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HISTORIC PRIORITIES IN LYNN



AN AUDRESS QIVEN AT THE DEDICATION



OF THH



SOCIETY HOUSE



LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETV



OCTOBER n, tni:i



C. J. H. WoonnuRY, A. M.. Sc. D.. I^rbsidhnt




Reprinted from the Register of the Society, Volume XVII



LYNN, MABS.



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HISTORIC PRIORITIES IN LYNN
An Address Given at the Dedication

OF THE

Society House
LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

C. J. H. WOODBURY, A. M., Sc. D.. President

OCTOBER 9, 1913



When the five pioneers with their families set out from
Salem and landed at Deer Cove between Red Rock and
the bastion of the Boulevard about June, 1629, they found
" a faire playne " for their homes.

Montowampate (Sagamore James), whose wigwam
was on Sagamore Hill, tradition says near the crossing of
Newhall and Sagamore Streets, hospitably granted them
the privilege of occupying the land comprised in the greater
Lynn, and he ever lived in peace with the white men,
the only known point of difference (a serious one) being
his refusal of the catechism.

It is true that the selectmen of Lynn later obtained a
deed of this same territory from four Indians, which was
acknowledged May3i, 1687, and P^t on the recordwhich had
been established in 1645 ; but this purchase was not made to
obtain possession of the land, for they already had that,
but to show Governor Andros, and through him to the
Crown, that tiiey had a title by direct purchase from the
Aborigines, irrespective of that of the King's territory
granted by Royal Charter.

Tliis address was (x'ven in abstract at the dedicatory exercises.



LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY



THEIR WOMEN SUPT^'RAGE.



The suffragettes and suffragists of to-day may find a
comforting precedent in that when the colonists came here
they found this part of the country, inckiding Essex, Suf-
folk, and portions of Middlesex County, ruled by Tahat-
tawan, the squaw Sachem, who succeeded to her first hus-
band's authority, which she did not abdicate to her second
husband, the medicine-man of the tribe, who had expected
to wed the sachemate as well as the squaw.

Is it possible that this feminine potentate so impressed
the Puritans that they conferred upon women in the colony
of Massachusetts Bay additional civic rights beyond what
they held in England, from the first until their modification
in 1789 by the adoption of the federal constitution?

GROWTH OF THE SETTLEMENT.

The Lynn Colonists builded better than they knew,
for what prophetic phrensy or flight of imagination, cer-
tainly not logical judgment, could have foretold that this
settlement would develop into a municipality whose popula-
tion numbers one-tenth of one per cent, of that of the United
States ; a town whose assessed valuation amoimts to about
one thousand dollars for each man, woman, and child, and
the skill of whose artisans has made it the third city of the
Commonwealth in the gross value of its manufactured
products, out-stripping in this respect six other towns of
greater populations.

The material Lynn is indeed a topic worthy of any
assemblage, but on this occasion your consideration is asked
for the more important historic Lynn and the many initi-
ative acts by its people in establishing precedents which
have been fundamental in their far-reaching influences upon
many lives beyond the boundaries of the town.



LYNN IIISTORICAI. SOCIETY 5

The Lynn Historical Society has for its jurisdiction
the greater Lynn with its live adjacent towns which were
portions of the original tract, and its membership approach-
ing 750, includes many of its loyal sons and daughters
spread from the Pacitic coast even to foreign lands, making
it the largest secular organization in the city.

A PICTURESQUE CITY.

Lynn is one of the most picturesque cities in this
country, beautiful in that infinite variety of mountain, vale,
and plain, which passes description, its forests gemmed
with lakes and rivulets, its farms and gardens, its littoral
of headlands and beaches.

It is the only incorporated city along the Atlantic
coast, outside of seashore resorts, whose peopled zone fronts
directly upon the ocean.

The range of hills on the west, hardly suited for advan-
tageous cultivation, retains its forests ; and the great tract
set apart as the Lynn Woods, of which the original instru-
ment was recorded December 6, 1881, is undoubtedly the
first instance in this country where the movement for forest
conservation resulted in the legal ownership of land for
the purpose.

This great work was initiated by the versatile Lynn
naturalist, Cyrus Mason Tracy, and made legally possible
by the first president of this Society, Philip Augustus
Chase, to whom the Commonwealth is also indebted for
the establishment of forest reservations throughout its
territory.

Nahant, jutting a league into the ocean, with its fertile
gardens set in nature's framework of ledge and beach,
environs with foaming billows one of the majestic pictures
along the New England coast.



6 LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Its alternation of forest with fertile spaces, especially
valued by the Puritans for its pasturage in common, was
followed by the sterilization of its soil, resulting from the
felling of its forests, until the land became as worthless to
its owners as it was to the Indian whom tradition relates
sold it for a jewsharp, and it was abandoned to squatter
fishermen for years enough to confer titles through undis-
puted occupancy, and finally the restoration of the fertility
of the soil through tree planting. This story of Nahant
was the only instance of the cycle of sterilizing rich lands
b}" removal of the forest growth and the subsequent renewal
of the fertility of the soil by tree planting which was sub-
mitted at the congressional hearings on the subject, and
undoubtedly had a profound influence in securing federal
legislation on forest conservation, the greatest economic
problem before this extravagant American people.

The L}'!!!! Boulevard, a unique highway along the
Atlantic Coast, alfords an unobstructed view of the ocean's
ever changing moods of calm and storm throughout the
year, and furnishes a shrine for the worship of nature in
temples not made with hands, by the adoring millions of
towns-people and visitors.

It is with especial pride that we can assert that this
vista of the ocean was forever assured to the public through
the efforts of the first Secretary and Founder of the Society,
Mr. Howard Mudge Newhall. On meeting him, only a
few days before his last sickness, I mentioned the obligations
which the people of Lynn bore to him for numerous acts of
public spirit, and he modestly disclaimed being anything but
a sharer in those events, because he was always associated
with others who gave ample and efiicient cooperation ; ex-
cepting that in the suggestion for the Boulevard, laying
out the route and the tentative arranirements with owners



LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY 7

of real estate, he asserted that he was entirely alone, until
the project had been developed in detail and had received
a general public endorsement.

It is to be hoped in the near future that it may be
feasible that this Society, as one of its functions of erecting
memorial tablets, shall be able to make arrangements for
the erection of a memorial tablet at some point of vantage
along the route of this celebrated highway.

It may be worth while to note that the revetment wall
of concrete which resists the furious impact of the ocean
gales served in its design as the precedent for a similar wall
at the extreme of the coast boundary of this country in
defending the city of Galveston, Texas, against a rep-
etition of history.

LYNN HARBOR.

Lynn Harbor is one of the latest chapters in physical
geography and undoubtedly dates from a storm which tore
away a point of land extending off the site of the present
state bath house and built the beach to Nahant, between
the years 1614 and January, 1629.

During the earlier year. Captain John Smith not
merely visited these shores, but mapped Nahant, which
he describes in his book as the '' lies of Mattahunts were
like the Pieramides of Egypt, a league in the sea from the
maine," and he relates his fight with the Indians and their
retreat by canoes, a method of flight which the savages
certainly would not have taken if a beach afforded a more
speedy escape from the arquebuses of the Englishmen.
Furthermore he gives additional evidence of their isolation,
through his proposition to fortify them and to lay the
Indians under tribute.

The deed of the Georges grant, which included



O LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Nahant, January 20, 1629, to Sir William Brereton
included "Cape Nahaunte," but specified the islands to the
south.

The origin of Long Beach is evidently similar to the
sand bar which has been built by storms above low water
mark from Little Nahant to Eo-o- Rock at least three times.
In June, 1907, when two houses were moved from the
northerl}' end of Long Beach to Winthrop on lighters,
the small tug grounded at this place where deep water
was expected, and the outside route was taken on the
second trip.

The frequent breaking of the ocean over Nahant Beach
gave rise to serious apprehensions, and the various attempts
to provide a remedy were failures, until about i860, when
a supply of tufts of shore grass, which thrives in sand, was
shipped from Barcelona. Spain, in a United States Naval
vessel and brought to Lynn, packed in barrels, and planted
above high water mark.

This grass thrived and spread, and caught the sand
drifted by the wind, and in this manner the beach has
been raised. This Lynn precedent has since been applied
to the preservation of sandy tracts in many places.

From lack of tidal scour since the formation of the
Beach, Lvnn Harbor has been filling with the detritus
washed from the shores, except as deepened by dredging,
and the day is past when a ship could dock in the upper
harbor as was the case of the three prizes taken during the
War of 181 2.

SOME HISTORICAL PRECEDENTS.

The lack of a deep harbor or falling water courses
prcventi'd Lynn from having either maritime commerce or
the early types of manufacturing with their resultant



LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY 9

instances of opulence, caused the people of early Lynn to
rely on their personal resources, and has evidently been the
cause of the many instances of marked individualism.

Mere antiquity is not history : The wolf-pits of 1630 in
the Lynn Woods are undoubtedly the oldest unchanged
works of man in the Colony ; they are curiosities but not
historical. Mere recitals of gone-by isolated ocurrences
are annals and not history, and it is better for mankind that
most of them are forgotten, otherwise the world would be
overburdened with chaff.

The actions of former days in such logical relations
that their gleanings become cumulative and furnish illumi-
nating precedents to helpfully guide later generations is
history. The strongest living forces are the thoughts of
those whose lives are of the past.

It is not that we love our ancestors better than our
neighbors, but we must recognize that out of the thousands
of preceding lives there were a few who made helpful sug-
gestions for the present time.

It is worth while to cite a few instances of the creation
of precedents by our townspeople which appear to have
been of such potency as to modify the lives and actions of
others.

THE FIRST ACTS OF INDEPENDENCE.

The inabilit}^ of the English Government, impover-
ished by wars, to give the people of Massachusetts Bay in
the early days of the Colony that assistance which the
pioneers felt that they had reason to expect, caused the
colonists to inscribe upon their flag the Macedonian cry,
" Come over and help us ! " and also developed through
their conditions of privation intrinsic self-reliance, and this
conscious strength aroused a spirit of liberty and independ-



lO LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

ence, which gave rise to serious apprehensions in the
mother country, where these sentiments became as well
known as on this side of the Atlantic. John Evelyn, one
of the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, wrote in his
diary May 26, 1671 : "There was a fear of their break-
ing away from all dependence on this nation" (England),
and later, on August 3, 167 1, "the Council voted to send a
Deputy to this colony on an ostensible mission, but secretly
to learn whether they were of such power as to resist His
Majesty and declare for themselves as independent of the
Crowne."

The first overt act of independence was not by resolu-
tion or rebellion, but by the issuance of coinage without the
essential reference to the King b}^ Grace of God.

The dies for the Pine Tree coinage were made at the
Saugus Iron Works from designs furnished by Esther
Jenkes, the wife of the superintendent.

That she was a woman of taste is certainl}^ not evi-
denced by the coins, but by the fact that she was presented
(prosecuted) for wearing silver lace, which was beyond
the legal bounds of her husband's estate, in which respect
the Colony adopted the English law, and therefore her
extravagance, instead of being the subject of domestic
altercation, became that of a public prosecution. It is said
that some of these coins found their way to Charles II at
the hands of some enemy of the Colony, and the King
showed them to Sir William Temple with, "They tell me
that the New England colonies are minting money. What
do you say to these?" And Sir William, who was a friend
of the Colony said, "That is the oak which sheltered Your
Majesty at Boscobel." "Oh, the honest dogs I" and the
expected proceedings for this act of high treason v/ere
never taken.



LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY II

This minting began in Boston in 1652 and continued
until 1706, but the canny colonists undoubtedly realized
that they were committing one of the most serious trans-
gressions possible under the English law, and for obvious
reasons never changed the date from that of 1652 on the
original dies which were made at Saugus.

The practical independence of the Colonies which had
been developed by geographical isolation and ill-advised
acts of the mother country gave rise to a wish for independ-
ence of authority on the part of an aggressive minority
throughout the Colonies, and this minority ruled, as minor-
ities always do rule, in the face of a meek majority who
remained loyal to the Crown.

This agitation for separation was intense and wide-
spread, as is instanced by the plea for independence by
Major Samuel Appleton of Ipswich given at Celemount
Rock, Saugus Center in 1687, and the effect of his unre-
ported eloquence was so permanent that the story was
passed from father to son and held in remembrance, and
is now commemorated by a bronze tablet on this nature's
rostrum.

All along the fringe of sea coast which comprised the
Colonies this agitation flourished, but the earliest instance
of recorded legislative action advocating independence, of
which I have been able to learn, occurred at Lynn, where
a town meeting passed resolutions on December 16, 1773,
vigorously asserting their "Right to Freedom."

The traditional Declaration of Independence at Mech-
lenburg, North Carolina, was made May 31, 1775, and the
great declaration at Philadelphia, July 4, 1776.

President John Adams stated that the movement for
American independence started when the Puritans set sail
for New Enijland.



12 LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY



LYNN !MEN AT ARMS.



Lynn is witliout battlefield shrines, for she had no
deep harbor to defend, nor any river at a time when the
sea power was even more essential as a world power than
in later years. Her hills command no strategic passes,
and armies have never had cause to meet upon her plains.

Her only fort was the two blockhouses built in the
middle of the town in 1642 as a defense against the
Indians. This fortification is not near Central Square, but
about four miles distant on Vinegar Hill, near the Saugus
line, whose site is now owned by this Society.

A declaration of Lynn's part in the affairs of the day
from the earliest settlement is a record of brave deeds
intelligently wrought, whose full annals would require a
paraphrase of New England history, for if the fortunes of
wai- never brought any arbitrament of arms upon its terri-
tory, her brave sons engaged in thirteen wars, with the
possiiile exception of the short war with France in 1800,
which was limited to sea engagements, and not including
the various Indian wars in distant parts of the country, nor
the Barbary war in the Mediterranean, which were with-
out declaration and not given to the conditions prevailing
among civilized nations.

It is not known that any L3mn men were engaged in
the twenty-year civil war between Connecticut and Pennsyl-
vania known as the Pennamite-Yankee War which ended
in 1788 : but on account of the extensive early migrations
from Lynn to Connecticut, it is probable that descendents
of Lynn men were enlisted in that peculiar struggle.

These various wars may be worth recounting, as some
of them are not included in ijeneral histories, showino; the
possibilities of Lynn's share in historic material to be saved
from oblivion. The Pequot War, 1636: King Philip's



I.YXN HISTORICAL SOCIETY 13

War, 1675; King William's War, 1689; Queen Anne's
War, 1702; King George's War, 1744; French and
Indian War, 1754; Civil War between Connecticut and
Pennsylvania, 1768; Revolution, 1775; Shay's Rebellion,
1786; War with France, 1800; Mexican War, 1846;
Civil War, 1861 ; Spanish War, 1898.

Ex-President George H. Martin has given this Society
the benefit of his thorough investigations into the early
Indian wars, but Lynn's part in the French and Indian
wars is yet to be written, and the same omission exists in
regard to the War of 181 2 and even the Mexican War.

Lynn people were not rich enough to furnish any
Tories at the time of the Revolution.

Howard K. Saunderson, by years of intelligent
research upon Lynn's part in the struggle for independence,
found that out of a population of 465 polls in 1774, M'""
furnished 483 soldiers in the war of the Revolution and
this city has 196 known graves, which is said to be the
greatest number of Revolutionary graves in any city of
the United States ; and it is but consistent with this patriotic
record that Old Essex Chapter of the Sons of the Ameri-
can Revolution should be the largest organization of this
body of patriotic sons of valiant sires.

The records of the Church at Lynnfield contain the
information that the first death in the War of the Rev-
olution was that of Joseph Newhall of Lynn on March 9,
1775, resulting from a cold caught at the North Bridge
skirmish, Salem, on the twenty-sixth of the previous
February.

The old First Church was far from quiescent in those
days, and only one item from the parish records will be
cited from the many showing the preparedness of the peo-
ple. The innocent vote passed at the parish meeting held



14 LYNN HISTORICAL S0CIP:TV

in the Old Tunnel, June 30, 1775, authorizing the sale of
the windows "for what they would fetch," contained a
deeper meaning, as these windows were glazed with lead
which would be useful for bullets in the forthcoming con-
flict. A quantity of powder was stored for emergency
under the pulpit of the Old Tunnel in 1744, ^"^^ "^ further
supply was added in 1774. Whether this last powder was
a part of the lot obtained in the first and bloodless contest
of the Revolution in the looting of Fort William and Mary
at Portsmouth, December 14, 1774, under the direction of
Paul Revere, when a hundred kegs were taken, is only a
subject of conjecture, but there was no other known avail-
able large supply at the time.

Such movements were necessarily wrapt in secrecy as
far as possible and the avoidance of direct record limits
the establishment of facts to circumstantial occurrences,
but I believe that this powder from Portsmouth was dis-
tributed in various places, and that the powder at Shirley,
whose seizure was the purpose of the futile sortie which
resulted in the two battles of Lexington and the repulse at
Concord, was like that at Lynn, a portion of the Ports-
mouth loot. The storage at Lynn was a well kept secret,
for if Lord Percy had any suspicions he could have brought
his men under cover of night by water and obtained the
powder with but little difficulty, and Lynn would thus have
changed the face of history, but not its ultimate results.

It is well established that some of this powder was used
at the battle of Bunker Hill in accordance with the purpose
of Paul Revere in directing its capture at Portsmouth to
provide for the inevitable conflict.

The Embargo caused such intense suffering in Mas-
sachusetts that the feeling against the federal government
became so bitter that secession was widely advocated, but



I.YNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY I5

when the the War of 1812 was declared, the people loyally
supported the nation.

This war approached Lynn nearer than any other in
its history when the battle between the Shannon and the
Chesapeake was fought off Nahant June i, 1813, and
Colonel John Nichols, an eye witness, related to me that
the vessels in their manceuvres would approach as near to
Eastern Point as the distance to Egg Rock, which is about
three-quarters of a mile.

It should not be forgotten that the frigate Constitution
and other naval vessels were built by Edmund Hartt of
Lynn at his shipyard in Boston, on the present site of
Constitution Wharf. This celebrated vessel was designed
by Joshua Humphreys of Philadelphia, and not by Hartt,
as has been claimed by some writers of Lynn history.

As this paper relates to initial acts by Lynn citizens,
the most striking Lynn deed of this nature during the War
of 181 2 appears to have been that of the Qiiaker guns,
whose season-cracked threats served efficiently in intimi-
dating heavier armaments. These were devised at the
Charlestown Navy Yard b}^ Captain Joseph Floyd, the
Lynn pump builder, who showed that it was not a far cry
from a town pump to a menacing broadside armament.

The Civil War is so near that it is a remembrance
and will not have the judicial perspective of history while
veterans " shoulder the crutch and tell how fields were
won;" but during this struggle, L3mn maintained her
patriotic reputation and furnished 3,270 men, or 230 more
than its full quota, of whom 289 are known to have been
lost.

Their Grand Army of the Republic, Post 5, at one time
had a membership of 1,030, being the largest in the
country.



l6 LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

It is sincerely hoped that in the near future the
Society will be able to have a memorial list of the names of
all Lynn men who had fallen in defence of their country
in the various wars, placed upon the wall in the entrance
hall of this buildinfj.

INDUSTRY AND INVENTION.

The varied conditions of necessity were a stimulus
to the fertility of mental resources and the development of
mechanical skill which appears to have been unusually
active in the early settlement, and for the succeeding gen-
erations, and it is worth while to consider a few, at least, of
the occurrences which were precedents in their nature.

Francis Ingalls,'one of the pioneer settlers, built a tan-
nery which was the first in the Colon}-, but was not the
first in New England as has been claimed by several local
writers, as there were several tanneries in the Plymouth
Colony at earlier dates; and it was situated on the site of
the car stables on Humphrey Street, near to the Swamp-
scott line where its vats remained until they were taken
up in 1825.

Edmund Ingalls, his brother, and fellow-pioneer,
built a brewer}' at about the same time to the west of Gold
Fish Pond, but the colonists in Salem had either been
more progressive, or more thirsty, for they had anticipated
the one in Lynn.

The Saugus L-on Works is worthy of a history in
itself as the pioneer establishment of its kind in the country,
beginning to make iron from the deposits of bog iron near
to the present site of Pranker's Mills, in 1642, and after-
wards making wrought iron and steel and casting brass
and iron, as well as having the first machine shop. The
house which was erected for the men is still occupied,



LYNN HISTORICAL SOCIETY I*J

although there is at this time a hazard of its being torn
down to make way for other changes. Lynn's only shrine
is the kettle which was the precursor of the great iron


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