100 Years – 100 Treasures – 100 Days

Each item highlighted below, on view at the Woodman Museum,  is presented in conjunction with the Woodman Museum’s Centennial Celebration. Each day, for 100 days, Foster’s Daily Democrat spotlights one of the many treasures from the Museum’s permanent collection. This project is made possible with support from Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller, and Durkin, PA (BBCRD); Dupont’s Service Center; and Tasker Funeral Service.

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1) This 10’ polar bear, an iconic symbol of the Museum, is a towering animal that everyone remembers from thpolar beareir visit. It was shot 20 miles from the Siberian border, on an ice floe in the Chukchi Sea, by Dover resident Dick Mathes in 1969. Taxidermy was done by the Jonas Brothers of Seattle. In 1979, Mr. Mathes, who’d flown unarmed
photographic reconnaissance flights over North Korea in the 1950s, was killed in a plane crash in British Columbia. The bear, and several other Alaskan mounts, were donated to the museum by Mathes’s widow, Jeanne.

 

Woodman meterorite2) The Nantan meteorite shower was the largest ever to occur in Asia, ca. 1516, in Guangxi Province, China.  Asteroid pieces were scattered in an area over 17 miles long and 5 miles wide near the city of Nantan.  In 1958, a nationwide search for iron ore in China resulted in the collection of these rocks which could not be smelted. Geologists were called in and confirmed they were meteorites composed of 93% iron and 7% nickel. This fragment is a bit larger than a grapefruit and part of the Woodman’s 2000-item mineral collection. It was donated by a private collector.

garrison house4)  The Damm Garrison, Dover’s oldest residence, ca. 1675, was on Spruce Lane when Ellen Rounds acquired it. She restored the house and spent 35 years collecting 800+ period tools, implements, and furnishings for its interior. In October 1915, with a crew of four men and one horse, the house was rolled on logs, a few feet every day, to its present site at the Museum. The protective white canopy now covering the house, designed by J. Edward Richardson, was completed by the Museum’s opening day, July 26, 1916. Visitors may explore both floors and view the now over 1000 artifacts on display inside.

revolver5) This .36 Colt Revolver belonged to Alvah M. Kimball of the 15th Regiment NH Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. It was made in 1861 and still retains its original velvet-lined case and fittings. Its fluted cylinder holds five shots. Alvah Kimball was born August 6, 1829. He enlisted in November 1861, was promoted to  2nd Lieutenant  in October 1862, and was a 1st Lieutenant when he left service on January 15, 1863. He died July 2, 1869, leaving a wife and three children. The pistol passed to his son, Ralph H. Kimball, and remained in the Kimball family until it was donated to the Museum in 1999.

Hand whittled doll6) This hand-whittled doll will be 300 years old in 2020! Carved in London, it was shipped to Boston in 1720 for a young girl. That girl married a Belknap and the doll came to Dover with Jeremy Belknap’s parents and sister Abigail during the Revolutionary War. It descended through several generations, and survived being water-soaked three times (allegedly to cure rickets), a hatchet attack by a younger brother, and a spark from a kitchen fire that singed her curls. Yet she still wears her original green silk dress! She then lived with Abigail Varney Wentworth on Portland Street before being donated, ca. 1935, by Abigail’s grandson, Mark Thompson.

Sampler7) 14 year old Mary Wallingford stitched this 23” X 16” sampler in 1800 while a student at a highly regarded school for girls in Dover. Mary was the daughter of Rollinsford’s schoolmaster Amos Wallingford. Her teacher, renowned crewel artist Sophia Cushing Hayes Wyatt, also taught reading, writing, grammar, rhetoric, geography, drawing, and painting to her female students. There remain only 10 existing samplers attributed to Sophia’s tutelage and this is the only one at the Woodman Museum. Each is stitched with silk thread on olive green linsey-woolsey and uses Quaker motifs of pairs of birds, baskets of flowers, vines, and floral borders.

 

Key8) This large, 8” long iron key opened the doors to The Dover Bank, a savings institution in Central Square at the corner of Central and Washington Streets. The bank was incorporated in 1822 and closed in 1865. The key-carrier was cashier Andrew Peirce who, in 1856, became the first mayor of Dover after the “town” became officially a “city” in 1855. Peirce was also a trustee at the Franklin Academy, a deacon at the First Parish Church, a director of the B&M Railroad, and Strafford County clerk.  Even with his busy work life, Peirce managed to have 13 children with wife Abigail!

lottery ticket9) In 1794, the Piscataqua Bridge, which connected Dover with Portsmouth, was built by “private enterprise” for $65,974. A marvel of its day, its largest span was 244 feet, the longest span bridge in the U.S. until 1812. Its entire length measured 2,258 feet, reaching from Fox Point, Newington to Ram Island to Goat Island and then over to Tuttle Point in Durham (paralleling the Scammell Bridge site today). This lottery ticket, from 1803, attempted to raise $15,000 for bridge repairs. 10,000 tickets were issued at $5.00 each. It promised the winner ¼ of the proceeds, a minus 12 ½% deduction. History doesn’t tell us who won!

Ann10) Ann Elizabeth Allen (1838—1915) married Charles Woodman, a wealthy widower with two small children, in 1856. The couple then moved to an 1818 Federal style house on Central Avenue. When her husband died in 1885, Annie Woodman was just 47. When she passed away at age 77 in 1915, she left the amount of $100,000 in trust for the establishment of an “institution for the promotion of education in science and art and the increase and dissemination of general and especially historical knowledge.” Along with the acquisition of the 1813 Hale House next door and the 1675 Damm Garrison which was moved on site, the Woodman Institute opened in July 1916.

Mial and Helmet11) These two items, an ancient chain mail vest and a Prussian Army helmet, were found by a Dover soldier in Europe during World War I. The soldier was digging a trench and discovered these “souvenirs”. The chain mail armor dates from medieval times, possibly 15th century. The use of mail as battlefield armor was common during the Middle Ages, but by the 16th century, solid plate armor was standard. The Pickelhaube (translation: “pointed bonnet”), inscribed “Mit Gott Fϋr Koenig und Vaterland” (“With God for King and Fatherland”), was worn by an enlisted soldier ca. 1891. The FR on the eagle’s chest stands for Friedrick Rex, King of Prussia.

GetAttachment.aspx12)  Museum lore tells us that this miniature bale of cotton, banded and wrapped with a Confederate States of America $20 bill, was sold as a souvenir ca. 1900. Two very divergent schools of thought, from opposite ends of the spectrum, exist about its intent: 1.) it might have been an attempt by northerners to gloat that the South had lost the Civil War and to mock the institution of slavery on which cotton production depended; or 2.) it’s also possible that the keepsake bales were sold to raise money for southern orphans of dead Confederate soldiers.  Crowing or charity? What’s your opinion?

Iguana13) This 5’ long iguana was delivered to the Museum in June 1937 by Alcide A. Lacombe of Dover who had found it dead in the road about 15 miles north of the city. Native to Central America and the Caribbean, the Common Iguana comes in a wide range of colors from green to blue to pink to black. Full-grown, they average six feet long and twenty pounds. Juvenile green iguanas are often bright blue as babies, however they lose this color as they get older. Why this specimen ended up in Strafford County is unknown, but fortunately the Museum’s 1st curator, Melville J. Smith, was an experienced taxidermist.

Rock14)  This cedar tree root was discovered at Seapoint Beach in Kittery. It is a relic from an extensive sunken forest buried beneath our local shoreline. Scientists estimate that, ca. 3600 years ago, the landmass of New England extended about 75 miles further east than where it is today. When the glaciers melted, ocean levels rose significantly. The forest was likely submerged even before our first settlers arrived in 1623. Remnants of the sunken forest can sometimes still be seen today at Odiorne Point and Jenness Beach in Rye, at very low tides or after strong storms have stripped away sand from the coast.

saddle15) On March 26, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln reviewed the Union troops known as the Army of the James (River) at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. The president rode atop this saddle, his last formal military review because he was to be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth just 20 days later, on April 15, 1865. Colonel Daniel Hall of Dover was one of Lincoln’s aides-de-camp at the time and acquired the saddle. Hall had served in battles at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg and was one of the Museum’s original trustees. After his death at age 88 in 1920, Lincoln’s saddle was moved to the Woodman.

Indian dress16) Native American breastplates were originally worn for protection from arrows and spears. After the introduction of the bullet in the late 1600s, the breastplates had no purpose except to give the warrior a sense of personal strength. They were made of small animal or bird bones, or from shells and mollusks, fastened together by buckskin or leather. This one also has a pouch to store food, probably ground corn which could be mixed with water to make a meal. Elaborate beading and colored decorations showed wealth, position, and talismanic properties. It is likely this breastplate came from a Midwest Plains tribe, not our local Abenaki or Pennacook tribes.

cannon17) William Flagg was the richest privateer in Dover after the War of 1812. Today, we might call him a legalized pirate. Commissioned by the fledgling and severely undermanned U.S. Navy, Captain Flagg used his own ship, the Fox, to capture and pillage British vessels along the U.S. coast during the war. This 1814 cannon is one of his “prizes”. Kept at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, it was moved upriver by gundalow to Dover wharves in 1856, then hauled to the top of Garrison Hill. A celebratory cannon firing that same year proved fatal to two gunners who attempted to light the ammunition. Flagg’s cannon was moved to the Museum in the 1960s.

Murex18) This Murex is a gastropod, one of the largest and heaviest specimens in the Woodman’s sizeable collection of seashells. It is a highly predatory carnivore, living in all tropical seas, but particularly abundant on, or near, coral reefs where it can easily find and devour other invertebrates. The Murex has a highly sculptured spine with frills and fronds aplenty. In ancient times, the Romans would boil these snail-like creatures for days (the smell was awful!) in order to get them to release a coveted purple dye from a gland inside the shell. This dye helped create the Royal Purple robes that were fit only for monarchs and heads of state.

Chest of Drawers19) George Hepplewhite (1727?—1786) was, along with Thomas Sheraton and Thomas Chippendale, one of Britain’s “Big Three” 18th century furniture makers. Hepplewhite is credited with inventing the short chest of drawers, just like this one, a radical new design in his day. Considered “city furniture,” Hepplewhite was especially popular in Early American states from New England to the Carolinas and this lovely 4-drawer mahogany chest, with inlaid veneers of flame birch, was probably built in Portsmouth ca. 1790. It is characterized by its curvilinear bowed front, its flared legs, its drop panel apron, and its overall impression of lightness and elegance.

Wreath20) What looks like a faded flower arrangement inside this frame is actually a Victorian era heirloom:  the wreath is made entirely from human hair! During the latter half of the 19th century, women created hair wreaths as symbols of family ties and unity and the strands were supplied by both living and dead relatives. This piece is from the Fernald family. Emma Grace Fernald completed it in 1875 and it was donated to the Museum by Emma’s grandson. While the family story behind this wreath has been lost to time, hair art remains a fascinating and valuable way to examine an understudied part of Victorian women’s experiences.

21) NavyAnn Darby Reynolds graduated Dover High School in 1957, then received her nursing degree at St. Anselm’s. Enlisting in the Navy, she was sent to Vietnam where, at age 25, she was the youngest nurse at the Saigon Hospital. When a bomb went off outside her quarters on Christmas Eve 1964, Darby suffered a serious leg injury, but tended to many other wounded before getting treatment for herself. Two were killed and 63 injured in the bombing. Lt. (JG) Reynolds received the Purple Heart for her bravery. Darby retired as a Captain after 26.5 years of service. She donated her uniform, medals and other memorabilia to the Museum in 2011.

White peacock22) This gorgeous white peacock is in full regalia among the Museum’s nature dioramas created by its first curator, Melville J. Smith. The interesting thing about this bird is that it was the last white peacock at Benson’s Wild Animal Farm in Hudson, NH. It was given to Mr. Smith, specifically because of his renown as a taxidermist. Many generations of locals remember John Benson’s zoo and amusement park which opened in 1926 and closed in 1987. Colossus the silverback gorilla, Tonya the elephant, the miniature train ride and the Old Woman in the Shoe were some of the park’s most popular attractions.

Advertising images23)  Early advertising signs remind us that visual symbols were necessary as many people were illiterate. Top left: Durham Arms Tavern, 1779—1840, operated by Dover native Capt. John Layn, sign by Samuel DeMeritt, a George Washington admirer who painted George’s likeness on the sign. No, Washington never visited! Top right: M. Folsom’s Livery Stable, also in Durham, date unknown.  Bottom left: 2’ high mortar and pestle hung outside William H. Vickery and Sons Apothecary Shop, Central Ave., Dover ca. 1867–1939. Bottom right: Taxidermy bear, stood in front of John T. W. Ham’s “Ham the Hatter” caps and furs shop (ca. 1859—1921) on Central Ave., offering a tray of trade cards.

knife24) This Eskimo knife dates from 1100 to 1400. With a shaft attached to its base, it becomes a perfectly balanced harpoon. Its walrus-bone handle is inscribed with a primitive drawing of a polar bear and it has a 3-inch flint spear blade. It was discovered in 1860 at Point Barrow, Alaska, on Utkiavwin tribal lands, by Rochester NH native Charles F. Hall, an Arctic explorer. Hall made two perilous voyages to Alaska and a third to Greenland, hoping to reach the North Pole. He died aboard his last ship “Polaris” of suspected arsenic poisoning in 1871. A Union NH resident related to Hall donated it to the Museum.

painting25) “Strawberry Basket” is an oil painting by Mollie Lee Clifford. Born on the Isles of Shoals in 1865, Mollie knew Celia Thaxter and the Christensen sisters who were killed in the famous Smuttynose murders of 1873. She even knew the murderer, Louis Wagner! She moved to Dover after her marriage in 1889 and lived at 60 Hill Street until her death in 1918. In addition to her skills with a paintbrush (this is her rendition of a still life by August Laux), Mollie was also a published writer. Her two novels, Yoppy: the Autobiography of a Monkey (1905) and Polly: the Autobiography of a Parrot (1906), are both still available on Amazon!

Cocheco prints26) Begun in 1812 as the Dover Cotton Factory, by the 1880s Dover’s Cocheco Manufacturing Company employed over 1200 people in over 30 acres of manufacturing space downtown. They operated over 2800 looms and 140,000 spindles in their factories and massive machinery in their Print Works in Henry Law Park. While this picture shows just one style, available in various colors, company designers developed over 10,000 patterns, some with up to 12 colors on a single piece of cloth. (Many of these are part of the collection of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA.) They shipped worldwide, about 65 million yards of printed cottons per year. Operations ceased in 1937.

Wild Bill27)  This is an autographed photo of William J. Cody, aka “Buffalo Bill”—Pony Express rider, scout, buffalo hunter, cavalry fighter, dime novel hero, and theatrical performer. It was presented to Dover City Marshall Tom Wilkinson in 1908 when Cody visited Dover (for the fifth time!) with his Wild West show. It reads, “To…a good comrade under fire. He made good July 17, 1876.” Wilkinson had fought under Cody out west. Cody commended his former corporal for his bravery, noting that Wilkinson had been the first man in the regiment to kill an Indian that day, which then enabled Cody to kill Cheyenne Chief Yellow Hand at Warbonnet Creek, Nebraska.

clock28) This tall case clock (7.5’) was made of cherry and birch, ca. 1810, by Abel Hutchins in Concord, NH. Its dial was painted in Boston and features cross-hatching and a fruit motif. It has an 8-day wind with calendar and a striking brass movement. The Hutchins brothers, Abel and Levi, opened their clock-making business in Concord in 1786, after a 3-year apprenticeship in Roxbury, MA. They worked in partnership for 21 years, until 1807, when Abel became sole proprietor. The shop burned down in 1817 and was rebuilt as the Phoenix Hotel in 1819, with Abel Hutchins as innkeeper. He retired in 1834 and died at age 90 in 1853.

diamonds29) This set of “Historical Diamonds of the World” is really a fake! The Hope Diamond (45 carats), the Kohinoor (186 carats), the Grand-Mogul (280 carats), and the 12 other famous “diamonds” in the box are actually made from hand-cut quartz crystals.

They replicate the exact cuts and dimensions (but not the color) of the real gems. One hundred sets were made ca. 1939 by the Gemological Institute of America in cooperation with DeBeers. Jewelers would use them to explain the variety of cuts to prospective customers. They were acquired in Utah by avid mineral collectors in the 1950s and recently donated to the Museum by a local couple.

hose cart30) An all-consuming fire at the Cocheco Manufacturing Company’s Mill #1 (now One Washington Center) broke out on January 26, 1907 on the 4th floor. Fire spread rapidly and power was out, leaving panicked workers in darkness and smoke. Many were injured leaping from windows as there was only one fire escape. Firefighters battled for 36 hours in below-zero weather. Water sprayed from this hose cart froze almost immediately on contact. In the end, four lives were lost and the mill was a total loss. In the background, you can see the “Big Ben” alarm bell which hung at the Broadway Fire Station and was polished every Monday morning.

 

 

carousel horse31) Meet Amanda, one of the carousel horses from Burgett Park (renamed Central Park) on the Dover-Somersworth line at Willand Pond. This 1890s 27-acre amusement park included a casino, dance hall, bandstand, restaurant, lawn tennis court, bicycling track, picnic area, baseball field, flying swings and merry-go-round, bowling alleys, penny arcade, roller skating rink, a 1600-seat open amphitheater, rental canoes, sailboats and rowboats, and even a bear den with two live bears. Dover’s electric trolleys terminated here until the railway closed in 1926. Some facilities were used through the early 1940s, but eventually most were torn down. Remnants of the bear pits can still be found on site.

 

Japanese armor32) One of Dover’s sea captains, Washington Hardy (1838—1916), brought this Edo period Japanese armor back to Dover on his return from a voyage to the Far East. It is probably from the 17th century and made of steel, leather, wood, and silk cording. The armor (or “karuta”) was custom-fit to each person and was ceremonial as well as practical. The ugly features of the mask were meant to terrify the enemy. A suit weighed between 11 and 50 pounds, but it also had to be flexible because samurai often rode on horseback. Captain Hardy’s career spanned over 46 years and he circumnavigated the globe thirteen times before his retirement in 1901.

 

 

Lucy Hale and brooch33) Lucy Hale’s father, U.S. Senator John Parker Hale, bought his home in 1840 and Lucy was born in 1841. Now called the Hale House, their former residence is part of the Woodman Museum. Lucy was a Washington DC belle, dating Oliver Wendell Holmes and Robert Todd Lincoln. By 1865, she was secretly engaged to John Wilkes Booth, the man who would assassinate Abraham Lincoln on April 14. Lucy’s picture was found in Booth’s pocket when he was caught. Lucy was whisked off to Spain, returning to Dover in 1870 and marrying William Chandler in 1874. This silver mirror is engraved with her initials: LHC. She died in 1915 and is buried at Pine Hill Cemetery.

 

Cast iron kitchen items34) Inside the Museum’s 1675 Damm Garrison, Dover’s oldest home, is an extensive collection of historical items, many from colonial times. Mrs. Ellen Rounds, a lineal descendant of the garrison’s original owners, donated not only the house, but also the majority of the artifacts which visitors can see inside today. Between 1887 and 1915, she collected over 800 household and furniture items to fill the interior spaces. She called them “precious mementos of ye olden time”.  These cooking utensils include cast iron pots and pans, kettles and baking tins, a large Dutch oven and a shovel-like baking peel to slide items in and out of the fire.

 

 

pigeon35) This male passenger pigeon may be the only one you will ever see. Up until the 19th century, it was the most abundant bird in North America, with a population estimated at 3-5 billion. They migrated in enormous flocks, flying as fast as 62 miles per hour. Their numbers declined a bit from 1800—1870 due to deforestation, but the main culprits behind their extinction were humans. They were hunted relentlessly from 1870—1890 and pigeon meat was sold commercially as cheap food. The last confirmed wild bird was shot in 1900 and the last captured bird died in 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo.

 

 

Walnut36) This handsome Victorian-era walnut sideboard with brass detailing, beveled mirrors, and turned finials dates from ca. 1875. It was owned by Gov. Charles H. Sawyer of Dover, NH’s 41st governor (1887—1889). Sawyer was born in 1840 and became president of the Sawyer Woolen Mills in 1891 after his father Jonathan’s death. Unrelated to the Sawyers, also on display here is a 7-piece “RS Prussia” chocolate set (pot, creamer, sugar bowl, and 4 cups) decorated with an ivy pattern. It was produced in Germany at Reinhold Schlegelmilch’s china factory between 1869—1917. This family heirloom set was donated by Edith Morrison Chase to the Museum in 1998.

 

Carriage37) The Museum’s carriage barn houses this 2-passenger wagon, made between 1901—1910 by John S. Drew of the Dover Carriage Company. Drew purchased the business from J.H. Randlett, a renowned Tuttle Square carriage-maker for 45 years. But the rise of the automobile put Drew out of business by 1912. Before that, horse-drawn conveyances were the most common means of transport. Buggies cost only $25–$50, and could easily be driven by untrained men, women, or children. Their wide use encouraged the grading, graveling, and even paving of main roads. This carriage was last used at Highland Farm in Barrington, NH for hayrides around Swains Lake and to bring in hay.

 

Edict38) Dated May 27, 1771, this edict from King George III’s provincial treasurer George Jaffrey ordered the Select-Men of Dover to pay Province Taxes to His Majesty in the amount of 87 pounds, 12 shillings, and 6 pence. Roughly the equivalent of $5600 in today’s dollars, also remember that the average wage in the colonies was only 9 shillings per week. New Hampshire as a whole had to pony up 2,500 British pounds. The proclamation warns, “HEREOF FAIL NOT, as you will ANSWER your NEGLECT, at the Peril of the Law.” The payment was due on Christmas Day. No wonder we had a Revolution!

 

 

Mt. Washington Model39) Maritime historian, model-maker, and optometrist Clyde L. Whitehouse (1889—1969) made this model of the famous Mount Washington paddle steamer which had cruised Lake Winnipesaukee since 1872. On the night of December 23, 1939, Clyde put the final, finishing details on this model then went to bed. The next morning’s headlines were “Steamer Burns at Weirs”!  The Mount had been totally destroyed while tied at the dock. Its hull was stuck in the muddy lake bottom and it couldn’t escape the flames coming from a nearby railway station. A new steamer was launched in 1941 and the newer model, built by Ronald Levesque in 1965, is also displayed at the Museum alongside this one.

 

 

Scouting40) One room at the Museum is dedicated to scouting. Items from the ‘20s to the ‘80s, including uniforms, gear, badges, and handbooks of the Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Campfire Girls, Brownies, and Cub Scouts are on display. These two items are from Robert Whitehouse’s own scouting career: his Eagle Scout badge and certification from 1933 (the first scout from NH to achieve this honor!), and his woven backpack from the 1st ever National Boy Scout Jamboree held in Washington DC in 1937. Over 25,000 scouts camped around the Washington Monument and Tidal Basin for 10 days of activities. Check out old newsreel footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIvqV6vLa3w

 

Butterflies41) Many of the Museum’s large collection of moths, bugs, and beetles were collected locally by its first curator Melville Smith. These Morpho butterflies, however, are from South and Central America. Their vivid, iridescent blue coloring comes from microscopic scales on the backs of their wings, which reflect light. The underside of their wings, on the other hand, is a dull brown color with many eyespots, providing camouflage against predators when their wings are closed. Morphos are among the largest species of butterfly, with a wingspan up to 6 inches. They subsist on a diet of juice from rotting fruit and their lifespan is just 115 days.

 

Audubon print42) Many of the Museum’s large collection of moths, bugs, and beetles were collected locally by its first curator Melville Smith. These Morpho butterflies, however, are from South and Central America. Their vivid, iridescent blue coloring comes from microscopic scales on the backs of their wings, which reflect light. The underside of their wings, on the other hand, is a dull brown color with many eyespots, providing camouflage against predators when their wings are closed. Morphos are among the largest species of butterfly, with a wingspan up to 6 inches. They subsist on a diet of juice from rotting fruit and their lifespan is just 115 days.

 

music box43) This Swiss music box, an exceptional work of both mechanical and furniture artistry, was made in Geneva ca. 1863 by F. Conchon. It was the height of fashion in the 19th century to have one of these in your parlor! Constructed of Circassian walnut, prized for its swirled grains, the box’s musical apparatus is visible through the glass lid. Brass rolls, seen in the drawer, provided the music, 10 songs to each roll, and there are four rolls here. It was purchased in Switzerland by George Henry Hewitt of Meriden, NH as a gift for his mother. It was donated to the Museum by the Huggins family of Durham.

 

wheel and tree44) Even the Museum grounds are fascinating! As you walk among the buildings, notice the  granite grist mill wheel from York, Maine. York had the first tidal-powered grist mill in the country (ca. 1634) but this wheel is probably from a later period. Two wheels, one moving and one stationary, ground wheat or corn into flour or cornmeal for the miller. The wheel was turned with water power or yoked livestock. On the right is Strafford County’s largest Sycamore tree, certified by NH’s Big Tree Program. Adjacent to the Keefe House driveway, it is approximately 110’ tall and has a 139” circumference. This tree is ca. 150 years old and in excellent health!

 

blackjack45) This blackjack was the actual murder weapon in an infamous bank robbery in Somersworth. On April 16, 1897 at Great Falls National Bank, elderly cashier Joseph Stickney was robbed of $4,125 by 24-year-old Joseph Kelley, then hit several times on the head with this lead club, then had his throat cut with a razor. Kelley fled by train to Montreal where he was soon captured, wearing a woman’s dress, in a brothel. He was tried in Dover, pled guilty, and asked to be hanged because he had “a contract with the devil”. He was judged insane and sentenced to 30 years in the NH State Prison in Concord.

 

Fire buckets46) These matching leather fire buckets hung in the home of J. Guppey of Dover in 1819. Residents were required to have one bucket for each fireplace in their house. Guppey (or Guppy) is an ancient name in Dover, going back to the 17th century in the Portland Avenue area. The buckets were made of leather because it was lighter than wood, thus easier to pass in a citizens’ “bucket brigade” from a water source to a fire. After the fire, all the buckets were piled together in a heap, so it was customary to decorate your home’s buckets and paint your name on the exterior.

 

tooth47) This mastodon tooth, weighing about 5 pounds, was found in the early 1950s in the remote Alaskan wilderness by T. Casey Moher, (later Dover City Attorney and District Court justice), during a Korean War winter survival training course. Mastodons were large, hairy, vegetarian ancestors of the modern elephant and roamed all of North America from 33,000 years ago until their mass extinction from human hunting about 10,000 years ago. They were 7’ to 9’ tall and weighed about 4-5 tons. Their high, jagged, cusp-like teeth were well suited for feeding on leaves, branches, trees, and other woody plants. The tooth was donated to the Museum after Moher’s death in 2004.

 

Civil War Nurse and Letters48) Sarah Low (1830—1913) was Dover’s Civil War nurse, devoting almost three years of her life to tending wounded Union soldiers in field hospitals around Washington, DC from 1862—65. Despite conditions she called “indescribably gruesome”, she happily met both President and Mrs. Lincoln at a reception, and later, sadly, attended his wake and funeral in the Rotunda. This fragile letter storage box, Sarah’s own, was given to the Museum after it was found in a box of donations at Savers in Newington! Sarah was a prolific letter-writer and many descriptive passages from her nursing days in the Capitol can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/1Z4cP98 .

 

Transatlantic cable49) This is a piece of a transatlantic cable, the first which directly connected communications between Europe and the United States in 1874. While its eastern terminus was in Ballinskelligs Bay, Ireland, the other end came ashore at Straw’s Point in Rye Beach, NH. Its novel design allowed it to both send and receive transmissions simultaneously. A “cable house” was built in Rye and 16 telegraph operators from the UK manned it 24 hours a day. Busiest times were during the Russo-Japanese peace talks at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1905 and throughout World War I. The station closed in 1921, but a NH Historical Highway marker still denotes its spot along Route 1-A.

 

Carriage50) This highly-detailed wicker baby carriage, topped with a pretty parasol and perched high on smooth-riding spoked wheels, was made ca. 1880 by the Haywood Brothers, at the height of the Victorian craze for fashionable baby transport. In fact, the era was called the “Golden Age of Carriages” and both the Sears & Roebuck and Marshall Field catalogs featured pages of various models and dozens of styles. The Victorian mother was obsessed with ventilation and airiness, and this durable, lightweight carriage fulfilled that mandate. By 1900, however, fancy wickerwork of this type was considered garish and overdone, and trendier moms selected Mission-style buggies instead.

 

Gold Star Banner51)Roseanna Arnold Labrie (1880—1953) bore 16 children at her Essex Street home in Dover. Seven of her sons later served in Europe during World War II: Albert, Robert, William, Raymond, Peter, Paul, and Maurice. The gold star on this banner is for Maurice, a U.S. Navy Motor Machinist Mate 3rd Class, who was killed at age 23 during the Normandy Invasion on June 8, 1944. The blue stars on the banner represent her six other sons who all survived the war. Also shown are the family’s various service medals, including the Purple Heart. The Museum and all its visitors proudly honor this family’s sacrifice and service.

 

Welcome sign52) The Museum has a large collection of posters and other commemorative items that celebrate Dover and area-wide special events. These are just two examples: on the left, a silken banner inviting everyone to take part in Dover’s 100th Anniversary as a City in 1955. (From 1623—1855, we were just a town.) The week-long festivities included parades, pageantry, and bonfires. And on the right, an advertising broadside for the NH State Fair of 1859 and the horse races at  Granite State Trotting Park (opposite Strafford Appliance now) with “purses up to $300” and “grand trials of speed by several well-known suburban horses and celebrated stallions Ajax, Draco, and Young Morrill”.

Walking Stick53) Secret storage compartments for pills and potions were discovered inside this walking stick owned by Dr. John G. Pike who practiced medicine in Salmon Falls (Rollinsford) and Dover during the second half of the 19th century. Described as a “large man with a commanding presence”, Pike was born in Somersworth in 1817, graduated from Berwick Academy (1833) and Bowdoin Medical School (1847) and also worked in Boston 1868–1871. He then practiced in Dover until well past his 80th birthday but succumbed to blindness in the last years of his life, dying at age 87 on August 1, 1905. The walking stick was donated by the owners of the former Newman’s Pharmacy.

 

Eastern Cougar54) This Eastern cougar (or mountain lion, the names are interchangeable) was shot on the Cartland Farm in Lee by William Chapman of Newmarket in 1853. It was the last cougar killed in New Hampshire, and the species was declared extinct in 2011. Its body was preserved with the crude taxidermy of that time which involved stuffing the carcass with straw or paper rather than using internal sculptural molds. It was given to the Museum by Chapman’s son, Sewall. Despite ongoing cougar “sightings” still claimed around the state, the Fish & Game Department reports no physical or photographic evidence that the big cat is back in New Hampshire.

 

Native American Basket55) This exquisite Native American basket was made by the Yokuts people of central California. “Yokuts” means “People” and their communities included up to 60 separate tribes all speaking the same language. Pre-European contact, the Yokuts’ population was close to 50,000, but 3/4 died of malaria in an 1833 epidemic. This polychrome basket, made ca. 1900, measures 15” across and 6 ½” tall. Tightly-woven Yokuts baskets were originally quite plain, made for practical uses within the household. Highly-decorated examples, such as this one with its spirit figures, rattlesnake-patterned trim, and geometric triangles, soon evolved after “railroad tourism” hit California beginning in the 1890s and ornamented baskets brought higher prices.

 

Fire Lantern56) This lantern was mounted on Dover’s first steam fire engine, the Cocheco 2, which was built by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in 1865. The 3rd Class steamer’s harp frame engine powered a pump which fired water through a hose at high pressure. Cocheco 2 weighed 4000 pounds and was pulled by one horse. It was housed at Dover’s new Orchard Street Station (now the Chop House) and had 16 crew members and 1600 feet of hose. The steamer was used through at least 1920, then kept “in reserve” for a number of years thereafter. The lantern was donated by Frederick J. Gilpatrick (Dover Fire Chief 1964—1973) and the Dover Fire Department.

 

HIghboy Tall Chests57) The Museum’s Hale House has three excellent examples of Queen Anne-style highboy tall chests. They are almost certainly all New England-built by talented cabinetmakers ca. 1760. Queen Anne furniture dates from the mid- to late- 18th century and is characterized by its vertical grace and lightness. Most have cabriolet legs on pad feet, intricate carvings of fans or shells, scalloped aprons, brass drawer pulls, and either a molded cornice flat-top or a “broken pediment” arch with flame or urn finials. There were several renowned cabinetmakers working in coastal New Hampshire at that time, so it is possible that these beautiful pieces were made locally.

 

Ash Barrel58) We take things like soap for granted, but look what our ancestors went through to create it! This large ash barrel was kept outside a colonial garrison because the toxic substance it created, lye, could cause severe burns and eye injuries. Fireplace ashes were dumped in here, then covered with water and slowly boiled. A chemical reaction called saponification would occur and caustic brown lye would trickle out through the holes at the bottom. The lye would then be boiled 6-8 hours with rendered animal fat (lard from pigs, tallow from cattle) to form soft soap. For hard soap, salt was added at the end of the cooking process.

 

Table and Books59) Dr. Jeremy Belknap (1744—1798), Boston native and Harvard graduate, moved to Dover in 1767 to become minister at the Congregational Church. During his 20 year stay at that parish, he wrote the first volume of an eventual 3-volume “History of New Hampshire” (pictured is an 1812 edition), at this mahogany table which still bears ink stains from his pen. He also composed his weekly sermons here. Today, Belknap is credited with authoring the first modern history written by an American and introducing two innovations into historical research: 1.) separating facts from analysis or opinion, and 2.) annotating and crediting his sources. Dr. Belknap is buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Pewter Lamp
60) This pewter lamp, which burned whale oil, was used in 19th century cotton factories. Employers demanded 12 hours of labor from everyone and there simply wasn’t enough available daylight in fall and winter. Therefore, the “Lighting Up” occurred annually on September 21 when lamps like this were installed on every loom. The mill girls then endured fumes, soot, burns, and smoke generated by these lamps until springtime. Respiratory illnesses and worsening eyesight were common. No wonder, then, that the “Lighting Up” was a contributing factor in the first strike in the U.S. by women —and it happened in Dover NH at the Cocheco Manufacturing Company on December 30, 1828!

Police Officer's Uniform61) This police officer’s uniform belonged to Thomas Fody, a native of Ireland who immigrated to America ca. 1862 at age 14. He lived in Cincinnati for about a year before settling permanently in Dover. He joined the Dover Police Department ca. 1880 as a patrolman on the Third Street and Main Street beats, and worked for 33 years until his retirement in 1913. Fody and his family of nine lived on Payne Street (now Henry Law Avenue) and he died in 1930 at age 82 at home on Court Street. His overcoat and helmet were obtained from his surviving daughters and were donated by the DuBois family of Dover.

 

 

Pocket Watch62) This pocket watch belonged to the Hon. Josiah Bartlett of Kingston (1729-1795), a distinguished New Hampshire patriot. Dr. Bartlett was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a prominent physician and founder of the New Hampshire Medical Society, a Colonel of the Militia, and Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court (even though he was not a lawyer). He served as chief executive of New Hampshire from 1790-1794. After revisions to the constitution in 1793, he became the first elected chief executive of New Hampshire to bear the title of governor in 1794. The watch was repaired in the 1820-30s by William. A. Belknap, an Exeter jeweler.

 

 

Springfield Rifles63) Robert Doucet of East Rochester collected these 19th century Springfield rifles, made at the Springfield MA Armory which manufactured (1777—1968) military weaponry for U.S. Armed Forces from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War. This prized private collection of 11 Springfield Rifles, dating from 1861–1888, and housed in his own specially-built oak case, were donated to the Museum after Mr. Doucet’s death by his son Paul, wife Pauline, and daughter Lillian Wise, on Father’s Day in 2015.  The Springfield Armory is now a National Historic Site run by the National Park Service and houses the world’s largest collection of historic American firearms.

 

 

Watermelon64) This 4” piece of watermelon tourmaline was found at the Dunton Quarry on Plumbago Mountain in Newry, ME in Oxford County, about 33 miles east of Berlin NH and 80 miles northwest of Portland. Tourmaline was first discovered in Maine in 1821, the same year it became the 23rd U.S. state. The watermelon variety, named by George Robeley Howe of Norway, ME because of its green exterior “rind” and its pink or red interior, was first found in 1902 in Newry. Today, a few fee mining sites are still open in Maine and for a small fee to enter, searchers may keep any gems and minerals that they find.

 

Lobster65) This 27-pound lobster was found many years ago by a U.S. Navy diver in sixty feet of water just off the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. It measures 38” in length. The record, however, for the largest documented lobster belongs to a 44 pound giant caught off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977. Rule of thumb says that a lobster’s age is approximately his weight multiplied by 4, plus 3 years. So this guy might have been 112 years old when he was caught! Interestingly, experts tell us that lobsters never show any discernible signs of aging. They don’t lose appetite, sex drive, metabolism levels, or energy.

 

Cobbler's Bench66) This standing cobbler’s bench belonged to John T.G. Tuttle in 1750 and was later purchased for the Damm Garrison. It has 15 shoemaker’s awls and hammers, 7 molds or “lasts” which would be used to form the leather on the shoe, and a smaller, more traditional, “sitting” cobbler’s bench. On its left side is a strong vise called a “lasting jack” which would hold the shoe securely in place. Leather pieces were tacked to the sole then hammered into shape; heels were attached with wooden pegs. Finishing operations included paring, rasping, scraping, smoothing, sand-papering, blacking, and burnishing, withdrawing the lasts, and removing any pegs which may have pierced the inner sole.

Blue Bottles67) These pretty blue bottles were not decorative. Their fragile glass was designed to break easily when thrown…at a fire! They were called “glass hand grenades” and were made ca. 1877 by the Harden Hand Grenade Company of Chicago. They were filled with carbon tetrachloride (now a known carcinogen) and sealed with a cork and then cemented. (The cement would prevent the noxious liquid from escaping if the cork shrank.) Grenades such as these were plentiful in Dover factories, within easy reach of millworkers. If a fire started, employees would throw them at the base of the blaze and a fire-suppressant gas would be instantly released. They were used until about 1910.

Senator John Parker Hale Items68) The Hale House at the Museum is the former home of Senator John Parker Hale (1806—1873) who served NH for two decades in the U.S. Congress. The home was built in 1813, but Hale purchased it in 1840. He was one of the first U.S. senators to make a stand against slavery. Hale was a leading member of the Free Soil Party and was its presidential nominee in1852. He was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, and Hale’s statue resides on the NH State House lawn in Concord. The house was sold by his daughter Lucy Hale Chandler to museum trustees in 1915. There are several exhibits of the Hales’ furniture, photographs, and memorabilia such as this silver tray still on display.

South American Water Jar69) This South American water jar, probably Chimu-Peruvian, is from the Incan period ca. 1400-1500. It has a special secret: this dual-chambered “huaco” could sing! An internal whistle is located inside the monkey figure atop the left side of the vessel. When water was transferred between the two chambers via the base, the air pressure created would make the monkey whistle! Huacos were decorated with a variety of animal and bird effigies. Today’s scientists believe the sounds created were used in shamanic rituals as a means of summoning healing spirits. It is made of earthenware clay, blackened by smoldering fires during the firing process, then buffed to a high sheen.

Drumhead70) This drumhead was used by William Rossiter, a musician in Dover’s Strafford Guards, who was stationed in Tennessee during the Spanish-American War. On February 15, 1898, an explosion sunk the U.S.S. Maine in Havana, Cuba. 260 American sailors died and war was declared on Spain. The local Guards were mustered into the Army and became the First Regiment NH Volunteer Infantry. This drawing, made on July 8, 1898, says “To My Wife Mamie” and “Remember the Maine” and depicts a sketch of the battleship and the United States and Cuban flags. The 3-month conflict ended with the Treaty of Paris and the Strafford Guards were mustered out on October 31, 1898.

Scrimshaw71) We imagine that lonely seamen, on 19th century whaling voyages lasting 3-5 years, carved these artful scrimshaw images of their wives or sweethearts at home. They would smooth a whale tooth or bone with pumice, then polish it. Seafaring scenes or portraits of loved ones were etched in with crude sailing needles. The ink, which made the image come to life, was candle black, soot, tobacco juice or gunpowder, mixed with oil. The word “scrimshaw” may have come from a Dutch or English nautical term meaning “to waste time”. Sailors had a lot of time on their hands for this leisure activity aboard ship. The Museum has 24 pieces of scrimshaw in its collection.

Resize of B&M engine 1. 3x6 300dpi72) This toy locomotive is one of 90 boat and train models, built as a boy by Farmington –born, and later Dover resident, Henry C. Fall. A very smart kid, Henry’s Belknap Grammar School spelling book reveals he misspelled just 7 words out of 1,161!  An 1880 DHS graduate and 1884 Dartmouth alumni, Fall became a teacher in California. But his real love was entomology. He researched and described nearly 1500 new species of beetles and published 144 scientific articles about Coleoptera through 1937. He assembled the finest private beetle collection in North America: over 200,000 specimens. He died in 1939 and is buried in Farmington. These models were all found in his family’s attic in Tyngsboro, MA.

Silver trumpet73) This gold-lined silver speaking trumpet was made in Sheffield, England and presented to Dover’s Captain Timothy Newman Porter (1817—1872) by the people of Cardenas, Cuba. The trumpet was used at sea to amplify one’s voice and to communicate orders across the bow. In 1850, Porter was captain of the 3-masted barque “Manchester” and, during an invasion of Cardenas by buccaneer Narcisso Lopez, Porter brought all the town’s women and children aboard his ship for safekeeping. For his bravery, he was rewarded with this trumpet, valued at $125 at the time. Captain Porter later commanded several Portsmouth-owned clip per ships for the Union during the Civil War.

 

 

74) Simon Willard clockDuring the early 1800s, this was the most popular and fashionable clock in America, made by the country’s most famous clockmaker, Simon Willard (1753-1848) of Roxbury, MA. Commonly called a banjo clock today, its proper name is a “presentation timepiece.” This one was made in 1819 and it measures 42” plus a 6” gilded eagle atop. Willard clocks were made of brass, not wood, and he hired Boston-area artists to reverse-paint neoclassical scenes on the glass panels in his clocks.  This exquisite timepiece was donated by George Henderson (1860-1933), a resident at 37 Fisher Street and Paymaster at the Cocheco/Pacific Mills for 40 years.

 

 

75)Millet gavelandtree Around 1720, this apple tree, then just a small shrub, was brought over from England in a wash tub by Captain Thomas Millet. It was planted on his farm on the east side of Dover Point Road, quite near the furniture store that’s there now. It grew to 4’ in diameter and annually produced 40-50 bushels of apples for 192 years. In 1912, a brown tail moth infestation killed the tree and its hollowed out shell was finally cut down in 1918. Wood from the Millet Apple Tree was used to make this wooden gavel used at meetings of Dover’s Northam Colonists Historical Society through 1997.

 

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76) This snowy owl, from the Museum’s bird exhibit, was taken in Dover during the 1921-22 winter. The largest North American owl species, it often visits our NH seacoast during the colder months. NH Audubon sighted one still at Rye Harbor on April 27 of this year! They are native to Arctic regions, but nomadic. Born light brown, males get whiter as they get older. Their main diet is lemmings, but they also eat rodents, seabirds, and even ducks and geese. They hunt diurnally at treeless or wide open spaces and can perch in the same spot for hours, listening and watching for prey. Global population of snowy owls is ca. 200,000, with 24% wintering in the U.S.

 

77)Woodman Andrew Peirce desk 1 This cherry slant-front secretary desk belonged to Andrew Peirce, Dover’s first mayor in 1856. Peirce was born in 1785 and baptized by Dr. Jeremy Belknap. Besides his law career, he was also a captain of the militia, moderator of town meeting, town clerk, county clerk, representative to the NH House, Speaker of the House, State Senator, Governor’s Councilor, chairman of the General Lafayette visit committee, and member of the Constitutional Convention. Peirce was also Cashier and President of The Dover Bank, a Mason, deacon of the First Parish Congregational Church, director of the Winnipiseogee Canal Company, and founder of the Dover Navigation Company. He died (exhausted, no doubt!) in 1862.

 

 

 

wagon78) This carriage for two, called a piano-box buggy, was purchased new by Ernest Reynolds of Londonderry in 1898. It was made in Michigan by the Pontiac Buggy Company (1893—1906). Piano-box buggies were so called because of their resemblance to 19th century square pianos. It was the most popular buggy in America: factory-built, inexpensive, comfortable, lightweight, and easy to control. The spring design on this buggy was used on the first automobiles. In 1985, it was almost acquired by the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, but Ernest’s son Ned wasn’t done using it, and then lived to age 93! It was sold at his estate auction and acquired by the Chase family of Barrington.

 

 

Liverpool Jug79) This English “Liverpool jug” was made in 1805 for sale in the United States. Initially they were simple water and ale pitchers for British households, but the industry transitioned to mass producing commemorative and memorial pieces for American markets. An engraved copper plate was inked, then a tissue paper transfer print was made and applied to the pitcher. After a second firing, a strong glaze was applied. Thus, the “transfers” do not wear off. In the early 1800s, almost every ship launched in New England had an accompanying issue of Liverpools. Depicted here is the ship “Sally”, captained by Moses Wells of Newburyport. On the back is George Washington, who had died in 1799.

 

 

80) FirehatsOn the left: Captain’s hat of Walter Ford, call firefighter on Dover’s Ladder 1. Born in 1909, Ford retired from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and was chief of the City’s Auxiliary Fire Department.  After his 1992 death, this hat was donated by his sister, Lily Ford. On the right:  a ca. 1865 model from Cocheco Engine Company #5, a.k.a. the “Rough & Ready” Company.  Their engine (an 1846 Hunneman model) was owned by the Cocheco Manufacturing Company and kept there. Cotton mills needed firefighting equipment close by at all times, and about 45 men, all volunteers, were members. They were paid by the City when called out, and #5’s 1865 payroll totaled $423.33.

 

81) Rope BedsThe Damm garrison displays several colonial-era rope beds. While a feather bed was preferable, it was also very expensive, so about 70% of families made do with these. Two ropes were needed, each 40-100 feet long, depending on bed size. The rope was inserted into holes in the bedframe and woven back and forth. Then a duvet, hand-sewn and stuffed with leaves, straw, or rags would be placed on top. The phrase “sleep tight” originated with rope beds as, after a time, the ropes would stretch and the occupants would sag to the middle. Rope tightening with a turnbuckle tool was a regular and essential chore in order to get a good night’s sleep.

 

Civil War Letters82) Within its Civil War exhibits are the Museum’s collection of letters written home by local Union soldiers.  Joseph Fountain (age 44, 6th NH, Co. H) enlisted in December 1861 and wrote from the steamer “Northerner” in Roanoke, NC. 1st Lt. Alvah Mansur Kimball (age 32, 6th NH, Co. H) was from Rochester and wrote 40 letters to his wife Annie. Both Fountain and Kimball mustered out in 1863.  Sgt. Levi Newell Sawyer (age 21, 11th NH, Co. K) wrote to his mother from Spotsylvania, VA in 1864: “about 175 killed or wounded…Ben Webster is safe and well…tell his mother.”  Sawyer was mustered out in 1865 as a Captain. Against all odds, all three of these men survived the war.

 

83) The Egyptian Statuettebronze statuette on the left may be the oldest object in the Museum!  It depicts Osiris, god of the Egyptian underworld, and was cast during Dynasty 26, “The Late Period” between 760 and 330BC.  (The photo on the right, for comparison, is of a similar bronze, but one in much better condition than the Woodman’s piece.) Osiris’s folded arms hold a flail (a farming tool, symbol of being the food provider for his people) and he wears an Atef crown/headdress and sports a traditional false beard. Curators have no idea how this ancient artifact ended up in Dover, and there’s another Egyptian piece at the Museum that may be even older! Come see!

 

84)Franklin Academy bell Made in 1770 by Otto Bakker in Rotterdam, this bell was removed from a British merchant ship captured during the War of 1812. Captain William Flagg of Dover was a commissioned privateer and brought this trophy home to Dover in 1814 in a packet boat, ringing it all the way! It was hung at Franklin Academy, a private preparatory high school on Waldron Street, when the school opened in 1818. (Flagg was a trustee.) A public high school in Dover didn’t open until 1851. Franklin Academy closed in 1896 and the building was acquired by I.B. Williams who built a leather belting company and tannery on the site. It was given to the Museum in 1923.

 

 

85)Abbot tools On the left are tools used by Joseph S. Abbott (1831—1901) to harvest giant blocks of ice from Dover’s frozen rivers. They include saws, tongs, and breaker-bar chisels. This was in the days before refrigeration so ice was essential…and profitable. Abbott harvested over 8,000 tons of ice annually from the Upper Cochecho. He also supplied hay and bedding, owned a granite quarry in Durham, and a heavy teaming business. He supplied granite for the #1 Cocheco mill, Sawyer Woolen Mills, and the Masonic Temple.  Abbott was chief engineer and driver of steam engine #4 at the Orchard Street Fire Station.  This engine was later renamed the ‘Joseph S. Abbott.’

 

86) RollinsThese father-son portraits depict Edward H. Rollins (1824-1889) and Edward W. Rollins (1850-1929), both prosperous local businessmen. The elder Rollins served in the U.S. House and Senate, and founded several railroad companies and banks. A Concord resident most of the year, he summered in Dover at Three Rivers Farm, his ancestral home. His son, Edward Warren Rollins, was an MIT grad who headed the investment firm of E.H. Rollins & Sons in Boston. He was also a railroad engineer in Colorado and founder of the Denver Electric Light Company. He donated $81,000 in 1919 to construct a nurses’ home at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in memory of his late daughter-in-law Gladys A. Rollins. EW also built a summer camp for the Dover Children’s Home.

 

87)Indian This wooden cigar store “Indian Chief” was carved out of a live oak tree in Benton, Kentucky in 1868 by a Mr. Maxwell who also made figureheads for ships’ prows. Maxwell would build a scaffold around a living tree trunk, then carve and whittle until the desired figure took shape. When the head was done, he would then lop off the top part of the tree, let the trunk dry out as long as three years, then enlist his wife to paint it with three coats of enamel. It was donated to the Museum in 1938 by a Union, NH resident who’d purchased it at the “Kaintucky Museum”.

 

 

 

88) ChairThis ca. 1750 Early American corner chair, or “roundabout”, was owned by Dover Quaker Elijah Estes (1721—1788) and his wife Sarah Hodgdon. The curved-back design became the most popular chair in the American colonies, known for its comfort and sturdy construction, its easy accommodation of full skirts, bulky coats or uniforms, its economy of space in small houses with large families, and even its stylish lines. It was also an ideal writing, reading, or desk chair. This roundabout passed through several generations of Estes descendants and, because Quakers believed that women could inherit property, it was always handed down to the eldest daughter.

 

89) TruckDaniel H. Wendell (1814-1895) operated a saddlery and harness-making shop on Merchants Row in Dover from ca. 1838—1862 when a fire in his shop destroyed the building. He next operated at the corner of Main and School Streets through 1865, then changed his profession to insurance agent! This horsehair trunk, with hand-forged handles and locks, and sand-cast brass tacks, was made for the Levi Sawyer family by William Brown of the Dover Trunk Store, a complementary business which was located inside Wendell’s shop. During the period, stagecoach travel was very common and trunks like these were the hard-sided luggage of their day! It was donated to the Museum by Grover Tasker.

 

90) Powder HornThis 11” powder horn is dated September 30, 1777, Bennington, Vermont, and belonged to Clark Harwood (1760-1835). It is engraved “Harwood Clark—His Horn” and is profusely decorated with primitive motifs. Cattle horns were perfect instruments to “keep your powder dry”: naturally waterproof, already hollow, provided protection from wayward sparks that could ignite the gunpowder inside, and lightweight when carried by a shoulder strap. Both ends, wide and narrow, were plugged until the powder was loaded into flintlock muskets. It’s probable that Harwood may have fought with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys in the Battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777, a victory for the Americans over the British.

 

91)Boot scraper This 19th century boot scraper was found at 538 Central Avenue during a 2009 demolition. Remember, cities then were full of unpaved muddy streets, horses (and horse manure), and general gutter trash.  Boot scrapers removed muck from shoe bottoms, reducing the amount of filth tracked inside. This one was installed in Joseph Morrill’s elegant new house (ca. 1830) at the corner of Fifth Street and Central Avenue. Morrill (1796—1871) was an entrepreneur who constructed two huge commercial blocks between Second and Third Streets (the Morrill Blocks) and whose family donated the Morrill Fountain in Upper Square in his memory. The boot scraper has an eagle mark stamped “J. Winkley” and might be attributable to local shoemaker Jeremiah Winkley.

 

 

92) Pewter LampIn October/November 1789, our nation’s first president, George Washington, embarked on a 4-week stagecoach tour through New England (except for Rhode Island: that state hadn’t ratified the U.S. Constitution yet.) He wanted to get a sense for how Americans felt about their new government and he was greeted by wildly enthusiastic crowds everywhere. In Hartford, Connecticut, he visited the home of Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth, the wealthiest man in that state, a newly minted U.S. Congressman, and a Revolutionary War patriot. At a “grand entertainment” for President Washington on October 20, this pewter lamp helped light up the Wadsworth Manse.  Mrs. Ellen Rounds purchased the fixture for the Museum’s collection.
93) Tavern TableThis table belonged to the Tuttle family of Back River, Dover. It was in use before 1700. First generation ancestor John Tuttle came to Dover from England about 1633. This tavern-style table was passed down in the family, through five more generations, until it was owned by Dorothy Tuttle (b. 1811). Dolly, as she was known, was married to farmer Greenleaf Nute (1805-1882) and their son was also named Greenleaf (1830-1900). Mrs. Ellen Rounds, the Museum’s benefactress and collector of “precious mementos of ye olden times” bought this table at auction in 1904 when Greenleaf Nute’s property was sold. It now re94) es in the Damm Garrison’s kitchen.

 

 

 

94) Woodman portraitThis elegant primitive portrait (painter unknown) depicts Charles Woodman (1792—1822), an 1813 Dartmouth graduate and wealthy Dover merchant who, in 1818, purchased a stately, Federal-style brick house from its builder, Capt. William Palmer, for $4,000. The Woodman House is now part of the Museum. A NH legislator and Speaker of the House, Woodman was a candidate for Congress when he died suddenly at age 30, leaving wife Dorothy and a 3-month old son. That son, also named Charles, grew up in this house and became treasurer of Strafford Savings Bank. After his first wife died in 1854, Charles (Jr.) married Annie Elizabeth Allen in 1856. Annie Woodman died in 1915, leaving $100,000 for the establishment of the Woodman Institute.

 

 

95) CompassOne of Dover’s most informative historical maps was drawn by civil engineer Charles W. Hayes (1836—1915), Dartmouth graduate and Civil War veteran. This is the surveying tool Hayes used for three years, 1912—1915, to plot locations on Dover Point. The map, “Hilton’s Point and Dover Neck Village”, depicts Dover’s settlement period: 1623—1723. In great detail, it shows roads, houses (and their owners), ferries, cemeteries, meetinghouses, brickyards, shipyards, trees, and even the jail, stocks, and pillory. It was created with a great deal of input from Dover historian John Scales, who had commissioned the map for his book “History of Dover” (c.1923). For those interested, Hayes’s map of early Dover Point can be examined at the Museum.

 

Minerals96) The Museum’s rock and mineral collection numbers over 1300 specimens, but did you know that about 15% of minerals have fluorescence, i.e. the ability to glow? In a fascinating exhibit that debuted just this year, these “plain old rocks” come to brilliant life when ultraviolet rays from a blacklight react with their electrons which jump to a higher energy state. Fluorescent light, in many different hues, is emitted when those electrons drop down to a lower energy state. Minerals such as calcite, fluorite, and willemite transform into amazing colors when the UV lighting is turned on. This special display is kept in a closet, so be sure and ask museum staff to show it to you!

 

 

97) mahogany podiumThis mahogany podium was purchased by Foster’s Daily Democrat publisher Joshua Foster for the highly anticipated Dover visit of Republican presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Lincoln arrived by train on March 2 from Exeter (he’d visited his sons at Phillips Exeter) and spoke for two hours that evening to over 1500 people at City Hall. Lincoln then spent the night at the Corporation House on Locust Street. In 1866, Foster rescued the podium from a City Hall fire and it has remained in the Foster family. It is on long-term loan to the Museum. In the election that November, Abraham Lincoln won not only the State of NH but also 56.9% of the nationwide vote.

 

9Merry Mac boat8) On the second floor of the Museum’s carriage barn sits an unlikely occupant: a 13.5’ MerryMac wooden sailboat, crafted by well-known Dover boatbuilder Ned “Mac” McIntosh. Number 23 out of 200 built in the 1950s and 60s, the MerryMac is revered in the Piscataqua region for its genius design, born from Ned’s passion for sailing. He built them for both maneuverability and affordability: “the most boat I could get out of two 14’ sheets of plywood.” MerryMac owners founded the Great Bay Yacht Club in 1958 and still race them today. Modern manufacturers are today re-creating the MerryMac in fiberglass and wood, but this is an original, just like Ned himself who recently celebrated his 100th birthday!

 

99) Cushing dressHannah Cushing wore this gown in May 1858 at a command performance in London before Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The occasion? Her husband Joseph’s “Cushing Circus” which was touring England. Joseph Cushing (1818—1884) was a circus pioneer with 40 animal acts and a sideshow of “freaks”. His was the first American circus to go abroad. The Cushings lived on Dover Point Road when they weren’t traveling, and many of the animals and circus carnies spent the off-season here. Tom Thumb was a frequent guest! Local folks would visit the Cushing farm to see lions and tigers in their winter quarters, and see the Colonel’s house-trained, clothes-wearing pet orangutan who ate at the table with knife and fork.

 

 

Four-legged Chicken

Four-legged Chicken

100) Among the extraordinarily diverse and eclectic artifacts at the Woodman Museum, this small four-legged chicken, strangely enough, is the iconic figure that many people say they remember most from their first visit. Perching stalwartly and steadfastly for decades in the natural history exhibit, this little chick has garnered perhaps the most attention of any object in the collection. Little is known about its polydactyl genetic mutation, but curators always point him out to visitors, explaining that if he fell backward, he’d pop right back up! We hope you’ve enjoyed this series highlighting 100 Treasures from the Museum and certainly hope you’ll visit to see them all (and at least 10,000 more)! Happy 100th Birthday, Woodman Museum!

 

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