Walter Sargent, of Elm Farm, in the town of Warner, N.H., is well known as one of the most skilful, progressive, and successful agriculturists of Merrimack County. He was born December 25, 1837, in Warner Lower Village, a son of Abner and Martha J. (Morrill) Sargent.
He is of English antecedents, tracing his lineage back to Richard Sargent, an English naval officer, whose son William, born in England in 1602, was the emigrant ancestor. He came to New England at an early period, taking with him a family of daughters, who had been left motherless by the death of his first wife, Judith Perkins, and was one of the twelve men who began a settlement at Ipswich, Mass., in 1633. He subsequently helped form settlements in Newbury, Mass., and Hampton, N.H.; and in 1640 he removed to Salisbury, Mass., becoming one of the eighteen original proprietors of that part of Essex County now included within the limits of Amesbury. His second wife, Elizabeth, bore him two sons-Thomas and William. He received several grants of land, and in 1667 was one of the Selectmen of the town. He continued his residence in Amesbury until his death in 1675.
The line was continued through his son Thomas, who was born June 11, 1643, and married Rachel Barnes. Their son, Thomas, Jr., born November 15, 1676, was the father of Stephen Sargent, who was born September 14, 1710, married Judith Ordway, of West Newbury, Mass., September 26, 1730, and was made Deacon of the Second Congregational Church of Amesbury, May 10, 1757. Deacon Sargent and his wife, Judith, reared fourteen children, ten of them being sons. Four of these-Amasa, Ezekiel, Thomas, and Moses -spent their entire lives in their native town. A fifth, James, established a home in Methuen, Mass.; and the other five-Peter, Nathan, Stephen (second), Abner, and Ebenezer -came to Merrimack County, New Hampshire, the first three locating in Hopkinton, and the other two in Warner. Abner married Sarah Rowell, and settled on Burnt Hill, where his son Stephen, third, who married Betsey Currier, of Warner, was born and reared. One of their children was Abner, the father of Walter Sargent, of Warner. Abner Sargent grew to manhood in this town, and was for many years engaged as a merchant in Warner Lower Village, in partnership with Thomas Bartlett. He subsequently disposed of his interest in the business, and bought a farm in what was then Boscawen, but is now Webster, where he resided until 1866, when he purchased a farm, on which his son Walter now lives; and here he died.
Walter Sargent was brought up to farm life, having been but two years of age when his parents removed to Boscawen. He was a bright scholar, quick to learn and eager to Salisbury, Hopkinton, Franklin, and Contoocook. He afterward taught school a few terms, meeting with success as instructor, and winning the lifelong friendship of his pupils. A part of each year he assisted on the farm, and also worked at the carpenter’s trade, gaining a knowledge and experience that have since proved of inestimable value to him. In 1863 Mr. Sargent married Miss Addie C. Morrill, daughter of Captain Samuel Morrill, of Andover; and for a few years after that event he had charge of his father-in-law’s farm. In 1867 he returned to his birthplace, settling on the farm where he now resides. He has made substantial improvements on the place, entirely remodelling and repairing the buildings, and, having purchased other land, has now about two hundred and fifty acres, one of the most attractive and valuable farming estates in this part of the county. He carries on all branches of farming, raising much stock, breeding Delaine Merino sheep, and has a fine dairy of Guernsey and Jersey cattle. He makes butter, which he sells to regular customers, giving the skim milk to the hogs, which thrive under his care. He raises all the corn needed for feed, finding it cheaper than to buy, even at the present low prices, his crop averaging from two to three hundred bushels annually. He is very systematic in all his work, and for more than thirty years has kept an account of his cash receipts and expenses in his diary.
Mr. Sargent takes great interest in local affairs, and has served with credit as a member of the School Board for three years, and for two years as one of the Selectmen of Warner. Until his hearing became impaired, he was an active worker in local, county, and State granges, having been made a member of Warner Grange, with which he is still connected, in 1877; and he was Secretary of Merrimack County Council, P. of H.; and of the Merrimack County Grange from the time of its organization until compelled to retire from office on account of this infirmity.
Mr. Sargent’s first wife died in 1873, leaving two sons, namely: Frank H., Assistant Postmaster at Harriman, Tenn.; and George H., who was for several years city editor of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioncer Press, and is now on the editorial staff of the Boston Transcript. On October 3, 1877, Mr. Sargent married Mrs. Fannie A. Fellows Shaw, daughter of Deacon Richard Fellows, of Salisbury. She presides over his household with a grace and dignity very attractive to their many warm friends, their pleasant home at Elm Farm being the abode of generous hospitality. For some years Mr. and Mrs. Sargent threw open their doors during the summer seasons, as a place of rest and recreation, to boarders from the city; but the labor connected therewith proved too arduous, and they now entertain only their more intimate friends and kinsfolk.