Professional Men



List of Professional Men — College Graduates —
High School Graduates.


The clergymen and physicians have constituted the larger part of the resident professional men; and during the first century and a quarter of the town’s corporate history it furnished more clergymen than it called to service here.

The legal profession was not represented here until a comparatively recent date. Those who held commissions as justices of the peace performed all ordinary legal duties, and the title of “Squire” was sufficient to command the respect and confidence of the people. Two lawyers have recently located in town. They are both grandsons of Bedford, their mothers being natives.

Elihu G. Loomis, son of Rev. Elihu Loomis and R. Augusta Lane, fitted for college at Lawrence Academy, Groton, and Phillips Academy, Andover; graduated from Amherst College in 1874; studied law with George W. Morse, of Boston, and at law school of Boston University; admitted to Suffolk County bar in 1878. (See Gen. Sec.) [*1]

George R. Blinn, son of John F. Blinn and Susan L. Dutton, was born in Charlestown, July 11, 1859; graduated from Harvard College in 1885; admitted to Suffolk County bar in February, 1887. He married, June 3, 1886, Clara Augusta Pollard, of South Newmarket, N.H.

Physicians.— Dr. John Fassett was the first resident physician. Shattuck says he was from Harvard; [*2] if so, he must have been a temporary resident of that town, as he was born in Billerica (probably Bedford side) in 1670 (see family sketch), and married, in 1697, Mary Hill, of Billerica. [*3] He was helpful in organizing the town, and was the first treasurer. He died Jan. 30, 1736, in the sixty-seventh year of his age.

Dr. Joseph Ballard was the second physician. He was from Lancaster, in 1767. He married Sarah Simonds, and had Sarah, Joseph, and Benjamin (the namesake of the father became

[ p 58 ]

a physician). He was a faithful servant of the town, and was a delegate to the Provincial Congress, at Concord, in 1774. He died Jan. 29, 1777. His widow removed to Buckland, Franklin County, and married a physician. When Dr. Ballard located in town he was legally warned out, but persisted in remaining, and became a useful citizen. (See page 33.)

Dr. Amariah Preston was born Feb. 5, 1758. In 1777 he entered the Continental army, and served three years. In 1790 he settled in Bedford, and married Hannah Reed. He was the honored physician of the town for forty-five years, and enjoyed the confidence of the people, whom he faithfully served. He was a justice of the peace, and wrote the trio of wills by which the “Page and Hartwell Fund” was established in the town. He died in Lexington, Oct. 29, 1853, aged ninety-five years, eight months. Dr. Preston was an ardent patriot from youth; having given three years of life in the cause of liberty, he shrank from no service in town, state, or nation that became a patriot’s duty. In the ninety-fifth year of his age the old love of freedom was rekindled within him through the visit to the United States of Louis Kossuth, former governor of Hungary, who fled from his country to escape the cruelty of Austria. While he was a guest at Lexington, May 7, 1852, the venerable man addressed him as follows:

“Although nothing impedes the rapid progress of time, or delays the increase of age, but all pass rapidly to be numbered with the years beyond the flood, yet liberty, like a genial star, remains behind to bless the world; and when sought by the greatest of patriots, even by a Washington, although it came enveloped in garments of blood, was received with joy and gratitude, and is now enjoyed by the millions of inhabitants of the United States of America. It is my heart’s desire that Heaven’s blessing may rest on you, and shield your cause, till not Hungary only shall be liberated and set free from the tyranny and oppression of despots, but that liberty — true, unsophisticated liberty — with increasing splendor, shall enlighten the world.”

Dr. Stephen Massy and Dr. Kendall were here, but little is known of them. They were followed by—

Dr. Bela Gardner, who was born in Littleton, was one of thirteen children of Abel, of Hingham, who was a blacksmith and a soldier of the Revolution. His grandfather was Jacob, who had ten children. Richard, of the ”Mayflower,” is supposed to have been the head of the family in this country. Dr. Bela was born July 28,

1796; married, April 24, 1823, Hannah, daughter of David Fitch and Hannah Proctor. She died Jan. 20, 1844 (see epitaph). [*4] He died June 27, 1844, and was buried in South Burial Ground, Boston. Dr. Gardner was self-educated, taught school when young, and studied medicine with Dr. Paul Kittridge, of Lowell. He came to Bedford about 1820, and began the practice of his profession, which he followed till death. He was a respected member of the Masonic fraternity. Of the eight children of Dr. Bela Gardner and Hannah Fitch, four died young; Mary died in 1889; William lives in Iowa, Martha in Illinois, and Samuel A. is in California. He was left an orphan when quite young, and spent some years with his aunt, Mrs. Mary Fitch Hartwell, of this town. A more than ordinary desire for an education led him to bend his energies in that direction, and through indomitable perseverance he has accomplished much in the realm of letters. He is a prominent clergyman of the Universalist denomination, was ordained at Mendota, Ill., Dec. 2, 1868, and is now settled over a society in the State of California. He has travelled in the old world, and published several valuable works. [*5]

Dr. Abel B. Adams was son of Seth Adams and Betsey Bryant, born Aug. 23, 1811, in Wayland, Mass. He received his early education in that town. He was a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and commenced practice of the medical profession in Bedford in 1837. He married, April 25, 1841, Susan Merriam, daughter of John Merriam, Esq. Their children were Edward B, born July 16, 1843, died Jan. 18, 1866; Mary F., born April 22, 1850, died March 7, 1876; Merriam, born Feb. 10, 1856, died Sept. 5, 1856; S. Augusta, born July 16, 1858, married George H. Reed, of Lexington; Alfred, born March 20, 1863, died Aug. 19, 1876. Dr. Adams was a successful physician, and an honored citizen of this town and of Lexington, to which town he removed in 1865. He died Aug. 13, 1884.

Henry Shaw, M.D., was born in Raynham, Mass., Sept. 12, 1829. He was a son of Linus H. and Louisa A. Shaw. His early education was acquired in the common schools, he completed a medical course at Harvard University in 1856, and was surgeon in the United States navy from 1862 to 1868. He began the practice of medicine at Bedford in 1868, where he continued until 1882. He left this for a position on the State Board of Charities, and since 1875 has been connected with the charities of the city of Boston. During his residence in this town the Bedford Free Public Library Corporation was organized (1876). The formation

[ tipped-in page ]

[ portrait photo ]
Abel B. Adams, M.D.

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of this excellent institution was due to his perseverance more than to the efforts of any other citizen; and the superior collection of books is largely due to his literary taste and good judgment. His thorough knowledge of parliamentary law led the people to select him to serve as moderator of their deliberative assemblies. He was a prominent worker in the Unitarian society of the town. He married, in 1856, Jane M., daughter of Hiram and Betsey Taft, of Upton. Children: Charles J., born at Sudbury, 1857, married Lizzie Gehring, has two children; Nelly L., born at Leominster, 1859, married William A. Mason, has three children; Jennie, born at Leominster, 1860; Henry E., born at Upton, 1862; Alice M., born at Framingham, 1866.

Stephen Andrew Wood, M.D., was born in Lowell, Dec. 22, 1851, and was a son of Stephen, who was born in Dracut, March 3, 1818, and Louisa Ann, daughter of Aaron Andrew, M.D., of Boston, born Oct. 17, 1821. Stephen Andrew represents the fifth generation of this Wood family in this country. The line is: Robert, Solomon, Stephen, Stephen, Stephen A. His early education was somewhat broken, owing to the changes of residence of parents. It was acquired in Lowell, Westford, Dunstable, Groton, and North Chelmsford, and in Lowell again at the opening of the War of the Rebellion, and later in Nashua, N.H., where he graduated from Crosby Academy in 1869; and this was supplemented by a course at McCoy’s Commercial College in Lowell. He began the study of medicine in 1872 with Herman J. Smith, M.D., city physician of Lowell at that time, and continued the course with Norman Smith, M.D., of Nashua, N.H. He entered the New York University in 1875, taking a two years’ course. Being obliged to depend upon his own resources for the pursuit of his chosen profession, he accepted the position of city messenger of Nashua and messenger of county court, New Hampshire, in 1878, and remained there until December, 1883, at the same time continuing the study of medicine under the direction of George W. Courier, M.D., of Nashua. He was a justice of the peace during this stay in New Hampshire. He graduated from the Medical University of Vermont, in class of June, 1884 (of which he was an honorary member); [??] in July was admitted a member of the New Hampshire Medical Society, and in September following to the membership of Massachusetts Medical Society. He began the practice of medicine at Bedford, Nov. 10, 1884. He became a member of Granite Lodge, I.O.O.F., and Nashowon Encampment, in 1876; [??] of Nashua

Lodge of K. of P. in 1880, and of Rising Sun Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in 1882. He was a charter member of Bedford Commandery, U.O.G.C., in 1889. [*6] He united with the Baptist Church of Burlington, Vt., in June, 1884, and by letter with the Bedford Trinitarian Church in 1885. Stephen A. Wood married, July 3, 1872. Adrianna, daughter of Charles G. and Hannah P. Fletcher, of Groton. Child: Fannie A. L., born May 21, 1874, at Nashua, N.H.

For Dr. William R. Hayden, see “Bedford Springs” and Biographical Sketch. [*7]

For Dr. Thomas B. Hosmer, see family sketch. [*8]

College Graduates.— David Lane, son of James Lane (see Epitaph and Gen. Sec.); [*9] Job Lane, 3d, son of Job Lane, Jr., Yale, 1764; Oliver Wellington Lane, son of Capt. James Lane (see Gen. Sec.); [*10] James Converse, son of Josiah Converse, 1779; Samuel Horatio Stearns, son of Rev. Samuel Stearns, 1823, Harvard (see Gen. Sec.); [*11] William Augustus Stearns, son of Rev. Samuel Stearns, 1827, Harvard (see Gen. Sec.); [*12] Jonathan French Stearns, son of Rev. Samuel Stearns, 1830, Harvard (see Gen. Sec.); [*13] Edward Josiah Stearns, son of Elijah Stearns, Esq., 1833, Harvard (see Gen. Sec.); [*14] Elijah W. Stearns, son of Elijah Stearns, Esq., 1838, Harvard (see Gen. Sec.); [^1][*14] Ebenezer Sperry Stearns, son of Rev. Samuel Stearns, 1841, Harvard (see Gen. Sec.); [*15] Alfred P. Johnson, 1861, Harvard; Ernest H. Hosmer, 1886, Harvard; Francis Warren Bacon, 1890, Harvard; Annie M. Smith, 1890, Wellesley; Bessie S. Sampson, 1890, Mount Holyoke; Edwin R. Smith, 1887, Williams.

List of those who have completed the course of study of the High School, and been awarded diplomas.

Class of 1886: Eugene D. Clark, Winfred P. Fitch.
Class of 1887: Fannie M. Piper, Lizzie F. Webber, Alice B. Johnson, Lottie M. Corey, Anna W. McGovern, Eugene H. Laws.
Class of 1888: Alice M. Fitch, Melvina Lawrence.
Class of 1889: Edith S. Hartwell, Mary J. Haynes, Mabel E. Mills, Fannie L. Wood.

In 1890 the course of study was extended to three years, hence no graduates.

As we complete this section but a few weeks before the close of the school year, the graduating class of 1891 is given: Frederick A. Laws, M. Alice Piper, Jennie N. Murry, M. Lenore Flint.



  1. Elijah W. Stearns,
    ∨ Elijah W. Steaans,


  1. cf. (in this volume) II: p 23
  2. cf. Shattuck’s History of the town of Concord (1835) p 272
  3. cf. (in this volume) II: pp 9-10
  4. cf. (in this volume) p 84
  5. “several valuable works”: [ research ] [??]
  6. “U.O.G.C.”: United Order of the Golden Cross
  7. cf. (in this volume) p 41 and pp 48-50
  8. cf. (in this volume) II: pp 18-19
  9. cf. (in this volume) p 86 and II: p 21
  10. cf. (in this volume) II: p 21
  11. cf. (in this volume) II: p 38
  12. cf. (in this volume) II: pp 38-39
  13. cf. (in this volume) II: pp 39-40
  14. cf. (in this volume) II: p 33
  15. cf. (in this volume) II: p 41
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