News and Notes

Epsom Historical Association



The Epsom Historical Association had a very successful year in 2006. Regular meetings resumed with a presentation in March by Sharon Burnston on colonial life; a lecture on Library Programming with Mike Sullivan which included a tour of the new library; a meeting at the Sanborn Homestead on Sanborn Hill about the Sanborn family in July as a part of the annual Ice Cream Social; the McClary Cemetery and Epsom Center was the program for September; and the meetings concluded with a program of NH Militia by Thomas Graham. Newsletters were changed to email delivery and included more content and photos - with a trimmed down version being mailed to those who did not wish to receive the emailed version. This saved money on mailing as well as allowing more photos and information to be included in the newer version. Additionally the Association took part in the dedication of the State of NH Historical Marker dedication honoring Major Andrew McClary in August.
New items were received by the Association through local and online auctions, and also through kind donations of residents. Among these were several photo albums dating from the 1870's with correspondence from the same period, diaries and autograph albums; 4 diaries belonging to Catherine A. Yeaton; a photocopy of the Civil War diary of Andrew J. Hall; received and restored a large charcoal-based picture of John D. Dow; the records of the Epsom Temperance Society and the clock from the Gossville school. In addition we were able to copy numerous other photos courtesy of Joni Kitson and Dick Framback and others. Finally, through Mr. Framback, we copied the original history forms of members of the Epsom GAR.
A project to archive holdings of the Association began, which included scanning and saving to computer disk, copies of documents, photos and historical items. At least 25 important paper documents have been scanned, including the Temperance Records, Civil War Diaries, Dolbeer Death Records, many photos, various other diaries and Church histories, to name a few. A fund has been started to upgrade the computer system to inventory all the holdings and hold copies of all the archived materials.
The Epsom Early Settlers web site continues to grow and provide online access to the Association's holdings and information of Association activities. The web site got a new domain name ( and a new look. The genealogy database has grown to nearly 37,000 names; the photo galleries expanded; the majority of transcriptions converted to Adobe pdf files for easier viewing, printing and downloading. The site continues to be visited with thousands of 'hits' during the year from around the country.
A fundraising DVD was made available in December containing 350 photos from the Association's archives. In addition, two books were received - one on Munroe genealogy from Mary Pilsbury; and articles on Chichester history by Walter Sanborn.
The Epsom Historical Association assisted the Friends of the Historic Meeting House committee with establishing an account to hold its donations to help save and move the historic structure. In addition, the Association continues is close alliance with the Epsom Public Library and trustees in an effort to further making the history of Epsom more accessible to residents.
Plans for 2007 include the continuing of archiving and inventorying its holdings and upgrading its computer; reaching out to residents to increase our holdings by receiving or borrowing items and photos to archive materials pertaining to Epsom History; broadening our membership and ties to the community; conducting informative meetings on history for area residents; publishing our newsletter to members; making the holdings of the Association more accessible on the web, and more important, having it in one location where it can be presented and researched.


has the Free Will Baptist church looked like this. Cumberland Farms continues to build its new facility on the property, having dismantled the gym and classrooms at the rear, and the old vestry. With the exception of the steeple, the old bulding, erected in 1861, has been reduced to its original structure. The vestry had been built in 1888, dedicated on December 21 of that year, and was constructed with funds raised by the then Ladies Sewing Circle. The fate of the building now rests with town residents who will vote on the owership of the building February 13th 2007, and the church committee finalizing plans to move the structure.


The Epsom Historical Association recently purchased two items at a local auction to add to its collection of Epsom historical items. The first is the clock which for many years hung in the Gossville School. The clock is circa 1890 and is a E Ingraham "Dew Drop" Model, manufactured in Bristol, Connecticut. The history of Ingraham clocks dates back to mid 19th century. This company was owned by Elias Ingraham who was a notable case-maker for the clocks, and worked with many partners. Elias was succeeded by his son Edward Ingraham who was famous applying black enamel paint to wooden clock cases. The Gossville School that still stands today was built in 1894, with an addition added in 1924. The clock likely dates between those dates.

The record book of the Epsom Temperance Society dates from its founding in 1835 and runs through 1859. It contains its original consitution as well as its renewal in 1841. The records book contains minutes of its meetings, election of all officers, and names of those at the meetings who have newly "signed the pledge." This is the only source currently known with information on this society.


Years ago Tiny Palmer dropped off to the library a framed picture of a young man. The frame, some 30x27 inches, was wrapped in a sheet and tied with rope. The picture, apparently charcoal drawing, was on a canvas frame which had fallen out of the frame, held by black tape and rotting leather straps. The glass was still in one piece, but quite dirty. The framed picture was stored in the furnance room, and later removed to the storage trailer. With the move of the Library, the old frame and contents surfaced once again and turned over to the Historical Association. With the aid of Brett Rand of Artistic Expressions, the entire piece was taken apart, a new matte added, cleaned and put back together. The original matte remains on the rear of the frame. Our thanks to Brett Rand for his assistance.

The picture is of John D. Dow born in Epsom 1846, Civil War soldier of Epsom who fought among other places, Fredericksburg and Vicksburg. In April 1865 he was in the hospital at Camp Nelson in Kentucky. Out of the service on disability, her returned to Epsom where he married Nov. 1865, Lizzie Libbey. he died age 21 years 8 months, November 18, 1867, in Epsom. He us buried at the Gossville Cemetery. [see additional photo] Click on framed picture for larger version


The Epsom Public Library will retain the old building as the EPSOM PUBLIC LIBRARY HISTORICAL CENTER, to house its historical items, preserving them in their original setting. The Epsom Historical Association will be the caretakers of the collection, and will house its own collection there as well, setting up a research Library and Museum. This is perhaps the most important decison made in decades to preserve Epsom’s rich heritage. For the first time, there is a place in which donated items can be stored and put on display for the benefit of the community. Items to be displayed will include permanent items, and items that may be on loan from individuals. Special tours and programs will be made available to organizations and school groups. The Library and Museum will also become a place for people, taking advantage of the many databases and information belonging to the Historical Association, to go for research. This becomes an ideal time for those who have items they would like to donate to do so. Contact Harvey Harkness 736-4571or email the Epsom Historical Association at .
The local business community will be asked to be partners in an endeavor to help defray the operating costs. Official opening is tenatively set for Memorial Day weekend 2007, at which time regular hours will commence. The Library & Museum also can be found online by clicking the link on this page. The Historical Association will have a special committee to oversee the activities at the old Library, and the Epsom Public Library will also hold special hours at the Historical Center.


November 19 at 2 pm, the old Epsom Town Hall was the location for the November meeting of the Epsom Historical Association which featured a program on the early NH Militia.
Traveling back in time and touring through New Hampshire’s military history from its beginnings in 1623 to the present day National Guard, Tom Graham II will presented a 25 minute video overview of the past 370 years of New Hampshire’s impressive military history. Mr. Graham serves as the historian for the New Hampshire National Guard and took questions after the presentation.
Epsom played an important role, with members of its militia making the trek to Bunker Hill, and maintained a strong militia (the 18th Regiment) throughout the first half of the 1800’s. Prominent citizens of the local militia included members of the McClary family, Simon Ames Heath, John Ham, Daniel Cilley, James Babb, Josiah Crosby and General Benjamin L. Locke.
The program was open to the public and refreshments were served by Nancy Claris and Mary Frambach. Officers were elected for 2007, and remain the same as the past year: Harvey Harkness, President; Phil Yeaton, Vice President; Elsie Fife, Secretary; and Penny Graham, Treasurer. [click for additional photos]


Following a funeral attended by thousands of police and many NH dignitaries, the procession left Manchester to Concord and into Epsom for burial at the New Rye Cemetery. Michael Briggs, born and raised in Epsom, was a policeman in his home town, and following service as a US Marine, and serving at the Hillsborough County House of Correction, joined the Manchester Police Department. He served them five years before his life was tragically ended on a domestic violence call. Rev. Jim Young officiated part of the services in Manchester, as well as those graveside in Epsom.

The town displayed flags, signs of appreciation, and adourned the Epsom Traffic Circle with signs and fall flowers in anticipation of the funeral procession passing by on its way to the New Rye Cemetery. [Epsom Photos]


The Milne Special Collections and Archives at the University of New Hampshire, listed in their online listing of collections, a Civil War Diary of Andrew J. Hall, with New Hampshire connections. Through the Epsom Historical Association, having run across the listing, recognized the name and knew immediately he was an Epsom resident. The son of Benjamin Hall and his wife Polly Wells, he was born in Epsom April 23, 1834, and when about age twenty, left for Illinois. There he married Sarah J. Poynter and had two children, Frank, and Andrew J. Jr. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in Company E, 2nd regiment of the Illinois cavalry. The diary starts when he leaves his home in Lebanon, Il, and discusses his service into 1862. Andrew J. Hall died in Epsom October 31, 1873, and is buried in the McClary Cemetery. The diary was used by his widow in a claim for pension. For identifying Andrew J. Hall, the Special Collections department at UNH forwarded a photo copy of the diary entries for the Epsom Historical Association. [read the diary]


Eric Carlson of South Carolina contacted Epsom Early Settlers with information that he had four diaries written by Catherine A. Yeaton, years 1882, 1885, 1886 and 1895. He wished to know their value and offered them for sale. After some negotiating, they were purchased and arrived in Epsom safely. Catherine A. Yeaton (1820-1900) was the daughter of William Yeaton and Elizabeth Ham. She married in 1841, Warren Yeaton (1818-1890), son of John Yeaton and Betsy Towle. She and Warren had children Ellen, William, Caroline, Thomas M., Charles A., John Warren, and Alvah L. They lived on North Road in the Yeton Tavern. The diaries were written up to within 5 years of her death and include some of her daily activities and work being done on the farm. Information also included visitors and some local deaths. The Association will try and identify most of the individuals mentioned, as well as transcibe the four diaries. These diaries will be added to those of John C. Yeaton which were purchased this spring. Other transcibed diaries available to read online include those of James M. Sherburne, Charles J.P. Brown, and James Babb.


The new state historical marker celebrating Major Andrew McClary of Epsom, who fell at Bunker Hill, wasAugust 20th at 10:00 am. It is located at the State Rest Area on Route 4, east of the traffic circle. The ceremonies included the NH Sons of the American Revolution 'Stark's Rangers' color guard, members of the Epsom Historical Association, American Legion and NH Society of the Children of the American Revolution and included remarks and gun salute. Despite rainy conditions, nearly 50 people attended the dedication, sheltered by a tent provided by Dick Frambach. The color guard following that ceremony conducted grave marker dedications, one in Epsom and two in Deerfield for Daniel Philbrick, Ephraim Eastman and William Rand. [photos] [ program]


August 20, 2006 - The grave of Daniel Philbrick, Revolutionary War Veteran, was honored with an SAR marker by ceremonies conducted by the NH Sons of the American Revolution's Color Guard, 'Stark's Rangers'. The ceremony included the laying of wreaths, gun salute, and other traditional events. It was attended by ancestors of the James Witham family, SAR members, NH Society of the Children of the American Revolution and others. The grave is in the Barton-Philbrick cemetery, behind the Kimball home on Barton Road, near the Epsom-Pittsfield line. The SAR marked 2 additional graves in Deerfield. [photos]

ICE CREAM SOCIAL - Sanborn Home Program

The annual ice cream social was held at the Sanborn homestead on Sanborn Hill on July 23rd with a large gathering in attendance. Thanks to host Sarah Harkness for allowing us to visit the homestead and to Ed and Glenna Nutter for providing the ice cream and toppings. The program on the Sanborn Family and homestead was given by Carleton Rand. Thanks all for attending and being part of one of our largest gatherings in a while! [more photos]


Through the efforts of Harvey Harkness and the work of Ricky Belanger and his crew, the old water trough near the old Free Will Baptist Church has been moved to the old town hall. Flowers by Glenna Nutter. Thanks all !


Old fashioned pump organ made by James M. Gordon, located at old town hall courtesy E. Nutter & H. Harkness

On left name of maker, James M Gordon - to right, E


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