Biography of Samuel Harris Dow

Samuel Harris Dow, son of Amos and Mary (Brown) Dow, was born in Hopkinton, N.H., June 10, 1818, and died at his residence at Bagley Station, Warner, Merrimack County, September 6, 1894. He had not been well for several years, having been unfortunate enough, January 17, 1889, while overseeing some work at one of his mills, to have his leg broken by a rolling log; and he had scarce recovered from that accident when he had a slight paralytic shock. Within a year after, a cancer developed on his lip, causing him great suffering for four or five years. His strong will power and determined resolution, however, kept him about until his death, which was caused by a second stroke, although he paid less attention to his business in his later days, throwing much of its responsibility upon his son.

Mr. Dow was a self-made man in the broadest sense implied by the term. His early life was spent in poverty, his father having been a cripple, with a large family to support, and needing the assistance of every child to keep the wolf from the door. Accordingly, Samuel left home when a small lad, and from that time until twenty years old earned his living as best he could, working at any honest employment. The year before attaining his majority he obtained a situation with Mr. Charles Davis, who hired him for seven months, agreeing to give him ten dollars a month. At the end of the time Mr. Davis gave him seventy-three dollars, presenting him with three dollars for his faithfulness. Hiring the Davis mill, he then sawed shingles at the rate of fifty cents per thousand and board, sawing day-times and bunching nights. The ensuing spring he began buying and manufacturing lumber, buying at first but a few trees at a time, gradually enlarging his operations; and in 1842 he had cleared above his expenses nine hundred dollars. Mr. Dow then bought one-half interest in the Nathaniel A. Davis saw-mill, mortgaging it to secure payment, and running into debt for the Charles Davis shingle-mill. He worked industriously, saved every penny possible, and four years later had both mills paid for. He continued his investments in lumber, bark, and wood until 1857, when he disposed of his buildings to W. S. Davis for nine hundred dollars, and sold his mills to Daniel Milton. In the same year he erected a residence at a cost of thirty-seven hundred dollars. During the Rebellion, when the draft came to raise the town quota for the Eleventh New Hampshire Regiment, he had just passed the age limit; but he voluntarily gave five dollars Franklin Simonds, Joshua George, Stephen Bartlett, and George Jones, signed bonds to protect the soldiers, whom the town officials subsequently paid by borrowing twenty-seven hundred dollars, which Mr. Dow had lying in the Warner Bank. When this bank suspended, he had on deposit some fourteen thousand dollars, which he invested in the First National Savings Bank of Concord, N.H.

About this time Mr. Dow purchased a large tract of wood and timber land in East Canaan, and for several years did an extensive business in getting out lumber, running mills, etc. He bought large lots of land in other localities, chiefly in Canaan and Warner, and after cutting off the timber held the land for new growth. In later years he paid a good deal of attention to his farm, on which he settled in 1879, residing there from that time on until his demise. He erected nearly all the buildings at Bagley Station, but persistently refused to have the name of the place changed to Dow, as his friends desired. He also made many other wise investments of his money, owning a store in Davisville, besides erecting three large business blocks in Concord, which are still in the possession of his heirs. He was a strong Republican in politics, but never accepted public office.

Mr. Dow was actively interested in the welfare and advancement of the town in which he lived, and, though earnestly opposed to the expenditure of the town’s funds for purposes of doubtful value, was one of the foremost to push forward and aid with generous financial contributions all projects that promised to be beneficial. The late Franklin Simonds gave twenty thousand dollars as a fund, the interest to be used in defraying the expenses of a free high school in Warner, provided the town would erect a suitable building. Mr. Dow and Gilman Bean gave bonds to the amount of ten thousand dollars, Mrs. Simonds adding five thousand dollars more; and the town built a fine school-house, which cost, including the land, ten thousand dollars, Mrs. Simonds giving five thousand dollars; John Robertson, two hundred and fifty dollars; C. G. McAlpine, two hundred and fifty dollars; George Jones, two hundred and fifty dollars; Reuben Clough, thirty dollars; and others, smaller sums; Mr. Bean and Mr. Dow paying the balance, amounting to over two thousand dollars apiece.

Mr. Dow was thrice married. His first wife, Harriet C., daughter of Daniel Currier, died a few years after marriage, leaving two children, namely: Fanny C., who married Oscar L. Rand, and has two children-Shirley and Blanche E.; and Hervey S., who died October 8, 1891, at the age of forty-two years. Hervey S. Dow was for many years associated with his father in the lumber business, having personal charge of the mills in Canaan. He left a widow whose maiden name was Bertha Barney, and three children-Edith M., Pearl E., and Florence B. Mr. Dow’s second wife, Matilda Sophronia Currier, a sister of his first wife, died after a comparatively few years of wedded life, leaving no children. On July 29, 1856, Mr. Dow married Miss Emily Rand, who was born in Hopkinton, N.H., May 17, 1838. Her parents, Smith and Miriam (Goodhue) Rand, subsequently removed to Warner. Mrs. Emily R. Dow still occupies the pleasant family residence at Bagley. She has two children-Herman A. and Emily G. Herman A. Dow, who resides with his mother, succeeded his Stella G. Wright; and they have one child, Samuel H. Emily G. Dow is the wife of Fred H. Savory, and has two children-Fred A. and Miriam E. Savory.



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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