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Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History
                            Eleazar Rosebrook

Little has been written about Eleazar Rosebrook.  However, Rosebrook was involved with commerce through the  Crawford Notch for over twenty-five years, and appears to have been a significant participant. 

He was providing accommodations for travelers, almost from the time he settled there in 1792. His daybook indicates that at  that time he was also involved in building and repairing roads through the Notch. In 1804, he was a builder and Director of the10th New Hampshire Turnpike and be built portions of the Jefferson Turnpike and the Littleton Turnpike. He may have supervised construction on other segments of those roads. He died in 1817 and was the grandfather of Lucy Crawford’s husband, Ethan Allen Crawford. Lucy helped her husband-to-be care for his grandfather in the final years of his life. Most of what has been written about Rosebrook was included in her book, History of the White Mountains, published in 1846. Ethan Allen Crawford inherited his grandfather's property after his death. 

Rosebrook settled in Nash and Sawyer’s Location, near the Giant’s Grave, in 1792.  He bought that property from Abel Crawford, his son-in-law.  Abel moved 12 miles east through the Notch and settled in Hart’s Location, near what is today Notchland.  Abel’s home was also a tavern, and he also was involved with the turnpikes as a builder, toll collector and stockholder.[1]

 

Timothy Dwight, President of Yale College,  toured the White Mountains in 1797 and 1803, staying at Rosebrook’s both times.[2]  Dwight is considered to be a reliable source and provides details about Rosebrook’s enterprises. He wrote positively of both visits.  On the first visit, he said that he found a “log hut”.  Writing after the second visit, Dwight said, “he (Rosebrook) has entertained most of the persons traveling in this road over the last eight years.  The number of these is very great.”  Between the first and second visits, Dwight said that Rosebrook had cleared a farm of 150 acres and built two large barns.  Dwight also said that at the time of the 1803 visit, Rosebrook was “preparing to erect a saw-mill; and after that a grist-mill; and when these are finished he proposes to build himself a house.”  Kilbourne says that in 1803 “Rosebrook built a large and convenient two-story dwelling on the high mound afterwards called the Giant’s Grave.” [3]  It appears, from these two writers that Rosebrook prospered between 1797 and 1803.  The latter year, was the year of incorporation of the Tenth NH Turnpike.  Planning was also underway for the building of the Jefferson Turnpike.


This image, and that at the top of this page, shows the Rosebrook Farm, according to a woodblock that Lucy Crawford had prepared for use in a second edition of her book.  Courtesy Dartmouth College Library.
 

Having prospered during years with poor roads, it’s logical to assume that he would consider a turnpike running past his door likely to improve his business.  It’s not surprising, therefore, that Rosebrook was an early investor in the Tenth.  Documents in the Crawford Collection at Dartmouth identify Rosebrook as the “Original Proprietor” of  forty-four shares and state that he paid in full the first and second assessments on those shares. The assessment was $550; it would appear that Rosebrook had the cash to pay when it was due.

 

Rosebrook was also a builder of the turnpikes.    For more information on his involvement with the turnpikes, click here

Clearly, Eleazar Rosebrook deserves more credit than history has given him so far. 


 

[1] Crawford Family Papers, Dartmouth College  

[2] Timothy Dwight, Travels in New England and New York,  New Haven, 1822

[3] Frederick W. Kilbourne, Chronicles of the White Mountains,  Boston, 1916

               Additional  Suggested Reading
Lucy Crawford's History of the White Mountains

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