Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

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

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ing in the autumn of 187 1, where he was under the charge of
the Reverend James Fletcher. On July 4, 1868, the former
building, a structure of wood known as the Academy, was
burned to the ground. This was replaced by the present
brick-and-stone edifice, which was dedicated with appropriate
services, on June 29, 1871. Mr. Felch graduated at Lawrence
Academy in 1872, after which he passed one term at Phillips
Academy, Andover, and later a short time at Phillips Exeter
Academy. Next he entered Bowdoin College where he
graduated in the Class of 1874. Subsequently for a short
period of time he was employed by the American Express
Company, after which he studied law in the office of Charles
Sidney Hayden, of Fitchburg, later Mayor of that city, and
he also took a year's course at the Harvard Law School. He
was admitted to the bar in 1880, and immediately afterward
went west, establishing himself as a lawyer at Cheney in the


Territory of Washington, which became a State in 1889.
Here he soon became prominent in various matters, educa-
tional as well as professional. He has steadily declined to
enter political life, though often urged so to do.

On September 2^, 1899, Mr. Felch was married to Minna Ro-
setta, daughter of Frederich and Marie Louise Fehly. His wife
was a native of Illinois, where she was born in 1866 ; and her pa-
rents were Germans, who had settled at Freeport, Illinois. By
this union there have been born a girl, and a boy who died in
infancy. During his life on the Pacific coast he has written
much for the eastern press, particularly for the Fitchburg Sen-
tinel. His career as a lawyer has been a successful one, and
he has become a man of mark in the great North-west.

Mr. Fetch's father, whom I knew well, was employed in
various capacities about the station at Groton Junction from
the time when the Fitchburg Railroad, the Worcester and
Nashua, and the several other railroads were built, forming
one of the busiest junctions in the country. So many pas-
sengers changed cars at this place, now known as Ayer, that
Mr. Felch became a well-known character to the travelling
public. He died on May 31, 1895, aged 75 years, 10 months,
and 22 days; and his widow, on April 21, 1898, aged 73
years, 5 months, and 5 days. He was a native of Greenfield,
New Hampshire; and she was a native of Groton. His par-
ents were Daniel and Ruth (Walker) Felch ; and her parents
were Elijah and Mary (Green) Bennett.


Harvard graduates who admire the artistic new fence with
its imposing gates around the college grounds may be interested
to know that the old fence — upon which so many former grad-
uates have sat and chatted — was not completely destroyed. A
section including about 500 or 600 feet with the old posts, forty-
two in number, now stands on each side of the main entrance to
the Lawrence Playground at Groton. The posts are of granite,
with dimensions at the top about twelve inches by thirteen.



The playground, consisting of 14I acres, is centrally sit-
uated in the village on Broad Meadow Road, and was given
to the town by the late Amory Appleton Lawrence. He
was a graduate of Harvard in the Class of 1870, and was one
of a committee in charge to construct a memorial gateway
for his class. While acting in that capacity he saw the work-
men digging up the old fence, when it occurred to him that
for the sake of former associations it should be preserved.
So he bought a large section from the contractor and had
it shipped to Groton, where it was set up anew.

On the front of the right-hand post at the entrance is a
bronze tablet with the following inscription :




and on the back of the same post is another tablet bearing

these words :





A. D. 1901





JOSHUA green's diary, 1775. 135

On the fourth post at the right of the entrance is a smaller
tablet with these words :






Mr. Lawrence's residence and his extensive farm were
in the neighborhood of the playground, which adjoins the
Shumvvay Athletic Field belonging to Lawrence Acad-
emy. These two playgrounds, the Lawrence and the Shum-
way, used both for health and pleasure, comprise more than
twenty-five acres of land conveniently situated for the pur-


The following paper was found among the manuscripts of
the late Henry Williamson Haynes, my classmate at Harvard
College. The Diary is still in my possession, and I have in-
serted a few entries not copied by him. The signature
" J : Green jun', " written at the top of the titlepage, is that of
my grandfather (H. C. 1784).

May 25, 1848. I borrowed of Mr. Samuel A. Green, of Groton,
Mass., an almanac [Nathanael Low's] for 1775, ^^ which his grand-
father, Mr. Joshua Green, then a boy in the third class at the Boston
Latin School, had inserted several blank leaves, upon which he wrote


some manuscript notes, with llic dates annexed, llie most important
of which I have here transcribed.

[January] 13')' Being y'' Queen's ]]irlliday Latin School did not
keep. VVritg School broke up.

24''' A small detachment from each regiment here sail'd for Marsh-

[I''ebruary] 3'.' Aunt S. Edwards's funeral.

20"' Jx'iit H: (1: (). [Harrison dray Otis] my drawing Book — ret!

26'.'' Col'.' Leslie's expedition to Salem !

[March] 6','' Oration' dcliver'd at the Old South Meet«house by
Doct! Josei)h Warren after wliich a number of y' officers of y'. army
ill particular Cap'. B: Chapman of y' 18"; & [l>/afik'\ of y'. royal
Irish put on their hats when y". town was upon business, nominating
persons, hold':' up y'. hands in y'i negative after a full vote, & when
y'. motion was mak^' for y': next Oration, rais'-. their voices strik^-' yl Canes
on y' floor, iV by other indecent iV insolent conduct as far in y' power
endt-avoril to affront the Town, & if possible make a disturbance.

9';'' Col': Nesbitt w'l' a party of y': 47''' carried Tho^ Ditson jun. of
IJillerica thro' y'! Street (011 a truck) tarr'd & feather'd, on a pre-
tence y' he had bo't a gtm of a soldier, tho' not in regimentals.

16"' After sev! days wait^ on Gen' Cage a remonstrance was made
to him by y": Selectmen of Hillerica ag' Col'I Nesbitt's conduct last

[ )':' A iiKJck Oration at Hr : Coif: 11 ' before a number of officers
of y': army to revile y': patriots of liberty.*

24"' M; Jn'.' llammatt died.

[A])ril] I 1" Nathan Viles 10 Cop" for carry*-' Bacon to Waltliam.

4 Lent II G O — draw"-' book — ret'!

6 : Mock-Congress of y'" Officers of y'.' Army who went in proces-
sion from y'; Hr. Coff: House dress'd in scarlet Roiiuelors iV white
wigs up to y'" Town House in one of y': upper chambers.

17'!' Obsorv'd by y'. Officers of y": 4'!' or Kings own regim'. in mem-
ory of y"". defeat of y': rebels 1746.

19')' Last night all yl Grenadiers & y": light Infantry of y": army
went in y'. Men of Wars boats over Charles River to Cambridge &
from thence to Concord, after havg kill'd 8 Men at Lexington, & this
morn'= were follow'd by lOarl Piercys Ivrigade of regim"';, y'. whole boily
were attack'd tV oblig'd to retreat to Charlestown, with y'. loss of 65
kill'd, 180 wouniled, (S: 27 missing.

21. Writ*' School did not keep.

' l his oration was delivered on March 15.



24'!' Bro't my books liome from Latin School.
[May] 5'!' Came out from Boston to go to Westfield.
1 1'!' Fast day.

Reinforcement or regim'" sent Gage ; viz!
Light Dragoons


L' Col?




7V' Geo. Preston

Jn" Blaqwere

Sam' Birch



Tho^ Gage

Jr Abercromby

Jn'? Campbell.



F H>: Campbell

Cha^ Heathcote

R'! Allen.



S' Rob! Hamilton

Ja'- Grant

Ja' Grant.



L Abercromby*

J: Agnew

Jn" Beck with.



W"' Haviland

Jn? Tullikens

H^ Monckton



Alex' ALaitland

H^ Calder

Ja^ Mercer.



Ft: Grant

Ja? Patterson

J Anstnither.


* killd at Bunker Hill

[June] 5'!' Went to M[ Ballantine's School.

Gen! Lee to Gen' Burgoyne

June 7 : 1785. " I serv'd several campaigns in America last War,
& cannot recollect a single instance of ill behavior in the provincials,
where the regulars acquitted themselves well. Indeed we well remem-
ber some instances of the reverse, particularly where the late Colonel
Grant, (he who lately pledg'd himself for the general cowardice of
America) ran away with a large body of his own regiment, and was
saved from destruction by the valor of a few Virginians."

" Is it possible M| Howe sho'd be prevail'd uj^on to accept of such
an office ! The brother of him, to whose memory the much injur'd
people of Boston erected a monument, sho'd be employ'd as one of
the instruments of their destruction ! "

1 7V' Battle at Charlestown.

[J"^y] [^ '■"^^ drawing of the Colony seal]

The seal of the Massachusetts Colony with a sword aims at quiet
rest under liberty.

Distinetion of yf different ranks of y'" Officers in y'; Continental
Army und[ Gen| Washington.

For y; General a black cockade & a broad scarlet ribbon from
y"" left shoulder to yf right hip but being und' y' coat is seen only
across his breast.


Major General a blk cockade \v'|' a purple ribbon as above.

Aid de camps, a blue.

Col°, L| Col°, & Major a scarlet cockade.

Captains a yellow cockade.

First & Sec"! Lieutf a green

[August] Albany to Will's Creek [distances given].

Fort du Quesne to Will's Creek [ " " ].

Quebec to Albany [ " " ]•

[September] From Boston to Newport [and other places, with

28 : Went from Westfield to Glastenbury,

[October] Third Class at S° Grammar School, Boston, April 1775,
viz : H: G. Otis, Dan! Boyer, Jn° Hubbard, Sam! Taylor, J: Green,
Ebenf Bass, Nathan Frazier, Foster Penny, Sam! Lamb, Isf Davis,
Chasf Basnet, W? Dorr, Sam : Borland, Benj^ Romans, Jn° Erving
Waldo, Benj^ Bracket, Josh] Paine, Jon^ Swift, Jam! Lowe, Jack
Gardner, Gilb! Deblois,

[November] i. Return'd from Glastenbury to Westfield.

23'! Thanksgiving Day in this Province.

25 : P'! Mr Sanders 30J for a P; shoes.

[December] 9'!" Paid Mr Hitchcock 12s for a P; of Wash Leather

28'!" Town Meet? when y^ follow? Gent™ were chose a Com'^;* of
Inspection & Correspondence, &c.

U Dan! Sacket Df Mather

U John Kellog Col° Moseley

Ens : Dan! Bag Col"? Parks

Ens : Zach] Bush Cap! Df Moseley

M[ Bohan King L* Dan! Fowler

Sj'. D"? Weller, jun : U S! Noble

Sj! Oliver Ingersol.
NB A new Com'^'' chose at next March Meet?


The facts below, although not connected with my family,
were given to me in 1889 by the late William Berry Lap-
ham, of Augusta, a distinguished historian, who wrote the


histories of several towns in Maine and other works re-
lating to that State.

The following I copy from Rumford (Maine) town records.
This family was a roving one, and lived in various places before they
came here from what is now Mexico [Maine] in 1828.

Asa Green married Phebe [Prescott, both of Groton, June 5,
Children :

Ezra, b. Groton, Mass., March 29, 1806.

Sereno, b. Tyngsboro, " December 4, 1807.

Joel P., b. " " August 31, 1809.

Oren, b. Mercer, Maine, February 26, 181 1.

Harriet, b. '' " November 15, 1812.

Andrew J., b. " " November 8, 181 4.

Elmira, b. " " August 5, 18 16.

Dolly W., b. PI. No. 8, July 29, 1818.

Ransom N.,b. " " " January 10, 18 21.

Julian, b. " " " October 24, 1822.

Calista, b. " " " September 8, 1824.

Abigail T, b. " " " June 12, 1826.

Asa, Jr., b. Rumford, March 31, 1829.


Geographical names of Indian origin furnish now one
of the few links in New England that connect modern times
with the prehistoric period. In the absence of any correct
standard either of pronunciation or spelling, which always
characterizes an unwritten language, these words have been
greatly distorted and changed, and thus have lost much of
their original meaning, but their root generally remains.
As the shards that lie scattered around the sites of old Indian
dwellings are eagerly picked up by the archaeologist for
critical examination, so any fragmentary facts about the
Indian names of places are worth saving by the antiquary
and scholar for their historical and philological value.

The spelling of these words varies, as at first they were


written according to their sound and not according to their
derivation. It is rare to find an Indian word in an early-
document spelled twice alike. In the lapse of time these
verbal changes have been so great that an Indian now would
hardly recognize any of the words by sound.

The following is the copy of a letter written by Mr.
Lincoln Newton Kinnicutt, of Worcester, and will explain
itself. The writer of the letter is one of the few scholars in
the State, who have made a critical study of Indian place-
names found in this neighborhood. A few years ago I asked
Mr. Kinnicutt to give me the benefit of his philological learn-
ing, and tell me the meaning of certain Indian words, which
he has now done. By his compliance with my request he
has placed me under great personal obligations.

Worcester, September 22, 191 3.
My dear Doctor Green : —

When you asked me three or four years ago about the meaning of
the Indian place names in Groton, I promised you that some time I
would try to translate them and you have reminded me once or twice
of that promise.

This summer I was obliged to study the Indian names in the
vicinity of Pemaquid, Monhegan, and York, Maine, and at the same
time I remembered my promise and examined the Indian names
mentioned in " Groton during the Indian Wars."

When the American Antiquarian Society wrote to Dr. J. Hammond
Trumbull in regard to the meaning of the word " Massachusetts" he
replied, " I very willingly give you as much as I know and add what I
guess." Please read Dr. Trumbull's answer again and emphasize
every word of it before reading my ideas in regard to the Groton

I believe, in attempting to give a meaning to an Indian place name,
one should know and see, if possible, the locality and then try to look
at it from the Indian point of view for one must bear in mind that
these names were almost always very descriptive. They served as
geographical guides to the Indians and each area within a twenty or
thirty mile radius had its descriptive distinguishing place name. It is
very interesting to find that sometimes Indian names translated seem
to give additional proof or disproof of some local tradition, of some
accepted statement and sometimes of some historical incident.


If, at any time, you wish to use any of these translations in your
writings about Groton you are at perfect liberty to do so, with no
obligation to give any credit to me. Some time, if I ever publish
another monograph on Indian names, I might possibly use them.

I only hope that although my possible solutions may not prove
satisfactory to you, that you will believe that I have given my best
knowledge and my best guessing.

Very truly yours,

Lincoln N. Kinnicuit.

Babittasset, " name of a village in Pepperell." This is a most
interesting name, and I have not given up all hope of a solution ; but
at present I will not venture to make a suggestion.

Baddacook or Badacock, as spelled in the land grant to Nicholas
Cady the third of eleventh month 1669, a pond in the eastern part of
Groton. The Natick word Padtohquohhan, used as a verb, means,
" to thunder," from a verb which signifies, to hear, to be heard. The
Quiripi has the word, padak, he heareth. 'I'he termination, ock, is
found in many Indian place names (" from ' ohke,' variations auke,
aug, ag, ac, oche, ock, og, oc, uc, Ogue, signifying ground, land, place
not limited or enclosed." — Trumbull). I think that the original sig-
nification of the word may have been, a place where one hears, or
echo place. It would be very interesting to know if at the present
day there is any spot near this pond where there is a noticeable echo
but of course the destruction of the woods may have destroyed it,
even if any ever existed. Also another translation may be the, " place
where it thunders," signifying a locality where severe thunder storms
were frequent. It must always be borne in mind that the spelling of
Indian names was only as they sounded to the individual writer and
it is for this reason so many different forms are given for the same
word. The letter " B " is seldom used as an initial letter in the Na-
tick tongue and from an examination of various names about Groton
I believe there was a mixture of dialects of the Algonkin language.
Indian tribes living within fifty miles of each other in New England
had individual differences in the sound and use of certain letters. On
the borders of Rhode Island and Gonnecticut there were four or five
different dialects with very marked differences in the sounds of the
letters and in the names of objects.

Cataconamog, Catecunemaug, or Cateconimoug, Catacoona-
MUG, a pond in the southeast part of Lunenburg, and southwest part


of Shirley, now Shirley reservoir. The name is also given to a stream,
which rises in the western or central part of Lunenburg and flows
through the pond, and through Shirley into the Nashua. It is proba-
bly from Kehche or K'che-quon-amaug, " the great long fishing
place." As the stream, from the river to the pond, is a series of
small ponds, this is the natural signification of the name, and proba-
bly was first applied to the pond, and stream between the pond and
river. Kehti, " greatest, " " principal " ; quinni, variation quon,
"long," amaug, "fishing place."

Chicopee, a district in the northern part of Groton. This name is
used in several places in Massachusetts and has various spellings :
Chequapee, Chickopee, Chicabee, Chicopee. It is probably from
Chickee or Chekeyeu, " it rages " or " is violent," and Pe, the root
of names of water in nearly all Algonkin dialects, " raging or rushing
water." Originally this name in Groton was probably applied to
some stream. Chikkup also was the name for cedar tree, and
Chikkuppee an adjective meaning, " of cedar." Possibly the name is
a corruption of Chikkuppee-auke, and was first applied to cedar

HuMHAW, a brook in Westford, This name must be much cor-
rupted, and probably is only a part of a long word, and is un-

KissACOOK, a hill in Westford. Kissenaug is the name of a pond
in Middlebury, Connecticut, and Kisnop, the name of a brook in
Salisbury, in the same State. Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull does not
attempt to translate either of these names and therefore I certainly
shall not attempt to translate Kissacook.

Massapoag, a pond lying partly in Groton and partly in Dunstable,
also a pond in the southern part of Lunenburg. The name is from
Massa, " large," variations (Missi, Mashhi) and paug, " standing
water." This same name occurs with some variations throughout
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and was applied to
the large pond in the locality. Massapaug, Mashipaug, Shepaug,
were probably the same. Dr. Trumbull says Sebago, lake in Maine,
was the equivalent, the initial " M " having been lost.

MuLPUS, name of a brook in Shirley. This is not an Indian name.
The Rev. Seth Chandler, in his History of the Town of Shirley, writes
" Tradition saith that it derived its name from a Frenchman by the
name of Multipus, who lived in Lunenburg, near its source."

Nagog, name of a pond in Littleton. This certainly is not a water
name but has been transferred from some near locality to the pond.


This has been a very common usage throughout New England. I
am inclined to believe that the word is a corruption of Natuag, Nai-
yag, Noyack, meaning a point or corner of land. Eliot wrote the
word Naiag or Naiyag, '• a corner or angle/' and without doubt it
was used by the Indians as a boundary mark. Naig-og would mean
corner land.

Nashoba, the old name of Litdeton now applied to a hill in that
town, as well as to a brook in Westford. It was the name of a small
tribe of Indians who lived near Nashoba Hill, and was the name also
of the Indian town which Daniel Gookin, writing in 1674, says was
the " sixth Indian Praying Village." Of course the similarity between
the name Nashua aud Nashoba is very striking but in its present form
I cannot venture a translation. Neshobe was the name of an Indian
scout or spy who gave valuable aid to the Green Mountain Boys,
1 770-1 780. He lived on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain.
Possibly he was a descendant from the old Nashoba tribe. An island
in Lake Bomeseen is now called "Neshobe." There is a tradition
that the word Nashoba meant " the hill that shakes," " that at times
certain rumbling noises were heard and vibratory motions were felt."
There is no trace of this signification in the word.

Nashua, Nashaway, Nashaue, Nashawogg, a "river running
through Groton." These are all different forms of the same name from
Nashaue-ohke, "the land between." The river takes its name from
the land. This root occurs in a great many Indian names in various
localities, mutilated sometimes in many ways. Ashawog, Assawog,
Natchaug probably conveyed about the same idea. Shawamug meant
the half-way fishing place. Nasaw, "between," "in the middle of."
(Cuok, Langue Algonquine.)

Naumox, the name of a district, near the Longley Monument, lying
west of the East Pepperell road. It may have been a place name,
although much corrupted and changed. The letter " x " is very sel-
dom found in a place name, however, as a termination, even with all
the corruptions and changes that such names undergo. The root,
I think, is aum, or om, " a fish-hook (Eliot, Indian Bible, Matt. xvii.
27), aumani, " he is fishing," aumanep, " a fishing line." Nawmock-
set would mean, in my opinion, the country (or land) near the fishing
place, — and this takes care of the letter "x," — set is a locative suffix
often used, and signified "near," or "at."

Namucksuck was the Indian name of a place on the west side of
the Thames River (Miss Caulkins, New London, 123). That name
designated "a fishing place at the outlet," — name, "fish," auk,


" place," suck, " at the outlet or mouth of a stream." Thus the name
could easily have become Naumuchs or Naumox. Nameaug, or
Nameock, from Name-auk, was the Indian name for New London,
" fishing place." If this is a place name, I think that on account of
the many streams, ponds, etc., in the locality, the root namohs, " fish,"
which we find all through New England enters into its composition in
some way.

Another possible solution is that the word is derived from Nayseu-
mauauk, which would probably signify ''the place where he carries
or bears on his shoulders." This same root, in my opinion, appears
in the word Manomet, in Plymouth County. Mai, " a path," and
Nayeumau, " the place where they carry across on their backs."

NissiTissiT, a river running through original Groton township. I
cannot translate this.

NoNACOicus, a brook in Ayer, though formerly applied to a tract
of land. Sometimes the word is abbreviated to Coicus. In looking
over my notes in regard to this name I find that in 1905 I made the
following memorandum. Dr. Samuel A. Green found a writing prob-
ably relating to this name in a book once loaned by Judge Sevvall ;
and on a fiy leaf at the beginning of the book is the following note in
Judge Sewall's handwriting ; " Nunacoquis signifies an Indian earthern
pot, as Hannah, Hahatau's squaw tells me March 24, 1699, which
throws some light on the meaning of an Indian word." George J.
Burns, Esq., of Ayer, wrote as follows, " Near the mouth of the Nona-
coiocus brook there is a succession of irregular ridges of small hills
which surround or enclose various hollows or basins," (Proceedings,
Massachusetts Historical Society, 2d series, viii., pp. 209-211.)
From this I believe the original diminutive and name may have been

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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenFacts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 12 of 18)