John W. Severance, a prominent resident of Chichester, Merrimack County, and an ex-member of the New Hampshire legislature, was born February 3, 1822, in Sandwich, Carroll County, which was also the birthplace of his parents, Asa and Rhoda (Webster) Severance. His greatgrandfather, Ephraim Severance, was one of the pioneer farmers of that town, having gone there from Deerfield, N.H.
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John Severance, son of Ephraim and grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was a lifelong resident of Sandwich. He was an able farmer and possessed considerable mechanical ingenuity, which he applied to various kinds of handicraft. He took a leading part in public affairs as a supporter of the Whig party, and served as Tax Collector for sixteen consecutive years. He married Lydia Jewell, and had twelve children. The only survivor of the family is James M., who resides in Boston. His wife, Adeline Randall, died leaving four children-Eliza, Nancy, Alonzo, and Waldo. John Severance died at the age of seventy-three, but his wife lived to be eighty years old. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Asa Severance, son of John and father of John W. Severance, was reared to agricultural pursuits; and when a young man he bought a farm adjoining the parental homestead. He displayed an ability which foreshadowed a successful future; but his prosperous career was cut short by his death, which occurred at the age of twenty-eight years. A man of excellent character, he possessed the esteem and good will of his neighbors; and his untimely demise was deeply deplored. In politics he acted with the Democratic party. In his religious views he was a Free Will Baptist. His wife, Rhoda Webster, survived him many years, and died at the age of seventy-seven. Two of her children grew to maturity, namely: John W., of Chichester; and Asa, who married Hannah M. Webster, of Sandwich, and is residing in that town. Mrs. Rhoda W. Severance was a member of the Free Will Baptist church.
John W. Severance attended school in Sandwich until he was ten years old, at which time he came to reside in Chichester. When a young man he learned the trade of an edge-tool maker, and followed it for a short time in this town. He afterward worked in a machine shop in Lowell, Mass., and later, taking up his residence in Manchester, N.H., was there employed for more than twenty years as a practical machinist. Relinquishing his trade, he then returned to Chichester, and, settling upon the farm which was formerly the homestead of his wife’s parents, has since resided here.
On November 25, 1841, Mr. Severance married Hannah Jane Kaime. She is a daughter of Benjamin and Sally Watson Kaime, both of whom were natives of Pittsfield and passed their last years in Chichester. Benjamin Kaime was a blacksmith and a farmer. In politics he voted with the Republican party, and he served as a Selectman of the town for some time. For many years he was a Deacon of the Free Will Baptist church. He lived to be eighty years old, and his wife died at seventy-eight. They were the parents of twelve children. Mr. and Mrs. Severance have no children.
Politically a Republican, Mr. Severance represented Manchester in the legislature with marked ability during the years 1855 and 1856 and again in 1876 and 1877. He is connected with Mechanics’ Lodge, No. 13, I. O. O. F., of Manchester, and served as its Chaplain for a number of years. He is actively interested in the Patrons of Husbandry, and was one of the organizers of Catamount Grange, of Pittsfield. An industrious and successful farmer, an upright man and a useful citizen, he is highly esteemed by his fellow-townspeople. Mr. and Mrs. Severance are members of the Free Will Baptist church.