Nelson, NH in the New York Times

by on February 4, 2016 in Home Page, Life in Nelson

February 3rd, 2016 New York Times. To see the online article click here..

Vote on February 9th

by on January 26, 2016 in Home Page, Promote

Nelson Polls are open on Tuesday, February 9th at 8am and close at 7pm.

The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of national primaries which are held in the United States every four years. The primary determines Democratic and Republican party nominees for the national presidential elections. The national presidential elections are held the following November.

Nelson Primary Sample Ballots

Gardening for Pollinators

by on January 26, 2016 in Ag Com, Home Page, Promote
Ag Winter Series LogoIMG_3468 (1)
Saturday, January 30th, 11 a.m. at the Library
What kind of pollinators are buzzing around in Nelson? How do they help us? How can we help them?
In this presentation, local beekeeper, Val Van Meier, will give us a “State of the Pollinators” report. Val will talk about plants that we can grow in Nelson to encourage pollinators, and she’ll discuss other ways that we can support a healthy habitat for these vital creatures.  
Are you ready to find out what the buzz is all about?

Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt Perform in Nelson

by on January 18, 2016 in Home Page, Promote

Fri, Jan 22nd, 2016 – 8:00 PM – Nelson Town Hall
The Monadnock Folklore Society presents Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt in concert at 8:00 PM on Friday, January 22, at the Nelson Town Hall.  Admission is $15 in advance and  $18/$15(students and seniors) at the door
While each of these musicians has had successful solo careers, this concert celebrates 35 years of opportunities they have had to perform together, also marked by three recordings. They return to the Nelson with old favorites and new songs, blending amazing voices and dulcimers and guitars and having a rollicking good time.
Larry Ames
Monadnock Folklore Society

Game night

by on January 11, 2016 in Home Page, Library, Promote

Back by popular demand, a social gathering to lubricate our passage through the dark winter months,Game Night at the Library


7pm Thursday

January 14th

Everyone welcome. Come and join your neighbors for cards, board games, scrabble, etc. Bring your favorite game if you like. We hope to see you there.

For more information call the library at 603-847-3214

Nelson Trail Committee January Winter Hike

by on January 11, 2016 in Home Page, Nelson Trail Group, Promote


Dave Patek showing the group an old photo of the house at Merriconn.

 Written by Linda Cates
Saturday morning, January 9, Dave Patek of the Nelson Trail Committee led a hike to the high meadows off Cabot Road. We were hoping to see the views of Mount Monadnock, Crotched Mountain and the Great Meadow, but the views were fogged out. That didn’t dampen the spirit of the 11 hikers who enjoyed a beautiful morning in good company. You are invited to join the next Nelson Trail Committee hike – across Nubanusit to Spoonwood Dam on February 20.

Trail Committee Hikes

by on January 11, 2016 in Calendar, Home Page, Nelson Trail Group, Promote


The Nelson Trail Group will lead hikes to some of Nelson’s

2016 hikes kulish

Kulish Ledges in Wintertime.

most beautiful places this winter.

On February 20th Dave Birchenough will lead a walk over the ice on Nubanusit to Spoonwood Pond and back.  This is an easy hike into beautiful, isolated Spoonwood Pond and the dam built over 150 years ago to harness its waters for the mills in Harrisville. The timing of this trip will be announced closer to the event. We’ll be hiking from Dave’s house at the dam on Nubanusit.

2016 hikes 2

Hikers relax at Spoonwood dam.

March 5th, time to be announced, Al Stoops will lead a hike along the base of the cliffs below the East Pinnacle and Kulish Ledges. This trip is part of a Nelson Trail Group effort to explore the territory between the cliffs, White Pond and Spoonwood Pond with the objective of adding a trail to the growing network near the Kulish Ledges Trail and the soon-to-be town land on Osgood and Hurd Hills.  This hike will be about a half day. Timing and other details will be announced a little closer to March 5th. Submitted by Rick Church


Are You Game?

by on January 10, 2016 in Home Page, Library

Back by popular demand, a social gathering to lubricate our passage through the dark winter months,Game Night at the Library


Thursday,   January 14th


Everyone welcome. Come and join your neighbors for cards, board games, scrabble, etc. Bring your favorite game if you like. We hope to see you there.

For more information call the library at 603-847-3214

What People Are Saying about The Greengate Saga


by Karen Tolman

If you don’t already have a copy of The Greengate Saga, get yours from me at or 603-827-3226, or borrow it from our library, and read my newly printed manuscript about our family efforts that made a little bit of recent Nelson history. The manuscript is over a hundred spiral-bound pages of narrative, newspaper attachments, photographs and more, that tells the thirty-year old story of how, with the help of family, friends, neighbors, large doses of legal help and lots of luck, we were able to reverse the ominous sale of nearly five hundred acres of prime Nelson real estate (including over a mile of shore frontage on Spoonwood Pond) and direct it toward its present conserved status.

Meanwhile, here’s what people are saying:

Oh, my god, what a story!” JE

You have captured the story perfectly—the humor, tragedy, suspense––everything.” JC

You did a great job on The Greengate Saga––there were lots of twists and turns in the story that I certainly didn’t know about and to your credit you made sense from what was looking to be a catastrophic loss for the family and the town.” SG

There seems to be a villain, a victim, a hero and a spy!” RC

All I can say is: well written, great anecdotes, a rollicking good time––though I bet it was a lot more fun to read than to live. I think you should fictionalize it, change the town to Darby and you’ll have a story worthy of Ernie.” TL

I loved LOVED The Greengate Saga. It was informative, entertaining, funny, sad and, above all, human. It’s an excellent framework for a movie by an independent filmmaker.” EH

You definitely have the gift of the Tolman yarn, with a wry twist. A great read––that fleshed out so many gaps in the story. One of my biggest pleasures was the unexpected addition to the tales of the drawings––fabulous all, especially of the Rolls Royce.” DS

Well, first tears welled up at the memories, then laughter, then grateful that I knew all of you so dutifully involved.” HW

Congratulations, Karen. It was an honor for me to play a small part in the story, and quite the exciting experience for a young lawyer still wet behind the ears. Your writing brings it all back as though it happened just yesterday. You have done us all proud.” JC

Spectacular imagery in your storytelling. I loved The Greengate Saga, learned a lot and have a new appreciation for the protection of this most special place on earth.” DB

I really enjoyed reading through this. You write well, and you have some great material. I hadn’t heard ‘Going Out’ or all the details about the fun and games at the nursing home. Very funny!” MC

An enjoyable tale of a close family from our own Nelson.” DB

What a great tale from the archives of the Tolman family. It’s well written, organized and illustrated. Interesting to the end. Thank God, we all don’t have such interesting relatives because few of us have such wonderful writers to tell their tales.” CM

You stepped in and salvaged life and land.” JM

Annual Solstice Party

by on December 17, 2015 in Concert, Contra Dance, Home Page


On Saturday, December 19, we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 pm at the Nelson Town Hall.

The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $5, and treats are appreciated for the dessert potluck. This year the evening will begin with a holiday concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music performed by The Solstice Sisters(Alouette Iselin, Melanie Everard, Kim Wallach, Heather Bower, & Allison Aldrich) and friends; AND as part of the concert, this year’s Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient, Will Huntley, will entertain us with his musicianship.

The Folklore Society invites you to bring along your favorite holiday dessert and we’ll supply the beverages for the intermission.

After the concert the chairs and benches are cleared to make way for a traditional New England Contradance. Unfortunately, or not, the dance is often interrupted by various groups of unsavory characters presenting their idea of seasonal entertainment. These diversions, sometimes involving costumed individuals making complete fools of themselves or performing ancient ritual dances to help us through this dark time of the year, are generally tolerated as once they are applauded and fed we can return to dancing the night away.

Violin Shop Open House

by on December 2, 2015 in Home Page

Open House Hunt Smith

Origami with Linda Singer

by on December 1, 2015 in Art, Home Page, Library

IMG_2358 (1)This origami star was created by Linda Singer.  On Saturday,  December 5th at 11am the library will host a class to make this ornament or pin.

If you are interested in origami classes at the library please email or call 603-847-3214.  All events at the library are free and open to the public.

Sustainability and Stewardship: Energy, Entropy, Enterprise

by on November 25, 2015 in Home Page, Sustainability Group

Energy and Entropy – The Poster – Click here


Presents Sustainability and Stewardship:

Energy, Entropy, Enterprise

second in a series of presentations by DAVID VOYMAS

An evening of Art! Physics! Archaeology & History! Warfare! Gadgets… and more!

Thursday, Dec. 3, 7 pm

Nelson Town Hall


by on November 9, 2015 in Home Page


2015 Celebrate Nelson

by on October 27, 2015 in Home Page, Life in Nelson, Social Event

Nelson’s creative juices will be on display once again.

So, join us to help


Saturday, November 7, 2015

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The Nelson Town

 The Olivia Rodham Library Lower Level

The Old Library

Celebrate-Nelson-SceneCelebrate Nelson 2014

Living among the trees and hills and valleys and neighborhoods of our little town, the people of Nelson will leave their homes on November 7 and gather in Nelson Village to overflow it with items for sale and/or information about their hobbies, passions, occupations and livelihoods:

sawing complex jigsaw puzzles

clearing walking trails in our woods

folding paper into origami

protecting the water quality of our lakes and ponds

boiling maple syrup

recording CDs of local performing artists

advocating for agricultural activities

planning art exhibits for Nelson’s sestercentennial

writing about Nelson’s history, as well as fiction and poetry

wrapping beads with wire into custom jewelry

crafting by some of Nelson’s school children

extracting local honey

continuing the Friends of the Library summer book sale

painting landscapes, flowers and abstracts

performing live on the stage in our preserved Town Hall

constructing wreathes for our holiday doors

studying Nelson’s future sustainability

carving wood into decoys

preparing a revised local phone book

drawing Zentangles on shelf mushrooms

revamping Hotel Nelson Revisited into a CD

spinning yarns, stuffing duvets, weaving and knitting with wool from Nelson’s sheep

sculpting forms from stone

selling food from what’s prepared in our kitchens and grown in our fields

and handcrafting many more items that add to this impressive variety of skills

Don’t forget the new edition of the Nelson Phone book being sold for $2 in the lower level of the library.

And, if this list doesn’t tempt you, come by to pick up the 3rd annual “collector’s item” calendar depicting old photographs from Nelson and Munsonville. This 2016 edition focuses on the occupations, hard work and passions of some of our earlier residents—thus honoring their contributions to our town.

There will be door prize drawings for those who visit all three venues

Light refreshments will be available

Don’t miss this wonderful display of

the many talents of our Nelson neighbors

Farm Tour

by on October 14, 2015 in Home Page

Farm Tour

October 17thchickens

11:00 – 2:00

The farm tour is a day for families in the

community to come and enjoy a day of old-

fashioned fun at the farm.

Apple Cider pressing meet local farmers and

learn about their sheep, chickens, goats and

cows and more.

Come and meet a month old Alpaca, or simply

pet it’s mother. Turkeys, donkeys goats and

A hayride is scheduled for 1:30. Please note

persistent rain will postpone the hayride.

We invite you to join in the autumn fun!

See reverse side for a listing of

participating farms.

Fraser Farm, 475 Old Stoddard Rd., Nelson

Barbara Fraser’s farm is a small family farm trying to

produce organically raised meat and vegetables. Animals are

a major part of our farm, they provide compost for the

garden as well as provide, lamb, chicken & eggs which we sell

to a local store. Apple Cider pressing as long as we have

–Barrett Farm, 66 Old Towne Rd., Munsonville

Farmers Nick, Becky, & Jackson Barrett. Is the home of

Granite Lake Maple Products, it also boasts a variety of other

goods.  On their farm they raise & sell their own beef, chicken

& eggs. Goats are raised for live sale. In addition Becky’s

home baked breads, pies, freezer meals, pickles and other

home canned goodies are also available for purchase.

Bunce Farm, 381 Granite Lake Road  Munsonville

John & Ann Bunce’s farm was established in the late 1700’s,

early 1800’s.  Original barns are gone but house has

survived.  To keep Mother Nature at bay, polled Dorset sheep

were brought back to the farm in 1976.  With modern

equipment and sheep grazing, 20 open acres have been

reestablished and provide balance between open land and

woodland along with a three-acre pond.

Hay Ride starts at 1:30

Their Heaven Can Wait Farm, 161 Centre St.,  Sullivan

Fifteen years ago Darrell and Donna Waterson started a farm

for abused and neglected animals.  Seven years ago the farm

moved to Sullivan.  There is such a variety of farm animals it

takes seventeen feeding stations to feed them individually.

All are friendly and love to be visited by young and old.

Come see the one-month-old alpaca!   Donations to “Their

heaven can wait farm” are accepted but not expected.

All Day Shape Note Singing at Apple Hill

by on October 14, 2015 in Home Page, Music

sacred harp book

Here are the eagerly awaited details for the all-day shape-note singing in Nelson on Saturday, October 17, hosted by the Keene State College Chamber Singers and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music: The singing school portion, to be conducted by Thomas Malone, will be from 10 am to noon, followed by a pot-luck lunch from noon to 2 pm and singing from The Sacred Harp from 2 to 5. Please spread the invitation as broadly as you can; a flyer is attached below.  If you have access to extra copies of the 1991 Denson book and could bring them along we would be grateful, as there will be a number of brand-new singers among us.  For non-Nelsonites, you can find directions on Apple Hill’s website:

Insanity Above Spoonwood Pond

by Rick Church

 From the top of City Hill, overlooking Spoonwood and Nubanusit, 1906

From the top of City Hill, overlooking Spoonwood and Nubanusit, 1906

High above Spoonwood Pond sits a special place called Greengate. Today the scene is one of a beautiful house sited to take full advantage of majestic views and surrounded by nicely kept landscaping. What was it like in 1904 when William S. Hall bought the property from Wilmer Tolman? Tolman farmed when he could spare time from his mill at Mosquitobush, hiring out his teams for construction work and catering to the needs of city people who came to rent his cabins. He owned hundreds of acres of old farmland in Nelson; much of that had returned to forest.

We know from photographs taken then that Hall could see the view that we see today and that Samuel Adams saw when he first cleared the site in the late eighteenth century. The old Adams home was certainly gone when Hall built a home on the old cellar hole. There might have been a few roses or lilies left to remind us of the people who’d lived there. In pictures taken at the time we can see that the apple trees Adams planted still graced a field growing wild. The new place designed by Hall’s friend and relative, Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr. was planned to provide easy living in a tranquil spot with spectacular views of the ponds and Mount Monadnock. Olmsted was the namesake and son of America’s most famous landscape architect, the designer of New York’s Central Park. The son became a nationally renowned urban planner and landscape architect in his own right and helped Theodore Roosevelt found the National Park Service.

Nubanusit from porch at Greengate, about 1910

Nubanusit from porch at Greengate, about 1910

Hall reclaimed the old Adams hilltop developing what we now call Greengate. Here he retreated from his Boston law practice to enjoy the serenity of the view and the company of his friend Louis Cabot, another summer refugee from Boston who lived nearby at Merriconn Farm. Sarah Sharples Olmsted (wife of Frederick) and the Sharples family inherited the place when their batchellor cousin, Hall, died in 1937 and they sold it to Newt and Janet Tolman when Olmsted retired to California in 1950. Certainly the place created by Hall could be called scenic, beautiful and even serene. Just the sort of ambiance to calm a busy Boston lawyer, reinvigorate a well-known designer and inspire Newt Tolman’s writing and music.

Haying below Greengate

Haying below Greengate

In 1810 the farm of Samuel and Sarah Adams was blessed with views of Spoonwood and Mount Monadnock, but the scene could not be described as serene or inspiring. Adams was in crisis and Adams’ twenty-two year old son, Joseph, had put his own prospects in jeopardy trying to hold his family together and save the farm. Samuel Adams state of mind could hardly be called calm or serene, he had gone insane, run up huge debts and brought his wife and their children to a state of crisis.

Insanity afflicted the early settlers of Packersfield just as it does people today. Samuel Adams, the town’s only documented case, was a Revolutionary War veteran who ran up huge debts and threw his family on town support. The condition we call posttraumatic stress disorder was first documented in 1867 after it was discovered that the Civil War had affected the mental health of a number of its veterans. Packersfield’s Samuel Adams may have been the town’s first case. His huge debts suggest his illness had a manic element. It is impossible, of course, to diagnose him from a distance of over two hundred years.

Samuel Adams bought his forty-acre farm at the site of Greengate in 1778. He cleared the farm and moved his wife and first child there about two years later. Children arrived at the regular two-year intervals until there were five in the fall of 1790. At some point Samuel became insane and lost the ability to manage his affairs. He lost the farm and became, with his wife and three of their children, the town’s most expensive welfare burden.

Adams fought in the Revolution starting with the Lexington alarm marching with the minutemen from Dedham, Massachusetts. He enlisted for the balance of 1775 and 1776. Adams enlisted again from Packersfield in March of 1781 serving until April of 1783. His discharge papers describe him as “age 28 years, stature 5 ft. 5 in. tall.”i

At first things seem to have gone well for the Adams; as the children came, he added to his farm purchasing an additional 12 acres in 1799 for $25. Samuel and Sarah’s last seventh and last child, John, was born in January of 1801. Sometime after that Samuel’s management of his affairs began to unravel. Parke Struther’s History of Nelson New Hampshire reports that Samuel had gone insane.

By age fifty-five Samuel Adams was deeply in debt and in danger of losing everything. It was left to Adam’s third son, twenty-two year old Joseph Adams, to attempt to save the family farm by adding his labor and credit to expand the farm and make it more successful. In 1810 he bought 60 acres on the “Island” between Nubanusit Lake and Spoonwood Pond to add to his father’s farm. His father’s debts had mounted, undoubtedly preventing the senior Adams from financing the deal himself. Later that same year Joseph bought his father’s farm and mortgaged it so that the elder Adams had $700 to pay of his debts in full. This was a huge amount of indebtedness for a farmer with 112 acres to incur, far exceeding the value of the home farm itself.

For two years Joseph and Samuel attempted to make the farm support the family, but it wasn’t sustainable; their taxes and other bills went unpaid. The burden of his father and the hard times engendered by the Embargo of 1809ii was too much to overcome. In 1812 Joseph petitioned the selectmen to take care of his parents:

“Under existing circumstances I feel myself incapable to take care of my Honored Parents as I should wish and I think that a seperation [sic] would be for their and my benefit. This is to desire your interference in the way your wisdom may point out. Joseph Adams”iii

The town formed a three-person committee to recommend a solution. Joseph Adams agreed to turn over to the town all the real estate and property he had received from his parents and the Town agreed “to keep Joseph safe” from the responsibility for his parents. Thaddeus Barker was appointed agent to take care of the Adams and their eleven-year old son, John.

The selectmen received the deed to the Adams farm from Joseph Adamsiv and 1 pair 3-year old oxen, 2 cows, a 2 year old heifer, 1 yearling heifer, 1 calf, 11 sheep and 2 swine. Joseph paid all of the debts owed by his father amounting to $46.13. He sold the “Island” pasture to the Bryant family. The town rented out the Adams farm for a number of years to cover some of the Adams’ costs. Having lost their home, the Adams were housed with other families at town expense. This was done annually at town meeting in a process called “bidding out” where the pauper was the subject of a public reverse auction in which people bid to provide their care.

Bidders under this system were entitled to whatever labor the pauper could provide. As the Adams advanced in age and Samuel’s mental state deteriorated, the family became increasingly expensive. By 1820 they were the town’s most expensive welfare case at $153.13. The town budget that year was $2237.20; the school budget, $451.95 and the welfare expenditures in total were $637.81 covering 27 people. (1820 Nelson census: 907 inhabitants.) The Adams’ daughters, Polly (22) and Fanny (28) were on the town’s list of paupers on and off over the ensuing years.

As a Revolutionary War veteran and a pauper, Samuel Adams was due a pension. In 1818 the town undertook an effort to obtain that pension. Henry Wheeler drove Adams to Fitzwilliam where Judge Parker dealt with his pension application. Based on his declaration of service, Adams obtained pension certificate number 10.826. This was followed by a town-paid trip to Marlow to collect the pension resulting in the Town’s receipt of Adam’s first pension payment in the amount of $85. Adam’s yearly pension of $46.67 became a regular part of the town’s receipts, but was hardly enough to cover the substantial cost. Selectmen regularly appeared in the Court of Common Pleas to attest to Adam’s continued poverty and so maintain the pension. The July 4, 1820 petition to the court declared that Adams had no means of support and was insane.v

In 1824 the town sold the 52-acre Adams farm for $482.40. Adams died in 1832 at the age of seventy-seven. Sarah followed him five years later. They are probably buried together in the Nelson Cemetery, but their graves are unmarked. Up on the old place his apple trees are gone but not his stonewalls.

All we know of Samuel’s son, Joseph, is that he married Azubah Henrys in Packersfield in 1811. He doesn’t appear in town records after he sold his land on the “Island” to the Bryant family in 1815. He probably joined the growing number of Packersfield men who went west to New York for a new start.

i This according to his pension declaration made on 10/7/1818. [One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Settlement of Nelson, New Hampshire 1917. Nelson Picnic Association]

ii Packersfield sent a petition to the Congress of the United States that gives a picture of the impact of this law on farmers. It read in part: “We are generally cultivators of the soil earning our bread by the sweat of the brow. Many of us are in debt for our land or buildings; we have no means of paying our contracts or taxes, nor purchasing necessaries for our families but by selling our surplus produce. Of this modest payment we are deprived by the embargo restrictions.”

iii Nelson Town Records Vol. 4.1 p. ?

iv Nelson Town Records Vol. 4.1 p. 119 12/11/1812

v Cheshire County Court Records, Historical Society of Cheshire County

The author thanks Ethan Tolman for his editorial help.

Harvest Market at the Nelson School

by on September 22, 2015 in Ag Com, Home Page, Nelson School



September 26th, 2015  9am-noon

The AgCom will be celebrating the abundance of the Fall season at this market of Nelson food producers. Located at the Nelson Elementary School, Nelson, NH (this is not a school event) Do you have too many apples? Tomatoes or zucchini bogging you down? Come sell or trade at the Harvest Market. Music,…The market will be from 9am~noon.  The Fire bird Morris Team will be dancing at 11am.


by on September 14, 2015 in Home Page, Library


books2this fall at theknitting

Olivia Rodham Memorial Library

Thursdays at the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library is for Everyone

Come to the library at 4pm, starting October 1st and continuing through November 19th for dual programs, knitting and story time.

Knitting is a group for knitters with a project. Other members in the group are supportive with help and ideas.

Story time is geared towards young people who enjoy picture books. It will be about 30 minutes of participation in read-aloud stories.

Adults may come to knit, read magazines, use the wifi, or take time to choose books and movies to take home,

while children participate in the story time circle.

For more information call 847-3214 or email