Chesterfield NH Historical Society
Chesterfield NH Historical Society


Chesterfield Historical Society Meetings

The CHS Board usually meets on the last Tuesday of the Month at 7PM at the

Historical Society Building

If you are interested in attending, please contact us to confirm meeting place and time.


Our next meeting is the Annual Meeting on Oct. 20th  at 7PM  via zoom

If you wish to attend, Information is below.

2021 Programs

All our Programs were Free

The CHS Annual Meeting will be Oct. 20th via Zoom

Membership has been notified. 

If you have not recieved your invitation

You can register here for the link

" You can't understand the terror and the noise unless you're there. ...I remember this little flower.  What are little flowers doing on a jungle trail....I remember thinking this is where I am going to die...right here?"


Swift, Silent, Deadly
By Norman VanCor
Wed. Oct. 13th
7PM via Zoom


The author, Norman VanCor will be discussing his Vietnam memoir Swift, Silent, Deadly, giving program participants an insight into his experiences both as a young soldier and now as a writer reflecting on his experiences. VanCor’s experience in the Marine Corps set the tone for his life, helping him better understand it and have confidence in his abilities. Like most who returned from Vietnam, he chose to only speak about his experiences with fellow war veterans. The process of writing it down reconciled these memories and provided his children with insight into his war experience which he previously had never disclosed to them. Join us as we learn about a 20-year old’s experiences that lead him be nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor, earn the Navy Cross, and how he got the courage to put it into writing.

About the Presenter:   Norman VanCor spent his younger life in Ashfield, MA, finishing high school and living much of his adult life in Southington, CT. A successful career in the utility industry has led Norm to retirement life in Chesterfield with his wife Elaine Rork Dall. His commitment to service led him to become a former Chesterfield Selectman and remain involved in other community activities.

Preparing Sheep for competition in the 2021 Cheshire Fair


In the Far Pasture:  300 Years of Agriculture in the Monadnock Region

By Alan Rumrill

Thurs. Sept 9th at 7PM

via Zoom


The nature of agriculture in Cheshire County has changed immeasurably over the past three centuries.  The transition from 18th century subsistence farms to organic farming and specialization in the 21st century is a fascinating story of hard work, geography, technology, and economics. The presentation tells the story of agriculture in southwest New Hampshire from the time of Native American habitation to the present day.


Alan Rumrill has been executive director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County for 38 years.  He has written hundreds of articles and 8 books on historical subjects and has made more than 1000 local history presentations.  He is a native of Stoddard where his family has lived since 1770.

Red barn with a green meadow and trees in front Hurricane Road, Keene, NH


The History of Agriculture through Barns

By J.C Porter

Wed. July 21st at 7PM

via Zoom


The evolution of barn architecture tells the story of New Hampshire agriculture. Barns changed from the early English style to Yankee style, to gambrel and then pole barns to accommodate the changing agriculture. This presentation will be a chronological walk-through time, with photo illustrations of barns around the state that are examples of these eras of agricultural history.


This program is presented in conjunction with the Friends of Chesterfield Library and is a Humanities to Go Program.  Registration is done through the Chesterfield Library Website.


J. C. Porter


About the Presenter: John Porter was raised on a dairy farm in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. Degree in Animal Science, and then went on to get a master’s degree from Cornell University in Animal Nutrition and Farm Management. Later he earned a master’s degree from Bob Jones University in Education Administration. He served as a Dairy Specialist for the UNH Cooperative Extension from 1974 until his retirement in 2006. He still works part-time for UNH and operates his own consulting company, Farm Planning Services, LLC. In 2001, he co-authored the book “Preserving Old Barns”; in 2007, was editor and contributing author of “The History and Economics of the New Hampshire Dairy Industry”; and in 2011 wrote the agriculture chapter for the Concord History book, “Crosscurrents of Change”. In 2019 he published a second edition of the Preserving Old Barns book. He co-authored an addendum to the dairy history book, The New Hampshire Dairy Industry in 2020.

Abenaki Mural in Keene, NH



12,000 Years in the Granite State

Presented by Robert Goodby

June 8


via Zoom



The native Abenaki people played a central role in the history of the Monadnock region, defending it against English settlement and forcing the abandonment of Keene and other Monadnock area towns during the French and Indian Wars. Despite this, little is known about the Abenaki, and conventional histories often depict the first Europeans entering an untamed, uninhabited wilderness, rather than the homeland of people who had been there for hundreds of generations. Robert Goodby discusses how the real depth of Native history was revealed when an archaeological study prior to construction of the new Keene Middle School discovered traces of four structures dating to the end of the Ice Age. Undisturbed for 12,000 years, the site revealed information about the economy, gender roles, and household organization of the Granite State's very first inhabitants, as well as evidence of social networks that extended for hundreds of miles across northern New England.


Robert Goodby is a professor of Anthropology at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge. He holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Brown University and has spent the last thirty years studying Native American archaeological sites in New England. He is a past president of the New Hampshire Archeological Society, a former Trustee of the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, and served on the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2010, he directed the excavations of four 12,000 year-old Paleoindian dwelling sites at the Tenant Swamp site in Keene.

Child in front of a split rail fence with a small white building with two windows down the hille hill Schoolhouse #1 - West Chesterfield

New Hampshire's One-Room Rural Schools:

The Romance and Reality

By Stephen Taylor

May 18


Via Zoom


Hundreds of one-room schools dotted the landscape of New Hampshire a century ago and were the backbone of primary education for generations of children. (Chesterfield at one point had 19.) Revered in literature and lore, they actually were beset with problems, some of which are little changed today. The greatest issue was financing the local school and the vast differences between taxing districts in ability to support education. Other concerns included teacher preparation and quality, curriculum, discipline, student achievement and community involvement in the educational process. Steve Taylor explores the lasting legacies of the one-room school and how they echo today.



Steve Taylor is an independent scholar, farmer, journalist, and longtime public official. With his sons, Taylor operates a dairy, maple syrup and cheese making enterprise in Meriden Village. He has been a newspaper reporter and editor and served for 25 years as NH's commissioner of agriculture. Taylor was the founding executive director of the NH Humanities Council and is a lifelong student of the state's rural culture.




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