Monadnock Moments 32: Ithamar Chase's Son
Ithamar Chase was a resident of Cornish, New Hampshire when he married Janette Ralston of Keene in 1792. Janette was the daughter of Alexander Ralston, owner of the Ralston Tavern in Keene. Shortly after the death of Ralston in 1810, the Chase’s, with their several children, moved to Keene so that Ithamar could operate the Tavern.
One of their sons was called Salmon, named after an uncle. This young boy first attended school in Keene in what he called “a dark room on Main Street.” He later studied under the Reverend Zedekiah Barstow at the old Wyman Tavern. Barstow later recalled that young Chase was a raw and uncouth lad, but very talented and an apt scholar.
Ithamar Chase invested his wife’s inheritance into Keene’s glass industry. The glass business failed and Ithamar Chase died in 1817, leaving the family quite poor. Consequently, the Chase’s young son went to Ohio to live with his uncle in 1820. He returned to Keene in 1823 at the age of 15. Chase taught school in Roxbury for a short time and then went on to study at Dartmouth, where he graduated in 1826. Following graduation he went to Washington, D.C. to study law, and opened a practice in Cincinnati four years later.
From his humble beginnings in Keene, Salmon P. Chase went on to become a United States Senator, Governor of Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and one of the most distinguished statesmen of his day.