Historical Society


The purpose of the Orford Historical Society is to assist the residents of the Town of Orford in preserving their history and heritage for their appreciation and understanding, as well as for that of future generations.

Established in 1996, the OHS is a self-supporting, non-profit educational organization, with membership open to all who are interested in the history of Orford. We regularly present five programs each year, including walking tours and other home grown events drawing on the knowledge and experience of local residents. Working with students, we published an historical guide to the town, and more recently an illustrated collection of Orford-based poetry by Dot Pierson. Our growing collections include artifacts, photographs, letters, and documents.

"Photo of the Week" Series

Each week we will post a photo(s) from our collections on our Facebook page.

(You can also see closer up views of the photos on Facebook page - please note, you do not need to be a member of have a Facebook Account to do so!)

Check our Photo of the Week page here for additional photos and content!

Our next photo series will focus on selections from the Orford Historical Society Glass Plate Negative Collection

The Orford Historical Society is very fortunate to have a collection of over 800 glass plate negatives primarily from a collection from the Harry Morrison family (Marston Stock Farm) who lived on the Mt. Cube road; now owned by the Schwarz family. There are also smaller amounts of images from other families. After our first successful installment titled, “Views around Orford” all of which were in Orfordville and the Mt. Cube area. We will now move on to our second installment, "Barns and Other Farm Buildings". (To see the previous installment, please go to the "Photo of the Week" page.)

Glass plate negatives have to be made into positive images and all of them have been converted to digital images for us to present them to you. Over the next few months, we will be featuring a few of these images in a virtual display in small segments. Going forward we hope to do an actual display in the Heritage Center as soon as it is safe to gather there.

To learn more about the process of creating Glass Plate Negatives, please see this article from the "Greenfield Recorder" about the process.

Please provide us with your feedback and any information you might have about the images displayed by emailing orfordhistory@gmail.com.

This week: "Franklin Farm"

Additional Resources: “A Fifth Generation Keeps Orford Farm Alive", Susan Drabick, May 28, 1981 Valley News

Franklin Farm looking toward David Wilcox. Sunday Mt. in background. The large barn on the left was removed in early 1900s and big cow barn in the rear left.

David Wilcox kept bees for many years, up until 1920 and each year would travel around NH & VT selling honey. The white rows near the buildings on his farm are the beehives.

Hauling manure the old way at the Franklin Farm. Two pair of horses pulling a dump cart, likely loaded with manure. This would be taken to the field, dumped and then spread by hand. The building to the right in this photo is likely the corn crib, where the husked ears of corn would be stored. Note that it is off the ground, for ventilation and perhaps to help keep rats out.

From 1852 to around 1900, the Franklin Farm was primarily a sheep farm. After the death of Benjamin in 1898, his sons, Edwin and Lewis, converted the farm to a dairy operation and constructed a new barn in 1902.

The addition pictured was constructed in 1910 and doubled the size of the barn.

Building of Franklin’s Barn. Big barn from side after the 1910 addition half-painted with man on staging around cupola. Note the building on the left was a hen house.

As dairying increased and farmers kept more cows, they needed space for hay and animals. It was not uncommon for Orford farmers to substantially increase the size of their barns or build new ones.

Not a Member of the Orford Historical Society Yet?

Annual membership fee is $25 and can be sent via cash or check (made out to the “Orford Historical Society”) 

with your name, email, and phone number to:

Orford Historical Society 

P.O. Box 44

Orford, NH, 03777 

Your contribution will help us to continue our legacy of bringing Orford history to the community!