August 3, 2017 by rochesterhistoricalnh
On Thursday, March 12th at 7:00PM at the Rochester Historical Society Museum located on Hanson Street, Rochester, there will be a presentation by Linda Sargent and Virginia Rutledge of excerpts from the Journal of Civil War Assistant Surgeon Ezra Pray of the Union Navy. Surgeon Pray’s journal follows his service in the Union Navy from September 1861 through April 1862 where he served onboard the sailing bark (ship) US Fernandina stationed off the treacherous coast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. The US Fernandina was one of the first merchant sailing vessels commissioned and outfitted as a Union warship. It was assigned to blockade Confederate ports and seize ships attempting to run the blockade in order to deliver imports to the Confederacy.
In the 1820’s Surgeon Pray’s father, Ezra H. Pray, had established a homestead farm on lower Salmon Falls Road. His sons and daughters were well educated and prolific letter writers. Many of these letters, as well as Surgeon Pray’s Journal, have been preserved. His brother, Amasa Pray, had already enlisted as a private with other Salmon Falls Road boys in the 4th NH at Great Falls (Somersworth). Surgeon Pray’s journal is an excellent history of how precarious life was onboard a Union sailing ship during the early years of the Civil War.
Linda Sargent and Virginia Rutledge are longstanding members of the Rochester Historical Society and have conducted extensive research on Rochester, NH, especially the history of lower Salmon Falls Road. Linda is a retired schoolteacher and Virginia is a 28- year veteran of the U.S. Navy.
Admission is free and open to the public. For more information please call 603 330-3099 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo attached: The home of Dr. Ezra Pray at the end of the Old Salmon Falls Road on the curve of the current road near Tara Estates.