New Hampshire Tidbits: Land Serpents of the Granite State

TIMBER RATTLESNAKE, Crotalus horridus. From the reptile book, by Raymond Lee Ditmars, 1915.

TIMBER RATTLESNAKE, Crotalus horridus. From the reptile book, by Raymond Lee Ditmars, 1915, the Internet Archive.

Down deep in that hollow the bees never come–
The shade is too black for a flower;
And jewel winged birds, with their musical hum,
Never flash in the night of that bower:–
But the cold blooded snake, in the edge of the
brake,
Lies amid the rank grass half asleep, half awake;
–from The Philosopher Toad by Mrs. Rebecca S. Nichols Continue reading

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Manchester, New Hampshire’s Distinguished Artist, Instructor, Director, Civic Leader: Maud Briggs Knowlton (1870-1956)

Maud (Briggs) Knowlton, artist, first director of the Currier Art Gallery of Manchester NH, instructor at the Institute of Arts and Sciences.

Photograph of Maud Briggs Knowlton, taken in 1930. Credit: Teti Library , Institute Archives, New Hampshire Institute of Art

Although I credit Maud Briggs Knowlton to Manchester, New Hampshire where she lived and worked for most of her life, I should mention that she was not a native of this city. She was born in Penacook, which was then and is still today, a village and tight-knit community within the city of Concord NH. Maud’s mother, Louise (Morgan) Briggs was from Penacook, so they had family ties there.

The following biography is gleaned from a variety of sources, listed later in this story. Maud Briggs Knowlton was a remarkable woman, and I hope this story draws attention not only to her amazing talent, but also to her role in guiding Manchester’s early art and cultural organizations. Continue reading

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1835 New Hampshire Toasts for Independence

Vic Card ToastFor many years following America’s war for independence,  it was traditional to offer a series of toasts to those involved living or dead, to our country and to our leadership. The American Centuries web site states that in the early days of our country, these toasting events were accompanied by ‘riotous drunkenness,’ and they give additional examples, very similar to the ones I have provided here, from a New Hampshire newspaper. These toasts were  also often a time to knock those with opposing political views. After reading the following formal and general toasts, think about what or who would you have offered a toast to? Continue reading

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Cow Stories: Bringing in the Cows, by Arthur Corning White

Photograph: Producer to Consumer, man milking a cow in Milford NH; c1909 J.P. Proctor. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Photograph: Producer to Consumer, man milking a cow in Milford NH; c1909 J.P. Proctor. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division


“A precious, elusive element of poetry has gone out of farming with the passing of the old style smoke house, home made mittens, and those great, round, shining, shallow milk pans for raising of the cream.

Now, the rural population eats hams cured in Chicago, wears mittens knit by machinery in a factory near Boston, and buys butter made at some up-to-date creamery in a sanitary churn. Now, we farm by the clock. We milk in these hurried days of the twentieth century by a gasoline driven vacuum milker. We keep expense and receipt accounts with the punctilious accuracy of a C.P.A. We are forced to do our chores according to system, or very soon have the bank foreclosing and leaving us no farm and no chores to do. Working days, to be sure, are shorter than when I was a boy. And we certain produce more onions, cabbages, and pigs than we did then. But we’ve a lot more money invested in the process. Continue reading

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Nashua New Hampshire’s First Women Physicians: Ella (Blaylock) Atherton and Katherine E. (Prichard) Hoyt

Ellen C. "Katherine E." (Prichard) Hoyt MD. Photograph from History of Nashua, NH by Judge Edward E. Parker, 1897

Ellen C. “Katherine E.” (Prichard) Hoyt, M.D. Photograph from History of Nashua, NH by Judge Edward E. Parker, 1897

In 1897 when the updated History of Nashua was published, the medical history (authored by Evan B. Hammond) reported the following: “Dr. Ella Blaylock and Dr. Katherine E. Prichard are the only two lady physicians of whom Nashua can boast, either in the past or present, and their success it a guarantee that their stay here is one of profit to themselves as well as to their patients. They were elected the same year (1891) to the Nashua Medical Association. She [Katherine E. Hoyt, M.D.] opened an office in 1889 and “although the first resident woman physician….” devoted her time entirely to gynecological work and obstetrics.

Both of these talented physicians became

Ella (Blaylock) Atherton, M.D.

Ella (Blaylock) Atherton, M.D.

members of the local Medical Association in the same year–1891.  Both specialized in women’s medicine, gynecology, and obstetrics.  Both married within the next few years. Katherine’s husband, Henry Hoyt, M.D.,  was also a physician and by 1900 she had moved with him to Sioux City, Iowa where he had a thriving practice. They later to Wenham, Massachusetts.  Ella married Hon. Henry Bridge Atherton, an attorney and editor of the Telegraph newspaper.  She remained in Nashua, with abdominal surgery as one of her skilled capabilities, and practicing medicine in that city for many years. Continue reading

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