D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

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lic spirit largely benefiting the town. While living
in Boston he became one of the organizers of the
Free-Soil party, the father of the Republican party,
and iu 1851 was one of the numerous persons arrested
and tried for participation in the rescue of Shadrach,
the fugitive slave. In 1853 he was a delegate from
Plymouth to the Constitutional Convention. In
1850 he was appoiuted a member of the State Board
of Agriculture, holding his seat at the board until
1877, and was at the same time chosen president of
the Plymouth County Agricultural Society, a positiou
which he held until his resignation, in 1876. He was
appointed by Governor Andrew on a commission to
prepare a plan for a State Agricultural College, aud
after the establishment of the college he was made a
trustee, an office which he still holds. In 185G he
was one of three delegates from Massachusetts to the
convention at Pittsburgh at which the Republican
party was organized ; was a delegate from the First
Massachusetts District to the convention at Philadel-
phia, iu 1850, which put John C. Fremont in nomina-
tion for President, and to the convention at Cincin-
nati, in 1872, which nominated Horace Greeley to
the same office. In 1859 he was chosen one of the
overseers of Harvard College for five years, and in
4



] 862 was a representative in the General Court. In
the latter year he was appointed by Abraham Lincoln
assessor of the internal revenue for the First District,
and served until 1869.

During all these avocations Mr. Davis has always
steadily followed his profession, and in the trials of
Mrs. Gardner and Deacon Andrews for murder, in
which he was of counsel for the defendants, and in
the civil cases connected with the Scituate beaches
and the Green Harbor marshes, he has acquitted him-
self with acknowledged ability and substantial success.
He possesses a ready and large knowledge of law, a
power of abstraction and concentration of mind on
the question at issue, and a close, logical method,
which give him high rank among the present mem-
bers of the bar. On the establishment of the Third
District Court of Plymouth County, in 1874, he was
appointed justice, and is still the incumbeut of that
office.

On the 19th of November, 1845, he married Han-
nah Sievenson, daughter of John B. Thomas, then
clerk of the courts of Plymouth County, and has
had three children, one of whom, Charles Stevenson
Davis, born in 1858, was a graduate of Harvard iu
1880, and, having been admitted to the bar iu Plym-
outh in 1882, after pursuing his studies iu the office
of Bacon & Hopkins, of Worcester, is now a partner
in business with his father, giving promise of a suc-
cessful career.

Hon. Jonas R. Perkins traces his ancestry in
this country on the paternal side to Abraham Per-
kius, who settled in Hampton, N. IL, iu 1639, aud
had a daughter Mary, who married Giles Filield, of
Charlestown, and they had a sou Richard, whose
daughter Mary was the mother of Samuel Adams,
and on his mother's side to the Rev. James Keith,
the first ordained minister of Bridgewater. The line
of descent is as follows: Luke 2 , son of Abraham, lived
in Charlestown, Mass., and had a son, Luke', of
Plympton, who married Martha Conant, daughter of
Lot, who was the son of Roger, the first Governor of
the Massachusetts Bay Colouy ; Mark Perkins' lived
in North Bridgewater, he married Dorothy Whipple ;
Josiah 5 married Abigail Edson ; Josiah 6 married
Anna Reynolds; Rev. Jonas Perkins' was the oldest
sou of Josiah and Anna (Reynolds) Perkins, aud was
born in the North Parish of Bridgewater, now Brock-
ton, Oct. 15, 1790. At the age of seveuteen he
entered Phillips' Andover Academy, where he came
under the instruction of Rev. Mark Newman and
John Adams, and so diligently had he pursued his
studies that upon examination for admission to
Brown University he offered himself as a candidate



50



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



for advanced standing, and was received as a member
of the Sophomore class. He graduated with honor
in 1813, and immediately commenced a course of
theological studies under the instruction of Rev. Otis
Thompson, of Rehoboth, Mass., and was licensed by
the Mcndon Association, Oct. 11, 1S14. He was in-
vited to preach as a candidate for the Union Society
of Weymouth and Braintree, at the age of twenty-
four, and June 14, 1815, was ordained pastor, and
remained with this society as their beloved teacher a
period of forty-six years, during which time the
church was prosperous, united, and happy, and con-
stantly increased in numbers. He resigned on bis
seventieth birthday, the 15th of October, 1861. He
died in June, 1874.

Hon. Jonas R. Perkins, son of Rev. Jonas and
Rhoda (Keith) Perkins, was born in Braintree, Mass.,
Feb. 18, 1822. He fitted for college with his father,
and in 1S37 entered Brown University. He gradu-
ated iu 1841, and for two years afterwards was the
principal of Rochester Academy. Having decided
upon the legal profession as his life-work, he entered
the office of the Hon. Timothy Coffin, of New
Bedford, one of the leading lawyers in the common-
wealth, and upon the completion of his studies be-
came associated with Mr. Coffin in the practice of
law. This copartnership lasted three years, until
July 10, 1849, when Mr. Perkins sailed for Califor-
nia. He remained in California uutil July, 1852,
when he returned to the East, and opened a law-office
at North Bridgewater, now Brockton, and at once
entered upon the active practice of his profession,
which he has coutinued with success to the present
time.

Judge Perkins lias ever been active and prominent
iu the affairs of the town and city, and has held vari-
ous positions of trust and responsibility. He was
appointed justice of the peace in 1852, was captain
of the North Bridgewater dragoon company in 1857,
aud was selectman of the town in 1864. He was
trial justice for a number of years, until appointed,
June 16, 1874, justice of the First District Court of
Plymouth County, a position which he still holds. A
good lawyer, and possessed of an excelleut judicial
mind, Judge Perkius brought to the bench those
qualities which have rendered his judicial career
eminently successful.

He is a member of the Congregational Church, as
his ancestors have also been back to 1639. Politi-
cally he is a Republican, and has been since the
organization of the party.

Juue 22, 1354, he united iu marriage with Jane
A. Holmes, a native of Plymouth, then living in



New Bedford. She died in Juiy, 1858, and Oct. 26,
1859, he married his present wife, Mary E. Sawyer,
of Boston.

Benjamin Whitman was the first lawyer in Han-
over. He was born iu 1768, graduated at Brown
University in 1788, and located in Hanover in 1792,
and was postmaster several years. He removed to
Boston iu 1806. He was an able lawyer, a man of
much enterprise, and an active politician.

John Winslow graduated from Brown University
in 1795, and settled in Hauover in 1810, and subse-
quently enjoyed a large practice. He died iu Natchez,
Miss.

Isaac Wing and Jonathan Cusiiman were also
early lawyers in Hanover.

Hon. Perez Simmons was born in Hanover, in the
house where he now resides, on the second day of Jan-
uary, 1811. His father was Ebenezer Simmons, sou
of Elisha Simmons, and a lineal descendant from
Moysea Simmons, who came from Holland in the
"Fortune," in the spring of 1621, that being the
first ship to arrive after the " Mayflower." His
mother was Sophia, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Rich-
mond, of Little Compton, R. I., and a direct descend-
ant from Col. Benjamin Church, the Indiau-fighter.
Joshua Simmons, the great-grandfather of the sub-
ject of this sketch, was of Hanover, and besides being
a man prominent in town affairs, was a member of
the Committee of Safety aud otherwise active iu the
Revolution. The Joshua Simmons homestead was
within half a mile of Mr. Simmons' present resi-
dence. Ebenezer Simmons was a lieutenant in the
war of 1812, and was at one time in command of
the fort then situated at the Gurnet at the entrance
to Plymouth harbor. Thither he took his wife, the
mother of Perez, with her babe iu her arms. The
boy was one day held up to the window to see the
British vessels cannonading the forts, a scene of which
he still retains a vivid recollection.

As a boy, Mr. Simmons was uot strong, although
remarkably active. As a horseman he excelled, at
one time mounting an unbroken colt with neither
saddle nor bridle. His inability to do the hard work
of a farm led his parents to give him an education,
thinking that he might become a school-teacher or a
minister of the gospel. He fitted for college under
the instruction, principally, of Rev. Samuel Deauu,
of Seituate, the author of Deatie's li History of Scit-
uate," a book somewhat uoted among town histories
for its learning. He also attended the Hanover
Academy for a short time, aud studied for three or
four months with Roswell C. Smith, of Providence,
R. I. With Mr. Deane he was a favorite scholar.




f.- i




Y^^z^on_^-2^6



THE COURTS AND BAR.



51



After the manner of those Jays, Greek and Latin
were taught, not so much for the grammar as for the
literature, aud frequently his long daily walk of nearly
four miles to his tutor's house was rewarded by hear-
ing a translation instead of giving one. The enthu-
siasm for the beauties of Virgil, which made the
tutor forget that he was a tutor, resulted in a prepa-
ration for college so insufficient that its effects were
felt all through the course.

In 1829 he entered Brown University. There he
met many men afterward distinguished on the bench
and at the bar of Massachusetts. One of the results
of his college course was a life-long friendship with
bis classmate, the late senator from Rhode Island,
Hon. Heury B. Authony. Ho graduated in 1S33,
having attained some distinction especially in mathe-
matics. As was then the custom for poor boys, he
taught school much during his college course and im-
mediately afterward in Scituate, Bridgewater, Han-
over, and other Plymouth County towns.

After graduation he entered the office of Charles
F. Tillinghast, in Providence, R. I., and after the
usual term of study he was admitted to the bar at
Providence. During his law studies he served much
as a newspaper reporter for the Providence Journal.
He worked as a legislative reporter, and also as special
correspondent of several newspapers. For several
months he also had full charge of a daily and weekly
paper in Providence. Many and interesting were his
experiences as reporter, in his midnight rides across
country before the days of railroads aud telegraphs.
Soon after his admission to the bar he formed a law
partnership with L. C. Eaton, of Providence, and
they soon had a practice which bade fair to equal or
exceed any in the city, but the progress of political
events shortly afterwards dissolved their business con-
nection.

At this time the agitation for a constitution and an
extension of suffrage became strong in Rhode Island.
In this movement Mr. Simmons took a leading part,
both with his pen and by addresses throughout the
State. During the whole contest he was on intimate
terms with Governor Thomas Wilson Dorr, aud stood
among the leaders in the convention which formed
what was known as the Free Suffrage, or People's
Constitution.

The old charter government, which, through change
in the population, had fallen into the control of the
minority, refused to surrender its power and would
not recognize this convention or its work. It was
then an almost universally recognized doctrine that
the people of a State might, without the consent of
the existing authorities, adopt a new constitution aud



form a new government. The people of Rhode
Island, acting under this doctrine, gave in their votes
fur the new constitution. Upon counting the ballots
it was found that not only had a large majority of the
male citizens of the- State voted in favor of the new
constitution, each voter indorsing his ballot with his
name, but even a majority of the " freeholders," or
legal voters under the old charter, had also voted in
its favor.

At the next session of the Legislature of the old
government proof of these facts was offered. The
Legislature not only refused to receive this proof, but
even passed an act providing that whoever assumed
to act under the new constitution should be held
guilty of treason and punished by imprisonment for
life.

The first warrant for treason under this act was
issued against Mr. Simmons, he having called to order
the first Legislature under the new constitution, of
which body he had been chosen a member from the
Fourth Ward of Providence with but one dissenting
vote.

At the urgent solicitation of his many friends and
relatives in Providence, but against his own wishes,
he left Rhode Island to avoid arrest upon this war-
rant and came to Hanover. Finding, however, that
the Governor of Massachusetts would surrender him
upon requisition from the Governor of Rhode Island,
he went to Maine, a State which gave recognition to
the new order of things. He resided in Portland for
several months, until a change of government in Mas-
sachusetts brought about a change of policy. He
then again returned to Hanover and took up the
practice of law in the home of his childhood. It
would seem to be an inauspicious place for a lawyer
to settle in with the hope of getting practice, a small
country village for years six miles away from the
nearest railway. Yet Mr. Simmons soon gained a
large practice, which ho has carried on to the pres-
ent day, and a reputation which, overstepping the
bounds of his native county, has frequently called
him to practice in the neighboring parts of the State.
At one term of the court at Plymouth he was en-
gaged in every case, both civil and criminal, which was
tried at that term. During his forty years at the bar
there are in the books few leading cases from his
county where his name does not appear.

As a practitioner he has, by his fair dealings with
his associates, obtained their highest regard. His
indefatigable efforts in behalf of his clients mark him
as a true lawyer. He boasts that no man, simply
because he was poor, was ever refused his services,
and certainly no lawyer ever thought less, while try-



HISTORY OP PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



ing a cause, of the fees he was to get. When thor-
oughly aroused in a cause, Mr. Simmons was recog-
nized by his professional brethren as a dangerous an-
tagonist. One of the ablest of them, now deceased,
once said, " Simmons never knows when he is beaten ;"
and another bore similar testimony in saying, " When
Simmons goes out to fight, he takes a pistol, bowie-
knife, broad-axe, aud club, aud no one knows which
weapon he is going to use."

After his return home, in 1843 or 1844, Mr. Sim-
mons was elected one of the selectmen, assessors, and
overseers of the poor of his native town, and contin-
ued to hold these offices until compelled to relinquish
them by pressing professional cares. Although for
the greater portion of the time not in accord politi-
cally with the majority of his fellow-townsmen, he
was elected to the Massachusetts House of Represen-
tatives in 1852, aud in 1853 he was sent to the con-
vention to revise the constitution of the common-
wealth, where he took an active part. In 1859 he
was elected to the Massachusetts Senate, serving there
as chairman of the judiciary committee. Among
the important matters transacted at this session of
the Legislature and coming before his committee was
the abolition of the Court of Common Pleas and the
establishing of the Superior Court. At this session
he was named first on the committee to sit during the
recess aud act on the revision of the statutes of the
commonwealth. He inaugurated aud led in this
committee the revolt against the wholesale changes
in our statutes then proposed by Hon. Caleb Cush-
ing, also a member of that committee. The General
Statutes of Massachusetts were the result of this
committee's work.

Mr. Simmons was prominent in the "Know-
Nothing" movement in this State when it was first
formed. When that party carried the election, he
held by appointment the office of commissioner of
insolvency for this county.

Mr. Simmons was married, May 3, 1S4C, to Ade-
line, daughter of John Jones, a successful box- aud
trunk-maker, of South Scituate, in this couuty. They
have had three children, a daughter aud two sons,
all of whom are now living. The oldest is John
Franklin, a graduate of Harvard University and a
lawyer of this couuty. The youngest is Moyses
Rogers, a graduate of the Harvard Medical School
aud a physician. The daughter is Sophia Richmond,
wife of Morrill A. Phillips, of Hanover.

Hosea Kingman, sou of Philip D. and Betsey
B. (Washburn) Kingman, whose ancestors were
among the early settlers of Massachusetts, and dis-
tinguished for their sound judgment, mental aud



moral integrity, was born April 11, 1S43, in Bridge-
water, Mass. His education was liberal, attending
Bridgewater Academy, and afterwards Appleton
Academy, at New Ipswich, N. H. He then cutered
Dartmouth College, but at the breaking out of the
civil war, loyal to his principles of patriotism, he left
college, enlisted in Company K, Third Regiment Mas-
sachusetts Voluuteers, was mustered into service Sept.
22, 1862, and accompanied his regiment to Newberne,
N. C. In December of the same year he was detailed
on signal service, and went to Port Royal, S. C,
from there to Folly Island, in Charleston Harbor,
and June 22, 1863, he was mustered out of service.
In the fall of 1863 he returned to college, made up
his junior year during the first term of his senior
year (an achievement worthy of note), and was grad-
uated with bis class iu June, 1864.

Having decided upon the legal profession as his
life-work, be then commenced the study of law iu the
office of the late Williams Latham, with whom, after
his admission to the bar, he became associated iu
practice, under the firm-name of Latham & King-
man, which partnership continued until 1871, when
Mr. Latham retired, Mr. Kingman still remaiuiug in
practice.

Mr. Kingman married, June 21, 18C6, Carrie,
daughter of Hezekiah and Deborah (Freeman) Cole,
of Carver. They have one child, Agues Cole King-
man.

Although a young man, yet the offices to which
Mr. Kingman has been appointed serve to show the
I esteem and confidence of the community, lie is a
trustee of Bridgewater Savings- Bank, also of Bridge-
water Academy. He received the appoiutment of
special justice of the First District Court of Plym-
outh Couuty, Nov. 12, 1878. He was elected com-
missioner of insolvency in 1874, and every year siuce.
He has been prominently connected with Free-
masonry. He was three years Master of Fellowship
Lodge (Bridgewater), of which he was a charter
member, and has been District Deputy of the Grand
Lodge for three years. He was a charter member of
Bridgewater Lodge, No. 1039, of Knights of Honor,
of which he is Past Dictator.

Mr. Kingman's success as a lawyer is due not only
to his natural and acquired ability, but to his vigorous
and efficient action in the understanding of his causes,
leaving no vulnerable point open to an attack. Pa-
tient aud persistent in searching for evidence, he does
not engage in a trial until thoroughly prepared. To
a clear, discriminating, and capacious mind, and the
results of earnest study under the best of teachers,
together with a cool, dispassionate temper, which has




■ill?



(fhnju^



THE COURTS AND BAR.



53



been of special service in the trial of sharply-contested
causes, he adds an euthusiastic love of the law and scru-
pulous fidelity to his clients in all emergencies. His
legal business has tended to strengthen his naturally
fine intellectual powers, and his standing is among the
foremost of the Plymouth County bar. In the very
prime of life, he has the prospect of a most prominent
future in the line of his profession.

Mr. Kingman is Republican in politics, but has
been too much absorbed in his work to take a very
active part in the local affairs of the town, yet his
influence has ever been favorable to whatever tends to
promote its best interests.

Eliab Ward, the son of Ephraim Ward and
Priscilla Hammond (daughter of Capt. George Ham-
mond, of Carver), was born in Carver, July 1, 1805,
and lived there until the April following, when his
father, Ephraim Ward, removed to Middleboro', now
Lakeville.

Eliab Ward attended the common schools of the
town and worked on the farm with his father until
eighteen years of age, when he went from home and
attended school at Amherst Academy, in Amherst,
Mass., for two years, teaching school during a part of
the year. He entered Amherst College in 1828, and
graduated in 1831. He then studied law with Jacob
H. Loud, Esq., of Plymouth, and in 1836 was ad-
mitted to the bar in Plymouth, and commenced the
practice of law in Middleboro', where he has remained
until the present time. In 1852, October 17th, he
married Prudence K. Holmes, the daughter of John
Holmes, of Middleboro'. She died on the 17th of
September, 1875.

He served his father as aid when he was brigadier-
general, and also served as aid to Brig.-Gen. Henry
Dunham. He was lieutenant-colonel of the Third Regi-
meut of Infantry, and was afterwards colonel of the
same regiment, and was subsequently promoted to
brigadier-general.

He represented the town of Middleboro' in the
Legislature of Massachusetts in the years 1838, 1839,
1842, aud 1852, and was a member of the State
Senate in 1843.

Jacob B. Harris was a native of Winchester, in
this State, and in 1861 and 1862 gained a consider-
able reputation in the Legislature as a parliamentarian
aud legislator. He was a man of fine abilities, but
labored under the physical disability of a diseased
limb. He prepared his cases with great care, and
handled them in court with equal shrewdness. He
defended Sturtevant, the Halifax murderer, and al-
though that inhuman wretch was convicted of his
atrocious crime, it was the opinion of all who heard



Mr. Harris' defense that it was conducted with as
much ability as possible.

The district court was established in September,
1874, and Mr. Harris was appointed justice. The
new judge sat on the bench scarcely more than a
month, when he was compelled by his failing health
to retire, and he died early in the following year of
Bright's disease of the kidneys.

In February, 1875, Jesse E. Keith, then the only
lawyer in what is now the town of Abingtou, was ap-
pointed to fill the vacancy occasioned by Judge Har-
ris' death. Mr. Keith had practiced law in Abington
for about twenty-five years at the time of his elevation
to the judgeship of the District Court, and had held
numerous offices of public trust. He had been post-
master in Abington during Pierce's administration,
served on the school board for one year, and during
the hot time9 immediately preceding the division of
the town (1873 and 1874) was the able exponent
and tireless worker of the people of Abington who
favored union, aud by whom he was elected to the
State Legislature for the two years above named.
He is a native of East Bridgewater, was educated at
the public schools and at Phillips' Andover Academy.
He studied law in the office of Welcome Young, Esq.,
and, after leaving there, went to the Harvard Uni-
versity Law-School, where he was a classmate of
Hon. B. W. Harris for ten years, a congressman from
Massachusetts.

In 1883 he was appointed by Governor Butler
judge of probate aud insolvency, to succeed Judge
Wood, who died in March of that year. Upon
taking the judgeship of the District Court, Mr.
Keith associated with himself John F. Simmons,
Esq., a son of Hon. Perez Simmons, of Hanover.
Mr. Simmons was then in the Harvard Law-School,
and in February, 1875, the second lawyer who ever
practiced in Centre Abingtou opened business under
the firm-name of Keith & Simmons. The latter is a
native of Hanover, was educated at Phillips' Exeter
Academy and Harvard University, graduating in
1873. He stands well to the fore in the ranks of
the younger members of the profession who are rap-
idly gaining prominence in Southeastern Massachu-
setts. He is now practicing in Abiugton with Har-
vey H. Pratt, Esq., under the firm-name and style of
Simmons & Pratt.

Hon. Solomon Lincoln. 1 — Mr. Lincoln was born
in Hingham, Feb. 28, 1804, and died there at the
residence of his son, Franois Henry Lincoln, on the
first of December, 1881, aged seventy-seven years



Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 118)