Calvin Merrill

Calvin Merrill, Pg. 84-85 – scanned document

CALVIN MERRILL, a well-known resident of Milford and the representative of the third generation of the Merrills in this town, was born on the Merrill homestead, January 13, 1827, son of Asa and Fannie (Steele) Merrill. The family is of English origin, and still keeps the hereditary coat of arms Nathan Merrill, the grandfather of Mr. Calvin Merrill, was one of the early settlers of Milford, coming here from Bedford, Mass. In 1787 he purchased what is now known as the Merrill homestead, and built there a log cabin. In the following February he made the place his permanent residence. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary War, enlisting when a mere youth, but filled with patriotism, and was one of the guards detailed for duty at the execution of Major André. He was an old school Democrat and a strong antislavery man. His death occurred in 1846. The maiden name of his wife, who came from Bedford, Mass., was Susan Racon. She was a daughter of Elizabeth Lane Bacon, who, born in London, England, came to Bedford and married a member of the famous Bacon family that named Bedford after the old city of that name in England. Nathan Merrill, Jr., the eldest son Of Nathan Merrill, built in New Boston what is alleged to have been the first stone dwelling in Hillsboro County. Joshua, the youngest son, in the capacities of teacher and superintendent was connected with the public schools of Lowell, Mass., for forty-five years. Also, for many years he was a member of the Lowell city government 5 and at one time he represented Lowell in the General Court of Massachusetts. He was a stanch temperance advocate, and was once a candidate on the Prohibition ticket for Lieutenant Governor oi the State.

Asa Merrill, born in Milford, January 17, 1794, was a farmer and a lifelong resident of the town. He is said to have the first male child born in Milford after its incorporation. At the Merrill homestead he received his friends with the hospitality of a gentleman of the old school. In politics he was a Whig and later a Republican. He was also a Free Soiler. A Constant reader, he kept himself informed of current events. He married Fannie Steele, a native of Stoneham, Mass., and a member of the Baptist church. Her father, James Steele, was an officer in the Continental army, and took part in the battle of Lexington. Six of Asa Merrill’s children survive. namely: Fannie, living on the homestead; Susan, the wife of Joseph Mansfield, of Wakefield, Mass.; Nathan, living in Milford; Calvin, the subject of this sketch; Henry, of Pepperell, Mass.; and Mary of Milford.

Calvin Merrill resided on the homestead farm until twenty years of age, when he began life for himself. In his twenty-first year he went to Brookline, N. H., where he learned the cooper’s trade. After working at this for a short time he spent three years in Roxbury and Woburn, employed in the manufacture of patent leather; and then, compelled by illness, he returned to his native town. Upon first coming back, he resided on the Old home farm, and did some coopering there. Subsequently he removed to Milford village, and was there for a time engaged in lumbering, coopering, and farming. In 1872 he started a coal business, which he managed successfully until 1890, when his sons succeeded him under the name of Merrill Brothers. In connection with his business Mr. Merrill carried on considerable trade in ice and grain. These departments are still included in the business of the Merrill Brothers, whose grain elevator is near their business office. In politics Mr. Merrill is a Republican. Both he and his wife are members of the Baptist church at Milford.

On May 26, 1857, Mr. Merrill was married to Lizzie M. Wheeler, Of Amherst, N.H. Her parents, both now deceased. were Daniel Wheeler, a native oi Amherst, and Martha G. (Aiken) Wheeler, of Deering. Three others of their children survive them, namely: Mrs. Abbie Sawtelle, of Manchester, N.H.; Fannie R., also of Manchester; and Harry R., of Nashua. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Merrill are: John C., Hattie E., Arthur W., and Walter B. Hattie is now the wife of Walter H. Ware, of Milford.