Joseph Palmer.

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

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same year, was installed pastor of the First Church in Milford,
Mass., where he continued to discharge his ministerial duties
until his death. He was elected representative to the state legis
lature from Acton in 1851 and 1852. He was first elected with


special reference to his making an appeal to the state for aid
in the erection of a monument, in the town of Acton, to the
memory of Capt. Isaac Davis, who fell at the old North Con
cord Bridge, 19 April, 1775. When the order for the appro
priation came up for consideration, it found little favor : indeed,
it was said that scarce five men could be found who favored its
passage. On the 5th of February, 1852, he made a speech which
occupied two hours in delivery. It was the only time he ever
addressed a legislative assembly. Every eye was riveted upon
him, as he proceeded in his peculiar graphic description of the
opening scenes of the revolution, and held up in his hands the
trappings that were worn by the hero on that eventful day,
pierced as they were by the bullets of the invader. The excite
ment was intense ; the cause was gained ; the appropriation was
voted by a large majority.

Mr. Woodbury possessed a genial nature, with fine social
feelings, which endeared him to a large circle of friends. His
visits to his people were frequent and interesting. As a preach
er of the gospel, he was devoted to his work ; and the degree of
success which attended his ministerial labors testifies to his faith
fulness as a pastor.

He married, in 1826, Augusta Porter, a daughter of the late
Jonathan Porter, of Medford, Mass. He left three children,
Augusta, married to George G. Parker, counsellor-at-law in
Milford ; George Porter, married, and resides in Milford ;
Charlotte Elizabeth, 18 years of age. His wife survived him.

1829. JAMES DUTTON RUSSELL died in Brighton (Long-
wood village), 10 June, 1861, aged 51 years. His name was
originally James Russell Button ; and was changed by act of the
legislature, 21 February, 1820. He was son of Hon. Warren
(Y.C. 1797) and Elizabeth Cabot (Lowell) Dutton, and was
born in Boston, 7 January, 1810. He was fitted for college in
the Boston Latin School. Immediately after graduating, he
entered the Law School in Cambridge, where he remained
somewhat more than a year ; and then entered as a student the
office of Hon. Franklin Dexter, of Boston (H.C. 1812). In
October, 1832, he was admitted in Boston as attornev of the


Court of Common Pleas, and opened an office at No. 5, Court
Street. At this time he was an ensign in the Boston Light
Infantry. In 1833, he visited Europe. Possessing an ample
competence, he did not pursue his profession as a means of
living. About ten years before his death, he made Longwood
his permanent residence.

He married, 4 November, 1835, Helen Hooper, daughter of
William Hooper, Esq., of Marblehead. The issue of this mar
riage was four children, two sons and two daughters, all
of whom are living. Their mother died 27 February, 1848, at
the age of 31 years.

1831. MOSES HAGAR died in Philadelphia, 18 November,
1860, aged 56 years. He was the eldest son of Elijah and
Mary (Jones) Hagar, and was born in Westminster, Mass.,
9 September, 1804. His father died 27 April, 1841, aged 83
years and 6 months. He pursued his studies, preparatory to
entering college, at StoV, Mass., New Ipswich, N.H., Leices
ter and New Salem, Mass. ; also with Dr. John White, in
Westminster. After graduating, he began the study of law ;
but was not, probably, admitted to the bar. He was at
one time clerk of court in Philadelphia ; but, for some time
previous to his death, he held an agency in one of the various
railroad-offices in that city. He was never married.

1831. JOSEPH RICKETSON WILLIAMS died in Constantine,
Mich., 15 June, 1861, aged 52 years. He was the oldest son
of Capt. Richard and Rebecca (Smith) Williams, and was
born in Taunton, Mass., 14 November, 1808; but removed
soon after his birth, with his parents, to New Bedford. His
father was a highly respectable shipmaster ; and, after his retire
ment from the sea, held for many years the office of postmaster
of New Bedford. At the age of sixteen years, the subject of
this notice was apprenticed in a counting-room in Boston. He
remained there two years ; but, disliking a mercantile life, he
relinquished his place, with the intention of obtaining a col
legiate education. He pursued his preparatory studies at Sand
wich Academy, under the instruction of Luther Barker Lincoln
(H.C. 1822). He gained a high rank of scholarship in his



class, and graduated with distinguished honors. He taught
school in his sophomore year in Concord, Mass., and in his
senior year in Northborough, Mass. After leaving college, he
studied law in the office of Hon. John Davis, of Worcester,
(Y.C. 1812) , was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of
his profession in New Bedford. Soon afterwards, Hon. John
H. Clifford, of New Bedford, offered him a partnership in a
lucrative practice, which he declined on account of his health.
He was always a student ; and as a writer, if he had addressed
himself persistently to any department of letters, would have
been distinguished. He was at one period an acceptable con
tributor to the "North- American Review." An admirable and
exhaustive article upon the whale-fishery appeared in its pages,
prepared by him while he was in Mr. Clifford s office. If he
had devoted himself resolutely to his profession, he would have
obtained a high position in it. The precarious state of his
health from the time of his admission to the bar, and the neces
sity which he thought it impressed upon him for a more out-of-
door life, and in a different climate, only prevented him from
being one of the men of mark in his native state, and return
ing in a larger measure to his Alma Mater the fruits of her
planting. In 1835, he relinquished his profession, having
accepted the agency of an extensive New-England company for
investments in Western lands, and Avent to Toledo, O. The
place, then small, offered few inducements, beyond the opportu
nity for speculation in city property, in which Mr. Williams
successfully engaged. He built the American Hotel in 1836,
and remained there until 1839, when he removed to Constan-
tine, Mich. He there engaged in the milling business, built
a fine mill, and was for several years very successful in this
vocation. Between the years 1837 and 1853, he became iden
tified with the political interests of the state of Michigan. He
was elected a member of the constitutional convention of Michi
gan. He was twice a candidate for United-States senator
against Gen. Cass, before the organization of the republican
party, and was three times a whig candidate for Congress in
the district in which he lived ; and, although his party was

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 371

greatly in the minority, he came within a small vote of an
election. In 1853 he purchased the "Toledo-Blade" establish
ment, and returned to that city. Under his management, the
" Blade " became, from the first, the advocate of republican prin
ciples, and did more to inaugurate the republican party in
Northern Ohio than all the other papers in the state. Mr.
Williams was in failing health when he assumed the manage
ment of the "Blade ;" and, though eminently qualified by capa
city and taste for the occupation, it was one that did not, as he
anticipated, favor his disease. After an editorial career of three
years, he sold the paper to its present proprietors, to occupy the
position, at the hands of the Michigan legislature, of president
of the Agricultural College of Michigan. This institution,
located at Lansing, was but just incorporated ; and, being
unlike any institution in the country, it was, of course, an ex
periment. Mr. Williams was deemed the most suitable person
to inaugurate it, by the character and ability of his writings
and addresses upon the subjects of agriculture. His failing
health was the impediment in the way of success ; and, after a
year of laborious exertion, he was obliged to abandon this posi
tion, and seek relief at Havana and Bermuda. He returned
from the South in the spring of 1860, considerably improved,
and was elected the following fall a member of the senate of
Michigan, which body did him the honor to elect him their
president ; an office for w^hich his talents eminently qualified
him. By the resignation of the lieutenant-governor, Hon.
James Birney, Mr. Williams became acting lieutenant-governor
of the state ; which office he held at the time of his death.

He married, in Buffalo, N. Y., 20 May, 1844, Sarah Kow-
land Langdon, daughter of John and Charlotte Langdon, and a
grand-niece of Gov. John Langdon, of New Hampshire; who,
with three daughters, survived him.

Paris, France, 14 October, 1860, aged 49 years, lacking one
day. He was the only child of Capt. Isaac and Betsey (Tower)
Whittemore, and was born in Scituate, Mass., 15 October,
1811. His father was educated a merchant in the counting-


room of Bordman and Pope, of Boston. On coming of age,
he was first employed as supercargo in one of their ships then
trading on the north-west coast. Afterwards he had com
mand of several of their ships in the same trade until he died in
1818, and was buried on Madison s Island, in the Pacific
-Ocean. He had acquired a handsome property, the fruit of his
maritime industry, which his young son inherited. His mother
was daughter of Matthew Tower, of Scituate. Placed under
the guardianship of the late Dr. Cushing Otis (H.C. 1789), of
his native town, he was liberally provided for, and his education
attended to with all wisdom, discretion, and the most paternal
kindness. He was fitted for college at the Derby Academy in
Hingham, Mass. His ample ^resources pecuniarily, and his
large genial and social qualities, combined with an almost ab
sorbing genius and taste for music, were not calculated to induce
a very close and untiring application to the prescribed studies,
although his talent for acquiring readily a knowledge of the
languages, classic and modern, was remarkable. He needed
the spur of the res angusta domi to make him hold high rank as
a college student. Lacking this, and the other spur of literary
ambition, it is almost needless to add, that he did not graduate
"with all the honors." Immediately after leaving college, he
began, 1 September, 1832, the study of medicine in Boston, in
the Medical School under the superintendence of Dr. James
Jackson (H.C. 1796), and remained there until April, 1833.
He embarked, 1 April, 1833, in company with his classmate Tar-
bell, for Liverpool, to prosecute his studies at the medical schools
of Paris, where he remained three years. In May, 1834, he
was married at Dover, Eng., to Victoire Marie Anne Ade
laide Bellenger, of Paris ; who survived him, without children.
He left Paris, 1 July, 1836, for Heidelberg, Germany, to finish
his medical studies. Having passed a most creditable examina
tion (in the French tongue as a medium of communication) be
fore the medical department of the Heidelberg University, and
obtained his diploma, he returned to Paris, 21 May, 1837. He
then embarked for home, where he arrived 1 July, 1836 ; and
1 September, 1837, began the practice of medicine in his native

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 373

town. He succeeded, with only a short interval, to the large
practice of his late guardian, Dr. Otis, whose place he seemed
almost providentially to have been fitted to supply. His Euro
pean education and universal popularity as a fellow-townsman
combined to render the claims upon his skill very numerous and
constant, and his labors very arduous and unremitting, including
a wide range of travel by night and by day. His wife having
become dissatisfied with Scituate as a place of residence, he was
persuaded to give up his practice, and remove to New-York
city. But, having from his observations there concluded that
dentistry would prove more lucrative to him as a stranger in
that large city than the practice of his profession as a physician,
he placed himself under the instruction of the late Dr. Burdell, at
that time an eminent and successful practitioner of the dental art.
After an itinerary practice in Vermont and Massachusetts for a
few years with varying success, he was strongly urged to estab
lish himself at Rio Janeiro as a dentist ; and he accordingly
embarked at Boston for that place in the fall of 1843. His
genial and refined manners, his unobtrusive deportment, and un
divided attention to his business, very soon won for him hosts of
friends, and an overflowing patronage, until in a few years he
was honored in his calling with the preference of the emperor
and the royal family ; thereby supplanting a jealous . and un
principled rival, and bringing to nought all the "devilish en
ginery " of his malice and falsehood. For the last ten years or
more, up to the time of his leaving Rio, he retained his post of
honor as " dentist to the royal family of Brazil."

On the 7th of April, 1860, he left Rio, via Southampton,
with the intention of coming home ; and on his passage was
struck with paralysis, which rendered him insensible for four
days. He recovered partially, landed at Southampton, re
mained there three weeks, and was then removed to Amiens,
France. Here he hired a pleasant house and garden, as his
home for the coming winter, in the hope of recovering his
health and bodily activity, so as to revisit the home of his youth
in the ensuing spring. But he soon afterwards left Amiens, and
went to Paris, where he concluded to pass the winter. But


alas for all human hopes ! After breakfast, on the 14th of
October, while in the act of replacing his watch, he was struck
again with paralysis ; and looking up to his wife with the
remark, " I can t put it back," he fell into her arms, and never
spoke or knew anything afterwards. He died in the evening of
that day, having very nearly completed forty-nine years of his
existence. The funeral-service of the deceased was performed
by a clergyman of the Protestant church. If report speaks
true, the doctor had accumulated quite a large property during
his residence at Eio. Some, who claim to know, placed it as
high as eighty thousand dollars.

1834. TIIADDEUS CLAPP died in Dorchester, Mass., 10
July, 1861, aged 50 years. He was the second son and third
child of Capt. William and Elizabeth (Humphreys) Clapp,
grandson of Capt. Lemuel and Kebecca (Dexter) Clapp, and
a descendant in the seventh generation from Nicholas and Sarah
Clapp, of Dorchester. He was born in Dorchester, 11 May,
1811. He was fitted for college at the academy of Hiram
Manley (H.C. 1825), in Dorchester. In college he attained a
distinguished rank, and graduated with the second honors of his
class. Immediately after leaving college, he taught, for a short
time, a private school in Brookline. He was superintendent of
the sunday-school of the First Church and Society in Dor
chester for about two years from 1836. On the 16th of Feb
ruary, 1837, he entered his name with Col. Loammi Baldwin,
of Charlestown, Mass., as a student in engineering; but, on
account of ill health, did not prosecute his studies. On taking
his degree of master of arts, in 1837, the Latin valedictory
oration was proffered to him by President Quincy ; which, on
account of feeble health, he could not accept. He was secretary
of the board of school-committee in Dorchester several years,
and wrote some of the annual reports ; among them those for the
years 1842 and 1843, which were printed. In the fall of 1838,
he went to Franklin, La., where he was, for some six or seven
months, a tutor in the family of William T. Palfrey, Esq.,
brother of Hon. John G. Palfrey, postmaster of Boston,
(H.C. 1815). He returned to Dorchester in the summer of

1860-61.] OF HARVAKD COLLEGE. 375

1839. About the year 1840, he engaged in horticultural and
pomological pursuits, which he continued during his life. He
became quite celebrated among the fruit-growers for his theoret
ical and practical knowledge, and obtained many premiums for
choice varieties of fine samples of fruit. He was a member of
the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the Norfolk Agri
cultural Society. He was of a most amiable disposition, and
led a life of unspotted integrity. He married in Claremont,
N.H., 11 August, 1857, Mary H. Dustin, daughter of Rev.
Caleb Dustin ; but had no children. His wife survived him.

1834. RUFUS HOSMER died in Lansing, Mich., 20 April,
1861, aged 45 years. He was son of Hon. Rufus (H.C.
1800) and Amelia (Paine) Hosmer, and was born in Stow,
Mass., 16 July, 1816. His father was born in Concord, Mass.,
18 March, 1778 ; and was a lawyer in Stow. He was a mem
ber of the executive-council in 1839, and died very suddenly
in Boston, 19 April, 1839, aged 61 years. His grandfather,
Hon. Joseph Hosmer, was born in Concord, 25 December,
1735 ; and was one of the most honored and distinguished citi
zens of the town. He took a conspicuous part in the events of
the revolution. He was a representative five, and a senator
twelve, years. He w r as appointed sheriff of the county in
1792, and filled the office fifteen years. He died 31 January,
1821, aged 85 years. His maternal grandfather, Major Phineas
Paine, was a native of Randolph, and was a hero of the revo
lution. He served in the army three years, being at Morristown,
Valley Forge, White Plains, and Monmouth. From Randolph
he removed to Milton Hill, and there married Nancy Babcock.
Many years afterwards, he removed to Concord, where he died.

The subject of this notice was fitted for college at the acad
emy in Stow. After leaving college, he studied law in his
father s office, and attended lectures at the Law School in Cam
bridge. In 1838 he went to Michigan, and soon afterwards
was admitted to the bar. He began the practice of his profession
in Pontiac, Oakland county ; at first in partnership with his cou
sin, Charles Draper (H.C. 1833), and afterwards with the late
George Wisner. He was very successful, and attained a high


rank as a lawyer. But, after a few years, he relinquished the
profession, removed to Detroit, and became editor of the " Daily
Advertiser," in that city ; in which position he remained about
seven years ; when, having been appointed state-printer, it be
came necessary for him to reside in the capital of the state ; and
he removed to Lansing, -where he became part owner and editor
of the " Lansing Advertiser." Here he remained about three
years ; and relinquished his situation, a few days before his death,
to accept the appointment of consul at Frankfort-on-the-Main,
which had been conferred upon him. While making prepara
tions for his departure to his foreign post, he was prostrated by
an attack of apoplexy, which terminated his life after a few
days illness. As an editor and an agreeable and finished writer,
he had few superiors. But it was for his high social qualities,
his keen wit, his ready repartee, and his powers of conversation,
that he was best known and most admired in the various com
munities in which he resided.

He married, in 1840, Sarah Chamberlin, daughter of Dr.
Olmsted Chamberlin, of Pontiac. His wife survived him ;
as did also three children, two daughters and an infant son.
A year ago, in May last, he lost his then only son, Rufus, at
the age of eighteen years. The little boy, who survives him,
was only ten days old when his father died ; and, the day before
he was taken sick, he named him Rufus, making the third gene
ration who bore that name.

1840. Dr. BENJAMIN HEYWOOD died in Worcester, Mass.,
21 July, 1860, aged 39 years. He was the eldest son of Dr.
Benjamin Franklin (D.C. 1812) and Nancy (Green) Hey wood,
and was born in Worcester, 16 July, 1821. He was fitted for
college at the classical school in Worcester, under Charles Thurber
(B.U. 1827). Immediately after leaving college, he began the
study of medicine under the instruction of his father, attended his
first course of medical lectures in Boston, and the two succeed
ing courses in Philadelphia ; and, in the spring of 1843, received
the degree of M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, in Phila
delphia. He then began the practice of his profession in Wor
cester, and continued it until the spring of 1846 ; when he went

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 377

to Europe, for the purpose of perfecting himself in the theory
and practice of surgery in the city of Paris. He returned in
1847, and resumed the practice of his profession in Worcester,
and continued until almost the day of his decease : having pre
scribed, within three days of his death, for an old patient ; and
prescribing, also, mainly for himself during his long illness of
more than a year. He combined, with high attainments in theo
retical knowledge, rare skill in diagnosis, and discriminating
judgment in the application of his remedial agents. Few men
of his years in the profession were more successful practitioners,
both in medicine and surgery. Descended from a line of an
cestry eminently distinguished in medicine and surgery, he
seemed to have acquired the art of healing almost by intuition.
Apprehending readily the obscure as well as the prominent in
dications of disease, his remedies were adapted with rare skill
and success. He w r as never married.

1846. JOHN DOWNES AUSTIN, of Boston, died in White
Plains, N.Y., 28 February, 1861, aged 34 years. He arrived
at New- York city from Boston, on Thursday, 26 February,
on a visit to some relatives. On Wednesday, he expressed
apprehensions of an attack of temporary insanity, with which
he had been affected on two former occasions ; and, should it
occur, he feared he might attempt to commit suicide. He
therefore wished that his friends would keep all implements of
harm out of his way. In consequence of this, a friend kept
watch of him during the night, and he rested quietly. About
daylight on the 28th, this watcher fell asleep. He slept about
twenty minutes ; and, \vhen he awoke, he found that Mr. Austin
had disappeared. Search was immediately made for him, but in
vain. On Friday, 1 March, his hat was found in Bronx River,
not far from Williams Bridge, and his shirt on the bank of the
river near by ; which led to the inference, that he had committed
suicide by drowning : and a careful search of the river was made
for his body, but with no success. Search was continued by his
friends and the police, and a reward of one hundred dollars was
offered for the discovery of his body. On Thursday, 11 April,
a man was fishing from a boat in a pond at White Plains, when



he observed a strange object in the bottom of the water. Assist
ance was procured ; and the object, which proved to be the body
of Mr. Austin, was drawn up. A very affecting incident con
nected with the matter was the sudden death of his elder brother,
Mr. William Downes Austin, formerly of the United-States navy,
at a village in New Jersey, on the 4th of April. He was plunged
into great grief at the disappearance of his brother John, and
joined in the search of the missing man. He repaired to New
Jersey to view the body of \a man who had been found there.
He had been called to breakfast, and replied that he would be
down soon ; but, not appearing, a servant went to his room
again, and found him lying dead upon his bed, his eyes suffused
with tears.

The subject of this notice was son of William and Hepzibah
(Downes) Austin, and was born in Boston, 10 February, 1827.
He resided in Boston, Roxbury, Lowell, and Dedham, Mass. ;
at Raven wood Plantation, La. ; and Columbia, Tenn. He
attended school some time at the last-named place. In 1839
and 1840, he made voyages to New Orleans. He was fitted for
college at the school of Mr. Stephen Minot Weld (H.C. 1826)
at Jamaica Plain. After graduating, he pursued the study of the
law in the office of Bradford Surnner, of Boston (B.U. 1808) ;
completed his studies at the Law School in Cambridge,
where he received the degree of LL.B. in 1848 ; and was ad
mitted to the Suffolk bar in 1849. In 1850, he removed to
Taunton, Mass., where, for a short time, he practised law
in company with Horatio Pratt (B.U. 1825). In 1853, he
went to New York to reside ; but shortly afterwards returned
to Boston. In 1854, he practised law in Boston. In 1856,

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 34 of 49)