The First Kenfield Sawmill (?)


We've always known, of course, that for generations the Kenfields were involved with sawmills. The earliest we knew of was in Vermont, built sometime after 1800. But the question was always there: where and when did the Kenfields first start milling lumber? Did they acquire the art somehow after moving north? Or did they bring it with them to Vermont?

Earl Crandall, the most knowledgeable person about the Kentfields in Massachusetts, never found any indication there of any trade other than farmer (and occasional part-time soldier, naturally). George "The Elder" Kentfield was still in Massachusetts in 1756, but by 1779 was married and living in Conway, New Hampshire. Until recently, the intervening years were a blank. But now, they are slowly coming into view.

Recent research has begun to focus on George's role in the Revolutionary War. Records we have seen in that connection suggested that in the 1770s, he lived in Bow, New Hampshire. On December 30, 1999 I found a book at the New York Public Library entitled "100 Acres More or Less: The History of the Land and People of Bow, New Hampshire" (1975) that contains this passage:

"The sawmill belonging to John T. Morgan was just up the
Londonderry Branch Turnpike about halfway to Bow Center. A sawmill was
built on this site by a George Kentfield. Early owners included Thomas
Robertson ...."

This mill must have been built in the 1760s or 70s, prior to George's war service. The Thomas Robertson mentioned is almost certainly his future father-in-law. Unfortunately, Bow records available through the LDS do not go back far enough to reveal when George built the mill, and when he sold it.

Are there more records somewhere? Have I missed something? Help!!

If you have any suggestions, please email TheDeke.