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Appendix I: Genealogy

[from life, etc., by Samuel Longfellow, III. 421.]

the name of Longfellow is found in the records of Yorkshire, England, as far back as 1486, and appears under the various spellings of Langfellay, Langfellowe, Langfellow, and Longfellow. The first of the name is James Langfellay, of Otley. In 1510 Sir Peter Langfellowe is vicar of Calverley. In the neighboring towns of Ilkley, Guiseley, and Horsforth lived many Longfellows, mostly yeomen: some of them well-to-do, others a charge on the parish; some getting into the courts and fined for such offences as ‘cutting green wode,’ or ‘greenhow,’ or ‘carrying away the Lord's wood,’—wood from the yew-trees of the lord of the manor, to which they thought they had a right for their bows. One of the name was overseer of highways, and one was churchwarden in Ilkley.

It is well established, by tradition and by documents, that the poet's ancestors were in Horsforth. In 1625 we find Edward Longfellow (perhaps from Ilkley) purchasing ‘Upper House,’ in Horsforth; and in 1647 he makes over his house and lands to [298] his son William. This William was a well-to-do clothier who lived in Upper House, and, besides, possessed three other houses or cottages (being taxed for ‘4 hearths’), with gardens, closes, crofts, etc. He had two sons, Nathan and William, and four or five daughters. William was baptized at Guiseley (the parish church of Horsforth), October 20, 1650.

The first of the name in America was this William, son of William of Horsforth. He came over, a young man, to Newbury, Massachusetts, about 1676. Soon after, he married Anne Sewall, daughter of Henry Sewall, of Newbury, and sister of Samuel Sewall, afterward the first chief justice of Massachusetts. He received from his father-in-law a farm in the parish of Byfield, on the Parker River.1 He is spoken of as ‘well educated, but a little wild,’ or, as another puts it, ‘not so much of a Puritan as some.’ In 1690, as ensign of the Newbury company in the Essex regiment, he joined the ill-fated expedition of Sir William Phipps against Quebec, which on its return encountered a severe storm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One of the ships was wrecked on the island of Anticosti, and William Longfellow, [299] with nine of his comrades, was drowned. He left five children. The fourth of these, Stephen (1), left to shift for himself, became a blacksmith. He married Abigail, daughter of Rev. Edward Tompson, of Newbury, afterward of Marshfield. Their fifth child, Stephen (2), born in 1723, being a bright boy, was sent to Harvard College, where he took his first degree in 1742, and his second in 1745. In this latter year (after having meanwhile taught a school in York) he went to Portland in Maine (then Falmouth), to be the schoolmaster of the town.2

He gained the respect of the community to such a degree that he was called to fill important offices; being successively parish clerk, town clerk, register of probate, and clerk of the courts. When Portland was burned by Mowatt in 1775, his house having been destroyed, he removed to Gorham, where he resided [300] till his death, in 1790. It was said of him that he was a man of piety, integrity, and honor, and that his favorite reading was history and poetry. He had married Tabitha, daughter of Samuel Bragdon, of York. Their eldest son, Stephen (3), was born in 1750, inheriting the name and the farm; and in 1773 he married Patience Young, of York. He represented his town in the Massachusetts legislature for eight years, and his county for several years after as senator. For fourteen years (1797-1811) he was judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and is remembered as a man of sterling qualities, great integrity, and sound common-sense. His second child, Stephen (4), born in Gorham in 1776, graduated at Harvard College in 1798, studied law in Portland, and in 1801 was admitted to the Cumberland Bar, at which he soon attained and kept a distinguished position. In 1814, as a member of the Federalist party, to whose principles he was strongly attached, he was sent as a representative to the Massachusetts legislature. In 1822 he was elected representative to Congress, which office he held for one term. In 1828 he received the degree of Ll. D. from Bowdoin College, of which he was a Trustee for nineteen years. In 1834 he was elected President of the Maine Historical Society. He died in 1849, highly respected for his integrity, public spirit, hospitality, and generosity. In 1804 he had married Zilpah, daughter of General Peleg Wadsworth, of Portland. Of their eight children, Henry Wadsworth was the second. He was named for his mother's brother, a gallant young lieutenant [301] in the Navy, who on the night of September 4, 1804, gave his life before Tripoli in the war with Algiers. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born on the 27th February, 1807; graduated at Bowdoin College in 1825; in 1829 was appointed Professor of Modern Languages in the same college; was married in 1831 to Mary Storer Potter (daughter of Barrett Potter of Portland), who died in 1835; in 1836 was appointed Professor of Modern Languages and Belles-Lettres in Harvard College, which office he held till 1854. He was again married in July, 1843, to Frances Elizabeth Appleton, daughter of Nathan Appleton, of Boston. She died in 1861. Their children were Charles Appleton, Ernest Wadsworth, Frances (who died in infancy), Alice Mary, Edith, and Anne Allegra. He died on the 24th March, 1882. [302]


1 In 1680 Samuel Sewall wrote to his brother in England: ‘Brother Longfellow's father Wm lives at Horsforth, near Leeds. Tell him bro. has a son William, a fine likely child, and a very good piece of land, and greatly wants a little stock to manage it. And that father has paid for him upwards of an hundred pounds to get him out of debt.’ In 1688 William Longfellow is entered upon the town records of Newbury as having ‘two houses, six plough-lands, meadows,’ etc. The year before, he had made a visit to his old home in Horsforth.

2 This was the letter from the minister of the town inviting him:—

Falmouth, November 15, 1744.
Sir,—We need a school-master. Mr. Plaisted advises of your being at liberty. If you will undertake the service in this place, you may depend upon our being generous and your being satisfied. I wish you'd come as soon as possible, and doubt not but you'll find things much to your content.

Your humble ser't,

P. S. I write in the name and with the power of the selectmen of the town. If you can't serve us, pray advise us per first opportunity.

The salary for the first year was £ 200, in a depreciated currency.

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