Did you happen to go to any of the planned events during Londonderry’s Old Home Day? If so then it was impossible to miss the Naylor house near the Town Common. This piece of property owned by Richard Flier had been converted in a sense to a remarkable artistic site in short order. First, a gazebo was crafted earlier this summer by Amish woodworkers and placed behind the property. And there it sat. To give it a much needed punch Shady Hill Greenhouses with the vision of Ron Hill added an instant landscaped look around the gazebo for OHD. It definitely created a wow factor as you walked down the driveway lined with balloons during the weekend of OHD festivities.
The other unique part of the property happened some weeks ago. Since the house was to be boarded up during the renovation process, it was Richard Flier who contacted the local artist’s group for a solution to a potential eye sore over the many months needed to bring the house back to its former style. The question was asked, “Would there be any artists interested in replicating images of Londonderry’s past on the wood panels that were needed to cover the windows during the renovation?” The email spread via many artists throughout town and before long each one had a plan in place. They chose their subject for various reasons and the result is an eye catching display.
The following information has been gleaned from many sources. In order to value and appreciate the works of art on the Naylor House located across from the town common on Pillsbury Road the words here will give you a glimpse into the lives and stories of the people in the town we call Londonderry. The artist showcasing their chosen image is added so when you visit the property you will be able to see what each artist saw as history captured each brush stroke of their paintings. We have many people over the many years to give tribute to in their remarkable strength and fortitude building a quality of life lived in a small town. These stories are but a few. Source information is listed at the end to further curious minds.
Michael James Toomy artist
George Reid (1733–1815) was born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and was a farmer by trade. He married Mary Woodburn in 1765 that was noted for her skill in running their farm in George’s long service during the American Revolutionary War. With news of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, George Reid marched with his militia company to Boston, Massachusetts and commanded a company of the 1st New Hampshire Regiment at the Battle of Bunker Hill. George Reid was with the 1st NH during the Invasion of Canada, the Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton. In the spring of 1777 George Reid was appointed Lt. Col. of the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment. With the capture of Col. Nathan Hale at the Battle of Hubbardton by the British Army, George Reid took command of the 2nd NH and led them during the rest of the Saratoga Campaign, the Battle of Monmouth and the Sullivan Expedition of 1779. With the consolidation of the three New Hampshire regiments in 1783, Col. Reid was appointed commander of the combined unit until its disbandment on January 1, 1784.
Londonderry was not behind other towns of New Hampshire in carrying the burdens imposed upon them by the War of the Revolution. The town entered early into the conflict with men and means, and held resolutely on till the long and severe contest with England was terminated in
the treaty of peace in 1783. Mr. Parker, in his history, says, “When the news came that General Gage was marching troops into the interior, New Hampshire at once took up arms and hastened to the scene of action. Twelve hundreds of her sons instantly repaired to Charlestown and Cambridge. Among these was a company from Londonderry. The tidings had no sooner reached the town than the whole community was seized with a warlike frenzy. A number of men, dropping instantly their implements of husbandry, hastened to spread the news, and in a few hours all who could bear arms were assembled on the common at the meeting-house. They were prepared to act. From the two companies of militia in town a large company of volunteers was at once formed. They started instantly on being organized, their provisions, ammunition, and whatever was necessary for their encampment and future wants being afterwards forwarded by express. The roll of this company is as follows: George Reid, captain; Abraham Reid, first lieutenant: (The continuing list of names who so admirably joined up is long but for the purpose of portrait identification Pvt. Robert Mack is listed as only one of the many men.)
After the war, now Brigadier General Reid led a militia unit that put down the Exeter Rebellion in 1786 at the then state capital Exeter, New Hampshire. The Rebellion was over the value and use of paper money issued by the government of New Hampshire. Later an angry crowd surrounded his house and threatened his life, but the old general faced them down alone and dispersed the mob without further incident. In 1791 George Reid was appointed Sheriff of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. Reid died at the age of 83 in 1815.
Barbara Scott artist
Pillsbury, Rosecrans W. — of Londonderry, Rockingham County, N.H. Son of Col. W.S. and Martha (Crowell) Pillsbury. His father founded the famous Pillsbury Shoe factories. Rosecrans attended Pinkerton Academy and went on to Dartmouth College Class of 1885. He worked for the law office of Drury & Peaslee in Manchester, NH. Went to Boston University and passed the bar in 1890. Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Hampshire, 1904; candidate in Republican primary for Governor of New Hampshire, 1914; Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from New Hampshire 1st District, 1920. He purchased the democratic newspaper The Manchester Union Leader in 1910. It has since remained closer with Republican views. Burial place in unknown.
Annie Londonderry – Annie was a Jewish immigrant and working mother of three living in a Boston tenement with her husband, a peddler. This was as close to the American dream as she was likely to get—until she became part of what one newspaper called “one of the most novel wagers ever made”: a high-stakes bet between two wealthy merchants that a woman could not ride around the world on a bicycle, as Thomas Stevens had a few years before. Annie rose to the challenge, pledging to finish her fifteen-month trip with a staggering $5,000 earned by selling advertising space on her bike and her clothing, making personal appearances in stores and at bicycle races, and lecturing about her adventures along the way. When the Londonderry Lithia Springs Water Company of New Hampshire offered to become the first of her many sponsors, Annie Kopchovsky became Annie Londonderry, and a legend was born. So began one of the greatest escapades—and publicity stunts—of the Victorian Age.
Debbie Curtin artist
Ocean-Born Mary was a legend and a mystery of her time. Her father, James Wilson, was one of the grantees of Londonderry in 1719.
In 1720, Wilson and his wife, Elizabeth, left Londonderry, Ireland by ship. Their baby girl was born on the voyage over and during the journey, pirates boarded their ship. They bound the passengers leaving them to wonder their ill-fated destiny and plundered the ship. When the pirate captain discovered the baby, he told the passengers he would leave the ship without doing harm if he could name the infant. He named her Mary and left her a bolt of green silk brocade with a floral pattern to be used as her wedding gown, should she marry. Soon after landing in New England, Ocean-Born Mary’s father died, and her mother married James Clark and lived in a house in Londonderry.
Ocean-Born Mary married and moved to Henniker, NH. She died on February 13, 1814 at the age of 94. In 1930 her house in Londonderry was moved piece-by-piece to Little Compton, Rhode Island, reassembled and stands with other homes of its era. It is now called the “Sea-Born Mary House.”
Debbie Curtin artist
Peace Mural – The Bogside Artists are a trio of mural painters from Derry, Northern Ireland, consisting of Tom Kelly, his brother William Kelly, and Kevin Hasson. Their most famous work, a series of outdoor murals called the People’s Gallery, is located in the Bogside neighborhood of Derry and depicts the events surrounding sectarian violence and civil rights protests in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
The Bogside Artists first began working together in 1993 to document the events surrounding the Northern Ireland Troubles. With supplies donated from local residents, they painted several murals on the walls of Rossville Street buildings commemorating the Battle of Bogside and Bloody Sunday. From 1994 to 2008, they painted a total of twelve murals on this street in the Bogside, which they named The People’s Gallery. The People’s Gallery spans the entire length of Rossville Street, which runs through the centre of the Bogside. It is a unique visual display – an entire street devoted to the history in art form of over three decades of political conflict in the province as it affected the city and it occupies no less than four pages in the Lonely Planet (2012). The gallery has never been promoted either by the local council or by any other body including the tour bodies or arts bodies many of which are run by Sinn Féin. It was in the Bogside on 30 January 1972 that 13 civilians were killed by British Army paratroopers in the Bloody Sunday disturbances (an additional civilian died later). The murals were officially inaugurated in August 2007 and an additional mural dedicated to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and retired leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, John Hume was completed in 2008.
The Bogside Artists have exhibited their work widely in various cities, including Boston, Sydney, Brisbane, Chicago, London and Washington, D.C. They have painted a number of other works, most notably a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington D.C. In September 2011 they painted a mural for the town of Vordernberg Austria on the controversial theme of the New World Order. More recently they completed a mural for Europe’s City of Culture Maribor, Slovenia that was unveiled by the Dalai Lama. They see their work as humanitarian and human as “men speaking to men” (Tom Kelly, spokesman) and have little time or interest in contemporary art. “All real art is contemporary as it has its origins in the truthful state of mind which is timeless”. On their websiteyou will find their manifesto.
In addition to their work as muralists, the Bogside Artists also conducted numerous art workshops throughout the years with local Catholic and Protestant children to promote cross-community understanding.
They were also featured in many documentaries What You See Is What You Get and Window on the West, etc.
Controversy – In November 2005, Walter Momper, president of the Berlin State Parliament, cancelled a planned exhibition of the Bogside murals in the parliament building. He criticized the artists for their “partiality” in only representing one side of the conflicts in Northern Ireland. The artists stated that the murals are intended to be “a human document” rather than a political or sectarian statement.
These two door panels give a small sense of the connection we have with Northern Ireland.
Abby Dolan artist (Michael Toomy sketch)
Andrew Mack, Sr. is shown happily doing one thing he loves and that is riding his bicycle. He is a great advocate for the pleasure and comradery of pedal power.
Kirby Wade artist
The Laurel’s House is in North Londonderry located on the corner of Mammoth and Rockingham Road. It still evokes the Victorian charm of a bygone era. At one time it was a destination by rail for tourists wishing a respite from city life and to spend a part of the summer in the country.
Susan E. Hannah artist
Reed P. Clark – whose death on April 8, 1882, deprived Londonderry,
N. H., of one of its most useful and public spirited citizens and spent the greater part of his life in Londonderry. He was a man of much practical knowledge and force of character; and among his other accomplishments was an expert penman. As an agriculturist he gained fame by raising nursery stock and experimenting on vegetable culture. He was the originator of the celebrated Clark’s No. I potato, which he produced on the farm now occupied by his son William, and gave to the world as propagated by Reed P. Clark and son. He was also an efficient horse trainer and a skilled worker in wood. Originally a whig in polities and later a republican, he took an active interest in, public affairs and was largely instrumental in changing Londonderry from a democratic to a republican town. He served as selectman, as representative to the legislature, and as a member of Governor Goodwin’s and Governor Berry’s councils. He was a trustee of the New Hampshire State Reform School at Manchester for a number of years. He married Elizabeth Perkins.
Debbie Curtin artist
Londonderry/Derry voted ‘UK City of Culture 2013’.
The rich cultural and architectural heritage is reflected in the city’s names: Derry, from old Irish Doire, a reference to the oak grove where Saint Columba founded a monastery around 546 AD; Londonderry, the name granted during the seventeenth century Plantation of Ulster; and within which you will find ‘The Walled City’, one of Europe’s best preserved walled settlements.
Built to defend the Plantation city from marauding Irish chieftains, the walls were completed in 1618. They proved effective during the Siege of Derry, from 1688-89, when thirteen Apprentice Boys closed the city gates against the Jacobite forces of King James. The Protestant garrison held out for months in appalling conditions, with people reduced to eating cats, dogs and even rats! The siege was lifted when three ships, Mountjoy, Phoenix and Jerusalem broke the boom across the River Foyle and unloaded their precious cargo of food for the starving citizens.
The city played a key role during the Second World War, owing to its strategic position as the Allies’ most westerly naval base. At the war’s height, 20,000 sailors of various nationalities were based at the thriving port, and the city retains historic links with the US Navy to this day.
Over a mile in circumference, standing 26 feet high and 30 feet wide in places, the walls boast twenty-four original cannons standing sentinel, including the mighty Roaring Meg.
Resources: en.wikipedia.org, politicalgraveyard.com, files.usgwarchives.net (modified), author Peter Zheutlin, archive.org/stream/vitalrecordsoflondonderry, discovernorthernireland.com/walledcity, bogside-history-tours.com
Debbie Curtin writes stories about people, places, events and other topics of interest that engage the reader. As a member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Debbie keeps ‘in the game’ with other like minded people. She has been an artist and creative person all her life and uses the unlimited sources of inspiration that abound everywhere in her writing as another art form.