David Warren Cogswell, one of Henniker’s most highly esteemed residents and a prominent Odd Fellow, was born in this town, January 1, 1824, son of David and Hannah (Haskell) Cogswell. His father, who was a son of Joseph Cogswell, was a native of Essex, Mass., born April 25, 1790. David Cogswell learned the blacksmith’s trade with David Choate in his native town, and worked for a time as a journeyman on Cape Ann. He was First Lieutenant of a Gloucester Military Company during the War of 1812, and subsequently received for his services a warrant for one hundred and sixty acres of land. In 1815 he settled in Henniker, where he established a blacksmith shop near the stone bridge; and, as from forty to sixty horses were constantly employed in transporting goods between Boston and Vermont, his shop was for many years a favorite place for horse-shoeing and repairing. 1850, when he sold the shop to his son; and for some years afterward he divided his time between the forge and his farm. In 1820 he erected the house which is now occupied by David W., and he resided in it for nearly fifty years. Being a man of temperate habits, he was strong and vigorous. At his death, on June 30, 1868, which was caused by a cancer in the stomach, he was over seventy-eight years old. On January 3, 1813, he married Hannah Haskell, daughter of Stephen and Anna Haskell, of Essex County, Massachusetts. Among her twelve children were: Colonel Leander Winslow Cogswell, the well-known historian of Henniker; the late Parsons B. Cogswell, formerly editor of the Concord Monitor-Democrat; and David W., the subject of this sketch. She died January 13, 1872.
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David Warren Cogswell began to assist his father in the blacksmith shop at the age of ten years. In this period, when working at the anvil, he was obliged to stand upon a platform; and his day’s labor lasted until nine o’clock in the evening. It was his custom, after performing his share of the forge work from September to March, to spend the summer in helping on the farm. He remained at home until he was twenty-four years old, after which he was employed for two years in machine shops in North Chelmsford and Winchendon, Mass. In 1850, at his father’s desire, he bought the shop in Henniker; and he conducted his trade until 1881. He then rented the shop to other parties; and it was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1893, after an existence of over seventy-five years. After relinquishing his trade, Mr. Cogswell, in company with his brother-in-law, N. S. Johnson, bought land on Sunapee Mountain, and erected a large summer boarding-house, which was destroyed by fire some three or four years afterward, causing a heavy loss to its owners. After cutting considerable timber from the land, it was sold; and Mr. Cogswell is now engaged in cultivating his farm of sixty acres. In the early days of the abolition movement he was an earnest worker in the cause. As a member of the Free Soil party he supported the candidacy of John P. Hale for the Presidency, and he has voted with the Republican party since its formation. He has been active in educational matters. While Deputy Sheriff from 1864 to 1874, he induced so many parties to settle their differences out of court that there was but one trial before a justice in Henniker during his term of office. In 1862 and 1863 he was Moderator at town meetings. At that time these assemblages, about equally divided between the opposing parties, were continued far into the morning hours; and it was difficult to maintain order. A firm supporter of the cause of the Union, Mr. Cogswell did much toward caring for the families of soldiers during the war. When sixteen years old he joined an independent military company known as the Grenadiers, and was attached to it until the new laws did away with the old muster days. He has acted as a Justice of the Peace since 1862.
Mr. Cogswell has been twice married. On February 20, 1851, he wedded for his first wife Mary S. Johnson, of Weare. She died March 23, 1859, leaving no children. On December 10 of the same year he was again married to Eliza L. Sawyer, who was of Quaker parentage, and resided in Weare. By this union there are three sons-John C., Leander A., and Willis. John C. has been Town Clerk for five years; Leander A is a shoe manufacturer in Manchester, N.H.; and Willis is a machinist of that city. Mr. Cogswell is a charter member of Crescent Lodge, No. 66, I. O. O. F., and is also a member of New Hampshire. He is especially qualified for the work of initiation. Since the organization of the lodge he has assisted in introducing every candidate, including his three sons, to the mysteries of Odd Fellowship. There is probably no man in this part of the State who has taken a greater interest in the order. His initiatory work has been highly complimented by the officers of the Grand Lodge. Mrs. Cogswell is very active in the Rebecca Lodge.