A Timeline of Livermore
1864 to 1965
1864: An In-Law of the Saunders', Nicholas G. Norcross, who was known as The New England Timber King, had been very active in deepening and widening the Pemigewasset and Merrimack Rivers to make them suitable for floating timber to his mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. He purchased 80,000 acres of land then known as Elkins Grant, which would later become Livermore. Upon the death of Mr Norcross, the Saunders brothers, (Daniel, Charles and Caleb) successfully obtained the rights to Elkins grant and created the Sawyer River Enterprise. 80,000 acres of land is an area about 10 miles long and 12 miles wide. I have found little documentation about exactly who Mr Norcross bought this acreage from, although Jasper Elkins acquired the land through an act of the N.H. Legislature in 1830, so presumably it would have been from Mr. Elkins or his estate.
JULY 7,1874: Daniel Saunders at age 52, and his brother Charles, age 50 in 1874, Nathan Weeks, William Russell and Caleb Saunders Incorporated the Grafton County Lumber Company and work began on access roads along the Sawyer River.
1875: The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad completed its route through Crawford Notch, thereby opening up the Sawyer River area for egress in and out. Entrepenorial minds immediately went to work and the Saunders Family saw an opportunity.
JULY 2, 1875 the State Legislature approved an act to Incorporate the Sawyer River Railroad,
1876: The first mill was completed...and burned in the same year. Another mill was immediately constructed and it's cost was listed at $150,000.
JULY 11, 1876: The Town of Livermore is Incorporated by the State of New Hampshire. The Town holds its first meeting with Benjamin Akers, John Tewksbury and Charles Saunders officiating.
1877: The Saunders' begin laying the rails for the Sawyer River Railroad. The CW Saunders Locomotive had been purchased new the previous year from the Portland Company, Eastern Railroad. Originally about one and a half miles of track was installed, up to the mill site, but as time went on the Rail Line had about 9 miles of track laid into its vast holdings. (Off Site Link to Photos of Sawyer River Railroad. Opens in new window)
SEPTEMBER 1878: The first marriage was recorded in the Town of Livermore between Elden Boynton and Julia Lucy.
1878: Rapid Growth; The N.H. Business Registry claims 48 residents in 1878 and 200 residents in the following year. An increase of 200% ! Four children were born in Livermore during this time period.
1880: The census for that year shows 103 people living in 18 separate buildings, consisting of men, women and children. The town was very family oriented with one third of the population being children. Occupations included millworkers, watchman, laborers, teamsters, blacksmiths, two coal dealers and three engineers. In this year the Livermore Mill operation reported a net income of $12,400 or 28% of gross receipts.
1880: This year also marked a smallpox epidemic that swept through the area resulting in the death of 6 townspeople. These 6 people were buried in the nearby woods and a stone monument records the spot. Another story tells of as many as 40 people being buried in this spot. Some were buried while still alive, although in a comatose state.
1881: The Village was granted a Post Office with William G. Hull appointed Postmaster.
APRIL 1881: The land dispute between Saunders and Bartlett Land and Lumber Company is argued in the United States Supreme Court. Saunders and Abbott argue the case. Read the case.
1885: The town lists one school with 28 students attending. The school is valued at $151.00. The annual school budget was about $145.00. The school later (1924) went on to be "the best school in the State", thanks to Mr Saunders efforts. it had not only electricity and heat, but typewriters, movie projectors and the education many received there was the equivalent of college level courses.
1886: Saunders sells a portion of their holdings to The New Hampshire Land Company with George P. James as its President. This tract was located "on the other side of Mt. Carrigain" on the Pemigewassett River.
1890: The Saunders name disappears from the Town records that indicate ownership of the various enterprises and is replaced with George P. James, who had been previously listed along with the Saunders names. At this time the name Livermore Mills begins usage and we are to assume that ownership of the mill had changed to Mr James.
MAY 22 1891: Charles Saunders dies in Lowell at the age of 67. Daniel and Daniel's son, Charles G. Saunders continue overseeing the Livermore operations.
1895: The Postmaster William Hull relocates to his home town of Plymouth and is replaced by G.S. Payne. Mr Payne was also a Selectman, Tax Collector and Town Clerk at various times. He was to die in 1911.
1895: George P. James sells his Livermore interests back to C.G. Saunders.
1898: Telephone service comes to livermore. George Staples is the Telephone agent in Livermore.
1900: The census for this year shows a population of 191, however the proportion of children was substantially reduced from the previous census.
1901: Through out the 1880's and 1890's there was constant legal action between the abutting property owners and in 1901 these disputes finally ended with more than half of Livermore being annexed to Lincoln by an act of the State Legislature.
1906: Ownership in Livermore was distributed among six primary owners, Publishers Paper Co, International Paper Co, The estate of George H. Morey and one Estella L. Lancaster. However, Livermore Mills remained the largest single owner. The Saunders heirs also owned property.
1910: Census showed 64 individuals in 11 separate households. The proportion of children had greatly increased since the 1900 census and it appeared there were fewer single individuals present.
1910: The fire tower atop Mt. Carrigain was constructed, although little more than an open platform. It had a cabin for the watchman and a telephone line down to Livermore. It was amongst the first fire towers in the State. It was listed as inactive in 1948. (Off-site link to Fire Tower Photos)
1911: The Weeks Act authorized the Federal Government to purchase private lands for the purpose of preservation.
1912: C.G. Saunders, Daniels Son, mortgages Livermore Mills to Gideon M. Sutherland. The three Saunders sisters re-purchased the mortgage and mill in 1919, the same year it was destroyed by fire.
1912: Daniel Saunders is 91 years old and still a presence at Livermore,
1914: The valuation of Livermore acreage and buildings is 470,000. ($1.00 in 1914 is the equivalent of $10.50 in 2009 dollars, so to put that number in perspective the 2009 equivalent would be nearly five million dollars.)
APRIL 19, 1917: Daniel Saunders dies in Lowell at the age of 95
FEB 19, 1918: Daniels Son, C.G. Saunders dies at age 70 in Boston of a heart attack. Charles willed nearly his entire estate to his three sisters, Annie, Mary and Edith Saunders. The responsibility of running the mill and acreage passed to one Clinton I. Nash. Nash was an officer for the Saunders interests from 1902 to 1936. His name however does not appear on any town census until 1920, nor did he have any previous experience running a lumber mill.
1919: Livermore Mills is completely destroyed by fire.
1920: Census counted 98 people. 65 of these lived in 12 households in the Village and the rest lived out in the logging camps. Of the population of 98 only 8 of them had been at Livermore ten years prior.
1920: The C.W. Saunders Locomotive left the tracks and fell into the Sawyer River, thus ending it's usefullness. It was replaced with "Peggy", a Baldwin built Locomotive, and was purchased from the Henry Lumber Company which operated in the Zealand area.
1920-26: Management of the mills slowly deteriorates without the Saunders influence and economic hardships and unexpected disasters contribute to its six year decline. In addition to the costly replacement of the mill, the Locomotive also had to be replaced. It has been said that Clinton Nash was not a "Lumber kind of guy"; Some folks wondered why he had even been put in charge of an operation he seemed to know so little about. In some readings Nash is referred to as an "agent of the Saunders Sisters" who also knew very little of the lumber business. Nash however had been employed by Saunders since 1902 and was also a personal friend of the Saunders. Perhaps the Sisters chose him to represent their interests only because he was a trusted friend.
1922: The mill rebuilding which started in 1920 was completed.
1924: A new school was completed and furnished at a cost of $3323, which would be $350,000 in 2009 dollars. There were two teachers for the 20 or so students in attendance. This tends to support the claim that Livermore had one of the best schools in the State.
NOVEMBER 1927: A massive flood causes serious damage to both the mill and a good portion of the railroad bed is completely destroyed. The mill is never reopened after the flood. The railway closes completely in 1928.
JUNE 22, 1928: Big Jim Donahue dies in North Conway at age 60. He had been at Livermore since 1888 and served at one time or another Mill Manager, Postmaster, General Manager of the Town, Railroad Agent, Selectman and Town Clerk.
MAY 1929: Clinton Nash, acting on behalf of the Saunders sisters, approached the Forest Service about the possibility of selling their holdings at Livermore. Low pulp prices and high operating costs made the mill operation impossible. The Town taxes were also becoming an onerous burden to the sisters.
FEBRUARY 1930: Pauline Gardner was the last birth registered in the Town of Livermore. Although they were residents of Harts Location and the birth occured at Memorial Hospital in North Conway it is not clear why the birth was recorded in Livermore.
1930: Census counted 23 people living at Livermore. The mill is closed and deserted but the Town Store is still open.
AUGUST 15, 1931: Livermore Post Office is closed. Clinton Nash was the Postmaster at this time.
FEBRUARY 1934: John Monahan died at Livermore. He had been a resident of Livermore for 45 years.
1936: The last families remaining at Livermore were the Monohans, Codys, Donahues, and Platts. A few individuals also remained, Murray, MacDonald, Clinton Nash and Sidney White.
According to a letter from Ellsworth Morton (right column, this page) Wayland Cook brought the last locomotive out of Livermore. Another source says the last locomotive was sold by the U.S. Forest Service and removed in 1947.
APRIL 1936; A CCC camp was established near the Sawyer River Station. The camp ceased operation in October of 1937.
OCTOBER 7, 1936: After a lengthy transaction with the US Forest Service, The Saunders sisters sold their 29,900 acres of land for $10 per acre. The sisters retained about 12 acres and the right to utilize their mansion until their deaths.
JANUARY 31, 1937: The Town Report for that year contained no operating budget for the next year. The Selectmans Report (Platt, Donahue, MacDonald) simply stated that the majority of the town had been taken by the Federal Government and very little taxable property remained. The Town would be officially unorganized.
1940: The census this year shows 4 inhabitants, Clinton Nash, Joseph Platt, William MacDonald and a fouth unidentified person.
1941: The school house building is used as a storage shed for the Mt. Carrigain Fire look out tower.
AUGUST 1942: Annie Saunders dies at age 84 of kidney dysfunction.
SUMMER 1944; The Government auctions off the boarding house, equipment at the sawmill, and a two story dwelling.
1946: Joe Platt and Bill MacDonald are the final inhabitants of Livermore, acting as caretakers. Stories say they did not speak to one another. While one had a car, he would not take the other into town with him for groceries, made him walk. In this year Joe Platt burns down the old Blacksmith shop as it had become a public nuisance.
1947: The Forest Service sells the old Baldwin Locomotive. Some folks contend there are still remnants of an old locomotive "half-buried" way up in the woods.
AUGUST 1949: Edith Saunders dies at age 84 of cancer. Bill MacDonald and Joe Platt leave Livermore. Bill MacDonald buys the house that is now "the main house" at the Villager Motel. (There was no motel there at that time). He lived there until his death in the mid 1950's. Platt may have returned to his home town at Twin Mountain. Another account says that Bill MacDonald had moved to Bartlett in 1943 and became a road worker for the Forest Service.
AUGUST 31, 1951: The Town of Livermore was officially disenfranchised and ceased to exist as an incorporated town.
1951: The 12 acres of land that had been retained by the Saunders sisters was conveyed to Clinton Nash.
1952: According to Ellsworth Morton (letter right column, this page --->) he attended an auction at Livermore. At that time Jim Clemons of Bartlett Village purchased the contents of the post office, and perhaps the entire building.
1953: Clinton Nash returned to Livermore in the spring to find that the Forest Service had auctioned off all the furnishings in the mansion, despite the fact that they didn't own it yet. Another story says that Nash held the auction himself.
1953: The mill and equipment is dismantled and moved to Bartlett Village, up on the left side of Bear Notch Road, by another lumbering outfit that went bankrupt before they could operate it as a mill. I am told it is still there, although I don't recall ever seeing it.
1955: Homer Emery of Jericho purchases the School House for $79. Much of the School house is now part of his home in Jericho. Homer also purchased a large quantity of bricks, also used to build his home, from Clinton Nash for 3 cents each. Mr. Nash and Homer became friends since Homer had been one of the few people to ASK to take things from the property...most people just drove in and took what they wanted. There is some question as to whether Homer also bought the lot that the school house occupied. The matter has never been pursued.
OCTOBER 1963: Clinton Nash sold his Livermore holdings to Robert and Bessie Shackford of Conway for $2800, which was substantially less than other offers he had received, but Nash wanted a "local" person to own it...not "someone from the outside". At that time the mansion was still standing along with a two car garage and a stable building. Mr Shackford built the little cabin that is there today from salvaging the other buildings.
APRIL 1964: Clinton Nash dies of heart failure.
1965: The Shackfords experience continuing and horrific vandalism at the Saunders Mansion and most of what folks didn't steal were senselessly destroyed by "the hippies", After auctioning off what folks would buy he burned the building.
AUGUST 1992: Robert Shackford died.
Here is an interesting story we received sometime around 2014 by e-mail. It sounded like Mr. Morton would like us to share it with you:
Hi to all in Bartlett, From Sanbornton. I attended the Bartlett village school from 1947 to 1952. Lucille Garland, rest her soul, would let me sleep everyday after lunch. This went on until the Christmas Vacation of first grade when my mother managed to adjust my sleeping habits. I imagine there was more than a little embarrassment on the part of my father Raymond who was the high school principal.
A memory for Bert George: My father would give me 5cents each day at noon so I could go to your fathers store to buy The Boston Post. The paper cost 3 cents and each day I was allowed to keep the change. In later years my father called the two cents change transportation charges. But it didn't end there. After I had saved enough to do serious damage to the candy supply at the store it all came back to Franklin George. Oh what memories I have of Bartlett .
I remember getting in trouble at Newton Howards store when I picked up an orange and put it in my pocket. No one saw it happen, but my mother found it in my coat and I was back to the store in a hurry with that orange. That was about the time of the big Brinks robbery in Boston and I was somehow headed for a big time career in crime in my mothers mind.
A .few years later Newton died in the house that was behind the Bartlett Hotel. A Mr. Lane lived in the house and ran the hotel. His grandson is John Chandler, a cousin of Gene and nephew of Alice Davis. I was invited to spend the night there with John as he was up from Massachusetts to visit for a few days. When bedtime came I was shown to a room upstairs and was in bed when I made a remark about the huge four poster bed. It was then that I was told that I was in the bed used by Newton Howard. I only vaguely remember going down the stairs, but I was headed home in my night clothes.I could tell my memories for several pages, but I thought you might get a laugh about some contemporary Bartlett history.
My main purpose in this Email is to correct some mis-information written by a Jeremy Saxe with regard to Livermore and the Sawyer River Railroad. According to the account in your website which is the same as the account on abandoned railroads.com, the village of Livermore was wiped off the face of the earth starting in 1935 and completed two years later. Now we know that is not true, because I remember going there as a kid with my Dad to fish in the river and looking into the house owned by the Saunders family. We went to an auction there I believe in 1952. Jimmie Clemons bought a lot of stuff including the interior of the Post Office .Maybe he bought the whole building. At the time of the auction there were two men who lived in Livermore . They did not speak to each other so the story went. The NH Legislature voted to allow the town to revert to a status whereby it no longer existed as a legal entity in 1952. I dont write to be a nit picker rather to set the record straight. Soon the people who remember Livermore will be gone and misinformation will become reality and history.
Do you remember Fred Washburn? He lived up the road about halfway between Franklins store and the crossing. He worked for the railroad and was also a plumber around the village. I remember Wayland Cook, who was my neighbor, telling me when I was an adult that Fred brought the last locomotive out of Livermore . The year was about 1936 which fits the timeline of the Federal takeover
Thanks for taking the time to hear me out. Time to get ready for that storm coming tonight.
PS: I inadvertently used the name of Newton Howard when I should have used G.K Howard as the man who owned the store and the Bartlett Hotel. It did not seem right to me at the time but overnight I figured out my mistake. I believe Newton was a son or nephew of G.K.
Some of these pages are under construction
Rebuilding RR tracks after flood - undated
The Company Store
The Millview Cottage - 1909
Carragain Landing - 1910
Remains of the Engine House - undated
1909 - Floods and fires were a constant threat
The School House - 1910 - One of the best equipped schools in the State at the time
The Company Store and The Saunders mansion - undated
"Carrigain Camp - 1907"
“Photo courtesy Ron Walters”
"Sept 1910: Greens Cliff Camp" Long Johns drying in the tree branches.
Undated: Fire damage to the mansion upper floor
Street scenes compared. 1910 with activity and the mansion. The 1969 inset shows only the stone wall remaining.
Residence of "Big Jim" Donahue. He was the overall Manager of Livermore and during his tenor from 1890 tp 1924 he held nearly all job descriptions at Livermore at one time or another. He served as Town Selectman and other offices as well. In the early 1920's he and his wife acquired "The Pines" Inn as well as a grocery store in Bartlett Village area.
1968 - Unidentified building being razed. (Perhaps the barn) Photo courtesy of Ben and Judy English.
A Note About Photo Credits: This editor has been collecting photos from various sources for the past 20 years. Many have come from EBay auction sites, magazine and newspaper articles or directly from the original owner. If the source is known, appropriate credit is given. If you find any images on this web-site that you feel "belong" to you, I will gladly provide proper credit, although I may have acquired it long before you obtained it. No disrespect or infringement is intended and please accept my apologies if appropriate.