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Ebenezer Gay

GAY, Ebenezer, clergyman, born in Dedham, Massachusetts, 26 August, 1696; died in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1787. He was graduated at Harvard in 1714, taught school at Hadley and Ipswich, at the same time studying theology, and in 1718 became pastor of the Church at Hingham, Massachusetts, where he remained till his death, preaching in the same pulpit within three months of seventy years. He was a man of great learning, and celebrated for his wit. His theology was liberal, and he is regarded by some as the father of American Unitarianism. Ex- President John Adams said, on the first distinctive announcement of Unitarian principles in this country, that he had heard the doctrine from Dr. Gay long before. Savage speaks of him as "the honored patriarch of our New England pulpit in that age." He was a Tory during the Revolution, and suffered some persecution at the hands of his own parishioners. He married Jerusha Bradford, a granddaughter of Got. Bradford, of Plymouth colony, and by her had a large family. Dr. Gay published many sermons, among them one delivered on his eighty-fifth birthday, from the text "Lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old," which became widely known under the title of "The Old Man's Calendar," and went through several editions both here and in England, being also translated into some of the continental languages of Europe. --His son, Jothan, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1733 ; died there in 1802, was a colonel in the Continental army, served through the old French war, and was part of the time governor of Fort Edward in Nova Scotia. At the beginning of the Revolution he left the army, being a Tory, and was a refugee in Nova Scotia during the war. He resided for the rest of his life in Hingham.--Ebenezer's grandson, Samuel, born in Boston in 1755; died in Fort Cumberland, New Brunswick, 21 January 1847, was graduated at Harvard in 1775, and emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1776 with his father, Martin, who was formally banished from Massachusetts as a Tory in 1778. The son afterward settled in New Brunswick, was a member of the first house of assembly of that province, and chief justice of the court of common pleas.--Ebenezer's great-grandson, Martin, physician, son of Ebenezer Gay, of Hingham, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 16 February, 1803; died there, 12 January 1850, was graduated at Harvard in 1823. He had a high reputation as an analytical chemist, and his frequent testimony as a witness in courts of justice, in cases of death by poisoning, marks an era in the history of medical jurisprudence in this country.--Martin's brother, Sydney Howard, author, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1814, entered Harvard at the age of fifteen, but in his junior year was obliged to give up study on account of his health. The degree of A.B. was afterward conferred upon him. After some years, spent partly in travel, partly in a counting-house in Boston, he began the study of law in his father's office in Hingham. But he soon abandoned it from conscientious scruples concerning the oath to support the constitution of the United to the conclusion that, if one believed slavery to be absolutely and morally wrong, he had no right to swear allegiance to a constitution that recognized it as just and legal, and required the return of fugitives from bondage. Of the "Garrisonian abolitionists," with whom he thereafter cast his lot, he says: "This handful of people, to the outside world a set of pestilent fanatics, were among themselves the most charming circle of cultivated men and women that it has ever been my lot to know." In 1842 he became a lecturing agent for the American anti-slavery society, and in 1844 editor of the "Anti-Slavery Standard," published in New York. This place he retained till 1857, when he became editorially connected with the "Tribune," of which, from 1862 till 1866, he was managing editor. Henry Wilson, afterward vice-president of the United States, said: "The man deserved well of his country who kept the 'Tribune' a war paper in spite of Greeley." Mr. Gay was managing editor of the Chicago "Tribune" from 1867 till the great fire of 1871. During the following winter he acted with the relief committee, and wrote their first public report, in the spring of 1872, of their great work of the past six months. Subsequently, for two years, he was on the editorial staff of the New York "Evening Post." In 1874, William Cullen Bryant, being invited to join a great publishing-house in the enterprise of preparing an illustrated history of the United States, consented on condition that Mr. Gay should be its author, as he himself could not think of undertaking such a work at his advanced age. Mr. Bryant wrote the preface to the first volume, while the history itself was written by Mr. Gay, with the help of several collaborators in special chapters, to whom he gives credit in his prefaces. This work {4 vols., 8vo, New York, 1876-'80), beginning with the prehistoric races of America and coming down to the close of the civil war, introduced a new treatment of American history, which has been followed by later writers and has become popular. Mr. Gay has since written a "Life of James Madison" (Boston, 1884). He was engaged on a life of Edmund Quincy for the series of the "American Men of Letters," when he was interrupted by a long and serious illness.--Another brother, Winekworth Allan, artist, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, 18 August, 1821, was a pupil of Professor Robert W. Weir, and studied in Italy and France, n part of the time with Troyon. He resides in Hingham, and has attained reputation as a painter of mountain and sea-coast scenery. He has traveled in Egypt, China, and Japan. "A Scene in the White Mountains," painted for the Boston athenaeum, and "A Scene in Japan," painted for the Somerset club, of Boston, are specimens of his earlier and later styles. Among his pictures exhibited at the National academy in New York City are "Mackerel Fleet, Beverly Coast, Massachusetts" (1869), and "The Doge's Palace, Venice" (1875). His "Windmills of Delftshaven, Holland," was at the Centennial exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876, and was spoken of in the official report as "a very admirable picture."--Winckworth Allah'S nephew, Walter, artist, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, 22 January 1856, entered a business office in his youth, but was sent in 1872, for his health, to a cattle-ranch in Nebraska. He returned to Boston at the age of seventeen, and began immediately to paint flower subjects, one of which, "Fall Plowers," was exhibited at the Philadelphia centennial exhibition (1876). In this year he went to Paris and entered the studio of Bonnat. At the end of three years he made a visit to Spain, the influence of which was seen in his first important picture, "The Fencing Lesson," exhibited at the Paris salon (1879). His other works include "The Trained Pigeons " [1880) ; "Troubles of a Bachelor" (1881) ; "The Knife-Grinder" (1882); " Conspiracy under Louis XVI." (1883) ; "The Spinners" (1885) ; " The Wearer" (1886); and "Richelieu" (1887), all of which were shown at the Paris salon, and "The Spinners" received honorable mention.

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