Highway marker notes former slave who became town’s nurse

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Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 11:00 AM EST
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BARRINGTON, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s latest historical highway marker notes the gravesites of two people in Barrington, including an African American woman who was enslaved as a child and who nursed the town’s sick residents during a severe epidemic.

The marker on Route 9 notes the reinterred graves in Pine Grove Cemetery of two members of the Balch household. The Rev. Benjamin Balch, who died in 1815, was the first chaplain of the Continental Navy, then served as pastor of the local Congregational church. Buried next to him is a woman named Aggie, who lived out her life in Barrington after her emancipation.

It’s believed she lived to be 100, dying in 1840. She worked in the Balch household between 1784 and 1815. She also became known as the town’s nurse.

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.

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

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