Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Gunning and Taxidermy / Account of Game From 1857 to 1890

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Gunning and Taxidermy

No account of the industries of Hampton would be complete, without mention of the taking of game in our woods and especially on the marshes and out at sea. While with many it is a pastime merely, there have been men, probably from the earliest times, who have followed gunning as a trade, though few have found it lucrative. Charles G. Perkins and David F. Nudd, living on the sea-shore, have been among the foremost gunners of recent times, following the Palmers and others in long array; while the younger men of many names seem likely to perpetuate the avocation, and strangers book at the hotels every autumn for the season's sport.

James W. Blake, "a mighty hunter," familiar with forest and shore for miles around, has kept a record of his game for more than thirty years; and this he gives us, as follows:

Account of Game From 1857 to 1890

(Sea-fowl in general not included, nor crows and hawks, except for the two years when bounties were paid. This game was all killed in Hampton.)
581 muskrats, sold for $115.41
111 minks, sold for   258.35
598 rabbits, sold for     58.80
7 foxes, sold for       9.00
114 grey squirrels, sold for       6.90
758 partridges, sold for   287.29
73 woodcock, sold for     37.05
273 snipe, sold for     48.95
109 ducks, sold for     40.90
3879 marsh birds, sold for   450.27
64 teal, sold for     11.66
102 pigeons, sold for     13.60
9 geese, sold for       6.75
  2 years' bounty on
hawks and crows --
148 crows, sold for     14.80
97 hawks, sold for     18.40
Total 6923 Total, $1380.13

Mr. Blake is a shoe-maker, mostly of sale work from the factories. His record of shoes for the same period as above is 19,926 pairs, for which he received $2483.38. During the same period he has stuffed and mounted 843 birds and quadrupeds.

Zipporah J. Jenness
Mrs. Zipporah J. Jenness and her Birds [All taken in Hampton.]
This brings us to the mention of taxidermists, of whom there are two in Hampton, besides Mr. Blake -- Mrs. Abbot B. (Zipporah J.) Jenness and S. Albert Shaw. So far as can be learned, no others have ever practiced the art here to any extent.

The beautiful plumage first attracted the little girl, Zipporah J. Shaw. Her brother used to shoot blue-jays in the corn-field and sometimes save the feathers; and she would beg him to let her have a bird to stuff. At last, he gave her a little bluebird and showed her how to skin it. She succeeded so well, he soon let her have all she wanted and often shot birds for her. Then people began to bring her work., She studied books on taxidermy, and practiced the lessons so well, she has long since become a famous taxidermist in all these parts, and without advertising, has an average annual patronage of a hundred birds, stuffed and mounted by her own hands in spring and fall, work extending into the winter for owls. Of these Mrs. Jenness stuffed thirty-four in the winter of 1889-90, sixteen of them being arctic owls, shot in Hampton.

Mr. S. Albert Shaw, her kinsman, stuffed a few birds as early as 1878, and began to make his collection two years later. With him, it is not a trade, but, as he says, a hobby. Mr. Shaw is a farmer, working early and late in the fields; and since 1880 he has made a study of the habits and migrations of birds and kept a record of his observations. In nesting time and again in the fall he takes daily walks in the woods, with spy-glass, note-book and pencil, often returning enriched by some new discovery. He is an occasional contributor to the columns of the Ornithologist and Oologist, a monthly magazine always to be found on his table. Mr. Shaw has a collection, all taken, stuffed and mounted by himself, of 335 birds representing 190 of the 202 species known to occur in Hampton. Oology follows naturally; and he has eggs of fifty-nine of the sixty-seven birds known to breed in Hampton. Egg of six other summer residents may possibly be found hereafter. Some of those taken are very rare, notably, those of the Nashville warbler, seldom found in New England, in the migration of that bird to the farther north.

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