Manchester New Hampshire’s Military Squares and other Memorials

Whether you walk, or drive through Manchester New Hampshire’s neighborhoods, it is impossible to not become aware of the many statues, markers and commemoratives (such as named parks or buildings) dedicated to its military heroes. With Memorial Day (May 26, 2014) quickly approaching, it is timely for me to focus on some of these.

Who shall chide us, if we in like spirit set apart one day in every year to twine our wreaths for our dead who died in battle; died not for aggrandizement by aggressive warfare; but for the preservation of national life and liberty? Who shall chide us if we pause one hour in a year to read the inscriptions on their monuments, or to drop a tear upon “nameless” graves? Not because we love them more than the rest of our dead, but because we also love the land for which they died. [Memorial Day Oration, City Hall, Dover NH by Rev. Leander S. Coan, May 26, 1876].

Stark Cemetery at Manchester NH's Stark Park. Photograph by Janice W. Brown

Stark Cemetery at Manchester NH’s Stark Park. Photograph by Janice W. Brown

Besides the larger statues and monuments, there are a number of smaller plaques that have been placed in “squares” or on public plots of land within the city limits of Manchester, New Hampshire, that we can call “Military Squares.”

In order to fully document them, first it is necessary to list them, which I will try to do with this story. If you are aware of others, or are aware of Manchester men and women who have lost their lives while in military service, please contact me, or leave a message here.
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New Hampshire Celebration: John Stark Day

April 25, 2016 is John Stark Day in New Hampshire. This celebratory date is set by New Hampshire Revised Statutes 4:13-l – General John Stark Day, that designates the fourth Monday in April as such. “And the governor …. shall urge cities and towns throughout the state to observe this day in commemoration of General Stark’s gallant and illustrious service to New Hampshire and his country.”  (I am unsure of why April was chosen to celebrate a John Stark Day, since he was born in the month of August, and died in the month of May.)

If you would like to participate in related events in 2016, there should be some coming up. In 2016 Heather Wilkinson-Rojo attended and documented the Manchester events.  [In other years there have been a Program and Wreath Laying Commemorating General John Stark at Stark Park (Manchester) and another at the Caleb Stark Monument, Town Hall (Dunbarton). Dunbarton even had tea with John’s wife, Molly Stark].  Other sources of event information can be found in a notice at an online newspaper, and the Friends of Stark Park web site.
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The Entertaining Family of New Hampshire’s Alex Philbrick aka Preston

I hope that my readers have been following this season’s American Idol television show.  It is not often that a New Hampshire resident can be found placing so prominently in the entertainment field.  And no, I have not forgotten the likes of New Hampshirites Tommy Makem, Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith), Mandy Moore, or Tom RushAlex Preston (birth name Philbrick) is more than talented enough to join this illustrious group, even if he may not have actually been born in New Hampshire, just raised here. Let’s claim him as our own either way.   [Visit his FaceBook page]

Photograph of Alex Philbrick aka Preston from American Idol web site

Photograph of Alex Philbrick aka Preston from American Idol web site

As of Idol’s most recent show, it was announced that Alex placed third, and was voted off, in lieu of contestants, Jenna and Caleb.  Needless to say, his placement does not affect his amazing talent in a negative way, and his ability to sell songs (he has sold more than his competitors on iTunes).  I expect that to continue.  The response at his recent homecoming demonstrated a much larger audience than just the younger crowd that could be seen in the show’s audience.  Alex has already proven himself to be a great singer and unassuming showman (he plays 12 musical instruments). Continue reading

New Hampshire and the Easter Bonnet

I am not making a claim that New Hampshire invented the ‘Easter Bonnet.’   Easter PostcardHead-gear has been worn by women as far back as the Middle Ages, and probably much earlier in both cold and warm climates. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to think that when the weather became milder, that women would exchange their heavy hats for lighter, prettier ones. Exactly when the wearing a special bonnet for Easter became popular, is completely unknown.

In 1821 the Burnap sisters of Merrimack, New Hampshire were making and promoting beautiful “Leghorn Bonnets” out of local grasses.  However, even though their father was a minister, I found  nothing that specifically connects these hats to the Easter season.
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New Hampshire Missing Places: Antlers Tea Room, Wonalancet

I came across a series of postcards–“The Antlers Tea Room, Wonalancet, N.H.” they read.  One shows a rustic log cabin in a clearing, the second apparently the inside of the wonalancet tea room advertisementsame building with a collection of thin, antique furniture, a lamp and a stone fireplace.  A guitar rests on one of the wooden benches.  As for the ‘antlers’ part of the name, one of the chairs in the photograph appears to have pokey antler arm rests.  Possibly the unseen remainder of the room had actual antlers hanging on the walls.

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