Oliver N Bacon.

A history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) online

. (page 12 of 22)
Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 22)
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This is the first insignia of American independence used in the
estimates of the annual town expenses. There had been, previous
to the introduction of the continental bills, but one other consid-
erable change in the currency of Massachusetts. The English
money was in common circulation from the first settlement of the
country, except, during a period of forty-eight years, from 1702 to
1750, when a paper currency was introduced into New England
by the Colonial Government, bearing on the face of the bills the
promise of future redemption, which promises were met, like those
of the Continental Congress, only with new emissions.

The money which is now known as " old tenor" sunk in valfte so
as to compare with corn, which was distinguished as lawful money in
Massachusetts, Ih to 1 ; in some other parts of New England
even lower. The " old tenor " currency was a monetary invention
to meet the expenses of the French war, and in 1750 Parliament
reimbursed Massachusetts for her exertions during that war by send-
ing over a large sura of money, all in silver. With this specie Gov.


Hutchinson proposed to redeem the bills of credit, which was done,
and" old tenor" bills became an illegal tender and deceptive cur-
rency. It was subse«juently enacted, " That no person should com-
mence a suit at law, or be eligible to any office of honor or profit,
without taking an oath that he had taken no paper money since


The amount of general intelligence and literary cultivation in this
town is somewhat remarkable. Proof is abundant that in all periods
of its history the inhabitants have properly estimated the importance
of providing for the education of all classes of its citizens. Many
of the men who were inhabitants of Natick during the last half of
the last century, were not only possessed of strong common sense,
but of a good degree of education, as is apparent from the resolu-
tions passed at their meetings, in the bold, neat specimens of chirog-
raphy exhibited in the handwriting of each successive town clerk,
and by the enthusiasm ever exhibited in those town meetings in
which any subject relating either to their schools or their minister
was introduced.

We can enumerate among the natives of the town, eight clergy-
men, one professor of a college, three lawyers, and twenty-nine
teachers of academies of common schools.

From 1797 to 1819, $600 was appropriated yearly by the town
for schools ; in 1846-7, $900. In 1850 the town raised $1000.

In 1851 the town appropriated $1,500

" 1852 " " 1,600

" 1853 " " 1,500

" 1854 " " 2,600

" 1855 " « 3,600

Irf April, 1852, the town voted to establish a high school, and
appropriated $1000 for its support. This has for the three years
of its existence been under the charge of Abner Rice, A. M,, who
previous to his employment here was for seven years Principal of
the Warren Academy in Woburn. Grammar, Arithmetic, and the
History of the United States, are required to be studied. Candi-
dates for admission are required to pass a satisfactory examination in


reading, writing, spelling, geography, arithmetic through fractions,
and in the elements of English grammar. This school has t\o\y
become a part of the system of education provided for from the
treasury of the town, and it is considered as indispensable as any
other schools of a lower grade.

A reference to the last five reports of the Secretary of the Board
of Education will show Natick occupying a respectable position
among her sister towns of the State in her provisions for the educa-
tional interests of her citizens.

Previous to the year 1852 the town supported no incorporated
academy or high school. Since the fall of 1820 several terms of a
high school have been kept in town. John Angier established one
at that time ; Othniel Dinsmore succeeded him in the fall of 1821.
Charles Forbush taught a school of this kind during the first six
months of 1832 ; Rev. Daniel Wight several succeeding terms until
1837 ; Rev. Samuel Damon, now Seaman's Chaplain at Honolulu,
Sandwich Islands, the autumn of 1841 ; Charles Dickson the years
of 1837-38; and John W. Bacon, Esq., the fall of 1843.

Before 1834 the town was divided into five school districts. There
are now seven — No. 6 (Little South) having been created from No.
2 (Centre), and No. 7 (Felchville) from No. 4 (Walnut Hill).

The schools in District No. 2 are -divided into five difierent
departments of fifty pupils each, according to scholarship ; each
teacher, thus having a small number of classes under her charge, is
able to devote more time to each.

Of the money appropriated for schools in town $40 is given to
each district, and the remainder divided among the districts accord-
ing to the number of scholars.

A review of the grants of the town for schools indicates a deter-
mination on the part of the citizens to keep pace in their appropria-
tions with the increase of the population. There seems to be an
intelligent understanding of the wants of the schools. No private
prejudices, misrepresentation, or misapprehension, have as yet suc-
ceeded in breaking down or crippling these pillars of the Republic
in the town.

By the statute of the Commonwealth it is required of all instruc-
tors of youth, " that they exert their best endeavors to impress on
the minds of the children and youth, committed to their care and
instruction, the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard for


truth, love to their country, humanity and universal benevolence,
sobriety, industry, and frugality, charity, moderation, and temper-
ance, and those other virtues which are the ornament of human
society, and the basis upon Avhich a republican constitution is
founded." It is not too much to say of the teachers of this town,
that such generally have been their endeavors, and such the influ-
ence they have exerted.


The discovery of gold in California produced the same efiects here
as in other portions of the country. A larger proportion of young
men belonging to Natick left for this modern El Dorado than from
the surrounding towns.

Several vessels departed from Boston within a few months with
Natick young men for passengers. Crowds on these occasions
thronged the wharves, the light laugh and merry jest were heard
from the lookers-on, and among the adventurers were a few who
smiled a last farewell, and joined in the hearty shout that thrilled
like the peal of a trumpet as the vessels were parted from their
fastenings. But there were other and sadder scenes ; gentleness and
love had their home in some of those daring hearts, and many a
voice trembled with emotion, and eye filled with tears as a fair white
hand was clasped for the last time, or a sacred kiss was impressed
upon cheeks that paled at the thoughts and associations of that
tender, passionate, and yet sorrow-fraught moment. The mother
parted from her son, the husband from his wife, the lover from his
betrothed. We will not attempt to describe the scenes ; suffice it to
say that most have returned, and the enterprise has been the means
of placing in the hands of a large number the means of doing busi-
ness, and added to the taxable property of the town.

The first vessel in which young men from Natick sailed was the
ship Argonaut. It left Boston Oct. 30th, 1849, and carried the
following persons, belonging to Natick, as passengers :

Thomas H. Brigham, Taylor Clough, C. C. Perry, David Clough,
A. T. Sloper, Wm. Knowlton, Alonzo Gould, Richard Jenniss, A.
Moody, S. B. Hayes, Simon Mulligan.

In November of 1849 the Reindeer sailed and carried W. W.
Hardy, George Stone, Samuel Whiting, Thomas Whiting, G. W.
Peirce, W. C Childs, C. A. Davis, Genro;e Travis.


Official History. Town Officees. List op Selectmex. Town Clerks.
Representatives. Attorneys at Law. Physicians.

In 1782, the town was incorporated, with all the privileges and
immunities of surrounding towns. The municipal organization of
towns at that period was nearly the same as at present. The town
clerk, in addition to his other duties, was authorized to issue summons
and those writs of attachments which are now within the jurisdiction
of Justices of the Peace. " Commissioners for the ending of small
matters " were chosen, whose office was similar to that of Justices
of the Peace. From five to seven men Avere chosen each year, and
styled Town Committee. It was their duty to manage all the pru-
dential concerns of the town. This committee answers to our present

The office of constable was one of the most important in town.
They were paid for their services by a salary from the town, and
acted as collectors of the taxes. We find the names of David Morse,
William Coolidge, Oliver Bacon, Abijah Stratton, Thomas Ellis, at
different times among the constables chosen by the town.

Tithing-men, an office now extinct, were each year chosen by the
town till 1835.

It was a prevailing custom in town to choose those men who the
preceding year had been married, to the office of " hog reeves,"
which has been their designation since 1745. Clerks of the market,
an office not now known, and the duties of which in a town of only
one thousand inhabitants it is difficult to conjecture, were chosen until
about 1800. Deer reeves and fish officers, the duties of which
are indicated by their names, were chosen until 1786. A school
committee was first chosen in 1797. It consisted of Lieut. David
Morse, John Sawin, Jr., Capt. Asa Drury, and John Felch.

A list of persons serving as selectmen from the year 1745 to the
present time, with the n^mes of those who have represented the
town in the Legislature, its town clerks, and deputies, will be here
inserted for the inspection of the curious in these matters.



Eben Felch,
Edward Ward, ,
John Goodnow,
Timothy Bacon,
John CooUdge,
Jonathan Carver,
Thomas EUis,
Robert Jennison,
John Winn,
Moses Fisk,
Joseph Mills,
Stephen Bacon,
Samuel Perry,
Jonathan Richardson,
Pelatiah Morse,
Isaac Goodnow,
Samuel Morse,
Isaac Underwood,
Mark Whitney,
Ephraim Jennings,
Micah Whitney,
John Felch,
William Boden,
Thomas Sawin,
James Mann,
Oliver Bacon,
Henry Lokcr,
Elijah Bacon,
Abel Perry,
Joshua Twitchell,
Jonathan Russell,
Daniel Whitney,
Richard Rice,
Timothy Morse,
Thomas Broad,
Isaac Morrill,
Abel Perry,
Elijah Esty,
Hezekiah Broad,

David Morse,

Samuel Perry, Jr.,

Daniel Travis,

John Atkins,

Luther Broad,

George Whitney,

Nathan Haynes,

Abel Drury,

John Bacon, Jr.,

Elijah Pei'ry,

Calvin Leland,

Moses Sawin,

Edward Hammond,

Dr. Alexander Thayer, /

Ebenezer Whitney,

William Coolidge, .

Calvin Shepherd,

John Travis,

John Bacon, 2d,

Abraham Bigelow,

William Farris, Esq.,

Samuel Fiske, Esq.,

Dexter Drury,

Chester Adams,

Dr. Stephen H. Spaulding,

John Bacon, 3d,

Phares Sawin,

Ephraim Jennings,

Amory Morse,

Leonard Perry,

William Stone,

Amasa Morse,

Willard Drury,

Charles Bigelow,

Isaac Jennison,

Alexander Cooledge,

Elijah Perry, Jr.,

Steadman Hartweli,

John Kimball.



Joshua Fisk,
Abijah Stratton,
Ephraim Dana,
Timothy Morse,
Asa Drury,
William Bigelow,
Samuel Morse,
Samuel Perry,
Eliakim Morrill,
Nathan Stone,
Thomas Sawin,
Aaron Smith;
William Goodnow,
David Bacon,
John Mann,
Abel Perry, Jr.,
William Farriss,
Jonathan Rice,
Asa Drury,
Moses risk,

Eben Felch,
Pelatiah Morse,
Stephen Bacon,
Thomas Sawin,
Micah Whitney,
Elijah Goodnow,
Hezekiah Broad,
Daniel Morse,
Elijah Bacon,
Abijah Stratton,

William Richards,
Jonathan B. Mann,
Thomas F. Hammond,
Oliver Bacon,
Ephraim Brigham,
A. W. Sanford,
Asher Parlin,
John J. Perry,
Nathan Rice,
I. D. Morse,
Isaac Felch,
Edward Walcott, Esq.,
EHsha P. Hollis,
Benj. F. Ham, Esq.,
William B. Parmenter,
Dexter Washburn,
Lewis Beal,
Nathan Reed,
Sherondon B. Hayes.


Thomas Sawin, Jr.,
Lemuel Morse,
WiUiam Goodnow, Esq.,
Jonathan Bacon,
Samuel Fisk, Esq.,
William Farriss, Esq.,
Dea. Oliver Bacon,
Chester Adams, Esq.,
Amasa Morse,
Benjamin F. Ham, Esq.

Hezekiah Broad was the deputy of the town to the convention for
adopting the Constitution of the United States ; Jonathan Bacon,
to the Convention for revising the Constitution of Massachusetts in

The following is a list of persons who have represented the town
in the State legislature. The town for many years was not vcpre-


sented. The fine for not sending ^Ya3 one hundred dollars ; but it
was never prosecuted ; and, having its own representative to pay,
the town chose to incur the risk, and in dollars and cents was so
much the gainer.

It was a common custom for representatives chosen to '• treat "
all their fellow-citizens at the bar of the neighboring tavern. We
find it recorded that Chester Adams gave $25 one year to one of
the school districts upon condition of his being excused from this

Samuel Morse, Aarou Sanford,

Moses Fisk, Nathaniel Clark,

Abel Perry, Henry Wilson,

William Farriss, John Travis,

Chester Adams, John Kimball,

Steadman Hartwell, Nathaniel Smith.


But very few of this class of citizens have ever made Natick their
place of residence, the town clerks having done the greater part of
the business appropriately belonging to that profession. But it is
probable that gentlemen of the profession in neighboring towns have
not been losers by this fact just mentioned. It is usually attributed
to the peaceable disposition of the people, and a regard for their own

Ira Cleavland was the first of the profession who opened an office
in the place; but not obtaining sufficient encouragement, he soon
after removed to Dedham, where he has since been engaged in a
successful practice.

John W. Bacon entered the practice here in 1846. He was born
in Natick in the year 1818, July 12, graduated at Harvard College
in 1843. He received his legal education in the law school at Cam-
bridge, and in the office of Charles T. Russell, Esq., Boston. He
was admitted to the Bar in 1846, and has since been endeavoring to
persuade the citizens of Natick that the strict enforcement of law,
in most cases, is the best method of securing permanent peace and

Benjamin F. Ham has been in the practice in this place for the


last three years. He was boni at Farmington, County of Strafford,
and State of New Hampshire, July 2, 1823. He studied law with
John W. Bacon, Esq., was admitted to the Bar at the March term
of the Court of Common Pleas, holden at Concord, 1852.

Oliver N. Bacon has just opened an office here. He has been
engaged for several seasons as a teacher ; studied law a portion of
the term in the office of John W. Bacon, Esq., the remainder in
that of Lyman Mason, Esq., in Boston.


Previous to 1645 the healing art in town was in the hands of
Indian doctors and doctresses, of some of whom we have accounts.
One, Joshua Bran, was the most celebrated of whom we have any
notice. Traces of his residence, — an old well, and the remains of
a cellar, — were a few years since to be seen a few rods to the east
of the house of Mr. Oliver Bacon. His wife survived him many
years, and was generally employed as a nurse among the inhabitants
of the place.

Isaac Morrill, son of the Rev. Mr. Morrill, formerly minister of
Wilmington, Mass., came to the town in 1771. He died in Need-
ham about the year 1840.

Asa Adams came to Natick in 1782 and remained ten or twelve
years. He then removed to Wolf boro', where he died.

Alexander Thayer, a native of Milford, Mass., came to Natick to
reside in 1813. He passed two years of the collegiate course in
Harvard University. He afterwards attended medical lectures at
Dartmouth, and received the degree of M. D. He died in 1824.

John Angier, a native of Southboro', came to Natick in 1817,
and continued to practise until about 1830. He afterwards removed
to Framingham where he died.

Stephen H. Spaulding was engaged in the practice of medicine
here from 1823 to 1840.

John Hoyt, who is now the physician longest resident in the
place, was born 24th of July, 1817, in the town of Sandwich, County
of Carroll, State of New Hampsliire, received his medical education
in the medical school at Hanover, N. H., and in the offices of Drs.
Enos Hoyt and Dixe Crosby, of New Hampshire, removed to
Framingham in June, 1840, and to Natick in the following October,
where he has since resided.


Adirio B. Hall, born in Northtiekl, N. H., in 1819, studied with
Dr. Enos Hojt, of Sanbornton Bridge, N. H., and Dr. Otis Hoyt,
of Framingham, Mass. He opened an office in Kingston about the
year 1816, removed to Natick in 1849, -where he continued about
three and a half years. He has since visited Europe and is now
again in the practice in Boston.

Ira Russell Avas born in Rindge, N. H,, Nov. 9th, 1815, grad-
uated at Dartmouth College in the class of 1841, studied medicine
with Dr. Crosby, of Hanover, N.. H., and Alvah Godding, of
Winchendon, Mass., graduated in medicine at the University of
New York in March of 1844, and entered the practice the same
^ar in Winchendon, where he remained nine years. In 1853, by
an invitation from several of the citizens of the town, he was induced
to open an office in Natick, where he still is in practice.

George J. Townsend was a native of Roxbury, Mass., was born
in the year 1820, graduated at Harvard College in the class of
1842. His office is in the south part of the town.

Walcott C. Chandler, for several years a physician at South
Natick, was admitted a member of the Massachusetts Medical
Society in 1840, and died in 1848.

Moses P. Cleavland came to this place from New Hampshire in
1838, remained two years, and died in 1840. He was a son of Prof.
Cleavland, Me., and a graduate of Bowdoin College.

There was at one time in the west part of Natick a white native
of the name of John Badger, to whom the people decreed the title
of doctor, and often employed in their families and stables. His
wonderful cures were wrought solely by roots and herbs, which he
gathered himself. Very few of the natives of the town have earned
so widely an extended fame, his pretensions and cures being familiar
to people even in the neighboring States.


^ Biographical Notice or College Ghaduates and other Individuals


In the followijig notices, where no other name is mentioned, Har-
vard College is to be understood. It is quite possible that some
have escarped the search of the author, whose names are upon Col-
lege catalogues as belonging to Natick. If such should be the case,
he can only say that much labor and care have been expended by
him to make the list complete and accurate in all its particulars.

Oliver Peabody was graduated in 1745. He was a son of the
Natick minister of that name, and was settled in the ministry at

Nathaniel Battelle graduated in 1765. He inherited considerable
landed property, and devoted his attention chiefly to agriculture.
He died in 1816, in Maiden, Mass.

Ephraim Drury graduated in 1776. He commenced the study
of medicine, but died before completing his course.

William Bigelow graduated in 1794. He was well known in
college, and long afterwards, as Sawney Bigelow. He was born in
Weston, Mass., Sept. 22, 1773. When about one and a half years
old his father removed to Natick. He was employed as a classical
teacher in Salem, and as Master of the Boston Public Latin School.
He published books for pupils, and brief histories of Natick and
Sherborn, and was a liberal contributor to periodicals. His con-
versation and his verses were often very pleasant and humorous.
He retained his rhyming propensities and his humor as long as ho
lived. For several years before his death he was accustomed to
prepare a poem for each annual dinner of the Phi Beta Kappa
Society. On one occasion he produced great effect, when he was
(|uite aged, by solemnly beginning his poem with the words :

•'You'd scarce expect one of my age," &c.

He died Jan. 12, 1844, in Boston, of apoplexy, with which he was



seized on the 10th. His remains rest in Natick, to which he was
always attached with strong ties.

He left many warm friends who charitably overlooked his infirm-
ities and lamented the departure of one, who while correcting proof
sheets during the last years of his life, was often heard to say —
" I have tried hard to correct my own errors, but not always so
successfully as I can correct the errors of others." The famous
declamation of Charles Chatterbox, published in the school books
nearly half a century since, anonymously, was a production of his

The last words of Charles Chatterbox, Esq., were a poetical
effusion. It is entitled " A Will ; being the last words of .a worthy
and lamented member of the Laughing Club of Cambridge, who
departed college life June 24, 1794, being the date at which he
himself graduated."

"I, Charley Chatter, sound of mind,
To making fun am much inclined ;
So having cause to apprehend
* My college life is near an end.

All future quarrels to prevent,
I seal this will and testament.
My soul and body, -while together,
I send the storms of life to "weather.
To steer as. safely as they can.
To honor God and profit man.

Imjjrirnis, then, my bed and bedding,

Jly only chattels worth the sledding.

Consisting of a maple stead,

A counterpane and coverlet.

Two cases "odth the pillows in,

A blanket, cord, a winch and pin.

Two sheets, a feather-bed and hay-tick,

I order sledded up to Natick.

And that with care the sledder save them.

For those kind parents first who gave them.

Item. The Laughing Club so blest,
Who think this life what 'tis, a jest,
Collect its flowers from every spray,
And throw its goading thorns away, —
From whom to-mon-ow I dissever.
Take one sweet grin and leave forever —
My chest and all that in it is,
I give and I bequeathe them, viz :
Westminster Grammar, old and poor.
Another one compiled by Moore,


A bunch of paninulets, pro aud con,
The doctrine of salva-ti-on,
The college laws Tin freed fi-oni mmdiug,
A Hebrew Psalter stripped from binding.
A Hebrew Bible too lies nigh it,

Unsold because no one would buy it.

My manuscript in prose and verse,

They take for better or for worse ;

Their minds enlighten with the best,

And pipes and candles with the rest,

Provided that from them they cull

My college exercises dull,

On threadbare theme, with mind unwilling,

Strewed out thi-ough fear of fine or shilling,

To teachers paid to avert an evil.

Like Indian worslup to the devil.

Item. The government of college, —
Those liberal helliws of knowledge,
Who even in these degenerate days
Deserve the world's unceasing praise,
Who, friends of science and of men,

Stand forth Gomorrah's righteous ten, —

On them I naught but thanks bestow.

For like my cash, my credit 's low ;

So I can give nor clothes nor wines.

But bid them welcome to my fines.

Item, Two penknives with white handles,
A bunch of quills and pound of candles,
A lexicon compiled by Cole,
A pewter spoon and earthen bowl,
A hammer and two homespun towels,
For wliich I yearn with tender bowels.
Since I no longer can control them,
I give to those sly lads who stole them.

Myself on life's broad sea I throw.

Sail with its joy or stem its woe.

No other friend to take my part.

Than careless head and honest heart.

My purse is drained — my debts are paid —

My glass is run, my will is made.

To beauteous Cam I bid adieu.

And with the world begin anew."

The above, with other scraps of Mr. Bigelow's poetry, were handed
to the writer by a sister of his, and the poetical merit and sly humor
running through them must be the apology for inserting them here.
Other of his productions may be found in the Appendix.


Robert Petishal Farriss graduated in 1815, was at the time of
his death Attorney General for Miasouri, and partner in business
^vith Hon. Thomas H. Benton. He died in 1830.

John Angier, graduated in 1821, was first teacher of an academy
in Natick. He has since been engaged in the same occupation in
Medford, Mass.

Calvin E. Stowe was born in Natick, April 26th, 1892, where his
surviving parent still resides, and where he spent most of his youth-
ful days. He graduated at Bowdoin College, Me., in the class of

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Online LibraryOliver N BaconA history of Natick, from its first settlement in 1651 to the present time; with notices of the first white families, and also an account of the centennial celebration, Oct. 16, 1851, Rev. Mr. Hunt's address at the consecration of Dell Park cemetery, &c. .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 22)