Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years



ONE afternoon, near the opening of the year 1865, a stoop-shouldered old man drove into the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, and hitched his horse in front of a hardware store. There was a look of weariness in his lined face, caused less by the long ride from Athol than by an accumulation of years spent in hard work. Few whom he passed knew him. To the casual observer he was another countryman dressed up for a visit to the city. Yet, in a few months, his name was to become a familiar one throughout the State. Amazement and impersonal admiration were to be abundantly expressed but, because of his reticence and distaste for personal distinction, he was not to experience the flavor of glory that many another benefactor has sought and relished.

John Boynton had come to Worcester to lay before his cousin, David Whitcomb, a matter that overshadowed all other transactions in the city that day. He found Whitcomb in the office of his hardware store. Their greetings were cordial but unemotional. These men were Yankees of the old school, who used words sparingly. There was between them, however, a bond of implicit confidence, forged not so strongly by blood relationship as by a quarter of a century of business contacts.

Boynton's immediate forbears were humble sons of the New Hampshire hills. So were Whitcomb's. The Boynton


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999