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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the female sex do sit in their hats and bonnet?, to worship ijod
in his house," and offensive to many of the good people of this

11th Feb., 1777. The currency of the country being in a state
of rapid depreciation, the town agreed on the prices of labor,
provisions, and various articles of merchandise. A list is on

29th May, 1780. The town voted their acceptance of the con-
stitution agreed on by the convention, but wero for so modify-
ing the third article in the bill of rights as to allow every one
to pay his money for the support of public worship where he
attonded. They were also for limiting the number uf counsel-
ors aud senators to thirty-four.

9th June, 1788. Voted, "That no person shall set up any cako
or cakes, or anything in imitation of cakes, or throw any stones
or sticks at them, within half a mile of the meeting-house each
way on the public road, or on the green near the meetiug-bouse.
Any person so otfendiug shall pay a tine of 5«. for the use of the

14th Jan., 1793. Mr. Niles, Col. Hobart, and .Mr. Jacob Dyer
were appointed a committeo to prepare instructions to the rep-
resentative against the repeal of the then law agaiust theatrical

1st April, 1793. Voted, " That all persons that suffer their
dog or dogs to go to meeting, at the meetiug-hou=c, when tho



pu<ijjlu assemble fur public worship, shall pay the same line as
is provided for breach of the Sabbath."

lUb March, 1SU5. Voted, "To divide the town of Abington
into two separate towns." Sixty-eight in favor of a division
and forty-seven against it. At the same time a cominitteo of
five were appointed to run the dividing line.

Gth April, 1SU7. The town refused to " vote off Aaron Ilobart
and others as a separate religious society in the south part of
the town," and appointed Daniel Lane, Jr., and John King,
Estp, agents to attend the Legislature and opposo their petition
to be set otf.

15th of Sept., 1S12. The town adopted a preamble and
resolves, reported by a eouiuiittee, relative to the war then
recently declared against Great Britain. In these the war,
which had been waged against " paper blockades," in dero-
gation of our rights as a neutral uation, and against the British
claim of a right to impress her own seamen out of American
vessels on the ocean, and her practice, under that claim, of im-
pressing naturalized and native American citizens, was declared
to be both just and necessary. The town pledged their support
in carrying it on, inculcated obedience to the Constitution and
to the laws of the land, deprecated all opposition to the war in
the shape of mobs, and all measures that tended in any way to
destroy the union of the Statos.

9th March, 1835. Voted, "To build a bouse to hold future
town meetings in." Subsequently it was agreed to build the
house on a half aero of land, given by Capt. Thomas Hunt,
and situated on the northerly side of the road, near Jesse Dun-
ham's. The cost of the house was about three thousand dollars.

Physicians in Abington from the Earliest
Times. 1 — The first who practiced medicine in this
town was the Rev. Samuel Brown, who came here in
the year 1713, and, as was usual at that time, dispensed
to the spiritual and physical wants of his parishioners.
He lived in a small house about six or eight rods east
from the old brick tavern building at Centre Abing-
ton. He died Sept. 12, 1749, aged sixty-two.

Dr. David Jones came here probably about the year
1750. He lived in what was called the old Moses
Reed house. It is not known where he originated
nor precisely when he settled here. He was chosen
one of the selectmeu in 1760, and served in that ca-
pacity for six years. In that year (1760) he was
chosen by the town to purchase a bell of about six
hundred pouuds weight. In 1774 he was chosen a
delegate from this town to attend a county congress,
which met at Plympton, Sept. 20, 1774, where all
the towns in the county were represented. At that
convention he was chosen one of the committee to
report resolves on the oppressive acts of the British
Parliament and the rights of the colony. These
resolves have been highly spoken of as timely, able,
and spirited. He was chosen also a delegate to the
First Provincial Congress at Salem, Oct. 5, 1774 ; and
also to the Third at Watertown, July 31, 1775. He
was a delegate to the convention at Cambridge, in

1 F. F. Forsaith, M.D., of Weymouth, has assisted in tho
preparation of this list.

September, 1779, to form a State Constitution. Be-
sides these he held other important ofliees.

Dr. David Joues, Jr., son of the above-uauied Dr.
Joues, practiced in town for a year or two, about
1775. He had a hospital for smallpox patients. He
lived in the old Maj. John Cushiug house, about
one-half mile south of the North Abington meeting-
house. He afterwards moved to North Yarmouth,
Me. He served for a time as a surgeon in the Revo-
lutionary war.

Dr. Adauis resided in Abington in or about the
year 1778 or 1779.

Dr. Richard Briggs resided in Abington, and prac-
ticed as a physician about 1780. He was a surgeon
on board a public ship in the war of independence.
He was in quite extensive practice in this town for
nearly thirty years, and removed to the town of Ches-
terfield, county of Hampshire, about 1812. He was
a niau well informed, had great couversatioual powers,
and his friends and supporters were very much at-
tached to him, and he to them. Ho was contemporary
with Dr. Gridley Thaxter during almost his whole
residence in town. He was chosen town clerk iu 1799.

Dr. Gridley Thaxter, son of Samuel and Abigail
Smith Thaxter, born in Hiugham, April 9, 175C, at
the age of twenty years engaged as surgeon iu the
privateer " Speedwell," Capt. Jonathan Greeley, and
sailed from Boston in the year 1770. He continued
in her till 1778.

In 1779 he sailed with Capt. David Ropes, of
Salem, iu the brig " Wild Cat," taking a number of
prizes, the last a schooner of fourteen guns, in tho
harbor of Halifax. They were uuable to retain the
schooner, the enemy having sent from town a
schooner, brig, and two sloops, which recaptured her.
The following night they were taken prisoners by the
frigate " Surprise," and Dr. Thaxter remained ou the
prisou-ship about three months. He was then taken
to Halifax, where he remained about a mouth, when
he was exchanged and came to Boston. Iu the
spring of 1780 he sailed with Capt. William Patten,
Jr., of Salem, in the brig " Warrior," fourteen guns,
and was taken in the month of May by the sloop-of-
war " Captain Ingalls," carried to New York, kept
aboard the prison-ship three weeks, and the remainder
of the time, while prisoner, was boarded in the town
of Jamaica. When released, he came to Boston with
Maj. Hopkins, and without returning to his native
place, or seeing his frieuds, he engaged on buard the
State ship " Mars," Capt. Simeon Sampson, and re-
mained as surgeon till the year 1781. He married a
daughter of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, of Hingham,
' who served in the Revolutionary war.



He moved from Hiugham to Abington in the year |
17S3, hired a part of Rev. Samuel Miles' house, aud
afterwards bought the Dr. Jones farm. About the
year 171)7 he bought a farm of Mr. Jonathan Nash,
and built a house the following year, which he occu-
pied till his decease, Feb. 13, 1S45.

" Dr. Ezekiel Thaxter, son of the above Dr. Grid-
ley Thaxter, was born in Abington, July 22, 1787.
He was fitted for college at Hinghatn Academy.
After completing his collegiate course he studied
medicine under the instruction of John U. Warren,
of Boston. He received his medical diploma in 1815,
and immediately commenced practice with his father
in Abington. He was very successful as a physician,
and at the present day is remembered with affectiou
by a larjre number of the residents of the town. For
the last two or three years of his life he was able to
practice but little, having suffered from paralysis.
In 1821 he was chosen town clerk, and held the office
until 1S32. He was a kind and affectionate father, a
worthy and estimable citizen. He died Oct. 11,
1856, aged sixty-nine years.

" Dr. Richards came to town about the year 1800,
and in addition to his practice was engaged in manu-
facturing cloths, in 1812, in company with a Mr.
Tirrell, of Boston.

" Dr. John Charapuey came to Abington in the
year 1827. He was introduced by Dr. Sawin, of
East Bridgewater, aud purchased the situation owned
by Dr. Sawin just before his death, in 1821. When
he removed to Abington, in 1827, he occupied the
house on South Avenue once owned by Aaron Ho-
bart, Jr., Esq. He was in the United States service
in the war of 1812, and died in 1857.

" Dr. Alouzo Chapin came to East Abington about
1840. and contiuued in practice there for nearly ten

" Dr. Johu S. Curtis came to South Abington in
the summer of 1844, and remained in practice there
for two years.

" Dr. Edmund Edmonston succeeded him in the
same part of the town, and remained about the same
length of time.

" Dr. Albion P. Chase came to South Abington in
1848. After boarding for a time, he was married to
Deborah, daughter of Rev. F. P. Ilowland, and re-
sided in a house on South Avenue. In the spring of
1855 he sold out aud removed to Portland, Me.

" Dr. Charles A. King came to Centre Abington in
the autumu of 1848, and contiuued in practice there
till his death, Sept. 10, 1852.

" Dr. F. A. Jewett came to North Abington in the
spring of 1850. In the autumn of the same year he

moved to Centre Abiugton, and remaiued in practice
there till May, 1859, wheu he removed to Shrews-

" Dr. J. M. Underwood came to East Abington in
the year 1S48, and continued in practice uutil Jan.
30, 1871, when he suddenly died.

" Dr. D. W. Briggs, homoeopathic physician, came
to Abington in the autumn of 1849. He continued
iu practice till the spring of 1858, when he relin-
quished his practice to Dr. J. L. Hunt, who remained
but a short time. Dr. Briggs, with his family, re-
moved to Gardner, Me.

" Dr. Asa Millet came to Centre Abington from
East Bridgewater, Dec. 22, 1854, aud later returned
again to East Bridgewater, where he now eontiuues
in practice.

" Dr. Nelson B. Tanner came to East Abington
May 9, 1854, and remained there till August of the
same year, when he removed to North Abington,
where he still remains.

" Dr. F. F. Forsaith succeeded Dr. A. P. Chase in
his practice April 9, 1858, and is now located in
Weymouth Landing.

" Dr. Charles H. Haskell commenced practice in
South Abington April 19, 1858, where he remained
until his death.

" Dr. J. F. Harris, homoeopathist, succeeded Dr.
Hunt in May, 1859."

Dr. C. F. Robinson succeeded Dr. Forsaith in
South Abington Feb. 3, 18G2, and shortly after re-
moved to East Boston, where he died.

Dr. Henry W. Dudley came to Centre Abington,
in April, 18G4, and succeeded Dr. Asa Millet iu prac-

Dr. Nelson B. Tanner, Jr., opened an office in
South Abington in 1864, and was iu practice a short
time only.

Dr. Benjamin F. Hastings opened an office in East
Abington in 1865, and soou removed to South Abing-
ton, where he still resides.

The physicians now practicing in Abington arc
Edward P. Adams, Silas B. Dickerman, and Henry
W. Dudley in Centre Abington, and Nelson B. Tanner
and George F. Whcatley in North Abington.

Civil History. — The town has now been incor-
porated about one hundred and seveuty-five years.
The first town-meeting was held March 3, 1713,
at which meeting the following town officers were
chosen : " William Hersey, moderator ; William
Hersey, William Tirrell, and William Reed, select-
men ; William Reed, town clerk ; James Nash, town
treasurer ; Joseph Josselyo, constable ; Edmund Jack-
son and Nicholas Porter, surveyors of highways ;



Ebcnezer Whituiarsh and Edward Bates, fence-

The selectmen were generally, if nut without excep-
tion, assessors. To avoid repetition their names are
niven the first year they were chosen and the number
of years they served, without noticing the yearly

changes :

Yean*. '

1713. William Horsey 2 1 17S6.

1713. William Tin-ell 2| 17'JU.

1713. William Reed lu

171-1. Siimucl Porter 3

17 1-1. Edmund Jackson.... 1

1716. Audrcw Ford 1

1715. Edward Bates Ill

17111. Samuel French 7

17U5. James Xa>h 2


Edward Cobb 1

Josiah Torrey 4

17'J'J. Benjamin Tuaxtcr... 1


1718. Kiehnliis Noyes 1

I7ls. Samuel Pool tj

171'J. Joseph Jnsselyn 1

17111. Samuel Xoyes 1

1720. Joseph Lincoln 2

172H. Hezekiah Ford

1721. Edmund Jackson

172:i. James N.i.-h

172S. Matthew Pratt

I72S. Jacob lleed

172'.'. Joshua Shaw

172H. Samuel Jackson

17:;". Samuel l'.eed

173(1. Thomas Tirrcll

17:::;. Cliris-topbor Dyer.... 4

1731. Nicholas Shaw 3

1735. Ebcnezer Bates 1

1735. Obadiah Heed S

1730. Jacob Porter 3

17:17. Joseph Mersey 4

173H. John Nuycs 12

1740. Ephraim Spouner S

1711. Daoiel Ueeil 15

1762. Nathaniel l'ratt 1

1756. Woodbridge l'rown. 11

1750. Samuel Norton 8

1758. Samuel Pool

17*10. David Jones G

1703. Josiah Torrey 10

1771. William Heed, Jr.... 4

1772. Samuel Brown 5

1775. Joshua Howe 5

1775. Benjamin Bates, Jr. 3

1775. Joshua Shaw 3

177S. Daniel lteed 2

17SII. Daniel Shaw 2

1780. Jacob Smith 11

17S3. Jacob Pool 10

17S5. Luke Bicknell 1

1786. Jacob Dyer 1

17S0. Thomas Reed 1

Nathaniel Howe 1

17'J4. Ephraim Noyes

17U4. David Lane, Jr 13

17'JS. Samuel Nortun 12

lTB'J. N'oah Ford 1

17!)'J. Nathan Curncy, Jr. 24

1S06. William Wales 10

1313. Micah Pool 11

I8II5. James Bates 12

1819. Jarcd Whitman

1821. John Cushing 'J

1 ! 1824. David Beal 17

3 I 1S3U. Asaph Dunbar 1

1, 1S33. Joseph Cleverly

1 ■ 1833. Spencer Vining 7

S 18JO. Nathan Beal 2

1 1842. Isaac Ilerscy 'J

3 i 1842. William W. Gushing. 1

2 I 1813. William Bouncy I

1 1844. Joshua Whituiarsh.. 1

4 [ 1S44. Goddard Heed

3; 1S45. Zeuas Jenkins (2d).

1845. Lysander Cushing..

1S40. Stetson Vaughn

1847. Davis Gurney

1850. William P. Corthell

1861. Samuel lteed.Jr

1862. Nathan S. Jenkins..
1852. John N. Noyes

1856. SylvauusNash

1850. Marcus Reed

I860. Joseph Wilkes 1

I860. Micah II. Pool 2

1857. Henry A. Noyes 5

1858. Samuel V. Loud 2

1S0O. Zenas Jenkins 6

1801). William Brown 1

1 Mil. Samuel B. Thaxtcr.. 2

1801. Marcus Heed 15

1801. William Brown 1

1802. William Thaxtcr 2

1S02. Zenas Jenkins

1804. Henry A. Noyes 25

1808. Brainuid Cushing... I

18011. Charles W. Soule 3

1S72. E. R. Studley 1

1875. Juuathau Arnold 1

The following is a list of the present town officers :
George A. Beal, clork and treasurer ; Henry A. Noyes, Joseph
L. Greenwood, George M. Nash, selectmen ; Henry A.
Noyes, Augustus II. Wright, George B. Merrill, road com-
missioners ; Dr. Silus B. Dickei man, Elbridgc Sprague, Otis
W. Soule, school committee; Rev. Horace W. Wright,
Albert Chamberlain, Mrs. Helen A. Gleason, Mrs. Alice A.
Richardson, WebstorS. Wales, George A. Beal, Hon. Henry
B. Pierce, .Miss Mary A. Wright, Mrs. Georgiana S. Reed,
trustees of Public Library; Josiah Cushluan, Harvey B.
Russell, John A. Floyd, Thomas E. Keen, Seth W. Ben-
nett, Jr., Elliot W. Ford, constables.

Roads. — Before the incorporation of the town two
county roads were laid out through the territory
composing it, one leadiug from Middleboro' through

Bridgewater (now East Bridgewater), Washington
Street in Abiugton, passing by the South aud Cen-
tre meeting-houses in Abingtou to Weymouth, — to
meet a road leading to Boston. This was in 1G90.
The other from Plymouth, through Pembroke (now
Hanson) by the Indian Head River Pond into Abing-
tun by Plymouth Street (formerly called Back Street),
passing by the way that leads to Little Comfort (now
South Abingtou) about a mile to the eastward of
Hersey's saw-mill, which stood near the present loca-
tion of the Old Colony Railroad Depot, to Weymouth.
This was in 1707. Iu 1S45, when the Old Colony
Railway was built, roads were constructed extending
to the stations, and as the population increased new
roads were made to connect with these until we have
the present system of highways, many of which have
level sidewalks, shaded by beautiful trees. The
streets of Abington and Rockland are proverbial for
their smoothness aud hardness, and invariably call
forth words of commeudation from strangers and vis-
itors. Abington has at the present time about forty
utiles of highway.

Population. — The population of Abington. accord-
ing to the best means of ascertaining it, was, in 17-0
(fourteen years after its incorporation), 371 ; but we
have no reliable means of ascertaining it every ten
years, that I know of, until the United States census
in 1790. It was then 1453; in 1S00, 102;"); 1S10,
1704 ; 1820, 1920 ; 1830, 2423 ; 1840, 3144 ; 1850,
52G9 ; 1855 (five years), G930. From this it appears
that for the sixty-four years, from 172G to 179(1. the
increase of the population of this town was 1US2;
from 1790 to 18U0, 17G; 1S00 to 1810, SI ; 1810
to 1820, 21G; 1820 to 1830,503; 18:>0 to 1S40,
721 ; 1S40 to 1850, 2125 ; 1S50 to 1855 (five years >,
1GG7. In 18C0 the population was 8527; in 1S70
it was 9308, aud at the present time is 4000.

By the above we see a very slow increase of the
population of the town for sixty-four years, 172G to
1790,— only 1082,-17 yearly, and 1G5 for every
ten years; and also from 1790 to 1820 (thirty years),
467; averaging 1C yearly, and 150 every ten years;
less yearly than the sixty-four previous. The increase
the next ten years, from 1820 to 1S30, was mure
than the thirty years previous, it being 503. The
increase the next ten yeais, from 1830 to 1S40, was
truly surprising, it being 721 ; the increase from 1S40
to 1850 was much more so, viz., 2125; but from
1850 to 1855 (five years) it almost exceeded belief,
being 1GG7. The population of the towns compris-
ing the original town of Abingtou is 12,500. It will
be observed that the population has nearly doubled
since 1855.



Valuation. — Without going farther buck than
1825 (and we have no date beyond that to compare),
which was one hundred and eleven years after its
incorporation, the town's valuation stood 8414,916;
iu 1831, $453,289 ; in 1835, 84SS.549 ; 1839, 8529,-
714; 1S45, $1,223,931; 1850, $1,707,163; 1855,
§2,942,382; 1858, S3, 186,579; in 1860, 83,279,-
465; in 1S70, $4,207,102; and in 1883, 81,849,-
350. The valuation at the present time of the three
towns constituting the original town of Abington is
80,274,t)3U. It will be observed that the valuation
has increased at a considerably greater ratio than the
population, and this would indicate, what is doubtless
true, that the people of the day earn more money,
have better food, wear better clothing, live in more
comfortable houses, and have more of the necessities
and luxuries of life than in 1855.

Polls. — The increase in the number of polls until
the town was divided has kept pace in accordance
with the increase of population and valuation. In
1825 there were 40C ; in 1S31, 578; 1835, 703;
1S39, 789; 1S45, 1040; 1S50, 1489; 1855, 1835;
185S, 2097; I860, 2210; 1S65, 2279; iu 1870,
2619 ; and in 1SS4, 1136. The number of polls in
1870 were 2587; at present, 1136; in the three
towns, 3511.

Schools. — In 1732 the first school-house in town
was built. It stood near the Centre meeting-house,
and was the only one in town until 1755, twenty-three
years after the first one was built. Previous to this, in
1724, Mr. Samuel Porter was paid tweuty dollars for
keeping school. It must have been in some private
room, and probably such a school was continued until
the first school-house was built, and after that in the
first school-house, and otherwise ; for it was frequently
kept in different parts of the town, to equalize the
travel, until the town was divided into five districts,
in 1755. There was a law passed in 1789, requiring
towns of two hundred families to keep a grammar school
twelve months in each year, in which the Latin and
Greek languages should be taught by a master, quali-
fied for the purpose. This school was kept alternately
in each of the five districts three months in each year.
How the law was auswered or evaded in keeping three
months in a year instead of twelve I am not aware.
It was considered as an arbitrary law. Its object was
to prepare students for entering college at the public
expense. It was kept as the winter schools usually
were, only the master, must be qualified to teach the
languages, but few were prepared for entering college
in this way ; but it helped the common schools, as it
furnished better teachers.

In 1794, thirty-Dine years after the first districting

(in 1755), the districts were increased to eight, with
some provision to aid families in the outskirts of the
town, by granting to them a portiou of the money
raised for schooling. In 1822 eleven districts wore
made by bounds on the roads. In 1S47 the eleven
school districts were defined by Hues, with metes and
bounds, making some slight alterations from 1S22.
This was done to make definite the bounds of districts
for the convenience of local taxation. In 1853 the
district system in this town was abolished ; the regu-
lation and superintendence of all the schools were as-
sumed by the town ; new school-houses were built,
the district school-houses being paid for by the

The following sums have been raised at different
times for schooling, and divided among the districts.
Sometimes each district had an equal part, and at
other times a part according to the number of polls,
or the taxes paid by the inhabitants of the districts ;
sometimes by one-half being divided equally among
the districts, and the other half according to the
number of scholars in each ; changing almost every
year, and often very unequally divided. In 1755,
when the town was divided into five districts, the sum
raised for schooling was only eighty-nine dollars ; this,
if divided equally among the districts, would give to
each ouly 817.80. This continued to be the amount
raised until 1765 (ten years), when the amount was
increased to $133.33, and this continued so for twenty
years, — being $26.66 to each district. In 1785 the
amount was $286.66 ; to each district S57.35. This
was the rate for ten years, until 1795, when it stood
at $466.66. Without naming the division, it will
only be necessary to name the sum raised at each
change, for the same sum was continued to be raised
from one change to another. In 1805 it was 8833.33 ;
iu 1859, 87000. The amount expended the last year
in the three towns was nearly twenty-five thousand

Jonathan Arnold, Samuel Dyer, and Lewis E.
Noyes have done much in years past for the schools
within the limits of the old town. Mr. Arnold in his
early life taught many years in Abington and King-
ston. Hon. B. W. Harris, Judge Keith, and Mr.
Arnold were engaged in teaching iu Kingston at the
same time. He was a member of the school board of
AbiDgton for some years, and did much to improve
the schools. He recommended that the town estab-
lish one high school, four grammar schools, ten inter-
mediate, and as many primary as might be uecessary.
To his surprise the recommendation was carried out,
and this marked the dawn of a new era in the school
history of the town. Besides acting iu other official



capacities in his native town, Mr. Arnold has served
in the Legislature.

Mr. Samuel Dyer has been on the school board of
Abiugton and South Abiugton for tweuty-four years,
and is still acting in that capacity.

Mr. Lewis E. Noyes was a member for six years, and,
like James H. Gleason, who has done much for the
schools of the town, brought to the office those valu-
able qualities that result from the practical work of
the live teacher in the school-room.

The schools of Abington will compare favorably
with those of other towns in the county, Hingham
alone excepted, which is the " banner" town of Plym-
outh County so far as public schools are concerned.
The schools of Abington ; especially in the lower
grades, have been much improved during the past few
years, but there is still a wide margin for improve-
ment. Skilled supervision, and a deeper professional
enthusiasm on the part of the teachers, are the two
elements specially needed at the present time. What
has been said concerning the schools of Abington is

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 105 of 118)