12 November 2021

Visiting an Ancestor's New Hampshire Cellar Hole

Important Note: November 2021
I have been contacted by the Salem NH Historical Society. They wanted me to know that the "school department here in Salem is constructing a very elaborate zip line that impacts the area of Moses Poor's cellar foundation. Since you visited  five years ago, the condition of the site has changed significantly. Tree branches, stumps, and debris have been thrown into the cellar 'pit' and with the ongoing construction of the zip line, the condition will only get worse." The Salem NH Historical Society Museum curator spoke at a school board meeting in the hopes that the area would be cleaned up and a fence put around the cellar hole to preserve it. The society is waiting for a response. 

I hope it is a positive one. Please check back here as I will update you on the progress of their request. If the school district does not take its' civic responsibility and preserve this historic cellar hole I will be 'marshalling the troops' in a letter writing and/or phone campaign.  If you are a resident of Salem New Hampshire and would like to contact the school board, please do so.

I feel passionate about this because I descend from Moses Poor, who gave his life fighting for independence. It is important from a historical perspective as well. This is the cellar hole of the house that Moses Poor lived in when he left to fight the British. It is a piece of American History, one that is over two hundred and forty years old. It deserves to be preserved.

Here are a few current pictures that were sent to me.

Photo credit to the Salem NH Historical Society, Salem, New Hampshire

A few years ago my husband and I went on an extended trip to New England to do genealogy research. Ever since we returned I wanted to blog about my trip and what I found, but as often happens, life takes it twists and turns. I haven't even processed all the records I found, let alone blog about it.

There were many family history things I explored during this trip, but one stands out in my mind as the best. I knew before I left for New England that a teacher had found a cellar hole that once belonged to my ancestor Moses Poor.  I wrote about it in a blog post titled, Teacher in Salem, New Hampshire Find Cellar Hole of Moses Poor

I made sure it was on my list to visit on our trip. We arrived in Salem, New Hampshire on a beautiful fall day. All I knew about the cellar hole was that it was near Woodbury School, 206 Main St., Salem, New Hampshire. There is a little park called Field of Dreams, Geremonty Dr., in Salem, N.H., and there is a path that goes into the woods and the cellar hole is really close to the beginning of the path.

Kirk and I arrived and found the park without any difficulty. We walked the path and went straight but didn't see a cellar hole, so we kept walking. There were other paths leading from the main one so we walked a couple of those. No luck finding it.  We decided to retrace our steps to the entrance and see if we missed it. Kirk started walking the path on the left, just inside the entrance. He met an older gentleman on the path and asked him if he ever saw a cellar hole in the woods. He said yes, it is just down the path Kirk was on. Bingo! Kirk found it. I was so excited.

Imagine someone living in what is now New Hampshire in the 1770's. He walks down the steps to his house to go fight the Revolutionary War. Moses Poor died in the Battle of Bunker Hill and never got the chance to walk back up those stairs. But, I did. I was amazed that after over 240 years the cellar hole of his house still existed.

Moses Poor, the son of Enoch Poor and Bethiah West, was born 10 March 1743 in Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts. He married Hannah Santclar (St. Clair) 31 March 1767 in Hampstead, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Moses died 17 June 1775 at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  (Massachusetts and New Hampshire were part of British America at this time.)

Please enjoy a few pictures of Moses Poor cellar hole which I visited in the Fall of 2016.


  1. Thank you for posting this update Brenda. We're waiting to hear from the Salem NH School Board regarding their decision to initiate a clean up and as well as to provide protection in preserving this remarkable historic site. ~Susan Mothon

  2. Fingers crossed they realize the historic significance and do their civic duty.