The Balch Yard

West Colburn Road, New Boston, Hillsborough County, NH

(by Frances Ellingwood, Laconia, NH)


The “Balch Yard,” as this little neighborhood cemetery was known, is located approximately four and seven-tenths miles from the center of the village.  Follow route 136W for about four miles until you come to West Colburn Road on your right, continue up West Colburn Road for seven-tenths of a mile to just beyond the driveway to 192 West Colburn Road and a small white gate, in need of paint, with a NO TRESPASSING sign may be seen on your left at the top of a steep banking.  (Click the picture for a larger image)


The cemetery is enclosed on all four sides by stone walls and it is overgrown with brush, trees and a creeping ground vine.  The stone walls are surrounded by woods.  The lot is approximately 22 paces by 18 paces in size, and is on property originally owned by David and Mary McLane.  This land was deeded to John Balch on March 11, 1820.  John, his wife Deborah (Kenniston or Kinson); his father and mother, Robert and Sarah (Dodge) Balch; his sister, Rebecca (Balch) Dodge and her husband Ezra Dodge are all buried in this cemetery in the “Balch Row.”


On December 4, 1867 the John Balch Estate became the property of Livermore Langdell (Book 165, Page 236).  Dea. Livermore Langdell, his wife Fannie (Fisher) and his son Niles were originally buried in the Balch Yard.  Their bodies were transferred on May 14, 1883 to lot 17, 3rd survey in New Boston Cemetery (now known as Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery).  The body of Harriet W. Morgan, ae. 1 yr. 6 ms. 27 ds. was transferred from the Balch Yard to lot 46, 1st survey on May 30, 1880.  She was the daughter of Zechariah and Julia A. (Fisher) Morgan.


On November 5, 1883 Nathan F. Langdell, son of Dea. Livermore Langdell, became the owner of the property which was split up with 85 acres going with the house and “reserving the graveyard lot to friends and heirs of those buried in said yard.”  (Book 473, Page 444)


Members of the BALCH, COLBURN, DODGE, DUNLAP and TEWKSBURY families are buried in the cemetery.  There are three rows of gravestones; the first row is the DODGE-TEWKSBURY row; the second row is the COLBURN row; the third row is the BALCH-DODGE row.  It appears that the LANGDELL family, mentioned above, may have been in a fourth row before removal to the present day Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery in downtown New Boston.  The first row runs parallel with the driveway to 192 West Colburn Road, and there appears to be space enough between the third row and the stone wall for the LANGDELL family and the MORGAN child to have been buried there at one time.


The names of twenty-eight persons appear on the stones still extant as of 1990 when the cemetery was last visited, and it is known that the two fieldstones at the beginning of the COLBURN row mark the last resting place of David Colburn and his wife Rebecca (Richards) Colburn.


An attempt has been made to record all of the names and dates from the headstones.  Each has been assigned a letter and a number.  Slate stones are designated by the letter “S,” granite stones by the letter “G” and fieldstone by “F.”  Two stones have three names on them and a third one has two names.  They are designated as G-7a, G-7, G-7b, G-24, G-24a and G-25a, G-25 and G-25b.  It is not known exactly where each person named on these three headstones are buried…only that they are buried in that lot.


The diagram of the cemetery is not drawn to scale…it is intended only to show the general location of the headstones.  There appears to be enough room between the gate and the start of the three existing rows of graves to possibly have been the burial place of others.  However, there are no stones of any type visible there now, nor were there when the Atwood sisters visited the Balch Yard back in 1931.


The reason for the belief that others might be buried there stems from the space as mentioned above, and the following information taken from Edward N. Colburn’s story of the COLBURN HOMESTEAD.  He wrote as follows:


“Luther (Colburn) died in 1867 at the age of 56 from consumption, leaving Hannah a widow at the age of 46 with three children aged 16, 12, and 7.  The old cemetery to the east (the Balch yard) was nearly full, and he was buried on the farm where his first wife Mary Todd and his children Hattie and Frank already lay.”


These bodies were removed June 12, 1882 to lot No. 7, 3rd survey in the New Boston Cemetery (now known as Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery).


New Boston records were destroyed by the fire of May 1888 which completely burned out the central portion of the village.  “The burning of all the secretary’s papers and records and books presented by the late Elbridge Wason of Boston, leaving only the record that the treasurer kept of the moneys passing through his hands necessitates new books and blanks for deeds and records….” (from New Boston Town Report, March 1, 1889).


The “Balch yard” is a rather historic little cemetery with the following persons having some connection  with the Revolutionary War:


            G-6.  Anne Wilson, wife of Dimon Dodge and daughter of James and Mary (Eaton) Wilson.  Her father, James Wilson, was b. in Windham, NH April 24, 1759, d. September 1821 in Troy, Ohio.  He was a signer of the Association Test in 1776;  was a Rev. soldier and enlisted with Lieutenant Senter in that year in Capt. Jesse Wilson’s Co., Col. Moses’ Regiment, General Stark’s Brigade.  He participated in the Battle of Bennington, August 15, 1777:

            F-8.   David Colburn, b. March 26, 1747, Dedham, Massachusetts, d. in 1820, New Boston, NH, m. April 30, 1771, Rebecca Richards, b. July 11, 1751, Dedham, Massachusetts.  David Colburn served as private at the Lexington Alarm under Capt. Bullard and Col. Heath and as Corporal in Capt. Ebenezer Battle’s company, Cols. William McIntosh and Weld’s regiments, Massachusetts line.

            G-10.  Rachel (Newell) Colburn, wife of Ephraim (G-9) and daughter of Ebenezer Newell, was b. June 24, 1786, Dover, Massachusetts, d. March 8, 1866, New Boston, NH; m. April 12, 1804, Needham, Massachusetts, Ephraim Colburn.  Ebenezer Newell took an active part in the contest which led up to the Revolution.  He was a lieutenant in Capt. Joseph Guild’s Company of Minute Men who marched from Dedham at the Lexington Alarm, April 19, 1775.  In 1776, he became a lieutenant in the First Boston Regiment of which William McIntosh was Colonel.  He was commissioned May 10, 1776.  He was at Fort Hancock on Cape Elizabeth, ME, and guarded Burgoyne’s troops 150 days 1777-1778.

            S-18.  Robert Balch, bapt. July 28, 1745, Topsfield, Massachusetts, d. August 3, 1830, New Boston, NH; m. November 28, 1769 Sarah Dodge, bapt.. July 5, 1752, Topsfield, Massachusetts; died March 16, 1822, New Boston, NH.  Robert Balch responded to the Lexington Alarm as a private in Capt. Joseph Guild’s Co., Col. John Baker’s Regiment., and in 1776 in Capt. Robert Dodge’s Co., Col. Ebenezer Francis’ Regiment.

            His headstone bears the following inscription:

                        “By long experience have I known - Thy sovereign power to save

                           At thy command I venture down – Securely to the grave”


Thus this cemetery is the final resting place of two Revolutionary War soldiers and of two daughters of revolutionary War Soldiers.


In 1984 and 1985 descendants of David and Rebecca (Richards) Colburn cleared some brush and trees, and reset the stones of George W. Dunlap, his wife Sarah H. (Balch), and their son John A. Dunlap; also the stone of Francis and Sarah (Dodge) Dodge.  There is still much work that should be done to preserve this cemetery.  Unfortunately the descendants that live nearby are getting along in years and their health does not permit them to do all that should be done.


The purpose of this work is to at least preserve on paper what is known about this little cemetery.  Perhaps in the future someone may be searching for information of their ancestors in the Balch yard, and may come across this record. .