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30 Middle StThe house now at 30 Middle Street was probably constructed sometime during the 1830s or 40s by an heir of Gen. John Lord, a merchant who lived from 1765 to 1815. Today’s Middle Street, previously called Tremont, is now a dead-end street, but once diagonally connected Main Street to Liberty Street and the Landing. In the 1700s, this short street allowed ox teams hauling giant masts to round the corner and descend to the river. The logs had been cut in the forests of Berwick, Lebanon and beyond.  John Lord owned mill rights at the Quamphegan waterfall.  He also built ships at Pipe Stave Landing, and was a partner of Jonathan Hamilton, shipbuilder and West Indies merchant who built the Hamilton House about 1785. Nine acres of Lord property at Quamphegan included “an old mansion house, large barn, store, and dwelling house, mechanic shops and other buildings,” according to deeds. 
After Lord's death, a son, Samuel Lord, and son-in-law, William Allen Hayes (1783-1851), owned the property now at 30 Middle Street.  After the Portsmouth Company cotton mill was built by the waterfall in 1831, Lord/Hayes family members built the house, likely as a rental property or boarding house serving workers.  Then, for 30 years, it was owned by John Lord’s grandson, W. A. Hayes' son Francis Brown Hayes (1819-1884), a director of the Boston and Maine Railroad and South Berwick's most prominent citizen of his day, who lived at his family’s homestead on Academy Street and in Lexington, Massachusetts.
30 Middle postcard
30 Middle Street with tenants Ida Martin and Rose McNally
A graduate of Berwick Academy, Francis Brown Hayes attended Harvard and Harvard Law School. According to a later article in the Cambridge Chronicle (1882), Hayes was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1842 and began practicing law in Boston. 
Meanwhile, a new mode of transportation was making its way through New England and through South Berwick—the railroad.  In 1835 the Boston and Maine Railroad was chartered in Massachusetts, and in 1841 the Maine legislature approved an act to establish a small railroad company running through South Berwick, the Great Falls and South Berwick Branch Rail-road Company. Among the dozen or so founders were William Allen Hayes and John P. Lord, two brothers-in-law invested in the remains of the Lord estate at the Landing.  By the 1840s the small company had merged with the Boston and Maine on a line running to Portland, and in the 1850s was laying tracks across Main Street up the hill from the Landing.
1856 Hayes1856 map excerpt
William Allen Hayes died in 1851, not long after transferring 30 Middle Street and the house next door to his son Francis B. Hayes. A map from that decade shows the newly-built railroad and the South Berwick Station depot opposite the Baptist Church on Main Street.
By then railroads were also entwined with Francis Brown Hayes’ life.  “Early in his legal career he studied especially into the laws governing railroad and other corporate interests,” the Cambridge Chronicle article relates, “…and his business soon grew to be the largest in this line in the city of Boston.”  At age 30 his successful investigation into a mismanaged railroad company, Old Colony, led to its reorganization and his directorship of the Boston and Maine.  He eventually became an executive of several railroads, including the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.
Francis Brown HayesFrancis B. Hayes likely did not reside at 30 Middle Street, occupying instead his family’s home on Academy.  He also succeeded his father as president of Berwick Academy during the years Sarah Orne Jewett, the author, was a student, and years later she remembered his leadership during the school’s major crisis of that century, at a time when it served as the town's high school. In 1849, arsonists protesting Maine’s temperance movement – and perhaps the Lord and Hayes family’s association with it -- burned the academy, and the library it contained, to the ground. Plotting at the home of Benjamin Stillings, nearby on Pleasant Street and shown on the above map, they also struck the Methodist church next door to Francis B. Hayes' house at 30 Middle Street following a sermon by Rev. John Lord, a cousin of Hayes. Two years later Stillings and his co-conspirators burned the Portsmouth Company cotton mill and Hayes's own home on Academy Street.
Berwick third school
Academy built by Francis B. Hayes after 1851 fire
Hayes oversaw the construction of a new school building.  At the end of his life, he led planning that eventually brought about the creation of the Fogg Memorial Building, which also contained the town library until the mid-20th century. Hayes' portrait and a marble bust remain in the historic Fogg library room to this day.
In 1861 Hayes purchased a “summer home” at 45 Hancock Street, Lexington, Massachusetts, according to a 2010 history in the Lexington Comprehensive Cultural Resources Survey, which describes Hayes as “among Lexington's most prosperous late 19th century residents …railroad official, lawyer, state senator and U.S. Congressman.” He eventually bought over 400 acres, and in 1883-4, just before his death built a 32-room fieldstone mansion called "Oakmount.”  
Hayes served as president of the Massachusetts Horticulture Society and pursued an avid interest in agriculture at the Hayes estate in South Berwick. Among his bequests at the end of his life were $10,000 to Berwick Academy. His son who died in 1895, also named Francis B. Hayes, bequeathed funds that were used to create the statue of the Minuteman at Lexington, Massachusetts
On a map of 1872 the house at 30 Middle Street is listed as occupied by John Plumer, the baker, who died in 1873.  In 1880 the house was acquired by his son, John Henry Plumer, who owned a livery stable across Main Street. Among the tenants of this period may have been a Hanson family, as well as Ida Martin and Rose McNally, who appear in the photo above.  The Portsmouth Company ceased operations in 1893, and in 1907, the house was purchased by the merchant John Flynn, who lived with his wife, Elizabeth A. Flynn, and five children, Frank J., Anna T., John V., Harry W., Arthur A., and Mary.  They lived here until 1919.  
(Posted March 2016 by Wendy Pirsig with information from the Old Berwick Historical Society archives, including deed research by Tracey A. Fortier. Revision added August 29, 2018.)

30 Liberty StThis Chadbourne House is part of South Berwick Historic District.  Descendants of pioneer William Chadbourne, who helped build the first sawmill in South Berwick in 1634, built on this site in the early 1700s.  This early Chadbourne house was expanded and altered by later owners, possibly a Humphrey Chadbourne who lived from 1678 to 1763.   A Chadbourne Garrison was recorded about 1712, but the site is not known.

A hill near the house may have been named for an enslaved person and called Cato's Hill.  In a history of the town, author Sarah Orne Jewett wrote in 1894, “A little sandy hill, just below the Landing, and above the old river path that leads to Leigh's, now Yeaton's mills, still bears the name of Cato's Hill, from the fact that the sunny sand bank near the top was the favorite retreat of an ancient member of the household of Gen. Lord. Cato was a native Guineaman, and the last generation loved to recall the tradition of his droll ways and speeches.” Gen. John Lord had been a merchant who lived from 1765 to 1815, not far from the river, and owned mill rights at the Quamphegan waterfall. He also built ships at Pipe Stave Landing, and was a partner of Jonathan Hamilton, shipbuilder and West Indies merchant who built the Hamilton House about 1785. Lord and Hamilton traded with island plantations for sugar and rum produced by slave labor.

Another neighbor was Judge Benjamin Chadbourne (1718-1799), nephew of the Humphrey Chadbourne who lived 1678-1763.  Judge Chadbourne, who lived across the street at the Vine Street corner, had served in Sir William Pepperrell’s expedition against the French at Louisbourg in 1745. He later became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas and represented the Berwicks in the Massachusetts Congress in Boston from 1756 to 1771, as well as serving as a member of the Governor’s Council. He had inherited rights at the important sawmill and gristmill at the mouth of the Great Works River. Hundreds of surrounding acres, including this property, were then still in the Chadbourne family, and in 1791 the judge gave ten acres to initiate the founding of Berwick Academy, where he served as its first president. 

In 1810, the estate was purchased by a Maj. William Hight (1773-1847), a member of one of the town’s wealthiest families that had owned property south of Leigh’s Mill Pond throughout much of the 1700s. Hight's father had been another ship owner and West Indies trader.  Maj. Hight had married Abigail Goodwin, daughter of Gen. Ichabod Goodwin, in 1796.

After the Hights, the homestead was briefly occupied by Capt. John Holmes Burleigh, who owned the mills at Great Works, and by tin manufacturers Gilpatrick and Davis.

In the 1920s the property became the vegetable and dairy farm of the Isaac J. Gilliland. Born in Ireland, Gilliland and his wife, Annie, had moved here by the 1890s, when he worked as a teamster for the Tyson-Vaughan family at the Hamilton House, and Annie as their cook. He died on July 14, 1945.

(Written by Wendy Pirsig from archives of the Old Berwick Historical Society.  Updated 2020.)


The Dawnland 

Wabanaki people have lived in the Dawnland since before recorded time.  Known as those who greet the sun in this land of first light, their homeland is a network of waterways, connected by rivers that Wabanaki people still paddle, footpaths that underlie highways, and bonds of kinship.  Long before European settlers arrived, the Piscataqua region hosted extensive agricultural communities.  Fields of companion crops were cultivated by Wabanaki women near freshwater falls like Quamphegan, where fish were plentiful.

When English and French fishermen and explorers arrived in the early 1600s, Wabanaki people welcomed these traders into their exchange networks.  But colonial impacts on their subsistence, including overfishing, logging, and damming, led to intense conflicts.  European diseases, arising in part from urban crowding and   animal husbandry in Europe, devastated Native communities throughout the eastern seaboard.  Wabanaki people largely responded by rebuilding their kinship networks and cultivating diplomacy with newcomers until the 1670s, when Massachusetts settlers brought the confrontation known as King Philip’s War to their door. 

Sagamore Rowls

Newichawannock—the “place between rapids”—was home to Sagamore Rowls, a Wabanaki leader who negotiated agreements with English settlers on behalf of his community.  The name Newichawannock also applies to the extensive river (now the boundary between New Hampshire and Maine) that connected this coastal region to Wabanaki homelands in the White Mountains.  Rowls cultivated relationships of exchange with neighboring communities, including English and French newcomers. 

A deed from the 1640s illustrates an apparent agreement between Rowls and English trader Humphrey Chadbourne.  Rowls, representing the people of Newichawannock, may have intended this agreement to allow a trading partner to continue to inhabit his homeland, while reserving the right to use traditional planting and fishing grounds.  

In the 1670s, as encroachments on Wabanaki territory and violence from colonies to the south increased, the first war between the English and the Wabanaki erupted.  Wabanaki people targeted water-powered mills erected on their planting grounds and fishing falls, defending the forests, fisheries and fertile land on which they depended. 

(From the Old Berwick Historical Society exhibit, 2017-2018, Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua by Emerson Baker, Project Scholar, and Nina Maurer, Curator.)


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