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History of Acworth, Sullivan County, New Hampshire
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The town of Acworth lies in the southern part of the county, and is bounded as follows: North, by Unity; east, by Lempster ; south, by Cheshire County; and west, by Charlestown and Langdon.
This town was first granted by Governor Bentin, Wentworth, December 28, 1752, to Colonel Sampson Stoddard, of Chelmsford, Mass., and sixty-nine others, by the name of Burnet, probably in honor of Governor William Burnet. At this time white people could. not live safely in this vicinity at any great distance from the fort at No. 4, (now Charlestown), on account of the Indians; and the town, with others, was probably granted by Governor Wentworth with a view of asserting New Hampshire’s claim to the territory, which was also claimed by Massachusetts, and at that time in dispute. No attempt was made to settle under this grant, and it was re-granted, September 19, 1766, to Colonel Stoddard and sixty-four others, by the name of Acworth, probably in honor of the Governor’s friend, Lord Acworth, of England.
In 1767. three young men from Connecticut William Keyes, Joseph Chatterton and Samuel Smith-located here and commenced clearing farms. The grant of 1766, being forfeited by the non-fulfillment of some of its provisions, was extended by Governor John Wentworth, May 30, 1773, and was bounded as follows
“Beginning at a stake and stones & runs North two degrees West six miles and an half to a stake and stones, the South West corner of Unity, from thence running East by the needle five miles & three quarters to a stake and stones, from thence South by the needle six miles & an half to a stake and stones, from
thence West by the needle five miles & 4 to the bounds first mentioned.”
In 1772 the town contained fourteen houses.
Reasons for not wanting to be Classed for Representative, and Vote of Town.
“The reasons why we do not join with Towns of Unity, Acworth, Lemster, Saville, Croydin & Newport as we did the last year in chusing a Representative is this: viz : then we Supposed they was to act only upon the present Exigencies of the Government, but now the case is much altered, the Honourable Contintal Congress has declared their independence of Great Britain therefore we think that the present assembly has not taken right methods in issuing out their precepts for the choice of Representatives and Counsellors for the year Ensuing, for in the first place they have as to Representatives in Some incorporated Towns allowed two or three representatives, to others they have joined five or six towns togather, whereas we think every incorporated town ought to be represented by themselves. Then as to Counsellors in one Conty they have ordered five, in Some others two, and in one County but one, which we Look upon not according to liberty, for as this State is but one body we think they ought to be Chose by the people at large, and also they have ordered that neither of these Shall have a Seat in the assembly without they have Real estate to the value of two hundred pound Lawful money, whereas we think every Lawfull elector is a Subject to be elected.
“Voted that the above resons be Sent to the Counsell and assembly of this State which is to Convene togather at Exeter the third wednesday of this instant and that the town Clerk Shal Sign it in behalf of the town. This done at a Legal town meeting.
“Acworth December 9th A D 1776
“Thomas PUTNAM Mod,
“A true Coppy attest Samuell SILSBY town Clerk.”
Certificate of non-receipt of Precept by the Selectmen.
“To Whome it may Conciern.
This may Sertify that there vase No precept Come to us or to this town So fare as we know to rais one of the New Emmision taxes for the year 1781 also one of the specie taxes & there vase no act come to us or to this town to rais aney beef in the year 1781.
” attest ” DANIEL GROUT
acworth february ye 12th 1781.
Petition of John Duncan in behalf of the Town.
“To the Honorable the Counsil & House of Representatives for the State of Newhampshire Convened at Exeter, February 26th 1783.
“The petition of John Duncan of Ackworth in said State in behalf of said town Humbly Sbeweth.
“That Wheras your Petitioner finds That there is an Extent issued against Said Town for nonpayment of a New Emmision Tax for tile year 1781 as also for a specie Tax for the Same year Likewise for a Beef Tax for that year, for all which your Petitioner beg Leave to inform the Honorable Counsil that we never Received any Precept for assessing any of said Taxes as will more fully appear by a Certificate under the Hands of the Selectmen of Said Town.
Wherefore your Petitioner prays That new preceipts may Issue to the Sellectmen of Said Town for the assessment of tile above said Taxes and as in Duty Bound Shall pray.
“State of New Hamp. } In the house of Representatives February 26th 1783.
“Upon Reading & considering the foregoing Petition Voted that the prayer thereof be granted. “Sent up for Concurrence.
“JOHN DUDLEY, Speaker.
In Council the same day read and Concurred.
“E. THOMPSON, Secretary.”
Memorial of John Duncan relative to Taxes of 1781.
“To the Honorable the Council & House of Representatives for the State of Newhampshire Convened at Concord on the third wensday of December 1783. The memoriel of John Duncan in behalf of The Town of Acworth in Said State humbly Sueth That your memorialest on February ye 26th 1783 Did Petition the Honorable Court Laying before them the Dificulties we Labor under in having Extents issued against Said Town : when we Never had aney act or Precept to inable the Selectmen to asses the Town in Said Tax.
” One New Emmision for the year 1781 also a Specie tax for the Same year Likewise for a Beef tax for the Same year, all that your memorialest then praid for vase to heave the present Selectmen inabled to asses the town in the above three taxes all which wear granted, as will apair Reference being had as to the above petition which is Now in heand & we proceeded accordingly & ordered the Colector to pay unto the treasurer of Said State the three aforesaid taxes but altho we heave Colected State Securities to pay Said beef tag with interest according to Law yet the treshurar says he is Not willing to discount Said tax untill we fetch a resolve of Cort to inable him to take the State Securities in Lu of the beef & if this resolve is Not granted to us we shal be obleged to take the State Securites from the Colector & rais another tax in Specie to pay for the beef tho we Never had aney pour to rail it which we are in Now ways able to do at Present altbo our wills where ever so good.
” Therefore we pray your Honors to take our Case into your wise consideration & grant us Releef and as in duty bound Shall Ever pray.
” Acworth December 13th 1783.
” JOHN DuNCAN.”
Petition for the Right to Tax Non-Residents for Repair of Highways, etc.
“State of New Hamp To the Hon. the Council & Cheshire ss. House of Representatives in Genneral Assembly at Concord Convened.
The petition of us inhabitants of Lemster, Unity and Acworth humbly Shews that your petitioners Living in a hill country where there is several Large Streams to Bridge and Roads to be made and maintained at a Verry Great cost and charge, several of which is made through large tracts of Unimproved lands theOwners of S’ lands must Reap Great advantage our labor in advancing their interest yet they are freed by law from aney tax to highways whil your Petitioners Unimproved lands is Subjected thereto which is Surely unjust and oppressive.
” Wherefore we pray your Honnors to take the matter under your wise consideration and Grant us Relieff by Passing an Act that Said ‘Unimproved lands pay their proportion of all Highway taxes, otherwise that Roads and Bridges may be made and maintained through Unimproved Lands at the Charge of the Owners or in Such other way as to your hon’ may appear just &c-and your Petitionars as in Duty Bound Shall Ever pray
in behalf of the petitioners.”
Selectmen’s Petition about Beef, 1786.
ACWORTH June ye 1 1786
‘To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives Convened at Concord The first wednesday in June instant
“The Petition of the Selectmen of Acworth in behalf of said Town Humbly Sueth that in obedience to an act of Law Passed in this State the 27th of June 1780 calling on the Towns to furnish the States Collector with beef for the use of the army And on delivering Said beef & taking the Collectors recpt for The same (which is to Said Acworth 3,415 pounds) we should be Credeted for the Same in the Next years tax of New Emision Accordingly we Delivered 3425 pounds of beef and produced Our Recpts to the Treasurar But he tels us that the Collector Did not Return aney But 1925 pounds of beef and he will not Give us Credet without an order from this Honorable Cort and as we in obedience to your Hon” did deliver the full Sum of 3425 Pounds of Beef as doth spear by Recpts Now in hand and Likewise John Hubbard Esquires Testemony Theirfore We pray your Honers to take our Case into your Serious Consideration and as we are not to be accontabl for the Neglect of the States Collector in not Returning all the Beef he Collected, theirfore we Trist your Honers will Direct the Treshurar to Give us Credet for all the Beef we delivered and for the Remendar of the beef more than setls the Newemision tax we desier To have it Reducted from the Beef we ow in the Next year which is the year 1781 or aney other way in your wisdoms you shall think proper and we as in duty bound Shall Ever pray.
JOHN DUNCAN }
DANIEL GROUT }Selectmen
AMOS KIYES }
The allowance was granted.
Petition for Authority to Tax Non-resident Lands.
“ACWORTH September 18th 1787
“To the honorable Senate and house of Representatives now sitting at Charlestown. The petition of James Campbell in behalf of the inhabitants of the town of Acworth Humbly Sheweth That your Petitioner has been at great Expences in repairing roads and Building a Meeting-house which has greatly Increased the value of lands belonging to Nonresidents, Granting this to be the Case your honors will Conclude they Ought to contribute a small moity to defray the Charges that has or may arise. And we are further incouraged to ask, and expect your honors hearing and Assistance, as we had one bridge over Cold river burnt with fire, And another Carried off byWater, the buttmans of which cost us Sixty pounds, as we have been great Sufferers, therefore we pray your honors to consider our case and Grant that we may be enabled to asses and Collect Two pence on the acre of all lands lying in said Acworth belonging to Nonresident Owners. And we as in duty bound Shall ever pray.
“JAMES CAMPBELL in behalf the
inhabitants of the town of Acworth.”
“To the Honorable General Court of the State of New Hampshire.
“The Petition of Matthew Wallace of Acworth humbly Sheweth that he was commited to Goal in Keene the tenth day of June last and not being able to pay the contents of the Execution-the Honorable the Justice of the Superior Court in October last admited him to the Oath prescribed in an Act entitled an act for the ease and relief of Prisoners for Debt and ever since your Petitioner hath been and is now detained in the Goal in Keene aforesaid by his Merceliss creditor-and that your Petitioner hath a large family of small children who are in a suffering condition even for the Necessaries of life and your Petitioner in his present situation can afford no relief which must be peculiarly depressing to a Husband and a father and more easily felt than described-and your Petitioner is worth nothing and never like to be in his present situation and without a friend to pay the Debt and no one to Shew mercy to him in that wayWherefore he most earnestly prays that this Honble court would pass an act to relieve poor prisoners in this Situation after they have paid the uttermost farthing that creditors may not be suffered to triumph in the distress of an honest Debter and in the entire destruction and Deaths of his Wife and Children —–
“and as in duty bound will ever pray.
“Keene prison June ye 1″t day 1792.
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