Nelson School Pancake Breakfast

by on January 15, 2015 in Educational, Home Page

Nelson School Pancake Breakfast – K/R class January 17, 2015

Time Start:8:00am

Time End:11:00am

Location:Nelson School

Cost of Admission:$5.00 a plate

Description:Menu includes pancakes (gluten free available), sausage, fruit, coffee, tea, and juice. ( We regret to share that we will no longer be offering home fries as part of our breakfast as our volunteer who has made and donated these in the past has moved. We will now be offering fresh fruit in its place.)

Please come and kick off the New Year with a delicious breakfast served by Nelson School’s Kindergarten/Readiness students. We hope to see you there!

More info:Cindy Benner

More info phone/

Comments to web master:Thank you!


School Vandalism (In the Olden Days)

by on January 18, 2013 in Educational, Life in Nelson, Rick Church
1883 School #3

1883 School #7: The shutters on the windows in this 1883 picture certainly weren’t installed to deflect arrows.


Early Nelson schools experienced vandalism.  Numerous rules were adopted and published by the town that defined responsibility for damage and that give us a picture of the problems for schools almost two hundred years ago – problems not so different from today. An example is an 1838  set of bylaws adopted on the occasion of the opening of the two-storey brick schoolhouse in the village.


To preserve the schoolhouse from petty damages:

First: That from and after this day if any person or persons shall break a square of glass from the schoolhouse in this district, such person or persons shall replace the same within two days after it is broken or pay the sum of twenty-five cents to the agent of the district to be appropriated by said agent to the use of the district. Continue Reading »

An Early Nelson School

This is the first installment of a long article on the operation of one of Nelson’s early schools.  The main source for the series is the seventy page record of School Number Seven from 1820 to 1858 which was generously donated to the town archives with many other valuable historical papers by Ethan Tolman. Thanks to a grant secured by Susan Hansel, the record of School Number Seven is preserved and available to the public on a CD at the Olivia Rodham Memorial Library.  The balance of the source documents are the Nelson Town Records preserved in the Town Archives and material on the Woodcock Patent located at the Cheshire County Historical Society.

Settlement in Nelson had increased remarkably in the years immediately after the revolution increasing from 186 in 1776 to 721 by the first national census in 1790.  With that growth came things that made settlements, proper towns: things like schools. In an era when we worry about dwindling school enrollment in our town of seven hundred, it is ironic to think back to 1790 when Nelson (then Packersfeld) had seven hundred and twenty-one inhabitants and a surfeit of students.

Nelson divided itself into nine school districts in 1789.  Thanks to Ethan Tolman’s donation of a collection of his mother’s papers, the Town Archives has the written record on one of those early school districts from 1820 to 1858. School District Seven included the Southeast Quarter of the town from the area of Tolman Pond (Bryant Pond in those days) to today’s Harrisville it included the Bancrofts at the current junction of the Cabot and Tolman Pond Roads, the Yardleys on the Clymer Road, Samuel Scripture on the Scripture Road and Grovers and Morses around Tolman Pond. Later came the Tolmans, the Bryants, the Farwells and the Harris’ of the mill village that came to be named after them.

When those first school districts were established in Nelson, each was given their proportional share of 270 pounds and required to build a school. School taxes were levied on the whole town and funds were allocated to each district in proportion to their valuation.  Continue Reading »

Library Summer Forum

by on June 4, 2012 in Educational, Entertainment, Library

The Olivia Rodham Memorial Library has announced the speakers for the Summer Forum, which take place on Thursday evenings in July. The Forums are held in the Nelson Town Hall, at 7:00 PM, with a musical “prelude” starting at 6:45. Refreshments follow in the library. The Forum is FREE (donations are welcome and appreciated).


July 5 – Terry Upton: “The Pennsylvania Settlement”, the story and art of a group of distinguished Nelson summer residents, including Olivia Rodham and artist, Marie Spaeth.

July 12 – Rich Popovic: “Locally Grown Music for Locally Grown Kids:
Writing and Recording Children’s Music in Nelson”, with musical introduction by Wayland Anderson.

July 19 – Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music: “Playing for Peace”, featuring international students from the Playing for Peace program.

July 26 – Eric and Sara Sandberg, “Adventures in the Foreign Service”.

Any questions? – Call the Nelson Library at 603-847-3214

Bailey Brook Trail

The Nelson Trails Committee sponsored a hike recently with the Harris Center to the Bailey Brook Trail. The hike drew more than 30 people on a clear and cold Saturday, February 11th.  It was led by Rick Church, of our trails committee, and Ben Haubrich, a Harris Center guide. Meade Cadot, senior naturalist at the Harris Center and Martha Pinello, an archaeologist from Monadnock Archaeological Consulting, were along to explain the natural and cultural items of interest.

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Hikers gathered at the Nelson Common and carpooled to Maury Collin’s.  The group walked up and over the hill behind Maury’s house, the area of a new conservation easement and looked across the valley toward Osgood Hill and more land protected by the Harris Center.  The hike followed a logging road back to the Old Stoddard Road where we turned east. Meade Cadot pointed out black bear markings on most of the telephone poles along the road. These are territorial markings.  Most of the poles showed teeth marks and one had bear hair imbedded in the pole itself.

Continue Reading »

A Hike Up Rollstone Mountain

Editor’s Note: Rollstone Mountain was also the inspiration for a contra dance tune written by Ralph Page. It was recorded in 1975 by Rodney Miller (fiddle), Randy Miller (piano) and Peter O’Brien (harmonica), on one of the first local recordings of dance tunes: “Castles in the Air“. It was arranged for the Nelson Town Band to play in the town’s musical history, The Hotel Nelson, in 1997, and the band continues to include it in their repertoire. You can hear the original recording by clicking on the link below.

by Al Stoops

Three inches of fresh snow greeted us Nelsonites that morning, two days before Christmas. Our weekly Monday hike was on Friday this week, and we looked forward to exploring the extreme northeast corner of town. We hoped to check out some rumored trails around Rollstone Mountain, an intriguing area on USGS maps and Google-Earth satellite views. Rollstone Mountain and Holt Hill make up the uplands in the extreme northeast of Nelson. Strangely, the hill is higher than the mountain. Years ago Sue and I had followed a bobcat here, along logs and across walls, round feline tracks in powder.

Four of us carpooled from the village, skidding up slippery Old Stoddard Rd, barely squeezing by the Hayes wrecker parked mid-street on the straight uphill stretch of road past the town barns. The car on the flatbed was an indication of the driving conditions. So was the greasy road itself.

Two sections of Nelson’s town lines cross Rye Pond: a north-south section of the border abuts Antrim to the east. North of the east-west line sits Stoddard. It’s a wild area—most who drive NH 123 between Hancock village and South Stoddard spend less than a minute in Nelson, but a disproportionate percentage of the town’s moose collisions likely happen in those few rods. We parked on the shoulder and heading into the woods of Antrim. Continue Reading »

Nelson Makes the OED . . .

by on October 21, 2011 in Educational, Entertainment

. . . Though they don’t seem to know about our town. 

October 20, 2011: The Oxford English Dictionary “Word of the Day:

Horatio NelsonNelson, n.1

Etymology:  < the name of Horatio, Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte
 I. Compounds.

 1.   Nelson touch n. an approach to a situation or problem typical of Nelson, esp. in being characterized by bold action or self-confident leadership; also (in later, humorous, use) the turning of a blind eye to something

1805    Ld. Nelson Let. 25 Sept. in C. Oman Nelson (1947) xix. 607,   I am anxious to join the fleet, for it would add to my grief if any other man was to give them the Nelson touch, which we say is warranted never to fail.

Nelson Celebrates It’s First Official Walking Trail

Jeanette Baker aka Jaybird

The Trails Committee of Moving in Step and the Conservation Commission celebrated the opening of our first walking trail.

The event featured a talk by Jeanette Baker on her Appalachian Trail Hike last year. The following afternoon was a walk on the Old Road to Dublin, oldest documented road in Nelson.

The Trails Committee has been working to layout and mark trails for the people in Nelson to be able to walk and appreciate the natural and cultural richness of our town. Detailed trail guides and maps will be available for these walks. The Old Road to Dublin is the first trail to be completed by the committee. Continue Reading »

Nelson Strings Inaugural Concert

See this concert on YouTube!

On Thursday evening, May 19th, dozens of Nelson residents (and a few flat-landers) assembled in the Hoffman Auditorium at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. The occasion was the premier performance of the Nelson Strings, a collaborative project between the Nelson School and Apple Hill. This was the brainchild of Val Van Meier, and the result of  many hours of planning and the generous support of community members, and notably Nelson School Principal Sheila Vara, and Apple Hill Director Lenny Matczynski.  This first years Nelson Strings ensemble are Elizabeth Hull, Sarah Hull,  Tae’lar Forcier, Fallon Smith, and Molly Gray.

Nelson Strings Continue Reading »

Fight over Incorporation:

by on August 27, 2009 in Educational, History, Life in Nelson with 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles about the early history of Nelson. Click here to go to the previous article.


We dont know what our early Nelson forebears looked like, but we can speculate that they might have appeared something like this.

At the proprietor’s meeting in March 1773 the town voted to petition the royal governor for incorporation as a town. Breed Batchellor was appointed agent to present the petition on behalf of the Monadnock Number Six proprietors. Almost immediately Batchellor heard rumors that the Blanchard family would fight him.

The Blanchard family was important in early New Hampshire. Joseph was Agent for the Masonian Proprietors when they made the Monadnock Number Six grant. His son, Joseph JR was the surveyor that fixed its boundaries. Another son, Thomas, was one of the Monadnock Number Six proprietors though he immediately sold his share to Thomas Packer. Joseph had a stake in all of the towns granted by the Masonian Proprietors and was active with his associates in trading stakes in one town for those in another. The Blanchard family ended up with substantial stakes in Nelson, Dublin, Stoddard and Acworth.

The first documented interchange between the family and Breed Batchellor was Jonathan (another son) Blanchard’s sale of 2135 acres to Batchellor in 1763. Several of Joseph’s children inherited his interests in Monadnock Number Six including James and Catherine.

In August James Blanchard petitioned the Masonian Proprietors to block incorporation. His petition made it clear that he felt incorporation with its implicit recognition of all that had taken place under the Monadnock Number Six Proprietors was inimical to him. He accused Breed Batchellor of running the operation as a personal fiefdom for his own benefit and to the detriment of Blanchard and settler interests. The petitioners asserted that the terms of the grant had not been fulfilled. Further he charged Breed Batchellor with numerous illegal activities. His charges: Continue Reading »

Nelson History: Early Settlement

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles about the early history of Nelson. Click here to go to the first article.

The task of settling Monadnock Number Six, a town eight by five miles in the middle of the wilderness, must have been daunting.  It would take a strong will to make it happen. The 25,000 acres had been granted to a set of proprietors  with the requirement that there be 50 families settled in houses with 12 acres cleared and fenced within six years of the grant.  Breed Batchellor was the leader of the effort. Thomas Packer, one of these grantees (and a Masonian Proprietor, too) may have recruited Breed Batchellor to get the town settled. Packer certainly had a sizable stake owning the entire northwest quarter of the town and more.  Batchellor’s first documented association with the town was a deed for 2135 acres purchased from Jonathan Blanchard in 1763.  Batchellor settled in 1767 and immediately became the Proprietor’s Clerk responsible to make settlement happen.  None of the original grantees ever settled perhaps because they were too old by the date of settlement (fifteen years after the grant) but probably because they’d only been speculators from the beginning.




Luring settlers took a multifaceted plan. They needed roads, basic industries in the form of mills for grinding grain and sawing logs into boards and trades like blacksmithing, house building, leather working and doctoring. They also needed people to actively sell land to prospective settlers and people to finance those sales.  Ministers from nearby towns provided preaching in those early years.  Pioneering settlers were needed to encourage other, less adventuresome people, to settle as well. All needed to be able to do the hard physical work to clear rocks, fell the sometimes three foot diameter trees they found here and pull the stumps with oxen.

Continue Reading »

Nelson History: In the Beginning

Editors Note: This is the first of what will be a great series of articles about Nelson’s history from Rick Church and David Birchenough.

Nelson likely looked like this to its first settlers. Diorama at the Harvard School of Forestry in Petersham, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Eric Aldrich. Click image for larger rendering.

Nelson likely looked like this to its first settlers. Diorama at the Harvard School of Forestry in Petersham, Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of Eric Aldrich. Click image for larger rendering.

King James I awarded John Mason a charter of new land in the New Hampshire/ northern Massachusetts in 1623.   The grant included all the land between the Naumkeag (today called the Merrimack) and Pascataqua Rivers extending 60 miles inland.  The place was to be called New Hampshire and Mason’s charge was to settle the area.

Mason died in 1635 leaving only minor heirs. The title to the lands fell into dispute – a dispute resolved by a court case in 1746, which awarded the right to most of the original grant to John Tufton Mason who in turn sold his rights to a group of men who came to be styled the Masonian Proprietors.  Some of John Mason’s original grant had been settled by 1746 and those title disputes were quickly resolved in favor of the towns and settlers already established. There was not much dispute over what became Nelson; there was no one here. Continue Reading »