Barbara Kemp’s Historic Hanover

By John Galluzzo

When Barbara Barker Kemp passed away in November of 2016, the town of Hanover lost a treasure. A dedicated historian, her memory lives on in the minds of the hundreds of Hanover elementary school students who knew her as “Mrs. Barker” and her love of her town continues to shine through items permanently preserved at the Hanover Historical Society’s Stetson House. This month, the society will release a new book, “Historic Hanover: Tales of a Quaint New England Town,” which features a compilation of her best writing. Here are some images that appear in the book and the tales that go with them.

Odd Fellows Hall Theater Troupe
While the name of the theatrical production and the actors are unknown, this image reveals the lengths people were willing to go to stage a show at the Odd Fellows Hall. Formerly Hanover Academy, this site is located at what is now the entrance to the Salmond School on Broadway in the Four Corners neighborhood.

Lucy and Anne Bonney
Lucy and Anne Bonney weren’t identical, but many people had trouble telling them apart. The twins lived to be 100 years old and became Kemp’s close friends later in life. She would spend hours in their living room perusing their books and chatting about historical tidbits.

Lewis Josselyn
A Civil War veteran, Lewis Josselyn lived a good long life, passing away at 101 years old during World War II. A member of the temperance movement, when he was offered an alcoholic drink he would gladly accept it, before rubbing it on his sore feet.

Sam Sylvester’s Oxen
Horses could be counted on to work for a couple hours a day and would then expected to be fed. Oxen had no such pretensions. They would work for hours, pulling down trees, moving rocks and even houses to new locations. This pair of Hanover oxen were owned by Edmund Q. Sylvester (benefactor of the Sylvester School) and known as Pete and Repeat.

Rocky Swamp School kids
Every town has its colorful neighborhood names. Hanover once had a quaint residential area known as Rocky Swamp. The local children could tell you where every wildflower grew and where every mosquito flew. Alas, nature lost out to development and this neighborhood would later become the site of the Hanover Mall.

Hanover kids picked up tennis at the same time the rest of the country, around the beginning of the 20th century. In those days, aside from the health benefits, tennis had a secret allure for young people—it allowed them to flirt with members of the opposite sex while still maintaining enough decorum that their parents wouldn’t really notice.

North River Historical Society
We don’t know much about the people in this picture other than the fact that they called themselves the “North River Historical Society.” We do know that they were responsible for placing plaques in recognition of the many shipyards located along the North River in 1919. As of May 2018, a new group is forming to carry on the group’s mission.

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