Galen Beale Book Event Discusses History of Andover’s Elkins Family

Traces 40-year journey with Enfield Shakers

By Rita Norander

The Andover Historical Society has invited Galen Beale to speak at its upcoming meeting about her recently published book, “Beech Hill: The Reconciliation of Hervey Elkins and the Enfield Shakers.”

“Beech Hill” traces the Elkins family’s 40-year Shaker journey, using journals, diaries, letters, and pictures from the archives of the Andover Historical Society. It tells the interesting story of the lives of several generations of the Elkins family, who lived on Beech Hill in Andover, and how their daily lives were intertwined with the Enfield Shakers.

The family homestead on Beech Hill was settled in 1790 by Captain Samuel Elkins, and remained in the family until 1995 when Kimball Elkins sold the property to his neighbor, Paul Fenton, with whom he shared a barn! Paul allowed Kimball to remain in the house for as long as he wished, and Kimball spent several more years there before leaving for good. He left behind all of his family’s journals, neatly stacked on a kitchen shelf. Eventually, Paul Fenton donated these to the Andover Historical Society where Kimball had been the Society’s first curator. Kimball was a graduate of Harvard University, and was employed as an archivist for Harvard University Library.

Author Galen Beale has been involved for many years with both the Canterbury and the Enfield Shaker Villages. At Canterbury she established a medicinal herb garden and co-authored “The Earth Shall Blossom: Shaker Herbs and Gardening.” Learning from the last two eldresses, she revived the Shaker poplarware industry and taught and demonstrated the craft for many years. Galen has served on the board at Enfield, and as curator moved the Museum from the Laundry Dairy Building into the Great Stone Dwelling.

This program is free and open to the public and will take place on Wednesday, June 15, at 7 PM. It will be held at the Stone Chapel, 194 Main Street in Andover. Refreshments will be available following the talk.

Contact Rita at or 603 934-5397 with any questions.