Gen. John Stark: “I am the enemy of all foreign influence…”

Daguerrotype of a “painting” by A. Ritchie, circa 1831. Courtesy of John McNeil Stark Esq. Concord NH as found in book, “A life of General John Stark of New Hampshire.”


I am the enemy of all foreign influence, for all foreign influence is the influence of tyranny. This is the only chosen spot for liberty — this is the only Republic on earth.”  General John Stark wrote these words in the same letter where the now famous ‘Live Free or Die’ motto was also penned.

There is no denying the courage, intensity, foresight and bravery of John Stark.  He never feared to face the enemy.  He always put his family, his community, his state, his country first.  I wish that could be said the same of all of our country’s politicians and so-called leadership.



U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation: Combating Foreign Influence

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New Hampshire Tidbits: Who Were the Boston Tea Party?

Photograph of ‘Boston Tea Party’ mural, artist Robert Reid circa 1904. Detroit Publishing Company collection. Library of Congress. [The original mural is located in the main stair hall of Massachusetts State House].

December 16th 2019 is the 246th Anniversary of the so-called Boston Tea Party.  Some historians believe that the term ‘Boston Tea Party’ was referring not to the event itself, but rather to the “party of participants,” i.e. by definition “a group taking one side of a dispute.”

It appears the first use of  the “Boston Tea Party” phrase to describe the event did not appear in published form until about 1825–fifty-two years after the event, and certainly a long enough time for the original story to shift and change like many do in the quicksands of time.  I highly recommend that my readers peruse a wonderful (and brief) article called 7 Myths About the Boston Tea Party by Benjamin L. Carp at the Journal of the American Revolution web site. Continue reading

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New Hampshire’s ‘Best Christmas’ in History

Christmas Booklet,” by Judi Brandow, U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. 2001.

It is impossible to qualify Christmas. The holiday evokes too many complex emotions, and contains a myriad of traditions. If asked, “What was your best Christmas?” what would you reply?  Would your response be upbeat or maudlin, gift-oriented or family reminiscent? I’ve performed a bit of time travel, via old newspapers to see how people in New Hampshire (and New England) answered this question.  Perhaps the replies will provide you with idea on how to celebrate this year. Some of the ‘best Christmases’ may surprise you. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Missing Places: The Uplands of Bridgewater

Old photograph poscard of the Bridgewater NH estate known as the Uplands, taken between 1908-1925.

As most of my readers have figured out, the missing places I write about are often not truly missing–often the name has changed or a landmark has vanished from the spot. It is not uncommon for local places to change names over the decades to reflect a new owner, or for a building to burn down or be demolished.

In this case the PLACE, the farm once known as The Uplands, on Whittemore Point South Road (shown in the photograph) in Bridgewater, New Hampshire still exists as private property. Much of the farmland property that was originally part of the estate has been subdivided and sold. Most of the land between the estate house and Newfound Lake now contains the condominiums of ‘Whittemore Shores‘ on quaint new streets with names such as Tomahawk Trail, Pasquaney Lane and Algonquin Path.  My thanks to Derwood Gray, President of the Bridgewater (NH) Historical Society for speaking with me about this property. Continue reading

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One Hundred Years Ago: New Hampshire’s Thanksgiving of 1919

An antique Thanksgiving poscard.

Thanksgiving Day of 1919 was celebrated with feelings of both great sorrow and hope. Within the previous  two years, at least 4,000 New Hampshire residents had died before their time (war causalities plus those who died unexpectedly from the flu). On this day in November, the memories of those losses were still painfully fresh. At the same time the Armistice had been signed over a year before, and so there was a deep sense of hope to rebuild lives and fortunes. Women had been fighting for their right to vote for many decades, and now, pending ratification, it looked like they would soon be able to.

I’ve gleaned some stories from New Hampshire’s newspapers around Thanksgiving Day of 1919 [Thanksgiving was on 27th of November] to see if we can go back in time to that era and understand how people felt and what they thought important.  It was a time when the steam train was still king, when automobiles were allowing more people to travel faster and further on their own, and women were feeling more empowered. Continue reading

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