New Hampshire: First in the Nation Potato

Photograph courtesy of the UC Riverside California Museum of Photography, "Measuring Potatoes in Field.  Reeds Ferry, N.H., Gifford M. Mast, Keystone-Mast Collection, date unknown

Photograph courtesy of the UC Riverside California Museum of Photography, “Harvesting  Potatoes in Field. Reeds Ferry, N.H., Gifford M. Mast, Keystone-Mast Collection, date unknown

Even the United States Potato Board agrees that Londonderry New Hampshire played a leading role in the growth of the potato as a foodstuff in the American colonies.  Though not the first location on this continent where it became known (Bermuda and Jamestown were first), “the first permanent potato patches in North America were established in 1719, most likely near Londonderry (Derry), NH, by Scots-Irish immigrants.  From there, the crop spread across the country.Continue reading

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Portrait in Time: Daniel & Betsey (Jeffrey) Otis of Great Falls, New Hampshire

Painting by Joseph H. Davis found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Circa 1833 painting by Joseph H. Davis of Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Otis,  and daughter Polly of New Hampshire, found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “an elaborately penned inscription reveals that the man [in the portrait] at left is Daniel Otis, aged forty-six; the woman is Betsy Otis, aged forty; and the child is Polly Otis, aged seven months. The most obvious individualizing touch in the portrait is Daniel Otis’s newspaper, the Great-Falls Journal, which was issued between 1832 and 1836 in Great Falls, a mill town in southeastern New Hampshire, about twenty miles northeast of Portsmouth.” [Note: Great Falls is now the town known as Somersworth]. Continue reading

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New Hampshire: Apples, Autumn and Heirloom Recipes

fruit-applesLate August to late October is the apple-picking season in New Hampshire.  According to Foster’s Daily Democrat, Governor Maggie Hassan picked “the first NH apple of the season” on September 4, 2014, the 6th New Hampshire Apple Day being celebrated. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Missing Places: Janeville

1892 Map of Manchester, Wards 3 and 4, David Rumsey Map, DPLA

1892 Map of Manchester, Wards 3 and 4, David Rumsey Map, DPLA, showing sections of Janeville including Jane Street and the Corey Needle Factory.

New Hampshire has had very few places named after women.  In fact, I don’t know of any others beside Janeville (Janesville in some documents) Leave it to the city “fathers” to obliterate the name of the only ancient village in Manchester (and possibly in New Hampshire) named after a woman. Janeville is roughly the area located between Bridge and Lowell Streets and Nashua and Wilson Streets.

[Editor's note: a blogging friend of mine, Paul Sands of Pun Salad, reminded me that Francestown is named after a woman.  But the woman, Frances Deering Wentworth, who became the wife of Governor John Wentworth who named the town, never lived there.  In the case of Janesville, it was named after a woman who resided there.].

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The Hampton Beach Casino: 115 Years Old and Going Strong in New Hampshire

Photograph of the original Hampton Beach Casino from "Hampton Beach; the Atlantic City of New England," by P.G. Lamson, Manchester NH  (1922)

Photograph of the original Hampton Beach Casino from “Hampton Beach; the Atlantic City of New England,” by P.G. Lamson, Manchester NH (1922)

My interest in the Hampton Beach Casino was renewed recently when I read the following article, dated 9 April 1898 from the Portsmouth Herald. “CASINO AT HAMPTON BEACH–The Exeter Street Railway Company has received and is submitting to contractors, plans by Architect R.M. Bailey of Boston, for the casino which it will build this spring on a site near the terminus of its line. It will contain a theatre of seating capacity of 1000, a dancing hall that will seat 300, 85 bath dressing rooms, four bowling alleys, a billiard hall, bicycle check rooms, etc. It is expected to have the casino completed by July 1.” Continue reading

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