Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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moved to Leominster in 1843. About 1865 he removed to
Cambridge, abandoned the practice of the law, and became an
insurance agent. In 1879 he went to Chicago, where he died
February 15, 1880, aged 62.

Since 1843, no lawyer has established himself in Hardwick.
It is much to the credit of the town, as a peaceable and law-abid-
ing community, that it has never required professional aid in its
transaction of business, and its settlement of differences, to such
an extent as to induce any lawyer to make this his permanent
residence through life.

Physicians. No trace has been discovered of any physician
in Hardwick earlier than 1749 ; since which time, however, the
town has never been destitute of at least one medical adviser.

Jedediah Rice was here as early as April 11, 1749. He
had scarcely sufficient time to make full proof of his skill and use-
fulness, as he died April 4, 1756, before he was thirty years old.
He was one of the earliest members of the Separate Church.

Joel Carpenter commenced practice here as early as March
25, 1752. He remained certainly until March 1, 1764; but how
much longer does not appear.

Challis Safeord was here in 1755. He died in 1771, aged
38, and left tlie reputation of a skilful physician.

Jonas Fay commenced practice soon after 1760. He ranked
high as a physician, and still higher as a politician and a patriot.
He removed to Bennington about 1768, and closed his active life
March 6, 1818, aged 82.

Isaac Robinson was born here in 1747. After a short prac-
tice here, he removed to Chesterfield about 1771, and later to
Stamford, Vt.


Jedediah Fay was born here in 1755. He is said by tradition
to have practised in this town for many years ; but precisely how
lonsr, and whether he died here, is not ascertained.

John Paddlefoku, Y. C. 1768, commenced practice here.
He was authorized to estabUsh an " inocuhiting hospital " in 1776.
About 1778 he entered the navy as a surgeon, was taken pris-
oner, and died in 1779, aged about 31.

Chakles Doolittlb was here as early as 1771. He was
highly esteemed as a skilful physician and a useful citizen. He
died June 12, 1785, aged 36.

Lucius Doolittle was here in 1783, with his brother
Charles, and succeeded him in practice. After a few years he
removed to Lyndon, Vt., but afterwards returned, and died here
December 1, 1831, aged 70.

Arthur Rawson was here in 1785. Like several of his pred-
ecessors, he "was cut off in early life. He died December 25,
1796, aged 38.

Cyrus Washburn was born here in 1774. After practising
medicine in Hard wick a few years, he removed in 1803 to Ver-
non, Vt., where he died March 2, 1860, aged 85.

Elias Penniman came here about 1793. He became insane,
and died February 9, 1830, aged 81.

William Cutler came here in 1795. He was for many
years the only apothecary in town, but refrained from medical
practice. He died February 9, 1832, aged 78.

CoNVERS Cutler came here in 1796. He died November 1,
1831, aged 76.

Joseph White bought the homestead of Martin Kinsley,
January 7, 1796, and practised here for a few years. He was
published, June 30, 1799, to Beersheba Jenney of New Bedford,
to which place it is supposed he soon afterwards removed.

Elliott Beckwith probably commenced practice here in
early life. When he died, March 6, 1814, aged 58, there was a
general lamentation.

David Billings was born here in 1771. He practised
through life, chiefly in the westerly section of the town and in
Ware ; he died October 15, 1833, aged 62.

Joseph Stone commenced practice here immediately after
the death of Dr. Beckwith in 1814. He was skilful and success-
ful as a physician, and rendered various important services to the
town which are not yet forgotten. He died June 27, 1849, aged



Stephen K. Wardwell also commenced practice here im-
mediately after the death of Dr. Beckwith in 1814. He was
specially distinguished as a surgeon, and had an extensive prac-
tice in the neighboring towns. He died October 8, 1844, aged

William H. Willis was here in 1842, but removed to North
Reading before November 14, 1843, when he was recommended to
the church in that place.

Lafayette Ranney, D. C. 1842, and M. D. at the same Col-
lege, 1845. He commenced practice here, but removed to New
York city about 1852.

Isaac G. Cutler was here for a time after the death of Dr.
Wardwell, but soon removed.

Charles Field also practised here for a short season after
the death of Dr. Wardwell.

Almon M. Orcutt was the recognized successor of Dr. Stone,
in 1849, and entered at once into a successful practice, which he
still retains.

George Chamberlain was here about 1850, but soon re-
moved to Brimfield.

James P. Lynde practised here a few years, but soon after
1855 removed to Athol, where he still resides.

Jural C. Gleason was the first settled physician in Gilbert-
ville. He came from Hubbardston to that village in 1867, and
removed to Rockland in 1870.

WiLLARD H. Stowe came from Vermont to Gilbertville about
1870, and removed to Palmer in 1876.

WiLLARD C. Haven, son of Rev. John Haven of Charlton,
commenced practice in Gilbertville in 1877, and removed to
Brookfield in 1878.

Wesley E. Brown came from Paxton to Gilbertville about
1878, and is still a practising phj^sician in that part of the town.

Mrs. Maria Ruggles (wife of Moses Ruggles), though not a
member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, has practised med-
icine in Hardwick for several years, and generally secured the
confidence and approbation of her patients.

Poets. Many sons of Hardwick, whether residing here or
elsewhere, have been eminently useful to the community in the
various learned professions, as well as in the ordinary affairs
of life ; but very few have been publicly known as authors,
either in prose or poetry. Of those few, in addition to brief no-


tices in the Genealogies, I may be pardoned for mentioning two,
— the one a permanent resident, and the other native-born.

Deacon Joseph Allen, who spent almost the whole of his active
life here, and died August 18, 1793, aged 84, together with an
absorbing interest in the straightest theology of his day, had also
a passion for rhyming. During his life, especially in old age, he
was accustomed to commit to writing his opinions and arguments
on theological subjects, with exhortations to his brethren to stand
fast in the faith, evidently with the hope that what he had writ-
ten might at some time be published. He also expressed many
of his thoughts in homely verses. After his decease, some friend
caused at least a portion of his manuscripts to be printed in a
pamphlet entitled "The Last Advice and Farewell of Deacon
Joseph Allen to the Church and Congregation of Hardwick," pp.
51, octavo, Brookfield, 1795. The prose articles I omit entirely,
but give space to two specimens of history "done into rhyme."
The first ^ is entitled —


" When I look back, and take a view
Of that which now has been,
There then was found but very few
Which did this Town begin.

" In thirty-six I came into
This then a wilderness;
Great hardships we did undergo ;
Our wants did daily press.

" Near thirty miles, without a road,
We were obliged to go,
Through woods, and streams, and depth of snow,
To fetch our daily food.

" The families were twenty-three
That then did here belong ;
They all did hardships bear with me,
But now are dead and gone.

" My wife and I are left alone
Of all that married were ;

1 Written apparently in 1789.


And we remain their loss to mourn
Of whom we loved so dear.

" Of single men, there are but two,
And both advanced in age ;
And all the rest, though but a few,
Are gone from off the stage.

" A Church was gathered the same year
A Minister ordained ;
His call it was perfectly clear ;
Great blessings he obtained.

" For more than forty-seven years
He did with us remain;
His doctrines were both sound and clear,
All of a gospel strain.

" Five years ago, he took his leave.
And bid us all farewell ;
The loss, so great, we can't conceive,
'Tis hard for us to tell.

" So long we have been destitute ;
How long we so must dwell ;
For it is known without dispute
That none of us can tell.

" Yet must not do as some here say,
But constant use the means.
And wait for the appointed day
Till God shall change the scene.

" The greater part that here was born
Have early took their flight
Into a state that's most forlorn,
Or to a world of light."

The next has reference to the extraordinarily cold winter of
1779-80,^ during which, I have heard my elders say, for many

1 The following article was republished " COLD WEATHER IN OLD TIMES,
in the Boston Evening Transcript, Jau- " New York, December 28, 1872.

nary 1, 1873 : — "To the Editors of the Evening Post : —

The present winter, thus far, has proved



weeks the snow did not melt on the south side of the house-tops ;
the public roads became so blocked that locomotion was accom-
plished almost exclusively on snow-shoes, and burdens were moved
on hand-sleds. It is entitled —


" Full seventy years I 've seen, and more,
Since I my breath did draw ;
But never knew such cold before
As lately here I saw.

" From twenty-sixth of November,
Till ten weeks had an end,
A time we all shall well remember
How wood and hay did spend.

" The cold increased for seventy days,
With multitude of storms,
Till snow had clogged up all the ways,
For few of them were worn.

" The snow came down like fleecy wool
At times for forty days,

to be the most severe known for some
years, and I thought the following ex-
tracts from an old journal might be of in-
terest to some of your readers.

" The winter of 1779-80 was, in Amer-
ica, the severest that had been known
since 1741. From November 25 to the
middle of March the cold was severe and
almost uninterrupted. The following was
the state of the tliermometer (Fahren-
heit) at Hartford, Conn. :

January 1, 1780, 2 deg. above.

January 17, 1780, 17 deg. above.


' 7


' 3,

' 14


" 4,

' 16



' 6



' 10


" 7,

' 9


" 8,

' 1


" 9,

' 5


' 10,

' 19


" 11,

' 26


" 12,

' 11


" 13,

' 8


" 14,

' 9


" 15,

' 15


" 16,

" 10




' 12




' 13




' 5




' 6




' 5



2.3, '

' 9




' 6




' 16




' 6




' 2




' 8




' 20




' 15




' 4



ry 1,

' 2



2, '

' 3




' 3



4, '

' 15


" 5, " 8 " below.
" Mean temperature for January at sun-
rise, 4 degrees ; almost 20 degrees below
the temperature of the same month in or-
dinary winters. . , .
" Very respectfully,

" Your obedient servant,
" Coleman Benedict."


Both at tbe change and at the full,
Which puts us to amaze.

" But little rain did then come down
To mix among the snow,
To wet the dry and thirsty ground,
Till springs were very low.

" But at the last, for thirty days,
No storm of any kind,
But only squalls, the wind did rise
And left keen cold behind.

" The freezing cold did waste the springs,
Till they were almost dry ;
We hardly could, by any means,
Get ground our corn and rye.

" We could obtain but little meal,
To make for us our bread,
While we the keenest cold did feel.
Both up, and in our bed.

" The cattle too could hardly get.
From springs that used to burst,
The watery element, to wet,
To quench their daily thirst.

" This is thy hand, Oh mighty God,
Who orders seasons all,
And makes us feel thy smarting rod.
To make us prostrate fall.

" It is most fit that we endure
Thy sore chastising hand,
For our bold crimes they did procure
These judgments on our land.

" Have mercy, Lord, for mercy's sake,
Give us thy sheltering wing ;
And cause the winter soon to break,
And hasten on the spring."

Timothy Paige, Jr., Esq., native born, left town when young,


and, after residing a few years in Georgia, settled in South-
bridge, where he died November 14, 1822, aged 34. He pub-
lished several poetical articles, generally with the signature of
" Jaques," in the " Massachusetts Spy" and other journals, which
were well received, though most of them had a tinge of sadness,
the result, perhaps, of a discouraging lack of health. I select the
last verses which he prepared for publication (printed in the
" ^Py " December 25, 1822), together with editorial remarks : —

[With emotions which we cannot easily define, we publish,
this week, the " Farewell to Summer," the " saddest and the
latest lay " of one who (as is known to many of our readers),

" His finest chords by death unstrung,
Has yielded life's expiring sigh."

The " Farewell " derives additional interest from the fact
that, although it has just reached us, it is altogether, even its
superscription, in the handwriting of Jaques. It comes to us
like the breathings of a disembodied spirit, like a strain from the
chambers of the dead. Jaques was no stranger to us ; in years
long gone by we were inmates of the same dwelling. His spirit
was too gentle, his chords too finely strung, to encounter the
harsh realities of life ; and he finally sunk under a sensibility too
exquisite to endure the " ills which flesh is heir to." .... Ed.



" Farewell, glowing Summer, thy last sun is beaming
His glow on thy cheek, and his light on thine eye ;
To-morrow shall come, and his mellow beams, streaming,
Shall chequer the clouds of an autumnal sky.

" The foliage and flowers thou so fondly hast cherished,
The embryo hope and the wreck of the Spring,
Deprived of thy warm beams, ere long shall have perished
In the chill blast and shadow of Autumn's dark wing.

" Yet, welcome the change. — He who fashion'd creation
In wisdom such changes saw fit to ordain ;
By contrast, life's joys have their just graduation ;

Spring owes half its charms to stern Winter's dark reign.

" The sun, o'er his rising when gloomy clouds lower,
Like shadows that darken the light of the breast,


More brightly his beams sheds o'er streamlet and flower,
As in cloudless eiFulgence he sinks in the west.

" To the Spring let youth's jocund heart pay its devotion,
Contentment still revel on bright Summer cheer ;
But misfortune's eye gazes, with deeper emotion,
On Autumn's dark landscape and foliage sere.

" And Winter, to warm hearts so chilling and cheerless, —
I remember the season when I too was gay ;
"When my heart was as light, and mine eyes were as tearless ; —
But the flowers of that Summer have withered away.

" The cold blasts of Winter that sweep o'er the mountain.
His ice-fettered streams, and his wild waste of snow,
Add no chill to man's feelings, when pleasure's pure fountain
Has ceased in his bosom forever to flow.

" Man's Winter is death. In the cold grave shall slumber
The mortal ; in mercy Heaven fixed the decree ;
Pain, disease, disappointment, life's ills without number,
Return to the earth ; yet his spirit is free.

" From that Winter of death, yet a bright^ Spring ensuing
Shall flourish thenceforth in perennial bloom ;
Earth hath change, from the Spring-flower to Winter's dark ruin ;
Existence unchangeable wakes from the tomb.
'' August 31, 1S22. Jaques."

Schools. — For the first ten years after the settlement of the
town I find no trace of public schools.^ But at a town-meeting,
April 2, 1744, it was "voted to get a school-master for the town,
to begin in the first of September, and to continue eight months,
and to remove four times." The first school-master was William
Thomas.2 At the close of his first engagement, under a warrant,

I Theedtication of the young, however, Marlborough in 1725, and was educated

was not wholly neglected, as is manifest in the common schools of that town, and

from the fact that a large proportion of of Shrewsbury. "Being of a studious

those who were then children appear to turn of mind and fond of reading, he

have been able, in mature life, both to purchased many books and soon became

read and to write. quite a scholar for those days. In the

^ Father of Robert B. Thomas, the year 1744 he commenced school-keeping

original " Author and lulitor of the at Brookfield, at the age of nineteen

Farmers' Almanac," who, in a "Concise years, which he followed, winters, more

Memoir" of himself, published in the or less, for upwards of forty years. The

almanacs for 1833 and 1834, says his same year commenced in Hardwick, being

father, William Thomas, was born at the first school-master in that town."


" to see if the town will agree with the school-master for a longer
time," the town, May 13, 1745, " agreed and voted to have Mr.
William Thomas to be our school-master for the space of nine
months ; he is to begin to keep school the first of September, and
keep nine months next ensuing ; and for his so doing, he is to have
eight pounds, old tenor, for each month he finds his own board-
ing." In the previous January, the town appointed a " Committee
to divide the town into five parts for the school to be kept in " ;
and the teacher, probably, removed five times, instead of four
times, as required by a former order. At a town-meeting. May
16, 1748, the town raised one hundred and fifty pounds, old tenor,
for schools, to be divided equally between the five districts. This
rule of division prevailed for several years ; but it was voted,
December 28, 1761, " that the Quarter in the middle of the town
shall have three pounds out of the money raised to defray the
necessary charges, for the use of the school, more than their equal
part of the money raised before for the use of the school, by reason
of other Quartei's sending so many children into it."

The town voted, September 22, 1746, " that the Selectmen
shall provide a school-master to keep school thirteen months."
Under this vote, it appears that Thomas Ruggles,^ of Rochester,
was employed. Payments " for keeping the schoolmaster Thomas
Ruggles " were made, October 19, 1747, to Captain Benjamin
Ruggles (for "four weeks and a half"), ^4 10s. Od.; and to
Constant Merrick (for four weeks), £4 Os. Od. ; also, March 6,
1748-9, to Matthew Barr (for four weeks), £4: Os. Od. The
names of several early school-masters are gleaned from the treas-
urer's accounts ; but the materials for a perfect list have not been
discovered. It may be observed that almost the whole number
were inhabitants of the town, and that Lemuel Hedge, Thomas
Wells White, John White, Reed Paige, and, probably, Alexander
McDowell, were either students in college, or had already grad-

1 Son of Rev. Timothy Ruggles. He 1756-7; John Bradish, 1757; Lemuel
subsequently returned to his native town, Hedge, 1757; Thomas "Wells White, 1759-
was a physician, and died before May 6, 60, 1763, 1772, 1774; Dr. Jonas Fay,
1776. 1761-3; Alexander McDowell, 1765;

2 The earliest teachers were : William Christopher Paige, Jr., 1766; William
Thomas, 1745-6; Thomas Ruggles, 1747; Oliver, 1766; Philip Jordan, 1766-7;
Deacon John Freeman, 1748-57; Hum- John White, 1770, 1785 ; Ebenezer Wash-
phrey Peirce, 1749-50; Deacon John burn, 1771-2; Barnabas Sears, 1772;
Cooper, 1751-9, 1766; Deacon Joseph Nathan Wheeler, 1782; Reed Paige,
Allen, 1751; Joseph Safford, 1753; Dr. 1785; Nathan Merrick, 1785, 1789; John
Joel Carpenter, 1753; Stephen Fisk, Rice, 1787.


The Court of Sessions exercised a strict supervision over the
towns in regard to schools. In February, 1746-7, apparently
before Thomas Ruggles commenced his term of service, this town
narrowly escaped presentment, or indictment, for neglect, and
voted to pay ten shillings to "Lieut. Eleazar Warner for prevent-
ing the town from being presented for want of a school ; " prob-
ably by showing that the town had already passed a vote to
" provide a school-master, to keep school thirteen months." In
August, 1758, Hardwick was presented for lack of a grammar
school ; but the record states that " the said town, being now
provided with a school, plead that they would not contend with
the king, but put themselves upon his grace ; whereupon the said
town was dismissed, paying costs." ^ In January, 1767, a fine of
£8 6s. 8d. was actually imposed on Hardwick for delinquency
in dut}^ ; whereupon it was voted, March 2, 1767, " to provide a
grammar school-master for the year ensuing." At a later period,
March 7, 1785, it was "voted to raise X80 for schooling, and to
have the grammar school kept in four parts of the town so long
as will clear the town of a fine, an equal proportion in each part,
viz., at Edward Ruggles',^ Colonel Timothy Paige's,^ David
Allen's,* and John Paige's,^ on condition of their finding a suit-
able room and firewood for said school, free of cost from the
town." If this vote seem to savor of parsimony, it should be re-
membered that it was passed at a time when the people, not only
of this town, but throughout the Commonwealth, were groaning
under the pressure of obligations, both public and private, so
intolerable that a year later they were driven to utter despera-
tion, and took up arms to prevent the collection of debts by
process of law ; so that the appropriation was as large as could
be reasonably expected in such a state of financial distress.
Generally, through the whole period of its corporate existence,

Amonff the more recent teachers were ^ TVorcester County Records.

Colonel Samuel Mixter, of New Brain- 2 On Ruggles Hill, at the place marked

tree, in the centre district, for five sue- "A. Ruggles," on the R. Map.

cessive winters, before and after 1810, ^ On the easterly road to Gilbertville,

who afterwards representative, sena- at the place marked " A. Warner," on the

tor, and councillor. Another was lion. R. Map.

Henry O. Houghton, now of Cambridge * On the road to Petersham, at the

(of which city he has been mayor), who place marked " D. Allen," on the R.

graduated at the University of Vermont, Map.

1846, taught in the northeasterly district ^ Qn the old road to Greenwich, at the

during the succeeding winter, and has place marked " Wid. Paige," on the

since acquired an enviable reputation as R. Map.
a publisher, printer, and manager of the
" Riverside Press."


this town has made a generous provision for the education of the
young ; but it has never been anxious to obtain notoriety by a
competition with other towns in extravagant and unnecessary
expenditures. Some of the early appropriations liave been men-
tioned. From 1798 to 1821, the amount annually raised by taxa-
tion was five hundred dollars, each district receiving from the
treasur}^ the same sura which was assessed on its inhabitants. In
1821, it was ordered that seven of the districts should receive
additional suras, amounting in all to eighty dollars ; and thence-
forth, until 1829, five hundred and eighty dollars was assessed.
Since that time, in addition to voluntary subscriptions, and the
amount received from the School Fund and from the Dog Tax,
the sum annually raised by taxation is exhibited in the following
table : —

1830,1 $600. 1854, $1,300. 1874,5, $3,000.

1832, 800. 1855-61, 1,500. 1876, 2,600.

1833, 700. 1862, 1,300. 1877, 2,000.
1834-6, 800. 1863, 4, 1,500. 1878, 2,500.
1837-44, 1,000. 1865, 6, 1,800. 1879, 2,000.
1845-50, 1,200. 1867, 8, 2,500. 1880, 2,300.
1851, 2, 1,300. 1869-71, 3,000. 1881, 2,500.
1853, 1,500. 1872, 3, 2,500. 1882, 3,500.

In 1745, the town was divided into five districts : the number
was subsequently increased, from time to time, and has been as
high as eleven ; there are now ten districts, embracing fourteen
schools. For many years each district managed its own finan-
cial affairs, and eraployed its own school-teachers, — subject, how-
ever, to their approval by the School Coraraittee as competent
and duly qualified to teach. This system has been abandoned,
and the whole power is now vested in the School Committee, one

Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 27 of 73)