Samuel Langdon Diaries – MS049
Provenance: Purchased by the Portsmouth Athenaeum from the Book Guild of Portsmouth in 1993.
Citation: Samuel Langdon Diaries (MS049), Manuscript Collections, Portsmouth Athenaeum
Size: 2 1/2 Hollinger Boxes (15 linear inches)
Access: No restrictions
Processed by: Compiled by Peter Levenworth in 1993
Scope and Content
Series of yearly diaries starting with Samuel Langdon Sr. (1811-1881) which cover 1850-1870’s. The diaries from 1877 to 1913 are of Samuel Langdon Jr. (1838-1913).
The diaries are a series of 44 bound books beginning in 1852 and ending in 1913. They cover parts of every year except for 1861-1863 and 1865-1869, and are comprised mostly of milk delivery and produce records. Samuel Langdon Sr. kept most of the diaries until some time in the 1870s when Samuel Jr. eventually took over the record keeping duties. It seems that both men contributed to the diaries for a while in the 1870s. Samuel Sr. wrote a few pages of genealogy for his branch of the Langdon family but rarely noted any other information or commentary. Samuel Jr., however, interspersed most of his diaries with daily weather and work notations as well as social, political and personal remarks. He also included a history of the Langdon property, listed his yearly assets and livestock inventory and his expenses and debts. There are also continual references to his struggle with alcoholism.
The collection also includes printed books of rules for the NH Legislature for 1869 and 1877, a printed Congressional Directory for 1877, a large ledger of accounts for the years 1872-1881 and two guest registers and an account book for Hazel and Frank Jackson Langdon’s guest house business.
Samuel Langdon Sr. (May 13, 1811-Nov 27, 1881) was born at the Langdon Homestead on Lafayette Road in Portsmouth. His father was Lt. Colonel Samuel Langdon (1753-1834) and his mother was Lydia Norris Brewster (1778-1840), who married about 1807. Samuel Sr. married a cousin, Hannah Langdon (March 16, 1805-Dec 15, 1839) in Rye, NH in 1832. They had four children: John (Nov 28, 1832-Sept 22, 1860), whose death is mentioned in the diaries by his father; Joseph (March 16, 1834-March 10, 1838); Harriet Ann (June 5, 1836-Feb 19, 1877) who married Mark L. Jenkins of Deerfield and had three children; and Samuel Jr. (see following). After his first wife’s death, Samuel Sr. married a Sarah Coleman of Newington (they had no children). Samuel Sr. was a dairy farmer and milkman most of his life, and served in the NH Legislature in 1839-1840, 1852, 1869-1870 and 1876-1877. He suffered a stroke in early November 1881 while working with his son and died a few weeks later.
Samuel Langdon Jr. (Aug 17, 1838-Oct 31, 1913) was raised on his father’s farm and attended schools in Portsmouth and Pembroke Academy. He inherited his father’s farm at the time of Samuel’s death, as the only surviving son. His first marriage in 1866 was to Ellen Martha Willey of Rye, NH (Sept 13, 1844-Apr 9, 1929) and they had one daughter, Edith (b. March 8, 1868 married Virgil Dustin in Cleveland, OH). They apparently divorced and Samuel Jr. was married second in 1877 to Florence Evelyn Marston in Salem, Mass. Their children were: Hattie A. (Aug 8, 1878-Sept 16, 1878); Ida Florence (June 23, 1880-1963), who married Joseph Miner; Samuel Storer (June 1, 1881-1959); Bessie Elwyn (June 1, 1881-Sept 16, 1881); Sarah A. (Nov 11, 1882-Sept 9, 1886); and Frank Jackson (July 28, 1885-Nov 28, 1961). Samuel Jr. continued operating the dairy farm throughout his lifetime aided by his two sons when they were old enough to help. Frank Langdon continued the dairy operation, eventually turning the homestead into a guest house for tourists with his wife, Hazel.
Folder 1-28 Diaries, 1850-1860, 1864, 1870-1894
Folder 1-13 Diaries, 1895-1913
Folder 14 Hazel Langdon notebook, 1950-1957
Folder 15-16 Rules of the NH Legislature (printed), 1869, 1877
Folder 1 Account Ledger, 1872-1881
Folder 2 Congressional Directory (printed), 1877
Folder 3 Guest Register, 1946-1951
Folder 4 Guest Register, 1952-1958