Joseph Palmer.

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

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ment to his nephew, only upon the earnest personal appeal of
Chief- Justice Marshall, after a public petition to the same end ;
as he was apprehensive, that, in the dispensation of office, the
public might charge upon him that system of nepotism which
has since become so common at the seat of government ; and
hence his reluctance to elevate one whom he loved next to his
own son. Gov. Johnson refused to accept the office ; and
President Jefferson appointed William Kitty, Esq., chief
judge. Mr. Marshall resigned in 1803 ; and Nicholas Fitzhugh,
Esq., of Virginia, was appointed in his place. In 1805, Mr.
Kitty having been appointed chancellor of Maryland, Judge
Cranch was appointed by President Jefferson to the office of
chief-justice ; and, by virtue of that office, he was sole judge of
the District Court of the United States for the District of Co
lumbia, which has the same jurisdiction as the other district
courts of the United States. He published nine volumes of
cases in the Supreme Court of the United States ; a memoir of
the life, character, and writings of President John Adams, read
before the Columbian Institute, 16 March, 1837 ; and an address
upon the subject of temperance in 1831, a small pamphlet. He
was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
and of the American Antiquarian Society. In 1829, he re
ceived the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Harvard
College. For fifty years and more, he was looked up to in
Washington, Alexandria, Georgetown, and in the neighborhood,
as the chief citizen of the district. By his kindness and benevo
lence to the poor, by his uniform courtesy to all men, by his
life-long industry and patience in labor, by his love of letters,


by his fidelity to every private and public trust reposed in him,
he won a love and respect which were felt by every man, and
even every child, who knew him. His life, too, was eminently
a religious one ; and as he lived, so he died, in the fullest hope
of a blessed immortality.

1787. Dr. WALTER HUNNEWELL died in Watertown,
Mass., 19 October, 1855, aged 86. He was born in Cam
bridge, 10 August, 1769 ; studied medicine with Dr. Marshall
Spring, of Watertown (H.C. 1762) ; and settled in Watertown,
where he passed the whole of his professional life, and was
highly respected as a good citizen and a skilful physician.

1793. Hon. CHARLES JACKSON died in Boston, 13 Decem
ber, 1855, aged 80. He was the eldest son of Hon. Jonathan
Jackson, of Newburyport (H.C. 1761), one of tjie most
prominent men of this state during the revolutionary era ; being
a member of the Continental Congress in 1780 ; marshal of the
district of Massachusetts, under Washington; treasurer of the
commonwealth for five years, and of Harvard College at
the time of his death ; and grandson of Edward Jackson (H.C.
1726), a distinguished merchant of Boston. He was born in
Newburyport, 31 May, 1775 ; was fitted for college under the
instruction of Nicholas Pike, of Newburyport (H.C. 1766),
and at Dummer Academy. He graduated with the highest
honors of his class. He pursued the study of law in Newbury-
port, under the instruction of Hon. Theophilus Parsons (H.C.
1769) ; was admitted to practice in the county of Essex in 1796 ;
immediately entered upon the practice of his profession in his
native town, and rose rapidly to eminence. In 1803, he re
moved to Boston, and soon attained the highest rank at the
bar, where James Sullivan, John Lowell, Christopher Gore,
Eufus Amory, Harrison Gray Otis, Samuel Dexter, William
Sullivan, and other distinguished men, were his associates and
competitors ; and, in partnership with Hon. Samuel Hubbard,
(Y.C. 1802), acquired probably the most lucrative practice ever
before known in Massachusetts. In 1813, he was appointed by
Gov. Strong to the office of judge of the Supreme Court, to
fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Hon. Theodore

1855-56.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 71

Sedgwick (Y.C. 1765) ; which appointment, he, after much
hesitation, accepted, impelled by a high sense of duty, and by
the urgency of the chief-justice and his other professional friends
of his peculiar fitness for that high station. Pie discharged its
duties with eminent fidelity until the year 1823 ; when he was
compelled by declining health to resign his seat, to the universal
regret of the bar and the people of the state. Immediately on
his retirement, for the purposes of relaxation and recovery, he
went to Europe ; and, while in England, received great attention
from the jurists and statesmen of the times. In 1820, he was
a very influential member of the convention for revising the
constitution of the state. In 1832, Gov. Lincoln, acting
under a resolve of the legislature, appointed three commission
ers to revise the General Statutes of the commonwealth ; and
Judge Jackson was placed at the head of this important trust.
His associates were Hon. Asahel Stearns (H.C. 1797), and
John Hooker Ashmun (H.C. 1818). Mr. Ashmun died soon
afterwards, and Hon. John Pickering (H.C. 1796) was appointed
in his place. Before his elevation to the bench of the Supreme
Court, he was elected, in 18Q8, in 1809, and in 1812, a repre
sentative to the General Court. After his resignation, he was
selected for the performance of various important trusts ; among
which was that of a member of the corporation of Harvard Col
lege, which he filled from 1825 to 1834. In politics, he clung
with the ardor and tenacity of settled principle to the ancient
faith of the old Essex platform, of which his master, Parsons,
so admirably sketched the outlines in his famous "Kesolutions,"
and from which so many of the noblest men, whom this country
has ever counted among its jewels, have so often uttered the
words of warning and wisdom and encouragement and patriot
ism, in the roughest times the country has ever seen. In
religion, he was a Christian believer in faith and practice, with
out ostentatious profession, but with earnest and never-shrinking
fidelity to the great principles which his faith inculcates. He
had long looked upon his work as done upon earth, and was
awaiting in calmness and serene composure the summons which
was at last kindly sent, translating him from this to a higher


world, so gently and free from suffering, that it seemed little else
than falling asleep.

1795. HENRY GASSETT died in Boston, 15 August, 1855,
aged 81. He was son of Henry and Persis (Howe) Gassett,
and was born in Northborough, Mass., 1 February, 1774. He
was of French extraction, and the name was, originally, Gachet.
About the year 1700, two Frenchmen, brothers, Huguenots,
named Henri and David Gachet, emigrated from Eochelle,
France, and landed in Boston. David married a Miss White,
and settled in Raynham, Mass. : Henri married Miss Sarah
Hoskins, and settled at Taunton, Mass. The descendants of
the two have Anglicized the name in different ways : those of the
elder brother writing it Gassett ; and those of the younger,
Gushee. Most of them reside in Massachusetts, in Bristol
County, where the descendants of both are numerous ; and but
few, if any of them, live out of New England. They do not,
however, retain the name of their progenitors to a very great
extent, owing to the large proportion of females in the families.
The subject of this notice was a descendant in the third genera
tion from Henri the Huguenot. He was fitted for college at
Leicester Academy. On graduating, he began teaching school,
which he continued some twelve or eighteen months : but, finding
it not a very profitable business, he relinquished it, and engaged
in trade, first in the country, and afterwards in Boston, in a
small, cautious way ; till, about the year 1804, he became the
head of the extensive dry-goods importing house of Gassett,
Upham, and Co. ; and on the 18th of April, 1805, he sailed for
Liverpool, being the first of three visits he made to England.
He continued doing a large and profitable business for more than
forty years ; and retired about eleven years before his death, hav
ing accumulated an ample fortune. He married, 17 February,
1812, Lucy Wood, of Northborough ; by whom he had nine
children, five of whom survive him. Three of his sons are
graduates at Harvard College; namely, Henry in 1834, Edward
in 1843, and Francis in 1847. There is in the possession of
the family a letter from the mother then a widow of the
two emigrants, Henri and David, dated "A la Rochelle, le l r

1855-56.] OP HARVARD COLLEGE. 73

de mars, 1711," and directed thus: "La prdsente, qu il donne
a Maitre Henri Gachet, charpentier de navire, a Boston." Mr.
Gassett was one of the most distinguished of the old anti-
masonic party, and by his pen and wealth contributed liberally
to its aid. He was an intimate personal friend of John Quincy
Adams, for whose talents and character he had the most un
bounded respect.

17D5. Hon. BENJAMIN GORHAM died in Boston, 27 Sep
tember, 1855, aged 80. He was son of Hon. Nathaniel Gor-
ham, and was born in Charlestown, Mass., 13 February, 1775.
Nathaniel Gorham, a member and president of the Continental
Congress, was the father of a numerous family, among whom
was the late Mrs. Peter C. Brooks, and a son, who became one
of the pioneers of Western New York, and died a few years
since at Canandaigua. Benjamin, who was a younger son,
soon after graduating, entered the office of the Hon. Theophilus
Parsons, in Newburyport, as a student of law, where he pur
sued and completed his legal studies. He then opened an office
in Boston, where he permanently resided. He rose rapidly to
eminence in his profession, and soon became one of the leading
members of the Boston bar. He was a familiar associate of
the famous circle in which were comprised Prescott, Jackson,
Parsons, Gore, Dexter, Sullivan, Cabot, Ames, Otis, Parker,
and Lowell. From 1820 to 1823, he represented Suffolk
District in the United-States Congress. He was succeeded by
Hon. Daniel Webster, who held the office until 1827, when he
was chosen senator ; and Mr. Gorham was again elected repre
sentative from Suffolk, which office he filled with honor to him
self and the entire satisfaction of his constituents until 1831,
when, his term having expired, he declined a re-election. When
in Congress, although not a frequent speaker, he was always
listened to with marked attention, as he possessed a mind of
great logical acuteness, and his speeches commanded the respect
even of his political opponents. The great questions which fell
within these periods, under the administration of Mr. Adams
and Gen. Jackson, were those of internal improvements, the
revenue-tariff, and the bank of the United States. No one



understood them better than Mr. Gorham. He discussed them
on several occasions with eminent ability ; and no student of the
history of our legislation on these subjects should fail to consult
the reports of his arguments. His speech, in 1828, on the
occupation of Oregon, is another monument of his enlightened
and prudent statesmanship. In 1833, after repeated fruitless
attempts of his party to choose another candidate, he was
reluctantly persuaded to accept a third election ; and served in
the third Congress, under the administration of Jackson ; of the
proceedings of which body, his speech on the removal of
the deposits from the United-States Bank, in February, 1834,
was a prominent feature. After his retirement from Congress,
he never accepted office, except for a short time as a member
of one or both branches of the state legislature. Being at
ease in point of fortune, the remainder of his life was passed in
the company of his books and his friends. He was of a singu
larly sociable nature : he loved to talk, and talked admirably
well. His equanimity was imperturbable, and his cheerfulness
seldom clouded. In the closer relations of life, he was singu
larly favored. By his first marriage, he became connected with
the family of Judge Lowell ; and by his second, with that of
John Coffin Jones. Left a widower for many years, death had
been made familiar to his mind. He had often expressed a
desire that it might be sudden ; and the gentle messenger that
summoned him fulfilled his wish.

1795. Dr. EBENEZER LAWKENCE died in Pepperell, Mass. ,
14 June, 1856, aged 86. He was son of Ephraim and Anna
(Fisk) Lawrence, and was born in Pepperell, 9 January, 1770.
He pursued his medical studies under the instruction of Gov.
John Brooks, of Medford ; and settled as a physician in Hamp
ton, N.H., where he acquired an extensive practice, which he
continued with eminent success for fifty-one years. Unlike
most of his contemporaries in the medical profession, he adminis
tered to his patients but very little medicine ; relying rather
upon the vis medicatrix natures to effect a cure. He married, in
1800, Abigail Leavitt, daughter of Col. Thomas Leavitt, of
Hampton ; and had a large family of children. His wife and

1855-56.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 75

four children, two sons and two daughters, survive him. He
was highly esteemed and respected by the citizens among
whom he so long resided, and who intrusted to him many
offices of importance and responsibility. He was repeatedly
elected a selectman, and several times represented the town in
the New-Hampshire legislature. About five years before his
death, he returned to his native town, where he resided in the
family of one of his sons during the remainder of his life. He
died full of years, universally respected ; and will long be re
membered as the, "beloved physician."

1795. Rev. SILAS WARREN died in Jackson, Waldo Coun
ty, Me., 7 January, 1856, aged 88. He was son of John and
Mary (Myrick) Warren, and was born in Weston, Mass., 11
May, 1767. For several years after leaving college, he was
engaged in the instruction of youth. He was ordained at
Jackson, 16 September, 1812. He was a liberal divine of the
old school ; and after a peaceful ministry of about ten years, in
consequence of some dissatisfaction with the liberality of his
opinions, felt by a portion of his people, his pastoral relation to
the church in Jackson was dissolved. He continued to reside
in the town, and spent the remainder of his days, until over
taken by the infirmity of age, in teaching, and in cultivating a
farm. He possessed a naturally vigorous constitution, and
retained his faculties of body and mind to such a degree as
enabled him to enjoy life to almost the close of its period of
eighty-eight years. A cheerful and happy temperament made
him peculiarly acceptable in his favorite occupation of instruc
tion, and sustained him under the privations of straitened cir
cumstances. His appearance in the pulpit was calm, dignified,
and grave ; and his manners, in private intercourse, affable and
polite. He had long looked forward to death as a happy
release, and at last sank quietly away as in sleep. It was the
natural, peaceful close of a venerable old age.

1797. LEONARD JAR vis died in Baltimore, Md., 16 No
vember, 1855, aged 76. He was son of Nathaniel Jarvis, and
was born in Cambridge, Mass., 7 January, 1779. For ten
years after leaving college, he followed maritime pursuits,


and was master of an indiaman, making successful voyages.
lie then quitted this sphere to enter upon mercantile life, and
formed a partnership with Mr. Asaph Stone ; their place of busi
ness being first at No. 9, Union Street, and afterwards at the
corner of Court and Washington streets, Boston ; which firm
continued for six years. During the war of 1812, Mr Jarvis
disposed of his interest in the business, and resided in Cambridge
until the close of the war, when he removed to Baltimore for the
benefit of a milder climate. Here he was highly successful in
business, and became wealthy. He married, in 1806 or 1807,
Mary Cogswell, of Littleton. They had no child. He was a
gentleman without ostentation or display, and remarkable for
his generosity towards young men in the mercantile profession.
By his will, he devised the Melange edifice in Baltimore, known
as the " Jarvis Building," and occupied by the " Baltimore Pa
triot," one half to Harvard College, and the other half to the
Baltimore Humane Impartial Society, the House of Refuge,
the Aged- Women s Home, and the Baltimore Orphan Asylum.
These devises do not, however, take effect until the decease of
his widow, to whom nearly the whole of the income of his estate
is given during her life. The estate is estimated at not less than
twenty thousand dollars a year, and is increasing.

1797. JOSEPH TILTON died in Exeter, N.H., 27 March,
1856, aged 81. He was born in East Kingston, N.H.,
10 August, 1774 ; and was fitted for college at Exeter Aca
demy. On leaving college, he returned to Exeter, where he
studied law with Hon. Jeremiah Smith (Rutg. C. 1780), who
had that year removed from Peterborough to Exeter. He was
admitted to the bar in 1801 ; and immediately afterwards opened
an office in Wakefield, N.H., where he practised four or five
years ; when he removed to Rochester, N.H., where he remained
two or three years ; and, in the summer of 1809, went to
Exeter, and there passed the remainder of his life. He acquired
an extensive and respectable practice, which he continued for
forty-five years, when he retired from the active duties of his
profession. It is a sufficient proof of his professional success,
that he gained a prominent position at a bar where Webster,

1855-56.] OF HARVARD COLLEGE. 77

Mason, Smith, Sullivan, Woodbury, Bartlctt, Cutts, and Haven
were his contemporaries and competitors. He was held in high
estimation by his fellow-citizens, as was indicated, among other
things, by their electing him to represent the town of Exeter, in
the New-Hampshire legislature, nine successive years, from
1815 to 1823 inclusive. He was a director in the old Exeter
Bank, for many years, until it closed. In 1806, he married
Nancy Folsom, of Exeter. She died in 1837. In his pro
fessional and social relations, his good-humor was as unfailing
as his integrity was undoubted. He appeared to regard his
profession as his post of duty, in which he was to do his part in
guarding and advancing the interests of society. He passed
through life in the enjoyment of the respect of his brethren of
the bar, and the confidence of the community. He lived to a
good old age, and his memory will be long cherished by those
who knew him.

1797. Dr. JOHN COLLINS WARREN died in Boston, 4 May,
1856, aged 77. He was the eldest often children of Dr. John
and Abigail (Collins) Warren ; and was born in Boston,
1 August, 1778. His father, Dr. John Warren (H.C. 1771),
was born in Roxbury, Mass,, 27 July, 1753 ; studied medicine
with his brother, Gen. Joseph Warren ; and acquired a reputation
as a physician and surgeon no less extensive than that to which
his distinguished son afterwards attained. His mother was the
daughter of John Collins, who was governor of Ehode Island
from 1786 to 1789, a patriot of the Revolution, and a delegate
to Congress in 1789. He died at Newport, R.I., March, 1795,
at the age of 78 years. His uncle, Gen. Joseph Warren
(H.C. 1759), was born in Roxbury, 11 June, 1741 ; and was
a physician in Boston. He fell a martyr to the cause of freedom
in the battle of Bunker Hill.

Dr. Warren was a pupil at the Public Latin School in Bos
ton when the first Franklin medals were distributed ; and was a
successful competitor for one of them, an honor of which he was
justly proud. After going through a course of medical studies
under the instruction of his father, he went to Europe, where
he passed several years studying in the hospitals of London and


Paris. While in London, he enjoyed the friendship and instruc
tion of Sir Astley Cooper. On his return, he established
himself as a physician in Boston, and soon rose to the highest
rank in his profession. In 1806, he was appointed assistant-
professor of anatomy and surgery in Harvard College ; and on
the death of his father, which took place 4 April, 1815, he
succeeded him to the full professorship in that chair, and was
inaugurated 1 November of that year. The duties of this office
he discharged with signal ability and success for a period of
thirty-two years. In 1847, he tendered his resignation, which
was accepted so far as to relieve him from the active duties of
the professorship ; but he was retained as emeritus-professor until
his death. He was elected president of the Massachusetts
Medical Society, 7 June, 1832 ; which office he held until 25
May, 1836, when, at the annual meeting of the society, he
declined a re-election. He was a member of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Philosophical
Society, of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, of the
Academy of Naples, and the Medical Society of Florence ; a
corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of
Paris, and an honorary member of the Medico-Chirurgical Society
of London. He was, at the time of his death, president of the
Boston Society of Natural History. He was one of the original
members of the Boston Light Infantry ; and was third sergeant
on the first parade ever made by that corps, in 1798. After his
retirement from the active duties of his professorship, he devoted
much of his time to the study of the natural sciences. His
museum of specimens in comparative anatomy, osteology and
paleontology, was one of the most valuable private collections in
the world ; and he had probably the most perfect skeleton of
the mastodon giganteus of North America known to be in exist
ence. He was, in conjunction with his friend and contempo
rary, Dr. James Jackson, mainly instrumental in originating the
Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Asylum, by issu
ing, in August, 1810, a circular to the public on the need of
such an institution ; and afterwards rendered valuable service
in arranging and perfecting its organization. He was, for nearly

1855-56.] OP HARVARD COLLEGE. 79

thirty-six years (from 6 April, 1817, to February, 1853), at
first the sole, and subsequently the principal, acting surgeon,
in daily attendance upon its wards ; and by his eminent talents,
knowledge, and practical skill, as well as by his fidelity, energy,
and untiring devotion in behalf of its interests, largely contrib
uted to make it what it now is, an honor to the city and to the
commonwealth. He married, first, 17 November, 1803, Susan
Powell, daughter of Hon. Jonathan Mason, by whom he had
seven children, six of whom survive him. His wife died 3
June, 1841 ; and he married, second, 17 October, 1843, Anna
Winthrop, daughter of Hon. Thomas L. Winthrop, by whom
he had no issue. She died 17 December, 1850. He contrib
uted a large number of valuable papers in the Massachusetts
Medical Society s publications. A few years since, he pre
pared and published, at his own expense, and for gratuitous
distribution to public institutions and scientific persons, his
great work on the mastodon of this country ; and, a few weeks
before his death, he issued a second and enlarged edition, which
is offered for sale at a price which will barely meet the cost of
publication. In 1854, he published, in a splendid quarto vol
ume, a " Genealogy of Warren." He died full of years and
honors ; and, by his death, science lost one of its most ardent and
devoted laborers.

Cambridge, Mass., 18 May, 1856, aged 78. He was son of
Jonathan Fay, and was born in Concord, Mass., 10 January,
1778. He was the orator, who, by the appointment of his
classmates, addressed them in Latin, according to the usage of
that time, before the faculty, at the close of the college-studies
of the class, and at the time of their separation until the
recurrence of the annual commencement. On leaving college,
he began the study of law : but soon afterwards he received a
captain s commission in the American army, raised in conse
quence of French hostilities ; and joined the forces under the
command of Gen. Hamilton, stationed at Oxford, Mass., in
1798-9. His military career, however, was not of long dura
tion. After the successful issue of the second mission of envoys


sent to France by President Adams, the army was disbanded,
and young Fay resumed the study of the law. Having com
pleted his course of legal studies, and been admitted to the bar,
he opened an office in Cambridge, where he soon acquired a
high reputation as a successful lawyer. He was early and

Online LibraryJoseph PalmerNecrology of alumni of Harvard college, 1851-52 to 1862-63 → online text (page 7 of 49)