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V) s I a H 3 r, 1
The Rutland Home of
Major General Rufus Putnam
STEPHEN C. EARLE, F. A. I. A.
With Illustrations from Photoirraphs
by the Author.
(ilLBKRT «. DAVIS
38 FRONT ST., WORCESTER, MASS.
XT c I9t9
By Stkphkn C. PCaelk,
As frequent inquiries are being made for something
descriptive of the Rufus Putnam Home, by the many
visitors resorting there to pay their homage to the
memory of that eminent patriot and statesman, this little
brochure which was originally projected as a souvenir
of the promised visit of President McKinley, is now
offered in the hope of meeting, in a measure, the desire
so often expressed.
S. C. E.
A notable occasion for old Rutland was promised
when in June, 1901, our honored and beloved President,
the first citizen of Ohio, purposed to visit the Massachu-
setts home of the father of Ohio. The postponement of
that visit, caused by his devotion at the sick bed of his
wife, is alas ! final.
A whole people mourns.
Senator Hoar voices our hearts in his fitting words
uttered at the memorial services in Mechanics Hall,
Worcester, September 19, 1901.
" We will place William McKinley in our Valhalla.
He was a favorite of the people. He was a leader of
men. He knew the people that he ruled. His power was
of the sunshine ; not of the tempest. Whether the great
measures with which his name is inseparably connected
were wise or unwise, righteous or unrighteous, must be
settled by later and more deliberate verdict than ours.
History will declare, I think, that he believed them right
and wise, that he loved his countrymen and loved liberty.
"But in this hour as we stand by the grave of our
beloved, we are thinking of the simple household virtues
which make the whole world kin, and which, after all,
are the strength of the Republic and the foundation of
all human society. The pure family life, the love of one
man for one woman, the sincere friendship, the unfail-
ing kindness, the open heart, the modest bearing, the
sweet and gracious demeanor — it is these of which our
hearts are full. It is these that cling to the good man's
memory here and hereafter.
" Peace to his ashes. The benedictions of millions
of Americans are falling now upon his new-made grave
BOUT a half mile west of the hill-top village of
Rutland, in Worcester County, at almost the
precise geographical centre of the old Com-
monwealth of Massachusetts, stands a substantial dwell-
ing-house, typical of those in which a century and a
half ago lived the leading citizens of the more important
of our country towns. It was built about the middle of
the eighteenth century by the tory colonel, John Murray,
who, from a penniless and almost friendless boy, arriv-
ing here from Ireland as John McMorroh, became a
wealthy land-owner and prominent citizen of Rutland.
He built several houses in this town for his children,
when they married and left the paternal roof, and this
house was the home of his second daughter, who mar-
ried Daniel Bliss of Concord.*
The house was confiscated at the close of the Revo-
lution, and it is as the home of him who afterwards
bought it, that it has an especial interest for us at
the present time, for as recorded on the bronze tablet
placed on its front by the Massachusetts Society of the
Sons of the Revolution ;
♦ See Appendix "A."
From 178 1 to 1788
GENERAL RUFUS PUTNAM
Soldier of the Old French War
Engineer of the Works
Which compelled the British Army
To evacuate Boston
And of the Fortification of
Founder and Father
In this House
He planned and matured
The scheme of the ( )hio Company
And from it issued the call for the
Which led to its Organization.
Over this Threshold
He went to lead the Company
Which settled Marietta
April 7, 1788.
Under God it is owing
Great Northwest Territory
Was dedicated forever to
Freedom, Education and Religion
And that the
United States of America
is not now a
Great slaveholding Empire.
With clear vision he saw that westward expansion was
to play a most important part in our destiny, havincr
proved, as has been said, "the great fact of our history
from the time of the Revolution to the time of the Civil
War, which by successive waves, has reached Ohio,
Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Oregon, so that there is
more good New England blood today west of the Hud-
son than there is east of it."
" This Rutland on the hill is the cradle of Ohio, the
cradle of the West."*
The Ohio Company was formed March i, 1786, at a
Convention gathered for the purpose, in which Rufus
Putnam was the leader. But legislation was indispen-
sible before Colonization could be undertaken, and
Manasseh Cutler was dispatched to urge the needed
action upon the Continental Congress.
As he was about to start for New York, in June, 1787,
General Putnam met him in Boston and arranged with
him the plan by which he was to proceed, to secure the
all important enactment by Congress, of the great
ordinance of 1787.
General Rufus Putnam was fifty years old when he,
the inspirer, founder and guide, " led the Associates of
the Ohio Company — the forty-eight immortals in their
wintry journey through the snow of the Alleghenies and
down the Ohio River to Marietta, where he resided until
his death, on May 24, 1824, at the age of 86."
"This ordinance of 1787," says Senator Hoar, in his
great oration at the Marietta Centennial in 1888, "belongs
with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitu-
tion. It is one of the three title deeds of American Con-
stitutional Liberty " ; and Daniel Webster, in his great
7th of March speech in reply to Hayne, says, " I doubt
whether one single law of any lawgiver, ancient or
* J. L. Pearson's " Historic Town of New England."
modern, has produced effects of more distinct, marked
and lasting character than the ordinance of 1787."
The stirring eloquence of Senator Hoar served to
awaken Massachusetts and the Country to the forgotton
significance of Old Rutland, as "the cradle of Ohio —
the cradle of the West," and what so natural and fitting,
therefore, as that this home of Rufus Putnam during the
interval between his military career and his equally im-
portant peaceful campaign should be cherished and pre-
served as a shrine sacred to all patriotic Americans.
Moved by such sentiment, a goodly number of citi-
zens, under the leadership of Senator Hoar, co-operated
to secure the spot, and it has now been entrusted to the
care of a corporation bearing the name of the RUFUS
PUTNAM MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION.*
This corporation, desiring to maintain the house in its
pristine character and afford as well an opportunity for
gathering a collection of the household furnishings of
the time, has built in the rear a comfortable dwelling for
the custodian and his family, and so far as possible,
with the means at hand, restored the old house to its
condition when it was the home of Rufus Putnam.
It is to be hoped that a generous and patriotic public
will provide the means to restore some features, sacrificed
in alterations made many years ago, notably in the archi-
tectural character of the front entrance, changes in win-
dows and the sacrifice of some of the interior panelling.
The old kitchen has been restored to its original size
with the addition of a recess for a handsome old black
oak dresser, bought in England for the place by Senator
* See Appendix ♦♦ B."
Front Stairs . . . April 30, 190;
South West Parlor of Kufus Putnam House . . . March 26, i
Hoar, and the old cavernous fire-place, bricked up for
forty or fifty years, has been opened and furnished with
a fine old set of cranes and utensils, another gift of Mr.
There are many other interesting articles, presented
by Mr. Hoar and others, which are appropriate house-
hold furnishings in the home of a well-to-do New Eng-
land family of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
One of the most notable articles among Senator Hoar's
gifts is a richly carved black oak canopy bedstead from
Worcestershire, England, which now graces the south-
To fully appreciate the dignity of this old mansion
and its builders, one must go down into the cellar by the
solid log stairs, a feature common in the old Colonial
houses, now rather rarely seen — and observe the mas-
sive stone arched chimney foundations.
Surely no one can fail to be impressed by the beauty
of the site and its surroundings, with such pictures as
are seen in the approach by the slightly curving road
lined with great willows — the fine view of the village of
Rutland from the eastern terrace, and from this same
spot the lovely picture of Wachusett seen through a gap
in the neighboring wooded hills ; to which the little pond
in the foreground adds the charm to the landscape
which only a pretty sheet of water can give.
** But," says Senator Hoar in his great oration at Ma-
rietta, **what can be said which shall be adequate to the
worth of him who was the originator, inspirer, leader
and guide of the Ohio settlement from the time when he
first conceived it, in the closing days of the Revolution,
until Ohio took her place in the Union as a free state in
the summer of 1803 ? Every one of that honorable body
would have felt it a personal wrong had he been told
that the foremost honors of this occasion would not be
given to Rufus Putnam. Lossing calls him 'the father
of Ohio' ; Burnet says 'he was regarded as their princi-
pal chief and leader.' "
He was chosen the superintendent at the meeting of
the Ohio Company in Boston, November 21, 1787, "to
be obeyed and respected accordingly." ....
The agents of the company, when they voted in 1787
" that the 7th of April be forever observed as a public
festival ", spoke of it as " the day when General Putnam
commenced the settlement of this country." ....
Harris dedicates the documents collected in his ap-
pendix to Rufus Putnam, the founder and father of the
"He was a man after Washington's own pattern and
after Washington's own heart ; of the blood and near
kindred of Israel Putnam, the man who dared to lead
where any man dared to follow." ....
We take no leaf from the pure chaplet of Washing-
ton's fame when we say "that the success of the first
great military operation of the Revolution was due to
Oak Bedstead and Quilt from Worcestershire, England, April 30, 190:
Rev. Daniel Bliss of Concord, the father of Colonel Mur-
ray's son-in-law, was a famous and eloquent preacher, and a
friend of Whitefield. The sister of Daniel Bliss of Rutland
married Rev. William Emerson, minister of Concord, a zealous
patriot of the Revolution, and grandfather of Ralph Waldo
Emerson. The following letter, which has not before been pub-
lished, written by her second husband, Rev. Ezra Ripley, is
interesting in this connection.
Concord, Dec. 8th, 1829.
Yours of the 15th Octo. last, came to hand some time in
Nov. last. I should have answered it without delay ; but the
family Bible containing the record of birth and death, being in
the possession of a person far away, I could not obtain it. I
must be as accurate as I can without knowing particular days.
It is with pleasure I aid you with information respecting the
person after whom you inquire.
Daniel Bliss Esq. was the eldest child of the Rev. Daniel
Bliss late minister of Concord. He was born March — , 1740.
He was educated at Harvard University, & graduated 1760.
Mr. Bliss was designed for the Christian ministry by his parents,
& was himself inclined to the profession; his natural talents
seemed to point him to that sacred office. Soon after he grad-
uated, he became acquainted with the family of Col. John Mur-
ray then of Rutland, whose second daughter he married. His
connection with that family, who were Tories warped his mind
on political subjects, &, very reluctantly, he joined the royal
party. He read law in the office of Abel Willard Esq. of Lan-
caster, & in due time opened an office in Rutland, Mass., where
he lived till about 1773, or 1774, when he removed to Concord,
where he rendered himself very popular and useful. The lead-
ing men of the town urged him to join the cause of the country
& liberty, & assured him of their support. They wanted such
a man to take the lead in public affairs, which had then become
serious and alarming. He convinced them of his friendship to
his country, but told them in his opinion, resistence to Great
Britain would be in vain & that all leading men would be treated
as rebels. Besides he said it was a matter of conscience with
him. As an attorney, (& I believe, magistrate) he had sworn
allegience to King George & to support his government, and he
thought it would be perjury in him to join in opposition to the
authority of the King and parliment. A little while before the
19th of April 1775, he went with his family to Boston, & thence
to Quebec with the British. It was his belief that the Ameri-
cans had courage, and would fight, but thought they would be
conquored. Of this, that is courage to fight, he endeavored to
convince the British officers, who visited him a little while before
the memorable 19th of April, 75. The officers supposed the
people would not fight ; he urged a different opinion. While
in this conversation, his brother Thos. Theodore passed by in
sight on which Mr. Bliss said, pointing to his brother, There
goes a man who will fight you in blood up to his knees. This
prediction was verified; that same brother proved a very brave,
though unfortunate officer in the revolutionary war. Mr. Bliss
at Canada, stood aloof from powder and balls, to the use of
which by man against man, he had a great aversion, but for a
living accepted the office of Commissary.
At the close of the war he settled in New Brunswick, at
Fredericton, where he continued til he died, I believe, Dec.
18 13. Mr. Bliss visited the states repeatedly, & was very de-
sirous of returning with his family to his native soil ; but the
measures of our government effectually prevented it. In New
Brunswick Mr. Bliss was chief justice, as I believe, of the infe-
rior court. What property he had in Concord was confiscated,
& he never accumulated wealth. He was too honest to avail
himself of the opportunity that offered, when Commissary, for
which, he told me, all he got for it was, to be laughed at by the
Mr. Bliss was a man of a very active and sprightly mind,
& very fluent & agreeable in conversation. He was a man of
piety and practical goodness. Many troubles fell to his lot ; &
he never ceased to regret, that he could not return to his be-
loved native country. He was never a tory at heart, or in prin-
ciple, but only through natural timidity, tenderness of conscience
& a combination of circumstances. He was a firm believer in
divine revelation & lived & died a practical Christian.
Mr. Bliss' oldest daughter married a British officer & still
lives in Ireland, where also his oldest son lives, having joined
the British army at Quebec. But this is not to the purpose.
I am sorry that I cannot be more accurate in dates. If I
shall ascertain the day of birth and death in season, I will fur-
nish you. I do not wish that my name should be mentioned as
authority in what you may publish. As Mr. Bliss was the
brother of my late wife, I may be thought partial ; & you are
aware that any man who was counted a tory & was an absentee,
was very odious to the people. But it will be gratifying to me
& many others, to have any just and honorable notice given of
the person in question.
I am Dear Sir, your friend & humble servant.
Joseph Willard Esq.
N. B. Perhaps I ought to mention, that the celebrated
epitaph on the grave stone of Jack, the negro, in our burying
ground has been attributed to Mr. Bliss as author, & generally
believed. I once mentioned the matter to him &: he neither
owned nor denied it. But as it has also been attributed to
Jona. Sewall, then of Cambridge, I dare net be positive. Judge
liliss was executor to the will of Jack, & he was cotemporary &
intimate with Judge Sewall. It is not improbable that both of
them had a hand in it. If I were sure that Judge Hliss was the
sole author, I should think it proper to attach it to his character.
V'ours, K. R.
CjckI wills us free; — man wills ns slaves.
1 will as God wills; (iod's will be done.
Here lies the l)ody of
A native of Africa, who died
March 1773, aj^ed about sixty years.
Though born in a land ot slavery.
He was born free.
Though he lived in a land of liberty.
He lived a slave;
Til by his honest, though stolen labours,
He acquired the source of slavery.
Which gave him his freedom:
Though not long before
Death, the grand tyrant,
(jave him his final emancipation.
And put him on a footing with Kings.
Though a slave to vice,
He practised those virtues,
Without which Kings are but slaves.
The first meeting of the subscribers to an agreement to
constitute a corporation, to be known as the R UFUS PUTNAM
MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION, \v2is held at the office of
George F. Hoar in the State Mutual Building, 340 Main Street,
Worcester, Mass., April 13, 1901, pursuant to a call signed by
all the Corporators and dated Nov. 13, 1900.
The following is the
ACT OF INCORPORATION.
No. 9051. Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Be it known, that Whereas George F. Hoar, Henry A.
Marsh, Elijah B. Stoddard, Nathaniel Paine, Samuel E. Wins-
low, Ledyard Bill, Burton W. Potter, Edwin D. Mead, Henry
W. Putnam, Stephen Salisbury, Thomas C. Mendenhall, Rock-
wood Hoar, G. Stanley Hall, Charles A. Denny and Charles R.
have associated themselves with the intention of forming a cor-
poration under the name of the
RUFUS PUTNAM MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION
for the purpose of holding and maintaining the homestead farm
of General Rufus Putnam, of the Continental Armv in the war
of the Revolution, the Engineer who planned the fortification of
Dorchester Heights and thereby compelled the British Army,
under Sir William Howe, to evacuate Boston, March 18, 1776;
who constructed the fortifications of West Point ; the founder
and father of Ohio ; who planned in the dwelling house on said
homestead the scheme and therefrom issued the call for the
formation of the Ohio Company ; who went therefrom, to lead
the Company who first settled Ohio, landing at Marietta on the
7th day of April, 1788; insisting from the beginning that the
exclusion of slavery should be a perpetual condition of such
settlement ; who obtained from the (Continental Congress,
through his asscx:iate and agent, Menasseh Cutler, the Ordinance
of 1787, thereby forever dedicating said vast territory and the
six great states afterwards composed therefrom, to freedom,
education and religion ; and also holding any funds or other
personal proj)crty, which may he hereafter contributed or
acquired for the purpose of preserving and improving said
homestead and farm, to be forever maintained as a monument
and memorial of said Ceneral Rufus l*utnam, and of the forma-
tion of said Ohio ('ompany, and the foundation of Ohio.
All the income which may be received from said lands and
funds to be applied, after defraying the expense of administer-
ing said funds, first to the maintaining said homestead farm,
furnishing said house and keeping the same in repair, maintain-
ing said homestead forever, furnishing said house and keeping
a custodian of the same; and if there be any surplus, the same
to be applied, at the discretion of said Association, to educa-
tional purposes within the town of Rutland, either by contrib-
uting to the expense of the public schools of said town, or
towards maintaining other educational institutions, as may
seem to said Association desirable
and have complied with the provisions of the Statutes of the
Commonwealth in such cases made and provided, as appears
from the certificate of the President, Ttra surer and Directors
of said (Corporation, and approved by the Commissioner 0/ Cor-
porations^ and recorded in this office.
Mmi, therefor, /, William M. Olin, Secretary of the Com-
monwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby certify that said Oeorge
V. Hoar, Henry A. Marsh, Klijah \\. Stoddard, Nathaniel Paine,
Samuel V\, Winslow, Ledyard Hill, Hurton W. Potter, Mwin I).
Mead, Henry \V. Putnam, Stephen Salisbury, Thomas C. Men-
denhall, Rockwood Hoar, (). Stanley Hall, (Charles A. Denny and
(Charles R. Hartlett, their associates and successors, are legally
organized and established as and are hereby made an existing
Corporation under the name of the
RUFUS PUTNAM MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION
with the powers, rights, and privileges, and subject to the limita-
tions, duties and restrictions which by law appertain thereto.
Witness my official signature hereunto subscribed, and the
seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hereunto affixed
this twenty-ninth day of April in the year of Our Lord, one
thousand nine hundred and one.
WM. M. OLIN,
Secretary of the Commonwealth.
THE OFFICERS OF THE CORPORATION:
President, - - (ieorge K. Hoar.
Vice-President, - Klijah H. Stoddard.
(!lerk and Sec'}' - Nathaniel F^aine.
Treasurer, - - Henry A. Marsh.
Exccuth v Commit tee.
Samuel K. Winslow, Ledyard liill,
Charles R. Hartlett.
The liy-I^aws provide that the annual meeting shall be
held in Rutland in October, and a semi-annual meeting in May
of each year.
West Entrance . . . April 30. 1901
*• 1 • •
3 2044 024 176 240
THE BORROWER WILL BE CHARGED
AN OVERDUE FEE IFTHIS BOOK IS NOT
RETURNED TO THE LIBRARY ON OR
BEFORE THE LAST DATE STAMPED
BELOW. NON-RECEIPT OF OVERDUE
NOTICES DOES NOT EXEMPT THE
BORROWER FROM OVERDUE FEES.