Edna Dean Proctor was born in Henniker NH in 1827, on Proctor’s Hill overlooking the Contoocook River.
She was educated in early years at home by her mother, later at Mt. Holyoke Seminary and at Concord NH. Her life’s professions included a teacher in Woodstock CT, a governess in Brooklyn NY, a poet, and a teacher in Framingham MA. Beginning in the 1850s she contributed frequent articles and poems to various national papers and periodicals.
In 1858 she published a volume entitled, “Life Thoughts,” containing excerpts from the sermons of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, which was widely circulated in the United States and England. Inspired by events leading up to the Civil War, she became well known for her patriotic poetry supporting the Union cause. The first volume of her collected poems was published in 1866.
In 1867 she published a volume of “Poems, National and Miscellaneous.” Shortly afterward she accompanied a party of friends on an extensive foreign tour, visiting Egypt and the Holy Land, traversing every country in Europe except Portugal. In Russia she traveled by routes not usually taken, by tourists; of this portion of her tour she gave a poetical account in her “Russian Journey” (1873). In 1888 she compiled “A Genealogy of the Storrs Family.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow showed his appreciation of her poetry by including many of her productions in his “Poems of Places.” She was friends with John Greenleaf Whittier, and told him, “I have always been impressed by the mingled volcano and iceberg of your character.”
In 1893 she wrote the poem, “Columbia’s Banner,” which was the official program of Columbus Day programs throughout the United States. In 1899 Old Home Week was first observed in New Hampshire and she penned the official poem for the event. She wrote countless poems, including several about New Hampshire locations that will be posted in future blog articles. A sampling of some of her poetry can be found at the links below.
Edna never married. She died in December 1922/23 at the age of 95. While living in S. Framingham she had belonged to the Boston Authors’ Club and was considered a part of literary Boston. She was described as “a charming woman of great beauty and a winning friendliness of manner.”
In her will she established the John Proctor and Family Trust Fund which in addition to funding the construction of a fountain in Proctor Square in Henniker NH, provided for the repair or replacement of the stone arch bridge that cross the Contoocook River. When this bridge was destroyed by a hurricane in 1938, this fund provided for its being rebuilt. The township residents decided then to rename the bridge after Edna.
Note: Edna Dean Proctor’s photograph is from “One Thousand New Hampshire Notables,”by Frances Matilda Abbott, published in 1917
-The Mountain Maid and other Poems of NH, by Edna Dean Proctor; 1900- Internet Archive
*FAMILY TREE OF EDNA DEAN PROCTOR*
John Proctor, b. abt 1595 in Groton, Suffolk Co England and d. bef 11 Oct 1672 in Ipswich, Essex Co MA. He married 1 June 1630 in Groton, Suffolk Co England to Martha Harper. She b. abt 1607 in Groton England and d. aft 1672 in Salem, Essex Co MA. He came in 1635 from London in the ship “Susan and Anne,” at the age of forty, with his wife Martha, aged 28, and two children–John aged three years and Mary aged one year. He settled in Ipswich and later removed to Salem MA. He died, probably in 1672, as his will was proved November of that year. He left seven children.
Children of John & Martha (Harper) Proctor:
1. John Proctor Jr., b. bef 9 Oct 1631 in Assington, Suffolk Co England; m. 1662 to widow Elizabeth (Thorndike) Bassett. They had nine children. He d. 19 Aug 1692 in Salem, Essex Co MA. He was executed for witchcraft (wizardry) by hanging. (his wife had previously been accused, tried and condemned, but was reprieved on account of her pregnancy, and was never executed).
2. Martha Proctor, b. bef 17 Oct 1633 in Assington England
3. Mary Proctor, b. abt 1634
4. Sarah Proctor, b. bet 1636-1640
5. Abigail Proctor, b. bet 1639-1640
6. Hannah Proctor, of Salem MA
7. +Joseph Proctor, b. Ipswich MA
8. Benjamin Proctor, b. abt 1651 Ipswich MA
Joseph Proctor, son of John & Martha (Harper) Proctor, b. Ipswich, Essex Co MA; m. Martha Wainwright, dau of Francis & Phillipa (Sewall) Wainwright. She b. 24 Jan 1659 in Ipswich MA.
Child of Joseph & Martha (Wainwright) Proctor:
1. +Jacob Proctor, born 25 Jan 1680 in Ipswich MA [per Ipswich recs]
2. Abigail Proctor, born 13 Apr 1685 in Ipswich MA
3. Frances Proctor, b. 8 Jan 1686
Jacob Proctor, son of Joseph & Martha (Wainwright) Proctor, b. 25 Jan 1680 in Ipswich, Essex Co MA. m. abt Nov 1709 (intention 29 Oct 1709 in Ipswich MA) to Mary Perkins, dau of Isaac & Hannah (Knight) Perkins. She b. 1684 in Ipswich MA.
Children of Jacob & Mary (Perkins) Proctor:
1. +Isaac Proctor, baptized 23 Jan 1725/26 in Ipswich MA
2. Mary Proctor, baptized Aug 1829 in Ipswich MA
Isaac Proctor, son of Jacob & Mary (Perkins) Proctor/Procter, b. abt Jan 1725/26 in Ipswich MA, baptized 23 Jan 1725/26 (Chebacco parish) Ipswich MA. He died in Manchester MA 29 May 1799 at the age of seventy-three. He married 8 Jan 1746-1748 in Ispwich MA to Lucy Goodhue, dau of John & Anna (Cogswell) Goodhue.
Children of Isaac & Lucy (Goodhue) Proctor:
1. Jonathan Proctor, b. 1747 Ipswich MA, bapt 26 March 1749 Ipswich MA
2. Isaac Proctor, b. 1750, bapt 7 Jan 1749/50 Ipswich MA
3. +John Proctor, b. 1757, baptized 14 Aug 1757 Ipswich MA recs
4. Francis Proctor, b. 1759, bapt. 4 March 1759 Ipswich MA
5. Lucy Proctor, b. 1764
6. Mary Proctor, b. 1767
7. Nathaniel Proctor, b. 1770
8. (dau) Proctor, b. abt May 1753 Ipswich MA
Lieut. John Proctor, son of Isaac & Lucy (Goodhue) Proctor, b. 1757 in Manchester MA and d. 3 Feb 1821 in Henniker NH. He was baptized 14 Aug 1757 in Ipswich, Essex Co MA. He served as a lieutenant during the American Revolution. He married 3 May 1783 to Hannah Cogswell. She b. 12 Aug 1762 and d. 3 Feb 1796. He m2nd) 18 Feb 1792 to Sally Gardner of Gloucester. He married 3rd) 19 Jan 1797 to Mrs. Ednah Dane, at Hamilton [recorded Ipswich MA]. He is buried in Center Cemetery, in Henniker NH.
Children of John & Hannah (Cogswell) Proctor:
1. Hannah Proctor, b 5 March 1784; m. — Fink [or Pitman]
2. +Capt. John Proctor, b. 7 July 1788
3. Mary Proctor, b. 30 March 1791; d. 24 Oct 1793
4. David Choate Proctor, b. 28 Sep 1794; d. 1864; m. 1828 to ?
Children of John & Ednah (Dane) Proctor:
5. Israel Proctor, b. Dec 1797; d. 2 Nov 1798
6. Mary Proctor, b. Aug 1798; d. 19 July 1876; m. 9 Feb 1818 to Enoch Darling
Capt John Proctor, Son of Lieut. John & Hannah (Cogswell) Proctor was born 7 July 1788 in Manchester MA, and died 8 Dec 1836 in Henniker NH; he married 1st) 20 Jan 1803 in Londonderry NH to Lucy ?Proctor who d. 21 Sep 1825; he m2nd) 1826 to Mary Crocker of Derry/Londonderry NH, she d. 15 Apr 1827. He m3rd) 31 Dec 1827 in Henniker NH to Lucinda Gould, dau of Elias & Sally (Hilton) Gould of Henniker. She b. 15 Dec 1802 and d. 15 Nov 1878 in South Framingham MA. She married 2d) Joseph Calef Thompson of Andover NH, son of Benjamin & Miriam (Brown) Thompson. He b. 21 Dec 1794 in Andover NH and d. 12 March 1861 in Andover NH. He had married 1st) 1821 Mary Eastman of Henniker who d. 1841.
1850 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Merrimack > Andover
Joseph Thompson, 55 M Farmer NH
Lucinda Thompson 48 F NH
Mary Thompson 16 F NH
John Thompson 5 M NH
1860 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Merrimack > Andover
Joseph C. Thompson 65 M Farmer 4000/100 NH
Lucinda G. Thompson 57 F NH [Mrs. Lucinda (Gould) Proctor]
John P. Thompson 14 M NH
Lucinda G. Proctor 26 F Music Teacher
Children of John & Lucy (?Proctor) Proctor:
1. Isaac D. Proctor, b. 26 July 1812; a physician who d. in Mississippi in 1842
2. Hannah Proctor, b. 30 June 1814, d. 17 Apr 1837
3. Israel F. Proctor, b. 5 Oct 1819 NH ; m. Sorilla –; resided Peoria IL; children Henry F. (b 1843 IL) and Ednah D. (b 1851 IL).
4. Ezekiel A. Proctor, b. 5 Oct 1819, resided Peoria IL
5. John C. Proctor, b. 11 Oct 1822; resided Peoria IL
Child of John & Mary (Crocker) Proctor:
6. Edna Dean Proctor, b. 15 Apr 1827, d. 15 Apr 1827
Children of John & Lucinda (Gould) Proctor:
7. +Edna Dean Proctor (2nd), b. 1 Sep 1829 in Henniker NH
8. Mary C. Proctor, b. 1831, d. 3 March 1838
9. David Choate Proctor, b. 1833; d. 17 Dec 1880; m. Sarah “Sally Storrs,” of Brooklyn NY, daughter of Charles Storrs; had children Charles S. & Judith.
4. Lucinda G. Proctor, b. 9 June 1834 in Henniker NH; m. Charles W. Coolidge and resided in Framingham MA; in 1860 living with her mother and step father in Andover NH
Edna Dean Proctor, daughter of John and Lucinda (Gould) Proctor, was born 18 September 1829 in Henniker NH, on Proctor Hill overlooking the Contoocook River. She was educated in early years at home by her mother, later at Mt. Holyoke Seminary and at Concord NH. [see biography above] In 1866 she was living in Brooklyn, New York. In 1905 she was a teacher in Somerville MA at the Benj. G. Brown school, while boarding in Boston MA. She died in December 1923 in Framingham MA [one source says 1922].