George Thomas Little.

Genealogical and family history of the state of Maine; (Volume 3) online

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graduating valedictorian of his class. He
taught school the following winter at Pas-
sumpsic village, returning home on foot in
the spring with fifty-two dollars saved, pay-
ing Air. Burnsides his principal and interest —
five dollars and twenty-two cents. He at-
tended New Hampton Academy in the spring,
worked at farming in the summer, and in Sep-
tember, 1849, entered Waterville College. He
paid his way through college, as he had
through the preparatory schools, and gradu-
ated in 1833. During his college course he
taught school in Waterville, being principal of
the Waterville Liberal Institute three terms,
and superintendent of schools, elected by the
town, three years. He was successful as a
teacher and had tempting offers of positions,
but he preferred the law as his profession,
and in the fall of 1853 entered the law school
of the University of Albany, graduating in the
class of 1855, winning the first prize, a gold
medal, for the best essay on Equity Juris-
prudence. The eminent judges in this contest
were Judge Barnard, of New York. Judge
Collamore, of Vermont, and Judge Thomas,
of Massachusetts. He was admitted to the
bar at Albany on his diploma, but returning
to Maine, entered the law oflSce of Hon. A.

W. Paine, in Bangor, where he remained one
year. In August, 1856, he was admitted to
the Maine bar and entered upon the practice
of law at Bangor on his own account.

When the civil war broke out, he laid aside
his profession, after five years of practice. He
had been a member of tlie staff of Governor
Lot M. Morrill, and in i860 had taken an ac-
tive part in the campaign in support of Lin-
coln, and on election day, November 6, i860,
made a resolution that, if war followed the
election, he would sustain his vote as a sol-
dier for the Union. He felt the solemnity of
the crisis as few public men of that time, and
said afterward that he deemed his vote that
year as the most solemn act of his life. He
saw that the election of Lincoln meant a re-
versal of the policy of the federal government
on the slave question, and foresaw the end of
slavery and slavery agitation that had almost
disrupted the nation for more than a genera-
tion already. During the darkest hours of
the life of the nation in the four months be-
tween the election and inauguration of Lin-
coln, in January, 1861, when Horace Greeley,
in the New York Tribune, and others of his
mind, were advocating peace at any price,
even at the cost of the Union itself. General
Plaisted boldly proclaimed the duty and ne-
cessity of fighting, even to total exhaustion, if
necessary, to preserve the nation intact. He
said: "If we let them go in peace we justify
their mean opinion of us, earn their contempt,
as well as the contempt of the whole world,
and how can we expect to live in peace there-
after? Craven we shall be, and confess their
boast true that 'one Southerner is equal to five
Yankees.' If allowed to dictate the terms
upon which they go out, will they not dictate
the conditions upon which we may live in
peace side by side as neighbors? Will they
not demand the surrender of fugitive slaves
and compel us to stand guard over their pe-
culiar property whenever they choose to take
it with them across the line into free states?
If they break up the Union at the risk of war
and at all hazards, to protect their pjsculiar
property, and we are imbecile enough to ac-
quiesce, w'ill they not make war upon such a
craven people, if necessary, to protect that
property from wholesale confiscation as it
teems across Mason and Dixon's line? There
will be no living in peace by them, any more
than with them. They will respect us after
they have fought with us and like us. Then
if we cannot live together in peace, we may
side by side as alien friends. Fight for the
Union we must and shall. We shall not look



beyond the Union to see what hes beyond.
\\'e, the northern race, are slow, not craven or
cowardly — slow to anger; slow to act because
slow to realize danger. Threats of disunion
have never alarmed us. Fight we shall— not
there the danger lies ; we cannot vet quite be-
lieve the South in earnest— really' bent on de-
stroying the Union, and the real danger is
that they will secure some great advantage Ijo-
fore the North is aroused like the seizure of
the National capital. That would be a stag-
gering blow, if not fatal to us. There is the
danger. Washington is defenceless!"

He wrote a stirring letter published in the
Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, January 21,
1861, advocating measures for the defense of
Washington. He said: "What then shouM
be done? Manifestly there should be no
boys' play — no standing upon ceremony. .Mar-
tial law should be declared and the District of
Columbia converted into a camp. The Cate-
lines in the Senate and their bands of con-
spirators who infest the city should be driven
out and the city surrounded with a wall of
bristling bayonets and frowning batteries.
Troops of undoubted loyalty should be posted
in sufficient force to sweep those streets "of
magnificent distances' with every missile of
destruction known to modern warfare and to
bid defiance to a hundred thousand rebels."

General Plaisted enlisted for the war in

1861, raising a company in thirty days —
Company K. Eleventh Regiment — of which he
was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, and left
for the front November 12, 1861. He was
stationed in Washington during the winter,
which he spent in study and drill, having spe-
cial charge of the officers' school of instruc-
tion in tactics. A part of the First Crigade,
including his regiment (Casey's Division,
Keyess Corps), left Washington, March 28,

1862. and took" part in the Peninsular cam-
paign. Promoted to colonel of the Eleventh.
May II, 1862, he commanded the regiment
through that campaign, taking part in the
siege of Yorktown, battles of Williamsburg,
Fair Oaks. Seven Pines and in the Seven
Days' battle before Richmond. In July of
that vear, after reaching Harrison's Landing,
he received a thirty days' leave of absence,
which he spent in Maine, recruiting the de-
pleted ranks of his regiment, returning in Au-
gust with three hundred and twenty recruits.
At the close of the campaign General Nagle.
promoted to the command of a division, urged
the promotion of Colonel Plaisted to his for-
mer command. Transferred to the Depart-
ment of the South, in December, 1862, Colonel

Plaisted commanded a brigade in 186^ under
General Gilmore in the operations at'.Morris
Island, the siege of I'ort Sumter and Charles-
ton, until April, 1864. His regiment, thor-
oughly instructed in the handling of iieavy
artillery and in the art of field fortifications,
was regarded by General Gilmore as equal to
his best artillery regiment and engineer troops,
and it was placed at the front, in charge of
the big guns and mortars. From the Eleventh
he selected the detachment who manned the
famous "Swamp Angel" battery and fired the
first shots into Charleston, the first instance in
history of bombardment at a distance of five

In February, 1864, on his second leave of
absence home, Colonel Plaisted raised three
hundred more recruits for his regiment and
secured town bounties for his re-enlisted men.
His recruiting fees he turned over to his vet-
erans, the sum of $r,8io, "to which," said the
Portland Press, "Colonel Plaisted was clearly

In April, 1864, Colonel Plaisted was trans-
ferred with his brigade to \'irginia, and com-
manded it in Grant's great campaign of
1864-65 against Richmond and Petersburg.
He was warmly commended by all his su-
perior officers, and General Terry, his corps
commander, hero of Fort Fisher, wrote, rec-
ommending his promotion : "Colonel Plaisted
is li brave, patriotic and loyal man, and has
faithfully served the country since early in the
war. His regiment is not only one of the best
in the Tenth Army Corps, but one of the best
which I have ever seen. He is more than or-
dinarily attentive and zealous in the perform-
ance of his duty, and equally careful for the
comfort and welfare of his men. In the bat-
tle of the 7th instant (New Market Road) he
handled his brigade with marked skill and
ability, and it was as much due to his efforts
as to the efforts of any one that our flank was
not turned and the battle not" In simi-
lar vein wrote Major General Foster, division
commander, and Major General Adelbert
Ames, commanding the Second Division,
Tenth Corps. In his brigade were the Elev-
enth Maine, the Twenty-fourth Massachu-
setts, the Tenth Connecticut, the One Hun-
dredth New York, the First Maryland, dis-
mounted cavalry, and Two Hundred and Sixth
Pennsylvania, constituting the Third Brigade,
Terry's Division, Tenth Army Corps, which
was reorganized in Virginia as the Twenty-
fourth Corps. Besides the siege of Richmorid
and Petersburg, his brigade was engaged in
fifteen other engagements, losing in three bat-



ties 944 men. and Iiaving men killed and
wounded on fifty-nine different days between
May 7 and October 29. 1864. General Plais-
ted said to his brigade at the close of the war :
"The army cannot boast of your superiors."

In November, 1864, General Plaisted again
recruited the depleted ranks of his regiment.
In the siege of Petersburg. General Plaisted
was appointed by General Birney chief engi-
neer of the corps, on account of the excellence
of the field works constructed by his com-
mand. After declining the honor in vain, he
was allowed also to retain command of his
brigade and go with it when it moved. One
of the reasons that placed the Eleventh Maine
among the model regiments of the army was
the total abstinence of officers as well as en-
listed men. General Plaisted refused to ap-
prove the requisitions for whiskey. General
Plaisted took a personal interest in getting the
soldiers to send home their pay. A spirit of
rivalry between companies was encouraged,
and on one pay day tiie regiment sent $30,300
out of a total of $40,000, one company send-
ing $4,100.

Though broken in health as he was in the
spring of 1863 by fever and ague, his purpose
to see the end of the struggle was never
shaken until General Grant, at the review of
the division, March 17, remarked: "The hard
fighting is over." General Plaisted, now
major-general by brevet, having been twice
promoted for gallant and meritorious conduct
in the field, applied to be mustered out, March
25, 1865. In his farewell address to his com-
mand he stated the loss as 1,385 out of 2,693
men. and commended the magnificent record
of his brigade. "Your conduct," he said, "has
afforded me the keenest pleasure of my life,
and while life shall last, memory will con-
stantly recur to the conduct of the 'Iron Bri-
gade' with as much pride and gratitude as the
heart is capable of." General Plaisted saw- the
end of the Confederacy. On April 3 he saw
Richmond smoking from the ground, and
boys in blue thronging the streets and capitol
grounds, and Libby prison crowded with pris-
oners guarded by his own regiment. He was
in the hospital in April spending his time,
when able, in the wards, reading to wounded
comrades and writing letters home for them.
He left the hospital the first of May, but did
not reach Bangor until the last of the month,
being detained by illness at Washington, Bal-
timore, Portland and W'atcrville.

As soon as health permitted he resumed the
practice of law at Bangor. He was twice a
representative to the state legislature, in 1867

and in 1868, and delegate at large to the Re-
publican national convention at Chicago in
1868. In 1873 he was elected attorney gen-
eral of Maine, after a notable contest against
such candidates as Hon. Thomas B. Reed,
Hon. A. A. Strout, of Portland, and Hon.
Charles P. Stetson, of Bangor, was elected
again in 1874 and 1875, and made a record
for faithfulness and efficiency. In twenty-
two months he was in court a hundred days,
engaged in the trial of fourteen capital cases,
with but two acquittals, one on the ground of
insanity, the other on account of sympathy for
the defendant, a woman said to have mur-
dered a faithless betrayer.

General Plaisted was elected to congress,
and took his seat December i, 1875, resign-
ing the office of attorney general. During
the Forty-fourth Congress he served on the
committee on public buildings and grounds;
expenditures of the treasury department ; en-
rolled bills ; special committee on ventilation
of the House, in conjunction with a scientific
commission, at the head of which was Pro-
fessor Henry of the Smithsonian Institute,
and also on Proctor Knott's special committee
on the "Whiskey Frauds," a long and labori-
ous task. This Whiskey Ring was a con-
spiracy of distillers and government officers
to defraud the government, and it was sought
to implicate President Grant himself in the
frauds. General Plaisted was the only Re-
publican on the sub-committee. Bristow, sec-
retary of the treasury under Grant, himself a
presidential candidate, brought all the evi-
dence that he could discover or invent to im-
plicate General Grant, and all w'as admitted
without objection from General Plaisted. The
hearing dragged through winter, spring and
summer months. In two weeks General
Plaisted proved that the first move to unearth
the frauds and bring the guilty to justice was
made by Grant ; that the letter written by his
friend Filley at St. Louis, alleging Colonel
Babcock's complicity in the frauds. General
Grant turned over to Bristow with the en-
dorsement : "Let no guilty man escape."
Babcock was his own private secretary.
Grant's vindication was complete, and the
President appreciated the good judgment and
loyalty of General Plaisted. He ofTered him
the chief justiceships of W'ashington and Wy-
oming and associate justiceship of Dakota, all
of which he declined, being unwilling to leave

Governor Plaisted left the Republican party
in 1879. and in 1880 was unanimously nomi-
nated for governor of Maine by the Demo-



crats. He was elected for two years, receiv-
ing .73770 votes to 73,544 for Daniel F.
Davis, the largest vote ever cast in the state.
He was Democratic candidate for United
States senator in 1883 and 1889. From June,
1883, until his death in 1898, he was the
editor of the Nczu Age, Augusta, Maine, but
only nominally after 1891, his health requiring
him to spend the winters in the south. Gen-
eral Plaisteil published a "Digest of the Maine
Reports" ( Plaisted & Appleton's), a work of
1,400 pages, upon which he was engaged for
three years ; "The Trial of Wagner" and "The
Lowell Trial" ; and prepared for publication
the "Genealogy of the Plaisted Family"; his
"War Diary" and the "True Story of Seven
Pines, or Fair Oaks." Among his public ad-
dresses may be mentioned his oration at Wa-
terville in 1867, at the laying of the corner
stone of Memorial Hall, Colby University ;
his address at the dedication of Memorial
Hall, Bowdoin College, in i88i ; his address
of welcome to the war veterans of Maine at
their reunion in Dcering's Grove, Portland, in
1882, and his Fort Sumter address, April 14,
1895, the thirtieth anniversary of the restora-
tion of the flag there. The most finished of
these addresses was perhaps that at Water-
ville. It was highly commended by no less
a critic than Senator George F. Hoar, who
said of it to Senator Frye : "If it were bound
up in Webster's speeches it would not be
deemed out of place." His address at Sum-
ter was published in full by the Charleston
Neivs and Courier, which said of it editori-
ally : "We heartily agree with General Plais-
ted that so long as the blessings of the pre-
served Union shall be enjoyed equally by all,
the Union defenders will be honored equally
by all as the saviors of their country."

General Plaisted married, September 21,
1858, Sarah J. Mason, daughter of Chase P.
Mason, of Waterville, Maine. She died Oc-
tober 25, 1875, at the age of forty years. He
married' (second) September 22, 1881, Mabel
True, daughter of Hon. Francis W. Hill, of
Exeter. Children: i. Harold Mason, born
March 12, 1861 ; graduate of Maine State
College, 1881 ; of Stevens Institute of Tech-
nology, 1883; now a patent lawyer in Gran-
ite City, Illinois. 2. Frederick William, born
July 26, 1865; mentioned below. 3. Ralph
Parker, born March 17, 1871 : graduate of
Bowdoin College, 1894; Albany Law School,
1897: public administrator for Penobscot
county; city clerk of Bangor, 1905 to 1907,
and now a practising attorney in that city.

Child of second wife: 4. Gertrude Hill, born
June 29, 1890.

Frederick William Plaisted, son of General
Harris Merrill Plaisted, was born in Bangor,
July 26, 1865. He was educated in the public
schools of Bangor and at St. John.sbury Acad-
emy, Vermont, where he was graduated in
1884. He began his work as a newspaper
man in 1885, as editor of the North Star, at
Prcsque Isle, Maine. When he came of age
he went to Augusta and became business man-
ager of The New Age. Three years later he
bought the interest of his father's partner.
The New Age was established in 1867, edited
first by Eben F. Pillsbury, and later by Dan-
iel T. Pike, who had been editor of The Age,
established in 1831, of which Melville W.
Fuller, present chief justice of the supreme
court of the United States, was editor in 1856.
In July, 1883, (iovernor Plaisted bought the
plant, and in 1898 was succeeded as editor
and proprietor by his son, Frederick William,
who has continued the newspaper to the pres-
ent time.

Mr. Plaisted is one of the best known men
in the state. He was the candidate of the
Democratic party for congress in the Third
District in 1897 and 1898, but was defeated.
He was elected mayor of .\ugusta in 1906.
His admiiu'slration was very successful, and
he was re-elected in 1907 and again in 1908,
in each election carrying six of the eight
wards. He is the first Democratic mayor,
with a single exception, to be elected in that
city in a period of forty years. Under the
administration of Mayor Plaisted a great deal
of permanent work has been done. Miles of
concrete and granolithic sidewalks have been
built, sewers laid, and streets macadamized.
While he has not neglected any other branch
of municipal improvement. Mayor Plaisted
has urged upon his fellow citizens the need
of good country roads. As the result of his
efforts all the principal highways leading into
the city on both sides of the Kennebec river
have been graded and macadamized under his
personal supervision.

Ma\()r Plaisted was elected siieriff uf Ken-
nebec county for two years in September.
1906, the first Democratic sherif? since the
county was established in 1799. He served
ten years on the village district school board,
and was chairman the last three years. Dur-
ing his term of office the Lincoln street school
house, a substantial modern brick building,
was erected. He was delegate-at-large to the
Demiicratic national conventions in 1896 and



1900 at Chicago and Kansas City. He was
for four years a member of the National con-
gressional committee of his party, and was
chairman of the Democratic state convention
in 1906.

Mr. Plaisted is prominent in Free Masonry.
He took an active part in the erection of the
Augusta Masonic Temple in 1894. He was
grand high priest of the Grand Royal Arch
Chapter in 1901, and grand commander of
the Grand Commandery of Maine in 1902.
He is a member of Bethlehem Lodge; Cush-
noc Chapter; Alpha Council, Trinity Com-
mandery, Knights Templar. He is a 32d de-
gree Mason in the Scottish Rite. He is a
trustee of the Augusta Masonic Building
Company ; trustee of the Lithgow Public Li-
brary ; an incorporator of the Augusta Sav-
ings Bank ; director of the Augusta City Hos-
pital ; member of the B. P. O. Elks ; also of
the Sons of Veterans, and of the Abnaki
Club and Cobbosseecontee and .Augusta Yacht

He married, F'ebruary 10, 1907, Frances
Gullifer, daughter of the late Captain Henry
Gullifer, of Milbridge.

The name is apparently a cor-
MUNSON ruption of the Scotch Manson,

and was introduced in New
England by Captain Richard Manson, a
Scotch sea captain, who claimed descent from
a titled Scotch family. We are able to learn
that this Scotch ship-master first appeared in
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, about 1661,
and settled at this seaport, married, and had
children. We therefore place him in the first
generation of the family, which in the fourth
generation adopted the spelling of the name,

(H) John, son of Captain Richard Man-
son, was probably born in Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, after 1661.

(III) John (2), probably eldest son of
John (i) Manson, was born in Portsmouth,
New Hampshire, about 1700. He married
and had a family of children, naming one
Richard in honor of the progenitor of the
family in America.

(IV) Richard, son of John (2) Manson,
was probahl)- born in l\)rtsmouth, about 1730.
He adopted the calling of his .Scottish progeni-
tor, and became a master mariner, sailing
from Portsmouth. He changed the spelling
of the family name to Munson.

(V) Joseph, apparently son of Captain
Richard Munson, was a seafarer. He removed
early in life to Machias, Maine, with which

port he had acquaintance in his professional
life as captain of a coaster. He married Sarah
Morse and had four sons: i. Stephen, mar-
ried Sarah Foster, and had ten children. 2.
Joseph, married Ann Woodruff, eight chil-
dren. 3. John (q. v.). 4. Robert, married
Ruth Elliot ; seven children.

(\T) John, third son of Joseph and Sarah
(Morse) Munson, was born in Machias,
.Maine, where he married Sally Niles. Chil-
dren: I. Sally, married Isaac Huntly. 2. Su-
san. 3. Jeremiah. 4. Daniel. 5. Betsey. 6.
Jonathan. 7. Salome. 8. Emma, married
John M. Foster. 9. Jotham S. (q. v.). 10.

(\ II) Jotham S., fourth son and ninth child
of John and Sally (Niles) Munson, was born
in Machias, Maine. He was a seafaring man,
sailing from Machias, and with his brother
Jonathan removed to Wesley, Washington
county, Maine, a town about twenty miles
northwest of Alachias. They were among the
early settlers of the town, which was incor-
porated January 24, 1833. Here Jotham

married Alary and became the father

of sixteen children. Of tliis large family we
have a record only of Charles E., Henry,
Frederick, Edwin Longfellow .and Releif;
but have no information as to the dates of
their birth except as to Edwin Longfellow
(q. v.), and none of the order of their births.

(\'iri) Edwin Longfellow, son of Jotham
S. and Mary Munson, was born in Wesley,
Maine, January 21, 1857. He married Olive
(~)rissa-. daughter of Israel and Jane Andrews.
Her mother was a native of Cooper, Maine,
and had besides Olive fifteen other children,
among whom were : Minnie, Clara, Thomas,
Israel, Augustus and Charles. Israel An-
drews was a seafaring man, and was sta-
tioned at Eastport. Maine, in the service of the
L'nited States navy during the civil war. He
was a war Democrat, and a man of e.xcellent
repute. Edwin Longfellow Munson was a
farmer and lumberman. He was a Repub-
lican, and a member of the Methodist church.

(IX) Daniel Gilbert, only child of Edwin
Longfellow and Olive Orissa (.Andrews)
Munson, was born in Wesley, Washington
county, Maine, .August 8. 1870. He attended
the public grammar and high school of Calais,
Maine, graduating from the latter in 1888.
and from Colby L'niversity .-V. B. 1892 ;
he was a member of Delta Kappa Ep-
silon college fraternity, Psi Chapter, and
was initiated in the Independent Order of
Odii Fellows, through Knox Lodge, No. 29.
He was a member of the Maine Society of



New York, and of the Tompkins Avenue
Congregational Church of Brooklyn. New-
York. He taught school in Brooklyn, Maine,
1893; Rockland, Maine, 1893-95 ;' Medfield,
Massachusetts, 1895-97; and in the Boys'
High School, Brooklyn, New York, since
1898. He was married, December 27, 1899,
in Portland, Maine, to Cornelia Emma, daugh-
ter of Cornelius and Alice (Haskell) Doherty,
of Rockland, IMaine, born February 11, 1877.
Her father was a lime manufacturer, and they
had children besides Cornelia : Mary and Cor-
nelius F. Doherty. The children of Daniel
Gilbert and Cornelia (Doherty) Munson are:
Ruth Elizabeth, born in Brooklyn, New York,
March i, 1903; Alice Haskell, September 25,
1906: Olive Orissa, born April 10, 1908. Their
home is at 1052 Lincoln Place, Brooklyn, New

Online LibraryGeorge Thomas LittleGenealogical and family history of the state of Maine; (Volume 3) → online text (page 126 of 128)