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The Fickle Fate of Tobias Lear Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Tobias_LearHISTORY MATTERS

He deserves to be the most famous of all Portsmouth residents, and yet his name is still not widely known. A combination of luck and influence put a Portsmouth, NH boy from the South End smack in the heart of power at the dawn of the American nation. But each time Tobias Lear rose high on the wheel of fortune, his life soon came crashing back to earth. (Full story below) 

 
Portsmouth and Dover Still Feuding Over 1623 NH Founding Date Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Was NH founded in 1623 and where?HISTORY MATTERS  

Wait a minute. Before you start designing your company float for the city's humongous 400th anniversary celebration in 2023, answer this one question -- Was Portsmouth really founded in 1623? And no, that big rock with the carved date at the foot of Market Street does not prove a thing. Rocks can lie. Historians have been debating this question for over 200 years, and their answer is -- well, sort of.  (Continued below) 

 
How Portsmouth Partied in 1923 Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

01 2023HISTORY MATTERS

The enormous 400th anniversary celebration of the founding of Portsmouth is now just 10 years away. It could be the biggest economic boom in city history. Think of tons of tourists spending bags of money throughout the year. Or, we could wait until the last minute, not build that parking garage, and squander the whole thing. (Continued below) 

 
NH Governor Driven Out of Three Mansions Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Guards at Government House, HalifaxHISTORY MATTERS  

New Hampshire's last royal governor and his wife had a taste for ritzy real estate. I know because I've visited all three of John Wentworth's North American mansions -- in Portsmouth, in Wolfeboro, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And at every mansion there is a sad story to tell.   (Continued below) 

 
New Book Will Fully Explore 1873 Smuttynose Island Ax Murders Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Maryellen at Marens RockHISTORY MATTERS

March 5 is my wife's birthday. It is also the 140th anniversary of the 1873 ax murders on the Isles of Shoals. That's especially weird since my wife and I are summer stewards on Smuttynose Island. We stay in the old Haley Cottage about 10 feet from where the "murder house" once stood. And this year, to make things weirder still, I am writing a book on the Smuttynose murders. (Continued below)

 

More Articles...

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

Subcategories

  • 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.    

    Article Count:
    178
  • As I Please

     

    HISTORY MATTERS

    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.

    Article Count:
    88
  • 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.

    Article Count:
    2
  • 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.

    Article Count:
    25

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