Millers Dam Weirs


In 1718 the provincial legislature of NH had authorized owners to erect their dams and to improve ponds to their best advantage without molestation. This principle had not been modified when the Mill Act of 1868 authorized any person or company to erect dams and regulate the flow of water. Only in 1921 was the erection of a dam made subject to a finding by the Public Service commission that it would be of public use and benefit.

From Fifty Years of Service (The History of PSNH) by Dr. Everett B. Sackett, 1976.

The first saw mill in town was built at Weirs, in 1766, by the proprietors of the township. Ebenezer Smith and William Mead had charge of the mill, and paid rent for the same. The iron-work for this mill was brought from Exeter, and the wood-work was hewn on the spot. The power was obtained from a large under-shot wheel. The mill, although of course a rude affair, answered all purposes and remained in use for many years. For the first ten years after the mill was built the logs were sawed on the “halves” plan, and one-quarter went to the owners of the mill for rent.

From History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties, New Hampshire, by D. Hamilton Hurd, J.W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, 1885

The first sawmill was built upon the Weirs channel, at the outlet of the lake, but was soon removed to the lower part of the town, as the water power was better there. After a few years it was carried away by a freshet and was rebuilt on the Gilmanton, now Gilford side of the river.

At a meeting January 6, 1766, it was voted that Ebenezer Smith and William Mead have charge of the sawmill for the next three years, and that they shall saw logs to the halves for any of the proprietors in said town who shall bring logs upon the stage of the mill.

From Meredith Annals and Genealogies, Arranged by Mary. E. Neal Hanaford, Rumford Press, Concord, 1932

There were also mills at the Weirs, before S.C. Lyford in 1829 spoiled the water power there by raising his dam at Lakeport. There was a mill on the Gilford side in 1803 and 1804, and a wing dam extended up into the stream. In 1819 the gearing and iron work were removed, and the mill was no longer used, and gradually went into decay. It is not know who first owned this mill. The first mill on the Meredith side at the Weirs was a saw mill built in 1828. This was Odiorne’s mill on lot No. 4 in the 1st division in Meredith.

From Aquedocatan 200th Anniversary Celebration, by Laconia Chamber of Commerce, Rumford Press., Concord, 1936


One year there was a scarcity of food, and Priest Folsom was talking in church, when someone entered and said, “The shad have come. The shad have come.” Priest Folsom said, “The shad have come. I close my sermon. They will do you more good than my talk.” The fish were coming upstream at the Weirs, and the inhabitants needed the fish for food, so the men all rushed down the “Shad Path,” now called the “Roller Coaster Road.”

From History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties, New Hampshire, by D. Hamilton Hurd, J.W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia, 1885