Some Biographical Facts About Him---
His Experiences in the South---
A Congressman for an Uncle and a Consul for a Cousin---
Recollections of Brattleboro's Great Men of the Past.
[Correspondence of the Springfield Republican.]
Dr. Putnam was born in Sharon, N. Y., January 11, 1816. He was one of seven children of Josiah and Susan Willard Putnam, and a great grandson of John Arms, whose son was Brattleboro's first post master more than 100 years ago.
Dr. Putnam lived at home attending the public schools till he was 14 years old when he removed with his family to Charlestown, N. Y., where his father practiced his trade, that of a saddler and harness maker. The family came here March 1, 1833, and settled on the old Dickerman place, two and one-half miles northwest of the village, near the McVeigh farm.
Young Putnam assisted his father on the farm for three years and attended the old academy at the west village. He left home in 1836 to learn the tailor's trade with Minot & King of Springfield, and the following year returned to the west village, where November 5, 1837, he married Miss Abigail C. Crosby, daughter of Watson Crosby, of West Brattleboro.
Mr. and Mrs. Putnam followed their trade there for three years until his health failed him, and for two years thereafter he was compelled to retire from active business. He went to Greenwich, N. Y., in June, 1842, and began the study of dentistry with Dr. J. B. Crosby, where he remained till he finally returned to West Bratttleboro to practice his profession there and in the adjoining towns.
He opened an office here in June, 1846, in the east village hall, a long building on the east side of Main street. When "Squire" Mead went into the bank near the Congregational church, Dr. Putnam took his office in the south end of Hall's block where he remained till the great fire in 1869 and after the building of Crosby block when he moved to his present office there.
For 47 years he has had an office on Main street, where two or three of his earliest acquaintances still continue in business. Dr. Putnam recalls with much pleasure the coterie of famous men who in his earlier days were Brattleboro's shining legal and social lights.
Dr. Chapin was the perennial and graceful chairman of the town-meetings, while such men as Col. Chase, Maj. Smith, Judge Bradley and Judge Whitney, with their contemporaries, usually shaped public measures and ably guided the affairs of state.
The town-meetings in the old hall at the west village were often times the scene of the most interesting and witty debates. On one occasion Judge Whitney announced to his constituents, of which the young doctor was one, that he had taken a solemn oath to vote for the best man for office and thereupon proceeded to cast a vote for himself for town representative, which office he acceptably filled.
Both Dr. Putnam's father and Uncle Harvey Putnam, who was at one time a congressman from York state, were born on the farm now owned and occupied by Henry Clark. The doctor's cousin, James O. Putnam, was a consul to Harve under both Lincoln's and Johnson's administrations.
For three or four winters before the breaking out of the war Dr. Putnam was accustomed to go to Florida, thence to Nashua, where he found lucrative employment at his trade while recuperating his health. It was then a common thing to receive $100 in gold for what is now furnished by all dentists for $10.
His last trip south was in the winter of 1860 when the excitement incident to the war was at fever heat. The doctor was in Georgia on his way home when Fort Sumter was surrendered and he took the advice of a friend to embark on a north bound steamer, first exchanging his money for a New York draft which fortunately he secured after sitting on the bank steps in Savannah for two hours or more before the hour of opening.
Two days after the doctor sailed the last steamer for many months sailed from Savannah. Representative Bailey of Fitchburg, who was in the south at the time, was not so fortunate, as he, together with his attendant, whom the southerners were determined to draft into their service, was obliged to flee by a circuitous route for the north.
Dr. Putnam is probably the oldest practicing dentist in the state which means that he is one of the oldest in the United States. Mr. and Mrs. Putnam are among the oldest members of the Centre Congregational church and they enjoy the respect and esteem of this community. Their only children, three sons, died several years since.
When Dr. James A. Farwell died on January 12, 1851 at age thirty-two,
Dr. Putnam removed to his offices in the Granite Block, carrying on the practice of this young dentist---
Dr. James A. Farwell
Dr. and Mrs. A. D. Putnam Celebrate
Their Fiftieth Anniversary.
The fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of Dr. and Mrs. A. D. Putnam was duly observed last Saturday evening, Nov. 5th, at their residence in Crosby block. Over 100 friends called during the evening to offer their congratulations, and the occasion was a very pleasant one to al concerned.
Among the relatives present were Mr. and Mrs. John L. Putnam of this town, to whom the occasion was also memorable as being their sixty-first wedding anniversary. The two Messrs. Putnam are brothers, and the only living sons of the late Josiah Putnam of West Brattleboro.
A sister, Mrs. Beda Prouty of this town, was also present, as were Mr. and Mrs. A. N. Swain of Bellows Falls, Mr. and Mrs. G. Warren Allen of Boston, Mass., and Mrs. W. E. Clark of Charlestown, N. H.
Warm messages of love and remembrance were also received from many relatives and acquaintances unable to be present, among whom were Mrs. Putnam's brothers, Charles Crosby, Esq., of Boston, Mass., and Hon. Henry B. Crosby of Patterson, N. J.; also from Hon. J. O. Putnam of Buffalo, N. Y., Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Gridley of Washington, D. C., H. L. Hart of Palatka, Fla., Mrs. E. C. Mayo of Quincy, Ill., Mrs. Frank Adams of Akron, O., Amos W. Hart of Washington, D. C., Mrs. Sarah B. Morehouse and Mrs. Julia Valette of Toledo, O., and a score of others.
The gifts, which were many and valuable, included about $175 in gold coin. There were no formal presentation ceremonies, but brief and appropriate remarks were made by Mr. C. F. Thompson, Judge R. W. Clarke, Rev. James Herrick and Rev. C. O. Day.
Several of the letters received were read by Mr. Thompson and refreshments were served. the informality of the occasion was a pleasing characteristic, and the friends to whose thoughtful regard the observance of the anniversary was due have reason to feel well repaid in the happiness which attended it.
Dr. Putnam is the oldest dentist in Windham county, if not in the state, having begun the practice of his profession here in 1842. Mrs. Putnam was Miss Abby C. Crosby of West Brattleboro, where, in the old meeting house, the marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Jedediah Stark, Nov. 5, 1837. Of three sons born to them, none survive.
Although both Mr. and Mrs. Putnam have passed the allotted age of three score years and ten, they are not regarded by their friends as old people, and bid fair to see yet many days of peaceful enjoyment on this side of the river.
Dr. A. D. Putnam, long a deeply respected citizen, one of the oldest dentists in the state, and in the county in fact, died yesterday at a little after 11 o'clock from the complication of troubles under which he has been sinking for several weeks. And in him passes out from among us one of the most interesting links between the Brattleboro of the present and the past. . . .
It was in his office that the first telegraph instrument in town was located. He was for many years the agent for the Charter Oak Life Insurance Co. here and did a large business for it until the failure of the company. . . .
The Doctor was long the leading dentist of the place. Quiet and reserved he took but little part in public affairs, but he was a man of unusual intelligence, candor, and kindliness of views, making a model neighbor, citizen and friend.