Town of Harrisville, New Hampshire

HARRISVILLE is a handsome post-village located in the central part of the town, about 1,300 feet above the ocean, thus being, probably, the most elevated ground in New England boasting such extensive manufacturing facilities. Up to 1830 the village went by the name of Twitchell’s Mills, but at that time it was given its present name by Milan Harris, in honor of his family. Aside from its manufactures, the village has ample mercantile facilities, one church (Congregational), postoffice, telegraph office, graded school, etc., and about one hundred dwellings and 500 inhabitants. The village formerly laid on the line between Nelson and Dublin, on lot thirteen range ten, of the latter town. This lot was first settled about 1774, by Abel Twitchel, who built a grist-mill and a saw-mill, immediately after settling, both under one roof. This building was subsequently burned, and soon after rebuilt. At an early date, also, Jason Harris built here a blacksmith and trip-hammer shop. On the same stream, in 1799, Jonas Clark built and put in operation a clothing-mill, or a mill for fulling and dressing cloth. In this mill Mrs. Clark spun linen thread by water-power, a single thread at a time. Mr. Clark sold his mill to James Horsley, in 1804, and removed with his family to Shipton, Canada, where he remained until 1819, then returned to Dublin. A machine for carding wool was set up in the grist-mill by Bethuel Harris and Abel Twitchell, before Mr. Clark sold out. This machine is supposed to have been the second one that was run in the United States. Messrs Harris and Twitchell purchased the clothing-stand of Mr. Horsley, and united the business of carding wool and dressing cloth, in one building. In 1822 Bethuel and Cyrus Harris erected what was known as the brick mill As soon as it was finished, Milan Harris put in machinery for manufacturing woolen cloths, which were dressed by B. and C. Harris. Subsequently a company was formed consisting of the three Messrs. Harris. This company was dissolved in 1832. The first power-looms that were started in Harrisville were put in operation by Milan Harris, in 1823-’24. In 1832 and ’33, Milan Harris and A. S. Hutchinson built the “Upper mill,” as it was called, on the site of the old grist-mill and saw-mill. This was the mill subsequently operated for so many years by Milan Harris in the manufacture of doeskins. In 1846 and ’47, Cyrus Harris formed a company, and under his superintendence a large granite building was erected; but his health failed about this time, and he died April 4, 1848. The property was soon after sold to Josiah Colony & Sons, of Keene, and June 28, 1850, they were incorporated, and the mills given their present name, the Cheshire Mills. Josiah subsequently sold his interest to his sons, who, in 1859-’60, built the brick portion of the mill, made many additions and improvements, and purchased and built a number of tenements in the village. The sons are all now deceased and the property is owned by Josiah T, and Horatio Colony, of Keene. The original mill is of split granite, 111×42 feet, three stories and an attic, while the brick portion is 75×42 feet, three stories, basement and attic, while there are several auxiliary buildings fully supplied with machinery. The mill is operated by two of the “John Humphrey Machine Co.’s” turbine wheels, with a 120 horse-power engine in reserve. They have forty-eight broad looms, nine sets of cards, and spinning machinery to correspond. They manufacture all-wool flannels, exclusively, of all widths, turning out over 1,100,000 yards per annum, employing about 100 hands.

EAST HARRISVILLE (p. O.) is a hamlet located in the southeastern part of the town.

Tine Harrisville Public Library, located at the village, was established about 1877. It has about 1,100 volumes, with George F. Tufts, and Edwin P. Hunt, trustees, and Miss Belle Hutchinson, librarian.


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

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