John Bond Swasey was A mill owner, a store keeper and one of the principal forces behind the early growth of Meredith Village.
The John Bond Swasey house in the early 1900s.
He was born in 1782 in a remote corner of east Meredith. His father, Benjamin Swasey, died in 1783, leaving John's mother, Jane (Bond) Swasey, widowed and faced with the challenge of providing for her family in the frontier wilderness. The family survived this difficult period and eventually Jane remarried, becoming the wife of Revolutionary War veteran Stephen Adams. The marriage brought the Swasey family from Meredith's outskirts, to the very heart of the village, when they moved to the low hills overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee, the area which we know today as downtown Meredith.
Beginning in about 1809, John began purchasing land in these hills until he owned a sizeable tract in the center of Meredith Village. With the land secured, John reengineered the outlet of Lake Waukewan where it flowed into Lake Winnipesaukee, creating a canal with a stunning forty foot waterfall. This allowed him to build a series of mills to take advantage of the newly available hydro power. These mills prospered and were instrumental in attracting new residents and businesses to Meredith spurring its growth during the 19th century.
John died in 1828 at the age of 46, while his new home was still under construction. The main house resembles other early 19th century houses which line Main Street, with 2 1/2 stories, five bays or windows across the front, a central entrance and twin chimneys. The two-story side porch, however, is a highly unusual feature reminiscent of homes found in southern areas of the country.
The John Bond Swasey house today.