The Many Faces of General John Stark of Manchester New Hampshire

Silhouette of John Stark, from A Life of General John Stark by Howard P. Moore, Internet Archive.

New Hampshire residents traditionally celebrate John Stark day on April 25th each year.  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.” Memorial and commemorative events are held in Manchester (at Stark Park), Dunbarton, Derry, New Boston and Goffstown, New Hampshire. Other events may be held in the Bennington Vermont area.   You need to check local newspapers in these places for details.

I have written many blog stories about General John Stark, and recently one about his wife Elizabeth “Molly” (Page) StarkI was honored to be asked to write a story about John Stark for New Hampshire magazine. I feel a connection to him.  My 4th great-grandfather, Ezra Abbott (1756-1837) of Concord New Hampshire was with Stark in the famed battle of Bennington on Aug. 17, 1777 and used to relate many anecdotes of the battle. Like John Stark, Ezra had 11 children, though he also had THREE wives, not one like John’s Molly.

In my research I have discovered some interesting sketches and likenesses of John Stark.  The most recent painted portrait I think probably looks the least like him.  That idealized painting  looks  too much like a cross between George Washington and Napoleon.  And so with little fanfare, I present some of these portraits to you, along with a link to a story about the history of some of the John Stark portraits.  You can best make up your own mind on which looks the most like General John Stark.

—Former Stories about John and Molly (Page) Stark—

– Manchester New Hampshire’s Statue of John Stark [2006]
– New Hampshire Inspired: Yankee Doodle [2006]
– John Stark Day 2007
– New Hampshire Celebration: John Stark Day [2014] [includes ‘Live Free or Die’ letter]
– Happy General John (aka Molly Stark’s Husband’s) Day: April 27, 2015
– Franconia New Hampshire’s Indian Head Profile [2016]
– New Hampshire Tidbits: Live Free or Die on New Hampshire License Plates [2016]
– Godmother of New Hampshire’s War for Independence: Elizabeth “Molly (Page) Stark (1737-1814) [March 2017]
– Genealogy: Some Descendants of the Stark Family of New Hampshire



New Hampshire Magazine (April 2017) — John Stark: A Hero for His Time and Ours


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8 Responses to The Many Faces of General John Stark of Manchester New Hampshire

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  3. Kenneth Samonds says:

    I have a portrait of John Stark that is not included in your fine article. It is signed “D. Tenney, 1898, After S.F.B. Morse.” I purchased it at an auction in Amherst, MA circa 1982, not knowing who the stately gentlemen was. A few years later, I saw a painting just like mine hanging in the Map Room of the White House. I wrote to the WH, asking who the gentleman was, and I was told it was John Stark My painting is currently in Fredericksburg, VA and is registered with the Smithsonian museum.

    • Kenneth Samonds says:

      Actually, the signature on my painting includes a “U. D.” In red paint, then the signer switched to black paint, “D. Tenney.”

    • Janice Brown says:

      Kenneth, how very interesting! Is there a photograph of the portrait, or is it online in the Smithsonian’s collection?

      • Kenneth Samonds says:

        I don’t see a way to include a photo in my reply. The Smithsonian has a photo, but I don’t know how to search their file of items not in their collection. My painting looks very much like the Morse original, but Stark’s neck and collar look about an inch shorter…probably more anatomically correct.

      • Kenneth Samonds says:

        We can communicate via Facebook. I’m the only Ken Samonds…and there are probably 1000 Janice Brown, so you can easily find me…and we can communicate via Messenger.

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