howling wilderness it was, where no man dwelt.
The hideous yells of wolves,
the shrieks of owls, the gobbling of turkeys,
and the barking of foxes
were all the music we heard.
All a deary waste and exposed to a thousand difficulties."
page 3, History of the Town of Mont Vernon, NH, 1907
lives of the first settlers in the New Hampshire townships were a constant struggle
Vernon was originally a part of the town of Amherst, New Hampshire.
It was chartered in 1728 as Narragansett No. 3, later called Souhegan
No. 3. In January, 1760 it was chartered as Amherst, named for
Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of the British forces
in America. Amherst's boundaries changed several times, as Amherst
provided a strip of land in 1750 to form Merrimack.
Half of the now-defunct town of Monson
was added to Amherst in 1770. In 1794, Amhersts Southwest
Parish became Milford. Amherst was the first seat of Hillsborough
County, so named when the counties were formed in 1769.
first settlement in the township was probably made in 1735, by Samuel Lamson
and Samuel Walton (both from Reading, Massachusetts) a mile south
of Amherst Plain, where they built a log house; Lamson, about 1740, removed to
Mont Vernon. In 1765 he removed to Billerica, Massachusetts, and died there in
1779. His sons, Jonathan and John, passed their lives and died in Mont Vernon.
Sarah, daughter of Jonathan, married Deacon Jacob Kendall, of Mont Vernon, in
1782. Four daughters and one son of John spent most of their lives in this town.
Joseph Prince, of Salem Village, now Danvers (MA) was the only one of
the original proprietors who settled in the township. He was a proprietor in the
right of his uncle, Richard Prince. He first located about 1740, and lived some
years on the farm about one mile southeast from Mont Vernon village known as the
soldiers who lived in what is now Mont Vernon served in the French and Indian
War (that ended in 1763). During the American Revolution, the town of Amherst
furnished over three hundred soldiers, and between 50-60 of this number are identified
as belonging to Mont Vernon. Two were officers--Joseph Farnum, lieutenant of Captain
Bradford's company at Bennington, and Stephen Peabody, an adjutant at Bunker Hill,
aide to General Stark at Bennington, and lieutenant-colonel commanding a batallion
sent to Rhode Island.
THE OFFICIAL NH 1840 CENSUS OF PENSIONERS -
THOSE LIVING IN "MOUNT VERNON"
of pensioner for
revolutionary or military service
of head of families with whom pensioners resided June 1, 1840
1791 the finishing of the meeting-house was completed by a
committee consisting of Moses Kimball, Lieutenant Joseph
Farnum and Deacon
3, 1802 it was voted to take measures to effect a separation
from the town of Amherst, and a committee, consisting of Major
William Bradford, John Carlton, Captain John Batchelder, Captain
Josph Perkins, Captain Thomas Cloutman, Deacon Jacob Kendall,
Lieutenant Benjamin Parker, Lieutenant
Joseph Farnum, Eli
Wilkins, Parker Richardson, Nathan Jones and Lieutenant
Timothy Hill, was appointed to petition the town relative
the last Thursday of May, 1802, the parish voted to petition the General Court
to incorporate them into a town. In June of that year, Nathan Jones, Capt. Joseph
Perkins and Capt. Benjamin Parker presented the petition to the General Court.
On November 31, 1803 it was "Voted, that the name of the contemplated town
be Mont Vernon."
North Parish became the town of Mont Vernon when it incorporated. The act of incorporation
was signed by Governor John Taylor Gilman, December 15, 1803.
continues to be debate about the naming of Mont Vernon. Some say that the original
intent was to name the town after "Mount Venon" and that an early typographical
error resulted in its current name. This theory is entirely possible, as the first
post office was called the MOUNT Vernon post office.
1852 a tract exceeding one thousand acres of land was annexed from Lyndeborough
to Mont Vernon at the winter session of the Legislature of 1852. There were fourteen
families added to the population of Mont Vernon by this change.
first town meeting was held January 23, 1804, at the Centre School-house.
Joseph Langdell was chosen moderator, John
Carlton town clerk, and John Carlton, Jos. Langdell and Jacob Kendall selectmen.
At the first annual town meeting March 13, 1804, the same town officers were re-elected,
and Major William Bradford chosen as representative.
following is a list of the earliest representatives sent to the Legislature from
Mont Vernon: William Bradford 1804-1806; John Batchelder 1808-1810; Benjamin
Durant 1811-1815; Andrew Wallace 1816; Ezekiel Upton 1817-1821; John Bruce 1822-1826;
Aaron F. Sawyer 1827-1829; Nathaniel Bruce 1830-1833; Daniel W. Baker 1834-1835;
Porter Kimball 1836; George Raymond 1837-1839; Nathaniel Bruce 1840-1841; George
Raymond 1842; Zephaniah Kittredge 1843; William Conant 1844; Leander Smith 1845-1847;
John Averill 1848; Joseph A. Starrett 1849; William Bruce 1850; Leander Smith
1851-1852; Alonzo Travis 1853-1855; Charles R. Beard 1856-1857; Ira Kendall 1858-1859;
Charles J. Smith 1860-1861; Ira Roby 1862; William G. Bruce 1863-1864; Henry C.
Dodge 1865; George A. Bruce 1866; Charles
F. Kittredge 1867; Andrew W. Raymond 1868-1869; J.H.A. Bruce 1870-1871; James
Upton 1872-1873; John Trevitt, 1874-1875; Daniel P. Kendall 1876-1877; Clark Campbell
1878-1879; Elbridge F. Trow 1880-1882.
During the War of the Rebellion (Civil War), Mont Vernon was represented
by nearly forty citizen soldiers. None of those who enlisted from
Mont Vernon were lost in battle, but seven died of disease
contracted in the service including: James C. Towne, Henry
N. McQuestion, William H. Upton, Charles Robinson, Nathan Kendall,
George W. Brown, and John Alexander; William W. Ireland lost his
life by drowning. George N. Bruce went to the war as a lieutenant,
and returned a lieutenant-colonel; C.F. Stinson left a private
and came home a captain; George A. Marden was quartermaster of
Berdans' regiment of sharpshooters.
town of Mont Vernon is irregular in shape, averaging four miles in length and
three and one-half in width. The towns which bound it are New Boston on the north,
Amherst on the east, Amherst and Milford on the south and Lyndeborough on the
Hill, rising at the northeast part of the town, near Joe's Pond, forms the highest
elevation. Other conspicuous prominences are McCollom Hill, on the northerly line
of the town, Beach Hill, in the northwesterly section, Carlton Hill in the southwesterly
part of the town, and near the village, easterly and southeasterly, are Campbell's
Hill and Prospect Hill. From the summit of the latter, which is a broad plateau,
elevated some one hundred feet above the village, is obtained a prospect most
varied and extensive.
two miles from the village, near the westerly edge of town is "Purgatory,"
a natural curiosity--a deep ravine more than half a mile in length, through which
Black Brook makes its way. At the "Upper Falls," the brook plunges perpendicularly
more than fifty feet into a deep chasm or pit. One hundred rods down this deep
gorge the stream makes several further leaps, known as "Lower Falls."
There was a fine grove near the Upper Falls, which was fitted up for picnics.
The annual "Purgatory Picnic" was held in August. In August of 1885,
three hundred persons attended.
Vernon village is situated on an eminence seven hundred and seventy feet above
mean tide-water...and was built mainly upon one street, one-third of a mile in
length. In 1885 the village consisted of a church, an academy building, church
vestry, school-house and two stores. Bellevue House, an elegant four-story structure
used as the village hotel and summer house stood here, along with four other large
boarding-houses in town. In 1885 there were forty-two dwellings.
POPULATION OF MONT VERNON
In 1810: 762
more detailed history of the town may be found in the History
of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. This volume is available in
many of New Hampshire libraries (in their genealogical section).
There are several other good resources including: History of
Hillsborough County, New Hampshire; Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis
& Co., 1885, 878 pgs.
SEE this site's "Family Tree"
section for more information regarding the town's history and
HISTORY of MONT VERNON (external links)