Category Archives: Seacoast (mostly) History

Posts related to the history Seacoast area of Maine and NH.

Monuments, politics, and the cycle of forgetting: Remembering Bashka Paeff’s “Horrors of War”

In Kittery, Maine, beneath the shade of an oak tree on a peaceful green common stands a monument that once stood in the cross-hairs of a politician who didn’t like its focus on the horrors of war. Today, many pass … Continue reading

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The tragedy of the waitresses: A 1902 boating accident claims 14 lives at the Isles of Shoals

Fourteen people died in Kittery, Maine on July 17, 1902.  I came across a list of the dead by accident, while browsing through some old Town Reports. All who died were young, including three pairs of sisters. How had these … Continue reading

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Return visit to Orris Falls with Windows to the Wild

Early in January, 2017, I enjoyed a chilly morning to Orris Falls Conservation Area with Windows to the Wild host Willem Lange and producers Steve Giordani and Phil Vaughn. The resulting show, titled “The Maniacal Traveler” is scheduled for broadcast … Continue reading

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Searching for the lost village of Punkintown

In the 1920s, unmarried sisters Mary and Almira Payne reportedly were the last residents of Eliot’s Punkintown, a small community of 10 or so families who once lived near the outlet of York Pond. One town history relates Mary had no legs … Continue reading

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Fragments of history: When the KKK marched in Kittery, Maine

Why and how did Kittery-ites join the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s? The Foreside parade in this undated J. Frank Walker photo likely took place on either June 30, 1924, or August 17, 1925, when Portsmouth Herald articles document these … Continue reading

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Lives lived, and lost, at the Kittery Town Forest

Sometimes when I walk in Kittery’s 72-acre Town Forest, I wonder what became of Ella Hill and her girl Annie. From 1891 to about 1897, Ella and Annie lived here at the Town Farm, or Poor Farm. In 1891, the … Continue reading

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Remnants of the Gilded Age at Brave Boat Harbor

Kittery Point, Maine — I dip my paddle in the water, push the kayak into the channel, and glide away from the causeway.  I’m paddling into the marsh, heading out to Brave Boat Harbor for high tide. At least once … Continue reading

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Skulls of history in a forgotten tomb

Where was he, the most noteworthy man who ever called my town home? Back and forth I wandered, searching. Where was the life-sized portrait of Sir William Pepperrell? At the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, nobody seemed to know, … Continue reading

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Snowmageddon 2015? Remembering the winter of 1716-17

By December, five feet of snow blanketed the ground. Although temperatures were not bitterly cold, the snow kept falling, with several storms in January. By early February, some drifts rose 25 feet. On February 18, the snow began falling again, … Continue reading

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A different kind of Groundhog Day: The Candlemas Massacre

On January 24, on the morning after Candlemas Day, 1692, the town of York, Maine was burned to the ground by a band of 150 Abenaki Indians.  Between 40 and 48 people were killed in the massacre, with an estimated … Continue reading

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