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Photographic Evidence of Early Shoalers

398_00SeacoastNH.com Presents
Historic Portsmouth #398

Brian Fagan, author of the bestselling book Fish on Friday, pushes back on what historians are beginning to call the “Puritan myth” of the founding of America at Plymouth in 1620, a story told so often that it has pushed out all other founding stories, including the arrival of fishermen at the Isles of Shoals. (Continued below with photo)

“The mythmakers of American origins,” Fagan says, simply wrote the original Shoalers out of the story. “New England was settled, not by Pilgrims escaping persecution in a land peopled by Native Americans,” Fagan reminds us, “but by roistering cod fishermen schooled in the rough-and-ready world of the migrant fishery.” This rare photo found in the Athenaeum archives shows there were “Puritans” at the Shoals. But this documented proof comes a little late. These guys were re-enacting the story of the Harvard missionaries like Reverend John Tucke of Hampton (on left) who came to “Christianize the heathen fishermen.” Early Puritans like Richard Cutt (in wig on right) arrived at the Shoals in the 1640s and later bought up what is now downtown Portsmouth. These two were dressed up for a history pageant on what was likely Star Island in the early 20th century.  (Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Puritan re-enactor on Isles of Shoals

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