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American Revolution Began in New Hampshire Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Raid by Ralph Morang



For Portsmouth historians there remains one cavernous gap in the story of the American Revolution. Textbooks continue to assert and people continue to believe that the war began in Massachusetts with the Battle at Lexington and Concord in 1775. I protest. In the tradition of local historians before me, I contend that the first shots of the War for Independence were fired four months earlier at New Castle, NH on December 14, 1774. (Continued below)

NH Rejects Aristotle Onassis Oil Refinery in 1974 Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Aristotle_OnassisHISTORY MATTERS

Be thankful this holiday that Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis did not turn Great Bay into the world’s largest oil refinery. Aristotle who? How quickly we forget. In 1974 the most important thing that happened in Seacoast New Hampshire was what did not happen. Tankers did not prepare to offload 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily into a giant pipeline at the Isles of Shoals. (Continued below)


State of the First NH State House Revealed Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

First_NH_State_House_00Here we go again. It’s been stripped, sold off, broken apart, moved across town, remodeled, moved again, disassembled, trucked to Concord, stored in a trailer, eaten by bugs, and studied piece-by-piece at great expense. The surviving bits of New Hampshire’s First State House once stood in the middle of Portsmouth’s busy Market Square. Now it’s time to decide, once and for all, what its future purpose will be. Is it a priceless artifact of New Hampshire history with an important story to tell? Or is it a crumbling over-analyzed wooden footnote to a forgotten era?


Demystifying Witchcraft in Portsmouth and Salem Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Salem Witchcraft Museum /

“Oh God, it’s October again!” Prof. Emerson Baker groans over the phone, and I can almost hear his eyeballs roll up towards the heavens. Reporters by the dozen call “Tad” Baker this time of year for their annual Halloween fix. (Continued below)

The Lost Jaffreys Come Home at Last Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   


They were welcomed back as royalty. Dozens of Portsmouth Athenaeum proprietors raised a wine glass last month to toast the return of George and Clementina Jaffrey, a hip young Portsmouth couple of the early 1800s. (Continued below)



More Articles...

  1. Who Needs Another Gundalow?
  2. Portsmouth Herald Seeks Its Own Birth Date
  3. Why John Smith Failed to Colonize New England
  4. Secret Portwalk Dig Yields Buried Treasure
  5. Henry Tufts Wrote First American Criminal Autobiography
  6. Reformer Frederick Douglass Spoke in New Hampshire
  7. The Making of Portsmouth's Greatest Maritime Art Exhibit
  8. Three Beebe Girls Buried at Isles of Shoals
  9. The Last Battle of Fitz-John Porter
  10. Inside the USS Kearsage Monument
  11. How the Tall Ships Really Came to NH
  12. Andrew Peabody Preached Against War in 1847
  13. New England Takes Fort Louisbourg in 1745
  14. William Morris Hunt Dies Mysteriously at Isles of Shoals
  15. NH Jewish Community Deeply Rooted in Portsmouth
  16. First Religious Newspaper Born in NH
  17. Robert Frost According to Joe Frost
  18. Primus Fowle Ran First NH Press
  19. Snow-Bound Poem Made Whittier Wealthy
  20. Prescott Park Created by Millionaire Sisters
  21. Seacoast Teen Abducted to Brothel
  22. Writing about History in 2011
  23. The Lost Christmas Classic of Celia Thaxter
  24. What Does Piscataqua Mean?
  25. Myles Standish Speaks Out on NH's First Settler
  26. Poet Foss Spoke for the Common Man
  27. Mark Twain Loved Aldrich but Hated Portsmouth
  28. Creepy Characters from History
  29. The Unsung Columbus of New Hampshire
  30. Portsmouth Goes Whaling
  31. The Lost WPA Murals of Gladys Brannigan
  32. Waging Peace in 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth
  33. Subversive Nathan Parker Founded Unitarian Church in NH
  34. What the Cushing Family Left Us
  35. Fannie Sprague Murder Still Unsolved
  36. A Dangerous Love Affair with Fireworks
  37. Pirate Gold Recovered at Isles of Shoals
  38. Spreading the Gospel of Historic Portsmouth
  39. The First Perilous Voyage of Privateer Lynx
  40. When Playwrights Play With History
  41. How Harvard Helped Portsmouth and Vice Versa
  42. Fishing Adventures at the Isles of Shoals
  43. Vampire Lincoln Vs the Texas School Board
  44. Rare Photo Shows NH Revolutionary
  45. In Search of Black Yankee Imagery
  46. The Fall and Rise of Max Maynard
  47. Turning Seacoast Fact into Historical Fiction
  48. Writing History in the 21st Century
  49. Top 10 Seacoast Natural Disasters
  50. The Truth about Vintage Christmas
  51. NH Merchants Mint Their Own Money
  52. Privateer Lynx Heads East
  53. Best Clam Chowder Recipe is Our Family Heirloom
  54. Shifting Street Names is Portsmouth Tradition
  55. Thomsons were First NH Settlers in 1623
  56. Captain of Ironsides Starts Navy Yard
  57. Inside the Media Morgue
  58. How the Coolidge Family of Boston Saved Wentworth Mansion
  59. The Perils of Privateer Andrew Sherburne
  60. The Agony and the Ecstasy of James Kennard Jr
  61. What Happened to Portsmouth North End?
  62. Prehistoric Artifacts Discovered at Isles of Shoals
  63. Little Girl Opens Big Bridge
  64. Memoir of a Clever New England Girl
  65. Lincoln Supporters Trash Copperhead Newspaper
  66. Stamp Act Agent Burned in Effigy
  67. The Many Homes of Daniel Webster
  68. Louis de Rochemont in Hollywood NH
  69. Black Man with Washington Crossing the Delaware
  70. Ruth Blay Hanged Here in 1768
  71. Ice Storm Photos Frozen in Time
  72. Fire and Ice in Downtown Portsmouth
  73. York Indian Legend Might be Real
  74. White Men Invented Saint Aspinquid
  75. No Thanks Given to NH Founders
  76. The Fall and Rise of Portsmouth NH
  77. Tales of a Real Ghostbuster
  78. Letter to Portsmouth in 2123 AD
  79. Time Capsule Buried in 1998
  80. Love Letters of Dorothy Vaughan
  81. Maine Yankee Escapes Confederate South
  82. Bicycles on the Water
  83. The Elusive Trail of Lucy Hale
  84. Was 1981 NH Bomber Crash Pilot Error?
  85. The Stones of Monhegan
  86. The Day the FB111A Crashed
  87. Like Father, Unlike Son
  88. Dartmouth Conceived as Indian School
  89. Eccentric Pilgrim Stranger Preached to Congress
  90. The UFO Romance of Betty and Barney Hill
  91. Almost Famous in a 1969 Cover Band
  92. Bad Boy Book Genre Born in NH
  93. Collecting John Paul Jones
  94. Why Old NH State House Should Not Be Restored
  95. Why Louis Wagner Was Smuttynose Slayer
  96. Black Heroes and White Voices
  97. Robinson History Added to Portsmouth Herald
  98. Lafayette was the First American Idol
  99. Things You Never Knew About Old Portsmouth Library
  100. NH Woman Meets Mormon Founder Joseph Smith


  • 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.

    Article Count:
  • 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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