Biography of Wyman Henry Merritt

MERRITT, WYMAN HENRY. – The surname Merritt is derived from the ancient Saxon manor and parish of Meriet, in Somersetshire, England. The family trace their pedigree in direct line back to Eadnoth the Statter, a high officer under Kings Edward, Harold, and William the Conqueror. The line, as taken from a carefully prepared genealogical record, is as follows: 1. Eadnoth the Statter; 2. Harding Fitz Eadnoth; 3. Nicholas Fitz Harding; 4. Henry Fitz Nicholas; 5. Nicholas De Meriet; 6. Hugh De Meriet; 7. Nicholas De Meriet; 8. John De Meriet; 9. Sir John De Meriet; 10. William De Meriet; 11. Simon De Meriet; 12. Sir John Meriet; 13. John Meriet. From the latter, through several generations, embracing a period of 230 years, descended Henry Merritt, born in County of Kent, England, about 1590, the first ancestor of the family who came to this country. He came before 1628, and with others, called ” men of Kent”, founded the town of Scituate, Plymouth county, Mass., where he became a large landed proprietor, and died November, 1652. His descendants in direct line were as follows: 2. John Merritt, born about 1625, died in Scituate after the year 1670; 3. John Merritt, born in 1660, died June 4, 1740; 4. Jonathan Merritt, born in 1792 and died in Hebron, Conn., October 21, 1758 ; 5. Noah Merritt., born in Scituate in 1730 and died March 24, 1814, in Templeton, Worcester county, Mass. He had thirteen children, of whom (6.) Noah Merritt was the eldest; born October, 1758, and died August 21, 1843, in Sudbury, Rutland county, Vt. He served six years in the Revolutionary War, and was personally acquainted with Washington. He was a man of high character and great intellectual and physical force. He married Eunice Metcalf and moved to Brandon, Vt., about 1785. Of his seven children (7.) Noadiah Merritt was the eldest child; born in Templeton, December 23, 1782, and died in Pierpont, N. Y., January 1, 1854; married, first, Uranie Goodrich November 26, 1807; children, Polly, Lucy M., Esther A., Henry H., Nabby, Roxie and Achsah B. He married, second, Relief Parker November 25, 1821. Children, Noadiah Parker, Emily Uranie, Julia Ellen, Darwin Hamilton, Edwin Atkins, Julius Fernando, William Wallace, Marshall Josephus and John Harvey. Of the children by the last marriage General Edwin A. Merritt was quartermaster general under Governor Reuben E. Fenton; was collector of the port of New York under President Hayes; naval officer of the port of New York under President Grant; also surveyor of the port, and was appointed by President Garfield consul-general to Great Britain. Is now living in Potsdam, N. Y. William W. Merritt is a Universalist minister, living in Red Oak, Ia. John Merritt is presiding elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Colorado, and Darwin Merritt is a farmer, living in Pierpont, St. Lawrence county, N. Y. Henry Harrison Merritt, the only son of Noadiah and Uranie (Goodrich) Merritt, the eighth generation removed from Henry Merritt above named, was born in Sudbury, Vt., October 26, 1812. He was educated in the district school of his native town, in the West Rutland Academy and Brandon Seminary; was a teacher in the towns of Brandon, Sudbury and Orwell about ten years. Married, on March 5, 1843, Melissa D. Wheeler, who was born in Sudbury December, 29, 1813, daughter of Henry T. and Catharine (Russell) Wheeler. Mr. Merritt lived in Sudbury until April, 1862, when he removed to Brandon, where for eight years he carried on a farm for N. T. Sprague, his principal business being the raising of Spanish Merino sheep. In 1879 he quit farming and moved to the village of Brandon, where he has since resided. Before commencing his occupation as a farmer he was for ten years engaged in selling patent medicines in Canada and the States, and from 1851 to 1854 was superintendent of the North River Mining and QuarryingCompany. Before the war Mr. Merritt represented his town of Sudbury in the years 1848,1849 and 1853, as a Democrat. He filled also many of the town offices. He was successively captain, major and lieutenant-colonel of State militia. The children of Henry H. and Melissa D. Merritt were Wyman Henry, subject of this sketch, Kate Bell, born February 21, 1850, wife of Dr. J. C. Walton, of Fall River, Mass.; Charles H., born September 23, 1848, died January 23, 1848; Clifton A. E., born August 10, 1854, cashier in the Metropolitan Hotel, New York city.

Wyman Henry Merritt was born in the town of Sudbury, Rutland county, Vt., December 11, 1843. He received his education in the district school of his native town, two years in a private school taught by Frank Bingham in West Rutland, and two years’ attendance at the Troy Conference Academy. In 1862 he volunteered as a private in the Twelfth Regiment Vermont Volunteers, Asa P. Blunt, colonel, and served one year, being mustered out at the end of his term of enlistment. While in the service he contracted sciatic rheumatism. In 1865 he became clerk in the Brandon House for two years, afterwards at the American, at Burlington,at the Weldon, at St. Albans, then at the Memphremagog, at Newport, Vt. In the spring of 1869 he became the manager of the Lake Dunmore House, at Lake Dunmore, Salisbury, Vt., for J. W. Dyer & Co., until 1872. The next season he was steward for Foster E. Swift, in the Wilson House, North Adams, Mass., and the Greylock Hall, Williamstown, Mass. In the fall of 1873 became the manager at the Stevens House, Vergennes, Vt. In the spring of 1874 became the proprietor of the Unitoga Springs House, Newport, N. H. In the year following was proprietor of the Brandon House, and the next year of the Nonquitt House, at Nonquitt Beach, near New Bedford, Mass.

On the 30th of October, 1876, upon his return from a visit to the Centennial, to Brandon, he received a severe stroke of paralysis, whereby he was deprived of all use of limbs and speech, and all memory was gone. He was obliged to re-learn even the alphabet. He was confined to the bed for about a year, his recovery being very slow, and, indeed, has never recovered the use of his right arm or full use of his right leg. The rheumatism contracted in the army followed him, at intervals, up to the time of receiving the paralytic stroke, but has not troubled him since. Two weeks after the stroke typhoid fever set in and for weeks his life was despaired of. At the end of two years he was able to go to New York city for treatment, under the care of the celebrated Dr. Lewis A. Sayre. He became so far recovered that he was able to take an appointment in the naval office under Colonel Alvin Burt, but was soon transferred to the custom house as clerk in the eighth division, and placed in charge of the sugar sample department, which position he occupied until June, 1885. This position was secured for him by his uncle, General E. H. Merritt, then collector of the port. Upon his return to Vermont he became proprietor of the Lake Dunmore house, which position he now holds.

Mr. Merritt married, June 5, 1886, Mrs. Florence Steele. Mrs. Merritt has a daughter by a former marriage-Teney Steels.



Addison County VT,

Smith, H. P. History of Addison County Vermont: With Illustrations And Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers. Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & co., 1886.

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