Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

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

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Parish or Unitarian Society, has in its possession two silver
tankards bought under this bequest. They were made by
Jacob Hurd, and each bears the following inscription :

The Gift of

Lie!!! Jon a" Lawranc

to the Church of

Christ in Groton

Ob! Sep!"*^ I9'^

17 29

The following entries taken from the Church Records
relate to the purchase of the tankards :

At a Church Meeting in Groton, Jan? 11* 1733/4 Voted That
y^ Persons appointed (by this Church at y^ meeting the 14''' of Sep*
Last) to Lay out the 40^ Legacy given to this Church by m' Jona-
than Lawrence in his Last Will — do Lay out y^ s'^ 40^ for Procuring
some Silver Vessel or Vessels, according to y"^ Best Prudence ; or as
upon Proper Enquiry they shall think will be most for y" honour of
y^ Donor : as well as of the Lords Table And Deliver s'! Vessel or
Vessels to this Church as soon as they can with Conveniency. . . .

Caleb Trowbridge Pastor

The Legacy was put into William Lawrence's "hand by the
Churche order," followed by the entry below :

After some time The Above appointed brought 2 Silver Tankards
to y^ Churches Acceptance & frely giving m y' time & Trouble
Rec<? y^ churches Thanks ^aleb Trowbridge Pastor

These tankards were made by Jacob Hurd, of Boston, who
died in 1758.


By his will, dated September 3, 1775, Colonel Josiah Sartell
made liberal provisions for the support of the minister of the
town, but unfortunately the will is not now on file in the Mid-
dlesex Registry of Probate at East Cambridge. Mr. Butler,
in his History of Groton (pp. 208-212), makes copious ex-
tracts from it, undoubtedly using the original document,
and for that reason I take his version. Three clauses are as
follows :


My will is, and I do hereby give and bequeath to the town of
Groton, forever, the annual income or rents of that piece of land
in said Groton, where John Archibald now dwells, to be applied
towards the support of the gospel minister in said town.

My will is, and I do hereby give and bequeath to the town of
Groton the sum of one hundred and thirty-three pounds six shillings
and eightpence, the interest of which, one year after my decease, to
be annually applied towards the support of the gospel minister in
said town for ever.

My will is, and I do hereby give and bequeath to the town of
Groton for ever (after the decease of my wife,) all the buildings
and lands which I have heretofore given her during life, [two farms,]
to use and improve for ever ; and positively order, that the same be
not sold, but that they be rented out, and the premises kept in good
repair forever hereafter, and that the overplus of the rents be annually
apphed towards the support of the gospel minister in said town ; and
this to be under the inspection and direction of the three senior
selectmen by choice in said town for ever.

There is reference, in the account of his executor, Isaac
Farnsworth, to delivering the "wrought plate" to the Church,
which may refer to the seven silver cups in its possession,
each engraved with the inscription :

The gift of

Josiah Sartell Esqr

To the Church

in Groton


The first clause in the will of Mary Sartell, widow of
Colonel Josiah Sartell, made on November 28, 1789, is

First, I give and bequeath to the first Church in the Town of
Groton aforesaid my Silver Tankard, and the Sum of Fif-
teen pounds Lawfull money, to be for the use of said Church

Mrs. Sartell was the widow of Colonel Josiah Sartell, who
died on August 30, 1784, aged 74 years; and she died on


March 30, 1790, aged 80 years. In her will she gives a large
number of household utensils "To my Maid PhiUis, formerly
Servant," who was the last survivor of negro slavery within
the Hmits of Groton. The following entry is found in the
town records :

Phillis Walby, servant to Josiah Sartell, Jan., deceased, died at
Groton, aged 79, February , 182 1.

The Church has now in its possession two silver cups, on
which is inscribed the following: —

The Widow

Mary Sartell

to the

Church of Christ

in Groton


These were made by Samuel Bartlett, of Concord, Massa-
chusetts, who died in 1821.

The Church has also three other silver cups inscribed as

follows :

The Gift

of the

Widow Mary Sartell

to the

Church of Christ

in Groton


Presumably these cups were bought with her bequest, or
perhaps made from the silver of the tankard; but I see no
reason for the verbal changes in the two inscriptions.


At my request Clement Hugh Hill, Esq., a member of the
Suffolk Bar, kindly furnished me with a clear and short
account of the suit brought to recover possession of the two
farms devised by Josiah Sartell to the town of Groton. The
farms are contiguous, and situated on Chicopee Row.


Boston, Oct. lo, 1896.

Dear Dr. Green, — The case of William Brigham and wife vs.
Samson Shattuck, as it appears in 10 Pickering's Reports, 306, was
thus :

The will of Joseph Sawtell [sic], of Groton, executed in 1775,
contained these two provisions : " My will is and I do hereby give
and bequeath [devise] to the town of Groton forever, after the
decease of my wife, all the buildings and lands which I have hereto-
fore given her during her life, to use and improve forever, and
positively order that the same be not sold, but that they be rented
out, and the premises kept in good repair forever hereafter, and that
the overplus of the rents be annually applied towards the support
of the gospel minister in said town ; and this to be under the inspec-
tion and direction of the three senior selectmen by choice in said
town forever."

" And as to the remainder of my estate, both real and personal,
and residue of the same not heretofore disposed of, my will is, and
I do hereby order my said executors, at their own option, to dis-
tribute the same to and among the poor of said town and church of
Groton, as I have heretofore been used to do."

The widow of Joseph Sawtell died in 1790, and the town entered
into possession. Subsequently it procured an act of Legislature
authorizing the sale of the devised premises and the reinvestment
of the proceeds. The estate was sold to Job Shattuck, Jr., and
was by him conveyed to the tenant in 1821. This writ of entry was
brought in the right of the female demandant, niece and heir-at-law
of the testator, on the ground of forfeiture for breach of condition
in selling the same. The case was argued at October term, 1830,
in Middlesex, by Samuel Hoar for the demandants, and Daniel
Webster and Luther Lawrence for the tenant. No report of the
arguments is published. Chief Justice Shaw delivered the opinion
of the court, which held that the prohibition of any sale of the estate, if
a condition, was what we know in law as a condition subsequent ; that
a contingent reversionary interest capable of being devised would have
remained in the testator, but that he had devised this to his executor
by the second clause above quoted. Consequently no interest in the
estate descended to Mrs. Brigham, and she and her husband had no
standing in court. This rendered it unnecessary to decide the more
important questions which the case seemed to involve. It is, how-



ever, now well settled that a legislature may authorize the sale and
reinvestment of proceeds of lands devised like this estate, under a
condition against any sale.

Very faithfully yours,

C. H. Hill.
Hon. Samuel A. Green.

Mr. Hill died at St. Leonards-on-Sea on December 12,
1898. He was a graduate of Williams College, and an active
member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.


The following letter relating to a Town Seal will explain
itself. It was printed, first on a sheet for limited circulation,
and, later, in the Annual Report of the Selectmen for the
year ending March 19, 1898. It was adopted by a vote of
the town on April 4.

Boston, March 16, 1898.
Michael Sheedy, Jr., Esq., Groton:

Dear Sir, — Agreeably to your request I send herewith a design,
as given above, for a Town Seal of Groton. For the convenience of
the voters, who are the final judges in the matter, I have had it
printed, so that at a glance its general effect may be more readily
seen. The design is a simple one, and is intended to typify the
character of its inhabitants.

The Bible represents the faith of the early settlers of the town, who
went into the wilderness and suffered innumerable privations in their


daily life as well as danger from savage foes. Throughout Christen-
dom to-day it is the corner-stone of religion and morality. The
Plough is significant of the general occupation of the people. By
it the early settlers broke up the land and earned their livelihood ;
and ever since it has been an invaluable help in the tillage of the


Very respectfully,

Samuel A. Green.



The Groton Herald, " Devoted to News, Literature, Moral-
ity, Agriculture, Politics, Arts, Sciences, &c. &c. — James F.
Rogers, Editor," was first issued on December 5, 1829, and
appeared regularly every Saturday thereafter until September
4, 1830, when it was merged in " The Lowell Weekly Journal."
It was published by Stacy and Rogers, and the first number
contained the following advertisement:



TT/'OULD respectfully inform the inhabitants of Groton and its
VV vicinity, that they have established a new Printing Office in
this town and are ready to receive orders for printing, in all its va-
rious branches. They have furnished their Office with entirely new
type, of the most recent cast, suitable for the execution of






CARDS, &c. &c.

S. & R. having obtained a good assortment of type, feel assured
that they can give satisfaction to all who may favor them with their
custom. [email protected]° Orders from a distance will meet with prompt attention.

Dec. 5.

The Herald was printed " next door to the Post Office," at
that time in the north end of the building since known as


Gerrish's Block, but which was moved away in July, 1885.
It was a creditable newspaper, and will bear a favorable com-
parison with the journals of that period. Between December
12, 1829, and July 3, 1830, it contained thirteen chapters of a
history of the town, of which Mr, Butler wrote the first eleven,
and Mr. Lemuel Shattuck the other two chapters. On June 5,
just six months after the paper was started, Mr. Rogers's
name is dropped as editor, though he still kept up his con-
nection with it, as one of the publishers. In the number for
August 21, appears a story entitled " Henry St. Clair," by J.
G. Whittier, which is probably one of the earliest literary pro-
ductions of the Quaker poet. The subscription price was two
dollars a year in advance.

The "Lancaster Gazette," December 8, 1829, noticed the
new journal as follows :

Groton Herald. We received on Saturday last the first num-
ber of a new paper, printed in Groton, on a fair sheet. It is to be
independent in its politicks. All such papers, well conducted, de-
serve encouragement. We extend to the editors our professional
sympathies, and can only wish that the harvest may be abundant
for all the labourers.

Messrs. Stacy and Rogers were the pioneer printers and
publishers in Groton, and as such deserve a passing notice.
The senior member of the firm was George Whittemore Stacy,
born in Boston, on March 13, 1809, who died in the town of
Milford, Massachusetts, on January 16, 1892. He learned his
trade as a printer of Dutton and Wentworth, who conducted
a large establishment in Boston. While a resident of this
town he was married, on January 18, 1830, to Sarah, daughter
of John and Rebecca (Weston) Boit, of Groton ; and here two
of their three children were born. She died at Mendon, Mas-
sachusetts, on May 25, 1834, aged 25 years and 27 days, leaving
an infant two or three weeks old. He was married, secondly,
on October 16, 1834, to Sarah, daughter of Wing and Mary
(Gaskill) Kelley, of Milford, who died on October 14, 1887;
and they have been blessed with a large family of children.
After leaving Groton Mr. Stacy resided first at Milford, and


later at Mendon. Soon afterward he studied for the ministry,
and was ordained, on May 4, 1836, at Carlisle, where he was
settled for five years over a Unitarian Society. Subsequently
he was minister, for short terms, of liberal societies in Boylston
and Gardner. He v/as an early abolitionist, and has always
been an outspoken advocate of temperance and other reforms.
With decided views on public matters, he never fails to express
them on proper occasions.

The junior member of the firm was James Ferguson Rogers,
a son of Silas and Rebecca (Ferguson) Rogers, and born at
Newburyport on June 6, 18 10. He learned his trade as printer
of Ephraim Allen, publisher of " The Newburyport Herald."
He was a clever writer, and the editor of the newspaper. He
had a decided taste for poetry, and wrote some good verses.
His customary signature was " Cleo," though sometimes he
used the initials " J. F. R." or " R." alone. After leaving
Groton in the autumn of 1830, he worked at his trade. Dur-
ing this period he was a frequent contributor to the press;
and many of his poetical effusions were printed in the New
York Mirror, Philadelphia Album, Philadelphia Gazette, La-
dies' Magazine, American Monthly Magazine, Literary Mag-
azine, Essayist and other periodicals. While on his way home
to Newburyport he died of cholera in New York on July 5,
1832, after an illness of only a few hours. The " Columbian
Centinel," July 9, 1832, under "Deaths" has the following
notice of him:

In New York, 5th inst. of the cholera morbus [cholera?], Mr.
James Ferguson Rogers, printer, in the 2 2d year of his age. Mr. R.
was a native of Newburyport, Mass. and was distinguished for his
superior literary attainments, which, together with his unassuming
deportment and gentlemanly manners, drew around him a large
circle of friends, who deeply lament his sudden and untimely death.
It may afford some consolation to know that every attention was
paid to him during his short but painful illness.

More than twenty-five years ago, through the kindness of
Mrs. Rebecca Helen Noble, of Haverhill, a younger sister of
Mr. Rogers, I was enabled to examine a journal kept by him


during a short time. It is evident from the entries that he
was a keen observer of things, and from the style a writer of
considerable merit. If he had lived a few years longer, he
would have won a reputation either as a journalist or a man
of letters. The first entry in the diary was made on March 28,
183 1, and the last one on November 14 of the following
autumn. It begins thus:

March 28, 1831. The reasons why and wherefore I have con-
cluded to keep this journal, are simply these : — I consider myself
to be a wandering and unsettled being whose life will be made up
of events which happen by chance and accident and by keeping an
account of the every-day occurrences of my life, I shall be able to
judge at any time whether the balance of virtue or vice be on my
side. As the established merchant keeps an account of every little
transaction in business, so should the " citizen of the world " make
his entries of incident, upon the same principle. Knowledge is com-
modity — and this is what we are daily receiving. Another reason
why a journal will be of great utility, is that many things that would
otherwise be forgotten will herein be preserved ; — it will be a por-
trait of the inner man — the day-book of the heart, and a guide by
which we can shape our future course more correctly by observing
the defects in that road we have just travelled over.

In sketching the period of his life passed at Groton, he
writes :

The winter of 1829 found me the Editor of a paper in the town
of Groton in Massachusetts. Here, although a mere boy, I placed
myself in a responsible situation. But I was cheered on by the
success of my writings, and, so far as I have knowledge, gave gen-
eral satisfaction to my readers. Involved in all the difficulties which
attend the life of an editor, I pressed forward and got through won-
derfully. Here I was obliged alternately to be poet, politician,
novelist, and everything else that is required in a country paper.
Wrote verses for the ladies — praised the crops for the farmers —
looked grave with the parson and cunning with the lawyer ; and in
fact did everything which a country editor is always obliged to do,
even unto folding and carrying papers, sticking type and working
at press, and in short becoming a perfect Caleb Quotum in real


Before the first year had elapsed, the income of the concern being
small, and not relishing the manner of the majority of the people, I
resolved to relinquish the publication and try my fortune elsewhere.
— Accordingly I disposed of the establishment, and again took up my
residence in Boston, But it was not without some gloomy feelings
that I left Groton. It is a beautiful spot, and I have left there many
warm friends, and a great matty cold and indifferent acquaintances.
But I am convinced that a person who is born and bred in cities,
can never gain popularity among the great body of our country
people. There is a difference in the comprehension of things which
can be accounted for only by the limited knowledge'of country
people and the extensive advantages of those who reside in cities.
Here in this place also I was engaged in a small love affair ; but as
it did not amount to much it is best to say not much about it. I

will just remark, however, that Sarah B proved herself to be a

coquette — that I proved myself to be a warm-hearted fool who can
love anything upon earth that appears to love me — and it is better
the flame, or rather the smoke, was so soon extinguished.

About this time a prospect of business called me south ; but
when at my journey's end I was disappointed in my plans and I was
obliged to journey back again. In the city of New York I was
taken sick, but I pushed forward for Boston where I was under the
care of a physician two or three months.

From the time I resigned my editorship at Groton, I have been
a constant contributor to several literary works, and have studied
incessantly besides attending to daily business ; for a man, espe-
cially a novice, must do something more than spin out his brain, in
order to get his bread.

The following entry in the diary was written presumably
at Philadelphia. The name of the article would indicate to
a native of the town that the scene of the story was laid at
Groton, as it was.

Tuesday, May 10 [1831], wrote the "Legend of Gibbet Hill"
for the Philadelphia Album. Drew some characters from real life,
two young ladies, who were once particular friends of mine. True
portraits — expect to get into a scrape — can't help it, I have
always been wanting to say something.

These extracts from the journal show something of the
writer's character. Rogers had a good deal of poetic


ardor, and some of his printed verses are full of anima-
tion. He held a ready pen, and saw the humorous side
of things.


The following communications will explain themselves.
Mr. Wright, the author of the note to me, was born at South
Canaan, Connecticut, on February 12, 1804, graduated at
Yale College in the class of 1826, and died at Medford,
on November 22, 1885. Mr. Dickson, the writer of the
letter to Mr. Wright, was born at Groton, on August 8,
1809, graduated at Yale College in the class of 1832, and
died at Ouenemo, Osage County, Kansas, on July 5, 1882.
The allusion in the letter is to Frederick Augustus El-
dredge, of Dunstable, New Hampshire, a member of Mr.
Dickson's class, who, after the trouble at New Haven, en-
tered Dartmouth College, where he graduated in the cor-
responding class. He was a son of Dr. Micah and Sally
(Buttrick) Eldredge, and born at Dunstable, Massachusetts,
on March 25, 1810. He was fitted for college at Groton
Academy by Mr. Wright, at that time the head-master of
the school, which will account for his interest in the matter.
After leaving New Haven Eldredge was engaged in teaching,
and intended to enter the ministry. He died at Dunstable
(now Nashua), New Hampshire, on January 13, 1836, less
than four years after his graduation. It is needless to add
that he belonged to an old New. England family of excellent
stock; and the little tempest was caused by his swarthy com-
plexion. While at college Eldredge roomed with Dickson
in Mrs. Mills's house.

His father. Dr. Micah Eldredge, practised his profession for
many years at Dunstable, living first on one side of the State
line and then on the other. It may be noted here that the
running of the Provincial boundary between Massachusetts
and New Hampshire in the year 1741 nearly bisected the


old town of Dunstable, and created two towns of the same
name, adjoining each other, one in each Province. This con-
dition of affairs continued until January i, 1837, when the
New Hampshire township, by legislative enactment on De-
cember 8, 1836, put aside its old name and took that of
Nashua. Dr. Eldredge was a representative from Dunstable
to the Massachusetts Legislature in the years 1809 and 181 1,
but, at the writing of the letter, he appears to have been liv-
ing on the New Hampshire side of the line. He removed to
Groton in the year 1826, where he remained for two years,
living on what is now Hollis Street, in the house occupied
by the Reverend John Todd when Mr. Butler's Map of the
town was published. He left Groton early in 1828, and went
to Dunstable (now Nashua); and he died on July 2, 1849,
at Milford, New Hampshire. The honorary degree of M. D.
was conferred upon him by Dartmouth College in 1841.

Boston, Dec. 20, 1884.

Dear Dr. Green, — As you are born Historian, you have a
better right to Dickson's letter than I have, so I commit it unre-
servedly to your hands, to make such use of it as you see fit.

Yours truly, Elizur Wright.

West Springfield, July 17, 1832.

Dear Wright, — I received your letter of inquiries respecting
our friend Eldredge, while attending our Senior examination at
New Haven, last week ; and I will endeavour to answer your ques-
tions as. far as I can recollect the circumstances. Though from the
time that has elapsed since, and not having laid up the particulars
for future use, I can give you only a general outline of the affair.

The student's name was Grirake, of South Carolina, son of the
celebrated lawyer Grimke'. The tutor was Jones. What he said
with regard to the complaint at the time I know not. Jones wrote,
not to Eldredge's father, but to Mr. Nott, minister in Dunstable,
N. Hampshire, where Dr. Eldredge lives. The object of his writing
was (as I understood from Jones himself afterwards) not to satisfy
himself (Jones), as to Eldredge's being a white man, but, he said,
he thought if he could have a letter from some one in Eldredge's
place, it would satisfy the scruples of the Hon. Southerner (who,


by the way, had no more to brag of as to looks, than Eldredge).
All I know of the feeling of the Faculty on the subject, is what I
gathered from a conversation with Prof. Goodrich on the subject,
when Eldredge took his dismission : the amount of which was that
the Faculty thought Eldredge had been badly treated, — that they
had done what they could, without making it worse, to remedy the
evil, and that he (Goodrich) thought Eldredge had sufificient reason
for leaving the College.

On the part of the students, there was a good deal of feeling,
both for and against Eldredge. Most of the Southerners joined with
Grimke, while most of the rest of the class were indignant both at
Grimke', and that Jones should take any notice of such a message,
otherwise than to spurn it and reprimand the bearer. Eldredge

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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenFacts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 18)