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With pond name up in air, no one seems to know who Tilton Town Forest is named for

GILFORD — Selectmen have weighed in on an effort to name a remote pond in the Robert Tilton Town Forest in the Belknap Mountain Range ''Moulton Pond'' and have countered with a proposal that it instead be named ''Roberts Pond.''
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said that the board took the action at its August 28 meeting and that he has since filed a request with the United States Board on Geographic Names for that name for the pond.
But there is one glaring omission in the written request, because no one is certain at this point in time exactly who the Robert Tilton for whom the town forest is named was.
''We don't know who he was,'' said Dunn, who said that the request had to be for ''Roberts Pond'', not ''Robert's Pond'' as the Board on Geographic names doesn't allow apostrophes in names.
Everett McLaughlin of the town's Conservation Commission, who originally proposed that the small 6/10 of an acre pond be named ''Roberts Pond'' at the August 14 selectmen's meeting, says that he's been researching all of the conservation land in town but still hasn't found out who Robert Tilton was.
McLaughlin said that the 130-acre town forest, which is located in the Piper-Whiteface area near both Gilmanton and Belmont, was mentioned in a town report on March 12, 1986 but that there is no record of how the town acquired the property or when the transaction took place.
''There's no record at the Registry of Deeds, so we think it must have been through the Probate Court and someone's will,'' said McLaughlin.
He said that the Conservation Commission has known about the request from Soren Denlinger, 15, of Asbury, New Jersey, a high school sophomore, to have the unnamed pond, which is located 9/10th of a mile southwest of Round Pond, declared to be ''Moulton Pond'' for several months.
''I thought at first we should name it ''Soren's Pond'' because he's shown so much interest in it. But the Board on Geographic Names says you can't name geographic features for a living person,'' says McLaughlin.
His proposal for the name ''Roberts Pond'' first came before selectmen at the August 14 meeting but no action was taken by the board at that meeting.
Belknap County Commissioners, who received a letter from the Board on Geographic Names about Denlinger's proposal on August 2, have discussed it at subsequent meetings but decided to take no action on the request when they met Wednesday morning.

The commissioners received a copy of the letter Gilford had sent to the Board on Geographic names in which it said that the Moulton Pond designation was unacceptable to the town and requested that it be named Roberts Pond.

They voted to check a box on the form they had received urging the board ''to render a decision without our recommendation.''

Commissioner Ed Philpot (D-Laconia) said at a recent meeting of the commissioners that he had talked with long-time Gilford Conservation Commission member Charles Coons and others about the pond in question and had heard about the ''Roberts Pond'' proposal and planned on writing a personal letter to the Board on Geographic Names.
Coons, who retired several years ago from the Gilford Conservation Commission, said that he had always assumed that the Robert Tilton Town Forest was named for Robert P. Tilton, who served as clerk of Belknap County Superior Court for 30 years.
Tilton retired as clerk in 1987 and his brother, Richard, was a long-time Probate Court judge in Belknap County.

 
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