Kearsarge Peg Mill

Kearsarge Peg Mill

Click here for photos of the Peg Mill. 

To see a 24 minute video of the mill in operation, click here.

Click here for a full chronology of the Peg Mill with references


                                                                      Kearsarge Peg Mill

                                                                  By Karl Roenke

The Kearsarge Shoe Peg Company began operation in Andover, NH, in 1865.  Thirteen years later, in 1878, the company moved to Bartlett, NH, in search of a more reliable wood supply.  At that time one of the company owners was Mr. Joseph R. Foster.  J.R. Foster sold his interest in the Bartlett operation in 1887 and established a peg mill operation in upstate New York.  In 1893 he moved to Shelburne Falls, MA, to open The J.R. Foster Company, Manufacturers of Blue Star Shoe Pegs.  Once again, the wood supply did not last and J.R. Foster moved his mill operation to Plymouth, NH, in 1898.  The "new" J.R. Foster Company in Plymouth manufactured The Blue Star Brand of Shoe Peg, and Bobbins.  It was managed by J.R.'s two sons, Edwin J. and George R. Foster.


The Kearsarge Peg Company in Bartlett, NH, suffered a major fire in 1910 which destroyed much of the plant.  J.R. Foster and sons purchased the Bartlett operation for $2,000 and rebuilt in 1911.  The Kearsarge Peg Mill then began to manufacture the Red Star Brand of Shoe Pegs.

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 Detail of 1896  Birds-Eye View of Bartlett showing the Peg Mill,
before the 1910 fire, at the top-center of the view.  The buildings
          below are the Bartlett and  Albany Lumber Co.

   Today The Kearsarge Peg Company still operates in Bartlett.  It remains as the last shoe peg mill in the world still using technology and machinery from the late 1800's and early 1900's.


 The J.R. Foster Company in Plymouth, operated until 1922 when the plant was sold to The Draper-Maynard Company.  Shoe peg production ceased at the Plymouth operation after WWI and other wood products were produced.  In 2001,  what was then known as The Plymouth Manufacturing Company was purchased by Alex Ray and today interprets mill history as The Common Man Inn and Spa.  Company houses still line the street adjacent to the Inn.

Map of Bartlett from the 1892 Hurd Atlas of New Hampshire                 

  Map of Bartlett from the 1892 Hurd Atlas of New Hampshire     


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