Daniel Putnam.

A history of the Michigan state normal school (now Normal college) at Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1849-1899 online

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efforts to aid in developing our Public School System.

Our prayer shall ever be that the same kind Providence may continue
to guide you in the future, which has aided you in the past, and may
your life be prolonged, and strength and wisdom given you, that you may
yet do as noble a work as that you have already^accomplished."


The first three years following his resignation he spent in
Florida, and, during the reconstruction period, he was elected
by the Legislature, in 1867, to the United States Senate, to fill
out a short unexpired term. In 1868 he accepted the Presidency
of the newly organized Agricultural College of Iowa, which posi-
tion he occupied for fifteen years. Resigning the Presidency
on account of impaired health, he remained in the college as
professor of the History of Civilization and Practical Pyschology
until his death in March of 1889.

The University of Iowa conferred upon him the degree of
LI/. D. in 1873, and his Alma Mater bestowed the same honoi
in 1878.

Prof. Welch published several valuable educational works ,
among which are " An Analysis of the English Sentence," "A
Treatise on Object Lessons," "Talks on Psychology," and
"Psychology for Teachers". I quote the following estimate of
his character, and description of his prominent personal char-
acteristics, from an article written by one of his early students:

"Professor Welch had native abilities of high order. His intellectual
powers were clearly above the average, and they were cultured and disci-
plined by severe study and patient meditation. He was a man of dauntless
courage and immovable firmness. He had keen insight as to men and affairs,
and was wise in counsel; and thus was naturally and easily a leader. He
had great executive ability, and was a disciplinarian of phenominal power.
As a teacher he was master of both the art and science of teaching, deliberate
yet intense in thought, measured and careful in speech, he held the wrapt
and undivided attention of all who were before him; and so a subject under
consideration became paramount, and its facts and principles were easily
grasped by his pupils. His power to develop and help young men and
women was remarkable: he knew when and how to encourage, and when
and how to restrain with an iron hand: and he was so just and wise that his
decisions and acts received the approval of those affected by them.

Our Michigan Normal School and the cause of education throughout the
State, owe to Professor Welch a debt of gratitude which time can never
diminish. His thoughts and deeds will live on in our institutions, and the
influence of his high character and noble qualities will be perpetuated in
the manhood and womanhood of our State through generations yet unborn. ' '

Principal D. P. Hayhew.

David Porter May hew was born in Columbia county, New
York, in 1817. He was prepared for college by Dr. David


Porter, and graduated from Union College in 1837, at the age of

In the following year he took charge of the "lyowville
Academy" in L,owville, N. Y., and continued in charge of that
institution about fifteen years. His success in teaching and
managing the school was very marked. After closing his work
in lyowville he spent two years in Ohio, one in the schools of
Cleveland and one in Columbus. He began his work in the
Normal in January, 1856, and continued in the school fifteen
years, first as teacher of sciences, and afterwards as Principal.
He resigned the Principalship and left the institution ir> January,
1871. From this time he resided in Detroit.

Mr. Mayhew was a tireless worker, and always came before
his classes fully prepared. His knowledge of the subject, his
enthusiasm, and his affectionate regard for his pupils, always
secured their closest attention. His disposition was cheerful
and hopeful ; he loved children and understood and sympathized
with child nature. In society he was a leading spirit, being
fluent in speech and always ready with entertaining thoughts.
He spoke without self-assertion or offensive forwardness.

One of Principal May hew 's intimate friends says:
"Prof. Mayhew was genuine; his love for the low down was inspired
from above ; he was a scientific and skillful teacher, a born teacher, a trained
teacher. He had a conscious existence in a higher and better environment
that surrounds ordinary men in this common life. His genuineness, his
skill, his resources of spiritual power, constituted him, in my judgment,
the most remarkable teacher I ever met, and my acquaintance with him has
inspired a fervent affection ever to be treasured in my memory."

Another friend writes :

"In character he was gentle, yet strong. He was honest in the
truest sense of the word. He was unassuming and seldom spoke of him-
self. He was a teacher who loved his work, and in that love found inspir-
ation . ' '

His attachment to his pupils remained undiminished to the
end, and in accordance with his dying request, his pall bearers
were selected from them. The esteem of his most intimate
friends may be expressed in the words of one who writes :

"His character makes me think of the beatitude, 'Blessed are the pure
in heart, for they shall see God.' "


On occasion of the death of Mr. Mayhew the Board of
Education placed upon their records the following minute, and
sent a copy of it to the, bereaved family:

Whereas, It has pleased the Master and Maker of all men to call Prof.
D. P. Mayhew from his home on earth to the place prepared for him in the
heavens, and

Whereas, By his earnest work and loving Christian sympathy he aided
largely in advancing the Normal School to the high position to which it has
now attained,

Resolved: That we cherish with loving memory the recollections of
the time when he was connected with the school and his labors in its behalf
and that this Board by this means feebly expresses its appreciation of his
worth as a man, his excellence as a teacher and the many graces of heart
and mind which he possessed.

Rosolved: That while we extend to the widow and family of our
deceased friend our most earnest sympathy in their sorrow, we cannot avoid
congratulating them because of the many tender recollections and happy
memories, which, till they are each in turn called upon to join him in the
land of the Blessed, must be constantly present with them."

Acting Principal C. F. R. Bellows.

Professor C. F. R. Bellows was born in Charlestown, New
Hampshire, in October, 1832, and came, as a mere boy, with
his parents to Michigan in 1837. The family settled in the
township of Climax, Kalamazoo county, where young Bellows
had only the advantages of the ordinary district school of that
day. At the age of seventeen he was sent to the Olivet Institute
(now College), where he spent two years, boarding in the
family of Professor Oramel Hosford, who at a later period
became State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In the fall of 1852 he was present at the dedication of the
original Normal School Building, witnessed the inauguration of
Principal Welch, and attended the Teachers' Institute which
followed. He entered the school at the opening of the first
regular term in March of 1853, and graduated with the second
class which completed the prescribed course of studies in 1855,
having in the meantime taught school for several months.

After leaving the Normal he organized the graded school at
Constantine in the western part of the State, and remained there


one year; he then went to Mishawaka, Indiana, teaching in that
place for a period of six years. At the close of this time he
returned and taught for two years more in Constantine.

During these years, while teaching and managing a school,
Mr. Bellows had, by private study, completed a considerable
part of the University course. He entered the University in
1863 and graduated in the following year from the course in
Civil Engineering. From the University he went to Decatur,
Michigan, and remained for three years as Superintendent of
the graded school in that place. In April, 1867, he was elected
first County Superintendent of VanBuren county. He had
served but a short time in that office when he resigned it to
accept an appointment to the chair of Mathematics in the
Normal School. He entered upon the duties of this position at
the opening of the school year 1867-8, and continued to occupy
the place for a period of twenty -four years, resigning at the
close of the school year 1890-1. The most important educa-
tional work of Professor Bellows was undoubtedly done in the
Normal School. In addition to his services in the class room
and in the teacher's chair he has published a large number of
mathematical text -books, which are named elsewhere. After
leaving this school he took charge of the "Central Michigan
Normal School" located at Mount Pleasant. This institution
was subsequently, by act of the Legislature, made a State
normal school, and placed in charge of the State Board of
Education'. Upon accepting and organizing the school as a
State institution, the Board appointed Professor -Bellows to the
position of Principal. This position he held for considerable
time, laboring with his usual energy and zeal. In consequence
of impaired health he subsequently resigned the Principalship of
the school and engaged in various kinds of educational work,
mainly editorial. He is now living in Ypsilanti.

Principal Joseph Estabrook.

Joseph Estabrook was born July 3, 1820, at Bath, New
Hampshire. He was a decendant of Joseph Estabrook who was
a graduate of Harvard college and pastor of a church in Concord,


Mass., for forty-four years. The family moved from New
Hampshire to Alden in New York in 1833, and a few years after-
wards to Clinton in Lenawee county.

The earliest education of Mr. Estabrook was obtained in the
district schools. A little later he worked on a farm during the
summer and taught school in the winter. He thus fitted him-
self for college, and in 1843 entered Oberlin from which he
graduated in 1847. He received the degree of A. M. in course,
and a short time before his death his Alma Mater bestowed upon
him the well -deserved degree of D. D. When he! left college
he had already taught seven years in the district schools of
Lenawee county and "boarded round." He continued to teach,
first in Clinton, next in Tecumseh, and 1853 became Principal
of the public schools of Ypsilanti, where he remained till the
close of the school year 1865-6. He then became Superin-
tendent of the schools of East Saginaw, and held this position
until he was appointed Principal of the Normal School in 1871.
He remained at the head of this institution for nine years. In
1880 he became connected with Olivet College and remained
there until his death.

He was Regent of the University for six years and the State
Superintendent for four years.

We are especially interested in his labors as principal of the
Normal. During his administration the school enjoyed a high
degree of prosperity. The scope of the professional work was
greatly extended and the attendance of students was largely
increased. The most potent element of his power in the school
was his own personality. Without attempting any complete or
critical analysis of his character, it will be sufficient to speak of
two or three of his most obvious and prominent characteristics.

First of all he was blessed with abounding physical vitality,
an organism full of energy and elasticity, forming a strong and
reliable basis for a grand and noble intellectual, moral, and
spiritual temple. The body is not all, it is not the highest or
the best, but it is much; it is the living temple, not of the
human soul alone, but also of the divine spirit.


Next, with a well -developed intellect, he was blessed with
unusual depth and strength of emotional nature. Feeling goes
down deeper and rises higher than mere thought; it vitalizes
thinking, makes it warm with life, renders it fruitful and
fragrant. Beyond these qualities he had an abiding faith in
goodness and in God; and a profound spiritual apprehension and
experience which enabled him to lay fast hold upon the unseen
and eternal, and to make them real in his daily life.

No teacher ever connected with the school was more loved,
was remembered with kindlier feelings, or greeted wherever he
went, with warmer or more sincere words of personal regard.
His influence upon the moral and religious life of the Normal
was most marked. He was able to enter further than most
teachers into intimate fellowship with the spiritual, the religious
life of his pupils. He sought to develop in them the same faith,
the same trust, the same hopes, the same assurance of life
beyond, which he himself felt and cherished.

One of his colleagues at Olivet says with much of truth and
beauty :

"Lapse of time may cause some things to grow dim. The day may
come when Professor Estabrook, the teacher, the preacher, the citizen,
will be less clearly outlined in our thoughts that at present. But the time
will never come when Professor Estabrook, the friend, will live less vivid
or dear to our memory. What he did in class room, in pupils, and in the
State may grow dim; but what he, our friend, did for us will never fade."

Ivike us, Professor Estabrook was human; he was a man
among men ; he lived in the flesh subject to its infirmities and
its limitations. He had fewer limitations and faults than most
of his fellows; and he struggled more manfully and successfully
than most of us against the narrowing limitations which hemmed
him in and made him conscious, as we are conscious, of the
imperfections of our common humanity.

Take him all in all, he was one of the noblest examples of
true Christian manhood that I have ever known. The world is
better today because he has lived in it, and has gone about
among his fellows ; and his personal acquaintances and friends
are truer and purer because he has been with them. The whole


strength of his character, the whole force of his life has always
been a mighty power to uplift the community in which he made
his home, and the State of which he was a citizen. The Normal
School has need of such men in the executive chair and in its
class and lecture rooms.

Principal M. Mac Vicar.

Malcomb Mac Vicar was born in Argyleshire, Scotland. His
father, John Mac Vicar, was a farmer, and a man of great phy-
sical and intellectual vigor. The family moved from Scotland to
Canada in 1835, and settled on a farm at Chatham, Ontario.
Malcomb entered Knox College in Toronto in 1850 to study for
the ministry. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1856,
and in 1858 he entered the Senior class of the Rochester Univer-
sity, taking the degree of B. A. in the following summer. Imme-
diately after graduating he accepted a position in the Faculty of
the Brockport Collegiate Institute. This institution was trans-
formed, soon afterwards, into a normal school of which Mr.
Mac Vicar was made Principal.

He was soon recognized by the Regents of the University of
the State of New York as one of the foremost teachers and prin -
cipals of the State. The first year of the normal school work,
carried on in connection with planning and supervising the erec-
tion of new buildings for the school, proved a very trying one to
Principal Mac Vicar, and his health gave way under the pressure.
Under these circumstances he resigned his position in the school,
but the State Superintendent preferred to grant him leave of
absence for a year rather than to lose his services to the State.

During the summer of 1868 he went West, and was invited
to become Superintendent of the schools of the city of Leaven -
worth, Kansas. He accepted the position and remained there
until April of the next year, when he returned to New York and
became Principal of the Normal School then recently located at
Potsdam, but not yet fully organized.

In 1868 the Regents of the University of the State of New York
conferred upon Mr. Mac Vicar the degree of Doctor of Philosophy,
and in the following year the University of Rochester added the
degree of Doctor of L,aws.


In December, 1880, he was elected Principal of the Mich-
igan State Normal School of Ypsilanti. He remained here only
a single year, but this year he devoted very largely to the work
of reorganizing the courses of study, the societies, and other
matters connected with the institution. He resigned his position
in the Normal School to become a member of the Faculty of the
Baptist College at Toronto. For seven years he filled, in the
College, the chair of Christian Apologetics, and Biblical Inter-
pretation in English.

When the Mac Master University was founded in 1888, Dr.
Mac Vicar was made Chancellor, a position which he accepted
very reluctantly. Having accepted the responsibility, he devoted
himself with his accustomed energy to the labor before him, and
completed the full organization of the institution in two years.
He then resigned the Chancellorship and became the Superin-
tendent of the Educational Work done by the American Baptist
Home Mission Society for the Colored People of the South, and
for the Indians, Chinese, and Mexicans. He has now, 1898,
under his supervision one Theological Seminary, seven Colleges,
and twenty -four Academies. Dr. Mac Vicar has peculiar adap-
tation to the work in which he is engaged, and is bringing the
institutions under his charge, into a condition to do the best pos-
sible service to the colored people and to the denomination which
supports them.

He excells as a mathematician and as a metaphysician. As
a writer, and in the class room, he is characterized by the utmost
clearness and force, and his career as an educator has been
eminently successful. It has fallen to his lot to perform a vast
amount of hard work in organizing institutions of learning of
various kinds. His investigation in the science of education
has been original and critical, being based upon extensive obser-
vation and a large inductionof facts.

The views which Dr. Mac Vicar holds of the qualifications
of a true teacher are of a very high order. The building of a
strong and reliable character he regards as the crowning excel -
lence of true scholarship, both in the teacher and in the scholar.


Acting Principal Daniel Putnam.


About 1640 John Putnam, leaving England, settled in that
part of Salem, Massachusetts, which is now called Danvers. In
process of time some members of the Putnam family moved to
Lyndeboro, New Hampshire. At this place Daniel Putnam was
born on the eighth of January, 1824. The early years of his
life were spent on a farm, in a lumber mill, and in a carpenter's
shop. His early education was such as a New England district
school gave at that period. After his tenth or twelfth year he
attended school only in the winter season. This was the only
schooling he received until twenty years of age. During the
latter part of this early period he received much advantage from
a kind of Lyceum which was organized in many of the school
districts of the country. In this society he gained considerable
practice in writing, speaking, and debating, and cultivated a
love for reading. This was his first step above the ordinary
work of the common district school, and opened the way for
the broader education and wider culture which were gained
in later years.

By manual labor and by teaching school in the winter
months, he earned the means necessary to fit himself for college.
His preparatory course was taken in an academy at New Hamp-
ton, N. H. From this place he went to Dartmouth College from
which he graduated with the class of 1851. After graduation he
taught for a time in the school at New Hampton, and later for a
year in Vermont.

Professor Putnam came to Michigan in the summer of 1854,
and held the Professorship of the Latin Language and Litera-
ture in Kalamazoo College for four or five years. He left the
college to take charge of the public schools of the city of Kala-
mazoo. In this field of labor he showed good executive ability
and skill in the work of organization. In 1865 he returned to
the college and labored two or three years under the direction of
Dr. John M. Gregory. On the resignation of President Gregory
he was acting executive of the college for one year. In 1867 he

Daniel Putnam.


was elected Superintendent of the schools of Kalamazoo county.
He resigned this position to accept a Professorship in the Normal
School, entering upon his duties at the opening of the school
year 1868-9. His connection with the school has extended over
a period of thirty years. During three years he was acting
Principal of the institution.

In addition to his labors in the school room and in the man-
agement of schools and of school affairs, Professor Putnam has
been efficient in other departments of human activity. He served
two years as alderman and two years as mayor of the city of
Ypsilanti. He has always manifested a deep interest in the
welfare and prospeiity of the community in which he has had
his home.

For more than fifty years he has been a member of the Bap -
tist church and active in the work of the denomination. Though
not an ordained minister he has supplied pulpits frequently dur-
ing most of his religious life. He has been a member of the
Baptist Convention of Michigan for many years, its treasurer for
about ten years, and one year its President. For twenty -five
years he sustained the position of Chaplain of the Asylum for
the Insane at Kalamazoo, and published two small books relat-
ing to his work in that institution, and for the use of the inmates.
He has published a number of educational works, a list of which
is given in another place in this history.

As a man Professor Putnam is unassuming and retiring in
his character, but positive in his opinions and firm in his con-
victions of duty in all the relations of life. As a teacher he
appeals to a student's sense of honor, and seeks to develop the
higher and nobler elements of his character. He seeks to make
of his pupils men and women of the best kind rather than simply
scholars and teachers. That nobleness of spirit which shines
out through all his life and teaching has shed a strong but quiet
influence upon the lives of scores of young men and wpmen.
Many a former Normal student, now at work in the schools of
the State, declares that the calm serenity of Professor Putnam's
life and character goes with him as an inspiration in all his work.
But the true dignity and purity of his life can be best under-


stood by those who have come into close association with him as
he has gone in and out in his daily labors. His deeds are as
light-houses, " they do not ring bells or fire cannon to call atten-
tion to their shining they just shine."

As an indication of the high esteem in which he was held as
a scholar, he received, in 1897, the honorary degree of L,L,.D.
from the University of Michigan.

Principal Edwin Willits.

The life work of Mr. Willits was wide and varied. We are
concerned chiefly with his work in connection with the Normal
School, but a brief summary of his life and labors will be of

Mr. Willitts was born in Otto, Cattaraugus Co., New York,
on April 24, 1830. He came to Michigan with his parents in
1837. He was graduated from the University of Michigan in
1855, and for ten years thereafter he was editor of the Monroe
Commercial. In 1856 he began the study of law, and was admitted
to the bar in 1858. In 1860 he became prosecuting attorney of
his county. For twelve years from 1862 he was a member of
the State Board of Education. From 1863 to 1866 he was post-
master of Monroe. He was a member of the constitutional
convention of 1873, and from 1876 to 1880 was a member of
Congress. In 1883 he was made Principal of the State Normal
School at Ypsilanti, and he remained in that position until called
in 1885 to the Presidency of the Agricultural College of Michigan.
In 1889 he was called from the College to the position of first
assistant secretary of agriculture at Washington. In 1894 he
was removed from this position by Secretary Morton, whereupon
he opened a law office in Washington. He died there October
23, 1896.

The first connection of Mr. Willits with the Normal School
was as a member of the State Board of Education. The Board

Online LibraryDaniel PutnamA history of the Michigan state normal school (now Normal college) at Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1849-1899 → online text (page 13 of 32)