New Hampshire WWI Military: Private James H Beck of Mason

Before the World War the population of Mason, New Hampshire hovered just above 325 people. After the War the population would drop to below 300, and would not begin to recover until the 1950s. Mason sent its young men into battle including [partial list] James H. Beck, Harry Chute, Victor Duncan, George H. Hill, Wilhelmena Nykanen (nurse), Louis M. Smith, and Gardner Tucker. One of these young people would not return. Continue reading

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The Legend of Becky’s Garden: Lake Winnipesaukee’s Smallest Island

1838 Painting of Center Harbor by artist
William Henry Bartlett. Notice the cow and
farmer in the foreground. Is this Becky’s
father, or her beloved?

A legend often has a basis in real history, and knowing the authentic story does not negate its charm. Such it is for this tale of the tiny ledge of rock and ragged growth that sits in Lake Winnipesaukee known as Becky’s Garden.  The narrative is at least 133 years old (from 2018) based on the 1885 map showing the isle’s existence. According to Stephanie Knighton, one of the current owners of Becky’s Garden, this petite venue is considered to be “the ‘smallest charted island’ on Lake Winnipesaukee. Apparently what constitutes an ‘island’ is not just rocks but there must also be vegetation. Becky’s has both.” Continue reading

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In Celebration of A Grandfather: Charles Aloysius Manning

1938 photograph of Charles A. Manning,
Addie (Ryan) Manning, and in between
them, my mother Mary in graduation garb.

Fathers Day: June 17, 2018
In the past I’ve written about the paternal side of my family, and several times about my father who I adored. It is quite easy for me to write about people who I knew and loved.

But how do I write about someone who I didn’t know at all, and who my mother disliked? Yes, its true. The attitudes of our mothers greatly influence how we feel about people. Though I researched my maternal grandfather, Charles Aloysius Manning, I didn’t like him either, but only because my Mom didn’t. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: William H. Barrett of Lyman

Closeup of Lyman (NH) Town Hall by Raphael
Crawford-Marks; Flickr, some rights reserved.


The Town of Lyman, New Hampshire (NOT to be confused with the town of Lyme) is located in Grafton County, near Lisbon and Landaff. In 1910 the population was a small 374, and after World War I ended that number dropped to 310 by 1920. During the World War at least one man left the town, never to return– William Harry Barrett, the focus of this story. Continue reading

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Clairvoyant and Treasure Hunter of Lebanon New Hampshire: Nellie M. (Lewis) Titus (1864-1957)

Photograph of Mrs. Nellie Titus from
a 1905 Boston Sunday Globe

I am not writing this story to dispute whether clairvoyants exist, nor to argue whether Mrs. Nellie M. (Lewis) Titus of Lebanon New Hampshire was gifted or not with psychic visions. What I do know is that Mrs. Titus was an interesting, eccentric woman.  She was in the public eye several times as she claimed to see what others could not while in a  trance–a drowning victim, a murder scene, and buried treasure. That she led an intriguing life and she spent most of her time in New Hampshire qualifies her for a story here.

Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum mentions Mrs. Titus in her book “Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life after Deathpublished in 2006. She says that William James of the Society for Psychical Research, a Harvard College philosopher and psychologist, reported on Mrs. Titus ‘seership.’ As a result of Mrs. Titus’ search for the body of Bertha Huse in New Hampshire’s Mascoma Lake (as mentioned later),  William James reportedly  concluded that “my own view of the Titus case consequently is that it is a decidedly solid document in favor of the admission of a supernatural faculty of seership.”[See full report in the Proceedings of the American Society For Psychical Research]. Continue reading

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