Plainfield's Barns

On September 19, 2021, this NH Humanities To Go Program, and will kick off our year of documenting the history of Plainfield’s barns.  The program will be held in the Plainfield Town Hall beginning at 2:00pm.

Speaker: Thomas Hubka, the author of the iconic award winning book Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn:  The Connected Farms Buildings of New England will explain why New England farmers adopted this connected farmstead organization.

Mr. Hubka is Professor Emeritus from the Department of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.



Tour the Gilkey-Shipman-Morse House

The historical society will be having a house tour of the Gilkey-Shipman-Morse house on Stage Road, owned by Betsy and Richard Morse on Sunday June 6th. This event is for PHS members only. If you are a member, you should have received a mailing about the tour. If you are currently not a member, join by sending $15 to PO Box 107, Plainfield, NH 03781. If you're interested in the tour, please note that, and we will add you to the list.

We will meet at the PHS clubhouse at 2pm on June 6th, have a short meeting, and then drive to the Morse house. The house is interesting on many levels. Built as a Cape c. 1790 by the Gilkey family, their son James was a "mechanical carver" who created elaborate woodworking details for many Plainfield houses, including his own. In 1903, the house was bought by Ellen and Louis Shipman, members of the Cornish Colony, who put on extensive additions, including one accessed by a secret door. Ellen Shipman was a nationally known landscape gardener and created extensive gardens there, which the Morses have been restoring.
It is a fascinating house with lots of history. We hope you can join us on the 6th.

Preserving Old Barns

Barns can tell us a great deal about the history of agriculture in New Hampshire. John C. Porter, author of Preserving Old Barns: Preventing the Loss of a Valuable Resource, will demonstrate how these majestic barn structures represent Yankee ingenuity, hard work, and skilled craftsmanship, as well as providing a link to our past that adds to the state’s scenic beauty.

John was raised on a dairy farm in Lebanon. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. degree in animal science, and then went on to get a master’s degree from Cornell University in Animal Nutrition and Farm Management.

The program will be held Saturday, September 26, at 3 p.m. at the Plainfield Town Hall.  Masks are required and chairs will be socially distanced with a maximum of 40 attendees.

Plainfield Historical Society members have the first opportunity to reserve seats.  Email us in advance ( by Thursday, September 24) to reserve a seat.  Contact Jane Stephenson for any questions.

This is a N.H. Humanities program and is free and open to the public.

NOTE:  Location is the Plainfield Town Hall.

PHS Inventory List Is Available

Plainfield Historical Society volunteers have created a database with records for a major portion of the photographs, documents, paintings, books and other artifacts in our collection.  That inventory list is now available on this website in a searchable format. From the menu at the top of this page, go to Collection -> PHS Inventory List. BE PATIENT! The inventory list is large and the page may take several minutes to load. Once loaded, however, the search process is quick and 'easy'. Instructions are at the top of the inventory page. Over the next months, we will publish more photographs and digital copies of documents from our collection. Please send questions or comments to


Plainfield's Oral History Project continues! The Historical Society has encouraged community members to share their memories of life in Plainfield during the  the 20th century as the Town changed from a rural, farming community to the mixed community we now see.  We now have interviews from more than 80 residents. We will add their recorded interviews along with portraits taken by Chad Finer as they become available. You can listen to their full interviews on this website by clicking on Oral History 2018 under History in the menu at the top of the page.

Rally Round the Flag

In NH Humanities Council program, Woody Pringle and Marek Bennett present an overview of the American Civil War through the lens of period music. Audience members participate and sing along as the presenters explore lyrics, documents, and visual images from sources such as the Library of Congress. Through camp songs, parlor music, hymns, battlefield rallying cries, and fiddle tunes, Pringle and Bennett examine the folksong as a means to enact living history, share perspectives, influence public perceptions of events, and simultaneously fuse and conserve cultures in times of change. Showcasing numerous instruments, the presenters challenge participants to find new connections between song, art, and politics in American history.

Old Country Fiddler

In a NH Humanities Council program, Adam Boyce portrays musical humorist Charles Ross Taggart who grew up in Topsham, Vermont, and performed in various Lyceum and Chautauqua circuits all across the country for over 40 years starting in 1895, including at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH. A fiddler, piano player, comedian, singer, and ventriloquist, he made at least 40 recordings on various labels.  Boyce portrays Mr. Taggart near the end of Taggart's career, c. 1936, sharing recollections on his life, with some live fiddling and humorous sketches interspersed in this living history program.

Derrick Oxford - Revolutionary War Soldier

Oxford was a slave of William Gallup of Hartland, enlisted for three years from Plainfield and fought at the Battles of Ticonderoga and Sarasota. Thanks to the research of our President, Jane Stephenson, Oxford's  grave was identified and marked with a military headstone in keeping with his service. On May 19, 2018, community members along with  Members of the First NH Regiment re-enactor group and descendants of Derrick Oxford and William Gallup held a brief service at the Coryville Cemetery in Plainfield.

Ernest Harold Baynes

Ernest Harold Baynes (1868-1925) was a naturalist, photographer and lecturer. He came to Plainfield in 1904 as the naturalist for Corbin's Park,  a large game preserve. Among other things, Baynes championed the national campaign to save the nearly extinct American Buffalo. He helped establish the American Bison Society in 1905 and led an effort to re-introduce buffalo to western habitats using 'seed herds' including one established at Corbin's Park. The Plainfield Historical Society has a over 5000 glass slides from Bayne's collection, including some which he used in his lecture series about the Buffalo.