Join me for a celebration of the fourth of July 1829 style!
The date is July 4, 1829 the place is Nottingham West, NH. The occasion is the celebration of the fifty third anniversary of American Independence. This celebration occurred near and around the town common at what is now Hudson Center. I will share a (partial) transcription of a news item from he New Hampshire Patriot & Gazette July 20, 1829 (Vol 1 Issue 3 Page 3).
But first a sense of what the common and it’s surroundings might have been like in 1829. The common was a 3 1/2 acre triangular piece from the farm of Deacon Henry Hale. This 3 1/2 acre parcel had become cut off from the rest of his farm because of roadways. It was surrounded by what is now Windham Road, Kimball Hill Road, and Hamblett Avenue. It looked more like a public pasture than the evenly mowed and landscaped area of today. It did include the cemetery but if there was a wall around it; it was a loose stone wall. The common and cemetery date back to about 1771. There were no fir trees; no mill stones, no cannon, no flagpole, and no minuteman marker as seen today. The earliest photo we have of the common is shown here; taken 1888.
The Baptist church had been organized for 24 years; but they held services in the North Meeting House (located near the site of the present Wattannick Hall) This meeting house had been used for town meetings since about 1771 The Baptist Society had owned the north meeting house since 1811; their pastor was Rev. Benjamin Deane. As there was no parsonage house he provided his own dwelling place; a house across from the meeting house on Hamblett Avenue facing the common on the eastern side.
Where the Baptist Church is located today there was a dwelling and a store – Marshall’s store. To the left of Marshall’s store was the home and barn of Reuben Greeley. In 1829 this was the site of the Post Office. This house remains today and is the parsonage house of the First Baptist Church.
Opposite Marshall’s store on the other side of the common and across Kimball Hill Road was Tenney’s Inn. The present site of this Inn is kept mowed by the Hudson Highway Department. Dr. Dustin Barrett was the resident physician and he lived nearby on Windham Road.
A replica (in part) of the newspaper account of the Fourth of July Celebration of 1829 as printed in NH Patriot & Gazette and as archived by genealogybank.com is our second photo. Now for the transcript..
CELEBRATION OF THE FOURTH OF JULY
The fifty third anniversary of American Independence was celebrated at Nottingham West, by the citizens of that and the neighboring towns. The following gentlemen were chosen officers of the day, viz:- Capt. C. S. Ford, President; Zacheus Colburn, M.D. Vice President; Capt. Joseph Blodgett, Daniel T. Pollard and Joseph Deane, Committee of Arrangements; Capt. David Robinson and Lieut. Isaac Colburn, Jr. Marshals.
At 12 o’clock a procession was formed near Mr. J. Tenney’s Inn, under the direction of the Marshals, and proceeded to the meeting house, accompanied with instrumental music. The audience being seated, the Throne of Grace was addressed by Rev. Benjamin Deane, and the Declaration of Independence read by Dr. Dustin Barret; after which an able, spirited and truly patriotic address was delivered by the Rev. Benjamin Deane. The services at the meeting-house were closed by appropriate music under the superintendence of Capt. J.P.F. Cross. The procession again fomed and marched across the common, where about seventy partook of a sumptuous and splendid dinner, prepared by Mr. James Tenney. — The cloth being removed, a series of sentiments were given by Thomas B. Wason, Esq. and Dea. Robert Bartley, toast masters, accompanied with music, and the discharge of artillery. No accident or irregularity occured during the day, and the people retired at an early hour.
The remainder of the article lists various toasts given by some of the citizens in attendance. Here are a few of them:
The Fourth of July – When Americans shall cease to celebrate the birth day of their Independence, and forget those sages who proclaimed it – then will men have become degenerate and unworthy to be called the sons of Freemen.
The Constitution of the United States – A cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to every true American.
The Revolutionary Heroes, who planted the tree of liberty and watered it with their blood. – We pledge our own to cultivate and defend it.