Genealogical and Family History
of the

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


The earliest family of Cliffords in New England, that of George Clifford, though for a time a resident of Massachusetts, may be called a New Hampshire family, as George and all his children settled and lived in New Hampshire, and from him, as the only seventeenth century immigrant who is known to have left posterity, all the New England Cliffords of the earliest times are said to be descended. The only other immigrant of this name before 1700 was John of Lynn, who is not said to have left children.

(I) George Clifford, the immigrant, descended directly from the ancient and noble family of Clifford in England, came from the village and parish of Arnold, Nottingham county, England, to Boston, in 1644, probably bringing his wife, whose name seems to have been Elizabeth, and a son John. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. After residing for a time in Boston he removed to Hampton, New Hampshire.

(II) John, son of George and Elizabeth Clifford, was born in England in 1614, and baptized, says Savage, May 10, 1646. He died Oct. 17, 1694, "aged eighty years," according to the town records. His first wife was Sarah; he married (second) Sept. 28, 1658, Mrs. Elizabeth Richardson, who died Dec. 1, 1667; and (third) Feb. 6, 1672, Mrs. Bridget Huggins, widow of John Huggins.
John, Israel, Hannah, Elizabeth (died young), Mehelabel [their spelling], Elizabeth, Esther, Isaac and Mary.

(III) Israel, second son of John Clifford, was born in Hampton, April 15, 1647, and took the oath of allegience in 1678. He married March 15, 1680, Ann Smith, probably the same Ann who was alleged to be a victim of Goody Cole's witchcraft.
Ann, Mehetabel, Samuel, Sarah, John, Isaac and Richard.

(IV) Isaac, sixth child of Israel and Ann (Smith) Clifford, was born in Hampton, N. H., May 24, 1696, and settled in Kingston, originally a part of Hampton. In 1745 he bought land of Samuel Healty, the same being one-fourth of No. 110, O. H. He finally moved to Rumney, where the latter part of his life was spent, and there he was a citizen of considerable prominence and was for many years collector and treasurer of the town.
He married Sarah Healty, born in Chester, 1726, daughter of William and Mary (Sanborn) Healey, of Chester. They had ten children, eight of whom were:
Sarah, Elizabeth, Bridget, Isaac, Nathaniel, John, Samuel and Joanna.

(V) Nathaniel, fifth child of Isaac and Sarah (Healey) Clifford, was born in Rumney, in April, 1750, and died Jan. 23, 1824. He was much like his father - active, public spirited and respected, and was for years town treasurer and collector.
He married Ruth Garland, of Candia, born in Sept., 1757. Their only child was Nathaniel, whose sketch follows.

(VI) Deacon Nathaniel (2), only son of Nathaniel (1) and Ruth (Garland) Clifford, was born in Rumney, Sept. 23, 1778, and died 1820. Deacon Clifford was of a serious turn of mind, a trifle stern and Puritanical, perhaps, but highly respected for intelligence and uprightness of character.
He married Lydia Simpson, born Oct. 7, 1773, daughter of David Simpson, of Greenland. She was a woman of great personal beauty and unusual energy, vigor and perspicacity. Her mental characteristics were transmitted to some of her descendants. She lived to see her son Nathan one of the supreme court judges of the United States. She died June 30, 1869, in the ninety-sixth year of her age.
Mary Williams, Betsy Ham, Nathan, Nancy Hutchins, Ruth Garland, Katherine Simpson, and Lydia Simpson.

(VII) Hon. Nathan, only son of Deacon Nathaniel (2) and Lydia (Simpson) Clifford, was in in Rumney, Grafton county, New Hampshire Aug. 18, 1803, and died in Cornish, Maine, July 25, 1881. His father was able to provide a comfortable home for his family, but their circumstances, like those of their neighbors on the frontier of New Hampshire, in those days, were far different from those which obtain there now, and Nathan Clifford had to put forth all his energies to acquire the education he got. He attended school in his native town until he was fourteen years of age, and then by great effort overcame objections to his going away to obtain a more extended education and entered Haverhill Academy, where he remained three years. He was an industrious and earnest student, and made good progress in his studies, but was compelled to spend a portion of each year in teaching school to obtain money to pay his expenses. Besides teaching school he gave instruction in vocal music, for which he had rare taste and talent. He left the Haverhill school in 1820, and then took a year's course in the New Hampton Literary Institution, which he left at eighteen years of age. He then entered the law office of Hon. Josiah Quincy, then the leader of the Grafton county bar. At that time admission to the bar of New Hampshire required of those not college graduates a period of five years study to prepare for practice. While in the academy Mr. Clifford had pursued a broad course of general reading, and this he kept up, afterwards giving much attention to the study of the classics as taught in the regular courses of the New England colleges. Having to make his own way he continued to teach whie a student at law, and up till near the time of his admission to the bar in May, 1827. Leaving New Hampshire he crossed over into the border town of Newfield, in York county, Maine, and there opened an office. His thorough preparation for his work, remarkabley retentive memory and good habits formed a foundation upon which the young man soon reared the superstructure of success. He gained the confidence and got the business of the people. He entered the political arena early, and became a warm supporter of the principles of Democracy, though there were un Newfield scarce twenty men of that faith. He had inspired so much confidence in his fellow citizens that in 1830, only three years after settling in Newfield, he was elected by a large majority to represent the town in the state legislature. To this office he was three times successively re-elected. At the beginning of his third term he was elected speaker of the house, and at the next session was again elected. He soon became one of the ablest leaders among the Maine Democrats, and at the same time that he was gaining a leadership in politics he carried on a successful practice of law. In 1834 he was appointed attorney general of the state. This office he filled with ability until 1838, when he was nominated for congress from the first district. In the exciting politicak conflict which followed he was elected. Before his term was out he was renomonated, and again elected - his term of service covering the period between Dec. 2, 1839 and March 3, 1843. When he left congress his reputation as an able and zealous leader and an accomplished parliamentarian was firmly established. During the presidential canvass of 1840 he supported Martin Van Buren, and met in political debate many distinguished Whig orators, and gained for himself the reputation of being one of the most eloquent champions of his party. Though originally favoring the re-elected of Van Buren to the chief magistracy of the nation, he supported the nomination of Polk with earnest and effective ardor, and in 1846 was offered the appointment of attorney-general in President Polk's cabinet, to accept which he gave up a very extensive legal practice at home. He found the duties of the office congenial to his tastes, and his administration was such as to prove him a worthy successor of the best of those who had preceded him. While he was a member of the cabinet the war with Mexico was in progress, and at its close, Mr. Clifford became a member of the United States commission with the power of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, to arrange terms of peace, and through his efforts the treaty was arranged with Mexico, by which California became United States territory.

In September, 1849, with the outgoing of the administration, he returned to Maine and settled permanently in Portland, where he carried on his law practice until 1858. Jan. 12, of that year he was appointed associate justice of the supreme court of the United States, and served as a member of that august body for more than twenty-three years. Judge Clifford was now fifty-five years old, and in the full vigor of his physicial and intellectual faculties. He found himself associated with a bench, the majority of which were old men rendered slow by age and that habitual caution which attends the conscientious exercise of judicial functions. The business of the court was far in arrears, and to the work of relieving this condition he applied himself with characteristic energy, and by continuous labor saw the docket much reduced. His opinions as a federal justice form a respectable part in number and importance of the forty volumes of reports issued up to the time of his death. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase died May 7, 1873, and Judge Clifford succeeded to the place thus made vacant. The presidential election of 1876 was not settled by popular ballot, and by a special act of congress the matter was referred to an electoral commission of fifteen men, over whose deliberations Judge Clifford, as senior associate justice, presided in the early part of the following year. The highest office within the gift of the American people was in the balance, men's minds were heated, and the discussions were frequently acrimonious, but during all this, although a firm believer in Mr. Tilden's election, he conducted the proceedings with the dignity and impartiality of an ancient Roman, retaining perfect calmness, evincing wisdom and fairness in his decision, and, even winning the commendation of his opponents. He agreed with the minority and delivered an opinion on the question of the Florida returns, but deeming it of no avail, he rendered no public judgment on the votes of the other contested states. For several years before his death, Judge Clifford was at liberty, if he chose, to retire from the bench and receive the pension provided by law, but relinquishment of duty was not in accordance with his disposition or the habits of his life, and he continued with unabated clearness and force of mind to perform his judicial labors until overtaken by his last sickness.
In October, 1880, he was seized by serious illness involving a complication of disorders, and was obliged to submit to amputation of the foot. From this he never fully recovered, and he died in Cornish, Maine, July 25, 1881.
Mason's "Bench and Bar" thus closes its account of this illustrious citizen: "Judge Clifford was a man of noble and commanding presence, and exhibited in his bearing and manner a graciousness and dignity combined that both won affection and inspired respect. Strength, culture and intellect were written on his face. He was a man of unyielding determination and immense capacity for study and investigation, and faced every duty, however onerous, with cheerfulness and confidence in himsekf. He possessed the genius of labor, industry, truthfulness, integrity and entire fidelity on the performance of duty were among his leading characteristics. The urbanity and courtesy which marked his intercourse with men, secured the friendship of a wide circle of eminent persons with whom he came in contact during the many years of his public life. The judge was of a temperament to prize such associations and cherished the friendships which he had thus formed to the end of his life. The simplicity, elevation and solidity of his character impressed all with whom he came in contact. A memory of wonderful power easily retained the fruit of a long, arduous and studious life. Bowdoin, Dartmouth, Brown and Harvard all conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. In the proceedings of the supreme court of the United States as well as in the circuit courts of the county, held to honor his memory, bench and bar united in conceding to the venerable magistrate the character of a great, wise and just judge."

Judge Clifford married, March 20, 1828, at Newfield, Maine, Hannah Ayer, born in Newfield March 3, 1811, died in Portland, Maine, Aug. 2, 1892, aged eighty-one, daughter of James and Nancy (Robinson) Ayer, of Newfield.
1. Charles Edward, born Nov. 3, 1828, died April, 1907; married Antoinette Ellis Ayer of Newfield.
2. Nancy Ayer, born Jan. 19, 1830, married E. L. Cummings, and died Nov. 14, 1899.
3. Nathan J., born Jan. 12, 1832, died _____; married Sarah Gilman.
4. Hannah Frances, born May 11, 1834; married Philip Henry Brown, of Portland, Maine, died Dec. 20, 1900.
5. William Henry, born Oct. 22, 1835, died Sept. 13, 1836.
6. William Henry, born Aug. 11, 1838, see forward.
7. Elisha, born June 26, 1839, died June 27, 1839.
8. Lydia J., born June 8, 1842, died March 28, 1843.
9. George Franklin, born Nov. 8, 1844, died Oct. 21, 1903, married Martha O'Brien, of Cornish, Maine.

(VIII) William Henry, third son of Judge Nathan and Hannah (Ayer) Clifford, was born in Newfield, Maine, Aug. 11, 1838. After leaving the public schools he fitted for college at Portland Academy and at Professor Wood's school at Yarmouth. After spending four years in Darmouth College he graduated there in 1858. Soon afterward he began the study of law in the office of Shepley & Dane, of Portland, and completed the course in the office of Benjamin R. Curtis, of Boston. He was admitted to practice in the courts of Massachusetts in 1863; in Maine and in the United State circuit court in 1864; and in the United States supreme court in 1867. After his admission to the bar he opened an office in Portland, where he practiced his profession up to the time of his death, Sept. 18, 1901. For about ten years he was a commissioner of the United States circuit court for the District of Maine, and afterwards acquired extensive practice in the federal courts and before the supreme court at Washington. He was author of "Clifford's Reports," a compilation in four volumes of his father's decisions in the New England circuit. From young manhood he was interested in the political contests in Maine, on the Democratic side, and from the time of the civil war was quite prominent as a leader in campaigns. Twice he was nominated as Democratic candidate for congress in the First Congressional District - once against John H. Burleigh, and the second time as the opponent of Thomas B. Reec, and won credit and respect by both his abilities and powers as a political speaker, and by the vigor and energy of his campaigns. He was a member of the Democratic national committee, and presided over a number of state conventions of the party. In 1896 he was candidate for governor of Maine on the ticket of the Gold Democrats.
He was fond of literature; was a member of the Maine Historical Society, and was author of several pamphlets on literary, political and other subjects. His degree of Master of Arts was conferred by Bishops College, Lenoxville, Province of Quebec.
He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and for some time served as vestryman in St. Luke's Cathedral. He was a member of the Cumberland Club of Portland, and the Union Club of Boston. He was affiliated with various Masonic bodies, including the Commandery; and with the order of Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias. It has been written of him: "He was a man of scholarly tastes and broad culture; always a student, his reading was both extensive and exhaustive. He was an authority on many literary and historical subejcts, and the addresses which he delivered from time to time on such subjects bore evidence of his natural ability and wide learning."
Mr. Clifford married, Aug. 8, 1866, Ellen Greeley Brown, born in Portland May 30, 1841, died there May 9, 1904, daughter of John B. and Ann M. (Greeley) Brown, of Portland.
1. Nathan, see forward.
2. Matilda Greeley, born July 20, 1869; married James W. Jamieson Nov. 15, 1904.
3. William Henry, b. July 28, 1875; see forward.
4. Philip Greeley, born Sept. 11, 1882; see forward.
Children of William H. Clifford, who died young, were John B. and Ellen Ayer.

(IX) Hon. Nathan (2), eldest child of Hon. William H. and Ellen G. (Brown) Clifford, was born in Portland June 17, 1867. He attended the public schools of Portland, Phillips Andover Academy, and the Portland high school, graduating from the latter in 1886. In the fall of the same year he entered Harvard University, from which he graduated with high honors in June, 1890. Immediately after graduation he entered upon the study of law in the office of his father in Portland and was admitted to the bar three years later, in May, 1893, and became a member of the firm of Clifford, Verrill & Clifford, the present firm.
The marks of heredity are discernible in Mr. Clifford, and he displays much of the ability that distinguished his progenitors. As a lawyer he ranks high, and in the Democratic party, of which he is an honored member, he is regarded as a wise counselor and successful leader. His interest in politics began at an early age, and his activity in party matters began immediately after his graduation from college. He has filled various offices in the party and in the municipality. In 1895 he was made chairman of the Democratic city committee. In 1905 he was elected mayor of Portland, and was re-elected the next year. His election to succeed himself in this office was the first instance in the history of the city where a Democrat was his own immediate successor. His administration of municipal business gave great satisfaction, but when he was made candidate for a third term, in 1907, he was defeated by Adam P. Leighton.
Mr. Clifford is a member of the Maine Historical Society; the Maine Geological Society; vice-president of the Harvard Club of Maine, and the New England Federation of Harvard Clubs; director of the Harvard Alumni Association; and member of the Cumberland Club, and various other bodies.
Mr. Clifford married, in Boston, May 4, 1897, Caroline L. Devens, born in Charlestown, Mass., Apr. 6, 1872, daughter of Captain Edward Fesser and Abbie Maria (Fairbanks) Devens; her father was an officer in the U. S. navy.
1. Katharine Louisa, born 1898.
2. Nathan Jr., born 1900.
3. William Henry, born 1904.

(IX) Captain William Henry, son of Hon. William H. and Ellen G. (Brown) Clifford, was born in Portland, July 28, 1875. He was educated in the public schools of Portland, Chauncey Hall school, Boston, and Mass. Istitute of Technology. He read law in the office of Clifford, Verrill & Clifford at Portland. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, he organized the naval reserve of Maine and was elected junior lieutenant; the reserves were ordered to the monitor "Montauk" and stationed in Portland harbor during the summer of 1898. At the close of the war Mr. Clifford went to Annapolis, Maryland, and after studying for a few months passed the examination for first lieutenant of United States Marine Corps, and served for three years in the Philippines. He commanded the guard at the St. Louis exposition and the legation guard at Pekin, China, in the winter of 1907. He has attained the rank of captain and is now serving in the Philippines.
He is a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity, holding various important offices in that order.
He married, Oct. 12, 1907, Mabel Moore, daughter of George M. Moore, of London. They have one son.

(IX) Philip Greely, son of Hon. William and Ellen G. (Brown) Clifford, was born in Portland, Sept. 11, 1882. He attended the public schools and prepared for college by studying under private tutors; in 1899 he entered Bowdoin College, graduating therefrom in 1903. He then took up the study of law at Harvard Collee, and also read law in the office of his brother, Hon. Nathan Clifford. He was admitted to the bar in 1906, and at once established himself in practice. He is a member of the Cumberland Club, Portland Country Club, Portland Yacht Club, and the following college fraternities: Psi Upsilon, Phi Beta Kappa and the Crown and Coffin.
Mr. Clifford married, Oct. 11, 1905, Katharine Hale, daughter of Judge Clarence and Margaret (Rollins) Hale, the former named being judge of the U. S. District Court.
Mr. and Mrs. Clifford have one child, Margaret Ellen Clifford.

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