A bridge between New England, old England runs through Henniker

  • (From left) Former Henniker selectman Robert French, Jr. embraces the Hon. Jane Elizabeth Henniker-Major and historians Geoffrey and Janette Robinson during a reception for the town’s 250th celebrations Thursday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ photos / Monitor staff

  • Henniker 250 organizing committee chairwoman Terri Trier is acknowledged by the crowd for her work during a reception in Henniker on Thursday.

  • Hon. Jane Elizabeth Henniker-Major (center) is introduced to members of the Henniker 250 organizing committee and other guests during a reception in Henniker on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ—Monitor staff

  • The Hon. Jane Elizabeth Henniker-Major of London meets members of the Henniker 250th organizing committee during a reception in Henniker on Thursday. Henniker-Major is the great, great, great, great, great, grand daughter of the town’s namesake. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Geoffrey Robinson addresses members of the Henniker 250 organizing committee and other guests during a reception in Henniker on Thursday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 8/3/2018 5:50:49 PM

Towns in central New Hampshire have been turning 250 years old for decades, but few can count their namesake’s great, great, great, great, great, grand daughter as a celebrant.

“It’s lovely. I’m thrilled,” the honorable Jane Elizabeth Henniker-Major of London said during a reception Thursday evening. Her brother Mark is the ninth, and current, Lord Henniker, and Henniker the town was named after their forefather John Henniker, a wealthy tradesman who went on to become the first Lord Henniker.

Back in 1768 when residents of the area presented a petition for incorporation to provincial Governor John Wentworth, they asked for their new town to be called New Marlboro. Instead, Wentworth chose to honor a business associate back in England, forming the town still-undisputedly known as “the only Henniker on earth.”

This simple history is well know, but over two generations, personal connections between Henniker the town and Henniker the family have taken shape, starting back in 1993 when the eighth Lord Henniker (also a John) came to New Hampshire to celebrate the town’s 225th birthday.

“My dad came and loved it so much, and I do think these historical connections – they may have started in a different way then they are now – are just really unique,” Henniker-Major said.

Connections were rekindled last year when Terri Trier, chairwoman of the Henniker 250th organizing committee, blindly reached out to the English family via email. Her efforts paid off, and this weekend’s big celebration included Henniker-Major and two English historians as honored guests.

“To actually be here and being special guests of your 250th celebration, I just feel is such a great honor,” said Geoffrey Robinson, a historian from Worlingworth, Suffolk, England, who knows the Henniker family history quite well.

During the reception, standing with his wife Janette and Henniker-Major, Robinson referenced the growing connection between town and family and presented three books about Suffolk and the Henniker family as a gift to the library.

“Just tiny little sort of mementos of our visit and it only really remains for me to say, so far, thank you very much for the welcome, and that bridge really still does exist between New England and Old England,” he said.

For the latest schedule and more information on the 250th celebration this weekend, go to facebook.com/Hennikerattwohundredandfifty.

(Elizabeth Frantz can be reached at 369-3333, efrantz@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lizfrantz.)

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