Biography of Mighill Dustin
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Mighill Dustin, late a prosperous farmer of Claremont, Sullivan County, N.H., his native town, where he spent the greater part of his life, was born here, December 18, 1820, and died at his homestead about twelve years since, on January 27, 1885. The Dustins are of old Colonial stock, and have been one of the foremost families of Claremont from the earliest history of the town. December 3, 1677, Thomas Dustin, the great-great-grandfather of Mighill Dustin, married Hannah, daughter of Mighill and Hannah (Webster) Emerson, of Haverhill, Mass. Mrs. Dustin’s father settled in Haverhill in 1656.
The well-known story of Hannah Dustin’s capture by the Indians, and of her escape, is given as follows in the History of Claremont :-
During an incursion made by Indians upon Haverhill, Mass., on the 15th of March, 1697, a party attacked the house of Thomas Dustin, captured Mrs. Dustin, in bed with an infant seven days old, and her nurse Mary Neff, dashed out the brains of the infant against a tree, and set fire to the house. The captives were marched through the wilderness to the home of the Indians on a small island at the junction of the Contoocook River with the Merrimac, near where the village of Penacook now is. In the night, when the Indians were asleep, the two captive women, and a boy who had been captured at Worcester, Mass., some time before, killed ten of the Indians by striking them upon the head, and the three captives escaped, and returned to Haverhill. On the 21st of the following April the three went to Boston, carrying with them the scalps of the Indians and other evidences of the exploit, and received as a reward from the General Court fifty pounds, and from others many valuable presents. Mr. Dustin’s heroic defence of his seven older children is equally deserving of mention. A monument has since been erected to the memory of Hannah Dustin.
Timothy, son of Thomas and Hannah Dustin, was born in Haverhill, Mass., September 14, 1694, and died in 1775. He had a son, Eliphalet, and two others, Thomas and Timothy, Jr., who were twins, born in 1745. They came to Claremont about 1771, and settled on a tract of land on the south side of Sugar River, where they carried on brick-making for many years, being the first to follow this industry in Claremont. Timothy, Jr., who was an energetic, enterprising, and public-spirited man, was much interested in church matters, and gave to Union Church a silver service for communion. He married August 7, 1773, Eunice Nutting, and by her had nine children. Timothy Dustin, Jr., his wife, Eunice, and one daughter died within twenty days in the spring of 1813 of spotted fever. Their children were: William, David, Moody, Mighill, Timothy, Abel, Oliver, Polly, and Eunice.
Moody Dustin, the father of Mighill named at the beginning of this sketch, was born in Claremont, November 19, 1780. He bought a farm on Green Mountain, where he lived until 1834, when he removed to the farm afterward owned by his son. He was an active member of the Congregational church, was a prosperous man for those times, and was public-spirited and prominent. He died August 29, 1860, his wife, Lucy Cowles, whom April 8, 1807, surviving him until May 29, 1865. They had nine children, Mighill being one of the younger. The others may be briefly mentioned as follows: Sarah married William Haven, of Newport. Elvira married Timothy Rossiter. William married Sarah Bentley. Mary married Jonathan Wood. Both of these went to Illinois. Lucinda married Charles N. Goss. Timothy never married. Eveline married George Worthen, of Lebanon. Emeline, her twin sister, married Richard Howe, of Lebanon.
Mighill Dustin, when a young man, taught school for a short time in Illinois. After that he returned to his father’s farm in Claremont, and became a substantial farmer. He dealt largely in Cotswold sheep, which he was the first in the vicinity to raise. He was a well-informed man, of remarkable balance and excellent judgment, and was very active in the Congregational church. He did not care for society in the general acceptance of that term, but was very social in his nature. He was averse to holding public office, though he was often urged to accept positions in the gift of the town. His wife, Mary, daughter of Jonathan Whitcomb, of Claremont, was born January 7, 1831, and died July 25, 1891. They had one child, a daughter named Mary Ella, who married February 5, 1890, Charles Keith, of Palmer, Mass., son of Charles, Sr., and Mary (Olds) Keith. Mr. Keith, the younger, came to Claremont in 1886, and now carries on the old homestead farm of the Dustins. Mr. and Mrs. Keith have three children-Mary Helen, Charles Dustin, and Frank Leonard.