Francis Cogswell

Francis Cogswell was born in Atkinson, December 21, 1800. He died at his home in Andover, Mass., February 11, 1880. His death closed a long, honorable, and useful career. He was a gentleman of the old school, strong, steadfast, and true. God gave him talents of a high order, and he improved them all. He was honest, not from policy, but because it was his nature to be. His ambitions never clouded his convictions of duty, nor swerved him from the path which his high sense of probity and honor pointed out; and, after more than fifty years of business activity, and association with thousands of people in almost every relation in life, he could say, as he did: "I die contented. I have no ill will towards any one, and I know of no reason why any one should have any ill will against me." He loved his family with a love that never wearied and never forgot; which dared all things, suffered all things, did all things, that could make for their comfort and happiness. He loved his books. He was a stanch friend, a kind neighbor, and a generous citizen, who never left to others the duties he could discharge. In business, he was sagacious without being a schemer, patient and industrious without being a slave. He had judgment, foresight, and reliability; and he worked his way to success openly, steadily, and surely. He died universally respected and widely and sincerely mourned.

Mr. Cogswell was the son of Dr. William Cogswell, the son of Nathaniel Cogswell of Atkinson, who was born July 11, 1760, and was married to Judith Badger, July 22, 1786, the daughter of the Hon. Joseph Badger, senior, of Gilmanton, N. H., born May 15, 1766, whose children were as follows:

William, born June 5, 1787; Julia, born February 20, 1789; Hannah Pearson, born July 6, 1791; Joseph Badger, born August 30, 1793; Nathaniel, born March 5, 1796; Thomas, born December 7, 1798; Francis, born December 21, 1800; George, born February 5, 1808; John, born February 14, 1810, and died August 6, 1811.

Julia Cogswell was married to Greenleaf Clarke, of Atkinson, March 1, 1810. They were the parents of William Cogswell Clarke and John Badger Clarke, who are sketched elsewhere in this book.

Hannah Pearson Cogswell married William Badger, of Gilmanton, who was afterwards governor of New Hampshire. Their children are Col. Joseph and Capt. William, of the U. S. army.

Joseph Badger Cogswell was married to Judith Peaslee, October, 1817. They had six children, three sons and three daughters: William is a successful physician in Bradford, Mass.; Francis has been a very popular teacher, and is now superintendent of schools in Cambridge, Mass.; and Thomas is a dentist in Boston.

Rev. Nathanial Cogswell married Susan Doane, October, 1825. He was a settled clergyman at Yarmouth, Mass., a man of great influence, and his son John B. D. Cogswell has been speaker of the Massachusetts house of representatives.

William, Thomas, and George Cogswell are sketched in this book.

Francis Cogswell received his early education in the public schools and at Atkinson Academy, from which he entered Dartmouth College, where he graduated with honor in the class of 1822. Selecting the law for his profession, he prepared himself for admission to the bar at Exeter, was admitted in 1827, and commenced practice in Tuftonborough, N. H., the same year. He removed, in 1828, to Ossipee. In 1833 he removed to Dover, and was appointed clerk of the court in Strafford county. Nine years later he located at Andover, Mass., and became treasurer of the Ballardvale Woolen Company.

May 16, 1845, he was chosen cashier of the Andover bank, to which institution he devoted himself with great fidelity until he was called to the presidency of the Boston & Maine Railroad, in 1856. In this position, his systematic methods, untiring industry, ability to manage men, careful regard for the public and respect for its opinions, and stern integrity asserted themselves, to the great advantage of the corporation and the approval of its patrons; and his resignation, which he tendered in 1862, caused wide-spread regrets, which grew more and more pronounced until 1865, when he yielded to the general demand and accepted a re-election. His second term lasted until 1871, when he felt compelled to lay down the heavy burdens inseparable from the office, and retire from active life.

In addition to these, Mr. Cogswell held many other public and private trusts of great responsibility, in all of which his sterling qualities were quietly but effectively asserted. He was a director of the Andover bank for twenty years; treasurer of the Marland Manufacturing Company for twenty-two years; a trustee of Gilmanton and Atkinson academies, and of the Punchard free school at Andover; an overseer of Harvard College; and senior warden of the Episcopal church at Andover, where he was a constant worshiper for many years. Many private properties were also committed to his care; and his advice was constantly in demand by his neighbors and acquaintances.

Mr. Cogswell was a man of pronounced political views, but would never accept political honors. Prior to the war he was a Democrat; but the attempt of the southern slaveholders to destroy the Union made him an earnest Republican, and one of the strongest supporters of the loyal cause. He was chairman of Andover's war committee, and gave liberally of his means to her soldiers and their families.

Mr. Cogswell was married, June 8, 1829, to Mary S. Marland, daughter of Abraham Marland, of Andover, by whom he had eight children. Three of these—John F. Cogswell, of Andover, at the head of the well known and very successful express company of Cogswell & Co., Lawrence, Mass., Thomas M. Cogswell, of Lawrence, engaged in the same business as his brother, and Mary M., wife of William Hobbs, Esq., of Brookline, Mass.,—are living.