New Hampshire’s Little Known Colonial Governor–Richard Coote, 1st Earl of Bellomont (c1755-1701)

Engraving, Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, Governor of the Provinces  of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1697 to 1701

Engraving, Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, Governor of the Provinces of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire from 1697 to 1701. Internet Archive.

When someone brings up the topic of colonial governors of New Hampshire, I’m sure that the name “Coote” does not pop into your head first. But perhaps from now on it will.

In March 1697 he was appointed governor of New York Massachusetts, and New Hampshire but didn’t sail for America until November of the same year. During his time in the American Colonies he spent only two weeks in New Hampshire. It was during Richard Coote’s tenure as colonial governor that the reported ‘pirate’, Captain Kidd was taken into custody and sent to England for punishment. According to various reports,”he was a man of eminently fair character, upright, courageous and independent.”

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New Hamphire Tidbits: Miscellany of the Isles of Shoals

Oceanic Hotel and cottages, Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH, c1900-1906; Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

Oceanic Hotel and cottages, Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH, c1900-1906; Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

From the Isles of Shoals Correspondence of the Boston Journal; “Oceanic,” Isles of Shoals, July 26, 1876
Returning to these wild rocks for the seventeenth year, I find that they have won a new place in the public consideration, and that they may hereafter be called the Human Refrigerator. During all the heated term, already become historic, the thermometer at no time struggled above 78 degrees, and only once did it touch that reasonable figure. As a rule it ranged 20 degrees nearly below the temperature in “America,” to use the significant word which a friend applied a moment ago to the main land. And while the people have been sweltering at the Beaches, I mean those worthy to be written with a capital B, here they have been cool, breezy and comfortable. And when you think that two hours of cars from Boston and one short hour of steam brings the swelterer to this humane climate, no wonder that hotels are crowded and a buzzing hum of life makes the islands cheerful. As I look at the new “Oceanic,” I am fairly astonished at what the energy of a single stirring man can do. Continue reading

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Bradford New Hampshire Humorist, Author, Vaudeville Actor and Dramatist Will Martin Cressy (1863-1930)

Will M. Cressy

Will M. Cressy

Will Martin Cressy was born 29 October 1863 at Bradford, New Hampshire. According to his autobiography,   “before going on the stage he was successively a carpenter, machinist, marine engineer, watchmaker, commercial traveler, and hotel clerk.”  Will’s father was first a teacher, and later in 1910 a grain merchant (Cressy & Company) in Concord NH. At that time Will’s family was living at 24 South State Street, Concord NH and that address is what Cressy used as his permanent address while traveling as a performer during his long vaudeville career. Continue reading

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New Hampshire’s Serious Weather: Struck by Lightning in 1860

Sky showing lightning effects during storm of August 24, 1624, drawing, black chalk on brownish paper, Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

Sky showing lightning effects during storm of August 24, 1624, drawing, black chalk on brownish paper, Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division

During the thunder shower of Wednesday last, the lightning was frightfully vivid, and struck in several places in this city. At 6 o’clock, at the residence of John S. Folsom corner of Concord and Walnut streets [in Manchester NH], it came like a sheet of fire, as an eye-witness describes it, and it came near the house it divided, and took the points of the lightning rods on the house and barn, and went into the earth doing no harm except frightening the whole neighborhood. It seemed aimed for the barn, but the rods attracted part to the house. So powerful was the bolt that it shook the house form top to bottom, and the buildings near by–John Welch was standing in the barn across the road, and was knocked back several feet by the shock. The residents near by say the crash seemed as if the tops of the houses were falling in. The inmates of the house were not seriously injured, though James, the son, was leaning against the door post and received a jar in one ear making it numb for a while. Otis’ Patent Lightning Rods were put on the house and barn last week, and had it not been for them it is not probably the inmates would have escaped. The points of the several rods were turned black or melted, and the rods down looked yellowish as iron does when powder is flashed upon it. Continue reading

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First Female County Register of Probate in the U.S.: Marlow New Hampshire’s Ella F. Gee (1853-1937)

Cheshire County Court House in Keene NH, photograph by Bion Whitehouse, published by the Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County, 1900-1920

Cheshire County Court House in Keene NH, photograph by Bion Whitehouse, published by the Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County, 1900-1920

She was born in 1853 as Fannie Ella Gee, in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  In 1899 she legally changed her name in Cheshire County (NH) Court from Fannie Ella Gee to Ella Fannie Gee. Ella’s father, Ebridge B. Gee, was from Marlow, New Hampshire, and his occupation was that of clothier.  She traveled with her parents as her father plied his trade in Massachusetts, Illinois and Maine (Portland), finally returning with her family to Marlow New Hampshire where she attended Marlow Academy.

Ella F. Gee moved to Keene, New Hampshire about 1874 to work in the office of the Cheshire County register of probate, as a clerk. Continue reading

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