Now that I’ve discovered the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner at the Pawtuxet Valley Historical and Preservation Society, I’ve become a devotee. It all ties in with my love of local history and genealogy. Looking back in time can help us see more clearly, understand our shared past, maybe even foretell the future. So, what was going on around New England on this day in 1883? Have a look:
‘Henry C. Robinson, in a speech at Hartford, said that many of the mill owners of New England were educating their employees in virtue, domestic comfort, intelligence, and all good things; but he also knew of a man who was laying up $72,000 a year while paying little children 15 cents for ten hours’ work.’
‘R. Smith, of Essex Junction, has a cow from which, within eight months, has been sold 610 quarts of new milk and 105 pounds of butter, besides supplying a family of three persons.’
‘The hotel to be erected at Mount Kineo is to be able to accommodate 400 guests.’
‘It is rumored that a new cotton mill is to be erected at Hooksett, where there is considerable idle water power.’
‘A ruralist at a recent Millbury festival ate seventeen plates of ice cream.’
‘A young man of 28, said by the Worcester Spy to be Alvin E. Ross of Blackstone, was found dead in bed in a tenement house on Mechanic Street, Worcester. About a week ago, the young man hired the room in company with a woman somewhat older, who paid for the room in advance. The woman disappeared Sunday. Ross had apparently been dead about thirty-six hours.’
‘Newport has, it is estimated, ninety-five licensed and unlicensed rum shops, and 1,200 male adults who visit them.’
‘A three-year-old son of James Brown, of Pawtucket, pushed a sleeve button up his nose. The family was unable to remove it, and a physician was called, who found it necessary to make an opening on the inside of the mouth in order to remove it.’
‘The East Providence probate court on Saturday probated the will of George F. Wilson, despite the opposition of his youngest daughter, Alice, who received in trust $22,000 in Rumford stock, and who claims her father was of unsound mind. An appeal will be made to the supreme court. By his first will, in 1880, he left $500,000 of his $800,000 to Alice, but subsequently quarreled with her because of her relations with a certain person. An unpleasant family skeleton will probably be revealed.’
The Isles of Shoals are a group of small islands and tidal ledges approximately 6 miles offshore, straddling the border of the states of New Hampshire and Maine.
My husband and I visited in May 1994, when we were still dating. It’s a popular destination for bus tours of old people.
Some of the islands were used for seasonal fishing camps by Native Americans, and those islands were first settled by Europeans in the early 17th century. They became a vital fishing area for the newly-formed British and French colonies.
The first recorded landfall of an Englishman was that of explorer Captain Christopher Levett, who wrote, “The first place I set my foot upon in New England was the Isle of Shoals, being islands in the sea about two leagues from the main. Upon these islands I neither could see one good timber-tree nor so much good ground as to make a garden. The place is found to be a good fishing-place for six ships, but more can not be well there, for want of convenient stage room, as this year’s experience hath proved.”
The third largest island, Smuttynose, is known as the site of Blackbeard’s honeymoon, for the shipwreck of the Spanish ship Sagunto (1813), and for the 1873 murders of two young women. These days, Smuttynose is known around here as a great brewing company.
We had a mini-vacation last week, right after New Year’s. While a lot of people dream about spending time in St. Bart’s or Aruba during the winter, we like to take advantage of the bright, white landscape. So we drove north to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and checked in to our little cabin. Yes, they’re rustic! But you know what? I’ve stayed in plenty of high-end hotels. Sometimes they can disappoint (high expectations to match the high price). Besides, when you want your little dog with you, you can’t always be choosy. This place was wonderful – cozy, spotless (and yes, it’s always a good idea to check, no matter where you stay), friendly, quiet.
Our first night there it was about ten below outside, but we were warm and cozy (except when Bonnie needed to go out for a walk). I was able to write, and read, and watch the Food Network if I wanted. It was a short drive to Meredith and we spent time around the lake, poking into a bookstore, a coffee shop, making Bonnie ride in the sleigh (see below).
The little getaways are restorative. We returned home to all the accoutrements we’re grown accustomed to having within easy reach, but spending time in a simpler place focuses the mind on what’s important: love, communication, and cold air to fill one’s lungs.