Mail Archives
Talk With Us
Current Letters
SeacoastNH Home

Sponsor Banner
July 1999 Mailbag
July 31
Hi my name is wesley and would like to add your site to my links to ocean & beach views and images. Please let me know
Wesley Lea

EDITOR'S REPLY: The marvel of the web is that you don't even need permission to link to another site, but you got ours anyway. We appreciate it when viewers notify us. It's good web etiquette.

July 31
Back from the US Capitol where we dug up a few new stories just for you. We'll start whacking away at the giant stack of email nest week. Be patient if you can. We're only superhuman, you know. Check the latest contest, our new "As I Please", and get ready for your August newsletter.
Your humble editor

July 29
We will be coming down to the Festival. We will be looking for a place to stay. A Room or Tenting. Has this festival sold out area lodging? What are some camp grounds that we can stay at? Inexpensive, yet close lodging?
April from Sangerville, Maine

EDITOR'S REPLY: Unlikely the Blues Fest will tap out our local tourist capacity, though there are previous few camping spots around her anyway. Our list is clickable below from LODGING section.

AND A PERSONAL NOTE FROM VALERIE CUNNINGHAM: Thanks for your inquiry about accommodations for the Portsmouth Blues Festival on August 21. Please check the NH tourism web site below or call the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce for assistance. Looking forward to seeing you on the 21st. -- Valerie

July 28
Thank you for the information (READ OUR MAIL July 23) on "Ocean-Born Mary". I actually found an article on her through your archives. (see link below to Virginia Marin's article "Ocean-Born Mary Fulton -- A Family Folktale") The article includes the history of Mary and the pirate treasure that is supposedly buried on he property. What is not covered are the wonderful stories of Mary's ghostly appearances after her death, and the fatal curse that was placed on anyone who tried to dig up the treasure.

I am sorry to hear that the house is no longer open to the public. Mr. And Mrs. Roy were charming tale-weavers, and the mystery surrounding the house was enchanting. (By the way, when I was there as a child, Mrs. Roy was not dressed up as Mary. They left her image to the imagination.) The shame is that the wonderment of this tale will not be passed on to children today. Since contacting you I have asked my brothers and sisters if they remember our trip to Mary's house way back in the 1950's, and all treasure both the trip and the story. I'll keep my fingers crossed that someday the house will re-open to the public so that I can bring my own children there.

July 27
I find that your site has some nice overall information, and a good site map. I find it lacking in specifics, even general specifics. I came to your site hoping to find information on the Jazz Festival and the Blues Festival. I did find some specific information on the Blues Festival to be held at Strawberry Banke, but nothing more than a telephone number for the Jazz Festival, not even a date. I do like your "Portsmouth Downtown Highlights List".
Joe Sander

EDITOR'S REPLY: It's all in finding the right button, Joe. The Highlights list is a generic summary of annual events and regular attractions. To see what's happening right now, you gotta click on the EVENTS calendar, which has more links than any other site around. It's accessible from the homepage - or just type "/events" to the end of our URL when you click on. In the upcoming redesigned TOURING homepage, you'll be able to get there quicker.

July 26
Yes, the unresponded letters are piling up in the email folders, but it's summer after all. We're going on a pilgrimage. If it works out, you will be the first to know. If it doesn't, you will be the first to know. We don't want to give too much away, but for the next week, we'll be looking for a man named Lear in a place called Washington. Until we return we remain most humbly,
Your editors

July 24
I read your input about Wentworth by the Sea and I loved reading it all - thank you a ton and then some!! I feel very close to the area thru your page and appreciate it so very, very much - you do a great job!
Helen Dotts

EDITOR'S REPLY: Well, thanks. Actually it was a lot of work and the big Wentworth decision is coming down to the wire in a few days (again). Our only regret is that the Portsmouth Herald, which has been covering the story religiously, puts only a few of its articles online daily. There was a great editorial the other day letting people know that NH Gov. Shaheen wants the state to kick in $3.7 million, but it did not reach the Web, so we could not link you over. With a staff of zero, it's hard for us to catch all the history news ourselves, but we make the best of the resources we can steal for you.

July 24
I would like to tour the garden & would like info - We have a garden club on Chebeague Island, Me and would like to tour the garden.

EDITOR'S REPLY: The Marine Shoals Lab page that best summarizes this process seems to back up and running so we'll ship you there. It's cheaper to visit Chebeague, one of our favorite nearby Maine island, and cheaper.

July 23
Many, many years ago, my mother brought my sister and I to the house of "Ocean Born Mary." I remember spending the afternoon touring the house and listening to the "ghost stories" of her appearances, told to us by the caretaker. I would like to bring my boys there, but I can't remember which town it was in, nor can I find any information on the house. (She was listed in our old encyclopedia back in the 1950's but isn't in our current encyclopedia.) I am assuming the house is in a town near the coast, because it was bought for her by a pirate. Then again, my mother would vacation with us all over New Hampshire, so it could be somewhere else. Can you help me, please, to find information?
Tina Paul

EDITOR'S REPLY: We've had this question a number of times, perhaps because we are near the ocean. So we did a little more digging and called Peggy Ward (603-428-3471) at the Tucker Free Library in Henniker, NH, the town where the Ocean Born Mary House is located. As we suspected, the house is now in private hands and is no longer open to the public. In the 1950s a Mr. Roy, who then owned the house, publicized and some say embellished the legend of the baby who saved a ship from pirates and later married the buccaneer. Mr. Roy apparently dressed his mother to impersonate the character and opened his doors to visitors. Today the owners do not want publicity. "You don't get very close to it anymore," Ms. Ward says. "There is no indication in any way that the house is Ocean Born Mary's." The library and the NH Historical Society in Concord have small pieces of the famous wedding dress. The library has a file of articles as does the Henniker Historical Society, a volunteer organization that can be contacted through Joyce Meyer (603-428-3802). We couldn't find a single decent link on the topic and the two we had earlier have gone dead.

July 21
This might be interesting to you. In researching our Branch family tree, we discovered this story in a book written by Mary Jones Polk, who married Colonel Joseph Branch on November 29, 1859. Her stories concerning the Branch family were published under the title BRANCH-MEMOIRS OF A SOUTHERN LADY-WITHIN THE LINES and was also published in Munsey's Magazine, July 24, 1847, in the works of Cyrus Townsend and Fred Olds of Raleigh, North Carolina, and noted in DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY by Stewart-Trowbridge by Scribner's.

"On July 6, 1747, a son was born to a Scottish gardener and his wife, and was given the name of John Paul, Paul being the family name. In later years John Paul came to America to settle an estate willed to him by his brother. In his travels he became acquainted with a great many people here, among them two brothers, Allen and Wylie Jones, and their wives.

These two families had adjoining plantations and at times John Paul would stay with first the one and then the other of these families. These men were grandsons of Robin Jones who had come to America in 1700 and settled in Sussex County, Virginia. John Paul's bold and frank, sailor-like manner endeared him to the Jones families and through them he met many important governmental figures, among them was Joseph Hewes, Chairman of the Committee of Naval Affairs. It was through him that John Paul was given a post as Lieutenant in the Navy.

While on one of John Paul's extended visits to the homes of the Jones families, particularly that of Wylie, whose wife was a woman of very noted activities in caring for poor girls who needed her in learning to care for their business interests as well as their personal self-images, sometimes having as many as twelve to fifteen living in her home. John Paul was very impressed with the Jones families and he told them that he was going to take the name of "Jones" and make it famous. Hence the name John Paul Jones.

The DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY states, following an account of his birth and background that "for some unknown reason he took the name of Jones." Mary Polk Jones Branch's grandfather was present at this event and the story became a part of their family history.

See: BRANCH-MEMOIRS OF A SOUTHERN LADY-WITHIN THE LINES by Mary Jones Polk Branch, published by Joseph G. Branch Publishing Co. Publishers, Chicago and Copyrighted in 1912 by Joseph G. Branch.

Also Munsey's Magazine, July 24, 1847 Works of Cyrus Townsend-Fred Olds of Raleigh, North Carolina Dictionary of American Biography - Steward - Trowbridge, Scribner's I don't have to add that I am a "branch" of this Branch family.
Carol Smith of San Angelo Texas

EDITOR'S REPLY: Though family oral tradition often does not make good history, this is the most reasonable explanation we've ever heard of why JPJ took the name "Jones." It serves as a plausible answer to the Jones riddle, still allows for the name to be a "cover" for John Paul's pending trial for murder in Tobago, and nicely dead-ends the issue of a Jones genealogy. Thanks for the research and the excellent source references.

July 19
I developed an interest in Daniel Webster awhile back and I have two books actually by him and published before his death. I am trying to obtain a print of him suitable for framing. Any source in your state to write to in order to obtain one?
Dan Blancahrd

EDITOR'S REPLY: We checked and sent you two current addresses on where you can buy a Webster print with prices ranging from $2.50 to $22.50. They are constantly online at auction sites. Webster was extremely popular in his time and though, from NH, you can get pictures of him anywhere. Our interest remains in the nearly 10 years that he lived in Portsmouth and cut his teeth as a young lawyer with Levi Woodbory.

July 19
I saw your article ("I am Addicted to"), and an another bibliofind addict. My situation is that I am preparing for Ph.D comps in history, and got fed up with chasing after books in the library, keeping them renewed, etc., I am fallible, and sometimes I wind up getting hit with ten or twenty dollars worth of library fines (a fair cop, mind you). So I decided to see if there were any used bookstores on the net, mounted a systematic Alta Vista search, and found bibliofind. This is a hard call, but what with fines and various costs of going in to various libraries (taxicabs, meals eaten in relatively expensive places, etc.) bibliofind books probably pay for themselves outright.
Andrew D. Todd, West Virginia University

EDITOR'S REPLY: Just a few months out of detox we had an unfortunate introduction to, leading to a significant relapse. Our fiscal advisors tell us falling of the wagon again could lead to a critical shortage of cash by this winter, possibly requiring the need to burn the accumulated volumes as fuel. Please for your own safety, do not click below:

July 17
I would like to visit the Bounty on Tuesday. Can you give me directions from Rt. 95?
Norman Wilson

EDITOR'S REPLY: Wow,. That's easy. If you're coming from the North, you can see the Bounty clearly from the high Rte 95 bridge. Get off the bridge immediately and turn left toward Portsmouth along Market Street Extension. You will see the Bounty to the left as you approach the city and there is a portable sign with an arrow that indicates that you should turn left into the NH Ports Authority parking lot. If you are coming from the South, stay on 95 toward Maine. Don't get off at the traffic circle or Woodbury Ave, but just after. The sign indicates Downtown Portsmouth, Historic Sites. Turn right toward town and follow the same directions.

July 16
When will the Old Salt on Ocean Blv. at Hampton Beach be open for business?

EDITOR'S REPLY: According to the Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Old Salt, which burned in the recent fire, will be repaired. But in the meantime, the Higgins family, the cook and 70-odd staff members have moved their operation to the Whale's Tail which is in the Casino building a couple of blocks down Ocean Blvd across the chamber. Their phone number is 603-926-3920.

July 16
Please tell me how to find out about Wentworth by the Sea - thank you very much!!
Helen of So. California

EDITOR'S REPLY: What timing! We just released the only page on the web that will give you two years of past history, plus frequent updates on the endangered 19th century hotel, with links to the two local newspapers. And there's more to come.

July 15
How far from Loudon raceway is the seacoast of New Hampshire? We are interested in a vacation next July, during race week.
Linda and John Turk

EDITOR'S REPLY: We contacted the Loudon track by email, but receiving no response, had to resort to Feeding in the towns you suggest, we got this instant answer for a trip from Portsmouth to Loudon:
Your trip's estimated travel time is 58 minutes for 44.63 miles of travel, total of 17 steps. Turn by turn driving directions are also provided. This site is a real gem to bookmark.

July 14
What was the capacity of the Appledoor House. The Oceanic hotel today is around 200 people. Was the Appledoor house that large when it was built in 1848.
john hodges

EDITOR'S REPLY: Gail, curator of the Star Island museum at Vaughn Cottage was wandering through town today with a healthy tan - and we asked her your question. She has seen separate accounts that say 350, 450 or 500 people were the maximum on Appledore Island at the height of the Thaxter's 19th century summer hotel industry there. We assume those figures include staff. Compare that to the Oceanic Hotel on Star Island today which handles a maximum of 260 people at a conference, according to Oceanic Hotel Conference director Tony, with nearly 100 "pelican" and staff to support the cooking, cleaning and maintenance. The "house" was expanded constantly and there were a number of cottages and guest buildings. Turn of the century pictures show an extensive campus with main buildings four stories high.

July 14
I'm looking for information on the New Hampshire Tow Association Annual Wrecker Rodeo. Can you assist me with this or put me in contact with omeone who is familiar with it?
David Nash

EDITOR'S REPLY: Sorry pardner, according to our Hampton Beach events calendar, you missed the rodeo which was held at the beach May 15 and 16.

July 13
Does Calef's Country Store have e-mail or web site? I'm a Calef and would like to visit this summer.
"Dana Calef"

EDITOR'S REPLY: We spoke to Cleve, the owner, who proudly announced that they have no web site at all. There is, however, an email address: The owners suggest that, wherever you are, that you immediately climb into a vehicle and transport yourself directly through time and space to this Barrington, NH store that has changed only slightly in the last 129 years. Click below to see our Calef photo from a half century ago. Nothing much has altered, although there may be different people standing on the porch today. The phone number is 603-664-2231.

July 13
If possible could I please have information relative to the Prescott Parks Arts Festival for the summer of 1999, either emailed to me or land mailed. I am specifically interested the nightly theater production. However, I also have an interest in the children's activities. I have tried several times to get this request via the Internet but have been told I was unable to connect.
Linda from Berwick, ME

EDITOR'S REPLY: That info is very neatly available on the PPAF web site. You can get there via our EVENTS calendar or go direct with the second link below. There was a link hang-up with the ArtsFest site the other day. We also could not get in, but the alternate link below seems to be working nicely today.

July 13
If possible would you please send information on whale watching trips in Rye or around the area. Am going to that area the first week in Aug. Would like info on what times it is possible to go on a whale watch.
Martha from Chelmsford, MA

EDITOR'S REPLY: Sorry with nearly 1,500 pages currently online, even we sometimes misplace something, but a whale? That info got lost somehow. The clickable page online is as follows:

July 12
My wife and I are planning a two week fall color visit to Northern New England (I used to live there) using Portsmouth as a base. We would like to learn about hotels in the downtown area because while in Portsmouth we would love to walk and shop the downtown stores and view historical homes. Please assist us in finding the perfect hotel, and to obtain a list of eating establishment that cater to folks who do not eat anything that while alive was a warm blooded creature.
TA Glover, Arkansas Okarks

EDITOR'S REPLY: Looks like you'll be staying at the Sheraton, the only downtown hotel, or a B&B and eating at Ceres Bakery, Stockpot, Emilio's (if you can find him across from the post office) or any of the Seafood places on the attached list. You'll be walking the Portsmouth Harboour Trail. Anything else we can do? Mint on the pillow? Robe?

July 11
I am a Marine artist and your July newsletter issue is a "Bounty" of info. I thank you. I do not have any NH galleries, but I can not keep the Camden Maine gallery stocked. My web site address is attached.... anyways you do an excellent service for us all.
Dimetrious Athas, Natham, Mass and Seacoast,Maine

July 10
I was trying to order a New Hampshire Vacation Guide with a map but, was unable to fine that site.
Irene Bound Brook, NJ

EDITOR'S REPLY: We get a TON of requests for printed materially locally which we refer to the many chambers in the region. We have no printed material except the map that comes with our videotapes in the Seacaost Store. We should put a prominent link to the state of NH site too. We wrote to discuss the fact that up to 5,000 people visit our site daily, and that perhaps an exchange of links would be in order. The official NH site wrote back with a form letter to tell us we could only be listed if we bought advertising. Hmmm. And we could swear we paid our taxes on time. Are we just being snippy? Guess they don't want you reading any "unofficia;" info about this region. Who would be liable? But it is a very nice site with a very very nice booklet. When you click to the Seacoast section notice that the state's #1 regional web site is nowhere to be seen. Feel free to call their toll free number at 1- 800-271-2343 and mention that fact.

July 09
I was reviewing your website to obtain additional information about the clipper, Nightingale since my great-grandfather, Christian Ingebretsen was one of the last owners and captain of the vessel. I also have a large oil painting of the Nightingale under the Norwegian flag with a caption, Nightingale of Kragerø Captain C. Ingebretsen. I was curious about the figurehead that was supposedly found in Sweden. The oil painting that I have clearly shows a figurehead that appears to be a woman with blonde hair. It appears very much the same as the photo on the website with the ship and the Jenny Lind figure superimposed.
Lill Ann Parry

EDITOR'S REPLY: We should revisit this old story which continues to draw interest from readers searching on the Nightingale and Jenny Lind. Could it be that your painting PROVES Karl Eric Svardskog's theory that he has the original figurehead from one of Portsmouth's most famous clipper ships? Let's combine our resources to solve this fascinating (Leonard Nimoy voice goes here) MYSTER OF THE DEEP! Looking forward to seeeing photos of your painting.

July 08
Thank you so much! I was one of your grand prize winners and received the 2 tickets to Water County and the magnet on Tuesday. I am unable to go to Water County so I gave them to my friend who will be going soon, she is so excited.
Suzanne L

July 08
I would like any information regarding New Year's. Are there any celebrations planned at or around Hampton Beach? I hope to reserve at the Ashworth by the Sea. I'm not sure how far in advance to reserve if there are any festivities planned. Best Regards,

EDITOR'S REPLY: The only web site we've seen locally is the classy new Pro Portsmouth page that just went online for First Night 2000. We'll be right here protecting our own site from the Y2K infestation.

July 07
Why wasn't John Paul Jones ever given the chance to command Old Ironsides?
Craig Chastain

EDITOR'S REPLY: Only the corpse of JPJ could have managed that amazing feat. Although Jones suggested building a fleet of American ships to control the Barbary Pirates, he died in 1792, two years before construction began on the USS Constitution, later called "Old Ironsides." The ship was completed in 1797, five years after JPJ himself was finished.

July 06
Read an article in the Fosters Sunday paper about J. Dennis Robinson and was looking for more by him. Thought I'd find it on this web page. New to the Internet so maybe I did things wrong. Any help appreciated.
P Ward

EDITOR'S REPLY: Thanks for asking. You can get all the Robinson you might want by just clicking on "As I Please" from the homepage.

July 04
Could you please tell me something about the history of Boar's Head. When was the observation tower built? What branch of the services maintained the facility? What years was the tower in service? First folk? Etc....
lawson b

EDITOR'S REPLY: You may want to locate Peter Randall's "History of Hampton" that covers the topic too, but below is a gold mine of info. Lane memorial Library in Hampton has been going a phenomenal job putting their town's history online. There is a Little's Boar's Head and Great Boar's Head, and you probably couldn't find more than in these two links:

July 04
I bought a milk pitcher from 'the Great Escape' Water park about 2 years ago. I took a card with the company logo on it so I could add to it a piece at a time, but when I attempted to connect their Website, I could not. The company is Great Bay Pottery and their website is

EDITOR'S REPLY: Jamie Weiss' pottery company now has its own domain name and you can find them below. Tell him Tim and Dennis sent you.

July 03
Hello Seacoast Neighbor! I though that you might be interested in learning about Salem NH's new website. The site features a local chat and message board, daily news from WMUR, free web based email, links to local attractions, school info, weather, lottery and more! This is a community based site and I welcome your impute and content contributions. Let's all work together to show the world some of what Salem has to offer!!!
Dan Brunelle

EDITOR'S REPLY: Hey, we've had our own witches too, you know. See below:

July 02
We are seeking illustrations of John Paul Jones' autopsy report for educational purposes for an article that was reprinted by the Naval History Division, Office of Chief of Naval Operations at the request of The Surgeon General of the Navy, Wahsington, D.C., 1965. Tried sending an Email to Library of Congress and they have not replied. Your web site provided much text info so I'm hoping you might have a few ideas to help me with this request. Thank you.
Christine M. Priorie

EDITOR'S REPLY: Sure, we always like to fill in when people can't find things at the Library of Congress, especially when the Surgeon General wants us. We may be small and free, but we're efficient. The info you want is all republished in this government document: United States Navy & Stewart, Charles W.: John Paul Jones: Commemoration At Annapolis April 24, 1906. ; Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1907. You can always find copies on anywhere from $25-$100. If you get the right edition, it includes the autopsy, a copy of the report and slides of the pathologist samples from the dissection of the 114- year old corpse. Just tell the government to send us a small educational grant to us at our PO Box, and thanks for skipping the red tape and using the web. The dead JPJ is linked below for our less scientific readers.

July 01
I have been doing research on the David McClure Family since 1959, and now I am 73, with an unreliable car. I have been all over ME and NH, from Candia, Deerfield NH to Skowhegan to Moosehead Lake in ME. following my father's family as they moved from place to place over the years. . I have a land deed that he sold part of his land in NH to a John Knowles from Rye, but that doesn't prove that the McClure Family had been living there. Is there anyone on your list that may have run across the McClure [McCluer, McClewer, McLuer, Mclure etc. I have found many variations of the McClure surname]! He came from Ireland to the US around 1720.
Jean E. [McClure] Mahoney

EDITOR'S REPLY: We try to steer clear of genealogical questions since we have no expertise there, but will work to set up links for family tree searchers. We note that there is a page at the Rye Library site for genealogical info. It's a starting point:

July 01
I am a navy recruiter and once read a very moving piece supposedly written by John Paul Jones titled "Sign on and Sail with me". If you could send me a copy of this (if he truly wrote it) I would appreciate it very much.
Phillip Estrada

EDITOR'S REPLY: We have attached the only authentic JPJ recruitment poster we know of. We're guessing the piece you heard is either fictional or a composite of a number of comments made by JPJ in his letters. It sounds a bit like the patriotic fiction read by Robert Stack in the final moments of the 1959 highly-adapted film of JPJ's life. Although a decent writer, JPJ was not schooled and probably this professionally written bit hs been attributed to him, though he probably would be very happy with that; he liked seeing his name in print.

©1999 All rights reserved.


top of page

[ New | Site Map | Talk | Store | Sponsors ]

line rule


Site label
PO Box 4458
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802
Voice: 603-427-2020

line rule