Monadnock Moments No. 67: Nathaniel Belknap of Dublin
Nathaniel Belknap was one or the early settlers of Dublin, New Hampshire. His trials and tribulations in 18th century Cheshire County give us a good idea of the hardships endured by the early residents of the region.
Belknap moved to Dublin from Framingham, Massachusetts in 1774 when he was twenty-six years of age. A few years later he spent six months in the service during the Revolutionary War, during which time he was forced to leave his wife at home with two children under the age of three and a farm to care for. The wages for his six months of service amounted to some $210, the value of which can be judged from the fact that, while on his way home, Belknap paid $50 for a pair of snowshoes, $25 for a meal, and $5 for a glass of brandy.
After the war the Belknap’s raised a flock of eight sheep and happily anticipated the warm woolens that they would provide. Upon awaking one morning, however, Belknap found that wolves had killed all of his sheep and his dog. After rebuilding the flock to thirteen, another wolf attack claimed eleven of the sheep.
To hold his crops Belknap erected a large barn. In October of 1788 lightning struck the barn, burning it to the ground and destroying the family’s hay, grain, potatoes and farming tools. Shortly thereafter, Belknap’s wife Hannah passed away and he was left with seven young children to care for.
Despite continual discouragements, Belknap stayed on his farm, soon remarried, and raised a family of ten children. Nathaniel Belknap passed away in Dublin in 1826 at the age of seventy-eight. His gravestone reads, “He had been an inhabitant of Dublin 52 years.”