This is the second part of a two-part story about Amos Blanchard, whose home is now the home of the Andover Historical Society.
After Amos Blanchard was named a deacon of the South Parish Church in 1825, many people in Andover knew him as "Deacon Blanchard."
By 1825, Deacon and Mrs. Blanchard had two sons: Amos Jr., born March 7, 1807, and Edward, born Nov. 1, 1814. (Though Edward died at the age of 20, Amos,Jr. went on to become a well-respected minister in Lowell.) Both boys attended Phillips Academy at the age of 7 (the ages of early students ranged from 7 to early 30s!) and went on to Yale.
In 1826 the Andover Bank was established. Deacon Blanchard was elected to the Committee of Three (with his friends Mark Newman and Squire Farrar, both of the academy) to prepare bylaws and regulations, and in April he was named cashier, retaining that position to 1843. He served as its secretary from 1826-1839 and also acted as secretary of the Board of Directors for more than 10 years. In this capacity and in that as cashier, he was noted for his firm and carefully formed handwriting, of which 92 pages of minutes survive.
Continuing his association within the field of education, Deacon Blanchard served Abbot Academy as treasurer for nearly 20 years, resigning that office in 1847. At the time of this retirement, his fellow trustees passed a resolution saying that "Mr. Blanchard was one of the solid business men of the town, being one of the three trustees who personally took over the responsibility of the annual payment of the interest for a term of years.
The deacon was also one of the original incorporators of the Merrimack Fire Insurance company, and served on its Board of Directors as well (1828-1830).
At some point, Amos Blanchard even dabbled in a paper mill. His association with Judge Phillips most likely encouraged this, as the judge had begun that business following the trial and tribulations of his powder mill business. Abel Blanchard, the deacon's nephew, recalled that when he came to Andover in 1824, his uncle was carrying on the paper manufacturing business in an old mill situated near Abraham Marland's business (off Stevens Street). Abel worked for his Uncle Amos for about two years, and then Abel and Daniel Poor bought out his uncle, carrying on the business until Abel sold out to John Marland in 1835.
His continued association, into adulthood, with Phillips Academy, most likely reflected his support of the school's Calvinistic principles. One of the deacon's boarders, John Jenks Osborn, recalled living under "Deacon Blanchard's strictly Puritanical roof." The Rev. W.W. Taylor, another boarder, describes the deacon as "a bank official, a tall man, grave and good." The Rev. John L. Taylor spoke of him as "a devout and careful parent...a man of books as well as business who will long be remembered for the many sterling qualities which gave him great influence in the town and in the church."
Whereas in his early years, Amos associated with men of an older, "sterner" generation, his later years found him joining with his contemporaries, who were also men of stature. These names included Mark Newman and John Adams, the third and fourth Phillips Academy principals; Leonard Woods, first professor of Christian Theology at the Seminary; and Moses Stuart, professor of Sacred Literature. In the town of Andover, close associates included Abraham Marland and the names of Abbot, Stevens and Sutton.
Although there is no evidence that the deacon joined in any of the heated arguments preceding the founding of the Seminary, on Aug. 31, 1807, his signature was included as witness to the signing of the Constitution of the Andover Theological Seminary.
Amos Blanchard died on Aug. 17, 1847, having already resigned his many hard-earned positions and putting his affairs in order. Except, perhaps, for the death of his younger son, he must have been satisfied with the life that he had led. The reader of his story might be more than impressed, even wondering how the character of such a man was formed and what motivated him to never rest on his laurels. A possible clue comes from the words of historian Scott Paradise, himself a Phillips Academy student who also, many years later, boarded in the old Blanchard House:
"Under the punctilious and courteous second (Academy) Principal, Ebenezer Pemberton, young Amos found himself subjected not only to high standards of scholarship, but to strict rules of conduct: he must rise and bow to the Principal when that dignitary entered and left the room; he must not incur any debts; he must not bathe in any mill pond; he must utter no profanity; and if asked, he must tell the whole truth about any misconduct of his friends."
If Amos continued these lessons into his adult life, it isn't too hard to understand Amos Blanchard, the over-achiever, and Amos Blanchard, successful student, husband, father and businessman.
"Andover Stories" is a weekly column about interesting local people and events. While it was started as about 104 columns to celebrate the Andover Historical Society's 100 anniversary in 2011, it will continue because of its popularity.