17 February 2018

Presentation on March 2: Find out "What's In Our Museum of Farmington History?" with Kyle Leach

"What’s In Our Museum of Farmington History?"

Friday, March 2nd
7:00 pm
in the Museum of Farmington History 
on the lower level of the Goodwin Library

presented by 
Kyle Leach
Museum Curator

What do stuffed birds, scary dolls, a blowfish, and acorns carved into baskets have in common?  They are all in the Museum of Farmington History! If you are curious about what else is in the collection, mark your calendars and come to the Museum of Farmington History, on the lower level of the Goodwin Library, on Friday, March 2, at 7:00 PM, and listen to Farmington Historical Society member, Kyle Leach, who has been the Museum Curator since 2012, as he takes you through a tour of selected items of special interest in our archives.  The collection houses some curiosities and oddities that are tied to the rich history of Farmington. Kyle, and other volunteers,  have spent countless hours sifting through the contents in the museum trying to organize and make sense of the treasures that have been donated and collected over the years.  More recently, he has established a growing online presence for the Society by developing and maintaining our online museum, a feature only few New Hampshire museums have the resources to do. The Historical Society invites you join us for this presentation, take an interest in our history, our museum, and our Society.  

Membership Meeting
There will be a membership meeting at 6:00 PM.  A meet and greet with the presenter along with light refreshments will begin after the meeting at 7:00, with the program starting at 7:15 PM.
The public is welcome to attend all our meetings and programs.  Consider joining the Historical Society and helping preserve and protect Farmington History.  Annual membership dues are $5.00.

Links to Learn More
Museum of Farmington History Online  http://farmingtonnhhistory.omeka.net


February Update-Online Museum of Farmington History

Remember to take a look at the online Museum of Farmington History; lots of updates happened in the last few weeks. Many, many new items have been added this year and a few more exhibits have been opened this month. I've have also enabled the social sharing options, so you may start to share things you find with your friends directly from the online museum!

One of the largest additions is the exhibit containing Farmington NH Annual Town Reports. The reports contain a wealth of information about people, businesses, policy, warrants, and budgets of the town over time. Earlier reports have deaths, births, and marriages recorded. Once in the exhibit please select a time range at the right to go to the correct time period and find the report you wish to research. The museum has physical copies of most reports from the 1870's through the mid 1950's. We are working on finding reports to add to the collection for most the mid 1950's through the present. If you have copies you would like to donate please let us know. Digital copies of reports from the 1870's to the present are being added as the museum has time. Right now we have digital copies you may view in the online museum from the early 2000's back through the 1940's.

Another significant addition is the exhibit, Farmington NH & Strafford County NH Maps. This exhibit includes maps, articles, and documents covering topography, position, and location in and around Farmington, NH. Many of the maps of the downtown area contain detailed information and keys. When viewing the Sanborn-Perris fire insurance maps pay great attention not only to the keys, but also to the year of the map being viewed, and how the specific information on tenants, building upgrades, etc. has changed. Surveys were taken regularly and though the roads and building may not change greatly between survey years, tenants and building alterations do. I'm in the process of trying to find out what institutions in the area may have copies of Sanborn-Perris fire insurance maps that we don't have access to yet. I'd really like to obtain digital copies of as many parts of the downtown area over time as I can and their maps are the best for the many reasons I outlined above.

The last exhibit that I'd like to highlight is the Information & Photography Collection Booklets for Farmington, NH. This exhibit brings together the many information and photography collection books that have been made about Farmington, NH exploring the notable people and places within the town.  Most give a general history of the town, but a few concentrate on specific arenas or a single person like Henry Wilson. Most were created during the 19th and 20th century, so they may have social and cultural biases stemming from those periods.

An area that we are light on in the museum collection, and we need to bolster from community donations, are local school yearbooks. At this time I think we have five or six years- that's it- and those aren't enough to tell the stories of our children in their youth over time. Please consider making a donation of a yearbook, especially if it is not an item that you consult often or does not have great emotional significance any longer. Remember, once I have them, they would be digitized and put in the online museum- then everyone can see them.

I'm working on many other exhibits that are not public yet and adding things to those that are each month that goes by. I hope you enjoy the new additions and find them helpful.

Kyle Leach, Curator
Farmington NH Historical Society
Museum of Farmington History

 Other Notable Exhibits:

Transportation In Farmington

Sports, Recreation, & Outdoor Activity

Farmington Schools, Students, Educators, & Administrators

Events, Celebrations, Parades, & Memorials

Farmington Factories & Businesses & Services



15 February 2018

Postponed-RHS-Linda Shenton Matchett-Women In World War II

Due to the predicted inclement weather, the Rochester Historical Society program, Women in WWII, has been postponed. A new date will be announced later.

On Thursday, March 8, at 7 PM at the Rochester Historical Society Museum on Hanson Street, Linda Shenton Matchett will present Women in World War II. By 1942 millions of men had left the workforce to enter combat, others relocated to work on top secret projects. Thanks to Norman Rockwell's iconic illustration, most people are familiar with Rosie the Riveter and the work women performed in the defense industry during WWII. But young and old, single, married, and widowed women worked and volunteered in other ways, many of which have been forgotten. In addition, numerous household items were rationed, and the automotive and appliance industries quit producing until after the war. Drawn from autobiographies, memoirs, and interviews, this lecture shares experiences of these stalwart ladies in their own words.

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, blogger and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone's throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life from Edison, NJ to Washington, DC. Currently living in Wolfeboro, she is a volunteer docent for the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library.

Rochester Historical Society program is free and open to the public. Visit them online. Visit them on Facebook


28 January 2018

Rochester Historical Society Feb 8th-David Miller Presentation- Native Americans Along the Piscataqua River Watershed

Who were the Native Peoples that lived in the Piscataqua River Watershed in Pre-contact Times- before 1600? Can We Put them back on the Map?

On Thursday, February 8, at 7 PM at the Rochester Historical Society Museum on Hanson Street, David Miller will present Native Americans along the River.

A number of years ago in conversation a local fellow told Mr. Miller that during the great hurricane of 1938, when the pine trees were blown over in the Hansen Pines Forest Park in Rochester, there was found at the base of a large pine a large dump of shells left by the native people. This led him to thinking who were these people? What do we know about this site?

When Mr. Miller went looking for an accurate detailed study of the Indians who lived in this area he found none existed. He took it upon himself to try to rectify this gap in the historic record.

In his research on the native peoples in this area of New Hampshire, he discovered there has not been any detailed written analysis done to date. The area he referring to is the Piscataqua River watershed. This geographic area had all the elements necessary for comfortable survival and prolonged life for the native peoples who lived here before contact with Europeans starting in the late 1400s and early 1500s.(The Basque were secretly fishing here for about 200 years before Columbus appeared on the scene)

When one reviews the literature on the native peoples of New England over the last hundred plus years we find on the various maps each to be different from the others as to a label being applied to the native people in the Piscataqua River watershed. The name most frequently applied for this subgroup was the Pennacook tribe. Does the research prove or disprove this label?

The outcome of Mr. Miller’s research will be shared with you. He has prepared a detailed map of where the native villages were located and the Indian names for each village and the Indian names for surrounding physical features including the rivers, lakes and mountains.

At the same time he will discuss an ongoing project taking place at the University of New Hampshire that he has been a part of to develop an internet interactive STORY MAP entitled “Indigenous Cultural Heritage in New Hampshire”

Accompany his oral presentation will be a PowerPoint slide show and hand out of his research.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will follow the meeting. For more information please call (603) 330-3099 or e-mail rochesterhistorical@metrocast.net.

Thank you, Martha Fowler, President Rochester Historical Society


19 January 2018

How to Find the History of a Farmington NH Building

How do I find the history of my Farmington NH house or building?

The Strafford County Registry of Deeds is the best place to start finding information about your house or building in Farmington, NH. They have records online as far back as the middle of the second decade of the twentieth century. Anything older and you will need to visit them in person. The Strafford County Registry of Deeds is located at 259 County Farm Road, Suite 202, Dover, New Hampshire 03820. Their numbers are: Tel. (603)742-1741 Fax (603)749-5130. Their office hours are: Monday through Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.

But that only tells you part of the story of your house-those who owned your house over time. More importantly you want to know who lived in your house, what happened there, and what else was in and around the building. That builds a much more complete and compelling story. 

I would recommend going through the old issues of the old town paper, the Farmington News. I call it the old version of Twitter. You will be amazed at what they talked about in the paper. The issues of the paper are online at the Goodwin Library, the Farmington Historical Society , and the Museum of Farmington History. Issues from 1870-1979 are searchable by general word search, via year, or by a specific date.

Search for your address in the archives online and you may find things about who lived and visited your building and what happened in and around the your address over time. Make sure to check that the numbers or street names did not change. That can throw searches off and ruin your research completely. Ask you neighbors and long term residents about changes on a street. I've already put some of the maps we have available online. View them in the online museum under the "Exhibits" tab, then look for the "Farmington & Strafford County maps" selection. Don't use abbreviations on first search tries-they tend to add things you do not want. Use as few search terms as you can to narrow search perimeters and hopefully get better, more relevant results.

Once you have names, events, and dates, if you want to go further, I might be able to help at the museum, but there is no guarantee. Most of the artifacts and information are at sorting stage at the museum. Good luck in your search! Have fun with it!

Kyle Leach, Curator
Farmington NH Historical Society
Museum of Farmington History


05 January 2018

First Night Farmington at the Museum of Farmington History

"First Night Farmington at the Museum of Farmington History"

First Night Farmington debuted on December 31, 2017, and the Farmington Historical Society happily participated in the event.  It was a cold night, but the Society opened the Museum of Farmington History to First Night attendees and provided it's guests with Wassail (hot mulled cider) served with tea cookies to warm the museum visitors.

Saxophonist, Rick Gladding was happy to entertain guests of the museum with a variety of holiday and other tunes.  Some folks sat and listened to Rick play while others explored the museum artifacts.  There is a lot to see and fascinate at the Museum of Farmington History and the guests were not disappointed.

Rick played from 8:00 PM until 9:30 PM, at which time he left to play Auld Lang Syne at the First Congregational Church.  The tune was broadcast through the Church bell system and the song could be heard throughout the town.  We closed up the Museum of Farmington History at 10:00 PM and folks headed over to the bonfire behind Turner Liberty Insurance before ringing in the New Year at the Municipal Building at midnight.  Additional photos can be found in the 2017 First Night Farmington Photo Album on the Farmington Historical Society's Facebook page.

Next Membership Meeting
Our next membership meeting at will be on January 5, at 6:00 PM, in the Museum of Farmington History, lower level of the Goodwin Library.  Consider joining the Historical Society and helping preserve and protect Farmington History.  There is an annual membership fee of $5.00.

Links to Learn More
2017 First Night Farmington Facebook Photo Album  https://www.facebook.com/pg/FarmingtonNHHistory/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2347740331918810


31 December 2017

Purchase of Farmington NH Town Reports, Ledgers, & Farmington NH Woman's Club Book

Two of the most important purchases we made this year were made from a regional antiquarian document dealer. After viewing the items made available from the dealer, we were able to obtain a Farmington Woman's Club book, pictured to the left and an assorted group of ledgers from notable figures in Farmington's past, and bring them back to our town, where they belong.

The Farmington Woman's Club book is in excellent condition and contains many accounts and details from a single year in the history of the club, 1924-1925. The ledgers are also in good condition and give a peek into saving, purchasing, and spending habits, as well as a few financial notes.

We were also able to secure an almost complete collection of town reports from the 1870's to the mid 1950's. We've had some town reports filter in over the years, but nothing that even approached a complete decade, much less three quarters of a century. They are varied in look, color, size, and content, but more importantly contain information such as marriages, births, and deaths, which can be helpful facts when piecing together genealogical stories, family trees, and cross checking historical details. Since most of our town records, and everything in our library at the time, perished in the horrible fire that burned down the Farmington Opera House in 1928, this is a significant contribution to our historical record.

In addition to these purchases, we also found that the University of New Hampshire has made available digital copies of Farmington town reports from the 1950's to the present. This means that one can view reports from the mid nineteenth century all the way through the early twenty-first century with ease.

I keep my eyes open for all such opportunities, but this cache at a regional dealer didn't get my attention until a marvelous resident told me it was available. I encourage all of you to contact us when you find items for possible inclusion in our growing historical collection. Contact me at farmingtonnhhistory@gmail.com with items you would like us to consider.

Kyle Leach, Curator
Farmington NH Historical Society
Museum of Farmington History