Summer exploits and a mystery

  • The 1.2-pound mystery stone is part of the New Hampshire Historical Society collection. Monitor file

  • The mystery stone

  • The mystery stone

For the Monitor
Published: 8/5/2020 10:33:47 AM

Many years ago, our grandparents and their grandparents before were living during a time when they found their own entertainment during their childhoods. Swimming along the Merrimack River here in Concord, hiking around Rattlesnake Hill to explore the ongoing quarrying. Fishing in Long Pond or perhaps a visit with the traveling circus as it arrived here each summer.

The youngsters of yesteryear were very creative with their time and certainly very appreciative to enjoy their young lives. When they were not enrolled in school or working on the family farm, they gained a very healthy respect for the scarce leisure time their parents afforded them.

When my great-grandfather was a young man in his mid-30s, he lived here in Concord, the son of Irish immigrants, where he was born. He was very much like other children and enjoyed his spare time, eventually entering into the granite business as his father did before him. My great-grandfather finally purchased his own piece of land on Rattlesnake Hill and opened his own quarry where he worked long hours while offering a quality product to his consumers. As he worked each day his mind would sometime wander back to his earlier years and he found great pleasure with those fond memories.

Around the year 1892, my great-grandfather learned about a discovery in a field to the north towards the White Mountains. There was much excitement for a man plowing his field had discovered a relic that was very old. The farmer to the north of Concord sent word that he would bring his newly discovered artifact to Concord and let the people see what he had discovered. He planned to donate his find to the New Hampshire Historical Society and obtained great pleasure when he arrived in Concord, seeing many dozens of people gather around his wagon to see just what he had discovered. It was indeed a mystery and the crowd of people gathered continued to grow. My great grandfather was 38 and he too was in the crowd gathered in Concord on this day.

The wagon arrived as planned, the farmer from the north stood upon his wagon gazing across the crowd gathered on Main Street in front of the State House. With much care and delicacy, the farmer opened a wooden crate and reached within to extract the artifact wrapped in old burlap. The crowd tensed as the farmer slowly unwrapped his find and held it high for all to see. Within his hands he held a stone head, from the top of the forehead to the chin it was just 4 inches. From the tip of the nose to the back of the head it was just three inches. The presiding historians looked on in amazement when they realized this stone head from the fields north of Concord towards the White Mountains was not of Native American origin. In fact, some of the people in the crowd with credentials stated openly that this stone head with the large nose looked Roman. It was simply unlike anything that anyone had ever seen, especially in New Hampshire. Speculation continued as the crowd dispersed and talk continued for weeks. Who lived in New Hampshire prior to the Native Americans? Did we have explorers visiting our land from afar, perhaps Roman or even Viking?

The story circulated for many years and was very enjoyable for the most part. There simply was no explanation nor was anyone searching in vain, for the story was enjoyable and the mystique surrounding the story added greatly. My grandfather Martin Spain was born in 1894, just a couple of years after the discovery of the mysterious stone head from north of Concord. As my grandfather grew and was enrolled in the Tahanto Elementary School in Fosterville, his father shared the story with him.

My grandfather and friends from the north end enjoyed the story during their boyhoods too and were inspired to search for relics of the past as well as buried treasure right here in Concord.

The years claimed the story about the stone head and the young men and boys in Concord grew old. Sometimes in their old age they still spoke of the farmer standing tall in his wagon in front of the State House. The farmer that so proudly opened the burlap wrapped relic that he removed from the wooden crate. It was a simple story that my great grandfather told his son. My grandfather told my father and now I’m telling you.


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