Sam Hill Road in East Andover Has an Intriguing History

This article is part of a set about East Andover roads

By Ed Hiller
A photo taken in 1987 shows the Cilley Family Cemetery
located on Cilley Hill. Photo: Ed Hiller

Sam Hill Road starts at Jerry Hersey’s farmstead on the Franklin Highway. It proceeds north about 3/4 mile to the Boisvert farmstead. The road then extends east over Cilley Hill, across the northwest corner of Franklin, and north into the Town of Hill. It had been known as Cilley Hill Road for years. But the coming of the new 911 emergency response system in the early 2000s required a name change to avoid confusion with Cilleyville. The name Sam Hill Road was adopted to recognize the early settler Deacon Samuel Cilley.

This road was accepted by the Town in 1784 as a driftway 2 rods (33 ft.) wide. This was a right-of-way to provide a route to drive livestock to the upland pastures on Cilley Hill. Subsequent Town Meetings accepted the road as a public way.

Sucker Brook Valley

Ephraim Sanborn (1756-1836) was an early (perhaps the first?) settler on the land extending from the highway across the Sucker Brook Valley. The buildings were near where Jerry Hersey’s buildings are now. He was followed by his nephew Stephen Smith Sanborn (1811-1857). Later Timothy Weare (1778-1863) settled on the north end of the valley, and probably built the  farmstead that is now the Armand Boivsert place. He was succeeded there by his son William Horace Weare (1819-1893).

Cilley Hill

Cilley Hill took its name from Deacon Samuel Cilley (1753-1842), probably the first to settle there, who came about 1796.  Deacon Cilley’s farm was located well up on the hill about a half mile above the Timothy Weare place. The house burned in 1879. The cellar hole and well remain visible. Situated behind the cellar hole, and about 150 feet from the road, lies the Cilley Family Cemetery.  Buried here are Samuel Cilley, his wife Elizabeth, son Joseph, daughter-in-law Hannah, and several grandchildren. A barn from the Samuel Cilley farm was moved down to become part of then Guy Hersey farm on Franklin Highway.

Further along the old road, in what is now Franklin, was the homestead of John Philbrick (1781-1834) and his son Joseph Philbrick (1806-1841). There is a little family cemetery there (once enclosed with an iron fence) containing the graves of John, John’s daughter Theodate, Joseph’s wife Hannah and Joseph’s son George.

Nearby was the residence of Ebenezer Bennett (1803-1889) and wife Charlinda (1804-1889).  About 1850 they moved the buildings down off the mountain to a location just north of the railroad crossing at Sam Hill Road. That location became known as Bennett’s Crossing.

At the 2005 Town Meeting the Selectmen requested approval to abandon the Town’s right-of-way interest in the unmaintained portion of Sam Hill Road over Cilley Hill. The initial vote was a rejection, 39 to 41.  At the end of the Meeting a motion to reconsider led to a vote of approval, 45 to 31. This portion of the road over Cilley Hill then became the sole property of
the abutting landowner, who is unwilling to allow public access. So it is now not possible to visit these historical sites without getting permission from the land owner, and it is rarely if ever granted.

Postscript: This article is a companion to the extensive set of articles on East Andover road history written and published by Rita Norander.