Sullivan County, New Hampshire
Charlestown Genealogy  

Charlestown has a new web site host and a new look. Up until now, Mr.  James Streeter, had created and maintained this Charlestown site for almost 10 years. Now Mr. Streeter has decided to retire, We are grateful to him for all of his good work and dedication. The Streeter family is well-known in the community, so his name will not be forgotten. Enter Joyce Higgins.......
We are most fortunate that the President of the Charlestown Historical Society has agreed to become our NEW host. This is an extension of her present duties at the Historical Society.. We are  now able to offer, site users, and researchers, a dream situation.  Joyce Higgins a local resident, and she is already involved, in Charlestown history and genealogy.  Now you will see new additions, facilities, up-to-date reference material, and new reference sources.    Welcome to Joyce Higgins,  our NEW host.

Charlestown National Register District of Historic Places--Main Street

Charlestown’s Main Street is the longest National Register District in New Hampshire.  Wonderful old homes and buildings, dating to the 1700s and early 1800s line the street.  The district was placed on the register in 1987.  Information is available online at www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/NH/sullivan/state.html and www.crjc.org/heritage/NatReg.htm, at the Town Offices, Silsby Free Public Library, and at the Charlestown Historical Society.

Two “Walkabout” booklets are available to anyone wanting a guide to the Main Street houses.  Both the original “Walkabout” booklet (primarily concerned with buildings’ exteriors), and the “Walkabout--Second Time Around” (primarily concerned with buildings’ interiors) are available from the Charlestown Historical Society for $2.00 each plus postage. More information about these houses will be found in the Second History of further down on this web site.  

 North Charlestown National Register District of Historic Places

 Additionally, there is a North Charlestown National Register District of Historic Places. North Charlestown Village on River Road (Route 12-A) in North Charlestown was placed on the National Register in 2005.  This small farming village is notable for its early buildings (late 1700s, early 1800s), and for surviving the centuries with very little change. Further information is available online. Information can also be obtained at other places like the Town Offices, Silsby Free Public Library, and the Charlestown Historical Society. Frizzell’s Second History Charlestown also has information about this area.

 .History of Charlestown, N. H.

Plantation No. 4, which eventually became Charlestown, was originally chartered by Massachusetts in 1735.  No. 4 was the farthest north, and the most exposed, in a chain of four settlements which were created primarily to protect the western Massachusetts towns that were often the target of Indian attacks.  When the French and Indian Wars took place, the settlers in this vulnerable outpost pulled several houses together, built a palisade to protect them, and created the Fort at No. 4--a fortified village, not a military fort.  Life at the fort was dangerous and hard until King Philips’s War finally ended. 

Since the area settled was actually in New Hampshire, the town was chartered by New Hampshire in 1753, and named Charlestown.  At one time, so many noted lawyers and judges resided in the town that it was known as the most important law center north of Boston.  The rude frontier outpost became a cultured village of gracious homes.  During the 1800s, the town was a destination for summer visitors who stayed in the many large hotels.

Today, Charlestown is located in what is called the “Quiet Corner” of New Hampshire, surrounded by hills, beside the Connecticut River.  It is still a small town with under 5,000 people.   It is a fine place to live or visit, and the town retains many of its wonderful historic features.  Proud of its history, the town has retained many records of its earlier days, and has many resources for those seeking information about their forebears.

Two histories have been written about the town, and plans are being made for a third volume.  Anyone with ties to Charlestown should have both volumes of its history.  A real feel for the past and the times our ancestors lived in, as they built the town and the country are recorded, as well as many personal sidelights about various people in the village.  It is fascinating reading.

Town Historian:  Barbara Bullock Jones
73 Pine St. Charlestown, NH 03603-9603  603-826-3212
 

Saunderson’s History of Charlestown

Rev. Henry H. Saunderson wrote and published this history of early Charlestown in 1876.  This volume is an invaluable resource, beginning in the days of the first settlers, and the French and Indian Wars, and continuing through the 1800s.  It has a well-researched genealogical section.  The history has been reprinted in hard cover, and is available from the town.  To order, send $30.00 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling to the Town of Charlestown, Attn:  Marlene, P.O. Box 385, Charlestown, NH 03603.  Some of the pages are available online.

A comprehensive index to Saunderson’s History of Charlestown, prepared by Jan Marasch in May 1999, is available online at www.usroots.com/~usgwnhus/sullivan/chrstwn1.htm.  This is a large file and may take a little time to load.  A great genealogical resource, this index lists every mention of individuals named in Saunderson’s History.
 

Frizzell’s Second History of Charlestown

Martha Frizzell, and others, wrote and published this second history in 1955.  This book briefly covers the early period detailed by Saunderson, then continues on from 1876 to 1955.  It covers the growth of the town,  property ownership from early days, organizations, businesses, and has a genealogical section that emphasizes the inhabitants during the 1876-1955 time period.  This history has been reprinted in hard cover, and is available from the town.  To order, send $20.00 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling to the Town of Charlestown, Attn:  Marlene, P.O. Box 385, Charlestown, NH 03603.

A comprehensive Index to Frizzell’s Second History of Charlestown was prepared by Robin Van Mechelen in 2006, is currently being printed and will be available from the Charlestown Historical Society.   This index taps into the rich sources of genealogical information scattered throughout the book under various headings.  Contact the Charlestown Historical Society for price and availability.

Charlestown Selectboard Offices (Town Offices)
 
P.O. Box 385    Charlestown, NH 03603    603-826-4400 
 
email: pat@charlestown-nh.gov 
Charlestown Town Clerk
 26 Railroad St.      Charlestown, NH 03603    603-826-5821  
deb@charlestown-nh.gov
 
The Town Clerk has the vital records and town reports from the 1700s to current. Early records are SOMEWHAT fragmentary.
ACCESS THE CHARLESTOWN WEB SITE
   www.charlestown-nh.gov   

Silsby Free Public Library   Hours vary seasonally.      
 

226 Main St.   Charlestown, NH 03603        Phone:  603-826-7793
silsby@charlestown-nh.gov
www.charlestown-nh.gov/Public_Documents/CharlestownNH_Library/index
Head Librarian: Sandra Perron

 

Charlestown Heritage Commission
P.O. Box 385  Charlestown, NH 03603
Co-chair Wes Van Velsor  603-826-3985,  Email: 
Info@RayTechinfrared.com
Co-chair  Eric Lutz  603-826-5565,  Email: 
efjlutz@aol.com
The Charlestown Heritage Commission is an appointed commission.  Its task is to promote preservation of the historic buildings and areas in the town, especially the two National Register Districts.   Education and publicity on the importance of historic attributes and promoting pride in the past and the present are its goals.  All meetings are open to the public.  For a brochure, contact the Heritage Commission.    

Charlestown Historical Society
Joyce Higgins, President 
603-826-9726,                   Email: 
Joycehnh@cs.com

Marge Reed, Archivist  603-826-4478
 

History, Genealogy, and Town:  Charlestown Historical Society, P.O. Box 159, Charlestown, NH 03603  Joyce Higgins, President, email Joycehnh@cs.com, phone 603-826-9726   Our Archives Room, at the Town Hall, Summer Street, is open every Tuesday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon for researchers.  We have many research sources, including all the cemetery listings for Charlestown.

The Charlestown Historical Society maintains an Archives Room at the Town Hall at 19 Summer Street, off Main Street. All the town cemetery records are available and the archives are sorted into many categories, with much other unclassified material available for research.  It is a treasure trove of historic photos, old newspapers, etc.  Researchers are welcome every Tuesday morning from 9:00 a.m. to noon or other times by appointment.  If coming from a distance, please contact the Archivist, Marge Reed, 603-826-4478, to confirm that the room will be open. 

Written, emailed, or phoned inquiries to the society will be researched through the sorted materials and the town histories for a small donation, as time permits.  The society holds monthly meetings with programs of historical interest, and has occasional special events.  Guests are always welcome.  For a brochure of programs, contact the historical society. The society does not have a web site.

Membership dues, annually, are $5.00 per individual or $8.00 per family.  Other membership categories are:  $25 Contributing Member, $100 Sustaining Member, and $500 Lifetime Member. The society has some old Town Reports ($2.00), Walkabout Booklets ($2.00), and postcards ($1.00), plus postage, for sale.  Two postcards are available:  Charlestown Schoolhouse No. 8 or Scenes of Charlestown.  See more about the Walkabout Booklets under the Charlestown Main Street National Register District heading.
 

               Little Red Schoolhouse, District No. 8
Listed on the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places, this 1774 one room schoolhouse on Acworth Road is maintained by the Charlestown Historical Society. The school is available free to school groups who wish to spend a day studying as their grandparents did.  Docents tell children about schooldays of yore. 

Open houses at the schoolhouse are scheduled for October 8, 2006, May 27, 2007, and October 7, 2007.  The society is also always glad to open the school for tours by groups or individuals.  Contact the society for information.

                       Charlestown Vital Records (births, marriages, deaths)

These records, from the 1700s to present, are located in the Town Clerk’s office.  Records are incomplete due to several factors, including a fire.  Town Reports often contain vital records, and Saunderson’s History lists early marriages and marriage bonds.  The genealogy sections of both town histories contain much information.  The Charlestown Historical Society maintains files of local newspaper clippings of births, marriages, obituaries, and miscellaneous information clipped from local sources.
 

                                    Charlestown Town Reports 

Annual Town and School Reports are available at the Town Clerk’s Office, Silsby Free Public Library, and the Charlestown Historical Society.  Reports from 1852 to 2006 are available (a few years are missing), and the historical society will do lookups.  Many of the reports contain vital records (births, marriages, deaths) for the previous year.  The earliest printed reports do not list vital records.  Town reports prior to 1852 are in hand-written volumes in the Town Clerk’s office.
 

                                     Walking Trails                                                    The Elms Hotel circa 1868  
 
Contact the Conservation Commission, Town of Charlestown, same town info as previous items.  Map is available.
 

603-826-4400

OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST

Charlestown Main Street Historic District   photos of old houses
Charlestown Railroad Station

Claremont Chamber of Commerce - click on the name.....
Railroad Stations in New Hampshire -- (by county) & old time post cards.  

 

 Charlestown's Fort at No. 4 Springfield Road,

    P.O. Box 336, Charlestown, NH 03743 603-826-5700
                                  History and Genealogy Information of The Fort at No. 4
                 Fort Historian:  Barbara Bullock Jones will answer  requests  for information by mail, and by phone:  603-826-3212.

Information available via  US Mail:
Barbara Bullock Jones - 73 Pine Street - Charlestown, NH 03603-9603
Fort No. 4 Association - click for Online info about Fort at No. 4

The Old No. 4, embracing the part borne by its inhabitants in the Indian, French And Revolutionary Wars, and the Vermont Controversy. Also Genealogies and Sketches of Families, from its settlement to 1876. by Rev. Henry H Saunderson, printed for the Town by The Claremont Manufacturing Company, Claremont, N. H. 1876, reprinted 1985.
 

Town Archives                
See information under the Charlestown Historical Society         

Silsby Free Public Library also has historical resources and photos of the town.  Historic photos and other archival material are in the process of being stored electronically and will be available to the public via an online index at some time in the future.  Call 603-826-7793 for library hours and services available. Information on early families and the French and Indian War period may be found at the Fort at No. 4 

Deed Research

Prior to the mid 1820s, Charlestown was in Cheshire County.  Those deeds are located at the Registry of Deeds, 33 West St., Keene, NH.  Deeds date back to the 1700s.  These deeds are not currently online, but may be examined in person at the registry.   Charlestown is located in Sullivan County.  Deeds from the mid-1820s are located in the Registry of Deeds, County Court House, 14 Main Street, Newport, NH 03773.  They are also available online at
www.nhdeeds.com.

 

Charlestown Links

If you know a Charlestown link that would be appropriate to add to this page, please  mailto:joycehnh@cs.com

The Fort at No. 4  Springfield Road,  P.O. Box 336 Charlestown, NH 03603 603-826-5700
Web site
www.fortat4.com 
This living history museum is open during the summer season.  It recreates life as it was in the days of the French and Indian Wars with costumed enactors and special events.  School groups are welcomed.  Admission is charged.   A special  Thanksgiving meal is served in the fort.  Reservations are required.  See the fort’s web site for more specific information.
 

Charlestown Military Information

 

 

Other Charlestown Historical Information Online
“All Roads Led to Charlestown” and “Fish and the Fisherman”, an article about early fish culturist Livingston Stone. were written in conjunction with the History Harvest and Flow of History programs at the Bellows Falls, Vt., Waypoint Center.

www.historyharvest.org/story.php?recid=13
www.flowofhistory.org/pdf/fohspring05.pdf

   Charlestown Cemetery Records

Complete records of the town’s five cemeteries (including St. Catherine’s) are available at Silsby Free Public Library, the Town Offices, and at the Charlestown Historical Society.  The historical society will do lookups.  Photos of headstones will be taken for a small donation to the society.

The photo shows "Voices From the Past", a cemetery walk event the Charlestown Historical Society held in June 2006 to bring former Charlestown residents to life.  The characters told of their lives in the past in Charlestown.  Over 100 visitors came to meet their former "neighbors. It was very successful.  No doubt that it will be repeated in the future. Attendees also came from other New England states. 
 

 

CHURCHES OF CHARLESTOWN

Old Churches:

Congregational Church,
Est. 1835  Main Street
P.O. Box 1498
603-826-3335 or 603-826-5126

Unitarian Church of South Parish Church, est. 1754
Main Street  PO BOX 886
603-826-5607

St. Catherine's of Siena Church, est. 1880                               PO Box 332
Main Street
603-826-3359

St. Luke's Episcopal Church, est. 1857
Main Street    PO Box 326
603-826-5192

North Charlestown Methodist Church, est. 1830  PO Box 735
River Road (Rt. 12A), North Charlestown
603-542-5783
New Churches:

Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, est.
20 Summer Street  PO Box 418
603-826-4110

Charlestown Bible Church, est.
37 Hammond Rd.  PO BOX 748
603-826-5121

Life Fellowship Foursquare Church, est.
65 Wheeler Rand Road

Charlestown, NH 03603

603-826-3979           Est. 1990

Victory in Jesus Family Church, Est. 1990s.
(Rt. 12- Charlestown Rd. & 9)   PO Box 319 Claremont
Charlestown, NH 03603
603-542-0266            

Defunct Churches:

Yellow Meeting House, est. 1802 (used by many denominations)
North Charlestown
Demolished in the 1800s, no records available)

Charlestown Methodist Church (Millerism)
Main Street
Est. 1836-1856
No known records exist

 

    Sullivan County Genealogy Project 
    Founded 1  August 1996 
    Charlestown Page
    Founded 1 August 1996
    This site was created by Clifford Coy, and maintained by :
    Joyce Higgins
    E-mail to
    joycehnh@cs.com
    Copyright © 2006 by Clifford L. Coy

 
October 17, 2006
 
 

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