24 May 2018

#Farmington Historical Society- Lorraine Meyer Gift- #FarmingtonNH #History

Recently, the Farmington Historical Society received yet another large gift from a community remember. Long time, local resident and businesswoman, Lorraine Meyer donated a varied collection of general documents, programs, photographs, postcards, news clippings, and business memorabilia, all related to Farmington.

In all, the collection contains hundreds of items, many which the society does not already have in the museum collection. When sorted, documented, and placed in the museum system, the donation will add to the museum exhibits for culture, schools, buildings, businesses, and notable persons. It contains several dozen Farmington postcards, many which are rare or difficult to find. The donated items are in exceptional condition considering some of them date as far back as the very beginning of the 20th century.

It is with gifts like this that the society is able to continue to build and diversify documentation for the historical record and further develop understanding of our town and those who lived in it before us. We are extremely grateful for this gift from Lorraine and welcome the opportunity to protect these historical treasures.

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


23 May 2018

#FarmingtonNH Historical Society #Antiques Appraisal Event Recap

The Antiques Appraisal Event earlier this season was as successful as we hoped it would be!

We had over forty people come to the event to get their items looked at by Caroline French, of Caroline French antiques. Items ranged from books to glassware, ceramics, small collectables and musical instruments, all the way to fine art. One of the most interesting items was a small Dutch oil painting a local couple brought in. I was able to talk with several people about the museum collection and we were able to secure a few new members.

The Society wants to thank the Farmington Woman's Club and Happiness Tree Decor for sponsoring and we want to thank all the volunteers who helped with the event and making the delicious home baked food for sale. The Society would also like to thank the Friends of Farmington for allowing us to advertise in their display window when another group didn't need to use it. It looks like we will have this event again in the future, so keep a lookout in spring for an announcement for the event. Again, we thank the community for supporting our mission and supporting our organization.

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


04 May 2018

Two Sides of the Coin: Native American & Early Colonists Cultural Clashed

 From NH Humanities:

Two Sides of the Coin: Native American & Early Colonists Cultural Clashed

But what about the "other side of the coin"?
Recently scholars have taken Indian voices more seriously, resulting in a more nuanced picture of New England’s past. Who were the Native peoples who made this land their home? How did they respond to the problematic presence of Europeans in the region? Why did White settlers view this region to be vacant wilderness? And what efforts were made by people on all sides to promote cultural understanding and come to some mutual agreement?
Inspired by these questions, the Horatio Colony Museum and New Hampshire Humanities offer a series of 2018 programs to help us view Blake’s complex story of capture and release in a new light. The upcoming "Two Sides of the Coin" project is designed to broaden public awareness about the roles of Native indigenous people in our region’s history, and paint a clearer picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance.

Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War

Author and Amherst College professor Dr. Lisa Brooks tells the multi-faceted story of this area, giving a deeper understanding of Native history and place, focusing on the area around Ashuelot, an important space in King Philip’s War and in Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative.
Thursday, June 7, 7:00 pm, Cheshire County Court House, 33 Winter Street, Keene

Alnobak: Wearing Our Heritage

Abenaki master artist Vera Longtoe Sheehan, director of the Vermont Abenaki Artist Association and archivist/tribal secretary for the Elnu Abenaki Tribe, presents a gallery talk and introduces an exhibit of Abenaki tribal garments.
Saturday, September 8, 4:30-6:00 pm Horatio Colony House Museum, 199 Main Street, Keene
For more information about these programs and the ongoing exhibit, visit www.horatiocolonymuseum.org.


Too Long in the Shadows: African American History in Rural New Hampshire

From NH Humanities:

Too Long in the Shadows
 Why is understanding African American history in rural New Hampshire relevant to all of the state’s inhabitants, not just people of color? To support a conversation about race, local history, and social equity, New Hampshire Humanities is funding "Too Long in the Shadows: African American History in Rural New Hampshire," a series organized by the Fells Historic Estate and Gardens, on Tuesday, June 1 in Warner and Sunday, June 10 in Newbury.

What are the challenges facing historians researching local history of African Americans? What does this study reveal about the way early local historians interpreted the African American presence in rural New Hampshire? Are similar attitudes still present in the way African Americans are portrayed in contemporary society?
Shadows Fall North Documentary & DiscussionTuesday, June 1, 7:00 pm, Warner Town Hall, 5 E. Main Street, Warner
A documentary focusing on the efforts of two dedicated historic preservationists and activists, Valerie Cunningham of Portsmouth and JerriAnne Boggis of Milford, to recover the stories of people who have been rendered nearly invisible in the historical record.

Too Long in the Shadows, A Talk by Lynn Clark and Rebecca CourserSunday, June 10, 4:00-5:30 pm, Fells Main House, 456 Rte. 103A, Newbury

A talk by Lynn Clark and Rebecca Courser about their research on rural, free-black settlement in post-Revolutionary New Hampshire, documenting stories of many African American inhabitants in five towns in the Kearsarge-Lake Sunapee region. While the histories of these individuals are important in their own right, what they reveal about the attitudes and prejudices of the early local historians is perhaps more relevant.

For information: 763-4789 or email info@thefells.org, or visit www.thefells.org.


Rochester Historical Society -That Reminds Me oa A Story by Rebecca Rule-May 10th

The Rochester Historical Society has received a grant from New Hampshire Humanities to present That Reminds Me of a Story by RebeccaRule on Thursday, May 10, at 7 PM at the Rochester Historical Society Museum at 58 Hanson Street in downtown Rochester.  Stories speak to us of community. They hold our history and reflect our identity.  Becky has made it her mission over the last 20 years to collect stories of New Hampshire, especially those that reflect what's special about this rocky old place. She'll tell some of those stories, her favorites are the funny ones, and invite audience members to contribute a few stories of their own. From Pittsburg to Peterborough (Peeta-burah), Becky is out and about telling and gathering stories with a strong dose of good old-fashioned Yankee humor (humah). She loves to laugh and to get others laughing, too.

Becky is a full-time writer, humorist, and storyteller.  She hasn't visited every town in the Granite State, but pretty close — speaking at libraries, historical societies, rotaries, clubs, church groups, and charitable organizations. Some of her talks are sponsored by the NH Humanities Council, which named her one of 40 Over 40, that is, one of 40 NH folks who over the past 40 years of the Council's existence "have demonstrated what it means to create, teach, lead, assist, and encourage human understanding."

She is the author of eleven books, including N is for New Hampshire. Her other titles include: Headin’ for the Rhubarb: a NH Dictionary (well kinda) and Moved and Seconded: Town Meeting in New Hampshire as well as the children’s picture book, The Iciest Diciest Scariest Sled Ride Ever. For ten years she hosted "The New Hampshire Authors Series" on NHPTV. She currently hosts "Our Hometown" also on NHPTV.

This program is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will follow the meeting.

New Hampshire Humanities nurtures the joy of learning and inspires community engagement by bringing life-enhancing ideas from the humanities to the people of New Hampshire.  They connect people with ideas.  Learn more at www.NHHumanities.org.

For more information, contact the Rochester Historical Society at 603 330-3099 or rochesterhistorical@metrocast.net.

Martha Fowler


Rochester Historical Society


08 April 2018

Presentation On May 4th: Making History - Telling Your Own Story with Stan Freeda

"Making History: Telling Your Own Story"

Friday, May 4th
7:00 pm
in the Museum of Farmington History 
on the lower level of the Goodwin Library

presented by 
Stan Freeda
President, Farmington Historical Society

The Farmington Historical Society actively collects, preserves, and publishes artifacts, relics, and other objects and records that relate to the history of the Town of Farmington. No town artifact or record can give as much insight into the values and lifeblood of a community as a knowledge and understanding of the people who live there. People, past and present, make the community what it is. In the digital age, oral histories and story telling have become popular ways for individuals, families, and communities to leave a legacy for future generations. Currently, the Society is engaged in a Stories of Farmington Initiative, with the goal of capturing stories of the Town of Farmington and the citizens who live there. Many people are hesitant to tell their story for a variety of reasons. They believe that their story may not be interesting. They believe they can't do it properly, or to their satisfaction. Or they just don't think they are important enough to have a story worth preserving. This presentation will attempt to convince you otherwise. You will learn about the Stories of Farmington Initiative, and why it is important for our Town. You will explore ways to tell your story, and be introduced to a process that can help you structure and develop it. We hope that you will be inspired to participate in the Stories of Farmington Initiative and help preserve the rich and colorful living history of our community.

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
The Stories Of Farmington Initiative   http://www.farmingtonnhhistory.org/p/stories-of-farmington-initiative.html


06 April 2018

New England Heritage Conference: Step Back in Time to 1918- August 25th to August 28th

Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH
New England Heritage Program 2018
Explore what life was like a century ago in New England. The “war to end all wars” drew to a close while the Spanish flu pandemic swept the globe. Suffrage and the notion of prohibition dominated parlor conversation. Breakfast cereal and electric streetcars were all the rage and New England sat on the verge of the Roaring 20’s. Spend summer days turning back the clock with activities, speakers and workshops that highlight a century past. Settle into a rocking chair on the porch of the historic Oceanic Hotel gazing out to sea. Join the candlelit procession to the 200 year old chapel on the hill. Be enriched and enchanted at the 2018 New England Heritage conference.


For information on the highlights of the 2018 New England Heritage program, please click here


25 March 2018

Save the Date! Antiques Appraisal Afternoon Sunday April 29th, 2-4pm

What’s it worth?
Antiques Appraisal Afternoon

Rusty, musty, or dusty?  Bring it to the event, and see what it’s worth!

Caroline French, of Caroline L. French Antiques, will appraise your items.

Sunday, April 29th,  2:00 - 4:00 PM

Farmington Town Hall / Recreation Center
351 Main Street Farmington, NH
$5 per item, 3 items for $10. 

Baked goods for sale. Farmington Historical Society t-shirts and caps for sale. 50/50 Raffle. All proceeds from this event go to support the mission of the Farmington Historical Society and support the care of the collections of the Museum of Farmington History and allow for the continuation and further development of the online Museum of Farmington History.

Furniture and other large items may be appraised by photographs; there is no need to bring them to the event. Please take clear photographs of large pieces: front, back, top, and bottom. Please bring close ups of any signatures, inscriptions, information plates, or other distinguishing features.

No guns, knives, coins, or stamps, please! If this event is successful and there is interest we will consider getting a second appraiser for a future event who specializes in these items. Please express your interest to the desk when you come to the event or e-mail the Farmington Historical Society FarmingtonNHHistory@gmail.com about having these types of items appraised at a future event.

For more information and details about participation in this event, please email us at FarmingtonNHHistory@gmail.com.

 Please visit the online Museum of Farmington History at farmingtonnhhistory.omeka.net


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