Hon. John Whitaker, a retired lumber dealer of Penacook and ex-member of the State Senate, was born in Hopkinton, N.H., June 9, 1835, son of John and Hannah (Bickford) Whitaker. He is a descendant of one of three brothers who emigrated from England in the early days. His paternal great-grandfather, serving as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, participated in the battle of Bunker Hill, and was present at the surrender of Burgoyne. Peter Whitaker, the grandfather, a native of Deering, N.H., was a prosperous farmer.
John Whitaker, Sr., Mr. Whitaker’s father, first enlisted for three months’ service in the War of 1812. Upon the expiration of that term he re-enlisted for three years. In civil life he was chiefly occupied in agriculture. He met his death in a conflagration, which destroyed his dwelling and its contents in 1856.
John Whitaker was educated in the public and private schools of Hopkinton. After leaving school at the age of sixteen, his first occupation was driving a coach and assisting in an express business. In 1858 he opened a livery stable in Penacook upon his own account, and subsequently carried it on for four years. In 1864 he entered the lumber business in company with G. F. Sanborn, who withdrew at the end of one year. He then formed a partnership with H. H. Amsden and B. F. Caldwell, under the firm name of John Whitaker & Co.; and they carried on a prosperous business for some years. In 1886 Mr. Whitaker purchased the interests of his associates, and conducted the enterprise alone until 1890, when he retired from active pursuits. He is a Democrat in politics, and takes an active interest in public affairs. He served as an Assessor of Penacook in 1859, was a member of the Board of Aldermen for two years, a Representative in the legislature in 1862, and State Senator in 1893 and 1894. He is a director of the Penacook Electric Light Company, the president of the Concord Axle Company, a trustee of the Guarantee Savings Bank of Concord, and is Water Commissioner of that city.
On February 6, 1860, Mr. Whitaker was united in marriage with Frances E. Caldwell, of Penacook. A thirty-second degree Mason, he is a member of Blazing Star Lodge, Trinity Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; Mount Horeb Commandery, Knights Templar; Edward A. Raymond Consistory of Nashua, N.H.; and Aleppo Temple of the Mystic Shrine of Boston.