Moses Proctor b 19 Nov 1706

According to the History of Hollis, New Hampshire by Worchester, Moses Proctor came from Chelmsford, Massachusetts and was in West Dunstable by 1738. He signed the first petition for the charter.  He settled in the west part of town on Proctor Hill which was named for him. He selected a spot for his homestead on the highest hill around. It was covered with hardwoods and a brook ran along the edge to the marsh and meadows below. He thought that this area would be the center of town. The town developed to the south, five miles away. When the meetinghouse burned, he tried to get it moved closer but since Abraham Taylor donated a site, the town stayed where it was. His name is found on the first West Dunstable tax list in 1740 and he was a selectman in 1749. The life of Mr. Proctor was threatened by the bite of a rattlesnake and he afterwards waged so successful a war of extermination against them that no rattlesnakes have been known in Hollis since his death on 21 May, 1780 at age 73. However, the rattlesnake provision was in the charter as of 1740, each townsperson who killed a rattlesnake would be paid one shilling out of the town treasury. Every spring the farmers on the hill went to the den and bagged snakes as they hibernated. The den still remains but there are no rattlesnakes. If Moses Proctor was bit by a rattlesnake before 1740 the bite did not shorten his life by much. Moses first appears as a signer of the petition for West Dunstable as one of “the inhabitants of Dunstable and Groton” on 29 Nov. 1738 and again on a petition for a garrison to be established for their protection 18 June 1744.   

Moses’ wife was Mary Byam.  He died 21 Aug 1780, and was buried at the Congregational Church cemeter in Hollis NH.  He is listed in Find-A-Grave.


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