Category Archives: Seacoast (mostly) History

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

If People Magazine existed in 1776: cast your ballot for the hottest Patriot!

Patriot John Hancock is the King of memorable signatures, so much so that his name has become synonymous with signing a document.  As President of the Continental Congress, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence on July … Continue reading

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Globalization, circa 1807, curses the Lady Pepperrell House

Lady Mary Hirst Pepperrell had impeccable taste.  So say many sources, but the best indicator is the home  she built in 1760 on Route 103 in Kittery Point. The Lady Pepperrell House is one of Maine’s outstanding examples of 18th … Continue reading

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The Ghost of a Pepperrell Lady

Elizabeth Royall was a royal – a member of New England’s informal royalty.  When she was a tween girl, she and her older sister Mary sat for a young John Singleton Copley when he came to their Medford, Massachusetts house … Continue reading

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Governor John Wentworth and the Tea Party that wasn’t

What would happen when the tea landed in Portsmouth?  Would a mob gather at the wharf? Would violence erupt?  New Hampshire Governor John Wentworth pondered these questions when he learned, on June 25, 1774, that the mast-ship Grosvenor was sailing … Continue reading

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The storm of the century, 35 years ago today

Thirty-five years ago today, February 6, 1978 began like any other Monday at my childhood home in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The fact that nothing stands out about that morning suggests that it was ordinary – I probably got up about 6:45, … Continue reading

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Why I go to church on Christmas Eve

Growing up in an Irish-Catholic suburb south of Boston, I went to church 60 days out of the year:  52 Saturday or Sunday masses, seven holy days of obligation, and Thanksgiving, which was recommend by the church but not required, … Continue reading

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In the Wild River Valley, a November blizzard, deep snow, and a man who perseveres to save his cat

We are hiking along Blue Brook and up the Basin Trail through a golden forest of beech trees, the color made more vibrant by the gray background of an overcast sky.  Halfway up Blue Brook, a granite cliff towers over … Continue reading

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Nathaniel Sparhawk and the art of swagger

“A wealthy merchant of Kittery, Maine”. So reads the caption, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, beneath this John Singleton Copley portrait of Nathaniel Sparhawk, one of Kittery’s most prominent citizens of the 18th century, mostly because he had … Continue reading

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A ghostly perspective on Fort Constitution and Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

Motivated by my son’s interest in the paranormal, we joined a “haunted lighthouse tour” at Fort Constitution in Newcastle, N.H. on a recent summer evening. The tour of the Fort and Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse was led by ghost hunting expert Ron … Continue reading

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On Bridges and the Jet Set

At our Rice Public Library, I recently attended a fascinating slide show featuring photographs of “old Kittery” that was put together by Frank Totman of Kittery Point. Of special interest to me were the photos of the Portsmouth, Kittery and … Continue reading

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