Roger Hayward was born in Keene on January 7, 1899, the second child of Ina and Robert Hayward. The first page of a scrapbook that was filled throughout Roger’s life contains a note from his mother’s diary:
“2:15 (A.M.) the baby – a son – was born, named Roger---Baby weighed 8 lbs: had lots of hair: cried lustily even raising his head and kicking before the cord was cut.”
The town of Keene sits near the southwest corner of New Hampshire, about 100 miles northwest of Boston. Keene started as a small farming community, but became a manufacturing center for wooden wares shortly after the arrival of the railroad, serving as a home to various factory, foundry and textile operations, and a population of around 9,000 people at the time of Roger’s birth. Roger lived in Keene for the whole of his childhood and did not move from the area until after finishing high school.
One of Roger’s most visceral depictions of Keene was the usual sound of bells and the whistling of five local factories at 6 am, 7 am, noon, 5 pm and 6 pm. Roger grew up with three siblings, including two younger brothers, George Peter and Julian, and an older sister named Hilda. He maintained a few friendships from his childhood, but the town of Keene itself never carried much sentimental value for him later in life.