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Farrar Marsh WMA: A New Hampshire Family's Legacy

The Farrar property in Hillsboro has been owned by five generations from 1797 - 1977. Isaac Farrar came from Townsend, Massachusetts, to Concord End in 1797. He bought land, built buildings, and the seven children who came from Townsend with their parents had seven more brothers or sisters born in Hillsboro. Stephen, his son, inherited from Isaac in 1840, Alden Prescott from Stephen in 1886, Charles Prescott Farrar from Alden in 1920, and Prescott S. Farrar - the present owner - from Charles in 1956.


There have been three previous houses on the Homestead site, the last occupied by Walter Farrar, 1900 - 1912.   Two were struck by lightening, and the third destroyed by fire from an overheated chimney.


Mr. Allen I. Lewis, P.E.
State of NH Fish and Game Dept.
34 Bridge Street
Concord, NH        


Dear Mr. Lewis:


As discussed, please find the historical article describing the Farrar real estate in Hillsboro. As far as we know this is the only land in this area, and possibly in Hillsboro, which has remained in the same family since its original purchase. For these reasons we would like to suggest naming the Fish and Game lands in the Concord End district of HillsboroFarrar Marsh.


Very truly yours,
Prescott S. Farrar
Berkeley Heights, N.J.
January 10, 1977

There is a small house on the Homestead site now built by John Farrar, son of Prescott, in 1974.


The area in the first two or three generations was pretty generally settled - cleared and developed into farms nearly self-sustaining except for salt, carpenter's and farming tools, and a few necessities.   One hundred years ago the area was flourishing, and the district school had an enrollment at times of over forty pupils.


Alden Farrar, the third generation to live in Hillsboro, was back from the Civil War, interested in the church and town politics, and in 1880 came back to the Homestead to take over farm operation from his father Stephen, whose health and age prevented him from carrying on.   Perhaps the area - and all rural areas nearby - was at its peak at this time.


Nathan and Alden Farrar, after the Civil War, dammed the bog and ran an up-and-down-saw sawmill on Mill Hill.   It was said an extra plank a foot wide was put on the dam which would raise the water back to the Homestead Farm.   Walter Farrar operated a steam sawmill in the field just north of the old Farrar cemetery during the early 1900's.


The coming of railroads, the industrial revolution, and stepped up movement to the cities were to reverse the trend and take people from the area.   As people moved due to fire or a desire for a change, while not continuing to take over and run the home place, the area, farm by farm, suffered.   With Ralph Farrar's death, when the buildings on the Nathan Farrar farm were burned in 1955, no one was left as a year-round resident in this part of the town.

Fields continued to be mowed in most cases until bushes and trees growing for timber gradually pushed out from the wood lot or roadside area.   In the early 1920's over 1,000 cattle were turned out to summer pasture in the district.   This too is now gone with the increase in forest growth, until there are no worthwhile pastures.


The area has come full circle with more people buying again, this time for summer camps or for land.   Thus the Four Corners, Mill Hill, the Red Tub, Burpee, Thompson Mountain, the Wharf Rock, the House Rock, Sand Knoll, the Bear's Den and the swimming hole on Sandy Brook are again becoming known, and trees are receiving the initials of enterprising youngsters of our time - now with the nostalgia of all that has gone before.   Gone are the steers, oxen and horses.   Alden Farrar owned sixteen horses at one time in the late 1800's.   A large portion of the bog meadows were mowed by hand or with mowing machines drawn by oxen or horses equipped with foot-square mud-shoes to prevent their feet from sinking into the soft ground.   It was customary in the early days for each upland farmer to own 10 acres of bog meadow land.


Thus this bog area will now have a new lease on life as the State of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department once again constructs a dam at the south end of the bog to flood the marsh and create a Fish and Wildlife Environmental Area.