General History of Harrisville, New Hampshire

HARRISVILLE lies in the extreme eastern part of the county, in lat. 42° 57′ and long. 4° 59′, bounded north by Nelson and Hancock, the latter in Hillsboro county, east by Hancock and Peterboro, south by Dublin and west by Roxbury and a portion of Marlboro. This is the youngest township in the county, having been incorporated as late as July 2, 1870, its area being made up of territory taken from the southern part of Nelson and northern part of Dublin. The extreme length of the town, east and west, is nearly eight miles, and its greatest width, north and south, from two and a half to three miles, comprising an area of about 10,000 acres, which, to be accurate, is inclosed as follows: Beginning at a stone post, where the present north line of Dublin intersects with the western line of Peterboro, thence extending north 77½° west 2,525 rods, or following the north line of Dublin, to the line of Marlboro; thence northerly on the line of Marlboro and Roxbury to the southwest corner of Nelson, near the head of Woodward pond; thence in a general easterly course, with an offset north 160 rods on the east shore of Breed pond, about 1,784 rods, to the line of Hancock; and thence south 12° 30′ south 480 rods, thence south 79° east 879 rods, thence south 287 rods to the place of beginning.

The surface of the territory thus described is rough and uneven, being situated on the height of land between the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers, though the soil is generally good and yields fine crops. There are several natural ponds in different parts of the town, while the water privileges are excelled by few, if any, to be found. The mills at Harrisville are situated on a small stream called North branch or Nubaunsit river, which, discharging its waters into the Contoocook, at Peterboro, nine miles distant from Harrisville, has a fall of over 600 feet. This stream is fed by large ponds lying in the towns of Hancock, Nelson and Harrisville, which have been dammed at their outlets, and now flow several thousand acres, including the original ponds. From Spottwood pond, in Nelson, ten feet can be drawn in Long pond, which is over four miles in length. Fourteen feet can be drawn from Long pond into Harris pond, which is at the head of the river at Harrisville. From these statements one may obtain some idea of the excellence of this water-power.

In 1880 Harrisville had a population of 859 souls. In 1884 it had five school districts, five common schools and one graded school, its five school buildings being valued, including furniture, etc., at $4,500.00. There were 162 pupils attending the schools, twenty-four of whom were pursuing the higher branches, taught by one male and eight female teachers, to whom was paid an aggregate salary of $782.00. The entire revenue for school purposes during the year was $939.92, while the entire expenditure was $877.68, with Frank P. Fisk, superintendent.

As Harrisville was, until so late a date, a part of Nelson and Dublin, the sketch of its early settlement, etc., is identical with that of those towns, hence, to the respective sketches thereof we refer the reader. The first settler on the tract, however, was Able Twitchell, who located where Harrisville village now is, as we have previously stated, in 1774. He was the fifth son and eighth child of Joseph Twitchell, of Sherborn, Mass., born May 28, 175 1. He married, first, Sarah Adams, daughter of Joseph A., and for his second, Elizabeth, sister of Jonas Clark. He died March 8, 1837, and his second wife survived him until January 13, 1846. His children, all by his first wife, were as follows: Sally, born April 9, 1775; Deborah, born August 14, 1776, married Bethuel Harris, January 1, 1794; Cyrus, born March 13, 1778; Mary, born February 5, 1780; Peter, born July 10, 1781; Abel, born July 13. 1783; Betsey, born October 18, 1784; and Timothy A., born May 29, 1792.


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

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