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By Charles W. Brewster

They felt like American nobility and their tomb survives today

Editors Note: C.W. Brewster was a Portsmouth columnist in the mid-1800's. This article includes his opinions and may not reflect current research or current values.

The site of the Manor House is today, not known for certain. The Odiorne family lost the land to the U.S. government as a military site in the 20th century.


Lafayette Road--Langdon Farm--Family Monument--New Rank of American Nobility.

BEFORE Lafayette road was laid out in 1825 , the way to Newburyport as well as to Rye, was over Portsmouth Plains.  The opening of Lafayette road brought the head of Sagamore Creek more directly in contact with the city, and within a pleasant walk of Market Square.  The head of this Creek on the south side is noted as the locality where the Langdon family first settled, over two hundred years ago,--and from the family that farm has never been alienated.  The seat of the first Tobias Langdon has descended to the sixth generation and is now owned by Hon. John Langdon Elwyn, grandson of late Gov. John Langdon who was there born.

On the north side of the same Creek, bounded on Lafayette road, is the farm of Samuel Langdon, Esq., a descendant of the first Tobias Langdon, also of the 6th generation, being the son of Maj. Samuel Langdon, who died in 1834 at the age of 81, as reported in the inscription below.

The farm of Samuel L. extends from the South road to the Creek, and contains about 150 acres.  The house is of good size, and does not on the outside show marks of its age -- but although in excellent preservation inside, in its heavy frame projecting into the rooms, it bears marks of having been built more than a century and a half.  It was built by Capt. Samuel Banfield about to the year 1700.  In 1743 Banfield died, and the property came into Joseph Langdon's possession, and it has ever since remained in the family.

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Langdon Genealogy
Inscribed on Family Tomb

Langdon Marker

In the rear of the house towards the South road, is an enclosure for a family burial place, in which is visible to every passer-by an elevated monument of Italian marble, erected as a family memorial by the present owner of the premises.

The plinth of the monument rests on a granite base.  The die, which is surmounted by a frieze and cap, is a square block of marble presenting four sides of about 21 inches in width by 42 in height.  Two of the sides are plain; on the other two are the following in inscriptions, which give a very full genealogical history of the family.  The monument is from Mr. Philbrick's establishment -- the lettering deep and clear, in Mr. Borthwick's best style.

I.  Tobias Langdon, from England, died 1664; married 1656 Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Sherburne, (she afterwards m. Tobias Lear,) and had Tobias L., born 1660, died Feb. 20, 1725; m. in 1686 Mary Hubbard.  Elizabeth, m. William Fernald.  Oner, m. 1686 John Laighton.  Margaret m. Nicholas Morrel.

II.  Capt. Tobias and Mary Langdon had Mary, born Nov. 17, 1687, m. George Pierce.  Tobias, born Oct. 11, 1689, m. 1714 Sarah Winkley.  Martha, b. Mch. 7, 1693, m. July 7, 1715, Nicholas Shapley.  Richard, born Apr. 14, 1694, m. Thankful ----, and died at Newton, Long Island.  Joseph, born Feb. 28, 1696, died Aug. 10, 1767, m. Mary, daughter of Capt. Sam'l Banfield.  She died Aug.  10, 1753, aged 49.  Mark, born Sept. 15, 1698, died 1776; m. 1st Mehitable, who died Oct. 7, 1764, aged 63.  Samuel, born Sept. 6, 1700, died Dec. 2,
1725; m. Hannah Jenness.  William, born Oct. 30, 1702, died 1766.  John, born May 28, 1707, died Feb. 27, 1780; m. Mary Hall, who died April 11, 1789, aged 72 yrs.

III.  Capt. Joseph and Mary L. had Samuel, born 1721, died 1779; m. Sept. 29, 1748, Hannah, daughter of John Storer, Esq. Wells, Me., who died Sep. 8, 1796, aged 73.  Mary, born 1725, died Feb. 23, 1807; m. Amos Seavey, who died Feb. 19, 1807, aged 89.  Hannah, m. James Whidden.  Elizabeth, died July 14, 1804; m. James Seavey.

III.  Dea. Mark and Mehitabel Langdon had Joseph, born 1724, died Oct. 30, 1749.

III.  Wm. and Sarah L. had William, born 1748, died Sep. 30, 1820; m. Mary Pickering, who died Feb. 8, 1802, aged 52.  John, born 1748, died May 21, 1789; m. Mary Evans, died Mar. 10, 1825, aged 61.  Mary m. Nicholas Pickering.

III.  John Langdon married Mary Hall; had Mary, m. Storer, Hill and McCobb.  Judge Woodbury Langdon, born 1738, died Jan. 13, 1805; m. Sarah Sherburne. Gov. John, born 1738, died Sept. 18, 1819; m. Elizabeth Sherburne.  Elizabeth m. Barrel.  Abigail m. Goldthwait.  Martha, m. Barrel, Simpson and Gov. James

IV.  Capt. Samuel and Hannah L. had Mary, born April 16, 1751, died 1836; m. Joseph White.  Maj. Samuel, born June 9, 1753, died July 5, 1834; m. Lydia Brewster [widow], daughter of Samuel Norris, died May 21, 1840, aged 62.  Anna born Nov. 3, 1755, died May 24, 1690 [sic]; m. James Whidden.  Rev. Joseph L. born May 12, 1758, died July 27, 1824; m. Dec. 9, 1790, Patience Pickering, died April 8, 1846, aged 88.  Elizabeth, born Mar. 18, 1761, died 1831; m. Andrew Sherburne.  Hannah, born June, 1766, died 1812; m. Edward Gove.

I.  Capt. Samuel Banfield died 1743; m. Mary Seavey, who died 1753, and had Mary, who married Capt. Joseph Langdon.

The monument to Mr. Langdon's family ancestors is not confined to the burial enclosure.  Around the sitting room of the mansion, displayed under glass in frames, are the military commissions of his fathers for four or five generations, signed by Gov. Belcher, Gov. Wentworth, President Weare and Gov. Langdon.  It is a novel collection, exhibiting three various state seals, and showing too, that under the crown as well as in Revolutionary times, there never has been a lack of military spirit and patriotism at the head of
Sagamore Creek.

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The American Aristocracy

It is probable that the royal ancestry of the family very nearly corresponds with that of one in the immediate neighborhood, which is illustrated by the following true story.

A descendant of one of the earlier families in Portsmouth which resided between Sagamore Creek and Great Swamp, was travelling in a stage coach with a stranger who found that they both bore the same family name.  On inquiring for descent, the stranger, of somewhat high notions, said he was connected with the family of Sir David B, of Scotland.  The native of Portsmouth, who thought his claims to aristocratic descent no less prominent, replied that he was descended from a family of Aldermen.

"Family of Aldermen," said the sprig of nobility, "why, you must be very ignorant to think that there is any such hereditary order -- it is only a temporary city office, sir."

"You are mistaken," was the reply, "it is an order which ranks a little higher than knighthood.  My forefathers for five generations bore the insignia of their high honors.  They wore the Aldermen's aprons with as much honor and pride as any Knight Templar.  Those aprons were no fragile silk or linen fabric -- they were the pure hide, such as were used when the ark was constructed; and they date their nobility at as early a day.  Perhaps you may yourself one day arrive at the honors, and then you will fully comprehend
them.  These aprons they wore six days in the week -- and the ravages they made around Great Swamp and Sagamore Creek, are now manifest in the well cleared and productive farms of their descendants.  Yes, sir, I am a regular descendants of the family of Aldermen, and shall never lose my aristocratic pride, but will endeavor to respect those who may be of lower rank."

To be descendants of the Family of Aldermen should be the pride of American nobility.  Of such was President Lincoln.

John Langdon
Langdon House

Text scanned courtesy of The Brewster Family Network
Copy of Rambles courtesy Peter E. Randall
History Hypertext project by
Design Copyright 2002
Photo by Bill Warren

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