The Face of Bristol, New Hampshire’s Margaret Hall (Sleeper) Fling (1828-1908)

Mrs. Margaret Hall (Sleeper) Fling. Photograph taken in Boston MA, circa 1875-1890s.

Mrs. Margaret Hall (Sleeper) Fling. Photograph taken in Boston MA, circa 1875-1890s.

She was born Margaret Hall Sleeper on 20 November 1828 in Bristol, Grafton Co. New Hampshire. Her parents were Reverend Walter & Nancy (Plaisted) Sleeper. According to the History of the Town of Bristol, New Hampshire, Margaret’s father was one of the very early members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Bristol, New Hampshire and became an ordained clergyman, ordained a deacon on 25 June 1816. He operated a grist mill, was gatekeeper of the Mayhew Turnpike tollgate on North Main Street.

She was the youngest of three children, and the only girl. By 1850 she was the only one of the children still living at home. Possibly she was named after her great-grandmother, Margaret (Scribner) Sleeper. She may have been brought up in a very strict manner. Even when this photograph was taken of her, probably later in life as her hair is shown white, her hair style and demeanor are quite modest and restrained. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: Private Victor Lemay of Concord NH (1898-1918)

lemay-victor-died-of-wounds-watermarkedVictor Willie Lemay was born 20 August 1898 in Concord NH, 8th child and son of John & Bridget (Cavanaugh/Kavanagh) Lemay. His father’s occupation on his birth record was painter. His mother was the daughter of Gile Kavanagh. His father, John Lemay, was son of Paul and Annie Lemay.

Victor’s siblings included Annie Rose Lemay who m. William John Kelley; Marie Julie Lemay who m1) William J. McMullen, m2) James H. Grant; Arthur Lemay who m. Lula May Farmar, d. 1947 California; and Wilfred Anthony Lemay, a tree surgeon in Lowell MA.

Victor grew up in Concord, and in the 1900 US Census his family (and widowed mother)  was living at 11 Walker Street. By 1910 they had moved to 8 North Spring Street. In 1910 Victor’s older brother Wilfred, at 14, was already working as a messenger for the Postal Telegraph service. Victor attended Concord’s schools at least into his early teens. Continue reading

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The Old Man’s Little Brother: a Rock Profile in Milton, New Hampshire

"The Old Man's Little Brother," located on Branch Hill, Milton NH. Found in book: Barefoot Days and Sundown Songs, by Raymond Hughes, illustrated with photographs by W.R. Spinney, Concord NH 1922.

“The Old Man’s Little Brother,” from Barefoot Days and Sundown Songs, by Raymond Huse, illustrated with photographs by W.R. Spinney, Concord NH 1922. Internet Archive.

New Hampshire’s Old Man may have fallen, but his younger brother still smiles upon the land. He has kept a lower, more reclusive profile. He was never keen on having people stare at him all day.

He sits in a quiet, wooded location on Branch Hill in Milton, NH.  The road used to be a busy stagecoach route, but with the advent of the railroad and the straightening of highways, it is now lonely. The profile is famous only to the local residents who put a photograph of “Sonny Jim,” as THEY call him, on the cover of their 2014 Town Report.

I am told that he is visible from the road — Branch Hill Road — about 100 feet from the turnoff at Applebee Road.  Once on Branch Hill Road, look for the “Land Share” sign, and just beyond it, on the left-hand side, you will see the profile from the road. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Slanguage: Muffler

Illustration of muffler styles from Shakespeare's time, from "Illustrations of Shakspeare, and of Ancient Manners with Disserations," by Francis Douce.

Illustration of muffler styles from Shakespeare’s time, from “Illustrations of Shakspeare, and of Ancient Manners with Disserations,” by Francis Douce.

Before the automobile was invented, the term muffler was an entirely different item than a metal tail pipe. It  was, instead, an object of clothing, worn to keep dust, dirt, or the extremes of sun and cold from the mouth and face. Though commonly thought interchangeable with the common neck scarf, the muffler was specific to covering the nose, mouth, and chin.

The word is an old English one, in common use in Shakespeare’s time (he died in 1616). The ‘muffler‘ is mentioned in his Merry Wives of Windsor that he published in 1602.

In the reign of Charles I (1625-1649) it was common for the ladies to wear masks which covered the eyebrows and nose, holes being left for the eyes. Sometimes, but not always, the mouth was covered, and the chin guarded with a sort of muffler then called a chin-cloth; these were chiefly used to keep off the sun. Continue reading

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Manchester NH Athlete, Legendary Skiing Coach and Promoter, Sports Commentator & Hall of Famer: Robert P. “Bob” Beattie (1933-still living)

A youthful Bob Beattie in his favorite element.

A youthful Bob Beattie in his favorite element (1964).

Robert P. “Bob” Beattie was born 24 January 1933 in Manchester, New Hampshire, the son of Robert A. & Katherine S. (Prime) Beattie. He was raised in Manchester, attending the local schools, and graduating from Central High School in 1950. In 1940 his family was living at 97 Lexington Street in Manchester NH, and Robert Sr. worked as a salesman for a “roofing concern.”

Bob majored in education at Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont, graduating in 1955. While there, he lettered in three sports: football, skiing, and tennis. In 1955 he competed in cross country skiing, and the following year he coached at Middlebury. In a February 1957 newspaper article about John M. Beattie and his brother Robert, the Burlington Free Press stated: “careful on pronouncing that last name. It’s Bee-ah-tee, with the accent on the ah.”

Continue reading

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