Biography of Horace J. Chase
Horace J. Chase, one of the leading business men of Hopkinton and a son of Enoch J. and Sarah (Holmes) Chase, was born on Clement Hill, Hopkinton, October 11, 1825. His grandfather, Enoch Chase, came here from Portland, Me., and was for many years Selectman and Collector of Taxes. The account book used by Enoch is now in the possession of his grandson, Horace J. Chase. His son, Enoch J. Chase, was born in Hopkinton. In his early life he was a shoemaker and a cooper. At a later date he built a mill on his farm, and went into the lumber business. He also built some lumber-mills in Wilmot, but sold them after a short time. Both in lumbering and farming he was quite successful. Five hundred acres of his farm land, which was bought for five dollars an acre, afterward sold for one hundred dollars an acre. The last years of his life were spent with his son Horace; and he died in St. Johnsbury, Vt., at the age of seventy-eight, while on a visit to one of his daughters. He was married twice. His first wife was Sarah Holmes Chase, a daughter of Dr. Holmes, of New York. They had four children-Lucinda, Mary Jane, Harvey, and Horace J. Harvey now carries on the old farm. Both Lucinda and Mary Jane are deceased. By his second wife, Nancy, who came from Salisbury, his children were: Nancy, George W., Melvida, and Melinda. Melinda died in childhood, and George is now in California.
Horace J. Chase, when a young man, lived at home with his father and helped him with the lumber business. Before he was twenty years old, he drove a five-horse team into Vermont, carrying freight. Then for three or four years he was a conductor on a freight train to Boston on the Claremont Railroad. Subsequently the manager assigned him to the business of buying lumber for the use of the road. He remained in this position for three years, making higher wages than any other employee of the road. In 1852 he bought an old tannery in Hopkinton, built by Thomas Cass, that was burned down soon after. Eight years later he erected the present buildings which are now landmarks in the town. He has been in the tanning business now for over forty years. In the early days, when the work was done by hand, he used to employ as many as eight or ten men at a time. Now he uses the best of modern machinery. He has put in an engine, so that the mill may be run either by steam or water. His entire product has always been consumed by two firms in Concord, namely: Abbott & Downing, coach builders; and James I. Hill & Co., harness makers. He has always followed the old-fashioned processes of tanning, using cold liquors and no chemicals. His produce commands the best prices in the market, sometimes six cents more per pound than that of other tanneries. He has constantly supervised the work in person, doing some of the special parts with his own hands. In addition to this his main industry, he carries on a large farm containing about two hundred acres of fine farm and timber land. This year he shipped over two hundred and forty barrels of apples to St. Johnsbury, Vt. He owns the Colby saw-mills, where he has several acres of good timber land, also the Highland House in Contoocook, which he has remodelled, making several additions. At one time he owned the lumber-mills in Wilmot which his father bought. Mr. Chase has Hopkinton was put in under his supervision. He has always been a Democrat in politics, as his father and grandfather were before him.
On January 8, 1850, while in the employ of the Claremont Railroad, he married Mary Ann Dodge, a daughter of Stillman and Mary (Highland) Dodge, both of Wenham, Mass. Mr. and Mrs. Chase have had five children, of whom one died in infancy. The others were: Frank S., Edward E., Horace Sumner, and Willard Hamilton. Edward E. is now engaged in the ice business in Hopkinton. Horace Sumner is the proprietor of the St. Johnsbury House, Vermont. Willard Hamilton was accidentally drowned at the age of four. Frank S. was employed on the N. Y., N. H. & H. R.R. as engineer for several years, during which time he never had an accident. On December 16, 1886, while looking back at his train from the engine steps, he was struck on the head by a pole and instantly killed. Mr. Chase is a jovial, goodnatured man; and, although considerably advanced in years now, he still shows the outlines of a powerful physique. He is much respected in his native town, both for his business integrity and for his public spirit.