Monday, April 27, 2015

Today is General John Stark Day in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Revised Statutes 4:12-1 "And the governor... shall urge cities and towns throughout the state to observe this day in commemoration of General Stark's gallant and illustrious service to New Hampshire and his country".  For those who need to brush up on their American history, General Stark not only was a hero at the Battles of Bunker Hill, Bennington and Saratoga, he was the one who first wrote our state motto "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils".

April 27th is General John Stark Day in New Hampshire.  Manchester, New Hampshire, my newly adopted home, is where the Stark farm was located.  The Stark family, like me, came from Londonderry to Derryfield (now Manchester) and lived along the banks of the Merrimack River for generations.  The Stark descendants donated part of this land, along with the family burial ground, to the city for a park.

Canons and flagpole at Stark Park

The Stark Family Burial Ground at Stark Park
(stay tuned tomorrow for details on "Tombstone Tuesday")

Stark Park is now a real gem, but suffered from neglect in the end of the 20th century.  A group of concerned citizens formed "The Friends of Stark Park" and transformed this land back into a lovely memorial, and also placed it on the National Register of historic places.  As one volunteer told me yesterday, "... after all, General Stark is buried here" as she lovingly watered the pansies planted for ceremonies which took places today.

The Stark family farmhouse burned many years ago, but it once stood on River Road not far from the park.  The childhood homestead of the General, now owned by the Molly Stark Chapter of the DAR, known locally as the "Molly Stark House" for the General's wife, was moved away from the riverside to 2000 Elm Street.  He was born Londonderry (now Derry).

This 30 acre tract along the Merrimack River
was the family farm of Revolutionary War hero
General John Stark and his wife Molly.  When
soldiers were stricken with smallpox at Ticonderoga,
the General sent them here to his farm to recover.
General Stark returned here at the end of the war.
He died in 1822 and is buried in the family plot
in the park.  The city of Manchester purchased 
this site from Stark descendants in 1891, and it
was dedicated as a public park in 1893.

There is also a bronze statue of General Stark in front of the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, dedicated in 1890, and another statue at the Bennington Battle Monument in Vermont.


Friends of Stark Park

Manchester Historical Society's John Clayton's address today for Stark Day at Stark Park:

"Happy General John (AKA Molly Stark's husband's) Day" from Janice Webster Brown's Cow Hampshire blog:

A previous blog post about Dunbarton, New Hampshire, home of Molly Stark

Click here for the Stark family genealogy

29 April 2015 Tombstone Tuesday Blog Post on the Stark Family burial ground  

The URL for this post is
Copyright (c) 2015, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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