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THE VENDUE AT VALLEY FARM
By Emma Warne.
(The following sketch describes a typical day in the life of the late William H. Manahan of Hillsborough, whose portrait and biographical sketch appeared in the July Granite Monthly. The frontispiece of this number, from picture by New Hampshire's distinguished artist, Frank A. French, has Mr. Manahan as its central figure.-Editor)
The day set for this momentous event was a perfect one. The silkvelvet leaves nodded in curtsey to each other. The birds. sang their love songs of praise. At ten o'clock the house and grounds had become the Mecca of the good people of this and the surrounding towns. Every post, tree and fence rail within sight was the custodian of a team. A silver-tongued orator of imposing stature, one of Hillsborough's finest, was here to perform the last rites at this altar.
After the manner of venduesthey were never called "auctions" in those days-there were first sold the least valuable articles of farming tools, many of them having outlived their usefulness; wagons that had stood under the old apple trees for years; the old grindstone; a sleigh brought down from the barn-loft with many a grunt from the farmhand; the horse rake of the vintage of twenty-five years ago, the oldfashioned flail and plow, and harrow, all replaced now by more modern inventions to lighten labor; odd barrels, piles of bricks, horse shoes that may or may not have brought good luck, boxes full of nails, and other odds and ends, accumulation of the thrifty New Englanders; household utensils and furniture, much of which had
been stored in the unfinished chamber of the wood-shed, scattered bits of wooden and other wares, coming from whence no one knew; all of which had lost their names as well as the knowledge of the part they had plaved in the farmer's round of duties.
There was a pictureless frame which a wag seized and placed in front of a beautiful woman standing immediately adjacent to the commander of the day. His ready response was to tempt the highest bidder by his apt quotation of the "beautiful picture in the golden frame."
There was demand even for the common things, the proof being the goodly prices they brought under the persuasive tongue of the fluent auctioneer, who certainly was not there to look for any lack of quality. A good share of this truck and junk was the contribution of neighbors who always improved such an opportunity to get rid of some of their undesirable savings of the years.
A buffalo coat the rear all worn off, held up by the shoulders with the front view exposed was disposed of at a goodly price to a prudent man who bragged that these "darn auctioneers" never beat him.
Then came the more valuable commodities, arousing the keener interest of the audience, and the evident satisfaction of Sir Auctioneer who was in his happiest mood. Beautiful horses were pranced up and down the drive-way for our admiration, and to tempt the pocket-book of the householder. Sleek kine and of as many
colors as Joseph's coat were placed faction, as if the present held none
My readers who are familiar with
Our interest was not so much in the vendue itself, or the desirability of the article being sold, as it was to catch the wording of the auctioneer's pat description of no matter what the common-place object. The rolling pin suddenly became invested with unusual value, and his "give me thirty! give me thirty" was as sonorous and inspiring as an epic from the Georgics.
After the manner of the country vendue the noon-hour was an especial feature, and made a picnic for the families gathered there. All of this company had their dinners with them. Every wagon load had its lunchbasket filled and overflowing with the good things of the pantry, which make the Grange dinners and Church suppers of this time of H. C. L. pale into insignificance.
The farmer's wife holds first place with her loving, genial friendliness, having no time nor inclination for the shams of the present day. We occasionally received a loving pat pat from those capable hands which cheers us on our way, and eases up our nerves in this day of criticism, censure and jealousy.
Thus we ate our dinner, with our childen playing near by, casting an anxious eye lest they wander to the heels of the horses or to the river's bank that has too often lured the unsuspecting to their undoing. This is the only wickedness our beautiful river ever committed, becoming the sacrificial altar of many souls who have ventured too near the edge and "rocked the boat." So we satisfied the calls of hunger, while we talked of the past, its comforts and satis
Some acquaintance who had been absent for a considerable time would give us that kindly hand-clasp that Iwould make the arm ache for a variable time afterwards, and not the twofinger a la cod-fish kind we have no desire to remember. So we visit from group to group.
At 1.30 the farm itself was to be so'd, and the hour had approached when we could hear at a distance the eloquent auctioneer warming up to his prologue, so we walked to nearer range through the lane with its beautiful running vines covering the idiosyncracies of the rough board fence; the elderberry and the running blackberry as the foundation, and over all the frills of wild columbine with the milkweed uprearing its thrifty beams to make the frame-work more substantial. The whole was a marvelous display by the master artist, Nature.
As we came up to join the outer circle of that amphitheatre and within. good hearing distance, the orator of the day was describing the beauties of the place; its wonderful situation hemmed in by the Deering hills; the matchless valley with its far-reaching advantages; its varying possibilities; its historical charm, with relics of the ferry by which the early pioneers crossed the swollen stream in the days of the Red Men; (an auctioneer's license of the facts, I suppose!); the adjacent village, which had sprung into existence like a mushroom in a
night; and finally, the river-the swiftflowing river, which held the key to manufacture, another term for prosperity! In his mind's eye he saw a chain of mills extending up and down the rapids to this farm, and below! What a market they would bring to the farmer, for his produce to feed the teeming thousands.
At this juncture a smart competition began between two old time dwellers, one of whom lived on the mountain peak in the north part of the town. To him the impassioned auctioneer was directing his eloquence:
"James, when we go to see you we take a long hard drive up Monroe hill, which wearies our horses land taxes the time and patience of us who go up and down the earth, hustling after our daily bread. Here we can ride down most any day, partake of your hospitality and your wife's bounteous cookery. Your daily toil will be easier. You can perform your work by machinery, where you now do manual labor. The river will gladden your eye and comfort your heart. In time the thriving village will encroach on your land, so that you can command a higher price for such as you wish to dispose of, while the rest will be greatly enhanced in value."
Possibly influenced by this glowing rhetoric if not argument, James raised the bid another hundred, and immediately the voluble auctioneer turned to his rival giving expression to another even stronger claim to that bidder, who immediately raised the price another hundred.
By this time the spectators were agape with the keenest interest. James moved uneasily, as if anxious to escape the searching gaze of the man on the block, who was truly laboring zealously to earn his fee, big as it no doubt was.
Finally, in spite of his efforts to avoid him, James came under the direct cannonade of the speaker, who led the cohorts of his tongue against
the hesitating bidder, one who knew the full worth of a dollar and was not easily beguiled by the allurements of a silver-tongued orator.
"Do you realize, James, that you are standing on the threshold of a golden opportunity, such as will never open to you again during your days, even should you live to be as old as Methuselah or as good as Elijah. Should you neglect this golden opportunity, on your way home to-night Monroe hill will rise like a mountain before you, and your good horse will look back to you, saying reproachingly:
"Master, why did you not end this uphill journey and rest in the valley, where the cooling dews of summer will send their fragrance and the cold winds of winter never find you?"
"Ah, I see your countenance lighten with the wisdom of your good head, and I hear you say 'one hundred.'
Driven thus to the corner Ray nodded, and once more the speaker turned the fire of his eloquence upon the other, who was an easier victim, and bid his hundred quickly.
Great beads of perspiration stood out like huge jewels on the ruddy countenance of the auctioneer, but without even stopping to brush these aside with his big handkerchief, he kept up his incessant fire of language, as if knowing that the crisis was near at hand, and to falter now would be fatal.
With another burst of lightning speech he fairly raised by sheer strength the bidder from beyond Monroe hill another substantial step, and then the other man, as if he had made up his mind to be the successful bidder, added a hundred to the sum already involved. This time Ray halved his bid, when his competitor risked the other half.
Here the bidding stopped. Paint what picture he might he could not get another nod from the head of James. Evidently the cautious farm
SETTLEMENT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
By John Scales, A. B., A. M.
I have read and carefully considered the article in the Granite Monthly for June, 1922, by Elwin L. Page, regarding the date of the first permanent settlement in New Hampshire. He is correct in reaching the conclusion that it was at Dover, and before 1630. I propose in this article to present reasonable evidence that the Historian, William Hubbard, made a correct statement of the date, that Edward and William Hilton came to Dover Point in the spring of 1623, and commenced the permanent settlement there, which has continued to the present day. The reader will please bear in mind that the year 1622, and all the years before that, and for a century after that, did not end till March 25. So if David Thomson's settlement at Little Harbor is to be counted as the first permanent settlement, then the date for New Hampshire is 1622, instead of 1623, for it is quite certain Thomson arrived at Little Harbor and commenced building his house before March 25.
It is an acknowledged fact that on Nov. 3, 1620, King James granted to certain Englishmen the charter for the "Council of Plymouth for the planting, ordering, ruling and governing New England in America." That corporation was in business fifteen in business fifteen years, and then, 1635, gave back its charter. During those years it granted nine patents, or charters. The first was to Captain John Mason, March 9. 1620-21, four months after the Council commenced business. The last one was also to Capt. Mason, April 22, 1635, from which New. Hampshire received its name, and from
which the farmers at Dover got, and had to fight, many law suits, which Captain Mason's grandson brought against them, claiming he owned the land, and they were only tenants, like the farmers in England, who had to pay rent to the Lords of the great manors. This grandson claimed he was lord of all present territory of New Hampshire, and the boundary line between it and Massachusetts was not finally settled till in the last decade of the 19th century.
The third grant was given in the spring or early summer of 1622, to David Thomson, who, as the record shows, was then messenger, or special agent, of the Council in its dealings with the King and ParliaThe patent was for, ... "A point of Land in the Pascataway River, in New England, to David Thomson, Mr. Jobe and Mr. Sherwood." This shows that Mr. Thomson had been here and was acquainted with that river and the points of land in it. There is a point of land in Dover, in that river, which has always been called "Thomson's Point" during three centuries. There is no other Thomson from whom it could have received its name. It is the point where a seine, or net, was drawn across the river in the season when salmon and alewives, and other fish went up the river to spawn, in spring time. In that early period, and until the colonists built dams at the falls above, and began to give fish sawdust to feed upon, the Pascataway River had immense schools of those fish come up the river and the fishermen caught them in that net. No doubt Mr. Thomson, Jobe and Sherwill had