For Immediate Release
Posted: January 17, 2023

Contact

Shelly Angers, NH Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
(603) 271-3136 | shelly.angers@dncr.nh.gov

Latest NH Historical Highway Marker located near final resting place of prominent Barrington household members

The N.H. Division of Historical Resources is pleased to announce that a New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker describing two distinct members of the Balch household has been installed on Route 9 in Barrington, adjacent to Pine Grove Cemetery. 

The marker reads: 

“THE BALCH HOUSEHOLD GRAVES

“The reinterred graves of two members of the Balch Household are in Pine Grove Cemetery. Rev. Benjamin Balch (1743-1815) was the first chaplain of the Continental Navy and earned the title of ‘Fighting Parson,’ then served as the pastor of the local Congregational Church. Buried next to him is Aggie (ca. 1740-ca. 1840), an African American woman who was enslaved as a child and who lived out her life in Barrington after her emancipation. Known for nursing the town’s sick during a severe epidemic, she also worked as domestic help in the Balch household, most likely between 1784-1815.”

Balch’s remains were moved to Pine Grove Cemetery at the request of his nephew in 1911; Aggie was reinterred there by the Daughters of American Revolution in 1932. They are buried next to each other.

The marker was unveiled on January 14, 2023, at a small ceremony attended by residents of Barrington, including members of the First Congregational Church, which sponsored the marker. 

“The Balch Household Graves” is the 279th marker in New Hampshire’s Historical Highway Marker program. 

Any municipality, agency, organization or individual wishing to propose a historical highway marker to commemorate significant New Hampshire places, persons or events must submit a petition of support signed by at least 20 New Hampshire residents. They must also draft the text of the marker and provide footnotes and copies of supporting documentation, as well as a suggested location for marker placement.

New Hampshire’s historical highway markers illustrate the depth and complexity of our history and the people who made it, from the last Revolutionary War soldier to contemporary sports figures to poets and painters who used New Hampshire for inspiration; from 18th-century meeting houses to stone arch bridges to long-lost villages; from factories and cemeteries to sites where international history was made. 

An interactive map of all of the state’s historical highway markers is available at the N.H. Division of Historical Resources’ website, nh.gov/nhdhr

The New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker program is jointly managed by the N.H. Division of Historical Resources and N.H. Department of Transportation.

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