Franklin Historical Society-- Franklin, New Hampshire

And finally, Desiree McLaughlin donated a 19th century photo album of unidentified people (except for two, both from Andover) who, more than likely, came from one extended family, but whose identities now sadly, are lost.

A new season begins, but the celebration of the past continues, as it should.

The older gentleman was William Wallace Edwards, Donna Hammill’s grandfather, a former mayor of Franklin (1915) and Superintendent of Franklin Mills. The younger man was Donald Edwards Button, her father. Considering how difficult it is to identify individuals in so many of these old photos, this was a wonderful addition to a familiar image.

Maj Desautel found a virtually unused box of latch needles from the Acme Needle and Knitting Machine Company (the building now occupied by CATCH housing on Memorial Street). Kathy Fuller brought to the Society personal items including David Fuller’s soap box derby helmet from when he was 13 years old, a “New Hampshire” cap from one of the Gilchrist family, pinback buttons reminding us all that “Girls Count Too” and for FHS sports teams “Happiness is Victory”, and from the Clothes Closet vintage card games, a framed photo of the Mount Washington, and illustrated greeting cards. Marie Creasey found more of Andy Nadeau’s materials, including newspaper articles (one from 2011 profiling him and detailing his penchant for history, particularly of the fire department) and several paper copy photos of the West Franklin trestle (yes, there was another very similar to the trestle we are now trying to save), the Sulloway mansion, the Hill (Bristol Branch) train, and an exterior Christmas time shot of JJ Newberry’s in 1958.

Judy Bibbins of the Franklin Planning Office, continues to source little treasures from Franklin’s past, this one courtesy of Todd Workman, who recovered them from the renovation of the IOOF Building. They are ad cards, providing a 1959 snapshot of life in Franklin, used no doubt as a fundraiser for the senior softball league, supported by the local businesses printed on the cards. For the older members, these names will bring back many memories...

Society News

Franklin Historical Society
April 2023

Current Newsletter

There is a definitely a change in the air. Even with winter reluctantly relinquishing its hold, any snow that now falls is almost instantaneously relegated to a mere memory. Warmer temperatures are now the norm during the day, and rain will now dominate over snow in the forecast. Spring is here! And with the change of seasons comes the advent of a new year for the Society. April marks the month for the the first meeting of 2023, and the annual call for membership dues. For those living outside of Franklin, the easiest way to stay current is mail your dues to the Franklin Historical Society, PO Box 43, Franklin, NH 03235. Rates are the same, and can be accessed on the Society’s website under “Membership” (you might also refresh your memory with the November minutes, on which their approval will be voted). Members who look forward to attending the April meeting on Thursday, April 6th, at 7 pm, at its Museum at Webster Place, may bring their checks or cash and pay then.  The speaker will be Mr. John Benham, detailing the decades–long history of the “Kearsarge Mountain Boys”, a group comprised of some of the most influential residents of Franklin. Photos of these people spanning many years will be available for attendees to help identify those whose names have been lost to time and failing memories. The meeting is open to all, and light refreshments will be served after the talk, and before the Society’s regular business meeting, to which all are encouraged to attend. Parking is behind the building (first on the right as you enter the property) and along Holy Cross Road (please pull completely off the pavement so as to not block the road).

Despite the Society’s official hiatus from December to April, donations continue regardless of the month, and some interesting tales have emerged from what has been gifted. The “lenticular lithograph” comprised of both the likeness of a young Daniel Webster and that of William Henry Harrison in his prime, and dressed in full military regalia, offered up a surprise. Upon replacing the front glass that had a length-wise crack, an inscription (possibly in the hand of the lithographer, Jules Lion) was discovered on the reverse backing that seemingly dated the piece as March 31, 1834. Considering that Harrison was working as an obscure court clerk in Cincinnati that year, after having served in the Ohio Senate, and Webster was still making a name for himself in the US Congress, why were they chosen as the subjects? Neither was specifically linked to the other at that time. So why were they paired for this lithograph, to possibly be displayed in France’s famous Paris Salon, prior to Lion’s emigration to the US in 1837? Instead of an answer, removing the piece from its frame only served to further the mystery as to its origin or purpose. One more riddle of history that will probably never be solved, but will certainly be the subject of considerable speculation.

Another lucky occurrence came in the form of a phone request. While trying to respond, phone calls to the supplied return number went unanswered. However, the lady fortunately called back, and a connection was made. Although she now lives in Ohio, both her grandfather and father worked at the M. T. Stevens Mill, and appeared in a well known panoramic photograph of the first annual employee outing in 1941. She was so kind as to email a digital section of the photo, pointing out her relatives.