William L. (William Ladd) Chaffin.

History of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) online

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sickness a week later, and died July 13 following. He left one
daughter, Elizabeth Lyman Reed, who now resides in Milton.

Edward Selee, son of John and Catherine (Pierce) Selee,
was born in Easton, May 2, 1831. Edward taught school for
some time, as did all his brothers except John. He entered
Amherst College, but did not remain long enough to graduate ;
studied law with Ellis Ames, Esq., of Canton, and was\dmitted
to the Bar in the spring of 1859. He opened a law-ofifice at
North Easton village and continued in practice here until his
death. Mr. Selee married June 23, i860, Mary L. Hartwell.
He was sick with typhoid fever at the time, and hopeless of
recovery ; the marriage was to enable her to inherit his prop-
erty. He died five days afterward. Mr. Selee was spoken of as
diligent, hard-working, and likely to win a good success in his
profession. The inscription upon his tombstone reads : " He
was a zealous member of the Bar, with a strong mind, a warm
heart ; and was a true friend."

Louis C. Southard was born in Portland, Maine, April i,
1854; studied law in the office of the Hon. W. W. Thomas
and Clarence Hale in Portland, and was in the class of 1877 at
the Boston University Law School, but was prevented by a
serious illness from graduating with his class. He was ad-
mitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court at Portland, in July,
1877, and located at North Easton village on the ist day of
November following. Mr. Southard had already begun law
practice in Portland, was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in
December, and remained local attorney in North Easton for two
years, since which time he has had a law-ofifice, with increasing
business, in Boston. June i, 1881, Mr. Southard married Nellie,
daughter of Joseph and Lucy Ann (Keith) Copeland.

Charles L. Swan, son of Dr. Caleb and Louisa S. (Johnson)
Swan, was born in Easton, February 2, 1840. He entered Har-
vard College in 1855, and graduated in 1859 at the age of nine-
teen years, being the fifth in rank in a class of one hundred. He
studied law in the Harvard Law School, from which he gradu-
ated in 1862, taking the second prize. Continuing his studies



in the office of Ellis Ames, Esq., he finally settled in the prac-
tice of his profession in Stoughton, Massachusetts, where he
was appointed a trial justice and a commissioner of insolvency.
He was prominent also in the Masonic fraternity. Mr. Swan
died November 29, 1865, and his funeral sermon was preached
by the Rev. St. John Chambre of the Universalist Church in
Stoughton. He was regarded as very promising, and his early
death was much lamented.

Daniel Wheaton was the son of Dr. George and Elizabeth
(Morey) Wheaton, of Norton, where he was born, September 10,
1767. Dr. George was the son of Ephraim, Jr., the grandson
of Ephraim, both of Swansea, and great-grandson of Robert
Wheaton, who was of Rehoboth as early as 1643. Daniel
Wheaton graduated at Harvard University in 1791, studied law,
and moved to Easton in April, 1796, locating on the Bay road
near where his son Daniel B. Wheaton now lives. He practised
law throughout his life, being often employed by the town in its
lawsuits, which were frequent ; but he seldom held any town
office. Mr. Wheaton was made postmaster January 27, 1801,
and held that position over forty years. He married Hannah
LeBaron Goodwin, February 3, 1794, and had six children. She
died July 31, 1831. He then married her sister, Mary R., Sep-
tember 20, 1832, who died November 14, 1834. November 13,
1836, he married Hannah LeBaron, who died December 6, 1852.
Mr. Wheaton died September i, 1841, the date on the tombstone,
September 11, being incorrect.

George Wheaton was the oldest son of Daniel and Hannah
(Goodwin) Wheaton, and was born in Easton, May 10, 1796.
He fitted for college with the Rev. David Gurney, of Middle-
borough, and graduated at Harvard University in 1814; studied
law in the Cambridge Law School, and practised the profession
for one year at Uxbridge, Massachusetts, about 1822. He then
removed to Taunton, Massachusetts, and practised there until
his death, or about three years. Mr. Wheaton married Frances
Willard, of Taunton. He is said to have been a very able lawyer
and a popular man ; was much interested in military matters,
and September 23, 1825, was appointed major of the Second


Brigade, Fifth Division, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Mr.
Wheaton died in the autumn of 1826.

Henry G. Wheaton, son of Daniel and Hannah (Goodwin)
Wheaton, was born in Easton, December 13, 1799; fitted for
college with his father, and graduated from Harvard Univer-
sity in 1820. He then studied law with William Baylies, Esq.,
of West Bridgewater, and subsequently located at Albany, New
York, where he practised law for about thirty years. Novem-
ber 6, 1825, he married Rachel Lush, of Albany. Later in life
Mr. Wheaton removed to New York City. His death was
caused by an accident on the Harlem Railroad, August 26,
1865. Stepping at night from the wrong side of the cars, he
was struck by a passing train and instantly killed. His neck
was broken, although no sign of injury appeared on his body
except a slight bruise on one shoulder.

Guilford White, son of Alanson and Rebecca (Billings)
White, was born in Easton, August 17, 1822. He attended the
North Bridgewater Academy and Mr. Perkins's school in the old
chapel at Easton Centre. In January, 1857, he began the study
of law in the office of J. H. & T. L. Wakefield at Boston ; was
examined for admission to the Bar in August, 1858, by PHny
Merrick, one of the Supreme Court Judges, and was admitted in
the Supreme Court at Boston, in September. In October, 1867,
he was admitted in the United States Circuit Court at Boston,
on motion of George S. Hilliard, then United States District
Attorney, and opened an office in Boston, and still has one
there. Mr. White married, September 14, 1845, Olivia J. Jack-
son. He has always made his home at South Easton.




Frederick L. Ames. — Oliver Ames, 2d. — Charles R. Ballard. —
Maitland C. Lamprey. — Edwin Howard Lothrop. — Commander
George F. F. Wilde.

THIS chapter is not intended, as its title might imply, to
give a sketch of all the college graduates of Easton,
inasmuch as many of them have already been spoken of in pre-
ceding chapters ; it will merely include those natives or citizens
of Easton who have graduated from college, and have not devoted
themselves to either one of the three professions of divinity,
medicine, or law.

The Hon. Frederick Lothrop Ames, son of Oliver and of
Sarah (Lothrop) Ames, was born in Easton, June 8, 1835. He
was prepared for college by three years' study at Concord, Mass.,
and by finishing the full course of study at Phillips Exeter Acad-
emy. He entered Harvard University as Sophomore in 185 1,
and graduated in 1854.

Mr. Ames soon entered business life not only as a member of the
great firm of Oliver Ames & Sons, but also on his own account ;
and long before he became an heir to a portion of his father's
estate, he had amassed a large fortune of his own by the exercise
of extraordinary business abilities that leave him few rivals and
perhaps no superiors among the business men of New England.
Oliver and Oakes, his father and uncle, it is well known, had
become interested in great railroad enterprises, notably among
them being the Union Pacific, and F. L. Ames soon engaged
largely in such interests himself ; and although he has organized
and carried on many other successful enterprises, he is best
known in the business world as a railroad man. His extensive
undertakings, experience, and success in railroad affairs will


account for the fact that his advice and co-operation in all
such matters are eagerly sought and highly valued.

Mr. Ames is vice-president of the Old Colony Railroad Com-
pany and the Old Colony Steamship Company ; he is also a
director in the Western Union Telegraph Company, the Union
Pacific Railway Company, the Missouri Pacific, the Texas Pa-
cific, the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad Companies, and
many others. In 1884, in the United States, Canadian, and
Mexican Directory of railroad directors, he is recorded as a
director in fifty-two different railroad companies, and he has
been elected to similar positions since that time. Although he
cannot, of course, take an active part in the management of so
many railroads, the fact that he is thus connected with them
shows the recognized weight of his influence and the strength
of his name in this direction. All this is too well known to
need any further statement here. Mr. Ames is also president
of the First National Bank of Easton, and of the North Easton
Savings Bank, and also of the Hoosac Tunnel Dock and Ele-
vator Company. It is not desirable here to extend the list of
the numerous official positions he is solicited to fill, or at least
to allow his name to be connected with.

Mr. Ames was in 1872 a member of the State senate, and
served while there on the committees on manufactures and agri-
culture. He does not however cherish political aspirations, and
his tastes disincline him to seek for positions that will bring him
into public notice.

Mr Ames's judgment is clear, cool, and sound, unmoved by
mere hope, enthusiasm, or excitement of any kind, but going
straight to the mark. Neither elated by success, nor depressed
by failure, he keeps an even mind amid the distractions of a
crowded business life. Finding a keen delight in farming, and
especially in floriculture and the cultivation of rare plants, mam-
taining also a decided and intelligent interest in Hterary matters,
which he will allow no pressure of business to prevent him from
cultivating, and delighting in the pleasures and blessings of a
happy home, he is able to stand as firmly under the burden and
to bear as evenly the friction of great business affairs as any
man. He combines reserve and dignity with gentlemanly cour-
tesy ; and while he is exceptionally strong in his convictions and


independent in his character, he is willing others shall enjoy their
own convictions undisturbed and be as independent as himself.

June 7, i860, Mr. F. L. Ames married Rebecca C, daughter
of James and Nancy Blair, of St. Louis. They have had six chil-
dren, of whom all but the first-born are living. He and his
family divide the year between their home on the corner of
Commonwealth Avenue and Dartmouth Street, in Boston, and
their large and beautiful place at North Easton.

Oliver Ames, 2d, son of Frederick L. and Rebecca C. (Blair)
Ames, was born in Easton, October 21, 1864. He was prepared
for college at the Adams Academy at Ouincy, and at George
W. C. Noble's school in Boston, entering Harvard University in
1882, and graduating in 1886. At present, and before entering
upon an active business life, he is enjoying the pleasure and
receiving the benefit of a trip round the world, — visiting Japan,
China, India, Egypt, as well as several European countries.

Charles R. Ballard was born in Tinmouth, Vermont, in
1827, fitted for college at Castleton (Vermont) Seminary, en-
tered the Universi'y of Vermont, at Burlington, in September,
1850, and graduated in August, 1854. He taught school seven
winter terms previous to graduation. In the September after
graduation Mr. Ballard began teaching as assistant principal
in Castleton Seminary, remaining there three years. He was
then principal for ten years of academies in Vermont and New
York, and after that of normal and high schools in Vermont.
While in charge of the Woodstock (Vermont) High School, he
received and accepted an invitation to take charge of the Eas-
ton High School, coming to Easton and beginning work in Sep-
tember, 1 87 1. For six years he did faithful and successful ser-
vice in the High School here, and after resigning this position
he engaged for about three years in teaching private pupils.
March 15, 1880, he began work as the librarian of the Ames
Free Library of Easton, a place which he holds at the present

Maitland C. Lamprey, son of Ephraim and Bridget (Phelps)
Lamprey, was born in Groton, New Hampshire, September 30,
1838. His boyhood was spent in hard farm- work, alternating


with short terms of school in the winter. He prepared for col-
lege at New Hampton, N. H., and entered Dartmouth College
in the class of 1863. But the demands of the country being
urgent, Maitland in 1862 enhsted in Company D, Sixteenth
Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, which went South
with General Banks's expedition, and reached the mouth of the
Mississippi River on the last day of 1862. This regiment par-
ticipated in the dreary and exhausting campaign in Louisiana,
and was so affected by the poisonous malaria of surrounding
swamps as seldom to have more than one hundred men fit for
duty. Mr. Lamprey was at the engagement at Butte a la Rose,
and was with his regiment at the siege and capture of Port
Hudson. Like so many of his comrades, he was attacked with
chills and fever, and this was followed, after the capture of Port
, Hudson, with a serious form of dysentery. After a week of this
sickness, which greatly reduced him, news came that his regiment
was ordered North. He was carried on board the steamboat
with what seemed a slim chance of reaching home, was twice
singled out at Vicksburg by the surgeons to be left behind, but
begged for the privilege of being taken at least as far North as
Cairo. The surgeons shrugged their shoulders as they granted
his request. For weary, painful days and sleepless nights, kept
up by force of will and the hope of reaching home and a
mother's care, he managed at last, more dead than alive, to
alight at the railroad station in Concord, New Hampshire, then
his father's residence.

It was nearly two years before Mr. Lamprey recovered his
health sufficiently to enable him to undertake any serious occu-
pation. Though intending to study law after leaving college,
he was induced to open a private school while on a visit at
Solon, Ohio, and this determined his future caUing. He taught
four years in Iowa, filled for a time the Chair of languages at
the Normal School in Emporia, Kansas, was principal of the
Academy in South Berwick, Maine, and of the high schools of
Ellsworth, Maine, and Rochester, New Hampshire. He became
principal of the Easton High School in 1877, and still holds the
position, doing in it thorough and successful work.

Mr. Lamprey married, July 12, 1869, Abbie C, daughter of
Capt. John Davis, of Yarmouth, Maine ; they have two children.


Edwin Howard Lothrop, the son of Howard and of Sally
(Williams) Lothrop, was born in Easton, March 22, 1806. He
graduated at Amherst College in 1828. " In 1830 he went into
the territory of Michigan and purchased a tract of wild land,
on which he settled. He married, December 22, 1831, Hannah
R., daughter of the Rev, Benjamin and Mary Taylor, who was a
native of Swansea, Massachusetts. He removed from his farm
to Three Rivers, Michigan, in 1855, where he resided until his
death. Mr. Lothrop was considerably employed in public life,
and represented his town in the State Legislature, in which in
1844 he was Speaker of the House of Representatives. He
was also President of the State Board of Internal Improve-
ments. Mr. Lothrop died February 17, 1874." ^ The citizens
of Three Rivers turned out en masse at his funeral, fifteen hun-
dred persons being estimated as in the procession that followed
his remains to the grave.

Commander George Francis Faxon Wilde,^ U. S. Navy,
son of William Reed and Mary (Thayer) Wilde, was born in
Braintree, Massachusetts, February 23, 1845. After preparation
in the Hollis Institute and High School, he entered the U. S.
Naval Academy, at Annapolis, Maryland, November 30, 1861,
having won the cadetship at a competitive examination of
eighty applicants. At the semi-annual examination of Febru-
ary, 1862, the first forty in this class were selected to complete
the entire four years' course in three years, in order the sooner
to supply the great demand for officers in the Civil War, then go-
ing on. Thirty-two of the forty succeeded in accomplishing the
difficult task, among whom was the subject of this sketch. He
graduated in November, 1864, and from December of that year
until February, 1865, he served on the war vessel "New Hamp-
shire," and for the rest of the year on the flag-ship " Susquehanna,"
in the Brazil squadron. He was on the " Nipsic " during most of
1866, but December i, 1866, was promoted to be Master on the
steamer " Kearsarge," South Pacific station, and March 12, 1868,
was commissioned lieutenant, serving on the flag-ship " Contoo-

1 See the Lathrop Family Memoir, pp. 358, 359, where further details are given.

2 Commander Wilde is properly included in this list of college graduates, because
the Naval Academy curriculum ranks as a regular University course.


cook" during that year. December 18, 1868, Lieutenant Wilde
was commissioned lieutenant-commander, and was on duty on
the United States Steamer "Tennessee," from 1869 to 1871, on
special service connected with the St. Domingo annexation
scheme. In 1872 he was on the flag-ship "Wabash" and the
steamer " Plymouth ;" commanded the iron-clad " Canonicus " in
1873 and 1874; was at Torpedo station 1875, and at the Navy
yard, Boston, 1875 to 1877. During 1878 Commander Wilde
was Inspector of Ordnance at the South Boston Iron Com-
pany's works, superintending the constructing of rifled cannon,
and afterward, until 1881, served on the United States steamer
" Vandalia," twice receiving while on this vessel the thanks of
the Secretary of the Navy for cool and courageous conduct.
From 1882 to 1885 he was Commandant at the Key West naval
station, and also was light-house inspector of the Seventh Dis-
trict. September 25, 1885, he was commissioned Commander.

November 26, 1886, Commander Wilde received the high
honor of being appointed to the finest command in the U. S.
Navy, — that of the new United States steamship "Dolphin," a
command entirely unsolicited on his part. The " Dolphin " is
built of American steel, is 256 feet in extreme length, 32 feet
beam, with 2,300 horse-power, 1,485 tons displacement, and a
speed of 15 knots, or 17-^Q miles per hour. She has collision
bulk-heads, and properly fitted water-tight compartments. She
is the fastest vessel in the navy, has every modern improvement,
and is sumptuously fitted out. Her battery is one six-inch
breech-loading rifle cannon in pivot, and four Ilotchkiss can-
non in armored towers. The bow is ram-shaped, and espe-
cially strong. In battle she would have the Admiral and Staff
on board, as it is considered essential that the commanding
admiral should be on board a swift vessel, in order to move rap-
idly from one part of his fleet to another. The governing con-
dition in the design of the " Dolphin " has been the attainment
of a high rate of speed that could be maintained for several
days. Commander Wilde and his vessel are every way worthy
of each other.

February 13, 1868, Commander Wilde married Emogen B.,
daughter of Jason G. and Martha (Bartlett) Howard. Their
only child, George H., was born December 8, 1868. He was an



interesting boy, frank and generous in disposition, and full of
promise ; but after a long sickness, borne with wonderful pa-
tience and courage, he passed away, November 6, 1885, to the
life and joy of another world.

Commander Wilde is " a man without fear and without re-
proach," who harmonizes in himself the soldier and the gentle-
man. Long may Easton have him for a citizen, and our country
claim him as one of her defenders !




Railroads, — Newspapers. — The Great Flood of 1886.— David
Thompson, Jr., the one-armed Soldier. — James Adams the Poet.
— Jonathan Lawrence and his great Expectations. — Has Eas-
ton an Enoch Arden case? — A search for a Slave-trader's
Fortune. — '-Old Bunn." — The Devil's Visit to Easton. —
Witches and Witchcraft. — Bird-hunting. — Ear-marks. —
Singular Death-records. — Conclusion.


THE first railroad connection with Boston enjoyed by Eas-
ton people was by the Boston and Providence Railroad,
a stage-coach running from Easton to Canton, where the cars
were taken. Subsequently, on the completion of the Stoughton
Branch of the Boston and Providence line, the stages ran from
Easton to Stoughton to make connection with the cars. Early
in 1854 " Oliver Ames, Oakes Ames, Howard Lothrop, and
their associates and successors " petitioned the Legislature for
leave to incorporate a railroad company under the name of the
" Easton Branch Railroad Company." March 3, 1854, this peti-
tion was approved by the Governor ; work was at once begun
on the new road, and in less than a year it was completed, the
first passenger train arriving at North Easton May 16, 1855.
The next morning, when the train first started on its return,
the rails spread and the engine got off the track. After it
was again on the track. Green Hodsdon the conductor, who
was much disinclined to come to North Easton at all, said to
David Standish the engineer, " Get on to the engine David, and
we '11 leave this place to once!''

In 1866 the Old Colony Railroad Company, which had pre-
viously run trains to Fall River and Newport only by the line
through the Bridgewaters, built a new road, which passed through
Stoughton, Easton, Taunton, etc., and has become the main line


for the New York boat-express trains. The first passenger train
to North Easton arrived September 24, 1866. This, of course,
superseded the Easton Branch Railroad Company, although the
connection with Stoughton by the old line is still maintained for
convenience in transporting freight to connect with the Boston
and Providence Railroad.


Easton has never published a local newspaper, but has relied
upon Stoughton to keep her informed as to what was passing
within her borders. The first time the name of the town figured
in a newspaper heading was December 10, 1864, when the initial
copy of the " North Easton Budget " was issued from the press
of Wood & Co., in Stoughton. Its principal contributor was
Jeremy Lake, who wrote in an easy and vivacious style. One
of the local items of this first issue is worth quoting, as it illus-
trates a phase of " progress" now happily extinct. The item is
as follows : —

" Mrs. Dr. Cox, who proposed giving a course of lectures here last
week, but failed for want of hearers, gave cause of considerable merri-
ment by promenading the streets dressed in male attire, — her usual

The "North Easton Budget" continued in existence about
one year and a half.

At the beginning of 1872, David S. Hasty, a young man of
excellent abilities and of independent character, began the pub-
lication of the " Easton Journal." Mr. Hasty lived in North
Easton village, but published the paper in Stoughton, conduct-
ing it successfully until his death, which occurred April 24, 1877-
Some time afterward A. P. Smith was the owner and proprietor.
At present it is in the hands of L. W. Standish, of Stoughton.


Until 1886 it had hardly entered into the calculations of Eas-
ton people that a serious flood was possible in their town. But
on the evening of February 12, after hours of heavy pouring rains
which filled the ponds to overflowing, considerable anxiety was
felt regarding the dam at Long Pond. The flood-gate had been



opened, but it did not allow an escape equal to the increase of
water in the Pond ; and after eleven o'clock at night it was found
that the water was not only flowing over the dam, but eating out
channels that threatened swift destruction to the whole structure.
If that dam had given way and the whole body of water been
let loose at once, the mischief would have been most serious.
It would have swept the lower dams away, would have swiftly
washed out Main Street near the store, and perhaps near the sta-
ble, would have floated off the store, probably have undermined
the Hammer Shop, and have swept " the Island " clear of
dwellings. Though the torrent might have previously divided
near Long Pond, and a portion of it gone by William King's,
the streams would all have united at the Red Factory, taking

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 69 of 78)