He at one time contemplated establishing a nail factory, and intended to make use of the building now used as a barn, and attached to the old Blodget House, but which was then used as a Store House, or Hall, and was standing at right angles, to its present position--across the canal. The water to propel the factory was to have been brought from the river below the main falls.
He tried to induce capitalists to engage in his enterprise, and solicited the Hon. Wm. Gray, of Boston, better known as "Billy Gray."
After this time, the difficulties Mr. Blodget encountered with the managers of his Lottery, prevented his prosecuting his plans for the use of his water power, but it was ever the theme of his conversation until his death.
About 1795, Mr. James Pollard bought a "common right," of land in Goffstown, and upon it built a saw mill, upon the west side of the Falls, upon the bank of the river, and near the west abutment of the "Amoskeag Falls Bridge." As before suggested, this was probably built upon the lot where was the "Patterson mill."
In 1798, Mr. Jonas Harvey purchased the "Pollard mill," built a substantial stone dam, and made other improvements. Mr. Harvey sold the mills in 1804, to the late Capt. Ephraim Stevens and his brother Robert, and who occupied it for some years, when the mill becoming decayed, the privilege was sold for manufacturing purposes.
In 1801 and 1802 another saw mill was built upon the Island by Isaac Rowell, Wm. Reeside and Samuel Wood. This privilege was purchased for manufacturing purposes.
Somewhere about 1800, Robert McGregor, Esq., built a saw-mill on the west side of the river, a few rods above the McGregor or Amoskeag Bridge. This mill was known as the "McGregor mill." It went to decay with his other property and was never rebuilt.
There have been many accidents at these Falls, some of a serious, and others of a ludicrous nature. Of the latter the escape of William Ferson, or "Billy Bangup," as he he [sic] was called by the river-men, may be an instance:
Ferson was one day fishing upon the west side of the Falls, above the Pollard mill, sitting leisurely upon the bank, and smoking his pipe. Getting drowsy or losing his foothold, he fell into the river below. The current is remarkably swift and boisterous, in that vicinity, and he passed over the first pitch, into the western channel, that at all times, is foaming and tumbling as from a "mill-tail." Ferson was an expert swimmer, and he managed to keep his head out of water occasionlly for breath, and to keep his mouth closed when under the foaming current. He exerted all his strength to keep in the channel, and thus managed to keep from being dashed against the rocks, He soon passed under the Island bridge, and in a few moments was in the still waters of the "Eddy," where he leisurely crawled upon a rock, with his pipe still in his month! The wags used to say, that his pipe was still lighted! At any rate, it was soon after, for his first request was for tobacco, to fill his pipe with, his own having been a "leetle moistened." Ferson is still living and delights in telling of his miraculous escape.
Mr. David Quimby, of Goffstown, was upon a raft at the head of the Falls or rather upon a part of one, consisting of a crib of staves, attempting to get it to the shore. The crib got within the force of the current, and Quimby, either from fright or calculation, remained upon the raft, rather than attempt to swim ashore. Clinging to the crib, he went safely over the first pitch of the Falls, and plunged into the Pulpit Stream, as the east channel is called. By a miracle as it were, he passed through this engulphing [sic] whirlpool, without being torn from the crib or dashed upon the rocks, and his frail and unwieldly crib, following the boisterous current, lodged against the Island,--where Quimby, somewhat exhausted, made a safe landing, and from which he was soon taken in a boat by his friends.
Mr. James Aiken, of Bedford, while fishing at the Falls, on the west side of the river Jan., 12, 1823, by some mishap, fell into the river, and no one being near to lend assistance, he was was drowned. His body was found some few days after, below the Falls.
THE PISCATAQUOG RIVER.--This river empties into the Merrimack on its west side in the city of Manchester, and passes through, and gives its name to the "Piscataquog Village." It waters a rich and interesting section of Hillsborough County; its north branch rising in Weare and Henniker, and its south branch rising in the mountains of Francestown. All along it branches are extensive meadows--affording, in former times, pasturage and refuge for innumerable deer; hence its name, Piscataquog, being derived from pos (great) attuck (deer) and auke (a place) and meaning "The great deer place." And true to its name, it afforded a great supply of venison long after the English had settled upon the Merrimack--Halestown, now Weare, being noted for hunting ground. This river discharges the waters of the heights of land between the Contoocook and Merrimack in a distance of twenty-five miles, and hence its current is of necessity interrupted by rapids and falls, affording many excellent water privileges, many of which have been for a long time improved. Mills were built at Kelley's Falls, about a mile and a half up the river from the Merrimack, soon after the Revolution. These were a sawmill and a gristmill, and were built by Col. Moses Kelley of Goffstown, who was for many years Sheriff of the County of Hillsborough. These mills were mortgaged to and became the property of a Mr. Frazer of Boston, were suffered to go to decay, and have never been rebuilt. At Piscataquog Village, just above the month of the river, are falls that have been occupied for mills of various kinds from a remote period, probably for near a hundred years. However, the first definite date of their being thus occupied, is 1779, when a saw and gristmill were upon the falls, owned by Mr. Samuel Moor. The mills passed from Mr. Moor into the hands of a Mr. Dow, since which time they have been owned by various individuals and devoted to various manufacturing purposes. In 1818, a Lock was built at the mouth of the Piscataquog, east of the lower end of Bass Island, by William P. Riddle, Esq., that boats might have access at all seasons of the year, to his store near the Piscataquog bridge; and at one time the project was rife of building a canal up the valley of the Piscataquog, to unite the waters of the Merrimack and Connecticut. Fish were for a long time abundant in this river, and large quantities of shad and alewives were caught at its mouth, but the Piscataquog was excepted in 1797, in the law for the preservation of fish in the Merrimack and its affluent streams, the fishing upon it had become of so little value in consequence of the many dams upon it that prevented their passage.
THE COHAS RIVER.--This river was originally called Massabesic, and in the old records we find it so designated. Thus in the early records of Londonderry, is this certificate;
Tuesday ye 23d of February, 1724,-5.
We the subscribers being upon oath, and being employed by the Committee of Chester and Londonderry, to run the line between the sd two towns, we began at the Beech tree on the westerly side of Kingstown, which is ye corner bounds of ye above sd towne, we run ten miles on a west north west point without any allowance for crookedness of way, and run to Massabesic River.
} Committee of Chester.
} Committee of Londonderry.
The above is decisive of the name of that river at that period. Subsequently it was called Cohasset, or Cohassack, very near the original Indian word, Cooashauke, which was derived from Coash, (pines,) and auke, (a place,) meaning the place of pines.
This name was applied to the land upon the Merrimack, between Litchfield and the river, on account of its being covered with pines. It afterwards became to be applied to the falls in the Merrimack, and to this river. These falls still retain the name of Cohasset, while the name of the river has been corrupted into "Cohas," and the river itself has been diminished to a brook, in common parlance. It has thus been shorn of its dignity, the better to distinguish it, from the Merrimack river into which it empties.
The name river applied to both streams of water, led to frequent misapprehension, and the smaller was designated as a brook, to prevent such misapprehension.
The Cohas is a rapid stream, some more than three miles in length, from the Massabesic to the Merrimack. In this distance there is a fall of one hundred and twenty feet, affording of course some fine mill-privileges. These have long been occupied. Webster's mills near the outlet of Lake Massabesic, have been noted mills in times past. At this privilege John McMurphy Esq. built mills in the early settlement of Chester, fifty acres of land at this place having been granted him in 1739, by the proprietors, upon condition that he should build a Grist Mill upon the privilege, within two years, and should "Grind for ye Proprietrs & inhabitants of Chester, aforsd & their successors before, & in preference of their Grists to ye Grists of any other prson or prsons wtsoever, for three days in every week forever, (viz:) every Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday forever."1 The proprietors reserved the right to build Iron Works, or a Saw Mill upon the privilege, not to interfere with the power necessary for the Grist Mill, and McMurphy to have the offer from the proprietors of building said Works and mill for himself. It is probable that McMurphy built a sawmill as early as 1742, for in 1743, in a deed of other lands from the Proprietors, to him, reference is made to his mills, plainly indicating, that he had more than a Grist mill. The Iron Works were never built, "as a sufficiency of oar or Iron mine" was never found. McMurphy never moved upon the grant but carried on his mills in connection with his son Alexander, who probably moved here at the time of building the first mill, in 1741. Alexander McMurphy at length bought the mills of his father, and subsequently he sold them to a Mr. Sheldon. From Sheldon these mills passed into the hands of Mr John Webster, and for most of a century have been known as the "Webster Mills." They are still known as such, though the Messrs. Webster's have parted with their interest in them, first selling one half of the saw mill to James M. Gregg, Esq., and subsequently their entire interest in the Mills, privilege, and adjoining lands, to William Fiske, of Lowell, Mass. Mr. Gregg's interest has also come into the possession of the same gentleman. In 1854, Mr. Fiske sold the mills and privilege, to Mr. John H. Moor and others, by whom they are now owned. At an early date in the history of the manufacturing interest in our state, this privilege had been examined in reference to its capacity for manufacturing purposes, and it is probable, that it was purchased by Mr. Fiske for that purpose, though its ultimate use by the Lowell Manufacturing Companies, in connection with the Massabesic, as a Reservoir, may have been in view. Still it is to be hoped that at no distant day, it may he used for a different purpose, that of furnishing the city of Manchester, with an abundant supply of pure water. It is estimated that by a dam at these falls, the water of the Massabesic can be brought into the city for $8O,000. To say nothing of the advantages to the city of pure water, that amount of money would be saved to the city in a few years, in the decreased expenditures of our Fire Department, and it is to be hoped that our city will soon take the initiative steps to accomplish an object, every way so desirable.
The next falls upon the Cohas, were formerly known as the "Alewife Falls." These were early owned by the Hazeltines, upon which a mill was built by them, and continued in the family for a great many years, and is now known as the "Hazeltine Mill," though but little is left of it but rotten timbers. The fall is not sufficient to make this privilege one of any considerable value, and it is doubtful whether it will ever again be used for hydraulic purposes.
Next below the Hazeltine Mill, is the Harvey Mill, This mill is upon one of the best water privileges afforded by the Cohas. The first mill built within the present limits of Manchester was the sawmill built upon these falls by Ephraim Hildreth, in 1735, or 1736, he claiming them by virtue of a grant from Massachusetts.
The falls were within the township of Londonderry, and had been reserved by that town for their water power.
In 1720, July 15, the Proprietors of Londonderry, "Voted, that the Falls of Cohaset Brook reserved by the Proprietors out of Robert and Hugh Wilson Equivalent land with all the other privileges reserved to sd falls, shall be sold by cant to the highest bidder."
And the record goes on to state: "The aforesd falls being put to cant and no person appearing to overbid Patrick Douglass in what he proposes to give for it, which is ten pounds in bills of credit--Voted that Patrick Douglass or his assigns shall have the said falls for what he offers, which is ten pounds, with all the proferts, privileges and advantages reserved for the use of said falls, and shall have what assurance is needful for the same when he pleases, he having paid the said money at the same time the vote was passed." The deed was not executed to Douglass as appears by the entry on the records: "Monday, March 6, 1731-2--Voted that the selectmen for the present year, or the major part of them shall give and execute a deed to Patrick Douglass of the stream and privileges thereunto belonging as its entered of the Falls upon the brook at Cohaset." The claim of Mssachusetts to these Falls, and their occupation by Hildreth, deterred Douglass from improving his purchase, and we hear nothing further from him in relation to the claim. The title of Hildreth to the main falls passed to Mr. John Harvey, and they still remain in possession of the Harveys--Mr. Jonas Harvey, grandson of John Harvey, having purchased the farm upon which they are located in 1804. The Hildreth mill was up the brook from the present Harvey Mills, and in an easterly direction from them. Still further up the Cohas, in the bend of the river below the Harvey bridge, was the "Nutt Mill," a sawmill built and owned by Mr. William Nutt. This privilege was of but little account, as a dam sufficient to produce effective head, flowed the meadows above the bridge. The Harvey privilege is valuable, and if not purchased by the city to carry into effect a system of "water works," will eventually come into use for manufacturing purposes.
The next falls in use for hydraulic purposes are the well-known "Goffe's Falls." These are within a few rods of the Merrimack, and were first occupied by Col. John Goffe in 1749. In that year, Col. Goffe entered into an agreement with a Mr. Follansby of Haverhill District2 to erect a mill upon these falls. Goffe was to furnish the privilege, and Follansby was to build the dam and mill, ready for use at his own expense, and the two were to own the mill in common, each having a moiety of the same, the privilege to revert to Goffe and the mill irons to Follansby, at the end of twenty years; each one bearing an equal share of the expense of repairs during that time, and Goffe reserving the right to build a cornmill upon the privilege, not to interfere in any manner with the power necessary to carry the sawmill. At the end of twenty years, Follansby claimed one half the mill, denying that Goffe owned any of the land on the south side of the Cohas, or that he agreed to build the mill upon any other terms than that he should have one half of the privilege. A long and vexatious suit followed, which resulted in establishing Goffe's claim to the privilege.
Soon after building the sawmill, Col. Goffe built a cornmill, but in what year cannot now be ascertained. These mills were known far and wide as "Goffe's Mills," and at the death of Col. Goffe in 1786, passed into the hands of Capt. Samuel Moor, and have remained in his possession or the possession of his heirs to this day. After the mills passed into the possession of Capt. Moor, they became to be known as "Moor's Mills," and as the people increased in that neighborhood, the village and mills were designated as "Moor's Village." At the time, this change was going on, the name of Goffe was gradually left from the designation of the falls upon the Cohas, and prefixed to those in the Merrimack above the mouth of the Cohas, and those have ever since been known as "Goffe's Falls." A building fitted up with carding machines for carding wool, and "clothing works" for the dressing of domestic cloths, was some years since erected at "Moor's Village" by Mr. John Calef, and subsequently machinery for the manufacture of satinets was put into the same mill by the same gentleman. This mill is now in operation under the direction of a Mr. Peters.
But the Cohas has gained the most notoriety as a fishing place. When its banks were first settled and for nearly a century afterwards, in the spring of the year, its waters were literally filled with alewives, passing into the Massabesic to deposit their spawns. This stream is frequented the more by these fish, from the fact that a large lake for these deposits was accessible so near the salt water, and so near the Merrimack, up which instinctled [sic] them in myriads, in search of still, fresh water. They were so plentiful in this stream in the spring, that the water was literally black with them, and the bottom oftentimes could not be seen for fish! They were taken at the falls with scoop-nets, and oftentimes were thrown out by the women and children with "shod-shovels and fire-slices." They were so readily taken here, and in such abundance, that people coming the distance of twenty-five and thirty miles could get a ready supply of alewives, and the people in the immediate neighborhood caught them for manure, putting one, two or more in a hill of corn, after the manner of the natives. It will readily be seen, that the Cohas fisheries were of great importance to the people of this neighborhood, and the adjacent towns. It was to them a source of ready, cheap, and excellent food. Fresh, salted, or smoked, alewives were most acceptable food to a people, who had little fresh, or salt meat, save what was provided by their skill in hunting. Being of such importance, every sort of protection was thrown around them by reservation and legal enactments. In the grant to McMurphy, by the proprietors of Chester, in 1739, of the privilege at the outlet of the Massabesic, the following reservation was made, viz: "Always reserving a liberty and privilege to ye proprietors and ye inhabitants of ye town of Chester aforesd to pass and repass without interruption to and from ye afore Massabesic River to catch and take at ye falls of sd River below ye afore pond for necessary family support such fish as may be obtaind."
In March, 1754, the people of Derryfield passed the following vote as a municipal regulation, viz: "Voted that every person or persons that has any structures or any incumbrance on said brook, or any other person or persons whatsoever, whereby the alewives have been or shall be impeded or hindered in their passage from Merrimack River into Massabesick Pond in Derryfield, be removed so far as to make a free and open passage for said alewives from said Merrimack River into said pond, and if any person or persons who have any such incumbrance on said Cohass Brook or any other person or persons from what place soever shall neglect or refuse to remove such incumbrance as soon as the alewives is known to come into said brook, and so to continue removed until the said alewives have done running into said pond, shall for every days neglect or refusal forfeit and pay the sum of forty shillings, one-half moiety to the use of the poor of the town and the other half to the complainant, to be recovered by bill, plaint or information before any of his majesty's Justices of the Peace for the Province of New Hampshire, and that no person or persons shall fish with any net in said brook within fifteen rods of Merrimack river or he shall pay the sum of twenty shillings as a fine, one half moiety to the poor of the town and the other half to the complainant, to be recovered by bill, plaint or information before any of the Justices of the Peace within the Province of New Hampshire."
Finding that more stringent measures were necessary, application was made to the legislature, and in consequence, the first legislative act passed in New Hampshire for the preservation of fish in the fresh waters of the state, was enacted for the preservation of fish in the "Cohas Brook." This act limited the time of fishing to certain days; provided for the removal of dams that obstructed the free passage of alewives up the Cohas during the "running season"; and prohibited the catching of alewives with nets near the mouth of the same. The expense of obtaining this act was paid by the town, as appears from the following vote, passed Sept. 5, 1754:
"Voted that Alexr McMurphy have eighteen pounds three shillings, old tenor, for obtaining the Elewife bill, and making a Constable's Staff, and taying man's Staff."
Ten years subsequent, in 1764, an act was passed for the preservation of fish in the Merrimack, and the streams emptying into the same. This act included the Cohas, and would seem to have been sufficiently protective; but the inhabitants thought otherwise, and upon petition two other acts were passed for the protection of the fish in the Cohas. But fish are governed by natural laws, and statute laws had little effect upon their scarcity or plentifulness, so long as the streams were kept clear for their passage.
LAKES AND PONDS.
Lake Massabesic is another important natural feature of Manchester. This word means in the Indian language, the place of much water; a corruption and contraction of Massa, (much) nipe, (water) and auke, (place.) The Massabesic is a most beautiful sheet of water, or rather sheets of water, for it is in reality, two lakes united by a strait some twenty feet in width, and some sixty rods in length. It is very irregular in form, and indented with points, and dotted with islands, it presents to the eye a most picturesque appearance, from any point of view. In fact, from the highlands overlooking it some of the most enchanting views meet the eye, and we very much doubt whether any water scenery can be found in our country to surpass the views to be had of portions of this lake, from Deer Neck, or Folsom's Hill, the two promontories that nearly divide the lake into two parts. The Derry Turnpike passed over these high lands indenting the lake, and the views from various points in this road are the admiration of all who see them. The lake is about twenty-five miles around it, while its greatest diameter is not more than three miles. The eastern part of the lake is wholly in the town of Auburn, and is surrounded by a sandy or rocky shore, while a large portion of the western part which is mostly in Manchester, is skirted by a rocky shore. As a consequence, the water of the lake is clear and pure. This lake was much frequented by the Indians, for the purpose of fishing and hunting, and many of their implements have been found on the adjacent lands. In later times it has become a fashionable resort for invalids and pleasure seekers. Two large Hotels have been built within a few years for the accommodation of visitors, one upon the north side of the lake by Mr. E. P. Offutt, and known as the "Massabesic House," and the other upon the south side of the lake, by Mr. H. C. Joy, and known as the "Island Pond House." Both of these houses are in Manchester, although but a few rods from the line of Auburn. Connected with the Massabesic House is a small steamboat, the "Gem of the Lake" that runs upon the eastern part of the lake for the accommodation of parties of pleasure. Like many larger lakes, this one boasts of its three hundred and sixty-five islands, a number equal to the days in the year; but to make up this number some of the large rocks in the lake must be counted! However, it has many beautiful islands, and one of them, Brown's Island, contains some seventy acres, has afforded large quantities of wood and timber, and some parts of it have been cultivated. There are others that contain several acres each, and all of them covered with wood and shrubbery, and scattered over the silvery bosom of the lake in beautiful disorder, form a panorama both pleasing and enchanting. The waters of the Massabesic are discharged into the Merrimack, through the Cohas.
LITTLE POND.--This Pond lies south west of Bald Hill, and at its base. It contains some twelve acres, is well stocked with fish, and discharges its waters into the Merrimack, through the Amoskeag Brook. This is sometimes called Stevens Pond.
LONG POND.--This lies south of Massabesic, and at the distance of some twenty-five rods from it. It contains some thirty acres, and discharges its water into the Little Cohas through Gillis's Brook.
SKENKER'S POND.--This is small pond near the school house n No, 9. It contains only some eight or ten acres, and its outlet called Musquito Brook, empties into the Great Cohas. This is often called Musquito Pond.
FORT POND.--This Pond is situated near the Nutt Farm, and betwixt the road to the Harvey Bridge, and the Manchester and Lawrence Rail Road. It contains about fifteen acres, and the outlet is Fort, or Baker's Brook, which empties into the Merrimack. Stark's Fort was on its western shore near the outlet. This pond in ancient time was known as Swager's Pond, and latterly it is often called Nutt's Pond.
SUDDEN PITCH BROOK.--This stream rises in Hooksett and passing across that gore of land, formerly known as Henrysburg, empties into the Merrimack, nearly up to the north line of the city.
COLBURN'S BROOK.This is a small brook rising on the Stark hill and flowing west that crosses the river road, near the school house in District No.1, and empties into the Merrimack.
RAY BROOK.--This brook takes its rise in the south eastern part of Hooksett, and empties into the Merrimack, some seventy five rods above the Amoskeag Falls. In some part of its course, it is known as Burnham's Brook, taking this name from Mr. James Burnham, who some years since built a saw-mill upon it in Hooksett, and just east of the "Mammoth Road." This mill is now owned by Mr. Hiram Mace.
The brook was anciently called Gregg's Brook, from a man of that name; but it is now known, and doubtless will continue to be known, as Ray Brook, thus named from Mr. John Ray, who owned the large and extensive farm through which it passed in the last mile of its course, and which now has upon it some beautiful private residences, and ere long will doubtless contain the sites of some of the most splendid residences in the city.
Upon Ray Brook was built, I have reason to believe, the second or third saw mill in the town. It was built by Archibald Stark, Esq., and probably soon after he moved into the place in 1736. This mill was located a few rods west of the Hooksett road. This mill was in existence in 1756, but probably in a somewhat dilapidated state, and doubtless was used but very little after that time, as four years after, in 1760, Mr. Stark had built a mill at the Amoskeag Falls. Mr. Geo. W. Eaton erected a bark mill, in connection with a tannery, upon this brook, just east of the river road, which now is in ruins. Betwixt the river road and the Merrimack, the water falls some seventy-five feet, affording two good mill privileges, with sufficient water through a large portion of the year. As with our increasing population, such privileges for small manufactories, must become important and valuable, it is probable that these falls at no distant period, will be occupied for manufacturing purposes.
CHRISTIAN'S BROOK.--This brook is the one that crosses the road just south of the school house near the Amoskeag Falls. It received its name, from an Indian by the name of Christian, who had his wigwam on the southern bank. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company has completed a fine Reservoir upon this brook near where it crosses Elm street. It rises upon Oak Hill, and reaches the Merrimack in the distance of some over a mile.
MILE BROOK.--This brook rises on Oak Hill, and passes through the most thickly settled part of the city, by means of culverts. It passes through Janesville, and then into Hanover square, furnishing the supply of water to the pond in that square. Then it passes by a culvert diagonally across Hanover, Manchester, and Merrimack streets, to Merrimack square, supplying the water to the pond in that square. Thence it passes by a culvert, into the sewer on Elm street, and is discharged into Amoskeag Brook, just west of Elm street. A portion of the water of this brook is taken by a culvert down Hanover to Chestnut street, and up Chestnut street to the reservoir on Concord square. Thence it passes through Concord street into the sewer on Elm street.
The Reservoirs on Manchester, Pine, Hanover, and Merrimack streets are also supplied from the same source.
The west branch of the Mile Brook, was formerly called Bear Brook, from an incident related of Mrs. Joseph Farmer. She was about to cross the brook near twilight, when she discovered upon the edge of the adjoining swamp, a bear. She immediately ran home, told her husband what she had seen, and after the neighbors had got together in sufficient numbers to follow the animal, the party repaired to the brook, Mrs. Farmer leading the company, to point out the position of the bear when seen by her. As they drew near the spot, sure enough there sat bruin in stern silence at their approach. A shot from a musket did not even diconcert [sic] him, and upon approaching nearer, it was discovered that the bear was only a blackened pine stump! This incident served to give for a time a name to the brook. It is not large enough for ordinary hydraulic purposes, and no mills have ever been built upon it, still it has been made to do excellent service for our city, in furnishing reservoirs, and cleaning our sewers.
It had worn a deep gully in its passage to the fiver, the width and depth of which may be estimated on Merrimack and Hanosquares, the side banks of the ponds in them, being merely the banks of the ravine which the brook had worn. This brook after leaving what is now Merrimack square, passed in a direction diagonally across Elm and Granite streets, crossing the latter a few rods west of its intersection with Elm street. Here the ravine grew deeper and wider, and its sides covered with the original forests, became a vast, natural amphitheatre. Before the axe and shovel of improvement, entered upon its walls and levelled them to a grade for the habitations of our increasing people, this natural amphitheatre, was often used as a place for public celebrations, and few scenes were more grand, or imposing, than this old temple of nature, filled with thousands of human beings.
AMOSKEAG BROOK.--This brook is one now generally called the Cemetery Brook, and discharges the waters of Little or Steven's Pond, into the Merrimack, at the Company's Weir, below Merrill's Falls. It formerly emptied into the Merrimack a few rods above Granite Bridge, at a point now occupied by the Print Works. After crossing Elm street as now, it formerly turned north in the directron [sic] of the Depot, received the waters of Mile Brook, passed along near to the store of John H. Moor & Co., and crossed Granite Street near where the Canal now crosses that street.
As early a 1750, there was a saw, and grist mill, upon this brook, just below Moor & Co's., store, south of Granite street. They were built and owned by Mr. Benjamin Hadley, and were known as "Hadley's Mills." They afterwards were owned by Mr. John Tufts, and were suffered to go to decay, and were never re-built.
Near the mouth of the brook, and where the Print Works now stand, there was in ancient time a saw mill, built by Mr. Benjamin Stevens, one of the original settlers, and who came into town under the auspices of the Massachusetts Government, probably in 1735, or 1736. The mud-sills of this mill were dug up in preparing for the foundation of the Print Works. Just above where the brook crosses the road to Hallsville, a small mill was erected a few years since, by Hon. F. G. Stark. for wheelwright purposes. In 1850, Mr. Chas. Barnes purchased the mill and fitted it up as a mill for paper hangings. In 1855 this mill passed into the hands of Mr. John P. Lord, who has fitted it up as a mill for printing calicoes and delaines.
Farther up the brook there was for many years another saw mill just east of what is now known as Hallsville, this was built by Mr. John Hall, probably as early as 1750, and was known as the "Hall Mill." Subsequently it passed into the hands of Mr. Hugh Thompson. It finally went to decay, and but a vestige of it has remained for near half a century. Its position may be traced about twenty rods down the brook from where the same first crosses the road leading from Hallsville to Manchester Centre. The mill-pond extended quite up to the road.
The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company have diverted this brook from its original channel, taking its waters soon after it crosses Elm Street, in a new channel direct to their canal, and by grading and other improvements, have entirely obliterated the most wild and beutiful [sic] forest and water scenery that was connected with any stream in this vicinity. The citizens of a few years hence will hardly believe that within twenty years of their period, a person walking in the vicinity of Granite street could have entered a deep gorge, in a primeval forest, a vast amphetheatre [sic], overhung with pine, hemlock, and maple, and trversed [sic] in most intricate windings, by a limpid, pebbly bottomed stream. Yet such is the fact, and such was nature, where now, improvement has erected those vast piles of mortar and brick.
The water of this brook is very clear and pure, and with its meanderings, forms one of the most beautiful features of the Valley Cemetery. In ancient deeds it is sometimes called Humphrey's, and again Thompson's, brook, but in the record of the laying out the highway from in Amoskeag falls to Chester line, in 1751, it is called Amoskeag, which was undoubtedly then its appropriate name, and we should hope the name would be continued.
FORT BROOK.--This stream discharges the waters of Fort Pond into the Merrimack. It is often called Baker's Brook, from the fact that it crosses the farm of the late Mr. Jesse Baker. In 1846 a Sash and Door Factory was built upon this brook in the Baker field betwixt the road and the Merrimack, by Packards, Pillsbury and Ross. It was burned in June, 1847, and has not been rebuilt. A small mill for a Laundry was erected just West of the road in 1846, by Mr. Oliver Gould. Some years since the project was set on foot of clearing this brook of obstructions, so that the alewives might pass up it into Fort Pond. The brook was cleared, but the alewives did not accede to the proposition. The Stark Fort was on the south bank of this brook, near where it passes from the pond--hence its name.
THE LITTLE COHAS BROOKS.--There are two brooks in the city called Little Cohas; one rising in Auburn east of the Massabesic, passing thence southerly into Londonderry, and thence turning towards the northwest, passing into Manchester, and discharging its water into the Great Cohas, north and near the Corning school-house in District No. 9.
The other brook bearing the same name, rises in Londonderry, and passing west empties into the Merrimack, opposite Cohas falls. Both of these streams are mainly south of the Cohas, and in former times before the country was cleared, the two were thought to be one and the same stream, rising east of the Massabesic, running southerly through Londonderry, and discharging into the Merrimack. After the fact was discovered that they were different streams, the names were still continued.
The Little Cohas that empties into the Great Cohas, in District No. 9, is the Little Cohas of ancient time, as shown in the records, it having been designated by that name in the original division of Londonderry into lots, more than a hundred and thirty years since; while its competitor for the name, can show no such ancient record in its favor. To this stream then, belongs the name of Little Cohas.
There have been upon it mills at various times. One near Mr. A. G. Corning's was known as "Corning's mill." This was a sawmill built by the elder Corning at an early period. There was a cornmill near where the brook crosses the road beyond Mr. Walter H. Noyes's. This was owned by a Mr. McDuffie, and was known as "McDuffie's Mill" as early as 1795. These mills have long since passed away. In later times there has been a sawmill further up the stream, in Londonderry, built by Col. Francis Menter, and known as "Menter's mill." This has gone to decay. The Little Cohas receives the water of Long Pond by a brook joining with it near the house of Mr. John Huse. Aside from this it receives no considerable tributary.
The stream emptying into the Merrimack near the Cohas falls, should be called COHASANTEE or COHASETT, to distinguish it from the one described above. This passes but a little way in Manchester, crossing that tongue of land in the lower part of the city lying betwixt Londonderry and the Merrimack.
GILLIS, OR LONG POND BROOK.--Gillis Brook empties the water of the Long Pond into the Little Cohas. It is the brook that crosses the Derry road near the house of Mr. John Huse.
HEATHHEN BROOK.--This stream empties into the Massabesic south of the "Massabesic House" Its west branch rises on Heathhen Hill, and hence its name A large tract of land in that vicinity was purchased about 1800, by Mr. Wade Cogswell, who came here from Ipswich, Mass. He had two sawmills upon the brook, one where the Messrs. Lougee's mill now is. and the other some half mile above. The upper mill was suffered to go to decay, while the other with the upper privilege, passed into the possession of Messrs. Marden and Seavey. From then it passed into the hands of Mr. William Coult, who sold it to Mr. Edward P. Offutt. He sold to the Messrs. Lougee, who now operate the mill.
MILLSTONE BROOK.--This brook rises in Goffstown and empties into the Merrimack about two miles above the Amoskeag Falls. It takes its name from the fact that a set of millstones belonging to Judge Blodget remained upon the river's bank for many years, near where the brook empties into the Merrimack. These millstones were hauled there for him, and being engaged in more important business he had no use for them. One of them remains there to the present day. The brook was formerly called Blodget's Brook, which name gave place to Millstone from the foregoing incident.
BLACK BROOK.--This brook takes its rise in Dunbarton, and passing through Goffstown empties into the Merrimack some hundred and fifty rods above Amoskeag Falls. Judge Blodget's farm was upon this brook about a mile from its mouth. He built a sawmill upon it in the neighborhood of his house, in which he prepared much lumber for the market. He kept this mill in operation until after his removal to Derryfield, when his other business took up his time. his farm became neglected, and his mill went to decay. It was never rebuilt.
Within a short distance of its mouth are Farmer's Mills, owned by Col. Daniel Farmer. These consist of a sawmill and gristmill. There was a sawmill built here by Mr. Thomas Pollard about 1800, on the west of the road. Subsequently another was built by his son Thomas Pollard, in connection with Col. Farmer about 1820. This was where the present sawmill stands. At a later period the whole of the privilege with the mills passed into Col. Farmer's hands. He had built and owned a mill some years previous to this, upon the brook about a half of a mile above the old Blodget mill. This went to decay and was not rebuilt.
In former times, there was water enough run in this brook to carry the mills upon it mainly through the season, but at the present time, the adjacent country having been cleared of its wood and timber, there is not water sufficient to carry the mills more than eight months of the year; yet from their proximity to the business part of the city of Manchester, they have become very valuable.
There is no very considerable elevation of land in this city.
OAK HILL is the second in height, being the hill directly east of Amoskeag Falls. This is some three hundred feet in height. From the top of this hill is presented a fine view of the city and the adjacent towns. The south part of this hill, and this hill itself, is often called Hall's Hill; but the ancient records designate it as Oak Hill.
BALD HILL.--This is the third considerable elevation in the city, being about 425 feet in height. It receives its name from the fact, that frequent fires in former years, burned off the scrub oaks as fast as they grew, so that it has continued bald of trees since the original growth was taken from it. The hill is underlaid by a vast ledge, outcropping in many places, so that the land will never be very valuable for tillage purposes; otherwise it might make a very desirable farm. From its top is gained a very extensive view--the Kearsearge, Saddleback, Uncanoonucks and Sunapee mountains being in the distance--while the Massabesic is directly at its base.
HEATHHEN HILL.--This hill is at the northeast of Bald Hill. It is little worthy attention save for its name, which it receives from the fact that in former times the heath-hen was found upon it. This is a bird a little larger than the quail, with a tuft upon its head somewhat like the peacock. They were often found upon this hill twenty-five and thirty years since. They are occasionally seen in this neighborhood at the present time.
BUSHNELL'S HILL.--This is northeast of Oak Hill, and is mostly in Hooksett.
MIDDLE HILL.--Middle Hill is the one north of Little Pond, betwixt Oak and Bald, hence its name. It is the highest point of land in the city, being some 445 feet in height. From this hill the White Mountains and many other of the principal mountains in the state are to be seen.
STARK'S HILL.--Stark's Hill is the elevation in the north part of the city, and receives its name from Archibald Stark, who first settled upon it. This is a fine swell of land, and is mostly capable of cultivation. A fine view of the city and the Merrimack is to be had from this hill.
ROCK RIMMON.--This is a noted ledge of rock just west of Amoskeag Village and some 200 rods from the Merrimack. It is known far and wide as "Rock Raymond," a corruption of a well-known Scripture name. It is in itself a very great curiosity. It is an outcropping of gneiss from the midst of a sandy plain, being an immense mass of that stone some three hundred feet in length, one hundred and fifty in width, and some seventy or eighty feet in height. The ledge extends nearly in a north and south direction, rising gradually from the north so as to be of easy ascent in that direction, and ending in an abrupt precipice towards the south and southeast, some seventy-five or eighty feet in height. This rock is seen at a considerable distance up and down the valley of the Merrimack, and from its top is a splendid view of the city of Manchester and its neighborhood. It is a place of great resort in the summer, and the paths to it are kept well beaten, making it a pleasant jaunt on foot or in a carriage. There are ledges on the eastern bank of the river equally high with Rock Rimmon, but they are covered mostly with soil, while this, by some convulsion of nature, is left projecting its frowning battlements to the skies.
AMOSKEAG VILLAGE.--This is the name of the Village on the west side of the Merrimack, opposite and adjoining Amoskeag Falls, and formerly was in Goffstown. It became a part of the territory of Manchester, by annexation, in 1853. Here was located the first cotton mill upon the Merrimack, built by Mr. Benjamin Prichard, in 1809. In 1810, his mill was purchased by a Joint Stock Company, and the business of manufacturing cotton yarn was prosecuted with some considerable energy.
From this period may be dated the commencement of the Amoskeag Village, though its name as applied to that locality, may be traced back more than two centuries. And it is highly probable that its very site had been occupied by an Indian village, for centuries before white man placed foot upon the territory. It was for thirty years a thrifty manufacturing village, and so continued until its proprietors determined to extend their operations, and change their location to the east side of the river in Manchester. Since then their policy has been to repair but not to rebuild at Amoskeag. Accordingly the village has greatly depreciated. The cotton mill upon the Island was destroyed by fire in 1840, and was not rebuilt. The only cotton manufactory carried on there now, is that of batting, in a small brick mill, operated by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. The remaining buildings upon the Island are occupied by Capt. James M. Varnum, as a bleachery. The stores, shops, and boarding houses of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company were leased to Messrs. H. Boyd & Corey, shoe manufacturers in 1852, for a term of year This operation has restored the village in some small measure. Messrs. Boyd & Corey employ 350 people in cutting, binding, and making shoes. They manufacture 150,000 pairs of shoes annually principaly [sic] for the southern market.
Amoskeag is in Ward 8, and contains most of the inhabitants of that ward, being entitled to one representative, and having its Alderman, Councilmen, and other city officers. It is probable that at no distant day, when the power upon the east side of the river becomes exhausted, that the privilege at Amoskeag may again be occupied for manufacturing purposes. The Farmer Village on Black Brook, is reckoned a part of Amoskeag, and with increase of buildings, will soon be part and parcel of the same village. This is upon the "Tileston Grant," so called from Col. Thomas Tileston, who received a grant from the government of Massachusetts of 300 acres, the south line of which grant, extended to Amoskeag falls, and its east boundary was the Merrimack, for a mile or so up the river.
History of Manchester
Created June 4, 2001
Copyright 2000, 2001