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