HISTORY OF BLACK HALL ROAD &
GOBOROUGH ROAD, EPSOM, N.H.
Told by Benjamin Marden Towle and
written by Hattie Dudley.
Revised by Carleton Towle Rand in
Original October 1936.
Black Hall Road, called in some old deeds Road to
Mr. Henry Sanborn is responsible for the statement
that charcoal was burned on this road and hauled to
market by the citizens who were called `black haulers'.
Hence the road was called Black Hall (Haul) Road.
Free will Baptist Parsonage stands at the junction
of the turnpike and Black Hall Road on the west side
of Black Hall Road. Present Minister Ralph E. Osborne.
The Prescott Bridge Tradition says that the bridge
was so named because a man named Prescott drowned
himself in the
Little Suncook River, in the meadow below the bridge.
It was formerly a rattle-trap wooden bridge, quite
likely to be damaged by spring freshets annually and
repaired by the efforts of citizens. (shown right)
House owned by the heirs of Nathan Goss, left side
of the road as one goes toward Short Falls, was built
by William Goss.
Silk Mill This house and the next occupied by Robert
Zinn as a dwelling were moved from the other side
of the river where they formed one house known as
the "Long House" on the Dickey place. This
was on the present Route 28. It stood beyond the house
built by Freeman Marden and was on the same side.
PHOTO - below the Nathan Goss house on the left, then
the two houses formerly the "Long House".
the west side, practically opposite the Zinn plant,
are three houses owned by Blanche Lane, Henry Stevens
and Ernest R. Marden. These three houses were built
by Charles Sumner Hall. (shown in insert photo on
On the east side next comes the house
owned by the heirs of William McKenzie. This was owned
and occupied by James M. Clark in my childhood. Jim
Clark was somewhat of a character, rather famous for
his dirt and shiftlessness. Always went barefoot and
seldom washed his feet. He lost a part of his hand
in a planer at William Tripp's mill and delighted
in showing the stump to everyone. Said machinery was
a "cuss to the country." The house was built
or remodeled by Robinson, think it was Black Smith
shop, moved there and fixed up and that my father
and James Burnham did the work. Robinson moved to
house (photo right) occupied by William Burnham was
formerly occupied and owned by "Squire"
Ham. My father married Eliza Ham for his first wife
and lived there with the Ham's. Deeds indicate that
Squire Ham (William) first conveyed half the property
to him and later the rest. My father lived there before
moving up the hill to the Towle place. I think my
father must have sold the place to James Burnham who
lived and died there.
of Benjamin Marden Towle (left photo). I built this
house fifty years ago. Construction was begun in the
fall of 1886 and the house was finished in the winter
and we moved into it as early as February. The land
was bought from James Burnham, a corner of his field.
On the hill east of Black Hall Road were three farms,
the Wallace place, afterwards the Clark place, was
occupied by Abram Wallace, who is buried in the old
cemetery in the field. My father bought the place
from the Clarks and sold the house, which was moved
grandfather Benjamin Marden Towle built the Towle
house (right photo), now owned by the heirs of Herbert
Colby. The original Towle house was in the field east
of the present house, on the side of the field toward
land now owned by Eugene Philbrick. Only the cellar
hole and the well remain. Simeon Towle and his wife
Elizabeth (Marden) Towle came here from Rye. He was
my great-grandfather. His parents, Jonathan Towle
and Elizabeth (Jenness) Towle died there.
The farm now owned by Eugene Philbrick was owned
by Solomon Marden, brother of Elizabeth (Marden) Towle.
Later is was the Brown farm. A family named Urann
lived there. In my childhood, Daniel Philbrick owned
and occupied it. Charles Leighton and Jane (Bickford)
Leighton, his wife, also lived there.
Charles Leighton sold the place to James Eugene Philbrick.
The Cape Cod cottage on Black Hall Road next to Benjamin
Towle's building, was built in 1938 by Mr. And Mrs.
Clifford Osborne. The land was deeded to them by Mr.
Towle, Mrs. Dorothy (Towle Rand) being his granddaughter.
The house now occupied by Karl Fowler Rand was bought
by Simeon Towle, brother to Benjamin Marden Towle,
my grandfather, from a man named Dyer. Simeon Towle
and Hannah (Yeaton) Towle raised a large family there,
and Charles William Towle and Emeline Towle, son and
daughter of Simeon and Hannah, lived there after them.
Charles married after his sister's death, later becoming
despondent over his financial affairs, he committed
suicide by hanging in the barn.
The heir's rights were sold at auction, subject to
the widow's dower rights and I bought them. Later
I bought out the widow. The house was originally Cape
Cod cottage type, and Charles built a two-story ell.
Back of the front hall was a closet with a door which
fitted miserably into the wooden partition. The upper
part of the main house was unfinished and was the
On the east side of Black Hall Road stands the house
occupied by James Osborne. This house was built by
my grandfather Benjamin Marden Towle for his sister
Perna or Parna Towle. She deeded it back to him.
Benjamin Towle, my father, sold the place to Daniel
Ayers, it went into possession of Warren Yeaton, probably
by mortgage. Addison Davis once lived there, also
a family named Pinney. Mrs. James Fisk bought it of
the Yeaton heirs and gave it to Kidder Fisk who lived
there for a while and sold it to Rudolf Zinn. Zinn
remodeled the house and sold it to Osborne.
The Cape Cod cottage on Black Hall Road opposite
the Osborne's was built by Paul Brusquini. The land
was deeded by the late Benjamin M. Towle.
house formerly used as the Epsom Poor House stands
on the west side of the road. It is now owned by Minot
Yeaton and has of late years been rented. As far back
as I can remember James Yeaton lived in this house
and his first wife died there. James Yeaton sold the
farm to his brother Daniel, father of Minot. Both
James and Daniel were sons of "Uncle" Jack
Yeaton. (house shown left)
It is said that this house was built by a Towle and
James B. Towle was buried in a family graveyard next
to the small yard where the town poor were buried.
(note: Joseph Towle buried in Poor Farm cemtery) The
place was known previous to its use as a poor house
as the Esq. Hersey place. It was bought soon after
1848 and was used as a poor farm until about 1865
(Hist of Merrimack Co.)
G. Ordway lives in the very old house where Solomon
Yeaton formerly lived (shown right). After the death
of Mrs. Solomon Yeaton, the place was sold to Ordway.
This is probably a very early Yeaton homestead.
On the same side (East) is a rather more recent house
built by Israel Garfield and now occupied by Wilfred
Osborne. Israel sold the house to a family by the
name of Tolman which contained at least six children.
Tolman lived there for a while then sold the house
to James B. Osborne. Wilfred Osborne, son of James
Osborne, lives there now.
On the west side next comes the Ben Bickford house.
I can remember four generations there, Old Ben, Young
Ben, Joe and Joe's son who was born there. I have
heard that this was an old tavern.
On the west side, up a lane, is the house occupied
by Fred Yeaton. This is the "Uncle Jack"
Yeaton place where he lived in very earliest days
and where his son Will lived. Fred is Uncle Jack's
Just beyond the Ben Bickford house is a cellar hole
where "Bill Brooks" lived. I remember going
there with father when a child died. It was taken
down and moved. The ell stands at Gossville. It was
moved out there and Billy Bennett lived in it. This
was probably a Yeaton house.
On the West side of Black Hall Road between the Ben
Bickford place and the Jim C. Yeaton place, was the
Hopely Yeaton place, In my early days Samuel Tom Bickford
lived there. While the Rail Road was being built,
horses used on the work were kept in the barn of this
place and the barn took fire and was burned with all
This house was sold and torn down. William Goss bought
it intending to use the timbers for a house nearer
Gossville, but found it so poor he did not use it.
the west side next comes the house of the late Samuel
Yeaton. This was built by Jim C. Yeaton. He lived
there and was followed by his son Samuel. The place
is now occupied by Sam's widow and his sister Lizzie.
(left the James C. Yeaton house with he and his family,
including wife Hannah Drake Towle Yeaton)
The house opposite was the old place. It was unoccupied
and deserted for many years, until repaired and renovated.
Maurice Yeaton, son of Samuel, lives there. On the
east side a little to the north of the house stood
the old cider mill where much cider was made.
Next on the East side of the road is a new house
built by Winthrop Fife, a World War II veteran. This
house is built in a Spurlin pasture
.The "Jim Brown" house (above) is on the
left or east side of the road. It was sold to John
Spurlin. Later it came into the hands of an Italian
named Santa Paula, who now lives there. The land now
used as a golf course was part of the Jim Brown farm.
An old house formerly stood beyond the Jim Brown
house, which was called the Spurlin house. This has
been unoccupied and abandoned ever since I can remember.
The house now occupied by Leonard Batchelder was
the John Spurlin house, probably built by him. This
is on the east side of the road.
The Stewart house is now occupied by Mrs.George Batchelder
who was Nettie Stewart and was later sold by the heirs
to Langdon I. Garrison.
Falls used to be called Jenness Corner. A large old-fashioned
house stood on the west side at the corner very near
the present store occupied by Oliver Lombard. Jim
Tennant bought this old house and converted it into
a store. Later he built the present store building.
(both buildings shown at right)
Walter Tripp's house was moved from the Fowler district
and put up in the same shape as originally.
GOBOROUGH (Goboro) ROAD
An old deed in my possession which seems to be for
the triangular piece of land in the fork of the road
where Goborough Road separates from the turnpike,
speaks of this road as the Gilmanton Road. I have
always heard it called Goborough Road.
house in the fork of the road now occupied by a Mr.
Kyle and Mrs. Chase was the home of Andrew Silver.
The house was moved there (I do not know from where)
and put up by William Goss for his son John who started
the store which is now operated by Silver and Young.
The building was formerly a carriage shop or wheelwrights.
Jim McGuire worked there. It was made into a store
and after the upper part was finished off for the
Grand Army Hall (Gossville store, left)
The large two family house opposite was originally
the Clark house on the farm bought by my father. William
bought the Clark house and moved it to Gossville.
It was first used as a carriage and paint shop. Later
it was made into a dwelling house. Jonathan Marden
once owned it and built on the ell. (right) The blacksmith
has usually lived there. The blacksmith shop formerly
stood near where the Public Library now stands. It
was moved to its present position by William Goss.
(below Moses Burnham and the blacksmith shop)
The Water Tank House was built by the Rail Road and
housed large quantities of wood for running the train.
Wood was used in the engine. The Marston house just
beyond was bought by the Rail Road. Goborough Road
then ran near the present railroad track. The Rail
Road Company built the carriage road on the backside
of the Marston house.
The tracks were in front and the Marston house was used
as a station before the present station was built.
Chichester from the old Clark house Billy Bennett
used to live (right) Warren Stevens now
lives there. Billy Bennett bought the ell of the Red
House on Black Hall Road and moved it out to
Next to the Billy Bennett house is the house now
owned by Bert Young. This house was the Goss place
in the Fowler District and formerly stood opposite
the house of William Fowler. William Goss moved it
out to Gossville and set it up.
owned by Mrs. Beckley, now Mrs. Rand. This was formerly
the home of old Mrs. Westcott (Stephen, I believe).
It was built __ and on to from an old shop. It is
now owned by the heirs of Moses Burnham. Mr. Westcott
was a wheelwright.
North of the Westcott house is the house where Moses
Burnham lived, now occupied by his heirs. Morrill
Bickford built this house for a blacksmith named Twombly,
a Frenchman (Probably about 75 or 76).
Billy Burnham bought it and lived and
died there, his widow went to live with her son Fred
in Penacook. Moses bought it next I think.
Frank Hall, section boss for thirty years or so built
the house beyond Moses Burnhams on the same
side and lived there until his death. His wife still
beyond this house a road turns eastward and runs up
to the Sherburne place. Mrs. Lucy Sherburne, a widow,
lived there and taught school in the old schoolhouse
which stood where the present two room building stands.
There was a path down thro the pasture which
belonged to the Goss farm (the old Cilley place) now
the hotel, through which she used to come to school.
Her younger son Bert remained there and Mrs. Sherburne
lived with him.
Picnics used to be held in a grove known as Mrs. Sherburnes
woods her husband died with consumption and
she brought up her three children, Lula, Horace and
A still older schoolhouse is said to have stood on
the east side just beyond the road to the Sherburne
place. My father said he used to play in the swamp
between the cemetery and the railroad and chased rabbits
next house on the east side of Goborough Road is one
built by Charles Palmer probably between forty and
fifty years ago. (pictured is the house prior to the
one built by Charles Paler, later home of George Stevens)
Next was the house where Judge White
lived. Judge White agreed to saw wood for the ___
building the railroad as fast as they could use it.
Not quite sure whether he could or not. His daughter
married Sam Batchelder and the Batchelders lived
there. Ed Batchelder later of Northwood renovated
the house and kept it for some years. Now occupied
before the Judge White house was the Rufus Doe house.
Rufus Doe lived there and married Orson or Orison
Abbotts daughter and raised a family there,
Myra and Bert. Myra married Charles Palmer and was
there a while. Later Bert lived there. It has been
sold and is occupied in the summer.(right photo)
Edgar Annis has built a modern house in the field
back of the Rufus Doe place.
Next was the old Doe place now burned and a new house
has been built by Elmer Palmer. Alexander Doe, sometimes
called Old Doe lived here Tom Doe
lived there and later Charles after Alexanders
Back of the Doe place was an orchard and the place
was known as the Leighton place.
Alice Emerson lives in an old shop beyond the Doe
place. This was not there in earlier days. Isaac Hall
lived and died there. He was married to a sister of
The Rice Rand is next on the west side of the road.
Rice Rand kept a pair of oxen until there were twenty-five
years old (more or less). Charles Rand lived there
and died there. I do not know what relation he was
to Rice. Thomas Carr bought the place, took down the
old house and built a new one. The place is now owned
by Justin Stevens and son Henry.
On the west side lived William Bickford. The house
is now gone. It was a Cape Cod style house. He married
Polly Rand and raised children. His son Henry, married
Orilla Locke and lived in Epsom.
Gorham Rand lived next on the west side. He had trouble
with his wife caused, so it was said, by her perpensity
to wave to the train as it went past. Aided By Lemuel
Towle, she went away leaving her child Cora. Cora
grew up there with her father. For many years Gorham
used to set pumpkins on the gate post and label them
Lem Towle. This place now owned by Etheridge.
In the east side was the Sanborn place. Here Henry Sanborn
known as Forty foot lived. Forty foot
was so called because he was very short. He always wore
a tall silk hat. He married Shuah ___ probably Davis.
He bought the Andrew Heath place and got involved and
finally lost both places to Carpenter (Charles Carpenter).
The Andrew Heath place on the east side of the road
was occupied by Andrew Heath the elder and his son
Andrew. The farm with the barn was sold to Sanborn,
but the house was reserved and Andrew Heath the elder
remained there. His son Andrew died rather young leaving
three children I think. Will C. Heath of Manchester
is his son. I am not sure whether the younger Andrew
went away before his death. His family went to Manchester
with his wifes family I think. His house was
sold to George Henry Rand and later burned.
The Sanborns finished off a room or two in the
shed adjoining the barn and lived there somewhat.
Later the Etheridges bought this.
On the same side was an old house where Jim
McGuire lived and the Marstons once lived there.
George Henry Rand acquired this and it burned.
the left (west) was the home of George Henry Rand
(pictured). This now belongs to an Etheridge.
The Ingalls place has been lived in by various transient
people and has stood empty a good part of the time.
The old Lemuel Towle place is owned by Mrs. Mabel
Bartlett. Lemuel Towle lived here succeeded by George
who went to the Klondike and never returned. His family
lived on at the homestead.
The house where Mark Wood lived is partly in Epsom
and partly in Chichester. This house has been renovated
and is occupied by a man named Gammage who married
George Henry Rands daughter.
Mountain Road starts on the road to Epsom Center at
the McCoy tablet and comes out by way of the Swamp
Road at New Rye. The first house is that of Hollis
Hall. The old house was the home of Charles Henry
Hall, father of Hollis Hall.(right)
One road beyond goes to the old Andrew Hall place
and the old Babb place. The Andrew Hall place is still
The other road goes on by the old house once occupied
by Ozum Dowst, now owned by Annie Hill.
and Martha, his wife, were a peculiar couple. They
used to come out to the store waking with Ozum some
twenty feet ahead. Martha was unable to speak above
a whisper for many years, but finally recovered her
voce. There are no more houses until you reach Anson
To reach the old Dearborn Moses place you go through
Anson Casss dooryard. This was formerly Henry
The old Moses house is gone and a new one built where
Ralph Cass lives. Ralph Cass has a poultry farm.
(Above, the Cass home)
Tarlton place (shown left) was near the Cass place.
The house has been burned and another built. Several
people have lived there.
Calvin Dowst lived on the Mountain Road. Also Mary
and Martha Libbey. Calvin married Mary and moved up
with the Libbeys. Martha was very masculine
and has in later life very much bent from doing hard
work. (shown below)