Week in Review

Every week I say to myself “If you wrote a weekly entry on Sunday nights it would be so easy to keep the blog up.” And another week passes and another.. Oh, I know  it is Monday, not Sunday…but at least it is a start. On November 9, Thomas Dumont organized a flagpole dedication as […]

Museum Acquires 18th Century Armchair

Elizabeth Ackroyd

Elizabeth Ackroyd. Photo credit unknown.

Elizabeth Aykroyd, curator of the Tuck Museum, presented an update at the annual meeting of the Hampton Historical Society regarding the museum’s recent acquisition of a mid-eighteenth-century banister-back armchair made in the Hampton area.

“The unusual turned crest rail and the similar drop panel above the seat mark this chair as belonging to a small group of similar chairs which have been attributed to southeastern New Hampshire,” she said. “It relates to two chairs found in Hampton Falls, with a history of having belonged to the Meschach Weare family. Those two chairs are now in the Currier Museum of Art. They have the turned crest rail like ours, although the banisters are different. Chairs with similar crest rails have also been found in the Portsmouth area with an attribution to that town.


Our new chair on display in the Charles Henry Turner room at the Tuck Museum. Photo Cheryl Lassiter.

“The turned legs are also typical of chairs made in southeastern New Hampshire. For instance, two banister-back chairs in the American Independence Museum in Exeter have the same turned legs. Those chairs originally belonged to the Revolutionary soldier Major Joseph Cilley of Nottingham, NH. Chairs with similar turnings turn up relatively frequently in antique shops and at auction in this area.

“What makes this chair, found by an antique dealer at auction in Plainfield, NH, almost certainly a manufacture of the greater Hampton area is its extravagant form. Turned chairs with similar exaggerated decorative features seem to share a history of having been in Hampton in the eighteenth century. The James family chair in the Tuck Museum is one example, as are the two Hampton Falls chairs mentioned above. The strong similarities between our chair and those from Hampton Falls indicate a shared tradition of chairmaking. Such chairs seem to date from about 1740 to 1760 or so and illustrate a very local creative impulse which only died out with the new styles that came into fashion after the Revolution.”

The chair is now on display in the Charles Henry Turner Room at the Tuck Museum.

New Volunteer Donates Antique Holiday Postcards

kathy headshotKathy McLaughlin is one of our newest volunteers. Besides excellent organizational, research, and writing skills, she brings to the Tuck Museum lots of good ideas on how to best tell the story of Hampton’s history. Kathy recently donated a collection of antique holiday postcards to the museum and gave a talk on them at the annual meeting of the Hampton Historical Society. Below is a transcription of her program with images of the postcards. (The photo of Kathy is from the Hampton Historical Society’s Victorian Tavernwalk on October 11, 2014. She donned the garb of a late 19th century ‘woman of means’ to portray Marilla Ricker, New Hampshire’s first woman lawyer).


I’d like to show you some postcards from my Aunt Sadie’s holiday postcard collection. She lived in Salisbury, Massachusetts and my family lived in Connecticut. Sadie gave her collection to me when I was in high school, when we were spending the summer vacation with my grandmother in Hampton Falls.

About 40 years later, in 2014, I moved to Hampton. I stopped in at the Tuck Museum to ask about becoming a volunteer. I’m interested women’s history, so Betty Moore, the Director of the museum, started me off indexing the Monday Club scrapbooks. The Monday Club was a women’s organization in Hampton that was in existence for 100 years.

Working in the museum made me think about the postcards, and other family items from the Hampton area, that the museum might like to have in its collection. Betty agreed that the holiday-themed postcards would make a nice addition to the existing postcard collection, and I donated them to the museum.

(1 & 2) The first two postcards are Valentine’s Day cards from the early 1900s. One was hand delivered, probably by the sender. The other was mailed through the postal service with a 1-cent stamp in 1914.


Postcards were used then to send short notes and messages the way we use email and texting today. You can see that these postcards are ornate – embossed, using gold. (3) The same is true of the postcard for Washington’s Birthday. Most postcards at this time were printed in Germany and were of higher quality, as compared with later postcards printed in England and the United States.


(4) The Halloween postcard was mailed in 1917 and postage had gone up to 2 cents.


(5 & 6) Next are two Thanksgiving postcards. On the second postcard you’ll notice the date 1620, which is when the Puritans landed. The first Thanksgiving was 1621. This postcard was made in Germany so it appears they were a bit unclear about US history.


(7) Next is a Christmas card, again embossed and using gold. This card was hand delivered in 1913.


Postcard collecting was a national addiction. In 1908 the post office counted 678 million postcards mailed. This number doesn’t include the postcards that were hand delivered. People collected postcards in shoeboxes, and my Aunt Sadie gave her collection to me in a shoebox.

(8) Next is a New Year postcard, this one from 1912, printed in Germany. It is unique because it was printed using silver ink. (9) And another New Year card.


(10) Here is a birthday postcard, from 1913


(11) And finally a Rally Day card to notify children about Sunday school.


(12) Here is the back of one card to show how easy it was to get mail delivered by the postal service. You see my Aunt’s name and that she lives in Salisbury. There’s no street address.


Other cards in Aunt Sadie’s holiday postcard collection are at the museum to be shared.

Mrs. Batchelder’s Garden at the Tuck Museum

Karen Raynes

Karen Raynes. Photo courtesy Cheryl Lassiter.

Karen Raynes is a Tuck Museum volunteer and trustee of the Hampton Historical Society. The creator of the museum’s herb and flower garden, she recently presented “Mrs. B’s Garden” at the Society’s annual meeting. This is her story:

“My history begins at the Historical Society in 2007 when I was researching information about Marelli’s Market, my family’s store in Hampton, to prepare documentation for placement on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places. Betty Moore made available to me much of the information I needed to complete my research. She also has helped me find ways to express my talents at the museum. With her wise advice and never ending energy, she is an inspiration to all of the museums volunteers.

“Mrs. Batchelder’s Garden, affectionately known as Mrs. B’s garden, has been one of those ways I have expressed my interest in Hampton history. This project to create a living, historical tool for learning started in 2011 as a way to bring interest to what an 18th century woman would use to feed, heal, and take care of her family.To fund the project I applied to the Exeter Area Garden Club, and for two years they awarded grants to establish mostly perennial plants in the garden, which is located at the rear door of the Tuck Museum.”


Mrs. B’s garden in its first summer.


Click the image to see the names of each of the numbered plants.


Winnacunnet High School Family & Consumer Sciences teacher Mrs. Cummings and her students on a field trip to Mrs. B’s Garden at the Tuck Museum. Students harvested herbs and used them in recipes at school.

The Union Hotel from the Exeter Newsletter

October 21,1870
MILITARY REUNION.—– For a considerable time the ex-members of Co. “D,” Third N. H., Volunteers, have contemplated holding a reunion, and the affair came off on Saturday, 22d inst., at the Union House, Hampton, in which town a large number of the original members of the company belonged.

The exercises were of a general character, this being the first occasion of the kind. The most important proceeding was the adoption of measures having for their object the carrying out of a favorite project of many prominent ex-members of the Third Regiment, viz: a Regimental Reunion, in furtherance of which object the following resolutions were introduced and unanimously adopted:

Whereas, it is apparent that a regimental reunion would meet the approval of a large number of the ex-members of the Third N. N. Vols., therefore

Resolved, That a committee of arrangements consisting of one ex-officer of each company, be selected by the Secretary of this meeting.

Resolved, That a meeting of the committee be held in Manchester on the last Saturday in April, 1871, to select a location and perfect arrangements for a regimental reunion during that year.

Resolved, That General John Bedel, the original Major of the Third, (in which capacity he endeared himself to every member of the regiment by his uniform kindness and courtesy in camp, and commanded their respect by his unflinching bravery in times of danger), be invited to deliver an address at the regimental reunion, and that he be requested to communicate with, and invite to be present, the ex-members of the field and staff of the regiment.

Resolved, That each member of the committee be notified of his appointment by the Secretary of this meeting, and furnished with a copy of these resolutions.

JOHN M. MALLON, Secretary.

The company enjoyed one of those dinners for which the Union House is so famous, spent an hour or two in social converse and “fighting their battles o’er again,” and departed for their homes well pleased with the Co. “D” reunion, and confident of meeting some hundreds of their comrades at the regimental gathering, next year.

December 2, 1870
FOUND.—- Says the Portsmouth Times—-Messrs. Smith and Whittier of the Union House at Hampton, have been making great improvements in the stables connected with their hotel, and while moving a large grain box a few days since the workmen found a valuable gold watch and chain, which had evidently been hurriedly thrown underneath the box. Messrs. S. & W. immediately recognized it as the property of Judge Morrill of Austin, Texas, who, with his family, occupied rooms at the house last summer. The watch and chain, which are valued at about $200, were stolen from their rooms, while they were out playing croquet one day in August. Mrs. Morrill missed the valuables and there was such a lively hunt made for them that the thief probably put his plunder out of sight in all possible haste, and never dared try to recover. The proprietors are well satisfied that they know who he is.

[Note: Amos Morrill (August 25, 1809 – March 5, 1884) was a United States federal judge.Born in Salisbury, Massachusetts, Morrill graduated from Bowdoin College in 1834 and read law to enter the Bar in 1836. He was in private practice in Murfreesboro, Tennessee from 1836 to 1839, in Clarksville, Texas from 1839 to 1856, and in Austin, Texas from 1856 to 1868. On June 9, 1847, Amos Morrill purchased the property The Grove (Jefferson, Texas) and built a log cabin there, which he used during his time in Jefferson. Morrill sold the property to Caleb Ragin and his wife Sarah on March 20, 1855.[1] He was a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court from 1868 to 1870, returning to private practice in Austin, Texas from 1870 to 1872. On January 18, 1872, Morrill was nominated by President Ulysses Grant to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas vacated by Joel C. C. Winch. Morrill was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 5, 1872, and received his commission the same day. He served in that capacity until his retirement, on October 18, 1883. After his retirement, Morrill remained in private practice in Austin until he died there in 1884.]

February 20, 1880
Hampton, Feb. 17. –

A gentleman stopping at the hotel, a short time since, who was an extensive traveller and very sociable, soon got into an animated conversation with several present, whom he greatly interested from his accumulated stock of useful knowledge. Among other things, he stated that he had visited every town in the New England states. One of our citizens who always keeps an eye on the glass ware, and had intently and quietly listened, stepped forward, and said he : “Mr., were you ever in Pagetown?” This seemed to nonplus the gentleman amidst the roar of laughter which followed, and he spiritedly acknowledged that there must at least, be one town in the old Granite State that he hadn’t seen.

JUNE 4, 1880
Hampton, June 1. — Mr. O. H. Whittier, proprietor of the Union house has thoroughly renovated his stable, and is now finished in a neat and tasty manner with a view to convenience, health and comfort for horses.

It is light, airy, and perfectly ventilated, without causing a draft of air past the horses head, as is commonly the case in most stables. It is pronounced by competent judges to be the best stable in every particular between Portland and Boston.

His carriage wash-room has not excaped notice and is a model affair. In fact the house with all its connections has been put in excellent condition for the accommodation and comfort of summer boarders.

Considering the location, with the many advantages, its grassy lawns, and beautiful shade trees, with O. H. Whittier, Esq., its accomplished landlord and Mr. A. J. Batchelder its obliging clerk, we unhesitatingly claim it to be unsurpassed by any country hotel in the New England states.

June 25, 1880
Hampton, June 21. –

The beach travel has commenced in good earnest. All of the hotels at the beach have some guests. Things begin to have a lively appearance. Mr. Whittier, the popular proprietor of the Union hotel, has his usual number of guests. This is one of the best kept hotels, and one of the pleasantest situated in any town between Boston and Portland. Mr. Whittier is a man ever pleasing to all who come under his hospitality. He also has the very best of help, and everything is done up in apple pie order.

The private boarding houses will soon have their complement, every room being engaged. Mr. John J. Leavitt has made improvements, and the residence of E. J. Hobbs has been improved. Here the popular boarding mistress, Mrs. E. S. Leavitt, makes everyone feel at home.

AUGUST 20, 1880
Hampton, August 17. –

Mr. O. H. Whittier, proprietor of the Union House, gave his numerous guests a rare treat in way of a delicious clam bake on Saturday afternoon last, on the lawn adjoining the house.
In the evening the house was made resplendent by over two hundred Chinese lanterns suspended around the broad piazzas and triangularly across the street. Brilliant fireworks were displayed during the evening, while the jovial crowd danced to the splendid music of Edney’s quadrille band.

Interspersed was singing by several of the lady guests. Mr. Whittier has had a full house for nearly two months and has turned away a large number whom he was unable to accommodate.

Viking Day at the Tuck Museum

Viking Visit  (6)Our first ever Viking Day at the Tuck Museum was held on Saturday, April 26, 2014. The dreary rain kept the crowds at home, but our Vikings gave the few hardy souls who did attend a wonderful learning experience about Viking culture and weaponry that they will not soon forget.

The group responsible for the day is called Draugar Vinlands, which means “Ghosts of Vinland,” in honor of the brothers Leif and Thorwald Erikson, the intrepid Viking adventurers who sailed to Iceland, Greenland, Markland, and Vinland in the 10th century AD.Draugar Vinlands is comprised of Viking History enthusiasts dedicated to the study and implementation of the sword and shield fighting techniques of the Viking age. They are not “reenactors,” rather, they use the term “living history combatants.” The only discernible difference between them and those they strive to emulate is that their weapons are not sharp. You can learn more about this group at their website draugarvinlands.com. We hope they will help us make Viking Day at the Tuck Museum an annual event.

History Saved by the Bees

beehiveStephen Bachiler’s honey bees were in a tizz.

Their hive had been invaded by bees from a foreign stall, one that Bachiler had promised to deliver to John Winthrop, Jr. in Ipswich. It was a gift from Winthrop’s father in law, presumably Reverend Hugh Peters of Salem, the stepfather of Winthrop’s second wife Elizabeth Reade.

Suffering from a dearth of nectar, the “thievish” Winthrop bees “hath robbed & spoiled” Bachiler’s beehive. The raid delayed the delivery, and prompted Bachiler to write a letter to Winthrop to report the problem.

In the same letter, dated October 9, 1638, he advised Winthrop that he had found a “reasonable meet place” at Winnacunnet plantation and intended to begin its settlement the following week. “Our hope and desire,” he continued, “is to have your help & our christian friend Mr. [Simon] Bradstreet…that we may lay some foundation.”

Had it not been for the rogue bees, “as the manner of bees is,” Bachiler would have delivered them to Winthrop, and in so doing would have relayed his plans for settlement in person, depriving Hampton of some of the details of its founding.

(excerpt from my upcoming book, The Mark of Goody Cole.)

A beautiful, photographic replica of Stephen Bachiler’s letter to John Winthrop, Jr. can be viewed at the museum as part of the “Founding Hampton” exhibit.

-Cheryl Lassiter, 2013


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