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Nathaniel Head
New Hampshire

Gov. Nathaniel Head

  • June 5, 1879 - June 2, 1881
  • Republican
  • May 20, 1828
  • November 12, 1883
  • New Hampshire
  • Married Abbie M. Sanford; three children


NATT HEAD, the forty-sixth governor of New Hampshire, was born in Hooksett, New Hampshire on May 20, 1828. His education was attained at Pembroke Academy. After working in the family’s lumber and farming business, Head established a successful construction company that focused on railroad development in the state. He also became involved in the banking and insurance industries. Head first entered politics in 1861, serving as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, a position he held again in 1862. He also served as the state adjutant general from 1864 to 1870; and was elected to the New Hampshire State Senate in 1874, but due to a ballot name technicality, was denied a seat. However, in 1876 and 1877 he successfully won election to the senate, where he also served as senate president in the latter term. Head next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected by a popular vote, becoming the first governor to serve a two-year term. During his tenure, a child’s labor law was sanctioned; a new state prison was opened; and legislation was enacted that required a telegraph in all railroad stations. After completing his term, Head retired from political life. He stayed active, returning to his various business interests. Governor Nathaniel Head passed away in Hooksett on November 12, 1883.


New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

The Political Graveyard

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.

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