Memorable Events, Naturual and Social
Old Meeting-House Fight. - The quarrel in Warner was involved over the question of the location of the meeting-house, from 1783 to 1790, was fought out to the bitter end with intense feeling, and has probably never been equaled by anything which has occurred since in the history of the town. Prior to 1819, when the State Legislature passed the "Toleration Act," by which the building of churches and the support of preaching was divorced from the State and the meeting-houses and the ministers were remanded to the support of those only of the citizens who were voluntarily disposed to give their aid, it was binding on every tax-payer to contribute his share, according to his means, to build meeting-houses and to pay the minister's salary. Therefore, it followed that every voter bad a personal and direct interest in churches and ministers.
In our review of the evangelical history of the town we had something to say about the first church. This structure, which was built at the South Lower village, was small and rude, and was in use only four years. In 1770 it was superseded by another of larger proportions and superior architectural design, erected on the same site. This, too, in process of time, became too small for the needs of the citizens, and the question of a new one was agitated. Meanwhile the population had been increasing on the north side of the river, and they, for reasons of the greater convenience to themselves, wished a meetinghouse built on their side of the river. The town could support but one church, and as the people on the east side, for similar reasons, wished a meeting-house built on their side of the river. The town could support but one church, and they, for similar reasons wished the new building to be erected on the old site, a sharp controversy grew out of the matter. Innumerable town-meetings were held, and votes for and against a new house and against changing the location were passed in alternate confusion for several year.
Finally, at town-meeting held in May, 1788, the town voted both to build and not to build, and, in hopes of a final adjustment of the vexed question, voted, according to the record, "to petition the general Court for a committee to appoint a place where to set a meeting-house in this town." In June of that summer Benjamin Sargent and Richard Bartlett, two of the selectmen, appeared before a committee of the Legislature with a formal petition, and the court accordingly appointed a trustworthy committee to decide on the location of the meetinghouse. This committee was composed of Col. Ebenezer Webster, of Salisbury; Robert Wallace, of Henniker; and Joseph Wadleigh, of Sutton; and their report was as follows:
" The committee, having attended to the business referred to, and after viewing the greater part of the town, with the situation of the inhabitants thereof, agree to report as their opinion that the spot of ground where the old meetinghouse now stands is the most suitable place to set the new meeting-house on." --Warner, Sept. 12, 1788.
This did not, however, end the fight, for at a meeting in October and at another in November the town repudiated the decision of the committee and voted not to build on that site. At last, April 25, 1789, it was voted to build between Ensign Joseph Currier's and Mr. Isaac Chase's, on the north side of the road, under the ledge, at the northwest end of what is now the Lower village. A building committee was appointed at the same time, consisting of Joseph Sawyer, Tappan Evans, Richard Straw, Jacob Waldron, Benjamin Sargent, Reuben Kimball and William Morrill.
In the face of a protest of forty-six of the prominent men of the town, headed by Aquilla Davis, the committee proceeded about their work, and before the end of the summer erected a church, which was called "The House under the Ledge." But this did not soothe the spirit of discord, and the evil results of this division lasted for some time, as is shown by the vote, which was passed at the November town election not to meet in the new house, and that preaching should not occur there. There was even an effort on the part of some to get a vote to move the house over to the South side of the river. Opposition, however, gradually died away, and in August, 1790, it was " Voted That Mr. Kelley should preaching in the new meetinghouse for the future, and the inhabitants meet there for public worship." In March of the next Year a vote was passed to take down the old meeting-house and appropriate the stuff towards fencing the burying-ground.
A Day of Terror. - The 19th of January, I810, was, in the central part of New Hampshire at least, a day of terror one never to be forgotten in the annals of the "hill towns" of this beautiful. State. The afternoon of the 18th was unusually warm and mild; the thermometer indicted forty-three degrees, or eleven degrees above freezing Before light the next morning, a winter hurricane was sweeping over the mountains, hills, plains, and valleys, snapping off good-sized pine-trees, in its extended path, as if they were but fragile reeds. Great oaks were twisted by the force of the wind like withes in the hands of a giant. Barns were swept to ruin, and sheds of lighter construction were carried away by the storm of wind like chaff. This horrible blizzard continued during nearly a whole day. Nearly all the while the air was filled with fine, hail-like particles of snow, caught up by the gale, so that it was impossible to see more than a few rods away. To add to the gloom of the occasion and its deathly danger, the mercury of the thermometer sank, in the sixteen hours following the previous day's thaw, to twenty-five degrees below zero. The mercury runs as low every winter as it did that day, but mortal man has never known a severer day in this New England. Thousands of fowl were blown away and never seen by their owners again; rabbits, partridges and crows were frozen in thickest woods; young cattle were frozen solid as they huddled together in the half-open barn-yard sheds, some of which withstood the force of the wind; many cattle perished where they were tied in their stalls.
The heavens roared like the sea in a cyclone. Branches of trees, hay from demolished barns, loosened clapboards and shingles from such houses as had great oaken frames and immense chimneys to hold the structures in place, rose in the air and mingled together in terrifying confusion. The loss of live stock and buildings in Merrimack County aggregated scores of thousands of dollars. The "cold Friday" was known and is remembered throughout the New England States.
A Year without a Summer. - The year 1816 is known among the few old men who remember it as "the year without a summer." In every month there was a severe frost, and the greater part of the crops were substantially destroyed. There are old farmers living in Warner who remember it well. It was often referred to as "eighteen hundred and starve to death." January was mild, as was also February, with the exception of a few days. The greater part of March was cold and boisterous. April opened warm, but grew colder as it advanced, ending with snow and ice and winter cold. In May ice formed half an inch thick, buds and flowers were killed and corn frozen. Frost, ice and snow were common in June. On inauguration day, in June, there was snow to the depth of four inches on a level in Warner; in Maine the snow was ten inches deep. Almost every green thing was killed, and the fruit was nearly all destroyed. July was accompanied with frost and ice. On the 5th ice was formed of the thickness of window-glass in New York and all the New England States. In August ice formed half an inch thick. A cold northern wind prevailed nearly all summer.
Corn was so damaged that a great deal was cut and dried for fodder. Very little ripened in New Hampshire, and even in the Middle States the crop was small. Farmers were obliged to pay four dollars, and even five dollars a bushel for corn of 1815 harvest for seed for the "next spring's planting. The first two weeks of September were mild; the rest of the month was cold, with frost, and ice formed a quarter of an inch thick. October was more than usually cold, with frost and ice. November was cold and blustering, with snow enough for good sleighing. December was quite mild and comfortable.
The Tornado of 1821. - Warner has not often been visited by great and note worthy disasters, either natural or otherwise. The great whirlwind or tornado of 1821 was the most terrible of the kind that ever visited this section. Many of the older inhabitants of the town still remember the catastrophe, and the path of the tempest is visible in several places after the passage of more than sixty years.
The month of September, 1821, according to the testimony of those who were living at the time, was eminently a season of uncommon storms and tempests. But the most of them, severe as they were, produced little injury in comparison with the whirlwind of the 9th of the same month. The tornado is said to have commenced near Lake Champlain, gathering in violence as it went along. It passed over Lake Sunapee and through a portion of New London and Sutton, and entered that part of Warner called the Gore not far from the base of Kearsarge Mountain. The tempest carried away the barn of William Harwood, injured the houses of M. F. Goodwin, J. Ferrin and Abner Watkins, completely destroying Ferrin's barn and unroofing Watkins'. Next in the path of the wind stood the dwelling of Daniel Savory. Apprehending a storm, Samuel Savory, aged seventy-two, the father of the proprietor, who was himself absent, event up-stairs to fasten a window that was open. The women went to assist him, but all were too late. The tornado seized the house in its giant grip, lifted it and whirled it around, burying six of the family in its ruins. The body of the aged Samuel Savory was found six rods away, his brains dashed out against a stone. Elizabeth, his wife, was badly injured by the falling timbers. Mary, the wife of Daniel Savory, was severely bruised, and an infant that she had in her arms was killed. The others escaped with slight wounds.
The house of Robert Savory was also demolished. The family, consisting of eight persons, were all wounded, but not seriously. John Palmer, who lived half a mile away, saw the cloud coming, in shape, as he represented it, like an inverted funnel, the air filled with leaves, limbs of trees and pieces of timber. Before he could enter to give an alarm, the house came down over his head. Mrs. Palmer was considerably hurt, but the rest of the family were not sensibly injured.
Between Savory's and Palmer's the wind tore up everything in its course. Whole acres of corn and grain were swept off clean, trees were uprooted, stories half-buried in the earth were overturned; one stone weighing six hundred pounds was moved several feet.
From this place the tornado passed two and a half miles, sweeping away the buildings of Peter Flanders, killing a Miss Anna Richardson and injuring the infant child of Mrs. Flanders so severely that for several days her life was despaired of. Mr. and Mrs. Flanders testified that no sound of wind was heard, although some might have observed the cloud, until the crash of the building took place, and then all was over in an instant.
The buildings of Deacon Joseph True, in the corner of Salisbury, were next swept away. The whole family was buried in the ruins. Mr. True was saved by a huge timber, which fell endways into the ground, within two feet of the place where he stood, and the other timbers falling upon that one protected him from injury. By almost superhuman exertions he dug Mrs. True and four children out from beneath the bricks, where they were actually buried more than a foot. The oven had just been heated, and the bricks were so hot that in removing them from his children the deacon burned his fingers to the bone. Mrs. True was badly hurt. The youngest child, an infant, seven weeks old, was found at the distance of one hundred feet under the bottom of a sleigh, the top of which could not b found. After this the tornado passed into Warner again, tearing down a barn and passing over a Pond, the waters of which were drawn up in its centre, and finally terminated its ravages in this quarter in the woods bordering on what is now Webster.
Lafayette's Visit. - In 1825 the Marquis of Lafayette made his famous journey through the Unite States. In the course of fourteen months he traversed the whole country, visiting every State in the union and all the leading cities, and was received everywhere with sincere tokens of reverence and affection. June 22, 1825, he was at Concord, where grand reception was given him. Among the military companies of the State that were in attendance at that time was the Warner Light Infantry, under the command of Captain William Carrier. Monday, the 27th of June, the Marquis proceeded westward to Vermont, going through Warner. When he reached the Warner line an escort of our citizens met him, and Dr. Moses Long made an address of welcome. The party then marched in a formal procession to Captain Kelley's tavern, where the old veteran alighted from his carriage and was conducted to the church near at hand. It was now noon, and, in front of the church, on the level green, stood a long table spread with choice refreshments. The general partook lightly of these, being waited upon by several of the beautiful young ladies of the village. One, who remembered how he looked at this time, says that his appearance surprised every one. He presented a fine, portly figure, nearly six feet high, and his weight of years was lightly worn, his only apparent infirmity being a slight lameness resulting from his old wound at Brandywine.
After the collation was served, and Lafayette had shaken hands with every man, woman and child, the distinguished visitor remounted his carriage and continued his way through Warner, the old and young thronging the door-yards to catch a glimpse of the great man's face. As he passed out of sight the old brass cannon was fired repeatedly, awaking the echoes of the hills around him. And so the "Nation's guest" passed from Warner.
Citizens of Note. - Warner has raised her share of noted characters. Near the northeastern border of the town still stands the birth-place and early home of ex-Governor Ezekiel Straw. At the opposite extremity of the town are the ruins of the old homestead where ex-Governor Walter Harriman was born and brought up. Half-way between these extremities, and under the very shadows of the Minks, was the early home of ex-Governor N. G. Ordway.
Hon. John Pillsbury, ex-Governor of Minnesota, spent a part of his boyhood here, and his brother, Hon. George A. Pillsbury, mayor of Minneapolis, was once a trader in the store now occupied by B. F. Heath. More extended notices will be found of these men in another portion of this volume.
A short distance from the road leading from Warner to Henniker is an old ruined cellar, all that now remains of what was once the habitation of Prince Hastings. Prince was a Negro, who, for many years lived in the Warner woods, enjoying a local reputation not below that of many better men. Yet Prince was no ninny. He was a great jokist, and could sing songs and play on the bones. Many stories are re rated of him, but none, perhaps, better than the one told of his being discovered in the mill stealing meal when he explained, "It is not I; it's Tony Clark. Tony, or Anthony Clark, was another Negro, who was quite a character fifty or sixty years ago. He was fiddler and dancing-master, and probably did more to wards instructing the young folks in the arts an graces of politeness than any other man of his day or generation. He was born a slave, served in the Revolutionary army, was a waiter for several years to General Washington, and finally was manumitted and came to Warner to live. Prince Hastings was born free, and, consequently, always regarded Tony with contempt. So, when caught in the flagrant dereliction before alluded to, it was natural that he should charge the deed to his rival, though the manner in which he did it did not materially serve to exculpate himself. Prince died in 1846 at about, the age of seventy-five. Tony Clark also lived to a great age, dying in 1854, aged one hundred and four years. In honor of his Revolutionary service, they gave him a military funeral, which was a splendid affair.
In 1876 (centennial year) a little excitement arose over the matter of changing the town's name from Warner to Georgetown. A petition, backed by the names and influence of a number of the prominent citizens, was presented to the General Court for this purpose. But a counter petition, containing the names of three-quarters of the citizens of the town, several of whom had signed the first, was also presented, and, after a protracted discussion by the representatives of both parties, the committee decided not to change the name; so Warner it is to-day bearing the noble cognomen of the patrician councilor whose very name recalls all that wealth and ease and almost baronial greatness that is associated with the great crown officers of colonial times.
The name of no New Hampshire man of the present generation is more broadly known than that of Walter Harriman. His distinguished services to the State, both in the Legislature and in the executive chair, his honorable service as an officer of the Union army, the important trusts he held at the hands of one and another of our national administrations, and, not least, his brilliant gifts as an orator, which made him always welcome to the lyceum platform, and caused him to be widely and eagerly sought for in every important election campaign for many years, combined to make him one of the most conspicuous men in our commonwealth.
The Harriman family is of English origin.
Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, a man of eminence in the church, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1590. He graduated at the University of Cambridge in 1610. Becoming a dissenter from the Church of England, after twenty-five Years of faithful service, his ministerial functions were suspended. He says of himself,--" For refusing to read that accursed book that allowed sports on God's holy Sabbath, I was suspended, and by it and other sad signs driven, with many of my hearers, into New England." This stanch Puritan arrived on these shores in 1638. In his devoted flock there was an orphan lad, sixteen years of age, named Leonard Harriman, and from this youthful adventurer the subject of this sketch descended, being of the seventh Generation.
Rogers selected for his colony an unoccupied tract of country between Salem and Newburyport, Mass., to which he gave the name of Rowley, that being the name of the parish in Yorkshire to which be had long ministered.
The oldest son of Leonard Harriman was Massacred, with ninety of his comrades," the flower of Essex County," in King Philip's War, September 18, 1675, at Bloody Brook. The great-grandfather of Walter Harriman saw eight years of hard service in the French and Revolutionary Wars. His grandfather settled in the wilds of Warner, N. H., at the foot of the Mink Hills, but lost his life by an accident at the early age of twenty-eight. His father, the late Benjamin E. Harriman, was a man of character and influence through an honorable life. He reared a large family at the ancestral home in Warner, where the subject of this sketch, being a third son, was born, April 8, 1817.
Muscle and intellect and the heroic virtues can have no better nursery than the rugged farm-life of New England, and the Warner homestead was 2 challenge and stimulus to the qualities that were needed in the future man of affairs. This child of the third generation that had occupied the same home and tilled the same soil grew up with a physical organization and a fine loyalty to his native town, a deep interest in its rude history and traditions, and a sympathy with the common people which, in turn, made him a favorite with all. To him there was no spot to be compared with his birthplace, and there were no people so interesting sad endeared as his old neighbors in the rugged hill-town. A few years before his death he wrote a "History Of Warner," which is regarded as " one of the most systematic, comprehensive and generally interesting works of the kind yet given to the public in the State. His schooling" was obtained at the Harriman district school and at the academy in the adjoining town of Hopkinton.
When hardly more than a boy, he made a successful trial of the excellent self-discipline of school-teaching and at different times taught in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey. While in the latter State, at the age of twenty-two, he became deeply interested in the principles of Liberal Christianity (the form of religious faith to which he always held), and occasionally wrote sermons, which were well received from the pulpit, and some of which found their way into print. It was certain, from his early youth, that nature designed him for t public speaker, the rare oratorical gifts which afterwards distinguished him having shown themselves Gradually and prophetically in the district school-house and the village academy. This tentative experience in preaching, undertaken of his own motion and without conferring with flesh and blood, resulted in his settlement, in 1841, over the Universalist Church in Harvard, Mass., where he remained in active service four years. Returning now to Warner, and soon leaving the pulpit altogether he became the senior partner in trade with John S. Pillsbury, late Governor of Minnesota, probably the only instance in our history where two young business partners in a retired country town have afterwards become the chief executives of different States.
In 1849, Mr. Harriman was elected by his townsmen to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. where he almost immediately became prominant as a leader in debate on the Democratic side. Of his record as a party man little needs to be said, except that from first to last, and whatever his affiliations, he displayed great independence in espousing Measures and principles which commended themselves to his judgment and conscience, even when it put him in a minority with his political associates. In his first legislative term, on the question of commuting the death sentence of a woman who was sentenced to be hung for murder, he not only advocated such commutation, but was a leader in the movement for the abolition of capital punishment altogether, to which purpose be always stood committed. In the Legislature of 1850 he was the leading advocate of the Homestead Exemption Law. at which time a resolution was adopted submitting the question to the people. The voters of the State gave their approval at the next A March election, and in the following June the act was consummated. No Legislature has dared to repeal it, and the foresight and courage of its authors and earliest advocates have been so approved by thirty years of experience that it is doubtful if a single citizen can be found to-day who would desire to undo their work.
It was no accident or trifling smartness that could give a man prominence in those two Legislatures of a third of a century ago. Among, the men of marked ability, now deceased, who held seats in those years were Horton D. Walker, Samuel H. Ayer, Lemuel N. Pattee, Edmund Parker, Samuel Lee, John Preston, William Haile, Richard Jenness, William P. Weeks, Thomas E. Sawyer, W. H. Y. Hackett, Nathaniel B. Baker, Charles F. Gove, Thomas M. Edwards, Josiah Quincy and scores of others, now living, of equal merit. In this galaxy of brilliant minds it is no exaggeration to say that, young as he was, Mr. Harriman was an honored peer in legislative duty and debate. Besides the two years named he represented Warner again in the House in 1858, when he was his party's candidate for Speaker. He also represented District No. 8 in the State Senate in 1859 and 1860. In 1853 and 1854 he held the responsible position of State treasurer. Appointed, in 1856, by the President of the United States, on a board of .commissioners, with ex-Congressman James H. Relf, of Missouri, and Colonel William Spencer, of Ohio, to classify and appraise Indian lands in Kansas, he spent a year of official service in that inviting territory, then turbulent with ruffianism. Border raids, burning and murder were daily occurrence; but the duties of this office were faithfully attended to, and no breath of complaint was ever heard against the delicate work of the board.
During the reign of that un-American political heresy popularly called Know-Nothingism, in 1854, 1855 and 1856, Mr. Harriman was its firm and unyielding enemy. In a discussion of this question with Hon. Cyrus Barton, at Loudon Centre, Mr. Harriman bad closed his first speech, and Mr. Barton has just begun a reply, when he dropped dead upon the platform, a tragedy which lingered sadly in the memory of his friendly antagonist of that day.
The outbreak of the Civil War began an era in the life of every public man in the nation. It projected issues which made party allegiance a secondary affair. It sent many earnest and honest men across the party line, while some of our best citizens simply took their stand for the time being outside all political folds, independent and ready for whatever calls the exigencies of the country might give forth. In that fateful spring of 1861, Mr. Harriman became the editor and one of the proprietors of the Weekly Union at Manchester, which heartily espoused the war policy of Mr. Lincoln's administration for the preservation of the republic, and thus found himself the leader and spokesman of what were known as the " War Democrats." He was placed in nomination as a candidate for Governor of the State at a large mass convention of this class of voters, held at Manchester in February, 1863, and the movement resulted in defeating a choice by the people and throwing the election into the Legislature.
No man uttered braver or more eloquent words for the Union cause than Mr. Harriman, and his tongue and pen were an important element in the rousing of the citizens of New Hampshire to the graver duties of the hour. In August, 1862, he was made colonel of the Eleventh New Hampshire Regiment of Volunteers. He led his regiment to the field, and was at its bead most of the time until the close of the war, except the four months, from May to September, 1864, when he was an inmate of Confederate prisons. With some other captured Union officers, he was for seven weeks of this time imprisoned in that part of Charleston, S. C., which wits most exposed to the fire of the Union guns from Morris Island; but, providentially, though that part of the doomed city was destroyed, no harm came to him from the guns of his fellow-loyalists.
The first set battle in which the Eleventh Regiment bore a part was that of Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, when, with unflinching courage, Colonel Harriman and his men faced the dreadful carnage of that long day before Marye's Heights, less than three months after their arrival in the field. The loss of the regiment in this engagement was terrific. Passing over much (for want of space) that is thrilling and praiseworthy, we find the Eleventh, under their colonel, at the front in the battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864, where them made a daring and stubborn onset on the Confederate entrenchments, carrying before them two successive lines of the enemy's works. But among the five thousand Union men that were captured in that bloody engagement, the commander of the Eleventh New Hampshire was included. Colonel Harriman and the survivors of his charge were present at the final grapple of the war, before Petersburg, and on the 3d day of April, 1865, he led a brigade of nine regiments (a force three times as great as the whole American Army at Bunker Hill) into that fated city on the heels of Lee's fleeing command. The war was now virtually ended; the surrender of Lee at Appomattox followed six days afterward, and the Eleventh Regiment, of proud and honorable record, was mustered out of service the following June. Their commander was appointed brigadier-general United States Volunteers, by brevet, "for gallant conduct during the war," to date from March 13, 1865.
On his arrival home, at the close of the war, General Harriman was elected to the office of Secretary of State by the Legislature then in session, and he at once entered upon the duties of the office, which he held two years, and until his promotion to the gubernatorial chair. In the large Republican Convention, consisting of six hundred and seventy-five delegates and held at Concord in 1867, he was nominated on the first ballot as candidate for Governor of the State. One of the most salient and memorable incidents connected with this period was the joint canvass, made by amicable arrangement between General Harriman and the Hon. John G. Sinclair, the Democratic candidate. Such canvasses are not uncommon in the West and South; but in New England, and with men of such forensic ability as the distinguished nominees possessed, it was an event fraught with great popular interest, and which drew forth, possibly, the most earnest and eloquent discussions of questions to which a New England people has ever listened. Many flattering notices were given of these discussions there were thirteen in all. Commenting on one of the number, a leading newspaper said of General Harriman: " Soaring above all petty personal allusions, he held the audience as if spell-bound, arid made all his hearers, for the time being, lovers of the whole country the Union, of liberty and independence throughout the world. He spoke not is a politician, but as a patriot, a statesman, a philanthropist, and his noble sentiments had such power of conviction that it was impossible to ward off the results by argument." His election followed by a decisive majority.
The campaign of 1868 occurred at a time when a strong reaction was setting against the Republican party throughout the country. Fresh candidates for the Presidency were about to be nominated; the impeachment of Andrew Johnson was in progress; military rule had been established in the South; utter financial ruin was hotly foretold; and the dominant party was suffering crushing reverses in many of the States. To add to the discouragements of this party in New Hampshire, when the municipal election came on, in December, Portsmouth and Manchester rolled up adverse majorities, and the tide was tending strongly in one direction. Encouraged by such promising signs the Democratic party held its State Convention at the early day of the 14th of November. Their old and tried war-horse, John G. Sinclair, was again put upon the track, and his election was, by that party, deemed a foregone conclusion. A long and fierce contest ensued. Governor Harriman met his fellow-citizens face to face in every section of the State. He addressed immense meetings, holding one every secular day for six weeks, and failing to meet no appointment on account of weariness, storms or any other cause. He was triumphantly re-elected, obtaining a larger vote than any candidate for office had ever before received in New Hampshire.
Of Governor Harriman's administration of the affairs of the State, in its principal features, with the exacting duties and the keen prudence required of the chief executive in those days of large indebtedness, unbalanced accounts and new legislation to meet the new and unprecedented demand, his constituents seem to have been hearty and unanimous in their approval. Their feelings may be summed up and expressed in the words of the Boston Journal when it said: "The administration of Governor Harriman will take rank among the best that New Hampshire has ever had."
General Harriman was appointed naval officer of the port of Boston by President Grant in April, 1869 which office he accepted after the expiration of his gubernatorial term, in June following He was re-appointed 1878 for a term of four years. The affairs of this office were conducted in such a manner as to preclude any word of criticism.
General Harriman engaged in political canvasses repeatedly in most of the Northern States, and in 1872 participated extensively in the State campaign in North Carolina. In this later canvass the key-note of the national campaign was pitched, and the result desperate contest there in August made the reelection of General Grant in November a certainty.
Thousands have warmly testified to the rare oratorical powers of the subject of this sketch, the Meriden Connecticut Recorder being one of the number. That paper says of him: " As a platform speaker we never heard his equal. His delivery is fine, his logic clear as a crystal, his manner easy and natural and physical force tremendous. With a voice clear distinct as a trumpet, of immense compass, volume and power, his influence over an audience is complete. He affects nothing, but proceeds at once to the work in hand, and from the very outset carries hearers with him, rising at times with the inspiration of his theme to the loftiest flights of eloquence."
In 1881, General Harriman was chosen to the Legislature from Concord, and in the Hall of Representatives, where he had stood over thirty years before, look a fearless and independent position on the great questions that were agitated at that session. In 1882 he made an extended tour through Europe and portions of Asia and Africa, visiting London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Alexandria, Cairo, Jerusalem and many other places of note, going to the heart of the great pyramid and bathing in the Dead Sea and the waters of Jordan. On his return he wrote a book of his travels, which was his last work, entitled " In the Orient." The book is characteristic of the author, who saw much in a short time, and taking one rapidly through that interesting country, on foot and horse back, where brave armies fought and where patriarchs, prophets and Apostles went. The book was published by Lee & Shepard, of Boston, and two editions have been sold.
General Harriman was twice married: first, in 1841, to Miss Apphia K Hoyt, daughter of Captain Stephen Hoyt, of Warner, who died two years afterwards; and again, in 1844, to Miss Almira R. Andrews, Warner, who survives him. By the latter marriage he had three children,-Georgia, the only daughter, the wife of Joseph R. Leeson, an importer, of Boston, Walter C., the oldest son, a lawyer in Boston; the younger son, Benjamin E., having prepared him for the medical profession at some of the best schools in the land, took his degree at Dartmouth College in 1877 and began practice in Manchester, N.H.; but his health soon failing, after patient and determined efforts for its recovery, and after attempting, in Troy, N. H., to follow his profession, where, in short space of time, he acquired a large practice and aroused the strongest feelings of friendship and sympathy of the people, he returned to his father's home in Concord, where he died of consumption and a heart difficulty May 28, 1880, lamented not only by his own family, but by a large circle of devoted and enthusiastic friends. His wife, so early bereaved, was Miss Jessie B., only daughter of the late Colonel Isaac W. Farmer, of Manchester.
A biographical paper, read before the New Hampshire Medical Society by Dr. A. H. Crosby, a physician of wide reputation, and printed, portrays the character of Dr. Harriman in generous outline and fine and tender tinting. He was a young man of a keen mind and of high integrity, large capacities for friendship and superior equipment for his life-work. There are two grandsons and one granddaughter of General Harriman's surviving children to represent the family.
In the month of July, 1883, General Harriman was prostrated, although apparently in his usual health, with cerebral embolism, resulting in aphasia, and although he made a wonderful and unexpected recovery there from, it was evident that his days on earth were hastening to a close. Early in the spring of 1884 he became confined to his home. Calmly he awaited the great transition, as the shadows gathered about him, with the oft-expressed wish that it might come suddenly and that his days of weariness might not be prolonged.
Like passing into a deep sleep, he died on the morning of July 25th. His remains repose in Pine Grove Cemetery, beneath a tall granite shaft, among his kindred, where the waters of the river ripple below and in full view of the hills that overshadow the place of his birth.
Benjamin Evans, son of Tappan Evans, was born at Newburyport in 1772, but was brought to Warner with the family before 1780. His mother was called the " handsomest woman in Newburyport," and the son was a man of striking personal appearance. The writer has been unable to gather many facts in relation to the early life of this noted man. His education was limited, but, having commanding natural abilities, he wielded a large influence in Warner and in the State for many years. He married a Miss Wadleigh (an aunt of the late Judge Wadleigh, of Sutton) and commenced life at Roby's Corner. There he had a farm and saw-mill, the mill being a few rods below the present river bridge. In 1803 he went into mercantile business at South Sutton and at once became a prominent and influential man in the town. Though he only remained at Sutton four years, he served several times as moderator of town-meetings and several times as selectman. In 1807 he returned to Warner and made his home from that time through life at the village.
He was the leading business man in town for a long period of time; besides carrying on his country store, he dealt largely in cattle.
He lived some twenty-five or thirty years in what is now known as the Bates house, and the remainder of his life at the Porter house. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. He knew every man in town and could readily call each man by name. He served as moderator of townmeetings, as selectman and as representative to the General Court a great many years.
He was elected Senator in old District No. 8 in 1830, and was in the Governor's Council in 1836 and 1S37. He was appointed sheriff of Merrimack County in 1838 and held this, his last office, till 1843, the sear before his decease.
His children were Abigail, married Reuben Porter; Susan, died in infancy; Susan (2d) married Dr. Eaton; Lucinda, married Nathan S. Colby; Sophronia, married Stephen C. Badger; Sarah, married H. D. Robertson; Hannah M., married Abner Woodman (he was a farmer and did considerable justice business in settling estates in the town of Warned, Benjamin, the last child, died at the age of six years. Mrs. Hannah M. Woodman is the only surviving-child of the late Benjamin Evans, and furnishes this illustration as a tribute to her father's memory.
Levi Bartlett, oldest son of Joseph Bartlett, was born in Warner, N.H., April 29,1793, and is, therefore, at this date, ninety-two years of age.
His grandfather, Simeon Bartlett, of Amesbury, Mass. (a brother of Governor Josiah Bartlett, of Kingston, N. H., who was first after General Hancock to vote for and to sign the " Declaration of Independence"), was one of the original proprietors of the town of Warner, and he gave to his three sons, Joseph, Richard and Simeon, valuable tracts of land in the then newly-settled township.
The Bartlett family are from Stopham, Sussex County, England. John and Richard, progenitors of most of the name in this country, came over in 1634 and 1635, and settled at Newbury. They trace back their family for over eight hundred years of unbroken pedigree. Sir Walter B. Barttelot, a lineal descendant of Adam Barttelot, who came over with William, the Conqueror, now inherits the old family estate, consisting of some seven or eight thousand acres.
Sir Walter is member of Parliament, a Conservative and a stanch supporter of the Queen.
The subject of the present sketch, Levi Bartlett, of Warner, was early employed in his father's store, at the Lower village. A country store was then, even more than now, the centre of all masculine gatherings for the interchange of news and political and religious ideas. The incidents of the Revolutionary War were still fresh in the minds of the old habitues of the place, and the lad, always eager for information, listened with breathless interest to tales of daring and heroic deeds, and gazed with flashing eye as some old veteran of the war "shouldered his crutch and showed how fields Severe won." Added to the history of his country they orally delivered were the contents of the town library, kept at his father's store, and supplied, among other works, with copies of most of the popular histories then extant,-Hume, Gibbon, Goldsmith, etc.,-and while the rest of the family were gathered of an evening in the " east room " for social and neighborly converse, the young man, stretched on the old-fashioned kitchen settle, read, by the light of a tallow candle, or possibly by a blazing pine-knot, history, Shakespeare, translations of Virgil and Homer or whatever else of poetry or romance those early times afforded. His extreme predilection for agriculture was fostered, if not induced, by the "Georgics," read at that susceptible age. Opportunities for education were very limited in those days, and the common district school did not set ordinary pupils very far on the road to knowledge. Private instruction, through a couple of winters, by Eon. Henry B. Chase, then a rising young lawyer of the town, and a "finishing term" at Amesbury Academy were all the additional scholastic advantages enjoyed by Mr. Bartlett. This rather meagre training was, however, largely supplemented in his case by constant, varied and extensive reading, and by a critical study, in later years, of geology, chemistry and other works connected with what was then dubbed, rather sneeringly, by the popular voice as "scientific farming." He was sent early to Newburyport to the book-store of Thomas & Whippie, and later to the store of his uncle, James Thorndike, of Salem, Mass., with the expectation that he would engage in mercantile pursuits. But he had little taste for " trade " and the embargo and nonintercourse with foreign nations, owing to the unfriendly and exasperating conduct of England, which worked so disastrously upon the fortunes of those once opulent merchants in the "City by the Sea," completed the disgust of young Bartlett for that occupation. The trade of tanner and currier appeared to him the only safe and lucrative business, and his father arranged to set him up accordingly.
He pursued this avocation for several years ut the passion for agriculture, which had all this time found vent in the cultivation of fruits and flowers, grew too powerful to be resisted, and he left what was fast becoming a lucrative employment for the pursuit of farming, which he has since followed.
He began at once to write for agricultural papers, experimented largely in different ways of managing crops, adopted most of the new theories of scientific men in relation to the constitution of the soil and it's adaptation to certain growths, etc. His opinions and writings were favorably received, and he, as pioneer in a new field, since pretty thoroughly investigated, was considered "authority" on most points relating to improved agriculture.
In 1834, Mr. Bartlett was invited to become a regular contributor to the New England Farmer, and from that date till after he had passed his eightieth year he wrote regularly for various agricultural periodicals. He was special correspondent and associate editor of The Boston Journal of Agriculture during its brief life. He wrote constantly for the Country Gentleman, occasionally for the Farmer's Monthly Visitor, The Statesman and Manchester Mirror and many other papers. He was for a time associate editor of the Boston Cultivator. His writings have been published in various States of the Union, and not unfrequently copied into English papers.
When an Advisory Board of Agriculture met at the Patent Office, Washington, D. C., in 1859, Mr. Bartlett was selected by a committee of that board to represent New Hampshire, and he was present during its session of eight days.
A year later, when a series of important lectures on scientific agriculture was to be given at Yale College, Hon. Henry B. French, then of Exeter, late Assistant Secretary of the Treasury at Washington, and Mr. Bartlett were invited from this State to be present.
After he had passed his eightieth birthday he began and completed a "Genealogy of the Bartlett Family," which has been largely called for all over the country.
The work cost a vast amount of labor and research, and proved a very trying labor for the aged compiler.
In politics Hr. Bartlett has been an "old-time Whig," and in a town which was for many years the very "keystone of the Democratic arch" in New Hampshire, was seldom troubled with offers of office, but held the office of postmaster for five years immediately preceding General Jackson's term at the White House.
It is curious to note the difference in that "institution" between those years and the present time. Sir. Bartlett declares that more papers and letters are received in a single day now at our office than he distributed in the course of a whole year.
Mr. Bartlett married, June 1, 1815, Hannah Kelly, only daughter of Rev. William Kelly, the first minister of Warner. They had two children, who lived to mature age,-William K., who married Harriet N., daughter of Nathan Walker; Lavinia K., the daughter, married Dr. Dana D. Davis, who died soon alter of yellow fever in Baton Rouge, La., where he was in the practice of his profession. Their only child, William D. Davis, married Louise Harding, of Virginia, and is a clerk in the Custom-House, New York City.
[A difference of opinion seems to exist concerning the derivation of the name of this town. Hon. Walter Harriman claimed that it was named in honor of Seth Warner, of Bennington, Vt., while others claim that it derived its name from Hon. Daniel Warner, of New Hampshire. Isaac W. Hammond, however, author of Town Papers, and an indefatigable searcher in matters relating to the early history of New Hampshire, says he finds himself of the opinion that Governor Wentworth named the town for his intimate friend, Colonel Jonathan Warner, of Portsmouth, who married a cousin of the Governor, and was, at the time of the incorporation of Warner, a member of the Governor's Council."-Publishers]