Joseph Palmer.

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

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born in Boston, 12 July, 1819. His father, who was a na
tive of Little Compton, R. I, was a merchant in Boston,
and died of consumption in Matanzas, Cuba (whither he had
gone for the benefit of his health), 14 May, 1828, aged 37.
His remains were brought back to Boston, and conveyed to
Watertown, Mass., for interment. His mother was a daughter
of John Clark, Esq., of Watertown, where she was born
March, 1796 : she died in Boston, 19 January, 1854, aged 57.
Young Briggs began his preparatory studies for admission into
college at Woburn Academy, under the instruction of Alfred
Washington Pike (D.C. 1815). Thence he went to Framing-
ham Academy, under Barzillai Frost (H.C. 1830). At these
institutions he remained four years ; and he completed his
studies under Rev. Theodore Parker, of Watertown, afterwards
of Boston, with whom he remained one year. After leaving
college, he studied medicine at the Tremont Medical School in
Boston, under the charge of Drs. Jacob Bigelow (H.C. 1806),
Edward Reynolds (H.C. 1811), David Humphreys Storer
(Bowd.C. 1822), and Oliver Wendell Holmes (H.C. 1829).
On completing his medical studies, he began the practice of his
profession in Boston ; but, being left with an ample competence,
it was not necessary for him to depend upon his profession as a
means of support. Still, however, he was very successful ; and,
until his health failed, was rapidly rising to distinction. He
was of a most amiable disposition, and led a blameless and
exemplary life. The death of his mother was a sad affliction
to him, from which he seemed never to recover. The incipient
symptoms of consumption not long afterwards began to develop
themselves, and he endured a long and painful sickness. But,
notwithstanding all his sufferings, not a word of complaint ever
passed his lips. In order to escape the rigors of a northern
climate, he passed the last two winters of his life with a relative
in Baltimore, where he received every attention and comfort
which kind affection and ^endearment could procure, and where
he calmly and peacefully passed away. He was never married.
His remains were brought to the North, and interred at Mount

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 279

1838. ASA HAMMOND WHITNEY died in Vicksburg,
Miss., 8 October, 1858, aged 39. He was son of Asa and
Mary (Hammond) Whitney, and was born in Boston, 17 June,
1819. After leaving college, he made a voyage to the Mediter
ranean for his health, and subsequently went to Rio Janeiro as
supercargo. On his return, he embarked in business as a
junior partner in the house of Henshaw and Whitney, wholesale
druggists, in Boston ; but for several years resided in Cambridge,
where he built and occupied the house now owned by Charles
Russell Lowell, Esq. He subsequently removed to Norfolk,
Va., where he managed the financial affairs of the Seaboard and
Roanoke Railroad Company for many years with marked
ability ; and, at the time of his decease, was filling an important
trust in Mississippi. He was a man of great energy and ear
nestness of character, of warm and cordial feelings, and most
courteous and winning manners ; of an ardent temperament and
a strong will ; a most genial companion, and a steadfast friend.
He married, 3 October, 1842, Miss Laura Leffingwell Hen
shaw, of Alabama, niece and adopted daughter of the late
David Henshaw, of Leicester, Mass. He had five children,
viz., Laura Leffingwell, Anna Henshaw, Catharine Virginia,
Hammond, and Emily, who, with their mother, survived him.

1843. JOSEPH KURD WALKER, of West Townsend,
Mass., died at the residence of his father, in Boston, 16 Octo
ber, 1858, aged 36. He was son of Dr. William Johnson
Walker (H.C. 1810) and Eliza (Hurd) Walker, and was
born in Charlestown, Mass., 19 September, 1822. He was
fitted for college in Exeter, N.H. He held a very respectable
rank in his class, and graduated with distinction. He was par
ticularly distinguished for talents in mathematics. After leaving
college, he prepared himself for the profession of a civil-engi
neer, in which business he became quite distinguished. He
made the surveys and superintended the construction of the
Peterborough and Shirley Railroad, which he completed to the
entire satisfaction of the stockholders,* and at much less than
the estimated cost. A few years afterwards he relinquished the
business of engineering, purchased a farm in West Townsend,


and devoted the remainder of his days to agriculture. He
married, in 1845, Anna M. Babbit, of Charlestown. They had
six children, of whom five survived him: one died in 1855.
His widow also survived him.

1844. JOSEPH BROWN SMITH died in Louisville, Ky.,
6 May, 1859, aged 36. He was born in Dover, N. H., 14
March, 1823. At birth, his sight was perfect ; but, ere a week
had passed, a disease fastened upon his eyes, which resulted in
total, incurable blindness. When three years of age, he lost his
father. His mother then removed to Portsmouth, N.H., where
he passed eight years. The following sketch of his life is com
piled from a funeral discourse on his life and character, delivered
by Rev. John H. Heywood, of Louisville (H.C. 1836). He
was endowed with a mind active and vigorous, a memory very
retentive and capacious. From early childhood, he was marked
for his love, his yearning, for knowledge. Sent to school when
but four years old, he was so fortunate as to have for his teacher
a lady who had a just view of education, and whose schoolroom
was pervaded by the affectionateness which makes the charm of
a home. When nine years of age, he was placed in the Institu
tion for the Blind in Boston, under the charge of Dr. Samuel
Gridley Howe, who saw what was in the boy, and determined
that it should be fully brought out. Under his instruction, he
prosecuted his studies, until, at the age of seventeen, he was
prepared to enter college. He passed through his collegiate
course with credit to himself, and received, at its expiration, his
diploma ; being the first totally blind man who ever graduated
at any college in this country. He was a good scholar in Latin,
Greek, and mathematics. He was a proficient in French and
German, both of which languages he understood well, and
spoke fluently ; and had an extensive and thorough acquaintance
with the best English literature. He had a remarkable talent
for music, in which, by his attainments, he became pre-eminent.
At eighteen months, he could sing three tunes. When nine
years of age, he composed a march. So fond of musical thought
and expression was he, that, when a mere child, he was often
overheard composing in his sleep. Sometimes, when between

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 281

the ages of eight and ten, strains and tunes taught him by his
instructor would escape him ; and he would try in vain, before
going to bed, to recall them. In his sleep they would come,
as if conscious, that, having once been given him, they had no
right to leave him long ; and then he would rise, go to the
piano, and, like a true poet or sculptor, embody them, not in
words or marble, but in harmony. Not far from the time when
he entered college, he composed an overture, which was per
formed by the Boston Academy of Music, and which was deeply
interesting, not only as a manifestation of his rare susceptibility
and extraordinary capacity, but also of the wonderful knowledge
he even then possessed of the deep, intricate science of music.

In September, 1844, he went to Louisville, Ky., having
been appointed professor of music in the Asylum for the Blind
in that city ; and there he resided until his death. With so fine
a susceptibility to the influence of music, with so thorough a
knowledge of its principles, he was eminently fitted to appreci
ate and enjoy music of the highest order. In that he revelled.
His soul responded to the songs and choral symphonies in which
the great masters gave expression to thoughts and emotions too
vast for words, too deep for tears. Such were the rare musical
powers and attainments of this gifted man ; and how kindly and
faithfully he employed them, there are many to testify. The
private pupils whom he patiently instructed all connected with
that home for the blind to which he consecrated fourteen of the
best years of his life, and for whose benefit he labored with the
fidelity of an earnest, conscientious Christian teacher can never
forget him. He was a sincere, hearty Christian. He loved
the Bible dearly. Eight years before his death, he connected
himself with the church. In an earnest, humble, and devout
spirit, he made the Christian profession, and sought to live in
harmony with it. His resignation to the will of God was
perfect, for life and for death, for time and eternity.

He married, first, 9 August, 1846, Elizabeth Jane Cone,
who died 14 June, 1851 ; and second, 26 July, 1853, Sarah
J. Nash. He left two sons : the elder, the child of the first
marriage, bearing the name of the great composer, Joseph



Haydn ; the younger, named for an intimate friend, Bryce

1848. ENOCH LINCOLN CUMMINGS died in Portland, Me.,
21 January, 1859, aged 31. He was son of Col. Simeon and
Mary (Cushman) Cummings ; and was born in Paris, Me.,
23 May, 1827. His father, who was son of Jesse and Nancy
Cummings, was born in Bridgewater, or Button, Mass. His
mother was a native of Paris. He pursued his preparatory
studies mostly at North Yarmouth, Me. ; and entered Waterville
College in 1843, where he remained one year and two terms.
He then left ; went to Cambridge, where he continued his
studies privately, and entered the sophomore class at Harvard
in 1845. After graduating, he studied law a little more than a
year with his brother, Benjamin C. Cummings, in Paris ; and
then entered the office of William Willis (H.C. 1813), and
William Pitt Fessenden (Bowd. C. 1823), in Portland, where
he completed his legal studies ; and was admitted to practice
in Cumberland county, in October, 1850. He immediately
opened an office in Portland, and devoted himself entirely to
business. His brother, with whom he studied in Paris, moved
to Portland a few years after, where he died in 1857 or 1858.
Their mother (a woman of great energy and good sense) and
one brother survived him, both living in Paris. Their father
has deceased. Had Mr. Cummings s life been spared, and
an opportunity been given for the full development of his
powers, his habits of industry and perseverance were such, that
he would have attained a high rank in his profession. But,
dear as was the tie \vhich bound him to his associates in life,
there was a closer and more endearing fellowship to which his
surviving friends turned in the hour of their bereavement. The
last year of his life was one of Christian activity and useful
ness, which makes up his brightest record. Having, about a
year before his death, united with the church of which the Rev.
Dr. Chickering was pastor, he entered at once heartily into
the new service to which he committed himself; and carried
into it the same elements of activity and devotion which had
characterized him as a business-man. A meeting of the mem-

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 283

bers of the Cumberland bar was held immediately after his
death, at which appropriate resolutions were passed, expressive
of their profound regret and sincere sorrow at the loss of their
associate, and tendering to his wife and family their deepest
sympathy and heartfelt sorrow for their bereavement. Mr.
Cummings married, 28 July, 1852, Annie N. Clifford, only
daughter of Hon. Nathan Clifford, of Portland, an associate-
justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, formerly a
member of Congress from Maine, attorney-general of the United
States, and minister to Mexico. They had three children, all
of whom survive. Judge Clifford began practice in Newfield,
a small town in York county, Me. ; and removed to Portland
about the year 1849.

1851. Rev. GEORGE BRADFORD died in Water-town,
Mass., 17 February, 1859, aged 30. He was son of Ephraim
and Lucy (Peterson) Bradford, and was born in Duxbury,
Mass., 3 June, 1828. He was a lineal descendant of Gov.
Bradford of Plymouth Colony. He was fitted for college at
Partridge Academy in Duxbury. While in college, he held
a high rank as a scholar ; was elected by his classmates to
deliver the class-oration at the close of the senior year, and
graduated with distinguished honors. He returned to Duxbury
at the end of his collegiate course, anjl was for two years pre
ceptor of the academy at which he had pursued his preparatory
studies. In August, 1852, he became a member of the Unita
rian church in Duxbury ; and, about that time, he decided to
enter the gospel-ministry, a choice of profession of which his
friends soon acknowledged the wisdom. He entered the Divin
ity School at Cambridge in 1853 ; and, after finishing the
regular course of study, was ordained as pastor of the Unita
rian church in Watertown, 6 November, 1856. He had only
time to fairly enter upon his career of professional and social
usefulness, when the symptoms of consumption, of long stand
ing, perhaps, but hitherto scarcely observed, manifested them
selves ; and, after an illness of a few months, he gave way,
and, sinking at the last rapidly, but peacefully died, surrounded
by his friends and relatives, without pain and without regret.


" It is hard to leave the world when one has but just begun his
work here," he said, on the last day of his life, to a near friend ;
"but death of itself has no terrors." All those who knew him
intimately could well understand, that in that calm and stead
fast mind, trained to early maturity by a life of Christian
virtue, and imbued with the deepest Christian faith, there was
no regret, except for those whom he left behind him. He
was a devoted pastor, who brought to his work a mind of no
ordinary depth and compass, a judgment singularly correct,
and a devotion to duty which is rarely seen. His generous
friendship never failed, while his exterior reserve covered a
nature of wondrous geniality, and of genuine enthusiasm ; and
his calm, upright, and resolute walk in life seemed the charac
teristics inherited from the Puritan governor from whom he
was descended. He married, 18 February, 1857, Ruth Ann
Ford, of Duxbury, who survives him. They had no children.

1851. FRANCIS OLIVER DABNEY, of Boston, died in
Beirut, Syria, 26 December, 1858, aged 28. He was son of
Charles William and Frances Alsop (Pomeroy) Dabney, and
was born in Fayal, Azores (where his father resided as Ameri
can consul), 17 March, 1830. His mother was formerly of
Brighton, Mass. He was fitted for college mostly under tutors
in Fayal, and the last year under the instruction of Eben Smith
Brooks, of Cincinnati (H.C. 1835). Immediately after gradu
ating, he entered the counting-room of Messrs. Dabney and
Cunningham, of Boston, for the purpose of preparing himself
for the mercantile profession. He was subsequently admitted
as a partner in that house, where he remained until his death.
He was unmarried. On the 15th of September, 1858, he left
New York, in the steamship "Africa," for Liverpool, on busi
ness of the house with which he was connected ; expecting to be
absent about a year. Immediately after his arrival at Liver
pool, he proceeded east as far as Beirut, in which place and
vicinity he intended to remain until his return home. He was
in perfect health until near the middle of December ; when he
was seized with an alarming illness, which, in two weeks, termi
nated fatally. Although he died in a distant land, he was sur-

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 285

rounded by kind and sympathizing friends ; and all that love
and skill could do was done to rescue him from death. The
last three months of his life, he was the honored guest of a
wealthy and influential Arab gentleman, who evinced a devo
tion and regard for him, in his last illness, that could not have
been surpassed by the dearest relative. During the last days of
Mr. Dabney s life, this gentleman never left his bedside ; and
he saw the grave close over the object of his solicitude with a
grief that did honor to his heart, and that told most eloquently,
to all who witnessed it, what must have been the character of one
who could inspire such affection. His mortal remains were laid
in the beautifully-situated cemetery of the American mission.
Mr. Dabney had not gone far enough in life s journey to be
known to many beyond the circle of his friends ; but his energy
and upright manliness struck all who came near him. Seldom
are so much firmness and integrity, and such a chivalrous sense of
honor, shown by one so young. For these noble qualities, he
might well be esteemed by all who knew him.

1851. WILLIAM PAISLEY FIELD, of Randolph, Mass.,
died at the residence of his father, in Newton Lower Falls,
Mass., 5 May, 1859, aged 31. He was the youngest son of
Justin and Harriet (Power) Field, and was born in Northfield,
Mass., 27 December, 1827. His father, now living in Newton,
and doing business in Boston as a lawyer, was the son of Sam
uel Field, and was born in Northfield. His mother was born
in Boston. The family removed to Boston when the subject of
this notice was one year old. He entered the Boston Latin
School in August, 1836 ; and left in the spring of 1841, on
account of ill health. He remained at home a year or two ;
after which he entered, as an apprentice, the flour-store of
Messrs. Earle and Brown, No. 9, Lewis Wharf; where he re
mained about four years. He then suddenly determined to go
to college ; left the store on the 1st of May, 1847, reviewed his
studies by himself, and entered the freshman class the same
year. He attained a high rank in his class, and graduated
with distinguished honors. In his junior year, he gained a
second prize for a dissertation. In his senior year, he taught


school for a short time in Harvard, Mass. He possessed
great musical talent ; was organist at the Episcopal church
in Cambridge, when in college ; and had constantly played the
organ in church frojn the age of fourteen years. Two of his
brothers Thomas Power and Justin graduated at Amherst
College in 1834 and 1835 respectively. On leaving college, he
went to Philadelphia ; where he taught one year in the Protest
ant Episcopal Seminary. He then returned, and spent the
following year in teaching private pupils in Cambridge. He
entered the Law School in Cambridge, at the second term in
1853-4; and took his degree of LL.B. in July, 1855. In
March, 1857, he began the practice of his profession in Ran
dolph, Mass. ; where he continued during the remainder of his
life. He was unmarried. He was of an amiable disposition,
and led a life of unblemished integrity.

1853. WILLIAM HENRY EOWE died in Boston, 22 July,
1858, aged 27. He was son of Samuel and Lydia Ann
(Fletcher) Rowe, and was born in Boston, 6 October, 1830.
His father was a native of Kensington, N.H. ; was a carpenter ;
and died in Boston, 28 August, 1843, aged 43. His mother
was probably born in Newburyport, Mass. She died in Boston,
13 October, 1830, aged 23. The subject of this notice, when
five years of age, was accidentally hit on the left knee by a
stone, which lamed him for life. He was fitted for college at
the Boston Latin School, where a Franklin medal was awarded
to him for his superior scholarship. While in college, he taught
school during the winter vacations, in his freshman year, in
Middleton, Mass; in his sophomore year, in Deerfield, N.H. ;
in his junior year, in Braintree, Mass ; in his senior year, in
Taunton, Mass. He was a diligent student, his conduct was
unexceptionable, and he graduated with high honors. Imme
diately after leaving college, he entered as a student the office
of Fisher Allen Kingsbury, Esq., in Weymouth, Mass. ; under
whose tuition he pursued the study of the law two years.
While in this place, he was instrumental in establishing a de
bating society, of which he was the leading spirit, and which
was highly successful. Meeting accidentally, in Boston, some

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 287

gentlemen from the West, he was induced, by the flattering
prospects held out for young lawyers in that part of the country,
to go to Davenport, lo. ; where he entered the office of Hon.
John P. Cook, who was at that time a representative in Con
gress from Iowa. Here he finished his legal studies ; and in
March, 1856, he was admitted to the bar in Davenport. He
immediately began practice, still continuing in the office of Mr.
Cook. His success was very great ; and he was soon in full
practice, with a brilliant prospect before him. He was a man
of great energy ; and a too-constant attention to business prob
ably affected his health.

Early in the year 1858, he experienced a change of heart,
which induced him to resolve upon a different course of life.
In a letter, dated 9 March, 1858, to a friend in Boston, he
writes : " I humbly trust that I have become a Christian ;
that God, in his infinite mercy, has pardoned me, through the
atoning merits of Christ. I feel that I am weak indeed ; far,
very far, from being established as a disciple of Christ : but I
also feel that I have obtained something that I never had before ;
that my life, slowly and waveringly indeed, is inclining up to
God and Christ, and away from the world and death." He
further adds : " I shall probably give up the profession of
law, and study for the ministry ; and I earnestly pray to God
that he will accept and prepare me for the holy work. With
God s permission, I expect to enter the seminary at Andover at
the commencement of the next term, viz., September next ; and
shall probably therefore return to the East in the course of a
few months : when, I don t exactly know."

But upon this new profession he was not permitted to enter.
In March, the incipient symptoms of that fell disease, consump
tion, began to be developed, and rapidly increased ; and it
soon became manifest that death had marked him for its victim.
His illness was not known to his friends here until some time
afterwards ; but, when the sad news reached them, they took
measures for his return to his native city. He reached Boston
the 1st of July, in a state of extreme debility ; and after three
weeks great bodily suffering, but in a very happy state of mind,


he expired, with a full confidence of a joyful immortality. He
was greatly beloved by his acquaintances and relatives, who,
from his blameless life and brilliant prospects, had anticipated
for him a long career of success and usefulness. He was

1853. JOHN HENRY SULLIVAN was drowned in Lake
Michigan, 27 August, 1858, aged 25. On the afternoon of
that day, he and Mr. R. P. Jennings went out from Milwaukie
for a sail on the lake, in the " Galatea," a four-oared boat belong
ing to the Galatea Boat-club, of which Mr. Sullivan was a
member. Both the gentlemen were skilful and experienced in
the management of a boat : but a gale came on at nightfall,
causing a heavy sea ; and they did not return. The members of
the boat-club took a tug-boat, and went in search of their friends.
In the mean time the tidings reached Chicago, where Mr. Sulli
van had resided for nearly two years previously to settling in
Milwaukie ; and a party of his friends started immediately for
Milwaukie, and joined in the anxious search for the missing ones.
Fragments of the " Galatea " were found scattered along the shore
for a distance of six or seven miles. She was a new and beau
tiful boat, and the fragments were easily identified by her owners
arid builder. Day after day the search was renewed, and re
wards were offered to enlist the services of the shore fishermen ;
but each day weakened the slender hope that the young men had
been saved. The body of Mr. Jennings was at length found,
half-buried in the sand ; but Mr. Sullivan s has never been
recovered. He was unmarried. He was the only son of John
Whiting and Marion (Dix) Sullivan, of Boston, and was born
in Dorchester, Mass, (where his parents were then temporarily
residing), 30 October, 1832. He entered the Boston Latin
School when only nine years old, but completed his preparatory
studies at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. While in
college he bore an unblemished character, and was much beloved
by his class. In Plymouth, Mass., where he spent several of
his vacations, he had many true friends, who will long remem
ber him as a most genial companion, a kindly and pure-minded

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 26 of 49)