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The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 5   By:

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[Illustration: William W. Crapo]


A Massachusetts Magazine.



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.

Mr. Crapo's first active part in politics was about a year after his admission to the bar. Fremont and Dayton were in 1856 nominated as the Republican candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. Mr. Crapo was an earnest surporter of the candidates and made very effective speeches in their behalf in his section of the state. In the same year he was chosen to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and the following year, when only twenty seven years of age, was tendered a seat in the Massachusetts Senate, but declined the honor. His father this year removed to Michigan, and the son who remained became a worthy successor to the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens. He was actively interested in the establishment of the New Bedford Water works, and from 1865 to 1875 held the office of Chairman of the board of Water Commissioners. As Bank President, as director in extensive manufacturing corporations, and in other similar positions of trust and responsibility he acquired the reputation of being a sound business man, and an able financial manager. In all of these positions he has ever enjoyed the complete confidence and respect of his associates.

Mr. Crapo has been a diligent student of the history of the Old Colony and especially of the early settlement of Dartmouth, and he has rendered valuable contributions to the historical literature of the State. The address delivered by him at the Bi Centennial Anniversary of the town of Dartmouth in 1864 and his address at the Centennial Celebration in New Bedford in 1876 exhibit his accurate research and his facility of clear and forcible expression... Continue reading book >>

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