Daniel Wentworth and Nancy Emery Wentworth Biography

My paternal great grandparents, Daniel Wentworth and Nancy Emery, lived their entire lives within a small area in Carroll County, New Hampshire. Daniel was born in Jackson on March 13, 1857 to Levi Wentworth and Adaline Perkins Wentworth. Nine miles northeast of Jackson in the small town of Bartlett, Nancy Emery was born on April 9, 1866 to Stephen Emery and Margaret Dana. This is a rural area within the White Mountains in the northern third of the state close to the Maine border. Members of both families crossed back and forth over the border so we find the extended families spreading out across the northeast. Daniel and Nancy, however, did not stray far from their hometowns.

Daniel and Nancy married in Jackson on February 1, 1885.  Between 1886 and 1901, ten children were born, four of them died in childhood. My grandfather, Arthur Elbridge was their second born child and first born son. He was named after his mother's Emery ancestors.

Their children were Alice M. (1886-1934), Arthur Elbridge (1888-1976), Eugene E. (1891-1905, age 14 years), Shirley Aldo (male) (1892-1975), Mary E. (1893-1975), Lillian Georgiana (1895-1937), Hollis S. (1897-1897, age 25 days, cause: pneumonia), Rosie I. (1899-1899, age 5 months 27 days, unknown cause), Ellen F. (1900-1904, age 4 years 5 months and 13 days, cause: pneumonia ), and William H. (1901-1958). What heartache to lose four children as infants and young children.

Eugene's story is unexpected as he died while an inmate at the State Reform School. There is little personal documentation but there is general information about the justice system and social issues at the time as well as about the school. The State Reform School (renamed the State Industrial School and now know as the Youth Development Center) opened in 1857 and is located in Manchester, 111 miles south of Jackson.  Manchester was already a large city in early 1900's. Eugene was 14 years old when he arrived at the SRS. He had been arrested, charged with a lawfully punishable offense, had a trial before a judge, been found guilty, and sentenced to be held as an inmate until age 21. With good conduct and other assessment, he would have been initially considered for parole at age 16. The top reasons for a boy or girl being an inmate were 1) larceny, 2) stubbornness (uncontrollable),  3) breaking entering, with larceny, and 4) breaking and entering. While some children, especially from the larger cities, were homeless vagrants, most inmates had families. Many children were runaways and it is possible Eugene was a runaway. My grandfather admitted to not getting along with his father , described Daniel as mean spirited, and rarely spoke of his childhood.

Eugene had been at the Reform School only three weeks when he suffered sunstroke and died three days later on July 12, 1905. The inmates had some class time but they also labored. The boys worked the large farm operation and the hosiery mill. The girls were taught to sew and other domestic skills. Conditions would have been very hot in July. Coming from a farming community, Eugene likely was a field laborer. His body was returned to Carroll County and he was buried in the Jackson Village Cemetery.

Daniel worked as a farmer and later as a caretaker or gardener. He seemed to make enough to get by and by 1910, he and Nancy owned their house.

Nancy died on September 9, 1911 due to uterine cancer. She left four children, ages 8 to 17, in the home.  After Nancy's death, the family slowly fell apart and the older kids seemed to be on their own. The two youngest daughters left Jackson and found employment in Concord as a housekeeper for a wealthy family (Mary) and as a cook for a hospital serving women and children (Lillian). Both were live-in situations. Shirley (the oldest at home) married and lived in Hillsborough, NH. The youngest, William, had a difficult time and apparently he go into trouble. My grandparents who were homesteading in Montana were asked to take him and straighten him out but they were newly married and felt he would be better off with other relatives. William was about eight years old when my grandfather left New Hampshire, so at 16 or 17 years of, his oldest brother would have been a stranger. William ended up in Boston, married a Catholic girl, and worked as a chauffeur.

Daniel is missing from the 1920 Federal Census although he appears to be in Jackson. He make three curious voyages to Hamilton, Bermuda in 1914 and 1915 with his brother, George and a solo trip in 1922. These were party cruises on smaller luxury steamships. They were designed to entertain the wealthy socialites along the east coast (including Canada). Drinking was allowed off shore during Prohibition and there was ample alcohol, food, gambling, and entertainment aboard the ships. Hamilton was well known as a party destination. Curious items are 1) how did George and Daniel afford the passage, they were listed as passengers not crew, 2)  how long did they stay in Bermuda and where, and 3) was there a purpose other than self entertainment? Another interesting observation is that while other passengers gave full residence details, Daniel listed his address as Jackson, NH.

Daniel passed on May 13, 1933 in Bartlett, Carroll County, New Hampshire.  Although two of his children and a large extended family lived in either Jackson or Bartlett, he resided with William and Jennie Pittman, former neighbors of Daniel and Nancy.   He was listed as their laborer. He is buried in the Jackson Village Cemetery next to Nancy.




Daniel Wentworth and his dog

Daniel Wentworth senior years

Nancy Emery Wentworth

Posted in Emery, Paternal line, Wentworth.

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