Friday, March 12, 2010

Horace Greeley remembers Londonderry

In his autobiography, “Recollections of a Busy Life”, Horace Greeley remembers his childhood in Nutfield. His parents’ families were from Londonderry, and he used to spend his summers with his grandparents to attend school. On page 23 through 28 he compares the dour Presbyterian and Congregational services with the lively country life of Londonderry’s common people. Weddings were celebrated with liquor, musket shootings and lots of dancing. Drinking was common, even at wakes and funeral, which he attributed to the Celtic ancestors of the Nutfield settlers. He also describes the first New England potatoes grown and eaten by the Nutfielders, and the Scottish flax grown and woven into linens. Games of strength, rather than skill or wit, such as wrestling and boxing were common, as well as house raisings and corn husking.

In the second chapter he waxes poetically on the old warriors of Scots-Irish Londonderry, such as John Stark, George Reed, and Dr. Matthew Thornton. In the third chapter he describes his Greeley and Woodburn forbears, and their homes in Nutfield (now Londonderry) and Nottingham West (now the town of Hudson). This is the part of Londonderry where I live, close to the Hudson border, and a short walk from a small dirt road now called “Greeley Road.” I don’t know if they lived there or just nearby. Sanford Greeley owned the land along Route 102 near the Lithia Water Spring, and in September 1887 Horace Greeley was featured in an advertisement for the product.

Horace Greeley was born and raised in Amherst, New Hampshire in 1811. He forfeited a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy and went to be a printer’s apprentice in Vermont. He removed later to New York City, and founded the weekly New Yorker and later the New York Tribune which made him the most important editor of his times. He was a reformer, abolitionist, and promoted Lincoln’s Republican Party. When he rebelled against the corrupt administration of Ulysses S. Grant, he ran for president in 1872 for the Liberal Republican party, yet lost. He became quite mad, and died soon after died on November 29, 1872 before all the electoral votes could be counted.

Greeley is most famous for his quote “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” He supported homesteading laws and agrarian reforms. He always wrote about the common, working class and independent American spirit. Was this due to his Scots-Irish ancestry? Distaste for authority, and a love of frugality, argument and debate? Was life in his childhood Londonderry so wild that it inspired him, or not wild enough- thus creating a romantic images of a Western frontier?

Horace Greeley’s family tree:

Generation 1: Horace Greeley, born 3 February 1811 at Amherst, New Hampshire, died 29 November 1872 in Pleasantville, New York; married on 5 July 1836 in Warrenton, North Carolina to Mary Young Cheney.

Generation 2: Zaccheus Greeley, born 12 March 1782 at Londonderry (now Hudson), New Hampshire, died on 18 December 1868 in Wayne Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania; married 1807 in Londonderry to Mary Woodburn, daughter of David Woodburn and Margaret Clark, born 1788 in Londonderry, died 1855 in Wayne Township.

Generation 3: Zaccheus Greeley born on 27 November 1753 in Hudson, New Hampshire, died June 1846 in Londonderry; married in 1766 to Hester Senter, daughter of Samuel Senter and Susan Taylor, born 1755 in Hudson, died in September 1826.

David Woodburn married to Margaret Clark, granddaughter of “Ocean Born Mary”, daughter of John Clark.

Generation 4: Ezekiel Greeley, born 21 October 1725 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, died on 21 January 1793 in Hudson; married about 1747 to Esther Lovell, daughter of Zaccheus Lovell and Esther Unknown, born about 1747 in Hudson.

Samuel Senter, born on 31 January 1720/1 in Londonderry, died on 10 July 1775; married in 1741 to Susan Taylor, born in 1723 in Londonderry, died in 1795, buried in the Senter Burying Ground, Hudson, near the Londonderry border.

Generation 5: Benjamin Greeley, born on 28 February 1699/00 in Haverhill, died on 22 February 1785 in Haverhill; married first 1 January 1722/23 in Haverhill to Ruth Whittier, daughter of Joseph Whittier and Mary Peaslee, born on 31 July 1702 in Haverhill, died 4 December 1745 in Haverhill of childbirth. Married second to Hannah Poor.

Generation 6: Joseph Greeley, born on 5 February 1651/2 in Salisbury, Massachusetts, died on 7 March 1745 in Hudson; married on 5 February 1694/5 in Haverhill to Martha Wilford, daughter of Gilbert Wilford and Mary Dow.

Generation 7: Andrew Greele, born 1617 in Nottinghamshire, England, died on 30 June 1697 in Salisbury; married in 1643 in Salisbury to Mary Moyse, daughter of Joseph Moyse and Hannah Folcord.

For more information:

Recollections of a Busy Life, by Horace Greeley and Robert Dale Owen, Boston: H. A. Brown & Co., 1868.

Greeley Genealogy, by George Hiram Greeley, Boston: 1905.

The Life of Horace Greeley, Editor of the New York Tribune, by James Parton, New York: Mason Brothers, 1855.

Vital Records of Londonderry, by Daniel Gage Annis, Manchester, NH: 1914

1 comment:

  1. My name is Shirley Forsyth Kelly and my maternal grandmother Vera Maude Perry Wakefield was a descendent of Ebenezer Perry (my 5th great grandfather) of New Hampshire and his wife Bridget Greeley. Bridget was the aunt of Horace Greeley which makes me related to Horace. I have been tracing my family tree through and have been finding many interesting facts about my family. This has been a wonderful journey for me to know where I came from. It is also an honor to be related in some way to Horace Greeley and read about his interesting life.