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Boots of God

by Barbara Rimkunas

This "Historically Speaking" column was published in the Exeter News-Letter on Friday, September 14, 2018.

Transcribing old documents can take you to places you never imagined. Back in 2003, Exeter Historical Society volunteer Bill Gustin was laboring away on the 1860-61 diaries of B. Judson Perkins. Perkins was a twenty-year old Exeter farm boy who was attending Phillips Exeter Academy with Robert Todd Lincoln. His observations on the events leading up to the Civil War had us transfixed. His daily activities in and around Exeter provided us with a window into our local world. Bill struggled all day on one sentence from October 11th, 1861. Perkins and his cousin, Moses, walked into town on a rainy Friday and Moses “engaged a pair of boots of God.” At least, that was how Bill read it. After checking every reference we could think of to define “boots of God,” we decided to look into who the bootmakers were in town for some help. One of them - the most popul…

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