vast heaps of unstratified, compact clay, containing
scratched pebbles and gravel, and littered over with
angular boulders, transported from the north. These
elevations have been named by Prof Hitchcock,
"Lenticular Hills," from their peculiar lens-shaped
outline as seen upon the distant horizon. This
series of hills continues to the northeast, as far as
Portsmouth, N. H.
Dr. Hitchcock wrote in 1842 ;
" Oar moraines form ridges and hills of almost every possible shape.
It is not common to find straight ridges for a cousi-lerabte distance.
But the most common and remarkable aspect aasuMied by tlicse eleva-
tions is that of a collection of tortuous ridges and rounded and oven
conical hills, with corresponding depressions between them. These de-
pressions are not valleys, which might have been produced by running
water, but were holes, not unfrequently occupied by a pond.
"In 1874 the writer ascertained that this belt of ridges extended
through the whole length of the town nf \ n I v. :-. K inm^ frequently
pas8 over the lenticular hills where tliii I ',' : ' !i;i two hun-
dred feet, and descend into shallow dip' . ,- ri\.'r valleys
without ceremony. Stilllaterinvestigati in- iii. -i^lii ' â– li,'lit a parallel
belt of gravel ridges reaching the sea at Beverly, and continuing north
through Topslield, Boxford and Haverhill, far into New Hampshire.
"In passing from Andover to New Brunswick, the traveller crosses
more than thirty Karnes.
"These are all, however, less clearly ilefined and more subject to in-
terruption than the .\ndover or Haverhill series.
" The most probable theory of the origin of these remarkable ridges
is that they are somewhat of the character of medial moraines and mark
the courses of the surface flow of water during the last stages of the
" The ice had doubtless been thousands of feet in depth, and when the
material composing the Kames was deposited, still filled most of the de-
pressions and lingered in such transverse valleys as that which the 5Ier-
rimack follows in the lower part of its course. Superficial streams,
swollen by the action of the summer sun, would at that period flow with
great violence, during the hot season, and their course would be marked
by vast accumulations of coarse gravel, which would in some places be
lodged in the channel, in others spread out over masses of ice. Finally
as the last masses of the lower stratum of ice melted, the gravel thereon
would settle down from the ice (as dirt does from snow-drifts in the
spring) into the irregular forms in which we find these ridges.
" Hagget's Pond (Andov er) doubtless marks a depression where the ice
lingered while a Kame-stream deposited in a temporary lake the sand-
plains in the South towards Tewksbury. Pomp's Pond was preserved
from filling up by a similar mass of ice. . . . The basin of Great
Pond, in North Andover, was fi>rnied in a diff'erent manner. In this
case the lake is hemmed in by lenticular hills, one of which partially
dams iU natural outlet. Lenticular hills have also in many places below
Korth Andover determined the course of the 3Ierrimack River."
A moraine is defined to be "A line of rock and
gravel extending along the sides of separate glaciers,
and along the middle part of glaciers formed by the
union of one or more separate ones."
Even the unlearned can apply these observations
to that portion of the Merrimac Valley in which
Haverhill is situated, and e-^pecially to the lake
region in the easterly part of the town, in the vicin-
ity of Saltonstall and Kenoza.
It has been written by a competent observer :
" The changes in tho fauna of the region immediately surrounding
Boston, wrought by civilization, are merely such as would be expected
to occur in the transformation of a forest wilderness into a thickly popu-
lated district, namely, the extirpation of all the larger indigenous
mammals and birds, the partial extinction of many others, and the great
reduction in numbers of nearly all forms of animal life, both terrestrial
and aquatic, as well as the introduction of various domesticated species
and those universal pests of civilization, the house-rats and mice. The
only other introduced species of importance are the European house-
sparrow and a few species of noxious insects."
The early chroniclers enumerate among the animals
of this region, the " Lyon " (catamount or panther),
the bear, moose, deer, porcupines, raccoons, beaver,
marten and otter. Wood said of the moose : "There
be not many of these in Massachusetts Bay, but forty
miles to the Northeast there be great store of them."
All these animals mostly have disappeared, although
rumors occasionally float down from New Hampshire of
great sport in " coon hunts," and abundance of deer
are still to be found in certain seasons in the south-
eastern counties of Massachusetts. " Smaller species
occur in greatly reduced numbers, like the muskrat,
mink, weasels, shrews, moles, squirrels and the vari-
ous species of field mice."
The great auk was found along the Lower Merri-
mac when the fathers came, and its bones occur in
the Indian shell-heaps at Ipswich and along the
coast. Swans and cranes are said to have been
abundant. Of the former, Morton said, " there are
of them in Merrimac River and in other parts of the
country, great store at the season of the year." For-
merly there were great quantities of sea-fowl, as far
from the coast as Haverhill, and the cry of the bit-
tern .and other water birds is still to be heard about
the lakes in the eastern part of the town. Geese,
ducks and especially pigeons, were in vast profusion
in the early day.
Of reptiles, a competent writer says, in reference to
"The antipathy to snakes, which so generally impels their destruc-
tion at every opportunity, has left few of them in comparison with their
former number. The rattlesnake, the only dangerous species, found
now only at a few localities, was formerly much more generally dis-
persed. The draining of ponds and marshy lands has greatly circum-
scribed the haunts of frogs, salamanders and tortoises, which at many
localities have become neariy extirpated."
These observations are certainly correct of Haver-
hill in the main; but the voice of the batrachian
has not yet wholly died o.ut of the land.
The waters of the town were full of fish two centu-
ries and a half ago. Codfish, bass and mackerel could
be had at the mouth of the river. Morton said of the
"There are such multitudes that I have seen stopped into the riv
(Meriimack) close adjining to my house with sand at one time,
many a^ will load a ship of one hundred tonnes."
HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS.
The same writer tiilks about mackerel "18 and 19
inches in length and seaven in breadth."
"Thcio Is a fish (by some called bliadds, \iy some allizes) that at tho
spring of the ycaro paos up the rivura to spaiviie in tho ponds : and are
taken in such nnillitudcs in every river, that hath a pond at the hed,
that the inhabitants donnp their grounds with them. You may see in
one towuesliip a hundred acres together, set with these fish, every acre
taking a tliousaud of them.*^
Another old writer says:
'* In two tydes thfcy have gotten one hundred thousand of these fish
(meaning shad and alcwives) in a wayre to catch flsli."
This was written of the River Charles; but the
same report might have been given of the Merrimack
River at Haverhill. Was not East Haverhill known
as " Shad Parish?'' And was it not often stipulated
in the indentures of apprentices, through the humane
thoughtfulness of parents and guardians, that they
should not be obliged to eat salmon oftener than six
times a week? Wood wrote, from his observations
as early as 1633:
" Much sturgeon is taken on tl
teen, eighteen feet_loug, picliled
The Indians called the river, " Monomack," or the
River of Sturgeons. The fall of the stream at Pen-
tuckett (Haverhill), Pawtucket (Lowell), Namoskeag
(Manchester) and Pennycook (Concord) were favor-
ite resorts at the iishing season for the dilierent com-
munities or tribes of Indians. From them the whites
learned the use of fish for manure, or, as they ex-
pre.ssed it, to "fish corn."
The towns lower down the river seem to have
monopolized the sturgeon fishery ; but the curing
and exportation of sahnon and alewives was long a
Haverhill industry. Before the days of bridges and
dams, the falls of the Merrimac were famous for
salmon, and its tributary streams for alewives. Hav-
erhill, from its favorable situation at the head of
sloop navigation and tide-water, and at the first falls
of the river, was not only one of the earliest and
latest engaged in the fisheries, but also the largest.
In the year 1654 the town granted liberty to Stephen
Kent "to place a wear in Little River, to catch ale-
wives or any other lish." At the town-meeting of
March 6, 1657, John Hutchins, of Newbury, was
granted liberty to set a wear in the Merrimac, "at
the little island above the town by the falls." He
was to have the use of the island and the flats to dry
his fish. In return, he was "to sell fish to the inhab-
itants of the town for such pay as the town can
make," â€” that is, by way of barter for their products, â€”
and was to supply them for their own use, at market
prices, in preference to others. His fish-works were
to be finished within two years.
Salmon were formerly sold habitually in the town
for four or five cents a pound, and were often unsala-
ble at that price in the height of the fishing season.
These fish were of the finest; but as the streams and
outlets of the ponds became obstructed, and their
waters defiled, by dams, mills and bridges, the sup-
ply of salmon rapidly diminished till, at tho present
time, notwithstanding all the care of the State's
fish commissioners, but few are taken in the Merri-
mac, and those sadly inferior.
It is not thought that shad were much used as food in
the early day, being principally employed for manure.
The New Hampshire Gazette of May 13, 1760, an-
*' Shud â€”One day last week was drawn by a net at one draft Two
Tliousand Five hundred and odd Shad Fish out of tlie Eiver Merri-
mack near Bedford in tin's Pioviuce. Thought retuarkable by some
After mills began to be built, the town found it ne-
cessary to adopt regulations, so that fish might have
an opportunity of passing up the streams to spawn.
In 1722 and for more than a hundred years after, per-
sons were chosen at the town-meeting to se"^ that the
" fish courses " were kept clear. In 1801 twelve fish
wardens were chosen â€” the tirst officers under that
name â€” for the purpose of regulating the fisheries and
preventing the obstruction of the fish courses. In
1802 the town petitioned the General Court to regu-
late the alewife fishery. They declare the present
mode of catching the fish to be very destructive and
that but little advantage accrues to the inhabitants
from it. They asked that the exclusive right to the
fisheries within its limits may be given to the town.
Their petition was granted.
In 1809 the town told the right to fish in its several
streams at auction, and this continued the custom so
long as the privilege was thought worth buying. In
1814 there were four privileges sold, â€” i. e., at Hale's
Mills, at Thomas Duston's Meadow, at Enoch Brad-
ley's mill-pond and a privilege near John Carleton,
Jr.'s. The amount paid for all was fifty-four dollars.
But the town-people were to be supplied for their own
use at twenty-five cents per hundred. In 1815 the
privileges sold for $91.35 ; but after that the value
and bids began to dwindle.
The bodies of fresh water within the limits of
Haverhill were originally filled with fish. The larg-
est of them, for instance, once abounded with white
and red perch, and pickerel of the largest size were
frequently caught there. Of late years, as the popu-
lation has much increased and extended itself from
the centre, the angles, have grown more numerous and
the fish have correspondingly diminished. But still,
numerous boys range the shores in the season with
extemporized fishing-rods and enjoy as unalloyed
pleasure as their great-grandfathers, who, indeed, were
mostly too busy to go fishing for fun. Shoemakers,
if not skillful, are eager sportsmen, and the borders
of Great Pond still shelter " Chowder " parties. In
1859, indeed, that fine body of water was formally re-
christened by the name which, to the aboriginal
visitors, indicated the abundance of its finny occu-
But, 6weet Kenoza, from thy sliore,
And watching hills beyond :
And, Indian ghosts, if sucli there be.
Who ply, unseen, their ahadowy lini
Call back the dear old name to thee,
As with the voice of pines.
It was a happy thought to invite the " barefoot
boy," whose dreams of beauty had been so often in-
dulged along its margin, to act as sponsor and im-
press the moral of the place and hour.
i priestess, thou shalt teach
And all designeth good."
The four lakes of Haverhill have exercised an in-
calculable influence for good upon the health and
taste of its inhabitants.
As the hand traces this line (December 10, 1887),
joyuus cries attract the ear, and the eye involuntari-
ly wanders over the adjoining sheet of water, where
flying figures prove that the schoolboys have not for-
gotten how to improve the Saturday holiday by " go-
ing up to Plug Pond, skating."
Game-birds abounded in the Haverhill woods when
the Puritans took possession. The wild turkey was
in great abundance ; but in 1672 one wrote: "The
English and the Indians having now so destroyed the
breed, so that 'tis very rare to meet with a Turkie in
the woods." However that may have been, a young
soldier in camp, under General Washington, at Cam-
bridge, who afterwards was a famous Haverhill mer-
chant, entered in his diary, under date of January 26,
1776, " We bought a wild Turcy that weight 17i lbs.,
and had it for supper."
The earliest historian of Haverhill wrote: "In
these woods (of Great Pond) the coy partridge is
found, and various other kinds of game, which affords
a pleasant amusement and healthy exercise to those
who are skilled in gunnery ; " and, in later days, to
some wh )m the widest charity could hardly comprise
in that class. There are, in the great cities, some who
delight to recall the days when they shot woodcock in
the thickets about Plug Pond.
In the East Parish, game has thriven as well as
poetry. Indeed, there can scarcely be imagined a re-
gion better adapted to be the haunt of the sportsman
and the poet alike than that which may be called
" Whittier's Country." There are the old homestead
aud "Country Bridge," and the " Countess' Grave,"
and many another spot which the reader of the most
beautiful of American idyls loves to recognize. From
the river to Brandy Brow and the Newton road there
are unfrequented woodland path^, groves pathetic
with the melancholy sough of the pine trees ; great,
lonesome hills; streams, sometimes running clear and
smiling in the open forest and again hidden in im-
penetrable thickets. In the more desolate days of
autumn the leaves " rustle to the eddying gust and to
the rabbit's tread."
" And now, when come the calm, mild day, as still such days will come.
To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home, â€”
When the sound of dropping nuta is heard, though all the woods are
And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill."
There is a great charm about these scenes (not un-
felt, let us hope, even by the keen hunter) over which
genius has shed
"The light that never was on sea or shore.'*
Notwithstanding the multiplication of sportsmen,
there are still coverts known to the initiated in the
North Parish, as well as the East, where it is possible
to bag a respectable number of birds.
Mirick wrote, fifty-five years ago, â€” " Before the town
was settled it was covered with an immense and, in
some places, almost impenetrable forest, except the
lowlands, or meadows. These were cleared by the
Indians, perhaps centuries before the discovery of
America, and they were covered with a heavy growth
of grass, which grew so exceedingly thick and so very
high that it was impossible to discover man or beast
at a distance of five rods. They resembled the cele-
brated prairies of the West in everything, except ex-
tent. Every autumn the Indians set the dried grass
on fire, so that they might more easily kill the deer
which came to feed on it the next spring. On account
of the grass, they were prized aboveall other lands by
the first settlers, for there they procured hay for their
flocks, and they were divided into small lots and dis-
tributed among them. The forest was filled with
various kinds of small birds. Innumerable flocks of
ducks resorted to the ponds, and the timid loon was
seen sailing majestically in their waters. The wild
deer reposed in the shady groves or bounded over the
hills, followed by the eager hunter. The loud bark
of the raccoon was heard, and the wily fox was often
seen leaping through the woods. But the worst ene-
my, of the beast kind, to the infant settlement, was
the cruel and voracious wolf Thev sometimes roamed
the woods in droves, trotting like dogs, and in some
of their excursions destroyed large numbers of sheep.
At one period they had become so bold and trouble-
some that a large plot of ground was enclosed near
the common and used as a pasture for the sheep.
Shepherds were likewise appointed to protect them,
and at night they were collected into a close fold or
pen. Hardly a day passed in which depredations
were not made; and almost every night their dismal
bowlines broke upon its solitude."
Wolves were very destructive to the swine and
cattle, as well as sheep. As early as 1630 the General
Court ordered bounties for their destruction. The
wolves appear to have been unable or unwilling to
leap fences in pursuit of cattle, a trait the settlers
soon learned to profit by. Wood, speaking of the
" necke of land called Nahant," says, " for the present
it is only used to put young cattle in and weather
HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS.
goates and swine, to secure them from the wolves; a
few posts and rayles from the lower water-markes to
the shore, keeps out the wolves and keeps in the
cattle." The same practice was resorted to in Bos-
ton, where the neck was fenced across â€” " So that a
little fencing will secure their cattle from the wolves."
As late as 1717, in February, occurred the greatest
fall of snow, lasting from the 20th to the 24th,
recorded in the annals of New England. During the
snow great numbers of deer came from the woods for
food, followed by the wolves, which killed many.
Previous to 1662 both the colony and the county had
offered large bounties for wolf-heads, but in that year
the town of Haverhill ofiered in addition forty shil-
lings for every wolf killed. In 1685 Amesbury re-
pealed its provision for paying a similar bounty, and
the Haverhill people soon after took the same action,
apparently being fearful that all the wolves would
come into their town to take advantage of the bounty
or that they would be obliged to pay for wolves ac-
tually killed in Amesbury. (See Whittier's " Leaves
from Margaret Smith's Journal.") The selectmen,
however, were authorized to pay such sums as they
should agree upon in particular cases. Two years
after, a regular bounty of fifteen shillings was offered
for every full-grown wolf killed within the town's
limits, and seven shillings sixpence for each young
one. In 1696 the town granted Timothy Eaton, for
killing a full-grown she-wolf, on the ox-common, a
special bounty often shillings, "since he declares it
was a bitch-wolf and that she will not bring any more
Chase says, "Among the records for this year (1695)
we find a copy of a receipt from the state (provincial)
treasurer for â– eight wolves' heads, at eight shillings
sixpence, in full for thirty thousand pounds' assess-
ment.' Something of a discount we think.' " After-
wards and for many years, the bounty was twenty
shillings a wolf, and as late as 1716 five full-grown
ones were killed in the town.
The wolves long since ceased to trouble the sheep
in Haverhill, but the fox survives in the parishes and
refuses to be exterminated, notwithstanding great suc-
cesses occasionally reported to that end. On one of
the last days of the very latest November a trium-
jihant hunter was seen passing the North meeting-
house, bearing under his arm a splendid fox, whose
noble brush would, in one of the English counties, have
been gallantly awarded to some spirited Di Vernon
and been considered ample recompense for all the
expenditure of fine horses, costly pack of hounds,
grooms, huntsmen, whippersin, and the destruction
of crops, which a hard run after Reynard entails.
Professor Gray, in treating of the flora of Boston
and its vicinity (and he takes the environs of Boston
to include the counties of Norfolk, Middlesex and
Esses) declares that long after the ice-age
'* our coast must have been at one time clothed with white spruces ; then
probably with black spruce and arbor vitee, with here and there some
canoobirclics and beeches ; and Ihefe, ns the climate ameliorated, were
replaced by white and red pines, and at length the common pitch-pine
came to occupy the lighter toils; and tho three or four species of oak,
the maples, oishes, with tlieir various arborcd and frutescent associates,
camo in to complete the ordinary and well-known New England forest
of historic times.
" Even without historical evidence, we should infer with confidence
that New England before human occupation was wholly forest-rlad. ex-
cepting a line of salt marshes on certain shores, and the bogsand swamps
not yet firm enough to sustain trees.
" The Indian tribes found hero by the whites had not perceptibly
modified the natural vegetation ; and there is no evidence that they had
been preceded by any agricultural race. Their inconsiderable plantation
of maize, along with some beans and pumpkins,â€” originally derived from
much more Southern climes, but thriving under a sultry summer,â€” how-
ever important to the raisers, could not have sensibly affected the face of
the country; although it was said that 'in divers places, there is much
ground cleared by the Indians.' But, whatever may have been tho
amount of their planting, if the aborigines had simply abandoned the
country, no mark of their occupation would have long remained, so far
as the vegetable kingdom is concerned."
Very little is said by the chroniclers about Indian
planting in Haverhill. Doubtless there had been
something of the kind. But Indian cultivation was
very superficial. The labor was generally performed
by the squaws and with very rude and imperfect im-
plements. The warrior disdained labor. Therefore
what Mirickhassaid about the Indians "clearing" the
meadows, as quoted upon a former page, must be
taken with much allowance, as far as it implies any
substantial clearing off of the forest; the Indian was
too lazy to do anything of the kind.
Among the trees new to the settlers, Professor
Gray mentions the flowering dogwood, the sassafras,
the tupelo and the hickory ; and, among evergreens,
the hemlock -spruce and what the colonists improper-
ly called the cedarâ€” the white pine; among the
larger shrubs, the magnolia and rhododendron, the
larger sumach, the hawthorns, the azaleas, the epigaa
or Mayflower, blueberries and huckleberrits.
"The influx of European weeds was prompt and
rapid from the first, and has not ceased to flow ; for
hardly a year passes in which new-comers are not
noticed in some parts of the country."
The earliest intelligent account of the plants of
this country were by John Josselyn, published in
1672 and 1674. Josselyn's observations were princi-
pally made at Scarborough, Maine, not far east of
Haverhill. The next was by Rev. Manasseh Cutler,
of Essex County (The Hamlet, Ipswich), published
in 1785. Presumably, therefore, substantially all
the plants they enumerated were to be found in
Josselyn gave a list of " such plants as have sprung
up since the English planted and kept cattle in New
England." Among these naturalized plants he
names sorrel, spearmint, ground-ivy, tansy. Perhaps it
surprises almost everybody to learn that thebarberry is
not a native of New England, but is an intruder. It
grows abundantly in some localities in the East