The only natural body of water in the town of Littleton, New Hampshire, of sufficient importance to be styled a pond is Partridge Pond, near the Lyman town line, within lots 77, 78, 89, and 90 of Charlton’s 1786 survey. It covers 100 acres, is about one mile in length, and a little more than a quarter of a mile in width.
Partridge Pond has been nearly surrounded with cottages which are the summer houses of many people of this town and of Lisbon. More than two hundred years ago Nathaniel Partridge settled on what is now known as the Hard place, just over the line in Lyman. The outlet of the pond is in that town, though nearly all its waters are in Littleton.
The orthography of the name is not quite clear. Solomon Whiting, who lived near its shores in 1802, and Clark Hastings, who was born about that time on a farm from which the waters of the pond formed the most attractive feature of the landscape as seen from his home, agreed that it was named for Mr. Partridge, who was for some years the only settler on its border. On the other hand, Hannah Goodall Peabody, a very intelligent woman, who is still living, writing concerning her childhood memories of that part of our town, speaks of it as Patridge Pond. Fifty years ago the pronunciation of the word as spelt by Miss Peabody was universal. Still, this is not very good evidence as to the original name, for that of the Partridge family was given the same pronunciation by the people. On the whole, the probabilities are that it derives its name from the pioneer who owned the land at its outlet.
Since the pond has attracted summer residents, they have dignified it by calling it a lake; and such it is, since its shores and waters have been cleared of the dead and water-logged timbers that once sent their naked arms in every direction. It is fed by springs, only one insignificant brook contributing to its waters. Once it was the home of the trout, and offered fine fishing for the angler. In 1810 Comfort Day, who lived on the Millen place next north of the Hurd farm, had a trap for mink at the outlet of the lake. High water covered it, and when Mr. Day visited it, he found he had trapped a large trout instead of a mink. Not far from 1820 John White, a peddler of earthenware, was hired by Nathaniel Partridge to put into the lake pickerel, which were then esteemed of greater value for the table than trout, which were very common. Occasionally in recent years a large trout has been taken from these waters. It was in the woods bordering the easterly shore that in 1800 Mr. Partridge, when returning from his weekly visit to the home of Elizabeth Goodall, in the small hours of a December night, was pursued by a pack of wolves, and sought refuge in a tree, where he remained until the sun was well above the horizon.
The lake was a famous feeding-place for moose in the early days. The last of these animals known to have been killed in this town was taken at the lake about 1812-1815, by Jonathan Eastman, Alexander Millen, and Comfort Day, who lived near the lake, — Eastman on the Steere farm, Millen in the last house in Littleton on the road to Mr. Partridge’s, and Day on the farm owned by Harvey Lewis. After the capture they started to drag the moose to David Hoskins’, who lived on the farm now occupied by Noah Farr, and being overtaken by darkness on the mountain, scooped out a resting-place in the snow, where they remained until morning. The vicinity of the lake was also crossed by the runways of the deer, and as late as 1845 a number of these animals wintered near its waters.