Collection: Merrimack and Sullivan Counties New Hampshire Biographies

Biography of Ralston H. Penniman

Ralston H. Penniman, one of Plainfield’s most able farmers and prominent residents, was born in this town, which is in the north-western part of Sullivan County, January 9, 1819, son of Thomas and Dorinda W. (Wood) Penniman. He comes of substantial Colonial stock of English extraction, being a lineal descendant of one of the very early settlers on the shores of Massachusetts Bay; namely, James Penniman, who, with his wife, Lydia Eliot, and her brother, John Eliot, of honored memory as the apostle to the Indians, arrived on the ship “Lion” in 1631. The family name, it is said, was originally Yorkshire were Royalists; and some of them were titled as knights and baronets, one being a Sir James Penniman, who was knighted by Charles I. on the battlefield. James Penniman, the emigrant, with others petitioned for a new town at Mount Wollaston; and accordingly, in 1640, the town of Braintree was incorporated. He was one of the leading men, holding the office of Justice of the Peace; and a number of years later he was one of the petitioners for the new plantation of Mendon, ordered in 1660, his son Joseph being named as one of the commissioners to settle it. Lydia Eliot, the wife of James Penniman, was born at Nasing, Essex County, England, in 1610. Peletiah and Hannah (Taft) Penniman, grandparents of the subject of this...

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Biography of Charles Lewis Perry

Charles Lewis Perry, for twenty-five years a successful tailor of Claremont, Sullivan County, N.H., was born in Charlestown, N.H., March 4, 1823, son of Charles and Mary (Putnam) Perry. At the age of seventeen Mr. Perry came to Claremont, where he learned the tailor’s trade, and then began business for himself. Devoting his entire attention to custom work, he became prosperous, and in 1857 built the handsome business block known as Perry’s Block, where he located until obliged to retire on account of failing health. He was succeeded in business by his son, Charles Eugene. Mr. Perry was a business man of exceptional ability, scrupulously honest, a man of exemplary habits, public-spirited, a useful citizen and a devoted husband and father. He had accumulated a competency, and was looking forward with pleasure to a life free from cares, when he was called to leave this world, his death occurring January 15, 1876. He is survived by his wife, formerly Dorothy Blake Mitchell, daughter of Charles and Silvia (Mitchell) Mitchell, and four sons-Charles E., Frank H., Theodore, and Arthur. William Mitchell, Mrs. Perry’s paternal grandfather, was born in Boston. He came to Claremont from Henniker, N.H., settling in the north-eastern part of the town, on Cornish Road, where he was one of the earliest farmers. He was a representative man of the county, a prosperous farmer, and a Christian of...

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Biographical Sketch of Captain Cummings Pierce

Captain Cummings Pierce was born in Hillsborough, N.H., May 22, 1803, a son of Nathan and Phebe (Cummings) Pierce. He was a first cousin of the late President Pierce. His parents removed from Hillsborough to Bradford in 1821, and bought the Pierce homestead, now occupied by Freeman H. Gillingham. Cummings Pierce succeeded to the ownership of the home farm, and continued the improvement of the land, clearing a large part of it, and soon after his marriage erected the present residence. He belonged for some years to an artillery company in the old State militia, serving as Captain the most of the time. He was strictly honorable and upright, Captain Pierce was no exception. He served in all the town offices, and for many years was Selectman. In 1860 and 1861 he served as a Representative in the State legislature. In 1833 Captain Pierce married Caroline Dowlin, who died April 14, 1874, leaving two children, namely: Lucetta, who married John H. Ewins, and died January 27, 1891; and Annie, who was the first wife of Freeman H. Gillingham, and died February 17, 1893. Captain Pierce survived his wife and both daughters, passing away November 13,...

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Biography of Hon. Chester Pike

Hon. Chester Pike, a prominent citizen of Sullivan County, New Hampshire, residing in Cornish, his native town, was born July 30, 1829, son of Ebenezer and Judith (Bryant) Pike. On both his father’s and his mother’s side he is descended from distinguished ancestry, and from families that have been conspicuous, not only in the history of New Hampshire, but in the history of the nation. His grandfather Pike was born in Newbury, Mass., and came to Cornish in early manhood, the first of the name to settle here. He bought a farm and a mill on Blow-me-down Brook, and devoted himself to farming and to carrying on the mill. He married Mary Marcy, of Hartland, Vt.; and they had three children-Ebenezer, Chester (first), and Pliny. Chester, first, who never married, died in Northumberland when about thirty-five years of age. Pliny Pike was a farmer of Cornish, and died in that town at the age of seventy years. Ebenezer, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Cornish in 1788, and died in 1862. After completing his studies at school, he purchased and carried on one of the largest stock-raising farms in the county, raising thoroughbred horses for the Boston market. With the exception of Mr. Wainwright, of Vermont, no one else of his time Mr. Ebenezer Pike was always alert to make a good bargain. He traded...

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Biography of Elias W. Pike

Elias W. Pike, of Goshen, an ex-member of the New Hampshire legislature and a veteran of the Civil War, was born in this town, October 12, 1838, son of Wilson S. and Julia G. (Martin) Pike. His grandfather, Jarvis Pike, who resided in Newport, N.H., was a prosperous farmer. Wilson S. Pike, who was reared to farm life in Newport, removed when about twenty-one years old to Goshen, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits for the greater part of his active period, and died in September, 1866. The maiden name of his first wife was Harriett Currier. Her five children by him were: Mary, now the widow of Ezekiel Bates, late of Cohasset, Mass.; Mahala, the widow of James Homer, who was formerly in the livery business in Boston; Lodema, the wife of William Morgan, a retired jeweller of Providence, R.I.; Julia, who died in 1849; and Cyrus F., born in 1833, who died at the age of twenty-two years. Wilson S. Pike’s second marriage was contracted with Julia G. Martin, of Alexandria, N.H., who became the mother of eight children. These were: Elias W., the subject of this sketch; William Henry; Martha, Ezra G., Harriet, and James Homer, who are deceased; Ruth G., the wife of Eben A. Purington, a prosperous farmer and a Selectman of Goshen; and Ezra G. (second), who married Emma L. Purington, and...

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Biography of John C. Pillsbury

John C. Pillsbury, a prominent resident of Danbury, was born here, January 18, 1832, son of John and Nancy (Colby) Pillsbury. The grandfather, Samuel Pillsbury, was one of the early settlers Salisbury and a representative of the famous Pillsbury family who originally came from Rowley, Mass. A blacksmith as well as a farmer, he followed his trade in Salisbury. He lived nearly opposite the home of Daniel Webster, and the two young men grew up together. In his later years he came to Danbury, where he spent his last days, dying at the age of fifty years. He was a soldier of the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, and fought in the battle of Bunker Hill. His wife was a Pingaree, and a connection of Governor Pingaree. John Pillsbury, born in Salisbury, N.H., was a farmer. He took up the land now occupied by his son, and built the house which stands upon it. He spent all his days upon this place after coming to Danbury, with the exception of a short time during which he worked in Cambridge, Mass. His death occurred December 17, 1868. He married Nancy Colby, of Franklin, N.H., who died October 6, 1877. Their children, John C. and Mary A., survived them. Mary, born July 17, 1839, married Smith J. Roby, and had two children, one of whom is deceased. Her other child,...

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Biography of Larnard Powers

Larnard Powers, for many years one of the leading farmers and most influential citizens of Cornish, was born at Croydon, N.H., April 20, 1808. His grandparents were Lemuel and Thankful (Leland) Powers, and his parents were Colonel Samuel and Chloe (Cooper) Powers. Colonel Powers was born at Northbridge in 1763, and was a soldier and officer of the Revolution. His family consisted of the following named children: Olive, Obed, Judith, Nancy, Chloe, Samuel, Ara, Lemuel, Solomon, Ithamar, Larnard, and Randilla. Olive, born in 1786, died in 1841, unmarried; Obed, born in 1788, married Cynthia Cummings, and had a family of five children; Judith, born in 1790, became Mrs. Barton, and was the mother of seven children; Nancy, born in 1792, died in 1829, was the wife of David Kenney, and had three children; Chloe, born in 1795, married Lemuel Martindale, and bore him eight children; Samuel, born in 1795, died unmarried in 1828; Ara, born in 1797, married Mary Seaver, of Charlestown, and they were the parents of three children; Lemuel, born in 1801, died in infancy; Solomon was born in 1804; Ithamar, born in 1805, died in 1834; Randilla, born in 1811, married Alfred Ward, and was the mother of two children. Larnard Powers received his education in the common schools of Croydon. After leaving school he engaged in farming in his native town for two years, and...

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Biography of Charles E. Putney

Charles E. Putney, a farmer of high standing in Webster, N.H., is a native of that place. He was born June 10, 1827, the son of Stephen and Sallie (Eastman) Putney. His father, who was born February 12, 1765, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving in 1780 and 1781. He afterward purchased the farm where Charles E. now lives, and settled down there. He was married three times, first to Sallie E. Eastman, of Hopkinton, who died in 1809; second to Susan Eastman, who died in September, 1820; and then to Sallie Eastman, who died April 6, 1867, aged seventy-nine years. The three wives were cousins. By the first marriage there were six children-Nelson, Enoch, True, Pluma, Anna, and Stephen. The children of the second marriage were five in number-Clarissa, Sarah, David, Lucy, Azariah; and of the third there were four: Charles Monroe, who died in infancy; Mary Angeline; Charles E.; and Samantha S. Mary A. was born July 6, 1825, and died July 20, 1825. Samantha S., born August 3, 1829, married Dustin Spaulding, now a carpenter in Contoocook, N.H., where they now reside. Charles E. Putney, the subject of this sketch, received the ordinary education afforded by the common schools, and always lived at home with his parents. After his marriage he took charge of the old homestead, and carried on farming until his retirement...

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Biographical Sketch of Amos Hitchcock

Amos Hitchcock married Philenia Felt, who, born May 3, 1790, died December 20, 1872. She was a daughter of Eliphalet Felt, who was a Revolutionary soldier, and Lona (Witherel) Felt. Her brothers and sisters were: Charles, John, James, Eunice, Warren, Obadiah, Eleutheria, and Wells. She was the mother of Henry A. Hitchcock, born in Claremont, September 11, 1815, who was a prominent citizen of Walpole, Selectman of Walpole, represented the town in the legislature for some time, and was State Senator for the Tenth District in 1872 and 1873; of Helen P., born January 16, 1817, who married George Wallingford; of Mortimer, who died at the age of five; of Alexander Vietts, born November 4, 1821, who for several years was the Registrar of Deeds for Sullivan County, and for one year the Representative of Newport in the legislature; and of Lona Rebecca, who was the youngest. The last four children were born in Rockingham,...

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Biography of William F. Head

William F. Head, an extensive manufacturer, lumber dealer, and agriculturist of Hookset, N.H., is well known as one of the most enterprising and successful business men of Merrimack County. He was born in Hookset, September 25, 1832, son of John and Annie (Brown) Head, and is a younger brother of the late ex-Governor Natt Head, with whom for thirty years, 1852 to 1883, he was associated in business. The Head family, although not one of the oldest in New England, has a history in this country of more than two hundred years. The emigrant ancestor was Arthur Head, a native, it is supposed, of Wales, who settled at New Castle, N.H., in 1671, and died there in September, 1711. He was survived by his wife, Sarah, who died not later than 1718. They reared five children, the eldest of whom was James Head, the great-great-grandfather of William F. James Head was born at New Castle in 1683. In 1707 he removed to Bradford, Mass., where he made his home until his death in 1743. He was twice married, and had three children by his first wife, Sarah Atwood, who died in 1717, and three by his second wife, Elizabeth Atwood, his first wife’s sister, Major James Head, the next in line of descent, being the last-born. Major James Head lived in Bradford, Mass., the place of his birth, until...

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Biography of Warren Smith Hill

Warren Smith Hill, a successful contractor and farmer of Northfield, was born in this town, February 9, 1842. His father, Captain Warren Lapham Hill, was a native of the same town; and his mother, Betsey Tucker Hill, was born in Hopkinton, December 26, 1806, and died February 6, 1886. The progenitors of Mr. Hill were the original settlers of Northfield, and came from Salisbury, Mass., about the close of the Revolutionary War. They were two of the four sons of Daniel Hill, and were, together with their father, shoemakers by trade. They supplied the Continental soldiers with shoes, and were paid in the scrip then issued, which later became so depreciated that they were forced into other lines of labor and became coopers. Seeking new fields of activity, they went to Concord, this State, and, meeting with a certain Captain Blanchard, were directed to the locality now known as Bay Hill, where, they were told, was to be found good land for farming and very cheap (as there was no meeting-house in town to give Salisbury, Mass., to Northfield, stopping in Concord, made their selection and returned, all within twenty-four hours. Timothy and John were their names; and the former married Miss Betsey Lapham, of Salisbury, and settled with the rest of his family in the Bay Hill house, which still stands, almost in its original style. Timothy, it...

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Biography of Robert W. Hoit

Robert W. Hoit, of Mast Yard, Concord, N.H., son of Robert B. and Hannah (Goodwin) Hoit, was born July 15, 1859, on the ancestral estate on Horse Hill, Penacook, where he still makes his home. His great-grandfather, Oliver Hoit, born in November, 1747, married first Rebecca Gerald, and second widow Rhoda Hoit Whittier. He had by his first wife fifteen children, thirteen of whom lived to maturity. Mrs. Rebecca G. Hoit died in 1808, aged fifty-eight years; and Mrs. Rhoda Hoit died in 1851. Oliver Hoit died September 11, 1827. Oliver Hoit settled in 1772 on Horse Hill in the northwestern part of Concord, being the first settler in that part of the town. On March 7, 1775, a parish of Concord voted to lease him the eighty-acre school lot for nine hundred years, he paying six dollars annually; but this vote was reconsidered March 4, 1777, and the Selectmen were directed to receive of him one hundred dollars in full consideration for said lot. The son Enoch, born to Oliver and Rebecca, August 16, 1783, eventually came into possession of the farm. He married a widow, Mary French Hoyt, who had five children by her former husband; namely, Freeman, Sewall, Mary French, William, and French Hoyt. The children of Enoch and Mary Hoit were as follows: Robert B., Gillman T., Oliver, Priscilla, Rosette and Jeanette (twins), Henry, Enoch,...

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Biography of Elder John G. Hook

Elder John G. Hook, of Concord, N.H., was born in Chichester, this State, February 13, 1820, the son of Jacob Hook. Elder Hook’s grandfather, Francis Hook, was born in Salisbury, Mass. He was a fisherman by occupation, and he also ran a horseback express from his native town to Newburyport. He finally bought a large tract of land in Chichester, and started all his five sons in life with a comfortable farm. Jacob Hook, father of Elder Hook, was the eldest of the family. He was educated in the Salisbury public schools, and was engaged in farming all his life. At the time of his death he was exactly ninety-two years and six months old. He married Hannah Griffin, of Northwood, N.H. Six children were born to him: Esther B.; Asa J.; Mary A.; Elvira, who died at the age of five; John G., the subject of this sketch; and William P. Elder Hook is the only survivor of this 1839 he started for the Far West. On the way he met some kinsfolk, among them an aunt and several cousins, and stayed with them in the town of Marcellus, N.Y., where he was providentially converted to the Christian religion, largely through the influence of his devoted aunt. Word reached his parents in the East that he had been murdered, and his mother was saved from dying of grief...

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Biography of Rev. Isaac G. Hubbard

Rev. Isaac G. Hubbard, at one time the rector of Trinity Church, Claremont, was born here, April 13, 1818, son of Isaac and Ruth (Cobb) Hubbard. His grandfather, George Hubbard, who was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War, came to Claremont in 1778 from Tolland, Conn. Judge J. H. Hubbard, of Windsor, a son of George, was one of the ablest lawyers in New England. He was a powerful man, and as a pleader at the bar he had few equals. Isaac Hubbard, another son, who settled in Claremont, became a successful farmer and stock-raiser. He was an influential man, served in different town offices, did much legal work, was Justice of the Peace, was considered a practical lawyer, and was prominent in the Episcopal church. He died in January, 1861, leaving a fine estate of some four hundred acres. By his first wife, a daughter of Ezra Jones, there was one child, a daughter, who married Charles F. Long, and had four children: Caroline, who died young; Charles H.; Isaac G.; and Charlotte B. The three last named are still living. His second wife, in maidenhood Ruth Cobb, daughter of Samuel Cobb, of Springfield, Vt., had four children. Amos, the eldest, now deceased, who was in the nursery business in Detroit, Mich., married Catharine, daughter of Samuel Fiske. She was half-sister of Philip Fiske, the donor of the...

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Biography of John H. Hunt

John H. Hunt, a prominent farmer and a well-known veteran of Hill, was born in Dorchester, N.H., January 8, 1826, son of Jonathan and Eliza (Holmes) Hunt. His grandfather, who was born in Lexington, Mass., kept a tavern at the time Washington took command of the Continental army. Jonathan Hunt was a carriage-builder, and also kept a lumber wharf at East Cambridge, Mass., until the Lowell railroad was built. He died at Hopkinton, N.H., at the age of eighty-four years. He first married Hannah Larkin, of Lexington, Mass. His second wife, in maidenhood Eliza B. Holmes, was the mother of John H. Hunt, who is the only child. As his father was living in East Cambridge during his son’s boyhood, John Hunt obtained his education in the schools of that town. After leaving school he went to sea, and when only twenty-three years old he was master of a vessel. Subsequently for five years he traded on the east and west coasts of Africa. During Mr. Hunt’s sea life he had some thrilling experiences. While sailing in the ship “United States,” Captain Calvin G. Worth, the ship was wrecked, and the crew were without food and water for two days and two nights. Finally they succeeded in making a landing on Tongataboo, one of the Friendly Islands, where they remained three months. They then went to Eoa, another island...

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