History and Genealogy of Merrimack, Hillsborough County NH
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of Interest - Merrimack NH


Oliver Farwell built a tavern prior to 1780 on Naticook Road near the intersection of Route 101A. Known as the Rockingham House, it reportedly had a floating dance floor. It was destroyed by fire in 1931.

McGaw's Tavern was located on Route 3, west of the Merrimack River near Reed's Ferry landing and was used by river travelers.
Later it housed the post office, and even later was a gasoline station. This building was dismantled and moved to Bedford, New Hampshire.

McConihe's Tavern (also known as Nevin's Tavern and the Merrimack House) was located where the library is now. It was moved to the other side of Daniel Webster Highway when the library was built. The building currently houses apartments. [see "History" for more info]

Riddle's Tavern on at 442 DANIEL WEBSTER HWY was built by Isaac Riddle in 1807 for the use of the stockholders and officers of Riddle's Mills. It later became a private home, then the Country Gourmet Restaurant and Cafe, and later the Woodbury House & Prime Time Cafe (this was closed 3/18/05); Currently the building is known as Buckley's Great Steaks.

Hannah Jack Tavern was operated by James Thornton in the early 1800's. Built by his father Matthew Thornton who signed the Declaration of Independence. Since then it has been a private home, doctor's office, apartment house and restaurant. One of its early names as a restaurant was "The Signer's House" and later as "Hannah Jacks." The tavern is located just off Exit 11 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike, near the intersection of Greeley Street and Daniel Webster Highway in the Thorntons Ferry section of town. According to the Nashua Telegraph newspaper, on November 1, 2004 "this building was bought by The Common Man Hospitality Group, which owns almost a dozen restaurants in the state. The sale price was $1.1 million, including the property, furniture and equipment, said Tom Fini, the Bedford real estate agent who represented the sellers, business partners George Scully and Richard Turgeon" It is currently called The Common Man Restaurant.

In 1798 Jonathan Wheeler built a cape-style house on Peaslee Road. After his death his daughter inherited the property, and then her daughters who both married a Mr. Kent. Their son G. Harold Kent owned "The Kent Homestead" in 1996.


A social library was established in 1798. Later a second library was formed and finally given to McGaw. In March 1892 a town library was permanently established. Miss Emma Cross devotedly served the town as librarian for thirty-eight years, with the public library located in her home on Loop Road. In 1925 the Lowell Memorial Library was built on Route 3, as the result of a gift to the town from Mrs. Mabel Haseltine and Mrs. Bertha Gordon as a memorial to their parents, Mr. & Mrs. Levi F. Lowell. An addition was added in 1979.

Isaac Riddle built mills for the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods and nails. He was burnt out June 10,1818, rebuilt, and carried on the business until again burned out in 1829. Later, David Henderson carried on an extensive business in the mills which had been rebuilt, manufacturing carpets, cotton and woolen goods. Most of the buildings were once more destroyed by fire in 1882, but fortunately the building owned by Thomas Parker escaped. Riddle's Mills were replaced by the Old White Mill. In 1906 this mill was bought by the McElwain Shoe Company and soles for military boots were manufactured. The building housed a chemical company in 1996.

In 1820, Merrimac contained 1 meeting house, 9 school districts and school houses, 5 taverns, 5 stores, 8 saw mills, 5 grain mills, 2 clothing mills, 2 carding machines and 2 tanneries.

In 1873 the Fessenden & Lowell company commenced business at Reeds Ferry and were manufacturers of fish and syrup packages, cooper stock, and lumber [lumber, kits, pails, kegs, half-barrels and barrels]. Nearly all of this was made from native pine bought in the vicinity of their mills. It was owned by Anson D. Fessenden of Townsend, Mass. and Levi F. Lowell, of Merrimack, NH. In 1893 when the partnership was changed to a stock company, retaining the same name. In 1906 it was managed by Levi F. Lowell, President and General Manger with George P. Butterfield as general manager of the package department and John E. Haseltine manager for the store and the mill. Alfred N. Fessenden, son of Anson D. Fessenden of Townsend MA was then treasurer.

Fessenden and Lowell also built a company store [see old photograph] on the corner of Depot Street and Route 3 for the convenience of the employees of their cooper shop. [a second source states that "the local store belonging to Mr. Haseltine was taken into the corporation, and has been running as a cash grocery."]. Charles Nesmith, an associate of Fessenden and Lowell, operated the store for a time. A fire destroyed this store it was rebuilt and became the property of the Jenkins family. The post office was located in this building with Raymond Jenkins as postmaster. Later Stanley and Millie Green operated the store when it became known as the Reed's Ferry Market.

The old store at Reed's Ferry, kept by Jacob McGaw and then by his son Robert McGaw, is where Matthew Thornton, Jacob Burnap, Horace Greeley and other celebrities of the day used to trade.

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