November 12, 2018
The November 2018 Annual Meeting of the New Castle Historical Society opened with an introduction by President Jane Sweeney and the singing of the New Castle School Song by long time resident, Katie Collitan. President Sweeney thanked Ken McDonald, our retiring treasurer, for his invaluable service in bring the society into 21stcentury.
Sweeney presented the slate for 2019 and brought it to a vote.
President Sweeney then introduced the new board members, Michael Kaplan and Mark LaCasse.
Committee reports followed.
October 16, 2018
Did German subs attempt to enter Portsmouth Harbor during World War II?
More than 70 years after World War II ended there are still rumors swirling around the seacoast about the possibility that a mini sub and a full sized sub tried to enter Portsmouth Harbor on two different occasions. Carol White, NCHS Board member, ISHRA docent and co-director of the Fort Stark Historic Site Visitor Center, explored those rumors and also presented observations and facts from both sides of the discussion.
September 18, 2018
Historian J. Dennis Robinson on Historian John Albee
Dennis J. Robinson spoke on John Albee, author of New Castle Historical and Picturesque, one of the first histories of New Castle. Robinson entertainingly compared Albee's process of writing history to his own efforts as a historian.
August 22, 2018
History of Sailboat Racing
Board President Jane Sweeney narrated a slide show, History of Racing on the Piscataqua. Peter Follansbee, Brooks Kennedy and Edmund Tarbell added entertaining stories about their experiences of Racing on the Piscataqua.
The exhibit committee has prepared a display of
sailing memorabilia from these early sailboat races.
June 20, 2018
Part II of The History of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Gary Hildreth, a member of the PNS Public Affairs Team,discussed the events and changes at the Shipyard from the World War II era to the present.
November 28, 2017
New Castle Characters
The annual meeting of the New Castle Historical Society was attended by a large crowd of townspeople who enjoyed wine and cheese before hearing a presentation about some of New Castle's colorful characters, including Henry Greenberg, former Chief of Police. Reminiscences from locals Pam Cullen, Brooks Kennedy, Gary Sullivan, and Chet Fessenden.
September 19, 2017
"An Explanation on the Prospect Draft of Fort William and Mary on the Piscataqua River in Ye Province of New Hampshire in America"
Antiques dealer, Hollis Broderick, presented an original topographical watercolor painting of Fort William and Mary at the entrance to the harbor circa 1704, which he purchased at auction, and discussed its significance to our history.
Portsmouth Peace Treaty of 1713
Chuck Doleac, chairman for the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth Tri-Centennial Committee, spoke about this little known treaty that ended the war with the Wabanaki tribe.
Piscataqua Café - Wine and Cheese Party
Paul Amazeen, former New Castle resident and 10th generation Islander, regaled us with stories and history of the café, built by his great-grandfather, Luther Amazeen, in 1898. Present owners Valerie and Jonathan Sobel graciously welcomed all guests.
Sumptuous appetizers and wine were enjoyed by the standing-room-only crowd.
Jerry Marvin, engineer extraordinaire, demonstrated the new Tide Mill Model to an enthusiastic crowd. After the demonstration a smaller group went on a field trip to the site of the former mills in the back channel to see the remains of the dam used for the mills.
The students from the Trefethen School entertained us with folktales from around the world.
Jeremy Fogg, Curator of the Discover Portsmouth Tarbell exhibit, spoke about the artist and his work, especially Tarbell's connection to New Castle.
Growing Up in New Castle. At the annual meeting of the historical society, an overflow crowd of townspeople enjoyed hearing stories by long-time residents of growing up in the olden days in our small island town. Wine and refreshments were enjoyed by all.
Four Centuries of Keeping Order in New Castle, a spirited talk on the New Castle Police Department from the 1600s to the present day, given by local historian Carol White and Police Chief Don White.
Shipwrecks in New Castle Ray Demers told of his 50 year quest to uncover the history of the shipwreck discovered in Hart's Cove in New Castle, considered one of the greatest archeological sites in NH.
Stephen Erickson gave a spirited program on his book, Boon Island, a true story of murder, shipwreck and cannibalism.
Food Historian, Sandy Oliver, author of Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and their food spoke to a large and enthusiastic audience about colonial foods and food preparation.
Delicious colonial appetizers were enjoyed in the beautiful Piscataqua Café. Guests had the opportunity to tour the Café and enjoy the view of the Gundalow and a large tanker passing on the river.
Bill Hall gave an interesting presentation on the life of his distant relative Hannibal Hamlin, 15th Vice President of the US, under Abraham Lincoln.
Paul Revere Travels to Portsmouth
Maude H. Trefethen students entertained an enthusiastic crowd with the tale of Paul Revere's Ride to Portsmouth, as well as other short tales.
October 21, 2014
"Growing up in New Castle"
Local residents Priscilla Hodgkins, Pam Cullen, Gary Sullivan, Chet Fessenden and Susan Bank reminisced about their childhood days in New Castle, skating, swimming at the Slide, their teachers and schools, the local police officers, and getting into mischief. A short annual meeting preceded the program.
September 28, 2014
Walbach Tower 200th Anniversary Celebration:
Townspeople celebrated the 200th anniversary of the building of Walbach Tower and the dedication of the new Walbach Tower Historic Marker located below the tower.
September 16, 2014
"Murders on Smuttynose"
J. Dennis Robinson whetted our appetite for his new book (soon to be published) on the 1873 murders on Smuttynose on the Isles of Shoals. This book will be the definitive answer to who is the murderer.
August 19, 2014
Past Fire Chiefs Reggie Whitehouse, Dick White, and Carl Roediger, and current Fire Chief Dave Blanding, presented a detailed history of our town fire department, along with a slide show by Fireman Bill Naugle.
July 29, 2014
Sharon Hanley Disher, U.S. Naval Academy graduate, former New Castle resident, and
author of the book, "First Class" spoke movingly of her experiences as a member of the first class of women accepted to the Academy.
May 20, 2014
Walbach Tower Night
Jim Cerny enlightened the audience on the many depictions of Walbach Tower throughout the years, from paintings to photographs and postcards. Kathy Richards told of the long and adventurous life of Colonel John B. Walbach, and his part in the building of the tower.
April 2, 2014
"The Legend of Walbach Tower"
Readers Theater was performed by the 3rd & 4th grade students and directed by teacher Will Purcell of Maude Trefethen School. This was the start of our year long celebration of the 200th anniversary of the construction of Walbach Tower.
April 15, 2014
Jeffrey Bolster presented an informative and animated talk about his new book "The Mortal Sea, Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail".
Here is a small sampling of the past programs and events of other years:
The Herbalist Garden and High Tea
-If teacups could talk, they would tell you the "High Tea" at the New Castle Historical Society Museum was a delightful experience for the 56 people in attendance. John Forti, Curator of Historical Landscapes at Strawbery Banke, entertained the crowd with his energetic talk on herbs and their medicinal qualities. The museum event was a huge success where friends shared a pot of tea, dainty sandwiches, luscious sweets and thoughtful conversations. (Sept. 2013)
"The History of Yacht Clubs in New Castle"
-Long time local sailor Edmund Tarbell regaled us with exciting and humorous tales of his sailing experiences on Piscataqua from the age of 13, including stories of sailing from Marblehead to Nova Scotia and Bermuda. He recounted a history of the various sailing clubs on the Piscataqua. (Aug. 2013)
Banjos, Bones & Ballads
-Renowned traditional musician Jeff Warner gave a riveting performance of folk songs of local and southern origin while playing the banjo, guitar, spoons, bones, concertina, and Ozark Harp. The many children in the audience had the opportunity to try out the instruments, and all enjoyed his historic photographs of folk musicians. (July 2013)
Raising the Dead
– I bet you didn’t know the little town of New Castle had so many different cemeteries, most in obscure locations, like backyards and near wetlands. Jim
Cerny, cemetery board trustee, gave an exciting
overview of some of the smaller cemeteries, their history and inhabitants. (April 2013)
The Castle: Stories of the Portsmouth Naval Prison
– Neil Novello, award winning video producer, shared videos and historical images of the Naval Prison to a standing room only audience. (April 2012)
Antique Appraisal Day
– Residents brought in artifacts from home to learn what Auctioneers/Appraisers Maureen Boyd and John McInnis could tell them about their history and value. (Oct. 2011)
Trolley Tour of New Castle
– Visitors boarded the red trolley at the Coast Guard Station and enjoyed a narrated tour of the island, learning interesting facts and stories about New
Castle personalities and old homes in the village. (Sept. 2011)
Hanging of Ruth Blay, an Eighteenth-Century New Hampshire Tragedy
–Carolyn Marvin, Portsmouth Athenaeum librarian and former New Castle resident, investigates the cruel injustice perpetuated on the young schoolteacher, Ruth Blay, who was hung in Portsmouth in 1768 for allegedly killing her newborn child who was later found to be stillborn. (June 2011)