Windham Life and Times – May 3, 2019

Nutfield 300

Drawing from Wiley’s Book of Nutfield of the “English Range.”

The  English Range | Wiley’s Book of Nutfield

The influential New Hampshire officials who helped secure the land grant from the Crown for the Scotch-Irish, being of the political class, expected and received their quid pro quo as land grants in Londonderry, in what became known as the English Range.  Again from Wiley’s Book of Nutfield: “Within 12 months after the arrival of the first sixteen families, the population of Nutfield, afterward the incorporated township of Londonderry, numbered several hundred, and simultaneously the allotments of homesteads were made to the proprietors under the charter to the number of one hundred and twenty-four and a half shares, exclusive of large awards in land given to some particularly influential persons who had assisted the immigrants in securing a grant of land. About Seven Thousand Five Hundred acres were laid out in homesteads under the schedule as recorded with the charter, June 1, 1722, and on the same day one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six acres were allowed as rewards for special services to thirteen persons directly connected with the procuring of clear titles to the land. The largest grants of land for special services were made to the officers of the crown, who acted as mediators between the colonists and the king. These loyalists were the Lieutenant Governor of His Majesty’s Province of New Hampshire in New England, and that body of followers commonly designated as the governor’s suite, with colonels and men of military insignia in the service of the king. These persons received grants of land in proportion to the supposed importance of their rank and services, not alone in Nutfield but in various other settlements over a wide area of land not very clearly defined in early records.”

“Without controversy the section of the township which was called the English Range embraced the most pronounced Tory faction, and as Englishmen in sentiment, spirit and religious opinions the settlers there had a profound contempt for the zeal, piety, and learning of the fugitive Covenanters by whose pestiferous preaching the whole of Great Britain was shaken.”

“The series of parallel homesteads that may properly be designated the English Range began at the most easterly corner of Beaver pond and extended in the form of a rectangle whose longer side lay in a due northwest line to a point near Sheild’s upper pond, and the shorter line lay in a due northeast line along the course of the stream above Beaver pond to the limit of the Haverhill False Line, so called by reason of a claim that the people of Haverhill made to the part of town then lying east of the meridional line through that corner of the English Range.…”

“…The English Range embraced a beautiful tract of land, with fine glimpses of Beaver pond from almost ever part, and some of the farms running down to the firm shores were selected for the more noted persons of the community…The following agreement will explain the laying out of some of these lots. It was made at the time when the people of Nutfield had secured a deed of land, on which they settled, from Col. John Wheelwright of Wells, Me.: “These presents witnessed that the Rev. James McGregor and Samuel Graves do in the name of the people of Nutfield and by virtue of being a committee from them agree that the Honorable Governor John Wentworth of Portsmouth and Col Wheelwright of Wells and their heirs forever should have and possess two lots with them in Nutfield lying to the northward of and butting upon Beaver pond, to wit:  Lt.-Gov. Wentworth to have the third and Col. Wheelwright the fourth in order upon the range, together with what second divisions will fall to the said lots throughout the said town, and each of these gentlemen and their heirs to have besides the said lots five hundred acres apiece forever laid out in farms where they shall think fit in said town, Record this 9th day of January, 1720.”

“The governors of the various provinces in New England were generally of good birth and highly respected by the colonies…The resolution passed by the town of Nutfield, in meeting assembled in 1719, is not without interest: The people of Nutfield do acknowledge with gratitude the obligation they are under to the above mentioned gentlemen, particularly to the Honorable Col. John Wentworth, Esq., Lieutenant Governor of New Hampshire. They remember with pleasure that his Honor, on all occasions, shewed a great deal of civility and real kindness to them, being strangers in the country, and cherished small beginnings of their settlement and defended them from the encroachment of violence of such as upon unjust ground would disturb their settlement and always gave them a favorable ear and easy access to the government and procured justice for them…”

“It appears from contemporary evidence that there was scarcely a resident of the English Range in 1719 who was not titled and serving the government in some capacity. Their descendants of the next generation were conspicuous leaders in the French and Indian wars. Very familiar are the names of Colonel Thornton, Colonel Barr, Sir James Leslie, Captain Blair, Ensign Blair, Captain Cargill, Colonel Wainwright, Colonel Wheelwright, and Lieutenant Goffe.”