FRANK MORTIMER MESSENGER

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  52

FRANK MORTIMER MESSENGER,  of Thompson, Windham county, who for many years has been agent for the mills of the Grosvenor Dale Company, and who is an active worker and minister in the Holiness Church, is one of the substantial men and useful citizens of his community.

Born April 3, 1852, in Stoddard, N.H., Mr. Messenger is a son of Silas and grandson of Samuel Messenger, of Stoddard, N.H., and the vicinity of Wrentham, Mass., respectively.  Samuel Messenger married Lavina Blake, of Wrentham, and to them came ten children – five sons and five daughters.  Of these Silas, born in Stoddard, married Arvilla, daughter of Isaac Copeland, of the same town, and was engaged in farming and as a house carpenter in Stoddard, where he held the respect, confidence and esteem of his fellow townsmen.  The children born to this marriage were:  Mary, Alma, Erksine, Addison, Edson, Winslow, Henry E., George B., Alice C., Frank M. and Helen A.  Of these, Addison died while in the service of his country during the Civil war;  George B. died in childhood;  and Helen A. passed away at the age of nine.

The Messengers of the early Colonial period of Boston and Wrentham, Mass., descended from Henry and Sarah Messenger, who resided in Boston prior to 1640.  Henry, a joiner by trade, was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company there in 1659, a freeman in 1665, and died probably in 1681.

(II)          Thomas Messenger, born March 22, 1661, married Elizabeth, daughter of John and Martha Mellows.  Thomas was one of the fourteen men selected in 1693 from seven military companies, he from Major Savage’s company.

(III)       Henry Messenger, born Feb. 28, 1695, in Boston, married Jan. 5, 1720, Esther, daughter of Israel and Bridget Cheevers, of Cambridge.  Mr. Messenger was graduated from Harvard College in 1717 or 1719, and was ordained minister of the First Congregational Church in Wrentham, Mass., Dec. 5, 1719, and so continued until his death, March 30, 1750, when in the thirty-second year of his ministry.  “He was a gentleman of unblemished reputation, and was highly esteemed for his piety and virtue.  He had the character of a plain, faithful, affable and profitable preacher.”  His twelve children were:  Thomas, born in 1721, died the same year;  Mary, born Aug. 28, 1722, married Rev. Elias Haven, who was settled over the church in what is now Franklin, Mass.;  Esther, born Jan. 15, 1724, married Rev. Amariah Frost, of Mendon, Mass.;  Sarah, born Nov. 27, 1725, married (first) Dr. Cornelius Kolluck, of Wrentham, and (second) Rev. Benjamin Caryl, of Dover, Mass.;  Henry, born Nov. 18, 1727, died in 1729;  Elizabeth, born Feb. 3, 1729, married Rev. Joseph Bean, of Wrentham;  John, born Oct. 30, 1731, married (first) Mary Messenger, (second) Melatiah Corbet, and (third) Phebe Guild;  Samuel, born Jan. 29, 1733, married and settled in Holliston, Mass.;  Jerusha, born in September, 1734, married Ebenezer Fisher, Jr., of Wrentham;  Daniel, born Oct. 11, 1735, married Mary Brostow and settled in Wrentham (parents of the late Col. Daniel, of Boston);  James, born Dec. 4, 1737 (Harvard, 1762), married Elizabeth Fisher, and was the first minister of Ashford, Conn., in 1769;  William, born March 3, 1739, died March 5, 1741.

(IV)       Daniel Messenger, born Oct. 11, 1735, married Mary Brostow, and settled in Wrentham as a farmer.  He died Jan. 11, 1812, and his widow passed away in February, 1836, aged ninety-four.  Their twelve children were:  Mary, born March 9, 1764;  James, born Sept. 20, 1765, died in 1768;  Daniel, born June 17, 1768, married May 26, 1793, Susanna Hinckley;  Sally, born March 25, 1770, married Timothy Dexter;  one born in 1771, died unnamed;  Henry, born March 23, 1773, married (first) Frances Bowen, and (second) Esther Gould;  William, born Feb. 24, 1775, married Diraxa Fales, of Wrentham;  Repsima, born March 9, 1777, married Daniel Woodbury, of New London, N.H.;  Esther, born April 19, 1779, married Capt. Robert Hinckley, of Milton;  Horace, born Sept. 19, 1781, married Olive Hancock, of Wrentham;  Elizabeth, born July 29, 1783, married Erasmus J. Purce, of Philadelphia;  and Sampson, born in September, 1785, died unmarried, May 22, 1821.

Another of the Wrentham settlers was Ebenezer Messenger, of the third generation, a son of Thomas, born June 2, 1697.  He married (first) Jan. 26, 1719, Rebecca Sweetser, and (second) Nov. 3, 1766, Hannah Metcalf.  He had eight children by his first wife, one of whom, Sweetser, had a son Samuel, born May 12, 1761.

Frank M. Messenger remained upon his father’s farm until fourteen years of age, meanwhile attending the neighborhood school for two terms each year.  Removing with his parents to Munsonville, N.H., he sought employment in a chair factory, and there continued until the age of sixteen, meanwhile, pursuing his studies during intervals of leisure.  He next found employment in a cotton factory, and later spent a year as a clerk in Norway, Maine.  After a second period of work in the chair factory he at nineteen accepted an engagement as card grinder in a cotton factory at Winchendon, Mass., and was soon promoted to second overseer in the same department.  Mr. Messenger next removed to Manchester, N.H., in the employ of the Amoskeag company, and on leaving the latter place returned to Munsonville in the capacity of overseer.  He then located successively in Shirley, Waltham and Newton, Mass., as overseer, and finally settled in Manchaug, in the same State, remaining four years and receiving promotion while there to the position of overseer of the carding and spinning department.  At the expiration of this time he returned to Shirley as superintendent of the Phoenix & Fredonia mills,  In all of these years he was building better than he knew, for in November, 1883, he was tendered and accepted the position of superintendent of the Grosvenor Dale mills, in the town of Thompson, Conn., and in January, 1887, was made the agent of all the mills of that company.  This was the reward for close application to his daily tasks – a true devotion to duty.  This responsible position he has since continued to hold, and the mills under his successful management have been enlarged and their capacity increased some seventy per cent.

In his political views Mr. Messenger is a stanch Prohibitionist, but, while actively interested in affairs connected with both State and county, he has declined all tenders of office.  He was at one time one of the board of directors of the Thompson National Bank of Putnam.  He is secretary of the Portsmouth Campmeeting Association.  His religious connections are with the Peniel Holiness Church, in which he is an ordained minister and a leader in its activities, and in this his wife is an active co-worker with him.  Mr. Messenger is a forceful expounder of the Gospel, and his services are sought far and near.  His work for the Master seems but history repeating itself, for it may be observed from the foregoing that a number of the Messenger family before him were devout workers in the vineyard.  He is one of the greatly esteemed citizens of Thompson.

On Feb. 3, 1874, Mr. Messenger was married to Eliza J., daughter of John and Sarah Smith, of Winchendon, Mass.  She died the following year, and he was married, second, May 13, 1879, to Mary A., daughter of John and Mary Young, of Newton, Mass.  They have had children as follows:  Frank M., Mabel W., Don E., Harry M., Marion and Helen.  On June 22, 1902, Mr. And Mrs. Messenger were sadly bereaved in the death of their eldest son, a young man of great promise, of unusual intellect and high moral character.  He was born May 7, 1881, at Manchaug, Mass., attended the village school, and after his parents removed to Grosvenor Dale had the advantage of the local public schools, completing the course at the Webster high school.  Wishing to further his studies, he entered the Worcester Academy, but was obliged to leave during the second year because of ill health.  After recuperating he decided to take up the business his father had so long successfully followed, and asked permission to be allowed to work in the mills a few years, so that he might become familiar with the work in all its details.  Almost two years were spent thus, and he then entered the Lowell Textile school, at Lowell, Mass., where he studied the technicalities of design.  There, as elsewhere, his ambition exceeded his strength, and he was obliged to give up study and return home, where he passed away after a lingering illness.  At the time of his death a local paper said:  “In the death of Frank M. Messenger, Jr., the community loses a young man of exceptionally good character.  He possessed a quiet even disposition, which won for him the friendship of all, and his untimely death cast a gloom of sadness over the entire community.”

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel

 

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