Karl Gilbert, Police Officer and Keeper of the Heritage

By Peg Warner, Exeter Newsletter, Sep 19, 2006

NEWMARKET — Karl Gilbert wasn’t born in Newmarket, but his roots here are deep.

His local forebears include a seamstress, an Exeter Street merchant and, in 1900, the reputed designer of the town seal still in use today. Born in Brentwood and a former police chief in Greenland, Gilbert has thrown himself into civic involvement in the community where he has long lived.

He followed in the footsteps of his great-grandfather in representing Newmarket in the Legislature, right down to holding the same seat — number 49, section 3, according to Martha McNeil of the Main Street Committee, announcing during the opening ceremony of the Heritage Festival on Friday, that Gilbert had been chosen as this year’s Keeper of the Heritage. He’s served on the Town Council, School Board and other committees, she said, and was aide-de-camp and driver to Gov. Steve Merrill.

“He’s dedicated his time and energy to serving the people of this community and the people of the state of New Hampshire for 35 years,” said McNeil.

The honor, given to someone who embodies the town’s heritage, came as a surprise to Gilbert, who accepted a commemorative clock. “I have a lot of people I need to get back at,” he said, speculating that Doris, his wife of 43 years, might have been involved in the surprise.

Gilbert, who also keeps homing pigeons, is serving his third term in the Legislature, after which he said he’ll take some time off. “I’ll enjoy spending some time with my pigeons, because they don’t give me near (this) kind of grief,” he joked.

Previous Keepers of the Heritage, awarded each year during the Heritage Festival, have been Sylvia and Forbes Getchell, the Handtub Association, Richard and Priscilla Schanda, Judy Ryan, Isabel Donovan, Nick Popov, Mike Provost and Jennie and George Griswold.

The Town Seal as it appears on the cover of the 2002 Annual Town Report

“About the Cover, written by Karl Gilbert- My great-great grandfather was Albert Temple Stackpole, born in Newmarket Sept. 5, 1858, the son of Ruben and Lydia Jepson Stackpole.  Albert, his father Ruben and Grandfather Nathan owned and operated the Stackpole  Blacksmith Shop on Exeter Street from 1895-1921.

Albert Stackpole was very active in the small community of Newmarket (2,742 residents in 1893). He was a Fire Department Engineer, Water Commissioner, Town Treasurer and a State Representative. Albert loved  the outdoors and as an accomplished artist, enjoyed sketching wildlife. His sketchbook contains many drawings of the wildlife as it existed along the Lamprey River.

 As a State Legislator, he often brought his sketchbook to Concord in an attempt to record the atmosphere in Representatives Hall. He would sometimes sketch members as they spoke at the podium, and would pen short rhymes depicting the speaker or his topic.

Prior to completing his services to the Town that he loved, Albert Stackpole found himself sitting on ”Split Rock” across the Lamprey viewing “his” town, attempting to record for us what Newmarket meant to him. With his pen he left us the image of a community in its infancy, a community that chose the shores of the Lamprey to build its homes, schools, houses of government and worship, and shops and mills of commerce.

This sketch was later to become the Town Seal of Newmarket, first appearing on Town documents in or about 1902.  I am honored to have had the opportunity and the ability to reproduce, one hundred years later, my great-great father’s vision of Newmarket.”          by: Karl Gilbert, State Representative


Lawmaker Karl Gilbert leaves publice service quietly

Portsmouth Herald, Oct 29, 2006

Rep. Karl Gilbert, R-Newmarket, humbly ended his long career in public service Wednesday. After the last vote on retained bills, nobody on the Criminal Justice Committee mentioned he was stepping down after decades as a Scout leader, cop, police chief, school board member, selectman and lawmaker for six years. The 66-year-old needs to fight cancer and spend some time with his grandchildren.  If he had a wish, he would make every citizen become a state rep for a little while just to see how the statutory sausage is made. Maybe more people would become politically active.

His biggest accomplishment at the Statehouse? That’s the sex-offender registry that posts a child molester’s face and bio on the state Web site.

His great-grandfather served Newmarket and once sat in Gilbert’s very seat in Representatives Hall. The ancestor wrote community histories of half the towns in the state.  ”I’m still working on the French and Indian War,” Gilbert said. “I’ve done the Civil War, the Revolution, WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Korea. I’ve also been doing genealogy since I was 12.”

That’s a nice legacy handed down from a nice legacy.

 NEWMARKET — Karl I. Gilbert, 71, died peacefully on Oct. 25, 2011, surrounded by his family and close friends, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Born Sept. 3, 1940, in Brentwood, N.H., Karl was the son of Lloyd and Ethel (Stackpole) Gilbert, and lived most of his life in Newmarket. He graduated from Winnacunnet High School, Class of 1959, and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1960-1964. He was a 41-year member of American Legion and Newmarket Historical Society.

Karl began his career in law enforcement in the 1960s, working to the rank of Sergeant with the Newmarket Police Department. He then became Chief of Police in Greenland until his retirement in 1992. After retirement he worked with the United States Customs service and the University of New Hampshire Police Department. He was a proud member of the Retired Police Chief’s Association.  Karl was very active in local government serving on the Budget Committee, Town Council, Cemetery Trustees, Veteran’s Memorial Trust Committee, and for many years serving on the School Board. He volunteered as a Boy Scout Leader, worked at the Kent & Pelczar Funeral Home, and served as State Representative for several years.

 Karl enjoyed genealogy and raising homing pigeons. He talked often about his many big game hunts out West. He always loved trying new hobbies and jobs, retirement was not in his vocabulary. Karl’s passion for life, learning, service to community, friends and family fulfilled him.  He is survived by Doris (Vermette) Gilbert, his beloved wife of 48 years; three children, Scott and wife, Kathy, of Loudon, Richard and wife, Maryellen, of Newmarket, Katherine and husband, Ken Jones of Newmarket; his treasured grandchildren, Sarah, Kelley, Henry, Katelyn and fiance, Graham Chaffe, and Rebecca; brothers and sister, David, Robert, Joella and Lloyd.

Private burial services took place at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen.

All Published

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