Thursday, April 15, 2010

Leach Library to Host Program on the Great Sheep Boom and Its Enduring Legacy

On Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m., the Leach Library will host a talk given by New Hampshire’s former Commissioner of Agriculture, Stephen Taylor, on the impact of the brief 30-year period in the early nineteenth century when the New Hampshire countryside became home to hundreds of thousands of sheep.

Stephen Taylor lives in the Meriden Village section of Plainfield, New Hampshire, on a family farm that has been operating since 1970. Prior to serving as the state Commissioner of Agriculture from 1982 to 2007, he spent many years as a daily newspaper reporter and freelance writer for agricultural, forestry and other publications.

In this program, Mr. Taylor will discuss the importance of the great sheep boom of the early nineteenth century to the industry and landscape of New Hampshire. During this 30-year period, production of wool became a lucrative business, generating fortunes and providing the only era of true agricultural prosperity in the state’s history. Though farmers overcame enormous challenges to make sheep husbandry succeed, forces from beyond New Hampshire were to doom the industry. Mr. Taylor will discuss the social consequences that would last a century, as well as the legacy of fine architecture and thousands of miles of rugged stone walls that endure today.

The event is being sponsored by the Friends of the Londonderry Leach Library. It is free and open to the public, and will be held in the library’s lower-level meeting room. Light refreshments will be served.

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