Have you ever driven along a country road, or walked a city street for that matter, when your eye was caught by a weathered old house whose structure had survived the ravages of time? Perhaps it still stood in its regal beauty or perhaps it was tattered around the edges, in either case showing that it was "home" to those who peopled it. Have you ever wondered what stories - joys, heartaches ... and in between - the walls might tell if only -- if only -- those walls could talk?
Such an old house stands beside the road in Stratham, New Hampshire - a one and a half story center-chimney cape. The shed behind the house bears a sign indicating the property's origin "Joseph Merrill ca 1718." My friend Karen from Winslow, Maine, told me about the shed and sign, and then my friend Pat from Stratham, New Hampshire, took me to see it. The house, which lies close to each of the roads at the intersection of Bunker Hill Avenue and Frying Pan Lane, sits almost on the ground, its underpinnings resting on what appears to be a granite or stone foundation, and its sides now covered with modern, light gray siding.
The weathered gray shingles of the shed, however, attest to age. One can imagine that at one time a barn, larger than the house structure itself, sat nearby.
"Joseph Merrill c. 1718," the sign on the shed reads and thus, Karen's, Pat's, and my interests were piqued; Karen because she, like me, descends from that Joseph Merrill (as does Lil Hall, editor of The Merrill Newsletter), and Pat because she is an active member of the Stratham Historical Society. We probably couldn't find the individual "stories" of the lives lived within its walls, but we might perhaps discover the families that lived there and speculate somewhat about their lives. Our interest was further piqued by Pat's "find" at the Historical Society of articles appearing in New Hampshire publications in 1976 and the late 1980's which detailed one particular life which ended there "before its time."
JOSEPH MERRILL(4) (Daniel (3); Daniel (2); Nathaniel (1)), the first child of Daniel(3) and Esther Chase Merrill of Newbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts, was born on May 28, 1694. On December 16, 1718, he married MARY PALMER in Stratham, New Hampshire. It appears that he and his bride moved into the house at about the time of their marriage. Joseph supported his family through shoemaking and farming. The birth and death dates of their children and of Mary herself attest to the joys and heartaches of this family, apparently the first occupants of the house. the joy of a young bride fussing about in her new home; the joy of holding their new born baby; the pain of laying to rest two young children within two months from a plague devouring the town's children; the pain of losing a son to war; the pain of a young father left alone to raise his family.
Joseph and Mary and their descendants continued to make the house their home experiencing, one can assume, life's good and bad, marriages and births, first steps and first words, frustrations and achievements, anger and laughter, joys and sorrows, death both timely and otherwise from 1718 through the late 1800's, as follows:
JOSEPH(4) (1694-1771) and MARY PALMER MERRILL and their family; then
JAMES(5) (1729-1781) MERRILL (son of Joseph and Mary), and his wife, Sarah Ford Merrill, and their family; then
FORD(6) (1753-1826) and ELIZABETH (BETSY or BETTSEY)(6) MERRILL MERRILL (son of James and Sarah and daughter of Daniel and Elsie Leavitt Merrill both are grandchildren of Joseph and Mary), and their family; then
MARY/POLLY(7) MERRILL (1786-after 1860) (unmarried daughter of Ford and Elizabeth), first with her mother, Elizabeth, after her father's death, then by herself, and then with her cousin, Levi (her Uncle Jesse's son), and his family. Ownership, however, appears to have been in the name of her brother, ASA (REV) MERRILL (1783-1860) both great grandchildren of Joseph and Mary); then
LEVI(7) MERRILL (ca 1800-after 1860) (Levi is the son of James and Sarah's son Jesse, a nephew of Ford's, a great grandchild of Joseph and Mary), with his wife and family; then
JESSE(8) MERRILL (ca 1825?) (son of Levi and Susan Merrill, a great, great grandchild of Joseph and Mary), with his wife, Irena, and family, including his daughter, ANNIE(9) MERRILL (ca 1861-1882) (a great, great, great grandchild of Joseph and Mary)1
From the late 1800's through 1953, there is a hiatus in the material I have concerning the occupancy of the house.2 How long Joseph's and Mary's line continued living in the house after Jesse(8)'s family, I do not know. However, the newspaper articles published in 1976 and the late 1980's show that the property was purchased by a Leslie and Ruth Conery in 1953 and that they (non-Merrills, I presume) raised their family there. I am told that Ruth Conery still occupies the house.
Shortly after moving into their "new" home, Mr. And Mrs. Conery began to notice strange things happening. Their young children slept in an upstairs bedroom, the low ceilings of a cape-style house making it extremely hot in summer months. The parents encouraged the children to sleep with the door open to another upstairs bedroom to let the breeze blow through, but they refused always closing the door. When asked why the children told their mother that "there was always a feeling up there in that room." When a young baby was brought to the house and put in that upstairs room to nap, it always cried as if being hurt, could not be consoled, and would not sleep. Removed from the bedroom, the fussing stopped. His bath tub hanging on a pantry hook would often fall from its hook even when a more secure fastener was installed. The family had a deaf Cocker Spaniel who, while lying quietly asleep in the kitchen, would suddenly jump up and run howling to the stairwell, hair standing up, barking, and very much on edge. The dog, unable to hear, sensed something that troubled it, but no reason for the behavior was visible. A customer of their Christmas tree farm once brought his Collie inside. The dog went over to the stairs, its hair standing up, then ran back cowering to hide behind its master's legs. Often the door to the pantry which lead out into the woodshed would open and shut, the door handle turning by itself with no one there. A ghost! Whose ghost? Why the spirit's unrest?
While re-roofing the house, a diary was found tucked away up under the eaves in the old thatch section of the roof. It, they discovered, had belonged to Annie Merrill. With it were three calling cards, two being those of one Frank E. Barry (Berry) (one having a notation that Frank married on August 4 [no year noted]) and the other one of Annie E. Merrill, all three tied together with a garland of what appeared to be morning glories. The first diary entry said "Engaged December 1878, Frank E. Barry." It goes on, among other things, to document Annie's meetings with Frank and that she "had conditions with Frank" ... whatever "conditions" might be. Her January 3, 1882 entry read: "Shall we not meet in Heaven's bright home where parting words are never spoken and love is not a brittle band so lightly broken." Frank had married someone else, but their meetings continued. She documented a meeting on October 27, 1882 by writing "Condition wi- FEB in L's Orc-d in forenoon" (Lane's Orchard was near the house on the other side of the road) and then added "God Bless Darling Frank ..."
The "Exeter Newsletter" reported on November 20, 1882, three weeks after her last documented meeting with Frank that:
"On Monday, Annie, daughter of Jessie Merrill of Stratham, committed suicide by hanging herself with a clothes line from a beam in the shed. It appears that about eleven o'clock she announced her intention to call on a neighbor named Mrs. Chase, and when Mr. Merrill, who had been in Portsmouth, returned, he inquired of his daughter. He was told she was at Mrs. Chase's. He went to Mrs. Chase's for her3 and was told she had not been there. Returning home, he went to the barn and noticed that a short ladder was missing from its usual place. He then went to the wood shed where he found his daughter hanging by the neck, already dead. No cause is assigned for the act."
Some 75 or 80 years later the calling cards, the diary, and a suicide note/poem found under the old thatched roof in the house at the corner of Bunker Hill Road and Frying Pan Lane ... a house that had seen many a heartache over its years ... shed light on perhaps its greatest tragedy. The "walls" of the 1718 farmhouse did, in fact, tell us the story of one of its occupants. We can only speculate as to what she meant by "conditions," but the presumption would be that those "conditions" led to a certain "condition;" that a child was on the way (hence her spirit's unrest in the presence of children); that she feared the reaction of her father, Jesse, who was said to be "a harsh authoritarian man who often inflicted corporal abuse on his family;" and that, with Frank's marriage to another, she could no longer bear her pain. Her suicide note/poem reads as follows:
Annie's body was laid to rest in November of 1882 in a cemetery now hidden from view in a wooded area off Bunker Hill Road a short distance from the house. Annie's ghost was most active when children were around. With the children who then lived in the house grown and her story revealed, the "haunting" ceased and Annie's spirit, nearly 100 years later, was also
laid to rest.
Beverly J. Merrill
February 7, 2000
(I am a descendant (11th generation from
Nathaniel) of Joseph(4) and Mary Palmer Merrill; Daniel(5) and Elsie Leavitt
Merrill; Joseph(6) and Eunice Boothby Merrill; Richard(7) and Eunice Livermore
Merrill; Martha J. Merrill(8) and Jonathan Millett Cummings (aka Millett
Cummings); A. Lincoln Cummings(9) and Ada Lillian Goding; E. Millett Cummings(10)
and Chloe F. Hubbard.5
My friend Karen in Winslow, Maine is a descendant of Joseph(6) and Eunice Boothby Merrill through their son Jonathan(7)6 and Lil Hall descends from Joseph(6) and Eunice Boothby Merrill through their son Benjamin(7). (I have also located a woman in Friendship, Maine, whose husband descended from Joseph(6).)
My husband, Thomas R.(10) Merrill, through his mother, descends from Joseph(4)'s brother Edmond(4) (b 28 March 1715), who married Jane Noyes, was a miller in Falmouth, Maine, and died there on August 2, 1807; (Edmond(5) and Abigail Lord Merrill; Oliver(6) and probably Ann (True?); Samuel(7) and Sarah E. Royal; Harland(8) and Elizabeth Scammon Merrill; Sarah C.(9) and George S.(? ) Merrill7
I am still searching for my husband's father's line prior to 1794, when another Joseph(?)8 Merrill was born on August 21, 1794. He married Catharine Berry September 30, 1823, and can be found in census records for about thirty years living in Denmark, Maine; then Lovell, Maine; and in Sebago, Maine, with a daughter, Cynthia Holt, about 1860. Joseph and Catherine had one son who lived to adulthood Stephen(?) who died in 1865 from wounds suffered in the Battle of Hatcher's Run, Virginia, in the Civil War. Stephen married Rebecca R. Blake and one of their children was Henry Wilson Merrill of Hiram, Maine, my husband's grandfather. Anyone out there have any knowledge of this line, particularly the parentage of Joseph?)
JOSEPH MERRILL(4) (Daniel (3); Daniel
(2); Nathaniel (1)), the first child
of Daniel(3) and Esther Chase Merrill of Newbury and Haverhill, Massachusetts,
was born on May 28, 1694. On December 16, 1718, he married MARY PALMER
in Stratham, New Hampshire. Children of Joseph (4) and Mary Palmer Merrill
(5th generation from Nathaniel):
Moses b ca 1718, killed in French and Indian War
Joseph b 14 Dec, 1719 m Mary or Mercy Hall (Newmarket, NH)
DANIEL b 12 December 1721 m (1) Elsie Leavitt (2) Hannah Runnells (Scarborough, ME) Mary b 5 Feb 1723-4 - d 6 Jan 1730-1
Josiah b 7 June 1726 - d 10 May 1745
JAMES b 10 July 1729 d 2 March 1781 m Sarah Ford
Elizabeth b 10 May 1731 17 Aug 1792 m (1) Elisha Leavitt (2) Samuel Leavitt
Molly b 15 July 1736 - d 22 Sept or 1 Aug 17429
Eliphalet b 26 Jan 1737-8 - d 7 Oct 1742
Benjamin b 22 Dec 1739 d 30 Apr 1795 m (1)Anna Robinson (2) Sarah Fifield (Stratham)
After the death of Mary Palmer Merrill on August 21, 1744, Joseph married Charity Rollins, who was born ca 1710, the daughter of Joseph and Lydia Heard Rollins. Their children (still 5th generation from Nathaniel) were:
Mercy b 28 Sept 1746 - baptized in Exeter, NH 28 Dec 1746 - d in Stratham, NH 11 July 1750
Esther b 19 Nov 1748 - d 4 Feb 1817
Hannah b 16 Nov 1753 - d 10 Nov 175810
Records indicate that Joseph(4) died on March
16 or 17, 1771. He is buried in the cemetery behind the Stratham Community
Church. A monument containing his name and the names of other family members
marks the gravesite.11
For this record, we are interested in two of Joseph's and Mary's sons - DANIEL(5), born December 12, 1721, and JAMES(5), born July 10, 1729.
First, DANIEL(5): He married first Elsie Leavitt, born 25 July 1726, the daughter of Benjamin12 and Elizabeth Leavitt of Stratham. Daniel and Elsie had five children (6th generation from Nathaniel):
Josiah b ca 1745
Eliphalet b ca 1747
Bradbury b 11 May 1749 d 20 Aug 1799 m Anna Baxter (Scarborough, ME)
Joseph b 31 Dec 1750 d 21 Dec 1820 m 2nd Eunice Boothby
ELIZABETH or BETSEY a/k/a BETTSEY b 11 Aug 1752 d 28 Aug 1832 - m Ford(6) Merrill13
Where Daniel and Elsie lived in Stratham, we
do not know, but the record tells us that Elsie died on May 28, 1754, the
oldest of their five children, if he was living, being under ten years of
age. Sometime thereafter, Daniel married one Hannah Runnells and moved to
Scarborough, Maine. It appears that at least some of his and Elsie's children
moved with him to Scarborough.14 Nine
children, beginning in 1768, were born to Daniel and Hannah.15 We have no death
date for Daniel(5).
Second, JAMES(5): He married Sarah Ford, who was born in 1733, the daughter of Capt. John and Eleanor Sanborn Ford of Greenland. James(5) and Sarah had eleven children (6th generation from Nathaniel):
FORD b 2 Sept 1753 d 11 Nov 1826 m Bettsey(6) Merrill
Asa b 11 Dec 1755 - d 22 Nov 1758
Sarah b 10 May 1758 - d 22 Dec 1759
Jesse b June 1760 d 1 Feb 1852 m. Betsey Fifield
Sarah b 9 Dec 1762 - d 3 Apr 1862 - m Simon Pottle
Eliphalet b 7 Apr 1765 d 7 Feb 1853 m. (1)Polly Smith(2) M. Green
Phinehas b. 8 July 1767 d 31 Jan 1814 or 15 m Phebe Wiggin
Lucretia b 7 April 1769 - d 8 Apr 1769
Lemuel b 8 May 1770 d 30 Apr 1863 m Hannah Th(w)ing (farmer)
Levi James b 12 Jan 1773 15 July 1847 m Betsy Sawyer
Betsey b 17 Oct 1775 - d 21 Nov 1850 m Sept 1797 John Haines (res. Norridgewock, ME)
James inherited the family home and property.
It is to be noted that at the time of his death in 1781, his probate inventory
indicated that "James Merrill, late of Stratham in the County of Rockingham
and State of New Hampshire, joiner, deceased" owned "21 Acres
of land in Stratham @ 100 per acre 105.0.0 ... Buildings 26.4 ...."
Sarah outlived her husband by almost 16 years until June of 1800. Both James'
and Sarah's names appear on the same monument with his father, Joseph(4).
On March 30, 177516 FORD(6), the son of James(5) and Sarah Ford Merrill, married BETTSEY(6), the daughter of Daniel(5) and Elsie Leavitt Merrill. They were first cousins, the grandchildren of Joseph(4) and Mary Palmer Merrill. A 1793 Map of the Town of Stratham, NH made by one Phinehas Merrill (Ford's brother)17 indicates the home of Ford Merrill located on the edge of Middle Road (now known as Bunker Hill Avenue) and shows Frying Pan Lane ending before reaching Middle Road.18 Again, young Merrill feet padded across the floor boards of the 1718 house as Ford and Betsy raised their eight children (the 7th generation from Nathaniel):
Lucretia b 26 Feb 1776, d 9 May 1866 (unmarried)
Sall(e)y b 19 May 1778
Bettsey Leavitt b 321 Aug 1780, d 15 Oct 1857 or 21 June 1860, m. Elisha Chase
ASA (REV) b 10 March 1783 1860
MARY/POLL(E)Y b 12 March 1786, d 27 Dec 1873 (unmarried)
Doll(e)y b 21 Nov 1788, d 7 May 1802
James b 24 July 1791, d 23 Nov 1798
Daniel b 5 May 1796, d 20 April 179719
As noted by the birth and death dates of their
children, they, too, experienced some of life's heartache, as well as joys,
during their tenure as occupants of the house.20
Ford died on November 11, 1826 at age 73.
His name appears on the monument with his father's and grandfather's.
The 1820 census lists Ford(6), his son Asa(7), and Phebe, the widow of Ford's brother Phinehas(6) as heads of households in Stratham. It can be assumed that Ford and Elizabeth are still living in the family house while the others have homes of their own elsewhere.
The 1830 census lists Elizabeth(6), the widow of Ford, as a head of household. Their ummarried daughter Mary/Polly(7) is living with her, presumably in the family house. Asa(7) (Ford and Elizabeth's son) and Mary Ann(7) (the daughter of Ford's brother Phinehas(6) and Phoebe) are also listed as heads of households in Stratham.
At some point after Ford's death, and perhaps after Betsy's death on October 23, 1832, title to the family home passed to their son, ASA (REV) (7). However, it does not appear that Asa(7) lived in the house as an adul t (suggesting perhaps that as clergy he and his family occupied a parsonage), that it is first his mother and sister, and then his sister Mary/Polly(7) who lived there. Perhaps title passed to him as the only living son after his father's death with his mother and his unmarried sister, having life tenancy.21 22
The 1840 census lists Asa(7), his son Phinehas(8), his sister Mary/Polly(7), and his cousin Mary Ann(7) (daughter of Phinehas(6) and Phebe Merrill) as heads of households. It can be presumed that Mary/Polly is still the occupant of the family home.
The 1850 census lists Asa(7) and his wife living alone; his son Phinehas(8) is then listed in Hanover, New Hampshire. Asa's sister Mary/Polly(7) is again listed as a head of household. At this point, Mary/Polly's household (presumably living in the house) includes her cousin Levi(7) (age 54), his wife, Susanna (age 50) , and children, Jesse (age 25), Lemuel (age 19) and Sarah F. (age 3). (Note: Levi(7)(b ca 1796) is the son Ford's brother, Jesse(6).)
The 1860 census finds Asa(7) living with his son, Phinheas(8), who is back in Stratham. Sometime after the census was taken in 1860, Asa(7) died and his name appears on the family monument in Stratham as Asa (Rev.) Merrill. The census lists Levi(7) as a separate head of household. His son Jesse's household is listed as Jesse(8) (age 35), his wife Irena (age 42), his daughters Martha A and Mary E (age 6) and Leah (age 3). Mary, presumably Mary/Polly(7) (age 74), is also listed as part of Jesse's household living in the family home. It appears from the record that Mary/Polly had occupied her parents' (grandparents' and great grandparents') home throughout her life. So in 1860, perhaps due to Mary/Polly's advancing age, we find a new head of household and the family home occupied by still another generation of Merrills - Ford's brother Jesse's grandson, and his family, the great and great-great grandchildren of Joseph and Mary.
The 1870 census finds Jesse (age 44), his wife Irena (age 51), their daughters Mary E (age 15), Leah (age 12), and Annie (age 8) living in the family home.23 24
1. For further detail see attached Addendum.
2. Further research in the Registry of Deeds would be needed to determine title to the real estate between Jesse(8) and the Connerys.
3. One wonders if he was looking for his daughter because, while away, he had heard things he did not like and in anger wanted to confront her. If so, how much more this must have added to his pain upon finding her hanging in the woodshed. It is interesting to note that in her suicide note/poem she does not mention her father, only her sisters, her mother, and her love.
4. Information taken from newspaper articles as follows: ? and Bordertown News dated December 1, 1976 - article entitled Where the spirit of Annie Merrill lives by James Kearney; Atlantic News dated November 10, 1987 - article entitled Annie Merrills Spirit Finally at Peace by Bonnie Meroth; New Hampshire Seacoast Sunday, October 30, 1988 - article entitled Ghosts; Atlantic News, October 17, 1989 - article entitled The Ghost of Annie Merrill Now Rests in Peace by Bonnie Meroth.
5. Joseph and Eunice, Richard and Eunice, Martha and Millett, Lincoln and Ada, Millett and his son are all buried on the River Road in Livermore, Maine.
6. Jonathan is buried on the River Road in Livermore, Maine.
7. Edmond and Jane are probably buried in Falmouth, Maine; Edmond and Abigail are buried in the Congregational Church Cemetery in Cumberland, Maine; Samuel and Sarah are buried with the Royal Family (no stones) in Yarmouth, Maine, on the banks of the Royal River; Harland and Elizabeth Scammon Merrill Fish are also buried there; Sarah and George in Brooklawn Cemetery in Portland, Maine.
8. Stephen and Rebecca are buried in South Bridgton, Maine. Henry is buried in Denmark with his second wife. Mabelle is buried in an unmarked grave in Hiram, Maine.
9. It is to be noted that in 1742 Stratham was hit by an epidemic which had been troubling the New England area for several years, killing many, especially children. An article entitled Throat Distemper by Richard M. Scammon can be found on page 14 of the History of Stratham, NH. On page 104, it says: All through the closing months of 1742, the work of the plague continued. Family after family were stricken ... Joseph Merrill lost three, ... However, only 2 appear here with a 1742 death date. Perhaps one of the two death dates attributed here to Molly belongs to another child not listed.
10. See pages 62, 163 and 164 of Virginia T. Merrills Merrill in America Volume 1 The first Four generations.
11. The History of Stratham, NH, on pages 114 and 115 says that the new Meeting House was completed in 1718 and that its pews were built with winscot worke and all of a kind - Each man was obliged to build his own pew, keep it in repair, to maintain all the glass against it, and he must build, too, on the spot assigned him. It notes that Jo Merrill was assigned to the Second front gallery. I do not know if the cemetery wherein Joseph is buried is at the site of the first meeting house. It is a point to be looked into. Joseph is also mentioned again on page 246, where some records of the town clerk are listed stating that on March 25, 1742 John Wiggin chosen constable and he paid his fine ... Joseph Merrill chosen and paid his fine. ... Joseph Hill chosen and served.
12. The History of Stratham, NH says that One-armed Ben Leavitt [Elsies father] probably set up the first tavern in town. ... On plea of his missing limb, he secured permission from the government in 1719 to sell liquor without a license. He occupied himself variously as a tavern-keeper, selectman, schoolmaster, etc. P. 39 On p. 93, it is stated that a certain townsman never was admitted to the order of selectmen who used to sit around the fireplace in one-armed Ben Leavitts tavern and drink flip while they dicussed town affairs, for two shillings per day.
13. See Page 163, 286, and 287 of Virginia T. Merrills Merrill in America Volume 2 Generations Five and Six.
14. His son Joseph married Eunice Boothby at First Church in Pepperellborough (now Saco), Maine, on May 2, 1776 (his first wife and a son having died in 1775). They are found in the census there as late as 1790. Joseph, who is listed as a Revolutionary War Veteran, thereafter moved his family to Livermore, Maine, where he is found in the 1800 census and died in 1820. Both Joseph and Eunice are buried in the cemetery on the River Road in Livermore. Eliphalet and Bradbury appear in the census records in Scarborough, Maine at that time.
15. Levi b. ca 1768; Daniel b ca 1770-d in old age, unmarried; Polly b ca 1772-d in infancy; Charity b 1774, unmarried, res with brother Daniel; Sally b 17 Oct 1776; Josiah b ca 1778; Mary b ca 1780, Ada b ca 1783; Jonathan b ca 1784
16. Note that it is this generation of Merrills that witnessed the birth of the United States of America.
17. In the History of Stratham, NH, the section on Schools, on page 204, it is stated that There have been other men of note among our teachers, such as Phineas Merrill, the surveyor and author, .... On page 206, it states that At the annual meeting in 1809, Nathan Wiggin, Phineas Merrill, and George Wingate, were chosen a committee to inspect the schools ... the first board of superintending school Committee .... On pages 300-301, it states: Phineas Merrill, Esq. was perhaps in his day one of the most useful and eminent men that this town has produced, born in 1767. He was representative several years, and for many years town clerk and one of the selectmen. Widely known as civil engineer, his surveys of land are pronounced by modern surveyors as very accurate. He taught all the schools in town for a good many years, was the author of a series of arithmetics, published a map of the town in 1793; also about 1800, a map of Exeter and a map of the state. A very accomplished penman, specimens of his work with the pen compare favorably with the best.
18. Other Merrill households indicated on that map are E Merrill and B Merrill across the road and further away on Winniconnet Road is Jof Merrill. It appears that these could not be Daniel(5) and Elsies sons, Eliphalet, Bradbury, and Joseph, because they are listed in the census in Maine by that time. See FN 6. The reference to Eliphalet in the History of Stratham, NH, on page 275, in an article on Libraries which talks about the establishment of association libraries, the first being organized on December 10, 1793 by Nathan Wiggin, Eliphalet Merrill, John Dearborn, and 17 others" refers to James(5) son Eliphalet(6). According to Virginia T. Merrills Merrill in America Volume 2 Generations Five and Six, James son Eliphalet, who helped organize the library, moved to Deerfield and Northwood, NH where he was ordained as the second pastor of the First Baptist Church in 1804 and retired from that church in 1828. He and his brother Phinehas compiled a Gazeteer in New Hampshire in 1817. Pages 288 and 289.
19. See page 288 of Virginia T. Merrills Merrill in America Volume 2 Generation Five and Six.
20. The History of Stratham, NH on page 124 notes the incorporation of the Congregational Society in 1814 and on page 125 Ford Merrill is listed as one of those who petitioned the State for its charter.
21. Further research in the Registry of Deeds would be needed to determine this title matter.
22. References to Asa in the History of Stratham, NH are as follows: In talking about The Plains Meeting House, it is said that The only pastor of this parish whose records have been preserved was one Rev. Asa Merrill who owned the place on Bunker Hill Avenue where Scigliano now lives. This was also known as the Bowleys farm at one time. The Elder Merrill was considered a good preacher and must have been here for many years. A record of deaths he kept covers a period from 1786 to 1859. On page 214, his name appears as a signer of a petition on March 27, 1845 requesting that the Town of Stratham may be divided into legal School Districts, according to the provisions prescribed in the Revised Statutes of N.H. In the Extracts from Early Town Journals, on pages 253, dated 1827, it says Gave in Asa Merrills poll tax, he being an ordained minister.
23. This census shows the only other Merrills left in Stratham at that time are two elderly spinsters living together and Asas son Phinehas(8)(age 56), his wife Abigail and daughter Lizza J.
24. My thanks to Howard and Jean Merrill for
the census data and the lineage of Annie Merrill.