New Hampshire’s Last Highwaymen

Advertisement by Huse Karr of his
robbery near Boscawen NH in 1821.

New Hampshire doesn’t seem like a hot-spot for highwaymen, and indeed there have not been many. In the early history of the State, travelers either did not have much coin or they didn’t travel with it.

Because the roads were so poor, boats on the Merrimack or the Connecticut Rivers were popular modes of travel, resulting in a near impossible method for a highwayman to ply his trade. But as the roads improved, as toll roads were built, and as more affluent people began to travel, meeting a highwayman was a possibility, though a rarity.

Highwaymen were not the romantic figures of the pulp fiction novels. They were thugs, thieves, and miscreants. They threatened people’s lives and tried to steal their hard-earned money and possessions. In colonial New England getting caught was risky, for the punishment was death. Continue reading