New Hampshire Tidbits: Newport’s Elephant Rock and Pike Hill

Sketch: Elephant Rock, from History of Newport, by Edmund Wheeler, 1879, page 10

Elephant Rock in Newport, Sullivan County, New Hampshire is described as a large boulder 35 feet high which is almost a perfect image of a kneeling elephant. It is located on Pike Hill.  It is still a popular curiosity of the town, and highlighted on the Parks & Recreation Department section of the town web site.   (Editor’s note: This rock should not be confused with Elephant Head in the White Mountains, for that is another story).

The native people’s of New Hampshire may have been aware of this boulder, but would not have given it such as name. They would have never seen an elephant. The early settlers of the town may have, or even more likely may have seen a drawing in a book. In 1820 an elephant was killed falling from a bridge in Westmoreland New Hampshire, not too far away from Newport, in case you are thinking elephants never were in the area. It was not a native of the state!
The “History of Cheshire and Sullivan Counties, New Hampshire” by D. Hamilton Hurd in 1886 describes the sight this way: “There appears also a geological wonder on the top of this hill, known to the natives as the Elephant Rock, on account of its resemblance in color and proportions to that huge Asiatic pachyderm. It rests upon the surface of the ground, and measures nearly one hundred feet in circumference and twenty-four feet in height. The altitude of its location is estimated at about one thousand five hundred feet above sea-level. When and how it landed upon that granite knob is a matter of grave speculation. It is known to antedate the arrival of any other first settler, and is at present the only original occupant of that hill.”

Stereoscopic View: Elephant Rock, Sullivan Co. NH; H.J. Brown Photographer. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art. The New York Public Library, Digital Collections.

Now one has to wonder who named the boulder.  The first grant of the town of Newport (as Grenville) was made in 1753 but not enough people took up the claim. A second grant was made in 1761 to a new group of people as Newport, but they too had difficulty in establishing enough residents until 1769 when the charter was renewed.

There would have been early land surveys made, and possibly a surveyor first spied the ‘elephant.’   At this late date it seems impossible to know for sure exactly who saw the boulder first, and who “saw” it as an elephant and gave it the name.

Editor’s Note:  According to Larry Cote, Newport Historical Society Museum Director, Elephant Rock “is on private property and you would need permission to see it. David Campbell who lives in Nashua owns the property.”

What we do know is that the boulder sits at the top of Pike Hill, a long-time name of the elevation, early owned by the Pike Family. They certainly would have been aware of the large boulder. And so I have decided to trace the genealogy and family history of the Pike Family of Newport, New Hampshire.

I welcome additional proof if it is known who owned the property prior to Pike family’s arrival, and if there is definitive proof of someone giving the boulder its moniker.  By 1972 the rock had become mostly forgotten, but reportedly the new owners (at that time) wanted to maintain it as a town landmark.  Not far away from Elephant Rock is Tipping Rock. Larry Cote wrote a story about that marker.

The History of Newport New Hampshire states: “The Pikes came from England to Massachusetts. John, Moses and Jarvis came from Attleborough, Mass and were among the early settlers, occupying Pike Hill. John settled on [what is now known as] the Abial D. Pike farm, Moses on the Calvin H. Pike place and Jarvis on a farm south of the Ingalls place. The first road opened in town was a cart-road from Charlestown NH. It extended from North Charlestown through Unity, over Pike hill, to the foot of Call hill on the Unity Road, and was laid out in 1766.”

If you have an interest in Newport, New Hampshire, please visit the web site of the Newport New Hampshire Historical Society.


James Pike (1621-1699) & Naomi — (1626-1692) of Langford, Wiltshire England and Reading MA
John Pike (1653-1709) & Elizabeth Engleshie (1653-1687) of Reading & Roxbury MA
Jarvis Pike (1684-1764) & Abigail Storey (1680-1736) of Roxbury MA
Jarvis Pike (1709-1750) & Experience Pierce (1709-?) of Roxbury & Rehoboth MA

—–Next Generation—–

Moses Pike, son of Jarvis & Experience (Pierce) Pike, b 1 May 1738 Bristol, MA, d 9 Nov 1815; m. 29 January 1761 in Rehoboth, Bristol Co. MA to Sarah Garnsey, daughter of John & Elizabeth (Titus) Garnsey). She b 15 May 1735 Rehoboth MA, d 3 July 1810 Attleboro MA. [her burial].  He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Attleboro MA.
Children of Moses & Sarah (Garnsey) Pike:
1. Hannah Pike, b. 14 Oct 1761 Attleboro MA
2. +John Pike, b. 20 May 1764 Attleboro MA
3. +Moses Pike, b. 26 January 1766 Attleboro MA
4. +Jarvis/Jerves Pike, b. June 1768 in Attleboro, Bristol Co. MA
5. David Pike, b. 20 February 1770 Attleboro MA
6. Comfort Pike, b. 29 April 1773 Attleboro MA
7. Wounderfull Pike, b. 26 October 1774 Attleboro MA
8. Stephen Pike, b. 13 July 1777 Attleboro MA; died 9 Dec 1857 Attelboro, Bristol Co. MA. He married Weightstill Wilmarth, and had 8 children. Resided Attleboro MA.

—–Next Generation—–

John Pike, son of Moses & Sarah (Garnsey) Pike b. 20 May 1764 in Attleboro MA, died 29 July 1846 in Newport, Sullivan Co. NH; He m. 25 March 1785 in Attleboro MA to Ruth Dunham previous to moving to Newport, New Hampshire. She was the daughter of Abial & Ruth (Cobb) Dunhanm b 26 November 1765 in Attleboro MA, and died after 1850 when she is living in Newport NH with son Ransom and family. The Newport NH town history states she lived to the age of 90 years which would seem to indicate that she died around 1855. John Pike is buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Newport, Sullivan Co. NH
Children of John & Ruth (Dunham) Pike:
1. John Pike, b. 6 Nov 1788; m. 13 March 1814 in Newport NH to Philomela/Folomela Messer. Children: Fanny E. Pike who m. 2 Sep 1852 in NH to Mitchel Hunt. In 1860 Fanny’s parents living in her household in Newport NH
2. +Luther Pike, b. Sept 1789 Newport NH
3. +Abiel Pike, b. Aug 1794
4. William Pike, b. July 1797 Newport NH, died 25 June 1885 in Goshen NH; farmer; He m. Sally Carr of Newbury. Children: William D. Pike who m. Judith Sholes; Madonna Pike who m. William Leavitt; Ursula Pike who m. Dr. Harvey Wheeler; Sabrisa Pike; Philura Pike.
5. Ransom Pike, (male) b. 14 July 1799, died before 31 March 1875 at Kellyville; m. Hannah Pike
6. Salona Pike, b. June 1801; m. Ebnezer Perry; moved to Illinois
7. Calvin Pike. b 16 Aug 1806; m. 22 July 1832 in Attleboro MA to Waitstill/Weightstill Pike

Moses Pike, b. 26 Jan 1776; moved to Newport NH in 1787 and settled on [what is now]  the Calvin H. Pike farm on Pike Hill where he d. 23 July 1848. He married 1788 to Nancy A. Willis, of Bridgewater MA. They are buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Newport, Sullivan Co. NH
Children of Moses & Nancy A. (Willis) Pike:
1. Phineas Pike, b. 12 Jan 1789, died young
2. +Moses L. Pike, b. 20 Aug 1790 Newport NH
3. Sarah Pike, b. 24 Oct 1792, d. 7 April 1835
4. +David Pike, b. 13 Nov 1796
5. Ephraim Pike, b. 26 Dec 1798; m. Lucy Crossman of Unity NH. Children: Francis U. Pike, b. 1 Oct 1824 in Newport NH and d. 16 December 1903 in Manchester NH; and Ruel C. Pike b. abt 1833 Newport NH, d. 24 Dec 1906 Boston MA
6. Nancy A. Pike, b. 25 March 1801; m. Moses Kidder. They lived in Goshen NH. Children: Martin B.B. Kidder; Oliver Kidder who d. young.
7. Henry F. Pike, a twin with Calvin, b. 17 Jan 1804
8. +Calvin H. Pike, b. 18 Jan 1804

Jarvis/Jerves Pike, son of Moses & Sarah (Garnsey) Pike, b. June 1768 in Attleboro, Bristol Co. MA; d. 22 April 1835. Came to Newport NH from Attleboro MA in 1789. He m. 21 November 1789 in Attleboro MA to Betsey Willis of Bridgewater MA
Children of Jarvis & Betsey (Willis) Pike:
1. +Stephen Pike, b. 22 August 1791
2. Betsy Ann Pike, b. April 1793; m. 30 Dec 1813 in NH to James Atwood of Bradford NH
3. Polly Pike, b. April 1795; m. 28 Dec 1820 in Newport NH to Daniel Emerson. They had one son, George F. Emerson, b. abt 1831 Goshen NH and d. 9 Oct 1905 in Worcester MA–a physician at Worcester MA
4. Wilson Pike, b. 7 April 1797; m. 2 September 1819 at Newport NH to Harriet Currier of Goshen NH; resided at Goshen NH.
5. Jarvis Pike, b. Sept 1799; lived and died on Pile Hill in Newport NH. He m. Mary McLaughlin of Goshen NH. Children: Mary Ann Pike, b. Aug 1824 who m. Hon. Levi W. Barton as his first wife.
6. Hannah Pike, b. 14 Oct 1805; m. Francis Rogers of Kelleyvale VT
7. +George Washington Pike, b. 10 October 1807

—–Next Generation—–

Luther Pike, son of John & Ruth (Dunham) Pike, was b. September 1789 in Newport NH; he married 15 January 1811 in Newport NH to Polly Wilmarth. In 1830 census living in Newport, Sullivan Co. NH.
Children of Luther & Polly (Wilmarth) Pike:
1. Sarah W. Pike, b –; m. 31 Dec 1833 in Wendell NH to Ovid Chase
2. Lydia Pike, b –; m. Moses G. Kelley
3. Samuel L.K. Pike, b. 24 Aug 1823; died in the army 1863; m. Louisa Currier. Children: Charles C Pike b 1 Aug 1851; Ellen E. Pike, b. 15 Sep 1850 and who m. Michael M. Barry and had child Perley M.Barry who was b. 1 Aug 1873 in Newport NH

Abiel/Abial Pike, son of John & Ruth (Dunham) Pike, b. Aug 1794. He married Lucy Crossman, daughter of Dr. Crossman of Unity NH.
Children of Abial & Lucy (Crossman) Pike:
1. Sullivan G. Pike, b. 25 Oct 1816 Newport NH, died 5 July 1899 Goshen NH; resided at Goshen NH; farmer, military officer. He m. Ellen Stevens. He is buried in Mill Village NH. Children included a daughter, Saloma A. Pike b abt 1842 Newport NH who m. 21 march 1860 in Croydon NH to William W. Darling, son of William & Ann (Kempton) Darling.
2. +Abial D. Pike. b 14 Sep 1819

Moses Leonard Pike, son of Moses & Nancy A. (Willis) Pike, was b. 20 August 1790 in Newport NH and d. 22 June 1850 in NH. He married 1st) 4 Dec 1810 at Newport NH to Polly Kelsey. She was b 1792 in Killingworth CT and d. 9 Jan 1829. He m2d) 13 Sep 1829 at Newport NH to Abigail Brown. She was b. 20 June 1788 and d. 8 Sep 1841. He md3d) Olive Wright. He is buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Newport NH
Children of Moses L. & Polly (Kelsey) Pike:
1. Parmelia Pike, b. 18 Dec 1810
2. Alonzo H. Pike, b. 23 Oct 1815 in Sullivan Co. NH; died 28 January 1843 in Sullivan Co. NH. He married 9 Nov 1842 in Newport NH to Mandana D. [Mondaner] Bailey. She m2d) Henry F. Pike. [see son of DAVID PIKE that follows]
3. Moses L. Pike Jr., b. 1822 Newport NH, d. 8 Dec 1847 in Newport NH. He is buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Newport NH.

David Pike, son of Moses & Nancy A. (Willis) Pike, was b. 13 Nov 1796. He married Grace Corkings of Lempster NH. Lived and died on Pike Hill.
Children of David & Grace (Corkings) Pike:
1. Alzira “Elvira” Pike, b. 18 Jan 1820; m. Matson Gee of Unity NH
2. Henry F. Pike, b. 7 Sep 1822; m. Mandana Bailey. She was. b 6 Nov 1820. Children: Arthur L Pike b 26 July 1846, and Eugene B. Pike b 24 March 1853.
3. Lovina C. Pike b. 12 Aug 1824; m Martin Bascom
4. David L. Pike, b 25 Aug 1826; m. Eveline Rodgers
5. Margaret H. Pike, b. 14 Oct 1828
6. Marian E. Pike, b. 29 March 1840; m. Charles C. Marshall

Calvin H. Pike, son of Moses & Nancy A. (Willis) PIke, b. 18 January 1804, died 2 July 1878 Newport NH. He lived on the homestead, was a successful farmer. He m. 10 Feb 1842 to Elmira Bailey, daughter of Col. Eliphalet Bailey. They are buried in Maple Street Cemetery, Newport NH
Children of Calvin H. & Elmira (Bailey) Pike:
1. Bela Chamberlain Pike, b. 24 July 1844 Newport NH, d. 12 Nov 1893 Marlow, Cheshire Co. NH; m1) Abby Ann Young of Sunapee NH. She was b. 18 Feb 1848 in Sunapee NH and d. 12 Aug 1876 in Newport NH. He m2d) 2 Sep 1877 Hattie E. Spooner. She was b. 15 Feb 1852 in Croydon NH and d. 13 Aug 1902 in Newport NH Children: Ashton S. Pike b 21 Feb 1868; Jay Leon Pike b 7 Oct 1785, d. 24 Aug 1876.
2. Harlon/Harlan N. Pike, b. 21 Oct 1847 in Newport NH and d. 2 June 1893 in Washington, Sullivan Co. NH; He married 17 Feb 1867 in Claremont NH to Lucy A. Tompkins, widow of Henry Tompkins. Children: James Weston Pike, b. 27 May 1874, Homer Chase Pike b 10 Aug 1875, and Ovid Ralph Pike, b. 3 Oct 1882, d. 24 Sep 1883.

Col. Stephen Pike, son of Jarvis & Betsey (Willis) Pike, b. 20 Aug 1791. He m1) 12 March 1815 in Newport NH to Eunice Emerson. He m2d) 21 Jan 1836 Hannah Tandry. They removed to Unity NH where he died 3 June 1850.
Children of Stephen & Eunice (Emerson) Pike:
1. Eunice E. Pike, b. 21 Feb 1816; m. 31 March 1836 Jonathan Silsby
2. F. Almond “Peggy” Pike b 6 April 1818 Sullivan Co. NH, died 23 March 1838 Sullivan Co. NH [per grave]
3. Lucinda W. Pike, b. 9 Jan 1821, d. 31 Aug 1836, age 19 [per grave]
4. Betsey Pike, b. 23 Aug 1823; m. William Montgomery
5. Frances M. Pike, b. 27 Aug 1826 NH, d. 3 April 1827 Sullivan Co. NH [per grave]
6. Oliver Pike b. 3 April 1830, d. 27 April 1849 [per grave]
7. +Daniel F. Pike, b. 30 March 1832 Unity, Sullivan Co. NH

George Washington Pike, son of Jarvis & Betsey (Willis) Pike, was b. 10 Oct 1807. He m. 31 March 1831 to Olive W. Stevens of Goshen NH.
Children of George W. & Olive W. (Stevens) Pike:
1. R. Sophia Pike, b. 6 Jan 1834; teacher
2. Francis L. Pike, b. 1 Feb 1836, d. 28 June 1837
3. Emily Frances Pike, b. 27 Jan 1839; m. 3 June 1862 Granville Pollard
4. Mary F. Pike, b. 13 Dec 1843; d. 21 Aug 1848
5. George Washington Pike, b. 11 Feb 1847; died young
6. George Stevens Pike, b. 10 Dec 1849; farmer. He m. 22 June 1873 Ellen E. Davis, dau of Henry Davis. She was b. 9 June 1852. Children: Mabel Olive Pike, b. 3 Sep 1876

—–Next Generation—-

Abial D. Pike, son of Abial & Lucy (Crossman) Pike, was b. 14 Sep 1819. He m. Mary Russell. In 1840 in Newport NH. In 1880 they were living in Goshen, Sullivan Co. NH
Children of Abial D. & Mary (Russell) Pike:
1. John R. Pike, b 12 Jan 1841; m. Bell Smith of San Francisco CA; child George
2. Lucy E. Pike, b. 28 July 1844; m. Don Smith
3. Ella F. Pike, b. 16 July 1847; resided at Sunapee NH; m. 8 July 1866 at Claremont, Sullivan Co. NH to Edward Siddell. He was b. in England. In 1880 they were living in Sunapee NH; in 1900 living in East Bridgewater MA. At that time the census shows she had 1 child, none living. He was a blacksmith. In 1920 she was a widow and living in Newport NH. Living in Newport NH as late as 1927.
4. Margaret F. Pike, b. 1850, d. 18 Dec 1933 Manchester NH; m. Wilbur A. “Frank W.” Young of Sunapee. They had several children.
5. Charles W. Pike, b. Oct 1852 Claremont, Sullivan Co. NH; He m. 11 June 1894 in Franklin NH to Mary E. Dearborn, daughter of Frank B. & Anna C. (Lewis) Dearborn. [The town history says he also m. Nellie Ladd of Montpelier VT]
6. Emma A. Pike, b. Feb 1858
7. Ellsworth F. Pike, b. 1 Oct 1863. He m 10 January 1887 to Carrie M. Eastman, daughter of Benjamin Franklin & Lavinia (Morey) Eastman. She was b. 25 Aug 1862 in Andover, Merrimack Co. NH

Daniel F. Pike, son of Stephen & Eunice (Emerson) Pike, b. 30 March 1832 in Unity, Sullivan Co. NH and died 1877. He m. 19 April 1853 in NH to Philinda E. “Filindy” Cutting, daughter of Francis Cutting of Croydon NH. She was b. 12 May 1830 in Croydon NH and d. 8 Aug 1903 in Keene, Cheshire Co. NH. They are buried in Woodland Cemetery, Keene NH
Children of Daniel F. & Philinda E. (Cutting) Pike:
1. Frank Cullen Pike, b. 16 May 1854 in Unity, Sullivan Co. NH and d. 24 February 1924 in Miami, Miami-Dade Co., FL. He m. 18 June 1877 in Newport NH to Sarah Jane “S. Jennie” Atwood.
2. Fred E. Pike, b. 3 June 1858 Newport NH. He m. 24 Nov 1881 in Concord NH to Inez G. Parmenter, dau of Obed Parmenter. In 1900 living in Keene NH, a grocery salesman, with wife [b. January 1858 MA] and daughter Gertrude [b Aug 1882 NH].
3. Emma R. Pike, b. 14 Nov 1860 in Newport NH, and d. 7 Feb 1926 in Portland, Cumberland Co. ME. She m. 13 June 1880 in Concord NH to Charles Henry Favor, son of Emerson & Almira (Sleeper) Favor. He was b. 24 Apr 1856 in Bennington NH and d. 18 Sep 1922 in Gray Maine.
4. Etta E. Pike. b Jan 1868 in Newport, Sullivan Co. NH and d. 17 July 1928 in Harrisville, NH. She m. 25 June 1892 in Tilton NH to Carl Cogswell Pearson, son of Timothy & Adeline (Cogswell) Pearson. He was b. 6 Oct 1868 in Cleveland OH and d. 6 Jan 1936 in Keene NH. They are buried in Woodland Cemetery, Keene NH.


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8 Responses to New Hampshire Tidbits: Newport’s Elephant Rock and Pike Hill

  1. Amy says:

    A timely piece, given that Ringling Bros has announced the closing of the circus, attributing the drop in attendance to the fact that they no longer had elephants as part of their show.

    How did an elephant end up falling off a bridge in NH? I have to believe it was circus related.

    • Janice Brown says:

      No, Amy not a circus related death. Perhaps this is good blog fodder for another story. It has been written about in other places but the version I read was pretty horrifying and I think in later years people tried to gloss the story over.

      And I wrote this all before the Ringling announcement, just coincidence that there is any commonality between this and that.

  2. Bob says:

    Is anyone familiar with “Elephant Rock” in Hancock? Very interesting/realistic side view – huge. This is located on the dirt road leading to the former Ralph Bradley property.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Bob, do you have a photograph of it? can you give details on the location besides what you have already? Is it on private property? Can you see it from the road?

  3. Bob says:

    I don’t have a photograph of “Elephant Rock” in Hancock but let me relate what I do know. The location is on the “Old Dublin Road” which starts pretty much in the center of Hancock – probably a couple of miles. As you travel on the road road going away from Hancock it’s on the left – not far from where Ambassador Grews home (Flagstones – house can’t be seen from Old Dublin Road. Ambassador Grew like many others in the area, was a prominent government worker and was the ambassador to Japan when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was held captive by the Japqnees during the inial period after we declared war on Japan. He was a career government employee having been the Ambassador to several other countries prior to his assignment to Japan.

    Anyway “Eleplant Rock” is very close to his residence – “Flagstones” would be on your right. The Bradley property is a little past this location – and a short distance from Ms Peary’s house. Ms Peary was somehow related to Admiral Peary, as I recall. Admiral Peary was prominent in exploring the andartic. We stayed in her house for a couple of summers prior to staying at the Bradley property.

    Ralph Bradley (lived in Canton, MA in a beautiful estate which is now open to the public) was the son-in-law of Goedfrey L. Cabot – founder of the Cabot Corporation and brother of Samuel Cabot who founded Cabot Paint Company. Both were Harvard graduates and gave generously to Harvard, MIT, Northeastern University and Norwich University.

    Back to the “Rock” which can be seen from the Old Dublin Road – we frequently used to climb all over it as kids.

    Nothing much has changed in this area since I knew it going back seventy years.

  4. Bob says:

    We spend the winter in Venice Florida – used to be the winter home of Ringland. Venice is about half hour below Sarasota and about to hours below Tampa – on the Gulf side.

  5. Pingback: Checking Out Elephant Rock in New Hampshire – Brandy Ellen Writes

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