Archive:Memoirs of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Volume IV, Part 2

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William Richard Cutter, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts (New York, NY: Lewis historical publishing company, 1908), Volume IV.Family:Whitney, William W. (1785-1866)

From Google Books.

Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV, Part 1, Volume IV, Part 2


[p. 1752]

(III) George Watts, son of Captain Samuel Watts (2), was born at St. George, Maine, March 16, 1790. He married Mary Giles. Children, born at St. George: . . . . 13. Jane (twin). 14. Whitney (twin). . . . .


[p. 1806]

Children [of Zerubbabel and Mehitebale (Keeler) Hoyt]: . . . . 4. Hannah, married, July 6, 1704, Joseph Whitney. . . . .


[p. 1809]

(II) Joseph Brown . . . bought seventy-two acres of land in Watertown, January 4, 1708-09, of John Mixer and wife Abigail with house, bounded by lands of Daniel Harrington, Thomas Woolson, Samuel Whitney and John Warren. . . . .


[p. 1826]

Joseph Bemis, immigrant ancestor, born in England, 1619, came to Watertown, Massachusetts, as early as 1640, and died there August 7, 1684. He was accompanied by his sister Mary, who married at Watertown, March 20, 1644-5, William Hagar. Joseph Bemis was selectman of Watertown 1648-72-75. He was a blacksmith as well as farmer. His will was dated August 7, and proved October 7, 1684. His widow administered the estate, which was divided November 18, 1712, soon after her death. Children, born in Watertown: 1. Sarah, born January 15, 1642-3; married John Bigelow. 2. Mary, born September 10, 1644; married Samuel Whitney. 3. Joseph Jr., (twin), born October 28, 1647, buried November 4, 1647. 4. Ephraim (twin), born October 28, 1647, buried November 4, 1647. 5. Martha, born March 24, 1649. 6. Joseph Jr., born December 12, 1651; died at Westminster, August 7, 1684. 7. Rebecca, born April 17, 1684; married John White, and second, Thomas Harrington. 8. Ephraim, born August 25, 1656, settled at Windham, Connecticut. 9. John, mentioned below.

. . . .

(III) John Bemis, son of John Bemis (2), born in Watertown, October 6. 1686; married first, May 8, 1710, Hannah, born January 25, 1690-1, daughter of Daniel Warren, born October 6, 1653, and his wife, Elizabeth (Whitney), born June 9, 1656. He married second, April 2, 1713, Anna, born 1690, daughter of Samuel Livermore, born 1640, died 1690, and his wife, Anna (Bridge), who was born 1646 and died August 28, 1727. After John Bemis died, his widow married December 5, 1769, Josiah Smith. Child of John and Hannah: 1. John, mentioned below. Children of John and Anna Bemis: 2. Anna, born April 29, 1714; married Samuel Fiske and second Hopestill Bent. 3. Josiah, born February 9, 1715-6. 4. Abraham, born December 27, 1717. 5. Grace, born November 5, 1719. 6. Lydia, born April 5, 1721; married Captain Jonas Dix. 7. Abijah, born March 16, 1722-3; died at Paxton, June 19, 1790. 8. Elisha, born March 20, 1725-6. 9. Elizabeth, born March 23, 1727-8. 10. Nathaniel, born May 6, 1730. 11. Susanna, born April 3, 1732; married Elisha Garfield. 12. Phinehas, born March 24, 1734.

(IV) John Bemis, son of John Bemis (3), born at Watertown, February 11, 1711-2; married, February 16, 1731-2, Hannah, born April 28, 1715, daughter of Captain Daniel Warren, born April 30, 1686, and wife Hannah (Bigelow). He was surveyor of highways, and a soldier in the French war, 1656. Children, born in Watertown: 1. John, born August 28, 1732. 2. Timothy, mentioned below. 3. Anna, September 30, 1736. 4. Elizabeth, born January 17, 1738-9; died July 16, 1750. 5. Lydia, born June 10, 1741. 6. Abigail, born September 1, 1743; died July 25, 1750. 7. Nathaniel, born March 12, 1745. 8. Sarah, born September 27, 1748; married Elisha Cox. 9. Henry, born January 28, 1750-1. 10. Jeduthan, born June 10, 1753; married Polly Staples, of Sudbury. 11. Mary,

[p. 1827]

born May 16, 1755; married William Corey. 12. Daniel, born March 5, 1758; married Patty Winch.

(V) Timothy Bemis, son of John Bemis (4), born in Weston, Massachusetts, formerly Watertown, March 6, 1734-5, married, January 10, 1756, Martha Wesson, who died at Marlborough, April 24, 1808. He settled at Weston, then removed to Marlborough, New Hampshire, as early as 1776. He was killed by falling from a load of cornstalks. Children, born in Weston, Massachusetts: 1. James, born September 7. 1756-7; died at Dublin, New Hampshire, 1832. 2. Elizabeth, born January 7, 1759. 3. Martha, born Marcli 3, 1761; died February 13, 1841; married Josiah Lewis. 4. David, born June 13, 1763. 5. Jeremiah, born July 13, 1765. 6. Abel, born 1768-9; married Prudence Swan. 7. Jonathan, mentioned below. 8. Daniel, settled in Boston. 9. Sally. 10. Timothy, born July 9, 1776; died at Malone, New York, May 24, 1848.

(VI) Jonathan Bemis, son of Timothy Bemis (5), born July 2, 1769, died January 31, 1835; married, February, 1789, Deliverance, born February 8, 1772, died October 23, 1856, daughter of Ebenezer Rhodes, who was born at Walpole, Massachusetts, about 1745, and died at Marlborough, July 4, 1825, and his wife Sarah (Page), born about 1745, died October 6, 1821. Children: 1. Jonathan, born June 5, 1789, died young. 2. Sarah, born January 4, 1791; married William Thatcher. 3. Son, born January 22, 1792, died unnamed. 4. Delilah, born December 17, 1793; married Stephen Parrar, of Troy New Hampshire. 5. Jonathan, born September 17, 1794, died young. 6. Luther, mentioned below. 7. Calvin, born January 27, 1798. 8. Martha, born September 12, 1799. 9. Anna, born July 5, 1801; married Amasa Fuller. 10. Jonathan, born September 16. 1803; died July 4, 1854. 11. Dolly, born June 13, 1805; married Howard Clark. 12. Betsey, born March 29, 1807; died April 4, 1831. 13. Asa, born March 13, 1809. 14. Enoch, born January 28, 1811; died at Bethel, Vermont, February 11, 1868. 15. Artemas, born December 21, 1812, died November 14, 1863. 16. Harriet, born October 12, 1815; married Daniel Bugbee.

(VII) Luther Bemis, son of Jonathan Bemis (6), born May 21, 1796, died at Troy, New Hampshire, September 6, 1842; married, June 1, 1820, Sally Farrar, born 1797, died March 24, 1845, daughter of George Farrar. Children, born in Troy: 1. Son, born April 4, died 19, 1821. 2. George F., born April 11, 1822. 3. Luther G., mentioned below.

(VIII) Luther G. Bemis, son of Luther Bemis (7), born in Troy, New Hampshire, July 1, 1828; married, March 30, 1852, Abby H., born at Jaffrey, New Hampshire, November 26, 1832, daughter of Moses Cutter and Abigail Davidson. He was a farmer at Jaffrey. Children: 1. Charles L., born June 6, 1854; married, March 13, 1877, Sarah A. Flint, daughter of Henry Gould and Sarah Flint. 2. Frederick C., mentioned below. 3. Abby L., born November 12, 1859.

(IX) Frederick Cyrus Bemis, son of Luther G. Bemis (8), was born in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, October 16, 1857. He was brought up on his father's farm, and educated in the public schools of his native town. After traveling about for several years and living in various parts of the country, he finally settled in Billerica, Massachusetts, and is now living on the Jones homestead which his wife inherited. He married Nell Maria Jones, born November 15, 1851, daughter of Anthony Jones. Children: 1. Anthony, born January 20, 1876. 2. Marion, September 20, 1880. 3. Frederick, March 24, 1884.


[p. 1843]

(VII) Charles Emerson Howe, son of John Swain [and Mary (Chadwick)] Howe (6), was born in East Rochester, or Conic, New Hampshire, January 27, 1845. He obtained his education in the schools of his native town, and in Roxbury (now Boston), Massachusetts. Upon leaving school at the age of thirteen, he worked for Joseph Allison, boiler maker, and Mr. Waterman, a dyer, for about two years. At the age of fifteen he enlisted in Company E, Thirteenth Massachusetts Regiment, as a private; took part in the battles of Thoroughfare Gap and the Second Bull Run, where he was wounded and sent to the hospital at Washington. Upon his recovery he was transferred to the Medical Corps. Upon his discharge he enlisted in the regular army and was appointed a hospital steward, serving three more years, in all six years, at the Emery Hospital, Washington. Until the close (if the war he was attached for three months to the light artillery at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis. From there he went to Fort Kearney, Nebraska, as post steward. In 1868 he joined the expedition fitted out to explore Powder river, with a view to establishing a new route to Salt Lake City. This expedition built Fort Philip Kearney, on the Dry Fork of the Powder river, and Fort C. S. Smith on the Yellowstone river. Mr. Howe was present at the famous massacre of Fort Philip Kearney when Colonel Fetterman was killed, but escaped, and afterwards received an honorable discharge from the United States regular army.

He located first at Chicago where he lived until 1871, when he came to Lowell and entered the employ of Howe & Burnham, his brother's firm, dealers in lumber, and he remained there until he became a member of the firm of Howe Brothers & Company until it disbanded, when the Howe Lumber Co. (Inc.) spring of 1892 succeeded it. In 1898 he started in business for himself. In politics Mr. Howe is a staunch Republican; served in the Lowell board of aldermen in 1894-95-96, and was chairman in 1896; has been a delegate to various Republican conventions, and was in the state convention in 1893 when Governor Greenhalge was nominated: in 1903-4 was the mayor of the city, serving with great honor and credit. He is a member of William North Lodge, Free Masons; Mount Horeb Royal Arch Chapter; Pilgrim Commandery, Knights Templar; a thirty-second degree Mason; Mystic Shrine; Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston; James A. Garfield Post, No. 120, Grand Army of the Republic; Wauhatchie Command, Union Veterans' Union; Yorick Club, Vesper Country Club, New Hampshire Club of New England, and the Threeatime, a social club of the Thirteenth Regiment; vice president of Thirteenth Regiment Association, 1904. He attends the Kirk Street Congregational Church. He is a director of the Home for Destitute Children, Lowell. He married, January 1, 1884, Elizabeth F., daughter of Franklin and Carolin (Whitney) Webster, of Lowell. They have no children.

[NOTE: Franklin Webster married Caroline W. Wood, daughter of Micajah and Rachel (Richardson) Wood, born 24 Aug 1820. Her middle name could have been Whitney, but definitely not her maiden name. No Whitney ancestry has been found for her. Her paternal grandmother was, however, Mercy (Whiting) Wood.--RLW]


[p. 1863]

Children [of John and Deliverance (Dodge) Parker], born at Reading: . . . . 3. Andrew, born February 14, 1693; married Sarah Whitney. . . . .


[p. 1931]

Thomas [Hilliard], born at Boston; married first, Pauline Brown; second, Abbie Sampson, of Duxbury; third, Rebecca Nickerson, of Provincetown; children of first wife: . . .; iii. Pauline, married George Whitney, and had George, Frank, Arthur, Charles, Lena, Frederick, and Addie May Whitney.


[p. 1951]

WHITNEY

The name of Whitney belongs to a knightly family of remote English antiquity founded by Eustace, living 1086, and styled De Whitney from the lordship of Whitney which he possessed. The present form of the name has been established for about four centuries. The American Whitneys of to-day justly claim the blood of many families whose names are most familiar in English history. The early owners of the land before the days when surnames were used were persons whose Christian names, might be, for example, Eustace, or Baldwin, or Robert, and these were as is known in this case, Eustace of Whitney, Baldwin of Whitney, and Robert of Whitney, from the name of the place of their abode, which in this instance, was that locality known at present as the parish of Whitney, situated in the county of Hereford, upon the extreme western border of England adjoining Wales. The earliest mention of the place is a record in Domesday Book, A. D. 1086. The parish of Whitney is traversed by the river Wye, which gives it its name, Whitney-on-the-Wye. It is one of the most beautiful spots in old England, its Rhydspence Inn reminding one of the description of the old May-Pole. The Anglo-Saxon derivation of the name Whitney is evidently from "hewit," white, and "ey" water, the name meaning white water. In the west of England to-day, Whit-bourn means White brook; Whit-church, White church; and Whit-on, the White town. De Whitney (de, meaning "of") came to be regarded as the family name, and in the course of time this prefix was dropped and the name became Whitney, as it is to-day.

The line had been established for more than five hundred years at Whitney and John, the first settler of this name at Watertown, Massachusetts, could trace his descent directly to Sir Robert of Whitney, who was living in 1242, whose father Eustace, already mentioned, took the surname De Whitney on the Wye in the Marches of Wales, who through a line of three or four generations which has been ably traced by Henry (Whitney) Millville, Esq., of New York, in his history of the Whitney family, was a descendant of one "Turstin de Fleming," a follower of William the Conqueror who was mentioned in the Domesday Book, A. D. 1086. The line from Sir Robert (1) of Whitney, living in 1242, passed to another Robert (2) of Whitney, and then by Sir Eustace (3) of Whitney, to Sir Robert (4), Sir Robert (5), Sir Eustace (6) de Whitney, knight, Robert (7) of Whitney, James (8) of Whitney, Robert (9) of Icomb, Sir Robert (10) of Whitney, knight, Robert (11) of Whitney, esquire, Thomas (12) of Westminster, gentleman, to John Whitney, who with his wife Elinor, and several sons emigrated from London, England, in 1635, and settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, the first of the name in America, and the ancestor of a great majority of the Whitneys now living in this country.

We unfortunately have no space to speak here of the distinguished members of the early Whitney race in England or ro enlarge upon the distinguished careers of many of its modern American members. This has been very fully done in several meritorious genealogies

[p. 1952]

published on this side of the water. Sir Robert Whitney, knight, was sheriff of Herefordshire in the first year of Richard II (1337) and is mentioned by Thomas Fuller in his famous "History of the Worthies of England." It is no doubt true that the family were entitled to a coat armor as long ago as the early crusades and the armorial ensign remained unchanged certainly until the time of the emigration of John Whitney to New England. As the motto on the shield of the Whitney race translated from the Latin into English, is "Gallantly uphold the Cross," the crusade origin of that object of honor would appear to be substantiated by the facts. The Whitney coat-of-arms is a shield with a blue ground on which is a large cross formed of checker-board squares of gold and red, above which, as a crest, was a bull's head, cut off at the neck, black, with silver horns tipped with red. A cross on an ancient coat-of-arms indicated that it belonged to a crusader. A family coat-of-arms could not be devised where the cross would be more prominent than in the Whitney design. In fact, the cross is the only symbol. The coat-of-arms as described, appears on the walls of Hereford Cathedral, England, where a Mrs. Lucy Booth, daughter of Sir Robert Whitney, was buried in 1763. The bull's head is said to have been adopted as a family crest from the fact that Sir Randolph de Whitney, who accompanied Richard, the lion hearted king of England, to the crusades, was once attacked by three Saracens, one of them the brother of Saladin. Sir Randolph Whitney, single handed, defended himself with the greatest vigor, but his assailants were gaining upon him when a Spanish bull, feeding near by, becoming angry at the red dresses of the Saracens flitting before him, joined in the attack against them so furiously that the Saracens were put to flight and left the field victorious to Sir Randolph and the bull. In acknowledgment of the services of the bull in time of need, the bull's head was adopted as a crest to the family coat of arms. Whether this account be true or not, it is certain that the American descendants of the ancient English Whitney family have many times indicated a "bull headed" strength of mind and tenacity of purpose in many laudable undertakings.

(I) John Whitney of Watertown, Massachusetts, born in England, died at Watertown, June 7, 1673, aged eighty-four years; his first wife Elinor died at Watertown, May 11, 1659, aged fifty-four years; he married second, September 29, 1659, Judith Clement, who died before her husband. Although the Whitney family is quite numerous in this country, a very large share of them are descendants of John and Elinor Whitney of Watertown, Massachusetts. John Whitney was third son of Thomas Whitney, "gentleman," and dwelt for several years in the parish of Isleworth, near London, England. He was baptized in the parish church of Saint Margaret, July 20, 1592. At Watertown he was a highly respected citizen and shared with the schoolmaster and the minister the then highly esteemed title of "Mr." He served the town as town clerk, selectman and constable for many years, being the first town clerk to be elected by the town. He owned extensive lots of land on one of which he resided. His will dated April 3, 1673, left a large property to his family. Children of John and Elinor Whitney: 1. Mary, baptized at Isleworth, May 23, 1619, died young. 2. John, born in England, 1624, died at Watertown, October 12, 1692; married Ruth Reynolds. 3. Richard, born in England, 1626; married, March 19, 1650-51, Martha Coldam; in 1697 was residing at Stow, Massachusetts. 4. Nathaniel, born in England, 1627, died young. 5. Thomas, born in England, 1629, died September 20, 1719; married January 11, 1654-5, Mary Kedall. 6. Jonathan, see forward. 7. Joshua, born in Watertown, July 15, 1635, died before October 6, 1719; married (first) Lydia -----; second, Mary -----, died in Watertown, March 17, 1671-2; third, September 30, 1672, Abigail Tarbell, of Watertown. 8. Caleb, born in Watertown, buried July 12, 1640. 9. Benjamin, born in Watertown, June 6, 1643, died 1723; married (first) Jane ----- , died November 14, 1690; second, April 13, 1695, Mary Poor, of Marlborough, Massachusetts.

(II) Jonathan Whitney, son of John Whitney (1), born in England, 1634, died in Sherburne, Massachusetts, 1702; married, in Watertown, Massachusetts, October 30, 1656, Lydia, daughter of Lewis and Anna Jones, of Watertown. He became a resident of Sherburne in 1679. He left a will dated January 12, 1702. Children: 1. Lydia, born July 3, 1657, died 1719; married April 15, 1681, Moses Adams, of Sherburne. 2. Jonathan, see forward. 3. Anna, born April 28, 1660, died March 6, 1701; married Cornelius Fisher, of Wrentham. 4. John, born June 27, 1662, died 1735; married first, April 10, 1688, Mary Hapgood, of Sherburne; second, 1694, Sarah Haven, of Lynn, died April 23, 1718; third, November 10, 1718, Mrs. Martha (How) Walker, of Framingham, who died November 14, 1721. 5. Josiah, born May 19,

[p. 1953]

1664, died 1717; married first Abigail -----; second Mary -----; resided at Wrentham. 6. Eleanor, born October 12, 1666, died November 25, 1678. 7. James, born November 25, 1668, died in Sherburne, November 30, 1690. 8. Isaac, born January 12, 1670-71, died December 2, 1690. 9. Joseph, born March 20, 1672-3, married May 26, 1706, Rebecca Bürge, of Chelmsford; resided at Chelmsford. 10. Abigail, born August 18, 1675, living in 1702. 11. Benjamin, born January 6, 1678-9, died 1718; married October 24, 1700, Mercy Travis.

(III) Jonathan Whitney, son of Jonathan Whitney (2), born at Watertown, October 20, 1658, died at Concord, March 17, 1734-5; married Sarah, daughter of Shadrach and Elizabeth (Treadway) Hapgood, of Sudbury. He served in King Philip's war, 1676; and built a house in Sherburne in 1691, but soon afterward returned to Watertown and later resided in the town of Sudbury and Concord. His will dated March 14 was proved March 18, 1735. Children: 1. Sarah, born March 2, 1692-3, died April 10, 1752; married, November, 1712, Jonathan Warren, of Watertown. 2. Jonathan, born September 27, 1694, died young. 3. Tabitha, born August 22, 1696; married first, February 28, 1715, Jacob Fulham, of Weston; he was a sergeant in Captain Lovewell's company, and was killed in a fight with the Indians at Fryeburg, Maine, May 8, 1725; married second, April 19, 1726, George Parkhurst, of Weston, who died March 17, 1734-5; married third, August 10, 1736, Samuel Hunt, of Weston. 4. Shadrach, born October 12, 1698, died July 1764; married January 5, 1731, Mrs. Prudence Lawrence, widow of Thomas Lawrence, of Groton. She died December 25, 1762. 5. Jonathan, born November 25, 1700. 6. Anne, born May 22, 1702, died at Lincoln, August 24, 1793; married March 3, 1723, Captain Ebenezer Cutler. 7. Amos, born May 1, 1705, died October 31, 1770; resided at Townsend. 8. Zaccheus, born November 16, 1707, died at Bedford, March 14, 1739-40; married May 23, 1724, Mary Wheeler, of Concord; she married second, January 1, 1740-41, William Grimes, of Bedford, and died July 15, 1742. 9. Timothy, born February 20, 1708-9, died 1740; married, May 24, 1738, Submit Parker; she married second, June 11, 1741, Reuben Woods, of Groton. 10. Daniel, see forward. 11. Isaac, of Concord, died before February 4, 1754.

(IV) Daniel Whitney, son of Jonathan Whitney (3), born at Concord. September 12, 1710; died at Boylston, October 18, 1779; married at Shrewsbury, March 8, 1738-9, Thankful Allen, daughter of Elnathan and Mercy (Rice) Allen. She died his widow at Boylston, August 8, 1801, aged eighty-eight years. He resided for the greater part of his life in the north precinct of Shrewsbury, now the town of Boylston. Children: 1. Levi, see forward. 2. Timothy, born October 25, 1743; married, December 1, 1768, Catherine Davenport, of Shrewsbury, who died his widow at Boylston, August 19, 1831, aged eighty-four years. 3. Daniel, born September 4, 1746; married September 26, 1771, Catherine Stone, of County Gore (Oxford), Massachusetts. 4. Sarah, born September 9, 1749, died June, 1817; married, at Shrewsbury, December 17, 1769, Nathan Banister, of Brookfield.

(V) Lieutenant Levi Whitney, son of Daniel Whitney (4), born at Shrewsbury, December 5, 1739, died at Townsend, January 8, 1809; married first, December 19, 1764, Rebecca, daughter of Deacon Samuel Clark, of Townsend; second, November 13, 1780, Mts. Lydia (Randall) Price, of Townsend, widow of Major Henry Price, first deputy grandmaster of Masons in America.

Levi Whitney resided in the town of Townsend and Shrewsbury, and was a member of Captain James Hosley's company, Colonel William Prescott's regiment, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, to Cambridge; first lieutenant of Captain Henry Farwell's company, Colonel William Prescott's regiment, at battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. He was a manufacturer of agricultural tools by occupation, and a man of much mechanical ingenuity. He was selectman of Townsend, 1777, and a man of high standing in the community. His two brothers, Shadrach and Amos, left substantial bequests to the towns of Townsend, Groton, Mason, Ashby, and Shirley. Levi Whitney was executor of Amos and his principal heir. The hundred pounds in money, the parsonage and farm, his choice hall clock and set of pulpit furniture, Amos Whitney gave to the town of Townsend, were all lost and scattered in the financial troubles which followed the revolution, and yet his memory is still cherished in his native town as its principal benefactor. The interest of the hundred pounds was left for the support of a reading and writing school. A substantial gravestone, erected by his brother Levi, recites his merits as legibly as when it was first erected in 1770. About fifty years ago the old clock given to the town was returned to Asa Whitney, of Philadelphia, uncle of Arthur E.

[p. 1954]

Whitney, who cherished and cared for it until his death. It is now in good running order, and in possession of James S. Whitney of Philadelphia, great-grandson of Levi Whitney. Shadrach Whitney, a brother of Levi and of Amos, left forty pounds to the town of Groton for the support of the minister of that town. He was born in Watertown, lived in Townsend, Mason and Groton, passing away in the latter town. Children of Levi Whitney: By first wife: 1. Amos, born February 11th., 1766, died October 2, 1854; married, August 16, 1789, Anna Brown, of Concord; resided at Chelmsford. 2. Asa, see forward. 3. Sarah, born 1769, married, May 3, 1791, Eleazer Flint, of Reading. 4. Sibyl, born August 27, 1770, married Cyrus Smith, of New Ipswich, New Hampshire. 5. Aaron, born 1772, died at Calais, Maine, February 16, 1845; married first, November 16, 1797, Phebe Dunklee, of Amherst. New Hampshire, who died January 31, 1800; and second, Olive Lund, who died in January, 1867; resided at Amherst, New Hampshire, and Calais, Maine. 6. Sewall, died unmarried, at Lansingsburgh, New York. Child by second wife: 7. Rebecca, born July 29, 1781; married September 18, 1799, Benjamin Wallace, of Townsend.

(VI) Asa Whitney, son of Lieutenant Levi Whitney (V), born at Townsend, Massachusetts, 1767, died there December 27, 1851; married, February 25, 1790, Mary Wallate. She died February 11, 1846. He lived and died in Townsend. Ny occupation he was what was called in the country, a black and white smith, and was much skilled in making agricultural tools, steel traps, gun locks, andirons and fire place fixtures. A black and white smith was one who forged iron and also finished it. His son Joel used to relate that he disliked to hear when a boy that any one in Townsend was to be married, because it meant that he would have to scour and polish all the andirons, frying pans, tongs, &c., required by the new housekeepers. All of his sons were prominent in mechanical pursuits, and by their ingenuity and inventions acquired prominent and notable positions in different parts of the country. His brothers also were noted as successful business mechanics. Aaron moved to Maine, where a town was named after him. His grandson, Amos Whitney, now living at Hartford, Connecticut, was one of the founders of the Pratt & Whitney Co., the largest and most successful company manufacturing machinist's tools and fine special machinery in this country. His name is well known, not only in this country but abroad. His son, Clarence Edgar is engaged in manufacturing the celebrated Whitney roller chains for automobiles and other machinery. Asa Whitney's brother Amos engaged in the coopering business at Chelmsford and accumulated a large fortune in that mechanical occupation. His son Amos (2) died a bachelor, and by bequest gave $75,000 to Tufts College in memory of his father, besides making bequests to other relatives and friends. Mary Wallace, wife of Asa Whitney, was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, the Wallace family being among the first settlers of Townsend and most prominent in the community. They introduced the cooperage business into the town in its early days, and is at the present time Townsend's distinguishing business. Mary Wallace was a woman of bright, quick intellect, very witty in speech and a splendid specimen of a New England housekeeper. Children of Asa Whitney: 1. Polly, born May 29, 1790, died March 17, 1861; married, September 17, 1812, James French. Jr., of Wilton, New Hampshire; resided at Hancock and Henniker, New Hampshire. 2. Asa, born December 1, 1791, died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 4, 1874; married at Watertown, New York, August 22, 1815, Clarinda, daughter of Ralph Williams, of Groton, Connecticut; she died July 6, 1879. 3. Samuel, born February 27, 1794, died December 16, 1870; married first, September 30, 1813, Polly Wallace, of Townsend, who died at Nashua, New Hampshire, September, 1825; married second, Kezia Gage. 4. Sewell, born born March 18, 1796, died unmarried, October 26, 1818. 5. Rebecca, born November 4, 1797, died September 1, 1800. 6. Sarah, born May 3, 1800, died September 28, 1829: married, October 15, 1821, George Hartwell, of Mason, New Hampshire. 7. Levi, born March 19, 1802; resided in Ohio. 8. Joel, see forward.

All the sons of Asa Whitney were successful mechanics not only as workmen but as inventors. His oldest son Asa first settled in New York state, where he became superintendent of the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad. He invented and made the first locomotive truck wheels which were set in front of the driving wheels of the "John Bull," the first locomotive introduced into this country from England. They are in general use at present. The directors of the road hitherto run by horses were about to abandon the use of the new locomotive, as it shook and damaged the track very much. Asa Whitney begged them not to do this, and offered to make the new machine operate without injury to the light

[p. 1953a]

JOEL WHITNEY

[p. 1954]

track equipment for $500. It was a difficult piece of work for those days, as proper tools were not in existence. The work was successfully accomplished at West Point after making special tools designed by Whitney. The brother of Asa, Joel Whitney, traveled to Albany from Massachusetts to see the new locomotive work which it did successfully notwithstanding the clouds of smoke and cinders which enveloped the passengers, the cars being all open to the weather. Asa Whitney was commissioner of canals while in New York and his reputation as a railroad engineer stood very high. For several years he was president of the Reading railroad when it was successfully managed. From 1842 to 1847 he was with W. H. Baldwin, of Philadelphia, engaged in building locomotives on a large scale. This firm was the foundation of the present great company, the Baldwin Locomotive Works. Mr. Whitney gave up locomotive building to engage in the manufacture of car wheels under a patent annealing process of his own invention. He amassed a large fortune in this business which he distributed with a wise yet generous hand. At his death he bequeathed $50,000 to the Pennsylvania University for the benefit of mechanics, and as much more to hospitals and other charities besides leaving generous amounts to his large family. He was a man of great attainments, a natural scholar, of quick wit, and a very generous nature. He was a great lover of books, and accumulated a fine library of his own selecting. In every way he was a good product of our New England education of eighty years ago. He was helpful to all who knew him up to the day of his death.

Samuel Whitney, brother of Asa, was also a successful mechanic. He invented much in wood-working machinery, making the first successful wood planing machine. The only brother of this family who was not an iron worker was Sewell Whitney, who was a cunning worker in wood. He made bowls, bottles and trays. He secretly made wood bottles of green poplar wood all in one piece, turned inside and out. Seasoned heads were put in, and when the outside of the bottle dried and shrunk, it tightened the head so that the bottle would hold water and was air-tight. Many haymakers have been refreshed from these unbreakable samples of hoopless wooden ware. He died at thirty-two years of age, else the world might have heard more of him.

(VII) Joel Whitney, son of Asa (6), born at Townsend, June 8, 1807, died at Winchester, December 2, 1892; married October 30, 1844, Esther Maria Treadwell, born at Warner, New Hampshire, died at Winchester, Massachusetts, March 1, 1900, daughter of Nathaniel Rogers, and Judith (Evans) Treadwell. She was descended from the Rogers and Treadwell families of Ipswich, Massachusetts, one of her first ancestors in this country being Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, first minister in Ipswich, and a direct descendent of John Rogers, burnt at the stake in England. A suitable bronze tablet at Ipswich marks the dwelling place of Nathaniel Rogers. The Treadwells are also a notable Ipswich family, one of their number, Daniel Treadwell, professor of mechanics at Harvard and the "Thealogian of the Golden Rule" described in Longfellow's "Tales of ä Wayside Inn," being a near relative of Nathaniel Rogers Treadwell, both being brought up together in the same family. Professor Treadwell was a great mechanic not only by profession but by works as he invented a notable machine for making ropes which did away with hand made ropes. This machine is in general use to-day. He was also a great authority on naval armament and guns.

The earlier days of Joel Whitney were passed in his native town, where he was a schoolmaster for a time. Later he removed to Nashua, then to Boston and later to South Reading, now Wakefield, and next in 1844 to South Woburn, now Winchester. Here as an inventor and machinist he established a plant which became famous. He was a close friend and advisor of the inventors Goodyear and Haywood when they were struggling with their early experiments upon india rubber, and he made also many improvements in the process of making the first steel saws and other woodworking machinery.

As his life progressed he took front rank as an inventor and made many inventions in machines used in the manufacture of rubber, many woodworking machines and machines for saw makers, and for the manufacture of leather. His work is found in all parts of the world, and a list of his varied inventions would be, if it could be inserted here, a monument to his industry and ability. After 1883 he retired from the active pursuit of business. He was calm and genial in his temperament, of great wit, social in his nature, a great reader, never sought applause or notoriety, had a fine taste for the beautiful in nature, loved music and the fine arts, devoted much of his leisure time to horticulture, and while he never cared for public office he was regarded by all as a valuable citizen. He lived a useful,

[p. 1955]

happy life and his memory is much honored by all who knew him.

Children: 1. Evelyn French, born August 16, 1845, died December 3, 1883. 2. Arthur Eastman, see forward. 3. George Evans, born February 10, 1849; married June 6, 1883, Helen Gertrude, daughter of William G. and Mary Ann Lewis; resides at Cambridge. 4. Joel Francis, born March 5, 1851, died December 16, 1852. 5. Addie Maria, born January 23, 1854; married, January 26, 1876, Albert Eugene Ayer, of Winchester. 6. Fred Milton, born October 27, 1856, died August 7, 1890; married, April 15, 1888, Elmira T. White. 7. Delia, born September 17, 1862.

(VIII) Arthur Eastman Whitney, son of Joel Whitney (7), born in Woburn (set off as Winchester in 1850), July 5, 1847; married first, November 7, 1878, Alice Fletcher, born at Charlestown, August 15, 1853, died at Winchester, July 15, 1901, daughter of Jacob G. and Sarah H. Fletcher; married second, December 2, 1903, Alice Emma Marston, of Arlington, daughter of Alfred and Emma (Lawrence) Marston.

Arthur Eastman Whitney, who was born in that part of Winchester which was formerly a part of Woburn, has been one of the prominent citizens of Winchester, where he has held for long terms the offices of selectman, trustee of public library, and filled many other local positions of trust and honor. He is one of the most active influences in making that choice residential town what it is; the highways of the town were much improved from his instigation and active work while he held office; he is interested in the local history of the town, and in 1890 was the moving spirit in promoting the celebration of the 250th anniversary of its first white settlement, the first house in the old town of Woburn being built on Winchester territory; he has written articles displaying great ability on the subject of the ancient history of his section of the older town; he has also delivered papers before historical societies and local organizations on subjects of current interest and local history. He has collected in the course of years a vast amount of legal and historical information regarding estates in the center of Winchester, where his ancient mill privilege is situated; the history of this estate being traced through the family of Richardson back to the time of the early Converse family, who were prominent in the formative period of the colony and province of Massachusetts Bay in New England. He is a life member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the New England Historical and Geological Society. He is a liberal in religion and politics.

As we have seen, Arthur E. Whitney's direct ancestors have mostly been successful mechanics and inventors, all carrying on business for themselves and independent of partners. None of them have lived in cities, but not remote from them. From the time of John Whitney's first settlement at Watertown in 1635, down to Arthur E. Whitney, all have lived within the limits of Middlesex county. Many other descendants of John Whitney, not directly in our subject's line, have been most notable mechanics such as Eli Whitney, Baxter D. Whitney and the Whitneys who have so developed the manufacture of chairs in and about Gardner, Massachusetts.

As a mechanical engineer, inventor, and machinist Arthur E. Whitney has proved himself an equal of his ancestors. He has taken out many patents all of which have been successful. His concern manufactures large quantities of leather working machines much of it being sold abroad. His machine shop is located at the corner of Main and Walnut streets, Winchester Center, on the same site first occupied by his father in 1844.

Children by first wife: 1. Robert Fletcher, born September 29, 1879; married, June 21, 1904, Elizabeth Webster Stillman, of Winchester, daughter of Captain Charles A. of U. S. Navy, and Harriet (Allen) Stillman; resides in Winchester. 2. Harold Treadwell, born April 25, 1885, resides in Winchester. Child by second wife: 3. Joel Marston, born October 5, 1905.


[p. 1976]

Some years later, (1879) on the occasion of putting a new organ into the Baptist Church, he studied the organ under Professor S. B. Whitney, organist of the Church of the Advent, Boston, for a period of two and a half years . . . .


[p. 1990]

Leonard [Thorning, son of William and Eunice (Phillips) Thorning], born August 8, 1799 [Lexington, MA]; married May 17, 1827, Almira (or Elmira) Whitney, born July 20, 1806, daughter of William Whitney, of Harvard, Massachusetts. She died at Ashby, Massachusetts, January 28, 1873. Leonard Thorning died at Ashby, September 15, 1881. Children: i. Cyrus Henry Thorning, born in Lexington, February 23, 1828; married (first) at Lowell, May 1, 1851, Hannah Marston, born at Concord, New Hampshire, January 17, 1832, died at Deerfield, New Hampshire, September 8, 1857; child, Franklin P. Thorning, born at Methuen, Massachusetts, November 16, 1853, who died at Lowell, September 27, 1854; married, (second), January 12, 1860, Ellen M. Wilson, who was born at Peterboro, New Hampshire, January 1, 1840, and who died September 20, 1862. Child: Fred Ellis Thorning, born December 30, 1861, died, September 15, 1862; married, (third) October 10, 1865, Mary F. (Marshall) Sherwell, born at Chelmsford, Massachusetts, November 29, 1837, widow of Walter Sherwell of Lowell. No children by this marriage. Cyrus Henry Thorning died at Lowell, March 24, 1887. ii. William Leonard Thorning, born at Lexington, January 31, 1830; died at Lexington, October 26, 1832.


Copyright © 2009, Robert L. Ward and the Whitney Research Group

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