Illustrated Bites of Island News

Jim Cerny, reporting and photography

Public occurrences Wayback machine to the 1880s and 1890s Spotting tall ships Summer is a-coming in Quick index to back issues

Public occurrences

For your reference, results of voting on candidates and warrant items from the New Castle Town Meeting on May 11, is in the May, 2010, issue of Saltines.

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The Wayback machine:
Life in New Castle in the 1890s

I came across the 1893 annual report for New Castle, which is either the first or one of the first, allowing interesting comparisons with today (current numbers in parentheses):

Going further back to the 1880 Census

Most of the 1890 federal census results were destroyed by fire, but the 1880 census is available, with the original sheets scanned and online. In 1880 New Castle had a population of 610, tallied in 153 families and 125 dwellings. And unlike the 2010 Census with its minimalist 10 questions, in 1880 a whopping 26 attributes were recorded ranging from name and age, to whether they could read and write, to whether they were disabled in some way, with the disability categories to check being: blind, deaf/dumb, idiotic, and maimed/crippled/bedridden!

Consider this fascinating snapshot from one of the forms:

A portion of an 1880 census form for New Castle, from the 13 sheets completed on June 5, 1880 by Charles E. Whitehouse as the enumerator.

There is a lot of New Castle history represented by these few names. This shows John Albee, then 46, with occupation listed as a farmer, four years before he published his well-known history New Castle Historic and Picturesque. His wife, Harriet Ryan Albee had died in 1873, but it lists his two daughters. The younger daughter, listed as Louise here, later as the married adult Loulie Albee Mathews wrote remembrances about New Castle published in the paperback book So Early in the Morning.

Also shown in this snapshot are Charles and Sarah Campbell, at the end of their turbulent relationship with the Wentworth Hotel. In the 1870s Charles Campbell was the owner/proprietor of the new shoebox-style Wentworth, with distiller Daniel Chase as principal investor. When Chase couldn't pay his bills in the recession of 1876, the hotel ended up as the property of Frank Jones and Charles Campbell became the watchman and winter caretaker! As Dennis Robinson says of the coming of the Frank Jones era, "He didn't have to ask the bank for help. He owned the bank."

To give a glimpse of what life was like, what YOUR life would have been like if you'd lived then, I've tallied all the occupations listed in the Census, by order of frequency, aggregating some that seemed similar. Note that very few people are listed as retired. The "At Home" category includes both the very young and the very old. And note the size of the "At School" population, an impressive number of kids.

(compiled by the author from the original enumeration lists)
At School/Student126
At Home86
Shoe Factory Worker17
Dressmaker/Seamstress/Sewing/Bonnet Maker/Pants Maker10
House Joiner/Carpenter9
House Painter6
Brick Mason4
School Teacher3
Boat Builder3

All the rest of the 27 citizens are in occupations with just one or two occurrences, such as: Butcher, Hair Dresser, Harness Maker, Teamster, Watchman, Bookkeeper, Machinist, Stone Cutter, etc.

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Spotting tall ships

The tall ships visited the Piscataqua almost two months earlier than usual and docked at the fish pier across from Prescott Park, instead of the state pier at Nobles Island. This year featured the full-rigged ship Bounty II, a replica of the original HMS Bounty, and the schooner Lynx. The ships arrived on Thursday and then on Friday they sailed out to the harbor entrance for the usual tall ships parade back in. This was in effect a reprise of the 2008 tall ships visit when two nearly identical ships were here, the Friendship (essentially the same in size and rigging as the Bounty II, including a detailed female figurehead!) and the Roseway (essentially the same in size and rigging as the Lynx. See also our report on the visit of the tall ship Eagle in 2009.

The "Bounty II" in the tall ships parade. Click on image for a larger version.

Detail of the figurehead on the "Bounty II". We don't have a photograph of the original HMS Bounty, but Captain Bligh described the ship as having "a pretty Figure Head of a Woman in Riding habit".

The "Lynx" in the tall ships parade. Click on image for a larger version.

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Summer is a-coming in

An assortment of scenes in New Castle and Portsmouth.

Decorative greenhouse for sale at the New Castle Garden Club's plant sale.

The Farmers' Market season is here Heather Mike, singer and fiddle player with the Taylor River Band on a sunny Saturday morning in Portsmouth.

Pink azalea in Langdon Park on South Street in Portsmouth.

White lilac detail, in the Marvin Cemetery in New Castle.

A bumblebee flecked with pollen on a Viburnum plicatum flower near Main Street in New Castle.

Crab shell among the flotsam at the Fort Stark shoreline.

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Quick index to back issues of Saltines


June, 2010