CAPTAIN CHARLES E. REMICK, ex-Sheriff of Madison County and a resident of Oneida, was the second child of Samuel Kelly and Sophia (Cushman) Remick, and was born in Barnet, Vt., May 6, 1840. His ancestry was English, the founder of the family coming over in the "Mayflower." The great-grandfather of Captain Charles E. Remick was James Remick, born at Haverhill, August 15,
1760, and died
July 18, 1836, at Barrington, N.H. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He married Mary Kinsman, of Ipswich, Mass., September 10, 1782. She was born December 18, 1762; and her death occurred September 19, 1840.
The father of James Remick was David Remick, born in Charleston, Mass., February 22, 1732, and died June 30, 1793. He served as a soldier in the French and Indian War, and for his services in that struggle was commissioned as a Lieutenant of a Massachusetts company, the commission being dated May 21, 1759. This commission was signed by Governor Thomas Pownall in the name of King George. He also served in the Revolutionary War, and secured by capture a pair of silver link sleeve-buttons and a brass chafing dish, both taken from the tent of General Burgoyne at Saratoga. These trophies and family relics have been transmitted by will from one generation to another, until at the present time they are in the possession of Daniel Clark Remick, of Littleton, N.H., a brother of the subject of this sketch, by whom they are valued highly as family heirlooms. The wife of David Remick was Susan Whittier, of Haverhill, Mass., their marriage occurring March 25, 1757. She died in 1794. The poet Whittier of our times was related to her.
The grandfather of our subject was Daniel Remick, born February 22, 1785; and he was in early years a resident of the Province of Ontario, Canada. He grew up there to the business of a farmer, manufacturer, and furrier, but came to the States when a young man, and when they were still colonial possessions of Great Britain. He participated in the Revolutionary War, fighting bravely in that memorable struggle for liberty and independence, and after peace was declared settled in Vermont, in which State he followed his usual avocations, becoming known as a prominent manufacturer in Danville, Barnet, Peacham, and St. Johnsbury. He died in Danville, June 13, 1827, after a useful and active life, his death being mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. He was married December 25, 1806, to Miss Olive Kelly, who was born at Dover, Mass., December 22, 1784. She was of good parentage, and was, so far as can now be ascertained, descended from old New England stock. She died January 4, 1849, having reared a large family, of which Samuel Kelly was the second son, and became the parent of Mr. Remick of this notice.
On the maternal side Mr. Remick is a descendant of the distinguished Cushman family, the members of which have for generations graced every profession and noble calling, the original ancestor being no less a personage than Sir Robert Cushman, who, as history narrates, was one of the gallant band of Pilgrims who in 1620 landed from the good ship "Mayflower" on Plymouth Rock, and with firm hands and sturdy hearts laid the foundations of that glorious liberty which is to-day the pride and boast of every true American. To Sir Robert belongs the credit of preaching the first sermon that was ever printed in New England, which he did in the "Common House" in Plymouth, Mass., December 12, 1621. He was famed for his goodness, probity, and courage. He was born in England, probably between
1580 and 1585, and was one of the brave nonconformists who refused to accept the teachings or conform to the ceremonials of the established Church of England, and left their native country in order that they might enjoy liberty of conscience in a new and free land. It is shown by a carefully prepared genealogy of the Cushman family, issued by Henry Wyles Cushman in 1855, that the family, while a large one, has come down in an unbroken chain from this first distinguished gentleman to the present day; and, find them where you will, their career has been upright and honorable.
The father of our subject, Samuel Kelly Remick, was born in Barnet, Vt., October 11, 1816. He was an enterprising man, largely engaged in manufacturing clothing in Hardwick, Vt., and was keen and shrewd in character, alive to the merits of a bargain and quick to take advantage of one. So with these characteristics he soon made considerable money in his business. Unfortunately, in a large fire, which did great damage in his town, and in which his property was destroyed, he lost almost all his savings. To better his fortunes, he went to California in 1852, making the long journey around the "Horn" in the clipper ship "Grecian," being about nine months on the voyage. He engaged in mining, was among the explorers who first discovered gold in the Frazier River country, and located there. His experiences in this wild region, the camp life remote from any settlement or mail facilities, the mingling with people from every nation under the sun, the alternate fluctuation of hope one day and despair the next, would fill a volume of itself. For many years his people heard nothing from him; but, when he had secured what he deemed an ample sufficiency in gold dust, his thoughts turned toward the wife and children in Vermont, and he made up his mind to return to his home. Before leaving California, however, he made and lost large sums of money in speculation, and invested in landed interest in Linn City, Ore. He was also concerned in some heavy cases in litigation about various properties there. His attorneys were Senators Williams and Kelley. After settling these matters, he started home on a steamer which was blown up, and he was one of the very few who were saved. All this took many months, and he was almost looked on by his family and friends as among the dead. It was both like and unlike the coming home of Enoch Arden, for communication had been at long intervals and infrequent, and he knew very little of the fortunes of his loved ones; and, as he set foot once more in his native village,
"His heart foreshadowing all calamity,
His eyes upon the stones, he reached the home
Where his wife lived and loved him and his babes
In those far-off seven happy years were born."
The day on which he arrived was the one ever sacred and of paramount importance to the New Englander, for it was Thanksgiving Day. In the chill November evening, as he approached his house and saw the ruddy glare of the firelight, his heart beat fast as he wondered if they would recognize him. He had grown a. long beard, and the privations and hardships of the past years had left their furrows on his face, so that he regarded immediate recognition as very improbable. But as he timidly knocked at the door, and, on its being opened, stood in their midst, the keen eyes of his loving son Charles gave but one glance, when the glad cry of "Father!" went up; and he was immediately clasped in the arms of wife and children. The scene that followed was too sacred for words. Friends gathered around him, his adventures were told over and over again, and a merrier Thanksgiving had not been celebrated in that old town in many years.
In later years he moved to St. Johnsbury, Vt.. and bought a hotel; afterward went to Colebrook, N.H., and bought a hotel there, improved the property, and lived there until his death, at the age of sixty-six years. His wife, Sophia, was born October 12, 1817, and was of a very prominent New England family. There were eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Remick, namely: Kate Olivia, who married Edwin Small, and lives at Colebrook, N. H.; Charles Edward, our subject; Augustus Samuel, a jeweller and skilled mechanic, of Colebrook, N.H.; Louise Matilda, wife of judge Edgar A. Aldridge, appointed to the new Court of Appeals, United States Supreme Bench, by President Harrison; Mary Sophia,
married to Lewis M. Heald, and living at St. Johnsbury, Vt.; Ada Augusta, deceased; Daniel Clark, of Littleton, N. H.; and James Waldron, United States District Attorney of the State of New Hampshire. He was appointed by President Harrison, being the youngest appointee ever holding that position in New Hampshire.
Charles E. Remick, when a boy, desired and expected to have a finished education; and his early years were devoted to preparation for college. But, when he was eleven years old, his father suffered his heavy pecuniary losses from the fire; and his subsequent trip to California interfered materially with his plans. So, securing a place on a farm, he worked there for five years, and at the age of eighteen was apprenticed to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner. His father having returned, and being able to assist him in his ambition to be a student, he entered the academy of Hardwick, Vt., in 1860, but was there only a few months when the Civil War broke out. Animated with the spirit of patriotism and enthusiasm, he answered his country's call at once, and with a comrade, George W. Bridgeman, started on foot for Montpelier, Vt., twenty miles distant, where they enlisted in the Second Vermont Volunteer Infantry as "three years' men," they being among the first to enlist in the State for this long term of service. It had been, however, their intention to enlist in the First Vermont Infantry, which claimed precedence; but, owing to a dispute, the Second Vermont Regiment was organized and officered, Mr. Remick being one of the first to enroll his name as a volunteer to serve his country in her hour of need, and do or die as a true patriot in the cause of the Union. He became Orderly Sergeant of Company F, commanded by Captain J. V. Randall. At Burlington, Vt., he was detailed by Colonel Henry Whiting as principal musician, or Drum Major, of the regiment.
This regiment followed the historic Sixth Massachusetts through Baltimore, and during the riots there participated in some of the first fighting of the war. His regiment was subsequently encamped at Capitol Hill, and was among the forces which made the advance on Bull Run; and in that first battle he was wounded, and brought back to Washington, D. C. Through the kindness of the Vermont delegation of Senators and Congressmen he received the best of care at Willard's Hotel; but he was not satisfied to stop there longer than he could possibly help, and at the end of twelve days rejoined his regiment at Alexandria, Va., and was with it all through the Peninsula Campaign, taking part in some hard fighting. Its first engagement was at Young's Mills, which was followed in rapid succession by many battles and skirmishes, among them Lee's Mills, Williamsburg, Savage Station, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, White House Landing, battle of the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, second battle of Bull Run, where by a strange coincidence the regiment was in line of battle on the identical ground they occupied at the first battle of that name. After the battle of
Antietam our subject was sent to the hospital, suffering from wounds and neuralgia of the stomach, but even under these circumstances was active, and helped to establish the first hospital tent to receive the wounded from the second battle of Bull Run. As convalescent, he was ordered to change location; but, not liking the idea, and desiring to be on the field with the boys, he ran away from the hospital, and once more joined his regiment at Hagerstown, Md. He remained with it until the battle of Gettysburg, and was then discharged on the ground of disability.
Mr. Remick then returned to St. Johnsbury, Vt., and as soon as able set about getting some work. He cut cord wood for fifty cents per cord, and, having put up thirty-five cords, concluded to try for something else, and went to Boston. He knew nothing about the dry-goods trade, but applied to the house of Jackson, Mandell & Dannell, and announced his willingness to do anything. They finally offered him a job for three years, giving him three hundred dollars for the first year, five hundred dollars for the second, and seven hundred dollars for the third, which proposition he accepted, and almost immediately had good luck in selling large bills of goods when on the road. In a short time he had such success that the firm sent him a telegram to select his own field and go where he pleased. He returned in thirty-six days, having averaged sales at about two thousand dollars per day. The third year they voluntarily raised his salary to four thousand dollars per year. He remained with that firm for four years, then engaged with Sargent Brothers & Co., dry goods, and was with them three years, receiving five thousand dollars a year. Mr. Remick then went into the employment of Edward S. Jaffrey & Co., and remained with them until 1879, when he came to Oneida, established a large retail dry-goods store, and did an extensive business.
He was married June 23, 1868, to Miss Martha M. Chapman, a daughter of B. Franklin and Hulda (Wilcox) Chapman. Her father was one of the most active and prominent men of Madison County, occupying many positions of honor and trust. He was Judge and Surrogate, and accumulated a large property. An extended sketch of him
appears elsewhere in this work. Politically, Mr. Remick is the odd fellow of the family, as he affiliates with the Democratic party, and has always
voted for its Presidential nominee, excepting in the case of General Grant, for whom he cast his ballot. He has been a member of the Village Board three terms, and was one term its President; was for three terms Supervisor of the town of Lenox, and in 1890 was elected Sheriff, which office he held until January, 1894. The county is strongly Republican, and he was the first Democratic Sheriff elected in forty years. His majority was one hundred and ninety-two, the usual Republican one being two thousand five hundred. He has always been very popular, and has been candidate for Member of Assembly, for State Senator, and for Congress. His canvass in each case was very creditable, he polling a vote much in advance of his ticket, and greatly reducing the opposition majority. But the district was too strongly Republican to permit of a victory for the opposite party; and he was but leading a forlorn hope. He was a delegate to the Chicago Convention of 1884, and later to the one held in that city in 1892, he being pledged to the nomination of David B. Hill. He has always been quite active in the affairs and councils of his party. In the Masonic fraternity he is a member of Doric Chapter, No. 193, R. A. M., of which he has been High Priest. He is a member of Rome Commandery, No. 45, K. T., and also of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The first commission issued by Governor Cornell was one issued to our subject as Captain of the Thirty-fifth Separate Company National Guard, an organization now defunct, in consequence of the opposition of tax-payers.
Mr. Remick and his estimable wife live in a most attractive home on Broad Street, surrounded with every comfort, where they enjoy their prosperity to its utmost. He started in life without means other than willing hands and a bright and active mind, and has accumulated a competence, which, together with the property of his wife, makes them entirely independent for the remainder of their lives. Mr. Remick is a man of generous instincts, ready to relieve those in distress who are deserving of help, and has been of great assistance to his younger brothers in educating and starting them in life. He believes in building up home industries, and does not encourage foreign speculation. He is interested in the cause of education and morals, and lends his aid and encouragement to schools and churches, identifying himself with every worthy local enterprise. His education is sound and practical, obtained more by contact with the world and by observation than in schools.
A man like Mr. Remick proves himself a valuable citizen in any community, and one whose life history is well worth narrating for the lessons it teaches of self-reliance, patriotism, industry, and perseverance; and the publishers take a pride, therefore, in their ability to place before their readers the interesting portrait which appears in connection with this sketch.
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