Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

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

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furnish the proof. The Court said : " It is of no use to waste time.
It is ordered that Barnabas Blackwood and the eight other defend-
ants be discharged, and this Court is adjourned without day."

There was a suppressed giggle all along the line of ten. The com-
plainant and his numerous sympathizers wore long and wry faces.
The crowd emerged, when the jolly ten formed in line before
the tavern, and Parkins called out, "Three cheers for our young
lawyers," which were given with a will. Before the next May Train-
ing the embryo lawyers had said good-by to the old town of Groton.


John Farrar the writer of the following letter was a graduate
of Harvard College in the Class of 1803, and from the year
1807 to 1836 was the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and
Natural Philosophy. While keeping school at Groton he
boarded in the family of Major Joseph Moors, who com-
manded one of the Groton companies at the Battle of Bunker
Hill. He Hved near the site of the present Groton School,
and a large part of his land is now owned by that institution.

Groton Jan. ist 1803
Dear Sir, — After leaving you at Concord we proceeded on our
journey as fast as the badness of the road would permit us to travel and
arrived at Groton about 6 in the evening. We tarried at Mr. HalFs
tavern near the meeting house over night and the next morning were
conducted to our respective districts. On the friday following I

1 This name is fictitious.


opened my school with about twenty schollars. The number has
been increasing since so that now I have about fifty. With respect
to my boarding place I have such an one as I could wish. I live
vi'ith one of the first farmers in the County of Middlesex. Maj.
Moors, the gentleman's name, keeps about forty head of cattle
besides sheep, horses, turkeys, hogs, &c. &c. He sometimes raises
seven or eight hundred bushels of rye nearly as much corn and
between ten and fifteen thousand weight of hops. His hops this last
season brought him in upwards of one thousand dollars but they cost
him more labor to prepare them for the market than to get his hay. Last
year they were cut off together with large fields of rye, and apples in
all probability sufficient for one hundred & fifty beryls of cyder, by
a most remarkable hail storm near the first of June. The hail stones
were many of them as large as partridge eggs and fell in such quan-
tities and with such violence as to break all the glass in the side of
buildings facing the wind, and to cover the floors of houses with soot
and black hail stones. The storm happened on Monday when it was
very warm ; and altho' it lasted but an hour and an half the hail stones
were knee deep in a certain tray fashion places near here on the Fri-
day following. Parson Write of Boulton [Bolton], preaching here the
succeeding Sunday, picked up hail stones in the road and carried
home for a show. Orchards were so stripped and bruised that they
have borne but little since ; and large dints in buildings about here
still remain as monuments of this tremendous storm.

I live, Sir, with a very hospitable and benevolent people. My
accomodations are very good. I live about one quarter of a mile
from school & about two miles from meeting.

We have today, Sir, experienced a very pleasant and agreeable
commencement of a new year. While it reminds of the benevolence
and the continued mercy of Providence, ought it not lead us to
reflect on the quick succession of years, on the shortness and the
value of life, to consider and to correct the errors of the past year,
and to fortify our minds with such principles of virtue and piety, as
shall preserve us in the pleasant and peaceful paths of wisdom. You,
Sir, and the rest of the family, whether at home or absent I most
cordially wish a happy new year, and many yet to come. I acknowl-
edge the debt of gratitude. I feel a tender attachment to the family.
Every new scene of life leads me to value more and more highly those
habits and principles imbibed in early youth, for which I am indebted
to kind and obliging Parents. I wish, Sir, to hear from home,
particularly of the accident which James lately met with, of his


health, of Samuel's, what Becca is doing &c. &c. My health. Sir,

God be praised, is good, and think not, Sir^ that I am unconscious of

the important blessing.

[Addressed] John Farrar.

Deac. Sam' Farrar Lincoln

Dr. Samuel A. Green, the Groton historian, is authority for the
statement that the late ex-Governor Boutwell in a personal talk with a
student at Lawrence Academy in Groton, said : " If you wish to take
a college course, I trust you will be able to do so. But there are
three things you must have in order to succeed : Industry, integrity,
and civility. You cannot get along without civility." This advice
made so much impression upon the boy that his grandfather has the
words printed on a little card for distribution.

From " The Listener " in the " Boston Evening Transcript," April 5, 1905.


Among my early recollections many years ago is going with
my father one afternoon to the north part of the town in order
to see whether a balloon, sent up from Nashua on that day,
would be visible in Groton ; and I remember my disappoint-
ment in not having the expected view. Within a short time
I have learned that the date of this ascent was August 29,
1838, now more than three quarters of a century ago, and
that the balloon came down in Windham, New Hampshire.
The gas v.'as made on the grounds within an enclosure, and a
fee for admission was charged.

A balloon ascension was made from Lowell, on July 4, 1882,
by James Allen, of Providence, Rhode Island, accompanied
by Charles L. Knapp, of Lowell, which took a westerly course.
The balloon first made its appearance to the Groton villagers,
coming over Gibbet Hill, and passed directly over my place, so
near that conversation was carried on between the aeronauts
and persons below. It continued on its course beyond West
Groton and Shirley, and disappeared in that direction. The
wind was light and its progress slow. I have seen a letter written
by Mr. Knapp, which gives the following particulars of the trip:


Ascension made from North Common, Lowell ; left at 4 : 53,
P. M. ; passed directly over North Chelmsford, 5 : 06 ; Groton, 5:32;
West Groton, 6 : 02, — and 17 miles from Lowell. Then over Shir-
ley, Lunenburg, and plumb over Fitchburg at 6 : 45, landing near
Gardner depot at 7 : 20, P. M.

A balloon ascension was made from Fitchburg on the after-
noon of July 4, 1888, by Malvern Hill Allen, of Providence,
who is a son of James Allen, the veteran aeronaut, mentioned
in the preceding paragraph. The ascent was made from the
Fair grounds at half-past four o'clock, when'_the_balloon took
an easterly direction and sailed away toward Groton. It
passed over the Nashua River at a point near Fitch's Bridge,
crossed the Great Road a httle north of the village of Groton,
and then continued in its easterly flight. With numerous
other persons I watched it from James Lawrence's house on
Farmers' Row for twenty-five minutes, while it remained in
view ; and it was a beautiful sight. I took the bearings of the
course, and, after consulting a Map of Middlesex County, ven-
tured the guess that the balloon would come down in Dracut;
but the descent was made in the adjoining town of Pelham,
New Hampshire, after an aerial trip of 50 minutes.

At this time the young aeronaut was only nineteen years
old, and the ascension from Fitchburg was the third one ever
undertaken by him alone and on his own account. His first
ascent was made from Ridgway, Elk County, Pennsylvania, on
July 3, 1886, and his second from Carlisle in the same State,
on October i, 1887. Mr. Allen, the father, has three sons
now engaged in the art of ballooning, his eldest son James
K. Allen being in partnership with him; and he himself has
been interested in the science of aeronautics for a period of
thirty-five years.


It is said that lightning never strikes twice in the same
place ; but from the following it seems that balloons some-
times come down in the same neighborhood.

On July 4, i860, as a part of the usual city celebration on


that day, a balloon ascension was made from Boston Common
by Samuel King, in company with his sister Mrs. Porter, and
Edwin Bradbury Haskell, of" The Boston Herald " newspaper.
The party left the Common, shortly after six o'clock in the
afternoon, in the balloon known as " The Queen of the Air; "
and the descent was made a little after one o'clock in the
morning, on the hill, immediately south of Snake Hill and
contiguous to it, in the open field behind Sumner Graves's
house, in the south part of Groton. "The Boston Daily
Advertiser," July 6, i860, gives the following account of
the trip :

"The Queen of the Air" went over the harbor, Charlestown,
Cambridge, through the valley of Charles river, touching a ledge
in Waltham, and finally landed in Groton, at one o'clock yesterday
morning. At the time they landed, it was rainy and uncomfortable.
The aeronauts were unfortunate in getting shelter. After applying
to several of the residents, finally they found a good Samaritan in
the person of Mr. Valencourt Stone, who came out with a lantern, and
piloted the balloonists to his house, and paid them great attention.

Eleven years later, the same aeronaut made an ascent from
Fitchburg, on September 27, 1871, under the patronage of
the Worcester North Agricultural Society, and came down
on this identical hill. The landing was made near Mr.
Graves's house, on the west side of the road to Harvard, while
the previous landing was on the east side of the road, nearer
the summit. His descent at this particular spot was not influ-
enced by design, any further than that it was a cleared field,
and a good place to alight. On the first occasion Mr. King
came down in the night time, and, of course, received no clear
impressions of the neighborhood. Approaching the hill dur-
ing the second trip, he did not recognize it as the place of his
former landing ; nor was he aware of the fact until told by
one of the bystanders, after the descent.

I remember seeing the balloon, on the afternoon in ques-
tion, floating along through the air, just before the descent,
at which time Mr, King was busily engaged in waving the
American flag, distinctly visible to a large number of persons
gazing at the novel sight.


"The Fitchburg Reveille," September 28, 1871, has the
following account of the start:

The Balloon Ascension, which had been announced for Tuesday
[September 2 6 J, but failed to come off, took place at a quarter
to five o'clock [on Wednesday]. The airship, with its soUtary
passenger, rose gracefully and sailed rapidly away in an easterly
direction, wafted by the light, west wind, which was blowing at the
time. We learn by telegraph, that Prof King landed safely near
Groton Junction.

•' The Fitchburg Sentinel," September 30, gives this ver-
sion :

The balloon ascension which had been postponed from the
previous day [Tuesday] on account of the rain, took place at *a.
quarter to five [on Wednesday]. Prof. King, the aeronaut, after
leaving ^erra firma in his Air-ship " Aurora," rose to the height
of about half a mile, and then borne by a sHght breeze, floated
slowly off to the eastward, and after an hour's sail, landed in the
town of Ayer, without mishap.

It is certainly a singular coincidence that an aeronaut,
going up from Boston Common, and sailing westward, in a
circuitous direction, should make a 'descent on a hill thirty-
miles away; and that the same man, some years later, going
up from Fitchburg and sailing eastward, should come down
on that identical hill, twelve miles away from the starting-
point, — and this without any design or intention on his part.
It seems to have been one of those accidents, which illustrate
the French proverb that " Nothing is more probable than the


The following copies of original papers were given me,
many years ago, by John S. H. Fogg, of South Boston, in
whose possession they were at that time. They relate to the
South Company of Groton, then commanded by Timothy
Bigelow, who afterward became Speaker of the Massachusetts
House of Representatives, as also did Luther Lawrence, to



whom one of the warrants is addressed. Tyler Bigelow, one
of the private soldiers, was a cousin and subsequently a
brother-in-law of Captain Timothy, and father of the late
Honorable George Tyler Bigelow, formerly chief-Justice of
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. Loammi Baldwin, Jr.,
another private, was afterward a distinguished civil engineer,
who built the Government dry docks at Charlestown and at
Norfolk, Virginia. For many years there were three military
companies in the town, known respectively as the North
Company, the South Company, and the Groton Artillery;
and occasionally they would parade together through the
village streets, and drill as a battalion.

Middlesex ss. To John Reed sergeant. Greeting.

In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you are
required to notify and warn

Joseph Stone sergeant. Ezra Farnsworth.

Sam'. Reed sergeant.

Saml. Paine sergeant.

Rufus Moors corporal.

Thomas Mead corporal

Peter Chase corporal.

Jonas Trowbridge fifer

John Fitch fifer.

Josiah Hazen fifer

John Kemp drummer

Amos Davis Jr. drummer Thomas Gass.

John Adams Jr. drummer Phineas Gould

Abel Farnsworth.
David Fletcher.
Eli Flint

Benj" Farnsworth
Stephen Farrar.
Henry Farwell Jr.
Silas Farwell
Sam! Farnsworth
Zachariah Fitch Jr.

Benj"^ Buttrick
Thaddeus Bailey
Timothy Blood
Oliver Blood 3"*
Jonathan Bennet
Edward Bolton
Jonathan Cooper
Samuel Cooke
Moses Chase.
Samuel Dodge
Abel Davis
Ephraim Farnsworth.

Nathan Hubbard Jr.
Daniel Hart
Elias Hart
Joseph Hemenway
Amos Harris.
Noah Humphreys
James Kendall
Ebenezer Lampson.
Amos Lampson Jr.
Abel Morse
Abijah Nutting
Phinehas Nutting.

Jonathan Nutting
Moses Nutting
Hezekiah Spaulding
Thomas Bennett Jr.
Simon Page Jr.
John Parke.
Elijah Paine.
John Robbins Jr.
John Rockwood
Alpheus Richardson.
Amos Stone Jr.
Caleb Symmes
Phineas Stone.
Sylvanus Smith.
Abraham Symonds.
William Symonds.
Abel Swallow.
Joseph Sawtell 3^*
Peter Tarbell
John Trufant.
Amos Tarbell
Joseph Wright
Asa Wheeler
Parker Wetherbee.


All belonging to the South Company in Groton, in said County
commanded by me of which Company you are the first sergeant
and clerk, to appear on the publick parade, or training field, in said
Groton on Thursday the 4* day of July next, at one of the clock in
the afternoon, with their arms and equipments compleat, for the pur-
pose of military instruction and exercise. And in case you cannot
conveniently notify and warn the said persons as aforesaid yourself
you are to cause the same to be done by some other non-commis-
sioned officer belonging to said company, by giving them, or some
of them, orders for that purpose in my name. Hereof fail not, and
make return of this warrant with your doings thereon to myself at
or before said day. Given under my hand & seal this 4"* day
of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and
ninety nine.

Timothy Bigelovv Captain.

Groton, June 25* 1799.

In obedience to the within warrant I have notified and warned

all the within named persons (or caused the same to be done by a

sergeant) to appear at the time and place.

John Reed.

Middlesex ss. To Luther Lawrence Greeting.

In the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts you are
required to notify and warn

Amos Davis Drummer James Farnsworth.

David Darling Jonas Phillips

Joseph Bullard Isaac Hall

William Shiple Eli Faulkner

Timothy H. Newman Samuel Phips

Benjamin Page Jun^ Daniel Swallow

Phinehas Gould William Stearns

Aaron Jewett. Abel Holden

James Kendall Jabez Parker

Loammi Baldwin Junf Asa Jinneson

Tyler Bigelow Stephen Kemp.

William Lawrence John Wright.

Ezra Farnsworth Daniel Richardson
David Fletcher

All belonging to the South company in Groton in said County
commanded by me of which you are also a member to appear on


the public parade or training field in said Groton on Tuesday the
third day of May next at one of the clock in the afternoon with
their arms and equipments compleat for the purpose of exami-
nation with a view of arms, and for military instruction and exercise.
Hereof fail not and make due return of this order to myself or the
commanding officer at said time and place. Given under my hand
and seal this eleventh day of April in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and three.

Timothy Bigelovv Captain.

Middlesex ss. Groton, April 28, 1803.

In obedience to the within warrant I have given legal notice to all
the persons within mentioned (except Amos Davis, Tyler Bigelow,
and Daniel Richardson who are out of town) to appear at the time
and place within mentioned for the purposes within mentioned,

Luther Lawrence.


On June 20, 1707, Sarah, John, and Zechariah Tarbell
were carried away from Groton by the Indians into captivity.
In the winter of 1739, the boys came back to Groton in
order to visit kinsfolk and see their native town. The
Diary tells of their conferences with relatives of the Rice
boys of Westboro, who were taken captives on August 8,
1704, and in 1740 visited their native place.

1739 ■^P>'i^ 23. NB. Capt. Eager from Court gave advice to
M^ Rice to go down to Boston to Confer w'^ Two Men who had been
Captivated from Groton w? y^ were but Ladds & had dwelt w'l' y*" In-
dians ever since : whose English Names were Tarbell — Capt. Kel-
logg being likw. at Boston who was ready to serve y? as an

April 26. NB. Mr Seth Rice came up from Boston where he had
Conference w|!; y'= Tarbells of Groton & w'.'^ Capt. Kellogg upon y'
Affair of his Brethren's coming down from Canada.

1740 April 2 \. Nigh to Evening came Mr. John Henry Lydius
from Boston, upon his return to Albany : & lodgd here.


April 2^. W; Lydius pursued his Intention Home.
Aiigjcst 6. Letter from Mr. Lydius of Albany, informing that
y^ Rices of Canada desire one of their Brethren of New England
would go up to Albany and meet them on Sept. 6, next : in Order
to their making a Visit hither. M:' Seth Rice here with the Letter.

Sept. 15. NB. This Day arriv'^ W. Eliezer Rice from Albany
with his Brother Ozorongoughton and Mf Tarbell for a Companion
& Interpreter.

Sept. 16. I rode ... as far as M' Seth Rice's where I saw the
Captives. . . . Tow'!' Ev? y^ Captives came to view y^ old House
where M' Rice usd to dwell, and they were at my House, Some
number of y^ Neighbours accompanying y™

Sept. 17. I rode to y^ South & South West of y^ Town, was at
old Mr. Rice's. The Chief had been there and remember^ y'^ Old
Gentleman. They went down w'.'' him to view y" Place whence he
was carryd away Captive. NB. I wrote to y'' Govf concern*^ y^

Sept. 20. M' Rice returnd from Groton.

Sept. 24. Having xtd". no return from y*" Gov' touching y'= Cap-
tives with us, I waited on his Excellency, w? told me y" Gov! &
Council had directed the Secretary to write me an Ans: and he had
done it, but knew not where it lodgd, or where it miscarried. . . .
NB. I wrote to Capt. Tarbell.

1740 Sept. 27. Eliez! Rice rode to Groton for W. Tarbell in
order to his going down, at ye Coihand of y^ Gov! to Boston.
Sept. 28. Mr Tarbell came after Meeting from Groton.
Sept. 29. The Captives went to Boston. In y'' middle of y*
Night, M! Sables came from y-^ Secretary w'!* another Letter concern-
ing y'^ Captives, the first having Miscarried. But I had already
taken effecl Care.

Oct. 5. The Chief Rice not well, was at my House at Eve as he
went from his Br! Ward's to his Br! Seth's.

Oct. 6. Charles Rice and other N" Dind with y^ Captive w': was
grown better. . . . Several Neighbours at Eve.

Oct. 9. The Captives went off: desiring Pray!' in o' Congregation
for y™ NB. Capt. Tarbell of Groton returned home. I rode 2 or 3
Miles with him to Shew him y" Road. NB. his leveUing Rice & his
Brother &c.



The following extract is taken from Captain Lawrence
Hammond's diary, which was given to the Massachusetts
Historical Society with the Belknap Collection, on March 11,
1858. The entry is found under the date of July 27, 1694,
and furnishes some details, hitherto unknown, of the attack
made at that time.

The Indians Set upon Groton burnt 2 Houses, kild 22 persons —
found dead, 13 more missing, they were pursued by about 100
Horse but they returned without finding them.


The Church of Christ in Groton, so called in former times,
and now represented by the Unitarian Society often spoken
of as the First Parish, has an interesting collection of church
silver, the earliest piece dating back to the early part of the
eighteenth century. An interesting description of this col-
lection is given in a large work entitled " The Old Silver
of American Churches," by Mr. E. Alfred Jones, privately
printed at Letchworth, England, in 191 3, for the National
Society of Colonial Dames of America. Accompanying this
is a photographic reproduction of five pieces in one view,
including one from Jonas Prescott, two from Jonathan Law-
rence, one from Josiah Sartell, and one from his widow Mary
Sartell. The article contains biographical sketches of the
givers from notes furnished by Mr. Lawrence Park, and Rev.
Pemberton H. Cressey, minister of the church, of Groton.
The measurements of the different pieces, the makers' names,
and reproductions of their marks are given, as well as copies
of the several inscriptions on the pieces.


In his will, made on December 28, 1723, Jonas Prescott
bequeathed " to the Church of Christ in Grotton fiue Pound


money to be paid by my Executer within six months aftar
my deceas," He was the grandfather of Colonel William
Prescott; and his death took place on December 31, 1723,
three days after the date of his will. There is a silver cup
belonging to the Society, which bears the following inscrip-
tion :

The Gift of Jonas Prescott Esq' to y^ Church of Groton

Perhaps it was bought with a part of the legacy. This cup
was made by Andrew Tyler, of Boston, who died in 1741.


By his will, made on August 27, 1725, Jonathan Lawrence
bequeathed to the town of Groton, as follows :

Item I give and bequeath To the Town of Groton One Hun-
dred Pounds in Good Bills of Publick Credit or other Specia to
the Vallue thereof out of my Estate, to be paid by My Executor
within five years after my Decease unto Such persons as Shall be
Deputed and Appointed by the Said Town to Receive it to be by
them (With my Executor) Layed out & Disposed of toward y^ pur-
chasing & procuring of a Good Meeting House Bell and the putting
it up. &c.

Item I give to the Church of Christ in Groton fourty Pounds
to be paid by my Executor (After named) within four Years next
after my Decease to be Layed out & Disposed of for the procuring
of Some Silver Vessel or Vessels for the Churches use as they
shall Order. Also I give To the Church of Christ in Groton
Twenty Pounds to be Let out or otherwise Improved to the best
advantage the profits and Income arising thereby, to be annually
paid out and accoumpted for to the Settled or ordained Minister or
Ministers of Said Town Successively from Time to time forever
(the Twenty pounds not to be diminished &c)

In his will he mentions his brother Enoch, and his cousin
William Lawrence, who was the executor of his estate. He
was a son of John and Elizabeth Lawrence, of Watertown,
where he was born about 1657, ^"^ died at Groton, on Sep-
tember 19, 1729, in the seventy-third year of his age.

The Church of Christ in Groton, now known as the First


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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenFacts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 14 of 18)