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were probably of Norman origin, and took the name of Appleton from some characteristic-such as the orchards -of the lands granted them after the Conquest.
The precise year in which Samuel Appleton of Little Waldingfield came to this country cannot be ascertained. As his name first appears among those who took the freeman's oath on the 25th of May, 1636, he probably came a few months previous to that date. He settled in Ipswich, where he had a grant of lands, large portions of which are still in the possession of his descendants. His son Samuel, born at Little Waldingfield in 1624, and consequently about eleven years of age when his father came to America, became subsequently quite a distinguished man, and took an active and prominent part in the public affairs of the colony. In 1668, and in several succeeding years, he was returned a deputy to the General Court. On the breaking out of King Philip's war, 1675, he received a commission as Captain, "to command a foot company of one hundred men." In this capacity he rendered very important services in protecting the towns on Connecticut River, and exhibited such bravery, skill, and efficiency as a military commander, that he was soon promoted to the rank of Major, and made "Commander-in-chief" of all the forces on Connecticut River. In the expedition into the Narragansett country by the combined forces of the Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Connecticut colonies, under General Winslow, Major Appleton commanded the Massachusetts contingent, about five hundred men, and was present at the bloody battle of the 19th of December and the capture of Narragansett fort. A zealous supporter of the rights and interests of the Colonies, his free speech and independent action made him obnoxious to the government of Sir Edmund Andros, and subjected him to arrest and imprisonment. It is a tradition in the family, that, on the deposition of Sir Edmund, Major Appleton, who had been one of the especial objects of the Governor's
vengeance, was allowed the satisfaction of handing him into the boat that was to convey him to his confinement in the Castle. The fact that on this occasion he was one of the council called to the provisional government of the colony, and also one of the council named in the charter of William and Mary, in 1692, is satisfactory evidence of the confidence reposed in his abilities, integrity, and patriotism.
Isaac Appleton, grandson of the preceding, born at Ipswich in 1704, was one of the sixty inhabitants of Ipswich to whom it was granted in 1735-6, by the General Court, "to lay out a township of six miles square in some of the unappropriated lands of the Province." The township laid out under this grant, and called New Ipswich, was subsequently, by the running of the boundary line between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in 1741, thrown almost entirely into the former Province. The work of settlement was therefore arrested almost as soon as commenced, and several years passed before a satisfactory title was procured from the authorities of New Hampshire. Isaac Appleton did not probably remove to New Ipswich till these difficulties were adjusted. His son Isaac, born at Ipswich, in 1731, was the father of Samuel, the subject of this memoir, whose mother was Mary Adams, daughter of Joseph Adams, of Concord. They had a family of twelve children, of whom Samuel was the third.
Isaac Appleton was a deacon of the church, a man of piety and integrity, highly respected and beloved in the little community of New Ipswich; but of course he and his family were subject to the privations and hardships that necessarily attached to life in a newly settled frontier town a century ago. So far as the characters and future destiny of his children were concerned, these privations were perhaps in reality advantages. They served to develop energy, self-reliance, benevolent and kindly feelings, a manly simplicity, and an elevated, independent tone of
moral sentiment, that were of more worth than all the benefits that come from the more thorough intellectual and conventional culture to be had amid the influences of a great city far advanced in civilization. Undoubtedly the scenes amid which his childhood was passed, his training in a mountainous region, in agricultural employments, and, above all, in the home of wise and pious parents, were among the influences that helped to develop in Mr. Samuel Appleton the intellectual and moral qualities that made his life successful, and as pure and honorable as it was successful, and that won for his character the affectionate respect and confidence of all who knew him.
The district school of his native town was the only seminary of learning which he ever had any opportunity to attend, and this only for a limited portion of the year, till he was sixteen; yet so faithfully had its advantages been improved, that at seventeen he was the teacher of a district school himself, and gave so much satisfaction, that his services in this capacity were in request every winter, in his own or in neighboring towns, so long as he was willing to engage in the office of teaching. Two years before this, however, just as he was completing his fifteenth year, he had an experience and disappointment which cannot be better told than it is by himself in a brief autobiography of his early years, written in the third person.
"In 1781, Mr. R— H——, a merchant of Concord, HN. H., was on a visit at New Ipswich, and observed to Deacon Appleton, 'You have a large number of boys, and if you wish it, I will take one of them to tend my store in Concord.' Upon this slight invitation, and without further ceremony, Samuel was on his way to Concord within three days, with a very small bundle of clothes and fifty cents in cash, to seek his fortune among strangers. He set off on foot, though the travelling was very bad, in March, in very good spirits. To be a trader,
though it might be in a small way, was his hobby. He arrived at Concord about noon the second day after leaving home. Mr. H had not returned home; he had gone to Boston, and was not expected for a week. The boy Samuel told his simple story to Mrs. H-, who was a very superior woman. She told him Mr. Hhad not written her upon the subject; that they did not want another boy in the store, and but for his honest looks she should take him for an impostor. She told him, however, that he might remain, and she would find some work for him to do till her husband returned. . . . Mr. H returned in about a week; his wife told him the whole story, and said they did not want another boy, and when they might want one, she had a nephew she wished to put into the store. Mr. H told the boy he hardly expected him to come to Concord on so slight an invitation, and without anything being said respecting the terms. He told him, however, he might stay for a while and see how he liked shop-keeping. He was immediately put to work in the store. With this kind
of business Samuel was well pleased, and believed he gave satisfaction, till he had been there about four months, when Mrs. H's nephew arrived. Mrs. H— then told Samuel, as she must give the preference to her nephew, she had no further need of his services, and that he had better return to his father. This was to him a severe blow. However, the next day, with a heavy heart and a light purse, he set out for New Ipswich. His father was as much surprised and disappointed at his return as was Mrs. H-, four months before, at his arrival at her house in Concord."
He returned to New Ipswich from this unsuccessful attempt to become a trader," and for four or five years remained at home, assisting his father on the farm in the summer, and teaching a district school, in his own or some neighboring town, in the winter. town, in the winter. When about
twenty-two years of age, he went into Maine with a party of young men to settle a township of land which had been granted to Hon. C. Barrett. Mr. Appleton went partly as agent for Mr. Barrett, and with some design of making it his permanent residence. "I took for myself," he says, in one of his letters, "a lot of land more than two miles from any other settlement, and for some time. carried my provisions on my back, going through the woods by marked trees to my log-house and home at that time." Nearly sixty years afterwards, he presented a bell for a meeting-house erected in this town, then known as "Hope," now called "Appleton," rejoicing, as he says, "that the Gospel is preached within three miles of the place where I spent three long summer seasons, during which time I never heard the sound of a church-going bell, or ever heard a sermon, or the voice of prayer, there being at that time no place of public worship within twenty miles of my humble dwelling."
The experience and discipline of this pioneer life in Maine served to develop yet further his energy and selfreliance, to mature his self-knowledge, and indicate the path of activity and enterprise that would be most in harmony with his tastes and powers. This was evidently not that of the farmer. "His special gift was not for handling the axe or guiding the plough," though he could do these well. He wished to become a merchant, and accordingly, leaving Maine, he entered into trade, first with Colonel Jewett at Ashburnham, and subsequently with Mr. Barrett at "the foot of the old Meeting-house Hill in New Ipswich." But his energy and activity required a larger sphere. He removed to Boston in 1794, and commenced a business which at once became prosperous, and soon large and extensive. In 1799, having formed a partnership with his brother Nathan, under the firm of "S. & N. Appleton," he made his first voyage to Europe, and for the next twenty years much of his time was