Hon. John C. Linehan . – “A hundred years after the Puritans and Pilgrims made a settlement on the coast of New England there came to this country a multitude of emigrants, mostly from the north of Ireland, who soon became absorbed into the ranks of the first settlers, and became the very best of citizens. In the contest for independence they rendered the most efficient services to the colonies, as they had previously done in protecting the frontiers from the inroads of the Indians. After another century, our doors having been opened wide for the reception of people from every country, there came to these shores a tide of emigration from Central and Southern Ireland, which seemed at one time as if it would depopulate the Emerald Isle. In numbers like the countless hosts of the Goths and Vandals who overran the Roman Empire, but pacific in their intentions, they sought in America homes for themselves and their children, where, under the flag and protection of the young republic, they could enjoy that liberty which had been denied them in their old home, and secure those advantages which thrift and industry offered in the New World.
“When the country of their adoption was in danger from organized rebellion, none hastened to its defence with more zeal and courage than these newly made citizens. In the baptism of blood that followed, the heterogeneous mass was welded into one great people.”
One of these later emigrants was John Cornelius Linehan, the well-known Insurance Commissioner of New Hampshire, who was born in Macroom, Cork County, Ireland, on February 9, 1840, son of John and Margaret (Foley) Linehan. His paternal ancestors for four generations had been engaged in the milling and grain business. He came to this country with his mother, a brother, and two sisters, in October, 1849, his father having come two years previously. Locating with the family in Danbury, N.H., he there attended the public schools, and subsequently continued his studies at home under the direction of his father, who was a man of superior education. In May, 1852, he removed to Penacook, then known as Fisherville, finding employment in the spinning-room of H. H. & J. S. Brown’s cotton-mill. He left that place in February, 1857, and entered Rolfe Brothers’ sash, blind, and box factory, where he became foreman of the box department. August 16, 1861, he gave up his position, and enlisted as a member of the band attached to the Third New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, serving therein until he received his discharge. Mr. Linehan then entered the employ of Barron, Dodge & Co., flour manufacturers of Penacook, laboring a year as foreman of the packing department. Later he April, 1866. He then went into business in company with Henry F. Brown, under the firm name of Brown & Linehan, which partnership lasted until 1869. Mr. Linehan subsequently continued the business alone for twenty-two years. September 27, 1890, he was appointed by Governor D. H. Goodell Insurance Commissioner of New Hampshire for three years; in September, 1893, he was reappointed by Governor John B. Smith; and in October, 1896, was reappointed by Governor Charles A. Busiel.
In politics Mr. Linehan affiliates with the Republican party. He has been officially prominent, serving as a member of the Common Council of Concord in 1872 and 1873, member of the Board of Aldermen in 1877 and 1878, and in Governor Charles H. Sawyer’s Council in 1887 and 1888. He became a Trustee of the State Industrial School in 1884, was for three years Secretary of the Board, and is at the present time its President. From 1885 to 1895 he was one of the Directors of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. He is a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society and of the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, and Treasurer-general of the American-Irish Historical Society. In June, 1887, he received the degree of Master of Arts from Dartmouth College in recognition of his literary labors. In religion he belongs to the old faith of his fatherland. One of his brothers, the Rev. T. P. Linehan, is pastor of the Catholic (Irish) parish of Biddeford, Me.
On January 2, 1864, Mr. Linehan married Miss Mary E. Pendergast, of Penacook. They have four children: Margaret A., a Sister of Mercy at Portland, Me.; John J., of Springfield, Mass.; Timothy P., of Newburyport, Mass.; and Henry F. Mr. Linehan is a member of W. I. Brown Post, No. 31, G. A. R., of Penacook, having officiated as its First Commander; he has twice served as delegate to the National Encampment from New Hampshire, in 1878 and 1879; was a member of the National Council of Administration in 1880 and 1881; Department Commander of New Hampshire G. A. R. in 1883 and 1884; President of the New Hampshire Veteran Association in 1885 and 1886; served on the National Pension Committee, G. A. R., from 1884 to 1888; and was unanimously chosen Vice-Commander-in-chief at St. Louis in 1887. He resides in Penacook, a suburb of Concord.