Henry Marshall Elwell, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen of Langdon, Sullivan County, N.H., son of Robert and Phoebe (Evans) Elwell, was born in this town, April 13, 1839.
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His paternal grandfather, Benjamin Elwell, a lifelong resident of Langdon, was a wealthy farmer and highly esteemed citizen. He married a Miss Kendall, and had four children, named: Samuel, Betsey, Nancy, and Robert. Benjamin Elwell and his wife died on the same day, within a few minutes of each other; and their mortal remains were buried together in the same coffin. Samuel, the eldest son, lived in Langdon all his life, a well-to-do farmer. He married a Miss Jewett, and had four children-Electa, Sophronia, Nancy, and Samuel K. Betsey, the second child of Benjamin Elwell, married Simon Sartwell, a prosperous farmer of Langdon, very prominent in town affairs; and they had several children. Nancy married Colonel Ansel Glover, of Alstead, a leading Democratic politician, who was at one time a delegate from his party to the national convention in Baltimore.
Robert, the father of Henry Marshall Elwell, acquired his education in the schools of Langdon. He began his active career as a farmer, and subsequently engaged in lumbering. He made a specialty of breeding shorthorned cattle, of which he had exhibits at the principal New England County and State Fairs. His farm, one of the largest in Sullivan County, contained from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred acres. After the big fire in Bellows Falls, Vt., he furnished all the lumber for the rebuilding of the town; and in the days before the railroad was built he rafted large amounts of lumber down the Connecticut River to Holyoke, Mass. He was very enterprising and stirring, and did a good deal for the community at large. In politics he was always a Republican, and was a State Representative two or three terms and one of Governor Goodwin’s Councillors. He was an attendant of the Universalist church. Phoebe, his wife, born in Rhode Island in 1810, was a daughter of Colonel Aaron Evans. She died in 1895. They were the parents of six children, of whom one died in infancy. Those who grew to maturity were: Lucia, Henry M., May, Julia, and George. Lucia died of typhoid fever while attending Kimball Union Academy at Meriden, N.H. Mary married Charles Town, a wealthy farmer of Alstead, and by that union had three children. Mr. Town died; and she has since married George W. Stanley, of Langdon. Julia, who attended school in Brattleboro, Vt., died at the age of eighteen, of heart trouble. George, living in Providence, R.I., is an owner and trainer of race horses, and has one horse named Canonicus that has a record of 2. 19 1/4. He has twice married, his first wife being Carrie Milliken, daughter of John Milliken, of Charlestown, and his second, Emma Gilbert, of Marlboro, N.H. By the first union there were three children, including two sons, Charles and Henry; and by the second four-Carrie, Robert, Addie M, and Alice M.
After attending the Langdon schools, Henry M. Elwell studied at Tubbs Union Academy, Washington, N.H., also at an academy in Chester, Vt. Upon his return from school he stayed at home with his father, and since his father’s death he has continued to carry on a successful business as a farmer.
Mr. Elwell has twice married. His first wife, Belle Foster, daughter of Levi Foster, of Walpole, N.H., died in 1868. Two of her Grace and Frank. Grace first married Joseph Mitchell, a druggist of Bellows Falls, Vt., and is now the wife of a Mr. Thomas, a manufacturer of tinfoil in New York City. Frank lives in Langdon. His twin sister, Fanny, died at the age of thirteen. Mr: Elwell’s present wife, whose maiden name was Martha Rice, is a daughter of Charles Rice, of Walpole, N.H. Two children have been born of this union-May and Annie L.
In 1893 Mr. Elwell was elected Representative to the Lower House of the New Hampshire legislature, and served on the Normal School Committee. He has been Selectman for ten years and is the present Chairman of the Board. Every year for twenty-six years, whether he was a member of the Board or not, the Selectmen of the town have met at his house on April 1 and had dinner with him.