Tag Archives: Kittery history

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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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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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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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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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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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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