In honor of this year's 250th celebration, we'd like to take this opportunity to let folks know about some of the interesting resources we have in our town library. For example, we have a simple, self-published, spiral-bound book called Back Then, written by Ruth Tilton Houghton back in 1990. The Tilton family goes back a long way in Deerfield. In fact, Ruth's grandfather Charles E. Tilton, served with the New Hampshire Volunteers during the Civil War. A plaque in his memory hangs here in the library.
We also have the Civil War Letters & Diary of Captain Jonathan Johnson. The Johnsons, Nancy and Jonathan, lived on South Road with their nine children. Their oldest son, George, worked with his father at their shoe business, located in a little shop in their house.
In 1862, Jonathan Johnson began active service as Captain of Company D, 15th Regiment, NH Volunteers, and went to war. One year later, at the age of forty-seven, Capt. Jonathan Johnson succumbed to what they called “swamp fever”, contracted while fighting in New Orleans. He was sent home to Deerfield to die. He left his wife Nancy a widow with eight children at home, four of them less than 16 years of age. His son George never returned home, and was buried in a double grave after the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864. Both had gone to war to preserve the Union, and believed that slavery was an iniquitous institution. Both died for that cause.
During his year of service, Capt. Johnson kept a diary and regularly wrote home. These fragile, precious letters were preserved by his widow and came into the hands of his grandson after her death. Alden Chase Brett was so deeply moved by the story that came out of his grandfather’s letters and diary, and the family history that was passed down to him, that he compiled it into a book. We can all benefit from the meticulous work Brett did relating in chronological order the letters and diary entries that tell this tragic story.
Our library has a circulating copy of this book which is available to anyone with a library card. If you don't have a library card (and why wouldn't you?) you may still see a copy, but you cannot take it out of the library. It makes compelling reading for any student of Deerfield History or of the Civil War. We keep it behind the desk, so just ask for it.
The Library has a wealth of historical and genealogical resources available to our patrons. Click here to see the complete list (link takes you to the Heritage Commission website).
Ancestry Library Edition is available on site (this is a more complete version designed specifically for libraries, not available for home use) for genealogy research. It includes:
-Census is indexed by every person living in the house, not just the Head of the Household
-UK, Canadian and US Census
-Immigration and naturalization records
-Many other types of records, including state censuses
Save your work to a flash drive, email it to yourself or print it; or bring in your own laptop with your genealogy software on it and save your work with a wireless connection
We also subscribe to Heritage Quest which is able to be accessed from home. Drop by the library for the link address, username and password information.
The Library also has archived many periodicals which contain news and information from the past. Click here to see the complete list (link takes you to the Heritage Commission website).
You can also research the over 100 cemeteries in town. Click here for details (link takes you to the Heritage Commission website).
In 2000, the Heritage Commission sought to make an inventory of the barns still standing and serving in Deerfield, and over the next few years put together a two volume binder with the results of that survey, which is available at the library. Click here for details (link takes you to the Heritage Commission website).
We have available a copy of the Cultural Resources Survey of houses in town, which consists of two loose leaf notebooks, each page inventorying a historic building or property in the town. It is accompanied by an Inventory Site Map, 52" x 44", which helps match addresses to entries in the books. Click here for details (link takes you to the Heritage Commission website).
The Library has a complete set of Town Reports, but you can access digital copies of most years courtesy of the University of New Hampshire's Digital Collection (along with town reports from other towns throughout the state). Click here to access.