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Former Men of Portsmouth

Early Portsmouth sea captain / SeacoastNH.com reader contribution

BREWSTER'S RAMBLES #145

In an odd juxtaposition, Brewster uses this 19th century column to talk about old men and old furniture. Perhaps they are similar. He lists the name, age and death date of almost 100 "former men" of Portsmouth, NH, back when being old was a sign of distinction and veneration.

 

 

RAMBLE CXLV
The Former Men of Portsmouth -- Ancient Furniture.

Editors Note: See the update at end of article. C.W. Brewster was a Portsmouth, New Hampshire columnist and editor in the early to mid-1800's. This article includes his opinions and may not reflect current research or current values. From Brewster’s Rambles About Portsmouth, 1869 exclusively on SeacoastNH.com. – JDR

IN 1862, John G. Brewster, then in his 83d year, furnished the following record of the deaths of old people in Portsmouth. He himself passed away October 10, 1867, at the age of 89 years 9 months.

"When the mind is active, and we look back to former years, even to our childhood and youth, and remember well the looks and appearance of many of the aged men of those days, we can say in the language of the prophet of old --"Our fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do live forever?" The Scriptural answer is--"Few and evil are the days of the years of thy servants here on earth."

A Venerable Group

Died --. Name -- Age. -- Profession

1787--Clement March, 78, Keeper Alms-house

1787--Daniel Fowle, 72, Printer

1787--Noah Parker, 64, Rev. Univ.

1787--Edmund Roberts, 46, Sea Captain

1788--Clement Jackson, 83, Doctor

1791--Jacob Sheafe, 76, Merchant

1791--Daniel Hart, 50, Joiner

1792--John Langdon, 41, Tanner

1792--John Fernald, 50, Founder

1795--Joseph Alcock, 77, Trader

Brewster's Rambles on SeacoastNH.com1795--George Hart, Jr., 40, Laborer

1795--Michael Wentworth, 76, Gentleman

1797--John Sherburne, 77, Merchant

1797--Hall Jackson, 58, Doctor

1797--Stephen Hardy, 68, Tailor

1798--Eleazer Russell, 76, Naval Officer

1798--Elisha Hill, 55, Blacksmith

1800--Jeremiah Hill, 48, Joiner

1801--John Noble, 66, Keeper Alms-house

1802--Joshua Brackett, 69, Doctor

1802--George Jaffrey, 86, Merchant

1803--Samuel Rice, 59, Sea Captain

1803--John Fernald, 58, Captain

1805--Woodbury Langdon, 66, Merchant

1805--John Pickering, 68, Judge

1805--Thomas Martin, 73, Merchant

1805--Stephen Chase, 61, Merchant

1806--John Mendum, 68, Sea Captain

1806--Samuel Haven, 79, Rev. Dr.

1806--Eliphalet Ladd, 63, Merchant

1807--Samuel Hale, 89, School teach'r

1807--George Hart, 77, Blacksmith

1808--Richard Billings, 75, Captain

1808--Jonathan M. Sewall, 60, Lawyer

1808--Walter Akerman, 71, Tanner

1809--George Gains, 73, Town Agent

1809--Theodore Furber, 58, Captain

1810--Nathaniel Jackson, 69, Farmer

1811--Supply Clapp, 69, Merchant

1812--Richard Salter, 68, Captain

1812--Samuel Hill, 67, Merchant

1812--Neil McIntire, 68, Tobacconist

1812--Jos Buckminster, 61, Rev. Dr.

1813--Timothy Gerrish, 60, Goldsmith

1813--John March, 55, Sadler

1814--John Peirce, 68, Bank Officer

1814--James Hill, 58, Blacksmith

1815--Benjamin Slade, 80, Trader

1815--Rich'd Champney, 71, Merchant

1816--Joseph Whipple, 78, Naval Officer

1817--William Cutter, 48, Doctor

1818--David Brewster, 79, Joiner

1818--Wm. Brewster, 77, Taverner

1819--John Langdon, 79, Governor

1820--Wm Langdon, 82, Tanner

1820--Ammi Cutter, 86, Doctor

1820--Micha'l Whidden, 87, Joiner

1820--Richard Hart, 87, Merchant

1821--George Massey, 70, Gentleman

1821--Timothy Ham, 79, Joiner

1822--R. C. Shannon, 77, Lawyer

1822--Joseph Walton, 80, Reverend

1823--Robert Ham, 85, Farmer

1823--John Flagg, 59, Captain

1823--Nath'l Kennard, 68, Captain

1824--Jere'h Libbey, 76, Gentleman

1824--Nath'l Jackson, 60, Tanner

1825--Samuel Ham, 83, Farmer

1827--John Bowles, 72, Captain

1829--John Goddard, 73, Merchant

1829--Gideon Walker, 63, Miller

1829--Jacob Sheafe, 84, Merchant

1830--Thomas Sheafe, 80, Merchant

1830--Clement Storer, 70, Merchant

1830--Samuel Fernald, 74, Town Clerk

1832--Joseph Akerman, 92, Cordwainer

1838--William Ham, 84, Merchant

1844--Kendal Fernald, 92, White smith

1849--Thomas Spinney, 83, Laborer

1851--Mark Green, 89, Boat builder

'Tis but a few whose days can count

To three score years and ten

And all beyond that short amount Is sorrow, toil and pain."

A venerable bureau was recently exhibited at a town fair in Connecticut, which was brought to this country at its early settlement, and is still preserved in the same family. A chair that has been in one family 150 years, and another some 200 years old, were also exhibited.

We have in daily use, and as good as new, four chairs made by our great grandfather, John Gains, in 1728. He built the house in the rear of the Mechanics Reading Room in that year, and these chairs he made for his parlor. The Marseilles counterpane which was in use in the family before our grandmother's birth, in 1739, we also have in as good condition as it was a hundred and twenty years ago. A looking-glass which formed a part of the furniture when "that old house was new," bears more the marks of age, and has for several years reflected the countenances of the inmates of the Journal office. When our venerated ancestor used to look in this glass, there were but four newspapers published in the United States.

[1872 NOTE--The old mirror hung unharmed in the Journal office until the Friday evening previous to the death of the writer of these Rambles. Then by a singular coincidence, just as the last number of the last paper previous to his decease was worked off, the glass was broken by an accidental blow.--Ed.]

PHOTO CREDIT: TOP: Reader submitted painting of former Portsmouth sea captain. MIDDLE: "A Venerable Group" of Portsmouth men from Gurney's 1902 history of Portsmouths / SeacoastNH.com

 Text scanned courtesy of The Brewster Family Network
Copy of Rambles courtesy Peter E. Randall
History Hypertext project by SeacoastNH.com
This digital transcript  © 1999 SeacoastNH.com

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