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 89 of 118)
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he was employed at the anchor works of Ilobart &
Salmon, who at that time had a contract with the
United States government, aDd several anchors were
made by them for seventy-four-gun ships, some of
which, perhaps, were the largest ever forged.

In 1828, Mr. Salmon having retired, Mr. Sylvester
funned a copartnership with Mr. Hobart, which con-
tinued till about 1837. Mr. Sylvester managed the

works, which were very successful. He was a pioneer
in the manufacture of locomotive cranks, having made,
it is claimed, the first one in the country, this branch
of the business being established in 1830. When
the partnership between himself and Mr. Hobart ter-
minated he formed the Hanover Forge Company.
He continued to do business iu Hanover till 1853,
when he sold out all his interests there, and removed to
Belmont, near Boston, where he resided till his death.
About 1848 or 1850 he became one of the firm of
John Taggard & Co., in the iron business, in Boston.
This interest was continued until 1858, when he re-
tired from the firm aud purchased the Danvers Iron-
Works, at Danvers Port. In 1S64 he purchased the
spike-works at Somerville, and this busiuess he re-
tained during the rest of his life, though he retired
from the active supervision of it for several years
prior to his death, which occurred March 18, 1882.

He was married, in Hauover, November, 1824, to
Lucy J. Bonuey, of Pembroke. They have six chil-
dren living, — two sons and four daughters.

In politics he was one of the Free-soil party, and
a Republican after the formation of that party. While
he took a lively interest in the political questions of
the day, nothing could induce him to offer himself as
a candidate for an official position, lie preferred to
devote his whole attention to busiuess, aud leave the
cares and honors of office to those whose inclinations
or tastes led them in that direction.

Mr. Sylvester was of an active, earnest tempera-
ment. Whatever he undertook he gave his best
energies to, and seldom failed to achieve success in
what he attempted. His kindness of heart was pro-
verbial, particularly to those less fortunate in life than
himself, aud his gentleness of manner and geniality of
deportment invariably won the sincere respect aud
esteem of his associates aud friends. Iu the closer
relations of home-life his influence was peculiarly
tender; and to his family and intimate friends his
unselfish affection, aud noble example iu striviug for
everything high and pure, will ever be a precious

He connected himself with the Orthodox Church
early in life, aud always continued an active member.
He was a leading spirit without striviug to be in
whatever circle he moved, a worthy representative of
au ancient and honorable family.


George Curtis was born in Hanover, Mass., Sept.
23, 1808. His parents were Consider and Mary




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(House) Curtis. His father was an anchor-smith and
farmer, and owned and operated an old anchor forge,
known as Curtis' Anchor Forge, on North River, in
Hanover. This forge is quite historic. Among
other work for celebrated vessels the anchors for the
old ship " Constitution" were made there.

When George Curtis attained his majority he en-
gaged in the lumber business in connection with an-
chor-forging, and continued in the lumber business
several years, being quite successful. Upon his
father's death he inherited one-fourth interest in his
works, and in a very few years he purchased the en-
tire interest. He then gave his undivided atteution
to the prosecution of the business, built up a large
and lucrative trade, aud became a very successful and
influential man in his community. His principal
business was forging anchors aud ship-knees. He
spent most of his life in the work, continuing in active
business till 1870, and the year following he sold the
works to Eugene aud Frederick Clapp.

Duriug the war of the Rebclliou, Mr. Curtis did a
great amount of work for the government, and amassed
a large fortune.

Mr. Curtis was a typical business man, devoting
himself assiduously and energetically to the super-
vision of his work iu all its details. Refusing all po-
sitions of office and trust, he concentrated all his
efforts to the building up aud carryiug on of the work
he had chosen as his life's business.

It was largely owing to the financial support he
gave the Hanover Brauch Railroad project that Mr.
E. Y. Perry was enabled to carry the road through
to completion. He was a director in this road to the
time of his death, and carried more of its stock than
any other man.

After Mr. Curtis retired from business he moved
to Boston, where the remainder of his life was spent.
He married Nancy, daughter of Joel Bowker, of Sa-
lem, Mass., Nov. 11, 1834. They had no issue. He
was orthodox iu religious faith, a Whig and Republi-
can iu politics, and was a strong temperance and anti-
slavery man. He was for many years warden of St.
Andrew's Episcopal Church, Hanover, up to the lime
of his removal from the town.

He died Feb. 16, 1875, leaving a large estate, mostly
devised — after Mrs. Curtis' decease — to various char-
itable associations, institutions of learning, etc. Mrs.
Curtis is still living in Boston, Mass., and is much be-
loved for her kind disposition, and for the generous
hand with which she bestows in charity all of her
large income, save what is necessary for her own

The subject of this brief sketch, the son of Samuel
and Surah Cushiug Waterman, was born July 14,
1S14, in that part of Scituate now known as South
Scituate, set off as a separate town from the mother-
town in 1849.

His father, a man remarkable for his great worth
and equally great modesty, was much esteemed for
his strict integrity and unblemished character. In
1800 he was appointed a coroner by Governor Strong,
and held that position for many years. Twice he
represented the town in the Legislature.

The son was educated at the Hauover Academy,
completiug his studies there in the eighteenth year of
his age. As might properly be expected, he has
always felt and manifested a deep interest in the wel-
fare and prosperity of this very useful institution,
and for very many years has been a member of its
board of directors. He began his business life in a
wholesale dry-goods house in Boston, where he re-
mained two years. Considerations of health con-
strained him to return to the old homestead. Later,
he entered upon the profession of teaching, aud for
several years successfully taught iu several districts
near to his birthplace. At the age of twenty-five he
married Miss Elizabeth B. Gooding, a very interest-
ing aud most estimable woman, the daughter of Mr.
Henry Gooding, of Boston.

After his marriage he was employed iu the tack
and nail-factory of Mr. Samuel Salmoud, who had
conducted the works since 183S. These works are
ou the Third Herring Brook, aud are on the site of the
Charles Stockbridge Mill, erected as early as 1677.

Subsequently, when he had become fully ac-
quainted with all the details of the business, he ac-
cepted the offer made to him by his appreciative em-
ployer of the united positious of superintendent of the
works and selling and collecting agent of the concern.
These responsible positions he retained about seven
years, discharging their duties with fidelity aud effi-
ciency. With the death of Mr. Salmond, which oc-
curred in 1859, his connection with these works

Soon after the death of his former employer he
commenced on his own account the manufacture of
tacks and nails at the factory in that part of Hauover
called " Project Dale."

This business he conducted successfully until 1875,
when he retired from active connection with it, leaving
it to the care of his three sons, — Rodolph Cushing,
Irieceus Lloyd, and Frank Herbert, — all of them up-
right in every relation of life, by whom it has been
! materially enlarged, and is still continued.



The excellence of the manufactured products of
this establishment, and the sterling integrity which
has ever characterized the conduct of its business
affairs, has brought the usual results of great pros-
perity to the concern. Iu 1875 his friend, Mr.
George Curtis, of Boston (formerly engaged exten-
sively in the forging of anchors, ou the site of Bar-
din's iron-works, erected in 1704, on the Indian
Head River, in Hanover), died, leaving a very large
estate. Mr. Curtis iudicated his confidence in the
integrity and business capacity of his friend, Mr.
Waterman, by providing that he should take the
whole estate, in trust, into his hands, and should
continue to act as trustee during the life of the
widow of Mr. Curtis. The management of this estate
coufirms the high estimate placed on the character of
his friend by Mr. Curtis.

Mr. Waterman in 1855 was appointed justice of
the peace, and since that time has been continuously

For several years he was a member of the school
committee, for five years a member of the board of
overseers of the poor, also for the same time on the
board of assessors and selectmen, the latter part of the
time being chairman of the board.

In 1858, the first year the State was divided into
representative districts, he represented the towns of
Hanover and South Scituute in the Legislature.

After the close of that session he publicly declined
being iu the future a candidate for any office.

In his ecclesiastical relations he is a Churchman,
and has been since 1860, and is now in the highly-
important and honorable office of senior Church war-
den of the ancient parish of St. Andrew's, Hanover.

For a number of years lie has been a director of
the Hauover Branch Railroad.

He continues to live in the old homestead, on the
same spot purchased by his grandfather iu 1701.

These " short and simple annals" contain nothing
to startle and dazzle the reader, but may subserve the
good purpose of showiug how industry, iutegrily, per-
severance, and the improvement of talents and op-
portunities will, iu due season, bear abundant fruit.

Speaking humanly, Mr. Waterman has beeu the
architect and builder of his own fortunes. In the
language of oue of his owu Church prayers, may it
be granted to him " in health and prosperity long to
live 1"


Among the names promiueut in the coluuiuJ history
of New Eugland, and which, through successive gen-
erations, to the present day have designated a useful
and enterprising family of people, is that of Barstow.
The records indicate that William Barstow was (if
uot the first) among the first settlers of what is now
the town of Hanover, in 1019.

The family is of English origin, and from the West
Riding of Yorkshire, where the name still occurs.
The William before mentioned eame from England iu
the ship " Truelove," 1635, in company with three of
his brothers. He became a noted man in the new
colony, and a large landholder. He built the first
bridge in Hanover over North River, kept an " ordi-
nary," and sold " refreshments."

The Barstows established a ship-yard on North
River as early as 1690, and later they established
ship-yards also in Rochester. Deacon Samuel Bar-
stow, born 1709, was one of the earliest settlers on
King Street. He had four sons. The youngest,
Capt. Daniel, remained on the farm, and built the
house (1798) now occupied by Robert Church. His
only son, Daniel, lived with him. This Daniel had
two sons, Daniel and Samuel. The latter lived with
his father, and the former built his house on the spot
where Deacon Samuel's house stood. They married
sisters. Neither of tliem had children, and that
branch of the Barstow family is now extinct.

Daniel Barstow (see portrait) was boru Sept. 20,
1808. The line of desceut from the original William
is as follows: William 1 , Joseph 2 , SamueP, Deacon
Samuel*, Capt. Daniel 5 , Daniel 8 .

He was educated at the common schools of the
town, was a farmer by occupation, and also did much
business in connection with his father and brother in
carting for the forge and anchor-works near his resi-
dence, which was established by Capt. Joseph Bar-
stow in 1720, and which for more than a century was
owned and operated by the Barstow family. Mr.
Barstow took much interest in military matters, and
was a major of militia. He was a member of the
First Orthodox Congregational Church, and was for
many years treasurer of the society, and contributed
liberally to the support of the ministry. He was
twice married, first to Betsey Estes, December, 1830,
and second, to Mrs. Lucinda Packard, October, 1873.
He died April 19, 1882.

^7 y%2^^^^




To compile the history of so ancient a town as
Scituate and bring it within the limits prescribed for
this work is not easy. Much must be omitted that
might well form a part, and the labor of deciding
what to admit and what to omit is perplexing. The
compiler does not dare to hope that his decisions in
this matter will be satisfactory, or always what they
should be. In his opinion those matters which relate
to the more ancient part of the town's history should
receive the larger share of attention, as the modern
will continue to be accessible. In a brief history like
this the effort should be not so much to write an in-
teresting essay as to pack together in the smallest
possible space, in dry detail, the largest number of
facts and descriptions possible.

In selecting the materials for record and preserva-
tion here, the object will be to gather together that
which will be likely to prove most useful for refer-
ence. Abridgment of time and space compels the
leaving unrecorded much of this even, and the duty
of selection aud omission, though embarrassing, is
imperative, and the writer asks for the charitable
criticism of the reader.

Geographical. — The town of Scituate lies in the
northeast corner of the old Plymouth Colony. It com-
prised originally the two present towns of Scituate and
South Scituate, and nearly the whole of the town of
Hanover. In 1727 a portion of the westerly part of
the towu, with a small part of Abington, was set off
aud incorporated as a towu by the name of Hanover.
Scituate, though losing much valuable territory and
many valuable citizens by this action, made no oppo-

In 1849, the southwesterly part of the town was
incorporated as a town, and named South Scituate.
Thus it will be seeu the history of Scituate and South
Scituate is one until within a very few years.

The original town before dismemberment in any
way was bounded northwesterly by the line between
the Plymouth and Massachusetts Colonies, north-
easterly by Massachusetts Bay, southerly aud south-

easterly by the North River, which separated it from
Marshfield and that part of Duxbury now constituting
the towns of Pembroke and Hanson, and southwesterly
by that part of Bridgewater afterwards iucorporated
as the town of Abington. The northwesterly bound
or colony line remained for a long time unsettled, and
was matter of much controversy. The contention
was mainly in consequence of the great value then
attached to the salt marshes, the uncleared condition
of the upland rendering marsh hay highly prized, and
well uigh indispensable for feeding to cattle.

The expause of meadow, therefore, lying south-
easterly of the " Gulph," whioh Scituate insisted was
the true aud natural boundary, attracted the attention
u f the Hingbam people, and they claimed an iutercst
therein. To establish their claim, if possible, Win-
throp says, " We caused Charles River patent to be
surveyed, and found it to come so far southward as to
fetch in Scituate and more ; but this was referred to
a meeting between us." This last expression shows
that the survey based upon the loose and general ex-
pressions in the patent proved too much.

To include all Scituate was absurd, aud hence the
reference. In 1637, Timothy Hatherly and Na-
thaniel Tildeu, of the Plymouth Colony, and William
Aspinwall and Joseph Andrews, of the Massachusetts
Colony, were appointed commissioners to determine
the line. They do not appear to have fultilled their

It is more than probable that the reason of their
failure was because these two Scituate commissioners
(Hatherly and Tilden) were resolved not to sacrifice
the interests of Scituate. In 1640, Governor Wil-
liam Bradford and Edward Wiuslow (neither of them
Scituate men), for Plymouth Colony, and Governor
John Endicott and Israel Stoughton, for Massachu-
setts, were appointed, met, and decided that the line
should run " from the mouth of the brooke that
runneth into Conihassett marshes in a straight line to
the middle of Accord Pond," and that sixty acres of
'■ marsh on the Scituate side should belong to Hing-




liani. This decision could not be allowed to stand, as
the Plymouth Colony Court soon found that these
marshes had already been largely appropriated to
Scituate men, and in respouse to their determined
demand for justice, in 1656 another commission was
appointed, and decided that the " Gulph shall stand
as the boundary." It seems that this was not sub-
mitted to kindly, as in 1659, Maj. Josiah Winslow,
Lieut. Southworth, and Cornet Hubert Stetson were
appointed " to join with such as the Bay Gov't may
appoint to run the line betwixt the Bay Gov't and
us." The " Bay Gov't" was tardy in its response,
but iu 1663 appointed Maj. Ebenezcr Lusher, Capt.
Royer Clap, and Lieut. Joseph Fisher. The titles
of these commissioners give the board a military and
warlike look, but their deliberations were peaceful
and their conclusions harmonious, for in May, 1664,
they made return finally, settling the line as it had
been by the previous commissioners in 1656, by the
natural boundary of the " Conihassett Gulph." Thus
the pluck and persistency of the Scituate men
triumphed after a struggle of thirty years. The con-
flict of jurisdiction at this point left ill feeling be-
tween Hingham aud Scituate, and individual claims
often overlapped and came in collision, and feeling
grew to such an extent that in 1685 the people of
Scituate in town-meeting assembled proclaimed non-
intercourse with Hingham, and voted " to block up
the highway leading from Scituate common lands to
Hingham, to prevent the great trespasses by those of

The town of Scituate is now bounded (1884) north-
westerly by Cohasset, northeasterly by the bay, south-
easterly by Marshfield, and southwesterly by South
Scituate. South Scituate is bounded northwesterly
by Hingham, northeasterly by Scituate, southeasterly
by Marshfield and Pembroke, aud southwesterly by
Hanover and Rocklaud.

The Two Miles belonging to the ancient Scituate
was a portion of what is now Marshfield, then and
now known as the " Two Miles."

It is amusing to read that as early as 1636 there
was not room in Scituate for the settlers. But iu
that year Mr. Hatherly made complaint to the colony
court " that the place was too straite for them ;"
and that the next year Mr. Hatherly, Mr. Lothrop,
and fifteen others complained to the court that they
could not subsist upon the lands allotted to them, and
were granted lands between North and South Rivers,
" provided they make a township there." This pro-
posed removal to Marshfield never took place. But
in 1640 the grant of the " two miles" on the east
side of the North River was made to Scituate. This

tract lay two miles long on the river, extending back
one mile therefrom, what is now the Pembroke line
! being the southern boundary ; it exteuded two miles
north down the river. Some of the early settlers
here were Robert Sprout, Thomas Ruse, Richard Syl-
vester. None of these remain there represented in
their descendants.

The Hatch family settled there very early also, and
may be said to have nearly peopled the : ' Two Miles"
almost to the exclusion of others.

In 1788 the " Two Miles" was annexed to Marsh-
field, to which town it naturally belonged. It is sur-
prising that this little territory across the river, with
no bridge to connect it with the other side, should
have remained a part of Scituate for one hundred and
forty-eight years.

North River. — This fine stream, which forms the
natural and southern boundary of the towns iu its
winding way of twenty miles through the green
meadows from Luddeu's Ford to the sea, is one of
surpassing beauty.

In former days it was the scene of busy industry.
The tide therein rose and fell many feet, the rise and
fall thereof extending beyond Barstow's bridge. Its
banks were lined with ship-yards, and more ship-build-
ing was carried on here than upon any other river in
New England. But all is uow changed. A sand-
bar has closed the mouth of the river to that extent
that the tide flows in but a short distance.

Its portals are closed to the passage of vessels ; the
ship-yards are all gone ; where was once heard the
sound of axe, adze, and hammer all is still ; and the
placid stream sleeps unbroken by any passing keel.
Its beauty still remains, enhauced, perhaps, by the
fact that the obstructions at its mouth keep it always
bank full, but its former and great usefulness is gone.

The sources of this river are in the Indian Pouds,
or Mattakeeset Pouds, so called, in Pembroke, and the
Drinkwater Brook which flows from Abington. The
four Indian Ponds are severally called Great Sandy
Bottom Pond, Furnace Pond, Indian Head Pond,
aud Oldham Pond. The river in its early course be-
tween Hanson and Hanover is sometimes called In-
dian Head River. In its onward flow it gathers to
its bosom the tributary waters of the three herring
brooks in the Scituates, and the Two-Mile Brook
and Rogers' Brook from Marshfield.

Near Barstow's bridge, called also North River
Bridge, was a favorite location for ship-building,
The slope of the banks here is said to be favorable,
and ship-timber abounded in that region. James
Barstow is said to have built one or more vessels
above the bridge. Just below the old bridge, as early



as about 1GG0 (more than two hundred and twenty
years ago), William Barstow had a ship-yard in which
he and his sons for several generations Were busy
building ships. After theui Nathaniel Sylvester and
Jonathan Sampson occupied the yard for the same
purpose. In close proximity to the above yard, and
below it, vessels are supposed to have been built by
John Clark as early as 1736, and it is certain his
sods, Nathaniel and Belcher, there carried on the
business for a long time, or until near the close of
that century. A little below this Isaac Perry was
engaged for a short time in the same business, but
later he built at Paige's yard, and also at least one
vessel at a yard near the Third Herring Brook.

A short distance farther down was the yard of
Thomas Barstow and Capt. Robert LeDthal Eells.
This last-named gentleniau was a descendant of Rev.
Nathaniel Eells, of Scituate, and is described by
Barry as " one of the wealthiest citizens of his day, a
man whose chief greatness consisted in the greatness
of his soul ; of unbounded hospitality, charitable,
kind to the poor and suffering, devoted to everything
public-spirited ; an able officer of the Revolution, and
who opened his doors cheerfully and widely to all
who were engaged in that struggle. This yard was
subsequently for a time used by John B. and Deacon
Elijah Barstow.

Parge's yard, occupied mostly by Deacon Isaac
Perry, was next below. Next down the river was
the yard occupied for a short time by Col. John
Bailey, a distinguished officer of the Revolutionary
army, and afterwards by Albeit and Josiah Smith.
Capt. Albert Smith was an able man, and at one time
held the office of high sheriff of the county. In
this yard aud upon this river began the training of a
young man for his after eminently useful career to
this couutry. Rear-Admiral Joseph Smith, who died
recently, full of years and honors, loved aud revered by
all who had the great privilege of kuowiug him, made
himself, while a mere boy, familiar with ship-building.
After his father had lost his fortune by the rascality
of a trusted friend, young Smith became an officer in
the navy, and was serving under Perry on Lake Erie.
In some way lie obtained permission to build a vessel

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 89 of 118)