Fort Stark Historic Site

New Castle
NH

Portrait to Come

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Overlooking the Piscataqua River, Little Harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Stark was named in honor of General John Stark, commander of New Hampshire forces at the Battle of Bennington (1777).
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Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)