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On the Fourth of July, 1848, it fell to my lot, by invitation, to read to a feti of my fellow townsmen, a sketch of the history of Candia.
A copy was requested for publication. Being by no means satisfied with the information which a few weeks' labor had collected, I thought proper to de. cline the request.
Four years háve since passed, during which time I have, as opportunity offered, given attention to the subject, and as it seems now to be the very general wish of the citizens of Candia that something of the history of the town should be published and placed within their reach, I have not felt at liberty to disregard those wishes.
The events related, however trivial and common-place they might seem to strangers, I am sure will possess a certain degree of interest to every native born dweller in Charmingfare. Although few in number compared with what one would wish to see, yet the facts here offered were difficult of attainment, and the indulgence of the reader is asked towards any errors which may be discovered.
I take this occasion to express my sincere and most hearty thanks to those who have manifested an interest in this matter, and who have aided and encouraged me in its prosecution. Their number, only, prevents the insertion of their names in this place.
For the time devoted to this matter, and the expense necessary for its completion, I shall feel amply compensated if by any exertion of mine a small part even of the early history of my native town be preserved from the forget fulness into which it is fast passing.
F. B. EATON MANCHESTER, May 1st, 1852.
The precise time when the first log cabin was erected within the limits of what is now called Candia, cannot be known. While the fish yet swam in the streams, and the deer with his shaggy coated fellows roamed at pleasure over the hills, or through the forests yot untouched by the
and long deserted by the Indian, the wanderer, half civilized and half savage, always to be found on the frontier, made his way hither. During the summer months, a couch of skins, and the covering of the sky, was all he asked; but when the snows of our rude northern clime began to cover the ground, when the music of the streams was hushed, and the ice hung in pendants from the huge limbs of the fathers of the wood," some more fitting lodging must be had. So there are found to this day certain old cellars, once covered with rude walls, respecting whose occupants tradition has hardly a story.
It is told that a party of hunters, weary with a long day's chase, near nightfall shot a large fine deer. In a trice their glittering knives carved out what was to be their evening's repast, and as the choice morsels slowly
roasted over a fire of crackling boughs, they sat in the deepening twilight telling their adventures. In due season they partook of the venison, which by unanimous consent was pronounced to be charming fare; so that part of Chester north of a line drawn from Healey's Mountain to what is now the south-west corner of Candia, came to be called CHARMINGFARE. For many years its dwellers were few and far between. About the year 1743, David McCluer came from Chester center, and settled where Rufus E. Patten now lives, a little south of the line of Charmingfare. The frame house which he built a few years after is still standing. It is beyond much doubt that the first settler north of the line described above, was William Turner, who in the year 1748, built his cabin where Moses Turner, his grandson, now lives. At this time, one hundred and twenty-eight years after the landing of the Pilgrims, and one hundred and twenty-five years after the settlement of Dover, Candia was a part of the original township, or grant of ten miles square, made to certain persons from Portsmouth and Hampton in 1720, in what was then known as the chestnut country. This grant the proprietors called Cheshire. Within a year or two of Mr. Turner, Benjamin Smith, Enoch Colby, Mathew Ramsey, Nathan Burpee, Obededom Hall, and Jacob Sargent, came into the place. As we walk in spring time over our pleasant fields, we can hardly form an estimate of the toil which has made them what they are. The polish of the arts and the refinement of the
schools was not for the early settlers. They endured a discipline so stern and hardy, that all their institutions have the impress of force. The labor of a generation, with little time save to eat and sleep, was required to fit this place for a posterity of less strength and hardihood. We have outgrown their simple and honest fashions, and live in an age that the vision of prophecy could hardly have unfolded to them.
The great distance from the more populous settlement, the want of many necessaries of life, the lack of mills near at hand, as well as the destitution of religious and other instruction, was felt for many years to be a great evil. Accordingly so soon as a sufficient number of people came into the vicinity, measures were taken to obtain the privileges of a separate Parish.
For fifteen years the population does not seem to have made much increase. What few lived in the settlement were brave men and women, not easily daunted or discouraged. There are few now-a-days who would ride through the woods, infested by bears and wolves, as did Mrs. Turner, when she cantered away merrily to town through the bridle-path by David McCluer's, carrying the plough-irons to the blacksmith, out of which the white oak stumps and the rough stones had broken many a notch. In March, 1762, by desire of the dwellers in Charmingfare, the people of Chester signified their assent in town meeting, for the incorporation of another Parish. Whereupon the following petition was sent to the General Court: