By DOMENIC POLI
CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The artistic legacy of a man nicknamed Winky will now be enshrined at the town's historical society and library.
Dale Dunnell, the daughter of artist Walter "Winky" Wall, recently presented a number of her father's sketches of local scenes, many of them of Chesterfield and Westmoreland farm buildings. The historical society has given many of them -- as well as photographs, oil paintings and newspaper articles -- to the Chesterfield library, where it hopes Wall's unique and creative personality will put smiles on the faces of locals and visitors nearly 20 years after his death.
Wall was born in Colrain, Mass., and lived from 1913 to 1994. He lived in Brattleboro, Vt., for a brief time but lived in Chesterfield with his wife Phyllis and three children for most of the final 50 years of his life. He began painting as a child and for years traveled across New England showing his oil paintings at art shows and galleries. He is considered by many to be a folk hero.
Dunnell, who lives in Rowe, Mass., with her husband Paul, said she hopes people enjoy seeing the art that made her father happy.
"Dad lived in town for a long time, and I felt there should be some sort of recognition for living there in town," she said. "If we move away from the area, I'm glad there will be a part of my dad people will be able to appreciate for years to come."
Wall was very in touch with his Native
"Winky was a very interesting man," said Cornelia Jenness, the president of the historical society. Examples of his art can also be found throughout the United States and Europe.
Jenness said Wall was also a taxidermist, an avid hunter and fisherman, a state champion archer as a member of the Abenaki Archers' Club, a woodscraftsman and a musician.
Audrey Ericson, of the historical society, also knew Wall. She remembers him as a nice man.
"He was very pleasant. I think quiet and pleasant would certainly describe him very well," she said.
Ericson is thrilled about Dunnell's donation and said the collection of sketches adds up to about 50.
"We've lost so many farms and barns in this area and it's great that he loved (to paint them)," she said. "It's very exciting to have them."
Dunnell said Ericson could not have been happier with the donation.
Jenness said Wall was also a member of the Oklahoma Cowboys Band, which traveled the southern and coastal states performing their music, and sang weekly on a Boston radio show.
Driven by his fascination of his own ancestry, Wall reportedly had a knack for finding artifacts. Jenness said he was a passionate arrowhead collector.
"But he wouldn't tell anyone else where he found them," she said. "He was very secretive about it."
Wall was also known to speak at schools and for other groups sharing local American Indian folklore, putting his beloved arrowhead collection on display for children.
Dunnell said she plans to donate the arrowhead collection to the historical society at some point.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.