In 1905, Derry, Windham and Londonderry were all upset by tales of a huge cat roaming the woods. It was described as being the size of a large dog and had a long tail. There was a rumor (false) that a bounty of $1,000 was to be paid to the killer of the great beastie. Suddenly our woods and fields were filled with hunters from all over New England determined to win the money. After a few months, the sighting of the cat stopped and he or she was never seen locally again. That animal was in all likelihood a mountain lion — a feline that has long been considered extinct in southern New Hampshire but maybe making a comeback in Coos County.
Rick Holmes is the official town historian of Derry. His office hours at the Municipal Center are Mondays from 8 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Several of his books on local history are available at Mack’s Apples and Derry’s libraries.