Old Dartmouth Historical Sketch No. 17 - New Bedford Whaling Museum


Number 17

Being the proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Massachusetts, on March 26, 1907

Containing the following reports:


[Note.—The "Old Dartmouth Historical Sketches" will be published from time to time and may be purchased for a nominal sum on application to the Secretary.]

Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society
New Bedford, Massachusetts
March 26, 1907

The fourth annual meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society was held March 26 in the new building of the organization. The attendance was large and the meeting very enthusiastic.

The following officers were elected:

President-Edmund Wood

Vice presidents-George H. Tripp, Henry B. Worth

Secretary-William Arthur Wing

Treasurer-William A. Mackie

Directors for three years-Walton Ricketson, William W. Crapo, Edward L. Macomber

President Crapo, in calling the meeting to order, referred to the activity of the society during the past year, and to the acquisition of the attractive and spacious home, which, he said, gives assurance of the permancy of the institution. He spoke of the time, labor and money expended in getting the new home ready for occupancy, and the work of the special committee which had the matter in charge. The result, he said, testified to the good judgment and painstaking care of the members, and he referred especially to the efforts of Walton Ricketson, who he said had given weeks and months of his time and personal attention to arranging details and preparing for the opening details and preparing for the opening of the building, not sparing manual labor the while.

Report of Directors
by Ellis L. Howland

The year 1906-7 has been a notable one in the career of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, probably the most notable in its somewhat limited career. Whereas the previous have been marked by the steady growth of the organization and the gradual development of its various instrumentalities, this year has seen two great steps taken which will do more than anything which has come before to establish the society as a permanent institution of this community-the acquisition and occupation of an elegant museum building of our own and the foundation of a permanent endowment for the support of the organization. With these two great sheet-anchors well imbedded, the society need never fear that its influence will wane in the future generations.

During the year the directors have held meetings on occasions and transacted the society’s business. There have been held also the customary four meetings of the general organization. That of September was held in these rooms courtesy of the New England Cotton Yarn Co. Supposedly it was designed to promote an interest in the site and to show the society the advantages of this building as a permanent home, it being one of several buildings proposed. It transpired that it was the occasion of a glad surprise, the time chosen by one of our members to suggest the presentation of this building to the society if it proved available. The society gladly accepted the gift (and the subsequent development of the museum will be more fully treated in the report of the building committee.)

Two years ago negotiations were set in operation by some of our members who were also members of the old New Bedford Lyceum, to have the treasury of that society, a sum approximating $6,000, turned over to this. Meanwhile we have enjoined the income form that fund for the period of two years, by the vote of the directors of the Lyceum, but during this year plans have matured by which the principal was also donated in a lump sum to us and is now in our treasury.

The society’s expenditures, on account of the new building, have necessarily been extremely heavy, this year, but the generosity of some of our members has enabled us to meet all obligations and leave a surplus in the treasury. The directors, are of the opinion, however, that the time has come for the establishment of a permanent endowment and in accordance with a vote of the directors, the president has appointed a committee on ways and means, whose purpose is to secure donations sufficient to properly support this museum and the various instrumentalities of the society. We respectfully urge every member to assist the work of this committee and let this society enjoy a firm financial foundation in keeping with its magnificent building and its splendid activities.

The work of the various sections, will be treated more fully by the chairmen of these sections and are therefore passed here. We respectfully commend their work and trust that with a better plant in which to work will be more effective than ever.

The directors regret that during the year our efficient secretary, Miss Elizabeth Watson, felt called upon by personal considerations to resign. Her services have been valuable to the society and deserve the thanks of the society. In her place, our former secretary, Ellis L. Howland temporarily accepted the charge, but he too, finds it necessary now to retire. Your directors respectfully suggest that the offices of curator and secretary be combined, since it appears feasible at this time and the nominating committee will doubtless report in accordance with that suggestion.

During the year several of our members have died and we note with deep regret the loss of the following:

Walter Almy, Benjamin Anthony, Anna Vernon Shaw, Mary Bradford, Charles Smith Cummings, Almeda Rushmore Watson, Abby Taber Hunt, Mary Elizabeth Hathaway.

The directors are convinced that the time has come, especially since we enjoy this splendid home, for the membership to be materially enlarged and respectfully urge that every member constitute himself a recruiting committee of one and endeavor to give us not less than 1,200 members. If this society is to be a vital force in promoting interest in historical events and the preservation of land marks of the past, it must extend its activity. A handsome building or an adequate financial department are not enough alone. What is essential is men and women, interested in the work and all aiming to promote the society’s welfare. We trust that a material increase in membership will be noted during 1907.

Report of the Treasurer
by William A. Mackie

Dr. William A. Mackie, Treasurer, in Account with Old Dartmouth Historical Society, Cr.


Balance                     $636.74

Annual dues                707.00

Life membership           75.00

N.B.Inst. for Savings, income from life memberships 25.66

Publication account     20.97

Sale of iron, etc.            19.85

Subscription to pay cost refitting and repairs

Wm. W. Crapo      $1,000

Wm. R. Wing             100

Thom. M. Stetson     100

Wm. A. Read             100

Thom. S. Hathaway  100

Emma C. Watkins     100

Ella F. Ivers                 100

Mrs. Wm. N. Swift     100

Abbott P. Smith         100

Mrs. Oliver Prescott  100

Oliver Prescott Jr.      100

Chas. E. Cook             100

E. Anthony & Sons     100

S. E. and C. O. Seabury 100

Francis T. Akin             75

Mrs. Edw. C. Jones      50

Oliver F. Brown             50

Wm. M. Butler             100

Helen H. and Mary B. Seabury 100

Francis R. Hart    100               2,775.00

Total $4,260.22


Museum section                    $27.35

Printing and postage                69.69

Salaries                                     317.83

Current expenses                     370.80

Life membership fees deposited 75.00

Repairs and refitting new quarters 2,881.19


Balance                     518.36

Total                      $4,260.22


Life membership fund                                     500.00

New Bedford Lyceum Fund—

3 shares Merchants Nat. Bank @204            612.00

15 shares Mechanics Nat. Bank @154        2,310.00

N. B. Inst. For Savings                           1,777.27

N. B. Five Cents Savings Bank                          1,168.18

*Land and building, No. Water Street

*Museum collection

*Gosnold Island, Cuttyhunk (1 acre)


*Value undetermined

William A. Mackie, Treas.

March 26, 1907

Examined and found correct,

William J. Caswell, Auditor

President Crapo, commenting on the report of the treasurer, stated that it was an excellent showing. He said the past is secure and that now the members should look to the future. He said that when one moves from a cottage to a palace the expenses correspondingly increase, and the members should look about as to how to meet those expenses. He said that possibly the sum of $1000 would be at hand, which he thought would be hardly enough for the purposes of the society. He suggested that an additional permanent fund of $10,000 would give sufficient income to run the society comfortably, but he should not urge the raising of this sum immediately. He suggested that the membership should be made 1000 without delay, and urged every member to renewed activity along this line. One member, he said, had added over 100 names to the membership list within a short time.

Report of the Museum Section
by Annie Seabury Wood

Since the last report of the Museum Section an all-important change has taken place in our affairs, the acquisition of a new home. It is unnecessary for me to go into details in regard to this acquisition or the work connected with moving. It is enough to say that our Museum now in its housing and its appointments is one of which we can justly be proud, and we feel sure that it will be more fruitful of benefit to the community than ever before.

The collections have been notably enriched in all departments, but there is still much to be done in this line. The spaces on the walls and in the rooms speak for themselves. To sustain and add to the interest of a collection as important as ours has become, demands generous aid on the part of all who are able to give it. Certainly a more fitting place could not be found for one’s treasures than here where they will always speak of the deeds of those who are gone.

Plans are being considered for making the Museum more attractive by holding from time to time local exhibitions of varying nature, now of textiles, now of miniature portraits, and again of pictures or of furniture. In every way we hope to make use of the larger opportunity which the new building gives us so that when the next annual report is written, for the year ending in March, 1908, it will be a chronicle of a period of still greater progress and activity.

In closing, I wish in the name of the Museum section to acknowledge the debt of gratitude which we owe to one of our members, Walton Ricketson.

Many others have been generous in giving and faithful in their work, but it is perhaps more to his unselfish devotion and untiring zeal than to anything else that the harmonious and fitting arrangement of the interior is due.

Report of the Historical Research Section
by Henry B. Worth

Now that the adequate accommodations have been provided for the Historical Research Section, it is an appropriate occasion to consider what has been accomplished and the avenues open for further investigation.

It is possible to announce to our friends and patrons of the society that in the present apartments is provided for books and papers a repository where they can be preserved in absolute security. A modern building, equipped according to the latest scientific methods intended originally as a place of safety, it is a guaranty that here is the best result of which human ingenuity is capable. It contains one room, built of steel, resting on the ledge that underlies this section of the city which will defy the attacking power of every element. No greater degree of protection is furnished by any similar institution in the world.

Those who have had occasion to visit historical rooms and archives have frequently been subjected to inconvenience and discomfort due to the crowded and badly lighted apartments devoted to that purpose. The library in the state house in Boston is an illustration of what is usually found. In our present quarters such conditions have been eliminated. These rooms are well ventilated, admirably lighted, and afford the most satisfactory opportunities for the study and examination. The view from the front window down Center Street covers a limited space that has been frequented by men famous during the past century. Laid out near the division line between the ten-acre lot of Joseph Rotch on the north and land on the south which in 1790 Joseph Russell gave to his son Gilbert, it was designated by an appropriate title; on the southeast corner of Water Street stands a building now occupied by the stove store and tinshop of E. P. Hirst, which was built and occupied as one of his residences by Gilbert Russell. After his death it was purchased and owned by Joseph Grinnell. East is a brick building erected by Watson & Manchester about 1845 and used as a bakery on the spot where for years previously the same business had been conducted. On the north side of the street a few yards east of Water Street is a three-story brick storehouse built about 1814 by John Harrison and owned later by George Howland Jr., William Rotch Jr., Edward C. Jones, Benjamin R. Almy and James L. Humphrey Jr. On the northwest corner of Front Street is another brick building erected before 1820 by William Tallman, and for many years owned and occupied by William Watkins.

So that inside, is protection, safety, and comfort, and outside is an environment teeming with historical associations. It is hoped and expected that persons in possession of letters, books, and documents will have no hesitation in donating or loaning them to the society, and that all will find pleasure in consulting our collection. Attention has recently been called to the fact that in 1866 Rev. William J. Potter obtained from a descendant of Dr. Samuel West, records of the First Church, located at the Head of the River, comprising between sixty and seventy pages of manuscript beginning with January, 19, 1731, and including records during the next sixty years. These valuable papers are in the custody of the First Congregational Society, and an opportunity has been given to make a copy of the same for this society, and this will be accomplished as soon as possible. Within a month, among these leaves were found records that substantiated the genealogical claim of a family of Cushmans in Central New York to the Mayflower ancestry.

When this building was accepted it was thought desirable to be able to ascertain who had been the property owners in this vicinity, and a compilation has been made showing the history of land titles of this section between Second Street and the river, and from Elm to Spring Street, giving the names of all the owners to the present time, with some history of the buildings. This will soon be ready, and a copy placed in this department in this building.

Another matter of special interest there has been so much needless sensitiveness that students shrink from uncovering the sham pretenses by which the people have been deceived in the past by wholesale. It is singular that so many resent the intimation that their right to a coat of arms may be open to question. They are quick to exhibit a chivalrous spirit in defending what they suppose is the honor of their family. To those who are informed this is sometimes very amusing. Colonial artisans preyed skillfully on the credulity of the ignorant but well-to-do Yankees who were ambitious to secure escutcheons which should prove their lineage to ancient English families. Coats-of-arms were furnished to all customers who would pay one guinea or five dollars, to prove the right to a coat-of-arms of an English family is no more nor less than to establish the genealogy, link by link, back to that ancestor. Hundreds and thousands of dollars have been expended in fruitless attempts to accomplish this result. Drake says: “Nine in every ten cases must end in failure.” But the herald artist made no investigation whatever. If the applicant was named Ward the painter merely referred to his encyclopedia of English coat-of-arms under that name and selected one of the seventy different coats and informed the client that his right had been traced back to the time of Richard the Third or the Norman Conquest, and his descendants are often ready and quick to defend this bogus claim. Their zeal is based on an erroneous view of the facts. But it should not be inferred that a spurious coat-of-arms has no value in our work. These fantastic pictures, painted by John Coles and others easily recognized by those familiar with his style, have much historical value as relics of a marked and laudable sentiment. Like coins, dishes and articles of household furniture they are objects in which our ancestors took a lively and intense interest; consequently as large a selection as possible of these quaint and curious pictures ought to be found in these rooms.

Another subject of importance is how to bring into available use the many log-books and sea-journals in different collections. Much that is written is of little interest, but rarely is there one of these records that does not contain some valuable material. As an illustration the following may be selected:

Journal of Captain John Howland

“A journal of our intended voyage by the Lord’s assistance, from Dartmouth to the straits of bellile for the sloop called the Reliance, that sailed 4th mo., 14, 1768. She stopped at Nantucket to get ‘sum Rigen, on the 26th passed through Canso, found plenty of ice and was the first vessel to get through. A short time later met Capt. Sylvanus Coffin and Obed Pease. 7th mo., 24th, saw plenty of spermasity and the next day right whales, but could not strike them. Later struck a whale but lost her with one iron and fifteen fathoms line; later met Capt. Sylvanus Russell and Capt. Bunker and on the 20th of the 8th month with Capt. Russell, killed one whale, which took two days to try out and another to store away. 9th mo., 24th, started for home.” The last entry was 10th mo., 15th. The next spring Capt. Howland went to the same locality in the Reliance, and the record contained but little of note except that 6th mo., 16th, they killed one whale ‘between Capt. Russell and ourselves,’ and on the 2nd of 7th mo., they ‘sailed for Newfoundland to git wood.’ 2nd of 10th mo., 1775, Capt. Howland went from Dartmouth to London, in Brig Joseph and Judith, and a week later encountered a storm which resulted in considerable damage, but nevertheless he reached Liverpool on the 21st, having paid a pilot eight dollars and arrived at London 11th mo., 20th. On his return voyage he reached Halifax 5th mo., 15th 1776, ‘the whole fleet and army from Boston is here.’ From there he went to the West Indies, 10th mo., after a silence of three months, the Sea Journal gives an account of an examination made by the officer of an English man-of-war who ‘After searching and overhauling the papers retired very precipitately and ordered me to go about my business.’” This was after the Revolutionary War had begun.

Capt. John Howland became one of New Bedford’s wealthy men and lived in the house on the west side of Water Street next to the corner of School Street taken down last year to build the cotton warehouse. So from this old journal, comprising forty pages, can be found one page of valuable material giving some of the incidents in the early career of one of the founders of New Bedford. If every log-book now in existence could be obtained in the same way, and the results printed in our proceedings, there would be a fund of valuable information brought within reach of readers of which they are now in absolute ignorance. This seems to be a practical way to deal with this material.”

Report of the Publication Section
by William A. Wing

Miss Elizabeth Watson has done much toward making the publication section a success. It is due largely to her efforts and enthusiasm that our pamphlets appear on much better paper, much larger and illustrated with attractive and interesting cuts. A paper read at the June meeting on “Fitting Out a Whaler,” was especially rich in pictures in our published report. Thanks in that instance are due to the courtesy of Henry S. Hutchinson, who loaned us the plates. Including tonight’s meeting, we have issued seventeen publications containing about thirty articles. These are in many instances matters of historical information obtainable nowhere else and are welcomed in exchange by numerous historical and genealogical societies. The local daily papers are most helpful in saving for us the type for our reports, and by showing courtesies in various ways which are appreciated.

It is perhaps not generally known, but our publications are kept on sale regularly at Hutchinson’s book store, as well as at the society building. The price is only 10 cents and they are issued quarterly. They are proving of especial interest as gifts to those away who have ancestral connections and interests in Old Dartmouth. Our object is to continue in the line of improvement and diversity of historic subjects as far as possible until at last we may be like that old book store in New Bedford which used to advertise, ‘A book for everybody.’

Report of the Photograph Section
by William A. Wing

The photograph section has escaped from a case 2 feet by 3 into a spacious room admirably lighted and adapted for our purpose. At present a most attractive and interesting picture is the view from the window with the Canton, the oldest whaler in the world, lying at the wharf at the foot of old Center Street, being “fitted out” for a voyage quite like old times-while beyond, across our Acushnet River, are the beautiful towers of Fairhaven. Hanging in our room is much of interest, historic and artistic in photography. The prevailing tone is gray in the pictures, frames and walls, and like that restful shade of the Friends, much in harmony. We have a group of photographs showing our Gosnold islet at Cuttyhunk before and after our monument was placed there. This section has taken especial interest in the society’s sending an attractive photograph of this islet and monument accompanied by our descriptive publication to the Jamestown exposition. A very fitting thing to do, for after the settlement at Cuttyhunk, in 1602, Gosnold in 1607 was one of those adventurers at Jamestown.

Upon our walls are photographs of much interest to the Society of Friends. The old meeting house, plain in exterior and quaint within, ancient Quaker homes and old Friends’ marriage certificates, all preserved by the camera, and a view of Christopher’s Hollow in Sandwich where young Christopher Holder held one of the first Friends’ meetings in America in 1657, which was attended by those whose children later settled in Dartmouth, seeking a land of peace and plenty.

There are pictures of old mansions built when “men lived in a grander way with ampler hospitality,” making you regret those vanished palaces of old New Bedford. While photographs of many a storied old whaler (many given from the collection of William Bradford) show where came the wealth to build those grand houses of the past. Photographs of the greatest charm of all are the “ancient worthies” of old Dartmouth, many photographed from old portraits,-sea captains, ministers, lawyers, doctors, school-masters, merchants, dear old Quaker ladies and beaux and belles of long ago.

We much desire for exhibition old daguerreotypes-those early beginnings in photography-in their quaint frames.

After seeing here and there in the photograph-room an ancestor’s picture, some old whaler of which you have often heard, or perhaps the home of your “great grandfather multiplied by three,” you will feel that the camera has much to tell of the history of old Dartmouth and can indeed lead us back onto the “road to yesterday.”

Report of the Building Committee

At a meeting of the directors of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, the undersigned were appointed a committee to take charge of the building formerly occupied by the National Bank of Commerce and generously offered to the society as a permanent home. In undertaking the task of renovating and adapting the building for the purposes of this society, various plans were contemplated. First was one which would embrace a hasty adaptation of the structure for the bare necessities of the organization, at slight expense and with no aim other than the housing of our possessions as cheaply as possible. Another was to remodel the structure and completely restore it to its original condition, preserving the harmony of its original lines, maintaining a large measure of the elegance originally expended upon it and giving the society a home which would be one of the finest in the country. After a careful consideration of the building and its adaptability, it was decided that the interests of the society demanded the latter treatment of the building. It would involve a large expenditure at the present time, but it would establish the museum on a scale of magnificence and dignity which would forever assure its permanence as a cherished institution of the Old Dartmouth community.

In carrying out the policy finally decided upon by the directors and the committee, a large amount of money has been expended; more than was intended at the outset. Your committee would respectfully recommend to anyone contemplating the restoration or repair of an old building the following formula: First, carefully estimate your anticipated expense then add 50 per cent, then double it. Yet we respectfully suggest that in this instance the money has been well expended and in a way which will forever reflect credit on the society. We could not have anticipated many expenditures which became necessary, nor could we have intelligently refrained from developing certain phases of the plan as they manifested their feasibility, without marring the completeness of the institution. We could not have known that a heating plant supposed to be in perfect condition, was worthless; that it would cost $64 to ascertain how badly damaged it was, and then involve the expenditure of $300 or more to put it in order. Nor could we anticipate that safety demanded the total abandonment and removal of the old lighting plant. Nor could it be ascertained how badly the roof leaked till winter weather developed the truth. However, no steps of a radical nature have been undertaken without careful conference with the leading officers of the society and an intelligent consideration of the financial feasibility. We feel that the building, as it stands tonight, is a justification, in all respects of whatever decisions were made.

Roughly classified, as well as it is possible to analyze the expenditures, the cost of the renovation, adaptation, alteration and occupation of the building has been $2648.38, divided into the following items:

Preliminary cleaning       $154.70

Preliminary repairs            158.14

General repairs                 952.19

Alterations                        508.22

Furnishings                       606.06

Maintenance                     267.07


It is unnecessary to detail the various duties performed by your committee in the course of its operations. In the early stages of the work the committee was badly hampered by reason of the absence of heating apparatus, a delay of several weeks having been occasioned thereby in carrying out certain portions of the work. Again, considerable delay was occasioned in the final installation of the exhibits, yet it was felt that a right course was more desirable than a rapid one. Fortunately there was complete harmony, both among the members of your committee and in its relations with the various sections and committees of the society. We desire to thank all who have assisted us in our task and we congratulate the society on the possession of so complete and representative a home.

Respectfully submitted,

The Building Committee

Ellis L. Howland

Walton Ricketson

George E. Briggs

Miscellaneous Business

At a meeting of the New Bedford Lyceum on February 21st, the following recommendations of a special committee of the Lyceum were adopted:

First-That the present membership of the Lyceum be transferred to, and incorporated into the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.

Second-That the funds and property of the Lyceum be transferred to the treasurer of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, upon the terms and conditions that the fund shall be known as the New Bedford Lyceum fund, the income therefrom to be used in furtherance of the objects, needs and necessities of said historical society.

Third-That the records of the Lyceum be deposited with the historical society, the same to be safely and securely kept and preserved.

Fourth-That a committee of the Lyceum be appointed to confer with the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, or a committee thereof, with full power to arrange the details for the accomplishment of the above recommendations, and to carry the same into effect.

Fifth-That the treasurer of the Lyceum be directed and instructed to transfer the funds and other property of the Lyceum to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, upon the written request of said committee.”

The form in which these recommendations were adopted was as follows:

“Whereas as a meeting of the Lyceum of the town of New Bedford, held on the first day of May 1905, a committee was appointed to consider the question of the disposition of the funds and assets of the Lyceum and said committee after due consideration have presented their report to the meeting as instructed and required to do, which report has been considered by the members present and voting, it is

“Voted that said report is hereby accepted and adopted as the judgment and purpose of the Lyceum of the town of New Bedford, and

“Voted that said report be extended at length upon the records of the corporation, as an expression of the views and wishes of its members, and

“Voted that the president and clerk and treasurer of this corporation are hereby appointed and constituted the committee recommended said report, and be it further

“Voted that the president and clerk and treasurer of this corporation be and they are hereby authorized and directed to assign and transfer and set over to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society all the stocks, securities and money deposits and all other property which are the property of the Lyceum of the town of New Bedford.

“The above transfer and conveyance of the assets and property of the Lyceum of the town of New Bedford to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society is made with the understanding and upon the condition that the same and the re-investments of the same shall be held by said historical society as a trust fund, the income derived thereupon to be used for the current expenses and support of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, but the old property now transferred and the re-investments of the same shall be held by said historical society as a permanent fund set apart and known as the New Bedford Lyceum Fund.”

In accordance with the action of the New Bedford Lyceum property of that organization was formally turned over to a committee representing the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. The action of the Lyceum was notable and public spirited, and will serve to perpetuate the same interests which the Lyceum was established to foster. It seems eminently appropriate that this meeting should give expression of a hearty appreciation of this munificent gift, therefore I move that the following resolution be adopted:

The Old Dartmouth Historical Society, wishing to show its deep appreciation of the action taken by the New Bedford Lyceum, extends to the members of that body a hearty vote of thanks for the generous gift which this society has received from them, and the conditions on which the gift were made will be literally and in spirit complied with. It was voted that a copy of this resolution be sent to each surviving member of the New Bedford Lyceum, and that this vote be spread upon the records of the society.

George H. Tripp

The following vote was passed:

“That the thanks of this society be extended (through Wm. W. Crapo) to the donor of this magnificent building which we now occupy and to express to him our sincere appreciation of the gift.”

The resignation of Ellis L. Howland, as secretary was received and accepted.

On motion of George H. Tripp the following resolutions were adopted by a rising vote:

“In the retirement of Honorable Wm. W. Crapo from the presidency the Old Dartmouth Historical Society unanimously expresses deep regret at his decision to lay down the duties of an office, which, since the foundation of the society he has filled with such ability, dignity and grace. The members feel that a large part of its success has been owing to the wise oversight, the prudent care, the intelligent administration which has guided and guarded the society in the initial years of its existence. We recall the doubts which at first he expressed towards the success of the venture, and also the steady and enthusiastic devotion to its interests when once, and largely thorough his instrumentality, it was started.

“Our retiring president carries with him the heartfelt wishes of every member that he may long be spared to witness the continued prosperity of the society in which he has shown himself so deeply interested.”

Mr. Crapo in responding said:

“I thank you for the expression of approval and esteem and good wishes contained in the vote you have adopted. More than that I thank you for the kind and friendly and generous feeling which has prompted it.

“Four years ago when a few persons in New Bedford and Fairhaven started the movement for a local historical society I was asked to accept the office of president in the proposed society. I objected for reasons that seemed to me sufficient. But it was urged that I might thereby aid in the formation of the society and that when it had been organized and established and in working order I should be relieved and a successor chosen. Relying upon this assurance, I assented.

“The little craft which was launched four years ago, by some process of evolution, has become a full rigged ship, with a complete outfit, sailing on a smooth sea upon a prosperous voyage. Having served the full term stipulated in the shipping articles I am entitled to a discharge.

“But you must not infer that in withdrawing from the position with which you have honored me that I shall lose interest in the society. Not in the least. I have an unquestioned belief that there are advantages to the community in the work carried on by the society and I am not indifferent to those advantages.

“My connection with the society has been a pleasure. I have had the hearty support of those actively engaged in its management, and their readiness to co-operate in plans for its advancement has been a delight. I acknowledge the obligation I am under to those who have at all times voluntarily aided me.

“You will remember that I am still a member of the society, and interested in its welfare, anxious for its success, loyal to its purposes and willing at all times to aid in its progress.”

Last modified: May 30, 2014