Ellery Bicknell Crane.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) online

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for two years as loomfixer at Lee, Massachusetts,
then becoming overseer of the weave-room of the
Bussey mills (now Merchants Mills) at Dedham,
Massachusetts, where he worked one year. He
was given the management of a new mill erected
by Holmes, Whipmore & Company at Springfield,
Vermont, and he held this responsible position about
five years. From there he went to Pittsfield, Mas-
sachusetts, during the civil war, and took charge
of the. weave room of the Broad Mill, where he
remained several years. He went to Brattleboro,
Vermont, with H. P. Whittemore on a partner-
ship basis, having a nominal salary and a third in-
terest in the profits. But within a year Mr. Fiske
of the Jordan & Marsh Company of Boston assumed
control, Mr. Dawson remaining with the new man-
agement. He came with the same concern to Wor-
cester to the Adriatic Mill, of which he had charge
from 1864 to 1865. He subsequently entered part-
nership with George Crompton at 22 Front street,
Worcester, in the mill supply business, under the
firm name of Crompton & Dawson. The place of
business was on the site of the present Poli Theatre,
formerly Crompton building. At the end of three
years Mr. Crompton withdrew from the firm and
the name then became Dawson & Guild, continuing
for three years.

In 1870 Mr. Dawson removed to Holden, Mas-
sachusetts, one of the towns adjoining Worcester,
and bought his present plant which was formerly
used by Kimball & Talbot for the manufacture of
dividers and then by John O'Brien, who sold to
Dawson. Mr. Dawson started in the manufacture
of shoddy and colored cottons. After two years
he added looms for the manufacture of shirtings
and skirtings. In a few years he substituted broad
looms for the old narrow kind, and has since then
made a variety of woolen goods, such as plain and
fancy cassimeres and broadcloth, and during the
past few years exclusively fancy thibets. In 1S95
Mr. Dawson admitted his son, Charles A. Dawson,



to partnership, and in the following year the busi-
ness was incorporated under the laws of Massa-
chusetts, with Mr. Dawson president and treasurer
of tin- company, Charles A. Dawson, director,
superintendent and manager. In the spring of 1002
the company added to its plant a mill at Hollis-
ton, Massachusetts, rebuilt it and equipped it with
new machinery. The new plant was managed by
Charles A. Dawson, but his health failed and, after
six months, the Holliston plant was sold to A. W.
Darling, of Worcester, and he is now operating it
under the name of the Darling Woolen Com-
pany. The present organization of the Dawson
Manufacturing Company is as follows: President
and treasurer, Charles Dawson; secretary, Dr. C.
W. Stickney ; director, Mrs. C. W. Stickney.

In politics Mr. Dawson is a Republican and
he has been delegate to numerous nominating con-
ventions of his party. He has been assessor in
Holden one year and selectman three years. He
joined Athelstan Lodge of Free Masons in Wor-
cester in 1865. He was a member of the old
Washington Club at Worcester. He belongs to the
lb ime Market Club of Boston and the Woolen
Manufacturers' Association. Mr. Dawson iranks
among the most progressive and successful woolen
manufacturers of the county.

He married, July 2, 1852, Jane Elizabeth Osborn,
torn at Egremont, Massachusetts, April 7, 1829,
daughter of Ami S. and Amerilus (Smith) Osborn.
Her father was a hatter by trade. The children
•of Charles and Jane Elizabeth Dawson are: I.
Alida Amerilus, born at Broadbrook, Connecticut,
February 16, 1854, married, January I, 1874, Henry
Clay Chenery, of Holden, Massachusetts, and they
have one child, Carrie Isabel, born July 20, 1880,
wife of Frank Hinckley Cate, of Worcester. 2.
Carrie Eloise, born at Springfield, Vermont, March
30, 1856, married Dr. Clifford W. Stickney, of
Townsend, Massachusetts, and they have one son —
Ralph Dawson Stickney, born November 7, 1887. 3.
Charles Ami, born September 6, i860, see forward.
4. Freddie Henry, born July 9, 1863, died Novem-
ber 9. 1863.

(VI) Charles Ami Dawson, son of Charles Daw-
son (5), was born at Pittsfield, Massachusetts,
September 5. i860. He removed with his parents
to Middlefield, Massachusetts, and later to Brattle-
boro, Vermont, and Worcester, Massachusetts, where
lie was well educated in the public schools and at
Foster's Business College. At the age of fifteen
he began to learn his father's business in the Moss
Brook Woolen Mill at Holden, in the village of
Dawsons. He began at the bottom and worked his
way upward, acquiring a practical knowledge of
every part of the business. He was admitted to
partnership in the spring of 1893, and a few years
later, when the business was incorporated as the
Dawson Manufacturing Company, under the laws of
Massachusetts, he was elected vice-president and
secretary. When the Dawson Manufacturing Com-
pany bought the Winthrop Woolen Mills of Hollis-
ton, Massachusetts, Mr. Dawson took charge of the
plant, equipped it with new machinery and put it in
operation. The mill was a six-set plant. It was
successfully operated bv him for six months then,
owing to impaired health, he was obliged to abandon
his duties there and the plant was sold to A. W.
Darling, of Worcester, and is now operated by the
Darling Woolen Company.

Mr. Dawson died, after a short illness, at his
home in Holden, Massachusetts, September 21, 1003.
Mr Dawson was an able, thorough and successful
man of business. He devoted all his energies to
liis home and business, and had few other interests.

In religion he was a Universalist, but attended
the Orthodox Church (Congregational) at Holden.
In politics he was a Republican. He was active and
influential in town affairs. He was on the board
of selectmen of the town of Holden from March
24, 1898, to March 21, 1902. He was a member
of Worcester Lodge, No. 56, Odd Fellows, and of
the Royal Arcanum.

He married, September 30, 1884, Nellie Marion
Rogers, daughter of Rev. Henry M. and Marion
(Browning) Rogers, of Holden, Massachusetts. The
only child of Charles Ami and Nellie Marion Daw-
son was: Rachel Whitney, born July 20, 1894.

CROCKER FAMILY. Edmund Crocker (1),
grandfather of Jonathan Crocker, of Uxbridge, be-
longed to an ancient English family, to which doubt-
less all the American family also belong. The
Crocker family of Fitchburg, one of the best known
in Worcester county, is descended from an immi-
grant at Gloucester, but most of this name trace
their descent to two of the three immigrants to the
Plymouth colony. Francis Crocker was at Barn-
stable before 1643, fought in King Philip's war, re-
moved to Marshfield, where he died about 1700.
John Crocker, of Scituate, took the oath of allegi-
ance February 1, 1638, removed to Barnstable where
he died without issue 1658. William, brother -of John,
was in Scituate before 1636, removed to Barnsta-
ble, was town officer and deacon, died 1692. Ed-
mund is of a later generation, and it is not known
whether the American emigrants were related to his
branch of the family. He married Mary Ogden. He
died in England ; she died in Uxbridge, Massachu-
setts, whither she came with her children.

(II) Edmund Crocker, Jr., son of Edmund
Crocker (1), was born in England. He married
there in 1819, Ann Burley. He came to America in
1834 and found employment in Millville, Massachu-
setts. His brother Abraham was a soldier in the
British army and fought against Napoleon. He was
selected as one of the body-guard of the imperial
captive at St. Helena, and for his service received
a grant of land in Nova Scotia, where he settled
for a time, but he later removed to Millville, Massa-
chusetts, where he died. Edmund Crocker became
interested in local affairs and was for many years
a leading citizen. He died in Uxbridge, Massachu-
setts, April 6, 1872. He had two children of whom
Jonathan, mentioned below, was the oldest; the sec-
ond, Deborah, died in infancy before the family
came to America.

(III) Jonathan Crocker, son of Edmund Crocker
(2), was born in Covvleshaw, near Oldham, Lan-
cashire. England, October 7, 1820. He received a
common school education there and came with his
parents to this country in 1834. He went to work
first for his uncle Abraham at Millville, Massachu-
setts, on a farm. From there he removed to Ux-
bridge, where he learned the shoemaker's trade and
began to manufacture shoes on his own account in
Rice City. Part of his old shop is still standing.
When the business began to concentrate in larger
towns and to require shops with power and expens-
ive machinery, many of the farmer-shoemakers gave
up their trade. He then took up the business of
teaming in Uxbridge and vicinity, and this part of
his business is still prosperous, being now conducted
by his son Charles. He took an important part in
the upbuilding of many of the industries of the sec-
tion in which he lives. He drove the first load of
sand used in making the foundations of what is now
the Stanley Woolen Company mill, one of the larg-
est plants of the town. Mr. Crocker has led an act-
ive and useful life, and now at the age of eighty-six




<ioo6) still enjoys his health and faculties unim-
paired. In politics he is a Republican. He has
served the town as an overseer of the poor for a
period ot thirty-two years and has been chairman
during most of that time. He has been on the
school committee, was clerk of his district, was
highway surveyor for several years. He has been
one of the most faithful and honored of Uxbridge
citizens. He is a Congregationalist in religion.

He married, October 30, 1845, Sophroni'a Stod-
dard, of North Uxbridge, Massachusetts, daughter
of Lott Stoddard, of Medway, Massachusetts. Their
children: I. Charles Edmund, born May II, 1847,
married, November 9, 1868, Sarah E. Alexander,
and had Mabel A., born November 7, 1869, married,
November 7, 1894, Warren H. Stevens; their chil-
dren—Chester Crocker Stevens, born October 17,
1898; Wesley Warren Stevens, born December 10,
1901 ; Miriam Hoxsie Stevens, born May 27, 1904,
died October 7, 1904; Lloyd Edmund Stevens, born
February n, 1900. 2. George Albert, born January
4, 1849, station agent of the New York, New Haven
& Hartford Railroad Company at Uxbridge for
more than twenty years; married Jennie K. Sea-
grave, daughter of Lawson Seagrave, and had Net-
tie, born July 29, 1873, married Silas Taft (.s^e sketch
of Silas Taft) ; their children— Gladys C, and Cur-
tis George Taft. 3. Clara M., born June 14, 1856,
married, May I, 1879, Rev. George H. Johnson, now
residing in Taunton, Massachusetts ; their children —
Bertha Louise Johnson, born February 6, 1881, grad-
uate of Smith College, teacher in the public schools
of Taunton ; Lucia Belle Johnson, born November
-8, 1883, graduate of Smith College, now tutor in
Kentucky; Marian Christine Johnson, born August
15, 1887, student of Simons College; Helen Georgia
Johnson, born June 16, 1890; Ruth Alice Johnson,
born September 20, 1892; Margaret Hilda Johnson,
born November 3, 1893.

THOMAS A. HILLS. Joseph Hills (1), was
the emigrant ancestor of Thomas A. Hills, of Leom-
inster, Massachusetts. He was born at Great Bur-
stead, Billericay, Essex county, England. His
father was George Hills and his mother Mary. She
was twice married; her first husband was William

Joseph Hills married, July 22, 1624, at Great
Burstead, Rose Clarke. They removed with several
children to Maldon in Essex where John, Steven and
Sarah were born. In 1638 he became a stockholder
or "undertaker" in the ship "Susan and Ellen," in
which he sailed with his family for Boston arriv-
ing there July 17, 1638. He settled at Charlestown,
Massachusetts. In 1644 he was a selectman of that
town, in 1646 was in the general court and next
year was elected speaker. He lived on the Mystic
side of Charlestown in the part that became Maiden,
which was named from Mr. Hills' old home in
England. He was captain of the trainband. He
represented Maiden first in the general court and
served continuously in that position until 1664,
when he removed to Newbury. It is of interest to
note that John Waite who succeeded him was repre-
sentative for nineteen years and that he was his

In 1645 he was of a committee to set out lots
to the settlers of the Nashaway plantation. In 1650
he was on the committee headed by the governor
to draw up instructions for the Massachusetts dele-
gates to a gathering where commissioners of all
the colonies were to meet. In 1654, with Captains
Hawthorne and Johnson and the treasurer of the
colony, he served on a committee to frame a reply

to the home government which had demanded an
explanation for certain acts. He was an auditor of
treasury accounts 111 1650-53-61. One of his most
important public services was on the committee to
codny the Jaws of the colony 111 1O4S and later.
He made this first code in his own handwriting and
supervised the printing. In part payment lor this
work he received a grant of live hundred acres of
land on the Nashua river in New Hampshire and
remission of taxes in his old age.

His wife Rose, whom he married in England be-
fore he came to America, died in Maiden, March
24, 1650. fie married (.second;, June 24, 1051, Han-
nah smith, widow of Edward Mellows, sne died
about 1055. His third marriage in January, 1656.
to Helen (Ellina or Eleanor; Atkinson, daughter
of Hugh Atkinson, of Kendall, Westmoreland, Eng-
land, was attended with some unusual circumstances.
In those days clergymen were not allowed to solemn-
ize marriages. All marriages were performed by
magistrates. In 1641 Governor Belhngham raised
a storm of controversy in the colony by acting as
magistrate at his own wedding. He married nim-
sell to a pretty Penelope Peinam. Public opinion
was divided. Some sided with the governor in his
curious interpretation of the law, but more did not.
When the governor was called upon to come down
from the bench and plead to a complaint against
him for what his opponents charged as an illegal act,
he refused and it was left for Joseph Hills some
years later to put the law to a real test. He mar-
ried himself to Miss Atkinson, acting both as mag-
istrate and bride groom. He was called to account
by the authorities. He "was admonished for marry-
ing himself contrary to the law of this colony, page
38 111 the old Booke" and, in the language of the
General Court, "he freely acknowledged his of-
fence therein and his misunderstanding the grounds
whereon he went which he now confesseth to be
unwarrantable — and was admonished by the Court."

His third wife died January 6, 1063, and he
married, March 8, 1665, at Newbury, Massachusetts,
Anne Lunt, widow of Henry Lunt, and lived at her
house in Newbury the remainder of his life. She
was born about 1621 probably in England. His
note book containing business memoranda from 1627
to nearly the end of his life is in the possession of
the New England Historic-Genealogic Society. He
became totally blind in 1678. He died at Newbury,
February 5, 1688, aged about eighty-six years.

He was the father of sixteen children, eleven by
his first wife, three by his second and two by his
third. The children were : Mary, baptized at Great
Burstead, England, November 13, 1625, died at
Maiden, November 25, 1674; Elizabeth, baptized at
Great Burstead, October 21, 1627; Joseph, baptized
at Great Burstead, August 2, 1629, died young;
James, baptized at Great Burstead, March 6, 1631,
died young; John, baptized at Great Burstead, March
21, 1632, died at Maiden, July 28, 1652; Rebecca,
baptized at Maldon, England, April 20, 1634, died at
Maiden, Massachusetts, June 16, 1674; Steven, bap-
tized at Maldon, England, May 1, 1636, died at
Maldon before 1638; Sarah, baptized at Maldon,
England, August 14, 1637, died at Maldon, England,
same day; Gershom, born at Charlestown, Massa-
chusetts, July 27, 1639, died at Maiden, Massachu-
setts, 1710 to 1720; Mehitable, born at Maiden,
Massachusetts, January 1, 1641, died at Maiden,
Massachusetts, July, 1652 ; Samuel, born at Maiden,
Massachusetts, July, 1652, of whom later; Nathaniel,
born at Maiden, Massachusetts, December 19, 1653,
died at Maiden, 1664; Hannah, born at Maiden,
Massachusetts; Deborah, born at Maiden, Massa-



chusetts. March, 1657, died at Maiden, Oct. I, 1662;
Abigail, born at Maiden, Massachusetts, October 6,
1658, died at Maiden, October 9, 1662.

(II) Samuel Hills, son of Joseph Hills (1),
was born in Maiden, Massachusetts, July, 1652, died
at Newbury. Massachusetts, August 18, 1732. He
was a sergeant in the Indian wars and was in the bat-
tles of Bloody Brook, September 18, 1675, and at
Narragansett, December 19, 1675. He married at
Newbury, Massachusetts, May 20, 1679, Abigail
Wheeler, daughter of David and Sarah (Wise)
Wheeler, of Newbury. Da.vid was a son of John
Wheeler, who was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire,
England, in 1625, and came to New England in the
"Confidence" in 1638. He married Sarah Wise, May
11, 1650. Abigail Hills died April 13, 1742. Their
children were: Samuel, born February 16, 1680,
•died at Rehoboth. July 27, 1732 ; Joseph, born July
21, 1681, died at Newbury, Massachusetts, No-
vember 6, 1745 ; Nathaniel, February 9, 1683, died
at Hudson, New Hampshire, April 12, 1748;
Benjamin, October 16, 1684, died at Chester, New
Hampshire, November 3, 1762; Abigail, born
September 2. 1686, died at Newbury, Massachu-
setts, August 11, 1688; Henry, April 23, 1688,
died at Hudson, New Hampshire, August 20,
1757 ; William, October 8, 1689, died at Newbury,
Massachusetts, before January 20, 1724; Josiah,
July 27, 1691, died at Newbury, Massachusetts,
April 26, 1726; John, September 20, 1693, died after
1734; Abigail, June 27, 1695 ; James and Hannah
(twins), February 26, 1697; Daniel, December 8,
1700, removed from Nottingham West to Halifax,
Nova Scotia, about 1754; Smith, April 10, 1706, of
whom later.

(III) Smith Hills, son of Samuel Hills (2),
was born at Newbury, Massachusetts, April 10,
1706, died at Leominster, Massachusetts, August 23,
1786. He married (first) at Newbury, October 14,
1730, Mary Sawyer, daughter of Samuel and Abigail
(Goodrich) Sawyer. Samuel Sawyer was the son
of Samuel and Mary (Emery) Sawyer, and grand-
son of William Sawyer, who came from England.
Mrs. Hills was born at Newbury, Massachusetts,
October 3, 1712, died at Newbury, July 24, 1744.
He married (second) (published January 12, 1745,
in Newbury) Rachel Lowe, daughter of Nathaniel
and Abigail (Riggs) Lowe, of Ipswich, Massachu-
setts. She was born November 29, 1725, died at
Leominster, Massachusetts, June 1, 1819. He had
twenty children, seven by the first wife, thirteen by
the second. All but the last four were born at
Newbury ; they were born at Leominster where
Smith Hills was one of the early settlers. HI?
children were: Abigail, born October 27. 1731 ;
Judith, June 4, 1733, married Isaac Foster; Mary
or Molly, July 31, 1735. died December 26, 1805;

Hannah, October 31, 1737. married Bartlett;.

Samuel, October 1, 1739: an infant; Martha, May
19, 1743 ; Nathaniel, June 4. 1745, died in West New-
bury, September 29. 1832; Ruth, September 13, 1747,
died August 26, 1803 ; Rebecca, October 25, 1749,
died young; Obediah, Newbury, August 23, 1751.
died at Rowley. Massachusetts, June 22, 1825;
Rachel, November 10. 1753; John, born May 2, 1756;
Rebecca and Silas (twins), born July 14. 1758;
Silas, probably died young; Silas, born September
4, 1760, died January 8, 1855; Smith, Leominster,
September 30, 1763, died at Leominster, September
29, 1816; Huldah, February 1. 1766, died at Leom-
inster, August 20, 185 1 ; Judith, 1768, died at Leom-
inster. March is. 1851 : Betsey, died Mav 31, 1799.

(IV) John Hills, son of Smith Hills (3), was
born in Newbury, Massachusetts. May 2, 1756. His
parents moved to Leominster, Massachusetts, when

he was five or six years of age and he went to>
school and spent his boyhood in Leominster. He was.
a farmer. He married Sarah White, daughter of
Jonathan and Sarah (House) White. She, was
born at Leominster, February 20, 1757, died at Leom-
inster, March 4, 1812. Their children were : John,
born at Leominster, 1779, died March 22, 1842;
Sally, February 16, 1782, died March 9, 1827;
Thomas, born at Leominster, April 8, 1784, of whom.

(V) Captain Thomas Hills, son of John Hills
(4), was born at Leominster, Massachusetts, April
8, 1784, died April 2, 1851. He was educated in the
Leominster schools. When a young man he began
the business of comb manufacturing and continued
through life with great success this business. He
was a man of great energy and wonderful capac-
ity for hard work. He won a position of importance
in the community not only for his business ability
but for his personal character. He married (first),
at Leominster, February 11, 1812, Polly, daughter o£
Deacon John and Sarah (Richardson) Buss. She
was born March 18, 1788, and died September 12,
1836. He married (second) Nancy Colburn, bora
May 3, 1804, daughter of Elijah Colburn, March 4,
1838. The children, all by the second wife, were:
Josephine A., born December 19, 1838; Thomas A.,.
September IS, 1840; Charles W., August 9, 1847.

(VI) Thomas A. Hillis, son of Captain Thomas-
Hills (s), was born at Leominster, Massachusetts,.
September 15, 1840. He attended the Leominster
schools and was fond of books. He began his busi-
ness life as clerk in a grocery store. He left the
grocery business during the civil war to serve his
country. He first enlisted in Company C, Fifty-third.
Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers, for nine
months. In 1864 he enlisted again as sergeant in
Company E, Fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, and re-
mained in the service until the end of the war. In
1865 he went into the grocery business on his own
account and continued for nine years.

He was appointed postmaster of Leominster in
1874 and then retired from the grocery business.
He has retained his position as postmaster through
all the vicissitudes of politics since his first appoint-
ment. Very general satisfaction is expressed by the
patrons of the Leominster postoffice with his ad-
ministration of affairs. The business of this office
has grown from modest proportions until now it
ranks among the best second class postoffices of
Massachusetts. Few men have been in public office
as long as he, and few have won the hearts of the
people more thoroughly. Mr. Hills is known not
only in Leominster but all over the state. He is
a Republican and always ready to serve his party
in any good cause. He has for many years served
the town as auditor. He is an Odd Fellow, and is
a prominent member of the Grand Army Post of
hrs native town, and was commander of the Charles
H. Stevens Post, No. 53, of Leominster, Massachu-
setts, 1887 and 1888. He and his family attend the
Unitarian Church at Leominster.

He married, June 26, 1866, Clara B. Polley,
daughter of Alvin M. Polley, a respected citizen of
Leominster. Their children are : Mabel C, died
young; Helen M., married J. Ward Healey, a ris-
ing young lawyer of Leominster; Ethel C, and Edith
C. (twins), died in infancy.

(1), the immigrant ancestor of James Horace Bul-
lard, of Holden, is the progenitor of most of the
Worcester county families bearing this surname.
He was born in England in 1599 and died in Water-
town a few years after he came over, June 24, 1639.



His widow Anne married (second) Henry Thorpe.
She had a grant of land in 1644 in Watertown,
while widow of Robert Bullard. Henry Thorpe
was a proprietor of Watertown. He sold land about
1642 on the Cambridge side of the line. When he
married Anne, widow of Robert Bullard, he gave
a bond, November 25, 1639, that he would not alien-
ate any of the estate then in her possession and
consented to a deed that she made to her son,
Benjamin Bullard, and his sisters. The bond was
made before John Simpson and witnessed by Will-
iam Bullard. Thorpe died May 21, 1672, and her
children inherited his estate. The son, Benjamin
Bullard, then of Bogistow, sold the house in Water-
town after Thorpe's death to Justinian Holden, of
Cambridge, October 3, 1673. The place was lately
occupied by the Thorpes. There were eighty acres
of land and other parcels. His wife Martha also
released her dower rights in the estate. Before
Thorpe died he and his wife Anne sold some of the
Bullard land "for relief from necessity" October

Online LibraryEllery Bicknell CraneHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester county, Massachusetts, with a history of Worcester society of antiquity (Volume 2) → online text (page 104 of 133)