JOSEPH M. HARPER, the twenty-first governor of New Hampshire, was born in Limerick, Maine on June 21, 1787. His early education was attained at the Fryeburg Academy. He went on to study medicine, establishing successful medical practices, first in Sanbornton, New Hampshire and later in Canterbury, New Hampshire. Harper also served during the War of 1812, as an assistant surgeon in the Fourth Infantry. He first entered into a political career in 1826, serving as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, a position he held again in 1827. He also served as a member of the New Hampshire State Senate from 1829 to 1830, serving as senate president in 1830. On February 28, 1831, Governor Matthew Harvey resigned from office, and Harper, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He served in this capacity until June 2, 1831. He then won election to the U.S. House of Representatives, an office he held from 1831 to 1835. Governor Joseph M. Harper passed away on January 15, 1865, and was buried in the Village Cemetery in Canterbury, New Hampshire.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.