New Hampshire, the New England state in which Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was born and educated, is of more than passing interest to students of Christian Science. A hundred years ago, the southern part of New Hampshire was a farming region dotted here and there by villages and towns. There were small factories and mills in most of the towns. The Merrimack River, flowing from the north through the middle of the southern part of the state, until it turned eastward toward the Atlantic Ocean at the border of Massachusetts, carried freight by boats from and to places along the river. A canal from where the river turned eastward connected it with Boston. Other canals and locks along the river (around falls and rapids) enabled boats to go from Boston to Concord. Most of the canal boats were drawn by horses or pushed with poles.
At that time, there were no railroads in New Hampshire. When things could not be delivered by boats, they were hauled in wagons or sleds drawn by horses or oxen. The mails were carried and people traveled on horses, in buggies, carriages, or sleighs, or in stagecoaches. People went to places then by walking much more than is common now. Some of them would walk five miles or farther to church every Sunday. There were stages that made regular trips between the larger towns. The fastest stages, drawn by four horses, could go about eight miles an hour on the best roads. The best roads were called turnpikes, and people had to pay for using them, but even they were poor as compared with the best roads of today.
Until after 1835, New Hampshire houses were heated by fireplaces or stoves. Furnaces were not in common use. Houses were lighted by candles. Kerosene lamps and gaslight were later products. So were friction matches. There were newspapers for New Hampshire readers in 1835, Boston papers as well as local papers, but news traveled slowly, no faster than it would be told by one person to another or carried by mail. The telegraph began to be used in 1844, and telegraph lines had to be constructed after that. People read newspapers, magazines, and books, and read them carefully, especially the Bible.