Joseph Palmer.

Necrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 online

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his brother Joseph, at the Avalon Iron-works. For the last
year, he felt that he had a heart disease, and often said that
he should die suddenly. About four weeks before his death, he
was taken with hemorrhage from the stomach, which con
fined him for several days. He recovered, and went daily to
the iron- works. On the 15th of May, on the way to the
cars, on his return, he was taken with fainting, which was
immediately followed by paralysis ; and he died about one
o clock on the following morning. He was a gentleman of fine
personal appearance, great suavity of manner, and of unblem
ished integrity.

1823. Rev. WILLIAM PARSONS LUNT, of Quincy, Mass.,
died at Akabah, a town in Arabia Petraea, 21 March, 1857, aged
51. He left Boston on the 31st December last to make the tour
of Europe, intending to return in July following ; and was on a
journey to visit some of the spots memorable in sacred history,


with the intention of proceeding to Jerusalem. He was attacked,
while in the desert, with an illness which seemed to be a sharp
seizure of rheumatism ; and it was with some difficulty that he
could reach Akabah. Here his disorder increased in violence ;
assumed a more distinct febrile type : delirium supervened, and
death closed the scene. His last moments were soothed by the
kindness and attention of two English gentlemen one of them
a clergyman with whom he had for some time been travelling ;
and one of his own countrymen, Rev. Mr. Dowdney, of New
York, who was at Akabah, performed the last sacred office to
his remains. He was son of Henry and Mary (Greene) Lunt,
and was born in Newburyport, 21 April, 1805. He was fitted for
college at Milton Academy, and graduated with high honors.
On leaving college, it was his intention to have pursued the pro
fession of law ; and accordingly he entered, as a student, the
office of Charles Pelham Curtis (H.C. 1811) , of Boston. After
studying one year, he changed his mind, relinquished the study
of law, and entered the Theological School at Cambridge for
the purpose of studying for the ministry. After completing his
studies, he was invited to take the pastoral charge of the Second
Unitarian Church (now the Church of the Messiah) in the city
of New York. This invitation he accepted, and was accord
ingly ordained 19 June, 1828. His pastoral relation with that
church was dissolved 19 November, 1833 ; and he was installed
over the Unitarian church in Quincy, 3 June, 1835, where he
faithfully labored until his death, a period of nearly twenty-
two years. He married, 14 May, 1829, Ellen Hobart, daugh
ter of Barnabas Hedge (H.C. 1783), of Plymouth, Mass.,
and had seven children, four daughters and two sons, of
whom six, with their mother, survived him : one child died in
infancy. Dr. Lunt was one of the most popular and eloquent
divines of the day, and was greatly beloved by the society among
whom he had labored so long. His writings, both in prose and
poetry, display a singularly pure taste and classic refinement, and
have been much admired. Quiet, unobtrusive, and refined in his
manners, he sought rather to do good than to court popularity.
He was a learned and accurate historian, and was a member of

1856-57.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 137

the Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1850, the honorary
degree of doctor of divinity was conferred upon him by Har
vard College.

1823. Dr. JOHN MARSH, of Contra Costa, Cal., was
murdered about two miles from Martinez, Cal., by two Span
iards, named Jose Antonio Olivas and Felipe Morena, on the
evening of 24 September, 1856. He was son of John and
Mary (Brown) Marsh, and was born in that part of Danvers,
Mass., which is comprised within the limits of South Danvers,
5 June, 1799. His great-grandfather s name was Ezekiel. He
died the same year that John was born. The paternal estate
was given by will to John s father. It has been in the Marsh
family for more than one hundred years. The subject of this
notice was fitted for college at the academy in Lancaster, Mass.
When a boy, he was more remarkable for active exercises than
for abstruse studies. The groves and the brooks around will bear
testimony to his adroitness in capturing their tenants. No fox,
squirrel, or muskrat, could live in peace where John wandered.
Shortly after he graduated, he went to the Western coun
try, where he secured employment as Indian agent at one of
the government stations on the Upper Mississippi. While in
this region, he began the study of medicine with a physician
who died before the regular course was completed, and he
did not finisji the usual term. He then removed across the
country to California, where he established himself as a physi
cian. His personal appearance was commanding ; his adroit
ness as a manager by no means wanting. He had the good
fortune to obtain from the Mexican Government a grant of land
on and about Monte Diablo, and settled thereon in the business
of rearing cattle ; and his herds became as numerous as those of
the patriarch of old. When the gold fever began to rage, Dr.
Marsh s lands began to advance in worth, and it is not now easy
to estimate their value. The title to a large part of his claim
was confirmed to him since the United States came in possession
of the territory. On all hands, it is admitted that his posses
sions are large and valuable. He was married in California, in
June, 1851, to Miss Abba Tuck, of Chelmsford, Mass., who



went thence to seek her fortune as an instructress. She died
before the doctor, leaving one daughter, four years old, as his
only legal heir. Dr. Marsh had four brothers and two sisters.
The standing of the family has ever been that of substantial,
respectable farmers. His father survived him, a vigorous old
gentleman of the age of eighty years. He had one brother who
graduated at Yale, and was educated for the ministry, but died

The following additional particulars of Dr. Marsh s life and
character are extracted from a letter written by a gentleman
formerly of Salem, but who has for some years past been a resi
dent of California. It is dated San Francisco, Dec. 11, 1856.

" He [Dr. Marsh] had seen much of life ; was a keen observer
of men and things ; had much general information ; read much,
and was very ready and willing to communicate of his knowledge
to others. He was a very thorough Spanish and French
scholar, speaking and writing both languages with great fluency
and correctness. In his residence for several years in the
Western states as an Indian agent, he obtained a more perfect
knowledge of the habits, manners, and dialects of the various
Indian tribes than any other person, I suspect, except Mr.
Schoolcraft. His mind was a sound and logical one, capable of
thoroughly discussing and fully comprehending most subjects.
His good judgment, together with his resolute and adventurous
spirit, would, I think, have made him distinguished as a soldier.
I am not aware that he saw more service than while in com
mand of a company of rangers in the Black-Hawk war, under
Gen. Atkinson. All his qualities of mind, and experiences of life,
made him a most entertaining and instructive companion. His
long residence in California, and his intimate knowledge of the
history of the country in early times, induced Mr. Larkin and
other pioneers in the settlement of the state often to urge him to
write an account of the most important portions of its history.
For such a work he was eminently qualified ; but his own affairs
had too many claims upon his time and thoughts to allow him
to do so. He came to this state in 1836, and spent six months
after his arrival in exploring the state, to select a location. The

1836-57.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 139

one upon which he finally decided is situated beyond the coast
range of mountains, and at the foot of Monte Diablo, a high moun
tain across the bay, and in full view from Stfn Francisco. At the
time he came here, land had not much value ; and he purchased
the estate of Signor Norriega, a native of California, for almost
a nominal sum. There are about fifty thousand acres of land
included in the estate. Much of it is excellent for cultivation ;
but he has devoted himself to the business of cattle-raising,
gradually increasing his stock, till he had, at the time of his
death, some four or five thousand head. He lived for many
years in an adobe house, which he built with the assistance of
Indians hired for the purpose. He was twice plundered in early
times by gangs of thieves, to which his almost solitary mode of life
exposed him. When the gold-fever broke out in this state, all
the persons in his employment left him, and went to the mines.
He went there likewise, and \vas tolerably successful ; but fell
sick in a short time, and returned to his rancho. The growth
of San Francisco and other cities and towns has of late greatly
increased the value of his property, as it has opened a market
for cattle, which of course, in early times, did not exist. He
had just completed a beautiful house, and was making arrange
ments for that comfort and enjoyment which he had for many
years denied himself. But he was not permitted to carry out his
plans, and to spend the evening of his life in ease and enjoyment,
as he had contemplated. He was doomed to death by felon hands
at the very time when all life s projects seemed to be accom
plished, and the burden and heat of the day was to be succeeded
by rest and enjoyment. Truly the ways of Providence are
inscrutable ! "

The writer of the above extract states previously that he had
received a letter from the doctor the day but one before his death,
requesting him to go with the bearer of the note to give evidence
against some cattle-thieves, who had committed many depreda
tions on his property. The doctor intended to visit San Fran
cisco on the day of his assassination. He started about noon in
his buggy for Martinez, about twenty miles from his residence,
where he would take water conveyance to San Francisco ; and


about dark, when two miles from Martinez, he was met by the two
wretches, who, it is supposed, threw a lasso over him, and then
dirked him. He never could be induced to go armed, although
so exposed to peril in consequence of plunderers of his timber
and cattle, against whom he had instituted legal proceedings.
The two murderers, however, were not among this class of per
sons. The} 7 were men who had been in his employ, and who
knew his habits. It is conjectured that they knew of his having
four hundred dollars about his person, which, together with the
gold watch, were taken. Dr. Marsh retained a warm attach
ment for his friends, and was intending to visit his native town
the following spring.

1825. Dr. JOHN GOODHUE TREADWELL died in Salem,
Mass., 6 August, 1856, aged 51. He was son of Dr. John
Dexter Treadwell (H.C. 1788) and Dorothy (Goodhue)
Treadwell ; was born in Salem, 1 August, 1805 ; and was fitted
for college at the Latin School in Salem. He held a high rank
as a scholar in his class, and graduated with distinguished
honors. Immediately after graduation, he began the study of
medicine under the instruction of Dr. William Johnson Walker,
of Charlestown (H.C. 1810). He attended two courses of
medical lectures in Boston, one in New York, and spent one sea
son in a dissecting-room in Baltimore. Having completed his
medical studies, he received the degree of M.D. in 1828. In
August, 1829, he went to London ; in the spring of 1830, to
Dublin ; and the following summer to Paris, at the time of the
revolution, the scenes of which he saw. Thence he went again
to London, and returned home in November, 1830. He then
established himself as a physician in Salem, when he rose rapid
ly to distinction, and in a few years stood at the head of the
medical profession in his native city. When thus in the full
tide of a successful and lucrative practice, in November, 1839,
he made a post-mortem examination of a child which had died
of scarlet fever ; and, through a slight sore on one of his fingers,
the virus became infused into his system, which affected him
severely, although he continued his practice until March, 1841,
when he was obliged to give up, and did nothing for two or

1856-57.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 141

three years. He subsequently, however, so far recovered, that
he was consulted at home, and occasionally visited some of his
patients. His father died 6 June, 1833, at the age of 65 ; and
he lived with his mother, who survived him. He was never mar
ried. He was somewhat eccentric, but was enthusiastically fond
of his profession, ignored almost every thing but that, and read
scarcely any work that did not pertain to it. By his will he made
several valuable public bequests. The principal one, amounting
to nearly fifty thousand dollars, was to Harvard College, for the
establishment of a free course of medical lectures. The property
appropriated for this purpose was given to the college after the
decease of his mother, who was then about eighty years of age.
The principal conditions of this bequest are, that the money is
to be appropriated to the establishment of professorships of anat
omy and physiology. The candidates for these offices are to be
examined, before appointment, by a commission of experienced
men, after the custom of the French university. If the income
of the funds appropriated should not be sufficient for the support
of the professors, then they are to be allowed to lecture before pri
vate classes, but not to the Lowell Institute or to public lyceums.
His valuable library, containing all the latest medical European
publications, was left to the college under certain conditions. In
case the college authorities should not accede to the conditions of
the will, the whole amount, after the death of his mother, goes
to the Massachusetts General Hospital, without conditions. A
valuable theological library he bequeathed to the Barton-square
Church, in Salem, for the use of the pastor. A fine farm of
seventy acres, situated in Topsfield, Mass., he left to the Essex
Agricultural Society, for the purposes of an experimental farm.
1828. HENRY SWASEY McKEAN died in Boston, 17 May,
1857, aged 47. He was son of Rev. Joseph (H.C. 1794)
and Amy (Swasey) McKean, and w r as born in Boston, 9 Feb
ruary, 1810. He was fitted for college at the Latin School in
Boston, and graduated with high honors. In the winter of his
senior year, he kept school at Nine-acre Corner, in Concord,
Mass. Immediately after graduating, he was employed as as
sistant in the private school of Charles Winston Greene (H.C.


1802), at Jamaica Plain ; but was taken sick a few weeks after
wards, and left. He next taught a school a short time in Cam
bridge. In January, 1830, he entered the Law School in Cam
bridge, where he remained about six months ; when, on the 18th
of August the same year, he was appointed tutor in Latin in
Harvard College ; which office he held until August, 1835, when
he resigned, and began the study of engineering under Loammi
Baldwin (H.C. 1800), of Charlestown, and continued in this
profession, with some intervals, during the remainder of his life.
For this occupation he had peculiar qualifications, as he was an
excellent mathematician, and w r as thoroughly versed in the theo
retical part of the profession. He had an accurate eye, was an
excellent draughtsman, and performed with great neatness all the
mechanical work which his duties required. During part of
1842, he was engaged in instruction in Georgia, and in 1845-6
in New Jersey. From July, 1842, until May, 1845, he was
librarian of the Mercantile-Library Association in the city of
New York, during which time he made the catalogue of the
library. From July, 1846, to October, 1848, he was employed
as assistant engineer of the second division of the Boston Water
works, residing at Newton Lower Falls ; his friend Mr. Ches-
borough being the official chief. Here he labored with great
assiduity and skill, and earned the praise and confidence of those
who were intrusted with the supervision and responsibility of
that enterprise. Two of the works constructed under his imme
diate charge abridge across the river Charles, and an em
bankment over which the aqueduct is carried, and under which
the county road goes have been mentioned as works reflecting
great credit on his skill and science. He continued in the ser
vice of the city so long as Mr. Chesborough was chief engineer ;
and, upon that gentleman s removal from the city, Mr. McKean
resigned his place, and opened an office as engineer on his own
account. At the time of his death he was meditating a change
of occupation, and proposing to engage in some literary em
ployment. He married, 3 November, 1851, Anna H. Hosmer,
of Camden, Me., and had one child. His life was eminently
pure, honorable, and faithful. He had excellent capacities,

1856-57.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 143

trained by thorough and careful preparation ; and vet his success
in life was not commensurate with his gifts and accomplishments.
No man was less zealous to set forth his own claims, or more
inclined to recognize the claims of others. His health was not
robust. His temperament was sensitive, and inclined to melan
choly, which affected him to such a degree, as to induce, occa
sionally, mental alienation, in a paroxysm of which he ended his
life with his own hand. He was a man of warm domestic and
social affections ; and in his relations of friend, son, brother,
husband, and father, he tasted the purest joys of which the heart
is capable. He was often tried, alike by external disappoint
ments and by struggles with his own peculiar temperament ;
but he never lost his sense of the paternal relations of God, and
never murmured at any dispensation of his providence.

1830. Hon. THOMAS HOPKINSON died in Cambridge,
Mass., 17 November, 1856, aged 52. He was son of Theo-
philus and Susanna (Allen) Hopkinson, and was born in New
Sharon, Me., 25 August, 1804. He was fitted for college at
the academy in Farmington, Me., and graduated with the
highest honors of his class. After leaving college, he studied
law under the instruction of Hon. Luther Lawrence (H.C.
1801) ; and, on being admitted to the bar, became his partner,
and began to practise in Lowell. He was married, 1 Novem
ber, 1836, to Corinna Aldrich Prentiss, daughter of Hon. John
and Diantha (Aldrich) Prentiss, of Keene, N.H. ; with whom
he lived in uninterrupted harmony and happiness for twenty
years. In his profession, he soon rose to an eminent rank ; and
was extensively known as an able lawyer and safe counsellor. He
was elected a representative from Lowell to the state legislature
in 1838 and 1845 ; and, in 1846, he was chosen senator from
Middlesex District. He was chairman of the committee on rail
roads at a time when the situation was one of great importance.
In 1848, he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas ;
but resigned his seat on the bench the following year, having
been elected president of the Boston and Worcester Eailroad Cor
poration. When he entered upon the duties of his office as
president, he removed to Boston, where he lived until the autumn


of 1855 ; when he removed to Cambridge, and there resided
until his death. He was a member of the convention called in
1853 for revising the constitution of the state. In the discharge
of his duties, he was conscientious, judicious, and indefatigable ;
and entered into the various details so minutely, that the labor
and anxiety, in connection, perhaps, with organic tendencies to
disease, seriously impaired his health. In May, 1856, he went
to Europe ; travelled in England, Scotland, France, Germany,
Holland, the upper part of Italy ; and spent some time in Swit
zerland. On his return, he was not able to resume his duties,
but rapidly sank away, until death terminated his severe suf

1831. Rev. NATHANIEL TUCKER BENT died in Worcester,
Mass., 4 November, 1856, aged 46. He was son of Josiahand
Susannah Bent, and was born in Milton, Mass., 30 July, 1810.
He began his preparatory studies for admission to college under
the instruction of his brother, Rev. Josiah Bent, of Weymouth
(H.C. 1822), and completed them at Phillips Academy in An-
dover. He held a distinguished rank in college, and graduated
with high honors. After leaving college, he began the study of
divinity at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in New York ; and
finished his studies, under the instruction of Bishop Alexander
Viets Griswold, at Salem. He was ordained as deacon at
Salem, and was afterwards instituted as rector over the follow
ing churches : viz., Grace Church, in New Bedford, where he
remained five years ; St. John s, in Charlestown, two years ;
St. Thomas s, in Taunton, five years ; St. John s, in Bangor,
Me., two and a half years ; All Saints , in Worcester, two and
a half years ; and Grace Church, again, in New Bedford, a few
months. He retired from the ministry in 1853, and removed to
Worcester, where he taught a private school for young ladies,
which he continued until his death. He married, 18 June,
1834, Catharine E. D. Metcalf, eldest daughter of Col. Eliab
W. Metcalf, of Cambridge ; and had four children by birth, and
one by adoption ; three of whom, including the adopted one, are
now living. Mr. Bent was a man of rare abilities, and, when
engaged in the active duties of the ministry, was very popular

1856-57.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 145

and efficient as rector. Much might be said truly in praise of
his fidelity to all the details of parochial duty, the interest he
took in promoting musical taste in its sacred department, his
zeal in missionary enterprises, and the genial flow which he
manifested in social life. Not a few of his former parishioners
an4 friends will long cherish a most kindly remembrance of him
as a beloved and respected pastor.

The mortality of the class of 1831, of which Rev. Mr. Bent
was a member, was very great during the first twenty years
after graduation ; twenty-four of the sixty-five members of the
class having died before the systematic publication of the obituary
notices commenced in the year 1852. The following list com
prises a brief notice of these twenty-four : William Austin,
jun., a school-teacher, son of Hon. William and Charlotte (Wil
liams) Austin, born in Charlestown, 15 September, 1811 ; died
of typhus fever, in Groton, 8 January, 1835 ; never married.
Rufus Bigelow, son of Tyler and Clarissa (Bigelow) Bigelow,
born in Watertown, 3 June, 1809 ; died of consumption, in
Watertovvn, 6 July, 1832 ; never married. Robert Adams
Coker, a school-teacher, son of John and Hannah (Adams)
Coker, born in Newbury, 19 March, 1807 ; died of consump
tion, in West Newbury, 30 March, 1833 ; unmarried. George
Clinton Coombs, a lawyer, born in 1810 ; died of consumption,
in New Bedford, 16 March, 1835 ; unmarried. Edward Cruft,
jun., a lawyer, son of Edward and Elizabeth (Storer) Cruft,
born in Boston, 7 May, 1811 ; died of hemorrhage from the
lungs, at St. Louis, Mo., 23 April, 1846; unmarried. Jere
miah George Fitch, a lawyer, son of Jeremiah and Mary (Rand)
Fitch, born in Boston, 19 February, 1810 ; died of dropsy at
Orono, Me., 25 February, 184 5 ; unmarried. John Giles, jun.,
a lawyer, son of John and Mary (Adams) Giles, born in Towns-
end, 3 March, 1806 ; died of consumption, at Townsend, 14
June, 1838 ; unmarried. William Cabot Gorham, a merchant,
son of Hon. Benjamin and Susan (Lowell) Gorham, born in
Boston, in the year 1814 ; died of typhus fever, in Boston,
18 April, 1843 ; unmarried. Robert Habersham, jun., a stu
dent of law, son of Robert Habersham, of Savannah, Ga. ; died



of typhus fever, at Savannah, 30 August, 1832, aged twenty
years ; unmarried. Charles George Clinton Hale, son of Moses
and Mary Hale, born in Winchenden, August, 1812 ; died of
consumption, in New York, 6 May, 1832 ; unmarried. John
George McKean, a lawyer, son of Rev. Prof. Joseph and Amy
(Swasey) McKean, born in Cambridge, 1 December, 1811 ;
died of spinal disease, in Cambridge, 31 January, 1851 ; un
married. Benjamin Franklin Parker, a physician, son of
Samuel and Eusebia Parker, born in Roxbury, 21 November,
1810; died of consumption, in Roxbury, 27 February, 1844;
unmarried. John Peters, a merchant, son of John and Char
lotte (Langdon) Peters, of Boston; died in Brooklyn, N.Y.,
17 July, 1846 ; unmarried. Francis James Russell, a merchant,
son of Nathaniel and Martha (Le Baron) Russell, born in Ply

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 13 of 49)