Part of the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society
Preserving the History & Heritage of Lake Winnipeasukee & Vicinity



Return to Winnipesaukee

Return to Main History



Reprinted from the Weirs Times - Article by Bruce Heald - Ref: Colby’s Indian History, Solon B. Colby, 1975.

“Before the Indian tribes became reduced in numbers by pestilence and emigration, nearly three thousand Indians lived along the banks of the Merrimack and it tributaries, from the White Mountains to the Atlantic, a distance of about two hundred miles. By 1674, according to General Gookin in his Historical Collections of the Indians, ‘There are not of this people left at this day three hundred men besides women and children.’"

“In 1614, sixty years previous to Gookin’s notation, the Winnipesaukee tribe alone consisted of more than four hundred people with villages and campsites at Alton Bay, Melvin Village, Wolfeboro Falls, Moultonboro Neck, Lochmere, Laconia, and the Weirs. There are few, if any, islands in the lake that have not produced considerable evidence of aboriginal occupation. Most of these Indians made their winter headquarters at the Weirs (Aquadoctan) where tons of smoked, dried fish were stored annually for winter consumption and where the hills at their back protected their wigwams from the prevailing northwest winds.

“Aquadoctan was one of the largest Indian villages in New Hampshire and continued to be a permanent one until the spring of 1696 when the few remaining families, with two young English prisoners, left their homes at Aquadoctan to join the Pequaket tribe on the Saco River near what is now Fryeburg, Maine.

“The Weirs got its name from the fish traps maintained by the Indians in the wide shallow channel which forms the outlet of the lake. Stones which once held the uprights of the wooden fish-weirs in place showed the first settlers where the original Indian fish-weirs were located, but these stones were used in 1766 to make a wing dam for Ebenezer Smith’s sawmill which had been constructed on the Gilmanton side of the channel the preceding autumn.

“The Indian village site extended along the north bank flanking the channel for more than a quarter of a mile and along the lake front a quarter of a mile beyond the railroad station. The total length of the site was more than a half mile, but it wasn’t all occupied at one time. The land on the south side of the channel rose abruptly and was too steep for Wigwam sites, but many artifacts have been found on that site above the bridge where the land is flat.

“Over ten thousand artifacts have been collected from the Weirs area alone, and they may be viewed in collection at Concord, Manchester, Hanover and Laconia, NH, as well as in the Peabody Museums at Salem and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“During farming operations on the north side of the channel, large numbers of stone tools were recovered. When the cellar for Moore’s hotel was dug about 1890, workmen found forty or fifty gouges, celts, and spearheads. They also found a clay pot containing about three quarts of red ochre. The pot was crudely made without decorative markings and resembled a type known as Early Woodland.

“When the land for the open air theater at the Weirs was leveled off with a bulldozer, numerous artifacts and several burials were uncovered including two that contained considerable red ochre. The skeletons were little more than white streaks of calcium in the soil.

“Projectile points with bifurcated bases have been found at the Weirs and Fish Cove. Fluted points will undoubtedly discovered in the Lakes Region as interest in New Hampshire archaeology continues to increase.

“The pottery in this area is mostly grit tempered and resembles that found in other parts of the state, but not in such large quantities as have been found at Amoskeag Bluff (Smyth Estate) in Manchester, NH.

“Winnipesaukee is derived from Wiwininebesaki, an Indian word which means ‘The Lake in the Vicinity of which there are other Lakes and Ponds,’ or perhaps a still better translation would be ‘The Lakes Region.’"

“The Weirs was known to the Indians for miles around as a great fishing place and they had several names for it among which were Ahquedaukee, Aquadoctan, and Aquedaukenash which means Weir or Weirs.

“Jacob Eaton started to build on Hilliard Road, near Pickerel Cove, in 1765. By September 29th, 1766, he had built a house, cleared three acres of land and felled the trees on six additional acres.
“On the lot where Eaton built were several apple trees that Indians had set out many year before. These so far as known were the only apple trees ever found on Indian lands in New Hampshire. It was here that the first white child of Meredith was born March 11, 1767; the little girl was named Thamor Eaton.”



Home | About Us | Museum | News | History | Bingo | Shop | Membership | Contact | You Can Help!

The Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society is a non-profit organization.