New Hampshire Suffragist, Deputy Commissioner, Public Educator, Club-woman: Harriet Lane Huntress of Center Harbor and Concord (1860-1922)

Harriet Lane Huntress from the Granite State Monthly of 1914.

Harriet Lane Huntress was born on 30 November 1860 in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, daughter of James Lewis & Harriet (Paige) Huntress. Her father was a hotel keeper, owner of the famed Senter House in Center Harbor New Hampshire.

Harriet was a member of the New Hampshire Equal Suffrage Association, working and contributing on their behalf, and serving on that group’s advisory board. Her life’s work was on public education with a strong focus on the Keene and Plymouth New Hampshire Normal Schools (now called Keene State College and Plymouth State College).

She died 31 July 1922 in Concord NH at her home on 93 Pleasant Street. Harriet Lane Huntress is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge MA. [Her obituary can be found below the genealogy entry for her father, below].

From One Thousand New Hampshire Notables, a photograph of Miss Harriet Lane Hunter.

In 1919 her biography was published in the book, “One Thousand New Hampshire Notables,” but her career was not yet over.  Deputy Superintendent Public Instruction; b. Meredith (now Center Harbor), N.H.; daughter of James Lewis and Harriet Perkins (Page) Huntress; ed. in private schools in Massachusetts, graduating from Prospect Hill School, Greenfield in 1879; chief clerk N.H. Department of Public Instruction from April 1889 serving under Superintendents Patterson, Gowing, Folsom and Morrison until Sept 1913 when appointed deputy superintendent, which position she now holds, being the first woman in New England appointed to such position; member of the Concord Woman’s Club, Country Club, Friendly Club, Woman’s City Club of Boston, N.H. Historical Society, Capital Grange, P. of H., Rumford Chapter, D.A.R., Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Ass’n (vice-regent for New Hampshire), N.H. Equal Suffrage Ass’n (member, advisory board); Unitarian. Address, Concord, N.H.

The Granite State Monthly article in 1915 on Concord’s Anniversary states that the “accomplished Miss Harriet L. Huntress” created the “indispensable index” for the History of Concord, published in 1903.

Print of Senter House, Centre Harbor NH, by Frederick W. Stickney 1888. New Hampshire Historical Society Collection.

Additional information was gleaned from The Granite State Monthly magazine, Vol LIV, that was published in 1922, the year of her death.  That obituary calls her “one of New Hampshire’s best known women and most useful public servants….She gave most valuable assistance to six state superintendents and was herself from 1913 a deputy state superintendent. In recognition of her services to the cause of education, New Hampshire College in 1920 conferred upon her the honorary degree of Master of Arts.”

From 1919 manual for the NH General Court.

The Granite State Monthly, July 1928, Vol 13, page 202 noted that “Keene Normal School’s new Harriet Lane Huntress dormitory was dedicated with appropriate exercises on June 18th. Governor Winant and Huntley N. Spaulding, chairman of the state board of education were the principal speakers at the dedicatory exercises. The new structure, which was erected at a cost of $250,000, fills a need for larger living quarters, which has long existed at the state institution.”  Today this dormitory still exists at Keene State College (which evolved from Keene Normal School) called Huntress Hall.

Sadly, a misinformed person decided to start a rumor that Miss Huntress was haunting that building.  I found the following: ” Huntress Hall, a dormitory at Keene State College, New Hampshire is supposedly haunted by its namesake, Harriet Huntress. Students often report strange noises coming from the building’s attic, where Huntress’ wheelchair remains to this day.”  The building was constructed AFTER Harriet’s death (she died in 1922 and the building was built in 1928) and she died in Concord, not Keene NH.  Apparently the person who began the rumor is not a math major.


An 1892 D.A.R. [Daughters of the American Revolution] Lineage Book provides the following entry. MISS HARRIET LANE HUNTRESS 24780.  Born in Meredith, New Hampshire.
Descendant of Richard Furber and of James Chesley, of New Hampshire
Daughter of James Lewis Huntress and Harriet Perkins Paige, his wife.
Granddaughter of Joseph P. Huntress and Sally Chesley, his wife.
Gr-granddaughter of James Chesley and Elizabeth Downing Furber, his wife.
Gr. gr Granddaughter of Richard Furber and Elizabeth Downing, his wife.
–Richard Furber (1725-1807) was a signer of the Association Test, of Rochester N.H.
–James Chesley served in the ranks of Capt. William Harper’s company. His name is found among the defenders of Rochester, where he died at the advanced age of one hundred. Also No. 9936.

=========PARTIAL GENEALOGY===================

Christopher Huntress (1728 –bef 1790-) m. abt 1750 Abigail Hogden.

Mark Huntress (1764/66 Newington NH-after 1790). He m. abt 1785 to Temperance Ayres. She b. c 1764-1767. In 1790 Mark Huntress is shown living in Newington, Rockingham Co. NH.
Children of Mark & Temperance (Ayres) Huntress:
1. Elisabeth Emerson Huntress
2. Dorothy “Dolly” Huntress, b 1792 NH. Baptized 1799 with some of her siblings. She m. c1818 to Charles Chase a shoemaker. She d. 1860.
3. Henrietta Huntress
4. +Joseph Peterson Huntress

Joseph Patterson/Peterson Huntress, son of Mark Huntress was b 1786 ?Rochester/Farmington NH d 31 Jan 1848. He married in 1809 to Sally Chesley, daughter of James & Elizabeth Downing (Furber) Chesley, daughter of James & Elizabeth (Furber) Chesley. She was b. in 1787 and died in 1847. They are buried Lowell Cemetery, Lowell MA
Children of Joseph & Sally (Chesley) Huntress:
1. Leonard Huntress, 1811-1885. He married Lydia A. Mackinnon.
2. +James Lewis Huntress 1818 Portsmouth NH, d. 1883
3. Sarah Abby Huntress b abt 1825, d. 25 Sep 1892. She m. 11 Nov 1845 in Tewksbury MA to J. Henry Bailey, son of M.A. Ponden
4. Hannah Hurd Huntress 1826-1847

James Lewis Huntress, son of Joseph P. & Sally (Chesley) Huntress was b 5 May 1818 Portsmouth NH , d. 2 Feb 1883 Hot Springs AK. He m1) Mary Ann Pierce. She b 1817, d. 5 May 1843 Lowell MA. He married 2d) 21 Aug 1844 in Lowell MA to Harriet Towne Page/Paige, daughter of David & Elizabeth Page. She b. abt 1818 in Hopkinton NH and d. —. Buried Lowell Cemetery, Lowell MA
Boston Journal, Boston MA. 3 Feb 1883, page 1
OBITUARY. CAPTAIN JAMES LEWIS HUNTRESS, proprietor of the Senter House Center Harbor NH died at Hot Springs Arkansas Friday afternoon aged 64 years. Mr. Huntress was a native of Portsmouth NH and in his life-long experience as a proprietor of several leading hotels he has won a reputation enjoyed by few for several years he we connected with the American House, Lowell, and has been landlord of the bates House, Indianpolis, Ind., the Frnaklin House, Lawrence, the Lowell Island House, and in 1854 he took the house which he controlled at the time of his death. He was at one time Captain of the Lowell City Guards. For the past few weeks he has suffered with rheumatism, and has sought relief in the West. He leaves a widow, two sons–Mr. George L. Huntress of Boston and Mr. Henry Huntress of Centre Harbor–and a daughter. His remains will be interred at Lowell.
Massachusetts Town and Vital Records – Lowell Marriages
p. 452
HUNTRESS, James L[ewis, int.] widr, of L, a. 26 y., stabler, s. Joseph and Sally, and Harriet P.T. Page, unm. of L., a 24 y., dressmaker, d. David and Elizabeth., Aug. 21, 1844.
Boston Herald 25 March 1924, p 26
Deaths: George L. Huntress. Funeral services for George L. Huntress, A Boston lawyer and graduate of Yale, who died yesterday morning at the home of his son, George L. Huntress Jr., 32 Pinckney street, will be held at King’s Chapel tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock. Mr. Huntress was born in Lowell in April 1847, son of James Lewis Huntress and Harriet (Page) Huntress. On both his father’s and mother’s side he could trace his ancestry back to provincial and colonial times. He fitted for college at Andover and after graduation from Yale entered the Harvard law school. He became a member of the law firm of Ives, Lincoln & Huntress in this city in 1875. On the death of Mr. Ives some years later the firm was dissolved. Then he associated himself with Homer Albers. This association continued until 1900. For many years he had an office in the Sears building. While in college Mr. Huntress was active in athletics and had been president of the Yale Alumni Association. At one time he was president of the North River Lumber Company of Nova Scotia, the Jerguson Manufacturing Company of this city and South America, New Aetna Portland Cement Company of Michigan and Peerless Knitting Mills Company. He was also a director and member of the executive committee of the Greensboro-Boston Corporation and president of the Yuba Consolidated Gold Fields of California. He married Julia A. Poole of Metuchen NJ Sept 30, 1875 and thereafter lied in Boston and Winchester. Mrs. Huntress died last October. Besides his son, a brother Henry Huntress of Concord NH survives him.
Boston Herald, 1 August 1922, page 4
MISS HUNTRESS DIES IN CONCORD / N.H. Deputy Education Commissioner First to Be Appointed / Was Prominent in Women’s Club // Special Dispatch to the Herald. Concord NH. July 31–Miss Harriet L. Huntress, 62, first deputy of the state department of education, died today at her home on Pleasant Street, following a long illness. Miss Huntress had been connected with the state department of education since 1889, for many years as chief clerk and since 1913 as deputy commissioner. -Active in Women’s Clubs – She was also active in the state federation of women’s clubs and the suffrage movement. She was the first woman in New England appointed to a deputy commissioner-ship in a state educational department. Her exceptional ability gave her a high standing in her field of work, and much of the credit for the rapid strides the state has taken in broadening the school policies has been given her. During the period when the Legislature was expanding the work of the school department, Miss Huntress was frequently called upon to address committees of the General Court and other public bodies along educational lines. At the last meeting of the state board of education, appreciative resolutions on the long and faithful service of Miss Huntress were adopted. As a tribute to her memory, the flags on the normal schools at Keene and Plymouth will remain at half mast until after the funeral services. Miss Huntress was born in what is now Centre Harbor, this state, and was educated in private schools in Massachusetts graduating from Prospect Hill school, Greenfield in 1879. In June 1920 Ne3 Hampshire State College conferred the honorary degree of master of arts upon Miss Huntress. She was vice-regent in New Hampshire of the Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, and a member of the Concord Women’s Club, Country Club, Friendly Club, Woman’s Club of Boston, New Hampshire Historical Society, Capital Grange and Rumford Chapter D.A.R. She is survived by one brother, Henry L. Huntress.
Children of James L. & Harriet P. (Huntress)
1. George L. Huntress, b. April 1847 in Lowell MA [see obit]
2. Henry Leonard Huntress, b. 17 Dec 1848 Centre Harbor NH; died 18 August 1937. Lived at 83 Pleasant St. Concord NH. Died at Margaret Pillsbury Hospital, Concord. He had fractured his hip 2-1/2 months prior.
3. Harriet L. “Hattie” Huntress, b. 30 Nov 1860 Center Harbor NH, died 31 July 1922 in Concord NH. THIS STORY IS ABOUT HER. SEE PHOTOGRAPHS AND BIOGRAPHY ABOVE.


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5 Responses to New Hampshire Suffragist, Deputy Commissioner, Public Educator, Club-woman: Harriet Lane Huntress of Center Harbor and Concord (1860-1922)

  1. Pingback: Was Your New Hampshire Ancestor a Suffragist? | Cow Hampshire

  2. I loved seeing the front and side view of Harriet in the pictures and the pince-nez. If it had been only a front view, I would have thought she wore a tight bun but the side view showed a different do.

    • Janice Brown says:

      Cathy, I agree, the photograph of her showing her face on is lovely and provides additional details about her. I felt fortunate to be able to find it. What surprised me the most about her was that someone had fabricated a story about her ghost wandering Huntress Hall at Keene State College. Why, I have to ask.

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  4. mark henderson says:

    anyone happen to know if she travelled overseas much? i have an old picture of the Mona Lisa from 1892 (in the orig oak frame with orig. wobbly glass) with “Mrs Huntress, Manchester” on the back in pencil, from the picture frame company i believe. just curious.

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