The Hope Diamond and Marlow, New Hampshire

Wednesday, October 18 at 7 pm the Historical Society of Cheshire County will host a screening of a 1921 silent film as part of its New Hampshire Film Series. The program is co-sponsored by the Marlow Historical Society. The Hope Diamond Mystery is based on the life story written by May Yohé who lived for a time in Marlow, New Hampshire. In 1894 Yohé, an American musical theater actress, married Lord Francis Hope and possessed the Hope Diamond. She divorced Lord Francis in 1902, and Lord Francis later sold the diamond to pay off debts.

The Hope Diamond Mystery was a fifteen-part serial about “the most sinister jewel in history.” A curse follows the diamond bringing tragedy and heartbreak to all who possess it. In the forty-minute episode to be shown at the Historical Society, Boris Karloff stars in his first major screen role as the Hindu servant Dakar.

At the Historical Society’s screening Larry Benaquist – film maker and Keene State College professor – will talk about the history of the film. Local historian Tracy Messer will talk about May Yohé and her connections to Marlow, New Hampshire.

The Historical Society of Cheshire County is located at 246 Main Street in Keene. The organization has been collecting, preserving, and communicating the history of Cheshire County for 90 years. The Society puts on about 150 programs each year to help people of all ages “find their place in history.” For more information, visit or call 603.352.1895.

Gilsum Community Dinner-FREE

The 3rd Gilsum Community Dinner will be held this Saturday, August 19, at 5 PM on the church lawn.  Propel Entertainment will provide entertaining music, Top of the Hill Grill (as last year) will be grilling chicken and offering a selection of side dishes.  There will also be a variety of ice cream for dessert.
This is a great community event sponsored by the Gilsum Recreation Committee, Gilsum Public Library and Gilsum Historical Society.
Don’t miss this free evening of music, laughter, good food and presentation of “Gilsum Citizen of the Year” award.

Gilsum Recreation, Summer Camp

Do you know what continent Madagascar is a part of? How much you could pack on a covered wagon? Can you make your own toothpaste or build a lego bridge that will hold 8 pounds?  Campers in the Gilsum Rec summer program have been exploring these questions and more over the last few weeks.  Each week has focused on a different theme such as Around the World, Time Travelers, Disney Week, Artful Antics & STEAM.  The final week of camp will be Messy Olympics, wrapping up a summer of fun and learning. The Gilsum Recreation Committee is happy to support the Summer Camp program.

Thank you from Gilsum 6th Graders

Gilsum Recreation Committe sponsored the attendance of  Gilsum 6th grade class to the Ferry Beach Ecology School. The class said thank you with these beautifully hand painted pots and flower and vegetable seeds. These gifts were happily received by Recreation Committee members at the June committee meeting as they prepared for the 53rd Annual Rock Swap & Mineral Show.

The Gilsum Library Book Club

This Month’s Bookclub selection is:

by Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.
Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces—and this series—with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.

Join us at June 27th 7:00 pm to discuss this great book.
BYOB and snacks to share.
The first 1/2 hour will be devoted to the book discussion
For more information contact Karen Hastings at
Home # 352-1401
Home email:

New in Town: Meet the Sundaramurthy Family

The Sundaramurthy family from left to right: Angela, Franky, Seth, Glory, Daniel, Grace, Cassie, and Sonny.

Angela and Sonny Sundaramurthy recently moved from Virginia to a Victorian home in Gilsum with their six children. Their new home, which is a short walk from Gilsum Elementary School, was at one time the home of the Bear Den Inn. In addition to six children, the family has a multitude of pets.
Although they spent 12 years in Virginia, Sonny and Angela are natives to the Northeast, he from New Hampshire and Mass., she from Albany, New York. They married in 2001, and traveled the world with the US Navy, in which Sonny serves, and settled in Virginia. “We were very happy in Amherst, Virginia, and almost made that our permanent home. But we decided to move back to the Northeast to be closer to family in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Mass., making Gilsum our ‘Middle of Everywhere,” Angela says.

Sonny telecommutes to the Pentagon as a contractor, and also serves in the US Navy Reserve. “Due to the move, I resigned from my multitude of odd jobs: worship leader, gymnastics teacher, and my small business doing sewing alterations and repairs,” Angela says.

The family’s interests include farm animals, hiking, music, history, politics, creative arts, books, “and we are very social,” says Angela. Their individual interests include electronics, car repair, interior painting, fishing, sewing, music videos, basketball, manga, gymnastics, dance, fixing things, parkour, dinosaurs, and hobby trains.

If you see us out and about, please say hello,” Angela says. You can also friend her on Facebook at

Tales from the mines: A conversation with Gilsum Rock Swap Speaker Jim Tovey

Q: How long have you been coming to the Gilsum Rock Swap?
I first started as a dealer in 1989 as a swapper then as a full dealer in 1990. From 1994 on, the bulk of the material I sold was minerals from the mines I was working. From 1994 to 1997 it was quartz and fluorite from the Wise mine. From 1998 to 2003 it was beryl and feldspar from the Wise and Beauregard mines. From 2004 to 2016 it was beryl, black tourmaline, rose quartz, garnet and feldspar from the Tripp mine in Alstead. And in 2010 I started selling Tripp mine lapidary goods and jewelry.

Q: What will you be selling at the Gilsum Rock Swap this year?
For 2017 the minerals I offer will be a mix of leftover Tripp mine specimens and other minerals collected worldwide, as well as Tripp mine lapidary goods and jewelry. I will also have some limited New Hampshire gold jewelry.

Q: Every year you have a silent auction in your space. What’s on offer, when does it take place, and what are the rules?
The silent auction is where we move the mine run material. For the past 12 years most the material is from the Tripp mine. For this year there will still be material from Wise and Tripp mine and a bunch of world wide material also. Also other rockhound and lapidary loose goods as boxes, tools, so on. The average price is around $3.

Q: Which mines have you operated or worked in the area, and what minerals did you mine from them?
My first mine was the Wise mine, which I owned and operated from 1994 to 2003. It produces mostly fluorite and quartz for the specimen market. This mine was a major hard rock mining education for me. To work this mine I needed to obtain blasting, storage, transfer licenses and permits, along with the equipment.

I operated the Beauregard mine from 1998 to 2015, producing beryl and feldspar for the specimen market. The Beauregard mine was my first time working a pegmatite, which was quite different than working the Wise mine which was a hypothermal deposit. I never broke a drill at the Wise but at the Beauregard I broke so many that I started using larger drill steels.

I began working the Tripp mine in 2000 and continue today. But at this time, the mine is on extended vacation. It produces gem beryl and quartz for the lapidary market, as well as beryl, black tourmaline, feldspar, and garnet for the specimen market.

I actively mined the Tripp from 2004 to 2015 knowing that the Tripp project material would bring me into the lapidary and jewelry market. I took a gem cutting class for the second time, and lapidary brought me into fabricating jewelry. Now both are full-time business for me. I have a jewelry and lapidary storefront in Milford NH.

Q: What part of the Gilsum Rock Swap event do you most like? What keeps you coming back?
For me it’s the social interaction with all of the rock hounds. The Gilsum show has the largest concentration of rock hound dealers (rock hounds that have to sell to make more room for their new stuff). This aspect gives the show a buzz and a better opportunity to find that specimen sleeper.

Q: Ok, so we have to ask: Who is the person next to you in the photo above?
The guy to my right is Lee Champigny, an accomplished jeweler and lapidary craftsmen. Lee started working with me about 15 years ago. Vince Valade and I wanted to bring on a young guy under 30 to work with us at the Wise Mine. The only disappointment with Lee was that he was 32 at the time. Other than that, Lee has just been great.

Q: You’ll be giving a presentation this year. What cool things will people learn?
My presentation, “From rough gemstone to finished jewelry,” will illustrate skills and tasks required to take a New Hampshire raw mineral into a finished jewelry item. I’ll talk about
Mineral extraction
Processing the mineral into Lapidary rough
Processing & designing the lapidary rough into a finished gemstone
Processing & designing the gemstone mounting
Setting the gemstone into the jewelry mounting
The final item, hopefully a “wow!”

And I’ll have plenty of specimens on hand, of course.

Come hear Jim speak at the Gilsum Rock Swap on Saturday, June 25 at 1:00 PM in the auditorium.

Gilsum STEAM Academy Annual BBQ

The Gilsum STEAM Academy annual BBQ will be held on Thursday, June 1st at 11:30 before the Parent Teacher Community Association (PTCA) sponsored Fun Run fundraiser as a part of field day.  The community is invited to join us for the BBQ and stay on to cheer on the students as they run 1.5 miles around the field at the school.  If you plan on joining us for lunch please RSVP by noon on Friday, May 26th: 352-2226.