New Hampshire Glossary: Excise

Advertisement for Excise on Liquors found in the New Hampshire Gazette, 6 May 1757, Portsmouth NH, Issue 31, page 2.

ON EXCISES
Excise, a Monster, worse than e’er before
Frighted the Midwife, and the Mother tore;
A thousands Hands she has, a thousand Eyes,
Breaks into Shops and into Cellars pries;
With hundred Rows of Teeth the Shark exceeds,
And on all Trades, like Casawar, she feeds;
Chops off the Piece, where’er she close the Jaw,
Else swallows all down her indented Maw;
She stalks all Day in the Streets conceal’d from Sight,
And flies, like Bats, with Leathern Wings by Night;
She wastes the Country, and on Cities preys;
Her of a female Harpy, in Dog-Days,
Black Birch, of all the Earth-born Race most hot,
And most rapacious, like Himself begot,
And of his Brat enamor’d as she increast,
Revel’d in Incest with the Mongrel Beast.
–From Weekly Rehearsal, May 14, 1733 Boston MA
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October 11 2021: Indigenous Peoples’ Day in New Hampshire

Carved stones photographic print, 1901. One of two mounted photographic prints of a collection of twenty smooth stones, each with a figure crudely scratched into the service. Written on back of photos: “Indian Relicks from Procter, Franklin Falls, NH, March 27, 1901.” From NH Historical Society Online Catalog.

No, sadly you won’t find Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the official New Hampshire State calendar of holidays. Though the topic has been brought more than once before our State’s General Court, legislation to either change Columbus Day or to add Indigenous People’s Day to the same date as a holiday have failed. (There are a few cities and towns in New Hampshire who do officially celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day).

I could give you many reasons why “Columbus Day” should be dropped from the calendar, though I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. But what if … it turns out that Columbus is not Italian at all? Would that change anything? Would Italian-Americans still insist that this man, who is by many considered a tyrant and murderer, deserve a holiday in a country where he never set foot? And perhaps I should mention that he actually did not discover America. Continue reading

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Merrimack New Hampshire Post Office History and Its First Woman Postmaster.

Sketch of woman and man in a post office, from “The Postmaster,” by Howard Heath and Joseph Crosby Lincoln, 1912; Internet Archive

New Hampshire has a long and interesting post office history dating back to 1673. This story is specific to the area that is now the town of Merrimack in Hillsborough County. For New Hampshire’s early post office and post road history SEE “New Hampshire’s Post Road and Post Office History.”

In Merrimack’s earliest years, there were no post offices. Those who wanted to leave “mail,” documents or packages for someone in the town could leave them at one of the town’s taverns or meeting-places for the person to pick up when they next visited. The Farmer’s Monthly Visitor published by Isaac Hill in 1852 says that “As late as 1777 there was but one Post Office in New Hampshire, that at Portsmouth…while in 1852 there are 360 Post Masters in the State!Continue reading

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NH Tidbits: Autumn, Fall Foliage and Leaf Peeping

Fallen leaves near Lake Massabesic. Photograph by Kathi Webster.

Autumn is finally here, and so is the beginning of the Autumn foliage color season. This year, Wednesday 22 September 2021 is the autumnal equinox, marking the beginning of “Fall.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac waxes poetic on that topic, so I need not repeat it here.

Locals and tourists alike each year look forward to the brilliant and colorful dress that adorns our forests. When the colors start to appear, they do so with a rush that surprises you.

The official New Hampshire tourism web site includes an interesting “Fall Foliage Tracker” that allows you to select the “perfect time to see nature’s fireworks.” As I write this story, all of New Hampshire’s counties have “some” colorful foliage, which I can also attest to. Expect that to change on a daily basis. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Glossary: Flake House

Portion of a 1720 Herman Moll map showing “A View of a Stage and also of ye manner of Fishing for Curing ^ Drying Code at Newfoundland. New York Public Library Digital Collections.

In the early days of New England and eastern coastal Canada colonization by Europeans, catching and drying codfish was a popular occupation for food preservation. After being caught by Atlantic fishermen, codfish were cleaned, then dried on large racks (called “fish flakes”) and often within a structure, called a FLAKE HOUSE [or flakehouse, one word]. This flake house was built to protect the fish from the elements during the drying process. Continue reading

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