New Hampshire Tidbits: Merrimack’s Old Passaconaway Tree

Sketch of an ancient tree from “Nonatum and Natick,” by Sarah S. Jacobs, page 8; pub 1853; Hathi Trust.

The old trunks of trees rise round, Like pillars in a church of old; And the wind fills them with a sound As if a bell were tolled.” — The Angler’s Song — Isaac McLellan, Jr.

The Nashua Telegraph of 18 May 1939 reported on the village of Thornton’s Ferry in Merrimack, New Hampshire.  “Many will remember the old Passaconaway tree which grew on the line of land of J. Martinkus and H.C. Welch and which blew down in the hurricane. It was an old landmark which marked the end of the North Ferry road which turned east to the river. In olden times a ferry was maintained at this point to cross to Litchfield. The tree was 85 feet tall with a circumference of 17 feet with a spread of branches of over 500 feet.Continue reading

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Merrimack NH Missing Places: Great Dane Knitting Mill

Great Dane Knits advertisement.

I happened across an October 1962 newspaper article when the Nashua Telegraph announced a visit by John W. King, then Democratic candidate for governor to various Merrimack NH companies including one called Great Dane Knitting Mills [see other locations he visited at end of story**].

—Great Dane Knitting Mill in Merrimack NH—
Great Dane Knitting Mills existed in Merrimack NH from about 1958 through 1963. The company was located in the New England Chemical Supply building in Merrimack’s Souhegan Village area, along with the post office. This manufacturing facility, originally a tannery, was the northern of two large factory buildings, situated by the Daniel Webster Highway, on land that is now known as Watson Park. Continue reading

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Snippets of News during Merrimack NH’s 1946 Bicentennial

1946 Merrimack bicentennial pageant float representing 1746-1820 women’s industries. Colorized. Thanks to Danny Ryan.

The following snippets of news have been abstracted from The Milford Cabinet newspaper, published in Milford New Hampshire between June 1, and July 31, 1946–during the months of Merrimack NH’s Bicentennial celebrations.

We are now celebrating Merrimack’s 275th anniversary.  Do you know anyone mentioned in these stories? Continue reading

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Merrimack New Hampshire’s Notorious Inn & Owner: Deancroft and Robert W. Dean

Photograph of the “notorious” Deancroft Boarding House on the Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack NH. Date unknown. Since torn down. Colorized by the blog editor.

Deancroft, Merrimack New Hampshire’s reported “most notorious” place is one I’ve been wanting to write about for years. As you read this story, and notice its complexity, you will understand why it took some time to research, so bear with me.

The building is long gone, so don’t look for it. The story of Deancroft is almost as convoluted as the chronicle of the man, Robert W. Dean, who gave the place its temporary name.  Only a very few Merrimack NH residents remember this place.  I doubt that anyone (before this) knew about the scandalous past of Merrimack’s Robert W. Dean. Continue reading

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NH Tidbits: Descendants of Merrimack Centennial 1846 Serve on Bicentennial in 1946

Photograph of Abbie Griffin, in 1946 noted as a descendant great-granddaughter of Capt. Ira Spalding who was a vice-president of Merrimack’s 1926 centennial.Colorized.

In 1846 Merrimack NH celebrated its centennial (100 year anniversary) of its incorporation as a town. A committee was selected to organize and facilitate events. To that end the following men were chosen: Robert McGaw was the president of the day; Nathan Parker and Samuel McConihe, vice-presidents; Joseph B. Holt and Capt. Ira Spalding, marshals. The historical address of the day was delivered by the Rev. Stephen Allen, pastor of the First church. It was an able discourse and contained much of the early history of the town up to that date. Continue reading

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