New Durham, New Hampshire
Strafford county. The surface of this town is very uneven, a portion so rocky as to be unfit for cultivation. The soil is generally moist, and well adapted to grazing. There are 5 ponds in New Durham, the largest of which is Merrymeeting pond, about 10 miles in circumference, from which a copious and perpetual stream runs into Merrymeeting bay, in Alton. Ela's river flows from Coldrain pond into Farmington, on which is a fine waterfall. The Cocheco also has its source here. Mount Betty, Cropple-crown, and Straw's mountains are the principal eminences. On the N.E. side of the latter is a remarkable cave, the entrance of which is about 3 feet wide and 10 feet high. The outer room is 20 feet square; the inner apartments become smaller, until at the distance of 50 feet they are too small to be investigated.—The sides, both of the galleries and the rooms, are solid granite. They bear marks of having been once united, and were probably separated by some great convulsion of nature.
There is a fountain, over which a part of Ela's river passes, which is regarded as a curiosity. By sinking a small mouthed vessel into this fountain, water may be procured extremely cold and pure. Its depth has not been ascertained. Near the centre of the town is Rattlesnake hill, the S. side of which is almost 100 feet high, and nearly perpendicular. Several other hills in this town contain precipices and cavities, some of considerable extent. New Durham was granted in 1749. It was incorporated, Dec. 7, 1762.
Elder Benjamin Randall, the founder of the sect of Freewill Baptists, commenced his labors here in 1780, and organized a church. He died in 1808, aged 60.