Current Events: Peterborough NH Seen Through Bette Davis Eyes

Old postcard of the Mariarden stage where Bette Davis performed.

Old postcard of the Mariarden stage where Bette Davis performed.

Bette Davis’ connections to New Hampshire are fairly well known.  Her ancestors hailed from here, and she spent some of her adult time in the Sugar Hill area, where she met one of her husbands.  Much less known is her connection to Peterborough, New Hampshire, that had several acting camps, including the The Out-Door-Players and MariardenBette Davis was “discovered” there.  In fact 2015 is the 90th Anniversary of that event. Continue reading

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Pioneer Watchmaker and International Watch Company Founder: Rumney New Hampshire’s Florentine Ariosto Jones (1841-1916)

Is this Florentine Ariosto Jones?

Is this Florentine A. Jones?  [SEE original below. This is a closeup, and enhancement of same.].

Florentine Ariosto Jones is a name well known to watch makers and collectors.  He was the son of Solomon and Lavinia (Craig) Jones. He was born, grew up, and attended school, in the still small town of Rumney, New Hampshire.

Family stories say that two of his great uncles encouraged him to learn and become a watchmaker, and so he did. According to a book published by the IWC, Florentine apprenticed with a (unnamed) watchmaker in Concord, New Hampshire. [Editor’s note: my thanks for Roger Daniels former president of the Rumney Historical Society for his help with research into Florentine’s early life]. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Tidbits: Easter Traditions Past and Present

Easter has always been a holiday celebrated with great enthusiasm in my family.  Part of it Easter old cardwas due to their Catholic tradition–after the long Lenten season it was time to celebrate.  But honestly, after a long New England winter, wearing a pretty bonnet or enjoying a meal of ‘spring lamb’ was just the thing to provide a more hopeful outlook on life.

I remember as a child receiving a colorful “Easter chick.”  Being close in age, each of my three siblings received one and the baby birds were kept in a large cardboard box until they began to grow, then they were transferred to the chicken coop in the back yard.  Today of course there are laws against such things, to prevent cruelty to animals. Continue reading

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April Fool’s Day: Hunt the Gowk Another Mile!


A custom, says The Spectulator, prevails every where amongst us on the first of April, when every body strives to make us as many fools as he can. The wit consists chiefly in sending persons on what are called sleeve-less errands, for the History of Eve’s Mother, for Pigeon’s milk, with similar ridiculous absurdities. The French call the person imposed upon, a “Poisson d’Avril, “an April fish,” who we term an April fool. In the North of England, persons thus imposed upon are called “April Gowks:” Gowk being the word for a cuckoo; metaphorically, a fool. In Scotland, they send silly people from place to place, by means of a letter, in which is written:

“On the first day of April,
Hunt the Gowk another mile!”

Similar fooleries prevail in Portugal, as we learn from Mr. Southey. “On the Sunday and Monday,” says he, “preceding Lent, as on the first of April, in England, people are privileged here (Lisbon) to play the fool. It is thought very jocose to pour water on any person who passes or throw water on his face; but to do both is the perfection of wit.”

–Saturday, April 4, 1829: Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, NH) Vol XL, Issue 14, Page 2

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Philosopher, Educator and A Woman of Vision: Canterbury New Hampshire’s Dr. Mary Mills Patrick (1850-1940)

A young Mary Mills Patrick, From estate of from the estate of the late Donald D. Pelton. Used with permission of Dave Sams.

A young Mary Mills Patrick, From estate of the late Donald D. Pelton. Used with permission of Dave Sams.


Mary Mills Patrick was born 10 March 1850 in Canterbury, New Hampshire to John & Harriet (White) Patrick. At a young age she moved with her family to the Mid-West (Iowa). There she attended school, graduating from Lyon’s College with a degree of A.M., and studying at the University of Iowa. Later she studied at the European Universities of Heidelberg, Zurich, Leipzig, and Berlin. From the University of Berne, Switzerland she obtained the degree of Ph.D. She received an honorary degree of L.L.D. from Smith College in 1914 and Litt.D. from Columbia University in 1922. Continue reading

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