Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Day Trip To The Gorham Lead Mine In 1914

In October of 1914, my grandmother Eleanor F. Watson and grandfather Arthur Watson had their close friends Helene and Lee "Doc" Corthell staying with them at their house in Berlin, NH.

On October the 4th, the foursome took a trip to the Gorham Lead Mine. I show below selected entries from Eleanor’s notebook (a picture of which can be seen in my September 2, 2009 post), along with photos that the group took on this trip. These photos are seen in the first slideshow, “Gorham Lead Mine,” at the end of this post.

Note: For those readers interested in the greater Gorham area, I have added a second slideshow, “Gorham, NH Scenes,” which includes additional photos that Eleanor took that same year.

Saturday Oct. 3, 1914

The arrival of Helene and Doc Corthell

Made 1 cake, brown bread, roasted pork, frosted cakes & washed kitchen floor. Fixed up rooms. After dinner had short nap & set table for Helene & Doc (Corthell from Portland, Maine). Went downtown & to 5:37 train. In eve we went to movies at gem & had ice-cream after. Lovely moonlight night.

Sunday Oct. 4, 1914

The visit to the Lead Mine

Boys (Arthur Watson and "Doc" Corthell) up & Arthur got the breakfast. We girls (Eleanor Watson and Helene Corthell) up about 8:00.Got ready to go to Lead Mine (took lunch). Beautiful day & pretty hot walking. Lovely place and views grand. Home through Gorham about 5:00. Made sherbert & had a light supper later.

Wednesday Oct. 21, 1914

The departure of the Corthells

Lovely & warm. Helene came in with me & we laid till after 8:00. Had our breakfast at 9:30. I washed kitchen floor while Helene packed to go home. Flannel hash for dinner & Helene set table. Went to 3:00 train & it was some warm with the bags, etc. I went downtown & called at Mrs. Stanley's but she was not at home. Came home & crocheted. In eve. packed & got ready to go to Randolph.

Gorham Lead Mine - Slideshow

Note: Eleanor is seen at the mine with her camera. For a close-up photograph and discussion of this camera, see my September 2 post.

Gorham, NH Scenes - Slideshow

For any reader interested in more information on the Mascot Mine (Gorham Lead Mine), including a list of minerals with accompanying color photographs found in the mine, click the following link:

For current hiking information about the Mascot Mine site, click the following link:

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Visit to Coldbrook Falls Memorial Reservation

My sister Wendy (Watson) and I visited the Coldbrook Falls Memorial Reservation located in Randolph, NH in the fall of 2005. Ordinarily this landmark might be overlooked by many on their way to the northern summits, but it held great personal significance for us. This was the first time since our father Morrill Watson died in 1969 that I was ready to go back to Randolph and reconnect with my past.

My father first took me to the Coldbrook Falls Memorial Reservation when I was around 10 years old, and I had only a vague recollection of seeing a plaque on a giant boulder that had something to do with our family. It was on that plaque that our great-grandparents, Laban and Anna Watson, who played a part in Randolph’s history back in the 1800s, were named. So, wanting to learn more about their lives, I returned to Randolph with a sense of purpose and urgency to find out what this reservation was all about.

The Coldbrook Falls Memorial Reservation came into existence when the town of Randolph, NH, at its annual town meeting on March 11, 1947, voted to accept from Mr. and Mrs. John Boothman, the proprietors of the Mt. Crescent House in Randolph, and from the heirs of Louis Fayerweather Cutter the offered gift of a small area along Cold Brook (current spelling) in Randolph which included Cold Brook Falls and the Memorial Bridge. The area was designated to be held by the town as a memorial forest reservation to be known as Coldbrook Falls Reservation in memory of the late Laban Morrill Watson and Anna Burbank Watson, the parents of Mrs. Edith Boothman, and Louis Fayerweather Cutter and Mary Osgood Cutter of Salem, Mass.

The terms of the gift required that the reservation be kept by the town as closely as possible in its present natural state. The gift was established for the benefit of the inhabitants, summer residents, and visitors to Randolph.

Mr. and Mrs. Watson ran the Ravine House for over 30 years and Laban Watson was an early member of the Appalachian Mountain Club (he joined in 1878) as well as a pathmaker on the Northern Peaks and on the Crescent range.

Mr. and Mrs. Cutter were long time summer visitors to Randolph. Mr. Cutter, over a long period, prepared the various AMC maps of the Northern Peaks and of the Mt. Washington range, work which he started in 1885 while a student at M.I.T.

Our visit to the Reservation began at the Memorial Bridge. This impressive bridge, made of stone and logs, was designed and built in 1923 by Louis F. Cutter and Eldredge H. Blood (the dedication of the bridge took place on August 23, 1924, Randolph’s one hundredth anniversary of the incorporation of the town).

On this trip, I took all my photos with a disposable digital camera and found that the Memorial Bridge pictures came out too dark to use, so I included the following two below.

On the left, the black and white postcard of the bridge was taken by the photographer Guy Shorey. On the right, the color photograph shows a more recent picture.

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Next we went on to view the granite memorial stone dedicated to the Randolph pathmakers. The stone, surrounded by moss and covered with lichen, is located on the east side of the Memorial Bridge. Although nature has had a hand in making the engraving more difficult to read, this is by no means a harbinger that these pathmakers will be forgotten, as their contributions to the early history of the Northern Presidentials and Crescent Range are remembered today and will be in the future.

I was able to glean these words from the stone:








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Click here for an interesting history of path making on the Northern Presidentials and Crescent Range that features the pathmakers honored on this stone.

Just a short distance from the granite memorial stone, along a path nestled within the softly shaded forest, we approached the boulder bedecked with “the plaque.” Observing it closely, we found it shrouded in a veil of decay. Without hesitation, we took on the task of removing dead tree limbs and other vegetative debris, taking great pleasure in exposing the boulder’s natural hidden beauty as seen below.

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The plaque on the boulder is inscribed with these words:









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And, last but not least is Cold Brook Falls, the most dramatic of the many falls of Cold Brook between the floor of King Ravine and the Randolph Valley. This lush spot, with its large pool surrounded by glacial size boulders, makes a lovely place to picnic but not to swim, as the residents of Randolph use this as a source of their drinking water.

I knew after our visit to the falls was over that I would soon return again, and we have returned (to Randolph) each year since this visit in 2005.

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Note: The Coldbrook Falls Memorial Reservation can be reached from the Appalachia parking lot off Route 2 in Randolph, NH. Follow The Link trail to the Memorial Bridge - a distance of .7 miles. From this spot one can view Cold Brook Falls upstream, see the granite stone honoring the early pathmakers and the Boulder dedicated to the Watsons and the Cutters. To visit Cold Brook Falls, take the Amphibrach which diverges left from The Link on the west side of the Memorial Bridge and look for a path on the left which takes you directly to the falls.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life in Berlin, New Hampshire at the turn of the 20th Century – Selected Journal Entries from 1914

Before I begin, I'd like to call your attention to the slide show near the bottom of this post. For the most part, it contains photos taken in Berlin in 1914. As indicated below, many of these images complement journal entries quoted throughout this post.

In my March 16th post A Glimpse of Eleanor Watson, I mentioned that Arthur Watson and Eleanor Foss were married in Portland, Maine on September 27, 1913. Eleanor and Arthur were married in the house where she grew up, which is seen in the photo below. This photo shows a 4th of July celebration in the early 1900s.

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Although I don’t have a 1913 diary to report details about their marriage, I do have Eleanor’s 1914 diary (actually, it’s a notepad) from which I will pull out various activities of their first year of married life together in Berlin, NH.

Eleanor’s 1914 Diary [notebook]

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The following photos of Arthur and Eleanor were taken a year after their wedding by The Hallie Wilson Studio in Berlin, NH.

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Apropos of Eleanor’s photo, the entry from her diary on Wednesday, October 7, 1914 states:

“Helene [a close friend of Eleanor’s from Portland] ironed and I cooked and after one [1:00 p.m.] went to have pictures taken in wedding dress …”

Arthur and Eleanor, shortly after their marriage, rented their first home, located at 768 Third Ave in Berlin, NH. Arthur, who had attended Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, found employment with the Y.M.C.A. in Berlin. Eleanor took a picture of the Y.M.C.A building where Arthur worked in 1914 (See slide show Berlin, New Hampshire in 1914 near the bottom of this post). I looked online to confirm that this was the Y.M.C.A. building in Berlin and finally came across a postcard depicting the same building which was labeled “The Community Club - Berlin, NH.”

Arthur at Gould Academy, standing fourth from left

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On Saturday, January 10, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Put the house in order and did Sat. work. Got ready to change my dress at about 3:00 o’clock and heard Arthur’s mother and father [Anna & Laban Watson] coming. Came over on electrics to spend Sun. with us. I made Johnny Cakes [recipe below] for supper.”

The “electrics” my grandmother referred to was a trolley with overhead wiring. These cars were operated by the Berlin Street Railway, driven at a speed of 10 mph and ran every 20 minutes.

The Berlin Street Railway was built in 1902. It connected the two villages of Berlin Mills and Berlin Falls and extended to Gorham, making a total length of seven and a half miles. The service was discontinued in the mid 1930s.

Photo from the Bill Volkmer Collection

{click image above for more information}

On Sunday, January 11, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Arthur had to work half a day so got up at 6:30. I got up and soon Mr. & Mrs. [Watson] were up. Mr. W [Watson] went over to Y.M.C.A and came back with Arthur at noon. Had roast mutton and mashed potato for dinner [midday meal]. Popped corn and made puffed rice candy and had lunch in eve.”

Anna and Laban Watson at home

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On Tuesday, January 13, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Coldest yet 28 below. I cooked in A.M. Arthur froze the end of his ears where the cap could not reach. Wrote letters in P.M. Too cold to venture out. I beat at the rubber game of pitch in eve. 32 below at Leslie Wights.”

For my grandmother, daily life in 1914 revolved around cooking, cleaning house, sewing, hiking, taking and developing photos, and socializing. Her daily activities included, as usually noted in her diary, a list of what she cooked and what chores she did around the house. But keeping in touch with family and friends was paramount to Eleanor then and throughout her entire life. I can remember visiting her each summer for a one week stay and spending at least half of our time visiting relatives and acquaintances. I have her to thank today for my interest in reconnecting with our past.

Eleanor came from a family of two brothers and four sisters in which she was the youngest sister. Arthur had two sisters Edith & Josephine and a younger brother Ralph and family relations living locally. So, needless to say, there were frequent visitors from both families staying or visiting with them in their home on Third Ave.

On Sunday, April 12, 1914, Easter, Eleanor writes:

“Up at about 8:30 or 9:00 & Arthur’s fire was out in the kitchen. Lovely warm morning but a blizzard of rain & snow in P.M. Never saw larger flakes come so fast. Uncle Will & Earle over so we started to make ice-cream. Had oyster stew & they stayed till 6:00 – In eve we finished ice-cream (banana).”

Uncle Will was William M. Watson, the son of Abel and Cordelia Watson from Randolph, NH. William married Lizzie S. [Wheeler - from Shelburne, NH] in 1895. They lived in Gorham, NH with a son named Earle, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. William was employed by the Berlin Mills Company.

On Friday, May 1, 1914, Eleanor’s older sister Frances and her husband Stanley were visiting and Eleanor writes:

“Very cold & ground frozen in A.M. Pleasant but windy. Made 2 pies & pudding. Salmon Scallop & Johnny Cake for dinner. Stan, Frances & I went to walk up toward Y.M.C.A after dinner. Had fritters for supper. Went to movies at Albert in eve.”

Albert Theatre

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I have all my grandmother’s recipes, which she kept in a wooden recipe box. I had no idea what Salmon Scallop was, until I looked in her recipe box and found it along with a recipe for Johnny Cakes of which she had several variations:

Salmon & Scallop and Johnny Cake Recipes

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On Sunday, May 3, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Up early to get ready for Randolph. Roasted pork for dinner. Boys [Arthur & Stan] went to spring & climbed Mt. Forest. Went to R.[Randolph] at 1:40. Lovely warm day. Open cars. Mts. beautiful. Went up to falls. Had hot biscuits & [maple] syrup for supper & some sugar on snow. Back at about 9.”

See slide show Berlin, New Hampshire in 1914 (near the bottom of this post) for photos of Mt. Forest taken by Eleanor. And, the figure below, for an aerial view of Mt. Forest today.

Aerial view of Mount Forest today

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The top of Mount Forest is approximately 2/3 mile (as the crow flies) from Third Avenue. This aerial view of Mount Forest and Berlin is a screen shot of a 3D map that was created using the Microsoft Bing Maps Bird’s Eye option.

{click on image above for access to Bing Maps}

The Christian faith was very important to my grandmother throughout her lifetime. She attended Congregational services at an early age and continued doing so well into her 90s.

On Sunday, May 10, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Very warm – Up so as to go to church & roasted walking there. [the minister of the church at that time was Mr. Moore] Read papers & Arthur read all day to me & while I got dinner & after dinner. I played [my grandmother always had a piano in her home and played often at church] & sang some.”

On Thursday, May 14, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Wrote to Helene & Frances. Put away winter clothes & sprinkled to iron, used electric iron. Had a nap and dress to go to Congo. C. E. [Christian Education] supper. Went to town for Arthur’s laundry & back at 5:00 so he could dress. Met Mrs. Hatch & Mrs. Burbank at about 6:00 – Met many people & had a nice supper & entertainment – came home between showers.”

On Thursday, September 17, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“All up quite early & nothing much to do. I cleaned up my room. We all sat on back porch to sun ourselves, girls [Marie, her sister, and Edna, a relative] wrote & sewed. After dinner went to walk and took pictures. Arthur is working on new theatre [The Princess] job. In eve developed pictures & no luck. Printed some, 1 and a half doz. for girls & better [halves]. About 9:00 alarm rang in & Arthur went but nothing much.”

Marie (left) and Edna

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On Sunday, September, 27, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Our anniversary – After breakfast made orange sherbet & got ready for boys [husbands of Marie and Edna]. Rainy when Arthur went to station. Had dinner started when boys came. Snowed & hailed & then sun shone & we took pictures of us on davenport. We went to station for 4:00. Rained again. Snow on mts. We stuck 5 doz. pictures in our book [photo album from which these pictures came]. Had sherbet and went to bed about 10:00. Cold-cold”

Here is the picture of Arthur and Eleanor’s Anniversary party in 1914. From left to right are Marie F. Hutchinson, Paul Hutchinson, Edna F. Tibbetts, Will Tibbetts and my grandmother Eleanor. The piano, which can be seen on the far left, was sent to Eleanor by her father earlier that year.

Photo taken by Arthur with Kodak Junior, Model A

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No. 1 Kodak Junior, Model A

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Eleanor’s camera has a 1909 U.S. Patent Office mark.

Note: The 1914 price of this camera was $7.50 (approx). That amount is about $170 in today’s dollar, after adjusting for inflation using the online calculator shown below.

{click on image above for access to the online calculator}

On Saturday, November 7, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Lovely A.M. I ironed & did up work. Marion [Boothman], Frances [Wood], & Harold [Boothman] [n.b., pictures of these individuals are seen in the slide show] over about 10:15 & I went to Prof. Morel’s with them [Harold was taking Cornet lessons from Prof. Morel]. They came back to dinner & we four went to Princess. They went on 3:15 train & I stayed to see [the silent film] ‘Virginian’”

{Click on the image above to see pictures of this and other Berlin theaters of the era.}

The story about a Wyoming school teacher, Molly Wood, who is attracted to a cowboy known as "The Virginian" was Cecil B. DeMille's third directorial effort.

{click on this link for more information}

On Friday, December 25, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Lovely Xmas day. Arthur up to help on chores. Did up necessary work. Got the tree in & decorated. Had dandy dinner of chicken etc. Arthur & I drove to Gorham at Uncle Emery’s & went to Berlin. Back and got Steve & nearly froze going home. 9 below. Mr. Wood & girls [see slide show for photos of Wood’s girls from Randolph] up to tree in eve. I helped take off presents. Had a treat.”

Uncle Emery is Laban Watson’s older brother who was a mill worker living in Gorham and would have been 69 years old in 1914.

And finally, on Thursday, December 31, 1914, Eleanor writes:

“Sunny. Read Portland & Berlin papers [she mentioned reading The Berlin Reporter in several entries]. Packed & did necessary things. Got the noon train for Ran. [Randolph]. Arthur went to Ravine House & I went to Lodge [Coldbrook] from App. [Appalachia Station]. I crocheted some while others sewed. In eve all but Mr. & Mrs. W. [Watson] went to give Coulters a surprise party. Coffee & cake for refreshments. 41 present. Nice little home.”

For a picture of the Ravine House and Appalachia Station, see my earlier post titled Ravine House – Randolph, New Hampshire near the bottom of this blog.

Berlin, New Hampshire in 1914 - Slideshow

{A number of additional viewing options become available when you click on this slide show}

Note: The postcards rendered in this post plus other interesting details about Berlin, NH (e.g., mills, churches, etc.) can be found at the following website:

{click on this link for more information}

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bear and Deer Hunting with the U.S.F.S.

These next set of photos were taken in 1912 by my grandfather Arthur Watson. They show large tents stationed in Randolph, NH and the surrounding area for the purpose of hunting and doing U.S.F.S. survey work. Arthur Watson worked with the US Forest Service for a time and can be seen in the picture called “Survey Boys” - in the Tramping slide show.

Almost all of the pictures in this blog are taken from my grandmother’s photo album. I will try to remain true to her captions whenever possible, in identifying these and subsequent photos.

I would welcome any additional information about the material shown in this page. To respond, simply select the “Comment” link under the item of interest.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A glimpse of Eleanor Watson

The photos that appear in the slideshows below, Randolph, NH 1911-1913 and Tramping in the White Mountains circa 1910-1914, were taken by my grandmother Eleanor Foss Watson. Eleanor was born in Portland, Maine on December 12, 1887. She was an avid photographer throughout her life, not so much for the art of photography but for the fact that she loved history and wanted to capture all the activities of the period in which she lived.

I have scanned well over 400 photographs that she took during the period 1910 through 1914 of Randolph, Berlin, Gorham, and Shelburne, New Hampshire. Over time, I plan to add more of these photos with accompanying background information.

Another activity she pursued throughout her lifetime was keeping a daily diary. In her 1909 diary, she chronicles a trip to Washington, D.C. In an excerpt she states, "Went all over the Capital. Saw Vice Pres. Speaker Joe Cannon, Asher Hinds and Amos Allen. In afternoon, went to White House and had to wait an hour in East Room to shake hands with President Taft." Ellie, as her friends called her, is seen in the photo below with her Gorham Normal School classmates on that trip to Washington, D.C. (1909).

As my grandmother's diaries and my memories bear out, she was the quintessential Yankee character: self reliant, level headed, and thrifty. She made use of everything that was available to her within propriety. As a child growing up, I spent one week out of every summer with her, and one memory that comes to mind is of the times we went out to lunch. Everything that wasn't eaten or used in the course of our meal was carefully placed in her pocketbook to be reused at another time, right down to the paper napkins and single serving sizes of pre-packaged salt.

From 1911 to 1912, Eleanor taught school in a one room schoolhouse in Randolph, NH at the foot of the Northern Presidentials. A picture of her students can be seen in the Randolph slideshow photo, standing in front of the schoolhouse in winter. It was during this period when she met Arthur Watson, the son of Laban and Anna Watson, who were the proprietors of the Ravine House in Randolph, NH from 1877 to 1909.

Arthur and Eleanor were married in Portland, Maine on September 27, 1913. They bought a home in the town of Berlin, NH (adjacent to Randolph, NH) on Third Ave, where they lived for the next 23 years. My grandfather Arthur Watson graduated from Gould Academy, Bethel, Maine. After Eleanor and Arthur were married he went to work for the Y.M.C.A. in Berlin, NH.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Randolph, NH 1911-1913

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tramping in the White Mountains (circa 1910 - 1914)

Ravine House - Randolph, New Hampshire

The Ravine House (opened under the name "Mount Madison House" in 1876) was founded in 1877 by Abel and his son Laban Morrill Watson. [ For more on the Ravine House see Video in the July 12th post ]