[Editors Note: The issue of social security is prevalent in our lives today. But this has always been a concern. In exploring our town's archives, Rich Church has come across information about how people met the needs of being cared for in their later years. In this article (and another to be published in the […]
I’d like to announce that with the Select Board’s approval, I have hired Karen Castelli as my new Deputy Clerk. Karen comes to this position with an excellent job history and references. She has a pleasant outgoing personality and a positive attitude that will fit in nicely with this office. I am looking forward to working with her. We are also very fortunate to have Teri Upton, the current Deputy, staying on until Karen has fully completed her training with the state. Please extend a hearty welcome to Karen the next time you are in the Town Office.
Town Clerk/Tax Collector
Join members of the Nelson Trail Group on three hikes exploring some of the beauty of our town.
Saturday, March 1, 9:00 AM – Kulish Ledge Inaugural Hike – Harris Center hike led by Al Stoops. Meet at Bailey Brook trailhead near #611 Old Stoddard Road. Hike ends by 2 PM. This is the first organized hike on the trail built last year by the Nelson Trail Group. Hikers will enjoy the beautiful views from the ledges on the north side of Osgood Hill. There should be plenty of winter tracks to interpret. Bring snowshoes and a lunch
Saturday, March 8, 10 AM – Tolman Pond Hike – Exploratory hike led by Dave Patek and Tom Murray. Meet at Dave Patek’s high field on Cabot Road just uphill from the junction with Merriconn Road. (not the field on the corner of Tolman Pond Road.) Join the Nelson Trail Group as we explore possible routes for a new trail around Tolman Pond. The brook draining the pond falls through a rocky gorge that should feature beautiful ice formations this season. This hike will be about two hours. Bring snow shoes.
Sunday, April 13, 1:00 PM – Cellar Holes of Nelson – Another hike sponsored by The Harris Center hike led by Rick Church. Explore six cellar holes on the abandoned portion of Log Cabin Road. Most date to 1780. Meet in the Village. Back by 4 PM.
People interested in joining the Nelson Trail group should contact Rick Church at
Roxbury was born in an Act of The New Hampshire General Court in 1812 and formed of pieces of Packersfield [now Nelson], Marlborough and Keene. The creation of Roxbury was a co-operative effort led from within Packersfield by respected citizens. It took years of negotiations led by a determined group of families who had settled in the town’s southwest quarter at about the time of the revolution. They were united by their near simultaneous settlement and by their origin. Most came from Rutland, Massachusetts. Town Records make it clear that the special needs of those living in the southwest corner of the town were recognized and accommodated. They had roads, a school, leadership roles in Packersfield government and there was concern for their spiritual lives. It was a far different process than the formation of Sullivan over the “remonstrance” of Packersfield. It also took twenty-five years.
The negotiation seems to have begun the year Sullivan was formed. The petition for a new town made the usual case of citizens being cut off from the center of the old town. In fact Packersfield residents living in what would become Roxbury had to travel about four miles by road to the Packersfield meetinghouse. Still, southwestern Packersfield was connected by the town’s most important road – the one that connected it to Keene. Indeed there was a well-developed network of roads with road building as active there as in any part of the town. They had their own school house and most of the families mentioned in this article had sheds for their horses at the meetinghouse on the hill in Packersfield. The process was a negotiation not a seizure of land with Packersfield citizens presenting their case for a new town in Packersfield town meetings. Continue Reading »
A Knock on Your Door
The Friends of Nelson Town Buildings was formed by a group of Nelson residents to support the proposed the Town Hall renovation and completion of the lower level of the Library that will be voted on at Town Meeting in March. This weekend we will be going door-to-door in Nelson to let everyone know about these building projects and to encourage them to attend an upcoming walk-through tour of the projects. So when you hear a knock on your door this weekend, please welcome your neighbors who are volunteering their time to help save our historic Town Hall and create space for the Town Archives and a Meeting Room in the lower level of the Library.
It was a snowy morning, but 14 hardy Nelsonites turned out Saturday, January 18, to follow Dave Patek on a Nelson Trail Committee hike on the highlands above Tolman Pond. We hiked through fields across the watershed between the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers. The views were snowed out, but spirits were high and a good time was had by all.
(from Linda Cates)
Imagine driving back to Nelson from Keene along Route 9 and coming to a store called the West Nelson Country Store. Today that’s the Sullivan Country Store. But for two fraudulent signatures on a petition in 1786, East Sullivan might be in Nelson today.
Nelson, called Packersfield prior to1814, has lost three large chunks of itself to the formation of new towns since its incorporation in 1774. This is the story of the first of these: Sullivan. Towns in New Hampshire granted by the Masonian Proprietors consisted of lines drawn on maps in Portsmouth with little reference to the geography except for major rivers and the existence of previously granted places. History has proved these divisions unstable and many New Hampshire towns have been formed subsequently from pieces of older towns. In Cheshire County examples of such new towns are Troy, Sullivan, Roxbury and Harrisville. Three times between 1786 and 1870, the legislature determined that citizens would be best served by the creation of new towns formed from significant parts of Nelson and adjoining towns. Continue Reading »
There was a celebration of Nelson’s history at the Olivia Rodham Library on Saturday, December 14th. It began with the unveiling of the painting of Helen Towne painted by Marie Spaeth in 1933 that was recently purchased by several donors, and given to the Library for permanent display. Marie Spaeth was a part of the so-called “Pennsylvania Settlement an Art Colony in Nelson, New Hampshire” and that is the title of the book written by Teri Upton in 2012. Teri spoke briefly about the gifted and talented group of people who came to Nelson in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and lived in the old farmhouses, mainly in the summertime. Many of them were from Philadelphia and friends and colleagues of Olivia Rodham.
Bert Wingerson read excerpts from the book by Bruce White called “Sunsets, Stars and Blueberry Pie” about his childhood spending summers in what was Olivia Rodham’s house. Bruce recalls fondly his memories of Helen Towne working on her family’s farm, tirelessly. Helen was a member of the Warner family and spent her entire life in Nelson. Continue Reading »
At the Nelson Town Office
Monday December 23, 2013
Town Clerk/Tax Collector - 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Administrative Office – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
December 24, 2013 thru December 29, 2013
No Selectmen’s Meeting on Christmas Day
No Selectmen’s Meeting on New Year’s Day
December 31, 2013
Town Clerk/Tax Collector – 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon only
Next Selectmen’s Meeting January 8, 2014 6:00 PM
Nelson History Day Dec. 14, 2013, 11:00 AM Olivia Rodham Library
The Library is sponsoring a presentation of the new 2014 Nelson Calendar with historic photographs of Nelson’s past to excite an interest in the upcoming 250th anniversary of Nelson’s founding which will happen in 2017.
Adding to the history theme, new books about Nelson’s past by local authors Renn Tolman, Terri Upton, and Bruce White and copies of a CD of Tolman Pond life by Karen Tolman will be presented and available for sale.
And a special event will be the unveiling of the painting of Helen Towne by Marie Spaeth that was purchased by contributions from generous town residents.
Please join us for a fun morning with Christmas cookies and cider.
The Olivia Rodham Memorial Library is offering a Book Sale Corner.
Just by the door between the Library and the Town Hall connector you will find a small but select number of books for sale. Paperbacks are on the rack to the right and hardcovers, videos, CDs, and special series on the shelves to the left. For a modest $1/hardcover and $.50/paperback, you can take an item home forever and the Friends of
the Library earn funds to buy new books and support children’s programs. Come on in and check out the selection!
The Nelson Music Collection was first published in 1969, as a “Collection of Authentic Square Dance Melodies. Compiled by Newt Tolman, a flute player from Nelson, and his piano accompanist, Kay Gilbert from Peterborough, it contains 63 tunes that might be heard at one of the local square dances. It became an important resource over the next decade as the face of square dancing evolved (and became more commonly known as contra dancing), and as young musicians aspired to learn the tunes so that they could play for the dances. Eventually it took a back seat to newer collections which offered additional and newly popularized tunes, but serious scholars and musicians remained aware of its existence. Newt and Kay also issued an LP recording of the same name, which featured many of the tunes from the book. It was one of the first commercial recordings of this music. Continue Reading »
The Nelson Trails committee has been busy over two recent weekends, building bridges and improving trails for your walking pleasure. September 21 dawned cool and comfortable: a perfect day to put in a bridge over Bailey Brook in order to begin trail work on the new trail to Kulish Ledges. Dave Birchenough had designed the bridge and pre-cut all the materials, and the crew of Dave Birchenough, Dave Patek, Tom Murray, Rick Church, Maury Collins, and Maury’s friend, Elk, were raring to go. The hardest part of the project was getting the telephone pole stringers in place, but apparently, it went perfectly, with the stringers falling into place like legos. By the time I arrived to do some trail clearing at 2 pm, the stringers were in place and almost completely bolted down.
An hour later, when I returned, the decking was down. The crew was really moving along! In addition to the bridge building team, Al Stoops, Anita and Harry Flanagan, and Linda Cates helped out with trail clearing above the beaver dam and pond. A good day’s work. Two days later, the bridge crew returned to install the railing and the steps. The bridge is complete and offers a beautiful way to safely cross Bailey Brook. Continue Reading »
I have a couple of topics for my report today, Town Building Projects and Property Taxes
Our Town Buildings Committee and Grant Writers have been making good progress in developing designs for our Town Hall restoration work and in acquiring grants to help with its funding. As you may recall the Select Board was charged, by the 2013 Town Meeting, to hire an architect to develop construction drawings and specifications for Town Hall renovations and for the remodeling of the Library basement. These drawings and specifications are to be used to acquire bids for the completion of these two projects. Final designs and costs for completion of these projects will be brought to Town Meeting 2014 for the approval of the Town.
We have received a “Moose Plate Grant” in the amount of $10,000 to be used for the restoration of the windows in the Town Hall. This money must be spent before the end of 2014. However this work should be done only after all necessary jacking or squaring of the building has been completed. No matching funds are required for the use of this grant. In addition, we have applied once again for a New Hampshire LCHIP, (Land and Community Heritage Investment Program), grant for the renovations needed for the Town Hall. This year we have applied for $100,000 from LCHIP. The award of the LCHIP grant does require the local contribution of matching funds. Our thanks go to our Grant Writers, Susan Hansel, Lisa Sieverts, and Bert Wingerson for their great work. Continue Reading »
A Message from the Nelson Town Cemetery Board
Dear Burial Lot Deedholders,
This letter is to remind you that our cemetery Rules and Regulations limit what may be placed on and planted at graves.These rules apply to both the Nelson and Munsonville cemeteries. All holders of cemetery deeds agree to these requirements when they acquire burial lots. These regulations are posted below, and also Nelson Cemetery Rules and Regulations.
Please note the “Monuments and Grave Markers” and “Plantings and Decorations” sections. Wooden, glass, concrete, metal, plaster of Paris and plastic articles, as well as glass containers and artificial flowers and plants, are not allowed on graves. To simplify maintenance, there are also limitations on where shrubs, flowers, vases, urns and potted plants may be placed.
The Cemetery Board “may remove anything placed on any lot in violation of these rules and regulations.” Also, “any object . . . which the Cemetery Board considers offensive, improper or detrimental to the general appearance of the cemetery shall be removed after notification to the lot owner or the heirs.” Continue Reading »
This origami wreath was created by Linda Singer from envelopes. These envelopes were recycled from the town the town archives circular file. The postmark dates are from 1900 and the late 1800′s. All letters were mailed to Nelson. If you are interested in origami classes at the library please email or call 603-847-3214-with a time during library hours that would work for you.
The 2013 Book Sale, on Old Home Day, was one of the most successful ever. The Friends of the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library earned $1383.25 in book sales, collected $756.00 in dues, received $63.00 in donations from local authors whose books they sold, and sold $24.00 worth of book bags. That comes to a grand total of $2226.25 to be given to the library for books, CDs, DVDs, programming and other incidentals such as additional shelving and book racks. The Friends also fund Library World, the automated system that is used for the circulation of library materials. Thank you to everyone who participated as donors, helpers, and buyers. [read more details]
Karen Tolman was going through some old pictures of Nelson this spring and came across this picture of the center of Nelson taken sometime in the late nineteenth century. One notices immediately how densely settled our town center was then. Karen’s eagle eye noticed that our town hall had front steps in those days and that the building looks taller than today. Karen, Bert Wingerson and I have solved some of this puzzle using old photographs, original town records, a very interesting deed and a history of town buildings written by the Reverend Millard Hardy (1850-1939.)
The history of the Nelson Town Hall that stands on Nelson Common today is one of periodic change and renewal. It was built in originally1846 using pieces of the Second Meetinghouse and new material. Once the Congregational Church was finished and ready for use, the Second Meetinghouse on the old common was disassembled. The porches were removed as intact units and moved to their current location on Old Stoddard Road and reassembled as the home of George Whitney. Jack Bradshaw owns “The Porches” today. The forty-five by sixty foot frame was disassembled and substantially reworked to become the present Town Hall. This Town Hall was taller than it is today and had front steps. It has been changed a number of times to accommodate the needs of the Town. Continue Reading »
If you have old photos of life in Nelson (perhaps from that cleaning of the attic you finally did this summer?), you’re invited to bring them to the library, where we will scan these photos for the Nelson Town Archive, and eventual inclusion on the history section of town web site (where appropriate).
We will be scanning photos on three different days at the Library:
Monday the 12th from 10 to 1
Wednesday the 14th from 4 to 6
Thursday the 15th from 6-7:30
History Group members will be there to assist.
It’s hard to believe it’s that time again. Starting next weekend we begin a week of festivities – a celebration of our town past and present, the town filled with returning “kids’ and others who have long had ties to this community.