Peter Clark

Peter Clark, known as the first settler of Brownington, was part of a renowned family of potters from the state of New Hampshire. His father, also Peter Clark, was a potter in Braintree, Massachusetts, before moving to Lyndeboro, New Hampshire, to start another pottery kiln. His brother Daniel had established the most successful pottery business in New Hampshire by 1810. When Peter was thirty years old, he helped his brother set up a pottery in Concord, NH, and then travelled north to settle in Brownington. He had explored the area in 1796, as it is said he went to Lake Magog (Memphremagog), looking for a place to build a house and settle down. That same year he built a residence in the town of Brownington and moved in.

In 1803 and again in 1809, his brother Daniel journeyed up from New Hampshire to visit Peter. In this last trip, Daniel bought red lead from Peter, which shows that his brother was still practicing in Brownington then. He left the area some time after 1809, for his name disappeared from all the town records.

When Clark lived here in Brownington, he was most assuredly the first, and maybe only, potter in the area. As the case with most original settlers in pioneer towns, Peter served in many town offices- lister, petit juror, fence viewer and pound keeper.* Peter lived in the area around the village where the Old Stone House Museum is now. On the museum grounds is a stone foundation, origin unknown, but assumed to be part of Peter Clark’s home. In August 2008, the pond behind the stone foundation was dug for the addition of dry hydrants for the town of Brownington. During this dig, a large amount of clay was unearthed. The presence of clay in the area adds strength to the assumption that Clark established a pottery kiln there in the village.

Glossary:

*fence viewer- He was a town or city official who administered fence laws by inspecting new fence and settlement of disputes arising from trespass by livestock that had escaped enclosure.

*pound keeper-  He was the keeper of the town pound, an officer chosen to take possession of and impound livestock found at large. He fed and cared for these strays until claimants proved ownership and paid a specified fee, or until the town disposed of the unclaimed animals. His services and those of the fence viewer frequently overlapped and in the mid-17th century one man might hold both offices concurrently.

*petit juror – He was a member of the petit jury, the ordinary trial jury of twelve persons whose duty it is to find facts as opposed to the grand jury whose duty it is to return an indictment.

*lister- He was an appraiser or assessor.

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