|Birthplace:||Northampton, MA, USA|
|Death:||Died in Clinton, NY|
|Cause of death:||pleurisy|
|Managed by:||Michael Reid Delahunt, art teacher & lexicographer|
About Benjamin Woolsey Dwight, MD
Benjamin Woolsey Dwight, M.D. (son of Prest. Timothy Dwight of Yale College and Mary Woolsey), b. at Northampton, Feb. 10, 1780, grad. at Yale in 1799, was fitted by his father for college and entered it in the sophomore year. His whole education, academic and collegiate, he obtained under the inspiration of his father's genius and love. No one of his brothers had such combined educational advantages; and no one of them saw so much of him in his own home, in their maturer years. It was he that furnished the facts for the memoir of him prepared by Dr. Sereno E. Dwight, and prefaced to his works. He was very desirous in his later years of preparing himself a new and fuller account of his father's life and character, and services to his age. When he was a babe, and lying in his cradle, his nurse carelessly spilled a basin of cold water upon him which threw him into spasms and gave him the asthma for life. This casualty greatly determined his whole subsequent history. He was for many years also a great sufferer from dyspepsia—a disease but little understood in those days. He prepared "A Dissertation" (of 90 printed pages) "on Chronic Debility of the Stomach," pub. in "the Memoirs of the Conn. Acad, of Arts and Sciences" in 1811; which was the first essay on the subject in any language, and was much praised in this country for its high merit, and also republished in England.
His medical studies he pursued in Philadelphia under Drs. Rush and Physic. He practiced medicine at Catskill, N. Y. (1803-5), but found his asthma so aggravated by night-calls and rides, that he had to relinquish a profession that he greatly liked. The same physical infirmity had previously prevented him from choosing a life of ministerial or of didactic usefulness, as both his conscience and his taste would have early dictated.
In 1805 he engaged in the crockery-business in New Haven (Belden, Dwight & Co.), but ere long removed to New York and went into the hardware trade (Dwight, Palmer & Co., in which firm Wm. W. Woolsey, his uncle, was a secret partner). But his business was destroyed by the war of 1812, and for several years (1813-16) he lived at New Haven, and, until his marriage, at his father's house. He m. May 7, 1815, Sophia Woodbridge Strong, b. Jan. 1, 1793 (dau. of Rev. Joseph Strong and Sophia Woodbridge). Early in 1817 he moved to Catskill, N. Y., and was a hardware merchant there (1817-31) — importing his goods for himself directly from England.
He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church and active in giving Bible-class instruction on the Sabbath, and conducting religious exercises at other times. He was specially fond of addressing the colored people of the place, regularly on Sunday evening, in a neighboring school-house, where they gathered in large numbers to hear him.
In April 1831, he removed to Clinton, Oneida Co., N. Y. and became a gentleman-farmer (80 acres). He was at once elected Treasurer of Hamilton College, and, for 19 years (1831-50) labored very effectively for the financial welfare of that institution.
He was 5 feet 11 inches high, and was somewhat bent in his figure, although having a quick and elastic step. His brothers Timothy, James and Henry resembled more their father: he and his other brothers reminded one very much of their mother. Their light complexions, blue eyes and more slender forms were, so far, variations from the type of the preceding generation of Dwights. He weighed about 150 lbs. He d. of pleurisy May 18, 1850, aet. 70.
He had his father's love of statistical detail, of anecdote and incident, of doctrinal discriminations, of large scientific knowledge and of high soaring habits of moral thoughtfulness but had not an imagination of any such sweep or fervor as his. With these paternal characteristics he combined, in a marked degree, his mother's prudence, caution, economy, modesty, meekness and self-distrustfulness.
No one could be more independent than he, in forming his opinions or in expressing them when formed, or more determined and fearless always for the right. Tricks and shams of all sorts he utterly despised, and used often to say: "There are no managers in heaven." He was always in earnest, and full of personal energy.
He abounded in such instructions as these to his children: "never to become borrowers from others": "to endorse no one's paper, without proper grounds of safety ": "to remember that manners are matter" and that "you cannot drive men" and that "the true rule of action is suaviter in modo, sed fortiter in re" / "to make light always of all our troubles": "to confide in mankind generally," saying that "it was better to be cheated sometimes than not to confide"; "not to discuss the faults of others, or to make or retail gossip"; "to care always for the poor and forsaken"; which in his day meant most of all the greatly abused colored people of the land; and "to seek God's favor always," and to feel that "if we obtained that, we need not care for anything else."
He had a fine command of language, and his daily prayer with his family was almost a poem for beauty. One passage in it that always had, whenever it recurred, a fresh interest to the heart of at least one listener is well remembered. It was this: "We know not when we lie down at night that we shall rise again, until the heavens be no more; and, when we rise in the morning, we know not that we shall lie down but in the grave. Our feet will soon stumble upon the dark mountains, and our eyes be closed in the iron sleep." He had a great dread of sudden death and it was an unfailing request in all his prayers, that he and his might be delivered from it.
His sense of humor was quick and keen, and he told a story that was full of fun with fine effect.
Says Dr. Wm. B. Sprague of him (Annals Am. Pulpit, vol. ii. p. 158): "He was a man of literary taste, of a philosophical turn of mind, and of most exemplary Christian character."
For fuller account of him, see "In Memoriam," by the author (to be found in various public libraries).
Mrs. Sophia W. Dwight was remarkable for her great personal beauty and grace of mien and manners, as well as for her superior intellect, and the loveliness of her disposition and character. Her nature was full of vitality, and her heart of magnanimous impulses. All the aspects of life that gave it significance to her, its interests, duties, charms, and treasures were of a thoroughly religious kind. Her moral convictions filled her whole nature to the full with light and heat from above. She illuminated her home, while she was in it, with the brightness of her joy-inspiring presence there, and, never, since she went up from it to one higher and better, has the memory of that home been without the halo, left in the hearts of her children, of her well-remembered inspiration of all the higher life that it had within its walls.
Her health, originally fine, became greatly impaired the winter before her marriage, and never recovered its former high tone again. For the last dozen years of her life it was miserably poor, and her fine intellect settled, in the end, into sad decadence, and even imbecility. She d. Dec. 3, 1861, aet. 69. See, for full sketch of her character and life, "In Memoriam."
[For her Strong lineage, see History of Strong Family, and, for her general Woodbridge pedigree. For her immediate Woodbridge kindred, see Appendix of this book. For a brief sketch of her Eliot lineage, see below.]
Her grandfather, Rev. John Woodbridge of S. Hadley, Mass., b. Dec. 25, 1702, and settled as pastor at S. Hadley for forty-one years, (1742-83), was the son of Rev. John Woodbridge of West Springfield, Mass., b. June 10, 1678, and Jemima Eliot, b. Nov. 14, 1679 whom he m. Nov. 14, 1699. She was the daughter of Rev. Joseph Eliot, b. Dec. 20, 1638, grad. at Harvard in 1658, who was pastor at Guilford, Ct., for 30 years (1664-94), and Sarah Brenton, his first wife (dau. of Gov. Wm. Brenton of R.I., and Martha Burton, dau. of Thomas Burton of Boston).
Rev. Joseph Eliot had eight children. They were: (By Sarah Brenton.)
I. Mehitable, b. Oct. 4, 1676, m. William Wilson, and d. without issue, April 14, 1723.
II. Ann, b. Dec. 12, 1677, m. Dec. 20, 1698, Hon. Jonathan Law, of Milford, Ct., Gov. of Conn, and Chief Justice. He was b. Aug. 6, 1674, and d. Nov. 6, 1750. She d. Nov. 16, 1703.
They bad a dau. Ann, whose dau. Abigail m. Rev. John Foote of Cheshire, who were the parents of Hon. Samuel Augustus Foote, Gov. of Conn, and (J. S. Senator.
III. Jemima, b. Nov. 14, 1G79, who m. Rev. John Woodbridge.
IV. Bashua, b. in 1682, m. Augustus Lucas of Fairfield, Ct., a Huguenot refugee. Their dau. Mary Lucas, b. in New Haven, Dec. 8, 1735, in. Hon. James A. Hillhouse of New Haven.
Rev. Joseph Eliot of Guilford, after the death of his first wife, Sarah Brenton, in. about 1084-5, for a 2d wife, Mary Wyllys (dau. of Hon. Samuel Wyllys of Hartford, and Ruth Haynes, dau. of Gov John Haynes, Gov. of Mass. and afterwards of Conn.). He had (By Mary Wyllys.)
V. Rev. Jared Eliot, D.D. and M.D., b. Nov. 7, 1685, grad. at Yale in 1706, who m. Elizabeth Smieton and had 11 children. He was a man of universal genius. (See Sprague's Annals, vol. ii. p. 321.) He d. April 22, 1763.
VI. Abial Eliot, b. in 1688. m. Mary Leete. Their son Nathaniel m. Beulah Parmelee, and they had a dau. Mary Eliot, b. May 1, 1762, who m. Israel Halleck — who were the parents of Fitz-Greene Halleck.
VII. Mary Eliot, b. in 1687, who was four times married: 1st to Samuel Hart of Durham, Ct., 2d to Abraham Pierson of Clinton, Ct., 3d to Richard Treat of Wethersfield, Ct., 4th to Samuel Hooker of Kensington, Ct.
VIII. Rebecca, b. in 1690, m. John Trowbridge; and, 2d, Ebenezer Fiske of New Milford, Ct.; and, 3d, Dea. William Dudley of North Guilford, Ct.
The parents of Rev. Joseph Eliot of Guilford, Ct., were John Eliot and Ann Mountfort. He was b. in England in 1604, and m. her in Boston, Oct. 1632. She was b. in 1004, and d. March 24, 1087, aet. 84. He d. May 20, 1090, aet. 80. She was remarkable for her energy of character and her fervent piety. The Eliot family is traceable (back to the landing of William the Conqueror in England) to Sir William De Aliot, a Norman knight.
John Eliot, "the Apostle to the Indians," was grad. at Cimbridge, England, and excelled as a classical scholar and theologian. He was settled, for 58 years, as pastor at Roxbury, Mass. (1032-90). He was remarkable for his great piety and self-forgetful generosity.
(See "History of the Eliot Family.") ]
[Eighth Generation.] Children:
180 Son of Natliciniel Dwight, both of Northampton,
156. i. Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight, Ph.D., b. April 5,1816, at New Haven, Ct.
157. ii. Sophia Dwight, b. at Catskill, N. Y., Feb. 8, 1818, m. June 18, 1845, her cousin John Dwight (son of Timothy and Clarissa Dwight of New Haven, Ct.). See for account of her family, Nos. 142-7. She d. July 18, 1863, aet. 45. She was a lady of great personal beauty and sweetness of character, and delightfully religious in all her aims in life and habits of feeling. She had also strong literary and poetic tastes; and was, for her many queenly characteristics, the admiration of her relatives, and of a large circle of devoted friends. She had dark brown hair and blue eyes, and was 5 feet 4 inches high.
158. iii. Prof. William Theodore Dwight, LL.D., b. at Catskill, N.Y., July 18, 1822.
159. iv. Mary Dwight, b. at Catskill, Nov. 27, 1824, m. Hon. Elliott Anthony of Chicago and d. Feb. 11, 1864, aet. 40.
160. v. Hon. Edward Woolsey Dwight, b. at Catskill, April 8, 1827.
161. vi. Elizabeth Dwight, b. at Clinton, Aug. 5, 1831, m. Jan. 11, 1865, as his 2d wife, Hon. Elliott Anthony of Chicago, 1ll., without issue. She spent her life, while her mother lived, in most zealous and happy devotion to her welfare in every way. Her care of her sister's children after marriage was of the same high moral type, in principle and feeling. While having always but very indifferent health, she was remarkable for her great vivacity and energy at all times, and was most earnestly religious in all her plans and purposes of life. She d. June 22, 1870, aet. 38. Death was to her but going home. She turned gently away from loved ones here, only to go smilingly to those dearly beloved on high. 156. i. Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge Dwight, Ph.D., b. at New Haven, Ct., April 5, 1816, grad. at Hamilton College, N. Y., in 1835, and at the New Haven Theol. Sera, in 1838, was Tutor at Ham. Coll. for three years (1839-42). He founded in 1844 the First Cong. Ch. of Joliet, IL. (now "The Central Presb. Ch."). He established at Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1846, "Dwight's High School," a commercial and classical school for boys, which he conducted with large success for 12£ years (April, 1846 - July, 1858), during the first year in Hicks Street, near Cranberry; and afterwards at No. 2 Livingston Street, on the south side of the street, between Clinton Street and Sidney Place. This school he transferred from Brooklyn to Clinton, N. Y. (1858-63), where, from having been wholly a day-school, it became chiefly a boarding-school. He established himself afterwards (1863-7) in New York, at 1144 Broadway, near 26th Street, in the same work and with like successful results, as in the two previous instances. In May, 1867, he removed to Clinton where he has been, most of the time since that date, absorbingly engaged in literary labor, beside teaching his own children, and preaching largely in neighboring towns. In September, 1872, he became Editor-in-Chief of "The Interior," a Presb. religious weekly in Chicago, IL. — owning the paper as well as conducting it, with Rev. James H. Trowbridge as partner. But, while finding this new form of useful labor quite congenial to his taste, its pecuniary demands proved to be so unexpectedly great, especially in the hard times then prevailing over the country, and worst of all at the West, that he was glad, after five months of earnest devotion to editorial duties, to resign his proprietorship of "The Interior" to the hands of another, who saved him from all loss, and who was able to maintain it in existence at whatever pecuniary hazards.
He has contributed from time to time to various magazines ("The Bibliotheca Sacra," "The New Englander," "The N. Y. Genealogical Record," etc.), articles on education, theology, philology and genealogical matters. He is the author of "The Higher Christian Education" (A. S. Barnes & Co., Ill William Street, N. Y); "Modern Philology," First and Second Series (Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 654 Broadway, N. Y.); and "The History of the Strong Family," in 2 vols. 8vo. He is also, beside being the author of "The History of the Dwight Family," in 2 vols., author of two other works awaiting an early hour of publication: "The Higher Culture of Woman," and "The True Doctrine of Divine Providence."
His school at Brooklyn numbered, when largest, 160 pupils in attendance at one time. Its average was 120, which was the number that he left behind him in removing to Clinton. Nearly all studied Latin, the great special drill-study of the school, and large numbers of them, French and German, also, one or both, as regular daily school-studies — reciting in them to the principal himself who held them firmly to the same thorough style of work in the modern languages, as in the ancient. These were not pursued in any frivolous way for dilettante effects of any kind, but as a business demanding and rewarding high enthusiasm. This school is believed to have been the first American school in the land (1846), in which German, now so widely pursued in all better schools and colleges, was lifted up at once to the plane of an earnest, daily study. Those who were destined for college added the Greek to the study of Latin and of the modern languages. The classes higher and lower in the languages, old and new, in both grammar-drills and the reading of authors, underwent frequent changes in the members composing them, as all such classes were continually sifted under the critical exactions of the recitation-room, so as to place those of like grade, in power of true onward movement, on the same level. It was the studious policy of the school not to discourage the dull, by a style of requisitions beyond their real strength, or to leave those of superior, native powers of progress under the weakening influence of a system of school-requirements adapted to an average rate of mental energy below their own. The aim was, to busy each one to the full with his own work as such and to keep each one under the felt pressure, at all times, of the unvarying expectation, that every one would do the very best possible to him. Those who were found, on eagerly stretching themselves to their appointed duties, thoroughly capable of doing more than others associated with them in their studies, had, if they were not advanced to the class next above them, an additional study of direct, correlate value assigned to them. Every one thus found ere long his proper personal place and true personal work in the school, as determined by his own wants and aptitudes as a learner. The spirit of the school in all hearts was that expressed by those two great words, " Forwards and Upwards!"
The course of fixed preparatory study for entrance aright into college embraced four years of carefully planned, comprehensive, and progressive courses of study—presupposing a previous well-laid basis in ordinary English studies—and embracing, with thorough drill in Latin, French, German and Greek, a large range of study in history, ancient and modern, physiology, the mathematics (arithmetic, algebra, and geometry), with rhetoric, composition, and declamation; and these in no listless, perfunctory way, but as full of the most practical bearings on each one's future ever drawing swiftly nigh.
Six plump hours of fervid effort each day but Saturday, were given, with unabated gladness to the end, to the school at Brooklyn, for 12 years and more; and great was its success in every form to its closing day.
It was wholly for moral reasons alone, that such a superior educational experience was relinquished, at the very height of its history for a new and untried field of labor. The great wish, purpose, prayer, and hope of the principal were that he might be able to bring his chosen life-work, as a Christian educator and artist, under the power of ideas and methods that could not possibly be compassed within the morally restricted bounds of a city day-school. That fine intermingling of strong religious influence, continually — like the full play of an ever-active, inner life at work within them — with all the forms of energetic school-activity, which gives them all their real, moral worth and power, he longed in vain to secure, amid the distractions and frivolities of a great commercial community. He felt deeply, that, in order to reach the highest results in his work, he must unite, with the communicableuess of all good influences in the study-room and the recitation-room, those powerfully helpful influences of a collateral kind which may be secured by an earnestly watchful eye, in various hygienic, personal and moral directions appropriate to hours out of school, and to Sabbath opportunities of usefulness.
The fact also had been most particularly oppressive at Brooklyn, that, from among the large numbers that crowded the school there, filling up its three stories with animated, intellectual industry, but very few could be gathered each year into the lists of those who were preparing for college. Business, money-making and material ends and aims abounding in that commercial community poured unceasingly a floodtide of repressive influences on the thorough and large prosecution of all classical, intellectual and literary forms of culture for youth. Of the 80 or more induced to go to a dozen different colleges, out of the whole number of his pupils during his life-time, more than half have been successfully stimulated by him to such ideas of their future development. Of these some left college without completing the course, and quite a number, after finishing it reverted, as if by a fatal proclivity, to business-life again.
Mere pecuniary prosperity did not and could not meet the higher tastes and hopes of the writer, as an educator. He knew of no position, in the different connected departments of educational toil and skill, higher, for moral usefulness, or more open at all times to the diligent use of the greatest intellectual art, than that which he had chosen as his own, and as the highest choice of his heart for life. Such possibilities of greater educational effectiveness for good rose inspiringly before his mind in a more strictly classical and collegiate style of school-work to be pursued amid the quiet and beauty of rural life, that he parted deliberately, and quite against the argument of sure worldly advantage in remaining where he was, from his enviable moorings, in his work, at Brooklyn. The past had furnished there a large guarantee of what he might safely expect the future to be, in growing fulness of good and growth.
Powerfully moved by such thoughts and hopes, he went in 1858 to Clinton, the home of his youth, to set up his banner as a teacher there, in the name of God, as if for the first time. Great indeed was the venture made of both faith and money; but the feelings, that all but irresistibly prompted it, had moral foundations sufficient for the hazard. On grounds covering 18 acres and more, retired from the village about a mile to the northwest, and from his own dwelling to the southward a Little farther, he erected a large and tasteful edifice,* with nil the appointments of a first-class boarding-school, just within the
- It was built at a time when the price for a day's labor was a dollar; and carpenters, plasterers and painters worked for 10 and 11 shillings per day; and the best of building-stone was to be had for a dollar a perch delivered, and brick for $4.00 per thousand; and the choicest pine lumber cost but (83,00 per thousand feet. The rule given to all operatives and contractors everywhere was strength first, and what beauty afterwards could be procured with it. The building was designed by the writer, and the elevation was drawn by T. Floyd Thomas then of Brooklyn and afterwards of New York. The two wood-cuts of it which are here presented to view, and are superior specimens of the art of woodengraving, were prepared, as was also the family coat of arms, by William Roberts, Esq., 30 Beekman St., New York.
sum of 820,000, and which a skilful architect testified at the time of its conflagration, 7 years afterwards (1864), could not be rebuilt again as it was before, for less than $35,000. This structure he erected during the last year of his school-labors at Brooklyn; and during the summer term of 1858, which was the opening term of the new school and the closing term of the old, carried on both schools together — he passing from one post to the other, as seemed most desirable, and alternating his point of action with his associate (Rev. David A. Holbrook now of Sing Sing, N. Y.), who managed at Clinton the Boarding Department of the school.
"Dwight's Rural High School" consisted in fact of four different structures harmonized, with pleasing effect to the eye, into one, and was adorned on three sides, north, east and south, with verandas, towers and balconies. It stood westward 150 feet from Elm Street, on the east, towards which its principal front faced, and 225 feet and more from Factory Street, on the north, and was, on its northern line, running east and west, 106 feet deep. The length of its front on the east was 56 feet and on the southern side (itself properly also a front
186 Son of Nathaniel Dwight, both of Northampton,
in appearance), it had an east and west line, 84 feet long. All its rooms on the first floor were, on the school-side of the house (on the south), and on the family-side, which was on the north, large and specially well-lighted (with ceilings 14 feet high)—as were also the three large dormitories and all other rooms in the second-story, attic, and basement. No long lines, of a horizontal or vertical sort, were left imdisturbed in the construction of the edifice, but broken up carefully everywhere into a great variety of pleasing, architectural effects. This imposing structure with its fine ornamental features, and its ample and cheerful accommodations, through the range of four stories, made convenient for every practical use desired, sat conspicuously by itself, like a queen of beauty, on a fine slope of ground surrounded by trees in abundance, standing around in quiet dignity, like willing servitors waiting to know the part that they should act. With a large bright openness of presentation to the eye, from every point of view, this princely structure gave to all who approached it a sense of abounding welcome to its spacious apartments.
This school commencing with 9 boarders and 18 day-scholars rose ere long to some 90 pupils, of whom 55 were boarders. Of the day attendance upon the school, one special and very satisfactory element consisted of a dozen and more young ladies, who showed, by their diligent improvement of its privileges (1858-62), their thorough appreciation of the advantages thus offered them.
Such were the preparations made, and such the opening prospects of the Clinton School, which was in its plan and in its own inward spirit and opening history, the consummation of all its principal's gathered ideas, experiences and hopes, as an educator. But he soon found insuperable obstacles appearing in his pathway to any long continuance in his new field of effort—obstacles, of whose possible occurrence he had never dreamed. Outward influences of a destructive kind were brought to bear with fatal effect upon the most vital part of his work— influences which were special and local, and such as no quiet endurance sufficed to abate, or skilful ingenuity, well laid out, seemed able to forestall or countervail. What they were, and how they spread their upasblight over all the highest, truest, and best qualities of his work as a classical teacher, in their very bud and blossom, he has never made public. Let a veil rest to others' eyes, in the distance, over the causes of his prompt closure, at an early date, of his once almost passionately cherished plans of educational labor at Clinton, in the highest form possible to him, while life should last.
The design of the foregoing explanation of his career, as a zealous preparer of youth for the college curriculum, wherever they might choose to pursue it, will be answered if his posterity know, in consequence of it, that for none but reasons of absolute necessity in his work, did he turn, while at Clinton, from what would have otherwise proved to him there, while life lasted, the grand consummation of all his previous aspirations and efforts.
The school-premises and fixtures were leased to Rev. David A. Holbrook, in the spring of 1863; and a wholly new enterprise w-as ventured in New York, and at a season of the year without any promise in itself for new educational beginnings. But here, as before, success came soon, and in large volume. In the meantime, however, the noble school-edifice in Clinton had burned to the ground (March, 1865), in the hands of a second lessee; and his property at Clinton lay like a "rudis indigestaque moles," demanding prompt attention and care. For ten consecutive years, for the half of each year (March-September), he had been severely afflicted with boils of a carbuncular type; and, it was hoped, that this fearful bodily habit might, perchance, be thrown off by a change of employment for a season — a hope which has been for several years since most successfully realized.
Rents also had risen in New York, after the close of the war, to a height somewhat stupendous — the premises which he had occupied, renting, when he left them, at the no small price of $7,000 per year. And then, with all these various influences impelling him once more, reluctantly indeed, to a change, there was the further fact, that, several unachieved plans of literary usefulness, each of some magnitude, beckoned him on most strongly to their fulfilment. Slowly but firmly therefore he turned the key, once more, upon all thoughts of longer academic labor at that time. How he has been diligently and delightedly employed, since leaving New York in 1867, for his home in the country, has been already stated.
He founded in 1854 "The Rural Art Association" in Clinton, then his summer home, combining in its style and constitution three main ideas, social or festive, intellectual or artistic, and practical. The festive element was that of meeting every fortnight at the houses of its members, in regular succession, for a social cup of tea. The intellectual element inwoven into its character was that of having at each meeting a topic for mutual discussion, selected at the previous one, with a member appointed at the same time to open the conference or debate, as it might prove to be. The practical element was that of planting trees in all parts of the village, from time to time, as good taste might suggest to a committee appointed each year for the purpose.
The business of tree-planting was thus reduced to a system, and made a study for desirable points of accomplishment.
This society, composed usually of some twenty or twenty-five members, has enrolled in its constituency, for the twenty years of its existence, nearly all the gentlemen of superior intelligence and of public spirit hi the place. Its discussions have taken the wide range of all things useful and ornamental in country-life, as such, whether within doors or without, as well as any matters pertaining to affairs of more general concernment, except politics and theology. Its practical benefits have been very great in unifying the ideas of its members on points of taste, in respect to landscape-gardening and horticulture, and various forms of progress public and private. Clinton has, under its steady influence, become, for a small village, one well-known for its superior beauty. Any village, that will form such an association of its leading men for intelligence, will greatly rejoice over the benign results which will be ere long permanently obtained by it. Behold in this suggestion the moral of the recital of such a matter of local history!
His height is 5 feet 5 inches, and weight 160 lbs. His hair was originally dark brown, now gray, and his complexion is light and florid. His eyes are bluish gray, and he is of a sanguineo-bilious temperament.
While a teacher he had the high duty and joy of undertaking to instruct the minds and mould the characters, as he could, of 2,000 or more greatly beloved pupils.
He m. July 29, 1846, at Owego, Tioga Co., N. Y., Wealthy Jane Dewey, then residing at Joliet, IL, b. at Forestville, N. Y., April 20, 1823 (dau. of Dea. Harvey Dewey, afterwards of Jamestown, N. Y., and Betsey Maria Harrison). She was of a light, florid complexion, and had blue eyes and auburn hair. She d. Aug. 23, 1864, aet. 41. She passed quietly from this world to a better one, without fear or pain, at rest in heart with Christ.
He m. at Brooklyn, N. Y., Dec. 22, 1865, Charlotte Sophia Parish, b. at Oyster Bay, L. I., April 29, 1827 (dau. of Townsend Parish and Anne Burroughs Norris). She was, for 7 years previously to 1865, engaged in teaching, a part of the time as Lady-Principal of "Ingham University," at Leroy, N. Y., and for 4 years (1861-5), as head of the Senior Department of "The Brooklyn Heights Seminary" (Dr. Charles West, Proprietor), at Brooklyn, N. Y.
She is of a somewhat dark complexion, and has dark brown hair and dark hazel eyes, and is 5 feet 4 inches high. The children by both marriages have light complexions, light brown hair and blue eyes.
[For Dewey and Parish connections see History of the Strong Family. To the Dewey lineage there given the writer would add, concerning the Slosson lineage of Mrs. Hannah Dewey, wife of Elijah Dewey, p. 371, the following facts: She was the dau. of John Slosson of Kent, Ct., and afterwards of Scipio, N. Y., and Hannah Spencer. John Slosson was the son of Nathaniel Slosson of Kent, Ct., and Margaret Belden, dau. of William Belden of Norwalk, Ct. See for full account of Slosson Genealogy, "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. iii., 1872, pp. 107-117. Hannah Spencer was, as the author supposes, dau. of William Spencer of Salisbury, Ct. (previously of Suffield, Ct.,and Bolton, Ct.), and Hannah Copeley of Suffield, Ct. See " Goodwin's Geneal. Notes," p. 316, No. 70.]
[Ninth Generation.] Children:
By first wife:
102. i. Elka ("Lily") Dewey Dwight, b. at Brooklyn, N. Y., Feb. 21, 1850, m. at Clinton, N. Y., Jan. 2, 1873, Richard Smith Dewey, M.D., b. Dec. 6, 1845, at Forestville, N. Y. (son of Elijah Dewey, Jr., whose parents were Elijah Dewey and Hannah Slosson, a miller, and Sophia Smith, dau. of Hon. Richard Smith and Elizabeth Mack of Forestville, N. Y). He was grad. in his medical studies at the Medical Department of Michigan University (at Ann Arbor, Mich.), in April 1869, and was resident physician and surgeon for one year in the Brooklyn City Hospital, N. Y. He entered the Prussian service as a surgeon in the late war with France, and had charge cf a military hospital at Hesse Cassel (1870-1). He has been since 1872 Assistant Superintendent of the Illinois State Insane Hospital, at Elgin, 111.
1G3. ii. Sophia Edwards Dwight, b. at Brooklyn, April 8, 1853.
164. iii. Francis Edwin Dwight, b. at Clinton, N. Y., Dec. 11, 1850.
105 Isabella Jane Dwight, b. at Clinton, N. Y., Nov. 11, 1801.
Jiy second wife:
100. v. Bertha Woolsey Dwight, b. at Clinton, May 13, 1807.
158. iii. Prof. Theodore William Dwight, LL.D. (son of Dr. Benjamin W. Dwight and Sophia Strong), b. at Catskill, N. Y., July 18, 1822, grad. at Ham. Coll., N. Y., in 1840, became classical teacher in the Utica Academy; studied law (1841-2) in the Yale Law School, under Prof. Samuel J. Hitchcock — whose merits as a teacher he was always rated most highly; — was tutor at Ham. College for four years (1842-6); and Prof, there, for 12 years (1846-58) of Law, History, Civil Polity and Political Economy. In connection with his professorship, which was limited by the very terms of its endowment to undergraduate courses of study and instruction, he established a distinct department for the education of law-students as such; and procured the passage of a statute by the N. Y. legislature, admitting the graduates of his school to practice at the bar, on the simple basis of their diploma. The same provision has been since extended to the graduates of the Columbia Coll. Law School, by special state-law. The Supreme Court decided some years since, that such a statute was unconstitutional, as interfering with the inherent powers of the Court to grant admission to its practitioners. But, on an appeal to the Court of Appeals, Prof. Dwight made an elaborate, historical argument, showing the power of the legislature from time immemorial to control the whole subject. The decision of the Supreme Court was reversed, and the law maintained. His argument was published afterwards in a thick pamphlet by the Trustees of the College. See N. Y. Law Reports in the matter of Cooper. N. Y. Reports. In 1858 he was elected Prof, of Municipal Law in Columbia College, N. Y. A law-school was soon organized, of which he was made Warden, which numbered, in the year of its inception, 35 pupils, and has steadily grown, in 16 years past, to its present height of 425 students in daily attendance upon his instructions, during seven months of the year from the first week in October. The course embraces two years of study, and is made up of recitations and lectures in continual alternation throughout the whole period of instruction, with a moot-court each week for the senior class, for practice in the application of legal principles to a great variety of supposable cases. Thorough, earnest, animated drill is the law of life and work in the school. Most of the attendants upon it are graduates of college ; and great is their admiration for the didactic excellence of their accomplished, labor-loving and spirited professor. The atmosphere of the institution which is one, in its whole style and strength, of itself and by itself, and but an outward expression of its author's own inward ideas and ideals, is charged to the full with the sense of intellectual power and progress.
His great success in giving legal instruction has attracted attention very widely in this country, and even also in England. Prof. James Bryce, of the University of Oxford, Eng., author of "The Holy Roman Empire," having visited his school and witnessed the style of intellectual workmanship conducted there, wrote, on his return to England, an article entitled, "The Legal Profession in America," for "Macmillan's Magazine," vol. 25, pp. 206-18, in which he says: "Columbia College in New York is fortunate in possessing a professor of great legal ability and an extraordinary gift of exposition, whose class-rooms, like those at Harvard, are crowded by large and highly intelligent audiences. Better law-teaching than Mr. D wight's, it would be hardly possible to imagine. It would be worth an English student's while, to cross the Atlantic to attend his course."
Albert Venn Dicey, Esq., also an English counsellor at law and a legal writer of repute, says, in the same magazine, in advocating the establishment in England of systematic courses of legal instruction (in an article, entitled," Legal Education," pp. 115-27, vol. 25, year 1872): "New York possesses the best Law-school in the United States, and one quite unlike any institution existing in England, where constant classes, filled with ardent pupils, are taught the elements of English law, by one of the ablest professors that any school of law ever possessed. The only force that keeps them full is the force exercised by a man of genius, who knows how to teach what his pupils need to learn. Prof. Dwight has a reputation throughout the whole Union, as the greatest living American teacher of law."
In 1869 Prof. Dwight became a non-resident professor of Constitutional Law in Cornell University, at Ithaca, N. Y., giving a course of 12 lectures there each year upon that subject, in the month of June, at the end of his course of instruction at his law-school in New York. Since 1870 he has given the same course of lectures at Amherst College, Mass., immediately after finishing his course at Ithaca.
He was a member of the N. Y. Constitutional Convention of 1867, and of its judiciary committee. He was active in the deliberations and debates of that body, and of his own special committee in it, and was the author and promoter of a number of provisions which now form a part of the judiciary article of our State Constitution.
In the recent reform-movements in the city of New York, he was an earnest and efficient actor; and was a member of the now historic "Committee of Seventy," and in 1873 was the chairman of its legislative committee, which so successfully resisted partisan legislation before the legislature, as to secure in the present city-charter some of its most useful provisions.
He has been greatly interested for many years in the labors of the N. Y. State Prison Association, having been most of the time chairman of its executive committee, and being now (1874) its President. He has prepared quite a number of its published reports. In conjunction with Rev. Dr. E. C. Wines then Secy, of the Association he visited, a few years since, by its appointment, a large number of state-prisons and penitentiaries in this and other neighboring States, and in Canada. The results of their investigations were published in a thick volume, which was received with marked favor in this country and in Europe.
He has argued many important law-cases in the N. Y. courts. The whole law of charitable foundations as they have existed in England from time immemorial, was investigated by him in the case of " Rose against the Rose Beneficent Association" in 1803, in so thorough a way as to clear up permanently a subject previously obscure in its judicial aspects in this country. He maintained conclusively for the first time, that charitable or public trusts are recognized, and enforced by the court of chancery, as a part of its original jurisdiction. See remarks of the N. Y. Court of Appeals, in the case of Bascom and Albertson, N. Y. Reports. His researches in the Rose case were published in two octavos entitled, " Dwight on Charitable Uses," and made him extensively known, as specially versed in the law of charities. He has been much engaged since that time in the administration of charitable affairs in the State; and has been, from the beginning, Vice-President of the N. Y. Board of State Charities. He was the author of its first elaborate report on the condition of the almshouses of the State, which was printed by authority of the State, and so clearly exhibited the abuses of our poor-law system, as to induce a strong, public demand for their removal; and great have been the reforms which have, since that time, been accomplished in respect to them.
He has been, for several years, an Associate Editor of "The American Law Register," a legal periodical published in Philadelphia. Some of the articles in it from his pen have been published afterwards in a separate form; one of which especially drew much public attention to itself, that on "Trial by Impeachment," which was called out by the proceedings in the case of Prest. Andrew Johnson. He is also the legal editor of "Johnson's Cyclopaedia of Literature and Science," (A. J. Johnson, New York, 1874), now in course of progressive publication, and is a large contributor of articles on many legal subjects— his name being subjoined to those of any special value.
The latest public duty and honor conferred upon him has been his appointment (Dec. 30, 1873) by Gov. John A. Dix, afterwards ratified by the State Senate, as a member of " The Commission of Appeals" of the State, a judicial tribunal, sharing the duties and honors of "The Court of Appeals," the highest court in the State. His services as a judge are demanded at times compatible with the continuance of his labors in his law school, and he is now filling both spheres of high action with honor to himself, and advantage to those whom in such large numbers he serves.
He has always had strong literary tastes, and still reads the classics and leading German, French, and Italian authors with ease and relish. His memory is remarkably comprehensive and retentive in its grasp.
He is a member of " The Madison Square Presb. Church," and has been since 1873 an elder in it.
He m. Aug. 24, 1847 Mary Bond Olmstead, b. Feb. 26, 1823, (dau. of Asa Olmstead, Esq., of Clinton N. Y., previously of Northfield, Ct., and Mary Proctor Bond). He is 5 feet 10 inches high, of florid complexion, light auburn hair (originally), dark hazel eyes and of a sanguine temperament and broad frame and weighs 200 pounds. She has light auburn hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion and is of a full figure standing 5 feet 3 inches high.
[Asa Olmstead was the son of Asa Olmstead of Enfield, and Charlotte Dwight, dau. of Seth Dwight of Somers, Ct., and Joanna Kellogg. See subsequent page.
Mary Proctor Bond, b. at Plainfield, Mass., Nov. 16, 1792, was the dau. of Dr. Solomon Bond of Enfield, Ct., and Sarah Hinckley. The genealogy of the Hinckley Family.
I. Samuel Hinckley, the settler, came from Tenterden, Kent, Eng., in the ship Hercules, in the spring of 1635, and settled at Scituate, removing in 1640 to Barnstable, Mass., where he spent the rest of his days. His wife's name was Sarah, and they brought with them four children to this country, viz: Gov. Thomas Hinckley, b. in 1621 and d. 1700, aet. 85. 2. Susanna, who m. in 1643 Rev. John Smith of Barnstable. 3. Sarah, who m. Dec. 12, 1649, Elder Henry Cobb. 4. Mary, He had also children b. in this country, viz: 5. Elizabeth, b. in Scituate, who m. July 15, 1657, Elisha Parker. 6. Samuel, b. in Barnstable, July 24, 1642, m. Oct. 7, 1661, a dau. of John Gorum of Plymouth. 8. John, b. May 24, 1644. The mother of these children d. Aug. 18, 1656, and he m. for 2d wife Bridget, widow of Robert Bobfish of Sandwich. He d. Oct. 31, 1662.
II. Geo. Thomas Hinckley, b. in 1621, m. Dec. 4, 1641, Mary, dau. of Thomas Richards of Weymouth, who d. June 24, 1659, and he m. for 2d wife, March 16, 1660, Mary Glover, nee Smith, b. in Lancashire, Eng., 1630, widow of Nathaniel Glover, son of Hon. John Glover of Dorchester, Mass. She d. July 29, 1703, aet. 73. He d. April 25, 1706, aet. 87. He was an "assistant" in the Govt. of Plymouth
Benjamin W. Dwight, MD's Timeline
February 10, 1780
Northampton, MA, USA
April 5, 1816
New Haven, CT, USA
February 8, 1818
Catskill, NY, USA
July 18, 1822
Catskill, NY, USA
November 27, 1824
Catskill, NY, USA
April 8, 1827
Catskill, NY, USA
August 5, 1831
Clinton, NY, USA
May 18, 1850