Joseph Palmer.

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

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boy. After graduating, he studied law for two years in the

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 289

office of Baker and Peabody, in Concord, N.H. He then
entered the Law School at Cambridge, where he completed his
legal studies, and soon afterwards emigrated to the West. He
settled first in Clinton, lo. ; but soon removed to Chicago,
where he was induced to abandon the practice of his profession,
and enter the commercial-agency office of B. Douglass and Co.
Here he remained until the spring of 1858, when he went to
superintend the Milwaukie branch of the agency. He was also
connected, from time to time, with various newspapers in New
England and the West, as correspondent, contributor, and lite
rary-critic. Wherever he went, he made warm and appreciating
friends, both among his business acquaintance and in general
society. Not only was he highly educated, thoroughly well
read, possessed of business ability and decided literary and
musical talent, a most sprightly wit and lively fancy, but he had
a truly kind and pure heart. He never spoke slightingly of any
one, was peculiarly generous and noble in his disposition, and
invariably courteous to old and young, to rich and poor alike.

When all hope of his safety was given up, the Galatea Boat-
club met, and passed the following resolutions in regard to their
lost brother : " Whereas we may no longer indulge the hope
but that a sudden and grievous dispensation of Providence has
severed the links of our brief association in the transition from
this earth of a gifted and highly esteemed fellow-member, the
going-out of whose life, in the full vigor of manhood and use
fulness, has filled our hearts with the profoundest sorrow ; and
whereas, after long and patient endeavor, the poor consolation
of recovering, and consigning to a fitting resting-place, all that
remains to earth of our departed friend has thus far been denied
us : therefore be it Resolved, That we deeply and sincerely de
plore the removal from this life of our late friend and fellow-
club-man, John H. Sullivan, whose refined and scholarly attain
ments, blameless life, and generous impulses, endeared him by
ties of no ordinary regard to each and every member of our
association. Resolved, That to those, who, from ties of kindred
or long and happy association, were nearer and dearer to our
lost companion, unto whose hearts this great affliction shall



bring the tenderest sorrow, to such, and to all who are com
pelled with us to taste of this bitter cup, we extend our kind
liest sympathy and condolence." The Wisconsin bar also passed
a series of resolutions in expression of their kind feeling and
respect for him.

1854. DAVID HENRY MORDECAI, of Charleston, S.C.,
died in Nice, Italy, 22 January, 1859, aged 25. He was
the eldest son of Hon. Moses Cohen and Isabel (Lyons)
Mordecai, and was born in Charleston, 13 November, 1833.
Both his parents were of Jewish origin. His father, who is a
merchant, was born in Charleston in February, 1805 ; and is
the son of Moses Cohen Mordecai, who was born in England.
His mother, who is the daughter of Isaac and Rachel Lyons,
was born in Philadelphia, during a temporary residence of her
parents in that city, in March, 1805. Mr. Mordecai was fitted
for college at home ; entered the junior class in South-Carolina
College in December, 1851 ; and remained there until Decem
ber, 1852, when, with several others, he received an honorary
dismissal (the college refusing to abolish the system of bursary
commons) , and entered Harvard the second term of the junior
year. Here he immediately took a very high rank, and was
one of the most brilliant scholars in his class. He remained
until the 14th of April of the following year, when he was
obliged to leave on account of the delicate state of his health ;
but the college faculty conferred upon him his degree with the rest
of his class. He afterwards read law in the office of the Hon.
James Lewis Petigru, of Charleston ; and then went to Europe
to finish his studies and improve his health. But death, with its
relentless hand, who knows no distinction between man and
man, between virtue and vice, genius and imbecility, struck
him down in his promising manhood, at the very threshold of
the goal at which the hopes of his family and friends would have
been realized. He was, in point of talents and attainments,
perhaps the first man of his age in his native state. A brilliant
sphere was opened before him : his future was a perspective of
the brightest auguries. Possessing a mind among the quick
est in conception, a memory that appropriated without effort

1858-59.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 291

the treasures of learning, a judgment ripe for his years, he
united with these endowments that patient perseverance, with
out which natural gifts are the foliage without the fruit of intel
lectual culture. Alas that a life so rich in promise should be
so soon ended ; that the associations which so intimately blended
social with intellectual merit should be so suddenly severed ;
that the memories of friendship, the anticipations of future
eminence, the images of parental hope, the visions that cluster
round one with faculties so gifted, and a life so radiant in its
prospects, should have been so prematurely obliterated !

1854. ALFRED HAMPTON PRESTON, of Columbia, S.C.,
died in Rome, Italy, 16 January, 1859, aged 24. He was
the eldest son of Hon. John S. and Caroline Martha (Hamp
ton) Preston, and was born in Abingdon, Washington county,
Va., 3 June, 1834. His father, a sugar-planter, was son
of Gen. Francis Preston, whose wife, Sarah Campbell, was
daughter of Gen. William Campbell, of King s - Mountain
celebrity (where he was commander), and niece of Patrick
Henry. His mother was daughter of Gen. Wade Hampton,
and was born at The Woodlands, Richmond District, S.C.
Gen. Hampton s second wife, Mary Cantey, of St. Matthew s
Parish, S.C., was a niece of Gen. Sumter. Mr. Preston s
father had established himself in Columbia, Richland District,
S.C., where he married ; and he travelled to and from Virginia
each season. His interest was in Louisiana, but his citizenship
was in South Carolina ; and he was twice in the South-Carolina
Legislature. Mr. Preston travelled much in the United States.
He studied with a private tutor several years ; came to Cambridge
15 July, 1852 ; and in six weeks, under James Coolidge Carter
(H.C. 1850), was prepared, and entered the junior class, 1
September, 1852. After graduating, he went to Germany to
continue his studies, which were cut short by a fever, which
settled upon his lungs. The slow and insidious decline which
followed, resisting all that human kindness could effect, served
but to show in bright characters the beautiful confidence of the
young Christian in his progress to the rich inheritance, through
his Redeemer, of eternal life. In his later moments, his gentle-


ness and meek submission to the will of God were only exceeded
by his cheerful enjoyment of that " peace which passeth under
standing," and which divested his dying bed of any fear of the
destroyer. Cut down as he was in the brightest promise of
early usefulness, his bereaved parents and sorrowing friends
would not recall him from that bliss which is the attainment of
the righteous. He was a high-toned gentleman, an affectionate
and devoted son and brother, and a true friend.




179(3. WILLIAM WELLS died in Cambridge, Mass., 21
April, 1860, aged 87 years lacking six days. He was son of
Rev. William and Jane (Hancox) Wells, and was born in
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England, 27 April, 1773. His
father was a Unitarian clergyman, an intimate friend of Dr.
Priestley. During the occurrence of the riots which drove that
eminent theologian from his congregation and his home, Mr.
Wells s chapel at Bromsgrove, fifteen miles from Birmingham,
was threatened with destruction by the mob. In consequence
of such a prospect, and the gloomy and distracted state of that
part of the kingdom, he determined to emigrate with his family
to America; and arrived in Boston in June, 1793. From
Boston he went to Brattleborough, Vt., where he preached
" the faith that was in him," but was not settled as pastor of any
society. In 1818, the honorary degree of doctor of divinity
was conferred upon him by Harvard College. He died in Brat
tleborough, 9 December, 1827, aged 83. Mr. Wells s mother
was daughter of Rev. James Hancox, of Dudley, in Worces
tershire, England. Before coming to this country, Mr. Wells,
jun., had gone through a course of studies at the college in
Hackney, England ; having been fitted by the celebrated classi
cal scholar, Gilbert Wakefield. After he came to America,
and before going to college, he taught school in Wethersfield,
Conn. He entered college in the last term of the junior
year in 1795, and at once took a high rank in his class. He
was particularly distinguished for his attainments in the Latin
and Greek classics. In 1798, he was appointed Latin tutor in
the college ; an office which he held two years. He intended to
study for the ministry ; but as his health was delicate, his lungs
being somewhat affected, he relinquished his purpose. In 1800,


he visited England. In 1802, he was appointed usher in the
Boston Latin School, where he remained until August, 1804.
He then engaged in business as a bookseller, in Court Street,
Boston; which he conducted alone until about 1815, when he
formed a partnership with Robert Lilly, under the firm of Wells
and Lilly. While in this business, he taught a private classical
school in Boston. He retired from his partnership with Mr.
Lilly about the year 1830, and removed to Cambridge ; where
he opened a classical school for boys, which he continued for
many years with much success, until the infirmities of age com
pelled him to relinquish it. He was highly respected as a man
of extensive literary acquirements, as well as a good and useful
citizen of unblemished moral character. He had been for
many years a member of the American Academy of Arts and

He married, 3 May, 1808, Frances Boott, daughter of Kirk
Boott, Esq., of Boston. The issue of this marriage was seven
children, three sons and four daughters. One of the sons
deceased. The other children, with their mother, survived him.
One of the daughters Frances Boott is the wife of Rev.
William Newell, D.D., of Cambridge.

1800. WILLIAM SAWYER died in Wakefield, N.H., 5
July, 1860, aged 85. He was son of Nathaniel and Jeruslia
(Flint) Sawyer, and was born in Westminister, Mass., 26
October, 1774. His parents were both natives of Reading,
Mass., and removed to Westminster soon after their marriage.
His father died 26 July, 1797. While laboring in the field, lie
suddenly fell, and instantly expired. His mother died 20 Feb
ruary, 1821. Young Sawyer was fitted for college at Westford
Academy, under Amos Crosby (H.C. 1786). While in col
lege, he taught school, in vacation, one winter in that part of
Chelmsford which is now Lowell, and two winters in his native
town. He studied law with Henry Mellen, of Dover, N.H.
(H.C, 1784); and, having been admitted to the bar, he, in
August, 1803, established himself as a lawyer in Wakefield,
where he passed the remainder of his life. He was quite suc
cessful in the practice of his profession. He was several times

1859-60.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 295

elected a representative to the New-Hampshire legislature ; and,
after the division of the county of Strafford, he was chosen
president of the Carroll-county bar. He retired from profes
sional practice many years ago, having acquired a compe
tence ; and devoted himself to agriculture and the improvement
of the farming interest in his vicinity. He sustained through
life an unblemished moral character.

He married, in 1804, Mary Yeaton, of Portsmouth, N.H.
The issue of this marriage was five children, three sons and two
daughters. William, the eldest son, settled as a trader in
Wakefield. George Yeaton, the second son (Bowd. C. 1826),
studied law with his father, and settled in practice in Nashua,
N.H. He became an associate-judge of the Supreme Court of
New Hampshire. Charles Haven, the third son, settled on
his father s farm. All the sons married. The eldest daugh
ter married Dr. Thomas Lindsey, a physician in Lincoln,
Me. The second daughter, Augusta Mehitabel, married Jo
seph Pike, and lived in Brookfield, N.H., a town adjoining

1800. JOHN WADSWORTH died in Hiram, Me., 22 Jan
uary, 1860, aged 78. He was son of Hon. Peleg (H.C.
1769) and Elizabeth (Bartlett) Wadsworth, and was born in
Plymouth, Mass., 1 September, 1781. His father, who was
son of Deacon Peleg Wadsworth, was born in Duxbury, Mass. ,
6 May, 1748. He was an officer in the revolutionary war.
He joined the army as captain of a company of minute-men at
Koxbury, in the beginning of the war ; and, by his skill and
courage, rose to the rank of brigadier-general. He was chosen
representative to Congress in 1792, and was successively re-
elected until 1806, when he declined a further nomination. He
died in Hiram, 18 November, 1829, aged 81. His mother was
born in Plymouth, 9 August, 1753. She was sister of Joseph
Bartlett (H.C. 1782), the eccentric poet and humorist. Mr.
Wadsworth was fitted for college at Fryeburg Academy. He
was remarkably comely and graceful : his manners and carriage
were polished and courtly in the highest degree. He possessed
superior talents, and ranked very high as a scholar in his class.



Towards the close of his collegiate course, his health failed ; and
he left in the latter part of his senior year, but received his
degree with his class. He soon afterwards made a voyage to
Liverpool for the benefit of his health, but returned in the same
vessel in which he went out. He went to the South as a teacher,
and spent several years in the southern and middle states.
He taught in Natchez, Miss. ; was a private teacher in the
Berrien family in Georgia, and also in that of Governeur
Morris in New York. He then studied law with Hon. Isaac
Parker (H.C. 1786), and opened an office in Vassalborough,
Me., but soon abandoned the profession. While his father was
a member of Congress, he passed a considerable time at Wash
ington, much to the detriment of his business-habits. He
retired to his father s residence in Hiram ; and, his health being
in a somewhat precarious state, he did not pursue any regular

He married, in 1836 or 1837, Ellen George, of Con
cord, N.H., or vicinity, but had no children. His wife sur
vives him.

1802. JAMES DAVENPORT died in Boylston, Mass., 27
April, 1860, aged 81. He was son of Matthew and Patience
(Goodnow) Davenport, and was born in Sterling, Mass, (where
his parents resided a few months) , 24 January, 1779. His name,
originally, was Matthew Davenport, which he changed about
1835, taking the name of James for a son who died in St. Louis
in 1833, and because James was an ancient family name, and the
name of the first Davenport who came from England to New
Haven, and settled in 1656 on the present Davenport place,
situated partly in Boylston and partly in West Boylston, and
a considerable part of which has continued in the family
ever since. Mr. Davenport was fitted for college at Leicester
Academy. After leaving college, he studied law two years witH
Hon. Edward Bangs, of Worcester (H.C. 1777), and one
year with Hon. Tristram Burgess, of Providence, K.I. (B.U.
1796). Having been admitted to the bar, he settled in Cum
berland, E.I., where he practised his profession from March,
1804, to April, 1815 ; when he removed to his homestead in

1859-60.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 297

Boylston ; where he resided during the remainder of his life,
being occupied in the business of farming, although he con
tinued to be a member of the bar and a justice of the peace.
He was universally respected, and was frequently consulted, as
well as called upon to act, as a trial-justice. Three or four years
before his death, his mental faculties became impaired, and at
times his once-strong mind seemed but a mere wreck of what it
had been. It was thought that the deaths of several of his
children, and the loss of his property, with other trials, seriously
affected his mind. He had been failing in health the whole of
the last year, in consequence of a cancer on his lip ; but the im
mediate cause of his death was influenza, which induced inflam
mation of the lungs. Three days before his last, one side
became paralyzed, which deprived him of the power of speech ;
but previously he appeared conscious of his near dissolution, and
spoke of his faith and trust in God.

He married, 27 May, 1804, Sallie Andrews, daughter of
Deacon Daniel Andrews, of Boylston, $, most excellent man,
and father of an equally excellent family. The issue of this
marriage was twelve children, six sons and six daughters ; of
whom six survived him, four sons and two daughters. One
son died at ten years of age, and one daughter at the age of
seven months. All the others lived to maturity. Their mother
survived her husband, retaining much of her youthful vigor.

1803. Rev. DAVID TEXXEY KIMBAI^L died in Ipswich,
Mass., 3 February, 1860, aged 77. He was son of Lieut.
Daniel and Elizabeth (Tenney) Kimball, and was born in Brad
ford, Mass., 23 November, 1782. When a boy, he exhibited
a great passion for learning ; but so industrious was he in the
business of agriculture, that his father used to say that he should
not know how to spare him, and send him to college, if he had
health to pursue the labors of the field. He began the study of
Virgil, in the district school, under the instruction of Moses
Dow, of Atkinson, N.H., afterwards Rev. Moses Dow, of Bev
erly, Mass. (D.C. 1796). He became a student, 3 May, 1798,
in Atkinson Academy, under Hon. John Vose (D.C. 1795)
as preceptor. That thorough scholar, judicious teacher, and



upright man always spoke of him as one of the most exem
plary and amiable young men, and one of the best scholars
under his instruction ; and, when he was requested to name a
Fourth-of-July speaker from among his students, he selected
young Kimball for the purpose, who delivered an oration which
was well received. Leaving the academy 14 August, 1799,
he entered college. He sustained a very respectable standing in
his class, attended diligently to every branch of study, but ex
celled in belles-lettres, almost invariably receiving distinguished
marks of approbation on his themes from that accomplished
scholar and accurate .writer, Dr. Eliphalet Pearson. Imme
diately after leaving college, he was appointed instructor in
Phillips Academy, Andover, where he remained one year. He
then began his theological studies with Rev. Jonathan French,
of Andover (H.C. 1771) ; having, as fellow-students, Samuel
Walker (D.C. 1802), afterwards Rev. Mr. Walker, of Danvers,
Mass.; Samuel Gile (D.C. 1804), afterwards Rev. Dr. Gile,
of Milton; Samuel Greele (H.C. 1802), now Deacon Greele,
of Boston ; and John Farrar (H.C. 1803), his classmate, after
wards professor of mathematics in Harvard College. His first
pulpit-performances on a Sunday were 17 March, 1805. He
preached for the first time in Ipswich, 22 September, 1805.
From that time until his ordination, with the exception of thir
teen Sundays, he supplied the pulpit in Ipswich. On the 17th
of June, 1806, the church unanimously invited him to become
their pastor, and the parish concurred with only one dissenting
vote. He was ordained 8 October, 1806 ; and there he labored,
with great diligence and faithfulness, for nearly forty years be
fore he was relieved from a portion of his duties by the assist
ance of a colleague. For ten or twelve years, he instructed the
children of his society at the meeting-house, and at his own
dwelling-house, in the Assembly s Catechism. The number of
children present varied from 120 to 200. When the Sunday-
school was established, 20 June, 1818, with 145 scholars, he
acted as superintendent, and took part in its immediate instruc
tion. Few men took a deeper interest in the intellectual, moral,
and religious welfare of the community than he. In December,

1859-60.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 299

1818, he instructed the young ladies of his society, at his house,
in Wilbur s Catechism, and continued it a long time ; and also,
during the same time, he instructed the young of both sexes in
sacred history. He preached more than a hundred sermons
exclusively to the young. Fourteen evenings in one winter
were occupied in a course of fourteen lectures to young men, on
the text, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" in which he
aimed, as far as possible, to bring before them those principles
and practices which tend to the moral ruin of the young. He
was one of the original signers of the Massachusetts Society
for the Suppression of Intemperance, constituted in May, 1813.
He was also secretary of the Education Society of Essex County
and Essex North, from the establishment of the former, in
1816, to the time of his death ; and, what is remarkable, never
failed, it is said, in an appointment, and never went to the an
nual meeting unprepared with a report carefully made out. He
was a man of great modesty and humility, a faithful servant in
his Master s vineyard, and one of the worthiest members of the
community. For many years he kept a journal, in which were
recorded interesting incidents of his life. In this journal, under
date of 12 October, 1806, is a prayer which he offered the
Sunday after his ordination, of which the following is a part :
"Teach me how to pray for this people. May they always
be near my heart, especially when I address the throne of
grace ! While I have breath to pray, may I not cease making
mention of them in my prayers I " This petition was literally
answered ; for the last audible prayer he uttered was " for my

He married, 20 October, 1807, Dolly Varnum Coburn,
daughter of Capt. Peter and Mrs. Elizabeth Coburn, of Dra-
cut, Mass., and grand-daughter of Deacon David Poor, of
Andover. This union was replete with happiness. They had
seven children, five sons and two daughters; of whom two
sons died before their father. The other children, with their
mother, are living.

He never lost his interest in the languages. He read almost
daily a portion of the Old Testament in Hebrew, and of the


New Testament in Greek. He enjoyed greatly a good recita
tion in Latin, and also in mathematics. He wrote in his diary,
18 November, 1859, "In the afternoon, I attended the exami
nation of the Ipswich High School. I took the direction of a
Latin class, and made a short address to the school, in which I
spoke of the great interest I felt in this and all our schools, and
mentioned the fact, that it is my constant practice, every even
ing, to seek the greatest blessing from the highest source on all
the young people in this town. I then spoke of the immense
amount of moral power concentrating in the scholars belonging
to this school, and urged them to do all in their power for the
general good.

"November 23. This is my birthday. I am now seventy-
seven years old. My day of probation is almost ended. The
question which I have often put to others is a solemn one to
me, Are you ready for its close? I surely ought to have my
lamp trimmed and burning.

"December 11. My wife having observed that few of those
who have died in our society during the time of my ministry,
according to the record, were as old as we are, my thoughts,
after retiring to bed, ran very much on our nearness to our
eternal home ; and when I awoke in the morning, as well as
a number of times during the night, I found myself praying
that an abundant entrance might be administered to her, and
to us both, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and

His mind and body were so vigorous, that he was likely, in
the estimation of his family and friends, to live to a very ad
vanced age. Though his call was sudden, and his sufferings,
owing to his disease (lung fever, attacking both his lungs) , ex
treme, not a murmur escaped his lips. It was a privilege never
to be forgotten, to stand by his bedside, and witness his transi
tion from earth to heaven. At the moment of his soul s depart
ure from the body, there came to his lips a smile of ineffable

His attachments were very strong. He enjoyed Commence

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 27 of 49)