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
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
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,