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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at Rowley, September 12, 1687, and his widow Ana
died December 29, 1714. All their children, born at
Rowley, were: Mary, born January 15, 1655; John,,
born September 2, 1656, married Isabel Hazen ;
Thomas, born August 10, 1658, married Mary Hunt,
probably of Ipswich ; he was buried December I,
1702; had nine children: Ann or Mariann, born
August 8, 1660, married Benjamin Plummer; Ruth,
born May 21, 1662, married Captain Joseph Jewett
and (second) John Lunt ; Josiah (twin), born Sep-
tember 5, 1664. married (first) Sarah Ellithorp and'
(second) Mary Felt; Elizabeth (twin), born Sep-
tember 5, 1664: Samuel, born December 26, 1666,
married Mary Ellithorp: Solomon, born May 17,
1669, see forward ; Ebenezer, born December 29,
1671, married Rachel Nichols; James, born June 22,
1674. died October 18, 1694.

(II) Solomon Wood, son of Thomas Wood (1),
was born at Bradford. Massachusetts. May 17, 1669,
and settled there. He removed to Mendon in the
part now Uxbridge, and died there January 13, 1752,
aged eighty-three years. He married Mary Hazel-
tine, who died February 21, 1749. Their children:
David, born July 31. 1691 ; Dorcas, born October
3. 1693 ; Joshua, born October 4, 1698, married Eliza-
beth ; Mary, born September 11, J700; Solomon,

born July 14. 1702, married Faithful Keith: James,
born December 20. 1704, died August 19, 1794:

married Esther : died August 14, 1793, aged

eighty-seven years; Ezekiel, born November 11,
1706. see forward: Obadiah, born 1707-08, married
Esther (second) Experience, and (third) Mary
Wheaton Hayward, sisters; he died August 16. 1792;
(See sketch of Westboro Wood family) ; Daniel,
married. May 18, 1736, Sarah Peabody ; Betsey, mar-
ried Obadiah Wood.

(III) Ezekiel Wood, son of Solomon Wood (2),
was horn at Mendon, Massachusetts. November 11,
1706. died at Uxbridge. May 16. 1772. He was a
leading citizen of Uxbridge and held important pub-
lic offices. His will was dated March 19, 1772. He
married. March 25. 1732. Marv Brown, whose will'
is dated October 10, 1777. The inventory of her
estate is dated 1778. The children, mentioned in
their wills, are: 1. Toshua. 2. Ezekiel. Jr., the
father of children — Ezekiel. Jr.: Lois, married"
Lieutenant Joel Sibley: Martha, married William
Hull; Patience, married Captain Amory Wood;
Lucinda, married Joseph Ellison : Rhoda, married"
Silas Stow: Abigail, married Captain Fsek Pitts;
Sally, married Oliver Hayden. 3. Dexter, see for-







WILLIAM A. WILLIAMS



WORCESTER COUNTY



245



ward. 4. Susanna, married Amariah Penniman. 5.
Abigail, married Nicholas Baylies. 6. Lois, mar-
ried Jesse Penniman.

(IV) Dexter Wood, son of Ezekiel Wood (3),
■was born in L'xbridge, Massachusetts, about 1740.
He died there in 1811. The inventory of his estate
■was dated September 27, 181 1. He married Deborah
Wood, whose will was dated August 14, 1816, and
was filled in the probate court, May 24, 1831. Their
children named in the will, born at Uxbridge, were :
Samuel, see forward; Ezekiel, had only son Charles

E., who married Eunice S. , left bequests to

the children of his brother Samuel, naming them,
and made Amariah A. Wood, his nephew, one of
the trustees of his estate; Deborah, married Lyman
Taft ; Mary, married Caleb Murdock, who died in
1S16 or before; Cynthia.

(V) Samuel Wood, son of Dexter Wood (4),
■was born in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, about 1770.
He lived at Uxbridge and was a man of property
and influence in that town. His will was dated
February 8, 1841. The children : Amariah A., see
forward ; Amos ; Sarah, married Elias Wheelock ;
Mary, married Adolphus Baylies ; Abby, married
Luther Spring; Rachel.

(VI) Amariah A. Wood, son of Samuel Wood
(5), was born in LTxbridge, November 2, 1802.
He resided on the old homestead at Ux-
bridge. He married, September 10, 1834, Sarah
Taft, born January 15, 1815, died Decem-
ber 24, 1898. He died at LTxbridge, June
14. 1871. Their children Sarah A., born June, 1837,
■died September 26, 1837; Mary B., born June, 1847,
died September 9, 1847 ; Anna I., born August 18,
1848; Samuel Taft, born October 4, 1841, see for-
ward.

(VII) Samuel Taft Wood, son of Amariah A.
Wood (6), was born in Uxbridge, Massachusetts,
October 4, 1841. He was educated in the public
schools there and worked on the farm with his
father. He remained on the farm until his father's
•death and then the property came to him. Like
most other farmers in the vicinity he used to work
in the straw shops in Upton and Milford during
the winter. He has an excellent dairy farm and
for many years has had a milk route in Uxbridge.
He is known personally to all his customers, many
of whom have dealt with him for several decades.
No man in Uxbridge is better known or more gen-
erally liked. He is best known doubtless in his
capacity of choir director, having been connected
at various times with most of the churches of the
town. He is gifted musically and his voice and
-management have always been in demand. Simple
and straightforward in his manner, kind, courteous
and considerate in speech and of high character,
Tie ranks among the best citizens of the town. He
is a Congregationalist in religion and a Republican
in politics.

He married (first) Olive D. Seagrave, daughter
of Lawson Seagrave, February 13, 1861. She was
Tvilled in a railway accident soon after the marriage.
She was born in 1842 and died 1862. He married
(second), December 16, 1863, Mary E. Rawson,
daughter of Augustus Rawson. She was born 1815
and died 1904. He married (third), June 27, 1906,
Etta T. Legge. Children of Samuel Taft and Mary
E. Wood were : Eva, born May 29, 1865, married
Henry Wilcox, son of Mrs. A. P. Wilcox ; she
married (second) LeRoy Farnum, son of Henry
Farnum. Merritt, born September 2, 1873.

COLOXEL WILLIAM AUSTIN WILLIAMS.
William Williams (1), of Great Yarmouth, England,
who settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1637,
was the emigrant ancestor of Colonel William Austin



Williams, of Worcester, Massachusetts. According
to his statement when he emigrated he was born in
Great Yarmouth, 1597, and therefore was forty years
old in 1637. His wife Elizabeth, aged thirty-eight
years, their two children, and Elizabeth Williams, of
Great Yarmouth, a single woman, aged thirty-one
years, also passed the examination to go to New
England, April 11, 1637. Elizabeth Williams may
have been his sister; she settled at Dorchester with
her brother, Richard Williams, and joined the church
there. Richard and Elizabeth were legatees in the
will of their sister, Jane Williams, of Whetenhurste,
Gloucester county, dated May 31, 1650, proved June
30, 1655. Richard Williams died at Dorchester, July
13, 1688. He lived in the Plymouth colony for many
years. Elizabeth died unmarried, October 13, 1688,
her death being caused by drowning. William Will-
iams settled at Watertown and was a proprietor of
the town in 1642.

(II) Abraham Williams, son of William (1)
and Elizabeth Williams, w'as born in England, 1628.
He was admitted a freeman at Watertown, Massa-
chusetts, 1652. He married in 1659, Joanna Ward,
daughter of William and Elizabeth Ward. William
Ward was born in 1603; he was in Sudbury in 1639
and was admitted a freeman there, May 10, 1643.
He was deputy to the general court, town officer,
and commissioner to end small causes. Later he
removed to Marlboro. He died August 10. 1687.
His will dated April 6, 1686, mentions his wife Eliza-
beth, children and grandchildren, also Abraham
Williams, his son-in-law. The widow of William
Ward died December 9, 1700, in her eighty-seventh
year. Abraham Williams resided about eight years
in Cambridge Village and then removed to Marl-
boro, Massachusetts, where he settled at a place
now called Williams Tavern, near the pond. He
was admitted a freeman there in 1656. He was
deputy to the general court in 1679-80-81. He died
December 29, 1712. His wife died December 8,
1718. His children were: Elizabeth, born in Marl-
boro, married Thomas Beaman ; William, born 1667;
Lydia. born 1669; and John.

(III) William Williams, son of Abraham (2)
and Joanna (Ward) Williams, was born at Marl-
boro, Massachusetts, 1667. He married prior to
1692 Elizabeth Larkin, daughter of Thomas Larkin
and Hannah Remington, his wife. William Williams
resided in the vicinity of his birthplace all his life,
and died in 1702. Their children were: Thomas,
born 1602, died same year : Abraham, born 1695.

(IV) Abraham Williams, son of William (3)
and Elizabeth (Larkin) Williams, was born at Marl-
boro, Massachusetts, 1695. He married (first), 1715,
Prudence Howe, daughter of Thomas and Sarah
(Hosmer) Howe. She died January 16, 1725. He
married (second), December 22, 1725, Elizabeth
Breck. daughter of the Rev. Robert Breck and his
wife. Elizabeth Wainright, of Marlboro, and grand-
daughter of Captain John Breck. of Dorchester.
Elizabeth (Breck) Williams died January 13. 1729.
He married (third), February 18, 1730. Elizabeth
Boardman or Bordman. She died August 9, 1775-
Abraham Williams was a prominent citizen and filled
many important offices. He attained the rank of
colonel, and in 1775 commanded the third regiment
of militia from Middlesex and Worcester counties.
He was a justice of the peace. He died July 10,
1781. aged eighty-six years.

The children of Abraham Williams were: Isaac,
born I7t6. died July. 171(1; Elizabeth, born June 18,
1723. died July 14. 1723: Zepheniah, born January 16,
T725: Abraham, born February 25. 1727 (H. C.
1744) was a clergvman : Larkin. born December
20. 172S, married. October 26. 1767. Anna Warren;
William, born August 22, 173T, married. November



246



WORCESTER COUNTY



19, 1761, Betty McPherson ; Moses, born August 5,
1732, died June 26, 1802, aged sixty-nine years;
Elizabeth, born August 2,?. 1733. married, May 3,
1759, Daniel Payne; Breck, born August 23, 1734,
died September 3, 1734: Abigail, born January 10,
1736, died young; George, born December 27, 1736,
married, August 30, 1730, Mary McPherson: Mary,
born May 27, 1739, married, February 6, 1766,
Cyprian Howe ; she was his second wife ; William,
born March. 1740, married. January 5. 1763, Phebe
Rice, and had Phebe, 1764; Catherine, born De-
cember 17, 1741, married. May 25, 1769, William
Smith: Ephraim, born November 12, 1743; Paul,
born October 12, 1744: Lucy, born March 22, 1747;
Boardman, born January 12, 1754, died May 3,

(V) Zepheniah Williams, son of Abraham Will-
iams (4). was born at Marlboro, January 16, 1725.
He married Damaris , and they settled in Lan-
caster.- Massachusetts. He was a saddler by trade.
He removed to Holden in 1779. Both owned the
covenant at Marlboro. Their children were: Abi-
gail, baptized May 24, 1747, married Nathan Green,
at Northboro, July 1768; Leafy, baptized June 17,
1750, married Elijah Rice in 1772, resided in Holden;
John, baptized January 19. 1752, died April 20,
1754; Mary, born April 24, baptized April 27, 1755;
David, born July II, 1757: John, baptized Novem-
ber 12, 1758; Jude, baptized December 6, 1761 ;
Anna, horn October 28, baptized November 4, 1770,
died September 7. 1778.

(VI) John Williams, son of Zepheniah (5) and
Damaris Williams, was born in Lancaster, Massa-
chusetts, 175S. He married, September 2. 1782,
Sarah Davis, daughter of Eleazer and Sarah (Ward)
Davis, and sister of Dorothv Davis, whom Jude
Williams, brother of John Williams, married Au-
gust 14. 1782. Both couples removed from Holden
to Hubbardston, and the section in which they
settled has since been named for the family. Will-
iamsville. The farm on which he settled passed
down by inheritance to his son George and his
grandson, William A. Williams, the present owner,
whose name heads this sketch. John and his brother
David were both revolutionary soldiers, enlisting
from their home in Holden. Massachusetts, and serv-
ing all through the war. David Williams was one
of the captors of Major Andre, who offered him
and companions large sums of money for freedom.
They refused and the execution of Andre followed.
The children of John Williams were : John, born
Januarv 21, 1784. died September 9, 1804: Parley,
born March 7, 1786. married Alice Stearns, of Hard-
wick, who died September II, 1847. aged sixtv-three
years : he died July 26, 1861 ; Sarah, born June 6,
17S8. married Dana R. Parker: George, born May
29. 1701. married Susan Waite. May 6. 1816, who
died September 27. 1856; he died November it,
i860; Luke, born August 16. 1794. married Betsey
Stone, of Petersboro, New Hampshire, died April

29. 1S71 : she died March 30. 1S73: Henry, bnrn Sep-
tember 19, 1796. married Keziah Newton, February
12. 1822, who died January 9, 1837; he died April

30. i8w.

(VII) George Williams, son of John (6) and
Sarah (Davis) Williams, was horn in Hubbards-
ton, Massachusetts, May 29, 1791. The village of
Williamsville in Hubbardston was named for George
Williams, who was by all odds the most important
man of the western part of the town. The village
of Williamsville is in the narrow Burnshirt valley,
between steep hills, four miles wist of Hubbardston,
six miles south from Templeton. six miles east from
Petersham, and four miles north from Barre. The
two Indian paths from Lancaster to Nichewaug



pond, one going north, the other south of Wachu-
sett mountain, converged here. The first road built
by the English settlers was along the trail to Lan-
caster and Petersham. The Ware River Railroad be-
gan operations through the village in 1873. The first
store was opened in 1816 by George Williams and
his brother Luke, nearly opposite the E. W. Sheldon
house. In 1842 the store was moved to new quarters
in the Felton house at the corner, where business-
was carried on by the successors of Mr. Williams.
A chapel was dedicated in 1889, and is used in turn
by the preachers of various denominations for
services, while it serves a useful purpose as well for
social gatherings and meetings. The village also
has the telegraph and telephone stations. The only
factory is an extensive wax making concern owned
and operated by William H. Bowdlear. of Boston.
George Williams served as a justice of the peace and
town magistrate in the early days, was assessor of
the town of Hubbardston, also selectman, and was
representative to the general court in 1839 and 1840.
The homestead buildings were all destroyed by fire
December 26, 1904. The mansion was built about
forty years before by John D. Williams, a son of
George Williams, and was for many years the fin-
est residence in the town. The house was occupied
by Avaline Williams, daughter of George Williams,
who taught school in Worcester for many years.

A sketch of this picturesque village, which George
Williams helped to developed in his capacity of store
keeper, land owner and business man, would be in-
complete without mention of a famous character of
a century ago, "Old Grimes," who has been immor-
talized in verse, of which the following is familiar
to all Americans :

Old Grimes is dead.

That good old man.

We ne'er shall see him more

He used to wear a long blue coat

All buttoned up before.

Grimes was born and brought up in Hubbardston.
His many eccentricities, some of which amounted
to crimes, to escape punishment for which he fled to
Canada, would fill a book. He returned to Hub-
bardston a pauper and died there. A historian has
called him weak-minded, made so by hobgoblin
stories related to him when he was a child. Colonel
Williams, of Worcester, who remembers him, be-
lieves that if his abilities has been turned in a dif-
ferent direction he would have been a man of
marked influence, instead of a mischievous rascal.
He had the appearance of a man of great intellectual
power.

George Williams married Susan Waite. daughter
of Joseph and Sarah (Sherman) Waite (see Sher-
man Family elsewhere in this work). She was born
in Hubbardston, Massachusetts. November 26, 1791,
died February 27, 1847. Their children were :
George, born August 19, 1816, married Mary S.
Heald, September 10, 1839, removed to Iowa, died
1878: Christopher Larkin. born October 1. 1818,
married Mary Bigelow, of Barre, died February 28,
1847; William Austin, born August 29, 1820. men-
tioned hereinafter : Caroline Amelia, born February
8. 1822, married Nathan H. Felton ; Avaline, born
April 25, 1827, resided in Worcester. Massachusetts;
Susan M., born October 11, 1831, resided in Worces-
ter; John Davis, born July 11. 1833, married Ellert
Murdock. October 23. 1856. died October 28, 1879.

(VIII) William Austin Williams, son of George
(7) and Susan (Waite) Williams, was born at Will-
iamsville. in the town of Hubbardston, Massachu-
setts, August 29. 1820. He spent his boyhood in
Hubbardston and attended the district school. He



WORCESTER COUNTY



247



prepared for college at Ashby, New Salem and Lei-
cester Academies, but his health failed him at the
time, and he abandoned the idea of an academic
course at Harvard. He attended the Law School
and graduated in 1847 with the degree of Bachelor of
Laws. He was soon afterward admitted to the Wor-
cester bar, and began immediately to practice his
profession in Worcester. He opened his office in
the old Central Exchange building on Main street.
In 1848-49 he had a law partner, Otis L. Bridges,
formerly attorney general of the state of Maine, the
firm name being Bridges & Williams. After a year
the firm was dissolved, Mr. Bridges going to New
York and later removing to California. Air. Will-
iams continued for a number of years alone. When
the Chapin block was built on Pearl street. Mr.
Williams moved thereto; it was occupied by the post-
office downstairs and lawyers' offices on the second
floor, United States Senator Hoar and Congressman
Rice being included among the number. While
Mr. Williams occupied this office he admitted
John R. Thayer as a student, and later,
when he had been admitted to the bar and
served for a time as clerk, a partnership
was formed under the name of Williams &
Thayer, and this connection continued for about ten
years. Air. Thayer has since been congressman from
the Worcester district for three successive terms,
and has at present for his law partner Arthur P. Rugg.
(See sketch of Hon. John R. Thayer.) Air. Will-
iams removed to the Walker building and for a time
had George R. Warfield as a partner, the firm name
being Williams & Warfield. They remained in that
building until the completion of the State Mutual
building, when Air. Williams took an office adjoin-
ing that of Thayer & Rugg, and after Henry H.
Thayer entered the office of Thayer & Rugg he re-
linquished his office to allow that firm larger quar-
ters, moving to 726 State Mutual and sharing offices
with Representative Elmer C. Potter. Here at the
age of eighty-five years he still attends to his law
practice. The death of his son just as the young man
had been qualified for admission to the bar caused
the father such grief and disappointment that for a
time he completely gave up active practice and has
never since resumed his former activity and ambi-
tion. But today, the oldest lawyer practicing in
Worcester, he presents a picture of sturdy and hand-
some manhood. His eye is bright and youthful ;
his features ruddy and healthful ; and he gives
promise of many more years of activity and use-
fulness.

Colonel Williams was one of the best known men
in the commonwealth fifty years ago. He was prom-
inent in politics during the exciting decade before
the civil war. While he has made a reputation as
a lawyer such as few can equal in his almost sixty
years of practice in the courts, his career in the po-
litical world is perhaps more widely known. Colonel
Williams at one time had a very large practice in
the criminal courts. He was admitted to practice
in the United States circuit court at Boston, Massa-
chusetts, in 1872. In the fifties he was actively en-
gaged in the political contests of the day. He was
a Democrat and has always been a Democrat, except
for a period during the anti-slavery agitation when
he voted for the Free Soil candidate, John C. Fre-
mont, for president. While a young man he became
a party leader in Worcester and represented the
party in the state councils. He had a wide acquaint-
ance among the political leaders and statesmen of
Massachusetts, and was chosen by the Democratic
state central committee when he was only thirty-
three years of age to conduct one of the most im-
portant and warmly contested campaigns ever waged



in the commonwealth. As chairman of the Demo-
cratic state organization in 1852 he had the diffi-
cult task of fusing the forces of Free Soil and Dem-
ocratic parties into a unit. General Franklin Pierce,
of New Hampshire, was the candidate against Gen-
eral Scott, the Whig candidate, and so thoroughly
was the movement successful all over the country
that Pierce carried all but four states. In Massachu-
setts George S. Boutwell was elected governor in
1850. He was the leader of the Democratic party.
Air. Williams, only two years his junior, was an able
lieutenant both before and after he became chair-
man of the organization. In 1852, when Pierce was
elected president, Boutwell was again elected gov-
ernor of Massachusetts. The victory won under
Air. Williams in the famous campaign of '52 resulted
in the appointment of Caleb Gushing to Pierce's
cabinet as attorney general. At the time of his ap-
pointment Cushing was justice of the Alassachusetts
supreme court, securing the position by the coali-
tion movement. The southern wing of the party,
the old Hunker Democrats, were greatly opposed
to the appointment and gave their support to one of
their faction, and while Pierce did appoint the man
he wanted for attorney general, the federal patron-
age was not given to the reform w'ing of the party
to which Cushing belonged. In the county the coali-
tion was also successful, where the offices were
divided between Free Soilers and Democrats. Air.
Adams, of Grafton, was chairman of the county
commissioners, a Democrat. James Estabrook, a
Democrat, became the sheriff by appointment of
Gevernor Boutwell, and Mr. Williams was perhaps
the most influential man in the county. He was ap-
pointed an aide on the staff of Governor Boutwell
with the title of colonel, and became a close adviser
and confidential friend of the governor, and their
friendship continued until the recent death of Gov-
ernor Boutwell.

In the division of offices in 1853 Mr. Williams
supported for postmaster of Worcester Hon. J. S.
C. Knowlton, of Worcester, editor of the Palla-
dium, and spent two weeks in Washington, D. C,
urging his appointment and attending to other busi-
ness. James Whitney, of the same faction, wanted
the position of United States marshal of Massa-
chusetts, -which was represented in Washington by
the late Oliver Stevens, of Boston Neither was suc-
cessful, because of the apparent trade made when
Cushing gave to Charles G. Green, of the Boston Ports,
the control of the executive appointments emanat-
ing from the cabinet. The Hunker Democrats se-
cured the places, and the reform party got none
of the offices expected. Caleb Cushing had a long
and honorable career in federal life afterward.

Governor Boutwell was the first governor under
the state organization to require his staff to appear
in full uniform. Colonel Williams still has in his
possession the gorgeous military headgear with
which he was adorned when in uniform. In Gov-
ernor's Boutwell's first administration, while Colonel
Williams was on the staff, the president of the
United States paid a visit to the state and was en-
tertained at the state house. The secretary of state,
Daniel Webster, then in declining health but still the
most imposing and impressive figure in public
life, was the guest of the state. Colonel
Williams describes the speech of Webster on
that occasion with enthusiasm that over fifty
years has not dulled. Though in poor health
and bitterly disappointed by the failure to win
the presidential prize, Webster retained his majestic
bearing, his magnetic personality and his unmatched
oratorical powers.

Another great visitor during Governor Boutwell's



248



WORCESTER COUNTY



administration was the groat Hungarian patriot, Gen-
eral Kossuth. It was the duty of Colonel Williams
with Colonel Needham, of the governor's staff, to
meet General Kossuth and his party at Springfield
and escort them to the capital. General Kossuth
was a guest of Rev. Dr. Hopkins, father of the late
Colonel VV. S. B. Hopkins, of Worcester, at his
home in Northampton, Massachusetts, the night be-



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 72 of 133)