Meriden 1808

In 1853, Dr. Elias Frost drew this map from memory of how the village of Meriden looked when he first arrived in 1808. He had travelled by horseback from Uxbridge, Massachusetts, to Meriden with the intention of setting up a medical practice here. He had a very successful and long practice in Meriden and became highly regarded by the residents of the town. Frost retired from medicine in 1845 because of his failing eyesight. Although he underwent a cataract operation a few years later by a professor of surgery at Dartmouth College, he found no relief. However, in 1853, with the aid of glasses, he began to write his life story, The Chronicle of Elias Frost, M.D. (1782-1863). His memoir reveals much of  the early character of Meriden and its people. In fact, the doctor boarded with the founder of KUA, Daniel Kimball, and his wife Hannah, until 1814 when he bought Rev. Dickinson’s house. He lived there for nearly 50 years, until dying tragically from injuries suffered by falling down the cellar stairs at the age of 81. His poor eyesight had caused him to mistake the cellar door for another one. While the house changed hands several times following his death in 1863, KUA decided to name it after Dr. Frost when the academy bought the house in 1963. See if you can find it, under the name Dickinson, on Frost’s map. You may also recognize Daniel and Hannah Kimball’s home, his store and sheep barn. Dr. Frost’s chronicle resides in the Dartmouth College archival collection.