Road Trip Route 114 in New Hampshire: The beginning Goffstown, New Hampshire
Road trips can be planned or spontaneous. Either way they offer a glimpse of our state’s culture. My trip on Route 114 began as a trip to return books to the Goffstown Library. I had just finished reading the History of Goffstown; Volumes I and II, and Memory Bank, Memory Bank II and Memory Bank III by Douglas Earle. The books provided a glimpse of Goffstown’s people, society and development from its early years. My ancestor’s were part of that history. They built some of the first roads, gist mills, taverns and one was the only shoemaker in town.
When I reached the junction of Route 114 and Route 101, I decided that I would take a few photographs of the route my ancestors had taken from Merrimack, New Hampshire to their new home in Goffstown, as it appears today. Keeping safety in mind, as I was the one driving, I pulled over to take my photographs.
Route 114 begins in a suburban- rural setting. I see power lines and a sandy area on the right, but straight ahead shows a long stretch of road with lush green trees. My imagination can see this area in the 1700’s as being an overgrown, bush, tree, earth laden track of land that had to be cut back to make a trail for early settlers to traverse. My mind flashes to a muddy groove dirt road where horse drawn carriages make the trip then back to reality of today’s view. The road takes me past the entrance to St Anselm’s College and New Boston Road to the intersection of Route 114 A. If I take the right onto 114A it is a short 3.69 mile drive into Manchester’s west side. Route 114 turns left bringing me to the view of the Hillsborough County Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center on one side, and the County Complex that includes the Women’s Prison and District Court buildings on the other.
I mention the nursing home and county complex because of its location being on the site of the original Poore Farm. Mr. Poore donated his farm for the caring of the towns down trodden that needed to be supported; which is how the term “Poor Farm” came into being. In the 1700 and 1800’s, long before a Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid was available, the law stated that each town needed to support those less fortunate. Usually they were cared for by other family members but those that didn’t have families or a whole family would be housed on Mr. Poore’s farm. Like today many of the poor became that way because of their responsibility to the town or a loss of an income earning family member. Each family had a duty to support the town church’s upkeep, pastor, persons who went to war, supplies for the war and upkeep of the community land. Community land usually was for muster practice and animal grazing. The Poore Farm also housed prisoners.
My trip continues with a view of the Villa Augustina School (1918), the recreational complex, that was offering Kayaking and archery lessons the day I was there. I get my first glimpse of downtown Goffstown since reading about its history, but no place to stop to safely take a photo. I arrive at my original destination the Library. I stand on the corner looking in each direction trying to visualize what the area looked like in years past. Many thoughts ran through my mind; which buildings were my ancestors, where was the first grist mill, what area is considered Grasmere. Those answers will have to wait for another day to be answered. I plan to make a trip to the Goffstown Historical Society to confirm locations. If you are able to walk there is a walking tour that you can download or print out the PDF, which gives you an historical view of Goffstown. Sadly this was not an option for me. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nhghs/documents/GoffstownNH-walkingtour.pdf
I get back into the car and follow NH 114 north through New Boston, Weare, Henniker, Warner, Bradford and Sutton, all towns that my ancestors had migrated to. Route 114 continues on to New London, Springfield and Grantham where it ends at the junction of Route 10. This is a 60.39 mile route traveling northeast to southeast in central New Hampshire providing you with both rural and suburban culture with hints into the states history. I found several historical makers along the way. Just stopping and reading them send you back in time to how New Hampshire began. Some of the signs are along the road others are on or in front of buildings.
This route takes you past cemeteries, farms, businesses, lakes, across rivers, bogs and across time. So pack a lunch, hydration, sun block, a blanket, extra clothes, especially socks and walking shoes, so that you can take your time, enjoy the trip. It is important to note that on the Saturday trip I did, shops and restaurants were open in the morning but on my return trip at 3 o’clock in the afternoon most of them were closed.
The Goffstown Historical Society is open on Saturday’s throughout the summer. It is located just off NH114 on Parker Station Road. One room has a working train display that adults and children alike would love to see. If you are into quilt making there is a lovely handmade quilt of the town’s historical buildings. These are just two of the many beauties I found. I leave you to find the others
Road trips along a highway such as, NH114 gives you an idea of the towns you drive through, but if you have the time, go off route and see what each town has to offer. My trip brought me down memory lane via my ancestors that were early settlers of Goffstown, yet I didn’t get to see some of those ancestral locations that were not on the route. Future posts will cover the rest of my trip with photos, places to stop and interesting crossings of yesteryear with today. Watch for the Book Binder, the Boy Scouts and inventions that will make you smile.
My ancestors from Goffstown include:
Nathan Stearns, Nathan Stearns Jr, and Augustus Stearns
Nathan Stearns was born 22 July 1761 in Merrimack, New Hampshire married 19 Feb 1795 Mariam Blasidell and settled in Goffstown. He purchased from John McDale land and buildings including a saw mill and water privilege on 22 March 1800. He sold the property to his wife’s brother Henry Blaisdell Jr. on 27 Jan 1801. Nathan died of fever while in service to his country during the War of 1812 sometime before 1813.
Nathan Stearns Jr. was born 2 May 1801 in Goffstown, New Hampshire married 1830 Polly Martin settling on a farm in the easterly part of town on the road leading from Amoskeag to Dunbarton, a short distance north of his brother in law, Henry Blaisdell. When not busy on the farm he finished by hand the stockings which the machine of his day could not complete. Hence he was known as the “stocking man.”
Augustus Stearns was born 26 July 1832 in Goffstown; New Hampshire married Sarah H Emerson. They resided in Goffstown until1851. He moved to Lynn, Massachusetts until 1855, when he returned to the old homestead. In 1869 he moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, following the trade of finished custom shoe making until 1878. One of his eyes was injured by a chestnut burr causing him to eventually go blind. He moved to West Derry about two years before his death in 1882.
A few photo photos of Goffstown
To enlarge the size of the photographs click on each one. Enjoy the slideshow below.
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