Was born in Worcester county, Massachusetts, December 24, 1797. His father, Samuel Harrington, was a native of Grafton, Massachusetts, and was born on the 3d of August, 1769. He received his early culture in the schools of his native state. For a short period of his life he was employed in teaching, though milling was his last and principal business. On arriving at the age of twenty-two, he was married to Miss Abigail Putnam, who was born September 15th, 1775. She was a daughter of Zadock Putnam, who was closely related to the daring, brave, and patriotic Gen. Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Putnam, was largely engaged in real estate speculations, and at one time owned a village in New England, in which was one of the best water powers in the state of Massachusetts. He was one of the largest landowners in New England.
The subject of this sketch is connected by a long line of ancestry as far back as the original Puritans who came over in the "May Flower." Among that highly honored and respected band who landed on the cold, bleak shores of Plymouth, is made honorable mention of the Harringtons, whose names yet stand enlarged on that ever memorable rock, around which clusters the purest and brightest thoughts of all true lovers of American liberty. The Harringtons are also connected, on the paternal side, with the Brighams, of early Massachusetts history, and on the maternal side, with the as yet revered name of the Elliots. Major Elliot, great grand-father of the subject of this sketch, served with distinction during the Revolutionary struggle.
Mr. Samuel Harrington had a family of four children, of whom Martin is the second. Three are yet living at quite an advanced age. Mr. Harrington died at his residence, October 5th, 1842. His wife survived him until April, 1871. After being a widow seven years, she was married to Capt. David Trask, of Leicester, Worcester county, Massachusetts. They had a family of five children — one son and four daughters. The subject of our sketch was early thrown upon his own resources by the death of his father, but with that true Yankee pluck and stick-to-it- iveness, he overcame all obstacles in his way, and mostly by his own individual and unaided efforts, succeeded in acquiring a good, solid English education; but that served only a nucleus, around which he has been constantly adding to his store of knowledge, until now we find him possessed with conversational powers seldom surpassed by the most cultured men of the country — not only being informed in local matters, but his range of intellect grasps the broadest questions. In his conversation one can not long be a listener without being richly compensated, by his large fund of information. Previous to his marriage, his vocation was that of a scythe manufacturer.
On the 22d of June, 1822, he was married to Miss Myra, daughter of Josephus Willard, Esq., of Grafton, Massachusetts. They had a family of three children, of whom two are yet living. In the year 1827, he moved with his family, to Amsterdam, New York, at which place he was the first manufacturer of turned carriage axle-trees, with pipe-boxes, which business he continued for a period of nine years, with other machine business. Mrs. Harrington died at her residence, in New York, in 1832, and the following year (1833), Mr. Harrington married his second wife, Miss Catharine, daughter of Evert Hagaman. They have had born to them a family of five children, all of whom are living and doing well. His son, F. M. Harrington, is now practicing law in Kirksville, Missouri, where he has grown into a large and lucrative practice. In 1836, Mr. Harrington left New York and came to Illinois, locating in Pike county, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock-growing, of which latter he made quite a specialty. He says he was in the county when settlements and improvements were scarce. He is, therefore, justly classed among the old settlers. By industry and perseverence Mr. Harrington has succeeded in getting together considerable wealth, so that his old days can be passed in reaping the reward of a well spent life. His son-in-law in Missouri has been twice elected to the legislature of that state, and all his children are getting wealthy. The family is one of the oldest and most respected in the county. Mr. Harrington's brother, Hon. Charles Harrington, who was for some time judge of the county court of Pike county, in its early organization, was also one of the pioneer preachers of this section of the country. He is now residing on his farm, north of Griggsville, at quite an advanced age. He has also several children who are settled in close proximity to his home.
The subject of our sketch, now far past the meridian of life, enjoys excellent health, and his is another of the many instances of what can be accomplished by a well directed industry. By his generous and straightforward principles, he has won the confidence and esteem of his neighbors and fellow-citizens. During the war, he was a strong supporter of the cause of the Union. He is a member of the republican party. A few years since he retired from the active pursuits of life, and is now residing with his wife, at their beautiful residence in Perry, a view of which is shown in this work.