August 2020: Celebrating a Women’s Suffrage Anniversary in New Hampshire

Collage of New Hampshire’s more famous suffragists. Copyright by J.W. Brown.

A special celebration of suffrage is approaching. One hundred years ago, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote was finally ratified (meaning resolutions were passed by the required 36 State legislatures to accept it). Then the resolution was presented to the President of the United States (Woodrow Wilson) for his assent and approval. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Missing Places: Daniel Webster Airways, Merrimack

Photo of Mattie (Kilborn) Webster, the compiler of Merrimack’s Bicentennial history, with her granddaughters, Janice and Kathleen. (One being the blog editor) from the 1960s. Colorized.

During the Town of Merrimack’s Bicentennial Celebration, my grandmother, Mattie (Kilborn) Webster helped to research, write, and also to compile the stories of others, for the historical presentations on 30 June 1946.   She kept a notebook, and in cursive handwriting collected a particular story that was written by Arnold Sidney Butler, one of New Hampshire’s pioneer aviators. The topic was Daniel Webster Airways.

Butler ran that business from about 1946 into the 1950s. He moved to Florida where he started another business, and Merrimack’s only airport was sold to Sanders Associates, Inc, New Hampshire’s largest electronics industry in the 1970s. Today it is BAE Systems. Continue reading

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Poultry Farmer, Civic Leader, Oldest Citizen and “Pioneer Woman”: Mary Augusta (Parker) Stowell of Merrimack New Hampshire (1871-1972)

Mary (Parker) Stowell

It seems that the history books are full of stories about how men built the towns and cities of New Hampshire, and yet these places had as many, if not more, women who contributed equally, if sometimes differently. Such was Mary (Parker) Stowell.

Why do I call her a “Pioneer Woman” when in fact the town of Merrimack was already quite developed by the time she arrived there, and she did not discover any great cure f9r disease nor discover some new piece of machinery? What she did do to earn that title, was to know a great deal about how women survived in hard times, how to do much with little–and then she shared her knowledge. Continue reading

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Civic Leader, Manufacturing Supervisor, Town Officer: Anson Alfonso Platts of Merrimack New Hampshire(1845-1940)

Anson A. Platts is shown on the far left. Nathaniel N. Lowell is 2nd from the right. My grandmother, Mattie K. Webster is the middle (of 3 women) in the center of the photo.

Anson Alfonso Platts was a man who seems to have escaped most notice in a town histories. He was a modest man, unassuming, but always ready to help however he could on behalf of his family, his town, his workplace, and the many organizations that he belonged to.

What brought him to my attention was his relationship with my grandmother, Mattie (Kilborn) Webster. She had a difficult early life, her mother died when she was 5 years old, and her father remarried when she was 13, moving from Webster NH to the Litchfield-Merrimack area to be near his new wife’s family. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Tidbits: A 1944 “Sour Grapes” Party on the 4th of July

We live in an age of uncertainly.  The recent outbreak of covid-19 has turned our lives upside down.  With the Fourth of July approaching, many of us are seeking normalcy.  We want to be able to do everything the way we have always done it.  But for now, we need to find new ways to do things, just as our ancestors did in troubled times.

In 1944 the United States was in turmoil, amidst war on two fronts, and rationing was common.  People then, too, wanted to celebrate events in a near-normal way.  And so that brings me to this story.  It is about suggestions for families to celebrate the Fourth of July in 1944.  We should learn from this. Continue reading

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