December 30, 2009

Forest Hills Educational Trust


The Forest Hills Educational Trust is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to preserve, enhance, interpret and celebrate the myriad aspects of Forest Hills Cemetery. The Trust organizes a variety of programs inspired by the Cemetery’s unique environment – walking tours, concerts, poetry readings, a summer camp program, and adventurous exhibitions of contemporary art as well as moving ceremonies of remembrance. These activities are designed to encourage the community to explore one of the city’s premier treasures. At first, many people are surprised to find so much happening in a cemetery. However, they quickly realize that Forest Hills is an extraordinary resource, a place to experience art, nature, and history as well as a tranquil sanctuary for reflection and remembrance. Forest Hills Cemetery is an active cemetery and the first rural, or arboretum cemetery in the city of Boston.

The Trust’s expert tour guides – many of them volunteers – give visitors a glimpse of the history of Boston through the stories of the people buried at Forest Hills Cemetery. Other tours reveal the meaning of the symbols carved in stone memorials – oak leaves for strength, ivy for a faithful nature – and stop at bronze and marble sculpture by the most eminent artists of the 19th and early 20th century; the Forest Hills Educational Trust raises funds to engage conservators every year to care for some of these endangered masterpieces, which are damaged by pollution and New England weather. The Lantern Festival and a traditional Day of the Dead are major community events that draw thousands every year; the beauty and spirituality of Forest Hills make it an inspiring setting to gather and celebrate the memory of family and friends. The Trust’s exhibitions of contemporary art offer new ways to think about age-old themes of family, ancestors, nature, remembrance, the cycles of life, and the world of the spirits. These programs are extremely innovative and have become a national model; however, the Trust is working to restore the original vision of the Cemetery as a destination, a welcoming place for the living as well as an eternal home for the dead.

December 28, 2009

Amy Beach~ Composer


Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944) was born in West Henniker, New Hampshire. Musically precocious, she sang improvised harmony parts at age two, composed at age four, and began piano studies with her mother, Clara Imogene Marcy Cheney, at age six, giving her first public recitals at seven.
At the age of thirteen, she wrote “The Rainy Day” following a visit with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem’s author. It was her first published song. In 1875 the Cheney family moved to Boston, where Amy studied piano, harmony, counterpoint, and composition with Ernst Perabo and Carl Baermann and formal training in composition with Junius W. Hill, with whom she studied harmony and counterpoint for a year. In 1885 she made her piano debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

In 1885 she married Dr. Henry Harris Aubrey Beach (1813-1910,) a socially prominent surgeon, Harvard professor, and musical amateur. In accordance with his wishes, she limited her public appearances and concentrated on composition until after his death in 1910. In 1911 she traveled to Germany, where she toured as a virtuoso pianist, playing and accompanying her own works to critical acclaim. In 1914 she returned to the United States, where she maintained an active schedule of winter touring and summer composing for many years and she spent time at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. In 1915, she wrote Ten Commandments for Young Composers, which expressed many of her self-teaching principles.

Mrs. Beach compsed works in many genres, including a Mass, a symphony, a piano concerto, and works for chamber ensembles, piano, mixed chorus, and solo voice as well as the first composition by a woman ever performed by the Handel and Haydn Society. Her thirty works for women's chorus, including several cantatas, are well-crafted in a romantic idiom, always with intelligent text setting.
Mrs. Beach's Three Shakespeare Songs, Op.44, all use verses in which fairies' beguiling and alarming magic makes nonsense of the human lovers' nuptial arrangements and the artisans' clumsy plans to put on a play, moving the action to the enchanted wood outside Athens and introducing Puck. "Come unto these yellow sands" (The Tempest 1.2) is the song the invisible Ariel sings to the shipwrecked, bewildered (and presumably still dripping) Ferdinand: an invitation to the dance that tells him he's not in Naples any more. "Through the house give glimmering light" (A Midsummer Night's Dream 5.1) is Oberon and Titiania's epilogue to the closing marriage banquet, proof that the fairies' happy influence now extends to the city, the banquet hall, and even to the marriage bed.
In 2000 at Boston's famous Hatch Shell on the Esplanade, the Boston Pops paid tribute to Beach. Her name was added to the granite wall on "The Shell". It joins 86 other composers such as Bach, Handel, Chopin and Beethoven. Amy Beach is the only woman composer on the granite wall. The Beaches are buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in a lot on Dahlia Path off Catalpa Avenue.
Beach once said that “no other life than that of a musician could ever have been possible for me.”

December 27, 2009

Lucy Stone~ Reformer


Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts and was descended from an old New England family. Her father, Francis Stone, was a well-to-do farmer and tanner who believed that men were divinely ordained to rule over women. Her mother, Hannah Stone, accepted this view, but even as a young child Lucy became resentful. Though her brothers were sent to Harvard College, her father was shocked when she asked to go to college, and he gave her no financial support. She determined to educate herself, and at age sixteen, she began to teach district school at a dollar per week. During this time her hostility toward the existing status of women increased, especially when she learned that women had no vote in the affairs of the Congregational Church in West Brookfield of which she was a member. Finally in 1843 she had earned the money to enter Oberlin College. At college she was looked upon as a dangerous radical, for she was an ardent abolitionist, was uncompromising on the question of women's rights and became Unitarian in religion. In 1847 she graduated from Oberlin, the first Massachusetts woman to earn a college degree. She refused an invitation to write a commencement address because she would not have been permitted to read it herself, owing to the prevailing belief that it was improper for women to participate in public exercises with men. The injustice was corrected thirty-six years later when Lucy Stone was an honored speaker at Oberlin's semicentennial jubilee. In 1850 she led in calling the first national woman's rights convention at Worcester, Massachusertts. Lucy Stone, who was only barely recovered from typhoid fever, made a speech that converted Susan B. Anthony to the cause. She married Henry Browne Blackwell, a Cincinnati hardware merchant and abolitionist in 1855 but kept her own name, calling herself Mrs. Stone and this radical action added the phrase "Lucy Stoner" to the language to denote a married woman retaining her maiden name. The birth of Alice Stone Blackwell in 1857 led Lucy Stone to give up some of her traveling and lecturing, but she continued to organize many campaigns for woman's suffrage. Perhaps Lucy Stone's greatest contribution was in founding and largely financing the weekly newspaper of the American Woman Suffrage Association, the Woman's Journal. During a run of forty-seven years, under the editorship of Lucy Stone, her husband Henry Blackwell and later Alice Stone Blackwell, the Woman's Journal more than any other journal was the voice of the woman's movement. After 1887 Lucy's voice failed, and she spoke only to small gatherings. Her last lectures were delivered at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. She died at her large mansion on Boutwell Street on Pope's Hill In Dorchester and her funeral was held at the Church of the Disciples in Boston's South End; she was cremated at the crematorium of the Massachusetts Cremation Society on Walk Hill Street, adjacent to Forest Hills Cemetery. Luncy Stone was the first person to be cremated in New England.

December 23, 2009

Temperance Reformer



Mary L. Hunt (1830-1906) was a leader of the campaign for temperance education in the schools, Mary Hunt came to Dorchester later in life having lived previously in Hyde Park. Temperance was a family tradition. Mrs. Hunt's father had been an officer in the county temperance society, and while helping her son study college chemistry, she herself became seriously interested in the physiological effects of alcohol. She quickly took the lead in the agitation for education. In 1878 with Julia Colman, she marched upon the board of the Hyde Park School Committee and won over its members. In 1879 she presented to the national convention of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union a plan calling for thorough textbook study of scientific temperance in the public schools. In 1886, largely owing to her effective campaigning, the federal government passed a law requiring temperance instruction in schools under federal control. By 1901 every state had passed legislation of this sort. Legislation alone proved inadequate, and Mrs. Hunt began a campaign to improve the textbooks, supervising the writing of several texts. In 1903 the Committee of Fifty, an alcohol study group composed of eminent scientists, economists, clergymen and educators, issued Physiological Aspects of the Liquor Problem which marshaled impressive testimony challenging statements in W.C.T.U.-approved books, questioning the wisdom of giving young children detailed information about alcoholism, and pointing out the dangers of allowing those committed to a doctrinaire position to control the teaching of a controversial subject. Mrs. Hunt published a Reply to the Physiological Sub-Committee of the Committee of Fifty, and through the efforts of a sympathetic Senator, this work was published as a government document with the circulation of 100,000 copies to members of the W.C.T.U. After her death in 1906, the W.C.T.U. gave up efforts to intervene in textbook writing. Some have suggested that a generation of students brought up on the textbooks approved by Mary Hunt resulted in the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment. Yet the repeal of prohibition and the statistics on alcohol consumption after the years of her influence suggest that her campaign had only limited long-range effect.

December 21, 2009

The German Dialect Author "Yawcob Strauss"


Charles Follen Adams (1842-1918,) the son of Ira and Mary Elizabeth Senter Adams, was born in Dorchester and received a common school education, leaving the grammar school at fifteen years of age. He went as a boy into the well-known house of N.D. Whitney & Co., Boston, to learn the business. He was afterwards salesman in the same house, then went into business for himself with John D. Clapp, under the firm name of J.D. Clapp & Co. In 1872 he became a partner in the firm of Nicholson & Adams, hair goods for ladies’ wear, and later on made a change in business to that of furnishing supplies for the five, ten and twenty-five cent counters that have had such a phenomenal run—the firm name being Newell, Adams & Co. He sold out his interest January 1, 1885, and is now doing a manufacturing and commission, in addition to his journalistic work. At the age of twenty, August, 1862, he enlisted in the 13th regiment Massachusetts volunteers, and was in the battles of Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg—wounded in the latter and held prisoner for three days, when he was re-captured and taken to the hospitals in New York and Rhode Island. After his recovery he was detailed as wardmaster in the convalescent hospital at Washington, where he remained until his term of service expired, in August, 1864. He returned home and established the business that has since demanded his attention. The literary portion of his life is only his diversion, never interfering with his methodical business habits. Charles Follen Adams, however is best known from his humorous and dialectic poems, he having sprung into recognition at once upon the production of his well known and immensely popular “Leedle Yawcob Strauss.” His first effort at rhyme was written in 1870, and his first dialectic verse, “The Puzzled Dutchman,” appeared in 1872. From that time he was an occasional contributor to numerous Boston papers, “Oliver Optic’s Magazine,” “Scribner’s Monthly,” and others until 1876 when “Leedle Yawcob Strauss” appeared in the “Detroit Free Press,” since which time his poems have appeared in that paper, “Harper’s Magazine,” and other publications. The house of Lee & Shepard, published Mr. Adams’s first volume of poems, entitled “Leedle Yawcob Strauss, and Other Poems.” His second volume, entitled “Dialect Ballads,” was published by Harper & Brothers, New York (1887), being a companion to the former volume. Mr. Adams was married in 1870 to Hattie Louise Mills, and they were the parents of Charles Mills Adams and Ella Paige Adams Sawyer. The Adams Lot is on White Oak Avenue, a large granite block monument with a curious log-frame motif.

Alice Stone Blackwell


Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1950) was the only child of Lucy Stone and Henry Brown Blackwell. She was educated at the Harris Grammar School in Dorchester, the Chauncy School in Boston at at Boston University. Alice described life in Dorchester from her perspective as a teenager in her journal published under the title Growing Up in Boston's Gilded Age: The Journal of Alice Stone Blackwell, 1872-1874. Catching the train at the Old Colony station at Neponset or at Harrison Square to ride into Boston to exchange books at the Boston Athenaeum or at the Boston Public Library. She would visit her mother at the office of the Woman's Journal at 3 Tremont Place. On Sundays she would go to church at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, then on Bowdoin Street, or at Saint Mary's Chapel, later the All Saints' Mission at Lower Mills. On school days, Alice would walk toward Harrison Square to attend the Harris School at the corner of Adams Street and Victory Road, formerly known as Mill Street. Her diary includes descriptions of her walks in the Dorchester countryside when it was still an area of large open spaces, and it was an era when people walked long distances or rode in a carriage pulled by horses. After her graduation from Boston University where she excelled and was president of her class, she went to work in the offices of the Woman's Journal, the paper edited by her mother. Over the next thirty-five years, Miss Blackwell bore the main burdens of editing the country's leading woman's rights newspaper, gathering copy, reading proof, preparing book reviews, and writing long columns of crisp, hard-headed arguments for female equality. Beginning in 1887 she also edited the Woman's Column, a collection of suffrage items sent out free to newspapers round the country. She effected a truce between the American Woman Suffrage Association and Susan B. Anthony's rival National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1890 the two organizations merged, and Miss Blackwell became recording secretary of the new national American Woman Suffrage Association. Lucy Stone's death in 1893 freed her daughter to find other evils to expose and underdogs to champion. For years she operated an informal employment service for needy Armenians, and she joined William Dudley Foulke and George Kennan in activating the Friends of Russian Freedom. She translated the poetry of oppressed peoples into English to widen American awareness. Alice also translated several other volumes of poetry into English from Russian (Songs of Russia, 1906), Yiddish (Songs of Grief and Gladness, 1907), Spanish (Some Spanish-American poets, 1929), Hungarian and French. In 1917 she edited The Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution which is about the life of Catherine Breshkovsky. Her affiliations widened to include the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the Anti-Vivisection Society, the Women's Trade Union League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Peace Society. Postwar reaction turned her into a socialist radical. One Boston newspaper refused to print her militant letters because of the controversy they provoked. In 1930 she published Lucy Stone, a well received biography of her mother, and in 1945, she received an L.H.D. degree (Doctorate of Humanities) from Boston University in recognition of her work.

December 19, 2009

For Whom the Sumner Tunnel was Named


General William Hyslop Sumner (1780-1861) inherited Noddle’s Island through his mother and his greatest accomplishment was his effort to develop several islands in Boston Harbor. This undertaking created what is now known as East Boston. During the development, Sumner founded several companies, including the East Boston Company and The East Boston Lumber Company. In tribute to his tireless work for the development East Boston the Sumner Tunnel that runs under the Boston Harbor from East Boston to Boston bears his name. In Jamaica Plain Sumner Hill and in Cambridge, Sumner Street near Harvard University are also named for Sumner. The white Carrara marble monument on the Sumner Lot on Mount Warren Avenue was sculpted in Rome, Italy by Cantalamessa Papotti and was set on a natural outcropping of Roxbury puddingstone. Papotti’s angel is part of a long artistic tradition, as since the Renaissance they have represented messengers from God; they were, and still are, a popular cemetery motif. General Sumner’s monument was personalized on the base with a representation of a family crest, and on the front (now missing), in the circular medallion, a low-relief portrait of his profile.

Dr. Carleton and Carleton Willard Village


Dr. Elizabeth Abbott Carleton (1851-1925) was the founder of the New England Aid Society for the Aged and Friendless, later known as the Home for Aged Couples, the first of its kind in New England. Organized in January, 1883, and incorporated on May 20, 1884, the first home was opened in 1884 at 431 Shawmut Avenue in Boston's South End. Three couples were received in the home in 1884 and three more in 1885, reaching the limit of capacity of its former quarters. The beneficiaries of the home must be at least 60 years of age. The number of applicants is so great that the trustees are enabled to make careful selection, and preference is given to those over 70 years of age. Preference is given in receiving residents to those who have no children or other relatives who might care for them.
In an article from the Boston Daily Globe on May 30, 1887, it said that "Life in the institution is essentially life at home. The inmates are free to come and go, and receive visitors. So far as they are able to work about the place, the men in the garden and woodshed, the women in their rooms, sewing or caring in their husband in sickness. One inmate is blind and another paralyzed, but good health is the rule. Preaching services are held on the second and fourth Sundays in each month by pastors of various denominations, and services of song are held on the alternate Sundays. Musical entertainments are held from time to time in the afternoon. In the summer season horse car rides are occasionally given by the city mission, and harbor rides by the Young Men's Christian Association. The latter organization also sometimes provides carriage rides for invalids in the Home, and other similar provisions are made by the management of the institution. The inmates take their meals at the same table, visit each other in their rooms and stroll in company in Franklin Park or about the grounds of the home."

The home moved to the former mansion of Edward E. Rice at the corner of Seaver Street and Walnut Avenue in Roxbury, afterwhich a large building designed by John A. Fox was built. The Home for Aged Couples merged in the late twentieth century with the Willard Home and moved to Bedford, Massachusetts where is has since been known as Carleton Willard Village. Dr. Elizabeth Abbott Carleton was a resident of Union Park in Boston’s South End, and a beloved physician and friend to the elderly of the city. The former site in Roxbury is now a part of Rogerson Communities, a non-profit organization serving low-income and elderly men and women through housing, adult day health programs, fitness training, and memory loss care and treatment programs. The Carleton monument is on Oak Avenue, adjacent to that of the lot for the Home for Aged Couples.

December 18, 2009

He Who Hybridized the Clapp's Favorite Pear


Thaddeus Clapp (1811-1861) was the noted hybridizer of the "Clapp's Favorite" pear, a cross breeding of the "Bartlett" pear and the "Flemish Beauty" pear. From 1840 until his death Clapp was "celebrated among fruit growers for his theoretical and practical knoweledge, and obtained many premiums for choice varities and fine samples of fruit."
Born in Dorchester, the son of William Clapp (1779-1860) and Elizabeth Humphreys Clapp, he was educated at the academy of Hiram Manley before entering Harvard College, being graduated in 1834; he attained a distinguished rank with "the second honors of his class" and delivered the salutory oration in Latin. He was to receive his master of arts in 1838, and though he had taught at a private school in Brookline, his ill health precluded full time employment. During the 1840's he served as a member and secretary of the Dorchester School Committee (Dorchester remained an independent town from Boston until 1870.) In 1838 he served as tutor to the family of William T. Palfrey in Franklin, Louisiana thinking that the warm climate might be beneficial to his health. The Palfreys were from Boston, and were probably acquainted with his family, but he returned shortly therafter. He returned to his family home in 1840, a large Federal house built by his parents at 195 Boston Street and called the "Mansion House." His father was a well to do leather tanner with tanneries on his extensive estate that stretched back to South Bay and which had been in the family since the seventeenth century.
After his return to Dorchester, Thaddeus Clapp "engaged in horticultural and pomological persuits, which he continued until the winter of 1860." During that time he and his brothers Lemuel and Frederick Clapp hybridized many pear seedlings which were quite successful and the names of which were given to new streets that were cut through the former Clapp Estate; the new streets were named Mayhew, Mount Vernon, Harvest, Dorset and Bellflower to perpetuate the early hybrid pears, but it was his pear seedling "Clapp's Favorite" that became reknowned as it was an early ripening fruit, in an age when fresh fruit was thought to ensure continued good health. So successful was this pear seedling that the the Clapp's Favorite pear, was greatly desired by the Massachusetts Agricultural Club, which wished to name it after Marshall P. Wilder, and to disseminate it for general cultivation. They offered Mr. Clapp one thousand dollars for the control of it, but the offer was politely declined. For two decades Clapp continued his horticultural persuits and was an active member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and the Norfolk Agricultural Society. He was said to be of a "most amiable disposition and led a life of unspotted integrity. In 1873, over a decade after Clapp's death, the "Clapp's Favorite" pear was awarded the Wilder Medal in 1873; this medal is awarded to individuals or organizations for distinguished service and contributions to the advancement of pomological science and for outstanding fruit varieties.
When he died, his widow Mary H. Dustin Clapp buried him at Forest Hills Cemetery. His white marble headstone has a bas relief of the celebrated "Clapp's Favorite" pear and that of his wife a shorn sheaf of wheat.

December 17, 2009

Milton Hill



By the late nineteenth century the once open dells and valleys at Forest Hills Cemetery were being developed for both family lots as well as individual graves. With the purchase of "Milton Hill" from William F. Milton, the area was to be connected to Consecration Hill by an impressive stone bridge, designed by William Gibbons Preston, which arched over Greenwood Avenue. The area of Milton Hill was to be developed with large family lots in the first three decades of the twentieth century, and has a rich overlay of funereal monument styles, from Classical to Grecian, Egyptian and Romantic influenced designs which embraced the wide spectrum of available choices.

The early curvilinear avenues at Forest Hills Cemetery were to be augmented by new ones laid out connecting parts of the original cemetery to areas by Walk Hill and Canterbury Streets and west of the Field of Manoah. These new areas had a rich panoply of funereal stones, from colonial revival slate headstones to large limestone, marble and granite monuments often with angels, allegorical figures and classical urns, vases and other embellishments. The twentieth century also saw some spectacular mausoleums that were built throughout the cemetery, such as the Lufkin, Wilbur, Thym, Martyn, Hanley and Haste mausoleums.

Where there is sorrow there is Holy ground.
Oscar Wilde

December 16, 2009

Hunneman Fire Engines


William Cooper Hunneman (1769 –1856) was the founder of a fire engine company in Roxbury that was operated by three generations of the Hunneman Family. His monument at Forest Hills Cemetery is an open Bible set on a marble altar. Hunneman was a successful blacksmith, having learned the trade from Paul Revere; he opened a blacksmith shop in Boston and manufactured brass hardware for shipbuilding. However, in the mid nineteenth century he began to produce standard pumper fire engines, the only difference with others being the angle upon which the pistons operated. Many of the builders of the early fire engines purchased the pump and accessories from Hunneman & Company. To complete these new pumpers, a local cabinetmaker was engaged to build the “tub” which is formed from sheets of copper, and designed to hold water. From 1792 to 1883, three generations of the Hunneman Family were to produce 750 fire engines that were shipped to all parts of the world, and helped to fight fires.

December 15, 2009

e e cummings


Edward Estlin Cummings, more popularly known as ee cummings (1894-1962) was an important novelist and poet that not only captivated twentieth century readers with his evocative writing and poetry, but the fact that he created a distinctive lower case spelling of his name. One Cummings scholar believes that on the occasions Cummings signed his name in all lowercase letters, the poet may have intended it as a gesture of humility, and not as an indication that it was the preferred orthography for others to use for his name. A graduate of Harvard, Cummings was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, an autobiographical novel, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. He is remembered as a preeminent voice of the poetry of the Twentieth Century as well as one of the most popular. His grave is on Althea Path, his great grandfather being John Jones Clarke, the first mayor of the city of Roxbury, and ironically does not record his name in the lower case spelling he extolled during his lifetime but as "Edward Estlin Cummings."
Tumbling-hair
picker of buttercups
violets
dandelions
And the big bullying daisies
through the field wonderful
with eyes a little sorry
Another comes
also picking flowers

George Robert White


George Robert White (1847-1922) was one of Boston’s greatest benefactors. President of the Potter Drug and Chemical Corporation, one of the largest wholesale drug firms in the United States a century ago, White’s success was ensured by Cuticura Soap, which literally translated as skin care, and embodied some of the medicinal properties of an ointment that cured rashes in additing to cleansing. This soap was marketed throughout the world and made a fabulous fortune. Samuel McComb said of George White that “His helpful hand was always stretched out to assist the weak. He was devoted to the highest welfare of the city.” White had created the George Robert White Fund “to be used for creating works of public utility and beauty, for the use and enjoyment of the inhabitants of the City of Boston.” John Singer Sargent did this sketch of the philanthropist in 1917. The Angel of Peace was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and installed in 1905 on the White Lot on Magnolia Avenue. The angel stands majestically with clasped hands in a classically draped gown and robust outstretched wings. The landscaping was designed by the firm of Olmstead Brothers to enhance the sculpture. Another angel memorial for White, also sculpted by Daniel Chester French, was erected in 1924 in the Boston Public Garden, which depicted an angel casting bread upon the water. White Stadium in Franklin Park was named in his honor.

December 11, 2009

Let Us Emulate the Enlightened


As Henry A.S. Dearborn said in 1847 “Let us then emulate the enlightened and pious, the good and great, the affectionate and generous, the kind and the magnanimous of all other nations and ages, that were most distinguished for their advancement in civilization, and enable our fellow citizens to pay all possible respect and honor to the remains of those whom they loved and revered when living.” Thus, the rural cemetery was not just a link to nature, landscape design and horticulture, but also a link to architecture that embraced and enhanced the rural ideal, while serving a very necessary function. The buildings, gateways, fences and assorted structures erected at Forest Hills Cemetery were built for intended purposes, but their design and materials were reflective of Dearborn’s vision of integrating the ideal of romantic landscape design with symbolically appropriate architecture. The first thing seen by those arriving via Forest Hills Avenue was the gateway, originally a wood Egyptian Revival gateway that was replaced by a grander one of Roxbury puddingstone in 1865. This was an aesthetic experience and in some ways must have reassured mourners that this was a sacred place that was to embrace and offer a consoling garden sanctuary. Embracing the wooded landscape and the rough outcropping of Roxbury puddingstone rather than eliminating them, the cemetery evolved as a distinctive and unique interpretation of a rural cemetery.

Good buildings come from good people, and all problems are solved by good design
Stephen Gardiner

Rock Maple Avenue


Rock Maple Avenue, seen from the junction of Cedar and Tupelo Avenues, leads to White Oak Avenue and has terraced lots on the right with granite curbing and flights of stairs leading to the large family graves. These curbed lots, many replete with granite balusters and curbing, created a distinctively urban feel, almost recreating the urban residential streetscapes of Victorian Boston. The more flat and regular area on the left is a triangular area bounded by Cedar and Lake Avenues and the area were laid out with such names as Peony, Evergreen, Elder, Brook, Arethusa, Pyrola, Mimosa, Camellia and Veronica Paths.

December 9, 2009

Quincy Adams Shaw


Quincy Adams Shaw (1825-1908) was a major investor in the Calumet & Hecla Copper Mines with his brother-in-law Henry L. Higginson. The copper mining property had been prospected by Louis Agassiz, and his son Alexander Agassiz, who was developing it and which proved to be an immensely important prospect. Quincy Adams Shaw was a major art collector and donated numerous impressionistic paintings by Jean-Francois Millet, Corot’s Dante and Virgil, as well as Donatello’s the Madonna of the Clouds to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He and his wife Pauline Agassiz Shaw lived in a large mansion on Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain, fronting onto Jamaica Pond and summered in Prides Crossing on Boston's North Shore. He was the son of Robert Gould and Elizabeth Willard Parkman Shaw and was named after John Quincy Adams. He was graduated from Harvard in the class of 1845, and over the next few years he and Henry Lee Higginson, his brother in law, shared the tremendous efforts that were made before the Calumet & Hecla mine became a dividend payer; it is said that Mr. Shaw put in nearly all the money he had before this happened. He picked up all he could afford to buy, even when it was selling at $1 a share. However, it was a lucrative if speculative business and when he died the June 13, 1908 edition of the Boston Daily Globe said that "Quincy A. Shaw [was] the heaviest individual taxpayer in Massachusetts, the largest individual owner of Calumet & Hecla stock in the state, and the head of the family whose members in various ways have done much to promote the educational and commercial interests of Boston" and had the cumbersome title as the "Heaviest Individual Taxpayer in the State." In fact he was said to be the wealthiest man in New England upon his death. Shaw was buired in a large lot on Nesutan Avenue on Eliot Hill.

Twentieth Century Vista


This early twentieth century vista, looking south from Elm Avenue, shows the stone Canterbury Street Lodge (sometimes referred to as the Beech Avenue Chapel) in the center distance at the Canterbury Street gate. The open lands on the left were later to become St. Michael’s Cemetery, primarily an Italian Roman Catholic cemetery; to the left of the statue in the center can be seen the Edmund March Wheelwright (1854-1912) designed buildings of Austin Farm, the former property of Arthur Austin who is called the "Father of West Roxbury," and who successfully persuaded his neighbors to become an independent town known as West Roxbury in 1851. The property was later used as the Mattapan State Hospital and more recently as the Boston Nature Center of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. In the center is the statue monument on that grave of George B. Smith (1868-1949) and on the left, that of Nathan Sawyer (1819-1889.)

December 4, 2009


Marshall Pinckney Wilder (1798-1886) was a distinguished and well respected horticulturist. He had purchased the farm of Governor Increase Sumner and created an estate near Grove Hall in Dorchester, Massachusetts that was known as “Hawthorne Grove.” Throughout the mid nineteenth century he developed an extensive pear orchard that contained at one time 800 cultivars, and his Dorchester Nursery was among the first mail order businesses for plants, seeds and bulbs. Wilder served as the third president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, from 1840-1847, as well as president of the American Pomological Society, which since 1873 awards the "Wilder Medal" which is given to pomologists who have contributed most to the improvement of cultivars of various kinds of fruit in this country. Wilder was probably best known for hybrizing camellias and among them are the award winning Camellias Wilderi, Mrs. Abby Wilder, Mrs. Julia Wilder and the Jenny Wilder. From his estate in 1839 went to the Boston Public Garden the entire collection of greenhouse and garden plants.

November 27, 2009

Oliver Ditson


Oliver Ditson (1811-1888) was one of this country’s most successful music publishers in the Victorian period. The Oliver Ditson Company in Boston was to publish "a wider variety of music, music journals, and music education books than had ever before been available." "Jingle Bells" was first published by Oliver Ditson in Boston in 1857 and the lively holiday tune became one of the most popular songs ever heard at Christmas time. During the American Civil War, Ditson released a number of popular songs, including the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground." Following Ditson’s death, his music publishing company continued unabated until it was purchased by Theodore Presser in Philadelphia. The Theodore Presser Company acquired the Oliver Ditson Company in 1931. Through this acquisition, Presser can trace its origins to 1783, when Batelle's Book Store (later the Oliver Ditson Company), began a music publishing business in Boston. The monumental and impressive St John the Evangelist was sculpted by Thomas Ball (1819-1911) in 1873 and placed on the Ditson Family Lot on Rhododendron Path. Ball was a well known sculptor and his equestrian statue of General George Washington was erected in 1869 in the Boston Public Garden, facing the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

November 25, 2009

Father of Shingle Style Architecture


William Ralph Emerson was a noted architect in Boston a century ago. He extolled the virtue of the "Shingle Style" of architecture, which had a direct reflection on the First Period of American architecture, but also with a touch of the exuberance and pomp of late Victorian architecture. In the period between 1865 and 1917, he made important contributions to architecture. It was said in his profession as an architect, he had won a high place, and that his designs of buildings were of great refinement, especially in country houses which are found throughout the Boston area and in Maine.
William Ralph Emerson (1833-1917) was the son of William and Olive Bourne Emerson, and was raised in Alton, Illinois. As a young man he came to Boston to live with his uncle George Emerson, whose home was on Pemberton Square in Boston, and where he trained as an architect in the office of Jonathan Preston (1801-1888.) In 1857, Emerson and Preston formed an architectural partnership which lasted four years; in 1864 he partnered with Carl Fehmer (1864-1873) and they continued as partners for nine years.
William Ralph Emerson initially designed in the classical revival style, of which his Post Office and Courthouse in Portland, Maine were important early examples. However by 1875 he was designing impressive structures that embraced Victorian elements such as the "Stick Style" and the beginnings of the "Shingle Style," among them the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital (1875) and the Boston Art Club (1881) in the South End and the Back Bay of Boston respectively. In 1871 Emerson, with Carl Fehmer, designed the impressive Receiving Tomb at Forest Hills Cemetery. The Receiving Tomb was said in Boston Illustrated in 1872 to be “the finest receiving-tomb in any cemetery in the country… and is built in the Gothic style of architecture in Concord granite.” The portico is of white Concord granite with an oak ceiling, and its floor paved with French encaustic tiles. However it was said that "country houses were his specialty, and many of the more noteworthy at Bar Harbor and Newport were designed by him." Emerson's first wife was Katherine Mears, who was the mother of the Harvard educated architect Ralph Lincoln Emerson, and his second wife was Sylvia Hathaway Watson, the daughter of Robert Sedgwick Watson of Milton.
Though Emerson was part of the city and its greater metropolis, he designed impressive residences in Milton, among the "The Pines," the home of The Misses Forbes and which was considered the premier "Stick Style" house, the Eustis and Tileston Estates, houses on Adams Street on Milton Hill and his own house on Randolph Avenue in Milton. With over five decades as an independent architect, William Ralph Emerson maintained a well connected Boston base with memberships in the American Institute of Architects, the Boston Society of Architects, the Boston Athenaeum and the Union Club. He was erudite, educated and well informed. He "lived on the gentler side of life, with books and art and the higher interests of his city, and Boston owes him much."
William Ralph Emerson was buried on Brook Path at Forest Hills Cemetery but no monument has yet been erected to mark the resting place of the "Father of Shingle Style Architecture."

November 18, 2009

“If I ever do take up charity, I intend to do it, and not half do it”

Amelia Peabody (1890-1984) was a noted sculptor having studied under Charles Grafly at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and with such important artists as Bela Pratt and Edmund Tarbell, as well as in New York City and Paris. She commissioned a solar studio in her home and would sculpt her whole adult life. Her impressive work was exhibited widely, including at the New York World’s Fair (1939 and 1940), the Whitney Museum of Art, and locally at the Boston Athenaeum.
Amelia Peabody was the daughter of Gertrude Bayley Peabody (1859-1937) and Frank Everett Peabody (1856-1918,) who was graduated in 1877 from Massachusetts Insitute of Technology. Her grandfather Francis Peabody was associated with the banking house John E. Thayer & Brother with his brother Oliver White Peabody, and in 1865, Francis Peabody, Henry Purkitt Kidder, and Oliver White Peabody formed Kidder, Peabody & Co., and later her father was to become a partner. She was said to have “created a life-long reputation in her own right, not only for her artistry, but also for her philanthropy, patronage of the arts, civic leadership, love of animals, and equestrian pursuits.” She created two charitable foundations that after her death continue her benevolence to a wide spectrum of worthy charities.
Following World War I, Amelia Peabody began buying farmland in Dover, Massachusetts, where she was to devote herself to horse riding and animal husbandry. Over the next six decades, she acquired adjoining parcels of land, eventually forming an eight hundred acre estate that she called "Mill Farm" where she generously invited the public to share her many agricultural and conservation interests. Miss Peabody developed bridle paths throughout the lands she acquired for both herself and the Norfolk Hunt Club. By the end of World War II, she had acquired a herd of Hereford cattle and a number of Yorkshire pigs, the best specimens of which she entered in livestock shows throughout the region. Her immensely popular “Field days” for pig farmers and cattle breeders were frequently held at her farm. For many years, she was the Chairman of the Arts and Skills Service of the American Red Cross, which promoted art therapy for wounded servicemen during World War II, and continued to promote art therapy for hospital patients of all kinds after the War.
The Peabody Lot is set in a dense grove of evergreen trees at the junction of Lime and Chestnut Avenues, and is marked by a huge Roxbury puddingstone boulder with the family name unobtrusively carved on the front.

November 17, 2009

Ten Times Ten Is One




Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909) was pastor of the South Congregational Church in Boston’s South End from 1856 to 1899. A graduate of Harvard College, class of 1839, Hale was the son of Nathan Hale, proprietor and editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser and the nephew of the great nineteenth century orator Edward Everett. Hale married Emily Baldwin Perkins in 1852.
Hale is probably best known as the author of A Man Without a Country which was published in 1863, and did much to strengthen the Union cause during the Civil War; in this book, as in some of his other non-romantic tales, he employed a minute realism which led his readers to suppose the narrative a record of fact rather than of historical fiction. His portrait was painted by his son Philip Leslie Hale (1865-1931) who is also buried in the family lot at Forest Hills Cemetery, along with his artist wife Lillian Clark Westcott Hale and their prolific authoress daughter Anna Westcott ("Nancy") Hale Hardin Wertenbaker Bowers. Combining a forceful personality, organizing genius, and liberal practical theology, Hale was active in raising the tone of American life for half a century. He had a deep and avbiding interest in the anti-slavery movement, as well as popular education, and the working-man's home. In addition to his long service as a minister, Hale was also an assistant editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser and edited the Christian Examiner, Old and New (which he assisted in founding in 1869 and which merged with Scribner's in 1875), Lend a Hand (which he founded in 1886 and which merged with the Charities Review in 1897), and the Lend a Hand Record. One of his charming two volume history of Boston and its personmages was Memories of a Hundred Years (1902.) He was also the prolific author or editor of more than sixty books, among them fiction, travel, sermons, biography and history.
In regards to his longstanding motto "Ten Times Ten Is One," Reverend Hale once said, "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and, with the help of God, I will do." This motto was first enunciated in 1869 in his Lowell Institure lectures which extolled "Look up and not down, look forward and not back, look out and not in, and lend a hand." This challenging motto was the basis for the formation of Lend-a-Hand Clubs, Look-up Legions and Harry Wadsworth Clubs for young people.

In 1903 he became Chaplain of the United States Senate, and lived in Washington, D.C.
The Hale Family monument is on Ageratum Path.

November 15, 2009

Madame Hepzibah Clarke Swan


Hepzibah Clarke Swan (1757–1825) was a wealthy and well connected heiress who was among the most cosmopolitan, intelligent, and erudite of ladies in Federal Boston. Madame Swan was said to be charismatic, not least because of her wealth but also in good measure because of her effusive personal charm. With her close friend Sarah Wentworth Aprthorp Morton, they founded the Sans Souci Club in Boston, which revelled without regret! Her estranged husband, James Swan, who lived out his adult life in splendour in a Paris debtors prison, also sat for his portrait that was painted by Gilbert Stuart. She was to commission a portrait of her longtime companion, General Henry Jackson (1747-1809) who is also buried in the family lot at Forest Hills Cemetery. But while this sophisticated and charming doyenne of Boston society was said to enjoyed the rapt attention of many, she was also said to be a pendant to no one man in particular, neither in her long and eventful life nor in her soignee portrait. The Swan Family sandstone obelisk is located on Lilac Path and was originally erected in a secluded area of the Swan Estate on Dudley Street in Dorchester, Massachusetts where her companion General Henry Jackson, and later Madame Swan, was interred. Charles Bulfinch had designed her elegant Parisian inspired country house in Dorchester (as well of that of SArah Morton's who was also Bulfinch's cousin) and though she kept a town house on Franklin Place in Boston, it was a favorite resort for family and friends and where she entertained the Marquis de La Fayette on his triumphal tour of the Unuted States on the fiftieth anniversary of the American Revolution. In 1872, with the sale of the estate and the encroachment of development after Dorchester had been annexed to the city of Boston in 1870, the obelisk and the bodies were removed by the family to Forest Hills Cemetery. The development of Woodward Park had been laid out through the once elegant grounds, and her descendants lived on Beacon Hill and Milton. In front of the sandstone obelisk is a large white marble urn that marks the graves of her daughter and grandchildren, members of the Sargent Family.

November 14, 2009

The Barron of Wall Street


Clarence Walker Barron (1855-1928) is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of Dow Jones & Company. As a career newsman he was described as a "short, rotund powerhouse," but he died holding the posts of president of Dow Jones and de facto manager of The Wall Street Journal.
He is appropriately considered the founder of modern financial journalism.


Barron was graduated from Boston English High School in 1873. He was married to Jessie M. Waldron in 1900 and would adopted her daughters, Jane and Martha, and they lived at 334 Beacon Street in Boston's Back Bay. He was generous to charity and endowed the Clarke School for the Deaf with two million dollars. Jessie Waldron Barron died in 1918 and his adopted daughter Jane Barron married Hugh Bancroft in 1907, and Martha Barron married Henry Wendell Endicott, heir apparent to the Endicott Shoe Company. Barron worked at a number of newspapers throughout his life, including the Boston Daily News and the Boston Evening Transcript. He founded the Boston News Bureau in 1887 and the Philadelphia News Bureau in 1897, supplying much needed financial news to brokers.
In March 1903, Barron purchased Dow Jones & Company, following the death of co-founder Charles Dow. In 1912, he became president, and had control of The Wall Street Journal. Barron was renowned for pushing for deep scrutiny of corporate financial records, and is thus considered the founder of modern financial journalism. Barron's personal credo, which he supposedly urged the Journal to print and to closely follow, was that "The Wall Street Journal must stand for what is best in Wall Street." He was to expanded the reach of his publishing empire by merging his two news bureaus into what was to become known as Dow Jones. By 1920, he had expanded the daily circulation of The Wall Street Journal from 7,000 to 18,750, and over 50,000 by 1930. He also worked hard to modernize operations by introducing modern printing presses and expanding the reporting corps.

In 1921, he founded the Dow Jones Financial Journal, Barron's National Financial Weekly, which was later to be renamed Barrons Magazine and he served as its first editor. He priced the financial magazine issues at ten cents and immediately saw circulation surge to 30,000 by 1926, with high popularity among investors and financiers. Barron was a prolific writer and published a large number of books, among them The Boston Stock Exchange (1893,) Federal Reserve Act (1914,) The Audacious War (1915,) The Mexican Problem (1917,) War Finance, As Viewed From the Roof of the World in Switzerland (1919,) Peace Finance (1920,) Lord's Money (1922,) Twenty-Eight Essays on the Federal Reserve Act and My Creed. The Barrons and their daughter Martha Barron Endicott and her husband H. Wendell Endicott share a large family lot on Milton Hill at Forest Hills Cemetery.
After his death, Barron's myriad responsibilities were split between his son-in-law Hugh Bancroft, who became president of Dow Jones & Company, and his friend Kenneth C. Hogate, who became the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal. The Bancroft Family remained the majority shareholder of Dow Jones until 2007 when Rupert Murdock's News Corporation won the support of 32 percent of the Dow Jones voting shares controlled by the Bancroft family, which was enough to ensure a comfortable margin of victory. In his book My Creed, Clarence Walker Barron expounded upon his thoughts:

I believe in service. I believe in the laws, in the happiness, in the mutuality of service. I know no other happiness, I know no other laws. There is no other happiness; there are no other laws. In The Wall Street Journal, I have sought to create a service. I have striven for a creation so founded in principles that it can live as a service—live so long as it abides in the laws of that service. I believe there is no higher service from government, from society, from journalism than the protection and upbuilding of the savings of the people. Savings in the United States may become investments, when guided by financial knowledge, more readily than in any other country of the world. Wall Street steadily improves and increases its service to the whole country by reflecting the true position of American and world investments. The Wall Street Journal must stand for the best that is in Wall Street and reflect that which is best in United States finance. Its motto is: "The Truth in its proper use."


"The Lamplighter"


The concept of social reform and personal responsibility for the benefit of the less fortunate was a great factor in the behavior of many ninteenth century Bostonians, and no person was more aware of this than Miss Maria Susanna Cummins (1827-1866.)
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, she was a daughter of Maria Kittredge Cummins and the Honorable David Cummins, a well respected judge of the court of common pleas of Norfolk County. Educated at the exclusive Mrs. Charles Sedgwick's Young Ladies School in Lenox, she returned to her family home in Dorchester after her "finishing." The Cumminses were a well to do family of social standing, education and wealth, and they had moved to Dorchester's Meeting House Hill in the 1840s. They had purchased the former "Turk's Head Tavern" (later the site of St. Peter's School) on Bowdoin Street, an eighteenth century tavern that had been converted to a dwelling of large proportions which was needed as Judge Cummins had eight children. Once the Cumminses had settled, they began to attend the First Parish Church on Meeting House Hill, and Maria Cummins began to teach Sunday School at the church, where the first Sunday School class had been formed in 1822, and which was one of the first Unitarian classes in the Boston area. Under the direction of William Taylor Adams (whose nom de plum was "Oliver Optic,") Miss Cummins led a defined and religious life, devoting herself to her students. It was in 1850 that she undertook a novel to please her neices, the daughters of Edmund Pitt and Helen Cummins Tileston. Tileston was a cofounder with Mark Hollingsworth of the Tileston & Hollingsworth Paper Mill on the Neponset River. He was also a founder in 1843, the year of his marriage, of the Dorchester Historical & Antiquarian Society that survived until 1907 when it merged with the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. Florence, Grace and Katherine Tileston were doted upon by their aunt, and with the publication in 1854 of her book The Lamplighter, were obviously flattered by her attentions. Published anonymously, one reviewer called it "one of the most original and natural narratives," and the premise of the book was of a child lost in infancy, rescued from a cruel woman by an old lamplighter, adopted by a blind woman, and later discovered by her well-to-do father. The book was an immediate best-seller and a cultural phenomenon. Said to be second in sales only to Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," published two years earlier, it reportedly sold 20,000 copies in twenty days and 65,000 copies in five months. The success of "The Lamplighter" was not limited to America, for it sold over 100,000 copies in Britain alone. At least thirteen British firms published the novel, often in multiple editions. It was to be translated into several different languages, including French, German, and Dutch, and it continued to sell well into the twentieth century.
In the period between 1857 and her death in 1866, Maria Cummins was also the author of "Mabel Vaughan" in 1857, "El Fureidis" in 1860, "Haunted Hearts" in 1864 and "Little Gerty" in 1869. She also contributed numerous articles to the "Atlantic Monthly." All of her books were of a semi-religious and benevolent aspect, and were well received by her avid readers. Of a deeply religious nature herself, Maria Cummins had joined the First Parish Church in 1864, over twenty years after she began attending divine services. She was buried from the church in 1866, and was interred in the family lot at Forest Hills Cemetery.

November 11, 2009

New England's First Crematorium


The Massachusetts Cremation Society opened a crematorium on Walk Hill Street in 1893, which was financed by local cremation societies. This was a radical, and highly controversial topic in late Victorian Boston and was widely covered in both the local and national press. The building was designed by local architect Ludvig Sandoe Ipsen (1840-1920) and built of Roxbury felsite in the classical style; a later addition, designed by Thomas Fox and Edward Gale, was built in 1905 with a basement columbaria. The first cremation in New England took place here in 1893, and was that of Lucy Stone (1818-1893) a well known Bostonian who had been the first Massachusetts woman to be graduated from college (Oberlin in 1838,) the first woman in the United States to retain her maiden name after her marriage (to Henrey Browne Blackwell in 1855) and the first woman editor of a newspaper ("The Woman's Journal" in Boston.) In 1925, Forest Hills Cemetery acquired the crematory, and since that time has almost tripled its size. Dr. James Read Chadwick (1844-1905) was the first president of the Massachusetts Cremation Society. A graduate of Harvard College and of the Harvard Medical School, he served as president of the American Gynecological Society, the Dorchester Medical Society and as an officer and librarian of the Boston Medical Library. Two decades after the death of Dr. Read, the crematory was sold to Forest Hills Cemetery, which has operated it since that time.

November 10, 2009

Simon Willard: Master Clockmaker


“Time was when it was a requisite to have one of Willard’s clocks…as it is now to have a piano forte.”
[1856 biography on Willard]

Simon Willard is considered one of the finest clock makers in American history. His tall clocks were made by hand, and placed in impressive “Roxbury cases” as well as his patent timepieces, commonly known as banjo clocks, which were prized possessions when new, and which are today coveted by families who inherited them as well as by collectors alike.

Simon Willard (1753-1848) was the seventh son of Benjamin and Sarah Brooks Willard, and was raised on a farm in Grafton where he and three of his brothers, Benjamin, Aaron and Ephraim became clock makers; Simon Willard was apprenticed at the age of thirteen to Mr. Morris in Grafton, learning his trade as a clockmaker. During the Revolution, he served in the Grafton Militia Company under Captain Aaron Kimball and was a “Minuteman” who responded to the Lexington alarm. In 1775, he married Hannah Willard, his first cousin, who died in childbirth the next year; his second wife was Mary Bird Leeds (1763-1823,) the daughter of Edward and Mary Starr Bird of Dorchester, and the widow of Richard Leeds, by whom he had eleven children.

Willard along with his brother Aaron Willard moved to Roxbury in 1780, to a small wood framed house at 2196 Roxbury (now Washington) Street, which led to “the Neck” the only land route into Boston and a prime location for his business. He lived and worked “At the Sign of the New Clock,” a large clock that projected from the building and became a prominent landmark and his “habits of industry, and the intense study of his art, left him but little time for attention to matters of public interest.” As a clockmaker, and an ingenious inventor, he patented in 1784 a clock jack that was used for roasting meat by rotation. In 1802 his “Willard Patent Timepiece” was recorded, and in 1819 his patent for an alarm clock was recorded; he also invented the machinery for the revolving lights for lighthouses. However, his skill as a hand maker of clocks was unrivaled and led to his being appointed, for fifty years, as Keeper of the Clocks at Harvard College, and commissions for a clock in the United States Capitol, the University of Virginia as well as gallery clocks (Roxbury Meetinghouse and the Second Church in Dorchester) as well as numerous turret clocks throughout New England. He retired in 1839 after seven decades of success with a name that had become synonymous with high quality timepieces and where he “passed his time in his family and shop; for the enjoyment of which ‘age withered not his powers.”

In later life, following the death of his wife in 1823, Simon Willard lived successively with his children, first at the home of Simon Willard, Jr. in Boston, then at Edward and Sarah Brooks Willard Bird on Boston Street (now Columbia Road) adjacent to the Old North Burying Ground, and later with his daughter Mary, the wife of Caleb Hobart. The Hobarts lived in an old house, later known as the Ruggles House, near the corner of Canton Avenue and Ruggles Lane, and here Caleb Hobart (1768-1843) worked as a butcher dealing chiefly in mutton. Hobart, a very married man having two wives and a large family before he married Mary Willard, owned a large tract of land just west of his home that was referred to as “Golgotha,” as “it was used as a place to dispose of the refuse from his slaughter house.” Of course, Jesus was crucified at Mount Calvary, and Golgotha known as the “place of the skull.” However, this area of Columbine and Valley Roads in the now elegant Columbine neighborhood of Milton, where Hobart deposited the accumulated refuse of his slaughter house, was so called for the vast amount of bones dumped there.

In the mid 1840’s Mary Willard Hobart (1793-1855) had taken her father in to live with her, as she had become a widow in 1843. Simon Willard, then an elderly man, had unimpaired sight and hearing, was described by his grandson, Alexander Claxton Cary as being a “little figure sitting in his arm chair by the window in Aunt Mary’s room at Milton. He used to sit in this arm chair most all day, now and then taking a short pair of steps by which he could reach the clock in the room, and opening it would do some little thing to it probably from habit, rather than from any fixing the clock needed. This clock was one of his own Timepieces. ….My brother tells me that at Milton, Grandfather went to visit Gen. [Moses] Whitney one day, upon coming home, our man Elijah offered to help Grandfather out of team. “Don’t help me out, don’t help me out,” said Grandfather “they will think I am an old man.”

Indeed by the mid 1840’s, Simon Willard was an old man, a grand old man, and had a justifiable reputation that was hard to emulate, even by his successful apprentices and rivals. He died in 1848 at the home of Isaac and Julia Willard Cary in Boston and was buried in the Eustis Street Burial Ground in Roxbury. His daughter Mary Hobart later moved her parents' remains to her lot at Forest Hills Cemetery where a Gothic brownstone monument designed by Alpheus Cary marks his final resting place. As it said in his obituary in the Boston Daily Advertiser that “Mr. Willard, after his long dealings with Time, has now left him for eternity. Pease [sic] to his blameless and honest memory!”

November 7, 2009

New Book on Forest Hills Cemetery


SAVE THE DATE: Sunday November 15th at 4:00 PM

The launch of Anthony M. Sammarco's new book "Forest Hills Cemetery" will include a slide lecture and book signing at Forsyth Chapel, Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Avenue, Jamaica Plain. The cover of this lavishly illustrated book is of the Receiving Tomb at Forest Hills Cemetery which was designed by William Ralph Emerson and Carl Fehmer, partners in the architectural firm of Emerson & Fehmer in Boston, and built in 1871 on Consecration Avenue near the Main Gate. The high style granite Victorian Gothic Revival building has underground crypts where burials could be securely held during winter months while awaiting burial, or for transport elsewhere. Opposite the Receiving Tomb is a magnificent oval garden that has been bedded out with specimen plants and perennials for well over a century, with a central decorative playing fountain that was added in 1878.

November 2, 2009

Jacob Wirth: Lager King


Jacob Wirth (1840-1892) was an immigrant from Kreuznach, Prussia who six years after he immigrated to America opened in 1868 his namesake Germanic beer-hall style restaurant on Stuart Street in Boston. Above the long mahogany bar is engraved the Latin motto “Suum Cuiqce” which literally translates “to each his own” and which aptly fits the character of this legendary restaurant. Jake Worth’s was operated by two generations of the family and has long been known for its delicious Sauerbraten and Weiner Schnitzel, and other traditional German style foods, as well as a wide selection of beers and lagers for every taste. The Jacob Wirth memorial Fame at Forest Hills Cemetery was sculpted by Adolph Robert Kraus and is located on a knoll overlooking Catalpa Avenue. This bronze monument is of a pensively draped allegorical female seated figure contemplating a cameo portrait of the famous restaurateur in the stele below. The monument was cleaned in 1997 through the generosity of the Fitzgerald Family, who had in 1975 bought the then century old Jacob Wirth Restaurant.

October 31, 2009

Author of the Suffolk Resolves


Dr. Joseph Warren was a noted physician, Revolutionary War general and an ardent Son of Liberty. He was the son of Joseph and Mary Stevens Warren who lived in Roxbury, Massachusetts and had a large farm on what is now Warren Street. Dr. Joseph Warren was graduated from Harvard in 1759 and studied medicine with James Lloyd, opening his own medical practice in 1764. The same year he married Elizabeth Hooton and they would be the parents of Joseph, Richard, Elizabeth, and Mary Warren. His beloved wife, Elizabeth Hooton Warren, died in 1773, leaving him with young children to raise. In the early 1770s, he developed a close relationship with fellow patriots Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, and he was one of the original members of the patriotic organization, the Sons of Liberty. After the Boston Massacre, he was said to be at every town meeting, arguing for the rights of Americans, and in 1772 he made a speech for the anniversary of the Boston Massacre. Warren wrote the Suffolk Resolves, which said that the citizens of Massachusetts would create a militia to protect the citizens, and that if General Thomas Gage. who was then Royal Military Governor of Massachusetts, was to arrest anyone for political reasons, the citizens militia would retaliate by seizing crown officials as hostages. The Suffolk Resolves were signed at the Milton Village home of patriot Daniel Vose and then carried by Paul Revere on horseback to Philadelphia where they were accepted with great acclaim by the First Continental Congress, which directed that the colonies would support Massachusetts. On April 18, 1775, Warren sent Paul Revere and William Dawes by horseback to warn patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, as well as call out the citizens' militia, that the British Army was marching from Boston to the towns of Lexington and Concord to seize arms and rebels. Warren was chosen the Provincial President and on June 14 he was chosen as the second Major General of Massachusetts Militia. At the Battle of Bunker Hill he led the militia and while rallying them during one of the British advances on the hill, he was killed when a musket ball hit him in the back of the head, and died instantly. After the battle, he was removed from Bunker Hill and reinterred in the Minot Family tomb in the Granary Burial Ground, later being moved to the Warren Crypt at St Paul's Cathedral on Tremont Street in Boston. He was reinterred in the Warren Family Lot on Mount Warren in Forest Hills Cemetery, where family members were reinterred from the Eustis Street Burial Ground in Roxbury, their slate headstones encircling a huge boulder of Roxbury puddingstone.

October 30, 2009

November 15th Lecture and Book Signing


The trustees of Forest Hills Cemetery and the trustees of the Forest Hills Educational Trust cordially invite you to join Anthony M. Sammarco – the author of more than 50 books on local history – as he unveils his latest title for Images of America: Forest Hills Cemetery.

A Book Party, Signing & Slide Lecture, co-sponsored by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society is on Sunday, November 15th @ 4:00 PM, at Forsyth Chapel, Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Avenue, Jamaica Plain.


Crammed with historic photographs, this fascinating “Who’s Who” of Victorian Boston introduces you to the financiers, industrialists, artists, radicals and revolutionaries buried in Boston’s premier cemetery. Find out “who’s in the book!” Purchase your own copy hot off the presses and have it signed by the author. $15/$10 Trust and JP Historical Society members.

If you support the the Trust’s education programs at this event by joining as a $100 Patron Member, we will thank you with a complimentary copy of Anthony M. Sammarco’s book
Forest Hills Cemetery as well as reduced admission!

The Soul of Milton Hill


Richard H. Lufkin (1851-1922) was the inventor in 1877 of the vamp-folding machine that was to revolutionize the American shoe industry. A diploma from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association stated that this “is a well-known and meritorious machine and is standard among shoe manufacturers. It turns the edges of leather and cloth for vamps or linings of shoe perfectly, making a superior finish indispensable in a nice fitted shoe. It is unrivalled and is in use in all parts of the country and also abroad.” This likeness of Lufkin, complete with his 22-pound vamp-folding machine, is in stained glass in his mausoleum. The Lufkin Mausoleum is prominently sited on Summit Circle on Milton Hill and was erected in 1928; the mausoleum serves not just as a memorial, but as a place of burial. Above the entrance and carved in enduring granite is the legend “The inventor of the first Vamp Folding Machine” with a three dimensional carving of the device with the patent date of 1877.

October 25, 2009

Jenney Oil & Gasoline: Fueling Boston


Bernard Jenney (1827-1918) began the Jenney Manufacturing Company with his brother Francis H. Jenney in 1861; in 1812 their father Stephen Jenney had founded Jenney Oil Company in Boston as a kerosene, coal and whale oil concern. The Jenney bothers initially manufactured burning fluids, a mixture of camphene and alcohol, and after 1856 dealt exclusively in the production and distribution of petroleum. It was said that by the early twentieth century the works of Jenney Manufacturing Company in City Point, South Boston had a capacity of 500 barrels of oil a day. Jenney auto oil and gasoline became a major supplier by the time of 1920 and was a merged into Cities Service about 1965 and the Jenney name was ignobly replaced by Citgo. The Jenney family monument is on Carnation Path.

October 23, 2009

Flier of the "Black Horse" Flag


William Fletcher Weld (1800-1881) was a shipping magnate during the golden age of sail. Weld entered the shipping trade that had enriched his father, William Gordon Weld. By 1833, Weld had made enough money to commission "The Senator", the largest ship of her time. Weld eventually became one of the most successful merchant ship owners in America, and he operated fifty one sailing vessels and ten steamers. His fleet sailed under the name and symbol of the "Black Horse Flag". He later invested in real estate and in railroad expansion. Weld multiplied his family's fortune into a huge legacy for his descendants and the public, donating Weld Hall at Harvard in memory of his brother Stephen Minot Weld (1806-1867.) The Weld Family Lot is on Linden Avenue and is marked by an octagonal white marble Gothic spire with shields along the base for each of the family members’ names interred here. Among them are William F. Weld’s first wife Mary Perez Bryant Weld (1804-1836) and his second wife Isabella M. Walker Weld (1812-1906.)

October 22, 2009


The Forest Hills Educational Trust is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 to preserve, enhance, interpret and celebrate Forest Hills Cemetery. The Trust organizes a variety of programs inspired by the Cemetery’s unique environment – walking tours, concerts, poetry readings, a summer camp program, and adventurous exhibitions of contemporary art as well as ceremonies of remembrance. These activities are designed to invite the community to explore one of the city’s treasures. At first, many people are surprised to find so much happening in a cemetery. However, they quickly realize that Forest Hills is an extraordinary resource, a place to experience art, nature, and history as well as a tranquil sanctuary for reflection and remembrance

The Trust’s expert tour guides – many of them volunteers – give visitors a glimpse of the history of Boston through the stories of the people buried at Forest Hills. Other tours reveal the meaning of the symbols carved in stone memorials – oak leaves for strength, ivy for a faithful nature – and stop at bronze and marble sculpture by the most eminent artists of the 19th and early 20th century; the Trust raises funds to engage conservators every year to care for some of these endangered masterpieces, which are damaged by pollution and New England weather. The Lantern Festival and a traditional Day of the Dead are major community events that draw thousands every year; the beauty and spirituality of Forest Hills make it an inspiring setting to gather and celebrate the memory of family and friends. The Trust’s exhibitions of contemporary art offer new ways to think about age-old themes of family, ancestors, nature, remembrance, the cycles of life, and the world of the spirits. These programs are extremely innovative and have become a national model; however, the Trust is working to restore the original vision of the Cemetery as a destination, a welcoming place for the living as well as an eternal home for the dead.

The Creator of Forest Hills Cemetery


In the creation of Forest Hills, General Henry A.S. Dearborn with his own hand “marked out the winding avenues and shaded paths, observing how each should reveal some beauty while making available the gentle slopes or the rugged steeps as resting places for the dead…He modeled the imposing gateway at the principal entrance; he projected the chief adornments, and in a word, he stamped his own idea upon the cemetery in all the varied forms with which art has developed and increased the beauties of nature, an untiring industry, and a pious regard for the claims of the dead. Hardly was there a sign that he even desired to associate his name so intimately with the sacred shades of Forest Hills… though such an ambition were no unworthy one. But he labored rather for the love of his work, for the honor of the dead and the solace of the living.” In some ways, Victorians believed that “nature offered special keys for unlocking the mysteries of life and death.” In essence, Forest Hills Cemetery began in 1848 with what was then “a radical plan for burial and commemoration that linked nature, landscape design, and horticulture with art and architecture.”

Calm woodland shade! We here would lay
The ashes of our loved away;
And come at length ourselves to sleep,
Where thou wilt peaceful vigil keep.
from a Hymn composed by the Reverend C.H. Fay and sung at the consecration of Forest Hills Cemetery on June 28, 1848

October 21, 2009

Death Staying the Sculptor's Hand


The Milmore Monument is known as Death Staying the Sculptor’s Hand, and is considered to be the masterpiece of Daniel Chester French. This memorial celebrates the lives of sculptor Martin Milmore (1844-1883) and his brother Joseph (1841-1886), a talented stonecutter who taught the art of carving to Martin. The beautiful allegorical figure of the Angel of Death gently lays her hand on the sculptor’s hand, as a reminder that she has come to usher him away. In her other hand Death carries a bouquet of poppies, which holds the promise of eternal sleep. The sculptor, wearing his work apron and holding his tools, is surprised, bewildered and seemingly unwilling to be interrupted. Martin Milmore was a native of Sligo, Ireland and a tall man with large dark eyes and unruly long dark hair; he was said to be “a picturesque figure” by his sculptor friend Daniel Chester French. He cut a dashing figure in his signature black broad brimmed hat and cloak and his “appearance was striking, and he knew it.” Milmore’s soul inspiring statues and monuments to the Union dead served as models for a generation of sculptors. The Milmore Monument was originally at the triangular lot bounded by Poplar Avenue, on the left, and Cypruss Avenue, and was beside the Hanley Family Mausoleum. The monument was moved in 1943 at the request of the Milmore family to its present site, near the Gateway on Forest Hills Avenue, and the lot landscaped by Arthur Ashael Shurcliff and Sidney Nichols Shurcliff.

Adolph Kraus' "Grief"


The Randidge Monument on Fir Avenue commemorates George L. Randidge (1820-1890) and was executed in 1891 by sculptor Adolph Robert Kraus, with the enormous plinth base designed by the Boston architectural firm of Fehmer and Page. The bronze seated figure of Grief in classical robes leans in sorrow on an inverted torch; bronze funerary urns decorate the four corners of the base, which was designed by noted architects Carl Fehmer and Samuel F. Page. Said at the time of its unveiling the “whole monument in its chaste correctness and simplicity, its rich low color, a peculiar brownish granite polish, is a model for emulation in our cemeteries.” Adolph Robert Kraus was the sculptor of Grief, which is a poignant and somber rendering of a mourning maiden, resting her head on her hand which grasps an inverted torch which symbolizes death. Kraus was a well-known sculptor who also did the Jacob Wirth Memorial Fame and the bust of Karl Heinzen that surmounts his monument.

General Taylor of the "Boston Globe"


General Charles H. Taylor (1846-1921) was a veteran of the Civil War, having served in the 38th Massachusetts Regiment. After working as a reporter for a few years, he purchased the “Boston Globe” in 1877, which had been founded five years previously, and set about creating the ideal of the modern newspaper of the Victorian era. Taylor began to publish an evening edition, a morning edition as well as a Sunday edition as a family newspaper, thereby pleasing the entire household while increasing its coverage for all of New England. Taylor was also the pioneer of the ten-cent magazine known as “American Homes.” Taylor had served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and as editor and publisher of the newspaper, which included three generations of his family. The Taylor Family Lot is on White Oak Avenue, and is dominated by a large hammered stone with a bronze tablet to Charles H. Taylor and Georgianna Davis Taylor. On either side of the lot are upright limestone crosses for members of the Taylor Family, all of which is encircled by large mature rhododendrons

October 20, 2009

Mayor Lewis of the City of Roxbury


George Lewis (1820-1887) was the last mayor of the city of Roxbury before it was annexed in 1868 to Boston. A merchant in Boston, he served in various capacities as an alderman of Roxbury, a director of the Roxbury Gas Light Company and treasurer of the Granite Railway Company. He served as a trustee, commissioner and treasurer at Forest Hills Cemetery. His white marble bust, sculpted in 1868 by Martin Milmore, is in the collection of Forest Hills Cemetery. The Lewis Family Lot is on Cherry Avenue. Elijah Lewis (1773-1858) and Elizabeth Sumner Lewis (1791-1874) chose a white marble four-sided Gothic inspired monument, which is also the resting place of Mayor George Lewis (1820-1887,) the last mayor of Roxbury before it was annexed to Boston in 1868, and of his wife Susan Minns Lewis, and their descendants.

Martin Milmore: Noted Sculptor


Martin Milmore (1844-1883) was a native of Sligo, Ireland. A tall man with large dark eyes and long dark hair, he was said to be “a picturesque figure” by his sculptor friend Daniel Chester French. With his brother Thomas Milmore, he was one of the most influential sculptors of the mid nineteenth century and was mentor and friend to a generation of artists who continued his vision after his untimely death at the age of 39. The Milmore Monument is known as Death Staying the Sculptor’s Hand, and is considered to be the masterpiece of Daniel Chester French. The memorial celebrates the lives of sculptor Martin Milmore (1844-1883) and his brother Joseph (1841-1886), a talented stonecutter who taught the art of carving to Martin; the Milmore Family were Irish immigrants who settled in Boston in 1851. The beautiful allegorical figure of the Angel of Death gently lays her hand on the sculptor’s hand, as a reminder that she has come to usher him away. In her other hand Death carries a bouquet of poppies, which holds the promise of eternal sleep. The sculptor, wearing his work apron and holding his tools, is surprised, bewildered and seemingly unwilling to be interrupted.

Fanny Davenport: Actress


Fanny Lily Gypsy Davenport (1850-1898) was a well-known actress in the late nineteenth century. Born in London to parents who were noted actors, she was educated in Boston, and first appeared at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, as the child of Metamora. Davenport was eminently successful as an actress, with a wide spectrum of roles that went from Shakespeare to French melodrama; she achieved fame by obtaining the American rights to the dramatist Victorien Sardou’s highly emotional plays. This photo from c.1880 depicts her as the spendthrift Lady Teazle in the comedy of manners “School for Scandal.” The Davenport monument is a white marble tree trunk on Arethusa Path.

October 19, 2009

Lucy Stone: Womans' Rights Activist


Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was a leader of the national women's rights movement and referred to as "the morning star of the woman's rights movement." She was an organizer of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the first Massachusetts woman to receive a college degree (Oberlin College in 1838,) the first married woman to keep her own name (wife of Henry Browne Blackwell,) and the founder and editor of the Women's Journal. She was the first person to be cremated in New England, which was at the Massachusetts Cremation Society, now the Forest Hills Crematorium, where her ashes are deposited in a large urn later co-mingled with those of her husband and daughter, and placed in a prominent niche in the Columbarium.