Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Willard, Simon (settler)

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WILLARD, Simon, settler, b. in Horsemonden, Kent, England, in April, 1605; d. in Charlestown, Mass., 24 April, 1676. He was the son of Richard Willard, came to New England in 1634, and was a founder of Concord, of which he was clerk from 1635 till 1653. He represented it in the legislature from 1636 till 1654, and was assistant and councillor from 1654 till 1676. He removed to Lancaster in 1660, in 1672 to Groton, and on the dispersion of the inhabitants of that town by the Indian wars, in which he served as major of militia, settled in Salem. He became a magistrate, and died while holding a court in Charlestown. The Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton calls him “a sage patriot in Israel, whose wisdom assigned him a seat at the council-board, and his military skill and martial spirit entitled him to the chief place in the field.” A letter from Maj. Simon Willard to the commissioners of the United Colonies in 1654 is contained in Thomas Hutchinson's “Collection of Original Papers relative to the History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay” (Boston, 1769). See his “Life,” by Joseph Willard (Boston, 1858).—

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His son, Samuel, clergyman, b. in Concord, Mass., 31 Jan., 1640; d. in Boston, Mass., 12 Sept., 1707, was graduated at Harvard in 1659, studied divinity, was ordained minister at Groton in 1663, and continued there until the Indian war of 1676. He became colleague with the Rev. Thomas Thacher, the first pastor of the Old South church in Boston, and continued in connection with that church until his death. A story illustrating his excellent delivery is told. His son-in-law, the Rev. Samuel Neal, preached for him in the Old South church, and the sermon being considered very poor, the congregation requested that he should not be invited to fill the pulpit. Mr. Willard borrowed the identical sermon and read it to the same audience, which immediately requested a copy for publication. On the retirement of Increase Mather from the presidency of Harvard, Mr. Willard, being vice-president, succeeded to the government of that college, serving in 1701-'7. He published numerous sermons, including “Sermon occasioned by the Death of John Leverett, Governor of Massachusetts” (Boston, 1679); “The Duty of a People that have renewed their Covenant with God” (1680); “Ne Sutor ultra Crepidam, or Brief Animadversions upon the New England Anabaptists' Late Fallacious Narrative” (1681); “Mourner's Cordial against Excessive Sorrow” (1691); “Peril of the Times displayed” (1700); and other treatises, and left "Expositions upon Psalms, Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, and other compositions in manuscript, which were edited and published by Joseph Sewall and Thomas Prince, colleague pastors of the Old South church, with the title of “A Compleat Body of Divinity in Two Hundred and Fifty Lectures on the Assembly's Shorter Catechism,” in what is said to be the first miscellaneous folio volume that was published in this country (Boston, 1726). — Samuel's son, Josiah, jurist, b. in Massachusetts, 1 May, 1681; d. in Boston, Mass., 6 Dec., 1756, was graduated at Harvard in 1698, and was secretary of Massachusetts from June, 1717, until his death, being known as “the good secretary.” He was judge of probate in 1731, and a member of the council in 1734. — Samuel's grandson, Samuel, clergyman, b. in Kingston, Jamaica, W. I., in 1705; d. in Kittery, Me., 25 Oct., 1741, was the son of John, who was graduated at Harvard in 1690, and was a merchant of Jamaica for several years. After graduation at Harvard in 1723, the son was appointed to the charge of a pastorate in Biddeford, Me., in 1730. See “The Minister of God approved: a Sermon at the Ordination of Mr. John Hovey, with a Funeral Sermon on Samuel Willard,” by William Thompson, A. M., and a preface by Thomas Prentice (Boston, 1743). — The second Samuel's son, Joseph, clergyman, b. in Biddeford, Me., 9 Jan., 1738; d. in New Bedford, Mass., 25 Sept., 1804, was left fatherless at an early age, and made several coasting voyages. Through the generosity of friends he entered Harvard, was graduated in 1765, and in the next year was chosen tutor there, remaining until 1772. He was ordained colleague, with the Rev. Joseph Champney, of the 1st Congregational church in Beverly, Mass., on 25 Nov., 1772, and in 1781 was elected president of Harvard, serving until his death. His only publications were a few sermons, a Latin address on the death of Washington, prefixed to the Rev. David Tappan's “Discourse” (Cambridge, 1800), and mathematical and astronomical papers in the “Memoirs of the American Academy,” and the “Transactions” of the Philosophical society. He was a sound Greek scholar, and left a Greek grammar in manuscript. — The second Samuel's grandson, Solomon, architect, b. in Petersham, Worcester co., Mass., 26 June, 1783; d. in Quincy, Mass., 27 Feb., 1862, worked in his father's carpenter-shop, and farmed till 1804, when he went to Boston, where he followed his trade. Subsequently he became an expert wood-carver, his first important work in that art being the colossal spread eagle that was placed on the old custom-house in Boston. He began to carve in stone in 1815, was employed in decorating many public buildings in Boston, and gave lessons in architecture and drawing. He was a founder of the Boston mechanics' institute. On 2 Nov., 1825, he was chosen architect and superintendent of Bunker Hill monument, his design having been accepted by the building committee in the following year. He was engaged on this work for the subsequent seventeen years, being frequently interrupted by want of funds and by disagreements in the committee in charge; but on 23 July, 1842, the top-stone of the monument was laid, and on the anniversary of the battle in 1843 its completion was celebrated in the presence of the president of the United States, his cabinet, and a large concourse of citizens from every part of the Union. Mr. Willard's other works include the U. S. branch bank, Boston, the plan of the soldiers' monument at Concord, Mass., the court-house at Dedham, Mass., and the Harvard monument in Charlestown, Mass. He introduced the free use of granite as a building material in this country, furnished the first granite paving-stones that were ever used in Boston, invented many ingenious plans for working stone, and, as carpenter, designer, architect, and builder, was greatly in advance of his contemporaries. See “Memoir of Solomon Willard,” by William W. Wheildon (Boston, 1865). — Joseph's son, Sidney, educator, b. in Beverly, Mass., 19 Sept., 1780; d. in Cambridge, Mass., 6 Dec., 1856, was graduated at Harvard in 1798, where he was librarian in 1800-'5, and Hancock professor of Hebrew and other Oriental languages from 1807 until his resignation. In connection with this professorship he was also professor of the English language, and in 1827 the charge of the Latin department was assigned to him also. He studied theology and sometimes preached. He was mayor of Cambridge from 1848 till 1850, served frequently in the legislature, and was once a member of the executive council. He was a member of the Anthology club, and a founder of “The Literary Miscellany,” established and edited the “American Monthly Review” (4 vols., 1832-'3), was editor of “The Christian Register,” contributed to numerous periodicals, and published a “Hebrew Grammar” (Cambridge, 1817), and “Memoirs of Youth and Manhood” (2 vols., 1855). — Another son of Joseph, Joseph, author, b. in Cambridge, Mass., 14 March, 1798; d. in Boston, Mass., 12 May, 1865, studied at Phillips Exeter academy, was graduated at Harvard in 1816, studied law in Amherst, practised in Waltham and Lancaster, and settled in Boston in 1829. He became master of chancery in 1838, was appointed joint clerk with George C. Wilde, of the supreme court and court of common pleas of Suffolk county, and held these offices until 1856, when they became elective. He was then chosen clerk of the superior court for five years, and re-elected for a like term in 1861. Mr. Willard was corresponding secretary of the Massachusetts historical society from 1829 till 1864, and many years a trustee of the old Boston library. He was the author of “Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Town of Lancaster in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” (Worcester, 1826); “Address to the Members of the Bar of Worcester County, 2 Oct., 1829” (Lancaster, 1830); “Address in Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Incorporation of Lancaster, Mass., with an Appendix” (Boston, 1853); “The Willard Memoir, or Life and Times of Major Simon Willard, and Some Account of the Name and Family in Europe from an Early Day” (1858); “Naturalization in the American Colonies” (1859); and “Letter to an English Friend on the Rebellion in the United States and on the British Policy” (1862). He edited the fifth edition of the “Narrative of the Captivity and Removes of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson among the Indians” (Lancaster, 1828), and was the author of many addresses, pamphlets, and contributions to various magazines. He left, incomplete, a “Life” of Gen. Henry Knox. — Joseph's nephew, Samuel, clergyman, b. in Petersham, Mass., 19 April, 1775: d. in Deerfield, Mass., 8 Oct., 1859, spent his early life on his father's farm, and, receiving an injury in the back which unfitted him for agricultural labor, prepared for college, was graduated at Harvard in 1803. He was a tutor at Bowdoin in 1804-'5, studied theology there and in Cambridge, and in 1807 became pastor of the Congregational church in Deerfield, where he remained until he resigned in 1829, owing to loss of sight. He then conducted a school with his son-in-law in Hingham, Mass., for three years, and occasionally preached. He became a member of the American academy of arts and sciences in 1815, and received the degree of D. D. from Harvard in 1826. In addition to many pamphlets, sermons, and school-books, he published the “Deerfield Collection of Sacred Music” (1808); “Original Hymns” (1823); “Index to the Bible, with Juvenile Hymns” (1826); “The Franklin Primer” (1826); a “General Class-Book” (1828); “Sacred Poetry and Music Reconciled: a Collection of Hymns” (1830); and an “Introduction to the Latin Language” (1835). — The second Joseph's son, Sidney, soldier, b. in Lancaster, Mass., 3 Feb., 1831; d. in Fredericksburg, Va., 13 Dec., 1862, was graduated at Harvard in 1852, and studied and practised law in Boston. During the civil war he entered the National army, and was made major of the 35th Massachusetts regiment on 27 Aug., 1862, and fell at Fredericksburg, Va.