D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

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or beginning coeval with the commencement of the
war of the American Revolution, but the first authority
cited is probably the nearest true. Drs. Thacher and
Hay ward, of Plymouth, are said to have been prin-
cipal among its earliest proprietors and managers, to
whom was ere long added Maj.-Gen. Nathaniel Good-
win, also of Plymouth, who had served as an officer
in the patriot army in the war of the American Revo-



lution, and is thought to have been referred to in the
lines of the original " Yankee Doodle:"

" Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Goodwin,
Where we see the boys and girls
As thick as hasty pudding."

Succeeding the proprietors already named in the
agency aud management was Mr. Friend White,
whose immediate successor was Brig.-Gen. Sylvanus
Lazell, of Bridgewater, founder of the iron-works at
Bridgewater, so long carried on under the name of
Lazell, Perkins & Co. Sylvanus Lazell, as a brigadier-
general, commanded all the local militia of the county
of Plymouth (save the town of Hingbam) during
all the years of the " last war with England," being,
as he was, the immediate successor of Israel Feaning,
of Wareham, in that office, and being succeeded, in
1816, by Abiel Washburn, of Middleboro'.

The next in charge of the management of the
Federal Furnace was Col. Bartlett Murdock, Mr.
Nathaniel Bonney, Mr. John Bent, and Capt. Tim-
othy Savery ; and while the last war with England
was progressing, in addition to casting hollow-ware,
quite a large contract with the United States govern-
ment was filled in the making of cannon-balls, to
which circumstance last named was attributed the in-
cendiary attempt to destroy this furuace by fire while a
British fleet was lying off the coast near Plymouth.
Their blast furnace was succeeded by a cupola furnace
that was operated by the firm of Holmes & Allen, of
Plymouth, who were succeeded by Bowers & Pratt,
until in November, 1841, when the dam broke, aud
this put an end to the enterprise.

The Ellis Furnace, or Ellis Foundry, was built by
Bartlett Murdock and Benjamin Shurtleff, and by
them for a time operated. In 1804 the management
passed into the hands of Benjamin Ellis & Bartlett
Murdock, Jr., and the latter was succeeded by Na-
thaniel Standish, John Savery, and Jesse Murdock.
It is now owned by Miss Susannah Murdock and oper-
ated by the Ellis Foundry Company.

It is by Carver people claimed that here is where
the first iron tea-kettle was cast in America. Quite
a number of different patterns of stoves have been
made here. The firm of Bent, Griffith & Co. com-
menced manufacturing at Carver in 1854. The firm
consisted of George W. Bent, Thomas B. Griffith,
Jesse Murdock, and Matthias Ellis, and cast parlor
grates, registers, mantel-pieces, fenders, etc. In 1858
the name was changed to that of Murdock & Co., and
the partners made to consist of Jesse Murdock,
Thomas B. Griffith, Matthias Ellis, and Samuel
Shaw, and thus continued until the death of Jesse



458



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



Murdock, that occurred in 1875, since which time it
has been a stock company, with Maj. Thomas B.
Griffith aa presidcut and Samuel Shaw as treasurer,
having their sales-rooms at No. 18 Beacon Street,
Boston. The concern gives employment to about
sixty men, aud iu additiou to iron castings, now pro-
duce also the same in brass, in bronze, and iu copper,
and, beside the strictly useful, now manufacture
much of the ornamental.

A furnace was for a time run iu that part of Carver
known as " Pope's Point," aud among the operators
were Mr. John Bent, who was succeeded by Mr.
Eddy, of Middleboro'. From the running of Pope's
Point Furnace, Mr. John Bent appears to have trans-
ferred his labors to what lias already beeu considered
under the name of the " Federal Furnace," where,
for a time, he had a partner in the person of Capt.
Timothy Savery.

Col. Benjamin Ward, in or near the year 1825,
erected a furuace in Carver that subsequently came to
be operated by Mr. Lewis Pratt, Jr. The site is now
occupied by the facing-mill of Thomas & Swift.

Wenham Furnace was erected by Mr. Lewis Pratt,
about 1830, aud it was run by him till destroyed by
fire, and then rebuilt by Lewis Pratt, Jr. Near by
have been two other furnaces, oue put up by David
Pratt and the other by Benjamin Cobb.

Slug Furnace, so called, was built ou " Slug Brook,"
in or about 1814. Lewis Pratt was the builder, pro-
prietor, aud operator.

Concerning forges, the evidence appears that where
Mr. W. S. Cushing's mill stood was, at an early date,
located a ,: bloomery," known as " Beuson's Forge,"
and this at one time was operated by Mr. John Bent.
He left to run the Pope's Point Furnace, and was
succeeded as operator of the forge by a Mr. Weston,
of Middleboro'. It was at the site of this forge
that the first cut nails were manufactured in Carver.
These nails were cut iu one machine and hcudtd in
another. Mr. Joshua Leach was the successor of
Mr. Weston. Mr. Leach put on quite extensive
repairs, but he left it about a half-century, perhaps
more, ago.

The water-power here has long been used for a
box-board mill.

Upou the stream that operated the wheel of the
" Federal Furuace" have been located a grist-mill, saw-
mill, shiugle-mill, stave-mill, and a shoe-string factory.

Herring Fishery. — In March, 1791, the town
made choice of " Joseph Vaughau, Isaac Cushmau,
aud Abijah Lucas, who were sworn as a committee to
take care of the fish called Alewives for the ensuing
year."



At the March meeting in 1703, " Made choice,
Bartlett Murdock, Ensign Barnabas Cobb, aud En-
sign Caleb Atwood as a committee to joiu with the
committees of Rochester aud Warehaiu to take care
of fish called Alewives." Also at or near the same
date chose Francis Shurtleff, Esq., Johu Sherman, and
Nehemiah Cobb to be a committee to petition the
General Court for the privilege of disposing of the
fish called Alewives for the use of the town, aud sub-
sequently voted to join with the towns of Rochester
aud Warehaiu for that purpose.

Iu 1796, " Nathaniel Atwood, Jr., John Lucas, and
Joseph Ellis, choseu to join a committee of Rochester
and Warehaiu to make regulations with reference to
the fish called Alewives, and take care that none take
them contrary to regulations."

1798. " Chose Mr. Isaac Cushman, Lieut. Caleb
Atwood, and Lieut. Joseph Shaw, inspectors of Ale-
wives in Weweantic River."

1802. " Voted to join with Rochester in petition-
ing for an amendment to fishing laws."

At a somewhat later date Ezra Thompson, John
Savory, Esq., and Joseph Barrows were by the town
of Carver chosen to confer with committees of Roch-
ester aud Wareham, to see what measures were neces-
sary to be taken to "preserve" the fish called Ale-
wives iu Weweantic River, and soon after Ezra
Thompson, Seth Mortou, and Dr. Samuel Shaw were
empowered to employ couusel to protect Lhe lights of
Carver iu that fishery.

Temperance Reformation. — At a town-meeting
holdeu iu March, 1825, voted to iustruct the select-
men of this town to use their influence and exertions
iu their ofiicial capacity to suppress the evil of in-
temperance as the law directs.

Iu 1827 the town made choice of Ezra Thompson,
Samuel Shaw, and Thomas Adams, a committee to
enforce in behalf of the town the statute laws of this
Commonwealth respecting taveruers and retailers, so
far as the same may apply to the taveruers aud re-
tailers of Carver. That committee subsequently
favored the legal voters of Carver with a written re-
port iu which they said, " We have viewed with grief
the increased progress of dissipation iu the town of
Carver, and feel auxious that some arrangement might
be made which will come within the limits of the
authority of the town to check the progress of that
evil, which iu our opinion is the principal cause of
the multiplied crime and poverty which the inhabit-
ants of this towu are becoming noted for, and your
committee are of the opinion that these evils are pro-
moted by a want of due observance of the laws by
the licensed houses and stores in town."





d/tf <f ^/^s^t- £>s £? e/A'



HISTORY OF CARVER.



459



In 1S29 the town elected a committee to confer
together with reference to what persons should be put
under guardianship on account of common drunken-
ness, and not long after voted to recommend to all
persons who may be called upon to officiate at. funerals
to abstain entirely from the use of spirituous liquors
on such occasions.

In 1S32 voted to instruct the selectmen to post
up the names of all such persons as misspend their
time and property by the excessive use of intoxicating
liquors.

In 1843 voted to disapprove of any one selling
ardent .-pirits in or around the meeting-house on town-
uiectiug day.

Among the celebrities of this town it is proper to
mention John Maxim, who was bom Jan. 24, 1795,
and died in the same house in which he was born
Aug. 24, 1883 ; this habitation of his long life having
afforded human shelter one hundred and seventeen
years, and was erected by his father, whose Christian
name he bore. This house stands in what one would
be led to think anything else than a poetic locality, as
that part of Carver has loug been familiarly known as
'■ Huckleberry Corner," and yet here it is where were
composed and written by our John Maxim, the au-
thor, those very popular and far-famed political songs
that so electrified the public mind from one end of
our great country to the other in the noted " Harri-
son Campaign" of 1840; and Maxim's ''Log-Cabin
Songster," put forth in book-lorni and subscribed to
by him in the nom de plume of " Bemis," was not
among the least of those potent influences which
contributed to effect that great political revolution,
and secured the wonderful victory then achieved by
"Tippecanoe and Tyler too." Maxim was not only a
pnet but cousiderable of a musician, for he could
make songs and set to music the songs he had made,
and then discourse both to the public with thrilling
effect. Few people can sing their poetic compositions,
aud a still smaller number can compose the music of
their sougs and sing the same, — these three faculties
being really quite distinct, — and yet in " Bemis" the
three were made one, and wrought wonders accord-
ingly.

John Maxim was four times married, aud the pa-
reut of ten children. He gave practical heed to the
pious exhortation, " Turn ye, oh. turn ye, for why
will you die ;" for in religious matters he turned and
turned aud kept continually turning, being at different
periods of his life an Orthodox Consregationalist, a
Universaltst, a Methodist, and an Adventist ; and to
those who rallied or joked him concerning his insta-
bility and changeableness, he replied that " a wise



man sometimes changes his mind, but a fool never
does.'

Over the signature of " Bemis," he corresponded
quite extensively for the local newspapers.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



HON. JESSE MURDOCK.
Jesse Murdock, only son of Jesse and Susannah
(Ellis) Murdock, was born in Carver, Mass., Sept.
11, 180G. He received a common-school education,
and at the age of sixteen years entered the service of
his uncle, Bartlett Murdock, of Wareham, as clerk,
where he remained about five years. He then re-
turned to Carver, and entered into partnership, in
1827, with Benjamin Ellis, Esq., in the iron f'ouudry
business, aud so continued for a period of about
twenty years under the firm-name of B. Ellis & Co.
In October, 1840, he married the daughter (Harriet)
of his partner, Mr. Ellis. She died without issue,
May 23, 1849. He never again married. Matthias
Ellis succeeded his father, Benjamin, before the
latter's decease, and Mr. Murdock remained a partuer
in the firm uutil 1803, when he retired from the
foundry business, but retained his interest in the
parlor-grate business, which manufactory lie, in con-
nection with others, had established in 1853, and iu
which he continued until his decease, Feb. 10, 1875.
From 1835 to 1850, Mr. Murdock was much in pub-
lic life, having served several terms as representative
in the Legislature from his native town, as a senator
from his county, and as councilor from his district,
and always in the interest and to the satisfaction of
his constituents. He was director a great many years
in the Wareham National Bank, aud was president of
the Wareham Savings-Bank at the time of his de-
cease. He was also for many years a justice of the
peace.

Hon. Jesse Murdock was in many respects a re-
markable roan. In good common sense and sound
judgment he was almost peerless. He had a very
clear and accurate perception of character, aud a just
estimate of ability and worth. His counsel and ad-
vice were much sought and justly rewarded. He was
a keen observer of men and events, and could dissect
and discount the logic of events with great precision.
In business he was diligent and indefatigable ; suc-
cess crowned his efforts, and he accumulated a large
fortune, being at the time of his death the largest
landholder in Plymouth County.



4 GO



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



About 1845 lie built a plain, neat, co tutu odious
dwelling and other buildings near the site of the old
homestead where he was born, and resided there until
the time of his death. Miss Susan E. Murdock, his
only sister, now occupies it. He never entered into
or encouraged any wild or doubtful schemes of specu-
lation, but confined himself strictly to the legitimate
channels of business enterprise, and always inculcated
by his advice and example a wholesome and correct
tone of morals in both business and social life. For
the vain and pretentious, unsustaiued by character
and merit, the blatant politician, the palaver of the
flatterer, he had a most profound contempt, which he
never restrained in either word or deed. In personal
appearance he was remarkably imposing; calm, dig-
nified, almost sedate in his intercourse with the gen-
eral public, yet with his personal friends and intimate
associates he was exceedingly genial, jocular, and
jovial. If in business any one betrayed or wronged
him, he abandoned all further intercourse with them ;
but if, upon the other hand, anyone under pecuniary
obligations to him was debarred by misfortuue from
meeting that obligation, no one could be more lenient
or forgiving, and he always sustained with a helping
hand such as proved worthy. He arrogated to him-
self nothing on account of wealth or position, but as-
sociated in the kindliest way with even the poorest
and humblest around him, if they were honorable and
honest. He belonged to no church, but in his relig-
ious views was broad and liberal, sympathizing most
largely with the Unitarian and Uuiversalist faiths.
In politics he was a Democrat. In his manner of
living he was frugal and unostentatious, and even
after he had acquired great wealth his tastes and
habits remained the same. lu his death Carver sus-
tained the loss not only of one of its most prominent
business men, but of one of its best, most useful, and
highly-respected citizens.



GEORtiE P. BOWERS.

George P. Bowers, son of John and Naucy (Carter)
Bowers, was born at Leominster, Mass., Sept. '-4,
1813. His maternal grandfather, Maj. Josiah Carter,
of Lancaster, Mass., was au officer in the war of the
Revolution.

When a mere lad he came to Carver, and became
a member of the family of Bcnjamiu Ellis, one of the
prominent citizens of the town, and the managing
owucr of the Charlotte Furnace. Here he learned
the business of irou founder, and acquired such rudi-
ments of an education as could be furnished by the



district school of a small country town at that day,
supplemented by a short attendance at the academy
in the neighboring town of Middleboro'.

Early in life be, with Joseph Pratt, a young man
of the same town, commenced business at the
Federal Furnace in Carver, as manufacturers of hol-
low-ware, under the firm-name of Bowers & Pratt.
The Federal Furnace was the oldest foundry in the
Uuited States.

The need of greater facilities, induced by the
growing business of the firm, caused the removal of
the establishment in a few years to Roxbury, adjoin-
ing Boston, where the business was successfully con-
ducted for a number of years, when he withdrew from
active participation in it. He had always loved to
regard Carver as his home, and he now took up his
permanent abode there in a house which he had
erected on the shore of Sampson's Pond, amoug the
familiar scenes of his youth.

His active temperament, however, rendered a life
of idleness impossible to him, and he soon found em-
ployment in establishing and carrying on an extensive
braid-factory in Carver, and another in the town of
Plympton. The depression in this class of business
during and after the war having rendered it unprofit-
able, he abandoned it and started a foundry in
Woburn, Mass., which he conducted until his de-
cease.

In his later years he devoted much time and
thought to cranberry culture in Carver, laying his
plans upon a scale of unprecedented magnitude, in-
volving the clearing and cultivation of hundreds of
acres of what had always been regarded as useless
bog and swamp. The enterprise was not fully de-
veloped at the time of his death, but sufficient prog-
ress had been made to warrant the cxpeetation that
it will prove a success and a material benefit to the
town and viciuity.

He was married Oct. 14, 1844, to Waitstill A.,
youngest daughter of John and Polly (Atwood)
Savery. Two children of this marriage, Polly S.
and Nancy C, are Still living. Mrs. Bowers died
Jan. 13, 1866, and on Dec. 8, 1S70, he married
Eliza A., daughter of Stillman and Eliza (Cole)
Shaw, who survives him. He died Jan. 24, 1884.

Mr. Bowers made no religious profession. He
was what would be called a liberal Christian, interested
iu religious thought and open to such new light and
new views as his reason approved. His character
was a rare combination of strong and sterling quali-
ties. Enterprising, energetic, and self-reliant, he
was always cousiderate of the feelings and welfare of
others, and no small part of his enjoyment of success-



HISTORY OF CARVER.



461



ful business pursuits arose from the knowledge that
those in his employ, and the community in which he
lived, shared the benefit with him.

Watui-hearted aud full of a healthy human sym-
pathy, he wou and retained the respect and friendship
of all with whom he came in close contact. In politics
his tendencies were Democratic, but he was too inde-
pendent a man to belong to any party, or to follow
any party leaders farther than he thought was right.

In public matters he relied on his own judg-
ment and his own conscience. He represented his
town in the State Legislature, but his business occu-
pied him too fully to permit his engaging in anything
like public life, even had his taste led in that direc-
tion. An ardent lover of nature aud a keen sports-
man, lie enjoyed the forest more than the city, the
grassy bank of a trout-stream more than a seat in the
State-House, and the cry of the hounds in full chase
more than political eloquence. To fulfill his duty as
a citizen aud neighbor was his ambition. His good
deeds were but known to the members of the rural
coniiuuuity in which he lived, and their grief at his
death, aud the love and esteem in which they hold
his memory, are his fitting eulogy and monument.



WILLIAM SAVERY.

William Savery, son of John and Polly (Atwood)
Savery, was born in Carver, Mass., Oct. 26, 1815.
He received a common-school education in his native
town, supplemented by an attendance of two terms at
Bridgewater Academy (1832), and one term at
Peirce Academy, at Middleboro' (1833). At this
period of his life it was his intention to study medi-
cine, and give special attention to surgery ; and had
Mr. Savery fulfilled those intentions and chosen u
proper field for the exercise of his qualifications, his
name would undoubtedly have ranked high among
the surgeons of America, for he certainly has, in a
high degree, many of the requisite qualities for ad-
vancement in that profession. Sympathetic by uature,
yet he has a Spartan-like control of his emotious ; of
strong will-power and high ambition to excel in
whatever he undertakes, coupled with a love for read-
ing aud research, he would have kept pace with the
progress of the age, and would doubtless have achieved
distinction in his profession. But " trifles light as
air" sometimes decide the destiny of men and nations.
While at Middleboro' Mr. Savery was tendered a
positiou as clerk in an iron establishment at Albany,
N. Y., which at the expiration of his term he ac-



cepted, and remained there five years, the last year
of which time he was a partner in the firm where he
had been employed. He then dissolved his business
connections in Albany and went to the city of New
York, where, with his father as partner, he conducted
an iron-foundry until his father's decease (1853), and
in connection with other parties until 1877, when he
retired from the firm, and has since devoted his at-
tention to the conduct of his private affairs, to the
care of his father's estate, the administration of nu-
merous other estates, the executorship of wills, the
guardianship of many miuor children, and as trustee
of several public bequests.

In politics he is a Democrat, and was elected to
the State Legislature on that ticket for the term of
1S78-79. This was on account of his personal
popularity rather than his political creed, as the dis-
trict is largely Republican. He has received the
nomination of his party as candidate for the Senate a
number of times, but as the Democratic party is so
far in the minority in that district he has, of course,
not been elected. Mr. Savery has never been an
office-seeker, however, and whatever positions of office
or trust he may have held have invariably sought
him, not he them.

Such is the trust and confidence in the ability, honor,
and integrity of Mr. Savery by those who know him,
that he is, and has been, the custodian of many trusts,
both public and private, and none can be found who
will say he has in any sense proved himself incapable
or unworthy. He settled the large estate of Hon.
Jesse Murdock, being the executor named in the will,
and is at present the financial agent and confidential
adviser of Miss Susan E. Murdock, the only sister,
heir, and residuary legatee under the will. He has
been justice of the peace about thirty years, was a
director of Plymouth National Bank about twelve
years,- and is oue of the auditors of the Old Colony
Railroad. Mr. Savery is a man who is whole-souled
and ardent in whatever he undertakes. Cautious aud
critical in his investigations, once his judgment is
convinced and his course marked out, he pursues that
course regardless of opposition or adverse opiuious of
others. Such is his native force of character that he
at once impresses even a stranger with his earnestness
and honesty, and independence of thought aud action.
He belongs to no church, but has charity for and
believes there is good in all. In his religious opiuious
he is broad aud liberal to a degree that is considered
by some heretical. For a period of more thau ten
years he devoted all of his income, beyond ordinary
expenses, to charity, mostly to schools, school libra-
ries, churches, etc. Having met with some reverses



462



HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH COUNTY.



through duplicity and infidelity of others, he was com-
pelled to restrict his donations, but still gives with a
liberal hand all that his means will allow.

He married Sept. 10, 1840, Mary Page Van
Schaack, daughter of Stephen and Harriet CDunnell)
Van Schaack, of Albany, N. Y. They have three
children living, one son and two daughters. The sou
succeeded his father in the iron business in New York
City. Mr. Savery is an ardent sportsman, and spends
many happy hours with dog aud gun, rod and reel.
He has a beautiful home on the banks of a pleasant
little lake in his native town, a well-chosen library,
aud a family who honor and love him. Such has been
his life, and such are the surrouudiugs of his declin-
ing years.



MAJ. THOMAS C. GRIFFITH.

Maj. Thomas B. Griffith was born in Middleboro',
Mass., May 17, 1823. He is the son of Ellis and
Lucy M. (Bent) Griffith, and grandson of Obed and
Bebeeca (Maxim) Griffith. Obed Griffith was a
farmer, and a native of Rochester, Mass., his father
being oue of the early settlers of that town, where he
lived a long and useful life, attaining the great age of



Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 102 of 118)