Warren F. Daniell

In almost every instance, those who, during the first half of the present century, laid about the waterfalls of New Hampshire the foundations of our manufacturing villages, builded better than they knew. They were generally men of limited means, moderate ambitions, and democratic instincts; and they established their shops and factories without expectation that they were changing worthless plains and forests into cities, or plain mechanics into millionaires. They aimed only to create productive industries in which they and their few employes, meeting on equal terms, could work together and win a fair reward for their labor. But they were skillful workmen, good managers, courageous, persistent, and equal to all their opportunities, and under their inspiration and direction their enterprises have grown into great proportions, which have made the fortunes of their owners, and called into being communities that are models of the best that skill, intelligence, and thrift can produce.

To this class of men belonged Kendall O. and James L. Peabody and Jeremiah F. Daniell, who, fifty years ago, built a paper-mill in the forest that then grew about the falls upon the Winnipesaukee, where the wealthy, wide-awake, and beautiful village of Franklin Falls now stands. The Peabodys, who were bakers by trade, built a small mill at this point about the year 1828. In disposing of their production as bakers they accumulated large quantities of cotton rags, and, as there was little demand for these, they built a miniature paper-mill to convert them into a more salable commodity. Their knowledge of the paper business was very limited, their machinery of the most primitive kind, and their experiment was not at first a success; but they were men not easily turned from their purposes, and, feeling that what they lacked was a practical paper-maker, one of them went to Massachusetts in search of one. He found there Jeremiah F. Daniell, who at the age of thirty-five had seen twenty-one years of service in a paper-mill, and knew the business thoroughly. This young man had been trained in a hard school, and was by education as well as by natural abilities well qualified to prove an efficient helper to men, who, like the Peabodys, were trying to establish a new enterprise in the face of many discouragements. He began his apprenticeship when a boy of fourteen, and from that time until he reached his majority most of his scanty earnings went to support a widowed mother and orphaned brothers and sisters.

When he became of age, his entire property consisted of a suit of clothes, and a five-dollar bill which proved to be counterfeit. With these he started, carrying his shoes in his hand (as a matter of economy), to obtain employment at his trade, which he found at Pepperell. Here he remained several years, and during the time married Sarah Reed, of Harvard, Mass., by whom he had two children, Warren F., the subject of this sketch, who was born June 26, 1826, and Mary, who died in infancy. Subsequently he manufactured paper for himself in Dorchester and Methuen, Mass., and in 1833 went West. Not finding a promising opening, he returned to Massachusetts and was met by Mr. Peabody, who arranged for him to go to Franklin and take charge of the mill there, in which he was given an interest. This he did, and, when a few months later his family joined him, the Daniell homestead was permanently established at the head of the Merrimack. The first efforts of the young manager were directed to supplying the mill with improved machinery, a difficult task, as the owners had little money to spare, and the nearest machine-shop in which an order for that class of machinery could be filled was at South Windham, Conn., but, finally, two eight-horse teams closed a three weeks' journey by landing in Franklin a newly invented paper-machine, and the mill was ready to run in a few months. Meantime, Mr. Daniell had purchased the interest of J. L. Peabody, in the firm which thus became Peabody & Daniell. The machinery was scarcely in position when a fire destroyed the factory and its contents, leaving the owners, in the midst of the hard times of 1837, bankrupt in nearly everything but courage, reputation, and a determination to succeed, which enabled them, after many struggles, to rebuild and proceed in a small way with their business. The erection of the cotton-mills at Manchester soon after gave them an opportunity to purchase large amounts of paper stock at low prices, and from that time they were moderately prosperous.

The next year after the removal of Mr. Daniell from Massachusetts his wife died, and a year later he married Annette Eastman, of Concord. His son Warren was at that time a wide-awake boy, ten years old. He had picked up a little book knowledge in the Massachusetts schools, and in order that he might be further educated without much expense he was sent to Concord, where he worked upon a farm for his board and clothes and privilege of attending school a short time each winter, until he was fourteen, when he was called home and entered the paper-mill as an apprentice, to learn the business with which his name is now so prominently identified. It was his purpose at a later period to attend the academy at Tilton; but on the day on which the term began his father was severely burned by an accident, and he was obliged to take his place in the mill. No other time appeared when he could well be spared, and he continued working there until he was twenty-five years of age, and was a master of the trade in all its branches.

As a journeyman, his wages were one dollar and twenty-five cents per day, a sum which he found sufficient to provide, in those days of frugality, for all the needs of himself and his young wife and child. He was, however, ambitious at some future time to have a mill of his own, and with this object in view left Franklin and contracted with parties at Waterville, Me., to erect and run for them a paper-mill at that place. This occupied him for one year, when he took charge of another mill at Pepperell, Mass., where he remained until 1854. In that year his father bought out Mr. Peabody, and offered to sell him half the establishment if he would return to Franklin, which he did. The firm was then J. F. Daniell & Son, and for the next ten years the business prospered under that name. In 1864 Warren bought his father's interest, and was sole proprietor until 1870, when the mill property, which had grown from modest beginnings to be one of the largest and best known private manufacturing establishments in the state, was sold to a company of Massachusetts capitalists who had organized as the Winnipiseogee Paper Company. Mr. Daniell then become connected with a large paper-house in Boston and removed to that city. He soon tired of life in that crowded metropolis, and, returning to his old home, he purchased a large interest in the company that had succeeded him there, and became its resident agent and manager, which position he still occupies. This company owns and operates at Franklin large paper-mills supplied with the best machinery, employs three hundred men and women, and produces nearly twenty tons of paper daily, and reflects, in its abounding success, the sagacity, energy, and enterprise of the man who plans and directs its operations, who, without the help of a liberal education or wealthy friends, has won his way by hard and patient work to a first place among the business men of New Hampshire.

Few men in our state have been so uniformly successful, and none in compassing their own success have contributed more to that of others. In climbing up, Warren F. Daniell has pulled no one down. The village of three thousand busy, prosperous, and happy people is largely the creation of the paper-mill, in which he has made his money, and its most creditable characteristics are in no small degree the results of his counsel and liberality. The business world acknowledges him as a man of undoubted integrity, thoroughly responsible, and eminently successful. His townsmen and fellow-citizens of New Hampshire know him as a genial, unassuming man, whose good fellowship never tires, whose generosity is inexhaustible, and as one who is never too busy with his own affairs to lend a helping hand to any cause or person that deserves it; as a citizen and friend and neighbor who has shown them how to get money rapidly, and how to spend it freely, intelligently, and helpfully.

Mr. Daniell's first wife was Elizabeth D. Rundlett, of Stratham, N. H. The marriage occurred in 1850, and Mrs. Daniell died while he was at Pepperell, in 1854. He married Abbie A. Sanger, of Concord, in October, 1860, who presides over his elegant home, which is located near the confluence of the Winnipesaukee and Pemigewasset rivers, and surrounded by a broad intervale which liberal outlays have made one of the most fertile and beautiful spots in the Merrimack valley. He has five boys: Harry W., by his first wife; and Eugene S., Otis, Warren F., and Jerie R., the fruit of his second marriage.

He is an enthusiastic farmer, and owns across the river from his home a large and productive farm. He has long been the owner of the best herd of Jersey cattle in the state; his stables always contain some of the finest and fleetest horses; he admires a good dog, and is a skillful breeder of swine and poultry. He has contributed much to the introduction of improved stock, crops, and farm machinery in his neighborhood; has been active and liberal in sustaining the state and local agricultural societies, and in otherwise promoting the farming interest.

In politics, Mr. Daniell is a Democrat; and such has been his popularity among those who have known him best, that even when Franklin gave a Republican majority of seventy-five he was several times elected to represent it in the house, and subsequently was chosen a state senator two years in succession in a district which no other Democrat could have carried. He represented his party in the national convention of 1872, and has always been one of its trusted counselors and most efficient workers. That he would have been its candidate for governor and congress but for his refusal to accept the position is generally known. During the war he gave himself unreservedly to the cause of the Union as represented by the "boys in blue," voting steadily to raise and equip all the men who were needed, giving liberally of his means to provide for them and their families, and supporting, by word and deed on all occasions and in all places, the cause for which they fought.