I am not making a claim that New Hampshire invented the ‘Easter Bonnet.’ Head-gear has been worn by women as far back as the Middle Ages, and probably much earlier in both cold and warm climates. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to think that when the weather became milder, that women would exchange their heavy hats for lighter, prettier ones. Exactly when the wearing a special bonnet for Easter became popular, is completely unknown.
In 1821 the Burnap sisters of Merrimack, New Hampshire were making and promoting beautiful “Leghorn Bonnets” out of local grasses. However, even though their father was a minister, I found nothing that specifically connects these hats to the Easter season.
I came across a series of postcards–”The Antlers Tea Room, Wonalancet, N.H.” they read. One shows a rustic log cabin in a clearing, the second apparently the inside of the same building with a collection of thin, antique furniture, a lamp and a stone fireplace. A guitar rests on one of the wooden benches. As for the ‘antlers’ part of the name, one of the chairs in the photograph appears to have pokey antler arm rests. Possibly the unseen remainder of the room had actual antlers hanging on the walls.
Now gloomy winter shews his hoary head,
And nature’s face is with confusion spread;
Stern Boreas rambles forth with blust’ring sweep,
T’ explore the continent, and storm the deep:
A while he ranged with despotic sway,
Till vanquish’d by the genial lamp of day.
The forest now appears with rueful mien,
The groves display a like ungrateful scene:
No chearful verdure beautifies the field,
Nor can the vales their wonted odours yield:
The open lawns, with each dilated plain,
No semblance of their former bloom retain.
Now humid vapours, fogs and mists arise,
Which choak the air, and shade th’ envelopt skies;
Impetuous rains in fable streams descend,
And various meteors in the aether blend:
The rapid floods, which from the mountains pour,
With voice like thunder thro’ the vallies roar:
Whilst echo does the noisy din provoke,
And joins the discord from each vocal rock.
The silver ponds now shine in glittering mail,
And frozen clouds discharge the pattering hail;
A coverlead of fleecy snow o’erspread
The towering hills, and cloathes the naked meads.
No warblers now chant forth their sprightly strains,
Nor with soft notes divert the list’ning swains;
No pleasing object entertains the fight;
Nor rural walks nor sylvan shades invite:
No more we trace the mazes of the grove,
Tho’ once our calm retreat, and seat of love;
But now, with brisk wood fire and nut brown ale;
In friendly social mirth, ourselves regale.
New-Hampshire Gazette, Portsmouth NH; 12-24-1756, Issue 12, Page 3
The original title of this story was “Concord New Hampshire’s State House – Celebrating 187 Years,” and it was first published on November 2, 2006. In 2014 I have updated the article, since the building is now celebrating its 195th year.
Prior to the American Revolution, Exeter was the undoubted “capital” of New Hampshire. In 1778 New Hampshire’s first Constitutional Convention was held at Concord, New Hampshire’s Old North Church for a total of seven sessions. It was the meeting place of the legislature in 1782. By 1788 Concord had become the generally acknowledged capital of New Hampshire.
Photograph of the meeting room for the house of
representatives of New Hampshire’s General Court,
taken by Ron Cillizza.
Posted in History, N.H. Historical Markers, Structures, Travel
Tagged building, Concord, Daniel Webster, Exeter, Franklin Pierce, General, house, John Hale, John Stark, Law Enforcement Memorial, legislature, Liberty Bell replica, New Hampshire, NH, orator, Plumer, President, state, statehouse, statue, statues, Stuart J. Park, William