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Biography of Nathaniel Head

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Nathaniel Head, Governor of New Hampshire from 1879 to 1881, was born May 20, 1828, son of John and Annie (Brown) Head. Having completed his education in the schools of Pembroke, he began life as a farmer and lumberman at a very early age, remaining on the old homestead. His military career commenced on September 1, 1847, when he was appointed Drum Major of the Eleventh Regiment, Third Brigade, First Division, of the State militia, in which he served four years. He was an original member of the famous Horse Guards, in which he was Drum Major and Chief Bugler during the existence of the corps. He was likewise connected with the Amoskeag Veterans of Manchester, N.H., and was an honorary member of the Boston Lancers and of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of that city. During his early life he served in various public capacities, being Deputy Sheriff many years, and in 1861 and 1862 representing his town in the State legislature. On March 26, 1864, he received an appointment that brought him more conspicuously before the public, Governor Gilmore making him Adjutant, Inspector, and Quartermaster-general. In 1875 occurred the celebrated controversy in the Senatorial district over the spelling of his name, so many of the votes being cast out that he failed of election; but on the following year his constituents, careful that a like mistake did not occur, elected him to the Senate by a large vote. In 1878 he was elected Governor of the State, being the first to hold the office under the then new biennial law.

A man of superior ability and of strict integrity, Natt Head was also prominent in other important offices. For several years he was a Director of the Suncook Valley Railway Manchester, N.H., and of the New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company. He was likewise President of the China Savings Bank of Suncook and a Trustee of the Merrimack River Savings Bank of Manchester. He was a charter member of Jewell Lodge, F. & A. M., of Suncook; a member of the K. of P. lodge of the same place; and a charter member of the Howard Lodge, I. O. O. F., of Suncook. Deeply interested in the early history of our country, he identified himself with the New Hampshire Historical Society, of which he was Vice-President. He was not a member of any church, but was liberal in his religious belief. His active public life, which won him a wide reputation, brought him in contact with many of the leading men of his times; and he had a personal acquaintance with Generals Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and others, and was often invited to accompany them on different trips through the country.

He married Miss Abbie M. Sanford, of Lowell, Mass., on November 19, 1863, and they became the parents of three children, as follows: Annie Sanford, born June 23, 1865; Lewis Fisher, born February 18, 1868, who died March 4, 1872; and Alice Perley, who was born December 28, 1870, and died November 20, 1879. Ex-Governor Head died November 12, 1883.


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