Chesterfield NH Historical Society
Chesterfield NH Historical Society


Chesterfield Historical Society Newsletter


Number 34                                                                                                        Fall 2013




On, Wednesday, October 16th the Historical Society will hold its Annual Meeting at 6:30 P.M. in Chesterfield Town Hall. We invite all our members and friends to attend.  Please bring a meat, vegetable dish or a dessert to share and a small item for our drawing.


There will be some very special displays which include a video presentation about Madame Sherri compiled by Lynn Borofsky and information and photos about local mill sites which are the product of the research done by Roland Volbehr.  Lynn is also in the process of doing a display in the Historical Society on Madame Sherri.




We have two exciting programs scheduled for this fall.  The first is a Mill Site Walk on Sunday, October 20th.  We will meet at the Chesterfield Gorge at 1 PM. and then carpool to Very Mill and a site in Spofford Village.


 Our second program will be on the Civil War with an emphasis on the participation of Chesterfield and Cheshire County residents in the Battle of Gettysburg.   Mr. Don Gillis, an expert on the Civil War, will be the speaker.  Mr. Gillis recently was the instructor for a course on the Civil War in the CALL program at Keene State College.  This program will be held on Sunday, November 10 at 2 P.M. in Town Hall.




It’s that time of year again, time for us to be thinking about our 2014 calendar.  The theme of this calendar will be in celebration of the 30 years we have been publishing our Historical Society calendars.  We have selected our favorite photos from those 30 years to be featured in the 2014 calendar which will be available for the purchase price of $12 at our annual meeting on October 16th and at the Library, Town Clerk’s Office, Toadstool Bookstore or from Audrey Ericson.





Our membership drive this summer, which was sent to all residents in Chesterfield, West Chesterfield and Spofford, was successful.  We now have 142 members of the Historical Society.  In addition to gaining some new members, we received several generous donations, including a copy machine donated by Harland and Bert Weimers.  We appreciate your support of our endeavors to preserve Chesterfield’s history.  If you have not yet become a member of the Chesterfield Historical Society, you still have an opportunity to do so by filling out the form on the back of this newsletter and sending it to us along with your membership fee.  Thank you for your help!




Susan Tracy, a new volunteer, videotaped a discussion at the Historical Society with five long-time residents of Chesterfield who shared their memories of extreme storms and weather in our town.  If you are a Chesterfield resident interested in sharing town or lake memories, please contact Susan at 603-828-2171.


Susan also talked with Jane Allen about her experiences in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.  If you are a veteran who served in any combat period, Susan would like to tape your story for the Veterans Oral History Project of the Library of Congress and the Chesterfield Historical Society.





Keene/Spofford Lake Stage at Lakeside (now Camp Spofford) Spofford Lake

Photo:  early 1900’s




The Historical Society has an extensive collection of old photographs, but we are always looking to add to our collection.  If you have any old photos you are willing to donate, have us photocopy or scan, please bring them  to the Society on Thursdays from 9:30A.M. – 12 noon or Sunday from 2 – 4 P.M.




MARTHA DODDS POTTER has been a resident of Keene since 2002, but has spent all of her summers at a family cottage on Spofford Lake which was built in 1917.  Marty has lived literally all over the United States and the world.  Some of the places she has lived include Baltimore, MD; Wilmington, DE; Akron, OH; Geneva, Switzerland; Westchester, PA; Singapore and North Carolina.  She went to the University of New Hampshire and then Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene.  She married Allan Potter in 1952 and they have four children and one grandchild.  Marty was the author of the very popular Spofford Lake book which is an interesting retrospective of the lake’s cottages and resorts.  Marty keeps a scrapbook for the Historical Society of all the newspaper articles that have been published about Chesterfield residents or events.   She has been a valuable volunteer for several years.  Marty’s book is still on sale at the Historical Society for $35.00.




Josiah Bennett of Westmoreland introduced pike into Spafford (now Spofford) Lake about 1848 putting in 7 or 8 which he caught at Bellows Fellows Falls.  The next year 9 were caught at the same place and were put in the lake by persons residing at Factory Village (now Spofford Village).


Wrestling was for a long time a favorite sport with men and boys in Chesterfield, and there were some noted wrestlers, among them Nathaniel Walton.  Mr. Walton was a blacksmith, and a man of extraordinary physical strength, being able to pick up his anvil by the horn, and carry it a considerable distance.  It is related that a celebrated wrestler who was traveling about the country seeking someone who could throw him, stopped in Chesterfield, where he found his match in Mr. Walton, who “laid him out handsomely.”


On town meeting days, training days, at raisings and huskings, the best wrestlers generally wrestled for the championship.  “Ring wrestling” and “snapping the whip” were sports in which even adult men engaged.


Do you any interesting stories about Chesterfield or its residents that would be of historical interest?  If you do, we at the Historical Society would love to hear them.




The Chesterfield Arch Bridge Beautification and Preservation Society have added a picnic table as well as several new planters to the Harlan Fiske Stone Memorial Pedestrian Bridge.  Society members have also recently planted some mums and perennials on the bridge.  A planter to match the large planter currently on the New Hampshire side of the bridge was built and donated by Peter Jenness and will be installed on the Vermont side of the bridge next spring.


The Society is planning for their third Veteran’s Day celebration on the bridge in November.  Be sure to watch for publicity on this event and don’t forget to take a walk on the bridge and enjoy the beautiful view of the river and the flowers planted by the Society members.


Chesterfield Historical Society Fall 2013 Newsletter
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