Danvers (Mass.).

Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 online

. (page 5 of 22)
Online LibraryDanvers (Mass.)Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 → online text (page 5 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Cook, Daland, and Goldthwait, patriots who fell at the Battle
of Lexington, and of the reverend pastors. Holt and Walker,
who alone, of the large number who have officiated as pastors
in the South Parish, died with their harness on.

But what more than anything else excites the curiosity of
strangers is the burial place of Miss Elizabeth Whitman, the
original of Eliza Wharton, immortalized by a lady, wife of a


clergyman at Brighton, as the American Coquette. A constant
pilgrimage to her grave has been performed until the path is
firmly beaten, and the monument which is of freestone is nearly
crumbled in ruins. Tradition speaks of this lady as possessing
superior charms, both mental and personal. She was of good
family, and basely betrayed. While her deviations from the
path of virtue may start the tear of pity, her follies should not
be overlooked. A misapplied sympathy for her, may be used
as an apology by others. When we witness the manner in
which the populace of our own times are led captive by the at-
tractions of those not less exceptionable, it is not surprising that
there should be found many a sijmpathizing devotee at the
shrine of this unfortunate lady. Here on the banks of this
beautiful stream that flows in our midst, will be found the earli-
est and latest graves of Old Salem. Who that has followed
the mournful hearse, laden with the last remains of friends be-
loved, slowly winding its way over marsh and dale to this
'• Harmonious Grove," Avill not involuntarily exclaim,

" From every grave a thousand virtues rise,
In shapes of mercy, charity and love,
To walk the world and bless it. Of every tear
That sorrowing mortals shed on these green graves
Some good is born, some gentler nature comes ?"


There is no certain data to ascertain the number of inhabit-
ants in the town at the time of the separation. The number
of persons named in the first assessment of taxes, is 280, which,
multiplied by five, will give 1400. The number did not ex-
ceed this ; it may not have been more than 1200. It has in-
creased as follows, viz. : —













7 g


1850, . . . 8110,

1852, . . . 8400,
being six times the number there were one hmidred years be-
fore. The number has actually doubled within the last twenty
years, and is now going on, increasing as fast as at any other
period. The improved facilities of communication have brought
us within a half hour's time of the Capital.


For many years Danvers struggled hard for railroad accom-
;modation. She had to contend with the monied aristocracy of
rthe Commonwealth. Through mistaken influences, the Eastern
Railroad had been located across the water to East Boston, and
through the tunnel at Salem, both of which were egregious
errors ; and a determination was formed to constrain the travel
in that direction, but it was found no go ; the people were not
to be driven where they did not incline to go. Finally a land
. route was opened from Salem, through Danvers, to Boston ;
which, if the people of Danvers had been wise enough to keep
within their own control, as they should have done, would
have greatly benefited them, and equally annoyed the Eastern
Road ; but they were outwitted, and the boon escaped their
grasp. Two other roads have been laid through the town,
towards the Merrimack, where but one was needed. A million
of dollars has been laid out where half a million would have
done better, if it had been judiciously expended. The conse-
quence is, we have all the "noise and confusion" of railroad
movement, with indiflerent accommodations, under the direction
of those who have hitherto shown very little disposition to


Justice demands a more distinct notice of those individuals
who have taken a prominent part in the concerns of the town,
and been identified with it, than has been given in the rapid
description of incidents presented. The characteristics of a
town are necessarily the result of individual efforts. Among


those, who have left the deepest impress on its character, wil!
be found

Daniel Eppes, Esq.,
Capt. Samuel Gardner,
Capt. John Proctor,

Nathaniel Putnam,

Joseph Putnam,

Samuel Holten,

William Shillaber,

Gideon Foster,

Israel Hutchinson,
Dr. Amos Putnam,

Nathan Felton,

Edward South wick,

Samuel Page,

Squiers Shove,

Elias Putnam,

Jonathan Shove,

Daniel P. King.
Of those who will be entitled to be remembered on the page
of history, the following may be mentioned : —
Gen. Israel Putnam,
Gen. Gideon Foster,
Gen. Moses Porter,
Dr. Samuel Holten,
Col. Israel Hutchinson,
Dr. Amos Putnam,
Rev. Peter Clark,
Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth,
Col. Jeremiah Page,
Capt. Samuel Page,
Capt. Samuel Flint,
Col. Enoch Putnam,
Capt. Samuel Eppes,
Hon. Timothy Pickering,
Hon. Nathaniel Bowditch,
Hon. Daniel P. King.


Of those good men who lived long and well, and were con-
tent so to do, without any proclamation made of it, the follow-
ing should not be overlooked : —

Levi Preston,

Caleb Oakes,

Johnson Proctor,

Eleazer Putnam,

Fitch Poole,

Ebenezer Shillaber,

Stephen Needham,

Samuel King,

Malachi Felton,

Ebenezer King,

Moses Preston,

Stephen Proctor.


Identified with the town of Danvers will ever be the name
of Gen. Gideon Foster. Born in 1749, and coming upon the
stage of life just as the town came into being, he grew with
its growth, and continued nearly through its first century. His
father was of Boxford. His mother was Lydia Goldthwait, a
descendant of an early family in Danvers.

At the beginning of the Revolution, then in the vigor of
manhood, full of patriotic ardor and physical energy, he was
called to scenes of trial and danger in the battles of Lexington
and Bunker Hill, and there established a reputation for valor
that was never tarnished. Often have I listened with admira-
tion to the narrative of the eventful scenes through which he

On the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, he started, with
the consent of Col. Pickering, commander of the regiment of
Salem and vicinity, at the head of his company of minute-men ;
and with such ardor did they move, that they passed on foot
sixteen miles in four hours, to West Cambridge, where they
met the enemy, on their return from Concord, near Lexington.
Intent on the purpose in view, regardless of personal danger,

Facsimile of ins wnlnnj at 96 year.s i<r' s<y:..


when they heard the troops approaching, unmindful of theii"
number, they took their station in a barn-yard by the road-side,
and when they were directly opposite, they poured into them
an effectual fire. Immediately they withdrew, under the cover
of the woods, behind the hill, and were there met by the flank
guard", when seven of their number were shot dead, and as
many more wounded. Their names are inscribed on yonder
monument, and will continue to awaken the liveliest emotions
of freedom, in the breasts of patriots of every land, while the
granite of our hills shall endure.

The facts relating to this engagement I had from Dennison
Wallis and the General himself, together with the further fact,
that he discharged his own musket at the enemy twelve times,
loaded with two balls each time, Avith well-directed aim. And
as he was remarkable for being a good shot, there can be no
doubt he made his mark upon their ranks.

For more than seventy years, Gen. Foster was one of the
most active and influential citizens of the town. For the last
thirty years, it was his ambition to be the first to deposit his
ballot, in all important elections. So unerring was his judg-
ment, that he never failed to be the file leader of the 7najority,
or wavered from the genuine Whig principles of '76. In his
time, there was no doubt where Danvers would be found.
Since his departure, there have arisen those who knew not
Gideon, and the result has occasionally corresponded with this
want of knowledge.

Gen. Foster will long be remembered for his private as well
as his public virtues. Tried in no small measure by the hard-
ships of adversity, his innate integrity never yielded to tempta-
tion. Through life, he sustained the character of an honest
man. Who does not remember with admiration that venerable
form, bending under the infirmities of more than ninety years,
as he guided his plough upon his scanty acres, or harnessed his
horse to attend upon the temple of the Lord ; and with what
humility he bowed before the Deity, whom he so reverently
worshipped ?

His virtues will ever be enshrined in our hearts, though (to


oiu" reproach be it spoken) no monument marks the resting-
place of his ashes. His epitaph may now be supposed to read,
Died Nov. 1, 1845, aged 96| years, —

" By strangers honored and by strangers mourned." *


Moses Porter was born at Danvers, in 1757. He was an
officer in the artillery service, under General Putnam, at Bunker
Hill, and particularly distinguished for the bravery with which
he fought. He was with Washington at the battle of Brandy-
wine, and wounded at Trenton, on the Delaware. At the close
of the Revolutionary Avar, he was the only officer of artillery
retained on the peace establishment. He was with General
Wayne, at his celebrated engagement with the Indians in 1794.
He was commander at the taking of Fort George, in 1813; —
and in many other positions during the Avar on the Western
frontier. He Avas a soldier, and a brave one ; — uniting in an
extraordinary manner, the suaviter in 7)iodo Avith the fortiter in
re. I have heard him say, whenever danger or difficulty was
apprehended, he threw off his epaulette and plume, and putting
on his tight cap and short jacket, he Avore them until all dis-
turbing elements had passed aAvay.

At the beginning of the war of 1812, he commanded at the
port of Norfolk, and Avith such firmness Avere the enemy re-
pulsed on their first visit, that they never found it convenient
to call a second time.

He Avas an upright, honorable man, of mien dignified and
commanding ; a rigid disciplinarian ; a Washingtonian in senti-
ment ; of unAvavering courage ; uniting all the urbanities of the
gentleman, Avith the inflexible firmness of the soldier. Danvers
may be proud of furnishing, in Putnam and Porter, two as res-

* Here let me say, that the same envelope that contained the donation from
George Peabody, Esq., of London, of $20,000 for the promotion of education
and morality among us, authorized me to subscribe, in behalf of the donor,
the sum of fifty dollars towards a monument to the memory of the General, as
soon as a corresponding sympathy shall be awakened in the bosoms of his


olute soldiers as ever preceded Zachary Taylor or Winfield
Scott in the service of their country.

Gen. Porter died at Cambridge, April, 1822, aged 05. His
remains rest in the family bmial-ground at Danvers.


A summary view of the condition of the town of Danvers, at
the close of the first century of its independent existence, shows
the following facts, viz. : —

Population, . . . . 8,110

Valuation, . . . $3,294,800

Estimated Annual Payments, —

For Religious Instruction, . . $10,000

For support of Free Schools, , 10,000

For support of the Poor, . . 5,000

For ordinary Municipal purposes, 5,000

I use round numbers, omitting fractions. A large part of the
population are now engaged in mechanical and manufacturing
pursuits. Many have recently come in, and can hardly be,
reckoned as permanent settlers. The facilities for em|)loyment
are constantly enlarging ; and with the increasing facilities of
intercourse through all parts of the country, and the continued
industrial habits that have ever been the distinguishing charac-
teristic of the town, imagination can hardly set bounds to the
advances to be made.*

* On the next page will be found a table explanatory of the finances of

Biographical sketches of most of those named on page 51, had been pre-
pared ; but they are omitted, to give place to more interesting matters, that
sprung up on the day of the celebration.



Descendants of the pioneers at Danvers ! of Endicottj of
Putnam, of Porter, of Preston, of Felton, of Waters, of Trask,
of Osborn, and a host of others. Why have you come together
this day ? Is it not to gain instruction from the contemplation
of the deeds of your fathers ?

Be animated by iheh: patriotism ; — ^be purified hj their piety ;
— ^be admonished by their follies; — be encouraged by their
industry ; — and in all things, wherein they were found worthy,

Valuations and Assessments in Danvers, from 1827 to 1852.



Per cent, of Town Tax.





$6,360 38




6,456 32




6,679 52




8,047 40




6,581 78




7,244 96




8.146 98




7,855 26




7,866 44




8,010 04




9,313 75




8,! 35 38




8,326 12




9,857 50




8,728 14




9,554 20




9,404 35




10,718 00




14,717 56




18,406 64




16,342 83




15.166 48




15,737 12




21,539 70




26,127 m




25,038 20

Thus it appears, while the property in town has not ^oubleJ, taxation has
increased fourfold. It should also be remembered, that the highway, county,
district, and religious taxes, usually amount to as much as the town tax. The
amount of taxation in the town is not less than ten dollars annually on each
thousand dollars of property.

This table has been compiled with care, and will afford to the curious in-
quirer the best possible index of the progress and the management of the
concerns of the town. It should serve as an admonition to the citizens to keep
their expenditures within their means ; — a lesson of late too little regarded.


strive to imitate their example. How can you better show
yourselves worthy of your parentage ?

Here, where once grew the bluebeny and the alder, and the
fi'og and the turtle tuned their notes without annoyance, now
spouts the steatn engine, rolls the railroad car, and resounds the
busy hum of industry of every description. Here the gushing
fountains pour out resources inexhaustible through the tannin
from the bark of the mountain. On the hills made fertile by
the skill ; — on the plains enriched by the toils ; — on the mead-
ows reclaimed by the art, of those who first landed on these
forbidding shores, will ever be found rich mementos of their
wisdom and their worth.

Though, in your coffers, the pearls of the Indies, or the glit-
tering sands of California, may not abound, still, while the
unfaultering hearts and strong arms of freemen are yours, no
danger need be feared. The combined power of learning,
liberty, and law, will be your cegis of 'protection in every emer-

In conclusion, allow me to cite the following beautiful lines : —

" There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved of Heaven o'er all the world beside ;
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot, than all the rest.

There woman reigns, — the mother, daughter, wife,
Strews with fresh flowers the thorny path of life.
Amidst her walks domestic duties meet.
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet.

Where shall that land, that sipot ofearlh, be found ?
Art thou a man ? a patriot ? look around !
Oh thou shalt find, where'er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home."

8 h



Introductoi7 Remarks, -


Ancient Naumkeag,



Name of Danvers,


Grant of land to Capt. John Endicott, -


" " " to Eev. Samuel Skelton, •


" " " to John Humphrey, Esq.,


" " " to John Putnam and Sons,


" " " to Emanuel Downing,


Witchcraft Delusion,

12 to 19

Eevolutionary Incidents, •

19 to -28

Battle of Lexington,


Battle of Bunker Hill, -


Heroes of the Revolution, ' •


Extraordinary Age of Soldiers, -


Eeligiovis Worship,

27 to 32

Education, and Free Schools,

32 to 36

Paupers, Support of, &c.,

36 to 38

Temperance movements,

38 to 39

Business of the Town, -

■ 39 to 40

Official Stations, -

• 41 to 44

Medical Profession,

■ 44 to 45

Legal Profession,


African Slavery, •


Burial Places,


Population of the Town,


Railroads, - - - -


Gideon Foster, notice of, -

- 52 to 04

Moses Porter, notice of, ■

- 54 to 55

Financial Table, -


I Hf. Thayer CskthJioston.

c^wh^u</ (JYD^yk^





Danvers, loved name, my native place,

The dearest land on the broad face

Of Earth, to me, — around thee cling

Lov'd memories, — of these I sing ;

Lov'd legends, which my youthful ear

Drank with delight, — and here, yes here.,

I've tasted all the various sweets,

Which man in his life's journey meets.

Here too I've suffered, mourned, and shed

The tears of grief, o'er loved ones dead.

Committed to thy bosom lie

All of the dearest that could die.

And through their graves, I farthest see

Into a blest futurity.

O Danvers ! how can I forget

A gem like thee so richly set,

By all life's holiest powers enchas'd,

And in my very heart encas'd.

How can I then thy call refuse,

The residence of ev'ry Muse,

That has, with song, my pathway cheer'd,

And doubly to my soul endear'd

My home, sweet home, so full of charms,

O how the thought with rapture warms !

Yes home, sweet home, I've never known.

Except in Danvers, aa my own.


Danvers, Danvers, proud am I,
Who hold thee in esteem so high,
On this Centennial Jubilee

Thy Laureat and chief bard to be.

Yes proud, tho' trembling now with fear,

Lest I disgrace a theme so dear ; —

Lest hands benumb'd by age and toil

The sculpture of thy beauties spoil.

And yet it seems so meet that they.

Who in thy service have grown grey, —

Who've loved thee longest, known thee well,

Should on this day thy story tell, —

Tho' not to risks of failure blind

1 dare essay the task assigned.


What need is there that Danvers' sons should roam ?

Has the broad earth a good not found at home.

By those who ne'er have wandered ? Still they go,

On other lands their labors to bestow !

Yes, go, moved by benevolence to give

To others more than they from them receive !

Well, let them go, the sons of other soils

Fill well their places here, and take the spoils

By them abandoned ! — cultivate her fields.

And feast on dainties which old Danvers yields !

We bid right welcome to our homes and hearts

All who bring here their industry and arts, —

Rebuild waste places, or ope places new,

Give zest to social life, good men and true.

Who will the bounds of useful works extend,

And act the parts of brother, helper, friend.

None greet with purer joy this festive day

Than these adopted citizens, who say

' Danvers to us has proved a Mother dear ;

' Life's richest banquet we have tasted here.'

And ye, self-exiled children, who have come
T' embrace your Mother in your dear old home,
Welcome, once more, into her outstretched arms ;
O has she not for you still peerless charms ?


Say, have you elsewhere in your wanderings found,
Of heartfelt joys a more productive ground ?


What son of Danvers can unmovM survey

The scene before us, and the prospect round.
The moving panorama, bright and gay.

Forest and pasture, tillage and meadow ground,
Houses and workshops, factories and barns,

And an industrious people busy there !
Comfort and thrift the roving eye discerns.

With peace and plenty nestling everywhere ;
Railroads and steamers, which facilitate
Progress in all that's pleasing, good, or great,
Give to the people here ubiquity.
Unknown in ages past, and set them free
O'er a wide field of usefulness to roam —
Work many miles abroad, yet live at home ;

Schoolhouses, where the intellect acquii'es
Strength to fight nobly the battles of life.

Churches, soul-lifting to Heaven, whose spires
Point to a rest from earth's sorrows and strife.

Or if alone upon the landscape, we

Bend all our thoughts, how beautiful and grand
The varied prospects, various scenery.

Of hill and dale, brooks, lakelets, sea and land ;
Those large morains,* our mother's swelling breasts ,-

Full of refreshing springs of water sweet ; —
Those fertile plains, yon broken rocks where rests

Volcanic power — its ancient work complete —
These, by the lights which science o'er them throws.

Teach morals, wisdom, and ideal arts —
As rich as fam'd Parnassus' mount bestows,

Or classic realm to favored bards imparts ;
Yes, Beauty here her countless forms displays.

Her rainbow-tinted, glorious, changeful rays
Present an everpleasing panorama.

To recreate us thro' life's painful drama.

* Hills formed by the diluvial drift.


To aid our moral culture 'round us here,

The graves of honored ancestors appear,
Scattered on every side o'er hill and dale,

Telling, to thoughtful souls, a most instructive tale.


The past returns, the present disappears,

Old Time rolls backward nearly twelve score years j

Dense forests fill these vales, those hill tops crown,

Rills, brooks, and rivers send their waters down

An unobstructed tribute to the sea,

And wild herds graze on fertile hill and lea.

Here lives the Indian, nature's savage child.

Fierce as the panther, as the roebuck wild,

Housed in wigwams, simple structures these —

The frames are poles, or small straight sapling trees.

In circles, or in squares, fixed in the ground.

Their tops with strips of bark together bound ;

With mats or bark well cover'd, tight and warm,

Shelter'd by forest trees from sun and storm ;

A bull-rush mat a side hole covers o'er,

Which is at once a window and a door ;

A central fire, by which their food they cook.

And a top hole to give egress to smoke.

Around this fire, when chilled by Winter's cold,

In skins or blankets wrapp'd, the young and old

Sleep, work or game ; feast, smoke, dance, paint or sing,

Prepare to hunt or fight ; and hither bring

The spoils ; here squaws, pappooses, guests repose,

Wan'iors and captives all together doze.

But many a wigwam now a ruin lies ;

The yellow plague, which Powow's art defies,

Has Massachusetts warriors swept away ;

Their thousands down to hundreds are reduc'd j
Cold, cold, the ashes on their hearth-stones lay.

Their bows unstrung, their traps and nets unus'd.*

" In 1612-13, the Massachusetts Tribe of Indians, which had previously
numbered 3000 warriors, was so reduced by the " yellow plague," that there-
after it consisted of 300 men only, besides women and children.— -GooAiin'*
Historical Collediotis, 1654,



I sing of ancient times, when sires of ours

First sought a home upon these pleasant shores :

So pleasant now, but when they first came here

A howling wilderness, cold, dark and drear.

O why did those, who had been bred in ease,

Defy the dangers of uncharted seas.

And throw themselves, and all they dearly prized,

Upon a scheme so wild, so ill advised ?

They had no home in England ; ruthless war

On all their rights, which were worth living for,

Had so reduced them to despotic thrall.

That their free souls were all that they could call

Their own. No home ! for unmolested, they

Could not enjoy the privilege to pray

Their God to bless them ; nor themselves employ

In acts of worship, the soul's highest joy,

Such as their conscience did of them require,

And which alone could save them from the fire

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryDanvers (Mass.)Centennial celebration at Danvers, Mass., June 16, 1852 → online text (page 5 of 22)