A Blacksmith of Pittsburg, Coos County New Hampshire: William A. Chase

A scan of actual stationery used by William A. Chase of Pittsburg for his Blacksmith trade. Property of Janice Brown, do not use without her express written permission.

A scan of actual stationery used by William A. Chase of Pittsburg in the 1890s for his Blacksmith trade. Property of Janice Brown, do not use without her express written permission.

Blacksmiths shape and join metals to make functional or decorative every day items. They create horseshoes, iron gates, railings, furniture, and tools to name just a few objects. In the 1890’s when William A. Chase had a business in Pittsburg, Coos County, New Hampshire, he would have been an essential, and important part of his community.

By 1901, according to the “American Blacksmith” magazine, blacksmiths were a varied group that included farriers, wheelwrights and carriage builders. During the great age of the railroad, some blacksmiths worked in great foundries building locomotives and cars. Others crafted and repaired bicycles, the great transportation vehicle of that time before the automobile. Blacksmiths were considered specialized mechanics in some cases.

Sketch of a blacksmith, from the book published in 1885, showing the poem, The Village Blacksmith, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; from Hathi Trust Digital Library

Sketch of a blacksmith, from the book published in 1885, showing the poem, The Village Blacksmith, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; from Hathi Trust Digital Library

Unfortunately I do not have a photograph of William A. Chase, but I do know from his stationery that he performed the shoeing of animals (besides making their shoes), repaired metal items, and that carriage work was his specialty. If you are interested in learning some basic blacksmith skills, the Sanborn Mills Farm, in Loudon, NH offers classes from April to October.

William A. Chase, the blacksmith of Pittsburg, New Hampshire, was a local man. His parents William & Caroline (Bowen) Chase had both grown up in the area–his father in Grafton County, and his mother in Compton, Sherbrooke, Canada. She probably was near or at her birthplace when William was born, for his records state he was born in Canada about 1864 but that around the same time his parents moved back to the United States. Many of his Chase relatives and cousins lived in Pittsburg New Hampshire or in nearby towns. See his genealogy directly below.

–GENEALOGY OF WILLIAM A. CHASE, BLACKSMITH OF PITTSBURG, NH–

Richard Chase & Joan Bishop, immigrant ancestor
Aquila Chase & Anne Wheeler of Newbury MA [in 1640 granted a house lot of six acres in Hampton NH, his name on monument dedicated to early Newbury settlers]
Thomas Chase & Rebecca Follansbee of Newbury MA
Jonathan Chase & Joanna Palmer of Newbury MA
William Chase (1710-1772) & Phebe Rollins (1715-1748)
William Chase (1742-1806) & Phebe Piper (1745-1835)

William Chase, son of William & Phebe (Piper) Chase, b. 16 Sep 1764 in Stratham, Rockingham Co. NH, d. 9 July 1815 in Meredith, Belknap. Co. NH. He m. 1781 in Pembroke NH to Abigail Piper, daughter of Gideon & Rachel (Sanborn) Piper. She was. b 28 Oct 1762 in Pembroke NH and d. 1801 in Pembroke NH.
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Children of William & Abigail (Piper) Chase:
1. John Chase, b. 26 Sep 1786 in Sanbornton NH; d. 12 March 1867 in Meredith, Belknap Co. NH
2. + William Chase, b 23 Nov 1788
3. Rachel Chase, b 1788
4. Nathaniel Chase, b. 1793; d. 8 Oct 1831 in Meredith NH
5. Abel Chase, b 1798, d. 1 May 1856 in Meredith NH
6. Gideon Chase, b. 1801, d. 25 Nov 1887
7. James Chase, b. 1803 NH

William Chase, son of William & Abigail (Piper) Chase, b. 23 Nov 1788 in New Hampton, Belknap Co. NH [or Isles of Shoals NH] and d. 21 Oct 1867 Piermont, Grafton Co. NH. He m. 27 March 1810 prob Rockingham Co. NH to Mercy Leavitt, daughter of Amos Dollof & Dorothy (Smith) Leavitt. She was b. abt 1792 in Piermont, Grafton Co. NH and d. 21 Nov 1866 prob Belknap Co. NH
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Children of William & Mercy (Leavitt) Chase:
1. William Chase, b. 1810, d. 1900 in Rumney, Grafton Co. NH
2. + Jonathan Chase, b. 17 March 1811 in Grafton, Grafton Co. NH
3. Daniel Chase, b. 1814 Meredith, Belknap Co. NH, d. 11 April 1884 in Piermont NH

Jonathan Chase, son of William & Mercy (Leavitt) Chase, b. 17 March 1811 in Grafton, Grafton Co. NH, d. prob in Coos Co. NH. He m. abt 1832 prob Grafton Co. NH to Elisa/Eliza Kimball. She was b. 4 Aug 1809 in Holderness, Grafton Co. NH and d. 21 March 1879 in New Hampton, Belknap Co. NH
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1850 US Census > NH > Grafton > Piermont
Jonathan Chase 39
Eliza Chase 40
Martha A. Chase 17
Daniel Chase 15
William Chase 12
Sarah M. Chase 9
Jonathan J. Chase 7
Albert S. Chase 2
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1860 US Census > NH > Grafton > Dorchester
Jonathan Chase 49
Eliza Chase 50
Daniel Chase 25
William Chase 22
Jonathan L. Chase 17
Albert S. Chase 12
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Children of Jonathan & Elisa (Kimball) Chase:
1. Martha A. Chase, b. abt 1833 Piermont NH
2. Daniel Chase, b. 14 March 1835 Piermont NH; d. 2 December 1920; buried Pittsburg, Coos Co. NH
3. + William Chase, b. abt 1838 Grafton, Grafton Co. NH
4. Sarah M. Chase, b. abt 1841 NH
5. Jonathan Leavitt Chase, b. abt 1843 NH, d. 10 Oct 1930 in Grafton Co. NH. He m. Sarah E. Haynes. Children: Erwin Alphonso, Ellen Louise, Ida M., George Henry, and Clarence Arthur. He is buried in Alexandria NH.
6. Albert S. Chase, b. 18 May 1848 in Piermont, Grafton Co., NH; d. 27 Dec 1927 in Haverhill NH.

William Chase, son of Jonathan & Elisa (Kimball) Chase, b. abt 1838 Grafton, Grafton Co. NH, d. prob. Coos Co. NH. In 1860 living in Dorchester, Grafton Co. NH in 1880 living in Wentworth Location, Coos Co. NH. He married in Hatley, Quebec on 22 Sep 1864 to Caroline “Carrie” Bowen, of Compton C.E., [married by Chester Heard, Baptist minister]. She was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Bowen, farmer of Compton and his wife Martha Florence Sleeper, born 3 April 1836 in Canada, and d. — prob in Wentworth Location, NH. [Her birth and marriage from Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection).
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1851 Census of Canada East (Quebec) > Sherbrooke County > Compton
Ben T. Bowen Farmer Methodist 45 [b abt 1806]
Caroline Bowen 16
William Bowen 13
Albert Bowen 11
Lucinda Bowen 8
Charlotte Bowen 5
———-
1870 US Census > NH > Coos > Columbia
Chase, William 32 M W Farmer 300/100 NH Farmer 300/100
Chase, Caroline 34 F W Keeping House Canada
Chase, Darius S. 8 M W NH
Chase, William A. 6 M W Canada
Chase, Etta M 2 F W NH
Chase, Elsie M. 10/12 F W NH (Aug)
———-
1880 US Census > Coos > Wentworth Location
William Chase self M 42 Farmer
Caroline Chase wife F 43 Canada
Darius L. Chase son M 17 NH
William A. Chase son M 15 Canada assists in farming
Mary E.M. Chase dau F 12 NH
Jonathan Chase Father M 69 NH
Mercy R.E. Chase daughter F 11 NH
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Children of William & ? (?) Chase:
1. Darius S. Chase, b. abt 1862 NH; living with parents, age 17 in 1880 census. No more known. Possibly Caroline Bowen was also his mother.
Children of William & Caroline (Bowen) Chase:
2. + William A. Chase, b. abt 1864 in Canada
3. Etta Mary Chase, b. abt 1868 Pittsburg NH; m. 17 March 1891 in Littleton NH to Asa Baker French, (as his 3rd wife), son of Joseph & Mehitable (Cole) French. He was b abt 1846 in Newark VT. They had 3 children: Clair M., Alice, and Marion G. They divorced in 1898.
4. Elsie R. Mercy “Mertie” “Myrtle” Chase, b Aug 1869 East Columbia NH; d. 30 April 1954 in West Stewartstown, Coos Co NH; m. — Smith. She is buried in Island Pond Cemetery, Island Pond VT.

William A. Chase [this story is about him], son of William & Caroline (Bowen) Chase, b. abt 1864 in Canada, immigrated about same time with his parents.  [A William Chase is shown baptized in Montreal, Basilique Notre-Dame in 1869 possibly this is he.] Died after 1920 when he is shown living on River Road in Colebrook, New Hampshire, his occupation: blacksmith.  He was single at that time, so probably he never married or had children.
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1870 US Census > NH > Coos > Columbia
Chase, William 32 M W Farmer 300/100 NH Farmer 300/100
Chase, Caroline 34 F W Keeping House Canada
Chase, Darius S. 8 M W NH
Chase, William A. 6 M W Canada
Chase, Etta M 2 F W NH
Chase, Elsie M. 10/12 F W NH (Aug)
———-
1880 US Census > Coos > Wentworth Location
William Chase self M 42 Farmer
Caroline Chase wife F 43 Canada
Darius L. Chase son M 17 NH
William A. Chase son M 15 Canada assists in farming
Mary E.M. Chase dau F 12 NH
Jonathan Chase Father M 69 NH
Mercy R.E. Chase daughter F 11 NH
———-
1920 US Census > NH > Coos > Colebrook > River Road
Chase, William A. Head Rent M W 56 single Canada-alien NH NH Blacksmith Shop
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Probably no children.

***ADDITIONAL READING***

Poem: Village Blacksmith, by Longfellow

Forge-Blacksmith shop (photograph) originally in Chesterfield NH, moved to West Springfield MA Exposition Grounds. Library of Congress. Prints & Photographs, Online Catalog

The American Blacksmith 1901

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3 Responses to A Blacksmith of Pittsburg, Coos County New Hampshire: William A. Chase

  1. You found a wonderful sketch to use in place of a photograph!

  2. Amy says:

    Such deep American roots! How is he related to you? And I never knew blacksmiths did anything other than make shoes for horses. Live and learn!

  3. True! says:

    Hard Work! Enjoyed this piece. I know in Slavery if a Slave was a Blacksmith he did pretty well with buying land and freeing his family amongst some things. I to enjoyed the illustrations.

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