Marking History: Meetinghouse And Hearse House In Fremont

Dec 19, 2013

Built in 1800, the Meetinghouse in Fremont was used for both town and church meetings.

The nearby Hearse House was built in 1849.

As part of our occasional series Marking History, NHPR’s Michael Brindley visits the historical marker in Fremont commemorating both buildings and talks with a local historian about what makes them unique.

Thomas discusses the slave pew located in the northeast corner of the second-floor gallery.

Fremont has four other historical markers, including two about famous riots.

Thomas tells the story behind each of them:

The Mast Tree Riot of 1734

Local lumbermen illegally cut Mast Trees reserved for the King's Royal Navy. When David Dunbar, Surveyor General, visited nearby Copyhold Mill to inspect fallen lumber, local citizens assembled, discharging firearms and convinced Dunbar to leave. Returning with 10 men, Dunbar's group was attacked and dispersed at a local tavern by citizens disguised as "Indians."

The Civil War Riot of 1861

In 1928, the Exeter News-Letter printed an eye-witness account of Fremont's July 4, 1861 Civil War riot, written by 77-year-old Alden F. Sanborn. After Fremont's loyal citizens raised a 150-foot 'liberty pole' at nearby Liberty Square and had run up the Union flag, a southern sympathizer moved to put a bullet through it. Someone immediately moved to put a bullet through that man. (A small riot ensued) which was then squelched with the aid of the brave boys in blue, one of whom remarked "If we were going to fight the rebels...we had as soon commence here as anywhere."

John Brown Family - Gunsmiths

Around 1845, John Brown of Poplin, now Fremont, built this gun shop, and with sons Andrew and Freeman spend 62 years producing fine target and hunting rifles, shotguns, and pistols. During the Civil War these prominent gunsmiths made firearms for the U.S. government, and in 1861 their gun shop served as a recruiting office for enlisting Union sharpshooters.

Spaulding & Frost Cooperage

The Cooperage was founded here in 1874 by Jonas Spaulding, Jr. After his death in 1900 his sons, two of whom became New Hampshire governors, served as company officers. Stephen Frost, who bought into the firm in 1893, served as manager. Rebuilt after devastating fires in 1921 and 1973, the Spaulding and Frost Cooperage is now the oldest white pine cooperage in the United States.