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Upper Factory School

    The land for the school was given by Jonathan Kimball. The one room building was constructed where the first house on Heather Lane now sits in 1819 at a cost of $292.82 cents. The school house was thirty feet square and tolerably high posted, fireplace in the east end and seats placed on an inclined floor; the rear row of seats two feet higher than the level of the floor. Sumner D. Sterling, his brothers and sisters went to school there, grades one through eight. Sumner later drove the horse drawn school barge.

  Upper Factory School.jpg

  The school was established to accommodate the residents of Williamsville and the surrounding area. Williamsville was named for John Williams who built the first cotton mill in Dover about 1814. It and the village were along Upper Factory Road between the Cochecho River and Brick Street, now Sixth Street. The settlement also included a grist mill, machine shop, blacksmith shop, store house, seven dwelling houses and two barns, all company owned. There were several private residences on factory grounds as well.

    The War of 1812 interrupted the importing of English cloth, inducing John Williams to organize the Dover Cotton Factory, capitalized at $50,000.00. A lot of money for a town of 2,000. Starting with the 1837 depression, activity dwindled at the mill until in 1848 it fell silent. It was demolished in 1850.

    The Sterling Brothers Farm (Cottonwood) was built in the area sometime after 1870. John Williams home, later the home of Senator John Hale is open to the public and cane be viewed at the Woodman Institute on Central Avenue in Dover.

(text accompanied photograph, author unknown)


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