The BEEDE Family in Sandwich

The BEEDE Family in Sandwich

By Patricia L. and Arthur M. Heard

"When Daniel Beede set out to survey the grant to the proprietors of the town of Sandwich, King George III was the monarch to whom he owned fealty, and continued so until the representatives for the Province of New Hampshire signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776"

In 1983, Martha J. Fenn presented to the Sandwich Historical Society the results of many years research in the form of a definitive genealogy of the Beede Family. Such a gift adds greatly to the store of knowledge that the Society is accumulating on Sandwich families and is greatly appreciated by all who love our town and the history of its people.

Few families have played a larger role in the history of Sandwich than the Beedes. Daniel Beede was not only the Proprietors’ Agent, but the first surveyor of Sandwich. In 1767 he began to lay out the town in ranges of lots, which he did not actually complete until about 1788 when the proprietors gave him $30 to finish the job. Beede was without doubt the outstanding man in town. He built the mill on Red Hill River that attracted settlers to the area that became Center Sandwich, even though the area around Potash (Little’s) Pond had been the first center of settlement and activity. His own "mansion" was eventually built on the brow of Wentworth Hill across the road from where he and his party of workmen hastily put up a shelter on the day they arrived from Gilmanton. Beede’s family on the farm in Gilmanton continued to send provisions to him until he was able to provide for them from his Sandwich place.

Daniel Beede was trusted as a leader by his neighbors, who, when the town government was organized, chose him as one of the first selectmen, the first town clerk (from 1773 until 1794), and delegate to the provincial Congress at Exeter on the eve of the Revolution. He was commissioned a Justice of the Peace, and as such married many of the early inhabitants of the town. The town sent him as representative to the General Court thirteen times between 1775 and 1795. In the latter year he was named a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Strafford County, which office he filled for four years, resigning in the year in which he died, age 70.

Judge Beede was the second son of Eli Beede who emigrated from the Isle of Jersey in 1715 at the age of 14 by the expedient of stowing away aboard ship. Discovered, the teenager helped work out his passage by darning the stockings of fellow passengers, according to tradition. Having succeeded in wresting a town from a wilderness, this giant of a man rose to preeminence among the sturdy settlers on the borders of the nation. No impressive monument marks the site of his grave; he is buried beneath a simple fieldstone marker in the little cemetery that is near the site of his original shelter of a generation before.

Judge Beede’s brother Thomas’s son, John Beede, Sr., was a prominent man in Sandwich and had a mill on the brook leading from Barville Pond to Squam Lake. He was associated with Governor John Taylor Gilman, and it is said that they expected to have the center of the town's settlement on their land in the Red Hill-Squam Lake area. However, John Beede, Sr., served on the committee that pushed through the Notch Road which determined, in effect, that the main village in the town would be at Hoit’s Corner or, now, Center Sandwich. James H. "Jim" Beede (1863-1969), popular town treasurer for 33 years, was descended from this line.

The Beedes may have had the sad distinction of being the first bereaved family in town. In 1775 Daniel Beede was returning to Sandwich from a court session when he was seized with the conviction that his son Elijah was in danger. On going by the northeast end of Squam Lake, he saw men lifting the lifeless body of his son, Elijah, out of the water.

The Beede clan certainly obeyed the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply as can be seen by the number of their descendants. In the Census of 1800, nine Beedes are listed as heads of household, and in the Tax Book of Sandwich for 1840, twenty individuals are listed as taxpayers, i.e., heads of household.

Though Judge Daniel Beede himself never officially joined the Society of Friends (Quakers), many of his family were connected with this sect. Cyrus Beede, the miller, was a prominent Quaker who ultimately gave up his important and lucrative trade to become a full-time preacher. Mehitable Beede Wiggin, another member of the Society of Friends, was known as an outstanding scholar and teacher. She passed on her love of learning to many Sandwich inhabitants, not least to Daniel Greenleaf Beede. This renowned member of the Beede family established the Beede Normal Institute in 1857 in Center Sandwich—a school known in its day as one of the best teacher-training schools in the state.

The Sandwich Historical Society owes a particular debt to the Beede family. In August 1917 Carl G. Beede called a meeting of those interested in the formation of a historical society. Though never wishing to be president, Carl G. Beede and his wife Abbie Roberts Beede immersed themselves in Historical Society activities and did much to preserve and record the early history of the town.

This document was transcribed from a copy of the original and converted to HTML August 14, 1997 by Jack W. Ralph.. The words are the same but references to genealogy charts that accompanied the original manuscript have been omitted.

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