28 November 2015

December 4: Meet for Refreshments After the Tree Lighting

After the Farmington Tree Lighting"

Friday, December 4th

in the Henry Wilson Museum 
Goodwin Library lower level

presented by 
Farmington Historical Society
Henry Wilson Museum

Join us on Friday, December 4 at the Farmington Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Firehouse Parking Lot at 6:30 PM.  The Historical Society will be present to watch the ceremony and sing carols.  After the tree lighting, folks are invited back to the Henry Wilson Museum for some light and warming refreshments.

Following the reception, the Society will have a brief meeting to address plans for the coming year.  Join us.

31 October 2015

November 6: Annual Pot Luck Dinner Meeting

Friday, November 6th
6:30 pm
Congregational Church Vestry
Main Street, Farmington
presented by 
Farmington Historical Society
Officers and Members

Come join us for our annual meeting and Pot Luck Dinner on Friday, November 6th at 6:30 in the vestry of the Congregational Church on main street.  Bring a dish to enjoy with friends. Beverages and desserts will be provided by the Society.  The food will be brought by the membership.   Members  are encouraged to bring family and friends to help us celebrate another great year.  New members are always welcome.  If you ever thought of becoming a member, this is a great time to do it. Please join us.

Tentative Schedule
6:30 PM             Commence Annual Pot Luck Supper.
8:00 PM             (Approx) Historical Society Meeting and Election of Officers

Historical Society dues are due at the Annual Pot Luck Meeting, so bring your $5.00!  At these rates, the entire family can join!
After the meal, we will conduct a brief business meeting.  New officers will be elected for the coming year.  If you would like to run for office or nominate a candidate, please contact us at FarmingtonNHHistory@gmail.com and let us know.

Hope to see you at the Annual Pot Luck Meeting to welcome in our new year!

13 September 2015

October 2 Presentation: Songs of New Hampshire with Don Watson

"Songs of New Hampshire"

Friday, October 2nd
7:00 pm
in the Henry Wilson Museum 
Goodwin Library lower level

presented by 
Don Watson

The Farmington Historical Society's 2015-2016 Free Presentation series will begin on October 2 when Don Watson performs his songs about New Hampshire.  Don has previously been our guest presenter for the Farmington Historical Society in October, 2013.  It was a popular presentation in the series, so Don was asked to return and perform again.

Don Watson is a singer/songwriter from Gilford, NH, who’s music has been compared to John Denver, Jim Croce and Dan Fogelberg. His songs are upbeat, inspiring and easy on the ears. Don's newest project "Welcome Home New Hampshire" is a collection of songs based on people, places and events of the granite state. Don partnered with Steve Redic, a poet and historian from Candia, NH in the writing of these songs.

Don works for the state Department of Environmental Services and is an active conservationist and avid outdoorsman.  He coordinates the Belknap Range Hiking Patch program and tries to promote awareness and respect for nature through this and his music. Songs from his album, Welcome Home New Hampshire, have had air time on many NH radio stations. He regularly performs at historical societies, libraries and museums and continues to book events in the area.
Although considered a solo artist, Don often performs with several talented Lakes Region musicians to form the "Don Watson and Friends Band".  Don has performed at several larger NH venues including Meadowbrook, Franklin Opera House, Hopkinton fair, and many cafe's, restaurants, farmers markets and festivals.   You can find our more about Don and his music online at www.DonWatsonMusic.com.

On November 6, the Society will have its Annual Pot Luck Dinner meeting.  Officer elections will be held at the November meeting.  Membership is $5.00, but our presentations are open to the public.  Light refreshments are provided.  Come join us and see what we're all about.

Learn More

Don Watson Music on the Web

07 August 2015

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Funeral Train Talk in Milton

"Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Funeral Train"

Wednesday, August 26th
6:45 pm
in the American Legion Hall 
Steeple Street, Milton

presented by 
Carl Lindblade
Affiliate Professor
University of New Hampshire

Spread the word!  Deception, Cover Up Betrayal, A Russian Spy, the A Bomb, A Nation Mourns, A White Cadillac Convertible.  A Russian Portrait Painter, all in four days of history!
Soldiers Helpers is hosting this event.  There is no admission charge.  Instead, if able, please consider bringing an item for a Troop Care Package.  Items in need are: white crew socks, boxer shorts, plain T-shirts (not white), and DVDs.  They will also be passing the hat to give the volunteer speaker a small stipend.  Light refreshments will be served.

Any questions, please call Alice at 603-781-4195

An old newsreel about the funeral.

Carl Lindblade speaks about the FDR Funeral Train in this clip from a past talk.

Learn More

Soldiers Helpers on the Web

Funeral of President Roosevelt on You Tube

The Presidency:  Franklin D. Roosevelt Funeral Train on You Tube

03 July 2015

Central Street Comparisons-How Many Differences Can You See?

Once Farmington had a robust town center, Central Street has been one of the busiest, well known streets in town. The street and the surrounding areas have changed over the years. While we were sorting through our vast catalog of photos we came across these three photographs of the street, three times, just a few years apart. The views are from different angles. Some of the differences are striking, others more mundane. Click on the picture to enlarge it.  Study the pictures and leave a comment that answers these questions.
  • How many differences can you find?  
  • Which picture do you think was taken first?   
  • Which photo was taken next? 
  • Which picture was taken last?  
  • What clues did you use to order these photos?

A Peek at the Farmington Souvenir Ceramic Collection of Farmington Resident Norma Park-Part 1

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit longtime local resident Norma Park and take a look at the items she had chosen to collect over the years. Norma has many special and unusual items in her collection, as well as the ordinary, but I specifically visited her to see her collection of Farmington, New Hampshire souvenir ceramics. The were ceramic plates, dishes, etc. produced as souvenir trinkets for travelers coming through our town and were sold by several of our department stores in the last portion of the 19th century. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did. Thank you Norma for letting everyone have a chance to see them.

Do You Like NH Bridges? Take a Look at This Recent Donation

The Farmington Historical Society recently received a wonderful donation. We received a large, expansive photo collection of covered bridges in the United States. Each state is in separate collection book. Each bridge is photographed from the front side and generally from the opposing side of the body of water they traverse and identifying information is provided. We are deeply grateful for the donation and are honored to preserve this unique catalog for future generations. The following is an account of the person that created the collection.

Whittaker Covered Bridge Ossipee, NH

"Jerry H. Cate was born in 1938 in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He moved to Rochester in 1956 and then to Farmington on the Ten Rod Road, where he built his dream home: a log cabin.  He was a licensed electrician, working all over the different states from Maine to Massachusetts.  He was an avid fisherman and game hunter.  As he grew nearer to his retirement years, he put down his rifle for a camera.  He loved photographing the wild life and God's creation of brooks and lakes.  In 1998, he started traveling the United Stated, photographing the covered bridges.  Here are the results of his work.  Hope you enjoy viewing these as much as he did." Dot Hutchins (Jerry's sister)

Whittaker Covered Bridge Ossipee, NH

05 June 2015

June 5 Presentation: Tales from the Flatlander Chronicles with Author Brendan Smith

"Tales from the Flatlander Chronicles"

Friday, June 5th
7:00 pm
in the Henry Wilson Museum 
Goodwin Library lower level

presented by 
Brendan Smith
Humorist, Wiers Times Columnist

Brendan Smith moved to New Hampshire from Long Island, New York in 1985.  His first ten years were spent learning to adjust to life here in Central New Hampshire, the last seventeen have been spent writing about his adventures and misadventures for the Weirs Times as a "Flatlander" - From "Raking The Roof" to "A Day At The Dump" and everything in between. In 1997 after being a contributor to the Weirs Times for many years, Brendan came to work for the Weirs Times and is now the editor.

Among his "Flatlander" accomplishments: he started the group F.A.T.S.O. (Flatlanders Adjusting to Solitary Oblivion) a winter support group for new transplants; he has run for Governor of New Hampshire under The Flatlander Ticket and has entertained groups and organizations around the state with his speaking.

Brendan'sweekly "F.O.O.L. in New Hampshire" column now takes a tongue-in cheek view on anything and everything that has to do with New Hampshire, The Country and the world. He has also published his first book "The Flatlander Chronicles".

Brendan lives in Laconia with his wife, Kimberly.

Brendan Smith was born and raised on Long Island, New York, a bagel’s throw from New York City. In 1985, Brendan unexpectedly found himself moving to Central New Hampshire. Over the next ten years, he worked hard at adjusting to life there. From learning to rake his roof, to buying firewood for the first time, to trying to fit into the social setting of a morning at the dump, he found that these, and many more adjustments, would not be very easy for this Flatlander. Since 1995, Brendan has been recounting these humorous adventures weekly on the pages of The Weirs Times. This book contains the best of those early columns.

Learn More

Wiers Times Online - Brendan Smith

A F.O.O.L. in New Hampshire

25 May 2015

Farmington Honors its Veterans At Annual Memorial Day Parade

Farmington Veterans Corner

During the Farmington Annual Memorial Day Parade, a commemorative
wreath is cast into the Cocheco River from the Bridge on Main Street. 
 Greetings and a good day to all of our members and those that support us with their efforts and encouragement. We are hoping to see you along the Parade Route on Sunday, May 24th., with the Farmington Memorial Day Parade starting at the Pine Grove Cemetery at 11am.
We are hoping to hold our services with the support of The Carlton Woman's Relief Corp carrying out the major parts at the two locations before we hit the Old Town Hall. They are responsible for the re-dedication of the large monument at the Cemetery that reminds us of a war that tore our states apart. The large monument is in memory and honor of the soldiers that died and served during The Civil War. 

The memorial service with the casting of flowers at the bridge is to honor the memory of those that perished at sea during all wars.

The roll call of those from Farmington that died during the wars is held at the start of the parade with the re-dedication of the monuments and the roll calls will take place before the parade breaks up. It is only fitting that we remember all of those that have served and enlisted through our town. 

Pictured here are World War II veterans Meat Merrill, Carl Worster, Eddie Gray, Geoerge Worster, and Bob Worster,
taken from "Images of Farmington". 
We have had to remember our own losses with services the past two weeks of members that have been laid to rest finally that passed this past winter which reminds us that there have been many changes that we can't change, but only wish to carry on in their memories, so come if you can and support those that are still able to carry on this town's tradition of holding a Memorial Day Parade.

Until next time remember to thank a veteran, no matter when or where they have served. God bless you all and take care.

Gale Grace

Article Reprinted from The Puddledock Press

Editor's Note:  This is a timely article that was not in the May issue and it will be over by the June issue, so it can only be featured online. -SJF

26 April 2015

May 1 Presentation: Covered Bridges in New Hampshire with Glenn Knoblock

"Covered Bridges in New Hampshire"

Friday, May 1st
7:00 pm
in the Henry Wilson Museum 
Goodwin Library lower level
presented by 
Glenn Knoblock
Author / Historian

Covered wooden bridges have been a vital part of the NH transportation network, dating back to the early 1800s. Given NH’s myriad streams, brooks, and rivers, it’s unsurprising that 400 covered bridges have been documented. Often viewed as quaint relics of a simpler past, they were technological marvels of their day. It may be native ingenuity and NH’s woodworking tradition that account for the fact that a number of nationally-noted covered bridge truss designers were NH natives. Glenn Knoblock discusses covered bridge design and technology, and their designers, builders, and associated folklore.

Mary's Bridge in Pittsfield is a simple bridge spanning the Suncook River.  It's a great example of a typical Town lattice Truss bridge.

The Cornish-Winsdor Toll Bridge in Cornish was the last to collect tolls across the Connecticut River.  It operated as a toll bridge until 1943.

This event is free and open to the public.  It is made possible by a grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

Learn More

Books by Glenn Knoblock on Good Reads
NH Covered Bridges by Arcadia Publishing
Covered Bridges in New Hampshire by Glenn Knoblock on Google Books

28 March 2015

April 3rd Presentation: The Shaker Legacy with Darryl Thompson

"The Shaker Legacy"

Friday, April 3rd
7:00 pm
in the Henry Wilson Museum 
Goodwin Library lower level

presented by 
Daryl Thompson
Shaker Historian and Expert

In their more than two and a half centuries of existence, members of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as Shakers, made ingenious contributions to diverse fields: agriculture, industry, medicine, music, furniture design, women’s rights, racial equality, craftsmanship, social and religious thought, and mechanical invention and improvement. Darryl Thompson explores some of these contributions in his lecture and shares some of his personal memories of the Canterbury Shakers.

Daryl Thompson has an M.A., American History, University of New Hampshire and was tour guide at Canterbury Shaker Village for over 30 years. Thompson studied historic plant varieties that were developed by Shakers in various villages throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. His father, Charles Thompson, co-founded Canterbury Shaker Village Museum with three Shaker sisters. Darryl lived among the Shakers for many years and served as a consultant to Ken Burns in his documentary film The Shakers: Hands to Work. Hearts to God.

This presentation was funded through the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  New Hampshire Humanities Council is a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This meeting is open to the public.  Refreshments will be provided.

A Farmington Historical Society business meeting will follow the presentation.

Learn More

The Shakers on PBS Ken Burns American Stories

The Shakers: Hands to Work. Hearts to God on Wikipedia

The Shakers: Hands to Work. Hearts to God on the Internet Movie Database

The Fascinating World of the Shakers on This Week in Raymond

Image Credit:

06 March 2015

Donated Christening Gown Reveals History of Gilman Family in Farmington

One of the goals of the Farmington Historical Society is to not only preserve and catalog items we receive, but to link items of similar nature or that have shared histories with one another. The sampler with picture above has been in the collection for some time. It did not have any related information stored with it, but recently that has changed. 

Richard Tucker contacted us about donating a christening gown belonging to his father. He was able to provide his father's family information and knew who the young girl in the photo above was. She was Elverna Gilman and was Mr. Tucker's great aunt. He was also able to provide us with copies of photos of some of his family and detail the relations in the following statement. 

Elverna Gilman

Christening Gown of Charles Winslow Tucker

"Grace Delma Gilman (Elverna's younger sister and my grandmother) married Charles Pickering Tucker (my grandfather) in Farmington in June 1896.  Their only child Charles Winslow Tucker (my father) was born February 1898 in Boston. Sadly, his father died of tuberculosis in November that same year.  Shortly before his death Grace, Charles P. and their new son dressed in a fancy christening gown were photographed in Farmington by a local photographer, A. W. Shackton.  I have photos of the gown by itself, my father in the gown propped up in an elaborate wicker chair and another of mother, father and son together.  The gown has been kept over the past 116 years in excellent condition.  I did some research on Mr. Shackton and found that the chair was one of his studio props and appeared in other photos I found on the internet. My thought was that the gown, the photos and the back story might find a home in Farmington."

We were delighted to have this this information and he was also able to give us more information on his family line and documentation outlining the paternal side of his family. You can read some of his summation below.

Charles Winslow Tucker


"My parents (Charles W. Tucker and Grace E. Tully) had two children, me and my younger sister Phyllis (b 11 June 1930.)  Rather than provide all the details of our family history I am mailing under separate cover pedigrees sheets for me and my paternal side of the family.

Grace Delma Gilman, Charles Pickering Tucker, and Charles Winslow Tucker in Farmington in June 1896.
These are for the Tucker, Gilman and Wentworth branches of our tree which track them back to their arrival in America. My Tucker ancestor was born on the Isle of Shoals about 1622. The Gilmans hit the beach in Hingham, MA about 1650 and William, the first American Wentworth, arrived in MA about 1633 and was one of the folks who established Exeter in 1636. 

The cover sheet is an overview of my own family. You'll see that my lovely wife and I were married in Dec 1950 and produced three daughters, "all above average." In fact, they are. Susan graduated first in her class at Smith College and earned her PhD in Theoretical Mathematics at the University of Michigan. Her husband earned the same doctorate from the same university. Their son Stephen graduated from Reed College, Portland, OR; their daughter Lisa will graduate from Connecticut College next May.

Our middle daughter Alison graduated with honors from Brown University, is married and living in California. 

Lauren, our youngest, graduated with honors from CT College and is married to a fellow grad who is now the number two man in the Maine State Dept.of Marine Resources. Son Ben went to Clarkson College and is now a propulsion engineer who works on nuclear subs in Groton, CT. Their daughter Amanda graduated from Tufts and is a techie and computer whiz in the Raleigh Triangle Research Center."

These accounts and documentation now accompany the sampler and photo we had, as well as the christening gown. We are very grateful to Mr. Richard Tucker for his donation and for the information that helped to link these two items together.

Woman's Club has Long History of Service to the Town by Joann Doke

Woman's Clubs can trace their history back to 1868.  The Farmington Woman's Club was founded in 1910.  Woman's Clubs began in communities as modern household advances afforded the women more leisure time.  The clubs' original function was as study clubs or reading clubs.  As time went on, their goals also included social welfare; building schools, hospitals and libraries.  Woman's Clubs in the United States helped fund the building of 75%-80% of all libraries across the nation, including our own Goodwin Library. The Farmington community should be proud of the longstanding support and leadership that the Woman's Club has exemplified for our town and our library.

At the Goodwin Library cornerstone laying ceremony in 1928, Fred Thayer, master of ceremonies, noted, "I wish to especially call your attention to the influence of the women in this community in this growth and I refer particularly to the Farmington Woman's Club.  In 1911, this organization, which is regarded among the leaders for civic programs, conceived the idea of creating a fund for the erection of a public library building.  They not only conceived  the plan, but have carried  it through each successive administration by supplementing the small original fund with proceeds of social activities, until one year ago there was somewhat over $1800 in the treasury.  With this fund, the Board of Trustees had for some time discussed and negotiated for a suitable site for such a building.  Last November, this very spot  upon which we stand was purchased."  We have a library in Farmington because of the dedication and support of the Farmington Woman's Club.
Prior to the building of the Goodwin Library, books were kept at the  Farmington Opera House and were lost in a fire there. Continues Thayer,  "Immediately after the fire, the women again came  to the fore and have continued  through social activities, to swell  the funds for the continuance of this institution."
Fast forward through the years of consistent monetary and in kind donations to various causes in Farmington.  The goals of  promoting social, ethical and intellectual culture, to further education is still present in our modern day activities.

 Through the efforts of some of our fund-raising committees, we have been able to double the amount of our yearly scholarship to a FHS graduate to $1000.  We continue the decades long tradition of hosting an annual faculty tea to show our appreciation for our educators and also to award each school with a monetary donation.
In 2010, on the occasion of the Farmington Woman's Club's 100 the anniversary, the club was recognized with a congratulation letter from President Obama.  The Farmington Board of Selectmen also acknowledged the Woman's Club's efforts with a formal proclamation.
In holding to our traditions, we have also tried to keep curent with changing times.  Some of our daytime meetings have been changed  to evenings to allow our working members to attend.  With the continued growth of the club, we have seen an increase in our fundraisers with an influx of new ideas.  We have donated to many causes including: the Interfaith Food Pantry, The American Legion, Farmington Arts Boosters, The Farmington Recreation Department, The Puddledock Press and more.  The club was responsible for the purchase of the lovely trees downtown and continues to maintain the flower garden site in the middle of town.  One of the American flags flying proudly was a club donation.

The club is not all about good works.  We do have social activities where we can enjoy each others company and invited guests.  The Woman's Club hosts several social activities and fund raisers throughout the year.
As always, the FWC welcomes new members from Farmington and surrounding communities to attend a program or a meeting and see if we are a fit for you.  Please contact President Stephanie Roux at 603-755-9902 for more information.  

Learn More

The Farmington Woman's Club on the Web