Windham nh history
Windham's history is much more than plots on a timeline or lines on a page. Rather, it is a collection of stories that when put together tell the unique story of Windham, NH. Explore the stories of the individuals and places that have made Windham what it is today.
The natural beauty and fertile lands of Windham drew first the Pawtucket Indians and then Scotch-Irish settlers. The town's rich history is full of intriguing stories, including Wallace Fessenden's unscrupulous baseball umpiring, the return of a native son after his burial at sea in Indonesia and the poetic life of the Rustic Bard, Robert Dinsmoor. Tourism boomed as early as the 1850s, when visitors flocked to the waterside temptations of Canobie Lake and later Cobbett's Pond, where eccentric millionaire Edward Searles built his famous castle. Local historian Derek Saffie weaves together a collection of historic stories from the settlement's roots as Nutfield to the town of Windham.
How Windham Came to Be
The history of Windham NH begins with the area being settled by Scotch-Irish immigrants in 1719 as part of a region called "Nutfield"; the name given to it because of the abundance of nut trees in the area. Nutfield was roughly the region occupied in modern times by Derry, Londonderry, and Windham. Windham separated from Londonderry, and was incorporated, on February 12, 1742.
Leonard Morrison - Windham's First Historian
Much of what is known about the history of Windham comes from Leonard Morrison's "History of Windham, NH: 1719 - 1883". Morrison, the first true town historian, published his book containing an extensive history, as well as numerous family genealogies. Much of the research done for this website was made possible due to his book.
Robert Dinsmoor - Windham's Poet
"Windham Range in flowery vest, Was seen in robes of green, While Cobbet's pond, from east to west, Spread her bright waves between. Cows lowing, cocks crowing, While frogs on Cobbet's shore, Lay croaking and mocking The bull's tremendous roar."
Interested in learning more about the history of Windham NH? Check out the following links:
kidnapped from searles school
When one thinks of the community of Windham in the 1930s, they are likely picturing idyllic country scenes, summers at Cobbett's Pond, and a simpler way of life. There is probably not even a remote possibility one would picture the less-than-pleasant events of Depression era Windham, such as accidents on Cobbett's Pond, or even a kidnapping at Searles School. According to The Portsmouth Herald, on October 24, 1932 a Mrs. Josephine Stutz of Boston appeared before a police court in Portsmouth having been charged with kidnapping her niece from Searles School in Windham. Just two weeks earlier Mrs. Stutz, who also went by Mrs. Jarrow, had gone to Searles School and took her 15-year-old niece, Sophie Jaroskepski from her class. Jaroskepski, who lived in the Canobie Lake district, had previously written her aunt to express her desire to live with her aunt in Boston. Despite having been told by the Rockingham County Solicitor that she could not take her teenage niece out of New Hampshire without the consent of the girl's mother, Mrs. Stutz ignored the warning and brought Sophie back to Boston with her. When the pair arrived at the aunt's home on Commonwealth Avenue Mrs. Stutz informed her niece that she must abandon her surname and instead go by the name Sophie Jarrow. Likely alerted by Sophie's mother, the Boston police began searching for Mrs. Stutz and Sophie. About a day after the kidnapping Mrs. Stutz learned that the police were looking for her and turned herself in at a Boston police station and informed the officers she would return the girl to her New Hampshire home, which she promptly did. When Mrs. Stutz was eventually brought before the police court she was ordered to be held on $200 bail to later appear before a grand jury. Unfortunately it seems the conclusion of the case did not garner the same publicity as the kidnapping, as the newspaper lacks any note of the outcome of the trial.
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