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New Monument for the Man Who Named New England Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Smith map compass roseHISTORY MATTERS

I feel much better now. Back in the 20th century I wrote an essay entitled "The Ugliest Monument in New England." You can Google it. I was horrified by the state of the memorial to Captain John Smith that faces the open sea on the Isles of Shoals. Capt. Smith mapped our region in 1614 and named it "New England." Smith's sad memorial, dedicated 250 years later in 1864, had since toppled, cracked, rusted, and was smeared with a thick coating of gull guano. (Click title for full article)

Painting the First Picture of Portsmouth Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Des-Barres small insertHISTORY MATTERS

If you think Portsmouth looks different today, you should have seen it in 1773.  In fact, you can. A rare glimpse of colonial Portsmouth, back when we were still a busy British seaport, now hangs on the wall of the conference room at the Mark Wentworth Home on Pleasant Street. It might reasonably be called the first official portrait of the city. (Click title for full article)

Tallest Tombstone in New Hampshire is 100 Years Old Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


The late Rev. John Tucke had been moldering just below the surface in the damp thin soil of Star Island for 27 years when Rev. Dudley Tyng stumbled over his grave. A minister from Newburyport, Massachusetts, Tyng had come to the Isles of Shoals in 1800 to observe first-hand the wretched condition of the fishermen and their families living there.  (Click title to read more) 

Portsmouth Builds Rare HMS America in 1749 Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


"I think it's unique, absolutely unique," says Rob Napier of Newburyport. He is talking about the wooden ship model of HMS America on display in the Reading Room of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. (Click headline for full article) 

Unloved President Franklin Pierce Had Seacoast Connections Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Franklin Pierce  medal smallHISTORY MATTERS

If he visited no other place, the departing President Franklin Pierce told a local crowd in 1856, he must come to Portsmouth. It was here that he spent some of the most agreeable years of his life, he said. Fresh out of BowdoinCollege, the athletic and strikingly handsome dark-haired Pierce had studied law in Portsmouth three decades earlier with the enormously popular Judge Levi Woodbury. (Click headline for full article) 


More Articles...

  1. Those Dangerous Daily Newspapers
  2. When Old Ironsides Was Ours
  3. Five Reasons to Skate at Puddle Dock Portsmouth
  4. Heavenly Days at the Hellish Portsmouth Naval Prison
  5. The Lost Interview with Dorothy Vaughan
  6. Tough Times for Tough Portsmouth Mayors
  7. Alemaker Frank Jones was Hero and Heel
  8. Repairing Sir Peter Warren
  9. The Brief Life of the First Oceanic Hotel
  10. Portsmouth 1814 Brick Act was Unpopular Law
  11. How Massachusetts Almost Ate New Hampshire
  12. 1847 Letter
  13. An 1847 Message from Hog Island
  14. Unraveling the 1694 Murder of Ursula Cutt
  15. The Day the Piscataqua River Exploded
  16. Gettysburg Concordance App Brings Battle to Life
  17. The Flags of John Paul Jones
  18. Rower Retraces Smuttynose Murder Route
  19. Reflecting on a Painted Wall
  20. The Fickle Fate of Tobias Lear
  21. Portsmouth and Dover Still Feuding Over 1623 NH Founding Date
  22. How Portsmouth Partied in 1923
  23. NH Governor Driven Out of Three Mansions
  24. New Book Will Fully Explore 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders
  25. Black Heroes and Heroines of Portsmouth
  26. How John Paul Became John Paul Jones
  27. My First 50 Years With Computers
  28. Horrific Boon Island Wreck Has Portsmouth Link
  29. Reviving the Portsmouth Powder Alarm 1774
  30. Finding the First House in New Hampshire
  31. Atlantic Heights WWI Shipbuilder Neighborhood Story Told in Book
  32. Why I Hate Fake Pirates
  33. Predicting the Future of Kittery and Portsmouth
  34. Presidents Who Visited Portsmouth
  35. Experts Say Exhibit Not Reconstruction is Best Use of First NH State House
  36. New Ways to See the Old Portsmouth Seaport
  37. What We are Learning about the Isles of Shoals
  38. Facing Up to Facebook
  39. Edward Warren Clark was Magic Lantern Man
  40. Newspapers and History are Siamese Twins
  41. The Second Death of John Greenleaf Whittier
  42. George Washington Slept Here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  43. Did NH Governor John Langdon Own Slaves?
  44. How We Created the Isles of Shoals Exhibit
  45. Why George Wasson is Worth Remembering
  46. Recycling Old Portsmouth Tree Tales
  47. Recalling Portsmouth in the War of 1812
  48. Rare Photo of NH Revolutionary War Vet Featured in New Books
  49. Federal Fire Society Adds to Its Bucket List
  50. Teaching an Old Library New Tricks
  51. Discovering the History of Discover Portsmouth
  52. Mitt Romney and Poetry, UFOs and Trash
  53. Thomas Morton Abandoned at Isles of Shoals
  54. What Scrooge and the Grinch Learned and Santa Forgot
  55. American Revolution Began in New Hampshire
  56. NH Rejects Aristotle Onassis Oil Refinery in 1974
  57. State of the First NH State House Revealed
  58. Demystifying Witchcraft in Portsmouth and Salem
  59. The Lost Jaffreys Come Home at Last
  60. Who Needs Another Gundalow?
  61. Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date
  62. Why John Smith Failed to Colonize New England
  63. Secret Portwalk Dig Yields Buried Treasure
  64. Henry Tufts Wrote First American Criminal Autobiography
  65. Reformer Frederick Douglass Spoke in New Hampshire
  66. The Making of Portsmouth's Greatest Maritime Art Exhibit
  67. Three Beebe Girls Buried at Isles of Shoals
  68. The Last Battle of Fitz-John Porter
  69. Inside the USS Kearsage Monument
  70. How the Tall Ships Really Came to NH
  71. Andrew Peabody Preached Against War in 1847
  72. New England Takes Fort Louisbourg in 1745
  73. William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals
  74. NH Jewish Community Deeply Rooted in Portsmouth
  75. First Religious Newspaper Born in NH
  76. Robert Frost According to Joe Frost
  77. Primus Fowle Ran First NH Press
  78. Snow-Bound Poem Made Whittier Wealthy
  79. Prescott Park Created by Millionaire Sisters
  80. Seacoast Teen Abducted to Brothel
  81. Writing about History in 2011
  82. The Lost Christmas Classic of Celia Thaxter
  83. What Does Piscataqua Mean?
  84. Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH's First Settler
  85. Poet Foss Spoke for the Common Man
  86. Mark Twain Loved Aldrich but Hated Portsmouth
  87. Creepy Characters from History
  88. The Unsung Columbus of New Hampshire
  89. Portsmouth Goes Whaling
  90. The Lost WPA Murals of Gladys Brannigan
  91. Waging Peace in 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth
  92. Subversive Nathan Parker Founded Unitarian Church in NH
  93. What the Cushing Family Left Us
  94. Fannie Sprague Murder Still Unsolved
  95. A Dangerous Love Affair with Fireworks
  96. Pirate Gold Recovered at Isles of Shoals
  97. Spreading the Gospel of Historic Portsmouth
  98. The First Perilous Voyage of Privateer Lynx
  99. When Playwrights Play With History
  100. How Harvard Helped Portsmouth and Vice Versa


  • History Matters

    J. Dennis Robinson writer logo by Reggin LoganHISTORY MATTERS

    Seacoast History by author / editor J. Dennis Robinson, presented biweekly in collaboration with The Portsmouth Herald. (check the Monday Herald every other week for printed version). In "History Matters" Robinson explores regional history and its connection to modern issues in a dramatic and highly readable style. The author has been writing about the "America\'s Smallest Seacaost" (sm) for over two decades.For up to 100 original aritlces by JDR also click here to visit AS I PLEASE. For the latest news see the Portsmouth Herald online web site just click here.    

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  • As I Please



    The editor ponders history, mostly, in this popular Seacoast column. This index contains over 100 original columns by J. Dennis Robinson. The author has been writing about the "America's Smallest Seacaost" (sm) for over two decades.

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  • Historical Societies

    You will find a small historical society building in almost every town in the Seacoast region. Each is unique, run by its own cluster of local history fans and filled with curios. Most are in great need of funds and volunteer help. If you have more updated links, please send them along, and please -- help preserver your town history before it is too late.

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  • Jesse James Films

    Jesse James by J. Dennis RobinsonTHE DINGUS PROJECT
    Jesse James in the Movies

    At least 50 American films and documentaries include the character of outlaw Jesse James. The Dingus Project is one man\'s attempt to view ALL of those films. Writer J. Dennis Robinson began this project after writing a biography of Jesse James for children -- Jesse James, Legendary Outlaw, published in hardcover and paperback by Compass Point Books.The goal, besides watching a lot of movies, is to provide a quick databse that shows how few of these films are based on fact, and how widespread the "imaginary" view of Jesse James has grown. Thanks to Hollywood, the historic Jesse James has all but disappeared. So far we\'ve obtained copies of over 30 films and documentaries related to Mr/ James and we\'re posting them like crazy in anticipation of the Brad Pitt film to be released in 2007. Sure, it\'s crazy, but so was Jesse.

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