Jessie Salisbury

Jessie Salisbury -- Author, Historian and Reporter
by Nikki Andrews

Jessie SalisburyJessie Salisbury is such a familiar figure in Wilton and Lyndeborough that it’s easy to forget she’s originally “from away.” She was born in Seldovia, Alaska, a deep-sea port with wharves and a cannery but no connection to other towns except by water. By the time she was six years old, she had never seen a car but was familiar with seaplanes. The town was destroyed in the 1963 earthquake, long after her family left.

The family moved about for many years, following her father’s work, until finally arriving in Lyndeborough in the late 1940s.  There, Jessie met and married Pat Salisbury, and the couple settled into a rambling 1850s farmhouse that, she says, is definitely haunted. The ghost seems to be a grandmother or an auntie checking on the children. Jessie says the woman is heard more often than seen, using a cane or possibly a wooden leg. Now that four of the five Salisbury children have flown the coop, the ghost appears only rarely. But she would still be required to reveal the presence of the ghost if she sells the house.

Salisbury has always been active in Lyndeborough social and town life. At various times she was on the Heritage and Historical District Commissions, served as a school board member, supervisor of the checklist, and a library trustee, and clerked for the Board of Adjustment, the Planning Board, and numerous other functions in town. The position she enjoyed most, however, was the unofficial Commons Monument Committee, which decided where to move the historic monuments from in front of the JA Tarbell Library when it was expanded. The Committee still tends the commons.

One of her duties in all these functions was to send publicity notes to the local newspapers, which led to her becoming a correspondent for, at various times, The Nashua Telegraph, The Monadnock Ledger, and The Milford Cabinet, sometimes simultaneously. She earned her degree in journalism from Keene State College, working full time even before completing her degree. She proudly remembers getting her first paycheck as a reporter in 1979.

When asked what she most liked and disliked in her reporting career, she replied, “Most, meeting people I never would have as an ordinary citizen. Least, contentious public meetings.”

Wilton/Lyndeborough/Temple bookShe has contributed to Wilton, Temple, and Lyndeborough in the Images of America: New Hampshire series. She also contributed to and is featured in the film Wilton/Lyndeborough: A Shared History which can be viewed at www.wiltonnh.gov/heritage.

Salisbury is also a prolific fiction writer, with many books available in the romance and historical genres which you can find at https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6059475.Jessie_Salisbury

She refuses to limit herself and will write “whatever moves me—romance, historical, news, fantasy, poetry…” She continues to hone her skills and share her expertise with the writing group “Talespinners.”

Don’t ask her about local history unless you have a lot of time and a recorder. Actually, someone should ask her. She has a rich well of interesting facts and stories about Lyndeborough and Wilton, the kind that bring history alive.

Now a grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of eleven, Jessie continues to look forward with a zest for life. She would like to travel more, especially to New Mexico where one of her sons lives. She has crossed the continent several times, seen Old Faithful erupt in a snowstorm, visited Anchorage and London in the same year, and claims, “Flying isn’t what it used to be.”

She is a multi-town treasure.

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