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The Day the Piscataqua River Exploded Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

50 tons of dynamite in one big blastHISTORY MATTERS 

The explosion took only seconds. At 4:10 p.m. on the sunny Saturday afternoon of July 22, 1905, a spout of water, rocks, and wooden timbers shot 150 feet into the sky over the Piscataqua River. An estimated 30,000 spectators saw in a moment what 50 tons of carefully placed dynamite could do. A chunk of an island off the Kittery shore was shattered by the hand of man. Henderson's Point was gone and a treacherous obstruction to navigation in Portsmouth Harbor was conquered. The public cheered and then packed up their picnic baskets for the train ride home. (Continued below) 

Gettysburg Concordance App Brings Battle to Life Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Gettysburg Concordance appHISTORY MATTERS

I know Emerson "Tad" Baker as an archaeologist and professor of history at Salem State University. As an expert in the 17th century, he wrote one of my favorite books, The Devil of Great Island, about the mysterious flying rocks that plagued New Castle in 1682. Tad lives in York, Maine and is now writing the definitive book on the Salem Witch Trials. So imagine my surprise when he announced his latest project. (Read full story below) 

The Flags of John Paul Jones Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

John Paul Jones raises flagHISTORY MATTERS 

Patriotic tales of American flags often come wrapped in myth and controversy. Did Philadelphia's Betsy Ross really sew the first 13-star flag? Not likely, historians generally agree. Did 95-year old Barbara Fritchie of Maryland really challenge Stonewall Jackson by waving a Union flag from her window in 1862? The facts suggest it never happened. (Read the story below) 

Rower Retraces Smuttynose Murder Route Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Dan rowing00

"What drives me nuts," I told David Kaselauskas," are all the crazy people who think Louis Wagner could not row a boat to the Shoals, kill those women, and row back in one night."  (Read full article below)

Reflecting on a Painted Wall Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Painted Lady on Portsmouth Mural 1982HISTORY MATTERS

There really are wormholes in time and space. I saw one 30 years ago In Portsmouth. Ask people who were downtown during the last few pendulum swings of 1982. They'll back me up. We all saw it -- a full blown in-your-face breach in the space-time continuum. (Continued below) 


More Articles...

  1. The Fickle Fate of Tobias Lear
  2. Portsmouth and Dover Still Feuding Over 1623 NH Founding Date
  3. How Portsmouth Partied in 1923
  4. NH Governor Driven Out of Three Mansions
  5. New Book Will Fully Explore 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders
  6. Black Heroes and Heroines of Portsmouth
  7. How John Paul Became John Paul Jones
  8. My First 50 Years With Computers
  9. Horrific Boon Island Wreck Has Portsmouth Link
  10. Reviving the Portsmouth Powder Alarm 1774
  11. Finding the First House in New Hampshire
  12. Atlantic Heights WWI Shipbuilder Neighborhood Story Told in Book
  13. Why I Hate Fake Pirates
  14. Predicting the Future of Kittery and Portsmouth
  15. Presidents Who Visited Portsmouth
  16. Experts Say Exhibit Not Reconstruction is Best Use of First NH State House
  17. New Ways to See the Old Portsmouth Seaport
  18. What We are Learning about the Isles of Shoals
  19. Facing Up to Facebook
  20. Edward Warren Clark was Magic Lantern Man
  21. Newspapers and History are Siamese Twins
  22. The Second Death of John Greenleaf Whittier
  23. George Washington Slept Here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  24. Did NH Governor John Langdon Own Slaves?
  25. How We Created the Isles of Shoals Exhibit
  26. Why George Wasson is Worth Remembering
  27. Recycling Old Portsmouth Tree Tales
  28. Recalling Portsmouth in the War of 1812
  29. Rare Photo of NH Revolutionary War Vet Featured in New Books
  30. Federal Fire Society Adds to Its Bucket List
  31. Teaching an Old Library New Tricks
  32. Discovering the History of Discover Portsmouth
  33. Mitt Romney and Poetry, UFOs and Trash
  34. Thomas Morton Abandoned at Isles of Shoals
  35. What Scrooge and the Grinch Learned and Santa Forgot
  36. American Revolution Began in New Hampshire
  37. NH Rejects Aristotle Onassis Oil Refinery in 1974
  38. State of the First NH State House Revealed
  39. Demystifying Witchcraft in Portsmouth and Salem
  40. The Lost Jaffreys Come Home at Last
  41. Who Needs Another Gundalow?
  42. Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date
  43. Why John Smith Failed to Colonize New England
  44. Secret Portwalk Dig Yields Buried Treasure
  45. Henry Tufts Wrote First American Criminal Autobiography
  46. Reformer Frederick Douglass Spoke in New Hampshire
  47. The Making of Portsmouth's Greatest Maritime Art Exhibit
  48. Three Beebe Girls Buried at Isles of Shoals
  49. The Last Battle of Fitz-John Porter
  50. Inside the USS Kearsage Monument
  51. How the Tall Ships Really Came to NH
  52. Andrew Peabody Preached Against War in 1847
  53. New England Takes Fort Louisbourg in 1745
  54. William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals
  55. NH Jewish Community Deeply Rooted in Portsmouth
  56. First Religious Newspaper Born in NH
  57. Robert Frost According to Joe Frost
  58. Primus Fowle Ran First NH Press
  59. Snow-Bound Poem Made Whittier Wealthy
  60. Prescott Park Created by Millionaire Sisters
  61. Seacoast Teen Abducted to Brothel
  62. Writing about History in 2011
  63. The Lost Christmas Classic of Celia Thaxter
  64. What Does Piscataqua Mean?
  65. Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH's First Settler
  66. Poet Foss Spoke for the Common Man
  67. Mark Twain Loved Aldrich but Hated Portsmouth
  68. Creepy Characters from History
  69. The Unsung Columbus of New Hampshire
  70. Portsmouth Goes Whaling
  71. The Lost WPA Murals of Gladys Brannigan
  72. Waging Peace in 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth
  73. Subversive Nathan Parker Founded Unitarian Church in NH
  74. What the Cushing Family Left Us
  75. Fannie Sprague Murder Still Unsolved
  76. A Dangerous Love Affair with Fireworks
  77. Pirate Gold Recovered at Isles of Shoals
  78. Spreading the Gospel of Historic Portsmouth
  79. The First Perilous Voyage of Privateer Lynx
  80. When Playwrights Play With History
  81. How Harvard Helped Portsmouth and Vice Versa
  82. Fishing Adventures at the Isles of Shoals
  83. Vampire Lincoln Vs the Texas School Board
  84. Rare Photo Shows NH Revolutionary
  85. In Search of Black Yankee Imagery
  86. The Fall and Rise of Max Maynard
  87. Turning Seacoast Fact into Historical Fiction
  88. Writing History in the 21st Century
  89. Top 10 Seacoast Natural Disasters
  90. The Truth about Vintage Christmas
  91. NH Merchants Mint Their Own Money
  92. Privateer Lynx Heads East
  93. Best Clam Chowder Recipe is Our Family Heirloom
  94. Shifting Street Names is Portsmouth Tradition
  95. Thomsons were First NH Settlers in 1623
  96. Captain of Ironsides Starts Navy Yard
  97. Inside the Media Morgue
  98. How the Coolidge Family of Boston Saved Wentworth Mansion
  99. The Perils of Privateer Andrew Sherburne
  100. The Agony and the Ecstasy of James Kennard Jr


  • 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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