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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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 73 of 118)
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18G3, to March 1, 1864; Asa T. Winslow, from



March 1 , 1S64, to April 29, 1879 ; Stephen V. Hinds,
from April 29, 1879, and he is still holding that
office, to which fact, and his kindness, the public are
indebted for the opportunity herein presented of
learning so much of the written history of this relig-
ious society. Mr. Stepheu V. Hinds is a great-grand-
son of that distinguished Calviuistic Baptist clergy-
man, Rev. Ebenezer Hinds, who was ordained pastor
of a Baptist Church in what was then Middlcboro'
(now Lakeville), Jan. 28, 1758, and continued the
shepherd of that spiritual flock for the term of about
forty years.

This Christian Church and society, about forty-two
years since, erected a small but neat and comfortable
house as a place of public worship, that has come to
be familiarly known as the " Mullain Hill Meeting-

The successive pastors of this Christian Church
and society have been as follows : Rev. William
Shurtliff, Rev. William M. Bryant, Rev. Bartlctt
Cushman, Rev. George Tyler, Rev. E. W. Barrows,
Rev. Theophelus Brown, Rev. N. S. Chadwick, and
Rev. Elijah W. Barrows, who is the present pastor.
Situated as this church and society are, in a section
of country where, from natural causes, the population
is steadily decreasing, the numbers, power, and influ-
ence of the religious bodies are, as it might reasonably
be supposed they would be, growing less, and where
within gunshot forty years ago were three church
edifices, and an attempt made to sustain three wor-
shiping congregations, there is now only one church
edifice, and extreme difficulty experienced in the
effort to secure anything like a full attendance in the
regular worship of God upon the Sabbath-day in that.

A small Congregational Church exists upon Assa-
woniset Neck, in this town, that is provided with a
very tasty and convenient place of worship, called
" Grove Chapel." Deacon Westgate, of this church,
kindly furnished the most essential particulars in the
history of this religious organization, that was un-
happily mislaid or lost, else its details would have
been more fully given.

Educational. — The town of Lakeville is and ever
has been characterized by its liberality iu provisions
made for the support of its public schools. The old
district system is, however, to a considerable extent

Hugh Montgomery, Esq., a wealthy lawyer, re-
siding in Boston, but whose birthplace and home of
youth was iu what is now Lakeville, made a very val-
uable donation and generous bestowmeut of books as
the foundation of a public library for this town.
For a further account of the liberalities that he prac-

ticed and the generous things by him done, see his-
toric sketch of the Second Congregational Church in
Middleboro' or Taunton aud Middleboro' Precinct.

Industrial. — What is now Lakeville is that part
of ancient Middleboro' formerly distinguished, as
was Egypt, for its remarkable productiveness in
grain. Capt. Job Peirce, who has beeu frequently
noticed elsewhere in the history of this town, here
owned and cultivated a farm of two hundred acres,
where the product of corn alone was, one year, a little
over nine hundred bushels.

Several of his neighbors, the same season, raised
nearly as many bushels of corn as Capt. Job Peirce.
Rye aud flax were here formerly raised iu considerable
quantities. Auother source of income was found in
and large profits derived from the aboundiug quanti-
ties of " bog ores" at the bottom of some of the
ponds, these ores being melted at the blast-furnace
iu East Freetown. But all these industries before
named have now in a great measure failed, aud what
is termed " market-gardening" and the raising of
strawberries for the Boston market have succeeded,
added to which Lakeville has come to furnish the
same market with a daily supply of quite a large and
steadily increasing quantity of milk.

The sawing of box-boards and shingles is carried
on quite extensively at the mills of Messrs. Sumner
Hinds and Churchill S. Westgate.

Fisheries. — The alewive fisheries in its season has
ever since the English settlement of this part of the
county been made the source of a considerable profit,
and Lakeville, in connection with the towns of Mid-
dleboro', Freetown, and Rochester, has taken a lease
of several of the large ponds lying in these towns for
the purpose of increasing the production therein of
several other varieties of fish.

An Historical House. — The cut on page 320 rep-
resents the old farm-house that was for many years the
residence of Capt. Job Peirce. standing in that part of
Middleboro' which subsequently became Lakeville.

The date of the erection of the original structure
is unknown, but nearly one-third of the main body,
together with oue or both porches, were added by
Capt. Job Peirce after it became his home, in or
about the year 1767.

This view is from an easterly direction, the man,
boy, and dog, as seen in the picture, being represented
as traveling northerly upon the public highway lead-
ing from the town hall in Lakeville to the Four Cor-
ners village, in Middleboro'. The addition made by
Capt. Job Peirce was at the south end, and iucluded
the most southerly front window. A projection, or
porch, upon the west, or back, side of the house (not



seen in the cut) is known to have been added by
Capt. Peirce, and it is probable that he also added
the porch shown at the northerly end of the house.

Capt. Job Peirce's oldest child, who became the
wife of Maj. Peter Hoar, lived until 1847, and in
her old age said she could remember this ancient
house back to the year 17G7, and that it gave unmis-
takable marks of age even then. This house was de-
molished in 1870, when some parts had probably af-
forded a human habitation nearly or quite one hundred
and fifty years.

Capt. Peirce's oldest son, who served in the patriot
army and also on board of an American piivaieer in
the war of the Revolutio'n, was born while the parent
resided upon Assawomset Neck, as was also the old-

also, March 25, 1788, was ushered iuto life that man
of widely-extended and, in his native towu for forty
years, unequaled influence in circles civil aud mili-
tary, mercantile and political, Col. Peter II. Peirce.

It was from this house that Capt. Job Peirce, on
that ever-memorable morning of April 19, 1775,
started out, at the first summons of his distressed and
bleeding country, to

" Take tbe field, as a freeman should,
To battle for the public good,"

and reinforce those "embattled farmers," who then
" fired the shots heard round the world," and revenge
the cruel murder of his companions in arms, whose
blood then wet the sods of Lexington and Concord,

- * J .k.vei -w •


est daughter, who became the wife of Maj. Peter
Hoar, an officer in the Revolutionary army, and prob-
ably the next child also, who subsequently became
the wife of Gen. Abiel Washburn ; and Capt. Job
Peirce, with his wife and those three children, took
up a residence here, as nearly as can now be ascer-
tained, in 1767, or about one hundred and seventeen
years ago.

In this house, upon the 12th of December, 17(57,
that remarkably successful merchant and ship-builder,
Job Peirce, Jr., was born; and here, on the 1st of
October, 1773, Maj. Levi Peirce, who commanded a
battalion of the coast-guard in the last war with Eng-
land, and was so widely known and justly distin-
guished for his great liberality and benevolence, en-
tered upon an earthly state of existence ; and here

and, like the blood of righteous Abel, cried for ven-
geance from the ground.

In this time-worn old house it was that, upon the
26th of May, 1775, a date between and about equi-
distant from the battles of Lexington and Bunker
Hill, that Ebenezer Peirce, Esq., another son of Capt.
Job Peirce and wife, was bom, — a son who, in after-
life, developed a remarkable business capacity, and
whose well-directed efforts secured to him a compe-
tence while yet a comparatively young man, aud thus
enabling him to devote the many yet remaining years
of his life, together with much of his accumulations,
to objects of charity and benevolence, dispensing his
benefits on the principle " freely have ye received,"
aud therefore " freely give."

When the British army invaded Dartmouth (Sep-



tember, 1778), and set fire to the village of Fair-
haven, this even then old house was abandoned to
the torch of a foreign mercenary, the father facing
the incouiiug foe, while the mother aud her young chil-
dren took refuge in the thickets of the nearest forest.

But the invader was driven back and the house re-
occupied, and what, therefore, it was expected would
have been destroyed by fire in 1778 remained a human
habitation until 1870, or nearly one hundred years,
being the dwelling-place of Capt. Job Peirce during
all those numerous yeare in which he was bestowiDg
thousands of dollars for the encouragement and up-
building of objects of public benefit, both secular aud
religious, being, as he was, the donor of the Peirce
Academy, in Middleboro', and dealing with a liberal
and generous hand to promote the general welfare and
establish the public good.

In this modest dwelling, this unpretending mansion,
it was that Capt. Peirce and wife lived, here they
died, and from thence were carried to the places of
their burial, in the cemetery crowning a hill-top, as
seen in the distance of this picture ; and what is the
most remarkable circumstance is that a man so well-
to-do in life as Capt. Job Peirce came to be, a man so
liberal aud generous, should restrict himself to so
small aud unpretending a dwelling-place, choosing,
rather, to provide for the wants of others than him-
self, and practicing a most rigid economy to enable
him to dispense a more extended benevolence.

The Ward House. — The old Ward house, of Lake-
ville, was oue of the first built in this region, but the
exact date of its erection cannot be determined.

The original house, which forms the east part of
the building as it now stands, was small, and was
made of oak planks spiked on to the sills aud beams
that it might serve as a garrison-house for protection
against the Indians.

The Plymouth County records show that Robert
Sproat, of Scituate, in 1711, conveyed a part of his
estate to his son James Sproat.

The following year (1712) we find bim a native of
Middleboro', aud a record is preserved of a deed con-
veying the other portion of his Scituate estate to his
son Ebenezer. James Sproat, the son of Robert
Sproat, must have inherited his father's property in
Middleboro', Lakeville at that time being a part of

By a deed of conveyance, dated March 6, 1737, he
gives this property in the West Precinct, Middleboro',
to his son Robert Sproat.

In 1778, Robert Sproat conveyed by deed this same
property to his son, Zebidee Sproat, a man of more
than ordinary taste for those times.

Zebidee Sproat disposed of this property to Wil-
liam aud Ebenezer Nelson, who, in 1806, sold the
same to Gen. Ephraim Ward, the grandfather of the
present owner.

While the property was in possession of Zebidee
Sproat he planted trees around the house, and laid out
a terraced garden witli choice plants and shrubs.
He also made additions to the original house, one of
which is of considerable historic interest. Being an
ardent opposer of King George, he was most active in
Revolutionary work, and engaged with others in sack-
ing the house of Judge Oliver, justice of the colony
of Massachusetts in Nemasket. The Oliver house
was well built, having been brought, framed, from

Mr. Sproat, before the house was burned, took off
some of its inside doors, which he carried home and
used for the doors, panels, and ceiling of his new
rooms. Seventeen doors are thus introduced into
two bed-chambers and an upper entry-way. Tradition
has it that, for his various misdemeanors against his
family and the public welfare, Mr. Sproat was, later
in life, drummed out of town by his indignant fellow-
citizens, and that the daughter-in-law of Judge
Oliver joined vigorously in the music to which he
was forced to march. An interesting story of her
wrongs was written by his wife, injured Hannah
Sproat, and published by her as a broadside ballad to
be sung to a mournful tune, and sold for five pence.

It is a tradition of the house that a picture of
King George was on a panel brought from Nemasket,
and inserted over the fireplace of the east chamber,
aud that Mr. Sproat had it painted over, substituting
for the portrait of his king two stiff and conventional
vases of flowers, which still decorate the panel.

The walls of this room and also the ceiling are of
wood, the walls painted to represent heavy-curtained
drapery, trimmed with fringe aud oruameuted with

The house has grown with each generation that
has occupied it, additions haviog been made by Gen.
Ward, by his daughter, Mrs. Priscilla W. Stetson, and
by her son, Sprague S. Stetson, the present occupant.


In the forces of William the Conqueror, at the
celebrated battle of Hastings, in 1066, was a Capt.
Ward, no doubt the progenitor of most of the fam-
ilies bearing that name claiming English origin.
They held large estates in Exeter, Durham, and



Yorkshire. Samuel Ward, with his brothers, Wil-
liam aud Manuaduke, came to America about 1638,
aud settled in Hingham. Among lands as-signed him
was Ward [sland, in Boston Harbor, which he save
to Harvard College. His son, Henry Ward, had a
son, Henry Ward, both residents of Hingham. Na-
than, son of Henry Ward, Jr., removed to Plymouth.
His son, Ephraim, married Sally Dunham, of Plym-
outh, and their son, Benjamin Ward, was at the age
of sixteeu a lieutenant in the Freuch war, and in the
Revolution was distinguished in the colonial army
for his services and held a captain's commission, and
was a resident of Carver, where he married Mary,
daughter of John Shaw. He was a man of sterling
worth, strong character, and served his day and gen-
eration well, transmitting many of his characteristics
to his son, Ephraim. Gen. Ephraim Ward was born
in Carver in 1778. He married Priscilla, daughter
of Capt. George Hammond, of Carver, and April 10,
1806, moved to Middleboro' (Lakcville), where he
resided until his death, April 10, 1856, exactly Gfty
years. Throughout his life he was a leader in the
community, actively interested in all public matters,
and highly respected for his mental streugth and
souud judgment. He represented Middleboro' in the
State Legislature in 1828 and 1837. A captain of
militia, he was commissioned major in the war of
1812, and served in this capacity at Plymouth in
September, 1814, when threatened with attack by the
British. He was afterwards commissioned successively
colonel and brigadier-general, commanding the First
Brigade and Fifth Division of Massachusetts militia.
He bore worthily his honors through a long life of
more than ordinary usefulness. He had six children, —
Eliab, Priscilla (married Peleg H. Stetson, a descend-
ant of Cornet Robert Stetson, one of the early settlers
of Scituate), Ephraim, Betsey, George, and Mary.

Geouue Wakd, — a descendant of this time-honored
and old family, whose members have been represented
in legislation, advocates of freedom, soldiers, officers,
aud defenders of the Constitution and Union, — the
youngest sou of Gen. Ephraim and Priscilla (Ham-
mond) Ward, was born in Lakeville, then Middle-
boro', Sept. 16, 1814, in the old ancestral house
now occupied by Sprague S. Stetson. He had com-
mon-school and academic education, enjoying the
advantages of the noted academy at Middleboro'.

When young he had an earnest desire for a colle-
giate education, but his two older brothers having been
college graduates, it was not his fortune to be thus
favored. He was of scholastic tastes, a great reader,
and would no doubt have done credit to his Alma
Mater. Failing to realize this he then du.-ired to em-
bark iu business in the West, believing the possibilities
of success greater there ; but to please his father, and
being the youngest son, he dutifully remained at home,
sacrificing his own inclinations, and became a farmer.
His health failing, he was obliged to relinquish agri-
culture, and in 1848, entering into partnership with
William E. Doggett, moved to Middleboro', Four Cor-
ners, and became the pioneer shoe manufacturer of
that place. The firm-name was Ward & Doggett, aud
later became Ward, Doggett & Co. ; Mr. Ward attend-
ing to the manufacturing at Middleboro', Mr. Dog-
gett in charge of the Chicago house, selling the goods
at wholesale and retail. This partnership continued
until the death of Mr. Ward, Aug. 29, 1856, aud
was a financial success, giving employment for several
years to numerous operatives iu Middleboro'. He
married, Oct. 20, 1840, Caroline L., daughter of Hon.
Caleb F. and Nancy (Thompson) Leonard. (See
biography of Hon. C. F. Leonard, in history of Bridge-
water, in this volume.) Mrs. Ward survived her hus-
band, marrying for second husband Rev. James Ward,
whom she also survives, and now (1884) is liviug in
quite good health on her beautiful place in Lakcville,
beloved and appreciated by a large circle of friends
who prize her cordial friendship, lady-like demeanor,
and gentleness of character.

Mr. Ward inherited that iusidious disease, con-
sumption, from his mother, and with it also all the
activity of that temperament. He threw his whole
soul into whatever he undertook, was quick to grasp
and to receive ideas, had most excellent business
qualifications and powers, and deserved and wou suc-
cess. His judgmeut was intuitive, and by his early
death the town lost an honorable citizen aud one of
its ablest busiuess men. He was a member of the
Baptist Church, and respected and beloved by all.
He held commissions as captain and major iu the State
militia. From 1849, when his arduous duties devel-
oped pulmonio disease, until his death each winter
was passed in the South with the vain hope of check-
ing the disease.


^Z^/^7* **£



Maiuon is a sea-board town in the southerly part of
Plymouth County. It is bounded as follows: North
by Warehaui and Rochester ; south by Buzzard's
Bay and Mattapoisett ; east by Warehaui and Buz-
zard's Bay ; aud west by Rochester and Mattapoi-
sett. This part of the old town of Rochester re-
tained the Indian name of Sippican until it was
incorporated, May 14, 1852, when the more eupho-
nious name of Marion was given to it, probably in
remembrance of the celebrated Revolutionary parti-
san of South Carolina.

Iu its outline this town is exceedingly irregular,
following the windings of the Sippican and Wewc-
antilt Rivers on the east, and sending out on the
south several long peninsulas into Buzzard's Bay.
The harbor lias about elevcu feet of water and runs
far up into the town, almost dividing it into equal
sections. The surface of the towu is level and to a
largo extent covered with timber. It contains some
fifty farms, but the soil is rocky and hard to cultivate.
Bear Swamp in the northwest, Great Swamp iu
the east, and Lawrence Swamp in the south em-
brace quite a large extent of territory.

Great Hill, ou Great Neck, is oue hundred aud
twenty-seven feet above the level of the sea, aud was
selected as a point of observation in the State survey.
It commands a splendid view of the sea-board and of
Buzzard's Day. The Mariou House, at this place,
capable of containing three hundred boarders, was
liberally patronized until the year 1881, when Great
Hill, and many acres adjacent to it, passed iuto the
hands of A. W. Nickerson, Esq., of Dedhain, who
since the time of purchase has expended a large
aruouut of mouey in improving the buildings aud
beautifying the grounds. Iu the hot months of
summer no more charming place can be found on
the New England sea-coast.

During King Philip's war the gallant Capt. Benja-
min Church met Queen Awashanks aud her tribe,
then on her way to Sandwich to arrange terms of
peace with the Governor, at the Great Hill, near the

beach. He found the Indians having a general good
time, — " running races on horseback," " playing at
foot-ball," " catching eels and flat-fish," " or plunging
aud frolicking in the waves." The queen entertained
him cordially with " fried eels, bass, flat-fish, aud
shell-fish," and then around a huge bonfire of pine-
knots herself and warriors pledged their allegiance to
the English, and thus probably sealed the fate of

While Great Neck forms the southeastern extrem-
ity of Marion, Charles Neck forms the southern. On
this neck, within a few years, many cottages have
been built, some of them being very costly, aud are
elegant specimens of architecture.

Within the limits of this town there is one spot
of great historic interest. On Little Neck, a few
rods south of the road that leads from Marion to
Warehaui, is " Minister Rock," around which the
Indians used to hold their horrid pow-wows, and
where the first white settlers of the old Sippican
tract worshiped, and near the rock is the ancient

As early as 1651, Sippican was granted to Plym-
outh by the Colony Court " for a place to herd their
cattle," and this grant was " eight miles by the sea
and four miles into the land," aud a portion of this
land thus granted now constitutes the sea-shore of
Mariou. It is interesting to know that this locality
iu its earliest history was devoted to the advancement
of education. The rental which the colony derived
from these rich grazing fields was donated to free
schools for the maintaining and upholdiug of the
school at Plymouth, and, iu the language of the order,
" not to be estranged from that end," and it is a grand
fact that the pasturage of these shores assisted in
furnishiug funds for the first free school ou this con-

Within a few years this town has become a noted
sea-side resort, and many of the old visitors look for-
ward with eagerness to the time of their annual sum-
mer visitation. It has good roads, houses with a neat




and invitiug aspect, a beautiful harbor with lovely
islands, and a cheering light at the entrance, and
among its residents are many retired sea-captains who
have visited every clime, and who are walking ency-
clopedias of practical knowledge. At the two hun-
dredth anniversary of the settlement of Rochester,
Gerard C. Tobey, Esq., of Wareham, in referring to
the towns that originally comprised that ancient town,
said, " Hither also conieth Marion, a bright nymph
of the sea, the lass who always loved a sailor. God
bless her, coy and demure, and just as good as she is
pretty !"

Ecclesiastical History — The Congregational
Church. — In 1683, twenty years before any church
was formed in Rochester, and three years before the
incorporation of Rochester, Rev. Samuel Shiverick, a
Huguenot, escaping from Catholic persecution in
France, came to this spot, where he preached from
lb'S3 to 1687, and then removed to Falmouth. He
was succeeded in 1687 by Rev. Samuel Arnold, who
preached here twenty years. He was born in 1641),
by a curious coincidence the same year that Sippican
was boru, that being the date of its first mention in
Plymouth Colony Records. His father was Rev.
Samuel Arnold, of Marshfield. Mr. Arnold preached
here sixteen years before he could form a church, but
in 1703 the following entry appears in the old rec-
ords : " It hath pleased our gracious God to shine in
this dark corner of this wilderness, and visit this dark
spot of ground with the day-spring from on high,
through His tender mercy, and to settle a church ac-
cording to the order of the gospel, October 13th,
Anno Domini 1703." Mr. Arnold's record also in-
forms us that this transaction occurred in the six-
teenth year of his ministry aud fifty-sixth of his age.
The names of the original members of the church, as
given by Mr. Arnold, are as follows:

Males, — Rev. Samuel Arnold, Deacon Abraham
Holmes, Samuel Hammond, Isaac Holmes, Jacob
Bumpus, John Benson, Thomas Dexter, Anthony
Coomes, Isaac Spooner, Benjamin Dexter, Samuel
Wiuslow, Samuel White, Thomas Perry, Ebeuezer
Spooner, Samuel Arnold, Jr., Experience Holmes,

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 73 of 118)