Class of 1980,
Appetizers, Dinner, Dancing and Cash Bar! Contact: Harriet
Topouzoglou- Degou. Email:
Pittsfield Area Senior Center would like to invite you to a free
performance by the Dump Run Gang on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at
Dump Run Gang is a group of musicians from Gilmanton who sing and
play a number of instruments. They perform songs like “Wabash
Cannonball,” “Glory Train,” and “Temperance Reel.” Come, enjoy the
free show, and have lunch with the group after! The senior center is
located on 74 Main St., in Pittsfield and you can call 435-8482 for
Pittsfield Area Senior Center is teaming up with the Josiah
Carpenter Library and hosting a presentation given by the
Historical Society at the senior center, located on 74 Main St. in
Pittsfield, on October 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM. Larry Berkson and
William Provencal will be discussing the history and highlights of
the “2016 Historical Pittsfield Calendar.” You can call the center
at 603-435-8482 or the library at 603-435-8406 for more information.
Fishing In Early Pittsfield
Submitted By Larry Berkson
every morning when I drive down Lyford Hill, I see people fishing
from the dam abutment. It reminds me of my fishing days when I was a
youngster and how things have changed. The Fish and Game Department
now stock the river with trout. They can be eaten without fear of
contamination. Growing up in the 1940s and 50s eating fish caught in
the river was unheard of. The town’s sewers drained into it, and
toilet paper, defecation, and other unmentionables could be seen
floating down stream.
fish, with plenty of feed, multiplied quickly and grew to enormous
sizes. I remember Eldon Duclos catching a horned pout along River
Road that must have weighed four or five pounds. One day I caught a
34 inch pickerel off of Barnstead Bridge which Frank Volpe hung in
his store window on Depot Street.
was great interest in fishing during my childhood. Most of us kids
skipped school on the first day of the season to wet a line. And
many adults were just as enthusiastic. When Allan Remington came to
Pittsfield to run the Cotton Mill in the 1940s, he made an
evaluation of its status for the owners. Absenteeism was a problem.
One example he gave was that “for time immemorial,” it had been
traditional for all fishermen to take at least the morning off the
first day of the season. “Nothing, he stated, “could be allowed to
interfere with that, not a World War crying need for production,
[or] a worker’s pay.” Even supervisors expected to have time off on
the first of May. “On the other hand,” he continued, “employees
would work any holiday (excepting Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day
and Christmas) at regular rates of pay, if asked.” “Unbelievable as
it sounds,” he concluded “there is very little exaggeration in the
of game fish, however, were limited and the size of fish was
relatively small. Streams such as the Tan Brook and Kelley’s Brook
were stocked with trout, but nearly fished out each year so the fish
never grew to a large size. I remember my first catch, a barely six
inch speckled beauty in the Gas House Brook off the bridge at the
foot of French Hill on South Main Street.
an earlier time in Pittsfield’s history, fish were much more
plentiful and grew much larger, and abounded in the streams, river,
and ponds. Further, the sport was enjoyed by many more people than
today. In my reading I have come across numerous articles in
newspapers about huge fish and large catches being taken in
Pittsfield and I thought that it might be interesting to relate some
first newspaper account of a large pickerel being caught was in
1869. Charles Evans and Walter Muncey caught one in Shaw Pond
weighting over three pounds. Three years later the weight was topped
by a man by the name of Wiggins who lived in the Dowboro area of
South Pittsfield. He caught one five pounds and one ounce. Where it
was taken is not reported but it must have been through the ice
because it was caught in January. Perhaps it was in either Blake,
Eaton or Berry Ponds as they were nearby.
Nathaniel Marston, who was born in Pittsfield but living in
Chichester, caught two pickerel in the Suncook River near Barnstead
Road, one weighing three and a half pounds and the other two pounds.
The newspaper editor thought that they were the largest he had ever
only were large pickerel caught, but they were caught in large
quantities as well. In 1880 Lew Marston, Mel Sherburne, and Frank
Jacobs caught 80 pickerel in one day in Wild Goose Pond. A large
number weighed three pounds each and the average was about two
eight year old John Potter caught a pickerel in Shaw Pond weighing
1½ pounds. The following year, in February, A. J. Ranlet, Dr. M. F.
Smith, and J. A. Dennett caught 65 pickerel in Jenness Pond. In May
Moses Martin and True Brown caught a string of pickerel weighing
over 41 pounds. One weighed 5½ pounds and another 3¾ pounds. In
December Charles Sweatt and two others caught 128 “as nice pickerel
as we ever seen (sic)” according to the editor of the Snow Flake.
a party of fishermen from Concord caught over 300 pickerel in Wild
three catches were reported. In June a young boy named John Brown
caught a pickerel in the Suncook River weighing 3½ pounds. Pickerel
were also caught in some of Pittsfield’s smaller ponds. Charles A.
Jones caught one in Berry Pond weighing five pounds. In August,
William Tucker, another eight year old boy, caught one weighing 1½
pounds in Clark’s Pond, now the town swimming pool. The following
year Walter Munsey caught six in Clark’s Pond, one of which weighed
three pounds, six ounces, one which weighed 2¼ pounds, and the
other four one pound each. In September 1886 W. H. Blake caught a
pickerel in the river weighing three pounds, two ounces.
were still very large pickerel being caught in the Suncook River in
1890. That March Matthew Nutter, Deacon of the Congregational
Church, caught one that weighed 4¼ pounds. Numerous others were
caught that spring weighing over three pounds. In 1896 Neils
Bendickson caught one “just above the bridge” on the river weighing
early days steams abounded with speckled trout and were a favorite
target of fishermen. One of the early accounts of large catches came
during May of 1873. Attorney Thomas Thorndike and Postmaster Everett
Jenkins caught a fine string and on the same day Albion French and
Charles Doe, a shoe factory worker, caught 60, and Salma Young,
also a shoe factory worker, and Samuel Brock, 95. The following day
Hiram A. Tuttle, a future N. H. governor, and Pastor Arthur Deering
caught 50, some weighing a pound a piece. The location of their
catches was not published and presumably a closely guarded secret.
Later that month four men, C. V. Whitten, T. B. Jordan, H. A.
Tuttle, and F. H. Yeaton, caught nearly 125 in a single day.
following year, 1874, Mr. Thorndike caught 16 weighing from two to
five pounds each. Given their size, they may, however, not been
caught in Pittsfield unless it was in the river.
1881 the editor of the Snow Flake reported that Frank Drew and Al
Williams caught 75 of the “handsomest” trout he had seen that
spring. Asked if they would tell where they were caught, the
response was, no. The following month J. H. Clark, a popular
Pittsfield violinist, went to Alton four times in one week and
1885 J. H. Clarke caught 74 trout in a single day. The following
year, May 1886, a Mr. Shannon and Dr. Frederick Cummings caught 114
in Gilmanton in a single day. A week later it was reported that
Alonzo Hayward and Al Williams caught 93. The following month Lyman
Muchmore caught 19 weighing in total 13 pounds.
of 1888 Walter Brown caught 68 trout in an unnamed local brook.
That same week Alonzo Williams and Almond Williams each brought
home 38. Also that May Hiram A. Tuttle and two friends from Boston
caught 89 “good ones.” The following month he and three men caught
183 “speckled beauties.”
fishing continued to be good into the 20th Century. In 1904 it was
reported that Frank Cutler caught a string of 19 which in total
weighed 10 pounds. Asked where he caught them he responded, “Oh,
over there,” leaving the questioner left to guess.
Cotton Mill worker O. S. Roby and Merchant-Photographer Henry Osgood
caught from 12 to 15 pounds in an hour and a half in a small brook.
A dozen of the largest weighted a total of 7½ pounds. The largest
was 1¼ pounds.
aside it might be mentioned that in 1932 Herbert W. Dustin built
trout ponds on Berry Pond Road and stocked them with 1,000 square
tailed, six inch brook trout. They were designated for fly fishing
and protected by a New Hampshire Breeders license and not to be
caught for five years.
The Valley Times reported that Harry Lawton caught one of the finest
strings of trout the newspaper editor had seen in years, 25
“speckled beauties” which completely filled a five-pound basket.
the most stunning catch was in 1943 when Lucian Genest caught a six
pound one ounce rainbow trout in the river. It was 27 inches long
with a girth of 13½ inches, and the tail spread over seven inches.
Night-time horned pout fishing was a favorite pass-time when I was a
kid. They were plentiful in most of the ponds in town. I remember
fishing in Blake’s pond on several occasions with Doug Whittier.
There was a boat left in the brook outlet to the pond. It was not
secured and we simply jumped in and fished in the little pool where
it was located. After a while we would paddle out to a couple of
stakes that were jammed into the pond’s bottom and tie up to them.
We would catch 40-50 a night. They were great eating. I remember
going there with Norman and Jack Leduc, and Larry and Johnny
Sanderson one night. Jack and I were young and non-drinkers and
caught a huge number of fish but the others likely drank more beer
than they caught fish. Several of us boys also fished in Eaton Pond
but the catches were not as large in quantity.
the early accounts of horned pout fishing took place at Shaw Pond in
1881. Henry Tuttle, Hiram’s brother, Frank Swett, and Edwin Nutter
caught 490 fish there, “mostly pouts.” Six years later it was
reported that Frank E. Ring, Johnnie Marston, and Ernest Sherburne
caught 67 in one evening.
first newspaper report of a catch of black bass came in 1882.
Sawmill owner William Hartwell, his two sons, and Cotton Mill
Superintendent William C. Adams caught 18 of them in Jenness Pond in
two hours. The largest weighed 3½ pounds.
February 1883 it was reported that a man caught a black bass fishing
through the ice on Berry Pond weighing four pounds. In July Eugene
Sweatt caught one in Jenness Pond weighing four pounds.
1885, Charles E. Perkins caught a black bass in Jenness Pond
weighing 3½ pounds. It was 19 inches long and 13 inches in
bass continued to be caught in the Suncook River in 1938. That year
nine year old Bernard Adams, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Adams, caught
one 2½ pounds “on a light rod” off of Barnstead Bridge.
was a kid there was not a lot of bass fishing in Pittsfield. We did
some in Odiorne Pond but that was in Epsom. A few people also ice
fished in Berry Pond which was allowed at the time. I remember going
there one time with Doug Whittier and catching a dozen very large
bass in the range of 2-3 pounds.
people sleuthed around the edges of White’s Pond and tried to catch
bass, generally without luck. When the Franciscan Fathers purchased
the property in 1945 they obtained a “Breeders” License from the
State and the public was not allowed to fish there without
permission. It was a private pond at the time.
then farmer George R. Drake, later long-time secretary of the State
Grange, purchased 50 German carp from the New Hampshire Fish and
Game Commission. They had received them from the U. S. Fish
Commission in Washington, D. C. Mr. Drake placed them into Horse
Pond near Tucker Hill, behind the present Charles Watson House on
Catamount Road. By law, they were not to be caught for five years.
He had visions of developing the area for recreational use.
Presumably some were caught later by local fishermen.
time there were a large number of eels in the Suncook River. By 1881
they were few in number but in July it was reported that Frank
Hartwell caught one three feet, three inches long that weighed four
pounds 14 ounces. Five years later, in
October of 1886, Christopher Welch and Willie I. Sargent caught one
weighing 5¾ pounds.
Spearing suckers during the spring run was also a favorite
pass-time. This is what Elbridge and Porter True were doing when the
huge snake came down the brook sometime in the late 1820s or early
1830s mentioned in my earlier story about snakes in Pittsfield.
only mention in the newspapers of spearing suckers was in May of
1887. The note simply stated that it was a favorite outdoor pleasure
at the time.
was written about catches of perch in the 19th Century, probably
because they were so plentiful and not considered a game fish. They
were probably taken by the thousands. One mention of a catch in the
20th Century was in 1910 when Lyman Munsey caught 74 in two hours
ice fishing on the Suncook River. Amazingly he used only eight
minnows as bait.
contests probably existed from an early time. However, none were
reported in the Nineteenth Century newspapers. Perhaps there were
earlier ones but in 1941 Frank Volpe held a contest in conjunction
with his store on Depot Street which featured fishing tackle and
supplies. In August there was a report of catches up to that date.
There were over 150 entries and 19 fish had been brought to the
store for official weighing. The biggest fish in five classes were:
Bass, Mrs. Robert H. Sanderson, 3 lbs, 10 ozs.
Pickerel, Lefty St. Laurent, 2 lbs., 5 ozs.
White Perch, Sandy Shonyo, 2 lbs., 6 ozs.
Horned Pout, L. G. Lamaire, 15 lbs., 1, 9/10 ozs.
(5) Square Tailed Trout, 1 lb., 1, 2/3 ozs.
1992 an ice fishing contest was initiated for children by
Pittsfield’s Parks and Recreation Department as part of Winterfest.
Apparently it continued for a few years. There is no mention of it
again in the town reports until 2004 when the contest was held on
White’s Pond. It has been held several years since, often at the
town pool, formerly Clark’s Pond.
catches such as related during the Nineteenth and early 20th
Centuries are unheard of. As the 20th Century wore on the size of
catches and fish became increasingly smaller. Limits were placed on
game fish to protect them from extinction. Occasionally a large fish
is caught but it is a rarity.
Suncook Valley Area Lions Club Raffle Winners!
Submitted By Jean Williams
members of the Suncook Valley Area Lions Club would like to thank
the generous donors for our first Calendar Raffle.
Donors like you help our organization provide eye examinations and
hearing screenings to someone in your local, (Barnstead and/or
Pittsfield) community that may not be able to afford it. We would
also like to thank the wonderful people who supported us by
following are the daily winners for the September raffle that was
Dansereau-Barnstead, John/Emily Burnham, Concord, Chris Mooney,
Woodbury, CT, Brooke Vien, Pittsfield, Gevin Gage, Pittsfield, Kathy
Bergeron, Pittsfield, Diane Norton, Barnstead, Karen Yout,
Pittsfield, Kathy McHugh, Pittsfield, John Maulfair, Pittsfield,
Joe Darrah, Pittsfield, Shannon Nolin, Chichester, Bill Provencal,
Pittsfield, Patrick Clymer, Barnstead, Rick Anthony, Pittsfield,
Laura Okrent, Pittsfield, Joe Darrah, Pittsfield, Dot Vocino,
Medford, MA, Ron Engleman, Pittsfield, Melody Williams, Pittsfield,
Cara Marston, Pittsfield, Ruth Healey, Concord, Diane Baron, Tilton,
Wendy Moon, Pittsfield, Madelyn LeMay, Chichester, Lynn Marston,
Pittsfield, Laurie Chuteuneau, Northway Bank.
Gift Basket- Susan Terry, Barnstead.
also like to give one more thanks, and that goes out to our hard
working members who put in countless hours going from business to
business getting donations. Thank you so much for helping to make
this a success!
SVALC meets every third Monday, 6:00 P.M. in Pittsfield at Jitters.
All are welcome to come in and see what we are all about. If you
have any questions, please give our Vice President Ed a call at
Christmas In October?
Right! On Sunday, October 18th, starting at 9:30, we will celebrate
Christmas! All are welcome to attend. Our joyous event includes
favorite carols, decorations, and foods.
celebration was started many years ago as a way to support overseas
missionaries with gifts in acknowledgement of their loving service.
Why October? Because it often takes 3 months for the gifts to reach
the farthest most places around the globe.
enjoy Christmas without the stress. Following our celebration there
will be a light luncheon in the diningroom, with chicken pot pie,
cranberry sauce, apple pie, pastries, bagels, and, of course,
meal is FREE, but any who would like to donate is welcome to. All
donations will go to missionary gifts. So, join us this Sunday at
the Advent Christian Church, 68 Main St., Pittsfield NH at 9:30 am.
Any questions, contact Pastor Jay at 435-8050.
Tim and Bethany Groves, along with their four children, Mackenzie,
Mikayla, Megan, and Micah, travel full time advancing God’s Kingdom
through praise & worship, anointed singing and sign language, and
the preaching of the Word. Join them at the Lighthouse Church of God
(29 Watson Street, Pittsfield), Fri. & Sat., Oct. 23 & 24 at 7 pm
and Sun., Oct. 25 at 11am and 6 pm.
Pittsfield – Kenneth M. Firman, 64, a resident of Pittsfield for the
past 12 years, died Thursday, October 1, 2015 at the VAMC in White
River Junction, VT.
Bristol, PA on October 30, 1950, Kenneth was the son of Lewis and
Alice (Rafferty) Firman.
retired as a Chief Master Sergeant after 27 years in the US Air
Force during the Viet Nam War era. He served on many Air Force bases
from Syracuse, NY; Minot, ND; New Boston Air Station; Ramstein,
Germany; and Space Command at Colorado Springs. After his honorable
discharge from the service, Mr. Firman continued his work in
security, specializing in security control systems at System
Planning Corporation in Arlington, VA.
the years he enjoyed scuba diving, snow skiing, and kayaking, but
trap shooting was his favorite. He was an ATA member and shot at
many events around the NH /VT/ME area.
of his family include his wife of 45 years, Carol (Bilbrey) Firman
of Pittsfield; 2 daughters and their husbands, Jennifer Ann Durant
and Yvon of Lee and Wendy Marie Martin and Jake of MI; 5
grandchildren; Avel, Sophie, Megan, Maddison, and Brett, and his
brother, David Firman of PA.
Petit of the Still Oaks Funeral & Memorial Home in Epsom is
assisting with arrangements and offers an on-line guestbook at