From the Granite Monthly
Settlers of Epsom
By J.M. Moses
The standard history of Epsom is
that by J. H. Dolbeer, Esq., included in Hurd's history of Merrimack
County. His sources were mainly the town records and a historical pamphlet
written by Rev. Jonathan Curtiss in 1823. Mr. Curtiss got his information
mostly from tradition, as children of some of the first settlers were
While Mr. Dolbeer's history is very full, considering the space limits
imposed, it could not include many particulars about early settlers
and their locations. I hope to supplement it somewhat in this respect.
Mr. Curtiss wrote: "It appears from various facts that there were
a number of families in town a considerable time before its incorporation."
(Incorporated May 18, 1727.)
No doubt adventurous white men, hunters and trappers roamed the forests
and camped at various places, in more or less Indian fashion, at very
early dates. It is harder to believe that white families lived in this
section before they could have title to land, and I have not seen that
assumed by other historians. On the contrary, Epsom and the adjoining
towns were incorporated too early, before settlement was practicable,
as a means of holding the land against the encroachments of Massachusetts.
It was not till June 12, 1732, that any lots were laid out or any attempt
at settlement was made by the proprietors of Epsom, so far as the records
show. Then twenty fifty-acre home lots, with thirty acres each of out-lying
land, were granted to twenty proprietors, who undertook to settle the
first twenty families. The requirement was only to build a house and
settle a family and plant or sow three acres on each lot. There was
no requirement as to how long the families should stay. At least one
lot was forfeited from failure to comply with these conditions.
The charter required that the annual meetings should be held in Epsom
as soon as the settlement was'' perfected,'' meaning, I suppose, the
twenty families and improvements required by the charter. No meetings
were held there before 1742, and they were not held there regularly
before 1750. Barrington lost half its people in the time of the French
war of-1745-'49 by removal, and no doubt Epsom suffered as much. The
number of families had not reached fifty in 1761, and did not much exceed
that number in 1773.
After considerable search of deeds I have yet to find proof that any
other settler was there as early as Charles McCoy. He was "of Epsom"
by a deed in October 29, 1735, and Mr. Curtiss thought he had a daughter,
Mary, born there as early as 1731. She lived till 1828, and was believed
to have been the first white child born in the town.
Mr. Curtiss said that McCoy came from Londonderry, and deeds show that
a Charles McCoy, farmer, of Londonderry (the only Charles McCoy of the
recorded deeds of that period) bought land November 12, 1728, in Chester,
a home lot of twenty acres, with outlying land. He sold this June 30,
1730, a wife, Mary, signing.
He may have been in Epsom a few years before 1735, as settlers were
often required to locate and make improvements before receiving title
to land. Probably he was a son, or younger brother, of Alexander McCoy,
a Scotch Highlander, who settled in the part of Londonderry that became
Windham, and who is said to have been six feet, seven inches tall and
to have weighed 296 pounds. The pioneers were not apt to be dwarfs.
All the McCoys mentioned in the New Hampshire Province Deeds seem to
have been of the Windham and Epsom families, excepting, perhaps, a Francis,
who bought land in Exeter April 4, 1748. Charles of Epsom deeded to
sons Nathaniel and Francis, May 23, 1752, and they deeded this land
in 1760. Francis of Epsom had deeded November 1, 1752.
Mr. Curtiss mentioned also a son John, adult or nearly so in 1747 and
"younger children." He gave an interesting account of the
capture, August 21, 1747, of Charles McCoy's second wife, Isabel, by
the Indians. The place is now marked by a memorial stone. The people
left the town at this time for the older settlements, and this makes
it not improbable that the Francis McCoy who bought land in Exeter in
1748 was the Francis, son of Charles. Exeter then extended to Chester
The McCoys left Epsom in 1760. For more about them see the interesting
article in the GRANITE MONTHLY of June 1908, by Byron Moore; also a
note in the Boston Transcript April 14, 1909. Charles was probably living
in Allenstown as late as 1790, perhaps included in the family of Charles,
Jr., who was the Charles of the census, and had wife, Sarah. April 6,
1787, Charles McCoy and wife, Mary, of Allenstown deeded to the town,
their farm where they then lived, bounded north on the Suncook River.
Nathaniel was of Pembroke in 1761 and owned land on the west bank of
the Merrimack. In 1772 Francis bought the land on which the Hooksett
railroad station now stands. John was perhaps the John McCoy of Durham
who bought land in Nottingham August 27, 1761, and died there before
1789, leaving a son John and several daughters.
The McCoy farm in Epsom was sold April 30, 1760, to Reuben and Eliphalet
Sanborn of Hampton, and has remained in the Sanborn family to this time,
the present owner being Judge Walter H. Sanborn of St. Paul, Minn.
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. By tradition this daughter's
name was Ann. The church records have it Nanny. A deed signed by her
mark October 15, 1765, has it "Agnas." An older deceased daughter,
Margaret, had married George Wallace early enough to have a child baptized
The McClarys had the most easterly of the home lots, near Deerfield,
John living on the south side of the road and Andrew, Jr., on the north
side. The three sisters lived near. All had large families, and the
McClary blood became widely diffused, though the name has disappeared.
This noted family was so fully treated by Warren Tripp in the GRANITE
MONTHLY of October. 1900, that I will pass it without further notice
Among the proprietors who under-took to settle, the first twenty families
were Samuel Wallace of Rye and William Wallace of Greenland, probably
brothers, though I have not seen proof of that. Samuel was son of William,
who was son of a George Wallis (generally so spelled) "sometime
of Newfoundland," who bought land and buildings at Little Harbor
November 6, 1660. This George was not the George that came from London
in 1635, as claimed in the history of Rye, for that George settled at
Chelsea, Mass. The men who undertook to settle frontier towns were generally
interested for sons or sons-in-law; and accordingly we find Samuel Wallace
deeding his son George. June 1, 1741, the home lot in Epsom, where he
now lives, a fifty-acre lot on the south side of the road "granted
me for settling the town"; also the thirty-acre outlying lot; and
Lot 68 in the second range. The same day he willed to his son William
"my fifty-acre lot in Epsom on the north side of the road,"
between Joshua Berry's land on the east and parsonage land on the west;
also the eastern half of Lot 101 in the third range. This William, then
of Rye, bought June 30, 1742, another home lot in Epsom. If he ever
lived in Epsom it was but a short time. He died before March 25, 1747,
leaving three young boys: Samuel, who in 1771 was a carpenter of New
Castle; William, who settled in Northwood; and Spencer, who was of Exeter
in 1790. This Samuel is believed to have died in Epsom in 1800, having
bequeathed to a son, Joseph Chase Wallace of Epsom, also children, Samuel,
Shadrach, Peggie and Comfort. The half of Lot 101 was in 1778 in possession
of Jonathan Knowles (son of Simon, son of John of Hampton) and was occupied
by his descendants nearly eighty years.
George Wallace lived in town to old age, a deacon and man of prominence.
About 1765 his "home lot" was a lot between John McClary's
and Deerfield line.He left sons, Ebenezer, who married his cousin, Sarah
McGaffey, and settled on Lot 68 in the Mountain District; and George,
Jr., who married Rachel, daughter of Philip Babb, and settled a mile
or so southeast in Deerfield. Among their children were William, who
married Sally True and was ancestor of the Wallaces of Northwood Narrows;
John, who married Mary True and had eleven children, among them John
and George of Epsom; and Philip, who married Rachel Babb and had children,
Alonzo, Caroline, Joseph and Clarinda. Daughters of Dea.George Wallace
were Martha, who married Benson Ham; Margaret, who married Eliphalet
Sanborn; and Elizabeth, who married Thomas Babb, all of Epsom; and Hannah,
who in 1781 was Hannah McGaffey. Another daughter was Jane, who married
Capt. James Gray of Epsom and died early, leaving a son, John.
William Wallace of Greenland probably took part in the settlement of
the town, but I have not seen record of any of his family being there
very early. He was probably there in 1761 and a member of the church,
but returned to Greenland and died there in 1772. His son William was
in Epsom 1767-'69, but returned to Greenland. Another son, Samuel, had
bought  forty acres in Epsom before February 27, 1747 [Nov. 17,
1748]. He was "of Greenland" then, "of Barrington"
in 1754, when he bought land in Epsom that was later in possession of
his sons, Nathaniel and Abraham, both of Epsom. A William Weymouth Wallace,
a Revolutionary soldier from Epsom, was a grandson mentioned in the
will of William Sr. of Greenland. He removed to Sandwich. A John "Woles"
chosen assessor in Epsom in 1750, may have been of this family. A daughter
Jane was wife of Mark Moses, who lived in Epsom from 1762 onward. For
a more genealogical account of the family, see notes in the Boston Transcript
June 10. 1907 and Jan. 28, 1908.
John Blake (then spelled Black) of Greenland, son of John, son of Jasper
of Hampton, was another proprietor instrumental in the settlement of
Epsom, though he himself was ''of Greenland'' as late as March 2, 1741-'42.
He was of Epsom December 2, 1743, and had been moderator of a proprietors
meeting held there May 4 of that year. His son, Samuel, according to
Mr. Curtiss, came to Epsom as early as 1733, not as a settler, for he
was then only fifteen years old and did not marry till 1743. Probably
something was done on most of the home lots as early as 1733. John Blake.
Jr., the eldest son, born in 1716, was probably there by that time,
though he did not marry till May 1740. He then married Jemima Locke
of Rye. He was chosen highway surveyor and fence viewer for Epsom in
1743 and was undoubtedly a resident. It cannot be assumed that all the
town officers at this time were residents, for the voting power was
vested in the non-resident proprietors as well as in the inhabitants,
and the meetings were held mostly in Portsmouth or New Castle. This
John and Jemima had a son, William, born in Epsom in 1741, who is said
to have been the first white boy born there. If this is true, it argues
that the place had not been very populous in the preceding decade, and
the three sons of Charles McCoy must have been born before he came to
town. John. Jr., was "of Epsom" by a deed April 21, 1749,
and then received of his father a deed of forty-seven acres near Pittsfield.
He was later of Pittsfield. His son, William, lived in Epsom till 1766;
was in Nottingham in 1767, and later of Barrington.
John Blake, Sr. and wife Mary, lived in Epsom to old age. His location
is given in a deed of October 11. 1759, in which he conveys to his "beloved
son" Thomas Blake of Epsom, fifty acres "where my now dwelling
house stands," "that first division lot," originally
of Thomas Berry and numbered 4. In 1754 he had deeded to his son, Dearborn
Blake, then of Epsom, Home Lot No. 5. Dearborn Blake was of Epping in
1764 and deeded this lot to his brother, Thomas, who sold it the same
year to a distant relative, Jethro Blake of Epping, who came to Epsom
and lived there to old age. Thomas removed to Chichester, another son,
Benjamin, of Epsom 1762- '65, went to Wolfeboro.
The Blakes were an excellent family, devoted to the interests of the
church and town, ranking next to the McClarys in prominence and esteem.
Their name has disappeared from the region, but their blood is even
more widely diffused than that of the McClarys. Especially is this true
of Sergeant Samuel Blake, son of John, Sr., who is said to have had
nineteen children. Thirteen of them lived to marry.
The first of these children were baptized in Rye, perhaps born there.
Before the Epsom church was established some went to the eastern towns
to have children baptized, and some mothers went to their friends there
before the births of their children for better care.
Samuel's first wife, whom he married November 24, 1743, was Sarah, daughter
of Jacob and Sarah (Marston) Libby of Rye. His second wife, whom he
married about 1760, was Esther [Sarah] Bickford, sister of Thomas and
Samuel of Epsom, daughter of Thomas and Esther (Adams) Bickford of Madbury,
and granddaughter of Thomas Bickford of Durham, who was son of John
Samuel Blake was "of Epsom" February 8, 1742, when he bought
Home Lot No. 14, on the south side of the road, also part of a sawmill.
He was "of Epsom" April 21, 1749, when his father deeded him
Home Lot No. 10, bounded east on Wm. Hains' land, west on Samuel Wallace's,
south on Charles McCoy's, north on the road. He is said to have lived
at the place where his son Samuel lived as late as 1823, now the home
of D. G. Chesley, a descendant. This farm, by a deed of that year, was
said to be in Home Lots 9 and 10. He died August 19, 1801; his second
wife June 27, 1804.
His will dated August 22, 1797, mentioned thirteen children, all but
Mary living. The first three were by the first wife, the rest by the
second. They were: Hepzibah, wife of Abraham Wallace of Epsom; Mary,
wife of Simeon Chapman of Epsom; Mehetabel, wife of William Moses of
Chichester, son of Mark of Epsom; Esther, wife of Josiah Knowles of
Epsom, son of Jonathan; Sarah, wife of Jonathan Fellows of Chichester;
Abigail, wife of Simeon Locke of Epsom; Rebecca, wife of Thomas Lake
of Chichester: Mercy, wife of Joseph Goss; Temperance, wife of Joseph
Knowles of Concord, son of Simon of Pembroke; Hannah, wife of Robert
Lake of Chichester; Samuel. Jr., residuary legatee; Elizabeth, wife
of John Chesley of Epsom, son of Lemuel, son of Lemuel of Durham; and
James, who married Jane Sherburne, daughter of William of Epsom, settled
in Chichester and had a large family, as did nearly all the others.
For more dates, see a note in the Boston Transcript August 8, 1908.
Mr. Curtiss mentioned a William Blazo, a Frenchman, as a pioneer settler
in Epsom; also one Whitaker of whom I have found no trace. I do not
find mention of Blazo in Epsom till 1756, though he had bought land
there ten years earlier, being then "of Greenland." He and
wife Catherine were "of Portsmouth" in 1832. Both are mentioned
in the church records of Greenland, where they had children baptized
from 1728 to 1749. Probably they did not come to Epsom till the close
of the war. He was highway surveyor there in 1756. A deed of 1757 called
him "cooper." His son, William, Jr., was constable there in
1758, and his son John tythingman in 1759. Early in that year he deeded
his land to his sons, John and Amos, including his homestead of fifty
acres, "on which my dwelling house now stands." This was the
home lot originally granted to Simon Knowles, and was on the south side
of the road. The sons soon sold it to Andrew McClary. William Blazo,
Sr. is said to have been the first person buried in the old cemetery;
and this was referred to as "the burying place" August 14,
1761. John and Amos soon removed to Pittsfield, just above New Orchard,
and the latter soon after to Parsonsfield, Maine. A William, Jr., returned
to Greenland, where he had the homestead of his father-in-law, William
The French war of 1745-'49 was the great interruption in Epsom's history
and caused a complete desertion of the town at one time. Of the period
before this war the town records are scant. Doubtless there were other
pioneers, who failed to gain mention in them or in land or probate records.
It is likely that the Locke, Berry and Allen families were represented.
The McCoys, McClarys, Wallaces and Blakes were probably the only families
of that period that became permanent residents.
With the close of the French War,
in 1749, Epsom began a rapid growth in population and prosperity. This
was not much checked by the outbreak of hostilities again in 1754, for
the war was then carried into the enemy's country, and the Indian depredations
did not reach this section. When the peace came in 1760, they were known
to be at an end. Not only was Epsom safe, but all northern New England
was safe and was thrown open to settlement; and henceforth Epsom was
to lose by emigration to the new lands, as well as gain new settlers
from the older towns.
The gains, however, exceeded the losses, and the number of people steadily
increased for seventy years more, reaching 1,408 in 1830. Up to then
Epsom was the most important town, as well as the natural center, of
the Suncook Valley.
The twenty home lots began about ninety rods from Nottingham line, and
ranged westerly on both sides of the road through the old Center, or
East Village, nearly to the present village of Epsom Center. They were
numbered from east to west on the north side, and from west to east
on the south side; the road was called "East Street."
Home lot No. 20 was originally drawn by James Marden of Rye (1697-1777,
son of James). April 12, 1735, the proprietors voted this lot forfeited
and transferred to Joseph Simpson, who had "settled a family in
the town." (Had he settled the McCoy family? He sold them their
land.) I find nothing to indicate that Simpson ever lived there himself.
July 1, 1743, he deeded Andrew Mc-Clary home lot No. 20, '' given me
for settling a family," situated on the southwest side of the road
and "on the norwest side of George Wallis's fifty acre lot."
I do not know whether Marden contested the forfeiture or not. There
must have been many transactions by the proprietors that were not entered
in the record book. April 30, 1741, Samuel Marden was mentioned in a
deed as owning on the west side of home lot No. 19. This lot was said,
in a deed of February 27. 1747, to be bounded on the east by "William
Marden's lot." March 7, 1747, Andrew McClary deeded his son John
home lots Nos. 19 and 20, except five acres off the east side of No.
20. Here is material for a reconciling genius.
May 1, 1749, James Marden of Rye deeded his son, Nathan, a fifty-acre
lot on the southwest side of East Street, without giving the number
of the lot or the adjoining owners. Nathan was chosen constable in Epsom
in 1753, being then thirty-two years old. He served as selectman, was
town clerk 1755-1770, and was the first deacon of the church. In 1784
he owned the land east of the Mountain road. He probably called attention
to the deficiencies in the early records, for in 1761 George Wallace
and Ephraim Locke were chosen a committee to assist him in '' getting
the former town records that may be in any of the former proprietors'
hands." A return of the original survey was subsequently entered
in the book.
He married, first, in 1743, Susanna Berry; second, in 1786, Mrs. Hannah
Dolbeer, widow of Jonathan and mother of Nicholas, the ancestors of
the Epsom Dolbeers. He died between May 27, 1808 and November 2, 1811.
He had a son, James (1746-1791), of Chichester, who married, in 1767,
Sarah Worth; a daughter, Sarah, who married, in 1766, Ithiel Clifford;
a son, Nathan, in Epsom with a large family in 1790; and a Daughter,
Judith, who married late if at all [married May 25, 1780 Hunkson Marden
of Barrington]. A Joseph Marden was in Epsom in 1790.
The Mardens became numerous and gave their name to the school district
west of Gossville.
Ithiel and Sarah Clifford had children baptized in Epsom: Lucy, Sarah,
James, Nathan M., and John.
Among the pioneers in Epsom were "several Libbys, a family noted
for pioneering; industrious, hardy adventurers, tarrying usually only
a few years in a place, then moving on for new worlds to conquer. A
faithful account of their generations and migrations may be found in
the family genealogy, compiled by Charles Thornton Libby.
In 1742, John and Samuel Libby of Rye bought home lot No. 8, on the
north side of East Street, and probably No. 9, next on the west, with
a share in a sawmill and 150 acres of out-lying land. Both were in town
at an early date, perhaps before the French War, and remained till after
1760; evidently men of prominence, as they held the most important town
offices. Samuel went to Machias, Me., where he lived some fifteen years,
and then to New Brunswick. John, after several changes, is said to have
settled, in 1781, in Porter, Me., where he died in 1804, aged 84. Several
of his sons lived there for a time, among them Jonathan, who married
Hannah, daughter of John McCoy of Nottingham.
John Libby's father was Isaac, of Rye, born about 1690. He was in Epsom
in 1761, with his sons, Isaac, Jr., and Reuben. They took the lead in
organizing the Epsom church, on the twenty-third of August that year.
Of the first fourteen members, eight were Libbys. Isaac, Sr., was chairman
of the committee that built the meetinghouse. He died probably about
Isaac, Jr., lived a little to the east of the Center village, where
he had a grist-mill on the Little Suncook; also a lathe, on which he
turned out the old-fashioned wooden dishes that were in use. He lived
to be eighty-five years old, and died in Epsom, August 28, 1810. Of
his thirteen children, Mary married Abner Evans, who was of Epsom 1762-1765,
later of Barre, Vermont; Elizabeth married Aaron Burbank, from Rye,
who bought land in the Mountain district in 1762, lived there several
years, then went to Stratford, Vt.; Isaac, Jr., also went to Stratford,
Vt.; Bennett Libby married Eleanor Haines, was in Epsom in 1790, later,
with his family, joined the Canterbury Shakers; Abigail married her
cousin, Jethro Libby, and lived in town; Job married Rebecca Pearsons,
lived 1785-1790 near the carding-mill, then went to Strafford, Vt.;
Susanna married Theophilus Cass (son of John Cass, who came from Epping
about 1765 and lived a little west of Epsom Center) ; Nathan had the
homestead and lived there till 1814, having married Abigail, daughter
of Symonds Fowler of Epsom (son of Philip, of Newmarket) ; Abraham married
Mrs. Abigail (Pearsons) McClary, and went ,to Stanstead, Quebec, as
did his sister Margaret, who had married William Sherburne, and his
brother Joshua, who married Sally, daughter of John Grant.
Reuben Libby left Epsom about 1765; he afterwards lived for many years
in Gorham, Me. The only one of his sons that remained in this vicinity
was Jethro (1759-1843), who was apprenticed to Aaron Burbank, and had
of him the Libby farm in the Mountain district, which is still owned
by a descendant, Mrs. Mary (Libby) Dowst. He married, as has been said,
his cousin Abigail, and they had ten children. Among those that remained
in town were David (1779-1843), who married Martha Dolbeer, daughter
of Nicholas, and Levi (1752-1821), who married Abigail Farrington.
Abraham Libby (1688-1767), brother of Isaac, Sr., was an extensive land-owner
in Epsom, having bought there as early as 1749; he came to town about
1760, and died there about 1767. He was not succeeded there by any of
his sons, but a son-in-law, Jonathan Chapman, came to town about 1762,
and was living there in 1780. Another son-in-law, Penuel Chapman, was
chosen clerk of a proprietors meeting held in Epsom in 1743. In 1756
he was living in North Hampton, but owned home lot No. 16 in Epsom,
which he then sold to John McClary. This lot was originally granted
to Paul Chapman, an older brother of Jonathan and Penuel, who had perhaps
lived on it; he died in 1754. Another brother of this family (all of
whom were sons of Samuel Chapman of Hampton and Greenland), was Joseph,
of Exeter, who in 1761 bought of Abraham Libby fifty acres in Epsom.
He came to Epsom and in 1767 sold land there to a Simeon Chapman of
Newmarket. Simeon came to town and settled, marrying Mary Blake. They
had children, born 1770~1788, Phebe, Joseph, James, Sarah, Lydia. Mary,
Alice, Rebecca, and David. A John Chapman had children, Samuel, Solomon
and John baptized in Epsom in 1765. Simeon, with a family of eleven,
was the only Chapman there in the census of 1790.
Of the home lots, No. 3 was drawn by Thomas Berry, and Nos. 8 and 9
by Zachary and Ebenezer Berry of Rye. Thomas and Ebenezer and seven
other Berry proprietors drew outlying lots. Probably representatives
of this family were in town early, but I have not found mention of any
of them before 1750, when Ephraim Berry was chosen tythingman and Joshua
Berry highway surveyor. Ephraim was there in 1762 and 1776. April 24,
1773, Joshua Berry of Greenland deeded John Berry of Epsom the western
half of home lot No. 6, on the north side of the road, which was bounded
westerly on land of Rev. John Tucke. (Other deeds show that Mr. Tucke's
land extended westerly to the cemetery and land of Ephraim Locke). Two
days later John and wife, Deborah Berry,
deeded this land to Amos Morrill of Epsom, blacksmith. In 1790 there
was only one Berry family, that of a Thomas, though the name had become
prominent in Pittsfield.
A deed of 1764 stated that home lot A No. 5 was originally of Jude Allen.
According to the records, it was drawn by Noah Seavey. Allen may have
owned or occupied it. A John Allen was in town in 1751. A Jude Allen
was head of a family in 1790.
John McGaffey, of Brentwood in 1754, of Buck Street (Pembroke), in 1757,
was of Epsom in 1759, and bought land of his father-in-law, Andrew McClary.
In 1765 he bought forty-six acres more to the east of the McClarys,
adjoining Nottingham line. He was son of a Neal "McGachy"
(also spelled McGaughe and McGaghe), who was of Pemaquid, Me., in 1733,
and then bought land in Nottingham. Neal's estate was administered in
John and Jane (McClary) McGaffey had children, born 1756-1773, Neal,
Margaret, Samuel, John, Jane, Andrew, William Workman, Agnes, Mary and
James. Neal and William W. married Sarah and Mary, daughters of Philip
Babb. Sarah married Ebenezer Wallace. John, Neal and an Andrew McGaffey
signed the Association Test in Epsom in 1776. By 1790 the name had disappeared
from town and appeared in New Hampshire only in Sandwich, where the
census found families of Andrew, Samuel, John, Workman, Henry and Andrew
Thomas Bickford was "of Epsom" in 1754, owning land where
Benjamin Bickford lately lived. He then exchanged this for home lot
No. 13, on the south side of the road, adjoining land of Samuel Blake.
He lived there until 1764, when he sold the place to Aaron Clough of
Nottingham. Samuel Blake, in the meantime, had married Thomas Bickford's
sister Sarah, and they, according to the town records, were living on
home lot No.13 or 14 in 1768. There is evidence that these were the
same lots that were sold by Samuel Blake, Jr., to John Chesley in 1823,
though then called Nos. 9 and 10.
About 1760 Thomas Bickford owned the whole of lot No. 95, nearly 200
acres, extending from near the present town house to the Suncook river.
He sold fifty acres off the east end to his brother Samuel, in whose
family it still remains. Thirty acres out of the northwest corner became
a part of the Moses farm on the north. The rest was sold to Joseph Worth,
who came to Epsom from Hawke (now Danville) about 1770.
The lot on the south, No. 94, about 200 acres, was bought in 1761 by
Jeremiah Prescott of Epping, who sold the eastern half to John Cass.
Both settled on this land about 1765. Prescott lived near the bridge
over the Little Suncook, which was called the Prescott bridge.
In 1766 Thomas Bickford and wife Mary, and Samuel Bickford and wife
Mercy, all of Epsom, signed out on the estate of their father, Thomas
Bickford of Madbury. He was son of Thomas Bickford of Durham and grandson
of John and Temperance
Bickford of Dover. I have nothing later about this Thomas of Epsom.
He may have been the Thomas Bickford of Pittsfield by the census of
In 1765 Samuel had a house in or near Epsom Center. He soon removed
to the farm he had bought of his brother. He was living April 23, 1773,
but probably died soon after. He left seven children, of whom five were
Benjamin, Samuel, Thomas, [Mary] John and Joseph. His widow, Mercy,
lived until 1824.
Of the sons, Benjamin married before 1779 Hannah, daughter of Francis
Locke, and had sons, Samuel and Thomas, both of whom lived to past eighty
years of age.
Samuel married Abigail (Page?) [Cook] and had children, born1780-1798,
Rebecca, Mehetabel, Margaret, Abigail, Benjamin, Joseph, Samuel Jr.,
Thomas married Olive Haines. He died in 1819, leaving sons John, Samuel,
Nathan and Daniel.
Among the drawers of home lots, June 12, 1732, were Joseph and William
Locke. Very likely members of this family were among the earliest improvers
of Epsom lands. I do not find the name among residents earlier than
1752, when Ephraim Locke was chosen a viewer of the selectmen.
He was from Rye, son of Francis3, Edward2, John1, November 27. 1747,
when only seventeen years old, he bought home lot No. 7, on the north
side of East Street. His marriage did not occur until May 14. 1752;
the lady was Comfort Dowst, daughter of Ozem, son of Samuel of Newcastle.
Probably he had spent much of the preceding four years in Epsom clearing
land and preparing his home. He lived in town for the remainder of his
life and was prominent in town and church affairs. At the time of his
death, which occurred in March or May 1798, he had the home lot west
of the cemetery, over a part of which the cemetery has since been extended.
Among his children were Prudence, born in 1753, who married. March 14,
1773, Isaac Knowles of Epsom; Francis, born about 1755, who succeeded
his father on the homestead; perhaps an Ephraim that died before his
father; Captain Samuel, born about 1761, lived in Epsom, died March
28. 1816; Asa, baptized October 23, 1763, who went to Vermont; Comfort,
baptized July 27, 1766; Hannah, baptized September 18, 1768, who married
Aaron Lamprey; Elizabeth, baptized June 23, 1771, who probably married
Francis married Mary. He died in Epsom in 1835 and his wife, Mary, in
October, 1818, "in her fifty-eighth year." Their home in 1803
was where the crossroad joins the main road west of the cemetery. In
that year he made an agreement with John Chesley, Daniel Philbrick,
Jr., John Drowne and Philip Stevens, to utilize the mill privilege on
this cross road. A sawmill and gristmill were built, and in 1811 Bennett
Lawrence of Epping bought a right there for a carding and fulling mill.
Among the children of Francis and Mary were: Deacon Ephraim, born July
1787, died April 14. 1855, who lived north of the mills, on the turnpike;
Francis, born about 1791, died December 31, 1869, who lived in old age
near the town house; and Margaret, who married Jonathan Knowles, son
of Josiah, and died in 1817.
Another Francis, brother of the first Ephraim, moved into town late
in life. He probably lived a little to the southeast of Epsom Center,
as that seems to have been the location of his son and successor, Abraham,
who had his real estate. His will, dated March 21, 1781, proved February
21, 1787, mentioned no son but Abraham, but daughters Sarah Seavey,
Elizabeth Cass (wife of Simon), and Hannah Bickford (wife of Benjamin).
Abraham died before January 7, 1806, leaving children: Sally Davis,
Lydia Davis, Betsey Thurston, Reuben, Nancy, Moses and Abraham Locke.
Timothy Blake Locke (Edward3, Edward3, John1) was mentioned in the town
records in 1769, but not afterwards. He was perhaps succeeded by his
brother, Moses Locke, who settled there about 1770, east of the parsonage,
and was there in 1790. His children, born 1757-1776, were Mehetabel,
Anna, Jonathan, Hannah, Mary, Elijah, Richard, Moses and James. His
son, Jonathan Locke, lived in Epsom and had children born 1786 and onward,
Naomi, Florinda, John, David, Rebecca and Mary.
William Locke (Elijah3, William2, John1), a blacksmith, came to town
about 1780, being then twenty-two years old. In 1797 he had the land
east of the lane leading to the home of the late Thomas Cilley. He had
children born in 1780-1791, John, Abigail, Huldah, William, Elizabeth
and Reuben, most of whom settled in Epsom, though their father removed
Simion Locke (David4, Jonathan3, William2, John1) came to Epsom about
the close of the Revolution. His brothers, David and Levi, afterwards
lived on Locke's Hill. Another brother, Reuben, married Phebe Chapman
of Epsom and went to Corinth. Vt. A brother, William, married, October
23, 1800, Esther Knowles of Epsom, and settled in Lyman. They were the
parents of Albion Locke.
Of these brothers, Simion had children, born 1784-1802, Anna, Samuel
B., David, Simion Jr., John, Josiah K., James, Sally and Reuben. Children
of David, born 1790-1801, were Deacon David, Abigail and Nancy. Children
of Levi, born 1797-1816, were Simon P., Benjamin L., Lucy M., Thomas
D., Betsey, Almira and Rev. Joseph.
Other articles of this series appeared in June and September 1909. Two
corrections are needed in them. Samuel Blake's second wife was Sarah
Bickford, not Esther. Samuel oBickford remained on his village lot and
died there before May 14, 1773.
The twenty home lots were laid out
Beginning ninety rods from Deerfield line on the north side of East
Street, first came the Solomon Dowst lot, originally laid out at the
west end, and numbered 10, but re-located here, and in later years called
No. 1. It was sold by William Blake to Andrew McClary in 1767. West
of this came two McClary lots, the original Nos. 1 and 2. West of them
were John Blake's two lots, called by 1760 Nos. 4 and 5. Next west was
the lot of Joshua and Ephraim Berry; next a lot bought in 1768 by Rev.
John Tucke; next, the first minster's lot, settled on Mr. Tucke in 1761;
next Ephraim Locke's lot, No. 7, bought in 1747; then Samuel Libby's
lot, No. 8, and John Libby's, No. 9. Beyond these was a tract of about
145 acres of public land, reaching to the third range.
The south side home lots also began ninety rods from Deerfield line.
The first was that of Deacon George Wallace, re-located from the west
end, originally numbered 11. Next on the west were the two John McClary
lots Nos. 20 and 19, on the second of which the old McClary house still
stands. Next was Deacon Marden's lot, reaching to the Mountain Road.
Next was a lot owned in 1784 by John McClary. Next, the Chapman lot,
sold in 1756 to Andrew McClary. Next, lot No. 15, where William Blazo
lived in 1759, later the home of Moses and Jonathan Locke. Next, the
parsonage lot; then Samuel Blake's two lots; then Thomas Bickford's
lot. Next was the first minister's out-lot, which was bought in 1773
by Francis Locke. Beyond this was a larger lot, for church and school
purposes, extending to the third range.
The garrison house stood on lot No. 2. The first settlers kept near
it till the French wars were over. Then, with security from the Indians,
the outlying lots began to be occupied. Sanborn's Hill attracted some,
as it had McCoy, who did not fear the Indians.
Reuben Sanborn and his son Eliphalet bought the McCoy farm in 1760.
Another son, Reuben, Jr., settled in Chichester. He was the father of
Deacon Ira Sanborn (1768-1845) of Epsom. Eliphalet married Margaret,
daughter of Deacon George Wallace. They lived on the place till old
age, and left many children, among them Josiah (1763-1842), who succeeded
them. He married Anna, daughter of Moses Locke. Their eldest son, and
successor on the place, was Deacon Frederic Sanborn (1789-1881). He
lived there till his death, with his son Henry, who soon after removed
to Princeton, Mass., transferring the place to his son, Judge Walter
H. Sanborn, who keeps it as a summer residence.
This family has furnished many of the most substantial citizens of this
and other places. Their very interesting genealogy, by V. C. Sanborn,
is so easily accessible that I need not give them more space here.
The next two lots south of the Sanborn lot were owned in 1761 by Abraham
Libby. The first of them, about sixty acres, he then sold to Joseph
Chapman of Exeter, who occupied it, and a few years later sold it to
Simeon Chapman of Newmarket, who settled there. The next lot, about
one hundred and twenty acres, was sold about the same time, the north
half to Anthony Chapman, a. minor, who soon died, leaving it to his
father, Jonathan Chapman; the south half to Richard Tripp, who is said
to have come from Portsmouth, but was then of Allenstown. Both settled
In 1781 Richard Tripp removed to Short Falls, where he built a sawmill
a little above the present gristmill. His wife was a daughter of Andrew
McClary. They had a large family of children, of whom John (1770-1844)
and Richard (1772-1857) lived in Epsom. John married, November 1, 1798,
Sally Gordon. They had children (1800-1816): Jeremiah, Susan, Nancy,
John, Andrew, James, Richard and Sally. Jeremiah was born October 8,
1800, and died in 1884. He married Chloe Prescott, who died some ten
years earlier. They were the parents of Warren Tripp, the present owner
of the homestead, an account of whom may be found in the GRANITE MONTHLY
for December 1896.
James Tripp, son of John, was born April 24. 1814, and died January
5. 1898. He married, February 2, 1843, Isabella, daughter of John and
Hannah (Dickey) Prescott. She was born July 23, 1816, and died September
24, 1902. They were the parents of James H. Tripp, father of Walter
H. of Epsom.
On the Jonathan Chapman farm lived for several years Capt. James Gray,
an officer in the Revolution. In 1888 he removed to the John Cass place,
now Hiram Holmes, where he passed the remainder of his life. He was
first employed as schoolmaster, about 1769 coming from Byfield, Mass.,
where he had been writing master in Dummer Academy. In 1771 he was chosen
town clerk. The records for that year are a delight to
the eye. He married, first, Jane Wallace, who died in 1772, leaving
two sons, one of whom died in infancy, the other in early manhood, unmarried.
He married, second, Susanna, daughter of Rev. Moses Parsons, for many
years pastor at Byfield. They had children: Moses P., Theodore, Katherine,
Lucretia B., James, Judith P., Susan and Mary. Moses (1779-1858) lived
on the homestead; was for many years town clerk and justice of the peace.
Theodore and James died at sea, unmarried. Lucretia (1785-1875), married
William Brown (1797-1887), of Epsom, son of John and Sarah (Allen) Brown;
children living are Mrs. Mary L. Cass of Epsom and Mr. Jeffrey Brown
and Mrs. Susan Forbes of Byfield. Judith (1789-1855) married John Rand
(1792-1861) of Epsom. Susan and Mary died when about twenty, unmarried.
From Byfield came also members of a Pearsons family; among them, Jonathan,
clothier, who was of Epsom in 1782, had a large family in 1790, died
in 1821. He bought the east side of Isaac Libby's lot and had a fulling
mill near Libby's gristmill. Caleb Pearsons was in town in 1786 and
then married Mary Locke. She died in 1820, aged 55. Women of the name
were Alice, who married Jonathan Locke; Rebecca, who married Job Libby;
Abigail, who married John McClary, Jr.; and Anna, who married Jacob
Sanborn of Chichester.
The earliest roads were in existence long before they were regularly
laid out. The first was East Street, extended into a West Street, which
went northwest from the Center and crossed the river by the "Great
Bridge," near the Rand place; then went on through Chichester and
Loudon to Canterbury, the whole route being called the Canterbury Road.
Next was by tradition, a road over Sanborn's Hill to Short Falls, doubtless
connecting with the settlement at Suncook. Deeds of the McCoys in 1752
and 1760 mention a "Suncook Road" passing or crossing the
northwest corner of their land. A deed of 1768 (Exeter Deeds, 123-364),
mentions a "road to Pembroke" not now in existence, along
the north side of the Sanborn lot.
The present Hill Road was laid out November 28, 1768, from the main
road near Isaac Libby's to the land of Richard Tripp. It was extended,
December 3, 1772, partly on the "old way," partly on a route
newly spotted, passing "the northwest corner of Joel Ame's field"
to a tree on the line between the lands of John Haynes and Levi Cass.
A John Haynes was in town in 1776: had a large family in 1790. In 1819
there was recorded the death of "the widow of the late John Haynes."
Levi Cass lived at New Rye, where he died in 1825. He married Mary Sherburne
(1746-1834), sister of the wives of Jeremiah Prescott and James Moses.
They had children: Elizabeth, who married William Sanborn; Rachel (1779-1861),
who married Jonathan Dolbeer; Levi (1782-1850) who married Mehetabel
Osgood (1784-1873), of Raymond, and settled on the Ebenezer Wallace
farm, where his son Henry now lives; and Samuel (1786-1863) who married
Mary, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Blake) Chesley, and lived on the
homestead, which is still owned by their descendants.
John Cass was father of Simon and Theophilus. All three were of Epsom
in 1796. Simon married Elizabeth Locke and had children (1776-1794):
Francis, Theophilus, Jr., Abraham, Jonathan, Simon, Levi, Thomas, John,
Jr., Nathan and Nancy. Of these, Francis and Simon married Mehetabel
and Rhoda, daughters of Abraham Wallace, and Theophilus. Jr., married
Jane, daughter of Eliphalet Sanborn. About 1800 several of this family
joined in the settlement of Cassville, in Stanstead, Quebec.
The next lot south of Levi Cass's was bought in 1750 by Jonathan Dolbeer
(1720-1761) of Rye, son of Nicholas and Sarah (Smith) Dolbeer. He married,
December 25, 1744, Hannah Marden, probably a cousin to Deacon Nathan,
whom she married, second, late in life. Their son Nicholas (1748-1796),
a Revolutionary soldier, married, May 27, 1773, Mary Randall (1751-1802).
They settled on his father's lot in Epsom, coming in February 1792.
Their children were: Jonathan (1774-1857), who married Rachel Cass;
John (1778-1819) who married Sally Sherburne (1776-1824), daughter of
Joseph; Martha (1781-1854), who married David Libby (1779-1843); Stephen
(1783-1845), who married Jane Libby; Mary (1786-1865), who married Levi
Haynes; William (1788-1873), who married Hannah Kimball; and Nicholas
(1792-1877), who married Esther Chase. All of these but Stephen and
William lived in Epsom.
Jonathan left no children. He was for many years clerk of the Congregational
Church, and kept a record of deaths in town from 1817 to 1857. This
was continued by his nephew, Calvin, down to 1875.
John Dolbeer settled at New Rye, where his son Joseph S. (1804-1877)
succeeded him, and where Joseph's son, John H. Dolbeer, Esq., still
Nicholas Dolbeer had the homestead, where his son Calvin lived with
him and after him, and died there in 1894. Another son, John, made a
fortune in California. He contributed largely to the Epsom library.
Expansion of the home settlement eastward took place at an early date,
going first into Deerfield, as the public land east of the home lots
was not sold till June 1765. The northwest part of Deerfield became
practically a part of Epsom.
In December 1758, Benson Ham, "of Ipsom, alias Portsmouth;"
bought fifty acres just across the line, towards Suncook Pond. In 1765
he bought an adjoining tract of the Epsom public land, which included
a house lot on the south side of the road, near the brook. This made
a farm that remained in the family a long time. He died in the summer
of 1802, aged 71. His wife, Martha (daughter of Deacon Wallace), died
in 1833, aged 91.
Their children, born 1760-1784 were: Agnes, Captain John, George Wallace,
William, Margaret, Anna. Jane, Martha and Elizabeth.
Agnes married a Stevens. Captain John married, in 1787 Lucy, daughter
of Isaac Libby. Their first child, Elizabeth W. (1787-1867) married
William Yeaton (1783-1830). A daughter, Lucy (1798-1888), married Perkins
Philbrick (1794-1854), and had a son, Darius (1823-1903). Captain John
married, second, in 1801, Olive (1764-1840), daughter of Samuel Towle.
They had a son Capt. George B. Ham (1807-1852), who married Olive (1812-1892),
and had sons, George W. and Shepherd.
George W. Ham (1765-1797), son of Benson, married Margaret Dickey and
left two children, William and Margaret. This William (1791-1872) was
a justice of the peace and man of prominence. He married Nancy Hopkinson.
Children of theirs were: George W. (1826-1849) and Eliza, who married
B. M. Towle.
Of the other children of Benson Ham, William and Anna died young; Margaret
married a Marston; Jane died unmarried in 1818; Martha became the second
wife of Joseph Lawrence (1772-1857), of Epsom, and mother of Joseph.
Jr.; Elizabeth lived unmarried to the age of ninety-four years, dying
September 15, 1878.
South of the Ham farm was the large farm of John and Jane McGaffey,
partly in Epsom and partly in Deerfield. Of this family, in addition
to what has been said, it may be stated that Samuel McGaffey of Sandwich
married Lydia Sanborn of Epsom in 1784; John McGaffey of Lyndon, Vt.,
married Margaret Sanborn of Epsom in 1800, and Neal and William W. McGaffey
married, before 1796, Sarah and Mary, daughters of Philip Babb. An Andrew
McGaffey, not son of John, bought land west of the river in 1765, and
held office in 1770. He probably married Hannah Wallace.
John and Jane McGaffey sold their farm in 1777 to Samuel Osgood, gentleman,
of Salisbury, Mass., who came there to live. Children of his, born in
Epsom (1779-1786), were Isaac, Lydia, Hannah and Sarah. There was a
Samuel Jr., who died in early manhood. Eleanor, wife of Samuel Sr.,
died in August 1793, in her fifty-first year. He married, second, the
widow of the second Andrew McClary. She died in 1808; he in 1819. Of
the daughters, Lydia (1781-1866), married Hanover Dickey (1773-1845),
and Hannah married Robert Dickey, both of Epsom.
A Moses Osgood was of Epsom in 1773, and bought the lot west of the
Ham farm. This lot had been sold in 1767 to a Stephen Swett, Physician,
who had a wife Sarah, in 1768. He then sold all of it except a house
lot on the south side of the road, about halfway up the hill. In 1789
Moses Osgood bought the next lot to the west, on the north side. This
made a large farm, extending to the Northwood Road, at the top of the
He married, in 1773, Mary, daughter of Reuben Brown of Salisbury, Mass.,
and sister of Reuben of Northwood. They had children (1774-1788): Lydia,
who married Elijah Locke; Deborah, who married Samuel Seavey; Isaac;
Elizabeth, who married Hugh Morrison; Mary; David, who died young. He
married, second, Rachel Sanborn, and they had David and Margaret. He
died in 1823.
The farm on the opposite corner, Deacon Wallace's, was bequeathed to
his son-in-law, Capt. Thomas Babb. He was of Epsom in 1778, and died
there in the winter of 1808-'09. In 1805 his house was near the end
of the Northwood Road.
The children of Thomas and Elizabeth, born 1777-1783, were: Margaret,
who married James Prescott of Hampton Falls; Sarah, who married a Langmaid;
Elizabeth; Jane, who married Samuel Wallace; and Rachel.
Captain Thomas married, second, Sarah Blake: and they had (1789-1801)
Priscilla R.. Hannah, James, Thomas and Amelia.
Captain Thomas was son of a Philip Babb, probably from Portsmouth, who,
with a son Philip, was in Epsom in 1795, about a mile south of the Deacon
Wallace place. He had other sons, Aaron and John, who settled in Epsom:
also daughters, Rachel, deceased before 1796 who had married George
Wallace, Jr.; Sarah and Mary, who had married McGaffeys, as has been
stated: and Hannah, who probably married Simon Grant.
John Babb was of Epsom in 1789, and then bought thirty-six acres on
the North Road. Aaron was of Portsmouth in 1782, and then bought fifty-seven
acres in lot No. 13. No Babbs but Thomas were in Epsom in 1790. In 1792
Thomas and Aaron of Epsom, husbandmen, bought lots Nos. 15 and 18, 223
acres, extending across the valley between Fort and Nottingham mountains.
This valley is still a picturesque and interesting place. It is reached
by a private road, about a mile long, branching from the Mountain Road.
Onlv one house now remains on it though as many as ten can be remembered.
Besides the Babbs, there was a Tarleton family, and families of Grants,
descendants of John Grant, who died there in old age in 1822. Cultivation
was mostly on the eastern slope. The western slope is steep, running
up to the top of Fort Mountain, a mountain too little known. The view
from its rocky summit, in the opinion of the writer, is the finest in
southeastern New Hampshire.
In this valley lived Aaron Babb (1759-1813), and his wife, Hannah (1767-1848),
and reared a family of children, among whom were Mary, who married a
Chambers; Hannah, who married a White; Rachel, who married her cousin,
Philip Babb Wallace; Statira (1798-1852); Samuel (1800-1845); and Joseph
John Babb (1767-1831) had a wife, Anna (1777-1841) and a son John (1802-1868),
who had a wife, Salome (1805-1870). A Betsy Babb died in 1878, aged
74 [also sons James and Philip]
From Deacon Wallace's corner, the Griffin Road, which must be one of
the oldest, leads southerly into a section of Deerfield that has always
been closely connected with Epsom. The last farm in Epsom was Ithiel
Clifford's, bought in 1765, being the next south of the McGaffey's.
On the other side of the line the McClarys had early bought extensive
tracts, which they sold to their Epsom friends. Deacon Wallace had one
of them, and settled his son George. Jr. on it, and his sons lived there.
Jeremiah Eastman, from Kensington, a member of the Epsom Church in 1767,
lived near the west shore of Pleasant Pond. He died in 1802, leaving
sons, Jeremiah, Jacob, Ephraim, Benjamin and Enoch. Deacon John, of
the third generation, lived just east of the line on the Griffin Road,
with his son, Lowell, afterwards of Epsom.
This road seems to have been named for Griffin families, who settled
there very early. Eliphalet Griffin, from Kingston, bought land about
a mile from the Epsom line in 1749. He had a son Nathan, who married
Phebe, daughter of John Cass. Their son, David (1772-1840), bought the
Deacon Wallace place about a hundred years ago. He built the present
house in 1824. The farm remained in his family till about 1900.
He married Abigail (1768-1824), daughter of Deacon John Cate, and they
had children: Nathan (1797-1869), who had the homestead, married Mary
Cate (1801-1885), and had children, David, Phebe, Nathan, Samuel, Mary,
Abbie, Charles and John S.; Abigail (1798-1869), who did not marry;
Ebenezer (1803-1855), who married Sarah Brown of Northwood, and left
a son, James, of Pittsfield; and John, who married Fanny Wiggin, lived
in Epsom, and left a son, Manson.
It is curious how uniformly the
first roads took hilly routes. Epsom began with its Canterbury road,
going over the hill north of Gossville, and its ''road to Pembroke,"
over Sanborn's hill. Both were soon superseded by easy roads through
November 28, 1768, there was laid out a road from a point a little west
of the town house, on or near the present route of the Turnpike to Prescott
bridge, thence over the Yeaton road as far as the branch road to F.
W. Yeaton's. Land damages were paid to Thomas Hinds, John Cass, Jeremiah
Prescott and Benjamin Shepard. In 1772 this road was referred to as
"the road that leads from John Cass's to Shepard's mill."
Ten years later it was extended to Allenstown, the extension beginning
"8 or 10 rods south of Nathaniel Wallace's house."
In 1722 a road was laid out from a point eight rods north of Prescott
bridge northwesterly through Gossville, up the Rand road, 324 rods in
all, to a point ten rods east of the Great Bridge. It went from Prescott's
land into land improved by Benjamin Goodwin. The Turnpike was not built
till about 1800.
As early as April 23, 1761, Ebenezer Barton was chosen surveyor of "the
road leading to "new orchet, so called.'' In 1774 this road was
laid out '' as it goes.'' from near Shurking mill to Chichester (now
Pittsfield) near Ebenezer Barton's. The same year the North road was
laid out from Deerfield to Chichester near Abraham Green's. This was
joined in 1780 by a road from East Street, starting just east of Mr.
Tucke 's land. The Northwood road, from Thomas Babb 's, by way of Pettingill
bridge and Prescott hill, was laid out in 1782. The Mountain and Locke
roads followed two years later. The former went "as it goes"
to land of Samuel Moses, then on by the range-way to Allenstown line;
the latter over Locke's hill, passing southwest of Mr. Odiorne's house,
to Pittsfield line, near George Sanborn's [Sanders].
Shurking mill stood where the Knowles gristmill now stands, it may have
been the first sawmill, standing as it did, on public land, on the main
road. In 1773 Ephraim Locke sold his brother, Francis, seven eighths
of it, together with all the eastern half of the village on the north
side of the road. Samuel Bickford owned westward from him.
In 1785 the mill was called Locke's mill. Samuel Locke then bought eight
acres west of it, between the road and the river.
The earliest mention I have found of a mill was February 8, 1742. William
Haines of Greenland then deeded Samuel Blake "the eleventh part
of a sawmill now being in Epsom." There was then a sawmill on the
Little Suncook (Deeds 27-326). In 1760 Andrew McClary, "milright,"
deeded his son, John and Andrew, his sawmill and gristmill near the
outlet of Suncook Pond, on land he had bought in 1756. In 1768 Benjamin
Shepard deeded Joseph Cilley of Nottingham 80 acres in Epsom, land "I
did formerly live on," also "one half of all the privilege
I bought of George Youring in the stream on which Jona. Hill and others
formerly built a sawmill, with the privilege of one half the mill now
built." In 1778 John Cass sold Ephraim Locke "one twelfth
of a sawmill commonly known by the name of Civility's mill."
Besides these and other mills previously mentioned, Ephraim Locke had
a mill on Bear Meadow Brook in 1777, near the North road, and the Cates
had a sawmill of early date in New Orchard. The great water power of
the Suncook was not improved till later.
Of the families to be mentioned in this article; the Bracketts, Cates,
Marstons. Moseses, Osgoods, Pettingills, Philbricks, Prescotts, Sherburnes
and Towles; have genealogies in the libraries; so I need not take up
space with their relationships.
The first settlers on the Yeaton road were probably Wallaces of the
Greenland family. The principal stream there took the name of Wallace
Brook. Samuel Wallace bought Lot 93 in 1748. This was next south of
Lot 94, on which Jeremiah Prescott had settled in 1765, near the bridge.
Samuel's son, Abraham, probably lived there. He certainly owned the
eastern half of the lot after 1789.
Lot 92 was owned, 1749-1767, by Abraham Libby. In 1769 it was owned
and probably occupied, by Josiah Sanborn. Jethro Blake bought it in
1770, and probably lived there.
Lot 91 was occupied, 1773-1801, by George Urin (Joseph 3, John 2, William
1), from Greenland. He had wife, Many, and children: Reuben, Solomon,
Joseph, John, Mercy, Nancy and Martha. Mercy married in 1800 Nathan
Fogg of New Hampton.
Lot 90 was originallv of Thomas Rand Jr. of Rye. If I understand, this
was the lot that Benjamin Shepard, with wife, Jane, from Nottingham,
occupied for a few years, about 1767-'69, and then returned to Nottingham.
(Compare Deeds 97-108 and 110, 113-533, and 122-284.) About the same
time, Obadiah Marston, from Deerfield, had an adjoining lot. He also
owned land in New Orchard, about half a mile from Pittsfield line. His
sons, Samuel and Eliphalet, were then in town.
Lot 89 includes the present Yeaton and Ordway farms. In 1754 Samuel
Wallace bought Lot 88 with a strip off the south side of Lot 89. In
1796 his son Nathaniel, with wife Deborah, deeded this land, the part
west of the road to John Dolloff, that east, to Joseph Towle. The same
year Joseph Wallace deeded Thomas Bickford, both of Epsom, 25 acres
off the east end of Lot 87. William Weymouth Wallace owned the northeast
corner [most] of Lot 89 before he went to Sandwich.
After the Revolution this road, north of Short Falls, came to be occupied
mostly by Towles and Yeatons.
Jonathan Towle Jr., of Rye (1729-1800+ ) owned land in Epsom before
1770, and lived there in old age. His brother Samuel (1735-1821) lived
at New Rye, next south of J. H. Dolbeer's place. Jonathan's son Simeon
(175-1823), settled near where his descendant, B. M. Towle now lives,
and was succeeded there by his sons, Benjamin M. (1794-1857), Simeon
(1800-1872). Other sons of Jonathan were Joseph (176-1828,) who had
the Daniel Yeaton place, and Benjamin (1769-1851), who was father of
Lemuel (1812-1866). A daughter, Hannah (1726-1843), married William
Yeaton (1756-1831), of Rye. They removed to Epsom about 1785, and settled
on the Ordway place.
This William Yeaton was son of Joseph of Rye, who was very probably
grandson of a Richard of Gosport, Isles of Shoals. He was there before
1700, and died there about 1732, leaving sons; Richard, Jr,. and Samuel
of Gosport, Philip of Somersworth, and John of Newcastle. John had a
son, Joseph, living in 1756.
William Yeaton bought land extensively to the south, and relocated his
home on the lot where the graveyard is, east of the pond. He left nine
children, all of whom settled in town, and all but two within half a
mile of home.
They were: John (1781-1861), who settled next north of his father: William
(1783-1830), of the Warren Yeaton place: Joseph (1786-1833), of the
James Brown place: Jonathan (1788-1828), who lived a little up the New
Rye road: Samuel T. (1791-1864), who lived where his grandson, Samuel
R., now lives; Sally (1793-1864), who married Jonathan Goss, son of
Samuel, and was mother of William of Gossville; Hannah (1796-1874) who
married Simeon Towle: Hopley (1801-1856) who had the homestead: and
Levi T. (1804-1846), who had the lot next south of Samuel's.
A younger brother of the first William was Philip Yeaton, who came to
town about 1798. He married Huldah Sanders. His children, born from
1798 onward, were Annie, Hannah, John S., Alexander, Mary, Sarah, Huldah
and George. An older brother, Joseph, settled in Pittsfield, just above
New Orchard. He died about 1806, leaving children: Samuel, Joseph, William,
Sally, Elizabeth, Lydia, Hannah, Abigail and Polly.
Another William Yeaton (1779-1816), known as William Jr., married Sally
Pettingill (1774-1850), daughter of Ephraim, and lived in the eastern
part of the town, near Pettingill bridge. He left a son, John, born
about 1800, and daughters, Hannah, Sarah, Lucretia and Susannah. John
had sons, William, Benjamin and others.
Joseph Worth bought land in Gossville in 1769. His son John, with wife,
Sarah, were of Chichester in 1765. They, with Joseph and wife Anna,
and a John, Jr., and wife Mary (Danforth), all united with the Epsom
church, 1767-1773. None of them signed the Association Test in Epsom.
They may have all lived in Chichester. The Gossville land seems to have
been occupied by Benjamin Goodwin, probably a son-in-law. He and wife,
Lydia, had children, 1770-1790, Gilman, Joseph Worth, Nathan, Jacob,
Anna, Benjamin, Lydia Worth, Rhoda Colby, and Timothy.
The census of 1790 found no Worth families in Epsom or vicinity. A Joseph
Worth of Epsom married Hannah Tripp in 1799. They had children: Joseph,
Sally, who married Jeremiah Burnham, Richard T., (1804-1891), John,
James and Samuel.
Samuel Moses, from Greenland, was of Epsom in 1760, first at Gossville.
In 1769 he sold there and bought Lot 67 at the Mountain. He lived there
till 1800, when he sold to his brother, James, and went to Meredith,
where several of his sons had preceded him. The place has since been
owned by descendants of James, the present owner being Mrs. James Tripp.
Samuel's father, Mark Moses (1702-1789), was in Epsom by 1762, a little
above Gossville. His sons, Sylvanus (1754-1832) and James (1758-1819),
succeeded him and added to the estate till it included some two hundred
acres, reaching from the river to the New Orchard road. Sylvanus lived
near the river: James, at A. D. Sherburne's place.
The Rand road was named for families of that name that settled there.
In 1774 Samuel Rand, Jr., bought of William Rand, mariner, both of Rye,
Lot 116, 100 acres, near the Pine Ground. This Samuel was probably the
Samuel born in 1753, son of Samuel and Sarah (Dowst) Rand, and grandson
of Samuel3; Thomas2, Francis1. The next year Richard Rand of Rye bought
of Jonathan Sargent of Epsom 35 acres next on the south, east of the
river. George Sargent owned west of the river.
Samuel and William Rand signed the Association Test in Epsom. They,
with Richard, were there in 1790, all with large families. William died
in 1833, sixty years after his marriage to a wife, Sarah. Richard died
in 1844, aged 92. A Mr. Rand died in 1817.
William in 1829 bequeathed to a son William (born in 1774), daughters,
Molly Wood Rand, Sarah McConnell and Betsey Wood Rand, children of a
deceased daughter Rebecca, who had married Sherburne Pre-cott, a son
Tobias Truudy Rand, a son Thomas (1787-1865), who had married Sally
Batchelder, and his children: Mary. Jacob, Newell and Elizabeth.
The wife of a Richard Rand died in 1820. Anna (Lake), widow of a Richard
Rand, died in 1852, aged 81. She had just bequeathed to daughters, Sarah
Leavitt, May Bickford, Sophia Haines, and Salome Babb; to "my three
sons,'' Stephen, Thomas (1808-1891) and James M. Rand; and granddaughters,
Amanda and Deborah Hall.
New Orchard was first settled at its upper end, where Ebenezer Barton
planted the orchard which the name commemorates. He was constable in
1754, and selectman in 1758. He owned land on both sides of Pittsfield
line. He died in the winter of 1781-'82, having bequeathed to wife Margaret:
to daughters. Sarah Marston and Hannah Barton; to son William his "old
field" in Epsom, bought of William Odiorne; to son Josiah the homestead,
the buildings of which stood in Pittsfield.
Joseph Sherburne (1745-1807), from Portsmouth Plains, came to Epsom
before 1776, soon followed by his brother William (1746-1808). They
were sons of Nathaniel4, John3, John2, John1. They located in New Orchard,
a little south of Barton. Both reared large families of excellent people.
An account of them was printed in the Boston Transcript, January 8,
1906, and October 9,1907. Joseph was succeeded by his son James (1789-1857),
and William, by his son David (1780-1856). A nephew, Nathaniel (1773-1818),
settled a mile farther south, on the lot next north of the Moses farm.
His widow (Molly Sanders, born 1771) survived him nearly fifty years,
noted for her energy, wit, and skill in weaving figured fabrics.
Lot 100, next north of Nathaniel Sherburne's, was settled about 1776
by Dea. John Cate (1732-1812), son of William and Elizabeth (Sherburne)
Cate of Greenland. He and his descendants were most substantial citizens,
and pillars of the Congregational Church. The farm was divided between
his sons, John (1773-1829) and Dea. Samuel (1783-1862).
Josiah Knowles (1754-1840, Jonathan3, Simon2, John1), settled next north
of Deacon Cate, at about the same time. He was succeeded by his only
son, Jonathan (1788-1843), who farmed on a large scale. He built the
colonial house that is still standing. A Simon Knowles was in Epsom
1776-78, perhaps brother of Josiah. He was probably the same that married
Deborah Langmaid and settled in Pembroke.
The Lockes, on Locke 's Hill, were late comers, David arriving about
1793, Levi about 1800. William Odiorne (Jotham-, John1) was in town
in 1776, and in 1784 had a house at or near the Ames place; but lived
mostly in Durham.
George Sanders (John2, Christopher1), from Rye, lived next Pittsfield
line in 1784. He was born September 11, 1748. His wife, Anna, born December
24, 1745, was probably daughter of Stephen and Ann (Perkins) Page. Their
children born 1771-1783 were: Molly, Huldah, Elizabeth, John and Hannah.
John married Anna Locke. They had children; George, Simeon, Abigail,
John, Nancy, Reuben. Joseph, David and Solomon. George had a son George,
born in 1833, died in Enfield. Robert Sanders (1743-1829), a brother
of the first George, lived in Epsom and had many descendants. See History
Joseph Towle (1747-1820. Amos3, Joseph2, Philip1), came from North Hampton
in 1774, and settled east of Odiorne's Pond. In 1793 he removed to Porter,
Maine. He and wife Elizabeth (Coffin), were original members of the
first Free Baptist Church of Pittsfield. Their children, born 1770-1794,
were Amos, Joseph, William, Ezra, Nancy, Daniel, Elizabeth, Sara,. David
An adjoining owner to the east, next Pittsfield line, was Jeremiah Page
(1739-1807. Jeremiah4. Christopher3, Thomas2 , Robert1). He was there
in 1776. He had married Lydia Philbrick in 1769. His will, made in 1807,
bequeathed to daughters, Abigail Bickford and Sarah Berry: to son John
(1779-1871) the homestead, reserving rights to "my wife and his
mother'': also to sons Jeremiah and Daniel, the latter having land in
Lot 44. John married Huldah Locke in 1800. "The aged widow Page"
died in 1840 aged 92. "Mrs. Mehitable Page" died in 1846 aged
87. A Simeon Page, with small family, was in town in 1790, perhaps husband
of Mehitable. In 1785 Daniel Philbrick of Hampton deeded his sons, Daniel,
Perkins and John, large tracts in the second range, near Pittsfield.
Daniel and Perkins, and also a Samuel Philbrick, were in town in l790,
all with large families. The Philbricks became extensive landowners
in the region where they settled, as well as thrifty and prosperous
farmers. Daniel died in 1835 aged 82; Perkins in 1838 aged 80; and the
widow of John in 1853 aged 96. Sons of Daniel were Daniel and David,
who died in 1774, aged 92 and 77. Sons of Perkins were Perkins and Joseph,
who married Lucy and Martha, daughters of John Ham.
There were several Brown families. Enoch settled on the North road before
1790, on land given him by his father, Jonathan, of Kensington. Levi,
probably a brother, was of Epsom in 1781, and bid off the John Yeaton
lot, adjoining, for taxes. He died in 1816, having bequeathed to wife,
not named, to daughter, Mercy Brown and to sons, Abel and Levi. Enoch
died in 1824, having bequeathed to wife, Eleanor, and children not named.
Joseph Brown of Rye (Joseph4, Joseph3, Thomas2, John1) married Abbie
Dolbeer, sister of Nicholas, and settled in Epsom before 1790, as did
his brother Job, who had married Huldah Page; also, perhaps, two other
brothers, Jonathan, with' wife Mary (Smith), and James, with wife Hannah
(Smith). A cousin. John, son of Col. Jonathan, came a little later with
wife Sarah (Allen).
Ephraim Pettingill, perhaps of Deerfield, was mentioned in the church
records in 1772. He was of Epsom 1779-1800, living near the Warren Yeaton
place. His wife was Hulda, daughter of Jonathan Batchelder of Hampton
Falls. Several of his sons were Revolutionary soldiers. Elijah had a
daughter, Joanna, who lived to old age in New Orchard as widow of Daniel
John Grant, a Revolutionary soldier, was of Epsom in 1789, and then
bought Lot 19. His wife, Dorothy, died in 1843, aged 90, having bequeathed
in 1838 to sons, Simon, John (1790-1864) and Ebenezer, and daughters,
Sally Libby, Polly, wife of Ephraim Foss, and Dorothy, wife Nathan Goss.
John, Jr., had sons, George and Andrew, the former fa ther of William
Grant of New Orchard.
Ebenezer Brackett (1743-1826), from Greenland, settled at the Mountain
in 1772, where he was succeeded by his son, Greenleaf, and he, by his
son, John L. (1817-1901). David Dickey, of Chester, bought the Tarleton
place, 120 acres, of Aaron Bur-bank in 1782. He deeded, 1794-1800, to
Hanover, Robert and John Dickey, probably sons. Hanover had children,
born 1803-1816, Eleanor, David, Hanover, Abraham, Sally and Lydia. Children
of Robert, born 1804-1817, were Morrill. Eliza, Samuel, Sarah, Robert
and Hannah. John Haynes deeded in 1797 to a son, John. Probably Levi
and Matthias were sons.
Joel Ame [Amy], blacksmith, lived 1772-1791, west of McCoy's mountain,
on the Hill road. He had a large family in 1790. Samuel Ames and Samuel
Ames, Jr., both in town in 1774, had land west of the river, next south
of that of Samuel Goss. Samuel deeded to Samuel. Jr., in 1786, and later
to a son Solomon. An Amos Ames [son of Samuel Jr.], married Susan Moses
in 1816, and had sons. Charles (1816-1887) and Thomas (1828-1900).
Samuel Goss (1755-1831), son of Nathan and Deborah (Allen) Goss of Stratham,
came to town in 1778. His brother Joseph, who at first lived in Pembroke,
had the next lot north, which also adjoined that of Symonds Fowler,
who had bought there in 1770. Fowler had children, 1767-1788, Abigail,
Benjamin, Sarah, Samuel (1775-1860), Mary, Esther, and Winthrop, who
was father of Samuel Jr., (1821-1898).
Benjamin Mason and wife, Molly, came to Sanborn's Hill in1769. Thomas
Hinds, from Greenland, with wife Mehetabel, was of Epsom and "Allenstown
1752-1770. In 1768 he sold a lot in the third range, near Allenstown,
to Wm. Drought of Portsmouth, shoemaker, who came to town.
James Wood was in town in 1760 and had married Mary McCoy. They may
have had children before 1760. Their children from 1760 onward were
James, Isabel, Joseph, Mary and Betsey. James was head of a family in
1790. Betsey married Benjamin Towle.
Nathaniel Keniston was in town in 1771; John Casey, in 1773. In 1773,
John Casey, trader, sold Nathaniel Keniston, husbandman, Lot 82, at
Short Falls. In 1790 John Hogan, tailor, of Epsom sold land to Jonathan
Bartlett of Pembroke, who came to town.
Other early settlers are mentioned in the records as follows: John Allen
in 1751 and 1755; Jude Allen, 1779; Joshua Berry, 1750 and 1760; Timothy
Goodwin, 1772; Samuel Jackson, 1763 and 1769 (He had wife Eunice); Amos
March, 1772: James McCrillis, 1771; George Sargent, 1771; Joseph Smith,
1771; Thomas Ward, 1771 (from Kensington).
All the signers of the Association Test have been mentioned in this
and the preceding articles, expect the following: Samuel Davis, Israel
Folsom, Thomas Holt, William Holt, Benjamin Johnson, David Knowlton,
William Mason, Henry McCrillis, John McCrillis, William McCrillis, James
Nelson, Nathaniel Payn, Henry Seavey, Joseph Seavey and Dr. Obadiah
Williams. No doubt these were as worthy of commemoration as the others,
but my researches have failed to include them.
This concludes my contribution to this department of Epsom history.
May its deficiencies provoke others to do more and better. I hope to
contribute an article on the first church of Epsom, for the years 1761-1774,
and its pastor, Rev. John Tucke.
Items in [ ] or ---- are corrections not by the author
Part I appeared in the Granite Monthly June 1909
Part II September 1909
Part III December 1909
Part IV February 1910