Biography of Asa Britton

Asa Britton was among the earlier residents of Chesterfield, and among those who contributed largely to its business and prosperity. He was the son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Bullock) Britton, and was born in Raynham, Mass., April 30 1763. In 1771, with his father’s family, he moved to Westmoreland, N. H., where his early youth was passed, and where, in 1788, he married Sally, eldest daughter of Major Leonard Keep, a son of Experience (Lawrence) and Capt. Jabez Keep. Early in their married life the young couple removed to Lansingburgh, N. Y., where they buried their eldest son, soon after returning and settling on a farm in Chesterfield, on the shore of the beautiful Lake Spafford, now so much a summer resort.

It was about the year 1805 that Mr. Britton purchased and removed to the large old house in Chesterfield village, where his daughters were educated and married, and where he lived during the most active part of his life. Some now living remember its long facade, its gambrel roof, and dormer windows. It was a relic of Revolutionary days, full of queer angles, corner cupboards and fire places, with a lovely view of Green mountain scenery from the west windows. The house was torn down some years ago. Here Mr. Britton grew to be a man of wealth and influence. His unusual business capacity, together with an active and energetic temperament, impelled him to numerous business ventures, which were for the most part successful. He had a large farm which was carried on under his own management. He had several mercantile establishments in different places.

He was postmaster, and justice, and high sheriff in early days. He was fond of history and general reading, and his conversation drew around him the intelligent and educated of the vicinity, so that his house was the resort alike of the preceptors and pupils of old Chesterfield academy. It was also the home of four of his orphan nephews and nieces. Among them was Hosea Snow, later judge Snow, one of the founders of the city of Quincey, Illinois, an enterprising, educated and christian man.

Of Mr. Britton’s four children, three grew to maturity. Sarah, born June 28, 1791, married January, 1815, Asa Keys, then of Putney, Vt., later of Brattleboro, Vt., who graduated at Dartmouth in 1810, taught Chesterfield academy two years, studied law in Boston, and became a prominent lawyer and citizen of Brattleboro. One daughter, (thus a granddaughter of Mr. Britton), married judge Royal Tyler, of Brattleboro. Another married Dr. F. N. Palmer, of Boston, Mass. A son, judge George B. Keyes, died in California in 1878. Mrs. Keyes died in 1859. Laura, born 1996, married April, 1827, Josiah W. Fairfield of Hudson, N. Y., a graduate of Dartmouth, afterwards a preceptor of Chesterfied Academy, a lawyer, a wealthy and influential man. Their only daughter, Sarah, died at twentyone. George B., the oldest of their two sons, was a prominent business man of Hudson, N. Y. The second son, William, became a judge of the circuit court in Iowa, and both brothers died within a few yeara. Mrs. Fairfield died in 1864. George, who studied law, went West, and settled in Galena, Illinois, where he died about 1830. Asa Britton died in Chesterfield, June 30, 1849. Mrs. Britton died at the house of her daughter, in Brattleboro, October 1g, 1859, and both were buried in Westmoreland, N. H.



Hurd, Duane Hamilton. History of Cheshire and Sullivan counties, New Hampshire. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis. 1886.

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