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Philadelphia resident Vanessa Edwards, 21, and Keene resident David Paige Todd, 79, share a table at the family reunion Saturday that marked the 200th year of the Todd family's presence in New Boston. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER)

Todd family reunion in New Boston spans 200-year history


NEW BOSTON - Hailing from as far away as Arizona and as nearby as around the corner, about 80 members of the Todd family gathered in their homestead this weekend, celebrating the family's 200 years in New Boston.

The gathering took place at Todd's Corner, the junction of Francestown and Colburn roads, on family land now occuppied by Robert Todd. The land-use consultant is the fifth generation of the Todd family to live on the property.

Saturday's events included a tour of 16 locations in Francestown and New Boston where the Scotch-Irish family made a historical mark. A chicken barbecue was in store at night, as well as Robert Todd's rendition about James P. Todd, an ancestor who struck it rich in the California gold rush, mostly because his claim included a spring, enabling him to sell water to fellow prospectors.

Today, the family plans to attend services at the Community Church of New Boston and then have a pizza and soda lunch.

"It's a wonderful feeling," said Robert Todd, 74, the host of the event. "You really come to understand family is more than just the folks under your own roof."

His property includes the house, portions of which were built in 1790, that Samuel and Betsy Todd moved to in 1814, as well as an 1845 barn. At one point, the property included 200 acres, and many of the Todds, especially the older ones, recalled working summers on the farm.

"I grew up on a farm. Cows, pigs, gardens," said Edith Jennings. "We always helped, but we didn't have too many chores."

Six current New Boston families trace their ancestry to Samuel and Betsy.

Holderness resident Peter Adam French said the Todd family approached nobility status in New Boston. When James Todd returned from California, he had enough money to marry a local girl whose family owned a mill, and they could send their children to the Francestown Academy.

Two Todds were physicians who practiced in New Boston. The daugher of one of the doctors married a pharmacist, who opened Hagland's Drug Store in town.

mhayward@unionleader.com

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