originally published in the Bicentennial Book
The portion of Deerfield, South Road so-called, lies in the southerly part of the town. The street is broad and on this road a large business in the shoe and boot manufacture for many years was done by Joseph J. Dearborn, who by marriage was allied to the Jenness family, and, by a second marriage, to the family of the late Dr. Chadwick. The White family added much to the good reputation of the neighborhood. When a new school was needed in Deerfield in the 1950's the White place was given to the School District to be sold and proceeds used for our present George B. White School located at Deerfield Center. Hon. Judge Butler resided in South Deerfield and the high positions he occupied, and the influence he exerted in Congress and in court reflected honor upon this town. The Browns, Sanborns, Batchelders, Fifes, Duttons, Andersons and countless other fine families have added greatly to the success of the South Road. Many have gone forth, good and useful men, men and women of many talents of which we are very proud. B.J. Sanborn, storekeeper, and F.J. White, postmaster, not forgetting Hon. Horatio Gates Cilley descending from the illustrious warriors and statesmen of the name in Nottingham, were esteemed for their great moral worth, as well as for their generous hospitality and love of humanity.
Richard Jenness, descendant of Richard Jenness of Rye, N.H. inherited nearly a thousand acres of land, some of which was in Deerfield. In 1767, one year after Deerfield was incorporated, the present South Road was laid out running through the center of the Jenness Estate. Richard came to Deerfield as one of the managers of the "Old Red Store". Richard married Betsey Berry of Greenland in 1770 and in 1785, Richard and his brother Thomas built large and handsome residences on the South Road about half a mile apart. It was here that they reared large and interesting families. They tell me that the "Old Red Store" was on the land where Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mathews and family now live. The building where Thomas lived was destroyed by fire. This building was nearly opposite the South Road Cemetery. The Jennesses had many and varied occupations: the making of potash, saltpeter, and linseed oil, the raising of hops, vegetables and grains; therefore a store was needed. The Old Red Store was the center of attraction, it was a trading post, where the young and beautiful, the bearded and learned, met to discuss the main topics of the day. It was a place to exchange the many sundries too numerous to mention.
In 1827 Richard left the Old Red Store, he moved to Concord and in 1829 he moved to Portsmouth where he was engaged in the hardware trade and amassed a large fortune.
Richard Jenness was representative to the legislature in 1838 and 1840, navy agent under Pres. Polk in 1848, state senator in 1849 and 1850. He retired in 1856 devoting himself to banking interests.
He gave $5,000 for the schools of Deerfield, to indicate an
affectionate attachment to the home of his childhood, and his
interest in education.