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Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

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

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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenAn historical sketch of Groton, Massachusetts. 1655-1890 → online text (page 7 of 19)
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Joshua Lasselle and Mary (Lake) Pinney, and
born at Middlefield, Otsego County, New York,
on October 15, 1812. In early life he studied the
profession of medicine, which he practised for a
while, but soon afterward gave up in order to enter
the ministry. He began a course of study in the
academic department of Madison University at Ham-
ilton, New York, with a view to graduate from the
college and the Theological Seminary, but owing to
trouble with his eyes he was compelled to abandon
the plan. On June 8, 1841, Mr. Pinney was married
in Troy, New York, to Olivia Marcia Brownell ; and
he is now living at No. 95 Madison Street, Brooklyn.

The Eev. Lewis Holmes, a native of Plymouth, was
the third mini.ster. Born on April 12, 1813, he grad-
uated at Waterville College (now Colby University)
in the class of 1840. He was settled at Groton in
May, 1845, and remained until May, 1849. Mr.
Holmes was settled over various societies in Massachu-
setts, and died at Plymouth on May 24, 1887.

The Rev. John Allen was the fourth minister, and
his pastorate extended from June, 1849, to September,
1853. He was born at Mansfield on March 27, 1792,
and died at East Providence Centre, Rhode Island, on
November 28, 1882. He was married, first, in the
year 1816, at Easton, to Sally Bonney ; and secondly,
on April 22, 1856, in Boston, to Mrs. Anna (Carpenter)
Carpenter, daughter of Caleb Carpenter, and a native
of Rehoboth. His father's name was Joseph Allen.

The Rev. George Everett Tucker was the fifth min-



88 GKOTON.

ister, and his service began in November, 1853, and
lasted until June, 1857. Born at Canton on February
29, 1820, he fitted for college at Pierce Academy, of
Middleborough and graduated at Brown University
in the class of 1842. He has held pastorates at var-
ious places in Rhode Island and Maine, and died at
Dedham on October 24, 1888, while on a visit, though
his home was at Brunswick, Maine.

The Rev. Lucius Edwin Smith was the sixth min-
ister, and served the society from December, 1857 to
September, 1865. Mr. Smith is a native of Williams-
town, where he was born on January 29. 1822, and a
graduate of Williams College in the class of 1843.
He first studied law in his native town and was ad-
mitted to the bar in the year 1845 ; afterward studied
divinity and graduated at the Ne'wton Theological
Seminary in 1857. His editorial services have been
extensive, and he is now associate editor of the
Watchman (Boston). The degree of, D.D. w^as con-
ferred upon him by his Alma Mater in 1869.

The Rev. Oliver Ayer was the seventh minister, and
had charge of the society from April, 1866, till March
29, 1874. He is a son of Daniel and Xancy (Day)
Ayers, and was born at Plaistow, New Hampshire, on
August 2, 1810. He graduated at Brown University
in the class of 1834, in the same class with the Rev.
Crawford Nightingale, of Groton, and immediately
after graduation became the principal of Rockingham
Academy at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. In
the year 1837 he was ordained at Littleton, Massachu-
setts, where he was the pastor of the Baptist Church
until 1843, and then, after a settlement at Dover,



GROTON. 89

Claremont and Deerfield, all in the State of New
Hampshire, he came to Groton in the spring of 1866.

After leaving his town he was settled for six years
over a society at North Oxford, since which time he
has been living in Providence, with no pastoral charge.
Mr. Ayer was married, first, on November 5, 1835,
to Caroline Persis, daughter of William and Elizabeth
(How) Garland, of Portsmouth, who died on Sep-
tember 23, 1857 ; and, secondly, on September 16,
1862, to Susan French Sargent, of Lebanon, New
Hampshire.

The Keverend Benjamin Franklin Lawrence was
the eighth minister, and settled over the society from
July, 1874, to August, 1880. He graduated at Colby
University in the class of 1858, and studied at the
Newton Theological Institution during the years
1859 and 1860. He has had charge of various
parishes in New England, and is now at East Jeffer-
son, Maine.

The Reverend Herman Franklin Titus served the
church from December, 1880, to February, 1881, with-
out settlement. He is a son of Moses and Sophronia
(Patch) Titus, former residents of the town..

The Reverend Thomas Herbert Goodwin was the
ninth minister, and settled over the society from
October, 1881, to January, 1884. He is a son of
Benjamin and Lucy Adams (Mixer) Goodwin, and
born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on July 4,1847.
He was married, on March 23, 1871, at New Londoq^
New Hampshire, to Arvilla Olive Pattee, and is now
living at North Hanover.

The Reverend Frank Curtis Whitney was the tenth



90 GROTON.

minister, and settled over the church from August 1,
1884, to October 1, 1889. When he left the society he
went to Minnesota.

The Reverend Samuel Bastin Nobbs, the present
pastor, is the eleventh minister, and took charge of
the congregation on December 1, 1889. He is a son
of James and Eliza (Haynes) Nobbs, and born at
Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire, England, on July 1,
1862. After a short residence in Australia he joined
his parents in their removal from England to New
York in September, 1881. Receiving his preparatory
education at Gloucester, England, he entered the
Theological Seminary at Hamilton, New York, in the
year 1885, where he graduated in 1888. His first
pastorate was at Newport, Vermont. Mr. Nobbs was
married, on July 1, 1886, to Loue Maud Richardson,
of Hamilton, New York.

During the year 1885 a house of worship was built
at West Groton, which was dedicated on October 7,
according to the ritual of the Methodist Church. The
Congregational, Baptist, and Episcopal Societies of the
town were well represented on the occasion, and
everybody seemed to feel that the new building was a
benediction to the village. In the " Life of John
Todd " (page 181), written by his son, there is an early
allusion to a chapel built during the winter of 1827,
as follows : " My friends are preparing me a pretty
chapel over at this spot [West Groton] , and as soon as
y; is finished I am to open a battery there." All
recollection of this building among the inhabitants of
the village has now passed away.

During the first three years after the present church



GROTON. 91

was built, services therein were conducted under the
auspices of the Methodist denomination, but since
that period the society has made arrangements with
the Congregational minister at Groton to supply the
pulpit, and he preaches on each Sunday afternoon.

Services of the Episcopal Church were begun in
connection with the Groton School at its opening in
October, 1884. The parish is called St. John's Chapel
of Groton School, and the sittings in the church are
free. The services are conducted by the head master.
Reverend Endicott Peabody. The present chapel was
built in the year 1887, and consecrated on January 8,
1888, by the Bishop of the Diocese.

Lawrence Academy. — During rhe early part of
the year 1792 a voluntary association was formed at
Groton, by certain people of the town and neighbor-
hood, in order to establish an academy where a
higher education could be obtained than was given
at the district schools of that period. A subscription
paper was circulated for the purpose of procuring
funds to erect a suitable building. A subscription of
five pounds currency was the smallest sum received
from any person, and was denominated a share; ten
pounds was called two shares; and so on. On April
27, 1792, the association organized by choosing trustees
and the other customary officers; and from this as a
beginning sprang the institution known formerly as
Groton Academy, but now as Lawrence Academy.
When it was first opened, in the spring of 1793, the
exercises were held in the district school-house, on
Farmers' Row. By a resolve of the Legislature, on
Feb. 27, 1797, a grant of land was given to the academy.



92 GROTON.

which consisted of half a township situated in Wash-
ington County, District of Maine. It comes now in
Hodgdon, Aroostook County, and lies on the eastern
frontier of the State, just south of Houlton.

Among the early friends and benefactors of the
institution may be mentioned, — Benjamin Bancroft,
Timothy Bigelow, James Brazer, Aaron Brown, Fran-
cis Champney, Daniel Chaplin, Samuel Dana, Na-
than Davis, Zechariah Fitch, Samuel Hemenway,
Samuel Lawrence, Joshua Longley, Joseph Moors,
William and Oliver Prescott, Samuel Kockwood,
William Swan and Samson Woods.

During the summer of 1841 the Academy building
was remodeled for the first time and somewhat en-
larged by an addition to the rear, at a cost of $2000,
generously given for the purpose by Amos Lawrence,
Esq., of Boston. The grounds also were improved,
and a fence, consisting of stone posts and chains,
placed in front of the yard, as well as on the south
side, separating it from the Brazer estate.

In the spring of 1844 William Lawrence, Esq., of
Boston, an elder brother of Amos, gave the sum of
S10,000 to be added to the permanent funds of the
institution. In consequence of this liberal gift and
other manifestations of their interest in the school,
on the part of the two brothers, the trustees voted
the annual meeting, on August 20, 1845, to petition
the General Court to change the corporate name of
the school to " The Lawrence Academy of Groton."
At the next session of the I>egislature the petition
was duly presented and granted on February 28,
1846.



GROTON. 93

The benefactions of the Lawrence brothers did not
cease with the change of name in the school. During
the month of July, 1846, Amos Lawrence, Esq.,
bought the Brazer estate (so called), adjoining the
Academy lot on the south, and formerly belonging to
James Brazer, Esq., for the sum of $4400, and soon
afterward conveyed it by deed to the trustees of
Lawrence Academy. He also requested that all the
buildings and fences on the place should be put in
complete repair at his expense, which was accord-
ingly done at a cost of more than $1200. During the
next month William Lawrence, Esq., wrote to the
trustees, offering to give $5000 to be used for the
enlargement of the Academy building, for the erec-
tion of a substantial stone and iron fence in front of
the grounds, including the Dana and Brazer estates,
and for the purchase of another bell for the school.
The Dana estate, adjoining the Academy lot on the
north, had. formerly belonged to the Hon. Samuel
Dana, and was bought by the trustees in the sum-
mer of 1836. With this sum, thus generously placed
in their hands, the trustees, during the ensuing au-
tumn, enlarged the Academy by an extension on its
north side, and very soon afterward carried out his
wishes in the other matters. At Mr. Lawrence's
death, which occurred on October 14, 1848, he be-
queathed the sum of $20,000 to the institution.

Unfortunately, the main building of the Academy
was burned to the ground on July 4, 1868, and a
structure of brick and stone erected on the same site,
which was dedicated June 29, 1871.

A celebration in connection with the history of



94 GROTON.

Lawrence Academy took place on July 12, 1854,
when an address was delivered by the Rev. James
Means, a former principal of the institution. It was
a distinguished gathering, and known at that time
as the " Jubilee." A full account of the proceedings
was afterward published, with a general catalogue of
the school from its beginning. Another re-union w^as
held on June 21, 1883, when a dinner was given in
the Town Hall to the old pupils. The assemblage
was not so large as the previous one, but quite as
enthusiastic. The wish was generally expressed that
the centennial anniversary of the school, which
comes in the year 1893, should be duly celebrated.
The proceedings on this occasion also were printed
in a pamphlet form.

During the early days of Xew England there was
no distinct class of men following the profession of
medicine, but the practice was taken up in connec-
tion with some other calling. In every community
either the minister or the schoolmaster or some
skilled nurse was expected to act in cases of need,
and, for the most part, such persons performed the
duties now undertaken by the faculty. In the early
part of 1672 the Rev. Samuel Willard wrote a long
account of a case of witchcraft which befell Eliza-
beth Knapp, of Groton, and he relates how the
"Physitian'" came to see her on Novembers, 1671,
when he gave his judgment on the case, or, in other
words, made the diagnosis. It would be an interest-
ing fact to know who was the doctor then practicing
in the neighborhood, but this is now beyond the reach
of historical inquiry.



GROTON. 95

The earliest physician in Groton, mentioned by
name, of whom I have found any trace, is Dr. Henry
Blasdell, who was impressed into the public service
by Colonel Edmund Goffe. On May 28, 1725, he pe-
titioned the General Court that an allowance be
made him for his professional services and for medi-
cines furnished during the campaign of the previous
autumn, while he was surgeon to the western forces.
The amount of his bill was £26 14s. and the General
Court allowed him £17 9s.

Dr. Ezekiel Chase, of Groton, was- married at New-
bury, on May 20, 1729, to Priscilia Merrill, of that
town. She was a daughter of Nathan and Hannah
(Kent) Merrill, and born at Newbury, on October 16,
1703.

Dr. Benjamin Morse was a son of Dr. Benjamin
and Abigail (Dudley) Morse, and born at Sutton on
March 20, 1740. He was married, on November 27,
1760, to Mary, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Barnard,
also born at Sutton, on September 13, 1741 ; and
while living in that towQ they had a family of six
children.

Dr. Morse came to Groton probably during the
Revolutionary period, and was a Representative to
the General Court in the session of 1784, and several
succeeding ones ; and he was also a delegate to the
Convention for adopting the Constitution of the Uni-
ted States, in the year 1788, where he opposed the
adoption. He lived in the south part of the town,
near the present village of Aver ; and the site of his
house is laid dow^n on the map of Groton, published
in 1832. He died on May 31, 1833, aged ninety-three



96 GROTOX.

years, and his widow, on December 16, 1835, aged
ninety-four years.

Dr. Ephraim Ware, a physician of Groton, was
married at Cambridge, on October 13, 1785, to Mrs.
Abigail Gamage. He was a native of Needham, and
born on January 14, 1725. His first wife was Martha,
daughter of Josiah and Elizabeth Parker, of Groton,
where they were married on July 26, 1764. She was
born on January 7, 1737, and died at Groton on
April 4, 1776. After their marriage they went to
Dedham to live, as the records of that town say :
" The Selectmen on the 2d Day of Augt., 1765, gave
Orders to Israel Everett, Constable, to warn Ephraim
Ware, Martha Ware [and three others] to depart this
Town in 14 Days, or give Security to indemnify the
Town." Such orders were in accordance with an old
practice, then common throughout the Province, which
aimed to prevent the permanent settlement of families
in towns where they might become a public burden.
Their two eldest children, both boys, were born at Ded-
ham ; and three other children — a daughter, Sarah,
and two sons, who both died in infancy — were born
at Groton. Sarah, born on September 18, 1769, was
married to Richard Sawtell, of Groton, on March 10,
1796, and died on March 23, 1851, having been the
mother of nine children.

Dr. Ephraim Woolson was practicing medicine
at Groton in the year 1766. He was a son of Isaac
and Sibyl Woolson, and born at Weston on April 11,
1740. He graduated at Harvard College in the class
of 1760, and was married to Mary Richardson on July
29, 1765. Dr. Woolson appears to have been living



GROTON. 97

at Weston just before his residence at Groton, and in

the year 1767 he bought land at Princeton, where six

of his children were born. He was a justice of the .

peace, and is ^;ii f iliO h.ivr died in the year 1802j


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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenAn historical sketch of Groton, Massachusetts. 1655-1890 → online text (page 7 of 19)