Site Number 35.  The Brooks Block. 

    In 1735 here once stood a large wooden house, with gardens stretching south past today’s Central Street.  It was the homestead of Walter Bryant, Sr., a colonial surveyor who traveled throughout the province setting boundaries, including the state boundary between New Hampshire and Maine.  In old colonial papers he was called the “Royal Surveyor”.  “Bryant Rock” in the Lamprey River was named after him, and this property stayed in his family until the Newmarket Manufacturing Company purchased it almost 100 years later.

    Now this brick building is called the Brooks Building because mill supervisor Benjamin Brooks oversaw its construction for the company.  It was completed in 1826, with a store front on the ground level, residences on the second floor, and a hall on the top floor.  It became very quickly the Brooks family home, the company store, a post office, and the first meeting hall for the Masons, the Odd Fellows, and the Pioneer Knights of Pythias. In 1835 the mills sold it to Benjamin Brooks, and it remained in his family for nearly 80 years—that is until 1913.

    Benjamin Brooks’s youngest daughter Eliza lived here, and when she died, the building passed through several owners.  First was Rose Turcotte, whose husband Arthur had a hardware store here at the time.  Rose’s daughter Eva McCarthy sold it to local star baseball player William E. Ritchie, who lived on Central Street.  Richie promptly had his name carved in stone and placed on the front of the building where it remains today.   Mr. Ritchie died two years later, and his daughter Alice owned Brooks Block until 1953, when Laurence and Arthur Beauchesne bought it.

    Among the many businesses that have been here, the first was the least popular.  Benjamin Brooks’s Company Store stocked all items needed by a pre-Civil War family:   hardware, dry goods, groceries, toilet articles and drugs.  But neither the workers nor the townies liked it much, and when Mill Agent John Webster closed it down in 1850, downtown commerce took off, and prices dipped.  This building went on to house everything from the communist-leaning Sovereigns of Industry Store to BoChaines Real Estate.  Since 2001, restaurants have ruled.  Panzanellas started out here; later on, the Mexican eatery La Catrina moved in.

    Back in 1826 when this building went up, the mills also constructed two brick rooming houses just up the street.  These were for the Factory Girls—the first workers to need housing.  One of these buildings survives, but it doesn’t look much like the original.  It was rebuilt after a 1948 restaurant fire.  As the Factory Girls gave way to immigrant families, the second rooming house was torn down to make room for High Street tenements.

    As you head past the old rooming house check out the plaque in front of the foundation of the old Mill No. 8 – the giant one-room weave shed.  Site No. 36, across the street from Weavers Row, gives an excellent view of the Millyard.

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

    Site #35  The Brooks Building


    1735 —  The Bryant Family Homestead

    The original Walter Bryant homestead that was on this site in around 1735 was described as a comfortable brown wooden colonial building with gardens that ran down behind the house south past today’s Central Street into the area of the Hotel Willey. The property stayed in the family until purchased around 1820 by the NMCo.

    The house itself was moved to the south side of Chapel Street running up Zion’s Hill to make way for this four-story brick building. The old house was still standing in 1908.  The Bryant land also went north and west of his home and up the hill (area of Weaver’s Row & Spring Street) —all of this land later became parts of Elm, High and Central Streets.

     While making excavations for the building’s foundation,  graves were opened indicating the early burial place of Bryant family members.


    The Bryant Family

    Walter Bryant, Sr. (1710-1807)   was a much sought-after surveyor who moved to Newmarket from Newcastle by 1735. He married Elizabeth Folsom the daughter of Revolutionary War Colonel Jeremiah Folsom.  Walter was a surveyor who traveled throughout the province setting boundaries not only between multiple townships, but most importantly the  state boundary between New Hampshire and Maine. He was called in old colonial papers the “Royal Surveyor”.

    To establish the boundary between the two states at the time of Native American unrest and conflicting claims of settlers took a man of considerable strength, endurance, and bravery.

    His own account of the expedition is quoted from a diary in Gideon T. Ridlon’s “Settlements of Saco Valley” which begins:

                “Set out from Newmarket with eight men to assist me in running and making our Provincial boundaries 13th March 1741”  

    He describes the route along the Cocheco, Salmon Falls and Ossipee rivers and as far north as the “White Hills” where they encountered Indians.  As the soft snow was four feet deep, and rivers and brooks were breaking up they were forced to end the trip early, and they returned to Newmarket on the 1st of April 1741.  

    Walter Byrant’s entire journal can be read on our website at:

    Walter was one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in 1768, and an officer in the Revolutionary War, being adjutant of the Regimental Staff of Col. Joshua Wingate in the Second Expedition to Rhode Island in 1778.

    He dealt in a lot of real estate and the name Walter Byrant is found on numerous deeds filed in county registries.  His son Walter Bryant, Jr. (1740 - 1784)  like his father was a surveyor who also dealt in real estate in several NH counties.  He laid out lots in Wolfeborough in 1762 and was an original grantee for the towns of Tamworth and Albany, NH.   Neither man when signing documents used “Sr.” or “Jr.” in their signatures. Walter Jr. married Mary Doe (1738- 1777) in  Newmarket. The couple died early in middle age leaving six children: his daughter Anne (1763-1836) was  21 years old when her father died leaving her the oldest of her siblings – Walter Bryant III age 19 (1765-1857), Mollie age 16 (1768-1801), Benjamin  age 14 (1770-1844), John  age 11 (1773- after 1802), and Elizabeth age 9  (1775-1865).

    Walter Bryant III (1765-1857) was a carpenter and farmer and a member of the “West Society” on the plains.  His homestead was on Wadleigh Falls Road on the north side just before Lee Hook Road. At one time he was called an Inn Keeper. About 1803 he sold his land in Newmarket and moved with his wife (Hannah Goodwin of Newmarket) and six children to Lovell, Maine where land was cheap. He built a log house in a large tract of wilderness.  Neither he nor his wife could adapt to pioneer life. His wife according to Ridlon  was ”a woman of proud spirit accustomed to the concomitants of wealth and the influence of good society felt most keenly the deprivations and hardships that are incident to a new and remote, isolated settlement.” (pg 541) . In Maine life was made more difficult with the birth of two more daughters: Olive in 1804 and Eliza in 1809.  Growing financial problems piled up until her husband just disappeared in 1815 and remained silent and unknown to his family for almost 25 years.  About a year after he left, his wife worn out from disappointment and misery strangled herself with a skein of yarn at the home of her daughter in North Fryeburg and is buried in Stowe, ME.

    Seven of his children remained early settlers in the Saco Valley.  Sarah (1792-1839) returned to Newmarket where she died in 1839. .ow living in the Saco Valley had not heard from him in years when finally, he reappeared in 1844 just as unexpectedly as he left – an old man with a horse and sleigh, and none the richer. He would move among his several children in the Saco Valley. He gave no accounting of his disappearance or of what he had been doing while he was gone except for a mere hint of a mill in New York state.

    He remained in Maine living with his children. During the last years of his life, he spent all day alone, fishing along the riverbanks. He would return exhausted late at night and exhausted and without any fish.  He always said he threw them upon the riverbank, one by one as he caught them,  but he could never find them when it came time to leave.    When he died in 1856 at age 94, he was a few years younger than his namesake and grandfather “the Royal Surveyor” who died at age 97.


    The Two Adjacent Buildings Northside of the Brooks Bldg

    1826—  Brooks Building was built at the same time as two other large brick boarding houses on Main Street just up the hill.   Those two houses were constructed similar to the brick mill dormitories in Somersworth — in an extended cruciform plan with stair towers at each side of the building leading to the upper apartments. The  NMCo  constructed them for use as housing for their  “Factory Girls”.

    As The factory girls slipped away from the mill work force after the Civil War, the NMCo replaced the old-style dormitories with family houses. 

    The brick building closest to the Library was removed  to make way for new houses on High Street which ran from Main Street to Spring Street.  These new houses were later moved between 1915 to 1916 to Nichols Ave and along Elm Court, Elm, Lincoln and Washington Streets.  High Street disappeared and the giant Weave Shed was built on that spot. 

    The other building which still stands today is an apartment building labelled “the Berry building”. Ralph Berry purchased the building after the 1948 fire and engraved his name on a granite block during the reconstruction. That January fire destroyed the original building and displaced 18 apartment dwellers.

    The fire broke out in the Ruth Lee Restaurant owned by Thomas Filion and destroyed  the top three levels of the structure in  January 1948.

    Prior to the fire it was a NMCo boarding house run by Police Chief John Ryan’s wife;

    The restaurant was replaced with a Ben Franklin Store owned and operated for 20 years by Alice( Ritchie) Barratt and her husband William; then Bob Carroll leased the property and operated the Carroll B&C variety store here.  In 1978 Ernest Cutter purchased and  renovated the building into all apartments.



    Benjamin Brooks & the Brooks Building

    1826 — Benjamin Brooks came to Newmarket in 1823 as a master mechanic and supervisor of the machine shop for then NMCo. during the construction of Mill #1.   He was also a businessman and recognized the potential in expanding the “Company Store” for the growing workforce being created in Lamprey Village.  He oversaw the construction of this three-and-a-half story brick  building for the NMCo which was completed in 1826.  It had a store front on the ground level,  residences on the second floor, and a hall located on the top floor.  The building became Brooks family home, the company store, a post office, and the first meeting hall for the Masons, the Odd Fellows, and the Pioneer Knights of Pythias. Today it is known as “the Brooks Building”.  In 1835 the NMCo sold the building to Benjamin Brooks and it remained in the family for almost 80 years.

    For over 40 years Benjamin was elected to numerous town offices and committees. He took a break in 1849 and sailed for California with his friend George Bennet. The trip around Cape Horn and back took six months during which time they visited several ports in South America.

    Benjamin  belonged to the Freemasons, and through his efforts the Rising Star Lodge #47 of Newmarket created its first charter in 1826 when they met at in the hall on the top floor of the new building offered to them by the NMCo.. It remained the Masonic Lodge until 1873.

    For 10 to 15 years following the granted charter, Masons in New England were persecuted – clergymen were turned out of their pulpits, church members refused the sacrament, teachers lost their jobs, and members met in private homes. That Masonry survived at all is a tribute to the faithful like Mr. Brooks who held quiet gatherings until the 1840s when anti-masonry subsided. He was instrumental in pulling the Lodge back together to regain its charter and met again on the third floor of his building.  It wasn’t until several years after Benjamin’s death that the Masons moved to the Kingman Building in 1873.

    Benjamin Brooks also served many offices with the Knights of Pythias. Here again he was instrumental in the creation of that Lodge, and on March 3, 1870 the Pioneer Lodge, No.1,Knights of Pythias of NH was instituted in the Brooks Building Hall.  Not to be outdone, he also assisted the Swamscott Lodge International Order of Odd Fellows to organize and they also held their meetings in the hall.  The Odd fellows occupied the hall until October 1890 when they moved. 




    The Brooks Family

    (date of death underlined indicates burial in the Brooks family plot at Riverside cemetery)

    Benjamin Brooks (1789-1866)  was born in Lexington, Mass. His father, Ephraim Brooks, jr. served during the American Revolution as a Private in Capt. John Hartwell’s Company for five days March 4, 1776  at Dorchester Heights under Colonel Eleazer Brook’s Regiment.

    Benjamin married Sarah Priest (1796-1876) in Lexington in 1814, upon moving to Newmarket, they and their family lived in this building from 1826 when it was built until 1913 when Benjamin’s daughter, Miss Eliza Brooks died here.

    He and Sarah had ten* children:

    1)   Susan (1818-1903) d. age  88 m. Charles Kenew.

    2)   Samuel Chester (1818-1889) married Mary Hoyt moved to & died in Conneaut, OH.  They named their son Benjamin Franklin Brooks (1854-1926) after Samuel’s father

    3)    *[ Frank (1816- Aug 6, 1874) a machinist ]  SEE BELOW,

    *Benjamin Franklin  (1816-1873= dated will) a machinist. His  will dated Nov 1873 gives homestead and estate bestowed to him via his father’s will to his sister Eliza. * It is likely Benjamin went by the name of Frank, as there is no “Frank birth record located” neither Benjamin nor Frank are listed together in Censuses. “Frank” is on gravestone at Riverside. There is no death record of Benjamin]

    4)   Rebecca (1821-1892) m. in 1858 Noah Ranlett (d. 1873)     They moved to Concord .  After her husband died, Rebecca was given a parcel of land on Packers Falls Road  by Col. George Frost

    5)  Lucy (1825- 1915 ) m. 1850 George Floyd, both buried Newfields

    6)  Sarah (1827- 1860)  teacher

    7)   Martha (1832-1891) died of pneumonia. m. Warren K. Day (1835-1896) both buried in Concord, NH. He was born in Newmarket to Ephraim & Mary Day.

    8)   John H. (1835-1890) -machinist in Boston, died single of pneumonia

    9)   James P. (1838 -1864) Iron Molder. Died of wounds suffered during the civil war.             For his complete profile see:

    10)   Eliza – (1834-1913) single, teacher, buried Riverside



    The last three daughters to live in the building

    Their oldest daughter Susan Augusta Brooks (b, 1814)  married Charles Kehew in 1836. They moved to Pittsburg, PA and a few years after Charles death, Susan returned to Newmarket to live with her two sisters Eliza and Lucy Brooks Floyd.  In October 1897  the three women were visited by Susan’s grandson Herbert Kehew who pedaled from Pittsburg to Newmarket on his bicycle.  The last leg of his journey was from Cambridge, MA to town. Susan died in the residence in 1903 at age 96.

    Benjamin Brooks’ middle daughter Lucy was born in Dover in 1824, and married George Flyod and the couple spent most of their married life in Boston.  Once a widow, she too came back to Newmarket to live with her two sisters in the Brooks Buildings. After her youngest sister Lizzie died, she moved in with relatives in Newfields, the Langland Family where she died two years later.

    Their youngest daughter Lizzie (1829- 1913) had been the major benefactor of her father’s will and received the homestead thru her brother Benjamin Franklin’s will of 1873.


    1829 – The Company Store

    The Company Store, a holdover from the old British system was in operation from 1823 until after 1850 when Mill Agent John Webster finally disbanded the Company store.  Since 1823 with the opening of Mill # 1, the Lamprey River Village workforce exploded. Demand for goods soon outstripped the few meager stores along Main Street.  The store was opened to company employees and the public, where everything could be bought for cash at a low price but as an incentive for employees — they could buy on credit.  The first proprietor of the store was Col. James B. Creighton, also the first Village postmaster.

    When Benjamin Brooks opened the modern new building with a large store front, the NMCo moved the goods and the Post Office previously located  in Creighton’s store to the new Brooks building. The store and Post Office were then run by Benjamin Coe between 1829 to 1832.

    The Company Store  combined all items needed by a family up to the 1860s including hardware, dry goods, groceries, millinery, toilet articles and drugs.  The only products not sold were New England rum and Holland gin – both of which Benjamin Brooks vehemently opposed. 


    DEA. BENJAMIN COE (1801-1873) was born in Durham, N.H. and when a child his family moved to South New Market.

    (Courtesy photo: by Carl Robert Coe via Find A Grave Memorial)

    On attaining manhood, he went prospecting in the West and engaged in trade and speculation there. After a few years he returned to Newfields, where he inherited the farm which his father had built.  He managed the farm and ran the Company Store until 1832 when he returned to the farm and private trading.

    In town affairs he was an active figure, holding several public offices between 1825 thru 1855, including town selectman and justice of the peace. For many years he was deacon in the Congregational Church. He died April 8, 1873, at Newfields.

     In 1842 he married Louisa Meade (1806-1888)  daughter of Levi and Susanna (Hilton) Meade; they had a daughter Anna who married Henry Taplin.  Due to his sister-in-law’s (Sarah Meade Babb) and her husband’s poor health, he and his wife adopted their son James E. Babb b. 1843 the youngest of six children. James E. took the Coe name and lived and worked the Coe family farm until he was apprenticed to the  Swamscott Machine Company and remained in their employ until his death in 1920 at age 77 except the one year in 1868 he spent as a machinist in Cuba. 

    Nellie Palmer George found that In January 1827 a list of goods was made by the stock takers of the company store. 

    Here are just a few of the items on that list.   As you read them, it makes you aware of what our forefathers were using in the 25 years leading up to the Civil War.

    Household Items:

    Dutch ovens,   Whale oil,   Luster tea sets,   Brass kettles,   Shoe thread,   Warming pans,   Gold beads,   Bullet molds,   Brittania ware,   Pewter ware,   High shell combs,   Steelyards,   Bellows,

    Ink powders,   Hourglasses,   Candle snuffers,   Stirup irons,   Oak bed wrenches,   Bed frames, cords and pins & curtain frames.

    Dry Goods:

    India prints,   Bocking,   Kerry cloth,   French calico,   Tow cloth,   Sasanette,   Cassanette,   Black crepe & Mourning Cloth,   Embroidered crepe & silk shawls

    Velvet capes,   Children’s sunbonnets,   Calashes for ladies,   Red, yellow & green flannel for mens shirts,   Nankeen jeans,   Camlet cloth,   Bombazine & Bombazette

    and Cytberion

    When writing her book Old Newmarket, George noted more specifically:  “One article in the list is called Cytberion. “  She describes how she later found a description of it in an 1852 ad in the Dover Inquirer:  “ a combination of rosemary and castor oil guaranteed to cure headaches, give whiskers a beautiful appearance, to restore grey hair, to curl hair beautifully, and to give all light hair a rich, dark color and a beautiful luster.”


     As the town grew so did animosity from town businessmen who saw the Company Store as unfair competition and a corporate monopoly.  These goods were not provided by local industry or family farms.  A great deal of farm produce was provided by the NMCo’s “company farm” run behind the Agent’s house on Elm Street with pastures and orchards along Bay Road.

    For the most part the goods purchased by the NMCo were shipped to Portsmouth  from or were procured by Salem and Lowell backers. The goods were unloaded by gundalows at the town wharfs.  These out-of-state businessmen were able to buy in bulk from factories and then charge a lower sales price than was possible by local merchants.  So, the stockholders not only enhanced their own pocket with the sale of the goods from the Company Store, they also earned money from the other trade ventures and factories they also had financial interests in when they purchased the products for sale.

    Local merchants repeatedly called upon Mill Agents to close the store to allow them to compete and vie for business.  Finally, under the management of Captain John Webster the store finally closed around 1850.  Competitive markets opened along Main Street and downtown commerce mushroomed and thrived.  Village business was revitalized.


     “Sovereigns of Industry Store”

    The term Sovereigns of Industry was a cooperative movement active in the 1870s but was short lived.  It concerned itself with the distribution of the necessities of life and grew out of the Patrons of Husbandry movement.

    The goal was to create produce cooperatives, a plan that many critics at the time thought of  as communist.  The organization began to decline around 1875 in England; however, in 1874 it was Americanized and targeted in the US toward the urban worker.  Unions objected to the Society as trying to bid down labor costs to obtain commodities for their cooperative stores as cheaply as possible.  In the National Labor Tribune, October 9, 1875, “The Sovereigns of Industry,” pg. 174  charged that “the only object of the Sovereigns is to buy cheap, if they have to help reduce wages to a dollar a day to do it.”  The order dissolved in the US in 1880 after a lengthy depression beginning 1878  and it disappeared before 1880.


    Only the “Sovereigns” name remained in Newmarket.


    Samuel Dearnely (1830  -1897) principal stockholder in Sovereigns Of Industry

    Born in England, he and his family immigrated to New Hampshire after 1850. By 1860 they moved to Newmarket working for the NMCo.  He was the principal stockholder of the “Sovereigns of Industry Store”, and he also did an extensive coal business which he ran out of the store.   He was a charter member of the Knights of Pythias when they met for the first time in top floor of the building.

    In 1880 his daughters Hannah (age 27), Emma (age 18), and Mary (age 13) were all working in the Cotton mill.  His wife Sarah ( 1831-1884) was a caretaker for their 9 yr old disabled son Samuel.  Their children:  

    Hanna (1853 -   ) m. Abraham Whittaker in 1879 in Newmarket; 

    Emma had been married to Harry Clark in 1882 in Newmarket before she died at age 35 of consumption in 1897 four months before her father. 

    When Samuel died, he was survived by his wife and two daughters Mrs. Mary Morin and Mrs. Sarah Keniston, both of Newmarket.

    After her husband died, Sarah purchased a house directly behind the Kingman Building, and also cared for boarders the  adjacent house on Central Street (see site # .


    Thomas Tuttle ( 1817 – 1882)

    Was in charge of the blacksmith shop with NMCo for several years when he left their employment to work at the Sovereigns of Industry Store.  He stayed there   until he opened a grocery story of his own in the old wooden building beside the bank around 1878, later purchased by Frank and John Durgin.  His health began to fail and he sold the business a shortly before his death in 1882.


    Stephen H. Davis (1842 - 1924)

    1878-1911 Davis managed the Sovereigns of Industry Store .

    He was born in Lee, NH and came to town as a young man.  In 1878 he became manager of the Sovereigns of Industry Store (the old Company Store) and later became the store owner. He did a complete repair of the store in 1888  which allowed groceries to be sold in the building, and by 1904 Davis added a tin shop and a tailoring business.   In 1900 J. F. Young’s men’s tailoring business working out of one the upstairs rooms expanded and advertised that they now provided “Expert Ladies’ tailoring as well. 

    Davis served as town selectman and member of the school board.  He was active in the Methodist Church until it closed in 1907 when he then joined the Community Church.  He was survived by his wife and two daughters: Mrs. John M. Towle of Buffalo, NY and Miss Fannie A. Davis who was away teaching during the school year but would come back to their Prescott Street home during summers and vacations.   

    Milinery Store - In April 1882 Miss Nellie Griffin opened a milinery and fancy goods store in the upper store in the Brooks Block 

    (1882  newspaper article announcing coal delivery)

    Davis retired in March 1911 and sold the business to  Arthur Joseph (A.J.) Turcotte who took over the store and opened a stove/hardware and furniture store the next month on one side of the old Sovereigns store.

    When Benjamin Brooks’ youngest daughter Lizzie died in 1913 at age 84, she was the last of Brooks family to live in the building.  On June 19th, 1914, Arthur’s wife Rose bought the Brooks Block building at auction for $5,850.

    Brisson - Loiselle - Turcotte

    Turcotte had previously run a grocery store in one part of the bottom floor store area and in 1918 he partnered with Louis C. Loiselle and ran the grocery under the name of “Turcotte & Co.”.   A year later in Aug 25, 1919,  the Arthur Turcotte/Louis Loiselle partnership was dissolved. Arthur sold all his interest in the firm to Hector Brisson who then partnered with Loiselle to carry on the business at the same location. The Grocery store remained open under the name of Loiselle and Brisson. 

    Rose D. Turcotte died of peritonitis at age 43 in August 1914 leaving her husband and eight children; two, Eva and Albert McCarthy, were from a previous marriage to Gideon Marcadie/McCathy of the old Montreal House /Hotel Willy.

    The Rose D. Turcotte Estate in 1919 time sold the building to Rose’s daughter Eva McCarthy who held it for only a few years, selling it in 1924 to William E. Ritchie.

    In March 1923, Louis Loiselle died at age 43 of diabetes. He was still in business with Brisson at that time.  Loiselle was born in Canada and was survived by a wife and five children and several brothers and sisters.  He also traded in coal and was a partner in the Newmarket Ice Company when during the winter months a large crew of men would gather an ice crop on Fresh River (the upper Lamprey).  In 1916 he sold his ice and coal business on account of ill health.  He had been active in the Catholic Order of Foresters.

    Hector A. Brisson, in Oct 1918 WWI was among nine Newmarket men called up for Harbor Duty at Fort Constitution. After the war he served as town clerk in 1924 and 1925.  Then in 1926 he bet Fred Wills on the outcome of the Wills v Sharkey boxing match at Ebbits Fields.  Hector won, so as required, Fred marched barefoot from the store down to the top of Exeter Street and back – accompanied at night by Mr. Brisson, a drum and bugle corps, and boys bearing red lanterns. The following year the 1927 Dempsey v Sharkey fight was a bit more nerve wracking and Brisson came very close to losing his business due to another wager.

    During and after the mill strike Hector cut his prices and became a “cash and carry business” only.  By 1935 after most of the mill workers had already left town, he closed his business and moved to Central Falls outside of Providence, RI  to live with his parents, brothers, and sisters. He never married, and he died in RI in 1976 at age 80.

    Arthur Turcotte moved his hardware store out of the Brooks Building to the bottom of the Star Theater and called it the Winchester Store.  “A.J.”  sometimes called “A.T.” and sometimes “A.L.” would sell anything to anyone.  Name an item, he’ll find it and sell it.  He branched out into the automotive supplies in the 1920s. 

    His son “Barney” began working in the family hardware store in Newmarket in 1926. He later became the owner of Turcotte Hardware Corp., which he operated until 1964 when the business closed as the building in the old Star Theater was demolished in 1965 to make way for the new Federal Post Office Building.


    Ritchie - Father & Daughter

    Shortly after Miss Eva McCarthy sold to William E. Ritchie, he had his name carved in stone and placed on the front of the building where it remains today.


    Ritchie was a very popular man in town, a star baseball player who played for the semi-pro Exeter Clippers team and was a member of the Concord team of the New England League. He opened a pool hall and later a saloon on Central Street.  Born in Exeter in 1876, he and his wife moved to Central Street in Newmarket in 1906. 

    His first  wife Margaret died suddenly at age 30 of heart disease in 1910 leaving her husband and a nine-year-old daughter, Alice.  In 1914 William then married Tillie Dubray (1874- 1921).  Who ran a millinery and sewing shop in the old Banscomb tavern several years before her death.  She died of complications from an appendicitis operation 3 years before her husband bought the building.

    Once you work own or work at a tavern or saloon, you are always suspect for the illegal possession or procurement  of alcohol. On several occasions his home and pool hall were raided. In 1913 alcohol was found on the premises, he was jailed and fined.

    Two years after he purchased the Brook building, he died suddenly while in an ambulance in route to a Dover Hospital.  He left no will and his daughter Alice handled the estate.  She kept control of the building until 1953.

    Alice Ritchie Barratt (1901-1966) graduated from Newmarket High School and then  St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Nashua in 1921. She worked as a night supervisor at the Salvation Army Hospital in Boston before returning to Newmarket where she married William Barrett.

    She was owner of the Ben Franklin Department Store for 20 years before retiring. She was a past president of the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce. She received the Joseph Vaughn Award for Rockingham County in 1984 for all the charity work she did while living in Exeter between 1964 and 1984 when she died. She is buried with her husband William Barratt (1899-1973) in Calvary Cemetery.   




    After WW II

    After WW II the Brooks Block

    In 1948 the Colonial Luncheonette was operating here, and Lucille Hamel worked behind the counter. The business was later bought by Ken Varney who ran it with his wife Harriet Carpenter until prior to 1958 when he left the counter to teach in both Epping and Newmarket High Schools.  He later became the school guidance counselor at NHS and Harriet became the school Lunch Lady.

    1953 Alice (Ritchie) Barrett sold to Arthur R. & Laurence E. Beauschsne.  They later moved into the building in 1958 to run their real estate and insurance business.

    From the 1997-1998  Newmarket Town Report Dedication:

    Laurence was a resident of Newmarket for over 37 years and developed the reputation as the Town’s “Cheerleader”.  She was active in community affairs and had given scholarships to graduating seniors. Laurence served on many committees and boards. She was appointed to an alternate seat on the Planning Board in July of 1992 and was elected as a term member in May of 1995.

    “Laurence served on the Board of Directors for the Newmarket Community Development Corporation, the Mill Task Force Committee and the Newmarket Business Association.  As important as her community activism was her sense of humor and zest for life. Her untimely death on May 1, 1997 was a loss to us all”.

    Once Arthur was appointed Postmaster in 1965,  Laurence ran the business until she retired with the help later from her daughter Deborah.

    Changing Hands

    In 1998 the building at 72 Main Street changed hands again from the Estates of Laurence E. Beauchesne to Ritchie Holding, LLC.  who in 2003 sold to R.J. Mastin Properties, LLC. which resold in 2006 to Cedar Swamp Group, LLC. until 2015 when it was again sold to Newmarket Holdings, LLC.  under whose name it appeared on the 2022 Newmarket Tax Map.

    In the meantime:  The space was a tavern for a short time between 1998 and 2001 when Panzanellas  Italian Restaurant then moved into the bottom floor. The restaurant’s popularity  soon outgrew the space and they moved to Weaver’s Row just up the street.  Panzanellas owner Jared Woodman stated at the time: “I’m moving to double my space and, I’ll be able to add a full-service sports bar, which I think the town really needs.”  He said Panzanellas location for the past 13 years had 48 seats. The new location will have approximately 74, with 30 at the new bar area .

    After Panzanellas moved up the hill to Weaver’s Row, La Catrina Mexican Restaurant took over the site in 2017.







    Arthur Turcotte Family

    William Turcotte (1847-1922) and his wife Philomede (1845–1918) brought his family to Newmarket in 1890 from Quebec for work in the mills. In 1900 he and his sons Arthur (age 19), Leo (age 16) and Joseph (age 11) were all working in the cotton mill.

    Arthur Joseph Turcotte  (1880-1957)  a whizz with figures, was also town treasurer from 1900 to 1910.  After becoming naturalized in 1904 he served in the town Democratic political party and was elected as selectman 1913 and then in 1916 to the state legislature.  He was a member and past President of the French-Canadian Society, St. Jean the Baptist Society and Lafayette Club, and attended St. Mary’s Church.

    After he opened his grocery store, his two brothers Leon & Joseph soon left the factory and clerked for him.

    In 1906 he married Rose Delima Lambert ( 1871-1914).  She was the widow of Gideon MCarthy who died in 1906. She and her two children Robert and Eva moved into the Spring Street Turcotte home.  Rose and Arthur had an additional six children.

    Arthur and Rose had three sons:

    Leo ( 1907-1990), Romeo “Barney” (1911-1997),  and Emile (1913-1985).  Growing up, all the boys had worked in their father’s hardware store, and all three served in WW II.  Barney’s wife Jeannette (Loiselle) had clerked in both the store and in Novel’s Department Store. 

    Their three daughters:

    Florence(1908- 2002) lived most of her life as a nurse in Keene and Exeter before coming back to Newmarket; 

    Sister Marguerite Turcotte (1910-1986)  by age 9 years she had been placed in the of St. Charles Orphanage in Rochester, she later became a nun AKA Sister St. Emanuel who was assigned to a convent in Ottawa, Canada where she remained until her death;  

    Miss Juliette Turcotte who was born two years beore her mother died in 1916.  Juliette moved to live with her aunt Marie (Lambert) Lavoie in Salem, Mass.  There Juliette grew up in a family of nine cousins; she remained in Salem until her death in 2010.  She retired as executive secretary of the first chief Judge of Probate Courts after 25 years.

    In 1920, four years after his wife Rose died, he purchased a house on Maple Street, and married the widow Alma M. Geoffrin (1882-1953). She and her son Lucien J. Geoffrion joined the family in the Maple Street home.  When Arthur died, he was survived by his second wife Alma, his children and stepchildren and three brothers, Leonadas of Somersworth, Ulrich of Victoria Ville, P.Q. and Rosario of Newmarket; and one sister, Miss Alice Turcotte also of Newmarket.