By Mrs. Vesta Westgate Glines, read at the Alumni re-union.
March 28th, 1860, the Board of education authorized the Secretary to correspond with reference to a teacher for a female school of the highest order. In the annual report of the Board to the town Council, under date of March 22d, ’51, is this entry: “During the year the Board of Education have secured the services of Mr. M. D. Kingsley for Superintendent, who also teaches the Boys’ High School. The services of Miss Pickett who teaches the Girls’ High School.” It is probable the High School was established in the fall of 1850, though there is no formal record of the fact.
July 22d, 1853, the first class graduated. A class of seventeen. At the time of their graduation the teachers were Mr. E. D. Kingsley and Miss Lucy Temple. The members of the Board: I. W. Andrews, president; Beman Gates, secretary; Lucius Brigham, Robert Crawford and T. W. Ewart.
The Commencement exercises were held in the school-room. The Board, their wives and particular friends of the class, were invited. The music consisted of duets, choruses, songs sung by the class. All passing off nicely however; we were as well satisfied, as any class which has since graduated with sound of the cornet and flourish of trumpet.
While memory holds her sway, we can never forget “ye olden times” thirty-four years ago, when we and our “Alma Mater” as well, were young, but many have been the changes in the years which have passed; to some time has brought choice and rich blessings, to others, adversity and trials; some have been a blessing to the communities in which they have lived, and thankfully we can say, none have been a curse; many lives that bid fair to be the richest and fullest have passed away first. Among the number of these is Justus Morse, who died three years after graduation. Had he lived he certainly would have made a name and place for himself among the great men of his times; besides being class poet he was famous for his knowledge of chemistry; in that recitation he never failed. His sister, Maria Morse graduated in the class with him. After she left school she taught for a while in the country, also in the union schools. She was very energetic and enterprising, and she filled the eight years she lived after graduation with kind acts, and good deeds, showing she was one who could master circumstances and not be molded by them.
The next to be called home, was Maria Booth, one of the sweetest and loveliest girls of our class, with a gentle affectionate spirit, shrinking to quiet corners with congenial friends, yet a patient toiler for other’s good. Called away in the morning of life, before she had sorrowed or suffered much; who shall say, hers was not the better lot.
Immediately after leaving school John Morse obtained a situation with the engineering corps, engaged in surveying and locating the old M. & C. R. R. He followed this business successfully for several years, until obtaining a situation, as agent of the T. H. & St. L. R. R. at Alton, Ill. He remained with the Western R. R. Co. until failing health required him to give up active duties; overwork resulted in the complete breaking down of his physical strength and of the consequent fatal result of an over-worked brain he died Feb. 13th 1880 at the age of 44. We might say a great deal more of this kind, great-hearted class-mate, but everyone who knew him needs no reminding of this generous hearted man.
These, our classmates, died single. The first of those who married, to leave a loving husband and little children, was Virginia Nye Ford, who died in Iowa four short years after her marriage, leaving two motherless daughters, the youngest a few days old. How sad must have been that home when the change and shadow fell, when the wife and mother went out into that wider life. I do not think that they in the heavenly peace and freedom will go on so fast beyond us who stay here, as to go away, for we who stay and bear, are climbing, by rough, grand steps, to as beautiful heights.
Carrie Brigham married William Rankin Feb. 12th, 1863. Her married life was spent in Putnam, O. They were given an only son who, with the father, was called to mourn the loss of a devoted mother and true and faithful wife, when Carrie went home, twenty-one years after marriage. It seemed that her life’s work was not nearly done, and one so loved and loving could not be spared. The swift passing away of our classmates causes us to exclaim, with the poet –
“Life is but a beautiful shell,
Thrown up by eternity’s flow,
On Time’s bank of quicksand to dwell,
And a moment its loveliness show.
Gone back to the elements grand,
Is the billow that cast it ashore;
See another is washing the sand,
And the delicate shell is no more.”
Mary Slocomb graduated at the age of seventeen, married Dr. David Cotton Nov. 21st, 1861, going to Portsmouth to live. She has had four daughters, and one son who died in infancy. Grace, the oldest daughter, was the valedictorian of her class and spent some time in Boston at an art school. Mary, the second daughter, also took the first honor of her class and is in the Senior class in the Women’s College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Mary has been foremost in the good works of Portsmouth, her name intimately connected with the Children’s Home of that place. Her life has seemed to us who have looked on to have been a success in the very best sense of the word.
Jennie Butler was the first one of the class to marry. She was married at her home in the East to J. Russell Crawford, sixty-nine days after graduation. Her only child, Walter Wells Crawford, was born August 26th, 1854, and died at the age of sixteen. Mr. Crawford died in March, 1859. Four years afterward Mrs. Crawford married Dr. H. B. Shipman. Since Mr. Crawford’s death Jennie’s life has been spent in Marietta.
Her life’s cup has been filled to the brim, containing bitter and sweet, joy and sorrow. Her work has been in her home, and her church, and those who know her best love her most.
Sophia Browning was the second one of the class to marry. She lived at her home in Belpre until she married Mr. Clark, who practiced law in Marietta, until the late war. Mr. Clark was instrumental in raising the 36th O.V.I., who were encamped in the fair grounds. He became Colonel of this regiment, and was killed at the battle of Antietam, August 17th, 1863, and buried with military honors in the Mound Cemetery.
At Col. Clark’s death Sophia was left a widow at the age of twenty-six, with four children. I think it impossible to find one at that age with such heavy responsibilities, that showed more courage than she, in doing and bearing, with no word of complaint. Her step-son, Joseph, went out with the one hundred days men and was killed. Thus she gave husband and son to her country. In ’63 she returned to Belpre and devoted her life to the care of her blind mother and fatherless children, until she died September 6, 1878. In speaking of death she said: “I love to think of this life and the next as a school, and leaving this life and entering the Heavenly world as only being promoted from a lower to a higher grade.”
Her children have all lived to be an honor to their mother and to one who was a mother to them after they were left fatherless and motherless.
Mary Gilbert went to her home in Belpre after graduation. Soon after she had a large music class in Pomeroy, afterward was governess near Charleston. Wishing to perfect herself in music she went to Boston, where she became acquainted with her husband, Mr. Wm. B. Porter. For years she has been a great sufferer with spinal trouble. She has had three children; the oldest daughter is with her Savior. Mary is a good, Christian worker, and notwithstanding her sickness, has done good missionary work in her Iowa home. We hope her life may be spared these many years to loving husband, children and many friends, who feel, if she were taken away, her place could never be filled.
Elizabeth Soyez remained at her home in Marietta until the spring of ’58, when she was married to Lewis Stockman and went with him to Lawrenceburg, Ind., to live. Her husband entered the army in ’61 and died in Andersonville prison in ’64, after a confinement there of eleven months. At his death Elizabeth was left a widow with four small children, the oldest only a little over five years old. Who that has never passed through similar trials can write the history of a life such as hers must have been, can tell of her sorrows, cares and responsibilities, of her many sad hours and heart aches, or of the good end and the gladness, the joy and thanksgiving in these later years as her children, all spared to her, have grown to be a real blessing and comfort. When we speak of sacrifices made for a loved country, we should not forget those mothers who gave their husbands and their children’s father.
Rhoda Shipman was married to Rev. Temple Cutler, Aug. 15th, 1860. She has two daughters of whom she has every reason to be proud. In the fall of ’61, Rev. Mr. Cutler entered the army as Chaplain of the 9thMaine. At the close of the war they were among the freedmen, employed by the A. M. A. five years. At present Mr. Cutler is settled over a church in Essex, Massachusetts. As a missionary, and minister’s wife, Rhoda has had rare opportunities for doing good, and faithfully has she improved them. We all preach our sermon, but not all with the same earnestness.
One of the class, Julia Holden, has held to her maiden name. Her life has been a busy, happy life full of thought for others, full of kind acts and self-sacrifice. Julia is a true, christian woman, ever ready with the sympathetic word, the hand and heart to help; her life has been one of love, and prayer, and faith, and doing; would there were more like her. Until the last year she has lived in Marietta. Now she is with her brother in Petroleum, West Virginia.
The third one of the class to marry was Vesta Westgate. After leaving school she taught two years in the Union Schools on Greene St. Nov. 1, 1855, married C. E. Glines. Her home has always been in Marietta, her life a quiet, sheltered, happy one. Many blessings [have] been bestowed upon her. Among the greatest, the four children given them. One God took back; three he has trusted them with. The passing years have left their traces upon them both; but what life that is worth the living, does not make its record. Few have had warmer and truer friends than they, and none have loved and appreciated their friends more.
Hattie Shipman taught in the Washington St. School, the 4th St. Grammar School and for one year was assistant in the High School. She was valedictorian of the class of 1853; married Martin Follet, who was valedictorian of his class; their son Dewey taking the first honor in his class; and the Grand daughter, Harriet, bids fair to keep the ball rolling. Hattie buried her only daughter, and her son Charlie, went out from home a healthy, happy lad, and in three short hours was brought back a corpse, drowned, with three playmates, while skating on the Muskingum.
Hattie’s life was a pure and happy one. She lived above the level of jealousy and petty selfishness, rejoicing in the success and happiness of every one. Her death adds one more to the list of loved ones the class of ’53 have in that better land.
Mary Tolford left Marietta soon after graduation to teach in Monmouth, Ill. There she married Mr. A. B. Page, who owned a stock farm near that place. Mary and her husband have been for many years members of the Baptist church. Mr. Page was a prominent man in that part of the state, a widower with several children. Mary has been the mother of nine children, four of whom have died; her eldest son has taken a preemption claim at the far west; the oldest daughter is a missionary at Salt Lake City, under auspices of the W. B. H. M. Mr. Page died in ’81, and Mary has resided on the farm until this spring when she went to Monmouth to educate her younger children. In speaking of her life, Mary says: “My life has been one of constant self-sacrifice, of toiling and striving for others, and yet it has brought its joys and reward; if I have had much care and toil, I also have had my share of love and happiness.” Mrs. Page has never returned to Marietta since she first left, and her letter tells very little of her life’s work, but enough, so we can know she has earned the “well done” which will be said to those who faithfully use their opportunities.
William B. Loomis was born at New London, Conn.; removed to Marietta in 1840; he is of Puritan stock, his ancestors having come from London, Eng., to Boston in the ships Susan and Ellen in 1638. He entered the High School at about twelve years of age and graduated at the age of sixteen, after which he studied jurisprudence and read law sufficient to enable him to be admitted to the Bar in ’57 by the District Court then held at Marietta. Since then he has practiced law continuously with the exception of five years from July ’68 to July ’73, spent upon the Bench as Common Pleas and District Judge. He still has his office at Marietta, is engaged in a general practice of the law in the courts. He was married Oct. 1st, 1860 to Harriet Frances Wheeler, who died in 1879. The children of this marriage are three boys and one daughter, who died in infancy. Judge Loomis was again married June 15, 1880, to Mrs. N. C. Hodkinson. One son is the only child of this marriage. The class of ’53 wish to impress it upon the mind of Judge Loomis, that they look to him for all political honors.
There are now living, nine members of the class, twenty-eight children, and eight grand children.
The class of 1853 has given to the world dutiful daughters, first-class school teachers, devoted, self-sacrificing mothers, and faithful wives.
One energetic business man, whose life was shortened by his endeavors to earn a place for himself among the foremost men of his times, and one Judge who has great future possibilities.
The Marietta High School may well be proud of her Alumni, but while the class of ’53 dip their Pennant in salute and welcome to the class of ’87 they lower it to none.