Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Atwood Bond Meservey (1831-1901)

From the History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties, New Hampshire, 1885.

   New Hampshire clergyman Atwood Bond Meservey is yet another example of a New England based minister who also carved out a career in politics, in his case being a one term member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Like Silenus H. Fellows, Pearl Castle Abbey and Cola Di Rienzi Meacham, Meservey walked the line between the ministry and politics, and also gained distinction as an educator, serving as principal of the New Hampton Literary Institution for three decades.
    A native of Appleton, Maine, Atwood Bond Meservey was born in that town on September 30, 1831, being the son of William and Elvina Bond Meservey. Atwood Meservey resided on his family's farm until age nineteen and attended both the Kent's Hill Seminary and the New Hampton Literary Institution. He continued his studies at Andover University and Brown University (from which he received his A.M. degree in 1862) and later received his Philosophy and Divinity doctorates from the Bates College.
   Ordained as a minister in the Free Baptist church in 1861, Meservey accepted a pastorate at the Free-Will Baptist church in Meredith, New Hampshire. He remained there for one year and in 1862 left his pastorate to join the faculty of the New Hampton Literary Institution, where he would be a professor of mathematics and natural sciences. After a five year stint at that school Meservey spent one year as principal at the Northwood Seminary before returning to New Hampton. In 1868 he was named as New Hampton's principal, continuing in that role until his retirement thirty years later.
   Atwood B. Meservey married his first wife Elizabeth Bean in 1861, with whom he had one daughter, Lizzie. Following Elizabeth Meservey's death in 1862 he remarried to Loanna Meade in 1871. The couple would have one child, John Edwin, who died in infancy. Widowed for a second time in 1880, Meservey remarried in 1883 to Clara Bell Fall, who, prior to her death in 1887, bore one son, Arthur Bond (1884-1952). Arthur Bond Meservey would follow his father into a career in academics, being a Professor of Physics at Dartmouth University for over forty years.

The New Hampton Literary Institution as it looked during Meservey's tenure.

   In addition to his lengthy tenure at New Hampton Atwood Meservey was the author of several textbooks, dealing with subjects such as banking, book-keeping, and political economics. Of these works, "Meservey's Book Keeping" proved to have the widest influence, as it was "In use in over five hundred schools in various towns and cities of New England and in over ninety academies and seminaries." Meservey would also author two works of non-fiction, "Through Struggle to Victory" and "Drifting and Resisting".
   Meservey's lone instance in involvement in politics occurred in 1866 when he was elected as New Hampton's representative to the New Hampshire state legislature. Serving during the 1867-1868 house session, Meservey sat on the house committee on education. After leaving the legislature Meservey continued his work at the New Hampton Institute until his retirement in 1898. He resided in New Hampton until his death at age 69 on February 20 1901, having succumbed to a "complicated disease of the kidneys." Meservey was interred at the New Hampton Village Cemetery and later was acknowledged by the Granite State Monthly as
"A man of marked ability, of sound judgement, of phenomenal tact in school management, and of affable disposition, he will be remembered and revered by the thousands of students who have come under his tuition."
From the Centennial Souvenir of the New Hampshire Yearly Meeting of Free Baptists, 1892.

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