Release Date: February 9, 2006 [EBook #17725]
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*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK the Bay state monthly ***
Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, David Garcia and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by Cornell University Digital Collections)
[Illustration: William W. Crapo]
A Massachusetts Magazine.
Vol. III. October, 1885. No. V.
* * * * *
By Edward P. Guild.
A citizen of Massachusetts, eminent in public and private life, and now in the prime of manhood, is the Hon. William W. Crapo, of New Bedford. He is the son of Henry Howland Crapo, a man of marked abilities and with a distinguished career, whose father was a farmer in humble circumstances in Dartmouth, the parent town of New Bedford, and able to give but meagre opportunities for education to his son. Henry had, however, a thirst for knowledge, and his determination in providing himself with the means of study affords a parallel to the early life of Lincoln. It is told of him, that having no dictionary in his father’s house, he undertook to be his own lexicographer in the task of preparing one. He soon fitted himself as a school teacher and afterwards became a land surveyor in New Bedford. As a man of ability and integrity, he at once began to rise to positions of trust, and among the offices he held were those of City Treasurer and Trustee of the Public Library. He was interested in the whale fisheries, then the great enterprise of this famous seaport, and was a successful business man.
In 1857, having made extensive timber purchases in Michigan, he removed to that state, where he took an active part in political affairs. In 1865, he was elected Governor of that State and held the office for four years. He was a lover of books all his life, and was the author of articles on horticulture in which subject he was an enthusiastic amateur.
William Wallace Crapo was born in Dartmouth, May 16, 1830, and was the only son in a family of ten children. He inherited his father’s passion for learning and knowledge, and although his father’s means were limited, he was given all possible opportunity for study. He was first in the New Bedford public schools, then at Phillips Academy in Andover, where he prepared for college. He graduated at Yale—which has since conferred upon him the Degree of Doctor of Laws,—in the class of 1852. Deciding on the study of law, he attended the Dane law school at Cambridge, and subsequently entered the office of Governor Clifford in New Bedford. In February 1855, he was admitted to the Bristol bar, and in the following April was elected City Solicitor, an office which he continued to hold for twelve consecutive years.