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Historical Materials

Historical Materials  »  People  »  Sawyer, Samuel

People

Sawyer, Samuel

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (6) »

Samuel Elwell Sawyer of Gloucester was a patron of the arts. He visited F. H. Lane’s studio, purchased paintings by him and hired him “to make a sketch of old Homestead for Haughton." (1) Sawyer and Joseph L. Stevens also supported Gloucester artist D. Jerome Elwell in his European studies. We know that in August, 1864, Sawyer ordered two paintings from Lane "to be done [when] he is at leisure," and that he also purchased a painting by Lane for $50 in 1864 at a "Sailors Fare."

Samuel E. Sawyer was born in Gloucester on November 25, 1815 and died at the ancestral homestead in Gloucester on December 15, 1899. He was the fifth generation of Sawyers to occupy Brookbank, an early eighteenth-century gambrel-roofed house located at Freshwater Cove. The Sawyer family history goes back to William Sawyer, who came to New England about 1640.

Samuel's wife was Abigail (Abbie) Ingersoll Meads - they married in Boston on October 30, 1845. They had no children but lived an idyllic life, spending November through March in Boston, and April through October at the family homestead in Gloucester. They spent many years enjoying an accumulated wealth which was generously shared with others. However, life was not always easy for Samuel Sawyer, as he started at the bottom and suffered several financial reversals along the way before becoming financially secure.

Sawyer began his business career as a clerk in Samuel Stevens' dry goods store on Main Street in Gloucester. (2) He soon went to Boston, where he secured a job as a salesman with the firm Kimball and Jewett. He then entered the field of shipping and commerce, and became a partner in the firm of Haughton, Sawyer and Adams. This position took him to all parts of the world, and from it he amassed a fortune as a merchant.

Although a good deal of Sawyer's earlier life was spent in Boston and in travel, nothing could entice him away from the scenes of his childhood. At their Freshwater Cove home, he and Mrs. Sawyer enjoyed their middle age and later years. It was during this period of his life that Samuel Sawyer became one of Gloucester's leading philanthropists. His many gifts and bequests ranged from schoolhouse fences to the present clock in the City Hall tower, and from substantial contributions to the Female Charitable Association to a fund that made it possible to introduce music into the public schools. His most memorable gifts were funds for medals to be given annually to students for scholastic excellence, provision of the building and endowment fund for the Sawyer Free Library, and the land now known as Ravenswood Park.

Mr. Sawyer died from pneumonia at the homestead in Gloucester on December 15, 1889 at the age of seventy-four. Mrs. Sawyer had passed away the preceding year, also from pneumonia.

– Mary Rhinelander McCarl and Stephanie Buck

(1) August 25, 1864 in Samuel Sawyer, Diaries: 1854-1874, trans. Mary Rhinelander McCarl.

(2) Obituary of Joseph L. Stevens, Jr., Gloucester Daily Times, September 21, 1908. Samuel Stevens was Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.’s uncle. When Joseph L. Stevens, Jr. came to Gloucester from Maine in 1840, he first worked in his uncle Samuel’s store.

Related tables: Balch, William Y. »  //  Boston – 1864 Sailors' Fair »  //  Brookbank »  //  Cores [Cowes?] Mrs. »  //  Haughton, James »  //  Jacquith, Aaron »  //  Sawyer Free Library »

photo (historical)
American Scenery: New England Series No. 219 Mansion House, Brook Bank
n.d.
Stereographic card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Penciled on reverse: "Mansion House, Brook Bank [sic], Sam'l Sawyer now Hammond, Freshwater Cove"

Also filed under: Brookbank »   //  Historic Photographs »

map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 2)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially helpful in showing the wharves of the inner harbor at the foot of Washington Street. 

publication
Gloucester Lyceum record 2.18.1850
1850
Typescript
Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester, Mass.
Document of the Gloucester Lyceum recording Lane's offer to "furnish a painting which should sell for at least fifty dollars, in furtherance of the project..." to build a new Library in Gloucester. Flyer circulated to "Sons of Gloucester" but no one responded, so apparently Lane never donated painting.
PDF
view ]
manuscript
The expense accounts and diaries of Samuel Elwell Sawyer, 1851-1889
Samuel Elwell Sawyer
Transcription and annotations by Mary Rhinelander McCarl
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives

 

manuscript
1852 Expense Account 11.27.1852
Samuel Sawyer
11.27.1852
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp013

"November 27. Engraving. Arch of Triumph (To James 1/53)

Engraving. Pharaoh’s Horses Painting.  Seaview

Traveller & milkmaid. Companions. Hogarth. $2." 

manuscript
1853 Expense Account 11.12.1853
Samuel Sawyer
11.12.1853
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp014

"November 12. Village Festival
Banck. Sunrise 3.25, Sunset 
Backhuysen. Sea view, Power of Fashion, Cattle piece. 3 gilt frames"

manuscript
1854 Expense Account 6.6.1854
Samuel Sawyer
6.6.1854
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp015

"June 6. 2 Dutch coast scenes & frames. Fremart(?) (One Haughton)"

manuscript
1856 Expense Account 11.8.1856
Samuel Sawyer
11.8.1856
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp016

"November 8. Lane. Homestead

Frame at Balch
Museum &c. &c."

manuscript
1857 Expense Account 6.4.1857
Samuel Sawyer
11.27.1852
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp017

"June 4. Interior. Peter Neefs

Landscape. Mireveldt Amsterdam. A. Storck
Flower piece. Unknown
Female head. L. Baker
Flowers, bird’s nest.

Schlesinger Flemish peasants. Unknown"

publication
1858 Cape Ann Advertiser 2.27.1858
Procter Brothers
Various dates
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"A CARD. – The Ladies of Gloucester who are interested in the Lyceum Library, and who projected the recent Festival in its behalf, take this method of returning their sincere acknowledgements; 

To Messrs. F. H. Lane, Addison Center and John Trask for their arduous and truly artistic labors in the preparation of Tableaux; . . .

To Robert Fears, Esq., who gratuitously opened his large and commodious Sail Loft for their use and exerted himself to make their occupancy of it agreeable;...

To Samuel Sawyer, Esq. of Boston, for his generous and unexpected donation of fifty dollars, thereby laying the Library under still another obligation to him;...

 

manuscript
1859 Expense Account 11.12.1859
Samuel Sawyer
11.12.1859
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp018

"November 12. Winter scene, Scotch boy

Landscape. Griggs Rising by Frost
Chip off the Old Block, Infant Saviour

St. John Dilemma. Rondel

Departure" 

manuscript
1860 Expense Account 4.4.1860
Samuel Sawyer
4.4.1860
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp020

"Marine View Mt. Desert Light Lane $41.00"

manuscript
1863 Diary Entry 12.25.1863
Samuel Sawyer
12.25.1863
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"After dinner went to the Athanaum[sic]."

manuscript
1863 Diary Entry 2.4.1863
Samuel Sawyer
2.4.1863
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"February 4. Went to the artists reception this evening. There was a large company. Haven (?) Fields Whipple & Co. We enjoyed the occasion very much. Our invitation came from Mr. Scott, Mr. Bartlett & Lottie also went, Mrs. Haughton did not."

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 11.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer
11.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"November 17. Went to Gloucester. Pleasant morning, rainy evening.
Called upon Mr. Lane artist."

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 11.23.1864

"November 23. Cool & pleasant. Went to Gloucester.

Size of Haughton's pictures 2. 18 x 30 & 1. 10 x 15. [Lane?]"

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 11.4.1864
Samuel Sawyer
11.4.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection A#63

"Got painting. Lane's $50. For Mrs. Cowes. National Sailors Fair."

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 12.2.1864
Samuel Sawyer
12.2.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"December 2. Went out to call upon J. W. A. Scott East Cambridge artist. He had many sketches. Some of them taken at Gloucester."

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 3.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer
3.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"March 17. Delightful weather.
One of Lane’s Pictures sold at Leonard’s for $55"

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 7.11.1864
Samuel Sawyer
7.11.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Rosa Bonheur called" [According to Mary McCarl, this was the name of Sawyer's cow]

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.15.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.15.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"August 15. Mr. & Mrs. H.(Haughton) staid over, went to sail in the morning & to ride in the afternoon. H. ordered 3 paintings of Mr. Lane for $150, 2 size about 18 x 30, & 1 small."

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.25.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.25.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"August 25. Called to see Mr. Lane to make a sketch of old Homestead for Haughtons."

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.8.1864 & 8.9.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.8.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Monday 8th

Ordered from F. H. Lane 2 Pictures 14 x 21 to be done when he is at leisure. One moonlight $25-$30. . .

Tuesday 9th

Called at Lane's studio"

manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 9.21.1864
Samuel Sawyer
9.21.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Mr. [F.H. Lane - crossed out] Lane came over to draw the outline for picture for Haughton"

manuscript
1864 Expense Account 11.5.1864
Samuel Sawyer
11.5.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection A#63

"Lane Picture Mrs. Cowes $50

Frame for same $18"

manuscript
1865 Diary Entry 10.22.1865
Samuel Sawyer
10.22.1865
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Met Mr. Tuckerman the artist walking with Jos. Stevens."

Citation: "Historical Materials." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?section=Sawyer%2C+Samuel (accessed October 22, 2017).
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