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

Ora Norcutt Wentworth and Arthur Wentworth

Arthur Elbridge Wentworth Biography

Arthur Elbridge Wentworth, my paternal grandfather, was born on September 25, 1888 in Jackson, Carroll County, New Hampshire. His parents were Daniel Wentworth and Nancy Emery. He was the second of ten children: Alice (1886-1934), Arthur ((1888-1976), Eugene (1891-1905), Shirley Aldo (male)(1892-1965), Mary (1893-1975), Lillian (1895-1937), Hollis (1897-1897), Rosie (1899-1899), Ellen (1900-1904), and William (1901-1958).

Grandpa was a farmer as were his father, Daniel, and his grandfather, Levi.  The Bartlett/Jackson area is in the White Mountains. Many family dairy farms and small towns were in the lush valleys. Family members lived close by and most of Arthur's immediate family members  never left the general area. He was the exception to the normal path chosen.

He left New Hampshire when he was a young adult because work opportunities were limited. He and a friend rode the trains (hobo style) to Montana. See my post 'Homesteading in Montana' for more about that adventure. In the 1910 census, he was farming in Stanford, Fergus County, Montana.

He married my grandmother, Ora Norcutt, on November 8, 1916 in Lewistown, Fergus, Montana. Three of their children were born in Montana: Melvin Arthur (1917-1985), Glennis Addie (1919-2002), and Deloris Eleanor (1921-2016). My father, Ronald, was born on the way from Montana to the West Coast in Princeton, Idaho (1923-2007). Thelma Lavell (1924-1977) and Velma Loretta (1926) were born in Elma, Grays Harbor County, Washington.

Upon arriving in Grays Harbor County, the family farmed on rented property on Russell Rd in the Chehalis River valley. They moved to a nearby farm on South Bank Road which per the U.S. Census; they rented in 1930 and had purchased by 1940. The dairy farm would remain in the family until the early 1970's. Their children attended grade school at the Fords Prairie school which was about a mile from the farm. The younger children rode on a horse, usually slightly lame, and the older children walked alongside. They all attended high school in Oakville, Washington.

My father, Ronald, returned to the farm after serving four years in the Army and driving a passenger bus for a while. Dad and Grandpa farmed together until 1972.  Grandpa especially loved taking care of the calves and being on a tractor, working the soil, and harvesting the grass crops. When I was quite young, probably in the mid-1960's, he had a massive heart attack. He was told to go home, take it easy, and absolutely no more farming. Grandpa rejected the doctor's advice and he was back feeding calves, driving his tractor, and farming in no time. He retired from dairy farming in 1972.

My family lived on a farm one-half mile from the dairy farm. When my grandparents' farm was sold, a house was built for them on a parcel of land across the road from our farm. They would live in the "little house" for the rest of their lives. After retirement, they remained active members in the Sharon and Pomona Granges, grew a large vegetable garden, and raised chickens.

One of my fondest memories is Grandpa sitting in the kitchen of the old farmhouse as close to the wood stove as possible without his chair . It would be so hot on that side of the large country-style kitchen that I could barely breathe. Grandma would be across the room with the window open year round. During the colder months, it was freezing cold on her half of the room. They were happy as can be. Usually Grandma was cooking or baking and the kitchen smelled good.  I always felt happy and safe in their kitchen.

Another memory is being in the backseat of their 1958 brown and cream Chevrolet sedan with my brother, Art. Grandpa would drive part of the way between the two farms with his hands in the air.  We were amazed that he could drive the car with no hands on the steering wheel. We begged him to drive with no hands all the time. He delighted in accommodating our back seat pleas! Grandpa got into big trouble with Grandma when she found out what was going on. To our great disappointment, Grandpa drove the car like everyone else, both hands on the wheel, from then on. I believe he was as disappointed as we were.

On May 30, 1976, he had a fatal heart attack. Just a couple days prior, most of the family had seen him at my wedding. It was a blessing that so many were able to be with him that day. He worked hard all of his life, took care of his family, and was vibrant and healthy to the end of his life.

The farm on South Bank Rd, Oakville, Grays Harbor County, Washington

Arthur E. Wentworth, kitchen in old farm house

Arthur Wentworth and farm truck, So. Bank Rd. farm