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Reminiscences of a Native Shoaler
By John W. Downs
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"Sprays of Salt" by John Downs
567 Fullam Hill Road
Fitzwilliam, NH 03447
"Sprays of Salt" was published in 1944 by John W. Downs, one of the only native Shoalers to recount every day living on the Isles of Shoals during the later decades of the 19th century. The author's grandfather, John Bragg Downs, was the last of the "Old Shoalers" to inhabit Star island, holding onto his property until the town of Gosport no longer existed.
Out of print for nearly 50 years, this is the author's story of growing up on Isles. He recalls many adventures on land and at sea -- tales of swordfishing, lobstering, romping with Native American children, shipwrecks, pirate treasure and murder. Downs also includes some family genealogy, especially that of the Caswell, Downs, Foss, Spinney and Odiorne families.
About the Author John W. Downs
Like Celia Thaxter before him, John Downs was born in Portsmouth, but moved to the Shoals at the age of 12. Descended from a Shoaler family he lived for awhile in the Hontvet "murder" house on Smuttynose Island, and also in Portsmouth at the Wentworth-Gardner house. Downs was a fisherman and lobsterman, and served as Portsmouth Harbormaster for 27 years. He was integral in the rescue of many crew members when the submarine Squalus sunk off the Isles of Shoals. Downs died at a party at the Rockingham Hotel in 1945 at the age of 75 and just after the publication of his book.
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