William Ladd (1778-1841), a resident of Minot, was an early activist for world peace. Born in Exeter, New Hampshire on May 10, 1778, he was groomed for college by his parents and entered Harvard when he was fifteen.
Not inclined to an academic career, he went to sea on his father’s ships, eventually becoming a commander and owner of several.
The War of 1812 devastated American maritime commerce. This may have encouraged Ladd, in that year, to move to Minot committed to become a successful farmer. Here he became interested in social reform and world peace.
In 1828 he helped organize the American Peace Society and gave it his editorial and financial support. Later in life he became a minister and preached sermons at every opportunity.
According to the archivists responsible for the Swarthmore College Peace Collection:
In the 1820s William Ladd of the Maine Peace Society suggested that the regional US peace societies become associated in a national organization. As a result, the peace societies of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) merged in May 1828 to form the American Peace Society [APS]. The stated purpose of the American Peace Society was to “promote permanent international peace through justice; and to advance in every proper way the general use of conciliation, arbitration, judicial methods, and other peaceful means of avoiding and adjusting differences among nations, to the end that right shall rule might in a law–governed world.”
A plaque memorializing Ladd’s contribution to peace is located on the site of the Minot Center Congregational Church on the Center Minot Road near its junction with the Jackson Hill Road.
“American Peace Society Records, 1828-1947.” Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Swarthmore College. Swarthmore, PA. http://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/DG001-025/DG003APS.htm (accessed November 4, 2013)
Beckwith, George C. “Eulogy on William Ladd, late president of the American Peace Society (1841).” Boston, MA. Whipple & Damrell. 1841. https://archive.org/details/eulogyonwilliaml00beck (accessed November 4, 2013) [Ebook and Texts Archive > American Libraries > Boston Public Library]