Moody Currier

Forty years ago, when Manchester, now the metropolis of New Hampshire, was little more than a wasting waterfall and an unpeopled plain, a few young men who had the sagacity to see, the courage to grapple with, and the strength to control the possibilities of the location, made it their home. One of these was Moody Currier, who was then seeking for a spot in which a willing hand and a busy brain could carve out a successful career. His boyhood had been spent upon a farm, where he supported himself by work during the day, and gratified his desire for knowledge by studying by the light of pitch-knots in the evening. In this manner he fitted himself to enter Hopkinton Academy, and by similar methods worked his way into and through Dartmouth College, where he graduated with high honors in 1834. During his collegiate course he earned enough by teaching and other work in the vacations to pay his expenses, but his graduation found him without funds, and, as the readiest way to lay the foundation of his fortune, he taught school at Concord one term and the Hopkinton Academy one year, and then accepted an invitation to take charge of the high school at Lowell, Mass., where he remained until 1841. Meantime he had read law, and in the spring of that year came to Manchester, was admitted to the bar, and formed a partnership with Hon. George W. Morrison for the practice of his profession, which continued for two years, when it was dissolved, and he pursued his business independently until 1848. During this time he had acquired a large and lucrative practice, and while attending to the interests of his clients had established a reputation as one of the safest and most sagacious financiers in the young city, which led the founders of the Amoskeag bank, when that institution was organized, to elect him its cashier. He accepted the position, and from that time has been prominently identified with many of the largest and most successful moneyed corporations in the city and state. He was cashier of the Amoskeag bank until it was re-organized as a national bank, when he was elected its president, which position he still occupies. He has been treasurer of the Amoskeag Savings Bank since its foundation, in 1852, a director of the People's Savings Bank and of the Manchester Mills since their organization. He was a director of the Blodget Edge Tool Company, and a director and treasurer of the Amoskeag Axe Company, during the existence of those corporations. He was treasurer of the Concord Railroad in 1871 and 1872; has been treasurer of the Concord & Portsmouth Railroad since 1856, president of the Eastern Railroad in New Hampshire since 1877, treasurer of the New England Loan Company since 1874, and a director of the Manchester Gas-Light Company since 1862; and has held many other places of responsibility,—in all of which his prudence, foresight, and good judgment have grasped the opportunities which have eluded so many, avoided the whirlpools in which so many have been ingulfed, and secured for stockholders and depositors regular and satisfactory dividends.

While thus adding to the fortunes of others, he has not been unmindful of his own, and is one of the wealthy men of the state, able to command whatever money will buy, and to give liberally to any cause that commends itself to his judgment. But while it has been the business of Mr. Currier to manage vast moneyed concerns, the demands of his calling have not been permitted to choke out his love of books and study. The literary tastes, and habits of close and tireless application, which inspired the boy to struggle for and obtain a liberal education, survive in the man, and have made him a persistent student until he is one of the most accomplished scholars in the state.

While a teacher at Concord, he edited a literary journal in that city, and after coming to Manchester published and edited, for several years, a weekly newspaper. Since he became a banker he has spent much of his leisure in his well filled library, finding his recreation in adding to his knowledge of the classics, mastering the problems of exact science, and exploring the fields of belles-lettres. He has written, for his own amusement, many poems of much merit, a volume of which was published for circulation among his friends in 1879, and he is a master of the art of expression in terse and polished prose. His scholarly attainments were recognized by Bates College in 1880, which conferred upon him the degree of LL.D.

As a citizen, Mr. Currier occupies a high place in the city with whose material growth he has been so largely identified. He is an earnest advocate of whatever tends to her advancement, a judicious counselor, and a liberal giver. He was one of the founders of her city library, to which he has made large donations, that, with one of her public fountains, attest alike his generosity and his judgment; and there have been few projects for her improvement which have not found in him a strong and ready helper.

Prior to 1852 he acted with the Democratic party, which elected him clerk of the state senate in 1843, 1844, but the agitation of the slavery question enlisted him in the ranks of the Free-soil forces, and from the organization of the Republican party he has been one of its most earnest and effective supporters. In 1856 and 1857 he was a member of the senate, being its president the latter year; and in 1860 and 1861, was a member of the governor's council, and chairman of the committee for raising and equipping the troops necessary to fill the state's quota in the war of the rebellion. In this position his business ability and methods were of great service, and to him, at least as much as to any other one man, is due the creditable reputation which the state won in that trying period.

In 1876 he was one of the presidential electors who cast the vote of New Hampshire for Hayes and Wheeler, and in 1879, had he permitted his friends to use his name, would have been a prominent candidate for the governorship in the state convention that year, as he was in the primary meetings.

Mr. Currier has been married three times. He has no children living. He resides in an elegant home in Manchester, in which are reflected his cultivated tastes and ample fortune. Though able to look back upon a long career, he is in the enjoyment of excellent health and the full strength of his manhood, and while carrying the business burdens that would crush most men, finds leisure to enjoy the fruits of his industry, frugality, and judgment.