WALTER HARRIMAN, the thirty-ninth governor of New Hampshire, was born in Warner, New Hampshire on April 8, 1817. His education was attained in academies at Henniker and Hopkinton, New Hampshire. Before entering into a political career, Harriman taught school for several years. He also studied and preached theology, as well as establishing a successful general store in Warner. Harriman first entered politics as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, a position he held from 1849 to 1850 and 1858 to 1859. He was the New Hampshire state treasurer from 1853 to 1854; was a pension office clerk in Washington, D.C. from 1855 to 1856; and served in the New Hampshire State Senate from 1859 to 1861. His political aspirations were temporarily interrupted with the outbreak of the Civil War. He served as a colonel in the 11th New Hampshire Volunteers, participating in the Battle of the Wilderness, where he was captured and later released, earning the rank of brevet brigadier general. After the war he returned to politics. From 1865 to 1867 he served as secretary of state for New Hampshire. Harriman next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in the 1867 general election. He won reelection to a second term in 1868. During his tenure, measures were taken to restore the state’s economy; education laws were revised; and teaching institutes were established. After leaving the governorship, Harriman secured a position as naval officer for the port of Boston, a post he held from 1869 to 1877. He also served again in the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1881. Governor Walter Harriman, who was the author of several historical and travel books, passed away on July 25, 1884. He was buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Warner, 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.