The following are Nottingham Legends collected and written down by Edward O Foss in the 1960’s and 70’s.
This is a story about Else Cilley, one of the original settlers of Nottingham
Our local DAR chapter is appropriately named after Else Cilley, the mother of two Revolutionary officers and the grandmother of two Revolutionary soldiers. Else was the wife of Captain Joseph Cilley, an agent for the proprietors of the New Hampshire Grant. They arrived in Nottingham on foot with all of their belongings on a horse about 1727, and settled on Rattlesnake Hill, Both Else and her daughter Abigail Butler were fervent patriots as the letter believed to have been written by Else on July 1, 1774 demonstrates.
This will no doubt be a fiery letter for I feel that way. Our neighbors have tried to sell us some tea, but I absolutely refuse to pay a tax on tea. I told them when they came that I was not going to the East Indies for any part of my breakfast. Do you blame me?Daughter, Abigail, who you know, married Benjamin Butler, and keeps a tavern about two miles from the square, seems to be some relation to her mother. One night a Tory went there to spend the night. After supper he was strutting about talking about this tax on tea. He told them that no tax would stop him from drinking all the tea he wanted to. He said, “Why, I’ve got some tea right in my coat-tail pocket this very minute?. Then something happened. Just then Abigail was going into the room with a tray piled up with food and overheard him. She dropped the tray and everything on the floor. She seized a knife which was on the table. And in a second that coat-tail was hurled in the fireplace! She turned around with the knife still in her hand and said to the man “No Tory shall drink tea in my house. We have had several disputes about the tea tax around here.
Legend tells that at the age of 98 Else rode horseback to the Pawtuckaway Mountains and designed a floral pattern for her granddaughters quilt. According to Cogswell’s History of Nottingham,“She died in 1801, aged one hundred years, fresh in countenance, fair in features, and young in heart.”