Portsmouth New Hampshire Soldier, Executive Clerk, Poet: Samuel Adams Wiggin (1832-1899)

DETAIL OF CUPOLA – South Meeting House, Meeting House Hill, facing Marcy Street, Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., NH; HABS, Library of Congress.

Samuel Adams Wiggin, son of Samuel P. & Eliza (Wendell) Wiggin was born at Portsmouth, N.H., May 27, 1832. His 4th great grandfather, Capt. Thomas Wiggin, being one of the first settlers of Dover, NH, and sometimes considered  the first “Governor” or “Deputy Governor” of the area known now as New Hampshire.

Samuel’s mother, Eliza Wendell, was reportedly related (a distant cousin) to Oliver Wendell Holmes. Samuel attended school in Portsmouth NH, and probably also attending a private school or academy. He died on 15 July 1899 at his home, Fernwood, in Washington D.C. following a fall down a flight of stairs. He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery. [see end for his obituary]

Samuel Adams Wiggin did not begin publishing his poetry until he was about thirty years old. In 1861 his poems first appeared in the “Portsmouth Journal,” at the breaking out of the Civil War.

I wouldn’t be so bold as to place him at the top of the list of “great poets,”but he certainly appears to have been a prolific writer, and one of the early New Hampshire poets (or at least one whose works were published). It is known that he enlisted in the 32nd Massachusetts Volunteers, where he served until being discharged for a disability.

In 1863 he enlisted in the Veteran Reserve Corps in Boston MA and served as clerk in the quartermaster-general’s office in Washington D.C., under Gen. M.C. Meigs. When Andrew Johnson became President of the United States (after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination), he was appointed Executive Clerk in the White House, continuing for three months under President Grant.  Grant appointed him clerk of the Treasury Department, where he served for eight years. In 1882 Samuel was appointed a clerk in the Pension Office in Washington, D.C.

Samuel himself noted that some of his poems were composed in the (so-called) “Poet’s Corner” of the White House, over the East Room, in the clerical office of the President. [Sounds to me like he was writing poetry while on the job].  Other poems were reportedly published in Washington D.C. newspapers, the Zion’s Herald of Boston, the New York Christian Advocate, and the Portsmouth Journal newspaper noted above.

His published works are now scarce (and perhaps for good reason), but a single copy (first edition) of “Sprigs of Acacia” are for sale at Carpe Libris.

I looked in her eyes, of a Bismarck tint,
That gaze on me with a Bismarck squint;
I squeeze the hand of the Bismarck brown,
And vow I’m the nobbiest cove in town.


***Genealogy of Wiggin Family***

Capt Thomas-1 Wiggin, d. ca 1667, he came in 1631 to New Hampshire, agent for the proprietors of “The Upper Plantation,” including Dover and part of Stratham and Newington and Greenland, and returned to England in 1633. A number of colonists came with him on his second visit to New Hampshire. Upon the union of Dover with Massachusetts in 1642-3 he was appointed a magistrate. He was Deputy for Dover in the General Court in 1645 and from 1650 to 1665 he was one of the Assistants to the Massachusetts Governor. In 1645 he was deputy governor of New Hampshire. He married abt 1635 to Catherine Whiting and had two sons. On 4 June 1663 Thomas Wiggin and Catherine, his wife, gave to their son, Andrew, “in consideration of his late marriage with Hannah, daughter of Simon Bradstreet, of Andover, Esquire,” a deed of “All that our land” called or known by the name of Quamscutt, being three miles square, or thereabouts.” [According to the “Annual Meeting of the Governor Thomas Dudley Family Association,” published in 1894, this piece of land “known as Quamscutt, on the easterly side of the Squamscott River,” is in the present town of Stratham NH.] Capt. Thomas Wiggin died about 1667.
Children of Capt. Thomas & Catherine (Whiting) Wiggin:
1. +Andrew-2 Wiggin, b ca 1635; m. Hannah Bradstreet
2. +Thomas-2 Wiggin, b. ca 1640; m. Sarah Barefoot

Andrew-2 Wiggin (Capt. Thomas-1) b. 26 Sep 1641 in Dover NH and d. 9 Jan 1707/1708 in Stratham, Rockingham Co NH; He m. 3 June 1659 in Andover, Essex Co MA to Hannah Bradstreet, daughter of Gov. Simon and Ann (Dudley) Bradstreet of Andover MA. She was b. Oct 1642 in Andover MA. He resided on the Swamscot patent, a tract three miles square lying mostly in what is now Stratham NH, and d. in 1710. IN 1656 he gave the town of Exeter from the south end of his patent a tract of land one mile wide. In 1657 his farm was set off to the town of Hampton NH and so remained until 1692 when it was re-annexed to Exeter NH. In 1716, with additions it was incorporated as Stratham NH.
Children of Andrew & Hannah (Bradstreet) Wiggin:
1. Thomas-3 Wiggin, b. 5 March 1662; m. Martha Denison of Ipswich NH; d. early
2. +Simon-3 Wiggin, b. 17 Apr 1664; m1) –; m2) Mrs. Catherine (Mason) Tufton, widow of Robert Tufton, and had two daughters and son, Simon-4 Wiggin who was b. 12 Aug 1701 and d. 11 Aug 1757 who had seven children.
3. Hannah-3 Wiggin, b. 1666; m. Samuel Wentworth
4. Mary-3 Wiggin, b 1668; m. Capt Jeremith Gilman, son of Moses Gilman, and had many descendants, among whom were Col. Samuel and Col. David Gilman of Tamworth NH.
5. Abigail Wiggin, b. 1670; m. William French of Stratham NH and had children.
6. +Andrew Wiggin, b. 6 Jan 1672; m1) — ; m2) Rachel (Chase) Freeze, widow of Jacob Freeze and d. Jan 1756.
7. Dorothy-3 Wiggin, m. — Gilman.
8. +Bradstreet Wiggin, b. 25 March 1675-76 in Stratham NH; m. Ann Chase and had four children of whom, (10 Chase-4, b. Oct 1699 m. Martha Weeks)
9. Sarah-3 Wiggin, m. William Moore of Stratham NH and had (1) William; (2) Mary
10. Jonathan-3 Wiggin, b. 1738; had five daughters and a son: (1) Sarah-4 m. — Hill; (2) Anna, m. J. Jewett; (3) Mary, m. — Perkins; (4) Hannah; (5) Lydia; (6) Andrew.

Bradstreet-3 Wiggin (Andrew-2, Capt. Thomas-1) b. 25 March 1675-76 in Stratham NH and d. 18 Jan 1708/1709 in Hampton NH; He m. 21 Aug 1697 in Hampton NH to Ann Chase, daughter of Joseph & Rachel (Partridge) Chase. She was b. 9 July 1677 in Hampton NH, and d. 11 Sep 1745. They had four children.
Children of Bradstreet & Ann (Chase) Wiggin:
1. +Chase-4 Wiggin, b. Oct 1699 in Hampton NH m. Martha Weeks)
2. +Thomas-4 Wiggin b 15 March 1701-1702 in Hampton NH
3. Elizabeth-4 Wiggin, b. abt 1704 in Hampton NH; she m. 1736 in Stratham NH to Benjamin Taylor.
4. Joseph-4 Wiggin, b. 30 March 1706/1707 in Hampton NH, d. 5 May 1788 in Stratham NH. He m1) 1737 in Stratham NH to Susanna Barker. She b. 25 Dec 1718 in Stratham NH. He m2) abt 1752 in Stratham NH to Patience Piper. She b. abt 1725 in Wenham, Plymouth Co MA.\

Chase-4 Wiggin, son of Bradstreet-3, Andrew-2, Capt. Thomas-1, b. Oct 1699 in Hampton NH and d. 1733; He m. 9 Jan 1722/23 in Greenland, Rockingham Co NH to Martha Weeks, daughter of Joshua & Comfort (Hubbard) Weeks. She b. abt 1704 in Greenland NH, and d. 31 March 1769 in Newmarket NH. She married 2nd, 9 Dec 1736 in Exeter, Rockingham Co NH to Col Winthrop HILTON.of Newfield in Newmarket, posthumous son of Colonel Winthrop (Hilton-3, Edward-2, Edward-1). His father, while at work upon timber in Epping was killed by the Indians in 1710 (see Appendix, Hilton Family). Col. Winthrop was b. 21 Dec 1710 and lived on the paternal farm, was a colonel in the militia and d. 26 Dec 1781. She d. May 31, 1769. They had ch, Winthrop, Ichabod and Ann.
Children of Chase & Martha (Weeks) Wiggin:
1. Bradstreet-4 Wiggin, b. 25 Nov 1724 in Greenland, Rockingham Co NH; m. Mary Coker and d. Oct 1757; had six children
2. Comfort Wiggin, b. 5 Dec 1727 in Greenland NH; m. B. Gilman of Epping; had five children
3. +Chase Wiggin, b. 12 July 1730 Greenland NH; m. Mary “Molly” Perkins and had five children
4. Joshua Wiggin, b. 13 July 1733 in Greenland NH; m. Eliz. Lyford of Epping; had seven children. His son, Winthrop Higgin, b. 19 Apr 1781 in Stratham NH and d. Meredith NH 24 Oct 1859, and m. Hannah Cate, dau of Simeon & Anna (Smith) Cate.

Chase-5 Wiggin, (Chase-4, Bradstreet-3, Andrew-2, Capt Thomas-1) b. 12 July 1730 Greenland NH; He m. 19 May 1757 to Mary “Molly” Perkins, a granddaughter of Jonathan Wiggin.
Children of Chase & Mary (Perkins) Wiggin:
Children of Chase & Mary (Perkins) Wiggin:
1. Bradstreet Wiggin, b. 24 July 1762; lived in Bradford VT
2. +Chase Wiggin, b. 19 Dec 1764
3. Mary Wiggin, m1) Gilman Gale of Kingston NH; m2) George Halliburton of Exeter NH. Her ch by 1st husband [GALE] were (1) John, surgeon in US Army, (2) Enoch of Albany NH, (3) Amos, (4) Charles C.P. of Yale College, 1826
4. Martha Wiggin, m. Samuel Calef
5. Nancy Wiggin, m. Rev. John Prentice of Northwood NH. Their children were Matilda (who m. Samuel B. Buzzell), Mary Ann (who m. Abraham Perkins of Durham), Martha H. (who m. Dudley F. Tucker of Deerfield), Hannah (who m. Rev. Samuel Merrill) and Tryphene C. (who m. Greenvile Remick).

Chase-6 Wiggin (Chase-5, Chase-4, Bradstreet-3, Andrew-2, Capt. Thomas1) b. 19 Dec 1764 Newmarket NH, d. 1842 Portsmouth NH;  He married 1st, Sarah Pottle. She b. in Stratham NH. He married 2nd ) Mary March.
Children of Chase & Sarah (Pottle) Wiggin:
1. Mary Jane Wiggin, b. abt 1793, d. 10 Aug 1873; m. Alexander Salter Lear. He b. ab5 1793 in Rye NH, son of Samuel & Sally (Salter) Lear. Had issue.
2. Martha Wiggin, b. abt 1796, d. 1883; m. Stephen Nichols
3. +Samuel P. Wiggin, b. abt 1797, d. 1863; resided in Portsmouth NH
Children of Chase & Mary (March) Wiggin:
4. Ann/Nancy Wiggin, d. 1868; she m1) Jonathan Hobbs; m2) Daniel Bailey
5. Sarah Wiggin
6. Charlotte Wiggin, b. abt 1802; m. Andrew Wiggin

Samuel P.-7 Wiggin, (Chase-6, Chase-5, Chase-4, Bradstreet-3, Andrew-2, Capt Thomas-1) was b. 1797 and d. 1863. He married Eliza Wendell.  He was a local preacher for nearly forty years of the M.E. Church in Portsmouth NH and one of the original founders of that church. He was overseer of the poor, selectman, and served several terms as a representative in the NH legislature.
U.S. Census > 1850 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Portsmouth
Samuel P. Wiggin 52 M Butcher  1400 NH [b abt 1798]
Elisa Wiggin 50 F NH  [b abt 1800
Elisa J. Wiggin 27 F NH
Weymouth Murphy 32 M Dyer Maine
Sarah D. Wiggin 22 F NH
Samuel A. Wiggin 18 M Clerk NH [b 1832]
John H. Wiggin 15 M NH
Leonard G. Wiggin 11 M NH
Adalaid M. Wiggin 8 F NH
Charles D. Murphy 4 M NH
Levi W. Murphy 4 M NH
Children of Samuel P. & Eliza (Wendell) Wiggin:
1. Elisa/Eliza J. Wiggin, b. abt 1828 NH
2. Sarah D. Wiggin, b. abt 1828 NH
3. +Samuel Adams Wiggin, b. May 27, 1832 Portsmouth NH
4. John H. Wiggin, b. abt 1835 NH
5. Leonard G. Wiggin b. abt 1838 NH
6. Adalaide M. Wiggin, b. abt 1842 NH

Samuel Adams-8 Wiggin, (Samuel P.-7, Chase-6, Chase-5, Chase-4, Bradstreet-3, Andrew-2, Capt. Thomas-1), was born May 27, 1832 in Portsmouth NH and died 15 July 1899 at Ferwood, in Washington, D.C. He served in the army during the Civil War Co. G 32nd Mass Infantry, and received a pension [see extensive bio above]. He married 18 Oct 1863 at the Congregational Church in Wenham MA to Annie Robinson, daughter of George & Isabella Robinson. She b. Oct 1835 in Newscastle, England (she immigrated in 1846 according to the census). Samuel A. Wiggins pension papers confirm her name is Annie R. In 1900 she is found living in Washington D.C., a widow. The 1890 directory of Washington DC shows a Samuel A. Wiggin clerk and Samuel H. Wiggin[son] clerk both living at 1320 35th Street northwest. Mrs. Annie R. Wiggin died 9 May 1913 “beloved mother of Samuel H. and Aloysius R. Wiggin, aged seventy-eight years. Interment at Glenwood Cemetery on Saturday, May 10.”
1900 United States Federal Census > District of Columbia > Washington > Washington > District 2
Wiggin, Annie R., Head W F Oct 1835 64 Widow 8 children 2 living England England England; immigrated 1846
Wiggin, Samuel H. [?Albert L.] son W M June 1867 32 single DC NH England Municipal Clerk
WIggin, Aloysius R. son W M Oct 1878 21 single Mass NH England School Teacher
Portsmouth Herald Wednesday, July 19, 1899, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States Of America [Died July 15, 1899] Obituary: Samuel Adams Wiggin
Samuel Adams Wiggin, a native of Portsmouth, died at the Georgetown University hospital, District of Columbia on Saturday last, aged sixty-seven years. Death was due to a fracture of the skull received in falling down a flight of stairs at “Fernwood,” his home in the suburbs of Washington last week. The unfortunate man did not recover consciousness after his injury. Mr. Wiggin was for many years a clerk in the department at Washington and last served as a clerk in the pension office. During the time Andrew Johnson occupied the White house, Mr. Wiggin was his private secretary. He had considerable literary talent, contributed articles for various magazines and newspapers, and was the author of a number of poems, some of which may be found in “The Poets of Portsmouth,” and in the files of the Chronicle, for which paper he was a frequent contributor in the sixties. The funeral took place on Tuesday from his late residence, and interment was in Glenwood cemetery, Washington.
Children of Samuel A. & Annie (Robinson) Wiggin: [apparently 8 born 2 survived to adulthood]
1. Samuel Hooper Wiggin, b. June 1867 in District of Columbia. In 1917 working for Bureau of Immigration as a clerk. He died 21 Oct 1938 at Providence Hospital. Had been residing 619 East Capitol Street, Washington D.C. Services at the S.H. Hines funeral home, with interment at Glenwood Cemetery.
2. Aloysius Roscoe Wiggin, b. 29 Oct 1878 Boston, MA; On June 28, 1914 the Washington Post reported that he was appointed, on probation, as inspector at Port Huron, Michigan. In 1918 he filled out his WWI Draft registration in Washington D.C., at that time being a government clerk in the Dept of Labor. His next of kin at that time was brother Samuel H. later. In 1921 he was a ship (Adriatic) passenger, listing himself as widowed. In 1930 living in Lakewood, Cuyahoga Co Ohio with wife Grace (b PA) and son Albert A. (b abt 1917 in Michigan). At his brother’s death he resided in Miami FL (1938). In 1942 he and wife Grace as shown living at 114 Overland Ave in Bridgeport CT.

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4 Responses to Portsmouth New Hampshire Soldier, Executive Clerk, Poet: Samuel Adams Wiggin (1832-1899)

  1. Joy Wiggin-Robbins says:

    It bothers me that such blatent mistakes are printed about Capt. Wiggin, my 9th great-grandfather just to make a story fit. Why do you have to cut off your toes to make the shoe fit? Capt. Wiggin had THREE children; Andrew b. 1635; Mary b. 1637 and Thomas Jr., b. 1640 and all three were baptised in 1641. Wiggin and Catherine Whiting (his second wife) were married in 1633, London….not 1635. Also, The Captain died 1666, same year as the great London fire.

  2. David Pratt says:

    Gov. Thomas Wiggin is my 8th Great Grandfather, and honestly I believe he would be proud that people are still writing about him today. There are many discrepancies with the Wiggin genealogy from maiden name variations to exact dates of births, marriages, and deaths.

  3. Alex says:

    I am a Wiggin from NH as well, unsure about direct relation to Capt. Gov. Thomas Wiggin though.

  4. Kera L Ireland says:

    I am the 12th great grand daughter of Capt Wiggin. My cousin and I are currently researching our family tree. Any information one may have would be great. My email is ireland_kera@yahoo.com

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