ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
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AT THE MEETING OF THE
AT IJXBRIDGE, MASS.,
August 12, 1874
SPENCER BROTHERS, BOOK AND JOB PRINT
Compendium Oi kk e.
TAFT FAMILY GATHERING
AT THE MEETING OF THE
AT UXBRIDGK, MASS.
August 12, 1874
1* KIN TED BY S PENCE It BttOTHJSttS.
THE HON. ALPHONSO TAFT, SECRETARY OF WAR.
[Photoqrapuei> by J. Landy, 209 Focrtu Stueet, Cinoinsatl]
Nearly all the "Tafts" in the United States are the descendants
of Robert Taft, who settled in the town of Mendon, Mass., in the
year 1680. It being desirable that a correct genealogical record of
the descendants of this man be obtained, a meeting of gentlemen
bearing the name of Taft was held in New York on the 30th day
of December last, as requested by the following circular :
To the Members of the Taft Family in the United States :
WHEREAS, There have been collected, to a large extent, the statistics of
our family comprising the descendants of our ancestor, Robert Taft, who,
with five sons, emigrated about the year 1660, and settled in Mendon,
Mass., and it is deemed by us desirable to have the record completed
and put in book form, and thinking it can be done more thoroughly by a
concert of action. We, the undersigned, hereby request the several
families to meet, by their representatives, at the St. Dennis Hotel, No.
709 Broadway, New York City, on the 30th day of December. 1873, at 10
o'clock A. M., to take such measures in the premises as may be deemed
advisable. Let there be a general representation.
Cincinnati, Nov. 8th, 1873.
Daniel Taft, ) J. Taft, j .
A. T. Taft, > Vermont. L. Taft, > Ohio.
Rltssefl S. Taft, ) Wat. Taft, )
C. I. Taft, )■ New Hampshire, H. F. Taft,) (j a ijf orn j ;v
H. W. Taft, J> Massachusetts. II. C. Taft, 3 ^ ailU,rn,v -
In compliance with the above circular, representatives of the
family from the States of New York, Ohio, Massachusetts and Ver-
mont, assembled at the St. Dennis Hotel, when it was decided to
call a meeting of the family to be held at Uxbridge, Mass., Aug.
12th, 1S74, and Daniel W. Taft, of Uxbridge, and Velorous Taft,
of Upton, were appointed a committee to take the initiative steps
in the matter.
On March 30th, the following circular was issued :
To tlie Descendants of Robert Tuft, who settled in tlw. Town oj Mine
about the year 1080:
At :i meeting of Gentlemen of the n.ume of Taft. held at the St. Deni
Hotel, in the City of New York, Tuesday, the- SOth day of Pecembi
1873, it was voted to hold a meeting of the Taft Family, in Uxbridg •
Mass., on the 12th day of August. 1874; and Daniel W. Taft of Uxbridg
and Velorous Taft of Upton, were appointed a Committee to take tl
preliminary steps to the choosing of a Committee of Arrangements.
The undersigned cordially approve of the proposed meeting of tl
Taft Family, to be held at Uxbridge, in August, ami respectfully reque:
the descendants of Robert Taft, residing in Uxbridge and vicinity, t i
meet at Taft's Hall, in Uxbridge, on Saturday, the 18th day of April ii
stant. at one and a half o'clock in the afternoon, to choose a Committe
of Arrangements, and to take such action as is necessary to make th
proposed Family Gathering a success. /
Daxiel W. Taft. of Uxbrige, Vei.obous Taft, of Upon,
Royal C. Taft, of Providence, Oksmus Taft, of Uxbridge,
Robert Taft, of Uxbridge, Jacob Taft, of Uxbridge,
Hi.xky G. Taft, of Uxbridge, Moses Taft, of Uxbridge,
CHAS. A. Taft, of Uxbridge, And others.
UXBRIDGE, March 30, 1874,
At the meeting of the iSth of April, a general plan of the meet-
ing was decided upon, and a Committee of Arrangements was-ap-
pointed to carry the plan into operation." Hon. Judge Taft of Cin-
cinnati was fixed upon "by the meeting as the orator of the occasion
and Hon. Judge Chapin of Worcester selected to pronounce a poem.
The following circular was published in several papers and sent
by mail to all known representatives of the family throughout the
UxmnixiE, Mass., June 30, 1874.
To the Descendants of Robert T<ijt :
Through the suggestions of individuals and a self-constituted commit-
tee, it has been decided to hold a maud gathering of the descendants of
Robert Taft, who settled in Mendon about the year 1680. The family
lias become a very numerous one, and a very large number of those who
bear the name in the United States are descendants of this man.
As the town of Uxbridge was originally a part of the town of Mendon
from which the family went out, and has excellent facilities of commu-
nication, it has been deemed fitting that it be the gathering-place of its
members, large numbers of whom still remain upon the original soil.
A large Committee of Arrangements has been appointed, who, at a
meeting held for the purpose, fixed upon- the ISth day of August, 1874, as
the time of the proposed family re-union. To this meeting you :ire re-
spectfully and cordially invited ; and as it is impossible for the committee
to know the names of all the members of the family scattered over the
country, you are particularly requested to extend this invitation to nil
the blood living in your vicinity. It is expected that the meeting- will ln-
one of public as well as social intere<t, and it is believed that it will do
much to encourage that laudable pride which rejoices in an excellent an-
cestry, and that affection which should always flow in the channels of
kindred blood. We invite you, therefore, whether you bear the name
and blood of the original Robert, or the blood without the name, or are
connected with the family by marriage, to come back to the home of
your ancestors and join the assembly we propose.
The public exercises of the occasion will consist of a Historical Ad-
dress by Hon. Alphonso Taft, of Cincinnati, Ohio, with brief addresses
by other members of the family, and music prepared for the occasion.
Taft's Hall will be open on the morning of the 12th of August next, for
the registry of the names of all who wish to attend the exercises. All
will be furnished with tickets on registering their names, and no person
will be admitted without one.
All who accept this invitation are requested to inform the Secretary of
the Committee at an early day,— addressing Charles A. Taft, Sec'y, Ux-
bridge, Mass., — that entertainment may be secured for them as far as
I). W. TAFT, Chairman-, Uxbridge, Mass.,
C. A. TAFT, Skcketauy, Uxbridge, Mass..
HENRY CHAl'iX, Worcester, Mass.,
MUSKS TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
VELOROUS TAFT, Upton, Mass.,
CALEB TAFT, Mention, Mass.,
ROBERT TAFT, Uxbridge. Mass.,
PUTNAM W. TAFT, Mention, Mass..
HENRY G. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
A. A. TAFT. Milfofd, Mass.,
ENO.S TAFT. New York.
E. C. THAYER, Keene, X. II..
HENRY C. TAFT, Worcester, Mass..
ROYAL C. TAFT, Providence, R. I..
JOHN B. TAFT, Boston, Mass.,
Lieut. Gov. RUSSELL S. TAFT, Burlington, Vt.,
HENRY W. TAFT, Pittsfield, Mass.,
Du. J. TAFT, Cincinnati, O.,
MELLEN TAFT, Blackstone, Mass.,
A.LOXZO TAFT, Williamstown,
E. C. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
PETER M. TAFT, Whitinsville, Mass.,
J. W. TAFT, Chicago, 111..
E. J. KNOWLTON, Brooklvn, X. Y.,
G. E. TAFT, Whitinsville, Mass.,
J. W. TAFT, Providence, R. I.,
EZRA W. TAFT, Dedham, Mass.,
S. II. TAFT, Mendon, Mass.,
DANIEL DAY. Providence, R. I.,
G. W. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
HENRY TAFT. Uxbridge, Mass.,
ROYAL K. TAFT. Gloucester, It. I..
GEO. A. KEAGRAVE, Providence, It. I..
STEPHEN S. TAFT. Palmer, Mass..
JOTHAM TAFT. New England Village, Mass.,
Hill AM C. TAFT, West Bloomrield, N. Y..
Judge ALPHONSO TAFT. Cincinnati, Ohio.
NELSON TAFT. Woonsoeket, It.. I.
ROSCOK C. TAFT. Sheffield, Mass.,
MOWRY TAFT. Pawtucket, R. L,
A. It. TAFT, Charleston, S. (.'..
CALVIN TAFT, Worcester, Mass.,
C, E. WIIITIN, Whitinsville, Mass.,
Rev. CARLTON A. STAPLES. Providence, R. I.,
Rev. L. TAFT. Columbus, 0„
ROBERT TAFT. New York,
EZRA W. CilAPIN. Northboro 1 , Mass.,
GEO. II. CHAPIN, Boston, Mass.,
Dr. CHARLES G. TAFT, Oregon,
EPIIRAIM TAFT, Weld, Me.,
LEWIS S. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
ARTHUR WHEELOCK, Uxbridge, Mass.,
Col. HENRY TAFT, Northbridge, Mass.,
Committee of Arrangements.
DANIEL W. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
CHAS. A. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
MOSES TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
HENRY G. TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
E. C. TAFT. Uxbridge, Mass.,
VELOROUS TAFT. Upton, Mass.,
HENRY' CHAPIN, Worcester, Mass..
Executive Comm ittce.
ROBERT TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
ROYAL C. TAFT. Providence, It. I..
CHAS. E. WIIITIN, Whitinsvillo, Mass.,
E. J. KNOWLYON, Brooklyn. N. Y.,
P. W. TAFT, Mendon, Mass.,
LEWIS S. TAFT. Uxbridge, Mass., ■
ARTHUR WHEELOCK, Uxbridge, Mass.,
Registering Com m ittce.
Coi.. HENRY TAFT, of Whitinsville, Mass.,
In addition to these committees, the Committee appointed
G. E. TAFT, Northbridge, Mass.,
L. HERBERT TAFT. Uxbridge, Mass.,
GEO. W. HOBBS. Uxbridge, Mass.,
EZRA W. CHAITN. Northboro 1 , Mass..
EUGENE A. WHEELOCK. Putnam. Ct.,
ORSMUS A. 'TAFT, Providence, R. I..
As Marshal's Aids.
JACOB TAFT. Uxbridge, Mass.,
ROBERT TAFT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
HENRY G. TAFT. Uxbridge, Mass.,
CHAS. E. WIIITIN, Northbridge, .Mass.,
EDWARD C. THAYER, Keene, N. II.,
Dk. A. W. BENNETT, Uxbridge, Mass.,
On Reception .
The fad was developed in the progress of the investigations in-
cident to the meeting, that quite a number of the descendants of
Matthew Taft, who was not a descendant of Robert Taft, resided
in Worcester County. This is called the "Irish branch" of the
family, but it is the opinion of those who have given the subject the
most attention, that the remote ancestors of Robert Taft and Mat-
thew Taft were the same, and that the more immediate ancestors
of Matthew Taft emigrated from Scotland to the north part of Ire-
land and that Matthew emigrated from the north of Ireland to
America. Invitations were sent to a number of the descendants
of Matthew Taft, and it is pleasant to know that this branch of the
family was represented at the gathering at Uxbridge.
The day of the meeting was an exceedingly pleasant one. The
First Evangelical Congregational Church, the place of meeting, was
filled to repletion. The music of the occasion was given by the
choirs of the Orthodox and Unitarian Churches, under the charge
of L. A. Seagrave, of Uxbridge.
At the close of the exercises at the Church, a procession was
formed under the direction of Col. Henry Taft, of Northbridge,
Marshal, and to the music of the American Brass Band, marched
to the tent erected on land of Robert Taft, on Capron's Hill,where
dinner was prepared by Augustus Marrs, of Worcester, caterer.
THE PUBLIC EXERCISES
The exercises of the day commenced at 11.30 o'clock, wi
sic by the American Brass Band, of Providence, D. W. Reeves,
leader, followed with prayer by Rev. Thos. C. Biscoe of Uxbridge.
The following Hymn was then sung by the Choir, to the tune of
"St. Martin's: 1 '
Let children hear the mighty deed.-*
Which God performed of 'old,
Which in our younger years we .saw.
And which our fathers told.
He bids us make his glories known.
His works of power and grape.
And we'll convey his wonders down
Through every rising race.
Our lips shall tell them to our sons.
And they again to theirs.
That generations yet unborn,
May teach them to their heirs.
Tims shall they learn, in God alone
Their hope securely stands;
That they may ne'er forget his works.
But practice his commands.
ADDRESS OF WELCOME.
BY CHAS. A. TAFT, ESQ., OF UXBRIDGE.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: —
Descendants of Robert, who have strayed far and wide.
From the homes where your fathers were wont to abide,
A prolific race, a multitudinous crowd,
Claim kindred to-day, and your claims are allowed.
In behalf of the members of the Executive Committee, and the
members of the family who reside in this vicinity, I bid you a
cordial and hearty welcome to the old home, to these green hills,
Mid this fertile valley, where our fathers leveled the forests, and
broke the virgin soil, and our mothers shared the hardships and
fc»te of a pioneer life.
This is a meeting of the Taft family, — assembled on our own ac-
ocjnt, and on our own business. You have come from the North
and from the South, from the East and from the West, a great com-
pany drawn together by ties of kindred to renew old acquaintance
and establish new friendships, to trace the various grades of rela-
tionship and learn more of the history of the race. Let us throw
aside business, — the cares and perplexities of life, for the hour, at
j least, — and feel that we are in the midst of friends whose chanty
for us suffereth long and is kind.
i We meet near the place where our ancestors lived, and which is
! made sacred to us as the repository of their dust. No costly mon-
j ument marks the spot where they rest. Yet this great gathering of the
I family shows that they are remembered in the affections and hearts
of their posterity.
Could Robert and his five sons be called forth from their silent
resting places, and look over this vast assembly, would they not say
that the promise of God to the Patriarchs of old had been fulfilled,
when he said, "I will make thy seed as the stars of heaven in num-
ber, and as the sands of the sea-shore innumerable."
About five weeks since, I visited, for the first time, the place where
our honored ancestor (Robert Taft) built his house. It was located
near Taft's pond, now Mendon pond, on a beautiful and fertile strip
of rolling land. There is nothing left to mark the spot. No tim-
ber, stones or cellar. The land is smooth and in a good state of
cultivation. Should we not erect a respectable monument on those
time honored grounds, that our descendants may know where the
vine was planted that has spread its branches so far and wide ?
What memories rise before us as we look back over the past two
hundred years and more ! But, of these and the trials and dangers
through which our ancestors and their descenc • : ive passed, it
is not for me to speak.
As I study the history of the race, I learn t\ '. ' noted for its
industry, energy and frugality ; and when the • . . V :louds of war
have hung over the nation, from the conflicts w ! '<: ■ Indians down
to the late great rebellion, it has taken an acti.v. ~..~ patriotic part
in support of the Government. And now, while corruption and
wrong stalk boldly at noonday, may we be found fighting manfully
for the right, raise high the banner of education, and keep con-
stantly before us noble and high ideals ; for when the higher life is
cherished and honored, the mercenary and sensual motives of action,
which invite and shield corruption, lose much of their force and
Many of you have. seen our noble family tree. Its sturdy trunk
bears the name of our ancestor Robert ; its wide-spreading branches,
those of his five sons, Thomas, Robert Jr., Daniel, Joseph and
Benjamin ; and their smaller ramifications represent the various
families down to the present generation. That our tree stands
strong and is flourishing, we have abundant evidence before us to-
day. Its roots have struck deep, its branches have spread wide ;
and although some, while lingering in the deep shade of its foliage,
may have lost sight of the summit, yet there have been many bril-
liant lights, scattered here and there, that have ever pointed upwards
to direct aspiration and encourage hope.
My friends, the parting at the close of the exercises of this day
will be the last farewell with many of us. We shall not all meet
again in this life, God grant that we may keep an eye to the sum-
mit of the tree, and follow the precept and example of the Great
Teacher, so that when the end shall come, we may all meet again
in the unknown country, a happy, united band.
And now I will close as I commenced, by again extending to you
all a cordial welcome, trusting that many pleasant recollections will
cluster around this visit to the old home.
BY JUDGE ALPHONSO TAFT, OF CINCINNATI, OHIO.
Kindred and Friends : —
I have obeyed your call, and come from Ohio to address our
tribe, in its dear old home. At first I wrote a declination, but other
counsels prevailed, and I concluded to accept the invitation. It
has proved to me a labor of love, and if I could be assured that
you would enjoy the hearing of my address, as nvVh as I have en-
joyed the search, preparatory to writing it, I should be satisfied.
Genealogical research is often derided ; but it is fascinating, and
when pursued with reason, has a wholesome and beneficial influence.
Nor is the value of that influence dependent upon the distinguished,
or undistinguished character of our ancestry. It is certainly much
more agreeable and satisfactory to find them, at least, respectable.
The very desire one feels, as he reads the record, to find evidences
of good character in his ancestors, and even of eminence, tends"
strongly to cherish in him a regard for the good and the eminent, how-
ever much he may be disappointed, in looking for it among his own
progenitors. But, if he finds a sound basis of character in the be-
ginning, and steady advance in culture afterward, each generation
trying to make the condition of the next, better than its own, he will
receive a still more wholesome stimulus. No man can deliberately,
be the first to dishonor the name and blood of his good ancestors.
The study of genealogy, therefore, to a reasonable extent, what-
ever be the character of the retrospect, is salutary ; provided always,
that it be not prompted by mere vanity. Weak minds may some-
times feed their self-conceit, on the deeds of their fathers. To be
puffed up with self-esteem on ancestral account, is ridiculous. But
it is no crime, and no weakness, to appreciate the character and
achievements of those who have preceded us, and to- emulate their
virtues. Nor is it unnatural or unreasonable, that every man should
inquire into his own antecedents.
It is from a long distance, I have come, to the home of our fam-
ily, to talk of its history, character and condition. It may be like
the "earning of coals to New Castle ;" but I bring with me many
hallowed associations. My blood was all derived from the Men-
don of 16S0, with its original ample boundaries. My ancestors,
on both sides, came to Mendon, on the re-settlement in i6Soof the
town after King Philip's war — Robert Taft, carpenter, Grindal
Rawson, minister, Samuel Hayward, yeoman, and Deacon Josiah
As we approach the final goal of life, we seem to be drawing
nearer to our fathers, and the land that was their home becomes
more hallowed. The Scripture says of one who has died, that he
was "gathered to his fathers.' 1 This expression is entirely in har-
mony with our sentiments as we approach "that bourne whence no
traveler returns." The entire eight miles square of old Mendon is
sacred ground to me. I approach it with pleasure, linger among
the mementoes of the past which I find here, with delight, and feel
myself, at least a cousin to every inhabitant ; and this sweet de-
lusion has grown upon me, as I have become acquainted with
those, whose fortune it has been to abide in this, our historic home.
My wife too is a descendant of the Torreys, the Davenports and
the Holbrooks of Mendon, and our children and our children's
children will trace their origin to the same old Mendon of 16S0.
All the mementoes of the first dwelling places of the fathers are
peculiarly precious to those of their descendants, whose fortune it
has been to seek other homes. The places where those fathers
lived, and the places where they died, awaken the deepest interest,
and their graves afford a real, though melancholy pleasure. The
whole family, wherever residing, is interested in the object of this
meeting, and as time advances, that interest will increase. The
origin and early history of the race is likely to become more reli-
able and better understood in the future, than it was soon after the
death of the first settlers. At first they were busy with pressing
duties, subduing the uncultivated earth, guarding against their wily
but cruel Indian foe, and building necessary improvements, all un-
conscious, that their acts and lives, in less than a hundred years,
would be historical. Had they known of the pains-taking, with
which their posterity, two hundred years after they were dead,
would seek evidence of the every day acts and facts familiar to
them, they would have left the record more perfect.
I should not have ventured upon the task which has been as-
signed to me, but for the researches of my honored father, Peter
Rawson Taft, now deceased, the results of which he left in manu-
script. Standing upon his shoulders, I had hoped to get a wider
prospect, and' to see some things that lay beyond his view. But
wherever I have gone, he was sure to have been before me. His
love of Uxbridge, the home of his birth, and of his youth, gave
him the glow of enthusiasm, which genealogical research requires.
In his old age, having leisure, he gratified his taste for these in-
quires, and such was his success in pursuing them, that I count it a
rare good fortune if in any instance, I have gone beyond him.
When I came to years of memory, I learned from him, to think of
Uxbridge as the land of the blest. In the field and by the fire-
side, he would recount to me the happy days of his boyhood in
Uxbridge ; would tell me of the places and scenes which were
vivid in his mind, the three rivers that flowed toward the south,
Mumford on the west^ the wonderful Great River in the middle,
and West River on the east ; of the noted farms on the high lands,
'and on the river banks, always including the old farm of his ances-
tors on the Great River, in which he felt a regretful interest. On
it, he had ploughed and hoed, and harrowed and mowed, without
fatigue, and with a boy's enthusiasm. All these hills, valleys, farms
and houses he repeopled before my imagination, with neighbors,
friends, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters, associating their names
with numerous anecdotes. And when afterwards I visited Ux-
bridge, and met the people whose names had been made thus famil-
iar to my ear in my boyhood, it was impossible to realize that I was
The American branches of our family tree do not flatter our van-
ity with many brilliant public careers, but they have proved a vig-
orous and prolific stock, of which we have no occasion to be
ashamed. The first of our progenitors in this country was Robert
Taft. Of his birth we have no record ; that it was humble but
respectable, I cannot doubt. He died on the Sth of February, A.
D. 1725, at an age, as I think, of not less than eighty-five years.
The date of his birth cannot be placed later than 1640. Sarah, his
wife, js shown conclusively to have been born about that date.
Who she was before the merger of her name in that of her hus-
band by marriage, we know not. Every effort, hitherto, to trace
her family beyond herself, has failed. It is to be hoped that some
one may be more fortunate, hereafter. Of Robert's antecendent;;,
we have no direct evidence. His first appearance in America, as
far as we have been able to trace him, was in connection with hi§
house and lot in Braintree, which we find him owning in 1678. In
the year 1679, he made arrangements to move to Mendon, first
purchasing a "house /ot" in Mendon, and then selling his house and
lot in Braintree. The substance of the deed from him and his wife.
of his house and lot in Braintree, was (Book 17, page 276, Suffolk
Co., town records), ''That Robert Taft of Braintree, in the count\f
of Suffolk, carpenter, and Sarah his wife, for and in consideration}
ot eighty pounds, sold and conveyed to Caleb Hobart of the same
town, yeoman, a certain parcel of land with a dwelling house, barn^
and orchard thereon, then in the possession of the said Robert
Taft, being in Monotoquod, within the bounds, or limits of Braintre
aforesaid, containing by estimation, twenty acres." The deed
signed and sealed by Robert Taft and Sarah Taft, his wife. Thel
date of the deed was Nov. 18, 1679, while the date of the acknowl-
edgement was March 12, A. D. 1679, apparently eight months \
before the execution. This anomaly however, which presents itself
repeatedly in the documents I may refer to, is explained by the law
of England, which prior to the year 1752, commenced the legal
year, on the 25th day of March.
No record of any kind has been found, showing the source of
Robert Taft's title. Nor is this strange, when we consider that so
imperfect are the records of those early transactions, that scarcely
any title can be traced to its source on the record. There is one
deed conveying an adjoining lot, which bounded upon this lot, as
"the property of Robert Taft,'' spelling his name T-a-f-f-e, and that
deed was dated October 19, 1678, a little more than a year before
the execution of the deed to Caleb Hobart, showing that they held
that property, at least, more than one year. Beyond that, we have
not, as yet, been able to go.
Two months previous to the execution of the deed by Robert
and Sarah to Hobart, he. had purchased a "house lot" in Mendon,
and received a deed from Col. Wm. Crowne, who, "for and in con-
sideration of ,£90 of lawful money paid by Saviil Simpson of Bos-
ton, cord wainer, and Robert Taft of Braintree, housewright, grant-
ed unto the said Saviil Simpson and Robert Taft and their heirs, in
equal halves, all that my forty acre house lot, situated, lying and
being within the township of Mendham," (that was the English
spelling of the name) "in New England, and near unto the pond ;
therewith, forty acres of second division land adjoining thereto,
together with all other lands, swamps, meadows and divisions of
lands made or to be made." The deed is very formal, with full
covenants. This was an important deed in the history of the Taft
family. But how little could any of the parties realize the long
line of events which were to flow from that single document, sol-
emnized there in Boston, on the 15th of August, 1679. The
records show that Col. Crowne had been one of the original set-
tlers of Mendon, and a leader among them, before the Indian war.
But he never returned. This house lot had probably been im-
proved before the war.
Mendon was first organized as a town, in 1667. It was far re-
moved from the older settlements, in the forest, and surrounded by
Indians. It had gone on successfully till 1675, when the war of
King Philip commenced, and all the inhabitants who were not
killed, were driven away, many never to return, and all their houses
burned. Their minister, Rev. Joseph Emerson, never, returned.
After the war in 16S0, the re-settlement commenced. And then,
our progenitor first appeared in the history of Mendon.
There is a tradition, that he was an adherent of the Common-
wealth, a Scotch Puritan, disgusted with the Cavaliers, and that in
the troublous times consequent upon the rule of Charles the Second,
he sought refuge from civil and religious tyranny, in the forests of
New England, — that he had been in the country longer than any
extant records show, and had even been in Mendon before the
Indian war. All this was possible. He was of age, in 1660, when
Charles II. gained control of the British government, and had op-
portunity to be disgusted, and perhaps terrified, by the misgovern-
ment and tyranny, civil and religious, of that monarch. The agita-
tion in Scotland, between the years 1660 and 1676, was full of an-
noyance and alarm. All that can be said of the tradition is, that
no record has been found showing that Robert Taft was in this
country prior to 167 8. The distance in time is not so great as to
take away all the force of statements handed down from fathers to
sons, and so far as this tradition makes Scotland the place from
which Robert first came, it is probably correct.
And here, I must be permitted to quote from an interesting letter
written by the late Frederick Taft, Esq., of Uxbridge, to his grand-
nephew, Henry W. Taft, Esq., of Pittsfield, dated April 10th, 1838.
He says, "How long since I cannot tell, three brothers by the name
of Taft, left Scotland in troublous times, and came into England.
One of them settled in Ireland. One of his descendants came over
and settled in Upton, bringing three or four sons. They were for-
merly called 'the Irish Tafts.' One of the three brothers settled
in England, some of whose descendants have settled in South King-
ston, Rhode Island. Yet, I never heard of them till lately, when
a young man from there worked for me, whose mother was a Taft.
The name there was numerous and wealthy.
"The third brother, who was my father's great-grandfather, came
to America and settled, I suppose, in Mendon, in this State. His
given name I never learned. His children, and grand-children,
and descendants, were very numerous, and some of his descend-
ants are probably settled in almost every State in the Union. My
grandfather, Israel Taft, settled in Mendon, and when Upton was
incorporated, was set off to Upton."
Mr. Frederick Taft, the writer of this letter, was born in 1759,
two years before the death of the first Daniel Taft, and nine years
before the death of Benjamin, sons of the first Robert ; and Sam-
uel Taft, the father of Frederick, was born in 1731, when all the
five sons of the first Robert were in active life. He had failed to
learn, or to recollect the name of the founder of our race, on this
continent. But the tradition coming down so directly, ought to be
valuable as to the nationality of the family. I have made some
effort to test the truth of these statements. So far as the tempor-
ry settlement of one branch of the family in Ireland, is concerned,
e find confirmation in the facl, that in 172S, about fifty years after
Robert Taft came to Mendon, Matthew Taft did come from the
lorth part of Ireland, and settled in that part of Flopkinton, which
is now in Upton. Some of the descendants of Matthew Taft re-
side still in Upton ; some' reside, and have resided for many years,
in the State of Vermont, and some have emigrated to, and live in
the State of New York. They all have a tradition, that they came
from Scotland, and tarried but a few years in Ireland. As to the
supposed emigration from England, of the second brother, or his
descendants, and their settlement in South Kingston, R. I., it wants
confirmation. We have found none bearing the name, whom we
could not trace to Robert, except the descendants of Matthew.
Hf those, who settled in South Kingston, were in fact "numerous
ai d wealthy," as Mr. Frederick Taft learned 'from "the man who
worked for him," it is remarkable that they have not been reported
, i" us. It is possible, that, unlike the descendants of Robert, they
j' proved unprolific, so that, though once planted in Rhode Island,
(the race has run out. We cannot ascribe such a result to the
the race has run out.
confined limits or unfertile character of that State, for Robert Taft's
descendants have flourished there, as well as elsewhere.
Confirmatory of this general recollectioivof Mr. Frederick Taft,
that the emigration was immediately from England, I will refer to a
statement left by the late Bazaleel Taft, Esq., written in 1S37.
He says: "My great-grandfather, Daniel Taft, came from Eng-
land, and settled on the south-east side of Mention pond. My
great-grandfather had four brothers come with him, Thomas, Rob-
ert, Joseph and Benjamin. The two former settled nigh him in
Mendon, on the easterly margin of Mendon pond."
"Joseph located himself on the estate now occupied by Zadock
Taft, within what was then Mendon, now on the Providence road in
Uxbridge. Benjamin settled on the estate on which I now reside.
My grandfather, Josiah, lived on the farm since owned and im-'
proved by my father, Bazaleel Taft, and given by him to my sister I
Chloe Thayer, and on which she and her family now reside."
In estimating the value of this kind of evidence, we have to
consider the intelligence of the men, the subject of the tradition,
and their opportunities for knowing whereof they have spoken. I
The writer of the last statement differs from the writer of the
former, in not going so far back as to Scotland, nor does he appear t
to know that there was a first Robert, of whose existence Freder-
ick was aware, although he did not know his name. But these two
statements are not inconsistent. They both make the immediate
emigration to America, from England.
Daniel Taft, one of the five original brothers, lived to the age of
84 years, and died in 17 61. Esquire Bazaleel the elder, was born
in 1750, eleven years before the death of his grandfather Daniel,
and eighteen years before the death of Benjamin the brother of
Daniel, and he himself lived to be eighty-nine years of age, and
died in the year 1839. He was well known by many now living.
These two lives of Daniel and Bazaleel, spanned the entire space.
It is impossible to doubt, that the first Daniel Taft, who, if he did
not come with his father, lived with him in Mendon forty-five years,
knew whence he came. He must have known what his father
said on the subject, and must have communicated it, not once, but
a thousand times, and so it became a tradition. The younger
Bazaleel must have heard his father's account of the same. And
here I may add my own memory of what the elder Bazaleel, in the
summer of 1834, informed me. It was my first visit to Uxbridge.
He told me substantially the same thing as is stated in the paper I
have now read. He was then S4 years of age. These traditional
statements, together with some further considerations arising from
the etymological derivation of the name, make it quite clear that
we must go to England, or Scotland, to look for the origin of our
If we regard the name itself, it leads us to the same conclusion.
Mr. Jameson, in his "Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Lan-
guage," a work of high authority, gives the word "Taft" as a good
Scotch word, meaning "a messuage, or dwelling and ground for
household uses." "This term," he further remarks, "seems rad-
ically the same with the English 'Toft.'" I know of no other lan-
guage, in which the name has significance. With the broad pro-
nunciation of the Scotch, there is not much difference in sound,
between the Scotch "Taft" and the English "Toft." Though evi-
dently from the same root, the meaning is slightly different in Eng-
land, and in Scotland. In England, according to Webster, one
definition is — "a grove of trees," and another is, "a place where a
messuage has stood, but is decayed, probably from the root of
Tuft ;" and Webster gives its derivation in the Danish language, as
from "tofte, or tomt," to which also Jameson traces "taft," in the
It has been, sometimes thought, that the name was Irish, because
there is a well known and distinguished family in Ireland, of the
name Taaffe, or Taffe, or Taff, or Taaf, in all which forms, the
name is spelled, though always pronounced in the same manner,
and as one syllable. It has been supposed, that the change from
Taaffe to Taft was so slight, that the names may well be regarded
as the same, and this is true. At one time, I thought there was
great force in the argument to show, that our race sprung from Ire-
land, and was Irish. There are very few English names which
have not in the last two hundred years, undergone greater modifica-
tions than this would be. But it is to be considered, that the name
is as liable to be changed from Taft to Taff, as from Taff to Taft.
The question after all, is, Where does the name belong — where
is its home ? and whence did our family come ? I am not disposed
to controvert the hypothesis, that the names are the same. But
whence did Robert Taft bring it to America ?
This is a point on which I might enlarge, if it were profitable to
use your time to-day, in that way.
Abbe Mac Geoghehan, in his history of Ireland, which was writ-
ten in French, and which is regarded as good authority, and gener-
ally accurate, says, (page 274.)
"The Taffes of Ireland are originally from England, their first
appearance in Ireland was at the end of the 13th century." Mem*
bers of this family reached great honor and power. Mr. Lodge in
his book on the British Peerage and Baronetage, says, that, "Kinj
James I. gave Wm. Taaffe much ; also Queen Elizabeth gave hin
preferment" — that, "Sir John Taafe, his son, was knighted in his
father's lifetime, and the King in 1628, having received commen-
dation of his virtues and abilities, and that he was a principal gen-
tleman of an ancient family of England, and well affected to his
Majesty's interest, was pleased to advance him to the dignity of
Baron of Ballymore and Viscount Taffe of Corren, by Patent,
bearing date at Dublin, Aug. 1, 162S, and July 14th he took his
seat in the House of Peers."
One of the feats of arms for which Capt. Wm. Taffe received
preferment from Elizabeth, was the taking of Blarney Castle; and
from the account of that transaction given in history, it would seem
to have been taken as much by blarney, as by military prowess.
But it was an important service to the crown of England, and
Queen Elizabeth and King James so regarded, and rewarded it.
I refer to these authorities, not to claim anything more than
plebeian blood, by identifying ourselves with the nobility of Ire-
land, but to show that the historical result is the same, whether our
ancestors came directly from England, Scotland or Ireland; and
that the change in the spelling may as well have been from '"Tart
to Taafie," when the family now in Ireland left England, as from
"Taaffe" to "Taft," when our ancestors settled in Mendon, and
when Matthew settled in Upton.
Some future genealogical explorer will' travel in England, Scot-
land and Ireland, and search the records there, to prove where this
name belongs, and to identify if possible the place from which
Robert Taft came to this country, and whether or not, Sarah came
But, yielding to the tradition among the descendants of both
Robert, and Matthew, such weight as we cannot well deny, we
must conclude, that though these families may all be of the same
original stock, the emigration of the family now in Ireland, from
England or Scotland, was several centuries earlier than that of
Robert Taft, who came directly to this country, from the original
home of the race.
On the 29th of July following the purchase from Crowne, a par-
tition was made between Savil Simpson and Robert Taft, by deed,
in which Robert Taft is described as "late of Braintree, now of
Mendham, carpenter." This deed gives to Simpson a certain field
belonging to the said land, commonly called "Pondfield ;" and it
gives to Robert Taft the field known as the "Fortfield," and says
that both of said fields, viz : "Pondfield and Fortfield are parted,
the one from the other, by the highway as it now lies.'' Now it
happens that these two fields, the "Pondfield," and the "Fortfield,"
are still divided by the same road "lying," as it did then. There
was very early, some structure on the Fortfield, which was called,
and perhaps used as a fort. There are now on the high part of the
tract, large rocks which appear to have belonged to something of the
kind. But this name, and this fort antedate King Philip's war.
The records of the proceedings of the settlers before the war, dis- !
tinguish these two fields in the same way, in assigning them to j
Col. Wm. Crowne. It is satisfactory to be able to find the field, ;
on which the fortunes of the Taft family were begun ; that on
which the first house was raised, and that on which the second was
erected. It adds to our satisfaction, to find the descendants of
Robert Taft still cultivating his lands, and dwelling there. It is
seldom true in this country, that the descendants of one man hold,
for two hundred years, the first homestead. Mr. Alanson Taft, in
the sixth generation from the first Robert, owns and resides upon
the homestead, the original Fortfield, a site as beautiful now as it
was then, himself descended from the first Thomas, and his wife
descended from Robert, junior.
If any one supposes that the purchase of a forty acre "house
lot" was the purchase of but forty, or eighty acres of land, he has |
an inadequate idea of the transaction. The project of founding a
settlement was formed as early as 1662, and about forty men C0i
certed together for the purpose. Part of them were from We;
mouth, and part from Braintree. Their records began several yeai
before they had a legal organization as a town. These forty me-
each had a forty acre house lot with all the rights, which unde
their organization appertained to such ownership. It appears realh
to have been an ownership of one-fortieth of all the lands in th>
town, to be divided out as they should want them to improve or tc
sell, and this right amounted to more or less, as the owner wa=
more or less careful to draw r and locate lands at every division. I
would seem that the proprietors did not all of them draw and locate
their share of the lands divided. The more lands they had, the
more taxes to support the minister and to build the meeting house,
and the more work on the highways, they would have to pay.
Robert Taft and his sons after him, were prompt to draw, and lo-
cate their share of every division. The prime house lot was nom-
inally forty acres. But it had meadow lands attached to it, and it
had what was called the "great lot," which was generally located
in some other place, and was much larger. The prime idea would
seem to have been, that every proprietor should have all the land
he needed, as incident to his house, or house lot ; and then, that
there should be divisions from time to time of the unappropriated
lands as they should determine. Care was taken that none should
be let into proprietorship, who were not approved by the commun-
ity. The lot which each dwelt upon was sometimes called his
doubling lot, or the lot located on the "prime division." It was
the lot that showed his proper share in future divisions. The order
in which they should choose lands for locations, was determined by
lot, so that, as the resolutions of the town expressed it, "it should
be by Divine Providence disposed to them, for all the right they
are legally seized of."'
As Robert Taft was a housewright, the building of his house was
promptly done. Its site on the "Fortfield" was most eligible, and
is well known. It rose gently from the pond, standing at a grace-
ful, and yet convenient distance. It was all the more beautiful as a
water-view, because it was the only handsome site in town com-
manding a water-view at all. The land itself was excellent, and
of such a commodious grade as to be profitably cultivated. It is
easy to imagine Robert and Sarah in their old age, after having
labored incessantly to clear and cultivate their house lot, sitting in
their front door, and admiring the beautiful sheet of water spread
out before them, and felicitating themselves on having the only site
in Mendon combining all the desirable qualities found in this. They
might have gone further and congratulated themselves on the fact
that, by encompassing this beautiful lake, by their lands and their
houses, they had identified it with the history of their lives in
Mendon, and made it a family monument, as imperishable as any
shaft of stone. "It bore no inscription from which the future anti-
quarian should wipe the dust," but it was so identified with that
pioneer father and those pioneer sons, that it needed none, to tell
their descendants of the hardships they had endured, to found a
family in the forests of Mendon.
Our first progenitor in this country, was a plain, unlettered man.
He was a carpenter, a self-made man. The indications are that
he followed the business in early life, efficiently ; for when he came
to Mendon, being about forty years old, he brought the means to
buy land. Though described as a joiner, he had five sons, and
was in a new country of farms. He comprehended the situation.
There was a demand for farmers, not joiners. Even- man in that
primitive age and country was his own joiner. Robert reared his
sons to be farmers, and became a farmer himself. He understood
the main strength of a farmer. It was land. He had a farm even
in Braintree, however short his stay there. He secured land in
Mendon before moving his family, and after his settlement in Men-
don, he pursued the same policy on a larger scale. It appears
from the proprietor's book, at Mendon, that Robert Taft after set-
tling in Mendon, laid out, and located, and purchased numerous
and large tracts of land, lands in his own name, and lands in the
names of all his sons. It would be tedious to enumerate his ap-
propriations, and his purchases. They were in all parts of the
town, but more extensively in the south and west. The father and
the sons had the same appetite for land, and by its gratification
they secured themselves and their descendants against any occa-
sion for emigrating, for a long time to come. The first generation
accumulated, so far as we can learn, and wasted little or nothing.
They built houses, and cleared and cultivated their lands. The
young men, as soon as they arrived at the proper time of life, mar-
ried discreet and industrious young women, and the forests of Men-
don and Uxbridge blossomed as the rose. If they desired to live
in good old Uxbridge or Mendon, they had permanent homes on
which to live. If our tribe emigrated less than other families, for
a time, this is accounted for by the foresight and energy of the
fathers, rather than by the want of those qualities in their sons.
So extensive were the possessions of Robert Taft and his sons,
that from Mendon Pond which they encompassed, and which then,
and for many yeaw^tfterward, was known as Taft's pond, and is
still so designated on the county map, they stretched away to the
State line on the south, and across all the three rivers, and several
miles beyond, toward the west. It is said that his purchases west
of the Blackstone covered an area of two and a half miles square,
nor is this at all incredible, if we regard the proprietor's book, and
if there is room for laying out so much land on that side of the
river, without encroaching upon the town of Douglas.
But there is one other real estate transaction of Robert Taft,
which has excited my curiosity, and which I cannot afford to omit.
In Book 30, page 165, of Suffolk county records, is recorded a deed
dated March 10, 17 13, by Paul Dudley, William Mumford and six
others, conveying to Robert Taft, one-tenth part of a tract of land
eight miles square, reciting that his excellency Joseph Dudley,
Governor, agreeably to an order passed by the council and assem-
bly at Boston, in 1703, had granted to the grantors, a certain tracl
of waste land purchased of the Indian native proprietors, situated
in the Nipmuck country, between the towns of Menclon, Worces-
ter, New Oxford, Sherbourne, and Marlboro, of eight miles square,
wherein is included a tract of four miles square, called Hassana-
misco, owned by the Indians, they to have and to hold the land by
the name of the town of Sutton, and that Robert Taft of Mendon,
was equally interested with William Mumford and others, who con-
stituted the company to whom the grant was made, and was one of
the first purchasers of said tracl of land from the Indians, although
not mentioned in said grant, and the said Paul Dudley and com-
pany above named, "for and in consideration of the undoubted
right of the said Robert Taft in the premises,'' convey one full
tenth part of said tracl: of land, to be known as the town of Sutton,
subject among other conditions, to that of "paying to the Queen one-
ffth of the gold and silver that should be found." The negotiation
for the purchase of this tract of land had been made with John
Wampus, the Indian sachem ; and the negotiations had been had
as early as 16S1-3, not long after the settlement of Mendon ; and
after the purchase had been negotiated with the Indians, a much
more tedious negotiation had to be made with the colonial govern-
ment, to have their purchase recognized. There were many who
disputed the title of John Wampus and his tribe. There are sun-
dry strong petitions on file in Boston, both for and against the rec-
ognition of the purchase. Robert Taft's name did not appear
among the purchasers ; but this deed settles the question, that he
was a part-owner, and undoubtedly bore an important part in the
original negotiations with John Wampus for the land. I can find
no other ground for the complaint which was made against him,
for irregular trading with the Indians.
The purchase of Sutton, is mentioned by Rev. Peter Whitney in
his history of the County of Worcester, published in 1793. On
page 89, he says : "The tracl of land (Sutton ), was originally pur-
chased by a number of gentlemen of Sachem John Wampus and
his company, Indians, who claimed it. Wampus first reserved four
miles square for his countrymen, the Indians, which they called
Hassanamisco. This is now Grafton." Robert Taft was at least
one of the principal purchasers of this large and valuable township
of land ; a township which, at the time Mr. Whitney wrote, (1793),
had more inhabitants than Worcester itself. Robert's dealing with
the Indians undoubtedly had significance. But there is no evi-
dence that the Indians ever complained of any injustice, or that
any injustice or harm was done by him to anybody, however his
negotiating with them, might have excited the jealous apprehen-
sions of some of his neighbors, at a time when the bitter memories
of the Indian war, were still rankling in their minds. But the gov-
ernment finally recognized the validity and propriety of the pur-
chase, and ratified the title. His interest in the town of Sutton, he
afterward disposed of to different parties.
The first general town meeting held in Mendon was on January
3d, A. D. 16S0, when the town chose their selectmen, and Robert
Taft was one of them. This was his first appearance in Mendon.
On the fourth day of the second month, the town held another
meeting, and chose Robert Taft as one of a committee, to take care
that the building of the minister's house be carried on and finished
at or before the 25th of December next.
The first list of names assessed for the minister's support that is
shown by the records, was in 1685. Robert Taft is among them,
and pays a good rate. A committee was appointed to build a
meeting house, and raise the money. He was on that committee.
From time to time he was elected as one of the Selectmen, and
was frequently placed on important committees. From time to
time, by vote of the town, he, with Deacon Josiah Chapin, was
placed on a committee "'to instruct the Selectmen." The town re-
lied on his judgment in practical matters. In 1698 he was on a
committee, with Captain Chapin, "to view the streams of the town,
and select a place for a corn mill." The land he and his sons had
laid out and purchased, lay on both sides of the Blackstone, and
extended westwardly. They had found out that the best lands they
had, were on the west side of that river, and they were busily en-
gaged in improving them. They projected a bridge. It was a pub-
lic matter, but it was more important to them, than to all the rest
of the town. The town was not ready to vote money, but it did
vote, "that Mr. Taft and his sons should be freed from working at
the highways, in case they build a bridge over the Great River to
their land on the west side of said river, until other men's work
come to be proportionable to theirs in working upon the highways."
This was in 1709. The bridge was built, and was probably the
first bridge ever built over that river. The site is still known,
though abandoned as a site for a bridge, the river having cut an-
other channel and made the western landing of the bridge on an
island. The road which they excavated to the old bridge is plain-
ly visible, though overgrown with shrubbery and trees. But, for
many years it was the crossing for the public, as well as for the
Tafts, and though known as "the bridge the Tafts built," the pub-
lic had no other. In a few years the town began to feel the ab-
sence of the Tafts in the repairing of highways, and I suspect that,
if the truth was known, the town had become sick of its bargain.
In 1 72 1 the town voted, "to choose three men to discuss with Mr.
Taft and his sons, with reference to their falling in with the town to
work at highways, and to make report to the town on what terms
they will fall in, at the next meeting." The next meeting was
called to consider and resolve what to do with respect to repairing
the Great River Bridge, and about the TafLs "falling in" with the
town, to work at the highways. The town met and proposed to
the Tafts an arbitration, which was declined, whereupon the town
"voted that Mr. Taft and his sons, that had been freed by the town
from working at the highways on the account of building the above
said bridge, do henceforth work at the highways equally with the
rest of the inhabitants of the town, and that the surveyors warn
them to work at the highways as other men, and on their refusal,
to prosecute them for their neglect, and that the town will stand
by them in their prosecution." We hear no more of the question.
The Tafts, probably, were good natured about it, and "fell in,'' not
caring to press farther the operation of their remarkable contract
with the town. They could well afford to do so, such was their
monopoly of the good lands on the west side of the river.
No alienation or disaffection resulted from this harmless contro-
versy. "The bridge the Tafts built," continued to be "the bridge
over the Great River," and the only one, for twenty years ; and
then in 1729, the Tafts built the second bridge, a short distance
below the first. This also was done in concert with the town.
But, instead of voting to free them from highway taxes, "till other
men's work come to be proportionable," the town of Uxbridge
voted to contribute sixty pounds toward the expense, the Tafts
agreeing to build, and keep the bridge in good repair for seven
years. This was undoubtedly a better bargain for the town, than
the former. But the bridging of the "Great River," still remained
a family affair of the Tafts.
There can be no doubt of the weight and usefulness of the first
Robert in the affairs of the town, as well as of his discretion in the
conduct of his own affairs.
In 1693, his son Thomas appears upon the tax list. In 1695,
Robert junior was taxed. In 1699, Daniel was taxed and the Taft
family paid more taxes than any other. In 1703, Joseph was
taxed. In 17 13, a drawing was had for the sixth division of lots,
and Robert, Thomas, Robert, junior, Daniel, Joseph and Benjamin
all appeared on the roll. Benjamin does not appear on the list of
those taxed to support the minister, at all, in Mendon. That cir-
cumstance is explained by the facl that he was reported as a Qua-
ker, and the Quakers were exempt from military duty, and from
supporting any ministers but their own. Not many years after
these boys began to pay taxes, they began respectively to take a
share in town affairs ; and the father, yielding his place to them,
gradually receded from the public eye, till February 9th, 1725,
when he departed this life.
The records of that early time were imperfect. We have no
record of their births or marriages, and are fortunate if we find
when they died. It was a rare circumstance, if any of those hard
working men, who were founding the fortunes of their country, as
well as their own, recorded anything relating to the past, and their
verbal communications were lost in their graves.
In my recent search in the archives of Suffolk* county, I found
the original will of the first Robert Taft, in an enclosure with sev-
eral other interesting documents. The will was dilapidated, and in
several pieces. But after collecting the pieces, and restoring them
to their places, there was no difficulty in reading it.
Directly under the signatures of the testator and the witnesses,
was written the probate of the will as made by Sarah, the widow,
on the 4th of March, 1725, authenticated by the Judge of Probate,
though not transcribed upon the record. The will was written in a
good plain hand, and in the same enclosure was the inventory of
his estate, evidently written in the same hand. Among the items
of the inventory, were : u In primis, his purse ,£75, 15s," and the
other items were such as to give some idea of the simple and yet
comfortable manner of life of this aged couple, who had long since
given each of their sons ample farms by deeds of gift, and in fact
distributed among them the larger part of their estate. The ap-
praised items amount, as I add them, to £25 1, 7J, leaving out "the
bible and other books," the valuations of which are torn off and
lost. It is to be remembered that shillings then, were more valua-
ble than pounds are now. The most interesting document con-
tained in the inclosure however, was a petition of the widow, Sarah
Taft, to the Judge of Probate, dated Feb. 20, 1725, asking to be
excused from personal attendance to prove the will :
"Whereas by the last will and testament of my beloved husband,
your poor petitioner is made sole executrix thereof, and I being ad-
vanced through Divine Providence unto the age of eighty and five
years, so that I am rendered incapable of taking so great a journey
upon me as to appear personally before your Honor, the distance be-
ing near forty miles ; that your Honor would be pleased to excuse
your aged petitioner's non-appearance, and that the will may be
proved ; and that your Honor would permit and allow of my oldest
son, Thomas Taft, being co-administrator with me, to assist, that I
may the better be enabled to a6t and transact, is the prayer and
humble request of your petitioner." (Signed) "Sarah Taft."
Sarah also appeared before Josiah Chapin, Esq., on the 17th of
Februrary, 1725, and made a formal acknowledgment of this peti-
tion as her voluntary act. This is the first authentic evidence we
have had of the age of these our first progenitors, and that Sarah, to
whom the testator by his will gave all his property, was alive, and
caused the will to be proved. When I saw the will, I had not seen
the handwriting of any of the sons. But having since seen many
original documents written by Daniel, as well as other of the sons,
I am satisfied that the will and the inventory were in the handwriting
of his son Daniel.
In November of the same year, the record shows that Thomas
applied for letters of administration, and the court made an entry
reciting the fact, that the said Sarah Taft having deceased, the
court appointed Thomas, the oldest son, sole administrator. The
administration bond of Thomas, with his son, Eleazer Taft, and
Jacob Aldrich as his sureties, is with the will, duly executed. Both
Robert and Sarah, therefore, died in 1725.
The recorded deeds of gift to his sons in consideration of his
love and affection, bespeak a father, who was not the last to appre-
ciate the prudence and enterprise of his own sons. These disposi-
tions of his property w r ere worthy of a patriarch. He trusted his
sons, and they were all worthy of his confidence. By these gener-
ous and timely gifts, in which Sarah shared, for she had joined her
husband in executing the deeds, he had shown' the strength of his
love for his sons. By his will, he showed the undoubting confi-
dence lie placed in his faithful Sarah. "Inprimis, to my beloved wife,
Sarah, whom I likewise constitute my sole executrix, if she shall sur-
vive me, I give all and singular my real and personal estate, together
with my moveables, viz : My lands, houses and chattels, and other
effects by me possessed, to be by her freely possessed and enjoyed.''
He then gave a small money legacy to the oldest daughter of each
son, beginning with Sarah the oldest daughter of Thomas, adding to
each, eight shillings "to purchase for her a bible." Thus, he remem-
bered each son in his oldest daughter, who was made the representa-
.ive of each of these large families, to receive this token of grand pa-
rental affection. He then added, "To his granddaughter, Rebecca
Taft, by reason of her living and dwelling with him," the same pro-
vision as for the oldest daughters. This was on her own account.
Rebecca was the youngest daughter of Robert, Jr., and then about
nineteen years of age. She had lived with her grand-parents and
ministered to their comfort and society. It was a token of his
gratitude, not a reward for services. He had rewarded everybody,
and had already given a full share of his estate to her father. But
it was the yearning of the old man's heart to have Rebecca under-
stand, that her filial attentions and her youthful society had been
remembered. In the exuberance of her young life, she had not
forgoVten the loneliness of age, and had contributed, as none but a
daughter or a grand-daughter can do, to make honored, but solitary
old age, cheerful and happy.
He and Sarah had endured the hardships of frontier life, and
acquired an estate, respectable for the times. It is manifest that
Sarah cannot be left out in our estimate of this family. If it has
had any success, or made any impression on the world, Sarah is
entitled to a full share of the credit. There are indications that
she had a better education than her husband. Nor is it to be for-
gotten that Robert and Sarah endowed their children with sound
and vigorous constitutions. They gave the race a good^ start, and
Sarah was a full partner in the concern. She survived her husband.
- She buried him. In the great struggle among families for posses-
sions, and for asdendancy, a race with a strong physical constitu-
tion is formidable.
From all the evidence we have, the following may be taken as a
statement of the dates of the births, marriages and deaths of the
five sons, sufficiently accurate for practical purposes :
1748 Apr. 29. 74
1761 Aug. 24. 84
1747 Jun. iS. 67
Each of these five sons had large families and many descend-
ants, sufficient for a distinct and luxuriant family tree. The further
discussion, therefore, of the descendants of the first Robert and
Sarah Taft, divides itself into five heads- The families of these
five sons were as follows, viz : —
I. Thomas Taft had eleven children. 1
1. Joseph, born May 26, 1693.
2. Sarah, born March 29, 1695.
3. Eleazer, born April 5, 1697.
4^ Hannah, born April 17, 1699.
5. Rebecca, born March 15, 1701.
6. Deborah, born Nov. 14, 1702.
7. Rachel, born Oct. 1, 1704.
8. Martha, born June 15, 1708.
9. Isaac, born July 15, 17 10.
10. Susannah, ) bom March
11. Ihomas, j a» / o
II. Robert, Junior, had eleven children.
i. Elizabeth, bom Jan. 18, 1695-6.
2. Robert, born Dec. 24, 1697. _
3. Israel, born April 26, 1699.
4. Mary, born Doc. 21, 1700.'
5. Elizabeth, born June iS, 1704.
6. Alice, born June 27, 1707.
7. Eunice, born Feb. 20, 170S-9.'
8. John, born Dec. iS, 1710.
9. Jemima, born April 1, 17 13.
io. Gideon, born Oct. 4, 17 15.
11. Rebecca, born March 15, 1701.
III. Daniel Taft had eight children.
1. Daniel, born Aug. 4, 1704.
2. Abigail, born Sept. 24, 1707.
3. Josiah, born April 2, 1709.
4. Lydia, born April 13, 17 13.
5. Daniel, born April 29, 1715.
6. Ephraim, born May 25, 17 18.
7. Japhet, born March 3, 1721-2.
8. Caleb, bom 1724.
IV. Joseph, the fourth son, had nine children.
Lucy, born Sept. 22, 1709.
Moses, born Jan. 30, 17 13.
Peter, born 17 15.
Sarah, born March 2, 17 19.
Joseph, born April 19, 1722.
Elizabeth, born Oct. 30, 1724.
Aaron, born April 12, 1727.
Margaret, born Feb. 9, 1729.
Ebenezer, born Aug. S, 1732.
V. Benjamin, the fifth son, had six children.
1. Samuel, born July 11, 170S.
2. Stephen, born April 16, 1710.
3. Mijamin, bom April 25, 17 12.
4. Tabareh, born June 11, 17 14.
There is no doubt as to where Robert and Sarah resided. But there
is a conflict of opinions on the question, where the sons resided.
I have at length, relieved my mind of the perplexity arising from
the different localities with which they have been respectively
identified, by the hypothesis, that being large fanners, they not on-
ly had "house lots," where their dwellings were, but that they car-
ried on large farms, away from the house lots. We may remember
that the plan of the settlement of JMendon was, that each proprie-
tor should have a "house lot," on which to place his dwelling, and
a "great lot," wherever he might choose it. It is certain that
when Thomas, and Robert, Jr., and Daniel were respectively mar-
ried, the father gave each of them a part of the "Fortfield," and
each of them built and occupied a house, on his part of the original
"house lot." Thomas had the south part, Daniel was next, Rob-
ert, Jr., had his house lot next to his father. His lot was forty-
eight rods in front upon the road. In a deed to Robert, Jr., dated
1 7 13, of a small piece of land on the opposite side of the road,
his father describes it as being "right over against the mansion
house of the said Robert Taft, Jr." And in a deed to Daniel in
1706, of his part of the house lot, he says of it : "Lying above
that part of the house lot, whereon our beloved son Robert is set-
tled by our appointment," and in the same deed, he denominates
the other divisions of lands as his "out lands." My conclusion
from all the record evidence, is that the three older brothers all
had their residences on the "house lot," or "Fortfield," while their
father lived. But as farming was their business, and they had the
boys to do it, Thomas carried on a large farm at "Little-pond,"
which was a mile or two south of his "mansion." Robert carried
on the farm generally known as the Mowry farm, which is on tb
north-west of the large pond, but bordering upon it ; and Dani
owned, and carried on the farm now owned and occupied by M
Samuel H. Taft, bordering on the south-west part of the pond, ar
including the outlet which drains the surplus from the pond, calk
Meadow brook, on which he erected, and ran a grist mill. Thes
were large farms, the clearing, improving and cultivation of whic 1
occupied most of their active lives, and kept their boys vigorousi
employed. Thomas and Robert had each four sons, and Danie
had five, all enterprising farmers. They undoubtedly erede<
houses and barns on these large farms, and during a portion of tht
year, may have resided there.
But their homes were with their families in their "mansions," on
the "house lot."' This was the state of things, till the father's
death. Robert, Jr., conveyed his homestead near the pond to
Captain Robert, his son, by deed dated 1726, the next year after
his father's death, and removed to Uxbridge where he resided, on
the east side of the Blackstone, near the Uxbridge woolen mill,
having lands on both sides of the river. Thomas and Daniel ap-
pear to have continued to reside in their "mansion houses" on the
"house lot." It is probable that, in that early day, when apprehen-
• sion of danger from the Indians, and from the wild beasts of the
forest, haunted the minds of the* settlers, and when the town could
afford but one school, considerations of mutual protection and
convenience, as well as of soeiety, influenced the older sons to
locate their homesteads in the immediate neighborhood of their
father. But Daniel, not long after the death of Lydia, his wife,
which happened in 175S, moved to the house of his son Daniel,
with whom he made his home, on what is known as the "South-
wick" farm, in Mendon, where he died soon after, . Joseph
and Benjamin the two youngest sons, undoubtedly settled on the
west side of the Blackstone not far from the meeting house, Joseph
owning and residing upon the farm now owned and occupied by
his great grand-son, Zadock A. Taft, Esq. ; and Benjamin settled
on the farm now owned and occupied by Mrs. Bazaleel Taft.
Here were their "mansion houses," while they too, owned and im-
roved "out lands," in the southwest part of the town.
Thomas, the oldest son, married Deborah Genery of Dedham,
t s we learn from a deed of a tract of land situated in Dedham,
dated 1724, in which he describes it, as "a part of the estate that
ell to my wife from our honored father Isaac Genery, lately de-
based, of Dedham." Thomas was a farmer, with eleven children.
Like his father, he was elected to places of trust in the town
tffairs, and shared the confidence of the local public.
These local honors, conferred among persons intimately ac-
quainted with each other, as are the inhabitants of such a town,
have not the charm of political honors gained from the State, or
from larger divisions of the country ; but they are a better test of
the estimate in which a man is held, by those who know him best.
Thomas came forward so early, that many have supposed he was
the father of his brothers, or at least, that he was the brother of
his father. But he was only his father's oldest son, perhaps two
or three years older than his brother Robert, Jr. Thomas had
that part of the original "house-lot*' of his father, on which are
still remaining the rocks, that, according to tradition, were once
part of a defence, giving to the whole tract, the name of the "Fort-
field." He died in 1755, at about the age of eighty-five. Tradi-
tion says that he was remembered as a venerable old man, tall and
hoary headed, with a face of benignant expression.
Thomas and Deborah followed the example of Robert and
Sarah, in early settling lands upon their children. They gave their
children better opportunities for education, than had been practi-
cable, when they themselves were young. The result was devel-
oped in the next generation.
Captain Eleazer, his second son, who had been a captain, in the
French and Indian war, had a pair of twin boys, and named them
Moses and Aaron. Moses, he sent to Harvard University. Moses
was probably the second student ever sent to college, from Men- '}
don. A son of Grindal Rawson, the minister, was sent a few year:
before. On the 25th day of May, 1750, while Moses was a senior j
the town of Mendon voted "to choose the Rev. Joseph Dorr's soi „•
Joseph, and Captain Eleazer Taft's son Moses, to keep school by i
spells, as they could agree with them."
Moses taught the school "by spells," but was not hindered from I
graduating at Harvard in 1751, and immediately commenced his
studies for the ministry with the Rev. Joseph Dorr of Mendon, the
minister. He studied to some purpose ; for he pleased the Rev.
Mr. Dorr, and the Rev. Mr. Dorr's daughter, Miss Mary. Miss
Mary's mother was the daughter of Rev. Grindal Rawson, and
granddaughter of Rev. John Wilson, names of some distinction.
This alliance united the blood of the Wilsons, the Rawsons, the
Dorrs and the Tafts. Moses was settled over the church in East
Randolph, Massachusetts, where he preached thirty-nine years till
he died, November 12, 1791 ; a pious and an able minister, whose
usefulness lived long after his death.
He had four sons and five daughters. The love of learning
which had taken root in the parents and grandparents, budded and
blossomed in the children. All the four sons graduated in Harv-
ard College, and for aught we know, the daughters would have
taken the same course, if Harvard had been open to them.
Moses, the oldest son, who graduated in 1774, studied medicine,
and settled as a physician in Sudbury, Mass.
Eleazer, who served, and was a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary
army, nevertheless graduated in the class of 17S3, at the age of
2&, studied theology, spent his life usefully in the ministry, and
died at Exeter, N. H., in 1S34, leaving a large and respectable
Joseph, who also graduated with his older brother Eleazer, in
the class of 17S3, settled as a physician in Weston, Mass.
Phineas, the youngest, who graduated in 1789, and studied for
the ministry, was a young man of fine promise, and was called to
settle in Ashby, Mass., but died before his ordination.
The names of the daughters are so soon disguised under those
of their husbands, that the genealogists find it difficult, if not im-
possible to trace them. Though the sons are carefully placed up-
on the right branch of the tree, the daughters may be altogether
missing. But I determined that these five daughters of Moses
should not be forgotten. Upon careful inquiry, I find that they all
married well, became intelligent wives and mothers, and left large
and respectable families, and that they can no better be spared
from the race, than their "graduated" brothers. Time does not per-
mit me to follow their destinies into the five different families with
which they became connected. But they have been represented
in all the professions, and in the Legislature of Massachusetts, as
well as in all honorable trades and callings.
It is pleasant to find, among* the descendants of Thomas Taft,
so good and valuable a man as the late Rev. George Taft, D. D.,
of Pawtucket, whose ministry was honorable, long continued, and
useful. He was a graduate of Brown University, in the class of
1815. His death occurred within the last four or five years.
Doctor John G. Metcalf, of Mendon, who knew him well, says of
him in a recent correspondence : "The Rev. Doctor George Taft
was one of the best men I ever knew."
Like the Rev. Moses Taft, he spent his life, a long one, in one
church. His parishioners sought no change. No higher com-
mendation could be asked, or given, of the talents, or character of
these men. In taking an account of our jewels, these cannot be
We learn from the interesting address of the Rev. Carlton A.
Staples, "upon the history of the church of Mendon," that it is
recorded, that, in 1772, "Thomas Taft was suspended from com-
munion in special ordinances, for repeatedly refusing to hear, and
casting contempt upon the church, particularly upon the pastor of
said church, till he should make manifest repentance and reform-
ation." This was not the first Thomas; he was dead. It could have
been none other than the fourth son of the first Thomas, who was • A .
born March 15, 17 13, and was at that time, of the obstinate age ■
of fifty-nine, when he refused to hear the Rev. Mr. Willard, and !
was suspended from "communion in special ordinances." The
same pastor had trouble with other members, and was himself
charged "with false recording and lying," on which he was tried, ; |
and finally acquitted, but soon after dismissed.
Who was right, and who wrong, is not now of the slightest im-
portance, and was probably of no importance then. The minister
had to be sustained. It brought out, however, the characteristic
of the race, not to submit tamely to arbitrary rule, even in the
The Hon. Judge Chapin, whom we are proud to count among
the Tafts, has the felicity of also being a Chapin, and has the honor
of having given an admirable address on the occasion of a grand
gathering of that family, at Springfield. 1 observe that in treating
the history of that family, he made a point of the great number of
deacons, that had sprung from Deacon Samuel Chapin, their first
American progenitor. It was a strong point, and I fear we cannot
compete successfully in that department. Our ancestor was a
carpenter. We can boast of many good carpenters, and many in-
genious mechanics, of many manufacturers whose fabrics contribute
largely to the wealth and independence of the country, and of a
great many good farmers whose farms are their own ; and it is not
without pride that I am able to declare, that the farm of the first
Robert Taft, is now owned, and cultivated by a descendant, and
what is still more remarkable, that the farm has not been out of the
family since it came into it, in 1679.
Our family have not embarked much upon National politics, ex-
cept that they have shared in the battles of the country, when
National Independence was to be won, and also when the Union
was at stake. But brilliant political careers have not been char-
acteristic of the Tafts, in the past. [Here the speaker, observing
Governor Taft in the audience, paused, and said, "I beg pardon of
my friend Governor Taft, of Vermont, who is a descendant of
Thomas, for making this remark. But exceptions only prove a
general rule."] It is not safe to say what may yet be in store for
them. "There is a tide in the affairs of men," and so of families.
We find good ministers, physicians, lawyers, engineers, scholars,
merchants, bankers, men who know how to get rich, and men who
dare to be poor ; and if I should yield to the Chapins in the num-
ber of deacons, I could not venture to yield anything even to them,
on the score of business enterprise, industry, intelligence, integrity
and good morals.
The immense families we find among their descendants, bespeak
their good habits. I called, the other day, upon a venerable lady
who had borne fifteen children, and lived to see fourteen of them
marry and settle in life ; and her husband was the late Arnold Taft,
a worthy descendant of the first Thomas.
Whether the descendants of Thomas, or those of Robert, Jr.,
are more numerous, it is impossible to say with any certainty. To
enumerate them would be like attempting to enumerate the chil-
dren of Israel, and would require a visit to every State in the Un-
ion, and to Canada, and probably to other countries.
II.— ROBERT, JUNIOR.
In about two, or at most three years after Thomas was settled
and paid taxes, Robert, Junior, was also settled and came upon
the tax list. After the separate organization of Uxbridge, Robert,
Junior, and both the Josephs, and Benjamin disappear from the
subsequent records of Mendon, and appear upon those of Uxbridge.
At the first March meeting of Uxbridge, (1727), Robert Taft,
no longer junior, his father being dead, was chosen first selectman.
He continued to figure in the town affairs, having undoubted weight
and influence for a few years, when he gave up that kind of ambi-
tion to his son Captain John, and retired to that otium cum digni-
tate, which becomes old age. He died April 29, 174S.
His oldest son, who remained in Mendon, had large transactions
in real estate, and was a man of spirit and enterprise. He was popu-
lar, and held every office of trust and honor the town had to give,
from fence viewer and tything-man, to selectman and representative
in "the Great and General Court." He came upon the stage after
Captain Josiah Chapin had passed off, and after his uncle Daniel
had become absorbed in the important duties which, at that time,
weighed down a colonial justice of the peace. Capt. Robert was
elected representative many times. From 1740, he was chosen not
less than five or six times in succession. He lived and died ii
Mendon. He and his cousin, Captain Eleazer Taft, were contem j
poraries, and each had a lively turn of mind, which, after Uxbridge I
was cut off, seemed to be needed to keep the old town awake ; and
If they ever went a little too fast, their uncle Daniel was always
ready to elieck, as well as to sustain them. Meantime, Captain
John, who was also animating and popular, competed with his
cousin Josiah, in Uxbridge, for the public favor, and both received a
large share of it. The descendants of Robert, Junior, are very
strong in this region, and are numerous elsewhere. They have
laid hold of every kind of business, and made it thrive. They are
generally men and women of robust constitutions and good intel-
lects. They have had some enormous families. The competition
in that particular, between the tribe of Thomas, and that cf Rob-
ert, has been fearful. Thomas, and Robert, Jr., led off with eleven
Israel Taft, of Upton, a son of Robert, Jr., had nineteen chil-
dren, and Samuel, one of his sons, had twenty-two, of whom four-
teen grew up, and were married. And I am informed by Governor
Taft, of Vermont, that Gideon Taft, of that State, another and a
late descendant of Robert, Jr., was the father of thirty children,
of whom twenty still survive. But I have not the statistics of the
family. Samuel, owned and carried on a farm and a tavern in Ux-
bridge, on the old turnpike road from Boston to Hartford. It was
at his house, that Washington, on his way from Boston to New
York, soon after his first election to the Presidency, stopped and
was entertained, and so much was he pleased with the family, that
he wrote Mr. Taft the following letter :
"Hartford, Nov. 8, 17S9.
"Sir : — Being informed that you have given my name to one of
your sons, and called another after Mrs. Washington's family,"
[Dandridge, ] ''and being moreover very much pleased with the
modest and innocent looks of your two daughters, Patty, and Polly,
T do for these reasons send each of these girls a piece of chintz ;
and to Patty, who bears the name of Mrs. Washington, and who
waited more upon us than Polly did, I send five guineas, with
which she may buy herself any little ornaments she may want, or
she may dispose of them in any other manner more agreeable to
herself.' As I do not give these things with a view to have it
talked of, or even to its being known, the less there is said about
the matter the better you will please me; but, that I may be sure
the chintz and money have got safe to hand, let Patty, who [ dare
say is equal to it, write me a line informing me thereof, directed 'to
the President of the United States, at New York.' I wish you and
your family well, and am your humble servant."
Not many girls could boast of such a message as that, from the
first President of the United States. Though he was President, Wash-
ington who was childless, admired, if he did not envy Samuel Taft,
with his numerous family of vigorous and handsome children. It
was not many years, before both Patty, and Polly, were married,
and had their children around them. The son who bore the name
of the President, fettled in Cincinnati, where he repeated the
compliment, by calling one of his sons, George Washington ; and
where another son, bearing the name of his grandfather Samuel,
still resides, and prospers. The old homestead of Samuel Taft in
Uxbridge, where Washington was entertained and lodged, with
"the brave old oak" standing as a witness, in the front yard, re-
mains to the present day in the family, sacredly preserved, to com-
memorate that father of many children, as well as, "the father of
his country." ' I have referred to, and'quoted from a letter of the
late Esquire Frederick Taft, of Uxbridge, a man of great worth
and force of character. He served three years in the army of the
Revolution. He was a son of Samuel, and one of the twenty-two.
Lyman Taft, of Montague, also one of that family, was a man
of fine physical structure, with a good head, and a comprehensive
mind. He built a dam across the Connecticut river, and other
public works. He bought lands extensively in the State of Ver-
mont, and made money. He sent two sons to college. The old-
est, Horace, graduated at Dartmouth in 1S06; John Adams, the »
other, graduated in 1S25, at Yale, — a man of fine promise, b; ;: |
died early. Horace was a respectable lawyer, and settled in Su
derland, Massachusetts ; and though now dead, has left a gO( |
representative, in his son, Henry W. Taft, Esquire, of Pittsneld. ' |
The late Orray Taft, of Providence, whose business operatio'
were extensive, and whose character commanded universal respe<
and the late Archibald Taft, of Berkshire County, whose name and
character were an ornament and a treasure in the community where
he lived, and died, both descended from the second Robert. The
venerable Orsmus Taft, whose old age is made happy by the pros-
perity of his sons in the business to which he devoted his earlv
energies, Moses, Robert, Jacob, and many others who are still
living, and who have been honorably, and usefully, and success-
fully, connected with the great manufacturing interests o[ this vicin-
ity, are descendants of the second Robert. Enos N. Taft, Esq. ,
who represents us at the New York, bar, the Hon. Henry Chapin,
who represents us at the bar and on the bench, of Worcester
County, and Hon. Velorous Taft, who for many years has held the
responsible position of Commissioner of Worcester Countv, are
descendants of the second Robert. The Rev. Carlton A. Staples,
of Providence, and the Rev. Lovett Taft, of Ohio, are also de-
scendants of the second Robert.
The descendants of the second Robert, like those of all the
other brothers, have done their share at cultivating the earth. Ag-
riculture, which is the destiny of nine-tenths of the human race in
civilized countries, was not neglected by Robert, the carpenter, nor
Robert, Jr., nor yet by Captain Robert, and it has been character-
istic of the family, not to be above their business. Farming has
ever been held in honor by them. But when the West ran away
with the profits of farming, they used their wits, invented, and im-
proved machinery, turned out abundant fabrics of cotton, woolen,
wood and iron, and made more money than if the West had not
attempted to monopolize the honorable profession of farming. In
all this, the descendants have borne a leading part. In this con-
ation, as I pass over the mass of enterprising, and worthy busi-
s men, who have sprung from the second Robert, — bankers,
rchants, mechanics, manufacturers, in all of which departments,
y were strong, — I regret that it is out of my power to do justice
he individuals who make up that mass. When we consider the
ent to which the name has become associated with the manu-
factures of this vicinity, and how much more widely the blood has
extended than the name, we may conclude that the great factories
of this section of the Blackstone Valley, are almost a family con-
As the descendants of Benjamin, many years ago, founded, and
gave their name to a town in Vermont, so the descendants of the
second Robert have more recently, established a manufacturing
town in Connecticut, which is known as Taftville, and has pros-
pered by the enterprise of the founders.
Four years after Robert, came Daniel upon the tax list, and as-
sumed the responsibilities of a man. His first marriage was prob-
ably in the year 1702 or 3. His first wife's Christian name was
Hannah. Her surname we have not found. She died on the Sth
of August, 1704, leaving an infant son, Daniel, who soon died also.
On the 5th of December, 1706, he was married to Lydia Chapin,
daughter of Captain Josiah Chapin. Of Daniel's second marriage
we have a record : and his tombstone stands in the old cemetery
in Mendon, informing us that he died on the 24th of August, 1761,
aged 84 years. This record fixes his birth in or about the year
1677, a date earlier than his removal to Mendon, and one year be-
fore that deed was drawn in Braintree, which bounded the premises
by the property occupied by Robert Taft. If Robert Taft had
owned that house and lot more than one year at that time, then
Daniel was born at Braintree. More than any other man, he suc-
ceeded to the solid position of Captain Josiah Chapin, after his
decease, and shared it while he lived. The strength of his position
among the people is manifest, from the number and variety of trusts |
placed upon him by the public. He was the legal adviser of hi
father and his brothers, and alsoof his neighbors. When anything: f
critical was pending, the town seemed to feel relief, on entrusting
it to him. If bills of credit were issued by the Colonial govern j
ment, to be loaned to the towns, Daniel was inevitably the trustee
for its distribution in loans to the people. lie was often and for
many years in succession, Treasurer of the town. He became
familiar with parliamentary rules, and was for many years chosen
moderator of town meetings. The men of Mendon were critical,
and rather precise in their mode of doing public business, and
Daniel's authority did not always pass unchallenged. They were
especially precise in limiting the proceedings of each town meet-
ing to the objects specially enumerated in the call as published.
In February-, 1722, a town meeting had been warned and held, and
Daniel was chosen moderator. Who the town clerk was docs not
appear, but he made the record read as follows : "After the busi-
ness thereof was finished, that was inserted in the warrant, the
aforesaid moderator, Daniel Taft, assumed unto himself, the power
to appoint and warn a township meeting, which is contrary to law,
nothing being inserted in the warrant for calling a meeting for that
purpose, and took a vote thereon by the holding up of hands."
And the town, afterward resolved, that what was done at the meet-
ing so called, was of "none effect."
Daniel was not satisfied to lie under such an imputation. The
Tafts rallied at the next March meeting. Daniel was made mod-
erator, selectman and trustee, and both the Josephs were chosen
to office, and at a subsequent meeting of the town, it was voted
that the entry by the clerk of the former meeting, was false and
defamatory, and that it be expunged. I do not find that Daniel's
rulings were ever questioned again. In 1730, Daniel was delega-
ted to negotiate for the creation of the new county of Worcester.
Up to that time, Mendon and Uxbridge had been in the county of
Suffolk. The next year, 1731, the county of Worcester was
In 1732, by a deed, the consideration of which was, "the love and
affection wJiich I bear the town of Uxbridge" he gave to the town,
fthe site of the old burying ground, minutely describing it. He was
chosen representative of Mendon to the General Court, in 1728.
How many times he was sent to the General Court, I am unable to
sav. He was a Justice of the Peace under the Colonial govern-
ment, for many years. His appointment having been made before
the death of Josiah Chapin, and continuing, I think, to the end of
his long life. A Justice of the Peace, in England, and under the
Colonial government is, and always has been an important office.
The appointment imports a man of dignity, and weight of char-
acter, and usually a man of an estate. To Josiah, his oldest son,
he conveyed by deed of gift the farm on the west side of the Black-
stone, afterwards held by Esquire Bazaleel, Josiah's son, and more
recently by Mrs. Joseph Thayer, and which is still owned by the
•family. This fine farm was given by Daniel to Josiah in 1732.
This is another instance of the fidelity with which these ancient
farms have been kept and cherished in the family. Daniel's de-
scendants had considerable political prominence. Captain Josiah,
his son, resided in Uxbridge, and was honored and trusted as his
father had been, and was, in Mendon. His son Caleb he sent to
Harvard University where he died, and the father when called to
his son's death-bed* was himself attacked by the disease and died
on his way home,' at the age of forty-seven, leaving unfinished a
In giving an account of the descendants of Daniel Taft, the
names of Bazaleel, senior and junior, and of George Spring Taft,
the son of the younger Bazaleel,' cannot be omitted. I avail my-
self of a notice published in the Worcester Palladium, on the oc-
casion of the death of the grandson, George S. Taft. "Hon. Baza-
leel Taft, senior, was born in 1750, and died in 1S39, in the 89th
year of his age. For many years he had been one of the leading
men in the south part 'of Worcester County, and the tokens of the
confidence of his fellow-citizens, while they imposed upon him the
burdens of life, strengthened him for their faithful fulfillment. He
was two years a member of the State senate ; two years a member
of the executive council, and some years a member of the house
of representatives from Uxbridge. Pie was a strong and decided
Federalist, and never swerved from his political faith. Firm, com-
pact, honest, dignified and able, he went through life fulfilling his
various duties with rare fidelity and conscientiousness, and leaving
to his family and to all who knew him, a character which is always
referred to with reverent pride and pleasure. He became a large
land holder in his native town, and the old homestead is yet in the
hands of his descendants. The stately elms which shelter the
home of the patriarch, built of timber hewn by his own hands, and
firm as the hills around, are emblematic of the man whose memory
is embalmed in the hearts of his friends and kindred." Nor can
I pass from this notice of Bazaleel, senior, without a reference to
his Revolutionary history, which I have received from my friend,
the Hon. Henry Chapin, as given in an address delivered by him
some ten or eleven years since to the citizens of Uxbridge.
"In the Revolutionary war, Bazaleel Taft, senior, went with a
company collected in his neighborhood to Rhode Island in the
capacity of orderly sergeant. Having made his first report, he
happened to be within hearing, when the commanding officer read
his report, and as he finished it, exclaimed, 'Who wrote that re-
,. port ?' Mr. Taft, supposing that possibly he had been guilty of
- some breach of military rules, and that he might be arrested — slip-
ped out to attend to some matters, but he had not been absent
long before he was summoned by an inferior officer to come be-
fore the commander. Said the commander, 'Is your name Baza-
leel Taft ?' 'It is, sir.' 'Did you make that report?" 'I did make it.
I was not very familiar with military matters, but I did it as well as
I could.' Instead of a reprimand, he was electrified by the an-
nouncement, 'Mr. Taft, I wish to have you act in the capacity of
^"Ni Adjutant of these troops. You may enter at once upon the duties,
V and you shall have a horse as soon as one can be furnished by the
I Bazaleel Taft, senior, was grandson of the first Daniel Taft, and
/ must have been eleven years of age in 1761, when his grandfather
; Daniel Taft died. His first wife was Abigail Taft, by whom he
had one child, a daughter, whose name was Eunice. Eunice be-
came the wife of Den. Phineas Chapin, and the mother of Mrs.
Paul Whitin, of Whilinsville, — a lady who is remembered with ven-
eration and affection by all her descendants. His second wife was
His only son who lived to majority, was Bazalfeel Taft, Junior.
Of him, too, I am able to give a brief account, taken from
the same article in the Worcester Palladium. "Hon. Bazaleel
Taft, Jr., was born in 17S0, and died in 1846, in the 66th year
of his age. He was a gentleman of polished manners, excellent
culture and high standing in his profession. He graduated at
Cambridge in the year 1804, and after being admitted to the bar,
established himself as a lawyer in his native town. He always
resided in Uxbridge, and enjoyed largely the confidence of his fel-
low-citizens. He was twice elected a member of the State senate,
twice a member of the executive council, and for a number of years
a representative to the Massachusetts legislature. He was very
active in the establishment of the State Lunatic Hospital at Wor-
cester, and always referred with much pleasure to the part which
he had taken in its origin and success. He was the second presi-
dent of Blackstone Bank, and held the office at the time of his
death. He was a man of genial humor, rare hospitality, enlight-
ened public spirit, and unbended integrity. His name and char-
acter are held in grateful remembrance bv those who knew him
best, and his children and his children's children still cherish them
as a priceless legacy."
George Spring Taft, the third of this lire-, was a graduate of
Brown University ; a gentleman and a man of scholarly attain-
ments. He succeeded to his father's profession of the law. His
career, which was promising, was cut short at the age of 33, b
Chloe, the youngest daughter oi the elder bazaleel, became tl"i
wife of Joseph Thayer, Esq., now deceased, a well known lawye
of Uxbridge, and was the mother both of t>e former, and of the
present wife of Judge Henry Chapin, who has thus a double inter
est in the Taft family, bv blood, and bv marriage.
Hopestill Taft, daughter of the second Daniel, was married in
1766 to David Bullard, and h^r descendants are numerous, and
not undistinguished, residing in central New York. General Ed-
ward F. Bullard formerly of Troy, but now of Saratoga, New York,
and a prominent member of the New York bar, is one of her de-
Just four years after Daniel began to pay the minister's tax,
Joseph's name appears, in 1703. He is the first of the five broth-
ers who bore a military title. He was sometimes called Joseph,
senior, sometimes lieutenant or captain, to distinguish him from his
nephew Joseph Taft, the oldest son of the first Thomas, born in
1693, and thirteen years younger than his uncle Joseph, who heads
the fourth division of the race. Joseph then, was born in 16S0,
married in 170S, and died July 18, 1747, in the 68th year ofhis age.
The name of his wife was Elizabeth Emerson, the grand-daughter
of the first minister of Mendon, and they had nine children.
His farm was on both sides of the Blackstone, though his resi-
dence, and most of his "outlands" were west of the river. It was
through the lands of Joseph, Robert and Benjamin, that the town
of Mendon in 171 1, by vote, ordered the selectmen, "to lay out a
four rod highway, from the highway that leads to John Cooke's
farm, unto 'the bridge the Tafts built,' over the Great River, and
from said bridge unto the town's common on the west side of said
river." This road as laid by the committee, commenced upon the
east side of West River, crossing both rivers, but crossing the
Blackstone on "the Bridge the Tafts built," just below the mouth
of the Mumford.
Joseph bore his part in the general management of town affairs,
both in Mendon and in Uxbridge. He seems to have been a man
of an independent turn of mind. An illustration of that charcter-
istic appears from the proceedings of the town of Mendon of May
17, 1 72 1, before Uxbridge was cut off. The government had con-
eluded to try the experiment of emitting bills of credit, to be
loaned out among the people by the towns, the towns of course
being responsible to the provincial government, for the money o
redeem them. The people were generally pleased with the idea,
and on the 17th of May, 1721, the town "voted to receive our
town's part of ,£50,000 of bills of credit to be emitted by act of
the General Court, and dispensed through the province." But
Joseph resisted the project, and entered a protest, signed by Joseph
Taft, senior, Benjamin Taft, and Joseph Taft, junior. The plan
however, went into operation. But such was the general result as
applied in the provinces, that seventy years afterward, when Ameri-
can Independence had been achieved, and a convention was called
to form a constitution, they put into the first article of that con-
stitution, the prohibition, u A"o State shall emit bills of credit.' 1 ''
At the next Town meeting of Mendon, it was voted, that, "to
secure the town from loss by letting out the town's share of the
bills of credit, a committee be appointed to add instructions."
Joseph Taft was chosen chairman of that committee. He reported
promptly the restrictions he deemed necessary, and whether the
town escaped without loss, I have not learned.
As I have stated already, when Uxbridge was taken from Men-
don, the Tafts were divided, leaving Thomas, Daniel, Capt. Rob-
ert, Capt. Eleazer and others in Mendon, and carrying away Rob-
ert, junior, Capt. Joseph, Benjamin, Capt. Josiah, Capt. John and
others, who came rapidly upon the stage.
Notwithstanding this division, they seemed to be stronger in each
town, than they were before in Mendon. The first thing that
awakened special attention, after the election of officers in Ux-
bridge, was the building of a church. It was voted, "to set the
meeting-house on the south side of Drabbletail brook," but find-
ing that this would not be convenient, that vote was recalled, and
it was voted to set the meeting-house, within the fence of Deacon
Ebenezer Reed's pasture, which I understand, included the site of
the church now owned and occupied by the Unitarian Society.
Captain Joseph was on the committee to see about building the
meeting-house. But it was by the vote of the people in town
meeting assembled, and not by an order of the committee, that
"fifteen gallons of good rum "were provided for the raising of the
meeting-house," which was but half the quantity that had been re-
quired to raise the meeting-house in Mendon.
I am satisfied, that Captain Joseph was strictly sober, and not
inclined to the habitual use of rum or other intoxicating drinks.
He was regarded as reliable in financial matters, and in matters of
account. He was put on the committee to receive and invest the
quota of bills of credit in Uxbridge, as he had been in Mendon.
He also was made chairman of a committee to call Solomon Wood
the treasurer, to an account.
In 1732, the selectmen stood as follows : Cornet John Farnum ;
Lieut. Joseph Taft ; Dea. Eb'r Read ; Capt. Jos. White ; Corpl.
Jos. Taft. Robert Taft, surveyor of highways. It was generally
about in that proportion ; and the proportion grew greater rather
than less as time passed on ; for there came upon the sta e, beside
those I have mentioned, Stephen, and Samuel, and John, and
James, and Josiah, and Benjamin, and Peter, and Gideon, and
Mijamin, and Moses, and Aaron, and Gershom, and Ephraim, and
Caleb, and Reuben, and Abner, and Nahum, and Seth, and Paul,
and Silas, and Jacob, and Noah, all of whom shared honorably in
the government of this town of Uxbridge. These names recur so
continuously on the record, as to become monotonous.
The descendants of Joseph are widely scattered. They are
outnumbered in Uxbridge, by the descendants of the second Rob-
ert. But the homestead of Captain Joseph, the monumental farm,
which he was the first to clear and improve, and where he spent 1
his whole active life, and where he died, is held firmly by his great ;
grandson, Zadock A. Taft, Esq., to whom the descendants of
Joseph from abroad, owe many thanks for preserving it.
The sons of Capt. Joseph were Moses, Peter, Joseph and Aaron.
They each received from their father a good farm by deed of gift.
They were industrious, prosperous farmers, and good citizens. The
Hon. George W. Taft, the representative of Uxbridge in the last
legislature of Massachusetts, is a descendant of Moses, and owns
and occupies the farm which Moses received from his father, the
first Joseph, by deed of May n, 1744. The descendants of Moses
were p osperous, and many of them remained in Massachusetts.
Peter also received from Joseph a farm lying about one mile west
of that of Moses. Peter was a captain, and " is described as a
large, good looking man, with a magnanimous disposition. He
married Elizabeth Cheney. They had four sons, Henry, Gershom,
Aaron and Peter.
Henry moved to Barre, Vermont, where his descendants are
numerous. Denison Taft, Esq., of Montpelier, is a worthy de-
scendant of Henry. Also, Richard Taft, of Franconia, New Hamp-
shire, proprietor of the Profile House in that place, whose enter-
prise and ability have been crowned with distinguished success and
Deacon Gershom resided in Uxbridge. He was a prosperous
farmer, and universally respected. Doctor Jonathan Taft, the dis-
tinguished Professor of Dental Surgery, of Cincinnati, — to whom
also we are indebted for the publication of the Family Tree, is a
descendant of Uncle Gershom.
He was one of our deacons. But he was not a non-resistant.
His name is on the rolls of the colonial troops, who served in the
French and Indian war, and it is not to be doubted, that he fought,
as well as he prayed. After his death, his house was taken down
and brought some two miles to the neighborhood of Uxbridge Cen-
tre, and put up again, where it now stands conspicuous, gable end
to the street, large enough for a meeting house. He held fast to
Uxbridge, but his descendants mostly emigrated to Vermont and
elsewhere. One venerable descendant of Uncle Gershom still
lives among the scenes of his childhood. I refer to Mr. Chandler
Aaron Taft, the next younger brother of Gershom, fitted for, and
entered Princeton College, of New Jersey. The exigencies of the
family called him home before he had finished his college course,
but not before he had established a good reputation as a scholar.
He married Rhoda Rawson, of Uxbridge, in 1769, a descendant of
Grindal Rawson. They had a family of eleven children, of whom
nine grew up to maturity. After residing thirty years in Uxbridge,
a large part of which time he was town clerk, having lost his prop-
erty by indorsements for his friends, he moved with all his family
to Vermont in 1799, and disappears forever from the home of his
birth. He was a man of great intelligence and integrity. His
affairs improved in the "New State," but a majority of his descend-
ants have "gone West, and grown up with the country."
Peter Rawson Taft, his oldest son, died in 1S67. I avail myself
of a brief notice of his life and character, published in the Cin-
cinnati Gazette on that occasion :
"Peter Rawson Taft was born on the 14th of April, 17S5, in
Uxbridge, Mass. At fourteen years of age he with his father's
family, removed to the then new State of Vermont, and settled in
the town of Townsend, Windham County. There he labored on
his father's farm the greater portion of the time, improving how-
ever, the advantages of such schools and academies as were ac-
"Though a farmer, he was studious, and always fond of reading.
As soon as of sufficient age, he was employed to teach the public
school of Townsend, in the winter season. This employment con-
tinued for several winters. He also made himself a skillful sur-
veyor, and was extensively employed in that capacity.
"At the age of twenty-five, he married Sylvia Howard of the
same place," [a descendant of Samuel Hayward and Capt. Josiah
Chapin, of Mendon,] "who has also deceased within the last year.
They lived together fifty-six years. They had but one child, Al-
phonso Taft, now one of the Judges of our Superior Court, with
whom they have resided for the last twenty-five years.
"But the active life of the deceased was mainly spent in Ver-
mont. Though not educated for the bar, his reading included the
law. He was early appointed to the office of Justice of the Peace.
Without aspiring to high office, he was much in public life. He
was chosen continually to the most important offices of the town ;
was also one of the commissioners of the county. By annual elec-
tions and reelections, he was many times a representative in the
Vermont Legislature. He was admitted to the bar, and his opin-
ion in legal matters was valued.
"Four years, he was Judge of the Probate Court of Windham
County, by election of the Legislature, after which, he was elected
a Judge of the County Court, and held that office four years to the
Universal acceptance of the people and the bar. He was regarded
as\a just, humane, and wise man.
"Books have been a great resource in his old age. His histor-
ical knowledge was extensive and accurate ; and his familiarity
with the Bible was remarkable. He has left to his friends and
relatives who survive him and who knew him best, a sweet and
precious memory. He died on New Year's day, aged eighty-two."
But it is impossible to trace in this discourse, the varied desti-
nies of the descendants of Joseph, distributed as they are through
many States. Joseph has been represented in the legislatures of
Massachusetts, of Vermont, of Michigan, of Iowa, and of Ohio
while his home in Uxbridge is still held by his name and blood.
The youngest son of Robert and Sarah, was called Benjamin.
Benjamin married Sarah Thomas, March 22, 1707. Benjamin'?
descendants have probably left the original hive in a larger pro-
portion than the descendants of either of the other brothers, unless
there should be an exception in the case of Joseph. Benjamin
was undoubtedly born after Robert and Sarah moved to Mendon.
Though younger than Joseph, he was. married a year or two earlier.
He was a purchaser of lands ; owned a large quantity in different
parts of the towu, and in Douglas. But his largest possessions were
in the south-western part of Uxbridge, in the vicinity of Shockalog
pond and brook. He followed the policy of his father and broth-
ers, in settling on his children farms as soon as they were married
and needed homes of their own, thus distributing a large part of
his possessions, before his death. But after his death, he had
more than twelve hundred acres of land to go to his heirs. He,
like his brothers, was elected to town offices. But he seems to
have been one who was absorbed in his family, and in home in-
dustry. We are not so well advised as to the number of his
descendants, as we are as to the descendants of the older brothers.
It is hoped that this gathering will bring out many who may not
have been generally known to the family. So far as I have been
able to learn, the character of the descendants of Benjamin have
been of the sterling kind ; not pretentious, nor ambitious politically,
but uniformly sober, industrious, upright, enterprising in business,
and generally thrifty.
Stephen, a son of Seth, who was the son of Stephen, the second
son of Benjamin, emigrated to Vermont about the year 1790, and
was the first to build a dam across the Queechee River, in or near
Woodstock, and established there a scythe factory. In 1792, his
brother Daniel came up, then a boy of sixteen, and began to learn
the trade of scythe making. In 1804, Daniel, then twenty-six
years of age, and Seth, another brother, bought out Stephen and
carried on the business till 1S11, when the shop was destroyed by
fire, and Seth lost his life by an injury received at the fire. Daniel
rebuilt the shop and enlarged the business far beyond the con-
ceptions of his brother Stephen who commenced it. It has been
a very important manufactory of agricultural cutlery. The family
has greatly increased. Daniel was a man of solid character, which
commanded universal confidence. He was honored by his fellow-
citizens with places of public trust, and was sent to the State Legis-
lature, as the representative of Woodstock. The works established
by the Tafts created a prosperous town which is known as Tafts-
ville. It is a post town of considerable importance. This was
transplanting the same kind of enterprise to Vermont, to make
available the water power of the Qaeechee River, which has since
subjected the water power of the Blackstone, Mumford and West
rivers to use, in old Uxbridge. There was an originality and
steady perseverance in these descendants of Benjamin, which de-
served the signal success, they have won. They have carried the
name to Vermont and made it honorable, and they cannot be for-
gotten when the family meets in its ancient home, to review its
It is impossible to linger on all the meritorious characters which
have been produced in the family of Benjamin. But I must be
permitted to refer to the Hon. Levi B. Taft, of Michigan, who holds
a high position on the bench of that State. Before his election to
that position, he had been a lawyer of long and high standing.
The exacting duties of his office prevent his sharing with us the
pleasures of this occasion. Judge Levi B. Taft graduated at Dart-
mouth College in 1843, and after a short experience in teaching,
commenced the study, and in due time the practice of the law.
His career has been successful and honorable.
The number of college graduates descended from the first
Robert Taft, is something more than forty. If I am not mistaken
in my estimate of the character and condition of the race, at the
present time, there is an increasing tendency to intellectual pur-
I ought perhaps to add that the family has furnished the General
Court of Massachusetts many representatives. Among them were,
Of Mendon — Daniel Taft, son of the first Robert ; Capt. Robert
Taft, son of the second Robert ; and Thomas Taft, the fourth in
the line of Thomases.
How many others of the name or blood in Mendon have served
the State as legislators, I know not.
Ok Uxbridge — Bazaleel Taft, senior, and Bazaleel Taft, junior,
descendants of the first Daniel. Moses Taft and Jacob Taft, des-
cendants of the second Robert. Charles A. Taft, a descendant of
the first Thomas. Chandler Taft, descendant of Joseph ; and
George W. Taft, descendant of both Robert and Joseph.
Of North Bridgewater — Henry French, a descendant of
The family has also furnished representatives for the legislatures
of other States. But my knowledge of their names is limited.
Among them have been :
In Vermont — Peter Rawson Taft, a descendant of Joseph.
Daniel Taft and Paschal Taft, descendants of Benjamin, and Rus-
sel S. Taft, a descendant of Thomas.
In Michigan — George W. Lovell, Enos Taft Lovell, Fayette
Lovell, descendants of Joseph.
In Iowa— George W. Lovell, a descendant of Joseph.
In Ohio — Charles Phelps Taft, of Cincinnati, a descendant of
I have thus, my friends, briefly sketched the history of our
family, and its five original branches. Of the living generation, I
have not attempted to say much. Time would not permit. This
one day out of two hundred years, belongs mainly to our ancestors.
They have been presented imperfectly, but so I hope, as to be
appreciated by the willing minds of their descendants. And
where are these our progenitors to-day, when we are endeavoring
to bring them back to memory ? If spiritual existence is not a
myth, and the immortal life for which we hope, a dream, they arc
our ?nost interested spectators. Having rested from their earthly
labors, they can now look down upon each generation of their des-
cendants, with eyes undimmed by age or sorrow, and with affection
untouched by corporeal infirmities. Can any one of their descend-
ants, afford to ignore even the humblest of his ancestors, on whom
his very existence has depended, and by whom his present condi-
tion has been in part shaped ? Is it due respect to them, to limit
our inquiries to the first, or the second generation, forgetting their
predecessors, who were as indispensable to our being, as those we
call by the endearing appellation of father ? In less than a cen-
tury we shall all have finished our course on earth, and ourselves be
observing the successive generations of our own descendants.
Shall we be satisfied to be coldly remembered by the first, or the
second generation only ? Or shall we not yearn to be remembered,
if not by the descendants of others, at least, by those in whose
veins our own blood continues to circulate ?
The address was listened to with deep interest throughout. At
its close, the band gave another selection, which was followed by a
song, written by Rev. Carleton A. Staples, of Providence, and sung
to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne," as follows :
Two hundred yeais have come and gone,
Since on the Mendon hills
A vine was planted by the Pond,
Whose fruit the laud now tills.
We gather from our peaceful homes,
I A great and happy throng,
To bless the spot whereon it grew.
And lift our grateful song.
Our fathers here hewed down the woods
, And broke the virgin soil ;
Our mothers spun the flax and wool.
And cheered them in their toil.
The children here together played
And learned their lessons well,
While oft in pleasant paths they strayed,
The tale of love to tell.
Their homes were poor, their lot was hard :
In toil and pain and tears,
They lived and died lo serve their God,
And bless the coming years.
Green be their graves among the hills,
Sweet be their rest on high ;
While by these rocks and iields and rills,
Their names shall never die.
We greet eacli other here to-day,
As friends and brothers all ;
With earnest hearts these kinsmen say,
"The Tafts shall never fall."
Old Robert's stock is strong and sound,
And while the water's run,
This vine shall spread its roots around,
And bud and blossom on!
And when at length these earthly scenes
Have vanished from our eyes,
When all that now are gathered here,
Have passed beyond the skies, —
In that bright home where lov'd ones wait,
And many mansions be,
Our Father grant that we may dwell
One happy family.
The exercises in the church closed with the benediction, by Rev.
SERVICES IN THE TENT.
The family assembled around the tables in the tent, at twenty
minutes past two o'clock, and were called to order by the Presi-
dent, Daniel W. Taft, of Uxbridge. Blessing was invoked by Rev.
T. C. Biscoe, of Uxbridge.
Hon. Henry Chapin, of Worcester, having been invited by the
Committee of Arrangements to write a poem for the occasion, was
introduced by the President, as follows :
In canny Scotland, home of Robert Burns,
To whose sweet songs the weary peasant turns
To rest him for awhile,
Each warlike clau, to song and music wed,
Its own old minstrel to the manor bred,
Beguiles with harp and rhyme.
In Yankee land, in our poetic times,
Another minstrel sings his tuneful rhymes
In measui'es sweet and saft :
And here to-day, brimful of musal fire.
Our minstrel Chapin, tunes the trembling lyre
To praise the name of Taft.
JUDGE CHAPIN'S POEM.
In early days, old people say,
A stranger in this town
When going up the road one day.
Met some one coming down.
"Good morning, Mr. Taft!" said he;
The fellow only laughed,
And said, "Just how, explain to me,
You know ray name is Taft."
The stranger said, "Ive only met
A dozen since I came,
And all but one who've spoken yet,
Have answered to the name ;
Sajudging from a fact like this,
I candidly confess
I thought I could not hit amiss.
And ventured on a guess. "
We guess no more. This swelling tide
Of kinsmen, old and young,
Proclaims that we all hail with pride,
The Taft from whom we sprung:
Albeit now, some other claim
May elsewhere rule our will,
This day, whatever be our name,
We're his descendants still.
Why gathers here this festive throng,
So happy and so gay?
Why press the surging crowds along,
On this warm summer day?
Why greet us now the grave and stern,
These eyes which shine like pearls?
Why welcome us, where'er we turn,
These grown up boys and girls ?
The Puritans of former days
Sailed o'er the stormy sea,
To scatter on their busy ways
The seeds which were to be
The germs from which a race should spring,
So nianly, true and brave,
Their names through all the world should rin^
And rule on every wave.
Avoiding much the lighter joys,
While grappling with their sins,
They loved a troop of boys and girls,
And gloried in the twins ;
And whether they could read or write,
Stout hearted men like these
Were full of theologic fight,
And revelled in decrees.
On mountain tops of thought they trod,
And heard the thunders roar
Beneath them, while they talked with God,
And woi-shipped him the more ;
They came into the wilderness,
Where tempted day by day,
They met the devil face to face,
And drove the fiend away.
They smote the Quakers hip and thigh,
They bade the Baptists go ;
Episcopacy, low or high,
They didn't care to know ;
They'd seen enough of other creeds,
To make them prize their own;
They felt it met their soul's best needs,
To go it all alone.
Yet, spite of all the narrowness.
Which marked the early deeds,
The loving elements which grace
The men of different creeds,
Have led the children to forget
The battle fields of yore,
And those who once as foemen met,
Now meet as friends once more.
Among a stern and gallant band,
Our greatest grandsire came ;
Upon his record here we stand,
We love to speak his name,
From valley, hill and plain are we
All gathered like a flood,
Drawn by the fond affinity
Which thrills a kindred blood.
We fancy now the face and form
The sturdy veteran bore ;
Alike in sunshine and in storm,
The simple mien he wore;
For calmness sat upon his brow,
His heart was free from craft,
No Puritan who broke his vow,
Went by the name of Taft.
Among these hills, with hardy toil,
He worked his upward way,
And helped to make the answering soil
More fruitful every day ;
He left to us a heritage,
We fondly call our own,
An honest life on every page,
Where'er that life is known.
He reverenced the Holy Book,
And when the children came,
The father uniformly took
For each a Bible name;
Proclaiming not his creed or sect,
This simple fact we bring,
'Tis always easy to detect
The puritanic ring.
His home was near the Nipmuck Lake,
Where black bass now abound ;
He never heard of one clam bake,
In all the country round ;
He had to keep a sharp look out,
With Indians hovering near,
When wolf and bear and catamount
Were often travelling here.
The boys were trained to honest work.
The girls were learned to spin.
Each was ashamed to be a shirk,
Out of the house or in ;
If they were living here and now,
I wonder what they'd think.
When hired servants milk the cow.
And lead the horse to drink?
When bonnets only touch the head,
Held fast the Lord knows where,
And the old fashioned feather bed,
Is now a thing so rare ;
When girls can hardly keep their breath.
Without a screen or fan,
And boys are frightened half to death
At the mere sight of tan;
When ''seance circles" oft are found
With music in the air,
And old guitars go floating round,
Saluting every chair;
When those were hanged as witches once.
Who made no such display.
As many a man not deemed a dunce,
May witness any day;
When comets fly, and no alarm
Disturbs the busy mind,
And in the shop or on the farm,
We leave them all behind ;
And though the earth doth overcast
With shade the sun or moon.
Each dark eclipse is quickly past,
And light is shining soon !
Oh that some artist had the power.
With magic skill and grace.
To give us for one passing hour
The scenery of this place,
Before the hand of toil had made
A change in grove and glen.
Revealing now the forest shade
Which veileil our fathers then.
The flowing rivers gently ran
Unheeded to the sea,
Unruffled by the touch of man,
And bird and fish were free ;
No reservoir among the hills,
Stored up the treacherous flood,
To make the little gushing rills
Like one dark field of cloud.
The granite hillsides were not then
All written o'er with lies,
Whereon a set of vandal men
Had learned to advertise,
And pills and plasters, bores and quacks,
Who flourish so to-day,
Were quickly set to making tracks,
Or helped along their way.
The music was the simplest kiud,
The melody of song.
Not what the artists call refined.
But somewhat over strong;
Not as the lark at Heaven's gate sings,
Serenely, sweet and clear,
The harp, with just a thousand strings.
Gave out its music here.
Log cabins flourished in the land.
While carpets were unknown,
When cloth was mainly wrought by hand,
And housewives made their own,
And beans fulfilled their weekly vow
As skillfully as men,
Who pay their smooth addresses now,
Though fellows courted then.
How rare and curious to the mind,
The story of an age,
A century before we find
A Worcester County stage;
When saddles were but luxuries,
With pillions made to lit,
Whereon some loving he and his
So cosily could sit.
When none by coach, canal or rail,
In comfort spent the day,
But travellers through this wooded vale
So slowly made their way,
While Blackstone, with whose spreading fame.
This valley now is full,
Perambulated through the same.
Transported by :i bull.
The germ uf many a classic phrase
Lies buried long ago,
Far. far beyond our modern gaze.
Too deep for us to know ;
But scholars now who know so well
Of Blaekstone's steed bovine,
Are never troubled here to tell
The meaning of "Bullgine."
Through busy years the race of Taft,
Like bees, brought home its store,
Or like an unadventurous craft,
Still hugged the nearest shore.
Till moved by a divine command
Forbidding them to stay,
Some scattered widely through the land,
And bravely made their way.
Though here the roots are buried deep,
Though here the trunk is strong,
Yet far and wide the branches sweep
And help this swelling throng,
On which the father of the race
From his blest home on high.
May gaze with bright and smiling face
And a benignant eye.
They greet us from the Granite Hills
And from the State of Maine,
Vermont her loyal quota tills,
In sunshine and in rain,
New York, though large, does not forget.
Nor Rhody, though she's small,
Connecticut remembers yet,
Ohio knows us all.
We gather from the sunny land,
And from the prairied west,
This homestead seems as calm and bland
As Araby the blest,
And every rock, and vale and hill
Which we have loved so long,
Joins with each sweetly singing rill
In this day's parting song.
"Though often called to the bench, this family is never required to
answer :it the bar."
Responded to Hon. Alphonso Taft, of Cincinnati, Ohio :
Mr. President, — Though surprised by this call to respond to the
first toast, I thank you for the announcement in that toast, of a fact:
which cannot be disputed. The Tafts have needed no advocate at
the bar of any criminal court in our country. They have wasted
none of the time, or money of the public, by offences requiring
judicial investigations. But this day is far spent. I have had my
share of it. There are many good speakers here present. Allow
me to be silent, that their welcome voices may be heard.
"As the Star of Empire westward takes its way, it is gratifying to
know that the family name keeps pace with the Western Star."
Responded to by Rev. Lovett Taft, of Columbus, Ohio :
The sentiment to which I am called to respond, "Westward the
Star of Empire takes its way," is of somewhat doubtful application
to myself. I hail from the capital of Ohio, and there we count that
the Star of Empire has gone so far beyond us that we are scarcely
westward. Away on beyond the "Father of Waters,"' its brightness
and glory* abides.
But, seriously, the occasion that has called us together is one
of deepest interest. I count one of the fortunate events of my life
that I am permitted to be here to-day, to look into the faces of my
kindred, few of whom I have ever seen before. So many ! what a
privilege ! I was rejoiced when I learned that this meeting was in
I was anticipating a Western tour for my summer vacation, but
when I was authoritatively informed of this meeting, I immediately
changed my plan, and said to my wife, "We will go East and be pres-
ent at the Taft gathering ;" and here we are, glad and thankful. To
see so many of my name is new to me. Tafts in Ohio, like angel's
visits, are "few and far between."
I was born and reared in Ohio, and so my wife ; we are natives of
the soil. Her parents were the first joined in marriage in the city,
after Columbus was located, in 1 812.
My calling is that of a Methodist itinerant ; have been a member
of the Ohio Annual Conference for 22 years ; have lived in various
portions of the State, and bring to you greetings from a few Tafts in
the central portions known to myself. Should we not derive some
lessons from this occasion? We shall never meet again. This is
the first and will be the last time we shall look upon each other as
kinsfolk in the flesh.
How easy is the transition from this scene, where one man's de-
scendants are gathered a great host, to that grander scene, where
all the descendants of Adam shall be gathered for final approval or
condemnation. Now as then, success or failure is individual.
He who has succeeded in the race of life now, or shall succeed,
has done or will do so by his personal effort. No royalty of blood,
however noble the ancestry, can supercede individual effort. Thus
in the things of the spirit.
He who gains the true riches, and honor that comes from God,
must himself be a worker together with God. Personal effort is the
key of success.
Our Heavenly Father wills our happiness and offers to us the
blessings of the life that now is and of that which is to come, upon
condition of faithful improvement of opportunities. He has made
the way plain to our eyes and possible to our feet, and whosoever
will may so run as to obtain.
How happy shall we be in that great gathering of the earthly
family, if we are found of the number to whom the Father will say,
"Well clone, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a
few things. I will make thee ruler over many things. Fnter thou
into the joys of thy Lord." Life's labor finished, life's great end
accomplished, we shall come from the four quarters of the earth
and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of
God, to go no more out forever.
That we, who are related in the flesh and component parts of one
great family on earth, may be also kindred in spirit and members of
the household of faith, and family of God, heirs of God, and joint
heirs with Christ, is the devout and earnest wish of your friend and
"In politics and s:atp?manship, Lieut. Gov. R. S. Taft, of Burlington,
Vt., will give us a lesson.' 1
Responded to by Lieut. Gov. Taft :
Mr. President, and (knowing no better term to use) Cousins, — It
has been said that one of the most important requisites for an after
dinner speech is an empty stomach. I think it would be no easy
task to convince those that sat at the table where I did, that I am
in any condition to speak. I was hungry, for I was a long time
coming ; for though but a day's journey from here, it has been over
a week since I left home. My neighbors bothered me so with ques-
tions that I wanted to leave. They noticed by the newspapers that
there was to be a great gathering of Tafts in this State, and one
pert young man wanted to know if it was going to be at Charles-
town.* A week or two since, at Providence, the New England
Reformed Men had a meeting, and some suggested that place as the
one where I was going; and when the Associated Press put an "R"
in the word Dunkard, and thus made a national convention of
Drunkards, they said they knew that was the meeting I was going
to. Another young man inquired if we were expecting a large
gathering. I told him about a thousand, and he exclaimed, "I de-
clare! what a chance to start a first-class lunatic asylum." Another
one inquired where the meeting was to be, and I told him in Men-
don, (up in Vermont we call every thing Mendon that ever was
Mendon) and he wanted to know why the meeting was held
there. I replied, of course, that, it was in that town that our grand-
father Robert, the ancestor of us all, settled about the year 1670;
he said, "what a fortunate thing it would have been for the United
States, if King Philip had happened around Mendon about that
year.'-' By this time I thought I had heard enough, and without pav-
ing the greatest regard to the truth, I said to him that King Philip
was here very often, that he and grandfather Robert were great
cronies, that they hunted and fished together over all Southern Mas-
sachusetts and Rhode Island, and that on the old homestead down
here, there was preserved as a precious heir loom in the family, a
powder horn that "Phil" gave our grandfather one day when out
hunting, as a token of his great respect and esteem for the old gen-
tleman ; and that the very spot where Phil pitched his wigwam
when he came to visit grandfather, was still in existence on the
banks of Taft's Pond, and if they did not believe it, that they could
come down here and see the place itself. They said it must be so,
and rather than hear any more of their talk, I left them.
And I have come down here, not to talk about politics or states-
*The location of the Mass. Statu Prison.
mnnship,but for three things : Firstfor my dinner; and in that I have
succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations. Second, to visit
the homes of my ancestors ; and yesterday I went to Mendon, and
no true follower of Mahomet everapproached the shrines at Mecca
with mure reverent and devout feelings, than I drew near the graves
of four generations of my ancestors. I felt as though I was walk-
ing upon holy ground. I was inclined to take off my shoes, and pre-
sume I should have done so, but the blackberry briars by the side of
the road caused me to forego what might have been a sad experiment.
Third, I came to find out whether I was an Irishman or not ; and
I suppose the Judge has told us all about that in the part of his ad-
dress which for want of time he has not given us to-day. I am
certain that even,' one present looks back with pride to our pro-
genitor, to whom, two centuries since, these hills and valleys were
familiar ground ; and our pride will not be lessened by those who
tell us that when one points back to his ancestors and boasts of his
origin that the best part of him is under the ground, nor by Ten-
nyson, who says that "The grand old gardener and his wife smile
at the claims of long descent." "Kind hearts are more than
coronets and simple faith than Norman blood." Physiological facts
assure us that kind hearts and simple faiths can be transmitted as
well as the glittering tiara of the prince, or the life blood of a Nor-
I know the Koran reads, "Whosoever hath ancestors will derive
no advantage from them with God ;" but why may not religious
tendencies, and generous impulses, and an upright character derived
from one's ancestors, be credited to him in the heavenly books of the
recording angel ! I therefore glory in the fact that the blood of
Robert Taft runs in my veins, and am prouder of it to-day than I
think the cavilers upon the subject are,to trace their pedigree directly
back to Capt. Kidd, Benedict Arnold, Judas Iscariot, or the apes
of the ingenious Darwin. If they prefer the latter, they are wel-
come to their family tree.
In my younger days I thought the whole family of Tafts were in
my father's house, but one day I met a friend and he said to me,
"There is a Taft girl at my house." I told him there were several at
mine, "But," said he, "it isn't one of your sisters, she is a girl from
abroad." So I went home with him, and to my utter astonishment I
found a Taft that I never had seen or heard of before. So I knew
there must be others beside my family ; that first stranger one I
ever saw, is here to day. She sits right over there ('pointing at
her); you might know she belonged to the Thomas branch by her
good looks. Ah ! I fear I shall have to change that statement for,
she is shaking her head at me as much as to say that she doesn't
belong to that branch at all, but is a veritable descendant of uncle
Daniel. The thought then occurred to me, where did we come
from. I knew Taffe, as grandfather Robert's name was sometimes
spelt, was an Irish name, and Taaffe a Scotch one. I looked on
the map, and I found in Persia a city named Taft; and so possibly I
thought we might be Persians, and perchance the Doctor (Jonathan
of Cincinnati) may trace us back to Darius, or King Cyrus. I no-
ticed that in Austria there was a Count Van Taft ; so it may be we
are entitled to an Austrian origin. I knew my grandfather came
from Mendon, and when I found in Savage's Genealogical Diction-
ary that Robert Taffe lived in Mendon in 16S2, I thought he must
have been the "Taft from whom we sprung." But while thus
speculating, I met a friend who spoke several languages, whose
father, Geo. P. Marsh, the present U.S. minister at Italy, I knew was
one of the greatest linguists of modern times, and I asked him
from what nation I came. He said, judging by the name, I was a
Welshman. This satisfied me for the time, and until I ascertained
that his authority in the matter was the melody of Mother Goose,
that "Taffe was a YVelchman," "Taffe was" something else that it
is not necessary for me to repeat. I stated to the young man that
"I once heard a lawyer say that your father could lie in seventeen
languages, but without any hesitation I affirm that you are an im-
provement on the old man ; you are a chip of the old block." I then
• gave up speculating and came down to learn what I could on the
subject at this meeting.
But a word for the Vermont Tafts. There may be some at this
dinner that have an idea that we have no Tafts in Vermont, but it
is not so ; for when you talk of large families, go up there and you
will be astonished at the records in our family bibles. It takes a ream
of foolscap occasionally to keep the records of a single family : for in-
stance, there was Gideon Taft, born in Uxbridge, March 2nd, 1776,
who went to Huntington, Vermont, in 1798 ; he literally, like Enoch
of old, begat sons and daughters, for he had born unto him thirty
children, the eldest, Lydia, on the 16th of October, 1794, when he
was eighteen years of age, and the youngest, Ann S., in April, 1S4S,
in his 73d year. As the Dutchman says, "how high is that ?"
The Tafts commenced emigrating to Vermont about a century
since, nearly as soon as any one did.
•'They came to the St;ite when the town was new.
When the lordly pine and the hemlock grew
In the place where tin; Court House stands;
When the stunted ash :ind the alder black,
The slender fir and the tamarack
Stood thick on the meadow lands."
There are descendants of all the branches in the State, and of
four of them in the place where I reside. I have found them liv-
ing in every county in our State save Grand Isle, and Essex, the
two having the smallest population, and I think that the fact that
none of Uncle Robert's or Grandfather Thomas' descendants set-
tled in the two counties sufficiently accounts for the paucity of their
But I cannot close without the suggestion of our duty here to-
day, of taking some steps to provide a suitable monument to mark
the graves and dwelling place of our common parents, Robert and
Sarah Taft. All that is required is a little organization, for I am
confident that the sums necesssary can be raised at once by simply
letting the family know what is wanted : and I suggest as a commit-
tee the following names which have been handed me :
Hon. Velorous Taft, Upton, Mass. ; Mr. Royal C. Taft, Pro-
vidence, R. I. ; Mr. Moses Taft, Uxbridge, Mass. ; Hon. Henry
Chapin, Worcester, Mass. ; Mr. P. W. Taft, Menton, Mass.
And thanking you for your kind attention, I will simply say that
when this family have another dinner, "may I be there to see."
Note. — I have the names of twenty-five of the children of
Gideon, and know some died unnamed, and I think five ; but I
shall have the question of the exact number decided shortly.
r. s. T.
"Having heard from the bench and expecting soon to hear from the
bar, we expect now to hear from the Clerk of the Court, as to the condi-
tion of the Taft docket. 1 '
Responded to by Hon. Henry W. Taft, of Pittsfield, Mass. :
Mr President,- — I am so conscious that there are very many here,
far better fitted than I am, to entertain this audience, that I should
fail to respond to your invitation, but that I do not wish to appear
destitute of interest in this family gathering, or unwilling to con-
tribute my share to the common fund.
The circumstances of my life make this an occasion of especial
interest to me. In my boyhood, my father and grandfather were the
only men who bore the name of Taft, in the two contiguous towns
which formed my world, while the Smiths, the Gunns,the Roots and
Graveses,and Hubbards filled and possessed the land. I remember
that I was troubled that there were so few of us, and feared that we
belonged to some strange and worn out race, estray, it might be
from some foreign fold, alien to the history and character of New
England. But when I inquired into the matter, they told me there
was no immediate prospect of the extinction of our family name ;
that my great-grandfather had 22 children ; that his father had 18,
and that far to the eastward there was a region, how dim and dis-
tant it was to my youthful imagination, but glowing with oriental
beauty, where dwelt a goodly and numerous offspring of the race
from which we sprung, blessed with flocks and herds and an abund-
ance of good things ; so numerous indeed were they,that over there
in Uxbridge, every man was a Taft, or it was at least the name of
his mother or his wife. Yet such has been the fortune of my after
life, that up to yesterday, I could count upon my fingers, the names
of all the Tafts I had ever seen, and to-day, I feel like one, who,
after he has been kept out a great while, has been at last admitted
within the family circle, and afforded an opportunity to become ac-
quainted with his kindred. I am glad to meet you all. I knew
not that I had among my cousins, so many "fair women and brave
men." As I look upon these thousand faces, I feel that I shall
bear myself more proudly hereafter, than I have been wont to do,
because of my relationship to you.
And now what can I say to you, beyond words of hearty con-
gratulation and affectionate greeting. Isolated as 1 have been from
the great body of our race, I have no anecdotes of family history
to relate. I came here to learn and not to teach, and I have been
instructed and delighted by the address to which we have listened,
and which I am happy to be assured, is to be preserved in an en-
during form. I heartily second the suggestions which have been
made, that this gathering should result in the erection of a monu-
mental structure, and the compilation of a family history. We are
sadly neglectful of those who have gone before us. For about the
space of two generations they live in our memories, and we pre-
serve their monuments ; beyond this, for the most part, we are ig-
norant of their characters and fortunes, often of their very names.
This is unphilosophical as it is unfilial. There is abundant rea-
son why we should preserve the memory of those to whom we owe
our existence, — who subdued this land that it might be fit for us to
dwell in — whose mental, moral and physical characteristics, trans-
mitted to us in obedience to nature's law, contribute so largely, to
make us what we are to-day.
I fear after all we have said or may say, of self-gratulation and
praise, which the occasion justifies, that in the estimation of the
world, we are not a distinguished race. In this presence, I cannot
forget the fact that we have worn the judicial ermine with ability
and grace, and laid it down unstained ; that we have attained to
gubernatorial honors ; that the poetry that is in our nature cannot
be smothered under a foreign name ; that the Profile House and
Point Shirley exist to testify to our success, when our philanthropy
leads us to attempt to satisfy the cravings of the ''inner man." That
many of us have not been seated in the high places of power, filling
the public eye and the public thought, is due, I conceive, rather to
a modesty which has restrained self-assertion, and to the accidents
of our relations, than to any deficiency of moral or mental fibre.
I can appreciate the honorable pride with which one may look
back on a long line of illustrious ancestors. An alliance in blood,
with men who have been eminent for their virtues and their talents
— exponents and leaders of public opinion, famous in the council
and in the held,- — is not a light or valueless thing to one who recog-
nizes the increased responsibility of him who comes of an honored
historic race, and knows that his reputation rests upon his own
character alone. If we cannot boast that ours is such a race, all
that I have seen or heard on this occasion, confirms me in the be-
lief that we may justly claim a record of character and service,
which in this republican land constitute a patent of true nobility.
In a letter written as long ago as 183S, by the late Frederic Taft,
Esq., of Uxbridge, then nearly four score, he thus sums up the
family characteristics, as the result of his own observation, and the
traditions of the past. I give his own quaint language : "The race
"of Taft as a name has been remarkable for its habits of industry,
"economy, morality and good Citizenship both in Church and State
"affairs, as much so as any Name among us. It is very rare that a
"Taft has been carried to the Poor-House, or been called before
"authority on criminal acYions." I accept this characterization as
true, on the word of one whom the oldest among you will remem-
ber, I think, as a true Christian gentleman. I trust it may be as
true to-day, as it was forty years ago. I ask for no better descent,
no higher ancestral honors. If it be true, it shows that our race
belongs to that class which has made New England and the nation
possible, in all their past history and their probable future ; that
material, out of which the massive foundations and solid superstruc-
ture of our political and social fabric were builded. It was the
patriotic endurance of this class, in and out of New England, which
made us an independent nation; it was the fortitude, the courage,
the unyielding devotion of this same class, which carried us through
our late conflict, and saved the nation's life. The enlightened loy-
alty of our people was more to us than the wisdom of our states-
men, or the skill and valor of our commanders. Through the pos-
session and exercise of these "habits of industry, economy and
morality," this "good citizenship in church and state," our citizens
have subdued the wilderness, founded new empires, and made the
American name and American institutions famous throughout the
world. And if this republic shall ever perish, if our institutions
shall be essentially changed in their character, it will be because of
the deterioration of what for want of a better term, may be called
the great middle class of our people. So long as "this class remains,
preserved by sound morals, by habits of industry and frugality from
the degradation of poverty and vice— saved also in the good Provi-
dence of God, from the perils and temptations of sudden, excessive
wealth,— earnest, enlightened, conscientious in the assertion of their
rights and the fulfillment of their duties, our future is secure. As a
nation, we may have our periods of depression and disaster, but
there is no difficulty which we shall not overcome, no peril which
we shall not survive. If we are of and from this class, we may be
proud of our lineage, proud of the share we have had in our coun-
try's fortunes, though our common ancestor had no title to heraldic
devices, no claim to gentle blood, and his foreign origin may be
obscure or unknown.
May this gathering, while it enlarges our acquaintance and
strengthens the chain which binds us together, strengthen in us
also, the earnest purpose to cherish the manly virtues which we
believe are the possession of our race, and to fulfill with our best
endeavor, all the social, moral and political duties which rest upon
us. To you who have remained in the ancestral home, I desire to
tender my grateful acknowledgment for the opportunity you have
made for this pleasant and profitable re-union ; for your wise ar-
rangements, your abounding hospitality. I am sure that those of
us who are strangers here, if we have ever thought Uxbridge a
good place to be born in and to move away from, are certain now,
that it is a blessed place to come back to, and will go home with
the resolve, if life is spared, to make it the shrine of many a future
" As no family can be successful without spiritual aid and comfort,
this family has joined unto itself an honored son of "Old Mother Men-
don," wha-e counsels, if well followed, will lead us into the right way."
Responded to by Rev. Carlton A. Staples, of Providence :
He claimed to be half Staples and half Taft, and the Staples
part of him felt rather small to-day, while the Taft part felt glori-
ous. He pitied anybody who was not a Taft. He had felt some
concern as to the birth of Robert, but finally came to the conclu-
sion that he was a self-made man — that he had neither father nor
mother. Hunting up family history seemed to him like traveling
a western highway — first a carriage road, then a bridle-path, then a
squirrel track, and then up a tree. He hoped, however, that in
tracing out this family history, none of its members had been found
"up a tree."
Dr. R. M. Hatfield, of Philadelphia, was introduced by the Presi-
dent, and delivered the following :
My only right to be with you, and of you, to-day, rests on the fact
that I had the good sense or the good fortune to marry one of the
best of the Taft family. I took this step more than twenty-five
years ago, when I was a young man, and have never repented of it
since. I congratulate myself on being in Uxbridge to-day. Gath-
erings such as this promote the sweet charities of life, and encour-
age the virtues by which families and communities are built up and
established. The orator of the day, to whom we are indebted for
the able and interesting address to which we have just listened, told
us that it was not " a weakness to appreciate the character and
achievements of those who have preceded us, and to emulate their
virtues." The appearance of the descendants of Robert Taft who
are here assembled — and they are indeed a "multitudinous crowd" —
is such as to encourage the hope that the family has not degener-
ated. For two hundred years the Tafts have been distinguished by
substantial virtues rather than by the eccentricities of genius. Hon-
est and industrious, energetic and frugal, they have secured respect-
ability and usefulness : and no wonder, for these are the qualities
that win in the battle of life. I know not how it may be with oth-
ers, but my appreciation of practical men, the honest hard workers
who bring something to pass, grows year by year, as my knowledge
of the world and of its needs increases. It is something to be a
good dreamer, or an eloquent talker, but it is far better to be a
faithful and successful worker. Should I take on airs on account
of the good looks of the company I see before me, I should be like
the fellow who boasted that "Betsey and he had killed the bear" ;
but I am proud of my wife's relatives to-day. I do not remember
ever to have seen so large a company of well-dressed people to-
gether, with so few who have the appearance of being the slaves of
fashion. I hardly see a young woman who disfigures herself by
the idiotic style of wearing the hair — (bangingis the technical word
that describes it, I think); and of the young men, there are few
who have perfected themselves in the art of parting their hair in
the middle. Straws show which way the wind blows, and little
things are often reliable indications of character. Many of us are
surprised at the size of the present gathering, but we need not be ;
for the Tafts have been a prolific race from the first. And this is
to be recognized as an honor to them and a blessing to the world.
" Children are a heritage from the Lord. Happy is the man that
hath his quiver full of them ; they shall not be ashamed, but they
shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Few of the signs of the
times are more alarming than the statistical facts with regard to the
small number of children now found in American families, especi-
ally in families that belong to what are known as the upper classes
in society. I cannot, of course, go into a discussion of this ques-
tion at present, and before a promiscuous audience. But let me
say one thing in passing, and I would like to say it in the most seri-
ous and emphatic manner : The condition of any country is de-
plorable indeed when its intelligent women depreciate the honors
of maternity, and undervalue the duties of domestic life. Whatever
other spheres of activity and usefulness a woman may find, there is
for her no place like home. The abominable French idea that one
or two children may be very well, but that a large family is unde-
sirable, threatens to undermine the foundations of ail virtue in our
country, and to prove our ruin as a people. Among all the bene-
factors o( our race, there is no one for whom I feel a profounder
respect than for the woman who is the mother of a large family of
children, all of whom she trains to lives of honor and usefulness.
The work is one that requires better qualities of head and heart
than would suffice to make a respectable President of the United
States. There has been no lack of good old-fashioned families
among the Tafts. The five sons of Robert Taft had forty-five
children among them, an average of nine for each family. Judge
Taft told us this morning of a venerable lady who had borne fifteen
children; and of Samuel Taft, of Uxbridge, who had twenty-two
children, most of whom lived to mature years, and were married.
I thought that was doing pretty well ; but now Gov. Taft comes
along and reports a family in Vermont of thirty children, the last
one of whom was born when the father was seventy-four years of
age. But enough on this subject. The Tafts have not been un-
mindful of the divine command given first to Adam and Eve, and
afterwards repeated to Noah and his sons : " Be fruitful and multi-
ply, and replenish the earth." May their descendants prove them-
selves worthy of such ancestors.
We are reminded to-day of our indebtedness, and the indebted-
ness of our whole country, to the old Puritan spirit and influence.
It is fashionable now in certain quarters to disparage these old
Puritans, and to speak in contemptuous terms of their narrowness
and bigotry. Undoubtedly they had their faults, but the men who
now abuse them are not worthy to unloose the latchets of their
shoes. They were honest, earnest and stout-hearted men, who
lived for a purpose, and left an inheritance to their children's chil-
dren. They had few books, and little time for the culture that is
found in schools; but they "trod the mountain-tops of thought,"
and grew strong in communion with God. The Bible, the immor-
tal dream of the more than half-inspired tinker of Bradford Jail,
with a few standard theological works, constituted their libraries.
But they found in these books the seeds of thought, and as they
drove their teams afield, felled the forest, and planted and gath-
ered their crops, they discussed questions of
" Fixed f:ite, free will, fore-knowledge absolute,"
in a manner that would, I am afraid, cause grievous headaches
among many of the theological students of our clay. " Old fogies"
undoubtedly they were, in the vernacular of young America, and
unblessed by many of our modern improvements. They had no
daily newspaper, with its disgusting records of vice and crime.
These Puritan fathers must have been greatly wanting in the "gen-
eral intelligence," of which we now hear so much. Every change
in society is not an improvement, and it may be questioned whether
much of the information that is derived from the daily papers is not
a curse, rather than a blessing. The Paul Prys of the press ferret
out every scandal in private life, publish and gloat over and
magnify it, until it becomes a nuisance in every- family. Horse-
races and dog-fights are reported with a pains-taking accuracy, that
enables all the bar-tenders and stable-boys to keep themselves fully-
posted with regard to the performances of the most noted blood-
horses and bull-dogs in the country. The records of indecent and
unnatural crimes are full, and are written with an abandon that
makes them a perpetual fountain of pollution. Our forefathers,
and our foremothers, too, were fain to get along as best they could
without these advantages. And they not only lived in respeclability
and comfort, but they reared families that have, under God, been
the builders of this nation. I have seen something of our coun-
try, all the way from the coast where the Pilgrims landed, to the
shores of the Pacific. And you may take me, blindfolded, into any
town or city between Boston or San Francisco, and I will undertake
to tell almost at a glance, when the bandage is removed from my
eyes, whether the Puritan element is dominant in the place. The
condition of churches and school houses, the appearance of the
people and of their homes, tell the stoiy at once. If "glory is to
dwell in our land." and our country is to continue united and pros-
perous, we must hold fast to the Puritan Sabbath, the Puritan Bible,
and be true to the God of our fathers. This cannot be done with-
out intelligence and piety in the family, such as are found only
where the wives and mothers are intelligent Christians.
Thanking the friends who arranged for this pleasant gathering, I
close with the prayer of the Psalmist, " That our sons may be as
plants grown up in their youth, and that our daughters may be as
corner stones polished after similitude of a palace."
"The educators of our country arc entitled to the front rank in the
march of progress, and it is with commendable pride that we introduce
as one of the best, Professor S. II. Taft, President of Humboldt College,
Responded to by Prof. Taft :
Mr. Chairman and Kindred, — It is not difficult to conceive of
circumstances where it would b^ both profitable and pleasant, in
responding to the sentiment just read, to speak at length of the high
mission and measureless influence of a true educator of the youth
of our land. But this is not such an occasion, and I accept the
sentiment with which my name is so pleasantly associated by the
master of ceremonies, as being presented in this conncleion simply
to introduce me to this large family of Tafts, as one among many
others whose chief attention is being devoted to the cause of
Christian education. Agreeing, therefore, with our distinguished
representative, Judge Taft, of Cincinnati, that you would rather
hear of our family affairs, to-day, than of other subjects, I will speak
as seems to me fitting on this interesting occasion, which is essen-
tially the bi-centennial celebration of the planting of our family
tree in the New World. To me it is an occasion of very deep in-
terest. We have been drawn together, not by the bonds of old-
time friendships — for we are met for the first time — but by those of
relationship. This is not so much a re-union as a first union of
those of kindred blood, coming from different directions, and some
from a great distance, to meet and commune where lived and died
our ancestors, many generations ago. While there may be too
much account made of birth and blood, and name, there may also
be too little account made of these. The ties of consanguinity are
of nature's giving, of God's appointment, and were designed not
only to yield innocent enjoyment, but also to conduce to healthful
social progress and moral growth. There are stages of develop-
ment (or states of moral debauchery rather) in the history of so-
ciety, where such a gathering as this might prove a curse instead
of a blessing, by being so devoted as to dim the moral and spiritual
vision of its members. But not such will be the fruits gathered
from this meeting ; for I am sure that we shall each desire to give
and receive of our best, in thought and character. Thus doing,
we shall part on a higher plain than we met upon, and so shed
upon each other's future pathway the light of a virtuous friendship.
Not only shall we make acquaintance with each other, but we
shall learn of our ancestry, what many of us could not have known
by any other means, and perhaps aid our relative of Ohio to round
out and perfect his family tree. By many, such knowledge is greatly
In illustration of this, permit me to read from a letter just received
from my eldest son, written after learning of this intended meeting.
He says : " I have just seen the circular relative to the meeting of
the descendants of Rubert Taft, to be held on the 12th. I very
much hope (in fact I have no doubt) you will be there. It seems
to me that if I was a man, and was able, I would not miss being
there for a great deal." ( I would remark, by the way, that although
he speaks of himself as being a boy, he is considerably taller than
I am, and has just closed a very successful term of teaching in the
upper department of our village school. I He proceeds to say :
" I suppose you will there be able to learn more regarding the fam-
ilv tree than you have ever had opportunity to learn before, or may
ever have again. You know I have considerable curiosity to rind
out all I can in that direction, and I hope you will be able to tell
me a great deal that I may commit to writing, when you return
There are, doubtless, many others, not here to-day, not less inter-
ested in this meeting than the one from whose letter I have read.
In reporting to this meeting regarding the Tafts of whom I have
knowledge, I have to say that they are industrious, frugal, worthy
citizens, and were all loyal to the government during our late Civil
war. In religion they are Protestants of the Protestants, not only
denying the religious authority of the Pope, but also denying the
authority of any ecclesiastical body to legislate for the individual,
in matters of belief, faith or conscience.
My genealogical report will be very brief, for the reason that my
knowledge of the ancestral line is limited. I remember that Nasby
once commenced a lecture in Boston, by gravely saying : " Ladies
and Gentlemen, — We are all descended from — we are all descended
from — grand-parents." Well, I had learned that much, and was
quite certain that the line extended much further back. If I had
heretofore entertained any doubts on that point, what I see and
enjoy to-day would altogether remove them. My grandfather,
Nathaniel Taft, settled in Richmond, N. H., in the latter part of the
eighteenth century, where he resided until his death. He had a
number of children. Among the names they bore were David,
Daniel, Nathaniel, Rufus and Stephen, the last named being my
father. His mother was grandfather's second wife. My father
and his brother David left New Hampshire and settled in Richfield,
Otsego County, N. Y., in the early part of this century, whence my
father soon»moved a hundred miles further west, into Oswego
County, N. Y. Uncle David had a number of sons, two of whom,
Ferdinand and Nathaniel, also moved into Oswego County.
My father married a Miss Vienna Harris, whose father, Stephen
Harris, lived and died in Richmond, New Hampshire. My parents
had seven children, who lived to years of maturity — four girls and
three boys — all but one of whom are still living. One of my
brothers, Jerome B. Taft, whose name appears in the history of
Kansas as one of its earlier settlers, died in the autumn of 1S63.
In 1S53 I married a Miss Mary A. Burnham, of Madison County,
N. Y.,and, in the spring of 1863, went West with a colony of over
forty persons, and settled upon a tract of land in the Des Moines
Valley, which I purchased of the State of Iowa. Here I have
since been at work building up a town and establishing am institu-
tion of learning. We have had six children, five of whom are still
living ■ namely, four sons and one daughter. My brother who is
living, Lorenzo P. Taft, has a family of four daughters and one son,
and the brother who died left one son, Wendell Phillips Taft. My
four sisters are married, and all have families.
I trust I shall be pardoned, Mr. Chairman, if in this connection
I speak of some incidents in my own history, which, under ordinary
circumstances, would hardly be admissible, but which the present
occasion seems to warrant. We learn from the admirable historic
address to which we listened this morning, that our great progenitor,
Robert Taft, was an active participant in a colony enterprise, in
connection with which he bought and sold much land, built bridges,
made roads, and bore other burdens incident to a pioneer life.
It seems that ail unbeknown to myself, I have in the order of
divine providence been repeating the history of our family in the
line of colony work, much the same as was being enacted here two
hundred years ago ; for as already remarked. I took with me to the
distant west a company of friends, bought a large tract of wild land,
and entered upon the work of building up society, in the course of
which it fell my lot to open up roads, construct bridges, build mills,
and dispose of numerous pieces of real estate. The county records
show that I have sold over eighty farms and more than three hun-
dred pieces of town property, since commencing this colony enter-
prise. This work has not been all sunshine and prosperity, but in-
stead, want of means with which to do, losses by floods, severe
trial, exposure and sickness, have dimmed the light of many a day.
But at no time have I been bereft of that hope and strength, which
comes of an assurance that I was doing the work to which I had
been appointed of God. The burden would have been lighter,
could I have known, as I now do, that like and severer exposure
had been the lot of our great progenitor, whose memory we so sa-
credly cherish to-day.
The family history which I have given, taken in connection with
the numerous descendants of Robert Taft here assembled, who
represent a still larger number not here, warrants us in congratulat-
ing ourselves that our family does not belong to the number which
are running out because of their self-imposed sterility. That this
is true of many families, is painfully evident. On this subject an
able scholar and careful observer, Dr. Nathan Allen, of Lowell,
said in an address delivered in June last, before the Mass. Medical
Society : ' : It is safe, we believe, to state that the average number
of children to each marriage has diminished nearly one-half since
the present century commenced." And he further adds : '"If this
decrease is continued another hundred years in the same proportion
as in the past, it will, in all probability, remove them [the old New
England stock,] from the stage. Their record will exist only in
history. Here, in this quiet, gradual decline of population, is one
of the gravest problems of this age."
Well, Mr. Chairman, that impeachment does not apply to the
Taft family ; and I am glad of it. Am I told that little or no credit
is due the male line, in which the name descends, since the moth-
ers generally bore other names ? I answer that the large number
here present bearing other names than Taft, but in whose veins
flow the blood of our common ancestor, maintains the reputation of
our family for vigor. And then I submit to you, Mr. Chairman,
whether it is not creditable to our side of the house that we have
been able to select and possess ourselves of such good and noble
wives. And now, lest I be misunderstood. I desire to say a word
to the husbands present ; and I hope those absent, as also hus-
bands^/ to be, may hear of what I say. Of course I don't want
anybody but the family to hear, as it is altogether a family matter
of which I speak. Among the functions with which God has en-
dowed husband and wife, there is none higher or holier than
that of reproduction. By its exercise the earth and the heavens are
peopled. Surely a partnership from which is to be derived such
priceless dividends, ou<?;ht to be one of stridt fidelity and abiding
peace. And now that the family tree has taken such deep root,
and spread so widely its brandies, may we not properly in the fu-
ture give even more thought than in the past, to the quality of the
fruit which it shall bear ? Husbands ought not to require of their
wives to go too frequently down to the gateway of death, whence
they bring back our household treasures, but be careful that con-
senting harmony obtains in all the relations of weded life. Then
and only then can be attained the felicity of which Emerson sings :
"From the pair is nothing hidden:
To the twain is naught forbidden;
Hand in hand the comrades go,
Every nook of nature through;
Each for ot her were they born :
Each the other best adorn."
I will add but a few words more. The growth of our family tree
has been hopefully vigorous, and promises well for the future. We
need not concern ourselves to settle the question as to whether we
originally ascended from the lower forms of animal life, or have de-
scended from a state of angelic perfection ; for if from the former,
then have we made noble progress upward ; and if from the latter,
the evidences warrant us in believing that we are making our way
home again. Let us remember that there is given to mankind a
surplus of vital force beyond what is necessary for the performance
of the ordinary functions of life, and that the use made of this sur-
plussage determines the destiny of individuals, families and nations.
If devoted to self discipline in knowledge and virtue, so as to find
expression in noble acts and high aims, then does its possessor
walk the pathway of the just, which grows brighter and brighter to
the perfect day ; but if devoted to selfish ends and merely animal
pleasures, then does it lead down to moral corruption and spiritual
death. May it be ours, to come into such harmony with the divine
order, and such virtuous relationship with each other, that the spir-
itual breezes of heaven, as they breathe through the branches of
the family tree, may make still sweeter music in the future than in
the past, and thus make glad the hearts of men and angels.
I offer in conclusion the following sentiment :
Our Family Tree— Removed from old England, two hundred years
ago, and planted at no great distance from Plymouth Rock : May it
continue to gather strength and beauty from each succeeding century,
and yield such fruits of vigorous, virtuous man and womanhood, that
the approbation of the good and the. favor of heaven may ever rest upon
it, causing it to extend its roots and multiply its branches through all
Dr. Jonathan Taft, editor of a professional journal in Cincinnati,
was called upon to respond to this sentiment, and did so in an elo-
quent manner, as follows :
Friends and Kindred, — From this day and occasion will arise a
growing interest in our ancestry ; we will desire to know more
than hitherto of those who have gone before us, those from whom
we have received a precious inheritance.
Until within comparatively a recent period, scarcely any attention
has been given, so far as I am aware, to the genealogy of the Taft
family. The reason for this may not be very clear ; it may be sug-
gested, however, that the motives that have moved other families
to this line of investigation, have not been looked upon with favor
by our own people, or it may be, that being a quiet, unostentatious
and ease-loving people, with a desire to avoid prominence or special
notoriety, they have been content to pursue the even tenor of their
way, without much thought or knowledge of those who had gone
before. For the first active efforts in developing the genealogy of
the Taft family, we are indebted to the late Peter R. Taft, of Cin-
cinnati, the venerable father of our orator of this occasion, Judge
Alphonso Taft. His attention was directed to this work many
years ago ; it is one in which he took much interest. He had a
great desire that the work should be perfected as far as possible,
and in the work of this day we have evidence that his mantle has
fallen to a large extent upon his son.
The study of genealogy is exceedingly interesting ; it gives a
clear insight into things that would otherwise escape attention. It
tends to give a broader and more expansive view of our common
humanity. Its pursuits should not, and indeed cannot have for its
object the elevation of one family or name above others, nor for the
purpose of making invidious comparisons ; nor is it worth the pur-
suit for mere pecuniary consideration. Occasional instances have
occurred in which there was promise and hope in this direction ;
the realization from such sources, however, have been so rare that
they fail to pro luce effect upon any intelligent minds. I have nev-
er heard a suggestion that there was a possibility of anything of the
kind in store for the Taft family or any branch of it.
Nor is genealogy worth the pursuit for the maintainance of some
supposed social or class superiority, for upon close inspection it
will be found that nature has, upon the whole, not been partial in
the bestowal of her gifts upon mankind. It is impossible for any
in this age to establish or maintain special caste, or class, based
upon family or upon those who have gone before. In this country
hereditary and arbitrary class lines have disappeared, and are fast
fading away throughout the world.
But it is interesting and instructive to make a retrospective exam-
ination of the generations of our lineage as far in the past as possi-
ble, that we may recognize, properly appreciate and improve whatever
of distinctive and to us common inheritance we may have received
from our ancestors. Hereditary traits, characteristics, and qualities
of goodness, are of far more importance and value than those tem-
porary outcroppings of character evolving striking examples of either
physical, mental or moral greatness.
As we study the history of an individual, with a view of ascer-
taining what he was, — his circumstances and surroundings, his re-
sources and his influence, what he accomplished and the elements
of success,— so may we study races and families. In our own fam-
ily not much has been done in a genealogical direction, and less
has been done in biographical and historical' elaboration. Doubt-
less much of the latter that would be valuable and interesting, has
with the roll of years passed beyond our reach ; but let us hasten
to gather and put upon record that which remains, that those of the
future may stand in closer proximity to us than it is possible for us
to stand with those who have gone before us. For what we are
able to gather of a historical nature, together with the inheritance
of physical, mental and moral endowments from our ancestors, we
should be truly grateful.
In the history of our family I know of very little indeed of a
prejudicial character, scarcely anything to cast a stain upon the
name. Our ancestors have not transmitted to us a record blurred
over with deeds of crime and disgrace ; the record comes to
us with as clear a page as that of the best families of our country.
How far the present generation will preserve. this record clear, re-
mains for us to decide; may that which is written of us be as free
from taint as that which comes from them to us. Physically we
have received from them a grand inheritance ; by this I do not
mean that we are as the giants of old, nor that we outlive all other
people, but observation warrants me in the assertion that our peo-
ple have a remarkable freedom from many of those disabilities and
predispositions that attach in a marked degree to a very large pro-
portion of the human family. Our ancestors doubtless possessed
a physical endowment equaled by few and surpassed by none.
The record of their longevity and extent of their families bear am-
ple testimony to the truth of this statement. A large number lived
from 70 to 90 years, and many families numbered from fifteen to
The present generation of our family will exhibit a freedom from
taint and hereditary predisposition to diseases, that is very rare in-
deed. In many families the seeds of disease are transmitted from
generation to generation, as a never failing inheritance, producing
untold suffering, both physical and mental. And thus it is that
many families maintain an existence only by a ceaseless battle with
these inherited disabilities ; and many families, and even races,
have become extinct. We should be happy and grateful that such
is not our inheritance. Very rare indeed have been the in-
stances in which undue appetite and passion have held domina-
tion over any of our name and kindred. The common vices, the
indulgence and practice of which destroy, have not been inherited
nor practiced, neither by our ancestors nor by those of the present
generation, as they unfortunately have been by many others.
Since we have received so noble and precious an inheritance, let
it be transmitted to those who come after us, as pure and untar-
nished as we have received it ; and let our lineage become purer
and stronger in its onward course, through the generations to come,
till it shall stand disenthralled and redeemed from disease, suffering
and prematue dissolution, and death come only as that transition
by which we shall pass from this life to one of grander and higher
Dr. Taft was followed by Prof. W. O. Perkins, of Boston, who
spoke as follows :
Friends, Relatives, — I consider myself most fortunate in having
been honored with an invitation to be present and participate in
the festivities of this occasion. Although I do not bear the family
name, I am proud to say that the blood of Robert Taft runs in my
veins. In the countries of the old world, people pride themselves
upon their ancestry, and the distance into the past to which they
can trace their family name. In some countries the oldest son in-
herits the property and title, if any, and the family history is kept
unbroken in many cases for centuries. When the American colo-
nies were fighting for independence, a young Norman sprout, from
France, had the impudence to write a letter to Gen. Washington,
wherein he offered himself as a candidate for king in No. America;
and the principal argument that he presented in his own favor, was
that he could trace his family name farther back than William the
In this country of democratic ideas, instead of worshiping our
ancestors as the Chinese are said to do, we are apt to forget from
whom we are descended. The excessive activity, both of brain
and muscle, the constant removal from the East to the West, the
vast amount of territory of which the country is composed, and the
almost endless variety of pursuits open to all, conspire to separate
families, and in a few years all except the nearest relatives are lost
sight of. Many persons do not know who their great-grandfather
was, and have either forgotten or never knew tlteir grandfather, and
they never seem to have the remotest idea that their relationship
extends beyond the limits of their own immediate family, or uncles,
aunts and cousins of the first degree.
Now and then a rumor is set afloat by some hungry lawyer or
pretended fortune-teller, that an estate of several million pounds
sterling is stowed away somewhere in old England ready to be dis-
tributed among the Johnson or Brown families in America. Then
there is a .flood of correspondence from the Johnsons or Browns
from all over the country. But the expectation of becoming sud-
denly rich usually ends in learning something of their ancesty and
the whereabouts of many of their numerous namesakes.
Probably there is a large fortune somewhere ready for the Taft
family, and as soon as it can be ascertained whether our primogen-
itor was an Englishman or Welshman, a Scotchman or an Irish-
man, I shall expect to meet you all in Uxbridge, to receive our
share of the inheritance.
In countries like England, where society is made up of strata of
caste or class, the children are expected to move in the same class
and follow the same occupation as their parents. If a man blacks
boots, probably his progenitor of one thousand years ago was a
boot black ; if his ancestor was a Lord, he retains the same title
although a blockhead. But in this country every occupation and
profession is open alike to all. The highest honors may fall upon
the head of a rail-splitter. A tanner becomes General of the Army
and President of the Republic. Although our honored ancestor
was a carpenter and a farmer, I observe before me, among his pos-
terity, those who have become eminent in nearly all the learned
professions, in various business pursuits, and who occupy positions
of public trust with credit. Sound common sense, integrity of pur-
pose and unflinching perseverance, appear to be prominent traits
of the family; and, in view of these characteristics, the tendency
to long life and to rear large families, which indicate vigorous con-
stitutions, I am of the opinion that the Taft family is a rising one.
On the Taft side I am of the tribe of Benjamin, the fifth son of
Robert — the seventh generation. Seth, grandson of Benjamin,
had nine children ; viz : Prudence, Rhoda, Naomi, Stephen, Han-
nah, Benjamin, Seth, Jr., Daniel, and Henry. In 1790, Stephen,
with his sister Prudence, went from Mendon to Woodstock, Vt.,
and settled in the place now called Taftsville. The other brothers
and sister's, except Henry, soon followed, married, and settled in
the vicinity. I do not propose to give you a history of this branch
of the family, or pronounce a eulogy upon any of its members ; but
I will speak briefly of some of the incidents connected with their
settlement in this, then, new country.
Some years ago, in Ohio, I saw a tree of the Taft family. Seth
was represented on a short stump from the branch of Stephen, cut
short oft" as though he had died without children. But I assure you
that this was by no means the case with Seth or his children, or his
children's children. With the fear of God before their eyes, they
gave heed to the injunction to go forth and multiply and replenish
the earth. The country was new and covered with trees, and if
they could do little else at first, they could do as Ethan Allen told
the British Admiral the Vermonters did when asked what they
could raise. "We build school-houses and raise men, sir." These
pioneers were men and women of sterling, upright character, and
their influence was felt in the community and upon all with
whom they came in contact. Stephen built the first dam across
Quechee river, on one side of which he erected a saw-mill, and on-
the other a shop for the manufacture of scythes and other edged
tools. Daniel in due time succeeded to the business, and by his
skill and industry made the "Taft scythes and axes" famous. But
Judge Taft, in his admirable address, has made so fitting a reference
to this part of my subject that little more need be said. Daniel
was the representative men of this branch of the family. He had
a fine personal appearance, quite tall and rather portly. He was
possessed of a most pleasant and genial disposition, was skillful
and industrious in his business, and so honest that his word was as
good as a draft on the bank, or the records of the town clerk.
Whatever "Uncle Daniel" said was taken for law and gospel.
Neither Daniel or his brothers took a very active part in politics,
but Daniel was for many years a justice of the peace, and repre-
sented his town in the State legislature. Daniel had three sons :
Daniel, Jr., Owen, and Paschal P. When the sons arrived at ma-
jority, the firm of "D. Taft & Sons" was formed, the business en-
larged, and a foundry and machine-shop added. The sons have
occupied positions of trust in state and town matters, and continue
to do so, except Owen, who died in 1S60. Daniel died in 1S57,
The children' of Seth, Jr., removed from the locality, and I have
not been able to learn where they are.
The sisters all raised large families, who with their children and
children's children are mostly living in the vicinity. My grand-
mother, Hannah Taft Perkins, lived to see sixty two grandchildren
and seven great grandchildren. She died in 1S62, at the age of 91
years and 6 months, and the other sisters lived to the ages of 94,
88, and 84. Several of the grandchildren of Hannah have risen to
distinction. Mr. Edward Vaughan, a successful lawyer, is Ameri-
can Consul at Coaticook, Canada. Mr. H. S. Perkins, of Chicago,
is well known as a musical author. *Mr. J. E. Perkins has won a
worldwide reputation as a vocal artist, and occupies a position as
primo basso at her Majesty's opera house, London, England. This
branch of the family has always been loyal to the principles of liberty
and human rights, and when the stars and stripes were struck down
at Port Sumpter many of them threw themselves into the contest,
and some of them laid down their lives that the Union might live.
I have heard that our progenitors, in the distant past, were Qua-
kers, but there are no traces of Quakerism now. I think, however,
that the most of the descendants of Seth incline towards a liberal
belief in religious matters.
I trust that this occasion will furnish another example of the
proof of the sentiment : "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together in unity." Our dwelling together
will be of short duration, but truly pleasant ; and may we improve
the opportunity of forming an acquaintance with our kindred which
shall result in friendly intercourse in the future.
•Mr. ,T. E. Perkins died Feb. 25,1875, (since this was in type) aged 29 yrs. 11 mo*
"The heaviest Taft of whom we have any record holds the County of
Worcester in his mighty grasp. Having been for a dozen years or more
thu acknowledged head of the County, it is confidently believed that the
Counly is not much ahead of him. 1 '
Hon. Velorous Taft, of Upton, responded. He didn't know
why he was called upon, unless it was because all who had preced-
ed him were professional men, and some one was wanted to reper-
sent the common stock. The Tafts in his town were not speech-
makers nor politicians, but there is an office they run to, — that of
Overseer of the Poor. They were not talkers, but if there is any-
thing to 'be done they can do it.
Stephen S. Taft, of Palmer, hoped this occasion might not be an
oasis in the desert of time, but that annual gatherings of the family
should be held in the good old town of Uxbridge.
Col. H. C. Taft, the worthy Chief Marshal, was called for, but
did not respond, probably owing to the duties of his position re-
quiring his presence elsewhere.
Henry G. Taft answered to " The Selectmen of Uxbridge," and
said that he was proud to be even at the "'tail end " of the present
board. He thought the toast master, in calling for him to speak,
must have felt as he did when he used to go fishing. He would
start out with the determination to catch a large string of big fish,
but before he returned he was satisfied to take all the small ones
that would bite. Believing this to be the case, he excused himself
from making further remarks.
Reuben E. Dodge was the last speaker. He explained the rela-
tionship existing between the Taft and Rawson families, and invited
all relatives of the latter to attend the re-union to be held in the
city of Worcester.
On motion of Hon. Henry Chapin, it was voted that the thanks
of the gathering be extended to Judge Alphonso Taft for his valua-
ble address, and that he be requested to furnish a copy for publica-
tion. On motion of Hon. Velorous Taft, a vote of thanks was also
extended to Judge Chapin for his admirable poem, and a copy re-
quested for publication.
The parting song, written by Judge Chapin, was sung by the se-
lect choir and congregation, accompanied by the band :
The summer breezes play
Upon this festal day,
When children come
To greet the father-land,
To clasp each other's hand,
While lovingly they stand
Near the old home.
Home where the fathers dwelt,
x Home where the loved ones knelt
At noon and eve;
Like bindings to their nest,
Thy offspring come to rest,
And on thy loving breast
Rich gai lands leave.
Along this beauteous scene,
This valley fair and green,
The river flows,
Beside whose gentle stream,
On many a tender theme, •
We sit and fondly dream
In sweet repose.
Our father's home, farewell ;
Thy name with us snail dwell
Where'er we roam.
To thee our gifis we bring,
To thee our aearts shall cling,
While oft our lips shall sing:
God bless our home !
At the suggestion of the committee of arrangements, the chair-
man appointed a meeting in the Unitarian vestry, in the evening,
for the purpose of forming a permanent organization. The exer-
cises in the tent then clsoed with the benediction, pronounced by
Rev. Lovett Taft.
Pursuant to the call of the Presidnet, a meeting was held in the
evening, at which the following officers were chosen to form a per-
manent organization :
President— Daniel W. Taft, of Uxbridge, Mass.
First Vice President — Hon. Alphonso Taft, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Second Vice President — Lieut. Gov. R. S. Taft, of Burlington, Vt.
Secretary — Charles A. Taft, of Uxbridge, Mass.
Treasurer — Hon. Velorous Taft, of Upton, Mass.
The officers were empowered to fill any vacancies which might
HISTORY AND GENEALOGY OF THE TAFT FAMILY.
Tho preparation of a historical account of the Taft family has boon in
contemplation for several years, but the way has not seemed to be en-
tirely open for the accomplishment oi the work previous to the lar^o
gathering of the family recently held at Oxbridge, Mass. It seems now
a fitting and opportune time to commence active operations in that di-
I desire to receive as early as possible, all statistics and records of
families, historical and biographical sketches, and all matter of interest
that should be embodied in such a work.
The design is to make the work as complete as possible. It will bo
arranged in three departments : —
First, — The early History of the Family.
Second, — A tabular presentation in proper order, of all the branches
and families from Robert Taft the first, to tho present time.
Third, — Biography, History and Incidents of the present generation,
and that immediately preceding.
Now all matter that will come under either of these divisions, is de-
sired, and I trust that all interested will give it immediate attention.
The work will contain from 500 to 700 pages, with some illustrations,
consisting of views from the locality of the original homestead, and por-
traits. There will also accompany the work a Genealogical tree, upon
much the same plan as that published for the family twelve years ago.
This will he made as perfect as possible; in it the defects of the former
will be remedied. The work can he furnished at from $5.00 to S10.00
per copy, according to the style of binding, &c.
It is desirable that all who wish the work would make it known to
me, or Judge Alphonso Taft of this city, as early as possible, that wc
may have some criterion as to the extent of the edition to he published.
The demand for the work will also modify the price at which the work
can be afforded.
Address, J. Taft, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Letters were received from Enos N. Taft, Esq., of Brooklyn, N.
Y. ; Peter R. Taft and Charles P. Taft, Esqs., of Cincinnati, Ohio;
Judge Levi B. Taft, of Pontiac, Mich. ; and Richard Taft, of the
Profile House, N. H.
The following letter was received from Hon. John Taffe, member
of Congress :
Omaha, Neb., August 12, 1874.
Hon. Henry CuvriN:
Dear Sir, — Your letter of the 29th ult. came to hand dming my ab-
sence at Washington. I have written Amhonso Taft, at Cincinnati, in
answer to his inqniries as to the name, but I am not aide to give much
light. My ancestors came from Ireland, but I do not know where they
first settled. My grandfather was born in Virginia in 1755, and in his
early business transactions, I rind the name spelled Taaffe. I think the
"a" was dropped about the year 1800.
I think the names, Taaffc, Taffe, Toff, Taafe and Taft, were originally
the same, and of Norman origin.
Yourself and committee will please accept my thanks for your kind
invitation to the re-union, and I sincerely regret that I was unable to
attend. Very truly,
The following letter was received from Jos. R. Dixon, editor and
publisher of the Cortland County Republican, Homer, N. Y. :
Homeu, N. Y., July 20, 1874.
H. CnAiTN, Esq. :
Dear Sir, — I have delayed a reply to your favor of the 30th ult. long-
er, perhaps, than I should have done. I found myself unable at once to
say "nay" to the kind invitation which it contained ; nor could I readily
respond to it in the affirmative. While listening on the one hand to the
promptings of my social nature, and on the other to the suggestions of a
gnancial policy, I have been "like a man to double business bound, 11 and
have neglected either reply. I feel, however, that I ought no longer to
delay an answer to your closing inquiry.
I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it will not be prudenl
for me to meet with \ou on the 12th prox. I should dearly love to bo
present on that occasion, for I have come to believe that the Tafts have
been and still are quite a respectable family. My mother, through
Whom I am connected with it, died when I was seven weeks old. Of
course I have no recollection of her. Her oldest sister, Cynthia, (Mis.
N. Butler,) moved into the town where I was brought up, when I was
yet a lad. For several years it was the "treat of my life 11 to visit her
cheerful abode. I distinctly remember, with gratitude to God, the im-
pressions made on my youthful mind by her generous, noble and wom-
anly bearing on those occasions. From that time to this, she has been
my "beau ideal" of a Christian woman.
With my kindest regards for the orator of the day, and my best wishes
for the happiness of all permitted to participate in the meeting, I am
Jos. R. Dixon.
The following extracts are from a letter from Miss M. E. Tay-
lor, Romeo, Michigan :
Romeo, Bruce, August 7, 1874.
We cannot ineet with this blessed conclave, and we do not like to
be left out; so pardon us if we present us to you: Our mother, Phebe
Taylor; my brother, Adrian Dwight Taylor; myself, Mary Elizabeth
Taylor; ami Marina, a child. Onr home is under a crown of northern
seas, amid birds and beasts and forest trees of Michigan. My mother's
maiden name was Phebe Leech; her mother's name was Nabby Tuft;
one of her grandmothers was a Chapin, and her father's name was Rob-
ert Taft, who emigrated to to Bloomiield long decades ago: h>s ancestor
was the great Robert Taft, whose name we revere, and whose memory
let us crown in our hearts with an evergreen crown. As little streams
must rejoice in flowing from a clear fountain, so let us rejoice and keep
the river clear until it meets the sea. *******
"Going home!'' There is music in these words, and the going home
of our tribe brings a mysterious joy, so deep and intense, — 1 have tried
in vain to account for it. Perchance it recalls the delight of going home
from school when we were children, or indeed it may be a symbol to
us of the return of the Children of the Dawn home to the Orient.
That our Father may vouchsafe us His benediction is the earnest
prayer of a shepherdess.
M. E. Taylor.
As a fitting close of the account of a gathering so full of enjoy-
ment and so fruitful in pleasant recollections, it may be proper to
insert the following circular issued by the committee for procuring
a memorial monument for their common ancestor Robert Taft, and
to which it is hoped that a liberal response will be made by all who
are bound together by the ties of kindred blood :
To the Descendants or Robert Taft:
At the meeting of the Taft family, held at Oxbridge, August 12th,
1874. the undersigned were appointed a committee to procure and erect
a suitable monument to the memory of our honored ancestor. It is pro-
posed to erect the same upon the farm, in Mendon, where Robert Taft
settled. The farm is now owned by one of his descendants, who is
ready to convey in trust a suitable tract of land to be appropriated for
the monument. The quality and expense of the monument must de-
pend upon the amount contributed, before the work is commenced.
Please to send a contribution for the object, communicate this state-
ment to other members of the family, and rsk them to do likewise. The
amount may be forwarded to Hon. Veloious Taft, Upton, Mass., Treas-
urer of the Taft Association.
Vei.okous Taft, Upton,
Daniel W. Taft, Uxbrirlge,
Royal C. Taft, Providence,
Putnam W. Takt, Mcndon,
IIlxky CllAriN, "Worcester.
NOV. 20, 187-1.
NAMES OF PERSONS WHO ATTENDED THE TAFT
FAMILY GATHERING, AUG. 12, 1874.
Aldrich, Aimer IL, Mention. Mass.
Aldrich, Horace S.
Alexander, June E., Uxbridge.
Alexander, Curtis •
Aldrich, Hiram A., Providenee.R.l
Aldrich, .Mrs. II. A. " •
Adams, Lizzie T.. Winthrop, Mass
Aldrich, Rosea, Uxbridge.
Bennett. A. W.. Uxbridge.
Bennett, Mrs. A. \V. "
Birdsall, Mrs.Wm., Green islaml.N.Y. Ball. Ella Preston "
Bridges, Calvin. Hopkinton, Mass. Ball, Laura M.
Brid-es, Mrs. Calvin - Bicknell, Miss M. A., Worcester.
Bovden, R. M.. So. Ilolvoke, Mass. Blanehard, M. A., Millville, Mass.
Bovden. W. S., Woonsoeket, 11. I. l 2 daughters.
Arnold, Alfred, Uxbridge.
Alexander, Walter, Mendon.
Aclnms, Mrs. Geo., Uxbridge.
Adams. Charles, Boston.
Albee, Mrs. E., Uxbridge.
Alhee, L. T.
Albee, E. E.
Alger, Mrs., Providence.
IBall, II. T.. Milford, Mass.
Ball, Mrs. H. T.
Capron, Clara D., Hartford, Ct.
Capron, Annie II., Uxbridge.
Capron, Laura E.
Capron, William C.
Capron, Laura A.
Childs, W. A.. New York.
Childs, Mrs. W. A. "
Car-ill, C. A.. Worcester.
Colburn, I). G.. Hopkinton, Mas
Colburn, Mrs. I). G. "
Clatlin, J. R., Milford. Mass.
Clatlin, .Mrs. J. R. . -
Crocker, Geo. A., Uxbridge.
Crocker, Mrs. G. A.
Chapin, Hon. Henry, Worcester.
iChapin, Anna F.
Chapin, Ezra W., Xorthboro.
Crame, E. B., Worcester.
Crame, Mrs. E. B. "
Carter, Geo. S., .Mendon, Mass.
Chase, Gardner. Ea. Douglas, Mass.
Chase. Mrs. S. F.
Crawford. , Worcester.
Childs, F. T., So.Framingham.Mass.
Daniels, John M., Uxbridge. -Daniels, Mrs. Mancy, Franklin.
Daniels, Mrs. J. M. " i Davenport, John L„ "Mendon, Mass.
Davidson, Mrs. G.W.,Whitinsville. Davenport, Samuel D.
-Day, George F., Uxbridge.
Day, Miss Abbie E. "
Day, Miss Emma A. "
Day, Daniel, Providence, R. I.
Day, Mrs. Daniel "
Day, Miss Louise M."
Darnels, Mancy, Franklin, Mass
Davenport, John L. J.
Davenport, Miss A. L. "
Davenport. Miss "
Dadman. Mrs. J. J.. Fitchburg, Ms.
Darling, Mrs. M., Boston.
Darling, Miss Jennie "
Edgarton, Ophelia, Quiney, Mass. Emerson, Mellor, Uxbridge.
garton, David R
Edgarton, Florence "
Edgarton, Mary E.
Eddy, B. B., Webster, Mass
Eddy, Mrs. R. B. '«
Emerson, Mrs. Mellor
;Emerson, Walter M.
Earle, Stephen B., Worcester.
lEarle, Chas. B.
Frank. Uxbridge. iFarnum, Mftses T., Northbridge.
Clara. Whitinsville, Mass.lFarnmn, Walter .J. T. "
Farnum, C, Leicester, Mass.
Forbush, Mrs. Curtis, Grafton, Mass.
Farnum, A. S., Worcester.
I Farnum, G. S. "
Farrington, Carrie C, Providence.
LukeS.,Xorthbridge,Mass.|Fisher, J. P., Vineland, X. J.
Mrs. L. S. " Fisher. Miss M., Franklin, Mass.
Elizabeth S. " Follett, R.,Woonsocket, R. I.
Ellen F. " I
Mrs. Margaret A."
, Samuel J. "
, A. A., Franklin, Mass
, A. B.
, Geo. Taft, Providence
Goldthwaite, Stephen, jr., Uxbridge., Guild, A. Ilattie. Dedham. \,_
Goklthwaite, Mrs. Stephen, jr. " Gates, Mary L.. Uxbridge.
Gates, Mrs. Curtis, W.Bloomfield.N.Y.Gammage, G. S.-, Hopkinton, Mass.
/ Guild. Francis, Dedham, Mass. |Gamniage, Mrs. G. S. *
Guild, Mis. Francis
Guild, Laura T. "
S Guild, Francis W.
Gladding, Ilattie. Providence.
Gladding. BeDj. II.
' Guild, Calvin, Dedham, Mass.
, Guild, Margaret I. "
Hayward, Win. E., Uxbridge.
Hayward, Mrs. Wm. E. "
Hobbs, Geo. T.
Horton, Etta "
Hall, W. II. .Worcester, Mass.
Hatfield, Rev. R. M., Philadelphia.
Hatfield, Mrs. R. M.
Hobbs, Geo. W., Esq., Uxbridge.
Hobbs, Mrs. Geo. W.
Hill, Wm. B., East Douglas, Mass.
Hill, Mrs. Moses B.
Hall, Stephen, Xorthbridge, Mass.
Hall, Mrs. Stephen
James, Marcus Taft, Providence.
James, Sophia Taft,
James, Lewis G., Brooklyn, X. Y.
Johnson, Arthur S., Upton, Mass.
Johnson, Mrs. A. S. "
Kinsley, Edward C, Mendon.
Kinsley, Mrs. E. C.
Kinsley, Percy T.
Knowlton, Wm., Upton, Mass.
Knowlton, E. F.
Luther, John, Military, Mass.
Luther, Mrs. J.
Mowry, Mrs. R. D., Uxbridge.
Marble, E. M., Wrentliam, Mass.
Murdock, Eldorous, Uxbridge.
Murdock, Lorin X.
Murdock, William "
Murdock, Moses T.
[Guild, C. II., Providence.
Guild, Mrs. C II. "
Gladding, Mrs. B. IT."
'Grant, Miss , Wrentham, Mass.
[Green, Merrill, Uxbridge.
Hanson, J. S., Woburn, Mass.
Hanson. Mrs. J. S. »
Howard, Lucy B., Uxbridge.
Hooker, Wm. IL, Milford, Mass.
Hooker, Mrs. W. 11. "
Hitchings, II., Dedham, Mass.
Hitehings, Mrs. II. "
Hall, W., Uxbridge.
Hall. Mrs. W. "
Son and daughter.
Hayward, E. B., Uxbridge.
iHall, Jos. C.
Hall, E. X.
[Joslyn, Lucinda A., Upton.
Jilson, A. B., Woonsocket, R. I.
Jilson, Mrs. A. B.
Johnson, L., Upton.
Johnson, Mrs. L."
[Jennison, Mrs. II. S., Oxford, Mass.
iKnowlton, Mrs. E. F., Upton.
Kimball, L. C, Burlington, Vt.
Kimball, Mrs. L. C. ' :
Kidder, J. II. , Lawrence, Mass.
Lee, Mrs. William, Uxbridi
Murdock, Mrs. M. T., Uxbridge.
Murdock. Caleb, Charlestown, Mass.
Murdock, Mrs. Caleb "
Mathewson, Arthur, Uxbridge.
Mathewson, Mrs. A.
M unlock, Mrs. Chapin, Uxbridge. iMurdock, Geo. Taft, Worcester.
Mowry, Daniel C, Ilullistoii, Mass.' M unlock, Mrs. G. T.
Mowry, Mrs. D. C. " Murdoek, Miss L. G.
Warm, D. X.. No. Brookfield, Mass. Marsh. Mrs. Geo., Dcdham, Mass.
Mann, Mrs. D. N. " Murdoek, L. W., Uxbridge.
Mellor, Hannah, Blackstone, Mass. Murdoek, Mrs. L. W. "
Mitehel, Mrs. A., Memlon. |Moore,E. Percy,Framingham,Mass.
Nason, Walter X., Franklin, Mass. Nelson, Mrs. O. T„ Milford.
Nichols, Augusta. Uxbridge.
Xiikerson, Edw'd 1., Providence.
Xiekers(jn, Lizzie 1). " ! Naomi, Miss , Ohio.
Nelson, O. T., Milford, Mass. IXaomi, Mi?s
Perkins, W. O., Boston. IPlummer, Mrs. I.. Northbridge.
Pabody, Lucy B. Taft, l'rovidence. iPlnimner, Geo. W.
Parsons, Mrs. L.. Ea. Douglas, Mass.lPerrey, Josiah, Dudley, Mass.
Phimmer, Israel, Northbridge, Ms.;Perrey, Mrs. J.
iNutting, Eugene, Millville, M:
iX'ason, Lizzie C, Worcester.
Rhodes, Mrs. Almira, Uxbridge
Rockwood. Calvin X
Rock wood, Mrs. C. X
Rollins. Mrs. E. X.. Ilopkinton.
Richardson, Caleb T.. Uxbridge.
Richardson, Mrs. C. T.
Rockwood, J. A.. Upton, Mass.
Providence. j Roberts, Mrs. J. B , Paw tucket, R.I.
| Rogers, Geo. S., Uxbridge.
Rollins, E. X., Hopkinton, Mass. 'Rogers, Mrs. G. S.
Spring, Luther, Brooklyn. X. Y.
Spring, Miss Margaret, Uxbridge.
Sweet, A. S.
Sloeum, E. II.. Worcester.
Slocum, Mrs. John II. "
Sheroian.Isabelle, Ea. Douglas, Ms.
Scott, Walter P.. Uxbridge.
Scott, Mrs. W. P.
Seagrave, Mrs. L. A.
Slater, Henrv P.
Slater, Mrs. II. P.
Slater, Emily M.
Slater, Alice T.
Smith, E. L., Mendon.
Smith, Mrs. E. L. "
Staples, Rev. C. A., Providence.
Staples, C. J.
Sessions. Mrs. C.C.L.,\v.\Voortstock,Ct
Strand, R. B., Thompson, Ct.
Strand, Mrs. R. B. "
Sabin, Israel, L'xhridge.
Sabin, Mrs. Israel "
Smith, C. II., Milford, Mass.
Smith, Mrs. C. II. "
Southwick, F. W., Worcester.
Sonthwick, M. L., Blackstone, Mass.
Southwick, Andre, Mendon.
Southwick, Mrs. A.
Southwick, S. F.
Taft, Hon. Alplionso, Cincinnati, O. Taft. Rufns, Wrentham, Mass.
Taft, Dr. Jonathan ■« Taft, Ellen
Taft, Bion, Oxford, Mass. Taft, Isabella
Tail, Xettie L., Wooilstock, Ct. ,Taft, Minnie
Scott, S. W.. Uxbridge.
Spring, Daniel, New York.
Staples, Edw'd L., Mendon.
Staples, Mrs. E. L.
Seagrave, Angenette B., Uxbr
Seagrave, J. D., Worcester.
Southworth.Chas., No. Brookfleli
Stetson, Mrs. Lucy. Xo. Uxbrii
Seagi'ave, Geo. A., Providence,
Seagrave, Mrs. G. A. "
Staples, Mrs. Jason, Mendon.
Spaulding, Girdon R., Uxbridg
Spaulding, Mrs. G. R.
Spaulding, d. A. Tail. Worces
'Seagrave. Mrs. J. T.. Frovidem
Shippee, Albert. Ilolli.ston. Mas
Shippee, Mrs. Albert "
Stoddard, G. II., I'pton, Mass.
Stoddard, Mrs. M. A. "
Southwick, Ruth, Worcester.
Seagrave, MrsAV. II. Statersvilli
Smith, Thos. Taft, Millville, M
Smith, Mrs. T. T.
Smith, Ara Adna
Southwick, A. A., Mendon.
Southwick, J. F.
Southwick, A. L., Woburn.
Taft, John S. Uxbridge.
Taft, Mrs. John S.
Taft, Geo. W.
Taft, Sarah M.
Taft, Mrs. Henry
Taft, Miss Amanda
Taft, David II.
Taft, Mrs. David H.
Taft, Lillie A.
Taft, Mrs. Bezaleel
Talt, Henry G.
Taft, Mrs. Henry G.
Taft, Florence S.
Taft, Geor-e S.
Taft, Louise M.
Taft, Susan II.
Taft, Lewis S.
Taft, Mrs. Lewis S.
Taft, Timothy • "
Taft, Ellis C.
Taft, Mrs. Ellis C.
Taft, Mrs. Moses
Taft, L. Herbert
Taft, Lorin B.
Taft, Mrs. Lorin B.
Taft, Mrs. Orsmus
Taft, Miss M. A.
Taft, Mrs. Jacob
Taft, Fred E.
Taft, Dan'l W.
Taft, Mrs. DanF W.
Taft, Jennie G.
Taft, Mattie A.
Taft, Geo. L.
Taft, Mrs. Mary B.
Taft, Arthur B.
Taft. Mrs. David
Taft, Zadok A.
raft, Mrs. Zadok A.
Taft, Hannah T.
Taft, Mabel H.
Taft, Ghloe M.
Taft. Charles A.
Taft, Mrs. Charles A. "
Taft, Emma E.
Taft, Sarah A.
Taft, Mis. Chandler
Taft, Dandridge G.
Mrs. D. G. Uxbridge.
Mrs. James "
Mrs. A. R.
Miss Susan E.
Mrs. Henry M. "
Sullivan EL, Mendon.
Mrs. S. II.
A. W.. Charleston, S. C.
I. P.. Northbridge, Mass.
Miss Amita "
Mary. Providence. R. I.
James H.. Brooklyn, X. Y
Mrs. J. II.
Henry W., Pittsfield. .Mass
Wm. L. Sheffield. Mass.
Mrs. Wm. I. "
Mrs. R. C.
Miss Mary F. "
Rev. Lovett, Columbus, O.
P. P., Woodstock, Vt.
Alison W. "
Royal C, Providence.
Mrs. R. C.
John II.. Worcester, Mass.
Mrs. J. II.
W. Y.. Xew York City.
Gilbert C, Grafton, Mass.
Mrs. G. C.
Mrs. Robert, Omaha, Xeb.
John A., Worcester.
Russell S., Burl in -ton. Vt.
II. S., Xorthbridire, Mass.
Mrs. II. S. "
X. E., Worcester.
J. W., Providence, R. I.
Chas. W., Brookheld, Vt.
Taft, Velorons, Upton, Muss.
Taft. Mrs. V.
Taft, Annie C.
Taft, Rebecca L. "
Taft, Stephen S., Palmer, Mass.
Taft, Marcus L., Brooklyn, N. Y.
Taft, Francis II.
Taft, Elizabeth. Philadelphia.
Taft, Alanson W„ Providence.
Taft, Mrs. A. W.
Taft, Daniel, Bane, Vt.
Taft, Mrs. D.
Taft, Tims. J., Willimantic, Ct.
Taft, Mrs. T. J.
Taft, P.ezaleel W.
Taft, Charles P.
Taft, Geo. A.
Taft, C. S., Sutton, Vt,
Taft, John R., Providence.
Taft, Mrs. J. R.
Taft, Fred E.
Taft, Mrs. F. E.
Tuft, Mabel Edith "
Taft, Frank W.
Taft, Alice S.
Taft, Herbert W. "
Taft, Henry S.
Taft, A. P./ Sutton, Vt,
Taft, Join. R., Mendon.
Taft, Mrs. J. R. "
-Taft, Austin A.
Taft, M. A*.', Sutton, Vt,
-Taft, Orrav A.. Providence.
\Taft, Elizabeth W.,Winthrop,Mass.
Taft, Thomas E., Mendon.
Taft, Enos, Upton. Mass.
Taft, Edward 11., Mendon.
Taft. Mrs. E. II.
Taft, Mary L.
Taft. Marvil, Northbridge. Ma«s.
Taft, Sarah. Milford, Mass.
Taft, L. W., Upton, Mass.
Taft, Mrs. L. \V. "
Taft, Caleb, Rochester. N. Y.
Ta.1, Jessie X.. Worcester.
Taft, P. W.
Taft, Mis. P. W. "
Taft, Clias. Q.. Millville, Mass.
Taft, Edward P.. Providence.
Taft, Edward W.
Taft, Minerva L., Dedhara, Mass.
Taft, Francis, Providence.
Taft. Mrs. Francis "
Taft, Elias, Mendon.
Taft, E. P., Dedham, Mass.
Taft, David A., Woonsoeket, R. I.
Taft, ilrs. I). A.
Mellen, Blaekstone, Mass.
Oscar F.,Whitinsville, Mass.
Amos. Milford, Mass.
Caleb S., Blaekstone.
Mrs. Caleb S. "
Luther C. "
Gnstavus E., Whitinsville.
Charles II.. Burrillville, R. I.
Joel, Grafton, Mass.
Mary E., Burrillville, R. I.
Elisha, Spencer, Mass.
Willis, Oxford, Mass.
Susan A., Framingbam, Mass.
Joanna L., Worcester.
Elijah, Burlington, Vt.
Eleanor B. -
Harriet, Smithlield, R. I.
Isaac J., Chenachet, R. I.
Mrs. I. J.
John B.. Boston.
Mrs. J B. "
Edwin A., Providence.
Mrs. E. A.
Albert, Upton, Mass.
Amariah A., Milford, Mass.
Mrs. A. A.
E. C Worcester.
Mrs. E. C. "
Timothy P. "
Frederick A., Boston.
Mrs. J. E.
Chandler, Spencer. Mass.
Mrs. Asa. Koone, X. II.
MissM. W. "
Miss E. M. "
Taft, J. S., Kecnc, N. II. Tuft, Marin L. Providence.
Tuft, Benj., Aver Junction, Mass. Taft. William A.
Taft, G.,Uxbrid<:e. [Taft. knnie E.
Taft, James E., Mention. Taft, Caleb, Blackstone, Mass.
Taft, Mrs. Catherine '« Taft, Clara L.
Tn ft. Miss Amy E. " iTaft, Or,mu- A., Providence.
Taft, II. L.. Boston. Taft, A. P.. Upton. Mass.
Taft, Miss Ada. Worcester. Taft, Roval K.. Gloucester, R. I.
Taft. Wm. P.. Sturbridge, Mass. Taft. Mi's. P. K.
Taft, Mrs. W. P. •• iTaft. Henry P.
Taft, HerbPrt W. " ITaft, Earle H.
Taft, Ella F. " Taft. Pcarlev P.. Upton, Mass.
Taft. Dennison, Montpelier, Vt. Taft. Mrs. P. P.
Taft. Miss Ida, Profile House, N. H. Taft. Heubcn, Grafton, Mass.
Taft, Ezra W.. Dedhaui, Mass. Taft. Mrs. R.
Taft, Mrs. E. W. " Taft, E. A., Xew England Village.
Taft. Miss Marv, Millhurv, Mass. Taft, Jotham W.
Taft, Samuel, Holliston, Mass. Taft, Mrs. J. W.
Taft, Mrs. S. " Taft, S. C, Franklin, Mass.
Taft. Marv A. " Taft, A. X.
Taft, P. P.. Woonsocket, P. I. Taft, Clias.. Northbridge, Mass.
Taft, Nelson - 'I'aft. Mrs. C.
Taft, F. F.. Mention. Taft, Jennie L.
Taft, II. S. •• Taft, Gen. Putnam. Blackstone.Ms.
Taft, Jndson, Worcester. Taft. Mrs. P.
Taft, Rev. S. II.. Humboldt. Iowa. Taft. Dehor? E.
Taft. Anna, Mendon. Thayer, E C. Keene. X. H.
Taft, William A., Sturbridge, Mass. Thayer, Mrs. E. C. «•
Taft. Mrs. W. A. " Thayer, Mrs. Sam'l, Mention.
Taft, John A.. Providence. Thayer, Mrs. Anion, E. Douglas, Ms.
Taft, Hattie A. " Thaver, Asa
Tart. X. X. " Thaver, Mrs. Asa
Taft, Mrs. X. X. » Thayer. A. J.
Taft. W. P. » Thaver, Mrs. A. J.
Taft, Frank. Mendon. Tucker, Geo. F., Uxbridge.
Taft, C. L., Upton. Mass. Tucker, Mrs. G. F. " '
Taft, Mrs. C. L. '• Thaver. F. C, Worcester.
Taft. L. A.. Blackstone, Mass. Thayer, Mis. C. T. »
Taft, M. Emma '« Thayer, I,. D.
Taft, Samuel II., Mention. Thaver. Mrs. L. I) "
Taft. Mrs. 8. II. •■ Todd, Mrs. E.. Winchendon, X. H.
Taft, Wm. J. •' Todd. Xettie
Taft, C. L., Fitzvvilliam, X. H. Turner. S. T., Blackstone, Mass..
Taft, Mrs. C. L. - Tyler. Newell, Worcester.
Taft. Lewis " Teel, Miss A.
Taft, Mrs. L. " Thurston, Miss L. ••
Taft, William .II.. Providence. Thayer. Mrs. C. Franklin, Mass.
Underwood, Mary A., Providences. |
White, George, Uxbridge. Wheelock, Miss Alice, Uxbridge.
White, Mrs. Geo. " Wood. Mrs. A. A.
White, Miss " Wood, Miss Anna
Wheelock, Chas. A. " iWood, Samuel T.
Wheelock, Mrs.C. A. " Wood, Mrs. S. T.
Wheelock, Silas M. " Wood, Ezra G.
Wheelock, .Mrs. S. M." Whitin,Chas.E.,Whitinsville,Mass.
Wheelock, Henry " Whilin, Henry F. "
Wheelock, Arthur " |Wood, Mrs. Hiram, Douglas, Mass.
Wheelock, Mrs. A. " Wood, Perry, Mention.
Wood Mrs. Perrv, Mendon. Wightman, J. A., Providence.
Wheelock. Eugene A., Putnam, Ct. WightnnTn, Mrs. J. A. "
Wheelock, Mrs. E. A. " Wood. .!. II., Mention.
Williams. Mrs. M., New York. Wood, F. II • " . .„ Ar
White Charles, Uxbridge. Whitin, Paul, Wlntmsville, Mass.
White'. Mrs. Chits. " "" Wade, Orrin
Wheeler Mrs- IV. Cpton, Mass. Wade. Mrs. Orrin "
Wheeler, William II. " Washburn. Lincoln MillvilKMas
Wheeler, Mrs. W. II. " Woods. (). L.. Hopkmton, Mass.
Wheelock. 0. E., Uxbridire. Woods. Mrs. O. L. "
Wheelock. Mrs. C. E. " Wood, Austin Mendon
Wheelock. Eddie •* Wood. II. A.. Woonsocket, R. I.
Woo.l. Sarah C, Worcester. Wood, Mrs. H. A. "
TAFT FAMILY ASSOCIATION.
Dan'l W. Taft, Uxbridge, Mass.
Hon. Alphonso Taft, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hon. Russell S. Taft, Burlington, Vt.
Hon. Velorous Taft, Upton, Mass.
Chas. A. Taft, Esq., Uxbridge. Mass.