Rochester View of Market Street

 This illustration comes from the History of the Town of Rochester New Hampshire, From 1722-1890 by Franklin McDuffee, A.M. edited and revised by Silvanus Hayward. In two Volumes.-- Vol. I., Manchester, The John B. Clarke Co., Printers. ©1892. Page 8.


  and from the same book pages 9-12
transcribed by C Parziale

          Rochester is situated on the 71st meridian west of Greenwich. The village is about one mile east of this meridian, and in latitude 43° 18’ north. The town is approximately a trapezoid containing about 52,000 acres, with its diagonals extending nearly ten miles north and south, and a little over eight miles east and west. Its northeastern boundary is the state line on the east bank of the Salmon Falls river which separates Rochester from Lebanon and Berwick in Maine. On the southeast it is bounded by Somersworth and Dover, on the southwest by Barrington and Strafford, and on the northwest by Farmington, touching Milton for a short distance between Farmington and the river.
        Of natural ponds or lakes Rochester is almost entirely destitute. The line between Rochester and Farmington crosses Ricker’s pond near its center; and a small portion of Round pond extends over Barrington line. "Little Long pond" also crosses the same line about half a mile farther east. The Salmon falls river flows along the northeastern side, and the Cocheco river crosses the town towards the southeast from Farmington to Dover. Isinglass river (probably named from the mica in its bed or along its banks) loops into Rochester from Barrington, making a large ox-bow, where it is crossed by the Nashua & Rochester railroad; then returning to Barrington it bends back again across the line and enters the Cocheco near where Rochester corners on Dover. Owing to the level surface of the town the brooks are few and of little importance. The principal ones are Robert’s brook, flowing from Ricker’s pond; Berry’s brook, which supplies the reservoir recently built; Willow brook and Heath brook.
        Bowlders are not unfrequent, but none of remarkable size have been observed. Coarse glacial drift and finer modified drift deposited by rivers of the Champlain period, cover most of the town, forming extensive plains which obscure the underlying rock. These plains extending for eight miles along the Cocheco, are in many places, as especially at Gonic, underlaid by clay. Their height at Rochester Village is two hundred and twenty-six feet, and at East Rochester and Gonic two hundred feet, above sea level. The river falls much more rapidly than the plains, so that it lies seventy-five feet below them in the south part of the town. There are five "lenticular hills" in Rochester. The finest of these is the one now owned by Walter S. Hussey.
        It rises with a very regularly rounded outline one hundred and fifty feet above the lowland or valleys which surround it on every side. Another of similar height but less typical in form, lies one mile southeast near Gonic Village. Two of these occur east of the Cocheco, being Haven hill crossed by the road to Great Falls, and Gonic hill a half mile south. The former is less steep and prominent than usual, but was shown by a well at its top to be composed of glacial drift at least forty feet deep.
        Dry hill lying near Barrington, and the range toward Farmington called chestnut hills, are probably the highest points in town, being a little over five hundred feet above sea level.
        The most important natural feature of the town is undoubtedly the peat bog already mentioned. A large portion of it lies between the village and the first crossing of the Great Falls & Conway railroad. The greatest depth found in building that road was a little over twenty feet. East of the railroad there are fifty or sixty acres more, varying in depth from five to fifteen feet. A few persons have used this peat for fuel with good success. It yields a large amount of light, dusty ashes which are found useful for polishing. The market value of these peat beds depends almost entirely on the price of coal. Largely through the exertions of Franklin McDuffee, the Strafford county Improved Peat Company was organized November 13, 1866, at the office of Nathaniel Wells, Esq., in Great Falls. The capital stock was one hundred thousand dollars, all owned by less than a dozen men. D.H. Buffum, A.A. Perkins, and Royal Eastman of Great Falls, E.G. Wallace of Rochester, and Jeremiah Evarts of Boston were chosen directors; and Franklin McDuffee treasurer and clerk. The company was not designed for stock speculation but for business, fully intending to enter upon the work the following spring, but so great a fall in the price of coal intervened that they were compelled to abandon the enterprise. The land is still owned by these men and their successors.
        Evidently Rochester has superior natural advantages for manufacturing. With the Cocheco flowing diagonally through the town, and the Salmon Falls forming its eastern boundary, our water privileges are rarely surpassed. Its location also necessarily makes it a railroad center. It is not possible that our great advantages should fail to excite a sure and continual growth in manufacturing pursuits.
        The soil of Rochester is largely sandy or slaty, and not favorable for the highest agricultural success. In some parts, however, it yields good crops. The plains are easily tilled, and, with a large supply of dressing frequently renewed, will well repay the diligent farmer. The soil is specially favorable for pines. White Pines, pitch pines, and Norway pines have always abounded. These with several varieties of oak, hemlocks, chestnuts, birches, maples, and larches are the principal trees. Shrubs and smaller plants are such as are usually found in the light soils where pine and white oak prevail.
        Formerly, here as elsewhere, wild animals were numberous. Wolves, bears, deer, and moose fed or annoyed the early settlers, and busy beavers built their curious dwellings along the streams. They are now only traditions of the remote past. The level country affording no rocky hiding-places, these larger wild beasts were sooner exterminated here than in many other places. The forests also being early cleared away, no shelter is left even for the larger birds. For the same reason, foxes and raccoons are fewer than in most New Hampshire towns. Mr. William N. Hastings, who has made a special study of microscopic objects, has found diatoms of forms apparently somewhat rare, such as are assigned by other investigators to distant localities only. On the whole, it must be said that neither the fauna nor the flora of Rochester presents any remarkable features.



A Description From 1817
From The Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire (in three parts), compiled from the best authorities, by Eliphalet Merrill and the Late Phinehas Merrill, Esq.,Printed by C. Norris & Co. , Exeter, NH, ©1817,
Part Two of Gazetteer: (pages 188-189)
transcribed by C Parziale

ROCHESTER - in Strafford county, was incorporated in 1722, and contains 2,118 inhabitants; bounded N.E. by Salmon fall river, which divides it from Lebanon, (in Maine), S.E. by Somersworth and Dover, S.W. by Barrington, and N.W. by Farmington and Milton, comprising 26,609 acres. Cochecho river flows through this town from N. To S. and receives Isinglass river near Dover line.
        Near the centre of the town is a village called Norway plains, containing a meeting house, a court house, about 40 dwelling houses, and several stores. There are also in this town 4 grain mills, 4 saw mills 2 carding machines, and a cotton factory.
        One term of the district court of common pleas is held here annually.
        Rev. Amos Maine was ordained in this town in 1737. His successors have been Rev. Messrs. Hill, Hall, and Haven the latter of whom is the present pastor.
        In 1746 and in 1747, the Indians made excursions against this town in small parties, committing many depredations and some murders.