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4-21-05           Preview of Raffle Items Created by Volunteers

Again this year Thompson-Ames Historical Society is preparing to hold a raffle as part of its fund-raising efforts. As in the past, historic themes are reflected in the unique quilted wall hanging and American girl doll with accessories, the raffle items created for the society by talented volunteers
This year’s quilted wall hanging, Sugar Time, reflects a time when maple-sugaring activities dotted the countryside.
The theme was decided upon by a committee comprised of members of Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s Board of Directors. Artist Stan Piper then offered to depict the Sugar Time theme in five fabric squares which quilt-maker Ellen Peters will use to create this year’s quilted-wall-hanging raffle item.
Historically, much work has been involved in producing maple syrup, as Stan Piper’s fabric squares reflect. When late winter days turn warm and the nights are cold, sap starts to flow up from the roots of the sugar maple trees, up through the trunk and out into the limbs. By tapping the trees, sap can be intercepted, directed into buckets and collected for use in making maple syrup.
The buckets of sap are emptied into a barrel on a sled and then pulled to a vat where the sap will be boiled down. The vat could be in the open or in a sugarhouse. Nearby would be a great quantity of wood that had been cut and stacked, ready to feed the fire. It would take a lot of wood to feed the fire the long while that it would take the sap to boil down to make syrup. In fact, it takes 40 gallons of sap to be boiled down to make just one gallon of maple syrup – no short-time process!
The appeal of sugar time refers to more than just the “sweetness” of the maple products. After the isolation of a long winter, it was an opportunity for folks to gather together, a time for youngsters to frolic, a time for wooing and courting, and, yes, a time to enjoy the fruits of labor when griddle cakes could be topped with warm, sweet maple syrup, and maple flannel could be munched, and enough maple-syrup, -honey and -sugar could be made to tide the folks over until another sugar time rolled around. – All this is captured in Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s quilted wall hanging Sugar Time, as it preserves and celebrates some of Gilford’s cultural heritage.
Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s other fund-raising raffle item, an American girl doll with accessories, features Felicity who reflects Gilford’s 1700s origin, in the days of Gunstock Parish.
Felicity comes with a journal penned by long-time T-AHS member Dot Pangburn, a doll-sized wooden travel chest that contains two wooden toys of historic design (a finger top made by Don Frost and a Jacob’s Ladder made by Don Frost and Bob Dean), and wardrobe items made by Carol Anderson.
In past years the book accompanying the American girl doll raffle item was designed to tell a story of the American girl doll’s visit to Gilford. This year the format is a journal created by Felicity to fulfill a writing assignment given at a 1700s one-room schoolhouse. Based on historical fact, the site of this schoolhouse is now memorialized by a granite marker and bronze plaque on School House Hill Road in Gilford Village.
The journal reflects possible experiences of girls who lived in the 1700s in what was then called the Gunstock Parish section of the town of Gilmanton.
To create historical fiction based on Gilford’s history is a challenge that Dot Pangburn enjoys. It gives her an opportunity to draw upon her broad background of knowledge of history, her historical society involvements in both New Jersey and New Hampshire, and her experience of summering many years on Lockes Island. Of course, a copy of Adair Mulligan’s The Gunstock Parish, A History of Gilford, New Hampshire is always nearby as a ready reference.
Are you wondering what subject matter Dot has decided to include in Felicity’s journal? One item is Sugar Time -- reflective of this year’s quilted wall hanging! Another is quilting bees -- similar to the Heritage Arts and Crafts Bees that Thompson-Ames Historical Society offers as opportunities to socialize while making something for the household that is both useful and artistically creative!
Others include working on the farm, going to church, playing games, activities at school, and even traveling – especially on dirt roads that grew out of the many trails created by Native Americans who lived and traveled in the area.
As Carol Anderson reflected on the life of a young girl of the 1700s in Gunstock Parish, she thought about what items of clothing she wished to make for Felicity. An everyday dress would be essential! Needed also for everyday use would be an apron and, of course, a mob cap, as well as a shawl. For cold weather, a hooded cape was customary. Also, nightgown and cap would have been essential. A few accessories to go with the dress that Felicity is attired in when she comes from the American Girl Doll Company seem appropriate to round out the raffle wardrobe.
These are some of the behind-the-scene goings-on that have been occurring at Thompson-Ames Historical Society as volunteers have been working together to make this year’s raffle items both reflective as well as celebratory of the cultural heritage of Gilford, New Hampshire. Preserving and making history come alive is always an interesting challenge!
Remember to view T-AHS’s website www.gilfordhistoricalsociety.org for other news about Gilford’s historical society and calendar updates.
If you wish to speak with someone at Thompson-Ames Historical Society, telephone 527-9009; if no one is there at the time you call, please leave your name, telephone number, and a brief message, and you will receive a return call.