Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pinkerton Tavern Ghosts!

Pinkerton Academy, Derry, New Hampshire

Pinkerton Tavern Ghosts
A Post for Halloween!

In October, thoughts of ghosts and witches come to mind. There were plenty of accused witches, even one who was found guilty in the 1600’s, and New Hampshire has its share of ghosts. When we first moved to Londonderry over 25 years ago, the first ghost we heard about was the one haunting the Pinkerton Tavern, in Derry. At the time, this building was an unfinished furniture store, and then a series of restaurants, now “The Pinkerton Tavern.”

The Pinkerton Tavern building is 270 years old, built by Elder James Pinkerton. James and his brother, Major John Pinkerton, were merchants in Derry. John started as a peddler, and soon owned a store. James was an influential man, a deacon of the church, a representative to the General Court, and Major John served in the American Revolution. They were quite wealthy for the time, and often made loans to the people of Derry, before there were formal banks. In 1814 the Reverend Edward L. Parker asked the merchant brothers to donate money to start a school, which is now known as Pinkerton Academy.
Pinkerton Tavern, Derry, New Hampshire

The Pinkerton family homestead lost its barn in a fire, and the land was later sold to the Hood Dairy Farm. Later it became the unfinished furniture store, and then restaurants. According to the Pinkerton Tavern website the resident ghost is called “Rachel”. I remember when it was a furniture store, and the clerk explained to me that the best place to see the ghost was on the stairway. The current owners say that “Rachel” is a friendly ghost.

When the restaurant used to be called “Neets”, about five years ago, the owners said that the ghost was often seen in the basement. Other restaurant staff said the ghost of “General Pinkerton” would slam doors, even though Major (not General) Pinkerton never lived there. You can read about the ghost at and how some ghostbusters apparently photographed this spirit!

Pinkerton Family Genealogy:

1. John Pinkerton, born about 1690 in Ireland, died 10 February 1780 in Londonderry; married about 1722 to Mary Elizabeth Farmer. Both are buried at the Hill Cemetery, Londonderry.


1. David, born 1732 in Ireland, died 8 May 1808 in Londonderry
2. Major John, born 1735 in Ireland, died 1 May 1816; married first about 1760 to Rachel Duncan, five children; married second 18 December 1801 to Polly Tufts, no children.
3. Matthew, born about 1738 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, died about 1814; married first to Ann McCurdy; married second to Mary Unknown.
4. Samuel
5. Elder James, born about 1747, died 6 January 1829; married first about 1771 to Elizabeth Nesmith, daughter of John Nesmith and Elizabeth Reid, born 19 April 1762 in Londonderry; married second 15 May 1809 to Susan Wallace, born 8 November 1741, died before 1835. (see children below)

Children with Elizabeth:

1. Betsey, born about 1780, died 1837; married 26 April 1807 in Boston to her first cousin John Aiken, son of James Aiken and Elizabeth Pinkerton.
2. Isabella, born about 1785
3. James, born about 1790, died young.
4. Mary B, born 10 May 1791; married William Choate.
5. Clarissa, born 1793; married Robert E. Little.
6. Jane, born 1796, died 1875; married 28 July 1815 in Londonderry to her first cousin, Joshua Aiken, brother to her sister Betsey’s husband.

Children with Susan:
John Morrison Pinkerton, born 6 February 1818, died 6 February 1881; unmarried
6. Mary, born 1740, died 23 September 1807.
7. Elizabeth, born 1748, died 1793; married May 1768 in Londonderry to Deacon James Aiken.
8. Rachel, born 1749, died 17 November 1796.
9. Jane, born about 1753, died 14 February 1809, buried at the Valley Cemetery in Londonderry; married about 1774 to Deacon David Brewster.

Londonderry Vital Records
"History of Londonderry" by Rev. Edward L. Parker

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson


  1. Hello! I really enjoyed reading this article on the Pinkerton Tavern!. I am directly related to this family through my mother, also a Pinkerton. My 5th great grandfather was Matthew Pinkerton who married Ann McCurdy. You have a lovely blog and now a new follower!

    I have a genealogy blog myself and there is some information and pictures on our line of the Pinkerton family.


    1. Hi, Jenny, I just looked at your blog, too. I have several posts on the Pinkerton, you can find them by clicking on the keyword "Pinketon" in the right column. Thanks for stopping by my blog.