The Diary of a New Hampshire Farmer: George Henry Wadleigh of Lyme, New Hampshire (1851-1941)

Photograph showing outside of Diary of Henry H. Wadleigh of Lyme NH.

Photograph showing outside of Diary of Henry H. Wadleigh of Lyme NH, dated 1872.

1872 was an important year for George Henry Wadleigh. He lost his father mid way, and he married at the end of the same year.

According to his diary, he “went to meeting on Sundays (most of the time anyway), split wood, went “down to the village” on errands, out to the mill, hayed the fields, blueberry picked, plowing and sowing grain, “paid my taxes,” and all the other endless mundane tasks of a farmer of that time. I know this because he kept a diary, and wrote in a very careful script, sometimes with ink and other times with pencil, for at least the years 1872 and 1874.

George H. Wadleigh had been born in 1851 in the small town of Lyme, New Hampshire, to Benjamin & Mary (Cushman) Wadleigh, ten years before the start of the Civil War. His life and his celebrations were intricately woven into the air and earth of Grafton County, and the tiny town in which he lived. In 1850 the town of Lyme had 1,618 people. Ten years later the population would drop to 1,572, followed by another drop in 1870 to 1,358.  In 2010 the census had only risen to 1,716 people.

Annie and I were married today…” George wrote in his farm diary of December 24, 1872.

PHOTOGRAPH Lyme Congregational Church, The Green, Lyme, Grafton Co. NH; This is a large, frame meeting house built in 1812, typical of the place and period; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washingotn D.C., Audrey P. Janion, photographer.

PHOTOGRAPH Lyme Congregational Church, The Green, Lyme, Grafton Co. NH; This is a large, frame meeting house built in 1812, typical of the place and period; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C., Audrey P. Janion, photographer.

Life seemed so promising for him. He had mentioned earlier in 1872 of writing to Annie, keeping in touch with her, and preparing for their life together. He detailed his purchases, from candy to a new suit, and the certificate he needed to wed.

Annie, George’s wife, died on 3 October 1904 at the age of 51 in Concord NH, of pulmonary tuberculosis that she apparently had for ten years. Her death certificate states she also had “chronic mania,” for 16 previous years, and that she had been an inmate of the New Hampshire State Hospital for 11+ of those years.

George went on to live in Lyme for 37 years. In 1900 he still had his own farm in Lyme, with his mother Mary, and sister Nancy living with him. [From Annie’s death certificate and the 1900 census we surmise she is living at the NH State Hospital in Concord]. George’s sister Nancy dies in 1901, then his mother Mary died in 1903, followed by his wife’s death in 1904. This leaves George without any close family in Lyme.

In 1910 George can be found still living on his farm, now with a housekeeper, Anne G. Davis, and two of her sons, William E. and Perry A. Davis. Between 1910-1920 possibly he sold the farm, or deeded it with life tenancy, because from 1920-1940 he is living with Perry Davis and his family as a “boarder.” George Wadleigh died in 1941.

Sample page of George Wadleigh's diary.

Sample page of George Wadleigh’s diary from February 1874 writing about daily events on his Lyme, New Hampshire farm.

The George H. Wadleigh of this story is NOT to be confused with Commander George H. Wadleigh, son of George Wadleigh & Sarah H. (Gilman) Wadleigh, Esq. of Dover NH, though the two would have been cousins. [i.e., Commander George H.-8 Wadleigh >> Elijah-7 Wadleigh & Rhoda Smith >> Joseph-6 & Elizabeth Morrill >> Joseph-5 & Mary Tyers >> Joseph-4 & Abigail Allin >> Capt John-3 & Abigail Marston >> Judge Robert-2 & Sarah Smith >> John-1 & Mary].




Robert Wadleigh, b abt 1628 England, d. after 1701 in Exeter NH. He m. abt 1650 in Wells Maine to Sarah Smith. She was b. abt 1632 in Exeter and d. after 1698 in Exeter NH.
Children of Robert & Sarah (Smith) Wadleigh:
1. Joseph Wadleigh, b. abt 1651 Exeter NH
2. John Wadleigh, b. abt 1653 Exeter NH, d. 7 Nov 1655; m. Abigail Marston
3. Sarah Wadleigh, b. 15 June 1655 Exeter NH, d. Feb 1672; m. John Young
4. Jonathan Wadleigh, b. 7 Dec 1657 Exeter NH d, 7 Jan 1672 Hampton NH; m. Anna Wilson
5. Robert Wadleigh, b. abt 1665 Exeter NH; m. Sarah Nelson
6. + Ensign Henry Wadleigh, b. 16 May 1666
7. Mary Wadleigh b abt 1668, d. 24 Dec 1727 Hampton Falls NH; m. John Cram

Henry Wadleigh, son of Robert & Sarah (Smith) Wadleigh, b. 16 May 1666 probably Kittery, Maine, d. 2 Aug 1732 in Exeter NH. He m. 3 Dec 1693 to Elizabeth Gilman, daughter of Councilor John Gilman, Esq., and widow of Nathaniel Ladd who had died of wounds in September 1690 in a surprise ambush by Indians. She was b. 16 Aug 1661 in Exeter NH and d. 1732. She is buried in Second Public Cemetery in Exeter NH. In his will: “1719, July 30, Henry Wadleigh to Joseph Wadleigh, son; one quarter of a sawmill upon little river in Kingston, together with the right of land belonging to it; also eleven acres of land in Exeter, near Deer Hill.” 1732: Estate of Elizabeth Wadleigh, relict of Henry Wadleigh, deceased, late of Exeter; delivered to her son Joseph Wadleigh of Kensington…all that land where she dewleth in Exeter and which was given her by her father John Gilman, Esq., except certain tracts. (signed Aug 7, 1697).
Children of Henry & Elizabeth (Gilman) Wadleigh:
1. Sarah Wadleigh, b. 1694, d. 1725
2. Abigail Wadleigh, b. 1696, b. 1753; m. Samuel Magoon
3. +Joseph Wadleigh, b. Sep 1689 in Exeter NH
4. Martha Wadleigh, b. 1700, d. 1770
5. Benjamin Wadleigh, b. 1703, d. 1716

Joseph Wadleigh, son of Henry & Elizabeth (Gilman) Wadleigh, b Sep 1689 in Exeter, Rockingham Co. NH d 14 April 1779 Kensington NH; m1) abt 1720 to Lydia Smith, daughter of Theophilus and Mary (Stanyan) Smith. She d. 1725; He m2) 30 September 1725 in Kensintgton NH to Mary/Mercy Fogg, daughter of James & Mary (Burrea) Fogg. She b. 5 January 1697, d 30 Aug 1774 in Kensington NH. He married 3d) 7 January 1775 to Esther (Fogg) Dearborn, dau of Seth & Sarah/Hannah (Shaw) Fogg, and widow of Henry Dearborn. She was b. 16 March 1697 in Hampton NH and d. 4 July 1801. He was a “noted mover of buildings.”
Children of Joseph & Lydia (Smith) Wadleigh:
1. Theophilus Wadleigh, b. c 1721 Exeter, Rockingham Co. NH
2. Joseph Wadleigh, b. abt 1721 Exeter, Rockingham Co. NH; administrator of his father’s estate in 1734.
3. Lydia Wadleigh, b. abt 1725 in Exeter, Rockingham Co. NH
Children of Joseph & Mary (Fogg) Wadleigh:
4. +Benjamin Wadleigh b, 8 June 1728 Kensington, Rockingham Co. NH
5. James Wadleigh Sr., b. 20 September 1730 in Kensington NH; he m. 16 Nov 1752 in Hampton Falls NH to Mary Dearborn, dau of John & Anna (Sanborn) Dearborn. She was b. 1 Aug 1732 in Hampton NH. Children: James, Nathaniel and Joseph

Benjamin Wadleigh, son of Joseph & Mary (Fogg) Wadleigh, b. 8 June 1728 in Kensington, Rockingham Co. NH, d. after 1783; m. Hannah Dearborn, daughter of Simon & Sarah (Marston) Dearborn of . She b. 29 Oct 1729 in Hampton NH. [Children’s births from Vital Records of Epping NH, found in the New Hampshire genealogical record, 1903] They lived in Kensington NH and Epping NH.
Child(ren) of Benjamin & Hannah (Deaborn) Wadleigh.
1. Mary Wadleigh, b. 14 July 1752; m. Charles Hilton. Children [HILTON]: Dudley, Elijah, Henry Dearborn, Polly, Sally and Charles (twins), and Betsey.
2. Simon Deaborn Wadleigh, b. 14 July 1754 Northwood NH; m. 1779 Polly Rowe. She b. 1758 Hampton NH, died Brome Canada. Children: John Wadleigh who m. Betsy Page, Pamelia Wadleigh m. William Powell, and more.
3. +Elijah Wadleigh, b. 18 March 1757 Epping NH
4. Sarah Wadleigh, b. 1 January 1759

Elijah/Eligah Wadley/Wadleigh, son of Benjamin & Hannah (Dearborn) Wadleigh, b. 18 March 1757 Epping NH, d. 9 Oct 1800; m. 23 April 1792 in Hanover NH to Patty Saunders. She b. 1769, and d. 27 Dec 1811. Buried Hanover Center Cemetery, Hanover NH.
Children of Elijah & Patty (Saunders) Wadleigh:
1. Henry Wadleigh, b. 25 May 1793 Hanover NH, d. 1825. Buried Chester town MD
2. +Benjamin Deaborn Wadleigh, b. 13 January 1796 Hanover NH
3. George Wadleigh, b. 10 Jan 1798 Hanover NH, d. 1811

Typical of a Lyme, New Hampshire farm, this is the Enos Snow Farm on River Road in Lyme, Grafton Co. NH, Aubrey P. Janion, Photographer, August 1959.

Typical of a Lyme, New Hampshire farm, this is the Enos Snow Farm on River Road in Lyme, Grafton Co. NH, Library of Congress; Aubrey P. Janion, Photographer, August 1959.


Benjamin Dearborn Wadleigh, son of Elijah & Patty ‘Paty’ (Saunders) Wadleigh, b. 13 January 1796 in Hanover, Grafton Co. NH, and d. 1 June 1872 in Lyme, Grafton Co. NH. He is buried in Porter Cemetery in Lyme NH. He m1st) 1822 in Lyme NH to Esther Carpenter Webster. She was b. 1801 and d 1843 Lyme NH. He m2d) 1850 to Mary Cushman, daughter of Oliver & Maria C. (Thomas) Cushman. She was b. Nov 1807 in Norwich, Vermont, and d. 14 April 1903 in Lyme NH. Both of her parents had been born in CT [Strafford & Lebanon]. Mary was buried in the North Thetford VT Pleasant Ridge Cemetery. [June 1, 1872 son George writes in his diary, “Father died this morning at half past two o’clock.”]
1860 US Census > NH > Grafton > Lyme
Benjamin D. Wadleigh M 64 NH
Mary Wadleigh F 50 Vermont
George H. Wadleigh M 9 NH
James Quint M 14 NH
Joseph B. Quint M 16 NH
Children of Benjamin D. & Esther C. (Webster) Wadleigh:
1. Martha Ann Wadleigh, b. 1823 Hanover NH, d. 1910; m. Abner B. Wilcox; issue
2. Sarah Jane Wadleigh, b. 1825, d. 1908 Glenco MN; m. 1851 Benjamin Franklin Buck Sr. He b 1825 in VT and d. 1901 MN. They had 5 ch.
3. Henry Dearborn Wadleigh, b. 1828 Hanover NH, d. 19 June 1851; buried Porter Cemetery, Lyme NH
4. Harriet Newton Wadleigh, b 1830, d. 5 August 1844; buried Porter Cemetery, Lyme NH
5. Mary Esther Wadleigh, b 1833, d. 1929; m. 1857 Asa M. Child
6. Nancy P. Wadleigh, b. August 1837, d. 3 March 1901; reportedly buried with her step-mother Mary in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, North Thetford VT. [tombstone in Porter Cemetery, Lyme NH]
7. Frances A. “Fannie” Wadleigh, b 1839 Lyme NH; m. 1867 Eli Hurlburt. He b. abt 1822 Hanover NH and d. 14 June 1886 in Hanover NH. He had m1) Margaret Sloan. They lived in Hanover NH. Children (some by 1st wife): Mary/Marcie, Emma G., Mattie L., Nellie G.
8. infant son Wadleigh, d 10 July 1842 age 1 month
Child of Benjamin & Mary (Cushman) Wadleigh:
9. +George H. Wadleigh, b. April 1851 in Lyme, Grafton Co. NH

A photograph of scenic Lyme NH in autumn.

A photograph of scenic Lyme NH in autumn.

George Henry Wadleigh, [this story is about him] son of Benjamin & Mary (Cushman) Wadleigh, b. 10 April 1851 in Lyme NH, died 1 Jan 1941 in Lyme NH; married 24 Dec 1872 in Orford NH to Anna Q. Cutting, daughter of Amaziah & Nancy Savage (Quint) Cutting, and granddaughter of Samuel & Roxana (Stebbins) Quint. She was b. 1852 in Orford NH, and d. 3 October 1904 in Concord NH. George Henry, his wife Anna, his mother Mary C., and half-sister Nancy P. are all buried in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in North Thetford, Orange Co. VT. “Annie and I were married today…” George wrote in his farm diary of December 24, 1872.
1880 US Census > NH > Grafton > Lyme
George H. Wadleigh self M 28 NH
Anna I Wadleigh wife F 27 NH
Mary C. Wadleigh F 72 NH mother
1900 US Census > NH > Grafton > Lyme
George H. Wadleigh Head M 49 NH April 1851 married farmer
Mary C. Wadleigh mother F 93 Vermont CT NH Nov 1807 widow 1 ch 1 living
Nancy P. Wadleigh Sister F 65 NH June 1835 single
no apparent children


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5 Responses to The Diary of a New Hampshire Farmer: George Henry Wadleigh of Lyme, New Hampshire (1851-1941)

  1. Virginia Penrod says:

    Awww that was so touching. Is this family also connected to the Wadleigh Library?

    • Janice Brown says:

      Ginny, yes these two families are distantly connected, i.e. William Young-8 Wadleigh [Library’s Namesake], Benjamin-7 & Hannah P. Young, Benjamin-6 & Polly Mastin, Benjamin-5 & Hannah Kezar, Thomas-4 & Margaret Rowen, Benjamin -3 & Judith Clough, Robert-2 & Sarah Nelson, Robert-1 & Sarah Smith. So the farmer George Henry Wadleigh mentioned here, and William Y. Wadleigh of the Milford library shared the immigrant ancestor, Robert-1 Wadleigh, each descending from a different son.

  2. Maggie says:

    Hi! I know this is years later, but I have a book I was looking for more info on, and I believe it fits into this puzzle! I collect old math books, I found this one at an antique shop in Hampton Falls, “Walsh’s new arithmetic”. It is dated March 25th 1829 to an Elijah Wadleigh. It also has an inscription to either “Judy D” or “Judy Q” for 1829, and says “Hampton” under both inscriptions.

    There is a small newspaper cutout that someone used as a book mark from what looks like February 1845 — one side is a bunch of advertisements (Sole Leather, Brass Kettles, Wooden Wares, Gold Foil, “Mineral Teeth”?, and “Sperm Oil”??). The other side is a poem called “The Miller-Boy” by Hafiz.

    Let me know if you’d be interested in looking at the book, or have any more info on the Elijah Wadleigh in question!

  3. Pete Wiggin says:


    I hope the site is still active. I am looking for information on George Wadleigh, historian/author of, ‘Notable Events in the History of Dover’. I’m sure he ties into this genealogy some how. Any information would be appreciated.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Pete, As far as I can tell the line you speak of is not the same as is posted in this story.
      George Henry Wadleigh whose bio can be found at Wikipedia, was the author of the History of Dover. He was the son of son of George Wadleigh (1807-1884) and Sally Hidden Gilman. He was the grandson of Elijah Wadleigh & Rhoda Smith. He was the great-grandson of Joseph Waldeigh & Elizabeth “Betty” Morrill, and the 2nd great-grandson of Joseph Wadleigh (1752-1808) born in England. I presume you can follow this line yourself and either prove or disprove this.

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