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vides it from Canterbury, Northfield and a part of Sanbornton, south by Concord and Hopkinton, and west by Warner.
Rivers. Beside the Merrimack, which forms the eastern boundary, the west part of the town is watered by Blackwater River, running parallel with the former through the whole extent of the town, and about five miles distant from it. It is not a large stream, but very important, both on account of the fertile fields on its borders, and the numerous water privileges it affords. It empties itself into Contoocook River in Hopkinton. There are several other streams of less note gliding through the valleys, imparting richness and fertility to almost every farm, and some of them affording sites for water machinery. Over these streams this town supports more than two miles in length of plank bridges. There are seventeen saw mills, five grain mills, five carding machines, two mills for grinding tanners' bark, and one for grinding lead for potters' ware.
Ponds. Great Pond lies near the centre of the town, and is about two miles in length and one mile in width. Long Pond, in the west part of the town, is two miles long, and from one half to three-fourths of a mile wide. Both abound with fish common to fresh water ponds, and each furnishes a mill seat at its outlet.
Aspect and Soil. In general aspect, Boscawen presents a surface agreeably diversified by such an alternation of hill, plain and valley, as is equally gratifying to the eye of the traveller, and serviceable to the more important views of agriculture. The soil seems to admit of three divisions—the intervale, plain, and highland. The intervale upon the Merrimack, nearly the whole length of the town, is widely extended; it was originally very fertile, and at this period bountifully rewards the labour of the busbandman. Bordering the intervales on the west, are
large plains, the natural growth of which was bard wood and white pine. The soil here is thinner, but when cultivated yields rich harvests of grain. The high land, which comprises about five-sevenths of the whole town, lies in large swells far extending from the north to the south. The natural growth is white oak and hard wood. It is of a deep, productive soil
, affording many good farms, most delightfully situated. The vales, though less noticeable, are not less productive. Compared with towns in its vicinity, Boscawen is not hilly. There are few spots were stones abound.
There are no morasses nor stagnant waters.
Health, Mortality, &c. From the numerous streams of living water, and the peculiar direction of the swells of the hills, this town probably derives that pure air and uniform temperature, which so generally prevail
, and which are so conducive to health. The number of deaths for the last eleven years, ending the 1st of January, 1819, was 269. The number of births on the records, prior to that time, was 1395, which falls considerably short of the whole number.
Education. There are 13 school districts, which average about 35 scholars to each, and 13 school houses, most of which have been lately built, and are commodious. For the attention paid to education in this town, much credit is due to the indefatigable exertions of the Rev. Dr. Wood, who, since his settlement, has entered at the different New England colleges between 80 and 90 young gentlemen, of whom 31 have been engaged in the work of the ministry.
Societies and Library. This town is distinguished for the number and respectability of its societies. There is a Musical Society, a Moral Society, an Agricultural Society, a Society to aid in the education of heathen children, which have paid in two years one hundred and seventeen dollars; and two
Female Cent Societies, paying annually about fifty dollars. The Boscawen Social Library was founded the 7th February, 1792, and incorporated the 2d December, 1797. It contains about 220 volumes.
Population. In 1740, there were between 20 and 30 families; in 1760, there were between 50 and 60 families; in 1775, the number of inhabitants was 585; 1790, 1108; in 1800, 1414; and in 1810, 1828. The census of the present year will probably give about 2300.
Villages. The principal village is in the east section of the town. It has about 30 dwelling houses, situated on a spacious street, nearly two miles in length, very straight and level. The Fourth New Hampshire Turnpike passes through this village. Here the eye of the observant traveller is attracted and delighted by the fertile intervales and windings of the Merrimack, on which, to this place, it is expected boats from Boston, through the Middlesex Canal, will soon arrive.
There is another village now forming on a pleasant eminence, near the west meeting-house, promising, at no very distant period, a centre of business. There is a meeting-house in each of these villages.
Churches. The early church records of this town are lost, and the date of the formation of the First Congregational Church is not ascertained. Rev. Phineas Stevens, A.M. who was graduated at Harvard College in 1734, was the first minister. He was ordained over the church at Contoocook, the original name, the 29th October, 1740, and died the 19th January, 1755. He was succeeded by Rev. Robie Morrill, A. M. who was graduated at Harvard College in 1755, and was ordained 29th December, 1761. He was regularly dismissed 9th December, 1766. Mr. Morrill was succeeded by Rev. Nathaniel Merrill, A. B. who was graduated at Harvard College in 1767. He was ordain
ed the 26th October, 1768, and dismissed the 1st April, 1774. Mr. Merrill was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Wood, D. D. a native of Connecticut, who was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1779. He was ordained the 17th October, 1781, when his church consisted of 20 members. The civil contract between him and the town being dissolved, the religious society over which he presides was formed in 1802, and incorporated the 18th June, 1807. His connexions with the church have ever remained.
The Second Religious Society was formed the 20th March, 1804, and incorporated the 19th June, 1810. The Second Congregational Church was organized the 10th September, 1804, and Rev. Ebenezer Price, A. M. was installed on the 26th of the same month. Mr. Price is a native of Newburyport, was graduated at Dartmouth College, 1793, and had, previously to his settlement in this town, been ordained at Belfast in Maine. The number of communicants in both churches, in 1819, was about 300. Two hundred and fifty-nine have been added to the first, and ninety-two to the second church, since the settlement of their respective pastors.
History. This town was granted by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay, in 1733, to ninety-one proprietors, who held their first meeting on the 2d May, at Newburyport. The proprietors gave to it the name Contoocook, its original Indian name, which it retained until the town was incorporated. It was divided into 104 shares, of which 91 were appropriated to the proprietors, 9 to gentlemen for their services and influence, and 4 for publick uses. The first settlement commenced, early in the season of 1734, by Nathaniel Danforth, Andrew Bohonnon, Moses Burbank, Stephen Gerrish and Edward Emery. Others soon followed, to the number of 27 families. On the 7th January, 1735, Abigail Danforth was born, the first child of European extract born in the place ; and she with the two next born were living in 1819. To defend these families against the hostilities of the Indians, the proprietors built for them, in 1739, a log fort, 100 feet square and 10 feet high, where they and succeeding settlers lived in garrison several years. They had previously built a convenient log house for divine worship and their publick meetings. Notwithstanding the protection afforded by these means of security, several persons were killed in 1746, and others taken prisoners. Among the killed were Elisha Cook and his son, with a man of colour; of the prisoners were Thomas Jones, Enos Bishop and Nathaniel Maloon, his wife and whole family (excepting one son) who were carried to Canada. Mr. Jones died in captivity.
Contoocook was incorporated the 22d April, 1760, when it received the name of BOSCAWEN, in compliment to Edward Boscawen, a celebrated English admiral, who died the 10th June, 1761. The first town meeting was on the 18th June, 1760, when George Jackman was chosen town clerk, and continued in that office thirty-six years successively. This venerable man is still living, in the 85th year of his age, in the possession of his faculties, and displaying great vigour of mind. He was twenty-two years one of the selectmen, four years representative to the General Court, twice a delegate to the State Convention, fifty-nine years proprietor's clerk, and bas been a member of the church forty-four years. He was commissioned a justice of the peace under George II. and bas been in commission under all the changes of government since, and perhaps has been the longest in commission of any man in the state.
For the greater part of the preceding account, the writer acknowledges his obligations to the Rev. Dr. Wood, and Rev. Mr. Price, ministers of said town, who kindly furnished him with a valuable document relative to its topography and early bistory.
MER Amherst, N. H. 4 January, 1821.