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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of character and intelligence, and a member of the
church at Oxford, Massachusetts. He was chair-
man of the board of selectmen, and also the town
clerk in 1721-23-24. His wife Mary died 1726. He
sold his mill and returned to Thompson, Connecti-
cut. While there, in 1728, he proved to be the
master workman in hewing and framing timber for
the new meeting house. He was styled John, senior,
in 1719. He died April, 1751, at the age of eighty-
three years. Hence he was born about 1668. His
son, Stephen, was associated with him when he had
the mill, and returned to Thompson with him. He
bad eight children by his wife, Mary Lee, born in
Woburn according to the records. They were :
John, born September 15, 1692; Mary, July 31,
1694; John, July 12, 1696; Katharine, August 31,
1698; Jacob (twin), July 14, 1700; Josiah (twin),
July 14. 1700; Stephen, January 12, 1703; James,
May 7, 1705.

(II) Jacob Comins, son of John Comins (1),
born July 14, 1700, was a housewright by trade. He
married, July 27, 1723, Martha Leonard, of Fram-
ingham, sister of Colonel Ebenezer Leonard, of Ox-
ford. Jacob settled in Oxford. His wife died Sep-
tember 17. 1732. He married (second), May 24,
1733. Huldah Coolidge, daughter of Deacon John
Coolidge, of Watertown, Massachusetts. She died
November 25, 1736. He married (third), February
22, 1737, Elizabeth Eddy. She died April 26, 1749.
He married (fourth) ("intentions August, 1750)
Deborah Hinkley, of Willington, Connecticut. Jacob
Comins' first home in Oxford was at the corner of



Alain street and Sutton road. In 1730 he bought a
farm on the hill east of the old common. He sold
that after a year or two and removed to the north
part of the town. In 1736 he bought the saw mill
at the Lamb place, now or lately owned by Na-
thaniel E. Taft. He was a soldier in the French
war. He bought and sold land in Oxford frequently,
but finally settled in what was then the wilderness
m Charlton. He died there in 1762. His will was
made April 7 and proved May 17, 1762. In it he
said : "Though 1 have no legal title to the land 1
am now living on, yet the housing and fencing and
all the labor i have don< on it are mine." He be-
queathed this property to his sons, Lemuel and
Jacob Comins. His children were: Jacob, born
September 21, 1724, died December 1, 1745; Will-
iam, February 15, 1733 or 1734, settled in Edding-
ton, Maine, where various family reunions have been
held; Mindwell, December II, 1735, married David
Brown, of Charlton; Reuben, December 4, 1737;
Martha, July 25, 1739 (intentions November it,
1754,) married Joseph Laflin, of Charlton ; Solomon,
.May 1, 1741, was, at the age of eighteen, in the
French war; Lemuel, May 20, 1743, died 1744; Lem-
uel. February 21, 1745, settled at South Greene,
Maine; Jacob, January 21, 1747, died at Charlton,
1812; Elizabeth, March 14. 1749, married Joseph
Dow, rtsided in New Braintree, Massachusetts.

(III) Reuben Comins, son of Jacob Comins
(2), was born in Oxford, Massachusetts, December
4. 1737. He was a farmer. He served in the French
and Indian war, and also in the revolution. His
grandson, Edward 1. Comins, has in his possession
a certificate showing that Reuben Comins was ac-
cepted in the place of Corporal Nehemiah Stone,
dratted for service against Canada April 7, 1758,
bj Captain Jonathan Tucker. Singularly enough
Stone was the maternal grandfather of Edward 1.
Comins. and one grandfather took the place of an-
other on this occasion. Stone was the town clerk
just before the revolution, and Mr. Comins has the
original petition or remonstrance against the Boston
port bill, signed, among others, by Reuben Comins.
.Many of the signatures were apparently copied by
Clerk Stone from other lists, as many of the names
are signed by him. The date is 1774. Reuben
Comins married Mary Parker. She was "born in
Maiden, Massachusetts, November 16, 1737. He
was a farmer and also a tanner by trade. Their

children, born in Charlton, were: 1. Achsan, born
September 22, 1763, married Jabez Willis, December
'9. '793; they lived and died in Charlton, leaving
a number of children; Naomi, born April 16, 1766,
married, April 16, 1789, David Ward, and had sev-
eral children; after the death of her husband she
removed to Hubbardston, where she died; Reuben,
born July 24, 1768, married Betsy Clark, of Ox-
ford, lived in Charlton; Barnabas, born March 21,
1771, married Mary Bacon, daughter of Deacon
Daniel Bacon, of Charlton, and they had nine chil-
dren, one of whom, Linus Bacon, became mayor of
Roxbury and member of congress from a Boston
district for two terms ; he was born August 28,
1817; Mary, born March 6, 1774, married Joel Par-
ker, and removed to Calais, Vermont, where they
had children ; Elizabeth, born October 30, 1778, mar-
ried Asa Bacon, settled in Charlton and had six boys
and four girls; Issachar, born August 28, 1782.

(IV) Issachar Comins, son of Reuben Comins
(3), was born in Charlton, Massachusetts, August
28, 1782. He married, November 3, 1816, Cynthia
Wilson, of Spencer, who was born February 27,
1794. She died July 25, 1830, aged thirty-six years.
He married (second). April 10, 1831, Lydia Marble,
widow of Jacob Marble, daughter of Nehemiah

Stone (6). She was born March 23, 1792. Issachar
Comins was a carpenter and a finished workman.
He served from fourteen until he was twenty-one
years old learning his trade, and receiving as pay his
board and clothes and four weeks schooling a year.
His indenture papers are in the possession of Ed-
ward I. Comins, the subject of this sketch. His
children, three by the first wife, one by the second,
were: William, born February 19, 1817; Reuben,
May 10, 1819; Henry Barnabas, April 23, 1830;
Edward Issachar, November 16, 1833. (Incorrectly
given 1835 on the Charlton records.)

(V) Edward Issachar Comins, son of Issachar
Comins (4), was born in Charlton, Massachusetts,
November 16, 1833. Mr. Comins was brought up
on a farm. In his early youth he worked on his
father's farm except for the short terms in the dis-
trict school in winter. When he was seventeen
years old he was sent to Leicester Academy with
the understanding that he should teach school the
following winter to pay the cost of the course in
the academy, and he taught in Spencer that first
winter. Mr. Comins found school teaching to his
liking and continued his studies. He graduated at
the Bridgewater Normal school in i860. Before
that, however, he had taught in Charlton in the
public schools in the winter, and also kept a private
school during the spring and fall seasons,
which was attended by students from other
towns as well as Charlton. After he graduated
he took a position in the Quincy schools,
where he taught for three years. He came to
Worcester in 1864 to take a place as principal in
the old Thomas street school, retaining that posi-
tion up to the time of the removal of the ninth
grade of that school to Belmont street and remain-
ing principal of Belmont street school until 1874,
when he was transferred at his own request to the
Woodland street school, a position that he held
for ten years, until he resigned in 1884 to give his
attention to the manufacturing interests with which
he has since been connected. As a school teacher
Mr. Comins was particularly successful in winning
the confidence and friendship of the pupils in his
charge. He understood the art of teaching thor-
oughly. He had a natural aptitude for his pro-
fession, and many of the prominent citizens now
look back with pleasure to their school days spent
with him. Since 1884 Mr. Comins has been asso-
ciated with his sons in the manufacture of woolen
goods at Rochdale. The business was organized by
Mr. Comins, his son, Irving E., and his brother-in-
law, John D. Clark, a practical manufacturer. In
1885 Mr. Clark sold his interests to his partners and
withdrew from the firm. Later Arthur C, Mr.
Comins' younger son, was admitted to partnership.
In the past few years the burden of the management
has fallen upon the younger members of the firm.
In 1905 the firm was incorporated. The officers of
the company are: Edward 1. Comins, president; Irv-
ing E. Comins, treasurer and manager; Arthur C.
Comins, clerk. The mill is located in the same
town, on the same stream, 011 which the first Comins
built his mill. During the last few years the mill,
formerly belonging to the late John D. Clark, broth-
er-in-law and former partner of Edward I. Comins,
has been under the management of Mr. Comins'
sons, Irving E. Comins being president, and Arthur
C. Comins treasurer and manager. The Comins mill
is located near the village of Rochdale, which is in
the town of Leicester, while the mill itself is just
over the line in Oxford. Mr. Comins is a member
of the Worcester County Horticultural Society and
the Worcester Board of Trade (10), and also the
Society of Antiquity, which organized under their



charter at a meeting held in his house. He has
always taken an interest in politics. His first vote
was cast for the Free Soil ticket in 1854. Since
the Republican party organized, he has been con-
nected with it. He has served the city on the
school board six years, and director of the free
public library, also six years. He has been on the
board of trustees for the Associated Charities and
Home for Aged Men. He was representative to
the general court in 1893. He represented his ward
four years in the common council, and was presi-
dent of the board three years. He was active and
efficient in the varied duties of his position in the
city government. He took the initiative in the
movement to secure the present park system for the
city. He wrote the order taking the first steps to
secure the loan to buy Newton Hill, North Park,
Crompton Park, and University Park for the city,
against the wishes of the mayor and some of his
associates. Mr. Cumins has been on the official
board of the First Universalist Church for twenty-
one years, and for fifteen years was the chairman.
He has been on the board of trustees of Dean Acad-
emy, and has served as treasurer of the Universalist
Publishing House, Boston, Massachusetts. He mar-
ried (first ), January 2, 1859, at Leicester, Mary
Adelaide Clark, daughter of Asa \V. and Lydia
(Dunbar; Clark. She was born September 17,
1834, and died October 7, 1881, at Leicester, Massa-
chusetts, while visiting there. He married (sec-
ond), February 22, 1883, Annie C. Wyman. She
was born October 2, 1849. She had been his head
teacher w : fien he was principal in the public schools
of Worcester for fourteen years. His children by
his first wife are: Irving Edward, born July 28,
i860; Arthur Clark, August 30, 1871.

(VI) Irving Edward Comins, son of Edward
Issachar Comins (5), was born in Charlton, Massa-
chusetts, at the old Comins homestead, July 28,
i860. He was graduated from the Worcester high
school in 1879, and from Amherst College in 1883.
He immediately began his business career in part-
nership with his father, Edward I. Comins, and his
uncle, John D. Clark, in the manufacture of Woolen
good= at Rochdale. He is at present the president
of the company and has been uniformly successful.
He served three years in the Worcester common
council, one year as president of the council, seven
years as director of the Worcester board of trade,
and two years as president of same. Mr. Comins
married, June 8, 1887, Etta R. Leonard, who was a
teacher in the Worcester schools. They had two
children: Edward Irving, born March 12, 1889;
Leonard Clark, born July 18, 1895, died January 10,

(VI) Arthur Clark Comins, son of Edward
Issachar Comins (5), was born at Leicester, Massa-
chusetts, August 30, 1871. He was graduated from
the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1893, after-
ward taking a year of post-graduate studies at
Harvard. Later he was admitted into the firm of
which Ins father and brother were partners. He
married, September, 1899, Margaret B. Lake, of
Rockville, Connecticut. She was a graduate of
Mount Holyoke, class of 1896. They have one
child, John Dunbar Comins, born October 1, 1905.

( j ). a descendant of one of the old Saxon families
which settled in central England far back in the
early history of that country, came to Norwood, a
small village in the town in Wem, Shropshire, Eng-
land, and purchased a farm of Philip, Earl of
Arundell, successor of the Norman Baron Boulier
or William the Butler in the year 1561, where he

resided until his death. Randall Adams had two
sons, and probably other children, whose names have
not been recorded: William (1) and Thomas. Will-
iam was born in 1556, and remained with his father
upon the farm at Norwood and inherited the estate.

Thomas Adams, Sr., born in 1558, was placed as
an apprentice to a tanner of the village of Wem.
In the year 1 581, he married Margaret Erpe, daugh-
ter of John Erpe, of Shrewsbury. In 1583 he pur-
chased an estate at Wem, consisting of a house and
land and a tannery, where he resided and carried
on the business of a tanner until his decease. He
had three sons, and probably other children whose
names have not been preserved: John, born 1584;
Thomas, born 1580; William (II), born 1594.

John Adams, son of Thomas Adams, remained
with his father, inheriting the estate at Wem, and
carrying on the tanning until his death in 1631, at
the age of forty-seven. He left no descendants,
and the old estate, by heirship or by purchase, be-
came the property of his brother Thomas.

Thomas Adams, Jr., grandson of Randall Adams,
was educated at Cambridge for the ministry, but
the attractions of wealth and society led him to be-
come a merchant in London, where he became very
wealthy. He married Ann Mapstead, of Trenton,
Essex county, England, by whom he had five sons
and four daughters. In 1627, he became a member
of the Massachusetts Company chartered for the
settlement of New England. In 1639 he was elected
sheriff of London, and in 1646, became Lord Mayor
of the same city. In 1650 he founded the free
school at his native town of Wem, on the site of
the old Adams mansion, and endowed it with a deed
of all the estates he owned in Wem.

He was a stanch Presbyterian and bestowed his
wealth with a liberal hand on charitable and benevo-
lent objects. He had religious books and tracts
printed, and sent them to Turkey and Persia, thus
being a pioneer in the great missionary work which
the English and American churches have followed
up with so much success. He gave large sums for
the benefit of the poor of London, and in this par-
ticular, as well as in the founding of a literary and
educational institute in his native town, he resembled
the gre^t London banker, George Peabody, who has
so lately poured out his millions in works of charity
and education. In 1660 he was estimated as among,
the twenty richest men of London, and in 166:, on
the restoration, he was knighted by Charles II. He
died in 1668, aged eighty-one years.

Unfortunately for the American colonies, Thomas
Adams, on becoming wealthy, joined the Loyalists
against the Puritans and gave most freely of his
abundance to the court and king, and entirely forgot
Puritanism and the Massachusetts colony, which at
one time he so freely encouraged. Had he con-
tinued his early interest in the Massachusetts colony,
and turned his attention to the coming nations of
the west instead of the old nations of the east, and,
had he given of his abundance and used his great
influence for the cause of liberty and freedom in
England and America, instead of royalty and cas
countless monuments of living joy would have arisen
to his memory in two hemispheres, instead of the
one monument of marble now seen at Sparrow Hall.

William Adams, the ancestor of the Ipswich fam-
ily of Adamses, was the youngest son of Thomas
Adams, Sr., of Wem, Shropshire, England, from
which place he removed to America in the spring of
1628, among the original emigrants of the Ml ssa-
chusetts colony. He first settled at Cambridge, Mas-
sachusetts, where he remained until 1642, when he
removed to Ipswich and took up a large tract of
land on the Ipswich river, in what is now called the



back part of Hamilton. This tract of land has
never passed out of the family but has been handed
down for two hundred and thirty years. The de-
scendants of William Adams are now found in many
parts of America.

The usual type of this family appears to have
been tall and muscular in person, with large features,
high foreheads, hazel eyes, black hair, and although
seldom called beautiful, were often good • looking
and generally dignified, hardy and vigorous. Will-
iam Adams died in Ipswich, Massachusetts, January
2, 1659, agtd sixty-four years. He married in 1619,
and had four sons and probably other children
whose names are unknown: William Adams (.III),
born in England, 1620; Nathaniel Adams, born in
England, 1022; Samuei Adams, born in England,
1624; John Adams, born in America, 1632.

Samuel Adams, son of William Adams (2), born
in 1024, died in Ipswich. He married Mehitable
Stacey in 1046. They had one son, and probably-
other children whose names are unknown. This
son, named Nathaniel Adams, was born December
8, 1647, in Ipswich, and died November 28, 1736,
aged eighty-nine years. He married Mary Dickin-
son, June 30, 1668. They had one son, and probably
other children whose names are unknown. This
son was Samuel.

Samuel Adams was born in Ipswich, March 8,
1676, and died August 31, 1747, aged seventy-one
years. He was a man who was energetic and de-
cided, of sterling integrity, firm religious principles,
and may be considered as one of the old-fashioned
New England fathers. He and his wife, with most
of their children, were members of the church at
Hamilton. By industry and economy he became
possessed of a handsome estate for those days, and
was often chosen to offices of trust and honor in
his native town. By his will he bequeathed to his
wife a portion of money, a life interest in his home-
stead, a man servant named Scipio, valued at twenty
pounds, and a maid servant named Phillis, valued
at thirty-five pounds, two of the last lingering relics
of slavery in Massachusetts, which he would leave
to the tender mercies of no one save his dear wife,
the beloved mistress of Scipio and Phillis. He gave
to each of his daughters a handsome portion in
money, and to the sons who remained at home he
gave each a good farm. To his son James he gave
eighty pounds, to his son John he gave one hundred
and lorty pounds, and to these two sons jointly he
gave a tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres,
which he purchased in the central part of Massachu-
setts ; at that period, to the older towns of the eastern
colonies of New England, the new El Dorado of the
west, to which the young men in search of new
homes migrated.

Samutl Adams married Mary Burley, September
28, 1706. They had ten children, viz. : Mary, born
October 10, 1707; Samuel, November 6, 1709; Sarah,
December 2, 1711; Nathaniel, January 21, 1713;
Andrew, February 25, 1715; James, April 14, 1717;
John, September 13, 1719; Elizabeth, December 3,
1721; Jonathan, May 6, 1725; Eunice, March 4,

John Adams, son of Samuel Adams, of Ham-
ilton, was born at that place September 13, 1719,
and died at Northbridge. John and James Adams
moved to Northbridge about 1735, and built a log
house and commenced a farm on a tract of land
which their father purchased, September 21, 1732,
of Seth Aldrich, of Oxbridge, and David Batcheller,
of Sutton. John and James, who were very intimate
in youth, commenced the active duties of life to-
gether, and remained steadfast friends to the end.
They united with the church in their native town,
ii -17

at the same time, February '. 1742, and were both
prominent among the founders of the venerable
church now at Northbridge Centre.

James married Elizabeth Dane, of Hamilton,
April 6, 1742, and soon commenced housekeeping
in the pioneer cottage at Northbridge, where the
two brothers resided and carried on the farm jointly
until the death of their father in 1747, when they
divided the land, agreeably to his request, into two
equal parts, of eighty acres each, James taking the
part now owned by Plummer Adams, and John the
Christopher Adams place.

John Adams married Elizabeth Whipple and
they had ten children. The Adamses now living on
the place where John settled, Edmund A., son of
Christopher Adams, are direct descendants of him.
The place has been handed down from generation
to generation. James Adams, however, came to
Northbridge a year before John. The story of the
difficulties and hardships of the first settler has been
handed down in the family. James Adams built a
small hut and lived alone while clearing the land.
He slept in the loft and had a spring board arranged
so that it would snap against another and make a
noise like a gun to scare away prowling wolves
and bears at night. He used to draw up the ladder
after him as additional protection against the In-
dians and animals. He used to make weekly trips
to George Hill in Grafton for provisions; going on
Saturday night, returning Monday morning. His
brother, John, however, soon joined him. James
Adams died August 2, 1804. He had ten children by
his wife Elizabeth Dane, namely: James, died young;
Nathaniel, married Lucy Woods, of Southborough,
Massachusetts, December 14, 1768; Frances, mar-
ried, April 11, 1780, Abigail Taft; Elizabeth, mar-
ried David Temple, of Grafton ; Samuel, born 1754,
married Olive Jones, of Grafton; Israel (twin), see
forward; Anna (twin), married Ezekiel Gold-
thwait; Lydia, Moses, married Elizabeth Whipple,
of Grafton; James, had the intervale land that his
father bought of Christopher Winter. Besides
bringing up a large family of children, James, the
first settler, cleared ten thousand dollars, which was
a large sum for that time.

Israel Adams, son of James Adams, was born in
Sutton, Massachusetts, 1753. died May 30, 181 1. He
married, January 10, 1787, Joanna Dodge, who died
July 26, 1838, at the age of seventy-eight. He suc-
ceeded to the homestead and lived there during his
life, a very prosperous and successful farmer and
lumber dealer, and a devout member of the Ortho-
dox church at Northbridge Centre. Northbridge
was set off from Uxbridge in July, 1772, as a district
and incorporated as a town August 23, 1775. Adams
Corners is a village of Northbridge. Israel Adams
made his will May 8, 181 1, and it was filed June 5,
181 1. His real estate was divided among his heirs,
five children, December 8, 1814; the three youngest
being minors. Children of Israel and Joanna
(Dodge) Adams were: Phila, born March 22, 1789;
Tyler, June 2, 1791 ; Eunice, May 29, 1793; Moses,
May 29, 1796, see forward ; Lucy, June 23, 1799.
All were born at Northbridge. (See Sutton history.)

Moses Adams, son of Israel Adams, was born
May 29, 1796, at Northbridge, Massachusetts, and
died there September 5, 1874. He inherited the
homestead at Adams Corners, Northbridge, and
carried on extensive farming and stock-raising. He
used to ship large quantities of beef and pork to the
Providence and Boston markets. Like his father
he was a liberal supporter of the Orthodox (Con-
gregational) church. He was identified with the
Republican party from its infancy. His will is dated
October 24, 1870. He married Harriet Wood, sister



of Perry Wood, of Mendon, Massachusetts, June

3, 1828. She died June 30, 1878, at the age of sev-
enty-three. Children of Moses and Harriet Adams
were : 1. Harriet Elizabeth, born April 18, 1829,
died May 15, 1844. 2. Moses Perry, born January
21, 1832, died April 28, 1833. 3. Perry, born Septem-
ber 21, 1834, lives in Upton. He married Lizzie
McCutcheon Maine, September, 1888, as second
wife. His first wife was May Thompson Maine.
They were married in the fall of 1873. They had one
son, Alleine, born August 2, 1876. Alleine lives in
Worcester. 4. Tyler Herbert, born May 16, 1841,
died August 28, 1850. 5. Albert W., born September

4, 1845. He lives in Grafton. He married Maria
Aldrich, of Connecticut, February, 1882. They
have two children : Nathan A. and Lizzie A., born
March 21, 1883. 6. Israel Plummer Adams, see

Israel Plummer Adams, son of Moses Adams,
was born at Northbridge on the old Adams home-
stead, July 16, 1848. He was educated in the public
schools of Northbridge and at Barre Academy,
Vermont. He bought the old homestead when he

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 75 of 133)