William Henry Cummings, 1839-1915.
Amidst the feverish excitement of the present day there is brought home to the thoughtful mind the frailty of humanity; today we are here and tomorrow have stepped over the great divide into the realms of eternity. And it is well that there should be something more than mere passing mention made of the decease of one of the members of the Society who was for a long time an inhabitant and honored citizen of Medford, William Henry Cummings. Though not prominent in active affairs of the city, yet he was keenly alive to the interests and progress of city affairs. Mr. Cummings was born in Boston, August 10, 1839, from which city his parents moved to New York state. When he was about fourteen years of age he came to Medford. At about nineteen he engaged in business in Cuba for a period of five years, returning to the United States near the close of the war. Within a short time he again went to Cuba and remained two or three years, returning to Medford, where in 1869 he was married to Miss Louisa M. B. Pierce, daughter of Deacon James Pierce, in the old First Baptist meeting house on Salem street. For a period of about seven years Mr. Cummings was associated with the Florence Sewing Machine Company, [p. 68] at Florence, Mass., and at the end of that engagement established his home in Medford and became connected with the Tufts Soda Fountain Company in 1878, serving as a trusted and efficient accountant for twenty years. When the Tufts concern was merged with the trust Mr. Cummings was without employment, but, nothing daunted, he immediately took civil service examination and entered upon a new line of duty at the Navy Yard in Charlestown. For ten years he discharged with the same degree of fidelity and care his duties amid new surroundings, and, there also, the same congeniality and considerateness which had made him a most happy yokefellow in other employments was ever present; so much so, in fact, that it was with a great sense of personal loss that his fellow employees witnessed his failing physical powers and ultimately the laying aside of his pen. Mr. Cummings was a graduate of our high school under his uncle, the late Charles Cummings, one of our most honored citizens. In 1858 Mr. Cummings united with the First Baptist church, and from that time until his decease was a constant attendant upon, and supporter of, its activities, serving for over fifteen years as clerk of the corporation. He was a member of the Medford Historical Society for about ten years. He had an unusual mind for retaining facts, and incidents in connection with the city were recalled as clearly as though they were of but recent occurrence, and coming, as he did, from an old family whose connections in the town and city were somewhat closely identified with its history, Mr. Cummings was able to disclose many interesting associations with the life of Medford. He is survived by three children, Misses Faith and Blanche and Mr. Louis W. Cummings,—an older daughter, Miss Grace Cummings, having died in 1895, and his wife in 1907.
—P. W. A.