Friday, October 12, 2012

Captain Titus Salter House

The Captain Titus Salter House, also known simply as the old Salter House, is located on the northeast corner of Salter and Marcy Streets.

Captain Titus Salter build this mansion around 1745, the year he married Elizabeth ‘Eliza’ Bickford. They had ten children here, and the property remained in the family for over a century. 

Captain Titus owned a large shipping complex in this area, with wharves and warehouses where merchant ships loaded and unloaded cargo. He built a smaller gambrel-roofed home across the street, which may still exist, that he used as servants quarters, probably for African slaves.

Titus Salter was the son of John Salter, who immigrated to this country from Exeter, England around 1680. His older brother, also named John, built the Captain John Salter House and the Cushman House on Washington Street.

At the beginning of hostilities against Great Britain in 1775, Captain Titus Salter commanded batteries of artillery at Fort Washington on Peirce Island and at Fort Sullivan on Seavey Island. The forts guarded the Narrows, the channel between the two islands, and protected Portsmouth Harbor. You can still see some ruins from Fort Washington, which was rebuilt in 1812, on the walking trail on the east side of Peirce Island. 

Captain Titus remained the commander of these two forts until the summer of 1779, when he assumed command of an armed privateer named Hampden with twenty guns. The ship, owned by John Langdon and manned by Portsmouth seamen, sailed for Boston to aid the colonial navy.

Titus Salter died here in 1798.

The old photograph below is over a century old, from C. S. Gurney's 1902 book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque.

The original picture was taken from a second-floor window of a Marcy Street home. For mine, I stood just below the window from where I think C. S. Gurney's photo was captured.

Captain Titus Salter's old mansion is now an apartment complex and has recently been refurbished.

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