New Hampshire 1877: Disastrous Mardi Gras Transplant

Proclamation by the King of the Carnival, 1936, Boston Public Library, Print Department

Proclamation by the King of the Carnival, 1936, Boston Public Library, Print Department

The attempt to transplant the Old World ceremonies of Carnival and Mardi Gras to our northern soil has always proved disastrous. Southern cities have had considerable success in frolics of this kind, but as a rule such attempts elsewhere turned out a sad burlesque and there has been a feeling of relief when they were well over.

From the tone of the New York papers it seems that the “Yankee Carnival” there was not a success. The Herald speaks of the “gimcrack day procession, a two mile funeral of show wagons and hand-bill throwing,” “the gingerbread night procession”; the World tells of the visit of King Carnival in “a somewhat heterogeneous fashion”; and the Times has a quite racy and funny account of the show under the head, “the festival of fools, inane stupidity and pageantry.” The great procession appears to have been a long line of advertising vans; or, as one paper expresses it, “a grand combination of dealers, an organized company of advertisers, who occupied the public streets, impeded travel, and nauseated passengers with clap-trap and vulgarity.”

May 22, 1877, Farmer’s Cabinet (Amherst NH), Vol 75, Issue 46, Page 2

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A New Hampshire Valentine Warning of 1850

00valentineST. VALENTINE’S–On Thursday, St. Valentine will hold his annual festival. Single ladies and gentlemen may expect the usual quantity of favors, while “the little god Cupid” acts as post-boy. Old bachelors should fortify their bosoms with an extra covering of linen, as the mischievous archer sometimes plays the dickens with tender breast-works.

Romantic girls should exercise caution in the distribution of their gilt-edged missives, or they may find love-lorn swains susceptible enough to admit the “soft impeachment.” Finally, ladies, one and all, look out for the males on the morn of Valentine; and if you get caught, avenge yourselves by lass-ooing the rogues who wish to entangle you.

From: February 12 1850; New-Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth, NH) Vol XCVI, Issue 7, page 2.

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The Kangas Family: Finnish Immigrants to New Hampshire

William "Willie" Kangas and Elmi Kemppainen pose on 25 December 1896.

William “Willie” Kangas and Elmi Kemppainen pose on 25 December 1896.

Between 1890 and 1920 1,558 immigrants from Finland became New Hampshire residents. This fact is dwarfed by the statistics that show in the same time period that 44,420 of the immigrants were French Canadian, 14,890 were Irish, followed by those of Greek, Russian, Polish, Austrian, Swedish, German, Italian and Lithuanian origin.

Certain towns in New Hampshire seemed to be attractive to the Finnish immigrants, some being New Ipswich, Rindge, and Milford.

One couple peers out at me from their wedding photograph (on the back is inscribed “Mr. & Mrs. Wm Kangas just married 1896.”).  They were captured on film at Desclos Bros in Manchester, New Hampshire. Continue reading

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John B. Varick Co. — New England’s Largest Hardware Business in 1915

John B. Varick Co., Elm Street, Manchester NH from a 1903 booklet.

John B. Varick Co., 809-819 Elm Street, Manchester NH from a 1903 booklet

This brief description of the JOHN B. VARICK COMPANY is the perfect way to begin this blog post.  “The John B. Varick Co. was established in 1845, on the same spot where the present Varick Building stands, by John P. Adriance, who came to Manchester from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. In 1849 John B. Varick, a boy of sixteen, came to Manchester from Poughkeepsie and entered the employ of Mr. Adriance. In 1851 Mr. Adriance sold out the business to Messrs S. James Dennis and John B. Varick [and the company was known as Dennis & Varick, see receipt below]. In 1855 Mr. Dennis retired and the firm became known as Varick, Storm & Co.”

 

1854 receipt from the firm of Dennis & Varick, Manchester NH

1854 receipt from the firm of Dennis & Varick, Manchester NH

In 1858 Walter Adriance, John B. Varick’s cousin, purchased Mr. Storm’s interest and the firm now known as John B. Varick & Co. In 1860 John B. Varick bought his partner out, and became sole owner. In 1884 the business was incorporated under the name of John B. Varick Co., with John B. Varick, president and treasurer, and Charles A. Adams manager. John B. Varick died in 1902 after having been actively engaged in the same business in the same location for over fifty-three years. The present officers of the company are Richard Varick, president, Charles A. Adams, manager, and Thomas R. Varick, treasurer.Continue reading

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New Hampshire Slanguage: Cunnin

Cartoon from Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth Ohio) 12 June 1922, page 1. "An Maw says I'm cunnin now who the dickens can I believe anyway?

Cartoon from Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth Ohio) 12 June 1922, page 1. “Pop says I’m a bad boy ‘n maw says I’m cunning now who the dickens can I believe anyway?

Recently the word cunnin(g) was brought up in a FaceBook discussion group, as to whether or not it was New England slang.  To be honest, I am not certain.  But it was in a New Hampshire household where I heard it used first.  I suspect it was perhaps Irish in origin, or at the least a New England country slang word.

I have personal remembrances of hearing the word cunnin‘ used by my mother who was born and raised in New Hampshire. When she used the word, it was always in reference to a baby or small child, implying by her usage of someone cute, pretty, and precious. My mom loved poetry, so it would not be a great stretch for me to think she learned it through reading, rather than from her parents. She always pronounced the word clearly, ‘cunnin’ with no sound of the ‘g‘ as shown in the cartoon shown to the left in this article.

Continue reading

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