A Brief History of the
BRUHAWACHET SNO-TRACKERS, Inc.
The Bruhawachet Sno-Trackers, Inc. is a snowmobile club based in Rumney, NH in the Stinson Lake area, with trails located in Rumney and Ellsworth.
It was formed by a few friends in 1969, the same year the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association began. Bruce Wamsley, Walter Pharris, Harold MacDonald and Chet Hinkson enjoyed snowmobiling and decided to officially form a club and join the NHSA. Their wives got together and with an exchange of ideas, the club name was formed utilizing parts of their husbands’ first names: Bru/Ha/Wa/Chet. Through the years some folks have thought it was an Indian name.
Bruce Wamsley: Bruce was employed by an electronics firm in West Virginia and was relocated to the Nashua area. Bruce lived just over the NH line in MA.
Harold MacDonald: Harold lived across from the Stinson Lake Store. He worked at various jobs in the area including hauling logs and pulp wood out of forests in the area using teams of horses. He also worked on the Haven Little Farm in Rumney raising chickens and gathering and boiling sap for maple syrup in the spring. In later years, he worked at the Shoe Shank Mill in Plymouth, which is now the site of The Common Man Inn.
Walter Pharris: Walter worked for the same firm as Bruce and also relocated to the Nashua NH area. He and Bruce purchased land from Chet Hinkson located off Ellsworth Road in an area known as Hinksonville. Together, they built two cabins there and Bruce’s son still owns the property.
Chet Hinkson: Chet lived on Stinson Lake Road between Stinson Brook and Little Red Brook Bridges. He worked as a logger for a time before starting a trucking and excavating business. Chet did much of the drainage and septic systems in the lake area. He built roads for the USFS, such as the Meade Swamp Road as well as many others roads. He became the Road Agent for the Town of Rumney for many years and also served as police chief for a time. Chet’s father was a logger and was devastated by the depression. He turned to photography using a large box camera with glass negatives. He climbed many mountains in the area capturing the beautiful settings. There was a club member in 1970’s who was an employee of the Manchester Union Leader who had some of these negatives developed for some of the club members, some of which may still be on display in the Stinson Lake Association Club House. Chet’s wife Annie served as secretary and treasurer for the club for many years. She also submitted many news articles about the area and the clubs activities to the Plymouth Record Newspaper.
Many lake area and local residents formed a large part of the club’s membership through the years. Some of the more well-known families were Martin, Wernig, Pelland, Vance, Keyworth, Lawson, Shmishkiss, McQuillan, Healey, Martone, Lonigro and many others.
Monthly Meetings were held December through March generally at the homes of various members. Typically, in August a chicken BBQ meeting, held at the Stinson Lake Association Club house, the meetings continue to be held in the same manner. Tom MacDonald who was Harold and Annie’s brother and also a club member, would often make bean hole beans for this event. This involved burning a fire in a hole in the ground for two days. Meanwhile, beans were being soaked then placed in a cast iron pot with onion, dry mustard, molasses and salt pork. This was placed in the hot ground, covered with hot coals and cooked for 24 hours. Often, on Sundays, there were club destination rides to various places such as Three Ponds, Fox Glove Meadow, Eagle Point Swamp and Ellsworth Pond for cookouts.
Many members stored sleds in Chet’s barns where repairs were often done. He also sold gas, oil, spark plugs, belts and various parts. Some members built a bridge from his yard to cross Stinson Brook to access the trails. A popular trail went to a fire tower on the top of Stinson Mountain which was later used as a watch tower by the Civil Air Patrol in the 1940’s and early 50’s. After that, the Army Corp of Engineers installed a heat generator to operate a radio that would transmit water levels from various gauging stations to Framingham, MA. The club used to transport propane tanks by snowmobile to the tower for the Corp of Engineers. The tower provided breathtaking views of the area until it was removed in 1985 due to vandalism.
Much of the trail system continues to utilize abandoned farm and logging roads. The Watts Trail has many old foundations and cellar holes that were used to store vegetables and fruits. Most of the people were subsistence farmers who left the area for jobs when mills were being built along rivers in the southern part of the state.
The road to the Meade Swamp and Camp Seven left the Doetown Road at the brook crossing near the field currently owned by the Nelsons. There is evidence of many homes and farms along this road. The Meade Place, it is said, was at the intersection of Quick Lunch and Camp Seven Trail. Camp Seven was about one mile further on the right beyond the steep hill. Men who worked at this camp often walked across the frozen lake to the camp where they harnessed horse teams which were hitched to sleds loaded with sawn logs or pulpwood. To get the teams and sleds up the steep hill, there was a coal fired steam engine which powered a cable winch, there are still remains of coal on the ground at the top of the hill. The cable was dragged down the hill and hooked to the sled which was then pulled up the hill, they would then proceed to the frozen lake. Pulpwood sleds crossed the lake to Stinson Lake Road and continued to Rumney Depot to be loaded onto rail cars. Sawn logs were stored on the lake to be processed at a mill near the dam on the property now owned by the Martone family. Sleds were unloaded with boom poles frozen into the ice. Evidence of this time were seen in pictures showing the lake covered with sawn logs stacked twice the height of a team of horses.
The Three Ponds Trail left the Stinson Lake Road at Wernigs, crossed their property and continued on to the second pond, crossed it and then to Foxglove Meadow and on to Warren, NH.
There were also many interconnecting trails. Much of the trail work was done with hand tools. A chainsaw costs half as much as a snowmobile at that time. Much history of the trail system can be learned while doing trail maintenance in the fall. Many of the old tools such as scythe blades found at building sites, were saved to be heated and forged by blacksmiths into new tools. Trails were groomed using spruce trees and bed springs. Later drags were built and members donated gas money for grooming. In the late 1990’s, a dedicated group of members voluntarily began to build permanent bridges & culverts as well as a lot of excavating to improve trails. Grant and Aid Funds were used to purchase grooming equipment.
The above is but a small portion of my fond memories of 37 years of membership. I did not try to name all parties involved nor slight anyone through omission. If only I had known there was to be a test 48 years later, I would have kept notes…Ed Beaulieu 02.22.2019