Orford Historical Society will begin its third and final phase of the Dame Hill Project 

We will take this time to Honor and Remember a long-standing community member of Dame Hill.

Maurice F. Bean was born on 1914 (deceased in 1987) in a one room schoolhouse (see red schoolhouse image) in Dorchester, NH. He and his mother Bessie Bean moved to Orfordville, NH and lived in the home owned by Alan & Shirley Waterbury. In 1933, he purchased a farm on Dame Hill Road formerly known as the Hazen Pebbles Farm. John Lamprey owned a home in the previous location which burned prior to 1933.

Maurice was introduced to his future wife Anne by her nephew Doug Thomas on the farm. He married Anne Castiglione on November 6, 1960 (deceased 1999) in the house formerly owned by May and Dan Thomas, Dame Hill Road, Orfordville, NH. (see wedding photo and ad in the Valley News) They both were active in the community, Anne being involved in the church, school and Lions Club.

Maurice was a lifelong resident of Orfordville, NH. He was a member of the Rod & Gun Club, Grange, Mt. Cube Masonic Lodge #42, supervisor of the checklist, and a member of the Orfordville Congregational Church. He cherished his family and loved the people and community of Orfordville, NH. Farming was his passion and he spent many long hours taking care of the Bean Farm. He was a jack of all trades, fixing tractors, doing electrical work, plumbing and carpentry. All of these Skills he learned through many years of hard work.

Many stories were told about Orfordville, NH. For example, did you know there was a brothel in Orfordville? Or when Bill Green’s pet mountain lion escaped and decided to visit a local dance?

The community of Orfordville was built by our lifelong residents and their dedication to the community. It is still a quiet close-knit community and hopefully it will stay that way. This is part of its charm. (Narrative submitted by Carol Bean-Carmody)

SAVE THE DATE! Dame Hill Project Phase III ~ October 14th, 2023


Orford Historical Society  

Celebrates Dame Hill Past and Present 


The Orford Historical Society is celebrating and remembering the long and interesting past of Dame Hill, an early and significant community within the Town. This Summer of remembrance and celebration kicked off on the morning of June 24, 2023 at the Town Hall Heritage Center in Orfordville.   A crowd of more than 50 Town residents and visitors packed the old building to hear about the history, look at old photographs and reminisce with old friends and meet new people.  


The opening of the 2023 Exhibit season for OHS started at 10 AM on JUne 24ht, 2023 with a welcome and short description of Dame Hill history by OHS Board Member Shawn Washburn. The path over the shoulder of Sunday Mountain was a good route for people traveling by horseback or buggy between the Connecticut River and communities in southern New Hampshire. Soon and beginning with the Dames, Cushmans, Wasburns, and others, people began to settle along the route, started farming, and raising families. They left behind a treasure of objects and photos, some of which are now in the OHS collection and are on display at the THHC.  


With maps, photos, a scale topographic model and videos, the history of this vibrant but old community is explained and made lively. This exhibit will be open through the summer, and the Heritage Center in Orfordville is open on Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 6 PM and Saturday mornings from 10 AM to 1 PM and there will be a volunteer there to answer questions about the history of Dame Hill and the Town. 

Check your Mailbox for this reminder from the Orford Historical Society.

Dame Hill Project

The Orford Historical Society has been busy assembling information for a summer exhibition on the history of Dame Hill Road. The research done so far has discovered that there used to be a church, a schoolhouse, a lookout tower during WWII, and even plans for a golf course! Dame Hill was, and still is a vibrant roadway with its very own unique history. The  Dame Hill Road Project Exhibit Season Opener will be on Saturday, June 24th. 2023 -10:00am-1:00pm at the The Town Hall Heritage Center. A walking guided tour of Dame Hill will take place later in July. Please follow along here for on going updates regarding the Dame Hill Road project.

Orford Historical Society Newsletter

May  18,2023

The Board of Directors of the Orford Historical Society appreciates the opportunity to share with the Town our “news and activities” and plans for the future. For more than 250 years, the people of Orford have lived on this beautiful land, encompassing the watersheds of both the Connecticut and the Merrimac Rivers. It is the work of the Society to help townspeople remember and preserve that history.

One of our goals for the year of 2023 is to better communicate what the Society is about. We suggest checking out our presence on social media. The OHS Website (https://www.orfordhistory.org/) currently has posted under the banner “Photo of the Week” more than 250 photos from around the Town, dating back more than 100 years. How many of the places shown are recognizable today? Do you remember some of the people shown? How about the Wentworth/Mt. Cube single lane gravel road, now known as 25A? Did you know that Lake Morey used to be slanted and steamboats ran literally up and down the lake? (Just kidding, of course). Check it out, and the numerous other fascinating images on the Webpage. Our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Orford.Historical.Society) is another way to keep up with OHS doings. Particulars about upcoming OHS events and reports on previous activities are posted in both of these places. Additional FB pages: Orford Then and Now (https://www.facebook.com/groups/502169584689094/), and You’re From Orford, NH If..... (https://www.facebook.com/groups/169809383211548/) which features photos and stories from more than 650 members with a connection, past or present, to the Town.

The 2023 Annual Meeting was held April 27th at the Congregational Church on Rte 10. The OHS bylaws stipulate that the annual meeting be held in April of the year, but the Covid pandemic resulted in cancellation of our meetings in 2020 and 2021. We were able to schedule one in September of 2022 and now have returned to the regular April meetings. This meeting was a great success with a good crowd. There was a short business meeting which introduced the Board and its Officers, and a financial report from the Treasurer, Mark Blanchard. The Board Officers for 2023 are Richard Donham, President, Paula Graves, Vice President, and Chuck Otto, Secretary. After years of service as Treasurer, Mark Blanchard is stepping down in June of this year. Mark has been a leader in OHS since the 1990s and we look forward to his continued involvement for many years to come. The Board welcomes Vanessa Alonso DeSimone who will be replacing Mark as Treasurer.

The business meeting was followed by a multi-faceted program, starting with a DVD film titled: “The Great Flood of 1936, The Connecticut River Story.” Accompanying and following this was a discussion about the Flood in Orford led by local historian, Art Pease, which featured photographs as well as stories by Art and the audience. There are some dramatic photos of that flood on the website and OHS Facebook pages.

Upcoming: we have planned for this summer a program on the important early community of Dame Hill. The Committee has been meeting regularly, with lots of enthusiasm from current and past Dame Hill residents. The Grand Opening will be on June 24, at the THHC in Orfordville and will feature exhibits, maps, early photos (examples are included in this Newsletter) and refreshments. All are welcome, of course. A Walking Tour of some Dame Hill features is planned for the 22nd of July with rides available on a horse-drawn wagon, for those who prefer to ride.

If you aren’t yet involved with the Historical Society, but might be interested, there are plenty of ways that you can help out. You don’t have to become a member of the Board, or even be a member of OHS. You can “pitch-in” for one day or one project. You might consider becoming a member of one of the Committees (Building, Collections Management, Community Relations, Exhibits, Finance/Fund Raising, Membership, Nominations, Oral Histories, Programs, Technology. Committee members don’t have to be a Board Member. The Committees are the “life-blood” of OHS. If you might be interested, an easy way to find out more is to send an email to the President, Richard Donham (rdonham8@gmail.com). Another way to find out more is to come to a Board meeting. These are public, and going forward we will be announcing them a few days in advance on the Orford Listserv. The meetings are generally (though not exclusively) the second Tuesday evening of each month, at 7 PM at the Town Hall Heritage Center in Orfordville.

Finally, the Board encourages you to think about becoming a Member of the Society if you aren’t already one. Memberships are $25/year, a smokin’ deal. You may join by sending a check made out to the Orford Historical Society, Attn: Ann Green, Membership Chairperson, Orford Historical Society, Box 44, Orford, NH 03777. You may wish to consider adding an additional amount, which will go to the Heritage Fund to support the maintenance and upkeep of the Heritage Center as well as new initiatives.

Board of Directors,

Orford Historical Society

The Orford Historical Society invites you to attend 

our Annual Meeting and Special Program on Thursday, April 27 at the Congregational Church on Main Street. Following a brief business meeting starting at 7:00 pm, we will begin our Program on the Flood of 1936.


  First, we’ll view the film “The Great Flood of 1936: The Connecticut River Story,” which focuses on the huge ice jams upriver, which released “an armada of icebergs that destroyed everything in its path” downriver. The film includes exciting actual footage of bridges being swept away, the mega effort it took to shovel 3’ of silt of the streets of cities like Springfield, MA in the aftermath. The flood on the Connecticut River resulted in 20,000 people being left homeless during the depression and caused damage in the millions. The film includes many in-person interviews with people who were there.

  After the film, Art Pease,  Orford native knowledgeable on local history, will lead a discussion on the impact of the flood on the Orford-Fairlee bridge and replacement efforts. There will be a display of vivid photos and exciting articles to review, along with a handout of materials Art has compiled for this event.

  Come join us for this special event. If you wish to loan photos/materials to us for the evening, please contact Ann Green at  orfordannie@myfairpoint.net or by phone at 603-353-4150.

On December 4, 2022 the Orford Historical Society along with the Orford Free Library hosted a joint festive holiday open house

Many of Orford’s friends and families attended and enjoyed an evening which included making tree ornaments, story and craft time, and decorating holiday cookies. The event also served as an opportunity to recognize Carl Schmidt’s many contributions to the community.

Historical Visit to the Dame Hill section of Orford 

The Orford Historical Society is planning a new program in the Spring, a historical visit to the Dame Hill section of Orford. Our next meeting will be on January 12 at 7pm at the Town Hall Heritage Center. All are invited who may have stories to tell about events that occurred on Dame Hill and/or may have of the history of families and individuals who lived there at one time. We invite everyone who might be interested in helping with the research of the original settlers, occupations, notable historical events, the cemetery, and buildings that were lost over the passing of time. Please join us.

Orford Historical Society Holiday  Open House 

You are Invited to Attend

Joint Holiday Open House

Orford Historical Society and Orford Free Library

Sunday December 4th, 2022 ~ 2:00-5:00 pm 

at the Orford Historical Society Heritage Center. 

Refreshments will be served.  All are Welcome!


Time                        Locations                           Event 

2:15pm                Town Hall Heritage Center            OHS Honoring Carl Schmidt

                                                                                           For his years of significant 

                                                                                           Contributions to the


3:00pm-4:00pm  Orford Free Library              Story Night Tree and Craft 

                                                                                            time 3-D paper Christmas


4:00pm           Town Hall Heritage Center             Decorating Holiday Cookies

Past Events

The History of Farming as Told by Barns - October 2019 - illustrated talk presented at the Main Street Church by N.H. Barn Committee member, John Porter.  Followed by a gathering on Washburn Hill in Orfordville to explore and learn about two well-preserved 19th Century barns at the historic Washburn family farmstead.  The afternoon tour was hosted by Shawn Washburn, and his son Casey, and focused on the older "English style" barn and the adjacent mid-19th Century "Yankee style" barn, plus an additional shed filled with historic tools and farm equipment.