• The Trivia Challenge will present historical questions pertaining to Salisbury directly or indirectly, each month in Lifelines, the Salisbury area monthly newsletter.
  • Just as the newsletter reaches everyone’s mailboxes, in depth answers will be posted here on the website for that month’s Trivia Challenge.
  • Often the questions and material will not be trivial in nature though we chose to use the phrase “Trivia Challenge” for simplicity, to catch your eye and challenge your own knowledge of local history and for ease of navigation on the website. We hope you will think the questions challenging and intriguing and find the answers interesting.
  • Parents and Educators: Some topics may very well lend themselves to further research for school children’s projects and reports!
  • Do you have an interesting question and answer for the challenge? Let us know at

QUESTIONS BY MONTH, recent to oldest:



Daniel Webster was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire on January 18, 1782 so why is his birthplace located in Franklin, New Hampshire?

Daniel Webster Birthplace, State Park, Franklin New Hampshire, photo courtesy Wikipedia

Daniel Webster was born in Salisbury at a time when Salisbury extended from  Kearsarge Mountain to the Merrimack River. The Merrimack River was formed from the the joining of the Pemigewassett and Winnipesaukee Rivers on Salisbury’s north/eastern edge. 
Beginning in the early 1800’s, in this area where the 2 big rivers flow and join, mills sprung up harnessing the power of the rushing water. 
Prosperous businessmen and mill owners felt inclined to have their tax dollars stay “local” rather than be payed to the towns of  Salisbury, Andover, Northfield or Sanbornton, headquartered several miles off. They felt it was in their best interests and appropriate to create a separate town of their own.  In 1828 Franklin was created from parts of these four towns.   
In Salisbury’s case about 1/4 of the town went into Franklin and Salisbury found itself with a jagged border on its eastern side, drawn to include the birthplace of Daniel Webster into the new town of Franklin. 
Thus The Daniel Webster Birthplace though once in Salisbury actually is now located in the City of Franklin. 




It was 1843 and a group of people in Salisbury sold their property at merely nominal prices, closed their shops and their farm crops remained unharvested. Why?

They were “Millerites”.
Information below is from:
Millerites were disciples of William Miller. Miller, a farmer from New York, claimed to have discovered when Jesus Christ would return to Earth as stated in the Bible. Miller reached this belief in the 1820s but did not begin to share it with other people until the 1830s. By the early 1840s, approximately one million people had attended camp meetings and heard Miller’s message. Perhaps ten percent of those people actually believed Miller.

Miller predicted that Christ’s second coming would occur in April 1843 and that all worthy people would ascend to heaven on October 23, 1844. Thousands of people across the United States, including in Ohio, eagerly anticipated the event. Numerous people forsook their original religious beliefs and adopted Millerism, hoping that Jesus Christ would find no fault with them upon his return to Earth. Millerites consisted of all types of people. Many working-class people hoped that Christ’s arrival would end their laborious lives. Other Americans believed that many people were sinners and that only the true believers, the Millerites, would escape punishment. God wanted the deserving to assist their unworthy neighbors through various reform movements, such as the temperance and abolition movements. Other people believed that citizens of the United States were God’s chosen people and that Jesus Christ’s arrival would prove this point.

As October 23, 1844 approached, some Millerites went so far as to sell their earthly possessions in preparation for the second coming of Christ. Many sources claim that the Millerites, dressed in white robes, climbed the highest mountains and hills that they could find so that they would be closer to heaven. Unfortunately for these people, they did not ascend to heaven on the appointed day. Miller claimed to have made an error and quickly issued a new date for the second coming, approximately six months later. Once again, this day came and went. In most cases, Miller’s followers abandoned him. In 1845, some of Miller’s followers joined the Adventist Church, which Miller helped establish. Adventists believe in the second coming of Christ, but they do not specify a day when this event will occur.




What was the first one room schoolhouse in Salisbury dated 1772 and how many after that date were there?


The location of the first known school in Salisbury was located on the top of  Searle’s Hill near the original location of the Meeting House (Congregational Church). It was constructed of logs and larger than 20 feet square. Seating was simply boards along the walls. 

The schoolhouses were constructed, deconstructed, replaced or renovated and our town borders changed as well, but it would seem from the History of Salisbury by John Dearborn there were about 15 one room schoolhouses built within what are now the current borders of Salisbury.

Several schools were built in the earliest days and then discontinued. After a time there were 14 school districts each with their own one room schoolhouse. For a more detailed explanation, link to oral history recollections, a link to a video by a neighboring Historical Society with an accurate reenactment of old one room schoolhouse days, and a link to images of our own schoolhouses please visit the following page on our website:

For more about the settlement on Searle’s Hill:



On Sept 6th 1881 a strange phenomena referred to as “Yellow Day”  occurred in Salisbury and elsewhere in New England and somewhat beyond. What was it?

ANSWER:    “September 6th 1881 was characterized as the “Yellow Day” and will be remembered as exhibiting some of the most beautiful phenomena ever witnessed. The day was warm, even sultry, and the rays of the sun were obstructed by a curtain of haze or smoke.The green of the grass and foliage of the trees and shrubbery was converted into blue, while the prevailing tint upon other objects was yellow.”

There is more detailed description of the unusual day and likely cause on the following link to a page on this website. Quoted from the History of Salisbury by John Dearborn



There are 6 questions for September to see how well you know Salisbury NH

Pick which name does not belong in each category.

QUESTION #1  Old Names for our town:  New Kingston, Stevenstown, Bakerstown

QUESTION #2  Names of Lanes:  Bacon Lane, Sawyer’s Lane, Lover’s Lane, Fellows Lane

QUESTION #3   Names of Roads/Streets:  Heath Road, Buckhorn Road, West Salisbury Road, Couchtown Road, Pettengill Road, Montgomery Road, Bog Road, Fourth Street, Dunlap Road, Robie Road

QUESTION #4  Names of Roads with “Hill” in them:  Little Hill Road, Calef Hill Road, Smith Hill Road, Oak Hill Road, Raccoon Hill Road, Beech Hill Road, Loverin Hill Road, Searle’s Hill Road

QUESTION #5  Names of Ponds:   Shaw’s Pond, Wilder’s Pond, Duck Pond, Stirrup Iron Pond, Tucker Pond, Beaver Pond, Sawyer’s Pond, Greenough’s Pond

QUESTION #6  Names of Brooks: Punch Brook, Loverin Brook, Cook Brook, Howe Brook, Frazier Brook, Willow Brook, Mill Brook, Stirrup Iron Brook, Bradley Brook, Beaverdam Brook


#1) Our town was never named New Kingston

#2) There is no Sawyers Lane. Lover’s Lane still exists but barely and as a walking path just NW of the Crossroads.

#3) Pettengill Road does not exist

#4) Smith Hill Road exists but it is within the borders of the city of Franklin

#5) There is no Sawyer’s Pond

#6) There is no Loverin Brook

AUGUST 2017 

There are 2 questions for August.

QUESTION #1: According to statistics calculated every 10 years records show that in 1790 the population of Salisbury was 1,372. Currently, give or take a few we are nearly at that point. Between then and now however the population dropped to 350. When was this?

QUESTION #2:  A tradition established in 1899, is one which we continue in August here in Salisbury. What is it and why was it established?

ANSWERS: In 1930 the population of Salisbury dropped to 350. 

The tradition which began in 1899, as the initiative of then Governor Frank Rollins, was to help restore closeness, unity, and bring prosperity back to the state of New Hampshire. It was called Old Home Week.

In our Museum there is a photo taken on Old Home Day in 1929. It shows over 215 people including mostly locals and some visitors! It is a very large number when one considers the town’s population at the time. It shows a great town spirit. 

Please check our page on this website to read more about the changes in population and Old Home Week/Day. 

Old Home Day


JULY 2017 

The question for July is similar to Junes. It is about the location of another lost Salisbury community:  

QUESTION: What is the hill that was nearly in the center of Salisbury at one time but no longer? CLUES: It once served as a signal warning site for Indians. At the top sat Salisbury’s earliest church frequented by the Websters whose Reverend once “chased the Devil”. It had a school nearby, cemetery on top, several residences up along its steep sides and on top, all gone now. It afforded a spectacular view of the countryside and was described as a beautiful site from below looking upwards as well. 

ANSWER:    Searle’s Hill

Please hit the link for a more in depth description and images.

JUNE 2017 

QUESTION:    What was the once thriving part of our town that had a small community with a school, church, post office, cemetery, farmable flat pasture land, a small sawmill at one time, running water, and several homesteads one of which had a beautiful large barn. Barely a trace of it exists now and why?

ANSWER: Smith’s Corner     Smith’s Corner is in an area of our town which exists inside today’s “flood plain”. It is located along the old south range road in the westerly part of our town before Tucker Pond on the way to Warner. Though it is an unpopulated rural location, there is very little evidence today at Smith’s Corner of the little village that existed there in times before the 1940’s. Please hit the link for a more in depth description and images. 

MAY  2017

QUESTION: May will again bring the flying of the 12 historical flags at the Crossroads area and at Salisbury Heights.

The Trivia Challenge question for May is regarding several American Revolutionary War era flags in particular:  Why does the rattlesnake appear on some flags and why are the British Union Jack and the Continental stripes together on a flag?


  • The Rattlesnake was the favorite animal emblem of the Americans even before the Revolution. In 1751 Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette carried a bitter article protesting the British practice of sending convicts to America. The author suggested that the colonists return the favor by shipping “a cargo of rattlesnakes, which could be distributed in St. James Park, Spring Garden, and other places of pleasure, and particularly in the noblemen’s gardens.”
  • Three years later the same paper printed the image in order to encourage the settlers in this new country to band together in unity to resist the French and Indian assaults. To remind the delegates of the danger of disunity, the serpent was shown cut to pieces. Each segment is marked with the name of some colonies, the Maritimes (Canadian) and colony of Georgia for some reason are not included. New england is one segment.   Other newspapers took up the snake theme.
  • The image again was used extensively during the Revolutionary War era. 
  • This Continental or Grand Union Flag was displayed over the camp of Washington’s militia in Boston. It shows the English Cross of St. George and the Scottish Cross of St. Andrew. There are 13 stripes representing the 13 colonies in place at the time. The Flag design evolves from the flag of the mother country and includes the rebellious colonies.

For more on Rattlesnakes, The Grand Union Continental Flag and the story behind the other Historic Flags flying in Salisbury during the season please visit our page on this website:


APRIL 2017

QUESTION #1:  What is a Freshet?

ANSWER #1: A freshet is an older term that often referred to spring thaws that might also combine with rain creating swollen streams and rivers. It can also be used to mean floods in general. See on our site: Wicked Weather

QUESTION #2:   What is a Tub Wheel?

ANSWER #2: A tub wheel is a very old invention that was used to harness the flow of water by way of gears and shafts. It was a commonly used device in mills in early New England. See on our site: The Power of Water 

(Thank you Brian Clough of Sanborn Mills for explaining and showing me how Tub Wheels actually work)

Curious about our town mills and past commercial ventures by our enterprising past residents? See on our site: Commerce and Industries

MARCH  2017

QUESTION: Who were the “Wild Irish?

ANSWER: Some of the earliest settlers in our area were the Maloon family who moved from a remote corner of Boscawen (now Webster) into the uncharted lands of Stevenstown (Salisbury) in about 1742. They lived above the corn fields on the Blackwater next to the Millstream where good clean running water was available year round. The Maloons were of Irish extraction and fall into a category know as the “wild Irish” who, unlike the Londonderry settlers,  preferred to remain outside the settlements. There were several Irish families like this scattered through the Merrimack valley that may have been a remnant population of freed Irish slaves whose freedom came after the restoration of the English monarchy in 1661. Just to note briefly, the use of slaves prior to 1660 was mostly taken from other British provincial peoples – the Irish, Scots and Welch.  -From the scholarly work of historian David Smith >

Burial site of the Maloons: They were  buried in the Smith/Bean Graveyard which was moved during the construction of the Blackwater Dam Project in the 1940’s. The graves from that cemetery are located in their designated section in the Maplewood Cemetery complex on route 4 however there is not stone with their name. This section is regarded as full and it is assumed that the section that has no stones may contain the remains of these earliest settlers or those buried without stones in the Smith/Bean graveyard. 

FEB  2017

QUESTION: What are the “Love Letters ” in the Salisbury Historical Society archives?

ANSWER:In the late 1850’s there was a gentleman by the name of Edwin Delancey, formerly of New York but then residing in Grass Valley California, who went west to take part in the Gold Rush. He wrote a series of heartfelt letters to Esther Dimond of the Dimond Family of Concord and Salisbury.  Earlier in 1844  a brother of Ester Dimond went off to California (never to be heard from by his east coast family) and perhaps Mr. Delancey made a connection through him to the Dimond family of New Hampshire but that is unknown. Esther and Mr. Delancey never met as far as we know. There are many unknowns in this story.  His letters to her are most interesting not only as “Love Letters’ but as a reflection of the times in California, his own deep reflections on life and what we might call today “an elaborate style of writing”. Perhaps with the publication of these letters on this site we will evoke responses from those who may know more about this relationship and these people.  His letters are listed in the Correspondence Index and can be read individually by clicking on the links located on that page. Unfortunately, we do not have Esther Dimond’s responding letters to Mr. Delancey.

Thank you to those who may have helped in transcribing the Love Letters and a very special Thank You to Karen Sheldon for all her many hours of transcription work and additional research on this.


QUESTION: What did the early settlers do to remove snow?

ANSWER: For many decades, they rolled it rather than remove or plow it.

Matt Soniak of Mental Floss writes:

“ON A ROLL:  For a good stretch of American history, getting rid of snow was of no great concern. In fact, people actually wanted it around. While this might blow the minds of modern Northeasterners and Midwesterners, keep in mind that these were the days of the horse-drawn vehicle, not the Prius. To improve travel in winter conditions, horse carts and coaches traded their wheels in for ski-like runners. With those things on, the more packed snow on the roads, the better! Historian and weather geek Eric Sloane wrote that, in the 18th and 19th centuries, “snow was never a threat” to road travel, “but rather it was an asset.”

To keep roads in optimal snowy condition, many municipalities employed a “snow warden” to pack and flatten the snow with a crude vehicle called a snow roller—essentially a giant, wide wheel weighed down with rocks and pulled by oxen or horses. A far cry from the winter road work we see today, it was more like maintaining a ski slope or smoothing out an ice rink. Stranger still, snow wardens actually had to install snow on the pathways of covered bridges so that travel would not be interrupted”.

The following page on our website has more information and images:


QUESTION#1:  How did the Puritans and early settlers celebrate Christmas?

ANSWER #1: They didn’t. The Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were strict Puritans, with firm views on religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Scripture did not name any holiday except the Sabbath, they argued, and the very concept of “holy days” implied that some days were not holy. “They for whom all days are holy can have no holiday,” was a common Puritan maxim. Puritans were particularly contemptuous of Christmas, nicknaming it “Foolstide” and banning their flock from any celebration of it throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. For more information on our website:

(Thank you to Paul Laraia for the question and info leads)

QUESTION#2: Who was Sal S. Bury and what did he have to do with the town of Salisbury’s Christmas decorations?

ANSWER #2: Sal. S. Bury was a large Pumpkin!sal-s-bury   Sal S. Bury came to Salisbury for the first time in 1996.  He was raffled as part of a fundraiser to purchase our town’s Christmas decorations and spring bulbs.  In 1996 a town large wide fund raising venture was underway. For more information, showing the original poster and information on the wonderful town wide effort visit on our website:

 (Thank you to Mary Philips for the question and Margaret Warren and Kathy Downes for the info)

NOVEMBER 2016     Two Trivia Questions relating to the 1940’s 
QUESTION#1: What do ladies in West Salisbury and knitting mittens have to do with Hitler?
ANSWER #1: In 1940 a Mrs. Latham started a knitting circle in a store front in New York City. Knitted goods, socks, mittens, gloves, hats, sweaters and scarves were made and shipped to Great Britain where the people were suffering greatly from from the bombing raids of Adolf Hitler. Her organization grew and was called Bundles for Britain and had 975 branches and almost a million contributors. Here in West Salisbury there was a kitting circle as well of local woman who contributed their time and talents to knit for the besieged people of England. Among them was a Mrs. Gerald Lively whose sister, Miss Ada B.Teetgen,  was a “fire spotter” in Kent England. Miss Teetgen’s task was to watch for invading enemy planes dropping fire bombs on England. She was a civilian volunteer as were many, trying to save her country from Adolf Hitler.
Her most amazing letter is available to read on our website:
(Thank you to Mary Philips for the question and guidance in the archives)
QUESTION#2: The school children attending Salisbury’s little school house at the Heights were sent into Salisbury’s fields to collect Milkweed pods during WW2. Why was that?
ANSWER #2: A letter in the Salisbury Historical Society’s archives by Ed Coyne sparked interest in the Milkweed story.
During WW2 the Japanese cut off supply routes to the Dutch West Indies. A main export  from this area to the United States was Kapok floss made from the Kapok tree’s seed fluff. It was a favored ingredient in lifejacket stuffing and urgently needed to save the lives of American sailors during the war. As a substitute, the Navy turned to Milkweed silk to stuff life jackets. Milkweed strands are hollow and coated with a waterproof waxlike substance. The government encouraged farmers to plant Milkweed. Children nationwide were often paid to fill onion bags or burlap sacks with pods collected from roadsides and fields at 20 cents a sack.  A local resident recalled recently how during his childhood around the late 1950’s the sky would be filled with butterflies attracted to a particular remaining milkweed field on Whittemore Road, Salisbury. 
An excerpt form Ed Coyne’s writings pertaining to Milkweed collection is available to read on our website:
Photo of children in nationwide effort.
Children were recruited for pod picking. (Courtesy of Milne Special Collections and Archives Department, University of New Hampshire Library)
(Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia)
(Thank you to Mary Philips for the question and guidance in the archives)