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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

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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 13 of 22)
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1824, and in divinity at Audover Theological Seminary in that of
1828. In 1830 he was appointed Professor of Ancient Languages-
in Dartmouth College. In 1833 he was chosen Professor of Sacred
Literature in Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio. While connected
with Lane Seminary he visited Europe to purchase a library for the
institution, and on the eve of his departure was appointed by the
Legislature of Ohio to investigate and collect, during the progress
of his tour, information in relation to the various systems of public
instruction and education which had been adopted in the countries
of Europe, and to make a report upon them. The result of this
investigation Avas a report which has been considered one of the
most valuable educational documents ever published in the country.
In his tour he visited England, Scotland, France, Prussia, the differ-
ent States of Germany, had opportunities for seeing the celebrated
Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paris, Ber-
lin, Halle, Leipsic, and Heidelberg, and returned to this country
in 1838.

In 1850 he was chosen Divinity Professor in Bowdoin College,
and in 1852 Professor of Sacred Literature in Andover Theological
Seminary.

Professor Stowe has been twice married. Plis first wife was Eliza
Tyler, daughter of President Tyler, of East Windsor, Conn. ; his
last, Harriet Beecher, well known as the authoress of Uncle Tom's
Cabin.

In 1852 he again visited Europe in company with his wife on the
famous Uncle Tom tour, so much talked of at the time, and an
account of which may be found in Mrs. Stowe's " Sunny Memories."

The following is a list of Professor Stowe's publications :

1. "Translation of Jahn's History of the Hebrew Common-
wealth," 2. " Hebrew Poetry, Knowledge Important to the Study



HISTOliy OF NATICK. 141

of tlie Bible." 3. " Report on Elementary Public Instruction in
Europe," 4. " Several Articles in Biblical Repository and Bib-
liotheca Sacra."

Charles Angler, class of 1827, has been engaged most of the
time since as a teacher.

Joseph Angier, 1839. Graduated also in divinity at Cambridge,
and has since been settled in the ministry in Milton.

Daniel Wight, Jan., 1839. Mr. Wight is another of the sons of
Natick who have made themselves known to a greater extent than
the mass of citizens. His exertions to make himself useful, in all
situations, while in college, as a teacher, and now as a clergyman,
have endeared him to a large circle of friends. He prepared for
college mostly at Phillips Academy, Andover, graduated at Cam-
bridge and at the Theological Seminary in Andover.

He taiight an academy in Natiek the summer of 1836, spring of
1838, and fall of 1839. He still has pupils under his instruction
in their preparatory course for college.

He was appointed, about 1840, teacher in Phillips Academy, but
• declined the appointment.

After he graduated from the Theological Seminary he received a
call to settle in Phippsburg, Me., and also at Scituate, Mass., which
last was accepted. He was ordained pastor of the First Church, Sep-
tember 28, 1842, and has since been the minister of that congrega-
tion. He is the author of several controversial pamphlets relating
to the history of the first church in Scituate— a Church Manual —
a Biography of Rev. Thomas Clapp, and the designer of the engrav-
ing representing the " Progress of ' Bunyan's Pilgrim,' from the
city of Destruction to the Celestial city." This beautiful allegory, as
is well known, has been translated into nearly all the languages of
Christendom, and been perused with delight and fervor by all nations.
Art has lent her attractions in nearly all the forms of illustration, from
the rough ivood-cut, to the exquisite steel engraving. But not until the
middle of this centuryhas a comprehensive pictorial representation of
the work been attempted. To Mr. Wight belongs the novel idea of com-
bining the entire story, and transferring it to a single picture, pre-
senting at one view, the varied scenes through which Pilgrim passed
in his journey. For more extended notices of this work, we must
refer the reader to the Appendix.

Alexander W. Thaver, 1843, studied law at Cambridge, visited



142 IlISTOm' OF NATICK,

Germany in 1851-2, was employed as one of the editors of the New
York Tribune in 1853-4, and is now again in Europe.

John W. Bacon, 1843, studied law at Cambridge, and in the office
of Charles T. Russell, Boston ; is now an attorney at law, in
Natick.

Jonathan F. Moore graduated at Amherst College in 1840 ; has
been engaged since, for some time, as a teacher and editor. He
studied law in Hingham, Mass., and is now a member of the Suffolk
Bar.

Samuel S. Whitney, Joseph P. Leland, and Isaac Jennison,
each passed a portion of the college course, but the two latter were
prevented by death from finishing it ; the former studied medicine and
became eminent as a physician.

Amos Perry graduated in 1837, and has since been employed as
a teacher in Providence. ^

Joseph W. Wilson graduated at New Haven, in 1854. Pie is
now engaged as a teacher in that city.

There have been, and are, many individuals whose exemplary life
and private virtues render them worthy of notice in a history of the
town. But the memory of such not living is enshrined in a more se-
cure record. It is the legacy of their friends and acquaintance, and
to touch would be to soil it, while those still alive are daily writing
their own histories, and submitting them to the perusal of hundreds
whose eyes will never rest on these pages. The thoughts of many
will ever recur with pleasure, to the image that memory paints on the
mind, of the now absent forms of an Atkins, a Morse, a Walcott, and
a Leland. It has been the fortune of some citizens to occupy a more
conspicuous, though perhaps not a more useful, station than others.
No one can peruse the records of the town, for the thirty years
last past, without knowing that some careful hand has been busy for
many hours in arranging and neatly noting each act and appropria-
tion. No one will need be told that it is the hand of Hon. Chester
Adams, to whom they have so often given their willing suffrages for
every important office in town, and who still survives to cheer the
younger and more vigorous friends of order with his counsel and his
smile.

He was born in Bristol, Hartford County, Conn., in the year 1785 ;
removed to Dedham, Mass., in 1799, and resided in that town and
in Needham, until 1821. He was a minute-man during the war of




/9Z14^




HISTORY OF NATICK.



143



1812, and, being promoted from one military grade to another during
the continuance of the war, escaped being called into actual ser-
vice, the ofiScer below being taken each time.

In 1820 he resigned his commission as Colonel of the 1st Regi-
ment, 2d Brigade, and 1st Division of the Massachusetts Militia, and
was honorably discharged. In 1821 he removed to Natick, where
he has since resided.

In 1824 he was chosen town clerk and treasurer, and resigned the
office in 1828. In 1832 he was chosen again to the same office, and
re-chosen each succeeding year until 1853, when he resigned on ac-
count of ill health. During the twenty-seven years he has held this
office he has not been absent from one meeting of the town.

The records in his handwriting cover over more pages than any
four preceding clerks, and the town may safely challenge the pro-
duction^f books from any town or city, more accurately, legibly, or
neatly kept.

He was representative from Natick to the Legislature in 1833,
'34, '35, '37, '38, a member of the Senate in 1842 and 1849, and
postmaster at South Natick for seven years preceding the adminis-
tration of Van Buren, by whom he was removed. The sincerest re-
spect of all his fellow citizens, and the good wishes of all who have
ever known him, are his inheritance in his present retirement.

Among the individuals who have become extensively known, and
have made their mark upon the age, Henry Wilson will be classed by
the willing or the unwilling historian. Now holding a seat in the
Senate of the United States, which he has won by his own untiring
exertions, he may safely say to friend or foe, " not to know me ar-
imes yourself unknown." Few men in the country are better known
than General Wilson. His opinions are entirely democratic, and his
sympathies and interests altogether with " the people." This is,
undoubtedly, the great secret of his success. Not only this, but at
the beginning he belonged to that craft which of all others has fur-
nished most men to claim the notice of the historian's pen — he was a
shoemaker —

" The foremost still by day or night
Oa moated mound or heather,
Where'r the need of trampled right
Brought toiling men together.
Where the free burghers from the wall
Defied the mail-clad master —
Than theirs at freedom's clarion call
No oraftsmen rallied fa-'ter."




^cr'Z-^




^^



cn.^



HISTORY OF NATICK. 145

campaign of 1840, Mr. Wilson first became known as a political
man. His visit to the South had thoroughly imbued him with anti-
slavery principles and feelings.

In 1838 Wilson voted the Whig ticket. In 1839 he was nomi-
nated by that party for representative, but was defeated ; 1840
heralded far and wide the name of the " Natick Cobbler." During
that year he visited sixty towns of Massachusetts, and undoubtedly
contributed much to the Whig triumph which followed. This autumn
he was nominated representative, and elected. This year and the
following, he was active in the House, and took a leading part with
his political friends and brethren.

He was candidate for the Senate in 1842, but lost his election. In
1843, and again in 1841, he was chosen. In 1845 he was again a
member of the House from Natick. At this time Mr. Wilson began
seriously to suspect the sincerity of Whig resolutions on the subject
of slavery. Still cleaving to the Whig party, notwithstanding the
decided action of its leading men in favor of slavery, Mr. Wilson
made a speech, and introduced a resolution in the Legislature of
1845, which expressed the old Whig anti-slavery sentiment. Wilson
and Whittier were deputed to carry a petition to Washington, pro-
testing against the admission of Texas into the Union as a slave
State. Anti-slavery men of all parties joined in the movement which
resulted in this petition. On the death of John Q. Adams in 1848,
Mr. Wilson received several votes in the convention to nominate his
successor. Wilson was undoubtedly the author, in conjunction with
Judge Allen, of the measures which resulted in the defeat of the
Whig party in Massachusetts in 1850. They were chosen delegates
of the Whig party to the National Convention, and on the nomination
of General Taylor to the presidency, denounced the convention and
took their leave. From this movement grew the " Free Soil" party.

For two years preceding 1851, Mr. Wilson was the editor and
proprietor of the Boston Republican. In 1849 he was chosen to the
House from Natick, and was candidate of the Free Soil party for
speaker. In 1849 he was chosen chairman of the Free Soil State
Committee, and held the office for four years. In 1850 and '51
he was chosen to the Senate, and elected president of that body.

In 1851 General Wilson was chosen president of the Free Demo-
cratic National Convention convened at Pittsburg, and also chair-
man of the National Committee. In 1852 he was nominated as a
10



146 HISTORY OF.NATICK.

candidate to Congress, and at the second trial came within ninety-
two votes of an election. He was a leading member of the Con-
stitutional Convention, and president of that body during the illness
of Mr. Banks.

In the State Convention holden at Fitchburg, the 15th September,
1853, he was nominated for governor.

During the last session of the legislature he was elected to the
Senate of the United States. While he was a member of the legis-
lature his name is recorded on nearly every question taken, and
while in the Constitutional Convention, he was absent scarce an hour.

For evidence of the ability of GeneralWilson, as well as for speci-
mens of his style, both as a writer and debater, we must, for want of
space, refer the reader to his speeches in the Constitutional Conven-
tion, his letter to Dr. Bell, and to a short speech of his to be found
in another part of this volume.

The limits of this work forbid all attempts to trace the continuous
pedigree of the different families from their emigrant ancestors. In
the short notices we have given of individuals, we have endeavored
to state facts impartially and candidly. We have presented only
those names which we thought all would concur in thinking the
most prominent, and from situation and circumstances worthy of
beino- held^up to the rising generation as examples for imitation.
They are those who are the most distinguished, and have exerted
the greatest influence on the destinies of the town. The author has
been chary of encomiums on private individuals, lest their frequency
should prove them worthless. A glance, however, at the new streets
laid out, at others widened and straightened, at land reclaimed
from primeval swamps and converted into building lots, and at the
new buildings of various descriptions in different parts of the village,
will discover to the reader the impossibility of fairly representing the
town without mentioning the name of Edward Walcott, a native
of Pepperell, Mass., but for twenty-seven years a resident of Natick.
By his activity in business and his sagacity in forestalling the future
wants of citizens, he has not only acquired a fortune for himself,
but given a competency to many others.

Spring street, from Central to its junction with North, was laid
out" and built by him. All that part of the village which lies between
the railroads, may be said to have been created by him from the
swamps and woods which twenty-five years ago covered it. Many



V



HISTORY OF NATICK. 147

dwelling houses, beside the largest block of stores and offices in town,
have been erected by his agency.

Of Mr. Walcott it may be said with the strictest truth, that he is
a straight- forward, fearless supporter of whatever he considers
true and right — one who, without ever practising any of the arts
of a demagogue, or compromising his self-respect by standing for-
ward as a political gladiator, has, by his consistent acts in private
life and as a business man, by the evidence he has given of a far-
seeing policy, of indomitable energy, and firm integrity, secured the
respect and confidence of the community.

In the minds of many readers it will not be regarded as an objec-
tion, that My. Walcott is a consistent professor of the Christian
religion — being a member of the First Congregational Church in
the town ; and although no one suspects him of verging towards
bigotry or fanaticism, he has always taken a deep interest in all
matters which tend to elevate the religious or moral character of the
community. He is the father of the anti-slavery, as well as of the
manufacturing, interest in town. He has built and owned about
twenf^jiwelUng houses, and paid to workmen of various pursuits, for
la%«3f -performed, nearly a million of dollars. The first, and certain-
ly the most extensive shoe manufacturer in town, he has now retired
from active business, but his capital is still furnishing to others the
means of prosecuting various branches of trade. He now pays the
largest individual tax in town.

It would be pleasant and profitable, if it were possible, to record here
the names of Samuel Morse, John Atkins, Abel Perry, and Samuel
Fisk, with an account of the lives of each. No part of history is
read with greater interest than the biography of those with whom
we feel ties of afiinity, or familiar acquaintance ; and the gleaning
from decaying documents and fading traditions, the materials for
such a work, is not an ungrateful task.

The people of Natick may well be proud of many of the fathers
of the town. Nowhere can there be found nobler specimens of pa-
triotism, and every manly virtue. They ever manifested a spirit that
was ready to hazard everything for their children's prosperity, and
those children would prove but ungrateful recipients of their favors,
if they were unwilling to gather up and preserve the records of
them. The early settlers of Natick were, some of them, cotempo-
rary with the youngest of the Pilgrim Fathers ; others of them were



148 HISTORY OF NATICK.

their sons, and after emigrants from England. They possessed char-
acters that had been formed where the institutions of reUgion and
moral culture had long been established, and whether it may be
traced to this fact or not, the people of the town have in past years
been a law-abiding, church-going people. With the exception of
what is now the vice of intemperance, they were a virtuous people.
No native of the town ever served a term in a penitentiary. No
crime of any magnitude ever disgraced one of its permanent inhab-
itants. It is grateful to a writer to record these things. It should
be the anxious desire of all now on the stage of action, to preserve
the fair fame of the town untarnished. Let the characters of the
individuals who have been noticed in the past pages be studied with
care. They are men from the industrial and professional classes of
the community, and as such may be presented as examples to imi-
tate. Industry, energy, integrity, perseverance, have given them
the position they hold in their several callings. They have fought
the battle of life, without aid or even sympathy in the darkest hour
of trial, and the great lesson they teach is, that to the resolute will
nothing is impossible ; that straight-forward principle, patient ai'jf un-
tiring purpose, are certain of success in the end. '5*^



p^



CO



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CHAPTER Y.

Employment of the People. Agricultural Statistics. Trade and Man-
ufactures.

Most of the people of Natick, previous to 1835, Avere industrious
and frugal farmers. The introduction of manufacturing pursuits at
that time, and the rapid increase of a population of a diiferent pur-
suit in consequence, have altered the character of the town in this
respect, and given it that of a manufacturing place. Most of the
farms, however, are still in possession of their previous owners, or
their sons, and. their value is greatly enhanced by the markets the vil-
lages afford for their produce.

There are very few farms which do not exhibit evidence of their
being the property of intelligent and industrious men. A very few
farms in the centre of the town, have, in the growth of the village,
been converted into building lots, but the owners have thus gathered
a more valuable harvest than they could have reaped in any other way.
The village now covers the whole of the farm formerly the prop-
erty of Rev. Martin Moore, the greater part of that of Dr. John An-
gler, the whole of Ruel Morse's, Abel Perry's, and a portion of that
of Capt. David Bacon's.

On the whole, Natick may be considered as a good farming town.
Although small in extent, much of the soil is of the best quality, and
affords yearly rich returns for the labor bestowed on it. Of the
cereal grains, corn, rye, barley and oats, are cultivated. Wheat yields
but little, although it is yearly grown to some extent. Potatoes and
other esculent roots flourish well, and afford important articles of
subsistence to the inhabitants. Scientific farming is forcing upon
all the conviction, not only that this is the most profitable way of
managing lands, but that the occupation itself is one of the noblest
in the whole range of industrial pursuits.

The statistics of agricultural products for the year ending June,
1855, have been taken, and are as follows :



150



HISTORY OF NATICK.





Acres.


Bushels.


Value.


Potatoes,


136


12,375


$10,625.00


Corn,


271


8.491


8,491.00


Rye,


51


915


1,189.00


Oats,


56


1,34 i


1,008.00


Barley, ^
Other crops.


14^


268


268.00


2





31.00



ESCULENT VEGETABLES.





Acres.


Bushels.


Value.


Onions,


7


433


$217.00


Carrots,


3i


2,043^


689.00


Turnips,


2


295


118.00


Other crops,


61





4,878.00






Bushels.


Value.


White Beans,




253


$521.00


Cranberries,


FRUIT.


810


1620.00



Considerable attention has been paid to the cultivation of fruit.
Many fine orchards exist in different parts of the town, ■which are
yearly laden with the Porter, the Golden Russet, the Rhode Island
Greening, and the Pippin.

The Golden Pippin, so well known in market, and which stands
by the side of the Porter in the judgment of connoisseurs, is a native
of this town. The original tree was, a short time since, standing
near the house of Capt. Willard Drury.





Bushels.


Value.


Apples sold,





$2,830.00


Pears sold.





428.00


Peaches, cherries, and other fruit,


Tons.


410.00


English hay cut.


1312


$25,580.00


Meadow hay cut,


375


3,715.00



HISTORY OF NATICK. 131

Pounds. Value.

Butter made in town, 18,159 $4,539.00

Cheese, 165 62.00



Honey,



92 19.00



Number.


Value.


256


$28,167.00


90


5,878.00


316


9,975.00


168


1,507.00


2


18.00



Gallons.

Gallons of milk sold, 50,380 $7,035.00

Value and number of horses, &c., in town the year ending June
15, 1855 :

Horses,

Oxen and steers,

Cows and heifers,

Swine,

Sheep,

Such is the exhibition in figures of the results of farming for one
year to Natick. Manufactures undoubtedly, at this time, are the
greatest source of wealth to the town.

About the year 1830, several individuals engaged in making sale
shoes for the southern and western markets, since which time the
business has so increased, and so many improvements have been in-
troduced into it, that its history, from that period, may almost be
said to be a history of the town. One of the manufacturers has pre-
served specimens of the first shoes made in Natick. They are almost
as primitive in their construction, and as unlike the article now man-
ufactured, as were the sandals of the Jews. If there has been an
equal improvement in the classes at the South who wear them, the
efforts of philanthropists have not been in vain. The trade at that
time was principally a barter with Boston dealers. A few persons
manufactured as agents. All the shoes were transported to Boston
by teams, which were laden with leather in returning. All prepara-
tion of "stock," as it is called, was made without the use of
machinery. One person made the entire shoe, and when it was
returned to the manufacturer, it was ready for the market.

In this way, for several years, the business continued, more en-
gaged in it, improvements in the construction of shops were intro-
duced, benches and tools for workmen were constructed in better



152 HISTORY OF NATICK.

style and of better material. There came soon to be a division of
labor, accomplished workmen finishing the shoe, and the less expe
rienced making other parts of it.

The construction of the Boston and Worcester Railroad in 1835,
gave a new impulse to the business. Manufacturers being able to
transport leather and shoes at less expense, increased their business,
employed more hands, built larger manufactories, introduced ma-
chinery to aid in cutting the leather, and endeavored to reduce the
whole business to a system. Their business at this time, instead of
being confined to Boston, extends to all the principal cities of the
country. New Orleans and Charleston merchants visit the place for
the purpose of purchase, and buy also by orders.

The purchase of leather, selling of shoes, and preparation of them
for market, are now the work of the manufacturer. The cutting, lining,
and packing of the upper leather belong to another class of hands ;
of the sole-leather, to another ; pegging is done either by machinery
or boys, lasting and trimming by journeymen, binding and stitching
by girls or machinery, while polishing the tops and the soles furnishes
employments for two other sets of hands.

Making the boxes in which the shoes are packed is another branch
of the business, which affords employment for many hands.

It is estimated by those best qualified to know, that, for the last
twenty years, the average number of shoes made in Natick, yearly,
cannot be less than six hundred thousand, while for several years
during the latter part of that period, one million of pairs was man-
ufactured.

But four or five individuals can be enumerated who have ever


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 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 13 of 22)