Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

An historical sketch of Groton, Massachusetts. 1655-1890 online

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Isaiah Edes.
Isaiah Edes.
Isaiah Edes.

March 3, 1789, Isaiah Edes,
March 2, 179J, Isaiah Edes.
March 1, 1791, Isaiah Edes.
March 6, 1792, Isaiah Edes.
March 5, 1793, Isaiah Edes.
March 4, 1794, Isaiah Edes.
March 3, 1795, Isaiah Edes.
March 1, 1796, Joseph Shed.
March 7, 1797, Joseph Shed.
March 6, 1798, Joseph Shed.
Maich 5, 1799, Joseph Shed.
March 4, 1800, Joseph Shed.
March 3, 1801, Joseph Shed.
March 2, 18o2, Joseph Shed.
March 1, 1S03, Joseph Shed.
March 0, 1804, Solomon Tarbell.
March 5, 1805, Solomon Tarbell.
March 4, 1806, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March, 3, 1807, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March 1, 1808, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March 7, 1809, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March 6, 1810, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March 5, 1811, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March 3, 1812, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
March 2, 1813, Lieut. Sol. Tarbell.
April 4, 1814, Alpheus Kichardson.
March 7, 1815, Alpheus Richardson
March 5, 1816, Calvin Boyntou.
March 4, 1817, Calvin Boynton.
March 3, 1818, Calvin Boynton.
March 2, 1819, Calvin Boynton.
March 7, 1820, Calvin Boynton.
March 6, 1821, Calvin Boynton.
March 5, 1822, Calvin Boynton.
March 3, 1823, Calvin Boynton.
March 2, 1824, Calvin Boynton.
March 1, 1825, Calvin Boynton.
March 7, 1826, Calvin Boynton.
March 6, 1827, Calvin Boynton.
March 4, 1828, Calvin Boynton.
March 3, 1829, Calvin Boynton.



Date of Election.
March 2, 1830, Calvin Boynton.
March 1, 1831, Calvin Boynton.
March 6, 1832, John Peabody,
Marcli 5, 1833, John Peabody.
March 4, 1834, John Peabody.
3Iarch 3, 1835, John Peabody.
March 1, 1836, John Peabody.
March 6, 1837, John Peabody.
March 6, 1838, John Peabody,
March 5, 1839, John Peabody.
March 3, 1840, John Peabody.
March 2, 1841, John Peabody.
3Iarch 1, 1842, John Peabody.
March 7, 1843, John Peabody.
3Iarch 5, 1844, Daniel Shattuck.
March 4, 1845, Wm. Livermore, Jr
March 3, 1840, George Shattuck.
March 2, 1847, George Shattuck.
March G, 1848, George Shattuck.
March 6, 1849, Walter Shattuck.
March 5, 1850, Walter Shattuck.
March 4, 1851, Walter Shattuck.
March 2, 1852, Walter Shattuck.
March 1, 1853, Daniel Needham,
March 6, 1854, Daniel Needham.
March 5, 1855, Aldeu Warren.
March 3, 1856, Alden Warren.
March 2, 1857, Alden Warren.
31arch 1, 1858, Alden Warren.
March 7, 1859, Alden Warren.
March 5, 1860, Alden Warren.

Date of Election.
March 4, 1861, Alden Warren.
March 3, 1862, Alden Warren.
March 2, 1863, Alden Warren.
March 7, 1864, Alden Warren.
March h, 1865, Alden Warren.
March 5, 1866, Alden Warren.
March 4, 1867, Alden Warren.
March 2, 1868, Alden Warren,
March 1, 1869, Alden Warren.
March 7, 1870, Alden Warren,
March 6, 1871, Alden Warren.
March 4, 1872, Alden Warren,
March 3, 1873, Alden Warren.
March 2, 1874, Alden Warren,
March 1, 1875, Alden Warren,
March 6, 1876, Alden Warren.
March 5, 1877, Alden Warren.
March 4, 1878, Alden Warren.
March 3, 1879, George S. Gates.
March 1, 1880, George S. Gates.
March 7, ISSl, George S. Gates.
April 3, 1882, George S. Gates.
April 2, lS83,_George S. Gates.
April 7, 1884, George S. Gates.
April 6, 1885, George S. Gates.
April 5, 1886, George S. Gates.
April 4, 1887, George S. Gates.
April 2, 1888, George S. Gates.
April 1, 1889, George S. Gates.
April 7, 1890, George S. Gates.

The Old Stores axd the Post-Office of Gro-
TOX. — Tradition has preserved little or nothing in re-
gard to the earliest trading-stores of Grotou. It is
probable, however, that they were kept in dwell-
ing-houses by the occupants, who sold articles in
common use for the convenience of the neighbor-
hood, and at the same time pursued their regular



Jonas Cutler was keeping a shop on the site of M.
Gerrish's store before the Revolution, and the follow
ing notice, signed by him, appears in The Massachu

setts Gazette (Boston), November 28, 1768:

" Whereas on the 19th or 20th Night of November Instant the Shop
of the Subscriber was broke open in Groton,&M6. from thence was stollen
a large Sum of Cash, viz., four Half Johannes, two Guineas, two Half
Ditto, One Pistole mill'd, nine Crowns, a Considerable Number of Dol-
lars, with a considerable Quantity of small Silver & Copper, together
with one Bever Hat, about fifteen Yards of Holland, eleven Bandannas,
blue Ground with white, twelve red ditto with white. Part of a Piece
of Silk Romails, 1 Pair black Worsted Hose, 1 strip'd Cap, 8 or 10 black
barcelona Handkerchiefs, Part of a Piece of red silver'd Ribband, blue &
white do. Part of three Pieces of black Sattin Ribband, part of three
pieces of black Tafferty ditto, two bundles of Razors, Part of 2 Dozen
Penknives, Part of 2 Dozen ditto with Seals, Part of 1 Dozen Snuff
Boxes, Part of 3 Dozen Shoe Buckels, Part of several Groce of Buttons,
one Piece of gellow [yellow ?] Ribband, with sundry Articles not yet

known of Whoever will apprehend the said Thief or Thieves, so

that he or they may be brought to Justice, shall receive TEN DOL-
LARS Reward and all necessary Charges paid. Jonas Cutler.
" Grotoyi, Nov. 22, 17G3 [8].

" 4®^ If any of the above mentioned Articles are offered to Sail, it is
desired they may be stop'd with the Thief, and Notice given to said Cut-
ler or to the Printers.".

On October 21, 1773, a noted burglar was hanged
in Boston for various robberies committed in different
parts of the State, and covering a period of some
years. The unfortunate man was present at the de-
livery of a sermon by the Reverend Samuel Stillman,
preached at his own request, on the Sunday before
his execution ; and to many of the printed copies is
appended an account of his life. In it the poor
fellow states that he is only twenty-one years old, and
that he was born in Groton of a respectable family.

164 GEOTO>\

He confessed that he broke into Mr. Cutler's shop,
and took away " a good piece of broad-cloth, a quan-
tity of silk mitts and several pieces of silk handker-
chiefs." He was hardly seventeen years of age at the
time of this burglary. To the present generation it
would seem cruel and wicked to hang a misguided
youth for offences of this character.

Mr. Cutler died on December 19, 1782; and he was
succeeded in business by Major Thomas Gardner, who
erected the building formerly known as Gerrish'a
Block, which was moved away in the summer of 1885.
Major Gardner lived in the house now owned by the
Watters family.

Near the end of the last century a store, situated a
little north of the late Benjamin Perkins Dix's house,
was kept by James Brazer, which had an extensive
trade for twenty miles in different directioos. It was
here that the late Amos Lawrence served an ap-
prenticeship of seven years, which ended on April
22, 1807 ; and he often spoke of his success in busi-
ness as due, in part, to the experience in this store.
Late in life he wrote that "the knowledge of every-
day affairs which I acquired in my business ap-
prenticeship at Groton has been a source of pleasure
and profit even in my last ten years' discipline."

The quantity of New England rum and other
liquors sold at that period w^ould astonish the tem-
perance people of the present day. Social drinking
was then a common practice, and each forenoon some
stimulating beverage was served up to the customers
in order to keep their trade. There were five clerks
employed in the establishment ; and many years later

GROTON. . 165

Mr. Lawrence, in giving advice to a young student in
college, wrote :

" In*the first place, take this for your motto at the commencemeut of
your journey, that 'the difference of going just right, or a little wrong,
will be the difference of finding yours'elf in good quarters, or in a miser-
able bog or slough, at the end of it. Of the whole number educated in
the Groton stores for some years before and after myself, no one else, to
my knowledge escaped the bog or slough ; and my escape I trace to the
simple fact of having put a restraint upon my appetite. We five boys
were in the habit, every forenoon, of making a drink compounded of
rum, raisins, sugar, nutmeg, «&c., with biscuit, — all palatable to eat and
drink. After being in the store four weeks, I found myself admonished
by my appetite of the approach of the hour for indulgence. Thinking
the habit might make trouble if allowed to grow stronger, without fur-
ther apology to my seniors I declined partaking with them. My first
resolution was to abstain for a week, and, when the week was out, for a
month, and then for a year. Finally, I resolved to abstain for the rest
of my apprenticeship, which was for five years longer. During that
whole period, I never drank a spoonful though I mixed gallons daily for
my old master and his customers." i

The following advertisement is found in the Co-
lumbian Centinel (Boston), June 8, 1805 :

' ' James Brazer,
'VouLD inform the public that having dissolved the Copartnership lately
subsisting between AARON BROWN, Esq. SAMUEL HALE and the
Subscriber ; he has taken into Copartnership his son WILLIAM F.
BRAZER, and the business in future will be transacted under the firm

James Brazer & Son ;

They will offer for sale, at their store in Groton, within six days a com-
plete assortment of English, India, and W. India GOODS, which they
will sell for ready pay, at as low a rate as any store in the Country.

" James Brazer.
" Groton, May 29, 1805."

" Squire Brazer," as he was generally called, was a
man of wealth and position. He was one of the

1 Diary and Correspondence of Amos Lawrence, pages 24, 25.

166 . GROTOX.

founders of Groton Academy, and his subscription of
£15 to the building fund in the year 1792 was as large
as that given by any other person. In the early part
of this century he built the house now belonging to
the academy and situated just south of it, where he
lived until his death, which occurred on November
10, 1818. His widow, also, took a deep interest in
the institution, and at her decease, April 14, 1826, be-
queathed to it .nearly five thousand dollars.

After Mr. Brazer's death the store was moved across
the street, where, until the summer of 1885, it re-
mained, forming the wing of Gerrish's Block. The
post-office was in the north end of it during Mr.
Butler's term as postmaster. About this time the son,
William Farwell Brazer, built a store nearly opposite
to the Academy, which he kept duriug some years.
It was made finally into a dwelling-house, and occu-
pied by the late Jeremiah Kilbourn.

The brick store opposite to the High School was
built in the year 1835, by Henry Woods, for his own
place of business, and afterwards kept by him and
George S. Boutwell, the style of the firm being Woods
& Boutwell. Mr. Woods died on January 12, 1841,
and he was succeeded by his surviving partner, who
carried on the store for a long time, even while hold-
ing the highest executive position in the State. In
the spring of 1855, when he began to practice law.
Governor Boutwell sold out the business to Brigham
& Parker. The post-ofiice was in this building during
the years 1839 and 1840 and until April, 1841. For
the past thirty years it has been occupied by various
firms, but is now kept by John H. Sheedy & Com-

GROTON. • 167

Duriag the last war with England, Eliphalet
Wheeler had a store where Miss Betsey Capell and
her sisters, Sarah and Catherine, in more modern
times, kept a haberdasher's shop. It is situated op-
posite to the Common, and is now used as a dwell-
ing-house. They were daughters of John Capell,
who owned the saw-mill and grist-mill, which
formerly stood on the present site of the Tileston and
Hollings worth paper-mills, on the Great Road, north-
west of the village. Afterward Wheeler and his
brother, Abner, took Major Thomas Gardner's store,
where he was followed by William F. Brazer, Park &
Woods, Park & Potter, Potter & Gerrish and lastly
by Charles Gerrish, who kept it for more than thirty
years. It was given up as a store in July, 1884, and
has since been moved away and made into a tene-

Near the beginning of the present century there
were three military companies in town : the Artillery
Company, commanded at one time by Captain Jantes
Lewis ; the North Company, by Captain Jonas Gil-
son, and the South Company, by Captain Abel Tar-
bell. Two of these officers were soon promoted in
the regimental service ; Captain Tarbell to a col-
onelcy, and Captain Lewis to a majorate. Captain
Gilson resigned and was succeeded by Captain Noah
Shattuck. They had their spring and fall training-
days, when they drilled as a battalion on the Com-
mon, — there were no trees there then, — and marched
through the village. They formed a very respectable
command, and sometimes would be drawn up before
Squire Brazer's store, and at other times before Major


Gardner's, to be treated with toddy, which was then
considered a harmless krink.

David Child had a store, about the beginning of
the century, at the south corner of Main and Pleas-
ant Streets, nearly opposite to the site of the Orthodox
meeting-house, though Pleasant Street was not then
laid out. It was subsequently occupied by Deacon
Jonathan Stow Adams, then by Artemas Wood, and
lastly by Milo Henry Shattuck. This was moved off
nearly twenty years ago, and a spacious building put
up a few rods north, on the old tavern site across the
way, by Mr. Shattuck, who still carries on a large

Alpheus Richardson kept a book-store, about the
year 1815, in his dwelling, at the south corner of Main
and Elm Streets, besides having a book-bindery in
the same building. Soon afterward an L was added
to the house, and for a short time he carried on a
country variety store in connection with his other
business. The book-store and binder's shop were
continued until about 1850. It is said that this house
was built originally by Colonel James Prescott, for
the use of his son, Abijah, as a store; but it never
was so occupied by him.

Joseph and Phineas Hemenway, uncles of the late
Augustus Hemenw-ay, of Boston, built a store on the
north corner of Main and Elm Streets, about the
year 1815, where they carried on a trading business.
They were succeeded by one Richardson, then by
David Childs ; and finally by John Hamilton Spalter,
who had for many years a book-store and binder's
shop in the building, which is now used as a dwell-


ing-house. At the present time Mr. Spalter is living
in Keene, New Hampshire.

About the year 1826, General Thomas Adams
Staples built and kept a store on Main Street, di-
rectly north of the Orthodox meeting-house. He was
followed successively by Benjamin Franklin Law-
rence, Henry Hill and Walter Shattuck. At one
time the style of the firm was Shattuck, Brown &
Company. The building was burned down very early
on Tuesday morning, November 17, 1874, and its
site is now occupied by Dr. David Roscoe Steere's

In November, 1844, a large building was moved
from Hollis Street to the corner of Main and Court
Streets. It was put up originally as a meeting-house
for the Second Adventists or Millerites, as they were
called in this neighborhood, after William Miller,
one of the founders of the sect; and during the fol-
lowing winter and spring it was fitted up in a com-
modious manner, with shops in the basement and a
spacious hall in the second story. The building was
known as Liberty Hall, and formed a conspicuous
htructure in the village. It was first occupied by
tenants in July, 1845. The post-office was kept there
while Mr. Lothrop and Mr. Andruss were the post-
masters. It was used as a shoe-store, a grocery and a
bakery, when, on Sunday, March 31, 1878, it was
burned to the ground.

The brick store, owned by the Dix family, was
built and kept by Aaron Brown, near the beginning
of the century. He was followed by Moses Carleton,
and after him came and Merriam, and then


Benjamin P. Dix. It is situated at tlie corner of
Main Street and Broad Meadow Eoad, and is now
used as a dwelling-house. A very good engraving of
this building is given in The Groton Herald, May 8,
1830, which is regarded by persons who remember it
at that time as a faithful representation, though it
has since undergone some changes.

Near the end of the last century Major William
Swan traded in the house now" occupied by Charles
Woolley, Jr., north of the Common, near the old
burying-ground. It was Major Swan who set out the
elms in front of this house, w^hich w^as the Rev. Dr.
Chaplin's dwelling for many years.

At the beginning of this century two daughters of
Isaac Bowers, a son of Landlord Bowers, had a dry-
goods shop in the house owned and occupied by the
late Samuel William Eowe, Esq. About the year
1825 Walter Shattuck opened a store in the building
originally intended for the Presbyterian Church, op-
posite to the present entrance of the Groton Ceme-
tery. Before the Revolution there was a store kept
by Jonathan Clark Lewis, near the site of Captain
Asa Stillman Lawrence's house, north of the Town
Hall. Mr. Lewis was an Englishman by birth, and
died on April 7, 1781. See "Groton Epitaphs" for
a cut of the family coat^of-arms, which appears on
his grave-stone. There was a trader in town, Thomas
Sackville Tufton by name, who died in the year 1778,
though I do not know the site of his shop. Captain
Samuel Ward, a native of Worcester, and an officer
in the French and Indian War, was engaged in busi-
ness at Groton some time before the Revolution. He


removed to Lancaster, where at one time he was the
town clerk, and died there on August 14, 1826.

The Groton Post- Office. — The Groton post-oflSce was
established at the very beginning of the present cen-
tury, and before that time letters intended for this
town were sent through private hands. Previous to
the Revolution there were only a few post-offices in
the Province, and often persons in distant parts of
Massachusetts received their correspondence at Bos-
ton. In The Boston Gazette, or County Journal, June
30, 1755, a letter is advertised for Samuel Bowers, of
Groton, who at that time kept a tavern ; and in the
same newspaper of August 4, 1755, another is adver-
tised for Captain Samuel Parker, and one for Dudley
Woodbridge, who lived probably at Groton, Connec-
ticut. It is also stated that " none of the above Let-
ters came by the last mails." In the supplement to
The Boston Gazette, February 9, 1756, letters are
advertised as remaining uncalled for, at the Boston
office, addressed to William Lakin and Abigail Par-
ker, both of Groton, as well as to Samuel Manning,
Townsend; William Gleany, Dunstable; and Jonathan
Lawrence, Littleton. Nearly five months afterward
letters — and perhaps these identical ones — are adver-
tised for the same persons in The Boston^Weehly News-
Letter, July 1, 1756, as still uncalled for. The name
of David Farnum, America, appears also in this list,
and it is hoped that wherever he was he received the
missive. The names of Oliver Lack (intended for
Lakin) and Ebenezer Parker, both of this town, are
given in another list printed in the Gazette QiZxjiTi^ 28,
1762; and in the same issue one is advertised for


Samuel Starling, America. In the supplement to the
Gazette, October 10, 1768, Ebenezer Farnsworth, Jr.,
and George Pierce, of Groton, had letters advertised ;
and in the Gazette October 18, 1773, the names of
Amos Farnsworth, Jonas Farns worth and William
Lawrence, all of this town, appear in the list. In
the Columbian Centinel (Boston), January 29, 1794, a
letter is advertised for Benjamin Tarbel, of Groton.

I find no record of a post-rider passing through
Groton, during the period immediately preceding the
establishment of the post-office ; but there was doubt-
less such a person who used to ride on horseback,
equipped with saddle-bags, and delivered at regular
intervals the weekly new^spapers and letters along the
way. In the year 1794, according to the History of
New Ipswich, New Hampshire (page 129), a post-
rider, by the name of Balch, rode from Boston to
Keene one week and back the next. Probably he
passed through this town and served the inhabitants
with his favors.

Several years ago I procured, through the kindness
of General Charles Devens, at that time a member of
President Hayes's Cabinet, some statistics of the Gro-
ton post-office, which are contained in the following
letter :

" Post-Office Department, Appointment Office,
" Washington, D, C , September 3, 1877.
" Hon. Charles Devens, Attorney-General, Department of Justice.

"Sir, — I have to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from
Samuel A. Green, of Boston, Massachusetts, with your indorsement
thereon, requesting to be furnished with a list of postmasters at the
office of Groton, in that State, from the date of its establishment to the
present time.

"In reply, I have the honor to inform you, that the fire which con-


sumed the department building, on the night of the fifteenth of De-
cember, 1836, destroyed three of the earliest record-books of this
office ; but by the aid of the auditor's ledger-books, it is ascertained
that the office began to render accounts on the first of January, 1801,
but the exact day is not known. Samuel Dana was the first postmaster,
and the following list furnishes the history of the office, as shown by
the old records.

"Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Office probably estab-
lished in November, 1800. Samuel Dana began rendering accounts
January 1, 1801. Wm. M. Richardson, October 1, 1804.

"From this time the exact dates are known.
" Abraham Moore, appointed postmaster January 31, 1812.

Eliphalet Wheeler, August 20, 1815.
James Lewis, September 9, 1815.
Caleb Butler, July 1, 1826.
Henry Woods, January 15, 1839.
George S. Boutwell, January 22, 1841.
Caleb Butler, April 15, 1841.
Welcome Lothrop, December 21, 1846.
Artemas Wood, February 22, 1849.
George H. Brown, May 4, 1849.
Theodore Andruss, April 11, 1853.
George W. Fiske, Ai)ril 22, 1861.
Henry Woodcock, February 13, 1867.

Miss Hattie E. Farnsworth, June 11, 1869, who is the present in-

" Each postmaster held the oflBce up to the appointment of his succes-
sor, but it is probable that Mr. Boutwell and Mr. A. Wood, although
regularly appointed, did not accept, judging by the dates of the next

" As to the 'income' of the office, to which allusion is made, it is very
difficult to obtain any of the amounts ; but the first year and the last
year are herewith appended, as follows : —

(1801) FISCAL YEAR (1876)

"First quarter, $1.91 First quarter, $314.15

Second " 2.13 Second " 296.94

Third " 2.93 Third " 305.71

Fourth " 5.29 Fourth " 294.28

For the year, $12.26 For the year. $1,211.08


"Trusting the foregoing, which is believed to be correct, will be ac-
ceptable to you, T am, sir, respectfully,

"Tour ob't serv't,

" Jamks H. Maer,
" Acting First Ass't P. 31. GeneraV

It will be seen that the net income of the office,
during the first seventy-five years of its existence, in-
creased one hundred-fold.

This letter of the Acting First Assistant Postmas-
ter-General supplements the account in Butler's " His-
tory of Groton" (pages 249-251). According to Mr.
Butler's statement, the post-office was established on
September 29, 1800, and the Honorable Samuel Dana
was appointed the first postmaster, Xo mail, how-
ever, was delivered at the office until the last week in
November. For a while it came to Groton by the
way of Leominster, certainly a very indirect route.
This fact appears from a letter written to Judge
Dana, by the Postmaster-General, under the date of
December 18, 1800, apparently in answer to a request
to have the mail brought directly from Boston. In
this communication the writer says : —

" It appears to me, that the arrangement which has been made for
carrying the mail to Groton is sufficient for the accommodation of the
inhabitants, as it gives them the opportunity of receiving their letters
regularly, and with despatch, once a week. The route from Boston by
Leominster, to Groton is only twenty miles farther than by the direct
route, and the delay of half a day, which is occasioned thereby, is not of
much consequence to the inhabitants of Groton. If it should prove that
Groton produces as much postage as Lancaster and Leominster, the new
contract for carrying the mail, which is to be in operation on the first of
October next, will be made by Concord and Groton to Walpole, and a
branch from Concord to Marlborough.

" I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenAn historical sketch of Groton, Massachusetts. 1655-1890 → online text (page 12 of 19)