The Deerfield Historical Society
The Deerfield Historical Society is a private, non-profit organization separate from the Town-sponsored Heritage Commission. It was organized in 1973 primarily through the efforts of Nettie Farr and Irene Shores, who were also its first two presidents. The Society met regularly in the Meeting Room of the Soldiers Memorial building, with a mission to preserve for future generations the history and heritage of the Town of Deerfield and those who have lived here.
At first, the artifacts and materials they acquired were displayed in a basement room of Soldiers Memorial. But as the town changed and grew, so did the needs of its library, which expanded to fill all the rooms in the building. A new school was built (the Deerfield Community School) leaving vacant the George B. White building. The town offices moved out of the Town Hall to take up that vacancy, renting the extra space to local businesses. Where better for the Historical Society to relocate than into the historic Town Hall, taking the rooms which had formerly been the offices of the Town Clerk and the Board of Selectmen. This is where they can be found now.
In the nearly forty years since its founding, the Deerfield Historical Society has acquired a marvelously rich collection: photographs and post cards; ledgers and account books from the stores, home businesses and medical practices in town; newspapers and newsletters; diaries and letters written to and by residents; books written about the town or authored by its citizens; artwork and artifacts created by Deerfield people.
Among the larger artifacts, some are too large to be displayed in the Society’s museum and are in the first floor meeting room of the Town Hall, or on loan to the Town Offices at the G.B. White Building for display. These include the Bicentennial Quilt sewn for the 1966 celebration, a collection of Civil War rifles and bayonets from the Grand Army of the Republic, the original pewter communion set of the Baptist Church donated by Nettie Farr, and a restored 1857 map of Rockingham County showing all the residences.
In the Museum are displayed the original cow weathervane from the barn of the historic Marston Farm donated by Mary Pendleton, one of the pews of the old Free Will Baptist Church (which became a grange hall and is now the Business Center on Church Street), the cradle in which was rocked famed Civil War General Benjamin Butler who was born in Deerfield, and a General Stark chair, made in 1770, and donated by Elsie Brown.
The Deerfield Historical Society meets at the Town Hall at 7:00 on the fourth Thursday in March, April, May, June and October, and on the third Thursday in November and December. These meetings are open to the public. Refreshments are served and a program of historical interest offered, except in December when the Society has its annual Christmas Party.
The museum is open 10:00 am to noon on the first Wednesday of the month, May thru October, or by appointment. To make an appointment, call Edie Kimball at 463-7485 or Priscilla Watts at 463-7113, or email Priscilla Watts. The mailing address for the Society is P.O. Box 41, Deerfield, NH 03037.