Biography of Alfred Woodman

Alfred Woodman, a successful farmer of Plainfield, Sullivan County, N.H., and a veteran of the Civil War, was born in Newburyport, Mass., March 9, 1834, son of Daniel and Sarah (Hall) Woodman. His grandfather, Joseph Woodman, was a native of Newbury, Mass., and a cabinet-maker by trade. He was twice married; and his second wife was Abigail Atkinson, of Newbury, who reared the following children: William, Edna, Abbie, Jane, Hannah, Betsey, Phoebe, David, John, James, Joseph, and Daniel.

William Woodman became a prominent business man of Dover, N.H., was a man of strict integrity, and for a period of fifty years was president of two banks. He married Rebecca Wheeler, of Dover. Edna, Abbie, and Jane remained single, and passed their lives in Newburyport. Hannah became the wife of Major Nathaniel Coffin, a wealthy and influential citizen of that city. Betsey married Daniel Lunt, a merchant and farmer of Newbury, and had two children. Phoebe married Captain Thomas Disney, of Newburyport, and had a family of four children. David was a cooper by trade, and resided in Newburyport. He married, and had a family of three children, two of whom are living. John was a shoe dealer in Newburyport. He married Eliza Little, and had three children. James learned the mason’s trade, and followed it in Boston; was the father of three children. Joseph followed the trade of a mason in the same city, and was the father of four children.

Daniel Woodman, Alfred Woodman’s father, was born in Newbury in the year 1800. He learned the painter’s trade; and, settling in Newburyport, he carried on business as a house, ship, and sign painter for many years. He acquired a high reputation in his calling, and accumulated considerable property. He died June 14, 1874. His wife was Sarah Hall, a native of Canterbury, N.H. They had five children, as follows: Sarah, born September 25, 1829; Caroline, born October 9, 1831; Alfred, the subject of this sketch; Mary, born June 17, 1837; and Charles, born April 7, 1841. Sarah died December 24, 1850. Caroline became the wife of Samuel Jones, of Newburyport, a member of the firm of Jones, Spear & Lane, dry-goods merchants, Boston. She died in 1883, leaving one son, John Henry. Mary prepared herself for educational work, and during the greater part of the time for the past twenty years she has been teaching in Lisbon, Portugal. She came back to the United States some three years ago, and erected a handsome residence in Central Square, Woburn, Mass., but later decided to return to Lisbon. Charles is a merchant in Boston.

Alfred Woodman, after completing his education in the high school of Newburyport, began to learn the tailor’s trade with Charles Pool & Co., with whom he remained two years. In company with several other youths he then shipped on board the “Oliver Putnam,” bound for Havre, France. The vessel sailed on Friday; and about three days later she met with a serious mishap, which damaged her to the extent of many thousands of dollars. She was finally towed into New York. Cured of his sea craze for a time, young Woodman then went to Concord, N.H., where he finished his trade with Lincoln & Shaw, the future Governor Tuttle of New Hampshire being an apprentice in the same shop during Peru. His experience this time was of a more satisfactory nature; and, after his return some fifteen months later, he again shipped upon the same vessel for Liverpool. He made five trips to South America on board the “Castilian.”

At the breaking out of the Civil War he enlisted in Company B, Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers. He was in the battles of first Bull Run, Drury’s Bluff, Williamsburg, Oak Grove, Yorktown, Fredericksburg, Glendale, Fair Oaks, and Gettysburg. He was captured by the enemy, and his confinement in Libby and Belle Isle Prisons so injured his health that he now receives a pension from the government. After his discharge he shipped as mate of the schooner “Hiawatha,” which was commanded by his cousin, Captain Disney, with whom he made coasting trips for a short time. Returning to Concord, he engaged in the tailoring business, which he followed successfully for eight years. Indoor confinement, however, proved disastrous to his already undermined health; and he was obliged to seek some open-air employment. He accordingly about twenty years ago purchased his present farm in Plainfield, where he has derived much benefit from the invigorating atmosphere, and has devoted his energies to general farming. His property, which consists of about three hundred acres, is one of the most valuable estates in this town. It is situated upon the east bank of the Connecticut River in the midst of mountain and valley scenery, and contains a substantial brick residence and well-constructed out-buildings. His principal attention is given to raising sheep for wool, which he has found a profitable enterprise. He has no desire for political prominence, but as a supporter of the Republican party he takes an active part in town meetings and conventions; and, if matters are not altogether to his liking, he is sure to be heard from.

Mr. Woodman married Maria T. Gallup, who was born in Plainfield, July 19, 1838, daughter of Captain Thomas F. Gallup of this town. She is the mother of three children, namely: Ellen Edna, born March 5, 1868; Fred T., born June 28, 1871; and Kate K., born March 17, 1875. Ellen Edna completed her studies at the Kimball Union Academy, and is residing at home. Fred T. is a graduate of the high school at White River Junction, Vt., and is now studying law with the Hon. John L. Spring, of Lebanon, N.H. Kate K. was graduated from the Kimball Union Academy, and has been teaching school in Plainfield for the past three years.

Mr. Woodman is a comrade of E. E. Sturtevant Post, No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic, of Concord. He attends the Baptist church. Upright and fair-dealing, he is regarded with the highest esteem by his neighbors and acquaintances, who are always willing listeners to his narrations of adventure which his personal experience is able to furnish in abundance. In 1887 he accompanied an old school friend who was suffering from mental affliction upon a two months’ trip to the Azores, and his description and his remarks concerning it are exceedingly witty and interesting.


Biographical Review Publishing Company. Biographical Review; containing life sketches of leading citizens of Merrimack and Sullivan counties, N. H. Boston. Biographical Review Publishing Company. 1897.

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