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CHRISTOPHER C. BALDWIN,
LATE LIBRARIAN OF THE SOCIETY.
BY JOHN DAVIS, LL. D. [This article originally appeared in one of the weekly journals published at Worcester, soon after the melancholy intelligence of the death of Mr. Baldwin had been received by his friends. It is now reprinted, with the consent of the writer, as a just and appropriate tribute to the memory of a gentleman universally esteemed for his private worth, and highly respected as a most zealous and faithful officer of the Society.
PUB. Com.) DIED, August 20th, 1835, at Norwich, Ohio, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS BALDWIN, Librarian of the American Antiquarian Society. Mr. Baldwin was instantaneously killed by the overturn of a stage-coach in which he was travelling. Little is known, at present, of the circumstances occasioning this melancholy occurrence, except that the horses became unmanageable from fright, and that Mr. Baldwin, having his skull fractured, was not probably sensible of the fatal injury which occasioned immediate death. A letter to the post-master of this place, however, gives assurance that every kind attention was bestowed upon him, and that he was decently interred.
Of this we should entertain no doubt, independently of the honorable humanity of the people of Ohio, as we are informed that our benevolent fellow-citizen, Isaac Southgate, of Leicester, who is a friend to all in need, was also in the stage, and rendered to the deceased the last offices of humanity.
Of Mr. Baldwin, who has long been favorably known among us, the public will expect more than the ordinary obituary record of his untimely decease. His course has not been in the beaten track, and his taste and habits deserve notice.
He was the son of Eden Baldwin, Esq., of Templeton, in the county of Worcester. He was educated at Harvard University, where his standing was respectable, and subsequently read law in this place; and here, in 1825, he entered upon
the practice, in which he continued, with reputation to himself
, and increase of patronage, for a considerable period. The profession was then, as it now is, crowded with numbers; and Mr. Baldwin, who was rather inclined to distrust his powers to command success, preferred a field for action where competition
was less ardent, and which was, consequently, better suited to his tranquil, unambitious temperament. He sought this refuge in Barré; but afterwards became associated with Mr. Sibley, the present Marshal of this District, and removed to Sutton. His courtesy, affability, and kindness secured to him the friendship of a great number of persons, in each of these places, and disarmed his enemies, if any he had.
Although success thus attended him, and he had a temperament patient of labor and diligent in inquiry, yet the law had not charms sufficient to establish itself as a favorite pursuit; for his mind turned with avidity from it to literature, and especially to antiquarian research.
His attachment to this study was early developed, in an uncommon regard for whatever bore the stamp of antiquity. The chairs, desks, tables, and other furniture of his office, were the productions of another age. His time-piece attracted attention because of its uncouth appearance and rough workmanship, and was valued because it was the fruit of the skill of the first clock-maker in Worcester. Wherever he travelled, he visited the burial-places, copied names and epitaphs, inquired for and examined town and parish records, and ancient family papers. By this process, he became master of the genealogy of more families than any person with whom the writer of this article has ever been acquainted; and it afforded him much gratification to surprise, not only his friends, but strangers, with accurate details of their kindred and connexions, which were wholly unknown to themselves. He kept, also, a journal, in which is much amusing and interesting matter, being, in part, the result of his observations in several tours to the Lakes, the White Mountains, and the sea-coast. Some agreeable details of these travels were occasionally published in the newspapers, in the form of letters, signed" The Pilgrim," which were from his pen.
To one having such a thirst for this kind of knowledge, and being thus eager in its pursuit, some connexion with the press would naturally seem to be desirable. Mr. Baldwin, therefore, while in Worcester, in connexion with his friend, William Lincoln, Esq., in whom he met a congenial taste and a correspondent love of literary pursuits, established, in 1825, a periodical, called the “Worcester Magazine and Historical Journal,” published once a month. This work was continued, by the joint efforts of these two scholars, through two volumes of about four