EDWARD NAHUM CAPEN
EDWARD NAHUM CAPEN was born in Boston, June 24, 1838, and died in Dorchester, February 6, 1915. His earliest ancestor coming to America was Bernard Capen, who was of sturdy English stock and came from Dorset County, England, to Dorchester in the ship Mary and John about 1630. Bernard Capen's descendants took active part in colonial affairs, and one of them, Robert, the great grandfather of Edward Nahum, held two commissions from King George III between 1763 and 1768. In the Revolution he served in the patriot armies.
The father, Nahum Capen, a man of high ideals, was born April 1, 1804, and died January 8, 1886. He was widely known as an author and a publisher. He published the first volume of Edgar Allan Poe's works. He held the position of Postmaster of the City of Boston from 1857 to 1861.
He was a public spirited man of decided ideas having a wide acquaintance with the distinguished men of his day. The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him in 1874 by the Washington and Lee University of Virginia.
The mother, Elizabeth Ann More, was a woman thoroughly interested in the welfare and education of her children. Her influence on their moral and spiritual life was very strong.
Edward Nahum Capen was brought up in a home presided over by parents who knew the value of industry and integrity and who taught their son the value of a sound character.
Mr. Capen received his education in the private schools of Boston and was graduated from the Dorchester High School but did not enter college. His first occupation was that of Secretary to his father while the latter was Postmaster of Boston. On retiring from that place in 1861 he took the agency of the Aladdin Oil Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., and held the place for ten years. In 1870 he formed a partnership with Frederick B. Pierce under the firm name of Capen & Pierce. The firm were general dealers in oils and were located on Custom House Street, in Boston. In 1875 this firm was dissolved and the firm of Capen, Sherman & Sprague was organized, later was Capen, Sprague & Co., which continued until 1885 when the business was sold out. Mr. Capen was then with the Standard Oil Company for thirty years until his death.
He was a Trustee of the Mount Hope Cemetery from 1891 to 1895 and was also a member of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Algonquin Club and the Dorchester Club.
Edward N. Capen was always true to the traditions of his religious training and having early connected himself with the First Parish Church, Unitarian, in Dorchester, he always gave to its service all of his energy and allegiance.
Originally a Democrat and later Independent in politics, he never solicited or held any political office. He left behind him the record of a good citizen, a loyal friend and generous associate. In all his activities, whether in business or social life, he endeared himself to those with whom he was connected, who loved to see the kindly glance of his eye, to feel the cordial grasp of his hand and hear the words of sympathy and good cheer which were always upon his lips. Busy man that he was, he was never weary so long as there was work to do or a worthy cause to aid. Cheerfulness, courage, and strength radiated from him wherever he went. The sunshine which he imparted was the reflection of the sweetness and light in his own mind and heart, and when he passed away he left a large circle of friends to mourn his death.
Mr. Capen resided nearly all his life at the old family home "Mount Ida" in Dorchester. He took deep interest in whatever concerned the community and was ready with wise counsels and helping hand to aid every good cause which meant the uplift of the people or the improvement of the city. He was never married, and left as his nearest relatives two sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Barry, and Mrs. Mary Anna Capen Thacher, both of whom are residents of Dorchester.
Among the many tributes to Mr. Capen's memory the following is quoted, as an appreciation: - of Miss Abbie Farwell Brown:
"Edward N. Capen, of happy memory. It takes but a few brief hours to translate what was the happy Presence into the happy Memory. But the happiness itself, which was the keynote of a beautiful life, sounds in his name perpetually, a comfort and an inspiration. Surely the fine old phrase, 'of happy memory' never more aptly applied to a man than to dear Mr. Capen. It is a wonderful thing when a man who has passed a long, busy, useful, responsible life leaves behind him a name full only of joyous reminder and bright association. Good citizen, loyal associate, kind friend, generous home-maker, - in every relation of life he en-deared himself to all who neared his sunny presence. The day was made the happier for every one who met the glance of his kind eyes, the hearty grasp of his hand, the pleasant voice, the merry word. The years live brighter in the memory of many because of his thoughtful kindness, his generosity, his brave, sturdy, buoyant nature.
"Mr. Capen's sympathy was so broad, his friendliness so wide, that he leaves a host to mourn his passing. He loved 'people.' He lent something of his sweet, benignant spirit to every casual encounter. Because he so loved his fellow-folk, so gave himself to friendliness, Mr. Capen's life unfolded as a continuous, beautiful adventure. Busy as he always was, lengthened as were his days, burdened with many responsibilities, cares and anxieties, his brave soul never wearied till his work was done. He never coveted lazy leisure. He never grew weary or blase or pessimistic. He enjoyed his work. He brought to it his buoyant enthusiasm and freshness. He went from it to wholesome play with simple-hearted delight, throwing himself into that with equal enthusiasm. Mr. Capen had too a child's faith and optimism, trust in God and in man. His spirit remained ever young. In these days of general gloom and uneasiness, bad feeling and war, we can ill spare a life consistently set to make the world a pleasanter place in which to live. Well-beloved, well-honored, well-deserving, Edward N. Capen of happy memory, has passed from active good citizenship to the citi-zenship of peace."
THEODORE FRELINGHUYSEN CHAPIN
THEODORE FEELINGHUTSEN CHAPIN was born in Middlebury, Wyoming County, New York, May 31, 1844, his parents being William J. and Adaline M. (Bradley) Chapin, the family being of English Puritan descent His father being a farmer, he had as boy the usual work and chores of a country boy, and this discipline was later of value in assisting him to work his way through college. The father was a clean Christian gentleman, of good judgment and strict honesty, and his mother's influence was particularly felt in his mental and spiritual development.
Up to the age of fourteen, he attended the district school, which of the usual country type. Even as a boy, he had a great liking for reading, his preference, however, being for history, and particularly biography, to the exclusion of fables and fairy tales. Later, with the period of adolescence, a taste for fiction developed. Growing up in the country, nature and scenery affected him strongly.
He attended Middlebury Academy, Wyoming, New York, 1860-1864. In April, 1865, he enlisted in the First New York Dragoons, but was honorably discharged in June of the same year. In 1866 he entered the University of Rochester, graduating in 1870 with his A.B. degree, his alma mater later conferring on him the honorary degree of A.M. His college years were a period of hard, earnest work, as the young man was obliged to make his way through by his own efforts. His ambition had been to take up the study of medicine, but circumstances preventing its realization at the time, he began the career as a teacher which was to be his life work. His first position was that of principal of Satterlee Institute, Rochester, New York (1870-1871). The next year he was principal of Painted Post, New York Union School, then of the Albion, New York, Academy (1872-1874); and then instructor in Greek and natural sciences at Cook Academy, Montour Falls, New York (1875-1879). He was then able to spend a year in study abroad, attending the Polytechnicum of Munich, Germany, where he specialized in chemistry.
Returning home, he was principal of Ward School, No. 5, Elmira, New York (1880-1882), and of Ten Broeck Free Academy, Franklinville, New York (1882-1887), and instructor in Greek and German in the Reading, Pennsylvania, High School (1887-1888). While there, he received the call to the Lyman School, which opened an opportunity for service which he was unable to resist.
The Westboro institution had been a State reformatory, or virtually a prison for young offenders, and had been carried on as a prison rather than a school. In 1884, the Massachusetts reformatory at Concord was opened, and the age for commitment to the Westboro school reduced to fifteen years. The old building was given up and a new location selected, on a fine hillside where open houses and playgrounds were provided for all the grades of boys. Efforts were made to interest the boys in the learning of trades, in addition to work on the farm and in their gardens, but for some reason the mechanical instructors failed to secure the interest of the boys, and the results had been disappointing.
When Mr. Chapin took hold, he was already familiar with the best methods of the time for instruction in manual training. A fund donated by Theodore Lyman making the experiment possible. When its success had won for it a place in the regular school training, the field was broadened, and additional work-rooms and more instructors provided. In the face of unintelligent criticism, Mr. Chapin held to the ideas which were to prove so successful.
Realizing the benefit to boys of athletic sports and exercises, he labored to have them given proper opportunity. While in a school of the character of the Lyman School, to which wayward boys are committed by the State, strict discipline is a primal necessity. He placed his reliance rather upon the personal influence of the teacher.
The records have shown that seventy-five per cent, of the boys turned out from the Lyman School have become earnest, useful men and citizens, including in their ranks successful, professional men, teachers, and manual training instructors. The good results of the system can therefore scarcely be denied.
In 1907, after eighteen years' continuous service, Mr. Chapin decided to retire. As an expression of opinion as to the value of Mr. Chapin's work at Westboro, the following was said by one of the trustees of the school:
"The Lyman School is one of the best of its kind in the world, and it will stand as a monument to the industry, the constructive ability and the unselfish devotion of Superintendent Chapin. The school is his school. His name will always be associated with it by those who have worked there with him, while boys whom it has sent forth to be better members of society will remember Mr. Chapin as their best friend and as one whose exemplary life commands their respect and is worthy of their imitation."
In 1908, the State of New York decided to establish a new train-ing school for boys, and Mr. Chapin's assistance was sought in the capacity of expert adviser, which position he held until 1912.
Mr. Chapin has adhered to the Republican party, while not active in politics. His study of political economy, however, has led him to believe in free trade as a principle, and on this issue he differs from the platform of his party. He is a member of the Baptist Church.
His favorite diversions, out-of-doors, are bicycling and lawn-tennis. He is a member of the Delta Upsilon and Phi Beta Kappa Fraternities.
He modestly says of himself: "I am simply a plain plodder, who has made the most of moderate abilities, a sound body and very mediocre opportunities for an education. I have always found doors of opportunity for service standing open, and have been fortunate enough after entering to render such service as I was capable of."
The points which he emphasises as of value to young people in the aim toward true success are contact with men of large mold and large ideals, intimate acquaintance with biography of men who have achieved and the history of our country; begin observing and recording observation as early as possible, training thereby as largely as possible the senses. Cast observation in language; practice telling things so people will listen; acquire the habit of rapid reading.
Mr. Chapin was married on October 26, 1870, to Maria A. Bacon, daughter of William and Julia (Burrows) Bacon, the Bacons being a Connecticut family. Of their three children none are now living.
BENJAMIN PIERCE CHENEY
The Cheney family of America harks back to Colonial origin. John Cheney was registered a member of the church in Roxbury in 1635, and the next year moved to Old Newbury where he soon achieved prominence as a freeman, serving again and again on the Board of Selectmen. In 1654 he was appointed on the Committee whose duty it was to effect improvements in the town. He was a patriarch in Israel, enriching the community with six sons and four daughters. The sixth of his sons was Peter who died in 1695 at the age of fifty-six. He was the owner of several mills in Newbury. His wife was Hannah Noyes. Their son, John Cheney, was a house carpenter and mill-wright, who married Mary Chute, and died at the good old age of eighty-four. Their son, John Cheney moved to Sudbury where he was a farmer and member of the town cavalry company. He died when forty-eight yean old. His wife was Elizabeth Dakin and their son Tristram, who inherited the farm and was a pillar of the church at Sudbury, married Margaret Joyner and died in 1816 at the age of ninety. Their son, Elias, was seventeen years old at the outbreak of the Revolution, but he entered the Second New Hampshire Regiment and served two years in the campaigns in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland and Virginia. He was severely wounded at the battle of Ticonderoga and so escaped the terrible winter at Valley Forge, but later, having recovered, he rejoined his regiment and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, October 19, 1781. He returned to Hillsboro where he married Lucy Blanchard of Antrim. Their son, Jesse, was born in 1788 and married Alice, a daughter of James and Alice (Boyd) Steele of Antrim. He was a blacksmith by trade a man of distinguished integrity and sobriety. He died in 1863 at the age of seventy-five, having been a widower for fourteen years.
His son, Benjamin Pierce Cheney, was born at Hillsboro, New Hampshire, August 12, 1815. He died at his home "Elm Bank" South Natick, Massachusetts, July 23, 1895. He received the rudiments of a common-school education in his native town but at the age of ten began to help his father in the blacksmith shop. Before he was twelve he was employed in a country store and tavern at Francestown and at sixteen began driving the stage between Nashua and Exeter, continuing this strenuous and responsible occupation for five years. It was a drive of fifty miles and there was then no rivalry with railways. He carried many distinguished passengers and formed life-long friendships. Among those whom he saw frequently was Daniel Webster who always prized him for his character and ability. He soon won high repute for his skill as a horseman and for the carefulness and efficiency with which he performed his manifold duties. Men came to have such confidence in his honesty and intelligence that they entrusted to him large sums of money consigned to various banks.
The value of combinations of industries was beginning to be recognized and when several stage-lines radiating through New England and into Canada were united into one company, he was selected and engaged as general agent and principal manager, with a large salary for those days. He found it for his advantage to take up his residence in Boston.
In 1842 he joined with Nathaniel White of Nashua and William Walker in the express business between Boston and Montreal, under the firm name of Cheney and Company's Express. Ten years later he purchased the business of Fisk & Rice's Express, controlling the route between Boston and Burlington, Vermont, by way of the Fitchburg Railway. He subsequently consolidated other express companies covering routes in various directions and so founded the United States and Canada Express Company, the branches of which extended to all parts of New England and the provinces. This great enterprise proved to be immensely successful. It attracted the attention of William Harnden and other founders of the American Express Company, and in 1879 there was a consolidation of their interests. Mr. Cheney became one of the directors and a treasurer of this corporation and held these positions until his retirement from business. He had a remarkable grasp of detail and extraordinary capacity for keeping full and accurate accounts. His tireless industry was not in any way affected by a misfortune which happened to him in 1852, when, returning from Canada, he lost his right arm in a railway accident. He was all the time on the watch for widening the scope of the express business, the future of which, he saw, had unlimited possibilities in this great and growing country. He soon made important connections with the Wells, Fargo & Company's Express and became interested in the early transcontinental railway enterprises. He helped to finance and manage the Northern Pacific Railway; he invested largely in the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe system and took a prominent part in the San Diego Land and Town Company, of which he was a director for many years. He was one of the founders and directors of the Market National Bank of Boston and of the American Loan and Trust Company.
He amassed a large fortune and was everywhere recognized as a leading spirit in the world of business and finance. His leading characteristics were scrupulous honesty, unshaken tenacity of purpose and positive convictions. He was perfectly outspoken in his views and no one ever could question his loyalty to those interests in which he was engaged. When disaster overtook the great system of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railways and many persons, including some of the directors, realizing that liquidation meant a great decline in the value of its securities, sold out as speedily as possible, he refused to avail himself of inside information, stood by with the smaller share holders and bore the inevitable loss when the foreseen crash befell. One of his associates, the late Isaac T. Burr declared that he had never known a man to possess a greater sense of honor or a sounder business judgment.
Although early poverty had prevented him from acquiring the education which he would have coveted, he made up for it largely by wide reading, especially in history and standard fiction. He became an active member of the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. He early made up his mind to help give to others what he himself had lacked and he gave widely and wisely to the cause of education. He presented Dartmouth College with a fund of $50,000 and founded an academy in a small settlement in Washington Territory. In honor of his generosity this place was named Cheney. Few causes appealed to him in vain; and no one but himself knew what was the extent of his benefactions. In 1886 he presented the State of New Hampshire with a statue of Daniel Webster by Thomas Ball and when it was dedicated in Concord, he made a brief speech, expressing his satisfaction at having been able to commemorate so fitly "a son ot New Hampshire, who as a patriot was unexcelled and as an orator and statesman was without a peer."
When he retired from active business he devoted his leisure with the greatest enthusiasm to the care and beautification of "Elm Bank," an estate of 198 acres on three sides of which flowed the historic Charles. It was situated in Dover near South Natick where the Apostle John Eliot preached to the Indians. At South Natick it was laid out in picturesque combination of lawns, gardens, driveways, groves and meadows. One of its treasures was a group of five trees planted by Eliot's Indian converts.
He had a wide circle of friends and entertained with lavish hospitality. He had a charming manner and a cheerful disposition and in all the relations of life he was high-minded and gracious.
In June, 1865, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Asahcl and Elizabeth Searle (Whiting) Clapp, of Dorchester, Massachusetts. She was a lineal descendant of Nicholas Clapp, one of the founders of Dorchester and reckoned among her ancestors, Captain Roger Clapp and Major-General Humphrey Atherton, men distinguished in the early military and civil affairs of the Massachusetts Colony. Through her mother she was descended from the Rev. Samuel Whiting, whose wife, Elizabeth St. John was a sister of the Lord Chief-Justice of England in the reign of King Charles I. They had five children - three daughters and one son surviving to maturity. The son, Benjamin Pierce Cheney, Jr., was graduated from Harvard University in the Class of 1900.
Hon. Richard Olney pronounced this eulogy on the life and character of Mr. Cheney: "Mr. Cheney was one of the self-made men of New England and possessed in large measure the qualities to which their success in life is attributed. From his youth up, he was temperate, industrious, and persevering, and resolute in his purpose to better the conditions to which he had been born. He brought to its accomplishment great native shrewdness, a kindly, cheerful, and engaging disposition, a sense of honor, the lack of which often seriously impairs the efficiency of the strongest natures, and an intuitive and almost unfailing judgment of human character and motives. The reward of his career was not merely a large fortune accumulated, wholly by honorable means, but the respect and regard of the entire community in which he lived."
DWIGHT CHESTER, insurance underwriter, city official, legislator, banker; was born in Maryland, Otsego County, New York, March 2, 1835. He died at his home in Newton Center May 4, 1914 His father, Alden Chester, was a son of John and Fanny Chester of Groton, Connecticut, grandson of John, great-grandson of John and Mary (Starr) Chester and great second grandson of Captain Samuel Chester an officer of the British Navy who came to Boston from England in 1662 and removed through the wilderness to New London, Connecticut, where he established his home. (Captain Samuel Chester was a son of Sir Robert Chester who was knighted by James I in 1603 and a direct descendant from the Earl of Chester through whom he was collaterally connected with Robert I (Bruce) King of Scotland. Alden Chester was also a descendant of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower through the marriage of the first John Chester to Mary Starr.
Alden Chester was a mechanic and was married in 1834 to Mary H., daughter of Oliver and Rachel Ensworth Chappel of Maryland, New York. Their son, Dwight Chester, engaged in the manufacturing business in Westford, New York, after leaving school and from 1862 to 1866 he engaged in the Produce Commission business in New York City. In 1866 he removed to Boston to assume the management of the AEtna Life Insurance Company in that city for New England and he was still representing that company in the insurance firm of Chester & Hart at his death.
Mr. Chester before leaving Westford, New York, had served that town as clerk and supervisor. He was married first September 7, 1862 to Mary J., daughter of Rufus and Elizabeth Campbell Storrs of Worcester, Massachusetts, and secondly July 26, 1894 to Anna C, daughter of John and Catharine (Post) Sullivan of Montezuma, New York. By his first wife, who died October 10, 1891, he had two daughters, one dying in infancy and the other, Mary Edna, an artist, at the age of thirty-eight. On removing to Boston Mr. Chester made his home in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, where he was a prominent member of the First Baptist Church, president of the Newton Centre Trust Company, and treasurer and trustee of various charitable and religious societies. He served the city of Newton as a civil service examiner, as a member of the Common Council 1876, 1877 and 1878, as a member of the board of aldermen 1879, 1880, 1881, 1883 and 1884, being president of the board during four years of his term of service. He also represented his district in the Massachusetts legislature 1891, 1892, 1893 and 1894. He was elected to membership in the Boston Baptist Social Union, in the Boston Life Underwriters Association, in the Neighbours' Club of Newton Centre and in the Brae Burn Country Club. He was by inheritance a Son of the American Revolution.
Mr. Chester's advice to young men seeking to make a mark in the world, as gathered from his own experience was "Follow the precepts of David, Solomon and Jesus." His was a well-rounded character and he gave of himself and his means to promote the interests he cherished.
ALFRED CLARKE of Boston, President of the Operating Companies, of the Massachusetts Lighting Companies, and Vice-president of The Light, Heat and Power Corporation of Boston, and prominent in lighting and engineering circles, was born in Leicester, England, Jane 4, 1849, son of Thomas Alfred William and Susanna Clarke, both of whom came of families who played a prominent part in civic life in Leicester. Mr. Clarke's grandparents were William and Susanna Clarke, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Scott. A granduncle was with Wellington through the Peninsular Campaign and at Waterloo, and a great-grandfather was an active leader in the great reform movement that swept through England during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
Mr. Clarke early in life realised that if he was to get an education it must be through his own efforts. To that end he started work when but a little more than twelve years old. He was apprenticed to George Stevenson, the noted locomotive builder at Newcastle-on-Tyne. Later he was with Hawthorne Brothers in the same locality, in the manufacture of marine engines. He attended evening classes connected with the Department of Science and Arts, South Kensington, London, where he evinced a love for mechanics, mathematics and chemistry. It was here he laid the foundation of his great mechanical knowledge which has stood him in such good stead during the past thirty years.
Mr. Clarke emigrated to America in 1874, and secured the post of chief engineer for the Bradley Fertilizer Company of North Weymouth, Massachusetts, and during the time he was connected with that firm perfected many improvements on the machinery manufactured by them. In 1878 he became Superintendent of the Kitson Machine Company of Lowell and while there perfected several patents on cotton machinery. He remained there until 1886 when he became Superintendent of the Prospect Machine and Engine Company of Cleveland, Ohio, builders of large station engines and refrigerating machinery. He built the major portion of the mammoth telescope for the Lick University of California.
Mr. Clarke left this position to become associated with Arthur E. Childs in the founding of The Light, Heat and Power Corporation of Boston and shortly became affiliated with several other men in acquiring light, heat and power plants throughout Massachusetts. His genius as an engineer made him particularly valuable in de-veloping such properties and the business grew to an enormous extent within a few years. He became President of the North Adams and Northampton Gas and Electric Companies, the Leominster Electric-Light and Power Company, President of the Clinton Gas Light Company, President of the Arlington Gas Light Company, and President of the Worcester County Gas Company, supplying all towns between Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts. He is also President of several other heat, light and power companies in Massachusetts, and is a Director of the Columbian National Life Insurance Company.
In all these companies he has shown unusual business tact and engineering skill and his advice is unquestioned by his associates. He is a tireless worker, and although fond of fishing and sports, especially cricket, which he learned to play in his boyhood in England, he finds but little time for them. Mr. Clarke is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Boston Athletic Association, the Lowell Vesper Country Club, the Winchester Club, and the William North Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
Mr. Clarke early became a naturalized American citizen and has been a member of the Republican party for many years.
Mr. Clarke was married November 3, 1880, to Lucia E. Whiting of Cambridge, daughter of Thomas S., and Rhoda Whiting. Mrs. Clarke was a descendant of Rev. Samuel Whiting and Rev. John Cotton, both of whom came from Boston, England, and who were prominent in early New England history. Mr. and Mrs. Clarke have one child, Edith A., wife of James McLaughlin of Melbourne, Australia.
In the years during which he has made himself a recognized factor in the development of New England industries Mr. Clarke has won the respect of his fellowmen through his honesty, perseverance and integrity.
AMOS SAWYER CRANE
AMOS SAWYER CRANE, the son of George Crane, April 17, 1808 - November 30, 1893, and Amanda Pease Crane, was born in Washington, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, November 12, 1846. His grandfathers were Amos Crane (1774-1863) and Daniel Pease (1773-1853) who married, respectively, Martha Remington and Sally Wright.
Among his maternal ancestors was Robert Pease, who came to this country from Great Baddow, Essex County, England, in April, 1664.
His father was a thrifty and influential farmer noted for his executive ability and sound judgment. His mother died while he was quite young. like most boys on the farm, he early learned in the varied tasks which are always pressing there, how to "do things." This early training formed a foundation of strength for steady application and developed reliability. Energetic and determined to have an education, he borrowed money for the purpose, which he found no easy matter to repay. He was a student at the Literary Institute in Suffield, Connecticut.
On November 7, 1870, he became clerk in the employ of Kibbe Bros. of Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1877, he entered the Railway service, becoming contracting agent of the Great North Western Dispatch & South Shore Line at Chicago; in 1877-81, New England agent South Shore line; 1881-83, agent Consolidated South Shore & Great Western Dispatch; 1883-84, General Freight & Passenger Agent, Boston, Hoosac Tunnel & Western R. R.; 1884-1890, General Freight Agent, Chicago & Atlantic R. R.; 1890-1897, General Freight Agent, Fitchburg R. R.; 1897-1900, General Traffic Manager, Fitchburg R. R., and (on its consolidation with the Boston & Maine) Expert Freight Traffic Manager of that system. In 1909 he became Freight Traffic Manager of the Boston & Maine lines.
Mr. Crane is a member and was for three years director of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and chairman for one year of its foreign trade committee. He has been director and Vice-President of the New England Traffic Club and is a director of the Beacon Trust Company. He also holds membership in the Boston City Club.
He js a staunch Republican and is in religious affiliations, an attendant of the Unitarian Church of Weston, Massachusetts.
His recreation is found in long walks, the best of exercise, and in holding the reins over a good horse, while, in renewing his gifts as a farmer without the weariness and anxieties of early days, he has genuine pleasure.
Mr. Crane married, November 18, 1875, Clara E., daughter of Anson and Alvira Stiles. They have had two children; only one son survives. He is a grain exporter residing in Galveston, Texas.
When asked what course he would commend to the coming generation, who would make a success of life, Mr. Crane from his own experience, wrote for the readers of this work: "Be loyal to the persons and organizations and interests to which you are specially pledged." "Be careful, economical and self-controlled." "Proffer to and welcome the friendship of all, as you cultivate the kindly feeling."
Mrs. Crane died in 1892. In 1895 Mr. Crane was married to Jane M. Stevens, daughter of Joshua Stevens and Jane Morris Stevens of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts. Mr. Stevens was inventor and manufacturer of firearms.
ELLERY BICKNELL CRANE
ELLERY BICKNELL CRANE was born at Colebrook, New Hampshire, November 12, 1836. He was the son of Robert Prudden Crane, born at Colebrook, April 7, 1807, died in Micanopy, Florida, November 3, 1882. His mother was Almira Paine Bicknell. His grandfathers were Eleaser Crane, born December 28, 1773, died June 14, 1839, and John Wilson Bicknell, born April 10, 1780, died March 2, 1857. His grandmothers were Anna Prudden and Keziah Paine.
His father was a farmer, teacher, carpenter and builder; a man of sturdy character, strong in integrity.
His ancestor, Henry Crane, came from England with his parents to Rozbury, Massachusetts, in 1636, removing to Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1655 and to Guilford in 1660. Rev. Peter Prudden, born in England in 1600, came to Milford, Connecticut, in 1638. Zachaiy Bicknell came from England to Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1635. Stephen Paine came from England to Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1638. They were men of industry and efficiency.
Ellery Crane was interested in his youth in history, and this interest has been maintained during his life. For fiction he has never cared. In his boyhood he was kept buqy in various services about the house, and his employment was first work and after that play. His father was joined by his wife and their only child in what is now Beloit, Wisconsin, in the summer of 1837. Here the son grew to manhood. He studied in the public and private schools and in Beloit Academy and the preparatory department of Beloit College. He did not enter the college, but this connection with it was of advantage, for he was brought under the influence of those who founded and sustained a college which has an excellent history and large promise for the future.
It was good training which the youth received. He studied bookfully, and was employed as an accountant and bookkeeper in the office of a lumber and grain merchant in Beloit. After a time his employer found it necessary to change his method of business and conduct it on a cash basis.- In 1860 young Crane joined a party of gentlemen who went to California via the overland route. This exposed them to conflicts with the Indians, in which the young man took his part.
He remained in California and Oregon for about two years and then came back to the East by the way of the Isthmus of Panama and was employed as bookkeeper and salesman for a lumber merchant in Boston. When the business was sold in 1867, he established himself in Worcester as a lumber merchant, where he has remained, having a steady success in his business. His partner at the beginning was Jonathan C. French, whose interest Mr. Crane soon purchased and he then assumed the sole charge. In 1900 his buildings and stock were destroyed by fire and Mr. Crane retired from business, as the building laws prohibited the erection of wooden buildings on the ground which he had occupied.
Since his retirement he has devoted himself largely to genealogical and historical work. For thirty-five years he has been a member of the Worcester Society of Antiquity, and for many years its president. For ten years or more he served as Librarian, and the Library has been rearranged under his direction. He has published various papers in the records of the society. He has compiled the "Rawson Family Memorial," containing the records of the descendants of Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and also the "Crane Family Genealogy" in two volumes. He has also published exhaustive family records in the Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County. This work has gained the commendation of those who have made use of his labors, which have been performed with accuracy and thoroughness. He was for two years a member of the Worcester Common Council and for two years was on the Board of Aldermen. He was an active member and did good work on important committees.
Mr. Crane is a prominent member of the Worcester County Mechanics Association. He has served as one of its directors and was vice-president 1887-89 and president 1890 to 1892. In 1892 he delivered the historical address at the fiftieth anniversary of the Association. For three years he was president of the Worcester Builders' Exchange and for three years was president of the Sons and Daughters of New Hampshire.
In politics Mr. Crane is a Republican, though not an extreme partisan. He has represented his city in the State Legislature as a Representative and Senator. In the House he served on the Committees on Constitutional Amendments, Election Laws, and in the Senate the Committees on Election Laws, Roads and Bridges, Street Railways and Taxation, being chairman of that Committee and also chairman of the Committee on Parish and Religious Societies. For several years he was one of the Directors of the Worcester Board of Trade. He has for many years been one of the Trustees of the Worcester County Institution of Savings and has been Vice-President of the Home Cooperative Bank. In his religious connections Mr. Crane is a Unitarian.
It is plain from the many important offices which he has filled that Mr. Crane has been a man of energy and public spirit and of a character which wins confidence. He has made himself necessary and his fellow citizens have recognized his worth. His counsel to young men is "to be gentlemen, to improve the present opportunities with punctuality, honesty, courtesy and frugality."
Mr. Crane married, May 13, 1859, Salona A. Rawson, daughter of George and Lots Aldrich Rawson, granddaughter of Simon and Abigail Wood Rawson, and Edward and Sarah Sadler Rawson and a descendant from Edward Rawson, for thirty-six years Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who came from England to Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1637. They had one child, Morton Rawson Crane.
FREDERICK AUGUSTUS CURRIER
The subject of this biography, Frederick Augustus Currier, Accountant of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, December 24, 1851. His father, Festus Curtis Currier, was a man of untiring activity, remarkable memory, and an able, trusted financier, holding many important business positions and rendering distinguished service to the Commonwealth and to the nation. His mother was Johanna M. Allen, the daughter of Abram Allen and Phoebe Smith, and to her he owed the moral and religious influence that helped to build up a character of enduring worth. His paternal grandfather was Ebenezer Currier who married Betsey Pond, and his great-grandfather, Edward Currier, was a revolutionary patriot who joined the American Army in 1776, acting as a servant of General Washington's staff until old enough to join the ranks, when he became a regular soldier and served to the end of the war.
Of the four children of Festus C. and Johanna (Allen) Currier, three died in childhood, Frederick A. alone surviving to maturity. His childhood was passed in Holliston, Massachusetts, where he obtained his education in the public schools, graduating from the High School. His literary taste was cultivated by reading history, biography and poetry, of which he was fond and his first regular work was in the village store and in a printing office, both valuable experiences. In 1869, at the age of eighteen, he came to Fitchburg, where he has since spent a life of constant activity, following the vocation of his father, insurance and steamship agency, and being for several years the junior member of the insurance firm of F. C. Currier and Company. He was for three years the head of the firm of Currier and Blanchard.
For four years he was the President of the Fitchburg and Leo-minster Board of Underwriters and for five years he was secretary of the Wachusett Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Although insurance has bten his constant and most important business, his activities in other directions have been unceasing and extensive. He was appointed Postmaster by President Cleveland in 1887, serving two years under his administration and completing a four years term, from 1887 to 1891, under President Harrison. Daring his incumbency the work of the Fitchburg Post Office was more than doubled in extent and efficiency. Following the political proclivities of his father he is a Democrat, but of the broad kind that attracts rather than antagonizes the members of the opposite party, and at the time of his retirement from the Post Office the petition for his retention was signed by many hundred leading Republicans. For twelve years he was secretary and treasurer of the Fitchburg Cooperative Bank, one of the largest institutions of the kind in the State. In 1896-1897 he served on the Board of Aldermen. In 1902 candidate for Mayor on the Citizens Temperance Ticket, receiving the full strength of the party.
He was assistant secretary of the Massachusetts Mutual Aid Society from 1891 to 1896; Secretary of the Worcester North Agricultural Society, 1881 to 1888 ; Vice-president of the Massachusetts Board of Trade, 1906-7-8, and of the Fitchburg Young Men's Association he was Vice-president and Director, 1898-1910, and recording secretary 1908 and 1909. He has been trustee and chairman of the auditors of the Worcester North Savings Institution of Fitchburg since 1896, public accountant since 1909, treasurer of the Fitchburg Historical Society since 1902 and of the Masonic Trustees since 1886; a Notary Public since 1876.
He is a member of the Aurora Lodge, F. & A. M., of which he was secretary for twenty years; of the Thomas Chapter R. A. M., of which he has been secretary for nine years; Jerusalem Commandery, Knights Templar (recorder for several years), and of Hiram Council, Worcester. He also belongs to the Mount Rollstone Lodge and King David Encampment, I. O. O. F. He is a charter member of the Fitchburg Board of Trade and Merchants' Association, of which he was president in 1906.
After having held the important and difficult position of chairman of the Board of License Commissioners for twelve years, he was reappointed by the Mayor for another term of six years and on the occasion of his reappointment the Mayor gave this tribute to the faithful public servant: "In my judgment, in reappointing Mr. Currier to continue in office as License Commissioner, I have only done my duty to the city. He is, in every way qualified for the place, and the fact that he has been a member of the commission for so long a time gives him especial fitness for the post. He has given much time to the duties of the office, he has visited other cities to investigate conditions, thus bringing the local commission to a high degree of perfection. These are facts that are cordially appreciated and in reappointing Mr. Currier I wish publicly to recognize his integrity, honor and honesty, and as far as possible to manifest an appreciation of the admirable manner in which he has discharged the duties of the office."
Mr. Currier's literary taste and talent have been displayed in many papers and essays and are permanently preserved in books. He was one of the originators and incorporators of the Fitchburg Historical Society, to whose collections he has been a liberal contributor. One of his books, "Postal Communications, Past and Present," was extensively noticed and reviewed in home and foreign journals. The official journal of The International Bureau of the Postal Union at Berne, Switzerland, makes a review of this book the leading article in one of its issues and follows its appreciative notice with extensive extracts printed, according to its custom, in three languages, French, German and English. Complimenting his work, Mr. Currier received an autograph letter from the Postmaster General of Spain. He was the Historian and delivered the Historical Address at the Centennial of Aurora Lodge, F. & A. M. in 1901, and edited the Memorial Volume of 275 pages published by the Lodge.
Concerning Mr. Currier's relations with the Historical Society the Boston Herald says: "Mr. Frederick A. Currier is one of the most valuable members of the Fitchburg Historical Society, which has done and is doing remarkably interesting and effective work. He has prepared a number of important papers that will appear in the permanent publications of the Society. The titles of two of the more important will be 'Tavern Days and the Old Taverns of Fitchburg,' and 'Stage Coach Days and Stage Coach Ways,' both exceedingly rich and interesting in historical data."
"Old Stores of Fitchburg," published in 1902, cover the century preceding the Civil War, and "A Trip to the Great Lakes" was published in 1906. All of his writings are full of information and clothed in a charming literary style.
Mr. Currier has been a member of the Vestry of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Fitchburg since 1896, and from 1897 to 1901 was Superintendent of the Sunday School.
MYRON BATES DAMON
MYRON BATES DAMON, prominent business man of Fitchburg, was born in Lexington, June 27, 1854. His ancestor, John Damon, was born in England and came to this country from Reading and settled in Reading in New England in 1633. He was admitted a freeman in 1645 and a proprietor in 1653. He was a town officer and deacon of the Church. He died June 12, 1724.
From this founder of the line these descended: Samuel, 2; Ebenezer, 3; David, 4, and Benjamin Damon who was born in Beading, Massachusetts, June 6, 1759. He removed to Ashby, Massachusetts, where he died September 24, 1832.
Isaac Damon, son of Benjamin, was born in Ashby, Massachu, March 31, 1785, and died April, 1848.
Isaac Newton Damon, son of Isaac, was born in Ashby, December 14, 1812. He was married to Lucy Kendall Wright, daughter of Isaac Wright. He removed to Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1836 where he held many town offices. He was Selectman in 1852-56, 1875-76; Town Treasurer 1867-1873-1879; Assessor 1868-9; Justice of the Peace from 1859; Assistant Assessor of the Internal Revenue Service and Trustee of the Lexington Savings Bank. He died October 4, 1879.
His son, Myron Bates Damon, passed his boyhood days in Lexington attending the public schools of his native town.
In 1868 he removed to Fitchburg where he began his active business life in the hardware store of Wright, Woodward & Company and continued with the company (F. F. Woodward retiring in 1874 and Chas. Fairbanks in 1876). Mr. Isaac C. Wright continued the business alone until 1883 when Myron B. Damon was admitted to the firm and the name became I. C. Wright & Company. In 1892 Isaac C. Wright retired from business and Myron B. Damon and Robert D. Qould took over the business under the firm name of Damon & Gould.
February 1, 1896, the Damon & Gould Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $75,000, Myron B. Damon being chosen president. In 1903 the Fitchburg Hardware Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $200,000, Myron B. Damon being elected president and has served from its incorporation to the present time. The establishment from its earliest years has always been the largest store of its line of business in Fitchburg, with an extensive trade throughout the country towns from a large surrounding territory. They have held an enviable reputation for enterprise and square dealing.
Myron B. Damon is President of the Leominster Hardware Company of Leominster, of the C. F. Paige & Company, Incorporated, of Athol, and of the Gardner Hardware Company of Gardner. He is a trustee of the Worcester North Savings Institution of Fitchburg since 1897 and also served as auditor, 1897 to 1910. Direc-tor of the Rollstone National Bank of Fitchburg 1898 to 1906. Director of the Fitchburg Safe Deposit and Trust Company from its organization in 1906 to the present time. Member of the New England Paint and Oil Club of which he served as Vice President one year.
Member of the Fitchburg Board of Trade and Merchants' Association, the Fitchburg Historical Society, Fay Club of Fitchburg, Leominster Club of Leominster, Gardner Boat Club of Gardner. He served the City of Fitchburg as Alderman in 1891-1894-1895 and was Chairman of the Board in 1895.
He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity and affiliated with Aurora Lodge, Thomas Royal Arch Chapter and Jerusalem Commandery, Knights Templar of Fitchburg and of the Thirty-Second Degree Scottish Rite. In Oddfellowship he is a member of Aleppo Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. In politics he is a Republican and an attendant at Christ Church (Episcopal).
He married April 25, 1879, Ella S. Wright, daughter of Isaac C. and Lydia C. Wright. His children are Isaac Newton Damon, Manager of the Gardner Hardware Company, who married Marian Conant, daughter of Edwin H. Conant of Shirley. And Elsie Cashing Damon who married Harlan Kenneth Simonds of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
ARTHUR ELMER DENISON
ARTHUR ELMER DENISON was born in Burke, Vermont, December 5, 1847, and died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 18, 1910. His ancestors were long-lived. His father, Lucius Denison, was born July 27, 1803, and died June 26, 1882; his grandfather, Isaac Denison, was born April 28, 1778, and died January 9, 1867. Roswell Hobart, the father of his mother, Ada-line C. Hobart, was born September 13, 1797, and died August 23, 1878.
His ancestry on both sides came from England. William Denison, born about 1586, came to America in 1631 and settled in Roxbury with his wife, Margaret, and three sons, Daniel, Edward, and George. The famous Apostle to the Indians, John Eliot, appears to have accompanied him as the tutor of his sons. He was a man of liberal education, became a deacon in the first church in Roxbury and had large influence in the colony.
His son, Daniel, married the daughter of Governor Thomas Dudley, and lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts. They had two children, John and Elizabeth, the latter of whom married John Rogers, President of Harvard College. Daniel Denison was Speaker of the House of Representatives, for twenty-nine years one of the Assistants, and the Major-General of Militia.
George Denison returned to England in 1643, and served with distinction in the Parliamentary army under Cromwell, being wounded at Naseby. Having married he returned to Roxbury with his wife, and later settled at Stonington, Connecticut. The military spirit which he had acquired under Cromwell made him very successful in conducting Indian-wars, which won for him the name of "The Miles Standish of the settlement."
Lucius Denison, father of Arthur E. Denison, was one of the early students of Peacham Academy, Postmaster at Burke for many years, Representative in the Legislature at Montpelier, and one of the Associate Justices of Caledonia County Court.
Edmund Hobart, ancestor on his mother's side, came from Hingham, England, with his wife, Margaret Dewey, three children and a manservant, and landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts, May 3, 1633. The branch of this family from which Arthur Denison descended settled in New Jersey.
Garrett Augustus Hobart of this family was Vice-President of the United States from March 4, 1897, to his death, November 21, 1899. He was first cousin of Arthur E. Denison.
During his boyhood Arthur E. Denison had the usual work that a wide-awake boy in the country always has. He was very fond of athletics and reading and was remarkably well informed in current events. The strong attachment between himself and his mother had much to do in shaping his strong character. She was a remarkable woman and her influence upon the moral and spiritual life of her children was a potent factor for good. His education was obtained in the public schools of Chelsea, Massachusetts, Westbrook Seminary, Maine, and Tufts College. He graduated from the latter institution in 1869 with the degree of A.B. and in 1908 received the honorary degree of A.M. from the same college.
His active life work began in Norway, Maine, where he founded the Norway National Bank and became its first cashier. While discharging his duties as cashier he found some time to read law and became convinced that the legal profession should be his life work. Accordingly he resigned his bank position, went to Portland and entered the law office of Hon. William Wirt Virgin, later one of the Associate Justices of Maine Supreme Court.
Mr. Denison was admitted to the Maine bar, December 15, 1871, a little later came to Boston and was admitted to the Suffolk bar, September 8, 1874. He opened his office in a dwelling house which occupied the site of the present Pemberton Building, and continued his practice in Boston until his death.
At different times he held the following positions, Director, Treasurer and General Counsel of the Massachusetts Accident Company for many years; General Counsel of the Atlantic National Bank, Honorary Counsel for the Avon Home of Cambridge, and trustee of Tufts College. He had been a member of the Colonial Club of Cambridge, Vice-president of the Cambridge Club, President of the Universalist Club of Boston, and a member of the University Club of Boston, and the Suffolk Bar Association.
He was a member of the Third Universalist Church of Cambridge, and, in politics, a Republican.
He delighted in outdoor exercise, and spent his gammers for thirty years at his summer home in Meredith, New Hampshire, enjoying sailing and fishing in the waters of Winnepesaukee and Waukewan, as well as driving and tramping over the country.
Mr. Denison was married October 22, 1874, to Ida E. Wright, daughter of Dr. Ward Eddy Wright and Harriet Newell. She was granddaughter of Dr. Nathan Wright and Betsey Lowell, and of Elisha Frary and Mary Stearns. They had two children, one of whom is now living, Arthur W. Denison, a lawyer practicing in Boston.
Arthur Elmer Denison was a well equipped lawyer, a man of culture and refinement. He was asked by Gov. Roger Wolcott to accept a position on the Superior Court Bench but refused as he preferred active practice. He also repeatedly declined to run for Mayor of Cambridge.
He had a very modest estimate of his own acquirements, but was in his appreciation of the work of others. He studied with fidelity for the work in hand as he did everything entrusted to him faithfully. He was eminently wise in the application of legal principles to practical affairs. His kindness of manner was the genuine expression of true kindness of heart. An ideal lawyer, an upright man, a human gentleman has gone to his reward. No one who knew him can ever fail to remember him with sincere and affectionate regard.
HENRY DEXTER was born October 11, 1806, in Nelson, Madison County, New York. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 23, 1876. His father, Smith Dexter, was born in 1780. His mother's name before her marriage was Clarissa Dexter (a cousin) born 1782, died about 1845.
His immigrant ancestor was Gregory Dexter, who came from Olney, England, to this country in 1644 with Roger Williams and settled in Providence. His wife's name was Abigail Fuller.
Gregory Dexter was a Baptist minister and also the first accomplished printer who came to this country. He printed the first almanac in Rhode Island.
Schools and books formed a minor item in the life of country children of that time, and they began very early to bear the yoke of labor. At the age of twelve years, having lost his father, the mother and children went to the home of the mother's father in Connecticut. The journey thither was through Albany where they boarded the schooner Sallie, which, including stops, was seventeen days in going to New York City. After four days the Sallie sailed for Providence, their port of destination. From this place they went to Killingly, Connecticut. She hired a house on the borders of Killingly where Hemy, the oldest child at home, had plenty of work in assisting his mother.
After living three years on the farm of Stephen Dana, in 1822, he was apprenticed to a blacksmith for four years to learn the whole art and mystery of blacksmithing. In the first year he plated a hoe, a difficult work, and mended the broken horn of the anvil which his master told him could never be done. Eighteen months after his apprenticeship had begun, an event happened which proved of much consequence. A family by the name of Kelley moved into the house next to his master's. Mrs. Kelley was a sister of Frank Alexander, a famous portrait painter.
In the summer of 1827 it was announced that the painter, Alexander, would spend his vacation at his home if half a dozen sitters could be obtained for him. By the exertions of Henry Dexter five were promised and he himself would be the sixth. His object was simply to find out how the work was done and he made some im-portant discoveries by asking questions.
Mr. Dexter was married May 6, 1828, to Calista, daughter of Ebenezer and Esther (Alexander) Kelley. She was the granddaughter of Neil Alexander and Esther (Smith) Alexander and of William and Rebecca Tripp Kelley and a descendant from Neil Alexander who came from Scotland to Boston. They had three children. Mrs. Dexter died in 1857. Afterwards he married Mrs. Martha Billings and she survived him.
Soon after their marriage in 1828, Mr. and Mrs. Dexter went to in an outlying village, where he had purchased a blacksmith stand and began business for himself. His mind dwelt more and more on painting. Accordingly he decided to go to Hartford, forty-five miles away, as no one knew him in that place, and buy materials for painting. His mother was his first subject. He worked at once with the brush without drawing, as he had seen Alexander do, and in three sittings had completed the portrait. It was a faithful likeness, good in form and color; though not without technical faults. It became noised about in the town that Dexter was painting portraits. The report reached the ears of Alexander, who called on him and examined his work, but gave him no encouragement.
For the next seven years Mr. Dexter worked at his trade of a blacksmith and then rented his business and began in earnest to paint portraits for a livelihood. Alexander recognized the promise he gave of success and now gave him all the assistance possible. In the spring of 1836 he went to Providence and opened a studio. In the autumn of that year he went to Boston and hired Bromfield Hall where he carried on his work. Times were hard and money scarce and there were but few sitters for portraits. He was casually recommended to secure some clay (left by the sculptor Greenough who had just gone abroad) and practice modeling, as a help toward obtaining a better knowledge of form. He had the clay brought to his studio, in an idle hour he gathered up some of it, softened it with water, placed it on top of a barrel and began to mold the head of a brother artist to whom he playfully remarked: Come, White, let me put your head into this mud." Soon a rude outline of a face appeared, and at last the distinct lineaments and similitude of the face before him frightened himself and astonished his model. He had had no regular instruction in either painting or sculpture and had no idea how to handle a block of marble.
His first bust in marble was that of Hon. Samuel Eliot, then Mayor of Boston. Many of the most eminent men of the day sat to him for their busts; among them were Agassiz, Longfellow, Dickens, on his first visit to Boston in 1842; Robert C. Winthrop and several of the Governors of Massachusetts. In 1859 he conceived the idea of modeling all the Governors of the United States in office in 1860. Notwithstanding the outbreak of the Civil War he was able to complete the whole number, southern as well as northern, with the exception of those of Oregon and California. This collection, thirty-two in number, including that of the President James Buchanan, some time after his death was placed in the National Museum at Washington. His statues were not numerous; among them was the Binney Child at Mount Auburn, the only statue in the cemetery for a long time, and probably the first marble statue ever executed in this country. He left behind him nearly two hundred portrait busts and statues, more than half of which were chiseled from the marble, almost entirely by his own hands. Perseverance, industry and economy were the causes of his success.
CHARLES FRANCIS DONNELLY
CHARLES FRANCIS DONNELLY, for many years a prominent figure in Boston legal circles, was born on October 14, 1836, in the historic town of Athlone, Ireland. On his father's side he was descended from Nial of the nine hostages, the 126th monarch of Ireland, while on his mother's side he traced his descent from the Conways, a family of Welsh-Irish stock, originating in the west of Wales. When Charles Francis was less than a year old his father with his family removed to Canada, where a home was established in St. John, New Brunswick. The family did not remain long in this city, for owing to a severe sickness and to a disastrous fire which destroyed Mr. Donnelly's place of business, a new home was secured in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where Mrs. Donnelly, a woman of superior education, conducted a very successful school.
Charles Francis received his elementary education in private schools and in the Presbyterian Academy in St. John. In 1848 the family took up their abode in Providence, Rhode Island, where the lad continued his classical studies. Having decided to follow the profession of Law the young man went to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1856, and entered the law office of the Hon. Ambrose A. Ranney. He also attended the Harvard Law School, from which he received the degree of LL.B. in 1859. In September of the same year he was admitted to the Suffolk County Bar, and began at once the active practice of the legal profession.
At this time Charles Francis Donnelly displayed an unusual acquaintance with the teachings of religion and a broad knowledge of the English Classics. His keen powers of observation, his balanced judgment, and his cultivated style lent a special charm to his contributions to the press. From the early part of 1860 to 1862 he was a resident of New York, and during this time he published among other pieces of exquisite verse, "The Acadians' Hymn," and "The Irish-American's Song," both of which deserve a permanent place in our literature.
He returned to Boston towards the end of 1862, when he showed his patriotism by recruiting actively for the 5th Regiment. In 1864 his great work as a philanthropist began, and the welfare of unprotected children became henceforth the dominant characteristic of his life. Two little children in the public school in Shirley, Massachusetts, had been severely punished for refusing to read from the Protestant version of the Bible. The case was taken to the courts, and was won by Mr. Donnelly's clear reasoning and fervid eloquence. He contended with reason that, "this case involved a principle long contested for all over the world, a principle fought for and established by the founders of the Republic, the principle of religious freedom, the right of allowing every man within the jurisdiction of our free government to worship as he thought fit, whether that man be a Jew, a Mohammedan, a heathen, a Protestant, or a Catholic.
To make suitable provision for the children of the Catholic families whose fathers had been killed in fighting for the Union, Mr. Donnelly, with the help of other gentlemen, founded the well-known Home for Destitute Catholic Children. The wise object of this institution is to find suitable homes for the children under its care.
So successfully and so ably did Mr. Donnelly conduct the numerous law cases entrusted to his care, that he attracted the notice of the late Archbishop (then Bishop) Williams of Boston, who engaged him to act as legal counsel. For forty years Mr. Donnelly was the trusted legal adviser of the archbishop, and, in this capacity, not only did he manage the many grave and complicated cases which arise in an active center like the diocese of Boston, but he also drew up the charters of nearly all the Catholic educational and ecclesiastical institutions. His brilliant services to the church and to the suffering attracted attention outside distinctively Catholic circles, and in 1875 he was appointed by Governor Gaston to succeed the late Dr. Samuel G. Howe, as a member of the State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity. For thirty-two years he continued a member of this Board, giving his time and strength. He was at one time its chairman. In his works of charity his broadness knew neither race, color, nor creed, and he always insisted on the fundamental principle of the American Constitution that freedom of conscience for all should be safe-guarded in the fullest measure. The religious prejudice then so strong in Massachusetts gave Mr. Donnelly many an opportunity to stand up boldly for the defense of his co-religionists, and his exact legal knowledge, his keen intellect, and his powers of correct reasoning invariably brought victory to his cause.
For twelve years, from 1876 to 1888, he made the Parker House his home, and nearly every evening a group of friends met him there to discuss the leading questions of the hour. These meetings brought out not only his knowledge and good judgment, but also his ability to tell appropriate anecdotes and to arouse laughter by his wit.
The rapid increase of parish schools after the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, in 1884, led to the great opposition to Catholic schools, and certain prejudiced and violent efforts were made to enact laws inimical to Catholic institutions. In this agitation the legal ability, stirring oratory, and the inexhaustible knowledge of Mr. Donnelly won the day, and he showed conclusively that any movement against the Catholic schools was directly opposed to the Bill of Rights and the National Constitution and to the teachings of all thoughtful men irrespective of creed. In spite of the fact that the discussion consumed nearly all of Mr. Donnelly's time and energy for many weeks, nevertheless not only did this generous-hearted man refuse to accept any recompense but he also made a present to the Catholics of Massachusetts of all the incidental expenses which he himself had assumed.
On September 21, 1893, he married in Providence, Rhode Island, Amy Francis Collins, daughter of James and Mary Donnelly Collins, of Providence, whose gracious influence, combined with that of her husband, made the Donnelly home the rendezvous of scholars and philanthropists.
His marriage did not interfere with his strenuous exertions in the cause of charity and mercy, and there was never a time in which the interests of the suffering, of the needy, or of the children did not find him not only an enthusiastic supporter, but a generous giver of bis time, his ability, and his money.
To his intense grief he was obliged in 1900 on account of his health to withdraw from active practice of his profession, but he still continued his interest in the State Board of Charity, devoting even more time, if such were possible, to the welfare of poor children, in regard to whom important legislation was then pending. In this noble work he spent the remaining years of his life, and early on the morning of Sunday, January 31, 1909, without warning of any kind, he passed to his well-earned rest.
In personal appearance Mr. Donnelly was taller than the average man, of slight figure, but erect bearing; with expressive blue eyes, firm mouth, and a dignified bearing. Nature had given him an extremely pleasant voice and a warm nature, so that he was eagerly sought after as a speaker on matters of public interest. His acquaintance with the law, with literature, and with the tenets of religion was most profound, and as he was always adding to his stores of knowledge, his opinions were everywhere received with deep respect even by those opposed to his views. His strongest mark was his rare power of logical reasoning. With consummate skill he would start from a principle, admitted by all, and then by the undeniable force of logical connection, would clearly demonstrate the truth of the side he was advocating. In this way he stood forth as a man who added to the charms of a cultivated style and of fervid language the irresistible force of compelling arguments.
His greatest glory was, however, when he championed the cause of the helpless and the oppressed, for he was pre-eminently the friend of the homeless waif, the fearless defender of the down-trodden, and the generous benefactor of the needy; he has left to all his fellow-citizens a rich legacy of golden deeds of Christian charity and of brotherly love.
EBENEZER ALDEN DYER
EDWARD LORING DYER of South Abington, Massachusetts, the father of Ebenezer A. Dyer, was a merchant and farmer, a man of very positive convictions, fond of a practical joke, and possessed the happy faculty of bringing out the humorous side
of commonplace events in life. He served in the Civil War as a member of Company C, 38th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers.
He was born May 16, 1828, and died February 12, 1864. He married Lavinia Crosby, daughter of Deacon Seth and Eliza (Reed) Gannett, who was born June 28, 1831, and died October 3, 1899. His father was Christopher Dyer, born October 15, 1786 ; died September 24, 1868, and his mother was Betsy (Porter) Dyer, born October 17, 1792; died May 30, 1878. Mrs. Edward L. Dyer's father was born February 10, 1793, and died May 10, 1883. Her mother was born August 2, 1795, and died October 27, 1873.
Ebenezer Alden Dyer was born in South Abington July 17, 1857. He was well endowed with Pilgrim blood, being of the eighth generation from Perigrine White, who was born on the Mayflower in Cape Cod harbor, and of the ninth generation from Francis Cook who came on the same vessel in 1620.
The Dyer immigrant was William of Weymouth, his son Christopher being the first white child born in the old town of Abington, in 1701. This Christopher Dyer hauled iron ore from Carver to the foundry in the southerly part of old Abington, where formerly church bells were made, to be cast into cannon and balls, during the Revolutionary War. A change from call to worship to manufacture of bristling cannon, was a remarkable incident even in "the times which tried men's souls." Christopher Jr. became a lieutenant in the patriot army, and a Christopher Jr., 2nd, also enlisted as a soldier.
Ebenezer became aware at an early age that he had his own way to make in the world, and was constant in his attendance at school until he was fourteen years of age.
He was particularly fond of outdoor life, the fields and the woods, and of books of adventure and travel. He read the Bible through in six months. In his more youthful days he read with delight the Oliver Optic tales, then "Barnaby Rudge," "David Copperfield" and "Ivanhoe." He still treasures the unbound numbers of the Youth's Companion which he read before leaving home. While preparing for a college course he read Shakespeare's complete works and much of Poe's and Burns' poetry. He attended Phillip's Academy, Andover, from 1875 to the time of his graduation in its centennial year, 1878, and he was elected president and toast master of his class. He entered Amherst College with the class '82, remaining one year. He founded the class scholarship of the class of 1878, which at the present time is available for students, and then entered Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York where he graduated March 15, 1882, with a degree of M.D.
Dr. Dyer almost immediately began practice at Northampton, Massachusetts, where he remained one year, and then decided to take up country practice. He established himself in the neighboring town of Southampton, making it his home for six years, removing to Whitman, Massachusetts, in 1889. He loved his most excellent mother who had strongly influenced him while in his youthful years he was laying the foundations of his manhood. She and other relatives had hoped that he would follow the family traditions and practice and become a minister, but he was given his own choice in the matter of a profession. As it appeared to him, there was much truth in the words of that writer who said, "The physician of to-day is the unordained minister of the Gospel. It is his mission to uplift humanity and restore the crippled hands to the sanctity of usefulness." Of his mother he says, "Whatever I am or ever hope to be, I owe everything to my mother. Deprived of a father's care and watchfulness, to a mother's care and influence, I am what I am."
Doctor Dyer was chairman of the Southampton school committee for three years, and has served upon the republican town committee of Whitman five years, being chairman twice. He served two years (1906-7) in the Massachusetts legislature, being House chairman of the committee on Public Charitable Institutions, and was monitor of the House, and a member of the Public Lighting committee. He was instrumental in causing fire extinguishers to be placed on all passenger cars in use in the State, for aid in preventing disaster in railroad wrecks. He spent 1898 to 1902 prospecting in Alaska.
He is much interested in Masonry, being a member of Puritan Lodge of Whitman; Royal Arch chapter of Abington; Knights Templar, Old Colony Commandery, Abington; Shriner, Aleppo Temple, Boston; Knight of Constantine and Alabama, and Worshipful Masters Association of the 24th Masonic district, of which he is past president. He is also Past Master of Puritan Lodge, and Past District Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts. The doctor is also a member of Geo. A. Custer Camp No. 11, Sons of Veterans, Whitman; Phillips Andover Alumni Association; Phi Upsilon Fraternity; Amherst; Gamma Chapter of ? Massachusetts Medical Society; American Medical Association ; Hatherly Medical Club; Republican Club of Massachusetts; Plymouth County Club; Bridgewater Historical Society, and Board of Trade.
He is a Republican in politics, and says he "can never change so long as party demands allegiance." He is a Congregationalist in his religious relations. He believes in exercise in the open air, is a great lover of nature and enjoys with boyish pleasure, hunting, fishing, and working.
Doctor Dyer has never married. To the young Americans who are soon to rule this great country, this is the doctor's prescription:
"A thorough grounding in the fundamentals in our public schools as they used to be taught.
"Familiarity with nature and the attainment of sound health.
"The broadening influence of preparatory and college life.
"Respect and reverence for the simple honesty and faith of parents and grandparents.
"The avoidance of superficialities and the mastery of details.
"A stifling of the desire to read the horrible details of the murders with which our daily papers are glutted.
"Respect for law and the constituted order of things, a love of home and country and contentment with the success or otherwise, of honest effort."
AMOS MADISON EATON
JOHN EATON, the English ancestor of Amos Madison Eaton, was baptized in England, August 21, 1611. His father, Nicholas Eaton, was a curate and churchwarden, who married Katherine Marston.
John Eaton married Abigail Dammant, a widow. His wife and children emigrated on the ship Elizabeth and Ann in April, 1635, and undoubtedly the husband accompanied them to America, as records show that he took the freeman's oath in Watertown, Massachusetts, May 25, 1635.
He left Watertown in 1637 and became a pioneer of Dedham. His grandsons, William and Jonathan, married Mary and Lydia Starr (1704-1706), granddaughters of George Bunker of Charlestown.
Marston Eaton, father of Amos Madison (a direct descendant of these early New England pioneers), was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, May 26, 1806. Although a stone-mason by trade, he was a natural and self-taught student; teaching school in Pelham and vicinity when about nineteen years old.
On May 23, 1829, he married Betsey Joslyn of Douglas, daughter of Sylvanus and Alice Sprague Joslyn (Alice being the daughter of Elias Sprague of Rhode Island).
Late in life, Marston Eaton became a farmer, living in Worcester, Holden and Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
Amos Madison Eaton was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, October 21, 1833. He came to Worcester with his father's family in 1847 and later moved to Holden. Here he secured a common school education and then attended the Claremont, New Hampshire, Academy.
After working on his father's farm in Holden for a short time, he returned to Worcester and entered into a partnership with Oran A. Kelley. They opened a retail grocery store at No. 19 School Street, corner of Union.
Mr. Kelley retired from business in a few years and Mr. Eaton continued under his own name.
After twenty-five years of business at No. 19 School Street, Mr. Eaton became part owner of the property at No. 55 Main Street (1873) and, moving his store, he continued at this location.
In April (1879) Mr. Eaton, after selling the property to G. Henry Whitcomb (who razed the old landmark and built the Cummings Block), closed out his store and devoted his whole time to real estate.
He bought and sold land at East and South Worcester and furnished building material from large sand and gravel banks at Hope Avenue.
In politics he was a Republican. He was for many years a member of the Unitarian Church. Although a man of decided opinions, he was of a just and liberal nature. His integrity and social disposition won him many friends.
In 1856, he married Eliza Maria Kelley, the daughter of Oran A. Kelley and Maria Bacon. He died at his home in Worcester, Massachusetts, on the fourth day of July, 1895, leaving a widow and daughter, Cora Maria, who was married to Charles Henry Heywood of Springfield, Massachusetts, November 22, 1886.
CHARLES EDWARD FAXON
CHARLES EDWARD FAXON, one of America's leading botanical artists, and the Assistant Director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard College since 1907, was born at Roxbury, Massachusetts, January 21, 1846. He is the son of Elisha Faxon, born May 6, 1801, died October 2, 1855, and Hannah Mann Whiting, and is a direct descendant, in the eighth generation, from Thomas Faxon who came from England to America about 1647 and settled in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Mr. Faxon's father was a merchant who possessed an enviable reputation for honesty and square dealing. The son very early acquired a special fondness for Natural History, particularly that portion of it which is concerned with plants and flowers, and much of his spare time was spent in reading and study along these lines. He was chiefly encouraged in this pursuit by his mother, who exerted a strong influence over his intellectual life.
After attending the public schools in Roxbury and the Eliot High School, he entered the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1867 with the degree of S.B. Thirty years later his Alma Mater conferred upon him the honorary degree of A.M., in recognition of the work he had accomplished. A sketch of his life was published in the Harvard Graduates' Magazine for December, 1897.
After a few years spent in mercantile life he resumed the study of botany, turning his attention chiefly to botanical illustration, for which he had developed a remarkable proficiency.
He became associated with Professor D. C. Eaton of Yale University in a work entitled "The Ferns of North America," published in two quarto volumes in 1879, for which Mr. Faxon furnished the colored plates. During the same year he was appointed Instructor in Botany at Harvard and in 1881 was made Assistant at the Arnold Arboretum where he had charge of the extensive library and herbarium. In 1907 he was made Assistant Director of the Arboretum, a position which he still holds. In his work at the Arboretum he has steadily pursued his specialty of botanical illustration, chiefly in conjunction with Prof. Charles S. Sargent. He furnished all the plates for Sargent's "Sylva of North America," a monumental work in twelve quarto volumes, containing over six hundred copper plates done in Paris by the leading French engravers. He was also the artist for Sargent's "Forest Flora of Japan" (1894), "Manual of the Trees of North America" (1905), and "Trees and Shrubs" (1905-13). He has drawn the botanical illustrations for the ten volumes of "Garden and Forest," and has contributed numerous plates to all the leading botanical journals of this country. In all he has drawn many thousands of figures illustrating plants.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Boston Society of Natural History, of the Society of American Foresters, and many similar societies and organizations. In politics he has always been an independent, never identifying himself with any one party but ever standing ready to support progressive measures and good government. He has never married.
Bacon says, "I hold every man a debtor to his profession, from which of course men do seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they of duty to endeavor themselves by way of amends to be a help and ornament thereunto."
Mr. Faxon has fulfilled this duty to its fullest extent, not merely by the help which he has rendered to the science of Botany at the Arnold Arboretum, but especially by becoming, through his masterful botanical illustrations, one of the most notable ornaments to the science which this country has ever produced.
CARL FEHMER was born in Dargan, Mecklenburg, Schwerin, Germany, November 10, 1838. He is a son of 11 enrich Fehmer and Maria (Zerrahn) Fehmer. His father died in Germany when Carl was five years old; the mother and children came to America in 1852 and settled in Boston.
He attended the public schools and from boyhood was very fond of drawing and painting. At the age of sixteen he commenced the study of architecture in the office of George Snell, a prominent Boston architect, with whom he remained eight years. In 1866 he went into business on his own account.
For about twenty-five years he performed all the architectural work at the Massachusetts General Hospital, until his retirement on account of ill health. He designed a number of buildings for the McLean Asylum at Waverly and was appointed by Governor Oliver Ames as consulting architect when the extension to the Massachusetts State House was built.
During the Civil War he was in the militia, he served at guard duty at Fort Independence as a member of the Fourth Battalion under Major Thomas Stevenson.
He is a member of the Boston Society of Architects and of the St. Botolph Club.
April 20, 1872, he married Therese, daughter of Frederick Wahl who came from Cassel, Germany.
Mr. Fehmer's general architectural practice was very extensive. Among the many buildings which he erected, are the Shuman Corner, the building on the old Church Green, he rebuilt the Tremont Temple; was also the architect of the Telephone Building and the one erected on the Old Boylston Market Estate. The residence of Ex-governor Oliver Ames, is perhaps the most prominent one of the many he designed and built in the Back Bay district during his long and active professional career.
DESMOND FITZGERALD, Civil Engineer, was born in Nassau, New Providence, May 20, 1846. In 1849 his parents removed to Providence, Rhode Island. His father, Captain Lionel C. W. H. FitzGerald, K. T. S., was an officer in the English army. He was knighted for bravery on the field of battle, and was descended from a distinguished Irish family; his father, Lieutenant Col. Edward Thomas served with the Guards at Waterloo and his mother was a descendant of the noble house of Kilmaine.
Mr. FitzGerald's mother, Sarah Caroline (Brown) FitzGerald, was a direct descendant of Roger Williams and through her, he is possessed of land in Providence which Roger Williams purchased from the Indians, the title never having passed from the family. Mr. FitzGerald is also a descendant of Roger Conant and many other noted Colonial and Revolutionary ancestors. His mother died when he was a child and he was reared by his grandmother. After graduation from the public schools of Providence he entered Phillips Academy, Andover, and is an Alumnus of that institution.
After leaving Andover he became private secretary to General Burnside and Assistant Secretary of State of Rhode Island. At the same time he was studying Engineering with Cushing and De Witt of Providence, that profession being the one to which he intended to devote his life.
In 1867 he entered the service of the Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad as axman and rose through every rank of an engineering party to the charge of location and constructing parties. After service in several Western railroads he became Chief Engineer of the Boston and Albany Railroad in 1871.
In 1873 the City of Boston secured his services on its Water Works and there he remained in various positions until 1903. During this long service Mr. FitzGerald familiarized himself with many problems of construction and maintenance and was frequently consulted by other cities besides Boston upon questions connected with their water supplies.
He was the author of various articles and twice received the Norman Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers. He became president of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers, the New England Water Works Association and of the American Society of Civil Engineers. One of the most interesting of Mr. FitzGerald's works was the establishment at Chestnut Hill Reservoir of a laboratory for the study of the biological side of Water Supplies which was the first erected solely for this purpose. In this laboratory all the forms of troubles causing bad tastes in water were thoroughly studied in a comprehensive, scientific manner and many important revolutions inaugurated in the methods of management, control and construction of reservoirs. He served as a member of commissions to design water and sewerage works and for abolition of grade crossings.
In 1903 Mr. FitzGerald resigned his position as a Department Engineer of the Metropolitan Water Supply of Massachusetts and has since acted as a consulting engineer. In 1904 he visited the Philippines and made reports on works for water supply, sewerage and docks for the city of Manila. In 1912 he was employed by the city and state of New York in sanitary matters connected with the harbor of New York.
For several years Mr. FitzGerald was chairman of the Topographical Survey Commission of Massachusetts, and acted as a commissioner for the establishment of the boundary line between the States of New York and Massachusetts and also to define the changes in the Rhode Island boundary line.
In 1907 the Metropolitan Improvement Commission was created and Mr. FitzGerald was one of its members. For this commission he visited all the principal docks in Europe and .made a report and design for the docks of Boston.
In Brookline where Mr. FitzGerald resides, he has held public offices for many years and is now Chairman of the Park Commission and a Trustee of the Public Library, etc.
He is a member of the Union, St. Botolph, Engineering, and Country Clubs and of several engineering societies. He is a past President of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers and of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In politics Mr. FitzGerald has always been a Republican.
His favorite recreation has been the study of art and he has made a collection of pictures which has recently been installed in a fireproof addition to his home on Washington Street, Brookline, which is to be kept open to the public. Mr. FitzGerald believes that it is the duty of all who may be interested in the collection of artistic objects to make them accessible to everyone.
In 1870 he married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. Stephen Salisbury, and Elizabeth (Clark) Salisbury. She is descended from a long list of Colonial ancestors, including the Quincy, Sewell, Hull, Walley and other distinguished families.
Four children have blessed their home and they all have families of their own.
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