New Hampshire’s Early Elections: Bloody Noses, Riot and Corruption

1848 votingEach time the presidential primary rolls around, some people become excessively focused on preventing potential vote cheating (which happens to be an exceptionally rare event here despite the hype). We like to think of New Hampshire as always putting the voter’s rights first, but historically this is not true. The current desire of the misguided to further limit us, may just our state’s citizens repeating their past mistakes.

From riots, bloody noses, and gerrymandering to the question of exclusivity (whether paupers, women and soldiers away from home could vote), local newspaper articles often  demonstrated how New Hampshire’s blood ran hot and passionately around election time. The following are only a few examples of these arguments. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Tidbits: Live Free or Die on Automobile License Plates

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Sample of New Hampshire emergency responders license plate in 1969 before the “scenic” was replaced with “Life Free or Die.”

In July of 1969 the New Hampshire legislature voted to print the New Hampshire state motto–“Live Free or Die” on automobile license plates. The printing began in 1971, replacing the word “Scenic” which described the state at that time.  [Info from Dallas Morning News, Dallas TX, July 7, 1969, page 18]

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2016 Black History Month in New Hampshire

Ferry Landing PortsmouthToday New Hampshire’s population is 93% white with African-Americans making up about 1.4% of  residents (the rest being Hispanic and Asian). In the early years of the New Hampshire colony, and throughout our State’s history, the number of non-Caucasian residents has always been low.

An ancient document notes that slaves existed in New Hampshire as early as 1645. In colonial times, Portsmouth was a busy, thriving, international port that was a focal point for both FREE and ENSLAVED people of color. It is not a surprise, then, that there are places and events of importance in our seacoast towns for those studying New Hampshire’s black history. The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail is an amazing resource for those wishing to learn more, along with the re-discovered African Burying Ground. Continue reading

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Manchester New Hampshire’s Professional Wrestler, Restaraunteur, Wild Circus Owner, Amusement Park Operator, Real Estate Investor: John Demetrious Kilonis (1885-1965)

John Kilonis, from Allen's Wrestlers playing card.

John Kilonis, from Allen’s Wrestlers playing card.

John Demetrious Kilonis is probably best remembered for his wrestling career, being considered the “terror” of the light-heavyweight wrestlers of his day, at one time winning the middleweight wrestling championship of the world. He was born in 1885 in Salonika [Thessaloniki] Greece, immigrating to the United States in 1909.

His wrestling career lasted for 25 years, retiring in April of 1935. For 50 years he was a Manchester, New Hampshire resident, dying in 1965 at a hospital there. His funeral was from the St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church of Manchester, and reportedly he was buried in Macomb, IL. Continue reading

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A Blacksmith of Pittsburg, Coos County New Hampshire: William A. Chase

A scan of actual stationery used by William A. Chase of Pittsburg for his Blacksmith trade. Property of Janice Brown, do not use without her express written permission.

A scan of actual stationery used by William A. Chase of Pittsburg in the 1890s for his Blacksmith trade. Property of Janice Brown, do not use without her express written permission.

Blacksmiths shape and join metals to make functional or decorative every day items. They create horseshoes, iron gates, railings, furniture, and tools to name just a few objects. In the 1890’s when William A. Chase had a business in Pittsburg, Coos County, New Hampshire, he would have been an essential, and important part of his community.

By 1901, according to the “American Blacksmith” magazine, blacksmiths were a varied group that included farriers, wheelwrights and carriage builders. During the great age of the railroad, some blacksmiths worked in great foundries building locomotives and cars. Others crafted and repaired bicycles, the great transportation vehicle of that time before the automobile. Blacksmiths were considered specialized mechanics in some cases. Continue reading

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