Early Settlement of Alstead New Hampshire
The settlement of the town was commenced about the time the charter was granted. Messrs. Simon Baker, Isaac Cady, and William Druse being the first to spend a winter in the town. Among the earlier settlers were the family names of Burroughs, Clark, Warner, Stephens, Chandler, Beckwith, Waldo and Shepard. In 1767 the population had increased to 130 souls. In 1771 there were twenty-five families and ten single men in the town, besides nine others who partially resided here. The first proprietor’s meeting was held at the house of Timothy Dilano, June 4, 1766. when Samuel Chase was chosen moderator, and Timothy Dilano, clerk. The first town-meeting was held March 11, 1766, when Timothy Dilano was chosen moderator, and Jason Wait, clerk. The town was first represented in Provincial congress in 1775, by Nathaniel S. Prentice.
The first born in the town was Jacob Cady, and the first birth was that of a child of Simon Baker. The wife of Isaac Cady, who afterwards married a Mr. Clisber, was the first woman who came “into the town.” The first baptism was administered by Rev. Thomas Fessenden, of Walpole, at the house of Capt. Dilano, in September, 1768. The first grist-mill was built by Capt. Timothy Dilano on the outlet of Warren Pond, about 1769. About this time, also, was built the first saw-mill, by Gen. Jonathan Chase, a few rods west of the site of the first meeting house. The first fulling-mill was built by Simon Abells and Daniel Williams, on a small stream which crosses the road leading from the middle of the town to Alstead village, not far from the head of the falls southwest of what, built in 1812, was long known as “Kittridge’s stone factory.” The first cider-mill was built by Capt. Oliver Shepard. An oil-mill was built by Maj. E. and Lieut. E. Kingsbury, in 1792, near the site of the first fulling-mill; was afterwards removed to Cold River, and was subsequently swept away by a freshet. A cotton factory was established on the outlet of Warren Pond, in 1817, by Abel Hills, which continued in operation only a few years. A woolen factory, a little below the cotton factory, was built by Ezra Kidder in 1824. Capt. Levi Warren, from whom Warren pond derived its name, was given a water-privilege on the outlet, providing he would erect a mill and put in a carding machine, which he did in 1805. The first paper-mill was built by Maj. Elisha Kingsbury, in 1793. This was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1806, and rebuilt that summer. This in turn was burned, September 4, 1868, being that time the property of Prentiss, Bemis & Co. They rebuilt in 1869, and the property was again destroyed, November 28, 1880, together with the stores of H. A. Lovell, T. Tufts, C. K. Vilas, and A. R. Emerson, and also a dwelling. A fire at this village in January, 1839, destroyed the saw and grist-mill of Hallett & Morrison. A fire at Alstead Center, June 11, 1882, destroyed a church building and the dwellings of John Hopkins and Mrs. Amos Shepard.
Among the accidental or tragic deaths that have visited the town, we have gleaned accounts of the following: Charles Wheeler was killed by the premature discharge of a cannon, while participating in a sham battle, in 1828, near the old paper-mill. Harriet, daughter of Capt. Amos Kidder, was burned with her father’s dwelling, November 18, 1832. Simon Shepard, in his old age, acquired a mania for seeking minerals, and while searching for them in the bottom of a brook, fell and was drowned, at the age of eighty-one years. Caroline Dinsmore was killed by a fall from a wagon, March 13 1842. Joseph Porter also fell from a wagon, breaking his neck. Caroline Murphy, while on her way to a dancing party, January 8, 1841, was drowned in a freshet in Warren brook, about three-quarters of a mile above the bridge at Alstead village. Near this spot, also, Mrs. Edward Blake was killed, in September, 1842, by her horse becoming frightened and backing off the bridge. Three children of Emerson Wallace- Pownal W., Caroline E., and Maria A., were burned with the dwelling of their parents, November 17, 1845, during the absence of their mother, who was making a call on a neighbor. Henry Porter, son of Darius Porter, aged twelve years, was drowned while bathing, July 23, 1853. Ingalls J. Wood was killed by being thrown from a wagon-load of apples, October 13, 1879.
Rosina Delight Richardson, Barnum’s famous ” fat girl,” was born in the northeastern part of Alstead, in April, 1833, weighing five pounds. She reached her greatest weight, 515 pounds, when nineteen years of age. She married a Mr. Wood and died in Florida, May 2, 1878. Allen Slade reached the greatest age of any person who ever lived in the town, dying at the age of something over 100 years.