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Moses A. Cragin, of Lempster, a veteran of the Civil War and an ex-member of the New Hampshire legislature, was born in Rindge, N.H., December 13, 1823, son of Moses and Sarah (Chamberlain) Cragin. His father, who was born in Rindge in the year 1800, and spent the greater part of his life in his native town, was for some years engaged in peddling. He afterward removed from Rindge to Alstead, N.H., and later to Marlow, where he was engaged in the wooden-ware business. He died April 5, 1864. His first wife, Sarah Chamberlain Cragin, was a native of New Ipswich, N.H. After her death he successively married Eleanor Walton, of Temple, N.H., and Fanny Bidwell, of Langdon. By his first union there were six children, namely: Moses A., the subject of this sketch; a child who died in infancy; Newton B.; Elvira; Edward; and Lucius. Lucius died in 1853, aged eighteen years. Newton B. Cragin, who is a retired fruit-grower and resides in Worcester, Mass., married Sarah Monroe, of Marlow; and their daughter, Alice Estella, is now the wife of Fred Hathern, of Worcester. Elvira married John Q. Priest, now living in retirement at Westboro, Mass. Edward, who is a railroad engineer and lives in Ohio, wedded Martha Peither.
Moses A. Cragin attended the district school until he was nine years old. On reaching his majority, he then located in Gardner, Mass. Some time after his marriage he moved to Marlow, where he followed the blacksmith’s trade for five years. Then he engaged in the wooden-ware business. On September 3, 1864, he enlisted as a private in Company A, Eighteenth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers, and served in it until the close of the Civil War. His company was detached to act as guard for Benham’s corps of engineers for a time, and also took part in the defence of Pittsburg Landing, the siege of Petersburg, and the capture of Richmond. Discharged from the service in June, 1865, he returned to Marlow and resumed the woodenware business. In 1869 he bought the Rogers place in Lempster, where he now resides. Since taking possession of the estate, he has enlarged its land area from eighty to three hundred acres, made various improvements, and carried on general farming and dairying. He is a loyal supporter of the Republican party, and he ably represented his district in the legislature in 1895 and 1896. He is a comrade of Fred H. Smith Post, No. 10, G. A. R., of Newport.
In Keene, N.H., January 25, 1853, Mr. Cragin was joined in marriage with Emeline R. Beckwith, who was born in Acworth, N.H., April 9, 1836, daughter of Stephen and Cynthia (Osgood) Beckwith. Stephen Beckwith, a native of Acworth, followed agriculture in his native town during the active period of his life, and died April 8, 1877. His wife, who was born in Pittsford, Vt., died October 19, 1889. Their children were: Ira Alonzo, who died in 1893; Emeline R., who is now Mrs. Cragin; Oliver, who resides in Marlow; Nellie C., now the widow of Henry W. Ware, who died in Hancock, N.H., in March, 1896; and Diantha, who is residing in Acworth. Mr. and Mrs. Cragin have four sons, born as follows: Lucius M., December 26, 1855; Charles A., February 20, 1858; Leslie D., September 6, 1860, who died February 19, 1862; and Fred H., December 3, 1862. Lucius M. married Flora Grimes, and is engaged in farming in Springfield, Vt. Charles A. resides at the homestead and assists in the management of the farm. On January 6, 1892, he married Annie V. Griffith, who was born August 11, 1868, daughter of George Bancroft and Anna S. (Howe) Griffith. Her father is the well-known poet of Lempster, of whom an extended account appears elsewhere in this work. Fred H., who is a butcher and meat dealer in Springfield, Vt., married Edith C. Gould, a native of Weathersfield, Vt.