The heretofore unpublished story of New EngIand's Northern Frontier by

Dr. Peter L. Hoyt (1814-71)




Wentworth township is located in the heart of the Baker River Valley through which the Indians and earIy settlers passed in their travels from Canada and ''Cohos County'' to the populated areas to the South. It is first mentioned by Lt. Thomas Baker in l7l2, wbose party traveled from Northampton, Mass., up the Connecticut River to Haverhill, thence Eastward through the Oliverian Pass along the Cohos Indian Trail to Wmtworth. From there he continued down the river which bears his name to Plymouth, thence along the Pemigewasset and Merrimack Rivers to Dunstable, Mass.     .

The town's first recorded date in histoy was June 22, l754 when Capt. Peter Powers, on an expedition to fully investigate the advantages for settlement in the area, camped at the Southem end of the Wentworth intenraIe. Twelve years later on Nov. 1, 1766, the town charter was issued by Royal Governor Benning Wentworth to John Page and fifty-nine other origina1 proprietors. The first permanent settlers of whom there is verifable record came in 1770, and held their first town meeting in 1779.

The location at the Southem end of the rich Cohos plains and farmlands soon made the town a center of travel and commerce.


Dr. Hoyt graduated at Dartmouth Medical College in l837, returned to Wentworth, his birthplace, and there in l839 began his medical practice which continued til his death in l87l. With his wife and seven children he became known as a devoted family man, as well as a busy physician and an ardent lover of nature. These traits are not mentioned in his own writings, but were universally acclaimed by his contemporares. His essays on myriad subJects from ''Accidents and Casualties" to "Taverns & Tavemers'' embellish the pages of his history. Exensive studies in fields apart from medicine are evdent in his accounts of ''Natura1 Scenery" and ''Rotation of Forests."


The unque Journal of Dr. Hoyt, compiIed fiom March l, l857 to his death, is of immediate interest to the residents of Wentworth whose town records were destroyed by fire; but it is of even greater va1ue as a sociaI document of the Times.

''A certain jumble of histoy, incitlents, speculation on events both possible and probable in the past and present, etc etc is found crowded together in a very few pages." This is Dr. Hoyt's prefatoy description of the 968 hand-written pages which unveil a remarkable picture of the beginning and progessive growth of a wildemess settlement in Indian territory.

This opening does not indicate indecision as to intent; it is the 1iterate work of a welI-educated scholar whose cIosing remarks confirm the fourteen-year work with the same end in view --- ''I realise the truth of all this now, more than then, and see more fully its mosaic character, Everything pertaining to the early times either of anecdote or legend, incidents of personal adventures or character of the early settlers -- hardships and wants, unusual weather --- severe cold or heat --- good or bad crops, droughts, freshets, etc etc all go to illustrate the social lives of our fathers. ''

It will be perceived that he writes of things grave, things trivial and things imporant; and this with a view to show as nearly as possible, to present and futture generations, the circumstances, views, feelings and customs of our ancestors.



The Wentworth Historical Society will have copies of Hoyt's Wistory of Wentworth for retail sale at $30 each during Wentworth Market Day on the Wentworth Common on the first Saturday of August. Copies will also be available at their Museum in the former Wentworth Railroad Station, on East Side Road near Route 25, on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. 


Please use the following coupon, or include the following information in your note:

Please send ______ copies of the HOYT'S HISTORY OF WENTWORTH, N.H. at $30 plus handling and mailing cost of $5 for a total of $35.




The completed order form and payment should be sent to:

Wentworth Historical Society
P. O. Box 13
Wentworth, NH 03282

Please make checks payable to Wentworth Historical Society.

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Updated on December 27, 2014 by Kenyon F. Karl.