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    Site Number 22.  Blacksmiths were crucial in the early settlements; they repaired old tools and provided their fellow colonists with items ranging from nails and needles to horseshoes and harpoons.  Ships on long voyages always had a blacksmith on board.  The importance of their work continued up through the beginning of the 20th century; and the mills employed blacksmiths too.  The 1872 Newmarket Town Directory listed 14 blacksmiths. 

    The trade was often passed down from father to son.   Nathan Stackpole was a Newmarket blacksmith here in 1829.  Four of his sons continued the blacksmithing tradition, as did his grandson “A.T. Stackpole”.  A.T.  also designed Newmarket’s original town seal; the stained glass version made by A.T.’s great-grandson Karl Gilbert now hangs in the Town Council Chambers.

    Frank E. Lang came from a family of four generations of New Hampshire blacksmiths.  In 1886 he purchased an old blacksmith shop on this site.  Needing more space, he had this building constructed in 1891.  What with stagecoach, farm horses and racehorses to shoe, the stand could tend to upwards of 20 horses a day.  Mr. Lang continued his business here until 1941.

    Arthur Turcotte used the building for storage until 1971.  Then Richard Gallant restored the building and rented the space to Ron Lewis.  Lewis was the investigative journalist for Publick Occurrences who first broke the story about the Onassis oil refinery plans for Durham Point.   A self-taught blacksmith, he set up shop here, later taking on a blacksmithing apprentice, Russel Pope.  In 1975 when Lewis left Newmarket to study law, Pope bought the business.  At first, he recreated traditional hardware for colonial restoration projects—latches, hinges, simple iron hooks and nails.  His own style has since evolved, incorporating delicate leaves as a motif.  Pope was the only blacksmith representing New Hampshire during the 1999 Smithsonian/New Hampshire Folklife festival in Washington DC.  Since 1982 his forge has been on North Main Street.

    Joyce Russell moved into this building in 1985.  For over 20 years Joyce’s Kitchen cooked up breakfast for both visitors and townies.  Tim Nichols purchased the building in 2013.  Because the old Lang Blacksmith Shop was on the National Register of Historic Places, grant money helped to restore the outside of the building to its 1891 appearance.

    Check out the online stories about others who, over the centuries have sweated in leather aprons at Newmarket forges.

    For Site No. 22, head back up the Water Street to the Community Church.

    END OF AUDIO TEXT. See below for photos and more information.



    “Blacksmithing is both an art and a handicraft – there are few more attractive places for the average youth than village blacksmith shop.

    As Longfellow wrote:

    And children coming home from school look in at the open door;

    They love to see the flaming forge and hear the bellows roar.

    “The greatest charm of the blacksmith shop, both for village youth and grown folk, lies in the fact that, it is a place where the end result requires hand, brain and brawn to produce a piece that is artistically functional.

     “As for horseshoeing, in its best sense it rises to the dignity of one of the learned professions, for no one can shoe a horse properly without understanding something about the anatomy and physiology of the animal. 

    The calling of a blacksmith is one of dignity and honor – Blacksmith and Wheelwright.”

       – article in The Newmarket Advertiser, February 3, 1905

    The Beginnings of the Lang Blacksmith Shop

    Born in Hampton, NH, John M. Towle (1802-1890), had moved to Newmarket prior to 1830, and was working as a blacksmith in a two-story brick blacksmith shop behind the Congregational Church on Water Street.  Respected and well liked in the community, he was elected to the NH Legislature in 1842/43.  In 1830 he took on a young apprentice, 12-year-old Thomas Garland (c.1819-1896) born in Rye, NH.

    After his apprenticeship, Thomas remained employed with Mr. Towle and recruited his younger brother Charles Garland (1822-1902), also a blacksmith, to work in the Newmarket shop. Together the brothers worked with Towle and joined him in as congregants in the Methodist Church.  Thomas, like his employer, was active in the Rising Star Masonic Lodge. 

    In 1856 John Towle sold the business to the two Garland brothers. He left the hard work of a smithy for a physically less strenuous job of a merchant behind the counter.  He had married Mary Pinder (1803-c.1884) in town and together they raised their family.  He died in 1890 at age 87, widowed and the father of six daughters and three sons.  None of the boys took to the blacksmith trade.

    Thomas Garland worked as a blacksmith at this Water Street location until April 1886 when failing health forced him to retire; and he sold his part of the blacksmith business to William R. Nowell.   Thomas died ten years later at age 76. He had been a 58-year member of the Methodist Church and served as a church trustee most of that time.  He was also a member and Treasurer for the Swampscott Lodge of Odd Fellows. He was remembered in his obituary as “a man greatly esteemed and respected by all; being upright and honest in all his dealings; he made many friends and no enemies.” (The Newmarket Advertiser, June 1896)


    His brother Charles Garland continued working in the shop until August 1886 when the property was sold at auction.  Charles died in 1902—the last of the Garland family, with no near relatives.  A Republican in his politics, he had been a town selectman; and he, like his brother, also served many elected offices with the Odd Fellows.

    The result of the public auction was announced in the August 7, 1886 Newmarket Advertiser:

    The blacksmith shop in the rear of the Congregational Church, known as the Garland stand, was sold at auction to Frank E. Lang, a young man who has been employed there the past year.

    The Lang Blacksmith Shop and The Lang Legacy

    Frank E. Lang (1864-1944) came from a family of four generations of New Hampshire blacksmiths who shod horses and molded iron for a total of 175 years.  His father and grandfather

    worked at anvils in Candia and surrounding towns.  Frank was young when his father died, and in 1880 at age 16 he was apprenticed to his older brother who operated a blacksmith shop in Amesbury. After four years studying with his brother, he came to Newmarket in 1884 and worked for the Garland Brothers at their shop behind the church.  The brothers told him they would give him six months to see “if you last”.   Those six months stretched to 55 years.

    Five years after he bought the “Blacksmith stand” at the 1886 auction, Frank demolished the entire building and contracted Samuel Savage to build a larger building deemed “more convenient and roomy”.   (Newmarket Advertiser, 1891). 

    The new building included an addition for a carriage repair and paint shop.  During those years (1886-1896) business was brisk, what with stagecoach, farm horses and race horses to shoe, the stand could tend to upwards of 20 horses a day.  

    Yet five years after construction, he sold the business to Lewis Walker—sort of.

    Temporary Sellout & Buy Back: 1896-1901

    When Lewis Walker bought the shop from Frank, he kept him on as an employee, but never changed the name of the shop.  Whatever business arrangements had been agreed upon in 1896 were never fully explained in the paper at the time.  It could have been due to a several factors:

    1. Perhaps it was understood between the two men that the arrangement was only temporary.
    2. Perhaps Frank’s staffing woes, and problems retaining help were behind the transfer.  
    3. Perhaps when Frank erected his large building in 1892, the addition of the woodworking and carriage painting shop may have been caused unanticipated construction costs.
    4. Perhaps Frank’s loans/finances were tied to the Newmarket Bank. When its cashier S. Haley died in 1892 it was discovered that the bank was on the brink of collapse with no capital reserves. That explosive disclosure was immediately followed by the worldwide financial “Panic of ‘93.” So the bank’s existence was precarious; a run on the bank was stopped only by last-minute assurances that all would be made good upon the sale of the entire S. Haley estate.  And that took a few years[see Site No. 26— Newmarket Bank].
    5. Perhaps Frank suffered too many losses at the track. During the summer of 1894, Lewis A. Walker leased the Hall Driving Park for the season for horse racing.  He and Frank Lang, along with John “Elmer” Kent (Lewis Walker’s brother-in-law) were all extensively involved with owning and racing horses at the Hall Park.  Horse racing was expensive for the owners. At a time when the economy was teetering, a  lot of money was made and lost at the public betting cages and inside the stalls.  Lewis A. Walker won a lot of races; sometimes Frank was lucky if he placed third.
    6. When Frank Lang sold out to Lewis Walker in 1896, two notices were published together in The Newmarket Advertiser (September 12, 1896, page 5).

    Publicly it appeared the changeover was permanent.  Despite a comment by Louis Filion that “Lewis couldn’t shoe a horse,” Lewis was no stranger to shoeing horses.  As a lumberman he always had taken care of several teams of large workhorses.

    1. Lewis Walker never indicated a name change to the business during the entire time of his occupancy; all his ads were as listed above: “Having bought the tools, stock, etc. of F.E. Lang, I am prepared to do….”

    The only time the name “Walker’s Blacksmith Shop” ever appeared was when Thomas Hart leased the downstairs Carriage Shop in April 1898 and placed this ad in the paper.

    1. And perhaps questions of domestic financial stability may have been taken into account.  Two months after the sellout, Frank’s son Harold was born, and it was announced in the paper that Frank was moving his family to Exeter where he was opening another blacksmith shop. 
    2. The following are notes by George F. Walker, Jr. concerning the transactions:

    “On 1896-10-14 Lewis A. Walker married John E. Kent’s sister, Susan Nute Kent.   Four and a half  years after his marriage, he was out of the blacksmith business, having sold the business back to Frank Lang.

    “On or about 1901-04-05 it was understood by the public that Lang was about to return to Newmarket, from Amesbury, and “re-purchase the blacksmith business of Lewis A. Walker”.  It was published a week later that on Monday of the intervening week, Lang had in fact take possession of the Blacksmith Shop and business that “Mr. Walker – had sold out to him.”

    “Simultaneously, in the same issue and on the same page of the Advertiser it was announced that Harry W. Haines and J. Elmer Kent had purchased the blacksmith shop and business of C. J. Folds.

    “Haines and Kent in the meantime had hired Lewis George as a blacksmith. George had previously been employed in Lewis Walker’s shop on Water Street.  For a few weeks George worked for Haines and Kent out of the old Folds shop, That shop would later be moved to the rear of the Kent Stable. [Walking Tour Site #1]   At that time Kent was re-establishing his livery stable business in a new location and a new building.  It would make sense to have a blacksmith shop that he owned.”

    1. Or perhaps there was no behind-the-scenes agreement, and the sale/resale was just the co-incidence of two businessmen going with the ebb and flow of their individual finances concerning the Panic of 1893 and the run on the Newmarket Banks. 
    2. Perhaps we’ll never know!

    Frank Lang’s Career

    In the beginning of his career, Frank also worked as a wheelwright, repairing carriage tires (this meant heating iron and attaching steel rims to wooden carriage wheels).

    Over the course of 55 years, Frank hired several men on and off, and (according to Frank) they all left his employ as friends.  Some who left opened their own shops but couldn’t compete with Lang’s work or prices.  (Frank would often see what they charged and lower his prices competitively.)

    In August of 1895 Aime Juneau, a Frenchman from Michigan bought out all of Asa Chase’s carpentry equipment and leased the downstairs woodworking shop in Frank’s new building and began his own wheelwright business (again under the name of F.E. Lang. He essentially did all the carriage wheel portion of what would have been handled in the blacksmith shop.  It appears that the venture was short-lived, as there is no further record of him being in town after November 1895.

    One man hired and trained by Frank was James McDaniel of Lee who learned his trade from Frank before moving on. 

     Another was F.P. Haines who was hired in August 1893; however, two weeks later he quit as “he found he could not stand such muscular work”. 

     William J. Frost was hired in August 1893.  He had moved to Newmarket two months earlier after marrying the daughter of Stephen and Ann Chapman. He quit after a year and opened his own shop across the creek in October, 1894.  That shop lasted only two years; he and his family moved to Nashua in 1895.  Known as that “Shop Across The Creek” it remained there over the years with different  blacksmiths leasing it out, but none lasted and they weren’t any real competition.

    Despite employee turnover and various competitors, Frank Lang’s business apparently remained strong.  He moved his family into a new home in Newfields in 1921, leaving their Spring Street rental behind.

    But times had changed.  Looking back… 

    • In 1886, 22-year old Frank Lang bought a business and was plying his trade at a time when horses were the only way to get somewhere without a train track or a boat.
    • The John Ayers stagecoach’s scheduled stop was in front of the Newmarket House.  Prior to pickup, he would have his horses checked and reshod in the Lang Blacksmith shop out behind the Congregational Church.
    • And with horse power a crucial element in many farm tasks, well-shod horses’ hooves were awfully important.

    After the appearance of the automobile and tractors, the horseshoe business diminished until it was a novelty to see a horse in his shop. His business became the repair and resale of farm implements, selling plows and mowing machines, and “puttering” over little repair jobs people brought in.

    As was noted at the time of Frank’s retirement,

     “Eventually, in the course of half a century, he saw developing one competitor he couldn’t compete with the automobile.  In the early days, when he was shoeing stagecoach horses, and later prize

    racehorses, business thrived, with 20 or more horses a day to shoe.”   The stagecoach, which ran through here to Northwood was driven by John Ayers, a man who took good care of his horses, Mr. Lang says. At that time also, he was shoeing the 100 horses owned and boarded by Whitcomb of Stratham who owned the magnificent estate now known as the Baker milk farm.”   (“Newmarket Blacksmith Retires after 55 Years,” Manchester Union, Aug. 1, 1941) 




    Frank’s Retirement and Sell-off

    Frank was still in good health and working in July 1941 when he finally decided to retire at age 77.  He sold all his tools: some fairly old pieces such as a tire upsetter he’d purchased in 1896, and some more recent - like his new lathes which were quite modern.

    All his property was auctioned off; however, it was local farmers who did most of the bidding, as they now did most of their own repair work—and these men weren’t particularly wealthy.

    So, in the end, not much money was made from the sale. The anvil which Frank bought when he first started his own business 55 years ago went for only $2.50, which was discouraging as he was symbolically welded to this piece of metal.

    Frank sold the building to Arthur J. Turcotte who used it as warehouse storage for his hardware store located across Main Street in the old Star Theater building

    Frank passed away three years later in 1944.  Reflecting on his time in the blacksmith shop, he told the Manchester Union Leader reporter: “It was a good life, hard times; but it was regular work. That’s why I could do it so long”.

    Frank E. Lang (1864-1944)  left behind his widow Maude E. (Gray) Lang, a daughter Beatrice (Mrs. Edward Kendall) of Newfields; and three sons: Harold (a blacksmith) and Charles (ice dealer) of Newmarket, and Gilman (electrician) of Swamscott, Mass.  He is buried in Newfields Town Cemetery.

    Arthur Harold Lang (1896-1974)

     Frank’s son “Harold” learned his father’s trade at the Water Street shop; however, according to Frank, Harold was a bit more modern.  Instead of working out of the shop, Harold would travel around the countryside for a radius of 25 to 30 miles in his automobile and shoe horses and repair farm equipment.

    Harold was one of only four graduates from Newmarket High School Class of 1916.  During the outbreak of the WW I he worked on the many wartime projects of the Newmarket Red Cross. He lived with his parents on Spring Street and worked in his father’s blacksmith shop on Water Street.  He enlisted at age 20 in October 1918, assigned as an Army Private in Co. G, Army Training Corps, NH College, Durham.  Discharged on 26 Nov 1918 a few weeks after the war ended, he never left Durham.

    Harold married Bernice Norton of Newmarket and built a house on Grant Road opposite the old Crow and Eagles Mill, using the old foundation of the home previously owned by A.C. Haines.  (That house was moved by oxen to South Main Street.)  He continued working part time as a blacksmith and horse-shoer after Frank’s retirement in 1941.  He still worked out of his car while working first as Newmarket Road Agent, and later at Kingston Warren Mfg.

    Harold died in 1974, leaving his wife and daughters Mildred Smith and Barbara Reilly.   He was a member of the Eagles, Sons of the Civil War, American Legion, and Newmarket Community Church.  He served as a Noble Grand in the Odd Fellows from 1937-1940. 

    Harold and Bernice’s son, Staff Sergeant Arthur H. Lang, Jr. had been Killed in Action during World War II when his fighter aircraft was hit by enemy fire during the 1942 battle over Naxos, Greece.   Lang’s Lane is named in his memory. 

    The Old Blacksmith Shop Gets a New Look

     From 1941 until 1971, Arthur Turcotte used Frank Lang’s old Blacksmith Shop as a storage space.  He then sold the property to Richard Gallant of Gallant Industries. 

    The building served as home to many different establishments throughout the 1970s and 80s, including another blacksmith shop, a foundry, a framing shop and a woodworking shop.

    Gallant had some industrialist family ties to Newmarket. But he was also a history enthusiast, conservationist and seaman.  He renovated the 1891 building in 1974, replacing the clapboard siding with wood board and batten and installing new windows. He also removed the second-floor office extension over Water Street. [See more on Richard Gallant at Site No. 43 –the Agents House]

    The Anvil Strikes Again:  A True Renaissance Man Opens Shop

    Ron Lewis, a native of Buffalo, WY, graduated from Dartmouth College in 1965.  He taught French and literature at UNH and Oyster River High School while pursuing a Master’s Degree in French Education from Harvard in 1969.  Ron was a self-taught blacksmith, and had an earlier small shop in the Northwood area.  He stopped teaching in 1971 and joined the New Hampshire League of Craftsmen as an “Artistic Blacksmith”. 

    A few years later, during the “Onassis oil refinery uproar” Ron was an investigative journalist for the Publick Occurrences newpaper.  His reporting was written up in the New York Times in an article by John Kifner Special, published March 11, 1974:

     “Another important factor in the refinery fight was the emergence of a new regional newspaper called Publick Occurrences in the seacoast area. One of the paper’s part‐time reporters, Ron Lewis, a blacksmith, first disclosed that parcels of land were being bought up for an oil refinery, and the paper wrote extensive and frequently critical articles about Olympia plans and maneuvers.”

    During his time with Publick Occurrences he became aware of Richard Gallant’s purchase and restoration of the shop. He approached Gallant and moved into the space.   He was working part time blacksmithing and part time at the paper when Russell Pope showed up in the winter of 1975.   At that time Ron was planning to go to law school and was looking for someone to take over the shop.

     Ron left Newmarket to study law at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.  In 1978 he received the AM JUR award in environmental law and was a student writer for the SeaGrant program with two limited publications. He was admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (1979), the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (1985), the U.S. Supreme Court (1990), and the U.S. Claims Court (1991).

    Mr. Lewis has been in continuous private practice in Oxford, Mississippi since 1978.  On his company’s website, ( he writes that he came to “the practice of law in 1978 a bit late after careers in teaching, newspaper reporting, and as an artist blacksmith.  My priorities upon entering law school were first to protect the environment, then individuals, then government, then business.  I have remained true to these priorities throughout my career”.

    Russell Pope

    In March 1975, just after Russell Pope was hired and the ice went out, Ron Lewis took on a 27-year-old apprentice named Russell Pope.   Five months later Mr. Pope bought the business. He describes how he got started as a blacksmith while in military service:

     “I had a desk job in Washington, DC.  At that point I decided that I did not want to have a career working for the government or working behind a desk.  As a kid, our house had a “mud room” with one wall dedicated to a work bench ad hanging tools.  There Dad and us kids did projects. 

    “While I was in DC, one of the army bases had a woodwork shop where servicemen could work on personal projects.  I made furniture, took pottery lessons, and tried photography.  Someone mentioned Blacksmithing, it sounded interesting.  I started exploring blacksmithing and never stopped.”

    After Ron Lewis taught him the basics of working with steel, copper, bronze and brass, Mr. Pope learned the rest on his own.  Through trial and error, reading, studying ironwork, and visiting other shops, he learned the same techniques that were used hundreds of years ago.  And he was versatile enough to learn new techniques and apply his methods in making new products as well as bettering the established old standards.

    By 1977 Pope was the owner of the only privately owned blacksmith shop in town.  The old Stackpole Blacksmith Shop on Exeter Street had morphed into Shelton’s Autobody shop, and Brady’s old shop on Beech Street Extension had also changed to auto repair.  There were four or five other smiths in the Seacoast area; and in 1981 there were maybe two dozen in the state.

    In a July 10th 1981 Foster’s Daily Democrat interview with Ned Finkel he is quoted as saying:

    “It was a romantic craft when I first started.  Working in the dark shop by the glowing fire, with sparks flying from the anvil as I worked.  But it was hard work and oftentimes not so romantic.  There are days that I have to make nails.”  

    He worked alone, fashioning hardware from wrought iron using forge welding which is more demanding and difficult than using gas or electric arc welding. There is a lot more risk involved with forge welding – if the metals aren’t just the right temperature you can ruin hours of work.

    While work was somewhat slow when he started out in 1975, Pope’s business increased due to his talent and sense of aesthetic design.

    Much of his work at that time was patterned after the latches, hinges, and simple iron hooks that blacksmiths for hundreds of years before him had created. But he created his own style and trademark – delicate leaves as decorative motifs in his work.  He also created more traditional items, as well as hand forged nails.  As a member of NH League of Craftsmen, Pope’s creations have been exhibited over the years throughout the state.

    Many of Russell Pope’s first customers were restoring eighteenth century homes and wanted latches, hinges and hooks which would be authentic to the period, and not mass produced or sold in the box stores. 

    However, one of his customers didn’t understand the difference in price.  Pope was charging one dollar for a standard 3- inch nail, and the customer thought that was too much.  Then he saw Pope actually create one.  After that he thought one dollar was nowhere near enough. 

    Currently, Pope has no apprentices in the shop; however there are other smiths, young and old, who help out in the shop with larger projects.  He writes: 

     ”I think we all learned from each other.   That does not mean that I am ‘self-taught’.  In the mid-1970s there was a rebirth of blacksmithing and other crafts.  There has been a strong and growing blacksmith movement in the USA.  At that time the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America was founded.  (  Shortly after that regional chapters started up.  The New England Blacksmith Association is one of them.  NEB is a nonprofit education organization.   ( ) It started small, now in 2022 it has about 600 members, about 20% being professional smiths.  NEB sponsors a newsletter, conferences, workshops and offers scholarships to events and schools.”

    “Being a member of both ABANA and NEB exposed me to a wide variety of people, new friends, colleagues, skills and business knowledge that enabled me to survive.  I feel lucky to be a member of an association or group of people who openly share information and help each other learn about our craft.”

    There are a number of other blacksmiths listed with the League of NH Craftsmen and the NH Council on the Arts.  Russell Pope, however, was the only blacksmith from NH to attend/demonstrate the art of the blacksmith during the Smithsonian/New Hampshire Folklife festival in Washington DC in 1999.

    In 1981 Richard Gallant put the building up for sale, and Russell Pope left Frank Lang’s old building the following year.   In 1991 he moved to a new space at 32 North Main Steet and has been doing business there at his shop Elements of Steel.

    Now in his seventies, whether hammering out copper bowls, a spiral candlestick, a curved iron latch, or an exquisite staircase, Russell Pope remains a master craftsman of Newmarket.  His distinctive work in the 21st century is a far cry from the blacksmiths of the past three hundred years.

    NH Support for Cultural Heritage

    Russell Pope is on the website - a Powerpoint presentation listing artists involved in Traditional Arts and Folklife in New Hampshire.  For more information, check out his


    The End of the Road and a 2015 Building Renovation

    In 1983 the building was sold to Robert & Antonia Albee. Their daughter Joyce Russell owned and operated Joyce’s Country Kitchen on the bottom floor.  It was a popular restaurant from 1985 until 2008 when it closed.  Joyce specialized in hearty breakfasts and traditional lunches, and for 20 years many Newmarket High students worked in her restaurant after school hours and during summer vacations.

    The building remained vacant from 2008 until 2013 when Tim Nichols purchased it, along with the adjacent lot along the waterfront.  The plan was to restore the shop to its 1890 appearance and construct multifamily dwellings designed to be highly energy efficient.  

    At that time the old Lang Blacksmith Shop was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Construction began in 2013 on the high-efficiency townhouses; and renovations to the shop began in the late summer of 2014.

    Nichols’ crew worked with the state and federal governments for a 20 percent grant for the historic renovation. Nichols explained that while they can gut the inside of the structure, they really can’t do much to the outside shell.

    “We have limited flexibility on what we can do,” Nichols said as he stood inside what last was Joyce’s Kitchen, surrounded by what he described as some of the “great old timbers,” used inside the blacksmith shop. “If we want to add a window or remove a window it has to be approved by the state.” (from a Seacoast Online article by Jeff McMenemy, Sept. 2013)

    The grant, along with the profit from selling the townhomes, will make the restoration of the blacksmith shop feasible, Nichols and Boivin said.

    Construction was completed in December 2015 and the old blacksmith shop now houses office residential space.   Today the structure once again resembles the 1901 structure as constructed by Samuel Savage and as printed earlier in this article.