The CHS Annual Report to the Town, 2022

Canterbury Historical Society

Our mission: To preserve Canterbury’s history and sense of community.

We began to slowly return to “normal life” in 2022 after our shared experience of living with Covid-19 restrictions for the past couple of years. In spite of impediments we managed to move positively ahead during the year:

  • We designed, researched and wrote the text for the annual town report honoring Bud Thompson
  • Continued the 14th year of our one-room schoolhouse program for all Canterbury elementary students (including kindergarteners) and all second grade classes from Belmont elementary, with invaluable help from enrichment teacher Karen Gingrich
  • Co-hosted a program with Elkins Library in June featuring Shaker Village Director Leslie Nolan who presented a report on initiatives, programs and challenges facing the historic site
  • Mounted the Luther Cody Exhibit in the Elkins Memorial Building featuring selections from our Archive
  • Updated and published our annual  Community & Business Directory as a public service to welcome new residents and inform others about town services, organizations and local businesses
  • Co-hosted two programs with Elkins Library, one given by Mark Stevens who told the story of the Great Fire of 1943 which ravaged the town center and the other, a film of a program featuring the late Hugh Fifield recounting his time as a” country road agent” 
  • Held our (much delayed) annual meeting on November 29th which included election of  trustees and the election of Jeff Leidinger  who will take Mary-Jane Bergman’s  seat as she  becomes an ex-officio member
  • Enhanced our website ( with help from Jane Balshaw making it possible to post much more information. That made it possible to post both Mark Steven’s and Hugh Fifield’s programs so that they can be seen by anyone visiting our site.
  • The entire Luther Cody collection of 650 vintage photographs has been posted to our website and individual photographs can be reproduced if you would like your own digitized copy 
  • Coordinated the presentation of the Boston Post Cane by the selectmen to Julia Brown in October
  • Hosted “A Christmas Gathering” in December featuring selected, framed and matted Cody prints, as well as Canterbury history related items for sale. Mulled cider and refreshments were enjoyed by all     

We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Elkins Library, the selectmen, the elementary school staff, and all who have helped and supported our efforts over the year!

NOTE: The covers of the Town’s Annual Report feature another event we hosted in October 2022, a cemetery walk with reenactment of many of our founding fathers, entitled Canterbury Tales 2022, Trailblazers and Crossroads. After this report was prepared and published, a new video of this event was posted to this website. See it by clicking here. The following page was omitted from the town report in error so we wish to recognize these individuals here.


Strategic Planning Meeting Held

The Trustees held a strategic planning meeting in January in order to assess various aspects of their mission, current status and future initiatives. As in the past, discussions prompted a range of ideas and possible solutions. In the end, conclusions were reached to which all agreed. Here are a few: The Trustees need to encourage and recruit new individuals to refresh and replace long serving energy is needed; We need volunteers who could spend a few (or a lot) of hours reviewing and inventorying records of the town, the church, or those of the Canterbury Women’s Club, among a host of others; we have a large collection of old deeds which we need to inventory so they can be transcribed to a digital format; there are pictures from the 1976/1977 Bicentennial requiring “people identification”.

If any of this interests you please contact Mary Ann Winograd at the Elkins library, or email us at

The Boston POST Cane Tradition

Canterbury, New Hampshire

The Boston Post Cane tradition was established in 1909 by the Boston Post Newspaper. A special cane was presented to the Board of Selectmen in 431 towns in New England, to be presented as an honor to each town’s oldest resident. The recipient held the honor as long as he/she lived (or moved from the town). Upon his or her death (or move) the cane would be awarded to the next oldest resident.

The Cane would belong to the town and not the resident who received it.

To provide for preservation and public awareness of the tradition and protection of the cane from loss or damage, the Town of Canterbury and the Historical Society, will establish a policy and definition for Canterbury’s oldest resident.

Eligibility and Selection

The holder of the Cane must be 90 years young and be a legal resident of the Town of Canterbury and have lived here for the last 20 years although we will allow for periods of absence.

The term “resident” refers to a person who has physically resided at a fixed, permanent and principal home in the town.

Recognizing that numerous individuals establish residency in Canterbury’s nursing homes late in life but otherwise may not be engaged as residents of the Town of Canterbury and recognizing that the Town has no formal means of identifying residents by age, selection of the honoree shall be by a Committee of three. The Committee will consist of 3 members of the Canterbury Historical Society.

Method to Search for Oldest Resident

There shall be a notice placed in the media, Concord Monitor, and the Church Newsletter, the Town website, looking for nominations of those residents who are 90 years old or older and have been a resident of Canterbury for a minimum of the last 20 years although we will allow for periods of absence. All nominations must be received in the Town Clerk’s Office, or Historical Society, 30 days from the date of the posting of the notice in the media. The search may also include an informal survey, general public knowledge, and inquiries to nursing homes, civic groups, and churches or by nomination from family or friends. A nomination form may be obtained from the Town Clerk’s Office or on the Town Website.


The Chair of the committee, a Representative of the Selectmen shall present Canterbury’s oldest resident with a plaque donated by the Historical Societysignifying the honor and shall cause the name of the honoree to be inscribed on a plaque to be displayed along with the original Boston Post Cane at the ElkinsLibrary. There shall also be certificates awarded honoring those residents who are 90 years old or older and meet the residency requirements.

The location of the presentation will be determined according to the circumstances of the honoree. The recipient will retain this honor as long as he/she remains in Canterbury even though another resident may become eligible. The Town Clerk’s Office, Historical Society, must be notified if the recipient of the Boston Post Cane dies, changes residency outside the Town, is in rehabilitation longer than 90 days or otherwise refuses or returns the honor. At thattime the Committee of three shall determine the new oldest resident of Canterbury.

If the decision is made to no longer display the Boston Post Cane at the Elkins Library, it will be placed in the custody of the Canterbury Historical Society.

Download an eligibility form by clicking here



We had record numbers come view our latest exhibit, “Luther Cody Canterbury Collection” on Fair Day. We will be open on Saturdays September 17 and 24th and October 1st, 8th and 15th from 10:00 to noon. There are 38 vintage photographs, all matted and framed and can be ordered/purchased for $20.00 each. There are 650 photos total in the Cody Collection, they can be viewed/ordered at (Fred Wilcox of Concord won the drawing to receive a print of his choice)


Sadly, with the  passing of Willie Nelson the most recent holder of the Boston Post Cane, we are seeking nominations for the oldest resident of Canterbury (who is willing to accept the honor). We have posted the criteria used to select the resident to our website Please feel to contact us if you have questions and especially if you have recommendations


 It occurs to us that the town should begin thinking about planning for the commemoration of our 300th Birthdaywhich will be celebrated on May 20, 2027. The official date our Charter was signed by Governor John Wentworth, was May 20, 1727. So begin formulating your ideas and thinking about our wonderful history and the town we have become. Surely, there is much to celebrate!  



The Trustees of the historical society have decided to re-purpose their meeting /work room in the Archives section of the Library into a Research Center. New workstations will provide space for volunteers to identify, describe and create a digital record of the myriad items contained in our Collection, thereby, making the information available online. While some of this work has been done previously, there is much more to be done. To this end, the Trustees have recently purchased a new computer and wireless printer/scanner allowing for uploading of the information to our website, We will have more in next month’s report. 

The Canterbury Community and Business Directory has been published by the Society for 2021-2022 and is available at the Library and Country Store. The directory, published as a public service provides information about town organizations and departments, local businesses and answers commonly asked questions. 


The Society’s Historic Sign Committee has succeeded in gaining approval from the NHDOT for a sign to be placed at the site of the Worsted Church (burned 1958) at Hills Corner to mark its location and history. Working with the Division of Historic Resources and the DOT, committee member Harry Kinter, whose help was invaluable, and fellow committee members have begun work on completing the necessary paperwork leading to its installation. 

Our Canterbury Business and Community Directory is in its final stages of preparation and will be published shortly. Originally the booklet was intended to serve as a Welcome to Canterburydirectory for new residents. It will be a ready reference and contain information about businesses, schools, clubs, organizations, churches, town offices, etc. It will be published shortly. Watch this space!

AmazonSmile is a way for you to support us!  Amazon will donate a portion of eligible purchases to the CHS,or to a charity you choose. Visit to sign up. Sign in with the same account you use for Shop and then sign out at Amazon will automatically send us a contribution at no cost to you or us!



The famous Bee Gees’ song “Staying Alive” could not have been more apt as the historical society’s trustees officially met for the first time in 14 months on May 4th. The meeting proved we are very much alive and here are some of the items we discussed;

  • We will be redesigning our website and link it to the town’s website with the much appreciated  help of Jane Balshaw.
  • We will mount an exhibit in the Elkins Memorial building this summer if the Fair Committee decides to hold the Canterbury Fair in July.
  • Trustees voted unanimously to begin the task of posting all (approximately 650 ) Luther Cody digitized photographs (mostly of Canterbury) dating from the late 1890’s to our website.
  • The trustees voted to create a committee to begin the process of identifying historic sites in Canterbury with the idea of placing historic markers on them. The site of the Worsted Church will be the first location. Fred Brewster will head the committee which will include Harry Kinter, Mary Kerwin and Paul Lepesqueur.
  • The School House program will go on this year in an abbreviated form with all children visiting and taking part in short lessons taught by Karen Gingrich. We hope to resume the full program next school year.
  • The trustees voted to accept the donation of a bed frame made by a Clough family member about 200 years ago which was housed in the Clough Tavern until the mid 1950’s. It will be held in our Archive Collection.   
  • It was voted to seek replacements for two vacant trustee positions and to seek volunteer replacements from town. If you are interested or need information send a note to or call Bob Scarponi 783-9594.   

You see! We are definitely Staying Alive!


Historical Society May 2021 Newsletter


Last December Harold Sargent presented his model of the Houser Center Schoolhouse to the Historical Society. During the winter months the model has been on display at the elementary school for our students to see and study It has now been moved to the Elkins Library for all to see. The Society would like to again extend its thanks to Harold for his generosity in making this donation to us. We also wish to thank Mark Stevens who worked closely with Harold in scaling and drawing the plan for the project. We also extend our appreciation to Sue LeClair and the library trustees for allowing us to display this wonderful “Canterbury Creation” so prominently in the library. We are proud to have the model in our Archive Collection. 


Finally, after 14 months of relative inactivity we are beginning to “stir”! We will be holding our first meeting shortly and there is much to discuss. Items will include programs we might sponsor for the next year, the mounting of an exhibit in the Elkins Memorial building, our One Room School House program, archive status, finances, trustee vacancies, our annual meeting status and our meeting schedule. The Trustees are anxiously looking forward to our meeting and to “getting going again”!


At the risk of being accused of “drip-dripping” we would appreciate receiving your stories, pictures, and writings about your experiences in the past year. Having a record of how you and others were affected in the past year will prove to be a valuable record in our historical society archives as future historians/researches study this extraordinary time.    

Plans for 2018!

The Society’s trustees gathered on January 6th for what has become an annual event, i.e. reviewing the past year’s activities, assessing the Society’s current situation and planning for the upcoming year and beyond. Many items were discussed including:
    The One Room Schoolhouse Program – This will be our 11th year recreating the one room schoolhouse experience in which all Canterbury elementary school children participate as well as all the second graders from Belmont elementary school. The program will focus on the year 1887 and the curriculum will be designed as it might have been then. This is a program that has won national recognition and which all the students very  much look forward to. Like to be involved? Let us know!
    Exhibits – We plan to mount an exhibit later in the spring in the Elkins Memorial Building (former library) entitled, ”Out of the Archives” which will feature objects and materials from the Society’s archive collection. Do you have an idea for an exhibit? We are “all ears”!
    Programs – The Society will be sponsoring two “Humanities To-Go” programs in conjunction with the Elkins Library. The first will be on April 10th presented by Glenn Knoblock entitled, N.H. On High: Historic and Unusual Weathervanes of the Granite State”. The second will be on October 23rd presented by Steve Taylor entitled, “Poor Houses and Town Farms: The Hard Row for Paupers”. Both at 7 P.M. in the library. Do you have a program idea? Something you’d like to see? We’d love to hear from you!
    Archive Collection- Strategies for managing the collection were discussed including organization, accessibility and growth. If this is an area of interest, let us know!
    Sundry other issues- Some of which were the review of our current by-laws, committee structure, succession planning, signage, our new town history, continuation of oral history interviews and their transcriptions, potential grant applications, the Luther Cody glass negative collection and future planning. Interest in being a Trustee? Let’s talk!
Clearly, we have many areas on which to focus and would welcome you to assist, volunteer, or contribute support to any area you might find of interest. Visit us at or email us at