Vintage Views: Yesterday and today

  • A very early view of Concord, N.H. Library of Congress

For the Monitor
Published: 5/14/2022 5:00:03 PM
Modified: 5/14/2022 4:58:15 PM

Young Jacob and Samuel were boyhood friends living in a quaint country town, they explored, picked blueberries, went swimming in the river and fished for elusive trout on long summer days. One of the best fishing holes in their little town was Dagody Brook about a half hour north of their homes. Famous for trout fishing Dagody Brook was a place of lore and really large trout. When Jacob and Samuel grew tired of fishing, they planned to bring their bounty of fresh trout to their homes for dinner and explore the Fush Market for old pieces of colorful earthenware. Two adventurous boys living the life that young country boys do. Such was the case a century ago with the two boys living in a very different Concord, N.H., a strange place full of names and places that have been long forgotten and washed away by the years.

Dagody Brook was one of the most popular places to fish for trout and was located north of the boundary line between Concord and Boscawen, named after a gentleman that lived there many years ago. In addition to trout there is certainly some wonderful lore associated with our Dagody Brook, a story about a young man on a fishing expedition during the Colonial period, he was named Lieutenant Marshall Baker and became the subject of many a tale about Concord. It seems that our Lieutenant in his haste to catch a large trout removed his pantaloons tying string around the bottom pant legs. He buttoned the waistband and opened his pantaloons with nearby twigs establishing a somewhat crude fish pot. Lieutenant Marshall travelled upstream in a very pantaloon-less way to drive the trout towards his little dam to catch as many trout as possible in the shortest period of time. To the amazement of the locals this simple maneuver resulted in Marshall Baker catching ninety trout in short order, one trout said to way over three pounds. Yes, the lore was fact based and makes for a wonderful “fish” story.

Fush Market was located on the Hopkinton Road just three miles from Main Street in Concord. Though the origin of the name is not known it was a very established brick and earthenware factory where boys from the past explored the ruins in hopes of finding a long abandoned colorful pot.

The Concord of over a century ago boasts names now long forgotten. Some of the names were based in wonderful old stories with some originations simply forgotten. Today we know where Horse Hill and the Mast Yard are located, but we no longer hear about Powell’s Hook, Sand Banks, Horsing Downs or Parsonage Hill. The Concord sunsets are no longer viewed from a place called Paradise and we no longer hike out to Pine Hill. If you asked your neighbor for directions to Runnell’s Mill or Ash Brook you would not find a response, just a perplexing look of bewilderment.

We walk the same land our ancestors once walked, we travel across the same rivers, brooks and streams and live today in the same place they lived yesterday. People arrive, populations grow while some stories remain legends and others we simply no longer know.

Horsing Downs was the old name of a long narrow neck of land located at the base of Sand Hill on the east side of the Merrimack River. The course of the river was changed when the railroad arrived. This long narrow neck of land was cut off from the shore when they turned the river for the railroad track being installed by the Northern Railroad. Years later the Horsing Downs area became known as Goodwin’s Point. The railroad as well as the years changed many natural landscapes in Concord. At the very north end of Main Street near the present-day Franklin Pierce House the area was called Pond Hill. A nice name, not appropriate in this day and age because the large hill, or bluff, is no longer in existence. The beautiful hill was a destination for our ancestors where they would picnic and enjoy a clear view of Horseshoe Pond. The area of recreation was enjoyed by the earliest settlers up until the mid-1800’s when the Claremont Railroad laid track and excavated the sand and gravel for use in the rail beds. Pond Hill was erased from history quickly and now only the memories survive. Pond Hill was also the first location of our Town Pound when Concord was known as Rumford during the 1700s.

As I venture this overcast spring day across Wattanummon’s Brook over The Fan towards Fort Eddy my thoughts wander to the early battles fought between the Native American Penacook’s and invading Mohawks, perhaps a story for another day.

As you venture over the roads, trails, bridges and hills of Concord today take a few moments to honor the legends, lore and history of our little community. Remember this place we call Concord today and those many forgotten names from yesterday.

Vintage Views is a local history column that explores Concord and its surrounding towns. It runs every week in the Sunday Your Life section. The author is a historian and not a member of the Monitor’s staff.

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