We were inspired by the idea of Cemetery Walks and knew that Warner had some fascinating individuals that have lived in the area.
With the help of other community members, the New Hampshire Telephone Museum hosted its first Warner hiSTORY WALK.
For those of you who were unable to join us for this event, we wanted to share a few of the stories taken from the 1900's.
Nellie George Stearns............................................................................................................... 1855-1936
Adelaide George Bennett.......................................................................................................... 1848-1911
Catherine Tahamont Watso..................................................................................................... 1878-1943
Alice Harriman Hardy................................................................................................................ 1868-1942
Charles Hardy............................................................................................................................. 1860-1920
Dr. Lloyd Cogswell..................................................................................................................... 1879-1939
Dr. John Cogswell....................................................................................................................... 1840-1923
Mary Harris................................................................................................................................... 1838-1924
George A. Pillsbury..................................................................................................................... 1816-1898
Anthony Clark.............................................................................................................................. 1756-1856
William Bradish .......................................................................................................................... 1785-1859
James Haskell ............................................................................................................................. 1842-1870
Edward Herman Carroll ............................................................................................................ 1854-1911
Susie Putney Carroll .................................................................................................................. 1858-1926
Edward Lee Carroll .................................................................................................................... 1880-1919
Hannah Maria: (away from audience) Nellie, Addie! Come girls, we have visitors.
(to audience) Welcome. You’ve chosen a good day to visit. Both of my sisters are here. It’s so seldom that all three George sisters are together these days since the girls have married and moved away from the old homestead.
Let me introduce everyone. I’m Hannah Maria, the oldest, my friends and family just call me Maria. My husband was Fred Myron Colby. We usually called him Myron. You’ve probably read some of the local history he wrote for the newspaper. Addie was the middle sister. Mrs. Bennett of Pipestone, Minnesota after her marriage. And Mrs. Nellie George Stearns was our baby sister, born in 1855, in a whole other decade than the rest of the family. She may have been the youngest, but she travelled far and accomplished much.
Nellie: It’s true, I loved to travel. I loved to hear the music in the way other nations spoke. I spent many years in France when I was young and knew the language well enough to help Warner’s young scholars with their studies. I especially loved to see all the wonderous variation God created in our New England landscape. The beauty compelled me to study art in order to record and share what my eyes beheld. I studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and later received a thorough course in portrait painting from an Italian master.
I travelled around New England teaching the skills I learned like drawing with pencils or crayons. I mean the French conté crayons of graphite and clay, not wax. I also taught oil painting and painting on china. Painting on china was an approved and popular activity for well-brought up ladies in the later 1800s. It was seen as a better pastime than reading novels. Personally, I liked to see women and girls free to express themselves through all of the fine arts, but if china painting was what was available to most, so be it. At least they could surround themselves with beautiful works of their own creation or, if talented enough, sell their art for a little extra “pin money.” After all my travels I was content to settle back at my old family home in Warner until I passed on in 1934.
Addie: We George girls all did a little writing. Nellie was quite the poet. You may have seen some of her poems in the Kearsarge Independent newspaper.
Nellie: I did dabble with poetry. My poems were mostly little gifts to my friends for special occasions. My sisters were much more famous for their writing. Maria published heaps of articles for every popular woman’s magazine and newspapers around the country. She has even been the fashion editor for The Household magazine.
Hannah Maria: I wrote extensively about women’s work in the home and about children’s education. My topics may seem traditional for a woman, but I was not an advocate of the status quo. I worked tirelessly for women’s suffrage here in Warner and in the state association. I served on the Board of Education to elevate the concerns of children. My household advice articles were less about accepting the burdens of domesticity than practical advice to ease and elevate the work of women. I was well aware that most women of my time were not equal partners in their marriage and I railed against that inequality. I questioned the whole marriage enterprise when I published this piece in The Household:
Let every woman contemplating matrimony ask herself if she loves her prospective husband well enough to see the world through his eyes; enjoy its pleasures through his participation; see her ambitions wither one by one, or, perchance, carried on by her sons; to live a life full of petty duties, a round for which she has, perhaps, no aptitude, no congeniality, to lead a life of self-repression, self-sacrifice and buried individuality, to exchange her fresh youth and beauty for a mothers look of care; can she quiet every longing pulsation of the throbbing heart and lull her hungry soul to sleep by the thought that she is a wife and a mother?
Addie: You wrote that? I thought that was Betty Friedan.
Nellie: Mais non. It was Simone de Beauvoir.
Hannah Maria: (to her sisters) No, no dears. They were the second wave of feminists who built on the foundation we laid in the late 1800s.
(to the audience) So, obviously, I did not solve the problem of women’s inequality before my death in 1910. But I did manage to have a marriage of equals with Myron, my partner in all things literary, as well as in life.
Addie: I also had a marriage partner who encouraged my intellectual pursuits. I met my husband Charles Bennett on a trip to Pipestone, Minnesota. I was enamored of Longfellow’s poem “Song of Hiawatha” and had to see the “mountains of the prairie” and “the great red pipestone quarry” he wrote about. Pipestone was the soft, red stone from which the Indians carved their peace pipes. Charles, an expert on the quarry, was our guide. After I returned home he courted me by mail. I fell in love with Charles, the great rolling prairie and the Indian’s pipestone quarry. We were married here in Warner and gave each of our wedding guests a remembrance card carved from red pipestone.
I wrote poems for friends, like my sister Nellie. Charles suggested I publish them, which I did, in magazines and newspapers, including those in my home state of New Hampshire.
Although I was forever fond of my childhood home and visited often, I was swept away by the vast, stark beauty of the Minnesota prairie. I wanted to know about every small plant that rode the waves of those rolling plains. My botanical studies caught the attention of Professor Winchell and he included my study of Pipestone flora in his 1893 report on Minnesota’s botanical resources. I turned my report into an exhibit for the New Orleans Worlds Exposition of 1884.
A few years later I was honored to have my poem on the legend of the pipestone quarry published alongside Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha,” the poem that originally brought me to Minnesota. My poem was an homage to Longfellow, the pipestone quarry, the great spirit Gitchie Manitou and “the race of unlettered, untaught heathen” who still lived near the quarry. I stayed in Minnesota until 1911 when I passed into “The long sleep that knows no waking till the common trump shall sound.”
Nellie: On seeing the quarry I knew that I would have to try to capture its mystery and romance in a painting.
Hannah Maria: It was a beautiful painting that was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Addie: Charles found ancient Indian carvings here on Mt. Kearsarge, but according to our historical experts there was never much of an Indian presence in Warner and what traces persist were left by groups who remain a mystery to us.
Catherine Watso: (steps out of audience to address them) She never saw what was right in front of her. We, the Abenaki people, the people of the Dawn, have always been here and still are. She failed to recognize us when we lived here, dressed as she did and worked alongside her. We didn’t fit her romantic stereotype of Indians in feathers and buckskins. A few families like the Watso and M’Sadoques, chose to become visible in order to sell baskets, canoes and birchbark souvenirs to summer tourists. But they were never alone. Just as Warner’s basket making families today are the most visible members of a much larger community of Abenaki people still living in N’Dakinna, our land.
I am Catherine Tahamont, wife of Louis Watso. We lived in Newbury before 1900 with our children where we made and sold baskets. The people in Warner would have been aware of us. We occasionally dressed in Abenaki regalia, but our headdresses and the beadwork that decorated our clothing was different than the Indians of the prairie. Our Abenaki regalia was not recognized as Indian and our Abenaki people were not recognized as Indian.
Alice Hardy: That’s true Mrs. Watso. I enjoyed dressing up and had a flair for the dramatic. I was known to dress as an Indian for my séances because I convinced people that my spirit guide was an Indian. Mediums of my day often spoke as if possessed by an Indian guide. My costume was mostly made up from my imagination. I had no idea that I was taking something serious and sacred and making it into a costume for my own enjoyment. I had no idea of the hurt that caused. I gained the wisdom to see that truth in my afterlife. Perhaps I can communicate that wisdom to the living.
(to the audience) Don’t you believe that the dead can carry messages to the living? Spiritualists knew they could. My name is Alice Harriman Hardy, photographer, telephone operator and Spiritualist. I was born in Warner in 1868 and passed from the earthly realm in 1942. Spiritualism was popular as an amusing pastime when I was young. It was taken more seriously as a religious movement later in my life. I took it seriously. I know I had a reputation as someone who enjoyed fun, even wild, times. And yes, I enjoyed dressing up for the séances. But, beneath the gaiety I carried deep sadness and grief. The grief of a mother whose only child was taken from her. My husband Charles shared in both the gaiety and the grief.
Charles Hardy: Alice and I were married in Warner in 1888 and two years later little Leo Hubert Hardy was born. He was a splendid little fellow, but he crossed to the other side when he was only five years old. Alice and I found comfort in the idea that his soul lived on after he left us. We hoped we could communicate with him so he would know we still loved him.
Alice: That is really the heart of Spiritualism and although it is serious, it is also mysterious and rather exciting. My spirit guide carried messages for a number of our Warner friends. Maybe your grandparents told you stories about our séances. Tables would rock and knock when the spirits arrived. There were flashes of light, then I’d get a tingling feeling. It would start on my head and travel down my arms. That’s how I knew my guide had arrived. He would pass messages from the departed to their eagerly awaiting loved ones. I practiced Spiritualism with great zeal.
My other passion in life was photography. I learned all about taking and developing photos from my father Moses Harriman. Portraits and postcards were my bread and butter, but my artistic sensibilities could shine in landscape photos. I was one of the few women of my time to have my own studio. It was on the second floor over Charles’ jewelry and variety store right here on the corner of School Street. Charles and I certainly proved the old saying that opposites attract. Where I was effusive and dramatic, Charles was dignified and reserved. Nevertheless, he was a superior salesman.
Charles: Owning a store appealed to me. It was a sound business investment. I could provide the things people found necessary, as well as little luxuries. Success comes in part from hard work, something I learned as a young man working on farms. But I soon discovered my true talent was business. I started with a variety store in the Masonic building and supplemented those sales with photography work, jewelry sales and repair. Skills I acquired from my father-in-law. I also installed a pool table to capitalize on young men’s need for recreation.
The Masonic building wasn’t the ideal space for a photography studio and it felt prudent to own my own building instead of paying rent. So, in 1899 I moved the operation to Main and School Street. I had plenty of room to add clocks and watches to my inventory and Alice had a whole photography studio upstairs.
It was in this location that I began my involvement with an up and coming business, the Merrimack County Telephone Company. You see, a key element to business success is to recognize and seize new opportunities. I could see that instant communication across long distances was one of the most important inventions of the age. So, I seized the opportunity to have Merrimack County Telephone place Warner’s first switchboard in my store in 1902. I hired women to tend the switchboard by day and I made the connections at night.
Alice: I filled in during the day and on weekends. The operator tended to more than the switchboard during the day since Charles still had a jewelry store. We had to leave the switchboard to sell children school supplies and candy as they passed by on their way to school.
Charles: Of course, there was more to the telephone business than running the switchboard. I soon became business manager and I’m proud to say that the number of subscribers tripled in the first year of my management. My experience as a salesman proved invaluable. More subscribers meant installing more poles and lines. I hired men to do the construction and climbing, which I supervised. In the meantime, through a series of stock purchases, I gained the majority control of Merrimack County Telephone in 1915. Henceforth my official title was Acting President, Treasurer and General Manager.
Alice: Sudden death ended Charles’ leadership in 1920. He was 60 years old. The remaining stockholders voted me Manager in Charles’ place until they were able to reorganize the company. I stayed on as night operator for another twenty years, only retiring in 1940 because of old age and illness. The company retired the building on Main and School Streets that same year and moved the office across the street.
Dr. Lloyd Cogswell: The phone company reorganized with Charles Johnson as President and me, Dr. Lloyd Cogswell, as Treasurer. Charles Hardy had been a great one for getting new subscribers, but not so good on keeping records. I remedied that and modernized our equipment too. Charles had run both the board of directors and the day to day operations. We instituted the more orthodox arrangement of a hired manager who answered to a board of directors. I certainly couldn’t oversee the switchboard and repair the lines myself and have a busy medical practice. My wife Annie Upton Cogswell and my three sons Dick, Bill and Tom, were all involved. The boys worked in the summers while they were in college. Annie and Dick helped keep things running smoothly when I died in 1939. The other boys had their turns on the board too. Guess they were following in my footsteps. I followed in my father’s footsteps too. Not in the telephone business of course, he predated the telephone. We were both doctors right here in Warner.
Dr. John Cogswell: I was the first Dr. Cogswell in Warner. Dr. John Cogswell. Lloyd wasn’t my only son. His brother Edward was from my first marriage. Ned’s mother Ella died a few days after he was born. The best medical science of 1869 couldn’t save her. Dying in childbirth was a fate all too common back then. I was devastated at first, but after a few years I found an ideal companion in Ellen Hildreth, a friend of dear Ella’s. Ellen and little Ned got on famously, she was a wonderful mother. And when we had Lloyd in 1879 Ned became the best of big brothers.
Lloyd: Why don’t you tell them a bit about your medical education way back in Civil War times.
John: It wasn’t as straightforward as yours was it? You know that I was a school teacher as a young man. In between terms I started my medical studies. In those days you found a doctor who was willing to share what he knew. If you were lucky they knew enough. I was pretty lucky. Dr. Morse in Lowell taught me enough in a year so that I could study at Dartmouth for another year. Mind you I was only able to take classes when the school where I taught was in recess. And that was it, by 1864 I had my own practice in Franconia! I was able to add another six months of post-graduate work at Harvard while I lived in Franconia, but I still had a lot to learn about mixing medicines and about the business end of medicine. I don’t mean just keeping books or making out bills and receipts. Those were the horse and buggy days. I had to know all about buying and selling horses, how to feed and care for them and how to buy and sell carriages too.
Well I learned all that and some more before I set up practice in Warner ten years later and stayed here till my death at a ripe old age in 1923.
Lloyd: You’re right, my training was much more straightforward. After graduating from Simonds Free High School, I attended University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College for four years, completed an eighteen-month internship, then joined my father’s practice in 1903. Medical education had become standardized by the end of the century. Even so, there is some knowledge that only comes with experience and I was lucky to observe and learn from an experienced country doctor like my father.
My father was a kind and patient teacher. Perhaps because he was temperate in all things. He didn’t smoke or drink, swear, dance or play cards. He always kept the Sabbath. He loved to sing hymns, another trait he passed on to his sons.
[If the actors can sing perhaps they should sing a few lines of an old hymn.]
John: Lloyd was an excellent doctor, caring for families in all the towns surrounding Warner. I’m proud to say that he was also a man of excellent character. During the Great War in 1918 he was compelled to serve his country as an army Captain.
Lloyd: I served in base hospitals in Georgia and New Jersey. My military service lasted the rest of my life. After the war I joined the National Guard and was promoted to Major. And of course, I was a charter member of the American Legion post in Warner. War has lasting effects on everyone involved, from soldiers in the trenches to the doctors and nurses who tended their wounds to the families back home. Due to his studies my father wasn’t in the military, but even so, that conflict and its aftermath intruded upon his medical practice.
John: Now there’s a sad story, but an instructive one. Franconia’s doctor for a dozen years or so before the Civil War was Doctor Daniel Wells. He left Franconia to serve in the war, returning in 1864 just a few months after I set up my practice. Well, as you might expect his old patients trusted an experienced man like Wells more than a neophyte like myself. So, it was slow going for me for a while. Then all of a sudden, the tables turned and my practice increased while his decreased. I wish I could say that it was due to something different that I did, but the truth is much sadder. Dr. Wells came back from the war addicted to chloroform and morphine. His behavior was so unpredictable and violent that it frightened his patients. Unfortunately, he did not reform his ways, but instead took up the drug business; which no doubt gave him even easier access to the opioids that claimed his life at far too young an age.
In the decades following the Civil War, right up until the turn of the century, there was an epidemic of opioid abuse and doctors were responsible. It started with soldiers getting morphine pills to treat the pain caused by their wounds. Soon enough doctors were using opioids to relieve a whole laundry list of problems: pain, asthma, delirium tremens, gastrointestinal disease, menstrual cramps, morning sickness and nervous problems that plagued women. In fact, by the height of the epidemic it was wealthy women, not old soldiers, who largely made up the ranks of the addicted.
There were warnings in medical journals throughout the 1870s and 80s, but many doctors of the era were lacking in their education and didn’t read the journals. There really weren’t good alternatives for pain relief and wealthy patients could threaten to take their business to someone who would give them the drugs.
Lloyd: I’m happy to say that by the time I finished medical school there were more pain relief options available, like the new miracle drug, aspirin.
John: I pray doctors of the future will keep this epidemic in mind and never again overprescribe such dangerous and addictive drugs to their patients.
Lloyd: My father and I were involved in many town organizations, state medical associations and were active in town politics. We both served on the board of directors for the Pillsbury Free Library. I was a young lad of twelve when the library first opened and I have the proud distinction of having the very first library card. Can you guess the subject that fired the imagination of a boy in 1891? That’s right…Indians!
Why don’t we walk over to the library and meet the first librarian, Mary Harris and the library’s benefactor George Pillsbury.
Mary Harris: Hello Lloyd. I see you’ve brought a few people to the library. Lloyd has been a prolific reader since childhood. It’s really very important to foster a child’s love of reading.
Lloyd: Miss Harris was the best guide a young person could have. I believe she instilled in us her love of literature and history.
Mary: My sister Amanda and I both read widely and we both wrote. I assisted Amanda with her articles on nature, literature for children and religious tracts. My published work was mainly related to the library: catalogs, bibliographies and practical information for librarians. Amanda and I published an Autograph Birthday Book together. I had a noted autograph collection.
My sister and I were known to be somewhat strict in our views. We dressed simply and lived frugally. But our lives were rich nonetheless. We travelled the world and traversed time, we experienced every emotion, conversed with famous men and women and were present at every turning point in history. That is the power of literature.
I pursued historical interests as well. I joined the New Hampshire Antiquarian Society of Hopkinton in 1881. Conversations with like-minded history devotees stimulated an interest in sharing my hometown history with the group. In 1885 I undertook a project to copy the Warner Proprietor’s Records for deposit at the Antiquarian Society.
It was around that time that Simonds Free High School was searching for a librarian. I was a natural choice given my love of books and my past experience teaching children in the district schools. The school library was incorporated into the new collection of the Pillsbury Free Library when it was built in 1890. I naturally went with the books. The school library contained 400 books. The new library was to have an additional 5,000. I relished the chance to sort them, catalog them and had them waiting on the shelves when the library opened its doors the following year.
The library became a repository for all manner of historical papers. I encouraged all librarians, no matter how small their library, to collect items of local interest. The advertisements, church programs, membership lists, political pamphlets and broadsides of your time will become a treasure trove to historians of the future. The treasured memories of your elderly residents will become the basis for future town histories.
During my thirty years as town librarian I nurtured many children’s’ love of reading. I re-shelved my last books three years before I died in 1924.
Lloyd: Miss Harris did more than guide our literary tastes. She was a warm, caring person who befriended the young people around her. As an adult I counted her among my friends and was proud she chose me as one of her pall bearers.
And now I would like to introduce the man who made the library possible, Mr. George A. Pillsbury. He may have resided in Minneapolis at the end of his life, but he was once one of Warner’s own.
George Pillsbury: To be accurate, I was born in Sutton in 1816, but had moved to Warner as a young man to engage in the mercantile business. I married my companion and helpmeet, Margaret Carlton, here and our first two children were born here. So, it is fair to say that my domestic, home and business life all commenced in Warner.
As a young man in Warner I was active and full of hope. I was postmaster and an up and coming businessman. The community soon gave me it’s confidence and appreciation. You elected me to the select board, made me town treasurer and sent me as representative to the general court.
In 1851 I was asked to oversee the construction of the county jail. Soon after, I left the mercantile business and Warner to take a job with the Concord Railroad. A position I held for almost a quarter of a century. While in Concord I was active in banking, holding the position of president in two different institutions. The city’s residents rewarded me with political office. First by sending me back to the legislature and then as mayor.
Lloyd: You were in the Democratic Party, along with my father, when you lived in Warner. You caused a stir when you renounced the party and joined up with the Republicans in 1870.
George: When the party changed its philosophy to one that went against my beliefs, I felt it prudent to find a new party. I found no sense in blind allegiance to a political party no matter how their values had changed.
Lloyd: Well, no one could ever question your integrity or conviction sir. Tell us, how did you come to live in Minnesota?
George: My brother John had also started out in business in Warner, but he moved west to Minnesota about the time I moved to Concord. My sons Charles and Fred followed when they were old enough. They were finding success in the flour business and asked me to join them. I answered their request and soon repeated both my business and political success. The good citizens of Minneapolis elected me mayor.
The flour business provided a good income with enough left over to give back to the townspeople that had given me my start in life. It occurred to me that Warner could benefit from a library, free for all of it’s citizens. My good friend Governor Nehemiah Ordway, another western migrant from Warner, offered to donate a piece of land on which to build the library. On hearing that there were very few books for the new library, Margaret and our sons arranged for the purchase of 5,000. I intended the building to be sturdy and beautiful, sparing no expense for the design or the materials used.
My gift was made to honor the thrifty, honest, industrious and moral people of this town. Margaret and I remembered our Warner friends with utmost fondness no matter the miles that separated us.
I was buried in Minneapolis upon my death in 1898, but a part of my heart will always reside here in the Warner where my infant daughter sleeps in yonder cemetery.
Lloyd: As you recall I served in the Great War, World War I. Warner residents have served in all our military conflicts. Let’s meet a few at the soldier’s monument in the center of the village.
Anthony Clark: (to other soldiers) Attention soldiers, there is an officer present.
Lloyd: (returns salute) At ease men. I had no idea that Warner had so many Black soldiers. I imagine our guests here today had not known that either.
Anthony: Let us introduce ourselves then. I am Private Anthony Clark, farmer, fiddler and veteran of the War for Independence.
William Bradish: (to Anthony) Tony, you didn’t finish that job. We had to fight a second War for Independence just a few years later. (to audience) Private William Bradish ladies and gentlemen. You call my war the War of 1812. I call it: That time we sent the British packing once and for all.
James Haskell: I’m James Haskell, son of the famous basket maker William Haskell. Grandson of the even more famous Anthony Clark. I grew up right here in Warner and heard all the war stories about the black soldiers like my grandpa who fought for their freedom. When I grew up I wanted to be a soldier too. I became Private James F. Haskell of the famous 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment during the Civil War.
Anthony: Let’s also remember Warner’s other black soldiers. Ichabod Twilight who fought in the Revolutionary War and John Haskell who fought in the Civil War.
Lloyd: Quite a contingent from our small town. I heard stories about Tony Clark the fiddler. But I thought that you were a waiter for General George Washington during the war.
Anthony: No sir, what you heard was incorrect. People started saying nonsense like that after I died. They just couldn’t believe that a black man would have been a soldier just like any white man. But it was true. I was on the lines at Peekskill and York Huts in New York. General Aquila Davis from over in Davisville attested to that fact for my pension records. Black and white fought alongside each other in that struggle.
General Washington wasn’t too pleased to see Black folks fighting in a war for freedom and wouldn’t let us fight in the Continental Army at first. He probably didn’t want his slaves to get any grand ideas about that freedom applying to them. We fought with our local militias until he changed his mind. He needed us to help win that war.
The British saw the value in signing up black soldiers. They promised freedom to any man who fought on their side. Some slaves made their escape to the forces in Virginia. There may not have been many, but there were enough to scare Virginians. Those undecided about the rebellion all of a sudden proclaimed their allegiance to the slave-holding colonies.
William: Black people also played a significant role in my war. I was a free man living in New Hampshire so I naturally joined the militia to defend our brand-new Republic. Escaped slaves could choose to fight with American militias, fight on the side of the British or escape to live with Indian tribes. Most didn’t fight with the colonists like I did. Why would slaves choose to fight on the side that wanted to keep them enslaved? The British gave them freedom and a boat ride to Canada or Trinidad after the war. Thousands made their escape and many joined the British Corp of Colonial Marines. Those black Marines were with the British when they attacked Washington and set fire to the White House.
Can you imagine the slave holder’s fear at the thought that their enslaved people could rise up against them? That kind of fear breeds hatred. A slave-holding lawyer who dabbled in poetry let loose his glee at the thought of those black Marines dying at Fort McHenry:
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave
Lloyd: I recognize that stanza of Francis Scott Key’s poem. President Wilson declared that it should be sung at every official celebration during the Great War. It became our national anthem in 1931. I never considered the feelings of both patriotism and dread that song could arouse in the descendants of those who fought for their freedom.
James: Black and white men fought side by side when my grandpa was a soldier. They wouldn’t let us do that in the Civil War. My cousin John and I were ready to fight to free our enslaved brothers and sisters, but they only took white solders at first. Fortunately for us, Fredrick Douglas and the abolitionists saw to it that a colored regiment was formed. That was the 54th Massachusetts. So many of us wanted to join up that they made the 55th regiment to handle everyone else. My cousin John Haskell joined that one.
The Massachusetts Colored Regiments helped end the war. We were part of Sherman’s march to the sea. I was hurt. I lived, but that hurt never went away.
I died in 1870, still a young man. I worked in the wool mills at Newport. That gave me lung problems on top of my war wounds and it was just too much I guess.
William: I worked as a laborer in Warner until I was an old man in my 70s. I lived with my family until I became too old and sick to work. Toward the end of my life my family could not afford the burden of care I required so I went to live at the town Poor Farm. I died there in 1859 and am buried in an unmarked grave.
Anthony: My grave is marked and visible in Pine Grove Cemetery. I believe my wife Lucy and I are the only black people in Warner to have a marble gravestone with our names carved on it. What’s more, the town honored me with a military funeral when I died in 1856 at the age of 100.
Most of the stories told about me were complimentary. My fiddle playing was in demand at all the dances and musters. I was considered a dance master. Augusta Worthen praised me in her history when she said I probably did more toward instructing the young people in the arts and graces of politeness and good manners than any other man of my day and generation. I’d say that was a pretty accurate observation. It’s a shame that she wasn’t as accurate about my war record.
Lloyd: Anthony Clark’s musical skill was highly regarded in Warner. Let’s continue our walk and meet another Warner resident fondly remembered for her musical talent.
Susie Putney Carroll: Hello Lloyd. Have you brought me more students for singing school?
(to audience): Lloyd had such a nice, strong voice. I had upwards of thirty students at my classes in Union Hall and Lloyd was among the best. But, I’m not starting my story at the beginning. It’s like starting a song in the middle of a phrase. OK now, breathe deeply. Use your diaphragm. Let’s start at the top.
I was born Susie Putney in 1858 in Lowell, Massachusetts, but was brought to Warner, the home of my mother Lucinda, as an infant. My mother died when I was still an infant and I was raised by my grandfather Harrison Robertson and his wife Martha. Grandfather died while I was very young, then it was just Martha and me in our home. Martha encouraged my study of piano and singing and I filled our home with music. The hymns I learned in the Baptist Church comforted both of us.
As a teen I attended the beautiful, new Simonds Free High School. There I met my future husband Edward Herman Carroll, an enterprising young man from Sutton who was in business with his father in Warner and served as postmaster. We were married in 1877.
My husband wasn’t the only breadwinner in our family. I taught music at the high school, had the singing school and gave music lessons. Not too many women of my day had their own career separate from their husband’s. I managed to have my music business and have two sons, Edward Lee and Alonzo. Alas, little Alonzo was taken by the angels when he was just a babe, but Lee grew into a fine man.
Both of my Edwards, husband and son, were taken from me far too early, but I will let them fill in the verses of their lives and we will skip to the coda of mine. I became well known as a music teacher and patron of the symphony in Concord and Boston. But I was most proud of all the musical talent I nurtured right here in Warner for a half a century. Later in life I married George Hartshorn of Bradford, another classmate from Simonds. We wintered in the South but summered here on Main Street until my death in 1926.
Edward Herman Carroll: She was quite a woman my Susie. Guess she had to be to keep up with me. I was always doing several things at once. A business here, a business there, a bit of politics, some lumbering, banking and even a stint as a farmer! Susie mentioned that I was in business with my dad. Businesses might have been a better term. We had a dry goods store, did some lumbering, even had a large stake in a glove factory in town. My dad ran a hotel on Mount Kearsarge and I transported the visitors. Dad always had a business proposition brewing. This apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Did I mention that I sold apples? Tons of them over the course of thirty years.
I guess you could say my government service started with my eight-year stint as postmaster. I resigned the position in 1884 to give someone else a turn, get some fresh blood and new ideas.
Speaking of new ideas, dad and I heard the phone company was looking for a store in Warner to set up a pay station. That was back in 1884, when the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company built a line between Concord and Newport. That was almost twenty years before Charles Hardy and Merrimack County Telephone brought the first switchboard to Warner. Back in the 1880s the phone was pretty new. Hardly anyone around here could afford to have one in their house. What you did instead was call the closest station, like our store, and we’d take a message.
Getting back to the subject of government service, I dabbled a bit in politics. I was county treasurer, went to the legislature and was on the Executive Council at the end of my life. I believe my favorite position though was as moderator of the school meeting right here in Warner.
Susie: Herm, you’re being modest about your political contributions.
Edward Lee Carroll: That’s right dad. When you were in the legislature you were famous for the Carroll Highway Bill of 1895. Because of you, towns were protected from paying for highway accidents. And there was plenty of talk about you running for Governor when you were on the Executive Council.
Lloyd: And like any good politician there was some controversy around you. My dad and I were democrats. You and your dad were Republicans, but not Republican enough for some in your party.
Edward H.: (chuckling) Ah yes, I was accused of being a political boss in the nefarious “Carroll Ring” and of being in cahoots with Democrats to get other “Carroll Ring bosses” elected. Well, I will admit that I was not so partisan that I’d overlook a qualified candidate just because he was a Democrat. Some folks never got over the fact that I supported a Democrat for State Commissioner of Agriculture. And I know that I often had the support of Democrats. The way I saw it, every man had as much right to his opinion as I had to mine, but I had no trouble deferring to his opinion if his reasoning was sounder than mine. If I wasn’t partisan enough for some in my party, so be it. I promised to look after the interests of everyone in the state to the best of my ability, regardless of their political party.
Lloyd: And I believe you succeeded.
Edward H.: That’s enough talk about politics. Back to the family businesses. I didn’t become a success all on my own, no one does. I relied on talented employees and family. My father provided the foundation of all my business experience and my son Lee provided new energy and ideas that took us into the new century.
Edward L: My dad was a humble man who always gave more credit to those around him than he took for himself. I learned some new ways of doing business at the Concord Business School, but my dad taught me all the practical things you only learn through long years of experience.
We were primarily in the lumber business in the early years of the twentieth century, although we found shipping apples a profitable side line. The early twentieth century was an exciting time. There were innovative technologies appearing and waves of immigrants from new parts of Europe. Of course, Dad supported my embrace of modern ideas, up-to-date inventions and different peoples.
For instance, we hired gangs of Polish workers seasonally, a novelty that was noted in the newspaper. A four-ton motor truck replaced some of the work done by teams of horses, which sped up the lumbering operation. Lumbering took us to mills all around the state from right here in Warner, close by in Hillsboro and far away in New Durham. Automobiles and trucks helped us manage this far-flung venture. My use of the latest scientific methods earned me a commendation by the State Forestry Department.
New ideas about lumbering meant thinking about conservation, not just removal. Farmers and lumber men in previous centuries denuded the landscape. It was a wasteful practice carried out with no thought for the future. It was a destructive practice that left swaths of land unusable. Dad and I embraced conservation ideas and began reforestation of our lumber lots.
Edward H.: I believed that in the future the value of lumber lots would be based not on the lumber, but on the cost of reforestation.
Edward L.: Dad got written up in papers all over the country for another one of his land reclamation projects.
Edward H.: I wanted to show my neighbors that exhausted land could be made productive. In 1916 I took 35 acres that were producing only a half-ton of hay and cleared all the rocks. That meant I got rid of all the small stones that had been piled in stone walls that bisected the field, then dynamited and cleared the boulders. That made one large field and decreased wear and tear on my machinery. The larger field, plowed, planted and harvested with modern machines produced three tons of hay. I took great delight in watching my grass grow. It was something you couldn’t reckon in money. It made me younger to feel closer to nature and helping her produce.
Susie: Herm’s grass field may have made him feel younger, but he didn’t have that long to enjoy it. He died the next year, before the hay was ripe. My beloved son Lee followed in 1919, a victim of the influenza epidemic that accompanied the war. He was survived by his wife Edith Emerson Carroll and their two young sons Edward and James.
My faith, my music and my many friends in Warner always comforted me in times of grief. Won’t you join with me now in signing a verse of one of my favorite hymns, Amazing Grace. Let’s review the words:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
was blind, but now I see
Ok, now sing with me (directing the audience)
Located at 1 Depot Street, Warner, NHTM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which opened in 2005. There are over 1000 artifacts on display including the collection of Alderic O. “Dick” Violette, who collected telephones throughout his 50+ years working for Hopkinton Telephone and Merrimack County Telephone Companies. Museum guests will learn the history and social impact of the telephone beginning with the controversy surrounding the patent, and travelling through the era of crank phones, party lines, operators, and much more. Come see why people say “WOW!” when they walk through the door!
About the Kearsarge Conservatory of the Performing Arts
Located at 33 North Road in Warner, KCPA, also a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was co-founded in 2007 by Angela and Kevin Tarleton. They believe that the Arts should be an integral part of every student’s education. Their highly qualified staff is enthusiastic to impart their expertise and love for the performing arts to students within the Kearsarge and surrounding regions. Their educational programs marry dance, music, and drama, and consist of classes in many of the various disciplines of the performing arts, including private music instruction.
About the Warner Historical Society
The Warner Historical Society is located near the center of Town, at 15 West Main Street, Warner. Their mission is to bring together people interested in the history of Warner, NH; to identify and preserve landmarks, documents, artifacts and other items of historical significance to the town, to keep alive our heritage by recording the history and incidents of the past and present, and to support education about the history of Warner.