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Sing Frank Jones Brewery Song

brewsong99.jpg

SEACOAST POETRY

While rummaging through family artifacts a Portsmouth family discovered these lyrics. Published exclusively on SeacoastNH.con, they offer insights to life in the city and to the political ambitions of the city’s richest man.

 

 

 

JUMP directly to SONG LYRICS 
READ about the discovery of MANUSCRIPT

Jones Beer Drives Away All Pain

We know a good deal about Portsmouth tycoon Frank Jones, but we know little about the men who worked in his breweries. This rare manuscript takes us into the West End brewery to meet the men themselves, men like Yankee Denny "with his beautiful big nose" and Paddy Haloran.

The song also references Frank Jones’ campaign for governor of New Hampshire. Jones had served as Portsmouth mayor and a state congressman, but was unsuccessful in his bid for the governor’s mansion. This song seems designed to stir up workers at the brewery to support their boss during his 1880 campaign. The manuscript was discovered recently by a long-time Portsmouth family.

brewsong01.jpgBorn on a nearby Barrington farm in 1832, Frank Jones' rags-to-riches story is still popular local history. Fueled by cheap immigrant labor, Jones grew his local brewery into a large brick complex, some of which survives today. He parlayed his profits into ownership of the Rockingham and Wentworth by the Sea hotels, insurance companies, banks, the local railroad, racing horses and more.

Despite his wealth and power, Jones was seen by some as the champion of the working man, as this political ballad suggests. By 1880 he was an extraordinarily wealthy man and became, according to one local historian, "the titular head of the Democratic party in New Hampshire. Jones and other local politicians shifted the political power of the state from its capital at Concord, back to the Seacoast.

Nominated to run for governor in 1880, Jones was introduced as "a household word in New Hampshire." Although owner of a mansion in Portsmouth with its own racing horse stables, Jones ran as a friend to the common working man.

Jones, who would later swap political parties, was strongly opposed by Concord Republican William Eaton Chandler who owned the Concord newspaper (and is known to SeacoastNH.com readers as the husband of Lucy Hale who was originally engaged to John Wilkes Booth). Chandler and the wealthy Republican party attacked alemaker Jones as the source of drunkenness. Both sides were not unknown to purchase votes and there were no moral giants amid the muckraking campaign. And, in the end, with the powerful influence of Chandler, Jones lost to Republican Charles Bell, 44,432 to 40,813 votes.

In his biography of Frank Jones, Ray Brighton mentions a pro-Jones political group called the "Jones Cadets of Christian Shore." This was, and remains for some, the pet name for the old Protestant neighborhood to the north of the city. Locals say that a number of Irish families moved "up the Crick" to Christian Shore when Italian immigrants began arriving in Portsmouth. The local newspaper, according to Brighton, noticed that Irish supporters of Jones had joined this Christian Shore group which had previously been exclusively Protestant. The following brewery song, signed by "P. Ryan," may have been the anthem of this political group.

SEE Frank Jones ROPE PULLING team 

Sources: (1) Richard Winslow, "Frank Jones of NH: A Capitalist and Politican in during the Gilded Age, UNH History Dept Master's Thesis, 1965; (2) Ray Brighton, "Frank Jones: King of the Alemakers" Peter E. Randall Publisher, 1976.

© 1999 by J. Dennis Robinson. All rights reserved. Reprinted in 2008.

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