MOULTONBOROUGH — Judith Ryerson will be presenting a program about James E. "Jim" French on Monday, August 12 at 7 p.m. at the Lamprey House Museum on Rt. 25 in Moultonborough village.
Born in Tuftonboro in 1845, French was one of the most influential men in Moultonborough's history. He held numerous local and state offices during his lifetime, and perhaps his most lasting contribution has been the creation of the Moultonborough Public Library, which began in an upstairs room of what is now the Old Country Store in 1897.
French was the owner of the store at that time, as well as one of the first three library trustees, and when he passed away in 1919, left the sum of $5,000 in his will for the construction of a library building. His second wife, Martha French, gave to the town the land where the library now stands, and after accumulating additional funds, the library building was built in 1929. A plaque over the fireplace in the original part of the building gives credit to French, who "for many years spared no effort on behalf of the town of Moultonborough." Appropriately, the program will be held in the Lamprey House Museum, which once belonged to Jim French and his father, also James French.
Among the other items on his resume, French was postmaster, town clerk, moderator, treasurer, school board, and member of the Masons, the Grange, and the Methodist Church. He was a state legislator, state senator, deputy collector for the Internal Revenue Service, and justice of the peace.
Also during the month of August, there will be a fun fundraising event for the Society. A murder mystery dinner entitled "Speakeasy Blues" will take place on Saturday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Magic Foods Catering banquet facility on Rt. 25 in Moultonborough, formerly the North End Restaurant. Magic Foods, owners of Canoe, O, and other local restaurants will provide the dinner, and Get-A-Clue Productions will present the mystery, which takes place in the hottest speakeasy this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. For more information or tickets, call Tracey at 253-9343 or Fran at 253-6950, or go to www.moultonboroughhistory.org/tickets. Tickets are $45 per person for dinner and the show, and proceeds benefit the Historical Society and the maintenance of the museum and exhibits.
James E. French (Courtesy photo)