Joseph Palmer.

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

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ernment ! As to our city, no power, human or divine, could
save it from utter desolation and ruin in that event."

Mr. Prentiss married, 22 December, 1825, Amelia F. Ken
nedy, of Baltimore. The issue of this marriage was nine
children, five sons and four daughters, of whom four sons
only survived him. The oldest son is a physician, and resides on
his father s estate. His wife died February, 1857 ; and he mar
ried for his second wife, July, 1858, Sarah Watson, of Nan-
tucket, Mass., who survives him. By his second wife he had
one child, which died when a few months old.

1818. Rev. CHARLES ROBINSON died in Groton, Mass.,
9 April, 1862, aged 68 years. He was the eldest son of Caleb
and Judith (Robinson) Robinson, and \vas born in Exeter, N.H.,
25 July, 1793. His father was a native of Exeter ; as were also
his grandfather and great-grandfather on the paternal side, both

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 413

of whom bore the Christian name of Caleb. His grandfather was
a major or a lieutenant-colonel of the New-Hampshire militia,
in the battle of Bunker Hill. He afterwards served as an officer
in the continental army during the revolution, and died soon
after his return from the war. His mother was born in Glou
cester, Mass. Her father s name was John Robinson. He was
an Englishman, and followed the sea as a profession. He settled
in Gloucester, and married Hannah Lane. They had four
children, all daughters ; and his wife died in giving birth to
Robinson s mother. Her husband was then at sea ; and, when he
returned, the news of the death of his wife made such an impres
sion upon him, that he sickened, and died a few days afterwards,
leaving four fatherless and motherless children, who were
taken and cared for by their grandmother Lane, until the oldest
was married, and removed to Exeter. Robinson s mother, at
that time but a child, went with her. His father died at the
age of about 32 years, leaving his wife, with four young children,
without property : but she was a woman of very extraordinary
physical and mental powers, of great endurance, industry, and
ingenuity, which enabled her to bring up her family through
great hardships, until they were able to help themselves ; and
then Robinson and two sisters devoted themselves to the attain
ment of an education somewhat above the humble condition of
their lives. His mother lived to the age of 87 years, almost
always enjoying good health.

He was fitted for college at Exeter Academy. He held a
high rank of scholarship in his class, and graduated with honors.
After leaving college, he went to Maryland, where he was presi
dent of Washington College for one year. He then returned,
and studied theology at the Divinity School in Cambridge.
He was ordained over the Unitarian church in Eastport, Me.,
30 October, 1822 ; resigned his charge, 1 April, 1825. He was
installed at Groton, 1 November, 1826 ; and resigned in Octo
ber, 1838 ; installed at Medfield, 16 October, 1839 ; resigned
1 September, 1850; installed at Peterborough, N.H., 4 De
cember, 1851 ; resigned 24 June, 1860. He then returned
to Groton, where he resided until his death 1


He married, for his first wife, 3 July, 1827, Jane Park, only
daughter of Stewart J. Park, of Groton ; and had one child,
Jane, born 17 March, 1828, who lived only five days. His
wife died 23 March, 1828.

He married, for his second wife, 1 January, 1830, Diantha
Prentiss, daughter of Hon. John Prentiss, of Keene, N.H.
She died at Medfield, 18 May, 1843, no children.

He married, for his third wife, 11 September, 1844, Sally
May Cotton, daughter of Eev. Ward Cotton (H.C. 1793), of
Boylston, Mass., and had by her two children; viz., Sarah
Jane, born 29 July, 1845, died 8 October, 1847; and Charles
Cotton, born 22 May, 1849, who survived him. His wife
died 6 June, 1849.

He married, for his fourth wife, 1 September, 1850, Eliza
beth Jane Burton, daughter of Jonathan Burton, of Wilton,
N.H., and had one child; viz., William Burton, born 3 April,
1854 ; who, with his mother, survived him.

1818. Dr. SIMON WHITNEY died in Framingham, Mass.,
2 September, 1861, aged 62 years. He was the youngest
but one of nine children of Nathaniel Ruggles and Abigail
(Frothingham) Whitney, and was born in Watertown, Mass.,
30 October, 1798. His father was son of Simon and Mary
(Ruggles) Whitney ; was born in Watertown, 19 March,
1759 ; was a teacher in early life, afterwards a trader and
farmer: died 17 December, 1833. His mother was daughter
of James Frothingham, for many years deacon of Dr. Jede-
diah Morse s church in Charlestown, Mass. The subject of this
notice began his preparatory studies for college under the instruc
tion of Abiel Jaques (H.C. 1807), at Newton Corner, Mass.,
where he remained about one year ; and completed his studies
under Samuel Hunt, of Watertown (H.C. 1765). Mr. Hunt
was born in Watertown, 25 October, 1745 ; was appointed
master of the Boston Latin School, 8 November, 1776, where
he remained until January, 1805 ; when he resigned, and re
turned to his native place. He afterwards went to the West ;
and died in Lexington, Ky., 8 October, 1816, aged 71 years.
After leaving college, Mr. Whitney taught school six months in

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 415

Brighton ; then went to Charlestown, where he taught six
months ; and there he began the study of medicine, under the
instruction of Dr. William Johnson Walker (H.C. 1810),
where he remained until 1822, when he received his degree of
M.D. ; and established himself in Framingham, where he passed
the remainder of his life. He soon acquired an extensive prac
tice, and gained the confidence of the community in which he
resided. His practice was in accordance with the plain principles
of the science of medicine. He dealt in no occult sciences, nor
patent medicines, which none but the initiated could understand.
His fine powers of observation, perception, and discrimination,
enabled him to gather up, in the range of his extensive practice,
a large amount of experience and practical knowledge ; and
made him always welcome to the chamber of sickness and suffer
ing, which his genial spirit and manners brought confidence to,
and brightened with the light of faith and hope. As a citizen,
he was honored and trusted ; for he was always ready, with
heart and hand and purse, to do any good word or work. In
the Christian church, he was a strong pillar and a beautiful ex
ample, in ever treading in the footsteps of " Him who went
about doing good." He was repeatedly honored by offices of
honor and trust. He was surgeon of the regiment in that
vicinity five years ; captain of an infantry company ; leader of
the choir thirty years ; was frequently elected selectman, and
chairman of the board ; w^as a justice of the peace for fifteen
years ; and was representative to the state legislature from
Framingham in 1853.

He married, 6 May, 1824, Mary Walker, daughter of
Timothy Walker, Esq., of Charlestown, and sister of Dr.
William J. Walker, with whom he studied medicine. The issue
of this marriage was eight children : viz., 1. Elizabeth Walker,
born 8 April, 1825; married, 30 August, 1845, John W.
Osgood, M.D., a practising physician in Saxonville, Mass., who
have had three children, two sons and one daughter. 2. Mary,
born 16 August, 1826,^ and died the next day. 3. Allston
Waldo, a graduate at the Harvard Medical School in 1852, and
a practising physician in South Framingham. 4. Abby Walker,


born 23 July, 1829. 5. Henry Augustus, born 11 January,
1831 ; was drowned while bathing, 22 July, 1840. 6. Harriet
Lincoln, born 3 October, 1833. 7. Clarence, born 1 January,
1838. 8. James Bradish, born 22 August, 1843. His wife
survived him.

1818. Hon. JOHN HUBBAKD WILKINS died in Boston,
5 December, 1861, aged 67 years, lacking five days. He was
the youngest son of Deacon Samuel and Dorcas (Towne) Wil-
kins, and was born in Amherst, N.H., 10 December, 1794.
He was also grandson of Rev. Daniel Wilkins (H.C. 1736),
the first settled minister of his native town. It was the inten
tion of Deacon Wilkins that his youngest son should become a
merchant. He accordingly left home early in life, and was em
ployed in the store of a Mr. Randall, in the neighboring town of
Mount Vernon. After remaining there about a year, he went
to Boston, and was employed in the store of Mr. David S.
Eaton, on Long Wharf, where he continued until the war with
England began, in 1812. He then conceived the idea of ob
taining a more thorough education, and, having purchased some
books, returned to his native town with the view of preparing
for college. His father told him that a college education would
be very expensive ; that he was unable to assist him ; and that,
if he entered college, he would not succeed in going through the
course. He replied, that he thought he would try. He was
fitted for college by Rev. Humphrey Moore (H.C. 1799), of
Milford, N.H. He attained a distinguished rank of scholarship
in his class, and graduated with high honors. Immediately
after leaving college, he was appointed preceptor of Taunton
Academy, where he remained one year. He then entered the
Divinity School in Cambridge, where he studied theology two
years. In 1821, he came to Boston, and entered the book
store of Hilliard, Gray, and Co., as a salesman; and, in 1826,
he was admitted as a partner in that well-known publishing
house, where he remained until 1832, when he withdrew. The
next year he formed a copartnership with Mr . Charles Bolles,
under the style of John H. Wilkins and Co., as paper-dealers,
in Water Street. In 1835, Mr. Bolles withdrew. Mr. Wilkins

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 417

then took in as a partner Mr. Richard B. Carter, and they
continued business under the firm of Wilkins and Carter ; and,
in 1844, Hon. Alexander H. Rice (U.C. 1844), for two years
mayor of Boston, and afterwards a representative in Congress,
was admitted as a partner, under the style of Wilkins, Carter, and
Co. In his business, Mr. Wilkins displayed great talent and
stern integrity. He was a skilful financier, was very success
ful, and acquired an ample competence. In 1853, the National
Bank was established in Boston. Mr. Wilkins, having been
elected its president, withdrew from mercantile business, and de
voted himself to the interests of that institution ; which he did
with rare ability. He held the office of president until October,
1861, when, at the annual meeting, he, on account of ill health,
declined to be a candidate for re-election.

Mr. Wilkins was a most useful and valued citizen, and the
estimation in which he was held was often manifested. He was
elected a member of the Boston common-council in 1840,
1841, 1842, and 1843; was an alderman in 1844, 1848, and
1849 ; was elected to the senate in the state legislature in 1850
and 1851 ; and was a member of the state convention in 1853.
He was for five years president of the Cochituate Water Board.
He was once a candidate for mayor, but failed of an election by
a few votes.

In 1822, he published a work entitled " Elements of Astron
omy % " for the use of schools and academies. This treatise met
with a rapid sale. The encouragement he received induced him
to correct and somewhat enlarge his work ; and, in 1823, he
issued a second edition. Subsequently, the book was stereo
typed. In 1822, the celebrated mathematician, Warren Col-
burn (H.C. 1820), wrote thus to Mr. . Wilkins : "I have
examined your treatise on astronomy, and I think that subject is
better explained, and that more matter is contained in this, than
in any other book of the kind with which I am acquainted."
During the discussion of the subject of introducing water into
the city of Boston, Mr. Wilkins took a prominent part. He
wrote several pamphlets on the question, which were printed,
and contributed many valuable articles in the newspapers. At



the consecration, 24 June, 1852, of Mount-Hope Cemetery, in
Dorchester and West Roxbury, he acted as president of the
corporation, and made some introductory remarks, which were
published in the pamphlet containing the order of services. He
was one of the most active and efficient members in establishing
the New-Jerusalem (Swedenborgian) Church in Boston, of which
his classmate, Rev. Thomas Worcester, D.D., is the pastor.
The total amount of his donations to the society, it is said, were
not less than fifty thousand dollars.

He married, 17 November, 1826, Mrs. Thomasine E. Minot ;
she being a sister of the late Professor William Cranch Bond,
of Harvard College. He had no children. His wife survives

1819. Rev. WILLIAM FARMER died in Lunenburg, Mass.,
24 June, 1862, aged 69 years. He was son of Jonas and
Mary (Whitney) Farmer, and was born in Townsend, Mass.,
24 February, 1793. He was fitted for college at the academies
at New Ipswich, N.H., and Groton, Mass. After leaving col
lege, he studied divinity with Rev. Thomas Beede, of Wilton,
N.H. (H.C. 1798), and Rev. Eli Smith, of Hollis, N.H.
(B.C. 1792); but completed his theological studies at the
Divinity School at Cambridge. He was ordained over the Uni
tarian church in Belgrade, Me., 18 May, 1831. Here he
remained about six years, when he resigned his pastoral charge.
He preached afterwards, about two years, in Dresden, Me. ;
and, for a year or more, in various places, in West Boylston
and Lunenburg, Mass., in Fitzwilliam, N.H., and Pomfret, Vt.
He had been an invalid for many years, and suffered often from
pulmonary hemorrhage and other serious symptoms before he
relinquished preaching. His decline was very gradual ; and his
bodily sufferings, which towards the last were particularly irri
tating, \vere borne with great patience. He was a true Christian,
and was warmly interested in every thing that concerned his
Alma Mater.

He married, 15 October, 1851, Mrs. Lovina Jackson.
They had no children. His wife survived him.

1819. JOSEPH HARDY PRINCE died in Boston, 18 Novem-

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 419

her, 1861, aged 60 years. He was son of Capt. Henry and
Sarah (Millet) Prince, and was born in Salem, Mass., 7 June,
1801. He was fitted for college partly by Abiel Chandler
(H.C. 1806), and partly by Samuel Adams (H.C. 1806).
After leaving college, he studied law in the office of Hon. John
Pickering, of Salem (H.C. 1796); and began the practice
of his profession in Salem. He was a representative to the
state legislature from Salem, in 1825. In 1834, he was ap
pointed an inspector in the Boston custom-house. He was
private-secretary for Com. Eliot, of the frigate " Constitution," in
1835, on the voyage to France to bring home the Hon. Edward
Livingston, the American minister, on account of the differ
ences with that nation. On his return, he pursued the practice
of law in Boston. In 1848, he was appointed to the surveyor s
department of customs. After leaving that office, he resumed
his profession, which he continued to the end of his life. He
was ever tenaciously devoted to the democratic party, and was
an early advocate of Andrew Jackson. He delivered an oration
on the 4th of July, 1828, before the Washington Society.
Afterwards, when Andrew Dunlap moved that a copy be re
quested for the press, Mr. Prince said, "If I have done any
thing towards rekindling the fire of the old democracy, if I have
contributed a pebble to the pile in the cause of principle against
corruption, I shall be satisfied."

Mr. Prince married, late in life, Mary Hunt, of Salem ; but
had no children.

1821. Dr. JONAS HENRY LANE died in Boston, 5 Sep
tember, 1861, aged 61 years. He was son of Jonas and
Eunice (Kendall) Lane, and was born in Lancaster, Mass.,
28 January, 1800. His name was originally Henry Lane;
but, by act of the legislature, he was allowed to prefix the name
of Jonas, which he did from respect to his father. He began
his preparatory studies for entering college at Groton Academy,
where he remained one term ; then he went to Leicester Acad
emy ; and he completed his preparatory studies at the scientific-
school in Lancaster, under the instruction of Jared Sparks (H.C.
1815) , afterwards president of Harvard College. He attained a


distinguished rank of scholarship in his class, and graduated with
high honors. He studied medicine with Dr. Silas Pearson, of
Westminster, Mass. He was, while studying his profession, for
some time house-physician at the Massachusetts General Hos
pital in Boston, and subsequently an assistant at the McLean
Asylum for the Insane, at Somerville. On receiving his degree
of M.D., in 1826, he began the practice of his profession in
Boston, where he passed the remainder of his life ; having
attained a highly respectable rank in his profession, gained an
extensive practice, and reaped a rich reward for his skill, fidelity
to his profession, and his amiable and exemplary life. Modest
in his deportment, he never entered public life, or sought any
office. He held the even tenor of his way ; was as. faithful and
diligent in his attendance on the poor to whom he was called,
and who were unable to compensate him for his services, as he
was to those who had abundant wealth to reward him. He was
a cheerful, happy Christian; and was emphatically "the be
loved physician."

He married, 6 October, 1830, Frances Ann Brown, of Nor
wich, Conn. The issue of this marriage was three daughters
and one son ; of whom the son and two of the daughters, with
their mother, survived him.

1824. JOHN MARK GOURGAS, of Quincy, died in Kox-
bury, Mass., 28 June, 1862, aged 58 years. He was son of
John Mark and Margaret (Sampson) Gourgas, and was born
at Milton Upper Mills, Mass., 25 March, 1804. He was fitted
for college at Exeter (N.H.) Academy. He studied law in the
office of Hon. Lemuel Shaw (H. C. 1800), and settled in
Quincy. He was never married.

1825. ISAIAH THOMAS was lost at sea, probably the last
week in February, 1862. He was the son of Isaiah and Mary
(Weld) Thomas, and was born in Worcester, Mass., 29 Novem
ber, 1805. His father was the oldest son of Isaiah Thomas,
the eminent printer, and author of the " History of Printing ; "
and was born in Boston, 5 September, 1773. His mother was
daughter of Edward Weld, of Boston. The subject of this
notice was fitted for college at Leicester Academy. After grad-

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 421

uating, he went to Cincinnati, O., where he was, for a time,
editor of the "American" newspaper, and afterwards was a
merchant in that city ; thence he removed to New York. In
January, 1862, he was appointed consul to Algiers, and took
passage in the ship "Milwaukie," Capt. Rhodes, from New York
for Havre, with his only daughter and two of his sons, thence
to proceed to Algiers. The ship sailed on the 21st of February,
and was never afterwards heard from. It is supposed she foun
dered, on the 28th of the same month, in a gale which occurred
at that time.

He married, 30 May, 1831, in Cincinnati, Mary Ann
Ruder, of that city ; by whom he had four sons and five daugh
ters, of whom four of his daughters had deceased. Two sons
only survived him, one in a mercantile house in Boston,
and the other in the army. His wife died about nine years

1827. CORNELIUS CONWAY FELTON, of Cambridge,
Mass., died in Chester, Penn., 26 February, 1862, aged
54 years. He left Cambridge about three weeks previous
ly for Washington, D.C., and stopped at the residence of
his brother, Samuel Morse Felton (H. C. 1834), where he
was suddenly taken ill with a disease of the heart, of which he
had several times before had attacks. He was son of Cornelius
Conway and Anna (Morse) Felton, and was born in West
Newbury, Mass., 6 November, 1807. His father was born in
Marblehead. His mother was born in Newbury, died in 1825 ;

and his father married for his second wife Mrs. Boynton,

whose first husband was a farmer in Saugus, Mass. She was
a Torrey, of Scituate, Mass. She died many years ago at the
McLean Asylum in Somerville, Mass. In 1815, he moved
with his father to the corner of Chelsea, which belonged to a
parish in Saugus. His father lived in great poverty during the
war of 1812, although he had a good business as a chaise-
maker, to which he served his apprenticeship with Mr. Abner
Greenleaf, of West Newbury. But the whole establishment was
broken up by the war ; and, to earn a livelihood, he became a
toll-keeper at Chelsea, on the Newburyport turnpike. When he


married his second wife, he took her farm, with its encumbrances,
in Saugus, and carried it on several years ; then he sold it, and
went to Charlestown, where he was employed in the construc
tion of the Warren bridge, of which he had the charge, and was
one of the toll-keepers of it. When the Fitchburg railroad was
put in operation, he was contractor for all the wood burned
on the road, and at the same time bought a farm in Littleton,
Mass., where he died.

From his early youth, young Felton was very fond of study ;
which propensity was encouraged by his mother. His father,
seeing his passion for learning, thought he might afford to send
him to school one quarter ; and he was placed in the academy
at Bradford, Mass., under Benjamin Greenleaf, and under the
tutelage of the venerable Joshua Coffin. From Bradford, he
returned to the town-school in Saugus. Early in the summer
of 1822, his father sent him to the private school of Mr. Simeon
Putnam, in North Andover (H.C. 1811) . When he went there,
he intended to study one quarter. Mr. Putnam was an enthusi
astic scholar ; a great lover of the classics ; a man very austere in
his manners, but gentle and kind to all who wanted to study,
and awakened an extravagant enthusiasm in all his pupils. After
some time, knowing Felton s father s circumstances, he called
him up to him one day, and told him he wanted him to go to
college, and would trust him for his tutorage until he could repay
it. He therefore remained at the school one year and three
months. In that period, he read Sallust four times, Cicero s
Orations four times, Virgil six times, Graeca Minora five or
six times, and the poetry of it, until he could repeat nearly the
whole by memory ; the Annals and History of Tacitus, Justin,
Cornelius Nepos ; the Anabasis of Xenophon ; four books of Rob
inson s Selections from the Iliad ; the Greek Testament four
times : besides writing a translation of one of the Gospels, and a
translation of the whole of Grotius de Veritate, which he carried
in manuscript to college. He also wrote a volume of about
three hundred pages of Latin exercises, and one of about two
hundred pages of Greek exercises. He also studied carefully all
the mathematics and geography requisite to enter college. These

1861-62.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 423

severe studies greatly affected his health. Still, while in college,
he studied a great deal of extra Greek ; also modern languages
French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and some
Hebrew. In the winter vacation of his freshman year, he was
employed in the college library. In the sophomore year, he
taught school in Concord ; in the junior year, in Bolton ; during
the rest of the junior year, or six months, he taught mathematics
in Round-Hill School, kept by Cogswell and Bancroft, in North
ampton. He was also one of the editors of the " Harvard Regis
ter." After graduating, he was engaged for two years with his
classmates, Cleveland and Sweetser, in the charge of the Living
ston-county high -school at Geneseo, N.Y. He was then
appointed Latin tutor in Harvard College ; and the next year
was appointed tutor in Greek, which office he held two years ;
and, in 1834, he was appointed Eliot Professor of Greek Litera
ture. This professorship he held until the 16th of February,
1860, when he was chosen president of the college. In 1833, he
published an edition of Homer, with English notes and Flaxman s
illustrations, which has since passed through several editions,
with revisions and emendations. In 1840, a translation by him
of Menzell s work on " German Literature," in three volumes,
was published among Ripley s " Specimens of Foreign Literature."
In the same year, he gave to the public a " Greek Reader," con
taining selections in prose and verse from Greek authors, with
English notes, and a vocabulary : this has since been frequently
reprinted. In 1841, he published an edition of the "Clouds"
of Aristophanes, with an introduction and notes ; since revised,
and republished in England. In 1843, he aided Prof. Sears and

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 38 of 49)