by Frank M. Waterman

This book is based on the collected papers of Samuel Andrew Law (1771-1845).  Law, a young lawyer and a graduate of Yale College, came to what is now Meredith in 1798 as a land agent for the Philadelphia land owners.  He founded the town of Meredith in 1800 and was its principal figure until his death in 1845.  He was a businessman on the frontier: land agent, lawyer, farmer, store owner, sawmill owner, and postmaster.  Over his lifetime, he oversaw the transformation of the area from a wilderness to a viable farming community.

Law was a meticulous record keeper and his collected papers contain more than 10,000 separate items consisting of letters, account books, diaries, day-books, deeds, and agreements.  Because of his stature and the several hats he wore, his collected papers contain a wealth of early Meredith history.  Nearly everything in his collected papers is a primary source document and they reveal that a number of previously published facts about the town’s history are incorrect.  This book isn’t a complete history of Meredith up until 1845 either.  It only contains the history that can be gleaned from Law’s papers.

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