Joseph Merrill Harper
|Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives|
|Member of the New Hampshire State Senate|
|President of the New Hampshire Senate|
|Preceded by||Samuel Cartland|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Cartland|
|Acting Governor of New Hampshire|
February 28, 1831 – June 2, 1831
|Preceded by||Matthew Harvey|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Dinsmoor|
|Member of the United States House of Representatives|
from New Hampshire's At large district
March 4, 1831 – March 4, 1835
|Preceded by||Jonathan Harvey|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Cushman|
|Born||June 21, 1787|
Limerick, Massachusetts, U.S.
(now Limerick, Maine)
|Died||January 15, 1865 (aged 77)|
Canterbury, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Resting place||Village Cemetery|
|Branch/service||United States Army, 4th Infantry|
|Battles/wars||War of 1812|
Joseph Merrill Harper (June 21, 1787 – January 15, 1865) was an American physician, banker and Jacksonian politician in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, the New Hampshire State Senate and the New Hampshire House of Representatives and was acting governor of New Hampshire.
Harper was born in Limerick (in modern-day Maine, then a part of Massachusetts) and attended Fryeburg Academy. He studied medicine and began the practice of medicine in Sanbornton, New Hampshire in 1810. In 1811, he moved to Canterbury, New Hampshire to continue his practice. He served as assistant surgeon in the 4th Infantry in the War of 1812. After the war he returned to his medical practice, and was elected a Fellow of the New Hampshire Medical Society in 1821.
He was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1826 and 1827, and justice of the peace in Canterbury from 1826–1865. Harper served in the New Hampshire State Senate in 1829 and 1830, and was president of the State Senate in 1831. He became Acting Governor of New Hampshire in February 1831 when Governor Matthew Harvey resigned as governor in order to accept a position as a United States federal judge. Harper served as Acting Governor from February 1831 – June 1831.
Harper was elected as a Jacksonian candidate to the Twenty Second and Twenty Third Congresses, serving as a U.S. Representative from March 4, 1831 – March 3, 1835.
After leaving Congress, he resumed the practice of medicine. He was justice of the peace from 1835–1865 and president of the Mechanics Bank of Concord from 1847–1856.
Harper died on January 15, 1865 in Canterbury, and is interred in the Village Cemetery.
Harper married Elizabeth Clough on June 6, 1816. They had two sons and a daughter.
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