Noah Martin


Noah Martin (1801-1863)

Noah Martin was born on July 26, 1801 in Epsom, New Hampshire, son of Samuel Martin, a shoemaker of probable Scotch-Irish descent, and Sally (Cochran) Martin. He had seven brothers and sisters: Mary, Thomas, James, Elizabeth, Caroline and Nancy Martin. He married on Oct. 25, 1825, Mary Jane Woodbury, daughter of Dr. Robert Woodbury of Barrington, NH, and had two daughters, Elizabeth A. and Caroline M. Martin. Noah Martin attended Epsom District schools and had private tutoring from the Rev. Jonathan Curtis before attending Permbroke Academy. He apprenticed under physicians in Pembroke and Deerfield, New Hampshire for threre years before attending the Dartmouth College medical school, from which he gratudated in the class of 1824. He practiced medicine in Pembroke (1824-1825), Great Falls (1825-1834) and in Dover from 1834, where he later was founder and first president of the Dover Medical Association in 1849. He was a member of the Strafford District Medical Society from 1835-1863; its president 1841-1842, and in 1836 was elected a fellow of the New Hampshire Medical society and was its president in 1858. Among other duties he was a member of the American Medical Association, president of the Strafford County Savings Bank (1844-1852), Director of the Dover Bank(1847-1855) and Director of the Strafford Bank (1860-1863). His service also included being elected a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in 1853, and became its vice president in 1855; a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1855; and was a trustee of the New Hampshire Reform School from 1855 to1863. Further, his strong interest in agriculture saw him as an incorporator of the New Hampshire Agricultural Society and was its vice president from 1849 to 1851.

Politically, he was a Jacksonian Democrat, and as such was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1830, 1832 and 1837. During the years 1835 and 1836 he was a member of the state Senate. As a Democrat he was elected Governor of the State of New Hampshire in 1852 defeating John Atwood of the Free Soil party (30,800 votes to 9,497), and Thomas E. Sawyer, a Whig (19, 857 votes). He was re-elected in 1853 (30,934 votes) defeating John F. White of the Free Soil party (7,995 votes) and James Bell, the Whig candidate (17, 590 votes).

As Governor, Noah Martin proposed a state Agricultural Commission and urged that agriculture came under the responsibility of state educational institutions and cautioned the legislature against chartering competitive railroad lines where there was enough business to support only one, urging them to make railroads penally responsible for loss of life or injury through carelessness. He was an advocate for private rather than state ownership of public utilities and natural resources.

He was Governor of New Hampshire at the same time as New Hampshire's native son Franklin Pierce was President, and the Governor advocated the enforcement of the national fugitive slave law (made legal by the Supreme Court, 1857, Dred Scott decision). During the time of his governorship the state continued with economic expansion and prosperity. Following his two years as Governor, Noah Martin returned to Dover and his medical practice where he died May 28, 1863. He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity and the Order of Odd-Fellows.

Information from the 20th Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans; an aritcle by Frank C. Meyers, NHHS; and the "History of Belknap and Merrimack Counties by Hurd."

Portrait copied by A. Tenney from original by N.B. Onthank. Presented by his widow (1873).

Location: State House, Second Floor, Corridor, West Face, Beginning at Room 208



The active and energetic family of Martin has impressed itself on many nationalities, and those bearing that name have attained eminence in various fields of honor and usefulness. The American family goes back through Scotch-Irish stock to the time when France and Scotland were so intimately connected, and, perhaps, to the time when William, the Conqueror, marshaled his adherents and retainers for the bloody battle of Sanguelac or Hastings, which decided the fate of England and changed the course of civilization, for on the list of those who accompanied him were several of the name. In France it has been an illustrious name in law, science and literature. Five of the Popes have borne the name. Everywhere we find among the members of the Martin family ambitious hard-working, successful, men of more than ordinary ability.
Early in the eighteenth century, when the stalwart and freedom-loving defenders of Londonderry, Ireland, emigrated to America to found a new Londonderry in a land where religious persecution should not seek their blood, Nathaniel Martin, the earnest man, with Margaret Mitchell, his wife, and son William, were among the early settlers who made a home in this wild and strange country. Nowhere in America have been found more honest virtues or more sterling qualities than were in this notable settlement, and the descendants of these people may well look with pride upon their Scotch-Irish ancestry.
William (2) was born in 1712; married Hannah Cochrane. Their children were Mary, James, Nathaniel, William, Robert, Samuel and Hannah.
Samuel (3), born May 26, 1762; married Sally, eldest daughter of Major James Cochrane, of Pembroke, N.H., and had Polly, Thomas, James, Noah and Nancy.
Noah (4), born in Epsom, N.H., July 26, 1801; married, October 25, 1825, Mary Jane, daughter of Dr. Robert Woodbury, of Barrington, and had two daughters,-Elizabeth A. and Caroline M. He died May 28, 1863, of apoplexy. Mrs. Martin died June 30, 1880.
Noah Martin, M.D., was studious from early life, and, his tastes leading him in that direction, he elected to follow the study of medicine, and persevered through many difficulties until he had acquired a thorough classical and professional education. After the usual attendance at the district schools and private tuition of Rev. Jonathan Curtis, he became a pupil at Pembroke Academy, where he had the benefit of instruction from those able preceptors, the Rev. Amos Burnham and Professor John Vose. His professional studies were commenced in the office of Dr. Pillsbury, of Pembroke, with whom he remained one year, and he finished his preparatory medical education with Dr. Graves, of Deerfield, being with him two years. He then entered the Medical Department at Dartmouth College, and was graduated in the class of 1824, and soon after was associated with Dr. Graves and in practice in Deerfield one year. In 1825, Dr. Martin removed to Great Falls, and, being a thorough student, he felt that to keep abreast of his profession he must have a catholicity of thought that would allow him to discriminate and use those discoveries in medical science whichcould be made beneficial to his fellow men. and he soon showed that skill and enegery which is the key-note of success, acquired a large and lucrative practice, and was a leading member of the medical fraternity. After nine years residence in great falls he removed to Dover. His established reputation both as a physician and surgeon, brought him at once into the confidence of the people of Dover. And now, after ten years of professional life, Dr. Martin was considered one of the best physicians and surgeons in the State; in fact, the leading physician in that section, and the consulting physician in cases requiring superior medical skill. His natural dignity of men men and courteous bearing, united with his social qualities, pleasing address and sympathetic heart, made him very popular. Generous in the matter of his services, prompt to answer the call of those from whom no renumeration could come as well as that of the weathliest man, all who sought his counsel found him faithful and sure, always ready with kind words of advice and encouragement, and in the many delicate offices connected with his profession he displayed that discrimination sense, judgement and tact, conjoined with a nice observance of a tender and scrupulous confidence, which were among this characteristics, and endeared him to the hearts of his patients. He was deeply devoted to his profession, pursuing it with ceaseless ardor, giving it his greatest thought and study, making many sacrifices of a personal nature for its benefit, keeping thoroughly informed regarding all matters pertaining to it and calling to his aid its most advanced thought. His career was an eminiently successful one and he demonstrated what determination, perseverance, untiring application and love for his noble art could do, and filled an honorable and high position.

In politics Dr. Martin was Democratic, of that honest and stable Jacksonian type which holds the object of the nation to the paramount good of the people. With but little ambtition for political preferment, he was not always able to resist the importunities of political and personal friends, and was often brought forward for political office. He was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1830, 1832 and 1837, to the New Hampshire Senate in 1835 and 1836; and in 1852 and 1853 he was elected to the highest office of the State, that of Governor.

Dr. Martin was elected a member of the Strafford District Medical Society in 1835, and was chosen its president in 1841 and 1842; a member of the State Medical Society in 1836, and its President in 1858; and a member of the American Medical Association in 1849. He was one of the founders of the Dover Medical Association, and its first president in 1849, and re-elected in 1850. He was elected a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society in 1853, also New England Historical Genealogical Society the same year; and vice president of the same, for New Hampshire in 1855. He was one of the organizers of the Dover Library, and its president in 1851, 1852 and 1853. He was a member of the board of trustees of the New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane in 1852, and 1853, and member of the board of trustees of rhe House of Reformation for Juvenile and Female offenders in 1855. He was one of the incorporators of the State Agricultural Society, and was elected vice-president of the same in 1851. He was chosen president of the Savings-Bank for the County of Strafford in 1844, holding the office until 1852, when he declined a re-election; was a leading director of the Dover Bank from 1847 to 1855 when he resigned; also a director of the Strafford Band from 1860 to the time of his death. He also held various other offices of trust. He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity and of the Order of Odd-Fellows.

In all the various relations of life, the kindliness of heart of Dr. Martin, his gentlemanly and unostentatious manner and his pre-eminent abilities won him warm friends and admirers. Never was a man more conscientious in the discharge of official duties or private trusts, and never could the evil-minded find aught against his integrity or the purity of his motives.