Sunday, July 31, 2016

Teresa Blanche Duffy

We recently had a couple ask for a list of war memorials in the area. We gave them a copy of a map and listing from the newspaper from a number of years ago. Ironically, one missing from the map was one of the earliest and closest. In fact it was from World War One and on the lawn of the Conway Public Library. For more info on the memorial see this link.

Let’s now follow up on one the names on the monument. Teresa Blanche Duffy seems to be the only women on the monument (the gender of some names are hard to tell and further research is needed). To follow her story we used the super powered library edition of Ancestry plus and found her marriage record, indicating she was a nurse.

That gave us the date we needed to check our microfilm collection for the wedding coverage from the local newspaper.

In turn we were able to track them through census records. This in turn gave us more information so we could follow up on where they lived and where she is buried and so on.

So through this process we can get a fuller picture of her life and be able to more properly honor her service to our country. If you are interested in more of the story and especially if you would like to volunteer to help track down more of the names in this and other veteran memorials in the area, please comment us or contact us at the Conway Public Library’s Henney History Room.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Reading Redstone

Over the past two weeks, we have had several outreach programs with the Kennett Middle School summer program. It involved three days of special tours and included a visit to the Conway Public Library,  a walking tour of Conway village, and a field trip to the Redstone Quarry.  
These tours are part of a larger and ongoing project to understand, research, document and understand Conway’s historical landscape. We are building on programs we did with the Pine Tree School, the UNH Cooperative Extension spirals program and other groups. We are happy to do them for other schools and groups, just contact us.

For this blog, we will focus on the theme of Conway’s granite history. On display in the Ham Community Room at the Conway Public Library is a fantastic painting by artist Ernest O. Brown.
It is one of the many landscapes in the “Shades of Spring” art exhibit on display now through August 31, 2016. The acrylic painting entitled “Spring: Chaos and Time Travel,” features an enigmatic hand split fence. Nearly photorealistic yet still painterly it shows incredible detail, amazing perspective and his signature dramatic shadows and composition.

Upstairs in the main reading room of the Conway Public Library the group learned about the now lost tourist attraction, the Washington Boulder, from which the foundation stones of the library were cut and quarried. See this link.  


At the Conway Historical Society’s Salyards Center we saw tools used to cut and dress stone by hand and dioramas and poster board displays on the quarry’s history done by school students in 2015 for the town’s 250th anniversary.
During the walking tour, we studied the cellar hole of the Conway House Hotel at the four corners near the library as well as the World War One Memorial on the library grounds. (now also known as a site for Pokémon Go).
To learn more about Conway’s larger, industrial scale granite history we took a bus tour to the Redstone quarry. It was only a short way into the trail before the intrepid explorers discovered a large pilaster with a high glossy finish.

We studied the curious "tool marks" on the usually hidden top and bottom faces of the pilaster.

We were then able to match the tool marks to the actual tools (just down the trail) used to hold and shape and finish and move the pilaster.

The Conway Public Library's Henney History Room has a wealth of information about this and many other sites in the area. Please contact us if you would like more details. Click on the pictures to enlarge any of these images.

After exploring the village of Redstone, we were back on the bus on time and ready for our next adventure.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

After 40 years photos find their way home

This year we celebrate 40 years of the Conway Public Library's Nella Braddy Henney History Room. Recently, a friend and neighbor of the Henneys donated 64 photographs and over 100 slides taken by Keith Henney. The donor pointed out that Mr. Henney certainly knew how to capture a characteristic moment of time. Bert Heath was said to be able to fix anything. He put his jalopy together from bits and pieces of scrounged materials and always had a cigarette in his mouth. Comfort was key, style was secondary.

Many of the pictures show the affection, appreciation, and understanding folks had of their animals. It's a love the Henneys shared. Above is Lucille Thompson in front of the Isaac Bean House. Notice the nice white socks on the mare. Below a pair of bald-faced Hereford steers bring home the hay under the goad of Herbert Thompson.  You can see the pride they had in a well built rick.

This is how Yankees celebrate the acquisition of a new generator for the town. You can see how excited they are and Mr. Henney was there to document the moment.

Many of the photos share the composition, lighting and other artistic flourishes seen in WPA photos of the period and the aesthetics of Norman Rockwell.  They also show the Henney's interest in history and love of their neighbors and friends. 

For more on the Henney History Room click here.