Canterbury, New Hampshire
Merrimack county. Canterbury, though an uneven township, is not mountainous. The soil is generally good; the more uneven parts affording excellent pasturage. There are no large streams in this town, but several ponds give rise to smaller streams, furnishing good mill sites, and near which are cut great quantities of hay. Two bridges over the Merrimack connect this town with Boscawen. The town was settled about 1727, and for a long time the inhabitants were exposed to the inroads of the savages. The husbandman cleared and tilled his land under the protection of a guard, uncertain whether the seed he committed to the ground might not be watered by his blood, or that of an enemy. Canterbury lies 8 miles N. from Concord. Population, 1836, 1663.
The Hon. Abiel Foster deserves a particular notice. He possessed in a great degree the esteem and confidence of the people; and soon after he left the pastoral care of the church, he was called to arduous duties as a magistrate and legislator. In 1783 he was elected to Congress; and for three years was a member of that body under the old confederation. He was successively returned a member for nearly all the time until 1804; when he retired to private life and domestic tranquility. He was an ardent lover of his country, and faithfully served his constituents—by whom his memory will long be cherished. He died in Feb., 1806. Canterbury, from its elevated situation, has ever been a healthy town.
In the S.E. part of this town, on an elevated and beautiful site, is the village of the "Shakers." At present it consists of more than two hundred members. They have a meeting-house open at all times of public worship, where any discreet and decent spectator is allowed to attend. They have a "Trustees' Office," where all their public business is transacted, and where strangers are at first received on visits to the society. They have also neat dwelling-houses, of two and three stories, and several workshops both for men and women. Their mills and various kinds of machinery are moved by water on an artificial stream. They manufacture many articles for sale, which are remarkable for neatness and durability. Their gardens are perhaps the most productive of any in the country; and indeed all their improved lands exhibit the pleasing effects of industry and rural economy. They cultivate garden seeds and take much pains to propagate those of the best kind.