William Richardson Hayden, M.D. [*1]


The subject of this sketch was born in Salem, Mass., May 7, 1820, in a house on the opposite corner to the one in which White was murdered by the Knapps

and Crowninshield. [*2] In 1821 his parents removed to Moultonborough, N.H., where they lived a few years, and William was sent to the village school for a brief term. The family next moved to Boston, which was to be the scene of the boy’s development into manhood. He attended the North Bennet Street School, under the instruction of “Master Capen.” His father was lost at sea, and the family having no reserved means, the mother was thrown upon her own resources for their support.

About this time William entered the law-office of the Hon. James T. Austin & Sons, Joy’s Building, as errand boy, for the liberal salary of one dollar per week, where he remained one year, at the end of which time he went to live in the family of Mr. Ansel Lucas, at South Abington, Mass., where he had the opportunity of attending school, and where he made good progress. At the end of eighteen months Mr. Lucas moved to Eel River, now Chiltonville, a suburb of Plymouth, where he remained until the death of Mrs. Lucas, who was a most estimable lady, and very much beloved by all who knew her.

William, who was then sixteen years old, returned to Boston, to be his own lord and master, with but little experience in the ways of the business world. Being of a sanguine temperament the future appeared to him to be all beauty and sunshine. Oh, Youth! Oh, Hope! [^1] Angels of beauty and love, you are kind only to be cruel, and when dark clouds overcast your gorgeously painted sky, despair is near. William soon found that the price of honest bread was labor, and that he must find employment, which he did with Mr. Tucker, one of the original conductors on the Boston & Worcester Railroad, in delivering letters, packages and money parcels from the railroad to parties in Boston, dividing with Mr. Tucker the proceeds of this primitive express business. At that time Mr. Harnden was ticket master in the Boston & Worcester depot, which position he resigned to succeed young Hayden, and at that time commenced the regular express business between Boston and New York, which has now become so important and extensive.

The next scene was the pit of the old Flag Alley Theatre, and the first appearance of our hero in a play-house. The mimic world was a new revelation, and from that hour he was simply “stage-struck.” He hung around the stage-door to see the tinsel kings, queens and villains enter and exit. They were the beings of romance.

The next scene was the old Fredonia Society, in Devonshire Street, where John B. Gough, William O. Eaton, John Salmon, George A. Wyatt and other noted amateurs delighted the “Hoodlums” and our subject played Doric in “A Race for a Dinner.” The favor accorded to the Fredonia gave life to the Histrionic Society, which was well fitted up for the times in Castle Hall, corner of Castle and Washington Streets, which sent forth several noted actors, amongst them James Stark, Octavus Johnson, Harry Paul

[ tipped-in page ]

[ portrait engraving ]
W. R. Hayden. M.D.

[ p 49 ]

and others. There was a rivalry between Stark and Hayden for leading parts. At one time Mr. Stark, being manager, and desiring to play the leading part in the play called “The Seven Clerks; or, The Three Thieves and the Denouncer,” cast Hayden in a minor comic part out of his line, much to his chagrin. Feeling the slight and that he should not do himself credit, he went on the stage sure that he would fail, but instead of that he made a brilliant success, playing the part twenty-one nights to overflowing houses. He was afterwards elected president and manager of the society, but as there was no income from amateur theatricals, he entered the Old National Theatre under William Pelby as a supernumerary and assistant property man.

The child prodigy, Miss Davenport, during an engagement at “The National,” in one scene of a play in which she appeared had to pay off some factory help, who filed before her and received their tin money. Several passed her in due order accepting their pittance, when our hero, being the last and not being satisfied with his part and aspiring to be author and actor, accepted the coin with all the disdain of which he was master, threw it upon the stage, and with folded arms stalked down to the foot lights and out at the prompter’s entrance. The audience saw the “gag” and cheered the “supe” to the echo. Manager Pelby was a witness of the debut, and coming down to Wright, the prompter, exclaimed, “Who in hell is that boy?” On being informed he said, “Give him some small business; he will rise.” Desiring to obtain a position in the company of the Old Lion Theatre, there being no opening for a novice, he accepted a place as a supernumerary in the play of “Mazeppa.” The actor who had a short speech to make as a sentinel on a bridge, being taken suddenly ill, the manager gave orders to have one of the supernumeraries placed on the bridge and when Mazeppa entered the wing and motioned him to go off, he should do so. [^2] Hayden was the one placed there, and having become familiar with the lines, he, instead of leaving the bridge, went on with the part, much to the surprise and satisfaction of the manager, and continued in the part until the piece was withdrawn. He next joined a strolling company of players as leading man and “did” some of the prominent towns in this State. The business was bad, the manager stranded, and his company with empty pockets were obliged to “foot it to Boston.” Mr. Hayden established the Dramatic Mirror, which, however, after a few months, died of what the doctors would call “marasmus.” He next became a clerk for Mr. George W. Redding, a news agent at No. 8 State Street, Boston.

When W. H. Smith, the eminent actor, was manager of the Boston Museum, he gave Mr. Hayden an engagement at that theatre, but on account of sickness this engagement was canceled, and, much to his regret, his theatrical career closed. [*3]

Dr. Hayden has been thrice married— first to Re-

becca Wyman Erskine, in 1840, by whom he had three children, one of whom still survives (Mrs. R. W. Rouse, of Port Richmond, New York). Mrs. Hayden died in 1847.

For his second wife, in 1850, he married Maria B. Trenholm, of Falmouth, a lady possessing remarkable intellectual abilities. In 1866 she graduated in New York as a physician, and for several years had a large and influential practice, and was on the Board of Medical Censors. Mrs. Hayden had four children, two of whom survive her, she dying in 1884.

In 1885, for his third wife, he married Sarah Holden Everett, by whom he has three children, who are now living. [^3]

In 1845 he commenced the study of medicine, graduating in New York City, where he followed his profession for eleven years, when he moved East to accept the presidency of the New York Pharmaceutical Company, the laboratory of which is now in successful operation, making 350 medicinal preparations for the physicians and druggists, three of them being specialties from original prescriptions of Dr. Hayden, and are in high repute with the medical profession. [^4] They are The Compound Phosphorous Pills, The Uric Solvent and Hayden’s Viburnum Compound, the latter having a most extensive sale, and being of a remarkable character. [*4] The company has received and published the written testimonials of more than five thousand physicians, being more than was ever before given by the profession for any other special remedy in the history of medicine. At the end of the first year after the incorporation of the company it virtually failed, and proposed to close up the business. To this Dr. Hayden objected and endeavored to arrange to carry on the works on his own responsibility. After much negotiation a trade was made, which at the end of twenty-four years is a great success.

In 1867, when Dr. Hayden came to Bedford, there was no railroad nearer to Bedford and the Springs than Lexington (six miles distant). Dr. Hayden went before the Legislature and obtained a charter for a line from Lexington to Bedford, which was built by the Middlesex Central Railroad Company.

The next move was for a narrow-gauge road from Bedford to the Springs and North Billerica, which was also built, Dr. Hayden being the second president of the road, which practically was a success. Dr. Hayden, who desired this road changed to a standard-gauge road, enlisted in its behalf the co-operation and able services of Mr. Mellen, the general manager of the Boston & Lowell Railroad, without whose favor it would not have been done. Some idea may be gained of Dr. Hayden’s labors when we state that at one time he was president of the New York Pharmaceutical Company; working chemist and pharmacist, doing all the compounding in the laboratory; landlord of the Springs House Hotel for sixteen years; having for six or eight years the larger part of the

[ p 50 ]

practice in the town of Bedford, two miles distant; visiting Boston upon an average of five times a week; having for the past twenty-five years written all the company’s hand-books and advertisements, attending to the general business, and carried on a farm of forty acres. During Dr. Hayden’s residence in Bedford he has served the town one term on the Board of Selectmen, and two terms on the School Board, and received a very large majority of the votes of the town for the Legislature. During the past three years Dr. Hayden has built two laboratories and one of the most beautiful houses in the country, and made an extended tour of Europe, from Ireland to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, England and Scotland.

Dr. Hayden has visited Europe several times and made the acquaintance of some distinguished men, among them Lord Lytton (Bulwer Lytton), Professor John Ashburner, Louie Blond, the Rev. James Smyth, and the great Robert Owen, Robert Chambers and many others; [^5][^6] and in this country he enjoyed the personal acquaintance of William Lloyd Garrison, Horace Greeley, Theodore Parker and other reformers.

Bedford Springs, the residence of Dr. Hayden, is one of the most beautiful spots in New England, sixteen miles from Boston, on the Bedford and Billerica Railroad. The estate comprises about two hundred acres of cleared and wood land, one of the largest artificial lakes in the State, a summer hotel, three medicinal springs, railroad station, express and post-office, and is a little world in itself.

In religion Dr. Hayden is an agnostic, in politics a progressive Republican, believing in the party when it is in the right, but never when in the wrong. His creed is,

“Right and Justice for all men and women alike.”


Jonathan Bacon. [*5]

Jonathan Bacon was descended from Michael Bacon, who went from England to the north of Ireland, where he lived for several years, when, in 1640, he came to this country and settled in Connecticut. Michael Bacon, son of Michael, settled in that part of Billerica which is now within the limits of Bedford. He built a saw and grist-mill on Shawshine River, which was burned by the Indians in King Philip’s War. At his request a military guard was detailed for his protection, and his mill was rebuilt. A saw and grist-mill, owned by Charles Clark, now stands on the site occupied by him. In the early history of Bedford, which was incorporated in 1729, the Bacon family was a prominent one. In a petition to the selectmen of Concord for permission to be set off as a new town, dated May 1, 1728, the name of Joseph Bacon appears, and at the first town-meeting of Bedford, held October 6, 1729, Jonathan Bacon was chosen one of the Board of Selectmen. Among the taxable inhabitants of Bedford, in 1748, were Samuel

Bacon, Josiah Bacon, Josiah Bacon, Jr., Benjamin Bacon, Michael Bacon, John Bacon and Thomas Bacon. In 1780 Jonas Bacon enlisted as a soldier in the Revolution, and Jonathan Bacon was one of the signers to the covenant of the first church in Bedford, organized immediately after the incorporation of the town. Benjamin Bacon, who was born December 6, 1713, and died October 1, 1791, was chosen a deacon of this church February 13, 1759.

Thompson Bacon, son of John Bacon, of Bedford, and a member of this family, married Martha Hosmer and had nine children— Jonathan, John, Reuben, Elbridge, Thompson, Eliza, Nancy, Octavius and Albert. Of these, Reuben was an extensive manufacturer of shoes in Bedford, and Albert is still living in his native town. Another of these children, Jonathan, the subject of this sketch, was born in Bedford April 15, 1785. With only the advantages of a common-school education, he was in his early life employed on his father’s farm. Possessing a naturally thoughtful mind, his attention was soon turned to mechanical pursuits, in which he displayed an ingenuity which laid the foundation of his eventual success. Associated with John Hosmer, he was the first in this country to engage in the manufacture of women’s and children’s shoes, and his careful management resulted in the establishment of a profitable enterprise, which gradually increased and before many years was carried on by a considerable number of firms.

In connection with his shoe business he made patterns for lasts, and for shoes, which he manufactured himself, and thus opened the way for the display of his inventive powers in a broader field. He soon found that new mechanical enterprises, more congenial to his tastes, required the abandonment of his manufacture of shoes, and, selling out that business, he ever after devoted himself to inventive study and the manufacture of such devices as were its result, and their sale to the trade. George H. Gray, Joseph West, Charles Brooks and Horton, Hall & Co., of Boston, were among the principal dealers in his articles of manufacture. Among these devices were sash and blind fastenings, latches and various carriage appliances, of which the article known as “Bacon’s Patent Lever Blind Fastener” has been for upwards of fifty years on the market, and has never yet been equalled by anything used for the same purpose. [*6]

Mr. Bacon married Abigail, daughter of Eben Clark, of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, an officer in the Revolution, and at one time on the staff of General Washington. His children were Abigail, who married William Ripley, of Abington; Clark, who married Emma C. Burr, of Hingham; Frederick, who married Ann Robbins, of Bedford; Caroline, who married Isaac Hurd, of Concord; Eliza, who married Prescott J. Bigelow, of Abington; Warren, who married Lucy A. Lawrence, of Bedford; Jerome A., who married Marion M. Darling, of Boston, Eliza F. Merriam, of Boston, and Anna R. March, of Bedford;

[ tipped-in page ]

[ portrait engraving ]
Jon^a Bacon

 [ p 51 ]

and Emma A., who married Sebastian Kramer, of Boston.

Mr. Bacon, though largely interested in public affairs, neither sought nor accepted office except such as he believed that he could administer for the benefit and welfare of his native town. He was chairman of the Board of Selectmen of Bedford for many years, only consenting to an election because he believed it the duty of every citizen to bear his share of town burdens, and to perform his part of a townsman’s duty. Further than this he refused to go, and at one time declined a nomination (equivalent to an election) to the State Senate. In politics he was a Federalist and Whig, and as long as he lived, after the organization of the Republican party, he was one of its devoted members. Civil service reform, so far as a part of its policy is concerned, would, if he were now living, be no novelty to him.

As long ago as August 28, 1840, during the Harrison campaign, he drew up and signed a constitution for a political association advocating the election of General Harrison as president, in which, opposition was declared

“to members of Congress distributing executive patronage until two years after they had ceased to be such.”

He belonged to that class of men whom older readers well remember, distributed all over the Commonwealth, some in almost every town, who ruled the communities in which they lived, not by wire-pulling, trickery and self-seeking, but by advice and counsel, sought and followed on account of their wisdom, and by an honest and earnest effort to put the best men in office, and thus promote and secure the public welfare.

In theology he belonged to what was called in his day the liberal wing of Orthodoxy, and remained in the old church and parish when they became Unitarians and the conservative wing organized a separate society.

It will not be difficult to portray the character of the man thus briefly sketched. With a mind elastic and susceptible of expansion and growth, with a training which had implanted within him a love of truth, integrity and faithful labor, he combined a tenderness of spirit and an affection for his family and home, a regard for public interests and a respect for the rights, comfort and welfare of those about him, which made him a conspicuous figure in his town, and one receiving the entire confidence of his friends and neighbors. [*7]



  1. Angels ∨ angels
  2. supernumeraries ∨ supernumeries
  3. his third ∨ the third
  4. Company, ∨ Company
  5. Lytton), ∨ Lytton)
  6. others; ∨ others,



  1. “William Richardson Hayden, M.D.”: b. 1820 – d. 1903
  2. At the 1830 trial, Daniel Webster made a famous jury speech.
    cf. “The Murder of Captain Joseph White” (1906)
    in Masterpieces of modern oratory (pp 53-128)
  3. “W. H. Smith”: William Henry (Sedley) Smith
  4. cf. Hayden’s Physicians’ hand book (1872)
  5. “Jonathan Bacon”: b. 1785 – d. 1856 (II: pp 3-4)
    NB: Bacon died when Brown was only seven.
  6. “blind fastener”: [ ask BHS ] [??]
  7. As originally published, Brown’s history concluded with this additional paragraph:

    “His son, Jerome A. Bacon, is one of the eminent and successful merchants of Boston. Receiving his early education in the public schools of Bedford and at the Lawrence Academy at Groton, at the age of nineteen, though fitted for college, he became the apprentice of his brother, Clark Bacon, who was engaged in Boston in the manufacture of gold leaf, foil and plate. So faithful was he in his work that, after a few months, apprentices were placed under his charge, and at the age of twenty-three he removed to Bedford and there established the same business on his own account. After a few years, upon his father’s death, which occurred in August, 1856, he removed to Boston and engaged in the manufacture and sale of paper, which he has since carried on with eminent success.” (Hurd) p 857

    cf. (in this volume) II: p 4

Create your website with
Get started
%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close