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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bushel for toll and no more "and that in case the said

StepheD can beat all the corn that is or shall be used
in the colony, it 9hall not be lawful for any other to
set up a work of that kind except it be for his own
use, or freely, without toll or any other consideration
whatsoever, to give leave to others to make use of the
same.' In 1633 the court further ordered •' that Ste-
phen Deane have a sufficient water-wheel set up at
the charge of the colony, consisting of oue foot more
in depth than that he now useth, at or before the 27th
of March, the said Stepheu finding the iron-work
thereuuto belonging ; iu consideration whereof the
said Stephen to surrender up his work, and that right
and claim he challengeth for the beating of Corn,
whenever a grinding-mill shall be set up at the order
and appointmeut of the Governor and Council of As-

The mill built by Mr. Deane stood near where the
works of Samuel LoriDg now stand, and were oper-
ated by him until his death, in 1633. Iu 163f> it
was agreed by the court il to be needful to build a
mill, and these four whose names are underwritten
were appointed to collect the money for the building
of the same, as also to agree with workmen and order
other all things for the dispatch thereof. — Captaiue
Standish, Mr. William Collier, Johu Done, and John

Iu 1636 it was ordered "that Mr. John Jeuney
shall have liberty to erect a mill for grinding and
beating of corn upon the brook of Plymouth, to be
to him and his heirs forever ; and shall have a pottle
of corn toll upon every bushel for griudiug the same
for the space of the two first years next after the mill
is erected, and afterwards but a quart at a bushel for
all that is brought to the mill by others ; but if he
fetch it and grind it himself or by his servants, then
to have a pottle toll for every bushel as before."

Mr. Jenney erected his mill ou the site of the old
one, and after his death, in 16-1-i, it was carried on
by his son Samuel until 1683. The towu, still re-
taining title to the privilege, made iu 1683 the fol-
lowing agreement with Charles Stockbridge, of Scit-

" Whereas the town of Plymouth have been many years
much damnified for want of the right management of their
corn-mill, and having by their agents made suit lo the said
Charles Stoekbridgo to come and purchase said mill, and come
and buitd it as he shall seo cause for the good and beuclit of
the said town and himself, the said Charles Stockbridge coming
to Plymouth on the aooount abovesaid, the said town of Plym-
outh have for his eucouragement hereby granted unto the said
Charles Stockbridge the whole use of their brook or stream
commonly called Town Brook, where the old mill now standeth,
to him, the Baid Charles Stockbridge, his heirs and assigns, for
the use of a oorn-mill or mills as he or they shall see meet, and
for no other use no more than any other townsman; which



said brook and privileges sa'd Charles Stockbridge, hid heira
and assigns, shall have so long as he or they shall maintain it
sufficient corn-mill and miller to grind the town corn well and
huncstly for one-sixteenth part of a bushel of corn or grain,
which shall be brought unto the said mill in a tit capacity to
grind; and for the further encouragement of said Charles
Stockbridge herein the said town have paid unto him, said
Stockbridge, eleven pounds in silver towards the raising of said
mill-dan) und making a waste-water course for the herrings to
pass over the dam into the pond; and the said town by their
agents, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do heroby en-
gagu to and with tho said Charles Stoukbridge and his boil's
and assigns to be at half the charge of maintaining the said
water-course successively; namely, all that part of it that is
below the said mill-dam. In confirmation of which articles of
agreement aforesaid the agents for tho said town of Plymouth
and the said Charles Stockbridge have put to their bauds the
first of May, 18S3.

"Signed in presence of

" Isaacke Little. Joseph Warren.

"John Hathaway. Joseph Bartlett.

" Ephraim Morton, Sit. Charles Stockbridge."

It is plain from these extracts from the records
that corn was the prominent feature in the economy
of the Pilgrims. It was undoubtedly in some shape,
either ground or unground, their chief article of
food. Winslow, in 1621, says in a letter to a friend
in England who is preparing to come to New Eng-
land, which has been already quoted, " Be careful to
come by some of your meal to spend by the way, it
will much refresh you ;" "our Indian corn, even the
coarsest maketh as pleasant meat as rice ;" " let your
meal be so hard trod in your cask that you shall need
an adz or hatchet to work it out with." The colony
looked upon corn as its main staff and support, and
the mills for its grinding became, therefore, the wards
of its court. After the death of Mr. Stockbridge,
the mill was sold by his widow to her sou, Charles,
and a grist-mill contiuued to be operated on the old
privilege until 1847, when the mill of that period I
was burned. Iu January, 1847, the condition of the
origiual grant to Mr. Stockbridge — that he and his as-
signs should forever maintain a grist-mill — being no
longer complied with, the town took action to dis-
cover its rights iu the premises. The property was
then in the hands of the Robbius Cordage Company,
who were the flual assignees of Mr. Stockbridge, and
it was believed by mauy that utiless the company
complied with the conditions of the grant they would
lose their title. The matter was referred to the se-
lectmen, who after consulting counsel made a report
abandoning all claims, which was accepted by the
town. Thus the town lost all its right, title, and in-
terest in a mill where for two hundred and fourteen
years its inhabitants had enjoyed the privilege of
grinding their corn at specified moderate rates.

No other mill was built in Plymouth until 1672,

when George Bonum built a fulling-mill on the Town
Brook about two hundred feet above the works of the
Bedstead-Joint Company. It was afterwards re-
moved to the poiut where the works now stand, and
continued in operation until the beginning of the
present century. The appearance of this mill marks
the time when spinning-wheels and looms began to be
used in every household, and when the homespun
cloth began to be made so extensively as to render
such a mill necessary. Prom the date of this mill
until the middle of the next century there seems to
have been no new industrial enterprise established.
At about that lime a leather-mill was built where the
factory of the Billington Mills is now situated, and
not many years after a snuff-mill was erected near it.
In 1809, William Davis, Nathaniel Russell, and Sam-
uel Spear were incorporated under the name of " The
Plymouth Cotton Company," and a cotton -factory
was built in the place of the old mills, and burned
in 1812. In 1813 it was rebuilt, and again burned
in 1843. In 1855 the privilege was sold to the
Samoset Mills corporation, who built the present fac-
tory, and sold it in 1872 to parties who changed its
name from Samoset Mills to Billington Mills, and its
product from thread to print cloths.

The two next privileges below the Billington Mills
do not appear to have come into use until the latter
part of the last century. Under either the ownership
or direction of various parties — Solomon Inglee, Jacob
Albertson, Anthony Dyke, John King, Ephraim
Noyes, Nathauiel Russell, William Davis, Barnabas
Hedge, Samuel Spear, and Oliver Ames — shovels
and anchors were for some years manufactured at
these privileges. In 1854 the lower of the two was
sold to Jeremiah Karris and Oliver Edes, the grant-
ors, iu 1846, to the Plymouth Mills, and iu 1S54 the
upper was sold to the Plymouth Mills, which, under
the superintendence of William P. Stoddard, is ex-
tensively engaged in the manufacture of rivets and
machiuery. These privileges were owned many years
by N. Russell & Co., who carried on extensive opera-
tions at a privilege below.

The next privilege on the Town Brook, that now
occupied by the Robiuson Iron Company, was first
brought into use, in 1792, by Martin Brimmer, who
bought it of his father-in-law, George Watson, and,
after buildiug a dam, erected a rolling-mill, slitting-
mill, grist-mill, and oil-mill on the premises. In
1805, Sarah Brimmer, widow of Martin, sold it to
Nathaniel Russell, William Davis, and others, from
whom, in 1837, it passed into the hands of Mr. Rus-
sell, who for some years, either alone or iu connection
with his son, Nathaniel, carried on the manufacture



of nails and hoops and nail-plates. In 1866 it was
sold by the family of Mr. Russell to the Robinson
Iron Company, who continued, with enlarged facili-
ties, substantially the same business. On the east-
erly part of the premises belonging to the Robinson
Iron Company an extensive tan-yard was formerly lo-
cated. William Crombie bought the land by two
deeds in 17G6 and 17S6, of Richard Cooper, aud es-
tablished the tannery, which he carried on for many
years. Solomon Richmond succeeded in the business
uutil finally the land was sold, and is now the prop-
erty of the present proprietors of the iron-works.

The privilege which has already been described as
that used in connection with the aucieut corn-mill was
used many years by the Bobbins Cordage Company,
now dissolved, and is now utilized by Samuel Loring
in the manufacture of tacks and rivets. In 1812 a
cotton- factory was erected at Eel River, which, after
thirty or forty years of varying success, was changed
into a cotton-duck factory, which is now carefully man-
aged by Mr. Edward B. Hayden. Iu 1827 a rolling-
mill and uail-factory were also erected at Eel River by
N. Russell & Co., which, after the death of Nathaniel
Russell, were sold to the Russell Mills corporation,
which took down the old buildings and erected the
present commodious cotton-duck mill on the premises.
Two zinc-mills have also been running for many years
at Eel River, one owned by the estate of Oliver Edes
and the other by N. Wood & Co.

In the north part of the town the Plymouth Cord-
age Company, incorporated in 1821, has an extensive
establishment, which for many years, under the
thrifty management of Bourne Spoouer, more re-
cently under that of his son, Charles W. Spoouer,
aud at present under the superintendency of their
able successor, Gideon F. Holmes, has continued to
employ a large body of workmen and carried on a
lucrative business. Near the railway station a factory
for the mauufaetuTc of fancy casaimeres, under the
management of Roswell S. Douglass, and a shoe-fac-
tory, owned by Francis F. Emery, an enterprising aud
substantial merchant of Boston, have been established
within a few years aud give employment to a large
uuiuber of the town's inhabitants. A tack-factory,
also near the station, aud recently erected by Ripley
& Bartlett ; the gas-works, constructed in 1854 ; a
foundry for the manufacture chiefly of stoves, owned
by the Plymouth Foundry Company, and superin-
tended by Luke Perkins ; a saw-, stave-, and box-

mill, owned by E. & J. C. Barnes ; a keg-factory,
owned by Samuel Bradford ; a grist-mill and mill fur
the manufacture of a recently-patented and exten-
sively-used bedstead-joiut, under the management of
Nathaniel Morton ; a shoe-shank factory, owned by
Manter & Blackmer; and the usual variety of smaller
enterprises complete the list of industries within the
actual limits of the town, while just without its
limits, at Rocky Nook, a part of Kingston, on Smelt
Brook, are located extensive works for the manufac-
ture of tacks aud rivets by Cobb & Drew, whose office
is located in Plymouth. The capital employed in
these establishments in 1883 was 32,017,000, and
their product reached the sum of §3,372,000. With-
out, of course, any allusion to the ordiuary busiuesa
of the stores and lumber-yards and coal-wharves, a
statement of the indications of the prosperity of the
town would be far from complete without a reference
to the banking institutions and customs and postal
busiuess. The banking institutions consist of the
Plymouth National Bank, originally incorporated as
the Plymouth Bank in 1803 ; the Plymouth Saviugs-
Bank, originally incorporated as the Plymouth Insti-
tution for Savings in 1828, and rechristened by its
present name in 1847 ; the Old Colony Natioual
Bauk, originally incorporated as the Old Colony
Bank in 1832 ; and the Plymouth Five-Cents Sav-
ings-Bank, incorporated in 1855. The capital and
surplus of the two national banks are about $550,000,
aud the deposits of the two savings banks exceed the
sum of $2,800,000.

The value of foreign imports during the year 1883
was $320,021, on which the duties paid amounted to
$71,330.30. The number of tons of domestic im-
ports was 46,246, valued at $1,106,012, exclusive of
the catchings of fishing-vessels, amounting in value
to $56,456. Iu addition to the above, merchandise
amounting to 34,141 tons was brought into the town
by rail during the year, the value of which there arc
no ready means of estimating. The net receipts of
the post-oflfice, after the payment of all expenses, was
$6100; and with this item the narrative of the his-
tory and present condition of the town of Plymouth
must end. It has already exceeded the limits as-
signed to it, and the author must ask both the indul-
gence of the editors in occupyiug more than the share
of space which perhaps justly belougs to Plymouth,
and that of the reader in occupying so much less thau
the subject of the narrative deserves.




Oliver Edes, son of Oliver and Lucy (Lewis) Edes,
was born in East Necdliaui, Mass., Nov. 10, 1815.
He received tlie educational advantages afforded by
the couiraou schools of those early days, and at the
age of sixteen he learned the trade of nail-making on
Boston Milldam. After working at this business for
souie time, at various places, he entered the employ of
Appollas Randall & Co., at South Biaintree, where he
learned to run tack-iuachiues. Mr. Edes was a thor-
ough mechanic, and while here his inventive genius
exhibited itself in various ways, and at the age of
twenty-two he invented and patented and put in oper-
ation the first rivet-machines which cut from drawn
wire all the different sizes and forms of small rivets.
The introduction of these machines revolutionized
the whole rivet business, and from this beginuiug
of Oliver Edes has grown this vast industry through-
out the United States, with the whole civilized world
for its market. Prior to this iuvention of Mr. Edes,
rivets had been made by hand and imported from
Europe at a large expeuse. It is related of Mr. Edes
that he met no little difficulty in introducing this new
article of manufacture. His first attempt was made
iu Boston, where he was met with all kinds of objec-
tions, dealers being loth to believe that machine-made
rivets were of practical value. Although being met
with refusal, the perseverance and euergy which
marked his subsequent successful business career
here displayed itself, and he again endeavored to con-
vince the Boston dealers of the superiority of his
goods. Failure met his efforts a second time. He
then gave his rivets directly to the consumers for
trial, and iu this way a demand was created which
soon rapidly increased. The growth of the busi-
ness has been almost phenomenal ; " machine" rivets
are now made from the smallest pin wire up to the
large bolts used for the heaviest boiler-sheets.

In 1840, Mr. Edes formed a copartnership with
Andrew Holmes, uuder the firm-name of Holmes,
Edes & Co., for the manufacture of rivets, at North
Marshfield. This business continued about three
years, when the firm of Farris, Edes & Co. was formed,
and about one year later removed to Plymouth, where
the manufacture was entered upon extensively, and
from this place the business really dates its growth,
still being carried on by several large establishments.
In 1850, Mr. Edes retired from this business, and,
in company with Nathaniel Wood, under the firm-
name of Edes & Wood, be<*au the manufacture of

zinc, shoe-nails, and tacks, and soon after commenced
the rolling of zinc nail plate in the southern part of
Plymouth, known as Chiltonville. In 1859, Mr.
Edes purchased Mr. Wood's interest, and continued
the business as sole proprietor. In 18S0 his son,
Edwin L. Edes, became associated with him, and the
business has since been conducted under the name of
Oliver Edes & Son.

In 1883 the Edes, Mixter & Heald Zinc Com-
pany was organized, consisting of Mr. Edes, his son
E. L. Edes, his son-in-law J. W. Mixter, and T. II.
Heald, of Knoxville, Teun., for the development of
the zinc ore-mines iu Virginia and Tennessee, and for
the manufacture of zinc metal. The works and mines
are located near Knoxville, Tenn., where is manufac-
tured zinc spelter of the fiuest quality. It will thus
be seen that Oliver Edes, as a practical mechanic,
with business tact and wise foresight, during his life-
time gave to the country industrial interests of im-
mense importance.

Oct. 7, 1836, Mr. Edes united in marriage with
Susan Davie, of Plymouth, and their family consists
of the following: Lydia Curtis Edes, William Wal-
lace Edes, and Edwin Lewis Edes.

Mr. Edes was a Republican in politics.

Oliver Edes was a kind, sympathetic man, a great
lover of nature, of the trees, of the shrubs, and of the
flowers, and withal among the noble traits of his ster-
ling character was that of unostentatious benevolence.
During the latter years of his life he was much
afflicted with rheumatic troubles, which often con-
fiued him to his bed for weeks aud mouths at a time
a sreat sufferer, but bearing his affliction with forti-
tude and courage. His death occurred Feb. 21, 1S84,
thus removing one of Plymouth's most honored and
esteemed citizens.

Among the prisoners iu the camp at Tuthill Fields,
in London, taken in the wars between England aud
Scotland in 1650, was a young Scotchman bearing
the name of Alexander Gordon. With others of his
countrymen, he was released on the condition of his
emigration to New England. Iu the summer of 1651
he crossed the ocean on a ship commanded by Capt.
John Allen, and after reaching his destination was
still held as a prisouer of war at Watcrtown until
1654. After his final unconditional release, he re-
moved to New Hampshire before the year 1660, aud
married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Lysson, a sawyer
on the falls at the bend of the Squamseot River. Iu




J^i^Z c Ccr





1664 be settled on a town-grant "beyond ye little
river" iu Exeter, where he died in 1697. Thomas
Gordon, their son, who was born iu 1678, and died
in 1762, married Elizabeth Harriman, of Haverhill,
iu the State of Massachusetts. Tiuiothy Gordon,
the son of Thomas, who was born March 22, 1716,
aud died March 30, 1796, married Maria Stockbridge,
of Stratham, N. H., aud their second son was Timothy
Gordon, a farmer aud shipwright, the father of the
subject of this sketch. He was born at Brentwood,
N. H., Dec. 30, 1757, and died Jau. 16, 1836, at the
age of seventy-eight. He was a soldier iu the Revo-
lution aud a pensioner of the government. He eu-
listed April 23, 1775, in the company commanded by
Capt. Dauiel Moore iu Stark's regiment, and was in
the battles of Bunker Hill, Beuniugton, and Saratoga.
It has been written of him by oue who remembered
him as he sat at his desk engaged iu accounts or corre-
spondence, " I have never yet found a Gordon, and I
have known many, so amiable in character, so mild in
disposition, so true in all that is genuine manliness of
character, as Timothy Gordon, of Belleville."

He married, Jan. 23, 17S2, Lydia, the oldest
daughter of David Whitmore, son of Joseph Whit-
more, and brother of Governor Whitmore, of Hali-
fax. According to tradition, Joseph Whitmore lived
in Woburn, Mass., prior to 1710, and removed with
his wife, Elizabeth, to Newbury, Mass., about the
year 1712. Lydia Whitmore was born in Newbury,
Oct. 10, 1763. Tiuiothy Gordon, her husband, did
the iron-work of the IJuited States sloop-of-war
" Wasp," built in Newburypoit. Capt. Jones, who
was assigned to her command, taking a fancy to his
son Timothy, the subject of this sketch, then about
eighteen years of age, offered to take him in his ship.
The plan was frustrated by his mother, and when the
vessel was nearly ready for sea Timothy was sent, with
an older brother, with two yoke of oxen aud a horse,
to Brentwood, N. H. When they returned the
" Wasp" had sailed, and after her capture of the
British brig " Frolic," Oct. 17, 1812, she with her
prize was takeu by a British seveuty-four, and the
young Timothy thus escaped the terrors of Dartmoor
prison. By the escape, however, it is possible that
the goverumeut lost the services of one who, if he
had entered the navy, could not have failed, with the
energy, courage, determiuatiou, aud nerve which dis-
tinguished him in later life, to have attained high
rank among the captains of his time.

He was born iu Newbury, Mass., March 10, 1795,
and iu the cotuuiou schools of his native town re-
ceived his education. After leaving school a taste
for the sea incliued him to commercial life, and he

made one or more voyages as supercargo to Spanish
aud Mediterranean ports. In 1823 his brother Wil-
liam, who had acquired a high reputation in the med-
ical profession, was iu full practice in Hingham, Mans.,
and with him he began the study of medicine. His
studies were completed at Bowdoin Cullege, where he
received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1825.
He married, May 12, 1825, Jaue Biuney, daughter
of Solomon aud Sarah Jones, of Hingham, and set-
tled in Weymouth, where he remained until 1837.
In that year he removed to Plymouth, where, in the
enjoyment of a constautly-iucieasiug practice, he
continued to reside until his death.

Of his wife it is fitting to say something more thau
that she died Jau. 14, 1877, lit the age of eighty-
three, after a married life of fifty-two years. It was
truly said of her at her decease that " she was a per-
son of clear and practical uieutal perceptions, good
judgment, and generous impulses, ' well reported for
good works.' Her genial aud pleasant ways, her
amiable disposition, her geutle words, her kind and
charitable regard for others, find an abiding proof and
tribute in the grateful memories of many hearts."

Dr. Gordon had two children, — Solomon Jones, born
Sept. 24, 1826, and Timothy, born April 19, 1836,
the latter of whom died in iufancy. Solomon Joues
graduated at Harvard in 1847, and is now a lawyer,
pursuing an emineutly successful career iu his profes-
sion in the city of New York.

This sketch would be far from complete withuut
further allusion to the life and character of its subject.
In his profession he possessed all the traits and quali-
fications essential to its successful pursuit. Well
grounded in its study, aud keeping himself well in-
formed of the latest methods of diagnosis and treat-
ment, he also possessed and retained those intuitive per-
ceptions of disease without which, however Well read,
no physician can become a brilliant practitioner, and
which formulated rules aud the fashionable methods
of modern professional educatiou are doing so much
to obliterate. With keen powers of observatiou aud
geueralizatiou, as the pilot foretells the weather from
signs which his own experieuce has detected, but
which he caunot describe, he skillfully read the char-
acter of a case under treatment, and often irrespective
of the laws, which must necessarily be fallible as long
as the niedicu scieutia remains doubtful aud imper-
fect. As a surgeon as well as physician he attained
a recognized eminence. Cool, bold, self-reliant, aud
strong iu uerve, he ouly needed a wider field of action
to win the highest honors iu this department of his
profession. The necessarily limited opportunities for
surgical practice in a small community gave him rare



occasions to exhibit his powers, but when called into
play, they never failed to receive the award of praise
from his professional brethren.

But Dr. Gordon did not confine his activities and

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 44 of 118)