73 Locust St. Dover, NH 03820 (603)516-6050 Mon-Tues 9-8:30,Wed-Fri 9-5:30, & Sat 9-5
Sketch of Dover, N.H. ;
From the earliest period to the present time. Compiled from authentic documents and oral testimony by S.C. Stevens.
Published by Samuel C. Stevens 1833.
Historical and Statistical Account of Dover, N. H.
SITUATION & c.óDover is the second town in the State, both in point of wealth and the number of its inhabitants. It is situated in the S.E. extremity of the county of Strafford, 12 miles from N.W. from Portsmouth, 40 E. from Concord, and 60 N. from Boston, in Lat. 43 12m. It has Somersworth on the N.E., Eliot , in Maine, on the E,. from which it is separated by the eastern branch of the Pascataqua River, Madbury on the S.W., a corner of Barrington on the W., and Rochester on the N.W. Its principal streams are the Cochecho, which has its source in New Durham, and the Belamy-Bank, more commonly called by the inhabitants Back river, which rises in Barrington. They take a S.E. course through the town and unite with other waters to form the Pascataqua. Between these two rivers, in the south part of the town is a neck of land, about four miles long, and from half a mile to one mile broad, along which till 40 years, lay the principal road leading from this town to Portsmouth. This is called "Dover Neck", and running to a point at the South, at the junction of the two branches of the Pascataqua, it is called "Dover Point," but in ancient times, "Hiltonís Point". This is six miles from the Factories at the Village; and should our General court ever in their wisdom consider what would be of public utility, and incorporate a company for the purpose of running a horse-boat, or for building a bridge over the Pascataqua at or near this Point, about two miles would be saved in distance from the Village to Portsmouth. There are no mountains nor very high hills in this town, but there are several gentle swells of lands, from the height of which, the eye meets some delightful prospects of bays, adjacent shores and distant mountains.
History. New Hampshire was first discovered in 1614, by Capt. John Smith, who is so distinguished in the History of Virg. The first settlement of Dover, and indeed of the state, was made in the Spring of 1623, by Edward and Wm. Hilton, in the neck of land before named. They were sent over by "The Company of Laconia" who designed to plant a colony, and establish a Fishery around the Pascataqua; for which purpose they chose a fine, dry and healthy situation, commanding a view of all the neighboring shores, and affording an extensive and delightful prospect; but the settlement for the first eight years went on very slow, for in 1631 there were but three houses in all, adjoining the Pascataqua. In 1633, a considerable number of families in the west of England, some of whom were of good estates, and of some account for religion, came over and increased the colony. As it was their intention to build a compact town, they took up small lots, which were granted to them by Capt. Wiggans, the agent for the proprietors. On the most inviting part of the above ground, which is one mile and a half from "Dover Point," and on land now occupied by Aaron Roberts, on the west side of the present road, and about eighty rods north of the house of Thomas Henderson, Esq. They built a Meeting House, which was afterward surrounded by an entrenchment and flankarts, traces of which are still quite visible at the present day. On the east side of the same road, and but a few rods from the Meeting House, they also built a jail; this was on land now owned by said Henderson. The Indian name of the place was Wecohamet [Vide Church Records of the First Parish, In Dover, in the handwriting of Dr. Belknap. In some printed works it is Winnichahannat, in others Winichahanat], but after the arrival of Thomas Larkham, in 1640, it received the name Northam, probably to gratify him as he had been a preacher at a place of that name in England; afterwards the name of Dover was given to the whole township. At this Meeting House the inhabitants of Dover, which also included at that time the present towns of Durham, Madbury, Lee and Somersworth, assembled for public worship and the transaction of town business. [Durham was first made a Parish by the name of Oyster River, it was incorporated as a town May 13, 1738; Madbury was incorporated May 31, 1755; Lee taken from Durham January 16, 1766; Somersworth, a Parish December 19, 1729, and a town April 22, 1754.] Dover is therefore the oldest town in the state, having been settled only three years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass. and nine years after the discovery of New Hampshire, by Captain Smith. [Portsmouth was settled about the same time, at a place called Little Harbour by David Thompson, who came over with the Hiltons.] Here was formed the first church in the state, it having been organized in 1638-or, 195 years ago, and only 15 years after the first settlement of the town.
In process of time, business as well as the population began to centre around the Cochecho Falls, four and a half miles north, where the Factories and the Village are now situated; at which place Maj. Richard Waldron, who settled here in 1635, had erected Saw and Grist Mills. The name of this settlement and the territory for a few miles around, was Cochecho, after the name of the Falls and River, but it was pronounced and spelt in those days "Kecheachy" which doubtless came near to the pronunciation of the Indians. About 17 years after the first settlement on Dover Neck, and but a few years after the first settlement at Cochecho, "the inhabitants of Dover having suffered much from great irregularities in the civil as well as lack of knowledge in ecclesiastical affairs," by a writing dated October 22, 1640, and signed by 41 persons, (among whom was T. Larkham, R. Waldron, and Wm. Waldron,) became subject to the laws of England; the next year they submitted, together with the other settlements, to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and engaged "to be ruled and ordered in all causes, criminal and civil, and to be subject to pay in church and commonwealth as the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay". In 1679, New Hampshire was separated from Massachusetts, and became a separate government; the people were to be represented in a body chosen by themselves, and the King, by a President and Council; he retaining the prerogative of disannulling the acts of the whole at his pleasure; but this separation was much against the will of the people of New Hampshire. Dover at that time contained but 61 qualified voters, the remainder of the Province, but 148. John Cutt, an aged and respectable merchant of Portsmouth, was appointed the first President, but he died March 27, 1681, after holding the office little more than a year, and was succeeded by Maj. Richard Waldron of Dover who had been one of the Council. Maj. W. came from Somersetshire in England, was one of the first settlers of this Village, and the progenitor of a number of descendants. He had represented this town 22 years in the General Court of Massachusetts-Bay, commencing in 1654, and was their general speaker for seven years. He was appointed Chief Justice of N.H. in 1683; was one of the principal men of Dover and a brave and useful officer. He is the same person who was killed by Indians in their attack on Dover, on the morning of June 28, 1689, of which we will give a short account, and refer the reader to a more full and highly interesting History of the same in Dr. Belknapís History of N.H. pages 75 and 125 of the new edition printed in 1831, a work of which we should be proud (the author having long resided in this town,) and which ought to be in the hands of every family.
The inhabitants of Dover had for many years been exposed to the attacks of the Indians, and had suffered much in loss of lives and property. Maj. W., who had carried on a considerable trade with them for some years, had more influence over them than any other man. On the 7th of September, 1676, he proposed to about 400 Indians to have a sham fight with several companies of the whites; in the course of which the white men made the whole of the Indians prisoners before the latter were aware of their design. About 200 of them were set at liberty; the remainder, who at times had been guilty of atrocities, or had shown signs of hostility, were sent to Boston, where 7 0r 8 were put to death, and the others sold into slavery in foreign parts. Some of them returned, and they with others, regarding this act of Maj. Waldron, who had always pretended to be their friend, as a breach of faith, swore against him implacable revenge. In 1689, after a lapse of 13 years, and when all supposed it had been forgotten, they determined to execute their project. Previous to the fatal night (June 27,) some hints had been thrown out by the squaws, but in such ambiguous terms that no one understood their meaning; for when some of the inhabitants expressed their fear to Maj. W. he merrily bade them to "go and plant their pumpkins and he would take care of the Indians". They sent two squaws to each of the Garrison houses, which were five in number, to ask permission to sleep by their fires overnight- which was readily granted them, at all such houses except one. In the dead of nigh, the doors were unfasted and thrown open by the squaws, and the concerted signal given, when in rushed great bodies of Indians, who had concealed themselves about town for that purpose. Maj. Waldron, who was the particular object of their revenge, although 80 years of age, made a gallant defence; he drove them through several doors with his sword, but, was at last stunned with a hatchet, and compelled to surrender. After they had finished their supper, which they had compelled the women to get them, they placed him on his long table, and cut him across his belly with knives, each one saying "I cross out my account." At last, as he was falling down, one of them held his own sword under him, which penetrated through his body, and put an end to his sufferings. In this affair 23 persons were killed and 29 made captive. They burnt 5 or 6 dwelling houses; together with the mills, and escaped without being attacked by the English. They continued their depredations at various times till 1723, during which time several of the inhabitants were killed, and others taken and sold to the French in Canada.
Ecclesiastical. I have made considerable efforts to collect correct Histories of the several Churches in this town; that of the First Parish, or Congregationalist, was furnished by Asa Tufts, Esq. to whom I am also indebted for many other facts. They are arranged according to the times they were severally established.
I. The FIRST PARISH CHURCH IN DOVER, OR FIRST CONGEGRATIONALIST SOCIETY.
[The facts relating to the early ministers of this Parish, were taken chiefly from Dr. Belknapís Church Records. Some facts relative to them, and many concerning later events have been procured from other authentic sources.]
II. SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
The first mention we find of any Quakers, in Dover, in any History, is that in 1662, three travelling sisters were whipt out of town by order of Maj. Waldron. Dr. Belknap remarks in his History of N.H. that the Friends once comprised a third part of the population of the town. Their numbers now are quite respectable.
The first "Meeting" of Friends in this town was established at Dover Neck, as early as 1680, where their first Meeting House was built prior to the year 1700. It stood about a half a mile north of the one built by the First Parish 200 years ago, and was taken down about the year 1770, and the one now occupied by the Society in this village, was erected at about the same time. Preious to this, however, they had a small house on Silver Street, which was built prior to 1720; for it appears by their records, that in December of that year, they "agreed to repair their house at Cochecho." This house stood where Samuel Watson, jr.ís barn now stands. The present dwelling house of said Watson was then occupied as their business house. At that time, they held meetings at Dover Neck as well as at Cochecho. The first "Monthly Meeting" was set up in 1702, and their Records extend back to that time. The first "Quarterly Meeting" was established in 1708.
III. THE FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AND SOCIETY.
The above Church was formed A.D. 1824óTheir house was built in 1824-5, and dedicated April 28, 1825. It was enlarged June, 1831, by the addition 16 Ĺ feet in length. It cost, including the enlargement, about $4000. The Society was incorporated Jan. 20, 1827. Number of communicants 360ó
Their ministers have been as follows:--
Rev. Jotham Horton, from June 1824, to June 1825
" John N. Maffitt, " " 1825, " " 1827
" Benj. R. Hoyt, " " 1827 " " 1829
" Bartholíw Otheman, " " 1829 " " 1830
" John G. Dow, " " 1830, August. 1832
" Reuben H. Deming, " Aug. 1832, present minister.
IV. THE FIRST UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY OF DOVER AND SOMERSWORTH.
This society was organized March 23, 1825, on which occasion Jonathan Locke, Esq. was Chariman, and J. H. Curtis, Clerk. Hiram Rollins, N. W. Ela, Joseph Badger, and John Moore, were also prominent members. This society have no Meeting House, but worship occasionally in the Court House. Their number is respectable.
FREE-WILL BAPSTIST CHURCH.
This Church was gathered by Elder Enoch Place of Strafford, September
15,1826. Their house, situated on Chesnut Street, near Brick Street, was built
in 1831-2, and dedicated May 20, 1832; cost $2,500. Number of communicants
THE FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY OF CHRISTIANS IN DOVER, OR SECOND CONGREGATIONALIST.
The first meeting for forming this Society was holden Aug. 28, 1827; the
Society was organized on the 4th September following. The first
meeting for public worship was holden at the Court House, November 4, of the
same year, when Rev. Henry Ware, jr then Pastor of the New Brick Church,
Hanover Street, Boston, and now Professor of Pulpit Eloquence in Cambridge
Divinity School, officiated. The house was built of brick, 70 by 83 feet, in
the year 1828, situated on Church Street, opposite head of Kirkland Street;
and cost $12,000. It was dedicated, and Rev. Samuel Kirkland Lothrop ordained,
February 17, 1829. The Dedicatory services were performed by Rev. Dr Nichols,
of Portland, and Ordination Sermon by Rev. Dr Parker of Portsmouth. The Church
was gathered the evening previous. Number of communicants 50.
THE FIRST REGULAR BAPTIST SOCIETY IN DOVER.
This Society was formed in the winter of 1827; the Church was gathered April 23, 1828. Their house, situated on Franklin Street, corner of Fourth Street, was built in 1829, and dedicated October 26, of the same year. Rev. Elijah Foster was installed at the same time, as their Pastor; he continued as such till December 1830. Rev. Noah Hooper was settled December 15, 1832, and is the present pastor. The house cost $4,000. Number of communicants 57.
ST. ALEYSIUS CHURCH
The first public service of the Catholics in Dover was performed at the Court House by Rev. Henry Barber, in the winter of 1826-7. The foundation stone of their Church at the corner of Chesnut and Third Streets, was laid by Rev. Charles French, May 17, 1828; the house was dedicated September 26, 1830, and cost $2,800. It was commenced with only 24 subscribers. Rev. Charles French of Portland, ministers here about one third of the year.
NEWSPAPERS. The following is a list of the Newspapers that have been published in this town, with the dates of the first and last Numbers of each so far as can be ascertained; with the names of the publishers; --
The following table exhibits at one view the census of Dover, for a number of years, with the increase between each;
Number of inhabitants
By the above it appears that from 1667 to 1820, a period of 53 years, the whole increase of the town was only 1057; and that from 1820 to 1830, a period of only 10 years, it was 2578, (or about 90%) which is more than double of that for the preceding 53 years. This great increase was principally owing to the establishment of manufactories, which has also been the means of increasing the wealth of the town in an equal ratio.
LONGEVITY. There have been many instances of longevity in this town, but I have collected only such as were of ninety years:--
Howard Henderson died A.D. 1772 AE. 100
Mrs (John) Horn Feb. 22, 1776 92
Widow Titcomb March 23, 1787 94
Mercy Hanson Nov. 4, 1790 91
Wid. Mary Varney 1790 91
Mrs Stagpole Sept. 24, 1792 101
Wid. Sarah Clements 1794 98
Widow Ham January, 1797 98
Mrs Sarah Wingate March 4, 1800 97
Sarah Hanson Aug. 17, 1800 92
Widow Horn October 12, 1815 95
Paul Pinkham March 16, 1819 91
Wid. Molly Cromwell 1819 94
Benjamin Libbey 1821 91
Wid. Dorothy Berry 1825 93
Wid. Anne Kimblall 1825 90
Capt. James Guppy March 5, 1825 93
Wid. Judith Gage January 6, 1827 97
Wid. Abigail Horn April 5, 1829 99 ĺ
Wid. (Benj.) Libbey October 30, 1830 95
There is now living in this village, Wid. ABIGAIL BROWN, (in the family of William Gray, her son-in-law) who was born in Madbury, (then Dover,) March 27, 1731, O.S. and is therefore one hundred and two years of age. She enjoys pretty good health, and possesses the faculties of seeing, hearing and memory as well as most persons of 40 years. Her maiden name was Willey.
There is also living in town, about half a mile west of the Factories, Miss DEBORAH COFFIN, in her 95th year, who also enjoys pretty good health. She was born near where the Widow Bickford house now stands, on the high bank near W. & F. Williamsí store, August 31, 1738, O. S. She is a great-grand-daughter of Lieut, Peter Coffin, a contemporary of old Maj. Waldron, whose garrison houses were burnt by the Indians and the latter person killed, June 28, 1689. She has always lived on the land owned by, or inherited from her ancestors, which has never been out of the Coffin name.
STATISTICAL. There are several Falls in the Cochecho river, the principal of which are those bearing the name of the river, at the head of boat navigation, 12 miles from Portsmouth, and 6 from Dover Point. They are 34 feet high, and afford water power for three large Cotton Factories, several shops and other machinery connected with the manufacture of cotton cloth, and printing of calico. Here was erected, in 1821, a Nail Factory, in which 1000 tons of Iron was rolled, and 700 ton manufactured into nail annually; but the business becoming unprofitable, was abandoned in 1826, and the building used for other purposes.
The "Dover Cotton Factory" was incorporated December 15, 1812, with a capital of $50,000, which was enlarged June 21, 1821, to $500,000; and again enlarged June 17, 1823, to $1,000,000, and the name was changed to the "Dover Manufacturing Company"; the capital was again enlarged June 20, 1826 to $1,500,000. The "Cocheco Manufacturing Company" was incorporated June 27, 1827, with a capital of $1,5000,000, who purchased the Dover Manufacturing Co. December 1, 1829, all their works and personal property, and the business of manufacturing was continued without interruption.
They have four cotton factories, three in the village at the Cocheco Falls, and one on the same stream two miles above, which is styled "No. ONE," and was built of wood in 1815, in the form of an L; the main building is 80 by 33 feet, the projection 55 by 30 feet, and is four stories high including the attic. It is now rented by John Williams, Esq. who repaired the building and machinery in 1831. It contains 2500 spindles and 100 looms, and employs 100 females and 30 men and boys. They consume 250,000 lbs. of cotton per annum, and turn out 20,000 yds. Of cotton shirting, No. 14, per week, or one million yards per year.
There are about 300 inhabitants at this place, the greater part of whom are employed in the Factory, or shops and boarding houses connected therewith. This little village has recently received the name of Williamsville, in compliment to the lessee of the Factory who has devoted many years to the manufacturing business.
The three large Cotton Factories at the Cocheco Falls in the village or compact part of the town, are of brick, and were erected and contain as follows:--
"No. Two,: built in 1822, is 154 by 43 feet, 4 stories high, and contains 4096 Spindles and 216 Looms.
"No. Three," built in 1823, is of the same dimensions as the above, 5 stories high, and contains 8448 Spindles and 248 Looms.
"No. Four," built in 1825, is 167, by 45 feet on the water or east side, and 110 by 45 on the street or south side, (forming a right angle,) 6 stories high, and contains 11,776 Spindles and 312 Looms
TOTAL number of Spindles, 24,320; Do. Looms, 776.
"No. FIVE" is used for the Calico business, and was built at the same time and in connection with No. 4, and is also covered by the same roof. It is 145 by 45 feet. The whole length of Nos. 4 and 5, including the wing of No. 4, is 422 feet. There are several other large buildings, including a bleachery, machine shops, &c. which I had not thought advisable, in this little sketch, to describe.
The principal manufacture is fine cotton cloth, No. 40, for calicoes, which are bleached and printed on the spot. No. 18, sheeting and No. 30, shirting also are made. The number of people employed in these three cotton mills, machine shops and calico printing establishments, is 800 females and 300 men and boys.
These mills consume about 2600 Bales of Cotton, and turn out four and a half millions yards of cloth annually, or about 15,000 yards daily. The calico works make into fine Prints and Dyed Goods, (coloured Cambrics) 2500 pieces of 28 yards each, or 70,000 yards per week. The following articles, with many others not here specified, were used by this establishment in one year:--
Cash paid for wages, $168,616 00
Pine Wood, produced in N.H. 3940 cords, 11,820 00
Hard Wood " " 685 cords, 2,740 00
Coal " " Penn. 1000 Tons, 7,500 00
Charcoal " " N.H. 3000 Bushels, 270 00
Cow Manure " " " 39565 Bushels, 3056 50
Oil " " Mass. 8349 Galls., 5954 98
Flour " " N.Y. & Md. 548 Blbs., 2659 00
Amount paid for Freight, 13,000 00
In addition to the above, were large quantities of the following:-- Potatoe-Starch, Corn, Hay, Pot and Pearl Ashes, Lumber, Bricks, Linseed Oil, Iron Castings, Tallow, Soap and Hair, the manufacture of produce of New Hampshire; Oil of Vitriol, Sugar of Lead, Alum, Pyroligneous Acid, Leather, Bi Chromatic Potash, Oxalic Acid, British Gum, Paints, Brown Liquor, Spirits of Turpentine, and Machine Cards, from Mass.; Quercitron Bark, from Penn.; Bleaching Powders, from N.Y. and Mass.; Wheat Bran, from N.Y.; Copperas, from Vt.; Pipe Clay, from R.I.; Fire Bricks from Md.; Machine Blankets and Lime, from Maine; Tar, from N.C.; Cotton, from S.C. and La.; Logwood, Peachwood, Brazil wood and Dry hides, from S. America; Sumac, from Italy; Persian Berries, from Turkey; Safflower, Indigo, and Gum Arabic, from East Indies; Iron from Penn. Eng. Sweden, and Russia;-- Steel, Slates, Sieve cloth, Bock cloth, Steel Doctors, Composition Do. Copper Rollers, Emery and Brown Salts, from England; Gum Senegal, from Africa; Madder, from Holland and France, &c. &c.
There are in this town, exclusive of the works of the Cocheco Manufacturing Company, as follows: __
1. Court House, 1 Jail, 1 Academy, 7 Meeting Houses, 7 Taverns, 9 School Houses, 2 Banks, 3 Printing Offices, 45 E. and W.I. Goods Stores, 12 Provision and Retail Groceries, 5 Apothecaries, 2 Hard Ware Stores, 1 Crockery and Glass Ware Store, 2 Hat Stores, 1 Clothes and Drapery Store, 3 Bookstores, 2 Bookbinderies, 2 Circulating Libraries, 2 Social Libraries, 13 Shoe Stores and Manufactories, 5 Tanneries, 4 Saddle and Harness makers, 1 Carriage and Harness Manufactory, 1 Distillery, 3 Tin Ware Manufactories, 1 Iron Foundery, 8 Blacksmith shops, 2 Cabinet Warehouses, 2 Bake Houses, 1 Tallow Chandlery, 1 Flannel Manufactory, 4 Carding Machines, 5 Fulling Mills, 3 Saw Mills, 4 Grist Mills, 7 Tailor shops, 2 Slaughter Houses, 2 Reed Manufactories.
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