HISTORY OF GREENFIELD
Properties Once Owned by Pevey/Peavey Families
taken from the book written by Miss S. Frances Peavey.
In 1789, Peter Peavey of Wilton bought wild land in Lyndeborough Slip at the foot of North Pack Monadnock. Within a year his brother, Thomas, followed him and took up a tract to the south bordering Peter’s. A road, long abandoned, led up the steep hill from the Gulf Road past the Peavy cabins and on up to the Mountain Road.
The log cabin Peter Peavey built may be considered typical of those of the hardy pioneer who chose to clear land from the forest. This particular cabin was eighteen feet square. A stone fireplace and chimney reached to above the level of the loft floor, from here it was topped off with sticks and clay. There was no glass for the three small windows, instead oiled paper was used in one, the other two were stopped by boards which were removed only when light was needed or the weather allowed. The doorway was large enough to permit the entrance of a hand sled loaded with logs for the huge fireplace. The log walls were chinked with moss. In the cabin blazing logs furnished light as well as heat and were probably supplemented at night by a knot of brightly burning pitch pine propped in front of the fireplace. This pitch pine which grew abundantly on the plains between Sunset and Otter Lakes was the object of yearly journeys made by early settlers from the surrounding towns.
Peter Peavy moved his household goods from his previous home in Wilton to Greenfield by ox team, his wife followed on horseback with the baby, Peter Jr., in her lap. The horse was also laden with saddle bags, a large bundle behind the saddle and a tin lantern hanging from the pommel. Because the horse traveled faster than the oxen, stouthearted Lucy Peavy soon overtook her husband and went ahead. At the last house she passed, she lighted the candle in the lantern, not because it was dark, but because there would be no other means of lighting the fire. She now had to leave the traveled path and continue alone through the forest, guided only by blazed trees. She reached the cabin in time to kindle the first fire before her husband’s arrival. Little did she dream that the little bundle of humanity she carried into that cabin would become a pedagogue and soldier. He was one of the first to volunteer in the War of 1812, a deacon of the church and leader of the choir more than forty years. He died in 1879 at the age of 91.
BLANCHE E.PEARSON – Forest Road -- General James Miller owned this property and lived here from 1804 to 1808, and began his practice of law in a small building nearby. Gen. Miller’s first wife and infant son died at their home. David Patterson purchased the property in 1810. In 1824, Zebediah Peavey became the owner and married Mary, daughter of David Patterson, in this house. There they lived all their married lives and there observed their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Their daughter, Frances (Miss Frank) continued to occupy the house until her death in 1919. Her brother and heir, George S. Peavey rented the house to various tenants for several years and later sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Foster for a summer home. They sold it in 1936 to Eliot and Hazel Hutchinson, also summer residents who sold in 1944, to William and Rachel Koegel. Mrs. Koegel sold in 1951 to Hayden and Blanche Pearson. The house has its five original fireplaces with flues into the central chimney. The walls of the front hall and west front room downstairs were originally frescoed but are now covered with wallpaper. George Peavey added a wide porch across the front and west side of the house. The Hutchinsons remodeled the first floor and removed the porch. One barn and other outbuildings were removed. The large, old unpainted barn remains– one of the few barns still standing in the village. The Pearsons added a wing on the northeast side of the house in 1961.
DONALD W. HOPKINS – Forest Road -- The house was built in 1881 for the Rev. Samuel Partridge by Albert Hopkins, builder, on a small plot of land from the southwest corner of the property of John J. Peavey. The Rev. Partridge was a physician as well as the local minister. A small room on the east side with a separate entrance was his office. The next owner was Charles H. Hopkins in 1890, followed in 1927 by his grandson, Donald W. Hopkins, the present owner. The porch which had been added many years earlier was removed and the first floor remodeled in 1951. West of the house the wall bordering the street still has the stile placed there long ago to keep straying cattle from the plot. The land belonged to one of the Peavey families and was their garden spot.
ELVA BOWES -- Forest Road -- The first town meeting assembled at Daniel Gould’s house on July 5, 1791. This house presently is owned by Elva Bowes (Mrs. Louis Bowes ). When Mr. Bowes restored the house in 1967 he found indications that the original structure was long and narrow with a central chimney. Two fireplaces still remain. Marks on the chimney showed that the roof was raised to make a kitchen with a brick oven at the back. A keyhole shaped opening was found in the ceiling of one room in the older part. This may have been a ladder to give access to the loft. In the early small houses it was customary for the children to sleep in the loft.
Some of the floor boards in the house are twenty inches wide and wall boards are twenty-seven inches wide. Mr. Bowes enlarged the tiny cellar in 1935 and unearthed andirons dated 1775.
When the foundation was repaired and the two doorsteps moved forward, the lower step. A slate stone, was turned over and found to be the gravestone of Peter Peavey who died in 1836. The inscription on his slate stone in the church cemetery varies somewhat and his name is given as Pevey. Both spellings were commonly used. From 1845 to 1875 the house was owned by William Wright whose wife Sarah (Sally ) was Peter Peavey’s daughter. The thrifty relatives found a use for the rejected grave stone. The stone was replaced in its old position as a door step.