New Hampshire’s ‘Best Christmas’ in History

Christmas Booklet,” by Judi Brandow, U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. 2001.

It is impossible to qualify Christmas. The holiday evokes too many complex emotions, and contains an myriad of traditions. If asked, “What was your best Christmas?” what would you reply?  Would your response be upbeat or maudlin, gift-oriented or family reminiscent? I’ve performed a bit of time travel, via old newspapers to see how people in New Hampshire (and New England) answered this question.  Perhaps the replies will provide you with idea on how to celebrate this year. Some of the ‘best Christmases’ may surprise you. Continue reading

Posted in History, Holidays, Really Old News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Hampshire Missing Places: The Uplands of Bridgewater

Old photograph poscard of the Bridgewater NH estate known as the Uplands, taken between 1908-1925.

As most of my readers have figured out, the missing places I write about are often not truly missing–often the name has changed or a landmark has vanished from the spot. It is not uncommon for local places to change names over the decades to reflect a new owner, or for a building to burn down or be demolished.

In this case the PLACE, the farm once known as The Uplands, on Whittemore Point South Road (shown in the photograph) in Bridgewater, New Hampshire still exists as private property. Much of the farmland property that was originally part of the estate has been subdivided and sold. Most of the land between the estate house and Newfound Lake now contains the condominiums of ‘Whittemore Shores‘ on quaint new streets with names such as Tomahawk Trail, Pasquaney Lane and Algonquin Path.  My thanks to Derwood Gray, President of the Bridgewater (NH) Historical Society for speaking with me about this property. Continue reading

Posted in Genealogy, History, N.H. Missing Places, Structures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Hundred Years Ago: New Hampshire’s Thanksgiving of 1919

An antique Thanksgiving poscard.

Thanksgiving Day of 1919 was celebrated with feelings of both great sorrow and hope. Within the previous  two years, at least 4,000 New Hampshire residents had died before their time (war causalities plus those who died unexpectedly from the flu). On this day in November, the memories of those losses were still painfully fresh. At the same time the Armistice had been signed over a year before, and so there was a deep sense of hope to rebuild lives and fortunes. Women had been fighting for their right to vote for many decades, and now, pending ratification, it looked like they would soon be able to.

I’ve gleaned some stories from New Hampshire’s newspapers around Thanksgiving Day of 1919 [Thanksgiving was on 27th of November] to see if we can go back in time to that era and understand how people felt and what they thought important.  It was a time when the steam train was still king, when automobiles were allowing more people to travel faster and further on their own, and women were feeling more empowered. Continue reading

Posted in History, Military of New Hampshire, NH Tidbits, NH WW1 Military | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Hampshire: Old Time Thanksgiving News and Menus

This year I will not be writing about the first ‘Thanksgiving Day’–not debating what the Plymouth Plantation settlers ate, why we are celebrating that day at all, or how Native Peoples perceive it.  When I was young, Thanksgiving Day generated mixed feelings then too.

While my grandmother was alive, our house was a veritable lightning rod for people–aunts, uncles, and what seemed like a billion cousins who appeared out of nowhere and filled the house until it burst. Back then I didn’t appreciate it as I do now. At the time I simply saw it as a day when there was no leisure time, when I washed and dried dishes all day so that the next influx of guests could have refreshments. When my fingers became like prunes and they were allowed a rest from the dish water, my time was taken up in babysitting the visitor’s children, or playing games to keep us quiet so the adults could talk. Continue reading

Posted in History, Personal History, Really Old News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Concord’s WWI Monument to Company M New Hampshire State Guard

WWI Honor monument in White Park, Concord NH to Co M of the New Hampshire State Guard. Courtesy of Douglas Phinney, used with permission.

When you hear of the New Hampshire State Guard you probably think this is the same as the New Hampshire Army National Guard. If so, you would be wrong–they were two completely different organizations, though connected in a historical way.

In White Park sits a World War I honor monument, composed of a small boulder and a brass plaque, dedicated to Company M of the New Hampshire State Guard.  The monument languishes, surrounded by a rickety picket fence, though someone has taken a bit of care to include greenery and flowers.  This monument is mostly forgotten except for Douglas Finney and a few others who might stop for a quick glance or to take a photograph as they walk by. Landmarks near this honor monument (as shown in the photographs) “is White Park’s new skate house that was just completed and dedicated a few months ago,” and White Park’s community swimming pool. Continue reading

Posted in Military of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Men | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment