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Biography of Ezra Taft Sibley

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Ezra Taft Sibley, a retired manufacturer of Newport, Sullivan County, was born in Auburn, Mass., February 3, 1817, son of Ezra and Marcia (Taft) Sibley. His grandfather, Reuben Sibley, who was also a Massachusetts man, and is said to have been born in Sutton of that State, carried on general farming for a time. Reuben went to Maine and settled in the town of Jay, Franklin County, where he conducted a ferry on the Androscoggin River during the remainder of his life. His son, Ezra, born in Sutton, September 21, 1787, was a scythe maker-a trade which he learned when a Auburn, Mass., several years, was a liberal in religion, and a Democrat in politics. In the year 1815 he married Marcia Taft, a native of Uxbridge, Mass., who died at the age of twenty-eight years. They had two children: Ezra T., the subject of this sketch; and Evelyn, who married Mr. Lowell Sweetzer, of Wakefield, Mass., and died in June, 1871. His second marriage was contracted with Elmira Golding, who lived to a good age. He died March 13, 1830.

Ezra T. Sibley lived in Auburn until the death of his father, which occurred when he was but thirteen years of age. Then he went to his grandfather’s at Uxbridge, remaining there for two years. At this time he went to Millbury, Mass., where he entered the employ of Hale & Whipple, scythe manufacturers, and learned the trade which he has since made his business. He remained with that firm about three and one-half years, after which he worked at his trade in Chelmsford, Mass., for one year, and in New London, N.H., for nine years. In 1845 he came to Newport, N.H., and bought a half-interest in the scythe factory owned by Mr. Larned. The factory had been conducted by Larned & Sibley for three years, when on account of the failure of his health Mr. Larned disposed of his interest in the business to William Dunton, of Newport. Three years later Mr. Sibley bought out Mr. Dunton, and thereafter ran the business alone until 1873, when he took his son into partnership. In 1891 he retired after a continuous business life of forty-six years, being at that time the oldest manufacturer of scythes in the United States. He still carries on his farm, and also operates a lumber-mill at North Newport. He has been largely instrumental in building up the present business successfully carried on by his son. His political principles are Republican, and he has served Newport in the capacities of Selectman and legislative Representative.

On July 19, 1838, Mr. Sibley married Lydia D. Gay, who was born in New London, N.H., March 10, 1820, daughter of David and Asenath (Davis) Gay. Mr. and Mrs. Sibley have had six children, as follows: Amelia R., born April 7, 1840; Frank A., born January 28, 1851; Anson, who died at the age of two years; Isabelle, who died aged six and one half years; and two who died in infancy. Amelia R. is now the wife of Samuel Allen. who is employed in the scythe factory; and she has eight children. Frank A., who married Mary M. Putnum, and has three children, is now carrying on the scythe-manufacturing business established by his father. A selfmade man and one of the oldest residents of the town, Ezra Taft Sibley has the sincere respect of his fellow-townsmen.

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