Sunday, August 05, 2012

His Name Is...

Leander Miller Haskins.

And here he is sitting in his buggy.
Leander Miller Haskins (photo credit: Sandy Bay Historical Society)

Leander was born in Rockport on June 20, 1842 to Moses and Betsy Haskins.  The family had been around Rockport for many years, Leander's grandfather, Bennett, having arrived here from Virginia in 1756.  Leander was educated in the Rockport schools and then attended Phillips Andover Academy.  After his graduation from Phillips, he attended Dartmouth College graduating in the class of 1863.  Immediately upon leaving college, Leander enlisted in the Army.  He was a Commissary Clerk with the 19th Army Corps.  Later that same year he mustered out to recuperate from a fever he had contracted.  Once he regained his health, he joined the Navy for the remainder of the war.

At the conclusion of the Civil War, Leander and his brother, Moses, Jr., opened a fish processing plant at T Wharf in Boston.  In 1878 Leander opened a second business on his own.  That business was the Haskin's Isinglass Factory located in the former Manning Organ Company building in Rockport.  As the business grew, it was soon moved to new facilities on Railroad Avenue where it remained operational until Leander's death in 1905. (The current Isinglass Place.)

Though Leander maintained his primary residence in Boston, he spent a great deal of time in his hometown of Rockport.  Early on he had taught in the Rockport schools in order to finance his higher education.  In 1885 he became the first commodore of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club.  He was a member of the Ashler Lodge of the Masons and the Order of Red Men.  Additionally, he was Director of the Rockport National Bank and the Rockport Street Railway.  His business training was instrumental in gaining funding from Carnegie to build Rockport's public library.  He was a major participant in getting the railroad extended from Gloucester to Rockport.

In 1892, Leander built a summer residence in Rockport and called it Kismont.
Haskins House (oil painting by Deb)

When Leander's will was probated after his death in 1905, the people of Rockport benefited.  He took care of his home town. $1,000 was left to the Carnegie Library.  $1,000 to the Congregational Church and $300 each to the Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, and Universalist churches.  A $10,000 scholarship fund was left for any Rockport graduate wanting to attend Dartmouth (or MIT).

And Leander's 70 acre estate, Kismont, including the main house, caretaker's house, barn and stables, shed, and swimming pool was left to the town of Rockport to be used for a hospital or park.

Look for upcoming posts and photos showing Leander's estate, from the days when he lived there to it's service as a hospital to what remains today and my 'master plan'.

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