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Biography of William S. Straw

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William S. Straw, a prosperous farmer of Hopkinton and a son of William and Hannah Straw, was born in the house where he now lives, June 1, 1817. He is descended from William and Mehitable Straw of early Colonial times. Their children were born as follows: William, May 22, 1686; John, July 1, 1688; Samuel, August 13, 1692; and Lawrence, May 13, 1699. Lieutenant Jacob Straw, the grandfather of William S., came from Rowley, Mass., to Hopkinton, some time between 1740 and 1755, while still a young man. He secured fifty acres of land, upon which he erected some small buildings, and then sold the whole to such advantage that he was able later to purchase two hundred acres on Sugar Hill, in the town of Weare. Here again he erected buildings, sold out at a profit, and bought three hundred acres in West Hopkinton, near where William S. Straw now lives. This purchase was made in 1782; and he spent the rest of his life upon the property, putting up large and convenient buildings and making many other improvements. A prosperous farmer, he was able to give each of his sons a farm, besides affording his sons-in-law substantial assistance. His death resulted from a cancer in his seventy-eighth year. He married Betsey (or Lydia) Ordway, of Rumford, later of Concord. They had twelve children, the youngest of whom died aged sixty-six, and the eldest at the age of eighty-nine. Their names were: Samuel, Ezekiel, Jacob, Levi, Joseph, William, Lydia, Dorothy, Sarah, Betsey, Hannah, and a daughter whose name has not been preserved.

William Straw, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born on the farm in West Hopkinton in 1782. When a young man he learned the saddler’s trade, and he subsequently worked at it for a short time in his native town. Then he went to Warner, and from there to Canaan, where his father had given him a farm of one hundred and twenty acres. After clearing a part of the farm, he sold it and returned to Hopkinton to buy a part of the old farm. Soon after, he married Hannah Huse, a daughter of Thomas Huse, who owned an adjoining farm. Mr. Huse dying soon after, William and his wife moved into the new house, which was but just completed; and by buying out the other heirs Mr. Straw became the possessor of one hundred and five acres of the original Huse farm, probably about the year 1812. His wife, Hannah, died while still a young woman, leaving her husband with four children, all of whom lived to be over sixty-five years of age. Their names were: Sarah, who married Leonard Felch, of Weare; Anne, who married William Chandler, a blacksmith of Henniker; Harriet, who married Otis Lewis, of Lynn, Mass.; and William, the subject of this sketch. William Straw afterward successively married Lucretia Page and Joannah Goodhue, of Bow, N.H. Lucretia had two children-Jesse Osgood and Page Huse. The third wife survived him four years. She had one daughter, who married Jacob S. Chase, and died in Warner in 1893.

William S. Straw received his early training on the farm where he was born and where he has spent the greater part of his life, Methuen, Mass. He owned another farm before he went to live on the old Huse farm where he now lives. A capable farmer, he is always ready to make improvements. In politics he has been a stanch Democrat. He is a Universalist in religious belief and an earnest member of the church in Henniker. He has been a subscriber for the New England Farmer and for the Christian Leader for forty-six years. He married Mary Ann Flanders, a daughter of James and Mary (Peasler) Flanders, who has had five children. These were: Hannah Marion, who married E. Harvey Edmonds, of Hopkinton village, and died in 1893; Luella, who married George H. Pierce, and lives on a farm near her parents; Abbie Frances, who married George H. Dodge, of Henniker; James Otis, whose life is sketched elsewhere in this volume; and Charles H., now an artist living at home.

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