History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire
Volume I - Annals
The History of Bristol is here presented with no apology for its appearance. It was called into being by the conviction that it ought to be. This conviction first took shape in June, 1879. At that time the building at the corner of Central square and Spring street was being remodeled, and a brick was discovered in the chimney marked "1795." This was thought to be the date when the building was erected. To gather some light on this point, we sought an interview with two venerable residents of the village, Mrs. Solomon Cavis and Miss Jane Bartlett, and listened' with great interest to a narrative of what they knew of the subject, and to their description of the people and the village when they were young. This interview impressed us with the importance of preserving the facts learned, and the same day a record was made. From that time dates the work on this history, and from that time interviews with the old people of the town constituted a source of great delight which grew with the passing years, until a desire to write the history of our native town took possession of our very being and was an ever present incentive to work. Every hour that could be spared from the regular routine of life has been gladly devoted to this end.
The question of publication was a serious one. Though a printer and able therefore to place the work on the market at the minimum cost, we were warned by the experience of others that our bank account was hardly sufficient to warrant us to undertake, unaided, the additional expense of publication. The use of historical matter from time to time in the columns of the local paper had created a desire for a town history, and on the recommendation of friends, an article was inserted in the warrant for the town meeting in November, 1900, to see if the town would appoint a committee whose duty it should be to examine any town history that may have been written, with a view to its endorsement by the town if found worthy.
Table of Contents
TOPOGRAPHY OF THE TOWN 1
THE ABORIGINES AND THE FIRST WHITE MEN WHO VISITED THIS SECTION 18
THE PROPRIETARY HISTORY 28
FIRST SETTLEMENTS IN NEW CHESTER 46
THE ORGANIZATION OF NEW CHESTER, ITS INCORPORATION AND ITS DIVISION 55
BRIDGEWATER AND NEW CHESTER FROM 1788 TILL THE INCORPORATION OF BRISTOL 70
BRISTOL FROM ITS INCORPORATION TILL THE PUBLICATION OF THIS HISTORY 84
EARLY CONDITIONS, CUSTOMS, AND RECREATIONS OF THE PEOPLE 94
FORDS, FERRIES, AND TOLL-BRIDGES 105
POST-ROUTES AND POST-RIDERS, MAILS AND POSTMASTERS 136
THE TOWN'S POOR 159
MILITARY HISTORY — NEW CHESTER IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR 164
MILITARY HISTORY FROM THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR TO THE CIVIL WAR 182
MILITARY HISTORY — THE CIVIL WAR 197
POLITICAL HISTORY 227
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY — NEW CHESTER 251
ECCLESIASTICAL— BRIDGEWATER 260
ECCLESIASTICAL — THE METHODIST CHURCH 269
ECCLESIASTICAL — CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH AND SOCIETY 293
ECCLESIASTICAL — FREEWILL BAPTIST CHURCH AND SOCIETY 311
ECCLESIASTICAL — THE CATHOLIC CHURCH 320
BRISTOL IN LITERATURE 339
NEWFOUND LAKE AND RIVER, AND THE PEMIGEWASSET RIVER 358
MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES 366
MERCANTILE HOUSES AND OTHER INDUSTRIES 392
LAWYERS AND PHYSICIANS OF BRISTOL 406
BANKS AND NEWSPAPERS 418
FIRE PRECINCT AND AQUEDUCT COMPANY 423
ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY, TELEGRAPHS AND TELEPHONES 428
FRATERNAL SOCIETIES 431
FARMS AND FARMING 443
MINES AND MINING 446
FATAL ACCIDENTS 447
SOLDIERS' MONUMENTS 457
INCIDENTS AND ANECDOTES 459
ANNALS OF THE TOWN 471
APPENDIX A TOWN, STATE AND COUNTY OFFICERS 496
APPENDIX B VOTES FOR CHIEF EXECUTIVE 511
APPENDIX C SCHOOL TEACHERS 516
APPENDIX D POPULATION 520
APPENDIX E AFFIDAVIT OF JOSHUA TOLFORD 522
ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS 523
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Volume II - Genealogies
In this volume are presented the genealogies of Bristol. The author has sought to include every family that ever resided within the limits of the town; and while this has not been possible the result has been that the following pages contain the records of 368 family names; more than 1,500 families and over 12,000 individual names.
The statistics here presented have been gathered from every available source — from family records, printed genealogies, tombstones, records of deeds and wills, church records, and records of clergymen officiating at funerals and marriages; a few from the meagre vital statistics of the town, and many by extensive correspondence with widely scattered former residents, and by personal interviews. The difficulties of its compilation makes the value of the work more apparent.
In all cases the aim has been to give the line of descent from the earliest known ancestor to the first settlement of the family in the territory now known as Bristol, and from that time to give a full record to the present, if the family continues to reside in town. In case of removal the children and in many cases the grandchildren of natives and residents are given after having left town. In but few cases has more than this been attempted.
From the nature of the case these records must be imperfect and errors will appear. They are not complete for the work of the genealogist is never finished; changes are constantly occurring. In the appendix is given the records of births, marriages and deaths that occurred while this volume was in press, in order to bring the volume up to date, but even while the index was in preparation several deaths occurred of which no record could be made.
This work is intended to be strictly genealogical and in no sense biographical. All the genealogical data obtainable has been given in each case, with very brief additional information. Only in the case of a few distinguished public men has anything more than this been given.
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The township of Bristol is situated in the southeastern corner of Grafton county, near the central part of New Hampshire, in latitude forty-three degrees, thirty-five minutes, and in longitude seventy-one degrees, forty-five minutes. It is bounded on the east by Bridgewater and New Hampton, on the south by New Hampton and Hill, on the west by Alexandria, on the north by Hebron and Bridgewater. The Pemigewasset river flows between Bristol and New Hampton, and Smith's river between Bristol and Hill, the town boundary being, in each case, in the middle of the stream. A considerable portion of the northern part of the township is occupied by Newfound lake, about two- thirds of which lies within the limits of Bristol. Territorially, Bristol is one of the smallest townships in the county. Its land area scarcely exceeds nine thousand acres, or about fourteen square miles.