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removed to Westford, in which place he is yet engaged in the work of his calling.

ASAHEL PLYMPTON succeeded Dr. Dow, establishing himself in Shirley in 1852. He studied, for a time, in the office of Dr. Gilman Kimball, of Lowell. Afterward he attended courses of lectures in Hanover, New Hampshire, and in Woodstock, Vermont, and received his medical diploma from the last-named institution, in 1843. He began his work in Hebron, Connecticut, where he remained only a few months, when he went to Monroe, Maine, where he continued several years. He then came to Shirley and has been in successful practice unto the present time, (1882] more than thirty years.

NATHANIEL KINGSBURY came to Shirley in 1857. It was not his purpose to practise his profession, but rather to seek retirement from what had been his life-calling. He did not refuse the occasional solicitations of those who desired his advice and attendance, yet he sought no custom. He graduated at the Bowdoin institution in Brunswick, Maine, in 1829. He practised his profession for a time in Georgia, but passed the longest period of active public duty in Temple, New Hampshire. He left Shirley in 1865, and has since died.

The great comparative importance attached 'to the practice of medicine at the present day, marks—to a certain extent—the changes that have occurred in the habits and wants of society since the period at which this history commenced. Then, a large majority of the educated men sought the pulpit or the bar as their arena of operations; now, a large part of the scholars resort to the healing art, as an equally honorable and far more lucrative sphere of labor. Then, very few physicians were classically educated ;-many of them served what they termed an apprenticeship with some established practitioner, and thus acquired a knowledge of the remedies for human diseases, as the artisan acquires the secret of his

craft;-of course but few of the faculty were received to other posts of public trust. Now, our ablest writers, statesmen, legislators and rulers, are fully represented by members of this profession. Then, the habits of the population were simple, industrious, hardy,—inured from childhood to healthy physical training, and standing in little need of frequent medical treatment. Now, we live in an age of fast men, where fashion supersedes prudence, and excess enervates physical strength ;—where, indeed, the general habit of gross living and careless action wears down the physical system, to such an extent that the artificial aid which a physician can proffer is in frequent requisition. A little more care and prudence would, in the way of prevention, save many a hard-earned penny to meet the substantial wants of a healthy existence,—and save the evil of many a pain which doctors and drugs may vainly attempt to eradicate and cure.

CHAPTER VIII.

Town HallLegacy of Hon. James P. Whitney-Do

nations of Thomas and George A. WhitneyLạying the Corner-stoneProceedings and Report of Building Committee-Dedication of the HallVillage. Hall— Liberality of its owner, etc.

During the early periods of our New-England settlements the pecuniary condition of the people compelled them to study and practise economy in all matters of both public and private interest. And, as they could not afford buildings to be separately devoted to secular and sacred uses, they were so far bound to sanction a "union of church and state" as to appropriate one and the same edifice to all the public requirements of the town,—religious, military and municipal. On Sunday the spacious aisles and pews were occupied by those who sought the good that cometh from the sanctuary. On " training days” the

children of Mars were found threading their way through the same alleys, armed and equipped for the deadly strife of war; and on days of municipal duty the same temple thoroughfares were made to resound to the coarse tread of many feet not accustomed to seek that place for purposes of spiritual devotion. At the communion altar the moderator and clerk were stationed, to direct and record the doings of the assembled freemen, while the people accommodated themselves as well as the conveniences of the place would allow by grouping together in the neighboring pews and avenues. There was an inconvenience attending this miscellaneous use of the meeting-house, and yet it was the best arrangement that could be made under the circumstances. It surely could be no desecration of a sacred locality to have it occasionally used for purposes of secular requirements; and we are proud to believe that many a country church became a "cradle of liberty” in the stormy days of '76.

From the incorporation of the town, in 1753, to the building of the first meeting-house, in 1754, meetings for municipal purposes were conducted in private houses. From that time to 1839, about seventy-five years, as has been observed, the meeting-house was the general rendezvous for the proceedings of the body politic. During the year last named, the first meeting-house,—which was now legally claimed by the First Congregational Society,—underwent such changes and repairs as to render it inconvenient to open it for any other than religious purposes ; its doors were therefore closed to all secular gatherings and objects. The necessities of the people soon directed attention to the subject of erecting a town hall, yet no decisive steps were taken to that end for the space of

six years.

At the town-meeting in April, 1847, a communication was made to the town to the following purport: " TO THE SELECTMEN OF The Town of SHIRLEY :

"Gentlemen :-Our late brother, James P. Whitney, made certain bequests to the town which will fully appear

by the following extracts from his last will and testament, viz: 'I give and bequeath to the inhabitants of the town of Shirley the sum of five hundred dollars, to be appropriated towards the building of a town-house, with a commodious hall for holding town meetings, and suitable rooms for the safe keeping of records, books and papers, belonging to the town, and for the transaction by the Selectmen, and all other town officers, of all the town business ; provided, however, that said town-house shall be located in that part of the town now considered the centre thereof, but not placed near the south side of the land which belonged to my late father, bordering on the Training Field, so called, without the consent of the owner of said land; and provided, also, that the same shall be built within three years of the time of my decease; and in case of failure on the part of said inhabitants to comply with the provisions aforesaid, I then give and bequeath the said sum, with all the interest that may have accrued thereon, to my said daughter, Henrietta Parker Whitney, or whoever may be my heirs at law.

"I also give and bequeath to the inhabitants of said town of Shirley the sum of one hundred dollars, the interest of which is to be annually expended in ornamenting the burying-ground now belonging to the town, by the cultivation of trees and shrubbery, and otherwise improving the same; and the principal sum may be appropriated towards the building of a handsome fence around the same whenever the town shall so determine.'

"We wish you, gentlemen, to lay the same before the town, and should it be their pleasure to accept the bequests, we will be in readiness at any time to pay over the money to such persons as the town may designate for such purpose. We are, gentlemen, most respectfully,

"Your obedient servants,

"THOMAS WHITNEY, 1 Exccutors of the will

"GEORGE A. WHITNEY, ) of said deceased. "Shirley, March 25, 1847.”

The town voted to accept the legacy of Mr. Whitney, and authorized the selectmen to receive the same of the executors, in the name of the town; also voted that a com-. mittee of five be appointed to take into consideration the whole subject relating to the building of a town-house, and make an estimate of the expense necessary for the same. Stillman D. Benjamin, Jeremiah C. Hartwell, Jonas Holden, Lewis Blood and Leonard M. Parker were chosen for said committee.

At a town-meeting holden on the 28th of the following May, the above committee submitted a report of their doings, in which was embodied the following communication from Messrs. Thomas and George A. Whitney,brothers of the late James P. Whitney, and executors of his will :

" TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE TOWN OF SHIRLEY ON

THE SUBJECT OF BUILDING A Town House :

Gentlemen :—We propose to give to the town of Shirley the sum of five hundred dollars in aid of building a town-house, and a lot of land on which to set the same, adjoining the north side of the Training Field,—the lot being staked out by you for the purpose, as we have agreed. And we make this proposal on the following express conditions, viz :that the town-house shall be placed on the said lot of land, and built in one year and a half; that it shall be a two-story building, conforming substantially to the plan of Mr. Farrar, now in your possession ; that the Training Field shall always be kept as a public common, and never be encumbered by buildings or in any other manner; and, in case the town shall hereafter decide to enclose it by a suitable fence, that an avenue of twenty-five feet in width, on the north and east sides of the same, adjoining our land, shall always be kept open for the benefit of individuals and the public. We wish

*

*The architect was employed by Mr. J. P. Whitney to draw a plan of a town-house, which plan had been given to the building committee.

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