Archive:William Whitney Rice: A Biographical Sketch

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Hoar, Rockwood, William Whitney Rice: A Biographical Sketch (Worcester, MA: Charles Hamilton, 1898).

Lineage: William Whitney RICE [Lucy8 (WHITNEY) RICE, Phinehas7, William6, William5, William4, Nathaniel3, John2, John1]






WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.



A


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH,


BY

ROCKWOOD HOAR.


ALSO

THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE,

BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE

WHITNEY FAMILY,

Written by Mr. Rice.








Worcester, Mass., U. S. A.
PRESS OF CHARLES HAMILTON.
811 Main Street.

1897.

[p. 52]

III.


WHITNEYS IN MASSACHUSETTS.

1. July 20, 1592, John Whitney was baptized at St. Margaret's Church, London. He was, as nearly as I can determine, son of Thomas who was residing at Lambeth Marsh, London, whose wife was Mary Bray, daughter of John Bray, of Westminster. There is evidence that Thomas was grandson or great-grandson of Sir Robert Whitney, the last of the name at the old castle. This branch had drifted away into the great whirlpool of London life; and it appears probable that it had no part or parcel in the ancient inheritance, and had even forsaken the faith which for so many centuries had there been entertained, which Miss Dew maintains may well be inferred from the Bible names the emigrant gave his children.

The young John married Elinor; whose surname I do not know, and lived at or near Lambeth Marsh, at a place called Isleworth, where their oldest children were born. In 1635, in all probability a thoroughly constructed Puritan, he, with his wife and five children, embarked for America. They settled in Watertown, where he continued to reside during the remainder of his life. He seems


[p. 53]

to have been a man of respectable character and more than ordinary education, as very soon after his arrival he was made selectman and town clerk. He also exhibited a trait of character which has been possessed by many of his descendants, of obtaining possession of landed estates. He seems to have considered it a duty, however many children he had, to obtain a tract of land for each of them. His own homestead, where he lived after coming to America, seems to have been favorably located and in the vicinity of the best settlers of the place. He died June 1, 1673, over eighty years of age.

2. His oldest son, John, born in England in 1624, married Ruth Reynolds, of Boston, and lived in Watertown, where he died in 1692.

3. His son Nathaniel was born in Watertown February 1, 1646, and died in Weston, January 7, 1732. According to this he would be the first Whitney to reside in Weston, which was a farming section of Watertown, ultimately set off into the new town of Weston. The cellar and well of the original Whitney house, built, as we presume, by Nathaniel, are still plainly to be seen while a few rods distant is a more recent house in which the Whitneys resided generation after generation down to within twenty years of the present time and which from time to time was enlarged to accommodate Whitneys, seniors and juniors.

Nathaniel Whitney married Sarah Hagar. He


[p. 54]

died in Weston, aged about ninety. Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, was a descendant of Nathaniel.

4. His third son, William, was born in Weston, May 6, 1683. He married Martha Pierce.

5. Their oldest son was William, born in Weston in 1706. He married Hannah Harrington in 1735.

6. Their oldest son was William, born April 10, 1736. June 4, 1762, he married Mary Mansfield, and a few years later, with sons William and Phinehas, they moved to Winchendon.

Hereafter I confine myself to William Whitney and his descendants. In this connection, however, it is proper to say that Henry Whitney, probably a cousin of John, is found in Connecticut in 1649; a descendant of his, S. Whitney Phoenix, a wealthy and liberal citizen of New York, has published a genealogical account of the descendants of Henry, contained in three volumes, making one of the most sumptuous family records in America. This does not include any of the descendants of John, most of Henry's descendants being south of Massachusetts.


[p. 55]

IV.


WILLIAM WHITNEY OF WINCHENDON.

William Whitney was born in Weston, April 10, 1736. He was married in Weston to Mary Mansfield, June 14, 1762. They had seven children. (1) William, born in 1765, married to Ann Heywood in January, 1791. He lived in Gardner, where he died in 1846. (2) Phinehas, born in Weston, April 1, 1766, died May 10, 1831. He lived in Winchendon. (3) Mary, born April 10, 1773, married to Benjamin Heywood, of Gardner, where she lived during her life. She was mother of Levi and Seth Heywood, who built up the large business in Gardner, to which that town owes so much its growth and prosperity. (4) Joseph, born May 20, 1775. He lived in Winchendon. (5) Amasa, born June 16, 1777, died February 2, 1852. He lived in Winchendon, where he was largely engaged in business. (6) Sally, born September 3, 1779, married to Smyrna Bancroft, of Gardner, where she lived. (7) Luke. He lived in Gardner.

William Whitney, Sr., seems to have begun to buy land in Winchendon as early as 1769. In 1774 we find him there taking part in the affairs of the town. He had a large farm, situated on the line


[p. 56]

between Gardner and Winchendon. He seems to have been an excellent farmer and a man of thrift, who accumulated, for those days, a handsome property. He had the reputation of being the best judge of cattle and horses in those parts. He represented the town in the General Court during several of the last years of his life. He was a man of rather more than the medium size, of sturdy and healthy frame. From descriptions given me by my mother and aunts, I think his son Amasa resembled him physically. He died in 1816.

His wife, Mary Mansfield, was a good. housewife, I have been told, of very industrious and pleasant character. As they lived four miles from the meeting-house, they were accustomed to ride up to meeting on horseback, she on the pillion behind, according to the fashion of those days. She died a few years before her husband. They are buried side by side in the Whitney corner of the burying-ground in Winchendon.

William Whitney, Sr., died possessed of a farm containing six hundred and forty-eight acres, which was sold to his oldest son, William, of Gardner, for seven thousand dollars. I believe that the land of this farm, almost all of it, is still owned by descendants of William Whitney. He was an excellent farmer, a very conservative man, and a good judge of farming land and all things pertaining thereto. It is said that a short time before his death he gave


[p. 57]

to his sons, who were gathered about him, the advice, "Buy land, boys, buy land," which some of them have done not wholly to their advantage.

He was always loyal to the government and institutions of his country, like his English ancestors before him. I quote the story, handed down by tradition, as illustrative of this law-abiding character.

"At the breaking out of the Shays Rebellion, Winchendon was nearly equally divided between the government and the followers of Shays. The Governor called upon the towns to furnish recruits to put down the rebellion, Winchendon with the rest. The citizens were assembled upon the common for the purpose of obtaining the recruits to fill the quota of Winchendon. Party feeling ran high. The opponents of the government remonstrated bitterly against the furnishing of any recruits from Winchendon. As was the fashion in those days, the drummer paraded up and down, beating his drum, that those who were willing to join the company should follow him. No one did so. Old William Whitney, then, perhaps, the leading farmer in the town, was on the ground, favoring the government. Seeing that no volunteers offered themselves, he called upon his son Phinehas, then a stalwart and hardy young man, saying to him in tones that were heard by all, 'Fall in, Phin., fall in.' Phin. fell in and the company was soon filled." I have often heard, when a child, the story of that fearful march in pursuit of the rebels, whom


[p. 58]

they overtook and scattered at Petersham. That was the first, but by no means the last, military service of Phinehas Whitney, who after that became Captain of a Cavalry Company of Winchendon and the adjoining towns, which office he held for a long term of years.

William Whitney's estate was appraised September 2, 1817, at sixteen thousand, four hundred and forty-eight dollars and twenty-seven cents ($16,448.27); a pretty fair amount to be accumulated by one beginning in a wilderness, before unbroken, in 1774.


[p. 59]

V.


PHINEHAS WHITNEY.

7. Phinehas Whitney was the second son of William, Sr., and was born April 1, 1766, before his removal from Weston. He married in Winchendon for his first wife, Phebe Stearns, January 17, 1793. She died the next year, April 7, 1794, leaving a son Phinehas, who died in early childhood.

For his second wife he married Bethiah Barrett, of Westford, February 16, 1796.

Capt. Phinehas Whitney was a very active and successful business man. He owned the tavern in the centre of the town, where he also owned and kept the country store. He also owned and carried on several farms; the largest, perhaps, that connected with the tavern.

Benjamin Wilder and Phinehas Whitney bought this tavern property,--upon which was built one of the earliest houses in Winchendon, and always used as a tavern,--and the tract of land connected with it, estimated to contain one hundred and eighty acres, for six thousand dollars, September 8, 1801, of James McElwain (pronounced "Muchelwain"). The next year Phinehas Whitney bought of Benjamin Wilder his interest in the premises, and then


[p. 60]

took up his residence upon it; and continued the tavern, which had been kept there already by several previous owners. He moved to this place from the farm known as the "Benjamin Farm," which he continued to own during his life.

He was a man of great energy and enterprise. He was accustomed to make frequent journeys to Boston for the purpose of exchanging Winchendon products for city supplies. He used to make his journeys largely in the night-time; going in the night, transacting his business in Boston the next day, and starting for home on the coming night.

He was a man of great physical strength and was active in all athletic sports, of which I used to hear stories in my childhood. He was a man fully six feet in height, with broad and sinewy shoulders and very long arms. He had brown hair--rather thin upon the crown. He was a very kind neighbor, and was one of the first to visit whoever was sick or in distress.

He always had several men in his employ who were known as capable and efficient men to work. My opinion is, that in those days, when the employer was accustomed to lead the employees in their respective departments of labor, he undertook more enterprises than he could profitably execute. Hay which was cut down in large quantities by a sturdy gang in the morning, was not always cared for and gathered before the storm; and the sheep on the


[p. 61]

distant pastures were not always safely and comfortably housed against the weather.

I remember him as a most affectionate, loving and lovable man, always attentive to the comforts of his children and grandchildren. His large family were terribly afflicted by his comparatively early death, away from home on one of his Boston trips, broken down by excessive labor. He died in Newton, May 10, 1831.

Bethiah Barrett Whitney, his second wife, was a model woman. If her husband was a tireless man of business in the outside affairs, she was as industrious and careful in all matters pertaining to the interior arrangements necessary to his affairs. She was of good Lexington stock, her mother being Anna Fiske, and her grandmother, for whom she was named, Bethiah Muzzy. Her father was Oliver Barrett, who responded as a minute-man on the nineteenth of April, 1776, at Lexington, afterwards served at Bunker Hill, and on the second day of January, 1777, enlisted in the Revolutionary Army as a volunteer from the town of Westford, and served in the Massachusetts Regiment commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall, until October 7, 1777, when he was killed in battle at the second battle of Stillwater, between the North American Army, under Gen. Gates, and the British forces, under Gen. Burgoyne. His name, by the side of his wife, is on the Whitney monument in the Whitney burying-


[p. 62]

ground, although his body is buried in an unknown grave somewhere near where he fell, at Albany, I think.

She was small in stature, with blue eyes and brown hair, leaving the impression upon the children who knew her and still remember her, of great dignity and gravity. I do not remember that she ever smiled, nor do I remember that a cross or impatient word ever escaped her lips. Through the large and complicated household affairs which she was called to superintend, she always moved with the most absolute efficiency and self-possession. I do not think that much time was wasted by the employees in her house, either at the tavern, or at the large and better house which her husband ultimately built on the opposite side of the road.

She went to Winchendon for the purpose of teaching school, for which she was well fitted; and after her marriage to Capt. Whitney she assumed the leading place among the women of the town, which she held during her life. She died at the house of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Louisa W. Lyman, in Marlborough, New Hampshire, August 2, 1849, aged 74 years and 7 months.

Her own mother, whom she is said to have very much resembled, passed the last year of her life with her in Winchendon; and they all are buried in the same corner of the old Winchendon burying ground.


[p. 63]

Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney had eight children, three sons and five daughters.

Phoebe Whitney, born April 5, 1797. She was a tall woman; in fact, all of the daughters inherited the stature of their father rather than of their mother. In early life it was said that she was of a very gay and social character, which could scarcely be believed by those of us who knew her only in old age as one of the gravest and most dignified of women.

She married Asa Washburn in 1817. He died in 1824. They had two sons, Nelson Phinehas Washburn, born October 14, 1818, and William Barrett Washburn, born January 31, 1820.

Nelson Phinehas Washburn married Elizabeth A. Hills, of Peterborough, N. H., February 10, 1845. They now reside at Claremont, where he is engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes. They have had two children. (1) Helen Elizabeth, born January 3, 1847, and married to Frank P. Maynard, February 10, 1876. (2) Charles Nelson Washburn, born. May 10, 1854, married to Kate Alice Brooks, September 10, 1884. Neither of these have had any children. Both Frank P. Maynard and Charles Nelson Washburn are engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes, with their father, at Claremont, under the name of Maynard and Washburn.

Hon. William Barrett Washburn, the younger son of Asa and Phoebe, entered Yale College in 1840


[p. 64]

and was graduated from that institution in 1844. He went into the office of his uncle, William Barrett Whitney, of whom he was the namesake, at Orange, Massachusetts, and ultimately abandoned the idea of studying for a profession, and remained in his uncle's employ until his failure in business. He succeeded to the management and ownership of the business of his uncle and soon removed to Greenfield, which was a more convenient location for carrying on the very successful business in which he was engaged, to wit, the manufacture of lumber and wooden ware.

He was a member of the State Senate of Massachusetts in 1850; of the House of Representatives in 1854; he was a member of the thirty-eighth, thirty-ninth, fortieth, forty-first and forty-second Congresses. He then was selected by the opposition to General Butler in the Republican Party for the nomination of Governor in 1871. After a canvass almost unprecedented in the history of Massachusetts politics, he was nominated in Worcester in a convention which began about eleven o'clock A. M. and lasted until past midnight. None who were members of that convention will ever forget it. Although Mr. Washburn's managers had a majority in the convention, General Butler fought with his wonderful skill and pertinacity at every step, and only yielded the victory when the result could be postponed no longer. Mr. Washburn was elected


[p. 65]

by a large majority and continued to occupy the Governorship until April, 1874, when he resigned, having been elected United States Senator to fill the unexpired term of Charles Sumner. Upon the expiration of this term he retired from public life, which he did not re-enter.

In 1872, Harvard University conferred upon him the honorary degree of LL.D. He was president of the National Bank of Greenfield until his death. He was a trustee of Yale College from 1869 to 1881. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of Amherst College and trustee of the Agricultural College, at Amherst; also of Smith College, at Northampton, and the Moody School, at Northfield. He was a director of the Connecticut River Railroad. He was a man of admirable executive and business ability, and discharged the duties of all the positions which he was called upon to fill to the acceptance of those whom he represented. In Congress he was the chairman of the committee on claims, and it used to be said of him that when he had examined a claim and decided upon it there was no need of any further examination of that claim. He was a leading member of the Congregational denomination, and died at Springfield, October 5, 1887, instantly, just as he ascended the platform of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions then assembled there.

Gov. Washburn was a man of rare ability in


[p. 66]

everything that he undertook. His father died when he was a child; and for some years he and his brother Nelson lived with their grandfather, Capt. Phinehas Whitney, in Winchendon. Here they were expected to work, at least so they thought, beyond the strength and capacity of boys so young. He often sent them to drive droves of cattle from Winchendon to Brighton, stopping over night at the regular places, where the cattle were turned into a pasture and the boys slept in the barns or on the ground, as they might prefer. Often, too, the grandfather drove his loaded wagon from Winchendon to Boston, one of the boys following with a second wagon, often asleep on the top of the load. Sometimes one of the little fellows was sent to Boston alone, with a roll of money sewed up in his inside clothing, to do errands for his grandfather. Gov. Washburn, after this training, took a high rank in Yale College; and it is no wonder that he became an able and eminent man. He accumulated a large property; and his widow and daughters still reside in Greenfield in the old mansion-house, which he built.

Like his grandfather and great-grandfather, he had an almost instinctive knowledge of cattle and horses, which they all seem to have inherited from the old Hereford County in England, where the family originated.

He married Hannah A. Sweetser of Athol, Sept.


[p. 67]

6, 1847. Her father was a large farmer and cattle dealer, in which business Mr. Washburn had become an adept while with his grandfather in Winchendon. They had six children, two sons and four daughters.

(1.) Maria Augusta Washburn, born November, 1849. She died in infancy.

(2.) William Nelson Washburn, born July 30, 1851. He graduated at Yale in 1874. July 21, 1880, he married Jennie E. Daniels, of Chicago. They have had two children, but one of whom survives, Lelia Atkinson Washburn, born April 28, 1884.

(3.) George Sweetser Washburn, born October 16, 1854. He died in May, 1870. He was a brilliant young man, and had begun a course of study intending to graduate at Yale, and then enter upon a professional life.

(4.) Anna Richards Washburn, born August 16, 1856. She married Walter Osgood Whitcomb. They reside in New Haven, where he is a member of the firm of Charles B. Rogers & Co., manufacturers of bedding and brass and iron bedsteads. They have had no children.

(5.) Clara Spencer Washburn, born March 18, 1860.

(6.) Mary Nightingale Washburn, born July 2, 1861.

Phoebe Whitney married for her second husband


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Mr. John Woodbury, of Winchendon, in May, 1827. He died in Winchendon, December 5, 1870, aged eighty-six years and four months. They had one child, Mary Jane Woodbury, born March 11, 1828, and died October 11, 1840.

Thus Phoebe Whitney, mother of Nelson Phinehas and William Barrett Whitney, has at the present time but one grandchild of the second generation. She died at the home of her son, Nelson Phinehas Washburn, in Nashua, March 7, 1876, aged nearly seventy-nine years.

Lucy Whitney, the second daughter of Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, born June 4, 1799, died July 18, 1893, aged ninety-four years, one month and fourteen days. She married, March 29, 1825, Rev. Benjamin Rice, of Deerfield, Mass. He died in Winchendon, July 12, 1847.

Rev. Benjamin Rice was born in Sturbridge, Mass., May 9, 1784. He graduated at Brown University in 1808, studied divinity at Andover, and graduated at that seminary in the class of 1811. He was a good man, an acceptable preacher; and his children have always remembered him as a most affectionate and indulgent father, taken from them at too early an age.

Lucy Whitney, his wife, like all the daughters of Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Barrett Whitney, was tall in stature, of great mental and physical strength; accompanying her husband through his pastorates


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in Maine and Massachusetts, she left everywhere a most enviable reputation. When young her health was quite delicate, and her father and mother despaired of her reaching years of maturity. She was, however, given for those days an uncommonly good education for a girl. I have heard her name some of the academies where she attended,--among which were Bradford, Amherst and Leicester,--of all of which I was accustomed to hear entertaining reminiscences during my childhood. She was generally carried to and from the academies by her father, for whom she always entertained an affection amounting almost to idolatry. His death, in 1831, was followed by an illness of hers, which for some time threatened to prove fatal.

She was inspired with an impression that her children should all be educated as she had been; and to accomplish that end no sacrifice or labor on her part was too great or exacting. She was economical and thrifty in all her household affairs that she might save money for this purpose. After the death of her husband, in 1847, she bought a portion of the estate of her brother, William Barrett Whitney, on which the old hotel originally stood, but which had been removed and a small house built on the old site by her brother, and occupied by him until his removal to Orange. This estate she occupied for many years and continued to own it at her death.


[p. 70]

Of course a son may be pardoned his partiality for his mother; but I can truthfully say that I never knew a woman of such determined and unconquerable spirit, of such keen perceptions and affectionate devotion as was hers. Spared through a life of unusual length, with remarkable health in her old age excepting rheumatic attacks, with an unclouded mind, taking an interest in everything pertaining to the country and her own family almost to the day of her death, she died in Hubbardston at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Hitchcock, of no special disease but old age.

We buried her in the old burying-ground at Winchendon, where she rests by the side of her husband, and near her father and mother and grandfather and grandmother and other relatives, beneath the shadow of old Monadnock, which looked into the cradle in which she was rocked as a child.

They had three children: William Whitney Rice, born in Deerfield, March 7, 1826; Lucy Ann Rice, born in Deerfield, September 26, 1827; Charles Jenkins Rice, born in New Gloucester, Maine, July 2, 1832.

William Whitney Rice fitted for college at Gorham Academy, Maine; graduated at Bowdoin in 1846. He was sick at his mother's home in Winchendon for a year after graduation. He was a preceptor at Leicester Academy for four years. He


[p. 71]

then studied law with Hon. Emory Washburn, and was admitted to the bar in 1854. In 1858 he was appointed Judge of Insolvency, by Gov. Banks. In 1860 he was elected Mayor of Worcester. He was District Attorney for the Worcester District five years, from 1869 to 1874, but he resigned to accept an election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, to which he was sent to oppose the division of Worcester County. In 1876 he was elected to Congress, where he served five terms. He then returned to the practice of law, in which he has been engaged to the present time, being senior member of the firm of Rice, King and Rice, in Worcester. He is a Director of the City National Bank, Vice-President of the People's Savings Bank, and a member of the Worcester Board of Trade. He is also a member of the Overseers of Bowdoin College, of the Trustees of Clark University, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and of Leicester Academy.

He was married November 21, 1855, to Cornelia A. Moen, of Stamford, Connecticut. They had two children. (1) William Whitney Rice, born May 31, 1858, died February 10, 1864. (2) Charles Moen Rice, born in Worcester, November 6, 1860. He fitted for college at Exeter Academy, and graduated at Harvard University in 1882. He studied law at Harvard Law School, and in his father's office. He was admitted to the bar in Worcester in


[p. 72]

February, 1886, and is now the junior member of the firm of Rice, King and Rice. Cornelia A. Moen Rice died at Worcester, June 16, 1862, aged twenty-nine years and eight months.

Mr. Rice married for his second wife Alice Miller, daughter of Henry W. Miller, of Worcester, September 28, 1875. She was born in Worcester, July 22, 1840. They have had no children.

Mr. and Mrs. Rice spend a portion of the summer months on the old place in Winchendon, owned by Phinehas Whitney in 1802.

Lucy Ann Rice was married to Rev. Milan Hubbard Hitchcock, September 24, 1857. They have been missionaries at Ceylon and at Constantinople. They returned, that Mrs. Hitchcock might care for her mother in her extreme old age. They reside at Hubbardston, Mass. They have had no children.

Charles Jenkins Rice was married to Sarah M. Cummings, February 1, 1872. She was born in Winchendon, June 5, 1842. Mr. Rice always resided in Winchendon, on the place owned by his mother, which was a part of the old tavern property owned by Phinehas Whitney in 1802. He was engaged in the business of manufacturing and dealing in lumber. When a college education was offered him by his mother, he declined it, preferring to be a business man.

He was possessed of a great many of the traits of his grandfather, Phinehas Whitney. Old men used


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to say, when they saw him walking across Winchendon common, that he reminded them of Capt. Phinehas. He had the same instinctive knowledge of land, of cattle and of horses, which seems to have characterized his ancestors. His judgment of all values was most correct and reliable, hence he was frequently selected as appraiser of estates.

Independent in his own principles, he soon became a leading man in the town, and for many years before his death was the regularly chosen moderator of all the town meetings. Probably no man in town had a greater influence than Mr. Rice.

He was a leading man in the church to which his grandfather belonged, and was, like him, always the friend and helper of the sick and needy.

He was an unswerving republican, and Winchendon always gave a very large majority to the republican candidates during his life.

In 1884 he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, to which he was re-elected.

He died May 3, 1892. He was buried in the same lot with his father and mother in the old Winchendon burying-ground. They had no children.

William Barrett Whitney, son of Capt. Phinehas, lived in Winchendon during the earlier part of his life and was engaged in farming. Later in life he moved to Orange, where he was engaged in the manufacture of lumber and of wooden ware.

He was married December 20,1827, to Lois Stone


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of Fitzwilliam, N. H. While he resided in Winchendon he was a prosperous man, carrying on a business similar to that of his father and grandfather. After moving to Orange he built up a very large and prosperous business, his unusual knowledge of the values of land, especially of woodland, being of much advantage to him. He was always ready to buy land and to enter upon new business operations, with some of which he was unacquainted. Many of these were successful, but some of them were not, which resulted in his pecuniary embarrassment and the liquidation of his affairs, in which he was succeeded by his nephew and namesake, William Barrett Washburn, who continued with great success the business enterprise commenced by his uncle.

He was a man of kind nature, of great industry and ambitious to carry on a large business. After his embarrassment at Orange he sought new fields of enterprise in Warren, Penn., and ultimately in Vineland, N.J.

After the marriage of his daughters and the death of his wife he came back to his old home in Winchendon, where he spent some time with his nephew, Charles J. Rice, busying himself about the scenes of his childhood. He died at the house of his daughter, Elizabeth Ellen Stevens, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 15, 1874. He and his wife and their only son are buried in the Whitney corner of the old burying-ground.


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They had four children, one son and three daughters, all born in Winchendon.

(1) Charles Milton Whitney was born December 31, 1828. He died at Orange, January 24, 1843.

(2) Elizabeth Ellen Whitney was born September 2, 1831. She died in infancy.

(3) Elizabeth Ellen Whitney, 2nd, was born August 2, 1834.

(4) Louisa Lyman Whitney was born August 8, 1836.

Elizabeth Ellen Whitney, 2nd, was married April 27, 1854, to Abraham W. Stevens, a Unitarian clergyman. He is now pursuing a literary life, residing at Cambridge. They have had three children, all boys.

(1) Harold W. Stevens, born January 26, 1859. He graduated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is now engaged in the National Bank of the Republic, in Boston, Mass. He was married December 4,1880, to Frances Elizabeth Ball. They have one child, Harold Parker Stevens, born in Cambridge, January 2, 1882.

(2) Charles Herbert Stevens, born in Barre, April 20, 1860. He graduated at Harvard College in 1882. He is engaged in the Law Publishing House of C. C. Soule in Boston.

(3) Ralph Leslie Stevens, born in Cambridge, November 10, 1870, is still pursuing his studies.


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Louisa Lyman Whitney, youngest daughter of William Barrett Whitney, was married September 4, 1855 to Jason Asbury Morrison. He died May 15, 1885.

They had but one child, a son named William Barrett Morrison, born in Warren, Penn., April 8, 1863. Being of delicate health his mother removed with him to Denver, Col., where he has since been engaged in the State National Bank.

Mary Whitney, third daughter of Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, was married at Winchendon, January 22, 1828, to Alvah Godding, M.D. She died in Winchendon, November 15, 1870.

They moved in early life from the old centre to the new village, where she was the leader in society and in all good works and charities. In her youth she was called handsome on account of her vivacity and quickness of motion. She always took a great interest in public affairs, and I doubt if any man in Winchendon was better posted in them than she. Always hospitable and generous, her home was a favorite resort for many friends.

Dr. Godding, her husband, was a physician of the old school. He rode a large circuit, upon which I do not think there was a better loved man than himself. He ministered to the sick, not only to their diseases but also to their necessities, and his carriage carried to the houses of his patients baskets of food and dainties from his own house as often as pills and


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purgatives from the apothecaries. He died in Winchendon January 11, 1875.

They had one son, William Whitney Godding, born in Winchendon, May 5, 1831. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1854. He completed his studies at Castleton Medical College, Vermont, where he graduated in 1857. He practiced his profession for some years in Winchendon and in Fitchburg, but he early became attracted to practice for the insane. He was assistant physician at the New Hampshire Asylum for the Insane at Concord from 1859 to 1862. In 1863 he was appointed assistant physician at the Government Hospital for the insane at Washington known as St. Elizabeth's. In 1870 he was appointed Superintendent of the State Lunatic Asylum at Taunton, Massachusetts, where he remained seven years. In 1877 he was recalled to Washington where he was appointed Superintendent of the Government Hospital for the Insane, which position he still holds. There are few posts of greater care and responsibility than that occupied by Dr. Godding, and he is at the present time recognized as one of the first authorities in the country on the subject of insanity.

He married on December 4, 1860, Ellen Roanah Murdock of Winchendon. They have had three children, two daughters and one son.

(1) Mary Patten Godding, born February 22, 1867.


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(2) Rowena Murdock Godding, born July 7, 1870.

(3) Alvah Godding, born February 8, 1872.

They reside in Washington, although Dr. Godding always intends to spend a portion of the summer in his native town.

Sarah Ann Whitney, the fourth daughter of Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, was first married, August 28, 1832, to Josiah Brown of Winchendon. He was a man very much respected by his townsmen. He died September 29, 1836. They had one son who died in infancy.

She married for her second husband, April 23, 1839, Capt. Charles W. Bigelow, of Winchendon. They had one son, Charles Edwin Bigelow, born March 18, 1843.

He graduated at Williams College in 1866. He was married to Jennie Mary Robbins of Groton, June 23, 1868. They had one child who died on the day he was born. They reside in New York City, spending their summers in the beautiful town of Groton.

He is President of the Knowles Steam Pump Works in New York, where he has been since 1867. He is a very able and energetic business man, and occupies positions of financial trust in New York City.

Louisa Whitney, the youngest daughter of Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, was married


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December 4, 1835, to Rev. Giles Lyman, a Congregational clergyman. They had no children. He died in Winchendon November 16, 1872. She died December 5, 1892, at the house of her nephew, Charles J. Rice, on the spot where she was born.

Here I end the record of the descendants of Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney. I recollect them all. I consider my grandfather and grandmother as very remarkable persons, and as I review their descendants I do not think they have proved unworthy of their origin. The five daughters of Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah each filled notable places in society, and each of them filled those places worthily.

They are all gone now and they will soon be forgotten, but their children and grandchildren who knew them will never forget them.

After investigating the history of a family we become interested in the family traits as far as we have observed them, and I feel an interest in the Whitney family on account of the hasty and imperfect investigations which have resulted in these records, and because I am one of the family.

I imagine that there is always a certain type which belongs to a family which may be traced in the different ramifications of the family, of course modified very much by the associations and connections, but still retaining through all something of a permanent individuality. Some families are of


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stronger character, more marked peculiarities than others, and I am pleased to imagine that this peculiarity lasts in the race through many generations. Especially do I find an enduring strength in the old English families. They were a strong type of men who came here. It required self-reliance, boldness, determination, to abandon the country of their birth, where their fathers had dwelt, and cross the ocean to settle in a new and untried country, and those characteristics were increased by the peculiar experiences through which they were called upon to pass in their new home.

I do not think that the Whitney family was remarkable above other families for prominence in these characteristics, but it seems to me that I can see evidences wherever I find them of certain uniform traits which, to me, go to make up a Whitney individuality. Heredity is one of the most remarkable elements of humanity, and I fancy that some characteristics which existed in the family in old England have continued to exist in New England.

I mention among these, first, that the family has increased and greatly multiplied in numbers. This is a remark applicable also to all families which we can trace with any degree of continuity. I find that there are very many Whitneys throughout England, and also through all the countries settled by English speaking men. It is said that thirty-two thousand descendants of old John Whitney of


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Watertown may be found in the United States, and how many uncounted thousands have been in the home country and other countries of the English people!

I think that the Whitneys are, physically, a strong race. This does not mean, of course, that there are not and have not been a great many weak and unhealthy members of the race, but I think that old Torstinus, founder of the family, has not entirely passed away from among his descendants. As we have seen, he was a hardy Norman, warlike, trusted by his king, and as long as I can trace the line of those who directly inherited his manor and his property, they seem to have belonged to the type of their ancestor. Of course, as I have said, a family type is modified by location, by intermarriages, and by the thousand circumstances which attend the lives of all, but wherever I find Whitneys I find that their prevailing physical characteristic is strength and endurance.

Second, I think that in the various communities where they have lived they have maintained a respectable position, never attaining any very marked prominence, but still assuming and faithfully performing the duties of respectable and efficient members of the societies where they have lived.

Again, I think that they have generally shown a capacity for affairs rather more than ordinary among their associates. I think they have possessed ten-


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dencies to engage in agricultural employments. Wherever I find them I find them with good farms and especially good farm buildings. Very often, rather oftener I think than with most families, they built in the town where they found early settlement, large houses, generally square-built farmhouses, which seemed to satisfy them without much addition of exterior ornament.

Old John Whitney of Watertown acquired large landed property, much of which was distributed among his children during life, and this characteristic to acquire land and cattle seems to have been a leading one with the family.

The family seems to have evinced rather remarkable mechanical skill. Eli Whitney has been said to have produced a greater change in affairs than almost any other man. His invention of the cotton-gin made cotton a king. Upon the vast increase of the cotton crop in the South, caused by his invention, the system of slavery sprang into a mighty power and maintained itself against all the influences of civilization for generations. In after life he still evinced the same mechanical ingenuity, the products of which may still be seen in the village which he established in Connecticut and the manufacturing establishments there which have grown out of his enterprise. I note many other Whitneys whose mechanical skill has been of national importance.

Quite early in the history of the country the


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Whitneys were marked by the desire of obtaining liberal education, and I think that we should find in the list of college graduates quite as great a number of this name as of almost any other. They have held high places in the church and in the mercantile life of the cities. In New York and Boston the Whitney family has furnished many of the most enterprising and respectable merchants. I would sum up all by saying that the family has, from the beginning, maintained itself among the first in position among its neighbors, in enterprise in the various kinds of business into which it has entered, and in maintaining a constant character of usefulness and successful enterprise in the various communities where its members have been found.

I think that the old Norman from whom the family sprang was a sturdy, well-developed warrior, of fully average size and strength, with light hair and light complexion, and that this type of physique has come down from him to the present generation in a marked degree.

While there is nothing to be proud of; nothing to excite a boastful feeling among the American Whitneys, I would say that they have all maintained themselves in such a manner that no one need blush that he is obliged to recognize his relations to that family rather than to others that have had higher positions in wealth and worldly honor.


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