Sawin, William J.
Age: 28, credited to Chicopee Falls, MAVITALS
Birth: abt 1835, New HampshireADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Fairview Cemetery, Chicopee, MA
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Was born in Princeton, Mass., and came from Hancock, N.H. to Northfield in 1835. He married Sarah Swett, and they had one son: William J., b 1833.
Mr. Sawin died in 1842, and Mrs. Swan married John G. Crawford, and they had three children :
Helen E, b 1843; George L., b 1845; Sarah T., b 1849.
Mr. Crawford died in 1868.
Dr. William J. Sawin, son of Levi S., studied medicine with Dr. Claggett, and graduated at Dartmouth College in 1854. He began the practice of his profession in Watertown, Wis., in the same year, where he remained until 1861, removing to Chicopee Falls, Mass., in March of the same year. In the following June he enlisted as a private soldier, and in September was transferred to the third Vermont Regiment, as Hospital Steward; served as physician in the third, fourth and fifth Vermont regiments from October, 1861, to June, 1862; promoted to Surgeon in second Vermont brigade in 1862, and to Surgeon-in-Chief of Brigade in 1862; was discharged with the tenth Massachusetts regiment at the expiration of his term of service in 1864, and returned to Chicopee Falls, to spend the remainder of his life.
On the evening of December 3, 1875, in the Asylum of Springfield Commandery of Knights Templars, while in the act of clothing himself in the regalia of his office, preparatory to being installed as Eminent Commander of that body, and in the presence of a large number of his brethren, William J. Sawin, and honored Past Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, was stricken down by apoplexy and died instantly. In the full vigor and power of manhood, and in the midst of his earthly activities and usefulness, he was called to a higher life.
John Gregory, Northfield's First Century: Centennial Proceedings and Historical Incidents Of the Early Settlers of Northfield, VT., with Biographical Sketches of Prominent Businessmen Who have been and are now residents of the town, (Argus and Patriot Book and Job Printing House, Montpelier, Vt., 1878), p. 219.
Contributed by Peter Flood
Fitchburg Daily Sentinel
Tuesday - 4 Dec 1877
Tragic Death in a Masonic Conclave
Dr. W.J. Sawin of Chicopee Falls fell dead of apoplexy in Masonic hall at Springfield, Monday evening, at the opening of the meeting of Springfield commandery of Knights Templar, at which he was to have been installed as eminent commander. Dr. Sawin, who was a large, full-blooded, muscular man, being an enthusiastic and efficient Mason, had held many offices. He had made extensive preparations for his installation, Monday evening, as commander, and the approach of the evening found him in a flushed and excited condition. He ate a hearty supper at the Haynes House, and then hurried over to the hall, leaving his wife to come a few minutes later. He was a trifle tardy and ran hastily up three flights of stairs, becoming so flurried that those who spoke to him noticed his unusual appearance and bearing.
The commandery was to have a business meeting, after which the ladies gathered below were to be called in to witness the installation, and a banquet was to follow. Dr. Sawin, who was senior warden of the commandery, took his seat at the side of the secretary's desk, and during the reading of the records was putting on a pair of kid gloves, when he leaned forward, breathing heavily two or three times, and tumbled dead into the arms of his startled associates. All possible efforts with electricity and otherwise were made in vain to resuscitate him. His wife was called from the hotel, the spectators withdrew in expressive and solemn silence.
Dr. Sawin began to practice at Chicopee Falls before the war, being a native of Hancock, N.H., and 44 years and 4 months old at his death. He enlisted as a private in the City guard when it joined the 10th regiment, was transferred to a Vermont regiment, and rapidly rose to be surgeon-in-chief of his brigade, in which capacity he remained to the close o the war, his total term of service being over three years. He was particularly fitted for army work, being an excellent surgeon, while his bale, good natured words of encouragement and his deep, sincere sympathy, were better than medicine to the sick. He had held pretty nearly all the prominent Masonic offices, being a past master of Belcher lodge, a past senior grand warden and a permanent member of the grand lodge, and having been district deputy grand high priest of the chapter and district deputy grand master of the 10th Masonic district. He never sought any public offices, although he had been an ardent republican and valuable member of the party conventions and committees.
Contributed by Erik Hinckley.
REPORT ON THE DEATH OF R. W. WILLIAM J. SAWIN.
In Grand Lodge, December 12, 1875.
Most Worshipful Grand Master: -- The committee appointed to prepare an appropriate notice of the death of R. W. Bro. William J. Sawin, for presentation to this Grand Lodge, have attended to the duty assigned to them, and make the following report: --
On the evening of the 3d day of the present month, in the Asylum of the Springfield Commandery of Knights Templars, while in the act of clothing himself in the regalia of his office, preparatory to being installed as Eminent Commander of that body, and in the presence of a large number of his Brethren, William J. Sawin, an honored Past Grand Warden of this Grand Lodge, was stricken down by apoplexy, and died instantly. In the full vigor and power of manhood, and in the midst of his earthly activities and usefulness, he was called to a higher life.
When he died Freemasonry lost a true and faithful friend and enthusiastic supporter. Young as he was, he had not seen so much of Masonic experience, nor been so prominent a figure in our Councils, as some of the gray-haired and venerable members of this Body here present, nor as some of those who have passed before us to that "bourne from which no traveller returns;" but, short as was his Masonic career it was rich in varied acts of usefulness to the Craft, and the upbuilding of our Order.
His loss is deeply felt and deplored by the Masons of the western part of our State, and will be keenly felt and mourned by those who were wont to meet him in this hall at the meetings of the Grand Lodge.
Dr. William J. Sawin was born at Hancock, N. H., on the 8th day of August, 1833, being just past his fortyfourth birthday at the time of his death. He studied medicine at Northfield, Vt., graduating from the medical department of Dartmouth College in 1854; he began the practice of his profession at Watertown, Wisconsin, in the same year, where he remained until 1861, removing to Chicopee Falls, Mass., in March of the same year. In the following June he enlisted as a private soldier in the Tenth Massachusetts Regiment, then being raised for the suppression of the rebellion; Sept. 6th, was transferred to the Third Vermont Regiment as Hospital Steward; served as physician in the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Vermont Regiments from Oct. 1st, 1861, to June 21st, 1862; promoted to Assistant Surgeon in Second Vermont Regiment, Dec. 18th, 1862, and to Surgeon in Chief of Brigade, Dec. 26th, 1862; discharged with the Tenth Massachusetts Regiment at the expiration of his term of service, June 29th, 1864, and returned to Chicopee Falls, where he spent the remainder of his life.
He applied to Chicopee Lodge January 3d, 1865, and was made a Mason therein February 9th, and received the Third Degree April 8th. He was elected Junior Warden of Chicopee Lodge, January 12th, 1867, and Senior Warden January 17th, 1868, acting as Worshipful Master for eight months while holding the latter office; was elected Worshipful Master January 15th, 1869, and reelected to that office at the subsequent Annual Meeting by a unanimous vote. During the two years of his incumbency as Master he raised sixty Masons in Chicopee Lodge. In 1871 he dimitted from Chicopee Lodge to take part in the Belcher Lodge at Chicopee Falls, in the establishment and upbuilding of which he took a great interest. He was District Deputy Grand Master of the Tenth Masonic District for four successive years; closing his last term of service in 1874, when he was elected Senior Grand Warden of this Grand Lodge, which office he held one year.
He was made a Royal Arch Mason in Mt. Holyoke Chapter, at Holyoke, April 10th, 1865, where he also received the Council degrees; he received the orders of Knighthood in Springfield Commandery, May 10th, 1875. In December, 1875, he was prime mover for the formation of Unity Chapter, at Chicopee Falls, and was its first High Priest, being reelected to that office at the first election held under its Charter, holding that position, as well as that of District Deputy Grand High Priest for the Fourth Capitular District, at the time of his death.
In 1876 he was elected Junior Warden of Springfield Commandery Knights Templars, and on the 5th day of November, 1877, Eminent Commander of that body, into which office he was about to be installed on the evening of his death.
He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic , and always took a lively interest in its affairs.
As a surgeon he was esteemed by the Medical Fraternity, was a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and had. held the office of President of the Hampden County Medical Society.
He was not aspiring as a politician, but as a good citizen always took a great interest in the prosperity of the town of his adoption.
Such, Brethren, are the meagre facts of that part of the life of William J. Sawin most interesting to us as Masons; they afford but a poor picture of the man ; aside from them, those who knew him best knew him as a man of warm and generous impulses, a true friend, and a good Mason. He lived no double life; his faults, like his virtues, were open to the light of day, and were known of all men. What more can be said? The grave has closed over him, and his spirit is with God.
His funeral took place at Chicopec Falls, on Thursday, the 6th day of December. After the prayer, at his late residence, the remains were conveyed to the Congregational Church, escorted by the Springfield Commandery of Knights Templars, Unity Chapter Royal Arch Masons, Belcher Lodge and Chicopee Lodge Free and Accepted Masons, many members of the Fraternity being present from the surrounding towns.
Reverends Austin, Manson, and Bellamy conducted the services at the church, the latter clergyman delivering a touching and appropriate address, made more interesting from his long and intimate acquaintance with the deceased. At the conclusion of the services at the church, the remains were taken to the cemetery, where the burial service of the Knights Templars was performed.
Proceedings of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of the Commenwealth of Massachusetts. . . Abstract of Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Annual Communication, December 12, A. L. 5877. Boston: Press of Rockwell & Churchill, 1876, pp. 279-283