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    Site No. 29 – (100 Main St.)  THE WILLEY HOUSE.

    This building was a hotel for nearly 120 years—under five different names. 

    It was first the Rundlett House around 1828, with Charles Rundlett as innkeeper until 1857. 

    Then it was the Washington HouseHenry Harrison Smith ran it for 14 years.  He was a well-known Morgan horse breeder and was descended from Col. Joseph Smith who built the brick garrison at Site No. 9.   Henry’s son was the notorious Charles H. Smith whose affair with young Mary Lambert made the Boston papers.

    Joseph B. Silver was next in line, changing the name to Silver’s Hotel.  He expanded the building out back and renovated the front. A member of the Fire Department, Joseph was the last fire chief of the old Tiger No. 1 pumper.  Realizing that the existing hose was no good, Silver purchased “a thousand feet of first-class rubber lined knit cotton hose” that the town refused to pay for.  So he kept the hose in the hotel carriage house, where it saved the town from complete destruction when the 1894 Durgin fire broke out.

    After Silver’s death in 1898, his widow Sophia sold the property.  The new owner was French-Canadian immigrant Gideon Marcardie who changed his last name to McCarthy when he got citizenship.  The hotel got a coat of paint, electric lights in each room and a new name:  Montreal House.  But Gideon suffered a spate of bad luck – first, arson in the stable, and then in 1902 a lapsed liquor license landed him in jail.  At this point he sold the hotel for a dollar to George H. Willey

    Under its new name, Hotel Willey was updated again.  By 1904 it had a telephone.  By 1906 there was hot and cold running water and electricity throughout.  His renovations to the front of the building are what you see now.  And in 1913, Mr. Willey hauled in the old Grant Schoolhouse to use as a pigsty out back—bought at auction for $35.

    When George H. died in 1926, his son George N. took over.  His wife Eva (Filion) Willey became a co-owner.  As George N. became more and more interested in horses, Eva became instrumental in running the hotel—as well as several other businesses in town.  After selling the hotel in 1946, they both continued working— Eva as a bookkeeper at Filion Lumber, and George in the mutual department at the Rockingham Racetrack.

    The next owner, Ralph Berry converted the entire property into individual apartments.  Over the course of the next 75 years, it has come under the ownership of a non-profit and two LLCs.  The most recent company was Chinberg Enterprises  “CC 100 Main, LLC.”  Its 25 rental units were completely renovated in 2020.

    Just past the Willey House is Site No. 30 – the narrowest building on Main Street.

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

    Site # 29 Hotel Willey

    Today’s Willey House Apartments

    While this old wood frame building is now converted to rental apartments, it was originally an old tavern/inn.  Known as Rundlett’s Tavern for many years, it later became the Washington House.  By 1870 it had become Silver’s Hotel, and owner Joseph B. Silver, updated the Federal style building to reflect a Victorian-era flair.   Many of its clients were visitors to town who had business with the Newmarket Manufacturing Company across the street. After Silver died in 1898, the building was purchased by Gideon Macardie who renamed it The Montreal House; then in 1902 George H. Willey bought it and renamed it the Willey Hotel/Willey House. His renovations in the 1920s gave it the Colonial Revival appearance we see today.

    Early Provenance

    Thanks to some rather spotty documentation in the early 19th century, there are a couple of possibilities as to:

    • who owned this land (and when); and
    • who built the original structure that we see here. 

    While an 1800 Map shows the residence of G. Doe here, there is also documentation showing Walter Bryant as owner of this land sometime before 1807

    Before 1828 - a privately owned wooden building belonging to A.W. Doe was here.  Here the stories diverge.   According to the downtown plaque, the current building dates back to 1822 and was originally owned by A.W. Doe.  This building is described in Newmarket’s Historic District as a pre-1822 style Federal house, the last surviving early tavern in the town’s central location.   But there is another narrative that gets Dr. George Kittredge involved, stating that he had the Doe house torn down in 1828 to make way for the current building.  So some questions remain:

    • Was part (or all) of this building built by the Doe family around 1822?
    • Did George Kittredge become owner for a while during the mad land grab in town once the mills arrived?  If so, did he own this building and lease it out? 

    Fortunately, thanks to more published information (census data, obituaries, etc.), from 1830 on there is more information.

    c. 1830 – 1857:  The Rundlett Tavern.

    The first Rundlett to settle in Newmarket was Charles (1705-1787) who came from Exeter and was in town by 1744, as his name appears attending several town meetings.  His grandson son Charles P. Rundlett (1802-1889) is listed in the 1830 census as head of a household of 18, in the 1840 Census as head of a household of 20; and in the 1850 census (which is the first to list occupations) as head of a household of 13 with an occupation as Tavern owner.   It is quite likely that he was running the tavern/inn by 1830.  According to the 1850 census, his family was living in the Inn as well —his wife Mary (Hilton) and their four children Charles E., James F., Martha J., and Joseph B.

    After leaving the tavern business, Charles, Mary and Joseph moved to Mary’s brother Edward Hilton’s farm on Grant Road.  Their son Joseph later became an innkeeper in Marshfield, MA.  In 1905 he married the widow Orissa J (Lang) Sawyer who had been born in Newmarket. 

    In 1860 the census shows Charles’s nephew Jasper, age 34 as a livery stable keeper staying at the Washington House.  Like so many old New England families, the spelling of names evolved with phonetics, and he went from Rundlett to Randlett.

    1857 -1871:   Washington House.

    Owner and manager Henry Harrison Smith was a well-known horseman specializing in breeding Morgan horses for the trotting tracks in the 1860s. The horses went on to set several track records in Manchester and Portsmouth.  Smith’s name is listed for the purchase of several thoroughbreds in the Morgan Horse Register compiled in 1894 by Joseph Battell (Register Printing Company, Middlebury, VT).

    Newmarket historian Nellie Palmer George referred to Henry as “Major” and he introduced himself as “Major”, although no military or civilian militia record has been found to confirm the title.

    Henry held several positions for several terms in town government: Town Moderator, Measurer and Surveyor of Woods and Lumber, and Town Constable.  He represented the local Democratic party to the State convention and was also elected to the State Legislature in 1855, 1866 and 1881.  His obituary states he ran the Washington House for 14 years which would have been from 1857 until 1871 when Joseph Silver bought the hotel. The 1850 census lists his occupation as hotel keeper; and no value of real estate is posted.  Meanwhile, Charles Rundlett (in the same census) lists his occupation as hotel keeper with a real estate value of $5,000.  Also, this census shows:

    • the Rundlett family plus seven other people living at one location, and
    • Smith and his family plus 11 other persons are living at another location.

    It appears that Henry Smith was operating another hotel/inn in town at another location other than the Rundlett Tavern.  The exact location is unclear.

    (Hotel from an old stereoscopic card taken around 1870-1890 Showing second floor balcony during a major event or town parade. This would have been the earlier Federalist look prior to J.B. Silver’s renovation to a more Victorian style.)

    Henry Harrison Smith (1818-1889) was the grandson of Lt. Colonel Joseph Smith, who built the brick garrison where Dr. Kittredge resided for so many years (the site of St. Mary Catholic Church). He married Nancy Chapman (1825-1883) in town in 1844.  They had two children who died in infancy and two who grew up, survived, and made the papers—the notorious Attorney Charles H. Smith, and his sister Alice, a teacher who never married. (See Site No. 7 for the full story of Charles who took up with the pretty young mill girl and Alice who fought her brother’s paramour in Probate Court.)

    After Doctor Kittredge died in 1878, Henry moved into the old garrison that had been built by his grandfather —Site No. 09)He then spent his time farming the gardens and vast orchards on the grounds. Henry’s wife died suddenly in 1883 of heart disease.

    1871 – 1898:  Silver’s Hotel

      Joseph B. Silver (1828-1898) came to Newmarket in 1871 and according to the newspaper, bought the Washington House from Henry H. Smith and changed the name to Silver’s Hotel.  George Walker’s deed search tells a more involved transfer.  Prior to 1871, Henry’s son, the notorious Attorney Charles H. Smith, had deed ownership and sold it (after Silver was operating the hotel) in Feb 1873 to Nathan & Mary Leavitt for $6,500; the Leavitts then sold ½ interest in the property a week and a half later to Sophia C. Silver (Joseph’s wife) for $3,500.  Then in Dec 1873 the Leavitts sold the other ½ interest worth $4,740 to Sophia as well.  In a period of 9 months the Leavitts had flipped this property for a nice profit of $1,750 without lifting a finger to do anything thing to the place.

    Born into a farming family in Troy, NY, young Joseph Silver moved to Concord, NH where he worked as a barber before entering the hotel business.  In 1855 he married Sophia C. Sandborn (1826-1911) of Exeter.  At that time, he was an innkeeper in Concord.  And before coming to Newmarket, Mr. Silver gained more hotel experience in Boston, Hampton, and Exeter.  He was well respected and ran a successful hotel.  And while in town he was a member of the fire department.

    Once here, he expanded a back ell portion of the Silver Hotel to create a billiard hall directly connected to the hotel. He also arranged carriage requests directly between the livery stable to either the rail depot in the Village or at the Junction.

    He died in Newmarket of a heart attack three days shy of his 70th birthday.  He was survived by his wife Sophia who moved back to Exeter and lived with her siblings on the family farm until her death at age 85. They had no children.

    Between 1870 and 1875 the popular Newmarket photographer Oliver Copeland lived and worked in town. The 1875 town directory lists his and Lizzie Garland’s advertisement for their photography studio which was in the Silver Hotel.

    This old Stereoscopic card in front of Silver Hotel was most likely photographed by Oliver Copeland or Lizzie Garland.  It shows a Donkey Cart pulling a notice for “Mill Doon’s Picnic Tonight”.  

    View of the Willey Hotel taken shortly after 1902. It shows the Victorian renovation done by Joseph B. Silver while he was the hotel owner.  It’s before George Willey made renovations of his own by returning the covered balcony and veranda to its former more colonial look.


    The Montreal House

    May 1898:  Joseph’s widow Sophia Silver sold the property/deed to Gideon Marcardie.  In November the name changed to the Montreal House.  Its roof and that of all the connecting buildings were painted red, and a redbrick walkway was laid from the town sidewalk to the main entrance.   The new owner, Mr. Gideon McCarthy, updated the 20 rooms with new paint and installed an electric light in each room.

    In February 1899 John T. Clement returned to town and opened the livery stable in the rear of the Montreal House.  He had previously operated the stable before leaving when the 1894 Durgin fire destroyed his apartment in the wooden tenement behind the Barnard building.


    It must have been a bitter blow to Mr. Clement when arsonists struck again on March 26, 1899. At 11 pm passersby noticed smoke billowing from Clement’s stable and called it in on the new fire box alarm.  The hose pung arrived with Herbert Smart and William Small  carrying about 1,000 feet of hose, followed by Tiger One and Granite Hose with a total of 6 lines set out, the stable was fully engulfed. One line was set on each of the two Central Street homes on fire started by flying sparks from the stable —the homes of John Door and Annie Ryan. The other lines were set on the stable and the Montreal House.  The stable was destroyed along with its contents: carriages, sleighs, harnesses, and wagons; and two horses were burned before they could be rescued, as was a litter of five Newfoundland pups found cremated in the loft.  Saved because they were out in use were a horse and sleigh of Mr. Clements and Mr. McCarthy’s team. 

    The hook and ladder company aimed streams both with and against the strong winds which carried sparks away from the scene.  The quick response of the Fire department along with the use of the newly installed fire hydrants allowed for several streams set out on the fire and the surrounding buildings. John Clement had no insurance on his contents; however, Mr. McCarthy had insurance on the stable itself, so he was able to rebuild.

    It was determined to be a definite act of arson.  No one had been in the stable since early evening, and it had been securely locked.  William Small had discovered that the incendiaries gained entrance by breaking a rear window in the stable after they had (so they thought) killed the whole fire alarm system.  They broke into Dearborn’s Drugstore to disconnect the batteries, but they made a mistake.  There were two telephone wires which entered the drug store just over the fire alarm wires, and it was the telephone wires which were cut, pulled out and twisted killing the telephone line, but leaving the town fire alarm system intact so that Box 21 which was activated when pulled by the first passerby.  That, and the extra hose and a full and immediate response by the fire companies subdued what was had been planned to be one of the most disastrous fires in the downtown area. 

    The remains of the stable were demolished the following week, and L.P. Lavoie, his head clerk quit for other employment as messenger and local agent for the Perkins & Co. Express Company in town.

    The threat of fire was not the only problem confronting the hotel.  In the heyday of Dry v. Wet and the Temperance fervor, strict laws were passed concerning liquor licensing and hours of operation.  It appears that Gideon had neglected to get his license renewed for the hotel. 

    In mid-April 1902 the hotel was searched by Sheriffs Colliss, Scott, Norton and Carpenter.  Spirits were found and taken to Exeter as evidence; it took a two-horse barge to transport the confiscated goods which included a half empty 20-gallon keg of whiskey. In the last week of April, the Rockingham County Attorney sentenced Gideon to two months in jail and a $200 fine. But the death knell was when Judge Pike placed an injunction on the Montreal House enjoining  him from any further sales of liquor. 

    1902 Sold to George H. Willey

    Dispirited, prior to being sent to jail, Gideon McCarthy offered the Montreal House for sale.    In May 1902  he reached a deal and sold the hotel to George H. Willey for $1.00.   We don’t have details of the deal, but there must have been more behind the scenes to sell so cheap.  During this time Gideon had been suffering from intestinal cancer; however, very few people knew that.  In the last few months of his life, he did not venture out in public and when he died August 1904, the community was shocked to hear the news.   He was only 41 years old and survived by his wife and two children.  Perhaps there had been accommodating arrangements allowing the family to stay in the hotel until and after his death.

    Gideon “McCarthy” and Gideon “Marcardie” were one and the same. He was born Gideon Marcardie on August 6, 1863 in St. Silvester, Quebec, Canada, and immigrated in 1878, the year he became a citizen.  He was 26 years old in 1889 when he married 18-year-old Rose Delima Lambert, a mill operative who worked in the Newmarket cotton mills.  They were married in Colebrook, NH so that both sets of parents who lived in Canada could more easily attend the wedding.

    It appears he changed his name when he became a citizen in 1878, his children were given the name McCarthy. But in legal court dealings he was sentenced under the name of Marcardie.  He had been a resident of Newmarket for 24 years before his death; and although the tombstone at Calvary is engraved with McCarthy at the base, all the wording and dates for him and Rose are in French.

    Gideon and Rose Lambert had two children:

    1) Joseph Albert McCarthy was born 1892 in Newmarket; he married Gertrude Leever (June 1917) in town. He worked as a clerk for his stepfather A.L. Turcotte.  By 1930 the couple had moved to Rutland VT.  They remained there, and Albert worked as a petroleum tank mechanic for the Gulf Oil Company.

    2) Eva B McCarthy  was born in Newmarket in 1895; in 1925 at age 29 she married Daniel Carroll age 24 in Newmarket.  The couple moved to Dover where Daniel was employed as a shipping clerk in the cotton mills.  She bought the Brooks Building in town from her mother in 1919 and sold it to William Ritchie in 1924.  She died 1 Aug 1933 at age 37 of leukemia.

    Two years after Gideon died, Rose remarried Arthur Turcotte in 1906.  Along with Albert and Eva she moved into the Turcotte house on Spring Street.  She and Arthur later had six children of their own. Rose died in 1916  and is buried with Gideon in Calvary Cemetery.   

    May 1902 George Hamlin Willey (1863-1926) 

    George Willey was the son of Jonas and Abbie (Horn) Willey born on the family farm in Middleton.  At age 17 he worked in a Farmington shoe factory for two years before he was appointed by President Cleveland as mail agent; and for another two and a half years was responsible for the mail run from Concord to Boston. Then he became first a brakeman, and then a conductor for the B&M Railroad, which position he held for seven years.  He came to Newmarket in 1894 when he owned The Perkins portion of the Exeter and Boston Express. In November of that same year he married Eva Nute of Farmington, whose father had been prominent in public affairs — State Railroad Commissioner, and President of the NH Senate.    George sold the express business when he took over management of the hotel.   He opened the hotel the second week of the May 1902 under the name of Hotel Willey and moved his family into the building.  

    (Photo of George and the hotel printed in the Granite Monthly in 1908)

    The year he purchased the hotel, Philip Lavoie returned to work as his head clerk.  That lasted until December 1903 when Philip married Miss Medora Parriseau and the couple moved to Schenectady, NY.  Philip was a talented musician, having led the local band and the Columbian Orchestra in town.  Medora had been a clerk in W.W. Durrell’s Dry Good Store for several years. This very popular couple received a large sendoff by townsfolks at the Junction as they left for New York.

    In 1904 George Willey advertised in handouts that the Hotel now had a connected stable and garage, and he could be reached at Telephone # 40. In 1906 he advertised he had remodeled the hotel and installed new furnishings and hot and cold running water, with baths and electric lighting throughout.  

    The Feb-March 1908 the Granite Monthly dedicated a section of the magazine on the Town of Newmarket.  Joseph Harvey, author of the piece, spent his visit at the Hotel Willey, and wrote:

        “While the rooms are small, they are comfortably furnished, and absolute cleanliness prevails throughout the house, but it is at the table that “Mine Host” excels. Blessed with a remarkably good cook, the food, of which there is always a good variety, is prepared and placed upon the table with the attention to detail and delicacy of flavor of which any housewife would be proud….The Hotel Willey is a credit to Newmarket, as it would be to any town.”


    But Mr. Willey was less picky about what went out back of the hotel.  Two of Newmarket’s oldest schoolhouses (Pine Hill and Grant District) had fallen into disuse, and they were finally auctioned off in 1913.  George Willey purchased both buildings. The Grant schoolhouse made the trek by oxen to become the pigsty in the rear of his hotel to supply the hotel dining room with its own pork.  According to one story, it eventually was annexed to the back of the hotel.  It’s unclear what he did with the Pine Hill school. 

    (photo:  the old Grant School house moved  to the rear of the hotel and became its pigsty)

    In town, Mr. Willey was a member of the Democratic party, on the Newmarket School Board and served on the Board of Water Commissioners.  He also helped organize major town events, such as the fundraiser for the Memorial Bandstand: 

    “On the 15th of February a large Victory Bazar, given in one of the large mills of the Newmarket Manufacturing Company, was attended by 7000 people, and $2000 was raised. On the closing night Gov. Bartlett was present, being escorted from the depot by 100 Newmarket boys in the service in charge of Lieut. John Durgin and Corp. Eugene Rousseau. He was received by the following committee: the Honorable  George H. Willey, Walter M. Gallant, Selectman M. T. Kennedy, F. H. Durgin, Bela Kingman, A. J. Sands and P.H. Burrowes.”  Printed in the Boston Globe Feb 19, 1919

    George H. died in 1926 in New York City following a surgery from which he never rallied.  He was survived by his wife Eva Estelle (Nute) Willey(1866-1947)  and a son George Nute Willey(1899-1957) who became the new owner of the hotel.


    This photo taken between 1908 and 1918 by William Thibeault shows George H. Willey on the front steps  after  he removed  Joseph Silver’s Victorian-era façade with  the earlier more Colonial/Federal building style — one which more resembled the old Washington House of 1860.


    Father to Son

    October 1926 Owner - George Nute Willey

    George N. was involved in the hotel from the beginning when his father bought it. In May 1923 he married Miss Eva May Filion (1898-1982) and she too became very involved in running the hotel, so much so that she became co-owner of the Hotel and their candy business  Willey’s Wholesale Candy Distributors of Rye, NH.


    The Hotel Willey had a kitchen that prepared banquets and held events for various groups (such as the Red Men Club pictured below). They held individual parties, celebrations, and function hall for smaller conventions.  George H. & Eva were financially successful and purchased several properties in town, including The Edward Smith brick building next door where between 1906 and 1936 Eva ran a restaurant there with Nevil Atherton employed as cook. 

    George’s fondness for horse racing moved from a hobby into a sideline profession; at the time of his death in 1957 he was employed in the mutual department at Rockingham Racetrack.  After selling the Hotel, Eva continued as a bookkeeper at Filion Lumber.  She was a graduate of Newmarket High School and a past president of the Robert G. Durgin American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 67, and held several offices in the Grange. She died at her daughter’s residence in Connecticut.

    Eva (Filion) Willey was the hands-on owner/operator of the hotel while her husband  became more involved with  “working the ponies”.

    Horse racing was a big sport in Newmarket from the late 1890s up until the mills closed and after the Great Depression.   The fondness for the sport continued after WW II  as many townspeople found work at the Rockingham race track right up until  it closed.   Several college students worked part-time in the summer at the stables and concessions and betting cages.  Alan Knight, Newmarket resident and UNH student at the time  was working at the stables in 1973 when town jockey and Hall of Fame rider Henry Wajda was killed  in a trackside accident. 

                                                 (photo of an unnamed  sulky rider in the Hotel Willey  stable)

    In 1957, the same year that George N. died, his former head hotel clerk Augustine Lepene died at age 72; he had worked at the hotel for decades under both father and son.

    1946— From Hotel to Apartments

    October – George and Eva Willey sold the building to Ralph Berry.

    Berry put everything up for sale on public auction in 1948 (a Cash Only Sale). He then converted the hotel into apartments and remodeled the old stable & barn at the back of the building connecting and incorporating them into apartments as well.

    1960 – Berry sold the apartment house to Gerard and Norman Mongeon

    Doing business as  Mongeon, Inc. /  AKA The Housing Partnership — was a non-profit corporation.  The sale was private sale as Berry aged he began to dispose of all his Newmarket holdings and moved out of town to live with his daughter in Massachusetts.

    1968 – December a fatal fire took the life of 46-year-old tenant Ralph Silver a WW II veteran.  He died of smoke inhalation in an adjoining room.  20 people fled the Hotel, but fire damage was confined to Silver’s bedroom, although considerable smoke and fire damage occurred in the rest of the building.

    2015-2020  - Change of Ownership

    2015 – The deed changed hands from the Mongeon brothers to an LLC named  Newmarket Willey Apt, LLC.

    2020 – 8 Jun 2020 the building was sold by the Newmarket Willey Apt, LLC (signed by Eric Chinberg, Manager) to CC 100 Main LLC (the current owner). Two days prior to this deed, a mortgage had been agreed to for the new owners.

    It was announced in the press at the time that Chinberg Enterprises owned the property and renovated and refurbished the building creating 25 rental units.