James R. (James Robert) Pringle.

History of the town and city of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts online

. (page 6 of 36)
Online LibraryJames R. (James Robert) PringleHistory of the town and city of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts → online text (page 6 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


records.

JOHN PEARCE had land on Pearce's Point, opposite Pearce island.
He was made a freeman in 1651. He was twice married and disappears
from town after disposing of his property at Goose Cove to Francis Nor-
wood in 1682.

THOMAS HARVEY, a fisherman, is mentioned in 1666, as part owner of a
sloop, but nothing more is mentioned concerning him. The name is kept
alive, however.

GEORGE HARVEY had a child born here in 1678, and others followed.
The name is perpetuated in town today.

HENRY MUDDELL was here early. An inventory of his estate was pre-
sented to the Probate Court in July, 1663. A Philip Muddel is mentioned
in 1679, once for not living with his wife.

A gentleman in Gloucester, England, who has examined this list says
that the names of nineteen of these early settlers will be recognized at
once a.s appertaining to the English city and its neighborhood. "The
place of settlement," he continues, " appears to have been as unlike our
own as possible. It was no beauteous inland vale, watered by one broad
stream, bounded by fair hills, carpeted by verdant meadows and embroid-
ered with fruitful orchards and cornfields that tempted them."



54 HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER.



CHAPTER VI.

Fron] 1700 to 1750.

EXODUS FROM THE OLD VILLAGE. SECOND PARISH. PHILLIPS' PIRAT-
ICAL GANG CAPTURED. DIVISION OF WOODLAND IN 1723. THIRD
PARISH. EMIGRATION TO FALMOUTH AND NEW GLOUCESTER.
KING GEORGE'S WAR AND GLOUCESTER COMPANY AT LOUISBURG.
PEG WESSON. OLD DEFENCES AT FORT SQUARE. LIST OF SET-
TLERS WHO CAME HERE BETWEEN 1700 AND 1750. FIFTY YEARS
OF PROGRESS. FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE.

THE year 1700 marks the commencement of a period of thrift and
enterprise in local history which has continued to the present
time, receiving its severest interruption during the dark days of
the Revolution and a less serious but depressing set back in the war
of 1812. The first settlers were amply occupied in establishing the
town on a secure and firm foundation, and had but little time or
means to pursue the fisheries or foreign commerce to any marked
extent. The new generation began where the fathers left off, in the
onward march of endeavor and success. They branched out, find-
ing the evident destiny of the town lay in a marine direction. At
the very first a lively domestic trade was plied with Boston in sup-
plying wood and lumber, and it is estimated that some 50 craft were
engaged in this business as frieghters. The extent of this traffic
soon produced a scarcity of timber and the fisheries were given
almost exclusive attention. We know that as early as 1711 our fish-
ermen worked on grounds as far distant as Cape Sable. The num-
ber of vessels steadily increased and in 1716 we note the first of
those sad occurrences that has often plunged the community into
mourning. In October of that year four out of a fleet of seven
vessels went down at sea while on the passage homeward from the
Banks and 20 men perished. Despite occasional mishaps of this
nature less serious in results, the community prospered and
grew until the opening of hostilities in the war for Independence,
and throughout the length and breadth of the Masssachusetts
colony it would have been a hard task to select a more prosperous



HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER. 56

and thrifty town. Progress and success were steady. Indeed with
the exceptions noted the statement will apply to the town during its
entire history. There have been no spasmodic booms, no unhealthy
mushroom growth, and if in the usual course of business a halt has
been called temporarily in the onward march, the ground won has
always been firmly held and after a short respite, rank and file, with
renewed vigor, have pressed forward toward the goal of success.

The inhabitants of the town commenced the year 1700 with a day
of fasting and prayer. At that time they were without a minister,
and after several attempts to fill the vacant pulpit, finally chose the
Rev. John White, of Watertown. He graduated at Harvard in
1698, 'and was ordained here in April, 1703, his salary for the first
year being 6$, afterwards increased to ^90 with ^100 for a set-
tlement. In 1750, Rev. Samuel Chandler was appointed as colleague
to Mr. White who was then in failing health. The latter died in
1760, aged 83, leaving a reputation which still survives as a faithful
and energetic divine. Some years after his settlement here he re-
ceived a grant of land below the meeting house green and erected
the dwelling still standing and now known as the Ellery house.
EXODUS TO THE HARBOR.

As has been previously noted the greater part of the population
at first were clustered in the territory now comprised in Ward 6, "up
in town" as it is still called. Shortly after 1700 the great increase
of the fisheries and commercial interest, and the desire of the
people to reside near the harbor led to a general abandonment of
this part of the town and a removal to land contiguous to the water
front. In 1738 the harbor settlement had so increased in numbers
and influence that it erected a new meeting house on Cornhill, now
Middle Street and installed Mr. White as pastor. The old organiza-
tion resisted this action, but matters were finally compromised by
the harbor parish being set off as a distinct organization in 1742,
taking precedence as the First Parish, while the parent body was re-
duced numerically in rank to the Fourth Parish. A church was
formed by the latter in October, 1743, and Rev. John Rogers of
Kittery, Maine chosen as pastor. He was a Harvard graduate,
and was ordained over the Fourth Parish February i, 1744. He
continued his ministry harmoniously for 38 years, passing away
October 4, 1782. During the Revolutionary period the number of
his parishioners became depleted to a great extent, perishing at sea



56 HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER.

or in captivity during the struggle, which reduced a once prosperous
community to dire poverty. The parish worshipped in the old
meeting house on the green, a new edifice being erected in 1752.
This in turn was demolished in 1840.

THE SECOND PARISH.

In 1710 the inhabitants residing at the west parish petitioned the
town for land in their precinct upon which to erect a meeting house.
As has been shown they were obliged to travel from three to five
miles via the ferry to attend religious services. In March, 1716, they
petitioned to be set off as the second parish and in June of the same
year they were incorporated as such by the General Court. They
erected a meeting house in a commanding spot and November 28,
1716, Rev. Samuel Tompson, of Newbury, a graduate of Harvard in
1710, was settled as their pastor. He married Hannah Norwood by
whom he had several children and died December 8, 1724, aged 83.
He was laid to rest in the old burial place of the parish and his
tomb, stone is still standing.

CAPTURE OF PHILLIPS' PIRATICAL CREW.

In 1723 and 1724 a gang of pirates and freebooters under com-
mand of the notorious John Phillips infested the New England
waters. During their first season of marine depredations they had
taken 34 vessels, which they looted, killing or maltreating crews. In
April, 1724, the sloop Squirrel of Annisquam, commanded by
Andrew Haraden, while engaged on a fishing voyage was taken by
Phillips. The Squirrel was a fine new craft, therefore Phillips aban-
doned his own vessel and appropriated the fisherman for his piratical
purposes. The vessel had been sent to sea so hastily that the craft
had not been finished inside, consequently tools were left aboard to
complete the work when the conditions were unfavorable for fishing.
Phillips employed Haraden and the other prisoners in the finishing
of the craft. One of the men, Edward Cheeseman planned a re-
capture. Midnight of the i8th was the time appointed. The vessel
was ploughing through the water at a lively rate when Cheeseman
seized John Nott, one of the pirate chiefs, who was on deck and
threw him overboard. At the same time Haraden despatched
Phillips with a blow from an adze, James Sparks the pirates' gunner
suffered the same fate as Nott, while a man named Burrell, the
boatswain was killed with a broad axe. Capt. Haraden sailed home
to Squam with the heads of Phillips and Burrell fixed at the mast



HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER. 57

head of the recaptured craft. A number of prisoners were brought
in, but on trial at Boston all but two were acquitted on the charge of
piracy, it being held that they were forced men. Four, John Rose
Archer, William White, William Phillips and William Taylor were
found guilty of piracy and were sentenced to death. The first two
were hung at Charlestown Ferry and White's body was suspended
in irons on Bird Island. The last two were reprieved for a year and
a day to be recommended to the King's mercy. It is said that
Hangman's Island in Annisquam river, now covered by the rail-
road bed received the name from the fact that two of the bodies of
the dead pirates were suspended from gibbets erected in its center.
The General Court granted Haraden, Cheeseman and Philmore 42
each, and ^32 each to five others concerned in the recapture and
breaking up of this dangerous gang of buccaneers.
DIVISION OF WOODLAND IN 1723.

Notwithstanding the parcelling out of the land in 1688, an exten-
sive area remained unassigned. Before 1661, the proprietor of every
dwelling-house was a commoner, or entitled to a right in the common
land. In 1757 there were 145 claims to these privileges acknowl-
edged as valid. Shortly after 1700, numerous grants of land were
voted to new comers. Several sub-divisions of their holdings were
made by these commoners, the last apportionment of woodland
being in 1723, when 217 lots within the bounds of the town were
disposed of, the terms being such that about every male citizen who
had attained his majority received a certain tract. In 1725 the
unoccupied herbage land, amounting to 1325 acres, was distributed
among the commoners.

The names of those receiving woodland in 1723 furnishes a good
directory of the male inhabitants of the town in 1704, all who were
residents at that period being included in the list of grantees as
follows : Joseph Allen, Joseph Allen, jr., Ralph Andrews, Benjamin
Averill, John Babson, Richard Babson, Anthony Bennett, Richard
Byles, Thomas Bray, Nathaniel Bray, John Bray, John Brown,
John Burrell, John Butman, William Card, Ezekiel Collins, Nathan-
iel Coit, John Curney, Elisha Curney, James Davis, Lieut. James
Davis, John Davis, Jacob Davis, Ebenezer Davis, Aaron Davis, Sam-
uel Davis, Anthony Day, Nathaniel Day, Ezekiel Day, Joseph Day,
Timothy Day, John Day, John Day, jr., Thomas Day, Joseph Day, jr.,
Nicholas Denning, Richard Dolliver, John Dolliver, Peter Duncan,



58^ HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER.

Moses Durin, Richard Dike, John Burgee, Robert Elwell, John
Elwell, John Elwell, jr., Isaac Elwell, Elias Elwell, Jacob Elwell,
Ebenezer Elwell, Eleazer Elwell, Nathaniel Ellery, Isaac Eveleth,
Job^Eveleth, Peter Emons, John Fitch, Samuel Foster, James Gard-
ner, Joseph Gardner, John Gardner, George Giddings, John Gilbert,
James Godfrey, Richard Goodwin, Samuel Gott, Samuel Griffin,
Daniel Guttridge, John Hadley, Edward Haraden, Joseph Haraden,
John Haraden, Benjamin Haraden, John Harris, George Harvey,
William Haskell, William Haskell, jr., Henry Haskell, Joseph Has-
kell, Joseph Haskell, jr., Joseph Haskell, 3d, John Haskell, Benjamin
Haskell, Benjamin Haskell, jr., Benjamin Hoppin, Nathaniel Hadlock,
John Hammons, Samuel Hodgkins, Joseph Ingersoll, Samuel Inger-
soll, Charles James, Francis James, Henry Joslyn, Josiah Kent, John
Kent, Thomas Lufkin, Ebenezer Lufkin, John Lane, Thomas Millett,
Thomas Millett, 2d, Nathaniel Millett, William Manning, John New-
man, Francis Norwood, Francis Norwood, jr., Joshua Norwood,
Joseph Page, William Pain, Jeffrey Parsons, James Parsons, Nathan-
iel Parsons, John Parsons, Ebenezer Parsons, John Pool, Thomas
Prince, John Prince, John Pulcifer, Thomas Riggs, sr., Thomas Riggs,
jr., John Riggs, Andrew Riggs, William Ring, John Ring, David
Ring, John Roberts, John Roberts, jr., Abraham Robinson, Abra-
ham Robinson, jr., Stephen Robinson, Andrew Robinson, Stephen
Row, Abraham Row, Isaac Row, Samuel Row, Thomas Sanders,
Nathaniel Sanders, William Sargent, William Sargent, jr., William
Sargent, 2d, John Sargent, Nathaniel Sargent, Samuel Sargent,
Thomas Sawyer, John Sawyer, Nathaniel Sawyer, Abraham Sawyer,
James Sayward, Morris Smith, John Smith, John Smith, jr., Timothy
Somes, Timothy Somes, jr., Phillip Stainwood, John Stainwood,
Jonathan Stainwood, Samuel Stevens, David Stevens, Jonathan
Stevens, George Stover, Richard Tarr, John Tucker, James Wallis,
Michael Webber, Nathaniel Wharf, William Whittredge, Rev. John
White, Thomas Witham, Humphrey Woodbury, Ezekiel Woodward,
Samuel York, Joseph York, Benjamin York.

THIRD PARISH.

At Rev. Mr. Thompson's death the second church chose Rev.
Richard Jaques of Newbury as its pastor. He was a graduate of
Harvard in 1720 and was ordained in November, 1725, receiving
;ioo settlement and \<x> as salary. He continued in this relation
until his death in 1777, not without differences with his people at



HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER. 59

the latter end of his pastorate when he suffered an attack of paralysis
and became feeble and infirm. He then accused his people of in-
gratitude and the parishoners relieved his mind on this score by
voting him 20 shillings extra each month. In 1769, Rev. Daniel
Fuller was appointed his colleague. Another evidence of increase
in wealth and material resources is presented in the fact that a new
parochial division was made in 1728 when the third parish was set
off as a separate precinct the General Court incorporating it as such
in June of the same year. Rev. Benjamin Bradstreet of Newbury,
the latter place a prolific mine for ministers for the town, a graduate
of Harvard in 1725, was chosen as minister, beginning his duties in
1728, continuing until his death in May, 1762. The meeting house
of this parish was erected at Lobster cove. The covenant of this
church was signed by Benjamin Bradstreet, Edward Haraden, Sam-
uel Lane, Joseph Thurston, John Lane, Samuel Gott, James Lane,
Jethro Wheeler, Daniel Collins, Anthony Bennett and Benjamin
Davis. The bounds of this parish included substantially what is now
known as Squam, Lanesville and Bay View. Robert Dutch was the
first to settle in this vicinity. He sold his holdings to Edward Hara-
den in 1656 and the latter was probably the first permanent settler in
that locality. Before 1700 the Day, Norwood, Lane, Davis, York,
Sargent and Butman families had located within the precinct and
the names survive today. Others followed soon after 1700 and the
place became quite a thriving little settlement from which fishing
was energetically and profitably pursued.

EMIGRATION TO FALMOUTH AND NEW GLOUCESTER.

The natural increase in population together with the constant
stream of new comers produced a scarcity of farming land. Con-
sequently in 1727 and 1728 a tide of emigration set toward what is
now Maine, then a part of Massachusetts. The motive to better
material conditions prompted their ancestors to make the uncertain
venture in America, and today, the ruling passion, strong, impels
their descendants to seek new and enlarged fields of endeavor.

Thus in the year mentioned Richard Babson, John Brown, Anth-
ony Coombs, John Coy, Ephriam Foster, Thomas Haskell, Benjamin
Ingersoll, Thomas Millett, John Millett, Joseph Pride, Thomas Red-
ding, Jeremiah Riggs, Ebenezer Roberts, John Sawyer, Isaac Saw-
yer, Job Sawyer, Jacob Sawyer, Jonathan Stanwood, John White,
William White, Benjamin York, John Curtis, John Dolliver, William



60 HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER.

Davis and William Elwell, emigrated from Gloucester and were ad-
mitted inhabitants of Falmouth, now Portland. John Haskell, Phillip
Hodgkins, Jedidiah Hodgkins, Robert Nason, Thomas Sargent, Wil-
liam Stevens and James Stanwood of this town were also admitted as
inhabitants of Falmouth, but it is not certain whether all these latter
took up their residence in that town.

Another wave followed about 10 years later when in 1736 a grant
of 3040 acres of land lying in the rear of North Yarmouth was se-
cured from the General Court. In February, 1738, this tract was
divided among 60 proprietors, three lots being reserved for public
purposes. Work was begun a year after the apportionment and two
years later some ^500 had been expended in laying out a well con-
structed road of 12 miles, and in building houses, a sawmill, bridges,
etc. The promoters freighted settlers by water as far as North
Yarmouth, voted to build a meeting house, and indeed "boomed"
their new town with much of the same energy and spirit as is dis-
played to-day in like enterprises in the west and south. Indian raids,
however, interfered materially with operations and in 1744 the settle-
ment was abandoned from this cause. The work of re-settlement was
commenced with renewed vigor in 1754. All that had been accom-
plished during the first years had been destroyed by the red men. In
J 753 a blockhouse was built, some twenty families residing in its
vicinity. The General Court, on account of the exposed condition
of the town made it a garrison. The fear of incursions by
savages gave the place a precarious existence until the end of the
French and Indian war in 1763 removed this dreaded and menacing
obstacle to the progress of the new town. From that time it began
to increase in population and prosper in material affairs. Among
those who went from here to New Gloucester were : Benjamin Rob-
erts, Nathaniel Eveleth, William Goodrich, Nathaniel Bennett, Eb-
enezer Collins, Perkins Eveleth, Job, Israel, John, Nathaniel, Jacob
Haskell and Jacob Haskell, jr., David Millett, Isaac, Samuel, David
and Edward Parsons, John Prince, Jonathan, Zebulon and William
Rowe, James, Roger, John and John Stenchfield, jr., William Warner
and Davis Woodward.

New Gloucester is in Cumberland County, Maine; has fine farm-
ing land, a large portion of which is intervale. The Maine Central
railroad connects the town with the outside world.

The writer passed through the place during the two preceding



HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER. 61

years while on a trip in this section of Maine. Everywhere were
evidences of thrift and prosperity. Substantial dwellings, large and
commodious barns, well kept and neatly painted, gave evidence that
the citizens of today had lost none of the thrift and energy which
characterized the parent stock.
KING GEORGE'S WAR AND GLOUCESTER COMPANY AT LOUISBURG.

In 1744, what is known as King George's war, between France
and England began in Europe and extended to the New World.
The objective point of England in America was the reduction of
Louisburg in Cape Breton. This place, " the Gibraltar of America,"
had been strongly fortified, the best engineering talent of France
being employed in constructing its defences. At that period a fleet
of French vessels, equal in tonnage and producing about the same
amount of fish annually as Gloucester at the present time, made the
place its headquarters. The presence of the French in these waters
was a constant menace to the rapidly growing industry of Gloucester
on the Grand Banks, and perhaps some of the home fishing vessels
had already been captured and destroyed. Although Louisburg was
deemed almost impregnable, yet the New England colonies consid-
ered its destruction of vital importance. Accordingly, 4000 troops,
mainly from Massachusetts, under Sir William Pepperell, embarked
'for the place in March, 1745. At Canso they were joined by a
British naval force, and such was the vigor and bravery displayed in
the campaign that the hitherto invincible fortress was captured and
the French flag levelled. The fruits of this victory were lost, for in
1748, by the terms of peace drawn up at Aix-La-Chappelle, Louis-
burg was restored to the French. In 1750, Generals Amherst and
Wolfe once more compelled the commander of the place to capitu-
late, and reduced the whole island. Thus, on the return of peace,
this danger spot to the American fisheries, then the basis of a great
French marine industry, was wiped out. To-day the graceful Glouces-
ter fishing clippers anchor unharmed hard by the scene of these
conflicts, and their crews roam unmolested over the deserted ramparts
of this once grand fortress, speculating perhaps on the impotency of
even powerful kingdoms to change the manifest destiny of a future
nation.

Gloucester was well represented at the reduction of the place in
1745, furnishing a company of 45 men under Capt. Charles Byles.
Capt. Thomas Sanders, of this port, who for some years had been in



62 HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER.

command of a provincial government cutter, also rendered valuable
services during the expedition. Among those of Capt. Byles' com-
pany wounded during the progress of hostilities was Job Stanwood,
who lost his left arm. The Provincial government granted him an
annual pension of ,1$. David Stanwood was also wounded, for
which he received a pension, a son of Thomas Ayres is said to have
been lost while engaged in the expedition, and James Parsons and
Samuel Goodwin contracted a sickness from which they died on their
return. The locally famous Peg Wesson story comes in here. Not-
withstanding the severe lesson of the witchcraft delusion, belief in
the existence of witches had by no means died out. The woman
Wesson lived in what was then called the Garrison house, stand-
ing on the spot now occupied by the Catholic parochial residence,
removed a few years since to Maplewood avenue, where it serves
as a tenement house. Wesson was accounted a witch. Shortly
before departing, several of Capt. Byles' company visited Peg and
so exasperated her by their conduct that she threatened them with a
visitation of her wrath at Louisburg. While encamped before the
latter place, the attention of the Gloucester men was attracted by
the peculiar actions of a crow which circled just above them. Fruit-
less endeavors were made to shoot the bird of ill omen. Finally a
soldier suggested that the crow must be Peg Wesson transformed,
according to the belief concerning the supernatural powers of
witches. In this event, no bullet except one cast from silver or gold
would possess the properties sufficiently potent to puncture her skin.
A silver sleeve button was hastily rammed into a gun, and discharg-
ed at the bird, which fell wounded in the leg. Upon their return to
Gloucester, the soldiers learned that at the precise time when the
crow was wounded, Peg Wesson fell near her house receiving a frac-
ture of the leg, and furthermore, that the doctor, on dressing the
limb extracted a foreign substance from the bone which proved
to be the same sleeve button fired at the crow before Louisburg.
The truth of this happening as recounted was generally accepted at
the time.

OLD DEFENCES AT FORT SQUARE.

In 1743, what is known as the old fort on Commercial Street,
now encroached upon and surrounded by buildings, was completed.
On this point, well selected strategetically, is a hill which effectually
commands the inner harbor. In 1741 and 1742, the General Court



HISTORY OF GLOUCESTER. 63

appropriated ^527 to defray the cost of fortification. Breastworks
were thrown up and eight 12-pounders placed in position in the fort.
The immediate cause of its erection was the fear of French incur-
sions, but these fears were never realized. An effort had been
made as early as 1 703 to fortify the place, but the petition of the
selectmen to the General Court for an appropriation for the purpose
was refused. The petition shows that the harbor, even at that early
date, was extensively frequented for shelter, and was " very seldom
free from vessels."

LIST OF SETTLERS BETWEEN 1700 AND 1750.

The following settlers, as far as known, comprise those who came
here before 1750. The persons bearing the same names in town
to-day trace their descent in a direct line from these founders of
their families on Cape Ann. Only those are mentioned whose
descendants, except in a few instances, live in town at the present
time.

SAMUEL GRIFFIN appears in town on the occasion of his marriage to
Elizabeth York, December 15, 1703. He probably came from Ipswich,
where Humphrey Griffin settled in 1641. Samuel had a grant of land on
the road leading from Lobster Cove to Sandy Bay. His numerous de-
scendants are among the active and energetic business men of the town.

SAMUEL GOTT came from Wenham in 1702, finally locating near Rock-
port.

JOHN GILBERT came from Wenham in 1704. He was the ancestor of



Online LibraryJames R. (James Robert) PringleHistory of the town and city of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts → online text (page 6 of 36)