Rufus Fuller & The South Kent Ore Bed

Rufus Fuller & The South Kent Ore Bed

The South Kent Ore Bed

Excerpts from our Kent Tales volume of the same name, which is available from our Gift Shop for $10.

General Background

In 1816, the center of Kent was still in Flanders, the settlement three miles north of our present monument. Kent Plain, now our Main Street was still primarily the “common ground” for grazing animals, probably with a lane of sorts running through it. The main highway still came from the Cornwall border south over the top of Cobble Hill and over Spooner Hill to Bull’s Bridge.

Farms were the backbone of community life – many large, prosperous ones as well as a fair number of subsistence farms – producing the basic needs of a household. There had begun to be a group of families with small plots who made their living at a craft or at jobs outside the home.

It was essentially a cashless society in which work or produce was exchanged for articles needed to supplement home products. This resulted in an intricate bookkeeping system for every storekeeper and a society dependent on an extended credit system. Storekeepers became the bankers of the community, supplying cash loans when needed. The economic picture is one of a highly interdependent community.

Every section of Kent has brooks, falls and ravines capable of supplying waterpower, and during those years every stream was used. There were several forges and ironworks that were larger scale operations than home forges or blacksmith shops. They made bar iron (pig iron) and tools and utensils. The most important were as follows.

Kent Forges and Ironworks 1816 to 1825

Kent Hollow – Morgans Forge

Ebenezer Barnum started the first Ironworks in Kent in 1744 on the outlet of North Spectacle Pond, at the beginning of Kent Hollow Road (off Route 341). The works had many partners during the years and passed to the Morgans in 1765. In the period 1816 to 1825, David and Daniel Morgan were active. Heman Seger bought a share in 1816 and Lewis Mills one sixteenth. Moses and Heman Swift, Jesse St. John, David and Daniel Morehouse also had interests in it.

South Kent – Carters Forge

On the outlet to Hatch Pond a forge and puddling works were well established. Alpheus Fuller, coming to Kent in 1803, bought one third share of the works as did Jabez Beardsley of South Kent. When Rufus Fuller came in 1816, he also bought a third from James Hurd. In 1824, David Edwards bought into the business and became its most active owner.

Macedonia – Wilsons Forge

A forge on Macedonia Brook was in operation by 1770 when Peter Pratt bought the property. It went through several ownerships before it was bought by Ambrose Wilson in 1791. The ironworks was run by Ambrose and his brother John until 1806 when the Winnegars bought shares in it and eventually became the major operators. From 1816 to 1822, John Wilson, Zacariah and Garret Winnegar, and Jeremiah Reed were operating the ironworks on Macedonia Brook, and Garret Winnegar ran the puddling works at the junction of Preston Mountain Brook and Macedonia Brook.

Macedonia – Converse Forge

In 1796 Elijah Converse had bought the land around Preston Mountain Brook on the west side of the highway where the brook crosses the road (Route 341). From 1816 to 1825, Hiram and Dimmon Converse, Asa Parks, Erastus Chamberlain, J.L. and Cushman Hubbel were all partners in the works.

In passing, it must be noted that there was never a dearth of customers ready to buy into an ironworks.
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