History of Croydon, Sullivan County, New Hampshire
Croydon, in Sullivan County, N.H., is situated on the highland between the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers, is bounded on the north by Grantham, east by Springfield and Sunapee, south by Newport, and west by Cornish. Area, twenty-six thousand acres; distance from Concord, the Capital of the State, forty-five miles; from Lebanon, seventeen miles, and from Newport, nearest railroad station, seven miles. Much of its scenery is wild and picturesque. The soil is diversified. That bordering on Sugar River is rich and productive; as we rise gradually back upon the hills it yields excellent grass, wheat and potatoes, while, as we ascend still higher up the mountain sides, we find only pasturage and forests, and these are overtopped with lofty piles of granite.
Mountains – Croydon Mountain, which extends across the western part of the town, is the highest elevation in the county, being nearly three thousand feet above the level of the sea. It commands an extensive and one of the most beautiful prospects in the State, and its charm are attested by its many and enthusiastic visitors. The other elevations are the Pinnacle and Sugar Hill in the central, Baptist Hill in the southern, Pine Hill in the northern, and Baltimore and Camel’s Hump on the southeastern part of the town. On the southern slope of the latter is a magnificent portrait of a human face, known as “Aaron,” supposed to be the sentinel placed there by the hand of a wise Providence to guide and protect a chosen people, the best view of which is obtained from the old Croydon Turnpike, above the church, at the Flat.
Ponds – Long, Rocky Bound, and Spectacle in the eastern, and Governor’s in the southwestern part of the town, are the principal bodies of water, in some of which is excellent fishing.
Rivers – The north branch of Sugar River flows through the town in a southwesterly direction, and affords some of the best water-power in the vicinity, although but little utilized at the present time. The other principal streams are Beaver, Ash Swamp and Long Pond brooks.
Villages – Four Corners, being near the centre of the town and on the Croydon Turnpike, thus the great thoroughfare, and having a church, tavern, store, offices, and shops, was once the centre of trade; but railroads, diverting the travel, and the want of water-power, has caused its decline.
East Village, situated on the northern branch of Sugar River at the head of Spectacle Pond, and on the main road from Newport to Lebanon, contains the town hall, a post-office, store, church, hotel, saw and grist-mill, carpenter and blacksmith’s shop. Here, also, is one of the best district schools in the county. Distant from railroad station, at Newport, seven miles, on the Concord and Claremont railroad.
Croydon Flat, is situated on the north branch of Sugar River at its junction with Beaver Brook, and at the head of the extended meadows below. Here is a church, store, post-office and various mills and shops. From here large amounts of excelsior handles and lumber are shipped annually. Three and one-half miles from the railroad station, Newport.
Charter – The charter of Croydon, signed by Benning Wentworth, and countersigned by Theodore Atkinson, is dated May 31, 1763.
The following are the names of the original proprietors of Croydon:
|Samuel Chase||Moody Chase|
|Ephraim Sherman||Daniel Marsh|
|James Wellman||Samuel Ayers|
|Antipas Hollan||Joseph Vinson|
|Enoch Marble||Timothy Darling|
|Jonathan Chase||Jones Brown|
|Thomas Dana||David Sherman|
|John Stow||Ebenezer Rawson|
|Moses Chase||Samuel Sherman|
|Seth Chase||James Richardson|
|Stephen Hall||Daniel Putnam|
|Daniel Chase||Samuel Dudley|
|Ephraim Sherman, Jr.||William Dudley|
|John Temple||Abraham Temple|
|Samuel Chase, Jr.||Benjamin Morse|
|Ebenezer Waters||James Whipple|
|Dudley Chase||Benjamin Morse, Jr.|
|Gershom Waite||Joseph Mirriam|
|March Chase||John Whipple|
|Phineas Leland||Willis Hall|
|Luke Drury||Benjamin Wallis|
|Thomas M. Clening||Silas Hazeltine|
|Solomon Aldridge||Jonathan Hall|
|Daniel Chase, Jr.||Richard Wibird|
|Jonathan Aldridge||John Downing|
|James Taylor||Daniel Warner|
|Joseph Whipple||Stephen Chase|
|Silas Warring||—- Parsons|
|Solomon Chase||David Temple|
|Benjamin Wood||Solomon Leland|
|Caleb Chase||John Holland|
|Moses Whipple||William Waite|
They held their first meeting at Grafton, Mass., June 17, 1763; their first meeting in Croydon, January 17, 1798; their last, January 17, 1810.
Settlement – In the spring of 1766 Moses Whipple, Seth Chase, David Warren, Ezekiel Powers and others came to Croydon from Grafton, Mass., and made some preliminary preparations for a settlement. Soon after their return, Seth Chase, with his wife and child, started for this place. This was the first family established in town. They arrived June 10, 1766, and three days after (June 13) commenced the erection of their log-cabin. On the 24th of the same month, Moses Whipple and David Warren arrived with their families. The next year Moses Leland and Ezekiel Powers came to town. In the autumn of 1768, four more families arrived, and in 1769 the tide of emigration, setting this way, soon made them respectable in numbers. The first town-meeting was held March 8, 1768.
(To avoid confusion, it appears that the first town meeting was held in 1768, while the first proprietors meeting held in Croydon was in 1798, unless the record by Wheeler should have said 1768.)
Mr. Chase erected his cabin about one-half mile southwest of Spectacle Pond, on the farm now owned by Moses Barton (1886); Mr. Whipple, on the swell of land between the Four Corners and East Village, on the farm of Horace S. Fowler (1886), long known as the “Edward Hall Place;” Mr. Warren, on the north side of the Pinnacle, near the cemetery; Mr. Powers, on the Caleb K. Loverin farm (1886), near the East Village, and Mr. Leland in the north part of the town, on the farm now owned by Charles H. Forehand (1886). The Stowes and Metcalfs settled in the southwest part of the town, in a district called Brighton; the Wheelers, Jacobs, Townes and Hagars, in the south part, on an elevation known as Baptist Hill; the Kempstons at the Flat; the Ryders, in the southeast part, and the Goldthwaits and Benjamin Barton, in the northwest part of the town. The Putnams settled near the centre of the town south of the Pinnacle; the Halls, on the place where Peter Hurd now resides (1886), on the west side of Sugar Hill; the Coopers, on the northwest slope of Baltimore Hill.
The pioneers were intelligent, honest, industrious and frugal, and were distinguished for more then their ordinary share of physical and mental endowments. As a result, it would be expected that their descendants would possess more or less the peculiarities of their parents. As a result of this inheritance, wherever you find them scattered abroad over the country, in whatever calling or profession, they usually maintain a high standard for proficiency and integrity, and reflect honor upon their native town.