Will Cressy was a New Hampshire born humorist and vaudeville performer who wrote a series of booklets entitled, “Will Cressy’s Humorous History of ——–.” An entire blog post dedicated to him can be found elsewhere. For now, only the history pertinent to New Hampshire is shown here. The illustrations shown here, unless indicated differently, were not found in the original pamphlet.
—WILL CRESSY’S HUMOROUS HISTORY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE—
as found in The Granite Monthly, Vol 57, March 1925, No. 3, page 106
MOUNT WASHINGTON was the highest point in the Garden of Eden. When the Ark finally landed NOAH stepped out, looked around and said, —- “Who said this was Ararat? This is MOUNT WASHINGTON, in NEW HAMPSHIRE.”
And HAM took his family and went down through Dixville Notch and started Portsmouth.
And SHEM went down Crawford Notch route and started Nashua.
And JEPHET took the Franconia Notch route and settled at Concord.
Noah went over to Bethlehem and started a Hay Fever Sanatorium, and as business was a bit light the first two years, he spent his leisure time chiseling a big stone face way up on top of the mountain, over Echo Lake. And you don’t have to take my word for it, either. Go up and look at it–It is there yet.
The present era of New Hampshire’s history starts in the year 1621 when a little fur trading post was started in RYE. But Rye was on a rough, exposed rocky shore, and the combination of the rock and the rye was too much and the camp was abandoned. The first permanent one was at Portsmouth in 1629. And that was not so darned permanent for a while.
1679 the Territory of New Hampshire was made a “Royal Grant.” THIS WAS THE FIRST SOIL IN AMERICA TO BE CONVEYED TO AN AMERICAN.
In January 1776, SIX MONTHS BEFORE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, NEW HAMPSHIRE established the first INDEPENDENT STATE GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA (It did not last long, but it was a good offer).
At this time the first State Seal was adopted. It consisted of a fish, a bundle of arrows and a tree; signifying, “It Is A Poor Fish Who Won’t Get Behind A Tree When The Indians Are After Him.”
Later on the present one was adopted, showing a sea shore, a ship and a sunrise. As New Hampshire has only eighteen miles of sea coast they had to pull the ship up on the shore in order to have ocean enough left for the sun to rise from.
It was the State of New Hampshire that made the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA a Nation. It required the votes of nine States. New Hampshire cast the ninth vote (but to offset this, they were the first to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment to its Constitution).
PORTSMOUTH: the original name of which was STRAWBERRY BANKS, was the first permanent settlement, the first State Capitol, and where the Peace Treaty between Russia and Japan was signed. (And Russian and Japan are fighting over it yet). Portsmouth’s greatest pride is The Portsmouth Navy Yard—situated across the river at Kittery, Maine.
NASHUA: celebrated for its historical building. The Nashua Opera House, erected by Julius Caesar in 903 and the American House, built by Napoleon Bonaparte’s Uncle, on his mother’s side in 1106.
MANCHESTER: Established in 1722 by a party of Scotch, Irish and two Englishmen, from South Boston. The Scotch built a Caledonian Hall, the Irish organized a Police Force and two years later the two Englishmen had not spoken, as they had not been introduced.
CONCORD: Established in 1729 under the name of Penacook. Later to RUMFORD in honor of The Countess Rumford who lived here while perfecting her Rumford Baking Powder. And still later, in honor of her success at it, changed to CONQUERED. The spelling was later changed to CONCORD, but the pronunciation was retained in order to distinguish it from Concord, Mass. Before the days of the railroads, Concord Coaches and Concord Harnesses furnished most of the transportation of the entire country. The State Prison at Concord stands high among our highest criminal circles, always does a capacity business and frequently has a waiting list. Concord’s Hotels is a good one (Grammatically wrong, but statistically correct). In the grounds surrounding the State House are many fine works of art, including the town pump.
PLYMOUTH: Where the Pilgrim Drummers land every Saturday night.
LEBANON: Where the cedars come from.
LITTLETON: Named for a coal dealer. Very glove.
EPSUM: Where the Epsum Salt mines are.
HENNIKER: Only place on earth of that name.
HILLSBORO: Furnished the United States with a President.
NEWPORT: A “Port” fifty miles from water.
HANOVER: Sometimes the letter “G” is inserted between the “N” and “O” for the benefit of the Dartmouth students.
BETHLEHEM: Thirty hotels. The Summer population has just petitioned the Legislature to have the last syllable of “Bethlehem” and the first syllable of “Hampshire” changed to something more kosher.
THE WEIRS: The man that named it is dead and never told anybody what it meant and now it is too late.
—–New Hampshire also runs to Lakes.—–
WINNEPESAUKEE: An Indian word meaning. “WHERE-THEY-HOLD-THE-ANNUAL-G.A.R. REUNION.”
SUNAPEE: Also Indian, meaning according to which story you believe, “Sun-lit Waters,” or “The Duck Pond.”
SPECTACLE POND (Newbury): So called because it is shaped like a boot.
ECHO LAKE (White Mountains): Where a Boston woman died, trying to have the last words with the echo.
–New Hampshire also specializes in Distinguished Sons and Daughters–
DANIEL WEBSTER: Lived in, died in or did something in every other house within fifteen miles of Concord (For particulars see tablets on houses). Had upright red hair, looked like William Hearst, had a town named for him, wrote a dictionary and made speeches.
BENJAMIN BUTLER: Ben Turpin’s grandfather. The only Presidential Candidate who ever got less electoral votes than William Taft. Bill carried two States, which was two more than Ben carried. Captured New Orleans, got pinched for spooning, and died declaring with his last breath that he did NOT look like William Bryan.
HORACE GREELEY: invented “ringworm” whiskers, said “Go West, Young Man,” and founded the greatest copy of advertisements in America, “The Saturday Evening Post.” And once only lacked a couple of million votes of being president.
SALMON P. CHASE: (State runs strongly to fish. Had a Governor named “Bass.”) Secretary of the Treasury under Lincoln. Got his face on a lot of money.
ELMER CHICKERING: Perfected the piano, thus ranking with the discoverers of Poison Gas, The Saxophone, The Gatlin Gun, The Ukelele and T.N.T.
CHAS. A. PILLSBURY: Invented Pillsbury’s Flour. Made a lot of money for himself and a lot of dough for others.
DENMAN THOMPSON: Josh Whitcomb
SAXIE PIKE: Original Drum Major.
COMMANDER READ: First man to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
PRESENT ATTORNEY GENERAL STONE.
GEN. JOHN STARK. Mollie Stark’s husband.
WINSTON CHURCHILL. Good writer. Politician–not so good.
CYRUS SULLAWAY. In the U.S. Congress longer than any other man. Six feet and seven inches.
–New Hampshire also had her great women–
MARY BAKER EDDY: Discoverer of Christian Science, founder of the Christian Science Monitor, author of best selling book since the Bible, and furnisher of more employment to builders of churches than any one who has lived for nineteen hundred years.
JULIA WARD HOWE: The author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
MARILLA RICKER. Lawyer-ette.
THE STORY OF HANNAH DUSTIN. Hannah was visiting down at Haverhill, Mass., with her son, Master Dustin (later became Dustin Farnum, Moving Picture Star), and his Nurse, Miss Mary Mack. One night a bevy of Indian Prohibition Agents pulled off a raid in search of firewater, and not finding any, decided to annex Hannah and Mary, and the Kid to the tribe. For eight days they paddles up the river. That night Mary and Hannah got up, got a couple of stove pokers and just ruined the whole excursion. When they got through they had a whole tribe of dead Indians on their hands. But they didn’t care, for they were not saving them, anyway. They have erected monuments to Hannah both at Haverhill and Concord, N.H. where the slaughter took place. And they named the river for the Nurse: MARY MACK. And to this day the men of Concord hold nightly poker parties in honor of the two girls and their pokers.
Another example of what mother love will do took place down at Star Island, just off Portsmouth. Another mother and baby. Another Indian raid. The mother took the baby and crawled down the perpendicular face of a cliff, and hid in a clef in the rocks. The Indians came nearer and nearer. And the baby began to cry. And the mother knew that if the Indians heard it they would discover them and kill the baby. So, to save its little life, she choked it to death.
New Hampshire is called the Granite State because it is built entirely of Granite, covered with a couple of inches of dirt. The New Hampshire Farmer does not “till the soil,” he blasts it. For nine months of the year he brings in wood, shoves snow, thaws out the pump and wonders why Peary wanted to discover the North Pole. The other three months he blasts, plants and hopes.
He is industrious, thrifty and honest. Industrious because he has to be, thrifty because he has nothing to be any other way with, and honest because he was born that way.
The average New Hampshire boy generally leaves home between the ages of fifteen and eighteen and goes out in the world to make his fortune. At about thirty-five he comes back; with money enough to buy back the old place, rebuild, refurnish and restock it and live happy until he is eighty or ninety years old. Sometimes he flops on this proposition.
The author of this history came from New Hampshire.