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11 April 2019

Our Library Collections: New Hampshire

The Journals of Enoch Hayes Place
contain a wealth of historical information
One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

When you come into our library to see our books on New Hampshire, be aware that this collection is split between two back-to-back sets of shelves. This is the first time I’ve encountered this, so I was puzzled momentarily looking for the beginning of the set. New Hampshire starts with State Papers of New Hampshire: Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War 1775 to May 1777. This is a somewhat fragile book published in 1885. The editor’s preface tells us that these books “will be of great value to town historians, biographers, genealogists and others who are engaged in tracing the history of their ancestors with a purpose to place the same in compact and permanent form.” The book is organized by year and provides records of groups and individual men who served in the war.

Past CGS President Eugene Peck donated a set of New England Vital Records from the Exeter News-Letter, 1831-1840. These were compiled by Scott Lee Chipman for the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists and were first printed in 1993. The compiler explains that researching his family history had been impeded due to lax record-keeping so, in frustration, he did it himself.

We own an edition of Journals of Enoch Hayes Place, donated by CGS member Kathy Beals and signed by the transcriber, William Edgar Wentworth. Reverend Hayes (1786-1865) was pastor of the Third Freewill Baptist Church of Strafford, New Hampshire, and kept an almost daily record of events in Southeastern New Hampshire and the other states through which he traveled during 55 years. Wentworth took on the project of transcribing the journals reluctantly in 1998, as he explains in the preface: “The journals of Enoch Hayes Place are difficult to read. That may be one reason why, nearly 135 years after the Freewill Baptist minister’s death, no one has attempted to transcribe them," he writes. "I had no intention of taking on the task...” But after realizing how much valuable information they contained, Wentworth undertook the arduous task of transcribing the 151 journals, which he describes as "small, homemade, hand-sewn booklets, many in brittle and delicate condition.” At more than 900 pages each, these two volumes contain a wealth of historical information.
Willey's Book of Nutfield is heavily illustrated

An interior photo from Willey's Book of Nutfield
Many of our New Hampshire books focus on individual counties and towns. One example is Willey’s Book of Nutfield: A History of that Part of New Hampshire Comprised within the Limits of the Old Township of Londonderry from 1719 to the Present Time (1895). Nutfield is part of Rockingham County. This book is well-illustrated with engraved portraits and photographs of people, streetscapes and a range of building types including a factory, churches, hotels, and even several photos of building interiors. It also has numerous maps. Anyone with ancestors from Nutfield will be thrilled to find this book in our library.

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