2014 Celebrate Nelson

by on December 18, 2014 in Home Page, Life in Nelson, Promote
2014 Celebrate Nelson


 To see a slide show from this event Click Here.

The Nelson Town Hall and the Old Library were bustling with activity Saturday, November 22, 2014. “Celebrate Nelson” encompassed displays of about 40 musicians, artists, craftspeople, writers, bakers, and producers of maple syrup, and honey, hand-spun yarn, lavender sachets and more, all from our multi-talented community. Performing musicians, providing a lively background of music throughout the day, were:  Alouette Iselin. Linda Singer, Harvey Tolman, Gordon Perry and Max Nunnemaker, and Richard Popovic and the Shape Note Singers.
Centered around Nelson’s upcoming 250th anniversary in 2017, the production of our second historical 2015 calendar, featuring landscapes and residents long gone by, sold over 100 copies, with many calendars still available as unique holiday gifts. Live music performed by Nelson musicians filled the town hall, along with 17 CDs displayed for sale that featured the music of 8 Nelson musicians, as well as fine paintings, woodworking and fiber crafts extraordinaire, delicious local food products, books and publications all created in Nelson for admiration and/or sale.
But as important, the event wasn’t only about selling (although that was nice), it was about community, sharing, and amazing each other with the ingenuity, richness, and pure beauty of what we quietly make and create in our individual homes, studios, and lives. This first “Celebrate Nelson,” event clearly begins a lively annual tradition of community sharing and participation in Nelson’s uniqueness. Congratulations to us all, and thank you to the hard-working Nelson committee members who made this utterly joyful event possible.

written by Karen Tolman and Deb Navas

The Olivia Rodham Memorial Library receives gift of “Public Libraries Toolkit” of legal resources.

by on November 7, 2014 in Home Page, Library

The  Law Librarians of New England’s Service Committee chose the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library in Nelson for the mini-collection of  legal books,  “Public Libraries Toolkit” of legal resources. Here is a list of the books that will be available to take out of the library.  These books will arrive on December 20th.

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Divorce

Every Dog’s Legal Guide

The Legal Answer Book for Families

101 Law Forms for Personal Use

Black’s Law Dictionary

Plan Your Estate

The New Hampshire Divorce Handbook

NH Practice and Procedure Handbook

A Practical Guide to Divorce in NH

New Hampshire Landlord and Tenant Law Annotated

New Hampshire Special Education Law Manual

The Bluebook


Celebrate Nelson


Nelson from on high: one of the pictures included in the 2015 calendar.

The Nelson History Roundtable is hosting a “Celebrate Nelson” event at Town Hall on Saturday, Nov. 22, 10 AM – 2 PM.

Last year our Calendar Sale event evolved into the unveiling of the Marie Spaeth painting in the Library and sale of: books by Bruce White, Teri Upton, Renn Tolman’s collection of Newt’s music, and Karen Tolman’s DVD “From the Tolman Pond Archives” . This event, which was well attended and appreciated, inspired this year’s expanded calendar sale plan.

Artists, authors, musicians and craftspeople are invited to display and sell their goods. Live background music would be welcome and we’d be pleased to have musicians play and sell CDs, or leave CDs to be sold. If you’d like to help “Celebrate Nelson”, please contact Rick Church at 603- 847-3206, or Tom Murray at 603-827-3839, or tommurray@mindspring.com

We hope this event will be a precursor to a larger and longer celebration of Nelson’s 250th anniversary in 2017.

Haying at Tolman Pond

Editors Note: Renn Tolman, son of Newton F. Tolman, grew up in Nelson, and passed away in Homer, Alaska on July 5, 2014  t the age of 80. Betsy Street recently found a few essays written by Renn when he was a student at UNH, in the late 1950s. This one is very slightly edited and transcribed by Karen Tolman.

Haying in Nelson

the old Model A Ford truck with Bobby Curtis and Foster Sisson “making the load” and Pop (Wayland Tolman) looking out the window. Pop was Renn and Barry’s grandfather.

When I was a boy, my grandfather kept three or four cows.  He had just enough hay fields to provide enough hay to last them through the winter, although if the hay crop were particularly poor, perhaps he might have to buy an extra ton or two to tide them through until the cows could be put out to pasture in the spring.

Exactly how many acres his fields totaled is uncertain because they were scattered, irregular fields of a New Hampshire hill farm, but ten was the number he would quote if anyone asked him. Of course this acreage was figured without taking into account the combined areas of the rocks that stuck up in the fields. It is a worn-out joke that New Hampshire fields grow rocks as well as hay.

The only field that you could mow with the assurance that the mowing machine wouldn’t tip over and that was relatively rock-free was the Intervale, a ten-acre field of which my grandfather owned half. The Intervale, however, presented a different problem. It was as flat as a pond and tended to degenerate into a swamp on a wet year. Continue Reading »

Great Meadow Paddle

On Saturday, July 19, the Nelson Trail Committee led a paddle through the Great Meadow from Nubanusit to Harrisville Pond.  It was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect. Wildflowers were in bloom.  An American Bittern was spotted in the swamp and blue herons were on the wing.  Bull frogs croaked and small fish swam underneath. It was a glorious afternoon for the 22 people who joined the adventure. [submitted by Linda Cates]

Library Book Sale

by on July 15, 2014 in Home Page, Library

 People may bring their gently used books to the Library for the Book sale that will be held at the Library Lower Level on Old Home Day (Saturday August 16) . The sorting crew will begin their work on Monday, July 14th. The Friends of the Library are excited that the new space is available for this important fundraising event that benefits the Library programming, computers, and many other aspects of  library work. No encyclopedias or textbooks, please.


Nelson Cleanup Day

by on July 15, 2014 in Civic Opportunity, Home Page

The Nelson Conservation Commission announces the Nelson Clean Up Day, on August 9th.  Participants can stop by the Nelson Common in front of the library to sign up for a section of road in town, and pick up bags and gloves. Members of the Commission will be available from 8:30 to 10:30 am to help participants choose a section of road for trash pick up. Water will be available to fill water bottles and there will be some delicious treats to fuel Nelson’s fine trash cleanup crew.   Questions: call or email Kathy Schillemat at 847-9785 or kschillemat@yahoo.com.

Nelson Summer Forums 2014

by on June 19, 2014 in Home Page, Lecture Presentation, Library

The Olivia Rodham Memorial Library announces the 10th season of the Library summer forums,   Each Thursday night forum begins at 6:45 with entertainment by local musicians, followed at 7:00 by the main presentation. At 8:00 punch and cookies and conversation follow. The forums are free and open to the public. This year the Forums will take place in the Nelson Congregational Church (just across the road) due to the renovations at the Town Hall.

The opening forum on July 10 r is a talk by Ethan Tolman on July 10 highlighting a Nelson newsletter circulated during World War II. The newsletter, published by Ethan’s parents, served to inform service people of events in their hometowns of Nelson, Harrisville, and Dublin. Of special interest are excerpts of letters service people sent to the newsletter. Music by Max Nunnemaker and Gordon Peery will be appropriate to the WWII era.

The next forum, on July 17, takes us to Zimbabwe with Rhodesian native, (and now Harrisville General Store chef) Phil Gargan, as an avocation away from his executive job with the Tanganda Tea Company. Phil was a professional river guide on the Zambezi River for 17 years and brings us visuals and tales of a world most of us will never experience. Where else would you have access to 800 species of birds? Music with African roots by Paul Klemperer.

Karen Hersey, a Nelson native who spends more time in Abu Dhabi than here, will share with us on July 24 the where, what, who and why in her talk “Abu Dhabi Inside Out”. Learn what sheikdoms and the Arab Emirates have to do with each other, the growth in 40 years from desert to skyscrapers, and the void of culture created by such meteoric change. Karen is a bright observer and will add to our global k nowledge and awareness of Abu Dhabi’s role in the Middle East, and why it is important for us to understand.  Music from Apple Hill.

And on July 31, Allison and Hunt Smith will wrap up the forum presentations with their inimitable musical entertainment. Their love of music, of each other and of connecting with the audience shows through when they perform. One never knows exactly what instruments and songs to expect, but one can be sure to have a good old time! Musical introduction will be by Samuel, Sarah and Rachel Foucher of Harrisville, young musicians who play music with the Smiths.



by on June 17, 2014 in Home Page, Town Clerk

Just to let you know that I am now in the process of submitting the warrant for Nelson unlicensed dogs to the governing body. This warrant is the formal process for obtaining the Selectboard’s approval to issue forfeiture fines to dog owners who have not relicensed their dogs. This fine is $25 which does not include the licensing fee or the late penalty. This is definitely not something that I look forward to doing. I am required to by state law. I’m hoping that this notice will remind dog owners to license their dogs, either by mail (please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope) or in person. This licensing program is to ensure that all dogs are receiving rabies vaccination to protect public health. The licensing program provides funding to the state Department of Agriculture to run their veterinary diagnostic lab. The state also uses a portion to fund the animal population control program, which provides funding for spaying and neutering services.

Another good reason to license your dog is for identification purposes. If your dog is lost, the dog tag will help to return your pet to its rightful home. Please take the time to license your dog. Contact our office at 847-9043 or by emailing townclerk@townofnelsotown.com if you no longer have your pet.

Julia Lennon

Dancing Forever in the Nelson Town Hall

This article was published on 1990,  in Leisure Weekly, a Keene-based entertainment newspaper that has long since ceased publication. Many things have changed since then,  but some will remain the same, even with the new renovations  ~ Gordon Peery (author). 

Not too long ago a piano tuner submitted a bill for work done on the piano in the Nelson Town Hall. With his invoice he included the following comment:

“Because of the age of this piano and long abandoned construction practices, it is impossible to give this piano a highly accurate tuning. It has numerous false beats, inharmonicity, and heavy wear. Surprisingly, the overall tone is superior and the action is still fast and responsive. I suspect the piano is favored by those who play on it.”

Over the past decade I have come to know that piano well, playing for contradances that occur regularly in the Nelson Town Hall. I have always enjoyed playing it, though from its condition it seemed like I shouldn’t.

The remarks of the piano tuner helped me to understand why I enjoyed playing it. Then it occurred to me that what was said about the piano was also a perfect description of the hall itself.

The old timber frame building doesn’t pretend to be anything fancy. The light fixtures, the windows, the architectural lines, all clearly address function over aesthetics. But the building, in its simplicity, harbors an elegance, or perhaps rather, a neutrality that facilitates the elegance of song and dance within.

Go to the Nelson Town Hall on any Monday night of the year and you’ll find anywhere from a handful to several dozen dancers moving forward and back, up and down, intertwining, moving through the graceful figures of a contradance. Though the Monday night dance is just about 10 years old, the contradance tradition in Nelson goes back long enough so that no one really knows when it began. Continue Reading »

Olivia Rodham Library Announces Summer Reading Program

by on May 26, 2014 in For Kids, Home Page, Library

Fizz, Boom , READ!

All programs are on Wednesdays at 4pm, except Mad Science will be Wednesday August 13th at 6:30pm.

July 9th Sara Cornog and the Fizzy Rocket

rocketThe Fizzy Rocket will use a 35mm film canister for a body, an antacid tablet for fizz and different liquid fuels to see which work best. (water, vinegar, lime juice or lemon juice.) Build your rocket and then Fly Your Fizzy Rocket !





July 16th with Val Van Meier, How to Make a Mini Flyable Hot Air Balloon with Candles

balloonHave you ever wanted to make your own hot air balloon and watch it gracefully float away into the night sky? It’s easier than you might think!

July 23rd , Puppeteer Gary Robinson

Meet Gary’s puppet friends and join in the fun. You will be part of the experience of creating a puppet extravaganza, with great fizzes and booms.

July 30th- A Bubbly Bot Bash! with Jacqueline Roland

robotsThis week we’ll be turning the library into our very own bubble lab!  Join us as we blow huge table bubbles and experiment to see which solution makes the biggest bubbles. In addition to all the bubble-blowing fun, we’ll be reading an exciting science story and creating juice box robots!

August 6th with Nature Man, Al Stoops

This year Al is returning with clues to an exciting treasure hunt. Come discover what you can find in the nooks and crannies of Nelson.

scienceAugust 13th, the BIG SHOW, Mad Science at 6:30 pm

The land of Fire and Ice is filled with dazzling demonstrations using fire,

bubbling potions, and carbon dioxide gas frozen to 109°F below zero.

This science show will stimulate a child’s mind and spark their imaginations as they

experience exciting, educational, high-energy science magic! Come and see just how HOT & COOL.


Funding for the Kids, Books, and the Arts event is provided by the Jack and Dorothy Bryne Foundation, CHILIS, Cogswell Benevolent Trust, and is supported in part by a grant from the NH State Council on The Arts as well as funds administered by the NH State Library and provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

Please contact the library in advance for the need for a sign language interpreter.


The library will have prizes for Summer Readers. Come get books from your library!


Nelson Memorial Day Celebration

by on May 21, 2014 in Community Gathering, Home Page
Reverend Millard Hardy at 85 years old, Memorial Day 1935

Reverend Millard Hardy at 85 years old, Memorial Day 1935

The annual Memorial Day Observance begins at 11:30 on this Sunday, the 25th, with the Town Band playing on the Nelson Common. There is a procession around the Common and up to the Cemetery for a short memorial service, and placing of flowers at the graves of veterans, 137 in all. Flowers are also placed at the various monuments in town. All are welcome to participate.

Finding the Benjamin Sawyer Cellar Hole

The Benjamin Sawyer Cellar Hole

The author pays his respects to the Sawyer family

A snowy morning in February found Dave Birchenough and me crammed into the cab of a grapple skidder rumbling through the woods of the northeast corner of Nelson. There was a logging job underway on the old Sawyer Farm. We were able to drive my ageing truck up the old town road (abandoned since 1860) to the landing near the farm.  The skidder was using its grapple to stack logs on the landing.  Another machine was feeding a huge chipper.


“Are you the owners?” Chuck Rose yelled over his diesel. “No we’re amateur historians.” I answered. “You’ve come to the right place”, he said, “There are lots of old stone walls and old roads in these woods.”


“Have you found a cellar hole over there?”, I said, pointing to the south and the side of Rollstone Mountain.


“Yes”, he said, “Get in and I’ll take you up there.”


Following skidder roads and straddling stumps and boulders, the machine clawed its way uphill to a table of relatively flat land between Holt Hill and Rollstone Mountain. We got off beside the 30 x 40’ foundation – the original home of Benjamin Sawyer, his wife, Tabitha, and their fourteen children. The land sloped away to the north with beautiful views through the thinned, leafless woods.  A beautiful place and an exciting discovery.  The site was covered in several feet of snow.

Continue Reading »

Party Time

by on May 13, 2014 in Home Page, Voting

The Supervisors of the Checklist would like to remind everyone that the deadline for

changing your party affiliation for the September Primary is June 3. You can change

your party affiliation either with the Town Clerk during her regular hours or with

the Supervisors of the Checklist during one of our meetings. We will be meeting on

June 3 at 7:00 PM.


If you are registered as “undeclared” you may take either a Republican or a

Democratic ballot on Primary Day and directly after you have voted, you may

come see the Supervisors to change back to undeclared. If you don’t see us, you

will be registered in the party that you chose for your ballot. If you are registered

for a particular party before primary day you may only take that party’s ballot on

Primary Day.


If you have forgotten what party you are registered with there is an up-to-date voter

checklist in the bookcase in the Nelson Town Offices.

If you have any other questions about this, call Betsey Church, Carol Newcombe, or

Hope Lothrop.

The Town Hall Gets Off the Ground

by on May 1, 2014 in Home Page, Life in Nelson

Roxbury is Born

[Editor’s note: this article follows another recently published article about how the town of Sullivan was created. For a complete list of Rick’s many articles on the history of Nelson, click here]

God's Barn Roxbury NH

The Roxbury Meetinghouse, known as “God’s Barn” , from this 1912 photo, replaced the original meeting house which was raised in 1804. That was used as a place of worship, and following the approval of incorporation in 1812 it was then used for official government business as well.

Roxbury was born in an Act of The New Hampshire General Court in 1812 and formed of pieces of Packersfield [now Nelson], Marlborough and Keene. The creation of Roxbury was a co-operative effort led from within Packersfield by respected citizens. It took years of negotiations led by a determined group of families who had settled in the town’s southwest quarter at about the time of the revolution. They were united by their near simultaneous settlement and by their origin. Most came from Rutland, Massachusetts. Town Records make it clear that the special needs of those living in the southwest corner of the town were recognized and accommodated. They had roads, a school, leadership roles in Packersfield government and there was concern for their spiritual lives. It was a far different process than the formation of Sullivan over the “remonstrance” of Packersfield. It also took twenty-five years.

The negotiation seems to have begun the year Sullivan was formed. The petition for a new town made the usual case of citizens being cut off from the center of the old town.  In fact Packersfield residents living in what would become Roxbury had to travel about four miles by road to the Packersfield meetinghouse. Still, southwestern Packersfield was connected by the town’s most important road – the one that connected it to Keene. Indeed there was a well-developed network of roads with road building as active there as in any part of the town. They had their own school house and most of the families mentioned in this article had sheds for their horses at the meetinghouse on the hill in Packersfield. The process was a negotiation not a seizure of land with Packersfield citizens presenting their case for a new town in Packersfield town meetings. Continue Reading »

Sullivan is Born: The “theft” of 3,200 acres

John Sullivan, President of New Hampshire

John Sullivan, President of New Hampshire

Imagine driving back to Nelson from Keene along Route 9 and coming to a store called the West Nelson Country Store.  Today that’s the Sullivan Country Store. But for two fraudulent signatures on a petition in 1786, East Sullivan might be in Nelson today.


Nelson, called Packersfield prior to1814, has lost three large chunks of itself to the formation of new towns since its incorporation in 1774. This is the story of the first of these: Sullivan. Towns in New Hampshire granted by the Masonian Proprietors consisted of lines drawn on maps in Portsmouth with little reference to the geography except for major rivers and the existence of previously granted places. History has proved these divisions unstable and many New Hampshire towns have been formed subsequently from pieces of older towns. In Cheshire County examples of such new towns are Troy, Sullivan, Roxbury and Harrisville. Three times between 1786 and 1870, the legislature determined that citizens would be best served by the creation of new towns formed from significant parts of Nelson and adjoining towns. Continue Reading »

Are You Game?

by on January 7, 2014 in Entertainment, Home Page, Library, Social Event

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


Thursday Evenings

January 9 and 23

February 6 and 20

March 6 and 20

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 History Day Dec 14

by on December 6, 2013 in History, Home Page

Nelson History Day Dec. 14, 2013, 11:00 AM Olivia Rodham Library

The Library is sponsoring a presentation of the new 2014 Nelson Calendar with historic photographs of Nelson’s past to excite an interest in the upcoming 250th anniversary of Nelson’s founding which will happen in 2017.

Calendar Collage

Adding to the history theme, new books about Nelson’s past by local authors Renn Tolman, Terri Upton, and Bruce White and copies of a CD of Tolman Pond life by Karen Tolman will be presented and available for sale.

And a special event will be the unveiling of the painting of Helen Towne by Marie Spaeth that was purchased by contributions from generous town residents.

Please join us for a fun morning with Christmas cookies and cider.


Library Book Sale Corner

by on December 3, 2013 in Home Page, Library

booksaleThe Olivia Rodham Memorial Library is offering a Book Sale Corner.
Just by the door between the Library and the Town Hall connector you will find a small but select number of books for sale. Paperbacks  are on the rack to the right and hardcovers, videos, CDs, and special series on the shelves to the left.  For a modest $1/hardcover and $.50/paperback, you can take an item home forever and the Friends of
the Library earn funds to buy new books and support children’s programs.  Come on in and check out the selection!