Lord, Otis P.

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Otis Phillips Lord, 1812-1884, was born in Ipswich on July 11, 1812, the son of Nathaniel Lord, former Register of Probate for Essex County,and his wife Eunice (Kimball) Lord. The Honorable Otis P. Lord first went to Dummer Academy then graduated from Amherst College in 1832 and from Harvard Law School in 1835 and was admitted to the bar that same year. He began the practice of law in Ipswich, but shortly moved to Salem. In 1859 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Superior Court then promoted to the Supreme Judicial Court in 1875.

He lived in a house on 14 North Street, built by Charles Ward (house no longer standing). The original North Church meeting-house previously occupied this site. Much of the old church timber was contained in Judge Lord's house.

He married Elizabeth W. Farley in 1843. Mrs. Lord died on Dec. 10, 1877, leaving no children.

Otis P. Lord was also notable as a friend of Emily Dickinson and her father, Edward Dickinson, whom shared his conservative views. Lord and his wife visited the Dickinsons often. Lord's romantic relationship developed with Emily Dickinson after the death of his wife in 1877. Fifteen manuscripts survive from their correspondence, most in draft or fragmentary form. Some passages seem to suggest that they contemplated marrying. Before anything could move forward however, he died.

Otis P. Lord died on March 13, 1884 and is buried at Harmony Grove Cemetery. A portrait of Judge Lord painted by Frederick P. Vinton hangs in the Essex County Superior Court.

See Also

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Lord, Otis P.

"Funeral of the late Judge Otis P. Lord" Salem Evening News, Mar. 18, 1884, p. 1

Essex Institute Historical Collections Vol 75, p. 164-65

Old Naumkeag by Webber, p.85

Emily Dickinson: A Revelation by M.T. Bingham