William E. Westgate, a leading farmer and stock-raiser of Cornish, Sullivan County, was born December 9, 1840, at Plainfield, N.H., son of Earl and Sarah Chase (Cole) Westgate. His great-grandfather, John Westgate, married Grace Church, of Tiverton, R.I., who was a descendant of Colonel Benjamin Church, famous in King Philip’s War in Colonial times. They had eleven children-Betsy, John, Lydia, Earl, Priscilla, Mary, George, William, Joseph, Benjamin, and Hannah. Earl Westgate, grandfather of William E., came with his father to Plainfield in 1778, and married Elizabeth Waite, daughter of Nathaniel and Annie Swetzer, of Hubbardston, Mass. Elizabeth, John, Nathaniel, Anna, George, and Earl.
Earl Westgate (second) was born at Plainfield, December 17, 1808, and was educated in the town schools. After completing his education, he lived on the home farm with his father until the latter died, when he took entire charge. A very religious man, he has been a member and a Deacon of the Baptist church for more than fifty years. He has never joined any of the secret fraternities, and has never held public office, preferring rather the quiet of his own fireside to the more active life of a public man. The first of his two marriages was contracted with Sarah Chase Cole, of Plainfield, who, born November 24, 1815, died January 18, 1876. She was the mother of William E., Martha E., Edith S., Julia A., Mary E., and Daniel C. Westgate. Earl Westgate’s second wife, in maidenhood Abigail M. Camp, of Hanover, is now deceased. Martha, Mr. Westgate’s eldest daughter, born in Plainfield, January 9, 1842, married Freeman Holt, of Lyme, N.H., a farmer, and is now living at Plainfield. Edith S., born June 21, 1846, married Carlos D. Colby, a farmer of Plainfield, and had eight children, seven of whom are living. Julia, born August 8, 1848, died soon after leaving school. Mary, born November 1, 1852, died at the age of ten years. Daniel, born June 4, 1857, lives on the farm at Plainfield with his father, and is now Selectman of the town. He married Clara J. Stone, of Plainfield, and has two children-Mary E. and Bessie S.
William E. Westgate received his early education at Plainfield and in Kimball Union Academy. Not long after, he settled on a farm formerly owned by Mr. Bryant. He has since purchased the property, and is living there still. Mr. Westgate has been prominent in the public affairs of the town, and has been honored by his fellow-townsmen by appointment to various offices of trust and responsibility. He has been Collector of Taxes; for three years Selectman; in 1895 he was sent to the State legislature, where he served on the Committee on Labor; and he was elected County Commissioner in 1896. Mr. Westgate’s farm is rich and fertile; and his buildings are commodious, of improved style, and in excellent condition. Besides carrying on general farming, he raises considerable stock.
Mr. Westgate was united in matrimony with Charlotte E. Bryant, of Cornish, daughter of Daniel and Chloe (Hildreth) Bryant. They have two children-Earle and Martha E. Earle, born May 25, 1865, after completing his education, worked on the farm for a time. He is now employed at the creamery, where he oversees the making of butter known all over the country as Hill Side Creamery Butter. He married Angie L. Chadbourne, daughter of William E. Chadbourne, of Cornish. Martha Westgate was born in Cornish, March 8, 1869, and was educated in the Cornish schools and in the high school at Windsor, from which she graduated. Afterward, becoming a very successful and popular teacher, she taught school for fifteen terms. She and her husband, Elwin W. Quimby, of Cornish, now reside with her parents. The circumstances attending the removal of Mr. Westgate and his wife from Plainfield to Cornish are vividly impressed on his mind. It was in the spring of 1862, when the snow lay five or six feet deep on the level, and was covered by a crust so solid that teams rode on it over fences and fields, without breaking through, a condition of things which lasted until the middle of April. Mr. Westgate is a Free Mason and formerly belonged to the grange. Both he and his wife are earnest members of the Baptist Church of Plainfield. Mrs. Westgate, who has a musical taste, was organist of the church for some years both before and after her marriage.