Windham Life & Times – March 3, 2023

The original Armstrong Homestead is still standing today on Londonderry Road.

The 300th+ Anniversary of Settling in Windham

The Armstrong Family has been in Windham since 1722

    The Armstrongs have always liked to boast that they got to “Windham” before the Dinsmores, which just might be true. However, the old records are also just a little murky.

     The Armstrong family sailed to America from Northern, Ireland as part of the great 1718 Ulster migration. They followed the Rev. James McGregor and with other families went to Maine. Three Armstrong brothers, with wives, were on the ships. “We know certainly that several brothers named Armstrong landed on Richmond Isle near Falmouth, the old name for Portland and Cape Elizabeth, and founded families. James Armstrong and Mary his wife brought with them an infant son Thomas. John Armstrong and his wife brought an infant son James. Both children were born in Ireland in 1717.”

    Robert Armstrong was also one of the party who landed in Falmouth, but he went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and then to Londonderry…“The core of the company that settled Londonderry, New Hampshire, in April 1719, consisted of eighteen men with their families,—namely Robert Armstrong, Rev. James McGregor, James McKeen, etc. etc.” According to L.A. Morrison, “Robert Armstrong was one of the original proprietors of Londonderry, (*which comprised Windham, Derry, Londonderry and parts of Manchester), on June 21, 1722. There was a ‘home lot and 2nd division’ laid out to him, Dec. 21, 1722, and in the charter of the town it was provided, ‘That the Proprietors of each share shall build a dwelling-house within three years and settle a family therein.’ The fact that he owned this land after the three years would imply the conditions had been met.”

” Interestingly, James Armstrong (Windham Robert’s brother) had been made a Lieutenant by July of 1722, in the Company under the command of Col. Thomas Westbrook. John Dinsmoor, was also in this company from July to December 1722, having been conscripted as a guide after he had been captured by Indians earlier that year. So old Ulster friends, John Dinsmoor and James Armstrong served together in this military company in Maine.

    “Whom Robert Armstrong married, or when he died is not known. He is undoubtedly the ancestor of the Armstrongs in Windham. Tradition says that the emigrant ancestor, of Scotch blood, emigrated from Northern Ireland, bringing two children with him. One died on the passage, which he buried in ‘the deep, deep sea.’ He often alluded to this painful experience as the greatest grief of his life. This could not have been John Armstrong, as he was born in 1713; came to America when a boy, and his oldest child was born in Windham; Sept 8, 1738. It must have been Charter Robert Armstrong, the proprietor, who was here with the first settlers in 1722, who lost his child on the passage, leaving an only son, who was John, of Windham, 9 years of age in 1722, If stronger evidence is needed, it is found in the fact that Charter Robert Armstrong’s Christian name has cropped out in successive generations, and is now honorably born by a living representative in Windham”

      Robert’s son was Deacon John Armstrong  who was a weaver. He was born in 1713 near Londonderry, Ireland and emigrated when young. He lived on the Armstrong “homestead” which is still standing on Londonderry Road, settling there previous to 1738. The current house was built about 1762. He was a Selectman and a moderator. He was a “trustworthy and respected” citizen and active in the Presbyterian church. He had eight children including David, who was born June 11, 1747. He succeeded his father on the family homestead. He signed the Association Test in 1776, was a surveyor and constable. He married Elizabeth Hemphill, January 8, 1775. They had twelve children. She died January 2, 1839 and he died June 21, 1836.”

The Armstrong Homestead in the Range was originally owned by Alexander Park, whose daughter Alice married Robert Armstrong in 1803.    

“Robert was born on April 6, 1779. He married July 28, 1803, Alice, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Maxwell) Park. As there were no sons in the family he became a son to Mr. Park, and resided on the farm with his wife’s parents in Windham Range. She died there November 10, 1830; he died there August 21, 1849. (This is the Armstrong farm that is now the Common Man.) This was one of the old “Range” farms that were laid out between Cobbett’s Pond and Canobie Lake which had water frontage on both.

    A photograph of the Armstrong farm frontage on Cobbett’s Pond taken form the neighboring property.

His son Robert was born in February 21, 1812 and succeeded his father on the original homestead of the Park family. He married Mary B, Emerson. “A farm not naturally abundant has been made to yield abundant harvests…” They had four children including George F. Armstrong who succeeded his father on the farm.

The Victorian era home built by George F. Armstrong. These photographs were taken when Alex Ray was converting the barn into the Common Man Restaurant. The thing I remember most about that barn is the night the race-horse Drill-Rod was born, and my mom and I stopped by to see him… right there about where the first floor window is located.

     According to Rural Oasis, George F. Armstrong built the newer (white) Victorian home on the property and his sisters then occupied the original homestead followed later by Maurice Armstrong from 1926 through 1945. George and Dorothy Armstrong occupied the homestead until 1957 when it was sold to the Foden family. The Armstrongs developed camp lots on their farm on the shore of Cobbett’s Pond and on Canobie Lake along what is now West Shore Road.

Maurice’s sons, George and Robert lived in Windham and operated businesses here. Bob ran an excavating business and developed a section of Woodvue Road on Canobie Lake. George and his sons operated a well drilling company for many years and also had race-horses. They were harness racing horses and George’s son Alan was often the driver of the sulky. I sill remember riding in the back of the bronze Chevy wagon, Dot at the wheel, nobody wearing seat belts. I also remember the night we were visiting at George’s home on Range Road, when a car driven by one of his sons went flaming by, at what seemed at the time, to be over 100 miles and hour (and possibly on its side, but my memory is foggy).

Gilnockie Tower home to the Armstrong clan on the Scottish Borders.

    The Armstrong family are descended from the fierce, Scottish border clan, whose fortress was Gilnockie Tower that is located between Canonbie and Langholm on the River Esk. Originally known as Hollows Tower, it was built in 1520 by Johnnie Armstrong, who was the famous Scottish outlaw or “reiver,’ who raided across the border in England.

Chronicles of the Armstrongs

Armstrong Beach and the rustic concession stand.

Armstrong Beach was operated by the family many years. My grandparents leased the concession stand one summer. It was one of five, public bathing beaches on the pond. According to Rural Oasis, “At one time this brook was the boundary between Dunkan and Armstrong Beaches and their was a dispute between the properties. “When Bill Ayer, owner of John Dinsmore’s farm on Indian Rock Road, sold his lake property in he 1930’s to George Dunkley of Salem for a public beach the question of correct boundaries arose. Dunkley’s deed read to the brook. Maurice Armstrong owner of the already established Armstrong Beach, claimed the line was several feet to the west of the brook. A bitter dispute, followed by legal actions with many witnesses, proved the brook was the legal boundary. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, George Dunkley and Maurice Armstrong harbored bitter feelings for the rest of their lives.” Apparently, long after, dead fish would go flying across the brook onto the opposite properties in a subtle war of attrition.

George Dunkley sold Dunkan Beach to Jeannette and Bob Comtois in 1966. They improved the property and in the spring of 1971 they decided to sell the property. George Dinsmore and George Armstrong who were good friends, decided to buy Dunkan Beach and combine it with Armstrong Beach and formed Castle View, Inc. In 1974, due to other business pressure George Dinsmore sold his share.

I worked at Dunkan Beach during the several summers that my father was involved in the operation. It was a very interesting place on a weekend afternoon. Parking was always packed on sunny days, 5 dollars on Sunday, and it was all cash. We used to sell hundreds of vinyl blow up rafts each day which would often return with tears when they popped. “Sorry no refunds.”

One day the place was packed and there was a near riot over an accusation of a rape having occurred on the raft. After things cooled down the two families involved were drinking beer together in the afternoon sun. Another day, somebody called in that a bomb had been planted in the pavilion. We called the Windham chief of police to the scene. Old Willis Low arrived, pipe billowing smoke, and he said to my father; “George, if we announce over the loud speaker that there is a bomb, there will be a stampede out of here, and people are sure to be hurt or even die. So my advice to you is that we forget about the whole thing and see what happens.” Nothing happened!

One day there was a couple hitting it pretty hot and heavy, laying on a blanket on the beach. So the decision was made to send out George Armstrong to get things under control. He stood there, stammering, “Miss! Sir! We don’t allow this on the beach!” “It is a family beach.” They totally ignored him and kept at it. George slunk away and we all had a good laugh.

The clientele changed and the era of public bathing beaches came to an end. The Armstrong family decided to build a function hall on the property which they have successfully operated for a number of years. The Armstrongs still own and operate Castleton on Cobbett’s Pond. I was thinking of having an open bar at my wake, I wonder if Castleton would host it? They could prop me up in a corner and my friends and relatives could toast my trip into the netherworld. I’m only slightly kidding!

Maurice Armstrong’s car at the “Robin’s Nest” on Route 28 in Windham.

“The Great Race.”

The Robin’s Nest was the local drinking establishment favored by Windham folks. People would meet there to have a beer and swap stories. So you know how when you’re drinking with your buddies, things can sometimes get out of hand? For example, I have heard recently how two local real estate developers, at a local bar, almost came to fist-a-cuffs over who was worth the most.

Anyway, George Dinsmore Sr. and Maurice Armstrong were having drinks at the Robin’s Nest. Somehow, the subject of which one of them could run faster came up in conversation. Everyone in the bar joined in the debate, egging the contestants on. Soon the dispute became heated, no doubt lit by the drinks. It was decided that the only way to settle the matter was for the whole crowd at the bar to go outside and conduct a race on the busy, state highway, Route 28. Wagers were made, the two forlorn and “slightly” inebriated runners were lined up and a race course designated. Bam! Off they went. Imagine what the motorists on Route 28 must have thought! I really don’t know who won, if anybody, but I know the Armstrongs are bound to claim it was Maurice…who won.

When I was a kid, I used to sit enraptured listening to my dad and George Armstrong talking at my house. They would be smoking and drinking beer, hatching plots, talking business deals, gossiping and laughing…I remember the laughter the most! Keeping the pipe lit was always a challenge…but good friends…I’ll never forget them together.

Happy 301st, to the Armstrongs!

Windham Life and Times February 24, 2023

The 300th Anniversary of Settling in Windham

Top: A view from the John H. Dinsmore farm. Near this spot, haying one hot summer day, young Samuel Dinsmore, told his father William, he didn’t want to be a farmer, but wanted to go to Dartmouth college instead. He eventually became governor of New Hampshire.

The Dinsmore Family has been in Windham since 1723.

300 years is a very long time for one family to call a place home. Most people move on, looking for better opportunities, or just different scenery.  John Dinsmore came to America as part of the Ulster migration of 1718. In the winter of 1719, he left his fellow Scots-Irish companions, and used his skills as a  stone mason to find work building foundations, fireplaces and in construction of Forts for  the proprietors in Maine.  He was captured by Indians near the fort at St. George, Maine. When warfare between the British, and Indians  began in 1722, he abandoned his house in Maine and rejoined his friends from Northern Ireland here.  At the town meeting on March 5, 1723, it was agreed to grant him 60 acres in a section of then Londonderry NH, which is now Windham. He built a stone house on the property and was joined by his wife and children;  Robert Dinsmoor and Elizabeth Hopkins. John Dinsmoor, or “Daddy” as he was known to fellow townspeople, lived to the age of 99 and died in 1741. The foundations of the farm still exists.

   Matt Dinsmore at the ruins of the Dinsmoor-Hopkins Farm near the old Nashua & Rochester railroad line. The foundations of the house and barn are still located on the property and there is an apple tree that blooms in the woodlands.

Robert Dinsmoor, also a stone mason, was born in 1692 and died in 1751 in Windham. He was one of Windham’s first three Selectmen and was instrumental in the establishment of the town in 1742. After the town was founded, the Dinsmoor family was granted several thousand acres of land including the peaks of Jenny’s Hill and Dinsmoor Hill, where Searles Castle is located today, running to the shore of Cobbett’s Pond.  Portions of this land are still owned by my parents today.

  Robert’s son William was born in Windham on May 9, 1731. When his father’s farm was divided, the “Jenny’s Hill” place so called, consisting of 1,400 acres came to him by the drawing of lots. He married Elizabeth McKeen and built a house and barn on the south side of Jenny’s Hill and planted an orchard.  He and his wife had 12 children. He died in 1811.

The Poets Farewell to the Muses

Robert Dinsmoor, The Rustic Bard

Andover’s Steeples there were seen,

While  o’er the vast expanse between,

I did with wonder gaze;

There as it were beneath my feet,

I viewed my father’s pleasant seat—

My joy in younger days.

There Windham Range in flowery vest,

Was seen in robes of green,

While Cobbett’s Pond from east to west,

Spread her bright waves between.

Cows lowing, cocks crowing,

While frogs on Cobbett’s shore,

Lay croaking and mocking

The bull’s tremendous roar…

…Farewell sweet scenes of rural life,

My faithful friends and loving wife,

But transient blessing all…

     Robert Dinsmoor was born on October 7, 1757 and died March 16, 1836. He was widely known as the “Rustic Bard,” which was the name under which he submitted his poetry to local papers. He fought in the Revolutionary War at the Battle of Bunker Hill. “He was a most genial companion, very fond of society…and maintained a large correspondence.” His first wife was his “beloved” Mary “Polly” Park who died giving birth to their twelfth child. On New Years Eve 1801 he married his second wife Mary (Davidson) Anderson.

The Poems of Robert Dinsmoor, The Rustic Bard

      Robert Park Dinsmoor was born in 1797 and lived on the farm formerly owned by his father on Jenny’s Hill. He married Sally Gregg. They had ten children together and he died August 28, 1861 and she died March 15, 1877.

    John H. Dinsmore, my great grandfather, was born on June 3, 1840 and he occupied the farm owned by his father and grandfather. He married Adrianna Black, the daughter of Gardner and Nancy Black. He erected a new house and barn on his property in 1877 and demolished the old family home. Gardner Road in Windham is named for Adrianna’s father.

Adrianna Black Dinsmore standing in front of my grandfather’s stone house on Indian Rock Road. George Dinsmore Sr. with his daughter Dorothy and George and Edith Dinsmore.

My grandfather, George Dinsmore almost escaped the clutches of Windham. He moved to Wyoming with his new wife, Edith Johnson, but they eventually returned to Windham where he built a beautiful stone home with his own hands, overlooking Cobbett’s Pond.

   The “Wyoming” a camp on Cobbett’s Pond owned by George Dinsmore Sr. and named in honor of the place that always lived large in his heart. It is said that he once shot a whisky bottle out of the hand of a resident that lived across the pond from this very porch.

George and Edith Dinsmore had three children (John, Dorothy, and George) including my dad George Dinsmore Jr (Jigger). My father was in construction, assisted by his wife Marion (Mackenzie) who he met because her family had a camp on Cobbett’s Pond. Their companies built many homes and commercial buildings in Salem and Windham. My father was a selectmen for two terms in the late sixties and served on the planning board. They are now 91 years old and have been married for over seventy years.

The tall tales of George Dinsmore Sr. were well known around Windham. He normally would light upon somebody new to town and begin his story. He often told tales of his grandmother, Sally (Gregg) Dinsmore. The one I remember from childhood is this one:

How Cobbett’s Pond Came to Be

My grandmother was a hardworking woman, and her pride and joy were her watermelons which always won awards for their size at the country fair. She grew her watermelons on the side of the hill on her farm overlooking the broad valley below. One summer, she decided to use a secret formula to make the melons grow large, fat and juicy. And the watermelons grew. And grew. AND GREW SOME MORE! Soon they were so big, they were taller than my grandmother and she became alarmed they would roll down the hill and be ruined. So she devised a plan. She had her husband build large wooden braces to hold the giant melons in place. One day grandmother was out hoeing weeds in her watermelon patch and she accidently hit one of the braces. Well, that was a huge mistake and the giant watermelons, shining in the bright sun, began to roll down the hill toward the valley below. Well grandmother went ass over teakettle, rolling down the hill along side the giant watermelons. When the watermelons hit the valley below, they literally exploded filling it with water. Poor grandmother would have drowned too, if she had not been able to latch onto one of the giant seeds and paddle herself to shore. And that my friends is how Cobbett’s Pond came into being!

George and Marion Dinsmore and their grandson Isaac Dinsmore

So why did I decide to stay in Windham? Tradition I guess, but there is more to it than that. Windham was also a great place to start a family, a business and it’s also a great location just 30 or so miles from Boston. And when I was able to purchase an acre and a half of land and a cottage overlooking Cobbett’s Pond for $155,000, in 1985, it was a done deal. I will always be grateful to Sue (Binns) Alosky for helping me find my place on Cobbett’s and for introducing me to my wife, Kristie; her cousin. Every day, I find a reason to be happy that I live in Windham, overlooking the lake and Dinsmoor Hill and knowing my son Isaac now lives in town as well. Maybe, 300 years, isn’t that long of a time after all!

John H. Dinsmore gathering hay

L.A. Morrison’s History of the Dinsmoor-Dinsmore Family

The following is from L.A. Morrion’s introduction to the second edition of Robert Dinsmoor, The Rustic Bard’s poetry. It verifies the early records of Londonderry that John Dinsmoor arrived here in 1723.

Maine, where there was an English fort, and while engaged in building a house for himself was taken captive by a band of Indians and carried away a prisoner. I have not been able to find any historic account of his settlement, or attempt to settle at that place, save that given by the Rustic Bard in the first edition of his poems, and I give it as the family tradition thus authenticated by his own pen : “The Indians had appeared quite friendly to him while so engaged in preparing himself a house, often visited him, and called him and themselves in their broken English ‘ all one brother,’ till one day they surrounded his unfinished cabin, with a war- whoop said, ‘ no longer one brother, you go Canada/ and he went with them, and was kept with them three months. The chief’s name was John, and his prisoner was made his body servant. One day when the chief was called away to a council of war, the prisoner was accused by two squaws of having been seen on a point of land near the shore in conference with some Englishmen, and although the edge of the St. George’s River, at the elbow, and a blockhouse at a short distance, having a large area between, enclosed by palisades and capable of receiving 250 men.” In Eaton’s Annals of Warren, Me., published years ago, is the following: “In 1719-20 two strong block- houses were erected, and the old trade house, which was situated directly in front of the spot, where the residence of the late General Knox now stands, was remodeled, being made a sort of fort.” The site of General Knox’s mansion was occupied in 1898 by the station of the Knox and Lincoln railway, at Thomaston, Me It was at Thomaston, Me , that Fort St. George stood. It was there that John Dinsmoor landed when he came to America. It was there he built his house, and while shingling it was captured by the Indians. The chief was still absent, he was condemned to be burned. He was bound to a tree, the fatal pile of wood made around him and that instant to be fired, when providentially the chief returned and commanded the execution delayed till he could enquire into the truth of the charge, alleging, if true, their tracks could be seen, as the ground there was sandy. The charge was soon proved to be false, and he, was reprieved. The last three days he was with them they traveled almost night and day, a great part of the time on k a dog trot,’ carrying their canoes with them. When they had a river to cross, as soon as the chief was in the boat it was the prisoner’s duty to push off and jump in after, and having just performed that duty at a certain river, the chief who had resolved to set him at liberty forbade him. He pleaded for liberty to step in, but the chief said, ‘ you much honest man John, you walk Boston.’ He replied, ‘ the Indians will kill me.’ The chief then told him how and where he could find a cave in a rock where he must lie three days and in that time the Indians would all be past. He gave him some bears’ grease and nuts, saying, ‘ Indians and French have all this land, you walk Boston John, then take English canoe, walk your own country. You much honest man John.’ He then took his solitary way and found the rock as he had been told. When he had lain there three days and nights, and seen the Indians, tribe after tribe, pass, till they had all gone, he arose from his cave and thought he must die of hunger, but by chance, or rather by Providence, he found some cranberries which supported him till he arrived at Fort George. From thence he got a passage to Boston, and from there he visited his old friends and countrymen in Nutfield. They had all been acquainted with him in Ireland. For the respect they had for the man, and perhaps moved by the narration of his perils and sufferings, the proprietors of Londonderry made him a gift of one hundred acres of land, and confirmed it by deed to him and his heirs forever. He was a mason by trade and built himself a stone house.” This appears to have been in 1723. After that he sent to Ireland for his wife and children, but they did not reach him in his new home till 1730. Neither tradition nor family records had handed down to the Rustic Bard, the Christian or sir-name of his maternal great-grandmother, and so far as my enquiry in the family extends, which comprehended every family of lineal descent up to 1883, I was not able to find the name, till during the current year the untiring research of Hon. Leonard Allison Morrison found that honest John had verified the appellation given him by the Indian chief, by his last will and testament, made Oct. 6, 1736, proven Jan. 4, 1736-7, now in the Probate Records Office of Rockingham County at Exeter, N. H., (as every honest man should, by providing for his widow) had answered our enquiry by calling her Hannah. John and Hannah had two children who came to this country, a son and daughter. The son Robert had married in Ireland Margaret Orr, and his sister Elizabeth married John Hopkins, and the wife and daughter with her family went to live in the stone house built by the husband and father on the land given him by the proprietors, and it is well authenticated that they continued to live as one family till the death of John the father, and that thereafter his widow, Hannah, lived till her death with the daughter Elizabeth, which facts go to show that the Bard was not warranted in his conclusion that the wife of John who came to this country was a second one, that had blessed him, for, genealogy rarely shows daughters falling in love with step- mothers. Robert Dinsmoor, the grandfather of the Rustic Bard, was evidently no ordinary man. We find him reaching the Londonderry Colonists in 1730, from whom he obtained title to a large tract of valuable land in the original town of Londonderry, which was near the tract deeded by the Colonists to his father, on which he built himself a residence, and which has been owned and occupied as a home- stead by his descendants till the present day. His eldest son, John, married the daughter of James McKeen, who, as chief man among the Colonists, came from Ireland in 1718, selected the Londonderry tract of land for settlement, then called Nut- field, and his daughter Elizabeth married James McKeen, Jr. Upon the organization of the town of Windham, under grant of charter from the provincial government of New Hampshire, this Robert Dinsmoor was named as Chairman of the three commissioners therein appointed to organize the town in 1742. His son William, born May 9, 1731, was the father of Robert, the Rustic Bard. He married Elizabeth Cochran, granddaughter of the same Justice McKeen, and settled on a part of his paternal acres which, then a primeval forest of oak and pine trees, awaited the axe of the pioneer man, whose strong arm should level the forest and compel a hard reluctant soil to yield the fruits necessary to support a christianized civilization. By lot, the father, Robert, divided his lands between his three sons, who lived to manhood. John, the eldest, drew that part which extended northerly toward Londonderry. Robert, Jr., drew the homestead, which occupied a commanding view of the country east and south, and in later years has been honored by a view of the once-renowned Boston and Concord Turnpike, and in still later years by the Lawrence and Manchester Railroad, and has had that rare attraction which has held spellbound to it the family name from generation to generation, known and honored for the intelligence and Christian vir- tues of its occupants that has made the spot a beacon light to the passing ages. The younger son, William, the father of the Rustic Bard, drew by the same cast that portion of the domain which embraced “Jenny’s hill,” a mound of sixty acres or more from which can be seen the Monadnock in New Hampshire and the Wachusett in Massachusetts. The land extended and embraced, in part, that charming lake, now surrounded by its beautiful farms and wood-capped hills, two and one-half miles long by one-half mile wide, and called ” Cob- bet’s pond ” from the fact that the colonial government in Massachusetts, which never owned a foot of land near it, granted it with five hundred acres of land to a minister by that name, Rev. Thomas Cobbet, in Ipswich, Essex County in Massachusetts, and thereby shows how unfortunate it is to get a bad name when young. But the very air of that place seems to have been poetic, as I find in the History of Windham a beautiful and touching tribute of affection to the memory of his deceased brother by the Bard’s father, found in a letter to his sister, that has escaped the ravages of the tooth of time by the thoughtful care of the historian and is given a place here as a meed of honor :


Windham Life and Times – June 7, 2019

Nutfield 300

A blind man plays the fiddle to a family audience. Coloured engraving by J. Burnet after D. Wilkie, 1806. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY.

Reverend MacGregor’s Fiddle

Scots-Irish Influence on American Music

E.H. Derby in his address to the Londonderry Celebration of 1869 says, “..and, if tradition may be trusted, even their clergy introduced musical instruments into New Hampshire. I do not refer to the ear-piercing fife alone, or the spirit-stirring drum, whose ‘toot’ so engrossed the ear that Matthew Clark, when presiding over the Session, that he could do no business,— I allude to a stringed instrument of music. The pastor of whom the tale is told had served as a chaplain in the army, and while in camp had learned to play the violin. He brought one to America — doubtless at the bottom of his chest — and in his log cabin, in the dreary winter nights, found solace in the music. But, late one night, an elder heard the ‘linked sweetness drawn out,’ and peeping through the crevice in the cabin, liked the elders who watched Susanna, decried his pastor in the very act of drawing the bow, and reported him to the session; and the elders decreed that he should ‘hang up the fiddle and bow’ for three successive Sundays, in front of the pulpit. And this, I presume, was the first display of stringed instruments of music in New Hampshire. Derry must not, therefore, be forgotten at the great Musical Festival, for which Mr. Gilmore is rearing a structure that reminds of the Coliseum.”

Well if fiddle playing was frowned upon by the early elders of Nutfield, it soon took on a prominence within the community. In Old Portraits and Modern Sketches, 1850, John Greenleaf Whittier reports the following about the fairs held in early Londonderry. “Their moral acclimation in Ireland had not been without its effect upon their character. Side by side with a Presbyterian as austere as that of John Knox, had grown up something of the wild Milesian humor, love of convivial excitement and merry-making, Their long prayers and fierce zeal in behalf of orthodox tenants, only served, in the eyes of their Puritan neighbors, to make more glaring still the scandal of their marked social irregularities. It became a common saying in the region round about, that, ‘the Derry Presbyterians would never give up a pint of doctrine or a pint of rum.’ …Ere long the celebrated Derry Fair was established in imitation of those with which they had been familiar in Ireland. Thither annually came  all manners of horse-jockeys and peddlers, gentlemen and beggars, fortune-tellers, wrestlers, dancers and fiddlers, gay young farmers and buxom maidens. Strong drink abounded… A wild, frolicking, drinking, fiddling, courting, horse-racing, riotous merry-making— a sort of Protestant carnival, relaxing the grimness of Puritanism for leagues around.” The Scots-Irish seem to be characterized by an uneasy dichotomy,  the side by side need for both religious revival and the “hooting and hollering” of a jolly good time!

The same Scots-Irish people who settled in Nutfield were also the dominant cultural force in the settlement of the Appalachian Mountain areas of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.  And these Scots-Irish settlers certainly brought the fiddle with them and used it plenty, in the mountains and valleys where American country music had its roots. There is a great New York Times best seller, called Wayfaring Strangers, written by Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr, with a forward by Dolly Parton, that traces this “musical voyage” from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. These settlers, “brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland, a carrying stream that merged with the sounds and songs of English, German, Welsh, African American, French, and Cherokee origin.”

I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world below
There is no sickness, no toil, nor danger
In that bright land to which I go

I’m going there to see my Father
And all my loved ones who’ve gone on
I’m just going over Jordan
I’m just going over home

I know dark clouds will gather ’round me
I know my way is hard and steep
But beauteous fields arise before me
Where God’s redeemed, their vigils keep
I’m going there to see my Mother
She said she’d meet me when I come

So, I’m just going over Jordan
I’m just going over home
I’m just going over Jordan
I’m just going over home

     Getting back to Pastor MacGregor and his fiddle, Wayfaring Strangers in explaining the origin of the Scottish fiddle states, “Throughout the long history of migrations from Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, the fiddle was the ideal traveling companion, whether for sailors, journeymen, merchants, or emigrants. It was portable, adaptable to new playing styles, the instrument of choice for dances, and perfect both for soloists and playing partners. So it is not surprising that the fiddle eventually followed the Scottish emigration trail all the way to the southern Appalachians. Beginning in the seventeenth century, it took its place as the most popular dance instrument on both sides of the Atlantic. Hanover County, Virginia, hosted the first fiddling contest of colonial times in 1736, held on November 30 in honor of the holiday of St. Andrew, patron saint of Scotland.” In Scotland “…the music of the classical violin was the initial attraction, folk-style fiddle playing soon followed. These adaptions of the instrument were no doubt related to the widespread interest in dancing at community gatherings, weddings, funerals, and local festivals and fairs, as well as the ballrooms and drawing rooms of the landed gentry…”

Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage From Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. On Amazon

Windham Life and Times – April 12, 2019

Nutfield 300

The First Settlement: By Land or River?

“…The company followed a trail from Haverhill about fifteen miles through the woods.” (But did they come by land? Not according the John Greenleaf Whittier who was intimately acquainted with the Scots-Irish in southern New Hampshire. In his book, Old Portraits and Modern Sketches Whittier describes the pioneer’s journey as follows: “In the early part of the eighteenth century, a considerable number of Presbyterians of Scotch descent, from the north of Ireland, emigrated to the new world. In the spring of 1719, the inhabitants of Haverhill, on the Merrimack, saw them passing up the river in several canoes, one of which unfortunately upset in the rapids above the village. The following fragment of a ballad celebrating this event, has been handed down to the present time, and may serve to show the feelings even then of the old English settlers toward the Irish emigrants:


‘They began to scream and bawl,

As out they tumbled one and all,

And, if the Devil had spread his net,

He could have made a glorious haul!’


     “The new comers proceeded up the river, and landing opposite the Uncanoonuc Hills, on the present site of Manchester, proceeded inland to Beaver Pond. Charmed by the appearance of the country, they resolved here to terminate their wanderings. Under a venerable oak on the margin of the lake, they knelt down with their minister, Jamie McGregor, and laid, in prayer and thanksgiving, the foundation of their settlement. In a few years they had cleared large fields, built substantial stone and frame dwellings, and a large and commodious meeting-house; wealth had accumulated around them, and they had every where the reputation of a shrewd and thriving community. They were the first in New England to cultivate the potato, which their neighbors for a long time regarded as a pernicious root, altogether unfit for a Christian stomach. Every lover of that invaluable esculent has reason to remember with gratitude the settlers of Londonderry.”

It’s probably true that both the trails and river provided access for the Scotch-Irish to their new settlement in southern New Hampshire. If they truly did take the river in April it would have been roaring with spring snow melt.

Rev. MacMurphy continues, “The men and boys, perhaps no women or small children as they were to stay with their friends a month while preparations were  being made to shelter them; sixteen men, their pastor and the boys, trailing up from Haverhill through the woods, with a few packs on horses, a few oxen and cows, and other live stock. What could they bring? Axes and hammers, saws, iron bars and shovels, hoes and plows, seed corn, potatoes, onions and beans, some garden seeds, some provisions, flour, meal, tea and molasses, pots and kettles, tins and dishes, knives, forks and spoons, their clothing, etc. (Also, undoubtably, rum.) And then where should they unpack? They came to a little west running brook, in a sheltered valley, and decided to camp down there. The horses and cattle were soon staked  to good low land grass. By the aid of steel and flint and tinder and dry wood a fine warm fire was kindled and the pots and kettles hung above and necessary arrangements quickly made to prepare supper in the open field. With axes, rude shelters were provided under which men and boys could sleep at night. The number that listened to that sermon on Sunday might have been seventy-five persons, perhaps even a hundred or more, for note that the pastor had six boys and sixteen other men with one exception are quite certain to have had average families for those years.”

The names of the sixteen should be of interest, they may be found in several places: In the Town Records, in Parker’s Centenary Sermon, in Book of Nutfield, and on the map of the Double Range. These sixteen or seventeen men selected their homes on both sides of this little brook and located their huts with reference to frontage on the brook and land a mile long stretching away north and south, but only 30 perches in width; bringing their families near together.” (The rod or perch or pole is a surveyor’s tool and unit of length exactly equal to ​5 12 yards…)

     In a month’s time the woman folks were anxious to join the menfolk and come to Nutfield and by that time sufficient accommodations had been erected of hewn timbers, split shingles, and stone chimneys with open fireplaces to make a cheerful place to live in. Rude furniture, tables and chairs, benches and bedsteads, cut and fashioned from the living forest gave an impression of comparative comfort. This colony had not been on the premises a month before they called a meeting and were duly organized. They ordered the construction of a mill dam and saw mill and in six months they had a saw mill in operation on Beaver Brook less than a mile away from their cozy valley, and in less than two years they had a gristmill there and a second saw mill on Aiken brook. So the log shanties began to be replaced and supplemented with framed houses with real boards, clapboards, and shingles. Of course a church was built the first year of Nutfield and just about where the First Church now stands. Four months had brought more families and in September of 1719, they voted twenty more homesteads to the first new comers, to that number who should make immediate settlement in Nutfield. By the time the territory had been surveyed and laid out in ranges and homesteads of sixty acres the number of inhabitants had increased to that degree that the first so called Schedule named one hundred and five heads of families to receive allotments of homesteads; and others rewarded for services rendered the colony, up to the number of homestead rights of 122 1/2.”

“The Wheelwright Deed, given to Nutfield Colony as an Indian title to the ten miles square territory was not signed until October 29, 1719, and consequently the surveying and settling of bounds to the homesteads did not progress much in the first six months of occupation. The colonists working together cleared a few acres of forest around their camps at West Running Brook, with difficulty plowed among the stumps and in common raised and harvested their first crops and thus originated the name ‘common field’ as applied to a section well known to this day. The winter was not particularly severe, their mill was kept running, the timber around prospective houses and homes felled and drawn to the mill yard. In March of 1720 the homesteads were surveyed, laid out, butted and bounded, as we find in the Town Records and may trace on the map drawn for the purpose by the writer of this address and published in sections in Willey’s Book of Nutfield, with the provision that all rights to use these maps are reserved by the original draftsman.”



Windham Life and Times – December 21, 2018

Windham and the Summit

A June Snowstorm Brings Christmas to the Summit. Among the Clouds, July 13, 1905.

Part 2 – June Christmas

Summit House Opens: “The formal opening of  every hotel is an important date in its calendar, and often the management endeavor to introduce some special attraction for the pleasure of  those guests first to arrive. Mount Washington – always zealous of  its individuality, this season outdid itself.”

“The Summit House was ‘opened,’ Monday, June 26th. The morning was rainy and dense clouds obscured the slightest vision of  the outside world. There was wisdom in this arrangement, for it was not the scenery but the completeness of  the hotel that was to be made manifest that day. The thermometer, which registered 46 in the morning, having heard a student waiter reciting “What is so rare as a day in June” was not forgetful of  its part of  the program and toward noon settled slowly to 38, and at 4 o’clock gave a decided novelty by sinking below the freezing point. Immediately the torrents of  rain became a driving snow storm, and throughout the night and Tuesday and until late Wednesday (6/29) Mount Washington was in the clutches of  a winter tempest, at time the roaring of  the wind and the beating of  ice and hail against the summit House was almost deafening. But within all was good cheer and comfort. “Dolly” the boiler was never more faithful, and steam whizzed through the pipes assuredly and without cessation, while the huge coal stores performed nobly the extra service required of  them. But those were days to be remembered, and the few guests who braved the mountain will not soon forget their experiences. After all, it is not the weather that decides the amount of  pleasure to be had in a visit to Mount Washington. ‘For the dissatisfied man all life is unsatisfactory, and for one that is contented the world is full of comforts, and for the cheerful man even the easterly wind is musical in the window crevices.’ ”

—Among the Clouds – Thu, Jul 13, 1905

“A June Christmas Tree: ‘On Wednesday evening, June 28th, the Summit House colony indulged in festivities unique in the history of  Mount Washington. The platforms that morning covered with snow and the whole cone of  the mountain glistening with frost work and ice suggested midwinter rather than a rare June day. Someone remarked that ‘it would be proper to observe Christmas.’ The idea was a popular one and immediately following breakfast preparations were continued throughout the day for an unusual festival. The manager of  the hotel, Miss Mattie A. Clarke, ordered a fir tree brought up from the Base, which through the kindness of  the Mount Pleasant House was later made attractive by many festoons of  pop corn. Then came the search for gifts. There were about thirty-five employees of  the Summit House and Mount Washington Railway to be remembered. Trunks, boxes, even coat pockets were divested of  their treasures and by nightfall the tree was overloaded with offerings. Nearly 150 presents were ready for distribution. What they may have lacked in value was made up in quantity. About 8 o’clock the parlor doors were opened. Mr. John Tice presided at the piano and a merry company was soon seated. Hardly had an exchange of  greetings been made when Mount Washington’s Santa Claus, Mr. Ed Colter, costumed in a style to make St. Nick himself  envious appeared on the scene to the  delight of  everyone save Leon (the Summit dog), whose association with the genial gentleman had heretofore been confined to an almanac interpretation of  seasons. Among the Clouds at this date not having commended an issue, one of  the staff  presented the initial number of  a possible evening addition for midwinter circulation “Among the Snow Flakes.” Next Santa ably assisted by Mark Lee, distributed the presents, a description of  which would be impossible. Then followed an excellent musical program, including solos by Mr. Chandler and Mr. Horan, and a chorus selected from the company. While the storm was furious, and together with the freezing temperature made all without wild and terrible, this little Summit House party – warm and comfortable, were living the sentiment of  Dr. Van Dyke ‘and best of  all along the way is friendship and mirth.’ ” —Among the Clouds July 13, 1905

Remember, we’re looking for a photograph of Mattie Clark for Tim Lewis. Does anyone know of one?


Windham Life and Times – June 24, 2016




Willis Low was first appointed to the police force before 1941. In the early days, there was no police station so, “most of the police strategy was discussed at the homes of whichever officer was in charge of the particular case. Most of the time it was either the chief’s house or the Zins kitchen. Here would be laid the plans for speed traps, searching a home or camp for stolen goods, etc., but especially careful plans would be made for raids on stills…”

“Most police calls were received by Willis Low with his mother, Mrs. Ethel Low, taking calls and relaying the messages to the other men on duty. This was all done by telephone. You can imagine the interest the neighbors took in town affairs when they heard a cop’s number ringing. All of them were on party lines and one was a sixteen party line with all sixteen rings heard in each home. After Willis married, he of course moved all his police records to his new home on Nashua Road and that is still considered Police Headquarters (1975). His wife took over the answering service and is still on the job although the volume of calls has increased so much there is now a hookup to the police building behind the fire station.”


    Willis Low remained the chief into the 1970’s and experienced the tremendous growth in calls after the construction of Interstate 93. As you can imagine, there were times when the chief wanted to escape from all of the demands of the job, which as noted above followed him home. He wanted a place where nobody could find him. Rock Pond is very isolated and really hard to find, unless you know it’s there.  He bought the Harry Simpson cottage and updated it into a modern, comfortable summer home. This is the place where he could kick back and relax out of the public view.

The Harry Simpson Cottage (1929) was remodeled by Willis Low.

The Harry Simpson Cottage (1929) was remodeled by Willis Low.

Windham Life and Times – May 6, 2016

Edward Devlin


“In the print, Red showed his 19 year old bride walking through the fields in need of water for the strawberry plants. Life so naturally blended with the practical needs of family, that, over time, the gardens expanded, livestock increased, a new farm was bought, and five children were born. Her sole indulgence were flowers, wild and cultivated, where she found beauty after hours of toiling.” On their fiftieth wedding anniversary, Dad nicely summed up their life together when he gently said, ‘Could Not Be Better”. With a wide smile

“In the print, Red showed his 19 year old bride walking through the fields in need of water for the strawberry plants. Life so naturally blended with the practical needs of family, that, over time, the gardens expanded, livestock increased, a new farm was bought, and five children were born. Her sole indulgence were flowers, wild and cultivated, where she found beauty after hours of toiling.” On their fiftieth wedding anniversary, Dad nicely summed up their life together when he gently said, ‘Could Not Be Better”. With a wide smile

We know from Ed Devlin’s own words that “he was never quite satisfied with life in the big city saying ‘I’m a country boy at heart.’ He also was quoted as saying, “New York is just not my bag. It’s too fast a pace for me, the city’s too impersonal.” “And when his friend, George Lloyd called him to help paint the mural for Hamilton Smith Hall, at the University of New Hampshire, Devlin grabbed the offer.  ‘It was a good excuse to get out of New York…I liked New Hampshire so much I decided to stay.’ ”  This was in 1939-40 and the project was a massive mural.

“Artist George Lloyd was on a mission to find a ‘real’ farmer. It was the spring of 1939, and, having been commissioned to paint a mural about agriculture that would cover one entire wall inside Hamilton Smith Hall, he wanted to be sure he could depict a New Hampshire farmer accurately. With UNH agriculture professors as his guide, he soon found his models out in the fields, piecing together a way of life in the aftermath of the Great Depression—much the way he was doing, himself. Lloyd was one of the unemployed artists who had been hired under the auspices of the Federal Art Project branch of the Work Projects Administration, a national program created by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide productive work to some 8.5 million citizens in lieu of unemployment benefits. Coordinated by Manchester artist Omer T. Lassonde, at the time one of the country’s most influential modernist painters. The UNH project included three massive murals, eight feet high and 40 feet wide, in the three main rooms of UNH’s then-library. Lloyd’s ‘agriculture’ mural was to grace the reserve room.” UNH Today. According to the artist’s wife, “this is a mural on farming in New Hampshire, It deals with the four seasons of the year—Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter; and with the four main social institutions around which the farming community is centered—the Home, Town Meeting, School and Church…” UNH Today

“In order to stay in rural New Hampshire, Devlin had to give up his art career. ‘Back in the 40’s there was very little interest in New Hampshire for this sort of thing or with artwork in general. People didn’t have the money to get interested in it.’ He met his wife, Pearl, a native of New Hampshire, and settled down in Nottingham, working a small dairy farm. When their family grew with five children, they bought 100 acres plus in Windham NH.” “He was a farmer for 30 years before he could devote himself to his ‘real work.’ ” “His former art training has given him an artist’s eye for craftsmanship, but he credits farming experience for much of his pottery design. ‘The one thing I have strived for is that a piece not only have a shape, but that shape to have a vitality to it…to live and have appeal,’ he said, ‘It’s a sensitivity of form. My close association with nature, after 30 years of farming helped to develop it’ ”

“But Ed Devlin went back to art work as suddenly as he had left it. Remembering his work with Dedham Pottery where he painted decorations, he remembered an old hankering to learn the potter’s trade.”

“ ‘My daughter was studying pottery at the University of New Hampshire. It restimulated an interest that was in the back of my head,’ he said. ‘I worked with it between farm activities and the more I got into it, the more it interested me.’ ‘As the years went by. This (Windham)  was no longer a farming community. We finally got rid of the cows, then I put all my time into pottery.’ ”


Windham Life and Times – April 29, 2016

Edward Devlin



The plate shown above is described by the auction house as, “Dedham pottery crackleware, very rare plate painted by Ned Devlin, Asian inspired scene, 1934. Indigo Registered stamp, artist signature and date. Estimated at between $1,250 and $1,750.” (2008 auction)

Edward Devlin was born in 1912, a Boston native, he grew up in a comfortable home. His father had as they say, “pulled himself up by the bootstraps” and through hard work and determination had become a dentist. It was presumed in the Devlin household that owing to all the advantages given them, that all of the boys would enter the professions, preferably becoming doctors. We can only imagine the conversation, when Edward announced to his father, that he wanted to attend art school. That being said, his father must have recognized that he had “shown artistic inclinations from an early age.” Edward went on to “graduate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he received a scholarship for painting in 1929.” He also attended Massachusetts Art Institute and studied sculpture at the Copley Society.

Ed began his career in the 1930’s as a decorator at the Dedham Pottery in Dedham, Massachusetts. When he worked for Dedham, he signed his work as Ned Devlin. While there he created Chinese landscape designs among other motifs. Dedham had been founded by a fifth generation Scottish potter named Hugh Robertson, and operated from 1896 through 1943. It was known for its high-fire stoneware characterized by a controlled and very fine crackle glaze with thick cobalt border designs. A Yankee Magazine article says of Dedham that, “This homage to the raw beauty of nature was never more apparent than during the Arts & Crafts movement. Its back-to-nature aesthetic rejected the industrialization of the late 19th century and embraced a return to the simplicity of handmade goods. American artists heard this call of the wild and, so inspired, produced some of the finest decorative pieces ever made in this country. Beautiful ceramics were one of the movement’s greatest legacies, and among the most popular wares was Dedham pottery, made right here in New England. You likely already know Dedham pottery: that simple tableware with the bluish-gray crackle glaze and cobalt-blue border of flora and fauna. The charming patterns repeat in a right-facing (or, occasionally, left-facing) rotation. It’s reminiscent of Chinese export porcelain, but with a whimsical edge. Both modern and traditional in its appeal, Dedham pottery’s most recognizable border design, the crouching ‘Dedham Rabbit,’ doubles as the image for the company logo.” All of the designs were painted by hand by the artists at Dedham.

The ubiquitous Dedham pottery rabbit plate and other Dedham pottery items.

The ubiquitous Dedham pottery rabbit plate and other Dedham pottery items.


The Art Student League building in New York City. Notable Alumnae include Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O'Keefe and Jackson Pollock.

The Art Student League building in New York City. Notable Alumnae include Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollock.

After working at Dedham, Ed decided to head for New York City. While there, he was a member of the Arts Students League. Another member of the league, at the same time, was John Little, who studied there under Georg Grosz (a famous German expressionist painter who emigrated to America in the 1930’s,) and Hans Hoffman. Little was according to the New York Times, “an abstract expressionist artist who founded a New York company that made fabrics and wallpapers with designs inspired by abstract impressionism.” “In 1921, Mr. Little founded the fabrics-wallpaper company, which he called the John Little Studio. By the mid-1930’s the concern was attracting wide praise for fabrics that combined high-quality designs with affordable prices.” Little went on later to paint with his friend and neighbor, Jackson Pollock. Edward Devlin designed fabrics and wallpaper at John Little Studios, during the 1930’s, at the highpoint of the company.

Fabric Designed at The John Little Studios. Date Unknown.

Fabric Designed at The John Little Studios. Date Unknown.





Windham Life and Times – April 21, 2016

Edward Devlin



When you think of artists associated with Windham, you might think of the impressionist painter Mary Braddish Titcomb or the western artist, Howard Everett Smith, both of whom grew up in town, but became noted for their art elsewhere. Well, there was another artist, who moved to Windham in the 1940’s, who was a designer, painter and potter, who became very well known in art circles in New Hampshire and beyond.

 Over the years, learning about Windham’s history,  his name kept coming up in conversation, but I knew very little about him. Of course, I knew his wife Pearl, personally, from my trips to the Nesmith Library as a child. Then one day, I was given a piece of pottery, that bore the imprint of Ed Devlin on the base. The vase had belonged to long time Windham, Chief of Police, Willis Low. Little did I know at the time, that the potter and the chief were close friends, as you might have expected them to be in a small town, like Windham was, during their lifetimes. Back then, the rhythm of life was a bit slower and more humane. Willis will always be remembered for the way he handled the kids who went astray, working in his unique way to put them back on the straight and narrow, without all the fuss and hysteria often seen with juveniles today. And it’s Willis Low’s vase that renewed my curiosity about Ed Devlin.

Low’s vase is pictured below. It is a beautiful form, with warm hues of rich, deep russet and brown on a natural speckled background. Well, now I had a piece of the man’s pottery, but still didn’t know anything about him. Finally,  determined to tell his story, I called his family to find out more about him and his career as an artist.


The Devlin family, especially Mary, was very gracious to me in providing the detailed information I was seeking about her dad and his craft. I really enjoyed finally hearing his story, about his life in the arts, and his life in Windham. I hope that over the next few weeks, I will be able to do justice to a man I only know through those that loved him, newspaper accounts and by the art he created.



Windham Life and Times: October – November

100 Years Ago in Windham

The Cochran Family Home on Lowell Road, Windham NH.

The Cochran Family Home on Lowell Road, Windham NH.

Olin Cochran’s Diary

Olin Cochran kept a diary for many years. 1915 is a particularly interesting year because it was a time when modern technology was coming to the forefront even in a rural place like Windham. The people in Windham at the time were buying automobiles for the first time, were looking at tractors to work in the fields, and were installing modern pumps to deliver water directly into their homes. World War One was also raging in the background but in Windham, it was the technology that had people’s interest, and that included Olin Cochran.

FRI-OCT. 1: 65-Wind W– Cloudy. Not much doing this forenoon. Pa and I took the engine in the shop apart. __ auto parts not right. Pa went to Boston after and changed them. I worked soldering the crack in the cylinder of the engine this afternoon. Gas man came, brought a new tank, 60 gal. left 170 gal. gas. Pigs got out. Pa got home a 4:30. Cloudy, Looks like rain tomorrow.
SAT-OCT. 2: 60-Wind E– Rain. Rained all day. Pa and I worked on the auto. We got it put together and cleaned out the shock absorbers. Large job. Glad the thing is in running order now. Nothing stirring. Still raining.
SUN-OCT. 3: 60-Wind W-Cloudy. Pa went to church today. Senter preached. Not much doing. Made some peach ice cream. Went after a paper this afternoon. Mr. ___ and wife came down for a few minutes. Took the auto out and over by J Park’s ____engine missed some. Got back on our own power. Wonderful! Cloudy and damp all day.
MON-OCT. 4: 70-Wind W-Fair. Worked digging a hole for a new ___ by the bee hived this forenoon. Going to put in a ___ frame 4’x8’ x 2 1/2’ deep. This afternoon we got the hole nearly dug. Pitched dirt on the road. I finished mowing the second crop. Ma went to W.W. after grains. Did not get home until late. Nice day. Warm.
TUE-OCT. 5: 65-Wind S-Rainy. Not much doing forenoon. J. Ridge of the Swift Morse Co. came here and we ordered a new water pump of him. He was up to Nesmith’s and helped him fix his engine. We made a trip to the Depot in the Stude and took him up. We worked in the shop cleaning the engine. This afternoon got a coat of paint over most of it. Some job. Ma went to grange tonight, Warm and damp.
WED-OCT. 6: 65-Wind W-Cloudy. Pa and I went up to the Depot this morning in the car, ran on 1 cylinder; adjusted carb and it ran fine. We went to Lawrence and got home around 1:15 Good trip. No trouble. This afternoon Ma went to a Woman’s Club. meeting at Proctor’s. Pa and I worked on the engine in the shop. Went after Ma in the car. Getting ready for the garage. Fair tomorrow.
THUR-OCT 7: 65-Wind E-Cloudy. Went down to the Big Windham Grange Fair today. Great show. Had a lot of stuff here. We took down a tree of ____. 1st premium. Some woodwork, potatoes, peas and jelly. Rufe Baily came up and drew Junior and G. Armstrong. Cloudy all day.
FRI-OCT 8: 63-Wind E– Rainy. Nothing doing this forenoon. Rained. Pa and I worked in the shop. This afternoon it stopped raining. Pa and Ma went to Derry. Got home at 6:30. I got most of the chores done. Cloudy and damp this afternoon.
SAT-OCT 9: 60-Wind W-Fair. Nothing doing this forenoon. Pa and I worked around the shop making a new frame for a window in the ___. Found a piece of pipe in the well rusted through leaking. We took the pump out. Pa and I went to Derry this afternoon in the car. Car ran fine. Did not shift gears going or coming. Got home and put in the pipe. Took the car and took Ma down to Mrs. Hills. Mr. and Mrs. Gross came down to spend the evening. Cold tonight.
SUN-OCT 10: 60-Wind W-Fair. Ma and I went to the Depot in the car to get a paper. Pa and Ma went to church. This afternoon Frank Bradford came up in a Hupmobile. After he went home we took the car up to see a wrecked auto. It was on the hill beyond Nat Esty’s place. Rambler, big 4 cylinder car. Got afire about 2 o’clock last night. Nobody knows anything about it. The number plates were gone. The body is burnt completely off. The engine is badly damaged. 3 good tires. Presto tank. Almost a 12 ___. Good car. Some of the things have been taken. Could be fixed over into a truck.


What’s interesting about the diary entries is that it shows how the Cochran’s and others in Windham are adapting to new technology in 1915, including cars and gasoline water pumps. Truly “modern” times in Windham.

MON-OCT. 11: 60-Wind W– Fair. Pa and Ma did the washing this forenoon. I worked on the new hotshed (?) this afternoon. I raked up the 2nd crop and Pa and I finished making the hotshed forms. Ma went to WW after grain. Good white frost this morning.
TUES-OCT. 12: 70-Wind W– Fair. Tellis (the mail carrier) couldn’t start his Ford this morning. Telephoned for me . I went around the route with him and got back around 10:15. Car ran fine. Got home and Pa and I got a load of sand and some crushed stone up to the crusher. This afternoon Ma went to the WWC (Woman’s Club) at Mrs. Austin’s. Pa and I got in the second __ 2 small loads. After that we mixed some cement and started on the Hotshed Nice day, Warm! Great. This finishes our haying for this year.
WED-OCT. 13: 70-Wind W– Fair. Pa and I worked on the hotshed this forenoon. We took the car and met Everett the insurance inspector. I took him to the old Prescott place and then to Pelham. (John Cochran was an insurance agent.) Bob Jackson came over. We finished the hotshed, worked pretty late. It took 4 1/2 bags of cement @ .55 and two loads of sand and 1 of crushed stone. Warm. Extra good weather. Got a pair of work shoes from S.R. & Co.
THURS-OCT. 14: 68-Wind S– Cloudy. Not much doing today I was sick last night. Pa and I went up to the Depot this forenoon. The 11:14 train from Rochester ran into an auto at Palmers Crossing. Mr. Thomas Howard and wife of Derry. Killed the woman and the man is not expected to live. Auto destroyed. We got in two loads of corn this afternoon. Warm and sultry…looks like rain.
FRI-OCT. 15: 65-Wind E- Raining. Rained this forenoon. Pa and I husked corn awhile. We went up to the Depot to see an agent for the J.M. Co. (John Mansville?) Asbestos shingles. He figured about the same as the K&M agents. This afternoon we had some company and husked some corn. We got 6 bushels husked, good corn, not much pig stuff. Almost 2 shocks to the ___. Cloudy tonight.
SAT-OCT. 16: 70-Wind W- Fair. Not much doing today. Pa and I started to pick apples, got about 2 1/2 bushels picked. My stomach went bad and I came in and went to sleep. Slept 3 hours and woke up better. Warm this afternoon.
SUN-OCT 17: 68-Wind W– Fair. Great old day. Warm and nice. We took the Stude and went to Malden to see Herbert and Mabel in their new house. They have got some house! Large and Nice. We started at 10:30 and got there at 12:30. Left at 4 and got home ay 6:15. Made 69.5 miles. Used 5.5 gallons of gas. Car ran extra well. Never saw it pull better. Went up Andover Hill at 25 MPH “Everything on high.” Nice roads. Great trip. Got S tubes fixed at Andover. Lizzie came home with us. She gave me Warren’s watch and fob. He bought it when he was 21 $50.                                           MON-OCT. 18: 60-Wind E– Fair. Took the car and went around the Range this forenoon. Took Lizzie to Canobie Lake Station and she went home. This afternoon, not much doing. Took the car tonight up to the Depot and got J. Gagnon and took him back. Car ran fine. Filled it up on oil and gas tonight and got it ready for another run. Pa picked a few apples. Nice day.
TUES-OCT. 19: 60-Wind SE– Cloudy. We took the Stude and Mary Ellen and J Park and went down to Hampton Falls to Apple Crest Farms. They had a demonstration of tractors there today. A “bull” and a Bates Steel Mule also had a “Big 4” of his own tearing up a new piece of land. They had a dynamite demonstration and also showed of the hen plant. That is a real farm. Had to shift tires while there. The old front Goodyear went flat. Then we went down to Hampton beach and over the long bridge home. Stopped at Whittier’s Birthplace on the way. Made about 75 miles, car ran extra fine. We got home about dark. Ma has gone to the Grange tonight.

From left to right: The Big 4, the Steel Mule, and the Big Bull.

From left to right: The Big 4, the Steel Mule, and the Big Bull.

The Big 4 was introduced in 1912 in Minneapolis MN. The company later merged with JI Case. The “Steel Mule” was a product of the Joliet Oil Tractor Co. They were one of dozens of small companies vying for a place in the lucrative small tractor market. One of its key selling features was that a farmer could use it to pull his horse drawn equipment. The Bull Tractor Company began business in 1913, also in Minneapolis. In 1915, they introduced the “Big Bull,” which had a 25 HP twin cylinder engine. When Ford entered the tractor market in 1917 it was the downfall for many small manufactures of tractors.

WED-OCT. 20: 68-Wind SE– Rain. Pa and I went over to Dan Roy’s this forenoon. Staid till noon. This afternoon we husked corn. 9 bushels. Ma and I went to Gross’s after milk tonight. Rained all day. Got my pay for carrying the wood. $48.39.
THURS-OCT. 21: 75-Wind W-Fair. Went around the route with Tellis today. “Henry Ford” has gone bad again. The old Stude went right along. Got in about 10:45. Pa fixed up the spare tire and picked apples. This afternoon worked around the shop. Pa picked apples. Nice and warm today. Cleared of last night.
FRI-OCT. 22: 60-Wind W-Fair. Not much doing this forenoon. J.W.M. came up with a job of soldering. Started to pick apples and Charles Woodman came along. This afternoon we took the car and went up to the Depot. Got our pump and an order from Sear Roebuck & Co. Picked apples and got in the pumpkins. Tonight we went over to Bert Farmer’s house warming. Big crowd there. They gave him a dinner set, a table cloth and napkins, one set of knives, forks and spoons, 6 plates, glass dish, 3 chairs. Great time! Home about 11:15 (You’ll remember that Farmer’s house was burnt to the ground by a passing train and was replaced ay a new Aladdin home.)
SAT-OCT. 23: 55-Wind NW-Fair. Cold today, windy. Pa and I picked apples this forenoon. This afternoon we went up to Rufe Bailey’s to draw a special Juror, got Fred Webster and went over to notify him. Ma and I went to the Depot tonight and got some grahams. The Rev. had 2 men come this afternoon. Took them down to Point A in Salem (trolley stop?) tonight. Started at 8 and got back about 9. Good trip.
SUN-OCT. 24: 50-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot and got a paper. (Does anybody buy the Sunday paper anymore? It used be a highlight of the week.) We went at 6 o’clock. Not much doing. Rather cold.
MON-OCT. 25 60-Wind w-Fair. We went up to Harold Barker’s to see J. Ridge. Harold has just got a new 8 HP sawing rig. Not much doing. This afternoon Ma went to W.W. after grain. Pa and I picked the big russet tree. ( a golden apple tree.) Tonight J. Gagnon came down and we took him up to the train.
TUES-OCT. 26: 65-Wind S-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot this morning. Took J. Gagnon and 2 men over to the Goodwin place. Picked apples the rest of the forenoon. This afternoon picked apples and finished them up. Clouded up and looks like rain. Tonight we went up to Berry’s with the “bonds” cow. Thundering tonight.
WED-OCT. 27: 63– Wind W– Fair. Foggy this morning but cleared off fine and warm. Mr. French of the J.M. Company (John Mansville?) was here this morning with a roofing proposition. Pa & I dug potatoes awhile this afternoon. Ma went to Derry to get the horse shod. Pa and I dug potatoes. We got about 9 bushels dug. They have rotted some, about half the crop. What there is are good and sound.

Out, Out

Published by Robert Frost in 1916.

“Out Out” tells the story of a young boy who dies after his hand is severed by a “buzz-saw”. The poem focuses on people’s reactions to death, as well as the death itself, one of the main ideas being that life goes on. The boy lost his hand to a buzz saw and bled so profusely that he went into shock, dying in spite of his doctor’s efforts. Frost uses personification to great effect throughout the poem. The buzz saw, although technically an inanimate object, is described as a cognizant being — “snarling” and “rattling” repeatedly, as well as “leaping” out at the boy’s hand in excitement. Frost concentrates on the apparent innocence and passivity of the boy — which is relevant to the time period — as Frost was forced to move back to America due to war in Britain just a year before the poem was written. Bearing this in mind, the poem can be read as a critique as to how warfare can force innocent, young boys to leave their childhood behind, and ultimately be destroyed by circumstances created by the ‘responsible’ adult. The title of the poem alludes to William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth (“Out, out, brief candle …”Wikipedia

Buzz-saw from 1915 like the one seen by Olin Cochran.

Buzz-saw from 1915 like the one seen by Olin Cochran.

The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

WED-OCT. 28: 60-Wind W– Fair. Pa and I dug potatoes awhile in the forenoon. Dug about 7 1/2 bushels. This afternoon we took the Stude and went over to the Range to Dan Roy’s. Got home and picked up the potatoes. Tonight we went over to Hudson to the Grange meeting. Neighbor’s night. Big crowd, around 302, 45 from Windham, 40 from Pelham. Great time. Took the Rev. and Mary Burnham at 50 cents per person. Got home around 12:30. Good trip.
FRI-OCT. 29: 58-Wind S– Changeable. Not much doing today. We carried Ma and Nettie and Chilla Webber over to Jewitt’s to a Ladies’ Aid Meeting. Went after her at night. We did not do much. Got some stuff from the stone crusher. Cloudy, rain and fair today. Had to put the auto top up.
SAT-OCT. 30: 55-Wind W– Fair. The men came and sorted the apples this morning. Will Dinsmoor brought them at 2:25. Pa and I dug the rest of the potatoes this forenoon. 21 bushels in all. Awful windy today. This afternoon I worked on the car putting on a leather cover for the _______. Did not get quiet through.
SUN-OCT 31: 60-Windham S.W.-Fair. Not much doing this today. Pa and Ma went to the Depot and helped another auto out of the sand on the new road. They went to church. I did not go. Ma and I went for a walk in Arthurs’ pasture this afternoon. Windy today.
MON-NOV. 1: 60-Wind S.W.-Fair. Not much doing this forenoon. Pa and Ma washed. Finished up work on the auto. This afternoon Ma came out and we picked up the cider apples. All picked, russets and all. Nice and warm today. Great weather.
TUE-NOV. 2: 55-Wind W-Fair. Ma went to Manchester this forenoon. Took her up in the car and went after her. She got a $5 hat free. Pa and I went up to the mill with cider apples. Had 35 bushels @ 30 per 100 lbs. Counting the russets we must have picked about 50 bushels yesterday afternoon. Thunder shower came up and we got some wet coming home. Pa and I worked on the new shop the rest of the day. Got along pretty well. Jewett and wife came down this evening then Ma went to the Grange.
WED-NOV. 3: 50-Wind W-Changeable. All kinds of weather today. Nice this morning. Rained before noon, then cleared off cold this afternoon. Pa and I worked on the new shop today. Got the forge and the anvil out there and the doors on. Took Ma and a load down to Mrs. Smith’s to a W.W.C. meeting. (Woman’s Club) Pa and I went to Arthur’s to look over his pump.
THURS-NOV. 4: 65-Wind S.W.– Fair. Pa and I worked on the shop today. We finished the outside of the new shop and began to shingle the end of the old shop by the saw. Will Dinsmoor came and headed the apples this forenoon. Pa and I went up to the Depot in the Stude this afternoon.          FRI-NOV. 5: 45-Wind E.– Rain. Rained in good shape this forenoon. Pa took the apples up to the car. I worked in the blacksmith shop. This afternoon Pa and I worked in the dug well tearing out the old pump and putting a foundation for the new pump. Cold and rain today. Not much doing. Got a book on blacksmithing from L.R. & co.
SAT-NOV. 6: 55-Wind W-Fair. Selectmen meeting all day at the hall. I worked around the shop awhile this forenoon and shingled some more on the side. This afternoon I took the Selectmen up to the stone crusher in the car. Ma and I went to W.W. (West Windham) after grain. Pa and I went up to see Hutchinson’s tonight about painting the inside of the town house. Car ran well. Cold today.
SUN-NOV. 6: 50-Wind W.-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot and got a paper this morning. Then we went to church. Ma did not go. This afternoon we went down to Haverhill and took the River road to Lawrence and came home on the Turnpike. Took J. Park and Mary Ellen with us. Good trip. Car ran fine. Rather cool today. This is the first morning that the ground stiffened and water skimmed over in good shape.
MON-NOV. 8: 55-Wind S-Fair. Nice weather today. Pa and Ma washed this forenoon. We worked on the shop awhile. This afternoon we finished shingling the end of the main shop, this completes the outside. Pa and I husked the rest of the corn that was on the floor and got in another load. Warm today.
TUE-NOV. 9: 60-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I worked awhile on the pump this morning. Got it in place. Pa went down to the hall with a man to see about fixing the inside of it. This afternoon Pa and I took the Stude and went to Derry. We took nearly 15 bushels of russets up to the mill. Got the car weighed—2,705 lbs. There was a ___ which would make the car about 2,700 lbs. Got some pipe fittings. Paid 40 cents per 100 for the apples. Great day. Warm and nice.
WED-NOV. 10: 50-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I husked corn all the forenoon. We husked 8 bushels. This afternoon we put the husks up with the hayfork. Then we worked the rest of the time on the shop trying to loop a… Ma went down to Worledges to a meeting of the Ladies’ Aid afternoon and evening. Great time. Windy today.
THURS-NOV. 11: 55-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I husked out the rest of the corn that was on the floor. 5 bushels and got two loads more. Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain came over and had dinner. This afternoon we started to paint the shop, got to the end next to the road. Red and white trimmings. Bill Armstrong died this afternoon? There was a fire at Crowley’s the old Prescott place about 2 o’clock this morning. Caught from a chimney. No great damage done. Nice day today.

Advertisement for a 1915 Chalmers

Advertisement for a 1915 Chalmers

FRI-NOV. 12: 60-Wind W–Cloudy. Pa and I put away the mowing machine, horse rake, sulky plow ___. Then we killed 8 cats. Have 3 left now. We husked corn awhile. 2 bushels. This afternoon Ma went to West Windham after grain. Will Dinsmore came down in his Chalmers 6 and took Pa and I down to Lowell. Some ride! He averaged about 30 m.p.h and once down in Dracut he got going 50 m.p.h. We came back through the village at 43 and at Worledges Hill the car sailed up off the ground and came down with some bumps. Sprinkled a little tonight.
SAT-NOV. 13: 55-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I went down to the Warren place with Everett Griffin this morning. Then we worked painting the shop. Got along pretty well. Late in the afternoon Ma and I went up to Derry in the Stude. Car ran slick. We went down to the library tonight. Windy today and rather cold.
SUN-NOV. 14: 58-Wind SW-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot and got a paper. Then we all went to church. This afternoon we went up to Bill Armstrong’s funeral. 2 o’clock. Pa was a bearer. I went down to the Cemetery with Worledge and helped lower the box and fill in the grave. Clouded up tonight. Feels like snow.
MON-NOV. 15: 60-Wind W-Raining. Not much doing today. Pa and I worked in the shop. This afternoon Ma came out and we all husked corn. Did not rain much this afternoon. Grown very cold and windy tonight.
TUE-NOV. 16: 50-Wind W– Fair. Not much doing this forenoon. I worked around the shop and Pa and Ma washed. Pa and I went up to the 10:43 train and met Everett. Then went down to see about the fire at Crowley’s. Then took him to Pelham and met Gagnon and some men to look over Mrs. Stuart’s woodlot. Then we carried him up to the Depot and then went down to Crowley’s again. Went about 28 miles with the car. Roads some muddy. Pa and Ma went to the Grange tonight. Red___ ___ last night.
WED-NOV. 17: 50-Wind W– Fair. Ma was sick all day today. Not much doing. I went down to Gilson’s and got his pipe ____. Worked on the new pump and piping the engine. Cold today. Pa and I went to the Depot this noon.
THU-NOV. 18: 55-Windh W– Fair. Fine day. Ma and the bunch went to Derry to a WWC meeting. Worledge carried them up and Pa and I went after them tonight. Came down the Turnpike over the new road. Pa went down to Crowley’s this forenoon. Worked in the shop. Got the pump and engine pretty well piped.
FRI-NOV. 19: 58-Wind E– Rain. Pa went up to the lot and got a load of wood this morning. We started to run it up and the engine blew a hole in the piston. Began to rain so we went to work on the engine. Took out the piston and fixed it. Rained hard all day and cleared off to moonlight this evening. Never saw it rain much harder or clear off quicker. This afternoon we husked corn. 5 bushels. Not much doing.
SAT-NOV. 20: 50-Wind SW-Fair. Went around the R.F.D. route with Tellis today. “Henry Ford” has gone bad again. Got in by 11. Then Pa and I sawed up the 1/2 cord of wood for the Hall and took it down. The paint looks fine. They will be through in about a week. This afternoon Ma went to the Depot and got some grain. Cloudy. Pa got 1/2 cord of wood and sawed it up for Lizzy. Engine ran fine after we got it started. Took the car and went down to Crowley’s tonight.
SUN-NOV. 21: 53-Wind S. Cloudy. Ma and I went up to the Depot in the car and got a paper. Car ran fine. Then we all went to church. Nothing much doing. Nason’s folks came over this afternoon. Had a haircut. Dark and Cloudy. Curious weather.
MON-NOV. 22: 55-Wind W-Fair. Nice day. Went around the route with Tellis. Had good luck and go home about 11. Repaired the hitching post. Pa went down to Lizzy’s with a load of wood this afternoon. We got in one load of corn. Clear and cold tonight. The Gilson family came up this evening. Some men from Derry are at work painting the church.
TUE-NOV. 23: 50-Wind S-Fair. Tried to start the car to take Tellis around this morning and nothing doing. Went up to the depot in the team. Tellis took his horse for the first half of his route. I worked on the car, points and carburetor and got it running. Took Tellis around the last half and then he came and got his horse. We then took the car and went to Derry and got some Russet cider. Got home about 6. Car ran pretty well. (Neither the Ford or the Dodge were as reliable as a horse.)

Hunter's in Windham Shoot a horse.

Hunter’s in Windham Shoot a horse.

WED-NOV. 24: 50-Wind E-Cloudy. “First Snow” About an inch of snow on the ground this morning. Melted before night but was cloudy with snow squalls this afternoon. Not much doing. Worked around the shop. This afternoon Ma went to West Windham after grain. Pa and I husked corn.
THU-NOV. 25: 53-Wind N-Fair. “Thanksgiving” Pa and I went up to the Depot and got the mail this morning. J. Park and Mary Ellen came over and spent the day. Nice day. Good time. We started the engine and ran the new pump a few minutes. Got about 20 lbs. of pressure. About dark an auto ran off the road on Minister’s Hill, (Thompson’s) and took a pole out at the edge of the gravel pit. Made 4 pieces out of the telephone pole and pulled out the stump, twisted the lines, then they went along, zigging and ran into the wall by the side of the meadow. They did not stop and nobody knows who it was. Worledge, Pa and I fixed the line so it is working tonight.
FRI-NOV. 26: 54-Wind none-Fair. Spent the day fighting the crowds at the Black Friday sales. (Only kidding.) Not much doing this forenoon. Pa went up to the Depot. I worked in the shop. Put more aluminum paint on the engine pipes. Got the floor fixed on the ___. This afternoon we finished painting the shop, all but the trimmings on the end next to the saw. The gas man came and left 200 gallons of gas @ 20 cents and 25 gallons of kerosene @ .09 cents. Tonight we went down as far as Messenger’s after ___. Great weather today. Warm and nice.
SAT-NOV. 27: 60-Wind E-Fair. Nice day. Warm. This forenoon we started the engine and pumped some water. Ran about an hour and got the tank 1/2 full. Must be a leak somewhere. Charles Esty came down. Ran the lathe awhile. This afternoon Pa went down to the hall to a selectman’s meeting. I worked around the shop. Cloudy today.
SUN-NOV. 28: 58-Wind W-Fair. Nice day. Warm. Pa and I went up and got a paper. Pa went to church. Ma and I did not go. This afternoon got the car and found the gasoline pipe leaking. Got that fixed and went down to see F. Hadley. Got home about dark. Car ran well.
MON-NOV. 29: 60-Wind E.-Rain. Foggy and damp this morning. We dug up a water pipe leading from the well to the shop. The union on the suction pipe leaked and that was the reason the pump did not work faster. Began to rain and we gave it up. This afternoon I worked in the shop, put a circuit breaker on the engine. Ma came out and husked corn. Got about 15 bushels husked. Cleared off and is starlight tonight. The painters have got through painting the inside of the hall.
TUE-NOV. 30: 55-Wind W– Fair. Worledge broke his windshield hinge and Pa and I fixed that this forenoon. This afternoon Ma went down to the Hall to help decorate. Pa and I worked on the water pipe. Started the engine and ran about a 1/2 hour. Pumped better. The circuit breaker worked fine. Engine finally stopped as the battery gave out. Started about 4 o’clock and went to West Windham after grain. Got back around 5:30.
WED-DEC. 1: 50-Wind W-Fair. We took the Stude and went to Lawrence this forenoon. Got down there by 9 and left about noon. Court business. Car ran well. This afternoon there was a big Windham Woman’s Club meeting at the Hall. Ma went down. The neighboring clubs came, federation officers. Pa and I worked on the water pipe, put on a new union and I think we have it tight. Put some new batteries in the engine and it ran slick. Belts slipped some. Some fellows from Lawrence shot a horse accidentally, while deer hunting at Butterfield’s Rock on the Dracut road. Deer Season begins today and lasts until the 15th.

After writing this I received an e-mail from Tom Tufts. He povided photographs and more information about the Applecrest Tractor Demonstration that Olin Cochran talks about in his diary…He says, “No way to be sure if these attached pictures are from Applecrest or the tractor demo you mention in your blog post/diary entry. My grandfather’s negative envelope said 1915-1916 so the time is right. My grandfather James A Tufts II bought our farm on High Street in Exeter in 1923 but he was an ag. student at NHC (UNH) near this time also. Our farm was right on the corner of High street and rte 88 in Exeter which is the road to Applecrest.”

Here are his photographs for your enjoyment.




He has a blog dedicated to Tufts family genealogy.