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pur]iosely subservient to the freedom, welfare, haiiinness and inoral
elevation of the people. Let the example l)ecoiiie contagious ! "

()t' the sixteen cliildren, the ohiest was iianied Jos.'^e,
for liis father. He was a beautiful and h>viiig- ehihl,

236 THE HrTcmxsox family.

and as soon as lie Avas old, Avas tauglit to make
linnself useful. lu't'ore Lis death there were three other
brothers and a sister. He took much of the care of
them from mother's shoulders. He was also the faniil\"
errand-boy. On one occasion he was sent to take the
dinners for father and workmen at the old saw-mill.
While they were eating he was amusing himself sitting
near a stack of boards, Avhen a gust of wind threw over
the pile, and crushed him, bttt not killing him instantly.
He was tenderly borne three-quarters of a mile to his
home, and hopes were entertained for his recovery, but
fever set in, and he died. He seemed to have had a
premonition of death, for before starting on that fatal
errand, he said to his brother, ''David, I don't want to
ofo to the mill to-day." This was the lirst of main" sor-
rows for his loving pai-ents.

David was the next sou, and during a long life he
bore the responsibilities and enjoyed whatever distinction
there is in Ijeing an elder brother. He learned to l)ear
the yoke in his youth, and as he came up to active life,
maiiv duties were placed upon him. He was a hard-
woikiug boy, who in father's absence took charge of the
farm. We always considered him fully master of the
situation. The other boys learned to fear him and to
tremble at his exacting words. lb' was very entei -
prising, and when not yet out of his teens, ae(piired
pi-opertv, and soon had many interests in his chai'ge.
For a while, as a young man, he taught scliool in the
neighborhood. He had a good bass voice, Avhich was
never cultivated, as he was aillielecl with asthma. There
^\•(M■(! periods when lie Avould almost losi' his life in the
strugo'le for breath, yet he outlived nearly all liis
brothers and sisters. He Avas nianied at twenty-two,
and raisi'(l a large family, many of whom became very


successful in life. As soon as lie was inariied, lie boug-lit
a farm, which he subsequently sold and secured anollier
near the old lioniestead. lie always solicited help from
the younger l)oys, and would Avorlc them so hard that
tliey would never want to go on that stint again. I
think 1 ha\o already said tliat wlien the (juartet liad
hitched U[) the <ihl •••John horse"' and his mate to the
ancient carryall, and started on our famous tirst tri[) to
New York State, David suspended Ids work in the field,
and leaninsj;' over the fence as we passed, singing to-
gether, said, '^ I>oys, remember that noise is not
music."' Then he turned and M'ent to rakiu"' ao-ain.
David was very "• close," as the saying is. Nevertheless,
on one occasion .Vsa and I had gone to a caravan w'nh
only twenty-live cents, tlie price of one admission, be-
tween us. We were Ijound to o-ct tln'ouMi the p-ate on
it in some way, but alas ! the gat('dvee[)er was obdurate,
and only said, "Stand back, stand l)acl<;, can't let you in
for the price of one ticket." .\t last avc conclu(h'd to
go in search of some one to lend us a quarter. Just then
David came up. " IJoys," said he, "■ what's the matter? "
AVe told him we could not ])oth get in without another
(quarter. To our gratification, he took out twenty-hve
cents and gave it to us.

David was married ^Vpril 28, l!*!20, to Betsy, dangliter
of Nehemiali and Rebecca S. Hay ward. She was Ixirn
February 10, 1800. Their children were Georgianna,
born January 23, 1830, married Jolni N. (latch, of ]Mil-
ford, Ohio; Hayward, born Jaiuiary 1!>, 1832 ; Jesse L.,
borii Februai'v 5, 1834; Elias S., l)orn Decend)er 24,
1835; John W., Ijorn March 24, 1838; Virginia, Ijorn
June 16, 1840; Delia Florence, born August 4, 1845;
Lucretia O., born August 12, 1848, and married T^caiider
Ketcham in June, 1873. They live in Mount Pleasant,


Io\v;i. Thev have four cliildrLMi, Florence, Leander,
Winlield and liciijainiii Hutchinson. Florence married
Lewis Spidcl. 'J'hey also live in Mount Pleasant, and
have two children, Flias and Alice. A^irg-inia Hutchin-
son married Fielding- A. Kendall. March lo, 1864.
Children : Nathan, born April 8, 18<)T ; Florence Alice,
horn June 7,1868; Katherine Prescott, born June 20.
ISTO: Susan Elizal)eth, born Octol)er 16, 1874; Hav-
ward Hutchinson, l)orn March 18, 1876. Florence Alice
married Herman A. Kelly, September 3, 1889. Chil-
dren: Virginia ("handler, born June 1, 1891; Alfred
Kendall, born September 21, 1892.

Noah, the third son, was not as tall a man as Da^dd,
but was athletic and spry. He had a tenor voice, but
gave it little attention, for his early years were given to
•'helping father out of debt,'" and he was the first of the
boys to marry. He had a family of eight children. He
liad a loving heart, and was an upright, honest man.
His principle was to owe no man anything. He had a
fine farm on the edge of Mont Vernon, which is still
owned by his family.

Noah married, April o. 1827, ^Nlary, the daughter of
James and Azubah Hopkins, of ]\Iont Vernon, N. H.,
who died Alay 1<), 1S66. Noah died :\Iarch 10, 1873.
Their children were: Frances Jane, born May 21, 1828.
diiMl ()ctol)er 2o, 1833: Andrew Buxton, born July 9,
1830; Matthew r.artlett, l)()rn A[)ril 16, 1832; Aaron
Bruce, boin August 4. 1834 ; Ann Jane E., born May 15,
1836, married Daiuel Sargent of Goffstown. N. H. ; Lu-
cius Bolles. boiii January 6. 1S39, married Alice M.
Rollins January 6, 18()4 : David Judson ; Mary Victoria,
born June 22, 1844, died May 14, 1864. while teaching
school at Orange, N. J. : Chestena Augusta, born (Octo-
ber o. 1s47 : Henry Appleton. l)orn August 16. 1S50.

I iitniMii I III fir 1 1


Maiy was the next eliild. She died at the age of
four years. This was the iirst of the four famil}' quar-
tets, each "'a uest of l)rothers witli a sister in it," as
Willis put it.

Tlie fifth child was Audi'cw. His voice was baritone,
tind he sang l)ass in tlic family choi'uses. Like most of
the other children lie began active life eaily. lint not
being so enamored of life on the farm as many of his
brothers, Avent to Boston at the age of eighteen, and
commenced to tend store. For years he was engaged
in mercantile Imsiness on Purchase Street, being a well-
to-do merchant. ^Misfortune came to him in the Cali-
fornia years. He chartered a vessel and sent it full of
goods to that country, and it Avas never heard from.
He had a family of live children. He was a great lover
of music, and his house was often a home for his younger
brothers when in Tioston, during their early artistic
struggles. He made a })resent to Asa of the violoncello
which he played in our concerts so many years, and
which is still kept in the family.

Most of our brothers were members in good standing
in the Baptist church in Milford. During the revival
Avhich swept over the section in 1831 Andrew was in
Boston. He was interested in religious matters, and in
the hall over his wholesale and retail grocery store he
established a religious society which was presided over
by Rev. Mr. Speer, who was a Universalist. This liberal
doctrine was meeting with nuich opposition from the
established orthodox persuasion, but nevertheless he
favored it. Brother Judson led the choir. As time
passed on, however, Brother Andrew desired to avail
himself of the ordinance of baptism by immersion. He
at once went to Milford and besouglit my father to l)ap-
tize him. "• I will Im^ ba[)ti/.ed by an honest man,"' said


he. So tliey together visited the Souhen'aii Hiver, our
huiuli;ir stream, the '"Jordair" of Milford Ihiptists. and
the conscieiitions father baptized the son. They were
iilled with the Spirit as they returned to the farm-house,
and after reeeiving this blessing the brother returned to
his I)Oston liome, satisfied that his duty was well done.
This \\'as eonsidered an overt act by the orthodox senti-
ment of the neighborhood, and many words of censure
were heard' At a convention of clergymen which soon
followed, the case was called up, but no one present
offered condemnation. No one dared to pursue a case
against honest " Uncle Jesse," whose reinitation was
beyond reproach, and when it was discovered that he
Avas the offender the matter was dropped.

Andrew was married June 22, 1834, to Elizabeth
Ann, daughter of Jacob and Catherine Todd of Ro\\'-
ley, and had five children: Jacob Todd, l)orn July
10, 1836 ; Andrew Leavitt, born June 11, 1838, died
1867 ; Marcus Morton, born October 24, 1844 ; feenja-
min Pierce, born April 14, 1848 ; Katie, born November
15, 1850, married Joseph D. Elms.

Brother Zephaniah was a farmer like the older boys^
but quite early he was a pioneer. He Avent to Illinois
and settled at Greenville, Bond County. There he lived
in his log cabin, cooked his own corn meal, and just
subsisted. He took the ague, and finally, after some
years, started home again, taking what stock of cattle
he had on hand. Before lie reached home he had ab-
sorl^'d them all on the route. All he had left was two
old lioi'ses. In those old days it took twenty-five cents
to get a letter out to him, and he used to beg us not to
send them to him. lie substituted a newspaper, making
a dot o\er certain hitters, so as to s])ell a communica-
tion, — a lather original idea. He was our a^'ent durino-


two of tlie most successful years of the oiig'iual (|uar-
tet. He liad a great ambition to have the wliole family
united in a CDiiccrt com[)any. He died on liis Illinois
farm at the age of forty, leaving three children.

Zuphaniah was twice married, first in August, 1S3(],
to Abb}', daugliter of IMark Perkins, of ]Mont A'ernon,
their children being Harriet, born July, 1837, died April
17, 1842 ; Hettie, born July 2i\, 1841 ; Levi AVoodlmry,
Ijorn March 10, 184.") ; Mark Perkins, I'orn 1847, died
1848. He married, second, September K), 1840, Eliza-
lieth Nettleton, of Newport, N. H., their child Ijcing
^Nlary Frances, born February 6, 1851.

Then came twin brotliers, Caleb and Joshua. C'alelj
Avas gifted musically, Avitli a high pure tenor voice, but
he chose to sing bass, and usually sang on that part in
the church choir. He was (piite devoted to the Baptist
church. One day A\-hile the minister was ex[)atiating
on the great importance of a Christian life Caleb noticed
a nodding among the congregation. It grieved him to
see the people nap[)ing when sucli high sentiments were
being preached, and suddenly from his station in the
choir came in a higli pitched voice, the exhortation,
'• Wake up ! " There were no more naps that day.
He died at forty-two, leaving live children.

Calel) married February 18, 1835, Lauiu, daughter of
(Jliver and Susan (Smith) Wright. Their children
were Laura Ann, born January 23, 1837 ; ]\Iary Jose-
phine, born November 2(3, 1839; Susan Maria, Ijorn
July 24, 1842; Calel) Ceorge :\Iason, l)orn May 20,
1844; Caroline Jennette, born Septemljcr 24, 1850.

Caleb and Joshua were as children called "the twin
buglers.'' One would take a tin tuiuiel and the other a
comb, and imitate the clarionet and bugle-horn. Hieir
services were sometimes engaged at trainings and pub-


lie fL'stivilu'S. At the ;ige of twelve, it became Caleb's
duty to drive tlie cows, help milk, ride the horse to
plough, and perform other tasks. While in the al)sence
of girls in tlie family, Joshua Avas stationed in the
kitchen to help mother. One baking day mother sent
him to grease the pans for the dough. He made tlior-
ough work l)y plastering them Avith lard inside and out.
Father had just bought tlie new farm, and all hands
were cheerfully working to pay the debt upon it.
Joshua had a very useful voice, on the middle register,
and a good knowledge of music, and as he had sung in
the choir from early youth, it was not strange that at
the ao'e of eighteen he was invited to take the lead.
Disposing of the temporary incumbent of tlie office of
chorister by a frank letter telling him that as there
could be but one such functionary, it would be neces-
sary for him to retire, Joshua assumed the position, and
held it fourteen years. As we younger members of the
family came along we were encouraged to join him,
until at one time there were ten of us in the chorus.
It will thus be seen that at the very l)eginning of our
musical experience, Joshua had miieh to do with our

In 1836, by advice of the pastor of the church, Rev.
Mark Carpenter, Joshua got together forty dollars,
and went to Boston with his youthful Avife, joining
the music teachers' class formed by Lowell ]\Iason
and (Jeorge J. AVebl). When he returned to Mil-
ford, he at once inaugurated a new era in music.
A singing-school was started in the society, and otliers
were estal)lished in the adjoining towns, and tliis was
continued ff)r six or seven winters. It was liis ha1)it
frequently to take one of liis \-ounger l)rothers to the
schools in these towns, where their songs and instru-


mental music were a great attraction. Joshua was very
proud of the accomplishments of his three younger
brothers, and Avas very urgent in his advice to father to
give us a chance to do something to astonish the A\'()rl(l.
The younger brothers were natural singers. Joshna
was excellent at transposition, and his ada[)tation of
music to the sense of the poetry was good. He was a
good leader. I remember on one occasion a tribe of
Indians came to Milford, and a union meeting of the
cliurches of tlie town was held in the A\'oods near their
camp. Josliua, in selecting his tune for the liymn, chose
a long-metre tune for a common-metre hynni. We
sweat it out.

Joshua married Jnne 3, 1835, Irene, daughter of
Natlum and Sarah Fisher, of Francestown, N. M. Their
ehildren Avere Justin Edwards, l)orn Decemljer 21, 1837 ;
Lowell Mason, born 1839, died 1843; Julia EUa, l)orn
1847, died 1848.

On the famous Thanksgiving wlien the family of
thirteen children of the '• Tribe of Jesse " made its debut
in concert at the Baptist meeting-house, to Joshua was
committed the responsible task of making out the pro-
gramme. After we had commenced our concert career,
Joshua also started out, and did a good deal of concert-
ing " on his own hook," the re[)utation of tlie family
and the intrinsic mciit of his entertainments making
them quite successful. He would occasionally act as
business agent for us, and would also sing in concert
Avith the brothers. It was always possible for us, Avhen
any member of the main concert company failed to re-
spond to a call for service, on account of sickness or
other cause, to get a sul)stitute in Joshua or Jesse. For
thirty years oi- more Josliua gave an a\'erage of fifty
concerts ainiually, and in that time he taught some sixty


-siiiging-SL'liools. lie luul considerable litevary al)ilily,
and besides puMisliing in 1874 liis narrative of the
family. Avrote many interesting newspaper letters that
are [ireserved in the family serap-books. He died Jaii-
nar\' lill, ISiSo. his funeral oecnrring at the Congrega-
tional clnireh in Milford a few days later. ]Mr. Taintor,
the pastor, made an impressive address, and then I gave
a parting tribute to my brother, after which A\ith my
son lleurv I sang, '' The Lord is my Shepherd." Mr.
John JMills. his frientl from childhood, then spoke, and
following this Sister Ablw sung with us '• Xo Xight
There." Wiien his family had taken their last look at
the face of onr dear brother, we all joined in singing,
"• We are almost home, to join the angel band."

It seems proper that I should speak at considerable
length of my brother Jesse, for present or absent, he was
for many j'ears so closely connected with the history of
the original quartet and the concert entertaimnents by
the l)rothers which followed its career, that his history
is almost inse[)aral)le from ours. He was enthusiastic,
warm-hearted, generous, in some ways eccentric, sanguine,
gifted with a poetic temperament, and with an insight
that made it possible to ada})t his gifts as a song-writer
to occasions where they told innnensely for the advance-
ment of the cause he espoused and to his own credit.
At the early age of twelve he was sent to learn tlie
priming business in the ofhce of the Fdi-mcr'i^ Cnhhirf,
at Andierst. In his '■'Sketch of a Busy Life"" Edward
1). r)o\lston, fo)' a lifetime the editor of that paj)er, has
published a tril)ute to Jesse, Avhich A\ill be interesting
not onlv to the friends of his youth, but to those in
^lassachusetrs who knew him in his maturer years:

" IlMi)i)y is till' aii]in'iiticc \\]\n lias a Ji'ssr Ilutcliinsdii I'tir his as-
sociiitc. TIk' boy truly torrsliailnwcil tlii' man. lie was siiiijily jicrsuni-


fieil iiiusif. With a lonsx comb wrapped in a strip of an unjtrintocl
Cabinet, he wouUI distance ( )rpheiis, provoke .Eolus. ( )n tiie office
green by nioonligiit lie woukl awake all the game-cocks in the lu'ighbor-
Iiood, and have tliem all a-crowing, by his imitations. Many were the
long and strong ])ulls had with'Jes'at the old Wells liand-]>ress, for
the 'belt'; but his t'Xtra niuscle always won — time, tliirty and thirty-
five minutes to a token (ten quires). And, t(jo, when the I'resident's
message reached us in thirty hours from Washington, and forty-tive
minutes from Nashua (by the Cabinet express), on the all-night stretcli
putting it in type, Jesse at 'the stan<l' was always so much ahead, that
all were fairly distanced, ourselves being judges. And he was as full of
sunshine as of musie and mus(de. AVe recall a luippy illustration of
this. ( )ne summer dav, at work at his case by an open window, a stid-
<len breeze took his slip of copy into the garden. With thi' l>ounce and
whiz of a katydid Jesse went through the open casement, and rt'turning
with his copy in hand, coolly remarked — 'The undeviating law of this
office is to follow your copjj.' He was a member and clerk of Engine Co.
No. 1, whose ' tub ' from long use was decidedly leaky, and a 'strike'
was imminent. The machine was tested, and the clerk's record was:
' In perfect c?/s-ordcr ! '

" The old engine and the old Cabinet have more than renewed their
youth ; the old press is still friskily ' Hying its frisket ' to record its own
and this autobiography; those old 'stands ' are still in good standing;
and liis old 'stick' and companion still stick by ; but Jesse's 'form ' has
become ' dead matter ' while in spirit he goes singing on —

" In the hind by ns uiitrod.
Of the sweet fatherhood of God.'

" After a life of signal brilliancy, in which lie won the wide world's
applause by his musical genius, and unbounded philanthropy and ever-
flowing genialty, his liarp ceaseil its sounding — and a world wept ' be-
cause he was not.' I'eace to his ashes! — and may every future ap-
prentice-boy share as genial and happy associates as were those of this
iijjjjrenticehood.' '

This liistoiy has already related the faet.s coneeriiing's removal to Lyiiu iiud engagement in tlie stove
Inisiness, as also his long service as director of the
choir of the Universalist church there. He enlisted in
the anti-slaverv cause throuo-h the influence of (leoro-e
Thompson's eloquence, and at once began to write
ijongs to be sung in the conventions of the friends of


emaucipalioii. I luivc ski'lcla'd the thrilling ciicuin-
staiicL's imder which iiiauy of these songs were written.
With the exception of the years when Zephaniah was
our l)usiuess agent, and short peihxls Avhen Joshua
acted ill that capacity, Jesse was always our luisincss
man. Though lie infrecpiently appeared Avith us in
concert, he always shared ecpially in our proiits. It is
unnecessary for nie to refer to the particulars of his
death, Avhich occurred at the age of forty, as they have
been already detailed. Jesse A\'as the first of us to see
the beauty and wortliof High Rock, and to secure it for
a home. He was a close friend of Horace Greeley, Avho
was a native of Amherst, and enjoyed the friendship of
all the leaders in the great anti-slavery struggle. It
Avould be easy to till the remainder of this volume with
tributes to his life and character which have been pul)-
lished. He left no family, his wife and live children all
dying before him.

Jesse was a good correspondent, but his circle of rela-
tives and acquaintances was so large, that wliile in
California he resorted to the expedient of a circular
letter to his loved ones, which was printed and dis-
tributed among them. The following is a sample :

Sax Francisco, Cai.., May :U, 1852.

DioAK FiiiEXDs AT II():\[E : — IlMviini' iiiiuiy di'ar triciids in my far dis-
tant lioiiu' ti) whom I wish ti) suiid a word of chn-r, and wlio may hv
anxious to harn a word of my pri'st-nt fate and those wlio accompany
]iie — and Ik ini;' too limited in tinu> to write to all — I have, throu^li tlie
courtesy of a brother jirinter, Jumped into the Herald office, and
am now jiickinn' up these little " messi'Ugers of thouiiht " for a general

Through the newspapers you will doubtless learn much of our trials
and dangers during our weary voyage of lifty-eight days from New
York. I have enclosed also to a few friends my rliythmetical descrip-
tion. It was hurriedly and im])crfcctly done, but truthful in every
l)arlicular. Nor did I tell a half our grievances. 'When I say that up


to tlie present time, we enumerate nearly forty persons (wiio so Joy-
ously .and hopefully k'ft the dock with us on the twenti^-th of March,
and who joined in our soiilis of farewell ) — as havinn' so soon ^-one to
the land " whence no traveller returns," yea, more than that nund)er,
whose bodies now rest in the " stranger's grave," some at San Juan,
some at Acapuleo, smne at San Diego, and others liere — liesides those,
more solenm still, who have been buried in the silent deeji — it will be
quickly perceived that our lot has been cast in " dangerous places."

Yet my heart has not failed me (save once) through all our weary
pilgrimage. At Castello Falls, arriving at mid-day, tmdur a buriung
sun, a sudden illness befell me, and rejiort coming that the hotel to
which we were wending was full of sick and dying, my faith faltered,
and for an hour I wished myself "' back again," once more among the
dear friends and "good oM folks at home.' < )n consultaticm, our
fears were ungrounded, and again our band of wandering ndnstrels
pushed on to the .yoal of our and>ition. At San Juan (i)ronounced
San Wan), one of our number (Mr. Goodenow) was very sick several
days, but kiiul and careful nursing finally restored him to wonted
buoyancy and robust health. Miss Goodenow was also much indis-
posed during most of the sea voyage, but she has now fully recovered her
elasticity of spirits and voice, and "sings like a nightingale," as she is.
^Ir. Dunning is yet sulfering from slight fever, incident to the sudden
change of climate, but well enough to sing in concert, four of which
we have given. Jlr. Oakley is hale, heartv and hopeful, albeit upon
the Isthmus he barely escaped being mule-tilated by one of the
donkeys. The basket of provisiims and hard crackers were sent " far
aft," by the nimble heels of the mule, while 'Slv. ( ). went as fast for-
ward, and for a time took a low note, in the key of V, flat. But after
the dust had cleared away, a slnnit of laughter announced the safety of
Mr. Oakley, almost as miracidously rescueil as the lictitious exploits
aiul hair-breadth escapes (jf the celebrated < )badiah ( )ldbuck. So we
trudged along, minus the preserves and crackers. ,Vs for me, I am
what I am, as hearty and well as ever, though too much presseil by
cares incident to this exciting, changing and wandering life. Yet my
hope and my heart is above all difficulties and dangers, and s(j are we
all, happy, hopeful, and harmoniou?, winning the good and golden
opinions of the Californians. In due time, we hope to return safely
again to honu' and friends.

1 am delighted w ith the country, and this city is yet to be the Jeru-
salem of our land. IKre, already, do wc see jierambulating the
streets men from every kiimilmn and tongui' nmler heaven — tiie

Online LibraryJohn Wallace HutchinsonStory of the Hutchinsons (tribe of Jesse) (Volume 2) → online text (page 20 of 36)