Step Back in Time

The Poore family didn’t have much money, but they did have lots of spirit.Imagine what it would be like to scratch out a living on a dairy farm in the Great North Woods back in the late 1800s — using rudimentary tools, and milking, hoisting grain and drawing water without electricity.

In fact, you don’t have to imagine. Just north of Colebrook, in Stewartstown, there is a 100-acre farm that’s hardly changed in the last 125 years. Farm equipment, tools and clothes belonging to generations of the Poore family — much of it is just as it was all those years ago. And it still doesn’t have electricity.

Before J.C. Kenneth Poore, the last descendant of the original family, died in 1983, he along with others formed a foundation so that the farm would serve as a historical and educational site illustrating a way of life that existed prior to rural electrification. It’s called the Poore Family Homestead Historic Farm Museum, and it’s open for visitors during the summer.

The museum’s executive director, Richard Johnsen, says the farm was never electrified, even in the 1980s, because Kenneth Poore didn’t feel he needed electricity any more than the generations before him had — a phone was enough modernity. “Kenneth was a piece of history himself — very self-sufficient, a real Yankee,” Johnsen says.

The house itself isn’t open to visitors because it’s too fragile. But there are windows you can look through to see what life was like inside. The barns and outbuildings — all in original condition — are open to visitors.

Johnsen says there are a number of activities planned for the summer, including outdoor concerts, craft demonstrations and re-enactments of 1700s-style trappers and traders.

As they say at the farm — “Pack a picnic basket and stay a spell.”

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