The Humphrey & Lucy Chadbourne Archaeology Site

It has become a tradition that at the end of season cookout and celebration Brad Fletcher will reveal some excerpts of new research "found" about the site and its inhabitants. These humorous invented histories have been placed on the web page by popular request. 

     logo based on an excavated seal
Lucy Chadbourne's Journal (1999)
A List of Lesser Known Chadbournes (2000)

From Lucy Chadbourne’s Journal - allegedly "found" in the Massachusetts Archives (first delivered August 25, 1999)

1642  We decide to look for land up the river as Strawberry Banke is too expensive.  A two bedroom with a middling yard costs over L400.  Humphrey did some work on the Maine side years back… nice neighborhood, close to everything.

1643. We buy land in Newhich… Nw… Nowwich… Wonnich…  up the river.  The aging Indian Sagamore Rowls is the Century Eighteen Agent.  He retains fishing rights, and I commend him for keeping his people’s welfare in mind.  He snorts that he doesn’t want them fishing there either—it’s just his favorite spot now that he’s retiring.

1651. Hump’s plan to make a killing by cornering the brick market has come to naught.  For years he has been assiduously buying and collecting every brick he can find and piling them in the cellars.  There are hundreds of them down there, floor to ceiling.  In his despair and mad rage he took a hammer this afternoon and began smashing them to pieces.  Now there is a thick layer of rubble for a floor.  I chided him, asking who will clean it up.   He bitterly promised to leave it for his great great grandchildren’s great grandchildren.

1655  A place of scarcity.  Iron is so hard to come by that we save all we can find or scrounge—nails, saw blades, tools.  Much of it we can’t identify, but toss it in the cellar and think it may come in handy some day.  We often laugh that if someone were to find all of our nails they would think we had a house full of furniture instead of a few chests.

1658.  With such long winters I decide to take up a hobby.  I tell Humphrey that I am going to collect dishes and plates, but he laughs that they will be hard to come by in this wilderness.  He is right, so I decide to collect broken plates, which neighbors are more willing to part with.  I am collecting an assortment of sgraffito ware, Delft, lead glaze, salt glaze, redware, North Devon, South Devon, East and West Devon.  Why, it would take an expert to know all kinds!    Just today, knowing my interest, an Indian woman brought me some small pieces of inscribed prehistoric pottery she just made and accidentally broken.  Little Humphrey has fixed on window glass and does his collecting with a rock for which the neighbors are always complaining.  His sister caught the bug and every day adds to her growing collection of pipe bowls and stems.

1667.  According to Humphrey’s ardent wish to be remembered as an important person, his friends conducting the inventory of his property bend the rules slightly.  Rather than assessing a monetary value, they pile up all of his things and weigh them.  They come to over 1,700 pounds!  He would be gratified.

1690.  Lately the area has become popular with bands of French and Indian tourists coming down from Canada.  They tend to get out of hand, but they bring a lot of money to the economy so we are loathe to say anything.  Just now I can hear a bunch of them whooping and hollering up river, around Salmon Falls.  Sounds like they’re heading this way.   Gotta go.

A List of Lesser Known Chadbournes Who Passed Time At Humphrey’s Hearth, Gleaned From Obscure Sources (first delivered August 24, 2000)

“All-Right Chadbourne” So named, evidently, not for his moral forthrightness or religious conviction, but rather for the prodigious strength of his right arm in feeding large logs directly into the sawmill blade.  After 1660 referred to in manuscripts as “Lefty.”

“Ne’er-Do-Well Chadbourne”  The family remains divided about the meaning of this name, many insisting that it is not a reference to turpitude, but rather birth-order, and that he was born after his brother, the prophetically named  “Do-Well Chadbourne,” hence, he was born “near Do-Well.”  Skeptics point out, however, that there is no “Do-Well” in any family histories.

“Sffassarffass Chadbourne” Highly controversial.  A likely name found etched as individual letters and lines in nearly one hundred pieces of window glass, brick, and redware found spread over the archeological site.  Painstakingly reconstituted by Tad Baker who admits that the unintelligible admixture of pre-modern S’s and F’s renders this name virtually nonsensical, while other scholars claim that the first, second, fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth letters are merely scratches on shards and debris, and the other letters aren’t even that.  Debate rages whether the ff’s are s’s, or simply f’s, and some believe the s’s are s’s, others f’s, or possibly p’s and q’s.  At any rate, no one is sure whether this is a name or nickname, whether it refers to a male or female, but alll agree he/she/it was very wealthy.

“ Iron-Monger Chadbourne” As his name suggests, an itinerant iron-monger who travelled over the Piscataqua collecting all of the discarded scrap and wrought iron he could find or filch.  “Rusty” as he was known stored his treasures at the Humphrey Chadbourne house, as evidenced by a line in an extant letter where Lucy ordered him to “Gette ye grate piles of ill-gottene irone crappe from out my sellar.”

“Sue Chadbourne” As diminutive as she was demure, stalwart Sue eschewed the comforts of home and family to become the Chadbourne’s first genealogist.  Hers was a solitary mission, disapproved of by her family and facing alone the perils of the Atlantic and the Piscataqua wilderness to record her lineage, which she claimed to have traced back “to ye Christian Godde, who was a Chadbourne by marriage.”   Lucy, for example, complained “Of what use can this prying liste be?  Sue cannot slotter a pigge or make a proper hearth cake, but she is moste busye riting everyone’s names in her booke.”   According to family tradition, Humphrey is said to have roared at her, “I’ve noe time for damned scribbling wimmin,” but pointed out that she omitted the second h in his name.  She disappeared during the 1690 raid and was last seen rushing about attempting to record the names of the French and Indian attackers.

“Helzapoppin Chadbourne” A shiftless youth, widely known as the black sheep of the family, said to be responsible for more house, mill, and barn fires in the Newichawannock region than God and the Indians combined.  In an attempt to teach him discipline, and get him out of the house, Humphrey signed him on with the Phip’s invasion of Canada.  None could have foreseen the bizarre turn of events that followed, as the young man, bored by siege conditions and lured by the fleshpots of Quebec, literally jumped ship and went over to the enemy.  In the words of one shipmate who watched him go, “Wee shotte our gunnes and shooke our fistes at Ye damned blackguard, hideous traitor, and villianous rascale, but all sed he was verily and withall a passable fine swimmer.”  Regarded as a spy and marked for instant death, he escaped by showing the French an equation proving that the number of soldiers and sailors in Phip’s fleet was greater than the number of sailors and soldiers if you ignore the rule to do the work inside the parentheses first.  Renamed Le Comte Renee-Pierre de Rochefoucauld du Chadbourne and offered either a vice-admiralty in France or a coat with shiny buttons for his invaluable service, the young man soon cut a dashing figure about Quebec in his new coat.  The haughtily self-styled “mouton noir” remained in sporadic correspondence with his Piscataqua family, however, and was known to be last in touch with them in January 1690 when he announced in a letter to his brother, “Planning to come south with a bunch of friends this spring. See you in March.”
Learn more about the site
See artifacts from the site
See a plan of excavation
See a conjectural site reconstruction
Link to Chadbourne Family Association

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