Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The Orderly Book of Sir John Johnson
During the Oriskany Campaign
Annotated by Wm. L. Stone
With an Historical Introduction illustrating the Life of Johnson by J. Watts De Peyster, and Some Tracings from the Foot-Prints of the Tories, or Loyalists in America by T. R. Myers.
Joel Munsell, 1882



THE REV. MARINUS WILLETT was born in October, 1826, and died on the 23d of February, 1881. His father was a physician in New York city. In his younger days, Mr. Willett shipped before the mast for a trip to China, and became a great favorite with all on board. Returning to New York, he was made fourth officer of the ill-fated steamship Arctic, commanded by Capt. Luce, and only left her as she started on her last voyage in which she was lost. Shortly after, he received the appointment of third officer in the packet-ship Ashburton; but his mother dying about this time, he gave up the sea as a vocation, choosing in its place the profession of the ministry. He studied first at Columbia College; then at the University of Pennsylvania; and finally graduated at Williams. He prepared for the ministry at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City ; and after his ordination became pastor in succession of several Presbyterian churches, among them the one at Black Rock, Conn., and another at Washington Heights, N. Y. About ten years before his death, he was appointed chaplain of Ward's, Hart's and Randall's Islands, by Commissioner Bowen. He was devoted to his work and found particular happiness in administering spiritual comfort to poor patients. He left, as a rich heritage to his children, an official record not often equaled for success and devotion to the suffering. Indeed, it was this very self-sacrificing spirit, which was the primary cause of his death. Notwithstanding he had been in ill health for some nine months previous to his decease, and had been urged not to attempt to perform his labors as chaplain, at least until the weather became milder and more settled, he persisted, in the face of wind and storm, in crossing the East River in an open boat nearly every day in the week, to visit the Islands, and always on Sundays to hold service. Indeed, the officials and physicians of the different institutions on the three Islands, speak of Mr. Willett in terms of unqualified praise, as a Christian minister who seemed to live only to better his fellowmen. Mr. Willett was, for many years, a member, and later, the secretary, of the society of the Cincinnati, of which his grandfather (after whom he was named) was one of the original members. He was also a member of the St. Nicholas society. He left a widow, a daughter, and two sons, one of whom, at the time of his father's death, was a purser of a ship then cruising in the Indian Ocean. He was buried on the 26th of February, from the South Dutch church, corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-first street, New York, Dr. Howard Crosby conducting the services which were unusually impressive.

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