Monday, April 12, 2021

General John Stark Day, 12 April 2021


Stark Day ceremonies at the Stark family gravesite
at Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire 2016

John Stark Day, honoring our beloved New Hampshire Revolutionary War hero, was celebrated formerly on the fourth Monday in April by state statute.  However, in 2017 the students at the Founders Academy Public Charter School in Manchester lobbied for changing John Stark Day to be held on the second Monday in April, a school day instead of in the middle of school vacation.  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed bill HB91 into law on 13 April 2017.  According to the new statute “The governor shall annually proclaim the second Monday in April as General John Stark Day in Commemoration of General Stark’s gallant and illustrious service to New Hampshire and his country.  Schools are encouraged to commemorate the day with appropriate educational activities.”  [See statute 4:13-1 General John Stark Day ]  

Manchester traditionally honors General John Stark with a ceremony at the Stark Park, usually performed in Revolutionary era garb by DAR and SAR members, and then the group moves on to Dunbarton to gather at the Caleb Stark statue (son of General Stark) for a second ceremony.   I’ve tried to be at as many of these ceremonies as possible since moving to Manchester in 2014.  Last year, there was no ceremony, and this year there will be a “virtual ceremony” hosted by the Founders Academy (see the link below).

John Stark was born in Londonderry (now Derry) to his parents Archibald Stark and Eleanor Nichols.  Archibald was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1697, and grew up in Londonderry, Northern Ireland with his family.  He married Eleanor, whose father was also Scottish.  They came to Nutfield, New Hampshire (now Londonderry, Derry and Windham) and their children died on the voyage, which was plagued with small pox.  More children were born in New Hampshire, and they eventually settled in Derryfield, which is now the city of Manchester.  Three Stark brothers – William, John, and Archibald all served under the British during the French and Indian War.

John Stark was born on 28 August 1728, and married Elizabeth “Molly” Page on 20 August 1758 in Dunbarton, New Hampshire.  They had eleven children.  He lived 94 years and died on 8 May 1822 in Derryfield (Manchester). 

Major Caleb Stark (son of General Stark)
statue in Dunbarton, New Hampshire

For the truly curious:

John Stark Day information from the Founders Academy: 

From the Cow Hampshire blog “The Many Faces of General John Stark of Manchester, New Hampshire” by Janice Webster Brown:

Click here to see the 2018 Proclamation by Gov. Sununu for John Stark Day:  

The website for Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire: 

Other Nutfield Genealogy blog posts about General John Stark: 

The General John Stark House in Manchester, NH:  

The Stark Family Plot:   

General John Stark (including more genealogy information):   

The Stark Homestead Site:  

Images of John Stark Day ceremonies 2016:  

Autumn Visit to Dunbarton, New Hampshire (the Caleb Stark statue and the Molly Stark House):   


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "General John Stark Day, 12 April 2021", Nutfield Genealogy, posted April 12, 2021 ( accessed [access date]). 

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