Portsmouth NH Executive Secretary and Named Bridge Honoree: Sarah Mildred Long (1916-2004)

S. Mildred Long . Photograph from book, “The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, A History …” by Woodard D. Openo, page vi, , published by Peter E. Randall, Portsmouth NH. Used with permission.

Three of the state’s largest bridges span the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine. The second longest bridge is the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge that connects Portsmouth NH with Kittery Maine via the U.S. Route 1 Bypass. (The longest is the Memorial Bridge | Route 1)

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge was recently rebuilt and opened in March of 2018. The former bridge of the same name, completed in 1940, is the 2,000-foot steel truss that originally honored Mildred Long, though the updated bridge continues to bear her name. Continue reading

The Faces and Families of William Leonard Pressey of Bradford MA & Jennie Eliza Stacey of Dover NH

Leonard Pressy watermark

William Leonard Pressey (1845-1908)

As family history researchers know so well, our ancestors moved around much more than we expected them to. This applies to both the Pressey and Stacy families whose research is presented here. William Pressey’s family lived in Bradford MA, Sutton NH and Amesbury MA. The Stacy family were from the Dover-Farmington area of New Hampshire, and before that the York Co. Maine area. Both families had ties to Salem Massachusetts and the infamous witchcraft trials.

Their faces are distinctive–William Leonard Pressey and Jennie Eliza Stacey each married twice and lived long and productive lives.

This is astonishing, at least for William, because of his past. He was a Civil War veteran, a member of the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (also known as Henry Wilson’s Regiment), Company H. The surprise is that William survived the War of the Rebellion at all. During service the regiment lost  9 officers and 207 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded; and 1 officer and 102 enlisted men by disease. (A total of 319 deaths).  Of Company H that started with 146 men: 18 were killed in action, 2 died of wounds, 11 died of disease, 1 died in prison, 54 were discharged for disability, 1 was dropped from the roll, 2 drowned, 31 were transferred, 6 deserted and at the end of service, 17 were mustered out.   Continue reading

Missing Places: Wither’s Island, Kittery Maine

Map of Lower Kittery, 1635-1700 from Old Kittery and her families, by Everett Stackpole, 1903

Map of Lower Kittery, 1635-1700 from Old Kittery and her families, by Everett Stackpole, 1903

Though I am blogging about an island in Maine, the history of this place is intimately connected to that of New Hampshire’s in several ways.  Thus, this tiny isle in the Piscataqua River deserves an article in my blog.

Maine’s islands, like some other locales, often changed names when ownership did.  Either the new proprietor better fancied his surname, or the locals began to call it by his name, and the moniker ‘stuck.’  I do not know if the Native Americans gave this island a name, but by 1643 it belonged to an European immigrant, Thomas Withers, and was called Withers Island, part of a grant of 400 acres from Fernando Gorges. Continue reading