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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the Plymouth County Bar Association, on Tuesday,
Oct. 24, 1876, Albert Mason, Esq., Payson E.
Tucker, Esq., and William H. Osborne, Esq., were
chosen a committee to prepare a suitable expression
of the respect and esteem entertained by the members
of the bar towards the late Seth Miller, Esq., of
Wareham, who at the time of his decease was the
senior member of the bar iu active practice in the
county.

The tribute of respect printed below was presented
to the association at an adjourned meeting, and it was
voted that it be entered in full on the records of the
association, and that the same be presented to the
court by Hon. B. W. Harris, with the request that
it be entered in full on the records of the court.

On Wednesday morning Mr. Harris, in an exceed-
ingly appropriate speech, presented this expression to

1 By Rev. N. W. Everett.



THE COURTS AND BAR.



27



the court, and moved that the same be entered at
large on its records.

Hon. Perez Simmons followed Mr. Harris in a very
tender allusion to his long acquaintance with Mr.
Miller, and the uniform kindness, sympathy, and
courtesy which Mr. Miller ever extended to his
brethren of the bar, and paid a high tribute to the
purity of his life and character.

Judge Allen briefly replied, aud ordered that the
motion be allowed.

The following is a copy of the record :

"PlyuoOTU Supkrioh Couirr, October Term, 1876. — The
members of the bar practicing in Plymouth Couuty have heard
with regret of the decease of their brother, Seth Miller, Esq.,
of Wareham, who died at his home, Aug. 22, 1876, and was at
the time of his decease the oldest lawyer iu active practice iu
this county.

•'lie was born at Middlehoro', Jan. 10, 1801; graduated at
Brown University in the close of 1S23 ; studied law at Middle-
boro', with Judge Wilkes Wood, and at Boston, with Thompson
Miller, Esq., and immediately upon hia admission to the bar
opened an oQiee at Wareham, where he continued to reside and
practice until his death.

" It is said of him that although he tried comparatively few
cases, he never omitted to attend a term of the Common Pleas
or Superior Court at Plymouth till he was strioken with illness
iu the last year of his life.

" Mr. Miller was a sound lawyer, especially well versed in the
law of real property, a good and safe counselor, careful and
methodical in his habits, painstaking and thorough in whatevor
he undertook. His practice was largely that of attorney, under
the old division of labor, and he usually associated other coun-
sel with him when he appeared iu court, but occasionally tried
an important cause alone, and gave his antagonist good reason
to know that he avoided such conUicts from choice alone.

" In professional intercourse ho was courteous, kind, and
genial, particularly to the younger members of the bar, who felt
that he was always ready to give them uid and encouragement.
The habits of reading and study acquired at college ho main-
taiued to a considerable degree through life, and was fond of
referring tu the older English poets, and of quoting from thcin
and from the earlier orutors of the country.

" Mr. Miller was much respected and esteemed by the people
in whose midst he spent his days, and will be gratefully remem-
bered for kind otnees performed, for many of them in time of
need.

" He was a trial justice at Wareham for a long period, and
most acceptably represented his town in the convention that
met in the State-House, ut Boston, May 4, 1853, to revise the
Constitution. He also held various local offices. He was presi-
dent of the Plymouth County Bar Association from Its forma-
tion in June, 1867, to the time of his death, and he took a
warm interest in its prosperity.

" The closing of a long and useful life brings not tho peculiar
sadness that attends its sudden termination in early manhood,
and yet we feel it hard to part from oue whom we have known
and loved for so many years. There will long be a vacant place
in our number. We shall lung miss his kind and genial presence.
' To proserve these memories of our much estoemod brother,
and to testify our affectionate recollection of him and his work
with us, we ask that this tribute may be eutorod upon the
records of the court."



Bartholomew Buown ' was born in Danvers,
Mass., Sept. 8, 1772, and died in Boston, April 1-t,
1854, aged eighty-one years, seven mouths, aud six
days. The immediate cause of death was apoplexy,
which occurred during an attack of pneumonia that
was contracted while he was on his return from New
York during a severe storm. He was the son of John
Brown, and his mother was Guiger Hutchinson, both
natives of Danvers, Mass. Guiger Hutchinson was the
daughter of Col. Israel Hutchinson, of Danvers, who
was an officer in Gen. Washington's army. Mr. Bar-
tholomew Brown was a graduate of Harvard College in
the class of 1799. He was married iu East Bridge-
water, Mass., by the Rev. Samuel Angier, to Betsey,
daughter of Gen. Sylvanus Lazell, Thanksgiving-day,
Nov. 26, 1801. His children were Lucy Auu L.,
George Henry, and Harriet M. Lucy Ann L. Brown
married the late Dr. A. K. Borden, of North Bridge-
water, now Brockton, Mass. The only child now
living is Harriet M., she residiug in Clevelaud, Ohio.
He practiced law at the Plymouth County bar until
a few years before his death ; was at one time presi-
dent of the Handel and Haydn Musical Society of
Boston, being also one of its earliest members. He
was composer of many pieces of music which were
popular in those earlier years of our history, and had
a fine tenor voice, with which he was enabled to ren-
der the music of the oratorios in a most acceptable
manner, being one of the society's solofsts for a num-
ber of years. The latter part of his life was spent
with his children and relatives, during which time he
wrote for several periodicals, and also furnished the
calendars for the old " Farmers' Almanac" for a num-
ber of years. He was a man of the most upright
character, temperate in all things, and beloved by all
who knew him.

Hon. Welcome Young' was born in East Bridge-
water, in 1792, and died on the spot of his birth,
May 13, 1871. He was a son of Robert and Mary
(Kingman) Young. His grandfather, John Young,
was born in the shire of Renfrew, Scotland, and came
to this country when quite young, and became an ap-
prentice as a smith to Hon. Hugh Orr, his cousin,
who came from Scotland, and settled in East Bridge-
water in 17-10. In 1752, John Young married Eu-
nice Bass, a daughter of Capt. Jouathan Bass and a
sister of Hugh Orr's wife.

Hon. Welcome Young fitted for college uuder the
Rev. James Flint, the then pastor of the First Church
in East Bridgewater, and who was afterwards settled



1 By H. F. Borden, M.D.
» By Hon. B. W. Harris.



28



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



in Salem, and who was a very distinguished Unitarian
preacher and writer. Mr. Young graduated at Brown
University in 1814. At that time, Hon. Bartholo-
mew Brown had succeeded to the office and law
practice of Hon. Nahum Mitchell, in East Bridge-
water, and Mr. Zoung entered his office as a student-
at-law. He was admitted to the bar at Plymouth in
1819, and immediately opened an office in Halifax,
Mass., which was then a town of considerable impor-
tance as a manufacturing place, having large cotton-
mills for that period, and other manufacturing inter-
ests, and having considerable wealth. In 1826, Mr.
Brown was appointed to an important position in the
Massachusetts General Hospital, and gave up his
practice to Mr. Young, who removed from Halifax to
East Bridgewater, where he continued to reside ever
after. Mr. Young continued in the active practice of
his profession until 1859, when he met with a very
serious accident, from which he never fully recovered,
and which so far disabled him that lie was never able
to resume his practice. He had put into his well a
new windlass, which waa provided with a metal strap
or band, instead of a rope or chain. While showing
it to a friend, and explaining its operation, the bucket
slipped and fell, and Mr. Young, in an attempt to
arrest its fall into the well, took hold of thia metal
strap or band with both hands, but the weight and
downward velocity of the bucket were so great that
the sharp-edged ribbon of metal was drawn quickly
through his hands, cutting deeply into the flesh.
The consequent loss of blood was so great that for a
long time he was prostrated and in a critical con-
dition, and being of feeble constitution, he never so
far recovered his strength as to be able to actively
engage in business.

Mr. Young held numerous town offices, was a
senator for Plymouth County in the years 1847 and
1848, was a justice of the peace and notary public
for many years, and held the office of commissioner
of insolvency from 1841 to 1801, during which
period all the insolvency business of the county came
before him.

Mr. Young was a man of strictly temperate habits
and exemplary life. He was upright, just, and honest
in all his dealings, and commanded the respect and
confidence of the public. He was active and public-
spirited, and did much to promote the interests of the
town and the church to which he belonged. He took
deep interest in matters of education, and was one of
the trustees of the East Bridgewater Academy, which
for many years held honorable rank among the
schools of that period.

For twenty-five years he had a very large share of



the legal practice of the town in which he lived, and
much of that in the neighboring towns ; did a great
part of the conveyancing and probate business, and
was much consulted at his office. He was a safe and
careful adviser, and held confidential relations with a
large circle of clients, and their secrets were never
betrayed. He was not fond of controversy, nor fitted
by nature for the conflicts of the court-room. He
was a peacemaker, and not a promoter of litigation in
the courts, and in this respect his example is worthy
of emulation, for the true office of the attoniey-at-law
is to adjust and harmonize differences, rather than to
promote, inflame, or pander to them. He never went
into court with a case which he could honorably ad-
just and settle out of court, but he never knowingly
or intentionally sacrificed a client's interests for fear
of controversy. He was often associated in impor-
tant causes with such distinguished men as William
Baylies, Hon. John H. Clifford, and Ellis Ames, Esq.,
aud others

The office which Mr. Young occupied stood upou
the land now a part of Henry Hobart's homestead.
It was first occupied by Judge Mitchell, then by Mr.
Brown, then by Mr. Young for several years, then
for a time by Hon. Aaron Hobart, and again by Mr.
Young up to 1856. It was removed soon after the
fire of that year, which destroyed the hotel near
which it stood. Among the men who studied law in
that office were Hon. N. M. Davis, of Plymouth ;
Ezekiel Whitman, afterwards chief justice of Maine ;
Hod. Elijah Hayward, of Ohio, a member of Jack-
son's cabinet for a while ; Hon. Jesse E. Keith, now
judge of probate for the county of Plymouth ; and
B. W. Harris, who was a partner with Mr. Young
for one year up to July, 1851.

Mr. Young waa twice married. His first wife was
Jennett Orr, daughter of Deacon William Harris, to
whom he was married in 1816. By this marriage he
had one child, Mary A., now the wife of J. S. East-
man, Esq., of Boston. She died in 1821, and he
then married Roliuda Sturtevant, of Halifax. By
this marriage he had Samuel A., Elizabeth O, Rob-
ert, Josiah, and Charlotte. His widow, Elizabeth,
and Robert only survive him.

Hon. Aaiion Hobart, son of Aaron, who was a
direct descendant of Eduiuud Hobart, who settled in
Hinghain in 1635, waa born in what is now South
Abinjrtoo, June 25, 1787. His mother was Su-
sanna, daughter of Elihu Adams, who was a brother
of President John Adams. He fitted for college
with the Rev. Mr. Guruey, and at the early age of
fourteen years entered Brown University, where he
graduated in 1805. At the close of his collegiate



THE COURTS AND BAR.



29



course, having decided upon the law as his life-work,
he entered the office of Hon. Nahuin Mitchell, at
East Bridgewater, and was admitted to the bar in
1809. He then spent one year in Europe, and upon
his return comnieueed the practice of his profession
in Hanover, in about the year 1811, aud remained
there until 1824, when he settled in East Bridge-
water, where he ever afterwards resided.

Judge Hobart early took a leading position at the
Plymouth bar, aud very soon became prominently
identified with the political interests of Plymouth
County. While residing in Hanover he was chosen
to the State Seuate in 1820, and in the same year
also was elected to Congress to fill a vacancy caused
by the resignation of Hon. Zabdiel Sampson, of
Plymouth. He was probably the youngest member
of Congress at that time, being only thirty-three
years of age. He entered upon his Congressional
career with a comprehensive idea of the demands of
the section which he represented, and so satisfactorily
did Judge Hobart discharge the duties of the position
that he was re-elected for three successive Congresses,
remaiuing until 1827, when in consequence of ill
health he resigned, and resumed the practice of law
in East Bridgewater.

Judge Hobart's Congressional career covered one
of the most interesting periods of our country's his-
tory. He was in Congress with Webster, Calhoun,
and John Randolph of Roanoke, whose withering
sarcasm and iuvective has never been equaled in the
halls of Congress. He witnessed the presentation of
Gen. Lafayette to Congress, and was also a partici-
pator in the vote which made John Quincy Adams
President. His journal, kept by him during these
years, wherein he sketches, with a graceful pen, men
and scenes in Congress, is in the possession of his
son, Aaron Hobart, Esq., of East Bridgewater, and
covers seven large manuscript volumes. A consider-
able portion of these volumes, however, contains cor-
respondence with his constituents and others. He
was in Congress also during the struggle over the
" Missouri Compromise." He was subsequently aud
for many years a member of Governor Liucoln's
Council. He was appointed judge of probate for
Plymouth County, aud held the office uutil it was
abolished. He was also a member of one of the Con-
stitutional Conventions.

Notwithstanding Judge Hobart was engaged in
the active practice of an arduous profession, he found
time to indulge iu literary pursuits, and his " History
of Abingtou," a volume of oue hundred and seventy-
sis pages, published in 1839, is an iu valuable contri-
bution to the historic literature of the commonwealth.



He was a constant attendant of the Unitarian Church,
and a Democrat in politics.

Judge Hobart was a man of fine legal traiuing,
great force of character, sound judgment, and one of
Plymouth County's most honored and esteemed citi-
zens. He died Sept. 19, 1858.

In 1814 he united in marriage with Maria Leach,
daughter of Andrew Leach, of Belfast, Me., and
their family consisted of the following: Susan, wife
of Eliab Latham, of East Bridgewater ; Aaron, of
East Bridgewater ; George, deceased ; Maria, wife of
John Lane, of East Bridgewater ; Edward, of New
York; John, of East Bridgewater; aud Catherine,
wife of Oakes A. Ames, of North Easton, Mass.

Daniel Webster. — Though Mr. Webster was
not, strictly speaking, a member of the Plymouth
County bar, yet, as a resident in the county twenty-
five years, he deserves a place in this record. It is
not proposed to give a memoir of his life ; that has
been so often undertaken that it would be presump-
tuous to enter upon so formidable a task. Neither is
a sketch of his life in the most superficial form pro-
posed to be included within the limits available to
the author. It is his design merely to speak of him
as a Plymouth County man, an inhabitant of Marsh-
field ; a private citizen, not a statesman ; a neighbor,
not a lawyer; a friend, irrespective of his positiou in
the nation as the grandest specimeu of human devel-
opment which the institutions of America have pro-
duced. His biography has been written by Everett
and Curtis, and to a very limited extent by himself;
reminiscences of his life have been from time to time
spread before the public eye ; his public and private
correspondence has been published by loving friends;
his character has been analyzed by admirers on the
one hand and unjust critics on the other ; but Daniel
Webster, the plain, unpretending citizen aud voter of
Marshfield, the substratum of whose every-day life, ou
which the magnificent structure of Daniel Webster,
the orator, the lawyer, the statesman, was built, has
never been adequately presented and described.

The life of Mr. Webster is yet to be written.
Exact justice has never yet been awarded him. Those
who worshiped him as their idol have presented one
side of his character, forgetful or neglectful of the
other; those who have inherited prejudices from
contemporary opponents of his political career have
dwelt on his faults, and overlooked those grand traits
iu his character, which in the nature of man must
necessarily be balanced by those which, to say the
least, are less commendable and attractive. His char-
acter was like his native State, showing on its sur-
face the mountain peaks and the lower lauds of the



30



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



valley. The mountain cannot exist without the in-
tervale, nor can extraordinary intellectual powers be
found in man without corresponding depressions to
preserve the equipoise of a general level. Thus far
those who have explored the character and life of
Mr. Webster have been like successive surveyors
examining and mapping out the land where he was
born. One brings to us reports of the snow-capped
peaks rising above the clouds, impressing the beholder
with their extraordinary grandeur. Another, with
short-sighted vision, rides through the gaps and
notches, and, seeing nothing above the level of his
own eyes, reports a level country, an unproductive
soil, and nauseous streams flowing from poisonous
swamps. The surveyor has yet to make his appear-
ance who will delineate with a just and impartial
mind and hand those features of the landscape which
must always exist as complements of each other.

In 1825, Mr. Webster was a member of the Nine-
teenth Congress, having taken his seat for the first
time the year before. He had already won a national
reputation. He had then delivered at Plymouth the
oration on the 22d of December, 1820; he had made
his great argument in Gibbon against Ogdeu, in which,
in accordance with his views, the court decided that
the grant by the State of New York to the assignees
of Robert Fulton of the right to navigate with steam
the rivers, harbors, and bays of the State was uncon-
stitutional ; and he had delivered his memorable
oration at the laying of the corner-stone of the
Bunker Hill monument. In the summer of that
year, as had been his custom for several years before,
he went with his wife and sou Fletcher to Sandwich,
to eujoy a seasou of fishing for trout. Before leaving
Bostou, in a conversation with Mr. Samuel K. Wil-
liams, Mr. Williams asked him why he did not go
to Marshfield instead of Sandwich. What Mr. Wil-
liams said to him about Marshfield impressed him
favorably, and he determined to visit it on his return.

After he had taken all the fish he wanted, he bade
his old friend Johnny Trout, the fisherman and guide
at Scusset, good-by, and he and his wife, in an old-
fashioned chaise, with a trunk lashed to the axle, and
his son, Fletcher, mounted on a pony, started for
home, with the determination to stop at Marshfield
on the way. Mr. Williams had given Mr. Webster
directions to see Capt. John Thomas, a respectable
and intelligent Marshfield farmer, who would doubt-
less be glad to eutertaiu him, and give him all the
information he might need about that part of the
country. Capt. Thomas was then the owner and oc-
cupant of a comfortable home, and a farm of about
one hundred and sixty acres. This farm was all that



was left of his ancestral estate, the remainder, while
in the possession of his father, Nathaniel Hay Thomas,
a conspicuous loyalist, having beeu confiscated when
he left New England, in 177G, and went with the
British army, after the evacuation of Boston, to Hali-
fax, Nova Scotia. This portion was saved to his
wile as her right in the estate of the husband. Capt.
John Thomas was the only child who did not ac-
company his father, and consequently the farm came
finally into his hands. Up to the time of the confis-
cation the estate had remained intact from the time
of the original grant by the Plymouth Colony Court
to the ancestor, William Thomas, on the 7th of Jan-
uary, lb'40/1. The following is a copy of the grant :

" At a Court of Assistants hold the vii" 1 of January in the
xiii"» yeare of the Raigne of our Sovruigne Lord Charles by
the Grace of God of England, Scotland France Jt Ireland, King
Defender of the Fayth >t C.

" Beforo Thorn Prince gent Govn r

William Bradford John Alden

Edward Winslow John Atwood .t

John Browne
Gent. Assist" of the sd guv llt

"Memorand; that the court hath grauntcd unto Willin
Thomas gent all those lands layd out by Mr. Edward Winslow
Mr. John AMen and Mr. Willm Collyer, viz: all that whole
neck of upland with all the poynts extending themselves into
any the marshes as also those hammocks of upland called Hands
in the marshes before the same from the upper end of the gri'ut
fresh marsh called Greens Harbour Kiver Marsh southward and
from Greenes Harbour Freshett east and by south as it is
marked forth by the said Edward Winslow John Alden Si \\' m
Collyer to the southwest corner of a swamp abutting upon Cars-
well Marsh neare the heigh way leading betwixt Duxborrow Jt
Carsewell the easterly 6ide thereof adjoyncing toC'arswcll being
the lands of the said Edward Winslow ; the said Edward Wins-
low his heircs & assignes being allowed so much upland wood
stutf or tymber us to set and muyntaine a fence bctweene Cars-
well Meddow or Marish and the upland of the said Willin
Thomas; the northerly side of the said upland hereby graunted
abutting upon Greens Harbour River Marsh and from the
northwest poynt of upland between the said Edward Winslow
£ Willm Thomas to an iluud graunted to the said Willm
Thomas before their hounds upon a straight line to Green's
Harbour River with the marsh land and meddow betwecne that
and a poynt of upland oullad the Eagles Nest; the wosterue
bounds of the said lands abutting upon Greens Harbuur Fresh
Mursh aforesaid; provided and alwayes resorved & accepted
that if any meddow be graunted to any that abuttcth upon the
uplands hereby graunted the said Willm Thomas his heircs and
assignes do allow wood stulf or tymber from conveyent places of
the said upland to fence and mayntainc the same about tbu said
meddowes; to have and to hold all and singular the said lands
meddowes marshes and premises with all and every part and
parcel! thereof and theire appurtenances unto the said Willm
Thomas his heires Jc assignes forever (except the wood stuff or
tymber for fenceing before excepted) and to the ouely proper
usu i behoofe of him the said Willm Thomas his heires and us-
sigus forever."

William Thomas was one of the merchant adven-
turers who furnished the Pilgrims with capital and



THE COURTS AND BAR.



31



vessels for their emigration to New England, and
were partners in the enterprise. He was one of sev-
eral of the adventurers who finally cast in' their own
fortunes with the Pilgrims, and he came in the
" M;irye and Ann" from Yarmouth, in 1637, and
settled iu Marshfield. Adjoining the lands of Mr.
Thomas were those of Edward Winslow, bounded out
to him by the court on the 4th of December, 1637,
as follows :

"Mr. Edward Wiuslow having formerly a graunt of divurs
land* at oi upon a neck of laud called Green Harbour Keck
(ulia Carsewell), the said graunt was contiruiod, together witli
all aud singular the upland upuu the said neck ,L severall
brunches thurcof, bounded & marked by Mr. Thuiuas Prenco <fc
Mr. John AM u, Assistants to the govuient, viz., westward
upon a marsh called Carscwell Marsh, and from thence with a
small ridge uf hills to the great marsh on Greene Harbour
River, according to severall marks by them mado .1 caused to
be made, eastward abutting upon or neere the river called
Greene Harbour River, and on the north and south side with



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 7 of 118)