As far as we can ascertain, the first settlers, who took up their permanent residence in town with their families from 1749, were as follows:
William Ritchie came from Lunenburg, Mass., where he paid a poll tax in 1746, to Peterborough with his family, probably in 1749, and settled on the Ritchie farm, so called, in the south part of the town. His son John was born Feb. 11, 1750, the first child born in town.
Dea. William McNee moved his family here May 1, 1752. He occupied the place now owned by George Shedd, in the south part of the town, reaching to the south line of the same. He removed from Roxbury in Massachusetts.
Dea. William McNee Jr., was twelve years of age when his father removed to Peterborough. He removed to Dublin in 1760, and occupied the farm afterwards owned by Cyrus Piper; and after remaining there a few years, he returned to Peterborough, where he died. His oldest child Robert was the first male child born in Dublin. He lived on the Pitman Nay place, begun by Ensign Joseph Caldwell, and lately owned and occupied by Joseph Upton.
Joseph Caldwell (called Ensign), supposed to have occupied the Pitman Nay farm, which he sold, and which passed into the hands of Dea. William McNee, Jr., about 1765 or 1766. He built the first buildings on this farm. He removed from town about 1770.
John Taggart came to town with his family about May 1, 1752, from Roxbury, Mass., having bought a framed house that had been built on the Caldwell place, and removed it to his lot in 1751. His lot was probably the south part of the present George Shedd farm. His is represented in the “History of Dublin” as residing in Peterborough and Sharon till 1797, when he removed to Dublin, where he died Nov. 15, 1832, aged 82 years.
Gustavus Swan begun the Samuel Morison place, in the south part of the town, and came to town from Lunenburg about the the year 1750, before the birth of his second child, Robert, in 1752. He went early to New York to make brick, and his father, “old John Swan,” came from Lunenburg, and lived and died on that place. He was the progenitor of all the Swans in town. The place was sold by his son, Lieut. John Swan, to Aaron Brown and a Mr. Stowell in 1774. Brown lived on it before the Revolution. He was one of the selectmen in 1776, but after this we have no record of the man. The same place was occupied a few years by Mathew Wallace, and then sold to Samuel Morison in 1789.
William Stuart came to town from Lunenburg about 1750,and occupied a farm just south of the William Smith farm. He was the father of Thomas and Charles Stuart. He died March 15, 1753, aged 53. He was the first man who died in town. He was buried in the little cemetery on Meeting-house Hill.
William Smith, son of Robert Smith, of Lunenburg, settled on the west side of the street road in the south part of the town in 1751, or possibly in 1750, as he was married Dec. 31, 1751, and at that time began life with his wife on this place. The estate remained in the family till 1873.
Samuel Miller, spelt formerly Millow, a race entirely distinct from the other race of the same name in town, though both came from Londonderry, removed to town in 1753, before the birth of his daughter Ann in 1754. He settled on a lot directly opposite William Smith's place on the east side of the street road. He had twelve children, the first eight of whom were born in Londonderry.
Thomas Cuningham emigrated from the north of Ireland, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. It is somewhat uncertain when he came to Peterborough, but probably about 1750. He removed directly from Townsend, and settled on a lot north of the Dea, John Field place, on the east side of the street road. He left a family of eight children. He died in Peterborough, Sept. 23, 1790, aged 84. The name of Cuningham was originally pronounced in Peterborough Kinnacum.
Alexander Scott was among the five who made the first attempt at settlement in town in 1739 as represented in the petition for the act of incorporation. He, and probably the others, came from Lunenburg or Townsend. Little else was done except to purchase the land, and make a beginning. He settled on the west side of the street road, south of the Capt. Wilson farm, in 1750 or '51, and kept a tavern, as it was called in those days. The proprietors of the town met at his house, Sept. 26, 1753. He was a relative of William Scott, who came to Peterborough from Hopkinton. We know little of the man. He afterwards lived east of the old cemetery, and about 1760 removed to Dublin, and occupied the place where Thaddeus Morse now lives, on the borders of Monadnock Lake. He was the father of Maj. William Scott (long).
James Robbe supposed a son of William and Agnes Patterson Robbe, settled the Thomas Caldwell Place where Charles F. Bruce now lives. After 1774 his name does not appear on the town records, nor is anything known of him after this. He has the births of three children recorded, in 1760, '62, '64.
John White came to town about 1760. His first seven children were born in Lunenburg, —date of the last birth, Nov. 4, 1759. Two children were born after his removal to Peterborough; viz, Susan, m. David Grimes, and Dr. Jonathan White. Jeremiah Gridley and John Hill deeded to him the lot on which he settled of two hundred and sixty-eight acres, May 5, 1762. It is the same place afterwards occupied by Robert White, and now owned by Nathaniel H. Morison, Esq., of Baltimore, Md., and used as a summer residence.
John Morison, the progenitor of the Peterborough Morisons, came to town quite early, somewhere from from 1749 to '51, and occupied the place afterwards owned by Dea. Robert Morison, and now in possession of the heirs of the late Horace Morison. He was one of the first settlers of Londonderry, and resided there about thirty years before his removal to Peterborough, and then became one of the first settlers of this town, and lived here twenty-six or twenty-seven years before his death, 1776, aged ninety-eight.
Jonathan Morison, his son, probably came at the time his father did. He was a great mechanic. He built the first grist-mill in town, on the site of the “Peterborough First Factory,” and was for a time the owner of the “Mill lot,” so called, which he purchased of _____ Gordon, of Dunstable, containing sixty-eight acres, which he sold to James and Thomas Archibald, saddled with a mortgage to _____ Gordon and Hugh Wilson. He was the first male child born in Londonderry. He left Peterborough late in life, and nothing is known of the time or place of his death. Supposed to have died somewhere in Vermont, about 1778.
Capt. Thomas Morison came to town from Lunenburg in 1749, and built a house made of hard-pine logs ten inches square, and moved his family in the fall of 1750, and his son Thomas was born in town April 20, 1751. He occupied what was called the “Mill farm,” the same now occupied by Samuel McCoy, South Peterborough, and besides much adjacent land now detached from it.
John Smith, son of Robert Smith, came to town from Lunenburg 1n 1753, and settled on the place so long occupied by William Smith, his son, in the south part of the town. He raised a large family.
Dea. Thomas Davison was born in Ireland, and first settled in Londonderry on his emigration, but removed to Peterborough about 1757, soon after his marriage. His first child was born Dec. 20, 1758. He settled a lot in the south-west part of the town, and owned a large tract of land bordering on Jaffrey. He had a large family; was a deacon in the Presbyterian church.
Thomas Turner was born in Ireland in 1725, and was accompanied by his parents when he emigrated to America, both of whom died in town. He came to town quite early probably in 1751 or '52. When the proprietors of Peterborough met in town, September, 1753, they granted him fifty acres, or lot 92, adjoining his lot, No. 29, in consideration of his relinquishing to them lot No. 7, of fifty acres.
Dea. Samuel Mitchell came to town in 1759. He bought, of James and Thomas Archibald, the “Mill farm,” so called, of sixty-eight acres, on which had been built some years before, by Jonathan Morison, the first grist-mill in town. Dea. Mitchell deeded to Dr. John Young that part lying on the east side of the Contoocook, extending north as far at the Payson place, from Carter's Corner. He also sold a piece to Rev. Mr. Morison (supposed Rev. John M.), on the east side of the river, where the old town-house stood,—the present site of John N. Thayer's house. Having reserved to himself twenty-five acres, the part that was ultimately owned by Daniel Abbot, he sold all the lot to Asa Evans, about 1784, except ten acres before sold to John White, and what had been sold to Dr. John Young east of the River Contoocook.
William Scott emigrated to America, accompanied by his father's family, in 1736, and first lived in Hopkinton, and is represented as one of the very first settlers of Peterborough. He took up his lot on the north side of the road, and between the Carter and Hunt Corners. He left a large family. He lived and died on this place.
William Mitchell, father to Isaac Mitchell, began the James Wilson place. Isaac succeeded his father, and next followed James Wilson.
Rev. Mr. Harvey, called old Mr. Harvey, probably began what was afterwards known as the Hunt farm. He was succeeded by James Houston, blacksmith.
Samuel Stinson. We know little of his genealogy except what is told by his gravestones. Four children are laid in the old cemetery,—died young; and one daughter married Thomas Stuart. He died in town, Sept. 3, 1771, aged seventy; his wife Feb. 18, 1784, aged ninety. He was one of the first settlers in town, and probably took up his permanent residence in 1749, with his family. He settled on the John Little place, north of the Meeting-house Hill. We have no means of knowing where he came from. Samuel Stinson never held any office in town. Moor Stinson was surveyor in 1767, and James Stinson in 1773. These are the only notices of the name on the town records.
William Robbe came from Lunenburg in 1739, but probably did little else but prepare for the settlement. He is the progenitor of all the Robbes in town. He was driven away by fear of the Indians, and did not return for a permanent residence with his family till 1749, '50. He settled on land west and north of the John Little place, afterwards call the “Mitchell farm.”
Samuel Todd, son of Col. Andrew Todd, of Londonderry, began the Todd place, so called. It was the first improvement made in this part of the town. About 1751 or '52, Samuel Todd and Dea. Samuel Moore came to town and purchased a lot of land, at a crown an acre, of the proprietors, John Fowle, John Hill and Jeremiah Gridley, for four hundred and thirty-nine acres. Comprising lots Nos. 57, 58, 66, 67, 68, according to a deed dated Nov. 15, 1753. This lot was in the north-west part of the town, and comprised the Todd and Spring farms. They held it in common about ten years but divided it a short time before Samuel Todd was killed by the falling of a tree. In the division Moore took the westerly part, while Todd improved the easterly.
Dea. Samuel Moore came to town in company with Samuel Todd, and purchased land as related above. Dea. Moore, on account of the Indian war, returned with his family to Londonderry in 1754, and remained there till about 1762 or '63. He lived on the westerly part of the lot originally purchased, —the “Spring place,” long since abandoned, on which he built a house. In 1779 he swapped this place with Dr. Marshall Spring, and began the farm where Benjamin and Jona. Mitchell lived and died there.
John Ferguson. He came from Lunenburg, Mass. Tradition has it that he came to Peterborough before there were any inhabitants in town, and lived three months in a log cabin which he built a short distance west of Col. Norton Hunt's, and here sustained himself by fishing and hunting. If so, he was among the very earliest pioneers of the town. He purchased six hundred acres of land, comprising the Ferguson, Stuart, and Hadley farms. This he divided among his children. He probably came to town as soon as it was deemed safe after the close of the French war. He had six children, none of whom were born in town.
David Bogle was at one time the owner of farm B, drawn by John Hill, one of the proprietors. He had two sons, Thomas and Joseph, who were bachelors, and one young daughter, named Martha, who was drowned in the Bogle brook, running through the same. This is all we know of the Bogle family. This farm contained five hundred acres, and extends nearly to the North Factory. A larger portion of it lies on the west side of the river. This farm was bought of the Bogles by Capt. William Alld, who came to town from Merrimack about 1778, and it descended from him to his son Samuel.
James McKean came from Londonderry about 1765, and began the David Blanchard Place. This lot lay east of the east line of the farm B, or Bogle farm, and was bounded on the north by Wiley, east by Miller, and south by Kelso Gray. The road began at the south-west corner and ran to the north-east corner, dividing it into about two equal portions. Jotham Blanchard took the north-west portion, and McKean held the eastern part.
Jotham Blanchard. This is almost the only notice we have been able to make of this individual, aside from the town records. We know nothing of his family, or his antecedents, or the man, any farther than is recorded in the town records. He was a selectman in 1777, '78, '79; moderator in 1776, '77, '78, '80. '81. He was elected a representative to a convention held in 1783. With all these offices and honors of the town, not the least trace has been discovered in relation to him, as to where he came from, the time he first appeared, or whether he had a family, or what became of him after 1783, when he disappeared.
Maj. Samuel Gregg came from Londonderry and took up a tract of land in the north part of Peterborough, constituting a part of farm C, extending to the Contoocook River, about three miles north of the present village; the precise time is not known, but probably before 1760. It is the same farm afterwards owned by John S. White. His name does not appear on the town records till 1768.
Lieut. John Gregg settled on the same lot C, on the east side of the Contoocook, and just south of Maj. Gregg, where his son James lived. It was deeded to him by his father, John Gregg, of Londonderry, Oct. 8, 1765. He came about 1759. It appears that the whole farm C was deeded to John Gregg by John Hill, of Boston, Dec. 6, 1743, as land granted to Samuel Hayward and others, “East Monadnicks.”
Hugh Wilson came to town for a permanent residence in 1752 or '53. He bought three lots a mile long that made six hundred acres, nearly a mile square, in the north part of the town. This land in the early settlement was supposed to be the most desirable in town, but was found by experience to be cold, wet, and unproductive. The Pratt farm, now abandoned, constituted one of the lots. It embraced parts of the Mussey, the Hagget, the Melvin, and the Green farms. This was among the first settlements in the north part of the town.
William McCoy was an early settler, though we cannot determine just the time he came. He made one of the first settlements on the East Mountain, on the farm afterwards occupied by John Leathers. He probably removed here in 1752 or '53. All his children were born here; the oldest born July 2, 1753.
George McClourge was an early settler, and settled somewhere near the hill now known as the McClourge Hill. Nothing more is known of him or his family, except the record of the births of six children from August 22, 1752, to January 10, 1760.
Thomas McCloud settled in the east part of the town; had a family of eight children, all born in town, beginning with Sept. 2, 1769, and extending to July 29, 1783. Of this family we know nothing more.
Capt. David Steele came to town from Londonderry, with family, in 1760, and purchased the farm where he always lived,—the same afterwards occupied by Gen. John Steele.
Samuel Miller, of whom we know very little, only that he purchased certain lots of land in the north part of Peterborough, for his sons, from the thrift and earnings of his wife in the manufacture of linen. Two deeds are found, one from Jeremiah Gridley to Samuel Miller, of lot No. 50, July 28, 1756, one hundred and fifty acres; the other from John Hill to Samuel Miller, No. 51, April 24, 1758, one hundred acres. More land than this was purchased, though we have not been able to find the deeds. He gave a lot of land to Matthew, his son, which embraced the widow Parker place and adjacent lands; then two lots to James and William;that on the east side of the road to William, and that on the west to James. John was settled on what was afterwards the Dr. Smiley place, They all came from Londonderry, but the precise time it is difficult to fix. It must have been near the time of the date of the deeds in 1756. Samuel Miller probably never resided here as a permanent location.
Joseph Hammill. We know little of this man, or where he came from, only that somewhere not far from 1770, he began the farm at Bower's Mill, so called, now Russell's; built a saw-mill in 1778, and a grist-mill in 1781, and was the owner of considerable land in the vicinity.
Maj. Robert Wilson removed to Peterborough from West Cambridge, Mass., in 1761, or 1762, soon after his marriage, and bought the farm and succeeded to Alexander Scott in a tavern, a few rods south of the Capt. Wilson place, on the west side of the road. The buildings, long since, were all demolished, and the place has been abandoned.
Dr. John Young came to town in 1763, from Worcester, Mass. as a physician. He lived and owned land at Carter's Corner, it being a portion of the Mill lot, lying on the east side of the Contoocook.
Samuel Brackett came to town from Braintree, Mass., soon after his marriage, Dec. 17, 1765, and settled on a farm situated on the north border of the Cuningham Pond. He reared a large family of thirteen children.
Thomas Little came to town in 1763 or 1764, from Lunenburg, and settled on a lot of land east of the John Little farm, long since abandoned.
Abraham Holmes removed to town from Londonderry about 1765. He settled in the north part of the town, near the mills, now Russell's. He raised a family of eleven children. An exemplary and pious man.
Abel Parker was an early settler; but it is not known where he came from. He began land on the East Mountain, near, or part of, the Samuel McCoy farm, probably before 1760.
Elijah Puffer came to town from Norton, Mass., in 1764. He first located himself north of the Gen. David Steele farm, which he exchanged with Gen. Steele for wild land in the north-west part of the town, where his descendants now live.
Source: History Of The Town of Peterborough, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
By: Albert Smith, M. D., LL. D.
Transcribed and submitted by: Helen Coughlin
BACK -- HOME
© Copyright Genealogy Trails