Charlestown NH Farmer, Inventor, Barbed Wire King: Joseph Farwell Glidden (1813-1906)

Joseph F. Glidden, King of Barbed Wire.

Joseph F. Glidden, King of Barbed Wire. Courtesy Illinois Digital Archives

What happened when the cow jumped over a barbed wire fence? Utter catastrophe! This poor joke is a lead into today’s blog story, about the potentate of wire fences–a Charlestown NH native named Joseph Farwell Glidden. Sometimes called “devil’s rope,” it was composed of a twisted wire that included a pointed barb, efficient for enclosing larger livestock. Mr. Glidden didn’t invent the first barbed wire, he simply invented and patented a new version and along with it a method to mass produced miles of it. He made a fortune. Continue reading

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New England’s Great Snow of 1717

Scene at snow carnival, Lancaster, New Hampshire, photograph by Arthur Rothstein, February 1936; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Scene at snow carnival, Lancaster, New Hampshire, photograph by Arthur Rothstein, February 1936; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In February 1717 occurred the greatest fall of snow recorded in the annals of New England–almost burying under the frozen mass the small log houses of the new plantations. So effectively were even the most traveled roads blocked that the magistrates and ministers of Boston, who had come out of the town on the first day of the storm to attend the funeral of the Rev. Mr. Brattle at Cambridge, were unable to return for some days. The storm began on the 20th and ended on the 24th of February. Old Indians, of a hundred years, said that their fathers had never told them of such a snow. Continue reading

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New Hampshire’s Little Known Colonial Governor–Richard Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont (c1755-1701)

Engraving, Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, Governor of the Provinces  of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1697 to 1701

Engraving, Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, Governor of the Provinces of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1697 to 1701. Internet Archive.

When someone brings up the topic of colonial governors of New Hampshire, I’m sure that the name “Coote” does not pop into your head first. But perhaps from now on it will.

In March 1697 he was appointed governor of New York Massachusetts, and New Hampshire but didn’t sail for America until November of the same year. During his time in the American Colonies he spent only two weeks in New Hampshire. It was during Richard Coote’s tenure as colonial governor that the reported ‘pirate’, Captain Kidd was taken into custody and sent to England for punishment. According to various reports,”he was a man of eminently fair character, upright, courageous and independent.”

Continue reading

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New Hamphire Tidbits: Miscellany of the Isles of Shoals

Oceanic Hotel and cottages, Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH, c1900-1906; Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

Oceanic Hotel and cottages, Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH, c1900-1906; Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

From the Isles of Shoals Correspondence of the Boston Journal; “Oceanic,” Isles of Shoals, July 26, 1876
Returning to these wild rocks for the seventeenth year, I find that they have won a new place in the public consideration, and that they may hereafter be called the Human Refrigerator. During all the heated term, already become historic, the thermometer at no time struggled above 78 degrees, and only once did it touch that reasonable figure. As a rule it ranged 20 degrees nearly below the temperature in “America,” to use the significant word which a friend applied a moment ago to the main land. And while the people have been sweltering at the Beaches, I mean those worthy to be written with a capital B, here they have been cool, breezy and comfortable. And when you think that two hours of cars from Boston and one short hour of steam brings the swelterer to this humane climate, no wonder that hotels are crowded and a buzzing hum of life makes the islands cheerful. As I look at the new “Oceanic,” I am fairly astonished at what the energy of a single stirring man can do. Continue reading

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Bradford New Hampshire Humorist, Author, Vaudeville Actor and Dramatist Will Martin Cressy (1863-1930)

Will M. Cressy

Will M. Cressy

Will Martin Cressy was born 29 October 1863 at Bradford, New Hampshire. According to his autobiography,   “before going on the stage he was successively a carpenter, machinist, marine engineer, watchmaker, commercial traveler, and hotel clerk.”  Will’s father was first a teacher, and later in 1910 a grain merchant (Cressy & Company) in Concord NH. At that time Will’s family was living at 24 South State Street, Concord NH and that address is what Cressy used as his permanent address while traveling as a performer during his long vaudeville career. Continue reading

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