Biography of William Breck

William Breck was a prominent and wealthy resident of Claremont in his time. Born in Croydon, N.H., December 17, 1826, he was a son of Henry and Keziah (Marsh) Breck. The grandfather, William Breck, who was born in Boston, Mass., May 11, 1745, was a merchant in that city until 1792, when he came to West Claremont. Here he bought a farm of a Mr. Dickinson, the deed of which bears the date May 3, 1792; and he resided on the estate for the rest of his life. He was a business man of unsullied integrity, and while residing in Boston he held several responsible positions. November 22, 1819. On July 11, 1771, he wedded Margaret Thomas, daughter of Dr. William Thomas, of Plymouth, Mass. She died February 4, 1820. Her children were: William, born February 5, 1775; Peggy, who died aged one year; Peggy (second), born April 2, 1778, who died in August, 1833; John T., born March 14, 1779, who died in 1816; James, born May 8, 1780, who died October 15, 1871; Nancy, born October 3, 1781, who died March 1, 1858; Harriet, born September 15, 1782, who died June 30, 1836; Henry, born February 26, 1786; and Hannah, born April 7, 1787, who died August 22, 1858. William became a sea captain, and acquired a fortune. His last days were passed in retirement at the homestead in West Claremont, where he lived as a country gentleman, and died April 13, 1848.

Henry Breck, who was born in Boston, accompanied his parents to Claremont. When a young man he settled in Croydon, and there kept a store. Later he opened a branch store in Cornish, N.H. Subsequently he disposed of his business in Croydon. He continued to carry on the Cornish store until 1848. After the death of his brother William he returned to the homestead and resided there until his death, which occurred July 10, 1872. Keziah Marsh Breck, his first wife, who was a native of Croydon, died June 29, 1826. On October 4, 1827, he married for his second wife Sarah Towne. She survived him, and died June 22, 1889. His children by his first wife were: John Thomas, who lives in Lebanon, N.H.; Henry, who lives in Newton, Mass.; Robert, who died in Springfield, Mass., July 25, 1825; and William, the subject of this sketch. Those by his second union were: Sarah Ann, who married Reuben B. Ellis, and resided in Claremont; Samuel, a resident of Springfield, Mass.; Edward W., who is residing in Helena, Mont.; Charles P., who wedded Mary, daughter of Stephen Roberts, of Medford, Mass., and now owns the homestead; and Ella M. Breck.

William Breck completed his education at the Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, N.H. He went to reside in Cornish when fourteen years old, and was Assistant Postmaster there from 1844 to 1846. He had been engaged in business with his brother John in Cornish for about four years when he was obliged to withdraw on account of a severe attack of asthma. In 1852 he went to California in search of health, and during his eight years’ residence in that State he engaged in several business enterprises, which in a short time tripled his investments. In 1860 he returned home much improved in health. He retained some of his interests in California, which yielded a handsome income during the war. Though not actively engaged in business after his return to Claremont, he invested in various enterprises. For several years he was a Director of the Claremont National Bank, of Sullivan’s Savings Institution, and of the Sugar River Paper Mill Company. He was a member of the New Hampshire legislature in 1884 and 1885.

On October 7, 1868, Mr. Breck was united in marriage with Susan L. Farwell. She was born in Claremont, May 27, 1841, daughter of George N. and Sarah A. (McDonald) Farwell. George N. Farwell, one of the thirteen children of Nicholas and Susan (Corey) Farwell, was born in Claremont, February 18, 1804. At an early age he learned shoemaking, and later became the proprietor of a shoe factory, employing one hundred hands. He acquired influence in business circles; was one of the organizers of the Claremont Bank, of which he was President for some time; and he was the first Treasurer of Sullivan’s Savings Institution. December 25, 1827, was a daughter of Lewis and Rhoda (Rathbone) McDonald. She reared three children-James H., John L., and Susan L. Mr. and Mrs. Breck had one daughter, Sarah McDonald. Mr. Breck died at his home in this town, November 10, 1889.



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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