Inventor of America’s First Automobile–Maybe: George Alvin Long (1850-1951)

G.A. Long's Steam Road Vehicle patent of 10 July 1883 from Google Patents

G.A. Long’s Steam Road Vehicle patent of 10 July 1883 from Google Patents

When it comes to who built America’s first automobile, the discussion becomes as overheated as a car climbing New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington. The answer comes down to the details.

What is the definition of an automobile, other than being self-propelled? Does it need to be gasoline powered, or would steam-power qualify it for first place? Does it need to have four wheels, or will three do?

What would you accept as proof of the earliest–a patent, a newspaper clipping, a photograph? If you search the internet, or review a book on early automobiles, you will see conflicting stories and a long list of people claiming to have been the very first. Instead of arguing these points, I’ll simply tell you George Alvin Long’s fascinating story. Continue reading

New Hampshire WWI Military: Private David Robidoux of Nashua NH (1893-1918)

Though his name is misspelled, this is a photograph of David Robidoux.

Though his name is misspelled, this is a photograph of David Robidoux of Nashua New Hampshire who died during World War One. From “Soldiers of the great war …,” comp. by W.M. Haulsee, F.G. Howe [and] A.C. Doyle.

David Robidoux was born 31 August 1893 at Saint-Francois-du-Lac, Quebec, Canada, son of Arthur/Hercule Robidoux & Obeline/Ombeline  Forcier. David’s mother died when he was 3 years old and his father remarried and the family moved in 1898 to the United States, living first in Pembroke NH and then in Nashua NH by 1910. David had full siblings, Joseph H., Marie, Corana/Corinne (who married Mathias Asselin),  Edmond, and also a half brother, Joseph Gideon. Continue reading

Faces of the Fifield and Spencer Families of Sullivan County New Hampshire

Claremont 1846

Old sketch of Claremont NH, view from High Street, 1846.

Once again some amazing tintype and gem-sized photographs have come across my desk.  This time they are of the Fifield and Spencer families.  They became kith and kin, residing in several towns in Sullivan County, New Hampshire, and intermarrying.  They were farmers and physicians, homemakers and community-minded individuals.  Some died of old age, while a few died tragically by their own hand.

As those of my readers in the genealogical research community know, it is no easy task to research many generations.  Some spend years at it, and I do not have that leisure. This is not an attempt to trace the Spencer and Fifield families in their entirety, but rather to offer you a correct sampling, along with matching photographs.  Enjoy! Continue reading

New Hampshire WWI Military: Corporal Michael T. Champa of Manchester NH (1896-1918)

Champa Michael corp watermarkedMichael T. “Mike” Champa was born Mikal Champa on  11 August 1896 in Manchester NH, son of Thomas P. & Katazyna “Katie” (Lukasik/Lukiasik) Champa. His parents were immigrants, being born in Austria-Poland. Siblings included Wanda, Henry Thomas, Waldyslaf, Charles, and John.  He grew up in the neighborhood of 313 Pine Street. Continue reading

New Hampshire’s Rock Profile: The Watcher aka Old Woman of the Notch

Old Woman of the Notch, Franconia Notch NH (aka The Watcher)

Old Woman of the Notch, Franconia Notch NH (aka The Watcher)

New Hampshire rocks are often like the clouds in its skies–if you stare at them long enough they start to look like something else.  She has been known by several names: The Watcher, the Old Woman of the Notch, the Maid of the Mountain, the Old Lady of the Mountain. She was born at the same time as her formerly famous counterpart, The Old Man of the Mountain.

She is smaller, and not quite so easy to see. There is no plaza, no parking lot in her vicinity. No famous statesman has ever uttered a pithy quotation about her. And so the Old Woman of the Notch languishes along with other rare natural rock profiles in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Continue reading