Paul Wentworth of Dover purchased the Jacob Smith farm under Mt. Israel in 1812. His first child, John, was born there in 1815. John was called “Long John” because he was 6-foot 6-inches tall. He graduated from New Hampton Academy and Dartmouth. On October 3, 1836 he “left his father’s house… with no place in view but that indefinable somewhere, the ‘Far West’, with one hundred dollars in his pocket.”
He literally walked barefooted into Chicago on October 25th, found employment at the Chicago Democrat newspaper, and then became owner. Ownership of the newspaper established Long John as “the best known man in the Northwest” and launched a political career of National significance. Long John was the first person to pass the Bar in Chicago, Illinois. He won a special election in May 1843 to become, at age 28, the youngest member of the 28th US Congress. He would serve six terms in Congress. He was elected Mayor of Chicago in 1857 and again in 1860 when the first Republican National Convention in Chicago nominated Abraham Lincoln.
Wentworth advised Lincoln to “get someone to run you” and warned him to “look out for prominence.”
Of Long John, Lincoln said, “Wentworth has a knack of knowing things better than most men.” Lincoln also said, “I have had many free conversations with John Wentworth.”
Long John collected the history of Chicago; he published the Wentworth Genealogy. His letters to the Sandwich Reporter in 1884 sparked an interest in preserving the history of Sandwich. Long John returned to his hometown throughout his lifetime. The first was a “triumphal detour” on his way to Washington in 1843. His last visit to New Hampshire, in the summer of 1886, was as a guest of honor at the dedication of the Daniel Webster statue at Concord. He also attended alumni meetings of New Hampton and Dartmouth. He stopped by the farm of his birth. “ I had to come and look again at the room where I was born,” he explained. Long John Wentworth died in Chicago on October 16, 1888.