OLD DARTMOUTH HISTORICAL SKETCH
Being the proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, Water Street, New Bedford, Massachusetts, on March 29, 1917
Containing the following reports:
- REPORT OF THE CURATOR, Frank Wood
- REPORT OF THE TREASURER, Frederick H. Taber
- REPORT OF THE SECRETARY, Henry B. Worth
- AUTHORS OF NEW BEDFORD, George H. Tripp
- BANKS OF OLD DARTMOUTH, Henry H. Crapo
Proceedings of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society’s
New Bedford, Massachusetts
March 29, 1917
The Old Dartmouth Historical Society voted by 14 to 3 to increase the yearly dues from $1 to $2. This change was not secured by its supporters without debate. Twenty members were present. Herbert E. Cushman presided.
Report of the Curator
by Frank Wood
In the annual report of the secretary of the museum section of this society for 1904-05, I find the following: “A home of our own and money to support it is one of our dreams for the future.” In the gifts of Mr. Rogers and Miss Bourne the home has been realized. The money needs I am sure our president and treasurer will explain to you.
The past year has been one of great activity in our society. The installation of all of our whaling material in the Bourne museum will add much to its interest. The whale boat is now in place and the course of a week our Captain Smith assures me that he will have it fully equipped. Judging from the fine work that he has done on the Lagoda we need have no fear but that she will be absolutely complete in every detail. The heavier and larger objects have also been moved in. The remaining whaling material will be placed as soon as cases can be obtained to contain it. These we are much in need of. In fact they are an absolute necessity.
The increase of visitors to our rooms has been most encouraging. Since January first over 800 [paid] visitors have passed through our doors. This number I have reason to feel, will be materially increased during the spring and summer months.
On Sundays the Whaling museum has been opened in the afternoon and the attendance has been very gratifying. In this connection I wish to express my thanks to one of our members, William Huston, for his valuable assistance.
In closing, I desire to congratulate the society on the number of accessions we have received for our museum the past year, many of which are not only interesting, but valuable. A full list of these follows:
Gifts to Society
The list of accessions to the society’s collection is as follows:
- William A. Mackie—Saddle bag, period 1812.
- Miss Lizzie R. Hazzard—Photo of Capt. Ichabod T. Hazzard, Continental and Confederate money.
- Gideon Allen Jr.—Passport, Confederate bond, Canadian scrip and pair gold bowed spectacles worn by his father Gideon Allen senior.
- Mrs. Henry Edes—Ensigns commission, signed by Gov. Caleb Strong, 1816.
- S. R. Brownell—Old musket and two powder horns.
- Charles D. Beetle—Old sugar tester, cannon ball found on shore of East French Avenue.
- Augustus G. Moulton—Ambergris.
- Miss Gertrude S. Taber—Photo [of] James Arnold.
- Howard M. Wood—A large photo of bark C. W. Morgan, framed.
- William H. Tripp—Curling irons.
- Mrs. Loum Snow Jr.—Boxes for ship’s papers, and documents.
- William E. Robinson—Oilmeter, pair tongs.
- Geo. H. H. Allen—Order from city council to investigate the introduction of water into the city, March 8, 1860.
- Charles M. Hussey—Ambregris and primed metal shell for Cunningham and Mason gun.
- Chas. H. Taber—Snatch block made of bone.
- Anna and Walton Ricketson—Gold pins containing hair of Rebecca, daughter of Joseph Russell and wife of Daniel Ricketson, and Joseph, son of Rebecca and Daniel Ricketson.
- Mrs. A. Evans—Shell jewelry made by John Sherman Coquen on board bark Merlin, 1874.
- Herbert Hammond—Cane made from timber from bark Niger.
- Mrs. David J. Burdick—Miniature bedstead made at sea from bone.
- C. H. Brownell—Maps of New Bedford and Westport.
- Mrs. William T. Schultz—Nautical instruments and whales tooth scrimshauned.
- T. J. Borden—Desk used by Perry Russell about 1814.
- Mrs. Charlotte W. Wilcox—Inlaid writing desk.
- Mary S. and Myra J. Kent—Old deed to house and lot 959 Purchase Street, of their great grandfather, Thurston Chapman.
- Mrs. Laura Whelden Thorne—Bound typewritten letters of her mother, Clara Kingman Whelden on board ship John Howland, 1864 to 1870.
- Mrs. Caroline Aldrich—A cake of caravan tea.
- Oliver G. Ricketson—Powder horn, (old and beautifully engraved.)
- Henry B. Worth—Cane made from whales’ teeth and two log books.
- Mrs. John J. Hicks—Large oil painting by Charles Gifford.
- Mrs. Betsey Spooner—Drip stone.
- Mrs. Willis G. Coggeshall—Fire bucket, Japanese box and daguerreotype.
- Charles R. Crane—Turkish caique.
- Mrs. Charles M. Hussey—Large framed portrait of her father, William R. Wing.
- Lafayette P. Gifford—Westport brass oil faucet and hose.
- Joseph Walsh—Government publications.
- Everett R. Bartlett—Bead pin cushion, ivory busk, shot pouch, powder horn, oil lamp, small pitcher and knife.
- Charles H. Taylor Jr.—Boston papers appertaining to bark Eliza Adams.
- Mrs. James L. Humphrey Jr.—Two old coverlets made in Dartmouth, 1776, 1791.
- Mrs. James B. Watkins—Trundle bed, band box and two baskets.
- F. H. Purrington—Lock and key from the John Avery Parker house.
- H. M. Hammond—Chip from tree at St. Helena.
- William Lord Smith—Two spears and two arrows, from Dutch New Guinea.
- William Huston—Pair Mexican spurs and bit.
- Rebecca W. Hawes—Ceremonial adze from the South Seas and yardstick made of whale bone.
- Henry H. Crapo-First records of the Bedford Bank, 1803.
- Estate of Elizabeth Bailey—Interesting books and documents.
- Miss Mary Rodman—Relics of her Nantucket ancestors.
- William W. Crapo—Books, documents, and newspapers of early date.
- William Arthur Wing—Books, etc.
- Miss Emily Hussey—Various documents and newspapers of early date.
- Frank E. Brown—Documents of interest including several printed poems that were composed at sea by Henry Gooding. Some of the titles are as follows: “The Sailor Boy’s Song,” “The Sailor’s Regret,” “The Sailor’s Thoughts of Home,” and one in memory of Eli Dodge who was killed by a whale, Sept. 4, 1858. One of the verses runs as follows:
“How little we thought, but a moment before,
When near us he bravely did contend,
With the huge monster then weltering in its gore,
That he would to hades Eli send.”
- Miss Sarah Francis Howland, portrait of her father, James Howland 2d.
In addition to these, many interesting articles have been deposited as loans, and although they are not mentioned in detail in this report, they have been gladly received and are fully appreciated.
In connection with the gift from Miss Howland, Mr. Wood read the following letter from the donor:
134 Bridge Street, Salem.
“Your note reached me on time. I must ask you to excuse my delay in answering, but the long intense heat made me ill. My father, James Howland 2nd, son of John and Pliance Shephard Howland, was born in 1784 on August l9th. He married Elizabeth Delano, a daughter of Abisha Delano. On his 18th birthday, in 1802, his father gave him a ship,—a merchant ship, sailing from New York. His ports of destination were Russia, Bremen, France. It was during these earliest voyages, that he collected the many beautiful things that we own. On his return from his first voyages, he married and took his bride for her wedding trip, on his second trip. At the end of this they were neither of them 19 years old. About eight years later, his ship caught on fire in mid-ocean. He had 400 Dutch emigrants on board. They were crowded on the upper decks, the hatches battened down, and full sail crowded on to reach New York which he did, landing every man safely. He gave up sea life then, turning his interest and attention to local affairs. His first house-keeping was on Johnny Cake Hill. Grandfather gave each of his children building lots on Sixth Street and father built on his, corner of School Street. He had a great deal to do in connection with laying out the streets in New Bedford. His extremely big bump for straight lines, running them due north and south, east and west. The original plan being for a residence on each corner lot.
“He became interested in politics, and affairs of the nation and was sent to Washington and Massachusetts legislature. His first wife died and two years later he married my mother, Lucretia Bartlett Hussey of Hallowell, Maine, descendant of Christopher Hussey and Theodore Batchelor Hussey. In this family there were eight children, and of this large Howland family, I am the only one left. Please destroy whatever is of no use to you and if you wish any further statistics, please let me know. Father died in February, 1861, in his 78th year.
“With kind regards,
“Sarah Francis Howland.”
Gives Whaling Collection.
Frank Wood presented to the society his whaling collection, which is one of the largest in the country, comprising 140 pieces. He offered the gift in the name of Mrs. Wood, as a memorial to her father and uncles of the Seabury family. It was voted to accept the gift, and Mr. Wood was extended a rising vote of thanks.
Report of the Treasurer
by Frederick H. Taber
The report of the treasurer, Frederick H Taber, was as follows:
Balance Mar. 25, 1916. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 15.81
Dues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 860.00
Sustaining memberships. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 655.00
Admission fees. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298.50
Dividends 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171.00
Sale of pamphlets. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.30
Other income. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245.50
Salaries and wages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,163.92
Coal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227.80
Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211.47
Deposit in Five Cent Savings Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . 75.00
Sundry bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 549.77
Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29.15
Mr. Taber stated that the society has 908 annual members and 38 life members; and that 141 new members have joined this year.
Report of the Secretary
by Henry B. Worth
Henry B. Worth, secretary of the society, presented his annual report, as follows:
The membership has been considerably increased since a year ago; 141 additions have been enrolled, and the present number is 946.
Members who have died: Sarah W. Seabury, Mary A. Milliken, Martha Coggeshall, Lydia W. Grinnell, Mary J. Washburn, Eliza B. Smith, Emma T. Church, Susan E. Slade, Alice R. Howland, Mary R. Rotch, Thomas M. Stetson, Nathaniel C. Nash, John C. Rhodes, Loum Snow, Myles Standish, Frederick Swift, E. B. McLeod, Worth G. Ross.
Honorary membership was extended by the executive board to Miss Emily Bourne, the donor of the Whaling museum.
The appropriate bronze sign representing the sail of a ship, which projects over the Water Street entrance, was presented by Miss Florence L. Waite.
Abbott P. Smith donated the sum of $1000 to the permanent fund of the society in memory of his mother, Ruth L. Smith.
A quarterly meeting of the society was held June 17, 1916, at the home of the president, from 3 to 5 o’clock, at which time George H. Tripp, vice president, read a paper on “The Authors of New Bedford.”
Owing to the delay in completing the new museum, the September quarterly meeting was deferred.
The date selected by Miss Bourne for the dedication was November 23, 1916, when the members and the public were invited to attend the exercises in the new building.
A special meeting of the society was held at the same place Saturday afternoon, November 25, 1916, when addresses were delivered to a large gathering.
A full account of both meetings is contained in the latest publication, No. 45.
A special meeting was held at the building on Water Street Tuesday, March 27, 1917, when Henry H. Crapo presented a valuable paper on the “Banks of New Bedford.”
The social event of the year was the Mardi Gras party, February 20, 1917, in Duff’s hall which was a large gathering and a gay and lively occasion. The newspaper account stated that it closed at midnight when the Lenten season began.
School Children’s Visits.
Miss Carolyn S. Jones of the education section, reports activity in the number of classes in the public schools that have visited the museum. The teachers and number of pupils are as follows:
Miss Carver, Fifth Street School, 30; Miss Gifford, Middle Street School, 35; Miss Gleason, Congdon School, twice, 30; Miss Fish, Middle Street School, 35; Mrs. Smead, Middle Street School, 20; Miss Briggs, Ingraham School, 30; Mrs. Manning, Jireh Swift School, 28; Miss McAfee, Knowlton School, twice, 25; Grammar School, Mattapoisett, 20.
The publication of pamphlets has continued in the printing of No. 44 and 45, both of which have dealt chiefly with whaling subjects. The former contains a description of the voyages of the Bartholomew Gosnold, an old-time whaler; and articles on the merchants’ counting rooms and the New Bedford outfitters.
The second is devoted to the Bourne museum, with a full account of the exercises at the dedication and at the first meeting held in the building by the members.
These two pamphlets add seventy-five pages with numerous illustrations to the whaling history of New Bedford and present information on topics that can be found nowhere else.
These publications now comprise nearly 800 pages of history relating to New Bedford and vicinity with many valuable illustrations.
The overshadowing event of the past year has been the completion, dedication and presentation of the Bourne Memorial Museum.
The history of this unique donation is given in detail in the two pamphlets that have been printed the past year.
One phase of this new department of the museum that should be presented at this time, is the cost of maintenance of the institution as it now exists.
The time has come to describe what has heretofore been the condition and how this has been greatly changed by the new museum.
The two-story building with the entrance on Water Street has required a janitor and curator to attend to the property and assist visitors. All persons entering the building passed the station of the curator and received careful attention. None could pass in unnoticed. Unless the number of visitors was especially large the curator would not require assistants.
The new museum has introduced further demands. It is some distance from the Water Street entrance and on a higher level. Its first floor is on the same plane as the second story of the original building. If visitors were admitted through the Water Street entrance the curator could not give attention to both buildings, and experience has shown that both parts of the property need be watched whenever visitors are present. This requires two persons, one in each department of the museum, especially if the entrance from Water Street and Bethel Street are both used at the same time.
The new museum has added nearly threefold as much room to heat and keep in order as previously. This means more coal and janitor service.
Captain Smith, Master
Then the ship not only requires a guard, but it demands peculiar training to keep in order. It is not a picture hanging on the wall that only demands freedom from dust. Besides the deck with its furniture and equipment, the spars and rigging, there are twenty sails spread or furled, and all to be kept clean and in good order and repair. None but a practical seaman would know how to attend to such duties. Such a valuable piece of property should not be left to a landsman of even the most conscientious mind and purpose. If repairs were required the shipkeeper must understand the need. Such men are not as numerous as when whaleships were crowded at our wharves.
With this situation in mind the executive board secured the services of Captain Charles W. Smith, formerly of Provincetown, a retired whaling master, and he has had charge of the museum and ship since the dedication.
Other items of expense could be mentioned.
The privilege of having this unique and magnificent work of art has brought with it the responsibility of maintaining it in a suitable and adequate manner. This task has so far been undertaken by the president and a few enthusiastic friends.
The time has arrived to submit to you a proposition that you increase your annual subscriptions. Whether it is wise at this time and if so, to what extent, is for you to decide. The executive board has concluded to propose that you increase the annual dues from one dollar to two dollars and that the by-laws of the society be amended in this particular by substituting the word “two” in place of “one” in the section relating to annual dues.
The following list of officers, as presented by the nominating committee was elected:
President—Herbert E. Cushman.
Vice Presidents—George H. Tripp, Oliver Prescott Jr.
Treasurer—Frederic H. Taber.
Secretary—Henry B. Worth.
Directors (for three years)—Oliver P. Brown, Job C. Tripp, R. C. P. Coggeshall.
President Cushman remarked upon the fact that the society’s income and expenses for last year were about the same in amount, and said that the secretary that put the necessities of the organization ably before the members. “During the year,” he continued, “we have asked friends to become sustaining members, and a number have volunteered. They have paid $750, which, with $900 from the other members at $1 each, totals about $1600. In addition to that, it is possible for us to obtain between $200 and $300 from our investment funds. In the past we have been fortunate in our entertainments. This year, we derived about $74 from that source; so that about $2000 a year is all we can depend upon, under present conditions.
“This year, in addition to the curator and janitor, we will have to have a man in charge of the ship. With these expenses, how are we going to pay for coal and for sundry items? How are we going to arrange for a little fund that we ought to have, to buy things for the museum when the opportunity comes?”
President Cushman said that the museum and ship presented by Miss Bourne made the society the possessor of something that could not be equaled in this country. “Let us show Miss Bourne, or anyone,” he said, “that the Society is going to do its part.”
The president stated that at a meeting of the directors a few days ago, it was voted to make Miss Bourne an honorary member of the Society and upon motion of Abbott P. Smith, the meeting voted to endorse the action of the directors.
DOUBLING THE DUES
Mr. Smith expressed the opinion that the Society should raise at least $5000 for annual expenditures; and that $2 was a small amount for dues, in comparison with the value received.
Miss Elizabeth Watson declared that it would be almost suicidal to raise the dues to $2, as there were a great many who gave $1 just to help the Society, who would resign if $2 were charged.
William E. Hatch said he heard the same argument once before, when a club to which he belonged proposed a dollar raise in dues. “But,” he said, “instead of the members leaving, more came in. In another club, where the dues were raised half a dollar, very few left.
“In a city of this size, the historical society ought to have five times as much support as this society receives. We ought to increase the dues and also canvass for increased membership. If the matter were laid before 100 citizens, I think there would be no trouble in getting members, at $2.50. We ought to have from 2000 to 5000 members, with dues ranging from $1 to $5. There should be no trouble in supporting this magnificent institution.”
Miss Watson said there were many women members who would pay $1, but had so many charities to contribute to, that they could not pay $2.
Mrs. Clement N. Swift said she was opposed to raising the dues. “If there is war,” she said, “taxes will be increased. There are two submarines lying off the coast; and who knows what is coming; and what the expenses are going to be?”
Mrs. Wood suggested that the city might help support the Society.
“I do not like the idea of foisting everything upon the city,” said Mr. Hatch. “The idea seems to be that the money comes out of the ocean. The people will have to pay for it.”
Mr. Worth stated that the rule in Massachusetts was that money appropriated from public taxes must be expended for public benefits.
O. S. Cook asked if the delinquent members previously mentioned had been long in arrears, and whether they were always the same members.
The treasurer replied that not over twenty of the members had been in arrears more than two years.
Mrs. Swift made the suggestion that the French Chamber of Commerce be asked to interest the French people in the Society; and Miss Watson suggested that systematic publicity work be undertaken.
A. P. Smith said he would like to hear how it was proposed to raise the extra money needed.
“You can’t pay for a $10 horse with a $5 bill,” said President Cushman. “I am not willing to go on for another year worrying as I have worried for the last three years, and taking chances of being $1000 in the hole at the end of the year. I am willing to retire, but I am not willing to go on, unless interest is shown. I ought not to go on, anyway, as I have all that one man ought to do. I am not going on with $1 dues for a $2 outfit; and if the people of New Bedford have not loyalty enough to stand by this institution, I am sorry for New Bedford and its people. Suppose we do drop a few members, although we should be sorry to lose them, we ought to get more who will pay. I do not think your officers should be asked to go on, and not expect the members to show whether they have interest enough to pay the additional amount. If they have not, the sooner we find it out, the better.”
Mr. Smith said that the Society had 28 or 30 sustaining members, paying $25 a year. He suggested increasing their dues to $75.
President Cushman opposed the idea. “I think they would feel that others should do their part.” he remarked. “I would be glad,” he continued, “to accept a motion to shut down until we have the money to run the institution. I would like to shut it down, and see how New Bedford feels about it.”
Mr. Taber moved that the dues be increased from $1 to $2, beginning April 1st. The motion was adopted by a vote of 14 to 3.
President Cushman announced the appointment of the following committees:
House—R. C. P. Coggeshall, Mrs. Annie S. Wood, Miss Florence Waite.
Finance—Oliver S. Brown, Abbott P. Smith, the treasurer and president.
He added that he would like to appoint a special publicity committee of women, and pay them a commission on new members secured. He believed that by increasing the dues, not more than 20 per cent of the present membership would be lost.
Upon motion of O. S. Cook, the meeting extended a vote of thanks to President Cushman, in recognition of faithful service in the past and of gratitude to him for sacrificing his time in acting as president for another year.
A vote of thanks was also extended to the secretary, treasurer and curator.
Placid consideration of routine business has usually constituted the entire program of the annual meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society; but last night there was a real argument, and the members who championed the opposing sides spoke out freely.
The difference of opinion arose over a proposition to increase the annual dues from $1 to $2, to meet increased expenses. The recommendation for an increase was finally carried, by a vote of 14 to 3. Twenty members were present at the meeting, President Cushman presiding.
Authors of New Bedford
By George H. Tripp
In a city devoted to commercial pursuits and business activities as is New Bedford, a literary census of this locality might seem at first to be as short as the famous chapter on snakes in the History of Ireland. Nevertheless, there is quite a respectable showing of authors who have been responsible for books or periodicals, as will appear in the appendix to this paper, giving a list of all who have been found, not restricting the list to those born in the confines of Old Dartmouth, but including those associated with this section by residence for an appreciable time.
Among New Bedford authors although they present no specimens that might be called Big Berthas, yet a surprising number of 75s have succeeded in the city of their birth or adoption, in defending its fair fame against the charge of literary sterility.
In the 12th and 13th reports of the New Bedford Free Public Library were printed lists of New Bedford imprints, prepared by Robert Ingraham with great care, and which give a comprehensive list of the New Bedford publications up to that time, say 1865. This catalogue comprised not only the work of New Bedford men, but books which were printed in New Bedford offices, whoever the authors might be. It also included a full list of municipal documents, which of course is not within the range of our present paper.
A bare list of authors with their publications is at best uninteresting reading. Even the genius of the Biblical authors did not make the genealogical tables in the Old and New Testaments of extreme interest, and Homer’s list of ships is not the most exciting part of The Iliad.
I have thought it well in this paper to present classified lists of authors, arranged with some care, which will perhaps best bring together those who have written on cognate subjects, so the grouping will be something after this manner.
First, those who have written on religious and philosophical subjects; next, in the department of social relations; then, language, science, applied science or the useful arts, the fine arts, literature, travel, biography, history and fiction; then, to complete the review, a list of those who have written about this region, and references to New Bedford from various books and periodicals.
In New England towns in early times, the principal intellectual activities were confined to the clergy, and Old Dartmouth was no exception. We here find a preponderance of religious tracts and controversial pamphlets. The older race of clergymen was prone to rush into print and offensively or defensively show where they as individuals stood in matters pertaining to the faith. With Milton’s angels they
. . . .Reasoned high
Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
Fix’d fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute;
And found no end, in wand’ring mazes lost.
Or, like the Puritan preachers satirized in Hudibras, they “proved their doctrine orthodox by apostolic blows and Knox.” One of the earliest of the local preachers who won fame was Samuel West. A man who in his zeal for knowledge was ready to walk with his shoes in his hands from Barnstable to Cambridge—and on his examination for Harvard College successfully defended a Greek text against an examining tutor—was bound to show his argumentative ability in his later years. Among the many writings of Samuel West, one of the most noted was his Essay on Liberty and Necessity, first printed in 1793, and in which he argued with vigor against the famous Jonathan Edwards. Dr. West was not always writing on theological themes, however. An extremely interesting letter published in the Memoirs of the American Academy, propounds the theory that Gay Head was once a volcano.
Dr. Orville Dewey, another famous clergyman, who lived and preached in New Bedford, published many sermons on theological subjects, among them election sermons, ordination sermons, one on “The Moral Uses of the Pestilence, Denominated Asiatic Cholera,” a book of travels in the Old World and the New, on American morals and manners, and discourses on various subjects. His works were published in three volumes containing essays and sermons.
A bitter controversy arose in 1837 over a pamphlet by Charles Morgridge, minister of the First Christian Church in New Bedford, entitled, “The True Believer’s Defense Against Charges Preferred by Trinitarians.” This was answered by Phineas Crandall, pastor of the Second Methodist Episcopal Church, who wrote “The True Faith Vindicated, or, Strictures on the True Believer’s Defense,” etc., which was in turn answered by the Rev. Mr. Morgridge by, “An Appendix to the True Believer’s Defense, or, A Reply to the True Faith Vindicated,” etc.
Other sermonizers whose works were printed were Rev. Ephraim Peabody; Enoch Mudge, born in New Bedford and minister of the Port Society, one of his pamphlets was entitled “Lectures to Young People,” 1836; Sylvester Holmes whose sermon on the death of Averick K. Parker, the wife of John Avery Parker, was published in 1847; Wheelock Craig, minister of the Trinitarian Church, who wrote a sermon on the peculiar topic “Legislation as an Implement of Moral Reform.” Among the earlier clergymen were J. N. Morrison and Rev. John Girdwood. William G. Eliot, born in New Bedford, afterwards attained a great measure of fame as a clergyman and educator in the Middle West. His little book on the Unitarian faith is probably one of the most convincing documents on the principles of conservative Unitarianism. John Weiss was not only an able sermon writer, but wrote on a great variety of topics, and always with eloquence and wisdom. William J. Potter, for over thirty years pastor of the Unitarian Church, was a man of vigorous mentality, and of remarkable literary ability. Among his publications are the Twenty-five Sermons of Twenty-five Years, and Lectures and Sermons. He was the editor for many years of The Index.
Among the later generation of clergymen, Henry M. Dexter who for many years lived in New Bedford was a great authority among American writers on the subject of the Pilgrims and Puritans, and on the history of Congregationalism. The Rev. M. C. Julien published sermons, fairy tales, and poems.
One of the writers of the middle of the century on ethical subjects was Clother Gifford, whose book has the following interesting title Essays on Health, Natural and Moral Laws and Education by Clother Gifford, teacher of phrenology, physiology, natural and moral science, advocate of religion, purity, peace, temperance, Christian union, etc. One stanza of his poem will be all that I think you will need to give you an idea of the character of his muse.
“Bread should be baked before it turneth sour,
And meal is better far than finest flour.
For this will clog the tissues or create
Dyspepsia, which consigns to cruel fate
If nature gives up passions running high,
Or blood which goes by steam, or nerves which cry.
No stimulating meats should we partake
That will commotion in our systems make.
Tea, coffee, ale, and all their host refuse,
Lest Nature suffer when we thus abuse.
But it our blood in sluggish streams shall flow,
Some healthy stimulant may raise a glow.
But naught intoxicating should we take.—
Yea, all narcotics speedily forsake.”
Probably every clergyman who has ever preached in the New Bedford pulpits has published more or less, and in a list prepared with no matter how much care, there will inevitably be omissions. I hope before this paper is printed among the Transactions of the Society that such omissions may be noted and additions made, so that the catalogue of the literary productions of Old and New Dartmouth may be made as comprehensive as possible.
Rev. L. B. Bates who was a Methodist Episcopal clergyman of New Bedford for a term of years, compiled a Hymn Book for Social Worship Everywhere. This was published in New Bedford in 1869.
Among later writers on religious themes must be mentioned with approbation the book entitled The Religion of Christ in the Twentieth Century, by Miss Averic Francis.
Dr. Alexander Reed published an address before the New Bedford Auxiliary Society for the Suppression of Intemperance. This was a New Bedford publication in 1817. About the same time John Brewer, principal of the Friends’ Academy, issued an address to the same society, published in 1815.
An interesting pamphlet entitled “The Hole in the Wall,” written by ______ Durfee, purports to attempt to correct “the radical errors” of much of the discipline of Friends, and of the administration of it. This book probably would have been consigned by John Fiske to the division of books which he called crank literature when he served as assistant librarian in the Harvard Library. It will well repay a glance, if only to show to what extremes of aridity the controversial pamphlets of the early part of the last century were carried.
A few years ago a brilliant native of Dartmouth, Benjamin R. Tucker, wrote profusely on the subjects of socialism and anarchism. He was, as he called himself, a philosophical anarchist, and his writings were extremely radical, but always written with forceful argument and a great deal of literary ability.
In another grouping of our subject we will put those who have written on legal, educational, and social subjects.
The Hon. T. D. Eliot, while a member of Congress, delivered many speeches and addresses before learned societies.
H. G. O. Colby, Esq., for many years a lawyer in this city, wrote a book on The Practice in Civil Actions and Proceedings at Law in Massachusetts, published in 1848.
Hon. T. H. Gifford also is represented by legal pamphlets and various addresses.
George Fox Tucker, Esq., wrote a valuable disquisition on the Monroe Doctrine, various books on the preparation of wills, and a book on the recent income tax law.
On educational themes we have Andrew Ingraham who published a book entitled The Swain School Lectures, giving the lectures delivered by him while at the head of that institution.
Mrs. Louisa P. Hopkins, who after leaving New Bedford served for many years on the Board of Supervisors in Boston, published three or four educational books of great importance:
Educational Psychology, How Shall My Child Be Taught, Spirit of the New Education.
C F. King, who was at one time Principal of the Fifth Street Grammar School, afterwards for many years a Boston School Principal, wrote books especially on geographical subjects which were favorite textbooks in the public schools of the whole country for many years. One of the most important of these books was entitled Methods and Aids in Geography.
Henry F. Harrington, superintendent of schools for 23 years, a man whose educational reports were the admiration of educators everywhere for their lucid statement, their progressive principles, and choice language, prepared a speller, and a geography which were very widely used, and added greatly to the simplification of teaching.
Mrs. Rachel S. Howland issued a reader which was called The Christian Reader.
George B. Emerson delivered an address which was published in Boston, 1842. This address was prepared for “The American Institute of Instruction” at their meeting in New Bedford in that year. J. F. Emerson, principal of the New Bedford High School, wrote on “Co-operation of Parents with Teachers,” 1851.
Walter S. Allen was the author of numerous review articles, and published pamphlets on various subjects relating to social and economic relations.
A young man who worked in the cotton mills of this city, afterwards going through college and entering the ministry, gave a very graphic recital of life in a cotton mill, in a book entitled Through the Mill, by “Al Priddy” (Frederick K. Brown.) Mr. Brown afterwards wrote on his experience in school, with the title Through the School, then a later publication called Man or Machine—Which?
Benjamin K. Rodman in 1810 wrote a forceful plea against imprisonment for debt, called A Voice from the Prison.
Mr. Rodman himself was imprisoned for some months. He made it a matter of principle. During the three preceding years he states that in New Bedford alone there were 438 commitments to prison for debt. The episodes of Little Dorrit were in some respects duplicated here.
In science New Bedford authors have made a very good showing. Dr. John Spare in 1865 published The Differential Calculus with Unusual and Practical Analysis of Its Elementary Principles and Copious Illustrations of its Practical Application. This book was thus reviewed by the American Literary Gazette and Publishers’ Circular. “It gives intellectuality and vitality to the calculus without emasculating any of its difficulties. He is entitled to the credit of having made a very important contribution to mathematical study.” Jaded novel readers in search of something new would certainly find it in the books and pamphlets written by Professor C. N. Haskins, formerly of New Bedford, now a professor in Dartmouth College. “Note on the Differential Invariants of a Surface and of Space”; “On the Invariants of Differential Forms of Degree Higher Than 2”; “On the Invariants of Quadratic Differential Forms”; “On the Zeros of the Function, P (x) Complementary to the Incomplete Gamma Function”; “On the Measurable Bounds and the Distribution of Functional Values of Summable Functions.”
In Henry Willey, for many years editor of The Standard, the world recognized one of its most profound students in the abstruse subject on which he wrote in his Introduction to the Study of Lichens, published in 1857, and The Enumeration of the Lichens Found in New Bedford, Mass. and Its Vicinity, published in 1892. These books gave Mr. Willey deserved prominence in his chosen field of study.
E. W. Hervey published three or four notable books of more than local interest, namely, Plants Found in New Bedford and Its Vicinity, 1860; The Flora of New Bedford, 1891; and, Observations on the Colors of Flowers and Leaves, in 1899.
While I find no record of publications directly attributed to R. C. Ingraham, it is well known that the services he rendered to students and writers were invaluable. A thorough student in many lines, his interest and help in scientific subjects were especially noteworthy.
Professor C. F. Chandler, for many years an honored professor in Columbia University, wrote and published many books on chemistry and allied subjects. Professor Chandler later received many distinguished honors in connection with his long and honorable service as a professor in Columbia University.
Miss Ida M. Eliot in her book, Caterpillars and Their Moths, interested a large circle of readers in a subject which had not been so fully treated in a popular way before.
Among recent writers on scientific subjects three New Bedford men are attaining prominence: Professor Slocum, Professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan, who has contributed many articles to scientific journals; Ralph Beetle, Assistant Professor of Mathematics in Dartmouth—he has published various contributions to mathematical science; Frank B. Wade, teacher of Chemistry in an Indianapolis High School, author of various works in his chosen subject.
In the applied, or useful arts, a curious little book published in 1859, written by Phebe H. Mendell was called The New Bedford Practical Receipt Book. During the last few years books on our most important industry have been written by Christopher P. Brooks, the first principal of the New Bedford Textile School, and for many years at the head of the Textile Department of the International Correspondence School. Herbert E. Walmsley, Henry W. Nichols, and Thomas Yates. Many of these books have been used for years successfully as textbooks in textile schools, and are constantly in use by students on subjects relating to that industry. Mr. William F. Durfee, of New Bedford, an inventor of fundamental processes in steel manufacture, contributed to many scientific journals.
In the department of fine arts one New Bedford author has written many delightful books on famous painters and artists—Estelle May Hurll, one of the few natives of New Bedford honored with an extensive notice in “Who’s Who in America.”
The cacoethes scribendi attacked the early inhabitants of New Bedford with considerable vigor. The writers of poetry commenced late in the eighteenth century when New Bedford was a town of a very few thousand population and naturally the opportunities for culture were few, yet even in 1789 Elisha Thornton, who had acquired some local fame by publishing almanacs and dabbling in astronomical lore, published a poem on the slave trade, later republished in Ricketson’s History of New Bedford.
The first principal of the Friends’ Academy was John Maitland Brewer. A poem by him was published in The New Bedford Courier, June 19, 1827. Half a dozen lines will give very well the character of the versification, and it will be safe to say that nine-tenths of the so-called poetry published in the early part of the century was modeled on the same plan.
“Shall Ostentation hear its praises rung
And unobtrusive merit not be sung?
Shall dazzling vices be the poet’s theme
While modest virtue sink in Lethe’s stream?
Shall fields of blood in future days be shown
And Bedford’s classic hill remain unknown?”
In the Harp of Acushnet, poems by Mrs. Elizabeth Hawes, published in 1838, we have the effort of probably the first female writer of this section. Many of her poems have local allusions, but very little in the way of description. The following poem on a clambake is not without interest:
OUR VILLAGE FEAST OF SHELLS
The following lines were written, and sung at a village “Feast of Shells,” held at “Woods Grove,” Fairhaven, Sept. 3, 1838:
Let others sing the rosy god
Beneath the purple vine.
And bow them to the tyrant’s nod,
And pour the sparkling wine;
Another theme the Muse for me
Has chosen from her wells—
Tis this—beneath the green-wood tree
To sing the “Feast of Shells.”
When Ossian struck his lyre among
The Caledonian hills,
And charm’d the echoes as they sung
Beside the mountain rills.
He tun’d his harp they say of old—
His fame the story tells—
And sung in strains both soft and bold
The ancient “Feast of Shells,”
Here oft the dusky forest maid,
And hunter of the wood,
Beneath the oaks have careless stray’d,
Or musing here have stood.
And many a distant warrior band
Has left its crags and fells,
Upon Acushnet’s banks to stand,
And grace the “Feast of Shells.”
But now no more their songs are heard
To break the stilly night;
No more the thicket leaves are stirred
By scalping knife so bright;
No more wild echoing through the air
Are heard their savage yells,
And cause the pallid maiden fair
To leave the “Feast of Shells.”
How fearlessly we’ve gather’d here,
Those days of blood are o’er.
Not even the nimble footed deer
Is seen upon our shore.
No gloomy sprite shall frighten us,
Nor Folly with her bells
Of Reason’s crown shall lighten us—
She rules our “Feast of Shells.”—
And as we sing the groves shall ring.
So merrily this day,
For none but happy hearts we bring
Beneath the green-wood gay;
The old and young together join,
For here a spirit dwells
That brightens with its smiles divine
Our village “Feast of Shells.”
Charles G. Congdon, a resident of New Bedford for many years, afterwards connected with the New York Tribune as editorial writer, published poems of good repute, and also several volumes of essays, which have a good deal of merit. The titles of some of his works are “Flowers Plucked Along the Journey of Life,” “Tribune Essays,” “Carmen Saeculare.” Like his distinguished uncle, J. B. Congdon, he was interested in all branches of literary effort. James B. Congdon, although not profound as a scholar, yet probably did as much as any one man to elevate the literary atmosphere of New Bedford. Nothing of human affairs was alien to his interests. Whether it was on the subject of municipal affairs, on the conduct of the Free Public Library, on the reminiscences of local characters, or the dedication of a cemetery, or the recognition of the honors due to the heroes of the Civil War, James B. Congdon was always ready with his pen, and his voice, and his friendly assistance.
Among the poets of the middle of the century, Rev. Walter Mitchell deserves a high place; although his poetical writings are few, one of his poems “Tacking Ship Off Fire Island,” is regarded by lovers of the sea as one of the finest marine poems ever written.
The weather-leech of the topsail shivers.
The bowlines strain, and the lee-shrouds slacken.
The braces are taut, the lithe boom quivers.
And the waves with the coming squall-cloud blacken.
Open one point on the weather-bow,
Is the lighthouse tall on Fire Island Head.
There’s a shade of doubt on the captain’s brow.
And the pilot watches the heaving lead.
I stand at the wheel, and with eager eye
To sea and to sky and to shore I gaze.
Till the muttered order of “Full and by!”
Is suddenly changed for “Full for stays!”
The ship bends lower before the breeze.
As her broadside fair to the blast she lays;
And she swifter springs to the rising seas,
As the pilot calls, “Stand by for stays!”
He was a classmate of Senator Hoar, who said of him, “I am inclined to think that the one member of our class whose fame will last to remote posterity, a fame which he will owe to a single poem, is the Rev. Walter Mitchell.”
Though born in Nantucket he spent his early manhood in New Bedford and began the practice of law in the office afterwards taken over by Mr. Crapo. He afterwards became an Episcopal minister, and wrote several novels that may still be found upon the shelves of libraries.
The first President of our Historical Society, the Hon. W. W. Crapo, was the poet of his class at Yale, and the result of his labors was regarded as so important that it was printed by the request of his class. There may have been other poems written and published by Mr. Crapo, but this is the only one which the writer of this paper has seen. It would be an interesting subject of speculation to consider the results if he had pursued the poetic muse instead of following the lure of legal activities and possibilities. It is certain that the faultless diction, of which he is a master, would not have hindered the happy expressions of poetic thoughts.
In 1896 E. H. Macy published a poem called “Between Whiles.” Rev. H. W. Parker, pastor of the North Congregational Church, wrote a poem entitled “The Despised Race.” 1863.
Coming down to the present, one of the most important literary products of New Bedford is William C. Lawton, whom New Bedford should be delighted to honor. He has written with vigor, with clarity, with beauty of expression, poems as in “Folia Dispersa,” books in appreciation of the works of literary masters, as in his Study of the New England Poets, Art and Humanity in Homer, Introduction to Classical Greek Literature, Introduction to Classical Latin Literature, Successors of Homer.
These are a few of his works.
Francis B. Gummere, the first principal of the Swain School, occupies a high position among American essayists on literary subjects. Some of his works are Democracy and Poetry,
The Beginnings of Poetry, etc.
A Methodist minister, who was for a few years in Fairhaven, published a book which indicated a good deal of research, The Student’s Shakespeare, 1880.
Julius Kirschbaum, for many years a resident of New Bedford and a close student of literature, issued a play in German, entitled Der Mensch Denkt, Gott Lenkt.
Dr. Henry Wood, professor in Johns Hopkins for many years, has rendered distinguished service by his many writings on German literature and allied subjects.
Mrs. Lucy M. James contributed poems for a number of years to the Poet’s Corner of The New Bedford Standard.
A few years ago a mill operative in our city, John Spollon by name, showed a great deal of poetic talent in two or three light books of poems which he wrote, one entitled The Whaleman and Other Sea Songs. The initial poem expressed the desire that the New Bedford whaleman should at some time be recognized by a statue which would commemorate his valorous deeds. He wrote also Mary Ann, or Advice to a Street-Walker, and Other Poems, and The Adventures of a Tramp.
Associated with New Bedford by marriage and as a temporary resident, we should mention N. P. Willis, whose poems were widely read, and whose influence was far-reaching on the manners and literary tastes of the generation fifty years ago. As is well-known, he married an adopted daughter of Hon. Joseph Grinnell.
L. S. Judd of Fairhaven, now an assistant in the New York Public Library, has written poems of some merit.
“French Revolution” first given before a literary society of Dartmouth College in 1780, and published in New Bedford in 1793, was by an unknown author; probably some modest student from this vicinity.
In the Department of Travel we should expect New Bedford to be preeminent, since no city in the country has had so many world-wanderers, as has our own city from the time when Edmund Burke spoke of the whalemen of New England. “No sea but what is vexed by their fisheries, no clime that is not witness of their toils.” But though the wander-lust affected so many of the residents of this section, when it came to describing their journeys—that was another problem. They were not skilled with the eloquence of Othello to tell “of moving accident by flood and field, of hairbreadth ‘scapes,” nor could they paint vivid sunsets which “the multitudinous seas incarnadine.” They used no flowery language in describing their perils and ventures on many seas, but rather furnished the raw material for others to work up into stirring tales. The average record of the wanderers of Old Dartmouth reads something like this:
“Remarks on Thursday, March 22, 1832. These 24 hours begins with moderate winds and pleasant weather. Employed cutting in the whales. At 4 p.m. finished. At 7 p.m. spoke Rosalie and got a large whale. At 8 p.m. headed to the north with the main topsail aback for the night. At daylight made sail, and commenced boiling. At 9 a.m. saw sperm whales, lowered the boats, got three whales. Latitude, by observation, noo 28″ N., longitude 123o W. So ends these 24 hours.”
Nothing in these meager records to show in picturesque detail the tremendous activities, constant dangers, the picturesque incidents of voyages which took these intrepid sailors around the world, and almost from pole to pole. Nothing of mutinies, maroonings, fights with infuriated whales, water spouts, storms, ship wrecks, desertions, adventures with furious savages—all this is to be read between the lines and hinted at by incidental reference. But their adventures have not lacked for chroniclers. The actual participants in these adventures rarely wrote books, yet they have furnished material for historian and fiction writers.
Among the few books of travel written by New Bedford men I will mention Reuben Delano’s Wanderings and Adventures, Being a Narrative of Twelve Years in a Whaleship, published in 1846; The Arctic Rovings or Adventures of a New Bedford Boy on Sea and Land, by D. W. Hall, published in 1861; the well-known Gam by Captain Charles Henry Robbins; Life on the Ocean, or, Thirty-Five Years at Sea, being the personal adventures of the author, W. C. Paddock, 1893; Brief Extracts from the Journal of a Voyage Performed by the Whale Ship Mercury, by Stephen Curtis Jr., 1844; The Captive in Patagonia, by Benjamin F. Bourne of New Bedford, published in 1853; Story of the Catalpa, and the adventurous rescue of Irish prisoners, written by Z. W. Pease, editor of The Mercury. We must mention an account of the first small boat voyage across the Atlantic, written by Mrs. Crapo, the title being Strange but True, the Life and Adventures of Captain T. Crapo and Wife, published 1893. Joshua Slocum most not be forgotten, who wrote his wonderful story, Around the World in the Sloop Spray, published in 1903. This has become almost a classic, and has proved of extreme interest to young and old alike. Captain Slocum had previously written The Voyage of the Liberdade, in which vessel he had made a trip from South America. This was published in 1894. It is a curious fact that Captain Slocum, who had wandered the world over in a small boat, unaccompanied, and through perils of every sea and every clime, should finally have lost his life off the New England coast, practically in his home waters.
A book entitled Life in Feejee, or Five Years Among the Cannibals, by a Lady, is said to have been written many years ago by a Mary Wallis, the wife of a sea captain who sailed from New Bedford. Whether Mrs. Wallis was a New Bedford woman or not I have not been able to determine, but the book itself is regarded by those conversant with life in the south seas as being the best picture of the real Fiji, and that her memory is still cherished by the islanders is evidenced by the fact that her name is given to many a little black baby.
One of the most noted of New Bedford’s travelers, was a native of this city, Col. George Earl Church, who by his explorations and his scientific work in South America acquired world fame in that continent and in Europe, attaining the honor of a vice presidency in the Royal Geographical Society. Col. Church was chief engineer of the Argentine railroad, and a prolific writer on South American exploration and commercial development, as well as on Mexican Revolutionary history.
The next division of our subject takes up biography. Two of the old-time clergymen of New Bedford wrote biographies of some interest. Mark Trafton, who was at the County Street Methodist Church, wrote Scenes in My Life, 1878. George L. Prentiss, about 1850 connected with the Trinitarian Church, wrote a life of his wife, Elizabeth Payson Prentiss. Mrs. Prentiss became a prolific writer of religious fiction, her Stepping Heavenward being especially noteworthy.
Among the various biographies written by New Bedford people are Mr. Crapo’s Memoir of John S. Brayton, Benjamin Rodman’s Memoir of Joseph Grinnell. The Autobiography of Joseph Bates, an Advent minister who had more adventures than one usually associates with clergymen of that denomination. Life of George Fox entitled Valiant for the Truth, written by Ruth Murray, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, a remarkably complete and accurate compilation in six volumes, by Franklin B. Dexter, who was born in Fairhaven, Daniel Ricketson and his friends, written by Walton and Anna Ricketson, Biography of Samuel Clemens, or Mark Twain, written by Albert Bigelow Paine, a native of New Bedford, From Bondage to Freedom, written by Frederick Douglas, who lived in New Bedford for a number of years immediately following his escape from slavery. J. N. Morrison wrote Memoirs of Robert Swain, and a concise history of the French in America, entitled Histoire de la Race Francaise, was written by l’Abbe Magnan, published 1912. A book just appearing from the press is Memoranda Written by William Rotch. Several New Bedford people have been the subject of biography by writers from outside. John S. C. Abbott, the historian of Napoleon, wrote a life of Elizabeth T. Read. Abraham Shearman, the first New Bedford printer, was the subject of a biographical sketch by one of his family and recently published. The life of Dr. William G. Eliot Jr., was written by Mrs. Christopher Eliot, his daughter-in-law. A sketch of Elder Daniel Hix was written by S. M. Andrews.
As this section of New England was the birthplace of the early residents, and the home of the ancestors of most of the English speaking colonists, it would be expected that New Bedford should have some valuable genealogical material, and that it should be written up by New Bedford authors, and it is a fact that some valuable work has been done.
The history of the Howland family by Franklin Howland, with the title, Genealogical and Biographical History of Arthur, Henry, and John Howland and Their Descendants of the United States and Canada, is constantly consulted.
The publication by the Free Public Library of The Field Notes of Benjamin Crane, Benjamin Hammond, and Samuel Smith, was a monumental work, most ably edited by Alexander McLellan Goodspeed, who prefaced the work with an interesting biography of Thomas Crane.
Certain Comeoverers, or the history of the Crapo family, by Henry Howland Crapo attracted wide attention by its valuable contributions to family history and its unique style, which has given to a genealogical work the value of being eminently readable.
William M. Emery has written important books on Maine genealogy and history.
The Narrative of Thomas Hathaway and His Family, Formerly of New Bedford, Mass., with Incidents in the Life of Jemima Wilkinson, and the Times in Which They Lived, by Mrs. William Hathaway Jr., is also an interesting piece of writing, and is much sought after by genealogical and historical students.
Ray Greene Huling, formerly principal of the New Bedford High School, wrote extensively on historical, geographical, and pedagogical subjects.
The history of this section has been well covered in the volumes by Daniel Ricketson, supplemented by the later writings of Anna and Walton Ricketson, the monumental history of New Bedford by Leonard B. Ellis, the Board of Trade History by W. L.
Sayer and others, the Centennial History of Fairhaven by four joint authors. Of these histories that by Mr. Ricketson is of great interest and throws a flood of light on the early history of this section. The work of Leonard B. Ellis is very comprehensive, and furnishes a detailed account of many of the incidents and industries of New Bedford up to very recent times. This history is also very well indexed.
The Story of the Friends’ Academy was prepared by Thomas R. Rodman. The writings of James B. Congdon abound in biographical and historical notes, mostly in manuscript, but some were published.
The Old Dartmouth Bi-Centennial in 1864 with the addresses, especially the historical address by William W. Crapo, and the poem by James B. Congdon, published in 1865, proved a fitting memorial of this notable anniversary.
The history of the New Bedford Fire Department was well covered by Leonard B. Ellis, while the story of the churches of New Bedford was written by James S. Kelley.
Other New Bedford residents who have contributed to historical research are notably Henry M. Dexter; Henry B. Worth, the accomplished secretary of our society, whose studies on colonial architecture and on Nantucket history have been of great value; Rev. A. H. Quint, the historian of a period of the Civil War, embraced in his book Potomac and the Rapidan; the accomplished historical student, Miss Annie Russell Wall, whose many historical lectures have been supplemented by books and pamphlets on history and literature; Dr. E. R. Tucker, who wrote on New Bedford before 1800; Henry B. James, Memories of the Civil War, edited by Lucy M. James, 1898; Frederick E. Cushman, History of the 58th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, 1865; W. C. Macy of the old firm of Buckminster & Macy, who continued the story of Nantucket from the narrative of his relative, Obed Macy; Charles S. Kelley, who has written on the New Bedford Protecting Society; Edward Denham, whose historical studies have extended over many years and who made the index for the publication of the Maine Historical Society, considered one of the best indexes to historical work which was ever prepared; J. Henry Lee, formerly of Fairhaven, pursued his genealogical studies in England and this country with great precision and accuracy. All these make a commendable list of New Bedford authors on genealogy and of historical studies.
One other book we should not omit, an interesting document of the early Friends, Memoirs of Life and Experiences of Sarah Tucker of Dartmouth.
Among the latest writers is Frederick Wallingford Whitridge, the New York financier, a native of New Bedford, who has written a book entitled One American’s Opinion of the European War: an Answer to Germany’s Appeals.
Finally the publications of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society now numbering 43 furnish a fund of information, much of which is not elsewhere obtainable.
And what of fiction produced by New Bedford authors? George Fox Tucker in several short stories notably The Quaker Town has vividly pictured life in New Bedford of forty years ago. Others of his stories have many references to this section. A book written about twenty years ago by Wilder Dwight Quint, the son of Rev. A. H. Quint, and who spent his early life in New Bedford, caused a good deal of interest in this vicinity. The book was called Miss Petticoats, and was written in collaboration with George Tilton Richardson. Rev. Walter Mitchell, whose poems we have spoken of before, wrote two or three novels after he entered the ministry. A. C. Swasey (Miss A. C. Field), Mrs. A. C. Field, the daughter of Dr. Swasey, published stories in periodicals. Miss Frances Delano of Fairhaven has written two or three juvenile stories of interest. Miss Adeline Trafton, a prolific novel writer was the daughter of Mark Trafton, who for many years was a clergyman in this city, and Elizabeth Prentiss, the author of Stepping Heavenward, and other religious novels was the wife of Rev. George L. Prentiss of the Trinitarian church. Mrs. Mary J. Taber has translated stories from the German, and has also contributed original matter to periodicals. Albert Bigelow Paine, referred to above as the biographer of Mark Twain, has written stories, many of them of great interest. Ho has written some very attractive juvenile stories also, one of the most popular being The Arkansaw Bear. The most prolific writer is Frederick W. Davis, who has written a multitude of novels under various pseudonyms such as Nicholas Carter, Scott Campbell, etc. These novels are written with amazing rapidity and have a very large clientage of readers. Two of the titles may be mentioned. Reaping the Whirlwind, by Nicholas Carter, and The Fate of Austin Craig, by Scott Campbell.
The most promising of the present-day novelists born in New Bedford is William J. Hopkins, whose The Clammer, first published in the Atlantic Monthly, revealed a literary stylist whose work gave promise of exceedingly good results. His later publications have amply fulfilled this expectation. Likewise, his Sandman stories for very young children are most delightful and show the same keen analysis of child nature which his mother had demonstrated in her works on psychology.
In the appendix I will give a list of magazine references to New Bedford, but at this time I will mention a few of the most notable references in books and periodicals. In Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville, is an interesting chapter on the sailors’ quarters in old New Bedford. The Cruise of the Cachalot by Frank T. Bullen, pictures this city. Miss Petticoats, just referred to, is a story which has its scenes entirely in this immediate locality. Richard Harding Davis has referred to New Bedford and Fairhaven in a number of his stories and books, one of the latest references being in The Log of the Jolly Polly. Kenneth Weeks, in a volume of sketches called Driftwood has a very appreciative reference to the history of New Bedford. Lady Emmeline S. Wortley, in her travels in the United States published in 1851, refers to her experiences here. George Fox Tucker contributed to the New England Magazine an article on New Bedford. An amazing item in the last edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica makes interesting reading, although the accuracy of the statement might be seriously questioned. The author of the article on the whale fishery says, “Whenever practicable, the whales caught by the vessels belonging to the great sperm whaling station at New Bedford, are towed into the harbor for flensing.” The author must have had in mind the painting by William A. Wall, which hangs on the walls of the Public Library, showing the sloops of the early days bringing in their cargoes of blubber to trade with the Indians.
In bringing to an end this fragmentary paper on the writers of New Bedford, we can only say that though our search has revealed no rich Argosies, freighted deep with learning, with eloquence, with stores of accumulated wisdom, and a very few of the sharp-prowed clipper ships of brilliant satire and romance, yet the blunt nosed craft like our staunch whalers have touched at various ports in their course, and always have brought home useful cargoes, with occasional rich bales, and lumps of ambergris. So it is very fair to say that even in its literary productions, the writers of New Bedford have lived up to the city motto, and can say they too dispensed light.
List of Authors of New Bedford and Vicinity.
This list is probably incomplete, and suggestions of other names will be very welcome before it is printed in the proceedings of the society. Opposite each name is given one publication, not necessarily the most important, merely to identify one writing with the name of the author.
The compiler wishes to acknowledge the very great assistance offered by Mr. Edward Denham in preparing this list.
- Allen, Walter S.—Frequent contributor to periodicals on technical subjects relating to railroads and telephones.
- Almy, Charles Jr.—Law of married women in Massachusetts, 1878.
- Ashley, C. W.—Contributor to magazines of travel and adventure.
- Baker, Luther — Letter to Hon. J. Q. Adams on the Oregon Question, 1846.
- Barton, Hull—An exposition of facts in a letter to Stephen Gould, an elder of the Society of Friends, 1823.
- Bates, Joseph—Autobiography, 1868.
- Bates, L. B. —Hymn book for social worship everywhere, 1869.
- Beetle, Ralph—A formula in the theory of surfaces, 1914.
- Bent, Nathaniel S.—The past; a fragment; written, etc., 1840.
- Bierstadt, Oscar—Translator of Blok’s History of the Netherlands in five volumes, etc.
- Bourne, Jonathan Jr.—Speeches on parcel post; on government ownership of railroads; on railway mail pay.
- Brewer, J. M.—Address on temperance, 1816.
- Brooks, Christopher P.—Various books on cotton manufacturing.
- Brown, F. K.—(Al Priddy)—Through the mill.
- Bryant, H. P. —Edited Winslow genealogy.
- Bryant, Maria W.—Genealogy of Edward Winslow of the Mayflower, and the descendants from 1620 to 1885, 1915. Burgess, J. H.—City of New Bedford, 1911.
- Bushnell, Samuel C.—Sermons and addresses.
- Caswell, James—Sketch of the adventures of James Caswell, etc., 1860.
- Chandler, Charles F.—Numerous chemical dissertations.
- Channing, Ellery—Poems of sixty-five years, 1902.
- Chase, John—Contributor to magazines.
- Choules, J. O.—Cruise of the steam yacht North Star, 1854.
- Church, Albert C.—Contributions to magazines on marine subjects.
- Church, George Earl—Engineer’s report on projected railroad from New Bedford to Fall River, 1864; route to Bolivia via the River Amazon, 1877.
- Clifford, Charles W.—Addresses before Massachusetts Bar Association, etc.
- Clifford, John H.—Political addresses.
- Coggeshall, R. C. P.—History of New England Water Works Association, 1902.
- Colby, H. G. O. — Practice in civil actions, etc., 1848.
- Congdon, Charles T.—Warning of war. Poem delivered at Dartmouth College, 1862, etc.
- Congdon, James B.—Various addresses, poems, literary, political, and social.
- Cornish, Louis C.—Settlement of Hingham, Mass., 1911.
- Craig, Wheelock — Sermons and religious addresses.
- Crandall, Philip—True faith vindicated, 1837.
- Crapo, H. H.—First of New Bedford directories, 1837. Address at dedication of Library Building, Flint, Mich., 1868.
- Crapo, H. H.—Certain Comeoverers, 1912.
- Crapo, William W.—Various addresses.
- Curtis, Stephen—Journal of Whaleship Mercury, 1814. Cushman, Frederick E. — History of 58th Regiment, Massachusetts, 1885.
- Davis, Frederick W.—Novels under pseudonyms. “Nick Carter,” etc.
- Davis, Henry Jr.—Lecture on natural and spiritual science. To which is added the cause of the potato disease, and its best remedy, 1855.
- Dawes T.—Address at consecration of Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven, 1850.
- Delano. Frances—Polly state, one of thirteen, etc., 1902.
- Delano, Frederick—The case for increased railroad rates, 1913.
- Delano, Reuben—Wanderings and adventures, 1846.
- Deslauriers, l’Abbe Hormidas, S. Antoine de New Bedford.
- Denham, Edward—Contributions to various periodicals.
- Dewey, Orville—The Claims of Puritanism. Election sermon, 1826.
- Dexter, Franklin B.—Biographical sketch of the graduates of Yale college with annals of the college history, 1885.
- Dexter, Henry M.—Congregationalism of the last three hundred years, as seen in its literature, 1880.
- Dexter, Morton—Story of the Pilgrims, 1894.
- Douglass, Frederick—Narrative of the life of, By himself, 1845.
- Durfee, William F,—Contributions to scientific periodicals.
- Eldridge, A.—Sermon in behalf of the American Education society, 1853.
- Eliot, Ida M.—Caterpillars and their moths, 1902.
- Eliot, T. D.—Various addresses in congress.
- Eliot, William G. Jr.—-Early religious life, etc., 1855.
- Ellis, Leonard B.—History of New Bedford and vicinity, 1602—1892, 1890.
- Emerson, G. B.—Moral education, 1842.
- Emerson, J. F.—Cooperation of parents with teachers, 1851.
- Emery, W. M.—Chadbourne family, 1904.
- Emery, Edwin—History of Sanford, Me., 1901.
- Fleming, J, W, C.—The second downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte; a poem, 1816.
- Fletcher, S. S.—Sermon on the fanaticism of the present age, 1844. Sermon on the fatal delusion of Millerism.
- Francis, Averic—Religion of Christ in the twentieth century.
- French, Rodney—Facts and documents in the case of Rev. Charles Morgridge, 1848.
- Geoghegan, W. B.—Sermons and addresses.
- Gifford, Clother—Essays on health, etc., n. d.
- Girdwood, Rev. J.—Address before New Bedford Port Society, 1858.
- Goodman, Robert—Proposed city charter of New Bedford.
- Goodspeed, Alexander McLellan—Benjamin Crane and Old Dartmouth Survey, 1905.
- Greene, T. A,—Address before New Bedford Lyceum, 1828.
- Green, Kate (Richmond)—Shakespearian themes.
- Grinnell, Joseph—On the tariff and the whale fishery, 1844.
- Gummere, Amelia Mott—The Quaker; a study in costume, 1901.
- Gummere, Francis B.—The popular ballad, 1907.
- Hall, D. W.—Arctic rovings, 1861.
- Harrington, Henry F.—Reports of superintendent of schools of New Bedford.
- Haskins, Charles N.—On the invariants of Quadratic differential forms, 1902.
- Hathaway, Mrs. William—Narrative of Thomas Hathaway and his family, formerly of New Bedford. Mass., with incidents in the life of Jemima Wilkinson, and the times in which they lived, 1869.
- Hawes, A. C.—Muse poetic, 1893.
- Hawes, Elizabeth—Harp of Acushnet, 1838.
- Hervey, Eliphalet W.—Various botanical books, especially on the flora of New Bedford.
- Hervey, Hetta M.—Glimpses of Norsland, 1889.
- Holmes, Sylvester—Sermons and addresses.
- Hopkins, Louisa V.—Educational psychology, 1886.
- Hopkins, William J.—Old Harbor, 1909.
- Horton, Rev. S.—Sermon preached in Grace church by the rector, 1862.
- Hough, George A.—Board of Trade history of New Bedford.
- Howard, Rev. Martin S. — Sermons preached in South Dartmouth, 1862.
- Howland, Frederick H.—Various addresses and contributions to periodicals.
- Howland, Rachel S.—Christian Reader 1856.
- Huling, Ray Greene—Various genealogical and educational works.
- Hurll, Estelle A.—The Madonna in art, 1897.
- Ingraham, Andrew — Swain school lectures, 1903.
- James, Henry B.—Memories of the Civil War, 1898.
- James, Lucy M.—Various poems.
- Jerome, Irene—Message of the bluebird.
- Judd, Lewis S.—Fairhaven: a descriptive and historical sketch, 1896.
- Julien, Matthew C.—Huguenots of Old Boston, 1895.
- Kelley, Charles S.—New Bedford Protecting Society, 1908.
- Kelley, Hattil—Workingmen’s escape, 1877.
- Kelley, J. F.—History of the New Bedford churches, 1854.
- King, C. F.—Roundabout rambles in Northern Europe, 1898.
- Kirschbaum, Edward T.—September leaves, 1900.
- Kirschbaum, Julius—Der Mensch denkt., Gott lenkt.
- Kirschbaum, W. G.—Best of the Union Bands. Israel Smith and his Bay State boys in the Civil War, 1904.
- Knowlton, Hosea M. — Heroism. Address to alumni of Tufts college, 1886.
- Lawton, William C.—The New England poets, 1898.
- Leonard, Elisha—Reminiscences of the Ancient Iron Works, and Leonard mansion, Taunton, 1885.
- McAfee, Ida A.—City finances, etc.
- Macy, E. H.—Between whiles, 1896.
- Macy, W. C.—History of Nantucket.
- Magnan l’Abbe D. M. A.—La histoire de la race Francaise, 1912.
- Marston, Mrs. Clara N. B.—Diary of “me,” 1904.
- Mendall, Phebe H.—New Bedford practical receipt book, 1859.
- Mitchell, Rev. Walter—Bryan Maurice, 1867.
- Morgridge, Rev. Charles—A discourse on the reciprocal duties of a minister and his people.
- Morrison, Rev. J. H. — Memoirs of Robert Swain, 1846.
- Mudge, Rev. Enoch — A series of lectures particularly adapted to young people and now published for the special use of seamen, 1836.
- Murray, Ruth S.—Valiant for the truth, or, some memorials of George Fox and the early Friends, 1883.
- Nelson, Maud M.—New Bedford fifty years ago.
- Nichols, Henry W.—Method of determining costs in a cotton mill, 1915.
- Noel, Bartelemi– Directoire Francaise de New Bedford, 1896.
- Nye, Gideon Jr.—Rationale of the China Question, 1873.
- Ogden, G. W.—Letters from the West, 1823.
- Otlley, Greensbury—God’s immutable declaration of his own moral and assumed natural image and likeness in man, 1875.
- Paine, Albert Bigelow—Tent-dwellers, 1908.
- Pairpoint, Alfred- Rambles in America, 1891.
- Paisler, Charles T.—Wayside gatherings; notes of a summer ramble in Europe, 1894.
- Parker, Rev. H. W.—Verse, 1862.
- Peabody, E. — Eulogy on William Henry Harrison, 1841.
- Pease, Z. W.—Catalpa expedition, 1897.
- Pike, Albert (Teacher in Friends’ Academy)—Poems, law reports, etc.
- Plummer, H. W.—The boy, me, and the cat, 1913.
- Potter, Rev. William J.—Inner light and culture, 1861.
- Prentiss, Elizabeth P.—Stepping heavenward, 1869.
- Prentiss, Rev. George L.—Bright side of life: glimpses of it through four score years, 1902.
- Proctor, Frank W.—Study of summer fogs in Buzzards Bay, 1903.
- Quint, Alonzo D.—Record of the Second Massachusetts infantry, 1887.
- Quint, Wilder —Story of Dartmouth (College), 1914.
- Read, Alexander—Address on temperance, 1817.
- Remington, W. H. B.—Contributions to periodicals.
- Ricketson, Anna—Daniel Ricketson and his friends, 1902.
- Ricketson, Daniel—History of New Bedford, Bristol County, Massachusetts, including a history of the old township of Dartmouth and the present townships of Westport, Dartmouth, and Fairhaven from their settlement to the present time, 1858.
- Ricketson, John H. — Board of Trade address at Pittsburg, 1878.
- Ricketson, Walton — Daniel Ricketson and his friends, 1902.
- Robbins, C. H.—The Gam, 1899.
- Rodman, Benjamin—A voice from the prison, 1840.
- Rodman, Thomas P.—Poem recited before the New Bedford Mechanics association, 1833.
- Rodman, T. R.—Historical sketch of Friends’ Academy, 1876.
- Ross, Worth G.—Various contributions to periodicals.
- Rotch, William—Memoranda written by William Rotch in the 80th year of his life, 1916.
- Russell, C. R.—You and I, 1913.
- Sayer, William L.—Robert C. Ingraham memorial, 1901.
- Seaver, Edwin P.—Mathematical textbooks.
- Sherman, Abraham—Selections from the works of Isaac Pennington: to which are added selections from his letters, 1818.
- Slocum, Frederick—Contributions to periodicals.
- Slocum, Joshua—Sailing alone around the world in the sloop Spray, 1900.
- Spare, John—The differential calculus, 1865.
- Spollon, J.—Adventures of a tramp, 1897.
- Stetson, T. M.—Argument before the legislative committee upon water supply, 1886.
- Stubbs, J.—The seaman’s star and guide to happiness, 1843.
- Swasey, Anna C.—Contributions to magazines.
- Swasey, C. A. G.—Caricatures pertaining to the Civil War of the United States, 1892.
- Taber, Charles—Poem delivered before the Alumni of the N. E. Y. M. B. school, 1866.
- Taber, Charles A. M.—Rhymes from a sailor’s journal, 1873.
- Taber, Charles S.—Narrative of shipwreck in Fiji in 1840, 1894.
- Taber, Mary Jane-Just a few friends, 1907.
- Thornton, Elisha—Poem on slavery.
- Tillinghast, W. H.—Historical essays. Chapter in Winsor’s Narrative and Critical history.
- Trafton, Adelaide—His inheritance.
- Trafton, Mark — Scenes in my life, 1878.
- Tripp, George H.—Various addresses.
- Tucker, B. R.—Instead of a book, 1893.
- Tucker, E. T.—New Bedford before 1800.
- Tucker, George Fox-in whaling days, 1909.
- Tucker, Sarah—Memoirs of life and experience, 1848.
- Wade, Frank B.—Foundation of chemistry, 1914.
- Wall, Annie R.—Outlines of English history, 1880.
- Walmsley, Herbert — Cotton spinning and weaving, 1885.
- Watson, Elizabeth—Contributions to periodicals.
- Weiss, John—Loss of the Arctic, 1851.
- West, Samuel — Essay on liberty and necessity, 1793.
- Whitaker, J.—Oration on the birth of Washington, 1823.
- Whitney, S. W.—Address at anniversary of the New Bedford Ladies Travel and City Missionary society, 1858.
- Whitridge, Frederick W,—One American’s opinion of the European war.
- Willey, Henry — Enumerations of the lichens found in New Bedford, Massachusetts and vicinity, 1892.
- William, J. M.—Oration, July 4, 1806.
- Williams, J. R.—Oration, July 4, 1835.
- Willis, N. P.—Hurry-graphs, 1851.
- Winsor, W. P. Jr.—Poems in periodicals.
- Wood, Allen F.—S. A. Howland educational fund, 1900.
- Wood, Edmund—Various addresses.
- Wood, Henry—Ein beitrag zum verstandnis Goethes in seiner dichtung.
- Worth, Henry B.—Nantucket lands and landowners.
- Yates, Thomas—Practical treatise on yarn and cloth calculations for cotton fabrics, 1904.
Books and Periodical References to New Bedford and Vicinity.
- New Bedford, Mass. D. H. Strother (Porte Crayon). Harper. 21:1.
- Past century charm of New Bedford. G. N. Rose. Arch R. 33:424.
- New Bedford textile strike. W. D. Foster. Survey 28:658.
- Controlling the passions of men. Al. Priddy. Outlook 102:345.
- Street widening in New Bedford. W. Randolph. Am. City 10:471.
- Cotton Manufacturing City. W. H. R. Remington. N. Eng. Mag. N. S. 41:50.
- Historic memories. K. M. Abbott in Old Paths in New England. p. 420.
- Municipal accounting as the basis for publicity of municipal affairs. H. S. Chase. Nat. Conf. City Governments. 1908. p. 337.
- Gift of the town waterworks to the Fairhaven Library. S. Baxter. R. or R. 23:441.
- Wortley, Lady Emmeline—Travels in U. S.
- Bullen, F. T.—Cruise of the Cachalot. Whaleman’s wife.
- Melville, Herman—Moby Dick.
- A New England architect and his work (Fairhaven buildings). Oscar Fay Adams. New Eng. Mag. N. S. 36:432.
- New Bedford, Mass. George Fox Tucker. New Eng. Mag. N. S. 15:97.
- New Bedford, Mass. H. I. Aldrich. New E. Mag. N. S. 4:423.
- Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches. 43 parts.
- New Bedford Roll of Honor. J. B. Congdon.
- Letter from New Bedford in Hurry-graphs. N. P. Willis.
- Pulpit view of the business interests of our city. W. J. Potter.
- City of New Bedford. 1914. Descriptive and pictorial, commemorative of the 250th anniversary of when Dartmouth became a town, 1664, New Bedford being a part thereof. Also a description of Fairhaven.
- New Bedford, Mass. J. B. Congdon, in Nat. Mag. Sept. 1845.
- New Bedford illustrated. L. B. Ellis.
- Glimpses of New Bedford, Mass. H. S. Hutchinson.
- Story of the celebration of the semicentennial of the incorporation of New Bedford as a city, etc. New Bedford Morning Mercury.
- Rambles in America. A. J. Pairpoint, 1891.
- New Bedford, Mass. Its history, industries, institutions and attractions, published by order of the Board of Trade.
- Just a few “Friends.” M. J. Taber.
- Collection of photographs of old whalers and wharf scenes in New Bedford. J. G. Tirrell.
- City finances, resources, and expenditures. . . explanation of budget, etc. I. D. McAfee.
- History of the Fire Department. L. B. Ellis.
- New Bedford, Mass. J. K. Lord. Leisure hour. 14:776.
- Ministers of Fairhaven. Mass. Am. Quarterly Register. 12:14.
- Dartmouth, Mass., Records, N. E. Register. 20:336.
- Religious problems in New Bedford. M. C. Julien.
- History of the churches of New Bedford. J. F. Kelley.
- Saint Antoine de N. B. L’Abbe Hormidas Deslauriers
- 100th Anniversary. New Bedford Mercury, 1907.
- Field notes of Benjamin Crane, Benjamin Hammond, and Samuel Smith, reproduced in facsimile from the original notes of survey of lands of the proprietors of Dartmouth.
- Historical address. July 4, 1876. W. W. Crapo.
- History of New Bedford and vicinity. L. B. Ellis.
- New Bedford Semi-Centennial Souvenir, containing a review of the history of the city. R Grieve, editor.
- New Bedford fifty years ago. Maud M. Nelson.
- History of New Bedford. Daniel Ricketson.
- New Bedford of the Past. Daniel Ricketson.
- New Bedford before 1800, etc. E. T. Tucker.
- New Bedford Protecting Society. C. S. Kelley.
- Historical sketch of New Bedford. C. T. Congdon.
- Driftwood. Kenneth Weeks.
- Village of Westport Point by Katherine Stanley Hall.
- Old Seaport towns of New England, Hildegarde Hawthorne. 1916.
- New Bedford in Hurd, D. H. Bristol County.
- Topographical description of New Bedford, Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 1795. V. 4, p., 232-7.
- Notes on New Bedford. James Freeman. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 2nd ser., v. 3, p. 18.
- Brief history of the town of Fairhaven. 1903.
- New Bedford. A city in Current Affairs. March 5, 1917. Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Banks of Old Dartmouth
By Henry H. Crapo
Our indefatigable president has made a systematic collection of data relating to the Banks of Old Dartmouth. He has obtained the names and dates of service of all the men who were connected with their administration up to the present time. This statistical information is of historical value and will be preserved in the archives of the Society. It is not in a form which would be acceptable for presentation at one of our meetings. Wherefore our president, usurping prerogatives of compulsory conscription which are not contained in our by-laws, has drafted me to “write up in story form” the data collected. I should have resisted this draft, pleading extreme youth and lack of knowledge of the subject had I not been able to effect an arrangement, such as was often made in our Civil War, with my father, William W. Crapo, who was manifestly the person who should have been drafted, whereby I agreed to act in the capacity of his substitute and draw on him for materials and supplies to enable me to put on a bold front as an historian of banks. In this case, the voice is the voice of Isaac, the hands only are the hands of Esau.
I shall make no attempt to give the “business” history of the banks of Did Dartmouth. I shall spare you the data of capitalization and circulation and deposits and earnings. I shall not attempt to describe, or even mention, the many men who have been connected with the history of the banks. I shall account for only a few of the older ones. A complete history of the banks and their servitors would fill an octavo volume. I aspire only to a rambling sketch.
The need of currency as a medium of exchange was a need which the people of the earth discovered at an early period of civilization. The machinery by which that currency was managed and distributed in modern times is in a vague way suggested by the word “Bank.” The issuance and management of some form of medium of exchange is the primary function of a primitive bank. The development of systems of credit, however, has become the more important attribute of modern banks. In the days of the settlement of Old Dartmouth, currency was not an important need. There probably were a few gold coins in the possession of the early colonists, with the head of Queen Elizabeth or King Charles, which may have found their way across the Atlantic with the immigrants. They were useless in dealing with the Indians, to whom a glass bead or a gill of rum measured as well as a standard of barter. For nearly two centuries the American colonists existed without feeling the need of extensive banking facilities. I have in my possession the papers of the estate of my own great grandfather, Williams Slocum, who was, it would seem, prematurely born in 1761. He died in 1834. He carried on a profitable, albeit decaying, business of farming at Barney’s Joy. His assets at his death consisted largely of quasi promissory notes payable not in money, hut in hogs, and cattle, and produce.
The Jonny Cake Papers of Thomas R. Hazard, Shepard Tom, of Narragansett, should be in the library of this Society. Shepard Tom gives an amusing account of Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, familiarly known as “Brother Jonathan,” “a designation in which the whole Yankee nation became sobriqueted, characterized and identified.” Shepard Tom describes the apparel of Brother Jonathan, as made by his journeyman tailor, who received in payment a bag of meal, a couple of pieces of salt pork, and diverse farm products stowed about his person when he left the Governor’s home with his pack on his back containing, of course, his goose-neck. The only important article of court dress worn by the Governor was an exceedingly short and scanty yellow nankeen “westcot,” the stuff for which was obtained exclusively at “quality shops,” in exchange for flaxseed or some other of the very limited products of a New England farm that were in those early days available for export to foreign markets. Everything in Brother Jonathan’s days imported from Europe went by the name of “boughten goods,” which signified that they were entirely beyond the reach of the laboring classes, “as they could only be obtained, as a general rule, in exchange for hard money, a thing not to be thought of by the vast majority in the community where all hand and farm work was paid for in kind.”
It is probable that in Old Dartmouth there were a few thrifty people who had the possession of cash and loaned it at interest. They were bankers in a sense. Who they were, we cannot now determine. Such currency as was absolutely needed, came from without. First the currency of the Kingdom of England and later the “continental money,” and still later the paper currency issued by Boston and other New England private banks, authorized, but not guaranteed, by legislative sanction. Indeed, it was not the need of banks of issue that caused the banks of Old Dartmouth to be established. It was for banks of discount rather than of issue that the demand arose. The business development of Old Dartmouth was purely maritime. The industry of the community and the savings of that industry were devoted to the building and operating of ships. It soon became evident that prudence required that the people engaged in this somewhat hazardous industry should protect themselves against crushing loss by a system of mutual insurance. Marine insurance companies were organized. As the maritime business increased, the need of financing these marine insurance companies was felt. All four of the original banks of Old Dartmouth were, to some extent, the outgrowth of the needs of marine insurance companies—not for currency but for investment and credit. Groups of men especially interested as the managers of the several marine insurance companies, organized the banks to aid the insurance companies in handling their risks.
It was in this way the first bank of Old Dartmouth came into existence in 1803, the Bedford Bank, affiliated with the Bedford Marine Insurance Company, legally organized a year or two later. Sixty thousand dollars seemed an ambitious capital, yet it was subscribed and the bank with an enlarged capital performed its functions until 1812, when the war with England so paralyzed all business that the charter, although renewed, was not accepted and the bank was liquidated. In 1816, the Bedford Bank was resurrected under the name of the Bedford Commercial Bank and as such existed as a Massachusetts state bank until 1864 when it was forced, as were all the state banks, to reorganize under the national bank system, taking as its name, the National Bank of Commerce, and as such continued until 1898 when it was liquidated after an honorable existence of ninety-five years, discharging all its obligations and returning to the stockholders substantially the capital invested.
The site and the buildings of the Bedford Bank and its successors are of especial interest to the Society. On the very spot on which we are assembled tonight stood the first Bedford Bank. The lot was a part of the garden of the homestead of William Rotch Jr. It had a frontage of 37 feet and a depth of 66 feet. It was deeded by Mr. Rotch to the Bedford Bank, April 4, 1803. It was subject to a pass-way 7 feet wide at its north end, subsequently released by Mr. Rotch in 1835. Daniel Ricketson in his invaluable history of New Bedford has told the story of the Bedford Bank. It is not seemly for the author of this paper to repeat what he has told with such skill. His story of the Bedford Bank must stand as the authoritative story.
Mr. Ricketson, unfortunately, was unable to find the records of the Bedford Bank. It seemed therefore somewhat absurd for me to seek them. I did ask James H. Tallman into whose possession these records might naturally have come. He told me that they were not in existence. And, yet, by a singular chance of good fortune I, myself, found these old records. I felt as I suppose a young newspaper reporter feels when he “gets a scoop.” The tattered, moldy, stained, and decrepit book of the old Bedford Bank, I propose to give to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. It is manifest that it is not my property to give, yet with the consent of Mr. Tallman and of the directors of the Mechanics Bank in whose unconscious possession for some unknown reason it was found, I give it.
The Charter of the Bank, extended in the Record, was adopted by the Legislature of Massachusetts and approved by the Governor, Caleb Strong, on March 7th, 1803. It is a most elaborate act of incorporation, containing provisions afterwards embodied in different forms in the general banking laws. William Rotch Jr., Samuel Rodman and Edward Pope are named as incorporators. The charter was to determine on the first Monday of October, 1812. The capital, to be paid in gold or silver, was $60,000. The circulation was limited to twice the capital. The loaning capacity was likewise limited to twice the capital. The Directors were fixed at seven. The bank was subject to examination by a committee of the Legislature appointed for the purpose. Every six months the bank was required to report its condition to the Governor and Council. The Commonwealth could, if it was so voted by the Legislature, take an additional $30,000 in the stock of the enterprise. No stockholder could have more than ten votes, no matter how much stock he owned. The 12th section seems very modern in spirit. It reads: “And be it further enacted that one-eighth part of the whole stock or fund of said Bank shall always be appropriated to loans to be made to Citizens of this Commonwealth, and wherein the Directors shall exclusively regard the Agricultural interest,’ which loans shall be made in sums not less than 100 dollars nor more than 500 dollars, and upon the personal bond of the borrower, with collateral security by sufficient mortgage of real estate for a term not less than one year.” In 1804 the Bank was authorized by the Legislature to increase its capital to $150,000.
The directors elected were Thomas Hazard Jr., John Howland, Isaac Sherman, Cornelius Grinnell, Seth Russell Jr., Isaac Howland Jr., and Samuel Rodman. At their first meeting, April 30, 1803, they elected John Pickens cashier at a salary of four hundred and fifty dollars a year, which in view of the fact that the bank was to be open for business every week day both morning and afternoon, does not seem a princely salary even in those days. At the second meeting, May 21, 1803, Thomas Hazard Jr., was elected president without salary. However, in 1805 the stockholders “voted to the president for his services in signing bills, etc., one hundred dollars to be given in plate,” and Seth Russell was appointed by the directors to procure the “plate.” This appears to be the only compensation which Mr. Hazard received for his devoted service to the bank, which during the last year of its existence and its liquidation, must have been taxing. In addition to signing the bills, which were constantly being renewed, Mr. Hazard kept the records. That he performed that duty excellently, you have the evidence in your possession.
The third and sixth days in each week were “discount days,” and the directors met at 8 a. m. It was provided that “all notes presented for discount shall have one or more good endorsers, one of which endorsers must live within four miles of the bank.” “Two directors objecting to the discount of a note or bill, it shall not pass and no question shall be asked on the subject by any of the other directors.” The discount sheets were not large. Sometimes they amounted to $30,000 or even $40,000, sometimes only to $50, sometimes no paper was presented. It would be interesting to know what was the gossip discussed at these meetings. Towards the last of the bank’s history, the war was coming on and inasmuch as there was always one director from across the river, representing the Corsicans, there may have been some heated arguments. Noah Stoddard was elected as the Fairhaven director in 1804. One is led to wonder whether his failure to be re-elected was in any way due to this entry “1805, 8 mo. 2. It is likewise at this time agreed that the director of this bank from the other side of the river for the time past and in future have his toll at the bridge paid by the bank.” Possibly John Delano who succeeded him at the next election was willing to pay his own toll.
William C. Stoddard by no means, as yet, one of the “oldest inhabitants” of Fairhaven, remembers seeing his grandfather Noah sitting in his arm chair in the old house where now is located the Fairhaven Bank, and being impressed with the fact that he was in the presence of a soldier who fought at Bunker Hill.
It was not always the vexing question of credits which engaged the serious consideration of the directors. For instance in 1804 they dealt with the question of what was to be done with the stone which belonged to the bank, excavated from the hillside in order to make the cellar of the bank building. It was concluded to let Simpson Hart sell it at public auction. Occasionally the cashier’s “wood account” was examined and allowed. The wood was for burning in the open fireplaces of the banking room. In July, 1804, the working force of the bank was augmented. “It was this day agreed that Samuel Hazard be employed to carry the notices to the signers and endorsers of notes, the time of which may have expired and to file the bills that may be signed during the time he is employed, and to do occasional business of the bank that he may be capable of to the assistance of the cashier for which one hundred dollars per annum is allowed.” Sam was the president’s son. He afterwards married Rebecca Pease of Philadelphia and lived on Franklin Street in New York.
The dividends declared varied from 2 per cent to 11 1/2 per cent per annum, and in later days nothing. Occasionally the directors ordered all debtors of the bank without exception to pay up by the first of the next month, 10 per cent of their loans. One wonders whether they all did pay up. When the bank was short of hard money they informed the makers of “specie notes” to pay up, “as the renewal will be inconvenient.” On February 15th, 1805, Seth Russell was sent “at the expense of this institution,” presumably by sloop, to the nearest metropolis—Nantucket—”to get specie for the money we hold of their banks and to hire five or six thousand dollars of specie on our account.” In 1806 “it is agreed and made a rule of this bank that all specie deposited and entered on the books of the bank becomes the property of the bank and the depositor ceases to have any [lien] or claim upon it.”
The business troubles of Henry Huttlestone and others occupy much space in the records. It is rather interesting to note that John Avery Parker, subsequently the multi-millionaire of the town, was obliged in 1808 not only to transfer “his shares in the Marine Insurance Company,” but “likewise a conveyance of his house and lot.” Not infrequently William Rotch Jr. was directed to send some of the bills receivable of the bank to New York, “to the credit of J. Pickens, Cash.” Nantucket and New York and Philadelphia seem to have been financial centers of more importance to the Bedford Bank than Boston. In 1809, however, the Directors ordered “that the Cashier do not receive as a deposit, nor in any way negotiate, the bills of any bank without this state, except the Bank of the United States, from and after the last day of this month, of which the Cashier is directed to take particular notice and govern himself accordingly.” In 1810 the Directors felt moved to adopt this good resolution: “It is now agreed by the Directors irrevocably that no note signed by any person who has not paid up all interest or discounts on their business or accommodation notes previously passed at this bank, shall be passed or discounted until all previous discounts are paid and their old notes taken up.”
In the usual form the transactions of the Board at its meeting 1810, 11 mo. 2, were entered by Thomas Hazard Jr., as follows: “Discounted notes and drafts to the amount of Seventeen Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty Dollars and a mortgage for Five Hundred Dollars. Present: John Howland, Wm. Rotch Jr., Samuel Rodman, Isaac Howland Jr., Seth Russell Jr.
(Signed) Thomas Hazard Jr.
Below this entry in a different handwriting is the following: “I was not present when the business of the above mortgage was concluded on and the money was paid. John Howland.” Evidently John Howland did not approve of that credit.
The records make constant reference to the printing, signing and burning of the bills of the bank. John Maybin of Philadelphia on July 11th, 1803, “shipt per sloop Eliza, C. Norton, Mastr., for New Bedford per order Mr. Samuel Rodman, and for the Bedford Bank 1 box containing 5670 sheets of paper. . . 1 box containing a bank mold. … 58 water mark letters. . . $152.13.” This paper was kept by the bank and sent from time to time to Sam’l Hill, engraver, of Boston, who presumably held the “mold.” For instance, “1803, 8 m. 30. This day delivered Andrew Swain Two Hundred sheets of our NEW paper to be struck off in Boston by S. Hill engraver.” “9 mo. 6. Received the above mentioned two hundred sheets from Boston, one hundred and ninety-nine and a half of which were impressed with twenty-seven thousand seven hundred and thirty-five dollars, the remaining half sheet was returned torn from Boston and burned by the Directors. The above paper were struck with the following bills, viz:
199 bills of $5. . . . . . . . . .$995
199 bills of $10. . . . . . . . . . 1990
199 bills of $20. . . . . . . . . . 3980
199 bills of $30. . . . . . . . . . 5970
200 bills of $7. . . . . . . . . . 1400
200 bills of $8. . . . . . . . . . 1600
200 bills of $9. . . . . . . . . . 1800
200 bills of $50. . . . . . . . . .10000
The Cashier is directed to make the above bills payable to W. Pope.” Abraham Sherman seems to have been the favorite messenger to take the “sheets” to Boston for Sam Hill to engrave. Sometimes the errand was performed by Stephen Hathaway, Cornelius Grinnell, or Seth Russell Jr.
In 1812 the Bedford Bank ceased issuing bills, and made no further new loans. For several years the bank was obliged to “renew” old loans. The last entry on the last page in the old book, which I was so fortunate to discover, is as follows: “1813, 3mo. 9th Renewed notes amounting to thirteen thousand nine hundred and five dollars. Present: John Howland, Isaac Howland Jr., Thomas Hazard Jr., Wm. Rotch Jr. Destroyed by burning twelve thousand dollars of bank bills.”
Mr. Ricketson’s minute description of the original bank building is vivid and picturesque, controlled by a sense of literary art which is worthy of his associations with Brook Farm and the men and women who, more than all others, were the nucleus of what we may call “American literature.” It is with difficulty that I refrain from quoting from Mr. Ricketson’s delightful account of the Bedford Bank building, the quaintness of the structure, the ingenuity of the secret device for protecting the currency in the closed vault of the cellar, and the word picture of the quaint methods and personalities which distinguished it. I will allow myself only one quotation —”Behind the front counter, and opposite the entrance door, was the fireplace of wood, which in earlier days and up to 1826 was the only method of warming the room, and on cold days of winter, a cheerful fire was to be seen within it, sputtering and singing away to the chime of the jingling gold and silver.”
In 1833 the old building so minutely and graphically described by Mr. Ricketson, was demolished and a new building of much more commonplace construction was erected. I, perhaps, may be permitted to describe, albeit necessarily with less artistic skill, the second bank edifice on this site, since I myself can clearly recall its appearance. It was a three-story brick building, the upper story rather low in the stud, not dissimilar to the building at present adjacent to the south. On the north side of the middle entrance way was the Bedford Commercial Bank, by no means so spaciously housed as in its earlier days. On the south side of the entrance was the office of the Bedford Commercial Insurance Company, which in 1821 succeeded the Bedford Marine Insurance Company and which continued to do business here until about 1852. In the later days of its existence, Henry H. Crapo was the secretary of the Bedford Commercial Insurance Company. His successor was William W. Crapo, who was about twenty-two years old and was studying law in the office of Mr. Clifford in the second story. He was employed to liquidate the company, which was finally accomplished about 1859. The successor of the Bedford Commercial Insurance Company was the Commercial Mutual Insurance Company, of which William T. Russell was secretary. The south rooms on the first floor were occupied by the insurance company until the building was demolished in 1883.
At the evident risk of being prolix I am tempted to [retell] the story of Mr. Crapo’s acquaintance with Pete Almy. He was a tall, gaunt old Negro who acted as janitor of the Bedford Commercial Insurance Company quite inefficiently. In his youth, in the War of 1812 he was powder monkey on the Essex, a famous frigate of 32 guns, under command of Captain David Porter, the father of the admiral. It was his duty to wait on a young midshipman in his early teens by the name of Farragut. Captain Gideon Randall of New Bedford, in command of the good ship Barclay had the misfortune to be captured in the Pacific Ocean by British sloops of war. Soon after the redoubtable Essex attacked and captured the Britishers, releasing the Barclay. Captain Randall was put in command as sailing master of one of the prizes and with him midshipman Farragut, representing the majesty of the United States Navy, and, apparently, Pete the powder monkey. The orders were to take the prize into Valparaiso, which Captain Randall proceeded to do. The captain soon became much annoyed at the whippersnapper of a middy who was always volunteering his advice and assuming manners of command which were not at all to his liking. They were in a constant state of friction until, finally, Randall turned on the young Farragut and threatened to put him in irons for insubordination. Pete was naturally prone to spin yarns about his acquaintance with the youngster who afterwards became the most brilliant naval officer of the country. Pete took his duties as a voter very seriously. Being unable to read, he depended on Captain Rowland Crocker, of the Bedford Commercial Insurance Company to guide him and see that he received the right ballot. On Captain Crocker’s death, Mr. Crapo succeeded to the duty of seeing that Pete properly exercised his franchise. In those days, George Randall, a son of Captain Gideon, who lived at Mount Pleasant on a farm he called Loochow, on election days used to get out an old Irish jaunting car to convey the faithful to the polls. Doubtless Pete had a ride occasionally.
The rooms over the bank were the law offices of Coffin & Colby, later Clifford & Brigham. The front room on the south side of the second story was the “Merchants’ Reading Room.” In the middle of the room was a high stand-up desk where lists of the reports and arrivals of ships, the amount of oil, and other news connected with the whale fishery were daily consulted by the merchants. At the sides of the room were slanting racks which contained the local newspapers of Nantucket, Newport, New London and one or two from far away Boston and New York and London. When the wooden building opposite the custom house, now occupied by The Mercury, was built, the merchants’ reading room moved thither to quarters on the ground floor. Walter Mitchell then occupied the room for a year or so, and becoming discouraged in the practice of law, in 1855 he disposed of the room and its small law library to William W. Crapo, then twenty-five years old.
The back room on the south side of the second story was the editorial office of The Mercury, presided over by Benjamin Lindsey, whose brother, Henry Lindsey, printed the newspaper in the third floor of the building. When The Mercury office was removed to the corner of Union and Second Streets, about 1859, Mr. Crapo took the rear room which he personally occupied. Joshua C. Stone, George Mansion, Wendell H. Cobb, Charles W. Clifford, Walter Clifford, and Frederick S. Bartlett, who were associated with Mr. Crapo in the practice of law, in time occupied all of the second floor and flowed over into the next building south.
In 1883 the National Bank of Commerce decided to build a new banking edifice on the old site.
In 1871 it had purchased a lot from the Rotch heirs extending westward from the old lot to Bethel Street, a frontage of 37 feet, 10 inches. In 1872 it had purchased of the Rotch heirs a lot to the north on Water Street with a frontage of 25 feet. On this lot stood the quaint porticoed building occupied after 1863 by the Ocean Mutual Insurance Company of which the presiding genius was William H. Taylor. Samuel H. Cook was his clerk. In 1885 the bank purchased of Temple S. Corson, a strip eight feet wide to the west of the last named lot. These purchases represent the real estate holdings of this society prior to the addition of the Bourne Memorial.
During the construction of its new building the National Bank of Commerce transacted its business in quarters furnished by Sanford and Kelley, brokers, who occupied a part of the property now used by Wood, Brightman and Company.
The Marine Insurance Company practically evaporated. The lawyers who occupied the second story were driven out and, curiously enough, took up quarters over the First National Bank. If they could not be depositors of importance they were at least determined to be suppositors of some bank.
When the new bank building was finished in 1884, it presented the same appearance as it does today. Practically the only change is the removal of the counter and screens from the room where we are now assembled. The edifice was by far the most elaborate and splendid home to which any New Bedford bank had ever aspired. Its carved mahogany and its marble floors were deemed the limit of extravagant investment of stockholders’ money for luxurious business. To us now who have lately been initiated into the palatial splendors of the new Merchants Banking House, the old Commercial Bank on Water Street, seems fitted no doubt, for a repository of curious antiques, admirably adapted for the home of a society whose interests are merely ancient, but hardly recognizable as a banking house.
On the north side of the entrance hall in the new bank building where the whaling trophies have since been kept, the traditional business of insurance was carried on, no longer marine, for the most part, but fire. Here, Samuel H. Cook, on the very spot where he had worked for the Ocean Mutual, had his insurance office so long as the bank continued to use the building.
To the second story the same lawyers returned, Mr. Crapo again taking up his seat near the window looking down Center Street where for nearly half a century he had looked at Crow Island with the ambitious dream, never realized, of owning it as the one familiar thing which had never changed in his ever changing environment. The law firm of Crapo, Clifford and Clifford occupied the south rooms, and the firm of Marston and Cobb, the north rooms.
For nearly a century until about 1890, Water Street between Union Street and William Street, was the Wall Street of New Bedford. Practically all the banks, insurance offices, brokers’ offices, lawyers’ offices and telegraph offices were concentrated within these limits. It was the Merchants Bank, with its usual keen anticipation of events, which definitely determined that westward the course of empire must take its way. The exodus was startlingly complete. It was like the traditional abandonment of a sinking ship by rats. Judge Prescott was the only lawyer who played the part of Casablanca. This sudden turn of affairs was peculiarly unfortunate for the Commercial Bank. It was forced to leave these apparently all-sufficient quarters, in which we are assembled, and in November, 1895, take up a much less commodious shop on Cheapside. The lawyers who had always been superimposed on the bank, by force of habit took up their accustomed position directly above the bank in its new location. In 1898 the bank was liquidated and its quarters, after some years as a brokerage office, are now a part of Steiger and Dudgeon’s dry goods emporium.
After the Bank of Commerce abandoned its home the building was vacant for a while. In 1899 it was purchased and occupied as an office by the New England Cotton Yarn Company. In 1906, through the generosity of Henry H. Rogers the property was conveyed to the old Dartmouth Historical Society which now presides over the old Wall Street of New Bedford, having, as seems fitting, for its neighbors several junk shops, and somewhere in the second story of an abandoned bank building there is an Art Club.
Thomas Hazard, the president of the Bedford Bank, was one of the innumerable Tom Hazards of Narragansett. There were also College Tom, and Nailor Tom, and Fiddle-head Tom and many others, so it is not strange that the president of the first bank in Bedford was called “Bedford Tom.” He was born in Kingston in 1758 and lived his early life in Cranston. When he was thirty-one years old, in 1789, he came to New Bedford. He had married Anna Rodman of Newport, a cousin of our Samuel Rodman Senior, or “Old Sammy” as he was usually known on Water Street. Anna Rodman was reputed to be a very beautiful “Young Friend,” much admired by the English officers in Newport, to her mother’s great distress. The ardor of Thomas Hazard as evidenced by a specimen preserved of his flamboyant and passionate love letters surely entitled him to a victory over the English. He built a fine mansion for Anna at the southwest corner of what is now Elm Street and Water Street, next to her cousin Samuel’s. This house is probably embodied in a much altered form in the structure now at this corner. In front of the house was Mr. Hazard’s wharf, where now the big new warehouse stands. Thomas Hazard was very successful in his whaling ventures, acting in concert with Samuel Rodman and William Rotch. He was active in civic affairs, being the postmaster of New Bedford at one time, and a member of the state senate. When the War of 1812 practically annihilated the whaling industry of New Bedford, and the old Bedford Bank, of which he was the president, was obliged to close up its affairs, he removed to New York and was there actively and successfully engaged as a merchant for the rest of his life. He died in his handsome house on Beekman Street near St. George’s Church, in 1828. His widow Anna, survived him until 1845. His daughter Elizabeth married Jacob Barker of Philadelphia, one of the great financiers of this country. Another daughter, Sarah, was an exceptionally interesting woman. As a child she lived with her grandmother Rodman in Newport. She married John H. Howland of Dartmouth, who removed to New York in 1810 and formed a partnership with his nephew, Joseph Grinnell. He was a very successful merchant and a public spirited man. In fact, the descendants of “Bedford Tom” were in no way inferior to the legion of Hazard descendants who played so large a part in the industrial and civic history of Rhode Island.
One of the original Directors of the Bedford Bank was John Howland, born in 1742. He was the master of one of the first whalers which sailed from Old Dartmouth in 1760. He was afterwards the owner of the ship Fame. His shrewd business habits caused him to be made the agent of many vessels. He was considered one of the richest men of his day. William Rotch, to be sure, was looked upon as a millionaire, but “John Howland had the most ready money.” He lived on Water Street, just south of School Street. The building still stands. He was interested in all town affairs and helpful in the transaction of the public business. He died in 1828. His two sons, John and James Howland were prominent merchants of the next generation.
Among the original directors of the Bedford Bank, and of the Bedford Commercial Bank, was Captain Cornelius Grinnell. He served for twenty-six years until 1831. He died in 1850, aged 98 years. Captain Cornelius was not a whaling captain. He was in the merchant packet service. An advertisement in the Medley in 1792 states that he is about to sail for Havre de Grace. Mr. Ricketson gives a delightful picture of Captain Cornelius Grinnell both as a young man and as one of the worthies of New Bedford. “A gentleman of the old school, hospitable, urbane, a man of sound judgment and unswerving integrity of character.” Mr. Crapo’s only recollection of Captain Cornelius Grinnell is seeing him going into the fashionable barber shop on the north side of Union Street between Johnny Cake Hill and Water Street. Mr. Crapo remembers his brass buttoned long coat over tight fitting short breeches with silver knee buckles and shining top boots, his hair long and tied behind with ribbon. This was a much more modern and sober costume than he wore when his portrait was painted in Havre de Grace in 1792. “Sky blue colored coat, buff waistcoat, white cravat, ruffled shirt and wristbands and hair powdered.” It is curious that Mr. Crapo’s only recollection of Captain Grinnell was as he entered a barber shop. Mr. Ricketson facetiously describes another barber shop experience of the captain in France fifty years earlier. There can be no question that Captain Cornelius Grinnell was one of the most progressive and broad-minded merchants of Old Dartmouth, a man held in the very highest respect as a citizen. There can, also, be no doubt that he was always well groomed.
George Howland was the first president of the Bedford Commercial Bank, being thirty-five years old when elected and served in that office thirty-six years until his death. When sixteen years old, George Howland left his father’s farm and entered the counting room of William Rotch. He became one of the most successful and wealthy merchants of his day. His own counting room was at the foot of North Street. Mrs. Mary Jane Taber has contributed to this Society many interesting anecdotes of Mr. Howland and his family.
Another Howland family was well represented in the Bedford Commercial Bank directorate. Isaac and Gideon Howland and later Edward Mott Robinson, the second president of the bank. The other directors of the Bedford Commercial Bank included most of the pre-eminently important merchants of the earlier days. The Rotch, Rodman, Grinnell, Nye, Howland and Hathaway families were well represented and many of the descendants of the earlier directors, no longer for the most part the preeminently leading merchants of the community, were connected with the bank until its liquidation in 1898.
John Pickens was the cashier of the Bedford Bank. He was born in 1743 and served as an officer in the Revolutionary Army. Daniel Ricketson describes John Pickens as follows:—”Behind the desk, upon the left hand of the banking room, might usually be seen busily employed in writing, a tall and elderly gentleman, his cropped gray hair brushed back from his forehead, with a white neck cloth closely drawn about his throat, a pepper and salt colored suit, the coat long-skirted, with large pockets on the side, one row of buttons, and of Quaker curve, but with a collar and small clothes with knee buckles, which, with the style of shoes worn by the older men of that day, complete the personal appearance of the venerable and worthy cashier of the old Bedford Bank, John Pickens, esquire.” He died July 31st, 1825, aged 82 years, and lies buried in the old graveyard at Acushnet village. A pen and ink portrait of Mr. Pickens by Daniel Ricketson is in the possession of this Society. Joseph Ricketson was the first cashier of the Bedford Commercial Bank, serving from 1816 to 1834. Daniel Ricketson also describes Joseph Ricketson, who was his father, with filial pride. James H. Crocker of whom I know naught, succeeded Mr. Ricketson, serving four years.
Thomas B. White acted as the next cashier, serving for thirty-five years. Mr. White came from Newburyport. He was a large, heavy man, slow of motion, and ponderously methodical. He was a lover and a teacher of music and organized a chorus which gave public concerts. He had as his clerk and understudy Benjamin F. Coombs, who succeeded him as cashier in 1873. Mr. Coombs was the antithesis of Mr. White. He was a slight, nervous man who chewed tobacco continuously. He used to practice pistol shooting in the cellar of the bank after hours. He was able to add up two columns of figures of a long depositor’s ledger with amazing celerity and absolute accuracy.
In the earlier days of banking in New Bedford, until the latter part of the last century, the cashiers of the banks were called on for little more than clerical duties. No personal or commercial paper was ever discounted until solemnly scrutinized and passed upon by the deliberate vote of the board of directors. All questions of credit and all questions of financial policy were determined solely by the president and board of directors. Save for the safe-guarding of the money and securities of the bank, and the keeping of accurate accounts of its transactions, the responsibility and the initiative of a cashier was usually slight.
In l876 James H. Tallman became cashier under the more modern methods by which the cashier was in effect the executive head of the bank. Mr. Tallman in 1864 was in Mr. Crapo’s law office. In 1865 and 1866 he was clerk in the Mechanics Bank. In 1867 he entered the employ of the Bank of Commerce and continued in its service for thirty-one years, during twenty-two of which he was the Cashier.
The biography of the Merchants Bank has been written once and for all by Mr. Mosher in the admirable brochure which distinguished the opening of the palatial quarters of the bank in 1916. It would be an act of supererogation to attempt any supplement to so excellently arranged and written a history of this bank. I submit the pamphlet written by Mr. Mosher as a part of this historical disquisition, Appendix A.
The Merchants Bank, affiliated with and inspired by the Merchants Insurance Company, came into existence in 1825. It renewed its state charter in 1831, and with the ever-changing conditions of bank existence, the varying laws of regulation, the state and national requirements, the complete change in the nature of the business of the community, it attained and has maintained its position as the most influential bank in the community.
The early directors of the Merchants Bank were all leading and active merchants of New Bedford, more exclusively so than was the case of the other banks. The Bedford Commercial and the Fairhaven Bank and the Marine Bank had among their directors retired merchants, men of landed estates, and men of comparative leisure. The Mechanics Bank had representatives of the mechanics and humbler shop keepers.
The first president and guiding spirit of the Merchants Bank was John Avery Parker, who had been on the directorate of the Bedford Commercial Bank since its origin in 1816. He became president of the Merchants Bank in 1825 continuing as such for twenty-eight years until his death in 1853. Mr. Parker was born in 1769 in Plympton, Mass., and during his early life kept a store in Westport and there engaged in building ships. In 1803 he moved to New Bedford. He first lived at the corner of Bridge Street and Water Street. Later he built the large wooden porticoed dwelling on Purchase Street between Elm and Middle which for eighty years and more has been the hotel of the town. John Avery Parker found it too old fashioned and inconvenient in 1834 and built the splendid granite mansion on County Street near the common which was one of the principal show places of the city, now unfortunately demolished. Mr. Parker’s counting room and warehouse built in 1833 was at the corner of Bridge and Front Streets and his wharf was directly in front, where now the street railway power station smokes. John Avery Parker was an “all around” merchant, not confining his activities to the whaling industry, but interested also in cotton mills and iron foundries and various enterprises. His intelligent energy as a business man made him by far the wealthiest merchant of his day. He was also an active citizen. He was captain of a volunteer militia company in 1814 when the Nimrod was menacing our shores. He was a fire warden. As chairman of a self-appointed school committee he was instrumental in establishing the first free school in New Bedford which was not a pauper school. In all the larger enterprises of the community such as the construction of a railroad to Taunton, and the inauguration of manufacturing industries, Mr. Parker was a leader. His financial support was important, yet his personality was even more important.
Associated with Mr. Parker in the bank was James B. Congdon who acted as cashier from the start until 1857, a term of thirty-two years. James B. Congdon is, perhaps the most interesting personality connected with the history of the banks of New Bedford. He was dynamic. His restless, active mind seemed to know no limitations. He not only was more keenly alive to the phases of banking as a science than the cashiers of other banks, his contemporaries, but he practically governed the whole community as chairman of the board of selectmen from 1834 until the town became a city in 1847. He drafted the city charter and wrote most of the ordinances which were adopted during his connection with the municipal government. From 1858 to 1879 he was the city treasurer and collector of taxes. He was the main inspiration of the public library and served as secretary of the board of trustees of the library for more than thirty years. Indeed there was no interest of the community to which he did not give unselfish devotion. He was a profuse writer. He wrote always with an enthusiastic and glowing style monographs on banking, essays on literary subjects, dedicatory addresses, historical papers, poetry; everything was food for his pen. He not only wrote with facility but he read with ardor. His love of books was a passion.
At a dinner held a year or so ago at which the bankers of New Bedford of today were present, Mr. Crapo told a story which illustrates the difference in temperament between Mr. Parker and Mr. Congdon, a difference which, perhaps, made them so admirable a team in their work for the Merchants Bank. For some reason the bank was pinched; possibly it was short of funds to redeem its bills in Boston. Whatever the reason it was necessary for Mr. Parker and Mr. Congdon to make a journey to Boston to borrow money of the Suffolk Bank to make good. They went by horse and chaise and reached Bridgewater at dusk where they spent the night. They slept in the same room. Mr. Congdon afterward told of his extreme irritation at the insensate conduct of Mr. Parker who promptly went to sleep and snored, while Mr. Congdon was so worried about the situation, wondering whether the loan could be effected, that he tossed sleeplessly all night. It is needless to say that Mr. Parker had vastly more at stake. Mr. Congdon, indeed, was ever too busy a man working for others to acquire financial means of his own. The next day the loan was easily arranged, Mr. Parker very likely giving his personal obligation, and the two men returned by horse and chaise to New Bedford; Mr. Congdon relieved at the happy escape from difficulty for the bank but still provoked with Mr. Parker for his apparent unconcern.
Mr. Crapo as a boy was closely associated with Mr. Congdon in the town office at the top of the old town hall, now the public library. Their friendship was unabated so long as Mr. Congdon lived. As a boy Mr. Crapo remembers often seeing Mr. Congdon coming up the hill of William Street swinging the enormous metal key of the bank vault. His portrait in the public library portrays him well. I remember that when a boy I was sent on an errand to Mr. Congdon’s house at the corner of County and Walnut Streets not many months before his death. He was in his library, the south front room, the walls banked with books from floor to ceiling, a wood fire on the hearth, and the frail old gentleman clad in a brilliant Persian dressing gown, with carpet slippers, talked to me with the enthusiasm of youth about the poetry which he had been reading when I entered the room.
Charles T. Tucker, one of the enterprising and successful whaling merchants of his day, and a prominent member of the Society of Friends, succeeded Mr. Parker as the president of the Merchants Bank and served as such for twenty-two years, being succeeded by Jonathan Bourne, another most successful whaling merchant. Peleg C. Howland succeeded Mr. Congdon as cashier in 1858 and served until his death in 1885, a service of twenty-seven years, being succeeded by Henry C. W. Mosher. During the first seventy-four years of the bank’s history there were but three cashiers.
THE FAIRHAVEN BANK
In March, 1831, the Fairhaven Insurance Company and the Fairhaven Bank were chartered by the state naming as corporators the same group of Fairhaven whaling merchants. Both the bank and the insurance company had capitals of $100,000; the bank capital was increased in 1836 to $200,000. At the present time the capital is $120,000. When this bank and Marine Insurance Company were organized, Fairhaven was almost as largely interested in whaling ventures as the village across the river and the same motives and considerations of business needs caused the merchants to establish these mutually serviceable agencies.
The original meeting of the subscribers of the capital stock of the Bank was held at Wing’s Hotel on April 19th, 1831, the call being signed by Warren Delano. Ezekiel Sawin was Chairman of the meeting and Benjamin Rodman, who had interests in Fairhaven, was chosen Secretary. In May 1831 Noah Stoddard conveyed to the President, Directors and Company of the Fairhaven Bank a lot of land on the south side of Center Street, west of his dwelling house, with a frontage of 30 feet and a depth of 54 feet. The dwelling house of John Delano was to the west. Here the charming building now occupied by the Savings Bank was built and the Fairhaven Bank did its business here on the first floor for forty-five years, the Marine Insurance Company, having its office in the second story. In 1876 the National Bank of Fairhaven, the successor of the Fairhaven Bank in 1864, purchased of the estate of Horatio W. Richmond, the land and buildings next east of the old bank house at the corner of Center and Main Streets, adding a strip on Main Street purchased from Abner C. Fish. Horatio W. Richmond a few years before had erected the building for use as his apothecary shop with his dwelling in the stories above. The bank fitted up the apothecary shop for a banking room and has occupied it as such for forty-one years to the present time.
At the time when the whaling industry ceased to be profitable many of the whaling merchants in Fairhaven were sorely smitten and the bank, of course, sustained severe losses yet it was able to adjust itself to the new conditions and has since gradually attained a position of prosperous stability. It now has resources of about $500,000.
Ezekiel Sawin was the first president of the Fairhaven Bank serving thirty-one years. He was a whaling merchant and carried on a ship chandlery business on Water Street. The building with its delightfully constructed observation cupola now stands deserted. Back of the shop near the river was a saw-mill where ship timbers were sawn. The location was north of Union wharf. At Sawin’s shop practically all the Fairhaven whale ships were supplied with fittings. Mr. Sawin was not a man of much wealth but he was distinctly a leader in the community, always ready to tackle any problem of public interest. He seemed to be the natural head of anything that was doing in Fairhaven in his day. When the crash in the whaling business came and Fairhaven was laid low Mr. Sawin was seriously affected, but it did not kill his courage. His dwelling was the fine house which Weston Howland lived in for many years, still occupied by his family.
Asa Swift Jr., an original Director, was a whaling captain and afterwards a merchant. He was one of the leading men of the town. He lived on Water Street. Lemuel Tripp, another original Director, was known as “Deacon Tripp.” He was a man of high character and devoted to the Congregational Church. He had the respect of the whole community. He lived on William Street in the house where his grandson Lemuel T. Wilcox lately died.
Nathan Church, another original director, was the rich man of Fairhaven. His wealth measured by modern standards would seem trivial, yet in the Fairhaven of his day he was considered a plutocrat. Mr. Church’s counting house was on the east side of Water Street, opposite Ezekiel Sawin’s. Job C. Tripp, one of the board of directors of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, and the oldest man now living in Fairhaven, to whom I naturally went for gossip about the people connected with the Fairhaven banks, told me that as a young man he admired Nathan Church because notwithstanding his exalted position as a man of great wealth, standing on a sort of pinnacle, he nevertheless was most urbane and stopped and greeted all his neighbors and fellow-citizens in the most friendly sort of way, “common sort of people just the same as the merchants.” Mr. Tripp also said that he admired Mr. Church’s rigid rule of paying all his bills weekly every Saturday afternoon, not only his bills at the retail shops, but all accounts connected with his extensive whaling enterprises which could possibly be adjusted weekly. Mr. Church built the attractive house which Walter P. Winsor of the First National Bank, long lived in. F. R. Whitwell was also a whaling merchant. His counting room was on Water Street, south of Ezekiel Sawin’s. He was somewhat more successful in escaping calamity than some of his fellow merchants. He was deemed to be the second wealthiest man in Fairhaven after Nathan Church. He lived on the west side of North Main Street. His son, who was also later a director of the Fairhaven Bank, was also a leading merchant. Abner Pease, another original director, was a quiet, soft-mannered Quaker who lived in the north part of the town which has been since distinguished as the “Pease district.” His attempt to dedicate his property to educational purposes was somewhat diverted to the support of lawyers, owing to the complicated litigation which ensued.
William P. Jenney another original director of the Fairhaven Bank, was a partner in the firm of Gibbs and Jenney. This is a concern with whose name I myself am familiar because all the voluminous papers connected with their business form a part of Mr. Crapo’s documentary impedimenta of three-quarters of a century. Gibbs and Jenney failed just before the war of 1860. The assignees appointed by the court were George E. Tripp, afterwards the president of the Fairhaven Bank, Joshua Tobey of Wareham, and William W. Crapo. Mr. Tripp was an excellent man, somewhat pretentious but not ambitious to undertake cares which could be avoided. Mr. Tobey lived in Wareham where he had plenty of business to attend to. The result was that Mr. Crapo had his only experience as a whaling merchant in fitting ships, arranging voyages, selling oil, making settlements, etc. He had often acted as attorney for ship owners, but he had never before been confronted with the task of actually running a whaling business. It was only the remnants of a once prosperous business which Mr. Crapo could rescue. He employed Edmund Allen who had clerked it for Gibbs and Jenney as his assistant in the business. Mr. Allen attempted the whaling business on his own account and failed and Mr. Crapo was in turn his assignee. As an illustration of how hard hit Fairhaven was in those days, the best bid which could be obtained for the elaborate gothic house and large, well conceived garden belonging to Mr. Jenney was $4000. This attractive estate was on the site of the present Unitarian Church. Mr. Allen’s handsome house was sold for $6000 and afterwards became the residence of Henry H. Rogers where later he built his big house which has since been dismembered.
There were other early Directors of the Fairhaven Bank whose enterprise and faith in the risks of the whaling business were equal to those of the merchants on the west bank of the Acushnet River. One difference between the two groups of men was religious. The west side merchants were Quakers and Pacifists. The east side merchants were Congregationalists and fighters. It is perplexing to consider that peace without victory has been the lot of Fairhaven in a business way. Possibly victory without peace is the less desirable result on the west bank of the river.
The Fairhaven Bank is the only Bank of Old Dartmouth which has had the thrilling experience of real bank burglars. Mr. William C. Stoddard tells the story. One Saturday evening in April 1868 he took the nine o’clock bus from New Bedford over the bridge intending to go to a club meeting. The club consisted only of Walter P. Winsor, Thomas B. Fuller and himself. He was a clerk in the Fairhaven Bank, then located in the old building where now is the Savings Bank. He had left his pipe in the bank and went there to get it before going to the club for the customary smoke talk. As he was about to unlock the front door, he heard noises in the dark Bank. He called James F. Tripp who was standing on the opposite side of Center Street and together they investigated. They heard several persons leaving the bank by the back windows. It was too dark to see them. On entering the bank, they found the Directors’ table covered with burglars’ tools, with a rigging to force the vault door. The burglars, however, had found an easier way of approach to the treasure and had made a hole in the plastering at the side of the vault, which would have enabled them easily and within a short time to penetrate the thin boiler plate of the vault where they would have found a plenteous supply of specie and money and negotiable bonds amounting to several hundreds of thousands of dollars in value, including the securities of the Savings Bank which were kept in the same vault. The forgotten pipe saved the bank. The precipitous departure of the burglars possibly saved Mr. Stoddard as by means of keys of the bank on his person they would have had a convenient access to the vault. Two of the men, who had been making a study of the situation for several weeks before pulling off the job were taken by the New Bedford police. One of them was Jimmy Hope a notorious bank robber who was finally caught and held in San Francisco. They were quickly bailed out from detention in New Bedford, the bail being $15,000 in one case and $5,000 in the other. Thereupon they vanished.
The Mechanics Bank and the Mechanics Insurance Company were incorporated under separate legislative acts in June, 1831. A majority of the incorporators of both companies were the same individuals and William R. Rodman was the president of each company.
Isaac Howland signed the notice to the subscribers for the meeting of organization of the bank, held July 16, 1831 at the Counting Room of William R. Rodman. At this meeting Thomas A. Greene was chairman and James Thornton, secretary. At the first meeting of the Directors, July 23, 1831, William R. Rodman was elected President. James B. Congdon, the Cashier of the Merchants Bank soon afterwards made application for the position of Cashier and was elected. Subsequently he withdrew and his brother Joseph Congdon was elected in his stead. Mr. Congdon’s salary was fixed at One Thousand Dollars and was not increased as to gross amount during his twenty-six years of service. In the beginning he was authorized to employ an assistant at his own expense. This assistant was Peleg Hall who served until 1835 when Isaac C. Taber was appointed his successor at a salary of Four Hundred Dollars a year. Mr. Taber was soon succeeded by William G. Coffin who after nearly ten years of service in 1845 was given a maximum salary of Four Hundred and Fifty Dollars a year. Joseph R. Shiverick acted as the Secretary of the Board of Directors without pay for twenty-eight years from the organization of the bank in 1831 until 1859.
The bank was originally capitalized at $200,000. In 1854 this was increased to $400,000 and in 1857 to $600,000 which is its present capital. In 1851 it renewed its State Charter but in 1864 the stockholders voted to surrender the State Charter and organize a National Banking Association. The bank continued for about a year to conduct business under both charters as two separate institutions. The bank paid in dividends six per cent a year, for the most part during the first half century of its existence. The failure of Charles Russell and Sons in the early history of the bank was evidently a trying experience for all the banks in New Bedford and there is much about it in the early Directors’ Records.
“Memo. May 12. 1837. This bank, together with all the other banks in town and vicinity, suspended specie payments, or in other words, ceased to redeem their bills on demand.” This entry is not to be construed literally. The bills were redeemed in perfectly good money, but not in coin. Occasionally the difficulty in obtaining specie was so great that almost all the banks of the country were forced now and then to suspend specie payments. At the time of the Civil War the suspension was practically universal. The resumption of specie payments after the war was looked forward to with much apprehension which was not justified by the event. The difficulty in obtaining specie in 1837 and 1838 is evidenced by the entries in the records urging the cashier to purchase it on the “best terms available.” On Nov. 25, 1837, at a special meeting of the directors, Mr. Congdon was authorized to represent the bank at “the convention of banks in New York,” held, doubtless, to consider the general situation.
The formality of destroying worn bills as entered repeatedly on the records, is somewhat interesting. The cashier delivered the bills to the president. A committee was appointed to receive the bills from the president and examine them and burn those which had become unserviceable. A careful report by the committee was given to the president who in turn reported to the board of directors. On one occasion the strong draft in the stove carried the bills without igniting them, up the chimney and scattered them on the street, where some honest passer-by picked them up and returned them to the bank. More caution was thereafter used.
A story which Mr. Crapo remembered hearing in his youth, and which he narrated to me, I found fully confirmed by an entry by Mr. Shiverick in the Directors’ Records. It seems a package containing money, doubtless the bills of outside banks in small denomination, was entrusted to a messenger, to take to Boston to deposit against the bills of the Mechanics Bank offered for redemption. It was in the winter and the roads were frozen hard and very rough. The messenger rode on the top of the four-horse coach and in the jolting and swaying of the vehicle, the package dropped out of his pocket and when he reached Boston he was minus the money. When he returned to New Bedford and told his story there was consternation, and some suspicious persons were inclined to doubt the sincerity of the story. Not long after there came the January thaw. A teamster who was drawing freight by wagon from New Bedford to Boston and walking by the side of his team somewhere up in Canton, let us say, noticed that something white was turned up by one of the wheels from the deep rut of mud and picking it up found it was a small fortune. The record reads as follows:
January 1836. “On the 13th inst., the Cashier committed to the care of John Sargent (of this town) $2,000 in Bank Bills to be delivered to the Suffolk Bank in Boston. They were not delivered in Boston as requested but lost on the road. On the 19th inst., said bundle containing Two Thousand Dollars was found and returned to this bank in safety by ______ Godfrey, wagon driver on the line between New Bedford and Boston. Whereupon, Voted: That the Cashier be authorized to pay to said Godfrey the sum of Fifty Dollars it being as a reward for finding and returning to this bank said package containing $2,000. Voted: That the Cashier is authorized to pay to sd John Sargent the sum of ten dollars 91 cents, it being the amount expended by him in searching for sd money.”
Before the Civil War all four of the old state banks of New Bedford made free use of an unrestricted right to issue circulation. At times the issuing of currency in exchange for bills receivable was more profitable than loaning money or credit at interest. The danger of over-circulation and the difficulty in a time of stress of redemption made this form of banking somewhat hazardous. The bank bills of the Massachusetts country banks and other New England banks were redeemable at the Suffolk Bank in Boston. This was not a matter of legal requirement, simply an established custom. To the credit of the integrity, wisdom and conservatism of our community, it can be said that no New Bedford bank bill was ever dishonored.
As an illustration of the ante-bellum method of issuing currency, I am tempted to give Mr. Crapo’s recollections of a visit which he made about 1870 in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, for the purpose of seeing two old college friends Harry McCormick and Wayne McVeogh. His host was Mr. Don Cameron, a well known Senator, one of the type of political bosses for which Pennsylvania has always been distinguished. Don Cameron took Mr. Crapo on a “buggy ride” along the Susquehanna River, to the little nearby village of Middleton. Between the road and the river there stood, somewhat isolated, an old deserted wooden building with the sign of “Middleton Bank.” As they approached the building, Don Cameron told Mr. Crapo that his father, Simon Cameron, Secretary of War under Lincoln, and he, had owned the bank. It had had a theoretical capital of $100,000. Substantially the only business the Camerons did was to furnish their own bills as currency to the lumber operators to pay off their help, to the Indian agents to distribute in the north-west, to the prospectors who were mining copper in Michigan and to the various active enterprises which were in need of some form of money to carry on their operations. The person to whom the bank bills were given, gave in exchange his note to the Camerons at seven or eight per cent interest. The notes when paid, were paid in some form of credit. These Cameron bank bills were redeemable at a well-known banking house in Philadelphia, and since they had been, and, in fact, always continued to be redeemed on presentation, the Cameron money always stood at par. In this way these gentlemen had for many years from one to two million dollars of their own fiat bills in circulation, on which, of course, they received an income of seven per cent or so, a most profitable but a somewhat irresponsible method of banking.
Here in New Bedford Edward L. Baker became interested in copper mines and railways in the Lake Superior region. It was necessary for him to transmit to that region bank bills which would pass at par. So he established a credit at the Mechanics Bank by giving his note say for $10,000, at six per cent. Whenever he wanted a bundle of bills he would call for them and send them west to Michigan. Each bill delivered to him was marked with the letter “A” in red ink. When these bills after many months found their way back to the bank they were credited to his account.
Before the Civil War, the need of a more stable and reliable currency had been demonstrated. The New Bedford banks, carefully and conservatively managed, had been able to supply a dependable currency and the profit was satisfactory. This was by no means the universal rule. As one of the results of the War, the National Banking System was inaugurated and one of its provisions was a special tax of 10 per cent on all currency of State Banks. This was a completely effective method, as it was designed to be, to force every State Bank of issue to submit to the National system. The four banks of New Bedford were wise enough to see the writing on the wall and abandon their state charters and seek federal charters.
The Mechanics Bank received its Federal charter in June, 1864, retaining its State charter, however, until March, 1865. At that time it had outstanding a considerable amount of circulation which, under the terms of the National Banking Act, was redeemable within two years. After two years the old bills were outlawed. So far as I know, no New Bedford bank ever took advantage of this statute of limitation. Even within this century the bank with which I am connected has redeemed bills issued by it prior to 1864.
The business of issuing circulation had been profitable to the Mechanics bank and it wished to make the experiment of continuing that branch of its business under the new law. One necessary requirement for the right to issue circulation under the new regime was to acquire and deposit in the United States treasury, bonds of the United States to secure the same. The best bonds to buy were the “520’s.” The sooner they were picked up the better, since it was evident that it was a rising market. These United States bonds bearing interest at six per cent were called the “520’s” because although they were payable in twenty years the national government reserved the right to retire them at the end of five years. They took the place of the 7-30’s, so called because they bore interest of two cents per day for three hundred and sixty-five days in the year. So the Mechanics National Bank picked up here and there as it could, in the Boston and New York market, $600,000 of these “520” United States bonds, an amount which represented its entire capital stock, by the deposit of which in the treasury it could obtain the right to issue $540,000 of national bank bills. The troublesome question was how to get these bonds from the old vault on Water Street, to the Treasury building in Washington. There were two or three so called “express” companies in New Bedford, brought into existence about 1850 by the building of a railroad between New Bedford and Taunton. Hatch, Gray & Co., are, perhaps, the best remembered. The directors of the Mechanics Bank, however, did not consider it safe to entrust so much value to agents who would be quite unable to make good any miscarriage. It was therefore decided that two officers of the bank should take the bonds to Washington. The cashier, Eliphalet W. Hervey, being a salaried officer, was naturally selected as one. The other it was determined, should be a member of the board of directors. Thomas Mandell, the president, said he was much too old for the job. John K. Thornton simply said he wouldn’t. Thomas Wilcox was too modest, wherefore by a natural process of elimination, the job was wished on William W. Crapo, the youngest member of the board, then about thirty-five years of age. No extra compensation was suggested. The bank did, however, pay the bare traveling expenses of its messengers.
Mr. Hervey and Mr. Crapo obtained an old, well worn carpet bag in which the $600,000 of government bonds were stored, and going to Fall River by team, took the boat to New York. Mr. Crapo cannot recall whether it was Mr. Hervey or himself that slept with the precious carpet bag in his bunk, but together they had it in the stateroom, and together they carried it up to the Astor House in the morning and took a room where they deposited the bag on the floor. Mr. Hervey went downstairs and had some breakfast, Mr. Crapo guarding the bag in the chamber, and then, in turn, Mr. Hervey guarded the bag while Mr. Crapo went downstairs for breakfast; and then together they guarded the bag until the next train was ready to leave Jersey City for Washington, which was not until noon-time. In those days of the war, traveling was neither luxurious or safe. The train, called a “mixed train,” was crowded with drunken soldiers and boisterous camp followers, and assault and robbery were incidents to be expected. Mr. Hervey and Mr. Crapo are still with us, demonstrating that they both have always possessed some qualities of physical endurance, yet not even in their early prime of manhood is it conceivable that either of them could have been sufficiently husky to pose as robust police guardians of treasure in transit. The carpet bag was placed on the floor of the car, closely between them and they tried to appear unconcerned. The train reached Washington long after the treasury department had closed and the guarding of the bag was continued in the old Willard Hotel with watches turn and turn about. As soon as the treasury opened the next morning, two tired, travel-worn men deposited their old carpet bag with the treasurer of the United States. A considerable time was taken in checking up the bonds and listing the numbers and fulfilling various necessary formalities. In the end a receipt was issued to the Mechanics Bank and Mr. Hervey and Mr. Crapo with a feeling of intense relief walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and had a bite for breakfast. Mr. Crapo subsequently became, through various employments, extremely familiar with the treasury department, its methods and its varying personnel, and twenty years later he drafted and, as chairman of the finance committee of the congress, was instrumental in the legislation which renewed the national bank charters, yet nothing connected with the treasury or the national bank system has ever made so deep an impression on him as that perilous journey from New Bedford to Washington with the old carpet bag bulging with more than half a million of precious bonds.
In 1831 a lot of land for a banking house was purchased by the Mechanics Bank from Mary Rotch, with an extra ten feet in the rear from Benjamin Rodman, at the northeast corner of Water and Rodman streets, about 31 feet frontage and 55 feet depth, an identical lot to the south being at the same time conveyed to the Merchants Bank. Apparently the Mechanics Bank, together with the Insurance Company, began business in “Samuel Rodman’s Stone Building, south side,” opposite his dwelling, the building now occupied by Charles O. Brightman. The earlier stockholders’ meetings, however, were held either in William R. Rodman’s counting room, or “in the reading room over S. & C. S. Taber’s Store, No. 36 North Water Street.” Meanwhile the new building at the foot of William Street was under construction. I have been unable to learn the exact date when the bank took possession of its new banking rooms. The Mercury of July 19, 1833, says: “The Mechanics Insurance Company have removed their office to the New Building at the foot of William Street.” This was the second story over the bank. Moses Gibbs was the secretary of the Insurance Company. The annual meetings of the bank in October, 1833, 1834 and 1835 were held in this office or “hall,” as it was called, presumably because it was more commodious than the banking room. Afterwards the stockholders’ meetings were usually held at the bank. Probably the bank was established in its quarters at the foot of William Street in the later part of 1833 or the early part of 1834.
The old bank building at the foot of William Street still stands, a fine example of that steadfast loyalty, without subservience, to the purity of the architectural orders adapted without being mutilated to serve the exigencies of specific problems, which characterized Russell Warren’s work. New Bedford is indeed fortunate in still preserving a number of examples of this famous architect’s work. It is difficult in view of later history to conceive that the Merchants and the Mechanics Banks could ever have agreed to act jointly, yet, in 1831 they evidently did act jointly in employing Mr. Warren to design a building for their common use. One would never suspect such was the case from Mr. Mosher’s history of the Merchants Bank. Ho produces a most excellent photogravure of the dignified old bank building and says, “Here we present the second home of the Merchants Bank, a rather pretentious building even at this day, of Grecian architecture, where the bank remained till 1894.” Even if the whole of the fine Greek facade had been the second home of the Merchants Bank Mr. Mosher surely cannot now think of it as pretentious.
The skill with which Warren’s design was made becomes more and more impressive as the location and form of the building is studied from the point of view of the artist. Nothing approaching it has ever since been achieved by later bank architects. The design alone was a joint undertaking between the banks. The construction of the two several halves of the building was undertaken separately under different contracts. The south half, belonging to the Merchants Bank was built by Dudley Davenport, a prominent and showy sort of man who, curiously enough was a director of the Mechanics Bank. The north half was constructed for the Mechanics Bank by Robert Chase, a less showy but, in some ways, a more reliable contractor. Mr. Chase subsequently became the boss-mechanic of the New Bedford and Taunton railroad. When the building was nearing completion after a year or two of delayed construction it was discovered that the Ionic columns which support the pediment in front of the several halves of the building differed in entasis, which is to say the perpendicular swelling curve of a classical pillar. A builder learned in his profession is supposed to know the exact entasis requisite for a pillar of a specified height and diameter. Russell Warren passed judgment on the work of the two builders. He found that the three pillars in front of the Mechanics half of the building were orthodox and that the three pillars in front of the Merchants half of the building were heterodox. Whether this difficulty was a factor in the inexplicable delay in the erection of this building, I know not. At all events the difference in the entasis of the columns is clearly perceptible to the observing eye today. The cost of the building to the Mechanics Bank was $9500.
In this fine old building both banks carried on their business for over sixty years, the Merchants on the south side and the Mechanics on the north. The two banks were similar in their interior arrangements. Whenever one made some slight improvement or change, the other quickly followed with something hopefully better. The vaults in each case were at the easterly end of the original building. When in 1876 the property of the Old Savings Bank was acquired from Mr. Bartlett, both banks extended their quarters. Try as they would they could not escape being very much like two peas in a pod. And, now, the difference! The Mechanics has reverted to its Quaker antecedents while the Merchants has grandiferously modernized the architectural ambitions of John Avery Parker.
The north half of the second story of the old building was from the start the office of the Mechanics Insurance Company. When I first recall these rooms they were occupied by Lawrence Grinnell and Joshua Hitch, engaged in the fire insurance business. It is in these rooms that the Art Club now has its home. I have been unable to find to what use the second story of the Merchants Bank portion of the building was put in the earlier days. In 1846 the Wamsutta Mills was started, and established its office over the Merchants Bank. Joseph Grinnell was its president and Edward L. Baker its treasurer. Here was located the office of the Wamsutta Mills until the building was abandoned by the banks in 1894. As I first recall these offices, the front room, at the corner, was occupied by Andrew G. Pierce and two or three clerks. The back room was filled with samples of cotton. There were no typewriting machines, or adding machines, or stenographers connected with the establishment. I doubt if any female person ever worked in any office on Water Street, surely none until after the last quarter of the last century.
At the time of the exodus from Water Street, the Mechanics Bank acquired a twenty-year lease of the corner stores in the old Cummings Building, at the southwest corner of Purchase and William Streets, opposite the location of the Merchants Bank Liberty Hall property. The banks still kept close together, although the street separated them. On the location of the Mechanics Bank in my boyhood was the apothecary shop of William P. S. Cadwell, and to the south, the book shop of Charles Taber. In this location the bank continued to do business for nearly twenty years, when the approaching termination of its lease and the proposed widening of Purchase Street led to its seeking new quarters. It purchased in 1914 land at the southwest corner of Union and Pleasant Streets. This property was conveyed by John Williams to Moses Grinnell in 1782, and was occupied as a homestead by him and his widow and his son, Charles Grinnell, for seventy-three years, until 1855. In 1858 it came into the possession of Oliver H. Whitcomb, whose family owned it for the next thirty-eight years. On this site the Mechanics Bank built its present banking home. Quaker-like in its severe simplicity, yet as the Quaker ladies prided themselves in an ungodly way on the fineness of the weave of the fabric they wore, the bank plumes itself on the texture of its Bethel granite.
The first president of the Mechanics Bank was William Rotch Rodman, son of Samuel. He served the bank as president for twenty years, until 185l. Mr. Rodman was essentially an aristocrat. He had a somewhat haughty manner, and consequently was not generally popular. His counting room was in the old wooden building at the corner of Rodman and Front Streets, afterwards occupied by Francis and Horatio Hathaway. One day Mr. Rodman was superintending the lifting of a heavy safe into the second story of this building. Alexander Gibbs was among the crowd of sightseers who had assembled to watch the progress of a somewhat difficult engineering problem. Mr. Gibbs told Mr. Crapo that a well known and reputable character was also present, one Philip Groves, a blacksmith and an exhorting Methodist, who said to Mr. Rodman: “Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven; where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Mr. Rodman turned to Mr. Gibbs and said; “Who is this offensive fellow?” Mr. Rodman’s manner was largely only manner and not indicative of his character, which was kindly and generous. He was a man of rather more scholarly attainments than many of his business contemporaries. His dwelling house on County Street, at the foot of Hawthorn Street, designed by Russell Warren, is today the most stately mansion in New Bedford.
Thomas Mandell was another original director of the Mechanics Bank, serving for nearly fifty years. He succeeded Mr. Rodman as president in 1851, and served until his death, in 1870. He was born in North Fairhaven in 1792. When a young man he became a clerk in the firm of Isaac Howland & Company, and later became a partner with a share of one-seventh in the net earnings. To his sagacity and faithfulness, this prosperous firm in its latter days is indebted for much of its success. To his own care and frugality he himself was indebted for his considerable fortune. Especially after the departure of Edward M. Robinson to New York, Thomas Mandell was the active outdoor man of the firm of which Sylvia Ann Howland was the resident owner. Mr. Crapo describes Mr. Mandell as an upright and honorable merchant, benevolent and kindly. When he formed an opinion, he was rather “set” about it. Mr. Crapo acted for him in the various legal matters in which his business involved him. Mr. Crapo recalls a case of a sailor suing for his lay. Mr. Mandell had made up the account in the way which he considered correct. He had charged the sailor for “loading and discharging,” $10; for “medicine chest,” $2; and l0 per cent, commission for making and settling the voyage and selling the oil. Mr. Crapo advised Mr. Mandell that the court would disallow these charges, and that Mr. Parney, the attorney who brought the suit, would certainly win. Mr. Mandell was very wroth. “That man,” he said, “thinks he knows how to make up a sailor’s voyage better than 1 do. Why, I have made up sailors’ voyages for forty years, and I don’t propose to change my methods.” It was finally arranged, however, that Mr. Crapo should adjust the matter as best he could, and ask Mr. Mandell for whatever money was necessary without telling him anything about the basis of the settlement, “because I shall never alter that account.” On the records of the directors of the Mechanics Bank there is a resolution adopted by the board on the decease of Mr. Mandell in 1870, and in the remarks made by Mr. Crapo on that occasion, he said: “Mr. Mandell’s love for his neighbors, joined so closely with sincerity and earnestness in the performance of duty, that during his long life he was constantly doing good and making others happy.”
Mr. Crapo succeeded Mr. Mandell as President of the Mechanics Bank and served thirty-four years. So that in the first seventy-three years of the bank’s history there were but three Presidents. George S. Baker, another of the original Directors, was a partner of Oliver Crocker. Their business was the manufacture of oil products. Their counting room was in the alleyway off Second Street in the second story of an old wooden building. South of the alley were Brown and Purrington, merchant tailors. He died when still a comparatively young man. His son William G. Baker was subsequently the editor of the Mercury.
John Perkins was a wall paper manufacturer. His store and factory were in a three story wooden building on Union Street where the Steiger-Dudgeon Company is now. In this building the Public Library was started. Mr. Perkins was a man of only moderate means.
Pardon Tillinghast came from Newport. He was a clerk of Jireh Perry and afterwards a partner, engaged in the whaling business. He was a man of substance. “A fine old gentleman,” says Mr. Crapo.
Joseph R. Shiverick was not a merchant of any prominence. He was “a careful, prudent man.” He lived on County Street, opposite the Court House.
Edmund Gardner was one of the most capable whaling masters who ever sailed from this port. The story of his thrilling adventures has been told in a publication of this Society prepared by his grandson, Walter S. Allen. Mr. Crapo recalls him as “a splendid old gentleman.”
Andrew Robeson was a son-in-law of old Samuel Rodman. He lived in a brick mansion on the west side of Second Street, opposite Elizabeth Rotch Rodman’s stone house on the east side. His gardens extended up William Street to Purchase Street. Whether as a young man he was engaged with his family in the whaling business, I know not, but in later years he had a cotton mill in Fall River. Every day he drove a fast horse and light buggy over to Fall River, by Head of Westport or Hixville, returning at night. He used to make fabulous time on these journeys and prided himself on the speed of his horses. It was he who conceived the idea of a boulevard around Clark’s Point and by reason of his long continued persistence in advocating the plan, the road was at last constructed, and was called French Avenue, after Rodney French the mayor of the time, much to the disgust of the originators of the plan. Mr. French was persona non grata to the aristocratic merchants of the town, who, outside their own select circle, were called “the old hunkers.”
Dudley Davenport was a contractor and builder. He had a lumber yard at the foot of Bush Street, where the New Bedford Gas & Edison Light Company is now. His was the “south end yard.” The “north end yard” was Sampson Perkins’. Mr. Davenport was an energetic man but his actions were often erratic. His failure in business in 1843 caused him to cease to continue as a Director.
The above-named comprised the original Board of Directors, all of whom Mr. Crapo clearly remembers. Other early directors were William Cummings who kept the “store” at Smith Mills; John R. Thornton who was one of a strong Quaker family, in his early business life, he had a dry goods store on Union Street at the foot of Johnny Cake Hill. Later he engaged in whaling, his counting house being on Commercial Wharf; Edmund Taber who was a member of the firm of Tucker and Taber, wholesale dealers in dry goods and fitters of slop chests. Their shop was on Water Street south of the Bedford Commercial Bank. He became early interested in the discovery of petroleum oil; Sylvanus Thomas who was an oil manufacturer, having a counting room and warehouse in New York, where he spent much of his time. George Homer succeeded to his business.
The first cashier of the Mechanics Bank was Joseph Congdon. He was a man of different temperament and capacity from his brother James, the cashier of the Merchants Bank. He was content to attend studiously and methodically to the rather humdrum duties of a cashier of those times. Mr. Crapo recalls him as a somewhat diffident, retiring man. At the bank he wore a long, swallow-tail coat, with a short jacket superimposed, below which the coattails waved when he moved. In his weskit pocket he always carried parched corn which he constantly nibbled during banking hours. Until late in life, he was a bachelor, and his main interest was in the cultivation of flowers. He must have instilled this enthusiasm in his clerk, Eliphalet W. Hervey, who succeeded him as cashier. Mr. Congdon lived in his later years in the charming English stone cottage on the Point Road, still standing in Hazelwood Park. He was cashier of the bank for twenty-six years, and his successor, Mr. Hervey, was cashier for twenty-five years. This same love of flowers, which also distinguished Thomas Wilcox, must have been instilled in Nathan C. Hathaway, the present assistant cashier of the Mechanics Bank, who claims now to be the oldest bank employee in the city.
There is engendered through the semi-weekly meetings together on discount days, a comradeship among the directors of a bank, which is a full compensation for their gratuitous service to the bank. Oftentimes when there is no important business to discuss, these meetings become social gatherings. I well remember the cordial greeting, as if it were to an intimate family circle, with which Mr. Horatio Hathaway informed me twenty years ago that I had been elected a member of the board of directors of the Mechanics Bank. I realized that it was not so much an honor as a privilege. To meet in intimate intercourse with such men as Andrew G. Pierce, Horatio Hathaway, Frederick Grinnell, William C. Taber, and others, was indeed a privilege. One man in this group, Thomas Wilcox, was so lovable that he endeared himself to every man who ever sat about the directors’ table with him. Mr. Wilcox was elected in 1861, the same year as Mr. Crapo. For fifty-two years he scarcely ever missed the semi-weekly meetings. For more than thirty years he was the secretary of the Board, and its records are a memorial of the exact and scrupulous care with which he did all things.
THE MARINE BANK
Mr. Mackie has very kindly relieved me of the task of giving the history of the old Marine Bank, now the First National. In the New Bedford Times of February 11th, 1917, he caused to be published an interesting sketch of himself and incidentally of the bank with which he has been associated nearly fifty years, which I take the liberty of presenting as appendix B. Some day when Mr. Mackie “gets time” he promises to write the history of New Bedford. It would be manifestly quite unfair to him for me to advertise any facts about the old Marine Bank which has become in his mind essentially his own affair. I venture to make one contribution only to this promised history on the unlikely chance that Mr. Mackie knows it not. It is an anecdote quite in Mr. Mackie’s own vein. When the front entrance of the bank was on Second Street, the high desks were on the east side of the banking room, against the stairway leading to the second story. In order to avail himself of the north light from Union Street, the clerk kept the depositors’ ledger near the window. The inquisitive passerby could, when unobserved, inform himself of the entries on the open page. A well known clerk of a prominent merchant was a great gossip and something of a mischief-maker. One day he went to a certain merchant and asked for a loan of $500. The merchant excused himself on the ground that he did not have that amount of ready money. “Oh yes you have,” said the would-be borrower, “you can’t fool me. Your balance at the Marine Bank this morning was $972.36.” As this story was bruited about, it became necessary to keep the depositors’ ledger in a more shadowy place.
Among all the men who have been connected with the Old Marine Bank-and there have been many whose services to this community deserve encomium, Joseph Grinnell stands pre-eminent. One of the sons of Captain Cornelius Grinnell of the Old Bedford Bank, ho went as a youth to New York and there acquired what was deemed in his day, a fortune. Daniel Ricketson through his “loop-holes of retreat,” traced the characteristics of commercial personalities. “The clearheaded, far sighted, bold and fearless man of business; the cautious, timid, self-distrusting; the steady, persevering, honest, self-respecting; the reckless, the avaricious, the penurious, the generous, benevolent, intelligent, cultivated, knowing, grasping, the haughty and over-bearing, the shrewd, manoeuvering, dare devil, mingled together and jostled each other in their daily occupations.” Many of these types have been represented among the directors of the Marine Bank, the most democratic bank in New Bedford.
Joseph Grinnell, however, was aristocratically democratic. Mr. Ricketson says: “New York, too, has her noble-minded merchants, of Revolutionary and modern times; and her Grinnells already stand forth as rivals of the Livingstons and Hancocks of older and the Lawrences of later times. But we cannot allow our natural metropolis the whole credit of claiming these last-named gentlemen—the Grinnells. They are not only natives of New Bedford, but here received the rudiments of that education in which they excel as skilful and honorable merchants of the old Quaker stock, from which they sprung.”
Joseph Grinnell, the first president of the Marine Bank, serving for fifty years, is the one man connected with banking to whom this community may award the highest place in its role of honorable and useful service. He did not sit at a desk and attend to details. He had the good fortune to acquire and extend progressive view points. It has been the usual, and, indeed, in many cases, the inevitable misfortune of many of the men connected with the exacting business of banking, to mull at a desk in a country town, confining their energy to fussing over accounts and paltry credits, “attending strictly to duty,” as they like to phrase it, and thus denying themselves the acquirement of a broad view of business and citizenship. Such was not Mr. Grinnell’s fate. His early experience as a merchant in New York, his later experience as representative of this community in the Congress of the United States of America, his knowledge acquired by foreign travel and touch with things which happened beyond his little native town on the Acushnet, instilled in him a broad and progressive spirit.
Ten years before the Civil War he ceased his somewhat long service in the national government, but not his abiding interest in the national spirit of unification. When, after the war, the suggestion was made for carrying on the banking business of the whole country through a national system, most of the old gentlemen in charge of the New Bedford banks shook their heads solemnly and said it would not work. In the first place, it was new, that alone sufficed to condemn it. They had always done a successful business under their state charters, why, then, not bear the ills they had, rather than fly to others that they knew not of? Joseph Grinnell took a different view. He was never afraid of an idea because it was new or revolutionary. He grasped the wide significance of a uniform banking system which would strengthen every associated bank. Among the first in the whole country he applied for a national charter for the Marine Bank, which was properly called the First National Bank of New Bedford. The other banks which still hung back timidly on the shore of the sea into which Mr. Grinnell had so confidently led the way, one by one made the plunge. First the Commercial, then the Mechanics, and last the Merchants. Not alone in banking was Mr. Grinnell the confident initiator. It was his inspiration which started the spindles. It was he who made the railroad possible. He was not averse to taking a risk in a new adventure when he had deliberately satisfied himself that it was a fairly safe risk. He was conservatively, yet bravely constructive in his mental attitude.
Mr. Crapo’s close acquaintance with Mr. Grinnell lasted nearly half a century until Mr. Grinnell’s death at the age of ninety-seven. Not long ago at a dinner of the bankers of New Bedford, Mr. Crapo told the story of how when he was a schoolboy of sixteen at Andover he received a letter from his father, asking him to come home as Mr. Joseph Grinnell wished to see him. It seems that Edward R. Anthony, a nephew of Mr. Grinnell’s who was the clerk of the Marine Bank had a chance through Mr. Grinnell’s influence, to go to New York and the place being vacant, Mr. Grinnell had chosen the Andover schoolboy to fill the vacancy. Mr. Crapo came home and asked his father what he thought of the offer. His father, as always, refused to give advice. His doctrine was that if a young man did not know what he wanted to do he would never amount to anything. So Mr. Crapo, being very shy, called on Mr. Grinnell at his stone mansion in the evening. Mr. Grinnell explained the duties of the position, the large salary of $400 a year, for the first year, $100 additional each year up to $800, beyond which no advance could ever be expected, and the desire of the Board of Directors of the bank that he would associate himself with them. Mr. Crapo said he would think it over and call the next evening, which he did and informed Mr. Grinnell that he had concluded not to accept the flattering offer. Mr. Grinnell expressed himself as deeply disappointed and astonished at the recklessness of turning down so exceptional an opportunity. Mr. Crapo, overcoming his shyness, ventured to suggest that he had a school friend and neighbor, Harrison G. Lowell, for whose good character he was willing to vouch, whose mother had a hard time making both ends meet, and to whom such a position would be a godsend. Mr. Grinnell appeared interested and asked a number of questions, finally saying, “William, you may send him to me tomorrow.” Mr. Crapo excitedly ran down the hill to tell Lowell the story. He said to him. “I think the old man will take you.” When he returned home his father said. “Well, William, what are you going to do?” “Going back to Andover to school tomorrow. Mr. Lowell was accepted and served many years, becoming the assistant cashier of the bank.
There are many of us who recall old “Deacon Grinnell,” as he is so well portrayed in his portrait at the public library. I remember when a young boy, being taken by my mother very late at night to the stone mansion on County Street which was quite the most magnificent dwelling I had ever known, and passing across the stone flagged and pillared portico and entering the entresol with its mosaic “SALVE,” being received by Mr. Grinnell and Rebecca his wife, with stately courtesy. We had come to see the bursting into flower of a night blooming cereus which I had erroneously confounded with a century plant. I remember wondering whether the amazingly old gentleman had seen this particular plant bloom before. He seemed to know all about it at all events. He prophesied that within a half hour or so the petals would begin to move,—and they did. The waxy white flower unfurled as we stood spell bound before it.
The original Board of Directors of the Marine Bank comprised Joseph Grinnell and his two brothers-in-law, William W. Swain and Joseph R. Anthony, and several other gentlemen who served for rather short terms. Subsequently there were elected certain men whose service covered considerable periods. Edward C. Jones, 43 years; Edward W. Howland, 34 years; Ephraim Kempton, 31 years; James Howland, 27 years; William C. Taber, 24 years.
Mr. Grinnell’s successor was a man of very different characteristics—William Watkins. Mr. Watkins was a conservator rather than an initiator. He never took risks, that is, not consciously. He was born at Westport Point in 1814. When eighteen he became the clerk of Elisha Dunbar & Co., afterwards Edward C. Jones, ship chandlers and managing owners of whaleships. In 1840 Mr. Watkins engaged independently in the ship chandlery business and whaling, which he continued until 1878. Mr. Watkin’s service to the banks of New Bedford is more comprehensive than that of any man whose record I have studied. In 1847 he became a Trustee of the New Bedford Institution for Savings, serving for nearly fifty years, holding the office of President of the Institution for twenty-six years. In 1852 he became a Director of the Mechanics Bank serving twenty-seven years until he was asked to become the successor of Mr. Grinnell as President of the First National Bank. For eleven years he acted as President and continued as a Director until his death. Mr. Watkins was a man somewhat timidly careful, unwilling to make quick decisions, yet when he felt sure of his ground, rigid in following the course laid down and infinitely patient. The absolute trust in his ability and integrity held by all who knew him was without qualification.
John Williams Jr., the first Cashier of the Marine Bank, was an able man. He was much interested in the theoretical side of banking and wrote pamphlets on banking subjects. In 1839 he resigned and went to New York where he became prominent in the banking circles of the city. He was the Cashier and President of the Metropolitan Bank. He was succeeded as Cashier of the Marine Bank by William M. Sisson, the son of Allen Sisson, the village blacksmith at Russell’s Mills, a young man who had been clerk for three years. While Cashier he took a package of money, contained in a traveling bag, with the intention of depositing it in the Suffolk Bank. He went by coach to Taunton, the nearest railroad connection. At the railroad station he placed his bag on a bench while purchasing his ticket and the train beginning to move out he rushed to get aboard. He had traveled on the train some five or six miles before he remembered that he had left his bag containing the money at the station. The train was stopped. It was in the winter and snow was on the ground. He ran all the way back to Taunton and found his bag intact just where he had left it. The exposure and exhaustion of this experience brought on a severe cold and lung trouble from which he died not long after. John P. Barker, the next Cashier, who served for thirty-two years, was a son of “Deacon Barker,” who lived at the southwest corner of Third and Walnut Streets. Mr. Crapo remembers the Deacon and his son because they kept a cow, a part of whose milk was sold to the Crapo family, and he used to have to fetch it. Walter P. Winsor, who had been a clerk in the bank for ten years became cashier in 1874 and served as such for twenty-five years, being succeeded by William A. Mackie.
It has not been my intent to make mention of the younger bank men whom we all remember yet it seems fitting before leaving the subject of the Old Marine Bank to pay a passing tribute to one whose long service in this bank as clerk, teller, cashier and president, identifies him with the bank in the minds of all of us. To say of any one that he is not a gentleman is a distinct reproach. There surely are few, if any, in the long lists of bank officials which I herewith present of whom any would say that they were not gentlemen. And yet, after all, it is the exceptional man whose spontaneous recognition by every person and every class takes the form “He is a gentleman!” Walter P. Winsor was a gentleman par excellence.
Joseph Arthur Beauvais, who had been in the counting room of James B. Wood & Co., for twenty-one years, in 1872 formed a partnership with Thomas B. Fuller of Fairhaven, under the firm name of Beauvais & Co., and engaged in private banking, taking deposits, making loans, dealing in securities and acting as financial agents and advisers. The office of Beauvais & Co. was at the northeast corner of Water and Center Streets, directly opposite the Commercial Bank, in the store formerly occupied by Eggers the gunsmith. This property was deeded to Mr. Beauvais by Mary Rotch Emerson. Its north line was the middle of the stairway which led to the law office of Lemuel T. Wilcox on the south, and the law office of Eliot & Stetson on the north. In 1875 the Citizens’ National Bank was organized and the business of Beauvais & Co. was transferred to it. Mr. Beauvais being the President and Mr. Fuller the Cashier. The original capital was $250,000, subsequently increased to $500,000. The advent of this new bank was not welcomed by the old established banks,—a point of view equally apparent at the present day when any suggestion of a new bank is made. The Citizens’ Bank, however, amply proved its right to exist and earned the respect and confidence of the community. The property next north, then occupied by the Union Mutual Marine Insurance Company, was acquired from Benjamin S. and William J. Rotch. (April 1875), and the buildings were modernized and comfortably fitted for banking purposes. Subsequently Hosea M. Knowlton occupied the offices over the bank.
In 1891 the Citizens’ Bank moved into a commodious banking house which it had built at the northwest corner of Second and William Streets, now occupied in part by the Automatic Telephone Company, and here continued until 1899 when the bank was liquidated for the purpose of uniting with the Mechanics National Bank, Mr. Edward S. Brown of the Citizens’ Bank becoming the cashier of the Mechanics’ National Bank.
Mr. Beauvais was born in South Dartmouth in 1824. His father was a native of Bordeaux, France, who, when a lad, in order to avoid conscription in Napoleon’s army, which was then drafting boys of twelve years of age, was sent to America to his sister, the wife of James Rider of Dartmouth. Through his mother he was connected with many old Dartmouth families of pure English stock. It is somewhat remarkable that Mr. Beauvais, so unwarlike in appearance and temperament and so thoroughly identified with New England traditions, had a father who was subject to military service in France, and a grandson, Harold Von Schmaedel who is now presumably, doing military service in Germany.
There are many of us here who can clearly recall the frail, delicate, crippled body and the keen, yet kindly face of Mr. Beauvais. If he inherited from his mother his fair share of Yankee shrewdness, he also inherited from his father urbane and courteous manners which were distinctly Gallic.
THE NEW BEDFORD INSTITUTION FOR SAVINGS
The Massachusetts savings bank is a type of bank which now exists in many of the eastern states. It is, for the most part, unknown in other parts of the country. It has no capital stock; it has no right to issue currency; its loans and investments are rigidly restricted. It is managed as a philanthropic agency to enable persons of small means to deposit their savings and have the same wisely invested so as to accumulate earnings. No public philanthropy has been of more enduring benefit to the people of Massachusetts. The “Old Savings Bank” of New Bedford, as it is called, has contributed in a marked degree to the general welfare of New Bedford, through the voluntary, generous and conscientious service given to its hundreds of thousands of depositors by so many of the prosperous merchants and financiers of the community.
The first Savings Bank established in this country, was in Boston in 1816—the Provident Institution for Savings. Nine years after that date,—in 1825,—the New Bedford Institution for Savings was organized. Its incorporators, who had no motives of self-interest, and no expectation of personal gain, and who were actuated solely by philanthropic considerations were representative men of the highest standing in the community both as to wealth and character.
They were: William Rotch Jr., Gilbert Russell, Cornelius Grinnell, Andrew Robeson, Hayden Coggeshall, Benjamin Rodman, John Avery Parker, Eli Haskell, Richard Williams, George Howland, Joseph Bourne, Abraham Shearman Sr., William W. Swain, Thomas Rotch, Thomas A. Greene, Samuel Rodman Jr., John B. Smith, William C. Nye, Thomas S. Swain, William H. Allen, Lemuel Williams Jr., John Howland Jr., Charles H. Warren, William P. Grinnell, Joseph Ricketson, Charles Grinnell, Nathan Bates, John Coggeshall Jr., James Howland 2d, Charles W. Morgan, Gideon Howland.
The meeting of organization was held on the evening of July 19, 1825, at the Counting Room of Samuel Rodman Jr. The first deposit of $50 was made Aug. 15, 1825. In the first two weeks, $950 had been deposited by eleven persons. The first report in December, 1825, shows total deposits of $13,051. The last report of December 30, 1916 shows total deposits of $19,841,265.15 by 40,155 depositors and resources of $21,766,193.59. The Institution has never passed a semiannual dividend.
Until 1833 the Bank apparently did business in some office furnished by the Treasurer. Abraham Shearman Jr. was the first Treasurer, serving only a short time, and being succeeded by William C. Taber, who served until 1835. The business of the bank was for a few years transacted in a room in the second story of the building still standing at the northeast corner of the “Four Corners” over William C. Taber’s book shop with an entrance by way of a narrow flight of stairs leading from Union Street. The Bank at first was open for business only on Mondays of each week between 12 m. and 1 p. m. In view of the rapidly increasing business this limited schedule must have been soon extended.
In 1832 the Bank purchased of Mary Rotch, a lot of land on Hamilton Street, extending to Rodman Street, “adjoining on the east the lot whereon the Banking House of the Merchants and Mechanics Companies are to be erected.” A building was here built and finished in 1833 at a cost of about $8000, the land having cost $3500. Here the Bank lived for about twenty years. The first story of the building was low and partly underground owing to the grade of the street. Above was a more spacious story in the front room of which was the Bank. In the rear was the Social Library presided over by Robert Ingraham, where Mr. Crapo used to go on Saturday afternoons to read the Edinburgh Review in its heyday, Jeffries and Macauley issuing their pronunciamentos. After the Bank left these quarters in 1854, the building was purchased by Benjamin Lindsey and here for twenty years The Whaleman’s Shipping List and Merchant’s Transcript was published by him. In 1875 Mr. Lindsey sold the property to Ivory H. Bartlett who the next year conveyed it to the Merchants and Mechanics Banks which each extended their several quarters to the eastward, rebuilding the old structure and incorporating it with the porticoed building of Russell Warren.
In 1853 a lot of land at the southeast corner of William and Second Streets was acquired by the Savings Bank from Elizabeth Rotch Rodman south of her homestead and the bank moved into its new brown freestone building in 1854. The land and buildings cost about $18,000. This building is still standing, having been used after its abandonment by the bank for the court house of the Third District Court of Bristol which has now, in turn, abandoned it. In this commodious and most attractive home designed by Russell Warren the Bank dwelt for forty-three years until in 1897 it moved into its present stately home, designed by Charles Brigham of Boston. There have been erected in this country other banks, much larger, much more ornate, and with more elaborate and efficient facilities, yet it is to be doubted whether any banking house hereafter built can vie with the Old Savings Bank of New Bedford in the quality of its Sienna marble and San Domingo mahogany.
In the room of the Board of Investment hangs the portrait of William Rotch Jr., the first President, who served for twenty-six years. Mr. Rotch was born in 1759 and lived to be ninety-one years of age. He and his father, William Rotch, who lived to be eighty-nine years of age, were pre-eminently the leading merchants and citizens of New Bedford for a whole century. William Rotch Jr., lived in the three story wooden house on Water Street north of the present home of the Historical Society which was afterwards moved up onto Johnny Cake Hill, and is now the Mariners’ Home. Afterwards his home was on County Street between Bush Street and Cherry Lane. Mr. Crapo can bear testimony to the kindly courtesy and unstinted hospitality which distinguished Mr. Rotch in the minds of all who knew him. One day when he was a student at the Friends’ Academy, Mr. Phipps, the master, asked him to take a note to Mr. Rotch who was the President of the Academy. It was a winter day, with deep snow on the ground. In front of Mr. Rotch’s house, on the small semi-circular driveway which still exists, there stood a handsome sleigh with a pair of horses. Mr. Crapo rang the door bell and Mr. Rotch himself came to the door arrayed for going out. He was then about eighty-eight years old. After reading the note he said, “Young man, how would you like to take a sleigh ride?” After driving in a roundabout way he drew up before the old wooden building of the Friends’ Academy on County Street, where now stands the Methodist Church, and the young man went back to his studies refreshed not only by the invigorating sleigh-ride, but by the kindly courtesy of the old gentleman. In the ninety-two years of the Bank’s existence, there have been but seven Presidents. Abraham Barker served five years. Pardon Tillinghast only one year. William C. Taber, five years. Of the remaining eighty-one years, Mr. Rotch served twenty-six, Thomas Mandell, fifteen, William Watkins, nineteen, and William W. Crapo, twenty-one years.
In the ninety-two years of the bank’s existence there have been but seven Treasurers. Abraham Shearman served six months, William C. Taber, nine years, George W. Baker, seven and one-half years, Reuben Nye, two years. Of the remaining seventy-three years, William C. Coffin served twenty-four and one-half, Charles H. Pierce thirty-six and George H. Batcheldor, twelve and one-half years.
For more than half of the Bank’s existence Charles H. Peirce was in the service of the Bank and for more than one-third of its existence, was the person most intimately connected with the Institution and the person to whom the public looked as its executive head. There are many of us here who recall his charming personality, his buoyancy of spirit, his gentleness of manner, and his splendid rectitude. In a remarkable degree he epitomized the ideal of the social service which the New Bedford Institution for Savings stands for.
In the ninety-two years of the Bank’s existence, there have been fifteen Clerks of the Corporation. The last three incumbents, Henry T. Wood, William G. Wood and Edmund Wood, who have held the office in heredity have a united term of fifty-seven years.
The terms of the members of the Board of Investment, of whom there have been only thirty-nine in all, have for the most part continued for many years. The most conspicuous cases are William C. Taber who served 43 years, Thomas Mandell, 41 years, Pardon Tillinghast 33 years, William Watkins, 29 years, Edward D. Mandell, 26 years, William W. Crapo, 23 years, Andrew G. Pierce 22 years.
This record of stability of service is a splendid example of constancy in voluntary dedication to a public philanthropy.
FAIRHAVEN INSTITUTION FOR SAVINGS
Mr. Charles H. Morton has kindly furnished the following historical data:
Section 1 of the Charter:
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court Assembled, and by the Authority of the same. That Ezekiel Sawin, Asa Swift Jr., Nathan Church, Lemuel Tripp, Phineas Terry, Duncan M. B. Thaxter, I. F. Terry, George Hitch, Sylvanus Allen, Philemon Fuller Jr., James Tripp, Joshua Hitch, James Tripp 2d, Joseph Bates, James Neil, Hiram H. Stackpole, W. Barstow, F. R. Whitwell, Noah Stoddard, Jabez Delano Jr., Joseph Tripp, Levi Jenney, A. P. Wilcox, Z. M. Allen, Enoch S. Jenney, James Wing, Philip Nye, Ansel Allen, Ansel Gibbs, William P. Jenney, William L. B. Gibbs, Rowland Rogers, Lebbeus Bailey, Bartholomew Taber, John Howland, Abner Pease, Elihu Wood Jr., O. S. Irish, Arthur Cox, Rowland Gibbs, Franklin Bates, Joseph Whelden and Sampson Perkins, and such other persons as may be duly elected and their successors be, and they are hereby incorporated into a body politic by the name of the Fairhaven Institution for Savings.
The Fairhaven Institution for Savings was incorporated February 10, 1832.
The following is a record of the first meeting of this Institution:
Agreeable to notice the members of the Institution for Savings in the Town of Fairhaven met at the Insurance Office.
- 1st. Bartholomew Taber was called to the Chair.
- 2nd. William L. B. Gibbs chosen Secretary.
- 3rd. The Charter of the Institution was read.
- 4th. Voted that three more members be added to this Institution. A. D. Stoddard, Sheffield Read and James W. Dyre.
- 5th. Voted that a committee of three be chosen to canvass all the votes given during this meeting, viz: Joseph Tripp, Nathan Church, and William P. Jenney.
- 6th. A. D. Stoddard, Sheffield Read and James W. Dyre were chosen members of this Institution.
- 7th. Ezekiel Sawin was chosen president of this Institution.
- 8th. Joseph Tripp was chosen Treasurer.
- 9th. Voted that a Board of Trustees be chosen consisting of fifteen.
- 10th. Voted that two more be added to the number of Trustees comprising eighteen in number.
- 11th. Ezekiel Sawin, Sylvanus Allen, Bartholomew Taber, Wilson Barstow, Philemon Fuller Jr., Rowland Gibbs, George Hitch, Joseph Bates, F. R. Whitwell, Levi Jenney, Sampson Perkins, Wm. L. B. Gibbs, Abner Pease, Lemuel Tripp, Joseph Tripp, James Tripp, Nathan Church, Jabez Delano Jr. were chosen.
- 12th. Voted that each member of this Institution be requested to pay fifty cents for the purpose of purchasing books for this Institution.
- 13th. Voted that a committee of three be chosen to Draft the By-Laws for this Institution.
- 14th. D. M. B. Thaxter, Joseph Tripp and Ezekiel Sawin were chosen the committee.
- 15th. Voted that this meeting be adjourned to Monday next the 29th, at this place.
Fairhaven, Feb’y 23, 1832. Wm. LeB. Gibbs, Clerk.
This extract from the records of the Fairhaven Bank, (now the National Bank of Fairhaven), of April l9, 1831:
“Voted that the Directors be a committee to erect a bank building with suitable provision for an office for the Fairhaven Insurance Company,” locates the Insurance Office referred to in the records of the first meeting of this Institution as upstairs in the building we now occupy.
Record of the first deposits, March 19, 1832:
- No. 1, James Neil $25. Fairhaven
- 2, Thomas Pray 30, Mariner
- 3, Francis Silvara 50, Mariner
- 4, James R. Tilton 100, Mariner
- 5, Jacob T. Davis 200, Mariner
- 6, Sarah E. I. Hitch 7, Fairhaven
Rec’d from 6 Depositors $412.
The first dividend declared payable on April 29, 1833.
5 1/2% on deposits agreeable to By-Laws.
The Savings Bank did business in the office of the Insurance Company in the second story of the banking house on Center Street until in 1876 it purchased the building from the Fairhaven National Bank, and thereafter occupied the first floor. One of the treasured possessions of the Savings Bank is an old Banjo Clock made in Fairhaven by Lebbeus Bailey, one of the original incorporators, which still runs true.
The first President of the Savings Bank was Ezekiel Sawin, who served fourteen years. The second President was Isaiah F. Terry, who served sixteen years. He was succeeded by Captain George H. Taber, who served the Bank as Trustee for thirty-eight years, of which he was President twenty-two years. Captain George Taber was born in 1808 and died in 1901, aged 92. He was born and lived and died in the old house on Adams Street, near North, which was a part of his inheritance from the early founders of Fairhaven. He was a direct descendant of Philip Taber, John Cook and Arthur Hathaway. When seventeen years old he went a’whaling. Afterwards he was a merchant captain, taking oil to Sweden and bringing back iron, sailing to all the ports of Europe, South America and the West Indies. He brought the first cargo of coal ever brought to New Bedford. After his retirement from the sea, he was, for half a century, the King of Fairhaven, a perpetual Selectman, Assessor, Overseer of the Poor and General Boss. My first acquaintance with Fairhaven politics was when Captain Taber was still at the helm. In the absence of other engrossing business interests the one absorbing interest in Fairhaven since I have known it, is politics of the intensified personal type. Captain Taber was always able to act as the Master of the Town-ship and quelled all mutinies. His genial, joking manner disarmed antagonism. He had that gentle roughness which so often characterized the older type of ship masters. Captain Taber was succeeded in 1886 by Thomas A. Tripp, the present President of the Bank.
William L. B. Gibbs, one of the leading whaling merchants of the town, was Treasurer from 1832 to 1840. Edmund Allen from 1841 to 1847. Then came Charles Drew, who served the Bank as Treasurer for thirty-two years. Deacon Drew was a native of Fairhaven who lived his long life of eighty-five years in the quaint little old house at the four corners opposite the present Bank building. Behind the house was a charming garden where in summer Mrs. Drew gave garden parties. He studied in his youth for the ministry. He was Postmaster of Fairhaven until 1853. He served in the Legislature. In 1854 he was made Treasurer of the Savings Bank. He is remembered with kindness by all whom I have asked about him.
Mr. Drew was succeeded in 1886 by Charles H. Morton, the present Treasurer who has served thirty-one years. Mr. Morton is familiar to us all. One story about him I will tell which very likely will surprise him. Homer B. Sprague, a classmate of Mr. Crapo, one of five remaining of the class of 1852 in Yale, has been an educator of some prominence and a well known Shakespearean student. He served all through the Civil War and has lately written a most interesting story called “Lights and Shadows in Confederate Prisons.” Col. Sprague tells of an attempt to relieve the monotony of existence in the prison at Danville, Virginia, in 1864, by producing the first act of Hamlet. Col. Sprague himself, who had lost forty pounds of flesh since his capture, was drawn for the Ghost. “Lieut. C. H. Morton of Fairhaven, Mass., was Horatio.” The Rebels, however, became suspicious. They refused a sword for Hamlet, a halberd for Marcellus, a calico gown for the Queen, or even a white shirt for the Ghost. So the “legitimate drama vanished from Danville.”
NEW BEDFORD FIVE CENTS SAVINGS BANK
As the New Bedford Institution for Savings had proved so useful a civic agency, and had acquired what seemed an amount of money sufficiently large for the care of one set of men, the idea was suggested of a new Savings Bank which might appeal to a different class in the community, and also permit persons to have more than one limited savings bank deposit. To indicate in part the motive of its originators deposits of five cents would be taken, the minimum required in the old bank being one dollar. This suggested the name. Some difference of opinion arose as to whether the name should be “Five Cent Savings Bank” or “Five Cents Savings Bank.” My grandfather was one of the leading spirits in the movement for the new bank and he referred the matter to my father, then fresh from college, who decided in favor of “Five Cents.” None the less nine out of ten people today in speaking of the bank omit the terminal “s.”
The first meeting of the Petitioners for a Five Cents Savings Bank in New Bedford was held at the office of the Marine Bank. Pursuant to a call by Thomas B. White, one of the persons named in the act of incorporation May 5th. 1855, the meeting being called to order by Thomas B. White, and William H. Taylor was called to the Chair. Charles Almy was chosen Secretary. The Charter as granted by the Senate and the House of Representatives in April 1855 was accepted. George Howland Jr., was elected President, and Henry H. Crapo and Alexander H. Seabury Vice Presidents. John P. Barker, the Cashier of the Marine Bank, acted temporarily as Treasurer and business was begun in the Marine Bank and there carried on until Nov. 1855 when the bank moved to the second story of a building on the west side of Purchase Street south of Willard Sears’ dwelling house, numbered 19 on the street at that time. In 1857 the bank moved to the second story of China Hall, just north of its present location. In 1862 the bank moved to a store on the first floor of the Ricketson Block on Union Street afterwards the express office of Hatch & Co. In 1870 the bank removed to the Hicks Building then new and took the rooms on the north side at the corner of Mechanics Lane. Here the bank continued to do business for twenty-three years. The south part of the lower story was occupied by the Union Boot and Shoe Store, and in the upper story the Union for Good Works was located.
In March 1891 the Bank purchased a part of the Willard Sears property on Purchase Street, known as “Tannery Lot,” the south line being what is now called Sears’ Court. The north line of the lot had been a matter of bitter controversy between Willard Sears and my grandfather, George Tappan, who owned China Hall which was built on the “Fountain Lot.” From a spring on the “Fountain Lot,” water was led in the early days to Rotch Wharf by a log pipe. The Fountain Lot was the southwest corner of William Rotch’s original ten acre purchase from the Russells. The corner was cut at an angle to permit the cows in the pasture of the Russells’ to get water. This arrangement while doubtless convenient for the cows has been the prolific cause of much trouble to successive generations of surveyors of land in the neighborhood. Not until the Bank acquired the Sears Property was the dispute as to the division line adjusted on a give and take basis. Willard T. Sears, a son of the Tanner, was the architect of the new building which was occupied for business in March 1893. The building was moved back in 1914 when Purchase Street was widened. Here the bank is now located.
In 1856 the deposits were $63,832.25. In 1893: $5,065,011.13. In 1916: $11,212,219.92.
George Howland Jr., the first President of the Bank, served thirty-seven years. He was the son of George Howland and with his brother, Matthew C. Howland, continued the whaling merchant business of their father at North and Water Streets. George Howland Jr., was born in 1806 and died in 1892. For forty-five years he was a Trustee of the New Bedford Institution for Savings. He was one of the leading men of the community. He served as a Representative and Senator in the General Court; as Selectman; and in nearly every capacity as a municipal officer. He was Mayor from 1862 to 1865, during the war time. His interest in the Society of Friends and in educational matters were as constant as his interest in public affairs. In 1857 he gave to the city the salary which he had received as Mayor during two years, as a fund to purchase books for the Public Library. His fine presence and his gentle breeding as a highly educated member of the Society of Friends, made him a splendid example of a type now gone. Mr. Howland lived on the west side of Sixth Street at the corner of Walnut where Mr. Charles F. Wing now lives. This house was always the abode of hospitality.
Mr. Howland’s successor as President was Loum Snow, who served for twenty-four years and who died last year. He was succeeded by Jireh Swift Jr. James C. Ricketson was the first permanent Treasurer. He desired the place and offered to serve the bank for one year without salary, which he did. He was the son of Barton Ricketson, a prominent merchant in this community. He served for six years when he resigned and went to Milwaukee. James C. Ricketson was a thorough sailor. He delighted in ships. When Treasurer of the Bank he devoted much of his time to designing and perfecting a patent windlass which he hoped would revolutionize old methods. In Milwaukee he was employed by E. B. Ward whose large coal and iron business required much shipping. Mr. Ricketson managed the vessels and afterwards engaged largely and profitably in Lake navigation. On his resignation as Treasurer of the Bank, his brother, Barton Ricketson Jr., was elected and served for twenty-eight years. His successor, William H. Pitman, the present Treasurer, who had been for twenty years or more previous in the Institution for Savings is now serving his twenty-eighth year as Treasurer of the Five Cents Savings Bank.
THE NEW BEDFORD CO-OPERATIVE BANK
In 1877 the Legislature of Massachusetts enacted a law establishing a system of “Co-operative Savings Fund and Loan Associations.” The main purpose of this form of bank is to enable men of limited means to buy or build their own homes on the installment plan by easy monthly payments. It also enables a man to securely invest his savings by regular monthly deposits of a small amount. The capital of the bank is supplied by the deposits. Each share costs One Dollar per month. In about 12 years a share matures when it reaches $200. A borrower takes a certain number of shares sufficient to meet his final payment on his house and gives a mortgage of the house as security and then by deposits each month gradually pays the debt. These banks have been of great assistance to the community. Their aggregate assets in Massachusetts in 1915 were about $75,000,000. As Mr. Fisher, the Treasurer of both the New Bedford Cooperative Bank and the Acushnet Cooperative Bank, in an admirably prepared printed statement says: These banks “are no longer experimental, and their importance as educators in prudence and thrift is apparent on every hand as we pass through the streets of our cities and towns, showing us the homes that have been obtained and owned by men of limited means through their connection with and membership in some co-operative bank. Thus we proclaim abroad our motto, “The American Home the Safeguard of American Liberty.”
The New Bedford Co-operative Bank was organized July 8, 1881 and commenced business in the following August. The first Annual Report in 1882 showed assets of $17,077.88. 308 members holding 1813 shares. 22 real estate loans amounting to $16,125. 3 share loans amounting to $200. In October 1916 the assets were $931,664.64. 1835 shareholders holding 16,757 shares. 408 real estate loans amounting to $873,334.74. 106 share loans amounting to $35,200.
THE MEW BEDFORD SATE DEPOSIT AND TRUST COMPANY
For many years after the establishment of the National Banks, there were practically no State Banks. During the last quarter of the last century the need was felt for a form of bank which could exercise some of the functions properly associated with a financial institution, which were denied to the National Banks. So the modern Trust Company was devised and a few such institutions organized under special state charters. The New Bedford Safe Deposit and Trust Company was one of the earlier banks of this type. This form of bank has no right to issue circulation. It is empowered to use its depositors’ money in forms of investment, especially connected with real estate, which were not permitted to National Banks. It can act more freely in certain financial undertakings. It can act as Trustee for individuals under wills and other instruments. An organized department of safe deposit boxes in which the public could keep their securities upon payment of a rental, now largely adopted by all banks, was first developed under modern lines by the Trust Companies. The growth of this type of Bank has been very great and now some of the most important banking institutions in the country are conducted under this system.
The New Bedford Safe Deposit and Trust Company was organized under a special charter of the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1887. The persons named as incorporators in the act of incorporation were: William D. Howland, Abbott P. Smith, George F. Tucker, Standish Bourne, Frederic Taber, Stephen A. Brownell, Gilbert D. Kingman, Savory C. Hathaway, Lot B. Bates, Benjamin F. Brownell.
The original capital was $100,000, since increased to $200,000. The management of the bank has been conservative, and has for the most part been largely devoted to the care of a considerable number of small deposits, on which a low rate of interest has been paid to the depositor. The bank now has deposits of over $2,000,000. The bank at its origin purchased the property at the northeast corner of Acushnet Avenue and William Street, which was then very far “up-town.” Without moving its place of business it now finds itself distinctly “downtown.”
Charles E. Hendrickson, who had formerly been the cashier of the First National Bank of Fall River, was the first President. He was succeeded in 1891 by John W. Macomber, the manager of the New Bedford Cordage Company, whose hearty and energetic manner many of us here can well remember. Mr. Macomber served eight years, and was succeeded in 1899 by Frederic Taber, the present President. Edmund W. Bourne, a son of George A. Bourne, has been the only cashier of the bank having served thirty years. This bank has lately lost by death a comparatively young man who is seriously missed not only by the bank but by a wide circle of friends, Herbert C. Wilbor, the Assistant Cashier, formerly associated with the Mechanics Bank. He was a bank man who was thoroughly well liked by all the officials of all the other banks.
THE ACHUSHNET CO-OPERATIVE BANK
This bank is similar in its purpose and has been under the same general supervision as the New Bedford Co-operative Bank, the same Treasurer having acted for both banks. The Acushnet Co-operative Bank was organized November 12, 1889, and commenced business November 16, 1889. Its first statement in 1890 showed assets of $17,479.35. 283 members holding 1651 shares, 12 real estate loans $12,875, 7 share loans $465. The last statement of October, 1916, showed assets of $535,226.97, 1370 shareholders holding 11,730 shares, 264 real estate loans $498,825, 64 share loans $17,375.
THE NEW BEDFORD MORRIS PLAN BANK
In March 1916 a Morris Plan Bank was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts and organized in this city and has conducted business for one year in the Coffin Building on Pleasant Street. Its capital is $100,000. The purpose of the bank is to make small loans to persons of small means who repay the same with moderate interest charges in 52 weekly payments.
This institution should prove a great benefaction to the community by rescuing the small borrower from the exorbitant charges of usurious loan companies which have heretofore been the only practical resource for the poor man who is temporarily compelled to borrow. That the bank is appreciated is evidenced by the fact that during its first year of business it has loaned $140,000 to 1000 borrowers.
The public service which banks may render to a community is one of the most important agencies in its development. Banks organized and managed principally for the purpose of making money for their promoters and owners may, none the less, be of great benefit to a community. Seven of the thirteen New Bedford banks which I have described have been mainly philanthropic in purpose. The discount banks although managed so as to yield moderate profits to their owners have been, for the most part, promoted and developed as civic agencies for the good of the community. The owners of these banks have now come to be a multitude of small stockholders who have, to a great extent, inherited the stock in the sub-divisions of estates of older generations. The devoted service which has been gratuitously given the banks by many generous unsalaried merchants whose personal interests in the profits or use of the banks were negligible is as truly charitable as any professedly charitable endeavor. The community at large, perhaps, recognizes this even more than the individual stockholders and depositors often do. In many cases somebody else’s hard work made them stockholders or enabled them to be depositors and they are easily content that somebody else should conserve their interests. From such beneficiaries recognition of devoted service is seldom expected by the men who serve them. They must content themselves with the wisdom of Laertes who, in a discussion not precisely on the subject of banks, but explicitly on the subject of borrowing and lending, said:
“This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
So far as the banks have been developed, as they unquestionably have been, by the faithful conscientious intelligent work of their salaried officers and employees, these men have a clear claim for public recognition, If the salaried officers or employees conceive the idea, as they sometimes do, that the institution exists only or principally for their personal subsistence or aggrandizement, the result is not fortunate. To most of the countless men both young and old, whose names are not included in this roll, who have worked hard and faithfully in the paid service of the New Bedford banks, often without generous stipends, sometimes with manifestly inadequate ones, the community owes a definite debt of gratitude aside from the financial debt which has been, in a measure only, discharged.
List of Officers
Banks of Old Dartmouth
1803 — 1917
Tabulated from Information Furnished by the
Officers of the Several Banks
In Connection With an Address on the History
of the Banks, by Henry H. Crapo
March 27, 1917
Officers of the Different Banks
I. The Bedford Bank 1803
II. The Merchants Bank 1825
III. The Fairhaven Bank 1831
IV. The Mechanics Bank 1831
V. The Marine Bank 1832
VI. The Citizens Bank 1875
VII. The New Bedford Institution for Savings 1825
VIII. The Fairhaven Institution for Savings 1831
IX. The New Bedford Five Cents Savings Bank 1855
X. The New Bedford Co-operative Bank 1881
XI. The New Bedford Safe Deposit and Trust Co. 1887
XII. The Acushnet Co-operative Bank 1889
XIII. The New Bedford Morris Plan Bank 1916
Average Assets and Liabilities of the
Bedford Bank from June 4, 1804,
To June 1, 1812.
Compiled from Analysis of Semi-Annual
Statements made by James H. Tallman
Debts due bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $213,462.94
Specie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32,343.40
Notes of other banks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8,046.77
Real estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,000.00
U. S. Bank, Boston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *7,543.49
Merchants Bank, N. Y. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . *20,906.00
Capital . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $150,000.00
Deposits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34.389.65
Notes in circulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87.553.00
*Covering 3 1/2 years, from June 5, 1809, to June 1, 1812.
Directors of the Bedford Bank
Thomas Hazard Jr. 1803-1812
John Howland 1803-1812
Isaac Sherman 1803-1804
Cornelius Grinnell 1803-1804
Seth Russell Jr. 1803-1812
Isaac Howland Jr. 1803-1812
Samuel Rodman 1803-1812
Noah Stoddard 1804-1805
William Rotch Jr. 1804-1812
John Delano 1805-1812
Thomas Hazard Jr. 1803-1812
John Pickens 1803-1812
Bedford Commercial Bank
John Avery Parker 1816-1825
Cornelius Grinnell 1816-1831
Gideon Howland Jr. 1816-1825
George Howland 1816-1852
Seth Russell Jr. 1816-1834
James Arnold 1816-1836
Joseph Ricketson 1816-1842
Thomas Nye 1816-1834
Samuel Rodman Jr. 1816-1849
Nathaniel Hathaway 1825-1832
Thomas Rotch 1825-1836
Charles W. Morgan 1826-1848
Joseph Grinnell 1831-1832
William T. Russell 1831-1837
*Thomas S. Hathaway 1832-1878
Jireh Perry 1832-1849
*Thomas Nye Jr. 1834-1869
Edward Mott Robinson 1836-1840
*William Hathaway Jr. 1838-1886
Abraham H. Howland 1841-1847
*Charles L. Wood 1847-1882
William C. Nye 1849-1850
*William C. N Swift 1849-1892 George Hussey 1849-1866
*William J. Rotch 1852-1893
*Mathew Howland 1852-1885
Frederick Parker 1859-1862
John Hunt 1860-1862
*Henry Taber 1862-1892
*Thomas Knowles 1862-1878
The National Bank of Commerce
National Charter—December 19, 1861
John H. Clifford 1866-1872
Leander A. Plummer 1867-1885
James Robinson 1872-1875
Benjamin T. Cummings 1877-1882
Charles W. Clifford 1878-1897
Francis Hathaway 1878-1895
Frederick Swift 1880-1893
Morgan Rotch 1882-1897
William A. Robinson 1882-1889
Oliver Prescott 1883-1898
Otis N. Pierce 1883-1898
Charles W. Plummer 1883-1897
Joseph F. Knowles 1883-1886
Walter Clifford 1885-1898
Manly H. Adams 1885-1896
William D. Howland 1886-1897
Clarence A. Cook 1893-1898
Nathaniel Hathaway 1895-1897
Francis H. Stone 1891-1898
John P. Denison 1897-1898
Charles F. Wing 1897-1898
*Also directors on the board of The National Bank of Commerce.
Bedford Commercial Bank, 1816
George Howland 1816-1852
Edward Mott Robinson 1852-1860
Thomas Nye Jr. 1860-1864
National Bank of Commerce, 1864
Thomas Nye Jr. 1864-1869
Thomas S. Hathaway 1869-1878
Francis Hathaway 1878-1895
Charles W. Clifford 1895-1897
Otis N. Pierce 1897-1898
Bedford Commercial Bank 1816
Joseph Ricketson 1816-1834
James H. Crocker 1834-1838
Thomas B. White 1838-1864
National Bank of Commerce 1864
Thomas B. White 1864-1873
Benjamin F. Coombs 1873-1878
James H. Tallman 1876-1898
Directors of Merchants Bank-1825 And Merchants National Bank-1865
John Avery Parker 1825-1853
Abraham Barker 1825-1871
Job Eddy 1825-1858
Joseph Bourne 1825-1829
Samuel Borden 1825-1850
Alfred Gibbs 1825-1843
John Coggeshall Jr. 1825-1859
David R. Greene 1825-1879
William H. Allen 1825-1832
William C. Nye 1829-1832
Gideon Allen 1832-1878
Nehemiah Leonard 1832-1843
Edward L. Baker 1843-1864
Charles R. Tucker 1844-1876
Dennis Wood 1850-1878
William Penn Howland 1850-1879
Jonathan Bourne Jr. 1854-1889
Andrew Hicks 1854-1895
Thomas Bradley 1855-1873
George F. Bartlett 1865-1905
George R. Phillips 1865-1888
William R. Wing 1865-1908
Joseph A. Beauvais 1872-1875
Stephen G. Driscoll 1876-1881
George F. Kingman 1876-1898
Lewis S. Judd 1877-1886
Samuel C. Hart 1878-1894
Thomas H. Knowles 1878-1903
Abram H. Howland Jr. 1879-1887
Gilbert Allen 1879-1899
Francis B. Greene 1880-1911
William N. Church 1882-1905
George S. Homer 1887-1911
James Delano 1887-1901
Charles M. Tripp 1889-1898
John J. Hicks 1895-1908
Charles L. Lawton 1896-1904
Lemuel LeBaron Holmes 1900-1907 Isaac B. Tompkins 1906-1906
Francis T. Akin 1894-
H. C. W. Mosher 1899-
William M. Wood 1901-
Eliot D. Stetson 1906-
Otis N. Pierce 1906-
Henry S. Knowles 1909-
John W. Knowles 1910-
Henry L. Tiffany 1910-
James E. Stanton Jr. 1911-
William F. Read 1915-
John Avery Parker 1825-1854
Charles R. Tucker 1854-1876
Jonathan Bourne 1876-1889
Gilbert Allen 1889-1899
H. C. W. Mosher 1899-
George F. Kingman 1889-1898
Thomas H. Knowles 1899-1909
Eliot D. Stetson 1913-
James B. Congdon 1825-1857
Peleg C. Howland 1858-1885
H. C. W. Mosher 1885-1899
Lloyd S. Swain 1899-1910
H. W. Taber 1910-
Peleg C. Howland 1854-1858
Frederic A. Washburn 1863-1870
H. C. W. Mosher 1885-
Directors of the Fairhaven Bank
and The National Bank of Fairhaven
Ezekiel Sawin 1831-1862
Asa Swift Jr. 1831-1847
Lemuel Tripp 1831-1855
Nathan Church 1831-1857
F. R. Whitwell 1831-1862
Abner Pease 1831-1838
Wm. P. Jenney 1831-1860
Timothy I. Dyre 1831-1833
Wilson Barstow 1831-1843
Joseph Tripp 1833-1861
Philemon Fuller Jr. 1838-1876
Warren Delano 1843-1860
Wilson Pope 1847-1864
George F. Tripp 1855-1878
Henry A. Church 1857-1861
Bartholomew Taber 1862-1879
F. R. Whitwell Jr. 1862-1863
Marlboro Bradford 1860-1865
James S. Robinson 1861-1869
Noah Stoddard 1861-1873
Isaiah F. Terry 1861-1879
Isaiah West 1869-1896
Phineas E. Merrihew 1869-1873
Lewis S. Judd 1873-1884
Horatio W. Richmond 1873-1877
Cyrus D. Hunt 1876-1903
Phineas E. Terry 1877-1889
Chas. H. Morton 1879-
James V. Cox 1879-1885
Levi M. Snow 1879-1912
Reuben Nye 1885-1895
Chas. F. Morton 1885-1887
Thomas A. Tripp 1887-
Henry H. Rogers 1889-1908
George B. Luther 1903-
E. G. Spooner 1904-
H. H. Rogers Jr. 1908-1914
Walter H. Judd 1912-
Ezekiel Sawin 1831-1862
George F. Tripp 1862-1878
Lewis S. Judd 1878-1884
Chas. H. Morton 1884-1904
Levi M. Snow 1904-1912
George B. Luther 1912-
C. D. Hunt 1879-1884
Levi M. Snow 1884-1904
Duncan M. B. Thaxter 1831-1845
Reuben Nye 1845-1895
George B. Luther 1895-1912
Edward T. Pierce 1912-
Mechanics Bank of New Bedford, Mass.
National Bank, 1865
Wm. R. Rodman 1831-1851
Geo. T. Baker 1831-1843
John Perkins 1831-1849
Pardon Tillinghast 1831-1870
Dudley Davenport 1831-1818
Wm. Cummings 1848-1849
John R. Thornton 1848-1893
Edmund Taber 1849-1861
Wm. Watkins 1852-1880
Wm. W. Crapo 1861-
Sylvanus Thomas 1866-1867
Edward D. Mandell 1870-1898
Henry F. Thomas 1872-1880
E. Williams Hervey 1883-
Henry C. Denison 1887-
Frederick Grinnell 1895-1906
Andrew G. Pierce Jr. 1897-
Hosea M. Knowlton 1900-1902
Russell Grinnell 1906-1914
Edward S. Brown 1908-
Thomas Mandell 1831-1870
Jos. R. Shiverick 1831-1859
Edmund Gardner 1831-1878
Andrew Robeson 1831-1848
James H. Collins 1843-1861
Jonathan Howland 1848-1849
Jireh Swift Jr. 1849-1896
Henry Taber 1851-1852
Loum Snow 1860-1872
Thomas Wilcox 1861-1913 Andrew G. Pierce 1867-1903 Horatio Hathaway 1871-1899
Loum Snow Jr. 1872-1897
Edward Kilburn 1883-1890
Wm. C. Taber 1890-1908
Henry H. Crapo 1897-
Thos. S. Hathaway 1899-
Oliver Prescott Jr. 1904-William R. West 1904-
Joseph T. Kenney 1914-
William R. Rodman 1831-1854
Thomas Mandell 1854-1870
William W. Crapo 1870-1904
Henry H. Crapo 1904-1915
Edward S. Brown 1915-
Pardon Tillinghast 1834-1870
Andrew G. Pierce 1870-1903
Henry C. Denison 1903-1915
Henry H. Crapo 1915-
Joseph Congdon 1831-1857
E. Williams Hervey 1857-1882
J. W. Hervey 1882-1897
L. T. Terry 1897-1898
E. S. Brown 1899-1915
H. C. Robinson 1915-
Incorporated March 3, 1832.
Commenced business July 4, 1832
First National Bank, 1864
Joseph Grinnell 1832-1878
Edward W. Howland 1878-1879
William Watkins 1879-1890
Edward S. Taber 1890-1899
Walter P. Winsor 1899-1911
Thomas B. Tripp 1912-1913
Gideon Allen Jr. 1913-1917
William A. Mackie 1913-
John Williams Jr. 1832-1839
William M. Sisson 1839-1842
John P. Barker 1842-1874
Walter P. Winsor 1874-1899
William A. Mackie 1899-1917
Harrison G. Lowell 1817-1865
William A. Church 1853-1888
Frank B. Chase 1904-1917
Edward L. Barker, clerk 1832-1836
William M. Sisson, clerk 1836-1839
John P. Parker, clerk 1830-1842
E. R. Anthony, clerk 1842-1847
Harrison G. Lowell, clerk and assistant cashier 1847-1865
E. Williams Hervey, clerk 1851-1853
George B. Hathaway, clerk, bookkeeper and teller 1853-1905
William A. Church, clerk and assistant cashier 1853-1888
Walter P. Winsor, clerk 1864-1866
Charles F. Matthews, clerk 1866-1870
William A. Mackie, clerk and bookkeeper 1869-1899
Arthur S. Foster, clerk 1871-1887
Frank B. Chase, clerk 1887-1904
First Board of Directors, Marine Bank
Years of Service
Joseph Grinnell 1832-1863
1885 Died 53
William W. Swain 1832-1845 Died 13
Nat. Hathaway 1832-1837 Died 5
Jos. S. Tillinghast 1832-1835 Died 3
Jos. R. Anthony 1832-1840 Died 8
Kimball Perry 1832- Died 1
Alex. H. Campbell 1832-1834 Died 2
Benjamin Russell 1832-1833 Died 1
Ephraim Kempton 1832-1863 Died 31
Stephen Merrihew 1832-1837 5
William C. Taber 1833-1857 24
Jas. Howland 2d 1834-1861 27
Atkins Adams 1835-1850 15
Alex. H. Seabury 1837-1840
1867-1887 Died 23
Edward C. Jones 1837-1880 Died 43
Ward M. Parker 1840-1881 Died 41
Lemuel Kollock 1840-1888 Died 47
Edward W. Howland 1845-1879 Died 34
William Gifford 1851-1866 15
George F. Barker 1857-1865 8
Otis Seabury 1860-1875 Died 25
L. H. Bartlett Jr. 1862-1865 Died 3
James H. Howland 1865-1884 Died 19
Joseph C. Delano 1865-1886 Died 21
Chas. H. Gifford 1866-1881 R’s’d 15
J. P. Knowles 2d 1867-1887 R’s’d 20
Samuel P. Burt 1871-1875 R’s’d 4
Abram T. Eddy 1876-1897 R’s’d 21
Walter P. Winsor 1879-1911 Died 34
William Watkins 1879-1899 20
Thos. M. Stetson 1880-1916 Died 36
Edward S. Taber 1881-1899 Died 18
Edmund Grinnell 1882-1888 Died 6
William Baylies 1885-1912 R’s’d 27
Edward T. Pierce 1886-1917 31
Savory C. Hathaway 1887-1897 Died 10
Humphrey W. Seabury 1887-1891 Died 4
Matthew Luce 1888-1902 Died 14
Sidney W. Knowles 1888-1892 Died 4
Thomas B. Tripp 1890-1912 Died 22
Thomas A. Tripp 1891-1917 26
Jas. E. Stanton Jr. 1898-1906 R’s’d 8
Gideon Allen Jr. 1899-1917 R’s’d 18
Matthew Luce Jr. 1902-1914
Herbert E. Cushman 1903-1917
William A. Mackie 1912-1917
John F. Hatch Jr. 1915-1917
Clark W. Holcomb 1916-1917
Charles M. Holmes 1916-1917
Frederick D. Stetson 1916-1917
Officers Citizens National Bank, Incorporated 1875
J. Arthur Beauvais 1875-1899
John P. Knowles 1875-1896
William J. Kilburn 1875-1899
Charles Tucker 1875-1896
Joseph H. Cornell 1875-1886
Lewis S. Judd 1875-1876
Henry T. Wood 1876-1883
John F. Tucker 1876-1884
George Marston 1880-1883
Fred S. Potter 1881-1899
Oliver P. Brightman 1884-1899
Wendell H. Cobb 1884-1888
Thomas B. Fuller 1885-1886
David B. Kempton 1886-1899
Cyrenus W. Haskins 1887-1896
Hosea M. Knowlton 1889-1899
Benjamin Wilcox 1889-1894
David L. Parker 1891-1899
Frank R. Hadley 1893-1897
Edward S. Brown 1893-1899
John Duff 1896-1899
William R. West 1896-1899
J. Arthur Beauvais 1875-1899
Thomas B. Fuller 1875-1886
Edward S. Brown 1886-1899
Executive Officials of the
New Bedford Institution for Savings
William Rotch Jr. 1825-1851
Abraham Barker 1851-1856
Thomas Mandell 1856-1871
Pardon Tillinghast 1871-1872
William C. Taber 1872-1877
William Watkins 1877-1896
William W. Crapo 1896-
There were no vice-presidents before Jan. 12, 1846. Previous to that time, in the absence of the president, the senior member present took the chair.
Stephen Merrihew 1846-1847
Abraham Shearman Jr. 1846-1847
Samuel Rodman Jr. 1847-1849
Abraham Barker 1847-1851
Thomas A. Greene 1849-1868
Edmund Gardner 1851-1877
Benjamin Rodman 1868-1877
William Taylor 1871-1881
William J. Rotch 1877-1894
Edward D. Mandell 1881-1898
Francis Hathaway 1894-1895
Horatio Hathaway 1895-1898
Andrew G. Pierce 1898-1903
Edward S. Taber 1899-1900
Charles W. Clifford 1900-
Thomas B. Tripp 1904-1912
Clarence A. Cook 1912-
Abraham Shearman Jr. 1825-1826
William C. Taber 1826-1835
George W. Baker 1835-1843
Reuben Nye 1843-1845
Wm. C. Coflin 1845-1870
Charles H. Pierce 1870-1904
George H. Batchelor 1904-
Isaac M. Richardson 1851-1854
Charles Russell 1854-1856
Charles H. Pierce 1856-1870
Frederic A. Washburn 1870-1908
Philip E. Macy 1908-
Clerks of the Corporation
John B. Smith 1825-1826
Abraham Shearman Jr. 1826-1827
Thomas A. Greene 1827-1828
Joseph Ricketson 1828-1831
Abraham Shearman Jr. 1831-1832
Joseph Ricketson 1832-1833
George Howland Jr. 1833-1838
James B. Congdon 1838-1842
Charles R. Tucker 1842-1843
William C. Taber 1843-1844
Charles R. Tucker 1844-1847
Edmund Taber 1847-1860
Henry T. Wood 1860-1884
William G. Wood 1884-1907
Edmund Wood 1907-
Secretaries of the Trustees
Samuel Rodman Jr. 1825-1833
George Howland Jr. 1833-1836
Joseph R. Anthony 1836-1837
George Howland Jr. 1837-1838
William C. Taber 1838-1840
George F. Hussey 1840-1841
Charles R. Tucker 1841-1845
Isaac C. Taber 1845-1847
Edmund Taber 1847-1861
Henry T. Wood 1861-1884
William G. Wood 1884-1907
Edmund Wood 1907-
Board of Investment Members
Joseph Bourne 1825-1829
Thomas A. Greene 1825-1826
Nathan Bates 1825-1830
Hayden Coggeshall 1825-1826
Samuel Rodman Jr. 1825-1836
William C. Nye 1826-1832
Charles W. Morgan 1826-1835
Thomas Mandell 1829-1870
Joseph R. Anthony 1830-1835
Pardon Tillinghast 1832-1833
Alfred Gibbs 1833-1844
William C. Taber 1834-1877
George Howland Jr. 1835-1839
Jireh Perry 1836-1849
Pardon Tillinghast 1839-1872
Edward L. Baker 1844-1859
Thomas Nye Jr. 1849-1859
William Hathaway Jr. 1859-1877
Charles R. Tucker 1859-1877
Edward W. Howland 1870-1879
Charles L. Wood 1870-1881
William Watkins 1870-1899
Edward D. Mandell 1872-1898
George O. Crocker 1877-1888
Horatio Hathaway 1877-1898
Abraham H. Howland Jr. 1877-1887
John R. Thornton 1879-1891
Andrew G. Pierce 1881-1903
Gilbert Allen 1887-1899
Edward S. Taber 1888-1899
William W. Crapo 1894-
Frederick Grinnell 1898-1904
Thomas B. Tripp 1898-1913
Oliver Prescott Jr. 1899-
Clarence A. Cook 1899-
Gideon Allen Jr. 1899-
Edward T. Pierce 1904-
Thomas S. Hathaway 1904-
Charles F. Wing 1913-
List of Trustees of Fairhaven Institution for Savings, 1832-1917.
Ezekiel Sawin 1832-1862
Sylvanus Allen 1832-1860
Bartholomew Taber 1832-1844
Wilson Barstow 1832-1835
Philemon Fuller Jr. 1832-1875
Rowland Gibbs 1832-1839
George Hitch 1832-1849
Joseph Bates 1832-1842
Firman R. Whitwell 1832-1861
Levi Jenney 1832-1848
Sampson Perkins 1832-
William L. B. Gibbs 1832-1860
Abner Pease 1832-1847
Lemuel Tripp 1832-1848
Joseph Tripp 1832-1860
James Tripp 1832-1839
Nathan Church 1832-1855
Jabez Delano Jr. 1832-1855
Ansel Gibbs 1833-1835
Warren Delano 1836-1860
Atkins Adams 1836-1849
Isaiah F. Terry 1840-1878
Barzilla S. Adams 1840-1842
Phineas Terry 1843-1860
Z. M. Allen 1843-1848
Duncan M. B. Thaxter 1845-
William P. Jenney 1846-1860
Edmund Allen 1848-1860
Nathaniel Church 1849-1865
Reuben Nye 1849-1895
Lemuel C. Tripp 1849-1860
Marlboro Bradford 1850-1865
Wilson Pope 1850-1874
Henry A. Church 1856-1860
Francis Stoddard 1856-1864
Rodolphus W. Dexter 1861-1862
Isaiah West 1861-1862
James S. Robinson 1861-1864
Albert Sawin 1861-1873
Bartholomew Taber Jr. 1861-1885
Noah Stoddard 1861-1895
George F. Tripp 1861-1878
Lewis S. Judd 1861-1898
James V. Cox 1863-1884
George H. Taber 1863-1904
Firman R. Whitwell Jr. 1863-1868
Lemuel S. Akin 1863-1866
John A. Hawes 1865-1877
Hiram Tripp 1865-1878
Silas P. Alden 1866-1869
Arthur Cox 1866-1868
Joseph B. Taber 1867-1878
John M. Howland 1869-1896
George Atwood 1869-1878
Cyrus D. Hunt 1870-1903
Horatio W. Richmond 1874-1876
Phineas E. Terry 1875-1881
Job C. Tripp 1876-
William H. Whitfield 1877-1878
Isaac Terry 1877-1883
Charles H. Morton 1878-
Thomas B. Fuller 1878-1886
Walter P. Winsor 1878-1899
Jonathan H. Holmes 1879-1885
John B. Hussey 1879-1909
O. H. P. Brown 1879-
Levi M. Snow 1879-1912
William Barker Jr. 1880-1881
George F. Howland 1882-1910
John Mayhew 1882-1884
Noah Hammond 1885-1894
William D. Eldridge 1885-1897
George D. Hammond 1886-1892
John W. L. Hillman 1886-1893
Thomas A. Tripp 1887-
Benjamin White 1889-1892
Daniel W. Deane 1892-
James L. Gillingham 1892-1907
George B. Luther 1893-
William L. Hubbard 1895-1896
Norman M. Paull 1895-1896
Arthur C. Wheaton 1896-1914
Horace K. Nye 1896-
John H. Howland 1897-1909
Elisha S. Whiting Jr. 1897-
Samuel S. Bumpus 1897-
Joseph S. Cole 1898-1906
Walter H. Judd 1899-
Joseph Pettee Jr. 1902-1914
Charles W. White Jr. 1904-
Edward G. Spooner 1904-
Lewis E. Bentley 1907-Charles D. Waldron 1907-1916
William B. Gardner 1910-
David N. Kelley 1910-
Lemuel LeB. Dexter 1911-Edward G. Tallman 1912-
Joseph H. Allen 1912-
Linneaus W. Morton 1913-
Andrew Snow Jr. 1916-
List of officers of The Fairhaven Institution for Savings and terms of service from date of incorporation to present time, 1917.
Ezekiel Sawin 1832-1846
Joseph Tripp 1847-1857
Firman R. Whitwell 1858-1861
Rodolphus W. Dexter 1862-
Isaiah F. Terry 1862-1878
George H. Taber 1879-1901
Cyrus D. Hunt 1902-1903
Thomas A. Tripp 1903-
Lewis S. Judd 1877-1878
Charles H. Morton 1879-1886
Walter P. Winsor 1887-1899
Cyrus D. Hunt 1900-1901
Thomas A. Tripp 1902-1903
Levi M. Snow 1903-1904
John B. Hussey 1904-1909
Walter H. Judd 1910-
Joseph Tripp 1832-
William L. B. Gibbs 1832-1840
Edmund Allen 1841-1847
Silvanus S. Allen 1848-1854
Charles Drew 1854-1886
Charles H. Morton 1886-
Clerks of the Corporation
Joseph Tripp 1832-
William L. B. Gibbs 1832-1840
Edmund Allen 1841-1847
Silvanus S. Allen 1848-1854
Charles Drew 1854-1886
Charles H. Morton 1886-1910
George B. Luther 1911-
Elisha S. Whiting Jr. 1911-
Clerks of the Trustees
Joseph Tripp 1832-
William L. B. Gibbs 1832-1840
Edmund Allen 1841-1847
Silvanus S. Allen 1848-1854 Charles Drew 1854-1886
Charles H. Morton 1886-1910
George B. Luther 1910-
Board of Investment
Joseph Tripp 1852-1860
Reuben Nye 1852-1862
William L. B. Gibbs l852-l869
Firman R. Whitwell 1852-1861
Ezekiel Sawin 1852-1862
Rodolphus W. Dexter 1861-1862
Francis Stoddard 1861-1862
Noah Stoddard 1862-
Isaiah F. Terry 1862-1878
Marlboro Bradford 1862-1865
Bartholomew Taber Jr. 1862-1878 Lemuel S. Akin 1863-1866 George H. Taber 1863-1901
George F. Tripp 1866-1878
Philemon Fuller Jr. 1867-1868
Isaiah West 1869-1878
Charles H. Morton 1878-1886
Thomas B. Fuller 1878-1886
John B. Hussey 1879-1909
Walter P. Winsor 1879-1899
Levi M. Snow 1886-1912
Cyrus D. Hunt 1887-1903 Thomas A. Tripp 1899-
Joseph Pettee Jr. 1902-1903
George B. Luther 1903-
Charles W. White Jr. 1904-
Walter H. Judd 1904-
Lewis E. Bentley 1910-
Daniel W. Deane 1913-
Job C. Tripp 1909-
George B. Luther 1909-
Daniel W. Deane 1911-1912
Joseph H. Allen 1913-
New Bedford Five Cents Savings Bank.
George Howland Jr. 1855-1892
Loum Snow 1892-1916
Jireh Swift 1916-
John P. Barker 1855-1855
James C. Ricketson 1855-1861
Barton Ricketson Jr. 1861-1889
William H. Pitman 1889-
James Taylor 1887-1907
George H. H. Allen 1907-
Members of the Corporation, Elected 1865
Thomas B. White
I. H. Bartlett
A. H. Seabury
Henry H. Crapo
Asa R. Nye
George Howland Jr.
Abner J. Phipps
William P. Howland.
Jonathan P. Lund
Perry G. Macomber
Elisha C. Leonard
John A. Standish
J. Arthur Beauvais
Henry A. Church
Abner R. Tucker
Christopher A. Church
Robert C. Pitman
William H. Taylor
John P. Barker
E. D. Wordell
J. B. Wood
Edward W. Howland
George F. Barker
Alden G. Ellis
Moses G. Thomas
William L. Rodman
Edward S. Cannon
Board of Investment
George Howland Jr. 1855-1892
Henry H. Crapo 1855-1859
Lemuel Kollock 1855-1879
George F. Barker 1855-1865
Asa R. Nye 1855-1858
Thomas Wilcox 1858-1913
Dennis Wood 1859-1879
George R. Phillips 1865-1881
Alexander H. Seabury 1874-1888
Loum Snow Jr. 1874-1916
Frederick S. Allen 1879-1897
William R. Wing 1879-1909
Otis N. Pierce 1887-
Parkman M. Lund 1887-
Thomas H. Knowles 1888-1891
George F. Kingman 1889-1899
Oliver P. Brightman 1891-1902
William Baylies 1892-1909
Andrew G. Pierce Jr. 1897-
Gilbert N. Hall 1899-1904
Arthur L. Tucker 1902-
William O. Devoll 1904-
Jireh Swift Jr. 1909-
William R. West 1909-
J. Henry Herring 1913-
Benjamin Baker 1916-
Trustees, Elected 1916
R. Williams Hervey
Otis N. Pierce
Henry C. Denison
Oliver F. Brown
Parkman M. Lund
Arthur L. Tucker
John H. Barrows
Henry M. Knowles
James W. Allen
William O. Devoll
William R. West
George H. H. Allen
Robert C. P. Coggeshall
Andrew G. Pierce Jr.
Alexander McL. Goodspeed
Francis T. Akin
Albert R. Pierce
John H. Clifford
Joseph W. Webster
Charles M. Hussey
Frank H. Gifford
J. Henry Herring
Leonard C. Lapham
Henry S. Knowles
Officers of the New Bedford Co-operative Bank, 1881-1917
Isaac W. Benjamin 1881-1894
George R. Stetson 1894-1915
Lot B. Bates 1915-
Edward Kilburn 1881-1882
George R. Stetson 1882-1891
Benjamin G. Brownell 1891-1909
Lot B. Bates 1909-1915
Edward E. F. Potter 1915-
Charles R. Price 1884-1913
Charles L. Fisher 1913-
Gideon B. Wright 1881-1897
Edgar Lord 1897-1912
Charles L. Fisher 1912-
Isaac M. Benjamin 1881-1894
Edward Kilburn 1881-1882
Charles R. Price 1881-
Gideon R. Wright 1881-1897
George R. Stetson 1881-1915
George H. Dunbar 1881-1888
Hiram Kilburn 1881-1883
Isaac N. Marshall 1881-1886
Jethro C. Brock 1881-1895
Rufus A. Soule 1881-1913
Benjamin Anthony 1881-1906
Robert Allen 1881-1884
Artson K. Denison 1881-1885
Henry Howard 1881-1897
Samuel Jones 1881-1892
Oliver P. Brightman 1881-1902
Samuel S. Paine 1881-1902
Jasper W. Bratey 1881-1901
John L. Gibbs 1881-1911
Edwin J. Collamore 1882-1886
Benjamin F. Brownell 1883-1909
John A. Bates 1884-1901
Charles S. Paisler 1885-1913
Andrew R. Palmer 1886-1899
David W. Holmes 1886-1895
Stephen A. Brownell 1888-1899
Edward E. F. Potter 1893-
William A. Kirby 1896-1912
Lot B. Bates 1897-
Edgar Lord 1897-1912
Frederic Taber 1899-
Charles M. Taber 1900-1914
William L. Sayer 1902-1914
Standish Bourne 1902-1914
Olin S. Paine 1904-
Henry W. Tripp 1907-
Elmore P. Haskins 1911-
Samuel F. Winsper 1911-
Charles L. Fisher 1913-
William B. Gardner 1913-
Frederic H. Taber 1913-
James O. Thompson Jr. 1914-
Edward F. Nicholson 1914-
Benjamin A. Tripp 1915-
Eliot H. Wefer 1916-
Officers of the New Bedford Safe Deposit & Trust Co.
Charles E. Hendrickson 1887-1891
John W. Macomber 1891-1899
Frederic Taber 1899-
William D. Howland 1887-1888
John W. Macomber 1888-1891 Rufus A. Soule 1891-1912
Benjamin Wilcox 1912-
Abbott P. Smith 1887-1897
Frederic Taber 1898-1899
Benjamin Wilcox 1911-1912
Frederic H. Taber 1913-
Edmund W. Bourne 1887-
Edward T. Tucker 1887-1913
Mayhew R. Hitch 1913-
Directors of the New Bedford Safe Deposit & Trust Co.
Lot B. Bates 1887-date
Frederic Taber 1887-date
William D. Howland 1887-1892
Charles E. Henderson 1887-1893 Abbott P. Smith 1887-1897
B. F. Brownell 1887-1909
Savory C. Hathaway 1887-1894
Stephen A. Brownell 1887-1898
Standish Bourne 1887-1911
John W. Macomber 1887-1899
Lemuel LeBaron Holmes 1887-1898
George C. Hatch 1887-1910
Rufus A. Soule 1888-1912
Charles S. Paisler 1891-1915
Charles A. Gray 1891-1897
Joseph Poisson 1895-1899
Charles F. Cushing 1895-date
John A. Macomber 2nd 1895-1898
Charles F. Wing 1898-date
Edmund W. Bourne 1907-date
Frederic H. Taber 1909-date
William B. Gardner 1910-date
Charles S. Kelly Jr. 1910-1911
William M. Butler 1910-
Benjamin Wilcox 1910-
Rufus A. Soule Jr. 1913-
George R. Cherry 1915-
Eliot H. Wefer 1916-
Officers of the Acushnet Co-operative Bank
Rufus A. Soule 1889-1913
Frederic Taber 1913-
Charles S. Paisler 1889-1913
William L. Sayer 1913-1914
Elmore P. Haskins 1914-
Charles R. Price 1889-1912
Charles L. Fisher 1912-
Gideon B. Wright 1883-1894
Edgar Lord 1894-1912
Charles L. Fisher l912-
Benjamin Anthony 1889-1906
Isaac W. Benjamin 1889-1891
Oliver P. Brightman 1889-1902
Jethro C. Brock 1889-1896
John A. Bates 1889-1895
Lot B. Bates 1889-
Jasper W. Braley 1889-1901 Benjamin F. Brownell 1889-1909
Albert B. Drake 1889-1891
John Eldridge Jr. 1889-1909
David W. Holmes 1889-1895 William A. Kirby 1889-1912 George R. Stetson 1889-1915 Frederic Taber 1889-Charles M. Taber 1889-1914
Gideon B. Wright 1889-1897
Rufus A. Soule 1889-1913
Charles S. Paisler 1889-1913
Charles R. Price 1889-
Edmund W. Bourne 1891-1912
William L. Sayer 1897-1914
Standish Bourne 1902-1911
Olin S. Paine 1905-
Henry W. Tripp 1909-
John L. Gibbs 1909-1914
Edward E. F. Potter 1909-
Elmore P. Haskins 1911-
Samuel F. Winsper 1911-
Charles L. Fisher 1912-
William B. Gardner 1913-
Frederick H. Taber 1913-
James O. Thompson Jr. 1914-
Edward F. Nicholson 1914-
Benjamin A. Tripp 1915-
Eliot H. Wefer 1916-
Officers of the New Bedford Morris Plan Co.
Frederic Taber 1916
Thomas S. Hathaway 1916
Treasurer and Clerk
William S. Cook 1916
Benjamin H. Anthony 1916
George H. Batchelor 1916
Julius Berkowitz 1916
George R. Cherry 1916
Elzear H. Choquette 1916
Clarence A. Cook 1916
Otis Seabury Cook 1916
William S. Cook 1916
Joseph H. Handford 1916
Elmore P. Haskins 1916
Thomas S. Hathaway 1916
Clark W. Holcomb 1916
Charles M. Holmes 1916
Nathaniel B. Kerr 1916
Michael J. Leahy 1916
William A. Mackie 1916
John McCullough 3rd 1916
John W. Paul 1916
William H. Pitman 1916
Joseph Poisson 1916
William F. Potter 1916
Harry C. Robinson 1916
William A. Robinson Jr. 1916
James E. Stanton Jr. 1916
Frederic Taber 1916
Henry W. Taber 1916
Walter H. Underdown 1916
Elton S. Wilde 1916
Clark Williams 1916
Charles F. Wing 1916
Editorial from The Morning Mercury, March 28, 1917
Several years ago Henry H. Crapo, in his privately printed volume, Certain Comeovers, demonstrated his ability to make a genealogical work as graphic and engaging to the casual reader as a narrative on a popular subject. The average man looks upon a genealogy as a heavy book, which daunts one with complicated arrangements of tables of lineage, of little interest to any excepting one who is seeking to establish eligibility to the Sons of the Revolution, or the Daughters of the Mayflower or to secure a share of an estate. Mr. Crapo wrote a genealogical book, whimsical and full of excellent humor and charm, with personal touches founded upon legend and fact which a man would sit up nights to read with the same enjoyment and zest he would devote to a well written story on a less prosing subject.
And now Mr. Crapo has achieved the same literary success with an equally unpromising subject, a “History of the Banks of Old Dartmouth.” It might not be imagined that such a history could be made popular reading, however valuable a record it might be. But Mr. Crapo has graced the tale with much original observation and many stories, a number related to him by his distinguished father, William W. Crapo, written with the charm which has fascinated those who have had the privilege of hearing Mr. Crapo in reminiscent mood. The chapter on the Bedford bank affords us an intimate view of the men who laid the financial foundation of the city in the antique days, which has never been so well reproduced before, giving us the atmosphere of old New Bedford in the days of simplicity and pleasantness.
Mr. Crapo has prepared his history for the Old Dartmouth Historical Society and it will subsequently appear in the publications of the society. He read from it at the historical society meeting last evening and the Mercury is printing today a liberal extract. The parts that are omitted from the Mercury‘s report are no less interesting than that which is presented. It is a pity the United States government cannot enlist the genius of Mr. Crapo to write its census reports. A writer who can so beguile us with bank history and genealogy might achieve literary success with any plodding subject. Sometime, it will be hoped, Mr. Crapo will give rein to his literary skill and fancy, on more alluring subjects.
Last modified: June 3, 2016