An In-Law of the Saunders',
Nicholas G. Norcross,
who was known
as The New England Timber King, had been very active in deepening and
widening the Pemigewasset and Merrimack Rivers to make them suitable for
floating timber to his mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. He purchased
80,000 acres of land then known as Elkins Grant
, which would later become
. Upon the death of Mr Norcross, the Saunders brothers,
(Daniel, Charles and Caleb)
successfully obtained the rights
to Elkins grant and created the Sawyer
River Enterprise. 80,000 acres of land is an area about 10 miles long
and 12 miles wide. I have found little documentation about exactly who
Mr Norcross bought this acreage from, although Jasper Elkins acquired the
land through an act of the N.H. Legislature in 1830, so presumably it would
have been from Mr. Elkins or his estate.
: Daniel Saunders
at age 52, and his brother
age 50 in 1874, Nathan Weeks, William Russell and Caleb Saunders
Incorporated the Grafton County Lumber Company
and work began on access
roads along the Sawyer River.
The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad
completed its route through
Crawford Notch, thereby opening up the Sawyer River area for egress in and
out. Entrepenorial minds immediately went to work and the Saunders
Family saw an opportunity.
July 2, 1875
the State Legislature approved an act to Incorporate the
The first mill was completed...and burned in the same year.
Another mill was immediately constructed and it's cost was listed at
July 11, 1876:
The Town of Livermore is Incorporated
by the State of
New Hampshire. The Town holds its first meeting with Benjamin Akers,
John Tewksbury and Charles Saunders officiating.
The Saunders' begin laying the rails for the
The CW Saunders Locomotive had been purchased new the
previous year from the Portland Company, Eastern Railroad. Originally about
one and a half miles of track was installed, up to the mill site, but as
time went on the Rail Line had about 9 miles of track laid into its vast
holdings. (Off Site
Link to Photos
of Sawyer River Railroad. Opens in new window)
The first marriage
was recorded in the Town of
Livermore between Elden Boynton and Julia Lucy.
1878: Rapid Growth;
Business Registry claims 48 residents in 1878 and 200 residents in the
following year. An increase of 200% !
children were born in Livermore during this time period.
The census for that year shows
living in 18 separate
buildings, consisting of men, women and children.
The town was very family oriented with one third of the population being
children. Occupations included millworkers, watchman, laborers,
teamsters, blacksmiths, two coal dealers and three engineers. In this
year the Livermore Mill operation reported a net income of $12,400
or 28% of gross receipts
This year also marked a smallpox epidemic
that swept through the
area resulting in the death of 6 townspeople. These 6 people were buried in
the nearby woods and a stone monument records the spot. Another story
tells of as many as 40 people being buried
in this spot.
Some were buried while still alive
, although in a comatose
: The Village was granted a Post Office
with William G. Hull
The land dispute between
Saunders and Bartlett Land and Lumber Company is argued in the United States
Saunders and Abbott argue the case.
Read the case.
The town lists one school
with 28 students attending. The school
is valued at $151.00. The annual school budget was about $145.00.
The school later (1924) went on to be "the best school in the State"
thanks to Mr Saunders efforts. it had not only electricity and heat, but
typewriters, movie projectors and the education many received there was the
equivalent of college level courses.
Saunders sells a portion of their
holdings to The New Hampshire Land Company
George P. James
as its President. This tract was located "on
the other side of Mt. Carrigain" on the Pemigewassett River.
The Saunders name disappears from the Town records
ownership of the various enterprises and is replaced with George P. James
who had been previously listed along with the Saunders names. At this
time the name Livermore Mills begins usage and we are to assume that
ownership of the mill had changed to Mr James.
May 22 1891
: Charles Saunders dies
in Lowell at the age of 67. Daniel
and Daniel's son, Charles G. Saunders
continue overseeing the Livermore
The Postmaster William Hull relocates
to his home town of Plymouth and
is replaced by G.S. Payne
. Mr Payne was also a Selectman, Tax
Collector and Town Clerk at various times. He was to die in 1911.
1895: George P. James sells
his Livermore interests back to C.G. Saunders.
1898: Telephone service
comes to livermore. George Staples is the Telephone agent in
The census for this year shows a
population of 191
, however the
proportion of children was substantially reduced from the previous census.
Through out the 1880's and 1890's there was
between the abutting property owners and in 1901 these disputes
finally ended with more than half of Livermore being annexed to Lincoln by
an act of the State Legislature.
Ownership in Livermore was distributed among six primary owners,
Publishers Paper Co, International Paper Co,
The estate of
George H. Morey
and one Estella L. Lancaster
. However, Livermore Mills
largest single owner. The Saunders heirs
also owned property.
Census showed 64 individuals
in 11 separate households. The
proportion of children had greatly increased since the 1900 census and it
appeared there were fewer single individuals present.
The fire tower atop Mt.
Carrigain was constructed,
although little more than an open
platform. It had a cabin for the watchman and a telephone line down to
Livermore. It was amongst the first fire towers in the State. It
was listed as inactive in 1948. (Off-site
Fire Tower Photos)
1911: The Weeks Act
authorized the Federal Government to purchase
private lands for the purpose of preservation.
C.G. Saunders, Daniels Son, mortgages Livermore Mills to
. The three Saunders sisters re-purchased
the mortgage and
mill in 1919, the same year it was destroyed by fire.
Daniel Saunders is 91 years old
and still a presence at
of Livermore acreage and buildings is 470,000.
($1.00 in 1914 is the equivalent of $10.50 in 2009 dollars, so to put that
number in perspective the 2009 equivalent would be nearly five million
April 19, 1917: Daniel Saunders dies in Lowell
at the age of 95
Feb 19, 1918: Daniels Son, C.G. Saunders dies at age 70
in Boston of a
heart attack. Charles willed nearly his entire estate to his three
sisters, Annie, Mary and Edith Saunders. The responsibility of running
the mill and acreage passed to one Clinton I. Nash.
Nash was an
officer for the Saunders interests from 1902 to 1936. His name however
does not appear on any town census until 1920, nor did he have any previous
experience running a lumber mill.
Livermore Mills is completely
destroyed by fire
Census counted 98 people
. 65 of these lived in 12
households in the Village and the rest lived out in the logging camps.
Of the population of 98 only 8 of them had been at Livermore ten years
The C.W. Saunders
left the tracks and fell into the Sawyer River, thus
ending it's usefullness. It was replaced with "Peggy", a
Baldwin built Locomotive
, and was purchased from the Henry
which operated in the Zealand area.
1920-26: Management of the mills slowly deteriorates
without the Saunders influence and economic
hardships and unexpected disasters contribute to its six year decline. In
addition to the costly replacement of the mill
Locomotive also had to be replaced. It has been said that Clinton Nash
was not a "Lumber kind of guy"; Some folks
wondered why he had
even been put in charge of an operation he seemed to know so little about.
In some readings Nash is referred to as an "agent of the Saunders Sisters"
who also knew very little of the lumber business. Nash however had
been employed by Saunders since 1902
and was also a
personal friend of the Saunders. Perhaps the Sisters chose him to
represent their interests only because he was a trusted friend.
The mill rebuilding
which started in 1920
A new school was
and furnished at a cost of $3323, which would be $350,000
in 2009 dollars. There were two teachers
for the 20 or so
students in attendance. This tends to support the claim that
Livermore had one of the best schools in the State.
November 1927: A massive flood
causes serious damage to both the mill
and a good portion of the railroad bed is completely destroyed.
The mill is never reopened
after the flood.
The railway closes completely in 1928.
June 22, 1928: Big Jim Donahue
in North Conway at age 60.
He had been at Livermore since 1888 and served at one time or another Mill
Manager, Postmaster, General Manager of the Town, Railroad Agent, Selectman
and Town Clerk.
Clinton Nash, acting on behalf of the Saunders sisters,
approached the Forest Service about the possibility of selling their
holdings at Livermore.
Low pulp prices and high operating costs made
the mill operation impossible. The Town taxes were also becoming an
onerous burden to the sisters.
Pauline Gardner was the last birth
registered in the
Town of Livermore. Although they were residents of Harts Location and
the birth occured at Memorial Hospital in North Conway it is not clear why
the birth was recorded in Livermore.
Census counted 23 people
living at Livermore.
The mill is closed and deserted but the Town Store is still open.
August 15, 1931:
Livermore Post Office is closed
. Clinton Nash was the
Postmaster at this time.
died at Livermore. He had been a
resident of Livermore for 45 years.
The last families remaining
at Livermore were the Monohans,
Codys, Donahues, and Platts. A few individuals also remained, Murray,
MacDonald, Clinton Nash and Sidney White.
According to a letter from Ellsworth Morton (right column, this page)
Wayland Cook brought the last locomotive out of Livermore. Another source
says the last locomotive was sold by the U.S. Forest Service and removed in
A CCC camp
was established near the Sawyer River Station. The camp ceased
operation in October of 1937.
October 7, 1936:
After a lengthy transaction with the US Forest
Service, The Saunders sisters sold their 29,900 acres of land for $10 per
. The sisters retained about 12 acres and the right to utilize
their mansion until their deaths.
January 31, 1937: The Town Report for that year contained no operating
budget for the next year
. The Selectmans Report (Platt, Donahue,
) simply stated that the majority of the town had been taken by the
Federal Government and very little taxable property remained. The Town
would be officially unorganized.
The census this year shows 4 inhabitants,
Clinton Nash, Joseph
Platt, William MacDonald and a fouth unidentified person.
1941: The school house building
is used as a storage shed
for the Mt. Carrigain Fire look
August 1942: Annie Saunders
dies at age 84 of kidney dysfunction.
The Government auctions
at the sawmill, and a two story dwelling.
1946: Joe Platt
are the final inhabitants of Livermore,
acting as caretakers. Stories say they did not speak to one another.
While one had a car, he would not take the other into town with him for
groceries, made him walk. In this year Joe Platt burns down the old
as it had become a
The Forest Service sells the old
Locomotive. Some folks contend there are
still remnants of an old locomotive "half-buried" way up in the woods.
August 1949: Edith Saunders
dies at age 84 of cancer.
and Joe Platt
Livermore. Bill MacDonald buys
the house that is now "the main house"
at the Villager Motel. (There was no motel there at that time).
He lived there until his death in the mid 1950's. Platt
returned to his home town at Twin Mountain. Another account
that Bill MacDonald had moved to Bartlett in 1943 and became a
road worker for the Forest Service.
August 31, 1951:
The Town of Livermore was officially
and ceased to exist as an incorporated town.
The 12 acres of land
that had been retained by the Saunders
was conveyed to Clinton Nash.
According to Ellsworth Morton (letter right column, this page) he attended
an auction at Livermore. At that time Jim Clemons of Bartlett Village
purchased the contents of the post office, and perhaps the entire building.
Clinton Nash returned to
Livermore in the spring to find that the Forest Service had
all the furnishings in the mansion, despite the fact
that they didn't own it yet. Another story says that Nash held the
The mill and equipment is
dismantled and moved
to Bartlett Village, up on the left side of
Bear Notch Road, by another lumbering outfit that went bankrupt before they
could operate it as a mill. I am told it is still there, although I
don't recall ever seeing it.
1955: Homer Emery
purchases the School House
Much of the School house is now part of his home in Jericho
also purchased a large quantity of bricks, also used to build his home, from
Clinton Nash for 3 cents each. Mr. Nash and Homer became friends since
Homer had been one of the few people to ASK to take things from the
property...most people just drove in and took what they wanted.
is some question
as to whether Homer also bought the lot that the school
house occupied. The matter has never been pursued.
October 1963: Clinton Nash
sold his Livermore holdings to Robert and
of Conway for $2800, which was
substantially less than other offers he had received, but Nash
wanted a "local" person
to own it...not "someone from the outside".
At that time the mansion was still standing along with a two car garage and
a stable building. Mr Shackford built the little cabin
that is there
today from salvaging the other buildings.
April 1964: Clinton Nash
dies of heart failure.
experience continuing and horrific vandalism at
the Saunders Mansion and most of what folks didn't steal were
senselessly destroyed by "the hippies", After auctioning off what
folks would buy he burned the building.
Robert Shackford died.
Here is an interesting story we received by e-mail. It sounded like Mr. Morton would like us to share it with you:
Hi to all in Bartlett , From
Sanbornton I attended the Bartlett village school from 1947 to
1952. Lucille Garland
, rest her soul, would let me sleep
everyday after lunch. This went on until the Christmas Vacation
of first grade when my mother managed to adjust my sleeping
habits. I imagine there was more than a little embarrassment on
the part of my father Raymond who was the high school
Bert, my father would give me 5cents each day at noon
so I could go to your fathers store to buy The Boston
Post. The paper cost 3 cents and each day I was allowed to keep
the change. In later years my father called the two cents change
transportation charges. But it didn't end there. After I
had saved enough to do serious damage to the candy supply at the
store it all came back to Franklin George
. Oh what memories I
have of Bartlett . I remember getting in trouble at Newton
when I picked up an orange and put it in my
pocket. No one saw it happen, but my mother found it in my coat
and I was back to the store in a hurry with that orange. That
was about the time of the big Brinks robbery in Boston and I was
somehow headed for a big time career in crime in my mothers
mind. A .few years later Newton died in the house
that was behind the Bartlett Hotel. A Mr. Lane
lived in the
house and ran the hotel. His grandson is John Chandler
, a cousin
of Gene and nephew of Alice Davis
. I was invited to spend the
night there with John as he was up from Massachusetts to visit
for a few days. When bedtime came I was shown to a room upstairs
and was in bed when I made a remark about the huge four poster
bed. It was then that I was told that I was in the bed used by
. I only vaguely remember going down the
stairs, but I was headed home in my night clothes.I could tell
my memories for several pages, but I thought you might get a
laugh about some contemporary Bartlett history.
My main purpose
in this Email is to correct some mis-information written by a
Jeremy Saxe with regard to Livermore and the Sawyer River
.According to the account in your website which is the
same as the account on abandoned railroads.com, the village of
Livermore was wiped off the face of the earth starting in 1935
and completed two years later. Now we know that is not true,
because I remember going there as a kid with my Dad to fish in
the river and looking into the house owned by the Saunders
. We went to an auction there I believe in 1952.
bought a lot of stuff including the interior of the Post
Office .Maybe he bought the whole building. At the time of the
auction there were two men who lived in Livermore . They did not
speak to each other so the story went. The NH Legislature voted
to allow the town to revert to a status whereby it no longer existed as
a legal entity in 1952. I dont write to be a nit picker
rather to set the record straight. Soon the people who remember
Livermore will be gone and misinformation will become reality
Do you remember Fred Washburn?
He lived up
the road about halfway between Franklins store and the
crossing. He worked for the railroad and was also a plumber
around the village. I remember
who was my
neighbor, telling me when I was an adult that Fred brought the
last locomotive out of Livermore . The year was about 1936 which
fits the timeline of the Federal takeover
Thanks for taking the
time to hear me out. Time to get ready for that storm coming
PS: I inadvertently used the name
of Newton Howard
when I should have used
as the man
who owned the store and the Bartlett Hotel. It did not seem
right to me at the time but overnight I figured out my mistake.
I believe Newton was a son or nephew of G.K.