Epping and Area History

May-June 2019| Volume 12, Issue 3

Newsletter Schedule

Have we missed your group or event? Please let us know. Our purpose is to include as many Epping groups and events as possible.

The next issue (July-Aug) of this newsletter will be available in early August 2019. We will accept submissions through June 25, 2019 to be included in the next issue. Please send your content, including contact information, for consideration by using the CONTACT US section of our web site or by emailing us.

Epping Historical Society

Have you noticed the green lawns, and the leaves beginning to obstruct the view of the sky? It MUST be spring!!  We have been patient, but warm weather reminds us to plant our gardens. Whether you plant a vegetable garden (for your tummy) or, like me, plant flowers for your soul, we are ready.

I cannot thank our volunteers enough for the work they accomplish. It takes many hands to organize and archive our collections. The volunteers know where most everything is located, and they are a great help when visitors arrive. We have had several visitors lately, a couple from the midwest stopped by, looking for their ancestors, also long time Epping residents may just stop in for a chat (this gives us an opportunity to “pick their brains” about Epping).

As the weather improves, new residents to Epping stop by, looking for information on their old home, and the people that lived there previously. This is always a challenge, but with our old maps, deeds and genealogies, we can give them some information, but we also can send them in the right direction to further research their homes. The thrill is in the hunt!

Memorial Day is coming, and the Society will be open to visitors. Stop by and check out our collections. As you walk up the walkway, look down and see the many memorial bricks there. This is a great way to pay respect to our loved ones. The bricks are $50.00, with three lines of letters and spaces.  We have applications available.

Railroads in Epping

At one time Epping had two very busy rail lines. One was the Concord and Portsmouth line, the other the Worcester, Nashua and Portland line.

The Concord and Portsmouth line was the first to come to Epping. This line was later operated by the Boston & Maine railroad. Freight trains came down from Concord and Manchester, to deliver and pick up freight. Epping was the end of the line until the middle of the 1850’s. There was a train turntable located at the station. Engines were turned and they headed back from whence they came. Remnants of the turntable are still there, although you have to do some exploring through the woods to locate the remains.

When the railroad expanded to Portsmouth, it became a very active line, hauling freight and passengers for many years. When the Portsmouth connection was completed, it was a time of celebration.  Many people came from Portsmouth and all stops between to attend a dance on the upper floor of the former Ezekiel Brown’s home on Exeter road.  Imagine being able to travel from Portsmouth to Manchester and back, in one day!  Men could conduct their business in less time, but the ladies were able to shop in our largest city.  Ladies could keep up with the latest fashions, and then as now, the latest attire was important to all ladies.

The station in East Epping (Hedding) was established primarily for the accommodations of the patrons of Hedding Camp Ground. In 1881, a spur track was added on the line, just for the Hedding patrons.

The Boston & Maine Railroad operated until 1956.  Many trains full of troops passed through Epping during WW II.  In 1916, the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show made a stop in Epping on the way to Manchester to perform.  It must have been an exciting day for the children in the area.  Imagine seeing “Cowboys & Indians” all dressed up in their native dress.  These performers got off the train to patronize the nearby grocery store.  Shortly before the B&M Railroad went out of business, the “beer“ trains were parked at the Epping depot overnight. These trains were unloading at Portsmouth, but the beer trains were targets for thieves at night, so the trains were backed up to Epping overnight, and in the morning continued to Portsmouth.

In 1874, the Worcester, Nashua and Portland Railroad was constructed. This line crossed South Main Street. When in full operation, this cross road was extremely busy. In the Railroad’s heyday in Epping, up to 60 trains passed through Epping every day. The rail line was closed in 1934, due to lack of business. The WN&P continued to operate from Epping to Fremont for a few years.  As you travel north on Route 125 in Epping, you will cross the Lamprey River. Look to your left and you will see the remaining abutments of the WN&P Railroad Bridge. The first bridge was constructed of wood, with the bottom of the bridge covered as it crossed the river. This did not last too long; and was soon replaced with an iron bridge. When the line was discontinued in 1934, the span became a place for young people to test their courage.  So in 1942, the trestle bridge was torn down, and the scrap metal was added to the Epping scrap heap for the war effort. In 1950, the State of N.H. constructed Route 125, from Epping to Rochester on the old railroad bed. When you travel this road, you will notice how straight the road is, very gentle curves, for easy passage of the large trains.

Epping had three Railroad stations.  The largest was in Epping where there was a baggage shed and a milk shed (later moved to become Fecteau’s Market).  West Epping was busy; they were the main supply of wood for the trains along the route. Trains eventually changed to coal and then diesel became the most efficient fuel for operating.  East Epping was the smallest station, providing the farmers with a means to ship their goods to market.

Over the years of operation there were many accidents and fires. Several fields and barns were burned due to the sparks from the locomotives. Several people were killed or injured at train crossings.

After cars and trucks became popular, people used the rails less and less. Trucks delivered right to their customers, passengers had the freedom to use their cars at their convenience, not tied to a train schedule.

Come visit us at the Society. We are open Monday morning, 8:00 to 12:00, or when the flag is flying!  If this is not convenient for you, please call 679-2944 for an appointment or email me at: joysgarden@hotmail.com.

Don Sanborn’s research
Buster Sanborn’s papers
Tilton’s History of Epping

Epping  Historical Society

Submitted by Joy True, curator, Epping Historical Society

The Civil War Roundtable of NH

NH graves at Soldiers’ Cemetery in Gettysburg
(Photo by Bill Hallett)

The Civil War Roundtable of New Hampshire welcomes anyone with an interest in the American Civil War who would like to be with others who share the same desire to learn more of this time in American history. We are an informal club with the only requirement being a Civil War enthusiast.  If you or a friend has an interest in the American Civil War, we invite you to come check us out.

Founded in May 1991, the Civil War Roundtable of New Hampshire is a group of men and women, young and old, who share our interests, both blue and gray, in the pivotal era of American history known as the Civil War.  We are open to the public and welcome all!  As our slogan goes, “There’s no time like the present to join us in the past.”

For more information on the group and a complete schedule of meetings and news, please visit the web site: www.cwrt-nh.org or email cwrtnh@gmail.com.

This is the upcoming CWRT-NH schedule:

We are currently booking 2019 meetings. If you know someone, or would like to offer a talk to our group, please email: cwrtnh@gmail.com.

Note: The schedule is subject to change without notice.  You can access the CWRT-NH website for the current schedule.  If a meeting is cancelled, a notice will be put on ETV.

May 17, 2019 – Gary Morgan (writer) - "Andersonville Raiders” (new book in 2020)

June 14, 2019 – (note: this is 2nd Friday) ~ Wayne Motts, (C.E.O. National Civil War Museum) - "Wearing Blue and Gray: Five Men Who Served Both Sides" (learn the unique story of five different men who actually fought on both sides during the American Civil War)

July & August - no meetings - summer break