Obituary of Reuben Tower
(Waterville Times Sept. 1, 1899 )
(Extracted by Stephen Gates)
Just before 6 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon Mr. Reuben Tower passed away at his home on Sanger Street. He had suffered several strokes of apoplexy, the last one a few days ago leaving him unconscious in which condition he continued until his death. He had been in failing health for the past year or more, his first trouble being the loss of his eyesight, now believed to have been caused by a slight stroke. At that time he had the use of only one eye, the other having been blind from a cataract for more than twenty years. It was found impossible to restore the sight of the one last afflicted but a successful operation was performed on the other and once more he was permitted to see. Later he suffered from other afflictions and although he procured the best medical skill it could be seen that his former strong constitution was being undermined until eventually he was so weakened he could not withstand another shock and death claimed him.
The deceased had been a familiar figure in this community for a generation and during his long and active career has had much to do with the affairs of town and village. The results of his endeavors in different directions will long stand as monuments to his energy and persistent purpose. As President of the village he believed in making public improvements and accomplished much that has made our village more beautiful. Not without opposition did he carry out his ideas but his force of character and tenacity of purpose surmounted all other facts and at this day it is acknowledged that his work resulted in permanent benefits and decided improvements. For many years he managed his brother's estate here and had unlimited means at his command to improve the same. Several large and commodious barns, a reservoir and complete water system, stone walks and handsome fences all kept in the best of repair are the result of Mr. Tower’s activity to accomplish which a large force of men was kept at work and many thousands of dollars were paid out which contributed to the prosperity of the village. On his own property he showed the same desire for improvement and was constantly making repairs and changes. When he transferred his apartments from the farm on Tower avenue to the present home it was into a plain building that he moved but he has made it a striking looking structure, on of its latest additions being a bell tower on hundred feet high in which is a chime of ten bells and one of the best clocks that could be procured. This piece of mechanism, in conjuncture with the different bells, plays the Westminster on the hour and quarters, besides making the regular strokes that indicate the hour. Mr. Tower has taken much pride in this clock and the chimes and they are objects of interest to visitors in town. In addition to the chime of bells he also has in the tower the first bell ever brought to Waterville which for many years was used in the old Baptist church. The interior of Mr. Tower’s late home is handsomely finished and furnished and with the many antiquities, curios, rugs, skins and old clocks it has always been a most interesting place. It was here that Mr. Tower received his friends and, seated before a large fireplace, which was his special delight, with blazing birch logs on the andirons, he was a most genial companion and entertaining host. He kept abreast of the times, possessed a fund of information most subjects and his opinions were always interesting. He had a keen sense of humor and was ever ready with a witty story or anecdote to illustrate his point and no one appreciated or laughed harder a a joke than he.
Mr. Tower was a man of firm opinions and strong prejudices and could not do too much for those he liked but was quick to resent real or fancied slights. He was most charitably inclined and has aided many poor persons and assisted generously in worthy causes. the Waterville Military Band was always his special pride and it has received from him many contributions in times of need. No subscription paper was considered complete without Reuben Towers signature and very seldom was the one taking it to him turned away.
Besides being repeatedly elected president of the village, Mr. Tower served several terms as supervisor of the town, being elected on the democratic ticket. He took a foremost position in the deliberations of the board and was regarded as a safe, wise and careful guardian of the interest of the county and town.
The deceased was born at the Tower homestead in this village on June 17th, 1829, being the youngest of seven sons born to Reuben Tower and Deborah Taylor Pearce, who settled in this village in 1808. He was educated at Oxford Academy, and at Phillips Academy at Exeter, N. H. and entered Harvard College but was obliged to discontinue his course during his sophomore year on account of his illness. Since then he has devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, the breeding of blooded horses and to the duties which his public position entailed upon him.
He was never married and was the last of eight children. He leaves many relatives however, consisting of cousins, nephews and nieces and grandnephews and grandnieces. His only first cousins living are James, Henry and Charles Rowell. Four families are represented here at present: Mrs. Earl B. Putnam, Lawrence Phelps Tower, son of his brother Fayette whose family have lived at the Tower homestead in this village for two summers; Mrs. James D. Peterson, daughter of his brother Francis Marion, whom Mr. Tower sent for when he was taken ill; Mrs. Stephen D. Conklin and Miss. Page, daughters of his only sister.
The following are his other nieces and nephews; Scott, son of Julius; Mrs. James Allen, Mrs. Frank Waterman and Mrs. Walter Wilmot, daughters of Marion; Frank, DeWitt, Blanche and Arthur, children of DeWitt Clinton; Mrs. Richard M. Janney, Mrs. Thomas A. Reilly, Mrs. George W. Werty and Hon. Charlemagne Tower, United States Ambassador to Russia, children of Charlemagne.
The funeral will be held from Mr. Towers late home on Sanger street at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to which his friends are invited.