April Fool’s Day: Hunt the Gowk Another Mile!

VIC2934EXTRACTS: FIRST OF APRIL

A custom, says The Spectulator, prevails every where amongst us on the first of April, when every body strives to make us as many fools as he can. The wit consists chiefly in sending persons on what are called sleeve-less errands, for the History of Eve’s Mother, for Pigeon’s milk, with similar ridiculous absurdities. The French call the person imposed upon, a “Poisson d’Avril, “an April fish,” who we term an April fool. In the North of England, persons thus imposed upon are called “April Gowks:” Gowk being the word for a cuckoo; metaphorically, a fool. In Scotland, they send silly people from place to place, by means of a letter, in which is written:

“On the first day of April,
Hunt the Gowk another mile!”

Similar fooleries prevail in Portugal, as we learn from Mr. Southey. “On the Sunday and Monday,” says he, “preceding Lent, as on the first of April, in England, people are privileged here (Lisbon) to play the fool. It is thought very jocose to pour water on any person who passes or throw water on his face; but to do both is the perfection of wit.”

–Saturday, April 4, 1829: Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, NH) Vol XL, Issue 14, Page 2

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Philosopher, Educator and A Woman of Vision: Canterbury New Hampshire’s Dr. Mary Mills Patrick (1850-1940)

A young Mary Mills Patrick, From estate of from the estate of the late Donald D. Pelton. Used with permission of Dave Sams.

A young Mary Mills Patrick, From estate of the late Donald D. Pelton. Used with permission of Dave Sams.

 

Mary Mills Patrick was born 10 March 1850 in Canterbury, New Hampshire to John & Harriet (White) Patrick. At a young age she moved with her family to the Mid-West (Iowa). There she attended school, graduating from Lyon’s College with a degree of A.M., and studying at the University of Iowa. Later she studied at the European Universities of Heidelberg, Zurich, Leipzig, and Berlin. From the University of Berne, Switzerland she obtained the degree of Ph.D. She received an honorary degree of L.L.D. from Smith College in 1914 and Litt.D. from Columbia University in 1922. Continue reading

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New Hampshire’s Leading Suffragist, Human Rights Proponent and Philanthropist: Armenia S. (Aldrich) White (1817-1916)

Armenia S. (Aldrich) White of Boscawen and Concord NH

Armenia S. (Aldrich) White of Boscawen and Concord NH

Armenia Smith Aldrich, daughter of John & Harriet (Smith) Aldrich, was born 1 November 1817 in Mendon, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. In 1830 she moved with her parents to Boscawen NH, where she lived until her marriage.  She married a then stagecoach operator named Nathaniel White, who later became extremely wealthly, often crediting his wife Armenia for his success.

She was an “ardent friend and leading spirit of the anti-slavery cause,” and their home welcomed fugitive slaves as freely as others. She also supported the temperance cause, and women’s suffrage.

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A New Hampshire Joiner’s Wife: Malinda (Maddox) Knox (1812-1890)

"M. Knox with hands folded in lap"; daguerreotype c 1840-1860; part of the Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography; Harvard University, Houghton Library

“M. Knox with hands folded in lap”; daguerreotype c 1840-1860; part of the Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography; Harvard University, Houghton Library

The lovely face of gazes out at you from an ancient daguerreotype. “M. Knox, 12 Union St., Portsmouth, NH” is handwritten behind the plate. The photograph appears to have been taken between 1840-1855.  At that time, there was only one woman living in Portsmouth who could fit this profile.

Malinda Maddox was the daughter of Amos & Eunice (Day) Maddox; She born 10 July 1812 in Kennebunk, York Maine, and married Asa Knox.  They moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire by 1830 when they are found in that census.  Asa Knox was a joiner carpenter, and no doubt he had plenty of work in this thriving city. Continue reading

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New Hampshire’s First Day of Spring

Victorian Spring postcardSpring in New Hampshire has for many generations been a time of hope, of rejuvenation, house cleaning and dubious poetry. This winter has been a particularly harsh one, and so many are looking forward to a lovely, albeit muddy, springtime.  On that note, I am posting one of the more interesting poems that I have found on this topic. Continue reading

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