Perley: The True Story of a New Hampshire Hermit by Sheila Swett Thompson ISBN 978-0-9724478-8-1 $14.00 + $3.00 P&H.     "Sheila Swett tells a story of ambition, passion, land lust, failure, bitterness, anger, but in the end redemption in old age, and in a prose style that clicks along like a fast-paced novel.  This book is a great read!" - Advance praise for Perley by award-winning author Ernest Hebert. 

To order copies send check or money order to: 
Historical Society of Cheshire County
P.O.Box 803
Keene, NH 03431
Or visit The Historical Society of Cheshire County's web site 


About the Book
About the Author

About the book

"Too much history has been lost in abandoned ruins and cellar holes deep in our New Hampshire forests.  When we come upon them by chance they are but mute witness to our wondering who lived there and, more importantly, what was the result of their living?
    "Sheila Swett Thompson gives us the answers for one of the Monadnock Region's most colorful characters, Perley Swett, known locally and nationally as "the Hermit of Taylor Pond."  Her exhaustive research into Perley's life and insight into his character (as his granddaughter) has produced a flowing narrative that shows that those who lived deep in the Stoddard, New Hampshire woods during what we might think of as "simpler times," hardly led simple lives!  The author paints a rich picture of life on a home farm, the events that shaped Perley's view of the world and the forces that led him into self-imposed exile.  The result is history kept...and poignantly presented." - Bob Weekes

Let me introduce you.....

    My grandfather, Perley Swett, dug his own grave, both literally and figuratively.  Born during the harsh winter of 1888 in a sparsely populated corner of Stoddard, New Hampshire, he began a journey from cradle to grave that would never take him far from his roots.
    Grampa wanted to make sure that he would never be forced to leave the New Hampshire farm he was born on...and which had become his refuge...even in death. Worried that his family might ignore his written instructions and bury him in a more conventional spot, (He was concerned, as he put it, that "lawyers would prefer to please the living rather than honor a dead man's wishes.")  Perley felt he had to take matters into his own hands.  And, at age seventy-five, he did just that - with a pick and shovel.

Though Sheila Swett, the author, knew her grandfather, Perley Swett, he was as much a mystery to her as he was to everyone else.  It wasn't until she started piecing together the wealth of information she had acquired about his life that a story so bizarre and yet so intriguing started to take shape.  It was a story that Sheila felt simply had to be shared.  The "True Story of a New Hampshire Hermit" is the culmination of six years worth of research.
   The Historical Society of Cheshire County is pleased to offer this publication of local history. 

About the Author
Sheila Swett Thompson grew up in the rural town of Sullivan, NH.  Like her grandfather, she never moved far from her roots settling just ten miles away from where she was born. Sheila now lives with her husband, Richard Thompson, and two sons, Jake and Sam in West Swanzey, part of the beautiful Monadnock Region of southwestern New Hampshire

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