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About Barnstead


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Historical Society

Barnstead Town SealThe Barnstead Historical Society was created in 1972 by an active group of citizens interested in preserving the town’s history. Fourteen of those individuals, who served as the steering committee, elected officers and board of directors were: Richard Golden, Stuart Merrill, Herbert Holmes, Helen Grove, George Hartshorn, Helen Merrill, John Locke, Ellen Grau, Eda St. John, Carl Knirsch, Hazel Clark, Carolyn Johnson, Dorothy Mulcahy and William Jenisch.

Since the first official meeting on June 29, 1972, the Society’s members have changed, but their dedication to its purpose has not.

The Society's major function is to discover, collect and preserve any material that would help to establish or illustrate the history of the area and its people and to educate the citizenry about that history. The history included the area’s exploration, settlement, development, population, education, agriculture, manufacturing, trades and transportation.

Materials collected include genealogies, biographies, papers, directories, pamphlets catalogues, programs, posters, journals, account books, pictures, maps, relics and other items that show the life, conditions, events and activities of the past and present.


The Historical Society meets the fourth Thursday during the months of April, June, August and October at the Town Hall. A pot luck supper social hour begins at 6pm, followed by the normal business meeting at 7pm.

Board Members

  • Denise Adjutant - President
  • Kenneth Pitman - Vice President
  • Jeannie Terry - Treasurer
  • Betsy Webber - Secretary


Any person interested in the history of the Town of Barnstead can become a member.

Membership Catagory Dues
Individual $8.00
Family $10.00

A family membership includes parents/guardians and their children under 18 years of age.

To become a member of the Barnstead Historical Society, send Name(s), address, membership category, and dues to:

Barnstead Historical Society
PO Box 11
Center Barnstead, NH 03225


Currently, the Society's collection is stored in the Town Hall. We are looking forward to the day when the collection has a more permanent and accessible home of its own.

The Society appreciates donations of memorial funds, papers and artifacts regarding times past. Donations of value are tax deductible.

The old Barnstead 'Lock Up' located next to the Town HallPast Projects

  • The Barnstead 250 Year Celebration in 1977 included commemorative coins, a militia re-enactment, a large parade, and other activities sponsored by the Society.
  • The restoration of the Seward Mill painting on the stage curtain in the Town Hall was sponsored in conjunction with the NightHawk Hollow Seniors. The curtain now hangs permanently on the back wall of the stage. [1983]
  • The little jail, or "lock-up", situated between the Town Hall and the Center fire station, originally built in 1888, was restored and was dedicated on October 21, 1989. The roof was replaced in 2016.
  • Sponsored the wrought iron railing installed by Bud Carpenter on the stage in front of the Seward Mill Curtain. [1991]
  • Published a facsimile edition of Walter J. Hillsgrove's [1888-1966] "Recollections of Barnstead." [1994]
  • Sponsored the repair and refurbishment of the Center bandstand. [1998]
  • Purchased and planted a tree on the Parade Ground in memory of Carl Knirsch. [1996]
  • Helped to sponsor the Brigadier General Harrison Thyng Memorial in Pittsfield. [2004]

On-going Projects

  • The Barnstead Oral History Project, inaugurated by Constance Mitchell. Transcribers are still needed for this project.
  • A changing exhibit in a case at the Oscar Foss Memorial Library.
  • A permanent historical panel display dedicated to the memory of Madeline Palmer; also at the Town Hall.
  • William J. Walker "Barnstead Records" databases.

Historical & Genealogical Resources

  • Hillsgrove, Walter J. "Recollections of Barnstead." Barnstead, Barnstead Historical Society, 1994. Out of Print. Reference Copy available at Oscar Foss Memorial Library
  • Jewett, Jeremiah P. "History of Barnstead from Its First Settlement in 1727 to 1872." Revised, enlarged, and published by Robert B. Caverly. Lowell, MA., Marden and Rowell Printers, 1872. [Reprints available at the Oscar Foss Memorial Library $10]
  • Merrill, Stuart. "History and Genealogy of the Barnstead Early Families from 1727 to 1970". Out of Print
  • Roberts, Richard P. "Barnstead, New Hampshire Vital Records, 1887-2000." Heritage Books, 2001.
  • Suncook Valley Railroad Historical Society, John C. Hutchins, ed. "The Blueberry Express, a History of the Suncook Valley Railroad." Flying Yankee Enterprises, 1985. Out of Print.
  • Barnstead Annual Town Reports, 1900-present. Available for reference at the town library, the historical society, and the NH State Library.
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