Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Settler's Row, Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire

These photographs were taken at the Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry, New Hampshire.  It is located behind the First Parish Congregational Church.  If you drive up past the church, through the parking area and enter the cemetery gates, and then drive straight ahead, you will be on the lane that is called "Settler's Row" in the cemetery.  Just about fifty yards ahead on the left you will see a wrought iron fence around several tombstones, and a sign reading "First Settlers".

This area was known as Nutfield when it was settled in 1719 by Scots Irish immigrants who followed their Presbyterian minister, James MacGregor, from Aghadowey, Northern Ireland to New England.  Soon after settlement, they named their town Londonderry.  This area encompasses the current towns of Londonderry, Derry, Windham and parts of Manchester, Hudson and Chester. The cemetery was laid out in 1721. Forest Hill Cemetery is the only cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire.

In the "First Settler" area you will find Rev. James MacGregor's family, and the tombstones of the very early Ulster Presbyterian residents.  The Find A Grave website, and the website for "The Friends of Forest Hill Cemetery" has more information on the history and tombstones at this historic burying ground.  I have featured many of the oldest tombstones here at this blog.  Use the search bar at the top left corner to search for surnames, or use the labels in the far right column.

Rev. David and Mary MacGregor
(son of Rev. James MacGregor)
James and Annas McKeen
"Charter" John Moor

Friends of Forest Hill Cemetery:    http://forest-hill-1721.webs.com/ 

Find A Grave - Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, NH:

Cemetery Department, Derry, NH:  https://www.derrynh.org/cemetery


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Settler's Row, Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 20, 2018, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/tombstone-tuesday-settlers-row-forest.html: accessed [access date]).

Monday, March 19, 2018

Jabez Howland House, Plymouth, Massachusetts

The Jabez Howland House is located at 33 Sandwich Street, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is open to the public for tours from Memorial Day until Thanksgiving week, and operated by the Pilgrim John Howland Society.   It is the only existing colonial house in Plymouth where a Pilgrim actually lived!  It dates from 1667, and was owned by Jabez, son of John Howland the Mayflower passenger.  John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland lived here with their son in the winters.  Their farm was out on Rocky Nook in what is now the town of Kingston, Massachusetts.

For more information:

The Jabez Howland House  www.pilgrimjohnhowlandsociety.org/howland-house 

My blog post from last week about Rocky Nook, the farm of John Howland

An earlier blog post about my visit to the church where John Howland was baptized, in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, England:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Jabez Howland House, Plymouth, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 19, 2018, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/jabez-howland-house-plymouth.html: accessed [access date]).

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Surname Saturday ~ WILKINS of Dorchester, Lynn, and Middleton, Massachusetts


Bray Wilkins (about 1610 – 1702), my 10th great grandfather, is of unknown origins, although family tradition says he was from Wales.  He was at Dorchester, Massachusetts as early as 1633, and he joined the church there in 1640 and is recorded as “Brave Wilkins”. The baptisms of his first six children are recorded at Dorchester.  In 1654 he removed to the church in Salem.  Later, in 1689, Bray Wilkins and his wife were dismissed from Salem so they “might be a church of themselves” at Salem Village, which later became the town of Danvers.  He lived at “Wills Hill” which became part of the town of Middleton, adjoining Danvers.

One of Bray Wilkins granddaughters had a husband who was hanged as a witch in 1692.  His son Thomas had a daughter named Margaret who married John Willard.   The Wilkins family had not approved of Willard’s marriage.  They testified against him during the witch hysteria, which led to his arrest and he was eventually found guilty.  Willard was blamed for the death of young Daniel Wilkins “bewitched to death”.  He was also blamed for killing a Lydia Wilkins and one of Philip Knight’s children (Philip married Bray’s daughter Margaret, my 9th great grandparents).  Bray Wilkins testified in early August 1692 about his kidney stones and blamed Willard for the death of his grandson Daniel Wilkins.  On 19 August 1692 John Willard was hanged along with John Proctor (also my 10th great grandfather), Reverend George Burroughs, Martha Carrier, and George Jacobs (also my 11th great grandfather).   

I descend from Bray’s daughter, Margaret (1648/9 – after 1710), my 9th great grandmother, who married Philip Knight around 1668.  She had nine children born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, all baptized on the same day, 24 May 1691.  Her husband was a “husbandman” or farmer. Her daughter, Elizabeth, my 8th great grandmother, married Samuel Towne (from the same Topsfield TOWNE family with three accused witches - Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, Mary (Towne) Eastey, and Sarah (Towne) Cloyse.) 

Some WILKINS resources:

The Family of Bray Wilkins “Patriarch of Wills Hill”, by William Carroll Hill, 1943.

The Great Migration Begins,  by Robert Charles Anderson,  1995, Volume III, pages 1991 – 1994.

The American Genealogist, Volume 60, pages 1 – 18 and pages 101 – 113.

My WILKINS genealogy:

Generation 1:  Bray Wilkins, born about 1610 maybe in Wales, died 1 January 1702 in Middleton, Massachusetts; married about 1636 to Hannah Way, daughter of Henry Way and Elizabeth Bachelor.  Eight children.

Generation 2:  Margaret Wilkins, baptized on 10 February 1648/9 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, died after 1710; married about 1668 in Topsfield to Philip Knight, son of Philip Knight and Margery Williams.  He was born about 1646 and died after 1724.  Nine children.

Generation 3:  Elizabeth Knight m. Samuel Towne
Generation 4:  Rebecca Towne m. Stephen Johnson
Generation 5:  Ruth Johnson m. Richard Cree
Generation 6:  Stephen Cree m. Hannah Smith
Generation 7:  Sarah Cree m. James Phillips
Generation 8:  Hannah Phillips m. Thomas Russell Lewis
Generation 9:  Hannah Eliza Lewis m. Abijah Franklin Hitchings
Generation 10:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ WILKINS of Dorchester and Middleton, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 17, 2018, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/surname-saturday-wilkins-of-dorchester.html: accessed [access date]). 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Weathervane Wednesday ~ The Symbol of a Living History Museum

I post another in a series of weather vane photographs every Wednesday.  This started with images of weathervanes from the Londonderry, New Hampshire area, but now I've found interesting weather vanes all across New England and across the globe.  Sometimes my weather vanes are whimsical, or historical, but all are interesting.  Often my readers tip me off to some very unique or unusual weathervanes, too!  If you know a great weather vane near you, let me know if you'd like to have it featured on this blog.

Today's weather vane was photographed in Massachusetts.

Do you know the location of weathervane post #354?  Scroll down to find the answer.

This grasshopper weathervane was photographed inside the visitor center gallery at the Old Sturbridge Village museum in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.  According to a sign next to the weathervane "The grasshopper has been the symbol of Old Sturbridge Village for many years, signifying being 'sprung from the soil' and in a broad sense 'native'... the museum's founders and early staff felt that the grasshopper was indeed an appropriate symbol for the institution."

This old weathervane on display inside dates from about 1830 by an unknown maker.  It is a beautiful copper three dimensional weathervane.  A copy of this weathervane was made up in two dimensions and now sits on the roof of the Oliver Wright Tavern.  This tavern is the first building you pass by upon entering the museum, on your way to the visitor center and ticket counter.  From far away it looks like the old weathervane, but as you can see in the close up photograph, it isn't really nearly as nice.

The most famous grasshopper weathervane in New England is the one above Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts originally created by Shem Drowne.  You can read more about that weathervane at this link:

P.S. Shem Drown is my first cousin 8 generations removed. 

Old Sturbridge Village website -   https://www.osv.org/  

Click here to see the entire collection of Weathervane Wednesday posts!


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Weathervane Wednesday ~ The Symbol of a Living History Museum", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 14, 2018, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/weathervane-wednesday-symbol-of-living.html : accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Chester Bulkley, buried 1848 in Wethersfield, Connecticut

This tombstone was photographed in the Ancient Burying Ground in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Chester Bulkley
Born Feb. 22, 1782
Died Dec. 4, 1848
Behold the upright
For the end of that man is peace
Caroline Maria
His wife
Born March 8, 1798
Died Sept 17, 1872
Asleep in Jesus

Chester Bulkley, son of Charles Bulkely (1734 – 1813) and Eunice Welles (1746 – 1827) was born 22 February 1782 and died 4 December 1848 in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  He was married three times, first to Hannah Buck, second to Martha Riley, and third to Caroline Maria Latimer (1798 – 1872).   He had three children with his first wife, Charles Dean b. 1810 d. young; Silas Butler, b. 1812. d. young; and John b. 1814, d. 1833.  He is my 3rd cousin, 8 generations removed. We are both descendants of Rev. Peter Bulkely (1583- 1659) of Concord, Massachusetts. 

Chester Bulkley’s 1830 house still exists in Wethersfield at 184 Main Street, and it is a five guest room bed and breakfast.  See this link: https://www.chesterbulkleyhouse.com/ 

The Bulkley Family Plot in Wethersfield, Connecticut

For more information on the Bulkeley family see The Bulkeley Genealogy: Rev. Peter Bulkeley, by Donald Lines Jacobus, 1933.  The sketch of Chester Bulkley is on pages 659 – 660.    Also see Wethersfield Inscriptions, by Edward Sweetser Tillotson, 1899,  page 29.    (both books are available online at Google books, the second book is also at Archive.org )


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Chester Bulkley, buried 1848 in Wethersfield, Connecticut", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 13, 2018, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/tombstone-tuesday-chester-bulkley.html: accessed [access date]).  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Rocky Nook - The Site of Mayflower Passenger John Howland’s Homestead

Although I had been to Plymouth, Massachusetts many times, I had never visited Rocky Nook, the home of John Howland and his family.  John Howland is my 10th great grandfather in two different lineages, so we finally ventured outside of downtown Plymouth to find this little spot in the woods.

All the Mayflower passengers, including John Howland ( 1592 – 1673), my 10th great grandfather, first lived in the stocked enclose at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a row of homes that became known as Leyden Street.  Eventually they were granted larger homesteads nearby, and John Howland’s family removed to what became known as the town of Kingston and lived at Rocky Nook.  His son, Joseph (1640 – 1704), lived across the street.

These homesites have been studied by archaeologists for several years.  You can read the reports about these archaeological digs online, including the 2017 final report.  See below. At the homesite, up on the hill, is a large information board with some of this new information found by digging in this area.

1620 - 1920

Rocky Nook is a peninsula between the Jones River and Kingston Bay.  It’s located not far from the northern border of the town of Plymouth, just off Route 3A, turn down Howland Lane (marked by a large green sign that reads “Rocky Nook” and “Grays Beach”).   The John Howland homesite is on the right side of the road, and the Joseph Howland homesite is on the left. There is room for one or two cars to park.  Look for the white granite marker in the photo at the top of this blog post.

Also in downtown Plymouth, is the Jabez Howland house, built in 1667.  Jabez Howland was one of John Howland’s sons, and John Howland lived here in his final years after selling his Rocky Nook home to William Kempe in 1640.  The Jabez Howland Home is located at 33 Sandwich Street and is operated by the Pilgrim John Howland Society, and open to the public for tours.

IN 1703/4.
IN 1638


For more information:

From the Pilgrim John Howland Society website:  www.pilgrimjohnhowlandsociety.org/rocky-nook  

Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project  www.plymoutharch.com  (scroll down to the various John and Joseph Howland reports)

My lineages from two daughters of John Howland (Hope and Desire) are in this blog post:


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Rocky Nook - The Site of Mayflower Passenger John Howland’s Homestead", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 12, 2018, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/rocky-nook-site-of-mayflower-passenger.html: accessed [access date]).

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Surname Saturday ~ KNIGHT of Charlestown and Topsfield, Massachusetts

I have written a previous “Surname Saturday” post about a John Knight (1601 – 1674) of Charlestown, Massachusetts at this link:   

I don’t think there is any kinship between John Knight and the subject of this new blog post, Philip Knight, my 10th great grandfather, who is recorded as living in Charlestown before removing to Topsfield, Massachusetts.   He is recorded in Charlestown as a cooper, and he kept the ferry in 1651.  His wife was Margery, and they had five children. She joined the church on 7 (3) 1650 in Charlestown.  He died before 1668/9 when his wife remarried to Thomas Bateman of Concord.

In Essex County Quarterly Court Files, Volume 13, Leaf 121 it lists the children and their ages as Jonathan, age 26; Phillip, age 23; Rebeca, age 17; Eliza, age 13; and Mary, age 11.  I descend from Philip Knight, Jr. (1646 – 1724), my 9th great grandfather, who married Margaret Wilkins.  They had nine children, and the living children were all baptized on the same day in Topsfield, on 24 May 1691.   He was described as a husbandman (farmer) in deeds and court records.

His daughter, Elizabeth Knight (1677 – 1752) is my 8th great grandmother.  She married Samuel Towne in 1696 and had four children. 

For more information on KNIGHT:
The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, by Thomas Bellows Wyman, 1879, Volume II, page 590.
Genealogical Guide to Early Settlers of America, by Henry Whittemore, 1898, page 309.
Topsfield Historical Collections, Volume 25, page 107
Salem Quarterly Court Records
The Family of Bray Wilkins, Patriarch of Will’s Hill, of Salem, by William C. Hill, 1943


My KNIGHT lineage:

Generation 1:  Philip Knight, born about 1614 probably in England, died 1668 in Charlestown, Massachusetts; married about 1641 to Margery Unknown.  Six children. Margery remarried to Thomas Bateman.

Generation 2:  Philip Knight, born about 1646, died after 1724; married about 1668 in Topsfield to Margaret Wilkin, daughter of Bray Wilkins and Hannah Way.  She was baptized on 10 February 1648/9 in Dorchester, Massachusetts and died after 1710.  Nine children.

Generation 3:  Elizabeth Knight, born 25 January 1677 in Topsfield, died 17 May 1752 in Topsfield; married on 20 October 1696 in Topsfield to Samuel Towne, son of Edmund Towne and Mary Browning.  He was born 11 February 1673 in Topsfield, and died 1714 probably in Topsfield.  Four children. Elizabeth remarried to Elisha Perkins.

Generation 4:  Rebecca Towne m. Stephen Johnson
Generation 5:  Ruth Johnson m. Richard Cree
Generation 6:  Stephen Cree m. Hannah Smith
Generation 7:  Sarah Cree m. James Phillips
Generation 8:  Hannah Phillips m. Thomas Russell Lewis
Generation 9:  Hannah Eliza Lewis m. Abijah Franklin Hitchings
Generation 10:  Arthur Treadwell Hitchings m. Florence Etta Hoogerzeil
Generation 11:  Gertrude Matilda Hitchings m. Stanley Elmer Allen (my grandparents)


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, “Surname Saturday ~ KNIGHT of Charlestown and Topsfield, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 10, 2018, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/surname-saturday-knight-of-charlestown.html:  accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The 1719 Nutfield Story from an 1878 New Hampshire Newspaper

This account was transcribed from an 1878 newspaper. There are some slight historical inaccuracies, but the entire article is very interesting. Don't go looking for the apple tree on the shore of Beaver Lake, it is long gone and for a while it was replaced with a stone cairn.  A 20th century homeowner became annoyed with tourists visiting the cairn, so he destroyed it. The place is no longer marked, and is private property.

New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette
Thursday, December 19, 1878, Concord, New Hampshire, page 1

"Rambles in New Hampshire
Old Londonderry, in Nutfield, and its outcome – The Stark Cellar, and a comedy of errors – The Old Stone House -  Old Zekiel; his cabin, canal and pond – Stark’s quartermaster, and an uncommon epitaph – The origin of the Nutfield Colony, and how they found their home in the wilderness and lifted up their banner  - Foundations of New England Presbyterianism.

…The farm on which this cabin stood was probably settled originally by James Wilson, who came from Londonderry, Ireland, soon after the arrival of the first colony in 1719.  The place is known as one of the “exempt farms,” which sows that the original settler was a soldier in the defense of Londonderry at the siege of 1689, all such soldiers having been forever exempted, by act of parliament, from taxation in the British dominions.  Among others who had such exempt farms in Nutfield were Rev. Matthew Clark, the second pastor, Abraham Blair, John Barr, and William Caldwell.
                In 1789 the Wilson farm was sold to Joseph Proctor, grandfather of Alexis, by James Wilson, a son of James who was a son of James, an early emigrant from Londonderry to Nutfield.  One of the landmarks in the deed was “the old McCurdy cellar”, which shows that this ruin, still visible, was old nearly a century ago.  Robert McCurdy, who settled on this place, was an early emigrant from Londonderry, Ireland.  His name appears in the records of Londonderry, N. H., as a selectman as early as 1741, and it is in the list of subscribers to the test act in 1776. It was here that Henry Parkinson, Stark’s quartermaster, found his wife, Jenett, a daughter of Robert McCurdy, born in 1756.
                Henry Parkinson came with his parents from Londonderry, Ireland, to Londonderry, N. H. in 1744, at three years of age.  He was educated in the best manner from childhood, graduating with distinguished classical scholarship at Nassau Hall, now Princeton college, in 1765.  Dissenting from the dogma of “election” as held by the Presbyterian church, he declined its ministry, for which his parents had designed him, and devoted himself to the calling of a teacher.
                The people of Londonderry sprang to arms, full of fire, at the first note of alarm from Lexington in 1776, and a company of ninety-nine minute-men under Capt. George Reid joined the left wing of the American army a few days after the opening of the strife at Lexington.  Henry Parkinson marched as a private to the field in that company, but was immediately called by Stark, who knew him well, to the quartermastership of his regiment, sharing with the hero in the honors of Bunker Hill and Bennington, and continued in active service as quartermaster throughout the war.  The intimacy between the hero and his quartermaster continued through life, and after the old hero was, in his great age, confined at home, Master Parkinson made him personal visits annually down to the hero’s death in 1822 at the age of 94.  On retiring from the army, he returned at once to his old work as a teacher, establishing a classical school at Concord, in which fitting boys for college was a specialty.  This school he conducted for many years, with great reputation, often fitting boys for advanced college classes, among them Philip Carrigain, who entered junior at Dartmouth in 1792.  He built and occupied the house standing, which was removed a few rods in 1824 to make place for the First Church in Concord.  About 1800 he removed to a farm in Canterbury, and divided his remaining years between farming and teaching, dying in 1826.  One of his children, Mrs. Daniel (Nancy) Blanchard, a very intelligent, smart old lady, born in Concord in 1788, still survives, more than 90 years of age.  Master Parkinson was distinguished as a linguist, spoke the Latin with facility, and was a successful teacher. It is singular that no mention of either him or his school is found in Bouton’s History of Concord, and still more singular that on having his attention called to the oversight the author should have said he had never heard of such a man.  On a large handsome slate-stone slab in the ancient and well-preserved town cemetery at Canterbury Center is the following uncommon epitaph:
                “Here lie interred the remains of Henry Parkinson, A. M., long distinguished as an excellent classical scholar.  The following brief epitome of his life was composed by himself:  “Hibernia me genuit, America nutrivit; docui, militari, atquo mambus lanborani; et nunc terra me occupant, et quete in pulvere dormie, quasi in gremio materno meo;  Hoc ades amiec mi care, aspice, et memento ut moriendum quoque certe sit tibi.  Ergo vale et cave.”  A bent 23d Male A.D. 1830 aet. 79.”

The Latin may be put into English as follows:

“Ireland gave me birth, America brought me up; I taught, did military service, and labored with my hands; and now the earth embraces me, and I sleep quietly in the dust as in my maternal bosom.  Come hither, my dear friend; behold, and remember that you also must surely die.  Therefore farewell and beware.” Died May 23d, 1830, aged 79.”

By the side of this slab is another precicsely similar, with this inscription:
“Jennett, wife of Henry Parkinson.  Died Mar. 24, 1836, ae 80.”


In the reign of James the First, on the suppression of a rebellion in Ireland, two million acres of land in the province of Ulster in the north of Ireland, comprising nearly six entire counties, among which were Londonderry, Antrim, Choleraine, and Kilrea, fell by confiscation to the crown.  Upon these lands, from which the disloyal Catholics had been expelled, the king, by liberal conditions, induced large bodies of Presbyterians of Argyleshire, Scotland, to settle in 1612, the emigration continuing for the succeeding third of a century, whole congregations under the lead of their pastors often emigrating in a body.  The king wanted them there as a bulwark against Catholic disloyalty, and in the nature of the case they were held in intense hatred by the Irish, who waited for an opportunity for vengeance.  When James the Second, who had been driven from the throne by William, prince of Orange, landed in Ireland from France, his place of refuge, with a French army, to regain the throne, the Ulster Catholics thought their hour of revenge had come.  They joined the invading army of twenty thousand men which aimed to get speedy possession of the fortified city of Londonderry as the Protestant stronghold of the north, its reduction without delay being vital to the invader’s success. The city, with an ordinary population of ten thousand people and a few hundreds of soldiers, was soon increased by refugees to twenty thousand, with the garrison increased to seven thousand.  The people arose in their might, shut the gates of the city, deposed a disloyal governor, put in his place a Presbyterian minister – Rev. George Walker, an heroic man- and for one hundred and five days they maintained the defense in the midst of the most unparalleled suffering of sickness and famine; the word surrender never, it is said, having been heard in the city from the shutting of the gates till the throwing of supplies into the city by the English fleet ended the long agony and struck ruin to the plans of James.  Parliament, in grateful recognition of the supreme service of this heroic defense, immediately passed an act forever exempting from taxation within the British realm all who bore arms in this triumphant defense.
                The original Nutfield settlers were many of them natives of Londonderry, and participated in the horrors of that siege, some of them soldiers in the garrison, and all of them either residents of the city or of the surrounding country.  They had turned their backs upon a delightful climate and a productive soil, but they held their lands by lease and not, as they desired, in fee simple.  They could worship according to their faith, but were obliged to pay tithes to support the Church of England.  It was to find full religious toleration, larger civil liberty, and homes in fee-simple which in 1718 induced three hundred and nineteen of these people to petition to Shute, governor Massachusetts and New Hampshire, to grant them a home on liberal terms somewhere in the provinces, and which, on reception of favorable response, persuaded the most of them to embark in five vessels for Boston, where they arrived August 4, 1718.  All the petitioners to Gov. Shute except thirteen signed their names in their own fair hand; nine being liberally educated ministers and three others university men.  Four ministers came with this company.
                The most of the company left the vessels at Boston and scattered in search of homes for the winter in Boston and the neighboring tows; but sixteen families who had been parishioners of Rev. James McGregor in Ireland sailed in one of the vessels for Falmouth, now Portland, hearing of a good place to settle on Casco Bay. Winter, however, struck them early and suddenly, and they were ice-bound all winter in Falmouth harbor, and in so much distress that the general court at Boston, on petition of the citizens of Falmouth, ordered an hundred bushels of meal sent to “the poor Irish people.”  In early spring they set sail, and finding no spot along the coast to suit them they turned their course up the Merrimack River, arriving at Haverhill April 2, 1719,O.S.; and there, hearing of a fine country fifteen miles distant, to which the abundant nuts of its forests had given the name of Nutfield, the sixteen men proceeded at once to look it over.  Returning in a few days, after having put up some temporary cabins, they gathered up their scanty furniture and effects brought over the ocean, and men, women and children, full of faith and courage began their march into the wilderness.
                A part of the company took the indirect route through Dracut, where their pastor – Mr. McGregor, an heroic man, who had taught school there during the winter – was waiting to hear from them, and join them.  The two parties met at the foot of a hill in Nutfield, hitched their horses, and the men went out to take a look.  On their return one of their horses was gone, a serious loss to the straitened exiles, but a more serious alarm, as lurking savages were suspected.  Some time afterwards the horse was found, however, mired and dead in a meadow near where he had been hitched, and the name of Horse hill still commemorates the event.  Before moving forward the pastor addressed his flock, congratulating them on the propitious termination of their long wanderings, and telling them they were now pilgrims in the wilderness, strangers in a strange land, exhorted to continued confidence in God.
                On the eve of embarking from Ireland Mr. McGregor had, in a written discourse still preserved, addressed his flock from the words of the great leader of Israel to his people in the journey of the wilderness. – “If thy presence go not with me, lead us not up hence,” –
And now, the day after reaching Nutfield (April 12), he stood up and discoursed to them again.  The place of meeting was on the eastern shore of a beautiful sheet of water the name of which, in the language the Penacooks, was Tsnieto, afterwards called Beaver pond.  Beneath the arms an ancient and towering oak, close upon the borders of the waters, when the spring had scarcely unlocked the winter, they gathered for a solemn and formal lifting up of their banner in their new theater of labor, as a band of sternly religious men and women.  The sermon was from Isaiah xxxii 2. –
“And a man shalt be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

The pastor was then forty -two years old and had been trained in the highest classical and theological culture, was a man of courage and wisdom, had been schooled in self reliance and hardships, was, though a mere boy at the time, an active defender in the siege of Londonderry, having the honor of firing the great gun in the tower of the cathedral answering the ships which brought relief from the long agony, and was in all respects a consummate leader of the colony.  When he died in 1729 the whole town mourned as at the loss of a father.  The oak beneath which that first sermon in Nutfield was spoken was always held in veneration by the people, and when, after standing sentinel of the sacred scene, with higher than druidical veneration, more than an hundred and twenty-five years, it fell, from decay, the large apple -tree which now marks the spot was planted as a memorial.  The Nutfield church was the first of the Presbyterian order planted in New England, and the most of the churches now in New England owe their existence directly or indirectly to the Old Nutfield establishment.  At some future time my notebook may furnish your columns something form………..(illegible)…… old and new.  M. B. G.”


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The 1719 Nutfield Story from an 1878 New Hampshire Newspaper", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 8, 2018, (  https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-1719-nutfield-story-from-1878-new.html: accessed [access date]).