also to repair the meetinghouse windows and finish the inside of said house immediately. Though the structure was probably mostly complete, still five years later there was work still to be done, in clearing and fencing the parsonage and finishing the parsonage house, and that same year it was voted to fence the burying yard in Epsom with stone wall and that said be built 2 ½ feet thick at the bottom and 4 feet high.

Schools and education were still active topics, though not unified fully. The town in 1792 voted to raise sixty five pounds for the purpose of building and repairing school houses and school keeping in Epsom and that the Selectmen being empowered to expend said money in schooling in such districts that have school houses and that those districts who have not school houses have till the 25th of June next to build and repair their school houses and then if not done, the Selectmen to build and repair such school houses out of the money raised as aforesaid and out of such districts proportion as needed to build and repair the school houses. The following year, with no action taken, the town reversed the expenditure and no work was done to build or repair the schools. Many residents were not pleased by the decision and wrote a letter to the selectmen:

1793, July 15 To the Selectmen of the town of Epsom
A number of the inhabitants of the Western district in Epsom humbly shew; That we have been and still are desirous to promote public schools in said town for the instruction of our children and of late we have used every excitation in our power to have a suitable schoolhouse in the district completed for that design, but every such effort proves abortive owing (as we humbly conceive) to some among us who from their conduct seem to demonstrate a total disregard to the best interests of their families by depriving their children of the means of instruction thereby rendering them in a great degree useless members of society and by such conduct of theirs we being classed with them are debarred of that for our children which we esteem as inestimable blessing.
This our grievance and in this situation we cannot rest easy, to see our numerous offspring which are instrumental of bringing into existence trained up like so many heathens or brutes, in a civilized world would, and for such neglect we cannot answer neither to God nor our consciences and for which they well have good reason to curse rather than bless us. We therefore seek to the town of Epsom for redress as we know no other remedy and pray that a meeting of said town may be warned as soon as may be that this grievance may be duly considered and some method adopted and put in execution, that shall remove the A pan out of the camp and give us speedy relief in finishing the schoolhouse already begun that a school may be had seasonably for the purpose aforesaid.
James Gray, Geo. Yewin, Simeon Towle, Samuel Bickford, Reuben Yewin, Thomas Bickford, Sylvanus Moses, Richard Rand, John Prescott, Jonathan Prescott Junr, Abraham Wallace.
A special meeting was held August 5, 1793 at the meetinghouse where the Western district received by vote ten pounds to be levied and collected of and from the inhabitants of the Western school district in Epsom in proportion to their several estates and that the same be expended in finishing the schoolhouse in said district and should there be a surplus - the same shall be laid out in school keeping for the benefit of said district the year present. Money for all the other districts was dismissed. The problem of keeping up the schools lingered, and just over a decade latet the Western District again wrote the selectmen:
1804, February 8 Recorded this date: To the town of Epsom
A number of the inhabitants of the western district in Epsom humbly shew: That we are and ever have been willing to pay our several portions towards the support of a school in said District - but we labor under a grievance which we wish remedied which is the non-central situation of the schoolhouse - whereby many of us are much incommoded and prevented from giving that education to our children which we should otherwise do; were we admitted to participate equally with the Eastern and Southern District - We think it our duty to remove every obstacle to the due education of our offspring and consequently to fervently pray that the school house be removed to the Center of the District as son as may be, thereby we may receive some benefit for the money which we annually pay for the support of our schools. We request the Selectmen of Epsom to insert the prayer of this petition in the warrant calling the annual town meeting, that at said meeting it may be considered and acted upon.
William Rand, James Wood, Joseph Wood, Richard Rand, Richard Rand Jr., Sylvanus Moses, John Moses, Benjamin Towle, John Prescott, Joseph Marden Jr., Samuel Marden, David Howe, Joseph Saturley, Samuel Rand, Samuel Rand Jr.
At the meetinghouse in March 1894, the first school committee was formed to look into the problems of schooling in Epsom, selected were James Gray, Benjamin Moody and Samuel Morrill a school committee. The following year the town voted to raise 1500 dollars for the building and repairing school houses in the town the proportion of which to be expended by the Selectmen in the District where the same is necessary and the residue to be remitted to those where no buildings or repairs are necessary and that the Selectmen have power and are directed to centralize said schoolhouse in the districts.
In 1808, the town did its first real districting of its schools. Six districts were set up. [Description according to Dolbeer History]
District No. 1 contained all that is now comprised within its limits; also that portion of District No. 7 on the turnpike, below Warren Yeaton's, and from Yeaton's to Deerfield line.
District No. 2 contained all on the turnpike from the east side of the New Orchard road to Chichester line, and all north of the turnpike; also from the shoe-factory to "Cyder Brook" (so called), just south of the house of John Spurlin.
District No. 3 was composed of what is now Districts Nos. 3 and 9 (New Rye and the Mountain), and extended to the corner at Short Falls.
District No. 4 contained all on the west side of the Suncook River lying southerly of the turnpike, and from Short Falls bridge to the Mountain District, near the Short Falls post-office.
District No. 5 contained that portion of the "North Road" District northerly from the turnpike, and on the turnpike from the Northwood road to the milepost near Henry Knowles' house, and also what is now united with Pittsfield in forming No. 6.
District No. 6 was the New Orchard District, very nearly as it now exists
Another redistricting was discussed through the years 1821-1825, but a committee formed to look into the situation concluded that "at present we consider it inexpedient to make any alteration."
1825 May 27
Visited the School in Short Falls District in company with M.P. Gray and William Ham Jr., instructress Miss Almira Hall.
47 Scholars, of which
20 were unclasped scholars
19 clasped in spelling
7 Grammar
47 1 Geography
Appeared well.
Also on same day visited the school in the Mountain District.
38 Scholars
14 in English Reader
16 unclasped Scholars
8 Spelling Book
Miss Betsy Hall, Instructress, Appeared Backward

May 28 District No. 1 - whole number 75
18 Spelling Book - ordinary
21 English Reader - well generally
36 Unclasped
3 Grammar
Miss Kimball Instructress
District No. 7 by Messrs. Ham and Gray
25 Whole number
10 Unclasped
(3 Writing)
(1 Arithmetic)
4 English Readers
2 Testament
2 Easy lesson Spelling Books
7 in two syllables
Miss Nancy Lock, Instructress
In January of 1833, the School House in District No. 3 burned.
The two most well known taverns referenced in town documents are the McClary Tavern, run by Andrew McClary Sr., then his son Major Andrew McClary, then his widow and son James Harvery McClary. In 1759, Charles McCoy petitioned for a tavern, 'To the Honorable his Majesties Judges pf 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.'

McCoy and sons sold out to the Sanborn family in 1760, and they continued the establishment, applying for a license in 1761 '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.'
After the Revolutionary War, the Stone Wall era begins, the period peace time when the new roads allowed access to most of the lots which were now rapidly being occupied. Boundaries and fields were set off by the many rows of rocks so common in New England. The roads also brought increased traffic and business to the growing town. By 1790 and the first US Census, the population had reached 800 residents, nearly doubling since the beginning of the Revolution. Additional establishments helped support the travelers and residents. The towns , rather than the state, began to license businesses, and some of them included the following:
Mr. Samuel Lock to keep a public tavern
allows James Harvey McClary to keep a public tavern in Epsom.
Jonathan Lock authorized to keep a public tavern
William Duncan Esq. authorized to retail Spirituous Liquors in Epsom
Authorized Nicholas Gordon to retail Spirituous Liquors in Epsom
1793 were added
Authorized and allow Joseph Tucke to retail Spirituous Liquors in Epsom
Samuel Lock has approbation to keep a tavern in the town of Epsom the ensuing year.
Solomon Sutton has approbation to retail Rum, brandy and gin for the ensuing year.
Thomas Bickford Jr. has our approbation to sell spirituous liquors as high as half a pint at his coopers shop in Epsom.
Daniel Cilley has our approbation to have an open tavern in the of Epsom
John Godfrey has our approbation to keep an open tavern.
Andrew Sanborn has our approbation to keep an open tavern in the town of Epsom one year
Merrill and Morrill have our approbation to keep an open tavern
Levi Brown has our approbation to keep an open tavern in the town of Epsom
Joseph Towle has approbation to retail spirituous liquors in the town of Epsom.
McClary and Gookin have our approbation to retail spirituous liquors in the town of Epsom.
Mark French has our approbation to retail spirituous liquors 1 year
William Yeaton Jr. has our approbation to retail spirituous liquors
Capt. Simon A. Heath to keep a public tavern
Jonathan Clark Jr. and Co. to retail spirituous liquors
Joseph Lawrence to keep an open tavern
Thomas D. Merrill to retail spirituous liquors
Benjamin Merrill to retail spirituous liquors
Ephraim Eastman to keep an open tavern
Mr. Jeremiah Durgin to keep an open tavern
John Dolbeer to retail spirituous liquors
Knox & McCutcheon to retail spirituous liquors
Joseph Lawrence to keep open tavern in lieu of Mr. Reuben Sanborn who in the judgment of the town is incapable of performing the duties of said office
Timothy Barnard has our approbation to retail spirituous liquors
Abraham W. Marden to retail wines and spirituous liquors in his store in Epsom.

By 1823, according to the first written early history of the town, there were eight grist mills with twelve runs of stones; ten saw-mills; three carding machines; three clothiers' shops; and four bark mills; six taverns and as many stores; seven school districts, in which about 500 dollars are annually expended; and there was a social library in town, consisting of about 100 volumes of books "pretty judiciously selected"; population 1336.

Mr. Haseltine was born at Methuen, in Massachusetts, October 28, 1755, entered Dartmouth College in 1773, was examined with respect to his qualifications for the Gospel minister, by the Grafton Presbytery; was approved and took license to preach, July 24, 1779 and was settled in the work of the ministry at Epsom, January 21, 1784. During his ministry, 87 were added to the church; and 363 received the ordinance of baptism. He was called from his labors by death, November 10, 1813, in the 59th year of his age, and 30th of his ministry. Historians have looked back on his ministry noting that, going by percentage of the population of the town, the membership was lower than that of Rev. Tucke, who was minister a much shorter length of time. In all fairness, that does not mean that there was an extremely low number of church members in Epsom. The law still required towns to hire a minister, but as new churches began to form, taxpayers were beginning to complain about having to support a minister not their own. From the town records are several indications of this.
Voted not to excuse Mr. David Dickey from paying his ministerial taxes now due.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Richard Rand of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Silvanus Moses of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. John Page of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Levi Locke of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Simeon Locke of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Samuel Locke of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Samuel Hutchings of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield.
This may certify the Selectmen of Epsom and all others whomever it may concern that Mr. Jonathan Knowles of Epsom doth belong to the Free-Will Baptist Society and doth attend meetings with us when it is convenient, given under my hand, Elder Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield

The town records also show a flurry of activity in the purchase and exchange of pews in the meetinghouse. Following the death of Rev. Hazeltine, the town, by law, searched for a replacement, and invited Rev. Jonathan Curtis, and at the September 14th town meeting, voted NOT to give Mr. Jonathan Curtis a call. The result was probably anticipated, as ten days later, a group formed the Congregational Society of Epsom, with Moses Osgood, Samuel Morrill, Michael McClary, Thomas D. Merrill and James Gray a committee to draft a constitution. Seven days later, they invite Rev. Curtis to town, with the following conditions:
"1st. Voted, That if Mr. Jonathan Curtis should accept a Call to settle in Epsom as the Gospel Minister of the Congregational religious Society in said Town, his stated salary shall be four hundred dollars, to be paid annually from the date of his acceptance of the Call.
"2d. Voted, That the Parsonage Land and Buildings which were occupied by the late Rev. Ebenezer Haseltine shall be occupied by Mr. Jonathan Curtis, should he settle in Epsom during his Ministry in sd Town.
"3d. Voted, That Parsonage Buildings be put and kept in decent repair at the expense of the Society.
"4th. Voted, That Mr. Jonathan Curtis be further allowed twenty cords of good hard fire Wood annually, to be delivered at his House some time in the Fall and Winter.
There must have been discussions back and forth, as Rev. Curtis did not accept the call until January 14th of 1815. His acceptance letter read:
"To the Committee for the Congregational Religious Society in Epsom:

"GENTLEMEN,-A considerable time has elapsed since I had the honor to receive from you an invitation to settle in your Society in the work of the Gospel Ministry.
"The undertaking presents a situation the most arduous, responsible and important. In this view of it, I hope I have not occupied an unnecessary length of time in consideration. Your proposals I have carefully and seriously considered. The unanimity of your Society, and their arrangements for my support, present a prospect of usefulness which duty forbids me to disregard.
"I accept of your invitation to settle with you in the work of the Gospel Ministry. And if it shall be the appointment of Providence to establish me in that Sacred Profession, let our united prayers ascend to that God who is the great fountain of all wisdom and goodness, that His blessing may attend such a connection,
"With high consideration, I am, Gentlemen,
"Your obedient and humble servant,

Rev. Jonathan Curtis settled and in 1816 was a member of the school committee. He preached at the town owned meetinghouse and resided in the town owned parsonage. The town refused in 1816, the erection or building of porches and a steeple of cupola to the meetinghouse in Epsom. In July 1819, the state passed the Toleration Act, that no person shall be liable to taxation for the purpose of fulfilling any contract between any town and settled minister. At long last, the law was updated to reflect the times. The local papers showed the results:

Be it known, that, by virtue of an act of the Legislature of the State of New Hampshire, passed July 1st, 1819, we, Levi Locke, Abel Brown, B.L. Locke, Samuel W. Bickford, Daniel Cilley, Bradbury Cilley, Samuel Whitney, and others, do hereby give notice that we have formed ourselves into a Society known by the name of the Universalist Society in Epsom.
B.L. Locke Clerk, Epsom, March 27, 1827

State of New Hampshire
Agreeable to an act passed in this State June Session 1819, notice is hereby given that A.W. Marden, John Sherburne, James Wiggins Jr., and Asahel Allen and their associations, have formed themselves into a religious Society by the name and style of the First Union Methodist Society in Epsom, and have caused the same to be recorded in our Book of records.
Samuel B.Cilley, Clerk, Epsom, April 10, 1827.

No doubt there were others, and some much earlier. Just months after the new law was passed, the town records show that permission was given to theTolerance Society in Epsom to have the use of the Meetinghouse in said town one half the time on Sundays until the next annual meeting. This was not good news for the Congregational Society, which pretty much had free use of the meetinghouse up until this time. The rivalry began, and from James Babb, it went like this:

"Dec. 5, 1819 - The day appointed for Mr. Lord to preach in the meeting house. Went to meeting about 1/2p 10. Mr. Lord was delivering his sermon, his text I was told was in Acts 19.36. Mr. Curtis came into the Meetinghouse about 11 o'clock, went into the pulpit and told the people that all who felt disposed to attend the worship of God could be accommodated in the school house and desired them to go who choose. About 4/5 of the congregation immediately left the house and followed Mr. Curtis to the school house. I tarried until Mr. Lord finished his forenoon services when is was 20 minutes p 11 and he mentioned that the intermission would be 3/4 of an hour.
In the P.M. I attended the Meeting at the School House. Mr. Curtis preached a very good sermon from the first Epistle of John 4 Chap. 5 + 6. The building was crowded so much that more than half of the hearers were obliged to stand up during the whole of the services." The situation worsened when the town and the Society had to meet to settle differences. As part of this, the parsonage was sold by the town to Congregational Society, and with help from the Society, sold to Rev. Curtis. The town to use the money to set up a fund to benefit the churches and schools. On April 27, 1822, the Society minutes outlined the complete resolution:

"We, the undersigned committee appointed by the Town of Epsom and the Congregational Society in said Epsom to settle all disputes between said Town and Society respecting the appropriation of the interest arising from the sale of the parsonage in said Town, agree to report and do hereby report that from and after the expiration of six years from the sales of the parsonage aforesaid the said town of Epsom shall, at the expiration of each and every year from and after said time, pay to the wardens of the society their just and equal proportion of the interest aforesaid, according to the inventories of the members thereof, and we do hereby further report that the manner of ascertaining those who for the purpose aforesaid shall be considered members of said society shall be forever after as follows, to wit: The Clerk of said society shall, on or before the first day of April, A.D. 1822, and each and every succeeding year, furnish the selectmen of said Town a certificate under the signature of each individual, who for that year wishes that his proportion of the interest aforesaid should be paid to the wardens of said society certifying that such is their wish, and all individuals so certifying being residents in said Town of Epsom and liable to be and are taxed in said Town, shall be considered members of said society for the purpose aforesaid, and it shall be the duty of the Selectmen of said Town, each and every year from and after the expiration of the term aforesaid, to make an aggregate of the inventories of all the persons so certifying as aforesaid and make a dividend of the interest of the parsonage fund aforesaid in the proportion which the aggregate bears to the inventory of the whole Town, and at or before the expiration of each year pay the same to the wardens aforesaid and take their receipt for the same and the same shall be allowed them by the town. And the said Town of Epsom shall and odes forever hereafter relinquish all claims upon the said society of the wardens thereof for any interest of said fund which they have heretofore received, and the said society shall and does forever hereafter relinquish all claim upon said Town for any interest which said Town may have or shall have received prior to the expiration of the six years aforesaid, and both of said parties shall forever hereafter be bound to divide said interest in the manner aforesaid , and said society shall not at any time hereafter claim or be entitled to receive any more than their proportion in the manner aforesaid, and this agreement, when ratified by said Town of Epsom and said Society, shall then, and not till then, be binding on the parties aforesaid.
"Respecting the difficulty between said Town and the said Society about the meeting-house in said Town, the committee have been unable to agree to any arrangement consistent with the rights of the several pew-owners in said meeting-house; we have therefore agreed to recommend to the pew-owners to meet and endeavor to make some compromise, if possible, among themselves and report to the town. "
In the meantime, the Society chose to use the tavern of Simon A. Heath for a period of time, and considered building a new meetinghouse on the property of James Gray. It was later decided to build on the property of Simon Ames Heath, near the current meetinghouse. The building was raised June 30, 1821, and the first meeting held in the new Union Hall was July 19, 1821 with 4 to 5 hundred in attendance. It was later referred to as the Vestry. The 'Free-Willers' continued to meet at the Meetinghouse with various guests doing the speaking, including Elder Enoch Place on March 9 of 1823. Only July 27th, Arthur Caverno preached at the meetinghouse.
On June 17, 1823 in Barrington, a 21 year old was licensed to preach, his name, Arthur Caverno. He married in December, and on July 27th, Arthur Caverno preached at the meetinghouse. In 1824 began teaching in Epsom at the schoolhouse on Center Hill. It did not take long before he, along with Rev. Ebenezer Knowlton of Pittsfield, established The Epsom Free Will Baptist Society July 1, 1824, Arthur Caverno, first pastor.

With the Baptist's at the Meetinghouse, and the Congregationalist's in their new hall, things proceeded smoothly for a while. Trouble was brewing between residents in the town, Michael McClary in particular, and Rev. Curtis. The best view of this came from a letter to a local newspaper years after the event, written by Enoch Worthen Eastman in 1869.

Catoe and Daily, were Revolutionary pensioners for services in the war to establish a government in which they "had no rights, which a white man was bound to respect." Lady Catoe afterwards moved to Exeter and became a pensioner under Col. Benton's Widow bill, the same bill by which the Widow Michael McClary of Epsom also became a pensioner.
And thereby hangs a tale that is nearby them. Mr. Curtis, before referred to, was the successor in Epsom of Rev. Mr. Hazelton (Hazeltine), settled for life at the expense of the town. Ministers, like women, were supposed not to enjoy the right of elective franchise. Nevertheless Mr. Curtis voted, and not only voted, but he cast a Federal ballot and I believe the only one of the kind cast in town. At any rate it was federal. Afterwards in discussing the vote over some good liquor, the way such things were always done in those good old times, Gen. McClary said Curtis was a d____d federal, that he had rather have old Hazelton's bones dug up from behind the meeting house and put up in the pulpit to preach, than to have Curtis there. Well, the evening wore away and the night and the liquor too; and the talk, for it was only talk, was forgotten.
But someone was kind enough to tell Mr. Curtis what Gen, McClary thought of his patriotism.
Afterwards when Thanksgiving was approaching, Gen. McClary sent a turkey to Mr. Curtis. But still remembering the election, Mr. Curtis declined to receive it, and returned it by the bearer with a note saying: "Sir. I have on numerous occasions received favors from you, for which I have been thankful. But such has been your expression about me of late, that should I receive this, I have reason to fear it might contain something destructive to live. I therefore decline to accept it."
The result was that at the next "Town Meeting" it was voted that Mr. Curtis might preach in the meeting house "half the time," and his support was curtailed to the society. Other denominations occupied the meeting house every other Sunday, and occasionally Elder Ebenezer Knowlten, of Catamount, who had a voice like an archangel, would come down and preach so loud in the meeting house, that it disturbed the sinners over across the road in the school house, where Mr. Curtis was preaching, I was there and saw and heard.
Soon after this the patriarch Cato went dead, and was quietly buried in the graveyard back of the meetinghouse, where he and the Rev. Mr. Hazelton still repose, without a chisled slab to tell of the spot.
The next week Gen. McClary died, the funeral service was held in the old meeting house. People came from afar. Large delegations from Concord and Pittsfield were there. Mr. Curtis preached the funeral sermon from the singular text "Without any order." I was but a boy, scarcely in my teens, but I remember it well. The thread of the discourse was that all without any order go to the grave; the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the high, the low.
"The grave is the common lot of all. All go down on one common level in the grave. Last week the poor African, to-day Gen. McClary." And as he came near the close, the speaker said it was customary to extol the dead, but he could not do so. "You all knew the deceased. If I should speak of his patriotism you all know that. Should I tell you he was at the battle of Bunker Hill, so also was the poor African who died last week He closed by reading that beautiful hymn of Dr. Watts, two lines of which ran thus: The true, the wise, the reverend head Must lie as low as ours.
Probably no funeral sermon in New Hampshire ever created such an excitement. The Concord people said they guessed the speaker remembered the Turkey, and I expect he did.
The result was, figuratively speaking, that Gen.McClary rolled over in his coffin. A division soon sprang up in the church and society, and Mr. Curtis soon after left Epsom and went to Hanover in Mass., and from there to Pittsfield.
The moral to all this is, that when a man presents a minister with a turkey, his better way is to eat it.
Fraternally yours, E.W. Eastman

Indeed things came to a head and Reverend Jonathan Curtis left January 1, 1825. The Free Will Baptist's erected their first building a dozen years later, in 1833, and replaced it with the building we are all familiar with now, in 1861. The Congregationalist's used the meetinghouse and their hall again after 1833, then erected a newer structure near the site of the old Knowles store in 1845. In 1850, the old town meetinghouse was sold at auction and moved to Concord. The population of the town grew to 1418 in 1830, the largest it would be for another 100 plus years.