Robert Rollins Pictures
Frank West Rollins
By Robert Rollins
I wanted to take a moment and share with everyone the biography of my great, great grandfather Frank West Rollins. He’s someone that I’ve always admired his leadership and writing skills.
Frank Rollins was one of four children born to U.S. Senator Edward H. Rollins and Ellen Elizabeth (West) Rollins. Rollins attended Concord public schools, tutored privately, and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Class of 1881). For a year Rollins studied law at Harvard and in the law office of John Mugridge; he was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in August 1882. Rollins married in 1882 and entered the banking firm established by his father in 1884. He was soon vice president and manager of the Boston branch office of E.H. Rollins & Sons, maintaining his home at Concord.
Rollins enlisted in the National Guard (1880) and was Assistant Adjutant General with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1890 to 1895. He was president of the New Hampshire State Senate (1895 to 1896) and in 1896 he wanted the New Hampshire Republican Party platform to endorse the gold standard, in opposition to the Democrats’ call for Free Silver. The state party did not do this, but Rollins was chosen to make the New England Republicans’ address to Republican presidential candidate William McKinley when they visited McKinley at his home in Canton, Ohio. In 1898 Rollins was the New Hampshire Republicans’ nominee to be governor and easily won the election.
As governor, Rollins saw abandoned New Hampshire farms and farm lands as major problems and he developed Old Home Week as a way to get former residents of the state to return for a visit with the hope they would buy these abandoned properties. In 1897 about 100 towns participated in Old Home Week and about 10,000 visitors returned. Rollins, working with longtime Secretary of Agriculture Bachelder, was president of the Old Home Week Association for many years. He also promoted good roads as an aid to tourism and served as president of the Good Roads League as well as the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. He wrote The Tourists’ Guide-Book to the State of New Hampshire, an annual first appearing in 1902, in addition to many short stories and novels. He serve as a trustee and treasurer of St. Paul’s School, Concord, and as a trustee of M.I.T. and many other clubs and organizations. He went on to write the fictional works, Break O’ Day Tales, The Lady of Violets, Recollection of the Late War With Canada: by One of the Survivors, The Ring in the Cliff, and The Twin Hussars, and nonfiction work include, Financial Courtship or a Plea For Conservative Investments, Old Home Week Addresses, Roads and Road-Building in New Hampshire, and What Can a Young Man Do?
I hope you found my great, great grandfather Frank West Rollins interesting. In the next couple of months we will be releasing his novels The Ring in the Cliff and The Lady of the Violets for purchase on the Robert Rollins Pictures website. I hope that you will enjoy them as I have.