Archive:The Descendants of John Whitney, page 101

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The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635, by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

Transcribed by the Whitney Research Group, 1999.


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WHITNEY GENEALOGY. 101

Col. SAWYER is a member of the Congregational Society in Dover, and a liberal contributor to its support, as well as to every worthy object of charity and scheme of benevolence that is brought to his notice from whatever quarter. Though his manner is reserved, his heart is warm and his sympathies are quick and wide; and his generosity and helpfulness in a good cause are not limited by place or creed or nationality. He is a consistent temperance man, and a firm upholder of the prohib- itory law. Every work for the improvement of the city or the public benefit finds in him a hearty supporter, grudging, neither money nor more valuable personal effort to promote its advance- ment. For years he has been a zealous member of the Masonic fraternity. He was twice elected to the chair of the Strafford Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and for the past seven years he has been the Eminent Commander of the St. Paul Commandery of Knights Templar. Though so diligent a man of affairs, Col. SAWYER finds the time for mental cultivation. His library contains the best books of solid value, and he has made himself acquainted with their contents. On all subjects of pub- lic interest and practical importance he keeps thoroughly informed, and has well-considered opinions. Naturally some- what reticent, he never obtrudes his views; but when they are sought for, they are found to go straight to the mark, and to have behind them all the force of rare sagacity and careful thought. He makes no pretentions to oratory, yet orators might well envy the impression which his plain, convincing statements command. In he recent panic caused by the withdrawal from the state of foreign insurance companies, it was mainly Col. SAWYER's calm and clear demonstration of the feasibility of a manufacturers' mutual system of home insurance that quieted the needless feelings of alarm. It has been truly remarked of Col. SAWYER that " Nature made him on a large scale." His great interests he wields easily, and carries his broad responsi- bilities without fatigue. His remarkable executive ability never seems to be taxed to its full capacity; there is always an appear- ance of reserve strength beyond. He has a large way of esti- mating men and things. No petty prejudices obscure the clear- ness of his vision or weaken the soundness of his judgment. He has the courage of his convictions, and does not shrink from telling an unpalatable truth when necessary; but he has the rare faculty of giving no needless offense. In the wide round of his occupations he must needs have caused some disappoint- ments, but his character for justice and square dealing is so uni- versally understood that censure finds no vulnerable spot to fas- ten on. Few prominent men are so free from enemies. The imperturbable poise of character which Col. SAWYER exhibits is one of his distinguishing features. Nothing throws him off his balance. He keeps entire control of his temper; he allows neither success to elate him, nor failure to depress him. As the western people say, he is a "a man to tie to." This is the result of natural equanimity, supplemented by careful self-discipline. His powers are so cultivated that they are evenly developed; his character is matured, well-rounded and symmetrical. More- over, he is, in the expressive phrase of the day, a " clean " man. His life has not been soiled by any mean or sordid action. Amidst many temptations to self-indulgence, he has preserved himself pure and unspoiled. In the several relations of son and husband and father, of friend and of citizen, he has been faithful and true to his duty. At twenty-five years of age he married Susan E., daughter of Dr. James W. COWAN. Their home is on the bank of the stream whose waters turn the wheels of SAWYER's mills. It is the unostentatious abode of genuine comfort and refine- ment. It is there that Col. SAWYER finds, in the society of his wife and children, rest from the cares of his business, and the truest enjoyment of his life.

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