Orford New Hampshire Poet, Musician, and Teacher: Fannie H. (Runnells) Poole (1863-1940)

Fanny H. Runnels Poole

Fanny H. Runnels Poole

Fanny Huntington “Fannie” Runnells was born in Orford, New Hampshire in 1863, the daughter of a minister-historian, and died in 1940.  Her parents supported her education, and she attended the Tilton (NH) Seminary from 1880-1882.  She showed a musical talent, and she studied classical piano in Boston, followed by teaching music in New York, Frankfort KY and Parkesburg (PA) Classical Institute between 1883 to 1890.

In 1891 she married Allan Paul Poole, the nephew of the English historical painter, Paul Poole, R.A. She became a book reviewer for the Home Journal (later the Town and Country) between 1894 to 1898. She was a poet, writing several about locations in New Hampshire that were dear to her. She was the author of books of verse and music.  Perhaps her most noted is “A Bank of Violets” published in 1895.

Although most of my readers probably did not know Fannie’s name prior to this article, her verse had a wide and highly intelligent readership.  At the publication of “A Bank of Violets,” she “received appreciative letters form several of the literati, among them Pierre Loti, I. Zangwill, and John Gilmer Speed, who is a grandnephew of John Keats–one of her favorite poets.

After her marriage Fannie resided in several places, including Boston, Massachusetts and Westchester New York.  Their summers were spent in Newport NH near her father’s home, She had four children born between 1891 and 1898.

Fannie was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, being descended from two patriotic lines–Huntington and Runnells.  It turns out that Fannie is also my 4th cousin, 4x removed.

— by Fanny Runnells Poole, from “The White Hills in Poetry,” page 172
We know not which is fairer, the repose
  Of verdured islands, or the tremulous foam
  That guards them, as the ancients cradled Rome–
Cherished in splendor. To the heights gleam those
Majestic sentinels that silence knows
  And the proud heavens;–Chocorua’s lofty home,
  Ossipee, Whiteface, Belknap’s double dome,
Lone Washington and Lafayette, where glows
  A grandeur that exceedeth mortal ken.
Lake of the hills, thou art the link to bind
Yon mountains and our souls! They beating breast,
Less equable, endears the humble mind;
For had ye, Hills, no human bonds confest,
  Ye were the shrine of gods and not of men!

The White Hills in Poetry, An Anthology
A Bank of Violets, verse, by Fanny H. Runnells Poole, 1895
Mugen, A Book of Verse, by Fanny H. Runnells Poole, 1897

[Editor’s note, November 2104: A lovely woman named Becky Jamison, who I met through the genealogical community, sent me a copy of Fanny’s book, “A Bank of Violets.”  Inside were two photographs, now including in this blog, along with her signature.  Read Becky’s original story here.


1. NEHGS Online Database, Births, Marriages, Deaths
2. Ancestry.com censuses
3. DAR LINEAGE BOOK. Vol 56, page 45, 1921
4. New Hampshire women:A collection of portraits and biographical sketches of daughters and residents of the Granite state The New Hampshire publishing co., 1895
5. The Magazine of poetry and literary review, Vol 5, page 201; published 1893
6. Woman’s who’s who of America: a biographical dictionary of contemporary women of the United States and Canada, 1914; By John William Leonard, page 652

====Ancestry of Fannie Huntington (Runnells) Poole===

William Reynolds, son of William & Esther (Roth) Reynolds, b c 1613 in Kennebunk, York Co. ME and d. 10 Apr 1675 in Dover NH.  He married 30 Aug 1638 to Alice Kitson.  He was one of the party with John Howland at Kennebunk in the Hocking Affair in 1634.  He received land on Duxbury side 6 Feb 1637.  He owned cattle in 1638 and sold in 1640. He removed to Cape Porpoise, and took oath of allegiance to MA Govt on 5 July 1653.  He was then allowed to keep a ferry at Kennybunck, and to have 3 pence a passenger.  [from Maine Pioneers 1623-1660]
Children of William & Alice (Kitson) Reynolds:
1. Alice Reynolds, m. John Buss Jr.
2. Hopestill Reynolds, m1) 23 Oct 1664 Thomas Sanders; m2) Eli Demeritt
3. Job Reynolds
4. Martha Jane Reynolds, m. Thomas Wormwood
5. Mary Reynolds; m. James Langley
6. Sarah Reynolds, m1) — Head; m2) 3 Sep 1718 Richard Blanchard
7. John Reynolds, b. 1641;  m1669 to Mrs. Sarah Wiley Crawford and settled in Portsmouth, Nova Scotia; had issue
8. Job Reynolds, b. 1645/55 d. bef 1722 at Dover NH
9. William Reynolds, b. 1657 Dover, Strafford Co. NH
10. +Samuel Runnels/Runels, b. c 1674 near Port Royal NS

Samuel Runnels/Runels, son of William & Alice (Kitson) Reynolds, b. prob 1674 near Port Royal, Nova Scotia; d. 27 Oct 1745 in Bradford MA. He married Abigail Middleton, prob of Haverhill MA.  The old Haverhill records show “Samuell Renolls and Abigall Middletine.” His widow Abigail died 11 Oct 1753 in Bradford MA.
Children of Samuel & Abigail (Middleton) Runnels:
1. Stephen Runnels, b. 14 May 1703; m. Esther Hovey
2. **Samuel Runnels, b. 17 Dec 1706 prob in Haverhill MA; m. 1) Mrs. Anna Sessions; m2) Hannah Emerson [my ancestor]
3. John Runnels, b. 9 March 1710, died within a year and one month
4. John Runnels, b. 8 Apr 1711; d. 6 July 1713
5. Job Runnels, b. 18 June 1712
6. Sarah Runnels, b. 31 Oct 1716
7. Abigail Runnels, b. 11 Nov 1722
8. +Ebenezer Runnels, b. 20 Nov 1726 Bradford MA

Ebenezer Runnels, son of Samuel & Abigail (Middleton) Runnels/Runels of Bradford MA, was b. 20 Nov 1726 in Bradford MA and baptized the next day.  He became a blacksmith and “vessel-ironer” in Haverhill MA, residing where Washington Square is now.  He m1) 1747 to Abigail Sollis of Beverly MA.  She d. 3 Oct 1765.  He m2) 1766 to Hannah Smith of Haverhill MA.  She was b. 31 May 1742 in Hollis NH and d. there 29 March 1814, age 72. He was the father of sixteen children, b. Haverhill MA.
Children of Ebenezer & Abigail (Sollis) Runnels:
1. Benjamin Runnels, b. 31 March 1748
2. Ebenezer Runnels, b. 21 Apr 1750
3. John Runnels, b. 14 Aug 1752, d. 1753
4. +Stephen Runnels, b. 3 July 1754
5. John Runnels, b. 18 June 1756, d. 1760
6. Molly/Mary Runnels, b. July 1758
7. Abigail Runnels, b. 7 Dec 1760
8. Thomas Runnels, b. 14 Dec 1763, d. 1765
Children of Ebenezer & Hannah (Smith) Runnels
9. Samuel Runnels, b. 15 March 1767
10. Thomas Runnels, b. 7 Feb 1769
11. Nathaniel Stevens Runnels, b. 23 June 1771
12. Daniel Runnels, b. 22 Oct 1773, d. 1774
13. Daniel Runnels, b. 18 Dec/or 22 Sep 1775
14. Ebenezer Runnels, b. 1778
15. Hannah Runnels, b. 22 Apr 1783, d. 1787
16. Hannah Runnels, b. 12 July 1787

Stephen Runnells, son of Ebenezer & Abigail (Sollis) Runnells of Haverhill MA was b. 3 July 1754 Haverhill MA and d. suddenly 22 July 1798. His tombstone is in the Hollis Cemetery.  He married 1782 to Chloe Thurston, daughter of Moses & Hannah (Sewall) Thurston of Hollis NH.  She was b. 1758 at Hollis NH and died 13 Dec 1807.  Stephen Runnells was a minuteman in Capt. James Sawyer’s company 1775 and among the eight months’ men raised just after the battle of Lexington; was at the battle of Bunker Hill. He was six years in the revolutionary war, a sergeant, and at the surrender of Burgoyne.  He was a blacksmith, like his father, and in 1777 changed his residence to Hollis NH.  Here he became affianced to Miss Chloe Thurston, and being absent as a soldier, used to send his wages to her, which he faithfully kept, notwithstanding the depreciation of its value, so that when she came to buy her furniture, she was obliged to pay seven dollars for a white cream pitcher and for other things in like proportion. In 1789 they moved to Vershire VT where her brother-in-law, Rev. Stephen Fuller was settled.  He “had a loving disposition and great muscular powers.”  She afterwards moved to Fletcher VT but finally settled on the wild lands owned by her husband in Topsham VT where she died.  Their children were born in Hollis NH.
Children of Stephen & Chloe (Thurston) Runnells:
1. Stephen Runnells, b. 1783; d. by scalding at the age of 13 months.
2. Mary Crocker Runnells, b. 4 Aug 1784; m1) Moses Melvin of Cambridge VT; m2) William Elmer of Orange VT.  She d. 8 June 1863; twelve children
3. Stephen Runnells, b. 1 Sep 1785; m. Jane Brown of Cambridge VT; in 1819 they removed to McKean Twp, Licking Co. Ohio; 13 children
4. Chloe Runnells, twin b. 10 Dec 1787, d. 29 Aug 1804 in Fletcher VT
5. Hannah Runnells, twin, b. 10 Dec 1787, d. 1808 in Topsham VT
6. +Moses Thurston Runnells, b. 5 March 1790 in Hollis NH.
7. Sarah Runnells, b. 14 June 1793; m. William Cox, a farmer in Vershire; moved to West Fairlee VT; 13 children
8. Sollis Runnells, twin, b. 5 Apr 1797; m. Mary D. Parker of Chelsea VT; resided in Cambridge VT then in 1853 to Sigourney Iowa. Ten children.
9. Sewall Runnells, twin  b 5 Apr 1797; m1) Malinda Willey; m2) Mrs. Viann Walker; settled first in Ohio then in Calumet Co. Wisconsin (Grovesville). He had 2 children by his first wife.

Moses Thurston Runnells, son of Stephen & Chloe (Thurston) Runnells was born 5 March 1790 in Hollis NH and d. 5 Oct 1831.  He married 1st) Adaline Willey of Jericho VT. He m 2d) in 1825 to Caroline Stearns a former pupil of his in Cambridge VT.  She was b. 25 Nov 1797 (being the 7th generation from Isaac Stearns of Watertown MA and d. 1876. In 1830 residing in Cambridge, Franklin Co. VT.  He was a teacher, and afterwards a merchant and leading man in Cambridge VT.
ONLY Child of Moses T. & Caroline (Stearns) Runnells:
1. +Rev. Moses Thurston Runnells, Jr., b. 23 Jan 1830, d. 1920.

Rev. Moses Thurston Runnells, Jr., son of Moses Thurston & Caroline (Stearns) Runnells, was born 23 Jan 1830 in Cambridge VT and died in 1902 at Charlestown MA.  He married in 9 July 1861 by Bro. Emerson to Fanny Maria Baker, dau of Hosea S. & Fanny (Huntington) Baker Esq. of Haverhill NH.  She was b. 1831 and died in 1898. [Her father was a lineal descendant of Capt. John Lovewell of Pequawket fame, whose only daughter m. Joseph Baker, his progenitor].  He studied theology three years at East Windsor Hill CT under Drs. Bennett Tyler (former President of Dartmouth College), William Thompson and Edward A. Lawrence.  He was ordained as an Evangelist by his home church at Jaffrey NH 13 Aug 1856, his teacher Prof. Noyes of Dartmouth preaching the sermon. For 3 years in the service of the American S.S. Union, Philadelphia PA as follows in 1856 in Wisconsin as collecting agent; from Dec 1856 until July 1857 in Western Texas as S.S. Missionary and in Kansas Territory same capacity; one year at Boston MA as Superintendent of S.S. Missionaries and General Agen tof the Society.  In fall of 1859 returned to Illinois and taught at Durham, Hancock Co. He made a trip from Chicago IL to Montreal by water with his mother in September 1860.  In that same month he began at Orford NH supply of the West Congregational Church.  He remained in Orford until October 1865 when he removed to Sanbornton NH where he preached 21 years until October 1886.  From 1886-1889 he was in Jaffrey NH.  From 1889-1891 he was in Charlestown NH.  After 1891 he was itinerant Home Missionary service at Croydon, Goshen and Unity NH, until Nov 1892.  From 1892-Nov 1894 he was at Croydon NH.  He rode several thousand miles on horseback during his two years missionary labor on the frontier.  He was commissioned “Captain’s Clerk” U.S.N. on board the “San Jacinto” East Gulf Squadron in April 1864.  He wrote several history books including “History of Sanbornton, N.H. (2 volumes) in 1881, and “Runnels and Reynolds Families in America” in 1873. [for more see ]
1850 US Census > New Hampshire > Cheshire > Jaffrey > 7
Laban Ainsworth 94 M Congreg Clergyman 6000 Conn
Caroline Runnells 51 F Mass
Moses T. Runnells 20 M Student VT
Margaret Elliot 38 F Ireland
Children of Rev. Moses T. & Fanny M. (Baker) Runnells, Jr.:
1. Caroline “Carrie” Stearns Runnells, b. 16 May 1862 at Orford NH; educated at Gilmanton Academy and the N.H. Conference Seminary in Tilton NH; was a school teacher. She was married 10 May 1893 at Newport NH by her father to Fred D. Jardine of Charlestown NH; she was an active church worker. She d. 22 March 1902, buried Forest Hill Cemetery, Section 8, Lot 238.
2. +Fannie Huntington Runnells, b. 5 Dec 1863
3. Mary Ainsworth Runnells, b. 22 July 1865, d. 24 Sep 1865, aged 2 months in Orford NH.
4. Katherine Baker Runnells, b. 7 Dec 1868 at Sanbornton NH ; educated at the Cushing Academy, Ashburnham MA.
5. Moses Thurston Runnells III, b. 13 June 1870 at Sanbornton NH and d. there suddenly of brain disease 24 Oct 1871, aged 1 yr and 4 months.

Fanny Runnels as a young girl.

Fanny Runnels as a young girl.

Fannie Huntington Runnells, daughter of Rev. Moses Thurston and Fanny Maria (Baker) Runnells, was born 5 December 1863 in Orford, New Hampshire and died February 1920 in Ridgeley Park, PA. She married 25 Dec 1891 at Newport NH (by her father) to Allen A. Paul Poole.  He was born September 1856 in St. Johnswood, London, England, and died 3 Nov 1932.  He was a naturalized U.S. Citizen, and nephew of Paul Poole, Royal Academician and Historical Painter [1807 Bristol England-1879, son of James Paul Poole, a London grocer].
1900 US Census > Massachusetts > Norfolk > Needham > District 1051 > 24
Poole, Allen A. P. Head W M Sept 1856 43 married 10 yrs Eng Eng Eng imm 1873 alien Printer and Publisher
Poole, Fannie H.R. Wife W F Dec 1863 36 married 10 yrs 4 children 4 living NH VT NH
Poole, Olive C. dau W F Sep 1891 8 single MA Eng NH
Poole, Fannie E. daughter W F Nov 1892 7 single MA Eng NH
Poole, Robert R. won M W Dec 1894 5 single MA Eng NH
Poole, Paul F. son W M Feb 1898 2 single MA Eng NH
Mead, Julia B. Boarder W F Jan 1848 52 widw 4 ch 1 living Ire Ire Ire imm 1867 servant
1910 US Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk > Boston Ward 17 > District 1524 > 15
Poole, Allan A. Head M W 53 m1x 19 yrs England Eng Eng immigrated 1872  naturalized book publisher
Poole, Fanny H.R. wife F W 45 m1x 19 yrs 4 ch 4 living NH VT NH music teacher, working out
Poole, Robert R. son M W 16 single MA England NH [b abt 1894]
Poole Paul F. son M W 12 single MA England NH [b abt 1898]
1920 US Census > Massachusetts > Suffolk > Winthrop > District 676 > 25
Poole, Allan P Head M W 62 married imm 1882 naturalized 1892  engl engl engl publisher
Poole, Fannie wife F W 52 married NH VT NH
Poole, Robert R. son M W 25 single Mass Eng NH
Poole, Paul son M W 21 single Mass Eng NH
1930 US Census > New York > Westchester > Port Chester > District 319 > 33
Poole, Paul H. Head $90.00 M W 32 single MA England NH writer advertising
Poole, Fanny R. mother F W 60 married at age 27 NH VT NH
Poole, Robert F. Brother M W 36 single MA England NH

Written on back of photograph: Fanny Poole, 19 Marathon Place, Port Chester NY 1927

Notes on back of photograph says: Fanny Poole, 19 Marathon Place, Port Chester NY 1927

Tuesday, February 20, 1940, Boston Herald, Boston MA, page 11
Word has been received of the recent death in Ridgeley Park, Pa., of Mrs. Fannie H.R. Poole 73, formerly of Boston and Needham. She was graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music and from Leipzig University, Germany.  She wrote three volumes of poetry and was composer of four ballads. She was a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of Mayflower Descendants and of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  She leaves two daughters, a son and four grandchildren.  Two grandsons are Harvard students and a granddaughter is studying at Wellesley College.
Naturalization, A. Paul Poole, Maple St., Needham MA, at District Court Norfalk Co., b. London, ENgland 30 Sep 1856, naturalized 23 Feb 1901.
Children of Allan A. P. & Fanny H. (Runnells) Poole:
1. Vivien C. “Olive” Poole, b. Sep 1891 MA; m. Charles P. Gisberge
2. Fanny “Fannie” Ethel Poole, b. 30 Sep/Nov 1892 MA
3. Robert Runnells Poole, b. 10 Dec 1896, Boston Massachusetts; in 1917 living in Stamford CT
4. Paul Falconer Poole, b. 3 Feb 1898, Massachusetts, d. 9 Oct 1931

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6 Responses to Orford New Hampshire Poet, Musician, and Teacher: Fannie H. (Runnells) Poole (1863-1940)

  1. Karen Howes says:

    What a neat lady– thanks for posting about her, as well as some of her poetry!

  2. Pingback: Fannie Huntington (Runnells) Poole | Cow Hampshire

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  4. Rico Ferrari says:

    janice: was there a CAROLINE F. POOLE in the Poole Family? I just came across a box of very old images i bought in a new england shop back in the 70’s. I that same box was a pic of a child from G. O. Ayers.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Rico, the subject of my story was a Runnells by birth (I’m a cousin to her through this line) and she married into the POOLE family. So typically I do not trace intersecting or marriage lines. There appears to be more than one Caroline F. Poole who lived in New England so it is impossible for me to tell you who she was. As for the photographer, G.O. Ayer (no S on the end of that name) had a building on Meridian Street in East Boston in 1890. Hope this helps.

  5. Rebecca Mandeville says:

    Thank you for this post, Janice. I am currently reading the 388 page (PDF) genealogy book of the Runnels / Reynolds in America that I believe Fanny’s father Moses wrote (I found it online yesterday and was able to download it). It is quite dense but fascinating!

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