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Charles Eastman Staniels, a prominent life insurance agent of Concord, N.H., was born in Lowell, Mass., December 27, 1844, son of Edward L. and Ruth Bradley (Eastman) Staniels. The father, born in Chichester, N.H., for many years was interested in the drug business, successively in Lowell and Boston, Mass. Toward the latter part of his life he removed to Roxbury, Mass., then a suburb of Boston, and died there at the age of sixty-five years. He was twice married. By his first wife there were three children, all of whom are now dead. His second marriage was made with Ruth Bradley Eastman, now over eighty-five years old, whose only child is the subject of this sketch. A daughter of General Isaac Eastman, of Concord, N.H., she is a direct descendant, in the sixth generation, of Captain Ebenezer Eastman, the first settler of Concord, and of Captain Edward Johnson, the historian of Woburn, Mass., one of the commissioners appointed by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony to fix the northern boundary of that colony in 1652. In 1833 a large boulder was discovered at the entrance of Lake Winnepesaukee at Weirs, N.H., bearing the initials of Governor John Endicott, with those of the commissioners, Captain Edward Johnson and Captain Symon Willard, which had remained unnoticed and subject to elemental conditions for one hundred and eighty-one years. The State of New Hampshire has erected a substantial stone. canopy upon this historic “Endicott Rock,” thereby protecting the ancient inscriptions for all time. Jonathan Staniels, the grandfather of Charles Eastman, was a native of Chichester, and followed the occupations of farmer and builder. He lived to a very advanced age, and left a family of twelve children. Judge William M. Chase, of Concord, is one of his descendants. The original surname of this family was Stanyan, and its annals are interwoven with those of Rockingham County.
Charles Eastman Staniels was educated in the Boston grammar schools and in the Roxbury Latin School. In the latter institution be was prepared for college, but the outbreak of the Civil War diverted him from the purpose of pursuing a collegiate course. He had enlisted in the Fifty-sixth Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers when his parents had him discharged on account of his extreme youth. He then went to work in a wholesale furnishing house in the city of Boston. Subsequently, in 1865, he became a commercial traveller for the same concern, and has been more or less on the road ever since. In those mid-century days, Western travel was an entirely different affair from the convenience and even luxury that attend it to-day. The inconvenience, hardship, and even suffering invoived in a long western mercantile trip in those days can hardly be comprehended to-day. “Staging,” as it was called, and steamboating on Western rivers were then common factors in a travelling man’s experience. Before the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad and the consequent development and growth of large business centres, the commercial traveller Texas; alkali, Indians, and snowdrifts on the plains; lime water, lager beer, bedbugs, and poker on the Mississippi; and brag, bluff, and bunco in Chicago and St. Paul.
In 1869 Mr. Staniels assumed the charge of a manufacturing establishment in Boston, and thereafter managed its affairs in the South and West for a number of years. At length, his health becoming somewhat undermined by his devotion to business matters, he removed to New Hampshire and took two years of complete rest. Then he engaged in the fire insurance business in Concord. To this he has since added life insurance, and has now been engaged in both very successfully for the past twelve years, highly esteemed by his business associates. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the National Life Underwriter’s Association of the United States since its organization, and has also served as President of the New Hampshire Life Underwriters’ Association. He married Eva F. Tuttle, of Boston, Mass., whose parents were natives of New Hampshire, and they have a family of three children; namely, Charles T., Mabel R., and Roscoe E.
A deservedly popular man in his community, Mr. Staniels has been elected to membership in numerous associations. He was twice chosen to fill the presidential chair of the New Hampshire Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and left that organization in fine condition when he retired from the office. He has also been President of the White Mountain Travellers’ Association. During its continuance he was the Secretary of the Chautauqua Assembly of New Hampshire, and also served the Eastman Family Association in a similar capacity. Wherever he has made his home, he has taken a keen interest in the local military matters. While living in Boston, he was a commissioned officer of the Boston Tigers. On one occasion, at the time of the “draft riots” in that city, he was in command of a detachment of that organization, guarding the arms and ammunition of the State stored in old Boylston Hall. Since coming to New Hampshire, he has served as a commissioned officer in the old Amoskeag Veterans. In politics Mr. Staniels is a Republican, and he cast his initial ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He is a member of the East Concord Congregational Church.