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At the Grave of Celia Thaxter on Appledore Island

Celia Thaxter grave markerSeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #423

Island poet and artist Celia Laighton Thaxter died on August 26, 1894. Almost 120 years later, she’s still a lively source of conversation in her hometown of Portsmouth. I’ve visited Celia’s grave and restored garden many times while at the Shoals Marine Lab. But this early photo offers a sobering perspective. In the background we can see the top of the Appledore Hotel, built in 1847 when Celia was only 12. (See more photos below)

 

We can see the same configuration of rooftop elements in the photo of Appledore House (below). Celia’s own cottage was located nearby to the right, where she held her summer salons with famous writers, artists, and musicians. Both buildings burned in the 1914 fire, but here they seem hauntingly close to the little cemetery that now hides in the vegetation on the unoccupied part of the island. The weathered tombstone now includes the dates of Celia’s brother Cedric (died 1899) and Oscar (died 1939 at age 99). Small curved markers inside the walled family cemetery also read simply “Mother” and “Father” for Eliza and Thomas Laighton.  Celia’s estranged husband Levi Lincoln Thaxter and her three sons are buried on the mainland in Kittery Point. (Photos courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum and J.Dennis Robinson)

MORE ON Celia Thaxter

Celia Thaxter grave as ween between 1894 and 1914 / Portsmouth Athenaeum

Appledore House (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum

Celia Thaxter grave site today / J. Dennis Robinson

Detail of fingerprints on negative of Victorian photo of Appledore Hotel ? Portsmouth Athenaeum

Images by Portsmouth Athenaeum & SeacoastNH.com

 

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