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    Site No. 14: 165-169 Main Street.   Just as the railroad was coming into town, the Bennett brothers built a thriving business here, not far from the station. Down behind the store they had a big barn; and here in front of the store, large scales were set into the ground to weigh lumber, coal, and hay. 

    Remember the three Georges who all fought in the Civil War?  They not only worked here for Mr. Bennett, but they boarded with his family.   While George Gay and George Tebbetts were both killed and buried on the battlefield within a year of enlisting, George Lord had a very different wartime experience. He had been an astute clerk at Bennett’s, and with his analytical talents he quickly went from a Private, Co. B. 3rd New Hampshire Infantry, to Full Major Sergeant in the Office of the New Hampshire Adjutant General.  George Lord spent the rest of the war organizing the state’s military data.

    By 1870, the Bennett’s store employed between 40 and 50 men and was even selling groceries.  In 1874 Mr. Bennett sold it to Charles Davis and N.B. Treadwell.  Mr. Treadwell’s full name was Napoleon Bonaparte, but he never answered to anyone who addressed him that way.  After N.B.’s death in 1891, John Griffin bought the hardware store.  It would remain in his family for over 60 years.  They gave up selling groceries, but they did sell insurance. 

    His son James Bartlett Griffin grew up working in the store, and went on to graduate from Newmarket High School, Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School and the U.S.  Naval Academy.   After serving in World War I, he returned to Newmarket and the family business.  He served the town in many ways, including 20 years on the School Board.  Appointed to the Newmarket Municipal Court in 1942, he became known for the rest of his life as “Judge Griffin”.  During the 1950s he lived in the “Caswell Mansion” back at Site No. 8.

    In 1954 Judge Griffin sold the store—and the name.  The new owners, Ed Tourigny and Ralph Kent continued the business as Griffin’s Hardware.  When the property was sold in 1977, one of the new owners, Rolfe Voltaire kept some artifacts from the old hardware store.  He later donated Judge Griffin’s desk and the antique screw holder to the New Market Historical Society.  Both are on display in the Stone School Museum.

    Site 15, back on the left side of the street, is the stone building just past the little park. 

    END OF AUDIO TEXT. See below for photos and more information.

    Site 14:  (165-169 Main St.) GRIFFIN HARDWARE – c. 1847.  Some of its furnishings are in our Museum.

    Newmarket’s transformation into a bustling mill town involved a lot of building. As the mills grew, other businesses came along to meet the needs of townspeople, of the mill workers, and of the surrounding farm population. 

    Newmarket became a commercial hub, thanks first to more boats coming and going.   Then the railroad came through Newmarket in the 1840s, becoming the new center of transport. It only made sense for a hardware business to move closer to the station.

    John S. Bennett

    In 1843 John  Bennett moved his tin and hardware business from Exeter. His first store was a small building opposite the Masonic Bldg. where he would send out several tin peddler carts throughout town. Mr. Bennett owned a packet boat (which could carry up to 15 tons) to ferry trade through the Bay to and from Portsmouth.  By 1847 his business had grown so much that he and his brother Edwin moved to this corner of Main and Exeter Streets.

    Out back was a large barn facing Exeter Street where he stored lumber and coal. In 1848 he provided the lumber for the construction of the old Town Hall.  In front of the store, large scales were set into the ground to weigh lumber, coal, and hay. He continually increased his merchandise so that by 1870 he was selling groceries as well.

    —- The Three Georges:  By the time of the Civil War, J.S. & E. Bennett employed between 40 and 50 men here.  Three of his young employees, George Gay (age 21), George Tebbetts (19) and George Lord (20) also boarded at his home.  They enlisted in 1861, and were sent off with a large parade and gifts.  All three distinguished themselves during their service, but none of them would return here to work.  George Lord was the only one to survive the Civil War.  Both of his compatriots died in battle within a year of enlisting.

    From Bennett’s to Griffin’s

    Mr. Bennett was known for his business acumen, his wit and good nature, and his ability as a successful politician who could organize “undecided voters”.  For 31 years he operated his business until the Bennett brothers sold the business in 1874 and went into the iron foundry business in Lawrence, Mass.    

    The new owners were Napoleon Bonaparte Treadwell and Charles Davis.

    N.B. Treadwell

    Napoleon Bonapart Treadwell was always known by the initials “N.B.” and never by the name Napoleon (at least not publicly).  Born in 1824, he was the youngest of 13 children of Captain Charles and Elizabeth Treadwell at the Treadwell Tavern  (the olf Moody Parsonage) at the Junction.  Apprenticed at a young age, he soon mastered the blacksmith and machinist trades; by age 21 he had earned the title of “engineer”.  In that capacity he was hired in the sugar plantations in Cuba; for 20 years he spent his winters on the large estates.   During the Civil War, as he was needed in the sugar industry, he was one of the few men in town who paid for a substitute to take his place in the Army (a Newmarket mill worker and immigrant from France, Private Julius Dumont enlisted in 1864 in the 3rd NH Regiment to take N.B.’s spot).   Tired of leaving his young family at home every winter, Treadwell returned to Newmarket in 1865 and worked as an engineer for the Newmarket Manufacturing Company prior to going into partnership with Mr. Davis in 1874 and purchasing Mr. Bennett’s business. 

    Mr. Charles Davis

    Davis was fully involved in town affairs, as school committee member, Captain of a Fire Company, Chief Fire Engineer, and part-time police officer.  He was elected to the NH State Legislature in 1870, where he would serve two terms.  In addition to these offices, he served on many committees for the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and the Methodist Church.

    Due to ill health, Davis later sold his shares in the spring of 1878 to William Folsom and retired to his farm in North Epping where he died shortly after.

    William T. Folsom

    At Mr. Davis’s retirement, N.B. brought William T. Folsom in as a partner.  Their partnership would continue for thirteen years.  Like Mr. Bennett, both men belonged to the Rising Star Masonic Lodge and had strong business and community ties.  N.B. served as a Director on the Boards of both the Newmarket Savings, and the Newmarket National Banks.  Mr. Folsom was elected to the NH State Legislature and also served as town Treasurer.  He served for several years on the School Committee as well as other boards and offices. 

    N.B. Treadwell passed away in March 1891.  The following month, John H. Griffin purchased the store, and Mr. Folsom prepared to move south to start his own hardware business.  In an unfortunate turn of events, his building in Alabama caught fire in 1897; his entire stock was destroyed and he was uninsured. An article in the Chattanooga, Tenn., Times, wrote:

    “…Mr. Folsom, owner of the hardware store is by far the heaviest loser, and his loss is deeply regretted by all.  No man is more loved by the people, nor has anyone done more for Fort Payne’s welfare during the last few years than he….”  

    John H. Griffin

    Mr. Griffin  had lived in the Dover area, promptly moved his young family into town.  Griffin Hardware would remain in his family for over sixty years.

    In 1897 Mr. Griffin built the furnace which was installed in the new St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He also subcontracted plumbers; and after 1900, he added electricians who worked from his hardware business.

    In 1907 he was president of the large Dover Brick and Pottery Company.  He was also a volunteer in several social organizations.  His opinion was valued concerning town affairs.  In February 1930, during a contentious town meeting around a lawsuit regarding Newmarket Manufacturing Company’s tax abatement issue, he brought everyone to their feet with an approving vote to create a Citizen’s Committee, separate from the selectmen, to investigate and seek out solutions.

     John Griffin worked well into his 70s, with his son James taking over after his father’s retirement. When John died in Oct 1940 age at age 85, all town businesses closed during his funeral.

    James Barlett Griffin (11/12/1891-02/01/1859)

    James was one of Newmarket’s most prominent citizens. The son of John H. and Abbie (Bartlett) Griffin, he was a lifelong resident of town, graduating from Newmarket High School in 1907. He also attended Phillips Exeter Academy in 1908. He was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1912 and Harvard Law School in 1916.  During WW I he was a lieutenant in the Navy, following graduation from Annapolis. His Naval career and letters home are associated with this link.

    After the war he returned to Newmarket and became associated with his father in the Griffin Hardware and Insurance business. He was committed to the town and worked towards its betterment:

    • He was the first commander of the Robert G. Durgin Post, American Legion;
    • also secretary of the Newmarket Industrial Association (formed after the mills closed and left town) and
    • a 20-year member of the Newmarket School Board.

    On the recommendation of many town officials, New Hampshire Governor Winant appointed him as Judge of the Newmarket Municipal Court as of June 16, 1942. Judge Griffin had been Assistant Justice since 1937.

    Other memberships included: Chateau Thierry Barracks No. 125, Newmarket Polish Club, Lamprey Aerie of Eagles, No. 1934, N. H. Association of Insurance Agents, Newmarket Service Club, Masonic Rising Star Lodge, F & AM, Newmarket and Belknap Chapter No. 8, RAM, of Dover.

    In June 1932 he married Helen Pauline Coon of Newfields; she died of pneumonia in May the following year and is buried in Riverside Cemetery.  He remarried Julia Murphy in September 1946. Born in Ireland, she was a widow and milliner from Dover. Her son James F. Murphy by her previous marriage also resided in Newmarket. 

    James and Julia purchased the Caswell Mansion (Site No. 8) on South Main Street from Robert and Aldelea Filion in 1948. They resided there until Jul

    ia’s death in October 1956.

    At the time of his passing at the NH VA Hospital, James had been staying with his sister Mrs. Ralph (Ione Griffin) Kent at her home at 203 South Main St (Site No. 4). The old Caswell mansion was sold as part of his estate in 1959. 

    IWhen he died he was survived by two sisters, Ione Kent of Newmarket and Mrs. Caroline Colby of Mount Dora, FL. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery. The Town Selectmen dedicated the 1959 Town report to his memory.

    n 1954 Judge Griffin sold the store—owned by his family since 1889. The new business continued under the same name:  Griffin’s Hardware Corp. with Edward Tourigny as president and Ralph Kent as treasurer. (Ralph was Judge Griffin’s brother-in-law, one of John Elmer Kent’s sons (Site No. 1).

    Ed Tourigny owned and operated Griffin Hardware from 1953 to 1977 when the “big box stores” like Home Depot proved too strong a competition; and local lumberyards like Griffin’s and Filion’s started to close.

    (photo shows Ed Tourigny at his 1953 Grand Opening.  In the roadway in front of the store shows the location of the old wagon scales, long since covered over)

    In 1977 Rolfe Voltaire and Dave Halloran purchased the property. Rolfe donated Judge Griffin’s desk and the antique screw holder to the New Market Historical Society in 2016. Both are on display in the museum.