JOEL SPALDING 1820-1888
Senior Grand Warden, 1860
From Proceedings, Page 1888-15:
"In the quiet town of Chelmsford, in a quaint old homestead situated on the bank of the Merrimac river, near Pawtucket Falls, dwelt Jonathan and Sarah (Dodge) Spalding. To them was born a son, March 2, 1820, whom they named Joel, and who grew up to be a blessing to them and to the community. Sixty-eight years later, in the same house, in the same, location, and with similar surroundings, though now in the busy city of Lowell, the earthly frame grew weak, and on the 30th day of January, 1888, Bro. Spalding departed hence to join the many kindred who have passed, on before. We say 'he died,' yet
" 'Twas but a step from out the dusty street
Of earth, on to the pavement all of pearl."
"Dr. Joel Spalding received his early education under private tutors, and was fitted for college at Pinkerton Academy, Derry, N.H. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1841, and in following the study of medicine graduated at the Berkshire Medical College, of Pittsfield, Mass. He then attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and was for one year House Physician at Bellevue Hospital. He had many flattering offers to locate in various places, but his heart yearned for home, and in 1846 he commenced practice in Lowell, where he continued until his decease. For ten years prior to 1860 he was Assistant Surgeon and Surgeon of the famous 6th Regiment of Mass. Volunteers. In 1854 he was appointed Coroner for Middlesex county. In 1857 he was elected City Physician and Superintendent of Burials for the city of Lowell, and by successive elections held the office for five years. For many years he was one. of the Counsellors of the Mass. Medical Society; he also held office in the Middlesex North District Medical Society as Counsellor, Vice-President and President.
"Brother Joel Spalding joined the Masonic Institution about the time of the " revival," and did much to promote the growth and prosperity of Masonry in Lowell. He was initiated in Pentucket Lodge, Lowell, Dec. 7, 1848, and was made a Master Mason Feb. 1, 1849. He became a Charter-member of Ancient York Lodge in June, 1852; was Senior . Steward in 1852-3; Senior Warden in 1854, and Wor. Master from October, 1854, to October, 1855. He was elected Senior Grand Warden of this Grand Lodge Dec. 14, 1859. In other Masonic Bodies,- recognized as legitimate by this M.W. Grand Lodge, he was a faithful laborer, and his record as a Master Mason is supplemented as follows : — He was exalted to the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Mount Horeb Chapter, Lowell, March 31, 1849, and was High Priest of the Chapter in 1856-7-8; was Ex. Gr. Scribe of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts in 1857. He was admitted to Ahasuerus Council of R. and S. Masters, Lowell, April 13, 1868, but held no office. He was created a Knight Templar in Boston Commandery Dec. 21, 1853, but did not take membership. He was admitted a member of Pilgrim Commandery, Lowell, Oct. 31, 1855, and was its Warder in 1855-6-7-8. In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite he received the degrees from the 4th to. 32d inclusive, April 10, 1856, in. a Grand Consistory, connected with the Supreme Council of Sov. Gr. Ins. Genl. for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A., meeting in Boston, and was elevated to the 33° and last degree, May 21, 1862. He was a Charter-member of Lowell Lodge of Perfection, 14°; Lowell Council Princes of Jerusalem, 16°; Mt. Calvary Chapter of Rose. Croix, 18°;' and Massachusetts Consistory S.P.R.S. 32°, all located in Lowell. He was Treasurer of the Lodge and Council from 1857 to 1867, of the Consistory from 1861 to 1871, when it was removed to Boston, and of the Chapter from 1859 to 1887.
"At the close of his twenty-fifth year of service as Treasurer of Mt. Calvary Chapter .Rose Croix, the Brethren of the Scottish Rite had a Feast, and in the name of the Chapter presented to the Lowell Masonic Association a fine portrait of Ill. Bro. Spalding, painted in oil colors, as a token of their high esteem and appreciation of his life and services. It is now hanging in Masonic Hall, and future generations, as they gaze upon that calm, benignant countenance and learn what its original did in the interests of humanity, will join their tributes of praise with those who knew him best on earth.
"The true Masonic spirit seemed to pervade the family, for his brother, Jonathan T., who passed away May 26, 1872, was a zealous worker, and had attained the grades of Knight Templar and 33°. His sister, Sarah R., the only survivor of the family, has within a few weeks contributed liberally to the Masonic Relief Association of Lowell, and established a fund to be called the JOEL SPALDING FUND, for the purpose, as she says, 'of continuing and carrying out the work .of benevolence and love in which my late beloved brother Joel was engaged in behalf of his fellowmen and particularly of his Masonic Brethren.'
"We quote a brief, but beautiful, editorial tribute from one of the Lowell daily papers: 'Full of years, and ripe in the fruition of an unostentatious philanthropy, Dr. Joel Spalding has passed into that beyond where the footsteps of the world-worn resound through the expansive vaults of immortality. Dr. Spalding's life was one of quiet unpretension. His profession was everything in life to him worth living for. He was wedded to its practice, and never spouse was more faithful or devoted. His soothing hand sought the brow of pain in the haunts of poverty, and the sisters of St. John's Hospital found him their safe counsellor and most constant and generous friend. He aspired to no perishable fame, but lived and died in. the city of his birth and in the house of his nativity, the beautiful life of an unselfish nature. The memory of his good deeds, clone in the privacy of a shrinking modesty, rises a fragrant incense to do him honor, and his beneficences, blossoming like rarest flowers, are the sweetest tributes that grateful hearts can lay upon his bier.' The old homestead remains as of yore, the river flows calmly on to the ocean; but our friend and Brother, where is he? Passed beyond the veil that shades our mortal sight, beyond the 'river of oblivion', into a fairer home, there to reap in full fruition the bright hopes and joyous promises which spring from the good seed of a life of religious faith, and devoted service to his God and his fellow-men. 'His toils are ended; we must labor on.'
LIBERAL FREEMASON, 1888
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. XII, No. 2, May 1888, Page 44:
This brother was so well and favorably known in Lowell, and so highly regarded by his brethren in Freemasonry, that we copy from the Boston Journal its report of a very discriminating paper concerning him. Having known Brother Spalding for something like twenty-five years as a Freemason, we gladly avail ourself of the privilege of speaking of him as a true and worthy brother — one seeking not his own, as much as another's good.
An appreciative eulogy of the late Dr. Joel Spalding of Lowell was read before the Middlesex North District Medical Society by Dr. F. Nickerson, at the last meeting. In this sketch of his friend's life Dr. Nickerson said:
Since, for several years, I was a neighbor and friend of the late Dr. Joel Spalding, it is my appropriate, though painful duty, to announce the event of his death, which has taken place since the last meeting of this Society. In making this announcement, I invite your attention to a sketch of his life. The original homestead of Joel Spalding, the grandfather from whom our deceased friend took his name, stood near the site of the present Lowell Post Office. Mr. Spalding afterward changed his residence to the house which, having marked the location of the Spalding farm for nearly one hundred years, still stands at the head of Pawtucket Bridge. On the 2d of March, 1820, and in this house, which was then in the precincts of Chelmsford, the subject of this sketch was born, and here he always lived.
The names of his parents were Jonathan and Sarah (nee Dodge). He fitted for college at Pinkerton Academy, Derry, N. H., entered Dartmouth in 1837, and was graduated therefrom in 1841. Upon leaving college he began the study of medicine, and was graduated at Berkshire Medical College, Pittsfield, Mass., in 1844. He next attended lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, served one year as house physician at Bellevue Hospital, and spent a few months at the lunatic asylum on Blackwell's Island, with a view of becoming a specialist in the treatment of the insane ; but circumstances determined his return to Lowell, where he followed the general practice of medicine up to the beginning of his last illness, a period of over forty years. In 1853 he travelled in France and England, and visited some of the leading hospitals there. In 1854, he was made Coroner of Middlesex County. In 1857, he was elected City Physician and Superintendent of Burials, offices which he held for five successive years. In the same year he became a Director in the Old Lowell National Bank and remained in that position over thirty years. For about ten vears he was Surgeon of the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. He was repeatedly chosen Councillor of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and served as President and Vice-President respectively of the Middlesex North District Medical Society.
At the organization of St. John's Hospital in 1867, he was appointed on its staff of physicians and surgeons, and resigned at the expiration of a term of service of seventeen years. The resolutions passed by the remaining members of the staff at the time of his resignation bear testimony to the value of his services and to the high esteem in which he was held by his associates. As a Freemason, he was a great favorite among his fellows, and was one of the few who had taked the 33d degree. He declined all political honors, feeling that his chosen profession demanded all his time and strength.
For some months previous to the accident from which he dated his chief physical discomforts Dr. Spalding had been in poor health, when, on the 10th of September, 1886, while he was riding on the bank of the Merrimac River, near Pawtucket Falls, his chaise accidentally fell on its side, and he was thrown in a cramped position between the seat and the dasher, where he remained some time before he could be extricated. For a few months after this he suffered from chills, pain in his left side, and difficulty of breathing, but thereafter the principal features of his illness were increasing loss or flesh and strength. On the morning of the 30th of January, 1888, after uttering what proved to be his last words, "I thank you," to some proffered attention, he fell into a quiet sleep, in which he passed away in a few hours so gently that his attendants hardly knew when life had ceased. On the day following that of his death there appeared in the Lowell Daily Citizen, from the pen of its editor, a tender tribute to his memory — a tribute which is so replete with just sentiment that a liberal quotation from it is here made as a fitting close t0 this leaflet of biography:
Dr. Spalding's life was one of quiet unpretension. His profession was everything in life to him worth living for. He was wedded to his practice, and never spouse was more faithful or devoted His soothing hand sought the brow of pain in the haunts of poverty, and the Sisters of St. John's Hospital found him their safe counsellor and most constant and generous friend. He aspired to no perishable fame, but lived and died in the city of his birth and the house of his nativity the beautiful life of an unselfish nature. The memory of his good deeds clone in the privacy of a shrinking modesty rises a fragrant incense to do him honor, and his beneficencies, blossoming like rarest flowers, are the sweetest tributes that grateful hearts can lay upon his bier."