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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New Hampshire Tidbits: Toast and Punch on the Fourth of July

Here’s to the man
That owned the land
That raised the corn,
That fed the goose,
That bore the quill,
That made the pen,
That wrote the Declaration of Independence.
— Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville, Wisconsin, 28 August 1854


Plain lemonade may be metamorphosed into lemon ginger punch by adding to each quart of lemonade an equal amount of ginger ale. Have ready also a number of sprays of fresh mint and bruise the lower leaves and stems between the fingers so as to bring out the mint flavor. Put these into the punch a half hour before serving. This is particularly popular at afternoon teas, plazas or roof parties or any social function where men are represented.
–Emma Paddock Telford, The Denison Review, 29 June 1910, Denison Iowa.

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Electrician, Inventor, Author, Businessman of Kingston NH: George Bartlett Prescott (1830-1894)

Photograph of George B. Prescott, courtesy of the Kingston Historical Museum. Used with permission.

When you use a telephone, or visit the drive-in at the bank (if they use pneumatic tubes), played a phonograph, spoken on an analog telephone, or if you are old enough to have used a telegraph to send or receive a message, then you have directly benefited from the work of one amazing Kingston New Hampshire man–George Bartlett Prescott.

My regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that he is my cousin (since I’m cousin to everyone)–actually my 6th cousin 3x removed through his mother’s Bartlett line. However for the purposes of this story I will only trace his Prescott surname line. Continue reading

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