Windham Life and Times -January 25, 2019

Harvesting Ice in 1944 in Windham NH


Harvesting ice on Castle Hill Road in Windham NH

I was sad to hear that one of Windham’s long time residents had passed away recently. Mary Glance was very kind to me, in providing photographs of her family’s farm on Castle Hill Road for my book. I thought with the sub-freezing temperatures it was appropriate to show a ice harvesting scene from the Markewich farm from 1944. The men sport a great L.L. Bean look. Ice harvesting was an important part of rural life. The farmers harvested ice to keep their milk cold until it could be delivered. Ice was harvested on Cobbett’s Pond and Canobie Lake and there were ice houses along the shore of both lakes. Even after the advent of electric refrigerators, many camps on the lakes and ponds still used ice. For those of you who are interested, they have an ice harvesting day, using the old ice harvesting machinery every winter on Squam Lake. Also found something else that was interesting. The public can rent canoes and kayaks from the Squam Lake Association Center, 534 US Route 3, Holderness, NH. …No not in the winter! Every year, there are fewer and fewer “old-timers” left… you know who you are

Windham Life and Times – January 18, 2019

Windham and the Summit

Part 6– Conclusion

Mattie Clarke was one of those independent woman who grew up in Windham in the nineteenth century and flourished both locally and in the wider world. Woman like Mary Bradish Titcomb, Margaret Hughes Berry, Julia Baker and many others. Mattie Clark had a demanding career both on the Summit of Mount Washington and in Ormond, Florida. Any many very successful men trusted her and sought her out for her managerial skills. She used those skills and improvised a flourishing hotel in the rustic “Tip-Top House,” after the first Summit House burned in 1908. She was there again to manage the New Summit House when it opened in 1915.

Mattie Clark’s Gravestone on the Cemetery on the Plain, Windham NH.

Not only did Mattie Smith have and interesting career but she also invested her money well, no doubt gaining insight from the many leading businessmen she dealt with and served as guests. “She was on her way north from Ormond, Florida in 1933 when sickness overtook her while in the Buttonswood Beach section of  Warwick, Rhode Island and she died at 81.”

Tim Lewis in his research provided information regarding her will. “Clarke bequeathed her farm in Windham; a cottage on Orchard Lane in Ormond Beach known as the “Coacoochee Cottage;” stock from American Telephone and Telegraph, Swift and Co., Libby; Liberty Loan Bonds; Over $11-thousand dollars to friends; a thousand dollars to both the Ormond Union Church and the Colored Library of  Ormond, the latter to be invested to provide money for purchasing books. Two thousand dollars to the Windham Cemetery to be invested for perpetual care of the family plot. The Windham Library, Presbyterian Church, the New Hampshire Orphans Home in Franklin, the White Orphans Asylum in Jacksonville, Florida and the Nashua Protestant Home for Aged Women all received money from Miss Clarke.”

A path in Santa Lucia Plantation, Ormond Beach, where Mattie Clarke owned her cottage.


Windham Life and Times – January 11, 2018


The Armstrong Homestead on Londonderry Road, was adjacent to the Clarke Farm.


Eugene Armstrong

Eugene Armstrong was I believe, a cousin of  Mattie Clarke, her mother being Deborah Armstrong. The Armstrong and the Clarke families lived on adjoining farms on Londonderry Road, in Windham. You may notice that I have changed the spelling of Clarke by adding an “e” to the end as carved on the family gravestone, not as spelled in Morrison’s History of Windham which eliminated the “e.”

Eugene Armstrong owned the store at Windham Depot for a number of years. In an Exeter Newsletter column written by William Harris . October 1, 1915, it says, “Eugene C. True of Derry, has bought of Eugene W. Armstrong the store, property and business at the Depot which the latter has conducted for a few years past. It is the stand formerly for a long period occupied by the late Edwin N. Stickney. Mr. True has been employed for some years in the furniture store of L.H. Pillsbury & Son, in Derry and is highly spoken of by those who know him.”

We also learn in The News-Letter, in November of 1912 that, “Fred S. Webster, Republican, was chosen representative by 60 votes to 41 for Eugene W. Armstrong, Democrat. Not known to me, was that Eugene Armstrong was also an engineer on the Cog Railway on Mount Washington. He was born in Windham on December 23, 1865. Tim “Jitney Jr.” Lewis says that he worked on Mount Washington from 1885 through 1908. “Eugene Armstrong is noted as a Mount Washington Railway engineer in 1907. ‘Engine No. 4 of the Mount Washington Railway, which has been in the shops at the Base for repairs, came up with freight on Saturday (August 17, 1907) for its trial trip and was put in regular service the same night, in charge of Engineer Armstrong.’ ” He was 12 years younger than his neighbor (cousin) Mattie Clarke. He worked twenty-four summers on the Mount Washington Railway and spent six winters working for Anderson and Price at the Ormond Hotel in Florida. He purchased the store in the Depot in 1910. He passed away on August 24, 1925 in Windham.

…Still looking for photographs of Mattie Clarke and Eugene Armstrong for Tim Lewis.


Windham Life and Times – December 28, 2018

Windham and the Summit

Passengers arrive on the Cog Railway at the Summit House

Part 3 – Mattie Clark Remembered in Windham

In spite of spending most of her grown life travelling between Ormond Florida and the Summit of Mount Washington, Mattie Clark remained connected to Windham throughout her life. She grew up here on her  parents farm here and her exploits were written about by Will Harris in the Exeter Newsletter.

WINDHAM, August 25, 1899: “Miss Mattie A. Clark of this town holds the responsible position of manager and housekeeper of the Summit House on Mount Washington. Among the Clouds thus speaks of her in a recent issue: ‘Miss Mattie A. Clark, who first became connected with the Summit House in 1884, and who has so successfully managed it for several years past, is the manager this year, and that is saying quite enough to assure the Summit visitors of first class treatment. Both here and in Ormond Florida, where she is superintending housekeeper, Miss Clark has the most enviable reputation, and is known as one of the most capable woman hotel managers in the country.’ ”

October 11, 1900: “Miss Mattie A. Clark, the efficient manager of the Summit House on Mt Washington, is at home to remain until December, when she goes to Florida for the winter season at the Hotel Ormond where she is housekeeper.”

WINDHAM, April 21, 1903: “Mrs. Deborah E. Clark, 77 years of age, had a paralytic shock some days ago, and remains quite feeble. Her daughter, Miss Mattie B. Clark, well known as a hotel manager at the White Mountains and in Florida, came home from Florida as soon as the news of her mother’s illness reached her.”

July 8th, 1903 Clarke Funeral:

“For the first time in many years Miss Mattie A. Clarke has failed to be in attendance at the opening of  the Summit House to greet the visitors to whom she is so pleasantly known. After returning from Ormond, Fla., in the spring, Miss Clarke was detained at the bedside of  her mother, Mrs. Deborah Elizabeth Clarke, who after many weeks of  suffering died on Monday, July 6, aged 77 years. The funeral was held Wednesday at her late home at Windham Depot, N.H.  Mrs. Clarke was a bright and lovable woman, of  a most kind and motherly disposition. Besides Miss Clarke, her only other child was a son, who died in the Civil War. Her whole life was spent in Windham, and the family homestead was a welcome resting place for the daughter in the intervals between her summers on Mount Washington and her winters in Florida. Miss Clarke has the sympathy of her many friends, who hope in a few days to welcome her back to the Summit.” Among the Clouds

     Season Opening Notes: “The Mount Washington Railway, which sent its first train to the Summit this year the week of  June 15th, retains in its service nearly the entire personnel of  last season’s employees….An old guest at the Summit House will note but few changes here this season. The same homelike atmosphere pervades the whole establishment, and that the former excellence of  its service will be maintained this year is assured by the presence of  so many of  the heads of  departments of  long continued service. Miss Mattie A. Clarke, whose attention to visitors makes them to feel that they are personal guests, is still manager of  the house, with Mr. A. Frank Curtis as clerk. The cuisine will be prepared by Mr. A. J. Miller, the accomplished chef  of  1904, and Mrs. George Howland. Mrs. Myron Browley assists at the souvenir stand, Mr. Maurice J. Dineen is in charge of  the telegraph and post office, Mr. Park Horan of  the wine room, and Mr. Mark A. Davis of  Middlebury, Vt., fills the position of  head waiter, and James Powers, watchman. Nor should mention be omitted of  John Tice, bellman, who for several years has been an alert messenger upon the arrival of  each train…All in all, each and every details of  the hotel management has already received such careful attention that it is difficult to realize only a few days have intervened since the arrival of  the first train to the Summit, and that so much could be accomplished against such great odds of  location and climate.”

– Among the Clouds – Thu, Jul 13, 1905