Joseph Palmer.

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

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and Athens, where he was admitted a member of the Archaeo
logical Society of Athens at the Parthenon. Thence he went to
Smyrna and Constantinople, and was at the latter at the time of
the death of Sultan Mahmoud, which was occasioned by
delirium tremens, whose funeral procession on the water was
very imposing ; and was also there when his successor, Abdul
Medjid, was proclaimed, whose installation was most splendid
with barbaric pearl and gold, like some of the scenes in the
"Arabian Nights." He visited Rhodes, Cyprus, Joppa, Jeru
salem, Bethlehem, Beirut, Damascus (where there is a street
called "Strait," as in the New Testament), Alexandria, Cairo,
the pyramids, the ruins of Baalbec, Thebes, and the tombs of
Sesostris and the Pharaohs, the Red Sea, Trieste, Corfu, Vienna,



Nimes, and Paris, after two years absence. He saw the Em
peror Nicholas at Toplitz.

The honorary degree of doctor of divinity was conferred
upon him by Harvard College in 1823. He was also a member
of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He published seven
teen occasional sermons, and two or three small volumes.

He married, in October, 1806, Harriet B. Spence, of Ports
mouth, N.H. ; left five children, three sons and two daugh
ters, of whom three are well known to the literary public;
viz., Prof. James Russell Lowell, Rev. Robert Traill Spence
Lowell (an Episcopal clergyman in New Jersey), and Mrs. S.
R. Putnam. His wife died 30 March, 1850.

In a sermon which he preached about forty years after his
ordination, he says, " Is it amiss for me, in this connection, to
say, that I am not conscious of having ever heard of sickness
or trouble in any of your families, that I have not gone to do
what became me as your minister to do ; or that I have ever
known any considerable accession to the sources of your happi
ness, that I have not rejoiced with you in your joy, and endeav
ored to lead you to a grateful improvement of the goodness of
God to you? One thing more I may claim to say, that my
pastoral visits have never been spent in idle gossiping. I have
aimed to make them useful, however much I have failed to do
so. A minister of religion, I have felt that it became me to
teach religion, not only publicly, but from house to house,
to watch for souls. God forgive me that I have not been more
faithful, as one who must give an account ! "

1800. Hon. LEMUEL SHAW died in Boston, 30 March,
1861, aged 80 years. He was son of Rev. Oakes (H.C.
1758) and Susannah (Hayward) Shaw, and was born in
Barnstable, Mass., 9 January, 1781. His father was born
in Bridgewater, Mass., 10 June, 1736; was ordained over the
First Church in Barnstable, 1 October, 1760 ; and died 11 Feb
ruary, 1807, aged 70. His mother was a native of Braintree,
Mass. He was fitted for college principally by his father ; but
studied a few months with Rev. William Salisbury (H.C.
1795), of Braintree. On leaving college, in order to disen-

1860-61.] OP HARVARD COLLEGE. 347

cumber his beloved father of the expenses of his education,
he became usher at the Franklin (now the Brimmer) School, in
Boston, of, which the late Dr. Asa Bullard (D.C. 1793) was
the principal, where he remained one year ; and was also during
that time assistant-editor of the "Boston Gazette." He then
studied law with David Everett (D.C. 1795), part of the time
in Boston, and partly in Amherst, N.H. He was admitted to
the bar in Hopkinton, N.H., in September, 1804; and after
wards in Plymouth, Mass., in November of the same year. He
began the practice x)f law in Boston, in December, 1804, where
he resided during the remainder of his life. In 1811, he deliv
ered a discourse before the Boston Humane Society ; and on the
4th of July, 1815, an oration before the town-authorities of
Boston. In this oration we find an explanation of the opposition
of a powerful party among us to the last war with Great Britain,
and a magnanimous and prompt concession that the contest has
strengthened the bonds of our political union. He says, "We
rejoice in the belief that the danger which we once feared from
the ascendency of French principles is for ever removed. The
secret spell which seemed to bind us in willing chains to the
conqueror s car is for ever broken. No sophistry can again
deceive us into a belief that the cause of Bonaparte is the cause
of social rights, or create a momentary sympathy between the
champion of despotism and the friends of civil liberty. One of
the most alarming points of view in which the sincere opponents
of the late war with England regarded the measure was, that it
tended to cement and perpetuate that dangerous and disgraceful

In politics, Judge Shaw was a decided federalist, and was
secretary of the Washington Benevolent Society. In 1811 he
was elected a representative to the* state legislature, was con
tinued in that office for four succeeding years, and was again
elected in 1819. In 1820 he was a member of the convention
for revising the constitution of the state. In 1821 and 1822,
he was a member of the senate; and again in 1828 and 1829.
Before Boston became a city, he held .various town offices ; was
a member of the board of fire wards, a selectman, and one of the


school-committee. In 1822, while in the senate, he was chair
man of the joint-committee of the legislature on a city charter
for Boston ; embodied the same in the form of a report to the
town, which was accepted ; drafted the city charter ; and wrote
the act of incorporation establishing the city of Boston, granted
by the state legislature, 23 February, 1822 ; with the exception
of the fourteenth section, relative to public theatres and exhibi
tions, and the act establishing a police-court ; which were drafted
by Hon. William Sullivan, and went into operation at the same
time. In 1830, his friends wished to nominate him as a candi
date for representative to Congress ; but he would not accept the
nomination. He was an active member of the Boston-Library
Society, the Humane Society, the Massachusetts Historical
Society, the Massachusetts Congregational Charitable Society,
the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians
in North America, and the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences. He was an overseer of Harvard College twelve years,
and one of the corporation twenty-seven years. On the 23d of
August, 1830, he was appointed chief-justice of the Supreme
Court, in place of Isaac Parker (H.C. 1786) deceased. He
held this office until the 31st of August, 1860, when he resigned
it. During the whole period of his devotion to the state judi
ciary, he made records of the legal transactions under his
superintendence, comprising upwards of fifty volumes of several
hundred pages each. He was blessed vvith an extraordinarily
large, powerful, and vigorous frame, which alone could have
sustained the pressure of the unremitted and vast exertions of
his powerful intellect for eighty years. His ample and warmly-
feeling heart was quite as remarkable as his intellect. A more
generous and social man never lived. His fund of mirthful
and racy anecdote was inexhaustible. His honor, integrity, and
Christian faith were never questioned. The honorary degree of
doctor of laws was conferred upon him by Harvard College
in 1831, and by Brown University in 1850.

He ever felt a devoted veneration for his parents. His mother
was a lady of more than ordinary powers of intellect ; and of
his father he thus warmly expressed himself in a speech at

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 349

the centennial celebration at Barnstable, 3 September, 1839 :
"Almost within sight of the place where we now are, still
stands a modest spire, marking the spot where a beloved father
stood to minister the holy word of truth and hope and salva
tion to a numerous, beloved, and attached people, for almost
half a century. Pious, pure, simple-hearted, devoted to and
beloved by his people, never shall I cease to venerate his mem
ory, or to love those who knew and loved him. I speak in the
presence of some who knew him, and of many more, who, I
doubt not, were taught to love and honor his memory as one
of the earliest lessons of their childhood."

Judge Shaw married, 6 January, 1818, Elizabeth, a daugh
ter of Josiah Knapp, a merchant of Boston ; and had by her two
children, John Oakes and Elizabeth Knapp. His wife died
13 January, 1822, aged 36 years. He married for his second
wife, in August, 1827, Hope, a daughter of Dr. Samuel Sav
age (H.C. 1766), of Barnstable; by whom he had two chil
dren, Lemuel and Samuel Savage. The former graduated at
Harvard College in 1849, and is a lawyer in Boston. His
wife and all his children survive him.

1800. BEXJAMIN WELLES died in Boston, 21 July, 1860,
aged 78 years. He was son of Samuel and Isabella (Pratt)
Welles, and was born in Boston, 13 August, 1781. He studied
for college in part at the Boston Latin School, under Master
Samuel Hunt (H.C. 1765), and during one year with Rev.
Thomas Prentiss, of Medfield, Mass. (H.C. 1766). On leav
ing college, he studied law for some time with Hon. Levi Lin
coln, of Worcester, Mass. (H.C. 1772), and afterwards with
Hon. Harrison Gray Otis, of Boston (H.C. 1783). In 1803,
he went to England, and pursued his professional studies there.
In 1804, he joined his classmate, Washington Allston, in Paris.
A few months afterwards, they- went together to Switzerland,
and passed St. Gothard in their carriage, being the first persons
who had traversed it. They went to Lombardy, and by Lake
Como to Rome, passing through Bologna, where Allston exam
ined the great paintings of the Caracci and other great masters.
They next went to Florence. The plague, prevailing in Leg-


horn, detained them at Rome two months, during which time
Allston employed himself in painting. At Rome Mr. Welles
staid about two months, and Mr. Allston a year. Mr. Welles
returned to Boston in 1804. In 1807, he, in company with
Stephen Higginson, William Parsons, Thomas H. Perkins, and
others, engaged in an iron-mining company in Vergennes, Vt.
In 1812, Mr. Welles was appointed sole agent of the establish
ment, and took up his residence in Vergennes. He met Lieut.
M Donough at Burlington, in a small gunboat, strapping a
block, and made an engagement to supply the iron and cannon-
balls for the ships, which were all built at Vergennes for the
lake-service; the iron-work amounting to $47,000. In 1816,
he became a partner with Hon. John Welles (H.C. 1782), who
was his cousin, in the auxiliary house in Boston to the banking-
house of Welles and Co., of Paris. This connection continued
twenty-eight years, until the death of Samuel Welles (H.C.
1796), which took place in Paris, 31 August, 1841.

He married, 1 August, 1815, Mehitable Stoddard Sumner,
eldest daughter of Gov. Increase Sumner (H.C. 1767) ; by
whom he had two daughters, Elizabeth and Georgiana, and
one son, Benjamin Samuel. His wife died 31 January, 1826 ;
and he married, for his second wife, Susan Codman, daughter of
William Codman, Esq., of New York, by whom he had one
daughter, Susan ; who married, 14 January, 1856, Russell
Sturgis, jun., of Boston.

Mr. Welles was highly respected in the community as a gentle
man of the old school. He left a very large estate.

1801. Hon. STEPHEN MINOT died in Haverhill, Mass.,
6 April, 1861, aged 84 years. He was son of Capt. Jonas
and Mary (Hall) Minot, and was born in Concord, Mass., 28
September, 1776. His father was son of Dea. Samuel and
Sarah (Prescott) Minot ; was born in Concord, 25 April, 1735 ;
and died in his native town, 20 March, 1813, aged 78 years.
His mother was daughter of Rev. Willard Hall (H.C. 1722),
of Westford, Mass. She was born 30 July, 1738, and died
3 November, 1792, aged 54 years. The subject of this notice
was fitted for college at Westford Academy. He held a very

1860-61.] OP HARVARD COLLEGE. 351

respectable rank in his class at college. Having selected
law as a profession, he pursued his legal studies under the
instruction of Hon. Samuel Dana, of Groton, Mass. On his
admission to the bar, he settled in New Gloucester, Me., in which
town and the town of Minot he practised about one year. He
then removed to Haverhill, where he remained until his death,
with the exception of a residence of three years in Methuen,
where he owned a cotton-factory. He was a learned and accu
rate lawyer. His mind was clear in its perception, and logical
in its conclusions. He was appointed, in 1811, judge of the
Circuit Court of Common Pleas, and held the office until 1820,
when the law which created that court was repealed. In 1824,
he was appointed county-attorney for Essex ; which office he
resigned in 1830. He was elected a representative to the state
legislature in 1825, and would have been re-elected, but refused
to be a candidate again. He was firm in purpose, exact and
punctual in method and habit, of strict integrity, fearless in spirit,
ever prompt to say or do whatever his judgment approved ;
of great regularity and temperance in his manner of life ; in
his private relations a true, affectionate, generous friend. His
house was the abode of kindness and a generous hospitality. In
conversation, he was genial, and rich in anecdote. For several
years, having withdrawn from professional labors, he spent
much of his time in mathematical studies, and in reading the
Latin classics. He also possessed a strong mechanical talent,
of which many instances remain ; among them an organ of fine
musical powers, wholly the work of his own hands. He was a
liberal supporter of the institution of religion, the ministrations
of which he attended with great regularity. To him the Unita
rian faith was dear. His religious principles were firm, and sus
tained him in the trials of life and in the hour of death. " He
set his house in order," and awaited with perfect composure the
coming of the angel of death.

" Calmly he gave his being up, and went
To share the joys that wait a life well spent."

Mr. Minot married, 9 November, 1809, Rebecca Trask,
daughter of Samuel Trask, of Bradford, Mass. She died 27


November, 1832 ; and he married, for his second wife, Ellen P.
Gardner, daughter of Hon. Stephen Partridge Gardner, of
Bolton, Mass., who survived him. He left two children, Mrs.
Pitman, of Eeading, Mass.; and Charles Minot, Esq., super
intendent of the Erie Railroad, New York. The late George
Minot, Esq., who died 16 April, 1858, a sound and able
lawyer of Boston, author of " Minot s Digest," a work well
known to the profession generally, was his youngest son.

1806. Dr. NATHANIEL JACOB died in Canandaigua, N.Y.,
3 February, 1861, aged 78 years. He was the eldest son of
Nathaniel and Lucy (Jacob) Jacob, and was born in Hanover,
Mass., 16 July, 1782. His father, who was son of Dr. Joseph
Jacob, was born in Hanover, 6 April, 1750 ; was an industrious
farmer, of good natural abilities ; died 22 September, 1822, aged
72 years. His mother, who was daughter of Joshua Jacob,
was born in Hanover, 3 November, 1748 ; and died 20 March,
1812, aged 63 years. The subject of this notice was fitted for
college at Bridgewater Academy, under the tuition of Rev.
Zedekiah Sanger, D.D. (H. C. 1771). After leaving college,
he studied medicine, under the instruction of Dr. Nathan Smith,
of Hanover, N.H. ; and settled in Canandaigua in 1810, where
he was one of the early principals of the academy in the village,
and practised as a physician. He was for some time professor
of anatomy in the Fairfield Medical Institute in the state of
New York.

He was one of the principal founders of St. John s Epis
copal Church in Canandaigua. He was a citizen of much
public spirit, and served as military surgeon on the frontier in
the year 1812. At one time, he filled the office of trial-justice.
He was a zealous and active member of the medical profession,
but retired from practice many years before his death.

He married, 8 March, 1812, Hannah Sanborn, of Canan
daigua. She was the first white inhabitant born (in 1789) in
that village ; her parents being one of four families who emi
grated from Lyme, Conn. It took them four weeks to make
the passage ; going in boats up the Hudson, the Mohawk, and
on from one lake to another by creeks. By his wife he had ten

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 353

children, of whom only four are now living ; one in Buffalo, and
the others in Canandaigua. His wife survived him.

1808. LLOYD NICHOLAS ROGERS died in Baltimore, 13
November, 1860, aged 72 years. He was born in Baltimore,
20 September, 1788. He held a very high rank of scholarship
in his class, and graduated with distinguished honors. He
studied law, and settled in Baltimore. He had the ability to
attain distinction in his profession ; but, as he inherited a
very large fortune, he had no necessity to labor for a subsistence,
and he virtually hid his talent in a napkin. He was not known
beyond his immediate acquaintance.

1809. HEXRY BARNEY SMITH died in Boston, 1 April,
1861, aged 71 years. He was son of Barney and Ann (Otis)
Smith, and was born in Boston, 26 October, 1789. He was
fitted for college by Eev. Nathaniel Thayer, of Lancaster, Mass.
(H.C. 1789). After leaving college, he began the study of
law in Litchfield under Judge Reeve, and afterwards studied
with Hon. William Sullivan, of Boston (H.C. 1792). He
was admitted to the Suffolk bar ; but, having inherited an ample
fortune, he did not pursue his profession. He was an inveterate
democrat in politics ; and possessing strong mental powers,
with great facility of address, he was one of the most eloquent
speakers of his party at democratic caucuses in Faneuil Hall.
He was for some time president of the Boston Debating Society.
In 1822, he delivered an oration at a democratic celebration of
the 4th of July, in Dorchester ; and another, at a similar cele
bration at the Marlborough Hotel in Boston, in 1824. On the
4th of July, 1830, he delivered an oration before the Washington
Society in Boston. It was said of him then, that "he is an
uncompromising democrat, who has sketched the protean visage
of aristocracy in thoughts that breathe, and words that burn."

He retired from political life many years before his death,
and devoted himself to the care of his large possessions. He
was never married.

1812. GEORGE EDWARD HEAD died in Boston, 5 July,
1861, aged 68 years. He was son of Joseph and Elizabeth
(Frazier) Plead, and was born in Boston, 25 February, 1793.



His father (who was son of Joseph Head, who came from Eng
land in the neighborhood of Norwich) was born in Boston,
1 January, 1761 ; was for many years a highly respectable mer
chant ; and was a member of the first board of aldermen, on
the organization of the city-government, in 1822. He was a
director in the Massachusetts Bank from the year 1810 until
his death. He died 30 December, 1836, aged 76 years. His
mother, who was daughter of Nathan and Elizabeth (White)
Frazier, was born in Andover, Mass., 25 February, 1764; and
died 2 October, 1798, aged 34 years. The subject of this notice
began to fit for college at Phillips Academy in Exeter, N.H.
He subsequently pursued his studies under the instruction of
Eev. John S. J. Gardiner, D.D., of Boston ; and completed
them in the Boston Latin School, where a Franklin medal was
awarded to him in 1807. After leaving college, he studied law
at the law-school in Litchfield, Conn., under the instruction of
Judges Reeve and Gould ; and, on his admission to the bar,
established himself in Boston. Born to affluence, he did not
aim at eminence ; but, endowed by nature with a remarkably clear
intellect and refined taste, he took pleasure in the development
of his mind by the pursuit of studies which were in accordance
with his fancy rather than the dry routine of his profession ;
although, had necessity required his entire devotion to law,
his talents would have enabled him to attain an eminent dis
tinction as a barrister. That he enjoyed the confidence and
respect of the community was manifested by the stations to
which he was elevated. He was elected a representative to the
state legislature in 1836, 1837, 1847, and 1848. He was a
member of the board of aldermen of Boston in 1846, 1847, and
1848 ; and, in the last-named year, he was chosen a permanent-
assessor ; which office he held, by successive elections, until his
death, with the exception of the year 1855. He was at one
time urged by his friends to allow the use of his name as a
candidate for the mayoralty, but declined. In private life,
his ready wit and genial humor, combined with high-toned
morality, endeared him to his family and his numerous acquaint

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 355

He married, 26 February, 1815, Hannah Catlin, daughter of
Grove Catlin, of Litchfield, Conn., and great-grand-daughter of
Joseph Wads worth, who hid the charter of Connecticut in the
oak. The issue of this marriage was six children ; of whom four,
two sons and two daughters, with their mother, survive.
One of the sons, John Frazier Head, graduated at Yale College
in 1840 ; and the other, George Edward Head, at Harvard
College in 1852. Both became physicians. One of the daugh
ters is the w r ife of Bishop Eastburn, of Boston.

1812. NATHANIEL WHITWORTH WHITE died in Halifax,
N.S., September, 1860, aged 67 years. He was son of Capt.
Gideon and Deborah (Whitworth) White, and was born
in Shelburne, N.S., 25 February, 1793. His father was a
loyalist, joined the British army at the time of the Revolution,
and rose to be a captain. He left the country, and settled at
Shelburne, where he was appointed a judge. After the Revolu
tion, living in that little town, and not mingling with the
Americans, he retained his bitter feelings. When the war of
1812 broke out, he took his son away from college, only about
two weeks before Commencement ; and the son was therefore not
present when his degree was conferred upon him. He also took
away with him another son, who was fitting to enter. He died in
Shelburne in 1833, aged 82 years. He was born in Plymouth,
and was a descendant of Peregrine White. Mr. White, after
leaving college, settled as a lawyer in Halifax, where he prac
tised two-thirds of his life. He was afterwards master-in-
chancery. He died of disease of the heart. He was never

1813. ORVILLE LUTHER HOLLEY died in Albany, N.Y.,
25 March, 1861, aged 69 years. He was son of Luther and
Sarah (Dakin) Holley, and was born in Salisbury, Conn.,
19 May, 1791. He was the eighth child of a family of nine, all
of whom he survived. The eloquent Rev. Horace Holley,
pastor of the Hollis-street church in Boston, was his brother.
He was fitted for college probably at Greenfield Hill, in Fair-
field, Conn. He held a high rank of scholarship in college,
was particularly distinguished for his graceful oratory, and grad-


uated with distinction. He studied law in New York, and
practised his profession successively in Hudson, Canandaigua,
and the city of New York. His tastes led him, at an early
period of his career, to journalism; and he was successively editor
of the " Anti-Masonic Magazine," published in New York, the
" Troy Sentinel," the " Ontario Eepository," and the " Albany
Daily Advertiser." Pie superintended the publication of the
"New-York State Register" for several years. In 1853,
the New-York legislature authorized the purchase of the cor
respondence and other papers of George Clinton, the first
governor of that state, then on deposit in the office of the secre
tary of state ; and appropriated the sum of five hundred dollars
for arranging, indexing, binding, and lettering the same. The
labor of indexing and arranging these manuscripts was intrust
ed principally to Mr. Holley, by whom the work was very
judiciously and thoroughly performed under the direction of the
library-committee. The collection numbered twenty -three vol
umes of folio size. In January, 1838, under the first admin
istration of Gov. Seward, Mr. Holley was chosen surveyor-
general of the state of New York; and, during the last ten years
of his life, he was occupied in duties connected with the depart
ment of the secretary of state : but, for the last twenty years,
severe bodily infirmities compelled him to forego, to a great ex
tent, the honors of public position. His great solace during the
years of infirmity were his literary studies, by which he was most
distinguished ; and his " Life of Benjamin Franklin," written

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 32 of 49)