Joseph Palmer.

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

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after the death of his father, having relinquished law, he
passed one or two winters at Water Proof, La., superintending
the affairs of a plantation belonging to a connection.

Mr. Austin was a person of excellent abilities and under
standing, with a mind Well stored with general information.
The wandering life which he led, as a boy, would seem to have
had some influence on his late career, and to have unfitted him
for the pursuit of a profession ; on which, through an inherited

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 379

competency, he was not obliged to rely for a livelihood. He
was never married.

1849. Dr. HORACE WALTER ADAMS died in Boston,
17 February, 1861, aged 33 years. He was son of Charles Fre
derick and Caroline Hesselrigge (Walter) Adams, and was born
in Boston, 8 December, 1827. He was fitted for college at the
public Latin School in this city. He adopted the practice of
medicine for a profession, and pursued his studies at the Tre-
mont Medical School in Boston. He chose his native city as
the field of his practice, and was early appointed a dispensary
physician ; and so deeply did he interest himself in this practice,
that at one time he had charge of the invalid poor, under the
auspices of that benevolent institution, for wards four, five, and
six. His labors in this department of practice were very various,
extensive, and arduous ; yet he cheerfully and faithfully re
sponded to all their requirements.

He was a sincere lover of his profession, which was adopted,
not from necessity, but from a real and abiding interest in its
pursuit, which induced him to devote to its practice the best
energies of his life. His services were very frequently demanded
at the Eye-and-Ear Infirmary in Boston, where he established a
character for reliable judgment, and gentleness of treatment of
those delicate organs, which made him a skilful operator at that
institution. He was untiring in industry and zeal for those pa
tients whom he attracted about him : indeed, his devotion to his
profession was at times so absorbing, that he felt it due to his own
health that both his body and mind should have occasional
recreation. Accordingly, he was accustomed from time to time,
as he felt the need thereof, to engage with one or two friends in
sporting excursions, of which he was remarkably fond; and
it was on an occasion of this nature that he contracted the disease
which terminated his life.

On Tuesday, 5 February, 1861, he left Boston, in company
with Mr. Francis Lowell Gardner, a member of the junior class
at Harvard College, and two other friends, to spend a few days at
Cotuit Point, a town on the South Shore. On Sunday, the 10th
of February, Mr. Gardner, having contracted a very severe cold


which affected his throat, died of diphtheria, most unexpectedly to
his friends and associates. Dr. Adams attended Mr. Gardner
most assiduously ; and he was brought so immediately in contact
with his friend and patient at the last hours of his life, that he
unconsciously imbibed some portion of the fatal disorder into his
throat and lungs, which became immediately affected on his re
turn to Boston, where he died on the Sunday following, 17 Feb
ruary, of the same disorder. He was never married.

Dr. Adams was not only an accomplished physician, but his
genial manners, his kindness of heart, and his own ready sym
pathy with the sick and suffering, so won the confidence of his
indigent patients, that their affection for him often outlived their
convalescence, and led them, as was repeatedly the case, to con
sult him and seek his judicious advice upon pecuniary matters ;
to which, although foreign to his profession, he always gave the
most careful attention : and for his untimely departure there
were very many of his patients whose hearts were made really
desolate ; some who wept bitter tears for the loss of their " good

1854. WILLIAM GASTON PEARSON died in Oakland, Ma
rion county, Cal., 19 January, 1861, aged 26 years. He was
born in North Carolina, 24 March, 1834. He was at St.
James College, Maryland, five years, three in the preparatory
school, and two in the college. He entered the sophomore class
in Harvard College in September, 1851 ; left, on account of
ill health, in November, 1853 ; but took his degree with his
class. He went to Europe, where he remained a year ; then
back to this country for a while ; then to Cuba for a winter ; and
thence to San Francisco, Cal., where his disease (consumption)
seemed to be arrested. He returned to the Atlantic states in
1857 or 1858, and went to farming on his family estate at Brent-
wood, near Washington, D.C. His health continued pretty
good until the spring of 1860, when a violent pleurisy again
prostrated him. He failed rapidly, and on the 1st of De
cember he sailed again for California, in hopes of a recovery ;
but he was too far gone, and died 19 January, soon after his

1860-61.] OP HARVARD COLLEGE. 381

1856. ISAAC NELSON BEALS died of consumption, in
Dexter, Me., 5 August, 1860, aged 29 years. He was son of
Isaiah and Lucy (Bradstreet) Beals, and was born in Dexter,
12 June, 1831. He was fitted for college at small academies
and high-schools in the villages of Dexter, St. Alban s, and
Corinna, Me. ; being governed in his choice of a school from
term to term by circumstances and the abilities of the teacher.
In his preparation for college, as well as during his college
career, he was obliged to rely mainly upon such pecuniary
resources as he could control by his own labor, principally in
school-teaching. In September, 1853, he entered the sopho
more class in Waterville College, Me. ; having pursued the
studies of the first year by himself, while teaching school, or
while at home in the intervals of teaching. One who was a
classmate with him at Waterville remarks, that "on entering
college he at once took a high rank, which he constantly im
proved." At the end of the junior year, he left Waterville ;
and in September, 1855, he entered Harvard at the beginning
of the senior year. Here he exhibited the same studious traits
which appear to have characterized his course at Waterville.
In the winter after he entered Harvard, he taught West-
brook Seminary, in Westbrook, Me. ; and in April, 1856,
having received the appointment of principal of the high-school,
Quincy, Mass., the faculty of the college gave him permission
to begin his school before taking his degree ; and he immedi
ately entered upon his duties there. His labors in this school
were highly satisfactory to the committee ; who state, in their
report, that " at each visitation they witnessed proofs of thorough
and faithful training, and heard recitations, which, in some
respects, were wonderful." In September, 1858, he became
principal of the high-school in Somerville, Mass., which ap
peared to have been unpopular in the town, and in a chaotic
state ; but in the face of much opposition, and with constant
ill health, he gave to the school, in less than a year, a high
intellectual character and a faultless discipline. In discipline,
indeed, he appeared ever to have excelled. In the summer of
1859, he accepted an invitation to take charge of a new


school to be opened in Newton, and located in the village of
Newtonville ; and entered upon his duties in September. Here
he remained until ill health compelled him to resign, in April,
1860. His physical powers were by nature capable of great
endurance ; but excessive mental labor from his boyhood, to
which he was urged by his ambition to excel, backed by his
almost unconquerable will, together with constant mental
anxiety while bearing the responsibilities of prominent public
schools, wore him out ; and when at length he was induced to
give up work, which was several months after his physician
began persuading him to do so, he was ill and exhausted beyond
the chance of recovery. Immediately after his resignation, by
the advice of his physician, he went to Philadelphia to seek the
benefit of a milder climate. He returned in May, without any
permanent improvement. He then went to his native place in
Maine, hoping that the climate there might be beneficial ; but
all to no purpose. He rapidly declined until death closed
the scene. A communication from an intimate friend of the
deceased to Mr. William Wirt Burr age, the secretary of the
class, who kindly furnished the above sketch, says, "During
the last few weeks of his illness, his character presented a very
pleasant phase of mildness and tenderness, strongly contrasting
with his habitual temperament. He was a great sufferer, but
bore his pain patiently, and never murmured a word at his lot.
In the last few days, he realized, more fully than did his friends,
how near death was, talked composedly of it, and was prepared
to meet it bravely and manfully. He was an ardent lover of
nature, and spent hours out of doors for no other purpose than
to admire its beauties, seeking varied landscape views from
every hill-top and mountain. He ignored religious forms, but
was no stranger to religion itself."

He married, 9 August, 1859, Caroline Rowena Burgess,
who had been his assistant at the high-school at Quincy. She
was the daughter of Josiah and Nancy W. (Fuller) Burgess of
Waltham, Mass. His younger and only brother Charles, who,
like Isaac, inherited from his parents a decided character and
great strength of will, died in 1857, about 25 years of age, from

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 383

illness brought on a few years before by physical over-exertion,
into which he had been led by his ambition. The family survi
vors of the deceased are his widow, who lives in Cambridge ; and
his father and mother, who live in Dexter, Me.

1856. THOMAS THAXTER died in Methuen, Mass., 15 Au
gust, 1860, aged 26 years. He was son of Thomas and Ruby
(Bradstreet) Thaxter, and was born in Methuen, 24 December,
1833. He was a twin. His brother Robert died when two
years of age. His father, whose first known ancestor, Deacon
Thomas Thaxter, was born in Machias, Me., 2 November,
1792, settled in Hingham, Mass., in 1635. He was connected
with the Methuen Manufacturing Company, and died 27 Jan
uary, 1842. His mother, whose first known ancestor was Gov.
Simon Bradstreet, was born in Billerica, Mass., 4 July, 1800 ;
and died in Methuen, 21 June, 1845. His parents were mar
ried 2 September, 1827. On the death of his mother, Mr. John
Davis, of Methuen, was appointed guardian of the surviving
children, Ruby and Thomas. Thomas lived for a short time
upon a farm with Deacon Edward Carleton ; and about October,
1846, began to attend a private school kept by Moses Bur bank
and wife, and boarded with his uncle, Mr. William Thaxter.
Here he remained a year, and then entered a family boarding-
school in Fairhaven, Mass., kept by Rev. William Gould, where
he remained about thirteen months. In 1849, he went to Phil
lips Academy, Andover, to prepare for college, where he re
mained a year and a half. While in Andover in 1851, he
joined the Congregational (Orthodox) church in Methuen. In
September, 1852, he entered the freshman class in Yale Col
lege, where he remained until May, 1854, when he took up his
connexions. In September, 1854, he entered the junior class
at Harvard. Towards the end of the term, a weakness of his
eyes obliged him to remit his studies ; and in April of the follow
ing term he was compelled, from a general failure of health, to
leave college. He did not return until January, 1856 ; from
which time he remained until graduation. During the time he
was able to study, he gained a very high rank in his class,
and a reputation for persevering industry and ambitious scholar-


ship. On leaving college, he intended to pursue a business
career, and entered the counting-room of E. and T. Fairbanks
and Co., dealers in scales, No. 24, Kilby Street, Boston, but
soon left on account of his health ; and, with the hope of improv
ing it, he went, in April, 1857, to Fairbault, Minn., on a visit
to his uncle, Mr. William Thaxter, where, and in the vicinity,
he remained working on a farm until November of that year.

His health having apparently improved, he, in December,
began to teach a public school in Stillwater, Minn., and, 1 Sep
tember, 1858, became principal of the high-school; but it was
soon apparent that his health was not sufficient to sustain the
labor. Before the end of his first term, he entered the school
room one morning, feeling very weak ; had proceeded with but
few recitations, when he fainted; was obliged to dismiss his
school, never to resume it. Symptoms of incipient consumption
were developed, followed by hemorrhage at the lungs. But by
his ambition and perseverance he rallied in a degree, and took
a class of private pupils, who recited to him a few hours daily.
The secretary of his class, to whom we are indebted for the
foregoing particulars, concludes his record by quoting an account
of the last portion of his life from one who had the best opportu
nity of learning the incidents : "As long as he was able to work,
so long did he persist in doing so, even to within a short time of
his decease. But, as daily and weekly he became sensible of a
gradual decline, he began to feel a desire to be amon^ his early
friends ; and in September, 1859, he returned to the East, to
the house of Mr. Davis, his former guardian, where he remained
until his death. For a short time after his return home, he
seemed stronger. He could not rest unemployed ; and, against
the wishes of his friends, he began book-keeping for a firm in
Lawrence, Mass., with whom he remained three months. Here
it was painfully evident to his friends that his life was fast ebbing
away. He would frequently say, * Am I lazy? or am I grow
ing weaker? He was confined to his bed only four days, and
to the last of his life manifested the same desire to wait upon
himself, which had been one of the prevailing traits of his char
acter during his long sickness. Through the many months of

1860-61.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 385

his last sickness, he often spoke of dying with the calmness that
characterizes the Christian. When dying, his mind was calm
and clear; and almost his last words were, f l want to go to
heaven : I want to begin to work there. >!

He left, as the only survivor of his immediate family, a sister,
Mrs. Euby T. Tenny, of Methuen.




1796. HENRY ABBOT died in Andover, Mass., 13 Janu
ary, 1862, aged 84 years. He was the fourth child and second
son of Capt. Henry and Phebe (Abbot) Abbot, and was born
in Andover, 8 April, 1777. His father was son of Henry ; was
born in Andover, 10 January, 1725 ; and died 21 February,
1805, aged 80 years. His mother was daughter of Deacon
Isaac Abbot, of Andover; was born 26 November, 1746 ; and
died 29 June, 1833, aged 86 years. He was fitted for college
at Phillips Academy, Andover. After leaving college, he en
gaged in mercantile business in Bedford, Mass. He did not,
however, remain there long ; but went to sea, in the capacity of
captain s-clerk, with Capt. David Woodward, of Charlestown,
in the ship " Catharine," of Boston, owned by Samuel Torrey,
Esq. : it was a voyage around the world. Sailing from Bos
ton, they touched at Rio Janeiro, and, doubling Cape Horn,
proceeded up the west coast of South America, stopping at
various places along the coast, until they reached California,
whose golden treasures were then undreamed of; yet, as far as
their voyage was concerned, the gains of their traffic along that
coast exceeded those of many of the present day who meet
with more than average success in the land of gold. Their
next destination, was Canton ; where they arrived, after stop
ping on their way at the Sandwich Islands, which were then
in their primitive condition of barbarism. Taking in a cargo of
Canton goods, the ship returned to Boston by way of the Cape
of Good Hope. At the Isle of France, on his return voyage,
Mr. Abbot was greatly and agreeably surprised to meet his
brother, whom he supposed to be at home ; and learned from
him the death of their father, who, at the age of eighty years,
was in good health when he parted from him. He made

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 387

one more similar voyage with the same captain, in the ship
" Dromo ; " which was also owned by Samuel Torrey. His
attachment to Capt. Woodward was very strong. He spoke of
his treatment of him as being like that of a father, and also
of his kind and considerate treatment of his crew ; while,
at the same time, his authority over them was unimpaired.
After his return from his last voyage, he engaged in trade at
Andover ; but soon afterwards, in partnership with his brother,
went into the wholesale grocery-business in Boston. Owing to
the embarrassments brought upon the trade by the embargo at
that time, their business was unsuccessful ; and Mr. Abbot re
turned to Andover. About 1814, he visited the Western
country ; crossing the Alleghany Mountains on foot, and, from
Pittsburg, navigating the Ohio River, with a single companion,
in a small boat, to the falls of the Ohio River at Louisville,
Ky. There were but few inhabitants along the Ohio at that
early day ; and the principal places where he stopped to trans
act business (which are now large and flourishing cities)
were at that time small settlements, composed of a few log-
cabins. At Lexington, Ky., he met with Mr. Newman (after
wards Prof. Samuel P. Newman, of Bowdoin College), and
returned home in company with him, performing the whole
journey on horseback. He afterwards went a journey South as
far as Georgia, to visit his brother. On his return home, he
settled down in Andover with his mother, on the home-farm,
and remained there until her death. He then removed to
Chester, N.H. ; and, after residing there about six years, re
turned to Andover, and lived there, amidst old scenes and old
acquaintance, until his death.

He was a member of the Old South Church in Andover for
thirty-eight years. Pie was unswerving and decided in his reli
gious convictions and principles, earnest and consistent in his
Christian life. In his family he was social, warm-hearted, and
cheerful ; and, in his intercourse with society, genial and friend
ly ; generally lively, and often jocose, in the company of his
friends. In politics, early in life, he was fully convinced of the
correctness and true policy of the principles of the federalists,


and honestly contended for the interests of that party. He
naturally fell in with the sentiments of the whigs when that
party came into existence, advocated their principles, and heart
ily co-operated with them. In his last years, he uniformly
acted and voted with the republicans ; and cast his last vote for
the candidates of that party, at the last November election.
He was abroad until a few wrecks before his death, retained his
faculties to the last, and died, not of disease, but of old age.

He married, May, 1807, Judith Follansbee, a niece and
adopted child of Dr. Abiel Pierson, of Andover. He had six
children, four daughters and two sons. Three of the daugh
ters and one son survived him. His wife also survives him ;
being now eighty years of age.

1798. Hon. EICHARD SULLIVAN died in Cambridge, 11
December, 1861, aged 82 years. He was the third son of
Hon. James and Mehitable (Odiorne) Sullivan, and was born
in Groton, Mass., 17 July, 1779. His father was born in
Berwick, Me., 22 April, 1744. He was a lawyer by profes
sion, and began practice in Georgetown, Me. ; but soon after
wards removed to Biddeford, Me. In February, 1778, he
removed to Groton, Mass. ; and, in 1782, he removed from
Groton to Boston. He was a judge of the Supreme Court,
and attorney-general of Massachusetts. In 1807, he was cho
sen governor of the state; was re-elected in 1808, and died
while in office, 10 December, 1808. Mr. Sullivan s mother
was the daughter of William Odiorne, a ship-builder, of Dur
ham, N.H., where she was born 26 June, 1748; and died in
Boston, 26 January, 1786. Young Sullivan was fitted for
college at the Boston Latin School. He was well prepared for
pursuing the prescribed studies in the college course, but did
not presume so far upon his acquirements as to pass superficially
over the assigned tasks. As a scholar, he was among the most
distinguished of his class. His character was spotless, his
disposition kind and benevolent, his manners polished, without
affectation or parade. After leaving college, he studied law in
the office of his father, and was admitted to the Suffolk bar in
1801, but did not long pursue his profession, as he had an

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 389

ample competence of worldly goods. In his early manhood, he
took much interest in political affairs. He was elected a senator
in the state legislature from Suffolk in 1815 and the two fol
lowing years ; was a member, from Brookline, of the conven
tion for revising the constitution of the state in 1820 ; was a
member of the governor s council in 1820 and 1821. In 1823,
he was the candidate of the federal party for lieutenant-gover
nor of the state, the Hon. Harrison Gray Otis being the candi
date for governor; but the ticket was defeated. In 1821, he
was elected a member of the board of overseers of Harvard
College, and held that office until the board was newly consti
tuted by an act of the legislature of Massachusetts in 1852, which
was accepted by the corporation and overseers of the college.
He was public-spirited and philanthropic ; and the records of
several of our most valuable public institutions, founded during
the first thirty years of the present century, bear ample testi
mony to his services in their behalf. It was at a meeting of
gentlemen at his house that the project of the Massachusetts
General Hospital was first seriously started ; and, among those
who aided in rearing that beneficent establishment, the labors
of few were more earnest or efficient than those of Mr. Sulli
van. Removing into the country, and residing for many years
in the neighboring town of Brookline, he was among the first
of those, who, nearly half a century ago, gave an impulse to
rural tastes and pursuits, to the advancement of agriculture,
and to that culture of fruits and flowers, which, now wide
spread, does so much to embellish and refine life among us.
Here, at his beautiful estate in the country, surrounded by his
wife and daughters, he had a home, which, in the dignity and
grace that presided over it, in the intellectual and moral refine
ment that pervaded it, in the holy love and faith that sanctified
it, was the model of a Christian home ; and comes up to the
thoughts of all who remember it, as being as near an approach
to a picture and miniature of heaven as they may ever hope
to see on earth.

He married, 22 May, 1804, Sarah Russell, a daughter of
the eminent and wealthy merchant, Thomas Russell, of Boston ;


and shortly after, in company with her, made an extensive tour
in Europe. The issue of this marriage was four sons and four
daughters, of whom only two sons survived him. His wife
died 8 June, 1831.

1799. Gen. WILLIAM HYSLOP SUMNER died in West
Koxbury (Jamaica Plain), Mass., 24 October, 1861, aged
81 years. He had been helpless from paralysis for four years ;
and, for the last two years of his life, was hardly able to utter a
sentence intelligibly. He was the only son of Hon. Increase
(H.C. 1767) and Elizabeth (Hyslop) Sumner, and was born
in Koxbury, 4 July, 1780. His father was born in Roxbury,
27 November, 1746; was associate-judge of the Supreme Court
from 1782 to 1797 ; was governor of Massachusetts from 1797
until his death, 7 June, 1799. His mother was the daugh
ter of William and Mehitable Hyslop ; was born in Boston,
5 August, 1757 ; and died 28 December, 1810, aged 53 years.
William Hyslop was an eminent and prosperous merchant in
Boston, but about 1781 removed to Brookline, Mass., where
he died 11 August, 1796, aged 84 years. The house in which
the subject of this notice was born was formerly owned by
Judge Robert Auchmuty, a royalist, and was confiscated. He
was first sent to school under the charge of Master Abiel
Hey wood (H.C. 1781), principal of the grammar-school in
Roxbury; next under Rev. William Emerson (H.C. 1789),
afterwards minister of the First Church in Boston, who was
succeeded by Rev. Calvin Whiting (H.C. 1791), he being
followed by Rev. John Pipon (H.C. 1792), afterwards

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 35 of 49)