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Early Life and Education



By Gilman H. Tucker,





The “Early Life and Education ” of John Dudley Philbrick contain the material, which, in the hands of a master, would enrich a romance. But with plain speech, and within a brief space, only the simplest and chiefest facts can be recited.

He was born on the twenty-seventh day of May, in the year eighteen hundred and eighteen. He always marked his birthday by the time of the apple-tree blossoms, which his father had told him were, in this day and year, at their fulness. He was the youngest in a family of three children, having a sister three years older and a brother a year

and a half older than himself. The Philbricks were of a sturdy race of handworkers, possessed of that strength and resolution which come from battling with obstacles. Starting out as pioneers in subduing a new country, all their powers were taxed in winning a subsistence from the soil, and laying by a modest competency for their families. Primarily farmers, the necessities of living in a new country made them at the same time carpenters, blacksmiths, and workers in all needed handicraft. They were independent and self-respecting men, but not otherwise distinguished.

Peter Philbrick, the father of John Dudley, was of the third generation which had occupied the homestead farm in Deerfield, N. H., his grandfather, James, having gone there and taken up and cleared the wild land, in the first settlement of the town. Peter was a man of individual character, possessing strong moral qualities and an active intellect, with a decided religious tendency in his nature, and a touch of humor and poetry withal. From his spirituality and power of natural eloquence, he became a leader and exhorting Elder in his church, the Free Will Baptist. In his homestead he possessed a fair country inheritance, but it was burdened with a debt, through some sharpness and dishonesty that had been practiced upon his predecessor. He was an industrious, energetic, and hard-working farmer, but not a thrifty manager, and his devotion to preaching sometimes diverted him from the closest attention to his farm.

With the hope of bettering his situation, he made several removes, locating one year at Epping, another at Stratham, and another at Amesbury, Mass., — when

John was from ten to thirteen years of age, - with hardly

any other result than enlarging the family horizon, when they again returned to the homestead.

On the maternal side, through his mother, Elizabeth Dudley, he came of a line of strong and fine intellectual fibre. The Dudleys were prominent in the Eastern Colonies from the first settlement of New England, as gov


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