The early paths leading into the section were just trails and bridle paths. Horseback riding was the only means of travel and many did not have horses.
The earliest route came up from Meredith Center past the Dana Woodman place, later known as the Harry Flanders
place (and the present time (1952) owned by Thomas Hayes) straight up to the Samuel Dolloff home, also known as the John Edgerly farm. Turning left, to go out to the “Straits” road or turning right toward Ward Hill. This latter road for many years was called Lacawanns St. and extended to Gordon’s corner.
This first part was called the Range Way and would seem the nearest way to Meredith Center where there was a grist mill and saw mill. The early settlers carried their grist on their backs to have it ground.
There was also another trail leading into this section, known as the Province Road, which can be traced from Portsmouth to Laconia. It passed over Parade Road, turning at several places, finally coming to the St. Clair pasture, past Forest Pond and straight up over Beech Hill to the Provinces further north and to the Connecticut River.
Beech Hill is a very steep hill, at least three quarters to a mile long. When trails became wider, ox teams were used to take their produce to Portsmouth to exchange for such staple products as molasses, braided tobacco and rum. The latter was used in nearly everything liniment, medicine and also thought to be useful in haying time or barn raisings.
Later, when the roads were a little better, stage coaches drawn by two or three pairs of horses made regular trips at intervals over Beech Hill. Such heavy loads required more help to pull the loads over the steep rough places. Several yokes of oxen were kept at the foot of the hill to help going up, also to help brake the load coming down.
Another method they used was to have a pile of poles at the top of the hill ready to be put through the wheels to brake coming down. They were left at the foot of the hill and the next team going up would carry them back.
A blacksmith’s shop was kept near the foot of the hill for shoeing the cattle and horses and repairing such heavy rigging as it was necessary to use. The cattle were also housed at the Smith farm, known to us as the Albert Hawkins farm (now (1952) owned by Mr. Rand).
Source: Written and read by Mrs. Stella Pollard for Old Home Day, August 25, 1951. Information provided by Mrs. Grace Thayer who remembered the stories told by Mr. Martin Woodman, Albert Hawkins, Hosea Boynton, Mrs. Clara Hawkins and others.