Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole.

History of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes online

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practice at Gilmanton, where he died 7 March 1837. He served
as selectman, member of the legislature, and trustee of Gilman-
ton Academy.

Winthrop Atkinson Marston was born in Nottingham, 14
June 1804. He studied law in Durham, in the office of Stephen
Mitchell. He was admitted about 1829 and practised law at
Somersworth and Dover. He died 30 March 1850 at Somers-

Stephen Mitchell, son of Benjamin and Martha (Steele)
Mitchell, was born in Peterborough, 29 March 1780. He gradu-
ated at Williams College in 1801 and studied law with his uncle,
Jonathan Steele, in Durham, where he began practice in 1805.
In behalf of his townsmen he made the address of welcome to
Gen. Lafayette, in the summer of 1825, in a "very handsome
and appropriate manner." He taught school in Durham in
1802. He married, 9 November 1809, Sarah, daughter of
Joseph Mills of Deerfield, born 22 June 1 788. He died in Durham
18 February 1833. He was one of the incorporators of Durham
Academy and a member of the Congregational Church, whence
he and his wife took letters in 1830, recommending them to the
Episcopal Church in Portsmouth.

Moses Parsons was born in Newbury, Mass., 13 May 1744.
He graduated at Harvard in 1765 and studied law with Gen.
John Sullivan, practising in Newmarket and Durham. He re-
moved to Amherst, N. H., in 1773, and was a delegate from that
town to the third and fourth Provincial Congresses. He is
said to have been in Kingston in 1775, in Newmarket in 1778
and in Massachusetts in 1779. Governor Bell relates the fol-
lowing story about him. "When he was once about to return
to Durham from a visit to his father, the latter gave him some


seasonable religious advice. 'That reminds me,' replied the son,
rather irreverently "of my mortality. I have one request to make.
If I die at Durham, don't bury me there.' His father answered
that it was of little consequence where the body was deposited,
if the soul was properly fitted for the other world. 'True,'
responded his son, 'but the people of Durham are so uncivilized
and quarrelsome that I should be ashamed to be seen rising in
their company at the last day.'"

John Adams Richardson was born in Durham, 18 November
1797. He was son of Capt. Joseph Richardson, who was born
in Boston, 25 December 1756, and married Sarah Hanson of
Dover. He graduated at Dartmouth in 1819. He was a teacher
in Haverhill, Mass., in 1818 and 1820 and read law there with
John Varnum. He was admitted to the bar in 1823 and at once
began practice in his native town, continuing therein till his
death, 25 August 1877. In 1846 he was clerk of the state senate.
In the latter years of his life he was president of the bar associa-
tion of Strafford County. He is described as a very social and
gentlemanly man, having a fondness for the peaceful side of the
law, and a reader of general literature. He married (i) Marcia
A., daughter of Maj. Alexander and Sally (Adams) Rice of
Kittery and had two daughters, Marcia and Frances. His
first wife died 8 October 1832, and he married (2) in 1835, Mrs.
Frances J., daughter of Hon. Daniel Farrand of Burlington, Vt.,
and widow of Rev. Thomas J. Murdock.

Arthur Rogers was the son of Maj. Robert Rogers, who be-
came celebrated in the last French and Indian War of 1754 as a
leader of a company of rangers. He was born in 1770 and studied
law with Gen. John Sullivan in Durham and with Edward St.
Loe Livermore of Concord, where he began practice in 1793.
He removed to Barrington in 1794, to Pembroke in 1797, to
Plymouth in 1800, to Pembroke again in 1803, to Concord in
1812 and to Portsmouth in 1S32, where he died in 1841.

Hon. Ebenezer Smith was born at the garrison house in Lubber-
land, Durham, 13 March 1758, son of Dea. Ebenezer Smith.
He was educated at Dummer Academy, Byfield, Mass., and
studied law with Gen. John Sullivan, beginning practice in
1783. He was the secretary of Gen. Sullivan while the latter
was a member of Congress, 1780-81. He served his native town
as moderator, selectman seven years, representative six years.


He was councilor two years, justice of the Court of Common
Pleas, 1784-87, aide on the stafif of Governor Oilman in 1798,
and president of the bar association of Strafford County nearly
twenty years. According to Governor Bell he was "very sucess-
ful in his profession and became one of the most prominent
lawyers in his section of the State." In 1783 he purchased the
Thomas Pinkham residence in Durham village and built an
office west of the house, which was used in recent times as a
grocery store with tenement overhead. This real estate is now
owned by George W. Jennings of New York. Mr. Smith died
in Durham, 24 September 1831. [See Genealogical Notes.]

Hamilton Smith, born in Durham 19 September 1804, grad-
uated at Dartmouth College in 1829 and studied law in Wash-
ington, D. C, with Levi Woodbury, senator from New Hamp-
shire, and with William Wirt of Virginia. In 1832 he went to
Louisville, Ky., where he practised law and engaged in business
enterprises, being president of corporations that owned cotton
mills and coal mines. He removed to Cannelton, Ind., in 1851.
He served as a member of the Indiana legislature in 1858 and
was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention at
Chicago in 1864 and to the similar convention at New York in
1868. He died in Washington, D. C, 7 February 1875, after
an honorable and successful career in law and business. For
family see Genealogical Notes.

Judge Jonathan Steele, son of Capt. David and Janet (Little)
Steele, was born in Londonderry, N. H., 3 September 1760.
He studied law with Gen. John Sullivan and was admitted to
the bar in 1787, practising in Nottingham and Durham. He
married, Lydia, only daughter of Gen. Sullivan. He first rented
a small house near the Durham ship yard. As his fortunes
improved he bought one half of the house lot of Ephraim Folsom
deceased, where he was living before 12 March 1790. This
house was burnt in 1867 after passing into the possession suc-
cessively of James Durgin, Jr., Dr. Jedediah Ingalls, Samuel
Dunster, Ira Cheney and Mrs. Alfred Chesley. This lot was
opposite the residence of Mrs. Hamilton Smith. Judge Steele
served some time as clerk of court, but declined the position of
United States attorney for the District of New Hampshire. He
was a justice of the Superior Court from 1810 to 1812, but the
position was uncongenial and the salary was insufficient. So


he resigned the office and spent his last days in the practice of
law in Durham and in the care of his farm and residence, which
he built, now occupied by Mrs. Joseph \V. Coe. He is said to have
been diffident and sensitive to criticism. As a lawyer he had
more than ordinary learning and skill. He died in Durham,
3 September 1824.

David Steele, nephew to Judge Steele, was born in Peter-
borough 27 November 1793 and studied law with Stephen Mitchell
in Durham. He was admitted to the bar in 1824 and settled in
New Durham in 1825. He removed to Dover in 1850, and died
there 6 July 1882.

Jonathan Steele, another nephew of Judge Steele, was born in
Peterborough 8 February 1792 and graduated at Williams College
in 181 1. He studied with Stephen Mitchell of Durham and
Charles H, Atherton of Nashua. He was admitted in 1815
and practised in Epsom and Sandwich. He was solicitor of
Rockingham County, 1818-23 and died at Epsom September

Gen. John Sullivan, who was the most prominent lawyer
Durham ever had, needs no further mention here. See chapter
on Military History.

George Sullivan, son of Gen. John Sullivan, was born in Dur-
ham 29 August 1 77 1. He graduated at Harvard in 1790 and
studied law with his father. He commenced practice at Exeter
in 1793 or 1794, was county solicitor in 1802, representative
in 1805 ,and attorney general two years. In 181 1 he was elected
a member of Congress. In i8i4-i5.he was State senator, and
served again as attorney general from 181 5 till his resignation
twenty years later. He died at Exeter, 14 April 1838. Governor
Bell says, "By universal consent he ranked among the half
a dozen foremost lawyers in the State. "

John Thompson was born in Durham 2 December 1801. He
was educated at Phillips Academy and Harvard, where he was
graduated in 1822. He studied law with Stephen Mitchell of
Durham and with Levi Woodbury of Portsmouth. In 1825 he
established himself as a lawyer in Center Harbor, where he died,
unmarried 22 January 1854. His house took fire and, in trying
to save a chair which he valued as a gift from his mother, he
perished in the flames.

James Underwood is supposed to have been son of James


Underwood of Litchfield. He read law in the office of Wiseman
Clagett of Litchfield and in that of Gen. John Sullivan. He was
with the party that captured the stores at Fort William and
Mary, December 1774, and afterward enlisted in the army and
served at Cambridge. In 1776 he became adjutant of Col.
Joshua Wingate's regiment raised for the Canada campaign.
He practised law in Bedford about six years and is said to have
become insane.

John Sullivan Wells, son of Edward and Margery (Hardy)
Wells, grandson of Theophilus and Margery (Sullivan) Hardy,
was born in Durham, 18 October 1803. He practised law in
Lancaster and in Exeter, where he died i August i860. He was
admitted to the bar in 1828 and first practised at Guildhall,
Vt., for seven years. Thence he removed to Bangor, Me., and
in 1836 to Lancaster. He soon became county attorney and
served two terms. He was representative in the legislature,
1839-41, being speaker of the house the last year. He was ap-
pointed attorney general in 1847 and resigned within a few
months. In 1851 and 1852 he was president of the State senate.
In January 1855 he was appointed L^nited States senator to fill
a vacancy and served till the following March. He was a candi-
date for Governor in 1856 and 1857, but was defeated. Dart-
mouth College conferred on him the honorary degree of A. M.
in 1857. As a lawyer he was successful, and he was distinguished
for his work as jury lawyer.

John Smith Woodman was educated for the law, but turned
from this vocation to that of teaching and so is mentioned else-
where in this book.

Col. John W. Kingman, who once lived in Durham, in the Coe
house, practised law with Daniel M. Christie in Dover. He
served in the Civil War with distinction as a colonel. He married
a daughter of Mr. Christie and removed to the West, serving as
United States judge in Wyoming for a time. He then removed
to Iowa and died at Cedar Falls at the age of 82 years.

James F. Joy was a native of Durham, who became a
very able lawyer in Detroit, Mich. He was born 2 December
1810, son of James and Sarah (Pickering) Joy. He was gradu-
ated at Dartmouth in 1833 and studied for a year at the law
school of Harvard. He then taught in Pittsfield Academy and
as tutor of Latin at Dartmouth College. He completed his

Hon. James F. Jov


Studies at Harvard and in 1836 entered the law office of Augustus
B. Porter in Detroit and was admitted to the bar the following
year. He became interested in railroad construction and secured
the building of the Michigan Central, and also organized the
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Several other lines
are due to his activity. He nominated James G. Blaine for the
presidency. He was a large owner of real estate and railroad
stock and was numbered among the millionaires. He was also
a classical scholar and a profound student of railroad law. All
this did not hinder his serving one term in the State legislature
nor from taking an active part in the Congregational Church.
Mr. Joy drew the will of Benjamin Thompson, his cousin, and
was one of the executors of the same. He came on and gave a
public address in the State House at Concord in behalf of the
acceptance of the terms of the will, thus helping to secure the
College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Mr. Joy received
the honorary degree of LL. D. from Harvard, Iowa University
and University of Michigan, all in 1869.


The records are not abundant concerning those who have
practised medicine in Durham. The knowledge we have is
derived from incidental mention in town records and elsewhere.

The first physician, of whom we have any knowledge, was the
Rev. John Buss. Most of the ministers of his time had some
training in medicine as well as theology, like many of the mis-
sionaries now sent out to foreign lands. Hence John Buss cared
for both body and soul in Wells and Oyster River, In a deposi-
tion, dated 1705, he is called Dr. Buss. He lived beyond the
age of ninety-eight, and the town assisted in his support in his
old age and in the support of his widow for many \'ears, not be-
cause he had been a physician, but in consideration of the fact
that he had been the settled minister.

Dr. Jonathan Crosby is mentioned 22 October 17 18, when
he bought land of James and Mary Burnham. He sold this
land to the Rev. Hugh Adams, living on lot adjoining. The
Dover records say that he had wife, Hannah, and children born
as follows: Jonathan, born 16 August 17 19; John, born 3 October
1721, and Sarah, born 18 January 1723 4. His marriage in-
tentions with Mary Dill were recorded in York, Me., 16 August
1729, and he had children, Daniel and Elizabeth, baptized in
Dover, 4 July 1731. Since his daughter, Sarah, was baptized
in Dover 2 February 1724, it is probable that he removed to
Dover before that date. He sold his eighteen acres at Oyster
River to Joseph and Samuel Smith, 18 September 1722, and
bought of Joshua Cromwell twelve acres on Dover Neck, 21
August 1723. He and wife, Mary, sold this, 16 July 1731, to
Nicholas Hartford and probably left Doxer about this time.
June I, 1723, the House and Council "allowed Docf Crosby
for administering tX) the men under Capt. Gilmans Command
as per his ace' on file £1,12,11."

The Rev. Hugh Adams was something of a physician. He
makes mention of practising the healing art at Georgetown, Me.,
on the famous Sebastian Rasles before he settled in Durham.
He probably taught his son, Samuel, the greater part of his



theoretical knowledge of medicine, and Dr. Crosby, living at
the next house, may have done the rest. Cf. pages 189-91.

Dr. Samuel Adams built the so-called Sullivan house and
practised medicine till his death in 1762. The following bill
in his own hand-writing, has been preserved. "March the 25*^
1759 — Sam^' Demerit D'' to Sam" Adams for a visit Blooding
& medicians Aply*' to him £5 =0=0 old Tenor." The Province
papers mention Dr. Adams repeatedly as ministering to soldiers.
For further particulars see Genealogical Notes.

Dr. Samuel Merrow, son of Henry and Jane (Wallis, or Wal-
lace) Merrow, was born in Reading, Mass., 9 October 1670. His
father was probably one of the Scotchmen sent to Boston in
1 65 1. Dr. Samuel Merrow began practice in Dover about 1720
and lived within the Oyster River parish till about 1733. He
removed to Rochester, N. H., and died there about 1740.

Dr. Joseph Atkinson came to Durham about the year 1734
and bought the Huckins farm, on the road to Madbury, and
probably built the house still standing. He married the widow
of Timothy Emerson and had no children. He married (2),
9 December 1777, Elizabeth Waldron and died in 1780. His
widow married, 15 June 1788, John Heard Bartlett of Kittery,
now Eliot, Me. Dr. Atkinson was one of the selectmen in 1742 and
1743, and was moderator of town meetings in 1762-64, 1771,
1773-74. Judge Ebenezer Thompson, who studied medicine
with him and settled his estate, acquired his real estate by
purchase from the heirs, and perhaps some property was given
by Dr. Atkinson to his young friend.

The Rev. John Adams practised medicine to some extent,
especially after he removed from Durham to Newfield, Me.

Dr. Stephen Swett was born in that part of Exeter which is
now Newmarket, 3 January 1733/4, son of Moses and Hannah
(Swett) Swett. He married, 8 August 1756, Sarah, daughter of
Dr. Samuel Adams, and probably learned the arts of a physician
from his father-in-law. He is named in 1757 as a soldier or
militiaman under command of Samuel Demeritt, ordered to be
fitted and ready to march at a quarter of an hour's notice. It
is probable that he practised medicine in Durham to some extent,
since his first two children were born there. He lived in Pembroke
and Epsom, N. H., and removed to Gorham, Me., about 1770.
Here he was the first and only physician for many years. He


served as surgeon in Col. Edniund Phinncy's Thirty-first regi-
ment of foot for three months in 1775, going to Cambridge,
and on the sixth of October of that year was recommended by
Gen. Washington for a surgeon's commission, which one of his
descendants still possesses. In his old age he lived for a short
time in Windham, Me., and died in Otisfield, Me., 6 January
1807, at the house of his son, William, who was then keeping a
store on Otisfield Hill. He has a host of descendants, among
them the writer of this book.*

Dr. Samuel Wigglesworth, son of the Rev. Samuel Wiggles-
worth of Ipswich, Mass., was born 25 August 1734 and was
graduated from Harvard in 1752. After practising medicine
in Ipswich a short time he removed to Dover about 1768. He
was evidently living in Durham in 1774, for then "Dr. Samuel
Wigglesworth" appears as one of the Association Test Com-
mittee. He was taxed in Durham in 1777. He was a surgeon
in the Revolutionary Army, in two difterent regiments. He
married, 9 September 1779, Mary, daughter of George Waldron
of Dover, where he taught school and practised as a physician
till about 1792. Then he settled in Lee, where he died about 1800.

Dr. Samuel Shepard is mentioned in 1762. He married Eliza-
beth Hill, 21 October 1761. Perhaps he was son of Samuel
Shepard who married, 23 March 1726, Margaret Creighton and
had son, Samuel, baptized by the Rev. Hugh Adams, 24 December
1727. Dr. Shepard was doubtless the same who taught a school
in Durham in 1759, for whom Dr. Samuel Adams received pay-
June 24, 1765 Dr. Samuel Shepard conveyed to John Edgerly
half an acre of land, with house and barn, for £1,500, "on y''
southerly side of y'' Falls Hill," on the Mast Road. He seems
to have practised medicine in Nottingham at the time of the
Revolution and afterward to "have been a Baptist minister at
Brentwood. Rev. Samuel Shepard of Brentwood married
Ursula Pinkham of Madbury, 11 July 1781.

Dr. John Angier was born 11 July 1761; married in Durham,
31 August 1794, Rebecca Drew, born lo March 1766. The fol-
lowing children are recorded in the town book; Sophia, born
5 June 1795; John, born 10 April 1797; Luther, born 23 March
1799; Calvin, born 30 May 1801; Charles, born 14 March 1803,

♦See my Swctt Genealogy, p. 42.


and Joseph, born 24 April 1808. He lived in a house that was
moved and is now a club house, near the college.

Dr. Jedediah Ingalls was born in Andover, Mass., 26 July
1768 and graduated at Harvard in 1793. He commenced medical
practice in Durham in 1796 and died there i August 1847. He
married, 3 February 1802, Eliza Currier of Gilmanton. She
died 26 October 1851. He lived just across the street from the
Hamilton Smith house, in a house that was burned more than
thirty years ago. He had a large practice and was regarded with
popular favor. A daughter, Eliza, married Mr. Doyle, an
engineer on the B. & M. R. R. Another daughter, Harriet,
married William Fowler. A son, Charles, was a physician in
Andover, Mass.

Judge Ebenezer Thompson was also a physician. [See chapter
on Leaders in the Past.]

Dr. Richard Steele, son of Judge Jonathan Steele, was born
in Durham, 6 January 1797. He was graduated from Dart-
mouth College in 1815 and from the Medical College in 1825. He
practised medicine successively at Portsmouth, Durham, Peter-
borough, Dover, Lowell, Mass., Great Falls, N. H., Boston and
Newbury port. He returned to Dover in 1867 and died there
13 June 1869.

John Oilman Pike, son of Nathaniel, grandson of John and
great-grandson of the Rev. James Pike of Somersworth, was
born in Somersworth, now Rollinsford, 17 August 181 7. He was
graduated at Bowdoin Medical College in 1847, having previ-
ously studied three years in the classical department, in the class
of 1845. He practised at Durham, 1847-48; Salmon Falls,
1848-68; Boston, Mass., 1858-71, and resided at Dover, N. H.,
till his death, 31 July 1905.

Dr. Alphonso Bickford, son of 'Thomas Bickford of Dover,
was born 12 December 1817. He was graduated at Bowdoin
Medical College in 1837. He practised in Durham, 1837-48,
whence he removed to Exeter, thence to Boston and thence
after one or two years to Dover. He was Mayor of Dover in
1861 and 1862 and Alderman in 1866 and 1867. He was a skill-
ful physician and had an extensive practice. He died in Dover 31
December 1869. His daughter married Elisha R. Brown of
Dover, President of Strafiford National Bank.

Dr. William Parker Sylvester was-born in Charlestown, Mass.,



2 July 1 82 1. He was graduated from Bowdoin Medical College
in 1847 and practised successively at Poland, Me., North Pownai
Me., Durham, before 1875, Dover, 1875-78, and South Sherborn,
Mass. He died 18 September 1894.

Alphonso Bickfori), M.l).

Dr. Silver is said to have practised in Durham about the time
of the Revolution. There was later a Dr. Flanders, and Dr.
O. G. Cilley, now of Boston, Mass., practised here. Dr. Wood-
house of Barnstead was here a little while in the 6o's.

Dr. Samuel H. Greene son of Simon P. and Mary Augusta
(Smith) Greene, was born 12 February 1837 in Newmarket;
graduated at Harvard Medical College in i860, and the same
year settled in Durham, continuing in practice here six years.



He removed to Newmarket but still held a large practice in
Durham. He was a selectman of Newmarket six years and
postmaster eight years and also represented the town in the
State legislature. He married, 12 July i860, Mattie Ross
Baker, daughter of Andrew and Mary Jane (Sawyer) Baker
and had one son, Walter Bryant Greene. Dr. Greene died at
Newmarket 17 December 191 1.

Dr. A. E. Grant was born in North Berwick, Me., 30 July
1873. He was educated in the public schools of that town and
in Oak Grove Seminary, Vassalboro, Me., He was graduated
from Dartmouth Medical College in 1896 and settled in Durham
I March 1897, where he still resides. Before him Dr. James
Roberts and other physicians lived in Durham a short time.


Some who properly belong in this class have been sufficiently
mentioned in previous chapters. Here can be named only a few
of those who were prominent in the civil history of the town and
in business activities. Valentine Hill, merchant, was admitted
to church in Boston, the I2th of 4th month, 1636, and was made
freeman, 13 May 1640. He had a brother, John Hill, who lived
in London and named Valentine and other relatives in his will.
He was proprietor, town officer and deacon in Boston, member of
the Ancient and Honorable Artillery, and chief owner in a wharf.
He had numerous grants of land by the town of Dover, between
1643 and 1652, chief of which were a large tract on the north side
of the mouth of Oyster River, the mill privilege and five hundred
acres where Durham village now is, and the mill privilege at
Lamprey River with accommodations of timber on land a mile
wide on both sides of the river, for which he was to pay to the
town twenty pounds annually. In 1660 " the house of Mr. Valen-
tine Hill, which is his now dwelling house at Rocky Point" is
mentioned in fixing the division line of Oyster River parish.
This must have been on his tract at the mouth of the river. He
had a house also at the Falls.

Valentine Hill was the leading man of Oyster River for more
than a dozen years. He built the first church. He was a select-
man in 1 65 1 a-nd 1657. He was deputy to the General Court at
Boston from 1652 to 1657, inclusive. By petition of the inhabi-
tants of Dover he was made one of the associate judges in 1652
and probably continued in that office till his death in 1661. For
further particulars concerning him see incidental mentions in
this history and especially the Genealogical Notes.

Capt. John Woodman came from Xewbury, Mass., as early
as 1656. When the inhabitants of Oyster River petitioned to
be made a separate parish they sent John Woodman to represent

Online LibraryEverett Schermerhorn StackpoleHistory of the town of Durham, New Hampshire : (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes → online text (page 24 of 34)