GREENFIELD, NEW HAMPSHIRE
A Story of a Town
THE TOWN IS INCORPORATED
The early settlers were surrounded by towns already incorporated: Peterborough in 1760, Francestown in 1772, Hancock in 1789. But it is with Lyndeborough we are most concerned. In 1735, land here was granted by the Province of Massachusetts as a reward to soldiers who had served in her wars and called Salem-Canada. A few years later the Courts decided that the heirs of John Mason had a valid right to the territory granted him in 1629, so it was Chartered by the Masonian proprietors in 1753 and named “Lyndes Borough”, after Benjamin Lynde, Esq. a principal landowner. Again in 1764, Lyndeborough was chartered by the Province of New Hampshire. At that time the territory extended up to what is now the center of Greenfield.
Five years before General George Washington was inaugurated as the first president in 1789, the first petition to the General Court of New Hampshire to set apart the town of Greenfield was made. It was signed by forty eight men including most of those mentioned earlier. Another petition, to which now names were added, followed in December of the same year, 1784. The petitioners were urged to wait and apparently nothing was done for six years. In April 1790, the following petition was addressed to the General Court.
To the Honorable General Court of the State of H. H.:
The Petition of the inhabitants of the Society Land, So Called, humbly shows that your Petitioners, Living in Said Society, Labour under many disadvantages and inconveniences by not Being in a Corporated Town, And cannot Enjoy Such Privileges as to Render their Circumstances Agreeable. Wherefore, your Petitioners Humbly Pray that Northwest Part of the town of Lyndeborough, of which the inhabitants hath for some years past been desirous of being better accommodated, May be Annexed to that part of the Society Land Lying South and Southerly of the Crotched Mountain with Lyndeborough slip, and incorporated into a town therewith, and your Petitioners, as in Duty Bound, Will Ever Pray: Benjamin Pollard, Stephen Gould, Douglas Robinson, William McCrane, Ebenezer Farrington, Thomas Addison, John Waugh, Pyam Herrick, Samuel Cudworth, Samuel Weeks, Oliver Holt, William Wilson, Robert Alexander Thomas Atkinson, John Chase, Timothy Cudworth, Jonathan Gills, James Hamsey, Robert Waugh, John McMasters, Charles Cavender, John Ramsey; Societyland, April ye 27, 1790.
On May 25, 1790, another petition was submitted to the General Court as Follows:
The Petition of subscribers, Inhabitants of a gore of land lying between Lyndeborough and Peterborough, known by the name of Lyndeboro gore, Humbly shows: that your Petitioners have been encouraged to settle in this Mountaninous part of this State, in ex- pectation of being incorporated with some Adjacent inhabitants into body Politics with the same privileges that other towns enjoy, -- that petitioners and families consist of forty-one souls, and live Seven miles, or upward from Lyndeborough meeting House, and in addition to the badness of Travel generally attending to new Settlements, we have to cross the Petit Monadnock Mountains to attend Public Worship, ---that we have not power to raise any money for laying out and repairing highways or Schooling our children, ---that public Instruction in the great duties of life and education of our children we Esteem as a duty and Privilege, and think it of great importance, either in a Religious or Political view, which we are, by our local situation deprived of, and must so remain or quit our habitation unless relieved by the Honorable General Court, --- that That part of Lyndeborough that is adjacent to us lies west of the Petit Monadnock Mountains and that part of the Society that lays South of the Crotched Mountain, and is bounded on the west by the Contoocuck river can never be Accommodated in any other way than by being incorporated together with us and one Range of Lots in the Town of Peterborough, and that with them we think ourselves Able to make every Necessary provision for the enjoyment of Privileges and Advantages that other towns enjoy. Therefore we pray that your Honors would incorporate us with the in- habitants above mentioned into a body Politic, with the same privileges and Emmunities that are enjoyed by other Towns in this State, or Grant us Relief, as you in your wisdom shall see fit: Joseph Batchelder, Joshua Holt, Peter Peavey, Joseph S. Severence, Thomas Pevey, Nathan Lovejoy, John Fletcher, William Blunt, John Holt, John Dane, Timothy Holt. Lyndeborough Gore, May 25, 1790,
Peterborough consented to the foregoing in 1790 as follows :
“Voted, to grant to the persons petitioning the General Court the East Range of Peterborough in case they abstain from Lyndeborough.