Collection: Merrimack and Sullivan Counties New Hampshire Biographies

Biography of Parker Pillsbury

Parker Pillsbury, a veteran of the anti-slavery movement, one of the few survivors of the earnest, intrepid band of philanthropists and reformers who for Concord, N.H. Son of Deacon Oliver and Anna (Smith) Pillsbury, and the eldest of a family of eleven children, Mr. Pillsbury was born in Hamilton, Essex County, Mass., September 22, 1809. His father, a native of Newbury, Mass., son of Parker, first, and Sarah (Dickinson) Pillsbury, was of the sixth generation in descent from William Pillsbury, who married Deborah Crosby in Dorchester, Mass., in 1641, and afterward settled in Newbury, the line being continued as follows: William’s son Moses, his grandson, Moses, Jr., and his great-grandson, Moses, third, who married Mary Parker, and was the father of Parker Pillsbury, first, Oliver Pillsbury, when four years old, was taken by his parents to West Boscawen, now Webster, N.H., and there grew to manhood. At nineteen years of age he returned to Newbury, Mass., where he learned the blacksmith’s trade; and after that he completed his schooling at Dummer Academy. While there he made the acquaintance of his future wife, Anna Smith, daughter of Philemon Smith. They were married December 8, 1808, and settled in Hamilton, Mass., he working at his trade till 1814, when the hard times caused by the war with England led him to remove to a farm in Henniker, N.H., to buy which...

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Biography of Daniel Gilman Chesley

Daniel Gilman Chesley, one of the largest land-owners of Epsom, Merrimack County, was born upon the farm he now occupies, July 2, 1837, son of John and Joanna (Tibbetts) Chesley. The Chesley family is believed to be of English origin; and the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch was Lemuel Chesley, who resided in Lee, N.H. His son, John Chesley, Sr., grandfather of Daniel Gilman, was born in Lee. When a young man he went to Chichester, N.H., where he learned blacksmithing of James Blake. After his marriage he settled in Epsom and continued to work at his trade for some time. He also followed agricultural pursuits quite extensively in this town, and kept a hotel. He died at the age of sixty years. He married Betsey Blake, sister of James Blake, with whom he served his apprenticeship. Betsey Blake was a daughter of Samuel Blake, one of the first settlers of Epsom, who purchased from the Indians a large tract of land near the centre of the town for the paltry sum of ten shillings, and turned in his jack-knife for one shilling of that sum. Samuel Blake, generally called Sergeant Blake, came to Epsom at the age of fifteen; and several years later his father, Lieutenant Blake, moved into town. In the early days the frontier settlers were kept in a state of almost continual alarm...

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Biography of William E. Westgate

William E. Westgate, a leading farmer and stock-raiser of Cornish, Sullivan County, was born December 9, 1840, at Plainfield, N.H., son of Earl and Sarah Chase (Cole) Westgate. His great-grandfather, John Westgate, married Grace Church, of Tiverton, R.I., who was a descendant of Colonel Benjamin Church, famous in King Philip’s War in Colonial times. They had eleven children-Betsy, John, Lydia, Earl, Priscilla, Mary, George, William, Joseph, Benjamin, and Hannah. Earl Westgate, grandfather of William E., came with his father to Plainfield in 1778, and married Elizabeth Waite, daughter of Nathaniel and Annie Swetzer, of Hubbardston, Mass. Elizabeth, John, Nathaniel, Anna, George, and Earl. Earl Westgate (second) was born at Plainfield, December 17, 1808, and was educated in the town schools. After completing his education, he lived on the home farm with his father until the latter died, when he took entire charge. A very religious man, he has been a member and a Deacon of the Baptist church for more than fifty years. He has never joined any of the secret fraternities, and has never held public office, preferring rather the quiet of his own fireside to the more active life of a public man. The first of his two marriages was contracted with Sarah Chase Cole, of Plainfield, who, born November 24, 1815, died January 18, 1876. She was the mother of William E., Martha E., Edith S.,...

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Biography of Edwin A. Tyrrell

Edwin A. Tyrrell, a highly esteemed citizen of Hookset, Merrimack County, prominent in town affairs, has been station agent and Postmaster at Martin Depot since 1887, a continuous service of ten years in the two positions, an honorable record which speaks for itself. He was born May 15, 1851, in Paxton, Mass., a son of Jesse D. Tyrrell. His grandfather, Jesse Tyrrell, was of Massachusetts birth, but removed from that State to Vermont, settling in the town of Waterville, where he carried on general farming until his death, which occurred at a ripe old age. Jesse D. Tyrrell was born June 2, 1825, in Bakersfield, Vt., and spent a large part of his life in that State. He learned the shoemaker’s trade when young, and followed it in connection with his agricultural labors until the fall of 1863, when he enlisted in the Seventh Vermont Regiment. He died February 6, 1864, soon after being mustered into service in Brattleboro, Vt. He was a hardworking man, industrious and thrifty, as well as a patriotic citizen, and was greatly respected by all with whom he had dealings. His wife, formerly Mary Ann Tyler, survived him but three years, passing to the life eternal January 6, 1867. Both were deeply religious, and were active members of the Methodist church. Of the five children born of their union but two are now living,...

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Biography of Sylvanus W. Bryant

Sylvanus W. Bryant, of Cornish Flat, was born in the town of Cornish, October 23, 1839, son of Sylvanus W. and Sophia (Woodward) Bryant. He comes of a robust, tenacious, and progressive family, representatives of which fought in the French and Indian War, were officers in the Continental army under Washington, and have attained distinction in politics, the army and navy, the learned professions, and the arts and sciences. Among these none have been more widely known and beloved than New England’s poet of nature, the late William Cullen Bryant. Sylvanus W. Bryant traces his genealogy to Stephen Bryant, who came from the west of England in 1643, and settled in the Plymouth Colony at Duxbury, Mass. He married Abigail Shaw, who was born in England, and came to this country with her father, John Shaw, in 1632. William Cullen Bryant belonged to the sixth generation descended from Stephen. Lieutenant John Bryant married the daughter of Stephen Bryant at Plymouth on November 23, 1665. Nothing is known of him prior to that date. His children numbered seven. Samuel, the fourth son, married Joanna Cole, and had seven children, four of whom were born in Plymouth and three in the adjoining town of Plympton. Samuel, Jr., the eldest child, married Tabitha, daughter of Deacon Joseph Ford, of Pembroke, Mass.; and eleven children were born to them. Sylvanus, the fourth child...

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Biography of Hon. Hosea W. Parker

Hon. Hosea W. Parker, of Claremont, N.H., attorney and counsellor at law, was born in Lempster, Sullivan County, May 30, 1833, son of Benjamin and Olive (Nichols) Parker. His father was an esteemed citizen of Lempster, where he held many positions of trust and 1845, leaving three children-Emilie, Hiram, and Hosea W. Emilie L. married Ransom Beckwith (deceased), by whom she had two sons-Walter P. and Hira R., the former a graduate of Tufts College and the present superintendent of the Salem Normal School, the latter a well-known architect, residing in Claremont, N.H. Hiram Parker is a merchant of Lempster, has held different offices in the town, and has been a Representative to the legislature. He ranks among the most prosperous and enterprising farmers in the county, and has for many years been a prominent member of the State Board of Agriculture. Hosea W. Parker acquired his early education in the district school, and at home assisted his brother on the farm until he was eighteen years old. He later attended Tubbs Union Academy, Washington, and the Green Mountain Liberal Institute, South Woodstock, Vt. Entering Tufts College in 1855, he there remained two years, and then began the study of law in the office of Burke & Waite, of Newport. While thus engaged, he taught school in Newport and elsewhere. In 1859 he was admitted to the Sullivan County...

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Biography of William Shaw

William Shaw, a farmer of Pittsfield, was born here, December 25, 1833, son of Smith and Mary Jane (Garland) Shaw. The family is of Scotch origin, and descends from Joseph Shaw, its earliest known ancestor in America. The great-grandfather of William was Caleb Shaw, who was born May 9, 1718. On January 21, 1742, he married Abigail Batchelder, daughter of Deacon John Batchelder. Of their seven children John, the sixth child and second son, and grandfather of William Shaw, was born in Exeter, N.H., July 30, 1751. He learned the machinist’s trade, and followed it in connection with farming. He settled in Pittsfield one hundred years ago, and a portion of his farm of two hundred acres is now owned by William Shaw. He married for his first wife Molly Folsom, daughter of John Folsom, of Exeter; and she died leaving no children. On June 19, 1785, he wedded his first wife’s sister, Betty Folsom, who bore him thirteen children, all now deceased. Smith Shaw, the seventh of his parents’ children, was born in Pittsfield, August 6, 1795. His entire life was passed in his native town; and his active period was spent in the cultivation of a portion of his father’s farm, which he inherited. He was widely known as an industrious and useful citizen. In politics he was a Democrat. He died at the age of seventy-six...

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Biography of Frank W. Foster

Frank W. Foster, a leading farmer and dairyman of Hill, was born in the town of Bristol, N.H., September 20, 1859. His father, Wilson Foster, was born in Alexandria, N.H.; and Wilson’s father, Joseph Foster, was a farmer well known in Bristol for many years. From Bristol Joseph removed to Merrimack, where he spent the latter part of his life, dying at the age of eighty years. His wife, in maidenhood Lydia Pattee, became the mother of nine children. Of these Wilson, the youngest son, was educated in the public schools, and followed farming in Bristol for sixteen years. He then sold his property in that town, came to Hill, and there purchased a farm, upon which he has since made substantial improvements, including the erection of a house. He married Harriet Kelley, daughter of Alfred Kelley, of Hill; and their children are: Martha A., Ellen F., Emma, Frank W., and Hadley J. Martha is married, lives in Bristol, and has one son, Everett; Emma, now deceased, married George Ballou, and had four children-Oscar, Grace M., Herbert, and Hattie; Ellen is now Mrs. Errol Morse; Hadley married Annie Little, and has one child. Mr. Frank Foster grew to manhood on his father’s farm. Interested in farming from his youth, he adopted it as his occupation, and has prosperously followed it since. On his farm of about two hundred and...

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Biography of Frank De Forrest Baker

Frank De Forrest Baker, a well-known farmer and lumber dealer of Plainfield, belongs to a family that came of English yeomanry stock, and has been known for centuries in England for industry, sturdiness, and reliability. The name denotes the occupation of the founder of the family. In the fifteenth century the Bakers possessed considerable property in the north of England, and were known as being thrifty, industrious, and very tenacious of their rights. In 1650 there were many of the name at Aylesbury, County of Bucks, who became followers of George Fox, the Quaker, and with him suffered imprisonment by order of Cromwell. Mr. Baker directly traces his ancestry to Jeffry Baker. Jeffry’s son Joseph, who was born June 18, 1655, came to America and settled in Connecticut. Joseph’s son, Joseph, Jr., born April 13, 1678, was twice married, first to Hannah Pomeroy, who had by him two sons, Joseph and Samuel. His second marriage was made with Abigail Bissell, who bore him nine children; namely, John, Hannah, Jacob, Abigail, Ebenezer, Daniel, Heman, Titus, and Abigail (second). In the third generation down was Heman, born April 27, 1719, who married Lois Gilbert, November 24, 1747. They had nine children-Heman, Anna, Deborah, John, Oliver, Abigail, Lois, Delight, and Lydia. Oliver Baker, in the fourth generation, who was born at Tolland, Conn., October 5, 1755, and received a medical education, purchased...

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Biographical Sketch of William James Chandler

William James Chandler, whose life was profitably spent as a farmer in Langdon and the immediate vicinity, was born March 10, 1832, in Alstead, Cheshire County, son of James, Jr., and Sophia (Tuttle) Chandler. The grandfather, James Chandler, Sr., spent his life in Alstead, where he followed the occupation of a farmer. He married, and had a large family of children. When he died, he was the oldest Mason in New Hampshire. James Chandler, Jr., born in Alstead, September 20, 1801, besides farming was also engaged in the hotel business; and he was prosperous in both. The first of his three marriages was contracted with Sophia Tuttle; his second, with her Nancy; and his third, with Mary Stowell Tuttle, the widow of their brother. There were two children by the first union-William James Chandler; and a daughter that died in childhood. William James Chandler received a good practical education in the common school. Shortly after leaving school he went to work at farming, and continued to pursue that occupation throughout the rest of his life, which was chiefly spent in Langdon. He was one who enjoyed life thoroughly, and his quick wit and humorous sayings gave pleasure to all about him. At the same time, a man of sterling worth, he was held in high esteem by his neighbors. While he did not desire or seek office, he never...

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