Historic Amherst

1861) bequeathing $100 to his daughter and all the rest of his property to his beloved wife.

      Widow Mary W. Few remarried, exactly one year after William’s death, on 5 July 1864 as the third wife of Charles Richardson, Esq. (1809-1891), manufacturer, merchant, insurance agent, who had arrived in Amherst in 1853 when he was the county register of deeds. In 1868/9 Charles would be fire chief and postmaster and shortly pension agent. Mrs. Mary W. Richardson sold the house at 8 Main St. in April 1867 for $1000; and in 1868 bought the brick former bank building, “to her sole and separate use free from the interference or control of her husband,” for $1800, as their home. She hosted charitable events on behalf of the Methodist Church. Being in feeble health, she was boarding next door in the home of Mr. & Mrs. C. D. Wilson at 3 School Street when she died.

Widow Olive (Holt) Gray

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Robert Gray House (built c. 1845) at 70 Lyndeborough Road (labeled R. Gray on 1858 town map). Newlywed Robert Gray (1827-1865) of Wilton, farmer, bought this Greek Revival house with 20 acres plus adjoining 45-acre parcel in 1856. He enlisted at age 35 and died as a POW near the end of the Civil War. His widow, Olive A. (Holt) Gray (1828-1884), was left with their 7-year-old daughter who had been born in this house. As guardian of the young heir, Civil War widow Gray sold off a piece of the farm to a neighbor in 1866 and sold the house with the rest of the farm one month after she was remarried at age 39 in 1868 and moved to Chelmsford. Mass.

Widow Lucinda R. (Wheeler) Gutterson

      Lucinda R. Wheeler (1817-1896) and Eli Sawtelle Gutterson (1818-1863, born in Milford), a farmer, wed in Dec. 1842. Initially they lived in Amherst, then Milford (1850 census) where their son was born; then Abingdon, Mass. From April 1856 to 1860, Gutterson owned the farm at 302 Route 101 (aka 2 Schoolhouse Road, NW corner of junction) and therefore his name is on 1858 map as owner of that house, but he remained a non-resident during this time. Gutterson’s lasting contribution to the town was that in March 1858 he sold off a parcel on Schoolhouse Road for District 7 Schoolhouse. The Guttersons returned to Amherst after the death of Lucinda’s father, John Nevins Wheeler, in Nov. 1859, living with Lucinda’s widowed mother (by Baboosic Lake, perhaps lot that is now 12 Broadway). Eli enlisted in 1862; returned home in Feb. 1863 with chronic diarrhea; and Lucinda was widowed in May 1863. Their son Edwin married in 1867 when he was 21, and moved to Mont Vernon where he was a farm laborer.

      In Sep. 1869, at age 51, Civil War widow Lucinda Gutterson was remarried, to a 50-year-old farmer and with her teen daughter joined her new husband and his teen son in Londonderry, where her elderly mother later joined them too.

Widow Ann (Kidder) Johnson

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Widow Ann (Kidder) Johnson House (built 1853) at 15 Manchester Road (labeled W. L. Kidder on 1858 town map). Miss Ann Mary Kidder (1827-1909, born in Mont Vernon) was the first owner of this modest house, probably built by her father Wm L. Kidder Jr. (1800-1860), carpenter. Having married Joseph F. Johnson (1819-1862), a cooper, in 1857, Ann became a Civil War widow at age 35, with 2 stepdaughters and 2 young children, and lived here for the rest of her life. (The house was subsequently owned by her daughter until 1922.)

Widow Christiana (Lovejoy) Kendall

      In 1851 at Nashua, Christiana Lovejoy (1828-1897), who was born in Wilton, wed John Lovett Kendall (1828-1864), who was born in Mont Vernon but had been living in Antrim with his parents and siblings, working as a carpenter along with his father (who owned no real estate) and younger brother, also carpenters. The young couple moved to Amherst 1856/7. A double gravestone in Meadowview Cemetery indicates that they had two children who died as babies, a son (b. & d. 1853) and daughter (1856-’57). In April 1857 (his first time as taxpayer here), Kendall was taxed on 1 horse or mule and 2 cows, but owned no real estate. The following two years he rented 17 Carriage Road (1858 & 1859 Amherst tax invoices, under Charles E. Thompson, owner of quarter-acre lot). By 1860 (census), John L. Kendall worked as a farm laborer for elderly Dr. Matthias Spalding and his son-in-law, Rev. J. G. Davis, Amherst’s Congregational minister; and John & Christiana lived in their house at 19 Main Street. That’s where he was working & living, when John volunteered & enlisted in Oct. 1861.

      “John Lovett Kendall ... drowned near Fortress Monroe, by collision of steamers, Feb. 24, 1864, on his way returning. The remains subsequently washed ashore, and interred near where found. A memorial stone was erected by friends in our West cemetery. Mr. Kendall was a true man, and a noble Christian Soldier, and whose religion stood the fearful strain of the battlefield. He bravely bore his comrade Nichols from the field when wounded.” (Amherst in the Great Civil Conflict 1861-1865 by Edward D. Boylston, 1893, p. 152.)

      In Dec. 1871, when she was 43, Christiana remarried, to a 58-year-old painter and glazier of Irasburgh, Vermont, 58, painter and glazier. The ceremony was performed by Rev. J. G. Davis. Christina (Lovejoy) Howard died aged 69 in 1897 in Chelmsford, Mass. of pulmonary tuberculosis. She is buried at Meadowview in the Kendall plot with her babies and the memorial to her first husband.  

Widow Lucy (Melendy) McCluer

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Ezra Woolson House (built c. 1795) at 65 Lyndeborough Road (labeled G. A. McCluer – Woolson Farm on 1858 town map). George A. McCluer aka McClure ((1831-1863), a mechanic turned farmer, acquired this house with 44 acres in 1856 in a special life lease deal with the spinster owner, but took out a small mortgage in 1859. Married to George since 1860, Lucy W. (Melendy) McC. (1835-1873, born in Amherst) was widowed May 1863 when he was killed accidentally by “friendly fire” of a fellow soldier in camp in Virginia. Three months later, she and her one-year-old daughter lost their home to foreclosure.

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Mrs. Martha Moor House at 115 Boston Post Road (on 1858 Village map, building labeled “Store” next south of J. Moore house; moved to this lot and converted to dwelling c. 1860). The next owner-occupant after the original owners, Mrs. Moor and her teacher daughter Miss Fannie Moor, was Civil War widow Lucy W. (Melendy) McCluer aka McClure (1835-1873), who bought this house in 1869, sharing it with a brother. Her daughter and heir, Lucy Abbie McClure (b. 1862) moved in with relatives in Goffstown when orphaned, but did not sell the house until May 1884, nine months after she was married.

      Lucy Winchel Melendy (1835-1873), named for her father’s first wife, was the daughter of William Melendy IV (1781-1858) & second wife Abigail Jones (1801-1868) who resided in Cricket Corner district of Amherst, on Boston Post Road south of the Village. When Lucy McCluer was widowed, she had plenty of relatives in town to help her, including siblings and her uncle, the whip manufacturer Samuel B. Melendy, and her aunt, wife of the other whip manufacturer, partner Barnabas B. David.

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Men in Uniform

      Edward D. Boylston’s Amherst in the Great Civil Conflict 1861-1865 contains photos:  Charles A. Damon on p. 141; William Few in fancy uniform on p. 41 following his noble letter home from the front; Robert Gray in uniform cap and coat on p. 90; Eli S. Gutterson with bushy beard in uniform coat on p. 157; John L. Kendall with bushy beard on p. 94.

      Comments?  Katrina Holman welcomes feedback to HistoricAmherstNH@juno.com

NOVEMBER 2021