Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wilmot's First Town Meeting House: A Problem of Language

This marker is in a lot in Wilmot Center and marks the site of the first town hall built in 1844 by Daniel Upton for "$250 and the old meeting house" which stood within Bunker Hill Cemetery.

Across the road from this marker is another old lot with an old field stone foundation and bell. I'm unsure as to what the foundation and bell are from unless they are from the first or second town hall.

When a Connecticut Congregationalist such as myself hears the word "meeting house" she thinks of a Congregational meeting house — a church. When she hears "town house" she may think of a colonial tavern. But in New Hampshire the phrases "town house" and "meeting house" mean town hall. John thought I knew what they meant and I thought John knew what they meant. So we never understood each other for months when John tried to tell me the history of this town. Not at all. I couldn't understand why the meeting house had been used for town meetings. Had New Hampshire been a theocracy like Connecticut? Not that I had ever heard.

Thinking I was either crazy or dull-witted, John finally read a section of a Wilmot history book aloud to me so that I could figure out what was going on in old Wilmot. I suddenly began to understand that a meeting house is not necessarily a meeting house. I am now beginning to make sense of town history. Finally.

I'm taking nothing for granted now. Language in New Hampshire is more complicated than it is in Vermont. But I'm learning. Soon I'll know three vernaculars: Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire!

diigo it


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment on meeyauw's pad. I enjoy reading constructive comments, tips and ideas that help me improve my photographs.


Related Posts with Thumbnails