Nutfield 250th Commemorative Medals

The 250th Anniversary celebrations in 1969 included a set of commemorative medals, one each for Derry, Londonderry, and Windham, with common Nuffield art on the opposite side. These were produced in both silver and bronze, and sold as collectible souvenirs of the anniversary.

A leaflet included with the coins explained the meaning of their artwork, and gave a version of the Nutfield founding story and early history. The text from that leaflet follows, along with photos of the medals.

 This 8” pantograph plate was used by the medal minter to mechanically trace the 3D artwork design in smaller size to produce the medals. Courtesy of the Derry Museum of History.

This 8” pantograph plate was used by the medal minter to mechanically trace the 3D artwork design in smaller size to produce the medals. Courtesy of the Derry Museum of History.

Cover of the leaflet included with the 250th commemorative medals set.

ABOUT THE MEDALS

Three medals (one for each of the three towns. Derry, Londonderry, and Windham) have been struck to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of Nutfield. Three different reverse town sides have been matched with the one common obverse side of Nutfield.

The dies for the four sides were struck by the Robbins Co. of Attleboro, Mass. from pieces sculptured by Mrs. Patricia Verani of Londonderry, N. H. The Derry side was sculptured by Mrs. Verani from a sketch prepared by Mrs. Jean Wyman of Derry. N. H. The Windham side was sculptured by Mrs. Verani from a sketch of a design prepared by Mrs. Diane Gulden of Windham, N. H. Mrs. Verani prepared both the sketches and sculpturings for the Londonderry and Nutfield sides of the medals.

NUTFIELD SIDE (common to all three medals)

The obverse or Nutfield side of the medal is symbolic of many of the early settlers' experiences. The musket and Bible are representative of Rev. MacGregor and his first sermon. Nutfield was so named because of the many nut trees found in the area which are represented on the medal by the chestnut, chestnut leaves, black walnut, and butternut leaves. Also important to Nutfield was the development of a linen industry which is represented by the flax blossoms. The settlers introduced the Irish potato to North America. and this is represented by the potato. The old map of Nutfield shows how the town was divided into what we now know as Londonderry, Derry and Windham.

DERRY SIDE

The Derry side of the medal is represented by three of its most historically known citizens. Dr. Mathew Thornton was born in North Ireland in 1714. The family migrated to Worcester, Mass. in 1718, where he obtained Isis medical education. He started bis practice in Derry. During the years he lived in Derry he became very interested in the political problems of the colonies and presided over the provincial convention of 1775 and 1776. He later became one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and spent the rest of his life helping to form the new country.

General John Stark, a native of Derry, was born on August 28, 1728 and died on May 8, 1822. General Stark was well known for his heroic action at Bunker Hill, and later at Princeton and Trenton. On August 16, 1777, near Bennington, Vt., he defeated two detachments of Burgoyne's army. For this vic-tory Stark received a commission as brigadier general in the Continental Army and continued to serve until the end of the war.

Alan B. Shepard, also a native of Derry, on May 5, 1961 was America's first man in space aboard the Freedom 7 spacecraft. His flight lasted 15 minutes, reaching an altitude of 115 miles and a top speed of 5100 mph. He landed in the Atlantic Ocean and was promptly recovered by helicopter and transported to the aircraft carrier Lake Champlain.

Each of these men pioneered a new frontier and will be remembered for their unselfish contribution for a better life for all.

LONDONDERRY SIDE

The Londonderry side is represented by the flaxwheel, spindle and the linen seal which are all symbolic of the linen industry for which our early settlers were famous. Flax was raised and processed on the farm and loomed by the men. The spindle, used with a distaff is the earliest instrument employed for spinning thread. The quality was such that in 1748, Londonderry linen weavers were granted their own seal to be applied to each length of cloth to distinguish it from other linens of lesser quality.

The linen seal located at the bottom edge is a duplicate of the actual seal applied to the many linen products made by our early settlers and became well known as syxnboliz-ing a work of quality.

The museum room in Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville, Virginia has on display shirts worn by George Wash­ington and Thomas Jeffeison which clearly show the seal of the Londonderry linen weavers.

WINDHAM SIDE

The Windham side of the medal is represented by a shield and cross, indicative of our early settlers' strife in Ireland and their strong Christian ties. In the upper left of the shield is a scroll and acorn. The scroll represents the charter of the original land grant, while the acorn is symbolic of the continual growth which the area has experienced since the first settlement was established.

The open volume is significant of the pro­gressive approach Windham has taken in its school system and the fervent interest of the community in the education of its young people.

The ducks in flight are representative of Windham's love for its woods and fields, streams and ponds, and its sincere interest in conserving these natural beauties.

The balance scales represent our just form of government — Town Meeting — whereby each citizen has the right to voice his opinion, from those townspeople whose ancestors settled this land to the new residents whose backgrounds are multi-faceted and diverse, yet all with a common interest — the betterment of our community as lt stands in its relationship to our state, our nation and the world.

HISTORY OF NUTFIELD

The story of Nutfield is one of the heroic memoirs of the American colonization. Nutfield was settled by Scots as the result of British oppression. The English parliament passed laws which were oppressively felt in Scotland by the Presbyterians. Early in the 17th century thousands of these Scots passed over into Ulster in Ireland and resettled that community under favorable terms of the King of England. They did not intermarry with the Irish or agree with them on matters of government and religion. There was strife which culminated in the memorable siege of Londonderry, the chief port of Ulster, in 1688 and 1689. The Scots Protestants and the Irish Catholics strove for individualism with such bitterness that at length the bolder souls among the Scots, failing to get the measure of freedom which they had been led to expect, emmigrated to the new world.

Upon arriving in America, some of the immigrants went from Boston to Worcester. The Nutfield colonists journeyed to Casco Bay, Maine with a view of exploring that territory. There they spent the winter of 1718 and 1719 and suffered severely from the cold and a scarcity of food. In the spring they sailed down the coast and up the Merrimac River to Haverhill from where they explored the tract of land named Nutfield.

On April 11, 1719 there arrived in what is now Derry sixteen families of Scotchmen from Londonderry, Ireland. On April 12th the Reverend James MacGregor delivered, under a spreading oak on the east side of Beaver Pond, the first sermon preached in town. His text was from the in prophecy of Isaiah 32:2.

The colony was a great success. Soon there were seventy families. The first settlers built their homes of logs on lots of ground only thirty rods wide and one mile long in order to protect themselves against the Indi­ans. In two years they had a church edifice built of good timbers and well finished at what is now East Derry, near the site of the present Congregational Church. Able-bodied men attended divine worship fully armed against Indian raids and there is still preserved the musket which the first minister, Rev. MacGregor, habitually carried into the pulpit.

The settlers purchased the territory from John Wheelwright by a deed that was drawn up in Boston on Oct. 20, 1719. This John Wheelwright was the grandson of a minister of the same name who had bought the land from the Indians in 1629. On June 21, 1722 the settlers received a charter from the King of England confirming the title to the town on condition that once a year they should pay the king a quit-rent of one peck of potatoes forever and should reserve for the royal navy all the pine trees in the town suitable as masts for ships. The name of Nutfield was changed, by the King, to Londonderry at this time. Londonderry was again to have a change and this resulted in the forming of three towns that are presently known as Londonderry, Derry, and Windham.