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CASUALTIES, SUICIDES, ETC.

From "History of New Boston, New Hampshire" by Elliot C. Cogswell,
printed Boston: Press of G.C. Rand & Avery, 1864

Pages 227 through 232


Page 227

James SMITH, son of Thomas, the first settler in town, was found frozen to death on the road between his father’s, in the northeast part of the town, and Parker’s.

James COCHRAN, son of the first Dea. Thomas COCHRAN, residing on Cochran Hill, was thrown from a vicious horse, near the dwelling of the present Dea. S. L Cristy, and died from the injury in 1772, aged 40.

William HENRY was killed by the falling of the limb of a tree, December 20, 1818, on the farm owned by Daniel DODGE; he was passed middle life, and left a large family.

A son of William DOUGLASS was killed by being crushed between the hub of a cart-wheel and a gate-post, when in the employ of Samuel WILSON.

Capt. Matthew FAIRFIELD was killed by the falling of a tree, February 11, 1813; then living where E. PARKER resides.

A son of Rev. Solomon MOOR, Witter Davidson, born May 6, 1773, when a lad, was killed by the falling of a tree.

Samuel Cooledge, son of John Crombic, Esq., was killed, by the falling of a cart upon him, June 11, 1814, aged 4.

A young man by the name of DOLE, was killed by lightning in the west part of the town, about 1822.

Samuel M. LIVINGSTON was killed by falling from the tannery of Samuel TRULL, Esq., October 30, 1829, aged 49.

Nathan MERRILL was found dead in the road. Tradition says that in the early settlement of the town an erratic, visionary sort of a man was found dead in so small a poo of water that foul play or suicide was suspected. A jury was called, on which was a broad-spoken son of Erin, who acted as chairman, and when inquired of by the justice for the result of their investigation, replied "Yer Honor: we brought in a verdit of felo-

Page 228

nious wilfull murder! But jest to soften it down a little, we ca’d it accidental”

Tradition says, that in the spring of the year, in the early settlement of the town, the body of a man was found near the Great Meadow, in the west part of the town; who he was or how he came by his death is not affirmed; his body was found near the camp where some cattle had been fed during the winter, which had been driven up from Londonderry, as was the custom for many years. The grass in the Meadows of New Boston was abundant and nutritious, and, as it could not be carried to Londonderrv, farmers there sent their cattle to the Meadows with one or more to care for them during the winter.

Capt. John McLAUGHLEN, who resided on Bradford’s Hill, and carried on an extensive business in tanning, near the house of Sidney Hills, and packed much beef for the market, and built mills and kept a store, experiencing some reverses in fortune, was found drowned in a well in the east corner of his field. The late Luther RICHARDS was on the jury of inquest, who, in speaking of the result of the investigation, said “As we could not say, as no one saw him, that he came by his death intentionally, we thought it would be most in harmony with the feelings of the community to say, accidental, and that was our verdict.”

In a little book in which the first Jacob HOOPER kept a record of deaths in town from 1808 to 1828, the following is found:

“The 29th of November, about seven and a half in the evening, we Sensibly felt the shock of an. Earthquake, 1814.”

The wife of Capt. GRAY hung herself, on the night of the installation of Rev. Solomon MOOR, in the house now owned by Daniel DODGE. GRAY had been a sea-captain, and foul play was suspected, as the knot in the rope around her neck was a genuine sailor knot. When asked why he did not cut her down when he first found her, he replied that, "he put his hand to her mouth and her breath was cold; so he knew she was dead."

In 1854, a young man sought to win the hand of a young lady, and being unsuccessful, resolved to take her life, which he effected and then took his own with the same instrument, expressing a desire to be buried in the same grave with her who had just fallen by his hand.

Page 229

The following inscription on her tombstone, not only serves to preserve the historic fact, hut to show to what wondrous heights of sublimity the muse will rise when so tragical an event transpires.

“Sevilla, daughter of George and Sarah JONES, murdered by Henry N. SARGEANT, January 13, 1854, at 17 years and 9 months.

Thus fell this lovely bIooming daughter
By the revengeful hand - a malicious Henry
When on her way to school he met her
And with a self-cocked pistol shot her.”

Charles SMALL was murdered, September. 7, 1840, by one Thomas, of Amherst, near the McCollom tavern, on the road to Amherst.

Mr. Benjamin F. BLAISDELL, of Goffstown, came to New Boston, and bought the farm, now owned by Mr. SHEDD, and entered into mercantile connections. His family consisted of his wife, who was Clarissa J. KIMBALL of Goffstown, their four children, and his widowed mother. In the winter of 1849, Letitia BLAISDELL, an adopted daughter of the late father of Mr. BLAISDELL, who had been working at Manchester after his removal to New Boston, came to visit in his family. At her own request, the night after her arrival, she slept with her adopted mother. The next morning the old lady was taken sick in a strange way, soon became insensible and died the next morning, aged about 80. After the death of Mr. BLAISDELL’s mother, Letitia went to Wentworth, and spent about four weeks, and returned Feb. 16, 1849. The next day after her return a son, a child about two years and a half old, was taken sick, and after twelve hours of suffering died, the physicians affirming that in some way the child must have been poisoned, yet no suspicions rested on any person.

Soon after the burial of the child, Mr. BLAISDELL and his wife were taken sick, while at tea with every symptom of poison, but by timelv aid were relieved. Suspicions now began to rest on Letitia, and she soon confessed her guilt: that she had administered morphine both to the aged mother, and the little child; and the same in the tea which Mr. and Mrs. BLAISDELL drank; and that she had provided herself with strychnine if the morphine failed; that she held a forged note against Mr.

Page 230

BLAISDELL, and intended to destroy the whole family. This was undertaken from no ill-will towards any member of the family, but evidently with the impression that if they were all out of the way she could take possession of the property. To this horrid crime she affirmed she had been impelled by the counsel and assistance of another person. She was arrested, tried, and condemned to be hung, but this sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life; yet in 1861, she was pardoned out by Gov. GOODWIN, and she subsequently married a man, who had served a period in the same prison, but with no prospect of rest in this world.

In the early history of the town, like all new settlements, fires were not unfrequent, but during the present century the destruction of property by fire has been very small.

A store and dwelling-house, owned by Thomas STARK, son-in-law of Dr. Jonathan GOVE, were consumed on the ground where now stands the large house, on Cochran Hill, erected by the late John D. Cochran. This was not far from 1800.

The barn of Dea. ADAMS was struck by lightning, and burned, in 1824.

The buildings of the late Dea. Solomon DODGE were burned October 30, 1829; and those of his brother Davis, within the same year, November 12.

The barn of Dea. S. L CRISTY was struck by lightning, and burned, October 18, 1852, his dwelling being saved by a sudden providential change in the direction of the wind.

The barn of the late Dea. BENNETT was burned in the early part of the of the present century. It occurred in the night, and but few persons could be gathered to render assistance. The Rev. Mr. BRADFORD, then preaching as a candidate, and boarding in the family of Ninian CLARK, Esq., first gave the alarm, and was first at the scene of destruction. To save the house, some smaller buildings and fences had to be removed, and Mr. BRADFORD rendered such essential service that he was often afterwards compared to Samson walking off with the gates of Gaza.

Mrs. Hannah HINES, daughter of the late Mr. ROLLINS, was shockingly burned on Saturday evening about nine o'clock, December 12, 1863, by her clothes taking fire at the open

Page 231

door of her stove. She survived in great agony until the next morning, and died about seven o’clock, aged 33, leaving a daughter about three years old. In her intense agony, she was wonderfully sustained by a calm hope in Jesus Christ.

A man was killed, at the raising of a house of Andrew BEARD, where James BUXTON now lives.

In 1807, John, son of William BEARD, died from the kick of a horse, in twenty-four hours after the injury was received, aged 14.

In 1858, a Mr. SWEETLAND was found frozen to death in the south part of the town, evidently the result of intoxication.

May 22, 1855, Mr. John LYNCH, in the west part of the town, was found dead in his pasture, the contents of a musket having passed into his head, accidentally, as was believed by his friends.

July 22, 1830, Mr. Jonathan Gove KELSO died from excessive heat, while laboring at hay making.

The spotted fever prevailed in New Boston greatly in 1814, and, to a limited extent, in 1815.

Betsey COCHRAN hung herself, about March 31, 1828.

Mrs. Benjamin DODGE hung herself, about fifty years ago.

In 1854, Mr. WILLSON, son of Charles WILLISON, was run over by a horse and carriage, on a Sabbath day, while descending the hill from the Presbyterian meeting-house, and killed.

Two dwelling-houses, belonging to Dea. Peter McNIEL, were consumed by fire, one in 1837 and the other in 1838.

Daniel T. GREGG’s house and shop were burned March 17, 1837.

The barn of Ezra MORGAN was struck by lightning and consumed, in 18__.

The barn of Mr. NOURSE was consumed by fire in 1856.

Isaac GIDDINGS, son of the late Joseph GIDDINGS, was drowned in Boston April 11, 1836, aged 26; he fell between the boat and the landing.

Mr. Joseph GIDDINGS died Feb. 17, 1835, and his mother the same day of small-pox; seven others in the family were ill with the same disease, but recovered.

Luke GIDDINGS was run over by a cart-wheel, and killed instantly, April 20, 1826, aged 46.

Page 232

Absalom DODGE, in 1828, aged 15, was killed in the woods, accidentally.

About 1807, a child of Dea. Isaac PEABODY was drowned near his mills, aged two or three years.

Harry ROBINSON, a colored man, was found dead in a field owned by Jacob BUTLER, in the summer of 1825. He had been dead some two or three days before found.

Ephraim WHITING was accidentally drowned Oct. 31, 1842, in Brookline, Mass.

In 1886, about the 29th of November, Elias DICKEY, father of the late Elias DICKEY, was found dead in Francestown in the road.

Samuel TWISS, father of Mrs. John HILL, was killed in Oct. 1799, by the falling of a tree. His wife died, aged 96 years 5 months, with faculties nearly unimpaired.

Jonathan GRIFFIN was accidentally shot at PARKER’s, in Goffstown, about 1800.

Mrs. William PARKER committed suicide, while laboring under insanity, in 1845.

Robert LIVINGSTON’s house was burned, many years ago, when all were absent except their old Negro, Scipio, who perished in the flames.

William CAMPBELL’s house was consumed by fire about 1820.

Robert BOYD’s house, many years ago, was destroyed by fire.

The house of David COLBURN, near the year 1810, was burned by fire.

About the year 1830, Ann GRIFFIN, and the year 1835, Hannah WILSON, disappeared from the Poor Farm, and have never been heard from.

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Created Aug. 30, 2004
Updated Aug. 31, 2004.