A History of Union, New Hampshire (USA)



Louis E. Tibbetts

Chapter 8 - North Union

We will continue our journey northward at the new road, even though the village line is slightly north of the new interchange. As with the area of Milton below the southern town line, this section of "unincorporated" Wakefield is solidly associated with Union. Details of this area are shown in Map 8.

Located under the current site of the new road was a house owned (8-1) by Nathanial Farnsworth, and, in the late 1800s, by Mrs. R. A. Farnsworth. This house was moved here from the site of the Grange Hall many years ago - it was the first school in Union. Later occupants were Olive and Fred Nute. The building was razed and burned in 1966, when the "new road" went through.

The next small building (8-2) was moved here from Buddy Dame's, just below the freight house. Lewis (Chine) Nute operated a barbershop for a short time in the 1940s. In the 1950s a porch was built on. Later, possibly when the "new road" went through, this house was tirn down.

Next is the former home (8-3) and blacksmith shop of Charles E. Heath, which was moved to this spot. It was later converted to a store and home, with alterations. The next residents were the Robinson Gregsons (died in 1932). Captain Miller was here a short while, then came Christopher Wade in 1936, followed by Sam McKenzie and wife Alice. Then came John and Martha Pratt from 1935 to 1948, followed by Elmer and Connie Marshall. The Marshalls left for a while, and it was rented to Fred and Francis Dudley. The Marshalls returned after retiring, and in 1971, while Marshall was at his birthplace in Cold Harbor, Maine, playing golf, he died suddenly on the golf course. The store was discontinued and the buildings improved, with Connie adding a swimming pool. Later, the building became a "tavern" known as "The Meadows", and served as Union's primary restaurant. The tavern was owned and run by Robert Smith and his wife. Robert formerly ran the laundromat, and then the hardware store in Sanbornville. They closed the restaurant and moved in 1993. Then, the building burned in the winter of 1993-4 (thought to be arson). On its site now stands a new gas station and minimart, built in 1994.

Across the road and north of the new highway, Sam Perkins owned three lots. They came to his heirs, James and Eva Perkins, who then sold to Dan and Florence Wilson. Dan Wilson moved a camp here in 1939, built an addition, and then in 1949 the buildings were moved away to Brookfield and the Wilsons moved to their home on South Main Street. Payson Littlefield bought the lots, and built a house (8-4) here in 1952, with a garage near the road (old Route 16). When the new road was built in 1966, he had to move his house back 75 feet to its present location. Payson was another one of our dependable ball players and a fine shortstop - with his five feet and two inches he could reach far and wide and also hit the baseball well. He was born in the Old Hospital on Main Street.

George Morrill built the next house (8-5) for Nathan Littlefield about 1914-1915. There was a fire in the 1950s that did some damage, but it was repaired soon after the fire. As I mentioned before, Nathan loved to box and wrestle, he was light and wiry and very quick. He was boxing one night in the pool room over the former library, when suddenly a door opened in back of him, and as he dodged away from the gloves of his opponent, the door hit him a solid blow on the back of the head. He fell to the floor and had to be carried home - needless to say, he lost this bout. Nathan died in 1958. His wife Grace later moved in with her daughter Virginia Dame at Lovell Lake, where she died in 1972. Ronald Henderson then bought the place in 1962-1963.

The house (8-6) on the hill was built by Nathan Littlefield. It was later owned by Elmer Kimball, then George and Grace Stevens, then Oscar Gagne, followed by Mrs. Gagne's son Albert Caverly, and later to Nichols in 1973.

The second house (8-7) on the hill was built by George Morrill for a Dana Barker, then sold to Arthur Fox, then to Brock (of Rochester Plywood Company), and then also to Nichols in 1973.

George Morrill owned 12-13 acres, where all these houses were built. Prior to that, John Corson pastured his cows here.

Howard and Ella Weiman put up a small building here that was torn down. When Mr. Merrill (father of Nelson) was here, the Veterans of Foreign Wars bought this piece of land, planning to build a home, but later bought the Union Hotel, and the land was sold to Johnnie and Winnie Nason. Three houses have been built on this piece of land. One was built and is lived in by the Haleys, another by Mark Soucy, and the third by Sally Gray Cole and her husband Stanley Cole.

The next house (8-8) was formerly the home of Avery Gilman, who had eight children, Asaphin, Benjamin, Adariel, George, Charles, Auguste, Sarah, and one who went west. It passed to Leonard and Ellen Hill, then Frank Kimball, followed by William and Dolly Garside. William Garside had a Texaco filling station here for many years, then the building was moved to Laskey's Corner, where Eva Laskey converted it into a restaurant. The house then passed to Jerry and Mrs. Woods.

The John Lavertue home burned. Herman "Tinker" Clough had an antique shop in the shed which did not burn. Later Norman and Nancy Lavertue built their home (8-9) on the spot.

The Camp on the Island (8-10) was built about 1910 by Herbert Kimball. The Great Falls Manufacturing Company owned the island at that time. Then house passed to Lewis (Chine) Nute, then Leon and Arlene Palmer of New Durham. Leon, a lumber dealer, built a road from the mainland to the island.

The Union Meadows was formerly known as Cate's Pond or Reservoir, and has a surface area of about 49.5 acres. The south end of the Meadows is shown in Figure 29. Horse racing was once a popular sport on the Meadows. Among some early participants were Ike Lord, William Mills, and Charles Langley. In later years this part of the Meadows became a popular skating rink for the young people of Union.

A new summer home (8-11) on the shore of the Meadows was built in the 1950s by Leon and Arlene Palmer of Alton. He made his first journey to Florida in the early 1960s and fell in love with the winter climate, but passed away before he could return the following year.

Next are three summer cottages, one (8-12) originally owned by Ray Rand, the next (8-13) by Reginald Wentworth (this one later became a year round home), and the third (8-14) cottage by Reginald's son and wife Emily (Lavertue) Wenthworth and their two girls.

Back on the main road, on the east side, beyond Norman Lavertue's is the house (8-15) built by Richard and Sylvia Joy in 1963. They built a small stable in 1971 for the riding horse of their daughter, Lorraine Joy.

Oscar and Jessie (Hebert) Joy built their house (8-16) in 1952, adding to a two room building they moved here from Alice Joy's, later adding a garage. They had two boys, Stephen and Philip. Stephen, his wife, and their small baby were killed in a tragic accident while riding in a jeep with Jimmy Downs (also killed) on new Route 16 some years ago. The Joys moved to Middleton, and the house is now owned by the Robert Leightons.

Everett and Elsie Bickford built their place (8-17) in 1950. Elsie was the first to die, and after Everett's death the estate became the property of Clarence Peaslee. It was bought in 1968 by George Tobin, who died in 1972.

At the west side of the road a new antique shop (8-18) was built by Howard Smart in the 1950s. In back and to the south on a rise of ground overlooking the Meadows, Howard and Isabelle built their new home (8-19), after selling the land and buildings known as "The Meadows". Howard died at New Smyrna Beach, Florida after a series of heart attacks in January 1972.

Built by Asaphin Gilman, "The Meadows" (8-20) was later owned by Frank Hall, Edith (Hall) Wilson's grandfather. It later passed to Ezra Smith, then Perley Smith in 1911. Hatch and Burton Gould owned it, Burton leaving in 1924. In 1933 William and Ethel Baker acquired the place, then Ella Veinette sold it to George and Lillian Holman in 1943. In 1947 Percy Berry bought it, selling to Howard and Rosabelle Smart in 1960. In 1970, it was bought by its current owners, the G. Alden Haywards.

The Perley Smith house and a sheet metal garage just beyond, which he operated for some years are the next buildings north. Perley Downs was living here when the house burned in 1926. The garage was torn down several years later. George Holman built a new home (8-21) here in 1947 after selling "The Meadows" to Percy Berry. His widow Lillian lived here for some time, then sold to Lee, Philip and Charles Barham in 1969. Lee's daughter Lynne and family now live here.

A new house (8-22) was built by Harry Eastman, Jr. and his wife Karen in 1971-1972, just to the north.

A camp owned by Nathan Littlefield was moved in across the street and then it was sold and moved away.

Back to the west side of the highway is a house (8-23) with breezeway and garage, built by Harry and Evelyn Eastman in 1949. Harry built a stone retaining wall along the driveway to the garage and along the road about 1969-1970, supporting a nice large lawn. Evelyn helped me in the store for some time, and after her marriage and two children later, she returned to help me, until she developed arch trouble and had to keep off her feet. She died at an early age.

The next house (8-24) was owned by a Dione, then Ansel Kraveck. A Henderson also owned it at one time, as well as the Browns (parents of Alice Joy). Later Frank and Alice Joy owned the place. Frank died in 1948 and Alice died in 1965. Eben, a son who was severely injured as a boy, died a few years before his mother. The story is told of Frank finding his horse dead in the pasture, believed to have been killed by a bull moose in 1932. Douglas and Cheryl Joy bought this estate and made many improvements, including a two story garage, built in 1972.

Across the highway, Warren and Pamela Adjutant built their house (8-25) in the 1950s.

Joseph and Evelyn Adjutant built their house (8-26) in the 1930s, then converted the barn to be a used furniture shop in the 1950s, later enlarging the building and adding a cement floor. It thereafter became known as "Joe's Barn". After Joe's death, Warren's son Alan bought and refurbished the house and now lives there.

The two story wood colored house (8-27), built by a Henderson, was owned by Oscar Gagne's mother Georginia Segary, who was born here and lived to be about 100 years old. John Wiggin owned the place in 1901-1902, followed by Frank and Minorie Monahon about 1907. Next were Edwin and Ellen Willey, and Let and Leon Hill, twins, small of stature, alike as two peas in a pod, both exceptionally fine baseball players. Later Ellen Willy lived here with Carl Adjutant, followed by Ellen Willy and William Gorton (who were married in the mid 1930s). Ellen died in 1973. This house had fallen in bad repair, but after William's death, it was bought by Fred Carswell's son, Brian, and his bride, and it has been completely restored, inside and out.

A camp across the highway was occupied by Dave Burrows for a while, then William Gorton lived there until he and Ellen Willy were married. It was later moved away. A mobile home (8-28) was moved in at this spot in May of 1973, a present to Fred and Rebecca (Nason) Clough from Johnnie and Winnie Nason, Rebecca's parents. They have since built a lovely new house and large horse barn where they raise thoroughbred horses.

Beyond the Gorton house is a large garage (8-29) built by Dewey Wilkinson in 1970.

A new house (8-30) was built, sitting back some distance from the highway by Arnold and Rachel Wentworth in 1955. Arnold was police chief in Wakefield, a Deputy Sheriff, then on to Wolfeboro as Chief of Police. Dewey and Linda Wilkinson bought the place in 1969. There is a workshop, further back in the field, that Arnold built.

Johnnie and Winnie Nason started building their new home (8-31) in 1948/1949, moving in during 1951. A building was moved in as a horse barn in the 1960s. Johnnie, a popular plumber for many years, was later employed at General Electric. He is also a former selectman and active in the Grange, VFW, and the church, as is Winnie. Johnnie loved baseball and could always be found on first base, when he wasn't on the mound, pitching.

A small house (8-32) in the field is where Let Hill lived, before going to the convalescent home in Rochester. Owen Hill and wife also lived there. Then Owen later moved to a small house across the highway and located in Louis Sprague's yard.

Louis and Madeline Sprague's house (8-33) is nearly opposite Johnnie Nason's home. This building was moved here from Milton Mills in the early 1930s, remodeled into a nice home, and a garage and other small buildings have been built since.

A house (8-34) built by Harold Drew for Tib and Maude Woodman about 1935 is next. Willis and Maude Nason bought it, but did not live in it. After a short time they sold to Rollins Real Estate of Alton, New Hampshire. In a couple of weeks it was sold to a Massachusetts couple, who kept it a short time, and then bought the Walter Harris property at Pine River Pond. Then they sold this house to Joseph Bonigeras and family from Boston. Later the property passed to Lillian Prichard, and is now owned by her son, Stanley Anderson, who spends his vacations here.

Now turning left up Settler's Lane (the road left of the cemetery), sometimes known as Buttermilk Lane, we find the Ed Willey house (8-35), one of the oldest in this area, dating from about 1730. The main house was said to have been moved from where Arnold Adjutant's house is. It was also thought that Nathaniel Willey, Ed Willey's father, built it. Although the name of Haines is also mentioned with this property, the house is always thought to have been in the Willey family. Ed Willey lived from 1851-1935. Next were Maude and Tib Woodman (Tib was Mrs. Willey's son, and his wife a daughter of Ed Willey). Tib Woodman injured his arm when it was caught in a planer at the chair factory of Reuben Sanborn when he was a boy of eight. Another accident on a freight car injured it more and it had to be taken off above the elbow. Virginia and Clayton Wentworth lived here for about six years in the 1930s, followed by William and Arlene Souter, then Herbert and Arvis Corson, and Stewart and Pauline McKenney in 1966. As of 1981, the owners were Brian and Martha Deroin.

George Patch built the next place (8-36) in 1932. George and Caroline Worster bought it, enlarged and remodeled it, and built a two car garage in 1960. Joseph Bonigeras built a beautiful outdoor fireplace while he was living just down the road.

Back to the main highway and the house (8-37) between Johnnie Nason and Let Hill is a ranch type house built by Ronnie Sprague in 1957. He died in a speeding automobile accident, south of Farmington, before he had completed it. It was bought by Arthur Fox, who finished the house and sold it to the McAllisters. In the 1960s, they sold to Roy and Carlene Haley.

Arnold Adjutant had built his house (8-38) further up the road, but when the new road was built, he moved it to its present location.

Next is the house (8-39) of William and Kathleen (Sprague) Stevens, who built in 1956. Just north is the home (8-40) of Tommy Stevens, built in the 1970s. The third Stevens home (8-41) is that of Earl and Elsie Stevens, who built in 1966. Earl died in 1972.

Fred and Hilda Downs built their house (8-42) in 1958. They added a new garage in 1973.

Across the road and beyond the original Route 16 is the house (8-43) of Charles Ayers, built about 1790. Later owned by Ben Randall, and then Lucy Blaisdell for about 20 years. Carrie and Winfred Downs moved in on May 1, 1919. The barn was demolished in 1966 when the state took possession of the land for right of way for the new road. They had previously built a garage on the old Route 16, which was bypassed when the second Route 16 was built in the 1930s. This house is in an area where all three Route 16s converge, one to the west of the house, the original discontinued one to the east, and another further east. The house is currently the residence of Jeffrey Downs, grandson of Carrie.

On the other side of the road, Mel Tibbetts built his new house (8-44) in 1962, after coming to the Whippoorwill Farm from Plummer's Ridge in Milton. He built the store (8-45) just to the north soon after building his new house. The house and store were sold in 1971 - the store became knows as Max's Store. In September 1973 James Todd of Framingham, Massachusetts bought the property.

Just beyond is a building (8-46) moved from the Hicks property in Milton, formerly an overnight cabin. It was later the real estate office of Teddy Templeton of Sanbornville, who built an addition in 1973.

Mr. Hamlin built his house (8-47) in the 1940s in front of the Wildwood Cabins. These cabins (8-48) were built in the early 1920s when the only road north was the old Route 16 to the east of them. Most of them have been torn down or moved away, and trailers have been moved in and out over the last many years. The property was owned by people from Massachusetts.

Across the road and back on the rise of ground west of the newest Route 16, was a nice cement block garage, belonging to Al Blair, tidy and well kept, selling Texaco products. But along comes the state, forcing him to sell, giving up a good location and a good business, when apparently the state was looking forward to the future, when they might need the land for a superhighway, which has yet to arrive. Al opened Young's Garage in Sanbornville later.

Before we turn back at the railroad crossing, just south of twin bridges, we should note the small grave on the rise overlooking the railroad tracks. This is the final resting place of a small boy, who contracted a contagious disease (perhaps measles) and died on the train. The train stopped, and he was buried, to prevent the spread of contagion. A marker was later added, and Memorial Day frequently finds a flag flying over the grave.

We now turn back to the south at the tracks onto the original Route 16. To the left, near Allen Bridge, we find a small cottage (8-49) built by a Mr. Wiggin, then owned by Mason and Mildred Joy, and followed by Grace Felker and Flora Belle Weber. This is as far as we go on this dirt road that crosses the western branch of the Salmon Falls River via the Allen Bridge.

Back on old Route 16 is a very attractive new home (8-50) built by Frank J. and Patty (Hill) Kincel in 1972.

Now we come to the end of our journey, the last of the buildings to be described. This last site is an old set of buildings (8-51), and has had many owners. It has been known down through the ages as Whippoorwill Farm, sometimes affectionately referred to as Whip-poor-Will. It has passed through the hands of Joe Allen (known as Joe Allen's Farm then), Charles Ayers, Ben F. Miller, Anna Hall, Jeff Downs (father of Win Downs), Shorey of East Rochester, Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson (an A&P executive), Mrs. King, Richard Zarse, and Mel Tibbetts. Currently it is owned by Carleton Rousseau, who runs a filling station and garage in Rochester's Sunset Village with his brother Charlie.

An annex that was used as a boarding house was built by Carrie Downs' father, Fred Wentworth. The building was moved to Sanbornville in 1920 and used as the State Garage until they built their new building in 1972. The old "annex" building still stands on old Route 16 half way up the hill, and nearly opposite the Episcopal Parish house.

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