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Vaugahn, Peirce, Cutt and the
purchase of North Cememtery

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By Charles W. Brewster

Editors Note: C.W. Brewster was a Portsmouth columnist in the mid-1800's. This article includes his opinions and may not reflect current research or current values.

Gov. Vaughan's residence--North burying-ground--Buildings on Market Square.

IN retracing some of the ground already passed over, we find some matters of historic interest worthy of preservation. That old house on the corner of Deer and Market streets, where Mrs. Chase of late years has kept a boarding-house for sailors, one hundred and sixty years ago was the property and residence of Lieut. Gov. George Vaughan, the predecessor of the first Gov. John Wentworth. In the year 1702, a deed was given by John and Elizabeth Vaughan of a lot of land to Michael Whidden, between this house and his bakehouse, which was then the next house north of it. George Vaughan was the second son of William Vaughan, mentioned in the will of Richard Cutt as his son-in-law.

At the seige of Louisburg, in 1745, Mr. Cutt, an officer from this section, met with a kinsman from the mother country who bore the name of Cutts. The name was adopted from that date by the families here.

With those who died of the small pox at the time of Col. N. Meserve's decease at Louisburg, in 1758, was Col. John Hart. He was the owner of the land now used as the North burying-ground, and it did not become town property until 1753, little more than a century ago, when Col. Hart sold it to the town for L150, on condition that it should be kept for a burying-ground. There had been some interments previously made there, but the Point-of-Graves had been the principal place of the early interments. One grave stone has been found here of a person who died in 1632.

We neglected to mention in our account of Market square at the time Washington visited Portsmouth in 1789, that on the spot next south of the North church, where Austin's three-story house was afterwards erected, then stood the gambrel-roofed house which is now occupied by Benjamin F. Webster, No. 2 Court street. In this house the first number of the Portsmouth Oracle was printed by Charles Peirce, in 1793.

The residence of John Peirce, a two-story ell house, was on the spot where William Simes's store now stands. The Peirce family resided here about a century, until the erection of the mansion No. 1 Court street by John Peirce, in 1799. Next east of the Peirce premises on Market Square, sixty years ago, was a one-story shop, occupied by Penhallow & Dame, next was the two-story store and house of John Nelson, then a passage way to the back yard.

On the east side of the Athenaeum premises stood the large two-story house of John Melcher, whose land extended around the corner into Market street. These buildings were all destroyed in the fire of 1802, which commenced in the New Hampshire bank, on the site of the Piscataqua Exchange, burning the Market house, and extending around to High street and down Market street, including Ladd street.

Text scanned courtesy of The Brewster Family Network
Copy of Rambles courtesy Peter E. Randall
History Hypertext project by
Design © 2001

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