Piscataqua II - History

Piscataqua II  - History

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Province of New Hampshire

The Province of New Hampshire was a colony of England and later a British province in North America. The name was first given in 1629 to the territory between the Merrimack and Piscataqua rivers on the eastern coast of North America, and was named after the county of Hampshire in southern England by Captain John Mason, its first named proprietor. In 1776 the province established an independent state and government, the State of New Hampshire, and joined with twelve other colonies to form the United States.

  • New Hampshire

Europeans first settled New Hampshire in the 1620s, and the province consisted for many years of a small number of communities along the seacoast, Piscataqua River, and Great Bay. In 1641 the communities were organized under the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, until Charles II issued a colonial charter for the province and appointed John Cutt as President of New Hampshire in 1679. After a brief period as a separate province, the territory was absorbed into the Dominion of New England in 1686. Following the collapse of the unpopular Dominion, on October 7, 1691 New Hampshire was again separated from Massachusetts and organized as an English crown colony. Its charter was enacted on May 14, 1692, during the coregency of William and Mary, the joint monarchs of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Between 1699 and 1741, the province's governor was often concurrently the governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. This practice ended completely in 1741, when Benning Wentworth was appointed governor. Wentworth laid claim on behalf of the province to lands west of the Connecticut River, east of the Hudson River, and north of Massachusetts, issuing controversial land grants that were disputed by the Province of New York, which also claimed the territory. These disputes resulted in the eventual formation of the Vermont Republic and the US state of Vermont.

The province's economy was dominated by timber and fishing. The timber trade, although lucrative, was a subject of conflict with the crown, which sought to reserve the best trees for use as ship masts. Although the Puritan leaders of Massachusetts ruled the province for many years, the New Hampshire population was more religiously diverse, originating in part in its early years with refugees from opposition to religious differences in Massachusetts.

From the 1680s until 1760, New Hampshire was often on the front lines of military conflicts with New France and the Abenaki people, seeing major attacks on its communities in King William's War, Dummer's War, and King George's War. The province was at first not strongly in favor of independence, but with the outbreak of armed conflict at Lexington and Concord many of its inhabitants joined the revolutionary cause. After Governor John Wentworth fled New Hampshire in August 1775, the inhabitants adopted a constitution in early 1776. Independence as part of the United States was confirmed with the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

Barbara J. Alex, President of Piscataqua Pioneers 2011-12, opened the 2012 Annual Meeting. at The Regatta Banquet & Conference Center at 10:00 a.m. There were 70 members and guests in attendance. In the absence of the secretary, Ellen Dennett volunteered to read the 107th Annual Meeting minutes, but a motion was made, and seconded to suspend reading and to accept the minutes as filed. Reports were then read (and accepted) by the Treasurer, Auditor, Registrar and Curator. Our Chaplain Barbara Muir then read the names of members who had died over the past year and conducted a memorial service for them.

Armistead Dennett, a Past President, spoke of the on-going project of documenting the biographies of the Piscataqua Pioneer's Past Presidents. He said this is a two part project with Part I being the collection of biographies and indicated out of the 107 to date, there are 45 done. Armistead said Part II consists of creating a chronological abstract of the business of the society. First Vice President Fred Boyle spoke of the Piscataqua Pioneer website as being key to the growth and health of the organization and explained the hiring of Susan Winch to be our new webmaster. Fred also told about plans for Piscataqua Pioneers to have a booth at the 12th NERGC conference to be held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH 17-21 April 2013.

The last major business of the meeting was to vote on changes to our by-laws. All suggested changes/revisions were moved, seconded and approved as outlined and explained. The largest change is that instead of operating with a Board of Directors Piscataqua Pioneers will now have three or four Officers-At-Large to take on special tasks requested of them by the president. After hearing and approving the Nominating Committee‚s slate of officers Charles Tarbell, a Past President, installed them into their respective offices, including our new president, Fred Boyle of Springvale, ME.

Upon taking office, President Fred Boyle thanked the organization "for the distinct honor of being your president". Read more of the President's Remarks. Minutes of the annual meeting prepared by Ellen Dennett, (Acting Secretary), are also now available.

Portsmouth NH 03802-1511
Copyright Piscataqua Pioneers
May 28, 2021

Maine Places

Admiralty Village, Bedell Crossing, Braveboat Harbor, Briggs Corner, Crooked Lane (former location), Foreside (former post office at Kittery), Kittery, Kittery Foreside, Kittery Junction (former railroad station), Kittery Point, Oak Terrace, Pepperell Cove

Prominent Islands

Cutts Island, Gerrish Island (formerly known, with Cutts Island, as Champernowne Island), Isles of Shoals (Appledore Island, Duck Island, Cedar Island, and Smuttynose Island), Seavey Island

Adjacent Towns and Townships


Gravestone Inscriptions from the Isles of Shoals

Epitaphs From South Berwick, Berwick, and Kittery

Church Records

Quakers in Kittery, 1734-1737

Members of Second Church of Kittery, 1746

Maine Historical Maps: Kittery

Military Records

Kittery Soldiers and Sailors Who Died in the Revolutionary War

Commissioned Officers from Kittery, 1775-1784

Vital Records

Some Marriages in Kittery, 1695-1738

Kittery Marriage Intentions, 1717-1721

Miscellaneous Resources

Land Grants in Kittery

Kittery Tax Lists, 1751-1767

Valuation List for Upper Part of Kittery (Now Eliot), 1776

Tax List for North Parish of Kittery, 1783

General Resources


______, Kittery Ancient and Modern (Kittery, Me.: Kittery Booklet Committee, 1931)

______, (Disable ad blocker to view link) Old Kittery, 1647-1947 [] (Kittery, Me.: Piscataqua Press, c1947)

Anderson, Joseph Crook, II, and Lois Ware Thurston, comp., Vital records of Kittery, Maine to the year 1892 (Rockport, Me.: Picton Press, 1991)

Burrage, Rev. Henry S., "The Baptist Church in Kittery," Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. 9 (Portland, Me.: The Society, 1898)

Dildilian, Martha S., Descendants of David Staples (1764-1820) of Kittery, Maine (West Hartford, Conn.: Chedwato Service, 1956)

Dunkle, Robert J., and Valerie Ruocco, "Parish Records of the First Church and Society of Kittery, Maine," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 151 (Boston, Mass.: The Society, 1997)

Frost, John E., Colonial Village (Kittery Point, Me.: Gundalow Club, 1948)

Jenness, John Scribner, The Isles of Shoals: An Historical Sketch (New York, N. Y.: Hurd & Houghton, 1873, 1875)

Lapham, William B., "Kittery Family Records," Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. 3 (Portland, Me.: The Society, 1892)

Mitchell, Harry Edward, et al., comp., The town register York and Kittery, 1906 (Brunswick, Me.: H.E. Mitchell, 1906)

Mitchell, Jeannette Gordon, Kittery Men & Women in World War II (Kittery, Me.: Kittery Press, 1947)

Safford, Moses A., "Historic Homes of Kittery," Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. 5 (Portland, Me.: The Society, 1894)

Stackpole, Everett S., Old Kittery and her families (Lewiston, Me.: Press of Lewiston Journal Company, 1903

The Biggest Prize

Portsmouth Naval Prison, where prisoners from Nazi U-boats were first taken

On Friday, May 18, the public eagerly awaited the arrival of the fourth and last of the Nazi U-boats. Rumors circulated about its cargo. The submarine was headed to Japan, which was still in the war. Supposedly it carried personnel and materiel to help the Japanese war effort.

U-234 arrived in Portsmouth at 7:30 am on Saturday, May 19, greeted by swarms of journalists. The biggest prize of all the Nazi U-boats, the high-ranking officers aboard made it a major news story.

The submarine carried a disassembled Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, prototypes, technical descriptions of new weapons and several senior weapons technicians. The two Japanese scientists were not on board. They had committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, and the Germans buried them at sea.

The U.S. government kept the secret about part of U-234’s cargo: 1,232 lbs. of uranium oxide. Scientists later used it in the Manhattan Project for the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

German General Ulrich Kessler, assigned as the Luftwaffe liaison in Tokyo, made an impression as the stereotypical Nazi general. Tall and formal, he wore white gloves, a long leather greatcoat, polished leather boots and an Iron Cross around his neck. He seemed to enjoy the publicity, noted WHEB’s Gray.

Kessler spoke in fluent English with a British accent. When asked how he felt about surrendering, he said, “I was in the last World War. I’ve been through it before. I’ll probably go through it again.”

Piscataqua II - History


The explosion took only seconds. At 4:10 p.m. on the sunny Saturday afternoon of July 22, 1905, a spout of water, rocks, and wooden timbers shot 150 feet into the sky over the Piscataqua River . An estimated 30,000 spectators saw in a moment what 50 tons of carefully placed dynamite could do. A chunk of an island off the Kittery shore was shattered by the hand of man. Henderson 's Point was gone and a treacherous obstruction to navigation in Portsmouth Harbor was conquered. The public cheered and then packed up their picnic baskets for the train ride home. (Continued below)

The event was truly historic. Never before in the United States , some said in the wide world, had so much dynamite been set off at one time. But the "terrible yet beautiful spectacle," the explosion itself, was only one chapter in a complex tale of politics and engineering. It was not the beginning of the story and it was not the end.

First comes the drydock

Water traffic down the swift Piscatauqa River had always been especially tricky, even dangerous, around a spit of land known locally as Pull-and-Be-Damned. The point, about 550 feet long and 750 feet wide at its base, poked out from Seavey Island in Kittery , roughly across the river from modern-day Peirce Island in Portsmouth . Henderson 's Point, purchased by John and William Henderson in the 1760s, was a hazard to navigation during Portsmouth 's commercial hey-day in the Age of Sail. It became a bigger problem, however, for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800, that expanded onto a series of islands, especially Fernald's and Seaveys on the Kittery side of the river.

As early as 1826 the U.S. Congress was considering building a major navy drydock for shipbuilding and repair at Portsmouth Yard. The Piscataqua was a deep naturally-defended port that did not ice-up in the winter, but the current was very fast and there was that nasty obstacle to navigation called Henderson 's Point. While Boston , Virginia , and New York got their federal drydocks, Portsmouth would have to wait until 1852, when, instead of a permanent stone drydock, Portsmouth 's was built of wood. Attempts to rebuild the rotting wooden drydock at Portsmouth failed to gain federal funding until the rise of the Spanish American War in 1898. Assistant Secretary of the Navy and soon President Theodore Roosevelt favored expanding the American navy. Soon Portsmouth was on the list for a million dollar drydock, and this time it would be built of stone.

Not of commercial value

The drydock project was an engineering feat of strength. Some 166,000 cubic yards of rock had to be removed in order to install over 20,000 cubic yards of cut granite and hundreds of millions of pounds of cement. Hundreds of skilled workers were paid $3 per day while unskilled workers received $1.60 per day. Debris excavated from the drydock became landfill between the islands that would eventually turn the navy yard into a 288-acre city unto itself. But the modernized shipyard for America 's "New Navy" was still threatened by Henderson 's Point. Large new battleships found it difficult to navigate the dangerous point and some captains refused to enter the inner harbor, preferring to load coal and other supplies via smaller ships at the mouth of the river.

Navy department brass and the head of the Civil Engineering Corp. pushed hard for the destruction of Pull-and-Be-Damned. Unless this outcropping was removed, they threatened, the costly new Portsmouth drydock "will not be available for a large number of the most important vessels of the naval service, and the usefulness of this yard will be largely impaired."

The plan was to remove the rocky obstruction completely to a level of 35 feet below low tide, thus widening this spot of the river by 400 feet. Opponents in Congress argued that, when compared to larger Atlantic ports, Portsmouth Harbor was not worth $749,000 in taxpayer dollars for the project. Portsmouth was dead commercially, they said, and had been that way for decades. But pro-navy forces won the day, insisting that the project was critical to making Portsmouth a viable modern naval station. No one mentioned, at least openly, the ongoing research into building an experimental fleet of submarines for underwater warfare. With the demolition money coming out of naval appropriations, the destruction of "the point" began in August 1902.


By 1904 the initial excavation was done. Engineers had already blasted and scooped out 500,000 tons of rock from the center of the point. The result was a horseshoe-shaped crater with sheer rock walls 60 feet high and 80 feet thick. Around the edge rose a great cofferdam, the biggest of its kind, designed to keep out the "terrible tide" of seawater. The inside of the hollowed-out Henderson's Point, with its manmade wooden stairways and walkways, looked more like a geological feature from the White Mountains than the seashore. Three hundred workers were on the job at once, including many brave divers. (Two workers were killed during the nine-year project.)

An on-site machine shop was needed to keep up with the experimental designs. Drill holes measuring 70 to 80 feet were more than twice the length ever attempted before. Special sticks of dynamite had to be manufactured to fit the holes. And because some of the dynamite would be underwater for as much as three weeks, the sticks were wrapped in two layers of paraffin, effectively making them waterproof. Two hundred tons of dynamite were used in all. Special electrical systems had to be designed to make sure that the final 50 tons of dynamite would go off simultaneously during the historic blast on July 22, 1905.

"This improvement makes almost a straight entrance into the harbor," the Granite Monthly reported with some trepidation in 1904, "and what changes in the extreme currents of the river from the increased flow of water it will make, is as yet problematical."

Archived photos of July 22 show great crowds climbing off Portsmouth trains and trolleys to witness the great explosion. The women are uniformly dressed in long skirts and white blouses, the men in dark sport coats with panama hats or derbies. They mug for the Kodak cameras and pose with Portsmouth policemen along the "combat zone" off Water Street .

"This will be one of the most remarkable feats of engineering of its kind ever attempted," the Cambridge Times announced to its Boston readers on Saturday morning. "The wonderful explosion which blasted Hell Gate does not compare with this event." Newspapers from Massachusetts to Maine offered special travel rates that included tickets to wooden observations platforms along both sides of the Piscataqua.

Portsmouth ale maker Frank Jones had been a major advocate of the modernized naval shipyard. Federal projects meant more workers and more workers meant more beer. Although Jones had died three years earlier, his company was not shy about selling the event. They distributed thousands of souvenir booklets entitled "A Day Long to be Remembered" that included the best spots to view the explosion and an invitation to tour "the largest brewery in the land."

"The name of Frank Jones of Portsmouth will live as long as there is any place of being on this globe," the booklet read, as if composed by a drunken copywriter. "In Portsmouth itself there is so much to be seen that it is almost impossible to see it all."

Jones was so tied to local history, according to the souvenir booklet, "that the mere mention of Portsmouth to a stranger will invariably call forth the remark, 'Oh, yes, that is where they make the Frank Jones ale.'"

Exactly on schedule, after an appropriate countdown, someone in the observation building shouted "FIRE!" Miss Edith Foster, daughter of the project superintendent from Worcester , Massachusetts , threw the switch and the electrical current set off 50 tons of dynamite in 200 expertly placed holes. Seconds later "the greatest engineering enterprise of its kind ever known" was over. The flooded area cushioned the explosion as predicted, shooting up the spout of water and debris, but creating surprisingly little seismic shock. Bits of exposed rock did not fly off and injure spectators as some had predicted. The only mishap, according to later reports, was a man struck by a slow moving automobile as he fled the area. Within minutes a fleet of small boats filled with curious tourists were already headed toward ground zero to examine the results and collect floating mementos.

The U-shaped cofferdam shattered as planned, breaking up the rock below, followed by a small "tidal wave" that swamped bridges and washed onto the nearby shores. Fears that the earth might crack or be knocked off its axis by the explosion proved unfounded. In fact, the event went so smoothly that one Kittery resident wrote to the newspaper wondering if visitors who had traveled far, even camped out overnight, might have gone away disappointed.

With little danger and no accidents, the event was considered "a complete success" according to the media and to the proud corps of navy engineers. Even naval hero John Paul Jones would be pleased, one newspaper noted, since he too had been forced to navigate his warship Ranger around Henderson 's Point in the Revolutionary War. Coincidentally, the body of Captain Jones was just then arriving back in the United States after being recently exhumed from beneath the streets of Paris where he was buried in 1792.

The city's historic summer was just beginning. Days before the Henderson 's Point explosion, the local papers announced that negotiations to end a bloody war between Japan and Russia would be held here. For 30 days in August, the events of the Treaty of Portsmouth kept the region in the spotlight of world news.

Technically the project was not finished even six years later. In August of 1911 government engineers formally reported that the removal of Henderson 's Point was "satisfactory." But cost overruns, according to the local newspaper, might lead to a $250,000 lawsuit. To be even more technical, Henderson 's Point is still there. Although the 1905 explosion displaced 270,000 cubic yards of rock and soil, the rest of the geological formation is still underwater. A sonar test of Portsmouth Harbor made more than a decade ago shows the base of the formation resting comfortably some 11 meters below the surface at low tide.

Exploring The Seacoast

Thousands of people prefer to look out over the ocean rather than inland among the mountains. Exploring may be only a stroll at low tide along the sands, collecting sand-dollars or seashells of many colors and shapes.

For those who own a cottage on the sand dunes or enjoy their annual vacation at the shore, exploring may arouse their curiosity about the origin of local names or the historical background of the locality.

This booklet briefly guides to landmarks that date to the long ago. Also noted are features of the landscape, local folklore and events that stir the imagination. One important fact of interest is that the State of New Hampshire claims the line that meets the sea.

Town of Seabrook

The southern border of the Seacoast is at Seabrook, one of the divisions of the 100 square miles that belonged to Hampton, first settled in 1638, then incorporated as a separate town in 1768. Inland across the marshlands is the thriving, industrial village along Route U.S. No. 1.

Along the beach are summer homes and a harbor, recently dredged, with a pier and floating dock. At Seabrook Beach there is access to the shore for the public, with a small area provided. Here anyone is welcome to stop for a picnic or a dip in the ocean.

Up the coast a cottage development between the Ocean Boulevard and the shore drive has named its streets for cities and towns in New England. Approaching the Hampton River, Woodstock and Plymouth

Streets extend to the shore. At this exit, between the cottages on either street, deep down in the sands, is a landmark called "Bound Rock" that marks the site of a long controversy.

This begins before New England was occupied by Englishmen. The King made the mistake of granting this territory to two different companies: The Massachusetts Bay Colony with its boundary line at three miles north of the Merrimack River John Mason of Plymouth, England also received a large tract which he named New Hampshire with his boundary line in the middle of the Merrimack River, thus overlapping into Massachusetts.

In 1638 Massachusetts granted the Town of Hampton within the territory that John Mason claimed. In 1639 Massachusetts granted the Town of Salisbury on the north bank of the Merrimack and far into New Hampshire to the present town of Hampstead.

Both colonies assessed taxes for the settlers of Hampton. When these grantees refused to pay double taxes, Massachusetts arrested them and confined them in the dark jail at Salem, in the Bay Colony.

Finally the Court appointed a surveyor named Shapley to draw the boundary line between the two towns. Mr. Shapley found a ledge in the middle of the Hampton River which he marked H.B. 1656 to designate Hampton Bounds. He named this ledge "Bound Rock."

While another century passed, the tides and the winds filled the bank of the Hampton River with ten feet of sand that buried Bound Rock and moved the bank 300 rods northward. Meanwhile the line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire was fixed at the three mile limit northward of the Merrimack River, and Governor Benning Wentworth granted a new town called Seabrook in 1768, between Salisbury and Hampton.

Cement bulwark above Bound Rock

Both towns disagreed about the boundary line. Seabrook claimed that the Hampton River marked its northern boundary. Hampton declared that Bound Rock determined its rights. With the assistance of the memory of an aged surveyor, Bound Rock was excavated and marked H.B. 1856 and again marked in 1861.

Within the present century a cottage development encroached along Seabrook Beach with two of its streets named Plymouth and Woodstock, on the drifting sands. The Highway Department of New Hampshire again found Bound Rock and to protect it from burial, an octagonal cement bulwark was erected from the ledge up to five feet above the surface of the sand, now visible between Plymouth and Woodstock Streets. In 1938 the Town of Hampton requested that the Superior Court of Rockingham County set the line between Seabrook and Hampton.

Finally, after 325 years from the beginning of this boundary trouble, in 1953 the Court reviewed the evidence of old records and decreed that Bound Rock and the Shapley line, now marked by a flat stone where the tree once stood with B.T. upon it for Bachiler's Tree, is the legal line between Seabrook and Hampton.

Neither town is pleased with this decision. Seabrook loses thousands of tax dollars. Hampton must now provide schools, police protection and most problematical, a water supply. Thus in the words of the poet, "Times makes ancient good uncouth." Bound Rock is, indeed, a landmark.

Town of Hampton

The bridge over the Hampton River is the entrance to Hampton. Certainly the landscape is vastly changed since three hundred and twenty-five years ago when the few Puritans joyfully landed among the forests and marshes. Joyfully, because they had been granted 100 square miles of territory by Massachusetts, although within the claim of John Mason.

Already their church was organized with Rev. Stephen Bachiler, minister, then seventy years of age with vitality that sustained a notable activity another thirty years.

The name Winnacunnet was selected for their town, meaning "Beautiful Place of Pines." Truly appropriate, because forests of pine and oaks extended to the very shore. Along the bank of the Hampton River and further inland their oak-framed houses and barns were erected. The harbor was busy with schooners for the coasting trade and fishing fleets.

But trouble arose. Within the religious tenets of these Puritans was a conviction that the Devil bewitched persons who willingly held communication with him. Several men and women were accused of familiarity with the Devil, but their cases were dismissed by the Court.

Unfortunately Mrs. Eunice Cole was convicted of witchcraft, sentenced to be flogged, then confined for life in the jail at Salem.

The evidence seemed to prove that two young men were drowned when she caused their boat to overturn. A farmer testified that his two calves died after eating Goodwife's grass as she predicted they would. A group of young people were drowned after she warned them that a storm was gathering. So, "Goody" Cole was a witch.

Rather than allow her in their town, the citizens paid eight pounds annually for her board.

As years passed, repeated petitions were offered for the release of this unfortunate woman, when her husband was too ill to be alone and after he died. Once she was allowed to return to her home but was again committed to the jail. Finally the Town of Hampton refused to pay board and she was unable to find the money. She was released and her neighbors were instructed to support her. Hungry and cold, the poor woman died and was buried beside a road with a stake through her body to prevent further witchery.

When the Tricentennial celebration was planned in 1938 by the Town of Hampton, a group of citizens determined to remove the stain from the memory of Goody Cole. A resolution was voted at the annual town meeting on March 8, 1938, restoring Eunice Cole to her rightful place as a citizen of Hampton.

All official documents pertaining to her case were to be burned and the ashes and soil from her last home would be placed in an urn and buried in the ground that the selectmen would designate.

On August 17, 1963 a monument was dedicated to "Goody" Cole at the Meeting House Green Memorial Park in Hampton. Among the Puritan families are many well known names. Perhaps most famous was Robert Tuck whose descendants became prominent in educational and legal positions. On April 30, 1938 the last member to leave a name both at home and abroad was Edward Tuck who died in Paris, France. He accumulated a fortune in banking. Among his generous benefactions to Hampton was a fund to develop the Tuck Athletic Field for young people and assistance in creating the Memorial Park which he paid to upkeep until it was taken over by the town.

He presented the Tuck Historical Building in Concord, New Hampshire and the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration and a residence for the President at Dartmouth College. Abroad, his gifts included collections of tapestries and porcelains, restorations and maintenance of a magnificent hospital.

Hampton Beach on a mid-summer day

Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — The story of the Piscataqua region isꂾing told through nearly 200 objects and artifacts, some on display for the first time, in a new exhibit.

The Old Berwick Historical Society launched a groundbreaking project Saturday that seeks to redefine the founding story of this region. "Forgotten Frontier: Untold Stories of the Piscataqua" explores the turbulent century of the 1600s through the lives of eight diverse characters.

Nearly three years in the making, a new exhibit about the Piscataqua region uses artifacts, archival documents and an interactive map to tell the story and reveal deep connections to today.

Consulting curator Nina Maurer said many people came to the region for economic reasons, to find a new life or to escape the political climate in Massachusetts.

“These were not Puritans seeking refuge from religious separatists as was the case with the Massachusetts Bay Colony,” Maurer said.

Maurer said the history of the Piscataqua region is unique and this exhibit is a much more nuanced view that explores the encounters between divergent cultures that occupied the region through the eight main characters, where the goal is for people to see the connections to their own lives today.

Sagamore Rowls is a Wabanaki tribal leader of the Newichawannock Humphrey Chadbourne an English carpenter who became a wealthy fur trader and timber merchant Patience Chadbourne Spencer an English immigrant who became a Quaker tavern keeper and Nicholas Shapleigh an English timber merchant, royalist and slaveholder.

William Black, who came here as 𠇋lack William,” an African slave of Shapleigh, later became a free man and farmer. Thomas Holmes was a Scottish prisoner who became a sawmill manager Jean-Baptiste Hertel, a French soldier and patriot who accompanied the raid that destroyed Salmon Falls and Mehitable Plaisted Goodwin a captive in the Salmon Falls raid that returns to raise a family at Old Fields.

The artifacts, documents and reproductions tell their intertwined stories. In one case there is a belt and a pin that bear the symbol of the Tudor Rose, a symbol of loyalty to the British.

“Nicholas Shapleigh was a royalist and opposed attempts by Massachusetts to take over New Hampshire and Maine,” Maurer said. “He would have worn this pin, much the same way people wear an American flag pin today.”

Emerson Tad Baker, is professor of history at Salem State College in Massachusetts, who assembled a remarkable collection of archeological artifacts when he excavated an entire hillside at the former site of a 17th century house and sawmill. In one remarkable instance a key is still in a lock from a home that was burned in the Raid on Salmon Falls in 1690.

“It is a moment frozen in time,” Baker said. “It speaks to the survivalist nature and tenacity of the people who settled here.”

He said the Piscataqua region was the limit of the European front and if a settlement burned the next Europeans might be as far away as Canada. He said it is likely many of the settlers suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the raids and other threats they faced.

Baker said many who were freed or burned out chose to stay in the area adding to the diversity that included Quakers and Baptists, Irish, Scottish and British.

Central to the exhibit is a c. 1667 British Library map of the Piscataqua River by John Scott.ꂺker said the map shows how unified the region was by a network of arteries and also how people were living on the edge of the wilderness.

“The rivers were the roads not the fences,” Baker said. “The region was unified by the river, not divided by it the way it is now.”

Maurer said Maine and New Hampshire are two states now, and while there were provincial boundaries, it was more like one big area.

“People would cross and cross and cross again to go between, but now people don’t want to go from Portsmouth to Dover,” Maurer said.

The map has been transformed into an interactive display where visitors can focus on specific towns and learn more about the characters then see their possessions in the exhibit and follow all the connections.


Between 1690 and 1900, gundalows dominated the waters of the Piscataqua region. Captain Edward H. Adams (1860–1950), the builder and captain of the Fanny M, the last commercial gundalow, worked hard to generate concern about the health of Great Bay Estuary. His efforts inspired the Piscataqua Gundalow Project, through which a group of visionaries and volunteers built a historically accurate replica gundalow in 1982 that bears his name. Built on the grounds of Strawbery Banke using traditional methods, “Captain Edward H. Adams” represents 300 years of local maritime heritage.
In 2002 the Gundalow Company was formed as a nonprofit organization to acquire ownership of the gundalow. In 2011, Paul Rollins was hired by the Gundalow Company to build the “Piscataqua” on the grounds of Strawbery Banke. Today the Gundalow Company’s mission – to protect the Piscataqua Region’s maritime heritage and environment through education and action– has never been more important. Our programs – held throughout the tidal towns of the Piscataqua – connect our maritime history with contemporary coastal issues such as water quality, habitat restoration, conservation, and stewardship.

Watch the video: RMS Franconia, Cunard Line, Charleston (May 2022).


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