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Ruth Stimson
One of a Kind

By Kathy McLaughlin, HHS Volunteer
Web Design by: Rich Hureau, HHS Volunteer


The Hampton Historical Society (HHS) participated in Women's History Month (March 2016) by highlighting the life of Ruth Stimson, a long-time Hampton resident. A woman of many interests, talents, skills and abilities, Ruth was highly accomplished professionally, civically and personally. She was a well-known throughout Rockingham County.

Ruth had a "can do" attitude. With this never-wavering mind-set, her achievements and successes were numerous during a time when women did not have so many accomplishments.

Ruth loved to learn and teach others what she knew, so she had the perfect job as a Home Demonstration Agent for the University of New Hampshire's Extension Service. For 40 years, she taught the women of Rockingham County how to make their homes and family lives more attractive, economical and healthy.

Ruth was a crusader, picking up on causes and even initiating them. She was tenacious, as is evidenced by her hard work to save the Hampton salt marshes and with mosquito control. She has numerous awards to her credit.

In one of many interviews Ruth said, "I get satisfaction from building fires under people." Whether everyone wanted Ruth to build fires under them is debatable.

People are seen differently depending on one's experience with them. For those who knew Ruth or knew of her, the mention of her name typically evokes a story or a memory, most good, but sometimes not. Ruth probably would have been ok with this. What she did, it seems, she did with good intentions. She wanted things to be ever better in Hampton and the surrounding communities.

Following is a story about Ruth Stimson. It is in large part told by Ruth, who was also a chronicler, using her 6-volume autobiography, Our Lives Are Albums. The name derives from the verse Ruth's Great Grandmother wrote in her Grandmother's autograph album in 1896:

"Our lives are albums written through with good or ill, with false or true. And as the blessed angels turn the pages of our years God grant they read the good with smiles and blot the ills with tears."

HHS hopes you'll enjoy learning about Ruth, from Ruth's perspective, in the story titled "One of a Kind."