Danvers (Mass.).

Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 online

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and the hope of her future prosperity and fame. May they be sacredly guard-
ed and sustained.


The Rev. ISRAEL W. PUTNAM, having been called upon, replied :

Mr. President : — I have been requested to say a word in notice of
one distinguished and excellent individual of our town, the late Hon.
Samuel Holten.

Although he was removed thirty-six years ago, from the scenes of
this world, in which he had acted so important and so good a part, yet
I know there are now living, and probably present on this interesting
occasion, a few, at least, who had a personal knowledge of his history
and character, — for he belonged to their generation or to the one next
before them ; but there are others here who have not that knowledge.
To both these classes of my fellow-citizens, (and I must call all the
inhabitants cf my native town such,) I would say, that they will find
the character of that excellent man faithfully delineated in the funeral
discourse delivered by his friend and pastor, the late Rev. Dr. Wads-
worth : and I beg leave to refer you, Mr. President, and all here
present, to that discourse for the true character of a man whose mem-
ory should be cherished with respect and gratitude down to the latest
generation of his people.

It appears that Judge Holten (or rather Dr. Holten, as he always
chose to be called) was born in 1738, one hundred and fourteen years
ago, in Salem Village, now, for one hundred years, Danvers. He was
in every respect a youth of high promise ; but feebleness of health
interfering with his father's destination for him, which was a collegiate
education, his attention was early turned to the healing art. At the
age of eighteen, he commenced the practice of that profession in the
towrf of Gloucester ; but soon returned to his native place, where he
spent a long life of usefulness in the town, and in various public ser-
vices of the country.

With all the talents his Creator had given him, which were of a
highly respectable character, and with a full share of the zeal of the
patriots of our Revolutionary struggle, he enlisted, at the age of thirty,
in the cause of his country ; and that cause he never forsook in its
darkest day. This occasion does not admit of even the briefest review
of the faithful services he performed, or of the distinguished posts of
trust and honor which he held from the year 1768 to that of 1783,
when the great struggle was over, and the independence of the country
was acknowledged by the British nation and the world.

His counsels and his services were sought and rendered in the Com-
monwealth or in the Continental Congress during that whole period ;
and once he was elected as presiding officer of that patriotic and
august body, — the highest seat of honor which his country had to give.

But his public services did not cease when the independence of the
country was achieved. He took an active part in the formation of the
Federal Constitution ; and after it was adopted was for several years a
Member of Congress. Twice he was an elector of president and vice
president. Many high and responsible offices did he fill in the Com-
monwealth, — being for eight years Representative of the town in the
General Court, five years in the Senate, and twelve in the Council.

When not employed in more public services abroad, he was with
great unanimity called to the care of the local interests of the town


and the parish to which he belonged. Twenty-four years he was
treasurer of the town, and about half a century treasurer of the
parish, — performing all the services of those offices gratuitously, and
frequently when the treasury was empty, answering drafts upon it from
his own personal resources.

Forty-seven years in all he was in the public service of his countrj',
— always punctual, faithful and devoted to his duties and engagements:
and let it be remembered, as the venerable Wadsworth said, that
"goodness and usefulness well characterize true greatness."

But the character of Dr. Holten shone with equal brightness in the
private walks and social relations of life. Very few, however, of those
who knew him intimately are now living to testify to his excellence in
these respects. I would only add here that in the dignified appearance
of his person, in the condescending and instructive manner of his
conversation, and in his whole external deportment, he was at once a
model and a monument of the old school of gentlemen of his day.

But I should do injustice to the memory of Dr. Holten if I failed to
bear testimony to the highest and noblest part of his character ; I refer
to his Christian piety. He was a man who revered the word and the
institutions of God. He was constant and devout in his attendance on
divine worship in public and in private life. He was ever alive to
the interests of " pure and undefiled religion," cheerfully bearing a
large share in the support of all Christian institutions, and adorning
the profession of his Savior's name by a life which exhibited in beau-
tiful consistency the Christian virtues and Christian graces during the
whole period of fifty-six years for which he was a member of the

If what I have said should have the effect of turning the attention of
this generation of the people to a study of the character of Judge
Holten, as they will find it delineated in the Discourse to which I have
referred, I am persuaded they will not fail to cherish the high.est respect
for that distinguished and excellent man.

It may not be known 7ioui, — the coming generations of our town
may werer know, the social, civil and moral worth of Dr. H. ; but I
think there can be little doubt that his services and his character
contributed largely to the prosperity of the town that gave him birth,
and that enjoyed nearly the whole of his long and usefid life ; — con-
tributed to the stability of its institutions, to the extent and variety of
its educational privileges, to the order, industry and thrift of its inhab-
itants, and to the highly honorable position it has taken and is destined
to take among the towns of our beloved Commonwealth.

But, Mr. President, I turn gratefully from these views of a character
which I could not but love and respect from my early childhood, to the
scenes of this joyful anniversary. I love to look around on the grounds
and streets and dwellings of this part of the town, — changed greatly
indeed from Avhat they were fifty-five years ago, when I first began to
see them. I love to think of the venerable men and women whom I
knew here in other days, — the Poors, the Proctors, the Osborns, the
Kings, the Danielses, the Pooles, and others. I love to go back to my
own native parish and think of the Holtens, the Kettells, the Pages,
the Nicholses, the Prestons, the Flints, the Princes, and my kinsmen

Mrssionar)' to Ceylon.


tho Putnatns, and others, whom I once knew there. And here, did not
delicacy forbid, I would name an honored father,* — not unknown as a
useful citizen, a faithful and long-acting magistrate, and a firm sup-
porter of the Christian ministry and Christian institutions. And here,
too, I think I shall be allowed to name a son of one of these respected
families, who is yet among the living. I allude to my beloved Christian
and ministerial brother, the Rev. Daniel Poor, who is still toiling and
praying in heathen climes for the salvation of heathen men. A close
and endeared intimacy of forty-five years warrants me to speak freely
of him. Many now within the compass of my voice know him well.
Others do not Were he here this day no one would need speak for
him. Let mc say, then, that he was born on this ground, and that
here he spent his early days. Yes, and it was here that the Spirit of
God turned his youthful heart to love the things of the Flcavenly
Kingdom ; and it was under the influence of that love that he then
consecrated himself to tlie service of his Lord and Master, wherever
on the earth it should be His holy will to employ him. It was liere,
in his very boyhood, (as he used pleasantly to tell me,) that he made
his first attempts in literary and theological writing. It was in yonder
little valley, almost within our sight, and while in his humble calling
he was following his sluggish horse round in the bark-mill, that he
composed that regular set of little sermons, which he sometimes
showed a friend here, and which I hope he now has v/ith him in India.

But that " chosen vessel " was not destined to be used permanently
in a bark-mill. A mother's prayers and a father's means soon put him
in the way of a classical and theological education. It was my own
happiness to be associated with him in both. Soon he became a
preacher of the blessed gospel of Jesus Christ, and, thirty-seven years
ago, sailed for the Eastern world with her, whom he had chosen as a
help-meet in his Missionary work.

We all know, or ought to know, the rest, — his labors there, his re-
cent thrilling visit to his native land, his cheerful return to his heathen
home. Toil on, dear brother, thy Master's eye approves thy work,
and thou wilt soon hear that Master's voice, saying, " Well done, good
and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

To the President of this festival I would say, if he was present, 1
congratulate you on having your lot cast in the good old town of Dan-
VERS. I congratulate you on being the successor of such men as the
venerated Clark and Wadsworth in the ministerial office. May it please
the great Head of the church to allow you, like them, to finish out a
full half century in the holy calling in which you have already spent
so great a portion of your life. And, when at last you are about
being gathered unto the past generations of the town, may you be
allowed to look upon its churches and its people as prosperous and
happy, not only in the enjoyment of the blessings of civil and religious
liberty, but also in the practical exhibition of the purity and piety of
their Pilgrim Fathers.

* Eleazer Putnam, Esq., a worthy man and magistrate, much employed as
a surveyor, conveyancer, &c., and for the transaction of legal business in the


Mr. Putnam having conckuletl, the Prksidekt proposed —

The Annalist of Salem — lie has rescued many important facts in our local
liistory irom oblivion, for which we owe him a debt of gratitude too great for
present payment. He may, however, be assured that it never will bo repudialed.

This was responded to by Rev. J. B. FELT, of Boston :

Mr. Chairinan : — To every cooperator who stands on the isthmus of
the present, and rescues some relics of the past from rushing to ob-
livion, it is next to the approval of his conscious obligation that he
hears those of his own day, and especially on an occasion like this,
utter lansiuage which denotes that his labor has not been in vain.

Sir, our attention thus far has been given chiefly to the men of this
corporation. This is both natural and necessary in detailing events of
history, because, such is the constitution of society, males are leaders
in its m'ominent concerns. But it is well, so that the balance of justice
should be right in the affairs of life, that we sometimes advert to the
part which the gentler sex have had in the founding, preserving and
advancing communities and nations. l\Iay we not, then, be allowed
to do so at a time like this, when, more probably than at others, heart
meets heart, and the sympathies of humanity flow spontaneously,
generously and equitably.?

Let us, for a few minutes, look at " the better half," who, between
1630 and 1640, were among the settlers of Brooksby, the Village, and
other principal divisions of this town. We behold them, as to their
several departures from Salem, for such locations. Grants of land
had been laid out for the families with which they were connected.
Log cabins for some, till choicer lumber could be sawed, and better
abodes for others, were prepared, with furniture less abundant than in
our day. Informed that these habitations were ready for their accom-
modation, they at different dates came to them, part of the way, as
supposed, on the waters of North River, by canoes, then extensively
used, and the rest on foot. With them, horses and pillions, and other
land conveyances, were veiy scarce. Omnibuses ajid steam cars, so
familiar to our vision, they never saw.

Thus, entering upon their domicils with strong and consoling faith,
that whatever might be their experience of weal or woe, it would be
divinely overruled for their highest welfare, we cannot but revere and
bless their memory, as important pioneers in the great work of em-
ploying means for contributing to the promotion of the religious Com-
monwealth, — the main object for which Massachusetts was settled.
In view of the distance between them and their native land,

" What sought they, thus afar?

Bright jewels of the mine ?
The wealth of seas, — the spoil of war.'

They sought a faith's pure shrine.
Ay, call it holy ground,

The soil where first they trod.
They have left unstained what here they found,

Freedom to worship God."'

But for the presence, approval and affection of such fair friends, few
of the men, who cleared away the long-standing woods of this soil, and


braved, the perils of the red man, lurking to be revenged for what he
supposed the wrongs of his race ; perils of the wolf, bear and other
ferocious beasts ; of famine and pestilence, — would have had a heart
to begin the world anew in such repulsive wilds. But for those of
them, who had sufficient strength, even when the sufferings incident
to new settlements were experienced ; when the miasma of stagnant
waters and uncleared lands, scarcity of food and prevalence of sick-
ness, were followed, among themselves and kindred, with more than
usual mortality, there w'ould have been few, if any, who, like minister-
ing angels, would have comforted the distressed, given medicine for
the recovery of the diseased, whispered truths of Christian hope be-
yond the grave, prayed with the dying, and commended their souls to
the welcome of the Puritan's God. Look at these more than " Sisters
of Charity," in the trials which shook the pillars of tlie colony, and
caused the stoutest heart to quail. Among tribulations of this kind,
were the perplexed and lamentable controversy with Roger Williams
and his followers ; the repeated demands of the crown for the sur-
render of the charter, and, consequently, the prospective subversion of"
civil and religious liberty, for which the emigrants had put to hazard
every other temporal interest ; the hostile daring of the powerful
tribes of the Narragansetts and Pequods, and the collisions, arising
from the discussion of Ann Hutchinson's sentiments and the disarming
of her supporters. Other events of similar danger might be cited,,
enough to aid in the composition of an Iliad, full of stirring, impressive
and truthful scenes. To meet them with the spirit of fortitude, and^
strenuously turn them aside from crushing the barriers of social order
and desolating the best refuge of the oppressed, what, of human aid,
was more needed, here and elsewhere, than the home influences of
virtuous woman, which calm the disquieted temper, cool angry resent-
ment, infuse aspirations for peace, cherish the feelings of forbearance,
but, when necessity calls, nerve the arm for noble deeds in defence of
equitable privileges ? Such was the part of matrons, v/ho were num-
bered among the primhive members of this community.

Of like tendency was their care for education and piety, the two
great sources, whence enlightenment to understand and principle to
cherish and preserve the institutions, established by the patriarchs of
New England. Beginning with the children at the fire-side and pro-
viding for them advantages of instruction at school, they impressed on
their minds the excellence of knowledge, and, in process of training,
enabled them to perceive the difference between tyranny, which gov-
erns to degrade its subjects, and liberty, which controls to elevate its
supporters. But these, and all else appertaining to the physical and
intellectual properties of our race, they held far inferior to the religious
improvement of their descendants. They did not pass over, as a dead
letter, the instructions of the company, in England, to Governor Endi-
cott. Does the inquiry arise, what were these .' Part of them refer
to the Lord's day. " To the end the Sabbath may be celebrated in a
religious manner, we appoint, that all, that inhabit the Plantation, both
for the general and particular employments, may surcease their labor
every Saturday throughout the year, at three of the clock in the after-
noon, and that they spend the rest of that day, in catechising and
22 V


preparation for the Sabbath." In spiritual harmony with this injunc-
tion, another part follows, " Our earnest desire is, that you taki;
special care in settling families, that the chief in the family, at least some
one of them, be grounded in religion, whereby morning and evening
duties may be duly performed, and a watchful eye held over all in
each family, that so disorders may be prevented and ill weeds nipt
before they take too great a head." Here, Mr. Chairman, as is well
known, was the application of that religious element, which historians
of eminence, like Tocqueville, acknowledge to have been as the salt,
which has prevalently savored the population of our country so as to
keep its institutions of freedom from being cast out and trodden under
the feet of licentiousness and oppression. To commands of such vital
importance, the mothers of Brooksby, the village and other neighbor-
hoods, did vigilantly and perseveringly look, so that communion with
the Father of all mercies in the Sanctuary and around the domestic
altar, might be punctually practised, as among the chief safeguards
against infidelity and iniquity, and the great promoters of faith and

Thus actuated by the highest motives, revealed from the wonder-
ful Code of the Moral Universe, to our fallen race, to employ the best
means for accomplishing the greatest good, they had the most suitable
preparation for every other concern of their domestic and social circles.
In these, though coming far short of perfection, they endeavored to dis-
charge their relative duties, at home and abroad, so that all, with whom
they were associated, might be the better and the happier for such a
connexion. In this manner, they stamped upon the minds and hearts of
the young, soon to take on themselves the public responsibilities of
their seniors, principles, which contributed more than the strongest for-
tifications, the largest and best appointed fleets and armies could, to the
permanency of the town and Commonwealth in their spirit, life, pur-
pose and salutary influences.

Every sire, then blessed with such a " help-meet," could he speak
from his long resting place, would say to each of his sons, now in the
morning of life,

" Oh ! link with one spirit, that 's warmly sincere,
That will heighten your pleasure and solace your care;
Find a soul you may trust, as the kind and the just,
And be sure, the wide world holds no treasure so rare ;
Then the frowns of misfortune may shadow our lot,
The cheek-searing tear-drops of sorrow may start,
But a star, never dim, sheds a halo for him,
Who can turn, for repose, to a home in the heart."

Cannot all of us, Mr. Chairman, who have carefully looked over the
ground, respond, with a hearty amen, to the foregoing positions ?
William Hubbard, of Ipswich, in his election sermon of 1676, related,
that there was a town, in Germany, called Mindin, because the em-
peror and several of the neighboring princes, harmonized there, in
opinion, on some important question. It will be perceived, that Mindin
is from the German mein, dein, or in English, mine, thine, indicating,
that clashing judgments of one party and the other, had been brought
together and solved into a pleasant unanimity. We know, also, that
the name, Danvers, given to this corporation, was so granted in the

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A(}G(I !J;-J \Cii.c.'; And two ^loiillis .

T/ie firsi perjoa icm on SkfJtcn/ JCfrJc^ ?icw 3at!,vers-pi>r^.


lively exercise of kind affections towards a patron. With the at-
mosphere cf these happy examples around us, can we do less, in view
of what the primitive matrons of this community did, than freely and
fully unite in the sentiment, —

That they were worthy parents of worthy descendants, and, while we grate-
fully remember the excellence of the mothers, we will cherish the best wishes
for the prosperity of the children.

The following sentiment was then announced : —

The, Women of Danvers in Revolutionary times — like the staple manufacture
of the town — firm, tough and M'ell tanned, — but unlike it, as they were not to
be trampled upon.

To this sentiment, SAMUEL P. FOWLER responded :

Mr. President : — I had hoped that some one else would respond to
your sentiment, but as no one arises, I will attempt to offer a few re-
marks. The women of Danvers, Mr. President, have always manifested
a great interest in the welfare of their country, and have ever been
ready to assist in extending the glory of her arms abroad, and pro-
moting the blessings of peace at home. When their sons were called
upon by Governor Shirley, in 1755, to form a company of volunteers
to reduce the forts of Nova Scotia, they cheerfully furnished them
with clothing and other articles necessary for their comfort. After
they were equipped, and about to join their regiment at Boston, these
patriotic women of Danvers accompanied the volunteers to the village
church, where a long and interesting sermon was delivered by Rev.
Peter Clark. His subject upon this occasion was, " A word in season
to soldiers."

The daughters of these energetic women were the mothers of 1775,
who, prompted by the same love of country, cheerfully yielded their
husbands and sons to secure on the field of battle its independence.
Some of them, the day after the battle of Lexington, visited the scene
of that bloody conflict. Thus, at this early period of the Revolution,
were enkindled those fires of patriotism which burnt brightly till its
close. But the women of the present day are not called upon to make
such sacrifices for their country ; if they were, wc doubt not, the same
spirit would be exhibited. It is theirs now to adorn and beautify the
inheritance so dearly purchased, and by their virtues to increase its
glory and prosperity. Upon occasions of public interest, the energy,
skill and taste of women are all called into requisition. We are in-
debted to the women of Danvers for much of the neatness and taste
displayed by our public schools, for those oriental costumes and ancient
tableaux, which have added so much to the interest of our Centennial

In the sentiment offered, allusion has been made to the staple man-
ufacture of the town. Mr. President, Danvers has never been ashamed
of her industrious and intelligent citizens, who have labored in the
leather business, in all its various branches. She has often presented
them with posts of honor and trust, and they in return have always
been ready to sustain her interests, and have greatly contributed to her


wealth and prosperity. And may the time never arrive when our sons
will be ashamed of this business, or Danvers will have reason to be
ashamed of them.

The next sentiment announced was —

South Readiner and Danvers — United by bands of iron, but still more
strongly by the ties of friendship and mutual good will.

To the above, Hon. LILLE Y EATON, of South Reading, remarked

substantially as follows : —

I rise, Mr. President, obedient to your call, but not with the intention
to inflict upon you a speech. I much prefer to save you from the
tediousness, and myself from the mortification, of such an act at this
late hour. I cannot, however, forbear to allude to the kind terms of
your sentiment, which seems to call upon South Reading for a response,
by assuring you that South Reading, and her good mother old Reading,
cordially reciprocate the feelings of good Avill which you now express.
They both rejoice in all the bonds of union which attach them to Dan-
vers. They rejoice in the business relations, — those leather?! cords,
which bind them to each other by the ties of a mutual interest ; but
they rejoice more, and chiefly, in those ties of friendship and good will
which always have, and I trust always will, unite their respective in-

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Online LibraryDanvers (Mass.)Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 → online text (page 17 of 22)