Some consider the number 13 to be unlucky, but then some folks think cows are useless animals. Both are wrong.
On 16 March of 2006 after losing my twin sister to cancer, I began writing a blog, for it had been a pastime she greatly enjoyed at the end of her life. At first I had no idea where my writing might lead me. My first few posts were photographs or short poems.
Then I was inspired to write about history. That pastime seems to be in my blood, for my paternal grandmother and my father both loved the stories about New Hampshire.
On this occasion I’ve chosen a selection of New Hampshire newspaper articles that include mention of this unlucky ’13’ number.
The New Hampshire Patriot and Star Gazette published in Concord NH on 17 November 1887 reported on The ‘Thirteenth’ Superstition. “The superstition that the number thirteen is unlucky received a severe blow in New York the other day when pilot boat No. 13 was launched on a Friday. The number thirteen was connected with the craft in every possible way. Her number is thirteen, thirteen members of the Thirteen club were present; she was launched at 4:13, there are thirteen letters in her name, she has thirteen berths, she was launched on the 13th day of the month, and sea calendar, she is to have a crew of thirteen men [orig. from San Francisco Argonaut].
The Farmer’s Museum newspaper of Keene NH published the following on 20 November 1837. “Unlucky Number.–Dr. Kitchener was once at a dinner when thirteen persons were present, which somebody gravely said was an unlucky number. ‘I admit,’ said he, ‘that it is in one case.’ ‘What case is that!’ ‘Where there is only dinner enough for twelve.’ [Editor’s note: He (Dr. Kitchener) was an M. D. of Glasgow, who, having been left a handsome fortune by his father, abandoned the active practice of his profession, and devoted himself to science, notably to that of optics, as well as to gastronomy, being himself eminent as a gourmet. He was the author of a once famous Cookery Book, The Cook’s Oracle; and an improved kitchen range still bears his name.]
The Weekly Union newspaper of Manchester NH on 16 August 1864 published the following: “The last exposed case of bounty jumping is that of a soldier who had lost one of his eyes in battle, and was discharged from the service. Shortly after he entered into partnership with a substitute broker in Boston, who furnished him with a very neat glass eye and enlisted him, and he was sent to the army. He soon lost his eye again, or rather removed it and put it into his pocket and obtained his discharge. This process he several times repeated and when unable to get his discharge, deserted. Unfortunately thirteen proved an unlucky number for him, and the trick being discovered, he was tried and sentenced to be shot.
Cow Hampshire ‘moo’ves now into year 14.