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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in 1829.

In addition to the making of card machines the
firm began the manufacture of card clothing in
Philadelphia with George W. Morse in charge, con-
ducting business under the name of James Smith
& Co. The firm name of the concern was Smith,
Woodcock & Knight. The business was moved to
the Central factory north of the church in 1848. In
1848 T. E. Woodcock and Dexter Knight, sons of
the senior partners, were admitted to the firm and
the name became Woodcock, Knight & Co. In 1867
the business passed into the hands of the younger
generation. The partners were henceforth : T. E.
Woodcock, Dexter Knight, George M. Knight and
James J. Knight. In the year preceding the factory
had been enlarged. The firm was dissolved in 1881
and the property sold later to the American Card
Clothing Company.

Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Knight kept the boarding
house for the firm until about 1832, when they
moved back to the Green Tavern. Mr. Knight had
charge of most of the new buildings of the firm and
he also had charge of the building of the brick
school building on Pleasant street. His own resi-
dence on the site of the old Green Tavern he built
in 1843. It is now occupied by his son, Dexter. It
is a picturesque and attractive house in the heart of
the beautiful village. Mr. Knight at one time owned
considerable land and carried on farming. He was
an active member of the Worcester County Agri-
cultural Society.

Captain Knight was engaged in the manufacture
of card clothing in the period of the rapid develop-
ment of that industry, when inventive genius was
perfecting the wonderful machine for card setting,
of which a gentleman once said, after watching its
operation, "Why, it thinks !" He was not trained



to the business, but was a natural mechanic, in-
genious and inventive. He made many improve-
ments in the machinery used and according to the
testimony of his partner, John Woodcock, made the
first card clothing set by machinery in Leicester.
Captain Knight was in the stage in Ohio when
Christopher C. Baldwin, of Worcester, was killed.
Hiram Knight was one of the directors of the Lei-
cester Bank from 1850 to 1874. Between the years
1836 and 1844 he served the town in various offices.
He was assessor, moderator and selectman. He was
appointed justice of the peace by Governor Bout-
well when that office had the duties of magistrate.
In politics he was a Democrat, but decidedly inde-
pendent. He was a member of the State Constitu-
tional Convention in 1853. In early life he was-
active in military affairs and was captain of the
Leicester company. He was one of the early mem-
bers of the Second Congregational Church, (.Uni-
tarian).

"Captain Knight," writes Rev. A. H. Cool-
idge, "was a man of sound judgment, self-reliant
and of strict business integrity. He gave close at-
tention to his business and was successful. He was
wise and cautious in his investments and became
one of the wealthy men of the town. For his success,
he was largely indebted to his wife. She was a
woman of domestic tastes, and devoted herself un-
tiringly to the varied duties of the household, acting
her part with true womanly fidelity and fortitude
in all the varied experiences of the family, in pros-
perity and in trial and sorrow. She was married at
the age of seventeen years."

He married, April 28, 1818, Olive Barnes, whose
mother was Betsey Green, daughter of William
Green, who was born in Leicester in 1743, the son
of Wiliam and Rebeckah Green.

They had eleven children, seven of whom died
young. Three sons, long known as the partners
and successors in business of Captain Knight, are
the only children who survived their parents. The
children of Captain Hiram and Olive (Barnes)
Knight were: Merrill, born September 20, 1818, died
young; Ann Elizabeth, born March 18, 1820, died
August 28, 1821 ; James Sullivan, born August 24,-
1822, died January 5. 183 1 ; George, born July 10,.
1824, died January 22, 1835 ; Dexter, born July 18,
1826; Jason, born October 24, 1828, died January
8, 1836; Susan, born September 16, 1830, died Jan-
uary 18, 1856; Hiram, Jr., born September 5, 1833,
died July 27. 1845 ; Rebecca Sprague, born October
12, 1836, died March 23, 1837; James Jason, bom
August 21, 1841 ; George Merrill, born March 10,
1844. Captain Knight died May 6, 1875, at the age
of eighty-one years and eight months. His wife died
April 19, 1879, at the age of seventy-eight.

(VIII) Dexter Knight, son of Captain Hiram
Knight (7), was born in Leicester, Massachusetts,.
July 18, 1826. Mr. Knight has been identified with
the life of his native town from his birth.
He attended the public schools and Leicester Acad-
emy there. At the age of fifteen he began a mer-
cantile career in the store of D. Rice & Co. Four
years later when he was nineteen he was admitted
to partnership in the firm and the name changed to-
Rice & Knight. He soon left the store, however,
to enter his father's factory, and as related in the
sketch of his father, was admitted to the firm in
1848 at the same time that T. E. Woodcock was
admitted. For many years he was the head of the
firm of Woodcock. Knight & Co., manufacturers of
card clothing machines and makers of card cloth-
ing. The history of this firm has been told in the
sketch of Captain Hiram Knight. The firm was-




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WORCESTER COUNTY



375



dissolved in ]88i and since then Mr. Knight has
been occupied with his duties at the bank and with
the care of his varied property interests.

Mr. Knight has been one of the men of public
spirit who has made Leicester famous as one of the
beautiful country villages of central Massachusetts
Together with Colonel Samuel E. Winslow and
Charles A. Denny he was a large contributor to the
cost of making the old Leicester common a park
of unsurpassed beauty. The work done at the com-
mon served as an example to the whole village, for
the common with its graceful shrubbery and artistic
trees and flowers seem hut a centre of a well
planned design that takes in the whole. Mr. Knight
is one of the park commissioners in charge of the
park, as it is now called. He served for years on
the board of trustees of the Leicester public library.
He was one of the incorporators of the Leicester
Hotel or Leicester Inn, as it is now called. He is
treasurer of the Rawson Brook cemetery. Although
not an aspirant for public office he has always been
interested in town affairs and has helped in every
movement designed to make the village more at-
tractive or prosperous. In politics he is an inde-
pendent Democrat, and is a member of the Second
Congregational Church (Unitarian).

Mr. Knight is well known in banking circles
from his connection with the Leicester National
Bank, of which he was a director for nearly thirty
years, until it went into liquidation in 1904 because
of the law prohibiting close relations between sav-
ings and national banks in Massachusetts, and from
his connection with the Leicester Savings Bank, of
which he was successively trustee, auditor, member
of the investment board, vice-president and presi-
dent. He resigned from the Savings Bank in
1902.

Mr. Knight married, January n, 1864, Priscilla
Jenkins Bowen, of Mattapan, Massachusetts. She
was born at Dorchester, Massachusetts, July 18,
1841. They have had one child, N. Olive, who lives
with her parents at the old homestead in Leicester.
_ (VIII) James Jason Knight, son of Captain
Hiram Knight (7), was born in Leicester, Massa-
chusetts, August 21, 1841. He attended the schools
of his native town and received an academic edu-
cation at Leicester Academy and at Wilbraham
Academy. He went to work at an early age in the
card clothing business of his father and learned the
same thoroughly. In 1867 he became a partner in
the firm with his two brothers and T. E. Woodcock.
He was in active business in this firm until it was
dissolved in 1881. The history of the business and
the firm is given elsewhere in the sketch of his
father, Captain Hiram Knight. Mr. Knight was
recognized as one of the substantial business men
of the town for a generation or more. He has for
the past twenty years been occupied with the man-
agement of his private affairs and his duties at the
banks. He was a director of the Leicester National
Bank and a trustee of the Leicester Savings Bank.
He married Anna Holman, and they have one child,
Susan Esther.

(VIII) George Merrill Knight, son of Captain
Hiram Knight (7), was born in Leicester, Massa-
chusetts, March 10, 1844. He was the youngest of
eleven children. He attended the Leicester public
schools, Williston Academy at Easthampton and
Eastman's Business College at Poughkeepsie, New
York. As related in the sketch of his father. Cap-
tain Hiram Knight, he entered the firm of Wood-
cock, Knight & Co., in 1867, after learning the busi-
ness and he inherited his father's mechanical and
inventive abilities. The history of the three Knight
brothers from 1867 to 1881 when the firm was dis-



solved is much the same. They were prosperous in
business and all acquired wealth. Since his retire-
ment from business Mr. Knight has spent a large
portion of his time in travel. As a friend recently
said of him ; "It is hard for him to find a new trip
worth taking; he has been everywhere." Mr. Knight
is a well informed man, as perhaps all men who have
been educated by travel and observation must be.
Certainly Mr. Knight has larger purposes than mere
amusement in his journeyings. He is a trustee of
the Rawson Brook cemetery, and persoually built
the pink granite wall which surrounds it and the
entrance gates. He gave them his personal atten-
tion and paid all the bills. On account of his ab-
sence from the village for the greater part of the
time he has not accepted positions of honor and
trust in the community. He is unmarried.

FRANK WALKER DAVIS. Dolor Davis (1),
immigrant ancestor of Frank Walker Davis, of Ash-
burnham, Massachusetts, was born in England ; set-
tled in Cambridge, Massachusettts, where he was
a proprietor as early as 1635. He removed to Dux-
bury and was proprietor there. He was admitted
freeman June 2, 1646. He and his wife were dis-
missed from the church at Duxhury and joined that
at Barnstable, August 27, 1648, and he lived there
some years. He removed to Concord, but in his old
age returned to Plymouth county. He made his
will September 13, 1672. It was proved July 2,
1673, mentioning sons : Symon, Samuel, John ;
daughters: Mary Lewis and Ruth Hall; wife Jo-
anna. (A full account of Dolor Davis will be
found in the sketches of the Davis family of Wor-
cester and elsewhere in this work.)

(II) Samuel Davis, son of Dolor Davis (2),
was born in England or Cambridge, about 1635. He
married, at Lynn, January n, 1665-66, Mary Med-
dowes. She died at Concord, October 3, 1710. He
married (second), October 18, 171 1, Ruth Taylor,
w'ho died August 6, 1720. He was admitted a free-
man March 21, 1689-90. He settled in that part of
Concord that became Bedford, and his farm was on
the back road from Concord to Bedford. He di-
vided his real estate among his sons before his
death by deeds. The children: 1. Mercy, born
October 27, 1666, died December 18, 1667. 2. Sam-
uel, see forward. 3. Daniel, born March 16, 1673,
married at Concord, April 27, 1699, Mary Hubbard ;
resided at Bedford; he died February II, 1741, and
she died February 2, 1769, aged eighty-seven. 4.
Mary, born August 12, 1677, married, April 26, 1699,
John Stearns. 5. Eleazer, born July 26, 1680, mar-
ried May 7, 1705, Eunice Potter. 6. Lieutenant
Simon, born August 9, 1683, married, 1713, Dorothy
; removed to Rutland about 1720; died Feb-
ruary 16, 1763; buried at Holden. 7. Stephen, born
March 20, 1686, married, March 26, 1713, at Con-
cord, Elizabeth Fletcher; resided at Bedford.

(III) Samuel Davis, son of Samuel Davis (2),
was born in Concord, Massachusetts, June 21, 1669.
He resided at Bedford and Chelmsford, and was one
of the early proprietors of Townsend. He married
Abigail Read, March 2, 1697, and she died January
13, 1709. He married (second) Mary Law. about
1710. His children: Abigail, born January 27, 1698;
Mary, November 18, 1700; Samuel, October 3, 1703,
see forward; Jacob, July 8, 1707, settled in Lunen-
burg ; Eleazer. Stephen. John. The children of
the second wife: Lydia, December 4, 1716; Martha;
Deliverance, November 27, 1722.

(IV) Samuel Davis, son of Samuel Davis (3),
was born October 3. 1703, at Bedford, Massachu-
setts. He settled in Lunenburg, perhaps in the part
that became Townsend. He was fence viewer of



376



WORCESTER COUNTY



Lunenburg in 17.51-36, hog reeve in 1733. He seems
to have been a carpenter by trade He married

(first) Sarali and (second), January 13,

1746-47, at Lunenburg, Rebecca Larkin, of Groton.
He died in 1775. at Lunenburg, leaving a widow
Margaret. His children: Samuel, burn March 20,
1730, died young; Sarah, December 7, 1732, died
February 10, 1737; Samuel, June 7, 1735: Joseph,

May jo, 173N, see forward; Submit, married

Stearns ; Hannah, mentioned in will.

I V ) Joseph Davis, son of Samuel Davis (4),
was born at Lunenburg, May 20, 1738. He was a
soldier in the revolution, a private in Captain Samuel
Stone's company of minute men, Colonel William
Prescott's regiment, April 19, 1775. at Lexington.
He served in 1776 in the Ashby company in New
York. He settled in Townsend in the part set off
as Ashby, and at one time owned what is now the
center of Ashby. Later in life he moved to Maine
and had a farm there. He died in Maine. He mar-
ried at Lunenburg (intentions October 22, 1757,
married November 8). Among his children were:

Reuben, see forward ; Polly, married Wheeler

and resided in Townsend.

(VI) Reuben Davis, son of Joseph Davis (5),
was born at Ashby, Massachusetts, December 23,
1783, died December 1, 1835. He worked with his
father and attended. the district schools in his youth.
He followed farming for his livelihood all his days.
He had a farm in the eastern part of the town near
the Townsend line. It was owned formerly by his
son, Walker Davis. He did teaming in addition to
his farming for several years, and was also the
town sexton and undertaker. He died at Ashby.
He was a member of the Orthodox church at Ash-
by. He married Hannah Emerson Walker, daugh-
ter of Captain Zaccheus Walker. Their children:
1. Walker, born March 5, 1806, died May 29, 1878;
married Ann Damon, of Ashby, and bad 011c child,
Martha. 2. George, born April 1. 1S07, died Sep-
tember 9. 1875: married, December 27, 1836, Nancy
II White, of Ashburnham, and had — Elizabeth Ma-
tilda, born November 28, 1827; George Edwin, born
September 26. 1839; John W. born September 26,
1846, died September 12. 1X48: Charles W.. born
September o. 1852. died November 14. 1873. 3.
Charles, born April 19, 1809, died November 21,
1897; married Almira Hodgman. of Ashby. 4.
Sampson, born October 6, 1811, died August 9, 1896.

5. Sarah Campbell, born February 20. 1814, died
April 9, 1882; married. April 23. 1839, Otis Met-
calf, of Ashburnham; children — George Otis, born
April 12, 1840. died April 14, 1870; S. Sultina, born
February 18, 1842; E. Augusta, horn May 29, 1844

6. John, bun June 16, 1816, see forward. 7. Martha
Danfi rth, born March 10, 1S10. married, November
28, [839, .1 el F. Metcalf; children — Emily, born
May 25, 1841 ; Sarah, born January 2J. 1843; Martha

\ n. born January 6, 1845, died November 4. 1804;

Maria, born December 25. 1S46; Walton Joel, born

Mo h |. [854. 8. Julia Ann. born May 2. 1821,

4, iQor. 9. Joseph, born September

10, l.S_'|

(VII) John Davis, son of Reuben Davis (6),
was bom at Ashby, Massachusetts, June 16, 1816.

! January to, 1900 lie received his education
in the ci mmi >n scho 1- of his nal \\ e ti >v, n V\
about twelve years old he was bound out as an
apprentice 1 1 David Damon and worked for him
until he came of age. attending school during the
winter term? only. \iier he wa twenty-one he
worked for his father for a few years. Then he
bought the old Enhraim Hcywood saw mill and
grist mill, which he com I for a number of

year<. He lived at Hyde Park with his daughter



Delia during the latter years of his life and died
there. He was a member of the Orthodox Congre-
gational Church of Ashby. In politics he was a
Ri publican and held numerous town offices, among
which was school supervisor. He married Eliza
Ann Taylor, of Ashby. Massachusetts, December 28,
1846. Their children: Alvin G.. born October 27,
1847: Mary E., August 30, 1849; Frank Walker,
November 9, 1855. see forward: Abbie, April 11,
[859; Delia, December 31, 1S61 ; John. November
28, 1864; Nelson, July 30, 1869.

( VIII) Frank Wafker Davis, son of John Davis
(7). was born at Ashby, Massachusetts, on what is
known as the town farm. November 9, 1855. He
attended the common and high schools there. He
began to work at Milford, New Hampshire, in a
grain mill. After two years there, he spent a year
on a farm at Reading. Massachusetts, and two years
at Ashby, running his father's grist mill. Jn 1880
he entered the employ of Luke Marble, at Ashburn-
ham, in his saw- mill and on his farm. Two years
later he engaged in the teaming business on his
own account in Ashburnham and followed that oc-
cupation for a period of twenty years. In 1901 he
bought the Colon George Barret grain mill, where
he is now located, and he has had a large grain
and feed business in addition to his milling. He
attends the Ashburnham Methodist Episcopal
Church. He is a Republican.

He married, February 5, 1881, Mary Esther
Marble, born April 24, 1857, daughter of Luke and
Abigail (Moore) Marble, of Ashburnham. Their
children : Bertha Mary, born October 2, 1884 ; Ruth
Alarble, born April 5, 1893.

CLARK FAMILY. Arthur Clark (1). the im-
migrant ancestor of John Loring Clark, of Ash-
burnham, Massachusetts, was one of the early set-
tlers in Hampton, New Hampshire, and was ad-
mitted a freeman May 13, 1640. He removed from
Hampton to Salem, where he was admitted to the
church October 17, 1641. Then he removed to
Boston and was received in the church from the
church at Hampton, December 2, 1643, with his wife
Sarah, and he became a proprietor in 1645 or earlier.
He was granted his house lot in Hampton. June
30, 1640, on wdiat is now the Perry estate. It was
bought of Christopher Lawson, real estate dealer
of Boston and Exeter, by Henry Green, who was
admitted a freeman the same day as Clark. In
1645 he was granted a house lot in Boston. He
bought land in Boston in 1647. His trade is given
as carpenter. He died 1665 and administration was
granted to the widow Sarah on behalf of herself
and son October 31, 1665. The inventory was taken
by Thomas Matson. The "gallie pots" were ap-
prised by Mr. John Endicot and Mr. Daniel Stone.
The total 'of the inventory was seventy-one pounds,
nineteen shillings and six pence. Their children :
Sarah, baptized May 17. 1644, born March 16; Sam-
uel, born October 27, 1646. see forward.

(II) Samuel Clark, son of Arthur Clark 11),
was born at Boston, October 27, 1646. and was bap-
tized, aged four days. November 1, 1646. He died
at Concord, Massachusetts, in 1730. He was a gold-
smith by trade, according to the History of Cam-
bridge. He apprenticed his son Samuel to John
Hull, of Boston. He removed to Concord about
1680. His children: Samuel, Jr.. born October 26,
T676: William. December 30, 1679. married Eunice
Taylor and had son William, who married Sarah
Locke and resided in Concord: Sarah. July 4. 1681 ;
Rachel, April 17, 1683; John. Susanna. April
20. [689, the first of the children born at Con-
cord; Hannah, April 11, 1691; Benjamin, October



WORCESTER COUNTY



577



23, 1693. sec forward ; Arthur. January 30, 1696,
married Hannah Morse and settled in Sherborn;
had Sarah, Samuel. Asa, John and Daniel.

(III) Benjamin Clark, son of Samuel Clark (2),
was born in Concord, Massachusetts, October 23,
i(»),;, and settled there. He married Elizabeth

: she married (second), after his death, Jo-

seph Daby, of Stow. The Clark children were
doubtless raised in Stow. She died October 2, 1784,
aged ninety-three years. The children of Benjamin
and Elizabeth Clark: Benjamin, Jr., born May 7,
1717. in Concord, died February 7, 1809, aged ninety-
three years; married Rebecca ; John, Febru-
ary to, 1718, in Concord; Joseph. March 23, 1720-21,
in Concord ; David, baptized September 1, 1723,
see forward. -

(IV) David Clark, son of Benjamin Clark (3),
was baptized in Lancaster, Massachusetts Septem-
ber 1, 1723. He was brought up by his step-father,
Joseph Daby, of Stow. He settled first in Holden.
In May 28. 1753, lie and Joseph Rugg, both of
Holden, bought of his step-father, Joseph Daby, of
Stow, lots Nos. 97 and 47 in Narragansett No. 6,
as the township of Templeton was first called. About
1765 David Clark settled in what is now Ashburn-
hani. near the YVinchendon line. He bought three
acre-. July 17, 1769, of Elisha Stimson, of Weston,
in Winchendon, part of lot No. 190, adjoining
Clark's farm, which was in Ashburnham. The Ash-
burnham history states that the family tradition is
that he was born in Concord. Our research seems
to support the tradition. He may have been born
in Concord, as well as his brothers and sisters, but
was baptized in Lancaster. He lived in Stow,
formt rly Concord. He was a soldier in the revolu-
tion, a private in Captain Deliverance Davis' com-
pany. Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regiment, on the
Lexington alarm ; a private in Captain Jonathan
Gates' company, Colonel John Whitcomb's regi-
ment. He enlisted for three years in the company
of Captain William Warner, the regiment of Colonel
Thomas Marshall, in 1777. He had three sons,
David, Benjamin and Daniel, in the service also.
He died at Ashburnham, October 2g, 1800. There
is no probate record of his estate. He married Anna

. Their children : Joseph, born at Holden,

March 8, 1752: David, October 19, 1758, see for-'
ward; Benjamin, 1762, removed, 1787, to Reading,
Vermont; Molly, a deaf mute, died May 18, 1824.

(V) David Clark, Jr., son of David Clark (4),
was born October 19, 1758, probably in Holden.
Married. July 17, 1701. Sarah Davis, daughter of
Captain Deliverance Davis, a revolutionary officer.
She died October 10, 1S23. He was a soldier in the
revolution, first in Captain Jonathan Gates's company
of minute men. April 19. 1775. then in Captain David
Wilder's company, Colonel Asa Whitcomb's regi-
ment, in 1775. He enlisted in the Continental army
in 1778 from Captain Jonathan Gates's company,
Colonel John Greaton's regiment, and was at Van
Schaick's Island in 1777. He was a pensioner late
in life and the Ashburnham history says: "He is
well remembered and was a prominent character
among the Revolutionary heroes." In his application
for pension not all his service appears. "He testi-
fied April 14, 1818, that he was in the Continental
army from March, 1781, to December 24, 1783, under
Captain Kirby Smith in the Sixth Massachusetts;
then in the same company in the Second Massachu-
setts under Major Burnham." His original dis-
charge from the Continental army is on file at the
pension office at Washington. It was signed by-
General Henry Knox. He was all the remainder
of his life a farmer in Ashburnham. The official
record of his Continental army service gives his



age as twenty-four years at enlistment, April 28,
1781, hi- complexion light, his trade shoemaker, his
height five feet nine inches. He was first under
Captain Peter Clayes, later of Captain J. Kirby
Smith's (third) company, Lieutenant-Colonel Cal-
vin Smith's regiment, and served till after the close
of the war. He died July 5, 1841, one of the last
survivors of the revolution.

Children of David and Sarah Clark: Levi, born
February 15. 1792, see forward; Lucy (twin), born
February 15. 1792, married, February II, 1818,
Merari Spaulding; removed to Concord, Maine,
where he was drowned 1834; Deliverance, born De-
cember 3. 1793, died July 31, 1857; Dorothy, born
October 2S, 1795, married Jeremiah Metcalf; Grata,
born August 16, 1797, married Ichabod Mason: mar-
ried (second) Burnett and resided in Maine;

Lydia, born September 8, 1799, married Lewi, L.
Willard; Sarah Davis, born January 17, 1804, mar-
ried, November 16, 1828, Amos Haynes, of Sud-
bury; child, born and died July 30, 1806; George
Washington, born October 21, 1810, died June 11,
1823.

(VI) Levi Clark, son of David Clark (51, was
born at Ashburnham, Massachusetts, February 15,



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