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3 1833 01104 4002

^kglfligH of Sarlg iiUton /lo-

1— Indian Trail
2— Neponset River Ferries
3— Miss Polly Crane's School
4— The Holllngsworth House
5-The Village Arch. 1798


The Milton Record




On the historical map of Milton in
Mr. Teele's history of the town, may
be traced an old road leading from the
Blue Hills and Brush Hill down to tide
water at the Lower Mills. When
Brush Hill Road was laid out by the
town in 167G, reference was made to
the "Beaten Rode" already in exist-
ence. Tradition has given this as the
trail or pathway made by the Indians
in their journeyings from the Blue
Hills down to fishing and trapping
grounds on the Neponset river, long
before the white man had come upon
the scene.

The first settlers made use of these
Indian trails, as well as to beat out
new paths for themselves, and the fu-
ture highways were laid out over
these early passage ways where they
proved convenient. Brush Hill road
thus preserved the general route of
the trai'l, to the ox pen, which was an
enclosure for the convenience of the
cattle owners on both the Dorchester
and Milton sides of the Neponset. It
was situated near where Brook Road
now crosses the Parkway. Although
much of this region was a wilderness,
there was some good grazing land.
Here the oxen and steers were pas-
tured and attended by two herdsmen,
whose duty it was to herd the animals,
and drive them into this pen, one half
hour before sunset. (Record Commis-
sioners, Vol. IV., p. 62.) Their owners
could then come and take them home,
or leave them there for the night, as
suited their convenience. In laying
out the early roads in this part of the
town the oxpen is frequently mention-
ed as the point of arrival and depar-
ture. From the oxpen the trail pass-
ed near the cornfields of the Indians
on what is now Thacher's Plain, and
from thence to the then wilderness ly-
ing between Brook road and the Ne-
ponset river. This district, now known
as the Columbine road neighborhood.

was held until recently as woodland,
and beyond the cutting of the wood
and awaiting its growth little change
took place.

The old trail was used by the first
settlers here and grew to a cartpath.
and by cartpaths its course has been
preserved to recent times. These

cartpaths are fast suffering efface-
ment, however, and only where it has
suited the owner's plan to perpetuate
them as roads, will they escape oblit-

Beginning at Ridge road leading
from Brook road, we are on the old
trail which Ridge road follows to Co-
lumbine road. Here the trail and
road diverge; the former as a hardly
traceable cartpath bends to the east
before reaching the wall a few rods
farther north. In this bend of the
way where a few evergreen trees
have been recently planted, can still
be seen on the right, an old
cellar which tradition has held to
be that of the Teague Crehore
(Hist. Milton, p. 156.) The tradition
lacks verification.

From the cellar the cartpath con-
tinues in an easterly direction to Mr.
Rogerson's lawn where it is effaced.
As Columbine road, it appears again
where the road winds above the

The trail crossed the field east of
the Milton club house, entering it
about where Mr. Appollonio's house
now stands. In the early part of the
century just closed, this field received
the name of^Golgotha. from the fact
that in the day of Caleb Hobart who
was a butcher, dealing chiefly in mut-
ton, it was used as a place to dispose
of the refuse from his slaughter house
Mr. Hobart lived at that time in the
house now occupied by Mr. T. Edwin
Ruggles, the oldest part of which was
built before Milton was incorporated
as a town.


Noar whore the houso of Mr. Hodg-
es now stands, the trail passed the site
of another cellar, which ba-s occasion-
ed much conjecture, both a.s to its an-
tiquity and former owner; but its
history remains "lockt'il in the mem-
ory of forjfotten men." The trail
cnissed what i.s now ('entral avenue.
at the entrance to HusKles'.s lane which
follows the ancient l'(M)tp;ith in its
present course to Canton avenue.
This is the earliest known passageway

between Mattiipan and Milton Ijowrr
MiHs. There is no evidence that it
was ever a public road. Canton ave-
nue preserves the general direction of
the trail to the old way known today
a.s Adams street. The latter was in
its turn originally a footpath laid out
by the Indians from the ilver, over
what is now known as .Milton Hill to
Quincy and thence on to Plymouth.

(Printed in The Milton Leader, Jan.
24. 1902.)


A Paper Read Before Milton Historical Society, October 2, 1907

The first license for a ferry over Ne-
ponset river, to accommodate travel
between the Massachusetts Bay and
Plymouth colonies, was granted in
1635, twenty-seven years before Milton
was set off from Dorchester, and one
hundred and forty-one years before
the Declaration of Independence.

3d September, 1635: "It was order-
ed that John Holland shall keepe a
fferry betwixte the Capt. Poynte (Com-
mercial Point) and Mr. Newberry's
creeke (Billings's Creek) for wch hee
is to have iiiid a peece for every sin-
gle p'son he transports, and iiid a
peece if there be two or more." (Rec-
ords Mass. Bay Colony, Vol. 1. p. 159.)
Billings's Creek, and the upland, now
covered with a growth of cedars, that
was the iervy lanaing on the south
side of the river lie east of the rail-
road bridge at Neponset.

John Holland was in Dorchester as
early as 1633, and lived at Commercial
Point. He was a wealthy man for
those days, a large land owner, and in-
terested in maritime affairs. (Hist.
Dorchester, p. 57).

We get a glimpse of this old Puritan
in the opening clause of his will, made
in 1651, the year before his death when
he was about to make a voyage to Vir-
ginia: "I, John Holland, of Dorches-
ter, in Newe England, being by the
p'mission of the Lord bound for Vir-
ginia and knowing my life to be mew-
table and at the disposing hand of the
Lord, ffor the ffurther settling of my
estate after this life, if the Lord Jesus
shall call me to himself before my re-
turne from this p'sent vioage. I do
therefore bequeath my estate in man-
ner followinig," (Suffolk Probate 1: 67.)
He divided his property between his
wife Judith and his children, but gave

to his eldest son John a double portion
together with "my Munnings Moone,"
(Moon Island.) The island took its
name from one Munnings. the original
owner. Mr. Holland's ferry was a
s?hort-lived enterprise, for In 1638. to
ac^-ommodate the same travel between
the colonies, "Bray WilkJns hath lib-
erty to set up a house and keepe a
ferry over Naponset Ryver and to
have a penny a p'son to bee directed
by Mr. Staughton and Mr. Glover."
(Records Mass. Bay Colony 1: 241.)

Charles Francis Adams, Jr.. In his
History of Quincy says the reason John
Holland's ferry was discontinued was
because "there were not enough pas-
sengers to make the business of carry-
ing them a paying one."

Bray Wilkins's ferry was known as
"Penny Ferry;" "it ran from the pub-
lic landing on Davenport's creek at the
end of Marsh street (Dorchester) to the
end of the tongue of land which makes
out into the marsh to tide water, about
halfway between Neponset and Gran-
ite bridges and known as the Ridge.
Passengers were carried from the land-
ing place or from the marsh near
the mouth of Davenport's Creek, as
the tide might best serve, up stream
to the point of the Ridge. There was
no fare established for vehicles as
there were probably no roads passable
with wheels." (Hist. Dorchester. p.
592.) "Although the ferry was contin-
ued but a few years the locality about
the Ridge bore the name of 'Penny
Ferrj-' for a long time. " Hist. Milton,
p. 30.)

Marsh street at that time was a part
of the road from Dorchester to Plym-
outh, by way of Penny Ferry. "The
present Stoughton. Hancock and Pleas-
ant streets were formerly a road laid


out nrdund Jones's hill, from which
a road led to StoiiRhlon's mil!. This is
now Adams street. From this streer a.
road led to the Penny Feny, and
this is now Marsh street i(;cK)d Old
Donhester. p. r.l.»

have come and jcnne and left it all so
little changed.

Bray Wilkiiis was a Welshman. He
was early i" Horchester and is said to
have lived in the place occupied hy Eb-
enezer Willianis and near the resi-


From the Wollaston golf links look-
ing riverward. the ridge, landing place
and the route of old Penny Ferry to
the farther shore, are spread out like
a map. and it is difflcult to believe
that two hundred and seventy years

denee of Richard Clapp. (Hist. Dor-
chester, p. 91.) In the allotment of the
sixth division of lands in that part of
Dorchester afterwards Milton, Bray
Wilkins received 17 acres. 2qr.. 32rd.,
as his portion, "near Gulliver's land-



ing, at that time one of the
landing places of the town where tim-
ber was floated out and the small
doasting 'shallops' entered." This
land today includes a small part of

out for the convenience of the inhabi-
tants who were shipbuilders, and was
the port of the town. Gulliver's Creek
now but ten feet wide at the landing,
was then a navigable stream, where


Mr. Kidder's land, the estate of E. W.
Bowditch and a portion of the ad-
joining land of :\Irs. E. M. Cary.

"In 1640 Gulliver's landing w?.s iad

vessels of forty tons could be passed."
(Hist. Milton, p. 305.) The marshes
have now encroached to such an ex-
tent that the creek is but a windin-?


ditch at the lauding. "Bray Wilkins
removed to Salem, and In It'tW. with
John Glni^le. his brother-in-law pur-
chas*^ the BellinKhain farm where he
passed the rest of his life." (Hist.
Milton, p. 3(1.) It is told of him that
ten years before his death, being then
eighty-two., he rode down to Bo:^ton.
with his wife on the pillion behind
hlra. to pass election week. (Hist.
Qulncy. p 77.)

By n;41.' Bray Wilkins's ferry bad
ceased to run, for the General Court
at that date issued the following or-
der: •Mr. Treas\irer. Mr. Parker.
I^eift Duncan. Mr. Glover and Goodm
Cheesboro. these or any three of
them, are appointed a comitte to view
and seeke out a convenient place for
the highway and fferry at Dorches-
ter and certify the next cort." Re-
cords Mass. Bay Colony, Vol 11. p. 28.)
Two years more go by and there is
still no ferry. In 1644: "It is ordered
(by the town of Dorchester) that
there shall be a view taken of the
best way for a Ferry to bee settled
to Brayntree and those p'ts and to
p'cure the sayd Ferry from the Gen-
erall Court to the Townes disposal."
(Reciird Commissioners 4th Report,
p. 53.) There is no record of any ferry
license having been granted, after that
to Bray Wilkins, until 1648.

The General Court then ordered:
"Upon certeine information given to
this General Corte that there is no
ferry kept over Naponsel Ryver be-
tween Dorchester and Braintree, where
by all that are to passe that way are
forced to head the river, to the great
preiudice of townes that are in those
parts. & that there arpeares no man
that will keepe it, unlesse he may be
accomodated with house, land. & a
boate, at the charge of the country,
its therefore ordered, by the authority
of this Corte. that Mr. John Glover
hhall, and hereby hath full power
given him, either to igraunt it to any
p'Bon or p'sons for the tearme of
neaven yeare*. so it be not any way
chargablo to the country, or else to

take It himselfe, and his heires, a3
his own inheritance forever, p'vided,
that it be kept in such a place, and
at such a price, as may be most con-
Tenient for the country and pleasing
to the Generall Courte." (Records
Mass. Bay Colony, 11: 1344.) Accord-
ing to tradition, John Glover's ferry
followed the route of Bray Wilkins's
Penny Ferry, the location of which he
hud directed in 1638.

John Glover was a man of high
standing in England, being distin-
guished by the title of Mr.. He owned
the Newbury lands and other farms at
Sqiiantum. His name "appears on the
list of inhabitants at the incorporation
of Dorchester 1631, according to Blake's
Annals. He has justly been termed
one of the founders of New England.
His life in Dorchester was one of un-
ceasing activity in the service of the
Church and Colony. As a member of
the London Company he early located a
grant at Unquity (Milton) west, of Mil-
ton Hill. He brought over with him a
great number of cattle and the men
and implements needful for carrying
on the business of tanning, in accord-
ance with the regulations of the Lon-
don Company, requiring each mem-
ber to establish some trade on his es-
tate." (Hist. Milton, p. 23.)

"He built a house near the brook
on Canton avenue (at its present junc-
tion with Brook Road), and placed
Nicholas Wood, who came over with
him from the old country in charge of
his farm." (Hist. Milton, p. 157.)

The whole of his Milton estate was
sold by his heirs to Mr. Robert Vose
ill 1654, the year after his death.

"Besides many gifts to Harvard Col-
lege during his life, Mr. Glover left a
legacy of 'five pounds a year forever
as a perpetual annuity for the aid of
Indigent students,' the payment to be-
gin at the decease of his widow, unless
she was able to pay during her life.
From the year of her decease which
occurred in 1670. to October. 1871. the
sum of sixteen dollars and sixty-seven
cents was paid into the treasury of


Harvard College annually. Then the
college accepted the sum of three
hundred and fifty dollars in lieu of the
annuity." (Hist. Milton, p. 24.)

The period of ferries called for the
enactment of laws governing them. The
Colonial Records furnish the following
curiosities of old-time legislation; they
are given in the order they were issued.
The first order relates to an accident
that happened at the Wessaguscus
(Weymouth) ferr>'. when a canoe carry-
ing nine passengers was upset, and
three were drowned.

1638: "William Blanton appearing,
was enjojTied to appear at the next
court with all the men that were in the
canoe with him and Applegate wch
owned the canoe out of wch the 3 p'sons
were drowned; and it was ordered, that
no canooe should be used at any
fferry vpon paine of 5£, nor no canooe
be made in or iurisdiction before the
next Generall Court, vpon paine of

"Also, order was appointed to bee
given to Richrd Right to stave that
canooe, out of wch these p'sons were
drowned." (Vol. 1, p. 246.)

Richard Wright or Right, intrusted
with the carrying out of this drastic
measure, was a leading member of the
community at Mount Wollaston. In
1635, "Thomas Applegate was licensed
to keepe a fferry betwixte Wessaguscus
(Weymouth) and Mount W^oolliston, for
which he is to have Id for every p'son
and 3d a horse." (Vol. 1, p. 156.) This
ferry accommodated travel to and from
Neponset river ferry. I^ter the Gen-
eral Court ordered:

1G40: "That no man should carry
over any other at a fferry wth a ca-
nooe, under paine to forfet the canooe
to the treasury." (Vol. 1, p. 292.)

Samuel Drake says, "ships' boats
were first used as ferry boats, and then
scows, in which both passengers and
cattle or sheep were sometimes ferried
over together." ("Old Landmarks.")

1641: "For settleing of all com 'on
fferryss in a right course, both for the
passingers and owners, it is declared

and ordered, that whosoever hath a
fferr>' granted upon any passage is to
have the sole liberty of transporting
passingers from the place where such
ferry is granted to any other ferry, or
place where ferry boates use to lodge
(land), and that any ferry boate that
shall land passingers at any other
fferry may not take passingers from
thence, if the ferry boate of the place
bee ready; provided, that this order
shall not piudice the liberty of any that
do use to passe in their owne or neigh-
brs' canos or boates to their ordinary
labors or busines." (Vol. 1, p. 338.)

1641: "The fferrymen are alowed to
take double pay after daylight is
downe, and those that pay not are to
give their names in writing or a pawne,
or the ferrymen may carry them before
a magistrate." (Vol. 1, p. 341.)

1641: "It was appointed that every
Capt'n should pay for the ferriyg of
his compa out of the fines." (Vol. 1,
p. 341.)

1646. "In answer to ye petition of
James Hayden and p'tn'r, ferrimen and
for ye satisfaction of all other ferri-
men, yt there may be no mistake who
are freed, or should be passage free,
and how long. — It is declared, yt ye
honored ma'trates, and such as are,
or from time to time shalbe, chosen to
serve as deputies at ye Generall Courte,
with both their necessary attendants,
shalbe passage free over all ferryes;
and by necessary attendants wee meane
a man and horse, at all times dureying
ye time of their being ma'trates or de-
puties, but never intended all ye
families of eithr at any time, and that
ye ordr neithr expseth nor intended
any such thing." (Vol. 11, p. 154.)

1646: "Whereas, men do passe over
ye com'on ferries in great danger
oftentimes, and ye ferrymen excuse
ymselves by ye importunity of pas-
singrs and want of law to give them
powr to keepe due order, it is there-
fore hereby ordered, yt no p'son shall
presse or enter into any ferry boate
contrary to ye will of ye ferrymen, or
of ye most of ye passingrs before en-

sKi:'iVHi-:s OF i:akia- .milton.

tered, upon i)aine of 10s for every such
attempt, and yt every ferryman yt
shall pnit & alow any p'son to come
Into his hoate apalnst ye will of
any of ye mat rats or deputies or any
of ye elders yn in s>ich Innate, or ye
greater pt of ye passingers yn in ye
boate. shall forfeite for every p'son so
admit trd or received against such will
declared, ye siime of 20s; and it shalbe
In y<» iKJwr of any of ye ferrimen to
keepe out or put. out of his boate any
pson yt shall enter into or stay in
any Buch ferry boate contrary to tliis
order: and it is further ordered yt
all psons shalbe received into such
ferrj- l)0.ates according to their coming
first or last, onely all publike p'sons, or
s\uh as go upon publike occasions, as
phisitians. surgeons and midwifs and
suih as are sent for such, shalbe trans-
ported as such as were first." (Vol. 11,
p. 170.)

ir.4S: "For pventing the ferrimens
damage, by p'sons not paying, it shall
be lawful for any feiTlraen to demand
and receive his due, before his boate
put of from shore, nor shall he be
bound to pa«se over any that shall
not give satisfaction; and any ferriman
may refuse any wampara, not stringed
or unmerchantable, and such p'sons
(whether horse or foote) wch are pas-
sage free by order of Corte must shew
8r>niethlng sufficient for their discharge,
or else must pay. as otlirs do, except
maHisirats and deputies, who are gen-
rallv knowne to be free." (Vol. 11, p.
2f.2. )

There came a time later when not
f>ven , tho Honored Magistrates were
p«Hniigti free.

Ififirc "'It Is ordered, that the Treas-
urer shall satisfy the niagists ferriage
for tyme past, they being for tyme to
come to sattisfy for theire owne fer-
riages." (Vol. IV., p. 253.)

■'.\t what time Penny F'crry was ilis-
contlnued we have not been able to find
out; in all probability its business was
of an occasional nature, and it must
have proved a financial failure, as being
located over a tidal river it would de-

lay travelling more or less in waiting
for the tide to get to its proper height
to ferry them across. It would have
been as convenient if not more so to
have taken the regular road over the
bridge at Milton Mills." (Hist. Old
Brain tree, p. 69.)

The following from the same source
(p. 69) may serve to explain why this
way, it was probably only a beaten
patii, was not popular tJien: "Ex-Pres-
idenit John Adams was asked whether
Judge Edmund Quincy of Braintree
went to Boston over Milton Hill? 'No
Judge Quincy would have thought it
unsafe to venture as far inland as Mil-
ton Hill, for fear of the Indians; he
was accustomed to go to Boston by the
way of Penny Ferry.' "

This must refer to Edmund Quincy
the Colonial Magistrate of the Ck)unty,
"Unckle Quinsey" of Judge Sewall'a
Diary, who in 1685 built the old col-
onial house still standing in Quincy.
This anecdote indicates that the fer-
ries were continued to a later date than
has been supposed.

After a ferry across the Neponset
had been established, some of the in-
habitants of Dorchester took up farms
on the south side of the river. They
and their estates belonged to Dorches-
ter and they continued to enjoy their
civil and religious privileges there.
But when the time came that the ferry
was discontinued, these Dorchester
people on the south side of the river
were greatly inconvenienced. Unless
they had private boats to cross in,
they were obliged to travel around over
Milton hill and cross the river at the
village. When the North Precinct of
Braintree petitioned to be set off as a
separate municipality, some of the de-
scendants of these Dorchester people
joined in that petition as follows:

"Those of your petitioners in parti-
cular who inhabit the Farms, (so call-
ed), and the long Peninsular known
by the name of Squantum, humbly beg
the Honorable Court to recollect that
by their records it appears, that when
their ancestors first settled on thc^se


detached lands on the south side of the
river, there was then in that place a
public road and ferry established by
authority of government, wbich was
then the only inland communication
between the young sister colonies of
Massachusetts and Plymouth. By
means of the ferry over Neponset Riv-
er at the Farms, they had such a free
intercourse with their bretheren on the
north side of the river, as probably
first encouraged their settling down
there, and afterwards gave them an
easy participation of all the Civil and
Religious privileges of the town of Dor-
chester, to which they belonged. But
your petitioners, the inhabitants of
that part of Dorchester, Born long since
that Road and Ferry have been dis-
used, are now in a great measure de-
prived of their privileges; more espec-
ially the happiness of Worshiping with
their friends and Bretheren, in that
house where only they had a right to
Worship and meet together. The Riv-
er being impassable for horses, is a
constant bar to their meeting there,
and they with their children, are oblig-
ed to meet on Courtesy with their
neighbors joint petitioners, in the
meeting house in the north Precinct
in Braintree. For these reasons the
inhabitants of the Farms and Squan-
tum in particular, would humbly urge
their wishes to the Honorable Court,
that they may be set off from Dorches-
ter, together with their burthens and
priviledges, and joined to the said
North Precinct of Braintree, and that
such an Incorporation might be grant-
ed as they on their part might enjoy
the common priviledges of citizens and
Christians, of w^hich, by their local cir-
cumstances, they have been for a long
time in a great measure deprived."
(Acts 1791. Chap. 36.)

Among the papers filed with this
petition is a memorandum entitled,
"Eixtracts from Records of the General
Court, etc.. Respecting Dorchester and
Braintree." The following extract is
from the original document:

"Soon after the first settlement of

the Government of the Massachusetts,
which began at Salem about the year
1629 Tinder Governor Endicott and
company, several other settlements
were begun at different places and
particularly at Dorchester. It waa
then found necessary to open a com-
munication between the new colony of
Massachusetts and her sister colony of
Plimouth, which had been settled nine
years before. For this purpose a Ferry
was ordered by the Gen'l Court to be
kept across Neponset River at the
place now under ck^nsideration called
the Farms, and one Mr. Glover had a
Grant from the then Gen'l Court to him
and his heirs of the exclusive Privilege
of keeping that Ferry on certain con-
ditions mentioned in the Record. And
a Road was laid out from thence
through the territory then called Mount
Wtooliston (w*ich now forms the
North Precinct of Braintree) to an-
other Ferry which crossed the River,

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Online LibraryMary H HinckleySketches of early Milton → online text (page 1 of 4)