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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honored and respected citizens of his day. Chil-
dren of Captain Seth and Bethiah (Thurston) Cha-
pin: I. Seth, Jr., born Medfield, July 2, 1692. 2.
Bethiah, born February 16, 1693. 3. Josiah, March

I, 1695-6. 4. John, May 13, 1698. 5. Mary, April
30, 1700. 6. Samuel, June 2, 1702. 7. Deborah, June
14 1704. 8. Hopestill, November 27, 1705. 9. Jo-
seph, March 6, 1707-8. 10. Abigail, June 10, 1710.

II. Lydia, February 2, 1712. 12. Benjamin, April
6, 1713. 13- Ebenezer, December 23, 1714. 14.
Japhet, February 24, 1716, died young.



WORCESTER COUNTY



221



(IV) Joseph Chapin, son of Captain Seth
Chapin (3), born in what is now Mendon, Massa-
chusetts, March 6, 1707-8, married Mary Nelson,
February 5, 1729. She was the daughter of Ger-
shom and Abigail (Ellithorpe) Nelson, and was
born April 16, 1713. She was the sister of Elder
Nathaniel Nelson. Joseph and his wife were re-
ceived from the First Church of Mendon, March
26, 1769. Their son Ephraim preceded them in the

East precinct, and he became a conspicuous citi-
zen in Milford. Joseph spent his last years in the
small house on Main street, not far from what is
known as the Luther Clafiin place. Joseph Chapin
died July 1, 17S8. His widow died February 16,
1798. Children of Joseph and Mary (Nelson) Cha-
pin: 1. Joseph, born 1731. 2. Abigail, '1732. 3.
Gersh'om, 1734. 4. Samuel, 1736. 5. Ephraim, May

S. 1745-

(V) Lieutenant Ephraim Chapin, son of Joseph
Chapin (4), born in Mendon, May 5, 1745, married
Hannah Rider, of Holliston, May, 1768. She was
the daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Morse) Rider
and was born August 8, 1751. She died December
19, 1807. He married (second) Anna Tidd, of Hol-
liston, a widow, 1809. He died March 26, 1812. He
was an enterprising, energetic and successful man,
standing well in church and citizenship. Children
of Lieutenant Ephraim and Hannah (Rider) Cha-
pin: 1. Levi, born December 22, 1768. 2. Ede, born
I773» died young. 3. Joel, born March 4, 1777, mar-
ried Rosanna Fairbanks, died in Holliston, No-
vember 23, 1804. 4. Eli, born May I, 1780, a dis-
tinguished citizen of Milford, died March 31, 1869.
5. Amos, born July 5, 1782; deacon.

(VI) Major Levi Chapin, son of Lieutenant
Ephraim Chapin (5), born Milford, Massachusetts,
December 22, 1768, married Olive Thayer, November
26, 1789. She was the daughter of Elijah and Sarah

(Robinson) Thayer, and was born October 14,
1771. Children of Major Levi and Olive (Thayer)
Chapin : 1. Elias, born March 19, 1790, married
Rhoda Darling, of Bellingham, 1815 ; he died April
8, 1826. 2. Ede, born March 18, 1792, died unmar-
ried. 3. Leonard, born January 27, 1794, married
Semira Howard, December 6, 1821. 4. Cyrus, died
September 21, 1797. 5. Ruby, born July 29, 1798,

married Dexter Walker, December 23, 1821.

(VII) Leonard Chapin, son of Levi Chapin (6),
born in Milford, January 27, 1794, married Semira
Howard, at Milford, December 6, 1821. She was the
daughter of Zuriel and Olive (Twitchell) Howard,
and was born March 4, 1802. Leonard inherited
the homestead in Milford lately owned by Captain
Elbridge Mann. He was prominent in town affairs.
The farm of Zuriel Howard was located in what is
now the town of Hopedale. Leonard Chapin died
January 15, 1862, aged sixty-eight. His widow
died June 18, 1874, aged seventy-two years, three
months and fourteen days. Children of Leonard and
Semira (Howard) Chapin: 1. Joel, born October
26, 1822. 2. Willard, born December II, 1825, mar-
ried Lydia Wait Perry, August 28, 1851. 3. War-
ren, born December 9, 1827 ; married first, Eliza M.
Bowker, at Hopkinton, November 4, 1850; married
(second) Augusta Bridges," 1862. 4. Lovett, born
January 21, 1S30; married Sarah W. Howard, June
8, 1854; resides at Sing Sing, New York, where he
is overseer of a department in the state prison. 5.
Phebe Ann, born March 4, 1832, married Samuel
Scammell, of Milford, March 4, 1852. 6. Nathan
Thayer, born November 4, 1834; married, August
25, 1855, Anna W. Bray; he died August 30, 1858..
7. Sarah Olivia, born August 8, 1828; married
Frank Cummings, resided at Hardwick, August 21,



1855. 8. Ann Maria, born April 14, 1843, died Au-
gust 30, 1844.

(VIII) Joel Chapin, son of Leonard Chapin (7),
was born in Milford, Massachusetts, October 26,.
1822. He attended the public schools of his native
town and Milford Academy. He learned the trade
of shoemaker, and followed it for a number of
years. He manufactured to some extent when un-
able to get work from the shops. He worked for a
time in the Underwood Boot and Shoe Factory in
Milford. When a young man he engaged in the
meat and provision business. He bought cattle and
prepared them for the market, opened a market and
built up a prosperous business. He inherited his
father's farm and lived in the house on Main street.
His market was located where the Melatiah Ryan
house is now situated. He died at the prime of life,
and his death was the result of overexertion. He
was a man of splendid physique and great physical ,
strength, but he injured a heart valve by overtaxing
his strength. His business was sold soon after his
death. He married, July 13, 1843, at Milford, Izanna
Chamberlain Hero, daughter of John and Polly
(Clafiin) Hero. She was born in what is now Mil-
ford, and was then Holliston, Massachusetts, Octo-
ber 22, 1823. Her grandfather's name was also John
Hero. The Clafiin family came from Hopkinton.

Mrs. Chapin has shown herself a capable business
woman in the years of her widowhood. The Chapin
farm has been cut up into building lots and is be-
ing rapidly built up. It is located near the very
centre of the town. Mr. Chapin was a man of
sterling character. The historian of Milford, who
knew him well, pronounced him a worthy man and
a good citizen. He was not a member of church or
social organizations. He devoted himself to his
business and his home. The children of Joel and
Izanna C. (Hero) Chapin were: 1. Willard Henry,
born in Milford, March 25, 1846; lives at home with
his mother, 306 Main street ; is a shoemaker by
trade ; he had a common school education with a
course at Heywood's private school, then of Hope-
dale ; he was a soldier in the civil war, in Company
B, from Milford and is a member of Milford Grand
Army Post ; he is a Republican ; he never married.
2. Frederick Mellen, born at Milford, November 22,
1847, died June 29, 1853. 3. Callie Augusta, born
Milford, October 7, 1854; married John Larkin
Mead, March 15, 1877; their children are: Fred
Larkin Mead, born March 23, 1878; Roy Mead, born
September 28, 1881 ; Helen Mead, born May 25,
1886.

NORCROSS FAMILY. The emigrant ancestor,
Jeremiah Norcross (1), came from England to
America in the year 1638, and from "Bond's History
and Genealogies of Watertown," Massachusetts, we
learn that he was a proprietor in that place as early
as 1642, his family then consisting of wife Adrean
and three children, Nathaniel, Richard and Sarah.
The original homestead in Watertown covered about
twenty-six acres, the title to which was held within
the family for more than one hundred and sixty
years. A portion of this estate was later purchased
by the United States government, and is now the
location of the Watertown arsenal. The senior Mr.
Norcross, in 1654, when arranging to visit England,
executed a will in which the various members of his
family are mentioned, leaving at his death the
greater part of his estate to his son Richard. The
brother Nathaniel received the degree of A. B. at
"Catherine Hall College," Cambridge, 1636-37, was
called to become the minister at Lancaster, and signed
with others a petition to the general court to plant



222



WORCESTER COUNTY



a settlement there. There heing so much delay in
preparing for the settlement and building the early
houses, his attention was called in another direction,
and he is said to have returned to England in 1646.
His father died in England in 1657.

(II) Richard Norcross, born in England, 1621,
was the possessor of a small estate at Watertown in
1642. Was chosen to act as the first schoolmasti r
in that town, and from 1651 to about the year 1700

followed the occupation of a school teacher, and for
nearly a quarter of a century was the only person in
the town to fill that office. He married (first)
Mary Brooks, daughter of Captain Thomas Brooks.
She died in 1671, and he married (second) Susanna,
widow of William Shattuck. Mr. Norcross died in
1709, leaving six children, the eldest, Mary, having
died in 1661.

(III) Nathaniel Norcross, born in Watertown,
December 18, 1665, was a shoemaker and resided in
Watertown and Sudbury. He married (first) Me-
hitable Hagar. She died April 5, 1691, and he mar-
ried (second) Susanna, daughter of Dr. Philip Shat-
tuck, of Watertown. She died in Sudbury. Feb-
ruary 15, 1711-12. He died in 1717, leaving a family
of four children.

(IV) Philip Norcross, born March 5, 1698, mar-
ried, in 1 72 1, Sarah, daughter of Edward Jackson,
of Newton, and settled in that town, their home
being on the site of the present Eliot meeting house.
Philip Norcross died in 1748, leaving nine children.

(V) Jonathan Norcross, born February 7, 1734-
35, the fifth child of Philip Norcross, was a soldier
in the French and Indian war, and at Lake George
in 1758. Two years later he removed to George-
town, Maine, where he married Martha, daughter
of James Springer. In 1775 he was a resident of
Readville, Maine, but have no record of his death.
His wife died in 1809, and was buried at Hollowell,
Maine.

(VI) Jonathan Norcross, Jr., born 1767, married
Jane Atkinson, of Lancaster, England, and resided
in Wayne, Maine, during the greater portion of his
life, where he owned a farm. It is believed at his
death he was buried in Winthrop, Maine. His
widow died and was buried in Salem, Massachusetts.

lYU) Jesse Springer Norcross, son of Jona-
than Norcross, Jr., was born in Wayne, Maine, in
1806. He was a carpenter and builder, also pro-
prietor of the "Norcross Mills " at Winslow, Maine.
He married, in 1826, Margaret Ann Whitney, of
Westboro, Massachusetts. They resided in vari-
ous places in the state of Maine, among them the
Cowns of Clinton and Winslow. In 1843 removed to
Salem. Massachusetts, where he continued to ply
his occupation as carpenter and builder. In the year
1849 he joined the great concourse of seekers for
gold in California. He died the following year and
was buried at Benicia in that state. His widow,
Margaret Ann (Whitney) Norcross, was the daugh-
ter of Jonah and Anna (Rider) Whitney. The
father of Jonah was Thomas Whitney, a revolution-
ary soldier from the town of Shrewsbury, Thomas
being in the fifth generation from the emigrant an-
cestor, John Whitney, who settled in Watertown,
Massachusetts, and was admitted freeman there in
1635-36. The children of Jesse Springer and Mar-
garet Ann (Whitney) Norcross were: Rosina C,
Julia, James A., Elizabeth, Orlando W., and William.
As the business career of the two brothers James
Atkinson, born March 24, 1831, and Orlando "Whit-
ney, born October 25, 1839, appears so closely in-
terwoven, it seems highly proper that they should
In reviewed together.

(YI1I) James Atkinson Norcross, born March
_'4, 1831, in Kennebec county, Maine, was a' mere lad



when the family removed to Salem, Massachusetts.
The early death of his father placed upon his should-
ers heavy responsibilities, and having inherited in
a large degree the mechanical genius of his father,
learned the trade of a carpenter, which he followed
at Salem a number of years. In 1864, upon the re-
turn of his brother Orlando from his three years'
service in the rebellion, the two formed a partner-
ship which continued until the year 1897. The style
of the firm was Norcross Brothers, and their busi-
ness career was started in Essex county, Massa-
chusetts, in the city of Salem, but soon removed to
the city of Worcester to gain a larger field in which
to labor. The Leicester Congregational Church was
their first large contract. The excellent manner in
which that contract was filled gave the firm an en-
viable reputation among building contractors, and
from that date onward they were awarded a large
share of the contracts given out for expensive struct-
ures erected within their immediate locality. As
their facilities for executing work, and the quality
of their workmanship became known to the public,
demand for their services came not only from the
various cities and towns in the New England states,
but far and near throughout the United States, un-
til there was scarcely a city among those most prom-
inent in the Union but what contained a sample
of their handiwork.

During the thirty-three years of most unprece-
dented business prosperity, James A. attended to the
clerical and financial part, while Orlando gave at-
tention to directing the men in their employ, an ar-
rangement which proved to ensure signal success.
They erected factories, equipped with the latest ma-
proved machinery, where they manufacture doors,
sash, and all the necessary finish required by their
contracts, and the firm soon became conspicuous for
reasonable prices, promptness, and the skillful way
in which all of their contracts were met. Scores of
magnificent structures erected by this firm may be
found noted in the personal sketch of the brother
partner Orlando, which follows at the conclusion
of the notice of James A., who retired from the
firm in 1897 for the purpose of enjoying some of
the ease and comforts to which a lifetime of labor
and steady brain work entitled him. For years he
had resided in an elegant mansion on Claremont
street, Worcester, built of Longmeadow sandstone,
but he sought better and more roomy surroundings,
and after purchasing a tract of land containing sev-
eral acres, situated on May street, a short distance
west from his Claremont street home. There upon
a beautiful eminence, furnishing a commanding view
of the surrounding country, he reared his "Fairlawn,"
where he passed the remainder of his days, within
this home of beauty and luxury into which he with
his family removed in July, 1895. After his retire-
ment from business, he visited various portions of
the United States for the purpose of inspecting rare
and choice specimens of work produced by his craft,
and in February, 1892, in company with his wife,
visited the Old World, passing considerable time in
England, France, Holland, and Italy, enjoying the
scenes and meditating on the contrast between the
New and Old World. He died at his home, August
4, 1903, and was survived by his widow, who was
Mary Ellen Pinkham, whom he married in Salem,
Massachusetts, and also their children, Julia Ellen,
Mrs. W. L. Davis, of Hartford, Connecticut; and
and her sons : James Franklin, of Springfield,
Massachusetts, Arthur W., of New York city, Will-
• iam E. and Jesse O., of Worcester. Mr. James A.
Norcross was not a seeker of public office, al-
though he served the city one term as a member of
the common council in 1877. He was a member of



WORCESTER COUNTY



223



Worcester Board of Trade, the Commonwealth Club,
Sportsman and Continental Clubs, also of the Wor-
cester County Mechanics' Association. In the build-
ing of the South Unitarian Church he was one of
the most liberal contributors. In this society he
took an active interest, and within its circle found
his religious home. He was a man of charitable
disposition and Ins kindliness was often evinced by
his many acts of charity.

(VIII) Orlando Whitney Norcross, son of Jesse
and Margaret (.Whitney) Norcross, was born 111
Clinton, Maine, October 25, 1839, a child in his
father's family when they removed to Salem, Massa-
chusetts. As he grew to youth and manhood he ac-
quired his early education in the Salem public
schools, and after a few years experience in the
leather business, doubtless prompted by a mechanical
genius inherited from his father, turned his atten-
tion to the carpenter's trade which he mastered, and
in which occupation he found employment until
the year 1861, when he enlisted in the Fourteenth
Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, after-
wards •known as the First Massachusetts Heavy Ar-
tillery, and served well his country for three years.

In 1864 the co-partnership with his brother James
A. was formed, as before mentioned, under the name
of Norcross Brothers, and it is safe to say that no
firm engaged in the building industry ever made
more rapid strides toward success and popularity
than did the Norcross Brothers. The thirty thou-
sand dollar contract for the Congregational Church,
at Leicester, in 1866, placed the firm fairly in line for
further like engagements, and soon was followed
by one at North Adams. The firm at this time hav-
ing located in Worcester, began here with a contract
for the Crompton block. Then the First Universal-
is! Church, Classical and English High Schools were
built during the years 1870 and 1871. Later they
built the State Mutual Life Assurance building, the
Art Museum, the new City Hall. Prior to the cli-
max reached in the erection of their massive build-
ings, they had erected about eighty others in vari-
ous parts of the United States all remarkable for
their size, beauty and cost of construction, includ-
ing those designed both for public and private use.
A complete list of these great structures cannot here
be given, but a few of the more important are men-
tioned : South Congregational Church; Hampden
County Court House, Springfield, Massachusetts;
Union League Club House, New York ; Boston &
Albany Station and granite bridge over Main street,
Springfield, Massachusetts; Trinity Church, Boston;
South Terminal Station, Boston; Norwich Congre-
gational Church, Norwich, Connecticut ; Latin and
English High Schools, Boston; buildings for Harv-
ard College, including Perkins Hall, Conant Hall,
Fogg Art Museum, Gymnasium building, Sever Hall,
and Law School buildings at Cambridge ; the group
of Medical School buildings on Longwood avenue,
Boston; New York Central Railroad Station, Albany,
Xew Y<irk : Allegheny Court House and Jail, Pitts-
burg, Pennsylvania, built of granite from Worces-
ter county. Massachusetts; Exchange building, Bos-
ton; Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati, Ohio; Gran-
ite work of Pennsylvania & Long Island Railroad at
New York ; Bi-centennial and Woolsey Hall build-
ings at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut;
New York Life Insurance Company; buildings at
Omaha and Kansas City ; Howard Memorial Li-
brary, New Orleans : Marshall Field building, Chi-
cago; Equitable Building, Baltimore; Corcoran Gal-
lery of Art, Washington, D. C. ; new Massachusetts
State Capitol. Boston; Rhode Island State Capitol,
Providence, Rhode Island; Columbia University
Buildings including Science Hall, University Hall,



Library, Schermeron Hall, Physics building, S. E.
Porch ; and at Brown University at Providence,
Rhode Island; the John Carter Brown Library and
the Rockefeller Hall. They also constructed the
Soldiers' Monument at West Point, New York, the
largest polished Monolith in the United States; and
the Ames Memorial Monument at Sherman, Wyom-
ing, on the highest elevation of the Rocky Moun-
tains crossed the Union Pacific Railroad.

After the retirement of his brother from the firm
in 1897, the business was continued under the direc-
tion of Orlando, who possesses unusual zeal and
business capacity, is an untiring worker, with a re-
markable knowledge of the science of mechanics,
and has thus successfully mastered all obstacles
met in the pathway of his various undertakings,
many of which have been considered by some con-
tractors to seem almost if not impossible of execu-
tion. No man takes deeper interest in his occupa-
tion, and his constant aim has been to become a
complete master in the building trade. In 1875 he
served on a committee of experts appointed to ex-
amine the condition of Chicago's great federal build-
ing, and the report of that body was found correct.
Mr. Norcross is an earnest advocate of temperance.

In May, 1870, he married Miss Ellen Phebe Sib-
ley, of Salem, Massachusetts, a descendant from
Richard Sibley, of that place. Of their five chil-
dren three are living: 1. Alice Whitney, born
March 22, 1872, married October 19, 1897, Henry J.
Gross, of Worcester. They have two children—
Phebe, born April 18, 1900, and Philip Norcross,
born July 1, 1901. 2. Mabel Ellen, born July 20,
1874, married, April 10, 1898, William J. Denholm,
of Worcester. Their children were — Margaret, born
April 17, 1900, and Alexander Norcross, born Feb-
ruary 12, 1902, died October 14, 1902. 3. Edith Janet,
born October 8, 1878, married, October 5, 1904,
Charles F. Morgan, of Worcester. 4. James (J., bom
March 5, 1882, died July 28, 1882. 5. Walter.

HALL FAMILY. Edward Hall (1), the immi-
grant ancestor of Mrs. Alfred J. Kirby, of Grafton,
Massachusetts, was a son of Francis Hall, of Hen-
boro, England. He was first at Salisbury, Massa-
chusetts, but settled in 1636 in Duxbury where he
lived for three years or more. In 1640-41 he was in
Taunton, employed by Francis Doughty. He sold
his house and land in Taunton in 1642 and returned
to Duxbury. He was in Braintree for a short time
about 1640. In 1644 he was in Bridgewater, where
land was granted to him March 28, 1645, and he
was a proprietor, owning one fifty-fourth part of
the town from 1645 to 1650. He moved again, set-
tling at Rehoboth, where he was granted land in
1645. He was mentioned in the will of John Gove,
of Charlestown, in 1647. He removed finally to Re-
hoboth in 1655, and was the forty-first of forty-nine
who drew meadow land there June 22, 1658. He
served, in the war against the Narragansetts in 1645.
His will is dated November 2^, 1670. He died four
days later.

He married Esther . Their children, except

the first two who were born at Braintree. were born
in Rehoboth according to the records, viz : John, born
January 23 or 28, 1650, was a soldier in King Philip's
•war; Esther, born October 2^, 1645. married, Decem-
ber 24, 1674, Thomas Jordan; Samuel, born October
24, 1656, married, April 14. 1686, Elizabeth Brown,
resided at Taunton; Jeremiah born July 24, 1658;
Thomas, born March 31, 1661 : Preserved, born
March 20 or 30, 1663, settled in Hingham; Andrew,
see forward; Benjamin, born August 7. 1668, settled
111 Wrentham; married, 1691, Sarah Fisher.

(.II) Andrew Hall, seventh child of Edward



224



WORCESTER COUNTY



Hall (i), was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts,
May 10, 1665, died at Newton, Massachusetts, 1756.
He settled in Newton and became the progenitor
of a large family. The coat of arms in the pos-
session of this family is like that of the Medford
Halls, and it is very likely that many of the immi-
grants Hall were brothers or near relatives. He
came to Newton in 1691, according to Savage, surely
by 1695 he was living there. He was a farmer as
well as weaver. His place was near Oak hill, be-
tween the hill and Charles river, and was owned
after him by several generations of his descendants.
He married Susannah Capen, daughter of Dea-
con John and Susannah (Barsham) Capen, and
great-granddaughter of Barnard and Jane (Pur-
chase) Capen, of Dorchester. She was born Sep-
tember 16, 1664, died August 18, 1736. He married
(second), October 12, 1737, Mary Bennett. His will
dated September 30, 1748, made his son Edward
executor and confirmed to him the homestead al-
ready deeded to him. Children of Andrew and Su-
sanna Hall were: John, born January 11, 1695, see
forward ; Susannah, born January 10, 1697, married,
1719, Eleazer, born May 21, 1730, married Eliphalet
Gay; Edward, born May 21, 1730, married Mary
Miller; Andrew, born December 5, 1723, married
Dorcas Courtney, and lived in Boston ; Hannah,
born in Newton, (as were all the others) married
Woodcock, of Bridge water.

(III) John Hall, son of Andrew Hall (2), was
born at Newton, Massachusetts, January 11, 1695.
He settled in Newton. He married, October 17,
1722, in Dorchester, Hopestill Ockmgton, of Ded-
ham. She died in 1738. He married (second), De-
cember 27, 1739, Abigail Hall. He died 1791, aged
ninety-six years. Their children, all born in New-
ton, were: Josiah, see forward; Nehemiah, born
March 29, 1725; Thomas, born November 22, 1727;
Rebecca, born August 1, 1729; David, born Decem-
ber 24, 1732; John, born May 31, 1736.

(IV) Josiah Hall, eldest child of John Hall
(3), was born in Newton, Massachusetts, August
26, 1723. He and his son, Samuel Hall, were both
in the revolution. He was in Captain William



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 65 of 133)