Ezra S Stearns.

Genealogical and family history of the state of New Hampshire : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation (Volume 4) online

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and joined Sheridan's corps on the Shenandoah on
August iS, 1864. Lieutenant Macurdy was pro-
moted to first lieutenant May 27. 1864, and trans-
ferred to Company B. He was present with his regi-
ment at the battle of Berryville, September 19,
This was a very hotly contested battle, and the loss
to the Fourteenth was thirteen officers and one
hundred and thirty privates, killed and wounded.
Matthew Macurdy was instantly killed. Lieutenant
Macurdy was wounded, and after the action was
furloughed. After his wound had healed he re-
joined his regiment, having been promoted to a
captaincy November 22, 1864. January i, 1865, he
accompanied his regiment to Savannah, Georgia,
where it remained until the close of .the war, and
was mustered out July 8, 1865. (In June, 1864, Cap-
tain ]\Iacurdy served on a board of survey at Car-
rollton, Louisiana, and in August of the same year
was appointed quartermaster for a battalion of re-
cruits for General Sherman's army in the Shenan-
doah valle}'. In March, 1865, he served on a court
martial at Savannah, Georgia. In May, 1865, he
w-as in command of Company B, Fourteenth New
Hampshire Volunteers, and had in charge Jefferson
Davis, Alexander Stevens, Captain Wirz. and others
of the Confederate officers in Augusta, Georgia, af-
ter their capture.)

Returning to Boscawen, Captain Macurdy re-
opened his store, and was engaged in the trade until
August, 1870, when he sold out all his property and
removed to Concord, where he opened a grocery,
flour and grain store. This he carried on until 1877,
when he removed to Webster, built and stocked a
store and started in business. The following March,
store and stock were destroyed by fire, and Mr. Ma-
curd}' went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he
filled a position in the freight department of the Chi-
cago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, until igoi.
Returning to New England, he lived in Boston part
of one j-ear, and in 1903, removed to Webster, where
he now lives retired. Captain Macurdy's conduct
and capabilities have been such as to entitle him to
the friendship of all those who know him, and his
fellow citizens have honored him with the offices
of selectman one term ; town clerk, one term ; repre-
sentative, two terms, and moderator, four times.
He is a Republican, and still maintains the principles
for which he fought in the civil war. He is a
member of Colonel Putnam Post No 5, Grand Army
of the Republic ; Minnehaha Lodge No. 165, Free
and Accepted ^lasons, and White Mountain Lodge
No. 3, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Con-
cord. He married first, January. 1852, Salome Fel-
lows, who was born August 25, 1827, and died Jan-
uary 2, 1901, aged seventy-four years, daughter of
Hezekiah and Pamelia F. (Senter) Fellows, . of
Boscawen. Three children were born of this mar-
riage: Hill B., Lucy E., and Senter G. He mar-
ried second. September 17, 1902, Nancy Eastman
Couch, who was born in Boscawen, February 12,
1835, daughter of Enoch and Nancy (Eastman)
Couch. (See Couch IV.)

(II) John, youngest son of Archibald
McCurdy by his first union, was born in Ball}' -
mony in 1718. He resided in Dunbarton and died
there August 6, 1813. In 1765 he was chosen first
constable and also tax collector, and for the years
1766 and 1770 he served as a selectman. In the

French and Indian War he served as a lieutenant.
He married Mary Scoby, who died September 20^
1S09, and their children were : Martha, Archibald.
James, Robert, Elizabeth, Matthew Scoby, Daniel,
Mary and Peggy.

(III) Matthew Scoby, third son and
fifth child of John and Mary (Scoby) McCurd}-, was
born in Dunbarton, November 23, 1766, and died
March 23, 1S50. In 1790 he was chosen deacon of
the church in Dunbarton and was noted for his
piety. No food was allowed to be cooked in his
house on Sunday, and it is related that on one oc-
casion, having lost his reckoning, he hauled a load
of grist to the mill, but upon learning his mistake
he returned home with his load, preferring to make
an extra trip to the mill rather than leave it there
on the Lord's day. He was quite prominent in pub-
lic affairs and between the years 1791 and 1808 he
served six terms as a selectman. He was the father
of ten children, namely: Peggj', Daniel. Martha,
John. James, Mary, Robert, Elizabeth, Mary Ann
and Matthew.

(IV) Daniel, second child and eldest son of
Matthew McCurdy, was born in Dunbarton, Sep-
tember 16, 1798, and died in wdiat is now Web-
ster, November 9, 1859. He married Betsey Alex-
ander, who was born in Dunbarton, February 28,
1805, daughter of David and Martha (Cunningham)
Alexander, the former of whom w^as born July 11,
1781. and died June 23, 1852, and the latter born
March 15, ^779, died March 30. 1S54. David and
Martha (Cumiingham) Alexander, who were mar-
ried March 8, 1804. became the parents of seven
children, two of whom died in infancy. Those who
lived to maturity are : Betsey (previously mention-
ed) ; Nancy, born June 6, 1807, (became the wife of
John Healy and died November 30, 1895) ; Mary,
l)orn October 24, 1808 (became the w^ife of Orren
Morse) ; Harriet, born November 22, 1812,
married Hugh Jameson and died February
17. 1901) ; and Maria .born December 25,
1815 (married Joshua Vose). Daniel and
Betsey (Alexander) McCurdy had a family of
eight children, namely: John, born April 27, 1831,
died January 8. P871) ; Capt. David A., born June
22,, 1832, (married Salome Fellows, who was born
August 25, 1827. died January 2, 1891, and he is now
residing in Webster, this state) ; Martha Jane, born
February 2, 1834; Daniel L., born December 27,
183s, (died July 24, 1897) ; Elizabeth, born June 29,
183^, married Thomas Kilbourne, born February
26, 1835; Mary Ann, born December 24, 1838, who
is again referred to in the succeeding paragraph ;
^latthew, born November 5, 1840, (died in Virginia
September 19, 1864) : and Oscar D., born in 1842,
died January 31, 1843). The motlv^r of these
children died May 13, 1888. Capt. David A. Mc-
Curdy, previously referred to, is a veteran of the
Civil war, was wounded and won promotion for his
gallantry. His younger brother, Matthew, was killed
in battle during that struggle. Both enlisted August
II. 1862. in the Fourteenth Regiment, New Hamp-
shire Volunteers.

(V) Mary Ann, sixth child and youngest
daughter of Daniel and Betsey (Alexander) Mc-
Curdy, was educated in the select and high
schools of Boscawen and Contoocook, New Hamp-
shire. In 1859 she became the wife of Prescott C.
Hall of Salem Depot, and went to reside in that
town. (See Hall.) She is the mother of four
sons, all of whom are living, namely: Clarence P..
Arthur C, Clifton S. and Lester W. Mr. Hall died
suddenly in June, 1906, having retired from active



business pursuits some years previous, and he left
a good estate, including valuable residential prop-
erty in Boston.

The Scotch Highlanders of this
McGregor name, who were the forefathers of
all of the McGregors in America,
have for centuries inhabited the wild, mountainous
region Ijordcring upon Loch Lomen, and their most
famous chieftain, Rob Roy, or Red Rob, is the hero
of one of Sir Walter Scott's most facinating tales.
They were a haughty people, who, dinging tena-
ciously to the ancient traditions of their race, stoutly
refused to abandon their independent life, and were
among the last of the Gaelic tribes to cease their
opposition to the sway of English, or as they termed
it, Saxon civilization. Warlike and ready to avenge
a wrong they followed to many a victory the standard
of their chief, when summoned to the fray.

"The moon's on the lake and the mist's on the brae;
And the clan has an aim that is nameless by day;
Then gather, gather, gather Gregarlach."

The great religious upheaval which swept over
Scotland during the seventeenth century seems to
have had little effect upon the highland clans. A
few of them, however, joined the Covenanters, and
among the latter were some of the AIcGregors, who,
as might have been expected, were as firm and un-
bending in their christian zeal as the rugged crags
which formed the battlements of their picturesque
retreat. Such were the ancestors of the venerable
centenarian of North Newport, whose long and in-
teresting life forms the chief inspiration for this

(I) John AIcGregor came from Scotland prior
to the beginning of the eighteenth century or shortly
afterward, and settled in Enfield, Connecticut.

(ID Ebenezer, son of John iMcGregor resided in
Enfield and reared a family.

(III) John, son of Ebenezer McGr'egor, was born
in Enfield, June 29, 17.36. He was a Revolutionary
soldier. In 1787 he went to Newport, New Hamp-
shire, locating on the Wylie farm (so called), and
he resided in that town for the remainder of his life.
He married Lucy Chapin, who died May 29, 1836.
His children were: Joel, Asa B., John B., Elias,
Lucy, Norman and Lois.

(IV) Joel, eldest child of John McGregor, was
born in Enfield, November 22, 1760. April 17, 1777,
he enlisted in a Connecticut regiment for service
in the war for national independence, and was in the
Continental army five years, during which time he
spent eight months in the famous old sugar-house
in New York city as a prisoner of war. In 1789 he
settled upon the William Tilton farm in North
Newport. The McGregors are noted for their
longevity, as will be seen later, and Joel was no ex-
ception to the rule as he died in Newport in 1861,
at the ripe old age of one hundred and one years.
He married INlartha Bellows, and reared seven chil-
dren, namely: Gains, born August 27, 1786, married
Betsey Hoyt, and settled in Bethlehem, New Hamp-
shire. Polly, July 15, 1788, married Silas Wakefield.
Cyrus R., September 27, 1791. Laomy, in February,
1794, married Fanny White, and settled in White-
field, New Hampshire. Martha, July 16, 1799. mar-
ried for her first husband Willard Wakefield, and
for her second husband Captain Nathaniel King,
of Claremont, New Llampshire. James B.. who will
t)e again referred to. Ruby, in July, 1806, married
John Barnard. All lived to an advanced age, one,
'Gains, becoming a nonogenarian and dying at ninety-

four years, while James B., who is still living, is
now far beyond the century mark.

(V) James Bellows, fourth son and sixth child
of Joel and ]\Iartha (Bellows) McGregor, was. born
on the William Tilton farm in North Newport, Sep-
tember 6, 1801. His education, which was begun in the
district schools, was completed at the Newport Acad-
emy, and for a number of years afterward he was a
successful school teacher both in his native town
and in other places. One of his pupils was Mrs.
Electa Kelley, of Newport, who recently died at the
age of ninety-two years. She was the seventh child
of Ephraim Fletcher. On attaining his majority
he visited his brother in Lyman, New Hampshire,
and being solicited to take charge of the school
there he accepted and at times had one hundred and
six pupils. In 1829 he purchased a general country
store in Lunenburg, Vermont, where he remained
until 1831, and he was subsequently for some years
engaged in the manufacture of barrels at Waterville,
Maine. While there he acquired a wide reputation
as a singing master and afterward taught singing
schools in New Hampshire and Vermont. In the
early forties he owned and operated a sawmill, and
while running a circular saw had the misfortune to
lose some of his fingers. He next turned his at-
tention to carpentering and contracting, and erected
several buildings in Newport. He was at one time
employed by Aaron Nettleton, Jr., as clerk at the old
Nettleton store in Newport, which stood on the
site of the present Lewis block, and he also held
a similar position in Salisbury, Massachusetts, for
some time. Early in the seventies he resided for a
time in Albany, New York, but a fondness for the
surroundings amid which the happiest years of his
life have been spent eventually caused his return to
North Newport, and he has ever since remained
there. He acquired possession of the house he now
occupies in May, 1842, and he not only set out all
of the shade trees which adorn the property, but the
fences too are the work of his hands.

On November 9, 1832, Mr. McGregor was united
in marriage with Elizabeth J. Townsend, who was
born February 6, 1806, and died August 25, 1869.
She was a sister of Mrs. Amos Tuck. The only
child of this union was James H. IMcGregor, who
was born April 12, 18^0, and for nearly fifty years
was a well-known commercial traveler. He suffered
severely from asthma, which eventually caused his
death, January 10, 1906, at the home of his father.
February 15, 1872, he married Emily Melendy, of Pom-
fret, Vermont, who was born in Hartland, Vermont,
September 26, 1856. She died leaving one daughter,
Alice, who is now residing with her grandfather in
Newport. She was married November 21, 1906, to
Orren J. Clement, a Carpenter of Newport.

A centenarian and an optimist may appear to
the majority of readers as somewhat paradoxical,
but in the case of James B. McGregor this assertion
is absolutely true. To all appearances he seems to
possess the strength and agility of a man of fifty
years. He is still able to prepare fire wood, works
in his garden, thereby obtaining a sufficient amount
of physical exercise to preserve a normal circulation
of his blood, and his mental faculties are equally
active. He converses intelligently upon a varied
line of subjects, including the many notable improve-
ments in mechanic arts during the last centur)^, and
his memory is unusually accurate. He has a vivid
recollection of the days when corn pone, baked on
a smooth board in front of the fire, was the addition
to fried salt pork, considered both healthy and suf-
ficient food by the average New Hampshire farmer;



of the flint lock musket and the manner of kindling
a fire prior to the introduction of Lucifer matches ;
and recently in speaking of the time when farmers^
found it necessary to raise flax for the purpose of
clothing the family, he humorously remarked that
these home-made garments fitted like a shirt on a
bean-pole. When nitcrvicwed by the representative
of the publishers of this work he cheerfully and
without the slightest effort gave the desired infor-
mation relative to his ancestors and the principal
incidents of his own unusally long life, and at an
opportune moment he tenderly embraced his grand-
<laughter, at the same time paying her a truly beauti-
ful tribute of love and devotion, concluding with
the pathetic words : "This is all I have left to com-
fort me in my old age."

The fact that Air. McGregor has now reached
the age of one hundred and six years is not the only
unique feature of his life, as he is considered the
oldest living Free Mason in the country, having
joined that- order at Salisbury, Massachusetts, in
1825, and has therefore affiliated with it for eighty-
one years. At the observation of the one hundredth
anniversary of his birthday, which took place at his
home in iQor, the ceremony was of a semi-Masonic
character, the house being decorated with emblems
-ymbolical of the order, and many of the participants
being fellow-craftsmen. Provided for the occasion
were two handsome birthday cakes, one by his
neighbors and friends, and the other by his rela-
tives, and each was inscribed: 1801-1901. One was
surrounded by one hundred wax tapers which, when
dir.ncr was announced, were lighted and they burned
out one by one during the progress of the repast,
emblematical of each successive j-ear in the life of the
honored centenarian who, at the proper time, cut
and distributed the cake among the guests. Past
Worshipful Master Albert S. Wait, of Mount Ver-
non Lodge, No. 15, presented him with an easy chair
m behalf of that body. Though the Rev. C. H.
Fletcher his neighbors and friends presented him
with a handsome house-coat, a pair of slippers, a
-ilver match-box and a well-filled purse, while ap-
propriating speeches were made and aptly responded
to. During the past summer (1906) Air. McGregor
and his friend, Ezra T. Sibley, who is a nonegen-
arian. were tendered by Colonel Seth M. Richards
an automobile ride in the latter's handsome touring
.■ar. They were carried through Northville, thence
iv a circuitous route back to the point of departure,
and both enjoyed the trip immensely, Mr. McGregor
I'emarking that he could stand the trip to Boston.
This incident certainly served to link the far away
oast with its proverbial slow coach, and the present
day with its speedy and luxuriant means of public
iiid private conveyances.

For more than one htmdred years a
PUTNEY certain locality in the town of Dun-
barton. New Hampshire, has been
described as "the old Putney farm" ; for more than
a century and a half the children in the public
schools have been taught how James Rogers and
Joseph Putney made the first civilize.d white settle-
ment within the limits of the town and the de-
struction of their buildings and property by the In-
dians, but a search of the .various town records and
an examination of the productions of earlier chron-
iclers of contemporary history fails to reveal more
than meagre mention of the adventures of Joseph
Putney and fttrnishes no account wdtatever of his
family life and connections other than the fact that
lie had a son.

In early New Hampshire history Joseph Putney
played an important part as a pioneer of Dunbarton,
and proved himself worthy of a conspicuous place
in the archives of the state as the founder of one of
its best towns, a daring pioneer, fearless Indian
fighter, and as the progenitor of a family whose de-
scendants in all generations from his time have been
men of action and solid worth. It is within reason
to state that all persons in New Hampshire of the
surname Putney and who have lived within that
jurisdiction during the last century and a half are
descendants of Joseph Putney, first of Londonderry
and afterward of Dunbarton, and have reason to
feel just pride in the deeds of their common an-

Joseph Putney was of Scotch birth and ancestry,
and is believed to have come to the colony of people
of his own nationality at Londonderry, New Hamp-
shire, within ten years after the settlement of that
town was effected. He was not among the signers
of the memorial addressed to Governor Shute, nor
one of the proprietors to whom the grant was made,
nor does his name appear at all in connection with
the settlement and organization or subsequent his-
tory of that town; but there is abundant evidence of
his having been there within a very short time after
the town was settled, and that he joined with James
Rogers, who w-as one of the proprietors of Lon-
donderr}^, in venturing out into the then uninhabited
regions of Dunbarton and making a settlement there
somewhere about the year 1740.

The story of the adventures of James Rogers
and Joseph Putney has been told by various writers
of New Hampshire and Dunbarton history, and
while in the main their accounts agree there are a
few differences in respect to dates ; but from inform-
ation drawn from all reliable sources it appears
most probable that Rogers and Putney left old
Londonderry and went out to the region now known
as Dunbarton sometime between the years 1735 and
17-JO, and that then their first object was to hunt for
wild game. While on an expedition of this kind
they discovered the "great meadow," which even
then was covered with a heavy growth of natural
grass, and naturally the thought was suggested that
the locality was a most desirable one for a new set-
tlement. They accordingly erected log houses, says
the "History of Dunbarton," and removed " their
families from their former qbodes in Londonderry
to their new homes, at a time when Bow probably
was without an inhabitant and Rumford (Concord)
was the nearest settlement. In their isolated posi-
tion they struggled on. clearing land, planting or-
chards and raising stock until 1746, when a body of
hostile Indians appeared in the Alerrimack valley to
destroy unprotected settlements, plunder houses and
carry away captives ; but before an attack was made
on the homes of these pioneers a messenger from
the garrison at Rumford had warned them of their
peril, and on that very night Rogers and Putney
abandoned their property and with their families
sought safety at the garrison. The next day Rogers
and Putney went back after the cattle and found
that they had been killed and all the buildings de-
stroyed by fire. After that they remained with
their families at the garrison until the Indians left
the vicinity, and in 1749 returned to the place, re-
built their houses and settled permanently near the
great meadows. On one occasion, however, wdtile
Joseph Putney was at work on the intervale he was
surprised by a party of Indians, but managed to es-
cape capture, although one of his arms was broken
by a musket ball fired by one of his pursuers.



(I) Joseph Putney, the Scotch immigrant, the
pioneer of Dunbarton, was a man of courage and a
man of peace, and after the troublous period was
passed he resided for the remainder of his life at
the place where his first settlement had been made,
and died there at an advanced age. It is known
that he had a family, but the number 'and names of
his children are not now known. The house of his
son Henry was the accustomed meeting place for
the selection of a representative to the general as-

(II) Henry, son of Joseph Putney, the pioneer
of Dunbarton, is believed to have come with his
father and mother to Londonderry and afterward
shared with them the vicissitudes of pioneer life.
He became a man of consequence in the town and
filled some town offices. Other than this little in-
deed is known of him, except that he married three
times, namely: Mary Wells, Dolly Jewett and
Deborah Austin. He died April 13, 1S07, leaving
children, and '"his descendants have gone out into
all the land." Two of Henry's sons were David
and Daniel, and there is reason to believe that John
was another of them, but this is not certain. (He
receives mention in this article).

(III) David, son of Henry Putney, and grand-
son of Joseph Putney, was born in Dunbarton and
spent his life in that town, on the farm where his
grandfather settled and where his father also lived.
David married and his wife's name was Rebecca.
Their children were: Molly, born March 23, 1791 ;
Rebecca Sawyer, July 10, 1793; Adna, July 10, 1796;
Fanny, February 27, 1799; David, September 4,
1801 ; Fanny, September 22, 1805; Henry, June 11,
1807 ; Louisa, December 5, 1810.

(IV) David,- son of David and Rebecca Putney,
born in Dunbarton. September 4, 1801, died Feb-
ruary, 1881. He was given a good common school
education, and afterward taught several years in
Bow and other towns in the vicinity of his home,
but his chief business occupation was farming. He
was a man of understanding and influence, served
as selectman, representative- to the state legislature,
and was one of the most intense abolitionists in his
town. Originally he was a Democrat and after-
ward a firm Republican. Mr. Putney married, 1827,
I\Iary Brown, daughter of Jonathan Brown, of Bow,
and of their fourteen children ten grew to maturity,
viz. : John B., of Granville, Vermont. Eliza A.,
wife of William Doherty, of Danvers, Massachu-
setts. George H. (now dead). Charles E., a grad-
uate of Dartmouth, class of '70; a noted educator,
for fifteen years principal of St. Johnsbury (Ver-
mont) Academy, and now teaching at Burlington,
Vermont. Albert B., a retired Boston merchant.
Lucretia C., wife of Charles W. Brown, of Con-
cord, New Hampshire. Walter of Bow, New Hamp-
shire._ representative and state senator. Freeman,
superintendent of schools at Gloucester. Massachu-
setts. David N., a graduate of Dartmouth, class of
'75, formerly principal of Leicester and Monson
academies, Massachusetts. Milton K., of Revere,
]\Iassachusetts, for many years teacher and superin-
tendent of schools.

(V) Freeman Putne\% superintendent of pub-
lic schools at Gloucester, Massachusetts, and a
teacher and educator of wide experience, was born
in the town of Bow, Merrimack county. New Hamp-
shire, August 23, 1847. His elementary and sec-
ondary education was acquired in public schools and
academies, and his higher education at Dartmouth
College, where he finished the course and graduated
with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1873. He

worked his way through college and taught school

Online LibraryEzra S StearnsGenealogical and family history of the state of New Hampshire : a record of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation (Volume 4) → online text (page 87 of 149)