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[p. 45]

An old Medford Schoolboy.

On February 10, at New Bedford, there passed away one, a native of Medford (and whose boyhood days were spent here), who is kindly remembered by his old associates still living. These lines are not intended as obituary; rather an appreciative mention of one we have never met, or even heard of, till in recent years.

Thomas Meriam Stetson was the son of Rev. Caleb Stetson, the second Unitarian pastor of Medford's First Parish. His birth occurred in the house on High street, later the home of Rev. Charles and Miss Lucy Ann Brooks, June 15, 1830. His later boyhood home was the parsonage house, erected on the site of the present St. Joseph's parochial residence. His early education was in the schools of Medford (public and private), and his college course was at Harvard, graduating there in 1849. After study in the Dane Law


to the bar in 1854.

His father's pastorate (of twenty-one years) in Medford closed in 1848, prior to the son's graduation, and this may account for the settlement of this Medford boy elsewhere. He began the practise of law in New Bedford, in 1854, associated himself with an eminent and established law firm, and himself attained and maintained high rank. This is evidenced by the important cases of [p. 46] both public and private business with which he had to do. After a long and successful career, he was succeeded by his sons, under the name of Stetson & Stetson; but he kept up his daily visits to the office, retaining the service of coachman and ‘sleek horse’ instead of modern automobile.

A few years since, the Register's editor was happily surprised in receiving a letter from Mr. Stetson, which by his permission appeared in our columns (Vol. XIII, p. 93), and which was of much interest. From time to time he wrote us encouraging and appreciative letters, indicative of his interest in the Register and of his boyhood's home and haunts. One day when we were absent from Medford for months, he sent a carefully prepared article (Vol. XVII, p. 73), that in our need at the time was ‘a bridge that brought us safely over.’ It was our wish to have presented his likeness with the ‘Medford Octogenarians’ but his modesty forbade; and so the old schoolhouse he knew was substituted.

By the courtesy of the New Bedford Evening Standard we are now able to do so.

In the stress of his professional life, Mr. Stetson had not been in Medford for years, and upon receiving the map of the city he requested, found it difficult to locate some old places by present names. Consequently, an article he intended to prepare, came from the able pen of our townsman Hooper (Vol. XVIII, p. 25), and in this, Mr. Stetson expressed a lively interest and satisfaction. It was our intent in the spring to visit him, and hear from his own lips something of our home city in the old days.

His son informs us that he awaited with interest the Register's coming, and read with pleasure its last number; and only the day before his passing away told of his boyhood pleasures along the old canal's banks and especially of the great aqueduct over the river. We would have been pleased to have welcomed him in our editorial sanctum, from whose pleasant windows he might [p. 47] have viewed the locality as it now is, and in which he would have been interested.

From the Standard we quote:

In his fine, large estate, on Ash street, Mr. Stetson showed his love for nature, by gathering many of the most beautiful trees and shrubs. In his hothouses, he has grown many strange and curious forms of vegetation,—oranges, figs, bananas, century plants, lovely orchids from far corners of the world, and lordly palms.

There is something pleasant in the thought, even in the solemn presence of death, that he was privileged to live his best years amid such beautiful surroundings, and there die at last at an age to which few men attain.

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