News and Notes

Epsom Historical Association



The Epsom Historical Association met at the Epsom Public Library on Sunday afternoon, December 9th for a Christmas Social. The event was planned by Carole Brown and Glenna Nutter and was attended by about 30 people. The refreshments were enjoyed amongst many friends while music played and gathered to light the indoor Library Christmas tree.





Tim Patterson of Pittsfield presented a most informative program on Indians of New England. Starting with where various Indians were located throughout New England about 1660, the talk eventually narrowed the focus to how Epsom was directly effected by King Philip's and the French and Indian Wars. The talk was supplemented with a power-point presentation and Indian artifacts were displayed. A question and answer period followed the talk.

Prior to the program, a nominating committee was selected and refreshments followed the presentation. [see additional photos]



The September meeting of the Epsom Historical Association was a unique two for one program on the early history of Epsom schools. The meeting began with an update on the progress at the old library, and was followed by a program outlining the schools of early Epsom; from its first school at the center, through the loose districting, to the 1808 establishment of the first six districts and finally to the 10 school districts in use by the time of the Civil War. Refreshments were served during the meeting and Phil Yeaton had a display of early school textbooks.

The meeting was held at the old Short Falls school, built in 1853, and currently in use by the American Legion. Following the program, members car pooled up for a unique opportunity to view the interior of the Mountain District school, also known as the 'little red schoolhouse.' Special arrangements had been made through the owner for a close look at the school that was in operation from 1834 to 1920. According to information provided each member, the Mountain District school and the Short Falls District school are the two oldest still standing one room schools in the town of Epsom. [click for pictures of the interiors & meeting]


(August 18) The historic old meetinghouse, which was moved from its location the end of Februrary, is being readied for placement on its new foundation. The footings for the foundation have been laid and the structure will be moved over it and raised for the pouring of the full cellar foundation. Once the foundation is poured and hardened, the structure can be lowered into place and finish work can begin. The Friends of the Historic Meetinghouse continues to oversee the work and the Historical Association serves as fiscal agent for the project. (click photos for larger view)

The meetinghouse has been moved into place and raised to allow the foundation to be added below it. Once the foundation sets, the building can be lowered onto its new home.


Old Home Day Aug. 11, 2007

The Epsom Historical Association had a few DVD's available for purchase at this year's Old Home Day, courtesy of the Friends of the Historic Meetinghouse and Dick Frambach. Pictured is the booth for the committee with Bruce Graham, and a photo of the new band stand which was built as an Eagle Scout Project and dedicated.

Annual Ice Cream Social 2007

The Epsom Historical Association held its annual Ice Cream Social at the home of Barbaraand Harvey Harkness Sunday afternoon July 15th. Forced inside due to a long ling of persistent thunder showers, the nearly 30 attendees made the most of the ice cream and other delightful deserts. The meeting included a brief history of the Levi Cass family which resided on the property from about 1776. Charlie and Phil Yeaton presented nearly 40 items of historic interest which the participants tried to guess. Brief updates on the Meetinghouse project and the Epsom Public Library Historical Center were also given as part of the meeting. The rest of the afternoon was passed with discussions and social relaxation. A huge thanks to Harvey and Barbara for hosting this years event.


Friends of Epsom's Historic Meetinghouse for outstanding preservation advocacy

Photo: Left to right: Harvey Harkness, Sharon Burnston, Glenna Nutter, Richard Frambach, Penny Graham and Bruce Graham. (From the NHPA Website) "Saving the Epsom Meetinghouse from demolition was a major victory for a small group of Epsom residents who turned the tide of public sentiment at the eleventh hour. Led by Richard Frambach, the committee had a huge challenge--to convince the owner, Cumberland Farms, to delay demolition, to get a vote of the townspeople to accept the building for new town offices, and to raise $90,000 and handle all logistics of the building's move. This meetinghouse was built as the Freewill Baptist church in 1861, on what was then the First New Hampshire Turnpike, and is today a heavily traveled section of U.S. Route 4. The imposing building was designed with Greek Revival, Italianate and Renaissance Revival elements. In February, 2007, the town voted to accept the gift of the church. The Friends had met all the conditions--advocacy, fundraising, and the arrangements for the move. At 5 a.m. on February 25, just days before Cumberland Farms' demolition date of March 1, Route 4 was closed to traffic, utility lines were dropped, and the 120-ton, 42-foot-wide building rolled along the 45-foot-wide roadway to a new home."

May Historical Association Meeting

The meeting of the Epsom Historical Association on Sunday afternoon May 20, at the old Epsom Town Hall started at 2:00 pm. Our guest Virginia Gerseny, who was to present a program as Jane Appleton Pierce, wife of the only President from New Hampshire, did not appear. As no program was presented, a discussion of future plans for the Historical Association were discussed. Dick Todd discussed a project to catalog all the Epsom veterans and monuments. Discussion also revolved around the future of the old Epsom Baptist Church. Doug Osborne updated the gathering on the state of the Gossville Cemetery Association. Refreshments were served.


Through the generosity and courtesy of John and Ruth Brown, many new photographs and items were loaned to the Epsom Historical Association be to scanned and added to the digital archives. Among the photos were portraits of the Burnham family, included Alphonse Burnham, Jeremiah Gordon Burnham, James McCutcheon Burnham, Sarah Worth Burnham, Mary Jane Wells Burnham, Maude and Doris Burnham, plus the George Pike and Bowen families. The items loaned also include much of the genealogy of the Burnham family compiled by Doris Burnham Stevens; an autograph book of Celia Mason Brown, and the marriage certificate of William C. Burnham and Hattie A. Pike. The papers were photocopied for the Historical Association files, and the photos and other items were scanned for the digital archives. The photo collection will be added to the Epsom Early Settlers web site. Above a glass photo of Mary Jane Wells (1837-1895) daughter of Theophilus Wells and Lucy M. Critchett. She married in 1856, James McCutcheon Burnham. Our thanks to Ruth and John for loaning these items for preservation. [view the photos]



The Epsom Historical Association, through generous donations and sales of recent DVD's, has purchased a new computer, monitor and two printers. The Dell Dimension E521 sports Microsoft's new Vista operating system with the power to match. The computer has been loaded with the photos and those archives which have been scanned to date. The 20" digital monitor will provide members of the Association with a large screen for viewing photos. The two printers include a laser printer for normal printing, and an all-in-one printer for printing of photos, scanning and photocopying. The acquisition of a computer system will allow the Historical Association to begin to inventory its holdings, and allow for additional photos and materials to be loaned to the Association for addition to its archives in preserving Epsom History.

In order to begin the work, there are software programs and supplies (such as paper and ink) that need to be purchased. Contributions to the computer fund will be sought in order to put the system into operation and procure the items needed to inventory and archive items for preservation. The new system will eventually be housed at the Epsom Public Library's Historical Center in the Historical Associations Library and Museum. The collection and system will eventually be available for use by members and researchers.

HOW'D THEY DO THAT? The Moving of the Meetinghouse

Large Number attend first meeting of the year

(March 25, 2007) The Epsom Historical Association presented a program on the moving of the former Epsom Free Will Baptist Church. Penny Graham headed the program which included powerpoint presentation with a brief history of the building and how the committee worked. Following were video and pictures of the moving of the church which was followed by a discussion of possible uses for the building in the future - including the immediate need to get the structure on a foundation. Forty four people attended becoming one of the largest attended meetings of the Historical Association. Refreshments followed.

In conjunction with the program the Epsom Historical Association made available a second DVD 'The Moving of the Meetinghouse'. Running just over half an hour, the DVD includes 20 minutes of video showing the meetinghouse coming down Route 4, around the town hall, and being set in place. The ringing of the bell is also included. This is followed by a slide show of pictures of the move, and ends with bonus video of the interior of the church before it was moved. For those who did not view the move, or wish to have an historical record of that historic day in February 2007, arrangements to purchase the DVD can be made by contacting the Historical Association. Cost is only $15.00. [email us to reserve and make arrangements to buy a copy]


(March 2007) Two articles that appeared in tha last year in the Epsom Historical Association Newsletters have been printed in the latest (October 2006) edition of the 'New Hampshire Genealogical Record' of the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists, released March 2007. The first article "Mercy Blake, wife of Samuel Bickford of Epsom, New Hampshire" appeared in the September 2006 newsletter as 'Bickford Family Genealogy Error Discovered.' The second article appears as "Anna and Hannah, daughters of Moses Locke of Kensington, New Hampshire." This article originally appeared in the EHA newsletter of January 2007 as 'Moses Locke and Family.' The articles were reduced and format changed to fit those appearing in the Genealogical Record with assistance from Melinde Lutz Sanborn. The New Hampshire Genealogical Record is sent to members of the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists and is available at the NH State Library and New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. [view cover enlarged]


(March 2007) The Deefield Historical Association has forwarded two photos from their collection to the Epsom Historical Association. As the Deerfield Society goes through their collection, they have for the second time found some old photographs of Epsom residents. Joanne Wasson graciously mailed them to us. The first is a small photograph, labeled on the back as "Anson Cass' mother, Alida Cass, Alice Viele, Inis Cass, Robert Cass." The Robert Cass pictured is Robert H. Cass with his mother, Inez (Ring) Cass, Alida Jennie Cass, young Robert's aunt; a family friend, Alice Viele, and Mrs. Anson (Carrie Straw) Cass, Robert's grandmother.

The second is labeled "Burt & Lottie Young (Mabel's parents)." It shows the couple in an old car, with Lottie at the wheel. Burt Young moved to Epsom and was a co-owner of the Silver & Young store, later the Gossville Store. His was was Lottie Dempsey of Canada. Their children were Mable Bartlett, Laura Bickford, Lester who died young, and Hazel Yeaton. The two photos have been added to Scrapbook IX, scanned, and added to our archives. Our thanks to the Deerfield Historical Association for thinking of us. [view photos]

The Deerfield Historical Association added to our collection with 9 slides. They have been printed out and added to Scrapbook No. 9 and include a picture of George and Madeline Knowles along with two pictures of their house on Center Hill. In addition there were slides of the Epsom Fire Departments 20th Anniversary Celebration held in 1953 at the farm of Ralph Towle in New Rye. Our 9th scrapbook also has several new photos added form our collection which include 2 pictures of students at the Short Falls School circa 1907, and a photo of the cast of a Minstrel Show at Odd Fellows Hall. [scrapbook 9 index]


The Epsom Historical Association is pleased to offer the EPSOM HISTORIC PHOTOS SLIDESHOW DVD. The DVD is a slide show of 350 old photos and postcards from the Associations archived pictures. There are 15 chapters, and included are the Short Falls Covered Bridge, the McClary House, Trains and Depots, One Room Schools, the Old Parsonage, Early Stores, Lodgings, Churches, the Old Tavern, Industry, the Old Library, Business, Transportation and Road Making. These old photos and cards sell for between 5 and 10 dollars each - but you can have them in a DVD show for $35.00.
To reserve your copy, email the Epsom Historical Association at Cash or checks to the Epsom Historical Association.


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