. R49 H6
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS,
Chap. H G>-&Y
Shelf ^ \§ H4
UNITED STATES OF AMEEIOA.
WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE,
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE
Written by Mr. Rice.
mxttttuc, p», m. jf. %
PRESS OF CHARLES HAMILTON.
311 Main Street.
This sketch of Mr. Rice is but an outline of the life that was
active, busy and useful, the source of complete happiness to those
to which it was most closely allied. Possessing to an eminent
degree the strong qualities and public spirit that make a man
serviceable to his fellow-men, he also had the more rarely affec-
tionate and tender nature that won the love as well as the esteem
of those with whom he was associated ; and it is hoped that his
friends may be glad that this short record is made of one who
"has done the work of a true man," and who was taken away
before his usefulness was ended.
The "Whitney Narrative" was written by Mr. Rice the year
after his first attack of serious illness, to divert and relieve the
tedium of enforced idleness. Those to whom he read it thought
it interesting, and it is now printed with the hope that it may be
valued by his relatives who trace with him their descent from the
Whitneys of Whitney, and by his friends as being the last com-
pleted writing of his hand.
A. M. R.
William Whitney Rice, son of The Rev. Benja-
min Rice, B. U., 1808, and Lucy Whitney Rice,
daughter of Captain Phinehas Whitney, of Win-
chendon, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts,
March 7th, 1826, and died in Worcester, Massa-
chusetts, March 1st, 1896.
He was seventh in descent from Edmund Rice,
who came from Berkhampstead, in the County of
Hertfordshire, England, and settled in Sudbury,
in 1638 or 1639.
On his mother's side he was eighth in descent
from John Whitney, who came from Whitney, on
the banks of the Wye, and settled in Watertown,
Mr. Rice came on both sides from the best New
England stock. No man can boast a better lineage.
His ancestors were men of rugged constitutions ; of
simple habits and lives; used to hard work; living in
an invigorating climate; cautious and deliberate;
accustomed to understand and to deal with matters
of general moment, so as to take an intelligent part
in town meeting, on the jury, in the legislature, in
town or church affairs; weigliing each proposition
6 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
advanced from platform or pulpit in the balances of
conscience and common sense; self-reliant; respect-
ing themselves; willing to accord respect to others.
They lived in communities where there was no great
contrast between poverty and wealth, unpoisoned
by the discontents which envy of great fortune and
great luxury often brings. They could discrim-
inate and decide which field to plant, which task to
do, which way to vote, which doctrine to believe,
which thing to live contentedly without; and they
knew how, "having done all, to stand."
Their opportunities were limited; their occupa-
tions often humble. How silent they were as to
their own affairs, as to the stories of the men from
whom they sprung! How little in detail we know
about them ! Yet it made small difference with the
race in what places their lines fell. Its sons had
the capacity to fill places of importance and to deal
with great things well when the demand came.
Trace the lines of descent of our great men and
one will find men and women, — strong, simple,
steadfast, — living, it may be, uneventful lives, but
handing down sterling qualities, unalloyed, from
sire to son.
From such a stock came Mr. Rice. He was proud
of it. He studied his family history with loving
care. In the summer of 1892 he visited the home of
his maternal ancestors in Whitney, England. He
aided in placing a jubilee window in the church, and
at the Rector's suggestion a tablet to his memory
has been placed beneath. He gained the friendship
of a charming and accomplished lady, — Miss Jane
Dew, daughter of the Rector,— and maintained an
interesting correspondence with her with reference
to the Whitneys. From information thus obtained,
and from his own study and memory, he wrote a
sketch of the family, which is given in this volume.
Mr. Rice's mother lived to the great age of ninety-
four, dying in 1893. She was a woman of unusual
force of character. He was a most devoted son.
Indeed his deep attachment to his family was one
of his most striking and commendable traits, directly
inherited from her. He attributed much of such
success as he gained to her influence. Her care and
foresight made it possible that from the slender
resources of a minister's household he received his
academic and college education. Her pride and
ambition impressed the boy with a desire to succeed.
When a little over two years old he was taken by
his father in the family chaise from Winchendon to
New Gloucester, the little fellow sitting on a stool
at his father's feet and his mother holding the baby
sister in her arms. One trunk was fastened behind,
another swung from the axle; and thus the family
horse, which had been purchased by its master be-
fore William's birth and survived in faithful service
until after the pastor's death, drew the household for
four days along the northern roads, until from a
8 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
lofty hill they looked down upon the village of New
Gloucester, Maine, which was to be their home for
seven years. The father in his preaching in various
places, while looking for a settlement, had much
admired the village and pointed it out with great
satisfaction to his good wife. "Give me old
Massachusetts," said the tired mother. " Give me
Massachusetts, too," lisped the little son. The love
for his native State grew with the boy ; and the days
of the man were spent within her limits and in her
In New Gloucester, and in Buxton, not far
removed, Mr. Rice's boyhood was passed, until at
the age of thirteen he entered the Academy at
Gorham, Maine. There he got his first systematic
training. He had attended public school but little,
and had learned all that he knew from his parents
or by private teaching, and had developed a fond-
ness for reading and an aptitude for reciting well.
He attributed this largely to the excellent teaching
of Horatio Woodman, in whose private school he
learned the art of reading aloud from a master who
had, besides, a discriminating taste and knew how
to awaken in his scholars a love for the best litera-
ture. The boy had an excellent memory. These
qualities placed him in a conspicuous place at the
Academy; and he left it, at the end of three years,
its best speaker and writer and its best scholar.
He had a capacity for leadership among his fellows
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 9
which marked his course all through his life at
Bowdoin College, from which he was graduated in
1846. One of his friends, the Rev. Egbert C.
Smyth, D.D., of Andover, in a tribute paid to his
memory before the American Antiquarian Society,
April 23rd, 1896, said:—
"I certainly do not arise with any thought of
adding completeness to the tribute which is paid by
Mr. Chase (in the report of the Council), but it has
occurred to me while I have been sitting here that I
have some remembrances of Mr. Rice which no one
else may be in possession of, and think I may be
pardoned for referring to them in a very few words.
" It so happened that I entered Bowdoin College
when Mr. Rice was beginning his junior year. We
became associated in one of the secret societies,
which were then somewhat novel, and I recall with
the greatest pleasure the interest which he commu-
nicated to the meetings of that association, both in
a literary and social way. But I would especially
recall the very prominent part which he took in
college as a leader in what one may call its public
life. The college was then divided into two general
societies, as was still the custom of Harvard and
Yale and other institutions of learning. For one, I
have been sorry that in these institutions of learning
those general societies have quite disappeared; no
doubt there is some good reason for it, but they
certainly filled a part in college life and in training
men for future careers, and I do not see how this
could have been better accomplished.
" There were many men who were not members of
10 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
any club or any secret society, but seldom did a stu-
dent fail, as early as was practicable, to unite himself
to one or the other of those general societies. They
were literary in their objects. Those who were
connected with them will remember with what inter-
est what was called ' the paper ' was listened to, and
how wide-spread was the desire in college so to
write our English language that those who had the
editorship of the papers would be pleased to admit
the contribution. There was a great stimulus in it.
And beyond that, they were societies for discussion,
and if any man in college had the capacity latent
within him, it was brought out.
" Among the men who were most prominent was
our late associate, Mr. William W. Rice. I suppose,
indeed I am sure, there was no honor which the
overseers and the faculty of the college could
bestow upon the student which was prized so highly
as to be elected the president or orator of one of
those general societies.
" Mr. Rice, without any rival, was chosen orator,
and I remember well how he fulfilled his part.
There was always a dense audience when the
oration and poem were delivered, and an interest
was called forth in the educated community some-
thing like what is now excited by a game of foot-
ball, or baseball, or a race in boats.
" Mr. Rice was a leader naturally and spontane-
ously. He had a capacity for public affairs, which I
cannot but think, if illness had not fallen upon him,
and if he had been, I may venture to say in a high
and honorable sense, a little more ambitious than he
really was, would have, made his public life even
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 11
more illustrious than is shown in the record which
he has left behind."
While in college he taught school during the
vacations; after graduating he began teaching in
Maine, but was obliged to desist, after a month's
work, because of a serious illness from which he
did not recover for a year. In his senior year he
had essayed successfully the feat of moving a great
stone which had challenged the strength of the
strongest students, and the strain of the effort had
brought on a trouble in his back, so serious that
he was barely able to deliver his graduating oration.
He was taken from his school to his father's home
in Winchendon, Mass., and there, before his own
recovery, his father died.
In the fall of 1847 he had so far recovered that
he resumed the occupation of teaching at Leicester
Academy, where he remained for four years. The
Academy was an excellent one, attended by pupils
of either sex. Many persons, since risen to places
of great eminence and usefulness, were his pupils.
He won and retained their affectionate regard, and
his days there were very happy. There he met as
a pupil Miss Cornelia A. Moen, sister of Philip L.
Moen, late President of the Washburn & Moen
Manufacturing Company of Worcester, to whom he
became engaged and whom he married in 1855, as
soon as his professional income as a lawyer enabled
him to establish his own household. From this
12 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
union his children were born: William Whitney, Jr.,
who died in early childhood; and Charles Moen, H.
U. 1882, who was admitted to the bar and to his
father's firm and who is in active practice in Wor-
cester. She died in 1862.
One of his pupils, at Leicester, for whom and
for whose charming wife Mr. Rice always retained
a most affectionate feeling*, has described the acad-
emy and his teacher with much vividness. The
Honorable John E. Russell says:
"Leicester Academy in 1849 was an important
institution : it was the chief ' seat of learning ' in the
county. Its pupils, of both sexes, came from all sur-
rounding towns. The head master, Josiah Clark,
was an eminent scholar. Its annual examination
and ' exhibition,' held in the 'Orthodox Meeting
House,' drew crowds of people who not only filled
the pews of floor and galleries, but stood at the open
windows, upon wagons drawn up against the side
of the building.
"It was a prosperous institution, and the co-edu-
cation of young men and maidens, who boarded with
the excellent families of the town, made an interest-
ing and sparkling society.
"I was sent to Leicester under the charge of
Josiah Clark, where I remained from June to Nov-
ember, 1849, participating in the annual exhibition
of August 15th. Great and eventful day ! Here I
found Mr. Rice. He was very young, but had a
gravity and repose of manner uncommon in youth
and in our race ; to this add a large figure and a
forehead already growing bald, and you have an
" He had a fine, clear complexion, and his hair was
beautifully curly. His speech was measured and
his voice sonorous. He taught English branches,
and I was pounding at the classics, so I was in only
one of his classes,— it was reading, much taught
and practiced in those days. He loved elocution ;
rejoiced in rolling rhetorical passages, in glowing
poetry. The class was large and we stood and read
to and at one another, largely from the speeches
which Dr. Johnson wrote for the Gentleman's Mag-
azine, and attributed to the statesmen of the last
"Mr. Rice also had charge of the 'speaking' and
compositions, which came alternate Wednesdays.
These exercises required rehearsals and consulta-
tions, and the weighty preparation of the Exhibi-
tion was toward, for which I was at once drafted
and found myself happily in continued contact with
"I was in my sixteenth year. I think he was
twenty-three. He was very affectionate in his dis-
position and we became exceedingly intimate. I
had seen a good deal of the world, as we both
thought; had been winters in New York and could
tell him of the theatres and other metropolitan
delights. I was in his room, which was at the
academy building, of which he was in charge, every
evening. We read poetry together, especially
Byron and Macaulay's essays. He drilled me
patiently in declamation.
" The Exhibition, largely the result of his work,
14 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
was a great success. There was a play, founded on
the Canadian Rebellion of 1837, in which Richard
Olney and I were two 'Patriot' soldiers. There
was a Latin colloquy and a Greek play, and decla-
mation galore. Hon. Pliny Merrick gave an
address, and all the eminent Esquires of Worcester,
and all the Clergy were present.
" There was a row of girls in the gallery never to
be forgotten. The one you mention was certainly
up to her reputation, which is not yet forgotten;
and Cornelia Moen, with whom Rice was deeply in
love, and whom he married as soon as he could,
was a charming, dignified and accomplished girl.
She looked like her father. She was a stately fig-
ure. She spoke French like her native tongue, and
was fond of literature.
"In November, 1849, I went back to Jones'
school at Bridgeport, but kept up an affectionate
correspondence with Rice."
While at Leicester Mr. Rice took part in his first
political campaign, and cast his first ballot, in 1848,
for Martin Van Buren and for Charles Francis
He left Leicester in the year 1851 and began the
study of law in the office of Emory Washburn and
George F. Hoar. After three years spent in its
study he was admitted to the bar and entered almost
at once into a large practice. Worcester was then
a city of fifteen thousand inhabitants. He lived to
see its population one hundred thousand. Its people
were largely engaged in a great variety of manufac-
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 15
tures. Its mechanics were skilled workmen, receiv-
ing good pay, rising often from the shops of their
employers to a business of their own. Many manu-
facturing towns and thriving villages brought their
business to the county seat. The bar had eminent
leaders. With them Mr. Rice had to contend, and
among them to make a place. He took almost
immediately a prominent part in the life and
activities of the city. While still a law student he
was elected to his first office, as member of the
School Committee, serving as its Secretary for sev-
eral years, and remaining upon the board until his
election as Mayor. He had a business sense which
made him a wise adviser of business men. He knew
the motives which influenced, and the arguments
which appealed to his fellows, and won a prominent
place as an advocate. He became a political leader.
His strong sympathies were for freedom. In 1854
he was an active member of the Worcester County
Kansas League. In 1855 he records in his diary
the sheltering and assisting a fugitive slave who,
while on his way to Canada from Boston, saw his
master and an officer enter the front of the railroad
car in which he was riding, and escaping from the
other door fled for protection and help to Worces-
ter. He was an ardent supporter of Henry Wilson
in his election to the office of United States Senator
in that year. In 1855 he was appointed Special
Justice of the Police Court. In 1858 he was
16 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
appointed Judge of the Court of Insolvency, and
held that office until its duties were united with
those of Judge of Probate.
In the year 1860 he was elected Mayor and held
that office for one year. He was the first Repub-
lican and the youngest man ever elected to that
office in Worcester. During his administration,
and largely through his powerful aid, the estab-
lishment of a Free Public Library, upon an ade-
quate scale, was secured.
In 1868 he was elected District Attorney, and
filled that office with great ability until his resigna-
tion in 1873.
During his professional career he was associated
in partnership, first with the Honorable Thomas L.
Kelson, now Judge of the U. S. District Court,
later with the Honorable Francis T. Blackmer, for
many years District Attorney in the Middle District
of Massachusetts, and last with Henry W. King,
and with his son, Charles Moen Pice, the partner-
ship continuing until the father's death.
In 1875 he went to the Massachusetts House of
Representatives, in order to lend his efficient aid to
the defeating of an attempt to divide Worcester
September 28th, 1875, he married Alice M. Miller,
daughter of Henry W. and Nancy Merrick Miller,
who survives him.
In 1876 his brother-in-law, Mr. Hoar, was chosen
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 17
United States Senator at the close of his fourth
term in Congress, and Mr. Rice was nominated and
elected Representative from this district. He held
that office for five consecutive terms. During these
ten years his services were of great value to his
constituents, not only upon the floor of the House
and in his work upon committees, but also in
responding to the numberless demands which the
business and personal interests of such a constitu-
ency constantly present.
In his speech in 1880 before the Republican Con-
vention which nominated him, he thus described his
" This district, as much if not more than any in
the land, illustrates the effect of Republican princi-
ples. Its school-houses are open to rich and poor
alike. Every ballot falls as free and unchecked as
the leaves from the trees or the snow-flakes from
the sky. The man who would change or coerce or
conceal one of those evidences of a freeman's will,
could not breathe our air or live upon our soil. Our
financial institutions, safely through the depression
consequent upon the war, are prosperous and attest
the wisdom of the system of which they are a part.
We do not want them changed. Our manufactur-
ing interests, in all their manifold varieties, are pros-
pering again under the influence of Republican
principles. The hum of every spindle is the music
of republicanism, and every steam cloud curling
above our cities and villages is a spray in its wreath.
Our farmers are rich and prosperous in their con-
18 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
tiguity to the market of our cities and villages. We
want no change ; we adhere to the old cause and
will be found among the foremost in the grand rally
about to be made for the integrity of the govern-
ment and the preservation of business prosperity,
for the equality of the law, and the protection of all
in the enjoyment of their legal rights ; for the great
principles of nationality, liberty, and union."
During all but one of his terms of service the
Democratic party was in the majority in the House
of Representatives and therefore the Republican
members were unable to control legislation so as to
carry through new measures, and only the places of
the minority were open to them upon the commit-
tees. Yet Mr. Rice served on many important
committees and won distinction by his ability and
industry. In a review of his services in the Boston
Journal, of September 21st, 1882, it is said: —
"Representative W. W. Rice was appointed a
member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and on
Indian Affairs, as well as a member of the select
committee for additional accommodations for the
Congressional Library. The most important bill of
a public character which he introduced was one to
terminate the provisions of the treaty of 1871 with
Great Britain relative to the fisheries. His list of
reports shows he was a very conscientious member
of that committee. His report on the Congressional
Library Building will be a permanent authority on
that subject, even if the scheme which he has so
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 19
much at heart for the construction of a new library
building should fail. His report from the Commit-
tee on Foreign Affairs on the brig General Arm-
strong, on Fisheries, on St. Johns and St. Francis
River bridges, and on the Venezuela Mixed Com-
mission leave nothing more to be said upon these
subjects. They are exhaustive treatises on every
one of the matters to which they relate and some of
them will have a permanent value as historical
works. There is no better chapter of that portion
of American history to which it relates than Mr.
Rice's report on the brig General Armstrong, and
he had the satisfaction of seeing the bill upon which
he had spent so much labor finally become a law
after it had been before Congress for a quarter of a
century. His report on the Fisheries is an exhaus-
tive treatise, and is one from which Congressional
reports will be compelled to draw their facts. From
the Committee on Indian Affairs he submitted a
report on the traditions of the Sioux and Dakota
Indians. His principal speeches were on the follow-
ing subjects: on the death of General Burnside; on
the appropriation for Cherokee Indians; on Chinese
Immigration ; on the Congressional Library ; on
the brig General Armstrong ; on the international
fishery question ; on the bill to protect innocent pur-
chasers of patented articles; on the bill granting the
right of way through the Indian Territory to the St.
Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company ; on the
proper reference of questions relative to treaties;
and on the transfer of War Department records to
the State Department Building. Mr. Rice was
constant in attendance upon the investigation of
20 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
the Foreign Affairs Committee into the Chili-Peru
business, and his work is seen in the exhaustive
report of that committee, although it is not directly
credited to him."
Mr. Rice was a close personal friend and an
ardent admirer of Mr. Blaine, and felt most keenly
the latter's defeat in 1884. Had Blaine been elected
President, Mr. Rice's friends might well have looked
for his advancement to some position of still greater
importance and responsibility, where his capacities
would have won him a wider fame.
At the close of his fifth term he was a candidate
for re-election, and, after a close and exciting
contest, he was nominated by the Republican Con-
vention by a majority of one vote. The feeling
aroused in the preliminary struggle was most in-
tense. His desire for a re-nomination was not
personal, but he consented to stand as a candidate
upon the imperative demand of many of the leaders
of his party. Unfortunately party differences among
Republicans were not laid aside when the result of
the convention was ascertained. The District was
carried by the Democrats, and his former pupil, the
Honorable John E. Russell, was elected for a single
This ended Mr. Rice's public career, but not his
active and constant interest in public matters, and
in the welfare of the community in which he lived.
He returned to Worcester and resumed the active
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 21
practice of his profession. He became again the
wise adviser of our business men. He took his
place on the parish committee of the Unitarian
Church— the Church of the Unity— to which he was
attached, and gave liberally to its support. His
eulogy at the occasion of presenting to the Court
the resolutions of the bar upon the death of the
son of his former partner, is remembered as most
affectionate and tender. He was a most public-
spirited citizen. No feeling of personal regret or
of personal disappointment tinged his speech or
action, or withheld his ready support to any good
He received the degree of LL.D. from his Col-
lege in 1886, and served as one of its overseers.
He was a member of the American Antiquarian
Society, a Trustee of Leicester Academy, of the
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and of Clark
University. Until his death he was the Solicitor
and a Director of the City National Bank.
In 1884 he delivered the address at the centen-
nial of Leicester Academy.
In 1892, with his wife and with Senator and Mrs.
Hoar, he visited Europe, spending his time princi-
pally in England. It seems strange, wide as was
his reading and deep as was his interest in English
history, that he should not have gone abroad many
years before ; but he was a poor sailor and had a
great dread of the effects of a sea voyage.
22 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
His mother had been an invalid for many years,
and his devotion to her, and his wife's devoted care
of her own parents, made them reluctant to under-
take a long absence, until his own health seemed to
require it. The voyage and the journey were a
great delight to him, and he returned much im-
proved in health. His vigor, however, failed, and
he was compelled to give up hard work.
He then passed each summer upon the farm in
"Wmchendon, which his mother had owned, and
where his brother, Charles J. Rice, formerly County
Commissioner, had lived. It was the town where
his father had died, the home of his mother's people ;
and he loved it.
His last years were exceedingly pleasant. Sur-
rounded by a devoted family and affectionate friends,
rallying from one severe and alarming illness, he
saw his end draw near with unfaltering courage
and calmness. Had he lived six days longer, he
would have attained his threescore years and ten.
His death was attended with many marks of pub-
lic esteem: from the city, over whose destinies he
had presided in his youth, and where he had so long
dwelt, conspicuous among its distinguished citizens;
from the business institutions, and institutions of
learning, to which he had given such efficient ser-
vice; from the Bar, to which he had been so long
an honor and an example ; from many friends, dis-
tinguished and humble, whose grief was deep and
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 23
sincere. Perhaps no more fitting tribute to his
memory could be chosen than the estimate which
Senator Hoar gave of him to the daily press, when
the news of his death was made public. It is as
SENATOR HOAR'S ESTIMATE.
This has been a sorrowful week for Massachusetts.
Ex-Gov. Robinson, the eloquent orator, the wise
counsellor, the champion who defended the honor of
the Commonwealth in time of sorest need, has been
stricken down while still in the prime of his useful
and honored life. The sad news comes this morn-
ing, that our beloved Governor, on whose eloquent
lips his fellow-citizens have so often hung delighted,
and for whom they looked to a long career of use-
fulness and distinction, is stricken by the fatal
arrow. And now our own city has to mourn the
loss of her veteran servant, whose figure has been
so familiar to our streets for nearly fifty years; the
story of whose life is the story of her own life
during her growth from the thriving country village
to the great, opulent and powerful city ; whom she
has honored in every variety of public service and
station,— Mayor, Representative, Judge, District
Attorney, Congressman, — he has given up his life,
full of years and honors, and the places which have
so long known him shall know him no more.
I have been asked to give my estimate of the
24 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
character of Mr. Rice. His public character, the
political life which began with the foundation of the
Free Soil party in 1848, and which, so far as his
powerful influence went, ended only with his life
itself, is familiar to our own community and will be
better described by others. But I have known him
with an intimate friendship from a time before his
removal from Leicester, where he was a teacher,
to Worcester. We were born in the same year.
Although slightly my elder, he pursued his profes-
sional studies in my office, and when he completed
them, in 1854, opened an office next to mine. Our
places of business, with an interval of perhaps one
year, have been in the same building, upon the same
floor, and have adjoined each other.
I have been his associate and his antagonist in
many important trials. He succeeded me as Repre-
sentative of this District in Congress. We made a
journey together to Europe. We were associated
together for many years in the administration of the
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, of Clark Univer-
sity and in membership of the Antiquarian Society.
We belonged to the same Church. Our wives are
sisters and our children have been friends. We
held the same political opinions. So I think that if
I ever have known any man through and through,
in and out, in public and in private, I knew Mr.
Rice, and I am glad to put my estimate of him
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 25
He was as absolutely perfect as any man I ever
knew in the domestic relations; as a son, a father, a
brother and a husband. He loved his parents, his
brothers and his sisters, his wife and his children
with an absolute, considerate, self- sacrificing affec-
tion, which I think left them nothing to desire, and
which I think in the lot of humanity could not be
surpassed. I do not think that it ever occurred to
him to think of his own interests in his desire to
He was a model of the professional character.
He was an eminent advocate, largely employed in
important cases. He was always courteous to his
antagonists, faithful to his clients and respectful to
the court. He was a sound lawyer and a skilled
manager of causes before juries. He was in the
very first rank of the very able Bar of "Worcester
County, almost from the time he became a member
of it until his death. Any client was safe in his
hands, no matter who might be retained on the
other side. There was no danger that he would
lose any case that he ought to win, either before the
jury or before the full bench. But in this depart-
ment of professional service he had a good many
competitors, some of whom undoubtedly achieved a
reputation equal to his, and in a few instances a
reputation superior to his. But he had, in my
judgment, no equal among the members of the
Worcester County Bar in one very important
26 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
department of the profession, — he was the most
sagacious adviser I have ever known of business
men who were in difficulties, or who had important
controversies which required the advice of a coun-
sellor who knew what was best to be done in the
conduct of business, and at the same time competent
to be trusted as adviser as to their legal rights.
I have known very intimately all the great law-
yers of my time in the County of Worcester and
many of those in other parts of the Commonwealth.
It has probably been my fortune to be on intimate
relations with as many of the famous advocates of
the United States as any man now alive. One
Attorney-General was my brother, one was my
partner, and a third was a near kinsman. I can
only repeat what I have said many times, that in
the quality and capacity I have just mentioned, I
never knew a man that approached Mr. Rice.
He was a man of absolute professional integrity,
straightforward, direct, simple and absolutely honor-
able in his methods. He was one of the assignees
of the Quinsigamond Manufacturing Company at
the time of its failure. I was employed by the
assignees as the counsel and knew all about the
settlement with the creditors. The business was
continued a little while by Mr. Rice, and then a set-
tlement was made and a large percentage of the
debts paid. I think there were complicated ques-
tions of law enough in that case alone to have
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 27
amply supported the entire Worcester Bar for three
He was a public-spirited citizen. He was always
ready to contribute largely to all good causes. He
was always ready to do his share of work in the
administration of public institutions. The Poly-
technic Institute owes very much to his constant
and unfailing interest. He was one of the most
important members of the Board of Directors of the
Clark University; was a Director and Solicitor for
many years of the City Bank, during a term of
years covering several periods of great anxiety in
that institution. He was Chairman of the Parish
Committee of the Church of the Unity, and always
an influential member there. He always attended
the meetings of the parish until the failure of his
I do not think that the Worcester District has
ever had a member of the National House of Repre-
sentatives who was more popular with his associ-
ates. Mr. Rice spoke but seldom. I believe that
he had but one speech printed in pamphlet form
during his whole ten years of service, though I may
be mistaken in this regard. But he understood our
foreign relations, and during his term of service on
that committee, was very influential in shaping the
policy of the administration in regard to the fish-
eries. The Gloucester fishing industry looked to
him as their champion and defender in the House.
28 WILLIAM WHITNEY MCE.
He understood thoroughly the question of the
tariff and the business interests of his constituents.
He was a popular speaker at public meetings, especi-
ally among the people of Maine, where they have
always demanded a very high order of what is called
"stump oratory." His term of administration as
Mayor was singularly successful and satisfactory.
He would doubtless have been continued in that
position had he been willing.
There is scarcely an interest or an institution in
our diversified city life in which he will not be
missed so long as men are living that remember
him. There was never a better bank director, never
a better guardian or trustee or manager of the affairs
of widows or orphans, never a more faithful coun-
sellor to men in difficulty, never a better son, father
or husband. He bore the agony of a fatal sickness,
lasting with brief intermissions of health, for more
than three years, with an unfailing courage. Dur-
ing the whole of it, he thought only of the distress
it would cause to his household, and never, so far as
I could see, to himself.
No community is so rich in men having these
qualities that it can afford to spare a man like him.
There is no man left, however large his influence,
however wide his fame, however brilliant his suc-
cess, however great his mental capacity, however
spotless his moral worth, who might not well be
content, and whose children might not be well con-
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. 29
tent, if, when the story of his life comes to be
summed up, the scroll shall bear as honorable a
record as that of William W. Rice.
The following notice from the full heart of a
close friend, who has since joined the mighty host
of those who have "gone before," may well be
added as a closing tribute: —
In the death of Hon. W. W. Rice the whole city
may well mourn the loss of one of its ablest and
strongest men. Of eminent ability and strong per-
sonal convictions, he possessed a largeness of heart
that embraced within it all classes of his fellow-
men. To his intimate friends his death brings almost
an irreparable loss. Hours spent with him in social
and familiar intercourse were full of interest, and
now more than ever bring up sweetest recollections.
Of extended reading and rare conversational pow-
ers, there was a personal magnetism about him that
drew one irresistibly towards him, and made his
words soothe the irritated, inspire new courage
when despondent, and always gave one a higher
faith in life and its possibilities; or, quoting from
one of his addresses, his words were " like pebbles
dropped into the lake, which sink out of sight, but
the ripples they stir touch the farthest shore." His
life was full of goodness, of charities that let not
the left hand know Avhat the right hand doeth.
"With an almost reverential attitude towards all
30 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
things ofood and beautiful, he seemed to attain an
inexpressible tenderness which led to a rest and
peace in living which was permanent, so that his
joy in living was great; for with him, as Hawthorne
says, " Happiness had no succession of events, be-
cause it was a part of eternity." In hours of sorrow
his words were almost a benediction, and the simple
honesty and beauty of his life will always be hal-
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE.
VISIT TO WHITNEY-ON-THE-WYE.
It is natural for men to be interested in their
antecedents. We love to search for the places of
our ancestors and to trace out as much as we can of
their associations and lives.
Prompted by this natural tendency, in the month
of June, 1892, I took the train, accompanied by my
wife, from Hereford to the parish of Whitney-on-
the-Wye, seventeen miles distant, to see if perchance
I could learn anything there of our ancestors.
There are none there now bearing the name of
Whitney; but there are the manors of Whitney
and of Clifford, formerly owned by the Whitney
family, and not yet wholly alienated.
Whitney is a section of beautiful country, with an
old stone church, stone cottage for the rector, and
a somewhat modern manor-house, and a few other
scattered houses, but no public house. We could
get no public carriage for our conveyance.
We found that we had an hour and a half before
the departure of the next train for London, and we
resolved to make the most of that time, with such
directions as we could get from the station master,
36 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
who was very accommodating and intelligent. He
referred us to the rector, Eev. Henry Dew, as a
gentleman who would receive us hospitably, and
furnish us all the information that there was to be
had on the subject of our inquiries.
From the station the outlook over the surround-
ing country embraced in the manors of Whitney
and Clifford, was as lovely as anything we had seen
in England. The Wye flowed through the valley a
few rods below the station, while the broad fields
and forests stretched away in the distance toward
the Welch mountains, which were the principal fea-
tures in the landscape.
The rectory was quarter or half a mile distant.
Going from the station we passed by the pretty little
church. We entered the churchyard and searched
for Whitney memorials. We found none, because,
as we afterward learned, sometime in the middle of
the eighteenth century the Wye, in a freshet, swept
away the old castle, the old church, and the monu-
ments and graves of the Whitneys from the time
that they settled in that place. The new church
contains many of the old granite stones which were
left from the ruins of the old church. The old font,
hollowed from a solid granite block, which was there
before the freshet, probably from the original build-
ing of the church, and in Avhich the Whitney infants
have been baptized probably from the eleventh or
twelfth century, was also recovered from the ruins
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 37
and placed in the new church, where it still stands.
I have a photograph of that font, taken since I
was there, which I shall be happy to show to any of
the modern members of the family.
Leaving the church, we went up a hill, through a
lane bordered by trees, to the rectory, where we
were first saluted by the vigorous barking of a black
dog. A young lady, whom we afterward ascer-
tained to be a daughter of the rector, soon made her
appearance. She went to seek her father, who soon
came and took us to the garden in the front of the
house, where he had been working among his
He was a straight, dignified English clergyman,
who, when he learned who Ave were and what we
desired, at once gave us a cordial and hospitable
welcome. He invited us into the house, where
another daughter, Miss Jane, joined us. We pro-
longed our call there with him and his daughter as
long as we could remain. Out of that call sprang
a most interesting correspondence with Miss Dew,
the daughter, from which I have derived much of
the information made use of in the following record.
I presume that I have more than twenty letters from
her, generally very long and full of interesting
details. I think she must have spent a great deal
of her time in looking up ancient records to find
material for her letters to me. I shall always enter-
tain sincere friendship and respect for the Rev.
38 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
Henry Dew, and his accomplished daughter, Miss
Rev. Henry Dew was a brother of Sir Tompkyns
Dew, the last owner of the estate. He was a
descendant of the Whitneys through some one of
the female members of the family, to whom the estate
came by failure of the male line. Sir Tompkyns'
little daughter, at the time of our visit a child about
five years old, represents the broad acres of the
estates of Whitney and Clifford, now, I regret to
say, so heavily mortgaged that it seems quite possi-
ble, if not probable, that by the foreclosure of the
mortgages they will soon pass into unknown and
alien ownership. Miss Dew informs me that the
payment of sixty thousand dollars would probably
postpone foreclosure, and three hundred and fifty
thousand dollars would suffice for the purchase of
the entire estate.
I believe that the rector's tenure of the living
cannot be terminated during his life; but at his
death the pretty rectory, where he has lived more
than fifty years and has much beautified, will pass
to strangers with the rest of the estate, and thus the
last Whitney traces be obliterated from the spot
with which they have been so long connected.
EARTH CHURCH, WHITNEY-ON-WYE
WHITNEYS OF WHITNEY-ON-THE-WYE.
Whitney, spelled in different ways, has been the
name of a parish from very early days. It prob-
ably derives its name from two words signifying
" white water," the first, huit, pronounced whete,
and the second, ey, water, so that the word
Whitney means white water, and that parish takes
its name from the river Wye, which pours through
it from the Welch mountains, a noisy, uncontrol-
lable stream, the water of which is characterized
by whiteness from the foam and disturbance caused
by its restless passage.
Before the time of William the Conqueror the
name of Whitney was borne by this tract of land;
and the ancient chronicles say that during the reign
of Edward the Confessor it was the property of one
Alward, by his name, I should suppose, a Saxon.
Among the adventurers who flocked to the stand-
ard of William the Norman, was one of that restless
race which made themselves so distinguished all
over Europe in those early days as sea-rovers, com-
ing from the North in their boats and plundering
wherever they went. His name is variously written
in the early chronicles as Toustain, Toustan, Tostan,
40 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
Tosti, Tostig, and Turstin. In Domesday Book it
is written Torstinus, and since, in the early records,
Turstin. This man seems to have been an eminent
fighter among those early marauders, and there is
some evidence that he was the standard-bearer of
William in the great battle of Hastings. At any
rate he was considered by that chief robber as
worthy of great reward for his services in conquer-
ing the English; and in Domesday Book it appears
that he had granted him by William some nine
estates in different counties, of which the little
parish of Whitney, containing about fifteen hundred
acres, was one.
This parish is on the southern border of Wales,
and was exposed to the incursions of those hardy
descendants of the ancient Britons, who so long
resisted conquest when all the rest of England had
fallen. William seems to have selected some of his
bravest soldiers for settlement in those frontier
regions, to resist the incursions of the Welch. Here
Turstin, son of Rolf, seems to have found a more
peaceful life than he could have enjoyed while roam-
ing the seas and plundering every country he could
reach. Here a castle was built sometime in the
latter half of the eleventh century. The ruins of
this castle may still be seen on the high land in the
central part of the estate.
He married a wife named Agnes Maleberge, also
of Norman descent, who seems to have owned in
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 41
her own right other land in the vicinity, and there
at last he found a peaceful death.
He was succeeded by his son Eustacius (called
miles, soldier or knight), who took the name of
Eustacius, Lord of Whitney, and was thus, so far
as I can learn, the first to beat- the name of Whitney
as a surname. He and his mother, Agnes, widow of
Turstin, gave to the Church of St. Peter in Glouces-
ter a hide of land (one hundred and fifty acres) , for
which they received due mention in the archives of
the elegant cathedral in that city.
Eustacius de Whitney was succeeded by a long
line of descendants, in which the names of Eustacius
and Robert were the most frequent in the earlier
days, after which came the more modern names of
James, Thomas, John, Lords of Whitney, who were
sheriffs of Herefordshire and sometimes members
of Parliament, when such bodies existed. These
men were royalists, as in duty bound, and became
widely connected by intermarriage with other fami-
lies in the vicinity and even at a distance. Of
course the landed property of the family, in the
process of time, became somewhat broken up, al-
though that of the old grant, the castle and the
surrounding land, seems to have remained undi-
vided in the family, by a rule of descent not fully
understood by me, and brought down perhaps to
the present time.
In the earlier days the Lords of Whitney fought
42 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
against the Welch at home or followed the king
when summoned by him to foreign wars. In the
latter class of service we find the tradition of the
Lord of Whitney, Sir Randolph de Whitney, accom-
panying Richard Cceur de Lion to Palestine, where
he seems to have derived the crest of the family
which has remained in use to the present time.
This crest shows the head of a bull, and the follow-
ing legend is found explanatory of it, which may be
received by those who please to believe it as real
rather than apochryphal:
" Sir Randolph de Whitney, grandson of Eusta-
cius the founder of the name, son of old Torstinus,
accompanied Richard Cceur de Lion to the wars of
the Crusades, and was greatly distinguished by his
personal strength and courage. On one occasion,
being sent by Richard on a mission, the brother of
Saladin, with two Saracens in his company, followed
him, and going around a small hill, suddenly made a
vigorous attack on the English knight. De Whit-
ney defended himself with the greatest valor, but
his assailants were gaining upon him when a furious
bull, feeding near the scene of the conflict, was
attracted by the red dress of the Saracens and
made so fierce an attack upon them that the two of
the lesser rank were driven from their intended
prey and sought safety in flight, Sir Randolph
soon succeeded in wounding his remaining assail-
ant, whom he left for dead, and then overtaking the
two other Saracens, despatched them and proceeded
on his mission. Sir Randolph attributed his escape
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 43
to the especial interposition of the Virgin. On his
return to England he erected a chapel to the Vir-
gin, the walls of which remain to this day, adjoining
the grounds of the ancient family mansion, and he
adopted the bull's head in his family crest at the
head of a cross, beneath which was written the
family motto, Magnanimiter crucem sustine"
However much truth or fiction there may be in
the above tradition, certain it is that the Whitneys
continued to live on the estate of their ancestor
Torstinus for many hundred years. Whitney castle
was one in a line of fortifications built under the
order of the early kings for protection against the
unconquerable "Welch. There the Whitneys lived
and fought, married and greatly multiplied, through
all the centuries, always loyal to the King and the
Church. More than one of them lost their lives in
the discharge of their duty.
In the reign of Henry IV., I find that the king
granted to Sir Robert, Lord of Whitney, the
adjoining manor and castle of Clifford.
Translation of Patent Roll 5. Henry IV.
1st Part, No. 372, Membrane 2.
" THE KING to all whom &c. greeting —
Know ye that since the father of Robert Whiteney,
Esquire, and his uncle and a great part of his rela-
tions have been killed in our service at the capture
of Edmund Mortemer, and his property has been
burned and destroyed by our rebels of Wales so
44 WILLIAM WHITXEY RICE.
that the said Robert has not any castle or fort-
ress where he can tarry to resist and punish our
aforesaid rebels as we have learned We, of our
special grace, have granted to the said Robert the
Castle of Clifford and the lordships of Clifford and
Glasbury together with all the lands, tenements,
rents, services, fees, advowsons, royalties, liberties,
franchises, jurisdictions, escheats, fines, redemp-
tions and other commodities whatsoever to the said
castle and lordships in any manner belonging and
also full punishment and execution of all rebels who
are or shall be of or in the above said lordships with
all forfeitures and escheats of such rebels, which
castle and lordships before that they were devas-
tated and destroyed by our aforesaid rebels stood of
the value of one hundred marks per annum as is
said. To have to the said Robert the Castles and
lordships aforesaid with all the said profits, com-
modities and appurtenances from the fifteenth day
of October last past, until the full age of Edmund,
son and heir of the Earl of March, last deceased
and so on from heir to heir until any one of the
heirs aforesaid may arrive at his full age. Without
rendering anything therefor to us or to our heirs at
our exchequer during the minority of the heirs
aforesaid. So always that the said Robert has
repaired the aforesaid castle and tarried in the same
in the defence and keeping safe of the castle and
lordships aforesaid. And in case that the Castle
and lordships exceed the value of the aforesaid
hundred marks per annum the said Robert shall
answer to us yearly at our Exchequer of the sur-
plusage of them as is just. In testimony whereof,
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 45
&c. — Witness the King at Westminster the 14th
day of Feby. 1404.
" By the King himself."
The two estates from the date of the above,
to-wit : — 1404, to the present time have been united,
and belonged to the Whitney s.
From the recitals in the above grant, it would
appear that the service of the Whitneys in return
for the royal favors was no sinecure. I do not
know how many of them gave their lives in the
fierce wars against the Welch, which lasted during
several reigns, but it would seem that they fully
vindicated the fighting character of the hardy
Northman from whom they sprang.
The fair Rosamund (Rosa Mundi, Rose of the
World), celebrated in history and by Tennyson in
his Tragedy of Becket, in which Miss Ellen Terry
represents the fair but frail country beauty, was
born in the castle of Clifford before it was granted
Notwithstanding the grant of Clifford to Whit-
ney on account of the destruction of his own castle,
tradition soon finds him back in a new castle erected
on the Whitney estate, where subsequently, on the
occasion of the marriage of the then incumbent, Sir
Robert Whitney, to Alice Vaughan was produced
the following wedding song or Epithalamium, writ-
ten by a Welch bard, which has been preserved to
the present time, and a copy of which, translated
46 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
from the original Welch, has been furnished me by
Is there one on the banks of the Wye has the humour
Of Squire Robert Whitney ? whom God ever bless :
Of the Cross figured mansion how staunch is the eagle :
From Try sol he takes his descent and not less.
His bridal descent, not a thought it needs further,
Thomas Roger's own daughter is her pedigree :
Tis enough if he chose Mistress Alice to marry ;
Of a Sun among stars his selection will be.
Of the Court every courser with stars is bespangled ;
The liquor and viands there a harbour would fill :
Past the strong towers of Robert when e'er I've to travel
His watch and his ward make my blood to run chill.
This master of mine in the towers of his father
Newgate holds not the money about him in coin :
The parish can't number his men in plate-armour,
And his steeds and his spear men the battle to join.
There sits Mistress Alice all retired in her bower,
With her money and treasures so grandly array'd ;
On a Monday she puts on a fine robe of damask
Of Camlet like velvet, with pattern display 'd.
O'er her cheek and her temple, of gold her attire is ;
She wears garlands and scarlet in dignity great :
For the salmon's own lifetime she'll call upon Jesus,
For nine lives of a man shall she bear her estate.
All Elvael's invited, so lavish is Robert ;
Of his store freely gives he to me ; nor afraid
As a justice is he to deliver just sentence
When sitting in justice on some Master Cade.
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 47
There breathes not a man who shall prove him in treason
While there lives boat or ship with an anchor at sea :
Permit it he will not, he'll never give reason —
While the moon night illumine, or blue the sky be.
As all the world knows, in my Lord's lordly mansion
Are huntsmen and yeomen, that none will deny ;
In its stalls stand the coursers all gilded and neighing,
Bows for battle, and horns, and the stag's bleating cry.
In Whitney are greyhounds, of hounds too a hundred ;
There huntsmen in plenty all ready to start ;
With kitchens for Christmas, and buttery and cellars;
While men prattle at work, many cooks ply their art.
From the mansion is carried loud laughter of peasants,
From the tower that of many an unbidden guest ;
From the bridegroom bring progeny, offspring, descendants ;
From the bride bring a blossom — a line to be blest.
Amen — I say, too, may her children content her,
And gladden the bosom of Whitney's brave Lord ;
May they grow in their mansion in lieu of good liquor,
And in the White Tower where riches are stored.
My lady's fine mansion, my lord's goodly mansion
Is the Wretches' asylum, so holy is she ;
Tower fairer than was the White Tower of London,
Is Whitney's, so bounteous and gentle is he. —
What mansion save that on the headland of Alice
Like Sandwich is fashioned like five on the dice?
More lofty than Joseph's or Sisera's palace,
The fortress on Wye will grow ever in size.
Not dearer to me are the Houses of Charity,
By Lazarus built nor Nudd's own on the Strand,
Than Whitney's, as peerless for wine and hilarity
As flowers from the South are to ev'ry far land.
48 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
From one and the other more lavish the gifts are
Than the flow of the stream to the guileless and meek :
So the wise men gave Mary the gold from their coffers ;
From far when they travelled their Saviour to seek.
Of their gold ore and mead, goods of both and of either;
I shall ne'er be denied by this well-wedded pair :
Their land, too, will revenue bring me, and raiment,
Divers herbs, and of feasts, too, ne'er fail me a share :
Divers dainties shall reach us from plain and from mountain,
Divers birds, too, and fishes fresh out of the sea :
He is Arthur himself so he will not o'er look me ;
His Queen, too, Gwenhwyvai, like minded is she.
Woe, Woe, to the Saxon who loves not their Castle,
Of the Welshman who scorns them be told a sad tale ;
Nor Daniel, nor Denis, Cedwyn, them to cherish,
David, Dwynwen, Elias, nor Hilary fail.
May thou live the long life both of Noee and Moses :
Of two trees, the oak female and male be their age :
Late let them be parted when death their course closes :
Mary, speedwell its outset, make happy its stage :
Yes, late be their parting : the length of their lifetime,
From Whitney to Monmouth the oldest defy ;
To bestow, with their links of pure gold many collars,
And with wine crown the bowl on the banks of the Wye.
They became connected by marriage with the
best families of the section, as witness the marriage
of Sir Robert with the fair Alice Yanghan, at whose
wedding the above bridal song was produced, the
Yaughans being among the most distinguished of
the noble families of Wales, from whom have
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 49
sprung many eminent men both in England and
It is curious to notice how many descendants
spring from the old family stocks. As in this
country there are thousands of Whitneys from the
emigrant John, so in England there have been
many families, some of them at a distance from the
old home, but all of them coming from the original
stock of Turstin. It is not part of my purpose to
follow any of these to the places where they are
settled, and some of them have obtained wealth and
distinction. I shall confine myself to the old stock
at the old castle down to the seventeenth century.
Daring that time, in addition to the destruction
of the castle by the Welch rebels, already referred
to, there was another and more complete destruc-
tion by the freshet of the river Wye which swept
away the old castle, and the old church with the
graves and monuments of the Whitneys who had
been buried there, and cut a new channel for itself,
changing the banks of the stream so that the new
church, manor house and other buildings are on
the bank opposite where they originally stood.
Some of the stones of the old church were built
into the new church, where they may still be seen.
When the waters of the river are low, immense
piles of the ancient ruins can be seen, where they
have been undisturbed for more than two hundred
50 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
This destruction by the freshet of the Wye
occurred sometime during the first half of the
eighteenth century, at which time William Warder,
partly by descent and partly by purchase, seems to
have been the owner of the entire estate. He was
descended from a Sir Robert Whitney, all of whose
sons died without issue, by a daughter Ann or
Hannah, who married Robert Rodd, heir of an
adjoining estate. He rebuilt the buildings which
are now there, and his descendants continued to
occupy them until the present time; Sir Tompkyns
Dew being the last male representative, who was
the father of the little girl in whose name the estate
now stands. Rev. Henry Dew, the present rector,
father of my correspondent, Miss Jane, is a younger
brother of Sir Tompkyns, from whom he derived
the living of Whitney.
The civil wars between King and Parliament,
between the Church and the Puritans, were troublous
times to the Whitneys of Whitney, staunch royal-
ists and churchmen as they were. While the lineal
representative of the family seems to have still
lingered at the old home, yet other branches seem
to have been scattered in all directions. In this
dispersion we may leave the Whitneys and the
families descended from them in England, and
transfer our investigations to this country, which,
as we shall see, has become the home, for the
last two hundred and fifty years, of those
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 51
with whom we have more immediate connection.
[The following notes were received from Miss Dew, after the
foregoing was written.]
Thomas, father of John Whitney the emigrant, was the son of
the last but one Sir Robert of Whitney.
All traces of Whitney Castle have long ago disappeared. It
is marked as a ruin on Isaac Taylor's map of Herefordshire
(1794), and its site was almost identical with that of old
Whitney Court, which stood only a little distance from the pres-
ent Court, lower down the stream (of the Wye), and of which a
massive square-cut beam imbedded in the right bank and visible
at low water, marks the site.
There is no trace or local tradition of the site of a chapel near
Turstin or Torstinus, i. e., Turstin Fitz Rolf, left no issue.
The father of Eustace de Whitney and husband of Agnes de
Maleberge was therefore another Turstin. [Mrs. Dawson.]
WHITNETS IN MASSACHUSETTS.
1. July 20, 1592, John Whitney was baptized at
St. Margaret's Church, London. He was, as nearly
as I can determine, son of Thomas who was residing
at Lambeth Marsh, London, whose wife was Mary
Bra}-, daughter of John Bray, of Westminster.
There is evidence that Thomas was grandson or
great-grandson of Sir Robert Whitney, the last of
the name at the old castle. This branch had drifted
away into the great whirlpool of London life; and
it appears probable that it had no part or parcel
in the ancient inheritance, and had even forsaken
the faith which for so many centuries had there
been entertained, which Miss Dew maintains may
well be inferred from the Bible names the emigrant
gave his children.
The young John married Elinor, whose surname
I do not know, and lived at or near Lambeth
Marsh, at a place called Isle worth, where their
oldest children were born. In 1635, in all proba-
bility a thoroughly constructed Puritan, he, with his
wife and five children, embarked for America.
They settled in Watertown, where he continued to
reside during the remainder of his life. He seems
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 53
to have been a man of respectable character and
more than ordinary education, as very soon after
his arrival he was made selectman and town clerk.
He also exhibited a trait of character which has
been possessed by many of his descendants, — of
obtaining possession of landed estates. He seems
to have considered it a duty, however many children
he had, to obtain a tract of land for each of them.
His own homestead, where he lived after coming to
America, seems to have been favorably located and
in the vicinity of the best settlers of the place.
He died June 1, 1673, over eighty years of age.
2. His oldest son, John, born in England in
1624, married Ruth Reynolds, of Boston, and lived
in Watertown, where he died in 1692.
3. His son Nathaniel was born in Watertown,
February 1, 1646, and died in Weston, January 7,
1732. According to this he would be the first
Whitney to reside in Weston, which was a farming
section of Watertown, ultimately set off into the
new town of Weston. The cellar and well of the
original Whitney house, built, as we presume, by
Nathaniel, are still plainly to be seen, while a few
rods distant is a more recent house in which the
Whitneys resided generation after generation down
to within twenty years of the present time, and
which from time to time was enlarged to accommo-
date Whitneys, seniors and juniors.
Nathaniel Whitney married Sarah Hagar. He
54 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
died in Weston, aged about ninety. Eli Whitney,
inventor of the cotton gin, was a descendant of
4. His third son, William, was born in Weston,
May 6, 1683. He married Martha Pierce.
5. Their oldest son was William, born in Weston
in 1706. He married Hannah Harrington in 1735.
6. Their oldest son was William, born April 10,
1736. June 4, 1762, he married Mary Mansfield,
and a few years later, with sons William and Phine-
has, they moved to Winchendon.
Hereafter I confine myself to William Whitney
and his descendants. In this connection, however,
it is proper to say that Henry Whitney, probably a
cousin of John, is found in Connecticut in 1649; a
descendant of his, S. Whitney Phoenix, a wealthy
and liberal citizen of New York, has published a
genealogical account of the descendants of Henry,
contained in three volumes, making one of the most
sumptuous family records in America. This does
not include any of the descendants of John, most of
Henry's descendants being south of Massachusetts.
WILLIAM WHITNEY OF WINCHENDON.
William Whitney was born in Weston, April 10,
1736. He was married in Weston to Mary Mans-
field, June 14, 1762. They had seven children.
(1) William, born in 1765, married to Ann Hey-
wood in January, 1791. He lived in Gardner,
where he died in 1846. (2) Phinehas, born in
Weston, April 1, 1766, died May 10, 1831. He
lived in Winchendon. (3) Mary, born April 10,
1773, married to Benjamin Heywood, of Gardner,
where she lived during her life. She was mother of
Levi and Seth Heywood, who built up the large
business in Gardner, to which that town owes so
much its growth and prosperity. (4) Joseph, born
May 20, 1775. He lived in Winchendon. (5)
Amasa, born June 16, 1777, died February 2, 1852.
He lived in Winchendon, where he was largely
engaged in business. (6) Sally, born September 3,
1779, married to Smyrna Bancroft, of Gardner,
where she lived. (7) Luke. He lived in Gardner.
William Whitney, Sr., seems to have begun to
buy land in Winchendon as early as 1769. In 1774
we find him there taking part in the affairs of the
town. He had a large farm, situated on the line
56 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
between Gardner and Winchendon. He seems to
have been an excellent farmer and a man of thrift,
who accumulated, for those days, a handsome prop-
erty. He had the reputation of being the best judge
of cattle and horses in those parts. He represented
the town in the General Court during several of
the last years of his life. He was a man of rather
more than the medium size, of sturdy and healthy
frame. From descriptions given me by my mother
and aunts, I think his son Amasa resembled him
physically. He died in 1816.
His wife, Mary Mansfield, was a good housewife,
I have been told, of very industrious and pleasant
character. As they lived four miles from the meet-
ing-house, they were accustomed to ride up to
meeting on horseback, she on the pillion behind,
according to the fashion of those days. She died a
few years before her husband. They are buried
side by side in the Whitney corner of the burying-
ground in Winchendon.
William Whitney, Sr., died possessed of a farm
containing six hundred and forty-eight acres, which
was sold to his oldest son, William, of Gardner, for
seven thousand dollars. I believe that the land of
this farm, almost all of it, is still owned by descend-
ants of William Whitney. He was an excellent
farmer, a very conservative man, and a good judge
of farming land and all things pertaining thereto.
It is said that a short time before his death he gave
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 57
to his sons, who were gathered about him, the ad-
vice, " Buy land, boys, buy land," which some of
them have done not wholly to their advantage.
He was always loyal to the government and insti-
tutions of his country, like his English ancestors
before him. I quote the story, handed down by
tradition, as illustrative of this law-abiding char-
" At the breaking out of the Shays Rebellion,
Winchendon was nearly equally divided between
the government and the followers of Shays. The
Governor called upon the towns to furnish recruits
to put down the rebellion, Winchendon with the
rest. The citizens were assembled upon the com-
mon for the purpose of obtaining the recruits to fill
the quota of Winchendon. Party feeling ran high.
The opponents of the government remonstrated
bitterly against the furnishing of any recruits from
Winchendon. As was the fashion in those days, the
drummer paraded up and down, beating his drum,
that those who were willing to join the company
should follow him. No one did so. Old William
Whitney, then, perhaps, the leading farmer in the
town, was on the ground, favoring the government.
Seeing that no volunteers offered themselves, he
called upon his son Phinehas, then a stalwart and
hardy young man, saying to him in tones that were
heard by all, ' Fall in, Phin., fall in.' Phin. fell in
and the company was soon filled."
I have often heard, when a child, the story of
that fearful march in pursuit of the rebels, whom
58 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
they overtook and scattered at Petersham. That
was the first, but by no means the last, military
service of Phinehas Whitney, who after that became
Captain of a Cavalry Company of Winchendon and
the adjoining towns, which office he held for a long
term of years.
William Whitney's estate was appraised Septem-
ber 2, 1817, at sixteen thousand, four hundred and
forty-eight dollars and twenty-seven cents ($16,-
448.27) ; a pretty fair amount to be accumulated
by one beginning in a wilderness, before unbroken,
7. Phinehas Whitney was the second son of
William, Sr., and was born April 1, 1766, before
his removal from Weston. He married in Winch-
endon for his first wife, Phoebe Stearns, January 17,
1793. She died the next year, April 7, 1794, leav-
ing a son Phinehas, who died in early childhood.
For his second wife he married Bethiah Barrett,
of Westford, February 16, 1796.
Capt. Phinehas Whitney was a very active and
successful business man. He owned the tavern in
the centre of the town, where he also owned and
kept the country store. He also owned and carried
on several farms; the largest, perhaps, that con-
nected with the tavern.
Benjamin Wilder and Phinehas Whitney bought
this tavern property, — upon which was built one of
the earliest houses in Winchendon, and always used
as a tavern, — and the tract of land connected with it,
estimated to contain one hundred and eighty acres,
for six thousand dollars, September 8, 1801, of
James McElwain (pronounced " Muchelwain ") .
The next year Phinehas Whitney bought of Benja-
min Wilder his interest in the premises, and then
GO WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
took up his residence upon it, and continued the
tavern, which had been kept there already by sev-
eral previous owners. He moved to this place from
the farm known as the " Benjamin Farm," which he
continued to own during his life.
He was a man of great energy and enterprise.
He was accustomed to make frequent journeys to
Boston for the purpose of exchanging "Winchendon
products for city supplies. He used to make his
journeys largely in the night-time; going in the
night, transacting his business in Boston the next
day, and starting for home on the coming night.
He was a man of great physical strength and
was active in all athletic sports, of which I used to
hear stories in my childhood. He was a man fully
six feet in height, with broad and sinewy shoulders
and very long arms. He had brown hair — rather
thin upon the crown. He was a very kind neigh-
bor, and was one of the first to visit whoever was
sick or in distress.
He always had several men in his employ who
were known as capable and efficient men to work.
My opinion is, that in those days, when the employer
was accustomed to lead the employees in their
respective departments of labor, he undertook more
enterprises than he could profitably execute. Hay
which was cut down in large quantities by a sturdy
gang in the morning, was not always cared for and
gathered before the storm; and the sheep on the
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 61
distant pastures were not always safely and com-
fortably housed against the weather.
I remember him as a most affectionate, loving
and lovable man, always attentive to the comforts
of his children and grandchildren. His large family
were terribly afflicted by his comparatively early
death, away from home on one of his Boston trips,
broken down by excessive labor. He died in New-
ton, May 10, 1831.
Bethiah Barrett Whitney, his second wife, was a
model woman. If her husband was a tireless man
of business in the outside affairs, she was as indus-
trious and careful in all matters pertaining to the
interior arrangements necessary to his affairs. She
was of good Lexington stock, her mother being
Anna Fiske, and her grandmother, for whom she
was named, Bethiah Muzzy. Her father was Oliver
Barrett, who responded as a minute-man on the
nineteenth of April, 177(5, at Lexington, afterwards
served at Bunker Hill, and on the second day of
January, 1777, enlisted in the Revolutionary Army
as a volunteer from the town of Westford, and
served in the Massachusetts Regiment commanded
by Col. Thomas Marshall, until October 7, 1777,
when he was killed in battle at the second battle of
Stillwater, between the North American Army, un-
der Gen. Gates, and the British forces, under Gen.
Burgoyne. His name, by the side of his wife, is on
the Whitney monument in the Whitney burying-
62 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
ground, although his body is buried in an unknown
grave somewhere near where he fell, at Albany, I
She was small in stature, with blue eyes and
brown hair, leaving the impression upon the children
who knew her and still remember her, of great dig-
nity and gravity. I do not remember that she ever
smiled, nor do I remember that a cross or impatient
word ever escaped her lips. Through the large and
complicated household affairs Avhich she was called
to superintend, she always moved with the most
absolute efficiency and self-possession. I do not
think that much time was wasted by the employees
in her house, either at the tavern, or at the large
and better house which her husband ultimately built
on the opposite side of the road.
She went to Winchendon for the purpose of
teaching school, for which she was well fitted; and
after her marriage to Capt. "Whitney she assumed
the leading place among the women of the town,
which she held during her life. She died at the
house of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Louisa W.
Lyman, in Marlborough, New Hampshire, August
2, 1849, aged 74 years and 7 months.
Her own mother, whom she is said to have very
much resembled, passed the last year of her life with
her in Winchendon ; and they all are buried in the
same corner of the old Winchendon burying-
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 63
Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney had eight
children, three sons and five daughters.
Phoebe Whitney, born April 5, 1797. She was a
tall woman; in fact, all of the daughters inherited
the stature of their father rather than of their mother.
In early life it was said that she was of a very gay
and social character, which could scarcely be be-
lieved by those of us who knew her only in old age
as one of the gravest and most dignified of women.
She married Asa Washburn in 1817. He died
in 1824. They had two sons, Nelson Phinehas
Washburn, born October 14, 1818, and William
Barrett Washburn, born January 31, 1820.
Nelson Phinehas Washburn married Elizabeth
A. Hills, of Peterborough, N. H., February 10,
1845. They now reside at Claremont, where he is
engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes.
They have had two children. (1) Helen Elizabeth,
born January 3, 1847, and married to Frank P.
Maynard, February 10, 1876. (2) Charles Nelson
Washburn, born May 10, 1854, married to Kate
Alice Brooks, September 10, 1884. Neither of
these have had any children. Both Frank P.
Maynard and Charles Nelson Washburn are en-
gaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes, with
their father, at Claremont, under the name of
Maynard and Washburn.
Hon. William Barrett Washburn, the younger
son of Asa and Phoebe, entered Yale College in 1840
64 WILLIAM WHITNEY MCE.
and was graduated from that institution in 1844.
He went into the office of his uncle, William Bar-
rett Whitney, of whom he was the namesake, at
Orange, Massachusetts, and ultimately abandoned
the idea of studying for a profession, and remained
in his uncle's employ until his failure in business.
He succeeded to the management and ownership of
the business of his uncle and soon removed to
Greenfield, which was a more convenient location
for carrying on the very successful business in
which he was engaged, to wit, the manufacture of
lumber and wooden ware.
He was a member of the State Senate of Massa-
chusetts in 1850; of the House of Representatives
in 1854; he was a member of the thirty-eighth,
thirty-ninth, fortieth, forty-first and forty-second
Congresses. He then was selected by the opposition
to General Butler in the Republican Party for the
nomination of Governor in 1871. After a canvass
almost unprecedented in the history of Massachu-
setts politics, he was nominated in Worcester in a
convention which began about eleven o'clock A. M.
and lasted until past midnight. None who were
members of that convention will ever forget it.
Although Mr. Washburn's managers had a majority
in the convention, General Butler fought with his
wonderful skill and pertinacity at every step, and
only yielded the victory when the result could be
postponed no longer. Mr. Washburn was elected
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 65
by a large majority and continued to occupy the
Governorship until April, 1874, when he resigned,
having been elected United States Senator to fill
the unexpired term of Charles Sumner. Upon the
expiration of this term he retired from public life,
which he did not re-enter.
In 1872, Harvard University conferred upon him
the honorary degree of LL.D. He was president
of the National Bank of Greenfield until his death.
He was a trustee of Yale College from 1869 to
1881. He was a member of the Board of Overseers
of Amherst College and trustee of the Agricultural
College, at Amherst ; also of Smith College, at
Northampton, and the Moody School, at Northfield.
He was a director of the Connecticut River Rail-
road. He was a man of admirable executive and
business ability, and discharged the duties of all
the positions which he was called upon to fill to the
acceptance of those whom he represented. In Con-
gress he was the chairman of the committee on
claims, and it used to be said of him that when he
had examined a claim and decided upon it there was
no need of any further examination of that claim.
He was a leading member of the Congregational
denomination, and died at Springfield, October 5,
1887, instantly, just as he ascended the platform of
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions then assembled there.
Gov. Washburn was a man of rare ability in
66 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
everything that he undertook. His father died
when he was a child; and for some years he and his
brother Nelson lived with their grandfather, Capt.
Phinehas Whitney, in Winchendon. Here they
were expected to work, at least so they thought,
beyond the strength and capacity of boys so young.
He often sent them to drive droves of cattle from
Winchendon to Brighton, stopping over night at
the regular places, where the cattle were turned
into a pasture and the boys slept in the barns or
on the ground, as they might prefer. Often, too,
the grandfather drove his loaded wagon from
Winchendon to Boston, one of the boys following
with a second wagon, often asleep on the top of the
load. Sometimes one of the little fellows was sent
to Boston alone, with a roll of money sewed up in
his inside clothing, to do errands for his grand-
father. Gov. Washburn, after this training, took a
high rank in Yale College; and it is no wonder that
he became an able and eminent man. He accumu-
lated a large property; and his widow and daughters
still reside in Greenfield in the old mansion-house,
which he built.
Like his grandfather and great-grandfather, he
had an almost instinctive knowledge of cattle and
horses, which they all seem to have inherited from
the old Hereford County in England, where the
He married Hannah A. Sweetser of Athol, Sept.
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 67
6, 1847. Her father was a large farmer and cattle
dealer, in which business Mr. Washburn had become
an adept while with his grandfather in Winchen-
don. They had six children, two sons and four
(1.) Maria Augusta Washburn, born Novem-
ber, 1849. She died in infancy.
(2.) William Nelson Washburn, born July 30,
1851. He graduated at Yale in 1874. July 21,
1880, he married Jennie E. Daniels, of Chicago.
They have had two children, but one of whom sur-
vives, Lelia Atkinson Washburn, born April 28,
(3.) George Sweetser Washburn, born October
16, 1854. He died in May, 1870. He was a bril-
liant young man, and had begun a course of study
intending to graduate at Yale, and then enter upon
a professional life.
(4.) Anna Richards Washburn, born August
16, 1856. She married Walter Osgood Whitcomb.
They reside in New Haven, where he is a member
of the firm of Charles B. Rogers & Co., manufac-
turers of bedding and brass and iron bedsteads.
The}* have had no children.
(5.) Clara Spencer Washburn, born March 18,
(6.) Mary Nightingale Washburn, born July 2,
Phcebe Whitney married for her second husband
68 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
Mr. John Woodbury, of Winchendon, in May,
1827. He died in Winchendon, December 5, 1870,
aged eighty-six years and four months. They had
one child, Mary Jane Woodbury, born March 11,
1828, and died October 11, 1840.
Thus Phoebe Whitney, mother of Nelson Phine-
has and William Barrett Whitney, has at the present
time but one grandchild of the second generation.
She died at the home of her son, Nelson Phinehas
Washburn, in Nashua, March 7, 1876, aged nearly
Lucy Whitney, the second daughter of Capt.
Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, born June 4, 1799,
died July 18, 1893, aged ninety-four years, one
month and fourteen days. She married, March 29,
1825, Rev. Benjamin Rice, of Deerfield, Mass. He
died in Winchendon, July 12, 1847.
Rev. Benjamin Rice was born in Sturbridge,
Mass., May 9, 1784. He graduated at Brown Uni-
versity in 1808, studied divinity at Andover, and
graduated at that seminarv in the class of 1811.
He was a good man, an acceptable preacher; and
his children have always remembered him as a most
affectionate and indulgent father, taken from them
at too early an age.
Lucy Whitney, his wife, like all the daughters of
Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah Barrett Whitney, was
tall in stature, of great mental and physical strength ;
accompanying her husband through his pastorates
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE.
in Maine and Massachusetts, she left everywhere a
most enviable reputation. When young her health
was quite delicate, and her father and mother
despaired of her reaching years of maturity. She
was, however, given for those days an uncommonly
good education for a girl. I have heard her name
some of the academies where she attended, — among
which were Bradford, Amherst and Leicester,— of
all of which I was accustomed to hear entertaining
reminiscences during my childhood. She was gen-
erally carried to and from the academies by her
father, for whom she always entertained an aifection
amounting almost to idolatry. His death, in 1831,
was followed by an illness of hers, which for some
time threatened to prove fatal.
She was inspired with an impression that her
children should all be educated as she had been;
and to accomplish that end no sacrifice or labor on
her part was too great or exacting. She was
economical and thrifty in all her household affairs
that she might save money for this purpose.
After the death of her husband, in 1847, she
bought a portion of the estate of her brother, Will-
iam Barrett Whitney, on which the old hotel origi-
nally stood, but which had been removed and a small
house built on the old site by her brother, and occu-
pied by him until his removal to Orange. This
estate she occupied for many years and continued
to own it at her death.
70 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
Of course a son may be pardoned his partiality
for his mother; but I can truthfully say that I never
knew a woman of such determined and unconquer-
able spirit, of such keen perceptions and affectionate
devotion as was hers. Spared through a life of
unusual length, with remarkable health in her old
age excepting rheumatic attacks, with an unclouded
mind, taking an interest in everything pertaining to
the country and her own family almost to the day of
her death, she died in Hubbardston at the residence
of her daughter, Mrs. Hitchcock, of no special
disease but old age.
We buried her in the old burying-ground at
Winchendon, where she rests by the side of her
husband, and near her father and mother and
grandfather and grandmother and other relatives,
beneath the shadow of old Monadnock, which
looked into the cradle in which she was rocked as
They had three children: William Whitney Eice,
born in Deerfield, March 7, 1826; Lucy Ann Rice,
born in Deeriield, September 26, 1827; Charles
Jenkins Rice, born in New Gloucester, Maine, July
William Whitney Rice fitted for college at Gor-
ham Academy, Maine; graduated at Bowdoin in
1846. He was sick at his mother's home in Winch-
endon for a year after graduation. He was a pre-
ceptor at Leicester Academy for four years. He
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 71
then studied law with Hon. Emory Washburn, and
was admitted to the bar in 1854. In 1858 he was
appointed Judge of Insolvency, by Gov. Banks. In
1860 he was elected Mayor of Worcester. He was
District Attorney for the Worcester District five
years, from 1869 to 1874, but he resigned to accept
an election to the Massachusetts House of Repre-
sentatives, to which he was sent to oppose the
division of Worcester County. In 1876 he was
elected to Congress, where he served five terms.
He then returned to the practice of law, in which
he has been engaged to the present time, being
senior member of the firm of Rice, King and Rice,
in Worcester. He is a Director of the City Na-
tional Bank, Vice-President of the People's Savings
Bank, and a member of the Worcester Board of
Trade. He is also a member of the Overseers of
Bowdoin College, of the Trustees of Clark Univer-
sity, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and of
He was married November 21, 1855, to Cornelia
A. Moen, of Stamford, Connecticut. They had two
children. (1) William Whitney Rice, born May
31, 1858, died February 10, 1864. (2) Charles
Moen Rice, born in Worcester, November 6, 1860.
He fitted for college at Exeter Academy, and grad-
uated at Harvard University in 1882. He studied
law at Harvard Law School, and in his father's
office. He was admitted to the bar in Worcester in
72 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
February, 1886, and is now the junior member of
the firm of Rice, King and Rice.
Cornelia A. Moen Rice died at Worcester, June
16, 1862, aged twenty-nine years and eight months.
Mr. Rice married for his second wife Alice Miller,
daughter of Henry W. Miller, of Worcester, Sep-
tember 28, 1875. She was born in Worcester, July
22, 1840. They have had no children.
Mr. and Mrs. Rice spend a portion of the summer
months on the old place in Winchendon, owned by
Phinehas Whitney in 1802.
Lucy Ann Rice was married to Rev. Milan Hub-
bard Hitchcock, September 24, 1857. They have
been missionaries at Ceylon and at Constantinople.
They returned, that Mrs. Hitchcock might care for
her mother in her extreme old age. They reside at
Hubbardston, Mass. They have had no children.
Charles Jenkins Rice was married to Sarah M.
Cummings, February 1, 1872. She was born in
Winchendon, June 5, 1842. Mr. Rice always
resided in Winchendon, on the place owned by his
mother, which was a part of the old tavern property
owned by Phinehas Whitney in 1802. He was en-
gaged in the business of manufacturing and dealing
in lumber. When a college education was offered
him by his mother, he declined it, preferring to be
a business man.
He was possessed of a great many of the traits of
his grandfather, Phinehas Whitney. Old men used
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 73
to say, when they saw him walking across Winch-
endon common, that he reminded them of Capt.
Phinehas. He had the same instinctive knowledge
of land, of cattle and of horses, which seems to have
characterized his ancestors. His judgment of all
values was most correct and reliable, hence he was
frequently selected as appraiser of estates.
Independent in his own principles, he soon be-
came a leading man in the town, and for many years
before his death was the regularly chosen moderator
of all the town meetings. Probably no man in town
had a greater influeuce than Mr. Rice.
He was a leading man in the church to which his
grandfather belonged, and was, like him, always the
friend and helper of the sick and needy.
He was an unswerving republican, and Winch-
endon always gave a very large majority to the
republican candidates during his life.
In 1884 he was elected to the Massachusetts House
of Representatives, to which he was re-elected.
He died May 3, 1892. He was buried in the same
lot with his father and mother in the old Winchen-
don burying-ground. They had no children.
William Barrett Whitney, son of Capt. Phinehas,
lived in Winchendon during the earlier part of his
life and was engaged in farming. Later in life he
moved to Orange, where he was engaged in the
manufacture of lumber and of wooden ware.
He was married December 20, 1827, to Lois Stone
74 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
of Fitzwilliam, ET. H. While he resided in Win-
chendon he was a prosperous man, carrying on a
business similar to that of his father and grandfather.
After moving to Orange he built up a very large
and prosperous business, his unusual knowledge of
the values of land, especially of woodland, being of
much advantage to him. He was always ready to
buy land and to enter upon new business operations,
with some of which he was unacquainted. Many of
these were successful, but some of them were not,
which resulted in his pecuniary embarrassment and
the liquidation of his affairs, in which he was suc-
ceeded by his nephew and namesake, William Barrett
Washburn, who continued with great success the
business enterprise commenced by his uncle.
He was a man of kind nature, of great industry
and ambitious to carry on a large business. After
his embarrassment at Orange he sought new fields
of enterprise in Warren, Penn., and ultimately in
Yineland, N. J.
After the marriage of his daughters and the death
of his wife he came back to his old home in Win-
chendon, where he spent some time with his nephew,
Charles J. Rice, busying himself about the scenes of
his childhood. He died at the house of his daugh-
ter, Elizabeth Ellen Stevens, in Cambridge, Massa-
chusetts, February 15, 1874. He and his wife and
their only son are buried in the Whitney corner of
the old burying-ground.
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 75
They had four children, one son and three daugh-
ters, all born in Winchendon.
(1) Charles Milton "Whitney was born Decem-
ber 31, 1828. He died at Orange, January 24,
(2) Elizabeth Ellen Whitney was born Septem-
ber 2, 1831. She died in infancy.
(3) Elizabeth Ellen Whitney, 2nd, was born
August 2, 1834.
(4) Louisa Lyman Whitney was born August
Elizabeth Ellen Whitney, 2nd, was married April
27, 1854, to Abraham W. Stevens, a Unitarian cler-
gyman. He is now pursuing a literary life, residing
at Cambridge. They have had three children, all
(1) Harold W. Stevens, born January 26, 1859.
He graduated at the Massachusetts Institute of Tech-
nology and is now engaged in the National Bank of
the Republic, in Boston, Mass. He was married
December 4, 1880, to Frances Elizabeth Ball. They
have one child, Harold Parker Stevens, born in Cam-
bridge, January 2, 1882.
(2) Charles Herbert Stevens, born in Barre,
April 20, 1860. He graduated at Harvard College
in 1882. He is engaged in the Law Publishing
House of C. C. Soule in Boston.
(3) Ralph Leslie Stevens, born in Cambridge,
November 10, 1870, is still pursuing his studies.
76 WILLIAM WHITNEY RICE.
Louisa Lyman Whitney, youngest daughter of
William Barrett Whitney, was married September
4, 1855, to Jason Asbury Morrison. He died May
They had but one child, a son named William
Barrett Morrison, born in Warren, Penn., April 8,
1863. Being of delicate health his mother removed
with him to Denver, Col., where he has since been
engaged in the State National Bank.
Mary Whitney, third daughter of Capt. Phinehas
and Bethiah Whitney, was married at Winchendon,
January 22, 1828, to Alvah Godding, M. D. She
died in Winchendon, November 15, 1870.
They moved in early life from the old centre to
the new village, where she was the leader in society
and in all good works and charities. In her youth
she was called handsome on account of her vivacity
and quickness of motion. She always took a great
interest in public affairs, and I doubt if any man in
Winchendon was better posted in them than she.
Always hospitable and generous, her home was a
favorite resort for many friends.
Dr. Godding, her husband, was a physician of the
old school. He rode a large circuit, upon which I
do not think there was a better loved man than him-
self. He ministered to the sick, not only to their
diseases but also to their necessities, and his carriage
carried to the houses of his patients baskets of food
and dainties from his own house as often as pills and
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 77
purgatives from the apothecaries. He died in Win-
chendon January 11, 1875.
They had one son, "William Whitney Godding,
born in Winchendon, May 5, 1831. He graduated
at Dartmouth College in 1854. He completed his
studies at Castleton Medical College, Vermont,
where he graduated in 1857. He practiced his pro-
fession for some years in Winchendon and in Fitch-
burg, but he early became attracted to practice for
the insane. He was assistant physician at the New
Hampshire Asylum for the Insane at Concord from
1859 to 1862. In 1863 he was appointed assistant
physician at the Government Hospital for the Insane
at Washington known as St. Elizabeth's. In 1870
he was appointed Superintendent of the State Luna-
tic Asylum at Taunton, Massachusetts, where he
remained seven years. In 1877 he was recalled to
Washington where he was appointed Superintendent
of the Government Hospital for the Insane, which
position he still holds. There are few posts of
greater care and responsibility than that occupied by
Dr. Godding, and he is at the present time recog-
nized as one of the first authorities in the country on
the subject of insanity.
He married on December 4, 1860, Ellen Roanah
Murdock of Winchendon. They have had three
children, two daughters and one son.
(1) Mary Patten Godding, born February 22,
78 WILLIAM WHITNEY MCE.
(2) Rowena Murdock Godding, born July 7,
(3) Alvah Godding, born February 8, 1872.
They reside in Washington, although Dr. Godding
always intends to spend a portion of the summer in
his native town.
Sarah Ann Whitney, the fourth daughter of Capt.
Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, was first married,
August 28, 1832, to Josiah Brown of Winchendon.
He was a man very much respected by his townsmen.
He died September 29, 1836. They had one son
who died in infancy.
She married for her second husband, April 23,
1839, Capt. Charles W. Bigelow, of Winchendon.
They had one son, Charles Edwin Bigelow, born
March 18, 1843.
He graduated at Williams College in 1866. He
was married to Jennie Mary Bobbins of Groton,
June 23, 1868. They had one child who died on
the day he was born. They reside in New York
City, spending their summers in the beautiful town
He is President of the Knowles Steam Pump
Works in New York, where he has been since 1867.
He is a very able and energetic business man, and
occupies positions of financial trust in New York
Louisa Whitney, the youngest daughter of Capt.
Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney, was married
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 79
December 4, 1835, to Rev. Giles Lyman, a Congre-
gational clergyman. They had no children. He
died in Winchendon November 16, 1872. She died
December 5, 1892, at the house of her nephew,
Charles J. Rice, on the spot where she was born.
Here I end the record of the descendants of
Phinehas and Bethiah Whitney. I recollect them
all. I consider my grandfather and grandmother
as very remarkable persons, and as I review their
descendants I do not think they have proved un-
worthy of their origin. The five daughters of
Capt. Phinehas and Bethiah each filled notable
places in society, and each of them filled those
They are all gone now and they will soon be
forgotten, but their children and grandchildren who
knew them will never forget them.
After investigating the history of a family we
become interested in the family traits as far as we
have observed them, and I feel an interest in the
Whitney family on account of the hasty and imper-
fect investigations which have resulted in these
records, and because I am one of the family.
I imagine that there is always a certain type
which belongs to a family which may be traced in
the different ramifications of the family, of course
modified very much by the associations and connec-
tions, but still retaining through all something of
a permanent individuality. Some families are of
80 WILLIAM WHITNEY EICE.
stronger character, more marked peculiarities than
others, and I am pleased to imagine that this pecu-
liarity lasts in the race through many generations.
Especially do I find an enduring strength in the old
English families. They were a strong type of men
who came here. It required self-reliance, boldness,
determination, to abandon the country of their
birth, where their fathers had dwelt, and cross the
ocean to settle in a new and untried country, and
those characteristics were increased by the peculiar
experiences through which they were called upon to
pass in their new home.
I do not think that the Whitney family was
remarkable above other families for prominence in
these characteristics, but it seems to me that I can
see evidences wherever I find them of certain uni-
form traits which, to me, go to make up a Whitney
individuality. Heredity is one of the most remark-
able elements of humanity, and I fancy that some
characteristics which existed in the family in old
England have continued to exist in New England.
I mention among these, first, that the family has
increased and greatly multiplied in numbers. This
is a remark applicable also to all families which we
can trace with any degree of continuity. I find
that there are very many Whitney s throughout
England, and also through all the countries settled
by English speaking men. It is said that thirty-
two thousand descendants of old John Whitney of
THE WHITNEY NARRATIVE. 81
Watertown may be found in the United States, and
how many uncounted thousands have been in the
home country and other countries of the English
I think that the Whitneys are, physically, a strong
race. This does not mean, of course, that there
are not and have not been a great many weak and
unhealthy members of the race, but I think that old
Torstinus, founder of the family, has not entirely
passed away from among his descendants. As
we have seen, he was a hardy Norman, warlike,
trusted by his King, and as long as I can trace the
line of those who directly inherited his manor and
his property, they seem to have belonged to the type
of their ancestor. Of course, as I have said, a
family type is modified by location, by intermar-
riages, and by the thousand circumstances which
attend the lives of all, but wherever I find Whitneys
I find that their prevailing physical characteristic is
strength and endurance.
Second, I think that in the various communities
where they have lived they have maintained a re-
spectable position, never attaining any very marked
prominence, but still assuming and faithfully per-
forming the duties of respectable and efficient
members of the societies where they have lived.
Again, I think that they have generally shown a
capacity for affairs rather more than ordinary among
their associates. I think they have possessed ten-
82 WILLIAM WHITNEY EICE.
dencies to engage in agricultural employments.
Wherever I find them I find them with good farms
and especially good farm buildings. Very often,
rather oftener I think than with most families, they
built in the town where they found early settlement,
large houses, generally square-built farmhouses,
which seemed to satisfy them without much addition
of exterior ornament.
Old John Whitney of Watertown acquired large
landed property, much of which was distributed
among his children during life, and this characteris-
tic to acquire land and cattle seems to have been a
leading one with the family.
The family seems to have evinced rather remark-
able mechanical skill. Eli Whitney has been said to
have produced a greater change in affairs than al-
most any other man. His invention of the cotton-
gin made cotton a king. Upon the vast increase of
the cotton crop in the South, caused by his invention,
the system of slavery sprang into a mighty power
and maintained itself against all the influences of
civilization for generations. In after life he still
evinced the same mechanical ingenuity, the products
of which may still be seen in the village which he
established in Connecticut and the manufacturing
establishments there which have grown out of his
enterprise. I note many other Whitneys whose me-
chanical skill has been of national importance.
Quite early in the history of the country the
THE WHITNEY NAKBATIVE. 83
Whitneys were marked by the desire of obtaining
liberal education, and I think that we should find in
the list of college graduates quite as great a number
of this name as of almost any other.
They have held high places in the church and in
the mercantile life of the cities. In New York and
Boston the Whitney family has furnished many of
the most enterprising and respectable merchants.
I would sum up all by saying that the family has,
from the beginning, maintained itself among the first
in position among its neighbors, in enterprise in the
various kinds of business into which it has entered,
and in maintaining a constant character of usefulness
and successful enterprise in the various communities
where its members have been found.
I think that the old Norman from whom the
family sprang was a sturdy, well-developed warrior,
of fully average size and strength, with light hair
and light complexion, and that this type of physique
has come down from him to the present generation
in a marked degree.
While there is nothing to be proud of, nothing to
excite a boastful feeling among the American Whit-
neys, I would say that they have all maintained
themselves in such a manner that no one need blush
that he is obliged to recognize his relations to that
family rather than to others that have had higher
positions in wealth and worldly honor.