Samuel Joy and His Spite Tombstone in Durham New Hampshire

Joy Family Burial Ground
Packer’s Falls Road,.
Durham, New Hampshire.

I have to admit–I hesitated to write this story.  We probably will never know the entire truth behind Samuel Joy’s “spite” tombstone, and that bothers me.

If a spite tombstone is new to you, know it is a cemetery monument placed to annoy, hurt or offend someone still living, or to make an eternal statement.  Usually the grievousness takes the form of the words carved into the stone, as it does in this case.   You don’t see many of these revenge markers as public cemeteries often have rules against allowing such monuments to be placed.

The Samuel Joy spite tombstone is unusual but it’s not the only one in New Hampshire.  A very different spite stone was placed on Caroline Cutter’s grave in Milford, New Hampshire in 1838. Her husband, Dr. Calvin Cutter had it carved as his way of censuring a local church. Perhaps there are other grievances carved in New Hampshire stone, but I leave it to my readers to let me know about them. Continue reading

The Father of Labor Day: Manchester New Hampshire’s George McGuire aka Maguire (1857-1913)

photo george Mcquire from Van Den Berghe 1 watermarked

Photograph of George McGuire’s tombstone in Piscataquog Cemetery, Manchester NH, courtesy of Pat Van Den Berghe

The tombstone of George McGuire sits in Manchester, New Hampshire’s Piscataquog Cemetery on Bowman Street with the engraving “Father of Labor Day.”  Several newspapers throughout the United States, dated in November of 1913, announced with headlines: FATHER OF LABOR DAY IS DEAD, referring to this George McGuire. This same George McGuire (aka Maguire) was active in the cigar labor union, and  was more than once appointed chairman of the Labor Day parade in Boston, Massachusetts.  And yet two other McGuires are given the honor of being called the “official” founder of Labor Day. Continue reading

Manchester New Hampshire’s Military Squares and other Memorials

Whether you walk, or drive through Manchester New Hampshire’s neighborhoods, it is impossible to not become aware of the many statues, markers and commemoratives (such as named parks or buildings) dedicated to its military heroes. With Memorial Day (May 26, 2014) quickly approaching, it is timely for me to focus on some of these.

Who shall chide us, if we in like spirit set apart one day in every year to twine our wreaths for our dead who died in battle; died not for aggrandizement by aggressive warfare; but for the preservation of national life and liberty? Who shall chide us if we pause one hour in a year to read the inscriptions on their monuments, or to drop a tear upon “nameless” graves? Not because we love them more than the rest of our dead, but because we also love the land for which they died. [Memorial Day Oration, City Hall, Dover NH by Rev. Leander S. Coan, May 26, 1876].

Stark Cemetery at Manchester NH's Stark Park. Photograph by Janice W. Brown

Stark Cemetery at Manchester NH’s Stark Park. Photograph by Janice W. Brown

Besides the larger statues and monuments, there are a number of smaller plaques that have been placed in “squares” or on public plots of land within the city limits of Manchester, New Hampshire, that we can call “Military Squares.”

In order to fully document them, first it is necessary to list them, which I will try to do with this story. If you are aware of others, or are aware of Manchester men and women who have lost their lives while in military service, please contact me, or leave a message here.
Continue reading

North Barnstead New Hampshire’s Harriet P. Dame: the "Florence Nightingale" of The Civil War (1815-1900)

Harriet Patience Dame, painting hanging in the NH State House. Photograph taken in 2004 by Janice W. Brown.

Harriet Patience Dame, painting hanging in the NH State House. Photograph taken in 2004 by Janice W. Brown.

Harriet Patience Dame, daughter of James Chadbourne and Phebe (Ayers) Dame, was born at North Barnstead, New Hampshire on 5 January 1815, and died 24 April 1900. She became an army nurse, and joined the Second Regiment N.H. Volunteers, as hospital matron in June 1861.

She was mustered out in December 1865–after four years and eight months of service. She “endured all the privations of the troops, marched and camped with them, being oftentimes the only woman among a thousand men. She has nursed her ‘boys’ through small-pox, she has worked all night on the field caring for the wounded, and she has buried the dead.” Continue reading