Londonderry has always had a rich and vibrant history as one of the oldest towns in the state. But a fair amount may not be aware that its history goes back further than they may believe.
Londonderry was originally one portion of a much larger settlement known as Nutfield that was eventually split up into what we know now as the towns of Windham, Londonderry, and Derry. Originally formed by a group Scottish-Irish settlers, the immigrants, led by Reverend James MacGregor, broke off from another group in Haverhill to go up north, eventually settling down in an area ripe with nut trees, thus leading to the name of Nutfield. The settlement was established in April of 1719, three years before the formation of Londonderry in 1722.
As we are now approaching the region’s 300th anniversary, members of all three towns within the region have begun to form committees in order to prepare for what will most likely be a series of celebrations throughout the summer of 2019, starting in April of that year, with one such meeting recently taking place on June 5 at Londonderry Town Hall.
Representatives of all three towns were present for the meeting, including Town Manager Kevin Smith and Paul Lindermann, a representative with Nutfield History. Smith took the reins for most of the meeting, helping to organize the group and identify the most urgent matters that needed to be discussed.
For one, subcommittees to handle the various elements of the celebrations need to be established by October of this year, including ones for planning events, gaining sponsorships, and inviting guests of honor to the region, including the possibility of residents of Londonderry, Ireland making a visit.
The other major focus of the meeting came down to the production of a series of mementos that are traditionally created and sold to the public every time the region ages 25 years. These mementos include a booklet, a calendar, and what was agreed to be an engraved coin.
The booklets, which would contain a general history of Nutfield, paintings from local artists and a schedule of the events that would take place for the anniversary, will most likely be around 20 to 25 pages long. It was also suggested that any artwork created for the booklets then be auctioned off for the sake of fundraising.
The calendars were a trickier matter, as the committee struggled to decide on whether there should be one calendar for Nutfield as a whole or a calendar for each town individually.
As for the coin, local wood burning artist Tom Bianchi was recommended for the creation of the symbols to be placed on the front and back of the coin.
Other plans for the celebration were also touched upon, including a historical tour of the town’s graveyards, potentially reaching out to any Native Americans in the area and learning about their relationship with the town and seeing if any local churches wish to create a detailed history of their time in Nutfield.
If you happen to be interested in being a part of Londonderry’s committee, you can reach out to Kevin Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next meeting will take place on September 25.