Merrimack, New Hampshire


Roadside, Merrimack, New Hampshire


 As Isaac’s family grew each generation chose to meet the challenge of our growing world by forging new lands and communities. Some were based on religion others relocated to rural areas finding the confines of the town life and politics too much. They yearned to start a life with their new families.

They enjoyed hearing the Whippoorwills morning cry; Seeing the fresh dew on the wildflowers as they walked to the field with each sunrise, even watching the young crop thieves at play.

 Zachariah choose to move his family to Dunstable, Massachusetts which he and others were proud to help make an independent town of its own called Merrimack, New Hampshire.

The Stearns ancestors Zachariah, John, Nathan, Nathan (2), Augustus and Mason were early families for not only Merrimack, New Hampshire, but forAmherst, Goffstown, Monadnock, Sutton and New London. They were public servants, military members and surveyors of the great state of New Hampshire. Some of their children became clergyman, politicians, legislators, educators and even a world renowned checker player.

The following is from the History of Merrimack, New Hampshire Volume I Merriamck Historical Society 1746 – 1996 with notations from this writer.

“Three hundred and fifty-five years hence the Merrimack and Shouhegan Rivers continues to flow with the opening spring melting snow from its valleys, the awakening songs of its birds and the cerulean sky above. People continue to clear lands, build houses, lay roads and seek new areas to explore, even if it is in the sky. As people do now, other generations will stand in their place gazing upon the progressive improvement that have made since their ancestors and will wonder what Merrimack will be in three hundred years hence when they, like today’s people, will not see what changes may be wrought.”

 Now is the time to remember the humble beginnings. The following is snippets into those early days of Merrimack that Isaacs’ descendants help create. This writer has endeavored to present a true sense of history of those early years. It is hoped that the reader understands that the writer is not a professional genealogist, historian or writer, but just a descendant of Isaac Stearns with a zealous need to record the past for future generations to learn and add to.


“Merrimackis the Penacook Indian tribe word for “sturgeon,” the type of fish swimming abundantly in the rivers in those early years. When the town was incorporated it took the name Merrymac. Why it is spelled Merrimack today is anyone’s guess.”

“In the mid 1700’s stately elms shaded the town, chestnut trees covered Naticook Hill, wild turkeys, and open fields from one end of town to the other with cattle grazing the common land and down the streets that had no names. The purpose of roads was simply to travel from “Mr. Stearns to Nashuaway Bridge or from “Samuel Bernard’s to James Moor’s.”

Mr. Stearns’ home was located where the Home Depot and Harley Davidson dealership are on Route 101A and Coninental Blvd, Merrimack, New Hampshire are today. (2012) 

“Farmers had placed bounty on the heads of some pesky animals that like to eat their crops. They were plague by woodchucks, foxes, grasshoppers and potato-bugs.”

  “Ducks, game birds and squirrels were hunted. They fished the rivers for pickerel, perch, pouts (an eel like fish) and salmon.”

 “The south village was called “Hard Scrabble” by some because of the difficulty in tilling the soil.”

 “In 1746 Merrimack boundaries were listed as: “Beginning at the River Merrimack, where Pennychuck Brook comes into that river, then by said Pennychuck Brook to Pennychuck Pond, the due north (by the) magnet (to the) Souhegan River, then by that river to (the) Merrimack River, then on the west side of (the) Merrimack to the place where it first began. The north side was expanded by three miles to the top of Baboosic Lakei n 1750.”

“Merrimackhas the distinction of having two birthdays. One was for the first incorporation on 2 Apr 1746 and the second for its expansion on 5 Jun 1750.  Zachariah Stearns sons John and Daniel were signers of both petitions.”

“Zachariah Stearns may have built the Shattuck Homestead on Route 101A.  The town history records that in 1746 in a bond of indebtedness to James Gordon, he put up his 300 acres of land including houses, buildings, a saw mill, fences and a barn. In 1749 another bond to Gordon secured with 420.”

“When Gordon sold the property to Oliver Farwell in 1761 there was no mention of the buildings. The question is was the original house destroyed or just not mentioned in the deed?”

“Farwell’s tavern was a well known landmark in Merrimack. Roads were designated as going to and from Mr. Farwell’s Tavern. Early Taverns were in peoples homes.”


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