Early Manufacturing, Alstead New Hampshire

Messer Bros.’ turning and planing mill, located in East Alstead, was built for a grist and carding mill, about 100 years ago. About 1862 it came into the possession of William H. Messer, and of the present owners in 1881. They employ six hands in the manufacture of baby-carriage spokes, sapspouts, pails, knife handles, etc.

E. P Kidder’s saw-mill and rake factory, located it East Alstead, was originally built for a starch factory, by a Mr. Kidder about fifty years ago, and came into the present proprietor’s hands in 1858. He employs six men and manufactures about 100,000 feet of lumber, 5,000 rakes, and 1,600 spokes per annum.

John D. Holmes’s grist-mill, operated by F. W. Nourse, it located at Alstead village. It was built by Cragin & Morrison, about 1840, and was purchased by Mr. Holmes in 1867. It has three runs of stones and grinds about 20,000 bushels of custom grain and about 20,000 bushels of western corn per year. Mr. Holmes also has a saw-mill, which cuts 500,000 feet of lumber and 500,000 shingles per year.

C. S. Angier’s carriage shop, located at Alstead, was purchased by him of S. K. Elwell, in 1867, and about 1879 he added the undertaking business. He makes a specialty of team wagons and sleds, making about twenty each season. He also does a jobbing business and sawing and planing.

S. 0. Ball’s carriage shop, located at Alstead, was purchased by him of L. D. Edwards, in 1864. He builds carriages and sleighs and does a general repair business.

C. B. Cook’s foundry, at Alstead, was built by A. R. Emerson, about 1863, and was purchased by Mr. Cook in 1869. He manufactures plows, harrows, cultivators, etc., making about $1,000.00 worth of farm implements, and doing $1,500.00 worth of job work per annum.

J. H. Forrestall’s saw-mill and chair-stock factory, located on road 5, was built by him in 1876, upon the site of a mill he erected in 1858. He employs four men and manufactures 300,000 feet of course lumber and from $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 worth of chair-stock per annum.

Gardner G. Banks’s saw-mill, on road 14, built by him about thirty years ago, manufactures coarse lumber and shingles, turning out about 5,000 feet of the former, and 6,000 to 8,000 of the latter per day.

George A. Brooks’s edge tool factory, at Alstead, was built by Hamlet L Rice, in 1842, who then commenced here the manufacture of axes and carpenter’s tools. In 1864 he sold out to George A. Brooks, who has since conducted the business. He manufactures axes, spoke-shaves, chisels, razors, and all kinds of carpenter’s tools.

St. Paul’s Lodge, No. 30, F. & A. M.

Alstead has an old and interesting free mason’s lodge, dating back to the year 1818. On the 11th of June, of that year, the above lodge was chartered to James Chandler, Eber Carpenter, Samuel Egerton, John Chandler, Josiah Crosby and William Marvin. These people were constituted into a lodge on the 16th, when James Chandler was made worshipful master. Among the oldest members of the lodge was “Uncle” Allen Slade, who was taken into membership July 1, 1819, and remained in the lodge until his death, February 12, 1884. He was born May 26, 1796, and was made a mason in Faithful Lodge, No. 12, at Charlestown, soon after arriving at a lawful age. The oldest member now living is Daniel Mack, whose membership dates from August 17, 1826. The lodge was first gathered at what is now Alstead Center. About 185o it was removed to Paper Mill Village, where meetings were held in the attic of Ball’s building. Finding that room small and inconvenient, the lodge built a hall, as the third story on the ell of the old paper mill, there being in the lower stories a machine and wood-work shop. In September, 1868, the whole building was destroyed by fire, the lodge losing their hall and all their furniture, jewels, records, and even their charter, the insurance barely cancelling their debts. A few generous masons contributed liberally, and Social Friends Lodge. No. 42, of Keene, with the true charity of masonry, contributed their set of solid silver jewels and a large part of their furniture to their truly destitute sister lodge. They returned for a time to their old attic hall or until C. K. Vilas and A. R. Emerson built a block on the burnt district, when the lodge leased a hall of Mr. Emerson for ten years. November 28, 1880, however, the last paper-mill and the elegant new block were devoured by the flames. Again was the lodge without a hall, though nearly all its furniture and jewels were saved. For a third time an alter was erected in the attic. During the following summer Messrs. Vilas and Emerson again rebuilt, and in the second story of Mr. Emerson’s block the lodge has erected for itself a commodious hall, and is now prospering, though laboring under debt. The present officers are as follows: F. Bragg, W. M.; W. Master, John F. Dickey; Jackson Marvin, S. W.; Frank W. Nourse, J. W.; Edward A. Turner, Treas.; George P. Dickey, Sec’y; Elbridge Phelps, S. D.; and Frank W. Nourse, J. D.


Hurd, Duane Hamilton. History of Cheshire and Sullivan counties, New Hampshire. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis. 1886.

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