[NH] Concord – More Unmarked Graves and Graves Outside Cemeteries – Quakers

Old North Cemetery, described at HollowHill.comIn my book about haunted cemeteries, I mentioned ghost hunting opportunities at unmarked graves and at graves just outside cemetery walls.  At the time, I described many of them as the graves of “sinners,” or people whose lives (or deaths) did not allow them to be buried in consecrated ground.

During a recent Saturday investigation in Concord (NH), I discovered another explanation for those graves.  The answer surprised me.  It’s Quakers (also known as “Friends.”)

Quakers and unmarked graves

Apparently, between 1717 and 1850, gravestones and memorials at cemeteries were considered “vain monuments” and — according to a decree by members of the Quaker faith — had to be removed from Quaker graves.

In other words, some (perhaps many) unmarked graves aren’t anonymous because the families were too poor to afford gravestones, or because the markers were stolen, but because the burial plots belonged to Quakers.

On the other side of the fence (literally, in this case), mainstream Christians objected to members of the Friends Church or Religious Society of Friends — generally known as “Quakers” — being buried in consecrated ground.  This was because Quakers aren’t baptized, or — in Quaker terms — “sprinkled.”

This adds up to a disturbing thought, though it may explain why some homes and fields seem haunted, with no obvious explanation:

Quakers have been buried in fields, and family plots — also unmarked — near their homes.  In other words, you may have walked over Quaker graves many times without realizing it.

Old North Cemetery, Concord, NH

I discovered this during some post-investigation research about the Old North Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire.  I’d been there with Lesley Marden and Sean Paradis, and we spent about two and a half hours researching the site.

Sean and I had been there before, and I’ve investigated the cemetery on my own, during daytime hours.  (It’s on the edge of downtown Concord, in the middle of a busy residential area.)

Though the site may be haunted after dark, and we noticed many anomalies at the cemetery, I don’t consider Old North Cemetery profoundly haunted.  It is intriguing, nevertheless.

The cemetery is L-shaped and covers nearly six acres and — according to the National Historic Register application — it’s comprised of three areas: The main cemetery, the Minot Enclosure (sort of a cemetery-within-a-cemetery), and the Quaker Lot.  (That’s not quite true, as I’ll explain in a few minutes.)

The cemetery was in most frequent use between 1730 and 1958.

The Quaker Lot

Looking through the fence, past Minot Enclosure in Concord, NHThough I’d been to Old North Cemetery before, I hadn’t noticed the odd, open field in back of the Minot Enclosure.  That field has just a few markers, and one of them reminded us of a bunker marker.

It’s indicated by the arrow, and the Friends’ (Quaker) marker is in the oval.  That part of the cemetery is separated from the Minot Enclosure by a cast iron fence (with a break in it) and a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

To reach the Quaker burial lot, you’ll exit Minot and walk through the main Old North Cemetery, to where the Quaker Lot begins.  (It’s not fenced-off from the main cemetery.)

Once you’re standing in what looks like an open field, about 10,000 square feet, you’ll see just a few markers.  The main one is the slanted memorial listing many of the people buried in the Quaker Lot.  Apparently, the lot was purchased in 1811, according to the terms of the will of Benjamin Hannaford. He’s one of the people buried in the lot.

At left is the memorial marker.  (Due to the late-afternoon lighting, I had to increase the contrast in this photo, for the lettering to show at all.)

At the back of that memorial, you can see a metal marker for Levi Hutchins.  I think it’s a military marker, and it’s just sort of leaning there.  No one knows where Levi Hutchins was buried, so there’s no actual place for the marker.

On the other hand, Levi Hutchins’ wife, Phebe, does have a gravestone.  Apparently, Levi flew in the face of Quaker traditions and commissioned a headstone for his late wife.  That’s it in the photo at lower right.

Phebe Hutchins gravestone in Concord NHThe history of the Quakers in Concord is an interesting story.

The part that caught my attention was that the Friends (Quakers) built a meetinghouse in 1815, but in 1816 the state bought the land from them (it’s where the Concord State House is, now) . The city moved the meetinghouse to a location just east of the Quaker burial lot, fronting on North State Street.  (Sean, Lesley, and I had wondered about the odd landmarks on the property.)

In those days, that was the edge of the city.

In 1845, the meetinghouse was sold and moved again, to become a school building.  The land it was on was purchased by the city in 1911, for the sum of $300, because it was “in a very bad condition and a disgrace to our city.”

So, that’s an added reason why the Quaker Lot (and land near it) may be more active than other parts of the Old North Cemetery.

And, from the popular, gated entrance to the cemetery at Bradley Street, the Quaker Lot is — as you might expect — at the back left corner.

Quaker-related activity at Minot Enclosure?

We spent considerable time at the Minot Enclosure, an exclusive section of the Old North Cemetery, surrounded by an elaborate cast iron fence and containing 62 graves.  There, we noticed that random gravestones had been turned so they face slightly away from the Quaker Lot.

Those random and very slight turns weren’t consistent with vandalism.  That was one of many mysteries we wondered about as we walked around the cemetery.

Now that we know about the Quaker Lot, Sean Paradis has raised an interesting question:

The Quakers in the Quaker Lot are from a time when gravestones were considered “vain monuments.”  Just feet away, the Minot Enclosure is where the 14th U.S. president, Franklin Pierce, is buried. Might the activity within the Minot Enclosure be based in the mutual uneasiness of the Quakers and the upper social register in the Minot Enclosure?

That’s a stretch, but it’s fun to speculate.

However, as I was studying the cemetery records, I realized that Old North Cemetery isn’t just a combination of three cemeteries.  In fact, I discovered a fourth section of the cemetery, not often mentioned.

The Prison Lot

Original NH State Prison - 1860 photoAccording to the National Historic Register application, “The Prison Lot, comprised of a long 10′ x 75′ rectangular lot just west of lots #384 and #385 in the center of the cemetery, appears on all maps drawn after the 1844 western addition to Old North Cemetery.”

The report also states that the cemetery records note that there are at least a dozen graves there, but no records of the names of the deceased in those graves.

And, since the old State Prison — built in 1811 — was replaced in 1880, there’s probably no way to determine who might be in those graves. (The photo on the left shows that 1811 prison, on two acres near the Court House.  It was attached to a three-story Superintendents house.)

Unmarked graves + prisoners + no records of any kind to tell us who they were… That’s a formula for hauntings.  (If anyone’s giving “ghost tours” of downtown Concord, NH, take note.)

If you’re going to investigate those graves, be sure to check the chronological history of the NH State Prison.

And, in general, if you’re going to visit or investigate Old North Cemetery, I recommend reading the full National Historic Register application, linked below. (Note: I’ve tried downloading it three times, and it consistently crashes my Adobe PDF reader.  If that happens to you, notice which page you’re on when it crashes, and then use the “go to” page function when you reopen the PDF, to pick up where you left off.)

Both the main cemetery and the Minot Enclosure deserve separate articles, which I’ll write later.  Today, it’s important to share what I learned about Quaker burial practices.  Remember, as it says in one history of the Society of Friends, “By 1700 the Society gained considerable influence in most of the New England and middle-Atlantic colonies. Quaker migration to the southern colonies, especially North Carolina…”

In other words, unmarked Quaker graves — and even unmarked (and forgotten) Quaker burial lots — may exist throughout the eastern United States, as well as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Canada.

What you need to know about all Quaker graves and burial lots

  • Expect no grave markers for burials before the late 1840s.
  • Quaker graves could be in Quaker burial grounds, near the person’s home, at the far corner of a family farm or homestead, or in a rural location.  I found one reference that said Quakers “always regarded the physical remains of a person as spiritually insignificant.”
  • The burial was intended to be as inexpensive as possible, within the law.  One Quaker historian commented, “Well into the 20th century, it was not unusual for a country burial to have an unembalmed body.”
  • In some Quaker cemeteries, especially before 1850, coffins were placed in the first available slot in the cemetery, not in family groups.  Philadelphia’s Arch Street burial ground (between Third and Fourth Streets), in use until 1804, was organized so the coffins were four layers deep and none had markers of any kind.
  • Despite rumors and folklore, I found no evidence of any Friends (or Quakers) being buried upright.  There was no rule against that practice, but no provision for it, either.
  • In the 20th century and later, Quakers generally choose cremation.

Quaker beliefs about death

I’ll let William Penn have the final word about the Friends’ (Quakers) attitude towards death.  This is from a poem published in 1693:

And this is the Comfort of the Good,
that the grave cannot hold them,
and that they live as soon as they die.
For Death is no more
than a turning of us over from time to eternity.


Old North Cemetery, Concord, NH – National Historic Site application (PDF)

Fox’s Pulpit Quaker burial ground, Sedbergh, Cumbria

Quaker Burial Practices, at Quaker-Roots-L

Burial Practices of Quakers, at Genealogy.com

The Buried Past: An Archaeological History of Philadelphia, by John L. Cotter, Daniel G. Roberts, Michael Parrington, page 200

Quaker Funeral Arrangements, by Oxford Quakers

Quaker Funeral Customs

Society of Friends (Quakers) in the United States, at FamilySearch.org (LDS)

Laconia, NH’s Ghostly Places

New Hampshire (USA) is a gold mine of haunted locations. Here are a few I discovered in 2011, around Tilton and Laconia:

Tilton, NH

Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NHScouting locations for a TV show, I found — and investigated — a series of great haunts in or near Tilton, New Hampshire. (Tilton may be best known for its outlet mall, the Tilt’n Diner, and the haunted Tilton Inn where Ghost Hunters filmed an episode.)

Among the most interesting haunts:

  • Hall Memorial Library, Northfield-Tilton, NH.
  • Tilton Mystery Tunnel, Tilton, NH.
  • Two buildings and a cemetery at Webster Place, Franklin, NH
  • Daniel Webster’s birthplace, Franklin, NH.

(Several of my stories were included in Rue Cote’s book, Ghost Hunting in Tilton, New Hampshire.)

Laconia, NH

When people found out I was scouting locations, I was invited to a private residence.

It was startling. If I were to list all the things I look for in a haunted house, this home ticked most of them.

shadow figure in Laconia basementI saw evidence of the home’s Colonial history. In the kitchen, I climbed down to a room that had been part of the Underground Railroad.

In the basement, I saw — and photographed — a shadow figure.  We checked every possible explanation for it, and found none. And, while I watched, it walked away.

Then, climbing stairs to an attic, I saw hash marks walls and the inside of the door, indicating that someone had been locked in, up there. (That’s a photo of it, below. From the number of hash marks, someone had been up there a very long time.)

Laconia-atticdoor1As if that weren’t enough, the owners told me about the petrified bodies that used to be in their backyard. (The bodies had been dug up and moved to downtown Laconia.)

The wife explained that “something” seemed to be in the backyard, at night, so she sometimes went outside with a shotgun… just in case.

However, the owners of the home assured me that they had no ghosts. Absolutely none.

I still don’t know what to think of that. From what I saw and heard, there’s no way that house isn’t haunted.

The next day, I returned to that area and found several other sites worth investigating:

  • Tavern 27 at the Mystic Meadows, 2075 Parade Road, Laconia, NH, and the gift shop behind it.
  • The former site of the Anti-Pedo Baptist Church of Meredith, NH, which was burned to the ground on behalf of a neighbor, Mrs. Morgan. (Maybe it was. I’m not sure the real explanation was arson.)
  • Mead Cemetery (433427N / 0712936W) and Round Bay Cemetery, Laconia, NH.

If you’re looking for the petrified bodies, they’re in the Folsom graves at Laconia’s Union Cemetery (between Garfield and Academy Streets).

If I’d had more time, I’d have scheduled nighttime investigations at some of those locations. However, my schedule was already overloaded.

My point is: you may have a large number of haunts in your area, but don’t realize it. It’s easy to assume that nothing familiar to you is haunted.

Take a second look.

Even if you don’t live in New Hampshire, here’s how to find similar haunted locations:

1. Ask people if they know any local, haunted places.

2. Follow your instincts.  Drive around, look at maps, and — psychic or not — pay attention to your “gut feelings.”

3. Research history! Look for patterns — geographical or historical — that connect locations that seem odd to you.

4. Ask more questions.  Collect more stories. Research anything (and everything) that holds your interest.

No matter where you live, you’re probably within a few miles of a great, haunted location.

[NH] Wilton – Vale End is Dangerous

Recently, a large number of individual New Hampshire students have advised me that they’re planning to visit Vale End Cemetery (Wilton, NH) at night because they’re working on a ghost-related school project or term paper.

I’m sad and angry that so many students are that stupid.

(Yes, I changed that sentence. Someone objected to me saying it about NH students, so I made it generic.  The fact is, anyone who not only visits a dangerous site but also breaks the law by trespassing… that’s probably well past the scope of “stupid.”  And it applies to students and adults alike. But, to keep the peace with people who are looking for me to say something offensive… well, there it is.)

Anyway… anyone who reads my articles about Vale End and still intends to go there — using the excuse of a school paper or project — is stupid, immature, and dangerously naive.

How much more clearly can I say this?

Vale End is dangerous.

This is not a game.  This is serious. I’m not someone who jumps at shadows.  I’ve been working in this field for over 30 years, and I don’t scare easily.

  • I think Gilson Road Cemetery (Nashua, NH) is an excellent research site, though that haunted site terrifies many people.
  • I thought The Myrtles Plantation was one of the most fascinating places I’ve investigated, though many people are so frightened — even before midnight — they leave by 10 pm.
  • I even look forward to returning to a Plague-related site I previously investigated, the Falstaffs Experience (UK).  Terrifying?  Maybe.  Dangerous?  Probably not.

There is only one location I will never go back to again, and that’s Vale End.  I’ve written four in-depth articles about the site, explaining its history and why it’s dangerous.

In 1999, one of my researchers went to Vale End at night, and encountered something that alarmed her. Within a week she died suddenly and without a credible explanation.  To many of us, it seemed directly connected with her Vale End experience.

She was one of my best friends, and the mother of a high school girl.  That mom died the day her daughter was going to a prom.

How much more tragic does this story need to be, to impress people with how serious this is?

If you go to Vale End after reading my warnings and others’, you are stupider than I can deal with.

Going to Vale End is not real ghost research.

Visiting Vale End after dark is:

  • Illegal.  The cemetery closes at dusk.  Full stop. Police patrol it, and I hope they arrest you and call your parents.  If death doesn’t scare you, maybe a permanent criminal record will.
  • Putting lives at risk for what? For a school paper or project?  For a thrill, or bragging rights?

If you have no idea why I’m so angry, here’s my full list of articles about Vale End Cemetery in Wilton, NH:

Vale End’s Blue Lady Ghost – The legend of the “Blue Lady” and the facts behind the stories.

Vale End – More Ghosts – Additional ghost stories in and near Vale End.

Vale End – Possible Demons – The beginning of my team members’ encounters with something dangerous (and non-human) at Vale End.

Vale End Cemetery Frights – The rest of my story about encountering something malicious and dangerous — something that had never been human — at Vale End.

I wrote and posted those articles, years ago.  People — including some ridiculous TV shows — seemed to rush to Vale End because… Umm… What, they didn’t believe me…?

So, I removed those articles from the Internet for several years.  The result…? Vale End — and my story — became even bigger, practically an urban legend.

Finally, I put the articles back online because people need access to the facts.

This site is about real ghost research.  My work is not fiction.  Though I often write with my readers’ interests and viewpoints in mind, I don’t need to make things up.

I created my original ghost-related website, HollowHill.com, in the 1990s. I hoped to educate new paranormal investigators.  I want to see more competent people in this field, contributing data so we can figure out what ghosts and haunted places really are.

That’s the one and only reason my ghost-related websites have remained online and continued to expand.  Vale End is dangerous.  If you want to do dangerous things, stop pretending that you’re ghost hunting.  Those of us who are serious about paranormal research… we don’t want to be confused with idiots like you.

All that I plan to say about Vale End is already at this website.

I hope that made my point, and conveyed the irritation you’ll encounter if you ask me about this in the future.

Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire (book review)

Haunted Hikes of NHHaunted Hikes of New Hampshire is a true delight.

It reveals little-known haunted sites that can only be accessed on foot.  They’re often “in the middle of nowhere” along some of New Hampshire’s most magnificent trails.

As I said when the book was first published:

Get ready for fun… and a good scare!  This is one of the most interesting, unusual books for ghost hunters, and it’s something different for hikers, too.  This is one of the best regional ghost hunting books I’ve ever read. It’s filled with great, haunted hikes along some of New England’s most beautiful — and eeriest — trails.

I still feel that way about this book, and recommend it to anyone who’s both a ghost enthusiast and a hiker.

If you’re looking for truly off-the-beaten-path haunted locations in New England, this book is a must-read.

Rating: 4-stars

[NH] Franklin Historical Society’s Ghosts

Franklin Historical Society at Webster Place, Franklin, NHThe Franklin Historical Society is located at Webster Place in Franklin, New Hampshire.  The building is a Colonial-era home — once the residence of Daniel Webster — with a large Victorian addition.

After its years as an early American residence (owned by the Haddock and Webster families, among others), the home was used as an orphanage from 1871 through 1958.

Then, from 1960 through 2005, the site was the property of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

More recently, the building was acquired for the historical society.

In the photo at left, taken on 7 October 2010, you can see just part of the older side of the building. Most of the picture shows the 1860 Victorian addition.  (Yes, that is a large orb near one window on the middle floor.  Some photos of the front of the building included orbs; most didn’t.)

I was attending a talk by EPNE.  They described their experiences during a preliminary ghost investigation at the site, and shared some stories plus video and EVP recordings.

It was a relaxing evening, and a chance to see what’s going on in the field, in general.

After EPNE’s demonstration and a break for refreshments, I explored the building with friends (and fellow researchers) Sean Paradis and Lesley Marden.

Ground Floor: Warm Spot

Daniel WebsterFirst, we focused on a ground floor room with school desks stored in it.  (From the front entrance, the room is immediately on your left.)

This is part of the Victorian addition to the Haddock-Webster mansion.  The two-story addition was constructed in 1860 by Rufus L. Tay, who’d purchased the house and property from Daniel Webster’s son and heir.

(Daguerreotype at left shows Daniel Webster in 1847.)

One rocking chair seemed to have an odd warm spot while the chair next to it was as chilly as we expected, in that unheated room.

However, we hadn’t planned to investigate anything, so we didn’t have a thermometer to verify the effects.

Note: Some researchers believe that a cold spot indicates ghostly energy, but a warm spot suggests more dangerous energy.  I haven’t explored either from a good/bad viewpoint.

Nearby, all three of us felt that one spot in the room had unusual energy, but those were merely odd sensations. Those are difficult to document.  We detected no unusual EMF with a K-II meter or a hiking compass, at any part of that room.

Lesley and Sean checked the floor immediately upstairs, but the door to the room overhead — and all doors along that side of the house — were locked.  They appeared to be used as offices.

The Mezuzah Room

When we explored the rooms that were open upstairs, one room was odd. We’re fairly certain it’s the room where EPNE thought a flashlight had responded to yes/no questions.

What seemed especially strange in Franklin, NH — particularly since it was a home for nuns for 40 years — was the mezuzah at the doorway.

According to Wikipedia:

A mezuzah is affixed to the doorframe in Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of the Shema “on the doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9).

Some interpret Jewish law to require a mezuzah on every doorway in the home apart from bathrooms, and closets too small to qualify as rooms; others view it as necessary only to place one in the front doorway.

I’ve seen many homes that feature a mezuzah at the front door.  Others have additional mezuzahs throughout the home.

However, until last night, I’d never seen a home with a mezuzah placed at just one, interior doorway… and none anywhere else. There were no marks where other mezuzahs might have been, either.

So, why would a mezuzah mark the one, apparently most-haunted room in the building?  Was it an attempt to keep something out… or something in?

It’s possible that, when the building was divided into apartments or rooms, that room was the residence of someone Jewish, or someone who respected related traditions.

Further investigation might clarify whether or not that room is actually haunted, and why a mezuzah is at that doorframe and no other.

Nevertheless, in a town like Franklin — and particularly in a building where nuns lived — it’s odd.

After getting our general bearings at a site that we’re investigating, the first thing we look for is what’s odd.

The Attic

Among other, lesser architectural anomalies, the attic level stood out as a floor with dark and foreboding energy.

The glow-in-the-dark crucifix on one wall was charming.  The row of clothing hooks — at a height used by toddlers or small children — was a little disturbing.  I’m not sure what small children would be doing in the attic, particularly with the steep, semi-finished stairway leading to it.

A storage feature in the attic also seemed unusually repellent.  A further investigation of the site’s history might reveal more.

All in all, we concluded that the Franklin Historical Society has some odd features worth exploring.

However, it didn’t seem as if the society welcomed additional investigations; EPNE was allowed in as preparation for the historical society’s October presentation.

So, I can’t recommend the Franklin Historical Society’s building as a general research location.

The Window at the Front

After the event concluded, Sean, Lesley and I chatted outside the building.  We were startled because we thought we saw a curtain open for a moment at an attic window.

Then, when I was taking pictures, the flash highlighted the actual scene.  We realized that it was one of the windows that doesn’t have a curtain; it’s shuttered or otherwise blocked from the inside.

We’re not sure what we thought we saw, but each of us saw it, independently.

That’s the kind of anecdotal evidence that makes ghost hunting interesting, but, as scientific evidence, it has no merit.

The Window at the Back – Who Closed the Curtain?

Sean had parked his car at the back of the building, and Lesley and I felt that we should escort him to it.  I’m still not sure why.  At the time, it seemed kind of funny, both in an odd and in a ha-ha way.

As we studied the mixed architecture at the back of the building, all of us commented on another attic window.

Franklin Historical Society - back windowIt’s indicated by the red arrow in my photo at the right.  That side of the attic has curtains, and one was open.

As we chatted, I took a few photos.

Most of my pictures, like the one at the right, aren’t noteworthy.  It’s a typical New England house from the Victorian era.

However, as I studied the photos when I returned home, I kept looking at the window that troubled us.

Most of the pictures look like the following two.

(All of the following photos were adjusted to increase contrast and detail.)

I’ve included two of them, almost identical, so you can clearly see that the curtain is open.

(This is typical when I take photos.  I try to take two pictures in a row, without moving.  That way, if something is just a reflection or something normal, it’ll be in both photos.  If it’s an anomaly, it’s more likely to show up in just one of them.)

Then, I looked at one of the next pictures.  I’d walked a few feet to the right of where I stood for the previous photos.  This one was taken with a slower shutter setting.  It’s a little blurred, but the details remain fairly clear.  (I’m testing the idea that the additional image content might give the spirits something extra to work with.)


As you can see, the curtain is closed.

There would be nothing unusual about that, except that the building was empty. Everyone had left and locked up, at least 15 or 20 minutes earlier… before I started taking pictures.

In addition, the window had appeared open. If I’d analyzed my photos on the spot, we might have been able to verify that.  (Yes, we can see the vertical line.  That may be from a window, but it could be a screen support or something else.)

Could it be a very odd reflection?  It’s possible, but unlikely.  As you can see from the contrast in the previous photos — even the first one that wasn’t adjusted for clarity — the opening at the window looked very black.  I’m not certain that a reflection could completely offset that darkness.

Though I can’t recommend this exact location for investigations, it’s an interesting site in a town with many reminders of the past.

The Franklin Historical Society is at 21 Holy Cross Rd.  That street is off Route 3, about 3 miles south of the intersection of Routes 3 South/3A North/11 and Route 127.  Signs near the entrance indicate Webster Place Center and Webster Place Cemetery.

The cemetery is at the end of the road.  It’s on private land, but the owners give permission to visit the cemetery, under certain terms.  Please read the sign and follow their rules.

The road to the cemetery is a deeply rutted dirt road.  I recommend parking at the side of the paved road, to hike in to the cemetery.  It’s not a long distance, but cars with low clearance could sustain damage or get stuck, unless you drive very carefully on the dirt road.

Additional History

Webster Place Cemetery was previously known as Salisbury Cemetery, from an era before the town of Salisbury (NH) was incorporated as part of Franklin.

According to Wikipedia: While still part of Massachusetts, the town was granted as Baker’s Town after Captain Thomas Baker in 1736. After New Hampshire became a separate colony, the town was re-granted with the name Stevenstown. Additionally known as Gerrishtown and New Salisbury, the name Salisbury was taken when the town incorporated in 1768.

In 1746, this site was part of the northernmost fort of the Merrimack River, when Salisbury was called Stevenstown. The fort was built after the 1745 attack on the Call family, near the current location of the Franklin Historical Society.

The following excerpt is from The History of Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. It describes an attack by “savages in the interests of the French,” a band of about 30 Abenaki.

On the 15th day of August [1745], they made a successful attack on our frontier, on the house of Mr. Phillip Call, in Stevenstown. This town was subsequently known as Salisbury and the attack was made in that part of Salisbury, west of, and upon the Merrimack, now included in the town of, Franklin.

Mrs. Call [Sarah Trussell Call], her daughter-in-law, wife of Phillip Call, Jr. and an infant of the latter, were alone in the house, while the Calls, father and son, and Timothy Cook their hired man, were at work in the field.

Upon the approach of the Indians, Mrs. Call the elder, met them at the door, and was immediately killed with a blow from a tomahawk, her body falling near the door, and her blood drenching her own threashold! [sic]

The younger Mrs. Call, with her infant in her arms, crawled into a hole behind the chimney, where she succeeded in keeping her child quiet, and thus escaped from sure destruction.

The Calls, father and son, and Cook, saw the Indians, and attempted to get into the house before them, but could not succeed. They were so near the house, as to hear the blow with which Mrs. Call was killed.

Seeing however the number of the Indians, they fled to the woods and the Calls escaped.

Cook ran to the river and plunged in, but was pursued, shot in the water, and his scalp taken.

The Indians, some thirty in number, rifled the house, took Mrs. Call’s scalp, and then retreated up the river.

The Calls soon notified the garrison at Contoocook of the attack, and a party of eight men followed in pursuit.

The Indians waited in ambush for them, but showed themselves too soon, and the English party taking to the woods escaped, with the exception of Enos Bishop, who after firing upon the Indians several times was at length taken and carried to Canada as a captive. “

According to the Rich History of Webster Place, “…Many of his [Webster’s] family, together with members of the pioneering Call family, are buried in the cemetery east of the house.”

If you’re researching the Call family and their graves, note that the Call surname was sometimes spelled Cole.

As you can see, a colorful history makes this general area worth investigating.


Ghost Hunting in Tilton, NHIf you’re researching haunts in this part of New Hampshire, stay at the 1875 Inn in Tilton, New Hampshire.  It was featured on the Ghost Hunters TV show, Season Six, Episode 13 (aired 8 Sep 2010).  It’s about 20 minutes from the Franklin Historical Society, on Route 3 in downtown Tilton.

Also, you may enjoy reading Ghost Hunting in Tilton, New Hampshire by Rue Cote. Lesley and I contributed stories to that book, and Rue’s research covers many other local haunts, as well.


The Rich History of Webster Place

Franklin Historical Society, Franklin, NH

Daniel Webster’s farm, SeacoastNH.com

The History of Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

The History of Salisbury, New Hampshire

Koasek Traditional Abenaki Band – Timeline (from the Wayback Machine)

Phillip Call of Franklin, NH (genealogy notes)

Wikipedia: Salisbury, New Hampshire

The old families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts