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The son of Isaac Appleton and his wife Mary Adams. He attended the common schools and the local academy in preparation for college study. At the age of 15 he was admitted to Dartmouth College but decided instead to enter business. He accompanied his elder brother Samuel to Boston and learned bookkeeping in order to work as a clerk in Samuel's mercantile house. When he reached 21, he became a full partner in the business, which continued until 1809. In the following year he joined his brother Eben and another merchant, Daniel P. Parker, in a similar venture, which prospered until it was dissolved in 1813. He among others purchased the water power at Pawtucket Falls, and he was one of the founders of the Merrimac Manufacturing Company. The settlement grew around these factories and developed into the city of Lowell. In 1821 he was one of the three founders.
Nathan was a member of the general court of Massachusetts in 1816, 1821, 1822, 1824 and 1827. In 1831 to 1833 and also 1842 he served in the United States House of Representatives, in which he was prominent as an advocate of protective duties. He was also a member of the Academy of Science and Arts, and of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Publishing speeches and essays on currency, banking, and the tariff, as well as his memoirs on the power loom and Lowell. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1842.
His daughter Fanny married Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) in 1843. As a wedding gift, Appleton purchased the house in which Longfellow had been renting rooms, now known as the Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site. He paid $10,000 for the home. Frances wrote to her brother Thomas on August 30, 1843: "We have decided to let Father purchase this grand old mansion", which was also a former headquarters of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Nathan Appleton also purchased the land across the street, as Longfellow's mother wrote, "so that their view of the River Charles may not be intercepted".
Fanny Appleton died on July 10, 1861, after accidentally catching fire; her father was too sick to attend her funeral. Appleton died the next day, in Boston, on July 14, 1861.
Marriage and Family
1st Marriage; Maria Gold
Nathan married Maria Theresa Gold in April, 1806, the couple had five children. Maria would die in 1833.
- Thomas Gold Appleton (1812-1884) - an American writer, an artist, and a patron of the fine arts. (wiki)
- Mary Appleton (1813-1889) (daughter of Nathan) was married to Robert James Mackintosh (1811-1864), son of Sir James Mackintosh and his second wife, was a British colonial governor. As Governor of Antigua, he was the viceroy in the Leeward Islands colony between 1850 and 1855.
- Charles Sedgwick Appleton (1815-1835)
- Frances Elizabeth Appleton (1817-1861) - 2nd wife of famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). She died in a tragic house fire.
- George William Appleton (1826-1827)
2nd Marriage: Harriet Sumner
Nathan would remarried on January, 1839, to Harriot Coffin Sumner. They would have three children.
- William Sumner Appleton (1840-1903) -
- Harriet Sumner Appleton (1841-1923) - married Greely S Curtis, lieutenant colonel and commander of the 1st Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry during the civil war.
- Nathan Appleton (1843-1906) -
- Nathan Appleton - Wikipedia
- Appleton Family of Boston - Boston Brahmin
- Nathan Appleton - disambiguation
- Appleton of Berkshire County, Massachusetts