Deerfield Parade was well chosen by the early settlers, because of its elevated position on the main road from Portsmouth to Concord, and so on into Vermont. It was the seat of no inconsiderable trade. Boards, shingles, staves, and hoop poles, were brought here in great quantities, and exchanged for articles that were always to be found at country stores. Several stores were here; among them was that kept by Daniel Williams, near Isaac Shepard's Tavern (The tavern was where Dr. Stephen Brown lived) which was kept by the Jennesses.
Another public house on the parade was kept by Gen. Benjamin Butler, a soldier in the Revolution and afterwards adjutant general in New Hampshire. He died May 12, 1828, age sixty-eight years. Benjamin Franklin Butler was born at the Butler home on Deerfield Parade November 5, 1818 at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. He was the son of John Butler and the grandson of Zephaniah and Abigail Butler. Abigail was the daughter of General Joseph Cilley of Nottingham, N.H. (A story of Ben Butler's life will be found on another page). Another Inn on the parade, was kept by Fellows, according to a map madein 1805. Mr. Prescott kept the Inn where Mr. and Mrs. Wm. R. Cray now live. This was in the early nineteen hundreds. No doubt many different inn keepers were at this same inn during the eighteen hundreds. Legend has it that Ira St. Clair kept the Butler Inn after the Butlers left and the hall over A.W. Stevens' store was named the Ira St. Clair Hall.
Daniel Moore kept the first Inn on the Parade and in the map of "Taverns and Inns" in Tales of Old Deerfield by Joanne Wasson made in 1805 Daniel Moore ran a tavern at the Old Center, a two story house, now the home of Paul A. O'Neal, Lorraine and daughter Susan. This dwelling was also the Simpson homestead at one time, also the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mack and large family. Olive Mack Nelson, one of the younger members of their family lives here in Deerfield and Charles Mack of Bow, N.H. has been very interested in the Old Center Cemetery.
The families that settled here on the Parade were to an unusual degree, possessed of wealth and intellectual culture and these people supported an Academy. It was a square building built on the hill between the parade cemetery and the house where Rita and Ernest F. Stevens, Jr. and family lived for twenty-one years. This home is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gilson. The academy was founded about 1798 by Joseph Mills Esq., Col. Joseph Hilton, Gen. Benjamin Butler, Major Isaac Shepard, and Andrew Freese Esq. It was a flourishing school. Phineas Howe, a young lawyer, was its first preceptor, and continued at its head until 1812. (Ben Butler was one year old at this time.) Mr. Jewett, Nathan T. Hilton and Master James Husey were the most prominent teachers succeeding Mr. Howe. (I must tell you that in my story of Ben Butler, he said that he went to the Academy and that his teacher was James Hersey who became postmaster of Manchester Post Office after he left Deerfield.)
It was here that the young received a higher education than was common in those days; and this accounts for so many being sent out from Deerfield who have reflected honor upon the town of Deerfield. They believed that money never yields better interest than when employed in educating the intellect of the young.
This building burned about 1842 and in 1877 the people of the parade district erected a commodious and well finished school house furnished with modern appliances.
During this period of our history, the deputy sheriff was E.A.J. Sawyer. We also had a Justice by the name of Hazen, and the Physician was Dr. George H. Towle, a very prominent doctor here in Deerfield for many, many years.
Some of the merchants were Daniel Moore, Goss and Carlton, Todd and Pierce, Shepard, Runlet, Upham, the Jennesses, and Samuel C. Danforth. George W. Danforth succeeded his father as storekeeper and George Danforth's brother Walter Danforth attended the Academy and legend has it he excelled in Latin.
Diagonally across the common from the Danforth Homestead was the store kept by John Kelsey which was sold later to Mr. Archer W. Stevens who ran that store nearly thirty years.