Dave Butler (CC2017) provided the following useful information, based on his experience researching cellar holes for a hike he's leading this fall in Hancock.
Haley has mentioned several times that “people love history”. That’s music to my ears. When I lead hikes for the Harris Center in the Monadnock region, there is almost always at least one cellar hole. Here are some tips for researching them:
- There is an 1892 map and an 1858 map for every town in the state. These maps indicate who lived there at those times. You can find them at the local library (I use the NH Historical Society library in Concord). If the cellar hole/name does not appear on the 1892 map, then that farm was abandoned before 1892. It’s pretty typical to find the cellar hole on the 1858 map but not the 1892 map.
- Every town has one or more history buffs who know lots of town history. Often these people are members of families that go way back in the town.
- Most cellar holes are on old town roads, and have been accessed by hikers for years. But be aware that well-preserved cellar holes off the beaten path are sometimes considered sensitive historic sites by historians or land managers.
- Extra credit: If a cellar hole has quarried stone, you can use the stone-splitting method to provide additional details on dates. I can provide additional info on this if anyone is interested.
If you have questions about researching cellar holes on your land or in your community, get in touch with Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.