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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Coming Home

“Old Home Week in New Hampshire will be celebrated August 11th to August 18th, 1900, and it gives me unqualified pleasure to invite all absent sons and daughters of the State and all who have some time lived within its borders, to return during that week and assist us in kindling the fires of State patriotism. The busy cities, the thriving villages, the little towns and hamlets among our smiling hills, will receive our visitors with genuine New Hampshire hospitality. The custom of observing Old Home Week was inaugurated last year with complete success . . .

. . . That Old Home Week appealed to the highest sentiments and aroused feelings long dormant was shown by hundreds of poems, sonnets, songs, and marches dedicated to our State, by historical addresses and articles of interest and value, and by orations of great ability. The endowment of libraries, the erection of public buildings, the awakened interest in village improvement and better highways, the repurchasing of the old homesteads and farms, afford proof that the festival also appealed to the practical side of men’s natures. . .”

                                             Governor Frank Rollins. 1900. Invitation to Old Home Week.

The physical, cultural, demographic and economic landscape of New Hampshire changed in the years and decades after the Civil War. The veterans who came home in 1865 returned to a place of transformation that would intensify dramatically by the turn of the 20th century. How did these changes shape the state and how did New Hampshire respond to them?

Old Home Day, Stoddard.  Eighteen Civil War veterans attended the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument
on August 24, 1917.  Photo courtesy of Stoddard Historical Society, Stoddard, New Hampshire.
Decline of Agriculture

Agricultural New Hampshire succumbed to the pressures and opportunities that the post-war years presented, seeing a decline of the traditional agricultural economy, the availability of cheap or free lands in the West through the Homestead Act of 1862, and expanded exposure and easier access to places beyond New Hampshire and New England. Contributing to the 2% decrease in New Hampshire’s population between 1860 and 1870, in addition to the thousands lost in the war, was the emigration of veterans and others to other parts of the country. Within the state’s borders, population shifts also depleted rural towns of their residents and, along with foreign immigration, contributed to the rapid growth of manufacturing cities.

New Hampshire’s farmers left behind fields and farmsteads as agrarian life declined, resulting in an abundance of abandoned properties, shrinking villages, and the re-forestation of previously cleared pastures and fields.  

“A logging camp, Concord, New Hampshire,” ca. 1925,
stereo, Keystone View Company.  Image from Library
of Congress, Prints & Photographs.
Post-war Industries

While railroads had been moving people and goods around New Hampshire and the nation in the decades before the Civil War, it was in the years after the war that their construction boom transformed the state. Miles of railroad track increased 29%, from 661 to 934 between 1861 and 1875 and continued to increase in mileage and power through 1900. One outcome of the railroad’s expansion was the development of two seemingly opposite industries: lumber/paper industries and tourism. One industry was bound to clear-cut the state’s natural landscape and the other promoted its scenic enjoyment.

Lumber production tripled in the last decades of the 19th century, supported by regenerated forests on abandoned farms, an 1867 state-mandated sale of public lands, the development of a new process to produce paper, and the expansion of the railroads into northern New Hampshire. By 1890, 831 sawmills were operating in the state. The Berlin Mills Company – begun solely as a sawmill in 1852 and known as Brown Company after 1917 – diversified into pulp and paper production ca. 1890 and functioned as the region’s largest employer for decades.

The Mountain View Grand in Whitefield today. Although the resort
closed in the 1980’s, a $15,000,000+ rehabilitation project led to its
successful re-opening in 2002. The project provided the owner
with an opportunity to benefit from the 20% Federal Preservation Tax
Credit and listed the hotel on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo from collection of Division of Historical Resources.

While the mountains were being clear-cut by the lumber industry, the railroads also opened New Hampshire to an explosion of seasonal tourism. Numerous facilities to house the influx of tourists were constructed, ranging from small boarding houses on farms to grand resort hotels in the mountains and on the ocean. Begun as a small inn attached to an existing farmhouse in Whitefield in 1866, the Mountain View House in the northern White Mountains expanded substantially in size and accommodations between 1872 and 1927. Publicity materials for the inn made note of its proximity to the Concord & Montreal and Maine Central Railroad stations and to a “panorama of lake, hill and forest scenery which is unsurpassed and forms a glorious setting for the grand mountains which encircle the whole” (W.F. Dodge and Son, Proprietors, ca. 1894).

“First Old Home Day, Stoddard, New Hampshire, 1899.
About 500 people took part in the celebration, which featured
music by the town band and the reading of a poem entitled,
Old Stoddard Hills.” Photo courtesy of Stoddard Historical
Society, Stoddard, New Hampshire.
Creative Solutions

The indignities of abandonment and late 19th century industry on New Hampshire’s towns, villages, rural landscapes, and wilderness spurred multiple creative responses that would, in turn, impact the state through the early 20th century and beyond. The state sponsored two campaigns at the turn of the century, one intended to bring New Hampshire natives back to the state, Old Home Week, and one to encourage the wealthy to purchase abandoned farms and convert them into summer estates, as promoted in the publication New Hampshire Farms to Summer Homes.  

Governor Frank Rollins initiated Old Home Week in 1899 as a way to remember, celebrate and promote the positive aspects of life in New Hampshire and to encourage former residents and their descendants to return to their native towns and reinvest in them on an annual, seasonal or permanent basis. Today, as much as it brings together old neighbors, friends and family, the occasion is a celebration of the places and spaces that make New Hampshire’s communities special. Old Home Week/Day was enthusiastically supported that first year and still remains a celebration observed in communities throughout the state.

Beginning in 1888, John and Clara Hay purchased 
abandoned farms along the shores of Lake Sunapee. 
Their home, The Fells, was completed in 1891.

Photo from the collection of the
Division of
Historical Resources.
New Hampshire Farms to Summer Homes was also a late 19th century initiative to attract summer home buyers to New Hampshire, rejuvenate the landscape and revitalize local economies. Beginning in the 1890s the State of New Hampshire actively worked to encourage wealthy buyers to convert or consolidate the state’s abandoned farm properties into summer residences and large estates. Examples of such estates include Kona Farm in Moultonborough, which was recently listed on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places, and the Fells, the summer estate of diplomat and statesman John Milton Hay on Lake Sunapee in Newbury. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the estate and gardens are open to the public for tours and exhibits.

Opportunities and progress transformed New Hampshire in the decades after the Civil War. In many respects, the industries and initiatives that encouraged celebration, enjoyment, conservation and preservation of New Hampshire’s landscape and “sense of place” were those that were most successful in the long term. Now, more than a hundred years later, although railroads and many industries have now waned, tourism remains one of the state’s most important economic drivers.

The Fells, Newbury, NH. Clarence and Alice Hay transformed sheep pasture into terraced lawns and formal gardens that are open to the public today. Photo from the collection of the Division of Historical Resources.


Ashjian, Cristina, “Kona Farm,” New Hampshire Individual Inventory Form, 2010. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

Heffernan, Nancy Coffer and Ann Page Stecker. New Hampshire: Crosscurrents in its Development. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2004.

Hengen, Elizabeth Durfee, “Mountain View House,” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 2004. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

“History of Stoddard’s Old Home Days,”, accessed May 29, 2012.

Inherit New Hampshire, Inc. Old Home Day in New Hampshire 1899-1998: Celebrating the Living Heritage of New Hampshire’s Communities. Concord, NH: Inherit New Hampshire, Inc., 1998.

Mausolf, Lisa, “Brown Company Research & Development Buildings,” New Hampshire Historic Property Documentation NH State No. 646, 2010. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

Ober, Richard, ed., At What Cost? Shaping the Land We Call New Hampshire: A Land Use History. Concord, NH: New Hampshire Historical Society and Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, 1992.

Rollins, Governor Frank W. Old Home Week Addresses. Concord, NH: Rumford Press, 1900., accessed May 21, 2012.

Wallace, R. Stuart and Lisa B. Mausolf, “New Hampshire Railroads: Historic Context Statement,” 2001. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

W.F. Dodge and Son, Proprietors, “Mountain View House, Whitefield, N.H.,” promotional pamphlet, ca. 1894, copy in the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mourning and Memorial Day

“ . . . recommend to the whole population of the State that they lay aside their usual avocations, and come together to consecrate this day for ever [sic] to the cause of popular freedom, by eulogistic speech, martial airs, and solemn procession. Let us add our contributions to the offerings of our citizen soldiery. Let us tenderly and lovingly lay the flowers of early spring upon the graves of our sons, and place above their ashes the flag, which, living, they covered with imperishable luster. Let us recall the virtues and the deeds of those who sleep where they fell in the hour of battle . . .”
                                                                       --Governor Natt Head. 1881. State of New Hampshire Proclamation of Decoration Day.

The Civil War’s scale of participation and loss, the manner of death and disappearance, and the social context during which it all occurred influenced how mourning was perceived and carried out during and after the war years. How does an activity as personal as mourning the death of a loved one become, eventually, a national movement?

“The Soldier’s Memorial,” New York, NY. Lithograph created by
Currier & Ives, ca. 1863. From the collection of the Library of
accessed on May 9, 2012.
Participation and Loss
By any standards, the death toll in the Civil War was immense. It has been a long-held truth that approximately 620,000 soldiers died in the Civil War, about the number killed in the seven wars between the Revolutionary War to the Korean War combined. Recent research reveals a new estimate of Civil War dead – 750,000 – 20% higher than previously believed.

Of approximately 33,000 soldiers who joined New Hampshire units (about 10% of the State’s total population in 1860), approximately 4,300 died on the battlefield, shortly thereafter of mortal wounds, or of disease. About 13% of those who left their homes and families to join the Union cause were known to have lost their lives. The status of another 1,600 or so soldiers, 5%, were never accounted for or known by the military or their families.

Death and Disappearance
Intimate experience with death was not a concept foreign to 19th century Americans. Before the war, dying often occurred at home surrounded by loved ones. Family witnessed the dying one’s final moments and cared for their final needs before internment, infusing the death experience itself with religious and cultural meaning.

The scope and circumstance of death during the war drastically changed. Far from home and family many died unattended, contrary to the manner that meant so much to them. In addition, many died unidentified or were hastily buried in undocumented mass graves, leaving their fates and the nature of their final moments unknown.

The town of Milford sent 196 men to the war, 60 (31%) of whom died. Of the 60 who died, “forty of these were never brought home to be buried;” and “all supposed to be dead” of the five who were reported missing (Ramsdell 1901: 141-143). Milford also lost a young nurse, Carrie Cutter, who died at the age of twenty from disease contracted while caring for soldiers (Wright 1979: 15).
Canterbury Civil War Monument with GAR Marker
flag. Twenty-four (19%) of the 128 enlisted men
town of Canterbury “furnished” for the war
were killed, mortally wounded, or died of disease.

Grave of 1st Lieutenant Thomas T.
Moore with GAR marker and flag. Killed
August 29, 1862 at the Second Battle of
Bull Run, Manassas, Va.
Grave of Private Charles W. Morrill. Discharged
disabled November 26, 1864 in Natchez, Miss.
and died 12 days later on December 8 in Cairo,
Ill. Part of a family plot, Morrill’s gravestone

links his life and death to the war.

 Graves and GAR Grave Markers; Canterbury, NH. Protection of the physical features of New Hampshire’s cemeteries through care and maintenance best practices will help ensure a lasting memory of those who have died and the historical context in which their lives were commemorated and remembered over time.  From the collection of the NH Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

Decoration Day
As logistics and circumstance made individual care of the dead more difficult, the Civil War spurred a number of national activities related to the collective care and memory of the country’s war dead that continue to this day. Although initially carried out differently through the North and the South, formally and informally, the war led to the establishment of a national cemetery system and a national day of remembrance. 

Women in the South began decorating the graves of soldiers with flowers before the war was over, and towns in the North began observing formal occasions for decorating the graves of war dead. Decoration Day – so named in reference to these early activities – eventually evolved into the holiday we know today as Memorial Day.

“New Hampshire Decoration Day Proclamation,” Concord, NH, 1881.
From the collection of the Library of Congress,
(NUMBER+@band(rbpe+09600200)), accessed on May 4, 2012.
Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) formally designated by General Order Number 11 a memorial day on May 30, 1868 dedicated “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” The order spoke of “cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead,” preserving collectively their memory and “the cost of a free and undivided republic,” and encouraged the event’s annual observance (, accessed on May 7, 2012). The first national observance of the holiday was on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. The GAR, a Civil War Union veterans’ organization established in 1866 had 94 posts in New Hampshire. GAR markers decorate graves throughout the state’s cemeteries.

In 1881, New Hampshire Governor Natt Head issued a proclamation that formally established the holiday in this state. While some states still follow other Memorial Day traditions, New Hampshire currently observes the holiday on the last Monday in May, following a change by federal law in 1971 that also broadened the honor of the holiday to all soldiers who died in American wars.

This portrait of Governor Natt Head hangs in the New
Hampshire State House. It is displayed there on the third floor.
The portrait was painted by U.D. Tenney in 1880.

Sources and Further Reading

Faust, Drew Gilpin. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. New York, NY: Random House, Inc., 2008.

Lyford, James Otis. History of the Town of Canterbury New Hampshire 1797-1912. Concord, NH: Rumford Press, 1912. Reprint Canterbury, NH: Canterbury Historical Society, 1973., accessed on May 4, 2012.

Ramsdell, George A. The History of Milford. Concord, NH: Rumford Press, 1901.

Schlereth, Thomas J. Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991.

Stevenson, Louise L. The Victorian Homefront: American Thought and Culture 1860-1880. New York, NY: Twayne Publishers, 1991.

Wright, Winifred A. The Granite Town: Milford, NH 1901-1978. Canaan, NH: Town of Milford, 1979.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Civil War Buildings

One of the main cottages at the New Hampshire Veterans Association on
Lakeside Avenue at Weirs Beach in Laconia. The entire property was
listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. From the
collection of the NH Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

“The law passed in 1885 for the relief of indigent soldiers had an excellent purpose, but its execution has shown some defects. As such persons are to be supported, according to this law, by the towns or cities where they live, overseers of the poor very naturally have classed them with paupers. Many feel humiliated by the name, and therefore refuse to accept the support they deserve. As these men were sent to the war by the State, it would seem that the State should furnish the proper relief, and thus take away the stigma of pauper.”   
Governor’s Message, State of New Hampshire Annual Report, 1889

Memorial window at the Soldiers Memorial Building
in Lebanon, dedicated to Sergeant George B. Tracy
of Lebanon, who was wounded at Spottsylvania, VA,
in 1864, and died several weeks later in Washington, DC.
Designed by Lebanon architect Ferdinand Davis, the
Soldiers Memorial Building on Colburn Park was
built from 1886 to 1890, largely from local brick, slate
and oak. Private collection.

The effects of the Civil War on New Hampshire’s built landscape did not create scarred battlefields and destroyed communities, but it did create several new types of buildings to serve and shelter those who suffered from the war’s consequences. Wounded soldiers needed care, and orphaned children a caring home. Soldiers and family members connected by their shared war experiences established social organizations and built headquarters for their recreational, political and benevolent activities.

Among the most well-known organizations to come out of the Civil War experience was the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois. It quickly became the preeminent veterans’ association, with more than 400,000 members, organized into thousands of posts and united by the organization’s objectives of fraternity, charity and loyalty. More than 90 societies were founded in New Hampshire. Today, GAR meeting halls and memorials are the most visual reminder of these organizations and their influence in communities across the state.

More unique to our state was the New Hampshire Veterans’ Association, founded in 1875 and incorporated in 1881. Although established by Civil War veterans, the association later expanded its membership to include veterans of all American wars.  The organization held the first of many reunions in the 1870s at Weirs Beach on the western shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.  By the 1880s, different regiments began building cottages on the site; by 1924, 35 buildings housed summering veterans and various recreational activities such as dances and concerts. Today, the Queen Anne style cottages are a landmark at the Weirs, overlooking the lake, the beach and busy Lakeside Avenue.

Although the original building at the New Hampshire Veterans Home
no longer stands, recent archaeological investigations continue to
provide historical images of life there after the Civil War. Speaking
to the residents’ continuing connections to service and the gravity
of their war wounds, uniform buttons and morphine bottles were
among the most commonly-found artifacts. From the collection of the
New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

In 1888, as the country began to comprehend the full responsibility of caring for aging and disabled Civil War veterans, Congress passed federal legislation to fund the establishment of state-operated veterans’ homes. In 1890, with support from philanthropist Charles E. Tilton, New Hampshire opened the New Hampshire Soldiers' Home in Tilton, the first state to do so. Now known as the New Hampshire Veterans Home, it has cared for thousands of veterans and their families in the years since.

The children and families of lost soldiers also required care in the tumultuous years that followed the Civil War.  The Rev. Daniel A. Mack served as a chaplain during the war. The dying concerns of soldiers are said to have inspired Mack to work with a number of philanthropists to establish a home for orphans on Daniel Webster’s 200-acre family farm in Franklin. Built on rolling farmland along the Merrimack River – a place Webster had said was “the most beautiful place on this earth” – the home was one of the first rural orphanages established in the country.

In East Northwood, the Grand Army of the Republic post
shared its headquarters with the Masons.  The post room –
known to be particularly attractive – was decorated with four
murals depicting scenes from the Civil War. This image depicts
Port Hudson, Louisiana, where Union forces gained control
of the Mississippi River in 1863.  The 8th, 15th and 16th NH
Regiments served at the Siege of Port Hudson.  
accessed May 11, 2012.

The Mack Building, built in 1873 and updated in 1913, at the
New Hampshire Orphans’ Home in Franklin. Named for founder
Rev. Daniel A. Mack, a Civil War chaplain, it was the first of
a number of brick structures built to house orphans and staff.
From the collection of the New Hampshire Division of
Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

 Sources and Further Reading

Child, William H. History of the Town of Cornish. Concord, NH: Rumford Press, n.d., accessed May 14, 2012., accessed on May 9, 2012 .

Mausolf, Lisa B., “Colburn Park Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 1986. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

Muzzey, Elizabeth H. “Webster Farm Area Form,” 2005. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH.

O’Neill, Thomas E.  “New Hampshire Veterans’ Association Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places Nomination, 1980. In the collection of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, Concord, NH., accessed on May 11, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monuments and Markers

Dustin Park with 1890 Civil War Soldiers Monument, bandstand,
and 20th-century war memorial; Pittsfield, NH. From the collection
of the NH Division of Historical Resources. 
“What more proper and appropriate then than honors paid to the memory of those who dared and died in such a contest. Let them be given, and let their deeds and names be commemorated in the granite shaft and the marble column, and in all the other ways which a generous and a grateful people may suggest, while a nation saved is the great monument to their united deeds. And by the memory of the unnumbered whose lives were given as a sacrifice for our nationality, let us all labor to extend and perpetuate the ideas of free government and the principles of liberty for all for which they fought so well and died so nobly. And among the highest honors we can bestow is to forget not the duties we owe to the living friends they left behind. It is by thus honoring them, we honor ourselves, and make it certain, that if in the coming generation dangers shall beset our country, there will not be wanting among our people willing hearts and strong hands to uphold and protect it.”

        -- Hon. Jacob H. Ela, Representative for the First NH District in Congress; Dedication of a Soldiers' Monument at Claremont, NH, October 19, 1869.

Although no battles were fought within New Hampshire’s boundaries, the impact of the Civil War on the state was widespread and ranged from devastating loss of soldiers’ lives to momentous changes in the lives of those left behind. How did New Hampshire communities remember, reconcile, and commemorate these dramatic impacts? In part, by erecting monuments, memorials, and markers to the people and events that shadowed life in the years and decades after the war ended. While the generations directly impacted by the war are long gone, these places and spaces continue to evoke associations of community identity, commemoration, and loss.

The National Park Service believes that the bronze artilleryman
on the Manchester monument was made from the same
mold as the artilleryman featured on the 4th New York
(Smith’s Battery) Monument on the battlefield in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. In 2006, the New York monument was vandalized
and key features, including its head, were removed. In 2011
National Park Service employees came to Manchester, NH to make
rubber molds of the missing elements, which were then used to make
wax molds and pour new bronze features for the 4th New York’s
Gettysburg monument.  

“Soldiers’ Monument [Monument Square], Manchester, N.H.,”
dry plate negative created by the Detroit Publishing Co., ca. 1
910-1920. From the collection of the Library of Congress,,
accessed 5/4/12.

At Home . . .
From Colebrook to Nashua and Cornish to Milton, and in at least 70 other towns and cities throughout the state, New Hampshire communities constructed public spaces and erected monuments and memorial plaques to honor their war veterans. A few were dedicated by and/or to individuals alone, however, most were collective community monuments to all of their men who fought, and died, during the war. Some were dedicated to the number of unknown soldiers who never returned from the war.

The city of Portsmouth’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated in 1888 in a small park on Islington Street, donated by the Goodwin family expressly for the purpose of housing the memorial. Constructed of zinc alloy, the “white bronze” monument is one of many across the state and country purchased from the Monumental Bronze Company, which capitalized on a new manufacturing process and the huge post-war market for such memorials. The monument was restored and re-dedicated in 2003. A Civil War Soldiers Monument was dedicated in 1890 in an existing park located prominently in the center of downtown Pittsfield. A bandstand was added to the park, now known as Dustin Park, in the early 20th century, but it would take eighty-five years until another war monument was added to the site to commemorate four wars between 1865 and 1975. The town of Milford’s Civil War memorial took the form of marble tablets installed in the main stair hall of the “new” town hall, constructed in 1869.

. . .  and Away
Monuments were also erected “away” by the State of New Hampshire to commemorate the contributions of her regiments, companies and other units in battles far from home. Five such monuments are located on the battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Dedicated between 1886 and 1912, the five monuments of differing design and construction are dedicated to the 2nd, 5th, and 12th New Hampshire Infantry regiments, Companies E, F & G of the 1st and 2nd United States Sharpshooters regiments, and the 1st New Hampshire Artillery, Battery A. While the monuments of towns and cities are personal and tied to the collective memory of a single community, monuments
at battlefield locations share New Hampshire’s sacrifice with the country,
linking it to the broader Civil War experience.

New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker 156; Fremont.
From the collection of the NH Division of Historical Resources.
Historical Highway Markers
Begun in 1955, the New Hampshire Historical Highway Markers Program commemorates a variety of Civil War-related events, people, and places, among other topics. Included among these are Markers 156 and 170 in Fremont (“John Brown Family Gunsmiths” and “Civil War Riot of 1861,” respectively), Marker 172 in Laconia (“New Hampshire Veterans’ Association” at Weirs Beach), and Marker 223 in Hebron (“Home Site of Nathaniel Berry; Governor 1861-1863”). Find these, and all of New Hampshire’s Highway Markers, at

Reminders in New Hampshire of the Civil War experience are not to be found on battlefields, but they are easy to find on the landscape if one knows where to look for them. Monuments in town commons, memorial plaques in town buildings, and markers along the state’s roadways all contribute to preserving memory of the war and its impact on the state.

This monument, a gift to the town from former Gov. Frederick
Smyth in 1893, bears the names of 22 Candia residents who
died in the Civil War.  The Civil War soldier statue on the
top of the monument was made by the J.L. Mott
Iron Works in New York City at a cost of $865. From

the collection of the NH Division of Historical Resources.

In 2007, the town restored the zinc Civil War soldier statue,
with the help of  conservator Rika Smith McNally & Associates
and with support from the Conservation License Plate (Moose
Plate) Grant  program at the NH Division of Historical Resources
Courtesy of Rika Smith McNally.
 Sources, accessed on April 30, 2012.

Closs, Christopher W. and Roger A. Brevoort, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form; “Pittsfield Center Historic District.” Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1980.

Dedication of a Soldiers’ Monument at Claremont, N.H., October 19, 1869 Proceedings, speeches, etc. Claremont, NH: Claremont Manufacturing Company, 1869.

Gettysburg National Military Park. 2011. The Lost Artilleryman’s Head. The Gettysburg Quarterly 18 (3) (summer): 3., accessed on April 26, 2012.

Heald, Bruce D. New Hampshire in the Civil War. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2001., accessed on April 27, 2012.

Wyman, Dr. Leonard A. The Union 1861-1865: A Guide to Civil War Monuments in New Hampshire. Keene, NH: Sonaux Publishing Company, 1961.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Homefront

“The Hutchinson Family tribes of John and Jesse,”
lithograph poster created by the Forbes Co. of Boston,
ca.1881. From the collection of the Library of Congress,,
accessed 4/30/12.
 . . . Slavery and Freedom they both had a fight,
And the whole North came up behind ‘em;
Hit Slavery a few knocks with a free ballot box,
Sent it staggering to the other side of Jordan.
    Then rouse up the North, the sword unsheathe,
    Slavery is a hard foe to battle; . . .

 . . . But the day is drawing nigh that Slavery must die,
And eve[r]y one must do his part accordin’;
Then let us all unite to give every man his right, (and women too;)
And we’ll get our pay the other side of Jordan.
    Then wake up the North, the sword unsheathe,
    Freedom is the best road to travel!
Title:  “Slavery is a Hard Foe to Battle”
Summary:  Stanzas 2 and 5 of song sung by the Hutchinson Family
Lyricist:  Judson Hutchinson, 1855
Medium:  Score
Repository:  Library of Congress Music Division

Over the course of four years, New Hampshire sent more than 30,000 of her citizens to live, and wait, and fight in the campaigns and battles of the Civil War. But what of those left behind? How did the war impact life within New Hampshire’s borders? The war years certainly had dramatic impacts, but they also influenced and accelerated subtle changes that were developing in the pre-war decades.

Part of the mill complex in Harrisville today, listed as a National
Historic Landmark in 1977.
From the collection of the
NH Division of
Historical Resources, Concord, NH.
Textile and woolen production in New Hampshire began in the 18th century as a small cottage industry that grew to be one of the state’s key large-scale manufactures by the mid-19th century. Small textile mills were among the early industries gradually shifting many towns’ economies from rural agricultural to industrial, concentrated in villages or urban centers. Increased demand for woolen and other goods during the Civil War created a boom for New Hampshire’s mills, hastening a variety of economic, social, and landscape changes.

 In a village whose existence has always been tied to the ups, downs, and history of the woolen industry, Harrisville benefited from the war’s demand for woolen cloth. In June 1861, Milan Harris incorporated his thriving multi-mill business in the village. By August of that year, the “[New Hampshire] Sentinel reported that ‘Milan Harris and Co., of Harrisville, are manufacturing the cloth for the uniforms of the New Hampshire volunteers, and, we are glad to learn, are making a good article . . .’” (Armstrong 1969: 121). The adjacent Cheshire Mills, owned and operated for the production of woolen goods by the Colony family for more than 100 years after the war, also experienced prosperity and expansion during the 1860s. While production and profit expanded for both mills in the 1860s, so too did the development of this concentrated community, with a doubling of its population and the construction of dwellings, additional mill buildings, and assorted support businesses and industries.

Historic image of the Hutchinson Family Homestead,
River Road, Milford. Private collection.
Social Reform
A number of social reform movements gathered momentum in the decades leading up to the Civil War, spurred in part by economic and social changes in the country and a revived interest in religion. Reform movements took on many issues, including prison reform, healthcare, women’s suffrage, temperance and abolitionism. 

The abolition movement in New Hampshire was formalized in 1834 when the state’s branch of the American Anti-Slavery Society was organized. While the subject of abolition remained divisive in the country and in the state of New Hampshire, it appears that many in the town of Milford and elsewhere were sympathetic to the abolitionists' cause and particularly vocal about their beliefs. One Milford family in particular, the Hutchinsons, spread the word of abolition in this country and in Europe through music. Initially consisting of four of Jesse and Mary Hutchinson’s sixteen children, the Hutchinson Family Singers were a highly recognized group of musicians whose first public concert was held in their hometown ca. 1840. By the Civil War, the group’s music and the songs they popularized were well-known throughout the country, and powerful in ways similar to the work of songwriters and musicians in the 1960s-70s. Various family incarnations of the group performed through the late 19th century. The Hutchinson’s music supported the cause of temperance as well, among others. Interestingly, the group was raised in a home originally built in the late 1700s as an inn with features designed specifically for the storage and sale of liquor. 
The Harriet Wilson Project recently erected this sculptural
representation of Milford author Harriet Wilson. Wilson’s novel,
assumed to be autobiographical, titled “Our Nig, or Sketches
From the Life of a Free Black,” is the first known novel
published by a black woman in English and the earliest novel
published in the United States by an African American.


Armstrong, John Borden. Factory Under the Elms: a history of Harrisville, New Hampshire 1774-1969. North Andover, MA: Museum of American Textile History, 1969, reprint 1985.

Boggis, JerriAnne.  A Black Heritage Tour: Milford, Harriet Wilson, & the Anti-Slavery Movement. Milford, NH: The Harriet Wilson Project, 2005.

Heffernan, Nancy Coffer and Ann Page Stecker. New Hampshire: Crosscurrents in its Development. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England, 2004., accessed 4/30/12., accessed 4/30/12.

Pillsbury, Hobart. New Hampshire, A History: Resources, Attractions, and its People Vol. II. New York, NY: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1927.

Wright, Winifred A. The Granite Town: Milford, NH 1901-1978. Canaan, NH: Town of Milford, 1979.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mustering In

"I shall stand by the Union...with absolute disregard of personal consequences. What are personal comparison with the good or evil which may befall a great country in a crisis like this?...Let the consequences be what they will.... No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and constitution of his country."                                                             
                                                                                                                                        Daniel Webster (July 17, 1850 address to the Senate)
New Hampshire’s ties to the Civil War go far beyond Walpole filmmaker Ken Burns’ groundbreaking documentary. One hundred and fifty years ago, New Hampshire’s men and women served their country both on the battlefield and here at home in ways that still affect us.

Eighteen New Hampshire infantry regiments, as well as cavalry, heavy artillery, light battery and sharpshooter units, served the Union between 1861 and 1865. To begin New Hampshire’s Preservation Month focus on the Civil War, the Department of Cultural Resources has posted online calendars and databases that cover key dates and locations of New Hampshire regiment service, including when they mustered in and out, and the places where they fought. The information can be viewed and downloaded at

Title:  “Cook’s galley, Co. F, 3D N.H.V., Hilton Head, S.C.”
Summary: Photograph shows Company F soldiers at the Camp of the
3rd New Hampshire volunteers posing at the cook’s galley, including
a young African American boy.
Publisher: Henry P. Moore, Concord, N.H.
Medium: print
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Title: Quarters of Emmons & Handerson, Hilton Head, S.C.
Photographer: Moore, Henry P.
Summary: Photograph shows officers George W. Emmons
and Henry C. Handerson, sitting in front of a tent at the camp of the
3rd New Hampshire Infantry.
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
New Hampshire's regiments left behind a rural landscape of farms, towns and villages, and forests of birch, maple and pine. In 1860, the state had a population of 325,858, with almost half living in towns with less than 1,000 residents. The growing industrial city of Manchester was by far the state's largest community, with 20,107 inhabitants. Many soldiers never returned after the war, dying in battle or of wounds, diseases or infections. Others emigrated to the fertile lands and more moderate climates they had seen as soldiers in the West and South. By the federal census of 1870, the state's population had dropped for the first time in its history, losing almost 8,000 residents, or about 2% of the population.

This portrait of Harriet Dame, by Caroline
L. Ormes Ransom in 1901, was the first
portrait of a woman to be hung in the
New Hampshire State House. It is displayed
there today, on the first floor.

Women also left New Hampshire to serve in the war. Harriet Patience Dame was among the most well-known and honored Civil War nurses. Born in Barnstead, Dame also lived in Concord. She was assigned to the Second Regiment of Volunteer Infantry, a regiment that fought in more than 20 battles and lost more than a third of its soldiers. Dame herself was captured twice and released. After the war, the State Legislature awarded her $500 for her service, which she used to build a cottage at the New Hampshire Veteran's Association at The Weirs. Dame worked as a clerk for the Treasury in Washington, DC, for 28 years, and died in 1900.

Title:  “Chickahominy River, Va. Grapevine bridge built May 27-28,1862, by the 5th New Hampshire Infantry under Col. Edward E. Cross”
Summary:  Photograph from the main eastern theater of the war, the Peninsular Campaign, May-August, 1892
Photographer:  David B. Woodbury
Medium:  Glass negative
Repository:  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division