FHS News

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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