Town Historian -Maurice I. Randall, Jr.
(10/11/1929 - 12/19/2017)
"Maurie" was a lifelong resident of Hampstead, NH. A retired electrician, Maurie loved the town of Hampstead, where he was the Town Historian and President of the Hampstead Historical Society.
He was a former Chairman of the Hampstead School Board, a member of the Planning Board and the Hampstead Fire Department. He was also very active in Hampstead Little League. He was a US Navy veteran, serving during the Korean War.
Maurie, along with his father, was responsible for saving much of the History of Hampstead. Maurie reported that the town's historical documents had been distributed for safekeeping among the residents living on Main street. The Town was afraid of fire, as many other towns had lost their important historical documents to fire. This way a single fire could not destroy all of the town's documents. Typically kept in the attic, over time, these "old papers" sometimes ended up being left out on the street for trash collection. First his father, then Maurie, would walk up and down the street, before trash day, retrieving any valuable papers from the rubbish. In this way, Hampstead still has the hand-written sermons of the Reverend Henry True, the town's first permanent minister, who came to Hampstead in 1752.
Maurie is also the author of History of Hampstead New Hampshire, a definitive history of the Town of Hampstead, which
This deed, which is on file at the registry in Exeter, certifies that Passaconaway for certain valuable considerations, sells to John Wheelwright and his associates a tract of land extending from the then (1629) Massachusetts line thirty miles into the country, and from the Piscataqua to the Merrimac, reserving the hunting and fishing rights to his people. The seventh and last article declares that 'every township within the aforesaid limits or tract of land that hereafter shall be settled shall pay to Passaconaway our chief sagamore that now is and to his successors forever, if lawfully demanded, one coat of trucking cloth a year. The names or marks of several noted sagamore were affixed to the deed as were also the signatures of some of the respectable planters of Saco and Piscataqua.
For a long while this deed was considered a forgery, however there is some evidence that it isn't. Whether or not it is a forgery it is still a very important historical document as many of our current town boundaries were set as a result of this deed.
The copy of this deed the HHS has in its collection is marked as a copy (see photo in slide show below).
The Hampstead Historical Society Collection is located in the Historic Library Museum on Main Street next to the Congregational Church. The collection contains artifacts from the very beginning of the town (1749) up to present day. We have hand-written sermons from Rev. True the first pastor of the church when it met in the Meetinghouse on Emerson Avenue, an extensive collection of the Hampstead High School one of the first public high schools in the U.S. and a delightful file box containing a 3 by 5 index card on every town member who fought in WWII. Each card has a serviceperson's unit and what happened to him or her during the war. This box was started and maintained by Mrs. Levi Duston who lived at 777 Main Street.
We also have our original Boston Post Cane given to the oldest member of the town by the Boston Post Newspaper. These canes are made of ebony with a 24k gold head containing the town inscription and seal. Canes were given by the Post to each town's oldest member in most New England towns starting in 1905 (?). Many towns no longer have their canes, but we do!
If you are new to town, a great place to learn about Hampstead is by purchasing a copy of Maurie Randall's (Town Historian) book History of Hampstead, New Hampshire (1999) ($25). The Historical Society also has available, in its library, a copy of Memorial History of Hampstead, NH by Harriette E. Noyes. For those looking for relatives this is a great place to start as everyone in the town belonged to the church (there are some exceptions) and were listed in her book by their church number.
We are always looking for volunteers to open the museum on Saturdays, so stop by the Museum on a Saturday afternoon from 1pm to 4pm, or come to one of our meetings on the 4th Tuesday of each month and find out more about us. Contact us below for more information and genealogical resources.
The Society meets every 4th Tuesday at the Museum at 7 P.M. All are welcomed. The building is the old town library built in 1897 and in use until 1994 when the town library moved to its present location due to lack of space. The museum is opened every Saturday from 1-4 P.M. If you go to the museum and no one is there, call one of the names on the door and we will try to open up.
copyright 2019, Hampstead Historical Society, All rights reserved