Chesterfield NH Historical Society
Chesterfield NH Historical Society

Chesterfield Time Line

         1736       On November 30, four townships on the east bank of the Connecticut Rive

were accepted by the General Court of Massachusetts:

No. 1(Chesterfield), No. 2 (Westmoreland), No. 3 (Walpole),

No. 4  (Charlestown).            

         1752       On February 10, Benning Wentworth, New Hampshire Colonial Governor,

re-chartered the town and named it Chesterfield as the southern boundary of NH had finally been established.

    1761        In November Moses Smith and his son-in-law William Thomas and their    families became the first settlers in Chesterfield.  Smith built across and  just north of the current Connecticut River boat landing; Thomas built on  the river on what is now the Ferry Road.

     1762       On April 25, Mary Thomas, the first white child, was born. 

                  First saw-mill built by John Snow & Moses Smith on Catsbane Brook.

                  First boards sawed were laid for a dance floor...and a dance was held.

  1767        Census shows 365 inhabitants

                  First recorded town meeting. Raised funds to run town, hire a teacher.    

  1770        Meetinghouse erected. 

  1772         Philip Embury, Methodist Pastor, came from Albany to preach at

                   Robertson’s Farm on Christian Street (now Poocham Rd.)


  1775-1782  Revolutionary War   141 Chesterfield men served.  

                     (Plaque in Town Hall)  

   1776          139 men signed and 13 refused to sign the Declaration to “oppose the 

   hostile proceedings of the British fleets and armies against the 

   United  American Colonies”.

  1777           Battle of Bennington; many C. men responded; cannon fire heard.                                                                

    1781       With other towns in western NH, Chesterfield voted to join Vermont. In

1781 it was Chesterfield, Washington County, Vermont.  Town refused to furnish its quota of men for the Continental Army, for which it was later fined.    

    1782       Vermont told by Gen. Washington to release NH towns or jeopardize

                    statehood. Vermont Council agreed to Congress’ decision. Chesterfield

                     was again part of NH.


  1786          Lower Ferry on the Connecticut chartered to William Thomas.

  1790          Chesterfield Academy incorporated.  Was well-respected, compared

                          to Philips Exeter. 

  1795          First Methodist Society in NH formed in Chesterfield.

  1798          (or earlier) Universal Restoration Society organized. (Later

                    Universalist Church)


  1800              Census shows 2,161 inhabitants

  1800              Upper Ferry on Connecticut was granted to Samuel Farr & Ezekiel


  1802              Post office established in Centre Village (Chesterfield).

  1810              Cotton factory built, one of 13 sites developed on Partridge Brook in

                           Factory Village.

  1815              Bell purchased for Town Meetinghouse; cracked after first week;

      recast & re-hung the following year.  It was rung at noon and 9 p.m.

     each week day and tolled the age of the person when a death



    1830             Census shows 2046 inhabitants

     Universalist Church built in West Chesterfield.

    1834            Chesterfield Congregational Church built; stood across from the

                          old town offices.

    1837            Poor Farm established on River Road. Closed in1865.

    1844             Methodist Church built (now Asbury United Methodist Church)

    1851             Old Meetinghouse burned by arsonist.  New “Town House” built of

                             local stone.

                        Old Meetinghouse bell recast and hung in the new building.

1853            Spofford Union Meetinghouse built. 

    1859            Chesterfield Academy building burned and Schoolhouse #5 built. 


 1860            Census shows 1434 inhabitants

 1861-1865   Civil War 74 names listed in Randall’s History of Chesterfield

                          Some Chesterfield men joined Vermont  Reg’ts.  Monument

                         lists 76.  8 died from wounds or disease.

 1866            Post office established in the West Village. (West Chesterfield)

1869            Chesterfield Factory Village Hall built.

1870s           People began coming to the lake “for health and pleasure”. 

1876            Steamboat “Enterprise” launched on Spofford Lake

1882            Oran Randall’s History of Chesterfield published.

    1884           14 school districts and fourteen schools, one of which was graded.

                           218 pupils.

1886            Citizens’ Hall built in West Chesterfield. (Now Actor’s Playhouse)

 1888            Blizzard with “high wind all night, highest drifts ever seen here.

        Roads blocked. No mail for a week from Keene”, according to Jay

       Jackson. Drifts to 2nd stories.

 1889            Suspension bridge built; first across the Connecticut River in

          Chesterfield.  Our town paid $8,000; Brattleboro $4,000. 

 1896             Pine Grove Springs Hotel opened, later called Lake Spofford Hotel;

                           burned 1961.

                     Name of post office and village changed to Spofford.


1900             Census shows 981 inhabitants.

    Camp Namashaug for boys built on Spofford Lake.

1900 ca        Camp Nitawa for girls built.  In the late 1930’s became Old New

                        England Village

1901             Spofford Fire Department “Busy Bees” formed.  Fire station was on

                       Spring St.

1915-1918    World War I. 20 Chesterfield Servicemen 1 fatality

1920 ca        Camp Marquette purchased Lakeside Property.

1927             3 school districts: #1 West Chesterfield, #5 Chesterfield,

                          #13 Spofford. 82 pupils.

1930             Census shows 704 inhabitants.

1931             Chesterfield and West Chesterfield Fire Departments formed.

                     Spofford Village Hall remodeled to become Spofford Fire Station.   

1936             Chesterfield Gorge Geologic Area given to the State of New

                         Hampshire by Forest Society.

                     Great flood did much damage in town and destroyed the bridge over

                         the Connecticut River.

1937              Temporary bridge built to replace original bridge also destroyed by

                           flood.  New arch bridge built by NH & VT with greater clearance.

1938             Camp Notre Dame purchased Camp Namashaug.

                     New England Hurricane—much destruction in town; many pines

                         downed at the lake.

1939             Chesterfield Library built. Used the same stone as Town Hall,

                         quarried off Old

                     Chesterfield Rd. Children’s wing added in 1940.

1941-1945    World War II. 101 men & women served.  5 Chesterfield servicemen


1947 ca        Chesterfield Gorge developed as a state park.

1948             Big Old Home Day to celebrate the issuing of a stamp honoring

       Harlan Fiske Stone, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, born

       in  Chesterfield in 1872. First Day Covers cancelled at Chesterfield

       Post Office.


1950              Census shows 970 inhabitants.  

1951              Chesterfield School built in center to consolidate 3 two-room

                          schools. 169 pupils.

                     American Legion purchased and moved old School House #5 across 

                          the street.

                      Big Old Home Day celebration commemorating 100th anniversary

                          of Town Hall held.

1951-1953      Korean War.  40 Chesterfield Servicemen involved.   

1955             Catholic Congregation organized; used town hall annex for services,

    then moved to renovated Benjamin Pierce House on Rte. 63.

                       Two additional classrooms added to Chesterfield School.


    1960            Census shows 1408 inhabitants.

    Tiny Tots Kindergarten opened.

1962             4 Classrooms (Jr. High Section) added to the school.

                     New post office built in Spofford.

1962             Camp Spofford established with the purchase of Camp Marquette.

1965-1975    Vietnam War. 57 Chesterfield Servicemen served,  3 Servceman died

1968             Pisgah Park established by the State of New Hampshire.    

1973             Town purchased Ware’s Grove for a town beach. 

1974             Town adopts first zoning regulations.

   Chesterfield Historical Society established.

1976             Chesterfield joined in the celebration of the nation’s Bicentennial.


       1980            Census shows 2561 inhabitants.

                    Grace Community Evangelical Free Church organized; met at

                        Grange  Hall.

1980 ca.       New Life Chapel began meeting at the Spofford Union Church.

1985             Catholics build new Our Lady of the Lake Chapel on Rte 63.

1986             Grace Community Evangelical Church built on Old Swanzey Road.

1988             6 Classrooms- music room, gym/lunchroom, offices, Resource Room

                         added to school

1989             Town establishes public kindergarten. Tiny Tots Kindergarten closes.

1992             Town Highway Garage built on Old Brattleboro Road.

1994             New Fire Station built on Rte. 63 for consolidated Chesterfield and

                         West  Chesterfield Depts.

1995             4 room addition to the school built with volunteer help. 

1997             New Library constructed.

1998             Chesterfield Historical Society moved into old library.


2000             Census shows 3542 inhabitants.

2003             New Seabees Arch Bridge constructed across Connecticut River.

   2006             Our Lady of the Lake Chapel was closed.

   2008             New Town Offices/Police Station built.

                     New Spofford Fire Station built.

                     Pioneer Baptist Church purchased Catholic Church building, began

                            meeting there.

2009             Governor Lynch named the 1937 Bridge the Harlan Fiske Stone

                          Memorial Bridge

2010             Census shows 3604 inhabitants.

2011             Chesterfield celebrates 250 years of settlement!



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