Documentary History of American Water-works

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New England States New Hampshire Drewsville

Drewsville, New Hampshire

Drewsville is an unincorporated village in the Town of Walpole. It was founded by Thomas Collins Drew around 1810.

Engineering News noted in 1884 that "The smallest water works with which we have, in our researches. become acquainted is at Drewsville, N. H.. about four miles from Bellows Falls. Vt. The village consists of a single line of houses built around the four sides of a small "common” of about two acres in extent. The population is 19: the school attendance is 13. ... The houses are supplied with pure and wholesome water. which is brought in wood pipes from a hillside spring a distance of half a mile. The Drewsville Water Company is 80 years in existence. some of the original log pipes being still in use. There are 10 shareholders. ... In 1876, new wood pipe for about the whole half mile was laid, and a new well house built, at a total expense of $282.91 which represents about the cost of maintenance of the Drewsville Water Works for three quarters of a century."

No record has been found that this company was chartered by the state, but it could easily have operated as an unincorporated entity.  Other than the 1884 Engineering News article, which was reprinted in the Scientific American 52:226 (April 11, 1885), and the volumes of the Manual of American Water-Works, no other references to this system have been found.  The system was likely built by Thomas Collins Drew to serve the Drew Tavern, which he built around 1810.  Sarah Lowell's 1904 will included water rights for the Drewsville Mansion she owned.

The Walpole Water and Sewer Company was incorporated in 1903 to serve the Town of Walpole, except the Village of North Walpole, which would have included Drewsville.  This company operated until it was purchased by the Town of Walpole in 1945 for $40,000.

The water system is currently owned by the Town of Walpole, but it is not certain that this system serves the Village of Drewsville.   

1884 Drewsville, from Engineering News, 12: 178 (October 11, 1884)

1880 The Drewsville Mansion was built on the south end of the Drewsville Common for Bolivar and Sarah Lathrop Lovell.

1886 History of Cheshire and Sullivan counties, New Hampshire, by Duane Hamilton Hurd
Page 436:  Thomas Collins Drew, an unlettered, penniless lad, born in Chester, this State, in 1762, came to this town with the Deny Hill settlers, and made Walpole his life home. By dint of perseverance, at the age of fifty he had accumulated some property, and was about building a substantial brick dwelling in the village — the brick being already on the grounds — but owing to a rupture with those to the " manor born," he changed his mind and purchased a mile square of land in the northeast part of the town, now known as Drewsville, in 1810. He moved his brick thither and erected the hotel now owned by Thomas Taunt. The volume of water then in Cold River was three times what it now is, and was soon utilized in driving machinery in cotton and woolen-factories, and also for many other needful purposes. Artisans flocked into the place, and stores sprang into being, which altogether, till 1835; made Drewsville a lively place. This was the hey-day period of Drewsville, and it is said the place did more business at that time than was done in Walpole village. Evidence of the thrift of the place once are seen in the large size of some of the old buildings ; but, like everything else, the place had its days of prosperity and those of decline.
Page 445: Thomas Collins Drew, in some respects was one of the most remarkable men who ever lived in town. He was born in the town of Chester, this State, in 1762. In boyhood an inmate of the almshouse in Portsmouth, adopted by one McNeal, of Londonderry, he ran away and joined the Continental forces, and after the war closed returned to McNeal. Mr. McNeal had no use for him, and sold his indenture to William T. Ramsey, a settler of this town, for a pair of old stags. He came home with Ramsey, and at his majority or soon after married, when his wife taught him to read and write. He now put on the harness and made a bold push for a livelihood, either by hook or by crook, and as years rolled on he grew in popularity with his townsmen, and was promoted colonel of the Twentieth Regiment of New Hampshire militia, and soon was elected, over those to "the manor born," to the State Legislature in 1802, and was re-elected in 1804, '05, '07, '08 and '09. He was then elected State Councillor two years. He had a great influence in town-meetings, being a fluent speaker. During those years he kept a public-house at the place which perpetuates his name, — Drewsville. In his old age he undertook to tend his bar on both sides at a time, which greatly bewildered him at times. None of his posterity are now living.

1888 "Drewsville," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Drewsville," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "Drewsville," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1897 "Drewsville," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1903 An act to incorporate the Walpole Water and Sewer Company, February 17, 1903.

2000 Alexander Lovell genealogy: the ancestors and descendants of Alexander Lovell of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1619-1709, Elisabeth Lovell Bowman
Page 469:  Sarah E. B. Lovell wrote her length will at Drewsville at 18 August 1904.  She bequeathed to her daughter Ellen M. Shrimpton the Homstead ("The Mansion") in Drewsville, together with the land, appurtenances and the water rights.

2009 Walpole, Walpole Historical Society
Page 42:  Drewsville.  The village of Drewsville had its heyday in the 1830s, growing rapidly after the Cheshire Turnpike brought goods and travelers through and mills developed along Cold River and Blanchard Brook.  In 1810, Thomas C. Drew built a hotel known as the Drew Tavern on the northwest corner of the common.  It became the social center of the village, attracting many well-known figures of the day.    In 1875, Thomas Taunt bought the tavern, later renaming it the Mountain House.
Page 107:  The Mountain House Fire.  Another village center of activity was the Mountain House of Drewsville.  Built by village founder Thomas Drew in 1810, it passed through several owners to Dennis Brennan by 1907.  Shortly thereafter, a fire broke out at two in the morning, and the entire building was quickly consumed by flames.

2014 History of Walpole Water Supply, from The Walpole Clarion, 4(3):9 (March 2014)

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce