Town of Pittsburg NH

History Marker

Experience NH ’s History in Pittsburg

Three covered bridges, historic buildings and legendary sporting lodges remain to experience the rugged and colorful history of Pittsburg .

Historic Markers – Once a Sovereign Nation

Two Historic Markers are visible from Rte 3 dedicated to the formation of the Indian Stream Republic – a sovereign nation. One is in the village center that explains the significance of the Republic. The other is 1 mile north of Pittsburg Village at the corner of Rte 3 and Hill Rd. in front of a former schoolhouse. It dedicates the location where the Republic’s constitution was adopted on July 9, 1832.

From about 1829 to 1836, Pittsburg was home to the Indian Stream Republic because for nearly 60 years residents of this wild northern outpost were caught in a dispute that rendered both land titles and international boundaries uncertain. As squabbling increased among the United States and Canadian governments, NH legislators, and two companies claiming land rights, the settlers decided to take matters into their own hands. In 1832, the residents (about 300) declared themselves the independent Indian Stream Republic , establishing a constitution, a bicameral legislature, courts, laws and a militia.  In 1835 “war broke out” when a leader of the Republic was arrested in Canada , then a pro-Canadian resident was arrested in the Republic, some say in retaliation. These events escalated into several more incidents, until the New Hampshire governor ordered the state militia to occupy the Indian Stream Republic . In January 1838 the British gave up their claim. The following May, the local citizens accepted New Hampshire ’s authority.  It was incorporated as the township of Pittsburg by the New Hampshire legislature in the November 1840 session.

The international boundary line was recognized in 1842 with the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty which was proposed by Daniel Webster, Secretary of State.

Author, Daniel Doan’s, historical account of the IndianLost Nation by Jeffrey Lent Stream Republic was published by the Dartmouth College Press.   A rugged historic fictional account of the Indian Stream Republic and early settling of Pittsburg was offered in “Lost Nation”, a novel by Jeffrey Lent.  

Historic Society

The Pittsburg Historical Society was formed in early 1982 and meets at the Town Hall Historical Museum.

The Historical Society meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

6:30 p.m. business meeting followed atOld Town Hall Pittsburg NH Historical Society 7:00 p.m. with presentations from June through September at the Town Hall Museum on Main Street.  All are welcome to attend.

There are monthly programs on a variety of topics of local interest, and you do not need to be a member to attend.

Membership in the Society is only $5.00 a year for individuals and $10 a year for families.

Lifetime Membership is $50.

If you have an interest in history, you will enjoy attending our meetings.

Museum Hours:

Saturday 1-3 pm in July and August

Also open 1-3 pm on Old Home Day and Moose Festival.  If you see the flag flying outside the building the museum is open, please stop in.

Indian Stream Republic

The area was first settledRepublic of Indian Stream Map by Europeans under a land grant, not from the King of Great Britain, but from the St. Francis Indian chief, called King Philip by his white neighbors, after the great King Philip who had led many successful raids on New England settlements during the 1670s.

This grant was sold to one land-speculation company, while a second group of Indians from the same tribe made representations to another company of Europeans that their chief had been deposed and that they were empowered to issue a grant to the second company. Following the Revolutionary War, both companies surveyed the territories and issued their own land grants to settlers, which frequently overlapped one another. After the War of 1812, when both companies were in financial straits, they merged and reconciled all land claims.

The establishment of Indian Stream as an independent nation was, essentially, the result of the ambiguous boundary between the United States and Canada as defined in the Treaty of Paris. There were three possible interpretations of where "the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River" might be. As a result, the area (in and around the three tributaries that fed into the head of the Connecticut River) was not definitively under the jurisdiction of either the United States or Canada.

The relevant text from the Treaty reads:

" ... (westward) along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River; thence down along the middle of that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west on said latitude ... "

The Republic encompassed the northern reaches of what is now the state of New Hampshire, including the four Connecticut Lakes. While the British claimed the southeasternmost branch (the chain of Connecticut Lakes), the U.S. claimed the border as we know it today (i.e., Hall's Stream, to the west, which is, arguably, the "northwesternmost headwater" of the Connecticut). Both sides sent in tax-collectors and debt-collecting sheriffs. The double taxation angered the population, and the Republic was formed to put an end to the issue until such time as the United States and Great Britain could reach a settlement on the boundary line.

The Republic ceased to operate independently in 1835 when the New Hampshire Militia occupied the area, following a vote by the Indian Stream Congress authorizing annexation to the United States. The vote arose from disquiet regarding a prior incident in which a group of "streamers" invaded Canada to free a fellow citizen who had been arrested by a British sheriff and magistrate. The reason for the arrest was an unpaid hardware-store debt, and the offender faced confinement in a Canadian debtors' prison. The invading posse shot up the judge's home where their comrade was being held, and this caused a diplomatic crisis, a so-called 'international incident'. The British ambassador to the United States was appalled at the idea of a war over a matter so trivial as a hardware-store debt and quickly agreed to engage in negotiations to resolve the border disputes that had remained outstanding since the time of the Treaty of Paris (1783).

Britain relinquished its claim in January 1836, and American jurisdiction was acknowledged in May 1836. The area was still described as Indian Stream at the time of the 1840 United States Census taken on June 1, 1840; the local population totalled 315. The area was incorporated as the town of Pittsburg in 1840. The town covers 291.4 square miles (755 km2), of which 282.3 sq mi (731 km2) is land area and 9 sq mi (23 km2) is inland water.

In 1842, the land dispute was definitively resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, and the land was assigned to New Hampshire. However, the 1845 Lewis Robinson Map of New Hampshire based on the latest authorities, shows the boundary north of the town of Clarksville but just south of modern-day Pittsburg.

Read more from Wikipedia

Tall Tales

A Look at Yesteryear in Pittsburg NH
Excerpts from "Town Clerk and Personal Records 1906-1920 by
Sylvester Lyford"

November 24, 1906 Billy Huggins had a fight with Albion Aldrich, he gave him a licking.
December 29, 1906 Bill Chapple Paid his taxes .41 cents
January 17, 1907 -50 degrees at Farnhams. -55 degrees in Colebrook
February 23, 1907 Sold 5# sugar for .30 cents, 4# salt pork for .40 cents
April 3, 1907 Henry Terrill got drunk on rum at Bessie Heath’s.
April 5, 1907 Whit Terrill sobered up.
April 6, 1907 Henry Terrill sobered up.
April 25, 1907 Started log drive on Indian Stream
May 11, 1907 Sold cow to H. Cross for $40.00
July 30, 1907 Sent by stage, full bottle if gin- $1.25, 10 cents for stage
August 22, 1907 Johnnie, & Jamie Gradie was up to lawn party with E. Washburn and Laura Wheeler, stayed out until 12 o’clock. Lizzie Wheeler was some mad.
October 25, 1907 Jack, the tramp, was killed by some dirty sneak.
January 26, 1910 Saw the comet with the long tail.
July 14, 1910 Dr. WW Kerr run over Pat Gray with his auto. He dragged Gray 72 feet before stopping. Pat had been taking something.
September 3, 1910 James Bacon took Lucy Towle down to the county to serve 60 days for selling liquor.
October 12, 1910 Ned Towle was drunk last night and George Hilliard ran over him with a 4 horse team. Hurt him quite bad.
June 30, 1912 Hard frost killed the potatoes.
December 29, 1912 Bought a deer from Frank Baldwin for $3.00
February 6, 1914 Albert Coats built his fire at 4 am was dead at 5 am.
March 23, 1914 Maggie Browns horse ran away and jumped in the river by Scott Lords.
July 26, 1914 Fred Brown wanted me to go to the town office to let him see the letter his wife wrote to Fred Chapple.
August 4, 1914 Fred Brown killed his wife with a flatiron at Kidderville.
December 15, 1917 Electric lights started today.

Aurora Grange

The Aurora Grange #235 in Pittsburg received its charter in the mid-1800s. The Grange, or Patrons of Husbandry, was organized after the Civil War during the Reconstruction period.  Over the course of its history, the Grange has addressed many issues pertinent to farming and life in rural areas.  Grangers have been instrumental in resolving issues such as rural electrification, RFD mail service to outlying areas, and even the formation of the state police in NH.  Currently, Grangers are fighting for high-speed internet access in remote areas and have been active in the fight against the Northern Pass.


Aurora Grange here in Pittsburg is an active service organization which meets the first Wednesday of every month in the Grange Hall on Dalton Road. 

Our service projects include:


- Dictionaries for every third grader in Pittsburg School and Stewartstown Community School

- Pennies for Abused Children

     We collect spare change and donate it to organizations with intervention programs for abused children in NH.

- Postage Stamp Collection

     Cancelled postage stamps are collected and sent to the program that sells them and uses the proceeds to buy Sunday School materials for children in Third World countries.

- Food Collection

     We collect nonperishable food items on a quarterly basis for our local food bank, PACS.

- Warm Hats and Mittens

     We collect these items for our local school children to wear during the cold winter months.    



Monthly programs vary and include things such as:


- A summer picnic with other local Granges

- Community Service Awards

     This award honors a non-Grange community person or group for service to our community.

- Youth Night

     Local youth, such as Key Club members, attend our meeting once a year and tell us about things that they are doing in the community.

- Deaf Awareness Program

     We learn more about how to protect our hearing or how to deal with hearing loss.

- Cooking Contest

     This happens between local Grangers and the winner takes their selection up to the Pomona level for further competition.

- Thanksgiving Dinner

     Joint Thanksgiving dinner with Aurora Grange and the Pittsburg Historical Society.


We are always looking for new members who are interested in making a contribution to their community.  Both men and women participate in this organization.  If you are at least 13 1/2 and are interested in joining, call Master, Lindsey R. Gray (538-6608) or Membership Chairman, Roy Amey (538-7767).