SeacoastNH Home

Seacoast New Hampshire
& South Coast Maine

facebook logo

facebook logo

SEE ALL SIGNED BOOKS by J. Dennis Robinson click here
An Old Town by the Sea 4

A STROLL ABOUT TOWN by TB Aldrich (continued)

Inside the Moffatt-Ladd HOuse/

At the other end of Pleasant Street is an other notable house, to which we shall come by and by. Though President Washington found Portsmouth but moderately attractive from an architectural point of view, the visitor of to-day, if he have an antiquarian taste, will find himself embarrassed by the number of localities and buildings that appeal to his interest. Many of these buildings were new and undoubtedly commonplace enough at the date of Washington's visit; time and association have given them a quaintness and a significance which now make their architecture a question of secondary importance.

One might spend a fortnight in Portsmouth exploring the nooks and corners over which history has thrown a charm, and by no means exhaust the list. I can not do more than attempt to describe -- and that very briefly -- a few of the typical old houses. On this same Pleasant Street there are several which we must leave unnoted, with their spacious halls and carven staircases, their antiquated furniture and old silver tankards and choice Copleys. Numerous examples of this artist's best manner are to be found here. To live in Portsmouth with out possessing a family portrait done by Copley is like living in Boston without having an ancestor in the old Granary Burying-Ground. You can exist, but you cannot be said to flourish. To make this statement smooth, I will remark that every one in Portsmouth has a Copley -- or would have if a fair division were made.

In the better sections of the town the houses are kept in such excellent repair, and have so smart an appearance with their bright green blinds and freshly painted woodwork, that you are likely to pass many an old landmark without suspecting it. Whenever you see a house with a gambrel roof, you may be almost positive that the house is at least a hundred years old, for the gambrel roof went out of fashion after the Revolution.

On the corner of Daniel and Chapel streets stands the oldest brick building in Portsmouth -- the Warner House. It was built in 1718 by Captain Archibald Macpheadris, a Scotchman, as his name indicates, a wealthy merchant, and a member of the King's Council. He was the chief projector of one of the earliest iron-works established in America. Captain Macpheadris married Sarah Wentworth, one of the sixteen children of Governor John Wentworth, and died in 1719, leaving a daughter, Mary, whose portrait, with that of her mother, painted by the ubiquitous Copley, still hangs in the parlor of this house, which is not known by the name of Captain Macpheadris, but by that of his son-in-law, Hon. Jonathan Warner, a member of the King's Council until the revolt of the colonies. "We well recollect Mr. Warner," says Mr. Brewster, writing in 1858, "As, one of the last of the cocked hats. As in a vision of early childhood he is still before us, in all the dignity of the aristocratic crown officers. That broad-backed, long-skirted brown coat, those small-clothes and silk stockings, those silver buckles, and that cane -- we see them still, although the life that filled and moved them ceased half a century ago."


Please visit these ad partners.

News about Portsmouth from

Friday, February 23, 2018 
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.
Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Copyright ® 1996-2016 All rights reserved. Privacy Statement
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Site maintained by ad-cetera graphics