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Click on a special section to the right or select an article from the list below.

Portsmouth Shipyard

Old Ironsides

John Paul Jones



Old Ironsides


Motel Ironsides Leaves Portsmouth Print Email
Written by SeacoastNH Early Images   


Yes, this is "Old Ironsides" as it looked when it left Portsmouth Harbor in 1897 and returned to Charleston, MA. Hey, maybe we didn’t make it look good, but we kept the Old Gal alive for another couple of decades while she was here. Click to see colorized postcards.



In Search of Paul Jones Pistol Print Email
Written by SeacoastNH   

JPJ in false British legend shooting crew member


Less than a dozen items belonging to John Paul Jones are known to exist today. Among them, very likely, is a pistol used in battle. One day a group of Jones fans from Portsmouth wen to check out the story. Here are the photos.



Hauling Out the USS Albacore Print Email
Written by Shipyard Stories   

Uss Alabacore

May 4, 1985
Twenty years ago a local philanthropist had a wild idea. Why not move a huge submarine onto dry land? It would make a great museum. And it does today. But the haul-out of the USS Albacore was harder than anyone had imagined. Here are the photos of that amazing day.


Finding the Body of Admiral Jones Print Email
Written by Scientific american   

JPJ Coffin from 1905 Scientific American
May 1905

Okay, if you don't believe us, will you believe Scientific American? The well-respected science journal issued a detailed report after the discovery of the lead coffing in Paris in 1905. As part of our detailed coverage of this historic event, we offer the complete text of the 1905 magazine article. Click for more.

Old Ironsides Best Web Links Print Email
Written by   

Best Old Ironsides Web Links

Readers Ahoy! If you want to know more about Old Ironsides, this is the place to start. Because of our high rating in the search engines, we are often mistaken for the official USS Constitution web site. Not so. Our interest is largely focused on the 20 years when Ironsides was berthed in Portsmouth Harbor on the border of New Hampshire and Maine, Here's MORE.


Paul Jones Paris Exhumation Photos Print Email
Written by SeaocastNH Early Images   

Paris Underground /
May 1905

A century ago the mummified body presumed to be naval hero John Paul Jones was discovered in France where he died in 1792. Thie began an eight year journey in which Jones returned to his current resting place in Maryland. These exclusive early images show the scene of the "big big" in Paris.



The Helen Seavey Quilting Party Print Email
Written by Augustus C. Buell   

Flag Quilting Party -- Not
Lies, More Lies and Legends

Here is the complete text of the Portsmouth legend that refuses to die. It is the story of the "quilting party" of girls who reportedly sewed their silk dresses into the stars and stripes carried aboard the Ranger in 1777 by Captain John Paul Jones. It isn’t true. But here it is for your analysis.



Two Rare USS Constitution Photos Found Print Email
Written by SeacoastNH Early Images   

USS Constitution (c) Sarah Hensz /

By sheer concidence we stumbled on two more fascinating photographs of "Old Ironsides" during her lengthy stay at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. One came from a Texas reader. The other turned up in a file in the local library a few years ago. Here are both images, published for the first time and available exclusively on your favorite history web site.


The Ranger Flag Legend Print Email
Written by Clara Lynn   

JPJ and the flag /


The story of Helen Seavey's quilting party is among Portsmouth's most cherished stoires. Yet it is, as far as we can tell, totally untrue. Here Clara Lynn, the blind poet, puts the tale into rhyme for an early 20th century audience. Is there even an ounce of truth to this popular tale? So far, we haven't found it.



The Bonhomme Richard Flag Hoax Print Email
Written by J. Dennis Robinson   

Mrs Stafford and Flag /
A Mystery Unravels


Sometimes a post card can throw off your whole day. This one did. A SeacoastNH readers sent us this century old postcard reported showing the Bonhomme Richard. It took awhile to whittle the facts away from the fiction, Here’s how we pieced together the hoax.





  • John Paul Jones

    (1747 - 1792)

    Scottish born naval captain John Paul Jones visited New Hampshire twice. In 1777 he took Portsmouth-built RANGER with a Piscataqua crew to France. There he worried the British in a series of guerilla raids before his famous battle in the BON HOMME RICHARD. Later, a hero decorated by the king of France, he returned to Portsmouth to fit out the AMERICA, largest ship of war ever built in the nation to that day.  Jones stayed at the Purcell House, today the Paul Jones Museum. This site offers those stories and many more.

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  • The Shipyard


    Skilled boatbuilders were producing fine wooden ships from the dense local forests  by the late 1600s. The Raleigh, first of the ships in the Contientnal Navy was built here before the Revolution. Shipyards flourished all along the Piscataqua and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine is over 200 years old. This section is dedicated to those ships, the men and women who built and sailed them, and their families.

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  • Old Ironsides


    Among the oldest pictures in the US Navy archives is an iamge of :Old Ironsides" under repair in Portsmouth Harbor. Though built and berthed still in Charleston, Mass, the USS CONSTITUTION has deep ties to the Piscataqua. The oldest US naval ship was here for nearly two decades during a strange era in her history -- told here.

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Monday, February 19, 2018 
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