New Hampshire Tidbits: Potato Cheesecake On The Menu

Graphic from Common birds of town and country, National Geographic Society, 1914, Cornell University Library on Flickr

Bird sitting on a cake, from “Common birds of town and country,” National Geographic Society, 1914, Cornell University Library on Flickr.

When you see the word, cheesecake, you think of the modern sweet dessert, made from a mixture of soft, fresh cream cheese (cheese or cottage cheese), eggs, and sugar on top of a crust of crushed graham crackers or other slightly sweet mixture.

But cheesecake was not always made this way. On 5 July 1859 the Weekly Union newspaper of Manchester, New Hampshire printed a recipe for POTATO CHEESECAKE. It would seem natural to me, that someone from the state where the first potato in New England was planted, would concoct such a strange but practical cake. Oh sure, there are tons of sweet potato cheesecake recipes, but I doubt you have seen one quite like this. Continue reading

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The Lost Faces of World War One — Part Eleven

This is the continuation of a series of stories about men who died in World War 1, and whose photographs appeared in a publication called “Our Nation’s Roll of Honor.” The original post and explanation can be found at this link.  There will also be a complete listing of all the names researched at that same blog post.

LOST FACES OF WORLD WAR ONE: Our Nation’s Roll of Honor — Part Eleven

Brooklyn NY
Killed in Action

BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE, dated 14 Aug 1918
*Private George Johnson 486-A Seventeenth Street, 165th Infantry Continue reading

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Inventor of the First American Alarm clock: Concord New Hampshire’s Levi Hutchins (1761-1855)

A likeness of Abel Hutchins, from his autobiography

A likeness of Abel Hutchins, from his autobiography

First, lets be clear–Levi Hutchins did not make the world’s very first alarm clock. He did however appear to make the first American alarm clock. Earlier alarm clocks include one made by Leonard Da Vinci, and those made in later Germany and other European locations.

The “alarm clock” created by Levi Hutchins in 1787 was a 29 x 14-inch timepiece that included a cabinet made of pine wood containing the inner mechanism of a large brass clock, and having a mirror on the door. This clock was limited–the alarm rang only at a specific time and you couldn’t reset, change or turn it off. The minute hand of the clock tipped the pinion at 4 AM (when Levi wanted to get up) and it set a bell to ring. Continue reading

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Barking Up the Family Tree Again: How Pets Humanize Our Genealogy

1920s unknown with dog aunt mertiesIt is easy to view our more recent ancestors, our parents and grandparents, in a humanistic light. Many times we knew them personally, we remember them from a first-person experience. We know how they looked, sounded, felt, reacted. Based on what we see (or remember) we mentally categorize them–as kind or grumpy, loving or vile, and all sorts of descriptive terms in between.

For the family genealogist, once we research beyond known ancestors, there is the tendency to feel dis-attached from them. It is natural for this to happen. Unless someone spoke frequently about them, shared stories or photographs, and helped us to emotionally connect with them, they feel unreal to us. Frequently these relatives are “just a name” that evokes no strong sentiment. Continue reading

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The Depressing End to the Life of W. Lebanon New Hampshire’s Express Clerk, Edward Payson Craft (1848-1882)

Edward Payson Craft

Edward Payson Craft

Edward Payson Craft’s story is a convoluted one. I purchased his photograph on one of the popular online auction websites. The seller’s ad stated:

Here’s a great gem tintype (about the size of a postage stamp) of a young man named Edward P. Craft who resembled actor Johnny Depp. Online databases indicate he was born about 1848 and was a son of Samuel and Joanna E. Craft. He died in St. Albans, Vermont on April 27, 1882 and is buried in the West Lebanon Cemetery in West Lebanon, Grafton County, New Hampshire. The photo probably dates to the early 1870’s and the image is very clear. See scan.

Continue reading

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