THE PELHAM HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Director of Computer Services
The Pelham Historical Society
Are pleased to present to you in CD-ROM
format materials from the William Thomas Hayes Historical Collection.
The Hayes Historical Collection is an eclectic collection of historical
materials assembled over a lifetime by Mr. Hayes.
Attorney Hayes is a life long resident of
the Town of Pelham.
He was educated in the Pelham School
system and graduated from Kimball Union Academy, Dartmouth College and
the University of Virginia School of Law.
He co-authored "Reflections, A Pictorial
History of Pelham" and has served the Pelham Historical Society as
President and a Member of the Board of Directors for a number of years.
These materials made their way into the
Hayes Collection because they all shed, in one way or another,
information on the long and varied History of Pelham, New Hampshire.
The publication of the Hayes Collection
materials in CD-ROM format is an ongoing project of the Pelham
Historical Society. All proceeds from the sale of Hayes Collection
CD-ROMs are used to support the Pelham Historical Society building,
museum, library and programs.
Please visit the Pelham Historical
Society online bookstore to learn what other materials are available for
your reading and research pleasure.
The Town of Pelham was
first settled in 1720-21. During that time frame the western one third
of present day Pelham was included in the Town of Dunstable,
Massachusetts, which had been incorporated in 1673 by the Great and
General Court of Colonial Massachusetts. The eastern two thirds of
Pelham during that time frame were part of Dracut, Massachusetts, which
had been incorporated by Colonial Massachusetts in 1701.
In 1731-2, all of Old
Dunstable, Massachusetts located east of the Merrimack River, including
the western one third of Pelham, was separated from Old Dunstable and
became a part of the newly incorporated Town of Nottingham,
Massachusetts. The eastern two thirds continued to be a part of Dracut,
Massachusetts. In 1741, by Royal Decree of the King of England, all of
present day Pelham was determined to be in the British Colony of New
Hampshire, not Massachusetts. From the date of that decree until July
5, 1746, the western one third of present day Pelham was governed as
part of Nottingham District, New Hampshire. The Nottingham District
included all of Nottingham, Massachusetts declared to be in New
Hampshire by the King's decree. The District, although not technically
a town, was governed by a Board of Selectmen and a slate of other Town
Officers until July 5, 1746.
From the 1741 royal
decree date until July 5, 1746, the eastern two thirds of present day
Pelham were governed as part of the combined Dracut/Methuen District of
Colonial New Hampshire. This combined District was made up of the
portions of Dracut and Methuen, Massachusetts found to be in New
Hampshire by the King's decree. Although technically not an
incorporated town, it was governed by a Board of Selectmen and a slate
of other Town Officers until July 5, 1746.
On July 5, 1746, an
eastern portion of the Nottingham District (the present day western one
third of Pelham) and the Dracut portion of the Dracut/Methuen District
were combined to create the newly incorporated Town of Pelham, New
Hampshire. It was named Pelham by Royal Governor Benning Wentworth in
honor of Henry Pelham, who was, on that date, the Prime Minister of
The vital records for
the western one third of present day Pelham from 1721 until the 1731-2
incorporation date of Nottingham, Massachusetts, were recorded, if at
all, with the town officials of Old Dunstable, Massachusetts. From
1731-2 until July 5, 1746, vital events were recorded, if at all, with
the Town of Nottingham, Massachusetts. Genealogists should be aware
that better records of Nottingham, Massachusetts vital events were kept
by the Reverend Nathaniel Merrill than the Town of Nottingham,
Massachusetts. The Vital Records of Hudson, New Hampshire (formerly a
part of Old Dunstable, Massachusetts, Nottingham, Massachusetts, and
Nottingham District, New Hampshire and Nottingham West, New Hampshire),
from 1734 until 1985 were assembled by Gerald Q. Nash et al and
published by Heritage Books, Inc in 1997. This book incorporates the
Reverend Nathaniel Merrill records.
Early vital records of
Dunstable, Massachusetts to the year 1850 were gathered and published
under the auspices of the New England Historic Genealogy Society and are
generally available in both paper and magnetic formats. This
publication includes Pelham vitals for the western one third of Pelham
for the period 1722 to the incorporation of Nottingham, Massachusetts
The vital records for
the eastern two thirds of present day Pelham from 1720 until the 1741
Royal Decree date were maintained by the Town of Dracut, Massachusetts.
From 1741 until July 5, 1746, the records for that part of Pelham were
recorded by the officials of the Dracut/Methuen District. The vital
records of Dracut and Methuen, Massachusetts to the year 1850 have been
published under the auspices of the New England Historic Genealogy
Society. They are generally available in both paper and magnetic
formats. The Dracut publication includes Pelham vitals for the eastern
two thirds of Pelham from 1720 to 1741.
Many of the vital
records of the Dracut/Methuen District (1741-1746) were assembled and
published by Edgar Gilbert in his "History of Salem New Hampshire" in
1907. A 1993 facsimile reprint is available in paperback from Heritage
Books. Most of Salem, New Hampshire was once a part of Methuen,
Massachusetts. Methuen, until its 1726 incorporation date, was
originally a part of Haverhill, Massachusetts.
As news traveled slowly
during this time period, some Town Clerks recorded vital events after
they lost jurisdiction to do so. In other instances Town Clerks played
catch up by recording vital events that occurred before they obtained
jurisdiction over the area in question. Genealogists and historians: Do
not treat any of the above dates as absolutes.
From July 5, 1746
forward the responsibility for maintaining vital records of Pelham
residents fell to the officials of the Town of Pelham. The primary
sources of vital information for the Town of Pelham, from July 5, 1746
forward, are the following:
- Town Clerk Records
recorded alphabetically by family unit from 1743 until 1865.
- The Pelham Town
Reports from 1888 until the present.
Congregational Church Records from 1751 until 1785.
- Pelham Gravestones
until the year 1906.
All of the above sources
are contained in the Hayes Historical Collection and will be published
in CD-ROM format as volunteer time permits.
IN THIS VOLUME of the
William Thomas Hayes Historical Collection the Pelham Historical Society
offers a transcription of the Town Clerk's Official vital records
recorded by family unit and in alphabetical order. These records were
transcribed by hand by Pelham Historian C. Frances Hobbs: "Aunt Kina"
to those who knew her. Aunt Kina assembled all and wrote some of the
materials published in 1974 by the Pelham Historical Society under the
title "Pelham: Old Days & Old Ways". This highly interesting history of
Pelham is available in paper format through the Pelham Historical
Society's online bookstore.
The following pages are
scanned from the original hand copies transcribed by hand by C Frances
Hobbs. A few years after the records were transcribed by Miss Hobbs,
the original Town Clerk's book, from which the records were transcribed,
disappeared from the Town Hall and is presumed lost.
historians need to be constantly reminded that original records and
copies of original records can and often do contain errors. Every
transcription leaves open the possibility for new errors. For that
reason, to the extent possible, all CD-ROMs created from the Hayes
Historical Collection will include scanned originals, rather than hand
written or typed transcriptions.