The Fourth New Hampshire was made a free road in 1840. Blacksmith shops were numerous along this route and there were taverns every few miles, seven or eight in Lebanon alone, to accommodate the hardy teamsters, the colorful stage drivers and their passengers.

The first carding and cloth finishing mill in New England was built in East Lebanon. In 1840 fire destroyed all the businesses – woolen, cotton, lumber and grist mills – in this thriving community called “The City,” which never recovered from the disaster. (C-14)


Marie Stevens Howland was born on Podgum Lane, Lebanon. She became principal of a New York City school, lived and studied in Europe and wrote a book based on early Lebanon. She was a proponent of social welfare and lectured on the subject. (I-7)

The abolition of capital punishment is not a new issue. At the 1844 town meeting, Lebanon townspeople voted on the question, “Shall capital punishment be abolished?” The result of the vote was 70 in favor and 159 against abolition.


Before the invention of the mowing machine, fields were mowed by crews of men with scythes. A scythe factory built in 1845 just west of Lebanon Center gave the quaint name of Scytheville to that section. There was another scythe factory in East Lebanon. (G-6 & C-14)


Daniel Webster addressed a gathering in Lebanon at the opening of the Northern Railroad on November 17, 1847, promising a great future for the “Iron Horse.” The new line connected Lebanon to Boston, and opened the way to the north and west. (G-2 to C-16)


In 1848, West Lebanon became a busy railroad center with a bridge, round house, repair shop, car house, freight house, and woodshed. By 1898, that center had 76 employees, new roundhouse with 24 tracks, shed for 10,000 tons of coal, stock yards, and barn. (G-2)

The stone arch bridge, the overpass for the railroad over Glen Road, was built in 1848. After nearly 125 years of heavy railroad traffic this unique bridge still stands unchanged, a monument to the judgment and foresight of an unknown designer. (H-3)

Lebanon’s earliest known newspaper, The True Democrat, moved here in 1848. This weekly was published for over 100 years by Elias Cheney and his descendants as The Granite State Free Press. The town’s first daily paper, The Valley News, was started in 1952.

Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, now a rocket testing site, was created in 1848 and named for Colonel Willis Bliss, a native of Lebanon. He was secretary to General Zachary Taylor, served in the Indian uprisings and later married President Taylor’s daughter.

The Town House, formerly called the Meeting House, was moved in 1849 to the location where City Hall now stands. Following this move the dome was gilded, a new spire with weathervane was installed and the cracked bell in the tower was recast in 1853. (F-8)

Lebanon voters demonstrated their interest in improved education in 1849 when they adopted a resolution approving a state plan to establish a Teachers’ Institute in Grafton County. $28 was appropriated as Lebanon’s share of the expense.

Previous: 1830-1839
Next: 1850-1859

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