Sunday, January 15, 2012
Brown Nurse (1804-1869)
This humorously named gentleman is Mr. Brown Nurse, an influential resident of Troy, New Hampshire during the mid 19th century. Nurse was born in Harvard, Massachusetts on June 24, 1804, and was the son of Deacon David Nurse, a clergyman and captain during the Revolutionary War.
Brown Nurse migrated from his native Massachusetts to New Hampshire in 1829, settling in the town of Troy. It was here that he embarked upon career as a school teacher, but then removed again to the city of Richmond, where he engaged in business. Nurse married on December 15, 1831 to Mary Wheeler (died October 1865), with whom he would have one daughter, Mary Jane Nurse, in August 1833. Two years following the birth of his daughter, Nurse returned to Troy and subsequently went into the trade business with the help of his father in law. Nurse also was named to the position of town postmaster, serving fourteen years in this office. He later was elected to multiple terms as Troy town clerk, serving in 1837, 1838 and 1845-48, and town treasurer from 1842-44.
Throughout the succeeding years, Brown Nurse became regarded as one of Troy's most respectable citizens, so much so that in 1850 the town elected him to the New Hampshire State House of Representatives, serving here until 1851. At the conclusion of his legislative service Nurse returned to his native town and in 1859 was named to a committee that aided in writing and publishing a history of the town of Troy, stemming from its founding in 1764 until the year 1855.
Brown Nurse died while attending a church service in the village of Fitchburg on February 21, 1869 at age 64. The portrait of him shown at the top of this article was discovered via the Historical Sketch of the Town of Troy, New Hampshire and Her Inhabitants, published in 1897. This work offers up the only available "biography" of Mr. Nurse and his public life in the Troy vicinity.