Abbott, Josiah Gardner, who traces his lineage back to the first settlers of this Commonwealth, was born in Chelmsford, Middlesex County, November 1, 1815.
He is the second son of Caleb and Mercy (Fletcher) Abbott, descendants from the Puritan George Abbott, who came from Yorkshire, England, in 1630, and settled in Andover, and William Fletcher, who came from Devonshire, England, in 1640, and settled first in Concord, and finally, in 1651, in Chelmsford.
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After his foundation studies he was fitted for college under the instruction of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He entered Harvard at the early age of twelve, and was graduated in the class of 1832. After taking his degree, he studied law with Nathaniel Wright, of Lowell, and was admitted to the bar in 1837. In 1840 he formed a partnership with Samuel Brown, which terminated when he was appointed to the bench in 1855.
In 1838 Judge Abbott was married to Caroline, daughter of the Hon. Edward St. Loe and Sarah Crease (Stackpole) Livermore, of New Hampshire. Mr. Livermore was judge of the supreme court of New Hampshire and afterwards member of Congress from Massachusetts. Their children are; Caroline Mercy, Edward Gardner, Henry Livermore, Fletcher Morton, William Stackpole, Samuel Appleton Browne, Sarah Livermore, Franklin Pierce, Arthur St. Loe Livermore, Grafton St. Loe, and Holker Welch Abbott. The first, Brevet Major Edward G. Abbott, a graduate of Harvard of 1860, raised one of the first companies sworn into the volunteer service, and joined the 2d Massachusetts regiment. He was killed at the battle of Cedar Mountain. Brevet-Gen. Henry L. Abbott, a gradual of Harvard of 1860, entered the 20th Massachusetts regiment as lieutenant. He was killed in the battle of the Wilderness. Capt. Fletcher M. Abbott entered the 2d Massachusetts regiment as second lieutenant, and served through the war. After the war he took a degree of M. D. from Harvard. Of these children six are living; Fletcher Morton, Samuel, a graduate of Harvard, Sarah, Franklin, a graduate of Harvard law school, Grafton, a graduate of Harvard, and Holker.
Judge Abbott had just reached his majority when he was chosen as representative to the Legislature. In 1841 he was elected state senator. During his first term in the Senate he served as member of the railroad and judiciary committees, and in his second term was chairman of the same.
He is a Democrat, and has always been an acknowledged leader in his party. In 1844 he was a delegate to the national Democratic convention at Baltimore, which nominated James K. Polk, and he has been a delegate, either from his district or the State at large, to all but two of the national Democratic conventions since, and been chosen chairman of the delegation for the seven last conventions. He has several times been chosen the candidate of his party for United States senator.
Judge Abbott was on the staff of Gov. Marcus Morton. In 1853, he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, which consisted so largely of men of exceptional ability. Upon his retirement from the bench having won an enviable reputation for judicial fairness and legal acumen, he removed to Boston, where he has since resided. In 1874, he was elected member of Congress from the 4th congressional district. He was chosen by his colleagues’ member of the Electoral Commission to determine the controverted result of the presidential election in 1876. The honor paid him was fully justified by the courage and ability shown in that trying position.
From his entrance into professional life, Judge Abbott has taken and held a leading position, having probably tried as many cases as any member of the bar now living. He has great capacity for labor, and immense power of application – most important qualities in the conducting of long and sharply contested jury trials.
Abbott, William, son of Benjamin and Mary C. (Chase) Abbott, was born in Temple, Franklin County, Maine, November 25, 1834.
His early education was obtained in the common schools in Maine till 1851, when his father moved to East Douglas, Worcester County, Mass., where he attended the high school.
His first business connection was in the country store of Jones, Abbott & Co., East Douglas. A few years later he formed the new partnership of Metcalf & Abbott, which continued for three years, when he bought out Mr. Metcalf, and for seven years conducted the business alone, the yearly sales increasing from twenty thousand to one hundred thousand dollars. At the end of this time he retired from the store and became a dealer in real estate, manufacturer of lumber, notary public, collector and conveyancer.
On the 3d of July 1859, Mr. Abbott was married to Hannah M., daughter of Nelson and Hannah (Morse) Potter. Their children are Nellie F. and Hattie G. Abbott.
In 1874 Mr. Abbott served in the House of Representatives, and in 1879 and 1880 was a member of the Senate. For nine years he was chairman of the board of selectmen, assessor and town treasurer. He is now one of the trustees of the Whitinsville Savings Bank, and one of the investment committee. His present residence is East Douglas.
Mr. Abbott is distinctively a self-made man. When he was quite young his father lost his entire property by fire, and at the age of sixteen he was obliged to make his own way in the world and do what he could in the way of support of the family. His energy overcame all obstacles, and he has succeeded in placing himself upon the list of successful men in Massachusetts.