Richard Herndon.

Men of progress : one thousand biographical sketches and portraits of leaders in business and professional life in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts online

. (page 1 of 147)
Online LibraryRichard HerndonMen of progress : one thousand biographical sketches and portraits of leaders in business and professional life in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts → online text (page 1 of 147)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Men of Progress


Biographical Sketches and Portraits


Leaders in Business and Professional Life


Commou\ucaltl) of ^^a00acl)U0ctt)S







"C -

CorvNlGHT, 1S93



OCI "0


18 ^^^.






ABBOTT, Samuei, Ari'i.uroN BuowNii, presi-
dent of the Trustees of the Puljhc I.ibrary of
the City of Jioston, was boni in Lowell. March 6,
1846, son of Josiah Gardner and Caroline (Liver-
more) Abbott. On both sides he is of early New


England ancestry. He is a descendant in the
eighth generation of George Abbott, an English
Puritan, who came from \'orkshire in 1640, and
was one of the settlers of Andover in 1643 ;
and, through his paternal grandmother, of the
Fletchers, also pjiglish Puritans, who came from
Devonshire and settled in Concord, and in 1653
in Chelmsford. Both of his paternal great-grand-
fathers were in tiie battle of Bunker Hill, and
held commissions in the Continental army. On
the maternal side he descends from John Liver-
more, who came from England in 1634, settled

first in Watertown, thirty years later removed to
Connecticut, and was one of the signers of the
fundamental agreement of the colony of New
Haven, and, returning to Watertown, died there
in 16S5. His maternal great-grandfather, .Samuel
Liverniore, was attorney-general for the province
of New Hampshire, after the Revolution chief
justice of the State (appointed in 1782), a mem-
ber of the convocation for the adoption of the
Federal Constitution, a representative in the first
Congress, and later a senator and president
of the Senate pro ii-in. for nine years ; and his
maternal grandfather, Edward St. Loe Liver-
more, was United States district attorney (ap-
pointed by Washington), a justice of the Supreme
Court of Xew Hampshire (appointed in 179S),
and a member of Congress for three terms.
His father. Judge Josiah G. Abbott, one of the
foremost members of the Massachusetts bar,
served in the General Court, was a member of
the Constitutional Convention of 1853, justice of
the Superior Court for the county of Suffolk from
1855 to 1858, when he resigned (and two years
later declined a place on the bench of tlie Su-
preme Judicial Court), a representative in Con-
gress in 1S76-77, and a member of the Electoral
Commission of 1877, t''"^ leader of the minority of
that commission, preparing the address of the
minority to the people of the United States,
which, though approved, was not issued. Samuel
A. B. Abbott was educated in the public schools
and at Harvard. His early education was ac-
quired in the Lowell public schools and in the
]!oston Latin School ; and he was fitted for col-
lege by Professor Lane, of Harvard. He entered
Harvard as a sophomore, and graduated in 1866,
in 1869 receiving the degree of A.M. In college
he was president of the Hasty Pudding Club
and of the Med. Fac, also a member of the
Porcellian Club, the D. K. E. and the .A. D.
clubs; and he rowed in the university crews in
1S64. After graduating he studied law in the



office of his father, and was admitted to the
Suffolk bar in 1868. Subsequently, in 1876, he
was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of
the United States. He has practised in Boston
since his admission to the bar, and also in the
United States courts, circuit, district, and su-
preme. He has twice conducted successfully con-
tested election cases before Congress, — that of
Josiah G. Abbott in 1867 and that of Henjamin
Dean against the present Chief Justice Field in
1878. He is president of the Hill ;\Ianufacturing
Company of Lewiston, Me., succeeding his father
in that position, and a director of the Atlantic
Cotton Mills at Lawrence, of the Franklin Com-
pany of Lewiston, of the Union \\'ater Power
Company of Lewiston, of which his father was
the principal promoter, and of the Peterborough
Railroad. His public service, with the exception
of a term on the lioard of License Commissioners
in Boston in 1877, has been as a trustee of the
Boston Public Library, which position he has
held since 1879, president of the board since
May, 1888. For several years he was acting
librarian of the library. He is identified with the
construction and embellishment of the new Public
Library Building on Copley Square, the whole
control of the erection of this monumental edifice
having been placed, at the beginning of the work
in 1S87, in the hands of the trustees. In politics
Mr. Abbott is a Democrat. In 1883, when Gen-
eral Butler was nominated by the Democratic
party the second time for governor of the State,
he was nominated for lieutenant governor ; but he
declined to run on the same ticket with Butler.
In 1862 he was a member of the New England
Guards. He is a member of the Suffolk Bar
Association, of the Somerset, St. Botolph, and
Athletic clubs of Boston, and of the Century,
University, and Players' clubs of New York. He
was married first, April 21, 1869, to Miss Mary
Goddard, of Boston, of which union there were
no children; and second, October 15, 1873, to
Miss Abby Frances Woods, of Providence, R.I.
They have four children : Helen Francis, Mad-
eleine Livermore, Ann Francis and Caroline
Livermore Abbott. Mr. Abbott's country resi-
dence is at Wellesley Hills, and his town house
on the liack Bay, I-3oston.

boys, under the long familiar i/oiii dc plume of
"Oliver Optic," is a native of Medway, born July
30, 1822, son of Laban and Catharine (Johnson)
Adams. His father was also a native of Medway ;
and his mother was a \'ermonter, born in Chester.
His pedigree is traced back to Thomas Ap Adam,
who came out of " The Marches of ^\'ales " in
the eighth century: from him descended Henry

ADAMS, ^^'^.I.I.\^[ T.^vlor, author and editor,
the most prolific writer of the age of stories for


Adams, who, escaping from the "Green Dragon
Persecution," came from Devonshire, England,
to this country in 1630, with several sons, from
one of whom, settled in that part of Braintree
now Quincy, came the two Presidents, Samuel
Adams, and other worthies, and from another,
settled in Medfield (part of which became Med-
way). came Laban, "Oliver Optic's" father.
Laban Adams was first a farmer, then an inn-
keeper, and again a farmer. He was some time
landlord of the "Village Hotel " in Medway and
of the "Washington Coffee House" in lioston,
near where the Transcript newspaper office now
stands, and the year of the birth of \\'illiam T.
he kept the famous old " Lamb Tavern " of Bos-
ton, dating from 1745, which stood on the site
of the present Adams House. Here the boy
lived until well into his teens, helping his father
about the tavern and attending school, part of the



time the Adams (Grammar School, — the school-
house then on Mason Street, wliere the Itoston
School Board's building now is, — and later the
private school of Amos Baker, at the head of Har-
vard Place, famous in its day. In 183S the elder
Adams leased the " Lamb," which he had pur-
chased about the year 1834, and moved his fam-
ily to a farm in West Roxlnuy. \\'illiam T. went
to work on the farm and to public school in the
winter, applying himself to both occupations with
such enthusiasm and zeal that he soon became
an excellent farmer and a tine scholar. In school
he led his class in various studies, but especially
excelled in composition. His fust effort covered
eight letter pages, and the schoolmaster pro-
nounced it the best composition he had ever
looked over ; the second covered twenty-five
pages ; the third, eighty. He frequently sat up
all night in his room, when his parents supposed
he was a-bed, with his overcoat and gloves on,
writing compositions. In this same school, when
he was about eighteen years of age, he was made
an assistant teacher, without pay. Subsequently
he continued his studies under a private in-
structor till he reached twenty. Then he taught
a month as a substitute in the school in Dorches-
ter now known as the Harris Grammar School,
and the following year, 1843, was appointed prin-
cipal of the school. In this capacity he served
for three years with marked success, the commit-
tee in its report commending his school as "one
of the best, if not the very best, at present in
town." From school-teaching, after a somewhat
extensive trip in Northern and Southern States,
he re-entered the hotel business, joining his father,
under the firm name of L. & \V. '1'. Adams, in the
conduct of the first Adams House, which Laban
Adams had built in 1844-46 in place of the old
Lamb Tavern. Jiut as a hotel-keeper he was not
successful, and two years later found him again
a school-teacher, — usher in the Boylston Gram-
mar School, l''ort Hill, Boston. Subsequently he
became submaster and in 18G0 master of this
school. Then he was transferred to the liowditch
School for Girls, and continued at its head till
1865, when he resigned, at the urgent request of
Messrs. Lee & Shepard, his publishers, to devote
his time entirely to story-writing. Mr. Adams
published his first article at nineteen, — an extract
from one of his school compositions, printed in
the Sdciii/ jMiuiitur : and before he retired from
school-teaching he had written and published

over eight hundred stories, varying in length from
one newspaper column to a serial of seventy col-
umns. His first story, a temperance tale, was
written while he was a teacher in Dorchester, and
quickly followed by a second, both of which ap-
peared in the ]Vasliin;^toniaii in 1845. His first
"pay-matter" was a story entitled "The Marriage
Contract," written in six hours, and published in
the Tntc I<7( J s; in 1852, for which he received $6.
His first book was a story called " Hatchie, the
Guardian Slave," its scenes laid in New Orleans
and on the Mississippi from notes taken during
a trip South in 1848, published in 1854, for which
he was paid $37.50 ; and the first of his series of
books for boys was written in 1854, when he was
teaching in the Fort Hill school. His earlier
stories, most of which were published in the
True Flat;, appeared over a variety of signatures,
— " Irving Brown," appended to the love stories,
" Clingman Hunter, M.D.," to sketches of travel,
"Oliver Optic" to domestic stories, and "Old
Stager," "A Retired .Attorney," "Man of the
\A'orld," and others used indiscriminately, never
using his real name. The iiom ik pliaiic of
"Oliver Optic" first appeared in 185 1 with an
M.D. and "Member of the Mutual .Vdmiration
Society " attached, signed to a doggerel poem
which he wrote for the Bromfield Lyceum, and
subsequently published in the Flag of Our Union.
It was suggested by a character under the name
of "Dr. Optic," in a new play, "written by a
gentleman of Boston," then running at the Boston
Museum, which took Mr. .Adams's fanc)'. He
added to it the alliterative prefix of " Oliver," and
appended it to his short domestic stories, which
were produced with great rapidity, and were
copied by story papers all over the country. It
soon became too popular to drop. The " Oliver
Optic" juvenile works, from which Mr. .Adams's
wide reputation has come, were indirectly the
result of the success of his first book, " Hatchie."
In 1852 F. Ormond O. J. Bazin, who had been
a clerk in the bookstore of B. B. Muzzy & Co.,
the publishers of " Hatchie," having become a
member of the firm of Brown, Bazin & Co., sent
a mutual friend to him to say that the writer of
that book could furnish the book with which the
new firm would be willing to begin business. He
suggested a collection of his " Optic " domestic
stories, with a few new ones added ; and, this
being accepted, in due time " In Doors and Out "
appeared, and was a success. Then the firm



called for a juvenile book. Mr. Adams at first
declared that he could not produce it, having
never attempted such work ; but he finalh' yielded
to the pressure of the publishers, and '• The Hoat
Club " was the result. The first half of the story
went to the type-setters before the last half had
been begun by the author, but "copy" was fur-
nished as rapidly as it was required. The book
was an emphatic success. The ne.\t year " All
Abroad," the sequel to it, appeared ; and others
followed in rapid succession. Frequently Mr.
Adams had several series under way at the same
time ; and during the ten years following the
publication of his first juvenile, when he was
engaged in his regular duties as a school-teacher
and doing his share as a public-spirited citizen,
he produced from two to si.\ volumes a year.
From the firm of Brown, Bazin & Co., which was
not successful, Mr. Adams's books passed to the
house of Phillips, Sampson & Co.; and soon after
the foundation of the house of Lee & Shepard,
in 1862, the latter became his publishers, its first
publishing investment being the purchase of the
stereotype plates of the " Boat Club " stories
(si.x volumes of them) and the •' Riverdale "
series, which it reissued in new editions. From
that time to the present Lee & Shepard have
been the sole publishers of Mr. Adams's volumes.
They were also the projectors of Oliver Optic's
Magazine, Our Buys ami Girls, started in 1867,
and continued for nine years under the editorial
supervision of Mr. Adams, — his second experi-
ence as an editor, having previously, for nearly
ten years, had charge of the Stutleiit and School-
viate. In 1880 he became editor of Our Little
Ones, that year started, now Our Little Ones and
tlie Al/rsery : and since the establishment of the
W'lude Family, in 1893, he has been juvenile
editor of that periodical. Including the bound
volumes of the magazines which he has edited,
the name of " 01i\'er Optic" now stands (1894)
on the title-pages of one hundred and twenty-five
books, and more are under way. The list em-
braces the following : 1852, Hatchie and In Doors
and Out, domestic stories for adult readers; 1855-
60, The Boat Club Stories, 6 vols.; 1854-66,
Stndent and Schoolmate (magazine), 9 vols.; i860.
The Riverdale Stories, 12 vols.; 1865, A Spell-
ing-book for Advanced Classes; 1863-66, The
\\'ood\ille Stories, 6 vols.; 1864-66, The Army
and Navy Stories, 6 vols. ; 1866, The Way of the
World, a novel for adults; 1S66-69, Young

.-Vmerica Abroad, first series, 6 vols. ; 1S67-75,
Oliver Optic's APagazine, 9 vols.; 1867-68, The
Starry Flag Series. 6 vols.; 1869, Our Standard
Bearer, i vol.; 1869-70, The Lake Shore Series,
6 vols.; 1870-72, The Onward and Upward
Series, 6 vols.; 1871-77, Young America Abroad,
second series, 6 vols. ; 1872-75, The Yacht Club
Series, 6 vols.; 1875-81, The Great Western
Series, 6 vols.; 1876, Li\-ing Too Fast (for adult
readers), 1 vol.; 1877, History of llnion Lodge,
Dorchester, i vol.; 1880-92, Our J.ittle Ones, 13
vols.; 1882-85, '^'hs Boat Iiuilder Series, 6 vols.;
1889-93, The Blue and Gray Series, Navy; new
series. The Blue and (iray, Arm)% begun 1893,
2 vols, written, but not published ; The All-over-
the-World Series, 8 vols., 2 not yet published.
For all of his books Mr. Adams's preparation
has been most thorough. The voyage of the
" Young America " in the " Young America
Abroad " series, for instance, was properly drawn
out in red ink on the chart of the North .\tlantic
before the writing of the story was begun ; and,
to insure accuracy of description in the twelve
books of this series, he made two trips to Europe,
visiting every country, and sailing the seas and
rivers within its boundaries. Before he wrote
the " Lake Shore '' series he made a special trip
to the lake and surrounding country. For the
"Army and Na\y " series he consulted old sailors
and soldiers. He has been to Europe nine times,
twice to Nassau and the south side of Cuba, has
visited nearly every State in the United States
and the British Provinces, and sailed on the large
rivers and great lakes. In the library ftf his
house in the Dorchester District of Boston he
has, besides about three thousand books, mostly
consulted in his work, large numbers of maps,
charts, diagrams, and plans ; and, adjoining his
house, he has a workshop well stocked with tools
and machinery, in which he has himself worked
out many of the things described in the " Boat
Builder " series and other books. Mr. Adams
served one year (1868) in the General Court as a
representative for Dorchester, declining a re-elec-
tion, and for fourteen years was a member of the
school committees, four years of that of Dorches-
ter immediately preceding the annexation of the
town to lioston (1S70), and ten years immediately
following, of the lioston board. I''or about twenty
years he was either teacher or superintendent of
the Sunday-school of the Dorchester First Church.
He belongs to the Masonic order, and for three



years was master of the Ihiion Lodge ; and lie
is a member of tlie Old Dorchester Club, of the
Massaciiusetts Yacht Club (honorary member, an
original member of the Dorchester \'acht Club,
which became the Massachusetts \'acht Club),
and of the I'.oston Press Club. In politics he has
been a Republican from the origin of the party,
with Independent tendencies. His first vote was
for Henry Clay, and he was a Whig as long as
the party existed. In 18S4 he was a " Mug-
wump," and supported Cleveland's first term ;
but in 1892 he voted the national Republican
ticket, and also the Republican ticket in State
elections. Mr. Adams was married in October,
1S46, to Miss Sarah Jenkins, of Dorchester. She
died March 7, 1885. Their children were: Ellen
Frances (died at the age of eighteen months),
Alice (now the wife of Sol Smith Russell, the
comedian), and Emma (wife of George \\'. White,
of the Suffolk bar, died May 25, 1884). With
the e.xception of about si.\ months in Minneapolis
(1887), where his daughter, Mrs. Sol Smith Russell,
made her home, lie has resided in Dorchester
since 1843.

ALGER, Alpheus Brown, member of the bar,
mayor of the city of Cambridge for two years,
was born in Lowell, October 8, 1854, son of
Edwin A. and Amanda (Huswell) .Alger. On the
paternal side he is descended from 'I'honias Alger
who settled in Bridgewater in 1665. He attended
the public schools of Lowell, and was there
prepared for college, entering Harvard in 187 1,
from which he graduated in 1875. The same
year he entered the Harvard Law School, and a
year later continued his law studies in the office
of Judge Josiah G. Abbott, of Boston. He was
admitted to the bar in 1877, and began practice
in Boston, in association with his father's firm,
Brown & Alger, continuing his residence in Cam-
bridge, to which city the family had moved during
his first year in college. He early took an in-
terest in politics. In 1878 he became a member
of the Democratic city committee of Cambridge,
was made its secretary, and subsequently its
chairman ; and his connection with the organiza-
tion was continued unbroken until 1891, his first
year in the mayoralty. In 1884 he was a member
of the Cambridge Board of Aldermen ; in 1886
and 1887 a State senator; and in 1891 and 1892
mayor of the city of Cambridge. In the Senate

he was a leader, and served on the important
committees on the judiciary, on public service,
mercantile affairs (chairman), liquor laws, rules,
and bills in the third reading ; and as mayor of
Cambridge he was re-elected for his second term
unanimously, on the record of his first. From
1884 to 1892 he was a member of the Democratic
State Committee, its secretary for four years,
and on the finance and e.xecutive committees; he
served also for some time on the Democratic Con-
gressional and county committees; and in 1888
he was a deleirate to the National Democratic


Convention at St. Louis. He belongs to a num-
ber of fraternal orders, — is a member of the Ami-
cable Lodge, F"ree Masons, Boston Commandery ;
of the Ponemah Tribe Improved Order of Red
Men (of which order he was a great sachem in
189 1, and a great representative to the council
held in Atlanta, Ga., in 1892); of St. Omer
Lodge, Knights of Pythias ; of Aleppo Temple,
Order of Mystic Shrine; and of the Haymakers.
Among the social organizations with which he is
connected are the Central Club, of Somerville, the
Arlington Boat Club, and the Bay State of Mas-
sachusetts (Democratic dining club), of which he
is secretary and treasurer. From 189 1 to 1892
he was chairman of the Board of Harvard Bridge



Commissioners, and was a member of the Charles
River Improvement Commission, established by
act of the Legislature of 189 1. He is unmarried.

AMES, Frederick Lothrop, capitalist, dis-
tinguished especially in American railroad enter-
prises, was born in Easton, June 8, 1835, son of
Oliver, 2d, and Sarah (Lothrop) Ames; died Sep-
tember 16, 1893. He was a lineal descendant of
William Ames, who came to Massachusetts from
Bruton, in the shire of Somerset, England, about
the year 1635, ^^'~^ settled in Braintree ; was
great-grandson of Captain John Ames, who began
the making of shovels in \\'est Bridgewater about
1773 ; and grandson of Captain John's son Oliver,
who learned his trade at his father's forge, and in
1803 established in North Easton the works and
firm which in later years attained wide reputation
under tlie name of Oliver Ames &: Sons. ( )f
these sons, Oliver, 2d, the father of Frederick L.,
and Oakes Ames were the best known from their
prominence in railroad development and in the
building of the Union Pacific. The mother of
Frederick L. was the daughter of Hon. Howard
Lothrop, of Easton, who had served in the Massa-
chusetts Senate, and in various other official posi-
tions, and sister of the Hon. George Van Ness
Lothrop, United States minister to Russia during
the first administration of President Cleveland.
Frederick L. Ames received his early education
at Concord, was fitted for college at Phillips
(Exeter) Academy, and graduated at Harvard in
the class of 1S54. In his youth he had a strong
inclination towards the law, but, in accordance
with his father's wishes, soon after graduation he
entered the family business at North Easton.
Beginning as a clerk in the office, he secured pro-
motions from grade to grade, according to the
rules which prevailed in the establishment, and
after several years' service as a su])ordinate was
placed in charge of the accountant's department,
where he displayed marked business ability. In
his twenty-eighth year, by the death of his grand-
father (1863), he became a member of tiie firm.
In 1876, when the firm was reorganized under the
title of the Oliver Ames & Sons Corporation, he
was made treasurer, and soon after succeeded his
father as the official and actual liead of that great
manufacturing concern. Before tiie death of his
father, which occurred in 1S77, he liad invested
extensively in Western railroads ; and, while he

was still comparatively a young man, he was
a director in the llnion Pacific, the Chicago &
Northwestern, the Missouri Pacific, and the
Texas Pacific, and had gradually diverted his in-
terest from manufacturing to railroads. Subse-
quently, while retaining his interest in the factory
of his ancestors and continuing as treasurer of the
corporation, he extended and enlarged his rail-




,y^ tT^-







road operations, and became conspicuous among
the foremost men of the railroad world. He was
universally conceded to be one of the best in-
formed men in American railroad business, and
one of the best judges of the value, quality, re-
sources, and possibilities of railway property. At
the time of his death he was vice-president of the
Old Colony Railroad, a director in the Old Col-
ony Steamboat Company, and director in a great
number of other railroad companies in various
parts of the country, including the following : the
Atchison, Colorado & Pacific; Atchison, Jewell
County & Western ; ISoulder Valley & Central
City ^^'agon Road ; Carbon Cut-off Company ;
Central liranch Ihiion Pacific ; Chicago & North-
western ; Colorado Western ; 1 )enver, Leadville
iV' Gunnison ; Denver Ihiion Ov Terminal ; Echo &
Park City; Fall liiver, A\'arren &: Providence; the

Online LibraryRichard HerndonMen of progress : one thousand biographical sketches and portraits of leaders in business and professional life in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts → online text (page 1 of 147)