Biography of David N. Patterson

David N. Patterson, for many years one of the most active and prominent business men of Contoocook, N.H., was born June 1, 1800, in Henniker, Merrimack County, and died March 28, 1892, in the village of Contoocook, at the venerable age of ninety-one years, nine months, and twenty-eight days. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, so called, being a direct descendant of John Patterson, who on account of religious persecution fled from Scotland to the northern part of Ireland, where his son Robert and his grandson, who, it is thought, was named Alexander, were born. The latter emigrated to America in 1721, bringing with him his family, which included a son, Alexander second.

Alexander Patterson, second, married Elizabeth Arbuckle, who was born in 1720 on board Londonderry, N.H., where he held office in 1751, but subsequently removed to Pembroke, N.H., in the early days of its settlement, and was one of the first Selectmen of the town. He served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. His wife, a welleducated woman for those days, taught school several terms. In 1799 they migrated to Thetford, Vt., going thence to Strafford, Vt., where both died in 1802. They had nine children, Alexander, the third to bear that name, being the next in line of descent.

Alexander third, born July 10, 1763, married Mary Nelson, of Sterling, Mass., and settled in Henniker, N.H. In 1806 he erected a building on the site now occupied by the residence of W. P. Cogswell, and put in water-works, which were used until 1878. He was very prominent and popular among his fellow-men, full of humor and ready wit, and was generally accosted by young and old as Uncle Sandy. He died January 12, 1827, in the sixty-fourth year of his age. They had a family of eleven children, of whom David N., the special subject of this biographical sketch, was the seventh-born. Their daughter Mary M., the next younger child, became a very successful teacher, being endowed with a strong personality and a remarkable gift for imparting knowledge. She began teaching at the age of eighteen, and taught in Henniker and Warner until 1828. Going then to Cambridge, Washington County, N.Y., she taught in that locality twenty years. In 1844 she received a State license on parchment, and continued her labors until 1869, devoting forty-nine years to the education of the young. Her husband, Hervey Culver, to whom she was married in 1846, dying in 1875, she removed to Vassar, Mich.

David N. Patterson left home at the age of sixteen years, going to Weare to work for his brother-in-law, John Chase. Four years later he began working at the clothier’s trade with his brother Joab, a woollen manufacturer in Deering, N.H. In 1829 the two young men came to Contoocook, establishing themselves in business, first in carding rolls, then engaging in fulling and shearing, eventually engaging in the full manufacture of cloths, their old mills standing on the site of the present silk factory. There were several mills in that vicinity, including a saw-mill, a grist-mill, a sash, door, and blind mill, a kit factory, a woollen-mill, etc., all of which were destroyed in the fall of 1871, the silk-mill having since been erected. The Patterson brothers continued in business until 1860, building up a substantial and profitable trade from one which at the beginning was largely an exchange. David N. Patterson continued his residence in the village until his death, preserving his mental and physical activities in a remarkable manner. He was very influential in local affairs, a strong worker in the temperance cause, and an enthusiastic laborer in the Free Will Baptist church, of which he was a member and for sixteen years the superintendent of the Sunday-school. In 1842 and 1843 he was one of the Selectmen of Hopkinton, and in 1845 and 1846 was a Representative to the General Court. In his younger days he served four years as Lieutenant in a company of militia.

On March 17, 1830, David N. Patterson married Maria Woods, a daughter of William S. and Betsey D. (Dutton) Woods. Mr. Woods settled in Henniker in 1800, purchasing mills at West Henniker, and was the first to carry on the clothier’s trade there to any extent. A citizen of prominence, he served as Selectman in 1813, 1814, and 1815, and was a member of the State legislature in 1832 and 1833. He died at a good old age, March 29, 1847; and his wife passed away October 31, 1849. Mrs. Maria Woods Patterson died May 19, 1873, leaving four children, namely: Susan M., wife of Captain D. Howard, of Concord, N.H.; William A., of Contoocook; and Annette and Jennette, twins, the former of whom lives in Concord. The latter first married Charles Upton, of Amherst, N.H., and after his death became the wife of Charles H. Danforth, of Contoocookville. On June 15, 1875, Mr. Patterson married for his second wife Mrs. Sarah W. Batchelder, widow of Moses Batchelder, and daughter of Samuel and Mary (Gove) Philbrick, of Andover, N.H. She died June 14, 1890, aged seventy-nine years and eight months.

William A. Patterson, born at Contoocookville, N.H., December 12, 1836, received but a limited education, being obliged to go into the mill and feed the carding machines as soon as he was tall enough to reach the carding places. At the age of seventeen he went to work for his uncle, Dutton Woods, a bridge contractor and builder, remaining with him six or more years. In 1859 he entered the blacksmith’s shops of the Northern Railway Company, continuing until March, 1862, when he returned to Contoocook, accepting a position in the kit shop. On August 7, 1862, Mr. Patterson enlisted for a term of three years in Company B, Second New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. Three days later, August 10, his marriage with Olive Amanda Allen, one of New Hampshire’s brave and patriotic daughters, was solemnized. The following day he was mustered into service, and, leaving his bride, joined the Army of the Potomac. Ten days afterward he participated in the second battle of Bull Run, was taken prisoner, kept in the rebel lines a week, then paroled and sent to Camp Parole, where he was exchanged. At once returning to his comrades, he joined them at Falmouth, December 17, 1862, while on their retreat from the first attack on Fredericksburg. He subsequently was at the front in many important battles, including Gettysburg, and saw much hard service. On July 1, 1864, he was made Corporal of his company. June 7, 1865, he was discharged from the hospital at Hampton, Va., where he had been ill for six months, although he was never wounded.

On returning to Contoocook, Mr. Patterson worked for a year on the railway, and then resumed his former employment with his uncle, assisting in building bridges on the Concord Railroad for two years, also working on the Claremont and Passumpsic railways for four years. Since that time he has had charge of the branch office of Kimball & Lane, undertakers, of Concord, N.H. He is now serving his third year as Town Treasurer, besides which he is Treasurer and one of the stockholders of the Contoocook Electric Light Company. He is not an active politician, but always votes the straight Republican ticket. He is a member of the society connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his wife is an active member. He is one of the leading Odd Fellows of this place, belonging to Kearsarge Lodge, I. O. O. F., and to Eagle Encampment, and in each body has been through all the chairs.

Mrs. Patterson is a grand-daughter of John and Hannah (Goldthwait) Allen, and a daughter of Willard Allen, who was born in Cornish, N.H., September 3, 1811, and died in Contoocook, June 21, 1882. Mr. Allen was a brickmaker by trade, following it first in Chelsea, Mass., and later in Croydon, this State. In 1853 he came to Contoocook, and in company with Warren M. Kempton started a factory for making mackerel kits in the J. I. Morrill as a saw-mill. He had various partners, usually one of the Morrills, and continued in active business about twenty-five years. In 1838 he married Elvira Stone, of Grantham, a daughter of Daniel Stone. She died October 17, 1881, just a few months prior to his demise. They reared two children, namely: Olive Amanda, now Mrs. Patterson; and Walton Perkins Allen, of Hopkinton, N.H.



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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