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the members of which met weekly for debate, the rehearsal of pieces, and reading original compositions. Of this society, Mr. Farmer was for about eleven years the chief supporter, contributing largely to the interest and usefulness of the meetings by his own performances, and by inviting and attracting to it the young men of promise that were about him. The neighboring clergy were made honorary members of it, and frequently attended its meetings, and participated in the discussions.
While engaged in school-keeping, Mr. Farmer cultivated his natural taste, and pursued, with industry, historical inquiries. In 1813, becoming known to some of the Members of the Massachusetts Historical Society, he was elected a Corresponding Member of it, and immediately became a contributor to its Collections, which have been published. In 1816, he published, in a pamphlet form, his “ Historical Sketch of Billerica," and furnished many valuable facts towards the materials for the History of Chelmsford, afterwards published by the Rev. Mr. Allen. In 1820, he published " An Historical Sketch of Amherst from the first settlement of the town,” in pamphlet form. In these two publications, the marked peculiarities of his mind are strongly exhibited. He evinced a memory wonderfully tenacious of particular facts, dates, and names, sound judgment in collecting, selecting, and arranging his materials, and an exquisite niceness and exactness in all the details of these histories.
About this time, Mr. Farmer commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Matthias Spalding, an eminent Physician of Amherst; but after a few months, foreseeing that he should be unfitted to discharge the laborious duties of the profession, he relinquished the study; and in 1821, removed to Concord. He there formed a connection in business with Dr. Samuel Morril, and opened an apothecary's store, from which circumstance he received the title of Doctor. His feeble health not allowing any kind of hard manual labor, or exposure to the changes of weather out of doors, he, partly of necessity and partly of choice, adopted a very sedentary mode of life. He was rarely away from his place of residence. He deemed it hazardous for him to leave home. In 1836, however, after a lapse of eighteen years, he visited Boston, where he was treated with marked respect and attention by the literati of the city; but was quite ill, while there, and unable to enjoy very much of what he expected from his visit. He soon returned home, restored to comparative health.
From the time of his removal to Concord, Mr. Farmer devoted himself principally to what had become his favorite studies and pursuits. He gathered together books of ancient date, early records of the towns, and notices of the first settlers of the country; inquired into the names, ages, characters and deaths of distinguished men of every profession; and entered into extensive correspondence with individuals who might be able to furnish him with facts, relating to the subjects of his inquiry. In short, he soon became known as an Antiquary, distinguished beyond any of his fellow-citizens, for exact knowledge of facts and events relative to the history of New Hampshire, and of New England generally. His mind was a wonderful repository of names, and dates, and particular incidents; and so general and well established was his reputation for accuracy of memory, that his authority was relied on as decisive in historical and genealogical facts. And though at times, he might have been inaccurate, it is to be remembered, that, while he was the greatest Genealogist and Antiquary of the country, he was also the Pioneer in this department of knowledge; and while some, who shall follow him, may occasionally discover a mistake, the honor of this is not to be compared to the honor of projecting and executing such works as Mr. Farmer's.
In 1922, Mr. Farmer, in connection with Jacob B. Moore, Esq., commenced a Periodical Miscellany, devoted principally to, “1. Historical Sketches of Indian wars, battles, and exploits; of the adventures and sufferings of the captives: 2. Topographical Descriptions of towns and places in New Hampshire, with their history, civil and ecclesiastical : 3. Biographical Memoirs and Anecdotes of eminent and remarkable persons who lived in New Hampshire, or who have had connection with its settlement and history : 4. Statistical Tables; Tables of Births, Diseases, and Deaths : 5. Meteorological Observations, and facts relating to climate.” Three volumes of this work were published.
In the same year he received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Dartmouth College ; and in the following year he was complimented with the appointment of Justice of the Peace for the newly constituted county of Merrimack, but he did not deem the office of sufficient importance, ever to act under his commission.
The New Hampshire Historical Society was established, May 20, 1823; and, although Mr. Farmer was unable to be present at any of the early meetings of its founders, he took a deep interest in its establishment, and contributed much towards its organization
and success. Though he was never more than once or twice present at the meetings of the Society, yet he never failed to communicate with the members, by letter or otherwise, on such occasions. He was Corresponding Secretary of the Society till his death, the duties of which office he discharged with rare ability and fidelity. Of the five volumes of Collections, published by the Society, he was on the Publishing Committee of four. The fifth volume was wholly compiled by him, and all the preceding volumes are enriched by his contributions.
In 1823, Mr. Farmer, with an associate, Jacob B. Moore, Esq., published “ A Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire, comprehending, 1. A concise description of the several towns in the State, in relation to their boundaries, divisions, mountains, lakes, ponds : 2. The early history of each town; names of the first settlers, and what were their hardships and adventures; instances of longevity, or of great mortality; and short biographical notices of the most distinguished and useful men: 3. A concise notice of the formation of the first churches in the several towns; the names of those who have been successively ordained as ministers, and the time of their settlement, removal or death : 4. Also, notices of permanent charitable and other institutions, literary societies, &c." This work was one of immense labor.
Mr. Farmer's published works are very numerous; and, considering his infirm state of health during the whole seventeen years of his residence in Concord, those who best knew him were surprised at the extent and variety of his labors. The following is believed to be an accurate list of his productions, with the exception of his occasional contributions to the newspapers, or other ephemeral publications.
1. A Family Register of the Descendants of Edward Farmer, of Billerica, in the youngest branch of his family. 12mo, pp. 12. Concord, 1813; with an Appendix, 12mo, pp. 7. Concord, 1824. This work, with some additions, was reprinted at Hingham, in 1828.
2. A Sketch of Amherst, N. H., published in 2 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. ii. Boston, 1814.
3. A Topographical and Historical Description of the County of Hillsborough, N. H., published in 2 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. vii. Boston, 1818.
4. An Historical Memoir of Billerica, Ms., containing Notices of the principal events in the Civil and Ecclesiastical Affairs of the
Town, from its first settlement to 1816. Svo, pp. 36. Amherst, 1816.
5. An Historical Sketch of Amherst, N. H., from the first settlement to 1820. Svo, pp. 35. Amherst, 1820. A second edition, much enlarged, was published at Concord, in 1837. 8vo, pp. 52.
6. An Ecclesiastical Register of New Hampshire; containing a succinct account of the different religious denominations; their origin, and progress, and present numbers; with a Catalogue of the Ministers of the several Churches, from 1638 to 1821; the date of their settlement, removal, or death, and the number of communicants in 1821. 18mo, pp. 36. Concord, 1822.
7. The New Military Guide, a compilation of Rules and Regulations for the use of the Militia. 12mo, pp. 144. Concord, 1822.
8. The New Hampshire Annual Register and United States Calendar, published annually at Concord, from 1822 to 1838, inclusive, seventeen numbers, each consisting of 144 pages, 18mo, excepting those for 1823 and 1824, which were in 12mo, pp. 152, 132.
9. A Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire, with a Map, and several Engravings, (in conjunction with Jacob B. Moore, Esq.) 12mo, pp. 276. Concord, 1823.
10. Collections, Historical and Miscellaneous, in connection with J. B. Moore, Esq.) 3 vols. 8vo, pp. 302, 388, 388. With an Appendix to Vols. II. and III. pp. 110, 97. Concord, 1822, 1823, 1827.
11. Memoir of the Penacook Indians, published in an Appendix to Moore's Annals of Concord, 1924. 8vo, pp. 7.
12. A Genealogical Register of the First Seulers of New England, containing an Alphabetical List of the Governors, Deputy Governors, Assistants or Counsellors, and Ministers of the Gospel, in the several Colonies, from 1620 to 1692; Representatives of the General Court of Massachusetts, from 1634 to 1692; Graduates of Harvard College, to 1662; Members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, to 1662; Freemen admitted to the Massachusetts Colony, from 1630 10 1662; with many other of the early inhabitants of New England and Long Island, N. Y., from 1620 to the year 1675; to which are added various Genealogical and Biographical Notes, collected from Ancient Records, Manuscripts, and printed Works.
13. A Catechism of the History of New Hampshire, from its first settlement, for Schools and Families. 18mo, pp. 87. Concord, 1829. Second edition, 18mo, pp. 108, in 1830.