Meshech Weare is considered to be the first governor of the State of New Hampshire and was known as the “father of this state”.
Scanned copies of the Meschech Weare collection have been made accessible to the general public through a generous grant from the National Historical Publication and Records Commission (NHPRC). This was a collaborative effort between the New Hampshire State Archives, Keene State College, the Historical Society of Cheshire County, and the work of dozens of volunteers from around the United States. This grant-funded initiative was deemed The New Hampshire Citizen Archivist Initiative.
The original papers are part of the archival holdings of the New Hampshire State Archive in Concord, NH.
Intro to Meshech Weare & The Collection
Meshech Weare is considered to be the first governor of the State of New Hampshire and was known as the “father of the his state”. He was born on June 16, 1713, and graduated from Harvard College in 1735. He began his political career in 1739 as town moderator for Hampton Falls. He was a representative of Hampton Falls in the General Assembly. He was also part of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving as both speaker and clerk. He was also one of the New Hampshire’s delegates that attended the Albany Congress in 1754.
In September 1772, Weare served as one of the four judges in the trial of those involved in the Pine Tree Riot, though the participants were found guilty the low fines they received inspired some other rebellious acts against the British government including the Boston Tea Party. Weare was also a leader in drafting the formal constitution that set of New Hampshire to become the first American State on January 5, 1776.
Under this constitution, New Hampshire had no individual leader or executive but was run by the legislature. Executive power was appointed to the Committee of Safety, which had the power to act as an executive power when the legislature was not in session. Weare was appointed chairman of this Committee from 1776 to 1784 when it was disbanded. He also served in dual roles as the chief justice for the state’s highest court the “Superior Court of Judicature” from 1776 to 1782 and as presiding officer of the Governor’s Council from 1776-1784, then part of the upper house of the legislature. Upon the adoption of the second New Hampshire Constitution in 1784, Weare was elected as the first governor or at the time “president” of New Hampshire. He ran unopposed and was only able to serve one year before resigning due to poor health. He died only months later on January 14, 1786. He was 73 years old. (written by Mylynda Gill for the New Hampshire State Archives)
Finding Aid to the Collection (New Hampshire State Archives, Concord, NH)
Rules for Transcribing Weare Documents
The Citizen Archivist Initiative focuses on the transcription of handwritten manuscripts (written in cursive script) and the creation of a word-processed version of that document that will be made available on digital platforms.
Since the manuscript material for the Citizen Archivist Initiative comes mainly from the pens of writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, knowledge of cursive penmanship from those centuries is essential to the task of accurately transcribing hand-written primary sources. Beyond basic cursive letter forms, transcribers will also encounter stylistic conventions unique to time and place the document was produced.
Transcribers need to be aware of the following:
- The lack of standardization in spelling
- Deciphering the long s, usually written as an f
- Use of capital letters for emphasis in the text
- Differences between the lower case and upper case for the same letter
- Awareness of various abbreviations/ contractions by leaving out letters in the middle of the word
erratic punctuation, special signs, (such as an ampersand &), Latin abbreviations
- British currency: Pound = £, shilling = s, pence = d
- Dates: “Old Style” and “New Style” year was often used in English and colonial records for dates falling between the new New Year (January 1) and old New Year (March 25), a system known as “double dating.” This practice ended in England and its colonies changed calendars in 1752.
Rules for Standard Transcriptions:
- In the Header: Type “Meshech Weare Collection”, Title of your document, “Transcribed by:” your name. (i.e. Meshech Weare Collection. Weare, Letter, Jacob Abbot to Captain Josiah Gilman, Wilton, February 16, 1781. Transcribed by John Smith)
- Font Size: Times New Roman, 12
- Brackets are to be used for the following:
Mutilated or illegible material is indicated by using [mutilated] or [illegible]. Conjectural readings for missing material should be placed within brackets with question mark [?] and only be used when there is strong evidence that the provided words are accurate, as, for instance, when enough letters are legible on the manuscript to make the reading obvious.
- The long S, transcribe as modern double ss
- Clear text – “what you see is what you get”
- Spelling should not be modernized or regularized. In rare instances that a misspelling or variant spelling could create confusion and clarification is necessary, a regularized version should be captured in the encoding, using the [orig] [reg]
- Indentations for paragraphs on the left margin in the documents will be indicated by indentations of five (5) spaces in the transcription
- Write out complete words for years as in the original text.
- Write out numerals for years as in the original text.
- If the text uses numerals, then use numerals in the transcription.
- Apostrophes will be retained as they appear in the text.
- Save your document as: Weare_document title (i.e. Weare, Letter, Jacob Abbot to Captain Josiah Gilman, Wilton, February 16, 1781)
(Guidelines brought to you by Dr. John Lund of Keene State College, 2017. Please direct any further questions about how to transcribe these documents to Jennifer Carroll, Director of Education, Historical Society of Cheshire County_dired@hsccnh.org)
(link to Keene State Commons, Keene State College, Keene, NH)