January 31, 2010

Major General William Heath

The Heath Monument is a huge granite slab that commemorates the Revolutionary War heo, Major General William Heath (1737-1814.)

Heath was a farmer, soldier, and political leader from Roxbury, Massachusetts who served as a major-general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Heath made his home for his entire life at his family’s farm in Roxbury and was born on a farm that had been settled in 1636 by his ancestors. He became active in the militia and was a captain in the Suffolk County militia in 1760. In December 1774 the revolutionary government in Massachusetts named him a brigadier general. He commanded Massachusetts forces during the last stage of the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775. As the siege of Boston began, Heath devoted himself to training the militia involved in the siege. In June of that year, Massachusetts named him a major general in the state troops, and the Continental Congress made him a brigadier general in the new national army, the Continental Army.
After the war, Heath served as a member of the Massachusetts Convention that ratified the United States Constitution in 1788. He served in the Massachusetts Senate 1791–1792, and as a probate court judge. The town of Heath, Massachusetts is named in his honor.
The Heath Monument dominates a curve of Nesutan Avenue.

January 29, 2010

Governor Channing Harris Cox

Channing Harris Cox (1879-1968) was the son of Charles Edson Cox and Evelyn Mary Randall Cox and was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. He was married to Mary Emery Young in 1915. Cox was a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard Law School, and served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1911 to 1919 and served as Speaker of the House from 1915 to 1918. Cox served as Lieutenant Governor to Calvin Coolidge and continued his policies after Coolidge declined reelection to serve as governor. Eventually, Coolidge was to become president of the United States. Cox served as governor of Massachusetts from 1921 to 1925.
Cox was noted for advancing progressive labor legislation and adjusting administrative laws to reflect the changing economy, and his administration expanded upon many existing laws. Workman's compensation payments were increased, farmers and domestic workers were included as workers and made eligible for state benefits, compulsory education was extended to all children, and child labor laws were expanded. Governor Cox also responded to changes in the Massachusetts economy. He advocated policies and reforms to discourage speculative investment with borrowed funds. He instituted a corporate tax on income from real estate holdings and enabled trade unions both to sue and be sued.
Cox was active in numerous groups and served as president of the Old Colony Trust Company. He also served as a director of the United Fruit Company, the Revere Sugar Company, the First National Bank of Boston, the Boston Herald Traveler, and the Deaconness Hospital.
Governor Cox is buried on Greenwood Avenue on Milton Hill in Forest Hills Cemetery.

January 28, 2010

Andrew J. Peters, Mayor of Boston

Andrew James Peters (1872-1938) was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the son of Andrew James Peters and Mary Richards Whitney Peters. He was married in 1910 to Martha R. Phillips, a descendant of Boston's First mayor John Phillips. The Peters lived on the family estate on Asticou Street, near Forest Hills, a farm in Dover, Massachusetts and on North Haven Island, Maine.
Peters attended Hopkinson’s School in Boston and St. Paul’s School. He was a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1897. He was elected to Congress where he would serve from 1907 to 1914. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury before he was elected mayor of Boston, serving from 1918 to 1922. During his term as mayor, the Boston Police Strike of 1919 occurred, and failing to call out the state militia it was left to Governor Calvin Coolidge to act, which made him a national figure and catapulted him to national office. After serving as mayor, he resumed his law practice and served as president of the Boston Chamber of Commerce from 1926 to 1928.
Peters' Hill at the Arnold Arboretum was named for him, and he served as a trustee of Forest Hills Cemetery, and is buried in the Peters Lot on Althea Path.

In a ditty he wrote after leaving office, he said:
I've done my job as Mayor,
And they say I've done it well,
So I'll give up public life
And rest and play a spell.

January 26, 2010

Bvt. Brigadier General Thomas Coffin Amory

Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory (1828-1864) was the son of Jonathan and Letitia Austin Amory and was born and raised in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. He was appointed a cadet at West Point by former president of the United States John Quincy Adams, and was graduated in 1851 from the United States Military Academy. In 1853 he was married to Mary B. Nolan. Amory was made a Captain in the 7th United States Regular Infantry at the start of the Civil War. He was subsequently promoted to Major of the 8th United States Regular Infantry before being commissioned in the Volunteer service as Colonel and commander of the 17th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was then appointed as Commissary of Musters for the XVIII Corps serving in the Department of North Carolina. He was serving on active duty in Beaufort, North Carolina when he died in October 1864.
Amory was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on October 1, 1864 for "gallant and meritorious services during the war."

January 23, 2010

A Place to Stay was created by artists Michael Beatty and Mike Newby from painted steel, wood and copper. The artists said “Our birdhouses rework the architectural motifs of the cemetery and provide shelter for its living, breathing, animated residents. By manipulating mass and volume in the construction of the supporting framework, we aim to integrate a sense of the traditional with a new, deconstructed model. The subtle humor incorporated in these birdhouses is a foil for the sense of the inevitable that surrounds the present day visitor to Forest Hills.” The artists also pay tribute to birds as ancient symbols of both the soul and transition, appropriate metaphors in the context of the cemetery.
This majestic "Place to Stay" is the ultimate in a bird house with a Gothic inspired octagonal house with a two-story dwelling available to lucky birds at Forest Hills Cemetery. Set on Mount Warren, this piece of functional art successfully integrates a "sense of the traditional with a new, deconstructed model. The subtle humor incorporated in these birdhouses is a foil for the sense of the inevitable that surrounds the present day visitor to Forest Hills."

Thomas Norton Hart, Mayor of Boston

Thomas Norton Hart (1829-1927) was born in North Reading, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Snow, and they lived at 298 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's Back Bay.
It was said by E.W. Emst that "Thomas N. Hart comes of sturdy New England stock, his ancestors residing in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, including the first ancestor, Isaac Hart, who settled there in 1656. His mother's father, Major John Norton of Royalston, fought in the Revolution of 1776. He was graduated from Bowdoin College, and came to Boston in 1842 and was employed by Wheelock Pratt and Co. dry goods dealers, and two years later by Philip A. Lock Company, hat dealers.
Hart was a noted businessman and in 1880 he became President of the Mount Vernon National Bank. An active Republican, Hart was a member of Boston's Common Council from 1879 to 1881, and the Board of Aldermen from 1882 to 1886. From 1891 to 1895 he served as Boston's Postmaster General. Hart was elected mayor of Boston from 1889 to 1890 and 1900 to 1902. Hart founded Hart, Taylor & Company which was one of the largest cap and hat manufacturers in New England. A publically minded man, he served as a Boston alderman, member of the Common Council and as mayor. It was said that “while mayor, he attended strictly to his duty, seeing that the streets were swept, the city finances were put into systematic shape.”
In his inaugural of 1901, Mayor Hart discussed the confusing mixture of city, state and county government imposed on Boston, observing that this scattering of power 'would never have taken place had City Hall proved equal to all demands.' According to his view, home rule for Boston could probably be realized when 'playing games' ceased and municipal conditions became such as to deserve it.
"He was well-liked by all parties during his term; was courteous, genial and efficient in all the relations of life, with clear and quick perceptions, and is capable of any office in the United States."

The Hart Family monument is on Blue Hill Avenue at Forest Hills Cemetery.

January 22, 2010

The Hero of the U.S.S. Kearsarge

John A. Winslow was the son of Edward and Sara E. Ancrum Winslow and was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1811, but hailed from New Engand ancestry. Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow, USN (1811-1873) entered the Navy as a midshipman in 1827, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1839 and to Commander in 1855. During the Mexican War, he was commended to gallantry for his activities at Tobasco. During the Civil War, he was assigned as Executive Officer of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, and he took command of USS Kearsarge in 1863 and over the next eighteen months he patrolled European waters in search of Confederate raiders. In 1864 he led them to victory in one of the Civil War's most notable naval actions, the battle between the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama. The naval engagement lasted an hour and twenty minutes. After the last shot was fired the Alabama sank out of sight, having had about forty killed, and seventy were made prisoners, so that thirty-nine escaped. Only three men were wounded in the Kearsarge, one of whom died. Only twenty-eight projectiles struck the Kearsarge out of the 370 that were fired by the Alabama, and none of these did any material damage. One 100-pound shell exploded in the smoke-stack, and one lodged in the stern-post of the Kearsarge, but did not explode. The Kearsarge fired 173 projectiles, and few failed to do some injury. Winslow was promoted to the rank of Commodore as a result of this action. He became a Rear Admiral in 1870 and commanded the Pacific Squadron from then until 1872.

Rear Admiral Winslow was always known as a solid, courageous, determined officer. Shortly after his retirement, he died at his home in Roxbury, on Kearsarge Street off Warren Street that had been named for his famous ship. His coffin was draped in the U.S.S. Kearsarge battle flag. The Winslow Family Lot is on Orange Path. The granite curbed lot is dominated by a huge boulder, which came from Mount Kearsarge, New Hampshire. The boulder was donated by the citizens of Warner, New Hampshire in memory of the hero, John A. Winslow, who served as the captain of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, which sank the C.S.S. Alabama during an 1864 Civil War sea battle. His wife Catherine Amelia Winslow Winslow, to whom he was married in 1837, was highly respected and it was said that "their union could only strengthen the highest and most admir- able traits in human nature, and must have done much to develop in the youthful officer those characteristics which brought him so brilliantly- through the deep trials of his later life."
I had sooner have fought that fight than any ever fought upon the ocean!

January 19, 2010

Cast By Caproni

Pietro Paulo Caproni (1862-1928) was born in Barga, Italy and left for Boston in the late 1870s. He was founder and co-owner with his brother Emilio Caproni of PP Caproni & Brother, manufacturers of plaster reproductions of classical and contemporary statues. These cast reproductions were, in an era before commercial photography, an integral educational tool in teaching people the history of art and antiquities. Caproni casts can be identified by a metal hallmark imbedded into the base of the cast. Early casts have brass hallmarks bearing "PP CAPRONI & BROTHER PLASTIC ARTS, BOSTON, MA." In later years the medium changed to aluminum. In 1932 the company changed names to 'Caproni Galleries, Inc' and was a supplier to Disney for the plaster figurines of all the Disney characters. Amadeo Nardini, owner of a casting company which specialized in ecclesiastical subjects, bought the company around 1940 and ran it as "Caproni Galleries of Amadeo."
Symphony Hall in Boston has sixteen life sized mythical and real life statues in niches by Caproni. The memorial to Pietro Caproni, and his second wife Gertrude Brinkhaus, is on Summit Avenue on Milton Hill and was designed by Ralph Adams Cram (1863-1942.) The monument is flanked by statues of the Sleeping and Awakening Lions, which are based on Antonio Canova's design for the Tomb of Pope Clement XIII in Rome.
"The quality of a reproduction is of the greatest importance. In an original work of merit there is a subtleness of treatment- a certain feeling which, if captured in reproduction, places the finished piece within the realm of art itself."
Pietro Caproni, 1911

January 10, 2010

Edwin Upton Curtis, Mayor of Boston

Edwin Upton Curtis (1861-1922) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He was the son of George Curtis and Martha Ann Upton Curtis, and was married to Margaret M. Waterman.

Graduated from the Roxbury Latin School, he was fitted for college at the Little Blue School in Farmington, Maine. He was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1882, and apprenticed as an attorney and was admitted to the Suffolk Bar. He was the law partner of William Gardner Reed in the firm of Reed & Curtis. He commenced his political career as city clerk of the city of Boston. He progressed steadily in positions with increasing responsibility from thesecretary of the Republican City Committee, mayor of Boston, Asistant United States Treasurer at Boston, Collector of Customs for the Port of Boston, and as a member of the Metropolitan Park Commission.

In his inaugural as mayor of the city of Boston in 1895, he advocated the importance of special financial provision for educational buildings and facilities, the desirability of a Board of Election Commissioners, the policy of having special examinations of the city's financial system and resources, and making provision for public parks and other needs. All election machinery was placed in the control of a Board of Election Commissioners, composed of four men, two from each political party. It was said that his administration was characterized by a regulation of expense.

Curtis was also the police commissioner during the 1919 Boston Police Strike, which broke out when he refused to permit the creation of a police union. The strike, which plunged Boston into civil chaos, heralded a dramatic shift in traditional labor relations and views on the part of the police, who were unhappy with stagnant wages and poor working conditions. Then Governor Calvin Coolidge intervened in the strike brought him national fame which, in turn, led to his nomination as the partner of Warren Harding as running mate for Vice-President in the 1920 presidential election.

The Curtis Monument is an elegant white marble piece on Catalpa Avenue. It once had a pair of bronze eagles that flanked the tall center shaft.

January 9, 2010

Neighbors in "Dwellings"

Artist Christopher Frost created Neighbors, which are cast concrete replicas of the temporal homes of some of Forest Hills Cemetery’s permanent residents. These small houses, perched atop a sloping hillside of Roxbury puddingstone, are from the left the home of Boston’s “Lead King” Joseph Chadwick on Cushing Avenue in Dorchester, the home of temperance educator Mary L. Hunt on Trull Street in Dorchester, and in the foreground the summerhouse of gourmet grocery purveyor S. S. Pierce on Marsh Street (now Gallivan Boulevard) in Dorchester. The artist said “I chose structures from the thousands of possible residences in order to include a variety of architectural styles. Just as the houses’ architecture reflected the diversity of their occupants’ background, social status, ethnicity, and other traits during their lifetimes, so the architecture of their monuments and grave sites reflects those traits after their deaths.”

The houses represent the residences of Charles V. Whitten, merchant (1829-1897); Mary L. Hunt, temperance leader (1830-1906), John A. Fox, architect (1836-1902); Joseph H. Chadwick, industrialist, whose Gothic Revival mausoleum is on Fountain Avenue (1827-1902); Ralph Martin, wagon-driver, who perished in the Great Molasses Flood; Samuel S. Pierce, grocer (1807-1881); and Anne Sexton, poet (1928-1967).

January 7, 2010

The Gatehouse at Forest Hills Cemetery

The Gatehouse, located along the majestic drive from Morton Street (Route 203) known as Forest Hills Avenue, was designed by Gridley J. Fox Bryant (1816-1899) and Louis P. Rogers (1838-1905) and built in 1868 adjacent to a secondary entrance to the cemetery.

A charming two-story Gothic Revival cottage, it is built of Roxbury puddingstone and buff sandstone with a steeply pitched dormered roof with bands of red and black slate. Built as the gatekeeper’s residence, it is today leased by the trustees of the cemetery as a private residence.

Robert Bennet Forbes (1804-1889) was a sea captain, China Trade merchant, ship owner, and writer. He was born at “Pinebank” in Jamaica Plain, the son of Ralph Bennet Forbes and Margaret Perkins Forbes; Mrs. Forbes was the sister of well-known Boston merchants James and Thomas Handasyd Perkins. Robert Bennet Forbes attended Milton Academy, but due to his father's financial difficulties, had to leave school and go to work. After a short stint as clerk for his Perkins uncles, he sailed to China at the age of 13 and eventually became a sea captain and China trader associated with Russell & Company. Receiving his first command at the age of 20, he was prosperous enough at 28 to return to Boston and set up shop as a merchant. As a member of the prominent Perkins and Forbes Families of Boston, much of Robert Bennet Forbes' wealth was derived from opium and the China Trade and he played a prominent role in the outbreak of the Opium War. Despite the ethical problems of dealing in opium, he was also well known to engage in humanitarian activities, such as commandeering the USS Jamestown to bring food to Irish Famine sufferers in 1847. After the Civil War, Captain Forbes retired from business and embarked on a new career as a philanthropist and writer. He wrote several pamphlets on methods and devices for improving the safety of ocean travel. Forbes maintained an interest in ship construction and rigging and developed a rig for sailing vessels that bore his name, and he also helped to establish a home for retired sailors in Massachusetts and was an active supporter of the Massachusetts Humane Society, serving on its board of directors for many years.
The Forbes Family Lot is on Magnolia Avenue on Consecration Hill. The monument has a large granite base with white marble inset panels, which is surmounted by a granite obelisk that is a simple but massive monument. The lot was said to be “a beautiful one in its situation, and commands a view of the hills of Milton and the intervening valley and slopes, a scene of beauty and quiet which seems to impress the beholder with a sense of the fitness of the spot for a burial place.”
The Captain Robert Bennet Forbes House Museum is at 215 Adams Street on Milton Hill; he commissioned Isaiah Rogers to design this mansion known as "The Castle" as a summerhouse for his mother Margaret Perkins Forbes, and as a memorial to his late brother Thomas Tunno Forbes, who died in 1829 in China. www.forbeshousemuseum.org

January 6, 2010

Her mission is to observe all that transpires

Adam Osgood, assistant to Jean-Louis Lachevre, cleans the bronze sculpture The Sentinel by local sculptor Fern Cunningham. Modelled in Brookline in 2000, it was cast in 2003 in Johnston, Rhode Island and is part of the acclaimed Contemporary Sculpture Path at Forest Hills Cemetery.
Set atop a large outcropping of Roxbury puddingstone, The Sentinel depicts “the wise old woman of Africa” and represents Cunningham’s interest in themes involving humanistic ideals, particularly those that deal with women and children. Fern Cunningham once said "I see myself as an educator through my sculpture and I am always trying to bring forth what is missing in American sculpture and to pay homage to the people who have not been acknowledged."

The casting of this sculpture was supported by a generous grant from the George B. Henderson Foundation, and continues the aspect of public art at Forest Hills Cemetery.

John A. Fox, Father of Stick Style Architecture

John Andrews Fox (1836-1920) is considered the “Father of Stick Style” architecture in the United States. Born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts, he served in the Civil War with Co. I and F of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which lasted from 1862-1865 and included Sherman's "March to the Sea." He was initially associated with the civil engineering firm of Garbett & Wood and later had an independent architectural practice in Boston for fifty years. He was active in the Boston Society of Architects and the Boston chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which he helped found in 1870. He lived at 25 Trull Street in Dorchester, just west of Upham's Corner and where he designed many of the new residences being built following the annexation of Dorchester in 1870 to the city of Boston. Many of his private residences in the “Stick Style” were built in the metropolitan area as well as the Town Hall in Provincetown in 1886, and the Home for Aged Couples on Seaver Street in Roxbury.
The Fox Family monument is on Weigelia Path.

January 3, 2010

The Author of the "Suffolk Resolves"

Dr. Joseph Warren's family had been in Massachusetts for a century and a half at the time of the Revolution. The Warren family was a representative New England middle-class colonial family that farmed and played a role in minor local politics. Joseph Warren was raised thinking and feeling as an American. This “American” outlook is seen in his education and practice of medicine. He was educated at the Roxbury Latin School and Harvard College, graduating in 1759.

Warren apprenticed with the leading Boston doctor, James Lloyd, who provided him with access to both the most advanced medical practices and to the prominent Boston families. Medicine, as practiced at the time in England, was highly segmented and subject to social and class distinctions. A physician was considered to be a gentleman and a professional; however, a surgeon or apothecary was not. This led to exclusiveness and rigid practices at the expense of learning and experimentation. In America, these distinctions were rarely if ever exercised, the emphasis being upon what is practical in a distinctive Yankee “can do” manner. Because of the educational requirements of the profession, physicians became closely aligned with the clergy. Unlike their English counterparts, American physicians saw themselves as having, along with the clergy and government officials, an important role in protecting the public welfare. Warren clearly demonstrated that he recognized and accepted his civic role in his work in public clinics and heroic work conducting smallpox vaccinations and administering to its victims in Boston. It was while practicing medicine that Warren met both the Boston aristocracy and the radical colonial leaders who would shape his future path and define his sense of purpose as a political figure. He remained in Boston during the 1763 smallpox epidemic, administering to the ill, and opened an inoculation hospital at Castle William in Boston Harbor. The success of the inoculations in reducing deaths established Dr. Warren's reputation in Boston, and his practice expanded from the poor end of Boston to include the wealthy and influential. His patients included both future Whig leaders such as John Adams and Tories such as Thomas Hutchinson, the Colony's lieutenant governor. The names of Paul Revere and William Dawes also appeared on his medical ledgers, along with long lists of the poor and common laborers. Dr. Warren learned the value of direct action in providing public service while practicing medicine for a broad spectrum of the citizens of Massachusetts.

Dr. Warren's political involvement grew as his contact with the Boston leaders expanded. His warmth, charm, and intelligence were widely noted by those who knew him, including his political enemies. His profession provided easy access to all classes of society, and he soon found himself a popular figure throughout Boston. Dr. Warren also became a leader in the Masonic lodges. This leadership became an important factor in his revolutionary activities, providing another secret yet powerful organization with which to expand his political and intelligence network. Warren's leadership and popularity were recognized in 1769, when, at the age of 28, he was commissioned the “Grand Master of Masons of Boston, New England, and within one hundred miles of same." The Earl of Dumfries, the Grand Master of Scotland, issued another appointment to Warren, dated March 7, 1772. This made Warren “Grand Master of Masons for the Continent of America,” thus installing Warren as the senior Mason in all of the colonies.
Joseph Warren's political activism began with his writings about the Stamp Act, and he began to be noticed as a public figure in 1766. Warren maintained and expanded his medical practice while becoming a political leader and propagandist. The Sons of Liberty had grown out of the Stamp Act, and Warren developed his ties with this hotbed of grassroots activism. Dr. Warren appears to be unique in his ability to move freely between these groups. He was trusted and respected by the common citizenry and admired by the intellectuals.

The anniversary of the Boston Massacre provided an occasion for oratory, and Warren participated in this event annually. In 1772, Dr. Warren was the featured speaker, and his oration followed a format that would be reflected throughout most subsequent American revolutionary prose: a statement of political philosophy, a list of grievances against the British, and the actions that must be taken to ensure liberty. References to sacrifice and spilling of blood were made and became stronger when he again made the anniversary oration on March 6, 1775.
In September 1774, Warren penned the Suffolk Resolves, which were adopted on September 9th at the home of Daniel Vose in Milton Village, Massachusetts. The document, the most radical statement of colonial intent to date, was rushed to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia by Paul Revere, arriving on the 16th. The Second Continental Congress was scheduled for May 1775 in Philadelphia. The British Commander, General Gage, had to demonstrate that he was in control of the colony, in response to the royal harsh policy towards the radicals in Boston. The militia ammunition and cannon stored in Concord provided Gage with an opportunity to make a dramatic show of force and seize the supplies in a one day operation. The reports that Sam Adams and John Hancock were in Lexington made the operation more irresistible to Gage if these two radical leaders could be captured. Warren's spy network worked well, and on the evening of April 18th, he dispatched Revere and Dawes on their famous missions to alert the rebels.

Warren participated in the harassment of British troops retreating from Lexington and Concord on April 19th as both a soldier and doctor ministering to wounded rebels. He was subsequently selected to be the president of the Provincial Congress and thus the Rebellion's executive leader of the colony. He knew the value of garnering support for the American cause in Britain, so he convinced Congress to charter a speedy packet boat to deliver his account of the April 19th events to Benjamin Franklin in London. His letters did reach England far ahead of British General Thomas Gage's account and were widely distributed by Franklin, causing quite a stir and extreme domestic embarrassment to the British government. He requested that Franklin tell the British citizens that the Americans would sell their liberty “only at the price of their own lives." Joseph Warren was elected president of the Third Provincial Congress, which met on May 31, 1775. On June 14, 1775, the Congress appointed Warren a major general. He now had to balance this commission with his political duties and re-establish his relationships with the military leaders in light of this new position.

Just a few days after his appointment, Warren voluntarily joined the militia defending Breed's Hill (a turning point in the war that is often mistakenly described as the "Battle of Bunker Hill.") When Warren arrived on the hill that overlooked Boston, Colonel William Prescott had lost many men during the night that had gone to the rear for any number of reasons and had not returned. The remaining soldiers were tired after a night's digging and were looking for supplies and reinforcements. The British had landed and were forming ranks. Warren met Putnam at General John Stark's position along the rail fence. David Putnam records the following conversation in his 1818 publication. After Putnam offered command to Warren, Warren replied, “I am here only as a volunteer. I know nothing of your dispositions; nor will I interfere with them. Tell me where I can be most useful." Putnam directed him to Prescott's redoubt on Breed's Hill. As the final British assault breached the walls of the redoubt, Warren remained with the covering force. A musket blew apart his head as he protected the last soldiers fleeing the exit of the redoubt. The famous Trumbull painting of the battle features Warren as the central figure, dying with a gunshot wound in the forehead and surrounded by Prescott, Putnam, and Stark. Paul Revere identified his own silver bridgework and teeth on Warren's skull when he was dug up after the British evacuated Boston. His body was reinterred several times in the ensuing years, the first in the Minot Tomb at the Granary Burial Ground and later in the Warren Tomb at St Paul's Episciopal Church in Boston. The final time was in 1856 when he was moved to the crest of Mount Warren, in a large family lot at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain.

January 1, 2010

Lost on the RMS Titanic

Fletcher Fellows Lambert Williams (1868-1912) was the son, and youngest child, of George Foster Williams and Susan Lucy Fellows Williams and was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. George F. Williams was the partner of Henry Hall in the prominent Boston firm of Hall & Williams, later known as Tucker & Williams, and a trustee of estates. Fletcher Lambert Williams married Mary E. Leeds Goddard, and they lived at Bickenhall Mansions on Gloucester Place in Marylebone, London.

Fletcher Lambert Williams was the managing director of the Mono Service Company of England, of which the American company was a branch. Williams and his business partner Elmer Zebley Taylor, and Taylor's wife Juliet Cummins Wright Taylor, had boarded the Titanic in Southampton, England travelling as First Class passengers. Williams and Taylor were business partners in the American Mono Service Company, founded in 1910 and manufacturers of paper cups. The company furnished drinking cups to hotels, business places and railroads throughout the Eastern United States. The company was a large concern, with ten factories worldwide. They were on a return business trip from London to America.

In 1944 Elmer Z. Taylor wrote an account of his life that included a retelling of his own experiences on board the Titanic. Recalling the following circumstances which enabled him and his friend Fletcher Lambert Williams to come into close proximity to Captain Smith on the night of April 14th, the night of the sinking:

"Williams was a democratic sort of chap, did not hesitate to move among the high, the less high or lowly, so he selected a table for coffee in the Reception Room next to a table at which Captain Smith was entertaining a party. We were close enough to hear Captain Smith tell his party the ship could be cut crosswise in three places and each piece would float. That remark confirmed my belief in the safety of the ship."

Williams' body was never recovered after the sinking of the Titanic. A memorial prominently stating that he was lost on the R.M.S. Titanic was erected on the Williams Family lot on Cherry Avenue at Forest Hills Cemetery.

Robert Chamblett Hooper

Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church on Hartford Street in Dorchester, Massachusetts is a fine example of the architectural work of the prominent architectural firm of Maginnis & Walsh. It was built on the former estate of Robert Chamblett Hooper (1805-1869), a wealthy Boston merchant. Hooper was born in Marblehead, the grandson of “King Hooper," a well-known and respected merchant. Robert Hooper attended Phillips Academy and was graduated from Harvard College in 1822. After he completed his education, he went to sea on one of his father’s fleet of ships, visiting Gibraltar, Marseilles, Nice and other ports known to most Bostonians as names only. His interest in the sea deepened, and he decided to follow his interest and made numerous voyages in his father’s ships. Sailing the Seas, his travels took him to the West Indies, Europe, India, and south America, and gave him a firm footing for a life at sea. Well-educated, his sea voyages made him well-equipped to assist his father, as the Hoopers were a wealthy seafaring family in Marblehead. Hooper’s first ship was the brig “Walga,” on which he sailed as captain and supercargo, a term for the officer in charge of the cargo. This voyage took him to Matansas and to Russia at the age of 21. Successful, he was entrusted with his father’s ship “Arbella.”

Continuing with his life at sea, he later married his cousin Anna Maria Hooper, who died in childbirth. His second wife was Adeline Denny Ripley, with whom he had children. Having made a fortune from his life at sea, he retired from it and established himself as a merchant in Boston. As a merchant, Hooper bought and sold ships. He also imported sugar and other foreign commodities to Boston and traded on Central Wharf, of which he owned a share. He later built Constitution Wharf, and moved his storehouses and office to the new location. It was in 1845, equipped with a large personal fortune, that he purchased an extensive tract of land in Dorchester. The land in Dorchester was composed of slight hills and valleys, with a superb view of Boston from the summit. It was chosen, according to Gertrude Hooper, his granddaughter, “so the sun would not blind him on the drive home from his Boston office.” He built a large and architecturally significant villa he named “Oakland,” and he entertained lavishly. He was probably among the most wealth residents of ninteenth-century Dorchester. In 1869, the last year the town published a Taxable Valuation, his house alone was appraised at the vast sum of $40,000. The twenty acre estate was bounded by Dudley Street and Hartford Street. The Hooper Family retained ownership of Oakland after his death in the same year, but subdivided the estate over the next four decades. Lingard Street was first known as Hooper Street in honor of the family. Robin Hood Street, Chamblett Street and Half Moon Street were laid out through the Hooper Estate, and substantial houses were built by well-to-do families. The aspects that had attracted Hooper to build in Dorchester were the same as those that attracted others in the early “Street Car Suburb” period: gentle slopes, outcroppings of puddingstone, superb views of Boston to the north and the Blue Hills to the south, and beautiful old oak trees. The Hooper family had built and moved to a townhouse on Beacon Street in the Back Bay, but they held ownership of Oakland until 1911, afterwhich the house and the immediate land surrounding it was sold to the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. The house was adapted for use as the rectory of Saint Paul’s priests. In the 1930s, the stone church of Saint Paul’s was designed and built by Maginnis & Walsh, the architects of the archdiocese. The rectory was used until the late 1970s, when it was demolished and a smaller building was erected on the same site chosen by Hooper over a century before. The gentle slopes, the panoramic views, and the picturesque aspect of the area remain to this day, but the former estate of Robert Chamblett Hooper is no more. The Hoopers are buried at Forest Hills Cemetery, on a terrace overlooking Lake Hibiscus.