James Breck, merchant

A 24-year-old merchant of Scottish descent, James Breck moved from Claremont to Croydon (NH) in 1804, the same year that the Croydon Turnpike was chartered. Breck served Croydon as selectman and representative in the state legislature. In 1816, he moved down to Newport and constructed a brick store at the corner of Main and Elm Streets. The structure was removed sometime after April 1979, for road improvements.

Breck belonged to the Congregational Society but was not a church member. Nevertheless, he financed a new meetinghouse, made of brick, on the eastern side of the Sugar River—quite near his own store. Often listed as the highest tax-payer in Newport, James Breck served for many years as selectman and state representative. 

In 1842, he moved his large family to Rochester (NY) where new opportunities stemmed from the completion of the Erie Canal. He again opened a mercantile business, which he and one of his sons operated until his death in 1871; the son died just five years later.

© New Hampshire Steeples, 2012