History and Genealogy of Goffstown, Hillsborough County NH
 
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B R I E F   EARLY HISTORY   of   GOFFSTOWN NH


From The Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire (in three parts), compiled from the best authorities, by Eliphalet Merrill and the Late Phinehas Merrill, Esq., Printed by C. Norris & Co., Exeter, NH, ©1817, pg. 136

GOFFSTOWN - in Hillsborough county, is situated on the westerly side of Merrimack river, it is bounded N. by Dunbarton, E. by Merrimack river, S. by Bedford, and W. by New Boston and part of Weare, and contains 29,170 acres. It was incorporated in 1761, and in 1810, contained 2,000 inhabitants. In the S.W. extremity of the town are two Uncanoonock mountains, and in the S.E. part is the Amoskeag bridge and falls. Piscataquog river passes through this place. In 1771, Rev. Joseph Currier was settled here in the congregational order. Cornelius Waters and D.L. Morrill, have been his successors. There are in this town 2 religious societies, 1 meeting house 8 trading stores, 1 cotton factory containing about 30 spindles, 7 grain mills, 20 sawmills 2 clothing mills, and 2 carding machines.


Goffstown as originally laid out was bounded north by Dunbarton, east by the Merrimack River, south by Bedford and west by New Boston and Weare. The forty-third parallel of latitude cross the town a little north of the north Uncanoonuc Mountain. The longitude is 71o 35'. The town was first known as Narrangansett No. 4, then as Shove's town. The Uncanoonuc Mountains lie wholly within this town, have an elevation of 1,324 feet.

The territory now known as the town of Goffstown, in connection with six other townships, was granted by the Great and General Court of Massachusetts, in 1728 to the soldi
ers or heirs-at-law of the soldiers of the King Philip or Narragansett War, which ended at least fifty years before the grant was made (so probably very few of the soldiers were then living). Goffstown (through draw) was to be known as Narragansett No. 4, and was thus called for a number of years.

Narragansett #4 was bought from John Tufton Mason by 47 New Hampshire proprietors [see next paragraph] in 1746. These Masonian proprietors, included: Theodore Atkinson, Mark Hunkins Wentworth, Richard Wibird, John Wentworth (son of Mark the Governor), George Jaffrey, Nathaniel Meserve, Thomas Parker, Thomas Wallingford, Jotham Odiorne, Joshua Pierce, Samuel Moore and John Moffatt purchased of John Tufton Mason the rights of Capt. John Mason, Theodore Atkinson purchasing three undivided fifteenths; Mark Hunkins Wentworth two undivided fifteenths, and each of the others one undivided fifteenth.

The early New Hampshire proprietors of Narragansett #4 (Goffstown) included: Rev. Thomas Parker of Dracut; Colonel Sampson Stoddard and John Butterfield, of Chelmsford; Joseph Blanchard, Robert Davidson, John Coombs and James Karr, of Dunstable; John Goffe and John Goffe Jr., James Walker, Matthew Patten, John Moore, Timothy Corlise, Thomas Farmer, Zaccheus Cutting, Samuel Patten, Alexander Walker, all of Soughegan East (Bedford); Thomas Follensbee, Joshua Follensbee, Caleb Paige, Benjamin Richards, Peter Morse and Caleb Emery; John Dow, Peter Harriman, of Haverhill; Abram Merrill, Benjamin Stevens, John Jewell, Ephraim Martin, Nathaniel Martin, Aaron Wells, Caleb Dalton of Amoskeag; James Adams, son of Williams Adams, William Orr, Job Kidder and John Kidder, of Londonderry; William Read and Robert Read, James McKnight, William Cummings, all of Litchfield; Samuel Greggs, Edward White, Esq., John White, all of Brooklyn; which grant was made at Portsmouth in the month of December 1748.

Immediately after the drawing of lots the proprietors found that no committee had been appointed to call the first meeting of the proprietors. Accordingly a petition was circulated. John Goffe, Robert Gilmore, John Goffe, Jr., Caleb Dalton, Jotham Tuttle, Samuel Patten and John Smith signing the same, and directed to the clerk of the proprietors of Goffstown. This petition was dated at Bedford the 6th day of August, 1750, and marks an important event in the history of Goffstown. This was probably the first date in any historical record where the name Goffstown was applied to the township.

In the year 1761, the citizens, wishing to manage their own affairs, decided to apply for a charter, "Heretofore known by the Name of Goffs Town." [named for Col. John Goffe, an early settler.]

At their first meeting John Goffe, Esq. was selected moderator [even though John Goffe lived in Bedford and later Derryfield (Manchester), not Goffstown], Alexander Walker was appointed town clerk. The early records of the town show the usual difficulties that most new settlements faced, before their newly formed government was working well. Discussion and disagreements occurred over the location and funding of mills, meeting-houses and schools.

A list of taxpayers for the year 1761 in Goffstown:

Randal Alexander      John Ordway            Moses Gile
Robert Davidson        Joseph Ordway        Leonard Harriman
William Dustin           Ebenezer Ordway    Ebenezer Hackett
Thomas Hall              Paris Richardson      John Holmes
Dea. Thomas Karr      Alexander Walker     Joseph Kennedy
Thomas Karr Jr.         Eleazer Wells Sr.     Robert Kennedy
James Karr                Eleazer Wells Jr.     Daniel Marr
William Karr               Aaron Wells            William McDole
Thos. Karr Sr.            Moses Wells           Thomas Miller
Job Kidder                 John Goffe               James Miller
Ephraim Martin          Samuel Blodgett    David McCluer
Daniel Martin             George Addision       Enoch Page
Jonathan Martin         James Barr               Asa Pattee
Samuel Martin Pr.      John Dow                  Benjamin Richards
Samuel Martin Jr.       Antipas Dodge          Benjamin Stevens
Joshua Martin             Job Dow                   John Smith
Robert Martin              James Eaton
Philip Noyes                Timothy Ferrin


In the above list James Barr, Benjamin Stevens, Daniel Marr and Joseph Kennedy pay for two polls; John Goffe and Samuel Blodgett are not taxed for a poll tax, but upon real estate, and Joseph Kennedy pays the highest tax in town.

SEE a list of Goffstown citizens who participated in the French & Indian War.

Game was very abundant in this region -- including deer, moose, bear, lynx, fisher, beaver, catamount, otter and lynx. The women of the town were never idle. In addition to casting bullets and making cartridges, they would spin and loom -- making most articles of clothing for themselves and their families. The wool and flax was grown, carded, spun, woven, colored and made into garments at home. To use foreign goods was considered an extravagance.

The History of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, by D. Hamilton Hurd, page 314 indicates that "The epidemic of the Salem witchcraft barely entered the town. There were arrests of two women for bewitching two men. One was tried before Esq. McGregor and the other before Dr. Gove and Esq. Dow. Both, to the honor of the intelligent magistrates, were acquitted." [Note: no mention of the names of the women in question are mentioned].

Other names of note from various town histories include Samuel Blodgett, Moses Kelley, Moses Poor and Worthley. [See a notice by Samuel Blodget, selling land in Goffstown NH in 1806.]

CENSUS OF 1773, 1775, 1786, 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840; Tax List of 1843

The following is a list of early lawyers who resided or practiced law in Goffstown NH: John Gove, Thomas Jameson, Jonathan Aiken, Josiah Forsaith, David Steele, John Stack, Charles F. Gover, Samuel Butterfield, George W. Morrison, John Steele.

Early physicians who practiced or lived in Goffstown include: Dr. Webster, Dr. Cushing, Dr. Jonathan Gove, Dr. David L. Morrill, Drs. John and Ebenezer Stevens, Dr. Walkers, Dr. Wrights, Dr. Renolds, Dr. Crosby, Ziba Adams, Drs. Daniel and John Little, Dr. Flanders, Dr. Carr, Dr. Newhall, Dr. Charles F. George and Dr. Frank Blaisdell. [Dr. Gove was considered to be the first physician in this part of the State. Dr. Morrill was Senator of Congress and Governor of the State, also a minister of the gospel.]

From: A brief history of the Congregational Church in Goffstown, N.H. : being part of a sermon; Bristol, N.H.: R.W. Musgrove, printer, 1881, 20 pgs.[SEE this book in its entirety - PDF file 1.14 MB]
"At the first annual town meeting, held at the barn of Thomas Karr (where the meetings were convened for many years), it was 'Voted, that £100 will be raised for preaching,' and Dea. Thomas Karr and Asa Pattee were appointed a committee to expend it. It was also 'Voted, that half the preaching be at James Karr's and the other half at John Smith's.' It is probably that all the public religious services of that day were held in barns, as we find by a vote in March, 1763, that it was the will of the town that the preaching for that year be at James Karr's barn....The Congregational Church was organized Oct. 30, 1771. Its records, for the first ten years of its existence, were destroyed by fire many years since...It is probably that a Presbyterian church or society was formed very soon after, for in an old record book of the Londonderry Presbytery. . . is the record from the minutes of a meeting held at Newburyport, Mass., May 13, 1772: 'Ordered that a certificate be delivered to the Presbyterian society of Goffstown....there were also a few Episcopalians, whose parish rates were applied at Newburyport, Mass....The town records have this entry under the date of March 7, 1791 -- 'This certifies that Capt. John Butterfield hath joined the Episcopal Society in Goffstown, and means to support the gospel in that mode of worship. (Signed) John Smith, John Clogston, Wardens. [Also mentioned at a later date was Mr. Enoch Eaton, Job Dow, and Wm. McDougal].'

The original meetinghouse (also used as a house of worship) was built in Goffstown Center (now known as Grasmere) in 1768. For 101 years it was used regularly, but in 1869, the structure was sold and relocated in Manchester. The original "Pew ground" of this building was sold to Samuel Blodgett, Wm. Gilchrist, Robert Gilmore, Capt. James Karr, Dea. Thomas Karr, Job Kidder, Joseph Little, Capt. John Mack, Daniel McFarland, Samuel McFarland, Asa Pattee, Samuel Richards, Benjamin Stevens and Moses Wells.

[The second meetinghouse in town was erected in 1815 and 1816 (dedicated July 3, 1816), and it stood quite near the house of a Mr. Samuel M. Christie. The building was large, with galleries on 3 sides and had a bell. In 1845 it was taken down and moved away. The third meeting-house was built in 1838, which was the one occupied by the Methodists, and which was struck by lightning and burned later. Another meeting-house was soon built.]

In 1775, Alexander Walker, Captain James Karr and Captain Alexander Todd were chosen, with the selectmen, a Committee of Safety as recommended by the Continental Congress, convened at Exeter NH. In 1776, James Eaton, Enoch Sawyer, Captain Joseph Little, Moses Wills and Joshua Buswell constituted this committee. In the following year the town was canvassed by Samuel Richards, Joshua Martin and Thomas Shirley, to determine what each man had done in the Continental service of war.

Goffstown furnished its full quota of soldiers to the Continental army. The following is a list of some of their names. Those marked with a star ( * ) we killed or died in the service:
     Captain Samuel Richards, Lieutenant Moses Little, Lieutenant Timothy Blake, Ensign Jesse Carr,* Antipas Dodge, Ichabod Martin, Timothy Moshire, Eruben Kidder, Obed McLane, Loudon McGregorie, Joseph Marsh, David McClure, David McClure, Jr., Robert Spear, John Dinsmore, Alexander Gilchrist, Robert Gilchrist,* Robert Gilchrist, Jr., John Sessions* and wife, Lieutenant Philip Ferrin, Alexander McDuell,* in both wars (The French and Indian) and died while returning from the War of the Revolution to his home; William McDoell, jr., James McPherson, John McFerson, John Todd,* Collins Eaton,* Jonah Woods, John Little, John Gilmore, Matthew Kennedy, Andrew Newell* (killed at the evacuation of Ticonderoga), Eleazer Emerson, Seth Wyman, Samuel Dunlap, Samuel Reinick* (wounded at Bennington, and brought home by Captain E. Richards, with two other young men), Timothy Johnson, Samuel Barr, John Woods, Edward Woods, Samuel Smith, David Stevens* (brought home sick , wounded and died), Benjamin Stevens, Jr., Ward Clark, Nathan Hawes, Amos Richards, Eliphalet Richards, Simon Flanders, Charles Sargent, David Bursiel, Reuben Kemp, Robert McGregory, William Houston, Jesse Dickey, Isachar King, John Butterfield, Jonathan Bell, John Bell, Nathaniel Stevens, Ezra Myrack,* Joshua Wilson, John McClintock, Joshua Bell, Benjamin Cass, Augustus George, Joseph Hadley,* McAllister,* William Wilson, John Walker, John George, Samuel Eaton, Thomas Saltmarsh, Silas Wells, William Kemp* (killed, together with Andrew Newall, while on a scouting party from Fort Independence), Ebenezer Ferren, Thomas Shirley, Joshua Martin, Elijah Kidder, Jacob Sargent, Samuel Orr * (wounded in the leg near the knee, which is usually fatal) and Stewart Mars, a colored man, -- seventy four in all.

Thirteen were killed or died of disease in the service. Many of them returned home with painful, though honorable wounds. Several were at the battle of Bunker Hill and a number continued through the war. Captain Eliphalet Richards, then a boy of seventeeen, Nathan Hawes, not quite fifteen, Amos Richards, Robert Spear, Charles Sargent, Reuben Kemp, Samuel Remick, Samuel Dunlap, William Houston and John Butterfield were at Bennington.

Here is a list of Goffstown NH soldiers during the Revolutionary War from USGenNet.

MILITARY RECORD, 1861-65--The following are the names of those who enlisted from Goffstown during the late Rebellion [Civil War], exclusive of the first of the three month's regiment:
John L. Harriman, Samuel A. Kidder, John Bartlett, Samuel Stark, William H. Farmer, Henry Page, Nathan H. Roberts, David A. Page, John L. Manning, Benjamin F. Harriman, Lewis Merrill, Warren P. Elliott, Walter A. Lawrence, Aaron Elliott, Charles Martin, Calvin Merrill, Andrew J. Roberts, Walter J. Richards, John M. Stark, Russell Stevens, Henry Rowell, Albert Q. George, George W. Wells, Horace W. Black, Isaac W. Martin, Thomas L. Rich, Rodney Hadley, George N. Cutler, Henry Moore, R.W. Aiken, Nathan A. Gowin, Hiram A. Heath, Frederick Merrell (sic), John A. Heath, Willard P. Thompson, Henry Stark, Solomon Smith, Benjamin D. Belcher, Edwin Stark, Kimball F. Blaisdell, Henry Baker, Edward Barnard, Edwin G. Bowen, Charles Willey, Albert Story, Isaac Willey, Frederick D. Moore, W.H.D. Cochran, Lewis J. Gillis, William B. Hart, Jonathan Boyles, John Quick, Nelson Richards, Nathaniel F. Sweat, Robert Richards, John E. Richards, Oscar Perkins, Lewis B. Caley, John Brown, William Sidney, William O. Morgrage, Norton R. Moore, Jackson Willard, George Hope, Lewis Saigell, martin V. Wyman, Trophile Thebadia, Andrew J. Aiken, John B. Lucian, James N. Gault, Cyrus N. Sargent, Jerry Breene, Charles H. Lanchester, Francis M. Simpson, Benjamin Buckley, Henry M. Burrows, A.B. Merrell (sic), David A. Worthley, Benjamin Greer, Jr., Isaac B. Holt, Clifford K. Burns, John H. Kennedy, William L. Otis, George E. Tirrell, Albert P. Jehonnett, John Tirrell, Henry E. Blaisdell, James Murry, Elbridge Barr, Timothy McCarthy, Royall H. Robie, Cornelius D. Dunnaho, Wayland F. Balch, W.H.H. Black, Samuel A. Richards, Joseph Dow, William Sargent, Isaiah L. Sweat, William Provoncia, Horatio O. Tidd, William B. Dodge, Thomas Barker, W.F. Stark, Thomas Howard, Herman J. Eaton, John Flanigan, Sylvester Godfrey, Patrick Farilee, Benjamin F. Quinby, John O'Neil, Marselah A. Merrill, Thomas O. Grady, Henry C. Richards, Leonard N. George, Godfrey Jehonnett, Horace Shirley, Jasom Miller, Joseph Comfort.

The following are the names of those who enlisted to go to Portsmouth in 1863, into the Heavy Battery:Frederick L. Swartzs, Charles J. Drew, Samuel B. Weston, John S. Poor, James L. Hunkins, Frank Harriman, George A. Gilchrist, Charles Morgrage, Malcom McLane, Daniel Kidder, Joseph E. Steavens (sic), Edward J. Collins, Moses W. Woodbury, George F. Bidwell, Daniel L. Woodbury, William H.D. Cochran, George Whipple, George A. Merrill, James F. Wyman, Edwin Flanders, Stephen Lawrence, Darwin M. Poor, James R. Ferson, John B. Jones.


Naming of local landmarks

Mast Road was thusly named as it was the route where trees marked for the use of the King were pulled by oxen to the Merrimack River. From there they were transported to Portsmouth to be fashioned into masts for sailing vessels.

Goffstown's Mount Uncanoonuc (an Indian name that means "woman's breasts") once hosted a trolley service, an inclined railway, and a summit hotel.

The Piscataquog (a Native American word meaning"great deer place") River runs through the center of Goffstown.

Charles Ray bought the popcorn stand in Goffstown in the 1940's and placed it at the corner of North Mast Road and High Street. In 1986, "Popcorn Charlie's" family sold the stand to the Lions Club.

Goffstown is home to Saint Anselm College, a well-respected, private liberal arts college affiliated with the Catholic Church. The college’s Dana Center offers cultural events open to the public year-round. St. Anselm’s Carr Center offers many organized sporting events throughout the year.

Goffstown has two downtown areas: The Village and Pinardville. The more urban Pinardville, located near Route 114 and Manchester’s western border, supports approximately a third of Goffstown’s population and 50 percent of its commercial and industrial tax base. The Village, located in the eastern section of town, is Goffstown’s more traditional New England village center.

According to the Town of Goffstown NH web site:

Goffstown was originally a farming community. The first settlers in the 1700s found the area magnificently forested with hardwood on the hill and unexcelled stands of white pine on the "pine plains", which extended along Mast Road. This area was so named for the many pine trees suitable for ship masts which were cut and hauled to the Merrimack River for use by the Royal British Navy. [The famous "Pine Tree Riot" of 1772 took place nearby in the town of Weare, and included some residents and former residents of Goffstown].

The first settlement was on the north bank of the Piscataquog River in what is now Grasmere Village, the seat of the town government for more than 100 years. Goffstown Village grew up around the falls on the Piscataquog River where local industry developed because of the availability of water power. Pinardville developed rapidly in the era of the electric trolley car as a residential suburb for employees of the mills in the City of Manchester. The steam railroad also played a part in creating the Town's nodular pattern of development with stations at Grasmere, Shirley Station, Goffstown Village and Parker Station. To date, Grasmere, the Village, and Pinardville exist as three distinct areas of town.

Included within the Town of Goffstown are several public and private recreational facilities. The town has several areas that are available for field sports and other activities: Maple Avenue School and Bartlett School playgrounds; plus Roy Memorial Park, Barnard Park, and Pinardville Park. The latter three also offer swimming pools and associated recreational activities. In addition, Getty Field and Babe Ruth Field are used for field sports. Two other recreational areas, Uncanoonuc Mountain and Glen Lake Park, provide open space areas and swimming activities in the town. Several state parks are located near Goffstown, within a short driving distance: Clough State Park in Weare (15 minutes); Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown (30 minutes); and Silver Lake State Park in Hollis (45 minutes).


OTHER GOFFSTOWN HISTORY WEB SITES:
 

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