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.
Interested in learning more about the history of Windham NH? Check out the following links:
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."
west windham post office
These photographs were taken outside of the West Windham Post Office at the turn of the 20th century. A post office and store were operated in the same building, serving both Windham residents and summer tourists. The man and the women, possibly tourists, posed in front of the post office in their rather ornate horse and buggy; notice the ornamental iron railing on the side. In the background, a Perfection Cigarettes sign is visible. The brand was popular in the first quarter of the 20th century, and many of Windham's men likely enjoyed their line of tobacco products, which could have been conveniently purchased at the store. To the right of the cigarette advertising sign is an early American Telegraph & Telephone Bell System sign, possibly indicating the West Windham Post Office was equipped with a telephone. What appears to be sacks of flour are visible in the window of store, which may have been the product of the nearby grain mill at Beaver Brook.
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