John Scales.

History of Strafford County, New Hampshire, and representative citizens online

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estate business, as well as a good lawyer. He heM professional and social
relations with leading citizens of the time. Among others he was a personal
friend of Gen. John Sulli\'an, of Durham, and contrilnited freely from his
fortune, as well as by his pen, towards sustaining the stand taken in the
province against the arliitrary exactions of the Crown. He was a ready
speaker and writer. He received the degree of Master of Arts from Yale
College in 1768 and from Dartmouth in 1773. He died in Portsmouth, April
29, 1808.

John'' Wendell was twice married. Plis first wife died in 1772 and he
married again in 1778 Dorothy Sherburne, daughter of Judge Henry and
Sarah (W'arner) Sherburne, of Portsmouth. He w-as then forty-seven years

16



258 HISTORY OF STRAFFORD COUXTV

old and she was twenty, only two years older than his eldest child then was.
Their son Isaac, who was born November i, 1786, had an older brother
Abraham and a younger brother Jacob, who were associated with him in the
ownership of one-filth of the capital stock of the Hrst Great Falls Manufac-
turing Company in 1823.

This Jacob Wendell was a noted and very wealthy merchant in Ports-
mouth, ancestor of the distinguished Prof. Barrett Wendell, of Harvard
College. He became associated with his brother Isaac, in 1815, in the "Upper
Factory" cotton mill at Do\'er. .\ letter written by Isaac's daughter, Miss
Ann Elizabeth XA'endell, of Wayne, Pa., about 1880, gives the following
interesting account of her father and Uncle Jacol). She says:

"This undertaking was first initiateil l)y some gentlemen of Dover, at
what is known as the "L'pper h'actory," where they were at that time (1815)
spinning yarn and also making nails. Isaac Wendell, my father, entered
wamily into the enterprise, and enlisted in its interests, and in those of the
new mills established at Dover (Cochecho Falls), and subsequently at Great
Falls ( Somersworth ). his brother, Jacob Wendell, and others, with his
partner, John Williams, of Dover. The location and rise of the Great Falls
Manufacturing Compan.y dates from 1823, the legislative act granting its
incorj)oration bearing date June 11, that year. The inspection of mechanical
details in the factory at Dover was intrusted to William Blackburne, an expe-
rienced weaver from the city of Manchester, in England, while Isaac Wendell
occupied the position of agent, and exercised a general supervision over the
interests of the mills.'"

"Of the working cai)acity of these factories some idea may be gained
when we state that the first year (1821) three thousand spindles were put in
operation in the wooden mill at Dover, since removed, while the total number
operated at both places exceeded 30,000. The bricks necessary for these build-
ings were made on the ground (from the excellent clay banks), while much
of the ironwork needed was furnished l)y a small furnace erected on the
Bellamy river (at lower falls). The mills made shirtings, print cloths and
sheetings, and the annual production was \'ery large. Twelve to fifteen hun-
dred operators were employed on the corporation, w bile the amount of money
disbursed, monthly, exclusive of the cost of cotton, amounted to a large sum.
In 1825 the company attempted the manufacture of woolen cloth and carpets,
erecting a mill for that purpose, but it soon relinquished this project, and put
the new factory also upon the manufacture of cotton.

"The industry of weaving textile fabrics was then in its infancy on this
side of the Atlantic, very little being known here at that period of improved
machinery patented in Great Britain, which was prohibited by the Govern-



AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS ' 259

ment from exportation abroad. Isaac and Jacob Wendell, the embryo manu-
facturers, purchased through Daniel Webster, then resident in Portsmouth,
several fine water privileges, the first acquisition being the estate in Dover,
known as the (Daniel) Waklron farm, upon winch they erected successively
several structures. In the fall of 1821, the first mill was ready to commence
operations, and its machinery was started in control of a skilful superintend-
ent, under such favorable auspices, and with such satisfactory results, that
two years later another mill was built upon the Salmon Falls river (Great
brails) ])urchased of Air. ( iershoni Horn, which was the pioneer factory of
the (ireat Falls corporation.

"For some time everything went prosperously. The mills earned a hand-
some profit upon the capital invested; the stock advanced to a premium, and
all seemed to augur well for the future, until the notable commercial panic of
1827-28 swept the country, and one mercantile crash succeefled another. The
destruction of all confidence in business credit and financial strength was
rapid and w idespreatl, in\-olving on all sides extended commercial ruin,
among which was the failure of the Great Falls Manufacturing Company,
and the consetpient precipitation of heavy losses u|)on the Wendell Brothers,
Isaac and Jacob. "J'he shock of this cahunity, though it very seriously
cri]3pled them financially, did not cause utter discouragement. Accepting
the unwelcome and unexpected circumstances, they devoted their energies,
in the long years to come, in successfully getting into comfortable circum-
stances, and passed their old age on Easy street."

Jacob Wendell died at the homestead on Pleasant street, Portsmouth,
N. H., ."Xugust 27, 1865. Isaac Wendell married Ann Austin Whittier. of
Dover, N. H., in 1708, who was cousin to the father of John G. Whittier,
the poet. "Whitcher's Falls" on the Cochecho river took its name from
her father or grandfather. Isaac Wendell removed from Dover to Bustleton,
Pa., in 1S30, and was engaged in manufacturing business there more than
thirty years. He died about 1866.

Nathaniel Wells was born at Wells, Me., February 28, 1805; he died at
Somersworth, August 16. 1878. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Acad-
emy in 1826. He then went to Brunswick, Me., where he engaged in trade
for a time and edited a weekly newspaper. He came to Great Falls in 1830
and studied law in the office of W^inthrop A. Marston, and after his admis-
sion to the bar became a partner of Mr. Marston, and soon became one of
the leading lawyers in Strafford and York counties. When Mr. Marston
removed to Dover in 1842, Mr. Wells became law partner with Hon. Charles
H. Bell, who later became Governor of New Hampshire, .^fter the death



260 HISTORY OF STRAFFORD COUNTY

of Mr. Marston in 185 1, Mr. Wells formed a partnership with Royal R.
Eastman and the partnership of ^Vells & Eastman continued until 1873.

Mr. Wells was acknowledged as a leading lawyer in Strafford county,
and his reputation extended throughout the state. He was ottered a posi-
tion on the hench of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, but declined.
He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1850, but he was not
a politician nor a seeker after office. He was one of the h\e organizers and
first directors of the Cireat Falls Woolen Co., at "New Dam." He was one
of the organizers of the Great F'alls State Bank, and first president of Great
Falls National Bank, now the F'irst National Bank, of which his son
Christopher H. Wells is now president ; the senior Mr. Wells was president
eighteen years until his death. He was an incorporator of the Somersworth
.Savings Bank and for many years was its vice-president, which position his
son, above mentioned, holds.

Mr. Wells lent a heli)ing hand in the construction of the Great Falls &
Conway Railroad, and was one of the incorporators and first president of
the Great Falls Gas Company. In 1870 the honorary degree of Master of
Arts was conferred on him by Dartmouth College. With a broad and deep
knowledge of the law, excelling in drawing up legal instruments, and safe
and honest as an adviser, he built up a large [)ractice and gained a wide
reputation as a lawyer.

On the 20th of F'ebruary, 1844, Mr. Wells was united in marriage with
Eliza Lane Thom of Derry. To them were born six children, four of whom
are now living: William T. of Maiden, Mass.; Harriet C. of St. Louis,
Mo. : Christopher H. of Somersworth, and Mrs. H. W. L. Thatcher of
St. Louis.

Charles Francis Elliot. M. D.. was born at Mt. Vernon. N. H.. Novem-
ber 3, 1803. When he was but a child his parents removed to Amherst,
N. H. He obtained his preparatory education for college at Amherst and
at Pembroke Academy. He entered Dartmouth in 1825 and graduated
in 1829 with honor. He at once commenced the study of medicine at
Amherst in the office of Doctor Spaulding; he completed his studies at Dart-
mouth and at Bowdoin ^ledical Scliools, and recei\'ed his degree of M. D.
in 1832.

In December, 1833, he took up his residence here and for forty-two
years practiced medicine in this place. He died at his home here June 23,
1876. Dr. Elliot was a large, fine looking man and a physician of great
skill and ability. He was one of the leaders of his profession in this section
of New Hampshire, one of the best type of doctors of his time. He had
a large practice, was universally esteemed as a man of high character and



AND REPRESEXTATRE CITIZENS li61

worth. He was president of the Strafford District jNledical Society, 1847-8.
He was deeply interested in educational work and at one time was school
commissioner, being called upon to visit all the schools in the county.

He married Harriet Adelia Thorn of Derry, August 4, 1834. Of their
four children one is li\ing, Miss Mary P. Elliot, whtj resides in the old
homestead on Beacon street.

Hon. Daniel G. Rollins was born m Lebanon, Me., October 3, 1796;
he died February 2 J, 1875; he was a son of John and Betsey (Shapleigh)
Rollins; her immigrant ancestors antl his lixed on the banks of the Pas-
cataqua river: the one in Old Kittery, now Eliot, the other at Bloody Point
in Dover, now Newington, their original grants of land were nearly oppo-
site, and before 1650. Mr. Burleigh was a thoroughbred Englishman in
both paternal and maternal ancestors, James l\<jllins l^eing the paternal and
Alexander Shapleigh the maternal immigrant. His father was a farmer and
brought his son up to do all kinds of farm work, from hunting hens' nests
in the barn when a kid to driving the oxen with the goad, and holding the
plow among stumps and rocks in the "])reaking ui)" for spring planting;
while his father took good care in his bringing up, outdoors on the fami
and in attending the winter schools, the good mother in the house saw to it
that he received good moral and religious training; so in early manhood,
in muscle and mind he was thoroughly trained to do well whatever his hands
found to do, and there was a lot of it during the nearly four score years
of his life.

Mr. Rollins left tlie farm and started out in the worlil when he was
twenty-five years old. That year was spent in Boston, at work in a store.
The next year, 1823, and for two years following he was located in Ports-
mouth as agent of a sugar refining company ; his chums at that time were
men who later became known as Hon. Icha1)od Bartlett and Hon. W. H. Y.
Hackett, two very distinguished New Hampshire lawyers.

He was married February 3, 1825, at Watertown, Mass., to Miss Susan
Binney Jackson, liy the Rev. Dr. Borie of that town. She was attending a
boarding school in Portsmouth when Mr. Rollins made her acquaintance,
resulting in a mutual falling in love. They celebrated their golden wedding
February 3, 1875, only twenty days before his death.

Judge Rollins, as he came to l)e known later in life, was a man of
unusual enterprise. He made the acquaintance of tlie Wendells, Isaac and
Jacob, while in Portsmouth, and by them was induced to remove to Great
Falls, but he did not at first settle on the Somersworth side of the river;
he lived on the Berwick side, where he had a sawmill and did a good deal
in the lumber business: quite a lot of his lumber he used in building houses



262 HISTORY OF STRAFFORD COUNTY

in the Great Falls village (Somersworlh) for the accommodation of the men
and women who worked in the cotton mills. Later he removed his family
across the river and spent the rest of his years in the village, and his spacious
old homestead is still held in the family. He was largely instrumental in
the projection, construction and management of the l)raiich railroad from
the village to KoUinsford Junction, two miles, to connect with the Boston &
Maine road, in 1843. The first passenger train over this hranch arrived in
Great Falls July 4, 1843, amid great rejoicing by the people. Judge Rollins
was one of the passengers and recei\ed hearty cheers when the puljlic saw
him. Later Judge Rollins was leader in the construction of the Great Falls
& Conway Railroad, which was completed to Rochester in 1850 and to
Conway in 1870. He also helped extend the Conway road in the other
direction to South Berwick and connect it with the Portsmouth, Saco «&
Portland road at Conway Junction. He was an incor[)orator of the Great
Falls Bank and of the Somersworth Savings Bank, and had much influence
in getting the town to vote to establish Forest Glade Cemetery ; he gave
it the name.

He was appointed Judge of Probate for Strafford county in 1857 and
held the office until 1866. He was not a lawyer; he never studied law, but
his heart was warm, his sympathies quick, his judgment was logical, always
making a careful decision according to the law as laid down in the books
and according to common sense and justice when common law demanded
a decision. Judge Rollins rarely made a mistake in his decisions of probate
cases. His integrity w as never challenged or suspected ; he was a man of
personal purity ; his speech Avas never unclean, profane or irreverent ; he
was subject to no e\il habit. He was a member of the Congregational
Church, and one of its liberal supporters.

To Mr. and Mrs. Rollins were born ele\en children. Two died young
and nine survived him. His sons were : Franklin J. of Portland, lor many
years United States collector of internal revenue for the district of Maine;
Edward A., Speaker of the Xcw Flampshire House of Representatives in
1850, 1852; U. S. commissioner of internal revenue and president of
the Centennial National Bank in Philadelphia: and donor to Dartmouth
College of the beautiful Rollins Chapel. He was graduated from Dartmouth
in the class of 1851; he died at Hanover, N. H., September 7, 1885, aged
fifty-seven years. Daniel Gustavus. district attorney for tlie city of New
York several years, and surrogate. New York. 1882-1888. He died at
Somersworth in August, 1807, aged fifty-fi\-e years. George F. served many
years in the Treasury Department at Washington.

Micajah Currier Burleigh was l)oru in South Berwick, ^le., June 15.



AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS 263

i8]8; died in Sonierhworth, March 7, 1881. He was a son of Hon. William
Burleigh, M. C, and Deborah Currier, his wife; his father served three
terms in Congress from the first district in Maine, and died when his son
Micajah was nine years old. The son was educated in the common schools
and at Stratford Academy and New London Academy, at which institution
he was converted and joined the Baptist Church, of which he always remained
a member. In the fullness of his years he gave this institution $2,000. For
a few months he studied law with his uncle, Hon. John A. Burleigh. Four-
teen years he was a seafaring man. entering the service as a common sailor
and rising to be captain in the last years. In that service of command of
the ship and all in it Mr. Burleigh acijuired a habit of "command" which
lasted through life; he did not forget the blulf. hearty sailor ways in dealing
with men in other callings of business, but he did not often displease by
these characteristics.

On Ifeaving the seafaring life he engaged in business in South Berwick
in the store of Parks & Hains, general assortment of goods such as were
in demand in a village store ; he was all-round clerk for a while, then, having
mastered the business, he became a partner in the firm for a year or two,
then gave it up and became partner in the firm of \V. & E. Griffin, iron
founders, then running two small foundries on the Salmon Falls river,
one at Salmon Falls, the other at Great Falls. In about three years Mr.
Burleigh obtained control of the whole business, the partners withdrawing.
It was in 1848, when thirty years old, that he started in business for himself
as an iron founder. In 1849 he procured an act of incorporation under the
name of the Somersworth Machine Company and Mr. Oliver H. Lord
became partner with him in the business. Mr. Burleigh was agent and
Mr. Lord treasurer of the corporation. They met with great success and
gathered in the shekels hand over fist. This partnership continued until
1S64, Burleigh and Lord holding their respective offices. In that year
Mr. Lord purchased the Dover Iron Foundry and turned his attention more
especially to it, and Mr. Burleigh alone was the executive head of the
Somersworth concern, and he kept on doing big business just the same,
devoting the best and most active years of his life to it; with it his name was
inseparably connected, and from it he ac(iuired a large property.

When Mr. Burleigh had got himself well established in business in
Somersworth he began to take an interest in public affairs; having been a
successful sea captain, he knew how to rule men in other ranks in life, and
his fellow citizens placed confidence in him and he never betrayed them. In
1854 and 1855 they made him their Representative in the State Legislature.
They made him State Senator in 1858 and 1859. In 1876 they made him a



&



264 II [STORY OF STRAFFORD COUNTY

member of the Constitutional Convention. In all these he did good service
on important committees; he was not a public speaker or debater. Up to
i860, when the Civil war began, he was known as Captain Burleigh.
Governor Gilmore made him one of his stafif officers with the rank of
colonel, after that he was known as Colonel Burleigh and liis fame was
mighty among the men of Somersworth and Strafford county. New Hamp-
. - hire. and York couftty. Maine. Colonel Burleigh had a commanding per-
sonal appearance; he was abo\-e the medium height, broad shouldered and
deep chested, weighing when in health considerably over 200 pounds, but
there was nothing slow about him; always erect, and usually agile in his
carriage. He was one of the most efficient memloers of Gilmore's staff and
was a tower of strength to the Governor in that distressing time of war.
He had a large. massi\-e head, features strong and regular, a clear blue eye,
and a mass of dark, wavy hair in the prime of life, which in his old age had
turned white and made him a marked man in all places where men assembled.

On December 9, 1847, he married ;\Iary Francis Russell of Somers-
worth. They had a large family of children. Two sons graduated from
Dartmouth College: \\'illiam Russell, who was born in 1851, and graduated
in 1872. His father was present at commencement and received the honor-
ary degree of A. ^^.I. at the same time the son received the degree of A. B.
The son studied law and commenced practice in Somersworth. He is now
and has been for a number of years a lawyer in Manchester. The other son,
Edward Stark, graduated from Dartmouth in 1878; studied law and for
many years has practiced his profession in Florida, where he was obliged
to go for his health.

Oliver Hubbard Lord was born in Soutli Berwick, Me., Xo\eml)er 19,
181 t: he died in Somersworth in 1S90. He was a son of Epliraim and
Sally (Goodwin) Lord. He was educated in the public schools and Berwick
Academy of that town and learned the trade of saddler and harness maker.
Later he worked in the woolen factory there and won rapid promotion
under the agent. Joshua \\". Peirce. May j8, 1S3J, when he was twentv-
one years old. he came to Great Falls (Somersworth) and entered the eiuploy
of a dry-goods store as clerk. He remained with ]\Ir. Lawton one year,
then engaged with the firm of Tarr & Bates as clerk; salary, $100 a year.
Ha\'ing learned the Inisiness, he soon was engaged as manager of the store
of John W. Davis; after working two years he became partner with
Mr. Davis, under the firm name of Jacob Davis & Co. In 1836 he withdrew
and engaged with John B. W^ood, under the finu name of Wood & Lord,
which continued until 18,39. He then opened a store of his own and did a
prosperous business up to 1850, when he retired from the dry-goods busi-



AND REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS 265

ness, and soun engaged with lion. M. C. Burleigh, June, i<S5i, in the iron
fountlry liusiness, ui tlie Suniersw orth Machine Company, he Ix-ing treasurer
and Mr. Uurleigli agent. Several years afterward he became proprietor of
the Dover Iron h'oundry, which was managed by his son-in-law, Charles E.
Marston, after Mr. Lord's death. In all these concerns Mr. Lord prospered
and acquired large wealth.

Mr. Lord was one of the incorporators of the Somersworth Savings
Bank. He was trustee from the time of its organization until 1876, when
he declined a re-election. He was one of the incorporators of the Great
Falls State Bank in 1846, and one of its directors until 185J. when he
resigned to take a directorship in the Salmon Falls State Bank, then being
organized. He was president of the savings Ijank uj) to 1882. He was a
stanch reiiuljlican. ha\ing been a Free Soiler before the Republican party was
organized. He was one of the Representatixes from Somersworth in the
Legislature in 1S61 and 1862. He was a stanch supporter of the Great
Falls & Conway Railroad, and sa\ed it from going into bankrujitcy in 1836.
He was chairman (jf the lioard of trustees of the third bondholders, who
took possession of the road.

^Ir. Lord's wife was Mary W. G. Ste\'ens, daughter of Dr. Whiting
Ste\'ens of Shai^leigh, Me. They were married in August, 1838. They
had two sons and two daughters, who li\ed to grow up: George Boardman :
Mary A., wife of James Dix, for a number of years principal of Colby
Academy, New I,ondon, N. H. : Annie A., wife of Charles E. Marston; and
Edward Oliver. The last named graduated from Colby L'ni\ersity in 1877.
For a number of years he was editor and proprietor of the Great Falls
Free Press and Journal.

Dai'id Hanson Biiifiiiii w'as born in North Berwick, Me.. Nox-emljcr 10,
1820. He was a son of Timothy and .\nn (Austin) I^.uffum. His father
died when the son was six years old. He was brought uj) 1:)y his uncle. He
was educated in the common schools and Berwick .\cademy. and taught
district schools in the winter. He began his business career as clerk in a
store at Great Falls (Somersworth) in 1839, at a salary of eight dollars a
month. He began when he was nineteen and worked two years as clerk.
When he was twenty-one he became a partner in the concern and worked
two years more. He then sold out, in 1843, ami liuilt a brick block with
three stores in it, one of which he occupied himself for the sale of general
merchandise. December 5, 1846, he was chosen cashier of the Great Falls
State Bank and gave up storekecping to attend to banking. He was cashier
until April 20. 1863. In .\ugust, 1867, he was elected treasurer of the
Somersworth Savings Bank and held the office ten years. In 1857 Mr.



266 HISTORY OF STRAFFORD COUNTY

Buffuni and John H. Burleigli organized the Xewichawannock Woolen
Company, at South Berwick, Me., and in 1S62 he was one of the organizers
of Great Flails Woolen Company, and became its treasurer and general
manager. He also owned a felt mill at Milton, and was partner in the wool-
pulling establishment of L. R. Herron & Co. of Berwick, Me. He was a
stockholder and director in the Great Falls Manufacturing Com])any from
1877 till his death.

Mr. Buffum was town clerk in 1843, 1844; moderator from 1S48 to
1857, and selectman in 1846, 1871 and 1872. He was Representative in the
Legislature of i86t and 1862. State Senator in 1877 and 1878; he was
president of the Senate in his second year, being the first Strafford county
man to be thus honored as presiding officer. In 1880 he was delegate to the
Republican National Convention at Chicago. The reader does not need to
be informed that Mr. Buffum lived a very busy life; he was not only a very
busy man, but a very able and successful one.

Mr. Buffum's wife was Charlotte E. Stickney, daughter of Alexander
H. Stickney of Great Falls. They were married January 26, 1853. Their
three sons — Edgar S., Harry A. and David H. — all grew up and became
worthy and successful business men.



Online LibraryJohn ScalesHistory of Strafford County, New Hampshire, and representative citizens → online text (page 26 of 94)