Benjamin F. Heath, a wellknown resident of Warner and its present Representative in the State legislature, was born August 2, 1835, in that town, at the Lower Village, son of Matthias Heath. The father, a native of Henniker, this county, born in 1790, came to Warner in early manhood. He married Mary Rand, who was born in Warner in 1797, in the log house in which her parents, Ephraim and Lucy (Noyes) Rand, began housekeeping. Matthias Heath was a teacher for some years. Subsequently he engaged in trade in Bradford, N.H., and then in Hillsborough, finally settling in Warner, where he resided until his death in 1846. His wife, who survived him many years, passed away in 1887, in her ninetieth year. They were the parents of three children, namely: Benjamin F., the subject of this sketch; Anna W., who is living in Warner; and Lydia M., who was an invalid from her early girlhood, and died at the age of forty-three years.
Benjamin F. Heath completed his education at the Hopkinton Academy at the age of nineteen, and for four years thereafter taught school in Hopkinton and Warner. He was then employed for five years as clerk in a store in this town. This situation he gave up to accept the position of cashier and head book-keeper in the office of the Boston Cultivator in Boston. He remained there until failing health warned him to seek a more active occupation, and outdoor exercise became imperative. Then he went West for a year, after which he returned to Warner village, where he was engaged in mercantile pursuits for four years, in company with Ira Harvey and H. S. Willis. From 1874 until 1887 Mr. Heath successfully carried on the business alone. Since that time he has been largely engaged in probate work, settling many estates, mostly in Warner. He has also often served as commissioner on estates, has been an appraiser of real estate, and has written many insurance papers. For about a year after its incorporation he was the Secretary of the Merrimack Glove Company. An unswerving Republican in politics, he has attended all the conventions of the party in this vicinity, and has taken an active part in the management of local affairs. He was a member of the School Board for a number of terms, and he served several terms in the capacities of Town Treasurer and Town Clerk. In 1896 he was elected for a term of two years to the State legislature. He has been a Trustee and the Treasurer of the Pillsbury Free Library since it was founded in 1871.
On May 19, 1870, Mr. Heath married in Boston Miss Julia A. Wadleigh. She is a daughter of Philip S. H. and Rhoda W. (Kendrick) Wadleigh, of Sutton, N.H., and a graduate of the New London Literary and Scientific Institution. Their only child, Fred Harvey Heath, a bright, intelligent lad of fourteen, is now attending the high school. Both Mr. and Mrs Heath attend the Baptist church. An active and prominent Mason, Mr. Heath Warner; is a member of Woods Chapter, No. 14, of Henniker, in which he has passed all the chairs, and served as High Priest; has been an officer in the Grand Lodge; and is a member of the Council of the order of High Priesthood, whose membership included the late John J. Bell, of Exeter. The deep interest Mr. Heath has constantly taken in educational matters found useful employment in the legislature of 1897, when he was an active and efficient member of the Committee on Education. In his legislative capacity he also served on the Conference and other committees, and was the introducer of several bills that passed both houses and received the signature of the governor.