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October 20, 2004


Candace Browne

May 17, 2012

Philip Tabor is my ancestor. Doing family research is fascinating, but, for me, finding a building built, owned & operated by a long ago ancestor is a highlight. Besides knowing that this ancestor, Philip Taber and his family spent countless hours in the mill leaving behind their energy; it is such a plus to know what trade my ancestor was engaged in. This makes him so real; as if I might walk into the dim interior where the mill stones are grinding and find Philip hard at work. But this isn't exactly what I wanted to share.

There is an interesting continuation to the story of this gristmill and the Taber family who built and owned it.

Philip & Margaret (Wood) Taber's first son, Philip Taber, was born 1702. No doubt he helped at Taber's Mill & learned the professions of milling & carpentry.

Young Philip married Phebe Brownell & their son Joseph, born in 1725 was an accomplished carpenter.

Joseph Taber & his wife Hannah Church and most of their children moved from Massachusetts during the years of the Revolutionary War. Before the family moved away one son, Lemuel Taber, born 1749, married Hannah Atwood in 1771.

The Taber family relocated to the town of Washington, Sullivan County, New Hampshire in the 1770s.

Three of the 5 sons, Lemuel, Church and Phillip were all accomplished carpenters.

Lemuel & Hannah (Atwood) Taber finally settled in Topsham, Orange County, Vermont where Lemuel owned and ran the gristmill. No doubt he built this mill himself; probably with the help of his father and brothers. I have no knowledge if this gristmill is still standing.

There is even now in the Town of Washington, New Hampshire a beautiful building called the Washington Town House. When it was being planned in the 1780's Lemuel Tabor was on the drafting committee. Church Tabor was one of the principal carpenters for the entire project. His brother Philip Tabor worked along side him as did his father, Joseph.

Philip Tabor went on to design and frame in 1803-1808 the Trinity Episcopal Church in Cornish, NH which is still standing.

In 1787 when the town of Washington chose the men to build their meetinghouse the 'First Class of men for framing Namely Joseph Tabor and Church Tabor' were the first two listed. Also, Church Tabor was the carpenter to build the windows, doors, support pillars, roofing, gable-ends and more.

[Source document 'A Sacred Deposit', The Meetinghouse in Washington, New Hampshire, Commemorating two hundred Years 1989, By Ronald Jager & Sally Krone & the town Committee.]

The 225th Birthday of the building of the Town House will be Celebrated in the Town of Washington on August 11, 2012.

This 'historic meetinghouse' has been in continuous use since it was first built just as the Tabor Mill has been grinding cornmeal since its doors first opened in about 1717.

Those Tabor/Taber men certainly had a way with their carpentry skills putting heart & soul into their buildings.

Now you have the rest of the story, so to speak. There are 3 buildings designed & built by this Tabor family still standing strong and useful - the gristmill 1717, the Town House 1787 & the Episcopal Church 1803.

Thank you for writing about the mill. I love that story and hope you enjoy the follow up second and third chapters.

Candace Browne
my great grandmother was Justine Taber (Tabor), and she was the great granddaughter of Lemuel Taber (Tabor).

Paul A. Tamburello, Jr.

What a remarkable updating of the Gray's Gristmill story! I'm going to pass it on to a few others who have a keen interest in Westport history. Thanks for the source document and the link to 225th Birthday of the building of the Town House in Washington, NH.
The Taber family certainly cast a long shadow of master builders in New England. I'm sure you're proud of them and the women like your great grandmother Justine Taber (Tabor), who stood by them.

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