The world really does keep getting smaller and smaller the older I get. I bet many of you find that, too. Well wait until I tell you this next story. I know you will be surprised too!
Remember last year John and I headed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to attend a memorial service for my Aunt Ann? My dad never really talked much about his family there or how he grew up, but luckily for me, my cousin Beverly Cummings Scherdin had completed a lot of research through the years. Our last night together, she presented each of us with a very large family tree which outlined my dad’s side of the family all the way back to the 1600s —names like Archibald and Morrison filled the lines of my grandmother’s side of the tree.
My cousin Beverly explained to us that she had spent years talking to her father, my uncle, my aunt and other relatives gathering this information. She also told us she had verified all of the dates and names through historians and libraries throughout Canada and the U.S. The more Beverly conducted her research she even discovered that there are books devoted to distant relatives in our family tree, such as the Morrisons. She said all of us should find copies of the books and learn more about our family, but honestly I had good intentions but just not enough time. I know you understand that completely, too.
Well, thank goodness for Laura Flores Morin of Londonderry, a dear friend who has always been interested in our local history. Did I mention that when I taught at Londonderry High, Laura was a student there? Again, small world. Anyway, Laura told me to drop off my original family tree and she would conduct her research to add more ancestors to my tree and find interesting facts about my Londonderry family.
I was so excited that I wanted to share the story with you as soon as we found out, which was during the election, but we all know someone would have shouted from the mountaintops: It’s a sham!
That’s why I waited until a little time had passed after the election to tell you. Laura discovered an interesting fact, too. One of my great relatives was a town clerk back in the 1700s. I guess my love of all of you and this beautiful area really is “All in My Family” after all!
Laura went above and beyond to gather the information that I’m about to share with you. She also helped me to rewrite this story to you late Sunday night. I was getting way too excited about listing all the dates and names, and basically she reminded me that would get pretty boring for you. Thank You, Laura!
Basically what Laura and Beverly discovered is this: my great ancestors were among the first to settle our very own Londonderry, New Hampshire. My dad’s family can be traced back to John Morrison who was born in 1650 in Scotland. John made his way to Londonderry, Ireland and then in the 1700s came here. He died on February 16, 1736 and he is buried here in Londonderry. I am a descendant of both the Archibalds and the Morrison families. They arrived on boats to Boston and from there headed to this very area. Remember, Londonderry was founded in 1722.
What I think is amazing and both sad at the same time, is how did my dad George Noble Cummings ended up picking out of a very wide hat to move to Londonderry New Hampshire in 1969? Remember, he was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, married and moved to Salem, Massachusetts at the age of 36. Years later searching for work, he moved my mom and I here to Londonderry. My dad had no idea that the area he picked to start a new life in for us was the very same place that his ancestors were among the first to settle. I so wish that I could have told him all of this before he passed away. Again, how did he decide to settle his own family here, hundreds of years later? It really makes you wonder.
Laura uncovered so many interesting things but I have to tell you about just one more. It appears that being your town clerk may also be in my blood line.
Something else she discovered is that the next generation of my relatives decided to leave Londonderry for Canada and in 1761 they moved to Londonderry, Nova Scotia. Colonel Robert Archibald was one of these men. He is my first cousin six times removed. Robert soon became a town clerk and justice of the peace in Truro, Nova Scotia, which was just a few miles from Londonderry. As Laura wrote to me, “You are basically following in Robert’s footsteps."
The other strange part is that remember last year John and I made sure to stop in Londonderry, Nova Scotia, and even took pictures there. I guess I could also say "How did I know to go there?"
Apparently being a town clerk really is All in “my” family!
PS: My heart is still aching with not knowing how to thank all of you that were behind the scenes, who are very much like me, helping me with the election. I wish I could recognize all of you the beautiful way they did for the 20 of us selected by Hannaford and WZID as Outstanding Woman for 2018. They spoiled us for what we do behind the scenes to help others. I just don’t know how to thank all of you — Courtney, Terri, Jim, Al, Judy, Russell, Paul, Monica, Bonnie, Faye, Dick, John, Lloyd and Sharon, and the list goes on. At the very least if I can make you a “Sherry’s Not so Famous Chocolate Chip Banana Bread” made with love please send an email to email@example.com and it will be delivered this weekend blessed with love, prayers, and heartfelt thanks. It is still so little for all you did for me, my small family and for our family — the town of Londonderry and New Hampshire, too.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.