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

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!       

Exploring the Local Farmers’ Market – Manchester

I’m now down to my last three days of steady marketing. One thing I’ve learned from this, is local farmers and product creators produce a lot of really great merchandises. From now on I’ll definitely be a regular at the markets. I’ve really enjoyed my time at the markets and the people have been absolutely wonderful!

On to Manchester, this was one of the largest markets I’ve been too. It is held on the Concord Street side of Victory Park.  Victory Park is a charming little urban recreation area bustling with activity. The market moved like rush hour traffic with people weaving in and out of booth. The pedestrian traffic at some booths made them almost unnavigable but they thin out fast as most vendors kept things moving along. The market had something for everyone. Face painting for the kids, a harpist to sooth the weary traveler, snacks for man’s best friend, two wine vendors to help the frazzled unwind, and plenty of tasty dinner options for the famished!

Along my exploration of the market I stumbled upon a few vendors that really made an impression. Both of the wine companies had a wonderful selection of vino. Hickory Nut Farm had an array of goat milk product products to sooth mind and palate. Sharon’s Granola was offering the ever popular high energy snackable granola bars! Blackberry bakery was satisfying the sweet tooth with gluten free and regular goodies! Finally Valicenti Organico was providing the tasty Italian dinners.

Every great day is only made better by a great bottle of wine! Manchester had two wine vendors both offering some great wines. Candia Vineyards had a nice spread of wines out. I’ve found out they offer an excellent ice wine. They offer two, The Ice Storm and Black Ice; both are very sweet and wonderfully bold fruit wines! The also offer the most award Noiret. The other vineyard was the oldest vineyard in New Hampshire, Jewell Towne.  Jewell Towne offers a wonderful variety of very tasty wines. Tonight to go with dinner I brought home a bottle Marechal Foch. It paired well with our pasta sauce really bringing out the sweeter side of both the wine and the sauce!

Hickory Nut Farm is a goat farm from Lee. “Life changes can be dramatic, exciting and fulfilling. One day, we are husband and wife architects and now we are goat farmers. Our existence is uncomplicated, busy, fun and peaceful, with a new sense of appreciation for God’s creativity.” This quote is from their website and I thought it was awesome! They specialize in goat milk products. Today I experienced a couple of their very tasty goat cheese, fudge and admired their soaps.  I decided dinner wouldn’t be the same without the chive n’ garlic cheese. I was right! What a tasty treat!

Sharon’s granola is a tasty high energy gluten free treat. Sharon was run the both herself and offering tastes to patrons.  If you’re into hiking or enjoying the outdoors these tasty little treats will fit in any little backpack or bag. When you get tired and hungry you can just whip in out and have a quick snack. I tried the Chamomile Teas & honey Lemon Zest bar. I loved it. Super yummy treat!

Blackberry Bakery, out of Londonderry, offered a wonderful variety of tasty treats, from cupcakes to whoopee pies. They also offer gluten free bake goods. I purchased a delicious pumpkin whoop pie from them. It was very tasty!

Lastly was Valicenti Organico. Which provided New Hampshire made pasta and sauce. Their sauce was delicious over their lobster raviolis. I enhanced this dish just a slight tweak with a pinch of cayenne pepper, and I sprinkled some chive n’ garlic goat cheese and paired it with Jewell Towne’s wine. It was a great dinner. Absolutely love the pasta and sauce made there!

This has been my exploration of the Manchester farmers’ market. It was a great time with great people and great food. Please try to check out your local market! If you have any suggestions for Markets you’d like me to go to shoot me an email or send me a commet.