Windham Life and Times – May 31, 2019

Nutfield 300

The Windham Range at Policy Pond | 1728

An example of a proprietors grants for what became the Windham Range. Londonderry, October 22nd, 1728. Then laid out to William Humphrey fifty six acres of land which is the amendment and twenty acres of addition which his home lot was allowed said land laying southeasterly of Cobbets pond, bounded on the west by a dry oak tree marked standing on said pond, from thence running southeast to Policy pond and bounding on John Stewart’s land to a stake and stones, from thence running northeast twenty seven rods to a stake and stones bounding on Policy pond, from thence running northwest and bounding on John Anderson’s land to the pond first mentioned to a white oak tree marked, from thence running southwesterly on said pond to the bounds first mentioned. Not there is land within the bounds for two highways running across said land reserved for the use of the town, one four rods wide and the other two rods wide, when they think fit to lay them out….”

Rev. Jesse G. McMurphy states that, “In 1728 a fine area of about twelve hundred acres was laid out in the southern part of Londonderry between two beautiful ponds. One of these ponds in recent years has become famous as a summer resort, (1895) and the location of a station there on the line of the Boston & Maine railroad has facilitated the coming of numerous pleasure parties to the shores of this body of water once called Policy pond, but now widely known as Canobie, with station and post office of the same name. The farms laid out in this range were planned according to a more general usage, being long and narrow, with the longest lines running northwest and southeast, and with slight variations in length filling the space between Policy and Cobbetts ponds. The farm at the northeast end is characterized as the head of the range, and was originally allotted to the Rev. James McGregor as an amendment to his former grants. The present owner of this farm is Hon. Leonard A. Morrison, author of ‘Morrison Family,’ ‘History of Windham,’ ‘Windham Centennial Celebration,’ ‘Norris Family,’ ‘Dinsmoor Family,’ ‘Allison Family,’ ‘Rambles in Europe,’ and ‘Scotch-Irish Characteristics.’ He is a man who has done much for his townsmen and for the preservation of valuable historic facts in the town of Londonderry, in which his ancestors were charter proprietors. Next to this farm were the amendment lands of James and John Morrison, the first now occupied by Albert A. Morrison and the second by Oliver G. Woodbury. The original lot of John Barr is now the property of John A. Park, George F. Armstrong occupies the farm laid out to Samuel Allison. These five farms are identified by Mr. Morrison, and from him chiefly the identification of the remainder is obtained. In the relative positions of the sixth, seventh and eight farms there is a conflict of testimony. I quote from a letter of Mr. Morrison: ‘I once owned half of John Stuart’s farm. The range road divided it, and his old cellar is on the half owned by my relative, Albert Morrison as pasture land. He may have owned another piece. Once some forty-six acres in this piece. There is no room between his place and that of Samuel Allison. Allison’s farm was sold to Mr. Park and where Park’s house stood was some twenty-five rods from John Stuart’s. The bounds of the farms have changed, of course, and I cannot write any more definite than was my last letter the other day. Exeter records would be the place to trace them.’ ”

Mr. Morrison writes that ‘William Humphrey’s land is included in the farm of Joseph W. Dinsmoor; John Anderson’s land (Meaning the farm of John Stewart on the map) is included in the farm of Jacob Myers; John Barnett’s land is now Isaiah W. Haseltine’s; William Nichols’ land is included in the farm of George N. Noyes; Robert Wear’s land now in B.F. Senter’s farm; Archibald Clendenbrnen’s land was at the base of Senter’s hill going from Canobie Lake to Cobbet’s pond. In this part of the range it is quite evident that the original order of the allotments has been altered and probably so far back that traditions alone cannot determine the correctness of the plans adopted, and only an exhaustive treatise compiled from town records and old deeds requiring years of patient toil could establish the certainty of many controverted facts of lines, bounds, and even residences. It is greatly regretted that the plans of the town of Londonderry or Nutfield, originally made, however fragmentary and crude, have not been preserved. Great care has been taken to secure the accuracy in this map, and in order that the student may have easy access to the material certifying to the correctness of the plans, the numbers of the pages in Volume II of the town records are given for reference in the lower right corner of each lot.”

 

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