A Gold Star Mother’s Trip to France: Mrs. Nora G. (Hamblett) Weld of Canaan NH

Photograph of Mrs. Nora G. Weld taken prior to her trip, from a Canaan NH Newspaper. Photograph courtesy of the Canaan NH Historical Society. Used here with permission.

When the United States Government issued an invitation to each mother and widow of a deceased soldier, whose remains rested in the American Cemeteries in France, to visit that place, I accepted the invitation. It had been my wish that at some future time I would be able to visit the grave of my son who was killed on September 24th, 1918 at St. Mihiel.

On September 26th [6th], 1930, I was one of the two hundred and thirty-seven ladies of Party S to arrive in New York City at the Hotel Western, where we were received by U.S. Officials who issued our credentials and passports.

On the morning of September 27th [7th], we were placed in busses and taken through the tube under the Hudson River to Pier No. 4, Hoboken, New Jersey; from which we were to sail on the S.S. America. As a farewell gift, the City of New York presented each lady with a small silk American Flag. The boat left the Pier at 12 A.M. , and, as we glided out of the harbor, the crowds were cheering, whistles were blowing, and the U.S. Band played the “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Till We Meet again.” All the ladies of Party S were leaning over the rail, waving their American Flags. We were a very happy party; all going for the same purpose.

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Center Harbor

Veterans Memorial of Center Harbor New Hampshire, located outside the James E. Nichols Memorial Library. Photograph by J.A. Kinnaman. Used here with his permission.

Center Harbor is a town that sits snugly between Squam Lake and Lake Winnepesauke. Even today the population hovers just above 1,000 people, rising many fold during the summer tourist season. In 1920 it had just 422 year-round residents. That fact did not prevent the town from sending its best and bravest into War. By 1920 the Town of Center Harbor had created a monument that included heroes of the town who participated in wars up to and including World War I.

This memorial sits on the lawn of the James E. Nichols Memorial Library at 35 Plymouth Street. My thanks to Librarian, A.J. Kinnaman, for helping me with this project, and for providing the photographs of the monument that you see here. Continue reading

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New Hampshire World War I Military: Private Henry Alden Fifield of Thornton

Henry Alden Fifield was born 8 May 1891 in Thornton, Grafton Co. NH, son of Henry Hamilton & Cedena Victoria (Dorey) Fifield. He had several siblings including Frank H., Lillie Florence, Clifford Charles, Madeline B., Edward T., and Winston Wesley.

In the 1900 U.S. Census, he was living in Thornton NH with his parents and siblings Henry H., Cedena, Caroline, Elizabeth, Lilla and Esther. His WWI Registration form was completed in Thornton NH on 5 June 1917. At that time he stated he was a laborer in a bobbin mill for Emmons Brothers of West Thornton, was single, of medium height and stature, with black eyes and black hair. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Glossary: Operative

The ”Mill Girl” statue was created in 1988 by Antoinette Schultze and commemorates the active role women played in the Amoskeag Mills of Manchester NH. She would have been considered an “operative.” This statue is located in the Amoskeag Millyard of Manchester next to the Stark Mill. Photograph by Normand Boulanger, 1988. Manchester Historic Association Collection. Used with Permission.

The term operative was used in several ways during New Hampshire’s history. In 1762 lye was said to be an operative, while in 1785 the poison of a rattlesnake was described as being operative, each meaning they had a strong effect.

The New Hampshire Mercury newspaper of 1787 mentions ‘operative workmen,’ the first time that I see the term connected with the working class. By the 1800s and the advent of the giant textile mills and other mass production industries in New Hampshire, the male and females workers who were trained to use manufacturing equipment were called “operatives.” Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Rochester

WWI monument shown on the front lawn of Rochester NH’s City Hall-Opera House at 31 Wakefield Street. Photograph Google Maps.

By 1919 the Great War (WWI) was over and Rochester New Hampshire leadership, just like those in other cities and towns, were pondering the best way to both thank and commemorate the citizens who had served in the military. The Rochester City Council voted that year to award “bounties” to each of those who served. In February of 1919 the City Council set up a committee composed of Mayor James B. Young along with two councilmen, Harry H. Meader (Ward 3) and Fred F. Seavey (Ward Six). They formulated plans for a testimonial, and $1,000 was set aside as payment.

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