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Atwood, George H.


    In full view of the White Hills of Mount Washington stands '"Sugar Hill," in the town of Lisbon, N. H., where George H. Atwood was born, on November 9th, 1838. He was the seventh son of Moses K. Atwood, a wheelwright and maker of fine sleighs and carriages. The family ancestors came from England at an early period, and both father and mother were pious and devoted Christians.

    Upon the death of his father, the mother was left with nine children, and shortly after this, George H., then but eight years of age, went to live with Joseph Clark, who owned a good-sized farm at Carroll, N. H. Mr. Clark had no children, and young Atwood worked on the farm, and during the winter and school terms did the chores and attended the village school. He spent the evenings in reading, and frequently engaged in the village debating society. At the age of thirteen he professed conversion, and was baptized in a pond, fed by mountain springs, at Whitefield, N. H., and united with the Baptist Church.


       In 1857, Mr. Atwood's real business career began when he became a clerk in his uncle's jewelry store, at Littleton. N. H., continuing in that business until he came to New York, in 1863, where he engaged with the old linen collar and cuff house of Bennett. Strickland & Fellows, as entry clerk, and was rapidly advanced to bookkeeper, then to cashier, and, in 1868, to the position of manager and credit man of the New York house, a place he has occupied with honor to the house for the past thirty-six years. During these years he has managed the credits of the New York house, had charge of the salesmen and directed the affairs of this extensive business through successive changes of firms, the present firm of Fellows & Company being really the oldest collar and cuff manufacturers in the United States, having been established in Troy, N. Y., in 1834. In all his transactions he enjoys the confidence of his employers in the highest degree.

    In 1864 Mr. Atwood was made a Mason in Sagamore Lodge No. 371, New York City, and became Senior Deacon, Senior Warden and Worshipful Master in rapid succession, the lodge greatly prospering under his brilliant administration. The lodge presented him with a gold watch and chain upon his retiring from the mastership. He was made a Royal Arch Mason in 1865, in Phoenix Chapter No. 2, New York, and was immediately elected Principal Sojourner of the Chapter. He was also made a Knights Templar in Palestine Commandary No. 18, New York, in 1865, under a dispensation of the Grand Commander, being given all the degrees at one conclave, and was at the next conclave elected Prelate of the Commandary, filling the office with marked ability for years. During 1865-6-7, while visiting Hackensack and when Pioneer Lodge was young, he attended the lodge meeting, conferred degrees, installed officers and gave valuable counsel. His membership is now with Pioneer Lodge No. 70, F. & A. M. of Hackensack as a Past Master.

    In 1865 he became a boarder at the Hackensack House, kept by A. Van Saun, and on December 22nd, 1866, was married to Miss Lucy Sheldrake, eldest daughter of the late George H. Burt of Hackensack, where he has since resided. Six children have been born of this marriage, three boys and three girls, all living.

    Early identifying himself with the interests of the town, he became one of the founders of the Public Library and Reading Room and one of its first trustees. Taking the lead he arranged for a course of popular lectures for its benefit, which netted them $350. So anxious was Mr. Atwood for the financial success of this cause that he personally sold lecture tickets on the trains.

    He 1869 he was a member of the choir in the Second Reformed Church, Dr. George H. Fisher, pastor. Being a Baptist, in May, 1870. he started a subscription to build a Baptist Church, and personally secured $1500 before any one else had raised a dollar, and on the third of July a church was organized with eleven members who received the right hand of fellowship by Deacon DeWolfe and his wife, the only surviving members of a church that existed in Hackensack about thirty-five years prior to that time, Mr. Atwood being one of the eleven organizers. Ground was broken on September 7th of that year and on December 30th following the present church edifice was dedicated. He has labored zealously in both church and Sunday school ever since, holding the various offices of trustees, clerk and deacon in the church while he has been a teacher in the Sunday school for twenty-nine years, and three times elected superintendent, which position he now holds. In 1873 he was President of the New Jersey Sunday School Convention, comprising thirty-five schools.

    Mr. Atwood has been a liberal and cheerful giver to Home and Foreign Missions, and to every good and benevolent work.

James Van Valen, History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1900