Monday, November 25, 2013

Pike Manufacturing Program

The Historical Society will sponsor a program about the history of the Pike Manufacturing Company on Sunday, December 8 at 2:00 PM. It will be held at the Pike Hall, and will be free and open to the public.

The program will be presented by Wayne Fortier, a native of Pike, and will be based in part on research conducted by John Page, the late president of the Haverhill Historical Society. The program is dedicated to John Page’s memory. It is part of a series of programs celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of Haverhill and Newbury.

In the nineteenth century, Pike Manufacturing began producing whetstones from the local deposits of mica schist. It was the first supplier of commercially available natural sharpening stones in North America, and eventually it became one of the largest suppliers of such stones in the world. Founded by Isaac Pike, the company grew to international success under the leadership of his sons Alonzo and Edwin, and eventually merged with the Norton Company in 1932.

It is remembered today as one of the premier industries in Haverhill history.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Historical New Hampshire

The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Historical New Hampshire, the magazine of the New Hampshire Historical Society, is now available. The issue is dedicated to the memory of John Page, longtime president of the Haverhill Historical Society, and its lead article is "Myra Montgomery's World: Haverhill, Boston, and Beyond," by Kimberly S. Alexander.

The issue's cover features a painting by Myra Montgomery. 

Dr. Alexander has posted about her article on the blog SilkDamask, where she begins:

"In a quiet corner of New England, in a large but unassuming Georgian home, during the early years of the new nation, lived a young woman whose life was typically New England—and, yet, surprisingly unfamiliar to most New Englanders. Her name was Myra Montgomery."

You may read the rest of her post here.

You may order copies of the magazine from the New Hampshire Historical Society here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Haverhill and Newbury on NHPR

New Hampshire Public Radio has run a story about the sesquicentennial celebrations in Haverhill and Newbury.

The story begins by noting that Haverhill's history has resulted in the development of a number of distinct villages:

"If you ask people from Haverhill where they’re from, you may not get the simple answer you’d expect to get . . . "

You may read or hear the story here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Haverhill / Newbury Railroad Program

Boston, Concord, & Montreal RR locomotive @ Haverhill, circa 1860
The Haverhill Historical Society will sponsor a program about the history of the railroad in Haverhill and Newbury on Sunday, October 13 at 2:00 PM at Court Street Arts/Alumni Hall in Haverhill Corner. Jay Barrett will present “Newbury and Haverhill: A Railroad History of Two Transportation Towns.”

The program will be free and open to the public. It is part of a series of programs celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of the two communities.

The histories of Newbury and Haverhill have been shaped by all forms of transportation, but none has been more colorful nor had greater impact than the railroads. For more than one hundred years, numerous major railroad lines crossed both towns and junctioned at the villages of Wells River and Woodsville. Upper Valley historian Jay Barrett will explore this rich and vibrant history with a profusely illustrated talk featuring many rare and seldom seen historic images.

BC&MRR locomotive on the Wells River / Woodsville Bridge
An architect based in White River Junction, Vermont, Barrett serves as a member of the Fairlee Selectboard and a trustee of the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation. He is a regular speaker throughout the Upper Valley on the history of the railroads and their influence on the region. His home is the restored former Boston & Maine Railroad station in Ely.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Program Cancelled!

The Historical Society regretfully announces that the program scheduled for Sunday, August 11 on the lives of Henry and Frances Parkinson Keyes has been cancelled. 

If it becomes possible to reschedule the program for a future date, we will post an announcement here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Politician and the Novelist

The HHS will sponsor a program about two of the Haverhill/Newbury area’s best-known historical figures on Sunday, August 11 at 2:00 PM. “The Lives of Henry and Frances Parkinson Keyes” will be described by two of the couple’s grandchildren at Court Street Arts/Alumni Hall in Haverhill Corner. Admission is free and open to the public.

Presenter Peter Keyes is a retired teacher now living in Newbury and the proprietor of Oxbow Books. His cousin Frances Keyes Keidel lives outside Philadelphia, but spends much of her time at the ancestral family home, Pine Grove Farm in North Haverhill. They will discuss the lives and careers of their well-known grandparents.

Henry Keyes was born in 1862 in Newbury and settled at Pine Grove Farm after graduation from Harvard. He was a founder of the Woodsville Bank and served in both branches of the New Hampshire legislature and as Governor of New Hampshire for one term, 1917-1919. He is best remembered as a three-term U.S. Senator, representing New Hampshire until 1937. He died in 1938.

His wife, Frances Parkinson Keyes, was twenty-two years his junior when they married in 1903. She published her first novel in 1919 and became well known for a series of articles in Good Housekeeping magazine, “Letters from a Senator’s Wife,” about life in Washington, DC. She would go on to publish over fifty books and become one of the most popular novelists of the mid-twentieth century. Many of her books were bestsellers, and Life magazine named her one of the “three queens” of fiction in the U.S. in 1950. She died in 1970.

Keyes and Keidel will display books and memorabilia related to the lives of their grandparents. Their program is part of a series celebrating the 250th anniversary of the founding of Haverhill, New Hampshire and Newbury, Vermont.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Haverhill Academy Building

As renovation work proceeds apace at the Haverhill Academy building (next door to Pearson Hall), Dr. Kimberly Alexander shares some information about the architect who designed the building. She begins:

"With the exciting new work underway at the Academy Building, readers may enjoy some insights into the career of the architect – Littleton-based Edward Thornton Sanderson. Sanderson designed the Academy Building in 1896-1897.

"The building is a rich combination of Richardsonian Romaneqsue style with Queen Anne overtones, such as the fabulous entry, which has recently been restored by the current owners. The Richardsonian Romanesque was popularized by the famed American architect H. H. Richardson, mastermind behind Trinity Church in Boston, among countless mid-19th century landmarks. As with its early 19th century neighbor, Pearson Hall (1816+), the Academy boasts a strong, multi stage tower which was, and still is, a highly visible local landmark. The hard, dark red brick is relived by the yellow or buff brick which highlights details on the façade and tower. The building is set on a muscular rusticated granite base. The lighter brick was in vogue for institutional buildings from the late 19th through early 20th centuries."

Her article continues here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Native American Program and Annual Meeting

Last year, the Historical Society hosted a program by David Stewart-Smith about Native Americans in New Hampshire during the colonial period. The event was so popular that we have invited Dr. Stewart-Smith to return to present his new program, “Native New Hampshire Before Contact: Archaeological and Tribal Perspectives.”

The program will be offered in conjunction with the Historical Society's annual meeting on Tuesday, June 18 at the Parish Hall in Haverhill Corner. The annual meeting will begin at 6:30 PM and Dr. Stewart-Smith's presentation at 7:00 PM. Note that we will NOT be meeting at the Ladd Street School.

The annual meeting will feature election of officers and reports from the board on efforts to revitalize Pearson Hall and to vacate the former museum on Court Street; on upcoming programs related to the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Haverhill; and on other activities.

David Stewart-Smith offers this description of his new program:

Northern New England was home to the native peoples for almost 10,000 years before European contact. Natives were faced with the after-effects of an ice age, the emerging changes in ecosystem and climate, and new choices regarding materials for the making of tools, clothes, and shelter. This “prehistoric” time was anything but stagnant or sedentary; instead, it was a time of tremendous movement, energy, innovation, and survival. David Stewart-Smith reviews the three major archaeological eras and their relevance to native life.

We hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Letters of Myra Montgomery

On Sunday, June 9, Dr. Kimberly Alexander will present:  " 'To Vegetate in the Country...': The Haverhill Letters of Myra Montgomery, 1813-1817" at Court Street Arts/Alumni Hall in Haverhill Corner. The program begins at 2:00 PM.

This is one of a series of programs scheduled to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Haverhill, NH and Newbury, VT.

Have you ever wondered what life was like in the early years of 19th century in the North Country? Many of us imagine life in the rural Connecticut Valley two centuries ago to have been a quiet, slow round of planting and harvest, of raising families and burying the dead. As Haverhill resident Myra Montgomery put it, even back then city people imagined that their county cousins lived lives of “undisturbed calm in which one is allowed to vegetate in the country.” In actuality, life then was as complicated as our lives today. Listen in on detailed accounts of gossip, weather, fashion, bereavement and much more as told by the clever, vivacious Myra Montgomery (1794-1817). She will introduce you to Haverhill of the 1810s, the townspeople, their lives, their joys & sorrows.

Dr. Alexander has also written about these letters on the blog SilkDamask. Her post there begins:

“Approximately a dozen typescript letters written primarily by Myra Montgomery (1794-1817) to her cousin and subsequently, fiancé, Horace Henry Goodman (1785-1849) survive in the Collections of the Haverhill Historical Society, Haverhill, NH, and the New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord, NH. Although small in number, the letters nonetheless constitute a valuable source of information on an affluent young woman and her family in the early Republic. While living in a rural town, she had access to much wider intellectual, artistic and literary circles, through her Boston education at the progressive Mrs. Susanna Rowson's School and Haverhill's role as the seat of the North County Court system, which drew several hundred individuals throughout the year”

Read the rest here

Friday, May 24, 2013

Founders' Day

The Haverhill and Newbury sestercentennial activities included a celebration of Founders' Day on Saturday, May 18. Historical Society Board Member Mike Marshall portrayed Captain John Hazen to read the charter that founded the Town of Haverhill from the bandstand on the Common.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hail to the Chief!

Edith inside Pearson Hall.
The Valley News published a lovely profile of HHS President Edith Celley on the front page of its Sunday, May 12, 2013 edition.

The story included information about Edith's current work with the Historical Society and its efforts to renovate Pearson Hall.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Saving Pearson Hall

CSI: Haverhill

CSI Haverhill: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century Connecticut Valley
A presentation by Professor Dane Morrison, Salem State University

Scene of the last public hanging in New Hampshire.
Sunday, April 14, 2:00 PM
Court Street Arts / Alumni Hall
Free and open to the public

In May 1868, residents of Haverhill, New Hampshire rioted after they were deprived of viewing the public execution of the notorious ax murderer Samuel Mills. The old brick jail on Court Street had been the scene of a host of such grisly spectacles, and the townfolk of the Connecticut Valley expected to be entertained by tales of scandalous crime and public punishment. We will look at some of the most notorious crimes in the North Country of the nineteenth century, including the “Franconia Murderer” Samuel Mills, the “Shocking Murders” of "Bloody" Josiah Burnham, and the “horrible affair” of the Rev. Enos Dudley, who strangled his wife during a winter sleigh ride.

Dane A. Morrison is Professor of Early American History at Salem State University and a past President of the New England Regional World History Association. He is the author of A Praying People: Massachusetts Acculturation and the Failure of the Puritan Mission, 1600–1690 (Peter Lang, 1995), co-author of Hero or Coward?: The Story of General Fitz John Porter (Blue Tree, 2011), editor of American Indian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Contemporary Issues, and co-editor of Salem: Place, Myth and Memory (Northeastern University Press, 2005) and the Encyclopedia of World History, Vol. 6: The First Global Age (ABC-Clio, 2010).

He taught American History at Boston University and Tufts University before moving to Salem State in 1993. His tenure at Salem State has included serving as chair of the History Department and Coordinator of the American Studies Program. He is currently president of the New England Regional World History Association and on the board of the New England Historical Association. His current research is on American voyages to the East Indies following the War for Independence, in which he examines, particularly, how representations of that experience in the public sphere contributed to the construction of an American national identity.

This program is part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Haverhill and Newbury. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Auctioneering in the News

The presentation by auctioneer Archie Steenburgh, organized by the Historical Society, received a terrific write-up in the Valley News under the headline "Tales from the Auction Block."


The Haverhill Historical Society has organized a series of six programs to help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of Haverhill, New Hampshire and Newbury, Vermont.

On Sunday, February 10, auctioneer Archie Steenburgh presented a program in Alumni Hall on "Auctioneering in New Hampshire and Vermont." In over four decades as a north country auctioneer, Steenburgh has had the opportunity to examine numerous examples of the region's material culture. He shared anecdotes, observations, and information drawn from his experience.

Steenburgh also came with numerous items of historical interest for display, including two Osgood clocks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Edith Celley, COY

The Haverhill Historical Society is pleased to learn that President Edith Celley has been named Citizen of the Year by the Cohase Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her leadership of the HHS and of Haverhill Heritage, Inc.

Congratulations, Edith!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


The Haverhill-Newbury 250th anniversary committee has established a web site for news and information about the planned celebrations.

The Haverhill Historical Society is pleased to be participating in the sestercentennial celebrations as the organizer of a number of the events on the calendar.