The Man and Thoughts Behind ‘Live free or die’

John stark  Mollystark Starks Monument

“Live free or die: For death is not the worst of all evils.”, was written by General John Stark as a toast for an anniversary reunion of the Battle of Bennington in July 1809, in which General Stark and his men with the aid of Colonel Seth Warner and the Green Mountain Boys defeated a detachment of General John Burgoyne’s army in 1777. This victory pushed the revolution in the colonists favor. It also made General Stark one of New Hampshire’s most famous soldiers.  General Stark was unable to attend the anniversary due to illness and sent the toast via letter.

So who is General John Stark? General Stark was a first generation New Hampshire native, born in Nutfield , New Hampshire; in an area which is now Londonderry, on August 28th 1728. He was born the second son of Scottish immigrants Archibald and Eleanor (Nichols) Stark who were originally planning to land in Boston but their ship was said to have potential cases of small poxes and was sent away. When Stark was eight his family moved to Derryfield, now Manchester, where they settled and began there life. Stark grew into a frontiersman, exploring the New Hampshire wilderness. In his early twenties, Stark joined his brother and a small group of friends on a hunting trip. While out Stark was captured he tried to divert the Native Americans from his comrades but they got nervous about his extended disappearance.  They let off a shot signaling the natives to their location. Stark’s brother got away, another member was killed and the last man was captured with Stark. Stark survived his imprisonment with the Natives and was even said to have earned their respect with his headstrong and bold behavior. His release was eventually purchased and he spent two year paying back the Massachusetts colonists who purchased his freedom. Stark’s adventures didn’t end there though that was only the beginning for him. He eventually took up arms as a member of Roger’s Rangers under Major Robert Roger.  They joined the French Indian War also known as the Seven Year War. During his time as a Ranger, Stark and the Rangers were ordered to do a raid on a Native village in Quebec. They refused to be involved in the unnecessary slaughter of the people and they returned to New Hampshire. Stark also refused to let his soldiers drink on St. Patrick’s Day while the regulars partied heavily. This decision saved the lives of all of the soldier because the French thought they could use the holiday as an opportunity to attack the men. Stark’s forethought saved the lives of the men as they fought off the French.

During this time Stark married Elizabeth “Molly” Page the daughter of Caleb and Ruth Page. The Stark’s had 11 children. One of their children was Caleb Stark. Caleb Stark served in the Revolutionary War under his father and continued to serve after his father resigned. He also served as a Senator in New Hampshire. Molly spent a great deal of time caring for her children and her husband business while he was away fighting. She also treated her husband’s troops for small pox. Stories are also told of Molly’s tomboyish ways. Legend has it she was also a sharp shooter.

After the war ended Stark returned home. He started his own business. Stark believed in productivity but when fight broke out in Lexington/ Concord, Stark raced to Boston to enlist. During his time he fought many battles and proved himself a brave man.

Stark lived to the ripe age of 94 always believing in hard work and I’m sure felt a great disappointment when he couldn’t join his men at the reunion.

The first half of the toast “Live free or die” was adopted as New Hampshire’s State motto in 1945. It is likely one of the most widely known state mottos. Even vacationing in Hawaii a man asked where we lived and we told him New Hampshire. He laughed and said all I know about New Hampshire is ‘Live free or die’.  Our state motto is a tribute to men like Stark, who believed in liberty and freedom, who fought bravely for these believes but have they become nothing more than ideology with no value? Is it just your right to ride around without a helmet or a seat belt and pretend to be free for these novelty ideas? Or is freedom more? Is it the separation from oppression and if it is what is oppressing us?  Should we have a right to defend ourselves in whatever way we choice? Should we have a right to educate our children as we see fit? Should we have the choice to treat our bodies as we see fit or choice a doctor or health care plan that we feel fits our life styles?  When General Stark said “Live free or die: For death is not the worst of all evils.” was he warning us to not turn our backs on our inalienable right to choice to live our lives as we see fit?

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Want to learn more about General John Stark:

Moore, Howard Parker; Life of General John Stark

Sex Lies & Anarchy

How about a local podcast?

Back story…This summer I attended a libertarian minded luau. How did I find myself here one might ask? Well here’s how… With the political upheaval I have noticed sense be coming of age to vote; I’ve found myself searching for some sort political view that makes sense. Everything seemed pretty on paper but let’s be honest when you find a candidate or a party that says all the right things you find yourself curious and check the real stance behind these people or parties and what do you find… A rude awakening.

 Enters Dr. Ron Paul. Love him or hate him, the man is who he says he is.  One can’t deny that. His ideas, for many are crazy even outlandish but to others like myself, they are a cure to a disease. I know this is a little extreme but think about how most people vote… “the lesser of two evils” or “voting down party lines” or “voting to over throw the current regime” or “we know they lie, they know we know they lie, and that’s just the way it is” for me these fallacies can’t continue. I’m sick of war, debt, the loss of freedom and liberty, and the endless lies. We live beyond our means and our industry suffers, yet the madness continues. Then I discovered Dr. Paul, with a brigade of other freedom/ liberty minded people who talk the talk and walk the walk so to speak. I’m not claiming any are perfect but when I listened to Dr. Paul speak, for the first time I thought some of this actually makes sense. And then the homework started. Podcasts, town hall meeting, research, and books; the search for knowledge, spearheaded by my husband but I was quick to follow behind. This led to meeting some amazing people at phone banks, rallies, town hall meetings, and online. Many of these people made libertarian their life style, believing in freedom and liberty. They were inspiring to talk too. They have come from all walks of life trying to spread the word with passion. They create groups like the Free State Project. They create art like, Jordon Page’s music, and Tatiana Moroz’s music. They create podcasts like Sex, Lies & Anarchy.

This segues into Sex, Lies & Anarchy. While at a liberty minded event, I happened to meet a rather interesting woman named Antigone. Antigone had a lot to offer when discussing her views. Upon seeing how interested I was in what she had to say, she suggested I check out her podcast; Sex, Lies & Anarchy. This isn’t a ‘cram our politics down your throat’ kind of show. It teaches and challenges the social side of becoming and being a libertarian/ anarchist.

 Some time had passed before I had actually had a chance to check out Sex, Lies & Anarchy but when I did the show didn’t disappoint. I, myself, have only had a chance to listen to the last fifteen or so shows but they have never failed to entertain and educate. There are four different hosts; usually three participate during each podcast. Antigone, Candy, Kellie, and Celestina each offer different view and perspectives on issues and items they discuss during the show. They offer different religious perspective, as well as different social viewpoints. Candy is openly a Christian while Antigone is openly an atheist. Their discussions have touched on everything from the women right to vote to porn. They discuss relationships and the friendship dynamics between men and women. Celestina offers valued historical information about the meanings behind traditions which makes one rethink the platform upon which our customs have evolved. Antigone shares a side of history which you will never find in your public school history book. Candy is more light and humorous. Her views are often entertaining and easy going. Kellie seems to direct the flow of the show and often keeps everyone on topic. Sadly she is leaving the show.  If you’re looking for something different; fun, funny and often eye opening, you’ve gotta check out this show.  At the least these women will get you thinking and that’s the first step isn’t it?

Interested in learning more about libertarians?

Sex, Lies & Anarchy?

The Free State Project?

Jordan Page?

Tatiana Moore? 

NH Novella?



Sharing is Caring- Shire Sharing


With the first snow falling from the sky, it’s a reminder that Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here soon. Thanksgiving and Christmas are an important time to remember others, especially the less fortunate. Amanda Bouldin, a Free Stater, who moved from Texas to Manchester, organized Shire Sharing. Shire Sharing was started as a Basket Brigade. Bouldin was inspired by her father, who in Texas was involved in a Basket Brigade. A Basket Brigade is a basket with the Thanksgiving fixings provided to a family in need. Last year they were able to feed a hundred and seventy- four families. This year they wanted to increase that number.  These Basket Brigades were just this beginning.  They added a Christmas Backpack program. The Backpack Program provided homeless people with backpacks filled with toiletries, first-aid kits, hats and gloves, and more.

Bouldin got together with other liberty mind folks to deliver and spread the word about Shire Sharing. This program runs strictly on private donation and volunteerism. Proving the libertarian idea that the government doesn’t need to provide for people because people can and will provide for people. This is a great independent charity in which we can all contribute too. Please check out their website and donate with your heart in any way you can.


Foliage Views on Welch-Dickey Trail

A great foliage hike is a must for a true New Hampshire adventurer.  It can be challenging to pick just the right one on just the right day because you want peak colors but with clear sky and no rain! This year the Welch- Dickey Loop Trail was just the trail to hike. It’s a very popular hike and considered a moderate hike. This is a good rating for this hike so long as it’s not wet. Welch-Dickey can be found off of 93 by taking the Campton/Waterville Valley exit, from the south it’s exit 28. At the end of the exit you’ll follow route 49 through Campton toward Waterville Valley. You’ll turn left onto Upper Mad River and then you’ll turn right onto Orris Road. The parking lot is on this road.  The trail head is located in Thornton, which was named after Matthew Thornton, who was one of the members of the continental congress. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Remember when hiking to pack your hiking backpack appropriately. On top of any mountain the weather can suddenly get cold and/ or rainy so warm clothes and rain gear are always advisable.  Hiking boots are strongly recommended because the rock can get slippery when wet. Trekking poles aren’t a bad idea either. Always remember safety first!

This is a great hike with the opportunity to hike two mountains, Welch first at 2605’ and Dickey second at 2734’.  The first ledged clearing is only about 45 minutes to an hour in and offers a stunning view of Waterville Valley and some amazing foliage colors. You can also see the way up to the top of Welch Mountain from here and some of the rock face you’ll be traversing.  Due to the open slabs, hiking up the steep rock face slopes when wet can be extremely slippery. So while in a dry cycle this hike can be pretty family friendly, even adults should take caution when wet.   The loop is a fairly relaxing 4.5 miles with stunning views all the way up and down. The trail travels counter clockwise. It crosses a small brook that continues to run parallel with the trail for some time. After the first clearing the rare jack pine can be seen along the trail. These trees are only found in five locations in New Hampshire. After the clearing the steady climb up Welch really begins. It’s a steep hike with impressive panoramic views of New Hampshire. The top of Welch Mountain does not skimp on views either. The colorful foliage brightened up the slightly grayer day. Even the decent of Welch Mountain was lovely.

The second half of the trail was the trek up and down Dickey Mountain. The incline up Dickey is a little less steep then the climb up Welch. Dickey offers beautiful views at the top and nice place to sit and rest but for prime scenery the most amazing outlook is on the open face slab on the descent. The view here is amazing because you can see the two mountains you have hike over as well as a beautiful color filled valley below. The peaking foliage fills the valley with amazing coloring.  It’s a slab rock clearing affording a 180 degree view. The descent after this is a pretty fairytalish hike through lovely trees, and bright yellow foliage. In the spring forest flowers dot the landscape. The trail down is like a romantic scene from a fantasy. It’s well groomed and easy to follow.

This is a beautiful hike so if you don’t mind a few extra people around it’s a wonderful way to enjoy a day! When the hike is finished there is a tavern on the way back to the highway called The Mad River Tavern.   It offers warm tasty food after a long hike. I suggest the chili or the chowder after a cold fall hike.


Fall Festivals

A new chill and the fresh smell of crisp leaves fill the air. Pumpkins sit out decorating front steps. Kids skip through apple fields while harvesting a tasty treat.  Football season is well under way and many televisions will be assaulted in unjust ways after a few bad calls.  Of course it’s also fair season as well. The first fair of the October season that I attended was Warner’s Fall Foliage Festival and this weekend I checked out Hudson’s Pumpkinfest.  I found some amazing crafts, fun people and great food at these events.

Warner’s Fall Foliage Festival was a large event from October 5-7 on East Main Street in Warner.  The festival was a merge of a craft fair, a regular fair (with kiddie rides and farm animal events), a talent show and flea market.  This festival was very large and spread out, up and down roads, in building and on lawns. In the heart of the festival was a flat stage set up for the performers. Singers and dancers congregated here.  Many talented young children or groups of children flashed their performance skills for on looking parents and guests. The talent didn’t end here though strolling around amongst the crafter I was astounded by crafty and creative group assembled here. Handmade pottery, quilts, purses, scarfs, hats, gloves, home décor, soaps and more; New Hampshire is very innovative. A woman sat at her booth spinning wool into yarn from Loosen Ends Weaving/ Fiber Arts. Another woman, CraftyKathi, turned her old plastic grocery store shopping bags into new reusable woven bags. She offered totes, picnic bags, coin purses and more. Amazing and ecofriendly! Another man from Dogwood Studios, made amazing wildlife shaped puzzles and other wood crafts. Not to mention the number of people selling handmade Christmas items; stocking, tree skirts, and table runners in a variety of Christmas patterns.  This was great but the local creativity didn’t end here! The Festival offered your average fair cuisine of deep fried everything but the creative residents also got involved in this too! Restaurants opened booths serving comfort food and local growers got products out farmers’ market style. Fall comforts were available, like cider, and apple crisp. Fun, stay at home and relax foods like chili and mac and cheese were on the menu. They even offered homemade ice cream! Buffalo meat from Yankee Farmers’ Market was available if you wanted chilli, a burger or a hot dog. It turned out to be a great day and only sprinkled a little and the foliage was at about 50% of its prime color change.

The Hudson Pumpkinfest was a small festival that took place October 12-14 off Route 102 in Hudson. Of course the day I chose to go was the last day. It was rainy and cold so there were few people and not as many vendors as there had been on Friday and Saturday when the sun was out but it was still fun. Fair rides were set up for the kiddos but because of the rain the children seemed more drawn toward the small petting zoo and the pony rides. The petting zoo offered pigmy goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, a small donkey, a baby donkey, turkeys, a llama, an alpaca, a cow and a baby llama/ alpaca hybrid called a Inca. The babies animals were extremely wet muddy and cute especially the donkey and the Inca!! Pony rides were offered under a heated tarp so kids could have a ride and stay warm and dry. The pumpkinfest had some fun crafts. Although my favorite vendor was a wood crafter, named John Holmes, he made clocks, planters and even toilet paper roll holders out of wood in the shape of bears and moose. The most creative item he made was the convertible picnic table. The table converted into a backed bench.He doesn’t seem to have a website but I’m looking into more details but his workwood was awesome!  The pumpkinfest also offer a vendor selling home brew soda in barrels, Martial Arts instruction, handmade jewelry, a car show, and on Saturday night it had fireworks.

By John Holmes




Keep in mind fall fairs aren’t over yet. Keene’s Pumpkin Festival is coming next Saturday October 20th from noon to 8:30 p.m.

Strange Brews and Rhythm Method

Halloween is only a few weeks away and what’s the best way to pre-celebrate? How about a tavern hidden in a dark alley off the main drag looming nestled between darkness and light?  Strange Brew is a crafty bustling bar with great atmosphere, food, music and, of course, brews. The beer menu is impressive, so take some time to check it out.  A magic seems to surround this eclectic place. Inside the tavern, books line the walls. They fill the windows in front of the kitchen, line walls between the tables and run around the tavern. Amongst the fantasy, fiction, mystery and mayhem you almost expect to find a book of special purpose. This adds a creative level of charm to the atmosphere. Strange Brew is in an old brick building. During the warmer months tables are set up outside for patrons to enjoy but make sure you make your way inside, you’ll never know what you’ve missed if you stay outside. You may find an amazing band.

Strange Brew is located 88 Market Street in Manchester. Parking may be a challenge especially if there is a concert going on.  A visit to Strange Brew last Friday would have led to the discovery of a band called Rhythm Method.

Rhythm Method had an astounding lead singer. Yamica Peterson was an amazing singer. She was as good as Tracy Chapman herself as she sang Give Me One Reason. The band was amazing. Pete Peterson and Chuck Wentzel also were amazing singers. Wentzel also dominated as lead guitar. Gene Guth was rocking the drum and Tom Martin jammed on the bass were also fantastic.  This band brought down the house Friday.  Talent is at the heart of this band.

So if you’re in Manchester check out Strange Brews . Don’t miss Rhythm Method either!       

Ladies Night for a Cause

Every woman has that old dress; she had thought she’d never wear again, stuffed in the back of her closet just waiting for its next show case.  The dress may not have been seen since a prom or a wedding. It may be a year old or fifty years old. Some dresses are even found on eBay. These dresses are getting their second chance at the Mom Prom. So shake the dust off your dress just into those dancing shoes because Saturday April 20, 2013.

Mom Prom is a night out for women to celebrate as they raise money for a great cause!! Mom Prom Nashua is raising money for St. Joseph’s Breast Cancer Center.  This year Mom Prom is moving from Nashua to Alpine Groves in Hollis.

More to come but please share this and check out Mom Prom Nashua website.


New Hampshire Foliage Festivals

Happy October!!

The weather is cooling. The air is crisp with wisps of wood stove smoke and fresh apples.  Fall is upon us and it’s time to celebrate. Pumpkin pie, apple cider and foliage for all. It’s time to make some hardy comfort food and nestling by the fire during the eventing! But what to do during the day??? See foliage, hike … How about a foliage festival? New Hampshire Magazine has released a list of festivals. Check out the attached article.

A Whole New World – Mount Crawford

Saturday was a great day for a hike. The sky was clear the sun was shining it was just warm enough to enjoy a hike without being too hot! It was also the first day of fall and the glorious calls of fall were already peeking out of their green shell to give an early flash of their vibrant reds, oranges, gold and yellows. It was a perfect day to explore Mount Crawford. It was about a 5 mile hike up and back. It is a 3119′ mountain. Make sure to always check the weather before hiking. Storms can be very dangerous in the mountains. Also a cloudy or fog day will limit the astounding views.

We took Davis Path to reach the peak of Mount Crawford. Davis Path was cut in 1845 by Nathaniel Davis. Davis was the son-in-law of Abel and Hannah Crawford.  The Crawfords and their growing family were the first family permitted to move into the Notch. They held such an influence on the area that the notch was named after them.  The Crawfords opened an inn and became known for guiding people up to Mount Washington. Davis cut the path up the Mount Crawford and all the way to Mount Washington. The path was 14.4 miles long and ran through the Presidentials and Dry River Wilderness. In the late 1800s the trail fell into disarray and was brought back up to adventure quality by Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC).

Davis Path trailhead is right off of route 302 about 6 miles north of Bear Notch Road. It has a good size parking lot. It doesn’t seem to be a very popular hike even though when the weather is nice it provides amazing views of Mount Washington, Tuckerman’s Ravine, Mount Carrigain, and Frankenstein Cliffs.  A large bridge over the Saco River, Called Bemis Bridge, is at the beginning of the trail.  The trail starts out gradually but then become rather steadily steep. The trail runs along a cliff for some time. The sound of running water and song birds is the sound track. Early on the path is very gravelly so it can be a trip hazard. Be careful especially on the descent.  The hike is five miles round trip after about 1.5 – 2 miles the views out over the notch are amazing on a clear day.  The peak offers both trees and rock but a short stroll around the summit will give you a clear view in all directions. We decided to have our snack and rest facing Mount Washington. It was breath taking.  The foliage was just beginning to change. Reds, oranges and golds mixed with summer greens surround Washington in a stunning early color display. The hike in total took us about 5 hours. Plan on longer if the moderate to challenging incline may be trying on you.  Crawford is not an easy hike but worth the effort for the prospect on top of Crawford is Dazzling!

Don’t forget to be safe while hiking and carry the appropriate gear with you while hiking even for a short day hike!

Hiking Lockes Hill Trail and Mount Major

Getting stunning views aren’t limited to the mountains in New Hampshire, how about amazing views of the beautiful lakes region? There are two great, easy to moderate hikes that offer wonderful views and a fun place to relax.  Lockes Hill Trail is a short trail that offers a stadium seating view of lakes.  A few miles further down the road another adventure awaits on Mount Major.

Lockes Hill

Lockes Hill Trail is a 2 mile hike located in Gilford’s Kimball Wildlife Forest off of route 11. It’s a woodsy family friendly little hike. Markers as well as a well cut path make this hike an easy one. I did it in flip flops although I never recommend any hiking in open toed shoes. This is a hike to be sought out on a clear day because the views from the rock made stadium seating are stunning. The lakes sparkled in the sunlight and were hugged by the distant mountain range that enclosed around them. This hike can be a quick one just to stretch your legs or a perfect place to spend a day for a nice picnic with the family. Chair made of rock surround the amazing views of the lakes and make for a very picturesque image.

Mount Major

Mount Major is a 1786ft mini mountain along the lakes region. It’s just a short drive from Alton Bay. The loop trail for Mount Major is about 4 miles long and can be steep. It is a fun trail for older children. Young children may struggle with the incline. This hike is a pretty steady rise but the views wasn’t you cross the tree line are well worth it. We started out hike on the boulder loop trail and descended on the Brook Trail. The trail on the way up is one color and on the way down is another. Make sure if you start on the blue trail to finish on the yellow trail or switch if you start on the yellow make sure you finish on the blue. Sun kissed lakes and distant mountains make for a very awing sight. This tree is also known to be an amazing foliage hike and view! So with fall upon us and foliage peaking over the next two weeks it may be time to get out and enjoy a hike.

Mount Major has a dilapidated structure when you reach the summit. This was a small house built by Mr. George Phippen, the previous land owner. He built the house for hikers, to help avoid in climate weather.  The old house, just four crumbling walls, still has an old fire pit inside and two benches outside. Its location offers the best view and sitting on the benches outside offers a great place to have a drink, snack or a nice picnic.