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City Document — -No. 10. 











In Common Council, March 6, 1854. 

Ordered, That the Committee on Finance be and they hereby are instructed 
to confer with the several Joint Standing Committees of the Cily Council, rela- 
tive to the necessary sums of money to be raised for the expenses of the City for 
the fiscal year ending the 30th April, 1855, and report thereon the Annual Appro- 
priation Bill, as soon as practicable. 

Passed and sent up for concurrence. 


In Board of Aldermen, March 6,1854. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 

[Note ^This Report was accidentally omitted to be printed in April, which 

accounts for its being numbered City Doc. No. 10.] 


In Common Council, April 17, 1854. 

The Joint Standing Committee on Finance, who were in- 
structed, under an order originating in the Common Coun- 
cil, March 6th, to confer with the several Joint Standing 
Committees of the City Council, relative to the necessary- 
sums of money to be raised for the expenses of the City, for 
the fiscal year ending April 30th, 1855, and report the an- 
nual appropriation order as soon as practicable, have attended 
to the duty assigned them, and submit the following 


For Schools. 

For pay of School Teachers, . $19,725 00 

" Fuel for Schools, . . 1,500 00 

" Contingencies, . . . 5,500 00 
" Roxbury Grammar School, 

(for High School,) . 3,000 00 

« New School House, . . 5,000 00 

For Support of Poor. 

For Support of Poor, in addition to 

iheir earnings, . . $3,000 00 

$34,725 GO 

$3,000 00 


Fire Department. 

Pay of Chief Engineer, . . $200 00 
" Assistant Engineers, . . 160 00 
" Secretary of the Board, . 15 00 

Engine No. 1. Pay of Foreman, $35 00 

" Clerk, . 35 00 

" Steward, . 75 00 

" 38 Men, $25 O.'O 00 

Engine No. 2. Pay of Foreman, . $35 00 

" Clerk, . 35 00 

" Steward, . 75 00 

" 38 Men, $25 950 00 

Engine No. 6. Pay of Foreman, . $35 00 

" Clerk, . 35 00 

" Steward, . 75 00 

" 38 Men, $25 950 00 

Engine No. 7. Pay of Foreman, . $35 00 

" Clerk, . 35 00 

" Steward, . 75 00 

" 38 Men, $25 950 00 

$375 00 

1,095 00 

1,095 00 

1,095 00 

Hook and ? 

Pay of Foreman, . 

$35 00 

x,^_»uty \j\j 

Ladder Co. \ 

" Clerk, 

30 00 

" Steward, . 

25 00 

" 18 Men, $25 

450 00 

540 00 

Hose Co. 

Pay of Foreman, . 

$35 00 

fJ'^XJ \J\J 

" Clerk, 

30 00 

" Steward, . 

50 00 

" 10 Men, $25 

250 00 

365 00 

$5,660 00 



2,500 00 

^60 GO 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 10. 5 

City Debt and Interest. 

For Payment of Interest on Debt, . . 111,000 00 

Watch and Police. 

For Pay of Watch and Police, . . . $5,000 00 

Salaries for City Officers. 

For Salary of Mayor, . . . #800 00 
City CJerk, . . 900 00 
Clerk of Com. Council, 150 00 
Treas. and Collector, 12« tO 00 
Assessors, . . 52o 00 
Clerk to Assessors, 75 00 

« Five Ass't Assessors, 100 00 

City Messenger, . 275 00 

|4,025 00 

Highways, Bridges and Sidewalks. 

For Highways, Bridges and Sidewalks, . |10,000 00 

Discount on Taxes. 

For Discount on Taxes, .... |3,500 00 

For Abatement of Taxes, . . . . $1,200 00 

Gas, Oil, Lighting and Repairs of Lamps. 

For Gas, Oil, Lighting and Repairs of Lamps, $3,000. 00 


For Interest on Overdrafts, . . . $500 00 

Contingent Expenses. 

For Contingent Expenses in addition to rents, 
&c., from City Property, . . . $3,000 00 

All which is respectfully submitted. 
For the Committee, 

LINUS B. COMINS, Chairman. 



TIONS for the Financial Year of 1854-55. 

It is hereby ordered hy the City Council^ That to defray 
the EXPENDITURES of the City of Roxbiiry for the 
Financial Year, which will commence with the first day of 
May, 1854, and end Avith the last day of April, 1855, the 
following sums of money be, and the same are hereby re- 
spectively appropriated, viz : 


Nineteen thousand seven hundred and twen- 
ty-five dollars $19,725 00 


Fifteen hundred dollars 1,500 00 


Five thousand five hundred dollars. . . 5,500 00 

• High School,) 
Three thousand dollars. .... 3,000 00 


Five thousand dollars. .... 5,000 00 

SUPPORT OF POOR, in addition to their 

earnings, and for repairs of Almshouse, 
Three thousand dollars. .... 3,000 00 


Five thousand six hundred and sixty dollars. 5,660 00 

Carried forward, $43,385 00 

1854] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 10. 7 

Brought forward, $43,385 00 

TiDo thousand Jive hundred dollars. . . 2,500 00 

Eleven thousand dollars. .... 11,000 00 


Five thousand dollars. .... 5,000 00 


Four thousand tioenty-jive dollars. . . 4,025 00 


Te7i thousand dollars 10,000 00 


Three thousand five hundred dollars. . 3,500 00 


Twelve hundred dollars. .... 1,200 00 

Three thousand dollars. .... 3,000 00 


Five hundred dollars. .... 500 00 

CONTINGENT EXPENSES, in addition to 
Rents, &c., from City Property, 
Three thousand dollars. .... 3,000 00 

Making a total of eighty-seven thousand 

one hundred and ten dollars. . . . 87,110 00 

And it is further Ordered, That no excess in any of the 
respective appropriations aforesaid, shall be paid by the 
Treasurer, unless authorized by the City Council : Provided, 
however, that any sums of money which may be subscribed 
or contributed by individuals, to promote the object of any 
of the foregoing appropriations, and which form no part of 
the estimated income of the City, shall be strictly applied 
according to the intention of the contributors, and shall be 
credited to said appropriation accordingly. 



In Common Council, April 17, 1854. 

Levying a TAX to defray the expenses of the City of Rox- 
buiy, for the Financial Year, which will commence with 
the first day of May, 1854, and end with the last day of 
April, 1855. 

Ordered, That the sum of EIGHT-Y-SEVEN THOU- 

raised by assessment on the Polls and Estates of the inhabr 
itants of this City, according to law, to pay the current ex- 
penses of the City of Roxbury, during the Financial Year, 
which will commence with the first day of May, 1854, and 
close with the last day of April, 1855. 

Passed and sent up for concurrence. 


In Board of Aldermen, April 17, 1854. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk, 








norfolk county journal press. 


Note. — In preparing the following memoir free use was made, by permis- 
sioUj of a manuscript copy of a beautiful and touching sermon preached at 
the funeral, by Rev. A. C. Thompson of the Eliot Congregational Church, Rox- 
bury ; a highly appropriate speech before the Roxbury City Council by Joseph N. 
Brewer, Esq., on introducing commemorative Resolutions ; and manuscript 
memoranda by Rev. Joseph Banvard ; in addition to my own memoranda and 
personal recollections of the good old man and revered friend. Prepared orig- 
inally for another purpose, it is now printed to gratify many friends of the de- 
ceased, who having read the manuscript expressed a wish to possess a copy. 

B. E. C. 


Dr. Prentiss was born in North Cambridge, then a part 
of Charlestown, August Tth, 1766, ten years before the 
Declaration of Independence. The house wherein he was 
born, since and for many years known as "Davenport's 
Tavern," is still standing, though somewhat remodeled, 
nearly opposite the present Cattle Market Hotel. His father 
was one of the band, who, disguised as Indians, destroyed 
the obnoxious tea in Boston Harbor in the dawn of the Rev- 
olution — then an important secret which the lad came very 
near disclosing by calling his mother's attention, quite early 
the next morning, to the tobacco with which his father's 
boots were filled. Young Prentiss saw the British rein- 
forcements as they marched to Lexington ; and remembered 
that it was a hot day, and that the season was remarkably 
forward from having seen the soldiers ornament their mus- 
kets with cherry blossoms from the trees then in full bloom. 
Swinging on the gate while the troops halted to drink at his 
father's well, he had a full and near view of Lord Percy, 
of whose appearance and bearing he was accustomed in af- 
ter life to give graphic and glowing descriptions. 

On their retreat he saw one of the British shot down by 
a neighbor. The soldier, stopping for plunder, had fallen 
somewhat in the rear of his company. Perceiving his dan- 
ger he raised his musket to fire upon his antagonist, but was 
too late. His body was thrown over the wall, and was an 

object of fearful curiosity during the remainder of the day. As 
more troops were rapidly approaching, young Prentiss with the 
other children was hurried by their mother to the cellar of a 
house at some distance, to protect them from the shots 
which were poured by retreating parties into the houses by 
the road-side. In the great anxiety and distress of the 
mother, and the confusion incident to their situation, for 
many families were there collected, he soon found an oppor- 
tunity to escape unnoticed, and, returning to the road, post- 
ed himself on the wall in the hope of hearing from or see- 
ing his father,who had early in the day joined his company 
in pursuit of the enemy. Repeatedly urged, by friends hur- 
rying by, to leave a place of so much danger, he obstinately 
refused until some one coming up assured him that his fath- 
er had been recently seen alive and well. Overjoyed with 
the intelligence he hastened back to the cellar, to carry the 
good news to his mother, whose agonising suspense was be- 
coming almost too great for human endurance. 

Dr. Prentiss was quite feeble and delicate in early life. 
His parents therefore thought it best that he should not be 
trained to any calling that would require much physical en- 
ergy and strength. As he was naturally fond of books he 
was encouraged to follow his inclinations in that particular. 
When quite a lad he constructed for himself a study in an 
old carriage-body lying neglected at the bottom of his fath- 
er's garden, and fitted it up with book-shelf, desk, chair and 
fire-place. There he was accustomed to retire for reading 
and study. At school he was distinguished for correct de- 
portment, faithful application, and facility of acquisition. 
An anecdote of him at this period may be related, as it is 
illustrative of the times. His teacher, who was somewhat 
of a military man, had a "corps of honor" in his school, 
embracing none but boys of the best scholarship and deport- 
ment. This class he was accustomed to exercise in milita- 
ry manoeuvres as a matter of amusement. To this corps 
Prentiss belonged. Some friend fitted him out with a neat 

wooden musket and other accoutrements; and, as he was an 
apt scholar, he soon acquired a practical knowledge of the 
manual exercise. A few days before the battle of Bunker's 
Hill, some raw recruits, who had been hastily collected from 
their farms and workshops, were assembled at Cambridge 
for the purpose of being drilled. Perfectly ignorant of 
military matters, they were exceedingly awkward in go- 
ing through the exercises. Young Prentiss was present. 
He had taken a position some little distance one side of the 
men; and every order, given by the officer, he correctly 
obeyed. The captain seeing this, said to him — 

"Come here, my lad." £Ie approached. 

'•'Do you understand the word of command?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Let me see; — order arras!" down went the little sol- 
dier's gun. 

"Shoulder arms !" up it went in true military style. 

"Present arms !" in a flash it was held in the proper po- 

The examination proving entirely satisfactory, the cap- 
tain placed the little fellow in front of the company of re- 
cruits, and told them to look at him, and make every mo- 
tion just as he did and there would be no mistake. He then 
proceeded with his drill — the little, delicate, white-haired, 
blue-eyed boy acting as fugle-man. 

Dr. Prentiss was prepared for college by Dr. Kendall, 
principal of the public school in his native town. He en- 
tered Harvard University at the age of sixteen, in the class 
of John Quincy Adams, Judges Cranch and Putnam, and 
graduated in 1787. 

After leaving college, he taught school in Medford for two 
years, at the same time pursuing the study of medicine with 
Dr. Putnam. He then went to Marlborough, where he re- 
mained about six mouths ; thence to Lancaster, where he 
took charge of a school, and at the same time continued his 
medical studies under the instruction of Dr. Israel Atherton, 
an eminent physician of that day. 


After completing his engagements in Lancaster, Dr. Pren- 
tiss returned to Marlborough ; and in 1793 married Miss 
Abigail Perkins, a grand-daughter of Dr. Kennedy of Bos- 
ton. He remained in Marlborough over ten years, keeping 
school and practising his profession. 

"While in practice in Marlborough he took an aversion to 
a neighboring physician of the name, and a relative, of the 
writer of this article. Dr. Prentiss was junior in the pro- 
fession, and more recently settled in the place. The ill- 
feeling arose from some real or supposed desire on the part 
of his predecessor to exclude a new comer, and some mis- 
construed acts of unintentional opposition. Subsequently a 
fortuitous circumstance brought the two gentlemen together, 
and led to an explanation. Dr. Prentiss, in the spirit of true 
manliness and candor which characterized all his hfe, ad- 
mitted his misconceptions, and proffered his friendship. He 
was met in a similar spirit. Mutual kindness and esteem 
followed, and ever after continued between them. The 
friendship and good-will thus engendered was bestowed in 
its full measure on the writer by Dr. Prentiss, on their in- 
troduction some twelve years since, and steadily maintained 
in increasing intensity to the very last hour of his conscious- 

In his practice Dr. Prentiss early inclined to a milder sys- 
tem of medication than was then usual, and was in conse- 
quence thought to be a timid practitioner by the indiscrimi- 
nating, who considered severe dosing as an evidence of "he- 
roic"' practice. He was never a rash prescriber, as that 
term implies, having more faith in "old dame nature," as 
his phrase was, than in the large doses of medicine of some 
of Ms contemporaries. In this he was more truly "heroic" 
than those who pursued a more ostentatious and therefore 
perhaps more popular course. 

He was admitted a member of the Mass. Medical Society 
in 1813; and his name was placed on the retired list in 

By his mild deportment, soothing manners and indefati- 
gable attention he won the affections of many familes, who 
lamented his removal from the place of his earlier practice ; 
and of many others who continued to seek his advice long 
after he had expressed a wish to retire from all professional 

While preparing for his profession it had been necessary 
for him to teach school from prudential reasons. For this 
employment he was eminently qualified by nature and edu- 
cation. His preferences also led in this direction, so that 
when, in the autumn of 1801, he was invited to take charge 
of the "Grammar School" (now known as the English High 
and Latin Schools) in Roxbury, on his own terms, he ac- 
cepted the offer and removed thither. The duties of this 
position he discharged with fidelity. 

Among the distinguished men he educated, was one of 
the first and well-known missionaries to India, Rev. Sam- 
uel Newell. On one occasion Mr. Newell visited the Doc- 
tor when his house had been recently painted, and not be- 
ing aware of that circumstance stepped upon the threshold 
of the parlor and left there the print of his foot. That foot- 
print Dr. Prentiss would never allow to be painted over. 
He preserved it as a memento of the good man who made it. 

Dr. Prentiss retained the office of Principal of the "Gram- 
mar School" for nine years. When he announced his resig- 
nation it caused quite an excitement among his pupils, by 
whom he was warmly loved. He soon after opened a pri- 
vate school, and many of them joined his classes. He was 
a strict disciplinarian for the times. One of his pupils re- 
cently related the following anecdote in one of the Western 
papers. "His patience at times would get nearly exhausted 
by the infractions of the school rules by the scholars. On 
one occasion, in rather a wrathy way, he threatened to pun- 
ish with six blows of a very heavy ferule, the first boy de- 
tected in whispering, and appointed some as detectors* 
Shortly after, one of these detectors shouted, — 'Master, John 


Zeigler is whispering.' John was called up, and asked if 
it was a fact — (John, by the way, was a favorite both of the 
teacher and his schoolmates.) 'Yes,' answered John, 'I 
was not aware of what I was about. I was intent in work- 
ing out a sum, and requested the one who sat next to reach 
the arithmetic that contained the rule, which I wished to 
see.' The Doctor regretted his hasty threat, but told John 
he could not suffer him to escape the punishment, and con^ 
tinned ; 'I wish I could avoid it, but I cannot without a for- 
feiture of my word, and the consequent loss of my author- 
ity. I will,' continued he. 'leave it to any three scholars 
you may choose to say whether or not J omit the punish- 
ment.' John said he was agreed to that, and immediately 
called out G. S., T. D., and D. P. D. The Doctor told 
them to return a verdict, which they soon did, (after con- 
sultation.) as follows : 'The master's rule must be kept in- 
violate — John must receive the threatened punishment of 
six blows of the ferule ; but it must be inflicted on volun- 
teer proxies ; and we, the arbitrators, will share the punish- 
ment by receiving two blows each.' John, who had listen- 
ed to the verdict, stepped up to the Doctor, and with out- 
stretched hand exclaimed : 'Master, here is my hand ; they 
shan't be struck a blow ; I will receive the punishment.' 
The Doctor, under pretence of wiping his face, shielded his 
eyes, and telling the boys to go to their seats, said he would 
think of it. I believe he did think of it to his dying day, 
but the punishment was never inflicted." 

On leaving the Grammar School he had partially resumed 
his practice. The next year he was chosen Selectman of 
the Town and Assessor, in which capacity he served five 
years. The three following years he was sent Representa- 
tive to the State Legislature, and then declined renomina- 
tion; though subsequently he once more accepted the office. 
In 1816 he was chosen Town Clerk, which office he held 
until the close of the town government in 1846 — a period 
ot thirty years. 

When the city form of government was accepted he de- 
chned being a candidate for clerkship, saying that the records 
of the town were then in good order, and he did not wish 
to continue in office till from the infirmities of age he injured 
them. He was then eighty years old. He* relinquished 
practice at the same time ; and soon after, breaking up 
house-keeping, went to reside with his daughter, Mrs. Ban- 

"The duties of Town Clerk" (said Mr. Brewer) "he faith- 
fully and acceptably performed to the entire satisfaction of 
all parties ; and notwithstanding there were times when the 
spirit of party raged almost to madness, men of every polit- 
ical faith manifested their approbation of his services, by re- 
electing him yearly to that office by a nearly unanimous 
vote. The records of the town bear full and ample testi- 
mony, in their clear and beautiful penmanship, to his indus- 
try, and to the systematic, correct and methodical manner 
which characterized all his official acts. 

"The last official act performed by him was to administer 
the oath of office to the first mayor of our city, on the first 
Monday of April, 1846 ; and for that purpose — though he 
had held a commission as Justice of the Peace for many 
years — he was qualified only a few days before, expressly 
to perform this service. There are some who remember 
well that occasion. It seemed to all there assembled to be 
qualified as members of the first City Council, that as the 
members of the old government were surrendering their 
commissions, the members of the new one were receiving 
their authority from apostolic hands." 

:* * * * t'Dr. Prentiss was warmly attached to Rox- 
bury. To the last he considered himself a citizen here, and 
exercised the rights of citizenship whenever opportunity of- 
fered and the state of his health permitted. Coming here 
in his early manhood, he grew up with the growth of Rox- 
bury to the green old age of more than four score. When 
he entered the service of the town, its population numbered 


a little more than three thousand souls, and when he closed 
that service it had increased to fourteen thousand. For 
more than forty years, as teacher and officer, he labored 
with zeal and energy in the local affairs of Roxbury, with a 
single eye towards the advancement of the best interests of 
the town, and the prosperity of its inhabitants. He was 
jealous of the rights and interests of Roxbury. Whenever 
those rights were invaded, or those interests adversely affect- 
ed, by any local or other measure, either proposed or adop- 
ted, he felt it keenly and sensibly and was not backward in 
expressing his own convictions. He had no selfish traits of 
character — so say those who knew him best ; — he had no 
ambition to gratify. Whatever offices or honors he received 
from his fellow-citizens, resulted from their own spontane- 
ous action — their own voluntary offering, and never from 
any act, word or effort on his part. They had unlimited 
confidence in his wisdom, his integrity, his judgment, his 
prudence and his patriotism, whenever they committed their 
interests to his hands ; for they knew that their confidence 
would never be abused or misused." 

Dr. Prentiss was a man of venerable appearance. His 
tall, robust and noble form, locks white as snow, and open^ 
pleasant countenance, always attracted the attention of 
strangers. Being of an affectionate, cheerful disposition, 
eminently conscientious, ever disposed to do good unto oth- 
ers, a man of unyielding integrity, great firmness and de- 
voted piety, he was universally respected by all who knew 

He was twice married. By his first wife he had eight 
children, three of whom still survive him. In 1807 he mar- 
ried Miss Abigail Pico, of Boston, for his second wife, and 
outlived her more than twenty-five years. 

"Seldom has the man lived," said his pastor at the fune- 
ral, "even the man of advanced age, who had such an ex- 
ulting apprehension of the sovereignty of Jehovah, of the 
rectitude and wisdom of the divine proceedings." 


* * * * "His name stands first on the list of those 
organized, nineteen years ago, into the Ehot Church, over 
whose inception and growth he watched, prayed and wept 
in exulting gratitude to the King of Zion. His later years 
were years of singular serenity, soothed and cheered by the 
ministrations of devoted daughters, and a beloved son-in- 
law, pastor of the church in whose place of worship we now 
attend his obsequies. 

"Seldom has any one of equal age retained such fresh- 
ness of the bodily senses and the faculties of the mind ; but 
whatever slight mental infirmity may have been latterly ap- 
parent, the vita vere vitalis was in full vigor. Faith, hope 
and charity were stronger than ever. His vital union to 
Him who is the Yine, became a point of triumphant assur- 
ance. His last whispered words, as an afiectionate sister 
wiped a tear from his eye, were, pointing upward — 'no tears 
there !' and his last conscious act after the power of speech 
had ceased," (a sign agreed by him to be used if in the 
closing hour of life he could not speak,) "was, to lay one 
finger across another in token of the Cross of Christ, in 
which he gloried to the last." 

The funeral services were observed in the Baptist Church 
in West Cambridge, on Monday, November 7th, 1853, and 
were attended by the City Government of Roxbury, by 
many of his former townsmen and friends, as well as a large 
assemblage from the neighborhood. 

"Not many days before his death," (to quote again from 
Mr. Brewer's speech,) "a few of his former pupils made 
him a visit and presented to him a beautiful silver pitcher, 
and asked his acceptance of it as 'a pledge of their rencAved 
and continued affection' — 'an evidence that though many 
years had passed away, he had not been forgotten by them.' 
The occasion was a solemn and impressive one to all pres- 
ent. They told him they had appreciated 'his kindness and 
indefatigable endeavors in directing their young minds to 
the rudiments of human learning, and instilling into their 

1 o r"??" "*i 

hearts those moral infiuences under which his own long life 
had been rendered so serene and happy.' Their venerable 
master accepted the unexpected gift with feelings and emo- 
tions not easily described. He felt the kindness and affec- 
tion that prompted the act. His heart was full to overflow- 
ing — too full for utterance. The 'tender place,' as he ex- 
pressed it, was then as susceptible as in his youth. 

"From this time he declined rapidly, and it was evident 
that the sands of life had nearly run out. He breathed his 
last on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 5th, 1853. 

" 'Of no distemper, of no blast he died; 

Bat fell like autumn fruit, that mellowed long.' " 






One volume can be taken at a time from the 
Lower Hall, and one from the Bates Hall. 
' Books can be kept out 14 days. 

A fine of 2 cents for each volume will be 
incurred for each day a book is detained more 
than 14 days. 

Any book detained more than a week be- 
j-ond the time limited, will be sent for at the 
expense of the delinquent. 

No book is to be lent out of the household 
of the ])orrower. 

The Library hours for the deliver)' and re- 
turn of books are from 10 o'clock, A. M., to 
8 o'clock, r. M., in the Lower Hall ; and from 
10 o'clock, A. SL, untU one half hour before 
sunset in the Bates Hall. 

Every book must, under penalty of one dol- 
lar, be returned to the Library at such time 
in August as shall be publicly announced. 

The card must be presented Avhenever a 
book is returned. For renewing a book the 
card must be presented, together with the 
book, or with the shelf-numbers of the book. 




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