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About Google Book Search Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web at |http: //books .google .com/I ■t , \ ' , \ \- / , , T m^wi^ m , iii-: i.ii'K 4 f 11 Alii) TOWNh, \ i ■ s^'t- '. o^ ' . fiUitluV' i .5?«^i^ v>K fHf ''i\ K Vr ^ : iiH'l^" \- ^.('; i- . ^ ■i- f*(/'/ /■■ • 'I ) V : . ,' • I SKETCH OF THE LIFE WILLIAM BLANCHARD TOWNE, A,M. FOUNDER OF THE arobmr jwemocfal ipnntt NEW-ENGLAND HISTORIC, GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY. BY /Ony WABDDEAX, ir or UK Hiitoriul ud Qecmkigical Re;;IMu. Printat at lie clutrge qf Mid F^ad. BOSTON : PUBLISHED BY THE N. B. HISTORIC, GBNEALOGICA 18 SoMERBET Street. 1878. This i$ thefir$t toork issued at the charge of the Towne Memorial Fund. Pbess of David Clapp Ji Son. This biographical sketch of one of the principal benefactors of the New England Historic, Genealogical Society, waa prepared for the New Eng- land Historical and Genealogical Register, anil appeared iu the number of that periodical for January, 1878. A Binalt edition has been reprinted at the charge of the -"Towne Memorial Fund," which fund was founded in 1864, by him, for the publication of memoirs of deceased 147202 WILLIAM B. TOWNE, A,M. WILLIAM BLANCHAED TOWNE, an efficient officer in the New England Historic, Genealogical Society, and the founder of the " Towne Memorial Fund," was born in Bow, N. H., Monday, October 12, 1810. He was the eldest of ten children of Jonathan Towne, of whom a biographical sketch has been printed in the Register (ante, xxix. 326) ; and was. descended in the sev- enth generation from William Towne, of Yarmouth, in Norfolk, England, who emigrated to this country, and after a short residence in Salem, Mass., removed to Topsfield, where he died about 1672. A genealogical record of this family, by the subject of this sketch, has been printed in this periodical. His mother, Clarissa Hoyt, daughter of Capt. John Hoyt, whose ancestry will be found in David W. Hoyt's genealogy of that family (see p. 83 of that work), is still living, in the eighty-eighth year of her age. She is a woman of remarkable vigor of body and mind. One, who remembers her in her prime, writes : " She had not a peer within my knowledge." William began to attend school at the age of five years, and at- tended it till he was twelve. He then remained at home, assisting on the farm during the summer and going to school during the winter months, till he was fifteen. When he was about twelve years old, he began to have a strong desire to strike out for himself and depend upon his own efforts to maintain himself. When told by his father that a boy of his age could not get a living among strangers, he replied, " If you will let me try, I will never call on home for assistance to the value of a farthing." The spirit of self-reliance and desire to try his fortune in the world increased as he grew older, and he persuaded his mother to use her influence with his father to obtain permission to make a trial. At length his wish was gratified. When he was sixteen years old, Dr. Josiah Crosby, Of Concord, the family physician, was one day in Bow at the house of Mr. Jonathan Towne, and expressed a wish to find a boy to take care of his horse and do errands for Mrs. McClary, with whom he boarded, Mr. Towne said he thought that his son William would suit, and arrangements were accordingly made for the doctor to take him home on his next visit. As Dr. Crosby did not visit the family the next day, the boy became impatient ; and packing his bundle, he started on foot for Concord, four miles distant. The day of his leaving home he has himself recorded as the 20th of April, 1827. It is probable that he went on trial to this place ; for he records, in 1834, that a sup- posed residence of a fortnight in Concord had then been prolonged to seven years. One motive which attracted him to this place was no doubt the opportunity which it afforded for medical advice, for he states that he was then seriously affected with a lung complaint which had preyed upon him, till at times it was with diflSculty that he could sit up all day, and this continually growing upon him, it was thought he needed the care and direction of a physician. The change of situation and medical advice had a beneficial effect, for he savs : " The germ of health soon made its appearance in the feeble consti- tution, and continued to spread till it pervaded the whole system." The Hon. Moses T. Willard, M.D., of Concord, whose acquaint- ance with Mr. Towne dates from their boyhood, furnishes me with some facts, obtained from his own lips, concerning his early days in Concord, as follows : His work being light, he had much leisure time, and a teacher of a pri- vate school, boarding at the same house, observing that he was not inclined to play with the boys in the street, invited him to his school one afternoon. Instead of gazing around as most boys would have done, he opened a book on natural philosophy, and became so interested that he did not raise his eyes from it till the school closed. This was the stepping stone to his future usefulness. The teacher, thinking him a remarkable boy, furnished him with books and gave him tuition. The father called occasionally to see his son, well pleased that he was prospering so well. At the end of many months his wardrobe was in need of being replenished ; but he per- sistently refused to accept assistance from home. According to his mother's recollection, however, he did accept articles of clothing which were sent him from home while he was with Dr. Crosby. This may have been after he had made sure of being able to maintain himself; for Dr. Willard writes : 1 remember that he told me that his father at one time brought hina a pair of shoes, which he refused to accept. When his father said, " You will need them, and they were purposely made for you,'* he replied, " Well, I don't want them." His father then said, ** If you will not take them, I will give them to this boy ;" and he did give them to a boy standing by. When Mr. Towne told me this story, he gave as a reason why he refused them, that he wished to give his hope of getting his own living a fair trial. He spent two years in this situation, attending school eight months the first year and ten months the second. He expresses in his diary gratitude for the friends who surrounded him " on every side," and states that he improved his time " to as good advantage as youth usually spend this precious season, hut not so well as it might and should have been." He had now arrived at a period when it became necessary to select some occupation for life. His own preference was for the printing business, but his father did not approve of this choice, and he con- cluded to try a mercantile life. In April, 1829, in his nineteenth year, he entered the dry-goods and grocery store of William West, as a clerk, where he continued two years or more. He was next employed, in the summer of 1832, in the store of John Leach. The ensuing autumn he took charge of a store for Nathaniel H. Osgood & Co., with which firm he remained one year. From tKe fall of 1833 to the spring of 1834, he was in the employ of Samuel Evans. On the first of April of the latter year, he engaged with Daniel Carr, and went immediately to Boston to purchase goods for his employer, spending eleven days in that city. During his stay there he took particular care to visit the prominent landmarks connected with the events of which he had read. On the 14th of April, 1834, after his return from the trip to Boston, he commenced a diary, which he* kept for a little over four years, the last entry being November 30, 1838. It is still preserv- ed, and its two post-octavo volumes show the writer's characteristics, neatness and method. He prefaces this diary with an account of his ancestry and a sketch of his life to that time. Very little is afterwards recorded of his business, and nothing concerning it after he had taken up his residence in Boston. The diary is chiefly de- voted to the sermons and lectures he heard, and what he saw in a few journeys which he made, some of which were visits to his parents, while others no doubt were business trips. His entries show a strong desire for self-improvement and spiritual culture, and a fear that he had failed in doing his whole duty. There are some notices of and reflections on his reading, and an early reference to his study of Mason on " Sdf-Knowledge." It seems from the diary, that in 1831 he began to have decided religious impressions, and on Sunday, January 1, 1832, he joined the First Congregational Church in Concord, the pastor of which was his life- long friend, the now venerable Rev. Nathaniel Bouton, D.D. Dr. Bouton writes me that he remembers Mr. Towne as ** an amiable, obliging, courteous and very intelligent younof man." In the summer of 1832 he begran a sabbath school in a section of the town called the " Colony." In a letter to his father dated No- vember 1, 1832, he gives this account of the sabbath school: *^ There are six families and about twenty-eight children, and but one of the fathers of the children could read at the commencement 8 of the season, and though the school has closed for this season, I go up every sabbath mom and teach them to read, and two of the men have learned to read quite well." The sabbath school was soon reopened at the ''Colony," and was. kept through the winter. He then commenced one on the '' Hopkinton road." While with Mr. Evans he had *' a class of boys ten years of age," probably in the sabbath school connected with Dr. Bouton's church. His diary shows that he early took a decided stand in the temper- ance and anti-slavery causes, which were then beginning to agitate the community. We have proof that on one occasion he refused to accept a desirable situation till he was assured that his employers did not intend to keep ardent spirits for sale. He remained with Mr. Carr but for a few months, and on the 24th of July, 1834, he left Concord for Boston, where he soon found employment as a clerk, and five days afterwards returned to Concord to settle his affairs. After spending about a fortnight there, on the 13th of August he bade farewell to his friends in Concord and took up his residence in Boston. For a year or two after his arrival in Boston, he was employed as a clerk, and during this time he gained a reputation for honesty and ability. Having accumulated a few thousands of dollars, he became a partner in the house in which he had been clerk, the new firm be- ing Bowker, Towne & Co. He was afterwards a member of the firms of Keegan, Towne & Waldo ; Towne, Waldo & Co.; and Towne, Hunt & Co. His partners in these firms were severally Joel Bowker, Jr., George P. Hay ward, Augustine P. Kimball, Patrick Keegan, Charles F. Waldo, Austin Sumner, Francis A. Hunt, Samuel Hathaway and Wellington L. G. Hunt. About the year 1852, he became connected with the firm of James M. Beebe & Co., where he held the position of confidential clerk and adjuster of losses till the year 1865. On the 15th of June, 1842, he married Miss Nancy French Hill, daughter of Jeremiah Hill, a commission merchant in Boston. She was born Nov. 26, 1817, and was the seventh generation in descent from Ralph Hill, an early inhabitant of Billerica, Mass. For a ehort time they boarded with his wife's father at 48 Chambers Street, and then removed to 71 Temple Street, where he resided a few years. About the year 1846 he removed to Brookline, Mass. Here his wife died, May 3, 1858, at the age of forty. He was chosen assessor of Brookline in 1863, and held the posi- tion five years. For a time he was a trial justice for that district, and conscientiously discharged the laborious and diflScult duties of the office. He also held commissions as justice of the peace for Suffolk and Norfolk counties. On the 28th of March, 1866, having a respite from business, he sailed for Europe, and after making a tour of about four months in the land of his ancestors and on the continent of Europe, he re- 9 turned to Boston in July of that year. On the 23d of April, 1867, he was married at Washington, D. C, by the Rev. Charlea B. Boynton, D.D., chaplain of the U. S. House of B^presentatives, to Miss Jennie S. Putnam, daughter of Daniel Putnam, of Milford, and sister of the wife of the Hon. Bainbridge Wadleigh. He then removed to the village of Milford, N. H., the estate which he purchased being about a half a mile distant from the family home- stead, where his parents then resided, and where both his father and grandfather were born. He continued to reside in Milford till his death, which took place at the residence of his son, at Jamaica Plain, Boston, Mass., April 10, 1876, at the age of sixty-five. He has left a widow, who, during their nine years of wedded life, did much to. lighten his cares and encourage him in his literary and other labors ; and three sons, all members of the legal profession, namely, William Henry of Boston, and Charles Edward and Arthur French (a life member of the N. E. H. G. Soc.) of Chicago. On the 15th of September, 1852, he became a member of the New England Historic, Genealogical Society. In an introduction to his genealogy of the Towne family, which he left in manuscript, he states that his researches into family history commenced in 1827, when he was a lad at school ; and in 1834, he prefixes to his diary a record of his ancestors, running back four generations to his tre- sayle, or great-great-grandfather, Joseph Towne, living in Topsfield, 1684. In obtaining the facts recorded, he no doubt received assist- ance from John Farmer, the father of American genealogy, who was then a resident of Concord, and with whom Mr. Towne, as he notes in his diary, became acquainted in 1832, two years before this record was made. In 1844 he had prepared an extensive gene- alogy of the name of Towne, to which he continued to add till his death. About 1852 he had printed for private distribution a large genealogical chart, giving a record of the families of all his ances- tors bearing the surname Towne, and ending with that of his own family. In 1866 he commenced printing in the Register (xx. 367-71 ; xxi. 12-22, 217-22) a full genealogy of the Townes ; but the publication was suspended before the completion of the fourth generation. The remainder of the work is preserved in manuscript, and is now deposited with the New England Historic, Genealogical Society. From 1861 to 1871, he held the oflSce of treasurer of this socie- ty, and was chairman of the finance committee after that date. In January, 1875, he was elected vice-president for the state of New Hampshire, as the successor of the Hon. Ira Perley, LL.D., and held the office till his death. He was a director of the society from 1861, and a member of the publishing committee from 1865. For nine years, from October, 1865, to October, 1874, he was chair- man and treasurer of the Register Club, and conducted gratuitously the business affairs of the Eeoister, In 1871, when he retired 2 • • 10 from the oflSce of treasurer of the society, after ten years' service, during which he had discharged the duties of the office with great ability and fidelity, and without compensation, and had rendered other important services, he was invited by the society to sit for his portrait, as a testimonial of its appreciation of what he had done for it. This portrait now hangs in the society's hall. He was an efficient aid to the Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, president of the society, when he solicited and obtained donations for the purchase and refitting of the Society's House, and the endowment of a fund for the support of a librarian. The exertions of these gentlemen, with occasional assistance from the late Hon. George B. Upton and the Hon. John Cummings, were crowned with wonder- ful success, upwards of fifty-five thousand dollars being raised for these objects. In 1864 Mr. Towne established the Towne Memo- rial Fund, by his own donations, which fund now amounts to over four thousand dollars. The income derived from this fund is to be expended in the publication of memoirs of deceased members of the society. Besides the genealogy of the Towne family, he wrote a " History of the First Church in Amherst," which was printed, in 1874, in the volume containing the proceedings at the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the dedication of the congregationalist meeting-house in Amherst. He made large collections for the his- tory of Milford, N. H., which are now deposited with this society. In 1872 Dartmouth College conferred on him the honorary degree of Master of Arts. Mr. Towne was also an influential member of the New Hamp- shire Historical Society. He was elected a member, June 8, 1870, and was chosen on the standing committee, June 14, 1871 ; on the committee to solicit funds for the library, June 12, 1872 ; and on the publishing committee, June 9, 1875. He was also a member of other important committees. In 1869 he paid one hundred dol- lars for rendering the society's building fire-proof, and a short time before his death subscribed two hundred dollars for a fund to sup- port the library. He was also an active member of the Hillsborough County Agricultural Society ; and at the time of his death he held the office of vice-president for New Hampshire of the American Pomological Society. In religion he was a trinitarian congregationalist, and, as before stated, united with the Rev. Dr. Bouton's church at Concord, on the first sabbath in the year 1832. He was dismissed July 2, 1835, to the First Free Congregational Church in Boston, then recently or- ganized, of which the Rev. Charles Fitch was the first pastor. This church was of anti-slavery tendencies. It had a brief existence of less than a dozen years ; and it is not known that Mr. Towne united subsequently with any church, though he was a regular attendant and communicant at the churches of his denomination in Brooklme, • •• •••••• • * • •• • * • * • • • • • • 11 Mass. , and Milford, N. H. It has been intimated to me, that like many anti-slavery men in that day, he was not satisfied with the position of the churches in relation to slavery, on which question he took an early and decided stand, being its ardent and uncompromising oppo- nent. There is preserved by his family a manuscript volume in his handwriting, recording the '* Proceedings of the Boston Anti-Slavery Conference of Church Members, organized in April, 1835," from April 2, 1835, to February 17, 1836. It does not appear to be the official record. Throughout his diary his feelings on this , subject are manifest. His friend, William Lloyd Garrison, Esq., the pio- neer in the anti-slavery movement, and its leader till its final tri- umph, thus writes concerning Mr. Towne's position : He was an early subscriber to the Liberator, and remained such till the close of its existence, taking a warm interest in its support and circulation ; for several years voluntarily making an index for the same annually. While he sought no conspicuity in the anti-slavery cause, and was not a public speaker, he gave to that cause a zealous, persistent and generous support, truly remembering those in bonds, as bound with them, and nobly doing Lis part toward their emancipation. I hold his memory in fragrant re- membrance. He took a deep interest in the cause of education, to which he devoted much study. As an evidence of his practical interest in it, it may be stated that several young men obtained from him the necessary funds to defray their expenses in college, he taking the risk of being repaid after their education was completed. He was always a warm supporter and advocate of the interests of the Milford Free Public Library, of which he was appointed a trustee in 1869. In 1870 he was chosen president of the board, and con- tinued to hold this office till 1874, when, his term of office having expired, he declined being again appointed a trustee. He enriched the library with many valuable contributions, and gave a great deal of time to the promotion of its interests. He represented Milford in the New Hampshire legislature for the years 1873 and 1874, and was an influential member of the house. On the 21st of August, 1871, he was chosen associate and trus- tee of the Milford Five Cents Savings Institution, and on the same day was appointed a member of the board of investment. He was elected president of the institution, September 16, 1872, and held the oflSce till his death. He gave the institution the benefit of his best judgment in its management, and was always active in his eflTorts to promote its interests. He was chosen a director of the Souhegan National Bank of Mil- ford, January 9, 1872, and the same day was elected president, which office he held till his death, faithfully performing its duties. On the 20th of October, 1874, about three o'clock, masked robbers forced the cashier to open the vaults of the bank ; and bonds and 12 other securities to a large amount, the property of the bank and in- dividuals, were carried off. Mr. Towne was then in New York. He was at once notified of what had happened, and returning to Mil- ford, he immediately instituted vigorous proceedings to discover who the robbers were, and prevent the sale of the stolen securities. After months of tantah'zing labor and perplexing anxiety, during which he displayed remarkable sagacity, coolness and daring, he was able on the fourth of January, 1875, to return to Milford with all the securities, except such as were negotiable by simple delivery, namely, the cash and government bonds, and a one-thousand dollar bond which was subsequently recovered. But the strain on his nerves was too great for one who had been in feeble health for seve- ral years, and it was soon followed by nervous prostration, from which he suffered till his death. C. S. Averill, Esq., of Milford, vice-president of the Spuhegan National Bank, thus writes concerning Mr. Towne : As a citizen he was highly esteemed for his probity and business energy, and for his active support of whatever tended to promote the interests of the town and its educational progress. He took a lively interest in the schools, and actively supported every measure for their improvement, advo- cating a generous expenditure in their behalf as a true economy. He was respected by his fellow townsmen, and his loss has been deeply felt by a large number who remember him by the many courtesies which he extended to them. Austin Sumner, Esq., one of his partners in business, furnishes the following facts concerning his mercantile career : The writer was associated with Mr. Towne in the dry-goods business, under the firm of Towne, Waldo & Co., in 1843, *4 and '5. At the expi- ration of the copartnership in December, 1845, the firm dissolved, Mr. Towne at the time being very ill and anxious to retire from business. Dur- ing this period the amount of business would not compare at all with that of later years, and yet, with moderate expenses and a reasonable commis- sion on our sales, it left; a fair margin of net profits. Mr. Towne was very cautious in regard to credits, relying more on the real character of the pur- chaser than on his reputed capital, and was far more anxious to do a safe J and moderate business than a large one with its additional risks. He took a lively interest in the welfare of the young men in our employ, which they were quick to perceive, and the result of which was mutually beneficial. Mr. Towne was not only a high toned business man, but a very agreeable person to be associated with, one whose name recalls many pleasant memo- ries of an old friend and partner. Wellington L. G. Hunt, Esq., another of his partners, writes : My earliest recollections of Mr. Towne go back to about 1842, while I was in business in Westboro', Mass., of which town I was also postmaster. Mr. Towne frequently came up in the summer season for a short visit, stopping at Brigham*s Hotel, which for ten years was my home. Many Boston families were there in the summer, among them Mr. Jeremiah Hill, whose eldest daughter Mr. Towne married. • • • • •v: :V ..• I 13 In the autumn of 1847, 1 came to Boston to reside, being in business with my brother, of Hunt & Hathaway, 45 Milk street. In the winter of 1847-8, Mr. Towne and myself joined my brother and Mh Hathaway, making a new firm, Towne, Hunt & Co. In less than a year the firm was dissolved. Mr. Towne was unusually active, always on the move, prompt, very exact in everything and yet always honorable — a man of the strictest integrity and always purposing some good accomplishment. His intense and incessant activity was always too much for his nervous temperament and physical endurance. I feel sure that he was a true christian and a worthy follower of our divine Master. The Hon. George C. Richardson, an eminent merchant of Boston, who for a short time was a partner in the firm of James M. Beebe &Co., while Mr. Towne held a position in that house, and who previously had had business transactions with him, writes as follows : Mr. Towne, with whom I was acquainted for many years, was well known to the dry-goods trade as a man of strict integrity. He was a very exact and methodical man, and exhibited such peculiar ability in the adjustment of complicated accounts, that Mr. James M. Beebe, with whom he was a long time associated, entrusted him with this part of his business. During this connection, which lasted until nearly the close of Mr. Beebe's business life, he had the charge of various securities, real estate and other assets, requiring great skill and care in their disposal and conversion, in which he acquitted himself with great credit, and to the entire satisfaction of all parties interested. Mr. Towne's brother, John Parker Towne, Esq., a lawyer of high standing in Edgerton, Wisconsin,' furnishes these recollections of his brother : Being some sixteen years my senior and having left home not long after my birth, my acquaintance with him is limited to his visits and our corres- pondence, which was uninterrupted from the time I was fourteen years of age till his death. The happiest moments of my young days were when the Nashua stage-coach rolled up to the door of our home and brought brother William for his sunamer visit. This was the great event of the year. All the family, hired men and all, welcomed him and he them with delight. In my memory, he seemed to think no tour so pleasant as the one to Milford, and no watering place so attractive as our humble home with its plain fare and rustic inmates. While on his visits he habitually went into the field and spent a part of the day at work with us. He criticized our work in a friendly way, and inspired us with an ambition to improve our manner of labor. When work was over and play commenced he contrived to make our sports more attrac- tive than ever He frequently went in bathing with us, and one day taught us to swim. He led one at a time into the water nearly to our necks, put his hand under our chins to keep our heads above the water, and said, "Now strike out and swim." And to our great surprise and delight we did swim. Two or three efforts apiece enabled us all to become swimmers. While he took great pleasure in our games and pastimes, and often brought to our home useful presents, he never purchased for us toys, confectionery 14 or trinkets. He taught us self-reliance, and how to use what was about us for pleasure and profit rather than to depend on the luxuries that money ' can purchase.* He always manifested much interest in the welfare and happiness of every member of our large family, and all looked up to him as the embodiment of all the wisdom we needed in our undertakings He took a lively interest also in the welfare and success of his younger brothers and sisters, While he never told them his business affairs, said nothing to the family of his enterprises, successes or failures, he always interested himself in everything which concerned them, and gave them the best of counsel. When I was in my teens, at work on my father's farm, with plenty of books to read and content with my situation, he frequently asked me, " Well, John, what business are you going to follow?" The invariable answer was, "I don't know. What do you think I had better do?" **I can't tell," he said. Finally when I had matured a plan to quit home and farming and gain an education, being without money or other resources, I went to hira with my plans. After I had laid the matter before him, I said, I have no money and cannot do anything unless you help me. His only reply was, *^ Go ahead," in his usual quiet tone. That was enough, and was as satis- factory to me as his bond would have been. As he advanced me money he took my notes, thus teaching me to be independent and self-reliant, as well as to render to each his due. To his encouragement and aid, I owe my education and position in society ; and he once (|uietly told me that I was not the only one he had assisted to the same extent. So far as I could judge, he practised the most rigid economy, not for the sake of acquiring wealth, but to enable him to do the most good with his means. And in so doing, he seemed to be anxious that no one should know of his beneficence beyond the beneficiary. He well expresses this in a letter to me written in 18G8, in which he says he is endeavoring to do good to all around him in a quiet, unostentatious way, without anything very great or good being accomplished. The Hon. Marshall P. Wilder, president of the New-England Historic, Genealogical Society and of the American Pomological Society, of both of which institutions Mr. Towne was a vice-presi- dent, thus writes : It was my privilege to be acquainted with Mr. William B. Towne for a long course of years, and I am most happy to state that during this long period I have never been associated with any gentleman in whose sterling worth and integrity I have had more confidence. In the discharge of various duties of honor and of trust, he had the same uncompromising regard for justice and for truth. As a merchant and as confidential clerk of one of the largest mercantile firms of this city, he was highly respected for his honesty and fidelity. This is also true in regard to the various offices which he held in this city, andjater in New Hampshire, his native state. His love for historical and genealogical research led him to connect himself many years since with the New P^ngland Historic, Genealogical Society, in which ho ever evinced a deep and lively interest by years of official services an(ij| constant devotion to its welfare. As an efficient working member of th society his loss was deeply deplored. His labors in its behalf were untirin and judicious. As treasurer for ten years, as member and chairman of t ! 15 finance committee, member of the publishing committee, and in many other positions, he rendered important services, frequently advancing money when the society was too poor to meet its wants. His interest in the welfare of the society, especially in the acquisition and investment of funds, led him to constant watchfulness of its financial affairs, and it is very gratifying to state that these investments have been securely made and yield regularly more than usual interest. In the acquisition of funds, Mr. Towne was a member of the committee to purchase and rebuild the Society's House, and to raise a fund for the librarian's salary. For more than three months Mr. Towne accompanied me most of the time in these solicitations. His donations to establish the Towne Memorial Fund, with the accrued interest, amount to over four thousand dollars. This fund will constitute an enduring memorial, not only to his name but to those with which it will be associated. The loss of Mr. Towne has been severely felt, and his memory will be gratefully cherished by all who knew him. Albert H. Iloyt, Esq., now of Cincinnati, Ohio, for eight years editor of the Historical and Genealogical Register, and for many years associated with Mr. Towne in the publishing and other committees, furnishes these reminiscences of his friend : My acquaintance with the late William B. Towne began in the year 1867. He was then one of the most active and influential members of the Historic, Genealogical Society, and such he continued to be until his final sickness. His long business training and habits fitted him for usefulness in various departments, of the society's interests, and he gave to them much time, labor and care. This is especially true of the financial department. It was chiefly owing to his solicitations that I was induced to undertake the editorial management of the Register, in 1868 ; and during the period of eight years following, he was one of my associates in the committee of publication. In that relation his cooperation, counsel and judgment were invaluable. He originated measures and cordially supported measures sug- gested by others, for the improvement and success of that periodical ; and to him, as much as to any one, its present prosperity and respectable standing are justly due. Of Mr. Towne's gifts to the Society and of his other services in its behalf, the fund which bears his name, other funds which were created in whole or in part through his agency or at his suggestion, the Society's House, — the fruit of labors in which he took no inferior share, — and the records of the society, furnish sufiicient evidence. To him indeed in every way, the society, and the objects it seeks to promote, are largely indebted. He was, moreover, a friend to all kindred institutions, and a benefactor of several of them. With very limited early advantages for education, and with scanty oppor- tunities for self-improvement in after life, Mr. Towne acquired a more than respectable amount of knowledge of American history and of general litera- ture. He bought many good books and read them with intelligence. He remembered also what he read, and formed very sensible opinions of their contents. He did not affect literary tastes or culture, nor parade his know- ledge, but he often showed unexpected familiarity with literary and historical subjects of interest. He had made very considerable progress in compiling, and some advance in printing, a genealogy of the Towne Family. To this end he visited 16 England in 1866, and there obtained valuable materials from original sources. In some instances he also assisted others, engaged in like pursuits, with itooney and friendly services. After he removed to New Hampshire and while he was a member of the Legislature of that State, he aided in inducing that body to continue and complete the publication of the series of volumes of State Papers, which has been so successfully carried through under the editorial conduct of the Rev. Dr. Bouton ; a most timely and praise-worthy undertaking. Mr. Towne was a thoroughly honest and sincere man. He was a good man in the best sense of the word. His prudence and sagacity were seldom at fault. He had no whims, no jealousies, no vanity, no suspicions of his associates or neighbors. He was modest and simple in his tastes and habits. His memory survives without even the shadow of a stain. The currents of his emotional nature ran deep and smooth ; but he had a tender heart that beat quickly in response to every worthy appeal of friendship or huinanity. Of his domestic life we may say only this, that he was a devotedly affection- ate father and husband. In all the essential attributes of a good and strong character, Mr. Towne was a rare man ; such a friend was and will be even more rare.