History of Warner
Congregationalists. - For more than half a century the only active evangelical denomination in town was the Congregationalist (orthodox). The history of this church begins with the history of the town.
One of the conditions of the grant, as we have noticed, was that the grantees should, "within the space of three years from the time of their being admitted, build and furnish a convenient meeting-house for the public worship of God and settle a learned orthodox minister." Before the actual settlement of a minister the proprietors paid considerable sums for the maintenance of preaching in the town. The earliest ministers who are known to have preached in Warner are Timothy Walker and Nehemiah Ordway, Jr. The proprietors records contain mention of sums paid them for their services in preaching in 1767, 1769 and 1770. In 1771, Rev. Robie Morrill, of Epping, preached several Sabbaths and a little later a Mr. Farrington.
Timothy Walker was the son of Rev. Timothy Walker, the first minister of Concord. He was a graduate of Harvard College, and being licensed to preach in 1759, preached in several places a number of years, but was never settled. He was prominent afterwards in civil life: was councilor, chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and several times was the candidate of the Democratic party for Governor of New Hampshire.
Nehemiah Ordway, Jr., was the son of Nehemiah Ordway, of Amesbury, one of the proprietors of Warner. He graduated at Harvard in 1764, and after his preaching in Warner was settled a number of years over the church at Middleton, N. H. Of the other itinerants little is known.
The Congregational Church was formally organized February 5, 1772, and Rev. William Kelley, the first settled minister, was ordained the same day. Mr. Kelley had been preaching in town since the first of 1771. He was born at Newbury, Mass., October 31, 1744. He graduated at Harvard in 1767 ; studied divinity with Rev. Henry True, of Hampstead, and married Miss Lavinia Bayley daughter of Rev. Abner Bayley, of Salem, N.H. He belonged to the old style of ministers, had the manners of a Chesterfield and the theology of the moderate Calvinists. His prayers and sermons are said to have been not so wearisomely long as were most of that day. He was the pastor of his people no less than the minister of his church.
The little church thus organized in the wilderness was weak in numbers and wealth. The covenant was signed and assented to by only eight of the citizens, although there was a larger number of women. Everybody, however, attended meeting and each citizen of the town paid a proportionate part of the tax for support of preaching, for church and State were then one. The church building was a rude, barn-like structure, with rough board benches for seats, and the pulpit was perched like a bird's nest high up on the wall. The first two deacons of the church were Parmenas Watson and Nehemiah Heath, who served the church in this office, the first for a period of fifty-eight years, the latter forty-eight years.
Mr. Kelley was continued in his pastorate until March 11, 1801, when he was dismissed. He spent the remainder of his life in town, and was never settled over any other church. He was elected the moderator of the church, and the people continually gave proof of their affection for their former pastor. Very often he occupied his old pulpit Sundays, and he went down to his grave honored and revered. After his dismissal the church was without a regular pastor for thirteen years. There had been dissension in the church. It was divided and weakened by the location of the meeting-house "under the ledge," by other causes. The wounds were slowly healed by time.
In June, 1814, Rev. John Woods, of Fitzwilliam, was settled over the church. He was a young man of great intellectual strength, but lacked the courtly manners of his predecessor. His preaching, however, stirred up the dry bones, and there was a wonderful revival. A new church building was erected in 1819, by twenty-nine individuals of the society. It stood, first, a little west of the Lower village, but was removed to its present location at the Centre in 1845. Mr. Woods was dismissed, at his own request June, 1823.
From 1823 to 1827 the church was without a pastor. Rev. Henry 0. Wright preached about two years, and several others a few months. September, 1827, Rev. Jubilee Wellman was installed remaining ten years, during which time the church was strong, and prosperous. Mr. Wellman was followed by, Rev. Amos Blanchard, who was settled over the church February, 1837. The Rev. Dr. Nathan Lord, president of Dartmouth College, preached the sermon, and Mr. Wellman gave the charge to the pastor. Mr. Blanchard remained over the church only two years, accepting the pastorate of the church at Meriden, N. H., in 1839, where he remained more than twenty-five years. The next pastor, Rev. James IV. Perkins, was installed March 4, 1840, and dismissed in 1846. He was an earnest, laborious, efficient pastor. Rev. Robert W. Fuller was settled over the church from 1846 to 1850. He was a man of strong will and active habits. The church flourished during his stay. In 1853, Rev. Harrison O. Howland, who bad been preaching for the society more than a year, was settled over the church. Mr. Howland remained here until 1857, when Rev. Daniel Warren was installed pastor. In 1863 he was dismissed, and for three years the pulpit was supplied chiefly by Rev. Henry S. Huntington, of Norwich, Conn. In 1866, Mr. Huntington was settled over the church. He resigned, in the fall of 1872, to accept the pastorate of a church at Galesburg, Ill. The one hundredth anniversary of its organization was celebrated by the church in June, 1872.
Rev. Matthew M. Gates immediately followed Mr. Huntington as pastor of the church. He closed his connection, after four years of service, in 1876, since which time there has been no settled pastor. The following are the names of those who have preached for the church during periods of more than one year: Rev. George A. Beckwith, Rev. George J. Pierce, Rev. George E. Foss, Rev. George W. Savory. Rev. Smith Norton, the present pastor, commenced his services with the church April 1, 1885.
Baptist. - In 1793 the religious affairs of Warner were considerably agitated. A large body of citizens separated themselves from the orthodox church and established another religious society. The cause of the schism was a diversity of opinion regarding the baptism of infants, the separatists declaring themselves Anti-Pedobaptists. The new church began a meeting-house, but never finished it, and no settled minister ever presided over the society. It gradually weakened, and in a few years was practically extinct.
The present Baptist Church was organized, in 1833, by twenty-two citizens of the town, who built a church building, and dedicated it in September of that year. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Ira Person, of Newport. The first settled pastor of this church was Rev. George W. Cutting, a native of Shoreham, Vt., who remained from January, 1835, to September, 1848, when he accepted a call from the Baptist Church in Lyme. He was a popular citizen and an able preacher. Rev. John M. Chick, of Maine, began his ministry over this church in 1840 and continued his services until 1846, when Rev. J S. Herrick succeeded him, who remained five years. The fourth pastor, Rev. Lorenzo Sherwin, who began his labors with this church in February, 1832, was obliged to resign his charge, the following year, on account of failing health.
In April, 1853, Rev. N. J. Pinkham, of Dover, began to preach, and retained his connection with the church until February, 1857. Rev. Henry Stetson succeeded him, and was the pastor from 1860 to 1864. From 1865 to 1870, Rev. Albert Heald was over this church, and from 1873 to 1881, Rev. William H. Walker. Mr. Walker resigned in May 1881, and in the fall of that year Rev. N. M. Williams, of Lowell, was installed as pastor, which position he continues to hold. In 1883 the church had existed fifty years, and on the 13th of September its semi-centennial took place.
At times during the last eighty years there has been an organization of Free-Will Baptists in town, though they never have had a church edifice nor a settled minister. For many years they used the old school-house of District No. 8 a sanctuary, having regular preaching and observing the church ordinances in the building.
Methodists. - This denomination at one time had quite an organization in Warner. The church built a meeting-house at the Lower village somewhere about 1835, and maintained public worship until 1870, since which time it has not been regularly occupied. Rev. William Abbott, Rev. Charles Knott and Rev. M. V. B. Knox were pastors of this church at various periods.
Universalists. - In 1844 a Universalist Church organized in Warner, and a meeting-house was built. Regular preaching was sustained during twenty years or more. Walter Harriman, Rev. J. F. Wetherell and Rev. Lemuel Willis occupied the pulpit the larger part of this time. The meeting-house was purchased by N. G. Ordway in 1865, moved from its old site and remodeled. The portion used as a church is now Union Hall.
Osgoodites. - The religious sect known by this name first made themselves prominent about the year 1814. The founder was one Jacob Osgood, son of Philip Osgood, one of the early settlers of the town. He was an enthusiast, a powerful singer and of much skill in repartee. In the early part of this century, he took an active part with the Free-Will Baptists. Naturally ambitious and headstrong, he was disposed to be autocratic, and as some of his religious views were not strictly conservative, he was not approved by them as a leader. He then opposed them, claiming special power from the Almighty, and announcing that he was a prophet, and could heal the sick, and was a, sort of vice-gerent. He was opposed to going to law, performing military duty and supporting preachers. For some time his followers increased about Mink Hill, the Gore, Sutton and vicinity. There were also about thirty families in Canterbury led by Josiah Haynes. During two or three years subsequent to 1830 the Osgoodites held great revival meetings, one of which was on Kearsarge Mountain. Their singing and peculiar service attracted many hearers. The hymns sung by them were usually of their own composition. Songs, prayers and exhortations were intermixed in their services without any regularity. Osgood's custom was to sit in his chair and preach, with two eyes shut and one hand on the side of his face. He was a very large man physically weighing over three hundred pounds. He died in 1844, and Nehemiah Ordway and Charles H. Colby became the ruling elders. There are but few of the sect left. They were an honest, upright people in their dealings with others, and sometimes dishonorably treated by the officers of the law.
In the town of Warner, N.H. some eighteen miles west of Concord, N.H. there was founded toward the beginning of the last century a strange sect known as the Osgoodites.
The founder of this movement, Jacob Osgood was born in South Hampton, New Hampshire, on March 16, 1777, the son of Philip Osgood by his third wife, the corpulent Methitable Flanders, daughter of a South Hampton farmer. At the age of twelve Jacob was taken to Warner, where he lived all his life. There, before he was 21, he married Miriam Stevens daughter of Jonathan Stevens of Sutton, and in 1812 built on his hundred acre farm on the northern slope of the Mink Hills in upper Warner, known before 1815 as Bean's Hills and subsequently as Waterloo, a low unpainted house with ragged chimneys.
In his autobiography, begun in 1820 in the Hopkinton jail and continued into the year 1827, Jacob wrote, I then took the art of singing and became master of the art. All the comfort I took at this time was in singing. I then went on very wickedly and graciously, being constantly at meetings on the Sabbath days, full of harisee works. he was referring to the fact that he sang, as did his wife, in the choir of the Congregational Church in Warner. according to his autobiography, he was "very zealous after the world. But became greatly moved by attending the funeral of a woman about his own age. Thereupon, as he puts it, the devil preached Calvinism and Universalism to him, but he knew they could not be true.
Next, he writes, God called upon him to warn the wicked to flee from the wrath to come, yet for some three years he did not do Gods bidding but became a Pharisee, strict to the meeting house. Finally, however, on a Sunday in October, 1805, he arose in the Congregational Church and began to speak, but, he adds, "they soon began to stamp and rap," and Jacob left that church for good and joined the Free Will Baptists. There, too, unfortunately, the elders presently began to find fault with his testimony. He therefore founded his own sect, and, as he expresses it, "God led me out of town meetings and trainings, but the churches were all in them, believing in politic religion, fighting and killing one another.
His first convert was Thomas Hackett of Warner, and for a time these two labored together. But, Jacob writes sadly, "Brother Hackett did not humble himself enough, but he fell away and went into the world, and went to drinking rum and smoking cigars, and so remained until the day of his death."
Undaunted by the backsliding of brother Hackett, Jacob toiled diligently and at one time had forty to fifty followers in Warner, thirty families in Canterbury under the leadership of Josiah Haynes, and other disciples in Sutton, Bradford, Gilford, Gilmanton, South Hampton, Newton, Amesbury-Mills and Newbury-Byfield.
The path that Osgood chose was no easy one, for as he writes, "persecution came hot against the church in Warner. even my own relations would turn me out of doors". To make matters even worst, he was opposed by his own wife, who, according to Charles H. Colby in his life of Jacob, warred against him seven years, as long as the American War, until the devil had fired away all of his ammunition. at last she fell under the mighty hand of God. One night, as they lay in bed, she began to cry out, saying that she should go to hell, and she was converted to god and became a strength to him in the gospel.
For the most part the Osgoodites were simple, honest folk with little education; but some persons of talent joined the sect, among them Charles H. Colby and Nehemiah Ordway chief poet of the movement and the Honorable N.G. Ordway. Their beliefs were such as to bring them into conflict with the State, the clergy and their neighbors. In his autobiography, Jacob indicates that he fully realized what had roused the ire of the professional and business men.
The churches and the world all got together, but we had heavenly meetings and we kept faith which was delivered to the saints: to heal the sick by laying on of our hands, which made hypocrites awful mad, and doctors would swear, and the lawyers would swear too, for we put the woe on lawyers, The gospel leads people to pay their debts without lawyers, and it troubles merchants and all craftsmen.
The creed of the sect, as it is found in Jacobs autobiography is, indeed, hard on lawyers and ministers. " We believe'', he writes in one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, one God and one father over all and one Jesus Christ. We believe in God's power to be above all and we believe in worshiping none other God but one, and of any do wrong, to confess and restore the wrong, and not to employ lawyers or ministers, for them that you have to hire you had better be without than with, but it appears to many to be a strange work. In man-made clergy, Jacob scornfully states that he has no faith, for they are proud, and in high seats in the synagogue with their hair stuck up and their servons studied out, and the love of money in them. You can hire them to preach and you can hire them to leave off. You can buy them and you can sell just as you can a fiddler.
Difficulties between the law and the sect grew out of refusal of the Osgoodites to train as required in the militia, and out of their stubborn determination not to pay fines levied against them for such refusal to undergo military training. Charles H. Colby, in his narrative of Jacob's life, explains that members of the group thought it wrong to learn war or use carnal weapons... At length God called them out from all these things, town meetings and training's and all the high days and doings that the wicked delight and trust in. The military authorities were quick to take action, and between 1819 and 1826 some of the brethren were jailed or had property taken from them because of their stand as conscientious objectors. In May, 1820, Osgood and others of his following haled before Judge Henry B. Chase in Warner. The account of the hearing as recorded by Charles Colby illustrates his skill at repartee.
When he said I am a Gospel preacher, Chase answered, you prove that. You prove that I am not, said Brother Osgood. Chase then said, Who ordained you? You tell me who ordained Jesus Christ, said he, and I will tell you who ordained me. Chase made no answer. Brother Osgood then said, Who made you a judge? He said God. Did God make you a judge to condemn his children? said Brother Osgood. No, No, said Chase, God has nothing to with our works. Brother Nehemiah Ordway then spoke and said: You will find that God has something to say about it before you get through. And as they talked, Chase trembled, for the power of God fell on him, and on the people, and some were in tears.
In spite of their arguments, Jacob Osgood and Nehemiah and Samuel Ordway were imprisoned on July 1, 1820 in the Hopkinton jail. There Jacob and his comrades received many visitors and had no lack of vitals or drink. The weather was very warm and they had good beer to drink, and called for it when they wanted it.
Jacob evidently made the most of his martyrdom, and like Bunyan, turned to literary endeavors in prison by starting his autobiography and penning a hymn, which the editor of the Concord newspaper ungraciously refused to print. After eleven days of Jacob's incarceration the authorities decided to release him, but he would not leave until he was taken out and carried home by his prosecutors. That was somewhat complicated by the fact that he normally weighed over three hundred pounds.
The other two brethren were soon joined in jail by Plummer Wheeler, and their release did not come until September, 1821. Leach the jailer, had been greatly distressed by the cost of feeding these prisoners and had applied to the State Legislature for relief. Thirty members of the lower house voted for release of the brethren, but one hundred, led by Ezekiel Webster of Boscawen, voted against this. Charles Colby deletes with gusto that the same Ezekiel Webster a few years later fell dead upon the floor as he was pleading a case in court in Concord.
The God of Jacob was indeed most active in avenging wrongs done to his Saints. In his autobiography Jacob tells how one officer defied the God I worshiped to kill him, and my flesh trembled on my bones, and I told him that God would take him out of the way, and he did no more work till he was carried to the grave. Similarly, when the father of Leach, the jailer in Hopkinton, swore at the brethren, Jacob "told him that if he went on so, something would come upon him." And not long after, as he was driving a yoke of oxen with a cart through a gate, the wheel caught him up against the post and killed him. As persecutions continued, even more sweeping vengeance from on high is recorded by Jacob.
In the year 1826, my God formed grasshoppers, and they troubled the persecutors and eat almost all before them; but they did not hurt my farm much.... God sent a judgment of rain on the persecutors' wheat, and they lost a great deal; but we could thank God for just judgments, and this made them mad.
For the medical profession the Osgoodites had no use, since they believed that they had the power to heal by the laying on the hands. " We healed the sick," writes Jacob. " by the faith in Christ." And he tells, for example how he cured of consumption a girl in Canterbury whose case had been given up by physicians as hopeless. This miracle, he states, "made awful work among the Pharisees and friends of the world, for they trust in Doctors and Lawyers and Ministers."
In September, 1823, Osgood and Nehemiah Ordway made a trip on horseback to Newton, Concord, Pembroke and Raymond, and during this journey, Jacob suffered a severe fall from his horse. True to his teachings, he consulted no physician, and he writes triumphantly, "The saints healed me by faith in God, and it is better than doctors stuff."
On various occasions Jacob is reported to have demonstrated that he could control the elements. In the spring of 1832 the weather was exceptionally bad and the corn was rotting in the ground, until Jacob prayed at a meeting in Canterbury for an end of the rain and for warm weather. The next day, according to C. H. Colby, the sun shone and the weather was warm. The previous year Jacob had offered prayer with equal success, for an end of cold weather, which at once gave way as a result of his supplications. Likewise, during the summer of 1840, when the crops were suffering from a prolonged drought, Jacob held a meeting in Warner at the home of Sally Bradley and prayed for rain, whereupon, Colby assures his readers, rain came in plenty the next day.
The Osgoodites movement first became prominent about 1814 and won new converts chiefly through the efforts of its founder and those of his Lieutenants Nehemiah Ordway and Charles H. Colby, with one or both of whom Jacob would make trips to neighboring towns. Charles Colby has recorded some journeys of the nature, one of which, in 1832, took Jacob as far as Kittery, York, Kennebunk, Scarborough and Parsonfield in Maine. On this excursion Jacob addressed a gathering of cochranites, and at Portsmouth a group of Separatists.
The Osgoodites had no churches but met in private homes or schoolhouses. Everyone present was free to take active part in the service, which consisted of prayers, exhortations and songs, all without any regularity. the language employed was earnest and from the heart, but often crude and vulgar. The members of the sect did not hesitate to upbraid without restraint the shortcomings of the other people, even of persons present. this fact often attracted the curious to their meetings, during which laughter and ribald interruptions sometimes greeted the speakers.
Jacob always preached, prayed, and sang seated in his chair, with his eyes closed and one hand on the side of his face. " He would," Write his biographer, " talk and weep and laugh almost at the same instant, and his talk never seemed tedious and wearisome, like the talk of many, but new and full of life, showing the way of God, and revealing the thought of his heart. When a lull would come, Jacob would remark," If no more is to be said, meeting is done.
Their prayers were often in the nature of conversations with the Lord, in course of which he was given advice rather than supplicated. The elders were wont to undertake to answer any question that might be asked by anyone in the audience. Sometimes those present who did not belong to the sect were inclined to regard the meeting as an entertainment rather than a religious service and would propound to the elders questions designed to bring out in the replies the oddities of the members.
In dress as in many other matters, the Osgoodites were unwilling to conform. the men wore their hair long and unkept, while the style of their clothes was always outmoded. the dress of the women were cut straight and entirely plain, across the shoulders they wore a white kerchief and on the head a linen bonnet in summer and a woolen hood in the winter. Their hair dress was plain and without regard to fashion.
Even their coffins were peculiar, for they were usually made of white pine, without paint or any finish or decorations. On occasion their tombstones would bear witness to the beliefs of the sect. So with the tombstone inscription of one of the elders, Josiah Haynes, in the cemetery on Zion's Hill in Canterbury, which records the well known dislikes of the Osgoodites for doctors and paid clergy, It reads: He kept his faith unto the end and left the world in peace. he did not for a doctor send nor for a hireling priest.
In June, 1844, Jacob foretold his approaching death, and on August 23 he was taken ill. After a brief recovery, he again took to his bed and died on the morning of Friday November 29, at the age of sixty-eight. He was survived by all but one of his eight children and by his wife, who out lived him by thirty-seven years, to die in 1882 at the age of (102) one hundred and two.
The founder of the Osgoodites was an early riser and a great talker. He has been described as a man of large heart and almost always cheerful and free, (who) did not despise the weak, and was much beloved for these things. it is, more over recorded that Jacob was very kind and that during the winter of 1836-7 when hay and corn were scarce because of unseasonable weather, he gave generously of his own supplies to his less fortunate neighbors.
After his death the movement was led by Nehemiah Ordway and Charles Colby. Frederick Myron Colby writes of having attended an Osgoogdite meeting in Warner in 1860, when Ordway, the ruling elder, and others prayed and also sang songs of their own composition. Another meeting, held in the spring Of 1871 in a schoolhouse in Northfield, is described by James Lyford in the history of Canterbury. Jacob Osgood had been opposed to the Republicans because the great persecution of his followers had occurred under a republican government. It. It happened that the meeting in 1871 came just after the election of James A. Weston, a democrat, as Governor of New Hampshire, and the meeting was colored by this event.
Only five Osgoodites were present, but the room was filled with spectators. In addition to the desks in the school room, extra seats were provided by putting boards upon blocks of wood. Soon after the service opened, Elder Charles E. Colby, referring to the recent Democratic victory, thanked God for turning the "black legs'' (Republicans) out and putting the "Hunkers" (Democrats) in. "Now", now said the speaker, "We shall have a good apple crop and plenty of cider. the Republicans have had prohibition in this state and God has cursed the apple trees, so that they have borne but little fruit for years. You can see his pleasure in the defeat of the Blacklegs in the bountiful blossoming of the apple trees. It has been very difficult in past years to do our having without cider.
The members of Jacob's flock rejoiced in speaking out "the truths' at their meetings in general, a habit their not calculated to endear them to their contemporaries. they designated the clergy of organized churches as "priests of Hell" or ''Pharisees," while Waterloo was nicknamed "Dog Street" by the sect, and the center village of Warner was called by the uncomplimentary title of ''Little Hell".
Sally Grover, the last survivor of the movement in Canterbury, exemplified the untruth telling spirit of the sect. She was wont to call at homes near the meal hour, and when invited to sit down at the table, would admonish the members of the household in prayer. Her supplications would break out at any time during the repast. Once, when the lady of the house was not a favorite with Sally, Sally told the lord that the husband was a "just man and feared God."
The autobiography of Jacob Osgood which was published in Warner in 1867 was contained in nineteen hymns used by the sect. The republication of this autobiography in Warner in 1873 with additions by Charles H. Colby contained sixty-four hymns and spiritual songs. One of two songs were composed by Jacob Osgood and a few of the others were written by Colby, but the chief poet of the was Nehemiah Ordway, who became ruling elder upon the death of Jacob. the hymns reflect the strong feelings of the Osgoodites on a great variety of subjects and display the outspoken untruth telling" which characterized the movement.
Subjects for the hymns ranged all the way from war and military training to castigating other religious sects, and included dissatisfaction with Lincoln and all other public officers, paper money, taxes, political parties, individual statesmen, lawyers, higher education and smoking. the Osgoodites drank beer and cider though with great moderation, and they vigorously opposed prohibition, largely because it was favored by the more orthodox churches. Indeed, according to Charles H. Colby, the influence of the churches and clergy was so strong that "hardly anybody dared to buy rum or drink it except they did it by stealth as it were in secret, and it made thousands of hypocrites, and I think that such religious is worse in the sight of God then drunkenness. On the other hand. they warn that liquor "makes the fool think he is wise, deceives every sex, every age. and that heaven is barred to drunkards.
Improved transportation whether by highway or railroad was fought tooth and nail by the Osgoodites. When it proposed to build the present line from Concord to Claremont, the followers of Jacob voiced their disapproval in another hymn. The suggestion that a road be built from Warner to Mt. Kearsarge stirred the very depths of the Osgoodites bitterness. For they felt such folly would add to the burden of taxes under which they were staggering.
The Osgoodites never attained widespread importance, and indeed the sect was limited to a few towns in the State of new Hampshire. Its founder was the real force behind the movement. The leaders who succeeded him failed to maintain or increase their numbers. Meetings came to be held more and more infrequently and before 1890 they had ceased altogether.
Early Ordainments - The following is a list of the names of the natives of Warner who have gone out and taken a position in the ministry: Hosea Wheeler, son of Daniel Wheeler, graduated from Dartmouth in 1811, and became a minister in the Baptist denomination. Asa Putney, son of Asa Putney, Sr., graduated at Amherst in 1818, and became a Congregationalist minister. John Gould, son of John and grandson of Jonathan, one of the flat settlers, was for a long time connected with the Methodist denomination. Daniel Sawyer, son of Edmund and grandson of Joseph, studied at Gilmanton Seminary, and was settled over several Congregational societies. Reuben Kimball, son of Jeremiah and grandson of Reuben, the first settler, studied at Gilmanton, and entered the Congregational ministry. Mrs. Lois S. Johnson, daughter of John and Judith Hoyt, educated herself for the work of a missionary, and went with her husband to the Sandwich Islands about 1831. Richard Colby, son of Jonathan Colby, of the Congregational Church, went in 1830 as a missionary among the Western Indians. John Morrill pursued his studies at Amherst College and Andover Theological Seminary, and became a home missionary in the West. Joseph Sargent, son of Zebulon, born in 1816, entered the ministry of the Universalist denomination, and during the war was the chaplain of a Vermont Regiment. Alvah Sargent, brother to Joseph, is a minister in the Freewill Baptist denomination. Samuel Morrill, son of Daniel and grandson of Zebulon, graduated at Dartmouth College in 1835, and died while a member of Bangor Seminary. James Madison Putney, son of Amos and grandson of Asa, Sr., studied at Dartmouth and entered the Episcopal ministry. Isaac D. Stewart, son of John Stewart and grandson of Deacon Isaac Dalton, entered the ministry of the Free-Will Baptist denomination in 1843. Marshall G. Kimball, son of John Kimball and grandson of Daniel Bean, Sr., studied at Dartmouth and Cambridge Divinity School, and entered the ministry of the Unitarian denomination in 1855. Elliot C. Cogswell, son of Dr. Joseph Cogswell and grandson of Elliot Colby, entered the Congregational ministry about 1822. John C. Ager, son of Uriah, born in 1835, is settled over the New Jerusalem Church at Brooklyn, N. Y. John George, son of Charles and grandson of Major Daniel, is in the ministry of the Free-Will Baptist denomination. Rev. George W. Savory., son of Cyrus Savory and grandson of Benjamin E. Harriman, was ordained in the Congregationalist ministry, and is settled over the church at Stratham, N.H.
Warner did not participate in the old French and Indian-Wars, for the township was not then settled. When the War of the Revolution commenced she was not behind her neighbors in patriotic ardor and enterprise. Upon the first alarm at Lexington and Concord ten of the citizens seized their arms and hurried to the scene of action. Among these were James Palmer, John Palmer, Richard Bartlett, Jonathan Roby, Francis Davis and Wells Davis. These men were never organized into any regiment and probably returned home. The State allowed the town for their services as follows: Lexington ten men, 1775, 22 pounds and 10 shillings," which was about $7.50 to each man.
Five Warner men were in the battle of Bunker Hill, namely, William Lowell, Amos Floyd, Francis Davis, Wells Davis and Jonathan Roby. In the same year Richard Bartlett and Charles Barnard (the latter settled in Warner after the war) participated in a skirmish with the British near New Brunswick.
Of these men, Hubbard Carter enlisted for the war and Isaac Walker, Paskey Pressey, Daniel Young as militiamen. Three Warner men--- Aquilla Davis, Amos Floyd and Philip Rowell---enlisted for a term of three years. At the expiration of service of these men, William Lowell, Isaac Low Stephen Colby and Icbabod Twilight, a mulatto, were enlisted to succeed them. During Burgoyne's campaign several of our citizens were in service at Bennington and Saratoga. Elliot Colby, Francis Davis, John Palmer, Ezekiel Goodwin, Samuel Trumbull, Paskey Pressey, Robert Gould, Abner Watkins and perhaps others took the field at that time.
Ebenezer Eastman was not the only Warner man who was raised for the defense of Coos. When, in October, 1780, an eruption of British and Canadian Indians swept over the eastern part of Vermont plundering and destroying the settlements, New Hampshire was alarmed for the safety of her own soil, and raised a volunteer force to proceed to the threatened locality. Warner furnished fifteen men for the expedition, the greater number being old men and boys under age. Jacob Hoyt, mine host of the first hotel, was one of these volunteers. The names of the others are not known, as there are no rolls of these men in existence. Their term of service was short, for the invading army took the alarm and made a hasty retreat. They were allowed by the State the sum of 12 pounds 17 shillings, or $2.62 each.
Warner Soldiers in the War of 1812 - There were two hundred and sixty men enrolled in the town in 1812 as capable of doing military duty. Of these, between eighty and ninety did service at one time or another during this second war with the mother-country. The following is the muster:
ROLL OF CAPTAIN JOSEPH SMITH'S COMPANY
Enlisted February 1, 1813, for one year.
Joseph Smith, captain; Daniel George, first lieutenant; James Bean, second lieutenant ; Richard Patter, ensign ; Stephen George, sergeant ; Philip Osgood, sergeant; David Straw, sergeant; Daniel Floyd, sergeant; Benjamin Evans, corporal ; Daniel Bean, corporal; John Barnard, promoted to corporal; Ezekiel Roby, promoted to corporal ; Samuel Roby promoted to corporal; Jeremiah Silver, musician; William Barnard Walker, musician; David Bagley, Robert Bailey, Timothy B. Chase, Timothy Chandler, Moses P. Colby, Charles Colby, Phineas Danforth, Zadoc Dow, John Davis, Jesse Davis, Joshua Elliott, Stephen G. Eaton, Moses C. Eaton, Enoch French, Amos Floyd, Mariner Floyd, Thomas W. Freelove, David Hardy, James Hastings, Richard Hunt, Isaiah Hoyt, David E. Harriman, Ezra Jewell, Winthrop M. Jewell, William Little, James Little, Joseph Maxfield, John Morrill, Nehemiah Osgood, Eben Stevens, Royal W. Stanley, Samuel G. Titcomb, Abraham Waldron, Plumer Wheeler, Samuel Wheeler, James Wheeler, Ebenezer Woodbury, Humphrey Burseil, John Smith, Ambrose C. Sargent, Jonathan Stevens, privates.
In Captain Jonathan Bean's company of Salisbury Warner had fifteen men, as follows:
Nicholas Evans, sergeant; Joel B. Wheeler, corporal; Isaiah S. Colby, Mariner Eastman, Joseph Goodwin, Seth Goodwin, John Goodwin, Nathaniel Hunt, David H. Kelley, James G. Ring, James H. Stevens, Stephen Sargent, Thomas Thurber, Abner S. Colby, Jacob Harvey, privates.
In Captain Silas Call's company of Boscawen there were six Warner soldiers, who enlisted October 2, 1814, for forty days. They were:
Reuben Clough, ensign; Christopher Sargent, musician; Marden Seavey, sergeant; John Hall, Simeon Bartlett and Jacob Colby, privates. There were four Warner men in Captain Josiah Bellows' company of Walpole, who were enlisted September 26, 1814, for sixty days, namely: David Harvey, Samuel Page, Benjamin Spalding and Daniel Wheeler.
Other Warner men served in various companies. The following are their names:
Winthrop D. Agar, sergeant-major in the regular army; Daniel Pillsbury, corporal; Obadiah Whittaker, corporal; Dudley Trumbull, Nathaniel Tones, Benjamin C. Waldron, Joseph Burke, privates.
In conformity to the suggestion of the Governor, the Legislature, December 22, 1812, passed an act establishing the pay of men detached, or to be detached, including the pay from the general government, at the following rates: Sergeant-major, $13 per month; quartermaster-sergeant, $13 per month, principal musician, $12 per month; sergeant, $12 per month; corporal, $11 per month; private, $10 per month; and it was also provided that the towns that had paid, or should pay their detached soldiers extra pay to the amount paid by the general government, should be refunded by the State to the amount per month for each soldier, as specified above.
The citizen of Warner most prominent in this war was General Aquilla Davis, son of Captain Francis, the first representative, and a large mill-owner and lumberman. In 1812 he raised the First Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, enlisted for one year, and was chosen and commissioned its colonel. The law for raising volunteers having been repealed January 29, 1813, by Congress, the First New Hampshire Regiment of Volunteers was mostly transferred to and formed the Forty-fifth Regiment of United States Infantry and Colonel Davis was commissioned its lieutenant-colonel. It is related of Colonel Davis that, while stationed on an island in Little Champlain, he mounted a battery of huge guns, and kept the British at a respectful distance from the shore by his formidable battery. The chagrin of the British officers was not small when, too late to profit by the knowledge, they discovered that the Yankee in command had exercised his mechanical skill, and had improvised a battery of huge guns from pine loss, hewn, fashioned and painted in imitation of "the real article." General Davis retired after the war to his mills, and spent the rest of his life in his avocation. He died February 27, 1835, while on a journey to Sharon, Me., aged seventy-four years. He was prominent in the old State militia, was lieutenant colonel commandant of the Thirtieth Regiment from 1799 to 1807, and brigadier-general of the Fourth Brigade, from 1807 to 1809.
The first man to hold a military commission in Warner was Francis Davis, father of General Aquilla, who was commissioned a captain by His Excellency, John Wentworth, in 1773. The earliest military trainings in town, were at the Parade, near the First Church. Here, in the last days before the Revolution, Captain Davis used to call together the Twenty second Company of Foot, in the Ninth Regiment of militia. Here, for years and years, those liable to military duty were warned to appear "armed and equipped as the law directs." There were two trainings, generally, each year, in May and in September.
The militia laws of the State, passed in 1792 and remodeled in 1808, remained the laws of the State, without any very essential modification, nearly forty years; and perhaps our militia was never better organized or in a more flourishing condition than for the twenty years succeeding the War of 1812-15. But innovation and change are natural laws. Forty years of peace made men forgetful of that truth embodied in our Bill of Rights, that a " well-regulated militia is the proper, natural and sure defense of a State." Our militia, by legislative enactment of July 5, 1851, became a mere skeleton, and that existing only upon paper. The days of the old-fashioned musters were over.
The following is a partial list of general and field officers which Warner furnished the State militia from 1792 to 1851.
Brigadier-General, Aquilia Davis; Colonels, Richard Straw, Simeon Bartlett, Isaac Dalton, Jr., James M. Harriman, John C. Ela; Lieutenant-Colonels, Hiram Dimond, Timothy D. Robertson, William G. Flanders, John A.. Hardy, Calvin K. Davis, Bartlett Hardy; Majors, Daniel Runnels, Joseph B. Hoyt, William H. Ballard, Joseph Burke, Daniel George, Joseph S. Hoyt, Eliezar Emerson, Stephen K. Hoyt; Captains, Jacob Davis, Timothy Flanders, David Harriman, Nathaniel Flanders, Nicholas Evans, William Currier.
Warner in the Civil War. - When the Rebellion broke out, in 1861, and New Hampshire raised a regiment to proceed to Washington, this town sent seven men who were mustered May 2, 1861. This first regiment were three-months' men, and were discharged August 9th of the same year. Five of the Warner men enlisted again in other regiments. New Hampshire raised, from first to last, seventeen regiments Of infantry, two battalions of cavalry, a regiment of artillery and one of sharpshooters, embracing all thirty-four thousand five hundred men. Warner had men in most of these organizations. The whole number furnished by the town was two hundred, of which one hundred and twenty-four were citizens and seventy six were recruited abroad. Three Warner men were mustered in the Second Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, of three-years' men; one in the Fifth Regiment; two in the seventh Regiment; forty-six in the Eleventh Regiment; thirty-one in the Sixteenth Regiment, nine months; eight in the Eighteenth Regiment, nine months; two in New Hampshire Battalion, First New England Cavalry; six in the First Regiment New Hampshire Volunteer Cavalry; three in the First Regiment Heavy Artillery; eleven men in the First Regiment United States Sharpshooters; four others served in various organizations out of the State.
Of the citizens who held prominent positions in the service during the War of the Rebellion, was, first, Walter Harriman, who was commissioned colonel of the Twelfth Regiment August 26, 1862. He fought with his regiment in the battle of the Wilderness, and entered Petersburg in command of a brigade of nine regiments. March 13, 1865, he was appointed brigadier-General by brevet, for gallant conduct during the war. General Harriman subsequently went into civil life, became Secretary of State, 1865 and 1866, and was elected Governor of the State in 1867 and 1868.
Samuel Davis, who served as major of the Sixteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, was born in Bradford, but has been a citizen of Warner since 1859. He was educated at the military academy at West Point, and in 1853 and 1854 he was in the North Pacific Railroad exploration and survey, under the late General I. I. Stevens as engineer, and for one thousand miles had charge of the meteorological department. He studied law in the office of Hon. Herman Foster, of Manchester, and is now engaged in the practice at Warner.
David C. Harriman, a brother of General Walter, both soils of Benjamin E. Harriman, Esq., was commissioned second lieutenant September 4, 1862; promoted to first lieutenant February 27, 1863 resigned July 1, 1863 ; appointed first lieutenant of the Eighteenth Regiment October 6, 1864; mustered out as captain June 10, 1865. Charles Davis, Jr., enlisted as first sergeant September 2, 1862; promoted to second lieutenant, and then to first; appointed captain September 20, 1864. Philip, C. Bean was commissioned second lieutenant November 4, 1862.
Manufacturing Interests. - The inhabitants of Warner are principally employed in farming, but manufacturing is in important and growing interest. The town is watered by Warner River, a pleasant and rapid stream, which tales its rise in Sunapee Mountains and in Todd Pond, Newbury. From Newbury it passes through Bradford and enters Warner at the northwest corner; thence running in a northeasterly direction through the town, separating in nearly two equal parts, and uniting with the Contoocook River in Hopkinton. In its passage through Warner it receives a considerable stream coming from Sutton. This river affords abundant water-power in its passage through the town, and during two or three miles of its course the water can be used over every thirty rods. At Melvin's Mills, at Waterloo, and at Davisville there are excellent privileges, which have been utilized more or less since the first settlement of the town. More than a hundred years ago there were saw and grist-mills at Waterloo (Great Falls), and at one time since the little borough could boast of a tannery, a clothing-mill, a trip-hammer and a paper-mill. The latter factory was in operation from 1816 to 1840, manufacturing all grades of paper from the finest note to the coarsest wrapping.
At Melvin's there was also a saw and a grist-mill, a bedstead-factory, a chain-factory and a woolen cloth factory, all of which did considerable business. The grist and saw-mill are still in operation, the woolen-factory was destroyed by fire, the others have discontinued business. At Davisville there was an iron foundry, at which clock-weights, hand-irons and like articles were manufactured. Old iron was run up and used for these purposes instead of ore. The business was discontinued about the year 1830. There was also a woolen-factory at the same place, but the cloth-mill was washed away by the great freshet of 1826.1
Notwithstanding the decay and suspension of several manufactures, it is believed that the manufacturing which is done in town at present will equal, if not surpass, that of any previous period. The leading manufacturing industry is probably at Davisville. Here the
1 This was the same freshet that destroyed the Willey family at the White Mountain Notch. All the bridges of Warner were carried off by the flood, and the crops on the lowlands were entirely destroyed. August 28th is still remembered as the day of the "Great Freshet."
Davis Brothers are engaged in the manufacture of straw-board. The firm consists of Walter S. Davis and Henry C. Davis, grandsons of General Aquilla Davis. They began business in 1871, and at present employ about forty hands. They manufacture some seven hundred tons of straw-board annually, amounting in value to seventy-five thousand dollars. The firm also own a grist-mill and a saw-mill, and this very year have commenced the manufacture of boxes. Five hundred thousand feet of pine timber is now lying in their yard for this purpose.
At the Centre village the Merrimack Glove Company has established a very thriving business. The company procured, on favorable terms, the commodious building near the freight and passenger depots of the Concord and Claremont Railroad, which had been erected by the defunct Boston Boot and Shoe Company, and established its business in the early part of 1883. Late in the fall of the same year a large tannery was erected in connection with the factory. During the year 1883 the factory was run eight months, turning out some twenty-five hundred dozens of different kinds and qualities of buckskin gloves, which were sold to the largest jobbing-houses from Maine to California, giving perfect satisfaction and finding no superior in the market. The managers, having perfect confidence in the success of their enterprise, in 1884 increased the business more than one hundred per cent, and manufactured five thousand, employing some thirty-five hands. The amount paid for help during the year was fifteen thousand dollars. The company purchased, during the time, eighty-five thousand pounds of deer-skins; and the entire product of the factory, five thousand dozen gloves and mittens, were sold to different parties throughout the country. A cash dividend of six per cent was paid the stockholders January 1, 1885. The stockholders of the company are as follows: A. C. Carroll, W. II. H. Cowles, George Savory, B. F. Heath, L. W. Chase, I,. H. Carroll, Ira Harvey, J. R. Cogswell, R. S. Rogers and A. G. Marsh. The directors are A. C. Carroll, W. H. H. Cowles, George Savory, L. N. Chase and E. H. Carroll.
The Warner Glove Company, located on Depot Street, are doing a large and increasing business. The company employ about fifteen operatives, and do an annual business of ten thousand dollars. The stockholders are A. P. Davis, P. C. Wheeler and H. M. Giffin. Another enterprising firm is that of Bartlett Brothers, who manufacture coarse and fine excelsior at Melvin's Mills. This firm began business in 1871. They have six thousand dollars invested, and do a business amounting to seven thousand dollars annually. Number of employees, seven. At Roby's Corner 0. P. & C. W. Redington are engaged in the manufacture of hubs. They have a large establishment, employing some ten or a dozen men, and do a business of fifteen thousand dollars annually. The Kearsarge Fruit Evaporating Company have erected two large buildings at the centre village, containing five evaporators of the capacity of five hundred bushels of apples per day. They employ between fifty and sixty operatives during three months of the year, and sometimes evaporate forty thousand bushels of apples per year. Arthur Thompson is general manager. The total value of manufactured goods annually produced in town is not far from four hundred thousand dollars.
An article of this description would hardly be complete without some allusion to the more interesting features of Warner. The main street is situated in a valley, through which flows the Warner River with graceful, sinuous curves, while on either side the hills rise grand and green and beautiful, towering far above the spires of the churches. There is not, of a verity, a pleasanter or a more picturesque hamlet in the county of Merrimack. The streets are wide and beautifully shaded by maple and elm. Neatness and thrift characterize the whole surroundings. It is only eight miles to the summit of Kearsarge Mountain, which affords some of the finest scenery in New Hampshire. Summer tourists have had their attention attracted by the fine scenery of the adjacent country, and have visited the town in large numbers. The income from this class amounts to more than three thousand dollars.
Warner is famous for its picturesque nooks and rural drives. One of the most charming drives in Merrimack County is on the road from Warner village to Bradford. The distance is about nine miles, following the river valley and crossing the stream several times. Three little hamlets are passed on the route, each dignified on the map as railroad-stations, namely: Waterloo, Roby's Corner and Melvin's Mills. The former contains some twenty or twenty-five houses, a saw-mill, depot, post-office and schoolhouse. Ex-Governor N. G. Ordway, of Dakota, and ex-Secretary of State William E. Chandler have very fine summer-residences at this place. The name Waterloo was bestowed upon this little rural neighborhood in honor of that great battle whose issue decided Napoleon's career forever. When the result of that conflict was announced, most of the citizens were collected at a mill-raising. The victory of the Allies was pleasing to those fine individuals, and one, in the excitement of the moment, broke a bottle of rum (they drank liquor in those days), and christened the mill and the village with it,--Waterloo. The name has "stuck."
Two miles beyond Waterloo is Roby's Corner station, the residence of H. Roby and George C. Eastman. A beautiful scene lies here. A broad intervals stretches to the south; green slopping pastures are on the west, and the east and north are bounded by high hills, covered with sombre pines and gnarled oak's that have bid defiance to the storms of years. Between Roby's and Melvin's Mills there is a gorge of wonderful beauty and wild grandeur. The river, bound in by a narrow defile, dashes and foams and roars, so as to be heard many rods away, Several dwelling-houses and a busy factory nestle below in the valley, and the railroad, with its high grade and trestle-work over the river, carries the steaming iron horse high above the chimney-tops. It is a wild and picturesque scene.
Melvin's Mills was so named after the Melvin brothers, who built a saw and grist-mill there as early as 1825. The Melvins were large, muscular men, and their feats of strength are still the wondertales of many rural neighborhood. To the generations that have passed away Melvin's Mills and the Calico school-house were landmarks of particular interest. Davisville, in the southeasterly part of the town, is a beautiful and busy little village. It has the finest water-power to be found on the Warner River, and from the time the first mills were built here until the present time, it has been taken advantage of in every possible way. Most of the manufacturing interests of the place are controlled by various members of the Davis family, who have given their name to the little hamlet which has grown up around this valuable water-power. There is a small store at the place, a post-office and some fine farms in the adjacent section.
"North village," so called, is one of the pleasant little neighborhoods of Warner. The name has been in use during more than a hundred years. In the early days of the settlement there was quite a farmers' village on the Gould road and over Waldron's Hill. Between Bartlett's Brook and "Kiah Corner," a dozen deserted building-sites can be counted where families once resided. These, with the buildings that still stand, made a lively, bustling street, the first of the century. At the north of this line of dwellings extended another cluster of farm-houses taking in the Elliots, at the J. O. Barnard place, and Isaac Dalton and his tannery, at the Levi O. Colby place. The people of the South road called the settlement of the North road the North village. It is not strictly a village or hamlet now, the houses being too scattered to allow such a dignified appellation but within the radius of a mile are some twenty-five houses, principally the homes of hard-working and prosperous yeomen. The surface of the land is uneven and somewhat rocky, but the soil is strong and fertile and large crops are raised. A wild, dashing little stream, called Silver Brook, having its sources among the eastern slopes of the Minks, flows down through the valley and joins the Warner River near River Bow Park. Along the banks of this rivulet the highway leads, lined on either side by the farm houses, the shops and the ample barns of the rural populace. Graceful willows and birches, with here and there a maple or an elm, throw their branches out the breeze and maple a grateful shade in the warm summertime. A drive through this neighborhood on a still, hushed noon or at the sunset hour is perfectly enchanting; and if one drives round by "Kiah Corner," he will view a scene that is not easily surpassed in New England. Another beautiful drive is through the Kimball District. A view from Kelley Hill, looking to the north and west, at the sunset hour, the whole Warner Valley, with the village in foreground and Kearsarge Mountain as a sentinel in the background, is worth going miles to see.
Six ponds are within the limits of the township, namely: Tom, Bear, Pleasant, Bagley's, Simmonds and the largest of these is Tom Pond, or, rather, as it is now called "Lake Tom." This is a beautiful sheet of water half a mile long and quarter of a mile wide. Its shores are attractive, its waters clear as crystal. During the last few years it has become quite a summer resort. A company has erected a commodious pavilion on its western shore, improved the adjacent grounds and built a fleet of boats for aquatic and piscatorial purposes. The pavilion and grounds were formally opened and dedicated on July 4, 1884.