Chester’s progress

Downers panther killed in 1867 as mentioned in the journal. Ron Patch photo.

Below is from an old Chester journal, author unknown. I add information to a few entries.

“Dec. 1, 1850. My old book being full, I this day commence defacing the fair pages of this journal. I would that our lives and actions might henceforth be as pure and unspotted as its leaves. May this book be a journal which shall record the deeds of an active and useful life. May no day be spent in vain or in useless employment, no day idled away. But may I be enabled at the close of each successive day to record deeds of usefulness and industry worthy the character of an honest and laboring man.

May 20, 1851. Let John Green the job to take down the old marble mill and put up a building 100 ft. by 36 ft. wide, for our tannery. It is to be 2 stories high and he to put up the frame and cover the outside with boards, shingles and clapboards, also lay the floor to the second story. He is to find everything excepting what he can save from the old building and we are to pay him $387.50 at any rate and $400, if he says so, when he finishes the job.

May 26, 1851. Took Charley and the two yr. old colt down to Winslow Sawyer’s pasture. 10c per week for keeping the 2 yr. old, 12 1/2c for Charley.

May 30, 1851. Paid Elder Sargeant $5 for 5 days work.

Rear of panther photo showing statistics. Ron Patch photo.

June 8 1851. The Freewill Baptists held a quarterly meeting. We all attended.

Feb. 29, 1852. John Solger has chopped up my wood pile, 29 ¼ cords at 20c a cord, and I paid him for four days chopping in woods 50c per day.

Mar. 10, 1852. A. Adams came into store as clerk. Pay him $220 for one year.

Aug. 17, 1852. Constable Slack seized a bbl. of liquor of Benj. A.—in under the Maine law. May it all be seized and poured out on to the ground, a more proper receptacle for it than the human stomach.

Aug. 9, 1855. Size of bear skin caught by M. Muldoon, length 6 ft. 4 in., width 4 ft. 7 in., wt. of bear 400 lbs.

Jan. 31, 1867. A large panther was killed near Downers in Weathersfield today. [See photo with this article.]

Jan 1, 1880. Have not had over an inch of snow yet. Thermometer has not been below 6 degrees above zero. Very smooth fine wheeling. Ground slightly frozen. [Very fine wheeling requires explanation. Riding in a buggy or wagon on snow covered roads was nearly impossible, so sleighs with runners were used. Travelling on wheels this time of year was notable.]

June 7, 1880. J.E. Pollard went to work in N.O. Johnson’s clothing store.

Jan 13, 1887. Sleighride from Bellows Falls, 42 couples.

June 5, 1888. Big fire this morning; burned Hotel, Pollard’s Store, Drug Store, Lee’s Store, Livery Stable, etc. (Lee’s store was a large two-story building where the Masonic Hall is today.)

May 2, 1890. National Bank directors met and chose B.A. Park, Cashier; F.P. Mather, Pres.; J.E. Pollard, V-Pres.

Oct. 27, 1890. Commenced work on new Hotel.

Feb. 24, 1892. I married Will A. Hart and Mrs. Janett Tarble. The first couple I ever married.

Apr. 11, 1892. Fred Rowell took charge of the Hotel.

Jan. 13, 1898. Thunder shower last night. The ice went out of the river. [The ice going out was welcome news. As winter progressed river ice got thicker, sometimes flooding when it broke loose. An ice jam just above Cobleigh Street would let go, releasing a torrent of ice and water down behind the Hotel, over School Street and flood as far as Grafton Street. The ice going out Jan. 13 was a good sign that we might avoid a flood this spring.]

Feb. 12, 1898. Chester Hotel at the Depot burned this morning. [Today this is Salon 2000.]

Feb. 16, 1898. 16 inches of snow fell—worst storm in years—high winds.

Nov. 11, 1898. Concrete walks finished up through Main St.

Jan. 24, 1899. Work started on new wrapper factory.

Apr. 11, 1899. Ed. Jenkins, the milk man, came in on wheels for the first time since Thanksgiving; 138 days in succession on runners.

Apr. 12, 1899. Towns Hotel at Bellows Falls burned.

May 16, 1899. W.S. Pollard commenced digging cellar for his house.” [This is the Charthouse on Main Street.]


This week’s old saying was a plumber’s ad: “Don’t sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.”

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