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The Oldest Records in the Manchester City Archives

Restored Record Books
Restored Record Books

In early 19th century Manchester, the town clerk utilized journals to record the town's business. Frequently, one journal served many needs. Eight volumes of these early records were recently restored courtesy of a grant from the New Hampshire Conservation License Plate Fund and the New Hampshire State Library.

Microfilm copies of the journals can be found at the Manchester City Library, Manchester Historic Association, New Hampshire State Library, New Hampshire State Archives and the University of New Hampshire Libraries in Manchester and Durham. Listed below are descriptions of these early journals.

Town Records, 1841-1845 and 1845-1846

The Manchester Town Clerk kept a journal to record the minutes from the town meetings, warrants for upcoming elections, election results, road discontinuances, tax lists, licenses and bills of sale. Entries include an 1841 grant from the Amoskeag Corporation to layout the Valley Cemetery and a March 19,1841 warrant to build a Town House (Town Hall). There is also a 1846 Warrant to elect the first Mayor of Manchester.
Accession 2003.21

Record of Mortgages, Marriages and Licenses, 1835-1840

This journal is the most diverse in terms of content. For instance, in 1835, Reverend William Lock, Minister of the Gospel, joined 5 couples in marriage. In another entry on the next page, a license is given to Frederick Kimball to operate a tavern. The town clerk, John R. Clark, also recorded business transactions between individuals. In 1838 John Cross borrowed $1136 from Josiah Stowell and Reuben V. Greely. As collateral for the loan, Mr. Cross pledged goods that were listed on seventeen (17) pages of the journal. Items included types of cloth, boxes, ribbons, buttons, dyes, palm leaf hats, pickle dishes and British oil.
Accession 2003.20

Tax Books 1845 and 1846

Building of a new Town Hall, 1844
Building of a new Town Hall, 1844

The State of New Hampshire issued warrants to the Collector of Taxes which authorized him to collect taxes from the citizens of Manchester. Adult males and businesses were taxed in the school district where they lived or operated. Taxes were assessed on land and buildings as well as stock in public funds, stocks in banks, value of carriages, type of livestock owned, ferries and toll bridges owned by private individuals.
Accession 2004.48

Record of Mortgage Deeds, 1845-1847

Individuals would pledge their personal goods in return for money. The promissory notes were recorded by the Manchester Town Clerk. The deed (called a mortgage) was witnessed by a Justice of the Peace and the Town Clerk. In the journal, there are lists of property and their value. Also included in the journal is a list of non-resident individuals whose property was being sold for back taxes in 1846.
Accession 2003.18

Treasurer's Notes, 1841-1847

Town Notes were issued and signed by the Selectmen of Manchester. After 1846, when Manchester became a city, these individuals were called the Aldermen of Manchester. Individuals loaned the town/city money for a specific period of time and were then paid back with interest. Many of these individuals were prominent citizens such as Bradbury Cilley, Leo and John Sargent and Frederick Stark.
Accession 2004.41

Departmental Expenses, 1839-1846

The cost of 19th century government is detailed in this ledger. The Treasurer devoted one page for each department or type of expense. Categories of expense included the town militia, paupers not living at the Almshouse (Mary Duffee was paid $12.00 for keeping paupers) and road work done on Calef Road, Valley Road and Hooksett Road.
Accession 2002.11