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Understanding the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

African Burying Ground01HISTORY MATTERS

Like many of you, I was there when Portsmouth city workers uncovered the ancient coffins in the fall of 2003. We stood at the corner of Chestnut and Court streets, peering down past a thin crust of asphalt into the earthen world below. (Click title to read more)

Saving the Old State Street Store Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

102-State Street in 1930s by John Meade HowellsHISTORY MATTERS

History lover Karen Bouffard steps up to preserve one of the last wooden buildings in downtown Portsmouth. Built as an exception to the Brick Act of 1814, this 1 1/2 story wooden cape almost met the wrecking ball. Now it's history, and that of the silversmiths Samuel and TP Drown are back in the news.  

George Orwell Taught Me to Write History Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


I never cared much for American history in school. My mind does not cling easily to dates, names, or dots on maps. I struggled with concepts like "Federalism" and "Whig" and "Manifest Destiny."  (click title to read more) 

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)


More Articles...

  1. Tallest Tombstone in New Hampshire is 100 Years Old
  2. Portsmouth Builds Rare HMS America in 1749
  3. Unloved President Franklin Pierce Had Seacoast Connections
  4. Those Dangerous Daily Newspapers
  5. When Old Ironsides Was Ours
  6. Five Reasons to Skate at Puddle Dock Portsmouth
  7. Heavenly Days at the Hellish Portsmouth Naval Prison
  8. The Lost Interview with Dorothy Vaughan
  9. Tough Times for Tough Portsmouth Mayors
  10. Alemaker Frank Jones was Hero and Heel
  11. Repairing Sir Peter Warren
  12. The Brief Life of the First Oceanic Hotel
  13. Portsmouth 1814 Brick Act was Unpopular Law
  14. How Massachusetts Almost Ate New Hampshire
  15. 1847 Letter
  16. An 1847 Message from Hog Island
  17. Unraveling the 1694 Murder of Ursula Cutt
  18. The Day the Piscataqua River Exploded
  19. Gettysburg Concordance App Brings Battle to Life
  20. The Flags of John Paul Jones
  21. Rower Retraces Smuttynose Murder Route
  22. Reflecting on a Painted Wall
  23. The Fickle Fate of Tobias Lear
  24. Portsmouth and Dover Still Feuding Over 1623 NH Founding Date
  25. How Portsmouth Partied in 1923
  26. NH Governor Driven Out of Three Mansions
  27. New Book Will Fully Explore 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders
  28. Black Heroes and Heroines of Portsmouth
  29. How John Paul Became John Paul Jones
  30. My First 50 Years With Computers
  31. Horrific Boon Island Wreck Has Portsmouth Link
  32. Reviving the Portsmouth Powder Alarm 1774
  33. Finding the First House in New Hampshire
  34. Atlantic Heights WWI Shipbuilder Neighborhood Story Told in Book
  35. Why I Hate Fake Pirates
  36. Predicting the Future of Kittery and Portsmouth
  37. Presidents Who Visited Portsmouth
  38. Experts Say Exhibit Not Reconstruction is Best Use of First NH State House
  39. New Ways to See the Old Portsmouth Seaport
  40. What We are Learning about the Isles of Shoals
  41. Facing Up to Facebook
  42. Edward Warren Clark was Magic Lantern Man
  43. Newspapers and History are Siamese Twins
  44. The Second Death of John Greenleaf Whittier
  45. George Washington Slept Here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  46. Did NH Governor John Langdon Own Slaves?
  47. How We Created the Isles of Shoals Exhibit
  48. Why George Wasson is Worth Remembering
  49. Recycling Old Portsmouth Tree Tales
  50. Recalling Portsmouth in the War of 1812
  51. Rare Photo of NH Revolutionary War Vet Featured in New Books
  52. Federal Fire Society Adds to Its Bucket List
  53. Teaching an Old Library New Tricks
  54. Discovering the History of Discover Portsmouth
  55. Mitt Romney and Poetry, UFOs and Trash
  56. Thomas Morton Abandoned at Isles of Shoals
  57. What Scrooge and the Grinch Learned and Santa Forgot
  58. American Revolution Began in New Hampshire
  59. NH Rejects Aristotle Onassis Oil Refinery in 1974
  60. State of the First NH State House Revealed
  61. Demystifying Witchcraft in Portsmouth and Salem
  62. The Lost Jaffreys Come Home at Last
  63. Who Needs Another Gundalow?
  64. Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date
  65. Why John Smith Failed to Colonize New England
  66. Secret Portwalk Dig Yields Buried Treasure
  67. Henry Tufts Wrote First American Criminal Autobiography
  68. Reformer Frederick Douglass Spoke in New Hampshire
  69. The Making of Portsmouth's Greatest Maritime Art Exhibit
  70. Three Beebe Girls Buried at Isles of Shoals
  71. The Last Battle of Fitz-John Porter
  72. Inside the USS Kearsage Monument
  73. How the Tall Ships Really Came to NH
  74. Andrew Peabody Preached Against War in 1847
  75. New England Takes Fort Louisbourg in 1745
  76. William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals
  77. NH Jewish Community Deeply Rooted in Portsmouth
  78. First Religious Newspaper Born in NH
  79. Robert Frost According to Joe Frost
  80. Primus Fowle Ran First NH Press
  81. Snow-Bound Poem Made Whittier Wealthy
  82. Prescott Park Created by Millionaire Sisters
  83. Seacoast Teen Abducted to Brothel
  84. Writing about History in 2011
  85. The Lost Christmas Classic of Celia Thaxter
  86. What Does Piscataqua Mean?
  87. Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH's First Settler
  88. Poet Foss Spoke for the Common Man
  89. Mark Twain Loved Aldrich but Hated Portsmouth
  90. Creepy Characters from History
  91. The Unsung Columbus of New Hampshire
  92. Portsmouth Goes Whaling
  93. The Lost WPA Murals of Gladys Brannigan
  94. Waging Peace in 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth
  95. Subversive Nathan Parker Founded Unitarian Church in NH
  96. What the Cushing Family Left Us
  97. Fannie Sprague Murder Still Unsolved
  98. A Dangerous Love Affair with Fireworks
  99. Pirate Gold Recovered at Isles of Shoals
  100. Spreading the Gospel of Historic Portsmouth


  • 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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