Class of 1870 – FREDERIC WADSWORTH LORING,
was the oldest son of David Loring and Mary (Stodder) Loring. He was
born at Fall River, 12 December, 1848; but most of his life was spent
in or near Boston, to which place his father removed soon after his
He showed in early life his enthusiasm for poetry, and we may even say for literature. He really enjoyed Shakspeare’s plays at an age when many boys cannot read. Under the care of his mother, a person of rare genius and intelligence, his boyish taste and talent were wisely directed, and he was saved from the dangers of precocity. She died before he was eleven years old; but the most careful attention was still given to his education, and, though many of the enforced processes of the school-room were such as he detested, he was trained in the Boston Latin School, and in the Newton High School, and in the Academy at Andover, to enter college.
college his life was made a happy one, by the opportunity which he had
there for the indulgence of the passion for literature and poetry which
had led him on from childhood. His college instructors would probably
say that there was some hard work in persuading him to keep up for
examinations in studies for which he did not care. But he found among
them sympathy and counsel which he heartily prized, and for which he
was most grateful. Prof. Cutler’s kindness in caring for him was most
gratefully acknowledged, and his early death was one more among the sad
griefs of Loring’s young life.
His literary tastes brought him, while still an undergraduate, into intimate connections with the stage; and he studied carefully, and with good result, dramatic composition. He wrote for Miss Mitchell one little play, while yet in college; and, for the benefit of a young friend, another drama called the “Wild Rose,” both of which were produced with success.
As one of the editors of the “Harvard Advocate,” he printed many little poems. Some of them are simply “Verses of Society,” some of them are of much graver import. They arrested immediate attention, and showed to a larger public – what his friends knew – that Loring’s literary taste not only gave him critical power, but guided a light and skillful pen.
Verses of his, and brilliant and pathetic stories in “Old and New,” and in the “Atlantic Monthly,” confirmed the impression made by his little poems in the “Advocate.” He was pleased by not spoiled by the reception they found at the public’s hands. He wrought more carefully than ever, when he found he had a reputation to maintain. He has left behind him some careful studies, of a graver character than any things which he printed, because he would not publish articles which did yet please him; and because he had some severe canons of criticism to which he subjected his own work, even when he knew it was ephemeral.
This little career of authorship had begun before he graduated. He was thus almost predestined to the flattering, irksome, and dangerous career of a journalist. So soon as he graduated, he made engagements, now longer, now shorter, with different Boston papers; and he would probably have entered on some permanent engagement in New York, but for the sudden temptation to spend the summer of 1871 with Lieut. Wheeler’s surveying party in Colorado. He went into this wild region as correspondent of “Appletons’ Journal.” In that paper will be found his own narrative of his adventures there. The expedition seemed, so far as he was concerned, to be entirely successful. He gained in health and spirits. He made acquaintance with the men and things of a world wholly new to him. He adapted himself with the most cheerful and amusing philosophy to the little hardships of the camp. He was returning to the coast, to be, as all his friends supposed, the delight of their winter – when the stage-coach in which he travelled was attacked by Indians, or by men disguised as Indians, and he with the others was immediately killed.
“I will be with you in the winter,” are his last words to a friend in New York, “if I am not scalped by the Apaches.”
His little poems are collected in one volume; his longest story, “College Friends,” in another. They are sad memorials of the animated and inspiriting boy, who took his friends captive by his loyalty and his frank confidence; who gave such brilliant promise; and who, in all his impetuosity and passionate eagerness of temper, never lost sight of the duties or responsibilities of a friend.
Source is: The Necrology of Harvard College 1869-1872; published 1872; transcribed by Kim Mohler.