"A man he seems of cheerful yesterdays
And confident to-morrows."
By HAROLD F. BLAKE
or Little Stories of War Times — French
and Indian Wars — The Revokitionary
War-The War of 1812 — The Mexican
War — The Civil War — ^W The Part
Kensington Played in Them
By HAROLD F. BLAKE
' The old home-fire where the red sparks race
Up the broad-backed chimney, in the old home place !
How far we've wandered from its friendly gleams—
From the home-winds singing through the day's still dreams
Wandered weary in the far, false lights.
Yearning vainly for the old home-mghts-
For winter-silence on the frost-flecked ways ,
IndX broad-backed chimney with the home-fire s blaze 1
(COPYRIGHT 1917, BY H. F. BLAKE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)
THE KNOWLTON & McLEARY CO.
M -4 1917
To Those Whom it Concerns Most —
The Kensington Soldier
TO the general reader it can be said that this little
booklet of stories has been prepared and
printed largely to please a few dear old friends,
veterans of the Civil War, who have asked me to tell
their story ; primarily, to be sure, for the purpose of
bringing together and thus making up a complete
muster roll, as complete as is humanly possible, fifty
years after the first one was made up, of the
names of the Kensington men and boys who "■ went
to the war " — always meaning the war of 1861-5.
As I conceive it, the story or stories I tell, while
they are to be retold tales simply, they will be the
better for being told in the kitchen, where we can
sit around and be cheered by the mellow warmth of
the crackling fire in the old wood stove ; and where
we can smoke our pipes if we list, as in the days when
as " boys in blue " you, with your comrades, sat
around the night's campfire under the southern stars
and smoked your pipes ; and when in fancy, it may
be, you saw in the red glowing coals, and in the
bright upward swirling flames, faces and forms of
dear ones in the far off homeland — father, mother,
wife, children, or sweetheart; and though seeing
4 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
them, and your heart swelled, your lips quivered
and eye moistened, there was no faltering. Yes, as it
was with thee, dear friends, so it was with tens of
Before these " re-told tales" leave my hands for-
ever and a day, I desire to express my obligations
and thanks to my mother, Mrs. Mary C. Blake, to
Mr. Weare Nudd Shaw, the " Sage of Orchard
Hill," to Mr. Joseph N. Austin, to Mr. Benjamin F.
Austin, to Mr. James W. W. Brown, to Mr. George
A. Baston and to Mr. John P. M. Green, all veterans
of the "War between the States," save one, and she
a soldier's widow, for their kindly assistance to me
in my efforts to bring together the full list of names
of every Kensington man and boy who enlisted,
donned his '* suit of blue," shouldered his old
muzzle-loading Springfield rifle, and with it served
his country in the dark and perilous days, 1861-5.
And so, while I have told the tales these dear
friends have asked me to tell, I have told them, nay,
in many places repeated " thought, word and inci-
dent " — I have told them in my own way. Know-
ing that, though they have been crudely told, they
will please them, what care I for the opinion of the
literary wise critic — Nothing ! So long as my
friends and their friends shall find pleasure in them I
shall be satisfied and fully compensated for my labors
in their preparation.
HAROLD F. BLAKE.
Montreal, P. Q., May 31, 1916.
RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES
If the Reader please, perhaps the best way to approach the subject
matter, the excuse for printing this booklet at all — Kensington's
story of the Civil War — will be to tell briefly the stories of the
earlier wars, in which Kensington men and women played their
parts. And, therefore, as a preface, let me say that the long, long
years of the pioneers' constant warfare with the Indian, when to open
up clearings in the forests of Hampton, a part of which is now
Kensington, for settlement, the old blunderbuss, and later the flint-
lock rifle, was as necessary as the woodman's axe; yea, more so, for
without the rifle there could have been no axe used. Indeed, we
know that down to reliable historical times the settler, to defend
himself from sudden attack and treachery of the crafty savages, to
have it ready for instant use, leaned his firearm against the tree he
was felling. Hence it was that generation after generation of our
ancestors, through this constant use of the rifle, made of the Ken-
sington men when called to arms, whether in defence of the "settle-
ment," the colony, the State or the nation, not only hardy and zeal-
ous but very efficient soldiers. Hence it was:
The French and Indian Wars, 1756-1763
TRADITION says that there were thirteen men
of the soil of Kensington who fought as
British Colonials under Captain Ebenezer Webster
(father of Daniel Webster) during this very wicked
and cruel war between the British and French, and
their Indian allies, the latter fighting with tomahawk,
scalping-knife and poisoned arrow; and they made
extended campaigns into New York, Vermont (it is
now) and into Canada, and some of them were under
6 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
General Wolfe when he fought General Montcalm
at Quebec and captured that city in 1759; but who
these our townsmen were or what their names there
are no records to tell us. This we do know, how-
ever : Whoever they were, or whatever their names,
being of the blood of the English and of the Scotch
and of the Irish, and froin Kensington, they would
and did acquit themselves like men.
The Revolutionary War, 1775-1782
FROM the beginning it has been one of the proud
boasts of Kensington that its people have
always been loyal, ever ready to serve their country
and its institutions.
And so, in the days when the Colonies revolted
against Great Britain, not against the country of Pitt,
Burke, Sheridan and Fox, but against King George
the Third in his crazy attempt to levy and collect
taxes, taxation without representation, Kensington
raised and equipped two full companies, furnished
three commissioned officers, Major Jeremiah Fogg,
Captain Winthrop Rowe, Captain Ezekial Worthen,
and one doctor, Dr. Benjamin Rowe.
In all, eighty-nine of Kensington's own sons en-
listed, and to these she added fourteen nonresidents
which she was able to get to join the men composing
her two companies ; and thus we see that all in all 103
Kensington men shouldered their old flintlock mus-
kets, and with powderhorn and bullet-pouch slung at
their sides, marched to join the fbrces under General
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 7
Warren. And they fought with him at Bunker Hill,
with General Washington at Dorchester Heights and
elsewhere ; aye, from the very beginning to the end
of the Seven Years' War, to the end that the Ameri-
can Colonies might become a nation of free and in-
The following are the names of the Kensington
men who fought in the Revolutionary War, the 103
Josiah Blake, Hezekiah Blake, John Blake, Moses
Blake, Joseph Batchelder, Jeremiah Batchelder, Amos
Brown, Stephen Brown, Dennis Bickford, Phillip
Blaisdell, Edward Clifford, Samuel Clifford, Joseph
Clifford, Thomas Creighton, Daniel Clark, Hezekiah
Colby, Thomas Cook, Benjamin Dow, Jabez Dow,
Joseph Dow, Edward Eastman, William Evans, Wil-
liam Fogg, Major Jeremiah Fogg, Joseph Fogg,
Nathan Fellows, Jonathan Fellows, Humphrey Flood,
Jeremiah Folsom, William French, William Fernald,
Jonathan Glidden, Joseph B. Hoyt, Josiah Haines,
Jude Hall (colored), Caleb Hodgdon, Hanson Hodg-
don, Timothy Knox, Will Killey, Jonathan Lane,
Samuel Longfellow, Josiah Locke, Ozzum Locke,
Edward Locke, Timothy Blake Locke, Nathan Lov-
ering, William Leavett, Edward Leavett, Robert
Miller (colored), Jeremiah Moulton, William Morri-
son, Jonathan Mason, John Nichols, Jesse Prescott,
Jonathan Prescott, Marston Prescott, Charles Page,
Aaron Page, Phineas Page, Daniel Page, Robert
Pike, Jonathan Perkins, Mose3 Perkins, David Phil-
brick, Captain Winthrop Rowe, Dr. Benjamin Rowe,
Jonathan Rawlins, Thomas Rawlins, Jeremiah San-
born, Jonathan Sanborn, Jewett Sanborn, Sherborn
S RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
Sanborn, Moses Sanborn, John Sanborn, Abraham
Sanborn, Moses Shaw, Caleb Shaw, Caleb, Shaw, Jr.,
Joseph Shaw, Abraham Shaw, Isaac Shaw, Jonathan
Stevens, Daniel Stewart, Stephen Smith, Edward
Smith, Samuel Smith, Benjamin Swain, Samuel
Sanders, Edward True, Daniel True, Edward Tuck,
Jonathan Ward, Melzer Ward, Daniel Weare, Josiah
White, Samuel Wilson, S:imon W.inslow, Joseph
Welsh, Nathan Watson, John Webber, W. Wiggin,
Captain Ezekiel Worthen, Enoch Worthen.'
In looking through these one hundred and three
names how rnany of them are familiar and dear to
us, even to those of this generation ; aye, more, how
proud not only their descendants but all the inhabi-
tants of the town itself should be to read these
names — the names of the sons of Kensington who
fought the long and weary fight that there might be
a new flag, a new freedom, a new nation.
If the reader has not already noted let the writer
That of the 103 men enlisted seventy-eight of
them had plain Scriptural names.
That of the 103 men but three of them had middle
That in two instances at least a father and son en-
listed and served, namely, Caleb Shaw and Caleb
Shaw, Jr., and Caleb Hodgdon and his son Hanson.
That there were two Negroes — and we wonder
whose slaves they were, if slaves.
1 My thanks are due and are hereby tendered to my friends, Rev. Roland
D. Sawyer and George Osgood, Esquire, for their courtesy in supplementing
my list with additional names of the Kensington men engaged in the Revo-
lutionary War, and which has undoubtedly enabled me to give a complete
roster of our patriotic ancestors who were engaged in that war.
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 9
That one family furnished two officers — Captain
and Doctor Rovve.
That one family sent three brothers — Jeremiah,
William and Joseph Fogg, and that Jeremiah was
made a major and served as adjutant with his regi-
ment at Bunker Hill and from thence throughout the
-It is probable that there were other fathers and
sons and brothers who served gallantly throughout
the war with credit to themselves and to the honor
and glory of their town, as every man did.
Another proud boast of Kensington is : It never
produced a Tory.
It will be a surprise, no doubt, to most of my
readers to learn that twenty Tories, by order of Gen-
eral Washington, were sent from New York state to
Kensington, and there kept as prisoners of war during
many months of our War for Independence, but
such is the fact. The names of these prisoners, and
the names of the Kensington men and woman in
whose custody they were placed were as follows :
These five prisoners, Daniel Bedel, John Vande-
burg, Jonathan Dewell, Henry Vandeburg and Balc-
tis VanKleuk, were placed in the custody of Nathaniel
These three, Timothy Dewell, Silas Dewell and
Robert Dewell, were placed in the custody of Jona-
These four, Jacob Sharpston, Derk VanVleet,
Hugh Vosher and John Degroaf, were placed in the
care and custody of Winthrop Rowe.
These two, Henry Younghome and Courtriet
Smith, were placed in custody of Nathaniel Healey.
10 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
These four, George Peters, Elias Doty, Peter Van-
deburg and Solomon Eltinge, were placed for safe
keeping with the ''Widow Dovv." (It would be in-
teresting to know whose widow this brave and patri-
otic woman was.)
These two, John Schaffelt and Casper Rowe, were
the prisoners kept by Benjamin Moulton.
And thus we see that not only did our beloved
town send 103 of her patriotic sons to help make up
the Continental army, but kept twenty Tory prisoners
within its borders during the war.
Knowing the dire needs for money, and the utter
lack of it in the hands of the Treasurer of the Colo-
nies during the entire length of the war, may we not
wonderingly ask who it was that paid for the " keep "
of these Tory prisoners? There are no records to
show the payment of any such bills, and if paid at
all, payments were made in Continental money, which
was not worth the paper it was printed on, though
it was redeemed many years after the war. Patriots,
as we have seen, the men of Kensington were, and
the presumption is and it 's the writer's opinion that
these five well-to-do farmers, including the Widow
Dow, kept these Tory prisoners at their own expense,
and in doing so showed their patriotism and served
their country as disinterestedly as did their neighbors
and townsmen who served in the army.
War of 1812
N the fall of 1814, during our '' second war " with
Great Britain, seventy-two men belonging to
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 11
one of the militia companies of Kensington, under
command of Captain Stephen Brown, being fully ac-
coutred and equipped (those were the days of real
preparedness), marched through Exeter, Stratham
and Greenland to the defence of Portsmouth ; but
the enemy, while appearing in force off Portsmouth
when the alarm was sent out to the militia of the
State, having suddenly withdrawn, our gallant men
at once returned to their homes.
Speaking of the march of Kensington men to the
defence of Portsmouth, "Orchard Hill" tells us in
the Exeter News-Letter that *' In September, 1814,
Governor John Taylor Gilman called out the militia
to go to Portsmouth as a squadron of British war
vessels were off our coast. A company from our
town. Captain Stephen Brown commanding, was
called on for seventy-two men. They were out only
fourteen days. Other towns sent later. One of our
men who was called for was afraid to go and hid in
his father's barn, but was found after three days and
sent to Portsmouth."
"■ In 1855, Congress passed a law giving every sol-
dier who served fourteen days in the War of 1812 a
quarter section of land, 160 acres. This man who
actually served but eleven days was not entitled to
it, but he employed Ira Blake, Esq., to help him to
get it. Mr. Blake argued thus with the War De-
partment: That seventeen miles was a military day's
journey and as Kensington was twenty miles from
Portsmouth that would give the man two days going
and the same returning; four days, added to the
eleven days he served, made a day to spare. So the
man got his quarter section of land and later sold it
12 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
for $160.00. Another Kensington man who went
down with the company died before this law was
passed, but his three minor children drew his quarter
section and later sold it for $100.00." And
thus the Government recognized the sturdy men of
Kensington, who had again served their country in
time of war.
The reader will note that " other towns sent later,"
which fact enables me to point out that Kensington
was always first and foremost in every forward move-
As for the names of those of our ancestors who
thus served their country, as the old rhyme had it :
" Here follow the names of
The Kensington militia men,
Who marched to Portsmouth,
And then back again."
Stephen Brown, captain, Dennis Bickford, John
Ward, Samuel Smith, Timothy Knox, John Nocolle,
Thomas Rawlins, Joseph Brown, Nathan Watson,
John Webber, Hezekiah Colby, Edward Eastman,
Edward Leavett, Samuel Wilson, Timothy Knutes,
Samuel Sanders, John Mason, Charles Page, William
I. Killey, Samuel Winslow, Philip Blaisdell, Edward
True, William Fernal French, Daniel True, Zacheus
Roberts, Jotham Hilliard, Robert Forsaith, Samuel
Lamprey, Stephen Kimball, Benjamin Prescott,
David Prescott, Nathan Dow, Caleb Brown, John
Nudd, Jeremy Batchelder, Jonathan Hobbs, John M.
Shaw, Samuel Fellows, Lewis Gove, Joseph D. Wad-
leigh, Nathaniel Fellows, Smith Lamprey, Gilman
Lamprey, Newell Dow, Wadleigh Dow, Sewell Dow,
Lewis Vesey, John Weare, Joseph Poor, Robert
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 13
Rowe, Gardiner Green, Samuel Tuck, John Wad-
leigh, Benjamin Moulton, Abel Page, Daniel Pres-
cott, Abraham Rowe, Oliver James, Sewell Locke,
Porter H. Wilson, Joel Lane, John James, John
Page, Moses Sanborn, William H. Wadleigh, Sewell
Wadleigh, Jeremiah Wadleigh, Ira Fellows, John
Blaisdell, Joseph N. Healey — seventy-two.
In looking through the names of the men who
served their country, both in the Revolutionary War
and the War of 1812, our rolls of honor, how familiar
and dear many of them are ; and precious memories
they will ever remain to their descendants and to the
citizens of the town. Yes, they will so remain, for
we see there enrolled the names of the very best of
the old Kensington families, families belonging to
the very soil itself, and, like it, of the best.
Mexican War, 1845-1848
THE Mexican War was not altogether popular at
the North at the time, though to-day all his-
torians agree that it was not only justified from a
moral point of view, and added not only a vast
area of territory to our already large domain but it
also added tremendously to our national wealth as
well as to our political strength at home and abroad.
As to Kensington's participation in this war, so far
as the records show, or memory serves, Ferdinand
L. Blake and John V. Hodgdon were the only two of
our men to take part in it. Mr. Blake enlisted at
the age of twenty and served in the infantry under
General Franklin Pierce, afterwards President Pierce,
14 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
throughout the war, and was honorably discharged
at its close. His discharge papers from that service
are to-day precious heirlooms in the family of the
Mr. Hodgdon served in and was honorably dis-
charged from the navy. And thus we see that in
our Nation's third war the sinew and strength of the
young manhood of the soil of Kensington bore its
share in the hardships of war.
The Civil War, 1861-1865
AT the outset let it be said that while the state-
ments made in this war story may not be
strictly accurate as to names (though I believe they
are mainly so), the general statements made are in
all essentials historically correct.
As to political conditions in Kensington and in our
part of the country generally just before the war was
declared, I think that it can be said with truth
that previous to April 14, 1861 there were un-
doubtedly very large numbers of men belonging to
both parties, who believed that if there was to be an
intercivic war it would simply be a political war
largely brought about by the anti-slavery agitators
of the North and the " fire-eaters " of the South, and
anyhow it would soon be over. We remember that
Seward and Greeley, and even the newly inaugurated
president said it would not last three months. As a
matter of fact, Lincoln's call for '' 75,000 three
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 15
months men" shows that the war was not at first
taken very seriously.
In the beginning, democrats and republicans alike
blamed both of the above types of ultra rabid par-
tisans for the cause of the bitterness existing between
the people of the North and the South at the time
of the inaugural of Mr. Lincoln on March 4, 1861.
Hence it was that, during the year 1860 and the
early part of 1861, there were tens of thousands of
men in the North, who said : ** If there be war, let
the hot-headed politicians who are causing it do the
fighting;" and these things were said in no mean
party spirit, but in all sincerity, and without thought
of disloyalty to the Government. But when the
Southern Confederacy, through General Beauregard,
struck the first blow at Fort Sumter on April 4, 1861,
forty-one days after the inauguration of President
Lincoln, then it was not a question of party but of
patriotism all through the North, and in no section
of the State or country was this sentiment more in
evidence than in Kensington.
As I have stated elsewhere, politics was always
first and foremost in all matters of a public character
in Kensington, and so, while the democrats were
** Union " men, and with Andrew Jackson believed
''That the Union must and shall be preserved," they
waited through the year 1861 for the republicans,
who, it seemed to them, being supporters of Lincoln,
should take the initiative, shouldh^ the leaders in any
movement, looking to concerted or formal action
necessary to get any considerable number of our
townsmen to enlist for the war. The result of this
waiting was, that the leaders of neither party took
16 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
any steps to this end until early in the summer of
18G2. Even then, as a historical fact, no steps were
taken publicly until several private conferences had
been held by the democrats, and which resulted in the
calling of a public meeting to be held in the town-
house. This meeting was largely attended ; the
question of enlistment was thoroughly gone into, and
especially as to what part Kensington should take in
putting down the rebellion.
In passing, it should be said to the everlasting
credit of the democrats who attended this first or
preliminary meeting that, while it was primarily a
meeting of democrats and in their hands, they were
not there as party men to talk politics, but patriot-
ism ; to see what tJiey ought to do in that dark hour
of the Nation's peril. They met to act in the spirit
and in harmony with the broad statesmanship, the
noble-minded and great-hearted patriotism that had
already been taken by their late presidential standard-
bearer, Stephen A. Douglas.
And so, the consideration given this great and
momentous question at this meeting by these men
was a serious one ; it was discussed soberly and
solemnly, for all realized that the decision to be made
by them was bound to affect not only the men of
the town as a whole, but no one could tell or foresee
how vitally it might affect each one as an individual.
And so, the question in all its phases was thoroughly
gone into, and when all who chose to speak had
spoken, on motion it was voted "That Ferdinand L.
Blake be and is hereby authorized and instructed to
go to Concord to confer with Governor Berry to ad-
vise him that the voters in the town of Kensington
FERDINAND L. BLAKE
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 17
in meeting assembled had voted unmrimously to do
all they could to help preserve and maintain the
Union, and that it was the sense of the meeting that
the said Blake should be appointed a recruiting offi-
cer to enlist such men for the war as might be avail-
This motion was. also carried unanimoitsly, no
doubt largely because Mr. Blake had, as we have
seen, served under General Franklin Pierce through-
out the Mexican War, and, therefore, presumably
knew something about real war. But I think there
were other reasons why he was thought to be the
best man to handle the matter. He was, and always
had been, one of the leading democrats ; had been
postmaster under two presidents; was known of all
men to be eminently fair and just; was respected
alike by both political friends and opponents; a man
of wide reading, and in the prime of life. With
these credentials Mr. Blake went to Concord to see
the governor, and who, we may be sure, was glad to
welcome him, once he was advised of the object of
his visit. Hence, it followed that as soon as the
official wheels could be made to turn the commission
was made out and signed by the governor, and Mr.
Blake returned to Kensington, a recruiting officer,
the first, so far as the writer has knowledge, ap-
pointed in the county.
Our recruiting officer at once called a public meet-
ing. At this meeting a large number of men of
military age, belonging to both parties, attended, and
many enlisted the first afternoon and evening, more
the second day, and still more the third day. The
total number of enlistments exceeded their most san-
18 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
guine expectations, and I repeat that there were no
party men at these meetings; all were Union men
and patriots. Yes, as Douglas felt honored in the
holding of Lincoln's hat while he took the oath of
office and later delivered his first inaugural address,
so the Kensington followers of Douglas stood ready
and willing to help hold up the. hands of the presi-
dent in his efforts to maintain the Union.
I have mentioned elsewhere several times that
Kensington was always /^;r;;/^^/ in leadership in the
towns of Rockingham County, and so, in this matter
of the enlistment of men at the time of the Civil
War we see the same spirit of leadership manifested.
Note — While I am drawing almost entirely from memory
(being hundreds of miles distant from any possible data) in prepar-
ing this reminiscent story, I wish to record this fact: Kensington
sent the largest percentage of natinje soldiers to the war per capita of
population of any town in the State. I have no records, and I be-
lieve that there are none available to substantiate this statement, but
I heard it many times stated during the years immediately following
the close of the war by careful-speaking men, men who had strong
grounds for believing to be true the statements they made, and
which I have put down as facts.
As our own men enlisted in large numbers so they
came from other towns in large numbers to enlist:
Foggs, Chases, Dows, and others from Seabrook ;
Goves, Prescotts, and Pevears from Hampton Falls ;
Dana Webster, James Gray, Amos Batchelder, the
three Hale boys, John, Charles and Kinsley, two
Tappans, two Goodrichs, a Swett, a Carter, a
Harden, a Tilton, a Blaisdell, and others from East
Kingston ; the George brothers, and others from
Kingston ; and they came from Hampton, South
Hampton, Brentwood, Newton, Hampton Falls, Sea-
brook, and other towns nearby, and there were quite
a number who came from Exeter.
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 19
Speaking of Exeter: There came a man from that
town, not to enlist but to secure, for his company, the
Kensington men then being enlisted. In this he was
successful, as he readily secured the hearty co-oper-
ation of our recruiting officer. I can see that young
man, in my mind's eye, as he looked the first day he
came to our town — young, probably between twenty-
two and twenty-four, a little above medium height,
strikingly handsome and distinguished looking, cor-
rectly and spotlessly dressed (even wearing gloves),
quick of speech and very active in his movements.
Even to the casual observer, though he were a boy,
one could see that he was destined to succeed,
whether in military or civil life, it mattered not.
And so it proved, for to a man of his unbounded en-
thusiasm and great mental and physical activities,
once he entered into and became a part of the mili-
tary service, promotion was sure to follow, and
rapidly, which was the case. Yes, very early in the
war he was made a commissioned officer, receiv-
ing his commission for distinguished service. And
so prophecy proved true, for this young man for
more than fifty years, not only in the army and its
circles, but in political circles in his home and in
the community at large, town, county and state, has
been active in the affairs of men, known and hon-
ored everywhere as Captain George N. Julian of
Unless my mother and Weare Nudd Shaw re-
member, it is probable that Captain Julian and my-
self are the only two living, who remember that he
came to Kensington in the early summer of 1862
20 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
and there in our little old tovvnhouse secured, as I
have said, several of our young men for his com-
pany, men who served under and fought with him
for three years that the Nation might live, not half
free and half bondmen, but all free under the law.
If these lines shall come to the notice of Captain
Julian I am sure that he will confirm the facts as to
his coming to Kensington for purposes as I have
set them down. And the writer hopes that in re-
calling the days of fife and drum and the young
soldier enthusiasm these lines may bring back to him
pleasant memories of the days when, as a young man,
all was sunshine and roses for him to enjoy, and that
in the retrospect he may find a source of real enjoy-
But to resume the story of the work of the re-
cruiting officer :
Mr. Blake enlisted in all 165 men, and as all of
the names of the Kensington men who enlisted that
can now be recalled number but seventy-two we see
that ninety-three men must have come from ad-
joining towns for enlistment. The complete roster
of our men and boys who were in the war of 1861-5
is as follows :
Austin, Benjamin F. Blake, George
Austin, Edward P. Blake, Henry T.
Austin, James S. Blake, William F.
Austin, Joseph N. Brown, Addison R.
Baston, George A. Brown, Amos
Batchelder, Albert A. Brown, George H.
Batchelder, Charles E. Brown, Ira E.
Blake, Ferdinand L. Brown, James, W. W.
HAROLD F. BLAKE.
Brown, Stephen Henry
Brown, Stephen Hoyt
Bunker, Thomas R.
Chase, Warren H.
Cilley, George R.
ColHns, John E.
Currier, John A.
Davis, James M.
Dresser, Moses D.
Durgin, Daniel E.
Eaton, John L.
Fellows, Edward E.
George, Joseph O.
Gove, Andrew J.
Gove, Charles E.
Gove, Lewis E.
Green, John P. M.
Hilliard, J. Leroy
Hilliard, John T.
Leavett, Jeremiah K.
Peacock, Hyla D.
Ramsdell, George E.
Rowe, Benjamin F.
Rowe, George Porter
Rowe, Jonathan B.
Rowell, Amos *
Rowell, Edward M.
Sanborn, Harvey D.
Shaw, John H.
Shaw, Weare Nudd
Smith, David C.
Tibbetts, Warren E. V.
Hodgdon, Capt. C.Warren Wadleigh, Frank
Hodgdon, John V. Wadleigh, Frank L.
Hodgdon, William H. Wadleigh, George A. P.
Hull, Charles E. Walton, William H.
To the foregoing list of seventy-two of our towns-
men who voluntarily enlisted we should add another,
a list of the men who voluntarily sent substitutes and
who paid a bounty of $300.00 to $400.00 to the men
they sent. While we have no record of the names
22 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
of the men they sent we do have the names of those
who sent them ; they are as follows : George W.
Green, Daniel E. Palmer, Josiah Deane Prescott,
Theodore K. Mace, Benjamin George Moulton, Clin-
ton Gove, Warren P. Lamprey, Weare Nudd Shaw,
Thomas C. Shaw, Joseph N. Healey, Charles E.
Tuck, John Calvin French, Jeremiah Dow, Benjamin
F. Lovering, Jeremiah Milliard, and Cyrus O. Brown,
sixteen in all. Note that Weare Nudd Shaw not
only went himself, but sent and paid another man
In addition to the seventy-two of our men who
volunteered and the fifteen men who sent substitutes,
the town itself hired five out-of-town men to go,
paying a bounty of $300.00 to each. The names of
these five men were: John Adams, John Ford, John
Wechesel, William Brown, and John Stone. It is a
little singular, but these five (probably fictitious)
named men are the only names of men that are
officially on the records of the town as having been
in the War of the Rebellion.
We may also add the names of three other
Kensington men, who had but recently left town, that
enlisted elsewhere, and who made splendid soldiers,
namely: Jackson Shaw, Frank T. Hilliard, and Will-
A summary of the above shows that Kensington
in this war furnished :
Native and resident volunteers 72
Native nonresidents 3
Voluntarily supplied nonresident " sub-
stitutes " 16
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 23
Nonresidents hired and paid for by the
A total of 96
A most remarkable showing, and one that justifies
Kensington's claim for her devotion to the cause of
patriotism in the dark days of the Civil War.
As a matter of information the writer will say that,
with a view of preparing an accurate official list of
the Kensington men who went to the war of 1861-5,
he wrote some sixteen years ago to the adjutant-
general at Concord to get such information as would
enable him to prepare an officially correct record
of such enlistments, to get the full name of each, his
age at time of enlistment, and the regiment or service
that he went into ; but was not only disappointed
but greatly surprised to learn from that official (see
letter below) that up to and including the Civil War
period no such records were kept by the State. But,
whether our own, or other towns of the State, have
kept records that show who of their own citizens en-
listed, what regiments they joined, or in what ca-
pacity they served their country, I do not know;
but, so far as I knew or have been able to ascertain,
no accurate or comprehensive records were ever
kept, and, therefore, the above list, which I have
prepared with the help of a few (alas ! all too few)
veterans, is as nearly correct and complete as is
likely ever to be made. And thus, as this is correct,
or essentially so, we can see the names of the Ken-
sington men who made up our town's honor roll, the
men who, in their day and generation, did their full
endeavor to measure up to what President Lincoln
asked the men of the North to do.
24 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
Yes, true it is that Kensington had every reason
then, and it has ev^ery reason now, and will, for all
time, have reason to be proud of its citizen-soldiers,
the men who fought at Bull Run, Chancellorsville,
Chattanooga, Franklin, Lookout Mountain, Gettys-
burg ; at Petersburg ; down through the Wilderness ;
marched with Sherman from Atlanta to the sea; and
on scores of other battlefields, under McClellan,
Hancock, Hooker, Meade, Burnside, Sickles, Custer,
Logan ; and with Farragut on the seas ; under
Col. E. E. Cross of Manchester, one of New Hamp-
shire's most famous fighting commanders; others
fought under Exeter's brave old fighter. General
Gilman Marston ; and they fought with Sheridan,
Sherman, and Grant unto the end at Richmond and
Appomattox. And true it was that many of our
boys were, at different times, under all of these great
leaders. Some were in Libby Prison ; some were at
Andersonville ; some never came home, but were
buried where they fell ; some were laid to rest in the
little cemeteries near the hospitals ; others came
home, but were, many of them, physical wrecks
while they lived, and when they passed over and
joined the greater army of their comrades on the
other side, they received, and will always receive, the
homage of a grateful people for the sacrifices they
made — for duty well and faithfully done.
State of New Hampshire,
Harold F. Blake, Concord, Aug. 9th, 1900.
Your letter of Aug^. 6th, is received. The records of enlist-
ments during the Civil War were kept in such shape that it is not
possible to comply with your request for the names of the men en-
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 25
listed by your father, neither is it possible to g^ive a complete list of
men from Kensington, the records of enlistments from to^vns not
being- kept at all in the early part of the war.
I should be very glad to~furnish you with the information you de-
sire if in my power, and regret that it is not.
A. D. AYLING, Adjutant-General.
Before taking leave of our dearly beloved and effi-
cient recruiting officer, it may with truth and propri-
ety be said that he was considered by the State of-
ficials to have been one of the best who served the
State in such capacity during the entire war. He
was offered a Captain's commission when he had en-
listed 75 men and a Major's Commission when he
had enlisted 125 men, but he declined both, saying
that he enlisted to go to war as an equal of the others,
and he would not allow preferment to come to him
through his services as a recruiting officer, though
the offer came to him by the unanimous endorsement
of his fellow townsman. Such action on the part of
our recruiting officer gives a true pen-picture of the
sterling qualities of the mind and heart of the man,
Ferdinand L. Blake.
However, as a matter of record, the Governor did
prevail upon Mr. Blake to remain in the State some
ten months after his regiment (the First New Eng-
land Cavalry, New Hampshire and Rhode Island
combining to make one regiment) went South, to
continue his work as recruiting officer, which he did
to the satisfaction of his superiors and to the advan-
tage of the State.
Yes, my dear reader, it was the valor of the young
men of 1861-5 — the farmer, the shoemaker, the hat-
ter, the blacksmith, the carpenter, the chainmaker,
26 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
the millwight, the miller, the wagon-maker, the man-
ufacturer, the merchant, the banker, the doctor, the
lawyer, the preacher, the yeoman and the gentleman
that were merged into the one melting-pot, from out
of which came the strong and valiant volunteer
soldier. And it is over the mortal remains of tens
of thousands of such as these that there waves the
little red, white and blue flag, which represents to-
day our whole and undivided country, made so by
the heroism and self-sacrifice of all the people of the
North, not as republicans or as democrats, but as
patriots — as worthy sons of patriotic sires. And
we must not forget to add that all this, and even
more, can be said of the self-denial and sacrifices
made by the mother, wife, and the children, who
watched and waited by the home fireside with anx-
ious minds and weary hearts for the letter or news
from their loved ones in the far away Southland,
fighting, or maybe dying for their beloved country,
that it might remain what the great Webster said it
should be: A land of *' Liberty and Union, now and
forever, one and inseparable."
Aye, gloriously did Kensington do its share, more
than its share, towards the preservation of the unity
of the Republic, of our dearly beloved country, the
country founded and established by Washington,
Franklin, Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Sam and John
Adams, Hancock, Hamilton, Livingston, Charles
Carroll of CaroUton, and our own Josiah Bartlett ;
and all made possible by the valor of the brave Con-
tinentals in the hundred battles of the Revolution.
And so Time wrought and Appomattox became
possible because of the loyalty of more than two
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 27
million men of the North — men like our own kith
and kin in Kensington, men who did their share as
God gave them the light to see and the strength to
work, to fight, to endure to the end, as Lincoln said :
''That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth
of freedom, and that government of the people, by
the people, and for the people shall not perish from
Truly, did the passing of Lincoln seal the compact
of an inseparable union between the North and the
South — between the ** blue and the grey" forever.
THE OLD VETERAN
By Asa Frederick Howe,
Chaplain E-uerett Feabody Post, 108, G. A. R., DepU. of Mass.,
A veteran has passed on, and the flag is at half-mast,
On the post's headquarters at the Grand Army hall,
From militant to triumphant he is " mustered " at last
And goes forth in response to the commander's last call.
One by one they depart, both the blue and the grey.
From the north, from the south, from the east and the west,
They go silently away as the hours leave the day,
They go down the horizon, as the sun sinks to rest.
They met on the field of carnage and death,
Each brave and " worthy of the other's steel,"
Year after year they fought their best.
They fought to the finish "for woe or for weal."
They are brothers now, and were brothers then,
But estranged by issues that "tried men's souls,"
Our ship of state was a slave-holding pen.
The blue bravely sifted the dross from the gold.
28 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
The work was well done, and the dross was cast out
The union was saved and bondmen made free,
Our ship of state took a tack about,
And now grandly sails on a peaceful sea,
The blue and the grey now march on together.
Shoulder to shoulder, all facing one way,
" One country and one flag " is their slogan forever.
And thus they will march to the musterout day.
Their steps are growing slow, their years will be few,
Let us honor the blue for what they did,
Let us honor the grey for donning the blue,
Let us march with the living and honor the dead.
Let us pay our tribute with the flowers of spring,
That have awakened to life from under the snow,
Let us join with all nature and devoutly sing, —
*' Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
THE two following letters appeared in the Exeter
(N. H.) News-Letter, and I will, though with
some diffidence, include them with the other war-time
reminiscences. Though they may be in a large
measure my own boyhood experiences I feel that I
shall not offend good taste by doing so, for the
reason that to those for whom these tales are in-
tended the reading of them may not be wholly un-
Washington Reminiscences of Fifty Years Ago
Montreal, P. Q., April 15, 1915.
Editor Exeter News-Letter :
Had I been keeping a diary fifty years ago to-day,
and had set down in detail the names of the charac-
ters herein named ; whence they came ; what they
were doing, and why ; what part each was playing
in the little drama being enacted, would show, if
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 29
truly set down, the place to have been Columbia
College Hospital in the city of Washington, D. C.
As affecting this record, the principal characters
were Ferdinand L. Blake, John L. Eaton and his
wife, Lois (Badger) Eaton, and myself, a lad of
about ten years of age, and these four were all from
The two men were soldiers. My father, serving
as "ward master" in the hospital, occupied a com-
fortable white-washed room placed at the end of a
long one-story building. In this room he lived and
transacted his official business. At the other end of
the same building two beautiful grey saddle-horses
were kept and used officially by Major Crosby (of
Laconia, N. H.), who was, at that time, commandant
of the hospital, and by his orderly, John Eaton, I
have referred to. Mr. Eaton and his wife occupied
together a tent of ample dimensions, which stood
within a dozen feet or so from the above-mentioned
For some months prior to the period of which I
am writing I had been in Washington with my
father, and was some six months, or more, of my
stay there a private messenger for the Western
Union Telegraph company. Of this I will speak
The daily routine was : At eight o'clock each
morning Orderly Eaton mounted the major's horse,
and I his, and we rode to the major's official resi-
dence in the city, some three miles distant. The
major coming down the steps to the minute would
mount his own horse and, his orderly taking the one
I had ridden, they would return to the hospital, each
30 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
to do his work for the day as I did mijie. And
thus did matters go on with me for several months
immediately preceding the first of April, 1865.
All the world knows that the month of April of
that year was, is, and always will be, one of great
historical interest to the American people, for it was
in that month that great events took place, events
that shaped our destinies for all time. The last
great struggles of the four years' war were taking
place ; Petersburg had fallen, Richmond was doomed.
President Davis had fled. General Sherman had
reached the sea, and yet on the ninth day of April
the world was startled by the suddenness of the news
that General Lee (the man of chivalry) had, at
Appomattox, on that day surrendered the army of
northern Virginia to General Grant (the magnani-
A few days later and General Joseph E. Johnston
(another idol of the South), surrendered to General
Sherman, the man of indomitable will and the idol
of his soldiers.
And so the people were rejoicing everywhere
throughout the North, but nowhere was there such
great display of flags and bunting as at Washington.
And so as Orderly Eaton and I rode down 14th
street to the city, morning after morning, fully en-
joying the spring-like, balmy air always to be found
in Washington at this season of the year, we saw
more and more and yet more flags and bunting.
Hovels and huts of the negroes, homes of the well-
to-do, and the beautiful residences of the rich were
all decorated. Everywhere these evidences of the
people's rejoicing could be seen. I remember es-
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 31
pecially how that the White House and the great
Treasury building were, when finished, completely
covered with our National colors of red, white and
blue. And thus matters stood in Washington on
the evening of April 14, 1865.
On arrival home from my work that night my
father said : " Well, my boy, John says that you and
I are to go with him to Ford's theatre to-night to see
' Our American Cousin,' " which was being played
by the elder Sothern, and Laura Keene. Mr. Eaton
being detained by the major later than usual, we did
not get started until late, and the old rattletrap street
cars then running on 14th street, hauled by cranky
mules, seemed to move slower than ever, and so it
was nearly nine o'clock when we arrived at the
theatre. Upon enquiring for tickets we were told
that all seats were sold, but we could find standing
room. My father said that he did not feel well
enough to stand all the evening and would rather go
across the street to Grover's theatre, where they were
playing ** Moll Pitcher." And, so, we went to
Grover's theatre. I was pleased at this (we did not
know that the president was at Ford's), because my
grandmother, when a young woman, knew '* Moll
Pitcher " well, and she had told me many a story
about this supposedly fortune-teller, but who was
really the shrewd and afterwards famous ** spy of
the Revolution," who gave valuable information con-
cerning the action of the Tories and the movements
of the British to Washington, when he was at Dor-
chester Heights. And thus it was that these two
men and the boy from Kensington so narrowly
missed witnessing the awful tragedy enacted that
32 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
night within fifty yards of the place where they were,
and where Sothern, as Lord Dundreary, brought hght
and sunshine to a worn and wearied heart — why
they did not see John Wilkes Booth limp across the
stage after his cowardly shooting of President Lin-
Our play must have ended much earlier than at
Ford's, as we heard nothing about the killing of the
president that night. It was not until next morning
when Orderly Eaton and I riding to the city, as was
our custom, saw flags being lowered to half-mast,
bunting being removed from both private and pub-
lic buildings, and all the evidences of bright colors
of the people's rejoicing being replaced with crepe.
The appalling story of the night before was being
told in voices subdued and broken. Few dry eyes
were seen that day.
I could relate pages of recollections of the strik-
ing events that followed rapidly one after the other
as the days came swiftly on. How anxious the
people were concerning Seward, the great Secretary
of State, whose life had been attempted ; of the
strenuous steps that were immediately taken to ap-
prehend Booth and the other conspirators ; how they
traced the steps of Booth to the barn in Virginia,
and how Boston Corbett, seeing Booth through a
crack, shot him dead ; of the capture of Harrold and
the other conspirators, and of their swift trial and
execution ; of the almost universal disapproval of
the hanging of Mrs. Surratt. All these I could tell,
and much more, in detail.
You may allow me space to tell further of how I
saw the funeral car that bore the flag-draped casket
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 33
of the martyr president down past the Treasury
building and along Pennsylvania Avenue ; of the tens
of thousands of whites and blacks, exalted and
humble, standing uncovered, bowed and broken with
grief. And how, but a few short weeks thereafter,
I saw what has ever since been known as the " grand
review" of our armies of nearly a million of men,
tried and true veterans, who had served under their
idolized leaders. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Han-
cock, Logan, and many another noble leader and
commander of men ; of how the army under Gen-
eral Grant, having only to come up from Richmond
and Petersburg, had plenty of time to brush up their
arms and accoutrements, to " spruce up " as for dress
parade; and, therefore, individually and as a whole
body they appeared clean and fresh. These men
were the vanguard of the full three days' marching.
But of Sherman's men a different tale is told.
These barely had time to reach Washington from
Savannah to take part in this, the last great review
of the Union armies before the final mustering out
of the service of the largest body of men in the
world's history of war up to that period, and, there-
fore, these men of Sherman's army came into line of
march just as they had marched through Georgia
(these " bummers " of Sherman, as they were called),
and we saw the soldier just as he was at the front.
Yes, we saw the soldier as he was, these soldiers who
had seen and made war terrible — as their great
commander declared it to be, '' hell " — these men were
the ideal of the fighting soldier as they marched in
their old, worn, dirty and tattered uniforms, and
many there were without uniforms.
34 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
Parenthetically it can be said (and I remember it
well), that President Johnson and som.e of his ad-
visors had had a sharp controversy with General
Sherman the day before the parade because he re-
fused to order his men to " spruce up " for the great
event, Sherman saying that his men had had enough
of the iron rules of war ; let the day be a holiday for
them as well as for the civilian ; and as all this was
reported in the papers the people liked Sherman all
the better for it, and they showed it when he came
riding along with his staff at the head of his men.
And that it might be the more realistic his men
brought with them, and had in the parade, pigs,
sheep, cows, goats, mules, turkeys, coons, chickens,
and " possums," to show how they lived when on
their march to the sea.
But what cheers greeted them on the way ! Words
of mine are inadequate to express the emotions, the
pentup feelings of the people in Washington tJiat
day. On the third day General Sheridan, at the
head of his great army of cavalry, passed up the
Avenue and over the same route in review as had the
infantry and artillery the two preceding days — and
it was over.
All this I saw from the doors and windows of the
Western Union Telegraph company building, which
stood then directly opposite the main entrance to
the Treasury building, and, as I remember, next
door to the great banking house of Jay Cooke &
Co., which had done so much to help our govern-
ment in its darkest days of financial stress.
But I have written enough, far too much possibly.
Some time I will set down and send you an account
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 35
of my experiences as a special messenger of the
telegraph company I have mentioned, and how as
such I only delivered messages, urgent and private, to
the White House, often placing the message into
President Lincoln's own hands ; and a few urgent or
confidential messages I had to deliver to the heads
of the State, Treasury, War, Navy, and Adjutant-Gen-
In the meanwhile, I hope that these rambling rem-
iniscences of the long ago will come to the eyes of
Mrs. Lois Eaton, who, in the days of which I write,
lived with her soldier-husband in the tent close by
the low one-story white-washed building, occupied
by the man and boy, their friends from the dear
home town of Kensington, the dearest and prettiest
town of any in the old Granite State. If these lines
shall come to the notice of Mrs. Eaton I am sure
that she will recall the facts as here set down, and I
hope that the recollections thus awakened will bring
to the then young wife, the wife and friend whose
merry and contagious laughter was heard through the
thin walls of the tent and enjoyed not only by the
boy, but by all who listened — may these recollec-
tions be to her, though it were fifty years since, not
wholly an unmixed pleasure.
HAROLD F. BLAKE.
Recollections and Experiences of a Telegraph Messenger
Fifty Years Ago
Montreal, P. O., April 26, 1915.
Editor Exeter News-Letter :
Having inadvertently dated my ''reminiscent"
36 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
letter April 15 instead of the 14th, m)^ dates were
put one day out of plumb, otherwise the story
printed in issue of April 23 was correct.
In that letter I mentioned the fact of my being
employed as a private messenger for the Western
Union Telegraph company (it may have been called
the American Telegraph company), at Washington
How it came to pass that I was available and ready
to be so employed may be of interest not only to
the few who remember, but to the general reader,
as the story shows how incidents of trifling impor-
tance in themselves, apparently, oftentimes lead to
strange and even important conclusions to the indi-
vidual, though that individual may be of utter in-
significance to the world about him.
The story, as a story, may be spoiled in the tell-
ing, but the facts, both primary and incidental, can
be set down as follows :
My father was home on a soldier's furlough in
late September, 1864. Early in October he went
back to Washington and took me with him ; Amos
Rowell, another Kensington soldier, arranged to go
back to Washington with us. He was a skilled
musician, and played in the band at the Soldiers'
Home then located on 7th street. (This was Presi-
dent Lincoln's summer residence.)
Arriving in Boston we went to a hotel and restau-
rant located on Friend street, and kept by Moses
Pearson, to get lunch. It was a famous eating place
at that time and for many years afterwards. Pearson
himself was a noted character, a shrewd and typical
Yankee, if ever there was one ; he even wore the
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 37
Uncle Sam chin whiskers. Concerning that lunch I
recall one incident particularly. I thought it mighty
funny that Pearson should know both my father and
Mr. Rovvell so well, and was more astonished, as I
saw from my seat at the table, that he knew scores
of other people, who came in after we sat down, just
as intimately, apparently, as he appeared to know the
two men from Kensington.
Many years afterwards, however, I learned that
Pearson possessed, to an unusual degree, the faculty
of appearing to know personally every person who
entered his establishment, and this art enabled him
to extend to each new arrival what appeared to be a
sincere personal welcome. Of all the mine hosts I
have ever seen he best exemplified the art of " wel-
coming the coming and speeding the parting guest."
Parenthetically I may say that Mr. Parker, the founder
of the Parker House, Boston, also possessed this
seventh sense in large degree. It is said of him that,
standing at the entrance to his dining room, he
would welcome his guests as though it was his pri-
vate house and as though each one was a friend of
his family. Capitalizing his art, he became a million-
aire landlord. He used to say that if he could per-
sonally make his guests satisfied with what they had
had in the dining room he need give no thought to
the barroom, as what was dispensed there would speak
for itself. But let us get back to the story of the
Arriving in New York the next day, we went to
the Astor House, corner Broadway and Vesey
streets. We stopped there that night, and in the
evening went to Barnum's museum, where we saw,
38 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
among other things, the '* Woolly Horse, " *' Tom
Thumb," and the "Wild Men of Borneo."
The next day, arriving in Philadelphia, we had to
change into cars that were filled to suffocation with
all sorts of people, soldiers, officers and privates, and
no doubt there were among them '* skedaddlers,"
and " bounty-jumpers," and not a few women and
It was at this point that my own personal adven-
tures began. I remember distinctly that I occupied
the seat that run lengthwise of the car behind the
door, and that piled up around me were bags, bundles
and packages belonging to the travelers from Ken-
Arriving at Baltimore, the cars were unshackled,
and each separate car was hauled through the main
streets by a pair of mules. It seems that in order to
get seats my traveling companions had gone back
into another car, and that when the train was made
up again there were so many passengers en route for
Washington that the train was made up and run in
two sections, mine some miles ahead of that which
held my home folk; but of this I knew nothing un-
til we had nearly reached Washington.
Even with the doubling up of train capacity the
aisles of the car were completely filled with people
standing. Having still retained my seat near the
door, and though still surrounded with heaps of
packages, one of which, I remember, contained sev-
eral of mother's mince pies (for John and Lois
Eaton), I was very comfortable personally, but I
could see that there were many very weary and tired ;
one gentleman appearing especially so, I offered him
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 39
my seat, and he, with evident gratitude, accepted,
and I stood up.
As we neared Washington I became alarmed con-
cerning my companions, and undoubtedly my face
showed it. I went through the train, but did not
find them. It came on dark and the night was rainy.
Both added to my distress, which was not strange,
being but a lad, with a horseload of bundles to look
after and going to an army post without password
or countersign, or even money to get on with. The
whole thing was appalling.
Here it was that the '* bread I had cast upon the
waters" came back pretty quick, for the man I had
obliged with a seat came to my assistance. He took
charge of me and my traps, loaded me onto a Penn-
sylvania Avenue car, paid my fare, instructed the
conductor to put me in charge of the conductor on
the 14th street car, which, he said would take me
right to the entrance gate to Columbia College Hos-
pital, our destination. He especially instructed him
to have that conductor tell the corporal of the guard
to let me into the guardhouse and thus be able to
tell my story, which all sounded pretty formidable to
me. Before leaving me, this kindly gentleman gave
me his card, and told me to call and see him after I
had seen the sights of Washington, which I prom-
ised to do. Before I had half finished my story in
the guardhouse by the gate, my father arrived, and I
suspect that two long breaths were taken. On the
morrow, looking at the gentleman's card, I discov-
ered that his name was Blatchford and that he be-
longed in Manchester, N. H., and was the general
40 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
manager of the Western Union Telegraph company
At the end of the first week I had seen the sights
of the city, and so called on my friend in need,
Mr. Blatchford, and he appeared very glad to see
me. He told me that he had a place for me, if I
would accept it, to serve as a special messenger to
deliver messages to President Lincoln, and to the
several members of his cabinet, and to the adjutant-
general's office, and he would give me $50.00 a
month. I went to work the next day.
Mr. Blatchford. the first thingin the morning, gave
me a note with instructions to go to the White
House, where I went, and was admitted to the pres-
ence of President Lincoln. After reading the note
from Mr. Blatchford, which told him about the boy
from New Hampshire, Mr. Lincoln wrote on a small
piece of paper these words :
*' Admit the Bearer.
Handing it to me, he said that some times it was
hard work to get at him, but with this card I could
reach him at any time. However, after the first
week I had become so well known to the door-
keepers and secretaries that I had no further use for
the pass and laid it aside. *' Pity 't is, 't is true," but
in the hurly-burly of the times it was laid aside and
lost. A precious piece of paper to own now.
It was then, and it has remained in my memory
since, a most singular coincidence that the first per-
son I met on my first messenger trip to the White
House, was a young man by the name of Chase, who
formerly lived in Kensington and went to school
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 41
there. Thoucrh older than I, he remembered me,
and he was of great help in making things easy for
me at first.
As to Chase having lived in our town I only re-
member, and this but indistinctly, that he lived with
the Winckly's, who were next-door neighbors to
Captain Henry Brown. It may be that Mr. James
W. VV. Brown, his son, will be able to recall the full
name of the young fellow, and how it was that he
should live in Kensington at all, for I do not remem-
ber of his having relatives there. I did learn later,
however, that he was a relative of Salmon P. Chase
(afterwards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court),
which probably accounts for his appointment to a
position in the White House. ^
There was a peculiar circumstance in regard to the
messages I delivered ; most of them came into the
office in cypher and had to be translated, or, as they
have it these days, de-coded, before delivery to those
I served. This probably accounts for the messages
not being sent directly in to the government offices.
As I have now related the several incidents that
led up to my employment as special messenger, per-
haps I should not longer continue the story, and yet
I will venture to add a few more lines to say that in
serving as a messenger as I did, I went to the White
House often several times a day, and therefore saw
President Lincoln many, many times during the
several months I worked for Mr. Blatchford, and his
1 1 have learned, since writing the above, that his name was Jacob, that
he was called " Jakey," and that he was a distant relative of Captain Henry
Brown, that he lived with him two years and went to our district school
during that time.
42 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
features and figure are indelibly fixed in my memory
for all time that I shall have memory.
What became of Mr. Blatchford, I am sorry to
say that I don't know.
So far as my story touches the one great character
mentioned in it, the final drop of the curtain was
near at hand. I recall the last time I saw Mr. Lin-
coln alive. It was several days after the surrender
of General Lee, which meant the immediate down-
fall of the Southern Confederacy; probably it was
on the night of the 12th or 13th of April, when vast
numbers of people gathered inside of the gates in
front of the White House ; and they were there to man-
ifest their joy and happiness over the ending of the
long years of war and suffering that the people of
the North and of the South had endured — both
peoples for conscience sake — and they give vent to
their feelings by cheering the president; and such
cheering ! cheers such as only Americans can give ;
and 'midst the cheers there was the cry and call for
the president, and with the constantly increasing
numbers so the volume of sound of voice of his
people increased more and more and would not be
stilled until the president appeared at the window
over the portico, and the people — the enthusiastic
thousands who saw him — cried, '' speech ! speech ! "
but he made none. He stood in the window several
minutes and bowed and smiled, and it was such a
pleasant smile, and then he retired ; but the cheers
being renewed, and they were so hearty and evidently
so sincere, he came to the window again and bowed
several times, and the second time he came he led a
little boy with him ; then standing there what seemed
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 43
a long time one could see that he was greatly af-
fected by the scene before hirn, as if the trials
through which he and all the people, North and
South, had passed during the years of his presidency
haunted him. Then bowing, and still bowing he
passed from our view, and that was the last time I
saw Abraham Lincoln.
In closing, let me say that in after years I met
other soldiers from Kensington, East Kingston,
Kingston, Hampton Falls, Seabrook, and other
towns adjacent, who told me that they were there and
were a part of the great crowd who gathered in front
of the White House that night fifty years ago to pay
homage and to show their love for ** Old Abe," the
man known in history as being " of the people, for
the people and by the people," and will ever so re-
main — Abraham Lincoln.
Personally I recall the names of but six that were
there as participants in the demonstration as above
related and they were all from Kensington, four of
them soldiers : Ferdinand L. Blake, John V. Hodg-
don, Amos Rowell, and John Eaton. Accompany-
ing these were Mr. Eaton's wife, Mrs. Lois Eaton,
and the then boy,
HAROLD F. BLAKE.
The Two Soldiers and the One Weak Ankle
THE two stories of this chapter tell of what befell
two Kensington men who enlisted in 1862 to
help Uncle Sam keep the Union intact as one nation,
as the founders intended it should be.
44 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
As both men passed to the great beyond many
years ago, and as neither left descendants to read
the stories (though were any living they might well
approve of them) I see nothing in them to run
counter to good taste by the telling of them in de-
tail, as the facts warrant, and as several of the old
veterans now living can vouch.
I may say that the stories are more than stories,
for, while they relate to two characters as individuals,
they do more, they tell of the lax and horribly
inadequate business methods and conditions prevail-
ing in the military as well as the civil service of our
country during and immediately succeeding the Civil
War, conditions that worked cruel hardships upon
thousands and tens of thousands of war-scarred,
blood-poisoned, physically broken down, and in
many cases prematurely old veterans. The stories
Ira E. Brown and Jeremiah K. Leavett
MR. BROWN was a native of Kensington, and
all our people knew him from school-days.
In person he was powerfully built, over six feet,
three inches in height, well proportioned and in the
prime of life, about forty, at the time of the incidents
In the general description of the man's mental
and physical makeup I may say that in my fairly
wide reading of literature I have found but one char-
acter with which to liken him, Eachen Maclan, a
chief of one of the Highland clans of Scotland, as he
is portrayed by Scott in his delightful novel, " The
Fair Maid of Perth."
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 45
The story of Eachen is said to be historically true.
If any of my readers wishes to learn just what kind
of a man Eachen w^as he should read the thirty-
fourth chapter of the above named book, and he
will see that such as Eachen never become national
heroes. No, it isn't such as he that becomes the
" Harry Smiths of the Wynd," the Farraguts
'' lashed to the mast," the Israel Putnams " in the
den of wolves," or volunteer wnth the Hobsons,
lead forlorn hopes with the General Picketts, wear
the " Cross of the Legion of Honor " or the ** Victoria
Cross," or receive the "Thanks of Congress" for
conspicuous valor, but they do frequently land first
and foremost vvhen it comes to the securing of large
pensions, as Ira did.
The story of Ira runs thus: To his associates, as
boy and man, he was known to be lacking in both
the mental and physical qualities that go to make up
the Spartan hero. Hence it was that it took several
weeks of hazing and raillery of his friends to even
get him to visit the recruiting office in the townhouse
during the summer of 1862. But he finally went,
and there met with so much encouragement and
enthusiastic solicitation, that he agreed then and
there to enlist; and before his promise had time to
cool or his courage to wane, they had his coat and
vest off, and he was measured and weighed ; and,
upon the signing of the papers, he was an enlisted
man before he fully realized it. Yes, it was done
so quickly that many a man like Sam Lamprey, Bill
Hodgdon, Nute and Frank Austin, Weare Nudd and
Jack Shaw, Jim Brown and others like them, fairly
46 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
chuckled over the almost shanghaing of Ira into the
When the formalities were over the recruiting
officer said in his quiet and gentle way: ** Ira, don't
forget yourself, and let your ankle get out of joint
when you go to Concord to be examined." I won-
der if any now living remember these words of
caution of the recruiting officer so kindly meant.
Whether any others now remember the incident, Ira
remembered the injunction then, for he kept his
ankle in place while in Concord and passed his ex-
amination without any trouble, and later was mus-
tered into the 14th New Hampshire Regiment.
The joke of the ankle was this: From childhood
Ira could throw it out of joint at will, and cause it to
lay practically at a right angle flat on the groimd.
However, in due time our hero, with his regiment,
landed at the front, where he served faithfully though
uneventfully nearly two years. Yes, all went well
with him until one day, being detailed with a few
others for scout duty, and he being somewhat
advanced on the skirmish line, he was surprised at
finding himself somewhat cut off from the others
and in very close proximity to the enemy, as he
could tell by the sharp crack of the enemy's rifles in
the distance, and the more vividly so as he heard
the whizzing of the bullet past his head. And so
Ira, in seeking a safe place for individual effort, or
refuge, which meant the hasty getting off of the
firing line, had occasion to crawl through a Virginia
'' zigzag " rail fence. Whereupon, when about half
way through, offering a good broad target to the
enemy, a Johnny Reb sharpshooter, taking careful
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 47
aim, put a bullet clean plump into the right side of
the sitting down part of his anatomy. But, it being
a long range shot, the force of the bullet was so
spent that, while it did penetrate his trousers, it
barely entered the flesh its own depth. In fact, so
slight was the wound that a comrade coming up,
seeing that Ira had not only got caught, but still
hung in the fence, and wounded, probed for and
removed the ball with his jackknife.
Such being the true state of affairs with Ira, one
would have thought that such a wound, while it
might be a little troublesome to sit down with for a
few days, would on the whole, and especially con-
sidering his narrow escape, have been one to cause
smiles rather than tears, merriment rather than sor-
row, and that he would soon be again on the firing
line. But no ! While the injury from the bullet
from the Kentucky sharpshooter was to the naked
eye of the layman, located at the center of the side
of his posterior, the real effect of the shot was that
his ankle became disjointed and lay flat on the
ground, and the efforts of the most skilled of the
army surgeons could not with splint or plaster
strengthen either '' nerve, bone or sinew " sufficiently
to Jiold it in place. After many and repeated efforts
had been made by the surgeons to "knit" the liga-
ments without avail they diagnosed it to be a " help-
less case," and so the doubly injured man was, by
unanimous action of the board of surgeons, officers
and chaplain of his regiment, honorably discharged
forthwith. And to top the whole, his discharge
papers explicitly set forth how that the injury of the
ankle was a verv serious one, caused by a bullet
48 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
zvound received in action, that the wound was of a
permanent character, and that he should be pensioned
by the Government at once. Yes, all these things
were solemnly set forth in Ira's discharge papers.
And so it came to pass that our hero, with reason-
able despatch, landed in the old home town with his
ankle (officially) flat on the ground.
In the eyes of the law Ira's was a clear case and
deserving, because there were so many officers and
men who k7iew of the shot at the rail fence, and of
the immediate effect therefrom and thereof ; and,
these things having been certified to by many officers
and men in their report the evidence was conclusive,
so Ira quickly obtained a very large pension to start
with, and with scarce any medical examination what-
ever. What was the need when he had the official
certificate of his commanding officers, surgeons and
chaplain that his was a permanent disability result-
ing from a bullet wound received in action? And
when Ira was examined for increase of pension,
which was not overlooked, the examination was merely
pro forma, as the ankle never failed to play its part
as it had done at the rail fence, or, as when in his
schooldays he would throw it out for fun.
Speaking of increase of pension : I am doing no
injury to the feelings of the living or to the good
name of the dead when I say that while Ira received,
as I have stated, a very large pension to start with,
he was able to have it increased several times before
In commenting upon this particular case one could
have said that while in the eyes of the law it was a
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 49
very weak and useless ankle pliysically, to Ira it was
a very strong o'c^q financially .
Before taking leave of our old friend Ira, let it be
said that though there were scarce half a dozen of
the Kensington soldiers but what knew of the story
of the oscillating ankle and of its easy manipulation
long before the war, no one of them but felt that
Ira was lucky in getting the pension he did, for
there were so many of them who, though more de-
serving, were unable to get one, and so it was that
instead of envying they all congratulated him.
Now comes the strangest part of the whole story :
While it may seem incredible, it is true that notwith-
standing his large and ever increasing pension, Ira
wrongJit at his trade of cordwainer (for as such he
was enlisted) and did a fnll day s zvork each day for
many years, as in form and manner minutely set
forth (or will be) in another story.
Jeremiah K. Leavett
THIS being a sort of companion story to the one
told of Ira, and both true stories, we can see
by comparing them that " Truth is strange, stranger
than fiction," but we do not clearly understand wJiy
it is that the righteous man is so often forgotten, why
the table of the one is amply supplied with bread and
honey, whilst the other only receives the remnants
from the table of the cottages along the wayside.
That this is so, listen to the story of the real hero.
First of all, let it be said that he was a genial and
kindly man, and that being such, was familiarly known
50 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
by old and young everywhere as ** Jerry," and so I
will call him.
Jerry was not a native of our town, but was, I
think, born in Exeter. At any rate, his brother
Nathaniel was a prominent man in that town, serving
as sheriff for several years and as postmaster for two
terms as I remember. Though memory, not being
infallible, fools us all sometimes.
Jerry was a widower, and had, at the time of my
story, two daughters. As I recollect, he first made
his appearance in our town in the early summer of
1861, coming there from Amesbury Mills, as it was
called then, to help my grandfather. Captain Josiah
T. Blake, through haying. When haying was fin-
ished Jerry concluded to remain in town, and did so.
Unlike his brother Nathaniel, who was an ardent
republican, Jerry was a whole-hearted democrat, and
so it was among the men belonging to that party
that he found congenial spirits. And so it was, too,
that when these, his closest friends, came forward to
enlist, as we have seen they did, Jerry was amongst
the very first to volunteer to fight for Uncle Sam.
I may say here that at the time he first came to
our town Jerry was in the prime of life, and physi-
cally a perfect type and specimen of vigorous man-
A more particular description of him would show
him to have been of medium height, rather thick set,
and as quick on his feet as a cat. In disposition he
was one of the pleasantest of men, everybody, chil-
dren and all, liking him ; and, while given to con-
viviality on such days as the Fourth of July, Thanks-
giving Day with its turkey shoot, and Christmas,
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 51
when everybody, as he expressed it, was supposed to
feel " whop-de-doodle-de-dum," his every act was
within the bounds of propriety, and he was always
courteous and never forgot that he was a gentleman.
And so Jerry went to the war with the rest. I do not
recall what regiment he joined ' or how many battles
he was in, but we do know that for nearly three
years he was at the front, fought through several
campaigns, and was in many engagements ; that he
was transferred several times, and, in consequence,
could scarce remember the names of his early officers
and comrades. And yet, in whatever unit Jerry was
assigned to he did his full duty as a man should, and
well he deserved the full credit and praise he re-
ceived from both superiors and equals for the part
he played. Yes, he did deserve their praise, for
there being no half-hearted blood in Jerry he fought
or worked by day, and if need be, tended his sick
and wounded comrades by night; and he kept this
up for nearly three years, and never during all that
time did he ask or receive leave of absence, or fur-
lough, to go home to see his people.
But, alas ! as the stoutest oak bends and breaks
before the blast, so Jerry's stout heart and body broke
down under" the constant strain, and he was taken to
the tent of the field hospital, a weary, worn and sick
man. And thus it was that Jerry lay sick on his cot
in the hospital in the far South for many weeks.
Then, when recovery was despaired of he received
his discharge from the service because of disability,
and he came back to Kensington, not the same
1 Fourteenth N. H. Regiment.
52 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
Jerry that went away nearly three years before. No,
for now he was like tens of thousands of others who
came home from the war with germs of disease im-
planted in their bodies, and from which none ever
fully recovered ; and many, oh, so many ! survived
but a few weeks, or months, or years, and then the
last roll call and the last tap sounded for them.
I can see Jerry now as we saw him on the day of
his return, a bent, feeble, grey-whiskered old man in
place of the clean-shaven and sturdy athlete who
enlisted in our old townihouse, as we have seen so
many others did, to serve three years in the armies
of Uncle Sam, unless sooner discharged.
And it came to pass that for weeks, and even
months, after his return, Jerry was an invalid and re-
ceived the care and attention he needed from his
oldtime friends in Kensington ; and all who cared
for him did so without price or obligation. And
while in due time he partially recovered his former
health it never came back to him so as to allow him
to follow his trade as a hatter, or to perform other
arduous labor, but he did light work here and there
when he was able to work at all.
It may be stated here as an historical fact that for
the first few years immediately succeeding the war
it was thought by many of the higher-minded and
the more patriotic men that it was not quite the
proper thing, even quite unpatriotic, to make appli-
cation for a pension. And as Jerry was by blood and
breeding inclined to follow the course and trend of
the highest ideals, he was loath to apply for one,
though no one deserved it more, nor was there any
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 53
one to whom the giving of it would have been more
However, the counsels of friends at last prevailed,
and he applied for a pension. Being a physical
wreck, and the cause of it known of all men, he and
his friends thought it would be but a mere matter of
form. But, alas ! he nor they little knew the diffi-
culties that lay in the way, for in the early days the
burden of proof wdiS all put upon the applicant for
pension, and worse still, under the then (1865 to
1875) Government policy the board of examining
physicians were expected, practically instructed, to
turn down every applicant possible.
As I remember, the certificate of any commissioned
officer, regardless of his personal character, was
worth more in getting a pension than the certificate
of scores of privates. But having been in and out
of several different units of the service Jerry could
not find commissioned officers, or even privates
enough to certify or even identify him.
And so it was that he went, went, went, here, there,
and everywhere, hoping to find those who could
help him, but he found them not; and, it was only
through the powerful influence of his brother Na-
thaniel and General Marson and others that he, after
nearly four years, was granted a pension of two
dollars a month.
By this time, he of the self-adjusting ankle —
think of the irony of it — was getting twelve dollars
a month. Eventually, however, Jerry got six dollars
a month and with this amount he had to remain con-
tent to the end of the chapter, which came all too
soon to this gallant soldier, this man of high ideals,
54 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
this kindly gentleman and adopted son of Kensing-
ton, who, by enlisting from there, helped to make
up the immortal roll of the grand old town's contri-
bution of men who fought in the Civil War — Jerry
These two chapters, the companion stories of Ira
and Jerry, could have been much shorter, and yet
the readers have seen that the war experience, or
history of the two men opens up for us a wide field
for philosophical argument, for do they not show
that circumstances, environment and conditions
oftentimes lead men to act unfairly, unjustly even,
towards their fellow men. To some, too much is
given, to others, far more deserving it may be, too
little; and yet all may be done under the law.
But I will leave speculation and discussion of these
abstruse questions to others. To me has fallen the
simple task of telling the story of Ira and Jerry,
which I will now conclude without further comment
than to say this : While Jerry fought and worked
hard for nearly three years, and came home, as we
have seen, an old, prematurely old, war-worn and
broken down man, and that he never received a
pension large enough to supply him with the bare
necessities of life, Ira, 7wtwitJista]iding his ability to
perform a full day's work at Ids trade, received a
very large one for a disability born with him (and
not as a result of the episode at the rail fence) and,
therefore, not because of his valor or part in the war.
No, there is no way to explain such things unless we
admit " That Divinity shapes our ends, rough hew
them how we will."
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 55
Kensington's One Copperhead
THERE was a kind of a queer character about Ken-
sington in the late fifties and early sixties, but
where he came from or where he went to I don't
know. I do remember, however, the man very dis-
tinctly, that he was short and thick, that he had a
big, round and florid face and was phlegmatic in all
things save one — he hated a ''Nigger" and all
Abolitionists with unutterable hatred, and would
lash himself into the wildest frenzy- in talking about
them. In his language, as I have said, he was the
rankest, the most violent and rabid pro-slavery man
of them all. In speech alone he was far worse than
old J L of , whom the boys of Phillips-
Exeter routed out of bed and made an excellent ex-
ample of because of his pro-slavery utterances in 1863.
But as the skunk and hedgehog are provided by
nature with means of defence, and are therefore im-
mune from attack by unarmed man, so this man may
have been saved from himself by mode, manner, and
the very violence of his speeches; and, especially it
may be, by the extremely ludicrous manner and
climax with which he ended every one he made,
which, by the way, v/as always the same speech.
While I will not undertake to give a full verbatim
report of his oft-repeated speech, the manner of it,
ox all of the words, I will say this: He would start
in with a low, gentle voice to tell of Washington,
Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and a whole string of
the Fathers of the Republic, their ancestors and de-
scendants as well, all owning and trading in slaves,
and how tens of thousands of them had been shang-
56 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
haied, or bought with New England rum, made in
Newburyport and Medford, from the African chiefs
and brought to America in the vessels owned by the
d — d pious Boston shipowners. Yes, brought to
this country in the very same ships that had taken
the cargoes of rum and bibles to Africa to exchange
for the "Niggers" — the poor devils, he for one
wished that every blasted one of them were back in
the jungles of Africa where they would be but for
these pious gentry of Boston and Salem. But, hav-
ing been landed here as they were, didn't old Cotton
Mather own and even kill his slaves with hard work
and for lack of food to eat? Certainly he did.
Didn't old Governor Weare, the patriot of Hampton
Falls, even in our Revolutionary days, own and work
slaves. He did, and no one can deny it. Hasn't
everybody that is anybody in history owned and
worked slaves, even right down from Moses, Abra-
ham, Isaac and Jacob and the rest? No one ques-
tioned this right to own and trade in slaves until that
Hat Beecher Stowe, with her Tom's Cabin lies and
rubbish, and that cheap and worthless shoemaker,
John Whittier, composed rhymes about Daniel Web-
ster, telling about " Oh Ichabod " and *' Tom Shep-
ley," and the two or three women, Suse Anthony,
Cad Stanton and Crete Mott put on breeches and
commenced to rant about the " Nigger" being better
than a white man; and then to cap the climax they
wanted to go fo the polls, drink rum and vote with the
men (ten chances to one that neither one of them could
cook a mess of potatoes without burning the kettle
as black as your hat). And then there was that
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 57
crazy fool Greeley who printed the Tribune. And
then he mentioned Bill Seward and old Thad Stevens
and others as he went on.
When he came to William Lloyd Garrison, Wen-
dell Phillips, Charles Sumner, John P. Hale and Bill
Chandler he commenced to use lanj^uage that would
not be fit to put down here. He called Garrison a
cheap " tramp " printer who belonged in Newbury-
port; of Wendell Phillips he said he had a lot of
money, which had been made by his family by dis-
tilling rum and which they, his ancestors, had bar-
tered for the African slaves — for the very ancestors
of those he was now so much concerned about.
Talking ! Why ! this man Phillips had nothing else
to do except to talk! As for Charles Sumner —
well, all he cojild say about him was that he wished
that the Honorable Preston C. Brooks had used a
good deal heavier cane on him.
But, it zvas when he came nearer home that his
speech became more intense, wide and lurid in its
vocabulary, as well as bitter in its invective.
He said : Take that Frank Sanborn, of Hampton
Falls ; he had far better be on the marsh helping
"Old Hopkins" dig ditches, or on the clam-flats
helping Daniel Pevear dig clams, or stacking salt hay
for somebody, instead of living down at Concord in
the same town with that ignorant fool that printed
the stuff called *' The Bigelow Papers " and where the
writer of it didn't spell half of the words right; and
that man too, the same as Sanborn, made a lot of
cheap talk about the '' cussed " niggers and trying to
make people believe that they were not only as good
58 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
but better than white men. Yes, he had far better
be digging and shocking clams, had that man San-
And yet it was only when the orator corne to con-
sider the Abolitionists in our town that he really got
down to personalities. He said : Take the whole
lot of Hilliard's, Joe, Rufe, Bill and Frank; Charles
and Hen Tuck, Abe Titcomb, Steve Green, John
Adams Blake, Parse Tuck, Syke Wadleigh, Steve
Brown and Tom Gadd, they, every cussed one of
them should be taken to the center of Muddy Pond,
and there with a 200-pound stone and rope with one
end slipnoosed about their necks should be sunk to
its bottomless depths.
But it was now when he came to the one, the
deepest dyed scoundrel of them all, ** Old Gard
Clifford " — ah ! then ! was the voice, words and
speech that came from his lips awful in their intensity.
Ah, yes, but it was right here that the singular
part of the whole performance came in. As we
have seen, the man started in to speak in the most
gentle and lamb-like manner, with voice quiet and
soft; but, as he proceeded his voice gathered
strength and he warmed up by hearing himself tell
of the wickedness of the men who were opposing
slavery, and he became more and still more bitter
toward them as he neared his peroration. Then,
fairly frothing at the mouth, he would roar forth in
the most vituperative language at his command his
hatred of all known and unknown Abolitionists every-
where. This he continued to do until from very
physical exhaustion he was obliged to stop. And theji,
lowering his voice lower and still lower until finally
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 59
to the v^xy point from whence he started to speak, he
would, in ahnost a gentle whisper say: " I wish they
were all in h — 11, and that's all I've got to say
As no man knoweth from whence the sparrow
Cometh, or whither it goeth, so, as I have said, I
don't know from whence this man came when he
landed in Kensington, or who his relatives were, if
he had any, or even who he lived with, though I am
sure that he lived on the Stumpfield road somewhere,
or what he did for a living while in town, or to what
parts he migrated when he left. But I do know that
he was an alien to our soil, that he was a rabid and
uncompromising Copperhead, the only one that ever
lived within our boundaries, that I heard him many
times make the speech in manner and form as here
set down, that his name was Charley Nutter Brown,
and that he stuttered.
The Parson's Donation Party in War Times
IN the old days, as all good country folk know, in
addition to his yearly stipend it was customary
for the preacher to benefit by what should come to
him through the semi-annual donation parties; and
it can be said that, while no preconcerted action by
donor's could, under the circumstances, be taken,
these parties were intended to be of the most practi-
cal and substantial character, that is to say, for the
purpose of filling of the preacher's larder, though it
often happened that the clergyman received a super-
abundance of some particular thing; yea, not in-
60 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
frequently things that no one in his family ever ate
or used. However, the parties in themselves were
always a source of much pleasure and enjoyment to
both the pastor and his people.
Whether these time-honored functions have passed
away with many of the other old-time customs or
not, I do not know. If they have, then the telling
of the following story will bring back to mind again,
not only the story of the average donation party,
but of one particular party, and it will point out how
it was that very queer things happened sometimes
because of this method of parishoners donating
" hit-or-miss," as was their custom. To make this
clear I will tell what happened at a party given to
Parson E. in 1863.
First of all, as at all such gatherings, the menfolk
and boyfolk take note of the appearance of both
womenfolk and girlfolk, and as I saw them then I see
them now, many of them with their hair in curls or
ringlets, others with their hair in silken nets, hanging
low down at the back of the neck, all wearing prim
white collars held together at the throat with pink-
and-white cameo brooch, and all wearing hoop-skirts
and wide-spreading crinoline.
Had my reader been present, and interested to
see how much the good Shepherd was to benefit,
and had kept tabs, the inventory would haye shown
about as follows :
Six families brought clothespins, six dozen in a
package, seven brought each two salt codfish, five
brought one dozen each of laundry soap, one a cake
of shaving soap, two brought each a smoked ham
(32-pounders), three subscriptions for the New York
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 61
Tribune, five for the Exeter News-Letter, three for
Harper's Weekly, two for the Atlantic monthly, five
brought Robert's Farmers' Almanac, and three
brought Dudley Leavett's.
The several individual donations of necessary and
useful articles of ordinary family consumption
amounted in the aggregate as follows :
Three pounds of salt pork, two pounds of leaf
lard, one dozen smoked herring, one pound of coffee,
Mocha and Java mixed, and two large fresh pork
spareribs. All told there were twenty-three pounds
of butter, nineteen gallons of vinegar, sixteen bags
of table salt, and all of the packages of cayenne
pepper weighed two and three-fourths pounds. There
were seventeen bottles of extract of lemon, twenty-
two bottles of vanilla and sixteen sticks of Rising
Sun stove polish. The different lots of potato starch
weighed twenty-nine pounds ; one ream of writing
paper and eleven bottles of ink, twenty-seven pieces
of store cheese, and fourteen lots of home-made
*' cottage " or " sour-milkers."
There were fourteen lots of French turnips, or
about six bushels, and four bushels English ; in all
there was but one-half peck of potatoes, but what
they fell short in potatoes they made up in pump-
kins — there were eighty-nine of these and all big
ones — but only one squash, a small one. The cab-
bages totaled 111, Savoy's and " drum-heads " about
equally apportioned, and one-half peck of onions,
one and one-half pounds of granulated sugar and two
pounds of brown sugar, ten gallons of molasses —
six Porto Rico and four New Orleans, made before
the war — and of apples there were thirty-three
62 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
bushels of various sorts, amongst them one bushel of
*' jiilyflowers," at that time considered the finest eat-
ing apple grown in New England, a species now ex-
tinct, I believe. Of pop-corn there were some six-
teen bushels, on the cob, of course.
Going on with our inventory we found that there
were nineteen quarts of yellow-eye, sixteen quarts of
red kidney and twenty-two quarts of small pea beans.
There were thirteen quarter-gross of lucifer matches.
It being *' walnut year " the sixteen lots of shelled
walnuts amounted to something over three and three-
There were nine bushels of carrots, three pecks of
winter pears, five forequarters of mutton, a miscel-
laneous lot of horse radish and artichokes, eleven
and one-fourth bushels of beets, twenty-one quarts
of " boiled cider," and several bunches each of sage,
summer-savory and thyme, several bunches of catnip,
also three circingles and a blanket for the parson's
The busy housewives brought eleven quart and
seventeen pint jars of picalilli, thirteen bottles of
chowchow and sixteen of catsup, nine of chutney
sauce and three large firkins of " boiled cider apple
sauce," about sixty quarts in all. There were several
pots and jars of pickles and preserves besides, and
someone brought a big stone jar of mincemeat.
The good old grandmarms had knitted fourteen
pairs of wool socks and nine pairs of woolen mittens
for the parson, and they topped off their gifts with a
full web of fine cotton cloth, unbleached, suitable for
underwear, sheets and pillow cases.
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 63
There was money given, too, and not a little of it
was of a very unique sort, and as>it had but recently
appeared in our parts it awakened a great curiosity
among all classes of people. Believing that it may
not be without interest to some of my readers, of the
younger generation at least, I will tell about it. But
first, let us go to the " lightstand in the corner,"
where we will see a pretty glass dish waiting to re-
ceive the cash donations always expected at these
gatherings. We have not long to wait to see the
money accumulate. And such money ! Script it
was called, and it was issued in 3, 5, 10, 25 and 50-
Issued by whom it may be asked ? The answer is,
by anybody. Yet there was neither gold or silver
or other security behind it, and was nothing more
nor less than a note of hand, simply a promise to
pay, given in the form of script, and any one who
wanted to issue it could do so. If a man owning
and operating a sawmill, grocery store, hotel, black-
smith's shop or any other kind of a shop could the
better handle his business by putting out a quantity
of this script, he did so.
Among others I remember that Charles E. Morrill,
grocer at East Kingston, John D. Locke, grocer at Sea-
brook, Joshua Getchell, hardware, J. F. Lyford, dry-
goods, and Fogg & Fellows, booksellers and periodi-
cal dealers at Exeter, and Darius Towle, hotel keeper
and wagon-builder at Kingston, all issued a lot of
this script money. Mr. Towle alone issued several
thousand dollars worth of it. Why he issued so
much more than any one else about the county was
this : He needed the money to finance the building
64 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
of large numbers of army wagons that he contracted
to build for the Government during the war with the
South. However, no one seemed to have any love
for it. All looked upon it with contempt, some with
suspicion, but every one called it " shinplaster," and
it looked the part. But, as these were the times that
tried men's souls, and women's too, they accepted
even the " shinplaster " as tokens of currency value.
And so, piled high in the dish, one could see
these tiny scraps of paper, printed in red, green,
black and brown, the denominational value of the
script; the name and place of abode of the
payee, who promised to pay on demand the amount
" nominated in the bond," etc., etc., and it \s probable
that we saw many other names printed on these
small pieces of paper, with simply a promise to pay
the bearer on demand, as we have said, the amount
" nominated in the bond."
All this did seem mighty strange at the time, but
it seems a hundredfold more strange to us to-day to
recall that such things were actually done in Rock-
ingham County, even in war times, but 't is true. I
cannot drop this subject without remarking that I
have often wondered what became of that dirty old
"shinplaster" token of money. So far as I know
or ever heard, what was not lost or kept as curio
specimens of war's currency necessities, this script
was all redeemed by those who issued it. At least
this is true in so far as it relates to our part of the
country. But, to the donator and to the donatee
on the night of this donation party the old script of
the war period passed at its face value. All this
which I have written may be of interest to the anti-
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 65
quary if not to the general reader. But, while we
have been telling about it " heeps " of the old make-
shift currency has been placed in the receiver. But
let us now proceed with our story.
" The famous cooks of Kensington " also brought
with them a hundred good things for hosts and
guests to eat. These were served by rosy-cheeked
misses in clean, spic-and-span white aprons and
frocks, and after the refreshments all the folk, old
and young, joined in singing the popular songs of
the day, "John Brown's Body Lies a Mouldering in
the Grave," " Red, White and Blue," " Marching
Through Georgia," " We 're Tenting To-night on the
Old Camp Ground," " I Wish I Was in Dixie,"
*' We '11 Hang Jeff Davis to a Sour Apple Tree," and
other popular songs of the time. After these were
sung a little miss recited " Three Grains of Corn,
Mother, Only Three Grains of Corn," and then one
of the popular young ladies gave us "Bingen on the
Rhine," with great dramatic force, and which called
for repeated efforts on her part, but being of t/iat family
she was sure to succeed. ' And there were other
numbers on the program, but I have left the one
great event or feature of the evening to tell last, the
story of John Pat Tamprey and the quintal of
As for John Pat himself, it is doubtful if he was
himself at this party, for he was not inclined to at-
tend such functions, nor was he what would be called
a church-going man, though a sterling upright man
and Christian. But, as the support of. the church,
and its work in the community, was a strongly
grounded tradition and custom of his family, and
6(j RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
had been so for many generations — traditions in
which he took great pride — he felt morally bound
to uphold its ancient customs as well as its untar-
nished good name.
There was another impelling force, he was a great
admirer, and had been since they were children, of
his two sisters, who had always lived with him in the
great farmhouse. And well he might, for they were
both very beautiful women, both highl)^ cultivated
intellectually, and both greatly interested in the work
and general welfare of their church. Then, too, to
his wife he was a very devoted husband, and as she,
too, was ail active worker in the same church, we
can see that he had every incentive to help the
family church in material ways. So John Pat never
failed to contribute liberally towards every good and
charitable movement in which his wife and sisters
were interested, and his contributions were not of
the things of commonplace farm production, but of
articles that required real cash money to acquire.
Acting on this principle, he having seen in Frank
Hilliard's store a quintal of A No. 1 salt mackerel,
and being extremely fond of such fish himself, he
decided to purchase and contribute the whole lot
towards the parson's fall donation, then near at
hand. And so he ordered delivery of same to be
made to Parson E., day and date of the said party.
Before proceeding further I should say that this
particular donation party was in every way success-
ful socially, as well as in the quantity and value of
the contributions to the larder of the parsonage, as the
pastor saw the following day, when he, upon taking
an inventory, found much to be thankful for. Al-
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 67
belt he found but a comparatively small quantity of
either white or brown sugar, or lard, or squash, or
tea, or coffee, and not a single parishoner had
thought of a barrel, or even of a bag of flour, which
at that time the cheapest St. Louis was worth twenty
dollars and upwards per barrel. But, on the whole
the pastor found that he was well supplied with
many useful articles of food and raiment, even in
some things superabundantly supplied.
Yes, it was a most bounteous and acceptable dona-
tion of useful things and all could be made use of in
due time, everything save one, the quintal of mack-
erel — no one in the family ever ate it. And so the
quintal of mackerel remained in the storeroom for
Finally, it occurred to the parson that the best
thing to do would be to exchange the mackerel for
sugar and other things of daily consumption, and upon
inquiry, Mr. Hilliard said that he would gladly make
the exchange, and did so to their mutual advantage.
Now, it so happened that on the same day of this
barter and exchange of mackerel for groceries, John
Pat went to the postoflice, where, seeing a newly
opened quintal of mackerel, he purchased ten pounds.
Being *' freshened over night" and boiled the next
day for dinner, he and his family really feasted. In-
deed, so much did they enjoy them, that he went to
the store the same night and purchased fifteen
pounds more. And a second, and third and several
other excellent breakfasts and dinners were the result
of his purchases. And, as they feasted, so they
hoped that the fish given to the parson were as good,
68 RE-TOLD TALES OP^ WAR TIMES.
and being relished as muck as the ones they were
Indeed, so much did the family enjoy their meals
of mackerel, that they decided to purchase more of
them, and so by quick action John Pat was able to
purchase the balance of the lot. And so it was that
J. P. and his household folk enjoyed their feasts of
A No. 1 salt mackerel from time to time nearly all
winter, and it was not until several weeks after the
last one had been eaten that the story leaked out and
he learned the true story of how he had bought at
wholesale in the first place ; given them away at
wholesale in the seeojid place, and in the third place
had repurchased them at retail for his own family
The reader may well believe the story as I have
told it, but to have heard John Pat tell the part he
played in it was a rare treat, and one to remember a
lifetime. Even the remembrance of the manner in
which he told the story, with all the embellishments,
such as only a Lamprey could introduce into the
commonplace, awakens memories that bring with
them many another gathering of Kensington folk
similar in character to the one here but barely half
told. Yes, even now, I can see in the shadows of
the low-burning night-lamp, and in fancy, scores of
smiling and familiar faces as I saw them on the night
of this donation party, and at other gatherings of a
Yes, this was a very pleasant party and successful,
though the war-clouds made the days dark in the
land, and many hearts were aching, for there were
not many young men to be seen at such places dur-
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 69
ing the years between 1862 and 1865, for more than
seventy of the flower of our manhood, all of them
in the prime of life, were away with the armies in
the South ; and, while many a woman was there in
her person, her heart was with her loved one in the
tent, on the march, on the battlefield, or in the hos-
pital far away. And the prayer of the minister was
one of peculiar tenderness and solicitude for the
Kensington soldiers. He asked the Father's especial
watchful care over them, that they might be spared
to return to their homes and loved ones, and the
prayer found echoing response from mother, wife,
sister and sweetheart, for they were all there and
listened, and in their hearts prayed with him.
As I bring this little true home story to its close I
ask myself, and I wonder, how many that are now
living remember this story of John Pat and his quin-
tal of mackerel? All too few, too few.
But of the personal characteristics, brilliant attain-
ments and splendid qualities of mind and heart of
all the members of this remarkable family, John P.,
Samuel, Sarah and Esther, there are many living
who knew and remember them as I have recalled
them, who know that they wrought zealously for the
good of their home, their church, their neighbor-
hood and their town. Yes, each and all gave their
whole-hearted support to every good cause and
movement in their native town for a great many
years. And they lived long, and the world was the
better and brighter and more cheerful for their being
in it. And, when they passed to the realm from
whence there is no return, and we saw them not, we
oft called up from the storehouse of memory their
70 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
names, as I am now doing, and in the recollection
of them there would come back, as there now comes
back, none but sweet and pleasant memories of them.
And even now my thoughts linger and my pen hesi-
tates to put down the words that ends the story of
the parson's donation party in war times.
And So It Is
WHETHER it be book or booklet, large or
small, of few chapters or many, it appears
that in spite of the author there is inevitably bound
to be alast chapter; and, while any one of the pre-
ceding chapters could well have been the last, the
fact seems to be that no one of them proved to be
so. The real reason for this is that the last chapter
was left for the telling of the story of
The Kensington Brass Band
OF this band it can be said that it was recognized
throughout the State as being a very superior
musical organization; and, it may be said that it was
at the zenith of its fame between the years 1856 and
1861, or up to the time of the Civil War. It can also
be said that nearly every man connected with the
band was a trained musician, and well he might be
with such a musical genius for bandmaster as was
John V. Hodgdon.
Scarcely from my own knowledge but from pa-
ternal lips and others ' I have learned that the leader
1 See letter and stories by James R. Gray in addendum.
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 71
himself played the E-flat cornet, that William F.
Blake and Amos Rowell played the B-flat cornets —
(what a golden opportunity that would have been
for Judge Shute) ; that Samuel Lamprey played the
flute, William H. Hodgdon and W^arren Hodgdon
clarinets, George Blake and James R. Gray B-flat
tenor horns, Harvey D. Sanborn and Jackson Shaw
alto horns, William Hilton and Stephen Henry
Brown post-horns, Thomas H. Blake trombone, Henry
Crosby a French horn, James W. W. Brown a bass
horn, Ferdinand L. Blake and Charles E. Batchelder
double-bass horns, Franklin Tilton the cymbals,
Henry T. Blake the snare drum, and Hyla D.
Peacock the bass drum. There were probably others
who played in the band, but the foregoing are all
the names that come to the author's mind.
Our band first came into county-wide notice and
prominence during the presidential campaign of 185(),
and later during the campaign of 1860, when it
furnished music at political gatherings of the several
Probably the most notable of these political meet-
ings was the one held in Greenland under the leader-
ship of the Hon. Albert Blaisdell (born and bred in
Kensington), and when they "raised" a flag for
Douglas and Johnson, and where Gov. John S. Wells
was the chief speaker of the day. The band also
furnished music at political meetings in Kingston,
Exeter, Seabrook, and if I am not mistaken, at a
political " rally " in Portsmouth, but certainly at
Hampton, where the democrats had a great meeting
and with it a big barbecue, said to have been the
largest ever held in the State.
72 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
But the one great event in the band's history,
which was nonpartisan and nonsectarian in its char-
acter, was the great Independence Day celebration
given under its own management on July 4, 1851).
The scene of this great picnic, as they called it, was
laid in the Newell Healey pasture at the summit of
the hill over which runs Pevear Lane.
On the south side of this " Lane " there stood, at
the time of which I am writing, a beautiful grove of
middle growth pines, which, like every acre of
Healey's farm, was free from all foreign or noxious
growth, and so this beautiful growth of pines were
free from all scraggy undergrowth — thus with its
perfect carpet of pine needles it was an ideal spot
for placing the long rows of tables whereon to serve
the great banquet (as oft observed) such as only
" the famous cooks of Kensington " could prepare
After the feasting the people sat at the tables in
the cool of the shade caused by the closely woven
branches of the sweetly fragrant pine, and listened
to the Hon. Alvah Wood, the orator of the day and
the other speakers as they told the story of the Rev-
olution, of the " poise and patience " of Washington ;
of Hancock, of Adams, of our own Governor Josiah
Bartlett ; of the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin ; of the
fervid eloquence of Patrick Henry and James Otis, and
of the almost divinely inspired genius of the author of
the Declaration of Independence — Thomas Jeffer-
son; and, how these and others wrought miracles in
the council chamber, and on the battle fields, as we
have so often mentioned, at Concord, Lexington,
Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, Camden and Yorktown.
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 73
They told of the personal heroism of the everyday
people " of the farm, forge and mill," and of how
they suffered and endured in " mind, body and
purse " to the end that the Colonies " might be Free
and Independent." Yes, the story they told that
day — the eighty-second birthday of the nation —
was a deeply interesting one, for the patriot fore-
fathers of many who listened had worn the buff coat,
and had carried the old flintlock musket during the
long days, months and years when, as Franklin said,
" If they did not hang together they would hajig sep-
Ah ! yes, those were the days when old-fashioned
oratory was in vogue, and appreciated. But, as I
have said, who the other speakers were, alas, there
are none near to refresh the memory of the teller of
the tale. And yet, at the last moment there does
come to mind that there was another speaker, a sort
of half crazy fellow by the name of Brocklebank,
who styled himself Joseph of old, and the better to
prove it always wore a coat of many colors. Being
known as an itinerant orator, and known far and
wide throughout the county as a " crazy coot" with
only one theme — the heroes of the Revolution —
to lend comedy to the occasion was invited to speak
along with the others, and he was certainly one of
the funny events of the day.
Regarding other and more specific or detailed
events of the day: Even though too small to *' be
there " I yet remember that the citizens formed the
procession at the townhouse, and that, headed by
the band, with all its members clothed in their new,
clean and bright uniforms, white caps, blue coats and
74 RE-TULD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
white trousers, it marched down through the " city"
and up the Pevear Lane to the picnic grounds, play-
ing lively marching music as it went over the route;
and, we know that it played many stirring and
patriotic airs during the afternoon and evening.
Nor should we omit recording that in the open
pasture, at the very crown of the hill and directly
opposite the grove, with its pine-canopied tables, and
where, as we have seen, the banquet was served and
speeches were made, a large cannon, directly under
the charge of Frank- Lovering and Lewis Gove, was
discharged at regular intervals from noon until mid-
night; nor, must we forget to say that in the even-
ing not only very large numbers of home people,
but great numbers of visitors " from all the country
round " came to enjoy the very great display of fire-
works provided. Indeed, in those days they never
did things by halves.
Yes, all in all, it is unquestionably true that the
Fourth of July, 1859, was the greatest day in the
history of Kensington.
It may be of sufficient interest to the reader to
warrant the lengthening of the story to mention sev-
eral of the individual members of our old band, men,
who later served their country in its military bands
during the Civil War.
The older generations of the town will remember that
all of the Hodgdons were accomplished musicians,
John being especially so. His reputation as a thorough
musician, and especially his well known ability and
efficiency as a bandmaster, was such that the Gov-
ernment, immediately after his enlistment, assigned
him to the leadership of the band stationed at the
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 7o
Portsmouth Navy Yard. Later it transferred him to
Washington, where he was made bandmaster of the
band now known throughout the world as the Marine
Band. Amos Rowell was, by request of Mr. Hodg-
don, assigned first to Portsmouth and then to Wash-
ington, and played under Hodgdon, and under his
instruction became the premier cornet soloist of the
even then celebrated band.
Parenthetically, I may say again that this band,
under the leadership of Hodgdon, furnished the mu-
sic at the Soldiers ' Home in Washington during the
summers of war time because of the fact that Presi-
dent Lincoln and his family occupied a cottage there
during that period of the year.
I recall, as a pleasant recollection, that Mr. Eaton
and his wife, and my father and I (the boy who
served the President as a special telegraph messenger
during the week), frequently of a Sunday afternoon
walked across the open waste lands laying between
Columbia College Hospital on 14th street, where we
made our home, as so often mentioned in this little
booklet, to the said Soldiers ' Home, on 7th street,
to listen to the music rendered by this the best of all
our military bands. And whenever we went the
reader can well imagine the pride we felt when we
saw the gentle, low-voiced, but now recognized great
musician, our townsman, standing in front of and
directing his players, and when opportunity permitted,
in his quiet way beckoning us to go forward to shake
hands with him. Then too, to have warm-hearted
Amos Rowell leave his place and come forward to
the rail to shake hands and to chat with us, which,
no doubt by many was thought to be a very great
76 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
honor; but no, we did not think of it in that sense,
for we knew that our meeting together thus gave
equal pleasure to all — we were all Kensington folk.
But, later, when for our benefit we knew, band-
master Hodgdon selected a piece of music where our
dearly loved friend Amos played the cornet solo part,
our hearts did then swell with pride, surely. When,
for an .encore, he played '' Home, Sweet Home," Ah !
then it was that heart-beats were faster, and more
than Kensington tears were seen to flow.
President Lincoln and his family, in their cottage
nearby, we knew enjoyed the music with the rest of
us, but I am sure that there were none who listened
to the patriotic airs and tender folk-lore melodies,
or to the hearty applause bestowed upon the band, and
especially for its cornet soloist, felt more pardonable
pride, as I have said, in the merited approbation than
was felt by the little group of four from Kensington.
I have said that the musicians were greeted with
applause, but it was not always so, for after listening
to such melodies as " Old Kentucky Home," " Down
on the Swanee River," " Auld Lang Syne," or
" Home, Sweet Home," the hearts of the soldier-
boys were too pentup with emotion to cheer; no,
their eyes, many of them, were wet with tears and
must be wiped away. Their lips trembled, and, as I
have said, their hearts weres wollen to overflowing
as the sweet Jiome songs carried the thoughts of all
back to their home firesides, "to father, mother,
wife, children and sweetheart."
But these two men, Hodgdon and Rowell, were
not the only members of the old Kensington Brass
Band who served their country in its military bands
HAROLD F. BLAKE. / t
during the war. While I cannot name them all I do
recall the fact that immediately after they enlisted
these men were assigned to various regimental and
brigade bands : William F. Elake, George Blake,
Henry Crosby, Charles E. Batchelder, Ferdinand L.
Blake, Stephen Henry Brown, Samuel Lamprey and
Henry T. Blake, and, as I have said, there were proba-
bly some others.
Henry T. Blake, the former drummer-boy, and the
youngest member of the Kensington Band, as he
was the youngest to enlist from Kensington, is the
only one living, who served his country in a military
band, from Kensington, and who helped to make the
music on the day of Kensington's greatest celebra-
tion — on July 4, 1859.
We are now at the end of our little neighborhood
stories that tell of the soldiers of Kensington, the
men who from the beginning to the end, as patriots
have played their little parts for the good of the
common weal ; helped to secure, helped to main-
tain, helped to preserve conditions in our own be-
loved State and country that makes for them an
asylum, a refuge and abiding place for the peoples
of the earth who come here because they love liberty
and justice, apart from militarism, and because they
know that when they actually renounce their former
citizensJiip and take the oath of allegiance to our
country, under the Stars and Stripes they will re-
ceive protection, and that as citizens living under its
protecting folds they will be given equal opportunity
under the law.
That God may bless and prosper the living veter-
ans for whose pleasure this little booklet has been
78 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
prepared, and help us all to cherish and keep green
the memory of the near four score Kensington sol-
diers, their comrades, who have passed and been
mustered into the Great Beyond, is the prayer of the
Montreal, P. Q.,
May 31, 1916.
*T^HE teller of these " tales" long since discovered that while the
-*- better part of mankind usually put the best and most interest-
ing part of their story into the postscript, the other part more fre-
quently spoil theirs by the adding of one. However, at the risk of
spoiling all that has gone before, a few pages must needs be added
to tell of a recent journey and of calls made upon a few old soldier
friends in Kensington and thereabouts.
And so, as this journey was made principally to see and have a
chat with the few remaining old veterans of the Civil War and their
families, I will not mention here the other and many delightful calls
upon friends that were made.
My first call was made upon Mr. Joseph N. Austin and his wife.
Except being a little hard of hearing, Mr. Austin I found to be in
very good health. Our talk was a long one and reminiscent not
only of war times, but of "hand-turn " shoemaking days, when the
little 12 X 12 shoeshops were scattered about the town, and all so
cheerfully lighted during the long nights of winter^ of how the
political pot was kept boiling, and the game played every day in the
year; of the singing and dancing schools,- of dances and "balls"
and picnics, huskings, donation-parties, caucuses, school and town
meetings, and the time sped all too quickly, for our talk had been a
Edward Fellows, a brother-in-law of Mr. Austin, lives nearby,
and I found him in most excellent health, in the field with hoe in
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 79
hand. Mr. Fellows is a widower. His wife (as a girl Isabel Aus-
tin), could well lay claim to having a most remarkable personal con-
nection and interest in the Civil War, for her first husband, Mr.
Amos Rowell, and her second husband, Mr. Fellows, were both
soldiers, as were four of her five brothers. Yes, this call, I am
sure was a pleasant one to both.
From thence it was but a short drive to see another lovable old
veteran, Mr. James W. W. Brown, whom I found in the front
yard with his wife, waiting the scribe's coming, it almost seemed.
Mr. Brown having recently passed through a serious surgical opera-
tion, was not in such vigor and strength physically as of late years, ^
but we had a good long talk over the days before the war, when
every bug was a most beautiful butterfly, of the war itself, of how
he shared the tent with my uncle "Bill" Blake, and of the inter-
vening years since; of men and women, of things and events; and,
it was all interesting, mutually so, and into the spirit of our conver-
sation Mrs. Brown, who is in excellent health, fully entered.
How delighted the traveler would have been to have seen in his
old home, dear, brilliant, witty and versatile Sam Lamprey. But
alas! he had long since joined his fathers.
As I passed by I thought of a little incident that took place in our
front room in the old farmhouse soon after he had enlisted in 1862.
He had been over to Exeter, and wishing to remember my grand-
mother with a friendship token before he went to the war, bought
her a silk handkerchief. Now it so happened that Sam had " recip-
rocated " with Exeter friends several times, and therefore was feel-
ing pretty well by the time he reached our house. To show grand-
marm how good and strong his gift to her was he caught the hand-
kerchief by two of its corners and snapped it vigorously a half a
dozen times and with increasing force each time. Grandmarm and
we young folk were greatly pleased over the performance, and
childlike wanted more, which Sam proceeded to do; but, during
the interval, or while he rambled on with his story, Sam uncon-
sciously caught up the handkerchief by its opposite corners, and as
1 On the 8th of Nov. (1916), Mr. Brown passed away in his seventy-sixth
80 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
the last previous demonstration had been of such force as to cause
wonderment, not only to the young folk but to the older ones as
well, when he was ready to give his last windup demonstration
all were on hand to see it. Now it so happened that because of the
aforesaid reciprocal courtesies betwixt friends at Exeter, or it may
be because of the gentle warmth of the early September day, Sam
had become pretty glib of tongue, and in consequence thereof felt
it incumbent upon himself to make a speech, and he proceeded at
once to make one of the witty Sam Lamprey kind. It was
given, as he said, to elucidate and demonstrate to his listeners
wherein and why anything made from silk was of such strength as
to defy the strength of man; nothing could tear it. "Look! "
At this point Sam repeated his last demonstration, and the handker-
chief came apart as though it had been made of tissue paper. He
had this time tested it by chance the wrong way of the grain. Sam
never opened his mouth.
And so as I passed by his old home I could but smile as I saw
him in my mind's eye tear the silk souvenir handkerchief he had
given to grandmarm. Though Sam never gave her a whole one
grandmarm kept the two parts of the demonstration handkerchief
all her days. Poor Sam, there never was another like thee, so
witty, brilliant, attractive and so lovable.
Not a long way up the road, and we come to the old manse of
the late Col. John T. Blake, whose sons, George and Henry T. ,
were both good soldiers. The elder of the two, George, has been
dead several years, but Henry, who resides in Haverhill, Mass.,
fortunately was visiting his niece Esther, in his old home, and so he
and I enjoyed the telling and listening to many an old tale of the days
when he played the snare drum in the old Kensington band.
Charles E. Gove was the next war veteran to see, and I was very
glad to find him in most excellent health. The writer hopes that
it will long continue so, and that the smile he wore on the day we
chatted together will long remain a comfort to him and pleasure to
his friends. I am happy to add that his wife, formerly Annie Fel-
lows, is also in good health. May good health reinain and be with
this old couple these many years.
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 81
The next call was made upon Sophia, widow of the late Lewis E.
Gove. Mr. Gove being a veteran of the Civil War and a life-long
intimate friend of my father, I had anticipated a pleasant visit with
Mrs. Gove, but was pained to learn of her very severe illness, and
because of it I was unable to greet and pay my respects to her as I
had fondly wished. I sincerely hope that health and strength will
come back to this dear old friend, speedily.
The next call made was upon Mr. Weare Nudd Shaw, "Soldier
and Sage of Orchard Hill," the man of marvelous vitality, both
mental and physical. As illustrating the former I will say that when
I entered his study I found that he had been reading the Congres-
sional Record of 1856. Thus I could see that it is in such musty
old volumes as these that he loves to delve, and from out of which
he gleans and gives to his large numbers of readers many items of
historical interest. A full hour was spent with this delightfully in-
teresting old friend. Knowing that I had been for some time seek-
ing information relative to the part Kensington men had played in
our several wars, he gave me further data and information, and I
made him happy by giving him many items of legendary lore, as well
as not a few historical facts, all interesting to the antiquarian. Mr.
Shaw's large farm is being managed by one of his sons, and with his
house being managed by the very capable wife of the farmer-son,
Mr. Shaw, without thought or anxiety concerning the "weather,
crops or taxes, " is enjoying most excellent health, and is supremely
happy in his books, his writing, and in his hosts of friends. May
all these be his to enjoy yet many a day is the hope of his admiring
friend, the writer.
With a good horse, and over the new modern road it was but a
short drive to the neighboring town of Newton, where lives Mr.
Benj. Frank Austin, one of the youngest of the Kensington sol-
diers, and thither I went to see him. Though it had been many
years since I had seen him, a royal welcome was extended by both
this young old veteran and his wife. Himself in full vigor, mentally
and physically, and his life's companion equally so, it was indeed a
pleasure to spend a few hours with them, to talk over school days
with her, of the days when he wore the suit of blue and ate hardtack
82 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
and *' salt-horse," the days when it was to take quinine and whiskey
copiously or suffer the devils of fever and ague, to suffer the evils of
the camp sutler, of the suffering from rain, snow and cold that came
to the soldier because of the fearfully inadequate shelter afforded by
the small army tent, of the forced march, the battle, the hospital, of
the death of comrades and their burial under a fiag of truce it may
be; of the home-coming and hearty welcome at the door; of the
shoemaking days in the little 12 x 12 shops and the larger shops
later; of the days when such as he " a-sparking went," of the mar-
riage, the children, numbers of them, and now all well and well-to-
do in the world, and of the grandchildren, too, all living and none
missing. Truly this dear couple have much to be thankful for.
May God bless him, and them, and theirs, and such as they are
A little way down the road lives Mr. Edward Swett. Mr. Swett
was one of those who came to Kensington from East Kingston in
1862 to enlist. As a soldier his record was clean. He played his
part well and truly as a good soldier should, served his full three
years and was honorably discharged. Living a well-ordered and
regular life his years have been long and filled with contentment,
which we are told is akin to a continual feast.
In the city of Lynn, Mass., lives, and it was a pleasure to meet,
another Kensington boy, one who enlisted with so many others be-
longing to the grand old town in 1862, Mr. George A. Baston. It
may be said here that out of the seventy-two Kensington men who
served in the War of the Rebellion there were but three who went
into the marine corps of the navy, namely, the above named Mr.
Baston, George A. Cilley and Mr. J. LeRoy Milliard. The latter
was stricken with typhoid fever the second day out of Portsmouth,
and was buried at sea. Mr. Baston served his full term of enlist-
ment of three years, was under Farragut in the naval engagements
before New Orleans, Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and was on the
flagship Hartford in the great battles at the entrance to Mobile Bay,
August 5, 1864. I found Mr. Baston in excellent health, one of
the best preserved of the Kensington war veterans.
Mr. James R. Gray
The reader will recall that James R. Gray of East Kingston was a
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 83
member of the Kensington brass band during the years 1853-61,
and that he was a soldier.
Learning that Mr, Gray was still living, and in Haverhill, Mass.,
I went to see him. While Mr. Gray is in his 84th year his general
health is most excellent. To-day he is still wearing his city con-
stable's badge, which he has worn over thirty years. Mr. Gray
made the call delightfully pleasant with reminiscent stories about
the old band in Kensington, and the telling of his experiences in
the war. While much could be put down that he said, I must for-
bear, and yet will briefly say that Mr. Gray was a sergeant of Co.
C, Sixth New Hampshire Regt., and was with General Grant at
the siege and capture of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863. Being Forage
Master of the Commissary Department of the Ninth Corps he was
detailed to take into the city food and medicine for the half-starved
people, old men, women and children (all able-bodied men were in
the Confederate army), which he did with six six-mule army wagons,
his loads being made up of quinine, tea, coffee, sugar, hard-tack,
salt pork and salt.
Vicksburg had been encircled for more than four months by
General Grant's "chain of steel," and to illustrate how completely
the city had been isolated and cut off from the outside world by this
chain of steel, and her dire needs not only of the necessaries of life
but of the ordinary business necessities the Vicksburg Daily Citizen
(J. M. Swords, proprietor), was being printed on the back side of
mighty cheap nvall paper. Mr. Gray, riding at the head of his six-mule
wagon supply train, was the first to enter the city ( General Pem-
berton had an hour before surrendered his army of 30,000 Confed-
erates just outside of the city proper ) he secured half a dozen
copies of this paper fresh from the press, this last edition printed on
wall paper, and Mr. Gray possesses to-day one copy of this fifty-
three year-old "Johnny Reb " daily paper.
Mr. Gray assenting the writer copied and below inserts a news
item and an editorial or two from this remarkable newspaper. The
paper was set up to be issued on July 2^ 1863, and we can nonjj read
with a smile, though it were cause for no smiles then, what the
editor says, to be published that day, under the caption of
84 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
We are indebted to Major Gillespie for a steak of Confederate
beef alias meat. We have tried it, and can assure our friends that
if it is rendered necessary, they need have no scruples at eating- the
meat. It is sweet, savory and tender, and so long as we have a
mule left we are satisfied our soldiers will be content to subsist on it.
In another column and directly under the date of the paper (July
2) we read this:
ONDIT:— That the Great Ulysses — the Yankee Generalis-
simo, surnamed Grant — has expressed his intention of dining in
Vicksburg on Saturday next, and celebrating the 4th of July by a
grand dinner and so forth. When asked if he would invite General
Jo Johnston to join him he said, " No! for fear there will be a row
at table." Ulysses must first get into the city before he can dine
in it. The way to cook a rabbit is " first to catch the rabbit."
It is evident that the Daily Citizen did not leave the press nor was
it issued on the day of its date, or the next day, for there appears in
the last column of the one sheet paper under date of July -/, the
day of the surrender, what appears to be its valedictory editorial.
Whether written by its own editor or by some one who came into
the city with the conquerors, the next to the last sentence throws
doubt. Here it is:
"Two days bring about great changes. The banner of the
Union floats over Vicksburg. General Grant has "caught the
rabbit; " he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner
with him. The Citizen lives to see it. For the last time it appears
on "wall paper." No more will it imagine the luxury of mule
meat and fricasseed kitten, urge Southern warriors to such diet
never more. This is the last " wall paper " edition, and is, except-
ing this Jiote^ from the types as ^ve found thefn. It will be valuable
hereafter as a curiosity."
Mr. Gray had also another interesting souvenir, a book of poems
taken from the city residence of Jefferson Davis at Jackson, Miss.,
and, he related many another story, all intensely interesting, but
space forbids more. The letter below from Mr. Gray is breezy
with items of interest of the days of the Kensington brass band:
Haverhill, Mass., August 24, 1916.
Mr. H. F. Blake,
My dear old Friend:
I thank you for sending me to read over the list of the
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 85
names of the members of the old Kensington brass band, of which,
as 3'ou say, I was a member during the years from 1854 to 1861, and
I think, way into 1862.
Even the instruments they played, as I remember them, were very
nearly, if not exactly, as you state it.
As you point out these old-time names, these friends of long ago,
they all come back to me as though but yesterday ^ and, not only
the instruments they played, but the uniforms they wore I can see
Indeed, I well remember about the great picnic you mention, and
even remember how w^e marched down through the "city" at the
head of the procession. More than this, I remember very distinctly
that we played our favorite march, "The Norfolk Guard," as we
passed Tom Blake's store.
I must correct one statement that you make. You say that every
member of the band was a "trained musician" and this holds good
except in one case. Billy Hilton did not know a single note,
played everything " by ear," and had to have every new piece played
over to him once, and only once, when he could play it perfectly
from beginning to end. Otherwise your statement is right, for every
man in the band except Billy could read music at sight, and under
such a bandmaster as John V. Hodgdon we could not help being
pretty good players.
Henry Blake, our old drummer boy, and I, are the only two sur-
vivors of the old band, the old Kensington band, so far as I know.
Thanking you again for letting me look over the list, and what
you say about us, I remain.
JAMES R. GRAY.
Lois F. Eaton
The reader will recall that it was stated in the text that the soldier,
Mr. John L. Eaton, and his wife, Lois F. Eaton, both from Ken-
sington, lived in a tent within the grounds of Columbia College
Hospital in Washington in war times, and that in a building near to
their tent lived another soldier and a boy, the " messenger boy," and
that these two, father and son, were also from Kensington.
The years intervening since those faroff troublesome days of war
have been many. It has been many years since the soldier-husband
passed over to the land of his fathers, but his young soldier-bride,
Lois, is still living and in the enjoyment of good health and the com-
panionship of congenial friends. Learning recently of her where-
abouts I at once wrote her to extend felicitations, and was greatly
86 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
pleased to receive a long and interesting letter from her, which I take
the liberty to append below. The Messenger Boy hopes that Lois
will live to enjoy good health and comradeship these many years.
Newfields, N. H., Sept. 3, 1916.
Dear Friend Harold: —
I have your letter of the 28th of August and I am very
glad to hear from you. It is a long, long time since I saw you, but
I remember, I shall always remember you as the messenger boy in
Washington, living with your father in the clean whitewashed build-
ing in the grounds of Columbia College Hospital, within a few feet
of where John and I lived in a large new tent.
It does not seem but a little while ago that you were the telegraph
messenger, and rode down to the city with John when he went down
as Major Crosby's orderly, to the city to bring him up to the hos-
pital, where he was the chief man in charge, and how you rode John's
horse down every morning. Indeed, I read your stories in the News-
Letter with very great interest and they brought back many pleasant
memories of the old war days.
I remember, as though it was but yesterday, the night your father,
John, and you started for Ford's Theatre, and how disappointed John
was because of being detained by the Major, and you could not get
away earlier, and so could get no seats at Ford's, and how you all
went to Grover's Theatre. And that very night President Lincoln
was killed, but we did not hear of it until next morning. All these
things come back to me very often. I remember especially how we
four used to go over to hear the band play at the Soldiers' Home,
and how John Hodgdon and Amos Rowell always saw and spoke to
us. But I cannot write any more. I should like very much to see
you sometime, but if I do not see you I want to thank you for the
letters in the News-Letter.
I am very sorry to learn of your mother's death recently. She
was about the last of the old war generation.
LOIS F. EATON.
Mr. and Mrs. John P. M. Green, making their summer home at
Hampton Beach, a full half day was most agreeably spent with them
there. Mrs. Green before her marriage was Ruth Ann Rowell,
they being Kensington boy and girl, and both friends of the writer
since boyhood days.
Mr. Green, though a veteran of the Civil War, is in excellent
health, and when his business permits spends two or three days of
each week in the summer in their cottage at the beach, enjoying the
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 87
sport that goes with the gun, the boat and fishing-tackle. Mrs.
Green, except being lame from an accident some years ago, is the
same Ruth Ann her friends have known these many years. Being
a sister of both Amos and Edmund Rowell, both mentioned in the
text, and her husband — all three wearing their suits of blue — she
can well take pride in what her menfolk did in the days of Abraham
Lincoln. The author takes pleasure in including as a part of this
little volume her letter below.
Hampton Beach, N. H., July 7, 1916.
Mr. Harold F. Blake,
212 McGill St.,
My dear Friend: —
Replying to yours of recent date concerning my brother
Amos: Yes, you are right, Amos was playing in the orchestra in
Ford's theatre on the night that President Lincoln was assassinated
by John Wilkes Booth.
As Amos was at the time a regular member of the Marine Band,
and had been for several months, I think that he may have been
playing in the theatre orchestra as a spare player, or he may 'have
been employed on this particular occasion of the presidential party
being present. However this may be, Amos was there and saw
this most awful wicked tragedy in our national history.
I am very glad that I am able to confirm your impressions in this
matter, and remain.
Yours very sincerely,
RUTH A. GREEN.
Completing the circle and we were over in Exeter. As I have in
days past spent many a pleasant hour with "Beany," "Pewt,"
"Chitter," "Pozzy," "Skinny," "Fatty," "Whacker" and
"Keene," " Cele," " Georgie," " May Luverin," "NellTole,"
"Jenny Morrison" and others of his schoolday friends, so I was
very glad of the opportunity to call upon and pay my respects to
their friendly biographer, Judge Henry A. Shute; and a most de-
lightful visit it was to the writer. Judge Shute, may his magic pen
further entertain us, make us and keep us boys and girls to the
end of the chapter.
From thence it was but a few minutes' walk to the home of Cap-
tain George N. Julian, whose war time experiences I have already
partly told. It is exceedingly pleasant to record that the writer
88 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TLMES.
found Captain Julian physically well preserved, and mentally as keen
and alert as in the days of the "kid gloves," and fife and drum.
Interested in the current affairs of the world as well as in past his-
torical events, his declining years are passing pleasantly in his large
and comfortable home, which, since the death of his devoted though
invalid wife, has been presided over by his eldest daughter, Miss
Maud v., and further to add to the comfort of his mind and body,
enjoying the daily companionship of the younger daughter. Miss
Katherine A. And so it is that 'midst his books, his flowers and
his friends the home life of the captain is ideal, charmingly so.
May all the days of his life be pleasant days for Captain Julian.
The letter printed below, containing information, as it does,
both of historical and personal interest to the Kensington soldiers,
their families and descendents, I take pleasure in printing it.
Exeter, N. H., Sept. 7, 3916.
Mr. Harold F. Blake,
My dear Friend:
Replying to your letter of inquiry concerning my going
to Kensington for recruits for my company in the Civil War.
To make it all clear why I did this let me briefly tell what led up
I enlisted for one year, July 31, 1861, and was mustered into
United States Service as a private in the Second Battery, Massachu-
setts Light Artillery, known as Nims' Battery, Captain Ormand F.
Nims commanding, and was mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisi-
ana, July 31, 1862, and returned to Exeter with a lieutenant's com-
mission in my pocket, to serve in some New Hampshire regiment
to be formed. At the time of my arrival home the 13th New
Hampshire Regiment, a three years regiment, was being organized,
and I was made Captain of Company E in this regiment. Li order
to obtain the captaincy, however, I had to get men enough to form
a company. This I was able to do between July 31, and Sept. 27,
1862. While engaged in this work, hearing that your father was re-
cruiting a good many Kensington men, I went over there and with
his assistance secured five men, namely Joseph N. Austin, Stephen
Henry Brown, David C. Smith, Rufus Eastman and George A.
As a matter of information I will add a line or two to say that
Mr. Austin was discharged from service for disability March 10,
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 89
1863, and Mr. Smith for disability March 5, 1863. Mr. Cilley was
transferred to the navy April 28, 1864 (date of his discharge un-
known). Mr. Brown was transferred to Brigade Band January 20,
1863 and was discharged from the service for disability July 10, 1863.
Mr. Eastman served to the expiration of his term of enlistment June
I was myself discharged at the expiration of my three year enlist-
ment, and thus you see that I served four years in the War of the
These things all happened a long, long time ago, Mr. Blake,
and yet it all seems but yesterday. Indeed, among other things I
recall that I was at your father's home one day near the dinner hour,
that your mother invited me to stop to dinner, which I did, and that
with a young man's appetite, greatly enjoyed your mother's dinner
of roast chicken, new potatoes and green corn.
All these be but trifles, it may be, but yet it is of such as these
that the aff^airs of the world are made up.
1 hope that I have covered the points you mention in your es-
teemed letter of inquiry, and I remain,
Most cordially yours,
GEORGE N. JULIAN.
From the home of Captain Julian to that of Mr. Andrew J. Fogg
was but a few steps. The end of these journeyings, wearisome no
doubt even to the few who have tried to journey with me, had now
come, the last doorbell rung. But here, as in all places, I was given
a most hearty welcome by both Mr. and Mrs. Fogg, he in black
frock coat and she in ''old lace and lavender," and w^earing her hair
in neat and finely curled ringlets.
In the company of this most interesting couple and their niece,
Mrs. Doctor Pray, I enjoyed a full hour of pleasant conversation,
and replete it was with reminiscence, facts and fancies. Mr. Fogg
told of the old war-time business conditions, of the war itself, of
how he enlisted and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1862,
hoW, being incapacitated from military service, he was honorably
discharged in 1863, how he returned to Exeter and in that year
formed a partnership with Mr. Fellows, and that during that same
year they issued a lot of paper money, the " shinplaster script" or
paper currency used in war-times, as stated in the story of "The
Parson's Donation Party in War Times." I wonder if there is
another man living in New Hampshire who issued such money?
90 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
Yes, it was pleasant and the time passed, as it had so many times
before on this little pilgrimag^e, all too quickly, he telling of the
war and of business conditions in those times, of politics and politi-
cians and of things that interest men, she telling and I listening, and
he too, to the little stories of life, domestic and human, all so dear
to the feminine heart. No, she did not talk of either war or busi-
ness except as they were incidentals to their long years of married
These are some of the things she told, and she told them because
they were dear to her, as such things are dear to all, though only
the woman can tell them. She said Mr. Fogg was born in Exeter,
November 19, 1831, that her maiden name was Mary E. Willis,
and that she was born in Exeter, February 20, 1842, that they were
married in Exeter, November 9, 1859, that they had two children,
Charles and Frederick, but both had died in their youth, that they
had celebrated their golden wedding November 9, 1909, that they
had always lived in Exeter, that both had always been contented
there, that they were now enjoying their declining years in the com-
pany of their niece, Mrs. Pray, and that all these blessings had come
to them in their dear old native town of Exeter.
No, these little interesting items were not all given at once, but
naively told at odd times, as the man of the house finished what he
was saying, and thus gave her opportunity.
And so this my last call in Exeter, the last one of the pilgrimage,
was not only one that gave me a great deal of information but also
one of rare entertainment as well. Indeed the quiet and peaceful
scenes in this home, like those witnessed in that of Captain Julian,
will long be remembered with feelings of supreme pleasure. That
both health and comfort shall abide within the gates of both is the
prayer of the
HAROLD F. BLAKE. 1)1
Why the Re-told Tales at All
SOME two years ago, my mother, then visiting me in Montreal,
Canada, and I spent many an evening in talking about the old
Kensington days, of the days of her childhood, girlhood, maiden-
hood, v\'ifehood, motherhood and widowhood, of ten thousand
things to make merry laughter, of the comparatively few that made
for sadness. And so it was that all winter through, the long even-
ings were made delightfully pleasant by the telling of the old tales,
legend and history, fact, fiction and everyday gossip even, that was
current in the old days in Kensington, Hampton Falls, Seabrook
and other towns nearby.
Mother was endowed with a very strong, vigorous and forceful
intellect, a very tenacious memory, and to a very high degree had
also the gift of mimicry. Possessing these three essentials she was
a good story-teller. To the many stories she told of men and
women, of things and events, I could add not a few of my own.
And so it came to pass that one evening towards spring, after an
unusual number of stories of the days in' Kensington when ' ' Goosey ' '
Palmer, "Turkey" Tilton and ''Chicken" Blake made weekly
trips to Boston, each with his two-horse wagon-load of meat, poul-
try, butter, cheese, eggs, fruit and vegetables, when for eight
months of the year the working day for the farmer and the farmer's
wife were 17 hours long; of the days of the brick oven, of baked
beans, both hot and cold, of bean porridge, of fried salt pork every
morning, with apple, of "fried Injun pudden," of rye pancakes
and pure maple syrup, or old-fashioned boiled cider apple sauce dur-
ing all the cold months of the year, of the home-made cheese,
sausages and candles, and when the home grown corn, w^hey and
milk fed hogs were killed and their hams and shoulders were smoked
with the sweet corn cobs in the big chimney. Of the days of
*' Squire " Hilton and Elsie Hoig, of Jerry Poor and Mrs. Jenkins,
of Gard Clifford and Polly Ann Brown, of "Squire" Shaw and
Betty Greenleaf, of Mrs. Winckley, who wore the breeches, of
Joe Poor, with his tuning fork, Dr. Williams, with his calomel,
92 RE-TOLD TALES OF WAR TIMES.
Dr. Brown, with his ipecac, and Dr. Osgood, with his lambkill.
Of the days when Thomas Whittemore preached to the Universa!-
ists twice each Sunday, and at "meridian," between sermons as it
were, with his host drank a glass of " hot toddy" and later in the
day quaffed both " stirrup-cup " and "night-cap" from the glasses
placed upon the wooden trencher, as the custom was. Of the days
of Billy Hilton and his fiddle, huskings, donation and quilting
parties and barn-raisings, of Albert Chase at his forge and Jonty
Tuck in his tan-pits, when John Nudd was the cooper, John Blais-
dell the stone-mason, "Tilt" Blake, Jerry Blake and Joe Tilton
the carpenters, and John Davis, the basket-maker. Of the days
and events leading up to the Civil War, of the war itself and of the
When she had finished saying these things she stopped and
abruptly said: "But who of the coming generations will tell of
these things? Who will tell about your father and Uncle Bill, of
Lewis and Captain Gove, of George and Henry Blake, of Nute,
Jim, Frank and Ed Austin, of Bill, John and Warren Hodgdon,
of Charles and Henry Tuck, Jerry and Joe Tilton, of Jim Brown,
Ed Fellows, Amos and Ed Rowell, of Sam Lamprey, Weare Nudd
and Jack Shaw, of Harvey Sanborn, Charles E. and Albert A. Batch-
elder, of Johnny Shaw and Hen Crosby, of the Hilliards, Prescotts,
Rowes and Wadleighs, and all the rest? Someone ought to do this!
Do it before it is too late! Why — don't — you — do — it? "
And it came to pass that I found myself asking the question,
"Why not? "
And her answer came when she saw printed in the Exeter News-
Letter some of the stories we had told each other during the long
winter evenings in Montreal, and none enjoyed the reading of them
as she did. But alas! not for a great while could she enjoy them as
Returning to her home in Lynn. Mass., her daughters arranged a
birthday party for her, her eighty-fifth natal day. This took place
on May 27, 1916, she entering into the spirit of the occasion
heartily, and apparently in her usual health. Sitting in the seat of
honor she cut and passed her cake to her numerous children, grand-
children and other kith and kin w^ho had gathered to do her honor.
HAROLD F. I5LAKE. 93
Though the day was one of unalloyed pleasure to her and to those
about her, alas! it proved to be the last gala day for her, for in a
few days, to the surprise of all, she lay down upon her bed for the
last time, weary, weak and worn. The journey, eighty-five years,
had been a long one, and as with all mothers, many of her days had
been days of labor 5 ay, of pain and suffering that her children might
live; but they were now soon numbered. She lingered but a few
short weeks and then the end, she passing away August 24, 1916.
I am taking pains to tell these things to you, my dear old soldier
friends, for this reason: Though you had asked me many times in
years gone by to tell your story, it is but just for me to say that had
my mother passed away a few months earlier, or had she not made
the visit to Montreal, alone in her eighty-fourth year, and there
with me enjoyed the telling and listening to the old Kensington
stories, only a few of which are to be found within these covers,
and she had not ask6d the question: " Why don't you do it? " then
there would have been no "reminiscent stories" told in the News-
Letter, nor this booklet printed; and, therefore, the Author can well
and truthfully say that if any pleasure or profit shall come to the
readers of these re-told tales full credit, therefore, belonged to the
soldier's widow, my dear mother, Mary C. Blake.
013 996 894 3