Transcription of the Otis Bardwell Family History section from Walpole As It Was and As It Is by George Aldrich, The Claremont Manufacturing Co., Claremont, N.H., 1880, page 191.
BARDWELL, OTIS. The Bardwells in New England are of English origin. The ancestor of Otis and the Bardwells of Montague, Deerfield &c. of Massachusetts, was Robert, who came to Boston about 1670. He was an apprentice to a hatter in London at the time of the plague and great fire there in 1665 and ‘6. When he arrived in Boston the Indians were committing savage depredations on the inhabitants in the valley of Connecticut river and he was sent, by the Gov. of Mass., to the troops stationed there, with dispatches, and ordered to return immediately if there did not come a fall of snow, but if snow came to remain with the troops. Snow came and he remained. He found his way to Old Hadley, where he apprenticed himself to learn the business of making wool hats, a branch of the business he had not learned in London. He married and settled in Hatfield, Mass., and died from injuries received in falling from the frame of a barn, at the raising, when comparatively a young man. He had four sons, one named Samuel settled in Montague and another named Thomas settled in Deerfield. One of Robert’s sons, named Joel, who was a college graduate, caused the original spelling of the none to be changed from Bordwell to Bardwell, because it better agreed with the manner in which it was pronounced—Bar-dle. From the heraldry office, in London, is obtained the signification of the name Bardwell: “Bard a poet and well good,—meaning a good Poet.” It is claimed that the English Bardwells have a “Coat of Arms,” the device of which is: “three scallops (shell fish) guarded by a lion rampant” with the following motto in English: “we fear no danger.”
Otis Bardwell was born in Deerfield, Mass, Oct. 17, 1792, and was the son of Thomas and Catharine (Belding) Bardwell, who had a family of twelve children, eight of whom lived to maturity, four of the number having been our town’s people. He married first, Dec. 23, 1818, Abigail, daughter of Abijah and Artemesia (Blake) Foster, of Keene, N. H., b. Aug. 14, 1799, ch. I. Abigail Foster, b. July 11, 1824, d. in infancy. II. Catharine Artemesia, b. July 12,1826, d. in infancy. III. Mary Ann, b Jan. 6,1827, m. Edmund Foster Cook, Feb. 23, 1847 and had 9 ch. 4 of whom are living. 1st Mary F., 2d Mabel, 3d Otis Bardwell, 4th Helen Temple. IV. Harriet Otis, b. July 26,1829. V. Sarah Bellows, b. Jan. 14, 1832; m. Horace W. Eaton, May 1, 1856; d. Feb. 21, 1876. Abigail, wife of Otis Bardwell, d., Oct. 14,1832. He m. a second time Mary, b. Sep. 2, 1800, a sister of his first wife who d. Dec. 13, 1875; he d. Mar. 27, 1871.
Mr. Bardwell began life as a stage driver, but being a man of energy and good calculation he soon became a proprietor, and in a short time was one of the owners of all the mail lines of staging in the vicinity. (See Geo. Huntington.) In the month of January 1819, about three weeks after his first marriage, in driving over Carpenter’s Hill, he discovered an apple tree in full a bloom, from which he picked blossoms for the lady passengers, and brought home a bouquet for his bride. Soon after 1820 he purchased of Thomas Redington the house where Henry Allen now lives, and resided there some twenty-five years. In 1849 when the Cheshire Railroad was completed, he bought a plot of land in Rutland, Vt. and built the well known “Bardwell House,” where, in conjunction with his son-in-law, E. Foster Cook, he kept a public house for a number of years. He was the first president of the first Walpole Savings Bank and was the custodian of considerable property left in trust by others. His second wife was a model woman and a consistent member of the Congregational church in this town for many years, and one of the leading spirits. She carried out her profession in her daily walk, being always the first of her neighbors at the house of those who were sick and in affliction. Her hand always went with her generous nature in bestowing little [page 193] comforts on those that were poor and needy as well as those that were sick.