Showing posts with label Hood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hood. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lafayette visits Derry, New Hampshire

In New Hampshire we have a Lafayette Social Club in Manchester, started by the French Canadians, and a Lafayette Road along the seacoast, otherwise known as Rt. 1. There is a Mount Lafayette in the White Mountains, which rises 5,260 feet from the side of Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch. All of these were named in honor of General Lafayette, the French hero of the American Revolution. He made an extremely popular, triumphal tour of New Hampshire in 1824-25, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

General or Marquis de La Fayette, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier (6 September 1757 -20 May 1834) was a very young man, only age 19, during the Revolutionary War. He was handsome, popular and served with distinction. He was also the first person to be granted honorary United States citizenship. He is buried in the Picpus Cemetery in Paris, under dirt taken from Bunker Hill. He had the honor of laying the cornerstone for the monument at Bunker Hill.

Upon his return visit to New England he was given an honorary degree from Harvard and Boston gave his a portrait of Washington. He visited every state but Georgia. He was greeted by mobs and hailed as a hero, at a time when all the other founding fathers and Revolutionary era Generals had already passed away. No pop star today can match the crowds he drew as he visited over 400 towns on this tour.

General Lafayette came to Derry on September 1, 1824 on his way to Boston (which was really out of the way since he was coming from Portsmouth!). He stayed with General Elias Haskett Derby at his house on Lane Road. On his way to Boston he drank from a spring in Windham, which was afterwards named Lafayette Spring. In 1990 this famous spring was bulldozed by developers.

And then on June 21, 1825 Lafayette returned to Derry. He was accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, and be entertained by the young ladies at the Adams Female Academy on Lane Road. General Derby was going to attend and greet his old friend. He had a meal at Derry’s Redman tavern (which later became the home of the milk Baron, H.P. Hood, and is now Chen’s Chinese Restaurant) before moving on to Pembroke to stay with Major Caleb Stark, the son of Derry’s famous General John Stark. He went home to France in September, and died nine years later. It was his last trip to the United States.

Derry Lawyer, Alan Hoffman, is a “Lafayetteophile” and he has been gathering information on the General, and all his travels in the New World, as well as his stops in Derry. For two years he translated Levasseur’s “Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825” from the original French. Hoffman lives in Londonderry. He has translated the original 1,130 page book into a 572 page book with a 27 page index and maps.

In my family tree I don’t recall anyone meeting Lafayette, either during the war or during his return tour of the United States. But perhaps some of them did, for several members of the family tree were prominent in the building of the Bunker Hill Monument. The cornerstone was laid by Lafayette on June 17, 1825 and Daniel Webster addressed the crowd of 100,000 including 190 elderly veterans of the battle. My first cousin 5 x removed was Nathaniel G. Snelling, who was a member of the Bunker Hill Monument Association. Another cousin on this side of the family was William Lingham, who died in 1873 in Roxbury, and he was the senior Captain of the Massachusetts Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company at the laying of the cornerstone ceremony.

Alan Hoffman will speak at NEHGS on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 6PM on “Lafayette, Symbol of Franco-American Friendship”. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Click here for my blog on H. P. Hood from September 2009, which has a photo of the Hood homestead, formerly known as Redman's Tavern, where Lafayette dined.

For more information:

“Lafayette in America” by August Levasseur, Lafayette Press, Manchester, New Hampshire, 2006

“Nutfield Rambles” by Richard Holmes, Peter E. Randall Publisher, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 2007, pages 71-75 for the story of Lafayette in Derry

“Lafayette’s Travels Not Lost in Translation: Londonderry Lawyer Obsessed with Life of Revolutionary War Hero” by Susan Laurent, The Eagle Tribune, July 12, 2007

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pinkerton Tavern Ghosts!

Pinkerton Academy, Derry, New Hampshire

Pinkerton Tavern Ghosts
A Post for Halloween!

In October, thoughts of ghosts and witches come to mind. There were plenty of accused witches, even one who was found guilty in the 1600’s, and New Hampshire has its share of ghosts. When we first moved to Londonderry over 25 years ago, the first ghost we heard about was the one haunting the Pinkerton Tavern, in Derry. At the time, this building was an unfinished furniture store, and then a series of restaurants, now “The Pinkerton Tavern.”

The Pinkerton Tavern building is 270 years old, built by Elder James Pinkerton. James and his brother, Major John Pinkerton, were merchants in Derry. John started as a peddler, and soon owned a store. James was an influential man, a deacon of the church, a representative to the General Court, and Major John served in the American Revolution. They were quite wealthy for the time, and often made loans to the people of Derry, before there were formal banks. In 1814 the Reverend Edward L. Parker asked the merchant brothers to donate money to start a school, which is now known as Pinkerton Academy.
Pinkerton Tavern, Derry, New Hampshire

The Pinkerton family homestead lost its barn in a fire, and the land was later sold to the Hood Dairy Farm. Later it became the unfinished furniture store, and then restaurants. According to the Pinkerton Tavern website the resident ghost is called “Rachel”. I remember when it was a furniture store, and the clerk explained to me that the best place to see the ghost was on the stairway. The current owners say that “Rachel” is a friendly ghost.

When the restaurant used to be called “Neets”, about five years ago, the owners said that the ghost was often seen in the basement. Other restaurant staff said the ghost of “General Pinkerton” would slam doors, even though Major (not General) Pinkerton never lived there. You can read about the ghost at and how some ghostbusters apparently photographed this spirit!

Pinkerton Family Genealogy:

1. John Pinkerton, born about 1690 in Ireland, died 10 February 1780 in Londonderry; married about 1722 to Mary Elizabeth Farmer. Both are buried at the Hill Cemetery, Londonderry.


1. David, born 1732 in Ireland, died 8 May 1808 in Londonderry
2. Major John, born 1735 in Ireland, died 1 May 1816; married first about 1760 to Rachel Duncan, five children; married second 18 December 1801 to Polly Tufts, no children.
3. Matthew, born about 1738 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, died about 1814; married first to Ann McCurdy; married second to Mary Unknown.
4. Samuel
5. Elder James, born about 1747, died 6 January 1829; married first about 1771 to Elizabeth Nesmith, daughter of John Nesmith and Elizabeth Reid, born 19 April 1762 in Londonderry; married second 15 May 1809 to Susan Wallace, born 8 November 1741, died before 1835. (see children below)

Children with Elizabeth:

1. Betsey, born about 1780, died 1837; married 26 April 1807 in Boston to her first cousin John Aiken, son of James Aiken and Elizabeth Pinkerton.
2. Isabella, born about 1785
3. James, born about 1790, died young.
4. Mary B, born 10 May 1791; married William Choate.
5. Clarissa, born 1793; married Robert E. Little.
6. Jane, born 1796, died 1875; married 28 July 1815 in Londonderry to her first cousin, Joshua Aiken, brother to her sister Betsey’s husband.

Children with Susan:
John Morrison Pinkerton, born 6 February 1818, died 6 February 1881; unmarried
6. Mary, born 1740, died 23 September 1807.
7. Elizabeth, born 1748, died 1793; married May 1768 in Londonderry to Deacon James Aiken.
8. Rachel, born 1749, died 17 November 1796.
9. Jane, born about 1753, died 14 February 1809, buried at the Valley Cemetery in Londonderry; married about 1774 to Deacon David Brewster.

Londonderry Vital Records
"History of Londonderry" by Rev. Edward L. Parker

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

H. P. Hood, Derry's Famous Milk Man

Chen's Chinese Restaurant in Derry, on Broadway,
originally the Hood Family homestead

The famous Hood's Milk Bottle,
now located at the Children's Museum in Boston
Harvey Perley Hood

My uncle worked for the H. P. Hood Dairy from the 1950s until the 1990s. Uncle Bob lived in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. If you lived there in the 1970s until about 2004 you might remember Bob Wilkinson passing out “Hoodsie” ice creams in the Fourth of July Parade, or supplying the Hoods whipped cream for the Lions “Red, White and Blue Breakfast” on Tuck’s Point. In a strange coincidence, the Hood family owned a large summer mansion in Manchester-by-the-Sea, at the far end of Singing Beach. In an even stranger coincidence, the H. P. Hood blimp crashed into the woods of Manchester-by-the-Sea in 2006, not long after Uncle Bob passed away. But the Hood family is most famous for their dairy farm in Derry, New Hampshire.

Harvey Perley Hood was born in 1823 in Chelsea, Vermont, but removed to Boston to work before starting his dairy business. According to Hood’s archives, Mr. Hood started his dairy in Derry because the country air improved his health. He started the company in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1846, and removed to Derry at the time he married, in 1850. At first he drove his milk to Charlestown by wagon, and then implemented the milk train, which carried the milk twice a day to the Charletown plant, which is still visible off Rt. 93.

The Hood home is now Chen’s Chinese Restaurant, across from the Hoodkroft Golf Course, on East Broadway in Derry. This building is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Hood name is all over Derry; Hood Plaza being where the dairy cows once grazed, and Hood Middle School on Hood Road was named for Gilbert H. Hood, Harvey’s descendant. That land was once a pasture for thousands of dairy cows. Traffic used to stop on Broadway each morning as the cows were moved from one field to another for grazing.

You can see photos of the Hood dairy farms in books such as “Derry Revisited” by Richard Holmes, the Derry town historian, published by Arcadia Published in 2005. You can see exhibits also at the Derry Museum of History Derry is no longer home to any dairy production, but Londonderry still reigns as the headquarters of Stonyfield Yogurt

Historic New England has the manuscript collection of the Hood Dairy's business records and other items, please see this link

The Hood Family Tree:

Gen. 1. John Hood, b. about 1600 in England, resided in Lynn, Massachusetts, married to Ann (?)

Gen. 2. Richard Hood, b. abt 1625 at Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England, d. 12 Sep. 1695 in Lynn; married about 1653 to Mary Newhall, daughter of Anthony Newhall and Mary White.
Gen. 3. Nathaniel Hood, b. 9 June 1669 at Lynn, d. 30 Oct 1748 at Topsfield, Massachusetts; married on 16 Oct. 1706 at Topsfield to Joanna Dwinnell, daughter of Michael Dwinnell and Mary (?)

Gen. 4. Nathan Hood, b. about 1701 in Topsfield, d. 4 May 1792; married on 6 Mar. 1730/1 in Rowley, Massachusetts to Elizabeth Palmer

Gen. 5. Nathan Hood, b. 10 Jan. 1739/40 in Topsfield, d. 23 Mar. 1772; married on 17 Feb. 1763 to Mary Perkins

Gen. 6. Enos Hood, b. 26 May 1767 at Chelsea, Vermont, d. 23 Apr. 1845 at Salem, Massachusetts; married on 29 Sep. 1791 to Gillen Lane.

Gen. 7. Harvey Hood, b. 1 June 1798 at Chelsea, Vermont, d. 18 Sep. 1879 at Chelsea; married on 23 Sep. 1821 to Rebecca Smith.

Gen. 8. Harvey Perley Hood, b. 6 Jan 1823 at Chelsea, Vermont, d. 17 June 1900 at Derry, New Hampshire; married on 5 May 1850 to Caroline Laura Corwin, daughter of John Corwin and Clarissa Thompson.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo