Joseph Palmer.

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

. (page 17 of 49)
Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 17 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

(H.C. 1778). On his admission to the bar, he began the prac
tice of his profession in Barre, where he resided a short time ;


when he removed to Athol. From this town he went to Har
vard, where he remained about thirteen years ; afterwards he
lived in Marlborough from 1833 to 1841 ; in South Brookfield
from May, 1841, to May, 1845 ; in South Orange from May to
November, 1845 ; in Deerfield from November, 1845, to May,
1847 ; and in West Boylston from May, 1847, until his death.
He married, 28 April, 1823, Maria, daughter of Hutchins Hap-
good, of Petersham. He was greatly respected at the bar as a
man of strict veracity, of unbending integrity, sound judgment,
and practical wisdom. He had been unable to walk for more
than a year before his death, in consequence of a severe rheu
matic affection ; but was uniformly cheerful, and entirely sub
missive to the Divine Will. He was remarkable for his habits of
punctuality, systematic arrangement of secular affairs, and rigid
economy. His memory was wonderful. A few days before his
death, his pastor, sitting by his bedside, quoted a passage from
the xc. Psalm : " The days of our years are threescore years and
ten ; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is
their strength labor and sorrow ; for it is soon cut off, and we
fly away ;" and added, "I suppose your experience, Mr. Hinds,
confirms the truth of the Psalmist s declaration, that it is labori
ous and sorrowful work to live." "Yes," said he, "even to
breathe." He then added, " That is a brief but exact description
of old age, and reminds me of a passage in Virgil." " Can you
repeat it ? " asked his pastor. " Yes," he replied ; and did so, as
follows :

" Optima quseque dies miseris mortalibus aevi
Prima fugit : subeunt morbi, tristisque senectus :
Et labor et dura rapit inclementia mortis."

Georg., lib. iii. 66-8.

" From wretched mortals each best day of life
First takes its flight. Diseases follow next,
Old age disconsolate, and weary toil ;
And death, relentless, snatching them away."

Kennedy s Translation.

At the time of his funeral, an old friend, who was his con
temporary at college, and who had been associated with him,
more or less, for nearly seventy years, rose, and said with deep

1857-58.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 181

emotion, "I have intimately known the deceased from early
boyhood, and have distinct and pleasant recollections of him for
more than half a century. I can truly say, that as a com
panion in youthful days, as a fellow-student in the school, the
academy, and the college, as an associate at the bar and in the
various relations of life, I have never known a man of stricter
integrity, purer life and manners, or more unblemished moral
character, than Ephraim Hinds." It was a beautiful and affect
ing tribute of respect and affection, spontaneously given with
tears and a broken utterance.

Mr. Hinds left three sons and one daughter ; she being the
youngest child, and about twenty-one years of age. He also
left an ample estate, the fruit of his industry and prudence.

1806. Hon. WILLIAM PITT PREBLE died in Portland,
Me., 11 October, 1857, aged 73. He was born in York,
Me., 27 November, 1783 ; was fitted for college by Rev. Rose-
well Messinger, of York (H.C. 1797), and graduated with
high honors. He was distinguished, when in college, for his
skill in mathematics, and his powers of argumentation. On
leaving college, he read law, first with Hon. Benjamin Hasey
(H.C. 1790), and then with Hon. Benjamin Orr, of Tops-
ham, Me. (D.C. 1798). In 1809, he was appointed tutor in
Harvard College, where he continued two years ; and, while
tutor, he married a Miss Tucker, of York, daughter of the
collector of that port. On resigning his tutorship , he began
the practice of law in his native town, and rapidly rose to the
front rank in his profession. He soon removed to Alfred, Me.,
where he remained in practice until 1813 ; when, having been
appointed United-States district-attorney for Maine District, he
removed to Saco, and thence, in 1818, to Portland. The
following sketch of his life is principally derived from an able
article published in the " Portland State of Maine " soon after
his death. He took an active interest in politics from early life ;
was at first an ardent federalist, but subsequently acted with the
democratic party, became a leading advocate for the separation
of Maine from Massachusetts, and wrote a pamphlet in its
favor. He was a member of the constitutional convention of


Maine in 1819, and wrote its address to the people of the state.
In 1820, he was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of
Maine, associate with Hon. Prentiss Mellen (II. C. 1784),
chief -justice. This office he resigned in 1829, on being ap
pointed, with Mr. Gallatin, an agent to prepare the case of the
United-States Government before the King of the Netherlands ;
and was finally appointed, by Gen. Jackson, minister-plenipo
tentiary to the Hague. His career as a public man, for which he
was most distinguished, was in connection with the north
eastern-boundary question. His ability in exposing the absurd
ity of the decision of the Dutch king was undoubtedly chiefly
instrumental in causing its defeat in the United-States Senate.
He was one of the commissioners of Maine in 1832 with the
Hon. Ruel Williams and the Hon. Nicholas Emery, and ad
vised a compromise by taking lands in Michigan in exchange
for lands north of the St. John ; but the legislature of Maine
declined the offer to this effect by the general government. At
the close of his foreign mission, he returned to the practice of
law in Portland. .He was elected by the legislature as a
commissioner with Gov. Kent and others, in 1842, to arrange
the Treaty of Washington ; and finally gave his sanction,
though reluctantly, to the mode of settlement carried out by the
Webster-and-Ashburton Treaty. This was the last political
office which he held. In 1844, he was called to what he re
garded as the most important duty that had ever engaged his
attention, the connecting by railway of the waters of the St.
Lawrence with those of the Atlantic. He was slow to engage in
that work, and his natural caution made him at first fearful of
any connection with that enterprise ; but, after mature reflection,
he engaged in it with all the enthusiasm of youth, and all the
vigor of early manhood. When his concurrence in the scheme
was known, it gave to it the confidence of the public ; and a
large share of credit is due to him for its success. He was
the first president of the corporation, and continued to hold the
office until 1848 ; when he declined a re-election, and retired
from public labors. He lived to see the work accomplished,
but not to lose his interest in its prosperity. The last article,

1857-58.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 183

probably, which he prepared for the press, was upon the White-
Mountain scenery along the route, and which was published in
the "Portland Argus" a short time before his death. All his
public writings display the most marked exhibition of labor, and
care of preparation. He never allowed any thing from his pen
to appear, without subjecting it to the most elaborate prepara
tion. But little, however, remains that will serve as an endur
ing record of his labors. His reported opinions as a judge
do not give any adequate idea of his power as a lawyer. He
had a reputation for intellectual power far beyond any measure
of success that he obtained ; and those who knew him best were
aware of his peculiarities of temperament and of temper, that
were a drawback to popular favor. He appeared to the best
advantage in the oral argument of legal questions. He stated
legal propositions with a clearness and force that were rarely
equalled. When all his faculties were raised into activity by
the excitement, of a great occasion, the pressure of a crowd, or
the responsibilities of a great cause, his mind worked with the
greatest ease; and he was capable, on such occasions, of bring
ing out an argument, that by its strength of reasoning, force of
illustration, and effective eloquence, gave him the mastery over
others. In 1829, the honorary degree of doctor of laws was
conferred upon him by Bowdoin College.

1807. Hon. JOHN GLEN KING died in Salem, Mass.,
26 July, 1857, aged 70. He was the second son of James
King, Esq. ; and was born in Salem, 19 March, 1787. He
was fitted for college at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.
He did not graduate with his class, but, like many others of
his own and the succeeding class, left college in May, 1807,
the period of what is known as "the Grand Commons-Re
bellion." His degree was conferred upon him in 1818. He
pursued the study of law under the instruction of Hon. Wil
liam Prescott (H.C. 1783) and Hon. Joseph Story (H.C.
1798) ; was admitted a member of the Essex bar; began the
practice of his profession in Salem, where he continued during
the remainder of his life. He attained an eminent rank, and
for many years was one of the leading members of the bar in


Essex county. He was repeatedly elected to offices of honor
and trust. He was chosen a representative from Salem to the
state legislature in 1816 and 1821 ; and was a member of the
senate from Essex District in 1822, 1823, and 1826. He was
also the first president of the common-council of Salem, under
the city charter. Among his important legislative duties may
be mentioned his share in the great Fresco tt impeachment case,
in 1821. He, being at that time a member of the house of
representatives, was appointed to make the impeachment at the
bar of the senate, in the name of the house of representatives
and of the people of Massachusetts ; and afterwards was ap-
appointed first of the seven managers on the part of the house
to conduct the impeachment before the senate, sitting as a
court ; the other six being Levi Lincoln (afterwards governor) ,
William Baylies, Warren Dutton, Samuel P. P. Fay (after
wards judge), Lemuel Shaw (afterwards chief-justice of the
Supreme Judicial Court), and Sherman Leland (afterwards
judge). Horatio G. Newcomb and Francis C. Gray, in the
course of the proceedings, were substituted for Messrs. Lincoln
and Baylies. Mr. King, although younger than several of the
gentlemen comprising this eminent array of legal talent, bore a
distinguished part in the conduct of the laborious and novel case.
He made the opening argument; and, at the close of the. pro
ceedings, demanded judgment upon the articles on which the
respondent was found guilty. The following eminent legal gen
tlemen were the respondent s counsel : William Prescott, George
Blake, Daniel Webster, Samuel Hoar, Samuel Hubbard, and
Augustus Peabody. Mr. King was, for many years, commis-
sioner-of-insolvency, and held that office at the time of his death.
He was also a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
He was a wise and learned counsellor, whose honor and integrity
were without the suspicion of a stain ; whose counsel in the dis
tribution of estates was sought from far and near ; and whose
association in any deed of trust gave confidence to all who were
interested in its being honestly and judiciously administered.
His mind was singularly acute and critical ; his spirit, of that
justly balanced cast, which, while wisely conservative in all its

1857-58.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 185

tendencies and judgments, was keenly alive to every moral and
social wrong, and resolute in the maintenance of -the right and
the true, in the face of any weight of precedent or example on
the other side. His love of literature and of books almost
amounted to a passion. His precious and well-selected library
was his solace through many a year of suffering ; and the sight
of it, around his bed of mortal sickness, cheered and enlivened
the last days of his declining life. He was a scholar, and a ripe
and good one. The ancient classics were his mental food and
drink. He nourished his spirit, too, on the old English master
pieces, especially of the theologians, for whose range of subjects
his mind had a natural affinity ; but in every stage of English
literature he was at home, and his fine and cultivated taste appre
ciated all that was truly worthy. Mr. King married Susan,
daughter of Major Frederick Oilman, of Gloucester. He had
six children, of whom two died in infancy : the others, with his
widow, survived him. One son, John Gallison King, graduated
at Harvard College in 1838.

1807. JAKED WEED died in Petersham, Mass., 6 August,
1857, aged 74. He was son of Elnathan and Lydia (Bouton)
Weed, and was born in North Stamford, Conn., 5 April, 1783.
He was fitted for college in North Salem, N.Y., under the in
struction of a Scotch pedagogue, whom he used to speak of as
" Old Johnny McNess." He had certain peculiarities of expres
sion which he undoubtedly contracted under this Scotchman s
teaching. He studied law with Hon. William Stedman, of Lan
caster, Ma^s. (H.C. 1784), and Judge Nathaniel Paine, of
Worcester (H.C. 1775). With Judge Paine he acquired a
thorough knowledge of probate business, which he was said to
transact remarkably well, and which he continued to practise
until his death. He was admitted to the bar in Worcester, and
in 1813 established himself in the practice of law in Peters
ham, where he resided during the remainder of his life. He
made his first entries in the Court of Common Pleas ir Worces
ter County at the November term in 1812, and continued after
that to make entries at each term. He was admitted an attor
ney of the Supreme Judicial Court at the September term in



1816, and a counsellor of the same court at the September term
in 1818. He attained a very respectable standing in his pro
fession ; was a magistrate in whom the people had confidence,
an honest politician, and a most worthy and excellent man. He
was, for several years, chairman of the board of county-com
missioners ; and filled other offices of honor and trust which were
bestowed upon him by his fellow-townsmen and the citizens of
his county, with credit to himself, and satisfaction to his con
stituents. He married, 30 April, 1821, Eliza Prentiss, of
Petersham, daughter of Nathan and Lydia Prentiss (singular
coincidence with the names of his parents). He had three
daughters, Elizabeth Otis, born 1822 ; Lydia Pennoyer, born
1823 ; and Mary Jane, born 1827, the eldest of whom only
survived him : the others died within six years of the death of
their father. His widow survived him. He was a kind and
indulgent husband and father, thoughtful for others, and exhib
ited wonderful patience during the last five weary years of his
life while suffering from a severe attack of paralysis. His
mother always said, " Jared was a good boy at home, her best
child ; " and she had a large family. He was too forgetful of
his own interests for his worldly prosperity ; but his generous,
kind heart is remembered by his friends.

Mr. Weed was descended, on the mother s side, from a
family by the name of Pennoyer ; one of whom, William Penn
oyer, many years ago, left a legacy to Harvard College on condi
tion of the awarding of certain benefits to such of his descendants
as should be educated there, of which Mr. Weed Imd a share.
William Pennoyer never came to this country, but lived and
died in England. It is his brother Kobert s descendants who have
lived in the United States.

1811. Rev. SAMUEL OILMAN, of Charleston, S.C., died
at the residence of his son-in-law, Rev. Charles J. Bo wen, in
Kingston, Mass., 9 February, 1858, aged 66. He was son of
Frederick and Abigail H. (Somes) Oilman, and was born
in Gloucester, Mass., 16 February, 1791. His father had
been a very successful merchant in Gloucester, but died insolvent
more than sixty years ago ; his insolvency having been caused

1857-58.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 187

,by the capture of several of his vessels by the French in the war
of 1798. He left a youthful widow and four male children;
and, when Samuel was about seven years old, his mother took
him to Atkinson, N.H., to be educated in the academy there,
under the charge of Rev. Stephen Peabody (H.C. 1769), whose
quaint, primitive ways are described with inimitable humor in a
biographical sketch by Dr. Oilman, published in the * Christian
Examiner" in 1847. Not long subsequently, the family re
moved to Salem, Mass. ; and Samuel was for some time em
ployed as a clerk in the old Essex Bank. He graduated with
high honors in a class remarkable for eminent talent. A poem,
which he delivered on his graduation, " On the Pleasures and
Pains of a Student," was replete with humor, and elicited raptu
rous applause from a crowded audience. This poem he repeated
on the evening of commencement-day, in 1852, at the residence
of Hon. Edward Everett, in Boston, whither the class had been
invited to celebrate the forty-first anniversary of their gradua
tion ; and added a sequel, in which he gave a retrospect of the
time from their graduation to that period, paying a brief and
beautiful tribute to the memory of those of the class who had
deceased. The poem concluded with the following fine compli
ment to their host, the Hon. Mr. Everett :

" Stay yet, dear Mends ! the minstrel bids you toast,
In pure, bright water, our accomplished host ;
Who gives, one need not say, our class its name,
Tinged with the lustre of his well-earned fame.
Health for his labors, for his cares relief,
To him, our first and last unenvied chief! "

These two poems were printed immediately afterwards for dis
tribution to the surviving members of the class.

Among the various pursuits which offered themselves to Dr.
Oilman s choice, was that to which, by character and endow
ments, he was best adapted ; and it was the profession which was
the choice of his heart. He soon began the study of theology
under the supervision of Drs. Ware and Kirkland, who then
constituted the theological faculty. Fortunately for him, he was
not hurried, like most young Americans, immediately and pre-


maturely into professional life. He lingered long under the roof
of his Alma Mater, maturing his mind, extending his knowledge,
and laying up those intellectual and literary treasures which his
future isolation rendered so important. In 1817, he was ap
pointed tutor in mathematics at Harvard College ; which office
he held two years. Early in 1819, he went to Charleston, S.C. ,
where he received a pastoral call as successor to the Rev. An
thony M. Foster ; and, after a few months of probationary service,
he was ordained, 1 December, 1819, as pastor of the Unitarian
or Second Independent church in that city. The ordination-
sermon was preached by Rev. Joseph Tuckerman, D.D., of
Chelsea, Mass. (H.C. 1798). Here he labored faithfully and
acceptably until his last sickness. He was universally respected
by the people of the city of his residence, and his influence ex
tended far beyond the limits of the religious denomination with
which he was connected. He was the life and soul of the New-
England society of South Carolina, and was always hospitable
to all visitors from the North. During his residence in Cam
bridge, he was a frequent contributor to the "North-American
Review," in which periodical his papers are marked by their
polished elegance of diction, the grace and felicity of their illus
trations, and their racy humor. Among his contributions were
a series of able papers on the philosophical lectures of Dr. Tho
mas Brown, and translations of several of the satires of Boileau.
One of his most noted essays was on " The Influence of One
National Literature upon Another." He also wrote a fine paper
on " The Writings of Edward Everett," his classmate and warm
personal friend. After his removal to Charleston, he continued
to write for different periodicals ; his contributions embracing a
wide range of subjects, from profound philosophical discussions
to sparkling satirical essays. A selection of these was published
in a volume a few years since, under the title of " Contributions to
American Literature, descriptive, critical, humorous, brigraphi-
cal, philosophical, and poetical." Among his productions, the
"Recollections of a New-England Village Choir" has, perhaps,
become the most generally popular. For apt local description,
a keen sense of the ludicrous, and a happy intuition of charac-

1857-58.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 189

teristic peculiarities, it has seldom been matched in the humorous
literature of this country. Dr. Gilman possessed the gift of
poetry, which he cultivated with no inconsiderable success. He
had a luxuriant fancy, an excellent command of natural imagery,
and great fluency of expression. As a pulpit-orator, he was
affectionate and persuasive ; equally removed from languor and
vehemence ; never boisterous, but always in earnest ; loving
the sphere of universal ethics rather than the subtleties of secta
rian doctrine ; and commending the great lessons he taught by
the shining and noble example of his private life.

Dr. Gilman married, 14 October, 1819, Miss Caroline
Howard, daughter of Samuel Howard, a shipwright of Bos
ton ; a lady of remarkable talents and acquirements. She is
the author of several excellent books: viz., "Oracles from the
Poets ; " " Recollections of a New - England Housekeeper ; "
" New-England Bride, and Southern Matron ; " " Poetry of
Travelling in the United States;" " Tales and Ballads ;" and

Dr. Gilman had four daughters, who survived him : viz.,
Abby Louisa, wife of Francis J. Porcher, merchant, of
Charleston; Caroline H., widow of William Glover, planter,
of South Carolina; Eliza W., wife of Pickering Dodge, Esq.,
of Salem ; Anna, wife of Rev. Charles J. Bowen, of Kings
ton, Mass. He had also a son, who died young. His widow
survives him. His occasioned visits to the home of his youth
kept his ancient intimacies unbroken ; old associations were
preserved amid the excitement of novel scenes and fresh in
terests ; and, now that he has passed away, his memory will
be tenderly cherished, both by those to whom he devoted the
maturity of his strength, and those among whom he has found
a grave.

1812. Hon. FRANKLIN DEXTER died in Beverly, Mass.,
14 August, 1857, aged 63. He was son of Hon. Samuel
(H.C. 1781) and Catharine (Gordon) Dexter, and was born
in Charlestown, Mass., 5 November, 1793. He held a high
rank in college, and graduated with distinction. He studied
law under the instruction of Hon. Samuel Hubbard (Y.C.


1802), and was admitted in regular course to practice in Suf
folk County. He established himself in Boston, where he soon
rose to distinction at the bar, which could boast, during his
connection with it, the names of Otis, Jackson, Prescott, Web
ster, Mason, and Hubbard. Among such rivals, he took rank
as a leader. Several of his competitors, undoubtedly, were
more successful ; that is, they had more cases on their dockets,
and much larger incomes by their profession : but he was one
of the first to be sought in important cases, or when great legal
points were to be discussed, or large interests disposed of.
This position he held, with continually increasing reputa
tion, until his retirement from practice in 1845. He was for
some years a partner of Hon. Charles Greely Loring (H.C.
1812) ; afterwards of Hon. William Prescott (H.C. 1783) ;
and, still later, of William Howard Gardiner (H.C. 1816)
and George William Phillips (H.C. 1829). He was employed
as counsel for the Knapps, in their trial for the murder of Capt.
White, at Salem, in 1830 ; and exhibited great skill and logical
acuteness in their defence against the gigantic powers of Daniel
Webster, who was employed in behalf of the government.
He was afterwards engaged in the defence of Mrs. Kinney,
who was acquitted on a charge of poisoning her husband in
Lowell. He held many public stations, which he filled with
honor to himself, and advantage to the community. On the
4th of July, 1819, by appointment of the authorities of the town
of Boston, he delivered the oration on the anniversary of the Dec
laration of Independence. He was elected a representative from
Boston to the state legislature in 1825, 1826, and 1840 ; in

1835, he was chosen senator from Suffolk District; and in

1836, as one of the select committee, he rendered valuable
and important service in shaping and improving the Revised
Statutes. He was a member of the city-council in 1825. He
took much interest in military affairs, and was for some time

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 17 of 49)