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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minster, and (second) Dorothy Brewer, widow, of
Sterling and Waltham, Massachusetts. They had
four sons and four daughters, all but two of whom
married and left Leominster. These 'two were
Elijah and Elisha Colburn, who were prominent
citizens. Elisha Colburn married Deborah Hunt
and died in 1833, leaving two sons — Major Senaca
Colburn, and Charles H., who was postmaster at
Leominster forty-five years, father of William
Henry and Ellen Priscilla. Elijah Colburn, the other
son, of whom later.

(V) Elijah Colburn, son of Ebenezer Colburn
(4), was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, 1771.
He removed from Leominster to the adjacent town
of Lancaster and was town sexton and undertaker
there for a period of forty years. He was a skillful
cabinet maker and for the most part made his
caskets and coffins. He married, June 19, 1796,
Sally Hosley, who died February 9, 1831, aged fif-
ty-three years. He married (second) Nancy .

He died September 27, 1849, aged seventy-eight
years, at Lancaster. The children of Elijah and
Sallv were: Charles, born December 13, 1796; Jonas,
of whom later ; Lucy Hosley, March 27, 1800 ;
David Hosley, February 28, 1802. died May 10, 1865,
leaving a wife Orresy P. and two daughters, Eliza-
beth and Sarah E., wife of M. J. Chapin ; Nancy
Wilder, May 3, 1804.

(VI) Jonas Colburn, son of Elijah Colburn (5),
was born in Lancaster. Massachusetts, June 21,
1798, on the old homestead. He settled in Leom-
inster and established the comb manufactory, where
his son succeeded him and where his grandson,
Alford W. Colburn, is now located. He carried
on this business for fifty years. Though he never
sought or held public office, he was a man of in-
fluence and highly respected in the community. At
the time of the Washingtonian movement he be-




came a total abstainer or teetotaler, as it was then
called, and he was ever afterward a consistent and
active' advocate of temperance. He was also a strong
anti-slavery man.

He married, December 25, 1823, Matilda Parker.
His death, September 18, 1873, was due to injuries
received in an accident in his factory. His son,
George F. Colburn, who was associated with him in
business, carried on the business after his father
•died and was succeeded in turn by his son, Alford
W. Colburn, of whom later. The children of Jonas
anil Matilda (Parker) Colburn were: Caroline M.,
born October 20, 1824, died February 24, 1825; An-
drew J., March 20, 1826, died September 1, 19x12;
Francis H, December 25, 1827, died August .2,
1895 ; George F., January 21, 1830, died January 4,
1895, of whom later; Caroline M.. March I, 1832;
lames S., January 6, 1834, died February 3, 1834;
Cornelia L., March 19, 1835 ; Crosby W., October
31, 1837. died March 23, 1842.

' (VII) George F. Colburn, son of Jonas Colburn
(6), was born at Leominster, Massachusetts, Janu-
ary 21, 1830. He was educated in the public schools
of his native town and when a young man went into
his father's factory and learned the business of comb
manufacturing. He was taken into partnership
with his father and for a number of years father
and son were in business together. When his
father died in 1873 Mr. Colburn became the sole
proprietor and continued in business alone until
he took his own son into partnership in 1888. He
was prominent in public affairs as well as in busi-
ness. He was elected to many positions of honor
and trust by his townsmen. He was at various
times assessor, overseer of the poor and selectman,
and represented his district in the general court
two years. He was an active and earnest member
of the Unitarian church.

George F. Colburn married. January 21, 1830,
Catherine E. Newton, of Southboro, Massachusetts.
She was the daughter of Lowell Appleton and Han-
nah Perry (Johnson) Newton, and was born No-
vember 23, 1834, at Southboro. Mr. Colburn died
January 4, 1895. The children of George F. and
Catherine E. Colburn were : Jennie Fay, born Janu-
ary 21, 1857, married Lysander E. Piper; Alford
Warren, January 11, 1861, of whom later; Harry,
March 25, 1866, died September 19, 1898.

(VIII) Alford W. Colburn, son of George F.
Colburn (7), was born in Leominster, Massachu-
setts. January II, 1861. He was educated in the
public schools of his native town and then entered
a commercial college in Boston where he received
an education to fit him for the position in the
business world that he has since so well filled.
His father and grandfather had been manufacturers
of combs in Leominster, and though he later suc-
ceeded to this business he first started in for him-
self at Northboro. Massachusetts, in the manu-
facture of musical instruments. In 18S8. after his
grandfather died, lie removed to Leominster and
became associated wjth his father in the manu-
facture of horn goods. Both in Northboro and
Leominster Mr. Colburn has had a successful career
in business. At the present time he employs sev-
enty-five hands regularly. The site of the present
shop has been occupied by him and his ancestors
as a place of business since 1824. The first shop
was n few rods east of the present structure. The
old Colburn homestead at South Leominster, which
was occupied consecutively by five generations of
the family, beginning with Nathaniel Colburn (III)
who came there in 1750 and. being a carpenter.
built his own house, is his home. Mr. Colburn
is well known among the Masons of the county,

having taken all the degrees of the Scottish Rite.
He is a Republican but has always refused to be
a candidate for public office. He is a member
of the Leominster Country Club. He has an at-
tractive summer residence where he and his fam-
ily live in the summer. He is a lover of nature and
out-door sports.

He married in 1883, Ida A. Brooks, daughter
of Halen and Sarah J. Brooks, of Leominster,
Massachusetts. Their children are : Margery, Edith,

JAMES HENRY WHITTLE, of Worcester, a
prominent manufacturer, was born in Pawtucket,
Providence county, Rhode Island, May 15, 1857,
son of James and Ann (Thornley) Whittle. Both
his parents were born in Bolton, Lancashire, Eng-
land, and came to the United States in 1837,
shortly after their marriage. The father learned
his trade as a bleacher in his native country, and
was one of the most experienced and successful
workmen of his day in that line, and made high
repute for the large and well known cloth bleach-
ing firm of W. F. and F. C. Sayles, at Pawtucket,
Rhode Island, in which he was employed during
almost his entire lifetime in this country. With his
wife he was a communicant of St. George's
(Protestant Episcopal) Church, and he was a Mason
of high rank, having attained the thirty-second de-
gree of the Scottish Rite. He died January 25,

1895, and his wife survived him little more than
a year, dying in Lincoln, Rhode Island, April 19.

1896. They were the parents of nine children, all
of whom were born in the United States : Peter,
Richard. Mary A., Elizabeth A.. Ellen. Emma J.,
James H.. Clara L. and William E. Whittle. James
Whittle, grandfather of James H. Whittle, came to
America after the death of his wife, and died at
the home of his sons ; he was a man of considerable
means for that day.

James H. Whittle, son of James and Ann
Whittle, was educated in the public schools of Paw-
tucket, Rhode Island, and entered upon an active
career as a sheet-metal worker, having become a
skillful mechanic. September 27, 1881, he located
in Putnam, Connecticut, where he engaged in
furnishing mills with sheet-metal supplies. Octo-
ber 8th of the following year, at the solicitation of
the late Silas W. Goddard. of the Cleveland Ma-
chine Works, he removed to Worcester, Massachu- .
setts, and there laid the foundation for a most
useful and successful business in a factory of his
own. which he established at No. 84 Southbridge
street, in the old Dewey building. His business
developed rapidly, and he was soon obliged to seek
more room in order to enable him to enlarge his
manufacturing facilities, and he removed to No.
33 Southbridge street, the site of the present post-
office building. In 1887 another enlargement became
imperative, and he made another removal, this time
to No. 150 Union street, and similar reasons led
to a change to No. 150 Harlow street in 1S0.V In
180R he purchased the Cleveland Machine Works,
and in 1902 removed the plant to the Harlow street
factorv grounds, upon which he had erected build-
ings specially designed for his purposes. The main
building is sixty by two hundred and fifty-five feet
in area and three stories in height, is equipped
with the most modern and improved machinery for
the manufacture of all kinds of sheet-metal ma-
chinery for mills, and all kinds of machinery needed
in woolen and cotton mills. The product of the
Whittle factory is known throughout the country,
and forms the equipment of many of the most
famous woolen and cotton working establishments

I 12


in America, and in various manufacturing places
abroad. The local value of the Whittle works is
discernible in the fact that it affords constant em-
ployment to one hundred and thirty-live operatives,
the majority of whom are men of family. The
great dimensions to which .Mr. Whittle has brought
his establishment, its large usefulness as a factor
in the industrial growth of Worcester, and the means
and repute which it has brought to himself, is at
once an eloquent proclamation of the possibilities
of this country, and a monument to his own ability.
Entering upon life absolutely without means, he
carved out his own fortune, solely through his own
industry, perseverance and business ability, and in
no way as the beneficiary of a fortunate accident.
Taking a laudable and entirely justifiable pride in
what he has accomplished, Mr. Whittle affects none
of the assumptions of superiority which often dis-
figure the character of selfmade men, but rather
seems to rest in the conviction that his success is
such as should naturally crown the effort of him
who cares for his business and plans for its de-
velopment wisely and laboriously.

He is numbered among the most active members
of the Worcester board of trade, in which he is a
director, and in that body as well as in his indi-
vidual capacity bears a full share in encouraging
and aiding in all movements looking to the ad-
vancement of his city, whether in material concerns
or in those affairs which touch upon the moral life
of the community, and the upholding of its educa-
tional and humanitarian institutions. His political
affiliations are with the Republican party, but he has
contented himself by supporting its principles and
policies after the manner of a plain everyday citizen,
without care for public distinction or official prefer-
ment. He is fond of scenes of nature amid which
to pass his seasons of recreation, and maintains a
pleasant summer home at Tuftonboro, New Hamp-
shire, mi Lake Winnepesaukee, where each season
he entertains a circle of congenial friends in boat-
ing and fishing expeditions, using for them and
Ins family his own excellently appointed steam

Mr. Whittle married, October 4, 1883. Louisa
Bernette Starrett, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a
most estimable woman, and exemplary member of
St. John's (Protestant Episcopal) Church, Worces-
ter, whose death occurred January 18, 1904. Of this
marriage wire born five children : Mabel L., Milton
II, Antoinette, Ralph E., and Philip T. Whittle.
The family residence is at No. 117 Paine street,
U . 1 1 -ter.

CHARLES F. PIERCE. John Pierce (1), the
pioneer ancestor in this country of Charles F. Pierce,
of Leominster, Massachusetts, was born in. England
about 1585 at the town of Norwich in Norfolk
county. I!' was a weaver by trade. He passed the
examination required of those who were bound for
New England April 8. 10.;;. and gave his age as
forty-nine, that of hi- wifi 1 as thirty-six

and he had with them children: John, Barbara,
Judith anil Elizabeth and servant, John Gedney.
lie went to Watertown, where his sou Anthony was
then living, having preceded his father to this

Mm Pierce was admitted a freeman March,
1637-8. He (lied at Watertown, August 19. 1661.
Hi- will was dated March 7. 1657-8, and proved
October 1. (66l. Anthon) nly child men-

tinned by name, hut in the will of his widow, who
M.nvh 1 _>. io 1 nty-nine years,

the names of the children and some grandchildren

iear. It is evident that the wife was nearer

forty-six than thirty-six when she left England.
There is another discrepancy in the age of the son
Robert. He deposed December 29, 1658, that he
was thirty-eight years old, and in 1663 that he was-
fifty years old.

The children of John and Elizabeth Pierce were :
Anthony, of whom later ; Robert, born in England
between the years 1613 and 1620; Esther, married'

Morse ; Mary, married Coldham ; John :

Barbara ; Judith, married, December 30, 1644, Fran-
cis Wyman at Woburn ; Elizabeth, married


(II) Anthony Pierce, son of John Pierce (1),
was born in England in 1609 and came to America
before his father and the remainder of the fam-
ily. Ife was admitted a freeman at Watertown,
Massachusetts, September 3, 1634, and has a very-
numerous posterity in the vicinity of Watertown.
His homestall was near the line between Cam-
bridge and Watertown on the road between the two
towns. He married (first) Sarah , and (sec-
ond) about 1638, Anne . He died May 9,

1678. His will, was dated September 6. 1671. His
widow Anne died January 20. 1682-3. Their chil-
dren were: John, eldest, married Ruth (Bishop)
Fuller, widow of William Fuller, and daughter of
Nathaniel Bishop; Mary, born October 20. 1633;
Mary, 1036, married Ralph Read, son of William
and Mabel Read, of Watertown ; Jacob, September

15, 1637; Daniel, of whom later: Martha, April 24,
1041 : Joseph, admitted freeman April 18, l& 1

ijamin, admitted freeman April 18, 1690; Judith.
horn July 18, 1650, married, February, 1666-7. John

(I!I) Daniel Pierce, fifth child of Anthony
Pierce (2). was born in Watertown, Massachusetts,.

January 1, 1639-40. He married Elizabeth .

and they made their home in Groton where their
first five children were born. Then the Indian war
drove them from home and they returned to Water-
town, where they were in 1681. They joined the
church there January 16, 1686. He was a weaver
bv trade, a farmer by occupation most of the time.
He died in 1723 and his will was filed the same-
year. The children of Daniel and Elizabeth Pierce
were: Elizabeth, born May 16, 1665. married, Octo-
ber 1 Isaac Mixer. Jr. Daniel. Jr.. Novem-
ber 28. 1666. married Abigail ; John. August

18, 1668, baptized at Watertown, January 16, 1686;
Eohraim, of whom later: Josiah, May 2, 1675, prob-
ably died young: Joseph, December 30, 1698, mar-
ried Mary Warren: Abigail. January 3. 1681. died'
unmarried 1723; Hannah. 1685. baptized January

16, 1686; Benjamin, baptized January 16, il
Mary, married Scripture.

[ IV) Ephraim Pierce, fourth child of Daniel
Pierce (3). was born at Groton, Massachusetts,
October 15. 1673. He married Mary Whitney, wdio
was horn July 1. 7675, and died December jo. 1740.
They settled in Groton. where he died February
27. "1740-1. His gravestone is to be seen in the
'old cemetery there. He was. one of the first set-
tlers of the" neighboring town of Lunenburg and
owned lot No. 68. He was on the first board of
selectmen of the town in 1728. The children of
Ephraim and Mary Pierce were : Mary, born Au-
gust 0. 1696, married, March 17. 1710-20. Josiah
Farnsworth : Elizabeth. July 24. t6oS, married. De-
cember 24. 1723. Thomas Farwell : Ephraim. of
wdiom later: Sarah. March 8. T702, married Octo-
ber 27. 1720, Tonathan Parker, and both died Sep-
tember 21. T723: David, May 23. 1704. marr
June 15, 1725. Elizabeth Bowers; Jonathan. April
15, 1706, died September 15, 1723; Simon, October
2;. 1707', married, May 26. 1737, Susanna Parker,



resided in Groton ; Abigail, November 20, 1710,
married,' 1735, Ezra Farnsworth; Lydia, Novem-
ber 20, 1713, died September 24, 1723.

(V) Ephraim Pierce, third child of Ephraim
Pierce (4), was born in Groton, Massachusetts,
November 12, 1700, married, October 30, 1721, Esther
Shedd, who died June 28, 1768. He married (sec-
ond) January 12, 1773, Mrs. Huldah (Martyn)
Weatherbee. He resided in Lunenburg and was
deacon of the Lunenburg church. He died in 1781.
The children of Ephraim and Esther Pierce were :
Esther, born May 29, 1722, married, October 17,
1740, Benjamin Gould; Jonathan, November 29,
1724' married, February 4, 1745, Sarah Dodge;
Ephraim, March 13, 1726, married (first) Sarah
Norcross and (second) Olive Goodridge, of Lin-
coln; Amos, July 8, 1729, died January II, 1741 ;
Sarah, November 27, 1731, married, January 25,
1749, John Lovejoy; Mary, March 5, 1733, married,
November 28, 1754, Phineas Hartwell, of Lunen-
burg; Benjamin, June 3, 1736, died December 23,
1757; Prudence, February 6, 1738, married, Septem-
ber 6, 1762, Reuben Smith; Oliver, July 17, 1741,
married, May 19, 1768, Mary Smith ; Keziah, De-
cember 4, 1743, died September 18, 1746 ; Elizabeth,
November 25, 1746, married, November 19, 1766,
Jacob Steward.

(VI) Oliver Pierce, ninth child of Ephraim
Pierce (5), was born in Lunenburg, July 17, 1741,
married. May 19, 1768, Mary Smith, born in 1751
and died in 1827. He was a farmer in Lunenburg.
He died there March 6, 1815. He was a soldier in
the revolution at Lexington, April 19, 1775, under
Captain Benjamin Flagg. He was in Captain Joseph
Warren's company, Lieutenant-Colonel Wheelock's
regiment, in 1777 with the Northern army. The chil-
dren of Oliver and Mary Pierce were : Oliver,
born March 8, 1769, married, October 27, 1791,
Hannah Davis; Polly, May 5, 1771, married, Feb-
ruary 11, 1790, Nathan Adams, Jr.; Nathaniel, June
1. 1773. died young; Benjamin, May 19, 1775, mar-
ried Abigail Devoll, died in Leominster, June 23,
1846: Nathaniel, October 8, 1778, married Judith
Kendall; (second) Zebiah Smallpeace; (third)
Visa (Clark) Knight; John, of whom later; Betsey,
November 9, 1789, married Billings, of Lunen-

(VII) John Pierce, sixth child of Oliver Pierce
(6), was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, Sep-
tember 18, 1787, married, November 28, 1816, Esther
Smith, born in 1782 and died March 10, 1830: mar-
ried (second), July 13, 1831, Sarah (Tyler) Smith,
born 1794 and died May 27, i860. He died No-
vember 12, 1867. They resided in Lunenburg. The
children of John and Esther Pierce were : Betsey,
born February 2, 1818, died unmarried in Lunen-
burg; Mary, March 2, 1819, married, April 21, 1853,
David S. Jewett ; she died in Fitchburg, i860, leav-
ing two children; Benjamin, July 27, 1820; Joseph,
May 17, 1822. married Almira Russell ; Nathaniel,
March 20, 1824, married Melinda Willard ; resided
at Ashburnham. Massachusetts ; Otis, of whom later.
The children of John and Sarah were: Martha A.,
born 1832, died July 3, 1863 ; George S., born July
9, t833, removed to Fitchburg, where he died Octo-
ber 23, 1898.

(VIII) Otis Pierce, son of John Pierce (7),
was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, on the
old Pierce homestead November 16, 1826. He re-
moved to North Leominster and purchased a farm.
He married in 1854, Mary A. E. King, born March
28, 1825. Their children, all born in Leominster,
were: Abbie M., born March 31, 1856, married,
October 5. 1875. William M. Campbell, born Octo-
ber 16, 1849, resides at Winchester, Massachu-

ii— 8

setts: Charles F., of whom later; John W., born
May 13, i860.

(IX) Charles F. Pierce, second child of Otis
Pierce (8), was born in North Leominster, Massa-
chusetts, February 12, 1858. He attended the pub-
lic schools of his native town and then learned the
trade of wood turner. He went to work for the
Wellington Piano Case Company at Leominster and
was advanced from place to place till he became the
assistant superintendent of the factory. He is a
Unitarian in religion and a Republican in politics.
He is a member of the Ancient Order of United
Workmen. He married May F. Tyler, daughter
of Isaac Tyler, of a prominent Leominster family.
Their children are: Irene, married F. M. Weld;
Elva M., born at Leominster ; Goldic, born at

PIERCE FAMILY. John Pierce (Pers) (1),
the immigrant ancestor of Miss Helen B. Pierce and
Dr. Appleton Pierce, of Leominster, Massachusetts,
was born 1588, a native of Norwich, Norfolk, Eng-
land. He was a weaver by trade, but a farmer as
well, of course. He was among the earliest settlers
of Watertown, Massachusetts, and was admitted a
freeman March, 1637-8. His will was dated March
4, 1657-8. He died August 19, 1661. His widow
Elizabeth died March 12, 1666, aged about seventy-
nine years, naming her children, as below, in her
will. Their children were : John, probably settled
at Wethersfield, Connecticut ; Barbara ; Judith, mar-
ried at Woburn, December 30, 1644, Francis Wy-

man ; Elizabeth, married Ball ; Anthony, of

whom later ; Robert, settled Woburn, probably came

before parents ; Esther, married Morse ; Mary,

married Coldam.

(II) Anthony Pierce, son of John Pierce (1),
was born in England in 1609. He settled in Water-
town before his father and was admitted a freeman
September 3, 1634. (A sketch of him is given in
connection with other Pierce families of Leom-
inster descended from him.) He married (first)

Sarah and (second), about 1638, Anne .

He died May 9, 1678. His will was dated September
6, 1671. His widow died January 20, 1682-3. The
children of Anthony Pierce: John, born about 1631,
married Ruth Bishop ; Mary, October 20, 1633 ;
Mary, 1636: Jacob, September 15, 1637; Daniel,
January 1, 1639-40; Martha, April 24, 1641 ; Joseph;
Benjamin, 1649; Judith, July 18, 1650.

(III) Daniel Pierce, fifth child of Anthony
Pierce (2), was born in Watertown, Massachusetts,.
January 1, 1639-40. He settled in Groton where
five of his children were born, but returned to-
Watertown on account of the Indians. He owned"
the covenant at Watertown church January 16, 1686^
and had three children baptized on that date. His
will was proved in 1723, the year of his death;
it was dated February 22, 1723. He married Eliza-
beth , and their children were : Elizabeth, born

May 16, 1665, married, October 17, 1684, Isaac
Mixer. Jr.: Daniel, November 28, 1666: John, Au-
gust 18, 1668 ; Ephraim, October 15, 1673 ; Josiah,
May 2, 1675; Joseph, of whom later: Abigail, Jan-
uary 3, 1681, died 1723 : Hannah, baptized Janu-
ary 16, 1686; Benjamin, baptized January 16, 1686;

(IV) Joseph Pierce, son of Daniel Pierce (3),
was born about 1678. He was like his father and
grandfather a weaver by trade. He settled in Wo-
burn and was selectman in 1738-39-42. He died
in Waltham, 1747. He married, December 30, 1698,
Mary Warren, bom May 25, 1675. Their children
were : Isaac, of whom later ; Mary, born February
18, 1702, married, June 24, 1725, Captain Thomas



Fiske; Elizabeth, February 23, [703, married
Pliineas Gleason ; Sarah, September ir. 1705; mar-
ried Allen; Lydia, March II, 1706; Eunice,

February 11. 1708. married, July 2. 1729, Isaac
Child, bom March 5. 1699; Grace, April 27, 1711,
dud before 1747: Prudence, August 2. 1713, mar-
ried Mrrir.ni; Lois, January 2. 1715: Ruhamah,

lanuarv 12, 1717, married, August 15. 1758, John

( Y ) Isaac Pierce, son of Joseph Pierce (4),
born in Watertown or Woburn, September 19,
1700. He settled in Waltham, Massachusetts, form-
erly part of Watertown. and died there 1773. He
was selectman of Waltham. 1744-45-53. He mar-
ried, September 7, 1722, Susanna Bemis, of Lexing-
ton. Their children, all born in Lexington, were:
Josiah, of whom later; Joshua. March 24. 1724, mar-
ried Ruth White; Abijah, May 2^. 1727. married
Thankful Brown; Ephraim, August 12. 1729, mar-
ried Lydia White and (second) Mrs. Lydia Parker;
Susanna, May 22. 1732: Mary, June 22. 1735. mar-
ried Moses Harrington: Isaac, March 24, 1738, mar-
ried Hannah Mason.

(\'I) Josiah Pierce, son of Isaac Pierce (5),
was born in Lexington, Massachusetts, February 13,
1723. He removed from Waltham to Worcester,
Massachusetts. Prior to and during the revolu-
tion he was one of the most important and in-
fluential citizens of Worcester. He was a select-
man 1765-71-75. He was elected March 7. 1774.
on a committee of three by the town to take into
consideration the acts of the British Parliament
for raising revenues from the colonies. This com-

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