Franklin Historical Society
December 2019

Those who braved the inclement weather with a threat of snow and freezing temperatures to attend the November meeting enjoyed watching flickering images of parades, carnival, football and baseball games and the class day parade of 1929, all courtesy of Red Young’s camera and Porter Young’s generosity. Also included were what appeared to be “home movies” of either the Smyth or Hancock families frolicking at the seashore, swimming, diving, and canoeing at Webster Lake, golfing at Mojalaki, and riding the cog railway with brief views of the summit. All of these films date to c. 1930, and reflect a carefree spirit and relief from the ongoing Great Depression. This meeting was the last of the 2019 season, with the final event of the year being the Christmas Pot-luck dinner to be held at Thompson Hall, Sunday, December 8th, from 4-7 pm. All members, their friends and family are invited to partake. As in the past, non-perishable items are welcome as donations to the local food pantry so that the spirit of the season may be shared with all. 

Despite the season of monthly meetings, events, and open museum hours has come to a close, the mission of the Society continues unabated. The preservation and inventorying of artifacts, photos, and documents continues through the winter months, albeit in somewhat chillier conditions (the Society’s building maintains sufficient heat only to thwart the danger of frozen pipes while not damaging any of its historic contents). To the archives will be added the following donations from the generous people the Society herein deeply thanks: Mary and Steve Foley, for a framed color 8 x 10 photo taken not long ago by Betty Pauwels of Mojalaki, its future now to be anything but a golf course, a 20 x 25 framed oil on canvas from artist Mary Y. Roby entitled “New England Fall”, three Franklin sesquicentennial mugs and a sesquicentennial plate, two Franklin annual reports, a 1902 copy of the Annual Report of the Home for Orphans, the NH Register for 1929-30, a book of Old Maps of Merrimack County, and a copy of the 1968 Winter Carnival booklet; Ken Barrett (who is retiring from the auction business, and will be sorely missed as one of the true gentlemen of the trade), for a c. 1918 program and menu from a Banquet and Dance held at the Franklin Opera House to honor all those who served during WWI; Linda Pauwels, for recent local obituaries and newspaper clippings featuring items of regional interest; Wanda Hebert, for pin-back buttons from Winter Carnival, Frontier Days, 1995 Centennial; Friend of the Society, for two Civil War-era letters, one from Annie Nesmith to her brother “Sid” (1st Lt. 3rd NH Regt.) dated 1861, mentioning the Mason and Slidell capture, and the other from Arthur Sidney Nesmith to his sister, dated 1866; Mary Foley, for more pots for next year’s plant sale plus gardening books to sell; Gail Brophy Barry, for a “demitasse” set (glasses, decanter, glass tray) given to her mother, Genevieve Buchanan (Brophy), in 1935 by Nellie Fresh, when both families lived on E. Bow St.; and Kay Judkins Spratt, for a commemorative silver spoon of the “Hillsboro Bridge”. It is a joy to receive such gifts, and the stories that accompany them, to give life to the never-ending narrative that is Franklin’s history.


When a supporter of the Society has a treasured item with which they do not care to part at the present time, the Society has always encouraged that the owner share photos or scans so that the Society at least has a digital record in its archives. In the last month, the Society received from the following contributors images of precious items the Society would never have known existed otherwise.  Lisa Martin emailed copies of photos documenting the dedication of Roger Martin Field during WWII with a photo of the original notification telegram; a lovely lady named Pat, from North Carolina, sent a photo of the photo of the FHS Class of 1904 in which both of her grandparents were pictured; Bob Desrochers sent a photo of his father’s jacket with the “Wounded Duck” (honorable service) patch proudly displayed; John Marrapese emailed a photo of the Webster Lake RR station sign protectively displayed in John’s home; and Dwight Gould Sr. emailed along scans of a poster he had acquired announcing the 1904 auction of the Gile homestead (the current owner, John Gile, was ecstatic when copies were forwarded on to him). So although the Society will not meet again until April of 2020, the work to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the story of Franklin, like history itself, never stops.


The Society will again be participating in the Franklin Opera House’s “Festival of Trees” this month. Winner of the decorated tree will also receive a one-year membership, copies of Alice Shepard’s “History of Franklin” and “Daniel Webster”, and a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum at 21 Holy Cross Road. If you want to give some unique and educational gifts this Yuletide, please consider contacting president Leigh Webb (934-8222) for access to all the merchandise (books, postcards, T-shirts, commemorative items, memberships) the Society has for sale.

And finally, from all the officers and board members of the Society, the heartfelt wish to have a SAFE and HAPPY Holiday Season!

 [In the spirit of the season, this month’s image is of a vintage Christmas card, from about 1910]

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Franklin Historical Society-- Franklin, New Hampshire

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