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The Bay State Monthly — Volume 1, No. 4, April, 1884   By:

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[Illustration: G.H. Perkins]

THE BAY STATE MONTHLY

A MASSACHUSETTS MAGAZINE .

VOL. I.

APRIL, 1884.

NO. IV.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1884, by John N. McClintock and Company, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

CAPTAIN GEORGE HAMILTON PERKINS, U.S.N.

By CAPTAIN GEORGE E. BELKNAP, U.S.N.

In passing up the Concord and Claremont Railroad from Concord, the observant traveler has doubtless noticed the substantial and comfortable looking homestead with large and trim front yard, shaded by thickly planted and generous topped maples, on the right hand side of the road after crossing the bridge that spans

"Contoocook's bright and brimming river,"

at the pleasant looking village of Contoocookville in the northern part of Hopkinton.

There, under that inviting roof, the subject of this sketch, GEORGE HAMILTON PERKINS, the eldest son in a family of eight children, was born, October 20, 1836.

His father, the Honorable Hamilton Eliot Perkins, inherited all the land in that part of the town, and, in early life, in addition to professional work as a counsellor at law and member of the Merrimack County bar, built the mills at Contoocookville, and was, in fact, the founder of the thriving settlement at that point.

His paternal grandfather, Roger Eliot Perkins, came to Hopkinton from the vicinity of Salem, Massachusetts, when a young man, and by his energy, enterprise, and public spirit, soon impressed his individuality upon the community, and became one of the leading citizens of the town.

His mother was Miss Clara Bartlett George, daughter of the late John George, Esquire, of Concord, whose ancestors were among the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. He is said to have been a man of active temperament, prompt in business, stout in heart, bluff of speech, honest in purpose, and never failing in any way those who had dealings with him.

As "the child is father of the man," so the boyhood and youth of Captain Perkins gave earnest of those qualities which in his young manhood the rude tests of the sea and the grim crises of war developed to the full. "No matter" was his first plainly spoken phrase, a hint of childish obstinacy that foreshadowed the persistence of maturer years. Among other feats of his boyish daring, it is told that when a mere child, hardly into his first trousers, he went one day to catch a colt in one of his father's fields bordering on the Contoocook. The colt declined to be caught and after a sharp scamper took to the river and swam across. Nothing daunted, the plucky little urchin threw off his jacket, plunged into the swift current, and safely breasting it, was soon in hot pursuit on the other side; and after a long chase and hard tussle made out to catch the spirited animal and bring him home in triumph. Always passionately fond of animals and prematurely expert in all out door sports, he thus early began to master that noblest of beasts, the horse.

When eight years old, his father removed with his family to Boston, and, investing his means in shipping, engaged for a time in trade with the west coast of Africa. The son was apt to run about the wharves with his father, and the sight of the ships and contact with "Jack" doubtless awoke the taste for the sea, that was to be gratified later on.

Returning to the old homestead on the Contoocook after the lapse of two years or more, the old, quiet, yet for young boyhood, frolicsome out door life was resumed, and the lad grew apace amid the rural scenes and ample belongings of that generous home; not over studious, perhaps, and chafing, as boys will, at the restraint imposed by the study of daily lessons and their recital to his mother.

At twelve years of age, he was sent to the Hopkinton Academy, and afterwards to the academy at Gilmanton. While at Gilmanton, General Charles H... Continue reading book >>


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