27 July 2014

Interesting Article About an Excavation in Portsmouth

"Bath discovery rekindles interest in Portsmouth's Jewish history"
Laurenne Ramsdell
Foster's Daily Democrat

Pictured here is a Jewish ritual bath, also known as a mikvah, 
which was recently discovered in Portsmouth at Strawbery 
Banke.  (Ryan McBride/Staff photographer,
Foster's Daily Democrat)
PORTSMOUTH — A recent discovery within the grounds of Strawbery Banke has offered new insight into the Seacoast's rich history of Jewish culture.

A century-old mikvah — a ritual immersion bath — was unearthed by the museum's archaeological staff after a former resident shared his memory of the structure. As there is no written record of this particular mikvah's existence, the discovery will allow local historians an opportunity to more accurately detail the history of Jewish culture in Portsmouth.

While starting a vegetable garden on the site of what once held the Pecunies homestead, Ronald Pecunies casually mentioned his memory of a mikvah located in the basement of his family's former home. Rather than using it for its original purpose of ritual cleansing, Pecunies noted that his family, which owned the home from the late 1930s to the 1960s, used the structure to brine fish.

The mention of the mikvah greatly intrigued former museum archaeologist Sheila Charles, who soon kick-started an effort to uncover this piece of history.

Learn More
Read the entire story in Foster's Daily Democrat at http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140727/GJNEWS_01/140729507


26 July 2014

Historical Society to Meet August 1st

"August Business Meeting"
Friday, August 1st
6:00 pm
Henry Wilson Museum
Goodwin Library Lower Level

Our New Logo was approved at the July Meeting.
There will be no presentation this month, just a business meeting.

Call to order

Pledge of Allegiance

Review of Minutes: 11 July 2014

Treasurer's Report

2014-15 Presentations: discussion

Town Pound: Clean-up

Website updates

Vista Print: Caps and T shirts. Set prices.

Hayday:  Discussion/Plan. 23 August - 8 am - 3 pm.
Still need volunteers to man the booth.

Need to update and reproduce brochures for distribution.

Fifty-Fifty Raffle (tickets/bowl) drawing 2:30 pm

Museum open 10am - 2pm

Meetings: September - 5 Sept - no presentation - byor.
          October -  3 Oct - Presentation TBD - Refreshment to be provided.
          November - 7 Nov - Annual Meeting - Pot luck  - Elections.


Come join us.  Dues are only $5.00!  


10 July 2014

July 11: Historical Society Meeting

"July Monthly Business Meeting"

Friday, July 11, 2014
7:00 pm
Henry Wilson Society Museum
Goodwin Library
Main Street, Farmington, NH

Call to order
Pledge of allegiance
Review of Minutes: 02 May 2014
Treasurer’s Report
Discussion re: hanging xmas trees.
Discuss Supplies
Sanborn Mills Farms Tours - coming soon. Will contact Mr. Huppe to arrange the recon tour.
Town Pound: Clean-up  - Lets pick a time and date.
Need copies of minutes - last twelve months - Joyce.
Vista print: Caps and T shirts.
Cataloging museum contents.  Tom Ransom, Rod & Judy Thompson, Dottie Bean, Kyle Leach, and Jim Horgan.
Hayday: Looking for folks to hold down the table. Sell baked goods and raffle tickets,  hand out brochures, guide folks to the museum.
Need folks to guide folks through the museum: hours to be
Need folks to bake items for sale: suggestions?
any ideas for trinkets - for resale (promoting museum).
Souvenir type stuff.
23 August - 8 am - 3 pm.

Meetings will continue over the summer. Bring you own refreshments.  These will be working meetings - no presentations For JUNE through September.

Thank you all for your attendance and participation, especially for allowing us to move forward in advancing  the condition of the Museum. Don’t be strangers, stay in touch, come to the meetings. Have a good summer.

Our next meeting:  August 1st.


06 June 2014

Meeting: 7:00 PM Friday, June 6, 2014

"Come Join Us!"
Friday, June 6th
7:00 pm
Goodwin Library
Historical Society Museum

The Society will be meeting on Friday, June 6th at 7:00 in the museum to discuss business and plan for the future.  New members are always welcome. Bring your $5.00 dues and your ideas.    Hope to see you there.


03 May 2014

Issues of the Farmington News Now Available Online

"The Farmington News Digitization Project is Complete"

This digital archive contains all issues of the Farmington News, of Farmington, New Hampshire. The newspaper was published every Friday by J. E. Fernald and Son.  Over the course of time, the paper moved to a Wednesday publication and was published by the Farmington News Company.  The Farmington News circulated from March 14, 1879 through April 7, 1976. The circulation reported in 1898 was 1200. The paper was 17 inches X 24 inches in size.
The first edition of the Farmington News was published on Friday July 11, 1879. 
The project began over a year ago and was the result of the Library having microfilm copies of the paper, but no operational microfilm reader through which the papers could be viewed.  Patrons had to take the film to the Rochester Library in order to read it. While the original microfilm conversion was not the best quality, the digitization included cleaning the film as best as possible.  Unfortunately, digitization cannot repair damages, so damages in the film are carried over to the digital copies and some of the text may be difficult to read in the older papers.  This is most likely the result of smudging on the original copy of the newspaper that was transferred onto the microfilm when converted into film.  While some of the original newspapers remain, the bulk of the issues were given to the late Roger Belanger, our unofficial town historian, when the newspapers were converted into microfilm in order to save space.  

The last edition of the Farmington News was published on Wednesday, April 7, 1976.
To access the archive, click on the Farmington News tab on this website.  You will be taken to the digital archives.  If you need help with searching the archive, visit the "Help" tab.  There are extensive instructions on how to search and locate the papers you want.  Each page is offered as a separate file for viewing and can be enlarged on the screen.  

The Digital Archive of the Farmington News was provided to the Goodwin Library by the Farmington Historical Society.  The Digitization was completed by Advantage Preservation, with offices in Iowa and Minnesota.  Learn more about digitization at http://www.advantage-companies.com/preservation.


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