Benjamin W. Breed, farmer, of Franklin, Merrimack County, N.H., a veteran of the Civil War, who nearly lost his life by a gunshot wound received in battle, was born in Nelson, Cheshire County, February 12, 1830, son of John and Sarah (Blood) Breed. Many of his ancestors and of their near kin were of Massachusetts birth, and were lifelong residents of that State, the family being one of the earliest that settled in Essex County. Dr. Nathaniel Breed, who was a native of Lynn, Mass., was a surgeon’s mate on the staff of General Washington in the Revolution. Dr. Breed’s son John was at the battle of Bunker Hill, which was really fought, as we know, on Breed’s Hill. John Breed spent the greater part of his life in Nelson, N.H., but passed his last years in Sheboygan, Wis.
John Breed, son of John and father of Benjamin W., resided in Nelson until 1840, when he removed to Franklin, and settled upon the farm which his son now occupies. He died in 1860. He was twice married; and by his first wife, Rhoda Wheeler, of Nelson, he had four children, none of whom are living. His second wife, Sarah Blood, who was a native of Tyngsboro, Mass., became the mother of five children, as follows: Rhoda, who lives in Franklin Falls, and is the widow of Benjamin H. Holt; Charles, who resided for a time in Charlestown, Mass., and died at New Orleans in 1864; Sarah Ann, who married Washington Clark, of Tilton, and is no longer living; Benjamin W., the subject of this sketch; and J. Newton, who married Betsey Bromley, and resides in Chelsea, Mass. Mrs. Sarah Blood Breed died in 1879. She was a daughter of Joseph and Hannah (Walker) Blood, and grand-daughter of Captain Benjamin Walker, who was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Bunker Hill, and died in captivity.
Benjamin W. Breed acquired a common-school education, and resided at home until twenty-three years old. He followed agricultural pursuits until November 4, 1861, when he enlisted in Company I, First New England Cavalry, under Captain S. R. Swett and Colonel Lawton, of Rhode Island. He received a gunshot wound in his leg at Front Royal, Va., May 30, 1862, which confined him to the hospital for some time. Shortly after he was shot he was told that he might live ten days, Ben is.” And so it proved. He was discharged November 3, 1862. Re-enlisting November 17, 1863, in the Reserve Corps, he did hospital duty in Washington, D.C., until finally discharged August 21, 1865. He returned to Franklin, and resided upon the River Road until 1871, when he took up his residence at the homestead, and has since been engaged in general farming. He owns one hundred and seventeen acres of excellent land, the fertility of which he has greatly increased; and he has improved his property by erecting new buildings. He carried the bullet in his leg sixteen years; and then, when it had worked out toward the surface, it was extracted. He now has it in his possession, a flattened piece of lead, with scraped bits of bone adhering to it yet. With this source of inflammation removed, his physical condition is now much better than before, and he is able to do light work.
On February 21, 1851, Mr. Breed was joined in marriage with Sarah Philbrick. She was born in Sanbornton, N.H., daughter of Benjamin and Charlotte Philbrick. She died June 12, 1892; and on August 5, 1894, Mr. Breed married Mrs. Cynthia Jane Philbrick Taylor, his first wife’s sister. She was the widow of Levi Taylor, a carpenter of Providence, R.I., and by her first husband she had two children: Mabel, now wife of J. M. Wells, who is in the hardware business in Portsmouth, N.H.; and Nellie, wife of Alfred L. Pomeroy, a coal dealer in Chicopee, Mass. Mr. and Mrs. Breed have no children.
In politics Mr. Breed is a Republican, and formerly took an active interest in public affairs. He is highly esteemed as an industrious farmer and a worthy citizen, and is popular among the comrades of George R. Swett Post, No. 38, G. A. R.