Danvers Historical Society.

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Class / 7^

Born I 775 - Died I 860.







Edited by the Committee on Publication




Nbwcomb & Gauss


Salem, Mass.



Keminisceuces of Dan vers in the Forties and Fifties,

by William L. Hyde. Illustrated, ... 1

Wages Paid in Dan vers in 1802, .... 20

" On the Picture of a Poet," a Poem, by Lucy Larcom, 21

William Clark, Loyalist, ...... 22

Stone Age Implements of Essex County, by William

P. Knapp. Illustrated, . .... 24c

Address of General Gideon Foster, .... 31

Part of Salem Village in 1700, by Sidney Perley. Il-
lustrated, . ....... 33

Extracts from Dr. William Bentley's Diary, . . 48

Diary of Archelaus Putnam of New Mills, Continued, 49

Old Putnam Houses, by Mrs. Julia A. Philbrick, . 70

Danvers People and Their Homes, by Kev. A. P. Put-
nam, D. D., Continued. ... .74

Danvers Fires and Fire Companies, . . .84

Water and High Streets in 1803, .... 86

Letter of Capt. Samuel Page to Dr. Samuel Hoi ten, . 87

Danvers in 1744, ....... 88

Salem and New Salem, by Rev. Albert V. House, . 90

Necrology, ......... HI


President, Chakles II. Preston.

Vice Presidents, Geokge B. Sears, Lester S. Couch.

Secretary, Miss Harriet S. Tapley.

Assistaiit Secretary, Miss Mabel I. Gilliland.

Treasurer, Wallace P. Perry.

Curator, Capt. Henry N. Comey.

Librarian, Mrs. Emilie D. Patch.

Historian, Ezra D. Hines.

Executive Committee, Walter A. Tapley, Loring B.
Good ALE, George W. Emerson, Mrs. Joseph S. Crehore,
and Miss Annie W. Hammond.

Committee on Publication, Ezra D. Hines, Andrew
Nichols and Miss Harriet S. Tapley.


The Society has been most fortunate the past year in being
able to retain its large membership, notwithstanding the
stress of war and demands for money from every quarter.
Resignations have been so few as to be almost negligible, and
new members have made up the losses many times. This is
very gratifying to the Publication Committee, because the
size of the membership list determines in large measure the
amount of material printed each year. When the country
settles down to a normal condition, it is hoped that our mem-
bership will be materially increased. This number completes
our fifth publication, and from even a cursory glance at the
nature of the contents, one can easily appreciate how in the
course of time this Society will have produced an exhaustive
and valuable history of the old town of Dauvers. Each new
member helps.


" I hereby give, devise and bequeath

to the Danvers Historical Society, a Massachusetts Corpora-
tion, its successors and assigns, to its and their own use and
behoof forever."




Vol. 5. Dan vers, Mass. 1917.


By William L. Hyde.

Read at a Meeting of this Society, Nov. 15, 1915.

It has been said that persons of three score years and ten
can remember events that happened many years ago better
than events of recent occurrence. I am inclined to believe
that there is some truth in this statement. My early experi-
ence was on a farm and later, for about thirty-five years, in
the handling of leather and shoes, and for this reason I may
be able to relate some things that may interest you of the man-
ner in which the business was conducted fifty and sixty
years ago.

Danvers has been noted in the past for the immense amount
of onions raised, also for the manufacture of heavy brogans
for the Southern trade. I will first speak of the former, my
father being a farmer, and a large producer of onions which
required a great deal of boys' work. It was the custom for
the farmers' boys to be kept at home during the summer and
what schooling they got was in the winter time. This was
my fortune. The principal crop raised in Danvers for the
market was onions. It has been estimated at 120,000 bushels
per year. This seems like a large number of bushels per
year of one kind of vegetable to be grown in a single town,
but the territory that was used largely for the cultivation of
the onion was quite extensive, reaching from Maple street
west to Hog Hill, and thence to the Gardner farm, Salem.



The large tract of land lying between Waters river and
Andover street was largely used for this purpose, the soil
being very productive and highly fertilized. It was said
that as high as eight hundred bushels per acre had been
grown here, but five to six hundred was considered a fair
crop. Nearly every family from Hutchinson's corner to
Wilson's corner was engaged in the cultivation of this
vegetable. Among the large producers were the Howes,
Brigham, Wilsons, Hydes, Osbornes, Blakes, Winchester,
Wilkinson, Prices, Buxtons, Huntington, Bushbys, and many
others. There were many families of Wilson on Andover
Street between Felton's Corner and the pump, or what is
now called Wilson's square. There were two John Wilsons;
one being of a darker complexion than the other was called
black John, and the other white John. Most of these fami-
lies were in School district No. 6, therefore the writer was
brought in contact with them.

No tomatoes, celery or spinach, which are grown very largely
today, were then raised here. It was a great deal of work to
get the very large crop of onions ready for the market. The
large part of this crop was sold at wholesale in the Boston
market and had to be hauled over the road^ very few going
by railroad. The usual custom was to dry them thoroughly
in the field and then haul them under cover, making three
assortments of them. The large ones were topped close to
the onion. The tops on the medium sizes were left on and
were braided on rye straw, shoe thread being used for this
purpose. This work was largely done by female help, five or
six hundred bunches being a good day's work, and they were
paid so much per hundred and earned good wages. The
very small ones were used for pickles. The custom of
bunching is now nearly if not quite obsolete. They are now
topped and made ready for the market in the field, doubtless
quite a saving in labor. The large onions were loaded in
bulk into wagons that were set on the axles, until market
wagons with steel springs were made, which I think was about
1848. This innovation was hailed as a great luxury. The one
horse loads contained forty to fifty bushels, or about eight hun-
dred bunches. The drivers started at midnight, getting into
Boston at daylight, paying toll on the turnpike. Sometimes
fifteen or twenty loads would be in line. It was not an
unusual sight to see thirty or forty loads standing at the
lower end of Quincy Market house and way down on both
sides of Commercial street. At that time Massachusetts and


Connecticut supplied all New England and the provinces.
Now the onion is grown all over the United States and thou-
sands of bushels are imported.

The hired help on the farm came from the States of Maine
and New Hampshire and the Provinces, and was exceedingly
good. The usual custom was to hire the men from March
1st to November 1st, eight months. Wages would be seven
or eight dollars a month for the first season, the men often
times working for the same parties a number of seasons. Of
course, their pay would be increased a little every season. I
do not wish to give the impression that onions were the only
product of the Danvers farmers. They produced all kinds
of vegetables, including quite a good deal of corn. It was
the custom of many of them in harvest time to have a husk-
ing party. It was a merry time and the red ears often de-
layed the work for a sliort time. When their work was done
the party adjourned to the house, where they would usually
find a good supper of baked beans and brown bread, pump-
kin pies and sweet cider. These huskings were usually in the
evening, and to furnish sufficient light the neighbors would
contribute their lanterns. Some were made of tin with a
candle inside, while others would be very thick glass ones
with sperm oil lamps.

The farmers also contributed quite largely to our meat
supply. Quite a large number of them kept oxen and raised
some fine flocks of turkeys. Up to about 1870, one could
find Danvers farmers at Thanksgiving time around the
Market House in Salem with their turkeys for sale. On
Saturdays, the farmers came from the surrounding towns
with all kinds of produce. In order to show what they had
to sell, they would have a forked stick on the side of their
wagon with a sample of the vegetables stuck on the end of
it. The Kilhams and Curtises of Boxford would be there
with their wild game. In the spring, droves of swine were
driven about Danvers to supply the farmers by Alfred Trask,
Taylor Hyde, George Bell and perhaps others that I do not
recall. Mr. Trask was a large and successful wholesale
dealer in cattle, sheep and turkeys, driving them down from
New Hampshire in large droves. My father came down
from Ossipee to Marblehead, in 1820, where he lived nine
years. He saw General Lafayette there in 1824. He worked
his passage down by helping drive a drove of cattle. He
put his shoes into the wagon to prevent wearing them out.
You may imagine it to be an easy task to drive a large flock


of sheep. Every drove has its leader, and when he starts
over the stone wall, you may as well say good-bye to the rest
of them but that isn't what they always say. The man who
attempted to drive a flock of sheep through the streets of
Boston said it was the busiest day of his life.

On December 6, 1852, I graduated from the farm to the
shoe factory of J. S. Black & Co., Mr. Moses Putnam, or
"Uncle Moses" as he was universally called, being the Com-
pany. Mr. Putnam was then seventy-six years old. I was
put to work in the upper-leather department, then in charge
of Mr. John Sears, father of our Hon. Judge. The factory
then stood on the left going towards Topsfield between the
houses of Mr. Putnam and Mr. Black and in the rear was
the little old gambrel-roofed shop where Mr. Putnam com-
menced to manufacture in 1792. I have heard him say that
he went back and forth to Boston on horseback at that time.
Then there were but three machines used, and these in
the sole leather department, which were worked by hand or
foot power. One was a roller, one was a skiver and the other
a sole cutter with a straight knife. In '53 or '54 there was
an improvement in the sole cutter, having a knife shaped
like the last and revolving instead of coming straight down,
and also a machine to cut the whole side of sole leather in
strips of the desired widths. From that time new inven-
tions came thick and fast. The pegging machine, the
stitching machine, the sewing machine to sew the soles, and
so on. The sole leather was kept in the basement where
there was a large brick vat filled with water. Each side
was thrown into the vat and when wet enough to cut easily,
taken up stairs and cut in strips with a knife the width re-
quired, and then run through the sole cutter by foot power
and put up in 60 pair cases, 6 to 11 and sometimes 9 to 13,
the shoes being mostly worn by the southern slaves. The
cases of 60 pairs of bottom stock were given out to the shoe-
maker in large bags, together with the uppers, sometimes all
fitted and sometimes the maker's family fitted them, all
hand work. The worker was paid by the pair and earned
from $1.25 to $1.50 per day, usually working evenings. For
their work they received a very little cash, mostly orders on
the stores of Daniel Richards, Proctor Perley and Jonas
Warren, the manufacturers settling with them every six

The cases of shoes when brought in or sent in by express
were carried up to the third floor and examined as to work-


manship, and then nested and packed on the floor until
sold. In 1853 the floor had to be propped up as it began
to settle, the weight was so great. The product of that year
was 225,000 pairs. At that time there were no sample rooms
in Boston and dealers from the South and West had to go
to the factories to purchase. The terms of sale were six to
nine months and sometimes yearly settlements. If the cus-
tomers dealt with other manufacturers in the vicinity, the
horse and buggy was brought up to the door by the appren-
tice and they were driven to Charles Herricks in Topsfield
and to other manufacturers in Georgetown and Boxford if
desired. The little shops, many of them still standing,
were busy places, especially in the winter season, as many
worked on their farms in the summer time. The stock
that was used for the uppers was made from heavy Kip and
Split leather made in Salem and South Danvers factories.
As it came into the factory this was sorted and laid out by
Mr. Sears for the cutters. Three hundred pairs per day was
considered a fair day's work, up to 5 P. M. The hours for
work were from 7 A. M. to 8 P. M. except on Saturdays, when
we stopped work at 5. We cut the trimmings in the even-
ing by the light of a whale oil lamp, set in a wooden bracket
that pulled out from the side of the building over the
cutting board. All the leather chips were swept down cellar
and used for heating the factory. Today the chips are all
utilized, the oil extracted and then used for leather board
and other by-products. Employed in the sole leather de-
partment was Mr. Daniel Gould and Mr. Horace Straw,
the latter being later killed during the Civil War at the battle
of the James River. What work "Uncle Moses" did in the
factory was done here. He sat on his high stool at the bench
and by the aid of the splitting and skiving machines, he
worked the odds and ends that might be wasted into stock
suitable for heels. He would sometimes come up stairs from
the cellar with some pieces of upper leather that had been
swept down and come over to the upper leather department
and say, in a pleasant way, as he held out the remnants,
"Oh, but are not these pieces a little large to go down cel-
lar?" This is all he would say, then walk out to his end of
the shop. Employed in the upper leather department, were
Mr. Sears who later on was one of the partners, Benjamin
Herrick, Benjamin Lane, Henry Kent, Everett Howe, Al-
fred Hale and David Shattuck. Only one, the writer, is
now living. Mr. Hale was the son of John Hale of Boxford,


manufacturer of brogans, and a farmer. His farm was
bought by the Salem Cadets and his new factory that was
built in the fifties now stands there, used for a dwelling.
Alfred Walter Putnam looked after the shoemakers as they
came in. IMr. Archelaus Black had charge of the packing
room. The wages for an apprentice were $250 per year and
board, and for the more experienced $1.25 to $1.75 per
day, without board. A very few were able to get the latter
sum. We had three holidays, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving
and Fast Day. Vacations were not thought of. There were
three expresses which stopped at the shop twice daily, Henry
Hobbs' and Luke Friend's, Wenham and Salem; Hutchin-
son's, Topsfield and Pinkham's Salem and Haverhill stage,
which passed the factory daily.

The Shoe factories in Putnamville in 1852 were Boardman
& Gould's which stood on the north side of the road going
to the old Fowler House, and was burned and rebuilt by Mr.
Boardman, opposite his house. Xext above, Mr. I. H. Put-
nam's; just above Col. Porter's, a small shop with a brick
basement. Mr. Putnam later built a new factory just above
his house on the hill. Next was the factory of Aaron Put-
nam, who was succeeded by Mr. William E. Putnam; next,
Nathaniel Boardman; next, Samuel Putnam; next, Elbridge
Trask and the last and largest one, J, S. Black & Co. The
shoe factories at the Centre from Tapleyville up were Chap-
man Brothers, George B. Martin, Eben Hutchinson &
Brother James, Howe Bros. (George and Albert), Alden
Demsey, Edmund Legro, Wilkins Brothers, Eeed Jones,
Abraham Callahan, Preston & Blake, Henry Prentiss, Jo-
seph G. Prentiss, E. & A. Mudge & Co., Otis Mudge and
James Goodale,

Only two of these manufacturers are now living, Mr.
J. A. Blake and Albert Howe. These factories made Wom-
en's, Misses' and Children's pegged soles, except Mr. Good-
ale's where were made Boys' and Youths' hand sewed and
leather bound goat slippers. It was the custom of the manu-
facturers in this part of the town to take a load of shoes on
Saturdays over the road to Boston and bring home a load of
leather. This custom continued up to the sixties. The few
years commencing with 1857 were hard times for the man-
ufacturers. Most of them were more or less financially em-
barrassed and a great many of them were obliged to compro-
mise with their creditors or ask for an extension. It af-
fected the Putnamville manufacturers more severely than


those that had a western trade. Mr, Wm. E. Putnam,
whom I knew from boyhood and from whom our firm, Hyde,
Hutchinson & Co. bought many goods a few years later while
he was in Rockland, Mass., told me that he paid all of his
creditors in full with interest, paying those first who needed
it the most.

Now, we will suppose ourselves taking a stroll from the
square on Elm street and up Holten street. From the square
to the Railroad station, there has not been so radical a
change, as when you get on to Holten street, but a few new
houses having been built. There has been more of a change
in the Adrian Putnam estate than any other, the old house
being torn down and rebuilt and Putnam street cut through
his onion fields. I well remember sitting on his fence and
watching the big fire of 1845.

This fire occurred in the day time. I well remember
where I was when the fire bell rang. I was weeding onions
for George Tapley on land of Mr. Jesse Tapley on Collins
street. Mr. Geo. Tapley then lived in a part of Jesse's
house and worked making shoes in the winter season in the
same room that Mr. Jesse got out stock for manufacturing.
It was the usual custom in those days for the farmers to
exchange work. Mr. Geo. Tapley helped my father in
haying time, and my work was to make good the debt. At
the first alarm of fire, the writer started for the house for
his shoes, and with those in his hands started across the
fields, coming out at Putnam's grist mill. When I arrived
at Elm street some of the horses that hauled the engines up
from Salem were hitched in front of Mr. Henderson's house.
One horse died in consequence of the hard drive. I thought
I was making ^ood time, but my egotism was a little damp-
ened when I saw those horses, all the way from Salem. This
fire was a very large one. It is recorded that the loss was
about eighty thousand dollars with about thirty thousand
insurance. In June of the same year, the carpet factory and
shoepeg mill at Tapleyville were burned. I well remember
that we were just at dinner when the alarm was given. The
Engine "Niagara" of Tapleyville was stationed back of the
Factory drawing water from the brook just below the dam.
As the fire increased it became so hot that the men could not
go back around the end of the Factory the way they came
in, and the only thing to do was to pull the engine into the
stream, which they did. The water was not deep enough to
fully cover the Engine and the top was burned off. After


the fire the firemen had crackers and cheese from Hayley's
store for lunch, we boys being very much in evidence about
this time.

Dr. George Osgood's house stood where the Railroad
crosses the street. There was a grass plot in front with a
stone wall that made a round corner and ran up towards the
house. This house now stands on Essex street. He then
moved to the house opposite, now standing on the corner of
Elm and Park streets, where he passed away May 26, 1863,
after a practise of fifty-five years, and was buried in the
Holten Street Cemetery. He left one son, Moses E., and one
daughter, Sarah A. Moses was a salesman in a wholesale
store in Boston and resided in Waltham, his sister living
with him after her mother's death. She passed away in No-
vember, 1900. Miss Osgood taught school for many years.
She taught one year, 1843, in the brick school. District No.
6, the writer being one of her pupils, and many years at the
Port. She was considered a model teacher. The doctor's
grandson, George E. Osgood now lives in North Attleboro,
Mass., and has been Rector of Grace Church at that place
for nearly thirty-five years. I have heard my father say
that the Doctor was the first person that he became ac-
quainted with when he came to Danvers in 1833. My father
was on his way from Ossipee, N. H., his old home, to the
Collins house, with horse and sleigh, with his wife and daugh-
ter, now Mrs. B. R. Tibbetts, and got blocked in a snow
drift in front of the Doctor's house, and he came out with a
shovel and helped him out. He was our family physician as
long as he was able to practice. He always went afoot to
attend his patients and you could tell who was coming as
soon as he was within hearing distance, by his footstep. He
always carried a cane and took very quick, short steps and
every time his right foot came down his cane came with it.
His picture, belonging to this Society, is true to nature.

In 1855, he wrote an historical sketch of School district
No. 13 and Danvers Plains, or by its ancient name. Por-
ter's Plains. On page 11, he says: "As I have given a his-
tory of old-fashioned election and more especially of Col.
Murphy and his wives, which I said was true, I am about to
relate what may be doubted by some people, nevertheless, I
will relate as they have been handed down to us in our day.
Sam and Joe Hyde were brothers and their wigwams were
located one west of the old Porter house at Danversport,
another probably on 'Lindall's Hill' and another up in


the Bush. They were Indians, the only Native Ameri-
cans, None of your Modern Mushroom Native Americans
whose ancestors came across the big waters. They were In-
dians, the only Native Americans of which history gives
us any account. But to my story: Sam and Joe Hyde had
the reputation of being great liars, but more especially Sam,
and it is a saying unto this day, both in the United States
and some say across the Atlantic when any one tells what is
not true, 'you lie like Sam Hyde.' I will relate some of his
exploits. He said one day he went out gunning, when he
saw sixty humming birds sitting on sixty posts, sixty feet
apart; he had his gun loaded with but one shot on the top
of the powder. He fired and that one shot passed through
the eyes of the sixty birds, killing them all, of course. Now
this may be true for aught I know, but I call it a pretty
tough story." This is only a sample of numerous other
stories that the Doctor relates in regard to Sam and Joe.
This book is well worth reading, not only for its humorous
sayings, but for its local historical information.

The next house on Holten street was Judge Putnam's.
From the junction of Sylvan and Holten streets to his house
were open fields on both sides, on the right hand was a hedge
fence, and just inside a row of pear trees, poor pears, so the
boys said. On the left side opposite the house was a very
large cow barn, with thirty to forty cows. Beyond the next
house on the right, was Wyatt Woodman's. All the land
between Pine and Hobart streets was pasture land, owned
and used by Judge Putnam, and also the piece where the
Electric Light plant now stands. Opposite Mr. Woodman's
was Hall's bakery. Next and on the corner where Clapp &
Tapley's shoe factory now stands, was Hayley's grocery
store, next on the right, Perley Tapley's residence, and a
short distance beyond, Sylvanus Dodge's house, father of
■General Grenville M. Dodge. Grenville, and Nathan his
brother, were schoolmates of mine. This house was con-
nected with the stable and slaughter house by a long shed
with rooms above. The slaughter house was in the rear part
of the stable. Mr. Dodge drove a butcher's cart and supplied
the country near by. Mr. Dodge and Mr. Stimpson, the
baker, were welcome callers at my father's house every week.
They were men that looked on the bright side of life, as they
were always smiling and happy. In one of the chambers
over the shed was a private school kept by Miss Louise

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