Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and ..., Volume 7, Issues 3-4 online

. (page 8 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ces here by the wealthy, who come out from the city in quest
of quiet retired enjoyment.

Rev. Messrs. Whitcomb, of Lynnfield, Barden, of Marble-
head, and W. B. Hayden, of Portland, severally offered
pleasant and seasonable remarks, after which, a vote of
thanks was passed to the Proprietors of the Church for its
use for the meeting, to Gen. Newhall and Mr. Moulton, for
their service as guides, and to other citizens, for their kind-
ness during the day.

The meeting then adjourned.



Friday, My 12, 1861.

Field Meeting at Kettle Cove, Gloucester. Thisy
the third of the series this season, was attended by a largo
and agreeable company, who seemed to forget, in the enjoy*



Digitized by VjOOQIC



98

ment of Uie very fine day, the disagreeable fact of two pre-
Tioiis postponements* Although the inlet known as '' Kettle
'Cove " is included in Manchester, yet as the entire opera-
tions of the day were conducted on the Gloucester side, the
place of meeting is designated accordingly. The train hav-
ing deposited its large freight of passengers at the crossing
of a rustic wood-road, they speedily betook themselves to
the pleasures of a ramble along its winding route till it
finally brought them out at the spot of their destination.

Along the shore, in this vicinity, may be traced what is
understood to be the original road from Salem to Glouces-
ter. It shows no marks of recent travel, but remains al-
most wholly clear of trees, and only overgrown with grass.
It may with little difficulty be traced from here to " Fresh
Water Cove," several miles away. Very near the place of
meeting, at the intersection of the road over which the party
came and that leading to Gloucester, was formerly a public
house known as the " Magnolia House," but not now kept
open. The village of " Kettle Cove," properly speaking, is
a little way to the west, in the town of Manchester, and the
name seems to have fastened itself with great facility upon
adjacent objects, a small island in the Cove bearing also the
name of " Kettle Island." Most such names, in New Eng-
land, at least, are thought to have a personal deriviation ;
and in this case, a family of the name of Kettle are known
to have lived near by before 1650. Probably others of
the same name preceded them, as the island was so called
in 1634.

A stroll along the shore in this vicinity brings to view
many curious, as well as pleasant things. Just on the east
of Kettle Cove and only separated from it by a narrow head-
land, is foimd a smaller indentation called Knowlton's Cove.
Here, by the agency of some peculiar currents, or singular



Digitized by VjOOQIC



94

cleavage in the neighboring rock, or perhaps many otiwr
causes combining, the thousands of bowlders on the bea^
are rolled and worn by the surf till every one, almost, is
rounded and smooth as jan egg. Indeed, so white is the
granite from which they are made and so remarkable their
form and the manner in which they lie clustered together ia
the little nook, that an observer, looking for the first time
from the ledge above, might easily fancy that he saw the
nest of some monstrous bird, filled with eggs fit to rival
those of the Roc of Sinbad. Many of these have been car-
ried away lor curiosities.

Passing on over the stern granite shore to the eastward,
a large rock a short distance from the shore, and connected
with it by a sunken reef, bears the name of ** Norman's
Woe." A tradition exists that a man named Norman was
shipwrecked here ; but history has no further confirmation
of it, than that Richard Norman, some time before 1682,
sailed on a voyage and never returned. Beyond the Woe,
the visitor looks with admiration down an immense chasm
or crack, caused by the disintegration and removal of a huge
greenstone dyke, which has thus left in the granite what is
termed " Rafe's Cleft." It is one of the most remarkable
of the rents, or " purgatories " which abound on our shores
and are, no doubt, due to the same cause.

Some of the company explored the above spots, dski crtli-
ers resorted to the Magnolia Swamp, a mile or so away, the
praises of which have been often dwelt upon. Others, iii
small parties, sought out whatever else in the viciifity ppo^^
to possess interest and attractiveness. About 2, P.M., the
whole assembled in a shady bit of woods near by, and' the
formal meeting was opened, Mr. B. P. Fowler of fianvers,
Vice President, in the Chair.

The Records of the preceding meeting read, and ds^oa*
tions were announced from the following :



Digitized by VjOOQIC



95

To the Librarff — ^from Jeremiah Colbum of Boston ; P.
Bacbeller of Lynn ; Charles P. Barnard of Boston ; David
PerHns ; Henry P. Shepard ; Mrs. B. Wheatland ; C. Poote ;
Ch^orge C. Chase ; Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sci-
ence ; Maryland Historical Society ; C. B. Richardson of
New York ; Mrs. E. Barnard.

To the Cabinets — ^from Joseph G. Waters ; Mark Lowd ;
James M. Estes ; James R. Phelps ; G. J. P. Floyd of Tops-
field ; George H. Devereiix j Joiin G. Pelt ; R. H. Wheat-
land ; C L. Peirson.

Letters read from Maine Historical Society ; Corporation
of Dartmouth College ; Trustees of Newburyport Public
Library ; C. J. P. Ployd of Topsfield ; J. Colburn of Bos-
ton ; J. n. Hickcox of Albany, N. Y.; Natlianicl LigersoU ;
P. Bacheller of Lynn ; Henry R. Stiles of Woodbridge, N.J.;
R. A. Pisher of New Haven ; S. P. Powler of Danvers ; Cor-
poration of Bowdoin College.

The Chair, in opening, said there were some matters of
curious interest to be noted in regard to the place of to-day's
meeting. This section of the shore, from Kettle Cove on the
west t© Presh Water Cove on the east, and for a limited,
&oagh rather uncertain distance inland, was marked as
if with some terrible malediction. The pasturage is good,
4h& land fertile, the air salubrious. Man enjoys himself
here, his horses and his poultry, his household animals, all
seem to thrive. The birds of the air and the fish in the sea
are undisturbed, but the poor cow, the ox and the sheep, are
cursed as with the finger of death. They cannot live here.
Tb^ hay grows bright and &ir on these fields ; it is sold and
tarried away to feed such animals, and no harm is known
ioarsse ; but one of ^hese fated creatures cannot be kept on
these lands more than a few months at most, and often but
* few weeks. The breadth of Kettle Cove divides this
^M^hted spot from a better ; the sickening kine on this side
inay look and low across to their kindred, grazing in si^ht



Digitized by VjOOQIC



96

on the other, in sleek and unbroken health. Some hundred
acres are known to be thus stricken ; and for more than a
century the Knowltons and their ancestors, proprietors here,
have suffered and wondered at this infliction of nature. No
observation or experiment has yet revealed the cause ; the
mystery remains a mystery still.

On a motion to that effect, Messrs. C. M. Tracy of Lynn,
A. W. Dodge of Hamilton, James Bartlett of Wenham, and
Henry F. King of Salem, were made a committee to investi-
gate this curious subject and report the results to the
Institute.

James J. H. Gregory, of Marblehead, described the
geological features of our coatt region, and particularly
dwelt upon the remarkable dykes of greenstone which almost
everywhere appear, cutting the granite or sienite at all sorts
of angles. In this vicinity the prevalent rock is nearly a
true granite, and is a very useful building stone. West'
ward, the greenstone type predominates, and the rock,
though worse for walls, is much better for macadamizing.
This hill, where we stand, is no doubt a vast pile of bowlders
and loose fragments, coated with a soil, comparatively thinj
formed from the decomposition of the rocks in part, with an
addition of accumulated vegetable matter. But few nota-
ble minerals are found here ; even the iron does not, probai*
bly, form over two per cent, ol the mass of the rock, but this
is quite enough to affect the compass-needle perceptibly. -

Rev. C. C. Beaman of Salem, had visited " Rafes Cleft"
and the other remarkable spots in the vicinity, and had been
charmed with the beauty of the scenery he had fallen among«
He could congratulate the Institute on their good fortune
in meeting here ; and he could also congratulate the people
of Gloucester that the natural and historical features of the
place had received such fitting and satisfactory notice in the
recent history of the place by Mr. Babson. <



Digitized by VjOOQIC



97

George D. Phippen, of Salem, had heard the question
asked during the day, whether this region possessed any
special interest in its history ; and he had heard a negative
reply given. But the fact was otherwise. No one should
forget that the first settlement on the proper soil of Massa-
chusetts was near this spot, a little toward Cape Ann. The
region, Irom that little colony toward Naumkeag or North
River, was thought very beautiful by the early voyagers.
Gosnold thus spoke of it in 1G02 ; and the redoubtable Capt,
John Smith, a dozen years afterwards, declared that " Cape
Ann Side," as it was long called, was " the paradise of all
these parts." When Higginson came here with his few
followers, and also when the Arabella arrived with the
honored lady whose name she bore, the passengers described
the perfume that came from this shore " like the smell of a
garden." They said, also, that here they landed and picked
"plenty ol strawberries, gooseberries, and sweet single-
roses." We have been regaled with some such to-day.

The natural as well as the civil history of this district, has
its points of interest. They have attracted the attention of
the curious and scientific for years, even from the time of
Jocclyn's mythical lions and monstrous frogs, to the present
day, notorious with the fame of the Soa Serpent. And if to
pass hence to tlie subject of plants be not too abrupt, we all
know that no other spot in New England shares with this
the glory of producing the Magnolia Glo,uca. And here, as
the lovers of the beautiful have seen to day, is a special
haunt of the Kalmia or Mountain Laurel, a truly American
plant, and worthy to be adopted as a national emblem by
us, as the " Fleur de lis " has been by Prance. Or, looking
to somewhat humbler forms, the same great order of Heaths
to which the Kalmia belongs, furnishes many other species
• to represent it in this vicinity ; and all are plants of special
beauty. Thus, although there is no true heath in the west-
ern world, we have abundantly before us the remarkable

ESSEX INST. PROCEED. VOL. iii. 18.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



98

beauty ^that characterizes the family to which it gives its
p^me.

F. W. Putnam of Salem, being asked what was the opin-
ion of Agassiz as to the Sea Serpent, stated that the great
naturalist had often remarked to him that " there was no
reason why there should not be a Sea Serpent, but as yet
he knew of no suflBcient proof that there was one." Bar
finesque, a half century ago, named and described ft'om the
accounts given by sailors and others, several genera and
species of Sea Serpents.

A committee of the New-England Linnaean Society made
a report which was printed forty or fifty years since, upon a
specimen, as it was claimed, of this wonderful creature. But
that specimen was, doubtless, nothing but a mal-formed
black snake.

Mr. Putnam remarked upon the kinds of insects collected
by him during the day, stating that such as are found along
the sea shore always diifer materially from those proper to
thiC interior. He further spoke of the difference of the ani-
mals of the land and the ocean, saying tliat in the ocean
while we find nearly all classes represented, they are gener-
ally the lower orders of the class, and also species that attain
the greatest bulk ; thus in the higher class, that of mamma-
lia, we find its giants, the Whales, only in the ocean, and
these are of the lowest order of the true mammals.

In the class of Birds, the lowest, or the Sea- Birds, are also
of large size, having but few equals on land. In the Reptiles
this is reversed, as we find that what have generally been
held as the highest order, the Chelonians, are represented
by the large Sea-Turtles; while the lowest true Reptiles, the
Snakes, are terrestrial. Among the class of Batrachians
there are no marine representatives known. In the class of
Fishes, the Sharks and Skates exceed all others in bulk, and



Digitized by VjOOQIC



99

are confined to the ocean, though they are in many respects
more highly organized than the other fishes ; again, the low-
est of all fishes, the Lancelot and the Mixine, are purely
marine animals. Among the Articulates the class of Crus-
taceans is to a great extent oceanic, and the larger species
are strictly so. Most of the large worms are inhabitants of
the salt water ; and even among the Insects there are many
species that live on the sea-shore, on the Sea-weed, &c. The
greater number of the MoUusks are also marine, and the
whole class of Cephalopods (Squids, &c.,) in which we find
the giants of the branch, are strictly so. Among the Radi-
ates there are few, such as the fresh water Bryoza, that are
found away from salt water. The difference noticed be-
tween the animals of the ocean, the fresh waters, and the
land, is, as a general thing, so well marked, that we can al-
most always assume that the oceanic representatives of a
group are the lowest, the fresh-water ones being higher and
the terrestrial the most highly organized.

0. M. Tracy of Lynn, had spent most of the forenoon
in the Magnolia Swamp. There are species of plants in
that spot not generally to be met with. Not only is the
Magnolia there, but also a beautiful white fringed Orchis ;
the pretty Clintonia ; the Inkberry, a species of Holly, and
one of the finest evergreens we have ; the brilliant and
charming Sundew ; with others of commendable beauty.
He would like to make careful search through that swamp,
for it would hardly fail to reveal many botanical treasures.

The thanks of the Institute were then voted to the Messrs.
Bartlett of Wenham and the Messrs. Knowlton of Kettle
Cove, for their kind attentions during the day, and the In-
titute adjourned.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



100
Thursday^ Avgust 6, 1861.

Field Meeting at Lynn. — This meeting was held at the
Gravesend Village, and had been appointed for Wednesday
of the week previous, but postponed on account of important
public events. The company having mostly arrived in the
morning train from Salem, and alighted at the Central Sta-
tion, proceeded to the rendezvous on foot through the tract
known as " Rocks Pasture," and under the direction of Mr.
W. W. Lummus. No especial haste was made in this walk ;
and some halts were made to visit High Rock, and the other
elevated spots, and pleasant locations, with which this terri-
tory is so well supplied. Arriving at the Gravesend School
House, a temporary stay was had, and then a division into
small parties for further explorations. One detachment, led
by Mr. H. S. Lufkin, made a tour among the meadows and
copses in the vicinity, in search of the varied botanical
riches there found, and these had much pleasure and en-
couraging success.

A second division resorted to the shore of the Flax
Pond, near by ; and found much satisfaction in the examina-
tion of the surroundings of this fine old sheet of water.
Others took various jaunts among the neighboring hills and
woods in quest of geological and other objects of interest, of
which no small share are to be met with in this region.

* The afternoon meeting was organized in the school house
at about 3 P.M., when in the absence of both President and
Vice President, George D. Phippen of Salem, was called to
the chair.

Records of the preceding meeting read.

Donations were announced as follows :
To the Library — from Mrs. A. Nichols ; Miss M. Ward ;
R. H. Wheatland ; Trustees of the New York State Library ;



Digitized by VjOOQIC



101

C. B. Richardson of New York ; N. Bouton of Concord,
N.H.; Zoologishen Gesellschaft der Frankfurt ; A. P. How-
ard of Boston.

To the Cabinets — from S. V. Shrove ; Mrs. J. F. Doypcy-
ster of New York.

Letters were read from the Trustees of Boston Public Li-
brary ; Corporation of Yale College ; C. M. Tracy of Lynn ;
L. Agassiz of Cambridge ; A. P. Howard of Boston ; Mrs.
Frances G. Deypeyster of New York ; D. C. Gilman of New
Haven Conn.; C. M. Endicott ; M. A. Stickuey.

The Chair, in introducing the exercises, made some state*
ments explanatory of the principles, objects and history of
the Institute, and of the purposes and method of these
"Field Meetings." We had pursued this system of gather-
ings for several years, and thus far, with signal advantage
and enjoyment to all who participated. At these meetings
we bring together those who feel an interest in the works of
Nature and who make them their especial study ; and we
place them face to lace with the various phenomena of crea-
tion, as they are exhibited in our fields, our hills, and our
forests. By these excursions, we are relieved from the ne-
cessity of studying these things in the dry, dead cabinets of
home ; and the student who walks with us has a view of
them as Nature has herself arranged them, drawing his
conclusions from facts undisguised by the interference of
man, and free from that partial and imperfect character
which will ever be detected, even in the best ordered and
fullest collection. Such students of nature are with us to-
day ; may we hear from them how they have fared in these
respects during the day's rambles.

James J. H. Gregory of Marblehead, said that this region
presents many interesting matters to the eye of the geolo-
gist. In this immediate vicinity, the rock in place is uni-
formly porphyritic, and the porphyry takes on a great variety
of texture, color and marking ; so that a long and pleasant



Digitized by VjOOQIC



102

course of study might be made upon this rock alone. The
State Map does not notice the porphyry of this vicmity, or
only feebly indicates it. This is certainly a grave defect,
and ought to be amended ; for the rock is too rare and
striking in its characters to be overlooked in such a work.
Greenstone is found not far from here, but it is somewhat
diflFerent from that of Marblehead, being of a rather slaty
character.

Mr. Tracy, of this place, has thrown out the suggestion
that the type of vegetation in a given territory is directly af-
fected by the nature of the rock formations there iound. Ho
had no doubt but this idea was based on fact. He had to-
day made a short excursion of a mile and a half, or so, to
look at some of the curious exhibitions of drift to be seen
among these hills. In this ramble he had seen for himself
that a difference could be detected in the forest growth along
either side of the line of junction between the porphyry and
the granite. No doubt a closer study would set this matter
in a clearer light ; it is certainly a point deserving of care-
ful attention. He had been to-day among bowlders of every
size, from small pebbles to a small house, for some of them
were at least one hundred and twenty feet in circumference
and thirty feet high. And yet these great blocks are not
left with sharp angles, but in almost all cases are roundtid and
finished off like beach-stones. Undoubtedly they have all
been moved, and belong to the great mass of the drift formar
tion. In the deep woods near the South Danvers line, he
had been piloted by Mr. Tracy to find what he could never
could have found alone — the somewhat noted and very re-
markable " Phaeton Rock." A more curiously situated
rock would be hard to find, or to conceive of. A vast block
shaped like half a pear with the flat side undermost, some
ten or fifteen feet in greatest length, lies precisely balanced,
and firmly sustained on four small rounded stones twelve or
fifteen inches in diameter, just on the brink of a precipice,
over which its smaller end projects lor almost half the length



Digitized by VjOOQIC



103

of the entire block. We can never sufficiently admire the
means, stupendous as they must have been, and yet magnifi-
cently simple, by which such a mass has been thrust out
from its parent bed and deposited in a position so strange,
and we may almost say, magical.

The mineralogist is not favored in this region like his geo-
logical brother. So far as ascertained, the list of species is
small and the kinds not specially remarkable. He had been
asked whether rocks grow. The question may be variously
answered. In some cases, rocks certainly grow smaller if
the expression bo allowable. The wind and frost — allxthe
elements — are wearing down the granite about us and the
figure of the ledges becomes much altered by this cause.
Bocks whose structure depends on the agency of heat can
have no increase of bulk afterward ; but such as limestone,
sandstone, bog iron ore, and chalk, the products of mere
accretion and pressure, may be all the time in process of
formation, or. as we might say, of gi-owth.

The distribution of shells is always interesting to the geol-
ogist, bearing, as it does, on the subject of fossil remains.
An exploration of the islands in Salem Harbor affords some
curious results, in the peculiar distribution of the genus
Helix. On House Island, near the Misery, are found sev-
eral species, some of them in abundance. Eagle Island also
furnishes many specimens, but they differ materially from
those of the first locality. Helix albolabrisj H. alternata and
H, hortensis are the principal kinds found at these places.

6* M. Tracy of Lynn, said that although the list of min-
erals lonnd here was not large, yet some of them did not
lack importance. One of the first, if not the very first,
establishments for the working of iron in this country was
at Saugns, and was supplied, as is believed, with bog iron
ore from the northern part of the town. Again, just east of
the place of meeting, lies the celebrated Lynn Mineral



Digitized by VjOOQIC



104

Spring, whose waters, almost turbid with some ferruginous
matter, redden the stones they run over, and will throw
down clouds of solid matter by standing in a bottle for a
few days. This is a true chalybeate water, and may acquire
its properties by the decomposition of iron pyrites.

The Chair observed that from the rocks we may readily
turn our attention to the vegetation that covers and adorns
them. Many fine species may be detected in this region ;
some of them have come to our notice to-day. The fragrant
White Alder, {Clethra), the Dogbane, (^Apocynum), and
the various Milkweeds, (^Asclepias)^ are all plants of beauty
and deep interest. A species of the latter, the Common
SJllkweed (J.. Cornutt) has a fibre of great strength and
delicacy, resembling. that of Flax. A lady of Salem made
extensive experiments on this material a few years since,
and succeeded in manufacturing it into various textile fab-
rics of much excellence. In approaching damp lands, or, as
here to-day, large ponds, we find the vegetation always more
orlfess modified, and new forms appearing. Such plants as
the? Monkey Flower, (JlfmwZws) and the various species of
Orchis were then usually met with, as we have found to^ay.

C. M. Tracy said that the Orchis Family, alluded to by
the Chair, is a very remarkable one, as well as very exten-
sive. Among its multitudinous species, two entirely diverse
modes of growth are observed. The European and North
American forms follow the usual style, and sustain them-
selves in the soil by means of ordinary roots. Some oi the
tropical kinds do the same ; but very many are without
roots, or have them transformed into organs lor holding, by
which they attach themselves to rocks, trees, &q.j and these
grow with no connection whatever with the earth. They
are not mere exceptions, but form a great division of the
family, which is thus distinguished into Terrestial and Epi-
phytic species. The Lobelias are all plants of much interest



Digitized by VjOOQIC



105

to the botanist. Our Cardinal Flower is the only really
beautiful one we have, but the West Indian species are,
many of them, perfectly gorgeous. The Clethra^ which has
been alluded to, is one of the great family of the Heaths,
and almost the latest one, with us, to open its odorous bios*
soms. It is a pretty shrub for the garden, growing and flow-
ering well. The Dogbane also mentioned is a close relative
of the popular Oleander. Its family are all possessed of
active properties and some are violent poisons. Here wo


1 2 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23