(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Re-told tales"

I 



u 



RE-TOLD TALES 

OF 

WAR TIMES 




"A man he seems of cheerful yesterdays 
And confident to-morrows." 



By HAROLD F. BLAKE 



RE-TOLD TALES 

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) 



FARMINGTON, MAINE 

THE KNOWLTON & McLEARY CO. 
19 17 






'^^.Z 



M -4 1917 

'CI.A453510 ■ 
"7^ 



^ 



X 
or; 

< 

X 

:^ 

:£ 

o 

h 
O 

CO 




Dedicated 

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 
thousands. 

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: 



I 
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. 

II 
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- 

o 

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- 
dependent people. 

The following are the names of the Kensington 
men who fought in the Revolutionary War, the 103 
immortals : 

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 
point out: 

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 
names. 

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 
war. 

-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 
Weare. 

These three, Timothy Dewell, Silas Dewell and 
Robert Dewell, were placed in the custody of Jona- 
than Purington. 

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. 

Ill 
War of 1812 

N the fall of 1814, during our '' second war " with 
Great Britain, seventy-two men belonging to 



I 



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- 
ment. 

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. 

IV 

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 
writer. 

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 

RECRUITINO OFFICER 



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- 
able." 

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 
Exeter. 

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- 
ment to-day. 

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. 



21 



Brown, John 
Brown, Stephen Henry 
Brown, Stephen Hoyt 
Bunker, Thomas R. 
Chase, Silas 
Chase, Warren H. 
Cilley, George R. 
ColHns, John E. 
Crosby, Henry 
Currier, John A. 
Davis, James M. 
Dresser, Moses D. 
Durgin, Daniel E. 
Eastman, Rufus 
Eaton, Frank 
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. 



Hull John 
Lamprey, Samuel 
Leavett, Jeremiah K. 
Mallon, James 
Morrison, Frank 
Peacock, Hyla D. 
Ramsdell, George E. 
Rowe, Benjamin F. 
Rowe, Charles 
Rowe, George Porter 
Rowe, Jonathan B. 
Rowell, Amos * 
Rowell, Edward M. 
Sanborn, Harvey D. 
Shaw, John H. 
Shaw, Weare Nudd 
Smith, David C. 
Spaulding^ Rufus 
Sullivan, Dennis 
Tibbetts, Franklin 
Tibbetts, George 
Tibbetts, Jonathan 
Tibbetts, Warren E. V. 
Tilton, Franklin 



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 
to go. 

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- 
iam Nudd. 

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 

town 5 

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, 
Adjutant-General's Office. 
Harold F. Blake, Concord, Aug. 9th, 1900. 

Haverhill, Mass. 
Dear Sir: 

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. 
Very respectfully, 

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 
the earth." 

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., 
Georgetotvn, 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." 



VI 

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- 
interesting. — 

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 
Kensington. 

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 
building. 

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 
later. 

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- 
mous). 

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- 
coln. 

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- 
eral's departments. 

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. 

VII 

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 
in 1864-5. 

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 
journey. 

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 
children. 

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- 
sington. 

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 Washington. 

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. 

''A. Lincoln." 

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. 



VHI 

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 
concern 

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 
related. 

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 
army. 

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 
he died. 

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. 

IX 

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- 
hood. 

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 
unanimously approved. 

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 
Leavett. 

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 

X 

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- 
born. 

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 
about it." 

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. 

XI 

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- 
fourths bushels. 

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 
nag. 

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- 
cent denominations. 

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 
mackerel. 

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 
some time. 

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 
eatiftg. 

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 
use. 

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 
kindred nature. 

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. 

XII 

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 
political parties. 

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 
and serve. 

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- 
arately.'' 

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 

AUTHOR. 
The End. 
Montreal, P. Q., 
May 31, 1916. 



ADDENDUM 



*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 
pleasant one. 

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 
year. 



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 
everywhere. 

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. 

"MULE MEAT" 

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, 

Montreal, Canada. 
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 
also. 

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. 

Yours respectfully, 

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. 
Sincerely yours, 

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., 
Montreal, Ca. 
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, 

Georgetown, Mass. 
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 
to it. 

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. 
Cilley. 

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 
21, 1865. 

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 
Rebellion. 

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 
life. 

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 

AUTHOR. 



HAROLD F. BLAKE. 1)1 

AN AFTERTHOUGHT 

or 
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 
years following. 

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 
of old. 

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. 

The End. 



'iiilillllllillllillllllll 



liiiiiiiiiiiiilillilil 

013 996 894 3