17 April 2014

May 2: Women Soldiers in the Civil War with David Decker

"Women Soldiers in the Civil War"

David Decker
Friday, May 2nd
7:00 pm
Goodwin Library
Historical Society Museum

presented by 
David Decker
Civil War Expert

In 1861, women had few opportunities for employment:  nurse, teacher, or governess, but some women wanted to fight for their country. Between 250 and 1,000 women disguised themselves as men and fought as soldiers during the American Civil War, during which they had more freedom than they would for the next century.  Civil War expert David Decker posits that these women soldiers played an important role in the women's rights movement.  At first, these women soldiers were scorned, but by the 1900's, they were praised, especially in their obituaries.  With an accompanying PowerPoint slide show, Mr. Decker will provide biographical sketches of heroic women who served for both the north and the south.  These women joined the army usually seeking adventure or out of patriotism or a desire to be with a brother or a husband, often staying with their units after a husband was killed in action.  They volunteered in all capacities and even served as officers, demonstrating equality with men in their fighting ability and bravery in the midst of battle.  When pregnant, ill, or wounded, they were frequently discovered and sent home, although some stayed with their units as nurses, laundresses, or spies.

Only in the last two decades have women achieved the same amount of freedom and opportunity in the military as they had in the Civil War.

Disguised as a man (left), Frances Clayton served many months in Missouri artillery and cavalry units. (Photos courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library)

Learn More

The Women Who Fought in the Civil War on the Smithsonian at

Women Soldiers of the Civil War on Prologue Magazine in the National Archives at


13 April 2014

Museum Toured by Pack 188 Wolf Den of Farmington

Pack 188 Wolf Den Leader ,Dawn, and her den of second grade Wolves at the Henry Wilson Museum.
Wolf den of Pack 188 in Farmington recently visited the Henry Wilson Museum for a tour guided by Historical Society members.  Led by Pack Leader, Dawn Shockley, the group of 7 wolves, who are all in the second grade, meet weekly from September to May and work on 12 achievement areas to earn their Wolf badge in mid-May. 

One of the achievement areas is “Know you home and community”.   For this achievement the boys have made a list of emergency phone numbers, explained what to do if a stranger comes to the door, explain what to do when someone calls on the phone, explain what to do when leaving the house, complete a one month chore chart and lastly visit a historic place in the community.  Additionally the boys have been working on their collecting belt loop. The requirements for this achievement are to begin a collection of at least 10 items, present collection to the den, and lastly visit a museum that displays different collections.  Through their visit the pack learned about some of the history of Farmington and why preserving history is important. The wolves had several questions for the Historical Society members, some of which were very challenging and all were interesting and engaging.  The pack wanted to know about how museums acquire their objects, how they are preserved, who decides what we do get and preserve, how old the objects were, and what functions some of the objects had.   

President Jim Horgan; Vice President, Dottie Bean; Curator, Kyle Leach; and Public Relations Co-Chairs, JoAnn Doke and Stan Freeda were on hand to talk to the Den members, answer their questions, and give the tour.  Wolves in attendance were Max, Mateus, Donovan, Damian, Drake, Jamison, and Ethan.  Some parents of the young wolves also attended the visitation.

The group enjoyed looking around and looking in the cases.
It was a general consensus that the antique dolls were scary looking.
Everyone loves the rattlesnake skin!  It's always a crowd pleaser!
The boys inspect some geological specimens in


17 March 2014

April 4: The Chinook Dog with Bob Cottrell

"On the Trail of New Hampshire's State Dog, the Chinook"

Friday, April 4th
7:00 pm
Goodwin Library
Historical Society Museum

presented by 
Bob Cottrell
Henney History Room Curator
Conway Public Library

This program looks at how dog sledding developed in New Hampshire and how the Chinook played a major role in this story. Explaining how man and his relationship with dogs won out over machines on several famous polar expeditions, Bob Cottrell covers the history of Arthur Walden and his Chinooks, the State Dog of New Hampshire. The presentation spans the globe and covers the story of the original Great Chinook, from his birth in Wonalancet, New Hampshire, to his mysterious disappearance near the South Pole, to the rescue of the Chinook breed and its recent renaissance. Cotrell will be accompanied by his own Chinook sled dog, the appropriately named Tug, who will demonstrate how sled dogs are harnessed in exchange for ear scratches. This event is free and open to the public through a grant from the NH Humanities Council.

Chinook History

The Chinook owes its existence to one man: Arthur Treadwell Walden of Wonalancet, New Hampshire. The breed derives principally from one male ancestor born in 1917, named “Chinook,” who was Walden’s lead dog and stud. "Chinook" derived from a crossbreeding of husky stock from the Peary North Pole expedition with a large, tawny Mastiff-like male. Photos of “Chinook” show a drop-eared dog with a broad Mastiff head and muzzle. Walden’s leader was bred to Belgian Sheepdogs, German Shepherd Dogs, Canadian Eskimo Dogs and perhaps other breeds; the progeny were bred back to him to set the desired type and was apparently a strong reproducer of his own traits. Arthur Walden was an experienced dog driver with years of experience in the Yukon; he was the lead driver and trainer on Byrd's 1929 Antarctic expedition. He is credited with bringing sled dog sports to New England and with founding the New England Sled Dog Club in 1924. The 12-year-old “Chinook” was lost on the Byrd expedition.

Control of the core breeding stock passed from Walden to Julia Lombard and from her to Perry Greene in the late 1940s. Greene, a noted outdoorsman, bred Chinooks in Waldoboro, Maine, for many years until his death in 1963. Rare and closely held by Greene who was for many years the only breeder of Chinooks, the population dwindled rapidly after his death. By 1981 only eleven breedable Chinooks survived.[2] Breeders in Maine, Ohio and California divided the remaining stock and managed to save the type from extinction.

The Chinook obtained registered status with the UKC in 1991;[1] current numbers of registered animals are around 800. Only about 100 puppies are born annually worldwide. The registry has a cross-breeding program under which Chinooks are bred to individuals of other breeds thought to have contributed to Chinook development; fourth-generation backcross descendants of such crosses may be accepted as UKC purebred Chinooks if they meet the Chinook Owner Association's Cross Breeding Program requirements.
Chinooks joined the American Kennel Club (AKC) Foundation Stock Service in 2001 and were later added to the AKC's Miscellaneous Class in 2010. Finally, in January 2013 the Chinook became the AKC's 176th breed and joined the working group.  Chinooks are still working for recognition from other major kennel clubs.  - Wikipedia

Learn More

Harnessing History: On the Trail of New Hampshire's State Dog, the Chinook on Facebook and "Like" them at https://www.facebook.com/events/382648331858321/?ref=22

Learn About Chinook Dogs from the Madison Library    http://madisonlibrary-nh.org/WP/2012/02/15/learn-about-chinook-dogs/

Chinook Dogs on The Heart of New England    http://www.theheartofnewengland.com/LifeInNewEngland-Chinook-Dogs.html

Arthur Walden and Chinook on New Hampshire Notes https://sites.google.com/site/newhampshirenotes/arthur-walden--chinook 

The Chinooks of Tamworth: Sled dog races celebrate rich local lore in the Conway Daily Sun http://www.conwaydailysun.com/index.php/newsx/local-news/94932-the-chinooks-of-tamworth-sled-dog-races-celebrate-rich-local-lore

Chinooks New England   http://chinooksnewengland.org/

Chinook (dog) on Wikipedia   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinook_(dog)


08 March 2014

Back Issues of the Farmington News Coming Soon

"Farmington News Digitization Project Nearing Completion"

Last year, the Farmington Historical Society began a project to digitize the Goodwin Library's microfilm collection of the Farmington News.  Issues of the paper, from March 14, 1879 through April 7, 1976 will be available in a searchable online database.  The Historical Society retained the services of Advantage of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the project.  The finishing touches are now being put on the project and it will be available on the website shortly.  

A section of the Farmington News from the August 21, 1969 issue.
Check out the ads from the November 6,1969 issue

Advocating shopping in downtown Farmington

Portion of the paper from November 13, 1969

A holiday Thanks You from the Newspaper in 1960.


07 March 2014

Puddledock Press Editor Celebrates Birthday

"Happy Birthday JoAnn"
JoAnn and her cake.
The Farmington Historical Society's Public Relations Co-Chair, and long time Puddledock Press Editor, JoAnn Doke, recently celebrated her birthday with friends at the Mustard Seed Cafe last Sunday, March 6.  JoAnn is a very active member of our Community and has been so for many years.  Along with being the editor of the Puddledock Press, our local newspaper, for many years, she is also the Immediate Past President of the Farmington Woman's Club and a former Library Trustee.  We wish JoAnn a Happy Birthday and honor her for her long years of service to our town.   

Woman's Club President Stephanie Roux has a bit of fun with former President JoAnn

Woman's Club members help JoAnn celebrate.
Join the Historical Society tonight as we welcome New Hampshire author and humorist, Rebecca Rule, who will present on the history of the Town Meeting in New Hampshire.  For more information, visit the events page, or the March 7 Meeting announcement below.

Learn More

Mustard Seed Cafe on the Web   www.TheMustardSeedCafe.org
Puddledock Press on this site   http://www.farmingtonnhhistory.org/p/puddledock-press.html


09 February 2014

March 7: The NH Town Meeting with Rebecca Rule

"Moved and Seconded:  Town Meeting in New Hampshire"

Friday, March 7th
7:00 pm
Goodwin Library
Woman's Club Room

presented by 
Rebecca Rule
New Hampshire Author, Humorist, and Story-teller

Based on her recently published book, Moved and Seconded: Town Meeting in New Hampshire, the Present, the Past, and the Future by Rebecca Rule (Plaidswede Press, 2012), this program by Rule covers the rituals, traditions and history of town meeting; including the perennial characters, the literature, the humor, and the wisdom of this uniquely New England institution.

Town Meeting is a sacred institution in New Hampshire. It has rituals, traditions, and a unique history. Town meeting is democracy in its purest form. For three years, noted New Hampshire author Rebecca Rule has been gathering stories, attending town meetings and writing this book. She has crafted an instant New Hampshire classic. You’ll meet the characters who keep the drama cracking, from silent knitters to rabble-rousers, from deep-rooted hoary historians to transplants, from across-the-board cutters to homespun philosophers. You’ll dip into the literature — poems, novels, short stories and essays — some by famous writers and some by writers who may be new to you. You’ll sample the legendary dry humor as well as the down-home wisdom, which inspires well beyond the walls of the Olde Meeting House.

This event is free and open to the public through a grant from the NH Humanities Council.
This meeting will take place in the Woman's Club Room on the second floor of the Goodwin Library.  Light refreshments will be served following the presentation.

Rebecca Rule's presentation was filmed and the video will be posted as soon as processing is completed.

As folks arrive for the presentation, Rebecca Rule talks to some attenders.
Folks gather and socialize in the warm, welcoming Woman's Club room.
Excited Historical Society attendees gather and socialize before the presentation.
Rebecca and Rochester Times editor, John Nolan, talk to the attendants before the presentation.
Rebecca Rule talks to an attentive group of 46 interested attenders.
A Historical Society Members business meeting will follow the presentation and refreshments.

Learn More

 "Moved and Seconded - Having Your Say: NH town meeting - its storied past and uncertain future"  in NHMagazine.com

'Moved and Seconded': Rebecca Rule’s Town Meeting in the Nashua Telegraph

Rebecca Rule on the web

Travels with Becky - Rebecca Rule's blog

Rebecca Rule Biography on the NH Statre Council on the Arts

Stories of Logging, the Mills, and Life in the Androscoggin Valley - Rebecca Rule's previous presentation to the Farmington Historical Society on Friday, May 6, 2011


26 January 2014

Local recalls UNH's military training for women

Doris Grady
photo credit: John Huff/Foster's Daily Democrat
Rugged. Dedicated. Patriotic.  These are just some of the words used to describe a series of photographs of one of the nation's first female collegiate-level military training programs. Published by LIFE Magazine in the early 1940s, these photos shed light on the University of New Hampshire's military training initiative for women during the midst of World War II.

With recent reports of the U.S. Marine Corps postponing certain strength requirements after a high percentage of female recruits failed to meet standards, LIFE's website republished these photographs, showing just how dedicated a small New England university was when it came to preparing for war.

Grady, now 90 years old, recalled many men at the university putting their studies on hold to fight overseas, leaving much of the school's training equipment untouched. Discussion soon shifted to the training of women to prepare them to serve their country as well. This led to then-director of the women's physical education program, Margaret Hoban, to develop a fitness program for females that would prepare them to serve in various military auxiliaries.

“We were all so concerned because of what Japan had done,” said Grady. “Everybody was willing to do anything they had to do at that particular time.”  As a physical education major, Grady said she was soon introduced to the all-female military-style training program. Having been an athlete all her life, Grady shared with Foster's that the university's training program was right up her alley.  “I wanted to test myself to see if I could do it,” said Grady.  Scaling walls, crawling under fences, and jumping wide ditches didn't deter Grady whatsoever. In fact, she admitted she didn't find the training to be all that difficult. “It was kind of fun,” she said as a smile spread across her face.

The program at UNH was one of the first of its kind, providing military-style training to women similar in fashion to the men's Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. More than 650 female students at UNH would go on to become involved with the program in its first years, utilizing training equipment set up for men in the university's ROTC division that had been virtually abandoned after the school lost a large portion of its male population to various war efforts.  

By 1942, the women's program had gathered enough attention to spark interest among those affiliated with a notable publication known as LIFE Magazine. 

According to a New Hampshire Alumnus article published in February of 1943, LIFE's news bureau contacted university officials in December of 1942 to find out more about the program itself as well as UNH's initiative to help the country's war effort. It was soon decided that one of the publication's most respected photographers, Alfred Eisenstaedt, would travel to Durham and pay a visit to the many women participating in the university's military-style physical training program.

“I remember we all thought it was a big deal that LIFE was coming to the area, and that they were going to have one of their best photographers come,” said Grady.  Although it had been a relatively warm winter, an unexpected shift in the weather turned temperatures frigid and covered the university's grounds with heavy snow.  “We thought they were going to cancel the photo shoot, but they didn't,” said Grady.

After trudging through the snow to get to training equipment set up throughout Memorial Field, Eisenstaedt photographed hundreds of women adorned in not-so-weather-appropriate shorts and short-sleeved shirts as they navigated through the obstacle course. The Alumnus article stated that the women initially wore coats and pants during the trek through the field, shedding them when Eisenstaedt was ready to begin taking pictures.

On January 11, 1943, a seven-page spread of Eisenstaedt's photographs and an accompanying article titled “New Hampshire Coeds Toughen Up for War” was published in LIFE Magazine.

Read the article by Laurenne Ramsdell in the Foster's Daily Democrat at http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140116/GJNEWS04/140119638/-1/ROCtimes

Learn More

Call to Action A World War II fitness program put UNH in the limelight in UNH Magazine

The Saga of Life in the UNH Alumnus  http://unhmagazine.unh.edu/w10/images/about_life_magazine_story.pdf


Image Credits: