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

. (page 76 of 149)
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 76 of 149)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

days she was a school-teacher, and for many years
prior to her death, which occurred in 1879, she was
an earnest member of the Congregational Church.
Deacon and Mrs. French were the parents of four
children, namely : John Pillsbury, who will be again
referred to; Mary Celinda, born May 6, 1832, mar-
ried Rev. James H. Fitts; Samuel Franklin, born
December 22, 1835, graduated from Dartmouth Col-
lege and from the Andover Theological Seminary,
married Martha J. Upton, of Andover, Massachu-
setts; and George Henry, born July 27, 1838, died
October 2, 1906. The latter, who was also a gradu-
ate of Dartmouth and of the Andover Theological
Seminary, married Fannie E. Kilburn, of Holden,
Massachusetts, who bore him three children —
Warren Kilburn, Irving Joseph and George Frank-

(IX) John Pillsbury, eldest child of Deacon
Coffin M. and Dolly (Pillsbury) French, was born
in Candia, September 14, 1826. Having concluded
his education with a course of advanced study at
the Pembroke Academy, he turned his attention
to agriculture, and for many years was associated
with his father in carrying on the homestead farm,
which he inherited at the latter's death. He also
inherited the spirit of energy and thrift which pre-
dominated in the character of his progenitors, and
has made excellent use of these essential qualities,
keeping well abreast of the times in the line of im-
provements and taking advantage of every available
means of preserving the fertility of his land. The
major portion of his farm, which comprises one
hundred and fifty acres, is divided into pasture and
woodland, while the remainder is devoted to the
usual products of that locality, and he keeps an aver-
age of ten head of cattle, six cows and three horses.
Mr. French has not only adhered in his daily life
to the traditions of his family, but has also preserved
their allegiance tothe cause of morality and religion.
For more than thirty years he has been a deacon of
the Congregational Church, and for a period has
served as superintendent of the Sunday school. In
politics he is a Republican. In 1861 he married
Edith Knight, of Atkinson, New Hampshire, who
died in 1863, and on February 20, 1872, he mar^-
ried for his second wife Mary E. Craig, daughter
of Leonard and Betsey (Stone) Craig, of Leicester
(or Auburn), Massachusetts. She is a graduate of
Abbott Academy, class of 1859, and was formerly
engaged in educational pursuits.

(V) Daniel, son of Joseph (3) and Abigail
(Brown) French, born in Salisbury, August 21,
1708, died September i, 1783, aged seventy-five. He
married, May 28, 1730, Sarah Gould, born 1710,
died January 25, 1773, aged sixty-three, daughter
of Samuel Gould, born February 3, 1668. died 1725,
and Sarah (Rowell) Gould, born jNIarch 1674, and



granddaughter of Valentine Rowell (q. v.)- The
children of Daniel and Sarah (Gould) French were:
Abigail, Sarah, Barzillai, Daniel. Gould, Elihu,
Daniel, Sarah and Judith, the first five born in Salis-
bury, Massachusetts, the other four in South Hamp-
ton, New Hampshire.

(VI) Gould, third son and fifth child of Daniel
and Sarah (Gould) French, born in Salisbury, Mas-
sachusetts, September 17, 1741, died ]May 12, 1823,
in St. Albans, Maine, aged eighty-three, and was
buried in Palmyra, with his son Dr. Benjamin's
family. He resided in Epping, New Hampshire,
where he was a farmer, living on a farm given him
by his father. He served as a private in the revo-
lution in Captain Joseph Chandler's company, of
Colonel Isaac Wyman's regiment. He moved to
]\Iaine about 1802. He married, November 24, 1763,
Dorothy (Dolly) Whittier, of Amesbury, Massachu-
setts, born November 30. 1745, died December 13,
1S04, daughter of Joseph and Martha (Evins)
Whittier. Their children were : Sail}', John E.,
Daniel and Dorothj' (twins), Benjamin, and Joseph
(twins) Deborah and Martha.

(VII) Daniel, second son and third child of
Gould and Dorothy (Whittier) French, born at
Epping, February 22, 1769, died in Chester, October
15, 1840. He was a student at Exeter under Dr.
Abbot two years, and also was under the tuition of
Rev. Robert Gray, of Andover, some time. He
studied law with Hon. William K. Atkinson, of
Dover, was admitted to the bar in 1796, and im-
mediately afterward proceeded to Deerfield Parade,
where he practiced two years. He then went to
Chester and succeeded Hon. Arthur Livermore, who
was appointed judge of the superior court, December,
1799. He was appointed solicitor June, 1808; was
admitted to practice in the United States court in
1809; and appointed attorney general, February,
1812, and resigned in 1815. He was appointed post-
master of Chester. April, 1807, and retained the
place through all the changes of administration till
1839, when he resigned, and his son Henry F. suc-
ceeded him. Loammi Davidson, Edmund Flagg,
Abner Emerson, Stephen Crooker, Jabez Crooker,
B. B. French, Eben French, and Henry F. French
were students at law. in his office. "He was un-
doubtedly a lawyer of more than ordinary ability
and attainments." He owned lands and was inter-
ested in cultivating them, but continued to practice
his profession and to attend the courts with
regularity until within a few years of his death.
He married (first), September 15, 1799, jNIercy
Brown, died March 8, 1802, daughter of Benjamin
and Prudence (Kelly) Brown, of Chester; (sec-
ond), June 30, 1805, Betsey Van ]\Iater Flagg, born
February 12, 1778, died April 23, 1812; and (third),
November 6, 1812, he married the sister of his late
wife Sarah Wingate (Flagg) Bell, widow of Jona-
than Bell, born May 31, 1782, died December 18,
1878, aged ninety-six. By these marriages he had
eleven children. By the first wife there was one
child, Benjamin B. ; by the second four children:
Arthur Livermore, Ann Caroline, Catherine J. and
Sarah ; and by the third wife, six ; Henry F., Har-
riette Van Mater, Elizabeth Jane, Edmund Flagg,
Arianna and Helen Augusta.

(VIII) Henry Flagg, eldest child of Daniel
and Sarah W. (Flagg) French, born in Chester,
New Hampshire, August 14, 181 3, died in Concord,
Massachusetts, November 29, 1885, was educated at
the Pinkerton Academ}', at Derry, and at Pembroke,
and at Hingham, Massachusetts, where he went to
study French. He studied law in his father's office
in Chester, and at the Harvard Law School, and

was admitted to the bar August 14, 1834. He
practiced law with his father till the death of the
latter, 1840, was at Portsmouth one year, then
removed to Exeter, and held the office of county
solicitor ten years from 1838; and that of bank com-
missioner four years from 1848; and practiced law
in Exeter until appointed a justice of the court
of common pleas, August 15, 1855, which office he
held till August i, 1859. He opened an office in
Boston, September, 1859, and removed his family
to Cambridge in i860 ; was appointed assistant dis-
trict attorney for Suffolk county, November 19,
1862, and held that office (at the same time practic-
ing law) until June, 1865, when he was elected the
first president if the Massachusetts Agricultural Col-
lege. He removed to Amherst, where the college
was established, September, 1865, having resigned
his office in Boston. Being unable to organize the
college according to his ideas of what such an insti-
tution should be, he resigned his position there
October 17, 1866, and resumed the profession of law
in Boston in the spring of 1867, where he practiced
until 1876, when he was appointed second assistant
secretary of the United States treasury, at Washing-
ton, which office he held till 1885, when he returned
with impaired health to Concord, Massachusetts,
where he remained till his decease, the following
November. Charles H. Bell, in "The Bench and
Bar of New Hampshire," says : "Judge French was
a man of ability and sense, of great readiness, and
superior professional attainments. His knowledge
was always at his tongue's end. It was said of him
that his opinion given at sight was as much to be
relied upon as if he had taken days for consideration.
He was prompt in all his business methods. While
he occupied the bench he never left questions over
to be decided in vacation, but had every transfer
drawn out, submitted to counsel, and settled, be-
fore the term ended. His sense of humor was keen,
and he uttered many a bright saying to enliven the
tedium of long trials. He never lost his balance
whatever happened. One one occasion, in a hear-
ing before a jury, his opponent introduced a crush-
ing piece of evidence. With perfect presence of
mind Judge French turned to his associate counsel
and in a whisper inquired, 'Had we better be sur-

All his life long Judge French manifested his
fondness for the cultivation of the soil, and he had
an extensive reputation as an agriculturalist. In
1857 he went to Europe, where he travelled for a
year on an agricultural mission, and communicated
the results of his observations in addresses, letters
to the New England Fanner, and in a very full
treatise which he published on farm drainage. He
had a great love for trees, and was active in orna-
menting his native town with them. He set the
elm trees in front of his father's office, and was a
leader in setting other trees on Chester street, and
active in ornamenting Exeter in a like manner. He
was president of the Rockingham Agricultural So-
ciety from its organization in 1852 till he left the
state. For many years he was a contributor to agri-
cultural papers. Dartmouth conferred the honor-
ary degree of IMaster of Arts upon him in 1852;
and he was elected an honorary member of the
Phi Beta Kappa Society, at Cambridge. July. 1861.
He was a man of amiable disposition and even
temper, and fulfilled his public and private duties
with equal fidelity. He married (first), October 9,
1838. Anne Richardson, born in Chester. September
26, 181 1, daughter of Chief Justice William Mer-
chant and Betsey (Smith) Richardson. She died
at Exeter, New Hampshire, August 28, 1856, and



he married (second) Pamela M. Prentice, of Keene.
The children of Henry F. and Anne French were :
Harrictte Van Mater, William JNI., Richardson, Sarah
Flagg and Daniel Chester.

(IX) Harriette Van Mater, eldest child of
Judge Henry F. and Anne (Richardson) French,
was born September 29, 1839, and married July 9,
1864, Major Abijah Hollis, of Milton, Massachu-
setts (see Hollis, VH).

(H) Samuel, third son and child of Edward
and Ann French, resided in Salisbury, where he
signed petitions in 1658, and was a member of the
church in 1677 and 1687. He died July 26, 1692,
in Salisbury. Administration of his estate was
established November 16 following. He was mar-
ried (first), June i, 1664, in Salisbury, to Abigail
Brown, daughter of Henry and Abigail Brown, of
Salisbury. She was born February 23, 1644, in
Salisbury, and died January 11, 1680, in that town.
Samuel French's second wife was named Esther,
and she survived him. Six of his children were
born of the first wife and three of the second,
namely: Abigail, Hannah, Samuel, Henry, Joseph,
Nathaniel, Johanna, John and Esther. (Nathaniel
and descendants receive extended mention in this

(HI) Joseph, third son and fifth child of
Samuel and Abigail (Brown) French, was born
about 1676, in Salisbury, and resided in that town,
where he was a cordwainer. His will was made
March 20, 1745, and proven September 18, 1749.
This goes to show that he was prudent, as his
will was probably made some years before his
death. His wife's name was Hannah as indicated by
his will. Their children were: Abigail, Samuel,
Nathaniel, Elizabeth and Joseph.

(IV) Samuel (2), eldest son and second child
of Joseph and Hannah French, was born December
II, 1699, in Salisbury, and lived in that town until
the establishment of the province line in 1741 threw
his home into South Hampton, New Hampshire,
where he continued to reside throughout his life.
He had sons, Samuel, Henry, Benjamin and, prob-
ably, Simon, and a daughter, who married Moses
Page. Benjamin settled in Gilmanton.

(V) Saniuel (3) French, called Samuel, Jr.,
lived for a time in Salisbury, and was perhaps all
his life in the same location. A part of that town
was included in South Hampton, New Hampshire,
by the establishment of the province line in 1741.
The birth of his fifth child is found in the records
of the South Hampton church, from which it would
appear that he was a resident of South Hampton in
1753- His wife's name was Mary, and their chil-
dren were: Reuben, Green, Henry, Samuel, Ezekiel,
Ruth, Deborah, Hannah and Mary. (Mention of
Ezekiel and descendants forms a part of this

(VI) Samuel (4) French married Anna Sweat,
June 24, 1771, by whom he had among other chil-
dren : Samuel, born December 22, 1778 ; Reuben,
born March 19, 1784; Anna, born July 26, 1788.

(VII) Samuel (5), son of Samuel (4) and
Anna (Sweat) French, was born December 22,
1778. He married Susanna (Sukey) Tilton, of
Loudon, March 21, 1804. Their children were:
Eliza, born July 11, 1805; Clarissa, born November
10, 1806 ; Hiram, born August 8, 1808, married Lydia
Bachelder, of Loudon, November 25, 1830; Olive,
born June 30, 1810; Samuel, born November 9,
1812; Mary Ann, born December 26, 1814; Reuben
Lowell, born April 19, 1818; and two others.

(VIII) Reuben Lowell, third son and seventh
child of Samuel and Susanna (Tilton) French, was

born in Loudon, April 9, 1818. He received his edu-
cation in the public schools. At the age of eighteen
he became a clerk in the country store of his brother
Hiram in Gilmanton, but soon followed his brother
to the Water street store in Pittsfield. Soon after-
wards, in company with James Munroe Tenney, an
early playmate, later well known as a brilliant and
prominent merchant of Boston, he purchased the
store of his brother Hiram and soon after became
sole owner of the lucrative business, continuing
therein nearly forty years. During this time he won
the reputation of being an unostentatious and upright
man, honest in all his dealings. His word was never
broken nor his honor tarnished. In public affairs
he proved himself an able and useful citizen, was
prominently connected with banks, a leading trustee
of Pittsfield Academy, and for many years its
treasurer. He was the main mover and. persistent
promoter of the Suncook Valley railroad, the wa-
ter works, and shoe manufactory. He was also
the leading spirit in the laying out of the Floral
Park Cemetery, and a large owner. Though as-
piring to no political ofBce, he was honored by his
party to an election to the state senate. He was a
warm and sincere advocate of temperance, good
order and sobriety, and heartily identified himself
with every movement looking to the best welfare
and greater prosperity of the community and town.

In early manhood he publically confessed his
faith in Christ and united with the Congregational
Church in 1843. He continued a devout and active
member through life. He was chosen to positions
of responsibility in the church, was elected deacon
in 1855, and for many years was superintendent of
the Sunday school. He was also treasurer of the
society. When his old church home was burned
on the morning of February 14, 1876, he was the
first one moving for its rebuilding, and generously
gave one thousand dollars in aid. The old bell in
the tower was a precious gift, and from its melted
metal he had a new bell cast and donated it to the
society. At his death, which occurred December
14, 1896, the village and town lost a true christian
friend, and the family a loving father. As a mark
of respect during the funeral services, in which Rev.
Samuel Bell officiated, all places of business were
closed. Special music was rendered by a local
quartet, and his remains were laid at rest in Floral
Park Cemetery.

Mr. French was married, August 15, 1844, to
]\Iary Jane, daughter of Nathaniel and Eliza B.
(Bickford) Nutter. She was born in Barnstead,
August 16, 1827, and was ]the granddaughter of
Deacon Ebenezer Nutter of Revolutionary fame,
and one of the early settlers of Barnstead (see
Nutter). JNIrs. French and her elder sister Eliza
who became later the wife of Andrew Bunker,
of Concord, were in 1840 students in the old acad-
emy. After her marriage to Mr. French they lived
in the house now owned by Charles S. French. Later
the house was bought and remodelled, and became
their home for over fifty years. It is now occupied
by their daughter, the wife of Clarence Edwin
Berry, grandson of the pioneer John Berry. The
house was built for comfort, and is sufficiently
elevated in the center of the village to command a
beautiful and picturesque landscape.

Mrs. French united with the Congregational
Church in 1840, during the pastorate of Rev. Jona-
than Curtis, and as long as able, like her husband,
was a faithful and active worker. For forty years
she sang in the choir, was a faithful and successful
teacher of a class of boys in the Sunday school,
as those now living will testify, and an efficient



director in the Ladies' Aid Society connected with
the church. After the death of her husband she was
an invaHd, unable to leave her home or converse with
her friends, but bore all with christian resignation
and was ready when the summons came to go up
higher ! Her death occurred November 2, 1903.

Mrs. French was the mother of five daughters,
namely : Laura Celestia, Helen Lowell, IMary Nut-
ter, Susan Gates and Annie Eliza. The first be-
came the wife of George B. Smith, of South Had-
ley, Massachusetts. She was well educated, the
possessor of fine musical talents, and a popular
school teacher. She died at Atlantic, Massachusetts,
leaving one daughter, Catherine Smith, now the
wife of Frank H. Hobbs, of Baye, New Jersey.
The second and third died when small children.
Susan Gates became the wife of Clarence E. Berry,
of Pittsfield (see Berry). Annie Eliza, the young-
est, was born February 24, 1867. Her preliminary
studies were pursued in public schools of Pittsfield,
and the academy under the instruction of Professor
D. K. Foster. Afterwards she entered Abbot Acad-
emy at Andover, Massachusetts, for a two years'
course, but was obliged to leave before its com-
pletion on account of ill health. After regaining
her normal health she attended the School of Ex-
pression in Boston to prepare herself for a public
reader and instructor in elocution, from which she
graduated with much distinction. Her fine personal
appearance won her many friends as a public reader.
Among the places where she gave public readings
before large and cultivated audiences were Tremont
Temple, Steinert and Music Halls, Boston, and many
of the principal cities of Massachusetts and New
Hampshire. She taught elocution for several years
in Boston and vicinity, and for one year at a promi-
nent female college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She
spent several months abroad in 1892. In early life
she united with the Congregational Church, then
under the pastorate of Rev. George E. Hill. She
was a member of the orders of the Daughters of the
Revolution, and Daughters of New Hampshire, and
an active and potent factor in the promotion of both.
She was also a member of the Abbott Club, devoting
herself so closely to its interests as to cause failure
of health. April 23, 1892, she was united in mar-
riage to Captain George E. Mahoney, of Boston,
at the parental home in Pittsfield. Her married life
was short, and she died childless, October 26, 1897.
The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Samuel
Bell, of Deerfield, assisted by Rev. George E. Love-
joy, pastor of the church, a select quartet furnishing
appropriate music.

(VI) Ezekiel, fifth son and child of Samuel
(3) and Mary French, was born May 20, 1753.
He married (first) Hannah, daughter of Dr. Nehe-
miah Ordway, of Amesbury, Massachusetts, and
married (second) Sally Smith, of Loudon. He was
a farmer. Their children were : Polly, Hannah,
Sally, Eunice, Thomas and John.

(VII) John, son and sixth child of Ezekiel and
Hannah (Ordway) French, married Lucy Tilton
Prescott, who lived to be nearly ninety-four years
old. He moved from Loudon to Gilmanton and
became a representative citizen of the town, and
a wealthy farmer, owning at the time of his death
thirteen hundred acres. He was a member of the
Congregational Church. His age was seventy-five
years. His children were : Thomas H., Samuel
Prescott, who graduated from Dartmouth College
in 1841, and became a celebrated physician in Mas-
sachusetts; John O., who also became a physician
and celebrated surgeon in the Civil war, married
(first) Martha Peaslee, and (second) Martha Per-

cival, of Massachusetts; Ann j\l., who married (first)
Daniel Williams, of (jilmanton, (second) William
Brackctt, of Epsom, and (third) Nathaniel Clough,
of Loudon ; and VVarren B., who now resides on
the old homestead in Gilmanton.

(VIII) Thomas H., first child of Dr. John and
Lucy Tilton (Prescott) French, was born in Gilman-
ton in 1815. He was a farmer and in political faith
Whig, like his ancestors. He held a captain's
commission in the state militia, and at the time of
his death at the age of thirty-seven was about to
be promoted. He married Sarah Ann, daughter of
Richard Brown, of Loudon. Their children were :
Ivlerwin E., a farmer in Gilmanton and a soldier in
the Civil war, who married Addie M. Gilman and
had children (John H., Mabel and William A.) ; Al-
bin H., Harland P. and Harriet Newell, the two last
dying respectively at one and two years of age.
Mr. French survived his wife by two months. 'Sin.
French was a member of the Congregational Church.

(IX) Albin H., second child of Thomas H. and
Sarah Ann (Brown) French, was born in Gilman-
ton, March 27, 1849. He spent his early life with
his grandfather, John French, on a farm in Gilman-
ton. He received his preliminary education in the
district school of his native town. He attended
Pembroke Academy, Northwood Seminary and
Pittsfield Academy, finally returning to Gilmanton
Academy, and fitting for college under Professor
Edgar R. Avery, of Tilton Seminary, his tutor for
one year. He then studied medicine as his one
hundred and third student, under the instruction of
Dr. Nahum Wight, who had previously instructed
his two uncles, Samuel P. and John O. French. He
afterwards entered the University of Vermont at
the age of twenty-two, and also had access to the
class rooms, taking advantage of the opportunity
to study Latin and Greek. Graduating in 1875, he
was in practice at Epsom till 1883, when he re-
moved to Leominster, Massachusetts, where_ he had
a drug business in connection with his practice until
1887, when he returned to Gilmanton, New Hamp-
shire, on account of poor health, but soon left for
a tour of hospital work in Boston and New York
City, attending many clinics, reviewing in surgical
lines. He has taken a post-graduate course in the
PolycHnic in New York City, and at Long Island
College Hospital, New York, in the meantime. He
returned to Gilmanton in 1892, but after a few weeks'
rest he located at Pittsfield village, where he has been
in active practice for thirteen years. During the
thirteen years of practice in Pittsfield, and the sur-
rounding towns of Chichester, Epsom, Loudon and
Gilmanton, he has only lost one day from his pro-
fessional duties. He has ridden twenty-four days
and nights without sleep in bed, and his work-day for
thirty years has averaged seventeen hours. He
keeps three horses, and his practice is an extensive
one. He was a delegate to the National I^Iedical
Convention in New York City in 1880.

Aside from his large practice he owns, what is
known now as a historic fact, the pioneer farm, as
the following certificate shows, where the first white
woman set foot on the soil of Gilmanton, and passed
one night in town with no other woman nearer than

The certificate taken from the proprietary his-
tory of Gilmanton, dated 1845 reads as follows :

"I, Hannah Mudgett, the wife of Benjamin
hereby certify that I was born 9th of June 1739 was
married to Benjamin iNludgett on the 21st of Dec.
1761 — and arrived in Gilmanton on the evening of
the 26th-7, Dec. the same year, where I have lived
ever since. I moreover state that I was the first



white woman who ever set foot in Gilmanton, was
the first woman who ever came here to settle, and
that I passed one night is town before any other
woman arrived. This I now state in my 78th

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 76 of 149)