Caleb A. (Caleb Arnold) Wall.

North Worcester, its first settlers and old farms : an historical address, delivered before the Chamberlain District Farmers' Club, at the residence of A.S. Lovell, North Worcester, Dec. 6, 1889 online

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Online LibraryCaleb A. (Caleb Arnold) WallNorth Worcester, its first settlers and old farms : an historical address, delivered before the Chamberlain District Farmers' Club, at the residence of A.S. Lovell, North Worcester, Dec. 6, 1889 → online text (page 1 of 2)
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Author of " Reminiscences of Worcester," " Puritans vs. The Quakers," Etc.

Worcester :




This is the first of a series of similar publications which the author is about to issue,
containing his addresses at different historic points in the territory of Worcester, compris-
ing accounts of the first settlers and their families, historical and genealogical, the location
of their estates, etc. Those to follow will include the address at Lake Park, June 15,
1889, giving an account of the earliest settlers west of Lake Quinsigamond; the address on
Pakachoag Hill, July 13; and others to be given in different sections of this city, including
Sagatabscot Hill, Quinsigamond Village, Tatnuck, etc., relating to their respective localities
in the past. The whole, bound together, will constitute a sequel or second volume' to my
*' Reminiscences of Worcester," published in 1877.

C. A. W.

January 1, 1890.

[Pbbss of F. S. BLANCHARD & CO.]

Copjrright, 1890.




There was a gathering of unusual local historical
interest at the residence of A. S. Lowell, North Worcester,
Friday . evening, December 6, 1889, held under the
auspices of the Chamberlain District Farmers' Club, by
invitation of Mr. Lowell, to hear an address by Caleb
A. Wall, on the history of the first settlers and old farms
in that locality.

Near the railroad station here are two ancient square
built mansions of similar construction, erected for two
brothers by their father, the history of which, and of the
farms to which they belong, dates back to the beginning
of the town.

One of these old estates, that on Brattle Street, north-
east of the depot, has been owned and occupied about
two years by Mr. Lowell, who has tastefully refitted
the old mansion, while preserving its ancient architectural
features ; the other of these two old estates is that
owned and occupied by the family of the late J. L. Libby,
just south of the depot, on the east side of Holden Street,
the ancient house on which, also, preserves very much
the same architectural appearance as it possessed long
anterior to the days of our revolutionary sires.

At Friday evening's meeting at Mr. Lowell's, besides
members of the Club, whose territory includes this sec-
tion, numerous others interested in such matters
were present, including many of our prominent citizens.
The evening was an unusually pleasant one, with a clear
sky overhead, and a full moon shining brightly, adding
greatly to the delightfulness of the occasion. A party
of nearly one hundred assembled at about seven o'clock,



and after a social half hour, were called to order in the
spacious parlors by P. F. Sears, Vice-President of the
Club, the President, Pliny Moore, coming later. At
7.30 p. m. Mr. Wall was introduced, and gave his address,
as follows :


One of the earliest proprietors of Worcester, at the
beginning of its permanent settlement, after the close of
Queen Anne's War, so called, in 1713, was James Knapp,
or Knopp, as sometimes written on the old records. He
came here from Newton, where he was born February
4, 1691. He had a grant of 250 acres of land including
the spot where we now are. It took in, besides the fine
farm of our excellent host, the adjoining and surround-
ing estates of James E. Fuller, C. C. Foster, Mrs. Libby,
Mrs. Allen, John McTammany, Charles P. Geeser, and
others. This was a century and three-quarters ago, when
Worcester was resettled after the previous devastation by
the Indians,^ lots then beginning to be taken up as
granted by the Committee of the General Court to the
first settlers at different points within the original
territory of Worcester, which included, besides what
is now Worcester, the present territory of Holden^t
and the north east quarter of Auburn. t

Before speaking further of this land of Knapp, and its
subsequent conveyance to and division among other
parties, it is proper to say something about him. He
was the second son of John, Jr., and Sarah (Parks) Knapp
of Newton, his father being the eldest son of John, Sr.,
and Sarah (Young) Knapp of Watertown. John Knapp,
Sr., born in England in 1624, was a carpenter, son of
William Knapp, also a carpenter, a proprietor of Water-
town in 1636-7, who came over from England with his
sons, William, Jr., John and James, in 1630.

James Knapp, the original proprietor of the lands in
this vicinity, was thus great-grandson of the emigrant
ancestor, William Knapp. He married, first, April 2^

♦ See " Reminiscences of Worcester," pages 12-17.
t Ibid, pages 128-30.


1714, Elizabeth Bond, daughter of Dea. William, Jr. and
Hepsibah (Hastings) Bond of Watertown, by whom he had
a son Jonathan, born October 23, 1714, and after her death
January 12, 1716, he married, October 10, 1716, Mary
Fisk, sister of the wife of Benjamin Flagg,* an original
settler of Worcester, some of whose lands here were in
the vicinity of his own, and Knapp then came here,
ivhere his next five children were born, as follows
Abijah, October 2, 1717; Mary, December 16, 1719
Benjamin, August 31, 1721 ; James, Jr., October 27, 1723
and Elisha, December 6, 1725. James Knapp then sold
out all his estate in Worcester and moved away. Among
his subsequent children, born probably in Watertown,
were Elizabeth, born- May 15, 1729, and John, born
October 31, 1731. Of those children, Abijah went to
Marlborough, where he married in 1744, Abigail Ward; he
was in Marlborough in 1762, and went thence to Petersham
and afterwards to Athol. James, Jr., went to Medway.
and thence, in 1773, to Sturbridge, where he was in 1797.
John went from Worcester in 1759 to Petersham, and
thence in 1785 to Spencer. Benjamin was in Sturbridge
in 1744.

James Knapp, the father, was chosen surveyor of high-
ways at the first annual March town meeting in Worces-
ter, and he had a seat granted him in the second of the
sixth section of seats at the first regular or official assign-
ment of seats in the first meeting house on the old Common
in 1724. Besides the 250 acres of land in this vicinity,
James Knapp had a grant of land November 22, 1718,
by order of the General Court's Committee, of " 75 acres
for a second division with three acres allowance for a
highway four rods wide running through it, this land
lying on the north side of his house lot, and on the east
side of Mill Brook." This would indicate that James
Knapp did not build or settle on any part of his 250
acres in this vicinity, but on the lot granted to him just
south of the above-mentioned 75 acres granted to him in
1718. The location of this was near to and included the
site of the present residence of Edwin P. Curtis on Burn-

* See "Reminiscences," pages 106-8.


coat Street. This estate, then comprising 90 acres, and
including all the estate James Knapp then owned in
Worcester, Knapp sold, March 7, 1726, to Thomas
Gleason, from Shrewsbury, and previously of Sudbury,
ancestor of the race of Gleasons afterwards so numerous
in the northern section of the town, of whom I shall have
more to say at the proper time. This Thomas Gleason,
who filled at different times the positions of constable,
highway surveyor, and tythingman, lived on that spot till
his decease in 1756, leaving a large family of sons and
daughters, this estate, to which his son Isaac succeeded,
passing out of the family over 75 years ago, before Mrs.
Curtis' s grandfather, Walter Bigelow, senior, pur-
chased it.*

Eichard Temple, born in Concord, in 1674, and a resi-
dent of Shrewsbury from 1724 to 1738, when he went
back to Concord, was the purchaser, before 1725, from
James Knapp, of the 250 acres above mentioned. He
made the purchase for his two sons, Joseph and William
Temple, and a son-in-law, William Harris, among whom
he divided it. Two of these being housewrights by trade
and the other a surveyor, they probably erected the
first houses upon it, two of which are still standing,
substantial as well as venerable specimens of ancient
architecture, in one of which we are now assembled.
September 1, 1730, Richard Temple, then a resident of
Shrewsbury, "for love and good will, and his advance-
ment in the world," etc., conveyed to his son Joseph
Temple, 65 acres of land, "part of the 250 acres which
the said Joseph Temple purchased of James Knapp, and
bounded on the south by that part of the 250 acres which
his son William Temple lived on, and on the west by that
part which the son-in-law lived on." At the same time
he deeded to his daughter Mary, wife of William Harris,
housewright, 50 acres, another part of the said 250 acres,
" for love and good will," etc.; and January 23, 1735, he
deeded to his son William Temple, housewright, 65 acres
of land, another part of said 250 acres, south of that
occupied by Joseph, for the same consideration of " love

* See " Reminiscences," page 45.


and good will/' etc. This would show that these ancient
houses were then here. Joseph Temple's portion
included the spot where we now are, and this is the
house he built and lived in. The ancient house south of
this, on Holden Street, and similar to this in construction,
where the family of the late J. L. Libby now live, was
the residence of William Temple, which he built. The
estate of William Harris was westerly of Joseph Temple's,
and north-westerly of William Temple's, the ancient
house in which several generations of that family lived
having long since disappeared.

This Richard Temple was a son of Abraham and grand-
son of the original emigrants, Richard and Joanna
Temple, who were of Salem in 1648, and afterwards of
Concord. Neither of the Temple brothers remained
during their lifetime upon the estates thus given them
by their father.

Among the town offices filled by Joseph Temple was
that of field driver in 1740, hogreeve in '41, surveyor of
highways and juryman in '42, and constable in '52.
His brother, William Temple, was surveyor of highways
in 1736, and field driver in 1739, and in the assignment
of seats in the first meeting house on the old Common
in 1733, as described in my " Reminiscences of Worces-
ter," pages 113 and 114, he occupied a seat in " ye second
section in ye foremost gallery." William Harris was
surveyor of highways in 1737, '38 and '41 ; and hogreeve
in 1732, '33, '39, '42, '43, and '44 ; and he occupied a seat
in "ye second section in ye long gallery," in that old
meeting house. Robert Peables, whose estate the first
Elisha Smith purchased and resided upon, west of North
Pond, was assigned a seat in this first meeting house, " in
ye second section in ye body," as will be seen by the
description and plan referred to.

Joseph Temple sold out his 65 acres (including where
we now are) May 1, 1772, for £292, 6s. and 8d., to Levi
Houghton of Ashby, who lived here ten years. William
Temple sold out his estate, including the original portion
of the Libby estate south of us, March 22, 1740, for £510,
to Elisha Smith, from Waltham, the first one of four


generations of that name who have lived on different
portions of that estate or the immediate vicinity, of
whom more will be said later. William and Mary
(Temple) Harris's descendants also remained on their
ancestral estate, or on different portions of it, west of
us, for several generations, an account of whom now
would swell this address to too great a length.

Levi Houghton sold, November 15, 1782, for £650,
93 1-2 acres, including the above 65 acres bought of
Joseph Temple, to Josiah Lyon, yeoman, of Worcester,
and the latter sold March 18, 1791 for £475, 88 1-2 acres
of this, in two tracts, including the 65 acres where we
are, to Simeon Fish, yeoman, from Mendon, and Mr.
Fish sold the same April 10, 1795, to Francis Thaxter of
Hingham, who conveyed it April 13, 1796, to Benjamin
Farrar of Abington, and the latter sold the same estate
April 12, 1799, to Nathan Patch, a celebrated real estate
owner and speculator of his time, who sold it September
22, 1800, to his son Joseph Patch. The next owner was
Joseph Daniels from Sherborn, who purchased it of the
Patches, November 18, 1807, for $4000. Joseph Daniels's
wife. Thankful, was daughter of James Penniman of
Medway, and sister of Abigail, wife of the first Samuel
Damon of Holden. Joseph Daniels died about 1820,
leaving his estate to his son Joseph Daniels, Jr., who
married Eliza Glazier, daughter of Calvin and Eliza
(Pierce) Glazier of Rutland. Joseph, Jr., and Eliza were
parents of Mrs. Lewis Thayer, now residing at No. 142
Lincoln Street ; of Mrs. John Mason, now residing at
No. 9 John Street ; of the wife of the late Loison D.
Towne, formerly residing at No. 10 Harvard Street ; and
of the late Joseph D. Daniels, whose widow resides at
No. 18 Harvard Street. Joseph Daniels, Jr., carried on
the farm for several years, till the estate, under his
improvident management, passed through a heavy mort-
gage, about 1831, into the hands of his cousin, the late
Col. Samuel Damon of Holden, son of the first Samuel
Damon, the mortgage being subject to the right of
dower of Thankful Daniels, the widow of Joseph Daniels,
Sr. The farm was managed for two years, from 1831 to


1833, by Robert S. Gleason, whose wife was a daughter
of Daniel Davis, the latter's wife being a daughter of
Francis Daniels, brother of Joseph, Sr. October 1, 1833,
Col. Damon, for the sum of $3500, conveyed the estate,
then comprising 152 acres, to Robert S. Gleason and
Ezekiel Newton, the latter having for two years previous
worked for Mr. Gleason on the farm. They managed
the estate together for six years, till April 15, 1839,
when the widow. Thankful Gleason, sold out to them her
right of dower and interest in the estate, where she had
resided for thirty years, and went to reside with her
grand daughter, Mrs. Robert S. Gleason, on Ararat
Street ; Mr. Gleason, at the same time, disposing of his
half of the estate to Charles Newton, a brother of Ezekiel,
and these two brothers then managed the old farm
together for six years, both residing with their respective
families in this house, in which both held their honey-
moon receptions at their marriage, Ezekiel in 1835 and
Charles in 1842, after coming here. The elder of these
two brothers, our respected veteran friend, Ezekiel
Newton, at my right, hale and hearty in his 78th year,
we are all happy to greet with us to-night, from his
new home in Westborough; also a younger surviving
brother, at my left, Abraham H. Newton, . who can
give many pleasant recollections of his boyhood here.

About 1846, the old farm was divided, Ezekiel Newton
taking the northern half, and Charles the southern half
extending to Ararat Street, on which latter half Charles
Newton built the house now occupied by architect James
E. Fuller ; the preceding owner of this half, which has
had many owners since Charles Newton sold it, about
1861, being our friend C. C. Foster. Ezekiel Newton
•owned and occupied the northern haK of this original
estate, including the house we are in, till 1870, when,
after residing here thirty-nine years, he sold it to the
late Charles H. Geeser, who owned and occupied it till
his decease, and after him his son, the present Charles P.
Geeser, who sold it in 1884 to Walter S. Bugbee, now of
Shrewsbury ; and the latter sold it in 1887 to the present
owner and occupant, our generous host. When Mr.


Geeser sold out here, he built his present residence just
across the road. When Joseph Daniels, Jr., lived here, he
kept a store in this house for many years, where he was
a licensed retailer of intoxicating drinks, in accordance
with an old custom, unfortunately, not yet extinct in too
many places, though long since extinguished from this
locality ; and it is ardently hoped, since the glorious
result of the recent vote on the question by our citizens,
that the whole city may be redeemed from the terrible-

The widow. Thankful Daniels, after removing from
her old homestead here, in 1840, resided with her
grand daughter, Mrs. Robert S. Gleason, on Ararat Street,
where she died January 10, 1852, aged 93 years,,
7 months and 4 days, and was buried in Rural Cemetery.
Eliza G. Daniels, widow of Joseph Daniels, Jr., died Jan-
uary 28, 1861, aged 71 years and 7 months, at the
residence of her son, the late Joseph D. Daniels, on Har-
vard Street.

Richard^ Newton, progenitor of the Newtons in New
England, came from England and was one of the first
settlers in Sudbury in 1640, and one of the petitioners
for Marlborough, where he settled in 1660, in the south-
ern part afterwards set oif for Southborough, where and
in Westborough and Shrewsbury, he has descendants.
He died at the old homestead in Southborough, August
24, 1701, aged 100 years. His son Moses,^ born in 1646,
married in 1768 Joanna Larkin, and had in Southborough,
Moses,^ Jr., born in 1669, who married in 169o, Sarah
Howe, and their three sons, Aaron,^ Elisha,"^ and Ezekiel,*
were among the first settlers in Shrewsbury, where they
had numerous descendants. Elisha^ married in 1728,
Sarah Tomlin of Westborough, and had in Shrewsbury
twelve children, of whom the sixth son and eighth
child was Charles,^ born August 28, 1742, who married
in 1765, Tabitha Bowker of Westborough, and had in
Shrewsbury ^ve children, of whom Ezra^, born November
22, 1774, married January 28, 1812, Lucy Howe of
Princeton, and settled there, they being parents of the
above mentioned Ezekiel, Charles, and Abraham H. New-


ton. The father died with his oldest son Ezekiel, in this
house, April 10, 1863, while the youngest son Abraham
H. was a soldier in the Union Army, in company F, 51st
regiment, and not, as the minister said at his father's
funeral, " a wanderer up and down the earth." Charles
died about two years ago, in Millbury, and the other
surviving brother, Ezra, Jr., has been a resident of the
far west for some thirty years.

Elisha Smith, who bought in 1740 the estate of
William Temple, including the Libby house and the
original 60 acres of that estate, was son of Jonathan and
Jane (Peabody) Smith of Watertown, where he was born
January 11, 1692. Jonathan, born in 1659, was son of
Thomas Smith, who came to America in the summer of
1635, then aged 35, and settled in Watertown, where he
died, March 10, 1693, aged 93. He was admitted free-
man of the Massachusetts colony. May 17, 1637. He
married Mary, daughter of William Knapp, before refer-
red to, by whom he had nine children, born between
1637 and 1662, of whom Jonathan, born in 1659, was
father of Elisha. Elisha Smith thus bore the blood
relationship of second cousin to the original proprietor of
this land, James Knapp, both being grandsons of William
Knapp. This relationship may have led to the Smiths
coming here, Elisha Smith married, March 25, 1713,
Patience Brown, daughter of Captain Abraham and Mary
(Hyde) Brown, of that part of old Watertown, afterwards
Waltham, and they had there these six children : First,
Jonathan, born January 23, 1715, who married Novem-
ber 8, 1736, Susanna Stearns, daughter of Isaac and
Mary (Bemis) Stearns of Waltham, and sister of
Nathaniel Stearns of Holden. Jonathan and Susanna
settled in Lunenburg on 100 acres of land there, given
him by his father, where they had Keuben, Simon, Mary,
and Patience, of whom the latter married a Stiles, and
Jonathan died before his father.

Elisha Smith's second child. Patience, born February
23, 1717, married December 6, 1733, Abraham Sander-
son, who was born in Watertown, March 28, 1711, and
they also settled in Lunenberg, on seventy acres of land


given them by her father, on the northern border of the
town, adjoining Townsend, where Abraham and Patience
had thirteen children, of whom the fourth one was Jacob
Sanderson, a minute man of the revolution, at the battle
of Bennington, who married in Worcester in 1760,
Elizabeth Child, and settled in Lunenburg on 400 acres
of land he purchased east of his father. The homestead
farm of the first Abraham Sanderson in Lunenburg is
still in the family, being owned and occupied by his
great-grandson, Richard Gilchrist, in the original gable
roofed house, to which many pilgrimages are made by
descendants of the original settler. The grave of this
venerable ancestor is marked by a headstone of slate in
the old cemetery in Lunenburg, inscribed '^Abraham
Sanderson, died December 4, 1776, aged 86." His wife
Patience lies by his side. Abraham was the second of
five children of Samuel and Mercy (Gale) Sanderson of
Watertown, grandson of Dea. Jonathan and Abiah (Bart-
lett) Sanderson, and great-grandson of the original
settlers, Edward and Mary (Eggleston) Sanderson of
Watertown. The name of this family was frequently
written in the old records Sanders, and Saunders.

Among the numerous descendants of the Jacob San-
derson above mentioned, is his great-grandson, our
esteemed fellow citizen, present with us to-night. Rev.
Alonzo Sanderson, pastor of Laurel Street church, whose
father, Jesse Sanderson, is still living in Lunenburg, hale
and hearty at 86.

The third child of Elisha and Patience ( Brown) Smith
was Elisha Smith, Jr., born June 4, 1719, who married
Susanna Gleason, born in 1722, the oldest of eleven
children of Thomas Gleason of Worcester, before men-
tioned. Elisha, Jr., and Susanna, settled on the estate
which his father, Elisha Smith, Sr., bought in 1740 of
William Temple ; while the father settled on another
estate of 140 acres south of it and west of and adjoining
North Pond, which he purchased the year previous, Feb-
ruary 8, 1739, of Richard Peables, another extensive
original proprietor of land in this part of Worcester.
This purchase of 140 acres included the farms
now of R. J. Pierce, Eben and W. C. Jewett, and others.


Of the other children of Elisha, Sr., and Patience
(Brown) Smith, Isaac settled on 87 acres of land given
him by his father in the south east part of Holden, and
Eunice was wife of Isaac Gleason, who resided where
his father, Thomas Gleason, before spoken of, lived,
on Burncoat Street, where Edwin P. Curtis now lives.
By a second wife, Abigail, whom he married in 1730,
Elisha Smith, Sr., had five other children, of whom
Abraham settled on 120 acres of land given him by his
father in Lunenburg, and Robert, born in Waltham in
1737, two years before the father came to Worcester,
settled on the paternal homestead given him by the
father at his decease in 1765, west of the pond, including
the land where R. J. Pierce and E. and W. C. Jewett
now live. This old estate, then comprising 252 acres,
Robert Smith sold in 1776 to Asa Ward, father of the
former Register of Deeds, Artemas Ward. Robert
Smith then removed to his last residence on Ararat
Street, where his son-in-law, Jonathan Gleason, Jr., and
the latter's sons, Robert S.* and Benjamin F. Gleason
afterwards lived, the main part of that estate having
been for many years owned and occupied by C. B.
Sweetser, and a portion of it by the family of the late
Benjamin F. Gleason, who died February 16, 1869,
aged 53 ; his father Jonathan Gleason, Jr., died May 3,
1838, aged 66 ; and the latter's widow, Esther,
daughter of Robert Smith, died December 31, 1866,

* Robert S. Gleason sold out his interest on Ararat street to his brother
Benjamin F. in 1855, and removed his residence to Beach street, and after-
wards to Washington street, where he died in 1870, and his widow lived
there after him. Their grandfather, Jonathan Gleason, Sr., father of
Jonathan Jr., was the oldest of ten children of the above mentioned Isaac
Gleason, who died in 1777, several of whose children settled on different
portions of the extensive landed estates of their father, Isaac Gleason, on
both sides of Burncoat street. Jonathan Gleason, Sr., lived in the ancient
house still standing on the west side of West Boylston street in Northville,


Online LibraryCaleb A. (Caleb Arnold) WallNorth Worcester, its first settlers and old farms : an historical address, delivered before the Chamberlain District Farmers' Club, at the residence of A.S. Lovell, North Worcester, Dec. 6, 1889 → online text (page 1 of 2)