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
Article from Hurd's HISTORY OF MERRIMACK & BELKNAP COUNTIES
NOAH MARTIN, M.D.
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.
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.