Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Fort at No. 4

Having taught Maryland history to 4th graders for many years and visiting the site of the first Maryland settlement founded in 1632, I've realized that New Hampshire is a much younger European settlement.

The Fort at No. 4 in Charleston, NH was established by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1735 along with 3 other settlements along the east side of the Connecticut River. It wasn't until 1740 when one of the first persons to purchase shares of the town came to settle. By 1743 there were 10 families owning shares of this the most north western British settlement, thirty miles from the nearest town.

There was a lot of danger living out in this wilderness, especially with England and France not on good terms. French settlements were to the north in what is now Quebec and alliances made with native peoples brought war to these settlers. There was fighting in 1746, 1747, 1749, 1753, and 1754 when killing changed to taking captives for ransom.

The fort was actually a fortified village of 6 houses.  It was surrounded by a pike stockade with gaps between the pikes. 

So why the gaps? Apparently at Deerfield, MA the stockade had no gaps and when it snowed the snow piled up.  Enemies could climb over the stockade when the drifts were high. Gaps prevents the snow from creating drifts.

We visited a re-creation of the Fort on Sunday, September 27th when a Revolutionary War re-enactment was taking place. During that war Charlestown was an assembly point for troops and troops involved with the Battle for Bennington marched from here.

Views from the watchtower that we climbed.

The Connecticut River is just visible on the right side.  That hill is in Vermont.

I learned the difference between the musket, shown above and the flintlock rifles used in Colonial times. Flintlock was more expensive to purchase but easier to ignite the charge. In Colonial militias each man in the community had to have a rifle to help defend the settlement.  See the armor in the background?  A re-creation of the outfit a soldier in the Plymouth Colony would have had.  Those hanging cylinders contained the charges needed for one shot from your flintlock.

Below these re-enactors are holding flintlocks.

These historical markers were in town.

The original fort stood west of Main Street in present day Charleston though the exact location has been lost to history.

We enjoyed our visit on Sunday morning, arriving at the Fort as it first opened at 11.  The local fire department offered lunch items for sale so we purchased and ate at a nice picnic spot right there. Since there was still much of the day left we drove on to see President Coolidge's boyhood home in Plymouth Notch, VT.  A post on that will show up soon.