Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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of whom acts as the general Superintendent of Schools.

The first notice which I find on record concerning public
school-houses is under date of April 5, 1790, when it was " voted
to raise .£500, for the purpose of building school-houses." The
several districts were required to keep these houses in repair, and
to rebuild in case of loss. Three quarters of a century later, the
town assumed the whole charge and expense, and in a code of
by-laws, adopted April 1, 1867, provided that all the school-
houses be under the charge of one oflBcer, to be styled Superin-
tendent of School-houses.



252 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

Soon after his settlement as pastor of the Congregational
Church, in 1832, Rev. John Goldsbury established a High
School, which he conducted successfully until 1839, when he re-
moved to Cambridge, to take charge of a similar institution.
This school was attended chiefly by Hardwick students, and was
maintained at private expense. After the erection of the Town
House, the town voted. May 8, 1838, " that the use of the Hall
be granted to Mr. Goldsbury for the purpose of keeping a High
School."

LiBEAEY. At the commencement of the present century two
associations were organized in Hardwick, from both of which I
derived so much personal benefit that I cannot forbear some
notice of them. One of these was a Library Association. Under
date of September 16, 1802, an agreement was made as follows :
" That a Social Library may be purchased for our mutual
benefit, we, the subscribers, do severally agree to the following
articles, viz., 1. That as soon as a sufficient number of subscrib-
ers shall be obtained, we will each pay a sum not exceeding
two dollars and fifty cents, and pay annually a sum not exceeding
fifty cents for the term of seven years from the first payment. 2.
That no person shall dispose of his right in said Library to any
individual until he shall first give the proprietors an opportunity
to purchase it at such a price as the proprietors shall annually
agree upon. 3. We do further agree that when a sufiicient
number of subscribers shall be obtained, we will form ourselves
into a Societj'^ agreeably to the laws of the Commonwealth."

The Society was duly organized at a meeting held in the
" Centre School-house," December 13, 1802, when officers were
elected, to wit : Thomas Holt, Moderator ; Elisha P. Cutler,
Clerk ; Timothy Paige, Job Dexter, and Samuel Hinkley, Pro-
prietors' Committee; Elisha P. Cutler, Librarian and Treasurer;
Cyrus Washburn, Collector ; and " It was voted to accept the
rules and regulations drawn up by a committee appointed for
that purpose, as the Constitution and Laws of the Library Pro-
prietary. ... It was voted that the subscription paper for said
Library should be recorded in the Book containing the Laws and
Constitution."

The subscription paper was recorded as directed ; but the
names of the subscribers are omitted. There is on record, how-
ever, " a list of the names of the Proprietors of the First Social
Library in Hardwick, November the 12*^ 1805, with the number



LITERARY HISTORY. 253

of their shares," which probably corresponds very nearly with
the list of subscribers : —

1. John Hastings, Esq., 15. Timothy Fay,

2. Timothy Paige, P^sq., 16. Elijah Carpenter,

3. Col. Stephen Rice, 17. Josiah Newton,

4. Seth Hinkley, 18. Elliott Beckwith,

5. David Richards, 19. James Perkins,

6. Samuel Hinkley, 20. John Gorham,

7. Thomas Egery, 21. Lemuel Ruggles,

8. Livy Lawton, 22. Prince Nye,

9. Seth Peirce, 23. Silas Newton,

10. Job Dexter, 24. John Jenney,

11. Israel Trow, 25. Thomas Wheeler,

12. Nathaniel Paige, 26. Elijah B. Harmon,

13. Daniel Warner, 27. Josiah C. Chandler,

14. Ashbel Rice, 28. Jeduthun Spooner.

To these should be added the names of six original subscribers,
whose shares had been assumed or purchased by the society
before the date of this list, viz.: Samuel Beals, December 13,
1802 ; Cyrus Washburn, Ebenezer Ayer, and James Lawton,
November 14, 1803 ; Elisha P. Cutler, August 1, 1805 ; and
Thomas Holt, November 11, 1805.

At the meeting for organization, December 13, 1802, " it was
voted, to receive certain Books formerly belonging to the old
Library, to constitute a part of the new." ^

Elisha P. Cutler remained in office as librarian until August 1,
1805, when being about to remove to Maine, he resigned, and
Jeduthun Spooner succeeded him for the remainder of the year.
At the annual meeting, in November, 1805, Elijah B. Harmon
was elected librarian, and held the office for eight years. Sam-
uel Eastman was elected in 1813, Timothy Fay in 1815, William
B. Wesson in 1816, and Samuel Hinkley in 1817, who was re-
elected from year to year until November 12, 1827, at which
date the record abruptly ends. In the Book of Records a loose
sheet is preserved, containing a memorandum of another annual
meeting, without date, at which Joseph Stone was elected libra-
rian ; and it was " voted that the Librarian have permission to

1 I have found no otlier trace whatever their contents, remains vividly imprinted

of this " old Library ; " but of " the new " on my memory in my old age. Their pe-

I made abundant use in my young days, rusal stimulated a taste for historical and

and the general appearance of the books, biographical studies which has not yet

as well as the fascinating character of entirely deserted me.



254



HISTORY OF HARDWICK.



agree with Messrs. Hammond & Mixter to keep the Library at
their Store." A " Catalogue of Books belonging to the Social Li-
brary Proprietary in Hardwick, and in possession of the Libra-
rian, May ^1% 1831," was made, and Hammond & Mixter gave
to the librarian a receipt for the same, which remains on file. An
inspection of the Catalogue will afford proof that the books,
though few in number, were of the most instructive and useful
character ; and it may surprise the readers of this generation, that
among the whole number there was only one work of pure fiction,
viz., the " Vicar of Wakefield."



CATALOGUE, ETC.

Belknap's History of New Hampshire

Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts .

Biography of Naval Heroes

American Biography ....

Robertsou's Charles V. . . .

Buffon's Natural History . . • .

Ramsay's American Revolution

Hume's History of England .

Park's Travels .....

History of Vermont ....

Apostolical Fathers ....

Spanish America .....

Life of Josiah Quiucy, Jr. .

Ramsay's Uuited States

Adams' Defence of American Constitutions

Hubbard's History of New Englaud

Millot's Elements of History

Historical Transactions .

Marshall's Life of Washington

Flavius Josephus ,

Smellie's Philosophy

Robertson's Scotland

Minot's Continuation

Life of Charles XII.

Smith's Lectures

History of Greece .

Bruce's Travels

Life of General Putnam

Hall's Journal .

Life of Franklin

Jackson's Morocco

Clark's Travels



Vols.

3
2
1
2
3
2
2
8
1
1
1
1
1
3
3
1
5
1
5
3
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
1



LITERARY HISTORY.



255




Discourse on Meekness

Plutarch's Lives .

Rambler ....

Dodd on Death

Junius' Letters

Beauties of Spectators, etc.

Rollin's Ancient History

Forsyth's Italy

Life of SouvarofF

Watson's Apology

Vicar of Wakefield

Dodd's Thoughts in Prison

Paley's Evidences

Doddridge's Sermons

British Spy

Letter on the Genius, etc. of French Government pamphlet.

Mr. Webster's Plymouth Discourse . . pamphlet.

Unfortunately these books were scattered or lost, and the so-
ciety ceased to exist. A new and much more extensive library
has recently been established, under the patronage of the ladies.
May the enterprise be crowned with abundant success and pros-
perity.

Mount Zion Lodge. The other association for intellectual
and moral improvement, organized at the commencement of this
century, was a society of Freemasons, bearing the name of Mount
Zion Lodge. Its charter from the Grand Lodge bears date March
11, 1800, and its original members were Calvin Eaton, William
Stone, James Lawton, John Shaw, 2d, Abijah Powers, Clark
Powers, Asaph Newcomb, Rufus King, Roger West, Bradford
Newcomb, James Stone, Thomas Powers, Jr., Seth Hinkley,
Daniel Ruggles, Daniel Billings, Jr., Luke Brown, Nathan Free-
man, Edward Ruggles, Peter Blackmer, Jr., Sylvanus Thompson,
Samuel Beals, Daniel Thomas, 2d, Samuel French, Thomas
Wheeler, Jr., and Elias Hall. About one half of these persons
resided in Hardwick, and nearly all the others in Greenwich, in-
cluding what is now Enfield. For the first quarter of the cen-
tury the Lodge prospered, and embraced among its members
many of the most eminent citizens of the before-named towns,
and also of Brookfield (especially that portion which is now
West Brookfield), New Braintree, Barre, and Dana. Its first
place of meeting was in a spacious hall in the Willis Tavern, on



256 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

the turnpike, marked " Dr. Wardwell " on the R. Map. In 1809,
Daniel Ruggles erected a new tavern in the centre of the town,
in which he fitted a hall for masonic purposes, and the Lodge was
removed thither on the 18th day of October in that year. A
procession was formed at the old hall at ten o'clock A. M., and
proceeded to the meeting-house, where a discourse was delivered
by Rev. James Thompson, of Barre, and the officers of the Lodge
were publicly installed. The procession was then again formed
and proceeded to the new hall, which was duly dedicated, and
was thenceforth the masonic home of the Lodge, until, by per-
mission of the Grand Lodge, it was removed to Barre, March 14,
1855.

In 1826, an anti-masonic tornado originated in Western New
York, and rapidly gathering strength, swept furiously over the
Northern States, carrying devastation and ruin in its path. Not
only Masonic Lodges were destroyed, but the Churches of Christ
were rent asunder, and many of them utterly ruined. Mount
Zion Lodge was not seriously affected b}^ this tempest until about
1832. It was not then absolutely destroyed, but for the next
ten years was in a disorganized condition, and had scarcely more
than a name to live. After its revival in 1842, its return to
prosperity was very slow. Many of its former most active
members had either deceased or had become disheartened, and
retired from participation in its labors ; and of those who had
become of lawful age during the period of furious excitement,
many had imbibed prejudices against the institution, which it was
very difficult to overcome ; and hence the accession of new mem-
bers was hindered. Gradually, however, and notably since its
removal to Barre, it has renewed its activity, and its prospect of
permanent prosperity is highly encouraging.

I append a list of the successive Masters of the Lodge, with
their respective residences, so far as ascertained.



1800-1802,1


Calvin Eaton,


Greenwich,


1803,


James Lawton,^


Hardwick.


1804 (Feb.),


Samuel Beals,


Hard wick.


1804,


Asaph Newcomb,


Greenwich.


1805,


Calvin Eaton,


Greenwich.


1806,


Asa Walker,


Barre.


1807-1809,


Argalus Thomas,


Brookfield.



1 The annual meeting was in June Major Beals was elected for tlie unexpired
until 1807 ; afterwards, in September. term.

2 James Lawton died in office, and



LITERARY HISTORY.



257



1810,




Joseph W. Hamilton,


Brookfield.


1811,




Joseph W. Jenkins,


Barre.


1812,




Benjamin Jenkins,


Hard wick.


1813,




Argalus Thomas,^


Brookfield.


1814,




Peleg Aldrich,


Prescott.


1815,


1816,


Samuel Mixter,


New Braintree.


1817,




Warren P. Wing,


Greenwich.


1818,




Luther Spalding.


Greenwich.


1819,


1820,


Apollos Johnson,


Dana.


1821,


1822,


John Warner,


Greenwich.


1823,


1824,


Gardner Ruggles,


Barre.


1825,




Samuel Lee,


Barre.


1826,




Lucius R. Paige,


Hardwick.


1827,




Gardner Ruggles,


Barre.


1828,




James Thompson,


Barre.


1829,




Gardner Ruggles,


Barre.


1830,


1831,


Denison A. Robinson,


Barre.


1832-


-1841,


Few meetings held, and
election of officers.


apparently no


1842,


1843,


Gardner Ruggles,^


Hardwick.


1844,




Denison A. Robinson,


Barre.


1845,




Gardner Ruggles,


Hardwick.


1846,


1847,


George Washburn.




1848,


1849,


Gardner Ruggles,


Hardwick.


1850,




Joshua Flagg,


Dana.


1851-


-1853,


No record found.




1854,




John Winslow,


Barre.


1855,




William A Fuller,


Bari-e.


1856-


•1858,


George J. Sanger,


Hardwick.


1859-


1862,


James Holland,


Barre.


1863,




Chauncy C. Hemenway,


Barre.


1864,




James Holland,


Barre.


1865,




George M. Buttrick,


Barre.


1866-


•1868,


Joseph F. Snow,


Barre.


1869,




John W. Rice,


Barre.



1 Captain Thomas afterwards removed
to Worcester, and kept a popular hotel
on Main Street, opposite to the Court
House. In 1821, his name was changed
to Samuel B. Thomas, by Act of the
General Court.

^ It was chiefly through the exertions
of Major Ruggles (who had returned
from Earre to Hardwick) that any vi-
tality in the Lodge was preserved. For
many years the Grand Lodge constituted
17



him a " special agent " to conserve the
interests of Freemasonry in Worcester
County and all that part of the State
lying west of it. On the first day of
January, 1842, he reorganized Mount
Ziou Lodge, and, as its Master, nursed
it judiciously for the next three years.
This was the first-fruits of renewed ma-
sonic prosperity in Western Massachu-
setts.



258 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

1870, Joseph F. Snow, Barre-

1871, 1872, Sewell Underwood, Barre.

1873, Charles E. Newton, Barre.

1874, John W. Rice, Barre.

1875, George L. Brown, Barre.

1876, Henry W. Hubbard, Barre.

1877, Joseph D. TVadsworth, Barre.

1878, 1879, Willie H. Osgood, Barre.
1880, 1881, William AV. Stacey, Barre.
1882, I. T. Hinkley, Barre.

Post-Offices, Mail-Cakriees, and Post-Ridees. At the
commencement of the present century there was no post-office in
Hardwick, nor indeed in this part of the county of AVorcester.
Letters addressed to our inhabitants were left at the post-office
in Worcester, advertised occasionally, and at length obtained per-
sonally or by private conveyance. Some were probably conveyed
by the post-riders, who distributed newspapers weekly through
the county. The Worcester postmaster advertised letters remain-
ing in his office, December 26, 1801, for persons residing in Gard-
ner, Hardwick, Hubbardston, Oxford, Sutton, and Westbor-
ough ; and the same towns are mentioned in an advertisement
dated April 5, 1802, with the addition of New Salem and South
Brimfield.

About the year 1805, a post-office was established here, and Dr.
William Cutler was appointed postmaster, who was succeeded
by his son, Samuel Fiske Cutler ; together they held the office
about thirty years, until 1836, when Frederick W. Delano was
appointed, and the office was removed from its former location
(where William Paige now resides) to the " Mixter Store." In
1850, Albert E. Knight was appointed, and is still in office after
the lapse of more than thirty years. At a comparatively recent
period, two more post-offices have been established here, one
at Gilbertville, April 1, 1863, Lewis N. Gilbert, postmaster
(Charles F. Hitchcock, assistant) ; and the other at the Furnace,
April 1, 1875, Benjamin F. Paige, postmaster. The long-con-
tinued service of these several officers indicates faithfulness on
their part and the approbation of their fellow-citizens.

For several years before the establishment of the post-office,
newspapers, and very probably letters occasionally, had been
brought into the town by post-riders, who resided here, and trav-
elled, on horseback, once a week, to Worcester and back, and
also to Northampton and back again, — each trip occupying two



LITERARY HISTORY. 259

days. The earliest of these, whose name I have ascertained, was
Eleazar Barrows, whose family resided in New Salem, though he
died here, April 15, 1803, aged 58.^ He announced his retire-
ment from business, April 24, 1799, in the " Massachusetts Spy " :
" Eleazar Barrows informs his friends and customers that he has
disposed of his route to Abraham White of Hardwick, who he is
confident will be punctual in his business, and that the terms will
be as usual. Said Barrows, sensible of the liberal support he has
had from many of his customers, returns them his warmest
thanks. And those who have been in arrears and still remain
so, he flatters himself that this warning (being the last that will
lay in his power to give them) will rouse them to a sense of their
duty : for why will ye be sued ? O, ye delinquent ones." I find
no further trace of "Abraham White of Hardwick." But in
January, 1803, George W. Webb, also of Hardwick, commenced
his service in the same capacity, and six months later addressed
to his customers a moving exhortation : " George W. Webb,
news-carrier from Worcester to Northampton, informs his cus-
tomers, that it is now six months since he began to supply them
with news. He hopes he has given satisfaction to all, in the line
of his business. He wishes those who are indebted to him to
make an immediate settlement ; they must remember that with-
out the refreshing showers from heaven, the corn must wither on
the stalk." 2

Soon after this date the post-office was established ; but
whether Mr. Webb became the first mail-carrier, I know not. I
do remember, however, that for several years the mail was car-
ried by the post-rider, and that the service was performed on
horseback. Afterwards, until 1818, a wagon, drawn by one
horse, was used, affording opportunity to accommodate a single
passenger. One of the latest professional post-riders was Nathan
Reed, Jr., who left the service under a cloud, and who was the
only one suspected of dishonesty, so far as my knowledge ex-
tends. He advertised, June 16, 1816, that he " will have rode
six months as Post on the 26th instant, up to which time he re-
quests payment." ^

In 1818, Cyrus Stockwell made a vast improvement in the
mail service. He had advertised, February 25, 1818,^ that six
months' service as post-rider would expire on the 11th of March ;

1 "Died at Hardwick, Eleazar Bar- 2 ]\lass. Spy, June 29, 1803.
rows, formerly Post-rider from this office." ^ JUd., June 26, 1816.
Mass. Spy, April 27, 1803. * Mass. Spy.



260 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

and on the 26th of May he gave notice ^ that he would immedi-
ately commence running a Mail Stage from Worcester, through
Hardwick, to Northampton, once a week ; to leave Worcester
every Wednesday, at 9 o'clock A. M., and arrive at Hardwick
the same day and at Northampton every Thursday afternoon ; to
leave Northampton every Friday at 8 A. M., and arrive at Hai'd-
wick on the same day ; and to leave Hardwick every Tuesday at
8 A. M., and arrive at Worcester on the same day. In other
words, the mail stage was to run from Hardwick to Worcester
every Tuesday, and return on Wednesday, and to Northampton
every Thursda}^ and return on Friday.

Tlie next material improvement was made after the present
Boston and Albany Railroad was opened as far as West Brook-
field. The mail was then carried for several years from West
Brookfield to Hardwick by Mr. William C. Wesson, who ran a
two-horse mail-coach between the two towns, dail}^, from July 1,
1845, to April 12, 1858. He was succeeded by others, until the
cars commenced running on the Ware River Railroad, from
Palmer to Gilbertville, in 1870. Since that time the mails have
been brought into Hardwick by steam power, and each of the
three post-offices receives at least a dail}^ mail.

Centennial Celebration. At a town meeting, April 2,
1838, it was " Voted to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary
of the incorporation of the town ; Voted, that the selectmen be
a Board of Managers to conduct and manage said celebration ;
Voted, tliat the selectmen be requested to fix on a day for said
celebration as near the date of said anniversary as can con-
veniently be done." The Board of Managers selected November
15, 1838, as the appropriate day for the celebration ; but for
what reason I know not. The anniversary of the incorporation
did not occur until January 10 (or, allowing eleven days for
change of style, January 21), 1839. Perhaps it was anticipated
that the weather would be more propitious in November than in
January ; but the event proved otherwise. On the day of the
celebration I think more rain fell than on any other day during
that year. Despite this inclemency, however, a goodly number
assembled, and, omitting the intended preliminary ceremonies,
made their way, as best they could, to the old meeting-house,
where for the next four hours they exhibited the most praise-
worthy patience and forbearance. An account of the celebra-

1 Mass. Spy.



LITERARY HISTORY. 261

tion, written by Dr. Joseph Stone, was published in the " Barre
Gazette," November 23, 1838. A commendable local pride and a
generous friendship to the orator of the day may have imparted
a somewhat roseate tint to the picture ; but I venture to insert it,
as the only contemporaneous description of the Centennial Cele-
bration which is known to exist : —

"Centennial Celebration at Haedwick.

" The day assigned for this celebration, Thursday, the 15*^
instant, was peculiarly unfavorable. With the exception of a
short period, from ten to eleven o'clock A. M., the rain fell copi-
ously through the day. In consequence of this, many were pre-
vented from attending, and many of the previous arrangements
could not be carried into effect.

" A procession of citizens only was formed at the Bi-ick
Church, and, attended by a fine band of music, the members of
which were mostly from Barre, proceeded to the old meeting-
house, where the following exercises were attended to : —

*' 1^*. Music ; the 100*^ of Watts' Psalms. Tune, Denmark.

" 2*^. Introductory Prayer, and reading selections from the
Scriptures, by Rev. John Goldsbury.

" S'^. Music ; the 408"^ Hymn of Greenwood's collection.
Tune, St. Martin's. Read in beautiful style, line by line, by
Deacon Josiah C. Chandler, and sung in that manner by the
choir.

" 4'^^. Prayer, by Rev. Mr. Goldsbury.

" 5*^. Music ; H^ann by Flint, the 555*^ of Greenwood's collec-
tion.

" 6^^. Address, by Rev. Lucius R. Paige.

" T*'^. Concluding Prayer, by Rev. Nelson B. Jones, of the
Baptist Church in Hard wick.

" 8*^ Music ; Anthem, ' O, come, let us sing unto the Lord.'

"9*'*. Benediction.

" Notwithstanding the unpleasant state of the weather, the
large meeting-house was well filled by an attentive and gratified
auditory.

" After the services about one hundred citizens and ladies sat
down to an excellent repast furnished by Mr. S. A. Smith. A
gentleman from Hampden County, who was probably unused to
the style in which such things are done in this vicinity, assured
the writer of this article that he considered the entertainment
superior to any he had ever before witnessed.



262 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

" The people of Hardwick ai-e much indebted to the ef-
forts of Mr. Moses Mandell, a native of that town, but now a
resident in Barre, for the excellence of the musical performances
by the choir.

" The devotional exercises, and especiall}'^ the introductory
prayer, were peculiai'ly appropriate and impressive.

" In delivering his address, Mr. Paige occupied two hours and
fifty minutes. Perhaps higher praise cannot be given it than by
saying that a large and promiscuous audience, going without
their dinners to a late hour in the afternoon, and with a prospect,
which was fully realized, of a dark and stormy night to travel
home in, were nevertheless so highly entertained as to show no
marks of impatience, but continued in rapt and undivided atten-
tion to the close. He described the purchase of the township
from the Indians, and disclosed all that could now be known of
the early history of the town, from the time when its northern-
most inhabitant had no white settler between him and Canada to
the time of the incorporation of the town, and gave a hasty
sketch of the most prominent particulars in its history from that
period to the present ; and closed with an eloquent appeal to the
inhabitants in behalf of their shorn and neglected centre burying
ground. Arrangements have been made for printing the address;
and its appearance from the press will be anxiousl}^ looked for
by many, both of those who heard, as well as those who did not
hear it.

" It is believed that the people separated with the conviction



Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 28 of 73)