Representative women of New England/Julia Ward Howe

2347481Representative women of New England — Julia Ward HoweMary H. Graves

JULIA WARD HOWE JULIA WARD HOWE, LL.D.— Wise-hearted men and women, not a few, in the half-century now closing, have given earnest thought to the solving of social problems, have wrought for love's sake and truth's in various fields of helpful endeavor. Eminent among them may be named the author of the "Battle Hynm of the Republic." She was born in New York City, May 27, 1819, daughter of Samuel and Julia Rush (Cutler) Ward. It is not unreasonable to suppose that Mrs. Howe's dominant characteristics, her broad philanthropy, her love of study, aptitude for language, predilection for metaphysics, her fervid patriotism, deep religiousness, and strong sense of justice, are derived, in part at least, from some of the colonial worthies, her ancestors, mentioned below.

Samuel Ward, third, father of Mrs. Howe, was son of Lieutenant Colonel Samuel and Phebe (Greene) Ward and grandson of Governor Samuel Ward, of Rhode Island, Governor Samuel being the son of Governor Richard, who was a grandson of John Ward, of Gloucester, England, and Newport, R.I., said to have been an officer in Cromwell's army. Richard Ward married Mary, daughter of John and Isabel (Sayles) Tillinghast. Her father was son of Elder Pardon Tillinghast, who came from England when a young man, and during the greater part of a life of more than ninety years, closing in 1718, was a citizen of influence in the civil and religious affairs of Providence, R.I., where he was a merchant and for many years the unsalaried pastor of the First Baptist Society, to which in 1711 he gave a meeting-house. Mary Tillinghast's mother was a daughter of John and Mary (Williams) Sayles and grand-daughter of Roger Williams. Of this pioneer of religious tolerance in New England, Mrs. Howe is thus shown to be a descendant of the eighth generation.

Samuel Ward, first, son of Richard and Mary, born in Newport in 1725, served three terms as Governor of Rhode Island. He died in Philadelphia in March, 1776, during the session of the Continental Congress, of which he was a valued member — in the words of John Adams, "a steadfast friend to his country upon very pure principles."

He married Anne Ray, daughter of Simon Ray, third, and his wife Deborah, daughter of Job and Phebe (Sayles) Greene. Phebe and Isabel Sayles, named above, were sisters. Simon Ray, third, was the son of Simon, second, and grandson of Simon, first, of Braintree. Simon Ray, second, was one of the sixteen original proprietors of Block Island. Influential and honored, a "lovely example of Christian virtues," he lived to enter his one hundred and second year. He married Mary Thomas, daughter of Nathaniel and grand-daughter of "William Thomas, a Welsh gentleman," who joined the Plymouth Colony about 1630, served three years as Assistant Governor, and died at his home at Green Harbor, Marshfield, in 1651. "A well-approved and well-grounded Christian," wrote Secretary Morton, "one that had a sincere desire to promote the common good, both of church and State."

Samuel Ward, second, born in Westerly, R.I., in 1756, a college graduate at fifteen, served nearly six years in the Continental army, rising from the rank of Captain to Lieutenant Colonel; was in Arnold's expedition to Canada and taken prisoner at Quebec; later was with Washington at Valley Forge, and after the war was engaged in mercantile business in New York City. He married his cousin Phebe, daughter of Governor William and Catherine (Ray) Greene. Her mother is remembered as a youthful friend and correspondent of Franklin.

Mrs. Julia R. Cutler Ward, Mrs. Howe's mother, was a daughter of Benjamin C. Cutler, of Boston and Jamaica Plain, sometime Sheriff of Norfolk County, and his wife Sarah, daughter of Thomas and Hester (Marion) Mitchell, of Waccamaw plantation and Georgetown, S.C. Mrs. Cutler's mother was a sister of General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the Revolution, and grand-daughter of Benjamin Marion, a Huguenot, who settled at Charleston, S.C, a little over two hundred years ago.

Mrs. Howe's grandfather Cutler was son of John Cutler, third, brass-founder, a well-to-do citizen of Boston in his day and a prominent Mason, being Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 1792-93. David Cutler, father of John, third, was the youngest son of Johannes Demesmaker, physician and surgeon, who came from Holland, lived for some years at Hingham, married Mary Cowell, of Boston, and, adopting the English translation of his name, was known as Dr. John Cutler. He served as surgeon in King Philip's War. About 1694 he removed to Boston, where he acquired a large practice, to which his eldest son, Dr. John Cutler, Jr., succeeded. John Cutler, third, in his old age played the organ at Trinity Church, of which his son-in-law, Samuel Parker, afterward Bishop Parker, was rector. His wife, Mary Clark, was daughter of Benjamin and Miriam (Kilby) Clark and grand-daughter of Christopher Kilby, Sr., of Boston.

Mrs. Howe's father, a successful banker, a man of sterling integrity and of almost Puritanic strictness of life, was liberal in his plans and provision for the education of his children. There were three sons—Samuel, Henry, and F. Marion—and three daughters—Julia, Louisa, and Annie. Two sons died unmarried. The eldest, Samuel Ward, fourth, died in 1884, survived by the children of his daughter Margaret (Mrs. J. W. Chanler), whose mother, his first wife, was a daughter of William B. Astor. Louisa Ward married, first, Thomas Crawford, the sculptor, and after his death married Luther Terry, an artist. Her home was in Rome, Italy. She was the mother of F. Marion Crawford. Annie Ward married Mr. Adolph Mailliard, and lived in California.

Pursuing her studies at home under able instructors, Julia Ward became well versed in music and several languages, in after years taking up German philosophy and the study of Greek, which she still continues. She was married in April, 1843, to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, of Boston, world-famous philanthropist and teacher, in his early manhood one of the heroes of the Greek revolution, of which he subsequently wrote an historical sketch. After a year or more spent abroad and the birth of a daughter, Julia Romana, in Rome, Dr. and Mrs. Howe took up their residence in Boston, he to continue his beneficent activities as superintendent of the School for the Blind (1832–76), head of the School for Feeble-minded (1848–75), as member of the State Board of Education, and president of the Board of Charities—to mention only a few of the many lines on which he worked to the end of his days—she in the meantime not to remain idle.

Five children were born to them in Boston. The four now living are: Florence Marion, author and lecturer, wife of David P. Hall, lawyer, of New York and Plainfield, N.J.; Henry Marion, professor of metallurgy in Columbia University, New York City; Laura E., author, wife of Henry Richards, of Gardiner, Me.; and Maud, author, wife of the well-known artist, John Elliott. Samuel, the younger son, died in May, 1863, aged four years. Julia Romana, poet and student, who died in March, 1886, was the wife of Michael Anagnos, a native of Greece, Dr. Howe's successor as director of the School for the Blind at South Boston.

Mrs. Howe has written much both in prose and verse. She has been a contributor to the New York Tribune; the Independent; the Atlantic Monthly, in which the "Battle Hymn," written in Washington after beholding the camp-fires by night, first appeared in print (February, 1862); the North American Review; and other periodicals. Among her books may be named "Passion Flowers," issued anonymously in 1854; "Later Lyrics," 1866; "From the Oak to the Olive," 1867; "Is Polite Society Polite? and Other Essays," 1895; "From Sunset Ridge," 1898; and "Reminiscences," 1899, covering fourscore years of exceptionally rich and varied experiences.

Mrs. Howe's connection with the woman suffrage movement began in 1868. Her first speech in its advocacy before a legislative committee was made in the Green Room of the State House in 1869. She has been officially connected from the start with the New England and other woman suffrage organizations, in which she has taken an active part. For some time she was an associate editor of the Woman's Journal. As lecturer and preacher the greater number of her journeyings have been made since the death of Dr. Howe, in January, 1876. In her lectures she has given interesting recollections with appreciative judgments of Longfellow and Emerson and Whittier, has spoken sympathetically of " Patriotism in Literature," has offered a "Plea for Humor," and has treated a variety of other subjects with characteristic grace and vigor.

Music, for which Mrs. Howe has a cultivated taste, is her favorite recreation. She has composed a number of songs, some of which are well known among her friends, although unpublished. A Unitarian in religion, she is a member of the Church of the Disciples, Boston. For many years she has been the honored and beloved president of the New England omen's Club and of the Association for the Advancement of Women. She is Regent of Liberty Tree Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and an honorary member of the Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Rhode Island.

To this reprint of sketch published in 1901 may be added that Mrs. Howe has recently passed her eighty-fifth anniversary, and, improving the opportunity of age, is still active with voice and pen in behalf of many good causes. From Tufts College, at its recent Commencement, June 15, 1904, she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

M. H. G.