An old picture of the Smith farm in Jaffrey

This is a picture of the Leonard Smith house that Mom had hanging in her house. The back of the picture has a notation: “Dunn Farm New Hampshire”, which I think was just a misunderstanding. It is definitely the same layout as the house currently on the site, and the barn to the left, although it didn’t appear in the photo I took earlier this year, is still there as I recall. (It’s actually on the opposite side of the Fitzwilliam Road, which you can see in this picture, just to the left of the house, and looking like it’s going to head into the pond.)

The location of Mount Monadnock in the background is also exactly where it should be. If you look at the detail image, you can make out a few more details, like the geese swimming across just to the right of the house, and the man and dog on the shore just to the left of center.

Update: I drove up to Jaffrey today and tried to take a picture from the same angle as Mom’s picture. I think the original may have been taken a little further up the shore, but my options were limited by a stretch of eight foot high fence (whoever owns the four or five foot wide strip of shore behind it apparently doesn’t want anyone else to enjoy the view!) on one side, and a private residence on the other.

There are far more trees and foliage in today’s picture, to the extent that the house is barely discernable through all the leaves. This is mainly due to the two large maples in front of the house. If you look closely, you can make out the front of the house, and to the right, the breezeway (added after the time of Mom’s picture) in deep shade. You can also see the barn to the left of the road. The only gap in the shoreline vegetation is a boat ramp. which lines up with the Fitzwilliam Road. The angle of the road suggests that today’s picture was taken from a point slightly to the right of the vantage point in the old picture.

Re-mapping the ancestors

The 1877 map of Jaffrey mentioned in an earlier post suggested the location of the house where Mary Alice Dunn grew up, but I found an even better map this week. It’s a high quality scan from the 1892 D.H. Hurd atlas map of Jaffrey. In this image, the house at the corner of what is now Gilmore Pond Road and Old Fitzwilliam Road is clearly labeled “L.Smith”.

The collection also has a map of Rindge from the same atlas. The name Dunn doesn’t appear, so they may not have moved to Rindge yet- the first mention of Daniel as East Rindge’s blacksmith in the Fitchburg Sentinel is in 1896, and they didn’t purchase the East Rindge house until 1900. The house is readily identifiable, though, bearing the name of “J.H. Ballou”, who lived there before the Dunns.

Leonard Smith’s House in Jaffrey

I think there’s a pretty good chance that this is the house where Leonard Smith and family resided in 1880, based on the 1880 census record, and the map mentioned below. The census taken that year listed the residents as Leonard himself, daughters Mary Alice (Mom’s paternal grandmother) and Etta (‘Aunt Et’, who later moved to McKinley Rd. in Worcester with her husband Walter Scott. Mary Alice’s daughter Mildred lived with the Scotts for many years). Also living with the Smiths was Leonard’s 87 year old mother-in-law Lucy Coggswell. Leonard’s wife Lydia had passed away prior to 1880, possibly as a result of complications from Mary Alice’s birth.

A mile and a half to the west on the Fitzwilliam Road stands an impressive house that may be the Frederick Spaulding farm, where Daniel Dunn was employed as a laborer in 1880 at the age of fourteen. I wasn’t able to get a picture of that house, but it’s in the right spot, and there were not many period houses in the immediate vicinity. The picture shows the locations of the houses from a Google Earth aerial image, with Mt Monadnock in the background- click on it to enlarge, or click here for the online Google map of the area.

Mapping the ancestors

Randy Seaver’s blog pointed me to a new collection of maps on Ancestry.com: “U.S. County Land Ownership Atlases, c. 1864-1918“. The same, or similar maps are sometimes available in used and antiquarian book stores, and in libraries. The maps are often removed from the atlas and offered for sale individually- the Ben Franklin Bookstore in Worcester has some in its print section.

It’s nice to be able to view these maps online- unfortunately, the quality leaves a lot to be desired. These are black and white microfilm images, rather than the high quality color scans used in, for example, the UNH topographic map collection.

On some of the maps, the colors used to shade various towns and villages show up as almost solid black, making it impossible to read any detail. And the resolution of the maps is very low- fine print, especially in densely settled areas can be unreadable.

Having said all that, the maps can still be really useful. This image is from the map covering Jaffrey and Rindge. This map was published in 1877, three years before the 1880 census which showed Daniel Dunn living on the farm of Frederick Spaulding as a hired laborer. Daniel’s entry is followed by those of the Bakers, Ballous, Underwoods and Goffs, all names visible on the map to the right of the “FSpaulding” label.

On the census form, the next name after Kendall Goff’s family is Leonard O. Smith, followed by Etta, Lucy Cogswell (Leonard’s widowed mother in law), and Mary Alice. There’s also a ‘boarder’, the seventeen year old Ella M. Allen, occupation ‘schoolteacher’. The Smiths don’t appear on the map, so it might be that their move from Peterborough, where they lived when the 1870 census was taken, hadn’t yet occurred. The residence labelled ‘C.A.Johnson’ on the map may be where the Smiths lived in 1880. It’s in the right spot in terms of the census form’s order. It also ties in with the address information in the 1885 Cheshire County Gazetteer, which has Frederick Spaulding listed as a farmer on road 28, while Leonard and his son Charles are listed as farming the property at the corner of roads 28 and 29. And just down the road, across from the pond, is the school where Ella probably taught.