Manchester New Hampshire’s Professional Wrestler, Restaraunteur, Wild Circus Owner, Amusement Park Operator, Real Estate Investor: John Demetrious Kilonis (1885-1965)

John Kilonis, from Allen's Wrestlers playing card.

John Kilonis, from Allen’s Wrestlers playing card.

John Demetrious Kilonis is probably best remembered for his wrestling career, being considered the “terror” of the light-heavyweight wrestlers of his day, at one time winning the middleweight wrestling championship of the world. He was born in 1885 in Salonika [Thessaloniki] Greece, immigrating to the United States in 1909.

His wrestling career lasted for 25 years, retiring in April of 1935. For 50 years he was a Manchester, New Hampshire resident, dying in 1965 at a hospital there. His funeral was from the St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church of Manchester, and reportedly he was buried in Macomb, IL. Continue reading

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A Blacksmith of Pittsburg, Coos County New Hampshire: William A. Chase

A scan of actual stationery used by William A. Chase of Pittsburg for his Blacksmith trade. Property of Janice Brown, do not use without her express written permission.

A scan of actual stationery used by William A. Chase of Pittsburg in the 1890s for his Blacksmith trade. Property of Janice Brown, do not use without her express written permission.

Blacksmiths shape and join metals to make functional or decorative every day items. They create horseshoes, iron gates, railings, furniture, and tools to name just a few objects. In the 1890’s when William A. Chase had a business in Pittsburg, Coos County, New Hampshire, he would have been an essential, and important part of his community.

By 1901, according to the “American Blacksmith” magazine, blacksmiths were a varied group that included farriers, wheelwrights and carriage builders. During the great age of the railroad, some blacksmiths worked in great foundries building locomotives and cars. Others crafted and repaired bicycles, the great transportation vehicle of that time before the automobile. Blacksmiths were considered specialized mechanics in some cases. Continue reading

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2016: Celebrating New Hampshire’s Presidential Primary 100th Anniversary

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. Postcard. "To a suffragette valentine." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 191-. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-64cf-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. Postcard. “To a suffragette
valentine.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

I enjoy anniversary celebrations as much as everyone else. Make a champagne toast, toss the confetti, ring the bells, cast a vote. New Hampshiremen and New Hampshirewomen never seem to need an excuse to party. But I like to know exactly what I am jubilating, don’t you? In order to celebrate our presidential primary, we have to investigate New Hampshire history.

The First Primary Election
1909 was the first important year for New Hampshire when the republican majority called for the passage of an act creating a direct primary election system. In 1910 New Hampshire held a primary election in September for state-wide positions of governor, congressmen, councilors, senators, and county officers. This was followed by a general election in November of the same year. By one newspaper account, New Hampshire was the first eastern state to convert to a primary election process. Continue reading

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Grand-daughter of a New Hampshire Patriot: Hudson’s Dorcas (Wilson) Clement (1798-1865)

Tintype photograph of Dorcas (Wilson) Clement taken by 1865, the year that she died.

Tintype photograph of Dorcas (Wilson) Clement taken by 1865, the year that she died.

This tin-type photograph of Dorcas (Wilson) Clement is old and well worn. Descendants surely kept it as a treasured item until recently. Like many family heirlooms these days, it ended up on eBay, where I purchased it and decided to write about her.

Both Pelham and Hudson, New Hampshire can claim her, as she was born in the first location, and married, then lived in the second. She married David Clement, a local farmer, and gave birth to nine children, including a set of twins. She was a nurturing and careful mother, for her children all grew to adulthood.

Her father was a blacksmith in Pelham NH, and postmaster of that town. Her grandfather was a soldier during the American Revolution, a Captain of his regiment, serving in Col. Moses Nichols’ company, in the famed General John Stark’s brigade. See her genealogy below for more details. Continue reading

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Some Newmarket New Hampshire Genealogy: Joy, Badger, Leavitt and Willey Families

Old postcard of Moonlight Bridge, Newmarket NH and a horse-drawn carriage

Old postcard of Moonlight Bridge, Newmarket NH and a horse-drawn carriage

I purchased some beautiful photographs that connect several of Newmarket, New Hampshire’s early families to each other. Even though I’m not related to them, they have an interesting visual appeal.The three photographs are of Nathan Holt Leavitt (2d), his wife Mary E. (Badger) Leavitt, and their daughter Lizzie C. (Leavitt) Willey.

The partial genealogies of the Joy, Badger, Leavitt and Willey families are shown directly below. It is interesting to note that several generations were united by their profession in the carriage industry, either building them, or painting them. Continue reading

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