Friday, September 27, 2013


A black and white photograph of men and surveying equipment in a wooded area.In 1933, George Howard Richardson became the official surveyor of the town of Littleton, NH. A native of the state of New Hampshire, George had followed in his father's footsteps when, after graduating from Dartmouth College in 1914, he became a surveyor. He worked primarily in Coos and Grafton Counties and over the years accumulated a large collection of survey plans, not only from surveys that he conducted but also from surveys conducted by his father William, Ray T. Gile and many others. By the time of his death in 1979, the collection contained more than 3000 survey plans and plat maps covering private and public properties throughout northern New Hampshire and Vermont, including properties in the White Mountains such as the Mt. Washington Observatory and the Mt. Pleasant Hotel. Towns surveyed include Littleton, Lisbon, Haverhill, Dalton, Easton, Franconia and Bethlehem, NH.

The surveyors whose maps were collected by Richardson did not often venture south. However, between 1909 and 1918, the Richardsons spent some time in Windsor, Vermont, where they surveyed the Evarts property, the LaFountain Woolson property and the Toll Bridge property, off the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge.

A surveyor's map.
A printed form with handwritten notes.
In addition to the survey plans, the collection contains deeds and land descriptions - some dating back to the late 18th and early 19th century - as well as field notebooks by Richardson, William Richardson, Chester Abbot, Percy E. Smith and Ray T. Gile whose work included the setting of the boundary between New Hampshire and Massachusetts during 1891-1901.

You can find the finding aid under MS-740, The George H. Richardson Surveying Collection.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Wolves Don't Roam Dartmouth

A handwritten statement.We just acquired a very simple little document that says so much. On one side is a statement from the constable of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, attesting that Abner Ally brought to him on December 12, 1778, one dead adult male wolf. The other side is a receipt from Nicholas Gilman dated March 13, 1779, for ten pounds given to Abner Ally for killing a wolf.

A handwritten receipt.
Ten pounds! That was just a little less than a sergeant in the British army would have earned in a year. Abner Ally must have protected that scrap of paper very carefully for the long winter until he could collect his bounty (marked on the document with the hole punch).

A printed page on "An act for repealing the laws relating to Wolves."
This sent us searching into our copy of the first published laws of the newly formed state of New Hampshire from 1780. Sure enough, on November 28th, 1778 (just two weeks before Abner killed his wolf), the state passed a law offering a bounty of ten pounds for a full-grown wolf, and five pounds for a whelp.

The law fulfilled its intent. The state paid its last bounty in 1895 and wolves are only just now beginning to return to the area.

You can see it by asking for Ms 778662.