James Madison Connor, a successful and enterprising farmer of Hopkinton, was born in Henniker, N.H., August 21, 1828, son of James and Lydia (Kimball) Connor. His great-grandfather, David Connor, or O’Connor, and two brothers, all natives of Ireland, were the first settlers of the name in the district. The brothers settled in Exeter, near Lake Winnepesaukee. David, who took up his residence in Henniker, was a Revolutionary soldier. His son James, grandfather of James M., and who was later in life called Captain James, was born in Henniker. The Christian name of his wife was Dorcas.
When the subject of this sketch was three years old, his parents came to the south part of Hopkinton; and the father died there at the age of fifty-eight, having been an invalid for some time. The mother survived him for years, living to be seventy-five, and dying at her son’s farm. Their children were: Isaac K., Harlowe, Lydia, and James Madison. Isaac is a mill-owner and carpenter in Warner, N.H. Harlowe is a carpenter, and lives in Lancaster, N.H. Lydia is the widow of Enoch Danforth, and lives in Hopkinton, near Stumpfield.
James Madison Connor learned the carpenter’s trade, and followed it for several years. Afterward he purchased the small farm on which his sister now lives, reconstructed the buildings, and engaged in farming. The added responsibility of caring for his invalid father seemed to spur him to greater effort and better success. In the eight or ten years he spent on the first farm he had saved one thousand five hundred dollars. This sum he invested in a “run-down” farm of one hundred acres, which by extensive improvements he made a profitable place. Here he has made a specialty of the dairy business, keeping about twelve cows the year round, and making butter of the highest grade on a large scale with the use of the hand separator and other modern contrivances. At the World’s Fair his dairy products carried off the medal with a score of ninety-nine points, while he also received a diploma for his display. He has often exhibited elsewhere, and always with the most gratifying results. His annual product, which is from two thousand five hundred pounds to three thousand pounds, is taken by private customers among the best families of Concord at the maximum price now of about thirty one cents. His dairy stock is of the Guernsey breed, and his cows average nearly three hundred pounds of butter a year. He has been President of the State Dairymen’s Association since its organization, ten years ago. The exhibit at Chicago was given under the auspices of this Association, they sending a man to take charge of it. About twenty years ago New Hampshire had no rank as a dairy State; but at the Fair it took the lead both as regards quantity and quality, and that in a number of competing displays. There are now about fifty creameries in the State, a fact that is largely due to the work of the Association. Mr. Connor is also the President of the Guernsey Creamery Company at Contoocook.