life in the Kearsarge area

what's happening in the Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee area of NH

Archive for May, 2015

Grantham, then and now


Grantham, N.H., was originally incorporated in 1761. The charter was granted to a group of 68 proprietors, but when the requirements for settlement were not met, the charter was forfeited. The second charter was granted in 1767 to another set of 70 proprietors (including one woman) for a town called New Grantham.

The first settlers built homesteads in scattered areas on the west side of Grantham Mountain. Early settlements in Grantham included the Dunbar Hill area in the 1770s, the Leavitt Hill section around 1790-93 and Howe Hill around 1813. In 1790, the first year of the census, Grantham had 333 residents.

Established roadways in the early 1800s increased the town’s development, resulting in a church, store, cemetery, schoolhouse, two taverns and a blacksmith shop. This area, well established by 1818, functioned as the town center. Also in 1818, the name was legally changed back to Grantham.

Grantham has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Early businesses included Francis Howe’s cooper shop (and later his son James’s commercial printing press) on Route 114, a clothespin factory run by Samuel Currier and a cider mill owned by Howard Green. Stores in Grantham date to the early 1800s when Francis Howard ran one at the Dunbar Hill settlement.

The lumber business played an important part in the economics of Grantham; by 1872 the town had six mills and claimed to saw more lumber annually than any other town in the county. These mills employed 26 people, had an annual payroll of $6,000 and sawed timber valued at $26,000. The economy of Grantham changed in the 1920s when wood grew scarce and several mills relocated or closed their doors. Grantham’s population declined from 550 to 275, and remained in that range for several decades.

In the mid-1970s, the Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council projected a population of 500 for Grantham in the year 2000. But the interstate and the need for more housing in the Upper Valley resulted in several Grantham residential developments such as Eastman, Olde Farms and Gray Ledges, boosting Grantham’s population to 2,167 in 2000. The 2010 Census estimate for Grantham was 2,985 residents, a 38 percent increase from 2000. The town continues to thrive. This photo was taken in 2010.

Grantham downtown

Make your own

IMG_3903I was inspired by the local artisans at Zing into Spring – as was my daughter, who learned how to make her own lip balms – so I decided to make my own lotion bars. It’s lotion, but in a molded shape, that melts on contact with your skin. You just rub the bar (or duck or circle or shape) on your heels and, voila, no more dry skin!

IMG_3897 I gathered the ingredients, melted them in a double boiler, and poured them into a variety of molds. A Peep mold (yes, the iconic yellow chick) left over from Easter didn’t “pop” out, so I tried using empty deodorant containers. Success! Now I won’t get my hands lotion-y when I’m really trying to concentrate on my elbows.

It’s a fun activity to do with kids; just be safe handling theIMG_3899   melted ingredients. Here’s the recipe that I used, but you can adapt it based on the ingredients you like.

  • 1 ounce beeswax
  • 1 ounce cocoa butter
  • 1 ounce coconut oil
  • 1 ounce shea butter
  • 1 teaspoon essential oil (vanilla and peppermint)

Melt beeswax first (takes the longest). Add other ingredients; shea butter last (doesn’t like to be overheated). You can do this on the stove, or in the microwave. Once melted, stir in scent (essential oil). Pour into molds and let harden.

If you google search “lotion recipes”, you’ll find a bazillion. The combinations are endless: you can switch coconut oil for almond oil, skip the shea butter and just use cocoa butter, and select any fragrance under the sun (grapefruit vanilla lemon, perhaps). Right now the ladies in the office are testing my creations; let’s see if Feet Treat is a winner this summer!

Tick, tock, a historical clock


Edmund Currier (1793-1853) was a silversmith and clockmaker born and trained in Hopkinton, NH. While in Hopkinton, Currier manufactured and repaired a wide variety of items including spectacles, cutlery, tableware, jewelry, tools, wagons, sleighs and harnesses. Currier also did locksmith work, gunsmith repairs, and manufactured instruments for doctors.  In addition, Currier repaired watches and was known as a fine clockmaker.

Hopkinton Historical Society is fortunate to have in its collection Edmund Currier’s account books from 1815 to 1825.  In these books, Currier lists 10 tall clock cases purchased from David Young and one from David Young Jr., both of Hopkinton.  Although the case of the society’s clock is not labeled, perhaps it was made by David Young (1746-1836), a well-known cabinetmaker and joiner. From these same account books, it is recorded that Currier sold eight case clocks with prices ranging from $35.00 to $65.00.

And, if you look closely at the clock’s face, Currier is spelled with three “r”s in the middle!

— Courtesy of the Hopkinton Historical Society

Go Antiquing


Looking for something unique for a specific space in your home? The Kearsarge/Lake Sunapee region has its fair share of antique dealers, many with shops open to the public. Come and enjoy the treasure hunt!


Old Road Antiques
9 Old Sutton Road
(603) 938-2833
The shop has a nice stock of antiques, art and collectibles.

Pleasant Street Furniture & Antiques
149 Pleasant Street
(603) 543-1004
Furniture, vintage clothing, glass, china, jewelry, antiques, art and collectibles — it’s all here at this new Claremont shop.

Covered Bridge Frame Shop & Gallery
916 Main Street
(603) 746-4996
Whether you are looking for antique furniture or want to perfectly preserve a hanging piece with the right frame, this shop has got you covered.

Prospect Hill Antiques
247 Prospect Hill Road
(603) 763-9676
With three floors of antiques and more, take your time — you could spend all day at Prospect Hill Antiques!

The Renaissance Shop
107 Newport Road
(603) 526-6711
Locals donate high-quality antiques — from Wedgewood china to vintage costume jewelry to furniture — to the shop, and proceeds support the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association.

Debi’s Florist
34 Main Street
(603) 863-2855
We like how this florist shop has transformed its front entrance into an antique shop. There are some lovely antiques and collectibles that you may not have seen elsewhere.

oldmotor  SUNAPEE

Sunapee Landing Trading Company
356 Route 103
(603) 863-2275
Bill Corey has been collecting antiques across New England since the 1980s. He brings his eclectic collection to Sunapee; items range from $40 cut glass bowls to $15,000 marble tables.

Rustic Remedies

Every so often, Kearsarge Magazine runs a feature with funny items from history. This one came in too late for 2014-2-15’s feature, but we saved it because we liked it. You can also read more by clicking


“Geez, Phil, you look like death warmed over!” This is what Lester Hall had to say when young Dick MacLeod drove his ailing father up for a final visit in 1940. His dad had lost over 50 pounds due to digestive failure and had been sent home from the Veteran’s Hospital to die. “Go see Doc Sias up back on Rowe Mountain. He’ll fix you up.” Doc Sias tied Phil’s feet to the cot, put a strap around his head, and commenced to stretching out his body. Later, he prescribed cold showers and hot meals of steeped fresh-mown hay. In about six weeks he recovered and lived to be 88 years old.

Now, all this hay harvesting kicked up Dick’s hay fever. Doc’s remedy? “Buy a dozen watermelons. When you get thirsty, eat watermelon. When you get hungry, eat watermelon. Then take a spoonful of local honey with a spoonful of apple cider and that’ll keep the hay fever down.” It worked!

Doc’s success stemmed from common sense, acute observational skills, and an appreciation for herbal lore. A girl named Audrey came up from Peabody, Mass., to seek a cure for her leukemia. Doc Sias determined that she needed a catalyst of copper to help her body absorb iron. Since he used copper sulfate to fight the potato bugs, he fed her a steady diet of spuds and she recovered. He was also known to cure severe skin ulcers with a poultice of cabbage leaves. People in town said “he could cure almost anything.”

Illness was a persistent aspect of early life in small towns like Bradford, NH. Many diaries recount grisly tales ranging from smithy tooth extractions to kitchen table surgeries. Early doctors had to mix their own medicines and make do with what was on hand. Bradford’s earliest doctor was Dr. William Martin who began his practice here in 1795. Another early physician was Dr. Jason Howard Ames who lived on Main Street and drove a white horse with a gig to serve outlaying homesteads. When he fell ill during the small pox epidemic in 1848, a fresh recruit named Dr. Cyrus Fisk rose to the occasion. He acted as both nurse and physician at the “pest house” set up on the west end of town to contain contagion. He did this despite the fact he had just been married and often joked about his unusual honeymoon.

Many colorful and dedicated doctors have lived in Bradford over the year. Some locals remember Dr. Anne Wasson who made doctor dolls to teach health skills. Dr. Ira Weston wrote the poem “The Hills of South Bradford.” Dr. Carey “removed a large suspender button from the nose of Master Arthur Peaslee on Feb. 20, 1891. The young man had carried the button in that receptacle since last November.”

— By Laurie Buchar, Bradford Historical Society


Zing into Spring!

The sun is peeking through the clouds today. Yes, finally. And it reminded me that spring was supposed to be here a month ago – right around the time Kearsarge Magazine held its first Zing into Spring event. It was a true success – 40 happy vendors and 150 happy participants. Event manager Leigh Ann Root took these candid photos, and I was thrilled to see everyone smiling and enjoying the day – acupuncture, belly dancing, fitness drumming, yoga, live music with Folk Fusion, food, hand massages, reiki, tarot card readings, shopping and learning. We’ve already picked a date for 2016, so mark your calendars to Zing into Spring on Saturday, March 19!

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