History and Genealogy of Mont Vernon, Hillsborough County NH
 
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A Brief, Early
H I S T O R Y
of Mont Vernon, NH


"A 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


"The lives of the first settlers in the New Hampshire townships were a constant struggle for existance."

Mont 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 General 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, Amherst’s Southwest Parish became Milford. Amherst was the first seat of Hillsborough County, so named when the counties were formed in 1769.

"The 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.

Lieut. 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 Jones Farm.

Four 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.


FROM THE OFFICIAL NH 1840 CENSUS OF PENSIONERS -
THOSE LIVING IN "MOUNT VERNON" (sic)
Name of pensioner for
revolutionary or military service
Ages
Names of head of families with whom pensioners resided June 1, 1840
Daniel Averill
71
Daniel Averill
Ella Heywood
73
John Heywood
Zephaniah Kittredge
83
Zephaniah Kittredge
Solomon Kittredge
85
Solomon Kittredge
Andrew Leavitt
87
William Leavitt
Jonathan Lamson
84
Betsey Lamson
Israel Farnum
81
Mark D. Perkins
Hannah Perkins
75
Hiram Perkins

In 1791 the finishing of the meeting-house was completed by a committee consisting of Moses Kimball, Lieutenant Joseph Farnum and Deacon Oliver Carlton.

May 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 to that.

On 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."

Amherst's 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.

There 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.

In 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.

The 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.

The 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.

GEOGRAPHY
The 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 west.

Roby's 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.

About 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.

Mont 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.

EARLY POPULATION OF MONT VERNON
In 1810: 762
1820: 729
1830: 763
1840: 720
1850: 722
1860: 725
1870: 601
1880: 516

A 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 people.


MORE HISTORY of MONT VERNON (external links)

Mont Vernon celebrated its 200th Anniversary in 2003.

See the Mont Vernon Bicentennial
Celebration Web Page
, to learn how the town celebrated!


History and Genealogy of Mont Vernon, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire at SEARCHROOTS
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