The Tsarists of New Hampshire

Here’s a fascinating essay by Michael J. Connolly at The Imaginative Conservative:

World War One shattered the old political order, its traditional monarchies and aristocracies, and the historical boundaries of nations. The explosion also ejected the population of European nations across the world in a flood of refugees, both the high born and the low. Hundreds of thousands fled before invading armies in Belgium, Russia, Italy, Austria, and elsewhere. The 1917 Russian Revolution also cast a wave of refugees upon land and sea, including many members of the White Army fighting the Bolshevik government. Those in flight settled everywhere.

In 1930, walking up a lonely rural New Hampshire Road near Mt. Monadnock, you could spy a poultry farm teeming with turkeys and ducks, owned by a man who looked every inch an old Yankee descended from a Bradford or Mather. Instead, he was Prince Irakly Toumanoff, former colonel in the late Tsar Nicholas II’s Imperial Family Guard Regiment. In the 1930s and 1940s, he was known locally as “the Prince” and he and his wife Sophia became prominent New England anti-communists.

As you can guess, Prince Irakly was a White Russian émigré who wound up as a poultry farmer. He lived twenty minutes from President Franklin Pierce’s childhood home. And, looking back at his life, Prince Irakly said: “If somebody were to offer me what I once had, I think I would refuse.”

Go ahead and read the rest of Prof. Connolly’s essay. You won’t be disappointed. And when you’re done, check out the Toumanoff family archive.

Man, only in New Hampshire…

%d bloggers like this: