Massachusetts. Joint Standing Committee on Towns.

Arguments of Fred H. Williams, and testimony of petitioners and remonstrants presented before the Committee on Towns of the Massachusetts Legislature, relative to the incorporation of the town of Beverly Farms, Jan. 20 to Feb. 8, 1886. For petitioners, Fred H. Williams. For remonstrants, H.P. Moul online

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Online LibraryMassachusetts. Joint Standing Committee on TownsArguments of Fred H. Williams, and testimony of petitioners and remonstrants presented before the Committee on Towns of the Massachusetts Legislature, relative to the incorporation of the town of Beverly Farms, Jan. 20 to Feb. 8, 1886. For petitioners, Fred H. Williams. For remonstrants, H.P. Moul → online text (page 1 of 19)
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JAN. 20 to FEB. 8, 1886.


For Peticioners, FRED H. WILLIAMS.

For Remonstrants,



171 Devonshire Street.


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Compliments of



Page 138 (first answer) , read William Powell Mason for William

Page 142 (second answer), read Whitman /or Whiteman.

Page 145 (fifth answer) , read Fogg for Forbes ; Larcom for
Larkin; lOmball for Kinsley; E. F. Mitchell for A. Mitchell.

Page 149 (eighth answer) , read Hubbard for Hobart.

Page 161 (second answer), read $3,000 for $8,000.


, OF




JAN. 20 to FEB. 8, 1886.

For Petitioners, FRED H. WILLIAMS.

For Remonstrants,




171 Devonshire Street.





January 20.


Opening Ai-gument by Mr. Williams 10

Testimony for the Petitioners.

Mr. John Larcom, Direct Examination 11

Cross-examination 14

Re-direct 23

Mr. John H. Watson, Direct Examination 25

Cross-examination 30

Re-direct 37

Mr. Daniel W. Hardy, Direct Examination 39

Cross-examination 41

Re-direct 43

Mr. John H. Woodbury, Direct Examination 44

Cross-examination 45

Re-direct 47

Mr. George H. Wyatt, Direct Examination 48

Cross-examination 49

Re-direct 50

January 21.

Mr. Henry Hobbs, Direct Examination 51

Cross-examination 53

Mr. John L. Eaton, Direct Examination 53

Cross-examination 55

Re-direct 57

Mr. Isaac F. Day, Direct Examination 58

Cross-examination 64

Re-direct 72

Mr. Augustus P. Loring, Direct Examination 73

Cross-examination 81

Re-direct . 95

Mr. John T. Morse, Jr., Direct Examination 96

January 22.

Mr. John T. Morse, Jr., Direct Examination (continued) .... 100

Cross-examination 102

Re-direct 110


vi Contents.

Testimony for the Remonstrants.


Mr. William W. Hinckley, Direct Examination 115

Cross-examination 117

Re-direct 122

Mr. Edward L. Giddings, Direct Examination 123

Cross-examination 125

Re-direct 126

Mr. John I. Baker, Direct Examination 126

January 25.

Mr. John I. Baker, Direct Examination (continued) 139

Cross-examination 144

Re-direct 152

Mr. Amory A. Lawrence, Direct Examination 153

Cross-examination 155

Mr. Levi K. Goodhue, Direct Examination 160

Cross-examination 161

Re-direct 162

Mr. John Gently, Direct Examination 163

Cross-examination 164

Testimony in Rebuttal.

Mr. John T. Morse, Jr., Direct Examination 167

Cross-examination 159

Mr. Isaac F. Day, Direct Examination 170

Cross-examination 171

Mr. John H. Watson, Direct Examination 171

Mr. Thornton K. Lothrop, Direct Examination 172

Cross-examination 177

Appendix A. — Dates of Town Meetings 184

Appendix B. — Rates of Taxation 186

Closing Argument hy Mr. Williams 187


January 20, 1886.

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen, — The town of Beverly
is situated in Essex County, on the north shore of Massachu-
setts Bay, on the Eastern Division of the Boston and Maine
Railroad, and is about seventeen miles distant from Boston.
The town was settled by the English as a part of the town
of Salem in 1630, and was incorporated as a town in 1668.
Among 325 towns in Massachusetts, this town stands third
in point of valuation, Brookline and Milton only having a
larger. Only eight towns are credited with a larger number
of polls, and only eleven can point to a larger population.
On another page record the solemn and appalling fact
that she leads the list of towns with a net debt of $876,008.
The amount raised by taxation last year was $173,074.11.
The town is about six miles in length, and three in width ; it
has a territory covering about 8,300 acres, and has post-
offices at the three most thickly inhabited centres: Beverly,
Beverly Farms, and North Beverly.

The petitioners whom I represent to-day, residing in the
easterly part of the town, — their post-office about four and
one-half miles distant from the business centre of the town, —
pray for the incorporation of a new town, to be known as
Beverly Farms. One year ago to-day, it was my privilege
to address the committee on towns of the Massachusetts
Legislature, in behalf of the incorporation of the town of
Millis. At that time I dwelt at some length upon the
general subject, and especially the policy of Massachusetts
of incorporating new towns. But in view of the facts that
to-day there are in Massachusetts three hundred and twenty-
five towns and twenty-three cities ; that during the past
thirty-six years, thirty-nine towns have been incorporated
by the General Court; that the government of our large
municipalities is one of the most difficult problems of

the day ; that the New England township with its simple
form of government as found in Massachusetts is recognized
by the American statesman and the foreign student as the
vital and essential element of our American institutions,
and the bulwark of our liberties ; that from the one village
township of New England have gone forth the men who
have given character, vigor, and strength to the institutions
of our country, and in fact ruled the destinies of the nation, —
in view of these and a multitude of other facts, it seems to
me that it would be useless for me to discuss this subject at
greater length, and that every member of this Committee
must agree with me that the policy of Massachusetts has
been, and must be, to incorporate a new town whenever and
wherever exist the elements necessary for the incorporation
and maintenance of a town government. Furthermore, that
it is the duty of this Legislature, pursuing the course marked
out by its predecessors, to grant us what we ask provided we
can show that we possess sufficient area, population, and
valuation, that we possess sufficient ability to manage our
own affairs, and as a community are emphatically and un-
questionably desirous of so managing them, and further,
that no other town or interest will suffer from our incorpora-
tion. In fact, if we may judge anything from the past, it
will be the duty of this Legislature, acting in accordance
with well-established principles, to incorporate the town of
Beverly Farms if we can show that the advantage to be
derived by the petitioners is considerable as compared with
any disadvantages which may, or will, accrue to anj'' body of
remonstrants, or when in fact the advantage shall counter-
balance the disadvantage.

I hasten to say that if permitted to become a new town
we shall have a territory comprising 3,144 acres, leaving over
five thousand acres to the mother-town, that with such a
territory we should have a larger acreage than the towns
of Marblehead, Arlington, Belmont, Maynard, Melrose, and
Hyde Park, and larger than the cities of Maiden, Somerville,
and Chelsea. Should the portion of Wenham be annexed
as proposed we should add about 400 hundred acres, and

then have a larger territory than the cities of Lawrence or

The two villages are separated by a tract of wood and
marsh land, which in no probability will be settled for years
to come, and toward which neither settlement is reaching out.
While in " ye olden time " there may have been, and prob-
ably was, a certain community of interest between the two
villages, by reason of the fact that nearly all the people in
the town engaged in fishing during the summer months and
in hand shoemaking during the winter season — to-day
there is a marked diversity of interests. The fisheries have
practically died out. The industries of Beverly proper are
almost wholly confined to the manufacture of shoes by
machinery, and the people of Beverly Farms are engaged in
farming, rural occupations, and as mechanics. To illustrate :
in 1845, the earliest date from which I could gather any
statistics, — and these statistics are taken from the United
States census, by the way, — there were employed in the
manufacture of boots and shoes, and of course at that time
at hand work, 736 individuals, and the yearly value of the
product was 1110,885. There were forty-six vessels engaged
in mackerel and cod fishing and the capital invested was
$100,000. In 1880 we find no statistics whatever about
fisheries, and from information I have received I am told
that the few statistics that were gathered were grouped with
those of Salem. Practically there are no fisheries to-day.

The value of the product of boots and shoes was $2,483,-
831, and the number employed was 1,320. This industry, of
course, is almost wholl}^ confined to Beverly town.

Since 1870, and perhaps in fact from 1860, there has been
a marked growth in the population, in the valuation, and in the
prosperity of both places. For instance, in 1875 the United
States census shows there were 7,271 people in the town of
Beverly. In 1880 that number had increased to 8,456, and
in 1885 to 9,186. The valuation of the whole town of
Beverly in 1870 was $5,663,050. In 1885 the valuation,
as taken from the town books and from the tax commis-
sioner's report, is 810,633,425. Thus you see it has nearly

doubled within the brief period of fifteen years. The valu-
ation of the Farms in 1870 was $817,425. In 1885 the valu-
ation as we present it, and as we believe to be correct,
having made it up from the assessors' books, is 14,029,890.
Those figures, it seems to me, Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,
speak for themselves, and it is not necessary for me to dwell
further upon them.

A word as to population. If incorporated we shall have a
population of 1,312, we shall have 203 voters, and about 350
polls, 255 dwellings, 179 barns and stables, 307 horses and
cattle, a church, schoolhouse, library, public hall, engine-
house and equipment, grocery, provision, apothecary, and
millinery stores, together with all the mechanics necessary
to supply the wants of the people. And I ask you to look
about me to see whether or not we have a sufficient number
of men able and competent to manage town affairs. I un-
dertake to say they are representative of a New England
community and town. Under that statement we shall have
a larger valuation than 299 towns in the Commonwealth, a
larger population than 124 towns, and a larger number of
polls than 122, — a very respectable showing, I submit. At
the same time the town of Beverly remaining will have 8
schoolhouses, 5 hose-houses, 3 hose-carriages, 2 hand-engines,
2 steam-engines, 2 engine-houses, a town hall, a poor farm,
common, and a cemetery. At the Farms, I believe we have
stated, we shall have a schoolhouse, hose-house, hose-carriage,
hand-engine, and cemetery. The old town will have a full
complement of churches. It is not my privilege to know
just what they are, but I believe I am stating the facts
when I say they will have a full complement of churches,
representing almost every denomination. Among Massachu-
setts towns, after we are set off, Beverly will then stand nine-
teenth in population, ninth in valuation, and seventeenth in
number of polls. With such possessions and under such cir-
cumstances does it not seem reasonable that she can manage
her own affairs without the assistance of a little village four
and one-half miles distant ?

Just a word about the unanimity of feeling among the

petitioners. We have 203 voters. Out of that 203 voters
all but seven or eight have signed. We have presented
petitions up to the present time containing two hundred
and eight signatures, and I will say that we have made no
endeavor to get the signatures of poll tax-payers, thus hoping
to show that it was the sentiment and desire of the voters and
tax-payers residing in this section that a new town should
be incorporated. I venture to sa}'' that such a degree of
unanimity of feeling will not be displayed by any body of
petitioners which will come before you or has ever come
before the Massachusetts Legislature praying for the incor-
poration of a town. It is almost necessary that some one
will hesitate to sign a petition for reasons best known to
himself. And I venture to say from my observation and
personal acquaintance with the people that this is an active,
energetic feeling especially on the part of the residents, that
they desire it and are practically unanimous in their desire.

Just a few words as to the reasons for our feeling that we
can manage our affairs better than under the present town
government. One is the fact of our distance from Beverly, —
about four and a half miles in round numbers. I believe the
Essex County atlas gives it 4.6 miles, but the commonly
known distance is four and a half miles from the Bevsrly
Farms station and post-office to Beverly where the town
house and post-office are. That distance is a very serious
inconvenience to our people, especially in the matter of
attending town meetings. I should say that during the last
year, if my recollection proves right, there have been seven
town meetings held in the evening. The annual town meet-
ing in March was held on two days successively, thus mak-
ing with the regular election day in November, ten meetings
which they ought to attend. This practice of holding town
meetings in the evening we shall hope to show you has been
increasing. Of course it represents the wish of a majority
of the voters of the whole town of Beverly. In view of
their employment the meetings are now uniformly held in
the evening with the exception of the meetings in March
and the annual election day in November. The consequence


is that to attend town meetings the people from Beverly
Farms must leave their work at three or half-past three in
the afternoon in order to prepare themselves to take a train
at half-past five. It necessitates much delay of course
on their part in waiting for the meeting to begin, and often-
times it requires a delay in the evening after the town meet-
ing, or on the other hand they have to leave before all the
business is transacted. The railway, by the way, is practi-
cally the only means of communication between the villages.
Of course it is unnecessary to say that we can go by road,
but the large majority do not have horses and carriages so
that they can go, and there is no public conveyance. ■ This
inconvenience in attending town meetings, coupled with the
fact that as a community they cannot exert that influence
which they think they ought to exert, has produced a feel-
ing that they are practically disfranchised and cannot
exercise their rights of suffrage as they desire. The result
is, comparatively speaking, a non-attendance of Beverly
Farms people at town meetings. Of course I understand
it may be said that it is their own fault, but the fact never-
theless remains. The necessary consequences are following:
no interest in town affairs and a feeling of indifference and
despair. Few young men are growing up eager to attend
town meetings or taking any interest in public affairs, and
the feeling is becoming dominant there that unless a town is
incorporated it will be to the serious detriment and a check
to the healthy growth of Beverly Farms.

Another inconvenience arises in the use of the library,
which naturally is located in the town of Beverly, and so far
as I know a ver}'' fine library of about ten thousand volumes.
By reason of this inconvenience of travel, no books, com-
paratively speaking, are taken from the library by Beverly
Farms people. Of course you can readily see that they have
been taxed to support that library, and are deriving no
benefit from it. Then in regard to the High School, to
which now but seven children are sent from the Farms, and
which of course is located in the town proper.

The long distance to travel, and the fatigue occasioned

thereby ; the hours the children are necessarily from home ;
the anxiety occasioned to the parents by reason of the
dangers arising from railroad travel, and the associations
oftentimes immoral ; the expense, and the inconvenience of
meals, all tend to discourage the attendance of scholars from
the Farms. The feeling is general that less than one third
the number now attend that would attend a High School
located in their midst, and in the event of a new town being
incorporated, there certainly is a disposition manifested to
maintain a school of equally as high a grade.

In connection with this growth of Beverly, there is a feel-
ing on the part of the Beverly Farms people, which they feel
they are warranted in holding by reason of constant expres-
sions at town meetings and through the press, that there is a
desire on the part of the Beverly townspeople to be incor-
porated as a city at the earliest possible moment. In that
event they feel that they would be merely an outlying ward
of a small city, and have less influence than they now have,
and in their opinion it would be greatly to their disadvan-
tage. Of course with the incorporation of a city govern-
mnt come those necessary expenses which I hardly need
allude to, and which every one can understand, for instance,
sewers, paving, police, and many other things for which the
Beverly Farms people would have to pay, and which would
be of small interest or value to them.

Just a word as to Wenham. I represent the petitioners
from Wenham. They appear here unanimously desiring to
be incorporated as a part of Beverly Farms. The town of
Wenham itself was incorporated in 1643.

That part represented on the map was annexed to Wenham
from Beverly, both Beverly and Wenham having been origi-
nally set off from Salem, and by reason of some agreement
made between Salem and Wenham, that part of Wenham
was taken from Beverly where it naturally belongs, and
annexed to Wenham. Those people have their social rela-
tions at Beverly Farms. They take the cars, and get their
mail at Beverly Farms. They have no communication, by
the way, with the old town of Wenham, four and one-half


miles distant, except by carriage. They attend church at
Beverly Farms, and they have no occasion to go to Wenham
except for the purpose of attending town meetings. So far
as was known at the time of the presentation of this petition
there was no opposition on the part of the Wenham people.
I was given to understand, if it is proper for me to allude to
it, that there would be no opposition here to-day. It would
be a source of advantage to the people of Beverly Farms who
reside near the Wenham line, to have that portion annexed
to their territory, in view of the fact that there is a school-
house just over the Wenham line, and they could send their
children there instead of about a mile and a half to Beverly
Farms. It would also be a convenience to those people re-
siding in the northerly part of the Farms district, to send
their children to this school, rather than to Beverly Farms
or to Centreville.

A friend suggests to me a point that perhaps I had better
speak of in my opening, although we shall try to introduce
evidence to bring it out, namely, that Beverly Farms is so
essentially a distinct community from Beverly, that the trade
which goes from Beverly Farms generally goes beyond the
limits of the present town of Beverly to Salem or Boston,
and of the tickets sold, three-fourths are for Salem.

While we by no means feel that we have no grievances
against the old town and while we do feel that there has
been an extravagant expenditure of public money which we
have been powerless to prevent, and which we must share in
paying, yet for the purposes of this hearing we rest our case
upon its merits wholly. We appear before you as a very
small minority asking to be relieved from our present bonds,
perfectly willing to assume every burden you in your wis-
dom think best to impose upon us. Expressly stating our
willingness to assume not only our share of the debt of the
town of Beverly, but more than our share if you deem it
proper, and in fact all that we believe our friends on the
other side even will say in justice and equity we ought to





Mr. Williams. How long have you lived in Beverly Farms,
so called ?

Mr. Larcom. The biggest part of the time for seventy-one
years last October.

Q. What is your business? A. My business has been years
ago to the banks of St. Lawrence ; shoemaking in the winter time.
Since then I have been engaged in a little agriculture, raising
small fruit, — strawberries, currants, etc.

Q. You are familiar with the whole territory of Beverly? A.
I have been over it a great many times.

Q. How far is Beverly Farms from Beverly ? A. They call it
generally four miles and a half.

Q. And what is the nature of the land between the village of
Beverly Farms and Beverly ? A. On the line that you have drawn ?

Q. I spoke particularly of the land. A. Between the two?

Q. Yes, sir. A. Between the two places it is rocky. It is
hills and valleys.

Q. Is there any woodland? A. There is quite a large strip of
woodland right between the two.

Q. Whether or not the tendency of building at Beverly Farms
or at Beverly is toward that section ? A. Not at all.

Q. From it, rather than toward it? A. From it on the two

Q. Whether it constitutes a sort of natural boundary or barrier,
between the two places ? A. 1 think it does ?

Q. You are one of the petitioners, by the way? A. Yes, sir..

Q. Do 3'ou know nearly all the petitioners ? A. I think I do.

Q. Whether or not this feeling as represented by the petition is
practically unanimous? A. I think it is.

Mr. MouLTON. These questions are somewhat leading. I do
not know with what strictness the rules of evidence are to be


Mr. Williams. Of course, I realize that fact ; ])ut I thought
for the purpose of expediting the hearing I might put my questions
in that form. I have no desire to take any advantage whatever.

Mr. MouLTON. I do not desire to raise any objection.

Mr. Williams. What is the business of the people of Beverly
Farms ?

Mr. Larcom. Agriculture and different pursuits.

Q. Are there any manufacturing establishments? A. Not
much of any.

Q. How is it in the old town of Beverly ? A. It is pretty well
represented by manufacturing concerns.

Q. What business particularly is dominant there? A. The
shoe business.

Q. The manufacture of shoes by machinery ? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Whether or not the two communities have anything in com-
mon? A. Not much.

Q. What, if anything? A. I do not know anything without it
is old associations.

Q. Whether or not in olden times there was this same marked
diversity of interests that now predominates ? A. Not so much.

Q. What was that due to? A. 1 suppose it was due to giving
up the fishing business, — chiefly giving up the fishing business.

Q. How was it in olden times? Were nearly all people in
Beverly engaged in fishing, in nearly all parts of the town ? A.
The vessels went out from all the people.

Q. Now, will you kindly state, in order to expedite matters,
what advantages you think will be derived from the incorporation
of this town? xL Well, the advantages derived are just what
you have been representing. We were once a part of Salem, —
even Beverly and Wenham, too, — and it is the law of nature,
when we get too full, to divide. Our interests are all down there ;
it is a great inconvenience for us to attend the business in Beverly.
We have no particular grievances to make. They have treated us
well ; treated us as gentlemen. And all the people go there. I
have no reason to find fault ; it cannot be otherwise. But if we
are a town by ourselves the officers will be more in the town. We
shall always expect it. But I think we have become too large and
ought to set up housekeeping for ourselves.

Q. Do you think you are competent to manage your own affairs ?
A. I do not know whv not.


Q. What leads you to think you are ?

The Chairman. They are average New England people, are u't

Mr. Larcom. Yes, sir.

Mr. Williams. The point is very well made. It is unnecessary
for the witness to answer. I will merely address that same

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Online LibraryMassachusetts. Joint Standing Committee on TownsArguments of Fred H. Williams, and testimony of petitioners and remonstrants presented before the Committee on Towns of the Massachusetts Legislature, relative to the incorporation of the town of Beverly Farms, Jan. 20 to Feb. 8, 1886. For petitioners, Fred H. Williams. For remonstrants, H.P. Moul → online text (page 1 of 19)