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Full text of "The home of the Smith family in Peterborough, New Hampshire. 1749-1842"

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'Your fathers did eat /nanna in t/ie wilderness and are dead." 

— St. John. 

"His substance is not here ; 
For what you see is but the s»iallest part. 
And least proportion of humanity'.' 

Shakespeare — Henky VI. 

''Ever their pha/ito>ns rise before us, 
Our loftier brothers, but one in blood ; 
At bed and table they lord it o'er us. 
With' looks of beauty and words of good!' 

— Old Poem. 

" This is the life of one of the forgotten millions. It contains 

no material for distinction, fame or long remembrance ; but it 

does contain the material and present the scene for a normal 

human development through mingled Joy and sorrow, labor 

and rest, adversity and success, and through the tender loves 

of childhood, maturity and age. H^e cannot but believe that it 

is fust for countless quiet, simple lives like this that God Jtiade 

and upholds this earth. 

— President Eliot. 


The Old Home Frontispiece 

' Page 

Pack. Monadnock, looking East. . . . . 50 « 

The Lane. 56 • 

Grand Monadnock, looking West. . . 74, 

The Contoocook Rivek Valley, looking North. 84, 

The Second Meeting-House 98, 

The Old Home, from Carter Corner, . . 100. 

Jonathan Smith — a Silhouette. .... 114, 

The Unitarian Church. i86- 

Inside View of Unitarian Church. . . . 190. 

Original Plan of Lots of Town. 

Original Plan of Pews in Second Meeting-House. gy - 
Plan of Meeting-House Common. 104* 

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The purpose of this book is to preserve, first, 
the known facts and traditions in regard to the 
founding and development of the old family home 
in Peterborough; and, second, all that can now be 
learned of its first two proprietors, William Smith 
and Jonathan Smith. It is not an attempt to say 
anything new, or convey any new impressions. 
Much of the matter has already been printed, some 
of it in books and family genealogies now out of 
print or rare, and some in fugitive newspaper com- 
munications, published years ago and long since 
forgotten. Much has also been extracted from old 
records and stray papers, liable to be lost or de- 
stroyed at any time, the extraordinary historical 
value of which is strangely overlooked by those 
having them in charge. From all these sources as 
well as from others I have drawn freely, and refer- 
ence to them is made on the margins of pages where 
extracts from them are to be found. 

The book is written for the family and not for 
the general public; hence no apology is offered for 
the detail with which the story is told. My aim has 

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been to present to the reader, as clearly as possible, 
a picture of William and Jonathan Smith as their 
neighbors saw and knew them, their mental and 
moral temper, their habits, their business, social and 
family life, with such outline of their public services 
as will enable their descendants to understand them 
and the scenes and influences which moulded their 
lives. No one feels more keenly than I how frag- 
mentary and incomplete these sketches are, nor 
regrets more deeply that the work was not done a 
generation earlier by some one who knew them and 
could speak from personal knowledge and observa- 

The materials for a satisfactory biography of 
either are very scant. Neither William nor Jonathan 
Smith left any diaries or letfers — those mirrors of 
the mind in which are reflected the inmost thoughts, 
motives and aspirations of the writer, and constitute 
the key which unlocks his character. A few signa- 
natur^s to some old deeds are all the written memo- 
rials left behind by William Smith. The same is 
true of Jonathan Smith, except that of him we have 
his address at the centennial of 1839, fragments of 
two speeches in the Legislature and his report on 
the town library. Meagre as these are, they show 
something of his waj's of thinking and his powers 
of observation and expression. To fully understand 
either, recourse must be had to the customs and 

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characteristics of the race to which they belonged 
— the Scotch-Irish, who settled the town. I have 
sketched at some length the salient traits of this 
people — their habits, their social customs, their deep 
interest in political questions, and their mighty zeal 
for religion. We cannot understand the settlers nor 
the history of Peterborough for its first hundred 
years without knowing the temper and race charac- 
teristics of these sturdy and enterprising immigrants. 

Both William and Jonathan Smith were men of 
large public spirit, and were leaders in the political 
and religious events of their day in the town. In the 
absence of all written expression of their opinions 
upon the questions with which they had to deal, 
liberal extracts from the early history of the town 
have been inserted, in part to sholv their standing 
among their fellow-citizens, and in part to cast some 
light on the matter of what their opinions really 

These-are imperfect sketches of two of the "for- 
gotten millions." But I am not without hope that 
this little volume will be thought a contribution — 
though a humble one — to the history of the town. 
The story of any community, like the story of a 
nation, is, in the last analysis, but a record of the 
opinions, acts and character of its individual citi- 
zens. It is they who make its history; they are not 
only the exponents but the makers of that Public 

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Opinion which gives character and tlircction to all 
social and municipal affairs. And I venture the 
remark that if a similar work were done for the 
other early families that, taken toi^^ether, they would 
make a history of Petcrborout^^h of great value to 
the future student of its early life and development. 

In preparing the book 1 have been placed under 
the greatest obligations to Mrs. Nancy ( ."^milh ) Fos- 
ter of Chicago, the last surviving child of Jcjiiathan 
Smith, who, at the ripe age of ninety-two years, still 
retains a keen interest in all that concerns the town 
of her nativity, and whose long life of philanthropy 
and generous giving has afforded apt illuslratK.n >4 
that benevolent and broad public spirit for which 
her father and grandfather were so justly distin- 
guished. She has furnished many of the facts and 
traditions herein recorded, which have helped to no 
small extent to make up the picture of the old 
family home for its first hundred years in Peter- 

To Mrs. Clara Foster ]5ass, and to my brother and 
sister, I am also deeply indebted for sympathy and 
encouragement in the prosecution of the work, as 
well as for material assistance in collecting and sift- 
ing the materials from which it has been written, 
and in revising the manuscript. 

Jonathan Smith. 
Clinton, Mass., July i, iqoo. 

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Robert Smith was born in 1681, in Money more, 
Genealogy of Ireland, which is near Lough Neagh, 
William Smith, about twenty miles southeast of Lon- 
donderry, in the county of the same name. His 
father was James Smith, also of Ireland, but James 
Smith's ancestors came from Scotland, probably in 
the early part of the seventeenth century. 

Early in the seventeenth century all "northern 
S.S.Green's Ireland — Londonderry, Donegal, Ty- 

Scotch-lrish in 

America. ronc, ^avan, Armagh, Fermanagh- — 

passed at one fell ^swoop " into the power of the 
British crown. King James proceeded to people 
them with Englishmen and Scotchmen as he had 
before peopled Down and Antrim. In 1652 there 
was another large emigration from Scotland to Ire- 
land. Both these migrations were from the Low- 
lands of Scotland. 

It would seem from the family traditions that 
Robert Smith's ancestors must have come to Ireland 


before 1652. Very probably they came with the 
large colonies that settled in Londonderry and the 
other northern counties under James the First, be- 
tween i6og and 1612. Nothing is known of their 
mental and moral characteristics except what may 
be inferred from the knowledge we possess of the 
race to which they belonged, nor do we know any- 
thing of Robert Smith's early life. lie had some 
education, certainly he could read and write, and he 
had sufficient knowledge of arithmetic to enable him 
to transact business. His early life must have been 
full of privation and hardship, for he grew up amid 
the political and religious quarrels which laid waste 
large portions of Ulster and were particularly severe 
in certain parts of the county of Londonderry, He 
learned the trade of tanner an4 followed it in Mon- 
Genealogyof cymore before he came to America. 
William Smith. I,-, ^y^Q [^q married Elizabeth Smith of 
Money more. She \was the daughter of "James 
Smith of England,'' whose ancestors were also 
Scotch. Her English mother and her English edu- 
cation account for the fact that her children spoke 
without the Scotch accent; they were the only set- 
tlers of Peterborough who did so. No traditions 
concerning her have been preserved, and beyond the 
Genealogy of facts that she could read and write and 
William Smith, ^^s a member of the church in Money- 
more, nothing is known. 

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The children of Robert and Elizabeth Smith, all 
born in Ireland, were as follows: 
Genealogy of I- John Smith, bom 171 5, died January 
William Smith. 28, 1801, at Peterborough, aged 86. 
Printed Records " Purpose of marriage between John 
Lunenburg, Mass. Smith of Peterborough and Mary Hark- 
ness of Lunenburg was entered this nth day of 
August. A. D. 1753." 

Printed Records " John Smith of Peterborough and Mary 
of Lunenburg. Harkuess of Luueuburg were married 
October 2, 1753, by Rev. David Stearns, minister of 

Genealogy of 2. Sarah, bom about 1 7 16, died January 
William Smith. . ^i, 1S14, aged 98, some supposed lOO, 
years. She married before leaving Ireland James 
Bell, ancestor of Samuel and John Bell of Hooksett. 
Her second husband was William McNee, by whom 
she had no children. They lived for several years 
in Dublin. 

3. Mary, born 1720, died Dece?nber 29, 1799, at 
Peterborough, aged 79 years. 

Printed Records "Thomas Morison of Londonderry and 
of Lunenburg. Mary Smith of Lunenburg were mar- 
ried by the Rev. Mr. David Stearns, minister of 
Lunenburg, October ye 2nd, 1739." 

4. William, born 1723, died at Peterborough 
January 31, 1808. 

There is reason to believe that they had other 

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children who died in Ireland, but all attempts to 
establish the fact by family or church records have 
been fruitless. It is not known whether the church 
to which they belonged in Moneymore still exists. 
No records of it can now be found. 
Genealogy of In the autum of 1736, a party of Scotch 
William Smith, i^jsh from Londonderry^ and the vicin- 
ity sailed from Ireland for America. The company 
landed at Boston, spent the winter at Lexington, 
and the following spring several of the families of 
which it was composed settled in Lunenburg. 

Of this party were Robert Smith, his family, and 
one or more of his brothers. The brothers went to 
Virginia and all traces of them are lost, but Robert 
Smith was one of those who settled in Lunenburg. 
He brought all his family with him with the possible 
exception of Mrs. Bell, who,;-it is thought, came 
later; and some three hundred pounds in money, 
worth in our present currency about fifteen hundred 
v^orcester Co. dollars. Noveml^er 6, 1738, he pur- 
Registry of Deeds, chascd of Nathahkl Sanderson a farm 
of fifty-four acres, divided into mowing, orcharding, 
tillage and pasture, with a small house and barn 
upon it, paying therefor ^^230 in "bills of credit." 
The deed is witnessed by Edward Hartwell, Benja- 
min Goodrich and Nathan Heywood, and was prob- 
ably made in Worcester the same day. This farm is 
on a hill two hundred feet above the surrounding 

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country called in the deed " Barn Hill." It is situate 
in the northern part of Lunenburg, three miles from 
Townsend Centre and two miles from the village of 
Lunenburg. The northern boundary is the boundary 
line between Townsend and Lunenburg. The site 
commands a wide view of the surrounding country. 
The hill slopes to the east and south, and at its foot 
on the south side flows Mulpus Brook. The house 
in 1738 was a one-story frame dwelling. Both house 
and barn were torn down about thirty-five years ago, 
but the cellar-hole over which the house stood is still 
there, and the well, which was directly in front of 
the house, can still be pointed out. The fields about 
the old building site are still covered with orchard- 
ing. The soil at the time of Robert Smith's occupa- 
tion must have been very productive; it is still fairly 

There is nothing on record to show that ilobert 
Smith ever added any larfcf to his first purchase. 
During his fifteen years' ownership he stocked the 
Records of farm with cows, oxen, swine, a horse, 

Lununburg. and possibly Other livc stock. In 1739, 

his taxes on the real estate were i^Q, and on the per- 
sonal property ;^3.8s. His taxes increased yearly 
until 1747, when his real estate tax was £})6. and his 
personal tax ^17.63.; in 1752 they were: real estate, 
;[^30.; personal property, ;i^i7.i6s. In 1753, he was 
not taxed for any real estate but was assessed for 


Worcester Co. ;^ioo. in cash. He sold the farm Feb- 
Registryof Deeds, ruary 24, 1753, to 3amuel Hammond, 
for ;{i'2 1 3.6s. "lawful silver money." In both deeds — 
that of Nathaniel Sanderson to him and that of him- 
self to Samuel Hammond — he is described as "a 
Cunningham's tanner." He is so referred to in Cun- 

History of 

Lunenburg. ningliam's manuscript history of Lunen- 

burg. There is no direct evidence that he plied his 
trade during his ownership of this farm; nothing 
now to be seen on or about the place indicates it; 
but circumstantial evidence points strongly to the 
conclusion that he did. In the latter part of the last 
and the first half of the present century tanning was 
an important industry in the town, and there was a 
tannery not far from his house where the business 
was carried on for many years. A stream of water 
ran close to the foot of the hill and the surrounding 
forest abounded in hemlock trees, thu's furnishing 
plenty of material; and that he occupied himself in after his removal to Peterborough we know. 
It does not appear that he took any part in town 
affairs while in Lunenburg. He never held any pub- 
lic ofifice and his name does not once appear in the 
records of town-meetings between 1738 and 1753. 
// An examination of the church records for the same 
period does not show that either he or his wife ever 
Genealogy of joined the church there, although June 
• William Smith. 24, 1737, Mrs. Smith received a certifi- 

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cate that she was a member in good standing of the 
church in Moneymore. It is probabUi that he also 
was a member of the same church, and it would ap- 
pear that neither of them ever severed their connec- 
tion with it. 

He was past seventy when he removed to Peter- 
borough. He lived with his son William "\mtil his 
death. All his children, save possibly his daughter 
Sarah, were then living in Peterborough, and he had 
no tie left to bind him to Lunenburg. Notwith- 
standing his advanced age his industrious habits still 
clung to him. Sometime between 1757 and 1760 he 
sunk four tanning vats in some low ground near the 
street road on the north side of his son William's 
farm. These vats became a part of the tannery 
afterward carried on by the two John Fields, father 
and son, and by the latter's son-in-law, A. A. Farns- 
worth. The tannery was in operation until 1870, 
when the business was definitely given up and it was 

The genealogies of the family state that Eliza- 
beth Smith died September 28, 1757, at Lunenburg. 
It is too late to challenge this statement, coming 
as it does from members of the family at least two 
generations n^rer the event than the writer. But 
there is some reason to doubt its correctness. 
Neither the church nor the public records of Lunen- 
burg, the former kept by the Rev. David Stearns 

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and very full and complete, make any mention of her 
death or burial; and Robert Smith never paid any 
taxes there after he sold his farm in 1753. As we 
have said, all their children were then living in Peter- 
borough, and they were in prosperous circumstances. 
Elizabeth .Smith's burial at Lunenburg is not conclu- 
sive evidence that she died there, and it would seem 
more probable that they removed to Peterborough 
immediately after the sale of the farm in 1753. 
Genealogy of Robert Smith died at the house of his 
William Smith. ^0,^ William, January 14, 1766, aged 
eighty-five years. His grave is in the old burial 
ground on the street road near the site of the old 
meeting-house. It is at the west side of the yard, 
some distance southwest of the lot where lie so 
many of his descendants. The stone has the skull 
and cross bones above the name. • Of the man him- 
self, his personality, his mental and moml make-up, 
not a tradition remains. The Lowland Scotch have 
been described as having bony, athletic frames, 
broad and high cheek bones, and weather-beaten 
countenances. They were radical in politics, stern 
and rigid in religion, tenacious of their opinions, 
alive to the necessity of education, industrious and 
economical in their habits of living, cold and austere 
in mannel^ We may assume that Robert Smith 
shared the political opinions of his neighbors and 
fellow emigrants, and that his political creed con- 

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sisted chiefly in hatred of tories and Catholics. We 
know that in religion he was a .Scotch Presbyterian, 
and probably he was in full sympathy with the doc- 
trines of that sect, and fully accepted the ways of 
God in dealing with men as they are set forth in its 
dogmas of Election, Foreordination and Everlasting 
Punishment. By industry and thrift he accumulated 
a property considerable in those days. The meagre 
details of his life which we possess indicates that the 
bread of idleness was never eaten at his table. That 
he was alive to that primal duty of a parent to his 
children, that is, to give them the best education his 
means afforded, there is good evidence. The intelli- 
gence and mental acquirements of his ^ons easily 
made them leaders in the community where their lot 
was cast. 

It is upon the character, intelligence ^nd sterling 
qualities of the men of whom Robert SmitlAvas a 
fair type that the edifice of our New England civili- 
zation sT'-nds. A population made up of such men 
is as necessary to a great state as the statesman or 
military chief. The names of its individuals are 
never found on the page of history, and their work 
passes unnoticed; yet they are the only sure founda- 
tion upon which great institutions can rest securely. 

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The Scotch-Irish who came to Londonderry, and 
probably those who came to Lunenburg also, were 
Lowland Scotch originally from Argyleshire. Dur- 
ing their residence in Ireland they had intermarried 
to some oxtent with the English and Huguenots, 
but not with the Celtic Irish, whom they cordially 
disliked, but they preserved all the characteristics of 
the native Scot. Their descent from this stock and 
their purelyScotch traits and temper are strikingly 
shown by comparing Parker's description of them 
wfl^ the account given by Froude, in his life of 
Thomas Carlyle, of family life in the early home and 
neighborhood of the Seer of Craigenputtock. P2ccle- 
fechan is in Dumfries, which is one of the southern 
counties of Scotland as Argyleshire is one of the 
western. Froude gives a picture of the Scotch peas- 
ant in his own home, showing in strong relief his 
laborious life, his pinching poverty, his fiery temper, 
his moral fibre, of the " toughness and springiness of 

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Froude's Life and stecl." "They wcre noted," he says, 

Letters of r i • i i 

Thomas Cariyie. " for their hard sayings, and it must be 
said also, in their early manhood, for their hard strik- 
ings. They were warmly liked by those near them; 
by those at a distance they were looked upon as 
something dangerous to be meddled with." Carlyle 
himself, in speaking of his own father, thus uncon- 
sciously sketches the typical Scotch peasant in his 
mature years: "Sterling .sincerity in thought, word 
and deed, most quiet, but capable of blazing into 
whirlwinds when needful, and such a flash of just 
insight, and brief natural eloquence and emphasis; 
true to every feature of it as I have never known any 
other." The racial identity is unmistakable. 

They had suffered severely from religious perse- 
cution in Ireland, as well as from the systematic 
repression of trade and commerce by Acts' of Parlia- 
ment in favor of English and against Irish industries. 
Parker's History Oni the eve of the departure of the 
ofLondonderi/.- Londonderry emigrants in 1718, Rev. 
James McGregor preached to his flock a sermon in 
which he said their removal to America was for the 
four following reasons: "ist, To avoid oppression 
and cruel bondage. 2d, To shun persecution and 
designed ruin. 3d, To withdraw from the commun- 
ion of idolaters. 4th, To have an opportunity of 
worshipping God according to the dictates of con- 
science and the rules of the inspired Word." 

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Lunenburg in 1737 was one of the frontier towns 
of Massachusetts, but many of the little company 
settling there that year soon began to think of re- 
moving still further into the wilderness. The Scotch- 
Irish immigrants upon their arrival in America 
almost invariably pushed at once to the frontier, to 
the very outposts of civilization and beyond. This 
is true of those settling in Pennsylvania, New York, 
Virginia and Carolinas. A spirit of daring, shall we 
say a love of fighting, as well as a desire to better 
their material condition, led them on. hVom the 
beginning of the sixteenth century the Scot had 
wandered over Europe in search of adventure and 
gain. "As a rule," says Harrison, " he turned his 
steps where fighting was to be had, ^nd the pay for 
killing was reasonably goo(,l. If English wars had 
made their country poor they had ako made them a 
nation of soldiers." 

The Scotch-Irish immigrants who came to Amer- 
ica iv, the seventeenth century were men of vigorous 
mental characteristics and marked individuality. 
Their wills were strong, their intellectual powers 
good. Practical sagacity and piety, keen common 
sense, shrewdness and caution, honesty and tenacity 
of purpose were their special traits. Their tastes 
were simple, their mirth loud and boisterous. Their 
wit spared neither age nor idiosyncracies of manner 
and temper. If their usual demeanor was somewhat 

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stern and dignified, they had during their residence 
in Ireland absorbed no small measure of tiie Irish 
humor and love of fun, forming a combination 
neither purely Scotch nor purely Irish, partaking 
partly of the severe practical nature of the one and 
the impulsiveness and love of fun so characteristic 
of the other. Mence they were great practical jok- 
ers, and -found objects of their mirth and wit in all 
ranks and social conditions of people about them. 
This sense of humor was a fortunate trait, for it 
saved them from the commission of many cruelties 
and excesses of which their Puritan neighbors were 
guilt)'; it lightened their cares and relieved to no 
inconsiderable extent the burdens of their hard lot. 

They were a people conscious of their merits, 
self-reliant, always ready to assort themselves and 
defend their own rights or those of their neighbors. 
Hlunt in speech, exercising their wit upon friend and 
foe alike, they were nevertheless hospitable and 
faithful, iOyal friends, and kind and affectionate 
toward those who conciliated them. Their courage 
was of the highest order, and no vices so excited 
their scorn and contempt as meanness and cowardice. 
But their pre-eminent trait was their strong loy- 
alty to enlightened religious convictions, and to all 
the forms and duties which their religious faith im- 
posed. They had a metaphysical turn of mind and 
were fond of religious controversy. Their Presby- 

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terian creed had been confirmed to them by the cruel 
massacres and extortions which they had endured 
both in Scotland and Ireland, and they came here 
to enjoy the privilege of worshipping God according 
to its forms and ceremonies, unvexed by the arbi- 
trary exactions of kings and bishops. The Bible 
was their chief book. It was not only their "Book 
of books" — it was their romance, their poetry, their 
history as well as Hieir inspiration and guide. It 
was read daily in the family, and a chapter from it 
followed by prayer was the first exercise of every 
meeting where serious business was to be considered. 
They found in it the articles of their creed abun- 
dantly confirmed by many proof texts; their sorrows 
were soothed by its comforting words and their 
hopes of a blissful immortality demonstrated by its 
glorious promises. It was the corner-stone of their 
political faith as well, and from its pages they built 
up those great ideas of personal responsibility in 
poi^^ics as well as in morals and religion which made 
them, when the Revolutionary War finally came, the 
foremost, the most formidable and unyielding of all 
King George's foes in the western world. 
Parker's History In all their homes family praycrs Were 
of Londonderry. IyqI^ both moming and evening. Both 
the shorter and the larger catechism of the Presby- 
terian Church were committed to memory and regu- 
larly recited by parents and children. The practice 

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of annual family catechising was strictly observed. 
The families to the number of eight or ten assembled 
according to appointment at some centrally locatctl 
dwelling in the neighborhood; here the minister met 
them, and beginning with the youngest, carefully 
examined each individual in the articles of Christian 
faith and duty. Scripture proof texts were also re- 
quired. The Bible was not only read but studied; 
long portions of it were committed to memory, and 
repeated at the visits of the minister or the church 
members with each other. 

Their /.eal for religion was not more than their 
interest in the cause of education. " It was the su- 
preme ambition of the Scot," says Harrison, "to 
breed one hon who should wag his pow in the 
s. s. (irti.iK-s pu'pit." Their steadfast aim was to 

Scotcli-lti:i)i in * 

Anwnca. placc religion on a basis of knowledge 

and thought. The school was established beside the 
church until the growth of the community required 
a subdivKjon of the territory into districts for the 
accommodation of all the people; and always as 
soon as their circumstances permitted they estab- 
lished classical high schools, academies and colleges. 
"They seem," says Mr. Greene, "to have furnished 
the principal schoolmasters of all the provinces 
south of New York prior to the Revolution, and it is 
a noteworthy fact that a large portion of the leaders 
'. in that movement in the lower middle and western 


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States received their education under men of this 
race. From them undoubtedly they caught an 
ardent love of liberty and increased glow of patriot- 

Of this race Robert and William Smith were fair 
representatives, and it was among such influences, 
hereditary and otherwise, that William Smith grew 
to manhood. 


!H • \ ) j\y^Oii 


•/■•._. )(.■ ^u: 



Genealogy of VViLLi.\M Smith, youngcst child of 
William Smith. Robert and Elizabeth Smith, was born 
in Moneymore in 1723, and was therefore thirteen 
years old when his parents enii<^rated to America. 
We know nothing of his life or surroundings in his 
first home except that he had attended school, and 
j,ifeo( tJi^t his penmanship was so good as 

Judge Smith. to cause his schoolmaster to write of 

him — 

"William Smith of Moneymar 
>i^. Beats his master far and awar; 
\"- I mean in writing, 
Not inditing." 

Judging from specimens of his writing which have 
been preserved, his teacher's praise could not have 
been undeserved. His handwriting was clear and 
legible to his latest years. In their school-days he 
was fond of telling his children of his early achieve- 
ments in chirography, and no doubt he stirred them 
to emulation, for they, too, all wrote good hands. 


Genealogy of He is spoken of as "the best informed 
William Smith, of the early settlcrs," and he must have 
had a, for those days, fair education; but i)robably 
most if not a]! of his schooling was ol)taine(l in Ire- 
land. No records of Lunenburg remain to tell us 
of the schools there between 1736 and 1745. Hut 
he was foiu'teen years old when his father went there, 
and the situation was such as to recjuire his active 
assistance in the support of the family, lie [prob- 
ably acquired some knowledge of arithmetic and 
grammar, and his schooling had been suf^cient to 
awaken a fondness for reading which he cultivated 
to the end of his days. Not the least of his good 
gifts to his children was this same thirst for knowl- 
edge, which was a marked trait of all his sons. 

We know nothing definite of his history during 
the interval between the settlement of his father's 
family in Lunenburg and his own removal to Peter- 
borough in 1749, but we may infer man)' things from 
wliit we do know of the circumstances and situation 
of the family, the conditions of life in the country of 
their adoption and the manners, customs and char- 
acteristics of the race to which they belonged. He 
staid at home and worked on his father's farm until 
he was of age. Probably his father's house was his 
home as long as he remained in Lunenburg. 

The farm on "Barn Hill "was ahead)' cleared 
and fenced when Robert Smith bought it, and a part 

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of it had been set in orcharding; but all around was 
the primeval wilderness. In 1737 new settlers were 
rapidly clearing the forests and converting them into 
tillage and pasture; the log houses of the period 
were fast being replaced by frame dwellings; and 
farm buildings_were being improved by the addition 
of sheds and barns. Fanning had begun in the town, 
so that there was a ready market for hemlock bark. 
Work was pressing, and cf all these labors tiie boys 
performed their full share. New England farmers, 
whether living in new countries or old, have ever 
been firm believers in what Carlyle calls "the gospel 
of work," and the boys received practical instruction 
in it at an early age. Beside the ordinary work of 
the farm they hel[ied cut the trees, clear the land 
and make it ready for its first seeding; they assisted 
in the erection and improvement of the buildings, 
the fencing of the fields and pastures, the construc- 
and bett/»i"ment of the highways; they cleared the 
tillage of stone. Each month brought its special 
work, and the round of toil was without a break from 
January to December. 

Sunday indeed brought a change, but Sunday 
duties crowded the day as completely as the labors 
of the field and forest filled the week-days. The 
necessary work about the house and barn, attend- 
ance on the two religious services and the study of 
the catechism, in which old and young joined, left 

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little time for rest. The women were little behind 
the men in the amount of labor performed. They 
prepared the food, and this probably included (grind- 
ing the corn and rye, of which for a long time their 
only bread was made; they made all the clothes of 
the family, beginning with the wool as soon as it was 
off the sheep's back and with the flax as soon as it 
was harvested. When out-of-door work was press- 
ing they worked in the fields with the men. They 
assisted in the harvesting, and it is told of the wife 
of one of the first settlers that she had been known 
to dig sixteen bushels of potatoes in a day. 

Still they were preeminently a social people, and 
the severity and isolation of their lot did not pre- 
vent the cultivation of a warm and cordial ncigh- 
Morison's Cen- borly iutcrcourst^. There were frequent 
tenniai Address, log-rollings, raisings and huskings to 
draw the men and boys together and give them an 
opiDortunity to hear the news of the neighborhood 
and exchange opinions upon the questions of the 
day. It was the custom of the women to take a 
wheel and a quantity of wool or flax and go to a 
neighbor's house, even though it were two or three 
miles away, to spend the afternoon in work and talk. 
"Spend the afternoon and take tea" is the way this 
kind of a visit, the only one possible to them, would 
have been described a century later. Its possibili- 
ties as a means of promoting true neighborly friend- 

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ship make us regret that it has passed. The diver- 
sions of the young people were apple and husking 
bees and evening parties. Dancing was the chief 
amusement, and the dances, before hotels and town 
halls were built, were always in the kitchens of the 
houses, because they were the only rooms big 
enough. The hours were "short and early;" they 
were usually from six or seven o'clock in the even- 

■ ing, to eleven. Card-playing was frowned upon, and 

when indulged in it was always with a measure of 

' secrecy by the youth who were bold enough to dis- 

regard the prejudices of the sober-minded church 

Every house had its gun, and hunting was an 
amusement of both men and boys at all seasons of 
the )'ear. The woods were full of game. Another 
favorite recreation at all week-day gatherings was 
Parker's History pitching quoits. Boxing matches, foot 
of Londonderry, r^ces and Other athletic exercises were 
also favo.-Ite pastimes. "At all public gatherings," 
says Mr. Parker, "a ring would be formed and the 
combatants, in presence of the crowd and even of 
their own fathers and brothers, would encounter 
each other at short range or even at arm's length, 
giving and receiving blows until face, limbs and 
bodies bore the marks of almost savage brutality." 
The wrestling match at public meetings long sur- 
vived, and the writer well remembers the interest it 


excited as late as 1855, vvhen the ring was still 
formed and the champions contended lor mastery 
on the ground in front of the old Town Hall on Con- 
cord Street. Their out-of-door sports were character- 
istic, but they softened as education and refinement 

There is no indication that William Smith ever 
owned any land in I^unenburg, but it was there that 
he accumulated tlxR little capital with which ho pur- 
chased land and established a home in Peterborough. 
Of one incident in his life in Lunenburg there is 
authentic record. It is doubtful if there was any 
regularly organized militia in Massachusetts before 
1750, although fear of Indians, especially in the fron- 
tier settlements, was never ceasing. If an alarm 
occurred, a military company was hurriedly formed 
for defence, and when immediate danger was over it 
was disbanded, to be re-formed upon the next occa- 
sion. William Smith served in two such companies 
in 1748. The first company was organized for a 
scout against the Indians, in what direction is not 
Mass. Archives, kuown. It was Sent out by Major Ed- 
ward Hartwell of Lunenburg, by order of Colonel 
Samuel Willard, ami was commanded by Lieutenant 
Abel Pratt. William Smith enlisted as [)rivate in 
this company April 17, 1748, and served until Ajjril 
24th, just one wi^ek, receiving ten shillings for his 
services. Mis name also appears on the rolls of 

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Captain Kdvvard llartwell's coni[)any, and also as a 
Mass. Archives, private. The records give the date of 
his enlistment as April 15, 1748, and show that he 
continued in service until October 16th, just six 
months, and that he was paid ^^13. 4s. 3d.; but they 
do not show of what nature the service [performed 
by this company was, nor where it went. The 
amount of pay makes it evident that the men were 
entirely withdrawn from private life and spent their 
time in camp. In an affidavit attached to the roll 
there is a statement that some of the men whose 
names appear upon it sent substitutes and did not 
perform duty in their own persons, and William 
Smith may have been one of these. This would ex- 
plain how it hajjpcns that his name appears on the 
rolls of both companies for a few ^days at the same 

He was known in Peterborough as " Lieutenant" 
and " Captain" William Smith. Neither the archives 
of Massariiusetts nor New Hampshire contain any 
record that he ever attained either rank, and if he 
did it was after he left Lunenburg. It is possible, 
however, that at some time between 1750 and 1760 
he may have had command of a company raised in 
the manner we have described for defence against a 
threatened Indian raid, and that no record of it was 
ever made. It will be remembered that in the sum- 
mer of 1755 the report was spread abroad that the 


Indians had fallen upon the settlement of Keene, 
Morison's Cen- and that Captain Thomas Morison im- 
tenniai Address, mediately set out with his company and 
marched to their relief, twenty miles through the 
woods on a hot summer's day, only to find the men 
of the Keene settlement peaceably mowing their 
grass, in no apprehension of the proximity of Indi- 
ans. Yet the archives of New Hampshire contain 
no mention of such a company or such a service. It 
was no doubt in command of some local company 
that William Smith gained the military title by 
which he was generally known. 

He passed the winter following his discharge in 
Lunenburg. A project for a fourth attempt to make 
a settlement in Peterborough was on foot, and his 
brother-in-law, Captain Thomc^s Morison, was the 
leader in it. The undertaking had it^ attractions 
for William Smith, a young man with no family, 
some capital and much energy and ambition. He 
had come to the parting of the ways, and he decided 
to join in it. 

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'Ti f A ; T; •'■■;:■»; r; j 



Smith's History PETERBOROUGH was first Surveyed for 
of Peterborough, the Proprietors in 1738, by Joseph 
Wilder. The surveyor carved out four five hundred 
acre farms from what was then supposed to be the 
most desirable land in the town, one each for Jere- 
miah Gridley, John Mill, John P^owle and Peter Pres- 
cott. The other lots laid out in this survey were 
divided into plats of about fifty acres each, one for 
the settler and the adjoining one for the proprietor, 
which he was to convey to the settler when the lat- 
ter had complied with certain conditions, thus mak- 
ing the settler's lot consist of one hundred acres. 
The parcels so platted were grouped around the five 
hundred acre farms and along the street road, which 
as first established was laid out from New Ipswich 
to the meeting-house near the center of the town. 
The following is the vote of the Proprietors at a 
meeting held in Boston, December 4, 1737, laying 
out the road: 

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Proprietors' "Voted the former committee (John 

Records. Hill, Icrcmiah Gridley, John Fowle, Jr., 

Jonathan Prescott and John Prescott), be and hereby 
are empowered to agree with some .suitable person 
to cut and clear a good way or road from New Ips- 
wich to the Meeting House in said township as soon 
as may be." How soon this was done is not known. 
The remainder of the township was left unsurveyed. 
Morison's Cen- An attempt] was made to settle the 
tenniai Address, town the following >'ear, but the men 
were frightened away by the Indians. It was re- 
peated in 1742, and again in 1743 and 1744, with like 
results. It is not known that any of the pioneers 
were killed or injured, or their property destroyed, 
by the savages. In 1744, Indians did steal the pro- 
visions of Captain Thomas Morison" from his camp 
on the east side of the river near the South Factory. 
But they frequently annoyed the settlers, and the 
last of September or the first of October, 1750, they 
broke open a house while the occupants were absent 
and carried away many things. The war between 
France and England broke out in 1744, and the In- 
dians of Canada and along the borders, for reasons 
not necessary to state here, took up the cause of 
France. The resolution of the men who came in 
1744, to postpone further operations until it should 
have ended, was a wise one. Peterborough did not 
then mark the extreme northerly or westerly limit 

■,;.'.'> di .n- 


of the English settlements. Families had already 
established . themselves at Charlestown, Hinsdale, 
Swan/ey, Keene and Pennacot)k (Concord), and had 
made some progress in clearing land and building 
Belknap's houses. In 1 747, all these towns were 

History of N. iL raided by the savages, dwellings burned, 
some of the inhabitants killed and many carried cap- 
tives to Canada. It is probable that had there been 
a settlement in Peterborough that year it would have 
shared the same fate. 

The war came to an end in 1748, and the attention 
of the men who had made beginnings in Peterbo- 
rough between 1739 and 1744, was again turned to 
the enterprise. Captain Thomas Morison, the leader 
of it, was well fitted to head such an undertaking. 
He was then thirty-nine years of age, in the prime of 
life, and was a man of great energy and resolution, 
Morison's ^^^d of undaunted courage? In f 743, he 

Genealogy of the , , , • r • t i i i 

Morison Family, sold his farm in Londonderry and re- 
moved to Lunenburg, but so far as the records show, 
did not purchase any real estate there. He and his 
companions left Lunenburg in the spring of 1749 and 
went to Peterborough by way of Townsend, New 
Ipswich, and thence over the street road, probably 
then cleared, to the places selected by them for their 
new abode. He located on the lot where he had 
made a beginning five years before, on the east side 
of the river near the South P'actory, built his log 

; Ji' . ("! ' J/ / ■ i 'I // 


house, and the following year, 1750, moved thither 
his wife and children and settled down to the serious , 
work of clearing his land and bringing it under cul- * 

The migration to the town in 1749 was, so far as 
existing records show, entirely from Lunenburg. 
The Scotch-Irish immigrants to Lunenburg and Lon- 
donderry had extensively intermarried and were well 
known to each othar. Whe"!! a foothold had been 
obtained in the new town by the men from Lunen- 
burg, the men of Londonderry joined in the enter- 
prise, and after 1750 many of them went there. 
There is no doubt that among those who accompan- 
ied Captain Morrison in 1749, were William Smith 
and his brother John. William was then twenty-six 
years of age, John thirty-four, and both, like all the 
immigrants from Great Britain in that day and in 
this, were ambitious to become I'Undcd proprietors. 
John was certainly in Peterborough the following 
year, for he with five others signed a petition to the 
Lieutenant-Governor and Council and House of 
Representatives of Massachusetts Bay for assistance 
in building a fort for the jjrotection of the settlers. 
This petition is as follows: 

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Mass. Archives. Yo Jiis lio/ior SpcHcev P/iips, Esqtiire, 
Lieutenant-Governor ami Cominander-in-Chicf in and 
over His Majesty s Province of Massaeluisetts Bay, in 
New England, tite Ilon''^^ the Council and llon^^' House 
of Representatives oj said Province in General Court 
assembled at Boston 'Sept. 26th, 1750. 

The Petition of the Subscribers, Proprietors and 
Inhabitants of a Township called Pettcrboro': for 
themselves and the other Proprietors and Inhabi- 
tants of said Township: 

Most humbly shew 
That the said Township lyes exposed to the Indians 
it being a P>ontier Town and but about six miles 
north from the line parting this Government and 
that of New Hampshire. And several Indians have 
appeared in said Township and last Sabbath day 
some of them broke open a house there and none of 
the family being at home, rilled the same and car- 
ried away many things. And the Inhabitants are 
put in great fear and Terror of their lives by the Indi- 
ans; so that they must be obliged to leave the town 
which is now very considerably seUled unless they 
can have some relief from the Great Goodness of 
'your honours: 

And as for is much as the said Township is so 
situated, that if the Inhabitants should leave it 
Townsend, Hollis, Lunenburg, Leominster, Lancas- 
ter, would be exposed to the cruelty of the Indians, 
and would become an easy prey to them. But if 
your Pef' can be protected by your Honours and 
have a number of men sent to their assistance and a 
few block houses or a Fort built for them they make 
no doubt with the blessing of God they shall be able 
to defend the said Township and to keep the Indi- 
ians from making any attempt on the Towns afore- 
mentioned which are all surrounded by said Peter- 

Your Pet'' therefore most humbly pray your Hon- 
ours would be pleased to take their distressed 

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circumstances into consideration and allow thcni 
liberty, at the charge of this Oovernmcnt, to huikl 
Block Houses or a Fort and supply them with fifteen 
or twenty men for such a length of time as your 
Honours shall think proper, that so they may de- 
fend the said Fownship against the Indians and by 
that means serve the Province by securing the other 
towns afore-said from falling into tiie Indians' hands, 
or that Your Honours would grant them such other 
relief as in your great wisdom shall seem meet and 
as in duty bound will ever pray &c 


John VVHrrK Jami.s CioKDox 

Alex i<.oiiUK William Scott 

James MLrcHKLi. thomas Vkndkk 

John Smlimi , wii.llam Ivomus 
Boston, October 4th, 1750. 

This petition was laid before the Lieutenant- 
Governor and Council, October 4, 1750, an^l on the 
original in the Archives at Boston are the ft)llowin<; 
endorsements: "Oct. 6th. Read and sent down." 
"Oct. 9th. Orderetl to lie on the t^ble." The J(jur- 
nal of the House does not show that it was ever acted 
upon, or that the prayer of the petitioners was 
granted. The fort was built on Ritchie Hill, by 
whom is not known, most probabl)' by the settlers, 
and it is doubtful if it was ever garrisoned. It is 
an interesting document in several ways. It shows 
that the town was already called Peterborough, and 
is the earliest known mention of the fact. It is 
strikingly suggestive of the fear of the Indians in 
which the settlers then lived. Lastl)', it is conclusive 

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evidence that John Smith and the others signing the 
petition were in Peterborougii in 1750. It was with- 
out doubt drawn up and signed in Peterborough, for 
all the signatures are the personal autographs ol the 
men whose names are attached to it. 

There is evidence which fixes the arrival of Wil- 
liam Smith in Peterborough in 1749 beyond a doubt. 
The l''dm Mill lot was one of those laid out in 1 73H, 
in the first survey by Joseph Wilder, and hail all the 
peculiarities and conditiot>s attached to it which per- 
tained to the lots carved out in that survey. In the 
plan of the town given in Dr. .Smith's History of 
Peterborough (p. 357), lots 32-37 in the southwest 
part of the town are without those conditions. The 
second survey was ordered October 16, 1749, and was 
probably made very soon after that date. "These 
lots," says Dr. N. IT Morison, whose historical accu- 
racy none will question, "were settled before the sec- 
ond survey began. Their bounds were probably 
arranged to suit the settlers actually in possession of 
them, which accounts for their great size and irregu- 
larity. They were never divided among the projjri- 
etors, and no mention of them whatever appears in 
their records." 

This is conclusive evidence that William Smith 
was there and had made a beginning on lot 35 before 
the winter of 1749-50, when the second survey was 
made. Lot 35 joins the lot of his brother John and 

. ^ f ' r '- r 

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also that of his brother-in-law. Captain Morison. 
Coming together and closely related, they selected 
adjoining lots as was natural. Probably they knew 
of the survey of 1738 and the conditions attached to 
lots laid out by it, and this may have been one reason 
for their choosing land elsewhere. 

On this lot, No. 35, William .Smith began his life 
in Peterborough. During the summer of 1749 and 
the winter following he worked at clearing it. lie 
first cut a strip twenty feet wide around the borders 
to mark the bounds of what he wished to purchase, 
as did many of the other settlers. Whether he built 
any house upon it we do not know. Sometime in 
1750 or 175 1 he appears to have changed his mind 
and decided to locate upon lots 3 and 66 on the street 
road — the Elm Hill lots. His reasons for this re- 
moval can only be surmised:" The shape of lot 35 
was inconvenient; it was 52 by 521 rods; it lay on 
both sides of the river, which at that time could only 
be crossed by boats, or in very dry weather, on the 
, rocks, and some of the land was low and swampy. 
On the other hand, lots 3 and 66 were on high ground 
and had been cleared; the site commanded a wide 
view of the surrounding country as did the site of 
his father's house in Lunenburg. Also, the influx of 
settlers may have rendered the lots more desirable 
than at the time of his first arrival. New comers 
were occupying the lots on the street road, while in 

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1749 they seemed to prefer the southwest parts of 
the town. 

Proprietors' December 18, 1738, the Proprietors held 

Records. ^ meeting ill Boston and divided among 

themselves the lots which had been surveyed. Nos. 
3 and 66 were drawn by Peter Prescott and assigned 
to him the same day. The following are the plans 
and descriptions of the lots as recorded in the Pro- 
prietors' records, page 14: 


The following lots were drawn by Peter 
Prescott. The lot no. 3 contains 52 
acres and lies in the south part of the town in the 
range of lots as they go into town and is bounded S. 
on the lot no. 65 and N. on the lot 66. It begins at 
a white ash at the south east corner and from thence 
it runs west 165 rods to a beech the S.W. corner and 
from thence it runs N. 52 rods to a beech the N.W. 
corner and from thence it runs K. 165 /ods to a beech 
the N. K. corner and from thence it runs S. straight 
to where it began, 52 rods. This lot butts K. upon 
the lot no. 123. 

Joseph Wilder, Jijn., Surveyor. 
Dec. i8th, 1738. Entered and recorded. Re- 
corded to Peter Prescott. 

Att. Peter Prescott, P. C. 

No. 3, " 52 acres " 
Recorded to Peter Prescott 

465 S, linijl 


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THE lot no. 66 contains 50 acres be- 
sides the highway 6 rods acrost it and 
lies in the S. part of the town and bounds on the lot 
no. 3 S. and N. on the lot no 4. It butts K. on the 
lot no 60 and W. on to lot no. 109. It bej^ins at a 
beech the S. K. corner and from thence it runs W. 
165 rods to a beech the S.VV. corner and from thence 
it runs N. 50 rods to a beech the N.VV. corner and 
from thence it runs east 165 rods to a beech the N. K. 
corner and from thence it runs south straight U) 
where it began. 

Joseph Wilder, Jun., Surveyor. 
Dec. 1 8th, 1738, jntercd and recorded. 

att. Peter Prescott, P. C. 





Lot no. 66 50 acres 


Recorded to Peter Prescott 

% 165 ■" <?f 

Peter Prescott was therefore the first owner of 
lots 3 and 66. When and to whom he parted with 
his title we do not know, but it was probably about 
1748 or 1750. They came subsequently to the own- 
ership of John Mill. The Pro[)rietors' records con-, 
tain no mention of their transfer by the original 
owner. William Smith was not the original occu- 
Samuei Smith's P^nt of the lots. A Mr. Bridge had 
^^^^^- already made a beginning there and cut 

trees. Who he was, whence he came and whither he 
went are utterly unknown. There is no doubt that 

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VVilliain Smitli was the first permanent settler upon 
theuL Here, in the summer or f<ill of 1751, he built 
liis Yog liouse and shingled it with bark, cleared 
some of the land and made ready for the coming of 
his prospective wife, l^Lli/.abeth Morison of London- 
derry, sister of Captain Morison, who, it will be re- 
membered, had married his sister Mary some years 
before. The marria<je took place in Londonderry 
Genealogy of the evening of December 31, 1751. 
William Smith, jj^^ day vvas "the coldest he ever 

Mr. Parker ha.s given a detailed description of 
the marriage customs of the Scotch-Irish of Lon- 
donderry taken from an eye witness whose memory 
went back to 1750, and in it we have probably a sub- 
stantially exact account of the weddiog of P^li/.abeth 
Morison and William Smith. Me says: 

These occasions were celebrated with the strong- 
est demonstrations of joy. When two persons were 
about to be married it was customary for the gentle- 
man, in company with the father of the lady or some 
one of her nearest connections, to go to the minister 
of the town and request publishment; this the min- 
ister usually employed the Clerk of the Parish to per- 
form, but sometimes did it himself. Meantime . 
preparations were made for a sumptuous entertain- 
ment. The guests were all invited at least three days 
before the wedding, it being considered an unpar- 
donable affront to receive an invitation only the day 
previous. The bridegroom selected one of his inti- 
mate friends for the " best man," who was to officiate 

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as master of the ceremony, and the bride likewise 
one of her companions as "best maid." The morn- 
ing of the marriage day was ushered in with the 
discharge of musketry in the respective neighbor- 
hoods of the persons who were to be united. This 
practice, it seems, originated in Ireland in conse- 
quence of the Catholics having been after the Revo- 
lution deprived of the use of firearms. The Protest- 
ants, proud of the superior privilege which they 
enjoyed, made a display of their warlike instruments 
on all public occasions. Seldom was a respectable 
man married without a sword by his side. At the 
appointed hour the groom proceeded from his dwell- 
ing with his select friends, male and female; about 
half way on their progress to the house of the bride 
they were met by her select male friends; and on 
meeting, each company made choice of one of their 
number "to run for the bottle" to the bride's house. 
The champion of the race who returned first with 
the bottle gave a toast, drank to the bridegroom's 
health, and having passed round the bottle, the whole 
party proceeded, saluted by the firing of muskets 
and answering these saluted with i:)istols. When 
they arrived at the bride's residence the bridegroom's 
company were placed in an ajiartment by themselves, 
and it was considered an act of impoliteness for any 
one of the bride's company to intrude. When the 
ceremony was to commence the best man first intro- 
duced the bridegroom; then enterii)g the bride's 
apartments, led her into the room, and placing her 
at the right hand of her intended, took his station 
directly behind them, as did the best maid. The 
minister commenced the marriage service with a 
prayer; on requesting the parties to join hands, each 
put the right hand behind, when the glove was drawn 
off by the best man and maid. Their hands being 
joi-ned, the marriage covenant was addressed to them 
with appropriate remarks on the nature and responsi- 
bilities of the connection thus formed. Having con- 

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eluded with another prayer, he requested the groom 
to sakite the britle, which being done the minister 
performed the same ceremony, and was immediately 
followed by the male part of the company; the 
females in like manner saluted the bridegroom. 

The ceremony being concluded, tlie whole com- 
pany sat down to an entertainment at which the best 
man and maid presided. Soon after the entertain- 
ment the room was cleared for the dance and other 
amusements. "And the evening," remarks our aged 
informant, kindling at the recollection of bygone 
scenes, "was spent with a degree of pleasure of which 
our modern fashionables are perfectly ignorant." 

Probably also this is a correct description of the 

weddings of Thomas Morison and Mary Smith, and 

John Smith and Mary Harkness, both of which took 

place in Lunenburg. The Rev. William Davidson 

was the officiating clergyman at the wedding of 

William Smith and Elizabeth Morison. The "best 

man" was William .Smith's intimate friend, Samuel 

Moore, and the "best maid" was Margaret, called 

"Peggy," Morison, sister of the bride. No doubt 

these two persons had already become attached to 

each other. But 

" Every wedding, says the proverb, 
Makes another, soon or late." 

This wedding made another speedily. The festivi- 
ties inspired Samuel Moore and Margaret Morison 
to imitate the example of the bride and groom with- 
out more formality. So at the close of the enter- 
tainment they left the house, and taking their horses 


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rode over to Chester, where they were inarrietl by 
the Rev. Kbenezer Mag<rtliat same niglit. This was 
one of tlie so-called " Magg marriages," and a word 
of exi)lanation is necessary. 

Parker's iHbtury Not all the marriages among the .Scotch 
of i.ondotKierry. iy[^\^ q[ Londonderry wcre celebrated 
with the formalities above described. For some 
years previous to the Revolution the colonial gov- 
ernor of New llampshire had been authorized to 
grant licenses as a means of increasing his salary. He 
was allowed two crowns for each license he signed, 
and as facilities were thus afforded for clandestine 
marriages, he obtained in this wa)' a considerable 
revenue. The ministers of Londonderry opposed 
the practice, which often led to serious evils, and it 
was regardetl as a subject for discipline, as the 
church records show. But there were ministers who 
approved of it, and furnished themselves with gov- 
ernor's licenses in blank. Rev. Ebenezer Flagg of 
Chester was one of these, and to him those who 
wished to marry without publishment would resort 
from the surrounding towns. 

After the wedding, William Smith took his wife 
to Reterborough, established himself and her in their 
new home, and settled down to the serious work of 
subduing that part of the wilderness'which he could 
now call his own. His land was heavily wooded 
with elm, rock and white maple, beech, birch, black 

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ash ami Dthcr decitluous trees, mixed with hemlock, 
spruce ami pine. 'Die soil was umlerlaid with a 
strata ot hard blue cla)'. The ;^rouml was wet, full 
of sprin;^s antl very rock\', as the stone walls around 
the fields bear evidence to this tiay. How ^icat an 
undertaking it was to clear it and bring it into [)roper 
condition ior cultivation none can better appreciate 
than those who followed the phnv over its rocky 
acres in after days, picked the stones on its thickl)' 
strewn fields, and wrested by hard labor a living from 
the soil. 

Doctor Morison, in his life of her son. Judge 
Smith, has given a very interesting sketch of hTi/.a- 
beth Morison. Her mother was Margaret Wallace 
(supposed to be of the race of Sir William Wallace, 
although I.eonard AiS^^jM orison in his historv of the 
Morison family makes no mention of the tradition). 
She was a native of Ireland and had married John 
Morison before they came to America in 1719. She 
was a wom'nn of great energy and force of character, 
which her daughter inherited in abundant measure. 
Elizabeth Smith had all the characteristics of the 
Puritans and her own race combined — their rigid 
integrity, their absolute truthfulness, their uncom- 
j)romising candor, their hatred of shams, their daring 
courage, their horror of idleness and their supremely 
democratic spirit. She had that distrust of the feel- 
ings which repressed all outward demonstrations of 

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affection, so that only her closest friends realized her 
real warmth and tenderness of heart. Fhis was a 
marked trait of many of her descendants and often 
caused them to be misjudged and misunderstood. 

In her humble home in the wilderness she did 
her full share toward the support of the family, "and 
like many such," says Doctor Morison, "kept the 
scold a-going." "Johnny," asked Mr. Miller, the near- 
est neighbor, of one of her children, "does your 
mother ever scold?" "Yes," said Johnny, discreetly, 
"sometimes." "That's not always," rejoined the 
neighbor; "my wife scolds etarnally." "She had 
ten children in twelve years," continues Doctor Mor- 
ison, "but found time to engage in out-door work. 
She assisted in harvesting the corn, and was known 
to dig sixteen bushels of potaJ:oes in a day." She 
Life of was an excellent manager of her house- 

judge Smith, hold affairs. .The question of what 
they were to eat was never allowed to be asked by 
her children, and they went through life with great 
indifference to such things. One of the sons, how- 
ever, was once heard to wish that he were a king, for 
then he could have all the barley broth he wanted. 
This son was atterward a member of Congress. A 
daughter once came home crying, and told her 
mother that the little girls she had been visiting had 
laughed at her because she had no jerkin. "Never 
mind," said her mother, "ye'll hae jerkins when they 

n^f "i ...ill). . ;i. 


hae nane." Before her marriage she had two silk 
gowns, the only ones she ever owned, and she so 
carefully preserved theui that they were handed 
down to her children and grandchildren. She never 
wore them even to meeting, except on sacrament 
days or when her children were to be baptized. Her 
linen aprons, the only article of finery even worn by 
herself or iier daughters, were washed and plaited 
once a year They were carried to meeting in the 
hand, put on as the)' entered the meeting-house and 
folded uj) "in the last singing." There was one 
handsome baby's dress which went down success- 
ively to all her eleven children. 

An incident happening about 1762 or 1763 shows 
her great personal courage. There was a well near 
the road and close b)- the house. It was deep and 
the sides were walled up with rough stones. The 
boys liked to play around it. One day the four old- 
est were leaning over it and trying to see which 
could reach down the farthest. Jeremiah, the 
youngest, in his zeal to outdo the others, lost his 
balance and fell in. The others rushed to the house 
and roused their mother who was lying down, with 
the cry of, "Jerry's in the well! Jerry's in the well!" 
She hurried thither and looking down into it said, 
"He is not here," Jerry being under water. Without 
a moment's hesitation she climbed down to the 
water, placing her feet on the slippery stones and 

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supj)Drtiiig herself as best she coukl, aiul wlicn the 
boy caiDe up, caught aiul held him until the others 
brought Mr. Miller to her assistance, and mother 
and child were safely drawn up. She had her re- 
ward, for the son she saved at such risk of her own 
life became a member of Congress, Judge of the 
District Court of the United States, Governor of the 
State, and twice its Chief Justice. The writer gives 
this story as it was related to him by her grand- 
daughter, Mrs. N.S. Foster. Doctor Morison, in his 
life of Judge Smith, gives a slightly different version, 
and says it was Mr. Miller who climbed down into 
the well. 

She spoke broad Scotch, for which she never 
apologized nor felt ashamed. Her children did not 
like it, and sometimes tried to persuade her that 
she might talk like other people if she chose. 
"Granny," they would ask, '.'why don't you stop 
speaking Scotch and talk like the rest of us?" " I 
coul-d na if 1 would, and indeed I'll na try," she 
always answered, sturdily. Her notions of family 
discipline were none of the mildest, although she had 
a kind heart and was much more lenient in practice 
Lifeof than in theory. "I've been to Samooel 

Judge ."mith. Moore's," she once said to her husband 
upon returning from a visit to her brother-in-law, " and 
there's family government, so there is. If you were 
worth your ears you'd keep your boys at hame," 

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Her husband heard her through and then asked her 
if she remembered the calf they kept tied up in the 
barn so long. "Ay, ay." "And do you mind that 
when we let it out it ran till it broke its leg?" On 
the occasion of some unusual gathering at the house, 
Jeremiah, who was playing about the room, upset' a 
Life of shelf. In the confusion that ensued, 

judfe'c Smith. iii5 mother, attending to her maternal 
duties first, took the boy and gave him a smart whip- 
ping; on finding that her neighbor Miller's punch 
bowl had been broken, she concluded that the pun- 
ishment had not been at all proportioned to the 
offence, and gave him another whipping. '• Spare 
the rod and spoil the child" was the rule. Neverthe- 
less, Jeremiah could remember but two or three 
whippings that had fallen to his share.* 

" Mrs. Smith was a good singer of SccJtch songs," 
says Doctor Morison, "and her own children, as well 
as those of her neighbors, were always glad to leave 
their sports and crowd around to hear her 
sing." It is greatly to be regretted that her songs 
have not come down to us with the tradition of her 
sweet voice. She must have sung of the battle of 
the Hoyne; she may have sung also the Lament for 
Flodden, or old Scotch and Irish ballads now lost. 
Th": marked love of music shown by the Smiths as a 
family is probably an inheritance from her, although 
not all of them have been singers. William Smith 

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played the bass viol and John Smith the flute, as we 
have noted elsewhere; another John Smith, eldest 
son of "Squire John," led the choir and had family 
and local fame as a sweet singer. 

She led as laborious a lite as her husband. He- 
sides her nine children there were for many years an 
aged parent, besides other relatives to make u[> the 
family, not to speak of hired men and women. Pre- 
paring the food for this large f.imil)' was but a small 
part of her work. .She sjuin and wove the fla.x and 
the wool out of which she made all of their clothing. 
The tradition is still preserved among her descend- 
ants that she spun and wove the linen that paid for 
the large eight-day clock, so long a conspicuous orna- 
ment of the house, which was passed down to son, 
grandson and'great-grandson successive!)', and is now 
a treasured memorial of the old homV". She carried it 
through the forest on horseback, so the story goes, 
from Fitchburg to Peterljorough, guided on her way 
by a line of marked trees'. It was considered a great 
acquisition, and one da)- when her boys opened the 
case to show it off to some of the neighbor's children, 
and she caught them at it, she gave each of her own 
children concerned a sound whipping. The money 
she added tcj the family income by spinning and 
weaving linen helped materially to send Jeremiah to 
Life of college and Samuel to P^xeter and An- 

judKe Smith. dovcr. yXftcf the former had acquired 

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a little book knowledge he undertook upon one oc- 
casion to comment upon his mother's language as 
ungrammatical. "i3ut who taught ye langage?" 
was the sharp retort. "It was my wheel; and when 
ye'll hae spun as many lang threads to teach me 
grammar as I hae to clothe ye, I'll talk better gram- 

We may well marvel at the physical constitution 
and we may well admire the industry and energy of 
the strong, courageous woman who stood at the head 
of this household for so many years. She was the 
disciplinarian of the family, and no doubt the gentle, 
easy-going disposition of her husband often tried 
her patience. He did not believe in governing too 
much, and acted upon the theor)- that many of the 
perplexities of life work themselves out harmlessly 
if let severely alone. Her decision of character was 
equal to her energy. She was a strict Presbyterian 
in her faith, and was a member of Ihe church for 
many years. She was truly pious. Her piety was 
life of free from all cant, affectation and 

Judge Smith. hypocrisy. A niece of hers, a young 
orphan girl, somewhat feeble in mind, who lived in 
her house, had been guilty of some great offence, 
and there was a gathering of the relatives to consider 
what should be done. A sister of Mrs. Smith's who 
was looked upon as one of the elect, proposed "to 
gar her into the barn to pray," as if the poor girl were 

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not fit to be prayed with except anioiii^ the cattle. 
Mrs. Smith rejected the pro])Osal in words and man- 
ner which matle an impression upon the minds of 
her children as histint^ as it was unfavorable to a 
proud and sanctimonious faith. 

Beginnini^ her mariied life in a log hut in an 
almost unbroken wilderness, she lived U) see the 
forests cleared, the land fenced and brought uiRier 
cultivation, and the log houses replaced \)\ large and 
commodious farm buildings furnished with comforts 
and conveniences. h"or many )'ears before her death 
her sons were filling important places in the church 
and in the town, leaders in the community auel re- 
spected by all. 

But in her old age her mind became enfeebled 
and she was subject to harmless delusions, one of 
which was that she was awa)' trom or had lost her 
home. When this idea took possession of her she 
would go to her son Jonathaii and hjoking beseech- 
ingly in his face, beg him to take her back to it. 
"Come, mother, we will go," he would answer; and, 
taking her by the hand, he would lead her from room 
to room through the house, talking the while of old 
times and old neighbors, and who lived in this house 
and who in that, until tliey came back to her own 
room again, when he would sa)', "Now, mother, we 
are there; you are at home again;" and she would 
sit down contentedly in her chair. She survived her 

J i-h.:; .1; 11' 


husband some months. September 15, 180S, she 
found a better liome than the one she thought she 
had lost. 

Geneaiojjy of Ihc chilch'eu ot William and I'dizabeth 

William Sinitii. Smith were as follows: 

Robert, born Feby 151I1, 1753 died Deceinbcr 31st, 171^5. 

Jolin " Apr. lotli, 1754 " Au^'^ust 7th, 182L 

James " Jan. 2c;th 1756 " " nth, 1842. 

William " March 14th, 1757 " January 3ii,t, 1776. 

Eli/.al:)eth " July 28th 175S " May 21st, 1833. 

Jeremiah " Nov. 2c>th, 1759 " Sept. 21st, 1S42. 

Hannah " May i8th, 1761 " Au^nist 28th, 1813. 

Jonathan " Apr. nth 1763 " " 2(jth, 1842. 

Samuel " Nov. 1 itli, 1765 " Apr. 25th, 1842. 

A child " " in infancy. 

We have many glimpses of life within that house 
aside from those given by Doctor Morison in his life 
Samuel Smith's oi Judge Smith. At the birth of Iter 
N"''^^*- oldest son Elizabeth Smith was nursed 

through her illness by her sister, Hannah IMorison, 
who came from Londonderry for that purpose. 
There was- no [)h)'sician in the town until 1763, and 
in 1753 there was none nearer than Lunenburg or 
Londonderry. Mannah Morison fell ill soon after, 
and was an invalid for the rest of her life. Slie mar- 
ried Samuel Todd about 1753 and lived with her 
sister in Peterborough for a )'ear after her marriage, 
when she retm-ned to Londonderry for medical treat- 
ment, but she afterwards came back to Peterf^orough 
and died there in 1760, at the age of thirty- 

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48 liUMl': Ol^ TllK SMITH 1>AMIi.\'. 

It was a year and a half later, that is, in the 
autumn of 1754, that the episode of the Indian alarm 
occurred at Kim Hill h^arni. There were then two 
children in the family, one a year and a half old, the 
other an infant of six months, both boys. Whether 
the first barn was building or had been already built 
we do not know, but in all probability the parents 
were still living in their log cabin, and they were 
alone. Their nearest neighbor was one Henderson, 
who lived, tradition says, "in the house opposite;" 
whether that means on the opposite side of the street 
road or on the site of the house where Moses G ow- 
ing lived long afterward, it is now impossible to say. 
In the former case all traces of the habitation have 
long since disappeared. It must be remembered 
that the French and Indian War had actually begun 
and that fear of Indian attacks had greatly increased 
in the settlement in consequeirce, as the petition to 
Centennial Governor Wentworth, given on a later 

Address, page, sliows. William and Elizabeth 

Smith were awakened one night about midnight by 
horrid shrieks and which seemed to come 
from the nearest house. Believing the Indians to be 
upon them, they snatched each a child and fled into 
the woods without stopping to dress. They made 
their way through the woods and across a stream, no 
one could ever tell how, to the house of Captain Mori- 
son, two miles distant. Captain Morison furnished 

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them with clothes, led them aiui his own family into 
the woods south ot his house and concealed them, 
and tlien started for the fort on ivitchie Hill, a mile 
further south, declaring that if he shouhl meet the 
Indians they would know it for he should certainly 
have time to lire and kill one of them before bein^r 
killed or captured himself. Meanwhile tiie Swan 
family had taken the alarm and tied to the fort, and 
one of the sons, returning very late from a visit to 
his sweetheart, and finding his father's clothes and 
boots by iris bedside and the house empty and de- 
serted, supposed they had been carried off by the 
Indians, and spread the alarm still further; so that it 
was not until the next morning that the truth was 
known, Some young men at the Henderson house 
had made the shrieks and outcries for ^the purpose 
of frightening their neighbors, the Smiths. This 
dread of savages did not pass away until after the 
close of the war. It was a heavy weight upon the 
growth aiid prosperity of the settlement, and after 
it was removed the population increased more 

The log cabin was scantily furnished, and what 
furniture it had, was rude and simple. The table 
and eating utensils were of wood, and probably 
of domestic manufacture. The spoons were made 
of laurel wood, wiience the name "spoon wood" 
or " spoon hunt" by which the people of that and 



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50' HOME OF Till': SMITH FAMll.V. 

the succeeding generations called tiie shrub kncnvn 
to us as mountain laurel. We do nc^t know at 
what date crockery and steel knives and forks 
came into use. Probably as mechanics settled 
in town the wooden utensils were gradually replaced 
by metal; and crockery and pewter dishes could be 
bought at the store which was ojiened about 1770. 
The food consisted of corn, barley and rye bread, 
beans and potatoes; pork was a stand-by, and fish 
and game were abundant; after the introduction of 
cattle the latter gave way in part to fresh and salt 
beef. Sugar and molasses, tea and coffee, could not 
have found their way on the table before the opening 
of the store. But for the first twenty years the bill 
of fare was very limited and the supply not always 
abundant. It was a saying of Williiim, youngest son 
of the John who was the elder brother of William 
Smith, that "through his long life he had never seen 
the bottom of his pork barrel." But this was not 
always the case with the generation preceding him, 
to whom the question of tlaily bread was sometimes 
a very serious one; the .wish of the boy who was 
afterwards a member of Congress arose from sheer 

Nor do we know in what year the log cabin was 
replaced by the one-stor>' frame dwelling, a [)cirt of 
which now forms the ell at h'.lm Hill farm-lKjusc;. 
Tradition says the first frame houses were small antl 

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poorly builty and there is at least one well authenti- 
cated story which confirms tradition. A [)arty of 
u^^~o( friends had assembled at Samuel 

Judge smitii. Moore's, and while William Smith 
was sayinrr grace at the dinner-table, the Hoor sud- 
denly gave way and the whole party, dinner and all, 
found thenLsclves in the cellar. 

The children were set to work almost as soon as 
they could walk, a family custom which was faith- 
fully handed down from father to son as long as 
William Smith's descendants owned l^lm Hill. Wil- 
liam Smith's mildness of temper and disposition did 
not prevent his being as fiercel)' industrious as his 
wife. "Lawful soul," he would say in his old age'to 
any one whom he found by an)' chance idle, "Lawful 
soul, do do something." During the first twenty-five 
or thirty years books seldom found their way into 
the house to enliven the long winter evenings, and 
when they did they had to be read by firelight, for it 
was man5'-)'ears before there were candles. Doctor 
Life of Morison describes Jeremiah Smith 

Judge SmiUi. stretched out before the kitchen fire 
reading a borrowed book by the light of the blazing 
pine knots. The kitchens were large and frequently 
extended the whole length of the house; and it was 
the living room of the family. The front rooms, 
when there were an)', were sacred to weddings, 
funerals, church meetings and the visits of the 

5- lUnil-. Ol'- THE SMITH I'AMII.V. 

William and l^lizabeth Sinitli were Prcsb)tcrians 
until late in lite and faithfully ofjserved all the ordi- 
nances ol the church. Grace was said at their table 
at every meal. The rules oi the church weru very 
strict in regard to daily family prayer and ilaily 
Paiker's History reading ol the l^ible, and neglect on 
of i.ondoiKieny. ^\^^. p.^j-^ q^ ^j^^. church members to 

observe them was the subject of prompt investiga- 
tion and rebuke by the minister. When any case of 
omission came to his knowledge he went immedi- 
ately to the otiender's house, and though it were 
late at night com[)elled him to rise from his bed, read 
a chapter in the Bible and offer prayer. Whether 
there were many cases of delinquency or not we do 
not know. We are inclined to think there were few, 
for we do know that life in the wilderness brought to 
the devout church member's mind a very realizing 
sense of his dependence on an overruling Power, 
which he could not but acknowledge with humility 
and -reverent gratitude. The scene sketched for us 
in the Cotter's Saturday Night was daily witnessed 
in William Smith's humble home: 

The cheerful supper done, wi' serious face, 

They round the ingle, form a circle wide; 
The sire turns o'er, vvi' patriarchal grace. 

The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride; 
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside. 

His lyart haffels wearing tliin and liare; 
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, 

He wales a portion with judicious care; 

And " Let us worship Goil," he says, with solemn air. 

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Then kiicclin^f down, to I leaven's Eternal King, 

'I'he saint, llie tatlier, and tlie husband prays; 
Hope ''springs exulting on triumphant wing," 

That thus they all shall- meet in future days; 

There ever bask in uncreated rays, 
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, 

Together hymning their Creator's praise, 
In such society, yet still more dear; • 

While circling time moves round in an eternal sphere. 

In the earlier years of the town, church services 
were often omitted in the winter season on account 
of the difficulties of travel. Only the most inclem- 
ent weather, however, kept the church members at 
home. The children were required to go regularly 
as soon as they were old enough to walk. Peterbo- 
rough had been settled more than twenty years 
before horses were introduced or any one was seen 
going to church on horseback; before that, every 
one went on foot. There were two long* services, 
with a noon intermission. "The preaching of that 
period," says Doctor Morison in his centennial ad- 
dress, "was. usually without notes, the sermons very 
ordinary, very long, and made up very much of rep- 
etitions, especially of a continued play upon the 
words of the text." The men spent the intermission 
under the trees, discussing the sermon or the news 
of the day. The women gathered in groups in and 
about the house and talked over the affairs of the 
church and of their several neighborhoods. They 
were thinkers as well as talkers, and aside from re- 

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liLMOus duty the ojDportunities for an intcrchaiiLjc of 
o[)inion.s were too infrequent to suffer the Sunda)' 
gatherings to be nej^lected. At the elose of the 
atternoon service they went home to spend the rest 
of the tlay in study of the Bible and catechism. Sun- 
day was kept Irom Saturday ni^^ht at tlark to Sunday 
niglit at tile same iiour. During the week tiiere was 
usually a meeting of the church members at the 
house of some one of them, at whicli the minister 
was always j^resent as teacher and leader. These 
meetings were primarily for examination and instruc- 
tion in the l^ible and catechism, but all questions of 
church discipline were there debated and settled. 

The minister's visit was an event in the family 
and all the best things of the house were set out for 
him. The people of that day were no total abstain- 
ers, and he took the rum that was offered him "for 
liis stomach's sake" with as little compunction as his 
most bibulous parishioner. Neither spiritual leader 
nor follower saw the least harm in it. A supply was 
constantly on hand, for it was the chosen emblem of 
hospitality and good fellowship. It was set before 
the minister, the visitor, the transient guest and the 
neighbors alike, and it was liberally sujoplied at all 
social gatherings. The town was unfortunate in its 
first two settled ministers, both of whom had uncon- 
trollable appetites for "the cup." At a meeting of 
the Londonderry Presbytery, held August 30, 17H8, 

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Dr. Smitii's 1 )cacon Saiuucl Mooic j)i"cfci'i"cd 

History ol , • i\ 1 \ 

Peterborough. cliar^cs agaiiLst All", .'vniiaii, among 
other things lor his gross intemperance. One of the 
specifications was his drunkenness ami unseemly be- 
havior at the hoiLse of William .Smith on some social 
occasion, of which the [)articulars are not mentionetl. ^ itt 
Mr. Moore, it will be remembered, was the brotlier- '• 'i' 
in-law of William Smith, and was probably [^resent, 
so that he conld speak from [)ersonal knowledge. 
Stray references to the affair also show that the 
charge was undoubtedly true. The outcome of the ''•■ 
trial is not recorded; nevertheless Mr. Annan con- \:>n 
tinned to i)reach in the church until 1792, vviien he 
withdrew voluntaril)'. Such charges would now 
drive any minister from tiie pulpit and the person 
who supplied him with the weapon of sin from ohice ,^ ^ • 
and membership in the church as well. While the 
unfortunate affair added to the unpopularity of Mr. 
Annan, it does not seem to have impaired the church 
standing "of WiUiam .Smith nor to have cooled the 
cordial relations between him and his brother-in-law. 
Elizabeth .Smith's mother, Margaret (Wallace) 
Morison, spent her last years at the house of William 
Life uf .Smith, and died there April 18, 1769. 

Judge Smith. ^\ ^^.^\.f. ^y^^ 1,^,1 J tijg f^i^^ht before her 

burial. This custom, Irish and not .Scotch, had been 
adopted by the Scotch-Irish during their residence 
in Ireland. It may have prevailed in the town at 

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■^^i, .'ul: :f.-;-j' 1, 


this period, but this is the only recorded instance of 
its occurrence amon^^ the early settlers of Peterbo- 
rough. Certainly it had no strong hold upon them, 
and it died out with the generation of William Smith. 
On this occasion it was held with the usual ceremon- 
ies. The near relatives and neighbors assembled in 
the evening to watch through the night with the 
body in the dimly lighted room. The exercises be- 
gan with the reading of the Bible, followed by 
prayer; then words of consolation and comfort were 
spoken to the mourners, and the virtues and charac- 
ter of the deceased were passed in review; soon 
stories of ghosts, witches and demons were ex- 
changed, tales of death warnings to the deceased 
and to her friends. Later, stimulants were freely 
circulated, and before morning there was eating as 
well as drinking. Mr. Parker, in speaking of the 
custom, says, "The affair often ended b)- shouts of 
laughter and revelr)' breaking up the company." 

We cannot think this was the case in the present 
instance. All the children of William and Elizabeth 
Smith who were old enough were present, and one 
Life of of them at least, who was then ten 

Judge Smith. years old, rcccivcd an impression that 
remained with him througii life. 

Many funerals took place at the house, for death 
was no infrequent visitor to the family circle. Such 
events always drew a large company, and the observ- 
ances were well defined and strictly followed. All 

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SoUIll SlUU ()!■ HoiiSIC 

Parker's History tllC relatives UCIC ilivitcd, UIkI tO Ulllit 

of Lontionderry. aoyonc, liowcvcT distantly connected, 
was a serious breach of propriety. Tlie nei^bors 
were jjrcseiit, and the assembly was often quite as 
numerous as the congregations at church on Sunday. 
The minister opened the exercises with prayer; 
liquors were then served; an address followed, then 
licjuors were a<^ain passed arcjund. After the friends 
had taken leave of the remains the whole company, 
mostly on foot, followed the l)ody to the grave. On 
the return of the friemls and relatives to the house 
a sumptuous repast was served, of which all partook. 
The coffin was borne by four strong young men. It 
was a burdensome dui)' when the houses were so far 
from the burial ground, but it was not until i802 that 
there was any hearse. The town after man)' attempts 
i:>urchased one that year. 

The family knew sickness also, and the doctor 
was an occasional visitor. In one of Doctor Young's 
books is found the following account: 

Lieut. William Smith. 
1766. To two visits 2s. 

1767 Gum Galba y> oz. ' 6d. 

" Aug. 8 Extract D 6d. 

1768. Apr. 26 Invisere is. 

" July 25 " et consilium is. 6d. 

July 27 " IS. 

" " *• Phlebotony ( bleeding) 6d. 

" (i) lunplast E|)ispast I J^ oz. is. 6d. 
" " " Gum Myrrh [do. is. 

" " " Pulv. Jalap I pt. (calomel) is. 6d. 

" " " Elixir Cough ipt. 3d. 

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From the char<Tos of July 27tli it would soeni that 
the tlisease was pneumonia or somethini,'^ similar. 
The treatment was certainl)' heroic. Hut all the 
chiliiren exxept two lived and i^eached a i^oml old 
age; one died in infancy, and another, a son named 
William, at the age of nineteen )'ears; considering 
the hygienic and economic conditions of the time, 
this is an exceptional record of health ami good 

There were no cattle in town before 1754. " h'or 
a long time," says Doctor Morison, "there were no 
See Centennial oxen, and for a still longer time nu 
Address. horses." When William Smith built 

his first frame barn in 1754, he must have iiad some 
live stock to put into it, but of what it consisted we 
do not know. In the absence of be;jsts of burden 
the work of clearing the land [progressed but slowl)'. 
Had it not been for the s[)irit of mutu.d helpfulness ' 
among the settlers it could scarcely have progressed 
at 'all. The principle of cor>pcration among them 
was as active as it is now, and it was put into api)li- 
cation in a way that niade it very real. They did 
not give it that name, nor indeed any name; but the 
thing itself was tiiere; and there was vastl)' more of 
the personal element in mutual help than at present 
when so much is said about it. This spirit bound 
neighborhoods and communities together by ties the 
strength of which we can. scarcely realize. When 


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the field was ready invitations were given, tlie neigh- 
bors assembkMl, and each one gave his time and 
strength to pile the logs iov burning, for one man or 
one family could not do it alone. When a set of 
buildings was destro)'ed by fire or a family prostrated 
by sickness, all united to help in rebuikling, nursing 
the sick, or looking after the cro[)s of those who 
could not for the time do it for themselves. These 
services were not purchased as the)' are now, but 
were rendered in the kindly form of cociperation, 
with the result of a great deal of affectionate interest 
in each other's welfare. 

h'lax culture began early on the farm, and from 
the sale of the finished product a considerable por- 
tion of the income of the family was derived. It 
Homei.ifeiii required both skill and hard* labor. 

the Colonies, by , 

Alice Morse Earie. 1 he secd vvas sown broadcast in May 
like grass seed. When the plants were three or four 
inches high they were weeded by the bo3's and girls, 
wiuj hail 'to work barefoot as the plants were very 
tender. They had to step facing the wind, so that if 
any were trodden down the \vind would blow them 
back into j)lace. The plants were ripe about the 
first of July, when the stalks were pulled u[) b)' the 
roots and laid out to dry a day or two in the sun. 
The)' had to be turned several times, and this was 
usuall)' done by the men and older boys. They 
were then rippled with a ripple comb, which was a 

^■: ' 

Co iioMi-: ()!• rill-: smith iamil^-. 

coarse wooden or heavy iron wire comb, willi ^neat 
teeth, fastened to a phmk. The stalks were drawn 
through tliis comb by a (juick stroke to break off tlie 
seed holies or "bobs," which were saved for the next 
year's seed. The stalks were then tied in bundles, 
called "bates," and stacked. When dry, the stalks 
were watered, to rot the leaves and softer hbres. 
This was done sometimes b\- placins^r them in running 
water for four or five days, and sometimes by a |)ro- 
cess called dew-rotting; the latter was the slower 
method and was the one usually employed on the 
farm. When the leaves were rotted they were care- 
fully removed and the stalks dried again. They 
were then put through the flax-brake to separate the 
fibres and get out from the center the hard woody 
substance called the " hexe" or "bun.y This was 
hard work and was done by men. 

The flax was usually broken twice, once with an 
open. tooth brake, then with a finer tooth brake. It 
was. then "scutched," or "swingled," with a swing- 
ling block and knife to take out the small particles 
of bark that might adhere. Thi.s" had to be done in 
dry, sunny weather, when it vvas i)erfectly dry. lujrty 
pounds was a day's work' for a man. The clean fibres 
were then made into bundles called "strikes" and 
swingled again. After being thoroughl)' cleaned 
the rolls or "strikes" were sometimes ])uunded or 
"beetled" in a wooden trough with a great beetle 

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until the fibres were soft. Next came the "hack- 
ling" or "hetchelint^," and the fineness of the fiax 
depended on the number of hacklings. the linencss 
of the various combs and the dexterity of the oper- 
ator. In the hands of a poor operator the flax would 
be converted into tow. The flax was slightly wetted, 
taken b)- one end of the bunch and drawn through 
the hackle teeth towards the operator, and thus the 
fibres were pulled and laid into continuous threads, 
while the short fibres were combed out. After the 
first hackle or "ruftter," si.x other and finer hackles 
were often used. The fibres had to be divided to 
their fine filament, the long threads laid in an untan- 
gled line and the tow separated and removed. It 
was surprising how little good fibre would be left 
after all the hackling, and equally surprising how 
much thread could be made from that little. The 
fibres were then sorted according to fineness, and so, 
after twenty skillful manipulations, the flax was 
ready for S])inning, the most dexterous process of 
all. It was wra[)i)ed around the spindle and spun 
out in long threads. There was deep meaning in the 
answer l^lizabeth .Smith made her son when he un- 
dertook to correct her grammar. 

On the wheel was a small cup filled with water 
in which the spinner moistened her fingers as she 
held the twisting flax. By the movement of the 
wheel the thread was wound on bobbins. When all 
the bobbins were full the thread was wound off in 

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knots and skeins on a reel. To spin t\v(^ skeins of 
thread was a ^Mjod chiy's wcjik, and the spinner was 
paid ei^ht cents a (kiy and board. 

All these tools ol this now fcjr^otten imlnstry 
remained about the premises at hdm Hill larm tor 
many years, and some ol them were there when it 
was sold in 1S73. The remains id the rip[de comb, 
the tooth brake, the swin^lin^' block ami knile, the 
hackling' tools, the llax wheel and its furnitm'e, were 
all familiar to the children on the old homestead of 
a generation ago, interesting reminders of the ances- 
tors to wliom the tocjls had meant so much a hun- 
dred years before. 

Wool growing did not begin until much later, 
owing to the wolves which were numerous and trou- 
Samuei Sniitii's blcsome (.lowu to 1 Soo, in Juuc, I7<S3, 
Nofes. they killed fift)' sheep' belonging to 

Captain Morison and his son .S.uiiucl in a single 
night. The town offered a bounty (d so much per 
head for their extermination, and the war was waged 
against them with such vigor that by iSio they had 
disappeared and the wool indu.^try was established 
on a sure basis. 

There are in tiie history of Peterborough only 
two recorded instances of depreciations by the Indi- 
ans. Yet it was not vmtil after tlu: war of 1754 
that the settlers \vcre entirel)' relievetl from dread 
of them. The town or the .State of Massachusetts 
iiad built a fort on the Ritchie llillin 1750 or 1751, 

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and wiuii the war Ijiokc out in 1754, fear ut their 
attacks greatly increasetl. About 1756 the t(n\n 
addressed the loUowiii^' |)etition to the (joveriior 
and Council of the Province; 

Provincial Records ^'^ ^^'-"^ I'.Xlcllcncy , iHllltDli^ W't/lilOOltll , 

oi ^-W. Jis</''" Ciipt.-iicnJ and Goi'cnior-in-Chul 

in iDui over 1 lis Majcslys Provi/icc of New J f/zuips/iirc 
cuui to the Uon^'^ I (is MajJ Couneil (ind House 0/ 
Representatives asseuili/ed at l\>rtsi/i(>iit/t, 

The humble athlress and Petition ot the Inhabi- 
tants of Peterborough so called 
i luinbly shevveth 

That l)y the Providence (jf Ciod we are settled 
under yo'r hai)i)y Government and proj)ose to take 
Sanctuary uiuler yo'r i)rotection and d(j our utmost 
in Subjecting ourselves to your authority upon every 
emergency; and account that we have just reason- so 
to do, from )'our care and clemency to other new 
settlem'^ and considering the present (kmgerous 
.situatKjn of affairs, we have been using some means 
for our safety and defence against the Ifeathen in 
raising one considerable (jarrison in the south [)art 
of the town of pretty large Dimensions, with square 
logs/Fwelve Inches thick, as the bearer can more 
fully inform. And we design to raise another more 
large and nearer the Centre Contiguous to our Meet- 
ing House where it will best suit, that will accom- 
modate most of the Inhabitants; but this we tier to 
undertake ourselves upon the Accompt of the great 
expense it will amount to, we having laid out, we 
may say, all our substance in Improving our Land 
for Bread, corn and hay, to this purpose we have 
both detlicated our time and money so that we stand 
in need of help to build ^i: iuect this Intended Ifort 
as well as assistance to Defend it when thus built, 
and both with yo'r Ivxcellency & Hon'' concurrence 
& assistance; ffor if we should break u[) that are 
l^arriers to the I'owns l)elow us, that is Dunstable «!!< 


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Townsend tliey would be as much exposed as we are, 
so that it would be their safety as well as our own if 
we be encouraged to continue. 

May it therefore please your l^.xcellency & Ilon.'"^ 
to consider the premises & think what a ruining 
thing it would be to yo'r Petitioners if our time, 
strength and substance should be lost, and this valu- 
able Settlem^ break up; that has been blessed with 
Such Success as non Such for the time; the Loss 
would not be made up in some years, if ever in our 
time. The prevention of which we esteem, in yo'r 
Excellency & Hon"* power; not that we would pre- 
sume to direct, not being skilled in Publick affairs, 
the good Government that Providence hath liless'd 
us with, you being our Patrons; Hut ovu' present 
necessity & future fears obliges us to .Su[)plicate for 
help from you, in whose power it is to commiserate 
such as we fier to be, not that we are under under any 
slavish fier, for if we obtain our necessitous Demands 
your continuance & aid, we resolve to continue here 
& by the Divine assistance acquit ourselves in the 
cause of our lives & Interest like men while life is 
granted; and not only confiding but Depending on 
yo'r I^^xcellency & llon.''^ Compliance to our necessi- 
tous request yo'r Petitioners as in duty bound shall 
ever pray. 

' Hakvey Charles McCoy 

Hugh Wilson David Wallas 

Thomas Mokison Will" Mitchell 
JoNTH"^ Mokison Isaac Mitchell 

John Swan • Will*' Nay 

John Swan, Jk. Joseph Caldwell 

w^illiam wo\llas john taociart 
Jeremiah Swan James Mitchell 

John Smith Samuel Stinson 

Samuel Wallas James Stinson 

Thomas Davison IIuch ckicog 
John Davison Thomas Bogle 

William Smith John P'aucuson 

John Graham \Villiam Richey 

John Stuart Gustavus Swan 

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A../-^ ■ n .,X'i(_ 


.A. A\ n i ii\i 


This j^etitioii must have been i^mored or denied, 
for it is not known that a fort was ever built on 
Meetinc^-lfouse Hill. 

All we can say of the date of the erection of the 
first frame house at l^lm Hill is that it must have 
been before 1759. I'ive years earlier, William Smith 
had built and covered with boards his first frame 
barn. This barn is the smallest of the three now 
standing on the place, and it stood originally some 
forty feet north of its present site. Its large timbers 
(twelve I,)y eighteen inches) are of black ash, hewn, 
and are as sound as on the da)' when they were put 
in place, one hundred and forty-four years ago. The 
timber in it was cut on the hill north of the buildings. 
The frame dwelling of which we have spoken was 
replaced in 1777 by another, a two-story house, built 
on the site of the log cabin, which was the third two- 
story house in town; the first was built by Hugh 
Wilson in 1753, and the second by Captain Morison 
in 1763. It was two stories in front and one story 
in tJie rear. The four front rooms are scjuare and 
are finished in pine taken fropi a single tree, the 
stump of which has been pointed out within the 
memory of living descendants of the first proprietor. 
It was on the southwest slope of the Lower Field 
near the Sand Hanks, and judging from its size ami 
from the quantity of timber taken fron) it, must have 
been six feet in diameter. The chimney rested on 

'I / . Af ■ ,-- iiT l•^■ !^ -.Mj; 

')■' ' . : . J 



a stone arch in the cellar. The bricks were made of 
clay taken from the cki)' pits in the pasture. 

These clay pits were a land-mark on the iarm for 
more than a hundred )ears; they were filled with 
water, and in the severest droughts were never dry. 
We do not know how extensively bricks were after- 
wards made there, but the L^round bordering the pits 
on the north side was strewn with the remains of the 
brick kiln and with pieces of f:)roken brick down to 
within a few years, and no doubt these traces of 
brick manufacture can be seen there now. The road 
a few rods to the south of the j)its is the one laid out 
in 1794, and is described in town documents as run- 
ning "south of and near to the old brick yard," show- 
ing that it had been used many years before that 
date. The place was said to be haunted — by what, 
tradition does not say — and it^was dreaded and 
avoided by the children for two generations. 

Behind the two front rooms of the first lloor 
was' -the kitchen with a fire-place six feet high 
and wide enough to burn logs nearly sled length, 
two feet over, and piled one on the to[) of ■ 
another. The children could sit in the corner of 
it on cold winter evenings while the fire was 
burning, At this, or jiossibly a later date, there 
was a brick oven at the left (jf the fire-place where 
the bread and meats were baked, which went gratl- 
ually out of use as stoves came in. Before this open 

■111. J'.' A\ 1 1. ) M 1 i^ ;i' 


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WILLIAM SMITH — S()CL'\r. AM) 1UJ.SIN1';SS LI I' I'.. 67 

fire ami in thfs ovcii all the ci>ukiii^ of the faiiiil)' 
was done. Over the lire [)lace was the pole on which 
apples ami piinijjkins were driecl for winter use; and 
at the cnil oi the kitchen was the dresser, bright with 
})euter dishes. The rt)oni was furnished with the 
necessary tables and chairs and one or more Hax- 
wheels. llere the mother and her daughters lived 
and worked. 

The massive timbers of the buildings, all hewn, 
show the size of the trees and the substantial meth- 
ods of building. The timber for the house, sheds 
and barns (with the exception* of the middle barn) 
was all cut on the farm; the finish, including the 
shingles, was prepared or shavecl by hand. The 
nails, of wrought iron, were also made by hand. It 
is uncertain when the house was first painted, but 
it was certainly before 1814. 

It was about this time (1777) that some of the 
other outbuildings were erected. Probably the first 
after the barn of 1754 was the cider-house; at any 
rate, a story connected with it seems to place its 
f.ifeof construction somewhere near this time. 

jud«u Smith. William Smith had engaged "Uncle 
Mosey Morison," the town wit, to build the trough 
for his cider-mill, and had saved for the purpose 
some particularly nice plank. His boys objected 
that they were too long, and he, not liking to cut 
them, appealed to Uncle Mosey to know if the 

t,i: ; .1 

j; A .,.> :.( 


troui^fh coLikl not be built without cuttin<; tlicin. 
"Ay, ay,"vvas the reply. The father looked at his 
boys with a smile of triumph, and their countenances 
fell; but Uncle Mosey immediately added, " Ikit the 
mare maun aye jump the trough." At this time there 
was a large orchard directly north of the house; the 
last trees were not cut down until 1840. The west 
barn was built about 1777, and originally stood at 
the west end of the first barn. The sheds, one hun- 
dred and twenty feet in length, were also erected 
near this period. The size, finish and quality of the 
timbers, of hard wood and hewn by hand, mark their 
contemporaneous construction. 

One of the earliest deeds of the proprietors was 
to John, elder brother of William Smith, of lot No. 
34. The deed bears date July 5, 1753, and the lot 
contains three hundred and ninety-seven acres. The 
price paid was £0^-] 10s. Hut William Smith himself 
dealt extensively in land, and throughout his long 
life in Peterborough was a large owner of real estate. 
His first purchase was lot No. 35, and the deed is 
dated December 15, 1753. It is signed by Jeremiah 
Gridlcy, John Hill and John Fowle; it was made in 
IJoston, and the consideration named is £390 "New 
Hampshire old tenor bills." The description is as 

Beginning at a stake norwest corner runs south 
52 rods to a hemlock tree, souwest corner, thence 
east 521 rods to a stake southeast corner, thence north 

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52 rods U) where it l)e:L;an aiul contains i6g acres and 
52 rods and 4 acres to he alhnved to rods (roads) and 
3 acres lor [)ond, and s'd land lies in the southwest 
part of the town, and buts west on 92, and on the 
north 33 and 34 and soutii on 36 and east on 47, and 
above s'd 4 acres to be allowed out of the above 169 

It is not known when or to whom he sold it, the 
Samuel Smith's clccd not having been recorded. Ac- 
Notes, cording to the notes of Samuel Smith 
it afterwards came into the hands of Moses Morison 
(Uncle Mosey), his brother-in-law, who conveyed it 
to Robert Morison. In 1830 it was owned by Sam- 
uel Holmes. His second purchase was of lot No. 36, 
which he bought of H albert Morison, cousin of Cap- 
tain Thomas. This deed is dated June 2, 1761, and 
the consideration named is.i^50. Halbert Morison 
bought it of Jeremiah Gridley, John-Hill and John 
Fowle, July 5, 1751. The lot contains one hundred 
and sixty-four acres, excepting thereout three acres 
for roads. The description is as follows: 

Beginning at a hemlock tree marked on the east- 
erly side of Contoocook River, North East Corner, 
'running west 275 rods to a stake at the Northwest 
Corner, thence south lOO rods to a stake at the south- 
west corner, thence easterly 262 rods to a hemlock 
tree at the southeast corner, thence north on the east 
side of the river to the bounds first mentioned, and 
is bounded southerly on Lotts Nos. 38 and 39 west- 
erly on Lotts Nos. 92 and 29, Northerly on Lott No. 

.■„.'. 1 . ' }• 

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iiOMi-: oi'- 'nil''. SMITH ia.miia 

3O and eastcrl)' 011 land oi Joliii Swan. 'l~lic said land 
at the southwest corniT ol l*clcil)c;iinis_;h. 

He conveyed this land to his sons Kohcrt and 
juhn without consideration, piobabl)' some time be- 
tween 1775 and 1780. The exact date is not known 
as the deed was not recorded. His sons divided it. 
John erected some buildings on his h.dl, but never 
occupied them except when at work there, and h'eb- 
ruary 23, 1782, he conveyed his entire interest to 
Robert for /700. Robert, at his death (December 
31, 1795), owned the whole tract with some addi- 
tions, and it was then sold U) Thomas Upton, in 
whose family it remained for many years. 

December 2, 1762, William Smith bou<,dU a small 
tract of three acres of Jean McCy (McCoy) for 
which he paid /."i.Ss., situate on the Sharon line east 
of tlie street road, described as ITjIK^w's: 

Ik^^^inning at a stake and stones for the N. K. 
angle s'- stake and stones stands on the Iv side of 
the Highway and is the S. VV. angle of Wm. McCy's 
Land thence S. c;'' \V.: 56 rods Hounding on s'd High- 
way to a stake and stones: thence S. 24'' VV: 8 rods 
Hounding on s'd highway to a stake thence S. S. 54'' 
W. 9 rods 15oundingon s'' highway to a stake thence 
S. 30'' K. 4 rods Hounding on s^'jean McCy's Land to 
a stake and stones thence K. 18 rods Hounding on 
Sliptown line to a stake and stones thence N. Hound- 
ing on s'd Will'" Smith's Rami to the Hoimd. fust 
mentioned s'' Rantl. 

WILLIAM SMLJ'll SOClAr. AN'I) liUSINI':sS Lll'l'. 


M:iy 3, 177.4, he obtainccl title to the hAm Hill 
faruL The followin^r is a copy of the deed: 

Know .ill men by these [jresents that 1, John Hill 
of l)oston in the County of Suffolk in the Province 
of the iMassachusetts Hay in New luif^Iand l{s([' in 
consideration of twenty shillin<^^s paid by William 
Smith of Peterborough in the County of Millsborouf^di 
in the Province of New 1 Ianii)sJiire Husbandman the 
receipt whereof 1 do hereby acknowledge do hereby 
i,Mve Grant Make o\'er and forever Quitclaim untcj 
the said William Smith his heirs & Assi^nis forever 
(upon the following- conditions) two certain Lots of 
Land Lyinij^ and bein^- in Peterborou^di aforesaid 
bearinir numbers three ami Sixty Six and they con- 
tain to<^ether one himdred acres as they are now laid 
out and the>- are butteil ami bounded as follows viz' 
South on number 65 West on R(jad or Highway — 
North on hjt number four ICast on the Road or high- 
way or however otherways bounded or reputed to 
be bounded with all tiie proffits privileges and appur- 
tenances thereto belonging or appertaining 

To have and to hold the same unto the said Wil- 
liam Smith his Heirs and Assigns to h!s and their 
use and behoof forever and that I will warrant and 
defend the Same to the Said William Smith his heirs 
and Assigns forever against the Lawful Claims & 
Demands 'of all [)ersons Claiming from by or under 
me or my ]leirs — upon the following Condition that 
whereas the Said William Smith has been and is Set- 
tled on Said Lots but he has not but he has not per- 
formed all the conditions of sade Settlement Now if 
the s'd Smith his Heirs or Assigns shall do there 
'part towards lUiilding a Convenient Meeting Mouse 
for the pul)lick worship of God and Maintain Con- 
stant preaching of the Word of God in said Peter- 
borough upon the performance of these Conditions 
this Deed is to Abide and remain in full force and 
vertue but upon falure of any part thereof this deed 

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shall be and rciiuiin Null and Void in tcstinujiiy 
whereof 1 do hereunto Sett my hand and Seale this 
third day of May in the fourteenth year of his Maj- 
estys Reign Anno Domini one thousand seven hun- 
dred & seventy four 

Signed Sealed & Delivered 

in presence of John Hill LS 

the words this Deed was interlined 
before signing & sealing 
Sakson Bflchkk 
Elizabkth Lakkin 

Suffolk ss Boston May 3d 1774 
John Hill Esq. personally appeared and acknowl- 
edged the within instrument by him executed to be 
his Act & Deed 

Before me 

John Avkky j^us Peace 

There is an obvious mistake in the description, 
but no doubt as to the land intended to be conveyed 
by the deed. The instrument was never recorded. 

The proprietors held a meeting in Boston, Decem- 
ber 14, 1750, and passed the following vote: 

Proprietors' Voted that every grantee of said Pro- 

Records, prietors shall within three months from 

the date hereof pay his proportion toward the main- 
tenance of preaching in said Town and the assess- 
ment made by the Inhabitants for the roads to such 
person as shall be appointed by the Inhabitants for 
that purpose. And u[)on the expiration of three 
months aforesaid settle his lot or lots & continue & 
diligently perform his duty upon them. And in 
case any Grantee shall not jjay his proportion or set- 
tle as aforesaid the Inhabitants of said Town are 
hereby empowered to dispose his lot to such other 
Person as will go & settle immediately in said Town 
& perform the delinquent's duty. 

None of these conditions were inserted in the 

'*: ■ ;!■;;■.': 

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'y.y^- : 'i U-. c'.V. 



deeds of the Proprieturs to John Smith and II albeit 
Morison, nor were the)' put in the deed to WiUiam 
Smith of Lot No. 35, given in 1753. Nothinj.; in tlie 
Proprietors' records affortls an)' clue to the reason 
why such conditions shoukl have been omitted in 
those and inserted in the deed of lots 3 and 66 in 
1774. William Smith had lived on the latter twenty- 
three years or more, had erected buildings and im- 
proved the land, and the reason of the delay in get- 
ting a title is unexplained. The records show his 
activity in all matters relating to the church, and the 
traditions of his interest in its prosperity and welfare 
do not bear out the assumption in the deed that he 
had been negligent of the duty imposed by the 
Proprietors' vote of December 14, 1750. The c]ues- 
tion is interesting, although of little importance, but 
the reason of the language of the deed Avill rvever be 
known. August 4th of the same year (1774) he, 
with William McCoy, purchased of the proprietor, 
John Hill, three lots numbered respectively 62, 124 
and 63, containing fifty acres each; they paid twenty 
shillings. The lots are described in the deed as 

Three certain Lotts of Land Lying in said Peter- 
borough — thay bare Numbers sixty-three, one hun- 
dred twenty-four & sixty-two — thay contain one 
hundred and fifty acres as thay are now Laid out — 
be the same IMore or Less — and thay are butted and 
bounded as follows, vi/' South on the Town line 
West on the Khoad or highway North on Number 
Sixty-one I'-ast on the Second division Lotts number 

I .'.; :-•;!.' ;->i-i. 

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7 v'H ;•- ?: > 

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74 HOMK 0\' Till'". SMIl'll 1-AMlLV. 

one, two, three iK: four. With all the profits priviiii^Ms 
and appurtenances thereto belonging. 

These lots are conveyed subject to the same con- 
ditions, to wit: 

That said William Smith and William McKey 
doo there part with other settlers in said Town of 
Peterborough towards building a Meeting Mouse tor 
the publick worshii) of God and Maintain Constant 
preaching the Gospel in said Town of Peterborough 
& settle an orthodox Minister. 

How long William Smith^held his interest in this 
land it is impossible to say, as the deed conveying 
his title was never recorded. It is not known that 
he ever improved them. They were afterwards 
occupied by William McCoy, and John and Dudley 
Chapman, and later by Kendall Nichols. At this 
time ( 1775) William Smith owned about five hundred 
acres of land. What disposition he made of lot No. 
36 we have already mentioned; but what he did with 
his other purchases we do not know. Possibly por- 
tions of them were conveyed to his other sons. In 
his will he made his son Jonathan his principal lega- 
tee, charged his estate with legacies to his'daughters, 
and said of his other children that they had already 
received their just share of his pro[)erty. At the 
date of the will (1791) they were all owners of real 
estate in Peterborough and in prosperous circum- 

The Revolution made no material change in the 
manner of life of the people. The town sent its full 

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quota of men to the army; the iiiha-bitants were in- 
tensely loyal to the colonial cause, and there is no 
record of any tories livin^^^ in it, unless the John 
Morison who joined the patriot army and afterward, 
during the s'ei^e t)f Boston, deserted to the Ikitish, 
be accounted one. But few allusioiLs to the war are 
found on the town records before 1778. In 1780 and 
in 1781 the inhabitants voted to furnish the town's 
quota of beef for the Continental Army, and there 
are two or three other votes relative to fillinj^j its 
quota of men for the service. From all now known it 
seems probable that for the first two or three years 
the war was not seriousl)' felt beyond the constant 
drain of young men to fill the depleted ranks of the 
army, and the anxieties and sorrows of the families 
who had representatives in active service. But 
toward the last of the struggle it was evidently oth- 
erwise, and the six or eight years following 1783 
were also years of great hardship. The evils of a. 
depreciated currency, the high taxes, the general 
stagnation of business and the universal uncertaint)' 
and lack of confidence in the ability of the free col- 
onies to establish and maintain a stable government 
occasioned not only great suffering but filled the 
people with discouragement and discontent. In 
Massachusetts the dissatisfaction broke into open 
rebellion. The town, in 1782, felt the stress of the 
times to such an extent that they declined to make 

;.;:r'-;'!;- :■ . ' ^i ■ ..r^ - :":i' 

f i; 

I'". I ' ■:( ' 1. 

76 IKJMK C)i- 'rill. SMITH i'AMIl.V. 

any appropriation for public schools, altiiout^^h the 
industry of the place, being entirely agricultural, was 
less susceptible to the uncertainties and depressions 
incident to great political and social changes than 
any other form of activity. But the people bravely 
faced their difficulties and in time overcame them all. 

At the outbreak of the Revolution, William Smith 
was past military age, being fifty-two years old. He 
was by temper and disposition a man of peace, and 
the profession of arms had no attractions for him, 
although he had done military duty when a younger 
man. But he was strongly loyal to the American 
cause, and if he did not enter the army himself, was 
represented there by all of his sons who were of mil- 
itary age. Their service is here given, as found in 
the l^ovincial records: 

Robert Smith, in Captain Joseph* Parker's com- 
pany of Colonel Wyman's regiment, raised out of 
Colonel Enoch Hale's regiment. Joined the North- 
ern-Army at Ticonderoga to serve five months. 
Mustered out and pai 1 July 18, 1776. I'aid /,"io. 2s. 
September 18, 1776, mustered for one month's ser- 
vice, for which he was paid £6. for two hundred and 
thirty miles' travel, and £\. 18s. 4d. for his time; 
total, £j. i8s. 4d. 

John Smith, Jr., in Captain Peter Coffin's com- 
pany of minute men, raised pursuant to an order by 
Committee of .Safety, dated October 12, 1775. Mus- 
tered November 24, 1775. Joined the army at Cam- 

.;; ( '':i - I i ■< '.Mi 

All ii^'i * ! i ' "j't./t 

! f 


bridge. Served two months and twenty-three days. 
Paid ^"5. 12.S. lod. 

James Smitli, in Captain Alexander Robbe's com- 
pany, which marched from Peterborough on an alarm 
June 29, 1777, and returned July 3, 1777. Length of 
service, five days. This company was started to re- 
inforce the garrison at Ticonderoga. It marched 
part of the way and was then ordered back. He was 
paid £\. 15s. for his service. 

Life of Jeremiah Smith ran away to enlist and 

Judge Smith. offered himself to Capt. Joseph Parker 
at New Ipswich in the summer of 1777, as a recruit. 
Captain Parker refused to take him until he had seen 
his father, with whom he was acquainted. William 
Smith gave his consent on the condition that if the 
regiment was ordered into action Jeremiah should 
be detailed for some safe duty at the rear. T(5 this 
Captain Parker agreed, and kept his word; but the 
boy disobeyed, and in the midst of the battle of 
Bennington- was found fighting by his captain's side. 
When called to account for this disobedience of 
orders he replied, -'Oh, sir, I thought it my duty to 
follow my captain." He was the only one of the 
four sons who took part in any engagement, and was 
slightly wounded by a musket ball in the throat, but 
suffered no other injury. 

What William Smith did in aid of the patriot 
cause will be given in the following chapter. 

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ciiapti<:r v. 


A COMMIT'! ME choSCll b)' thc SctlldS gOVLTlled 

the town until the year of its incor|Kjratioii ( 1760). 
At a meeting in lM)ston, December 14, 1750, the I'ru- 
prictors passed the vote given on a loHowing page. 
The inefiiciency of such an administration by sucli 
agencies was cpiickly felt and proved a hindrance to 
the growth of the seltlement. ihe committees, not- 
withstanding their [)owers, were litlle^ nn^rt- than 
middle-men. They ccjuld ailvise and \'ote, but their 
authority to enforce their decrees, though it was all 
the Proprietors could give them, was entirely irisufli- 
cient. The)' could not assess a.nd collect taxes by 
authority oi law. and ])ayments into the public treas- 
ury were mere voluntar) conlrilnitioiis. There is no 
record or tradition that they ever asserted the 
authority conferred upon them by the Proprietors' 
vote, but the petifiou for incorporation (see Doctor 
Smith's Ilistor)', jjp. I9, JO) is a pathetic statement 
of their difliculties antl ui the necessit\' of a charter. 
There is no way of ascertaining who composed 

^f,I ■. t 

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J ; JJ.i' ' '(..i inn 1 ! 

J 9T 

i. ! , i M 

Wir.I.lAM SMITH — inJIil.lC SERVICKS. 79 

these committees, nor what the)' did, save wliat can 
be inferred from the situation as revealed by the 
action of to\vn-meetinL[s for the two or three years 
followinL,^ 1760. Public worship was maintained, 
however, and a few highways were partially or 
wiiolly built. 

The Proprietors' vote of December 4, 1738 (see 
p. 26), had ordered the street road cleared to the 
meeting-house, and in 1760 it was so far graded as to 
be ill a [)assable condition. It was five rods wide 
and ran through the center of the town from south 
to north. Going south from William .Smith's lot it 
went straight over the hill east of the McCoy place 
(now owned by George S. Morison) and crossed the 
Town Line l^rook some distance to the east of the 
present bridge. It was the only road from Peterbo- 
rough to Townsend, and by it all the Lunenburg 
immigrants entered the town. It was changed from 
its original to its present location by a vote in town- 
Town Records.- - meeting passed May 16, 1796. Only 
one other road concerns us here, and that is the one 
which began at the southeast corner of lot No. 3 
(William Smith's). This way ran west along the 
southern boundary of the lot and over to the Ritchie 
Hill, whether to the river is not known. It had been 
projected, and partially, at least, built before the in- 
corporation, for we find that at a town-meeting held 

"Town Records. November 18, 1760, the settlers voted 


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to lay out a number of highways, among them this 
one. It was two and one-half rods wide. Jt was 
used until 1794, when it was closed and a new one 
Town Records. laid out as a substitute, running from 
the "street road " O[)posite William .Smith's house 
by the south side of his buildings in a westerly direc- 
tion and down the hill through the center of his 
farm. At the foot of the hill it turned to the scuith- 
west and struck the older road at the southwest cor- 
ner of lot No. 3. This road in turn was replaced in 
Town Records. 1S14 by a ncw One beginning at the 
street road where the McCoy house now stands, 
which is still in use. The first road can still be 
traced through the [)asture of the Elm Hill farm by 
the remains of the stonewalls which bordered it. 
The second was the cart road from William Smith's 
farm-house to the woods and pastures.'and was used 
by his descendants as long as they owned the farm. 
A portion of it is still in use. 

■At the first town-meeting in 1760, Hugh Wilson 
was moderator, lie probably had been, and for a 
number of years thereafter certainly was, a promi- 
nent man in the town and filled many of its highest 
ofifices. He was Justice of the Peace for several 
Samuel Smitii's years. At the outbreak of the kevo- 
^"'"- lutionary War he went to Colerain and 

thence to U.xbridge, Massachusetts. We hear oi him 
later at Haverhill, New Hamj)shire, Newbury, Tops- 

■. .'■'., . : r'l S :.,.!■', i I. 



8 I 

liam and I-'airfax, Vcniioiit, and later still in Canada 
wliere he died in 179S, of sniali-pox. It i.^ probable 
that William Smith also had taken part in town 
affairs before the incorporation, but to what extent 
we do not know. At the first ineetint^ of the voters 
after the charter was ^^ranted (January, 1760), he 
was one of three selected to settle affairs with the 
last of the committees chosen according to tlie Pro- 
prietors' vote of 1738; and this included an investi- 
gation into the. transactions of the old board in the 
conduct of church affairs, the pay of the ministers, 
the building ami repair of highways, the maintenance 
of schools, the collection ami expenditure of public 
moneys, and man)- other details. The records are 
silent as to what adjustment the three made with the 
old board, and there is no subsequent reference to 
the matter in the town records. The other two 
members of the committee were Alexander Robbe 
and Samuel Mitchell. 

Town Kl'cokIs. y'\t tlic Same meeting (Januar)', 1760) 
William Smith, William McNee and John Robbe 
were appointed "to invite regular ministers to preach 
this year," the town having no settled minister until 
1706; we may supjjose the duty imposed upon this 
committee called for the same exercise of tact and 
good judgment that it does now. The church elected 
William Smith tithing-man in 1764. The office was 
considered one of dignity and importance, and was 

•;;'i ■■^[*" II'. 'I't' A 


always given to a man of character and inlluence. 
It was the duty of the tithing-man to preserve order 
during church service, enforce due observance of the 
Sabbath, and report any cases of disorderly conduct. 
The little community kept close watch over its 
public servants, and no official delinquency was long 
suffered to go unpunished. Hugh Wilson and Sam- 
uel Mitchell had for some years taken up the collec- 
tion on Sacrament days and had had charge of the 
moneys thus collected. Dissatisfaction with their 
management caused the matter to be brought up in 
Town Records town-meeting in 17C9, and it was voted 
to require them to render an account of these funds. 
Thomas Morison, William Smith, Samuel Moore, 
John Gregg and David Steele were chosen a com- 
mittee to investigate and report, and were also in- 
structed to collect the money due the town from 
Mitchell and Wilson. They were also instructed to 
appropriate the funds to the use for which they were 
intended, viz: to buy utensils for serving the Sacra- 
ments. Possibly this investigation had something 
to do with Hugh Wilson's leaving town, which he 
did four or five years later; but the result of the 
committee's labors is not recorded. It is noticeable 
that while committees for different purposes were 
chosen at nearly every town-meeting, in hardly an 
instance are their reports or acts recorded. Their 
reports were probably made orally, and the details 

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1' 17 

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and results of their labors deemed too unimportant 
to be recorded. The records ^n've account of the 
business transacted oidy in brief outline. 

In the original layout of the town a lot of fifty 
acres was set apart for the first settled minister. No 
minister was settled until 1766, when, after many 
experiments and much trouble, the church called 
Reverend John Morrison of Path foot, Scotland. 
The town offered him for the first year a salary of 
sixty pounds or its equivalent in currency, and one 
hundred acres of land or one hundred dollars; "and 
if the town gave the land then it was to be free from 
its obligation to pay the one hundred dollars," say 
the articles of agreement. His subsequent salary 
was to be forty-five pounds a year, and when there 
were a hundred families in the town he was to have 
five pounds additional, or fifty pounds. The follow- 
ing year William Smith was commissioned to go to 
Boston to see the Proprietors and ask them to give 
sixty acres of land to Mr. Morrison, and also "to 
procure as much more land for the town's benefit as 
he could." He was successful in part of his mission, 
Proprietors' for March 25, 1767, the Proprietors 

Records. voted to Mr. Morrison lots 15 and 78 

of fifty acres each, with the condition -that if he did 
not remain in charge of their society for seven years, 
or died before the expiration of that time, lot No. 78 
should go to the town for his successor. Mr. Morrison 

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was only twenty-three years of age. lie was a man 
(jf considerable ability, but intemperate and disso- 
lute. In 1771 some of his parishioners, among them 
John Smith and his nephew, William McNee, )r., 
brought grave charges against him and petitioned 
the IVovincial Legislature to be relieved from his 
support. The Presb>'tery of Londonderry suspended 
him not long after, and later he left town never to 

I'^rom this time William Smith took a leading 
Town Records. part in town affairs, lie was elected 
Town Counsellor in 1766; Selectman in 1761, '()7, '69, 
1771, '72, 'y^^, '-]-], '78, and 1782; Treasurer in 1774, 
'75. :intl '-]-]; Tithing-man in 1764 and 1774; Town 
Clerk and Assessor in 1782; and Moderator in 1775 
and 1779. Besides these offices he was chosen to 
preside at many special meetings. With' John .Swan 
he was commissioned by the Provincial yVssembly of 
the state in 1768 to take an inventory of Peterborough 
Slijj (>5haron), and the Assembly voted them two 
pounds eight shillings each in compensation for the 
service. It does not appear that he held any elec- 
tive office after 1782. In 1785 his son Robert was 
chosen Selectman, and for the ne.xt forty years one 
or another of his s(jris or grandsons was elected to 
some town office nearl)' ever>' year. 

Mis name appears among the signers of the Peter- 
borough Declaration of Independence, with the 

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The Contoocook River Valley. 


names of his sons Robert and John, liis brother John 
and his nephew, VVdliani McNee. (See History of 
Peterborou<,di, p. 149 J This document was signed 
by every male citizen of Petcrborougli, not includin{^ 
negroes ant! lunatics, save one. This single excep- 
tion was Henry Ferguson, who was awa) on public 
business at the time; he was unjustly suspected of 
disloyalty in consequence. The whole number of 
names attached to the declaration .was eighty-three. 
In 1775 he was chosen a member of the Provincial 
Congress, which met at ICxeter. There is no men- 
tion of his election in the records. At a meeting 
held March 28th, there was an ai'ticle in the war- 
rant — 

Town Records. To scc if the town wiU agree to the 
measure pro[)osed by the Continental Congress in 
choosing committees of corresjjondence and what 
other things that shall be thouglit necessary for the 
support of our liberties. 

Under this article it was voted, "Aaron Brown, 
Henry Ferguson, Kelso Gray, Alexander Robbe and 
William McNee be a committee of inspection the 
present year .ay and that Aaron Brown attend the 
County Congress at Amherst the first Monday in 
August." The Provincial Congress at Exeter was a 
state convention, and the Congress at Amherst was a 
county body. The provincial records show the at- 
tendance of Mr. Jirown at Amherst and Mr. Smith 
at Exeter. William Smith took his seat in the Pro- 

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Provincial viiicial Coii^rcss May 17, 1775, and was 

Kecurds. j j^ atteiidaiicc eight days. The most 

im[)ortant action of this body was the passage of 
the following resolutions, which were unanimously 
adopted May 20th: 

Resolved that it is necessary to raise immediately 
two thousand effective men in this Province includ- 
ing ofhcers and those of the Province already in the 
service, and that the time from their enlistment con- 
tinue to the last da)' of IXxember, unless the Com- 
mittee of Safety shall judge it proper that a part or 
the whole be discharged sooner. 

Secondly, That every member pledge his honor 
and estate in the name of his constituents to pay 
their proportion of maintaining and paying the offi- 
cers and soldiers of the above number while in their 

Thirdly, That application be made immediately 
to the Continental Congress for their ailvice and 
assistance respecting means and ways to [)ut the 
above plan into execution. ' 

P^ourthly, That the establishment of of^cers rfnd 
soldiers shall be the same as that in Massachusetts 

l^'ifthly, That the Selectmen of the several towns 
and districts within the Colony be desired to furnish 
the soldiers who shall enlist from their respective 
towns and districts with good and sufficient blankets 
and render their accounts to the Committee of Sup- 

Sixth, That if it should appear that the above 
number of men is not our full pro[)ortion with tiie 
other governments, that the Convention will be ready 
to make a proper addition for that pinpose. 

V^cjted, That the thanks of this Convention be 
given to the persons who took away and secured for 
the use of this government a quantity of gunpowder 

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from the Castle called William and Mary in this 

The adoption of these resolutions was as surely 
hi^li treason as any act of the Continental Congress, 
and, iia.l the Colonies been defeated, would have 
invoked the same penalty. They provided for levy- 
ing war against British Sovereignty and made every 
member of the convention liable to arrest and trial 
for the gravest of all political offences. The lives 
and fortunes of every delegate were thus staked 
upon the result of the struggle. 

As we have recorded, William Smith was Select- 
man in 1 777, '78, and '82. It belonged to these offi- 
cers to see that the town's quota of men was hlled. 
In the latter i)art of the war calls for recruits. were 
frequent, and the settlement of the soldiers' accounts 
began to cause trouble. The town records tire so 
meagre that it is hard to say just how the difficulty 
arose, but probably it grew out of the bounties and 
extra pay- offered to induce enlistments, and out of 
the requisitions upon the towns for supplies to feed 
Town Records, the army. In i779,William Alld, Jotham 
Blanchard and Samuel Cunningham were chosen a 
committee "to proportion what each man in said 
town hath done in the war with Great Britain and 
those persons who have not done their proportion, 
they shall do it." Also, "Voted that said Commit- 
tee shall proportion according to the time done in 

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said war, and they shall make return under oath to 
the Selectmen." The committee had a jjerplexintr 
task, for, two years later, the matter being still un- 
adjusted, Matthew Wallace and William Smith were 
added to the committee. 

At the same town-meeting, I^^ebruar)', 26, 1781, 
they were further empowered "to settle and adjust 
said accounts so that they may be done in the most 
equitable manner possible;" and they were also in- 
structed "to makereturn of their doings to the town 
for their acceptance or disallowance as soon as ma}' 
be." The meeting then adjourned until the 22d of 
the next month, when the committee's report " on 
the average of the war account" was accepted. The 
town voted Captain Jotham Blanchard and William 
Smith one silver dollar a day each, and their ex- 
penses, and the other members of the committee 
four shillings and sixpence per day each and ex- 
penses as renumeration for their services. One thing 
which-made the adjustment difficult \vas the unequal 
terms of service of the soldiers.. Some were in the 
Continental Army under Washington, while others 
enlisted for terms varying from a few days to a )'ear, 
and did not go out of New England, or even out of 
the state. 

Early in 1781, a draft was made on the town 
for ten men for the Continental Army. There 
was an evident belief on the part of the voters that 

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the town had already furnished more than its quota, 
and so at a meeting heh.l in hV'bruary of that year 
they chose Captain Jotham Jilanchard a commis- 
sioner to go to head(]uarters and ascertain how many 
men "the town hath already in the service during 
the war or for three years," and voted to place in his 
hands the sum (jf two thousantl four hundred dollars, 
but whether for expenses or to hll cjuota does not 
appear. Captain Samuel Cunningham, Lieutenant 
Matthew Wallace and William Smith were ajipointed 
a committee to draw up some instructions to Ca[)tain 
Hlanchard. This action seems to have been thought 
ill-advised, for at an adjournment of the meeting 
held on the 26th of the same month the appointment 
of Hlauchard was revoked, and Samuel Moore was 
chosen to find out "how many men Peterborough 
hath in the war." The final outcome of the matter 
is not recorded. 

From 1778 to 1783 questions relating to the war 
occupied n- prominent place in the town-meetings, 
and indicate the ])eri)lexities borne by the town 
during that trying period. Much of its action bears 
strong analogy to the proceedings during the latter 
part of the great Civil War, and shows how history 
repeats itself in great crises as well as in small. 
Town Records. In 1 78 1 it was votcd "to di\'ide the 
town into four ecjual parts according to polls and 
estate in order to raise four men for the Continental 

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Army or for three years." Probably this was the 
number of men found due from the town under the 
call issued the first of that year and which was the 
subject of the investijration Samuel Moore was 
Town Records, choscn to make. In March of the same 
year they voted that "the whole amount of what is 
due from individuals and what is due to individuals 
be made into a rate and committeti to the constable 
to collect in the usual manner, and that each indi- 
vidual that has any money to receive have an order 
on said constable for double the amount of his note 
which is to be in full." This vote is hard to explain 
unless private individuals had hired recruits and 
paid or promised to pay them from their own pock- 
ets, and the town had subsequently assumed the 
Town Records, obligations. In May of the same }'ear 
(1781) the town "voted ten pounds yearly to such 
of their men that is now enlisted during the war or 
for three years for the town of Peterborough." In 
the following June they instructed "the .Selectmen 
to assess the polls and estates of the Inhabitants of 
Peterborough after the rate of five pounds hard 
money per hundred weight of Continental Beef now 
called for from this town, or paper money equal 

In 1782, the burden of the war still pressing 
Town Records, hcavily, the town voted "not to pay the 
soldiers anything for this year," and also refused to 

!ti; .- !:. • ' iL • 

M ' '.-Jo ' !.:•' r!i 'lllj 


appropriate any money for scliools. Two years later 
Town Records, tliey votcd " Hot to pay the annual 
security that the Selectmen j^^ave in 1782 to the sol- 
diers or their order that served for the town of I'eter- 
borou^di in the Continental Army." The reason for 
this action is not stated. Possibly the soldiers had 
sold these securities or orders which had passed 
into the hands of speculators who had bought them 
at a heavy discount on speculation. But in 1785 
Town Records, they appointed a committee "to settle 
with the soldiers that served for the town of Peter- 
borough according to the tlirections that they, the 
committee, shall receive from the town." These 
instructions are not slated in the records. The mat- 
ter drifted along until the following year, when .the 
committee were directed to make out the amount 
due from the town to the soldiers and lay it before 
the voters. This committee made its report, the town 
allowed interest on the sum found due, and they 
were probably paid. No further mention of war 
claims is made in the town records, and this action 
was probably the closing scene of the long, exciting 
and burdensome drama. 

The state had, in 1776, adopted a provisional 
form of government, but it was soon found to operate 
unsatisfactorily. The many efforts to draw up an 
instrument which would meet with the approval of 
the peojjle is reflected through the records of the 

92 llOMb; ()!•■ Till'. SMllll l'.\Mll.\-. 

town-nicctincjs for several )'ears beginning with 1779. 
In that year a convention at Concord revised the 
Constitution of 1776 and submitted the results of its 
labors to the several towns for their ai)|)r()val. It 
(the revised Constitution) came befort; the v(jters of 
Peterborou^di at a meetin^Hiekl Aui^nist 30, 1779, and 
Tu\v]> Records. was accepted by them in a vote of 26 
to 2; but it was rejected by a majorit)' of the (jther 
towns. Another constitutional convention met in 
1781, and its sessions, nine in all, e.vtended cjver a 
period of two years. Late in 1771 the revised in- 
strument was sent to the [)eople, with a circular re- 
questing the several towns to state their oljjections to 
it distinctly and make return thereof at a fixed time. 
It came before the voters in 1782. At a meetinj.^ 
held January 17th of that )'ear there was an article 
in the warrant— ' 

Town Records. To see if tlic towii will accept the plan 
of government sent out by the Convention at Con- 
cord and vote the same and if the major jjart of the 
town approve or tlisapprove of the whole or any part 
thereof they are desired to give jii their objections 

There was an article in the same warrant — 

To see if the town will choose a committee to 
examine the above plan of government and lay it 
before the town for their accei)tance or not accept- 

Town Records. The towii votcd, 36 to o, to reject it 
and chose a committee "to examine said [jlan, make 

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amendments rmd rejjort." "Capt. Jotham Blanch- 
ard, William Smith, l{sq., Matthew Wallace, John 
I\l orison, Ivsq., Cai)t. Alex Robhe, Caj)t. David Steele 
and Samviel Moore were appointed the committee." 
The)' were instructed to rei)ort at an adjourned 
meetini^ to be held four days later, when they told 
the town they had been unable to agree. The duty 
devolving upon this committee was the gravest 
problem which can come before a free people — that 
of framing a plan of government under which they 
desired to live. It is evident they had clear and 
positive views of constitutional questions, and it 
would be exceedingly interesting to know the points 
on which they were divided, but here again the rec- 
ords are silent. Another committee was at once 
chosen, which reported at an adjourned meeting 
held the next day, several amendments, and their 
report was accepted. The plan was, however, re- 
jected by many of the other towns and recommitted 
to the convention. A second revision was then 
made, which was submitted to the voters of the town 
November 26th of the same year. The article in the 
' warrant was- - 

Town i<ecoids. To scc if the towii wiU establish this 
new plan of government as it now stands, or wholly 
reject it, and if thewhcjle or any part of it is rejected 
to give their reasons in their return to the Conven- 

The subject was again referred to a committee of 

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nine, consistin[,f of " Ca[)t. \Vm. Allcl, Capt. Jotham 
Blanchard, VVm. Smith, Kst]., Sanuiel Mitchell, Capt. 
David Steele, Samuel Moore, Ca[)t. Thomas Morison, 
Capt. Alex. Robhe, and Cajjt. Samuel Cunningham." 
The meeting wa.s then adjourned until December 
15th, and again until December i6th, when the com- 
mittee submitted their conclusions. Their report is 
Town Kecoriis. not recorded, but the town voted, 8 to 
3, to wholly reject the [}lan of government. The 
committee was composed of the ablest citizens of 
the town, men who had been activel)' concerned in 
the direction of municipal affairs for many years, 
and who had clear and well defined views u[)on the 
questions before them. Probably the matter was 
fully debated both among themselves and in the 
town-meeting, it woukl let in a flood of light upon 
the opinions and political knowledge of the<;e strong 
and intelligent men if we could have a full report of 
their discussions; but nothing has been preserved. 

Tire matter continued a subject of interest, and 
was not conclutled when peace with (ireat Britain 
was declared in 17CS3. By a vote of the people the 
Provisional Government, which expired with the 
close of the war, was exteniled another )'ear, and in 
1783 a new C'onstitution was framed, which was 
adopted ami went into effect in June, 1784. The 
only allusion to this new plan made by the records 
Town Records, was in the minutcs of a town-meeting 

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held September 2, 17S3, when Jotham iilanchard, 
William Alld and William Smith were appointed to 
pieiiare instructions to I'^rancis 151ood, the Repre- 
setative of Peterbor(nii^h and Temple in the conven- 
tion, in rei^ard to the atldress sent out to the towns 
ot the state, relating lo the alteratitJii of the eighth 
article of the confederation referring to the mode of 
stating- Continental taxes in the future. The com- 
mittee were directeil to instruct Mr. Hlood to com- 
ply with the alterations set forth in the address. 

With I he close of the Revolutionary War the 
name of William Smith disappears from the records 
as a public oflicial. lie was then si.xty years of age, 
and his sons were beginning to take an active part in 
t(jwn alfairs. Jeremiah was frecjuentl)' in office as. 
long as he remained there, and had much intluence 
in shaping the municipal action of the town. But 
aside from the public services already named William 
Smith had performed many others. He was mem- 
ber of a committee chosen in 1775 to divide the town 
into school districts, and in the following year of a 
committee to provide the town with preaching. The 
other members of this latter committee were Captain 
Alex. Robbe and Joseph Mammill. The administra- 
tion ol church affairs was an important i^art of town 
legislation down to about 1800, when other questions 
assumed more prominence. The building and re- 
pairing of the meeting-house, the selection and set- 


' v-; r ,. ■• I 'V, 


tlement of the minister, the amount of his salary, the 
trouble with Mr. Morrison and Mr. Annan provoked 
long and hot debates in which he took an active 

The original (log?) meeting-house was erected 
in 1752, and before 1774 had been enlarged and often 
Town Records, repaired. At a town-meeting held May 
3, 1774, the town chose William Smith, William 
Robbe and Henry Ferguson, commiteee to build a 
new one. They were instructed to advertise "the 
building of the new house at public vendue to the 
lowest bidder." It was also voted that "the said 
house should be framed, boarded, clapboarded, shin- 
gled and glazed, and be finshed in one year;" and it 
was to be forty feet wide and have three porches, 
one at each end and a side door. The house was 
not completed for several years. A Mr. Comings 
was the builder. The enterprise straggled along for 
two years when the town voted to dismiss him, and 
at the same time allowed him ^^"30 3s. id. balance, 
and also gave him a further allowance of £T)0 i is. 8d. 
At the same time they voted to finish the outside 
and put windows in the lower story. The matter 
drifted until 1782, when the town refused to appro- 
priate any more money to repair (finish) the house. 
Town Records. The next year it was voted to sell the 
pew ground at public vendue and appoint a com- 
mittee to prepare a plan of the inside of the house 

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Ukounh I'l.AN OK I'liWb IN MiiiiTiNG-lIousK liuu.r IN 1777. 

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Town Records, aiid iiunibcr the pews. Jn I/Sj, tlic 
town accepted the phui prepareil, and voted to build 
the pews and sell them at public auction. Alexan- 
der Robbe, Henry Ferg-uson, William .Smith, IMatthew 
Wallace and .Samuel Cunninj^ham were chosen a 
committee to let out the contract and finish the 
buildinj^. So far as appears from the records, the 
committee did, indeed, finish the house, thou^di the 
town changed the plan in regard to the galleries and 
altered materially the method of disposing of the 
pews which had been previously adopted, h'or the 
next ten years there was less legislation in church 

The first Justice of the Peace ia Peterborough 
was Hugh Wilson, who held a commission up to 
1774 or 1775, when he left town. The date of his 
first appointment is unknown. There was n'o lawyer 
in town until about 1786, and the need of a magis- 
trate to administer oaths, acknowledge deeds and 
try petty offenders was speedily felt. At a town- 
Town Records, meeting held I'^ebruary 20, 1776, the 
town voted "that Capt. William Smith be returned 
to the General Court for Justice of the l*eace." The 
request was dul)' honored, and on the iith of the 
following June (1776) he was apjKjinted and com- 
missioned under the new government. He held the 
ofifice by reappointment until 1803, a period of 
twenty-seven years. His last commission was dated 


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1795. It \v;is an olTicc of iiuich more importance 
before the atlvent of a lawyer in the town than after, 
and until 1786 he executed most of the let^^al instru- 
ments, made the tleeds, tried offenders a^^ainst the 
peace, and was the adviser of the peo[)le in their 
})erplexities and the arbiter in their disputes, llis 
Justice records, in two cases brought before him 
have been preserved, and are as follows: 

Samuel SmiUi's 1790- J^'"^ 25th. Juo. McyMastcr Jr. 
Notes. vy;|>^ convicted on his own conlession of 

uttering three profane curses. I^'ined six shillings. 

June 25th, 1790. Benjamin Adams Jr. of Peter- 
borough Slip was convicted on his own confession of 
breach of the Sabbath on the 20th inst. and lined five 
shillings — paid. 

December 1787 William .Scott Jr. was sworn to 
the faithful discharge of the office of clerk of Capt. 
John Smith's militia company. 

Before Wili.i.vm Smith, Jjis. Peacf. 

Jeremiah Smith had a law office in the southeast 
front chamber of his father's house until his removal 
to Exeter in 1797. It was in this room, no doubt, 
that Justice Smith held his court. Tliose who have 
witnessed the proceedings in a country justice court 
can easily imagine the scenes that passed in this 
room; the crowds of rough men and boys drawn 
thither by interest in the parties or the case; the 
loud talk, coarse wit, and the angry debates over the 
merits and demerits of the case by the respective 

•.',' .! ! 

/ ■/; ., ■ '0 !l''; 


partizans. General James Wilson was admitted to 
the bar in i/tSS, and had an ofhce on the same road 
about a mile and a half farther north, and he and 
Jeremiah Smith were often counsel on ojjijosite 
sides. It would be a picture of great interest to 
their descendants could they see sketched upon the 
canvas the farmer magistrate in his honiesj^un 
clothes seated behind his desk listening to the young 
attorneys as they argued the cases of their respec- 
tive clients, invoking the judge to execute the law 
upon the offender, or reminding hinr that "tlie cjual- 
ity of nierc)' is not strained." We may he sure, I 
think, that the Judge held the scales of justice with 
equal and fearless poise, and that neither ties of 
blood nor the eloquence of the advocate swaj'ed him 
in pronouncing judgment. 

At this time all the business of the tiDwn was 
done on the street road, on which were not only the 
lawyers' offices but the store and the hotel. It was 
not .until 1790 and after that it began to gather 
around Carter Corner and the river valley near the 
great bridge. 

:. ]., .. i! !■.;.. 

1 I. '■.'■I 

From Carter Corner. 



William Smith was Justice of the Peace until 
1803 and deacon of the church until his death. 
With these two exceptions, he seems to have retired 
from all active life about 1791, and prepared to spend 
the evening of his days in the rest and retirement he 
had so well earned. He was sixty-eight years of 
age. P^or more than forty years he had led a life of 
unwearied toil, and out of it had come a harvest of 
prosperity and honor which he could enjoy with tlie 
satisfaction which comes from the consciousness of 
having earned his release from further labor and re- 
sponsibility. May 25, 1 791, he conveyed to his son 
Jonathan, for the consideration of three hundred 
pounds, one-half of his home farm. The original 
deed is in the handwriting of Jeremiah Smith. The 
following is a copy of it: 

Know all men by these presents 
That I, William Smith of Peterborough, in the County 
of Hillsborough, and State of New Hampshire, Es- 
quire, In consideration of Three hundred pounds 

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lawkil inonc)' jxiid mc by Jonathan Smith ol the 
same pL'terboi'oui;li, husbandman, the recei[)t w here- 
of 1 do hereby acknowleilge have ^iven, granted, 
bargained anti scjld and by these presence do ^ive, 
^nant bar^^ain, sell, conve}'. and confuni unto him the 
said Jonathan Smith his iieirs antl assigns torever, 
an undivided moiety oi the farm on which I nou' 
live, which tarm contains al)out one hundred and 
iorty acres, and is lot numljered three, lot numbered 
numbered sixty six, and that part of lot numbered 
four which is not now owned b)' Joim Smith )un., & 
John I'^ield. Said farm is bounded West b}' the land 
of Daniel Cra)'; South by Ilij^diway; h'.ast and North 
by JIi<;hway; land of John I'^ield, John Smith Jr., iS,: 
John White. 

To have and to hold the said granted premises 
being moiety of said farm, with all the buildings 
thereon, and all the privileges thereto belonging to 
him the saiil Jonathan Smith his heirs and assigns to 
his aiui their own i)roper use and behoof forever. 
And I do covenant with the said Jonathan Smith his 
heirs and assigns that I am lawfully seized iii fee of 
the premises, that they are free of all incumbrances, 
that I have good right to sell and convey the same 
to him the said Jonathan Smith his heirs and assigns 
to hold in manner aforesaid and that I will warrant 
and defend the same to him the said Jonathan Smith 
his 'heirs and assigns forever against the lawful 
claims and demands of any persons. 

In witness whereof 1 have hereunto set my hand 
& seal this twenty-fifth day of May in the year of 
our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety 

William Smith (Seal) 

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of us 
Hannah Smith 
Jekkmiah Smith 
State of New Hampshire, Hillsborough Count)' on 
the twenty-fifth day of May A. 1). 1791 William Smith 

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will. 1AM SMI'lll — Ills OI.I) .\(il'; AND DKAI'li. 10^ 

l\S(juirc ackiiowlcd^fcd the forci^oiiii^ instrument by 
him subscrihed to lje his liee act and deed. 

Hel'ore J i:i<i:.Mi All Smiiii 'jfiistict- Peace 

Oi his s(ins, lames had settled in Cavcnulish, Ver- 
mont; Robert and Joliii owned extensive farms in 
town and had families of tlieir own; Jeremiaii was in 
Congress antl had a large law })ractice; while Samuel 
had already begun his building and manufacturing 
enterprises which he carried on tor so many years; 
Jonathan, b)' [process t)f "natural selection," had 
been chosen to succeed his hither on the home place. 
Jonathan Smith had always lived at home with 
his i^arents, and i(jr several }'ears had been their 
main stay on the farm, lie well fitted by habit and 
temper to care for liis father and mother in their 
declining years, and the fidelity and affection with 
which he perfofmeJ the task are the highest proof 
of the wisdom of his father and brothers in selecting 
him for it. 

William Smith's duties as magistrate were neither 
many nor difficult. The one remaining object of his 
care and interest was his church, for which his /,eal 
never flagged. In 177S, with William McNee, Sam- 
uel Moore and Samuel Mitchell, he had been set 
apart and ordained to the office of Klder or Deacon 
of the church by Rev. Robert Annan of the Federal 
Street Church, l^oston, and brother of Rev. David 
Annan, the newly settled minister of the town, lie 


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occupied the position until his death, in 1808, a 
period of thirty years. 1 lis son Jonathan was chosen 
Deacon in 1799, and held the office until his death 
in 1842, a period of forty-three years, when he in turn 
was succeeded by his son John, who held the office 
until his removal from town in 1875. ^'hus this office 
was filled for ninety-seven years by representatives 
of three generations of the same family livin<^f in the 
same house. Three of the Deacons chosen in 1778. 
to wit, William Smith, William McNee and Samuel 
Moore, were brothers-in-law. 

The church was originally Presbyterian in faith 
and so continued for some years after the Revolu- 
tion. Its iron creed and its harsh and rigid views of 
man and his relations to the world and to his Maker 
suited the stern nature of the Scotch-Irish immi- 
grant and harmonized with his life of toil and hard-' 
ship in the wilderness. But the softening inlluences 
of increased physical comforts and of a finer culture 
brought also broader views of man's duty and re- 
sponsibility. Then came the Revolution, which, like 
the great Civil War, wrought a powerful change in 
men's opinions upon all questions theological and 
ecclesiastical as well as political. The disciple of 
Rousseau and the devout follower of Jonathan I^d- 
wards stood side by side through all the battles of 
the Revolution, sharing each other's blanket by 
night, the contents of each other's haversack upon 

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the weary march, and luirsin^^ each other in wouiuls 
and illness. The stern Calvinist was coniijelled 
to beheve that the I'Vee Thinker loved liberty 
and was as ready to make sacrifices and die in its 
defence, if need be, as himself; the follower of the 
new I-'rench philos(;phy came to resiject and honor 
the man, whatever mi^dit be his religious views, who 
was ready to suffer and ^ive his life for the cause 
they each loved so well. Both were brou^dit to real- 
ize that behind all questions of creed and politics, 
and infinitely greater ami worthier than all else, was 
the MAN himself, and that personal opinions upon 
this or that theological or political dogma could not 
obscure or detract from the essential dignity and 
real worth of the individual soul. 

These stubborn facts, born of common perils and 
common sacrifices, could not be ignored or set in- 
differently aside. Sober-thinking men saw them and 
gave them earnest reflection. The soldiers, out of 
their mutual hardshi[)s and common sacrifices, came 
home with less respect for ecclesiastical distinctions 
than they had carried away, and gave prompt ex- 
pression to their new opinions. These things were 
not often the subject of open debate, but the\- led to 
a gradual modificaticjn of men's views which, as op- 
portunity occurred, foimd o[)en expression in official 
action. The church in IV'terborough was not exempt 
from such influences, which wrought a great change 

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Wll.I.lAM SMl'l-U Ills OLD A(.l£ AND Dl'lATH. 10/ 

in the theological views ot man)- churches in Massa- 
chusetts aiul in some few of the older churches in 
New liampshire. They first tocjk effect in relaxa- 
tion froni the rit^id forms of church government and 
discipline. Many of the more liberal-minded came 
gradu.illy to [prefer Congregational methods and 
usages. The Society had originally belonged to the 
Londonderry Presbytery, and later, through the in- 
fluence of Mr. Annan, had attached itself to the Pres- 
bytery at Walkill, New Jerse)'; and while after the 
dismissal ot Mr. Annan in 179.;!, it still maintained a 
nominal connection with the latter (that is, until it 
became extinct), yet five years later it swung entirely 
off, and a large majority united in calling a minister 
under Congregational forms. William Smith be- 
longed to the progressive party and was without 
doubt a leader in the movement. lie was one of 
the most intelligent men in the town, generous- 
minded and humane in his disposition, thinking out 
fearlessly' the problems of the day and eagerly wel- 
coming the new light which was breaking in upon 
them. In 1795 he united in signing a petition to the 
Presbytery for leave to settle Rev. Abram Moore. 
The answer to this petition is not recorded. Two 
years later he voted in favor of giving Mr. Zephaniah 
Swift Moore a call to settle in the Congregational 
way. There was strong opposition to this action 
from those of the .St)ciety who still clung to the 
Presbyterian discii)line, and it had much to do 

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with Mr. Moore's declining the call. It i.s .sii^niificant 
that in this action the Londonderry and Walkill 
Presbyteries were entirely ignored, and the town or 
the church in effect seems to have declared its inde- 
pendence of them and of the Presbyterian faith. 
Mr. Moore declining, the Society in 1799 extended 
a call to Rev. l^lijah Dunbar, which was accei)ted, 
and he became minister of the Society, now securely 
anchored to the Congregatianal body. 

In this evolution from the Presbyterian to the 
Congregational faith, William Smith, by virtue of 
his age, character and long service in the highest lay 
office oi the church, took a leading part, and his 
sons, Robert excepted, then all living in town, fol- 
lowed his example. His action throughout the mat- 
ter shows his teachable spirit. Perhaps he did not 
then foresee the result to which the movement would 
lead; but it settled the future course of the Society 
and made its subsecjuent change into a Unitarian 
body'hatural, and considering the character of the 
principal men in it, indeed, inevitable. It is the first 
step that costs, and it is strong evidence of the 
breadth and progressiveness of his mind that at the 
age of seventy-five years he should lead in so pro- 
nounced a change of religious faith. From this time 
he appears to have taken little active part in the 
direction of church affairs. With the expiration of 
his commission as Justice of the Peace in 1803, all 
business cares and interests were given up, and his 

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last years were passed in the peace and quietude of 
tlie home which he had wrested from the wilderness. 
His children were near at hand; all were married 
and had s^rowin^r families, and were useful and re- 
spected citizens of the town. His mental powers 
survived his physical, althou.^h he never became en- 
tirely helpless. His mind remained clear to the last. 
On Sunday morning, January 31, 180S, without any 
particular disease intervening, he passed peacefully 
away. It was a fitting close to a long, useful and 
honored life. The eulogist can add nothing to the 
impressiveness of the lesson it conveys. In his 
church record of that date Mr. Dunbar made this 

Church Records. January 31, uSoS. This morning (Sun- 
day) departed this life the aged and venerable Wil- 
liam Smith, Esq. in the 85th year of his age; having 
been ever since the death of Dr. Peter Thayer (who 
died Sept. 1798 in his 91st year), the oldest man in 
Peterborough and the oldest officer in the church, 
having sustained the Deacon's office many years. I 
considered him as one of the most pious and benev- 
olent of men, and I doubt not he is gone hence to 
the Church Triumphant in Heaven. 

Two days later, in the same record, Mr. Dunbar 

Feb. 2nd Attended the funeral of VVm. Smith, 
Esq. Mr. Miles of Temidc was present aiul prayed. 
Bearers, Gen. Blood and Maj. Heald of Temple, aged 
Mr. Duncan, aged Capt. Steele, Lieut. Win. Moore 
and Mr. Henry Ferguson — their ages amounted to 

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I 10 llOMli Ol' 'Jill'; S.Mllll lAMlLV. 

abuul 530 )'cars. The ul^ccJ Widow AIcNcc ( l)cin<^ 
now in hcryist yc;ir) followed her brother's remains 
to the ^nave. The family came to New iui^land 71 
years aj^o. 

Lonj,^ before his death he had settled his affairs. 
Mis will, dated November 15, 1796, and which was 
proven at a Probate Court held at New Ipswich, Feb- 
ruary 26, 1808, was as follows: 

I, William Smith of Peterborough in the Count)' 
of Hillsborough & State of New Ham[)shire, Ksq. 
this fifteenth day of November in the )ear of our 
Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety six do 
make this, my last will and testament in manner fol- 
lowing that is to say — 

I order my executor hereinafter named out of my 
estate to pay all my just debts owing at the time of 
my decease & also to pa\' the funeral charges of 
my wife, of John Scott now living with me, and .of 

1_ give and becjueath to ni)' daughter P'di/.aboth 
Morison twenty [jounds to be [xiid licr in (jue )-ear 
after my decease. 

I give and betjueath unto my daughter Hannah 
Barker twenty pomids to be paid her in one year 
after nly decease. 

The above sums with what I have already 
advanced to my daughters I consider as their part 
of my estate. 

J give & becjueath unto my sons John, James, 
Jeremiah li Samuel one dollar each having already 
given to each of them their part or just projjortion 
of my estate. 

y\ll the rest and residue of my estate both real 
and personal I give, devise ami be<iuecith untu ni)' 
son Jonathan Smith his heirs and assigns forever on 
the following trusts limitations and conditions name- 
ly that he m\' said son Jonathan his heirs e.\ecutors 

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or administrators pay all the debts owint^ b)' nie at 
the time of my decease i^- also within one year after 
my decease pay the le^Mcies aforesaid & shall also 
support & maintain m\' wife during her natural life 
in a comfortable and decent manner suitable for her 
condition & circumstances in life sui)plyin[4- her with 
meat, drink, washin^^ lodj^^inj^, apparel, physic, luirs- 
in^^ j)ermittin|T her to occupy such part af the dwell- 
ini^ house where I now live as may be necessary & 
convenient tor her — And also sup[)ort and maintain 
John Scott durin^^ his life in a decent and comforta- 
ble manner. y\nd if my said son Jonathan should 
hap[)en to die before my wife then it is my will that 
the foref^oini^ devise to him shall be upon thi.-. fur- 
ther trust limitation and condition namely, that the 
heirs executors or administrators of my said son 
Jonathan in lieu of the maintenance before provided 
for my said wife shall pay her out of ni)' estate the 
sum of fwe hundred dollars on demand, but in case 
my said wife shall choose to live with the heirs of 
my said son Jonathan & be maintained & supported 
by them & shall not make any disposition of said 
sum then it is my wilf that the same should go to 
the heirs of my said son Jonathan & not to the heirs 
of my said wife. 

And I do appoint Jonathan Smith my said son 
sole executor of this, my last will & testament here- 
by revokuig all former wills by me at any time here- 
tofore made & notifying & confirming this as my last 
will and testament. 

Signed, sealed, published & declared by the said 
William Smith as & for his last will & testament in 
the presence of us who in his presence & the pres- 
ence of each other hereunto set our hands & seals 
the day & year aforesaid. 

William Smith L. S. 
Moses Cunningham 
Daniel Gkagg 
Jekemiah Smith 



No inventory has been found at the I'robate 
office, and we can only infer the value of his estate 
from the will itself. 

He left no letters or writings of any kind. His 
theological opinions may be gathered from his votes 
on questions of church administration and policy. 
We are justified in believing that whenever any issue 
was presented to him he faced it bravely and dealt 
witli it as a clear conscience and a sound judgment 
dictated. He had the esteem and confidence of his 
neighbors and fellow-citizens to the last, and there 
is no better proof than this that he was never false 
to those high ideals of integrity and good faith which 
had guided his conduct throughout his long and busy 

No portrait of him exists. Not even a tradition 
of his personal appearance or "descriptive list" has 
come down to us. We may safely assume that he 
was a large man, tall in stature, fair-skinned, blue- 
eyed, and brown-haired; these were the physical 
characteristics of his sons and grandsons. His sons 
were large mer>, and all of them were six feet or 
over in height. 

Concerning his mental or moral traits there is 
less doubt, for they are clearly outlined in the 
glimpses we have of him in his own family and in 
his action on the many public questions with which 
he had to deal. In social and family life he was 

■! '■;■<: ' i>] ■]'"■)' 

I f 

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easy-yoing, but cvcii-tcmpcrcd, witty and tactful; 
and in business he was shrewd and cautious, lie 
was not an ambitious man. He never sou<^ht office, 
and he took it only when it crime to him through the 
unsought votes of his fellovv-citi/.ens. He brought 
to the discharge of his official duties rare good sense, 
a keen love of justice, and a fearless judgment. 
Naturally conservative, he was slow to form an 0[)in- 
ion and ecjually slow to change one; but having the 
teachable spirit he ke[)t his mind and heart open to 
the new light, and intellectually and morally he was 
a growing man to the end. His life was upright be- 
fore his Maker and downright before the world. 
l<'or fifty years his name was a synonym for integrity 
and good faith in all business and social relations 
with his fellow-men. The memory of his gentle 
spirit, his humane disposition and the breadth and 
sweetness of his character long survived his genera- 
tion, and was a precious legacy to his descendants. 


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The early life of the children of VVilliani and 
Elizabeth Morison Smith, and the influences which 
molded and educated them, have been imperfectly 
outlined in the preceding chapters. All the sons 
except Jonathan left home upon attaining their ma- 
jority. Jeremiah, from his "intense love of knowl- 
edge," was the happy one selected to be educated 
for a profession. John attended the academy at 
Exeter after he was twenty-one for a sin^^le term, 
paying his expenses with the proceeds- of a crop of 
rye. Samuel was a student at Andover, Massachu- 
setts, and at Exeter. The others received all their 
education in the schools of their native town. 

These schools were very poor between 1772 and 
1784. The teachers were imperfectly equipped for 
their work, rudimentary as it was. Little was taught 
beyond reading and writing, and that little in a crude 
and unscientific way. The school sessions were held 
in the church until 1781, when the town was divided 

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into districts, and it was voted that schools should 
be kept for equal terms in each district. The five 
new school-houses, built in 1791 by the efforts of 
Jeremiah Smith, had fireplaces, but the church was 
fireless. Of comforts and conveniences they had 
none, still less had they the apparatus common to 
the school-houses of even a generation ago. The 
branches taught were reading, writing, arithmetic, 
and possibly some grammar, and the text-books 
were the Bible, the New l'2ngland Primer, a version 
of the Psalms and some crude edition of an arithme- 
tic. The average annual appropriation for schools 
between 1768 and 1780 was about forty pounds. 
This does not include the expense of private instruc- 
tion, but it indicates the primitive condition of the 
school system. There were private schools which 
were held at the houses of people in diliferent parts 
of the town, but between them and the {)ublic schools 
there was little to choose, either in character or 

Jonathan Smith, the' eighth child and sixth son 
of William and Elizabeth Smith, was born on the 
Genealogy of ntl^ of April, 1 763. He was a pupil in 
William Smith, botj-, ^\^^. public and private schools of 
his native town, and in them he learned to read and 
to write a clear, legible hand, and acquired a consid- 
erable knowledge of arithmetic. He was a great 
reader all his life, and his powers of composition 

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were above the average. He was always able when 
called upon to ex[)ress his thoughts in clear, forcible 
language. lie obtained only the rudiments of an 
education in school, llis best and most effective 
teacher was exi)erience. Under her wise tuition he 
became able to take part in varied and important 
affairs; and whether he was called upon to write 
reports, make public addresses, or figure out profit 
and loss in complicated business ventures, he per- 
formed his part creditably. He was admirably fitted 
both by character and temper to remain at home ^md 
care for his parents in their old age. Less able than 
his brothers John and Jeremiah, and less ambitious 
than his brother Samuel, yet in natural ability he 
was the equal of Robert, Samuel or James; and in 
all the qualities which adorn a well-rounded, manly 
character he was the peer of any of the fainily. He 
was quiet and diffident in manner, but in some direc- 
tions unusually intelligent; a clear and logical think- 
er,' and an excellent talker; and he was always ready 
to express his opinions and advocate or defend the 
articles of his political or religious faith. 

The chief industry of the town was agriculture. 
Land was cheap, and )'oung men obtained a start by 
buying woodlots, clearing off the trees, and raising 
rye. Jonathan Smith began in this way. His first 
recorded purchase was dated June 28, 1788,' when he 
purchased of John Smith a part of lots 17 and 18 for 

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forty-six pounds. This land was in the extreme 
southeast part of the town, and probably extended 
up the slope of the mountain. There is nothing to 
show when or to whom he sold it. In 1791 he re- 
ceived a deed of one-half of his father's farm. 
Though three hundred pounds is named as the pur- 
chase price, it is probable that no money passed 
between father and son, and that the real considera- 
tion was that he should stay at home and care for 
his parents, b^or a number of years following he 
was a large buyer of land in the vicinity of his farm. 
April 8, 1793, he bought of John Gregg in the right 
of his wife, Elizabeth (Stewart) Gregg, one hundred 
and three acres next south of his farm, known long 
after as the "Cady Lot." The price paid was one 
hundred and twenty pounds. The description given 
is as follows: 

A certain farm in said Peterborough containing 
one hundred and three acres, be it more or less, being 
numbered.. .two and sixty five, bounding east and 
north on the highway,, west on Samuel Morison's 
farm, and south on land of John Gray, and being the 
farm on which William Stewart now deceased lately 

The deed is signed by John Gregg and his wife, 
and by William Stewart and his brother, John Stew- 
art. The highway mentioned in this deed was the 
one laid out in 1760, and closed in 1794, when the 
road running west from William Smith's house 

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llH IIOMI': ()!■ Till': SMITH I'AMir.V. 

through his farm was opened. There was a house 
and barn upon it, standing on a rise of ground about 
twenty rods west of the street road. The cellar-hole 
is visible to this day. The lot was originally pur- 
chased by William .Stewart, father of the grantors, 
about 1750. W^illiam Stewart was the first man in 
the town to die, and he lies buried in the little grave- 
yard on the top of the hill. Later, Mr. Smith S(;ld 
twenty acres off the west end of this lot to ]:5o)'nton, 
which left eighty-three acres of the original pur- 
chase. August 18, 1792, he bought of James Cun- 
ningham twenty and one-fourth acres off the east 
end of lot 35. It may be remembered that this was 
the lot originally purchased by his father. The deed 
says that Robert Morison then owned part of the 
eastern portion; of whom Cunningham and Morison 
obtained it, does not appear. December 15, i8oi, he 
purchased of his brother John thirty-three acres 
from the north end of the Daniel Cray farm, which 
joined -his on the west. This purchase included the 
lower field where the sand-banks are, and remained 
a i)art of the farm until 1873. Daniel Cray was from 
Concord, Massachusetts, and he had bought this land 
of Hugh Wilson in 1778. It was about this time 
that Mr. Smith obtained a title to the greater part 
of the remainder of the Cray farm. The date of the 
purchase is unknown, but June 27, 1S03, 1^^.- sold sixt)'- 
six acres of it to )osiah Hrackett for seven hundred 

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Jonathan smith — social and business life, iiq 

dollars. October 4, 1802, he bought at a public auc- 
tion, of John Turner, administrator of John Gray, 
twenty-two and one-half acres of land for sixty-two 
dollars and si.xty cents. This land was bounded on 
the east by the street road and on the south b>' the 
Sharon line. In October, 1794, he bought of Jere- 
miah Smith thirty-five acres, the .same being a part 
of lot No. 4 next north of the home farm, for which 
he paid twenty shillings. The location of this land 
is not clear from the deed, but it lay apparently on 
the west side of lot No. 4, for it is bounded east by 
John Smith's land, south by William Smith's land 
and west by Daniel Cray's lot. Jeremiah had ob- 
tained it of their brother James six years before. 
He also bought of Reuben Modgman, September 6, 
1802, thirty-four acres off the south end of the Cray 
lot, for which he paid three hundred dollars. This 
may have been included in the sixty-six acres which 
he sold to Brackett in 1803. The mountain meadow 
lot was bcHight in pieces. Six acres were purchased 
of the heirs of John Smith, April i, 1825, for fifty- 
seven dollars and seventy-five cents. This was three- 
fifths of the lot owned by them, and it was on this 
part that their father met with his fatal accident 
August 7, 182 1. January 15, 1827, Jonathan Smith, 
as administrator of Ira Felt's estate, sold to John 
Smith (his son) and Pitman Nay one-third part of 
the twelve acres remaining for seventy-four dollars, 

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Samuel and Pitman Nay then owning the other two- 
thirds. The following day Samuel Nay conveyed 
his entire interest to Jonathan Smith for seventy-four 
dollars and twenty cunts, and two years later Pitman 
Nay sold Iiis share to John .Smith for one hundred 
and fifteen dollars anel eighty-seven cents, so that the 
whole lot belonged to Jonathan Smith and his son 
John. On the death of the former, the title passed to 
John Smith, who held it until 1871 or 1872, when he 
sold it to Franklin P'ield for two hundred and fifty 

It being one of the annals of this piece of ground, 
it may not be out of place to give here an account 
(furnished by an eye witness) of the accident which 
caused the death of the elder John Smith. About 
five o'clock in the afternoon of August 7, 1821, 
at a spot some fifteen rods southeast of the oak 
tree by the brook, Mr. .Smith was on the top of a 
large load of hay, which he and his son Robert had 
respectively loaded and pitched. They had chained 
one end of the binding pole tightly to the front end 
of the cart, and were preparing to fasten the other 
end, when Mr. Smith directed his son to drive for- 
ward to level ground. He was then resting on the 
load with both knees upon the pole, which he was 
clasping with both hands. A wheel of the cart ran 
over a hillock causing the rear end of the pole to 
swerve around, carrying him with it, and he was 

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pitched forward to the [,nound, striking on his head, 
lie was a tall, large man of over two hundred 
pounds' weight, and was instantly killed. His son 
James and a neighbor, Moses Gowing, were raking 
hay five rods distant and watching the cart. When 
he fell they ran to him, but he never breathed after 
he struck the ground. A large stake marked the 
spot for many years. The death of "Squire John," 
as he was called, was a great shock to his friends 
and neighbors. The writer once heard the Rev. 
John Morison allude to the vivid and lasting impres- 
sion it produced upon his mind, owing parti)' to the 
fact that there was a very severe thunder storm that 
evening about seven o'clock, after the news had gone 
abroad, and that he, then a lad of thirteen, had been 
sent on an errand to a place at some distance from 
his home, alone. 

The foregoing may not be all the transactions of 
Jonathan Smith in real estate, but they are all of 
which there is any knowjedge. It is probable that 
after 1808 he gave less attention to his farm and more 
to other things. His ideas of farming were the prevail- 
ing opinions of the day, which experience and eco- 
nomic changes have now modified in so many im- 
portant particulars. Between 1820 and 1828 he 
raised many heavy crops of rye on the "lower field," 
and he believed he could continue to raise them in- 
definitely; an error which was quickly discovered 

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under the ownership of his son, who always main- 
tained that tliese same crops of rye so exhausted 
the soil that much of it would never produce any- 
thing afterwards, and were the indirect cause of the 
sand-banks which ultimately spread over the greater 
part of the field. It was after a hard day's work 
reaping rye on this same field that his nephew, 
James Smith, son of "Squire John," declared that 
reaping rye was too hard a way to earn a living, and 
that if there was an easier one he proposed to find it. 
Soon after he went to New York, thence to St. Louis, 
where he amassed his large fortune. 

Another of Jonathan Smith's ideas was that it 
was not necessary to plovv deeper than four inches, 
and that the soil was so rich as to be practically in- 
exhaustible. It is easy to see how the farmers of 
that day were led into this error. The country was 
new and when the land was cleared most of the trees 
were burned where they were cut down, leaving a 
heavy coating of ashes upon the soil, which gave it 
great fertility for many years. He carried on 
his farm according to the ideas of the time, and 
raised large crops of corn, potatoes, rye, barley and 
oats, and many cattle, hogs and sheep. The culture 
of flax began to decline about 1790, and by 1810 had 
entirely ceased, and the raising of wool had taken its 
place. The land was far more prolific then than 
now. It produced nearly double the quantity of 

■ > ' ^ , ■ ' I : 

' . ,■ I 


hay, potatoes and cereals to the acre, and with lar 
less labor than it has done at any time within the 
memory of those now living. It was by their abun- 
dant harvests that the farmers were able to support 
themselves. They had lar^^e families, but they had 
many of the comforts and even some of the luxuries 
of life, and the thrifty accumulated property. But 
the labor of the farm was without intermission from 
January to December, and it was at times very 
severe. The old-fashioned plow and harrow, the 
hoe, the scythe and the hand-rake, the sickle and 
the a.xe, were the tools, according to the season. 
Oxen exclusively were used for draught piu'poses. 
The winter was as busy a season as the summer. As 
soon as the fall work was done the farmer and his 
older boys went into the woods and worked there 
until the spring weather called them back again to 
the fields. After the harvest, the land cleared of its 
trees in the winter was burned over and sown with 

Jonathan Smith was a hard worker, and as his 
parents early taught him, so did he in turn teach his 
children the virtue and the necessity of industry. 
In the spring of 1808, he took his sons William and 
John, aged seven and five respectively, down to a 
field of some six acres west of the barn, which has 
always within memory of the writer borne the name 
of " 1 he Gap," no one knows why, and set them to 

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work picking stones. If their descendants can judge 
from the number and size of the heaps they left 
there as monuments of their youtiiful toil, their task 
was neither a short nor an easy one. The younger 
boy in his old age told one of his children how his 
father promised them a small reward in money for a 
certain number of heaps, but it was to be pa.\d only 
in case the Non-Intercourse Acts of 1807-8, which 
caused so much distress in New England, were re- 
pealed. The reward was long in coming, and Wil- 
liam was overheard to declare that if they hatl an- 
other intercourse, he should not try any longer to 
earn money picking stones; it was of no use. It is 
certain that neither of them ever forgot these stone- 

It was during this period of Jonathan Smith's 
ownership that the farm was cleared of stones and 
the fields and j)astures inclosed by stone walls. 
Many of the double walls, some of them six or eight 
feet thick, were built b)- him. It must have been 
some time before this, and was probably about the 
time he received the deed of the half of the farm, 
that he set out along the south side of the lane the 
seven elm trees that have been so long the pride and 
ornament of the place, and have given it a name. 
Tradition says it was "when he was a young man," 
and that he took them from the pasture west of the 
farm buildings and brought them up to the lane on 

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his back at one load. All the trees he planted there 
lived but one, and that stood between the second 
and third from the road, and was never replaced. 
When they had attained a considerable size, one of 
the children, William, thinking that the sap of the 
elm had possibilities similar to that of the maple in 
the matter of reduction to sugar, tapped some of 
them, and it was then that Jonathan Smith adminis- 
tered almost the only whi[)[)ing he was ever known 
to give any one of his children, for the trees were 
precious in his sight. They grew rapidly and be- 
came objects of pride and deep affection to every 
member of the family, old and young, and made the 
place a landmark to travellers. Cattle drovers from 
eastern Massachusetts who passed every spring and 
autumn on their way to and from their pastures in 
Washington, New Hampshire, were accustomed to 
say there was no finer place on the road. Tlie writer 
never saw his own father's feelings more deeply 
stirred than when one of his hired men said to him, 
"If this i)lace were mine, the first thing I should do 
would be to cut down those trees and make a year's 
wood of them;" but he never repeated the remark 
in the same presence. 

Before 1809, Jonathan Smith gave his whole 
attention to his farm, working himself with his hired 
men and boys, but after that he gave it only a gen- 
eral supervision and turned his attention to other 

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things. His brother Samuel had become deeply in- 
terested in manufacturing, and before 1809 had put 
in operation one of the oldest cotton mills in the 
United States, the product of which was cotton )'arn. 
The capital of this mill, the " Bell Factory," was 
fourteen thousand dollars. It was incorporated un- 
der the laws of the state. One-half of the stock was 
contributed b}' the Peterborough stockholders, of 
whom there were nineteen, and of whom Jonathan 
Smith was one. He [)ut in three or four hundred 
dollars, and probably held his stock until 1825 or 
1826. In 1810, Samuel Morison, Nathaniel Morison, 
Jonas Loring, Nathaniel Holmes, William Smith, 
Jacob Putnam and Jonathan Smith formed a corpor- 
ation known as the Peterborough Second Factory 
Corporation, and built a mill at the South Factory 
on a site about thirty rods north of the present mill 
of Joseph Noone's sons. This mill was probably 
operated similarly to the Hell h^actory. Jacob Put- 
nanr-sold his interest tjo the other proprietors in 
181 1, and the other proprietors sold theirs to Nathan- 
iel Morison in 1814. It passed afterwards through 
several other hands, until November 29, 1849, when 
it was burned down and never rebuilt. The remains 
of the old dam and raceway and the charred timbers 
of the building can still be seen on the old site. 
How much money Jonathan Smith put into this en- 
ter[)rise is not known. The yarn made at these mills 

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was divided among the stockholders, and each one 
disposed of his share b)' selling it from house to 
house. The expenses of manufacturing was prob- 
ably met by assessments. Until i8i8, when weav- 
ing by water-power was introduced and the yarn 
was woven where it was spun, Jonathan Smith spent 
much of his time in driving through the neigh- 
boring towns selling yarn to whomever would buy 
for cash. The mills had a precarious existence 
for man)' years, and could not have been really 
profitable until after i.S^o. The war of 1812 had 
a depressing effect upon all manufacturing indus- 
tries and the price of yarn went down. The tariff 
acts of 1815-16 were still more disastrous; but four 
or five years later the mills began to recover. 
No doubt it was the hard times which caused the 
Peterborough Second Factory Corporation to sell 
out to Nathaniel Morison in 1814, and he failed in 
business a few years later. Samuel Smith had put 
the Bell Factory into operatio4i before 1809, and in 
181 2 he began cotton manufacturing on the site now 
occupied by the Phoenix Manufacturing Company. 
The depression in business so crippled these enter- 
prises that his brothers John and Jonathan, and his 
brother-in-law, Samuel Morison, mortgaged their 
farms to raise money and carry them on, and " for 
many years," said, long afterward, a member of Jon- 
athan Smith's family, "we did not know whether we 

' .' ..• 

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had a roof over our heads or not." The situution 
must have been a severe strain upon all of them; 
but when the Phcenix mill was sold in 1S23, the 
mortgages were released without loss, and all other 
debts were paid. 

Jonathan Smith made some substantial changes 
and improvements in his farm buildings in 1814. 
The house was then thirty-seven years old. He 
rebuilt the rear of the main part of it, making it two- 
stories high with a large room in the middle and a 
small one at each end on both floors, an arrangement 
which was less convenient upstairs than down. The 
roof of the ell was also raised, and a little low cham- 
ber put in over the kitchen. The lean-to which was 
formerly attaciied to the house at the north end of 
the west side, and was ultimately used for a pantry 
and a storeroom, was originally part of a house 
owned and occupied by John Scott, first proprietor 
of lot No. 4, and a Revolutionary soldier. 

The exact site uf tins house has been long for- 
gotten, but it must have stood near the ledges north 
of the Farnsworth house, on the west side of the 
street road. A memorial of it and of its occupant 
existed down to 18G0 in the shape of several apple- 
trees which bore an early apple called the "Scott 
apple," of excellent flavor, and of great reputation 
among the boys of the neighborhood. The pre- 
sumption is that John Scott planted the trees, or 

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that the apple took its name from liim. lie was the 
John Scott whose maintainance William Smith, in his 
will, imposed upon Jonathan Smith, lie served 
several years in the Continental army, and at the 
close of the war was seventy-five years old, broken 
in health, and without friends or relatives, lie built 
the little house above spoken of ujjon his land and 
lived in it alone for several years. About 1790 he 
became a member of William Smith's famil)', and his 
house was added to the farm-house as before de- 
scribed. It seems to have been an act of respect for 
a faithful and [)atriotic soldier on William Smith's 
part, for there was no tie of kindred, and, so far as 
we know, no other obligation. He this how it may, 
the old soldier lived with them and was kindly cared 
for until his death in 179S. His grave is next to 
William Smith's in the family lot in the old burial 
ground, and the inscription on the stone reads: 

Erected to the memory of Mr. John Scott, 

Who departed this life June 6th, 179S, aet. 92 years. 

He was a native of*Irehuid. 

He was an honest man, a virtuous citizen, and a good 

member of society. 

The inscrii)tion was written by Jonathan .Smith. 

It is a gracious task to the writer, himself a soldier, 

of the Civil War, to recall to mind the memory of 

this soldier of the Revolution, whose last years were 

so pathetic in their loneliness, and whose life was 

such as to make one who knew him best write stich 

an epitaph as this. 

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Jonathan Smith niailc no other changes in the 
farm-house, but in 1823 he built a new barn, larger 
than either of the others. It stood about forty feet 
north of its present site, between and joining the 
other two. The timber used in its construction was 
cut on Moses Sawyer's farm in Sharon. The shin- 
gles first put on were of the best shaved pine and 
lasted fifty years. It is noticeable that although the 
barn itself is larger, the timbers of the framework 
are smaller than those of the buildings of fifty years 
before, and that they are of soft wood. In 1777 hard 
wood was believed to be more durable as well as 
stronger, and all the older buildings illustrate this 
belief. We may add here that there was no more 
building or rebuilding while the farm belonged to 
the descendants of William Smith, excej^t in 1845-46, 
when Jonathan Smith's son, John, rebuilt the kitchen 
chimney, making the fireplace smaller and putting in 
a brick oven beside it. The buildings then covered 
about half an acre of ground, and the annual repairs 
were a heavy ta.x upon the purse of the proprietor. 

The wife of Jonathan Smith was his first cousin, 
Nancy Smith, and they were married at her home 
near the South I^^actory in August, 1792, presumably 
by the Rev. David Annan. In person ^he was some- 
what above medium height, slender, with blue eyes 
and dark brown hair. In manner, she was dignified 
and gentle. She had less vivacity than her cousins, 

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and not so great a flow of animal spirits, yet siie pos- 
sessed a fund of quiet humor and could make upon 
occasion as sharp a s[)eech as any other member of 
the family. She was a woman of strong good sense, 
more than average intelligence, and great industry, 
doing her full share toward the support of the family. 
Like her husband, she obtained her education in the 
schools of Peterborough, and like him she was a de- 
vout member of the church. Her membership dates 
from before the settlement of Mr. Dunbar to her 
death. May 13, 1847, at ^^^^ ^^^ of seventy-five years. 
No doubt similarity ot temperament and tastes had 
much to do with the happiness of this marriage, but 
whatever the cause or causes, it was a singularly for- 
tunate and congenial one. In a letter to one of their 
grandsons the Rev. Dr. Morison speaks thus of their 
home : 

My associations with your father and with your 
grandfather's family have always been very pleasant. 
I call to mind no home which has seeined to me 
more entirely what an enlightened Christian home 
should be than that as it was sixty years ago, when 
it was my privilege to be there a few weeks. The 
two heads of the house, intelligent, kind-hearted, 
thoughtful people, admirably adapted to one an- 
other, were a happy illustration of what a husband 
and wife may be to each other and to their children. 

The children were as follows: 

Genealogy of I- Bctscy, bom Feb. 3, 1795; married 
WiiUani bmiUi. John Gordou ; died Aug. 1 2, 1 845. 
2. Jonathan, born Aug. 15, 1797; married Hannah 
Perley Payson; died Aug, 10, 1840. 

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■ I, V .j' • . s'l ■ ■ ' I :■ J ; 1 
'V ') j^ I ' t ■' \ ,'1 ;q v.r, 

132 I10M1-. Ol' THE SMITH FAMITV. 

3. Mary, born May 17, 1799; married Timothy 

Fox; died May 8, 1864. 

4. William, born July 8, 1801; married I'21i/.abeth 

Stearns; died C)ct. 25, 1S73. 

5. John, born April 17, 1803; married Susan 

Stearns; died Aug. 28, 1 881. 

6. Nancy, born 1805; died Aug. 23, 1808. 

7. Charlotte, born Sept. 1806; died Sept. 9, 1 808. 

8. Nancy, born Aug. 5, 1808; married Ur. John II. 

'■' 9. Charlotte, born Nov. 13, 18 10; died Aug. 10, 1825. 

10. Caroline, born Nov. 13, 1812; married James 

Reynolds; died 1875. 

11. Jeremiah, born Sept. 15, 1815; married Sarah 

Oatman; died Oct. 26, 1893. 

Family discipline in their house was gentle and 
kindly. The father seldom used the rod, the mother 
never. It is told of the mother that she once had 
occasion to reprove her son John for some misde- 
meanor. He lost his temper and declared he would 
run away. "Where will you run to, John?" she 
asked. John remembered both the answer, and the 
calm and tjuiet tone in which it was spoken, to his 
latest day. The children were early taught to work 
and to work hard; but Nancy Smith's strong affection 
for her children led her to spare her girls hard and 
heavy tasks even at the cost of performing them her- 
self in their stead; and the father, though he dealt 
rigorously with his boys in the matter of work, aiul 
never favored them as the mother favored her girls, 
3'et allowed them plenty of time for play. The par- 
ents inculcated purit)' of speech, absolute truthful- 

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ness in word and deed and integrity in business 
dealings by cxani[)le rather than by spoken words, 
and were themselves exanij^les of plain living, high 
thinking and faithful doing which could not but 
produce a lasting effect upon the characters of the 

The children were required to attend church 
every Sunda)- throughout the year, and the boys 
always walked both going and coming. There were 
two services, and it was past two o'clock before the 
afternoon service was over. The remainder of the 
day was spent in the study of the Bible and the cat- 
echism, and the children usually committed to mem- 
ory some portion of the Old or New Testament. 
I'^amily prayers were held every Sunday morning 
and evening. Sunday morning, as soon as breakfast 
was over, they took their Bibles, and father, mother, 
and children in the order of their ages, each read in 
turn four verses of a chapter of the New Testament. 
Guests were invited to read after the mother, em- 
ployes of the farm or house after the youngest child. 
The father then read a prayer. Evening prayers 
were between half-past eight and nine, just before 
bedtime, and were the same, except that the reading 
was from the Old Testament, and was by some mem- 
ber of the family. Tiie New Testament was for Sun- 
day morning and was read through in course, but 
parts of the Old Testament were omitted. Nothing 

( r.v, :- . i ■'■{, 

134 HOMl': t)l- THE SMITH FAMILY. 

could exceed the reverence' and solemnity with 
which these simple services were conducted, and 
they made a deep impression upon the younger 
members of the famil)'. The custom was followed 
by his successor in the home down to the time the 
place was sold, in 1873. 

We have already spoken of Jonathan Smith's love 
of reading. To his generation a book was something 
rare and precious. Anything that was printed had 
a value which in these days of cheap books and 
newspa[)crs it is difficult to appreciate, and was care- 
fully preserved. In the latter days of the Civil War, 
when the paper mills were giving ten cents a pound 
for old paper, and garrets were being emptied on 
every hand of their stores of old magazines and 
newspapers, some people even going so far as to cut 
off and sell the white margins of the current num- 
bers, one of his children spoke of this trait, and con- 
fessed that even then he could not rid himself of the 
feeling that it was wrong to destroy anything printed. 
Jonathan Smith preferred religious books to any oth- 
er, and nothing delighted him more than to find a 
volume of good sermons. lie was in the habit of 
reading aloud to his family evenings. "Come, chil- 
dren," he would say when he had brought home a 
new book, " I have something here that will inter- 
est you." Juvenile literature was not, but a book 
was something in which old and young were ex- 

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pected to feci an equal interest. This custom of 
reading aloud was continued throughout his lifetime, 
and in the lifetime of his successor down to 1870, 
and it was a great educator. By it the young people 
acquired a taste for good literature which they might 
have lacked had they spent their youth in school, 
even, tiie writer suspects, one of our high-class 
schools of 1 890-1900, and they never lost it. The 
writer has now in his library some volumes of Blair 
and Abp. Tillotson, which belonged to his grand- 
father, and he has often heard his father speak of 
his grandfather's fondness for the former, which 
were read and re-reail in his family many times. At 
a later period, Hume's History of England, Boswell's 
Johnson, the Spectator and Scott's novels were some 
of the books read. He was a subscriber to the 
Christian Examiner for many years, and read it dili- 
gently. A new novel by the author of Waverley 
was looked for with eager interest, and Jonathan 
Smith the- younger had, when he was in Harvard 
University, a memorandum of the reading of the 
Waverley novels in the shape of a cane with the 
names of the heroes and heroines of them cut into it 
one by one as they came out. In 1832, Judge Smith 
presented one of his nieces with some of the novels 
of Jane Austen. 

Jonathan Smith carried his gentle and kindly 
traits into all his intercourse with others. The peo- 
ple of the neighborhood were more homogeneous 

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then than now. All were descendants of the origi- 
nal settlers and had grown up in the vicinity. Be- 
side their common racial ancestry, they had a mutual 
heritage of hardship and self-denial, a common re- 
ligious faith, and to an unusual extent, common 
tastes and aims. Each knew the family history of 
all the others for seventy years back. This pro- 
moted a friendly and cordial intercourse now gone 
out of observance and unknown in our New England 
towns. They were often guests at each others' 
tables, and in the long autumn and winter evenings 
frequently gathered at each others' firesides to dis- 
cuss politics and church and neighborhood affairs 
over apples and cider. No roof was ever more hos- 
pitable than the vooi of Elm Mill farm-house, and 
nothing ever afforded its owner more pleasure than 
to entertain guests from the vicinity or from abroad. 
The children were not overlooked in the exercise of 
hospitality. Both Jonathan and Nancy .Smith were 
much' beloved by the children of the neighborhood. 
It is told of the latter that her "election cake had a 
great reputation among them, and that she was in 
the habit of inviting them to her house every year, 
upon the first Wednesday in June, to eat it. The 
cake is now a forgotten dainty and the holiday has 
long since ceased to be observed. 

Two young girls, daughters of their nearest neigh- 
bor, wished to go to the dancing-school, but to their 

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^reat disappointment, their parents, from religious 
or other scruples, refused consent. It came to the 
ears of Jonathan Smith, and he offered to plead their 
cause, and he was completely successful in removing 
the objections. The writer will not soon forget the 
warmth and affection with which one of these daugh- 
ters spoke to him of this kindly mediation more than 
sixty years afterward. A relative lost his property 
and died, leaving to his wife and young children a 
mortgaged home, which was soon taken from them 
by his creditors. The widow upon leaving it be- 
sought the new owner to allow her to take away a 
quantity of manure left in the barn, that she might 
have wherewith to cultivate the garden of her new 
home, but he stood upon his legal rights and refused. 
Upon arriving at her new home she found it there 
before her, not because her creditor had relented in 
the meanwhile, but because Jonathan Smith had 
heard of the matter and had supplied. her need from 
his own faiTn-yard. Young men trying to obtain an 
education were objects of his especial interest. One 
of the most distinguished sons of the town used to 
tell in his lifetime how, when working his way 
through I'^xetcr, he one day received a gift of ten 
dollars from him. Another of these trifling incidents 
will show that he could parry an affront just as 
gently and quietly. An Orthodox minister called 
upon him one day and the two straightway fell to 

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(liscussin^r thcoloi,^)^ " Deacon," asked tlie clergy- 
man, wishing to confirm an opinion by a proof text, 
"have you a Bible in the house?" Mis host turned 
to one ot his daughters, saying, "Mr. Pine wants a 
Bible; fetch some" — at the same time lianding him 
one from the table. The daughter immediately re- 
turned with seven. 

P^-om the close of the Revolutionary War, as we 
have before indicated, there was a steady increase in 
the comforts of life. The farmers improved their 
buildings and purchased more and better furniture. 
The mirror and card-table that belonged to Nancy 
Smith's wedding outfit are now in possession of her 
grandchildren, and could not be matched in any but 
the best and most expensive warehouses. The same 
may be said of much of the furniture of that period 
that has come down to us. The variety of food also 
greatly increased. Pork was still eaten more than 
any other kind of meat, and a great quantity was 
raised and sent to the Boston market. Bread down 
to 1830 was chiefi)' of barley, rye,or corn, oftenest a 
mixture of the two latter. An enormous quantity of 
cider was made yearly at the press of P21m Hill farm 
before 1840. The owner not only made it for him- 
self and his neighbors, but rented the mill to those 
who preferred to make their own, at the price of 
eight cents for every barrel made. The quantity 
drunk is almost be)'ond belief. Several hogsheads 



went into the cellar ot; the farm-house every autumn, 
and all that was not consumed during the )'ear was 
drawn off, made into vinej^ar and sold. It was on 
the table three times a day, and the boys drank of it 
as freely as their parents. It was set before guests 
at all times of the day and evening. The use of ^ 
spirituous liquors had gradually declined, and by ; 
i830(?) was limited to the hired men in hay time by 
most of the farmers. J^ut if the farmers were great 
eaters and drinkers, they were also diligent workers, 
and mighty at all kinds of farm labor. Jonathan | 
Smith, like all his brothers, was a man of great phys- 
ical strength and endurance, h'ew could equal him 
in the use of the sickle. He once walked from his 
house to the Kast Mountain, three miles distant, and 
reaped, bound and stooked an acre and a half of rye, 
returning before night. It used to be said of Samuel 
Smith that he could reap two acres of rye a day, the 
work of four ordinary men. 

His 'account books between 1820 and 1830 give 
interesting information as to the wagSs and prices of 
that period. Rye was from eighty-five cents to a 
dollar a bushel; oats from thirty to thirty-five cents; 
hard wood, one dollar and seventy-five cents a cord; 
potatoes from twent)' to twenty-five cents a bushel; 
cider, one dollar and one twenty-five a barrel; hem- 
lock bark, three dollars a cord; hay from si.\ dollars 
to nine dollars a ton; beef was three and four cents a 


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pound, pork five cents, and corn from eighty-five 
cents to a dollar per bushel. A day's labor ol" a man 
and a yoke of oxen was one dollar, and a good 
reaper had one dollar a day in harvest time. At 
these prices it took a great deal of labor an.) pro- 
duce to bring in any considerable sum, yet crops 
were so abundant that barns, granaries and cellars 
were filled to overflowing every autunm, and a thrifty 
farmer was able to give his children a good start in 
life. Witness the wedding outfits which Jonathan 
Smith gave to his two older daughters, Mar)' and 
Betsey. Here they are, copied word for word from 
his account books: 

Articles fok 1\jl 

LY Smith, Nov. 1818. 

15 yds 

. table linen 


John Baggclt's bill 


18 yds, 

t( 4i 


'I'urkcnnaun's " 


2 table 

: cloths 


Rulus 15all 


II yds, 

. no. 20 sheetiny 




22 " 

" 15 


Holmes and Hanier, " 

' 16.62 

43 " 

" 16 


Thomas Furbcr 

' 31-63 

II " 



Tape and binding 


14 " 



I pair candle sticks 


18 " 

coarse cloth 


I coffee pDl 


22 " 

woolen lilunkets 


Miss I'ratt's bill 


lok " 

bed quilt 




Qi " 

copper plate 


Tin ware 


6i •: 



Sieve and dipper 


24 " 



Straw !)onnet 


3 lbs. 

no. 12 yarn 


18 chairs 


32 " 



6 " 


30 " 



1 rocking-chair 


5 " 



(Mould's bill 


10 yds 

. for pillow cases 


Chapman's bill 


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Samuel Smith's bill $7-47 Bureau ;gi8.cx3 

I coverlid 6.00 Card table 10.00 

Jere Spalding's bill 4.67 Toilet table .75 

Nath'l Hastings' bill 37.00 Paid 15etsey Ingalls 3.34 

Richard Woods' bill 20.67 Moses Cha[)nian's bill 4.50 

I silver spoon 2.50 Jane Annan 2.00 

Cavender's bill 4.58 Samuel Smith's bill 1.45 

I yd. silk .88 Brass kettle 2.25 

I washtub" .g2 Dimity and yarn 5.69 

Total ;?465.7o. Paid Amelia 1.97 

The outfit of Betsey Smith is very similar: 

Articles hought i-ok Betsky Smith Nov. 1819. 

William Greenou^h's 

"Ml". j 

Isaac Davis bill 

Charles .A.. Pierce " 
Miss Pratt 

Paid Tryphena Felt 
Moses Chapman's bill 

1 dozen chairs 

2 tables 

1 card table 
II yds, bed ticking 45 
14 y<-^^ " " 67 
i8 " coarse cloth 2^ 
II " blankets 67 
32 lbs. feathers 34 
26i " •' 75 
Cotton batting 
10 yds. for pillow cases 
48 yds. sheeting 25 
ici yds bed quilt 67 

2 coverlets 
Framing ( .-j 

Rocking ch.iir 


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High po>.t bcdsKMil 



I \va>lunl) 



I trunk 



Looking glass 



Sieve and dipper 



Tin ware 



151 yds table linen 



16 ' 



11 yds no. 20 sheeting 



22 " no. 15 



I case 











-Articles taken back 


I table 


1. 00 

I kitihen table 



I iron pot 

1. 00 


I gridiron and toaster 


/ •-'-r 

2 decanters 



3 tumblers 10 



1 iron candlestick 


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"It is a j^ood year," said, in 1884, to a summer 
resident, a farmer living less tlian half a mile from 
Kim Hill Farm, "it is a ^ood year for us when we 
can make both ends meet." 

An interesting experiment was tried on the farm 
in 1826 which deserves a noti.ce here. The govern- 
ment was making an attempt to introduce silk cul- 
ture into the state, and many intelligent men, among 
them Dr. Abbott, the newly settled minister of the 
town, believed it could be done successfully. The 
government furnished the trees and the silk worm 
eggs. Jonathan .Smith gave the experiment a thor- 
ough trial, as did some of his brothers, lie set out 
between fifty antl seventy-five trees along the stone 
walls inclosing his fields. They grew rapidly, and 
when of sufficient size he procured five or six 
hundred eggs, and his daughter Nancy, afterward 
Mrs. John II. h'oster, took charge of thQin. One 
of the front chambers of the house was given up 
to h-er for the work, and there the eggs were 
hatched and the worms fed and* tended until the 
autumn, when she had about five hundred cocoons, 
which she wound and spun herself. But it was 
never woven, for the ex})erience of a single season 
showed that the industry could not be followed 
with success, and it was abandoned. The trees 
were left to grow until 1847-8, when they were cut 
down for firewood. Two at the north side of the 
house survived until the winter of 1860-61, when 

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they were [)r.obably winter-killed. One bore white, 
the other purple mulberries, which were beloved of 
the birtls. 

Of the eleven children, two, Nancy and Charlotte, 
died in infancy', the former August 23, 1808, aged 
two and one-half years; the latter, September gth of 
the same year, aged eighteen months, botii of dys- 
entery. Two weeks later the aged grandmother was 
attacked by the same disease and died after a brief 
illness. The grandfather iiad died Januar)- 3.1st of 
the previous winier, so that there were four deaths 
in tlie house that year. Of the two parents, the 
father was always the slower to take alarm in sick- 
ness. He came home late one night in the winter of 
iSiO-li, and was met at the tlnor by the ausitius 
mother with the announcement that some of the 
children had been taken violently sick, and she 
feared the)' might have the spotted fever, then pre- 
vailing in the town. He went to their bedside, and 
after lookrng them over carefully, said it was quite 
probable they had eaten too much pork7 in which 
case they would be much better in the morning; and 
the morning proved the correctness of his judgment. 
The second Charlotte, born 1810 (ninth child and 
sixth daughter), whom he is said to have regarded 
with peculiar affection, died in August, 1825, at a 
school near Concord, where he had placed her when 
he was a member of the Legislature. 

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144 HOMF. Ol- Till': SMITH TAMll-V. 

According to the Scotch-Irish custom, which his 
father before him had (jbscrved, he gave one of his 
sons, the oldest, a college educatiun. Jonatlian 
Smith, Jr., was sent to ICxeter in iSi i, at the age cjf 
fourteen, entered Harvard Universit\- in 1S15, and 
was graduated in 181 g. After graduation he went to 
Worcester to teach, and studied law in the oftice of 
Levi Lincoln. While a law student he became 
acquainted with Rev. Aaron Bancroft, antl l(jr a time 
gave instruction to two of his daughters. Later, he 
fell ill and his father went to Worcester to take care 
of him, and was the guest of Mr. Bancroft, which led 
to many visits at the farm-house by the latter when he 
preached or attended conventions in Peterborough. 
He was admitted to the bar and opened an office in 
Lisbon, New Hampshire, but after practicing there 
a few years, went to Bath. His abilities and scholar- 
ship brought him at once into prominence, and he 
quickly took his place among the leaders of his pro- 
fession in that part of the state, among whom were 
Ira Perley, afterward Chief justict, (General James 
Wilson, Ira Goodall, and Andrew Salter Woods, for 
many years a Judge of the .Superior Court, and for a 
brief period its Chief Justice. He was distinguished 
for clearness and accuracy of judgment and the 
thorough preparation of his cases. In arguing his 
cases he impressed his hearers with the conviction 
that he believed ever)' word he uttered. Chiel Jus- 

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ticc Richardson said of him that he would make an 
eminent judf^e. More than thirty years after his 
death members of the Coos County Bar, who had 
known and [)racticed with him in the same cuLirts, 
still spoke of liim with the deepest affection and re- 
gard, both as a hiwyer and as a man. His integrity, 
discretion and good sense won for him the unfaib'ng 
confidence of his clients and the communit)'. "He 
was the best man," said Chief Justice Perley. who 
was his intimate friend, "that I ever knew." "His 
character was so symmetrical and comjjlete," says a 
sketch of him in the History of the New Hampshire 
Har, "that it was asserted that he had no (|uality 
one would wish left out." He represented l>ath 
in the Legislature and was a candidate for Congress 
in 1836, but failed of an election. While in college 
he had a severe attack of typhoid fever, which left 
him in delicate health, and from the effects of which 
he never fully recovered. In 1837, ^^^^ health failed 
and he went to the West Indies for the winter. He 
resumed practice on his return, but was soon com- 
pelled to abandon work, and died August 10, 1840, 
of consumption, aged forty-three years. 

Three of the other children, Betsey, William and 
Jeremiah, obtained all their education in the public 
schools of Peterborough, which had by this time 
greatly improved, and were often taught by college 
students. John, the third son, studied at the New 

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Ipswich Academy one or two terms, qualified him- 
self as a surveyor, and was much employed as such 
by his neighbors and townsmen. Mary, the second 
daughter, was sent to the academ)' at New Ipswich, 
and while there met Captain Timothy h'ox, whom, 
at the age of eighteen, she married. The two young- 
est daughters, Nancy and Caroline, were for a time 
pupils in a private school in town taught by a Mr. 
Brown, a student of Harvard University. Later, the 
former was for one term a pupil at Groton Academy, 
and the latter went to a school at Derry, New Hamp- 
shire, and after leaving there taught school until her 
marriage in 1845. 


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Jonathan Smith was a man of generous public 
spirit, and took an active part in public affairs for 
many years. His early prominence in the church 
naturally brought him into notice. Before 1799 he 
had filled subordinate positions, particularly in con- 
nection with the schools, in which he always took a 
Town Records, deep interest. In that year he was put 
upon a committee appointed to take into considera- 
tion the situation of the schools. The other mem- 
bers were James Wilson, William White, Jr., Abner 
Haggett and David Steele. They made a written 
report recommending the erection of anothSr school- 
house, fixing the boundaries of the new district and 
readjusting those of the others. The report was 
accepted but not recorded. He also served on the 
Town Records. School Committee in 1810, 1820 and 
1822, and was a visitor to the schools in 1823. There 
are no printed or written school reports of that 
period now in existence, and the extent of his labors 

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in their behalf can only l)e inferred from these scant 
memorials of his service. 

Town Records. In 1 799 hc vvas choscn Selectman, and 
was re-elected every year until 1805. Candidates 
were not then named beforehand by a caucus, thouy;h 
political lines were sharply drawn and party spirit 
ran high. At this time the h^ederalists, to which 
party all the Smith brothers belonged, were in a ma- 
jority in the town, and they so continued iov many 
years. The Jeffersonian party, however, included 
some able men in its ranks, who were always ready 
to avow and defend their political faith. Mr. Dun- 
bar was a stout Federalist, and when a parishioner 
by the name of Robert Clark brought his child to 
church (July 5, 1804) to be baptized by the name of 
Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Dunbar performed the cere- 
mony without uttering the name. The Democratic 
father at once arose and announced the name of his 
son as THOMAS JEFFERSON, in tones so loud 
that the whole congregation could hear. 

The voting for town ofiicers was not always by 
written or printed ballot, for in 1802, and again in 
Town Records. 1803, the town votcd to choosc Select- 
men by each voter passing before the Moderator and 
naming his preference for that office. Ikit this 
method was never tried afterward— at least the rec- 
ords make no mention of it. 

While Jonathan Smith held the office of Select- 

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man his duties were the ordinary routine duties of 
the position. All the questions growing out of the 
Revolutionary War, which had vexed the people for 
so many years, had been settled, and the town was 
growing rapidly in wealth and population. Church 
affairs had come to occupy a subordinate place, and 
the chief questions of town legislation were the 
finances, the highways and the public schools, then 
as always recjuiring the exercise of discretion and 
sound judgment for their jjroper administration. 
From the names and known character of the men 
wiio held the office of .Selectman from 1800 to 1825, 
it is evident that the pcojjle appreciated the dignity 
of the position, for they include those of some of the 
best men in the town, 

Jonathan Smith was first elected to the Legisla- 
Town Records, ture in iSoQ, the same year his brother 
was made Governor. Both were elected as Federal- 
ists. Though a new member, his relationship to the 
Chief Ex-ecutive brought him at once into promi- 
nence, and he was appointed a member of the Com- 
mittee on Agriculture and Manufactures. At that 
time the standing committees of the House were 
only five or six in number, consisting of from five to 
seven members each, so that a large majority of the 
members received no committee assignment. The 
proceedings of the Legislature are very briefly re- 
ported in the papers, and it does not appear from 


them that he tocjk any part in the debates. He was 
elected to the House a^ain in 1821, and was re- 
elected each year for the seven years succeeding. 
The town vote for Representative is not recorded. 
It is probable, however, that the opposition to him 
grew year by year as the party opposed to the I'^ed- 
eralists steadily increased in numbers until 1829, 
when the Jacksonian party elected its candidate to 
the Legislature. In 1828, the last year he was a can- 
didate, the result of the first vote for l<e[)resentative 
was a tie between liimself and John H.Steele. As 
soon as it was Lleclared, a jjartisan of his went off 
and hunted up another voter on the Federalist side, 
and on the second ballot I\Ir. Smith was elected 
by one majority. 

Journal House 1» the Ho\ise of i82i, he was again 
Representatives, placed on the Committee on Agricul- 
ture and Manufactures. The only record of his 
action is his vote in favor of an appropriation of 
eight hundred dollars for the i)romotion of the inter- 
ests of agriculture and manufactures in the state. 
The measure was stoutly opposed in the 1 louse and 
excited a warm debate. In supporting it he was 
true to his Federal princijiles, and so far as published 
reports can tell us he was thioughout a consistent 
advocate of all those acts which had for their pur- 
pose the development of the natural resources and 
industries of the state. 

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In 1822 he appears to have had no committee 
assignment, but in 1823 and 1824 he was again made 
a member ot the same committee. During these two 
years he took an active part in legislative proceed- 
ings, and his action shows the same liberal views of 
state policy. One of the measures before the House 
in 1824, was a resolve for the appropriation of one 
thousand dollars for the education of the deaf and 
dumb at the asylum at Hartford. He took great 
interest in this bill, and the substance of the speech 
he made in its support was reported in the Patriot 
and State (la/.ette of July 25, 1824, as follows: 

Mr. Smith spoke of the capacity of the deaf and 
dumb to receive instruction, of the rapid and great 
improvement which some of them had made in read- 
ing, writing, grannnar and geography; he mentioned 
the case of one young lady of this state, who, after a 
careful examination of her acquaintance with the 
principles of the Christian religion had been received 
into the church, and manifested the sincerity of her 
profession by the correctness of her life. He con- 
tended that the state was bound to provide for the 
education of its children; that no means ef educa- 
tion for the deaf and dumb were provided here; that 
there was no place in New Hampshire and but one 
in New Kngland where they could be educated, or 
taught to reverence God. The object of this resolu- 
tion was to send them there. Congress, he said, had 
made a liberal grant to the asylum; all we had done 
was to receive its benefits. He said he was willing 
to record his name in favor of the resolve and let it 
go to his constituents and to posterity. 

He was supported in his position by his nephew, 


- 111,'. 


William Smith of Kxeter, and others. The resolve 
passed the Mouse. The resolution was one of es- 
pecial interest to him for family reasons. His state- 
ments to the Legislature were founded upon the 
cases of his three nieces, Mary, Sarah and I'^liza iM or- 
ison, all deaf mutes, who had been or were bcinj^ 
educated at the asylum. 1 lis arguments seem trite 
and common-place now. It is difficult to realize 
that seventy-five years ago the capacity of deaf 
mutes to receive instruction was not generally ad- 
mitted. But his argument out of his own personal 
knowledge and observation carried the measure 
through the Mouse. 

Journal House ^t the session of 1825, he was made a 
Representatives, niember of the Committee on Banks, 
and he served on this committee for three years. In 
June, 1825, while the Legislature was in session, 
Lafayette visited Concord, and was received with 
the same demonstrations of honor and affection 
whichgreeted him elsewhere. The day before the 
honored guest was presented to the Legislature (June 
2ist) Jonathan Smith introduced into the House a 
Journal House resolution, wliich passed unanimously, 
Representatives. "That the Governor be requested to 
present General Lafajette with a finished majj of 
New Hampshire." The map was duly presented the 
next day in the presence of both houses. The pa- 
pers make no further mention of any action of his at 

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that session except to record that two days after the 
above incident he introduced an amendment to a 
bill pending prescribing the method of assessing 
taxes. 1 he amcntlment '.ccame a part of the orij^i- 
nal meu ^Lire. 

In the session of 182O there was a proposition 
that the state should build a road through the Fran- 
conia Notch. He was doubtfu' of its expediency, 
and raised the question whether, if built, any assur- 
ance couhl be given lliat it wouIlI be kept in repair. 
The answer is not given. Toward the close of this 
session a question of [)olitics came up which precip- 
itated the [)rincipal debate of the session. General 
James Wilson of Keene introduced a series of reso- 
lutions endorsing the administration of John Ouincy 
Adams. They were vigorously opposed, and Ezekiel 
Webster led the opposition. After a long discussion, 
in which the leading speakers of the House took 
part, they were laid on the table under a motion 
from Mr. -Webster, where they still slumber. On 
this motion Jonathan Smith voted with Mr. Webster. 
He does not appear to have taken part in the de- 
bate, and the reason for his vote is unknown. 

As far as the newspapers of the time can inform 
us, Jonathan Smith took a more active part in the 
session of 1827. One of the leading measures was a 
bill providing that the property of manufacturing 
corporations should be taxed in the towns where lo- 

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cated. An amciulmcnt was offered to the effect 
that the real estate and such shares as were owned 
out of the state should be taxed there, and the other 
shares should be assessed where owned. To this 
amendment he strongly objected, and made one of 
the principal speeches of the session against it. The 
following abstract of his speech is taken from the 
Patriot and Gazette of the following day, July 25, 

Mr. Smith of i^eterborough said he rejjresented a 
manufacturing town, and said he considered the pro- 
posed amendment as peculiarly injurious to his con- 
stituents. There were six incorporated manufactur- 
ing companies in the town of I'eterborough. The 
first act of incorporation was passed in 1808, and the 
last in 1822. The first five acts exempted the cor- 
porate property from taxation for five years. The 
last act made no cxem[)tion. Though the five years 
had expired no tax had yet been imposed upon the 
property. The town had not deemetl it exjiedient 
to tax it. The establishments were not able to bear 
it. One-half of the property vested in these factor- 
ies is owned by persons residing out of the state, and 
a considerable portion of the remainder by persons 
living out of the town. The town has been put to 
great expense in consequence of these establish- 
ments. School-houses have been built close by them 
and others are now building, of brick, for their spec- 
ial accommodation, but not at their expense, for 
these corporations have not paid a cent toward the 
erection of a single school-house. About three hun- 
dred hands are constantly employed in the factories, 
and they are all of the poorer class of people from 
Vermont and the remote parts of New Hampshire, 
and from wherever they may be obtained. The gen- 

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tleman from Chester says the parents of the children 
will be taxed for the schools, but it is not so — they 
don't pay a farthin<^ — it is all paid by the town. 
Another source of exijcnsc io the town is the erec- 
tion of nicetinf^f-houscs. The cor|)orations require 
their hands to attend meeting on the Sabbath. The 
town or [Mivate indivitluals must provide a meeting- 
house for their acconmiodatKjn, and one in fact is 
building for that purpose at the present time. These 
parents and children contribute nothing towards it. 
The town does the whole, and not only builds the 
house but pays the minister. It has been stated 
already that the laborers are poor, and when they 
are sick or meet with an accident that disqualifies 
them from labor, that minute they apply to the town 
for relief, and the town must help them or they per- 
ish. Gentlemen may state, if the)' choose, that these 
establishments will not increase the number of pau- 
pers, but the House cannot be credulous enough to 
believe it. The evils of pauperism exist, and will 
increase, and the towns where factories are estab- 
lished must bear their increasing proportion of pau- 
per expenses. The town of Peterborough has as yet 
received nothing from the corporations, but they 
have expected the time would soon come when some 
benefit would be derived from them, when the)' 
might afford to pay a reasonable tax on their manu- 
facturing-capital. The proprietors are willing now 
to pay such a tax, and the town is willing to receive 
the benefit of it. Take away from the town the 
right to tax the property within its limits and you 
can hardly conceive the excitement it would occa- 
sion. Me should not be much surprised, in svich a 
case if the factories were burned to the ground. 
Gentlemen say that shares in a manufacturing com- 
pany should be taxetl to the owners in their respec- 
tive towns as bank shares are by law taxable. He 
could not see much similarity between banking insti- 
tutions and a cotton factor)/, excepting that both 

J, I • 


156 IIOMI': Ol' TllK SMITH 1-AM1I,\. 

might be incorporated and the property of tlic cor- 
poration divided into shares. The hiborers in the 
factories were ot the i)oorer class and must be iuv- 
nished with the means of ethication and rehgious 
instrnction. The mana<;ers of banks, presidents, 
directors and cashiers, had been pretty well schooled 
before they got into office, and if the>' wanted any 
religions instruction they could afford the expense 
of procuring it. Having the care of their own and 
their neighbor's monc)', there was not much danger 
of their calling upon the town f(;r su[)port; but the 
laborers in the factories were every moment e\i)ose(l 
to sickness, and the towns in which the factories 
were located weie exposed to the expense of main- 
taining them. To illustrate the impropriety of the 
amendment, Mr. Smith ncjticed the factory at Mere- 
dith Hridge, which was erected on one side of the 
river in Meredith, while the principal if not the sole 
owner lived on the other side of it in Guilford. If 
the amendment should be adopted, (juilford will 
have the tax and Meredith the [Kiu[)ers. The injus- 
tice of this must be a[)parent, and the impropriety 
of the amendment equally so. The gentleman from 
Portsmouth had spoken of the establishment of fac- 
tories as a l)lessing to a town; but, said Mr. Smith, 
could I transfer the six factories in Peterborough 
with their three humlretl labcMX-rs to the town of 
Portsriiouth I woukl most cheerfully do^it, and the 
gentleman would be welconu- to the ben'efit of their 
hibor, the amount of their tax, and the pleasure of 
their company. 

Some of the ablest men in the House undertook 
to answer him, but the amendment was defeated b)' 
two majority, The question is one which has been 
much debated in legislative bodies since, but the 
idea he advocated in his s[)eech, that shares in 
manufacturing corporations should be assessed in 

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the town where tlie [;lant is, is still the law of the 
state. The speech is interesting from the insight it 
gives into the condition of the textile industries of 
Peterborough at that time. The difficulties he de- 
scribed have been seen and felt by every manufac- 
turing community since his day, and the [)roblems 
discussed are still far from a satisfactory solution. 

So far as known, he took no active pait in the 
Legislature of 1828. He was not a "talking mem- 
ber." He was a watchful and conscientious legisla- 
tor, but generally a silent one, although when he had 
anything to say he could state it in vigorous luiglish 
and with a force that carried weight with his fellow 
members. The newspaper reports of the sessions 
are very brief and his contemporaries have long since 
passed away, so that his work and worth as a legis- 
lator must rest chiefly on these brief glimpses we 
have given. 

His fondness for books led him to take an active 
part in all those movements which led ultimately to 
the establishment of the Peterborough TowrrLibrary. 
lie was one of the twenty-two original incorporators 
of the Social Library, organized in 1792. No rec- 
ords of this society now e.xist, and all that is known 
of it is that it continued to 1830, when it dissolved. 
It had at one time a considerable number of books, 
and did much to stimulate habits of reading and a 
taste for good literature in the town, but after twenty- 

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five years, interest in it began to decline. Whether 
he was a member of the Peterborough Literary Com- 
pany, organized by Dr. Abbott, we do not know, as 
no list of its members is now accessible. 

In 1S28, the Legislature decided to divide the 
Literary Fund among the towns of the state for the 
support of the schools, "or other purposes of educa- 
tion." The question of what to do with its share of 
this money came before the town at a meeting held 
April 14, 1829, when the matter was referred to a 
committee to dispose of. Two members of this 
committee were Jonathan and Samuel Smith. Their 
action is not re[)orted, and nothmg was done with 
the fund that year or the ne.xt. In 1S31 the town 
voted one hundred dollars out of it tt) buy books 
and apparatus for the schools. It took no action 
the year following (1832), but in 1S33 it voted to 
spend a portion of the money in the [)urchase of 
books for a Town Librar)'. A committee of one 
from each district was appointed to make the divis- 
ion and appropriation of money for tPie purpose. 
The members of this committee were John Scott, 
Henry F. Cogswell, Jonathan .Smith, James Cun- 
ningham, Hugh Miller, William M. White, Silas 
Barber, John II. Steele and Moses Uodge. They 
made their report to the town at the April meeting 
in 1834. It was written by Jonathan Smith, and the 
original is now in the Town Library. It is entitled 

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to the honor of bciiif^r the first report of the first 
Board of Directors of the oldest free [)ublic librcir)' 
in the world. 


The committee chosen in April last have received 
the sum of ;j>i 18.OO, and distributed it accordin^^ to 
the vote of the town, $51.00 to five of the smaller 
districts, and the resitlue, amounting to S67.00, has 
been appropriated to a Library for the use of the 
town. With so small a sum your Committee were 
obliy^ed to purchase small books to the neglect of 
larger and more ex[jensive works, although the)' 
have endeavored to make the selection as useful and 
profitable to the town as possible. Tlie book case, 
printing, and other incidental expenses have been 
paid out of the Bible h\md. The liible Societ)', hav- 
ing $130.00, a[)pointed a committee to lay out this 
sum in books relating to moral and religious subjects 
for the benefit of the town. 

This money has been nearly expended by the 
committee and the books placed in the case with 
those purchased with the money from the Literary 
Fund. The number of volumes from both amounts 
to three hundred and seventy. The committee 
avoided pur-chasing expensive volumes in order that 
every family in town might have access to the 

It is pleasing to observe that in the short time 
the Library has been in operation the books have 
been called for in no inconsiderable numbers, and 
read with satisfaction, as we believe. 

Your committee would take the liberty to recom- 
mend to the town to authorize the Selectmen to ap- 
point three suitable persons as directors to manage 
the concerns of the Library, who shall be required 
to report to the town annually the state of the 

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Library and their doings relating to it. They fur- 
ther recommend the appropriation of a part of the 
avails of the Literary Fund for the improvement of 
the Library by the purchase of useful publications 
and the increase of the number of books. 

Your committee have agreed with Smith and 
Thompson to take care of the books and to distribute 
and receive them, agreeably to the following rules: 
( Rules not given.) 

It will be seen by the above rules that there is 
not a book for each family and person entitletl to the 
use of the Library, but your committee could not 
well restrict the distribution into a narrower com- 

The Juvenile Librar)', consisting of about two 
hundred books procured by subscription, has been 
placed with the Town Library. Most of these books, 
having been in use for several years, are consitlerably 
worn, and the number is not suf^cient to accommo- 
date the young persons in the town, as is very 

Jonathan Smith. 
Peterborough, April 8, 1834. 

With this humble beginning the library became 
firmly established, and was thenceforth one of the 
permanent institutions of PeterborougU. The rec- 
ords do not show any further ofiicial connection of 
Jonathan Smith with it. 

Besides the oflices named he filled many subor- 
dinate positions; he acted on committees to whom 
were referred questions of munici[3al adniinistration, 
had charge of the highways, built bridges, and par- 
ticipated in the oversight or carrying on of many 
public improvements. His opinion and advice were 


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sought, for his feUow-citizcns felt that they were 
always given with an eye single to the public good. 

After 1834 or 1835 he seems to have taken on 
active part in public affairs, and his services upon 
the committee which established the library marked 
a fitting close to long and useful public service. 

I : I / ' 

'1.. ; >. 



No sketch of Jonathan Smith would be complete 
which did not give large space to the history of his 
church between 1792 and 1830, and to his share in 
making that history. After his family, his church 
was first in his thoughts, and throughout his long 
and busy life he was actively identified with its inter- 
ests, and sought in all honorable ways to promote 
its influence and usefulness in the town. He read 
much and thought deeply upon the controverted 
theological questions of the time, and few were bet- 
ter informed than he upon the text of th^ \V\h\e and 
on the disputed questions of church and creed. He 
enjoyed nothing so much as to discuss them, and he 
was always able to state his views with clearness and 
force, and fortify them with abundant biblical author- 
ity. The sermon was the chief topic of conversation 
at the Sunday dinner-table, and its strong or weak 
logic was sure to be set forth to his wife and family. 
The children were expected to remember and repeat 

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the text, and were catechised as to the subject mat- 
ter of it during the afternoon or evening. This had 
been the custom in William Smith's family, and it 
was continued in all the families of his sons, but 
with more strictness in the families of Jonathan and 
Robert, who resembled each other greatly in their 
devotion to their church. The latter, when he was 
past middle life, seriously contemplated studying 
divinity, and was only dissuaded therefrom by his 
brothers, who thought, and justly no doubt, that he 
was too old to make such a radical change in his 

Appropriately enough, the first time Jonathan 
Smith's name appears in the town records is in con- 
nection with the church, showing that his zeal in its 
behalf manifested itself early. In April, 1792, it was 
voted that "Jonathan Smith, John Gray, Oliver Felt 
and Samuel Smith pitch the tune, and invite such 
other persons to join and assist them as they think 
proper." By another vote at the same meeting, a 
committee was chosen to "procure seats in the 
breast of the gallery, decent and comfortable, to 
accommodate a sufficient number of singers to carry 
on the singing is as good order as the circumstances 
of the congregation will admit." This appears to be 
the first action taken in town-meeting relative to 
church music. That the committee appointed to 
" pitch the tune" received no salary goes without 

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saying, for it was long before the days of paid choirs. 
In the first years of the society the singing liad been 
conducted in accordance with the Scotch Covenant- 
ers' method, that is, the psahn was first read by the 
deacon and then sung by the congregation, a Hue at 
a time. The change from tiiis method met with 
strong opposition among the more conservative peo- 
ple, and no doubt the votes above cited were not 
adopted without warm chscussion. It appears that 
some four years before, Dr. Watt's version of the 
Psalms had been introduced into the church service, 
and some of the people were dissatisfied. Among 
some old papers left by Deacon Robert M orison is 
the following protest, which was probably the out- 
come of the votes of the town passed in April, 1792: 

Whereas, for a number of years past our church 
rules have been contrary to the Presbyterian order, 
by which means a considerable number, both of men 
and women, have been driven away from the word 
and ordinances: 

P^ir-st, In March, 17S8, Doct. Watt's Psalms, 
against which version we protest, was l/rought in 
contrary to order, and human invention used in 
praising God, and a number of boys and girls toler- 
ated to carry on the praising of God, and not read- 
ing the lines, by which means the mouths of the 
congregation are siuit; anul singing at noon is prac- 
tised, we fear more for recreation than for the glory 
of God; and also that unaccustomed way of ordering 
church affairs by a vote of the town at large; and 
also not compl)'ing with the Rev. .Synod's advice 
last spring; and also the underhanded manner of 
taking the Rev. Presbytery from the meeting-house 

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J .n> VI 



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under a tree to settle the affair of Psalmody; and 
also the many uncommon tunes used in praising God; 
therefore we, being very desirous to avoid the fore- 
mentioned grievances, and also not to be partakers 
in other men's sins, do hereby protest that our 
keeping communion in said church shall not be 
construed as any the least ap[)robation of any of the 
forementioned grievances, and we humbl)' crave that 
this our protest may be recorded in the Session Book 
of this town for exoneration of our consciences, and 
that we be allowed extracts thereof accordingly. 
Peterborough, Sei)t. 17, 1792. 

RIatthkw Temi'leton. 

Samuel Gordon. 

Eleanor Gordon. 

Several other names were signed, but crossed off. 
We may well wonder what these good people would 
say could they come back to earth and attend a 
modern church service! 

Jonathan Smith led the singing for some years, 
just how long we do not know; nor has any tradition 
come down to us in regard to his musical gifts. 
With the exception of William, who played the bass 
viol, and -John, who played the flute, none of his 
children seem to have had any turn for music.' But 
the gift, which was in all probability an inheritance 
from Elizabeth Morison, wife of William Smith, re- 
appeared among his grandchildren, in. two instances 
in a remarkable degree. 

The settlement of Mr. Dunbar marked a crisis in 
the church, and out of it came the division of the 
society twenty-two years later, when the Presbyte- 


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rians withdrew and formed a separate orj^anization. 
The church was orit^inally strongly Scotch Presbyte- 
rian, and no division about its doctrines appears un- 
til after the Revolution. The war wrought a great 
change in men's theological opinions as well as in 
their views of social and political questions; and the 
church in Peterborough was strongly affected by 
this change, although no opi)ortunity for au)' mani- 
festation of it occurrcLl until about the time of Air. 
Annan's dismissal in 1792. The differences over 
church music illustrate the revolution which had been 
silently taking place. A part clung strenuously to 
the old forms and disci[)line, but a majority in the 
church had evidently come to look upon them as of 
minor importance. 

In 1795, Jonathan Smith voted in favor of giving 
Mr. Abram Moore a call, and his brother Samuel 
was appointed to write the call and present it to the 
next meeting of the Presbytery. The records do 
not speak of this call further, and it is certain that it 
was declined. Two years later Mr. Zephaniah Swift 
Moore was twice invited to settle with them, first 
according to the Presbyterian form, and then as a 
Congregationalist. The letter which conveyed the 
latter call was signed by some fifty or si.xty mem- 
bers of the church and inhabitants of the town. 
Both calls were refused, owing no doubt to the divis- 
ion of the church over the two forms of faith. The 

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breach had now become a serious one. On the one 
side there was a minority clinging to the old creed, 
and on the other a majority preferring Congrega- 
tional usages. Mr. Dunbar was invited to settle as 
a Congrcgationalist. On June 5 1799, under an arti- 
cle in the warrant "to see if the town will give Mr. 
Dunbar, now supplying us, a call to settle in Peter- 
borough as a public teacher of piety, morality and 
religion." "Voted to give him a call." The vote 
was sixty-one yes to twelve no, and Henry Ferguson, 
David Steele, Jr., and Jonathan Smith were appointed 
a committee to present it. The church, September 
16, 1799, chose Deacon William McNee, Deacon 
Robert IM orison and Deacon Jonathan Smith a com- 
mittee to unite with a committee of the town to 
meet Mr. Dunbar and arrange for the date of the or- 
dination, and determine the council to be invited. 
The town committee selected were John Smith, 
David Steele, Jr., Samuel Smith, Asa Evans, Nathan- 
iel Holmes, James Wilson, John Moore and Thomas 
Steele. Two days before the ordination (October 
23, 1799), the church prepared and signed a renewal 
of the covenant, which was as follows: 

We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, mem- 
bers of the church of Christ in Peterborough, appre- 
hending ourselves called of God, do, in a solemn 
manner, and under the inspection of an Ecclesiasti- 
cal Council, renew our covenant with Him and with 
one another. 



I •■'..' ii 

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In a humble sense of our unworthiness and de- 
pendence on the free grace of God in Jesus Clirist 
we do renewedly give u^) ourselves to the Lord 
Jehovah in an everlasting covenant not to be forgot- 
ten; and with ourselves our seed after us in their 
several generations. 

And in like manner we give up ourselves to our 
Lord Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant and 
Great Head of the Church, acknowledging him to be 
the Prophet, Priest and King of our salvation, rely- 
ing on Him alone for our acceptance with God. 

We also yield ourselves up to the Moly Spirit of 
God as our Guide, Comforter and Sanctifier, trusting 
in Plim to lead us in the way of truth and holiness. 

In a firm belief of the Great Doctrines of our Holy 
Religion contained in the Sacred Writings as the 
only Rule of our Faith and Practice. 

And it is our sincere purpose and resolution by 
Divine Assistance to discharge the duties of Chris- 
tian Love and Brotherly Watchfulness toward each 
other, to train up our children in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord, commending them and our 
households that they keep the way of the Lord; and 
to unite in maintaining the public worship of God 
among us, and diligently to attend on the Institu- 
tions and Ordinances of the Gospel, to submit to all 
regular and scriptural discipline in the church, and 
to co-ntribute all in our power to the good^order and 
peaceableness of those Administrations. 

We promise to walk in wisdom toward those who 
are without for the i)urpose of advancing the King- 
dom of Christ, to seek the peace and prosperity of 
Zion, and to endeavor as much as in us lies to live 
peaceably with all men. r /^ , ^ 

In a word, we resolve in the strength of God to 
go on and persevere in the way of well-doing -pray- 
ing that we may be steadfast in Mis covenant, and 
advance His religion in all things. Amen. 

The first signature to this covenant is that of 

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William Smith. Ninety-five others signed it before 
the ordination, among them Jonathan Smith. 

This change from I'resbytcrian forms to Congre- 
gational was a radical step, which was not taken 
without strong protests on the part of the minority 
in the church. The objections were based on two 

First, That the church was connected with the 
Londonderry Presbytery; that it had never received 
its dismission therefrom, and that it was irregular to 
adopt Congregational usages without such dismissal. 

Second, Dissatisfaction with Mr. Dunbar's 
preaching, in that he disavowed the doctrines of the 
Gospel as held by the Calvinistic churches. The 
protest was signed by Samuel Gordon, George Dun- 
can, Thomas Davidson, Christopher Thayer, Samuel 
Gregg, Abraham Holmes, Matthew Templeton, John 
Field, Benjamin Barker, William Thayer, Samuel 
Straw, Samuel and David Bunker, Israel Holt, John 
Gregg, Robert Holmes, Robert Clark, Abner Hag- 
gett, Andrew Miller, Kelso Grey and James Tem- 

As to the first objection, the church had, through 
the influence of Mr. Annan, been dismissed some 
years before from the Londonderry Presbytery, and 
had joined the Presbytery at Walkill, New Jersey, 
which became extinct about 1798. Since that time 
it had not re-united with the Londonderry organiza- 

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tion, nor with an)' other, and tlie members could 
claim that the)' were an independent church, and not 
under the jurisdiction of any Presb)'tery whatever. 
The second objection was no doubt true; but Mr, 
Dunbar's opinions were satisfactory to the progress- 
ive party of the church, and that was sufficient. 
These questions were the subject of earnest tliscus- 
sion and no little ill-feelinj;-. The Conservatives 
held tenaciously to the Calvanistic doctrines of dis- 
interested benevolence, a willingness to be dannied 
for the glory of God, the inefficiency of good works, 
the utter depravity of human nature, and the suprem- 
acy of the devil. The Liberals openly discarded 
these dogmas, and were denounced as Arminians. 
This division of o[)inion would have impaired seri- 
ously the usefulness of Mr. Dunbar's ministry and 
the prosperity of the church had not a large major- 
ity of the influential men in it, conspicuous among 
whom was Jonathan Smith, strongly sustained and 
supported him in his work. The number of male 
members at this time was about fifty, and there were 
besides from one hundred to one hundred and fifty 
female communicants. The disagreement over doc- 
trines and church government was finally compro- 
mised in 1804, when the town voted, at the annual 
meeting of that year, on the petition of the Presby- 
terians, that the petitioners have the privilege of the 
meeting-house one Sunday in the year for the pur- 

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pose of administering the Lord's Supper according 
to the Presbyterian form. By the terms of the vote 
the petitioners were to appoint the day, notify Mr. 
Dunbar one month in advance, and the communi- 
cants of the Congregational faith were to be allowed 
to unite with them agreeably to the Presbyterian 
mode. The town voted to pay the minister's travel- 
ling expenses if he lived within sixty miles. 

Rev. William Morrison of Londonderry adminis- 
tered the rite for the Peterborough Presbyterians for 
many years. He is described as a large man, with 
long white hair and a reverend aspect, and a manner 
of great dignity and solemnity in his administration 
of the ordinances of the church. He spoke with a 
strong Scotch brogue. The services on these occa- 
sions were very impressive. The church was 
thronged, and the table extended the whole length 
of the broad aisle. The communicants were seated 
on each side of it on long seats. Each communicant 
brought with him a token, and left it behind when 
he retired. Usually the table was filled several 
times. The venerable clergyman stood at the head 
of it, and opened the service with the words, " I de- 
bar from the table of the Laird all liars, all adulter- 
ers, all drunkards," etc. The service made a deep 
impression upon all present, especially the young 
people, although the latter were not always so sub- 
dued by it as to forget entirely the outside world. 

■" MM' -. 

I ;'1 :,'V'i! 


The story is tokl that upon one occasion Ariana 
Smith of Exeter was present with her cousin Harriet 
(daughter of "Scjuire John " ), and as the minister 
pronounced the usual formuhi, including (as the 
story goes) the words, "I debar all liars, 1 debar all 
malicious liars, I debar all jocose liars," she turned 
and whispered to her cousin, " Vou can't come, Har- 
riet, nor any of your family." 

But this concession of the town to the Presbyte- 
rians did not end the difficulty, and the breach stead- 
ily widened. It was an age of intense theological 
discussion. The preaching of Dr. Channing excited 
great interest, and many of his sermons were printed 
and widely circulated throughout New England. 
When one of them fell into the hands of any of the 
Smith brothers, the others were promptly notified to 
meet at the counting-house of Samuel Smith to hear 
it read. The scene has been described by a frequent 
eye-witness, who used to relate that the reader would 
often -be interrupted by the strongest expj-essions of 
approval, and when the reading was finished long 
discussions followed, in which the doctrines of the 
discourse were heartily endorsed. These sermons 
and discussions wrought great changes in the theo- 
logical views of these men, and the new ideas spread 
through the society. The minister, while slower to 
accept the new light, was drawn along toward it, so 
that when, in 1820, the society received an invitation 

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to send delegates to the ordination and installation 
of Rev. L.W. Leonard, as a Unitarian, over the Dublin 
parish, acceptance was given as a matter of course. 
Deacons Jonathan Smith and Nathaniel Holmes were 
the delegates, and Mr. Dunbar gave the charge to 
the people. So far as known, this was the first pub- 
lic admission by an)' one of the three that they were 
Unitarians. It is significant that on the Sunday fol- 
lowing this incident, which was September 6, 1820, 
the Lord's Supper was administered according to the 
Presbyterian form for the last tinie in the church. 
Two years later the Presbyterians withdrew entirely 
and formed a separate society. 

On the 2ist of June, 1801, the church adopted a 
new creed, embodying the substance of the covenant 
with the Apostle's Creed, to which all members of 
the church were required to subscribe. It shows 
how far the society had already swung off from the 
doctrines of Calvin. It is as follows: 

You believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker 
of Heaven and earth, and in a humble sense of your 
own unworthiness and dependence on His Grace in 
Jesus Christ, do give ourselves to Him in everlasting 
covenant not to be forgotten, and with j'ourself )'our 
seed after you in their several generations. 

In like manner you believe in the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who is the only begotten Son of the Pother, 
the Image of the invisible God — Immanucl — God 
manifest in the flesh, who was conceived by the pow- 
er of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suf- 
fered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and 

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buried, continued in the state of the dead and under 
the power of death till the third day, when he arose 
again, and having ascended into Heaven, doth sit at 
the right liand of God, the I'^ither Ahnighty, from 
whence He will come to judge the c[uick and the 
dead at His ap[)earing and kingdom. 

You give yourselves up to Him as the great Head 
of the church and Mediator of the new Covenant, 
acknowledging Him as the Prophet Priest and King 
of your salvation, relying on Him, the only Saviour, 
for pardon and justification, remission of sins and 
acceptance with God. 

You also believe in the Holy Spirit of God as the 
Guide, Comforter, and Sanctifier of the saints; )ou 
give yourselves up to Him, and trust in Him to lead 
you into the way of truth and holiness. 

In the firm belief of the great doctrines of our 
holy religion contained in the sacred writings, you 
heartily embrace them as the only rule of your faith 
and practice; and you sincerely piir])ose and resolve 
by divine assistance to live as the (irace of (iod that 
bringeth salvation, teaches; denying ungodliness 
and every worldl)' lust, living soberly, righteously 
and godly in the present world, to maintain the wor- 
ship of God in your family; to train up your children 
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to unite 
with us in maintaining the public worship of God in 
this place, and diligently to attend on t4ie institu- 
tions and ordinances of the Gospel; to submit to all 
regular and Scriptural (.liscipline in the church, and 
to contribute all in )'our power to the good order and 
reasonableness of these administrations. 

You promise to walk in wisdom toward those 
who are without, for the purpose of advancing the 
kingdom of Christ; to seek the peace and prosperity 
of Zion, and to endeavor, as much as in you lies, to 
live peaceably with all men. In a word, you re- 
solve, in the strength of God, to go on and persevere 
in the way of well-doing; to be faithful unto death, 

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' '. 1 


that you may receive a crown of life and enter into 
the joy of our Lord. Thus you believe; thus you 
profess; and thus, in reliance on divine aid, you re- 
solve and j)rouiise. 

We then, the church of Christ in this place, do 
you receive into our holy fellowship and coninum- 
ion; promise to discharge the duties C)f Christian 
love and brotherly watchfulness toward yuu; pray- 
ing that both you and we may be steadfast in this 
covenant, and adorn our sacred profession in all 
things; looking for that blessed h(jpe and the glori- 
ous appearing of the great Ciod and our Sayi(;ur 
|esus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen. 

The end of this l(;ng controversy came in 1S22, 
when a number of Presbyterians in the town i)eti- 
tioned the Londonderry Presbytery for leave to 
form a separate society. The Presbytery met at the 
residence of General John Steele to consider the re- 
quest. They were waited on by a committee of the 
Congregational Society consisting of Jonathan Smith, 
Samuel Smith, Nathaniel Homes, Jonathan Holmes, 
Hugh Miller and Samuel Moore, who were admitted 
to the meeting. The petition set forth that the sign- 
ers had always been Presbyterians, that Mr. Dunbar 
had been settled by a minority of the church, and 
that the Congregational Church had organized with- 
out a dismissal from the Presbytery; that though 
. they had been admitted to the communion of the 
Congregational Church occasionally, tliey were dis- 
satisfied with the connection; and that Mr. Dunbar 
had changed his theological views; for these reasons 


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1/6 IIDMK Ol'- Till: SMITH I'AMII.V. 

they wished to form a separate society. The com- 
mittee of the Conq^ref^Mtional Church dcnictl every 
one of these pro[)ositi(jiis, ami statetl the liistory ui 
the churcii previous to I\Ir. Dimbar's settlement, ap- 
pealed to the records of the church and the town, 
cited the deaHngs of the church with tlie petitioners, 
and said finally that as to the charge of iieres)', Mr. 
Dunbar himself was present and he could answer 
that. The committee's remonstrance ended with the 
statement that they objected to the grant of the peti- 
tion, not on the ground that it would operate injuri- 
ously to the Congregational Church, but that it was 
an uncharitable measure and a breach of contract on 
the part of the petitioners, injurious to their honor 
and to the cause of Christianity, thus wounded in 
the house of its professed friends; but they submit- 
ted the matter to tiie Reverend Presbytery to be 
decided as they considered the Divine glory and the 
interests of religion required. 

The discussion over the petition and the remon- 
strance was not reported, but from the well known 
character of the {)articipants was probably long and 
animated. The Presbytery set aside the charge of 
heresy on the ground that they had no right to hear 
it, but they granted the prayer of the petitioners, and 
the new society was organized. This rendered any 
investigation into the charge of heres)' unnecessary, 
although it could have been easily sustained. Some, 


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if not all, of the Congregational Committee were 
openly professed Unitarians, and it is hardl)' proba- 
ble that Mr. Dunbar himself, after his participation 
in the Dublin ordination of two years before, would 
have denied the allegation. With this division of 
the society, the theological controversy which had 
continued in it for nearly thirty years came to an 

Jonathan Smith was chosen one of the Deacons, 
or Riiliiu; h'KUM>, ot the vhuivh, N«>\ riwbri -'S, »;•)>). 
As we ha\e .ilroad\ said, he occupied ihc [)i)sitiun 
until his death in 1S42, a period of forty-three years. 
It was an office of more dignity and importance than 
it became in later years. Up to the passage of the 
Toleration Act, the church held the first place in 
public afiairs. Its business was transacted in town- 
meeting like other matters of municipal administra- 
tion, and its smallest concerns were brought there 
for discussion. Its offices were always filled b\' men 
of the highest character and influence in the com- 
munity, and they were held in great respect by the 

In June, 1804, the town voted that Robert Mori- 
son and Jonathan Smith be a committee "to check, 
admonish and restrain the people in our meeting- 
house from throwing down their scats after pra\-er 
in such .1 luile, instileiit and noi<\- man'.u'i ^<. u^ tv 
( oiMc a };i icvance, ioiiiplaincvl ol by the sincere 


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part of the coiiorcoation." The exphiiiation (>{ this 
is, that the pews were scpiare boxes; the seats<;" 
on hinges and were turned uj) when petjple stood up 
dnring prayer, and turned down aj^^ain as soon as tlie 
"Amen " was [)ronounced. The pra}ers were h>n<^, 
and no doubt the less tlevout let tlieni tlown at the 
close with a crack. Probably, also, niischievons 
boys and girls took delight in annoying a sancti- 
monious neighbor with the rat-tat-tat of the seats. 
The old poem describes it: 

"And when at last tl>c loud Amen 
Fell from aloft, how (jiiickly then 
The seats rame down with heavy rattle, 
bike niubkctry in hcrcest battle." 

The authorit)' of this vote in town-meeting and 
the firmness with which the committee discharged 
their duty soon cured the evil. 

Recordsof I" 1814, a liiblc Society was organized 

Bible Society. jp town, which was maintained down to 
1833. Jonathan Smith was one of its active mem- 
bers, and held the office of treasurer from its begin- 
ning to its dissolution. It appears that the organiza- 
tion of such a society had been under discussion for 
some time, and a beginning was made on Sunday, 
July 10, 1814, when a few members of the church 
met after morning service and chose a committee of 
twenty-two — among whom were Jonathan, Samuel 
and John Smith — to obtain subscriptions for the 


purchase of Bibles and Testaments. A committee, 
amonj^ whom were also the above named, was also 
appointed to consider the expediency of forming a 
Bible Societ)', witli instructions to report the follow- 
ing Sunda)'. This coimiiittee reported: 

1st. That they were in favor of establishing a 
Bible Society in this place. 

2d. That pains be taken to ascertain the funds 
that can be procured. 

3d. That as soon as suitable funds are procured, 
a committee be aiJ[)ointed to form a constitution for 
the society. 

On Monday, Jul)' 25th, the committee met at the 
house of Samuel Smith, and agreed upon the follow- 
ing plan for subscriptions: 

Every person subscribing fifty cents shall be 
entitled to draw a Testament; every person subscrib- 
ing seventy-five cents, a Bible; every person sub- 
scribing one dollar more than he draws out shall be 
entitled to vote on the appropriation of the charities 
of the Society." 

A draft for the subscription papers was then 
drawn up, and on the next Sunday they were given 
out to the general committee of twenty-two to circu- 
late and obtain subscriptions thereto. On Sunday, 
August 7th, the subscriptions amounted to two hun- 
dred and fifty dollars; August 14th, three hundred 
and fifty dollars; August 21st, three hundred and 
eighty dollars; September 7th it was ascertained 

/ ^ , ■" / /. 

- / 1 . . . . 


that nearly five hundred dollars had been pledged, 
and a committee was appointed to draft a constitu- 
tion, which reported the following Sunday. The 
draft was accepted, and the society was formally or- 
ganized. The first board or officers was as follows: 

President — John Smith. 

Vice-Presidents — James Wilson, Samuel Smith. 

Secretary — Rev. Elijah Dunbar. 

Treasurer — Jonathan Smith. 

Directors — For the southwest part of the town, 
Robert Morison, Nath'l Holmes, Sam'l Morison; for 
the southeast part of the town, Jonathan .Smith, 
James Porter, James Cunningham; for the center of 
the town, John White, David Carter, Daniel Abbott, 
John Scott; for the northwest part of the town, 
Thomas Steele, Sam'l Moore, Jonathan Faxon; for 
the northeast part of the town, Abram Holmes, Wm. 
Miller, Sam'l AUd; for the middle east part of the 
town, John Steele, Hugh Miller, Wm. Treadwell. 

Article four of the constitution defined tbe busi- 
ness of the President and Directors to be to endeavor 
by all expedient and proper measures to promote the 
ends of the institution, viz: the advancement of re- 
ligious knowledge and sound morality among the 
rising generation, and for the purposes of charity. 
The date of the annual meeting of the society was 
iixed for the P'riday previous to Rev. Dr. Morrison's 
Sacrament, and the membership fee was fixed at one 

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Sometime during the year that followed its organ- 
ization, Samuel Smith was appointed to wait u()un 
Lieutenant-Governor l'liilli[)s of Massachusetts, 
President of the Massachusetts Bible Societ)', to 
make incjuiries in regard to procuring Hibles of the 
stereotype edition from rhiladel[)hia. Governor 
Phillips not only gave the desired information, but 
presented the society with one hundred dollars, 
which, in the language of the records, "was an in- 
stance of munificent liberality and pious generosity 
as important and pecidiarly grateful to us as unso- 
licited and unexpected." The following year (1816), 
the cost of the Bibles having been ascertained (the 
stereotype edition probably), the price of subscrip- 
tion to the society was modified as follows: Every 
one paying fifty cents was entitled to a Testament; 
every one paying seventy-five cents, to a 13ible; every 
one paying one dollar, to a Bible and Testament; 
every one paying one dollar and a half, to two liibles. 
The directors were instructed "to call on the Treas- 
urer for as many books as he thought necessary to 
supply the subscribers on his list, and account to 
him for any books remaining, and give him the 
names of all those who had subscribed a dollar or 
more, which entitled them to become members of 
the society, and vote in its affairs and in the distri- 
bution of its charit}'." 

The society had sumo difficulty in getting an ac- 

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count from tlic coinniiltcc ol twenty-two ot the nuni- 
ber of subscrijjtions obtaincil and of tlic money col- 
lected. y\fterthe delinquents had been twice called 
on they handed in a rejiort October 13, i.SiG, and it 
was found that seventy-four -Hfty-eight men and 
sixteen women -were entitled io full membership. 
Among the men were John, Jonathan, Samuel, Wil- 
liam, Jeremiah ancl h'rederick Augustus Smith, and 
among the women were Margaret, Nancy, .Sally, 
Harriet, Louisa, Betsey and I'oUy Smith — all rela- 
tives of the Treasurer. This year the date of the 
annual meeting was changed to the first Sunday in 
November, and the number of Directors was reduced 
to seven. It was also voted to distribute ninety 
Bibles and fifteen Testaments as charitable donaticjns 
to various persons recommended by the Directors. 

No meetings were held from 1817 to 1S20. Octo- 
ber 14, 1821, the society met for re-organi/ation. In 
the interval its President, John Smith ("Squire 
John")," had died, and others of its officers liad de- 
ceased or left town. .Samuel Smith was chosen 
President, and continued in the j)osition until its dis- 
solution in 1833. A committee was chosen to audit 
the accounts of the Treasurer and report what dis- 
position should be made of the funds. The com- 
mittee met at Jonathan Smith's house, and there 
drew up the following report: 

They find the Treasurer's accounts well vouched 

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and rightly cast, and tliat there is due him from the 
Society the sum of seventy-one cents. 

They also report that the interest of the Phillips 
Fund would amount to $45.25 on the 3d of March 
next, which they advise shovild be spent in the fol- 
lowing manner: 1st. In the purchase of 250 copies 
of the Boston catechism (Dr. Channing's) for the 
use of the schools; 2d. In the purchase of a set of 
tracts of the Christian Tract Society for the purpose 
of })remiums to those scholars who shall excel at the 
Sunday Schools in conunitting to memory the Scrip- 
ture lessons assigned to them; 3d. That the Bibles 
remaining on hand be used to form the highest prize, 
or reward of merit, in said schools; 4th. That a sub- 
scription pa[)er, to be furnished by the Secretary, be 
handed about by the School Agent in each District, 
to obtain a suiTicient sum to com[)ensate the Sunday 
Schocjl instructors for the summer service; 5th. The 
committee recommend that the mode of reward by 
tickets, to be reckoned up at the end of the school, 
and to answer to each holder as so much money and 
that money to be paid in tracts or books, be adopted 
by the Society in reference to the Sunday Schools. 
James Smith of Cavendish has kindly promised to 
transmit us a written account of their method in the 
Sunday schools in Vermont. 6th. The committee 
recommend that the schoolmasters to be engaged 
for the ensuing winter be contracted with by tke 
agents of the several districts to catechise the chil- 
dren in the Boston Catechism every Saturday noon. 
7th. The Committee recommend that the Treasurer 
be desired to procure immediately 250 copies of the 
Boston Catechism and to deliver the same (in pro- 
portion to the taxes of the several districts) to some 
suitable person in each district. 8th. The commit- 
tee recommend that the minister appoint the por- 
tions of .Scripture to be committecl to memory by 
the scholars in the Sunday Schools, and furnish the 
instructors with a list of those passages, and of any 

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hymns or Psalms ho may jud^'c most expedient. 
9th. The committee recommend that it be enjt;ined 
on the instructcjrs of tlie Sunday Scliools to teach 
the scholars the Lord's Prater, the Ten Command- 
ments, the Apostles' Creed, the select [)urtions of 
Scripture, and select Psalms and hymns assigned by 
the minister, and to teach them the Boston Cate- 
chism; but it is not e.x[)eeted that thuse instructors 
will comment on the Scriptuies." 

The elaborate scheme was evidcnll)- the work of 
Mr. Dunbar, the chairman of the committee. The 
records of the society, however, do not show that it 
was ever ado[)ted. It was submitted at the annual 
meeting held November 4th of that year (1821) and 
"received with a})probation;" but owing to the 
stormy weather there were few members present, 
and further consideration of it was postponed until 
the next Sunday, to which time the election of offi- 
cers was also deterred. If any action was then taken 
upon it the vote is not recorded, nor is there any 
further allusion to it in the records. It ma)' well be 
supposed that a plan so far reaching, if faithfully 
carried out, would, in the then excited state of theo- 
logical opinion, e.xcite vigorous opposition. Hut 
there is neither written record nor tradition to tell 
us what its fate was. There is no record of any oth- 
er meeting of the society until 1833. 

When that time came, great changes had taken 
place in the town. The Presbyterian .Society had 
been organized, and Mr. Uunbar, through the oppo- 

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sition of the younger iiienibers in his society, had 
been com])ellecl to resign liis charge. These events 
seem to have put the Bible Society in eclipse, from 
which it emerged in 1833 only to dissolve. At a 
meeting held November 2d of that 3'ear it was voted 
to expend the funds of the society in the purchase of 
books, and that the books be on church history, 
ecclesiastical biograph)', sermons and commentaries. 

"Voted — That this Library when organized, shall, 
if the town concur, be placed under the management 
of the oflicers of the Town Library now in contem- 
plation by the town." A committee was also chosen 
" to make a selection of books, to wit: Deacon Smith, 
Deacon Field, Esq. Robbe, and Robert White." The 
society then adjourned sine die. 

Jonathan Smith was one of the few original mem- 
bers present at this meeting. He had worked loyally 
for its interests throughout its whole active life, and 
now he was chairman of the committee that per- 
formed its obsequies and gave it honorable buri^al. 
It had exerted much inHuence for good, and had 
been the agent for placing the Hible in every I'ctcr- 
borough home. Whatever of success it liad had was 
due in no small measure to his intelligent and zeal- 
ous labors in its behalf. 

During all these years he labored diligently and 
faithfully for his church. The question of repairing 
the old meeting-house on the hill agitated the town 

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for several years. He was one of a committee of 
the town to projjose to the pew-holders (June ii, 
l8l6,) that the town sliouKl |)a)' one-half the e.xjjense 
of repairs ufjon it. and the pew-holders should give 
a bond to j^ay the other half. The proposal was re- 
ceived unfavorably, and it was decided to build on 
some other spot. The location of the new church 
was the subject of much debate, and a committee 
made up of gentlemen from other towns was called 
in to advise. After many surveys, they selected a 
site about half way between the General James Wil- 
son corner and the old cemetery, on the west side of 
the street road; but this also proved unsatisfactory. 
Other committees were appointed, and on one of 
these (May, 1819) Jonathan Smith served. There- 
suit of all the deliberations was the present Unitarian 
Church building in the centre village. 

Besides his services in the business affairs of the 
church, he was well known as the minister's right 
hanci man. lie was a dek:gate to nearly every ordi- 
nation and installation to which the church was 
invited; his house was the home of visiting clergy- 
men; and he was ever the trusted friend and coun- 
sellor of Mr. Dunbar. The natural bent of his mind, 
his extensive religious reading and his firm belief in 
the church as the greatest factor for good in the 
community, made him naturally a leader in his own, 
in which no event took place between L795 and 1842 

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Desujneu liY Charles Bulfincii, uk Boston. 


that he was not an acti\c and intelligent participant. 
His growing mind and liis ojjenness of intellectual 
and moral vision kept him lully abreast of the best 
religious thought of the time, and the ra[)id evolu- 
tion of theological 0[)inion always found him in the 
lead of those who were seeking new light and more 
reasonable forms of religious ex])ression. 

i; ''lit U, ■-■ - . : T • i:)' 



Belknap's "Were I to form a [licturc of a happy 

New Hampshire, society," says that old worthy, Jeremy 
Belknap, "it would be a town consisting of a due 
mixture of hills, valleys, and streams of water; the 
land well fenced and cultivated; the roads and 
bridges in good re[:)air; a decent inn for the refresh- 
ment of travellers, and for public entertainments; 
the inhabitants mostly husbandmen; their wives and 
daughters domestic manufacturers; a suitable pro- 
portion of handicraft workmen, and two or three 
traders; a physician and a lawyer, each of' whom 
should have a farm for his suj^port. A clergyman 
of any denomination which should be agreeable to 
the majority, a man of good understanding, of a can- 
did disposition and exemplary morals; not a meta- 
physical, nor a polemic, but a serious and practical 
preacher. A schoolmaster who should understand 
his business and teach his pupils to govern them- 
selves. A social library, annually increasing, and 

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under good regulation. A club of sensible men seek- 
ing mutual improvement. A decent musical society. 
No intriguing politician, horse jockey, gambler or 
sot; but all such characters treated with contempt. 
Such a situation may be considered as the most 
favourable to social ha[)piness of any which this 
world can afford." 

This might have been written in 1S99 instead of 
1792. The writer has always found the [MCture here 
presented most attractive. Not the least of its 
attractions to his miml is that it is not difficult of 
realization; it would n(jt be in the New England of 
today, where the country village is often said, and 
sometimes with truth, to represent the survival of 
the unfittest. 

He is not prepared to assert that Peterborough 
was ever this ideal community of Dr. lielknap, but 
he thinks it was never so near being such as in I he fust 
quarter of the present century. What was it thai 
brought about the change that was plainly visible a 
few years later, and caused so many of the young 
people to seek new homes? Was it American rest- 
lessness? Was it the Scotch-Irish preference for the 
outposts of civilization? W'as it that, the first rich- 
ness of the soil being exhausted, the hard conditions 
under which they must earn a living in New luigland 
had become apparent, and they desired to better 

.iM irvi 


In 1831, Jonathan Smith's oldest son, Jonathan 
Smith, Jr., was practicinf^ his profession at iJath; 
William, the secoiui son, had for several )ears hem 
engaged in trade at or near the centre of the town; 
John, the third son, and Jeremiah, the youngest, then 
a lad of sixteen years, were still at home, as were the 
two younger daughters. John had already accumu- 
lated some money in buying woodland and clearing 
it of the wood. The new states bordering on the 
Mississippi were in process of settlement, and pre- 
sented very flattering inducements to young men of 
energy and ambition. Many were seeking new 
homes there. Some had already gone from Peter- 
borough; others were seriously considering the cjues- 
tion of going, among them William Smith, Captain 
Timothy Fox, his brother-in-law, and several of the 
cousins. Jonathan Smith discovered that John was 
strongly inclined to join them, and it was then that 
he told him he had always intended him to do what 
he himself had done forty years before, viz: .'vtay at 
home, take the farm and care for his parents in their 
old age. With some reluctance, John finally agreed 
to do so. 

There is something pathetic in this act of the son 
in surrendering his own ambition to his parents' 
wishes. It required a strong sense of duty and great 
self-denial in a young man of industry, energy, and 
some capital, ambitious to avail himself of the op- 

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portunities which the West then presented of mak- 
ing for himself a place and a name, to waive them 
all for the sake of caring for his [)arents in their old 
age. It is a story connnon to many New hLngland 
homes. Those who went achieved not always suc- 
cess, but it was the rule and not the exception; those 
who staid behind had not always failure for their 
portion, but it was likewise the rule and not the ex- 
ception; and where the rule holds good in both 
cases the story has some elements of tragedy. The 
son's decision meant far more to him than he knew. 
With his mental traits and temper, life on a New 
Hampshire farm was the very last he should have 
chosen. Probably he reali/.ed this later in life; at 
any rate, those nearest him did. In his later )ears 
he sometimes spoke not without a tinge of sadness 
of the different lot that might have been his could 
he have carried out his wish to go away. The hard 
labor and circumscribed life of the New l^ngland 
farmer, wliile they never dulled his moral sensil^ili- 
ties or made him sour or misanthropic, did slowly 
wither his natural energy and ambition, and did 
change him materially in other ways. For his great 
self-sacrifice his children fondly believe he has his 

He stipulated that before taking charge of the 
homestead he should go on a journey to the West to 
see the land he had renounced. This was assented 


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to, and the following" suniLiier (1832), in com[)any 
with James Walker, he set ovit. lie visited Cincin- 
nati, St. Louis, Montebellij and various other jjlaces, 
travellin<; wholly liy statue coach, and returning Ij)' 
way of Buffalo and the l^rie Cc\nal. Upon his return 
the farm was formally made over to him. The agree- 
ment was that he should have a conveyance of one- 
half of the home farm, which included what was left 
of the Cady lot, making one liundretl and sevent)'- 
thrce acres. The deed is dated IJecember 25, 1S33, 
and the consideration is fifteen hundred dollars, 
thesame as that named in the deed Jonathan Sniith 
had received fr(jm his father forl)-two years before. 
In this case, as in that, it is probable that no money 
passed between father and son, although the latter 
could have paid had it been required. Nancy Smith 
did not release her dower. 

Jonathan Smith was now free from all care, but 
he occupied himself in various ways. Before and 
aftef the conveyance of his farm to his son, he set- 
tled many estates in the Probate Court, ilis advice 
and assistance were still sought by his neighbors in 
their business ventures, and both were rendered with 
the tact and good sense which had distinguished 
him all his life long. The interests of the church 
still continued uppermost with him. He gave to his 
church all the time and service it would receive 
from him until the end. 

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Only once after his retirement was he called upon 
to take part in any public function, and that was at 
the centennial of 1839. lie was chosen president of 
the day, and the success of the celebration was owing 
in no small degree to the tact and good judgment 
with which he discharged the duties of the position. 
He felt the responsibility keenly, and his anxiety 
disturbed his sleep for many nights before the event- 
ful day. But his fellow-citizens had long since found 
him out and did not share his fears. When the day 
came he performed the duties of presiding ol'licer 
with dignity and efficiency. His speech at the open- 
ing of the exercises is brief, but singularly happy, 
and we give it here entire. It was in response to 
the following toast: 

"The memory of the early settlers of Peter- 
borough: Let us not forget the perils and hardships 
they endured while we are enjoying in peace and 
plent)' the fruits of their labors." 


The sentiment just read relates to the sufferings 
and hardships of our fathers in their first settlement 
in this place. The orator of the day has related 
many incidents of the perils they endured, yet the 
half has not been told. I well recollect many of the 
meetings of the first settlers at my father's house 
and elsewhere, when they used to relate the priva- 
tions, hardships and dangers of their first settlement; 
and it seemed as if the)' were enough to break down 
their spirits and cast a gloom over every coiuite- 
nance. Was it so? No. Notwithstanding all they 

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suffered and all they feared, there was a joyful 
countenance — there was more mirth, pleasantry, wit 
and humor at tiiat time than at the ijrcscnt. There 
was another good thing attending these meetings: 
there was more friendship toward one another, more 
acts of kindness in relieving each other in their dis- 
tress. The singing of the old Scotch songs generally 
closed these meetings. 

In truth, their lives v\ere soldiers' lives, though 
they were not so well fed or chjthed. These scenes 
and trials admirably fitted them for brave and hardy 
soldiers to tight our battles and gain oiu" indepen- 
dence. If the times and conditions of the country 
raised up men eminently c]ualified to lead our armies, 
no less did they raise up soldiers, making them 
patient of suffering, persevering, and confident of 
success. Had it not been for this, v\e have no rea- 
son to believe that we shoukl have gained our inde- 
pendence. Now shall their sons, well clothed and 
fed and at their ease, lose what their fathers gained? 
I hope not; but that the same I)ivine Hand that so 
abundantl)' sustained and cherished their fathers in 
attaining will also quality them to keep and improve 
the blessings they enjoy, and that another century 
from this will find a i)eoi)le here improved in all 
knowledge and virtue and every moral princi[)le, so 
that our indejiendence will be preserved to the latest 

Jonathan Smith died August 29, 1842, of t)'phoid 
fever, after an illness of only seven days. The year 
was a fatal one for his family. His brother Samuel 
died April 25th, aged seventy-five years; his brother 
James, August iith, at Cavendish, Vermont, aged 
eighty-six years; and his eminent brother, Jeremiah, 
October 21st, at Dover, New Hampshire, aged 
eighty-two years. 

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Up to his last illness he was in full enjoyment of 
his mental and physical powers. His health had 
always been ^^ood, and his mental powers, which 
were lon<^ in maturing, remained clear and bright, 
permitting him to enjoy to the utmost the privileges 
and opportunities of a ripe old age. 

Mis estate was never settled in the Probate Court, 
and it is not known whether he left any property 
beside his half interest in the home place. Four 
years after his death his other children quitclaimed 
their interest in it to his son John, and thus the title 
was again united in his family successor at the old 

No portrait of him exists, but we know some- 
thing of his personal appearance from those now 
living who remember him. He was a broad-shoul- 
dered, well built man, thinner than some of his broth- 
ers, about six feet in height, and from one hundred 
and ninety to two hundred pounds in weight. His 
eyes were -gray and his hair dark brow n. Alter mid- 
dle life his hair turned white and grew thin on the 
top of his head, but he was never bald. He greatly 
resembled his elder brother Jeremiah, but he was not 
so fine-looking as the Judge. In his old age he had 
more the manner and bearing of a retired profes- 
sional man than a New England farmer. His form 
and carriage were erect to the last and showed few 
of the withering effects of age. He always carried 

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a cane, and sonic now living recall him and it as in- 
separable companions. In summing up his charac- 
ter, one who knew him well has thus described him: 

His knowledge was not very general, though he 
was a great reader, and on some subjects remarkably 
well informed. His reading hatl been largely of a 
theological character, and on this subject few were 
so intelligent as he. He was always ready to defend 
his faith, and could give his reasons for it with clear- 
ness and force. He was a man of kindly affections 
and feelings, rather more read)' to forgive an injury 
than to forget it." 

He was known throughout the town as " Deacon 
Smith," as was his son John after him. He was gen- 
tle and dignified in manner, fond of children, and in 
his latter years a great favorite with them. His 
cheerful, genial ways and talk captivated them, and 
it was always a privilege to them to be admitted to 
his room. He often made their cause his own. He 
never lost his fondness for music, and sang the 
hymns of his churcii with zeal and fervor down to 
his latest days. His wife joined him in singing, and 
one of their favorites was the f'ortuguese Hymn. In 
disposition, he was retiring and modest, never put- 
ting himself forward in jjublic affairs. He was one 
of those rare men who seem to live in constant fear 
lest people find them out, and though in the course 
of his life he filled nearly every important office in 
town, and some of them many times, yet they all 

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came to him unsolicited. I lis whole life was seem- 
in^ly {.i^overned and directed by the pledges of his 
church covenant, which he gave in early manhood, 
and in which arc prescribed the duties of a sincere 
church member to his family, to his neighbors and 
to' the world. In the words of the one above cited, 
"He was a good man; good without pretension and 
without ostentation. He lived and died on the spot 
where he was born. He went down to his grave like 
a shock of corn fully ri[)e, with as pure and upright 
a character as falls to the lot of few mortals here 

Fitiis vitae. 

1 ;.! 

V/ .111 ! 



In these pages the old home has been often 
spoken of as " Mhii Mill." The origin of this appel- 
lation is worth preserving. In the fall of 1859, a 
granddaughter of Jonathan Smith, and living at the 
place, was a student at the village academy. She 
had assigned to her for an exercise in l{nglish the 
writing of a composition, and she chose tor her sub- 
ject, "The Autobiography of a Cat," one of her pets. 
"What name shall I call the cat's home?" she asked 
of her mother, who was heljiing her through the 
troublesome exercise. "Call it 'Kim Hill,'" was 
her mother's reply. The aptness of the name was 
immediately recognized by the family, and they 
always spoke of their home as 'l^^lm Hill" after- 

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.c.--"l 7/ 


Al.I.D. William. 87. 9i, 95. 
Annan, Kev. Uavia, 5;, J03, 107, 
i_5o, 1 06, 1 01). 

BARN Hill, y iS. 
Ik'lknap, I)r. Jeremy, his ideal 
town. 1S8, 189. 
liell, James, 3. 
Samuel, 3. 
John, 3. 
Mrs., 4. 
Bible Society, 178, 185. Members of, 

182; oflicers of, 180, 182. 
Blanchard, Jolham, 87, 88, 89,93, 94. 95- 
liridge, Mr., 3.1. 

CADY J.ot, Purchace of, 117. 
Carlyle, 'I'tujmas, 10. 11,19. 

Church in I'eterborougli, 105. 106, 107. 
Changes in, loO, 107, 172; change to 
C()nt;regational( 107, 108, 166, 167; 
change in music of, 163, 164; pro- 
test over music, 16a; changes in its 
creed, 166, 167, i(j8, 173; action of 
Presbyterians, 169, 170, 171; num- 
I er of members of, 170; Ijecomes 
Linitarian, 17^; division of, 175, 176; 
disturbances in, 177, 178; its creed, 
167, 168, 173. 

Clay pits, 66. 

Comjiess, Provincial, 85, 86; County, 

Constitutions of State, dealings with, 
91,92. 93.94- 

Courts, Justice in Peterborough, 99. 

Cunningham's lliAt. of Lunenburg, 6. 

Cunningham, Samuel, 87. 89, 94, 98. 

DUNBAR, Rev. Elijah, 108,109, 131, 
148, 165, 167, 161;, 170. 171, 173, 175, 
176, 177, 180, 184, 186. 

ELM Hill, when laid in lots. 33; first 
settled, 32, 34, lots, plan of, jj. 34; 
description of, 33, 34; lirst owner 
of, 34; farm, description of, 31;; In- 
dian alarm at, 48; home, its fur- 
nishing, 49; home, the food at, 50; 
log cabin at, 50; labor customs at, 
51; family worshipat, 52,133; deaths 
at, 56, 58; sickness at, 57; tiax cul- 
ture at, 59; first barn at, 65; descrip- 
tion of house at, 66, 67; buildings 
at, 67, 68; deed of, 71, 73, 101; deed. 

conditions in, 73; farm road through 
80; conveyed to Jonathan Smitn, 
101, 117; work at, 123; improve- 
ments at. I.'.4, 125, 128, 130; trees 
planted at, 125; its attractiveness, 
125; home life at, 131, 132; testi- 
niony of Dr. Morison, 131; family 
Worship at, 52, 133, 162, i()3; its hos- 
I)itality, i3(>; cider at. 13S; prices of 
produce at, 139; e.xperimeiit in silk 
culture at, 142; deaf hs at, 145. 
English persecutions of Scotch-Irish, 11 

r-ARNSWORTH, A. A., 7. 

*■ Ferguson, Henry, 85, <>6, 98, 109. 

Pield, Joliiij 7, i()9, 185. 

Flagg marriages, 38. 

Flax culture, 59, 60; tools of, 61, 62. 

I'^oster, Mrs. Nancy Smith, 42, 138, 146; 

her experiment in silk culture, 142; 

her education, 146. 
Fowle, John jr., 2j, 26, 68, &>. 
Fronde's Life of Carlyle, 10, 11. 
F'uneral customs, 53, 56, 57. 

pOWlNG, Moses, 48, 121. 

^— • (iridley, Jeremiah, 25, 26, 68, 69. 

IJARKNESS, Mary, 3, 37; her inar- 

1 1 ringe, 3, 37. 

Henderson, 48, 49. 

Hill, John, 25, 26, 34, 68, 69, 72, 73. 

IN1)1.\NS, annoyance by, 26. 27. 
Indian wars, 26, 27; raids by. 23, 27; 
fear of, 26, 27, 29, 30, 63; alarm at 
Elm Hill, 48, 49. 
Ireland, Conquest of, i; settlement of, 
1, 2. * 

USTICE of Peace, 98, 91). 
lustice of Courts, 99. 


T lBJ<ARy, Town, 157, i58, 159, 162. 
*— , Londonderry, i, 2, 3, 4, 35. 

Londonderry l^resoytery, 54, 55, lU), 
170, 175, 176. 

Lough Neagh, i. 

Lunenburg, 3, 4, 5, 22, 24; Cunning- 
ham's History of, 6; schools of, 
18; tanning industry in, 19; emi- 
grants from, first settlers of I'eter- 
oorough, 28. 

Lowland Scotch, 1, S, 10. 

•^ i; 

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, lU 



MASSACHUSETTS, action of I.t 
(iov. and Council on petition, 30. 
McCoy. _Ji'un, 70. 

William, 73, 74. 
McCreyor, i\ev. James, 11; sermon of, 

McNee. Sarah, 3, 7, iio. 

William, 3, Si, 8j, S;, 103, 105, 167. 
MeetiiiK-liouse, buiKliiiij of, i>5, 90. 
Miller, Mr., 40, j2, 43. 
Minister, the deference to, 54 , tirst set- 
tled, 83; salary of, S3; lots of land 
given to the, S3. 
Mitciiell, Samuel, Si, 82, 94, 103. 
Moore, Kev. Abram, 107, 166. 
Samuel, 37, 42, 51, 55, S2, 8i>, 90, 03, 94, 

103, 105, 175, iSo. 
Zephaniali Swift, 107, 108, 166. 
Moneymoie, i, 2, 4. 

Morison, Elizabeth, 114. 115, 165; mar- 
riage of, 35, 37; removal to Peter- 
borough, 38; her ancestry, 39, 55: 
character, 39, 40; energy and indus- 
try, 40, 41, 44. 45; courage, 41; 
family discipline, 42, 43. 44, 45; sing- 
ing, 43, 165; religious faitli, 45, 46, 
52, 36; old age, 4f>; death, 47; chil- 
dren, 47, 114; Indian Iright. 4S, fam- 
ily worshij), 52; skill witii Hax, hi. 
11 albeit, 69, 73. 
Hannah, 47. 

Dr. John H., T.q, 40,43, 47. 53, 58, 121. 
his tribute to the family hie at Elm 
Hill, 131. 
Margaret, 37. 
Moses, 67 68. 69 
Nathanial, 126, 127. 
Nathaniel H., 31. 
Robert, 69. 

Samuel, 62, 126, 127, 180. 
TlKjmas, 3, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32, 35, 37, 
48, 1)1, 6s, 69, 82, 94. 
Morrison, Rev. John, 83, 84. 

Kev. WilTiani, 171. 
Muipus IJrook, 5. 

PETI'IRBORDLUHI lirst surveyed, 
25; first attempt to settle, 2b; how 
laid out, 25; permanent settlement 
of, 26, 27; Indian depredations, 
26; Indian fears in, 26, 21/, 62; 
migration to, 28; settlers ask pro' 
tectioii, 29; hrst called, 29; church 
customs in, 5J, 54; pre. idling in, its 
character, 53; temperance in, ^41 
funeral customs in. 55, 5!). co oper- 
ation among people of, 58. 5<>; flax 
culture in, 59,60; petiliun to (iov. 
Wentvvorth. 03; during Kevolulion, 
75, 87, 88, b<.), ip, 91; contribution to 
army, 75; distress in on account of 
war, 75; early ditliculties of town 
of, 78, 79; lirst minister of, 83: 
ary of tirst minister, S3; iJeclii.i- 
tion of Independence, S4; soldieis' 

accounts, 87, 88, 89, tyo, 91; soldiers' 
bounties, Sy; action uf town in Kev- 
oliitioii.iry War, S<). 90; de.ilings 
with State Constitution, 91, 92, 9;, 
94. 95; liist |u.iliie ill, 9S; Justice 
Courts ill, c/.^; schijol-, (»t, 114. 115; 
second manufactuiiiigcoiiK. ration, 
126, 127; second manufactiiiing cor- 
l)oration, stockholders ot, 12O; man- 
ufacturing industries of , 127: lariu- 
iiig in, 135, 139; prices of produce in, 
139, 140; ni.inufacturing in, 154; be- 
giiininj^s of libr.iry in, 157, 158, 159; 
IJible .Society, 17S, 1S5: its organiza- 
tion, i7,S; its ofticers, iSo; meiulx-rs 
of, iSj; its work, 1S5; its dissolution, 
1S5; town fiom 1800101825, 188.189. 

Petition ol .settlers to M.iss. I.t. (iov. 
.lud Council, 29; .ictioii upon, 30. 

Petition ol settlers to N. 11. (iov. and 
Council, 63; signers to, 29, 63, fate 
of, 05. 

Presbyterians, 105, 108, 166, 167, i6(j, 170, 
171, 172, 173, 175, 176; form new 
church, 175, 176, 177. 

Prescott, Jonathan, 26. 
Peter, 25, 26. 33, 34. 

Proprietors of Peterborough, 25; vote 
of, 25; lay out lots, 25, 33; condi- 
tions inseited in deeds by, 72; lay 
out street road, 79. 

Provincial Congress, 85, 86. 

troubles in, 87, 88,89, 'p, 91; closed, 
91; changes in u-hgious creeds 
wrought by, 105, 106. 

Road, Street. 23, 26, 79. 

Uoad south ol Wm. Smith's, 79, 80; 
changed, 80. 

Revisions of State Constitutions, 91, 
9>,93, 94- 

Robbe, Alexander. 30, Si, 85, 9J, 94, 95. 98. 
lohn, Ki. 
\Vilhani, •30, <j6. 

Ritchie Hill, Port on, 30, 49, ()2, 79. 

SCH0Ol,S of Peterborougli, 114, 115, 

Scotch, The, their taste for military 
life, 12; their character and traits, 
10, 11, 12; life of, in Scotland, 10, 11. 

Scott, John, 128, 129. 

Scotcli-lrish, Emigration of, 1,2, 4, 10; 
intermarriage with English, iVc, 
10; character of, 10, 16; departuie 
of for .America, ii; reasons for, 11; 
persecution of, in Ireland, 11; their 
push for frontier, 12: inteilectu il 
powers, 12; humor of the. 13; per- traits of, 12, i.i, 14; loyalt> to 
their religious faith, 13, 14; love of 
the Uible, 14, 15; political views, 
14; f.unily worship aiiioiig the, 14, 
15; devotion to the church, 14, 15; 


■'■■■' rv' 

ir, .,;,;V!> 



zeal for education, 15, 16; observ- 
ance of Sunday, I'l; tlu'ir liard la- 
bor, 19; industry of the women, 20; 
annisenients of the, 20, 21; sports 
of, 21, 22; marriage Lustonis of, 35, 
3S; funeral riistonis, 56; the wake 
anions the, ji), cu-ojjeration among, 
58, 5v; tiieir relii^ious creed, 105. 

Scotcli, Lowland, Character of, 8, 10; 
political and relijjions views of, 8. 

Scotch rresbytLriails, I'lieolofy of, 0, 

Settlers of I'eterborough, their fear of 
Indians, 26; permanent occupation 
by, 27; pi-titiiin to Mass., 29; mai^ 
riatie cusUuus of, 35; funeral cus- 
toms, 56; the wake amonjj, 50; pe- 
tition to Gov. of New llampsiiire, 
63; co-operation amon{», 58, 59: dif- 
licnlties of, yS, 79. 
Silk culture at Elm Hill, 142. 
Smith, Betsey, her wedding outfit. 141; 
education, 145. 
Caroline, 14(1. 

lilizabeth, 2, 17: marriage of, 2; 
cliurcli nieml)ership, 2, 4, 6; death 
of, 7: burial of, 8. 
Eli/.abetli (wifeot William), 114, 115, 
in;; maiii.ige of, 35,37; her an- 
cestry, 39, 53; character, 39, 40; 
energy and industry. 40, 41,44,45; 
courage. 41; family discipline, ji, 
43- 4')> 45; niusical powers, 43,105; 
religious faith, 45, 46. 52, 5f); okl 
age, 46; death, 47; cliililren, 4", 
ii.j; Indian fright, 48: family wor- 
ship, 52; attention to flax culture, 

James, 1,2, 
anies (son of William), 103, 116, 119, 
19(; his military service, 77; 
death, v).\. 
Jeremiah, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 51, 99, 
100, 101, 114, 116, 119, 135, 194, 195; 
military service, 77; liis death, 194. 

iereniiah (son of Jonathan), 145. 190. 
ohn, 3,28,30,31,37, 50,68,73,^4,85; 
marriage of^3:"eniigratioh to I'e- 
terborough. 28. 

John (".Squire John"), 40, 70, 85, 103, 
114, 116, 119, 127, 167; military 
service of, 76; death of, 120, 121; 
connection with Bible Society, 
178, 18;; i)resident of, 180. 

John (son of joiiitiian), 105, 119, 123, 
130, 132, i9j; luuchase of real es- 
tate. 119; his education, 145; mu- 
sical gifts, 44, 165; desire to go 
West, 190; is asked to stay at 
home 190; trip West, 191; his sac- 
rilice, 191: receives deed of one- 
halt of I'^ni Hill, 192; receives 
deed of whole estate, 195. 

Jonathan, 46, 74, 103, 114, 125, 129, 135. 
'f^. '75i '77i 17S, 180, 182, 185; re- 

ceives conveyance of farm, 101; 
chosiMi deacon of church. 105; ed- 
ucation of, 115, 116; birth ol, 115; 
purchases of real estate, 116, 117, 
iiS, 119, 120, 121; his ideas of 
farming, 121. 122; his industry, 
123; improvements in his farm, 
124; interest in manufacturing, 
I26j 127; investments in manufac- 
turing, 126; improvements in 
buildings, 128, 130; his marriage, 
130; his children, 131; his iiome 
life, 131; family discipline, 132, 
133; piety, 133; love of books and 
reading, 134, 135, 157; neighborly 
kindness, 135, 136, 137; charity, 
137; death of his children, IJ3; 
Ills self-possessioiij 143; public 
services, 147; services to the 
scIkjoIs. 147; services as select- 
man, 148, 149; elected to the Leg- 
islature, 149, 150; his committee 
assignments, 149, 150, 151, 132; 
speech on ajjpiopriatifm for in- 
sane asylum, 151, 152; his resolu- 
tion in lx;half of Lafayette, 152; 
political action, 153; sjieecli on 
ta.xation, 154; services to the li- 
br.iry, 157, 158; report on the 
library, 159: services to the town, 
160; services to the church, 162, 
185, 186, 192, loyalty to his ciuirch, 
163: musical talents, 163; leads 
singing in the church. 163, 165; 
votes to call .\ Moore, \tyo; 
votes to call Z. S. Moore, i()6; 
chosen deacon, 105, 167. 177; his 
church creed, 167; his loyalty to 
his minister, 170, 186; becomes 
Unit.uian, 173; work for the Bi- 
ble Society, 17S, 185; couimitlee 
to locate new meeting. liou-,e, i8(); 
his Probate business, 192; ton- 
\eys one-half his farm to his son. 
192, president of the centennial 
celebration, 193; his speech as 
president, 193, 194; his death, 19.1; 
physical appearance. 195; his 
ciiaracter, 196. 
Jonathan (son of Jonathan). 135. 190; 
his education, 1.(4. professional 
standing, 144; eminence as a law- 
yer, 145; liis ciiaracter and death, 
Mary, 3, 35, 37; marriage of, 3. 
Mary (daugliter of Jonathan), her 
wedding outfit, 140; her educa- 
tion, 14O; marriage, 146. 
Nancy, her marriage, 130; education 
and character, 130, 131; home life. 
131. 136; children, 131; family 
tliscipline, 132,13?; wedding out- 
fit. 138; death of hei children, 
143; di)es not join in deed, 192. 
Nancy (daughter of Jonathan), 42, 

'.'111 ■- /ll' 


,,' ,hj /^i..'', 1 firs. ■; J, 


•;'t '■, 



138, 146; her experiment in silk 
culture, 142; her eiliiL.ition, 146. 

Robert, I, 2, J, 16, 17, iS; liis eaily 
life 2; hard-ihips. j; ancestry, 2; 
education, 2; occupation, .;, d, 7; 
marriage. 2; ciiikhen, 3, 4; i-nii- 
fjration to Aniurica, 4; brotliers 
of, 4; liib proijerty, 4, 9; farm of, 
4, 5, 6; taxes of, s, ^' '•'* tr.uli-, 
7; renK)val to IVtei borough, 7; 
his death. 8; church membership, 
6. 7; grave of, i>; his political and 
religious views, i>, 9; industry and 
thrift, 9, 

Robert (son of William). 70, 84, 85, 
loH; his military service, 76. 

Sanuiel, 44, wj. loj, 114, ij9, 163, 167, 
172, 17^, 17S.179, 180, iSi, 182; his 
education, 114; nianufacluriiig 
enterprises, 126, 127; his death, 

ijarah, 3. 
William, 3, 7, 8, 16, 17. 18, 22, 23, 24, 28, 

3>.34, 35, .37, 38,42, 43, 5o, 5', 52, 
55, 5<J, 57, 5S, 65, 67, 6S, 70, 73- 74, 
78, 79. 80, 81, 82, 83, 8H. 89, 93. 95, 
c/), 98, 103, io5, 107, 108, 114, 115, 
117, 125, 129, 130, lU)-, early 
education, 17. 18; skill in pen- 
manship, 17; liis lite in l.unen- 
burg, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24; milit.iry 
service, 22, 23; military titles, 23; 
leaves Lunenburg, 2 tj arrival in 
I'eteibonuigli, 31, lirst settle- 
ment in I'eterboroutjh, 32; settle- 
ment of lots 3 anil ()(>, 32; reasons 
for taking lots 3 and t'/i. 32; mar- 
riage, ?5, 37; chiklren, 47; alarmed 
by Indians, 48, 49; house and fur- 
nishings, 49, 50; industry, 51: 
family worship, j2; doctors, bill 
of, 57; deaths in tamily of, 58; 
builds first barn, 58, 65; house, 
65; description of house, 65; his 
purchase of real estate, 08, (<); de- 
scription of real estate, 08, 69; 
purchase of Kim Hill, 71; condi- 
tions in his Klni Mill deed, 7;; 
devotion to church, 108; buys 
land with Wm. McCoy, 73; tlis- 
posal of real est.ite, 74, amount 
of his real estate, 74; in kevolu- 
tionary War, 76, 77; his public 
service, 78; his labors for his town 

81; on committife to get minis- 
ters, Hi; his i>ait in town .illairs, 
hi; tithing iiKui, m; on church 
cominlltee, 82; his olhci-s, 84; 
member of I'luvincial Congress' 
85; settles soldiers' ;n.i ounls, 87, 
88, 8<), f/o. 91; services on commit- 
tee to consiiler st;ite constitution, 
'J2, 93, 9); retire-) from public lite, 
9i; services to schools, 95; com- 
mittee to build meeting-house, 
'15, 9*', 9^*; appointed a Justice of 
I'eace, 08, i/^ 101; his Justice 
Courts, 99, 100, rut ires from bu-.i- 
ness, 101; conveys his real estate, 
101; appointed de.icon (if cliuich, 
103; cn.ingrs his reli.;ious taitli, 
lo.S; his cle;ith, 100; lo<;; 
will, no. III; iiersonal 
ance, 112; character, 112, 113. 
Willi;un (son of John), so. 
Willi;iin (son of, 123, 124, 
125, J45, 190; his musical Qiili, 
43, '(J5- 

Soldiers' accounts, 87, 88, 89, yo, 91. 

Stearns, Rev. David, 3, 7. 

Street road laid out, 25, 26; changes in, 

.Sund.iy observances, 19. 
Swan f;imily, 49. 
Swan, John, 84. 

nrEMl'h:UANCK h.ibits of the peo- 

i pie, 54. i;9. 
'I oleration .Act, 177. 

Todd, Sanuiel, 47. 
Townsend, 5. 

W.\KK,'rhe, 55, 56- 
Wallace. Margaret, 39, 55; her 
marriage, 30; character, 39; lu- 
ner;il of, 55. 
Mathew, 88, 89, 93, 98. 
Sir William, 39. 
War, lntiue;ice of, on creeds, 10;, 106. 
Wilder, Joseph, 25. 

Wilson, Hugh, 65, 80, 81. 82, 98, 118; 
le:ives town, 82. * 

James, 100, 147, 153, if)?. 
\\ olves, 62. 
Wool growing, 62. 


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