FHS News

Freedom Historical Society Annual Meeting and Presentation of the 2022 Calendar of Remarkable People of Freedom’s Past: Wednesday, October 20

Members and friends of the Freedom Historical Society are invited to attend our Annual Meeting on Wednesday October 20 at 6:30 PM via ZOOM. It is free and open to members and the public.

After a brief business meeting reviewing 2021 programs, accomplishments and finances, there will be an election of officers and directors for 2022. The evening will then continue with a special presentation by Co-President Roberta MacCarthy and Director Anne Gaudette on the new calendar of “Remarkable People of Freedom’s Past”.

Our 2022 list of “remarkable people” who helped to shape Freedom and make it the special place it is today includes:

  • Moses, Benjamin, and Samuel Harmon on Scarboro Road
  • Mary Marston Ferren, a school teamer, mother, farmer, retail merchant, and dress and hat maker
  • Alonzo Fowler , the original owner of Margie Allard’s house – the home of the Freedom Historical Society
  • Frank Wood, supporter of the Freedom Library and Freedom Club of Boston
  • Charles Towle, called “Mr. Freedom”
  • Ralph Foster, owner of the Freedom Village Store for 30 years
  • John and Lillian Godfrey, community leaders of Freedom
  • Henry Lamb, engineer, outdoorsman, and advocate for the new elementary school
  • George Colby Weeks, stockbroker and lifetime Freedom resident
  • Barney T. Jones, civic leader, Freedom School Bus driver, and manager of the Freedom Village Store
  • Carroll Chase, who shared his love of fishing and organized the Freedom Fishing Derby
  • Alice Macy Miller, an accomplished artist who lived in Freedom Village and Berry Bay

Attendees are encouraged to bring memories and stories about the “Freedomites” featured in the new calendar.

Please join FHS for this important meeting and presentation via ZOOM at 6:30 PM on October 20, 2021. Register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the October 20 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 6:30 PM start time.  For additional information, please email fhsociety28gmail.com.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “A History of Freedom’s 1830 Meeting House” on Wednesday, September 15

Known by many today as the Masonic Temple, which sits atop Schoolhouse Hill next to the Town Office building, this historic building originally served as a Meeting House and later as a Baptist Church. Recently an agreement was made to transfer ownership of the building to the Town of Freedom while allowing the Masons to continue meeting upstairs. Come and learn about the many stories associated with this building over the last 191 years – a history intertwined with Freedom’s itself.

Alan Fall has deep Freedom roots, being descended from 7 of Freedom’s founding families. He is both a surveyor and historian, and is currently serving his third term as Master of the Masonic Lodge. Alan has served Freedom as a Selectman, School Board Member, and Cemetery Trustee, among other positions. His popular “Lesser Told Stories of Freedom” presentations and Freedom History Tours have been regular events during Old Home Week festivities for years.

Please join us for this free presentation at 7 PM on September 15 at the Freedom Town Hall. Seating will be limited due to Covid-19, and masks will be required. To ensure seating, attendees are requested to register for the event. Please email your reservation and number of guests to: fhsociety28gmail.com. For more information, please call 603-733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “John Winant: New Hampshire’s Man of the World” by Richard Hesse on Wednesday, August 18

John Winant is an obscure figure to almost all current New Hampshire citizens. Yet, he is easily New Hampshire’s most accomplished governor. In addition to serving three terms as governor and leading the state through the nation’s most trying economic crisis, Winant was an economic reformer who helped frame Social Security and was an international leader in the labor movement. He served as ambassador to Great Britain during World War II and was the most popular and influential American in England at that time. Winant’s life was marked by highs and lows, and ended tragically in his mansion in Concord. This program examines his life and measures his impact at home and abroad.

This program is presented by Richard Hesse, who is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. In 1974, he joined the faculty of Franklin Pierce Law Center (now University of New Hampshire School of Law), where he concentrated on state and federal constitutional law and international human rights. Professor Hesse has been an active advocate for civil and human rights for nearly 50 years, and was twice awarded the Bill of Rights Award by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. He has served as a NH Humanities Council speaker on a variety of programs in this field since the early 1980s.

The Freedom Historical Society is pleased to present this program through a grant from New Hampshire Humanities. Members of FHS and the public are welcome, and are invited to register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the August 18 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 7 PM start time.  For additional information, please call 603-733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “Mrs. J.C. Ferren’s Millinery, Dry and Fancy Goods Shop”

The museum exhibit, “Mrs. J. C. Ferren’s Millinery, Dry and Fancy Goods Shop,” opened in the Freedom Historical Society and Museum’s Works Barn on June 19. The exhibition aims to recreate an original women’s hat and dress shop that existed in Freedom between 1884 and 1908.

In addition to hats and clothing, Mary Marston (Mrs. J.C.) Ferren also sold accessories, textiles, stationery and other products used by the average townsperson of the time. The exhibit showcases these items from the Freedom Historical Society’s collection and on loan as they might have been displayed in Mrs. Ferren’s shop in the late 1800s. The exhibit aims to inform and educate visitors of the stories of Freedom’s past and give visitors the ability to experience the past from a first-person perspective.

Original shop of Mrs. J.C. Ferren on the second floor of the old Federal House in the center of Freedom

“Our original purpose was to display our collection of clothing and textiles of the late 1800s and early 1900s,” said Roberta McCarthy, Co-President of the Freedom Historical Society and Museum. “We also wanted to wrap the display around an interesting story of the times so that visitors have the opportunity to experience the past from a first-person perspective that reflects the identity and social history of Freedom.”

The exhibit, located at 28 Old Portland Road in Freedom, is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10AM to 12PM until September 18. During Old Home Week, July 30 to August 8, the exhibit is open every day from 10AM to 12PM. For more information, please visit freedomhistoricalsociety.org or call (603) 733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “A History of Scarboro Road” on Wednesday, July 21

Scarboro Road has always held a fascination for John Perkins — as a young boy, a teenager, a young adult, a husband, father, and now grandfather! His memories and recollections are numerous and varied: entering a home that had a funeral parlor; hearing people called “Cousin” but not knowing how they were related; a house that was moved from Scarboro Road to Old Portland Road; seeing a pond where the schoolhouse used to be; a brook running through the cellar to keep things cold; Saturday night summer cookouts at one residence with “The Road” invited and great fun making apple cider in October with “The Road”. Back when time moved more slowly, one could walk down to Margie’s, Bob Stuart’s Store, or Whittaker’s Store. In more recent years John has recognized the richness of the heritage of family and friends, plus appreciating the historical interrelationships between residences. For example: What is the original relationship between 231, 349 and 338 Scarboro Rd?

You won’t want to miss this presentation if you love the history of the Town of Freedom, or if one or more of the following surnames is a part of your family heritage or of friends that you knew: Alexander, Bennett, Birnie, Barrett, Black, Bradbury, Bucknell, Campbell, Carroll, Carter, Cleveland, Cuddy, Cunningham, Doe, Desharnais, Foss, Franke/McGarvey, French, Furbush, Gibbs 1, Gibbs 2, Glidden, Goff, Gordon, Halpern, Harmon 1, Harmon 2, Hatfield, Hodgdon, Kennedy/Morales, Kidder, Lamb/Steen, Lord, Lovering, Lozier, Marston, McDaniels, Meserve, Milliken, Mills, Nicholson, Perkins, Phelps, Philbrick, Rasquin, Sargent, Schluter, Sloboda/Dubroff, Smith, Stoops, Towle 1, Towle 2, Towle 3, Truelove, Vernon, Warren, Watts, Wogan/Zampell, Works, Vallacenti, and Youlden.

John Harmon Perkins is the 7th generation of the Harmon Family to live on Scarboro Road in Freedom, NH. He is the author of “The History of the Freedom Club of Boston and New Hampshire, 75th Anniversary” and “The History of the Freedom Club of Boston, New Hampshire and the Beach Club, 100th Anniversary.” As a genealogist, he also has amassed a database of over 2600 individuals, including many from Freedom.

John currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Freedom Historical Society and has compiled a forthcoming FHS publication which will inventory houses on Old Portland, Scarboro, Black, Phil and East Ridge Roads based on research under FHS auspices by Hillary Johnson.

Members of FHS and the public are welcome, and are invited to register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the July 21 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 7 PM start time.  For additional information, please call 603-733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “New England Quilts and the Stories They Tell” on Wednesday, June 16

Quilts tell stories, and quilt history is full of myths and misinformation as well as heart-warming tales of service and tradition. Nearly every world culture that has cold weather uses quilted textiles – quilting is not just an American art. Pam Weeks weaves world history, women’s history, industrial history and just plain wonderful stories into her presentation. Participants are invited to story-share about one of their own quilts. Prompted in part by the material culture at hand, Pam may speak about fashion fads, the Colonial Revival, quilt-making for Civil War soldiers, and anything else quilt-related she can squeeze in.

Pamela Weeks is the Binney Family Curator of the New England Quilt Museum. Author of the book Civil War Quilts and articles on quilt history, she lectures nationally on quilt-making and quilt history. Weeks uses quilts to tell stories of the Civil War, women’s and industrial history.

FHS is proud to present this free online Zoom program in partnership with New Hampshire Humanities. Members of FHS and the public are welcome, and are invited to register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the June 16 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 7 PM start time.  For additional information, please call 603-733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “Wit and Wisdom: Humor in the 19th Century New England” on Wednesday, May 19

Whatever did New Englanders do on long winter evenings before cable, satellite and the internet? In the decades before and after the Civil War, our rural ancestors used to create neighborhood events to improve their minds. Community members (male and female) would compose and read aloud homegrown, handwritten literary “newspapers” full of keen verbal wit. Sometimes serious, sometimes sentimental but mostly funny, these “newspapers” were common in villages across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and revealed the hopes, fears, humor and surprisingly daring behavior of our forbearers. Jo Radner shares excerpts from her forthcoming book about hundreds of these “newspapers” and provides examples from villages in New England.

Jo Radner received her PhD from Harvard University. Before returning to her family home in western Maine as a freelance storyteller and oral historian, Radner spent 31 years as a Professor at American University in Washington, DC. There she taught literature, folklore, women’s studies, American studies, Celtic studies, and storytelling. She has published books and articles in all those fields and is now writing a book titled “Performing the Paper: Rural Self-Improvement in Northern New England, about a 19th century village tradition of creating and performing handwritten literary newspapers. Radner is a past President of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network.

FHS is proud to present this free online Zoom program in partnership with New Hampshire Humanities. Members of FHS and the public are welcome, and are invited to register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the May 19 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 7 PM start time.  For additional information, please call 603-733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “A Walk Back in Time: The Secrets of Cellar Holes” on Wednesday, April 28

Northern New England is full of reminders of past lives: stone walls, old foundations, a century-old lilac struggling to survive as the forest reclaims a once sunny dooryard. What forces shaped settlement, and later abandonment, of these places? Adair Mulligan explores the rich story to be discovered in what remains behind. See how one town has set out to create an inventory of its cellar holes, piecing together the clues in the landscape. Such a project can help landowners know what to do if they have archaeological sites on their land and help stimulate interest in not only a town’s past but its future.

Adair Mulligan has a runaway curiosity about the natural and cultural history of northern New England. She is the author of “The Gunstock Parish: A History of Gilford, New Hampshire”, and has also contributed to a number of publications, including “Proud to Live here in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont“ and “Beyond the Notches: Stories of Place in New Hampshire’s North Country.” Adair writes the quarterly “Lyme Historian” newsletter and is the author of several publications about Lyme’s past. She is co-leading a project to survey the town’s many cellar holes. In her spare time, she works on her historic home in Lyme. Executive Director of the Hanover Conservancy, Adair holds a master’s degree in Environmental Biology from Smith College.

FHS is proud to present this free online Zoom program in partnership with New Hampshire Humanities. Members of FHS and the public are welcome, and are invited to register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the April 28 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 7 PM start time.  For additional information, please call 603-733-9307.

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Freedom Historical Society Presents “Defenders of Freedom: A presentation of the Freedom NH Military Veterans Exhibit” on Wednesday, March 24

For those who missed the Freedom Historical Society’s Military Veterans exhibit in 2020, or who visited but would like to see and hear more, this program is for you!  The Veterans exhibit was created for a unique and specific purpose: to preserve, share, and celebrate the personal experiences of our Freedom veterans, past and present, in all branches of service.  Their stories helped shape our nation, and their experiences are Freedom’s legacy.

John Shipman, current Co-President of the Freedom Historical Society (FHS), will present “Defenders of Freedom.” He has also been President of the Board of Directors since 2012.  John initiated the work on this collection and prepared the exhibit, with some help, in 2020.  John, a veteran himself, served in the U.S. Army from 1968-1972 as a Lieutenant.

The program presentation will show photos of military items (uniforms, memorabilia, etc.) in the FHS collection, and will put them into the context of each veteran’s military service.  The Freedom Historical Society has also compiled the basic records of almost 500 veterans who have lived in Freedom, ranging from the civil War to the War in Afghanistan.

You are invited to learn what the Veterans exhibit tells us by joining us for the virtual program on Zoom at 7 PM on Wednesday, March 24. The program is free and open to the public.

Members of the society and the public are invited to register in advance at the following link to receive access information.

Click on the below Zoom button to register for the March 24 program.

Please join the Zoom meeting prior to the 7 PM start time.  For additional information, please call 603-733-9307.

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The Freedom Historical Society’s 2021 calendar makes a great gift for friends and family!

The following “Freedomites” are featured in the 2021 calendar, and each helped to shape Freedom and make it the special place it is today: Sarah Mears Maynard, Fred Ellsworth Weed Sr., Fred Godfrey, Henry E. Utter, Edith Jane Miller Lakin, Alexandre de Zaliwski, Eliot Vestner, Avis T. Goss, George Thomas Davidson Jr., Chester W. Jones, William Robert Candy, and Charles H. Watts II.

Calendars may be purchased in multiple ways:

  • In person at the Freedom Village Store, the Freedom Gallery, and the Freedom Historical Society (on Wednesdays from 10 AM to Noon).
  • Via PayPal on our website store; click here.
  • Via mail-in check: send a check in the amount of $18 (which includes $3 for shipping) to the Freedom Historical Society at PO Box 548, Freedom, NH 03836.

You will not want to miss it!

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Select the Freedom Historical Society while shopping on AmazonSmile and have a portion of your Amazon purchases donated to FHS!  (For more information about AmazonSmile, click here.)


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