Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

Facts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) online

. (page 10 of 18)
Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenFacts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

remaining suspended high over the earth's surface and strengthened
by the additions of smoke from extensive wood fires. The lower
stratum of air was not obscured at all. The dome of the state house
could be seen as clearly as usual from the hills in Brookline. But the
sky was a bright yellow all day, and gas was necessary in all the stores
and counting-rooms of this city from morning until night. The air
was so murky that gas burned white like the electric Hght ; yet the
uniformity of the tinge of the sky showed that there was nothing like
an ordinary cloud above the horizon. Altogether it was one of the
strangest spectacles the present generation has seen, at least in New
England. The barometer showed but slight changes during the day,
and the temperature was remarkably even. The phenomenon seems
to have been specially marked in Boston, but was observed in New
Hampshire, Vermont, and Block Island. The wind reached a maxi-
mum of ten or twelve miles, but without any apparent effect, except
toward night, when the sky became somewhat clearer. Like all ex-
traordinary occurrences, the day had a marked effect upon the super-
stitious and upon the animal kingdom.

" Boston Daily Advertiser," September 7, 1881.


Among the first settlers of Groton were the brothers Lieu-
tenant William and Ensign John Lakin, who each owned a
twenty-acre right as original proprietors of the town. They
had both previously lived at Reading, where they had been
married. During the earliest history of Groton their names
appear frequently in the affairs of the town, and they seem
both to have taken a prominent part in civil and ecclesiastical
matters. William's house-lot lay on both sides of the road
leading to Hawtree Meadow, which is now known as Chico-
pee Row ; and John's was at Nod, a district lying northerly

> 2o''-0-0


of the soapstone quarry. From these two militia officers are
descended the numerous family of Lakins in Groton and wide
neighborhood. For facts concerning John Lakin, see an
article in The New-England Historical and Genealogical
Register (XLV., pp. 8i, 82) for January, 1891.

The following copies of old papers, now in my possession,
help to clear up some of the obscurities existing in the gene-
alogical history of the family. William Martin, whose name
appears in the first receipt, was the step-father of William
Lakin, and he, too, had previously lived at Reading. The
brothers, William and John, were sons of William Lakin, of
England, who came to this country, perhaps as early as the
year 1645, with their mother and step-father, accompanied
also by their grandfather, William Lakin, senior.

Receaved the loth of June 1646 : by me Wilt Laken of
Reding, of my ffather in Law William Martine of Redinge
the su of Twentie povnds and is in ffull payment and sat-
is faction of a legasie giuen to me by my owne ffather
Willm Laken of Reding tn in England : I say Receavd
by me

William Lakin

Signd and delivrd
in the presnts of vs

Nicholas Brown

Richard Sadler :

The next two receipts relate to bequests made by William
Martin, who, according to the County records, died at Groton
on March 26, 1672, aged about yG years. They are in
the handwriting of the Reverend Samuel Willard, who, like
other country ministers of that period, in addition to their
pastoral duties acted the part of scribes for the benefit of
their neighbors. The following are copies of the papers :

Groton: August. 5. 1673.

Received by my Bro Jno Lakin of Groton, ten pounds in the pay of
Ralph Dix of Reading, upon the account of a legacy of the said suiTie
bequeathed to me, by my Father William Martin in his last Will &


Testament : as also two ox chains, & foure wedges, & a beetle ring :
bequeathed to me in the said will : I say

Received by me.
Witnesse : William Lakin

Samuel Willard
Elezebeth Sherman

Groton. August : 5. 1673.

Received by John Lakin of Groton the full suiue of fourty shillings
upon the account of a legacye of the said suine, bequeathed to mee by
the last Will & Testament of my Loving friend W" Martin, deceased.

I say Received
Witnesse by me

William Lakin Sam'^ Willard.

Elezebeth Sherman

The first of these receipts was lately given to me by Mr.
Charles Butler Brooks, of Boston, who found it among the
papers of his grandfather Caleb Butler, Esq., the historian
of Groton ; and the other two were given to me more than
sixty years ago by the late Hon. John Boynton, of Groton.
It is somewhat singular that these old manuscripts, relating
to similar transactions in the same family, should now come
together after the vicissitudes of nearly two centuries and a
half. Elizabeth Sherman, one of the witnesses, was a younger
sister of Mr. Willard's wife.

William Lakin, senior, was the oldest person among the
original settlers of Groton, and he died on December 10, 1672,
aged about 91 years.

William Martin's house-lot at Groton lay on the borders of
a large sheet of water which in his lifetime was known as
Martin's Pond, and still keeps the same name. In the record
of James Parker's land, on July 6, 1666, "the pond called
Goodman Martin's Pond " is mentioned. There is also a
Martin's Pond within the original limits of the town of Read-
ing, — but now lying in the northwest corner of North Reading,
— which may have been named after him, as he lived there
before coming to Groton. Perhaps some local antiquary of
that neighborhood can give the origin of the name.

"The New-England Historical and Genealogical Register" (XLVIII. 444-
446) for October, 1894.



Groton, July 3 1, 1843 — Shocking Casualty. —

Mr. John H. Rice, son of Mr. John Rice of Ashby, lost his life
on Saturday last, under the following circumstances. Mr. Rice, on
his return from Boston, called at the house of a brother-in-law in
Groton, and while baiting his horse, took a double barrelled gun,
which he had just repaired, and was carrying home, and went into the
woods near the house to amuse himself for a short time in gunning.

Not returning, after some hours, alarm was occasioned, and search
was made, when he was found dead with his gun lying near him. It is
evident from the circumstances that he had discharged one barrel at
some object, and while in the act of blowing out the smoke with his
mouth, the other barrel was accidentally discharged, and entering his
mouth the whole were lodged in his head, producing instant death.
Mr. Rice lived in Ashby, was 37 years of age, and has left a wife and
three children to bewail his untimely fate.

He was unusually kind and amiable, and greatly beloved by his
friends. This stroke of Providence is peculiarly severe to his aged
parents, who have lost in him an only son. — [Lowell Courier.

" Boston Daily Advertiser," August 3, 1843.

The following extract is from a letter written to me by the
late Dr. Edward Young White, from Littleton Common, on
September 5, 1903 : —

I remember about the death of Rice. My brother David S. was
the one who found him after the fatal shot. This Mr. Rice, of Ashby,
was a brother of Mrs. George F. Farley, of Groton. Rice married a
Miss Kendal, of Ashby, a sister of Mrs. Oliver Pierce. Mrs. Pierce
was a widow Vinton when Pierce married her. The day of Rice's
death he had returned from Boston coming by way of the Ridges,
arriving in the afternoon and calling at Pierces on his sister-in-law,
saying he would go out with his fowling piece after woodcock or
other birds. Not long after leaving they heard a shot but thought
nothing of it until he failed to return. When search being made,
my brother David found the body in a little path, leading up to a
pigeon stand. It was lying with the gun beside it, just as it appar-
ently would lie if the muzzle had been placed in the mouth and a


Stick had been used to press the trigger — and there was also the

1 was living at the time in Groton, and the next day Esq. Farley
came into Artemas Wood's store with the gun (a double barrel fowl-
ing-piece) and in his trembling and excited manner, showed to several
of us present how he felt certain that it was an accidetital discharge,
caused by his attempting to blow smoke from one barrel with the
other loaded.


The following list of publishments, births, marriages, etc.,
is taken from "The Old Records of the Town of Fitchburg,"
printed in three volumes under the authority of the city of
Fitchburg. To a great extent the facts supplement the
Groton records. The Roman letters and the Arabic figures
after each paragraph indicate the volume and the page
where the several entries are found.

fitchburg May the 31 1770 —

This Day m[ Samuel Downe of fitchburgh made aplication to me
to he published to m" Eunes Wintworth of Groten II. 249

Lydia Ferwell Daughter to Zaccheus Ferwell & Lydia his wife
Born at Groton November y*" 7"" 1780 II. 359

William Ferwell Son to Zaccheus & lydia his wife Born at Groton
April 20''^ 1783 II. 360

Zaccheus Farwell was a son of Daniel and Mary Farwell,
of Groton, and was born on June 27, 1753. Besides his two
children born at Groton, as given above, he had eight other
children, born at P^itchburg, among whom were two sets
of twins.


Jan 12 1825 Mr John Pingry of Groton made application to
be published to Miss Eunice Whittemore of Fitchburg III. 150


January 21 [1831] Mr Edmund Tarbell of Groton made applica-
tion to me to be published to Miss Sophia Smith of Fitchburg III. 164

September 13. 1845. Mr Samuel W. Farmer of Groton made
application to me to be published to Miss Almeda K. Dane of
Fitchburg. III. 208

September g'^ 1847 Mr Chandler Crocker of Fitchburg made
application to me to be published to Miss Caroline Rockwood of
Groton III. 220

October 13"' 1848. Mr Samuel J. Wright of Fitchburg made ap-
plication to me to be published to Miss Rosalina Kilburn of Groton.

III. 227


Feb. 17 [1825] Mr John Pingry of Groton & Miss Eunice
Whittemore of Fitchburg. III. 261

Feb. 15. [1831] Mr Edmund Tarbell of Groton & Miss Sophia
Smith of Fitchburg III, 270

Mr Clark Simonds

Abigail Pollard Simonds i" Daughter of Clark & Sally Simonds
born at Groton March 5"" 1829.

Clark Sylvester Simonds i" Son of Clark & Sally Simonds born at
Groton February 24. 1831. III. 389

Crocker, Chandler, and Rockwood, Caroline, Groton, Sept. 29, 1847.

III. 405
Farmer, Samuel W., and Dane, Almeda H., Groton, Oct. 8, 1845.

III. 408
Wright, Samuel J., and Kilburn, Rosalina, Groton, Nov. 30, 1848.

III. 422


The following vital statistics are taken from the volume of
"Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1707-1850," etc., published
by the town of Weston. The heavy-faced figures after the


several paragraphs indicate the page of the volume where
each entry is found.


Epharim Whitney son of Natl' Whitney and mary his Wife Was Born
at Grotton June 2'^. 1722. 14

Intention of marriage.

Intentions of Marriage between M' Ira Whittemore of Weston and
Miss Betsey Adams of Groton were entered March 7!' 1812. 195


Marriage solemnized by the Subscriber in the town of Groton. May
29. 1S36. M' Nahum Wetherbee to Miss Olive Wright both of

Amasa Sanderson
(Certificate on file) 222

By Joseph Field, D.D., of Weston.

May 6, 1849, William Dudley, Widower, Yeoman, residing in
Weston, age 41, born in Dudley, son of Thomas & Eliza Dudley
of Roxbury, and Harriet Wright, aged 22, born in Groton, daughter
of Joseph & Harriet [Hannah?] Wright of Groton. 288

Admission to the Church.

June 14. 1724. James Mirick recommend'' fro. y*" Church in Groton,
rec'! here. 407

Dismission from the Church.

r Joseph Allen & | dism & reconim'' to the Chh in
' ^'' (Mary his wife J Groton. 4^4


Elizabeth Cory, widow of Samuel, living in Groton in 1804, d. at
house of Samuel Cory, 1807 (July?) 562

Genealogical items.

William Dudley, son of Thomas & Eliza, was b. in Roxbury^ Oct.
I2th, 1806. He mar., ist, Emily J. Bemis ; 2nd, Harriott, dau.


of Joseph & Hanfiah Wright of Groton. [Old Dudley Bible. j
Compare [extract from] p. 2S8 [above]. 567

Nathaniel [Whitney,] 3"^, b. Jan. 23, 1695-6, mar. Mary Child, July
20, 1721, and had Ephraim, b. in Groton; Oliver, David, Mary,
Nathaniel, Anna, Amos, Lucy, Love, Lois, and Eli, b. in
Westboro. 580


Copies of the following two papers were given me many
years ago by the late Dr. John S. H. Fogg, of South Boston :

This is each man's Proportion towards hireng Edmund Holden as
a Soldier in Class y^ tf" in Groton.

Zechariah Fitch
Samuel Hemanway
Caleb Blood
Thomas Bond
Samuel Lawrence
Abel Farwell
Amos Adams
Ephraim Kemp
Samuel Kemp. Jr.
Simeon Nuting
Robertson Larkin
John Simonds
Benjamin Whitney
W Rachel Spalding


























1 1






































Gotten Proctor Serg!
Rogers Lawrance
Calven Rusel
Ezekel Proctor

These men Ware Detach'd
from y*" 6' Rig'. Came With Lieut Aaron Parker from Westford.

Camp't Swansey. 22 June 1779.


To Col: Will"-! Prescott, Col. John Robeson, & Maj;^ Henry
Woods in the Continental Army.

Gen! as it has been Reported among us that D" Zachariah Longley
late Quartermaster in your Regiment has Wickedly detained a
part of y' milk money (So called) &c from Said Regiment untill
he y" s? Longley was calH upon to make Satisfaction : and as we
y« Subscribers are appointed a Committee by the church of
Christ in Groton to make Enquiries into that matter We Should
be glad and take it as a favour, if you gentlemen wou'' Give us
as an impartial account as yon can of D" Longleys Conduct in
y" matter of milk above mention'^ &c &c.

from your most Humble Servants
Isaac Farnsworth

Benj^ Bancroft Jr. !- Committee
Zechariah Fitch J

Groton March y^ 2'^ 1776.


Groton has become a good deal of a Mecca for one reason and
another, having produced many eminent men — the Prescotts, the
Lawrences, Margaret Fuller Ossoli and George S. Boutwell, and some
Hving celebrities and any number of budding scions of distinguished
families are at the boys' School. But aside from its historic and
personal associations, its own pastoral beauty is allurement enough
for a pilgrimage for those who love to seek out the oldest settled
parts of New England, like Ipswich and Rowley in old Essex, and
see the peculiarly English charm that is the result of occupation by
eight or nine generations of transplanted English folk in America.
There are softly rolling hills with here and there an old oak halfway
up the slope in just the right place, here and there a willow-arched
road across the meadow, and often for background some still un-
broken woods of pine or spruce and here and there a rocky pasture
dotted with savins. Then the whole is now given a peculiarly English
flavor by the Gothic chapel and the School for boys. From all points
of the town these imposing buildings dominate the view. The per-
pendicular Gothic with its high-shouldered elegance suggests familiar
pictures of English college and cathedral closes, and the gilt-top
belfry of the main building near by re-enforces the academic flavor


given the scene. Of course the plain old town-centre of Groton,
where Governor Boutwell lived, is an entirely different matter. The
governor, in his little yellow frame house, like Dr. Holmes at Beverly
Farms, might have dated his correspondence "By the Depot."
Hard by is the rather pretentious red brick town hall, with white
trimmings (not of marble, however), and the procession of digni-
taries and magnates gathered to do him the last honors had but a few
rods to walk up a straight road from the depot.

It is an altogether creditable weakness, the loyalty to locality which
always shows itself, the Listener has noted, particularly strong in
natives of Groton. Here was General Bancroft of the Elevated Rail-
road, for example, out of his loyalty to the old town and his venera-
tion for its first citizen absenting himself from his president's office in
town and giving freely of his organizing and administrative genius in
providing for all the details of the public obsequies and civic honors
down to purveying an unlooked-for luncheon to all on the special
train, which itself must have been put on through his influence.
Considering the distance between Governor Boutwell and General
Bancroft in years, in politics, and in worldly status, the loyalty and
affection he showed for town and aged statesman, made a most touch-
ing bit of a demonstration how, in spite of all we say about the blind,
overmastering worship of material success among the younger genera-
tion of America, a finely typical representative of those generations
does bow to something besides success and materialism. Nothing
could be more convincing ; and nothing could excel the perfect fitness
in its absolute simplicity and genuineness of the town's service in
the Town Hall. With orators galore upon the platform and digni-
taries four deep, the services were left entirely to the four Groton
ministers and the School, and what could surpass in completeness or
simplicity the Unitarian minister's tribute to this trait of Mr. Bout-
well's character : " Simplicity is the model of expression which is
inseparable from a truth-loving nature. Ostentation and love of
display indicate some complexity of motive or some obliquity of
spirit. Plainness of manner bears witness to the singleness of heart.
The man who exalts truth above all things moves directly to his
object. He selects his words not for the purpose of adorning thought,
but for the purpose of giving it precise expression. He determines
upon his actions not with a view of impressing men, but with the object
of fulfilling the impulses of his heart. In dealing with such a nature
one does well to stand on the firm ground of sincerity, to dis-


card all the devices of artfulness, and find strength in quietness
and confidence."

Perfectly expressed ! and that Groton is able on occasion to put its
hand on the one to say the fit word, is proof this old community pro-
duced by the law of its being representatives like Mr. Boutwell of that
" remarkable civilization which characterized the development of the
little republics of New England." Here had stood behind the counter
of the country store as a young man with an active managing interest
in the town politics and " lyceum " the studious, self-educated, serious-
minded, independent clerk, who in early manhood was to be governor,
in middle hfe to stand with Lincoln and Grant and feel them lean on
him for support, and in age, most glorious of all, to stand like the
rock in the cataract, against the popular current bearing this republic
down rapids where he feared Carlyle's hateful prophecy of our shoot-
ing Niagara might be realized. None could look on the worn frame
of this faithful servant of the people without feehng that he had lived
as he died " in the harness," and as much a hero as though he had
been among those who wade through slaughter to glory. There was
an undertone of hope and sympathy not unlike that described by
Mr. Mead as prevailing at Mrs. Lloyd's funeral while Rev. Charles G.
Ames spoke : " The most impressive funeral which I have ever attended
besides that was that quiet, private funeral the other day on that
upper floor in Boston where there were no crowds, where there were
only simple friends, where no word that was spoken was a word of
sadness, where every word made us feel that the time that is past and
the time to be are one, and both are now, and that this life, if we
understand it rightly, is simply a part of eternal life, and has not place
for too much sorrow and for no sorrow that weakens the mind."

" Boston Evening Transcript," Saturday, March 4, 1905, — The Listener.


In the early records of Groton there are various allusions
to persons who are called " doctors " ; but such persons did
not have the title of M. D., as at that time there were no
medical schools here authorized to give the degree. These
so-called " doctors " after reading a few medical books and
following the natural bent of their tastes, were employed by
their neighbors as family physicians.


In some instances these " doctors " may have been school
teachers who were always well known men in the community.
At various times under different dates during the years 1742
to 1745 there are entries in the town records showing where
money was paid to Dr. Richardson for keeping school.

During this period I find the names also of Dr. Kittredge,
Dr. Prentice and Dr. Dinsmore.

March 28"' 1 744 Doct Green Leaf for delvering the wife of Joseph

P'^ Leonard Parker for fetching the doc' for arwing (Erwins) child.


April 1 744 p"* Daniell Sheadd for going to the doct for experence

In the Old Mill district at Harvard Dr. Phillip Fowler
bought land in 1749 where in the deed he is styled as of

During the generation immediately preceding the Revolu-
tion, the science of medicine in Massachusetts was making
progress by slow but steady steps. The bond of union with
the clerical profession, existing from the earliest days of co-
lonial life, had been cut ; and there was no longer any prac-
tical connection between the two callings. Medicine had
passed through the creeping stage, and was now beginning
to walk alone. It was a long stride in advance when men
began to turn their studies in one direction, and to make a
specialty of general practice. The opportunities, however,
were few for the successful prosecution of this object. There
were neither medical schools nor hospitals, and the young
men were obliged to pursue their studies under the guidance
of practising physicians. Frequently they were bound out,
like apprentices, to their instructors, and were compelled to
do all sorts of chores around the house and barn, as well as
the professional drudgery. In those days the physicians used
to buy their own drugs and prepare their own medicines ;
and it was the province of the students to pound the bark
and spread the plasters, as well as to mix the ointments and


make the pills. In short they were to be useful to their em-
ployers, as best they might in any way, whether in bleeding
patients, pulling teeth, or attending to other cases of minor
surgery. Sometimes they formed alliances and attachments
which lasted beyond the period of their studies. Instances
might be given where the instructor watched the develop-
ment of a fledgling doctor with all the interest of a father-in-
law. It was customary for physicians in their daily rounds
of practice to be accompanied by their scholars, in order to
show them the different forms of disease, and to teach them
the rules of diagnosis. On their return home the young men
would sometimes undergo a form of questioning, which was
considered an examination. In this way, with a certain
amount of medical reading, the main supply of doctors was
kept up. The few exceptions were persons who went abroad
to study, where of course they had the best opportunities
that science then could give. On coming back to their na-
tive land, such students brought with them the freshest ideas
and the latest expressions of medicine, which they were not
slow to impart to others. Aside from these advantages they
returned with a diploma and had the right to affix M. D. to
their names, an honor beyond the reach of those who had
remained at home.

The following sketches of medical men connected with the
town in one way or another were written some time ago.
They are now printed for the benefit of local antiquaries
who may wish to know something about them.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenFacts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 10 of 18)