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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New Britain, Connecticut, and some others.

In 1870 he sustained a grievous blow in the break-
ing of the dam of the Lynde Brook reservoir. It
was his first important work of the kind and he
had taken no little pride in it. He made no
apologies, but learned the lessons that the disaster
taught engineers who were then experimenting in
work of this kind and put into effect the knowledge
he gained in repairing the break that year in the
dam at Clinton, Massachusetts. The Lynde Brook
reservoir was constructed while D. Waldo Lincoln
was mayor and notwithstanding this one break, Mr.
Ball gained a deserved and lasting reputation as
an engineer for planning and building the water
works, the first built to supply the needs of the city
of Worcester.

In 1870 he began the Brockton, Massachusetts,
water works and was employed for a number of
years as consulting engineer by that city, planning
the sewerage system. He also planned the sewerage
of the towns of Amherst and Westboro, Massachu-
setts, and of the state prisons at Concord and Sher-
born. He planned the water works for Claremont,
New Hampshire, Gloucester, Massachusetts, and im-
portant additions to the water works of Lynn,
Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut.
Though in the yens [883 to 1885 inclusive he suf-
everely from asthma, he recovered sufficiently
in 1887 to undertake the drainage of the Mystic
Valley at the request of the state board of health.
He was unable to ci mplete the work, which he
began with enthusiasm,' and had to resign his of-
fice. He continued as consulting engineer of the
Brockton, Taunton and Framingham sewer systems,
but was not able to undertake any new work.

Mr. Ball was early interested in the temperance
and anti-slavery movements, lie was a Free Soiler
and joined the Republican party when it was formed.
He was int public affairs and always per-

formed his duty as a citizen at the caucus and at
the polls. He was a member i the common council
in 1862 and 1803. ]]is success with the new water
works made him a rather unwilling candidate for
mayor. He was the chief executive of the city in
rS65 He was water commissioner from T863 to
1867 inclusive, and cite engineer from 1S67 until
1872.

He was a member of the Worcester County So-
ciet; of Engineers, the Boston Society of Engineers
and tit'' V:" : i' 01 Water Works Association. He
was greatly interested in the subject of technical
education. Of all the duties that came to him as
ni if was more pleasing to him than his con-
nection with the planning the first buildings for the
Worce-ter County Free Institute of Industrial
;e, now called the Worcester Polvtechnic In-
In company with members of the board of



trustees he visited Williamstown, the Rensselear
Polytechnic and the Sheffield Scientific School at
Yale University. In February, 1866, he himself
surveyed the lot of land now occupied by the techni-
cal buildings, and at the Commencement in 187.5
he served on the board of examiners. For many
years he regularly visited the old laboratory in Boyn-
ton Hall and never lost his interest in the school.
He was interested in the sciences and in theology.
He studied chemistry when ill health kept him
confined to the house. He knew the plants and
(lowers as well as the soils and rocks. He was a
student rather than a reader. He had no great love
of literature. He possessed unusual reasoning
powers and a logical mind. He was a member
of the Worcester Society of Antiquity and gave it
his first compass, mentioned above. For thirty-
one years he was deacon of the First Unitarian
Church of Worcester, for seven years was president
of the Worcester County Conference of Unitarian
churches, and was deeply interested in religious
work as well as abstract theology. He died Decem-
ber 19, 1894.

He married (first), December 21, 184S, Sarah
Augusta Holyoke. daughter of William Holyoke. at
her horr in Marlboro. .Massachusetts. Their chil-
dren were: Allard Holyoke, born in Worcester,
September 9. 1851, died in W'orcester, October 7,
1857; Helen Augusta, horn in Worcester, April 25,
1858. Mrs. Ball died January 14, 1804. He mar-
ried (second) Mary Jane Otis, daughter of Benja-
min B. and Mary (Carter) Otis. She was born
in Worcester, September 3, 1833.

GEORGE McALEER, M. D. Learned philolo-
gists and antiquarions who have given much time and
research to the matter, claim La\ the names Mc-
Aleer. McClure, and McGuire have a common origin,
and that they are derived from the ancient Irish
MocGiolla Uidhir, or MacGiolla Uidhre as spelled
by others (Uidhir and Uidhre being pronounced, as
nearly as the sound can be indicated by letters,
"ooir,") meaning "the son or descendant of the fol-
lower of the pale, wan, or dun one." There is
what may be called positive and negative evidence
in support of this derivation of the name. In
the "Annals of Ulster" for A. D. 1216. it is re-
corded that Eachdun MacGiolla Uidhir, Archbishop
of Armagh, died. He was an eminent man, and
was a member of the Lateran Council of 1215. That
is the positive evidence, while the negative is the
total apparent absence of the names of MacAleer,
MacClure and MacLir (Lear) from the Indexes of
personal names in Irish Annals.

The earliest mention of the name, so far dis-
covered, is found in Cormac's Glossary, which was
written about V D. 900, of which the following
is a translation: "Manannan MacLir, a celebrated
merchant, who was in the Isle of Man. He was
the greatest pilot that was in the west of Europe.
He knew by studying the Heavens the time wdiich
would be fine weather and when bad weather, and
when each of these times would change. hide
Scoti ei Britonis eum ileum vocaverunt maris: ct
inde Fileum esse dixerunt, i. e. MacLir (son of
the sea), lit de nomine Mannannam, the Isle of
Man is named."

I his Manannan MacLir, abbreviated to McLir,
son of the sea. or great navigator, is claimed to
he lite "pale, wan or dun one," — the progenitor
of the clan or sept from which have descended
the McAleers, the McClures and the McGuires. Be
this as it may. the headquarters and home of these
clans or families for centuries past was and is
111 the county Tyrone, Ireland, where many of them



WORCESTER COUNTY



l 9



still reside. While these names have no prominent
place in the pages of history, as kings or military
.heroes, neither will they be found coupled with any-
thing base or dishonorable. They have ever been
lenown and appreciated for their untiring constancy,
loyalty and devotion to principle and duty in the
more quiet walks of life, and this is testified to and
emphasized bj an ancient family crest and coat-
•of-arms that has been handed down from bygone
centuries, the motto on which is: "ilea Gloria
Fides."

The name MacLir, from which comes the pres-
ent surname McAleer, has had no inconsiderable
place in the domain of letters, being immortalized
by the genius of Shakespeare in his King Lear;
by the pen of the gifted poet Moore in his Song
of Fionnuala; by Doctor Joyce in his Epic, Deirdre,
•and by many lesser lights in the world of literature.

(I) Lawrence McAleer was the first of this
branch of the McAleer family, so far as is known,
to come to America. Having survived two wives
in Ireland, he emigrated to Canada with his un-
married children in 1 83 1 , and settled in the town-
ship of Stanbridge, Missisquoi county, Providence
-of Quebec. In his old age he made his home with
■a daughter, Mrs. Barney McGuire, in the parish
<of Ste. Brigide, Iberville county, Province of
■Quebec, where he died in 1847, and is buried in
the graveyard of the parish church.

(II) Miles McAleer, son of Lawrence McAleer
(1), followed his father to Canada in 1834, and
settled with his young wife and three small chil-
dren on the place, then, like most of the sur-
rounding country, an unbroken wilderness, near the
village of Bedford, in the same county, which was
■ever afterward his home, and which, after the lapse
■of seventy-five years, is still in the possession of
the family.

(III) George McAleer, the subject of this sketch,
was born November 29, 1845. on the old homestead,
one of the family of ten children, which con-
sisted of nine sons and one daughter, and the of-
ficial record of his baptism is in the archives of
the Roman Catholic church in Henryville, Province

of Quebec. Naturally apt at learning, he com-
pleted the course of the district schools at an early
age, and was sent to the Stanbridge Academy, in
"his native county, an institution of much more than
local repute, where he studied the classics and
Tiigher mathematics, and was graduated in 1863.
During his senior year, be taught classes in Latin,
•Greek and mathematics. He then took the gov-
«ernment examination for school teachers, received
a diploma of the first class, and taught school
for a time in St. Armand, Province of Quebec.
Never an admirer of royalty nor of the British
government, 1 e. decided to make his home in the
L T nited States and in 1865 located in Worcester,
^Massachusetts, where he has since resided. He ob-
tained employment as bookkeeper in a store of the
citv. and began the study of medicine during his
leisure hours. In 1866 he entered upon his medical
-course in Philadelphia, where he graduated.

Being of an inventive turn of mind, he had.
in the meantime, made several inventions for which
he obtained letters patent. The folding chairs made
under his patents became so popular that they led
alj others in the market of this and many foreign
•countries. Rival manufacturers infringed upon his
patents, and this led to extensive and expensive
litigation which continued for six years, and this
•occupied'his time so fully as to prevent him from
•engaging in the practice of his profession. Such
time as he had at his command, he devoted to the
aid of his brother, Reynolds McAleer, who came



to Worcester in 1855 where he has since made his
home. Dr. McAleer assisted him in the management
and extension of the harness and saddlery business
in which he was engaged, and, when the patent
litigation had terminated successfully, he disposed
of the folding chair business and the patents under
which they were made to good advantage. The
business of Ins brother having meanwhile "been ex-
panded to profitable proportions, Dr. .McAleer be-
came a partner, and the business has now been
successfully conducted by the brothers under the
name of R. McAleer & Company for nearly forty
years. This firm is well and favorably known in
the business world, and enjoys the patronage of the
best families and substantial stable-keepers and horse
owners of the city and surrounding country, who
demand high-class, dependable goods. Reynolds Mc-
Aleer, the senior member of the firm, is a master
of his trade, and has been identified with the harness
and saddlery business of the city for more than
fifty years.

When the Bay State Savings Bank was organized,
Dr. McAleer was elected treasurer, his present posi-
tion, though he is still a partner in the old firm.
The Bay State Savings Bank is located at No.
476 Main street, Worcester, Massachusetts, and has
a history of steady growth and prosperity.

Dr. McAleer is a man of versatile tastes and
talents. In politics he is a Democrat of the old
school, but puts men and measures above loyalty
to party. Although frequently solicited to do so,
he never entered the domain of politics. The clamor
for station and place, the ante-election intrigue, trad-
ing, double dealing of heelers and aspirants— the
anything to win — and the subsequent shuffling, back-
ing and filling, for selfish ends or party gain, are
to him so offensive and repellant that he would
never lend himself to become a party thereto. Not
desiring public office, he made his home in a ward
having an overwhelming ' majority of Republican
voters. In religion Dr. McAleer is a Roman Cath-
olic, and is a prominent member of St. Paul's
Church.

A lover of nature, with his rifle, shot-gun, dog,
and trout rod. he has long been a visitor to the
forests, fields and streams of the Old Bay state,
in the sunny south and northern wilds — in the
early days of Spring, the lengthened days of Sum-
mer, in the balmy days of Autumn time, and in
the deep snows and zero weather of the frozen
north in Winter — where the prized canvas-back and
other sea-fowl of the coast, the bob-white of the
southern plantations, the wary ruffled grouse and
erratic woodcock of Massachusetts coverts, the
elusive trout and fighting salmon of northern
waters, and the deer, caribou and moose of the
wilderness, rewarded his knowledge, energy and
skill. His pen and camera have often told the story
which adorned the pages of many magazines and
other publications of sportsmen's literature where
his contributions are always accorded prominent
place. Promptness, determination and reliability —
these are characteristics of Dr. McAleer. He is
quick to discern, quick to decide, quick to act, with-
out being impetuous or erratic.

Dr. McAleer fin.ds pleasure along intellectual
lines. He has a library of more than a thousand
volumes, in which are many rare and valuable
works. His library is rich in books relating to the
early history of the country, especially along un-
familiar but interesting, important and valuable lines.
He has often been invited to read papers before
civic and literary organizations, and has written ex-
tensively for magazines and the periodical literature
of the day. Some of his important productions are:



20



WORCESTER COUNTY



"Banks and Banking." "The Printed Word," "Then
and Now," "How Sabbattis Got His Christmas Din-
ner," "Ferncliffe," "Reminiscent and Otherwise,"
"Province of Quebec: Its History and its People,"
"The Etymology of the Indian Place-Xame Missis-
quoi," etc.

Born and reared upon a farm, Dr. McAleer was
from boyhood greatly interested in rural life and
improvement in cereals, fruit and domestic animals.
He made a special study of the merits of the dif-
ferent families and best producing strains of the dif-
ferent blood lines that unite in the highest type
of horse — the American trotter. In later days he
bred several horses that in size, conformation, style
and speed took rank with the best.

Dr. McAleer is a member of the famous Ragged
Islands Club of Virginia, the Megantic Club of
Maine and Canada, an 1mm nary life member of the
Missisquoi County Historical Society, and other
Sportsmen's clubs and civic and literary organiza-
tions.

He married, June 2, 1S74. Helen Frances Ken-
dall, daughter of Joel and Mary Martha Kendall,
of Worcester, Massachusetts. She was born in
Groton, Massachusetts, and came to Worcester in
early girlhood, where she has lived ever since. They
have no children.

HENRY ASHLEY KNIGHT. The ancestry of
Henry Ashley Knight, Worcester's first superin-
tendent of street lighting, is traced from John Knight
(1), maltmaster, who was a resident of Water-
town. Sudbury and Woburn. Massachusetts. He
was a freeman in Watertown, 1636, and died previous
to 1676. Mary, his widow, died May 19. 167b.
Their children were: Mary, John and Joseph.

(Ill Joseph Knight and wife Hannah resided
in Watertown and Woburn. They had a large
family of children, among them, Edward, born in
Woburn, August 31, 1677.

(III) Edward Knight, of Woburn, married, July
13, 1699, Joanna Winn. They had ten children,
born in Woburn, three of whom died in infancy.
Those that survived were : Joanna, born in 1703 ;
Edward, 1708; Josiah, 1710; Lucy, 1712; Daniel,
December 20, 1715: Timothy, 1717: and James, 1720.

(IV) Daniel Knight married Jerusha and

had children: Elizabeth, horn October 2S. 1744:
Daniel, September 4 or 8, 1746. married Mehitabel
Bancroft, of Shrewsbury: William, January 8,
1748-49: Edward, October 20, 1751 ; .Sarah. April
24. 1 75.^; : Molly, September 1. 1755; Relief, Decem-
ber 24. 1757: Reuben, August 22, 1760.

( V ) Edward Knight, born October 29, 1751,
married Elizabeth Flagg, November 2, 1773, daugh-
ter of Elisha and Elizabeth Flagg, and born in
Worcester, May 1. 1748. She died February 3,
1793. and he married (second) Sarah Jenkins, in
Townsend, February 13, 1796. Mr. Knight was
private in Captain Daniel Chad'wick's company.
Colonel Benjamin Flagg's regiment, and marched
to Hadley on the alarm, at Bennington August 28,
1777. (See Lovell's Worcester in the Revolution,
page 123, and Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in
the War of the Revolution, page 347, volume 9). He
was a farmer and lived in the northerly part of
Worcester, and at his death September 15, 1810, be-
queathed his farm of one hundred acres to his
son, John Heat!) Knight, the home being on Burn-
coat street. The children of Edward and Elizabeth
g) Knight were: Josiah, horn April 6. 1775:
Abel. February 1, 1777: Elijah, June 12, 17S0: Polly,
April 7. 1782: Jonathan, January 22. 17S6: John
Heath, December 20. T700, died December 8, 1791 ;
John Heath. August 8. 1707.



(VI) John Heath Knight, youngest son of Ed-
ward and Sarali (Jenkins) Knight, was by occu-
lta ion a farmer, and for nine years tilled a farm
of one hundred acres left him at the death of
his father. In 1828 he removed to the farm of
Francis Harrington, near Lake Quinsigamond.
Later he worked the William T. Merrifield farm in
Rutland, was subsequently appointed to the office
of turnkey at the Summer street jail, was employed
by the Boston and Worcester Railroad Company,
and was also for a number of years freight agent
for the Norwich and Worcester Railroad Company.
His last appointment was as city weigher, a posi-
tion which he held at the time of his death. He at-
tended the Old Union Congregational Church when
located on Front street, and served as its sexton;
for a number of years. He was early interested in>
military matters, and was a member of a Worces-
ter Cavalry Company. He married (first) Lucy
C. Pierce. She died, and he married (second)
Maria L. Parker. December 27, 1846, by whom he
had three children, and nine by first wife. Their
names are: Laura Maria, Edward Bangs, Franklin
Heyward, Otis Harrison. Alden Bradford, born Sep-
tember 27, 1827; Willard Pierce, John Heath, de-
ceased; John Heath, deceased; John Heath, Daniel
Webster, Lucv Murilla and Louisa.

(VII) Alden Bradford Knight, fifth child of
John Heath and Lucy C. (Pierce) Knight, born in
Wi ircester, September 27, 1827, on Burncoat street.
He attended the public schools of Worcester until
ten years of age, when he began to care for himself
by getting employment with various farmers. At
sixteen, he, with a handcart, carried the mails be-
tween the postoffice and the Old Foster street rail-
road station, at the same time assisting his father
in caring for the Union Church Meetinghouse, ring-
ing the bell at service time. He afterward was em-
ployed in the sash and blind factory of Mann, Light
and Dexter. After this factory was burned, he
worked at the same trade at other places, Hartford,.
Connecticut, and Neponset. Massachusetts. In 1855
his father-in-law, Jonathan White, presented him
with a deed of a piece of land, and money with
which to build a house upon it, and in that house
the family made their home until 1896, wdien he re-
tired from business. He is a member of the Union
Congregational Church, and present residence is at
162 Burncoat street. June 10, 1852, he married
Mary Jane, daughter of Jonathan A. and Betsey
(Gleason) White, born June 4, 1828. Their chil-
dren were: 1. Henry Ashley, born August 21,
1853. 2. Herbert Bradford, born October 23. 1855,
married Elizabeth Johnson, of Cambridge, Massa-
chusetts, and have children : Fred J., born June 8,
1883: May A., born July 4. 1884; Lucy, born Sep-
tember 17, 18S6 : Henry L., born November 29,
1888. 3. Fred Elmer, born September 2, 1861,
married Emily M. Harrendeen, of Connecticut, May
16. 1S87, and have children: John Chandler, born
June 28, 1888, died July 2. 1906: Elmer F., born
February 25, 1890; Howard A., born January 25,
1802: Jennie E., born November 11, 1893. 4. Jennie
Elizabeth, born November 12, 1862. married Alton
R. Cole, of Maine. They have one child, Alden
Brigham Cole, born September 6, 1S84. 5. Frank
Harrison, born April 13. 1866, married, January 25,
1890, Eleanor C. Wallace, and they have one child,
1 (orothy.

Henry Ashley Knight, son of Alden B. and
Mary J. (White) Knight, was born in Worces-
ter, Massachusetts, August 21. T853, and received
his carlv education in the public schools of his
native city. At the age of sixteen, having com-
pleted his second year in the Worcester high school,



WORCESTER COUNTY



21



lie launched his first business venture by purchasing
a milk route, which he conducted successfully for
ten years. During the last four years of his con-
nection with the milk business, he took up the
study of law in the office of Potter and Mann, and
later with Hopkins and Mann. In 1887 he secured
an interest in the coal business, previously con-
ducted by E. A. Sumner on Union street. In this
line he was associated with Charles F. Mann, under
the firm name of Mann and Knight, for a period
of thirteen years. Subsequently Mr. Knight held
a position with F. A. Mann and Company for about
a year.

In 1891 the city council of Worcester created the
department of street lighting, and Mr. Knight was
elected as its first superintendent, a position which
lie has held continuously up to the present writ-
ing, and in which he was attained a signal degree
of success. Under Mr. Knight's management the
area covered by the street lighting service has in-
creased from ninety-three to two hundred and twelve
miles, and the number of lamp hours per year has
Tbeen more than doubled. During his term of service
the cost of lighting per street mile, per year, has been
reduced over forty per cent. Mr. Knight also or-
ganized the supervision of wire department, and
combined the office of supervisor with that of super-
intendent of street lighting. The degree of thor-
oughness and efficiency demonstrated by Mr. Knight
in the administration of the wire department was
best evidenced by the recognition of his efforts,
shown by the New England Insurance Exchange,
when in 1901 it was decided to discontinue their
inspection of w'ires carrying electric current in the
city of Worcester, the supervision of the local de-
partment being considered a guarantee of satis-
factory conditions. Mr. Knight ranks high in the
estimation of the electrical fraternity with whom
he comes in contact. He is a member of the Massa-
chusetts Association of Municipal Inspectors, the
National Electrical Inspection Association, and the
International Association of Municipal Electricians.
In 1904 Mr. Knight was a member of the Inter-
national Electrical Congress, at the World's Fair,
in St. Louis.

Mr. Knight is a member and regular attendant
at Union Congregational Church, and has served two
years as chairman of the church music committee.
He is a Republican in politics, and has served his
party as a delegate in many important state and
county conventions. Mr. Knight is affiliated with
many fraternal and social organizations. He has
been prominently identified with the various Masonic
todies for many years, and is a member of the board
of trustees of the Masonic fraternity of Worcester.
That his efforts in behalf of the fraternity have been
appreciated by his associates is evidenced by the
practical unanimity with which he has been suc-
cessively chosen to fill the highest office in the
several organizations with which he has been af-
filiated. He is a member of Athelstan Lodge, A.
F. and A. M., and Eureka Royal Arch Chapter.
He served during the years 1902-03 in the dual
capacity of worshipful master of Athelstan Lodge,
and most excellent high priest of the chapter. He
is a member and holds office in Hiram Council,
Royal and Select Masters, and Worcester County
Commandery, No. 5, Knights Templar, in addition
to membership in the fourteenth, sixteenth and
eighteenth grade of Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite Masonry. Mr. Knight is a charter member and
past potent monarch of Alethia Grotto, M. O. V.
P. E. R.. and an honorary life member of the
Supreme council of that order. He is also a past
Chancellor of Regulus Lodge, No. 71, Knights of



Pythias, and a member of Worcester Lodge, No.
56, and Worcester Encampment, No. 10, I. O. O. F.

Mr. Knight is a charter member of the Hancock
Club, and holds membership in the Worcester
County Mechanics' Association.

He married, May n, 1881, Effie Jane Phelps,
born May 23, 1853, daughter of Thomas and Emily



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 6 of 133)