John Nesmith

John Nesmith

name= John Nesmith

order= 25th
office= Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
term_start= 1862
term_end= 1862
governor= John Albion Andrew
predecessor= John Z. Goodrich
successor= Joel Hayden
party= Republican

John Nesmith (August 3, 1793, Windham, New Hampshire - October 15, 1869) was an American politician who served as Lieutenant Governor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1862.

Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Mass., Vol 3 writes:

Till his twenty-ninthyear he was intimately connected with the historyof his native town and mingled activelyin its affairs. He was prominent in politicsearly in life; was town treasurer in 1819 and1820 and representative to the general courtin 1821. In 1822 he removed to Derry, formerlya part of the town of Londonderry. Hecommenced life a comparatively poor boy andhad only the education of the common schoolsof his day. At the age of fourteen he becameclerk in the general store formerly conductedby his father and served an apprenticeshipof five years. When he was nineteen yearsold he and his elder brother Thomas startedin business on their own account in a generalstore at Windham. They prospered and assoon as their cash capital and enlarged credit would warrant the adventure they removed to New York City and built up a large and highly profitable trade. In 1831, foreseeing the future importance of Lowell, Massachusetts, as a manufacturing centre, the brothers settled in that city. Lowell is not far from their native town ; doubtless their love for the old New Hampshire hills influenced their selection of a location as well as their personal knowledge of the town and its vast possibilities as a manufacturing place. They invested largely in real estate and identified themselves with every movement and measure calculated to develop the town or increase its prosperity. They were leaders in enterprise and progress, shrewd and farsighted men of affairs. John Nesmith became interested in the manufacture of blankets, flannels, printing cloths, sheetings and other textile fabrics and that became eventually his principal vocation. He became agent or part owner in mills in Lowell, Dracut, Chelmsford, Hooksct and other places, and managed those enterprises with almost unvarying and uninterrupted success. He was also a large stockholder in the Merrimack Woolen Mills Company. Appreciating more than any other man the natural advantages of the water powers which have made Lowell what she is, he bethought himself of securing the supply of water in Winnepesaukee and Squam lakes in New Hampshire as reservoirs for the Lowell Mills in dry seasons and letting the water into the Merrimac river when needed by artificial canals. This brilliant conception was at first scouted by the manufacturers along the river, but Mr. Nesmith, satisfied that they would eventually require the water, bought the right to use both these lakes for the purpose and before long the manufacturers had to buy of him at a handsome profit.
Mr. Nesmith was the first to discern the natural fitness of the site now occupied by the flourishing city of Lawrence on the Merrimac river for a manufacturing point, and made large purchases of land on both sides of the river, securing also the necessary charter to control the water power. About 1844 his bold scheme attracted the attention it deserved from from Boston capitalists, and factories began to rise at Lawrence as if by magic, and that prosperous city has amply vindicated the wisdom of its real founder, John Nesmith. He bought the Gedney estate at Belvidere. Lowell, with its large mansion house, the Old Yellow House, as it was called, erected in 1750. He laid out several streets, giving his name to one of them. His purchase being made soon after the formation of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company, he sold theproperty to good advantage. While carryingon these varied and arduous undertakings Mr.Nesmith still found time to devote to mechanicalstudy and experiment. Several of hisdiscoveries and inventions were of great importanceand value—among others the well-known machines for making wire fence andshawl fringe.
Though naturally averse to mingling inpolitics, and never stooping to the acts bywhich popularity is often won, he was electedto various offices in the city government ofLowell, where his sound practical sense andextraordinary business capacity were acknowledgedand appreciated by his townsmen ofboth parties. Like most anti-slavery men hejoined the Republican party when it was formed,and he was a presidential elector from hisstate in the college that choose Abraham Lincolnpresident both in 1861 and 1865. Hecontributed freely of his means to assist theanti-slavery movement. He was elected lieutenant-governor of Massachusetts on theticket with Governor John A. Andrew in 1862and declined a re-election the following year.He was afterward appointed United Statescollector of internal revenue for his district,an office in which a zealous and active mancould give tangible support to the governmentin its hour of greatest need by discoveringthe taxable property and preventing adroitevasions. He filled the position ably andcreditably until his resignation only twelvedays before he died.
Mr. Nesmith's attachment to the principlesof his party was that of the moralist ratherthan that of the partisan, and he never lostthe respect and confidence of either friends oropponents in political affairs. The temperancemovement in Massachusetts early engagedhis hearty support and liberal contributions,and he was for some years president ofthe State Alliance. From the large fortuneacquired by his tact and industry, he madegenerous donations to many objects of charityand benevolence which won his sympathy,and was invariably kind and hospitable to hisfriends and neighbors. In his home he wasespecially affectionate and charming. He madein his will handsome provision for the care,support and education of the indigent blindof New Hampshire, a foundation known asthe Nesmith Fund; and also provided a publicpark in the town of Franklin, New Hampshire [cite book
last = Cutter
first = William Richard
title = Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Mass., Vol 3
publisher = Lewis Historical Publishing Company
pages = 1114-1115
year = 1908
url =


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