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Holderness marks 250 years of history

Across the generations! Holderness Select Board Chairman, Peter Webster, and founding father, Squire Samuel Livermore, shine a spotlight on the original Charter of the Town of New Holderness during 250th birthday celebrations this past Monday, Oct. 24. Happy birthday, Holderness! (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
October 26, 2011
HOLDERNESS—It may not have had quite as much fanfare and pageantry as the spectacular four-day-long, community-wide celebrations that took place over this past summer, but let it be recorded for posterity that the actual 250th birthday of the Town of Holderness did not pass without the fitting ceremonial observances.

Holderness was chartered on Oct. 24, 1761.

Squire Samuel Livermore himself showed up Monday afternoon to festivities at the Holderness Town Hall, decked out in his best teal-blue velvet jacket, knickerbockers and tri-cornered hat. Select Board Chairman Peter Webster ably served as master of ceremonies for the observance, which was attended by an appreciative crowd of town officials, local citizens and history enthusiasts.

President Barack Obama sent his best wishes, as did Gov. John Lynch and the entire New Hampshire State Legislative Delegation.

There was a recitation of poetry, specially written for the occasion, authored by the students of the Holderness Central School and movingly delivered on their behalf by Select Board member Shelagh Connelly.

There was a slide show of scenes from the summer celebrations, including the historic, vintage wooden boat parade through the Squam Channel, the Mattatuck Fife and Drum Band, the Grand Street Parade on Main Street and the festivities throughout the downtown over the course of the weekend.

After the singing of the traditional song, there was the cutting of the official, delicious (chocolate) 250th birthday cake, by Squire Livermore himself.

State Rep. Paul Simard was on hand, representing also State Rep. Skip Reilly and the Governor, to present the Town with a New Hampshire State Flag that had flown in honor of the occasion over the State House in Concord.

Not to be outdone, Squire Livermore brought along an historic replica of what is known as the Grand Union Flag, which is what would have been flown over the Town of Holderness at the time of its original charter in 1761—before the appearance of the stars and stripes. For those who are curious, it sported a Union Jack in one corner and the familiar bold red and white stripes that ultimately adorned the emblem of these United States that we know today.

There was a lot of gratitude expressed for the contributions of so many Holderness citizens for their efforts in planning all the festivities in honor of the 250th birthday.

"We had a great year planning and coming up with a special celebration in August that exemplified the community feeling and the love that we all have for the town in our special little corner of the world," said Webster as he took time out to recognize the contributions of local community organizer and historian, Tink Taylor — himself a character of epic proportions — who was a steady force directing and guiding the planning process over the course of the past couple of years.

"He got us started thinking about this about two years ago… and we kept thinking about it…and thinking about it, "explained Webster. "And then Tink started doing something about it."

Taylor himself acknowledged that in the final analysis, there were many locals who contributed to making the celebration a success.

Vintage boat parade organizer Peter Francesco took the occasion to put a plug in for the possibility of planning similar future celebrations in honor of the spirit of Holderness. In the meantime, he invited community members to help document all the events that took place during 250th celebrations by donating photos, remembrances or other souvenirs of the occasions to Town Hall. Oh, and a volunteer archivist would be deeply appreciated by the Historical Society.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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