Famed Civil War Era Singer and Song Writer Joseph Philbrick Webster of New Hampshire (1819-1875)

Photograph from Digital Collections, University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, Joseph Philbrick Webster Music Manuscripts. Use approved for educational purposes.

Joseph Philbrick Webster was born 18 Feb 1819 on the shore of Massabesic Lake, near Manchester NH, son of Amos & Bethia (DeCosta/Costen) Webster, and grandson of Major John & Phebe (Haseltine) Webster. Both of Joseph’s grandfathers were patriots of the American Revolution.  His paternal grandfather had built what was known as Webster Mill at the mouth of the Cohas Brook.

Once again, while researching this story, I discovered am twice related to Joseph P. Webster, he being my 5th cousin 4x removed.  We both descend from 8th great-grandmother Mary Shatswell who married 1st) to John Webster, and married 2nd) to Stephen Emery [I descend directly from BOTH of those lines].   Joseph P. Webster was a prolific song writer who composed more than one thousand songs and hymns. Continue reading

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Not New Hampshire: Sculptor Carl H. Conrads of Germany and West Hartford CT

Photograph of Carl H. Conrads, Sculptor, from a 1920 Hartford Courant newspaper.

Carl Henry Conrads (erroneously called Charles Conrads in some sources) was not a New Hampshire native, nor did he ever live within our state’s boundaries.  But he did sculpt some of our most famous statues, including those of John Stark and Daniel Webster for Statuary Hall in Washington DC, and the statue of John Stark for the Concord New Hampshire state house.

The statues for Statuary Hall at the capitol– John Stark & Daniel Webster, were modeled by Carl Contrads after statues in bronze that were already in the state house park at Concord, New Hampshire. That original of the Webster statue was by Thomas Ball and was presented to the state by Benjamin Pierce Cheney. The original statue of Stark was by Conrads and was erected by the state. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Missing Places: Mount Livermore Hotel in Holderness

Pre 1923 photograph of Mount Livermore Estate. Colorized by the author.

The Mount Livermore House was built in 1883 as a boarding house.  It was improved and enlarged for more than a decade, until it was considered to be a hotel. An 1892 book on lakes and summer resorts in New Hampshire showed B.F. Jewell as the proprietor of the Mount Livermore Hotel in Holderness with room for 100 guests, for $1.00 board per day and $7-10 per week. It was not the most expensive place in town, the White Oak holding that title. Continue reading

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2020 New Hampshire Tidbits: An Unusual Easter

This week is a special one for most people in New Hampshire.  Many are celebrating either Easter or Passover. According to PRRI Research, “The religiously unaffiliated make up nearly three in ten (29 percent) New Hampshire residents, roughly similar to their proportion in 2007. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of New Hampshire residents are white Catholic, while somewhat fewer identify as white mainline Protestant (17 percent) and white evangelical Protestant (9 percent).”   Among other belief systems, New Hampshire is composed of 1.5% Jewish residents, 0.9% Muslims, 0.7% Buddhists,  and 0.6% Hindus. Continue reading

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The Singing Dairy Farmer of Contoocook NH: Don Rondo (1930-2011)

Photo of Don Rondeau

He was born Donald Theodore Rondeau, but his fans knew him as “Don Rondo.” He grew up on his father’s dairy farm and later would work as a milk-tank truck driver, bulldozer operator. He was a plumber’s apprentice when he first became a vocal recording star.

Anything you do, if you get appreciated, you like it,” he said about the noisy to-do of agents, the screams of teenagers and the endless clink of money involved in his new profession. “I’ve been around for ten years and never could get arrested, much less famous. Then I do one record, ‘two different worlds,’ and I go bang! from nowhere to silk suits.” He was quoted in a 1957 Elwood Indiana newspaper. Continue reading

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