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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WIER smith have come many of the families

of Canada ; and from Canada many of

the descendants of those families have found their

way to the United States, and are today among

those whose labors are increasing the wealth of the

nation. Of these are the Wiers of this article.

(I) Alexander Wier was born in Cork, Ireland,



and came to America with his parents at the age of
seven, and settled near Sherbrooke, Province of Que-
bec, Canada. He grew up on a farm, and when of
age owned one himself, and carried on a lumbering
business, that country at that time bearing a large
amount of first class timber. He got a good deal
of ship timber, including mostly masts, knees, etc.
He was successful as a business man, and accumu-
lated what was there and then considered a hand-
some property.

(H) Joseph Alexander, son of Alexander
Wier, died in California. He learned the carpen-
ter's trade, at which he worked in Sherbrooke, and
-then removed to Auburn, Maine, where he resided
and followed his calling until about 1879. _ In that
year he went to California and engaged in trade
which he carried on until his death. He married
in St. Francis, Canada, Amelia Barney. Of this
marriage were born two children : William C. and
Ada Barney.

(HI) William C. Wier -was born in Auburn,
Maine. March 26, 1872. He was educated in the
common schools and worked on a farm and in a
mill in Sherbrooke until he was sixteen years old.
In 1888 he went to Stewartstown, New Hampshire,
where he has since resided and has followed lum-
bering. He is a very enterprising man and a good
citizen. He owns and operates a steam saw mill
and does a thriving business. He is a member of
the Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of For-
esters, and Improved Order of Red Men: in each
of which he has passed the chairs. He and his wife
Lillian have one child, Harry.

Irish history teaches that the Three
CASSIDY Collas, the sons of Eochy Dubhlen,

who was the son of Carbry Lift'e-
char, the 117th monarch of Ireland, conquered Uls-
ter in the fourth century and there founded for
themselves and their posterity the Kingdom of Or-
giall, sometimes called Oriel and Uriel. From the
Three Collas descended many noble families of
Ulster, Connaught, Meath, and Scotland. One of
the principal families of the chiefs and tribes of
the race is that of the Cassidys. whose ancestor was
Muireadach, or Colla de Chrioch (or Facrioch),
meaning "Colla of the Two Countries." (Ireland
and Alba).

(I) Patrick Cassidy was born in the northern
part of Ireland. In 1849 he removed to America
and settled in Mcthuen, Massachusetts, where he
was engaged in agricultural pursuits. He died
there in October, 1877. He was an industrious cit-
izen, and he and his family were consistent mem-
bers of the Catholic Church. He married in Methucn,
Elizabeth Boyd, who died in Methuen, in Jan-
uary, 1878. The children of this union were : Pe-
ter, who married (first), Bridget Colbert: and
(second) Rosanna Henry: Mary, now the wife of
Joseph Martin, of Everett. Massachusetts: Jane
who married J. F. Merrill of Methuen ; John,
whose sketch is found below ; and a child which
died young.

(TI) John Franci-;, fourth child and second son
of Patrick and Elizabeth (Boyd) Cassidy, was born
in Methuen. 1S51, and was educated in the public
and parochial schools. When a young man he
worked in the shoe factories in jMethuen. Haver-
hill and Marlborough, and in Manchester, New-
Hampshire. In 1871 he was appointed to a place
on the police force of Manchester, where he has
since served continuously and faithfully. His effi-
ciency has been noted by his superiors, and since
May II, 1891, he has been deputy chief of the de-

partment. In politics he is a Republican. He was
married, March 30, 1875, to Clara E. Colby, daugh-
ter of Emerson and Mary (Greeley) Colby, of
Londonderr}-, the latter being a first cousin of the
late distinguished Horace Greeley. Mrs. Cassidy
was born in Londonderry, and died in Manchester,
February 9, 1906. The children of this union are :
Florence E., born April 4, 1876. who died Septem-
ber 14, 1878; John W., born May 2, 1S79, now a
clerk in the employ of the Boston & Maine rail-
road at Concord, New Hampshire.

Fiachra Ealg, one of the Princes of
O'DOWD Hy-Fiachra In Connaught, brother of

Eocha Breoc, was the ancestor of
O'Dubhda, a name which has been anglicized
Doody, Dowd, Dowde, O'Dowd and Dowda. _ All
those bearing these names are theoretically, if not
literally descended from the one ancestor.

(I) James O'Dowd was born in Ireland, where
he was a farmer. He removed to England, and
for some years worked in the cotton mills. He
migrated from England to Quebec in Canada, and
from there moved to the United States. He was
a Democrat in politics, and a Catholic in religious
faith. He married, in Ireland, Mary Moran, a na-
tive of the same county, by whom he had nine chil-
dren. She died in 1898. Their children were:
John H., James, Patrick. Michael, Matthew, Thomas
and three others who died young.

(II) John H.. eldest child of James and Mary
(Moran) O'Dowd, was born in Ireland, June 17,
1833. He was educated in private schools, and
accompanied his parents to England, where he
worked in the mills, and then removed to Canada,
where for twenty years he was engaged in farm-
ing. In 1856 he settled in Manchester, New Hamp-
shire, and for twenty-five years was employed in
the Manchester boiler house. He removed to Ports-
mouth in 1864. and afterward was engaged in farm-
ing for twenty-five years. In political sentiment
he was a Democrat, and in religious faith a Roman
Catholic. He married (first) in January, 1858,
Mary Carr, w'ho was born in Ireland, and died May
8. 1870, the daughter of Thomas and Bridget (Mc-
Carty) Carr, natives of Ireland. He married (sec-
ond) Bridget Dodd, who \vas born in Ireland, and
came to America. The children bv the first wife
w^ere: John T.. James L., Michael Matthew, Frank,
Catherine M., and Mary A. Those by the second
wife were : Charles W., Andrew and Mary A.

(III) John Thomas, eldest child of John H.
and !Mary (Carr) O'Dowd, was educated in the
public schools. He worked in th". print works, and
later learned the painter's trade. In 1878 he be-
came a member of a ball club. He went to Man-
chester and worked as a painter one year, and
worked the following year in the Manchester Mills.
January t, 1881, he became a member of the Man-
chester Fire Department, and was a driver of a
hose wagon for five 3-ears and nine months follow-
ing. In April, 1888. he enrolled as a member of
the Manchester police force and for two years
walked a night beat, and the two years following
was a day ofiicer. In 1896 he was appointed in-
spector and sergeant, and has since served as such.
Sergeant O'Dowd has distinguished himself in the
Manchester public service as an efficient and reli-
able ofiicer. He is a Republican and a Catholic.
He is a member of the Ancient Order of United
Workmen, the Golden Cross, and treasurer of the
Fraternal Order of Eagles, fraternal insurance or-
ganizations. He married, in Manchester. Novem-
ber 21, 1883, Minnie F. McDonough", daughter of






John and ]\Iary (Willis) McDoiiough. Their chil-
dren are: Francis G., Alice M. and Richard M.

The Steeles of this sketch are of good
STEELE old, honest Scotch stock, like the im-
migrants who peopled portions of New
Hampshire, and the southern colonies two hundred
years ago.

(I) Matthew Steele was born in the north of
Scotland, and came to America and settled in
Peacham, Vermont, where he bought a large farm
upon which he lived until his death. He married
Lillian Calderwood, who died in Peacham. Their
children were : Anna, Agnes, Robert, Alexander,
Charles, Isabella, John, George, and Mary.

(H) Charles David, fifth child and third son
of Matthew and Lillian (Calderwood) Steele, was
born July i8, 1872, in Peacham, Vermont. He at-
tended the schools of his native town until he was
fourteen years old, and then went to Woodville,
New Hampshire, where he apprenticed himself to
a butcher, and learned the trade. Subsequently he
bought out his employer and conducted the business
until 1894, when he removed to Manchester and
opened a grocery store and meat market on Chest-
nut street, which he has since successfully carried
on. He is a member of St. Paul's Methodist
Episcopal Church, and in politics is a Republican.
He is a member of the Ancient Order of United
Workmen. He married Millie May Pennock, who
was born in Woodsville. They have three children,
.all born at Manchester ; Harold, Howard and

Hon. Lemuel Franklin Liscom, fifth

LISCOM child and third son of Lemuel (2)

and Emerancy (Horton) Liscom, was

born February 17, 1841, on his father's farm, at the

north part of Hinsdale, New Hampshire.

He attended the town schools and then completed
his studies at Kimball Union Academy, Meriden,
New Hampshire. August 11, 1862, he enlisted in
Company A, Fourteenth New riampshire Volunteer
Infantry, and belonged at different times to the
Third, Sixth and Nineteenth Army Corps. _ He
was much of the time on duty at the national
capitol, along the Potomac, and at Harper's Ferry ;
was then transferred to the Department of the
Gulf, and was on the Red River expedition, and
up the ]Mississippi. He was also at the sieg6 of
Petersburg, at the battle of Deep Bottom, and the
second battle of Malvern Hill. In August, 1863,
he was transferred to the Shenandoah Valley, under
Sheridan, and served in eight engagements. Later
he was transferred to Savannah, Georgia, where he
belonged to Battery B, Heavy Artillery, in the
defenses of Savannah, Georgia. He was one of the
soldiers present at the capture of President Jeffer-
son Davis, a body of infantry having been sent
from the east and cavalry from the west, to make
the pursuit and capture. He assisted in trans-
fering President Davis through Augusta to the gun-
boats. He was discharged at Savannah, Georgia,
July 8, 1865, retiring from the service with rank of
orderly sergeant. He was confined to the hospital
but five days during his term of service.

Mr. Liscom returned north after the expiration
of his term of enlistment, and located in Boston,
Massachusetts, securing employment in the shops
of the National Bridge and Iron Company, for
which business he had partially fitted by the course
in engineering taken at the academy. He worked
in the engineering department, and in the office
•of the company, and secured a thorough mastery of

the details of the business. He became superin-
tendent of construction, and in that capacity had
charge of the building of the train sheds of the
old Boston and Lowell railroad, and of the Boston
and Providence railroad in Boston, Massachusetts.
He was also employed by the Keystone Bridge
Company, Edgemore Iron Works, and by others.
He put in the first iron bridge on the Vermont
Central road, at Dog River; and erected the first
three iron cantilever bridges constructed in this
country, on the European and North American
railroad, in New Brunswick. He also had charge
of the construction of many fine bridges and build-
ings, including the iron work of the Boston post-
office, and of the Art Museum in Boston, and did
much other work of that character during his twen-
ty-five years of service, acting as his own en-

Mr. Liscom was receiving a salary of twenty-
five hundred dollars a year and had flattering pros-
pects of advancement ; but in 1880, his father being
well along in years, he resigned his position and re-
turned to the old homestead in Hinsdale. Previous
to this time he had bought up tracts of timber as
opportunity occurred, and had quite extensive lum-
ber interests. He engaged in farming, and finally
bought out his father's property and started a saw
mill. At present he owns about four hundred and
fifty acres of forest, partly pine, and in 1906 cut
and sawed the lumber on one hundred and fifty
acres. For years he has made a specialty of raising
hay and tobacco, selling about eleven tons of the
latter product each year. He has devoted much tirne
and effort to his tobacco crops, taking pride in
obtaining a good quality of leaf, not onlj- on his own
farm but throughout the tobacco growing districts
in the Connecticut Valley around Hinsdale. A few
years ago he cleared up about twenty acres of an
upper level pasture and planted it all to tobacco,
building an immense barn.

Mr. Liscom is a Republican in politics, and for
years has taken an active interest in public measures.
In 1891-92 he represented his town in the legislature,
and was clerk of the committee on roads, bridges
and canals. In 1893-94 he was returned to the
general court, and served as chairman of the public
improvement committee. He was' abo a member of
the committee on State Library. While in the legis-
lature he formed the first Farmers' Legislative
Council ever organized in the state, its object being
to give weight and influence to the agricultural
element. He was one of the first to advocate mov-
ing the Agricultural College to Durham, in order
to secure the Benjamin Thompson school fund
and he has always been a warm friend and sup-
porter of the college in the matter of securing ap-
propriations and other advantages. He also intro-
duced a bill providing for an electric road from
Hinsdale to Brattleboro, Vermont, and used all
his influence to secure its passage. It was defeated,
however, through the influence of the railroad;
but on being introduced a second time both parties
agreed to leave the discussion of the question to
the supreme court.

In 1S96 Mr. Liscom was nominated for senator
in the 14th District by acclamation, and was elected
to the senate by the largest majority ever given a
candidate in that district, his vote being two thou-
sand and fifteen to his Democratic opponent's six
hundred and eighteen, a vote far exceeding that cast
for governor. During this term of service he was
chairman of the committee on claims; also served
on the committees on revision of laws, military
affairs, and roads, bridges and canals. Here he



introduced a bill to give the Connecticut River
Power Company a franchise to build a water system
across the river between Brattleboro, Vermont, and
Hinsdale, New Hampshire, for generating electricity
and other power.

With a strong affection for the old place, Senator
Liscom still resides on the old homestead of his
father. The old mansion he occupies is one of the
show-places of the town, and was erected in 1759
by Squire Jones. It was, in the early days of
its magnificence, the residence of Governor Hunt ;
later of his daughter, Mrs. Anna Marsh, who founded
the Brattleboro Retreat for Insane, at Brattleboro,
Vermont. This old mansion is a square, hip-roofed,
two-story building, constructed after the fashion
of the better class of colonial residences, and is
older than the American Revolution. The main
part of the building remains as originally built, but
during her residence Mrs. Marsh added a wing,
which was fitted up as a drawing room in a manner
to excite the admiration of the neighborhood; it
had an arched ceiling, and its furnishings were costly
and elegant; and here she was accustomed to enter-
tain parties from Brattleboro and vicinity. The
garden was laid out in elaborate design to suit her
esthetic fancy. The house is well preserved, and the
original clapboards riven out of pine logs and shaved
by hand, still cover it; the nails used in the con-
struction of the house were hand-made.

People whose memories extend back for seventy
or eighty years or more, can recollect when the
great deer park belonging to the estate was one of
the chief show-places of the town, the great resoi-t
for pleasure drives. It was a noble" range of wood-
land, with magnificent trees, greenest grass, a brook
winding through the glades, and all kept in neatest
trim. This estate formerly belonged to Colonel
Hinsdale, one of the founders of the town and its
foremost man, who in 1742 built Fort Hinsdale
(the old cellar hole of which is now indicated by
a depression about twenty rods back from the old
mansion in an orchard) on top of the first terrace
back of from the Connecticut river, a site overlook-
ing a long stretch of the river and surrounding
country. It was one of the town's main defenses
against the Indians. Colonel Hinsdale also erected
'the grist-mill (now the saw-mill) still standing on
the place.

Senator Liscom has one of the largest farms in
town, some two hundred and fifty acres, much of
it timber growth. Small crops of corn, potatoes
and other farm products are raised, besides hay
and tobacco, the staple crops. Farming and lum-
bering, together with dealing in ashes and other
fertilizers, have constituted his business, but he
now feels that the time has come when advancing
years demand a husbanding of strength and vigor,
and so is planning to reduce farm labor to a mini-
mum and take life a little easier. He still con-
tinues, however, to give the best of his strength and
talent to the interests of his fellow citizens. He
was active in securing the erection of the new iron
bridge, three hundred and twenty feet single span,
over the Connecticut river opposite Brattleboro,
Vermont, and was its Inspecting Engineer; he drew
the specifications for super and substructure. In
the New Hampshire legislature of 1907, in the
interest of the town of Hinsdale, county and state,
he, with others, secured five amendments to the
charter of the Connecticut River Power Company
to construct a dam across the Connecticut river be-
tween Hinsdale, New Hampshire, and Vernon, Ver-
mont, which dam is now under construction, and is

rated as one of New England's greatest water

Senator Liscom is not a member of any church,
but sees good in all, and is a generous supporter
of local religious and educational institutions, and.
is a staunch temperance man. He is a member
of Golden Rule Lodge, No. TJ, Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons, of Hinsdale ; also of Royal Arcli
Chapter, No. 4, of Keene, New Hampshire; Saint
John's Council, No. 7, Royal and §elect Masters,
of Keene; and Hugh de Payne's Commandery,
Knights Templar, of Keene ; also of Sheridan Post,^
No. 14, Grand Army of the Republic ; Tribe, No.
•27, Improved Order of Red Men, of Hinsdale; and
of Wantastiquet Grange, Patrons of Husbandry,-

Senator Liscom married, in Truthville, New
York, February 21, 1872, Dollie Amelia Mason; she
was born in Fort Ann, New York, December 7,
1848, to Orrin T. and Sarah Ann (Otis) Mason,.
giving her a good old colonial and patriotic an-
cestry. Mrs. Liscom was of most lovable disposi-
tion and noble character. She had great artistic
ability, and continued her art studies and painting
during her married life. By her death, from pneu-
monia, March 2, 1896, Senator Liscom suffered au
irreparable loss. Two daughters were born to
them — Flora Dollie, January 22, 1875; and Mary
Edith, October 31, 1878. Flora D. married Charles
Victor Stearns, and they reside in Somerville,
Massachusetts ; they have one son, Charles Li.sconv
born May 8, 1905. Mary E. married Burton P.
Holman, and lives in West Nutley, New Jersey.

The study of family history, if useful for no
other purpose, is of value in yielding data that
will give a clearer insight into the settlement and
development of this great land, and show how its
history has been made. As indicative of the various
streams of settlers whose immigration and subse-
quent development have made New Hampshire what
it is. Senator Liscom's connection with representa-
tives of the old pioneer families of New England
might well be cited. His paternal ancestor, from
whom the family originated in this country, ^vas
Philip Liscom. who represented an ancient English
family of the Celtic-British stock. He first appears
in Milton, Massachusetts, in 1700, and married,
December 24, 1701, Charity Jordan, daughter of
John Jordan, of jMilton, likewise of English an-
cestry. In 1708 Philip Liscom removed to the old
Ponkapoag Indian Reservation in Dorchester ter-
ritory, south of the Blue Hills, and it was here that
he and his descendants lived for almost ninety years.
This section is now the Ponkapoag District of Can-
ton, Massachusetts, but in those days it was the
South Precinct of Old Stoughton, which was set
apart from Dorchester, 1728. Philip Liscom bought
a large farm of some seventy-five acres, part of
the old Fenno Farm which had recently been pur-
chased from the Indian chiefs. He was a prominent
man; constable in 1718; traded considerably in
tracts of land ; and when he died, June 27, 1743, his
estate was inventoried at two thousand one hun-
dren and forty-five pounds, about eleven thousand

Philip (2) was born February 15, 1704, in Old
Stoughton; died there October 24, 1772. He was
a farmer and land trader, and served in the Crown
Point expedition of the French and Indian war,,-
1755-58. He married, December 8, 1724, Desire Syl-
vester, of Scituate, fourth in line from Richard Syl-
vester, the emigrant ancestor, probably of French
stock, settled in England in the time of the Con-



queror. Desire's mother was a Stetson, descended
from Cornet Robert Stetson, prominent in Old
Plymouth Colony.

Philip Liscom (3) was born June 23, 1731, in
Stoughton; died there February 8, 1774. He was
a farmer, and later kept a tavern in Stoughton.
He served in the Crown Point expedition of the
French and Indian war, 1755. He was a member of
one of the singing societies which flourished in
Stoughton at that time, later becoming merged. into
the Stoughton ^Musical Society (still existing) one
of the oldest societies in the country. He married,
November 16, 1752, Miriam Belcher, daughter of
Samuel and Alary (Puffer) Belcher. She was a
descendant of Jeremy Belcher, a proprietor of Ips-
wich, Massachusetts, who came in the "Susan and
Ellen" from Wiltshire, England, 1635. The line
spread into Lynn and later to Stoughton. The
Belcher line intermarried with other old pioneer
families, Holbrooks of Roxbury; and Farnsworths
of Dorchester from the old family of Lancashire,

Lemuel (i), son of Philip (3), born April 8, 1767,
was the youngest of the five children. Miriam (i)
born August 25, 1753, married July i, 1772, Jo-
seph Wright, of old Dedham stock, who later set-
tled in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Samuel (2)
born September 14, 1755, was later a resident of
Attleboro, Massachusetts, and a soldier from there
on the Lexington Alarm; married September 25,
1776, Deborah Read. In 1803 he removed to and set-
tled in Halifax, Vermont, where his descendants
lived until about 1870, when they removed west.
Hannah (3) born May 3, 1757, married December
9, '^nz^ Jeremiah Fisher, also of old Dedham, Mas-
sachusetts, stock, who likewise later settled in Hins-
dale, New Hampshire. Eunice (4) born April 29,
1765; married September 29, 178s, Benjamin Tower,
of the old Scituate family, who likewise later set-
tled in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Lemuel ist (5)
probably removed to Hinsdale with his relatives
about 1790. Here he married, September 26, 1796,
Submit, daughter of John Barrett, of Hinsdale, who
was probably a descendant of the Benjamin Barrett
families of Old Deerfield, Massachusetts, who repre-
sented an ancient Norman family settled in England
at the time of the Conquest. John Barrett was an
early settler in Hinsdale, and held town office.
Lemuel ist was a farmer and breeder of horses,
also ran a flatboat- on the Connecticut river be-
fore the days of railroads. When a lad of nine
years he assisted in carrying supplies to Dorchester
Heights for the use of the Continental army while
besieging Boston. He was an early settler in that
part of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, which is now
Vernon, Vermont. Subsequently he bought a farm
on the Chestnut Hill road where he lived for a time ;
then resided on the Brattleboro road, and tinally
settled in the locality known as Slab City. His
farms were small and remote from market ; he was
troubled by Indians, and he had all the unpleasant
experiences of a pioneer. He died July 7, 1836, and
his wife died October 25, 1839. Both are buried
in the old Dummer burying ground at North Hins-
dale. j\Irs. Liscom was a fine Christian woman,
and brought up her family to be honorable and re-
spected men and women. They had a family of nine
children. Alary (i) born January 4, 1798; married,

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 113 of 149)