By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 5, 2003
HAMPTON - The town's first female selectman, Helen Hayden, who also served as town clerk for 19 years, was honored last week when a tree was planted in her memory at the Five Corners.
"Helen was a woman deserving of recognition," said Ruth Stimson, a 50-year Hampton resident who got to know Hayden in the 1950s when both women were members of the Hampton Garden Club.
Stimson spearheaded the drive to honor Hayden.
More than a dozen residents turned out for the ceremony Saturday morning when a tri-colored European beech tree was put into the ground. Darren Patch, Hampton parks coordinator, delivered the tree to the park, and Stimson spoke in honor of Hayden, calling her a "distinguished citizen" who was active in town affairs, the Garden Club and the Municipal Development Committee in the '50s, a committee that first advocated protecting the marshes along Hampton Beach.
Born in Windham in 1902, Hayden was a summer resident of Hampton until about 1930, when she moved here year-round. Hayden graduated from Pinkerton Academy and Keene State College. She died in November 1998.
Hayden served as town clerk in the 1950s and '60s before being elected the town's first woman selectman in 1972, serving as chairman of the board in 1975. She also served on the Marsh Conservation Committee.
Hayden was a longtime member of the Congregational Church and was instrumental in founding the Seacoast Visiting Nurse Association.
"She had beautiful white hair, twinkling brown eyes," Stimson said this week. "Helen worked hard for what she believed in and was a credit to the community."