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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have served for some years, as the records are silent
in regard to any others. The oldest persons now
living (tiinety years of age) remember five school-
houses iu the time of their childhood, situated in the
following parts: one each in Cox Street, in the Cush-
ing District, Louden District, another in Parson Bar-

stow's (near the site of the present Primary No. 2),
aud one in 'Squire Barker's district. Nothing is found
to show who were the earliest teachers. The earliest
teachers remembered were Elizabeth Torrey (after-
wards Mrs. I. B. Barker), Peddy Howland, Buthshtba
Whitman, and Dolly Whitman in summers, and Oliver
Whitteu, Stephen Crooker, Noah Whitman, Samuel
Briggs, and Welcome Young in winters, followed by
the sons and daughters of the first-uamed lady, eight
in number, all of whom taught school in town. But
few text-books are remembered by the oldest persons,
and girls were taught to sew and knit to improve the
hours allotted for school. There is no mention made
in the earliest records of a school committee or any
one to superintend, and it is probable there were none,
unless district agents. As the population increased the
districts were divided until there were uine. Iu 18CJ7
the district system was abolished, when a new division
was made and two grammar schools were instituted,
one each in the north and south parts of the town.
The present number of schools is seven, two grammar
and five primary.

Iu 1851 there was a private school in Elijah Da-
mon's hall, taught by L. E. Shepard, followed by B.
F. Willard the two succeeding years. This school
was well patronized, and attended with success and
profit to those who were pupils. In 1879 a school
was held iu the same place, taught by William F.
Nichols, continuing two years. Though this school
was not large in numbers, it well repaid those who
had the advantage of the thorough teaching and dis-
cipline of Mr. Nichols.

Occupations and Industries. — Nothing definite
can be ascertained of the occupations of the first men
who settled here, more than that they were generally
tillers of the soil, and sought situations favorable to it.
There seems to have been a decided change in opinion
as regards the value of land since this town first had
white inhabitants, as then nearly all held large tracts,
hundreds of acres, as old deeds prove, while now, by
the majority, it is considered that to be a large laud-
holder is to be impoverished in equal degree.

John Bisbe, on the Bridgewater road, was a farmer,
and his sons settled on his lands to carry on the same

Josiah Bourne, of whom mention has been made,
cultivated a large area, and one field, which is now
covered with wood, has always been known as " the
ten-acre lot," and was planted with corn. This was
only a small part of his cultivated land. Some time-
in the last century there was a blight of some kind to
vegetation all the country round, aud farmers suffered
the loss of their crops. Singular to say, this Bourne



was so fortunate as to have his crops uninjured.
During the following season people came from long
distances to buy corn, which he sold sparingly to all,
and " Going to Egypt to buy corn," came to be a
proverb with them. One of his sons, born 1720,
was a surveyor, and the compass supposed to have
been used by him is in possession of one of the family
descendants of the fifth generation.

Quite a number of later residents are known to
have made shingles by hand, and were known as
shingle-weavers. These would go into the woods
and swamps, where they procured their lumber, aud
remain there, cutting trees and making shingles on the
same ground.

In different parts of the town were coopers. Gama-
liel Bisbe, Jedediah Beal, and Thomaa Macomber
worked at the business, making buckets and tubs of
various kinds. Ebenezer B. Keene made nails in the
last century, near his father's house. Enos Cox made
hammered nails, and quite a number made tacks by
hand early in the present century, among them
Thomas Gurney, Ephraim and Whitcomb Cox.
Three successive generations by the name of Bonney,
the last, Noah, born 1781, were carpenters. Several
blacksmiths were in town before 1800. Nathaniel
Thomas had a shop near the saw-mill at the foot of
Almshouse Hill, and another in town, by the name
of Stetson, was assured of his future bride when
the stroke of his hammer on the anvil rang out,
li Rizpah Bisbe ! Rizpah Bisbe !" A century ago and
later many worked in iron foundries, and found work
in East Bridgewater, Easton, Kingston, and other
places at greater distances. On the gravestone of
Lemuel Bonney, who died in 1803, is inscribed,
" One of the greatest iron founders in America."
There was a tannery near where Soper's Hall now
stands, carried on by Gershom Orcutt. John Cook
was a hatter near by.

Stores and Taverns. — The first store of which
there is any knowledge was kept by Ebenezer Bonney,
at his place near Indian Head River bridge. People
came a loug distance to buy. An aged lady remem-
bers hearing her grandmother relate her going there
with her husband in the fall to buy sufficient for the
coming winter. Mr. Bonney also kept tavern. Henry
Monroe is named in 1759 as an iunholder.

Alexander Soper had a store aud kept tavern
during the Revolutionary war at the Keene place, at
the junction of the Bonney Hill and main roads.

About 1798, Cornelius Cobb came from Plymouth
and commenced trade in a small building, now a
dwelling-house, at Cobb's Corner. At that time Na-
thaniel Jones had a small store on the opposite corner.

A few years afterwards Mr. Cobb built a large store
near his house, where he continued trade until his
death, in 1833, and was succeeded by his son, Theo-

In 1823, Samuel Briggs built a store a few rods
east of the Baptist Church, in which he traded for
two years, then moved it half a mile east on the same
road, and continued business until he sold to Martin
Bryant in 1830. About the same time Lemuel Hatch
had a store in Hobart's building, near where the town
hall now stands, which was afterward burued.

Twenty-five or more years ago the principal occu-
pation was shoemaking by hand The work was taken
from manufactories in neighboring towns, and nearly
every house had its shoe-shop ; but the business has
changed so that work is seldom taken from the place
of manufacture, and the shops are closed or appro-
priated" to other uses.

Post-Offices. — About the time of incorporation the
first post-office in town was established and located at
the store of Cornelius Cobb, with Capt. Nathaniel
Collamore as postmaster, who was succeeded by Mr.
Cobb, he having been Mr. Collamore's deputy. Mails
were delivered four times each week, comiug by stage
to Hanover and East Bridgewater each twice a week.
Ephraim Cox was mail-carrier for fourteen years, at
a salary of eighty dollars per year. Six years he rode
on horseback. This office has been continued ever
since, with few changes of postmasters.

On the opening of the Old Colony Railroad, in
1845, another post-office was granted, and located at
the South Hanson Station, with Barak Osborne post-
master, and remains at the same place.

Mills. — It is probable the first mill of any kind in
town where water was the motive-power was on Poor
Meadow River, and was near North Hanson Station.
Though it cannot, with certainty be determined, it is
to be presumed that Theodosius Moore built the forge
early in the last century, as he bought in December,
1704, land of " Jeremiah Momontang aud Abigail,
his wife, near Poor Meadow Brook, which was Josiah
■Wampatuck's, deceased brother to ye said Abigail."
It is certain there was a forge, saw-mill, and grist-mill,
and probably a finery, as in a deed dated 1784, con-
veying a part of the mills aud privilege, is included
"one-quarter part of the three pouds in Weymouth,
with the privilege of getting iron-ore and carrying it
for nineteen years, according to a grant before given."
The forge has long since been removed and nothiug
remains but the saw-mill, which has changed owners
at various times. In 1746 this is meutioucd as " Capt.
More's mill," at which time his son, Thomas, was a
minor, who afterwards was owner of mills, laud, and



house, which he refers to aa formerly belongiug to his
father, Theodosius Moore.

On Brett'3 Brook, a tributary to Poor Meadow
River, was a saw-mill very early, probably built by
Elijah Cushingsoon after he came to Pembroke, about
1728, aud the water privilege has remained in the
family ever since. In 1834, Nathaniel W. Gushing
built a box-mill, also grist-mill, which were destroyed
by fire in 1834. He rebuilt in 1S64, for the purpose
of manufacturing tacks, which is the present business.

There was a mill on Indian Head River, mentioned
in 1712 as Cotton's mill, which in 1722 was spoken
of as Isaac Thomas' saw-mill, and in 1737 as Edward
Thomas' saw-mill, formerly owned by Col. Thomas.
Later a grist-mill was built, and for years was under
the care of Deacon David Beal. About 1829 Benja-
min Hobart, of Abington, bought the mill and put in
machinery for cutting tacks. It was burned in 1835
and rebuilt, but for a number of years has been used
as a saw-mill.

Farther down the river, Elihu Hobart bought of
Dr. Samuel Barker in 1827 a right for mill privilege,
and erected a factory for manufacturing tacks, and in
1828 employed Hervey Dyer as agent, who remained
ten years, when the factory was bought by a company,
and later by Luther Howland, who made tacks until
it was burned about twenty-five years ago.

On the same stream, where it divides Hanson and
Hanover, Barry says " was granted in 1720 to Capt.
Joseph and Benjamin Stetson two acres of laud be-
tween Pine Hill and Rocky Run, for the accommoda-
tion of a Forge aud finery, subsequently known as
Barstow's forge, and later Sylvester's." This is now
owned by the firm of E. Phillips & Sons, where is
carried on exteusive tack manufacture.

At one time there was a mill for turning wooden-
ware on Rocky Run, which was owned by one Buck,
who proposed making needles but never consummated
his plan, and the project was termed " Buck's last
folly." Another mill was located on Drinkwater River,
by whom cannot be learned, but tradition says there
was a grist-mill and afterwards a saw-mill. This was
bought in 1814 by a company with twenty thousaud
dollars capital stock, and a cotton-factory erected. It
was afterwards converted into a saw-mill and burned
in 1847, again rebuilt, and destroyed by fire in 1881.

In 18GG a steam-mill was built by William Keeue
and Winslow Leavitt, on the Old Colony Railroad,
near South Hanson Station, for the purpose of sawing
boards and shingles. This was considered an eligible
site on account of the proximity of the cedar swamp
and tracts of woodland in the vicinity, aud railroad
facilities so near at hand. It was bought by Barnabas

Everson in 1870, who built a new chimney-stack and
moved the mill a short distance east from the first
location. He sold, in 1880, to John Foster, who
made additions of grist- and Excelsior-Mills. Iu
1S83 it passed into the hands of E. Y. Perry <fc Co.,
who continued the business till May, 1884, when it
was burned.

In the west part of the town is the exteusive car-
riage business of Joseph White, which embraces large
buildings for storage, with blacksmith-, wheelwright-,
paint-, and various shops pertaining to the business,
which cover a large area.

Physicians. — Dr. Gad Hitchcock, the first physi-
cian settled in what is now Hanson, was the son and
only child of Rev. Gad Hitchcock and Dorothy
Angier, born Nov. 2, 1749. He graduated from Har-
vard College in 1768. He married Sagie, daughter of
Col. John Bailey, of Hanover, by whom he had twelve
children. He inherited and lived in the house owned
by his father, where he died Nov. 29, 1835. Dr.
Hitchcock was dignified in character, highly educated,
and exerted great influence for the intellectual and
moral education of the young. He was one of the
first school committee in town, and in an address be-
fore the teachers and a large audience, September,
1827, said, " I know of do employment that affords to
the contemplative mind more sublime and exquisite
enjoyment than to view the young mind unfolding aud
expanding its latent powers, aud ripening for that stage
of action which, in the progress of life, it is destined
to occupy with advantage and usefulness to society, —
to see the growth of those moral principles that are to
regulate its conduct, and direct to those pursuits that
will be productive of right behavior in life."

Dr. Calvin Tilden was born in Marshfield, Sept. 29,
1774. He was the son of Deacon Samuel Tilden and
Mercy Hatch, and a descendant of Elder Nathaniel
Tilden. He graduated from Browu University in
1800, studied medicine with Dr. Gad Hitchcock, and
married his daughter, Catharine, in 1804. He then
removed to Yarmouth, where he commenced practice
as a physician, but after a brief interval, Dr. Hitch-
cock being in declining years, he returned and took
his practice, where he continued until his death, June
28, 1832. He took up his residence in the house of
his father-in-law, which is still standing, and is known
by his name. Dr. Tilden had eleven children, three
of whom died in infancy. He was a valuable citizen,
a fact which was recognized by his election at different
times to various town offices.

After the death of Dr. Tilden, Dr. Bowdoin came
and remained about three years. His name was
originally Tower, but he changed it to Bowdoin at



his wife's request, for the reason that his initial
letter was so near the end of the alphabet he eould
not expect to be favored with success. He afterward
resumed the name of Tower to legalize his claim to
some property.

Dr. Calviu Pratt, from Bridgewater, succeeded Dr.
Bowdoin, but left in a short time. He said he
should not have come had he known there was so
good a physician as Dr. Bowen Barker.

Dr. Cartier, a Frenchman, from Martinique, some-
what advanced in years, came from Plymouth to
Hanover, where he practiced seven years, and then
removed to Hanson about 1820. He had but little
practice, in manners was somewhat eccentric, fond of
music, and played the violin, — carried it with him
when visiting his patients, and enlivened more with
his music than his medicine. He boarded at Capt.
Nathauiel Soper's, having no family. Barry says he
returned to Martinique.

Dr. Samuel Barker was in Hanson, according to
parish records, in 1797, when he was " voted the for-
ward pew on the right hand of the broad alley for a hun-
dred and seven dollars." He came from Scituate, was
sou of Capt. Samuel Barker and Deborah Gorham, and
was boru in 1762. He was a surgeon in the United
States navy during the Revolutionary war. After
settling in Hanson ho for the most part relinquished
his medical profession and became an instructor in
navigation and surveying. In his teaching he was
thorough, genial in company, and fond of society.
He was active in the formation of the Universalist
society. In the parish records is the following, dated
May, 1822: "Voted to refund to Dr. Samuel Bar-
ker 75 cents, which he paid the sexton for tolling the
bell at the funeral of his sister, they being members
of the Universal society." Dr. Barker married Han-
uah Jones, who survived him, living to the advanced
age of ninety-eight years and five months.

Dr. Bowen Barker, son of Isaac Bowen, and Eliza-
beth (Torrey) Barker, was born March 11, 1800. He
graduated at the Harvard Medical School in 182-4, for
which he was prepared in Hanover, and also studied
with Dr. Calvin Tilden. He commenced practice in
Newton, 1825, but soon after was prostrated with
hemorrhage of the lungs, and was obliged to return
home. He somewhat recovered, but suffered another
attack, from which he continued in feeble health, so
as to forbid his return to Newton. In 1829 lie began
practice in his own town. He was much discouraged
in losing his first two cases, but in the third, equally
difficult, was successful. This gave him courage, and
he continued his profession, and for forty years was
the physician of the town and vicinity, having a large

practice. His abilities as physician were highly re-
spected, and his professional and personal character
were held in confidence. His manner was reserved and
somewhat peculiar, yet his words of moderation com-
manded atteution whenever spoken. He always ex-
hibited a devotion to duty and a spirit of self-sacrifice,
going to the call of those whom he knew would never
make any return as readily as when he expected his
fee at the time of his service.

A picture of him is portrayed iu the old doctor of
Whittier's " Snow-Bound." He was much engaged
in the temperance cause during the " Washingtonian
movement," and his diary gives his earnest thought
and interest during its time of activity and iutlu-
ence. Dr. Barker never married, but lived and died
on the paternal estate, though in 184G he substituted
a new house for the old, where he died, Nov. 22,

Dr. Flavel S. Thomas, son of Isaac and Abby
(Shurtleff) Thomas, was boru in Hanson, Sept. 7,
1852. He graduated from Harvard Medical School
in 1874, and afterwards from the Montreal Veterinary
College. He began practice in Hanson in 1S79.
The same year he married Caroliue M. T., daughter
of Joseph Smith, and resides on the Smith estate,
the homo of the ancestors of his wife.

Cemeteries. — The first record relating to any burial-
ground was made March 3, 1804, when it was " Voted
that the standing committee agree with Nathaniel
Thomas for a piece of land for a Burying-place, and
take a security for the same." This is the old part
of Fern Hill Cemetery, located in the centre of the
town. It is certain it was used for burials more
than fifty years earlier, as one tombstone gives the
name of Abraham Howlaud, cousort of Mrs. Anne,
who died in 1747, aged seventy-two years. Another,
Mrs. Lydia, wife of Eleazer Hamlin, who died 17G9,
aged thirty-seven years. It is evident that the first
burials were on the northeastern part, and gradually
embraced the laud south, which is the most elevated.
The record of the first survey, July 7, 1821, gives the
courses and quantity of land, two acres and thirteen
rods. Several purchases of laud at differeut times
have been added and surveyed into lots, which has ex-
tended the original cemetery to the road. March 11,
1S11, a committee was chosen to procure a hearse and
erect a building for the same, for which the sum of
eighty dollars was appropriated. April 8, 1822, the
following is recorded : " Voted that the Hearsehouse,
Hearse and harness and Pall, now the property of the
Parish, may become the property of the town of Han-
son, if the town has a mind to accept of them and
keep the property in repair." In the south part of



the town is the Monroe burying-ground, said to have
originated in the burial of the wife of Henry Monroe,
Sr., who, with several children, died of smallpox in
1750. and was buried on the land of her husband,
who afterwards appropriated a half-acre for the
use of the inhabitants of the vicinity. It was used
by the Bisbees, of whom there were many iu that
part of the town, though there is nothing to mark the
graves. Several family lots and tombs are to be
found iu different parts of the town, but in most
cases have come into disuse.

Ancient Houses. — The following houses now stand-
ing are known to have been built before 1800: Elijah
Cushiug's house (built 1730), Dr. Tilden's house (built
about same time), Benjamin Tubb's house, Deacon
David Beal's house, Nathaniel Pratt's house, Ephraim
Cox's house, Henry Perry's house, Frank Bourne's
house, Elijah llaiusdell's hou«e, Noah Bonney's house,
Lucius Fuller's house, David Whitford's house, Eben-
ezer Bourne's house, George Macomber's house,
Ezekiel Bonney's house (1785), Francis Josselyn's
house, Elijah Damon's house (1794), John I. Brooks'
house, Nahum Stetson's house, Thomas Gurney's
house, Charles Monroe's house, Eleazer Josselyn's
house, Jesse Beal's house, Isaac Hobart's house
(1788), Isaac Lowden's house, Joseph Tillson's house,
Nath. W. Cushing's house (1785), Freeman P. How-
land's house (1784), Luther Keene's house (1700),
Hanson almshouse (built by Josiah Cushing), Thomas
Cushiug's house (built 1705). Iu front of Mr. Stet-
son's house are buttonwood-trees that were planted
the day of the battle of Bunker Hill, the cannonading
being distinctly heard at the time the work was being
done. Considering the difficulty in ascertaining the
exact date of the building of most houses, it would
be well for every one who builds to inscribe the time
on some foundation timber.

Aged Persons. — Hanson has never been honored
with centenarians, but it has produced many aged
persons considering the population. The persons now
living more than eighty years of age are Mehitable
Howland, 91 years; Martha Hitchcock, 00; Betsey
Bearce, 89 ; Ruth Barker, 87 ; Luther Holmes, 87 ;
Betsey Turner, 86; Samuel Briggs, 84; Joel White,
85; Josiah Maun, — ; Celia Bonney, 82; Lucy
Luther, 80 ; Theodore Cobb, 80.

Town Officers. — The names of those who have
served as clerks of the town are :

Joseph Torrey, one year.

Oliver Wliitten, thirteen years, whose records are distinguished

for their excellent penmanship aud methodical neatness.

Mr. Wliitten died while in olDce.
Jeremiah Super, twelve years.

Christopher C. Tilden, who died in the fourth year of his ollice.
Isaiah Bearce, fourteen years, and the unexpired term of Mr.

Joseph us Bryant, fourteen years.
E. B. K. Qurney, one year.
John Barker, serving his sixth year.

Aaron Ilobart. Christopher C. Tilden.

Cushing Otis. Elijah Damon.

Thomas Hobart. Richard Howland.

Joshua Smith. Isaac Foster.

Samuel House. Rev. S. L. HockwooJ.

Junius Tilden. Winslow Conant.

Mclzar Sprague. George P. Stetson.

Philemon Perkins. Edward Y. Perry.

Jeremiah Soper. Levi Z. Thuuius.

Dr. Calvin Tilden was chosen delegate for rcvisiug the
State Constitution, September, 1820.


Isaao B. Barker. Francis W. Bourne.

Nathaniel Cushing. Welcome White.

Charles Josselyn. Heman Sopor.

Thomas Hobart. Ezra Phillips, Jr.

Ezra Phillips. Ebcnezer B. K. Gurney.

Nathaniel Collamore. Heman Thomas.

Samuel House, Jr. Theodore Cobb.

Job Luther. Elbridgo G. Bates.

Dr. Calvin Tilden. Robert Perry.

Josiah Barker. Isaac F. Thayer.

Joshua Smith. Joseph Smith.

Sylvanus Everson. Calvin L. Howland.

Elijah Damon. Joseph B. Howland.

Melzar Sprague. Joseph Holmes.

Elijah Cushing. Cyrus Drew.

Charles Hitchcock. Andrew J. Taft.

Barak Osborn. Elijah Damon, Jr.

William Bourne. Otis L. Bouncy.

Junius Tilden. Josiah Bouncy.

Luther Holmes. Frank Bourne.

Isaac Cook. Josephus Bryant.

Isaac Hobart. Barnabas Everson.

Benjamin Bowker. Bernard C. Beal.

Isaiah Bearce. George Bonney.

Societies. — Among the organizations in towu is
Drinkwater Division, Sons of Temperance, chartered in
October, 1872, which maintains a good degree of in-
terest, and not only serves the cause for which it was
instituted, but stimulates its members to work in other
directions for moral and intellectual advancement.

During the past year the ladies agitated the subject
of a public library, resulting in procuring an act of
incorporation in June, 1884, under the name of Han-
son Library Association, with ladies as officers, whose
names are Julia M. Poole, president ; Evie \V. Drew,
vice-president ; Abby J. Clark, treasurer ; Mary J.
Drew, librarian ; Francella J. Barker, assistant libra-
rian. Through the benevolence of Mrs. N. W. Cushing
and Mr. Elijah Thomas, the association is to be fur-
nished with a library building. Its number of vol-
umes, beginning with twelve, is rapidly increasing.



Farmers' Club. — In 1876, February 7th, a few
persons met at the house of Isaac Thomas and pro-
ceeded to organize a society for the promotion of
farming, with the choice of A. J. Taft, president;
John I. Brooks, vice-president ; and Flavel S. Thomas,
secretary. This has steadily increased in numbers
and interest, and its membership is now three hun-
dred and twenty-one.

The society holds a yearly fair in the season of
fairs, at which the exhibition rivals in many respects
that of older and larger societies. The officers of the
current year are John Barker, president ; William

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 79 of 118)