Biography of Charles Lewis Perry

Last Updated on May 29, 2013 by

Charles Lewis Perry, for twenty-five years a successful tailor of Claremont, Sullivan County, N.H., was born in Charlestown, N.H., March 4, 1823, son of Charles and Mary (Putnam) Perry. At the age of seventeen Mr. Perry came to Claremont, where he learned the tailor’s trade, and then began business for himself. Devoting his entire attention to custom work, he became prosperous, and in 1857 built the handsome business block known as Perry’s Block, where he located until obliged to retire on account of failing health. He was succeeded in business by his son, Charles Eugene. Mr. Perry was a business man of exceptional ability, scrupulously honest, a man of exemplary habits, public-spirited, a useful citizen and a devoted husband and father. He had accumulated a competency, and was looking forward with pleasure to a life free from cares, when he was called to leave this world, his death occurring January 15, 1876. He is survived by his wife, formerly Dorothy Blake Mitchell, daughter of Charles and Silvia (Mitchell) Mitchell, and four sons-Charles E., Frank H., Theodore, and Arthur.

William Mitchell, Mrs. Perry’s paternal grandfather, was born in Boston. He came to Claremont from Henniker, N.H., settling in the north-eastern part of the town, on Cornish Road, where he was one of the earliest farmers. He was a representative man of the county, a prosperous farmer, and a Christian of high standing. His father was a sea captain, and was lost at sea. Mr. Mitchell married first Sophia Atherton, by whom he had children as follows: William, Jr., who settled in Malone, N.Y., where he married and died; Robert, who married, and reared a family in Claremont, where he died; Horace, who also married and died in Claremont; Sydney, who married and died in Claremont, leaving one child; Louisa, who died unmarried; Lydia, who married Aaron Smith, reared four children, and died in Cornish; Betsey, who married a Mr. Thompson; Fannie, who married Mr. Starbird, a successful tailor of Claremont; Charles, who married Silvia Mitchell, daughter of Thomas Mitchell. William Mitchell married second a widow, who bore him three children-Thomas, Henry, and Mary Ann. He died in 1832, at the age of sixty-four years. He was a Whig and a strong advocate of abolition principles, and regarded as one of the leading citizens of Sullivan County. He died in the faith of the Episcopal church.

Thomas and Henry Mitchell, sons of William, were early settlers in Iowa; and Thomas was the founder of the town of Mitchellville. Thomas Mitchell, familiarly known as “Uncle Tom ,” and well described as one of nature’s noblemen, was Polk County’s first actual settler, building himself a log cabin there in 1844. He was born in Claremont, March 3, 1816, worked as a farm hand and paper-mill employee until nineteen years of age. He then went to Springfield, Vt., and shortly after removed to St. Charles County, Missouri, and in March, 1840, went to Iowa, settling in Polk County, as above mentioned, in 1844. It was his delight in the early days to entertain the passing emigrants, and his liberal hospitality cheered the heart of many a wayfarer. He was long one of the most honored citizens of Mitchellville, and did much for the morality of the town, being opposed to liquor and eager for the advancement of the town’s best interests. He held 1841, Miss Elmira Swift, of Thetford, Vt. She died in 1860; and he married in 1861 Miss Ann C. Mattern, who, with her parents, had come from Pennsylvania to Iowa some years previously. He died June 15, 1894, sincerely mourned by all who knew him.

Charles Mitchell, the father of Mrs. Perry, settled on a farm near the paternal homestead, where he lived and prospered. He was an honored member of the Episcopal church, in which he was a warden. His children were: Elizabeth, Ira, Jane, Dorothy (Mrs. Perry), Edwin, John, William, Abbie, Henry, Ada, Ella, and Sophia.

John Mitchell, a brother of Mrs. Perry, was born February 28, 1830. He graduated from the Kimball Union Academy at Meriden, N.H., and entered Dartmouth; but his college course was interrupted by the death of his father. He subsequently studied law with McClure and Governor Metcalf in Claremont, and then, joining his uncle in Des Moines, was admitted to the Polk County bar in August, 1856. He established an independent practice in 1857. Four years later he was commissioned Captain of a company of cavalry in the State service, and fought against the Indians for three months in North-western Iowa. In the fall of the same year he was elected to the legislature from Polk County, and served two years during the exciting times of 1861 and 1862. He was made a member of the City Council and first Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and filled various offices of trust until 1867, when he was appointed Registrar of Bankruptcy in the Fifth Congressional District. He was elected Judge of the Fifth District Circuit Court in November, 1868, and served twelve years, twice being re-elected without opposition. His integrity as a man and his ability as a jurist were of the highest order. Upon retiring from the bench in 1881, he continued for two years in the practice of law, and in 1883 became associated with C. A. Dudley. This partnership continued until the death of Mr. Mitchell, which occurred December 29, 1890. No man was more respected by his townspeople, rich and poor. He was a friend to the needy, and beloved by all, public-spirited, temperate in all things, charitable in word and deed; and Claremont may well be proud of so worthy a son. He was intimately connected with the best life of the city of Des Moines, was Vice-President of the Iowa Loan and Trust Company, Director of the Des Moines National Bank, and Director and Counsellor of the Central Loan and Trust Company. He married Rebecca Ansbutz, daughter of C. P. Anshutz, of Moundsville, W. Va.

Charles Eugene Perry succeeded his father in business in Claremont. Frank H. Perry, after completing the study of law, went to Des Moines, and began the practice of his profession, but afterward became the popular editor of the Record, a Des Moines publication. Of the two other sons, Theodore and Arthur, the younger has become a musician of note. Mrs. Perry is now residing in Claremont.



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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