Tag Archives: Seacoast 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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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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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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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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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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