Joseph Palmer.

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

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Francisco ; where he opened an office, and soon obtained an ex
tensive practice. A few weeks before his decease, he came to
Boston on a visit to his relatives ; and, on his passage across the
Isthmus, contracted the seeds of disease which terminated his life.

1831. CALEB FLETCHER ABBOTT died in Toledo, Ohio,
24 April, 1855. He was son of Caleb and Mercy (Fletcher)
Abbott, and was born in Chelmsford, 8 September, 1811. He
studied law at Lowell and at the Law School in Cambridge ;
and, in 1836, removed to Toledo, w T here he attained a high rank
in his profession, and held many important offices. He was
formerly mayor of the city, and prosecuting-attorney for that
judicial district. He was a ripe scholar, possessed of fine literary
and scientific acquirements. As a speaker, he had but few
equals as a logical and eloquent debater, and held a front rank
among the members of the bar. He was a warm friend, and
possessed elements of character which entitled him to the admi
ration and respect of his fellow-citizens.

1831. FRANCIS LOWELL DUTTON died in Brookline,
Mass., 15 December, 1854, aged 42. He was son of Hon.
Warren Button (Y.C. 1797) and Elizabeth Cabot Lowell, and
was born in Boston, 21 June, 1812. He studied law in Boston,
but did not long pursue the profession.

1832. WILLIAM O HARA ROBINSON died in Pittsburg,
Pa., 6 February, 1855, aged 41. He was second son of Gen.



William Robinson, and was born in Alleghany, Pa., 7 October,
1813. He was a lawyer in Pittsburg.

1833. Dr. CHARLES HENRY PEIRCE died in Cambridge,
Mass., 16 June, 1855, aged 41. He was son of Benjamin
Peirce, of Salem, Mass. (H.C. 1801), where he was born
28 January, 1814. He studied medicine, and established him
self as a physician in Salem ; but subsequently removed to
Cambridge. For a few years, he held the office of special
examiner of drugs in the Boston custom-house.

1834. Eev. GEORGE HENRY HASTINGS died in Chatta
nooga, Tenn., 2 September, 1854. He was the oldest son of
Joseph Stacy Hastings, and was born in Boston, 17 June, 1814.
He was for several years chaplain in the American legation
at Rome, Italy ; and held the place until he was compelled to
relinquish it in consequence of the rapid progress of pulmonary
disease. During his residence at Rome, he was a regular cor
respondent of the "New -York Commercial Advertiser;" and
continued to write for it after his return, and during his travels
through the Southern States.

1834. Dr. SAMUEL PARKMAN died in Boston, 15 December,
1854, aged 38. He was son of Samuel Parkman (H.C..1S10) ,
and was born in Boston, 21 June, 1816. He studied medicine
and established himself as a physician in Boston, where he
rapidly gained an extensive practice ; and bade fair to take the
highest rank among the numerous members of the profession
in the city, when he was suddenly cut off in the prime of life.
A few days before his death, he had been elected a member of
the School Committee.

1836. FREDERICK WILLIAM GALE, of Worcester, Mass.,
was lost at sea in the steamship " Arctic " on his passage from
Liverpool for New York, 27 September, 1854. The "Arctic"
left Liverpool 20 September; and on the 27th, off Newfound
land, was run into by another steamer, and sunk. He was born
in Northborough, Mass., 22 June, 1815. He was a practising
lawyer in Worcester.

1838. CHARLES HENRY HARTSHORN died in Cincinnati,
Ohio, 2 May, 1855, aged 35. He was son of Caleb Hartshorn ;

1854-55.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 59

and was born in Boston, 4 December, 1819. lie studied no
profession, but was employed as a clerk in various mercantile
houses in New York, Boston, New Orleans, and Cincinnati.

1842. WILLIAM GRINNELL CROSS died in New Bed
ford, Mass., 29 October, 1854, aged 37. He was son of
Capt. Latham and Deborah (Snell) Cross, and was born in
New Bedford, 6 November, 1816. His father was born in
Fairhaven, 5 November, 1774. His mother was born 4 Jan
uary, 1779 ; and died 15 July, 1853, aged 74. In 1789,
his father learned ,the trade of a hatter in New Bedford, which
he pursued until 1795, when he abandoned it, and went a
whaling voyage on the coast of Brazil. He soon became master
of a vessel, first of a coaster, which he built in 1802, and ran to
New York ; but subsequently was commander of a merchant-
ship, and went to Liverpool ; at which port he was at the time
of the declaration of war in 1812. After peace, he resumed the
whaling business, which he continued with success until 1828,
when he retired with an ample competence.

The subject of this notice, at the age of nine years, was
attacked with a severe affection of the right thigh-bone, which
confined him to the house until nearly seventeen years of age ;
and resulted in exfoliation and shortening of the bone, and
rendered him a cripple for life. He then entered the High
School in New Bedford, which he attended about a year ; when
he entered the counting-room of William T. Russell, afterwards
collector of New Bedford, where he continued two years. He
then determined to obtain a collegiate education, and pursued his
preparatory studies under the instruction of Dr. Julius Stewart
Mayhew, of New Bedford. After leaving college, he studied
law under the instruction of Hon. Thomas Dawes Eliot ; when,
on being admitted to the bar, he opened an office in New Bed
ford, but abandoned the profession within a year. He married
(1st), in January, 1846, Rebecca C. Wady, daughter of Hum
phrey Wady. She died without issue, 20 February, 1847, in
her 24th year; and he married (2d), 19 January, 1851, Ruth
Almy Weaver, daughter of John Weaver, and had two children
(daughters), the elder of whom survives him. His second wife


died 13 May, 1857, at the age of 31. Mr. Cross pursued no
business after relinquishing his profession, as his health continued
feeble. The later years of his life were cheered, amid so much
affliction, by devotion to choice literature and by the kind offices
of numerous friends. His integrity of character was unim-
peached, and his society was sought by his religious associates.
1843. ELIPHALET BIRCHARD died in Lebanon, Conn.,

20 September, 1854, aged 39. He was born in Lebanon,

21 January, 1815. After graduation, he entered the Theological
Seminary in Andover, and completed his studies there in 1846.
Though invited by several churches to settle as pastor, he was
prevented by imperfect health from accepting any of these invita
tions ; but he was a faithful and acceptable preacher, and will
long be remembered with gratitude by many who were richly
blessed by his labors.

1846. WILLIAM THADDEUS HARRIS died in Cambridge,
Mass., 19 October, 1854, aged 28. He was son of Dr. Thad-
deus William Harris (H.C. 1815), and was born in Milton,
Mass., 26 January, 1826. He removed with his father s family
to Cambridge when five years old. He began to fit for college in
September, 1840, at the Hopkins Classical School in Cambridge,
then first established by Mr. John B. Henck (H.C. 1840);
and completed his preparatory studies under Mr. Edmund B.
Whitman (H.C. 1838). A physical infirmity, a congenital
weakness of the spine, followed by its permanent curvature,
debarred him from the usual pleasures of those of his own age ;
and he was obliged to have recourse to books, which, in process
of time, became his meat and drink, his only solace, his only
amusement. While in college, in his junior year, he printed
a collection of "Epitaphs from the Old Burying-ground in
Cambridge." This collection was made mostly during his boy
hood, while attending the town-school. He finished it, and
added the notes, while in college ; and the book was published
in May, 1845. Immediately after graduation, he entered the
Law School at Cambridge ; and was admitted to the bar on
the 1st of December, 1853. His acquaintance with early New-
England history was thorough and extensive. He projected


several historical performances, which, had he lived, would have
been of great value : one was a " Continuation of Prince s Chro
nology." To what extent he went with it, is not known ; but
what he did was so well done, that Mr. Prince, it is believed,
could not have wished it better done had he been here with all
his former ability to appreciate such a work.

1846. NATHANIEL GILMAN PERRY died at sea, on board
ship "William Tell," on the passage from Havre to New York,
2 June, 1855, aged 28. He was son of Dr. William Perry
(H.C. 1811), of .Exeter, N.H. ; where he was born 28 Octo
ber, 1826. He inherited a feeble constitution ; and, at the
age of seven, lost one of his eyes by an arrow in the hands of
another boy. . He was fitted for college in Phillips Exeter
Academy, and entered the freshman class in August, 1842. He
was taken with raising blood while in college, which recurred
frequently, on exertion of the arms, for three or four years. On
leaving college in 1846, he commenced reading law with Gil-
man Marston, Esq., of Exeter; and entered the Law School
in Cambridge in 1847, where he remained a year. In the
spring of 1849, he accompanied Capt. John C. Long, as his
clerk, in the United-States steam-frigate "Mississippi," to the
Mediterranean. He returned home in November, 1851, and
was admitted to the Rockingham bar. In March, 1852, he was
chosen to represent the town of Exeter in the legislature, and
again in 1853. His health now became so feeble, that he was
unable to engage fully in the labors of his profession ; and,
thinking himself benefited by being at sea, he was reluctantly
induced, in the following October, to accept Capt. Long s invi
tation to go again with him to the Mediterranean, in the United-
States steamer " Saranac." For a time, his health seemed to
improve ; but, in the autumn of 1854, he became so unwell
as to find it expedient to leave the ship for a time, and remain
in Nice. The latter part of the winter, and the first of the
spring, he spent in Florence. In April, he visited Tunis and
Naples ; but became so feeble, that he was compelled to leave
for home under the care of a benevolent gentleman and his
wife, who volunteered the responsible and arduous undertaking.


They left Leghorn the 3d of May, and went to Paris by way
of Marseilles. Here he joined a brother, who had previously
been with him in Florence, and now, finding him so ill,
prepared to accompany him home. They sailed from Havre
the 24th of May ; and, on the 2d of June, he died in the arms
of his brother, a firm believer in the mercy of God through
the merits of his Son.

1850. OSCAR FITZALAN PARKER died in St. Louis, Mo.,
5 August, 1854, aged 26. He was son of Peter Parker, and
and was born in Schroeppel, Oswego County, N.Y., 19 Febru
ary, 1828. He was a young man of pure life, sterling integrity,
and marked abilities. He was a member of the legal profes
sion, and had recently established himself in St. Louis, with the
intention of making that his place of residence. A meeting of
the St. Louis bar was held on the day of his death, at which
resolutions were passed in warm eulogy of the deceased, who,
though but recently attached to that bar, had already made
himself beloved and respected by his associates.

1851. WILLIAM COOMBS WHEELWRIGHT was lost at sea,
9 September, 1854, aged 25. He was son of Ebenezer and
Sarah (Boddily) Wheelwright, and was born in Portsmouth,
N.H., 13 December, 1829. His grandparents, on his father s
side, were Ebenezer Wheelwright (born in Gloucester), and
Anne (born at Newburyport) , daughter of William Coombs.
On his maternal line, his grandfather, John Boddily, was born
in England, probably in 1760. His grandmother, Sarah
(Tuckmell) Boddily, was born in Bristol, Eng., or, at least,
came from that place. When the subject of this notice was
four years old, he moved with his father s family to Boston,
where, and at Roxbury and at Salem, he lived till he entered
college in 1847. His childhood was marked with fearlessness
and self-reliance, fondness for the sea, a taste for the mechanic
arts, correct deportment, and benevolence. From a defect in
his vision, he was never able clearly to discern objects about
him ; and consequently, being quite liable to accidents, he re
ceived several slight injuries. Although his inclination for a
liberal education was not strong, he began to fit for college, in

1854-55.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 63

1841, at the Boston Latin School; where, with the exception
of ten months at the Salem Latin School, he continued till the
last two years before entering college, when he was at the Rox-
bury Latin School. During the first year of his college-course,
he was parietal freshman ; and, in his second year, monitor at
the lectures and declamations. In the junior year, he was
absent nearly two months, and seriously threatened with con
sumption. While an undergraduate, his love of adventure was
strengthened by his reading ; which, besides poetry, to which
he was much attached, consisted principally of travels and voy
ages, particularly of the narrations of various arctic exploring
expeditions. The state of his eyesight, however, interfered with
his literary pursuits. His strong memory, enabling him to
repeat long poems, particularly of Walter Scott, and his
activity in the college playgrounds, relieved many an hour
which otherwise might have been unemployed. After gradu
ating, he was engaged for a short time in teaching at Raynham :
but the trouble in his eyesight continuing, and his passion for a
sea-life increasing, he went on board one of his father s vessels, as
a common sailor, to the West Indies ; and he was so much pleased
and benefited, that he abandoned all thoughts of studying a pro
fession. After another voyage to the West Indies, he went to
the Sandwich Islands. While there, he was deeply impressed
with the importance of personal religion, occasioned by the
sabbath worship of the islanders. He had never witnessed
the gospel in New England as he saw it manifested in the con
duct of these converted heathen. He described their religious
worship as more impressive than could be imagined ; being
marked by a degree of solemnity, sincerity, and reverence,
such as he had never seen. Subsequently, he went on a voyage
to Havre, in France, where he attended the Bethel worship ;
and on his return to New York, and thence home, it was
manifest that an important change had taken place in his
character. His mind was solemn and thoughtful. His evening
hours were spent in solitude, reading the Scriptures, and prayer.
He became much concerned for the welfare of seamen, col
lected money for tracts, and employed his efforts in various


ways for their good ; and, in his conversation with his friends,
it was evident that he was deeply concerned to fulfil the duties
of life, and always to be prepared for death. His eyesight
continuing to improve, he took the post of first officer on
board the brig " Horace Greeley," of Philadelphia. He made a
voyage to Cuba and back; thence proceeded to Charleston, S.C. ;
and thence to Georgetown, in the same State. The brig was
there loaded for Philadelphia ; and, sailing on the 5th of Septem
ber, encountered a hurricane on the eighth and ninth of the same
month, in which the brig, on the last day named, was upset,
and all on board perished. Two other vessels sailed the same
day from Georgetown, bound north ; and both vessels, with all
their crews, were lost.

He cherished a love for literature ; and, in all his voyages, he
made some of his old Latin classics his companions. The rough
men among whom he was thrown felt the refining influences of
his education, and at once and cheerfully acknowledged his
superiority. His benevolence and sympathy created bonds of
strong attachment between him and his friends. He had no
sunshine of his own which did not gladden the hearts of others,
and he counted no blessing he possessed complete till it was
largely shared by his friends and others. He loved much, and
was greatly beloved, and left a void in the hearts of his parents
and in the circle of his friends which can never be filled. He
kept a journal, on the title-page of which was the following
memorandum : " Should God in his providence see fit to take
my life during this voyage, I wish this book to be kept strictly
private, and sent to my friends in Newburyport, Mass."

1854. HENRY COBB, of Barnstable, died suddenly, of in
flammation of the bowels, at Tazewell, Tenn., 5 January, 1855,
aged 21 years and 11 months. He was son of Enoch T. and
Abiah Cobb, and was born in Barnstable, Mass., 5 February,
1833. He had studied and qualified himself for civil engineer
ing ; and, seeking a more southern climate for the benefit of his
precarious health, he joined an engineer corps in Tennessee, in
November, 1854, and was actively engaged with them in sur
veying for and locating a railroad through that state, when,

1854-55.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 65

after about a week s confinement, he died. He was remarkable
for his studious and correct habits ; and though compelled by a
pulmonary attack to leave college, and, by the advice of physi
cians, to travel in Europe, passing several months of his junior
year in Italy, he kept his place in his class, and graduated with
the usual honors.

1854. NICHOLAS GILMAN died in Exeter, N.H., 31 Octo
ber, 1854, aged 20. He was son of Capt. Nathaniel Gilman,
and was born in Exeter, 8 May, 1834 ; was fitted for college
at Phillips Academy, Exeter, and entered the sophomore class
in 1851. He was distinguished for his scholarship, courtesy
of manners, singular sweetness of disposition, and correct



1782. Hon. JOHN WELLES died in Boston, 25 September,
1855, aged 90. He was son of Arnold Welles (H.C. 1745),
and was born in Boston, 14 October, 1764; was fitted for col
lege by Kev. Daniel Shute, D.D., of Hingham (H.C. 1743),
where he had among his fellow-students Capt. James Sever, of
Kingston, Mass. (H.C. 1781), and Col. Thomas H. Perkins,
of Boston. He was the youngest in his class ; having graduated
before he had completed his eighteenth year. Soon after leav
ing college, he entered into mercantile business with his father.
About the year 1802, he formed a copartnership with his cousin
Samuel Welles (H.C. 1796), under the firm of John and
Samuel Welles. This partnership was dissolved in 1815 ;
and his partner proceeded to Paris, where he became connected
with the celebrated banking-house of Welles and Co. Mr. Welles
soon afterwards took into partnership his kinsman, Benjamin
Welles of Boston, under the style of John and Benjamin Welles.
This firm continued until a recent period, when the infirmities of
age compelled the senior partner to retire, having accumulated
an. ample fortune. He was one of the few survivors who were
claimants for French spoliations prior to 1800. He was several
times elected a representative, and also a senator, in our state
legislature. He was a member of the executive council
under the administration of Gov. Strong. When the city
charter was granted in 1822, he was elected a member of the
first common council ; and, the following year, was re-elected,
when he was chosen president of that branch of the city govern
ment. He was one of the earliest promoters of agricultural
societies ; was for several years an active member of the Massa
chusetts Agricultural Society ; and was associated with the late
Hon. John Lowell in editing an agricultural journal. He owned

1855-56.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 67

a valuable farm in Natick, Mass., on which, for many years, he
passed the summer season, devoting himself to agricultural pur
suits. This farm has been in possession of the Welles family
ever since the days of the old Apostle Eliot, the translator of
the Bible into the Indian language. In politics, Mr. Welles
was ever a firm and consistent federalist of the Washington
school. In all his business transactions, he was characterized as
a merchant of strict integrity and upright conduct. In the last
two triennial catalogues of the college which were issued before
his death, his name stood as the senior surviving alumnus. He
outlived all his classmates many years.

1783. ASA ANDREWS died in Ipswich, Mass., 13 Janu
ary, 1856, aged 93. He was son of Robert Andrews, and
was born in that part of Shrewsbury which is now within the
limits of Boylston, 11 May, 1762. His father was a native of
Boxford. His mother who was a Bradstreet, a native of
Topsfield was a descendant of Gov. Simon Bradstreet. Since
the death of the Hon. John Welles, Mr. Andrews has been the
oldest surviving graduate of Harvard ; and, at the time of his
death, was the oldest man in Ipswich. He studied law with
Hon. Caleb Strong, of Northampton (H.C. 1764). After com
pleting his legal studies, he opened an office in Ipswich, where he
resided during the remainder of his long life. In 1794, he was
appointed, by Washington, collector of the port and district of
Ipswich ; which office he held until 1829, when he was removed
by Jackson. At the time of his removal, a balance was claimed
as due from him to the government ; but on a trial before Judge
Story, in the Circuit Court at Boston, the jury found that there
was due to him from the government about two thousand dollars.
Tin s was not paid him until about a year before his death ; when,
by an appropriation made by Congress., he received the balance
which had been due to him more than a quarter of a century.
He was a man of distinguished ability. He filled many offices
of honor and trust, and enjoyed the entire confidence of his fel

1785. Rev. THADDEUS FISKE died in Charlestown, Mass.,
14 November, 1855, aged 93. He was son of Jonathan and


Abigail Fiske ; was born in Western, Mass., 22 June, 1762;
and was, at the time of his death, the oldest clergyman in Mas
sachusetts. He was ordained pastor of the church in West
Cambridge, 23 April, 1788 ; and resigned his pastoral charge,
23 April, 1828, on the completion of the fortieth year of his
ministry. It is remarkable that he lived to see five clergymen
successively ordained over the society where he had faithfully
labored for forty years, three of whom passed off the stage be
fore him : viz., Rev. David Damon, who died 25 June, 1843,
aged 55 ; Rev. William Ware, who died 19 February, 1852,
aged 54 ; and Rev. James Francis Brown, who died 13 June,
1853, aged 32. In the year 1821, the degree of D.D. was
conferred upon Dr. Fiske by Columbia College, New York. A
few months before his death, he removed from West Cambridge
to Charlestown to reside with a relative in the latter place,
where he passed the few remaining days of his life.

1787. Hon. WILLIAM CRANCH died in Washington, D.C.,
1 September, 1855, aged 86. He was son of Richard and
Mary (Smith) Cranch, and was born in Weymouth, Mass., 17
July, 1769. His mother was sister of the wife of President
John Adams. Pie was prepared for college under the instruc
tion of Rev. John Shaw, of Haverhill (H.C. 1772) ; and en
tered the freshman class, six months in advance, in February,
1784. He studied law with Hon. Thomas Dawes, of Boston
(H.C. 1777) ; and in July, 1790, was admitted to practice in
the Court of Common Pleas in this State. He opened an office
in Braintree, near Quincy ; but, one year afterwards, removed
to Haverhill. For three years he attended the courts in Es
sex County, Mass., and Rockingham County, N.H. ; and was
admitted to practice in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial
Court in July, 1793. In September, 1794, he was employed
as the land-agent of the firm of Morris, Nicholson, and Green-
leaf, in the city of Washington ; to which place he removed
in October of that year, and there resided during the remainder
of his life. In April, 1795, he was married to Nancy Greenleaf,
daughter of Hon. William Greenleaf, with whom he lived
nearly fifty years ; she having died in Washington, 16 Sep*

1855-56.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 69

tember, 1843. In 1800, he was appointed one of the com
missioners of the city of Washington, which office he resigned
in 1801 ; when he was appointed, by President Adams, junior
assistant-judge of the United-States Circuit Court of the Dis
trict of Columbia, under the act of Congress of 27 February,
1801 : the late Gov. Thomas Johnson, of Maryland, having
been appointed chief judge ; and Mr. James Marshall, brother
of the late Chief Justice Marshall, having been appointed elder
assistant-judge. Mr. Adams consented to give this appoint

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 6 of 49)