Biography of Colonel George H. Dana

Colonel George H. Dana, a retired East India merchant residing in Newport, N.H., was born in Boston, September 2, 1837. Son of the late Francis Dana, Jr., M.D., for many years a practising physician in Boston and Cambridge, he comes of old and honored Colonial stock, being a member of the Massachusetts family of this name that has given to the country so many citizens of worth and distinction. In an article recently publisbed in Munsey’s Magasine it is well stated that “of all American families there are few that can compare, in number of men eminent in various spheres, with the Danas.” Its founder was Richard Dana, who settled at Cambridge, Mass., about 1640. Continuing the quotation: “The lives and records of those of his progeny who have perpetuated the family name are interwoven with the very life of the nation. They were soldiers and statesmen; hands that helped to lay the corner-stone of the republic; patriots who rallied at Bunker Hill, who responded again to the call of freedom in 1812, and who in our Civil War hastened to attest their right to the family name by a display of the heroic spirit of their sires.”

Daniel Dana, the fourth son of Richard, owned at one time the greater part of Cambridge. This possession was divided among his children. Richard, the son of Daniel, was a prominent jurist and patriot. He died in 1772. His son Francis, Sr., was the first Chief Justice of Massachusetts, and was first United States Minister to Russia. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Ellery, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had three children-Francis, Edmund, and Richard Henry. The latter was one of the founders of the North American Review and author of the “Buccaneer,” etc. The eldest son, Francis, was a merchant, and spent many years in Russia and Hamburg. He married Sophia, daughter of President Willard of Harvard College, and had by her four children-Sophia (afterward wife of George Ripley, literary editor of the New York Tribune), Mary Elizabeth, Francis, and Joseph.

Francis Dana, Jr., the father of the Colonel, graduated from Harvard College, as did his father before him. He took up the study of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and became a physician of high rank in Boston and Cambridge. He married Isabella, daughter of Moses Hazen White, and grand-daughter of Dr. John Frink, of Rutland, Mass. In religion he was an Episcopalian. He lived to the age of seventy-two years. Of his four children Francis and William died young. The others are: Isabella, who resides in Boston; and George H.

Before the war of the Rebellion George H. Dana was engaged in mercantile pursuits in the East Indies. He returned to his native land in 1861 to join the Northern forces, enlisting in the Thirty-second Massachusetts Regiment as Second Lieutenant. During the war he engaged in twenty-seven battles, and was seriously wounded in the arm at the battle of Gettysburg. For one year he was on detailed duty, and during a part of that time served on the staff of his cousin, General N. J. T. Dana. He was made Lieutenant Colonel for his meritorious conduct and bravery in battle, and his military record is an 1871. Returning to the United States, he took up his residence in Newport, N.H., spending his summers at Lake Sunapee, where he has large real estate interests.

Colonel Dana was married in 1865 to Frances Matson Burke, daughter of Edmund Burke, of Newport. Her father was an eminent lawyer, a member of Congress, and a political writer of national importance. He was Commissioner of Patents under the administration of President Polk. To Colonel and Mrs. Dana one son has been born, the fifth Francis. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and a member of the Suffolk County bar. After two years spent in the practice of his profession he accepted a professorship at the St. Paul’s School at Concord. He is a young man of brilliant literary attainments, and has already published many well-received stories and poems. His first novel, just completed, has been published by Harper Brothers.



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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