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Annual Christmas Social December 1st

The Epsom Historical Association held its annual Christmas social at the Epsom Public Library on December 1st from 2 to 5 pm. Among the activities was a sing-a-long of traditional carols. Attendee's were asked to bring a favorite food to share. The annual event is always a great way to start the holiday season by spending time with friends and neighbors. Door prizes were given away during the social and won by Sarah Harkness, Phil Yeaton and Betsy Bosiak. The event was open to the public. Click here for PHOTOS.

Click poster for larger view.

Historic McClary Cemetery Deteroriated Condition

In the past couple years the historic portions of the McClary Cemetery has met with increasing deterioration. These conditions include primarily toppled and broken stones. The recent broken stones look like damage perhaps done by poor mowing. Toppled stones may have fallen by being bumped, but most due to results of the elements. Many stones are being lost to being over run by growing grass as the rest flat on the ground. Regardless of the causes, these historic stones in Epsom's first cemetery have met with neglect over the years. These gravestones in many instances are the only source of information on many of the earliest Epsom settlers and residents, many honored soldiers of many wars. Though some stones have been in disrepair for sometime, the clean breaks on many reveal very recent damage. VIEW PHOTOS HERE

All the gravestones up to 1940 in the cemetery were photographed in 1998 for preservation. The transcriptions are available online, and a book of photos of the gravestones is available at the Epsom Library. This resource of the 1998 photos can serve as tool in identifying those stones which have more recently have been damaged.

McClary Historical Marker Moved

The roadside historical marker dedicated to Major Andrew McClary was moved mid-September (2013) from the closed down rest area on Route 4 (Dover Road) to the entrance of the Epsom Public Library at 1606 Dover Road. The rest area was shut down several years ago making it difficult for anyone to be able to read the sign at that location. The town and the historical association agreed on the new site. Already, passers by and library patrons have taken pause to stop and read the marker.
The original dedication of the historical marker, made possible by the Historical Association, was held August 20, 2006. At the time remarks were given by Harvey Harkness and Carleton Rand, and the dedication ceremony was done by the New Hampshire Sons of the American Revolution and Color Guard. Ed Nutter laid a wreath followed by a volley of muskets by the color guard.

Photos of the ceremony can be seen HERE. Click HERE to view the commemorative program.

Old Home Day 2013

The Epsom Historical Association participated in the town's Old Home Day on August 10th with a booth displaying possible sceanarios of floor plans for the old meetinghouse. In addition, note cards, based on drawings of Dwight Eames were availalbe for purchase. On display were also 8 books on Epsom History, available for online purchase. A raffle was also held for a flower arrangement, a basket, and a framed Eames print. Nancy Heath won two of the prizes with Nancy Claris the third. Historical Association member Charlie Yeaton was selected the 2013 Citizen of the year. Click HERE for photos.


New Book - "Epsom's One Room Schools"

For 190 years the town of Epsom relied on one room schools to educate its youth. From a single school to ten school districts. The book begins with a narrative of the early history and development of the various districts, followed by information on each individual district. The book includes 120 photos and images of the school houses and class pictures, virtually all the one room school pictures from the Historical Associations archives. One of the largest books produced for the Epsom Historical Association, it contains 136 pages of information gleaned from town and state records, surviving district records, and reports from annual town reports. For a preview and ordering, click HERE.

New Publication - "Black Hall Road' available

In 1936, Benjamin Marden Towle, a resident of Black Hall Road, dictated notes to his sister Harriet on the houses then standing on his street. A few additions were made about 1947 by his grandson Carleton Rand. These memories have been the basis for a new Historical Association publication, "Black Hall Road." The book, available for individual ordering online at, is 86 pages of the history of the road based on deed research, census information and additional records. It is accompanied by 93 photos and images. Among the images are old photos of many of the homes, as well as many of the individuals who inhabited them. The primary early families are discussed in some detail, including surnames Wallace, Towle and Yeaton. "Black Hall Road' is a welcome addition to the historical archives of the town of Epsom. For a preview and ordering, click HERE.

Civil War Diary Scanned

Thanks to the generosity of Al Bickford and family, a civil war diary was loaned to the Epsom Historical Association to be scanned as part of the organizations electronic archives. The diary belonged to Edwin Moses Sherburne (1840-1916), son of Capt. James M. and Betsey Chesley (Blake) Sherburne, who lived in the home currently occupied by the Bickfords. Edwin belonged to the 6th NH Regiment and was discharged Nov. 19, 1862 from Echington Hospital, Washington, DC for defective vision and hearing. The diary covers the year 1862. Our thanks to Al for bringing this important piece of Epsom history to the Historical Association. The diary will be transcribed at a later date. View the images HERE.

Helen B. Steele Diary back in Epsom

After 130 years a diary of Helen B. Steele returned to Epsom. Written starting January 1, 1881, the year she turned 21, it contains her day by day experiences while living in the McClary house with her family. She was the daughter of Michael McClary Steele and Catherine Burden. Four years later she would marry Dr. Benjamin Barstow.

A description accompanied the sale of the diary, which includes a photo, and is as follows:

She lived with her parents, was a talented musician and taught music and the piano,when she could get scholars in the area. She was in love with a man named Palmer, who absolutely breaks her heart, when he writes to her that he had found someone else. She waited for a letter from him for such a long time, and just couldn't understand why she hadn't heard from him. I believe he was away studying to be a teacher. When she finally receives the letter from him that she had waited for so long, she is absolutely destroyed and doesn't know how she can possibly live. Helen is so very emotional and pours her heart out in this diary! Her father kept the whole household on edge, because he was a chronic alcoholic and drank just about every night, and sometimes into the next day.H e usually caused a scene or started trouble and talked bad to her or her mother, and often they would leave and spend the night with her Uncle or someone to get away from him. Helen is really depressed and sick a lot of the time, especially for someone her age. The first entry on Jan.1,1881 kind of sets the stage for the rest of the diary,..."Today begins another year. It has been a very sad day to me. Papa has been drinking and was like an insane person"...To give you a better idea of the contents of this wonderful diary, I will give you a few examples of her entries..."The long looked for letter has come and would to God it had never reached me. I have waited, trusted, in Palmer's love and this is my reward? Would rather he had died then lived to make me suffer as he has and destroy my confidence in one when I thought could never change. God help and strengthen me to bear this burden. I have had many trials but never like this. My faith in men from this day can never be what it has been and Palmer, can it be, has destroyed it .Can I forgive him for I love him and always shall, though he has forsaken me."...."It is cold in my room and I cannot write much indeed there is nothing to write. Papa was drunk and kept us all awake last night. Uncle Henry was down this morning. Read some and practiced an hour and a half this evening. I must begin and practice or I shall loose what little I know. Mama wrote the words to an old Scotch song for me. Have not heard from the office but of course there will be no letter for me."...Oh dear! What a dreadful day this has been. Papa has been so drunk that he could hardly walk and talked so terribly to mama that she has gone to Uncle Henry's to stay tonight. It is terribly desolate to have her away. I hope some time we may be together and live in peace. Papa is still drinking and Nathan is here. Had a letter from Helen B. and from Agnes Spencer. Aunt M. is dreadfully worried and I feel very nervous but I must "brace up" for mamas sake."...."Has been a terrible windy day. I have not felt very well and papa has been drunk all day. I bored a hole in the cider barrel and I hope the old stuff will all run out. Walked up to Mr.Hall's to cash some cheques for Aunt M.Went to bed about half past nine. It was so cold I could not practice."...."Oh dear! What a dreadful day this has been. Papa has been drunk and tonight is crazy and ugly. Oh, that I had Palmer to turn to as in days gone by. It has always been such a comfort to me. It is so hard to bear and feel that he who loved me tenderly a short time ago cares nothing now. I swept and cleaned my room. After dinner went coasting with Phil as the twilight faded away the moon shine bright and clear showing me all the places where I have been and enjoyed so much. I wondered if Palmer were not coasting too on this lovely night and what young lady would take my place that so short a time ago...""My life is nothing to anyone but mama and it would not be many years for her."..."Everything reminds me of the one so dear to me but who has forsaken me for the charms of another"..."Palmer came home tonight and came and talked with me at the office he was just the same as ever. My heart beat so I could hardly talk.Oh I love him still. I wish I never had to see him for it made me feel that I can not give him up. He seemed just as kind as ever. He is going away and Annie too."..."I got home I found papa had gone away. He has just got home and is half drunk. He came and knocked on my door and was very angry when he saw me. Oh how I long for rest. I tremble so I can hardly write."

The diary is being transcribed through the generosity of Ella Van Camp. The images can be viewed HERE.


Epsom on Cyndi's List

Cyndi's List is a website that comprises links to genealogy sites on the world wide web. Epsom was recently submitted and accepted to be added to what is probably the most popular resource on the internet to find links for beginners and professional to aid in genealogical research. The site is divided into various geographical regions, with Epsom under New Hampshire-Merrimack County- Socities and Groups. The addition to the list should drive more traffic to the site for those wishing to research Epsom history and genealogy. [view listing here]


Epsom History Blog Top 5 Nominee at

Epsom History Blog a TOP 5 NOMINEE in an Genealogy Blog Category Best Library or Archive Blog with a Genealogy Focus- Click link for additional information and to vote before March 19 !

How about that !


Epsom unveils new look

Epsom debuts its newest incarnation in appearance, replacing the previous site which has been used since October of 2009. Every three of four years the site gets a facelift, but the content and all the links remain unchanged. The new look mirrors the Epsom Library's website, making a stronger connection between the Epsom Historical Association and its use of the Epsom Historical Center, the building interior which is under the auspices of the library. Thanks to Nancy Claris, librarian, for approving the design of the Library's home page. The new home page, through various links, makes it easier to access information about the Historical Center, the Historical Association, and all the Epsom's content.



News & Notes 2013

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News & Notes 2009

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News & Notes 2006