168 Main Street, New London NH

Current Use

  • Private Residence


  • 1940 - 2014 — bought by William M. Kidder in 1940 and owned by Kidder descendants; sometimes rented.
  • After 1897 - 1940 — Built by of Irving Seth Messer, and after his death in 1930, the home of his wife, Sarah (Sargent) Messer
  • Site of carpenter's workshop of William S. Messer

Building History

Before 1897, William S. Messer (1823-1897), a carpenter, had his workshop here. He was then living at 200 Main Street with his second wife, Nancy (Gross) (Lovering) Messer. His little shop was "popular resort for general repairs."[1]

This house was probably built by Irving Seth Messer (1862-1930), a son of William S. Messer, before 1900 and certainly by 1911 when the building appears on the Hancox map of that year. His wife was Sarah (Sargent) Messer, a daughter of A.J. Sargent who had several residences on Main Street. Messer's name still appears on the New London map for 1943, although he had long since died, and William F. Kidder (below) now owned the house. On this map, a well is located in the triangle of the corner of Main and Parkside.

In 1940 the house was purchased by William M. Kidder (1878-1964). "William M. Kidder has purchased the Sarah Messer property of Main Street and is making extensive repairs and is also remodelling the front of the house."[2] He bought it for his wife, Edna (Foster) Kidder (1885-1944), as a place for her to work at hooking rugs, a skill for which she was widely known. After her death, Kidder rented the house for many years. A Mrs. Woodman, (probably Mrs. Melanie Martha Woodman, who was head of the Art Department at Colby Junior College)[3] ; Bessie Sargeant (b. 1874), who came to New London in 1941 with daughter Dorothy[4] ; and Calvin Sargent were some of the tenants.

Photos & Images


  1. ^ Lord, p. 508
  2. ^ The Speaker. Nov. 21, 1940, p. 4
  3. ^ Spiller, 1945
  4. ^ Squires, p. 431; see entry for Irving Seth Messer