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Mary Elizabeth Cooke Partridge
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Cooke Partridge
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Cooke Partridge, a well-known musician of Claremont
and a zealous worker in the cause of temperance, was born in Claremont,
daughter of Godfrey and Abigail (Hubbard) Cooke. Her paternal grandfather,
Captain John Cooke, of Norton, Mass., was among the first of the
minute-men to report at Lexington in response to the alarm of April 19,
1775, for six days' service. He again enlisted with the rank of Ensign,
and was mustered out August 1, 1775. For the third time he enlisted
December 8, 1776, in a Rhode Island regiment, under Colonel John Daggett.
About the year 1779 he came to Claremont, and bought a large and valuable
tract of meadow land and the tavern thereon. This tavern he conducted for
years with much success. A family tradition has it that "a bushel of
Continental money changed hands when the old tavern was bought." His
daughter, Matilda, married Colonel Josiah Stevens, who was the father of
Paran Stevens, a famous hotel man. Paran Stevens received his first
lessons in the hotel Godfrey Cooke. The Stevens High School was his gift
to the village of Claremont. His daughter married Arthur Henry Fitzroy
Paget, a son of General Paget of Waterloo fame. His sister married Samuel
Fiske, the donor of the Fiske Free Library in Claremont.
Godfrey Cooke and his brother George succeeded their father in the
proprietorship of the tavern, which under their able management became
famous from Boston to Northern Vermont. Not long after the death of his
father Godfrey Cooke bought the interest of his brother George. Under him
the surroundings were much beautified. He built a large and elegant family
residence in 1825; and he improved the farm of four hundred acres
connected with the tavern, so that it was considered the finest in the
town. He married Abigail, daughter of Jonathan Hubbard, of Charlestown,
N.H., and became the father of five children-Catherine M., Henry Hubbard,
Helen Maria, George F., and Mary Elizabeth. Catherine married Charles R.
Bingham, and had four children, of whom Helen C. and Catherine E. attained
maturity. Henry Hubbard, who graduated from Dartmouth College, died at the
Theological Seminary in New York, where he was preparing for the Episcopal
ministry, one year before his ordination.
||In the habit of visiting the sick
and dying, to minister to their spiritual needs, he caught the
contagion of small-pox, which was the cause of his death. His heart
and soul were in his work, and he was greatly mourned by his
class-mates and friends. Helen Maria, now deceased, who married
Frederick Smith, of Cornish, N.H., is survived by her daughter,
Elizabeth A. Smith. George F. Cooke was killed by accident on the
homestead at the age of twenty-six.
Mary Elizabeth Cooke, the
youngest of her parents' children, had the best educational
advantages. On completing the course of the Kimball Union Academy,
she was sent to Boston, where she was thoroughly trained in piano
playing. Then she returned to Claremont, engaged in piano teaching,
and soon drew about her a class of forty eager students.
She afterward followed this occupation with success for thirty years.
She married Edward A. Partridge, son of Milton Partridge, the
representative of a well-known family of Norwich, Vt., and from which the
military school of that place takes its name. Milton Partridge, who was
well versed in military subjects, became a fencing teacher at West Point.
From there he removed to Tarrytown, N.Y., and was afterward successfully
engaged in executing large engineering contracts. He was killed by
accident. His son William is now a prominent civil engineer of Normal,
Ill. Edward A. Partridge graduated from Dartmouth College, and studied
civil engineering under General Ransom at Norwich. He was subsequently
appointed city engineer of Dubuque, Ia., and died in the following year.
Mary Elizabeth, his only child, has studied the pianoforte with her
mother, the organ under Professor Whiting, of Boston, and the guitar with
Hayden. She has taken her mother's piano classes, and also conducts large
classes in the study of the organ and guitar. Both mother and daughter are
universal favorites in the society of Claremont. They returned to
Claremont immediately after the death of Mr. Partridge.
Mrs. Partridge has been especially active in the temperance cause. She is
a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, was county President
from 1891 to 1896, and for twenty years was closely identified with this
society. She was for ten years, under appointment of the Union, the
superintendent New Hampshire. This position entailed much travelling,
which was gladly accomplished without remuneration. Mrs. Partridge was
instrumental in establishing police matrons for the care of arrested
females in the police stations of Nashua and Manchester, and she worked
hard and incessantly for the improvement of almshouses, securing better
accommodations, with especial wards for the insane, and removing children
to good homes. When she resigned in the fall of 1896, owing to impaired
health, her successor found that Mrs. Partridge's methodical work had left
to her an easy road. Her daughter, who is also deeply interested in this
philanthropic work, attended the National Convention of the W. C. T. U. in
October, 1896, as State delegate, and is now State Reporter for the Union
Signal of Chicago. Both Mrs. and Miss Partridge are prominent workers in
the Episcopal Church of Claremont.
Source: "Biographical Review, Vol. 22, containing life
sketches of leading citizens of Merrimack and Sullivan Counties, New
Hampshire". B. R. Pub. Co., 1897.
The above biography is held at
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has been granted to republish here.
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