Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

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

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was most shamefully treated after the affair broke out, which was
the first or second term Freshman year, and was kept up till the
end of Sophomore year, when Eldredge took a dismission. I
never would have borne half that he did ; and it would have been
much better for him to have left at the beginning, for it had so
much effect upon him, that his last year there was little better than
lost, as it regarded his studies. It got into the next class, as it was
in ours, so that after Grimke and his gang were expelled in our
rebellion, Eldredge had no more peace than before. Not unfre-
quently while about the college yard, he would be insulted by these
gentlemen, so sensitive at the idea of negro blood, though I shrewdly
suspect but few of them could be found without a spice of the
Darkee in their veins. Nor was this all, his windows were broken
two or three times Sophomore year, to say nothing of Freshman
year. Finally, he left on account of the negro aftair, started by
Grimke'. It would be no more than fair to state that probably, Jones
would not have noticed the complaint, had it come from almost any-
one besides Grimke. G. was a haughty, overbearing fellow, and
despised by a great part of the class, though he had Jones completely
by the nose, as was manifest even in the recitation room.

Eldredge went to Dartmouth College, where he was doing well
the last time that I heard from him. I have not been in Groton since
last fall. Brother Walter has left Groton. Mr. Todd has had a call
to go to Salem, Mass. Whether he will go or not, I am unable to
say. I made out to stick by old Yale, til I had my name read off in
Latin. I shall make them one more visit to get my A. B. ; and, if I
do not have too much to do, between this time and that, perhaps I


may show them how Massachusetts boys can write Disputes. I have
been teaching school in this place about three months. They wish
very much to have me continue here, but I shall not, unless they
raise their price a good deal. You know that chaps in my circum-
stances are looking out for money. Have you got a good school for
me in Ohio?

Yours, &c., C. Dickson.


Prof. Elizur Wright,
Hudson, Portage County,


On the morning of Thursday, March 27, 1845, the town of
Manchester, New Hampshire, was thrown into the most in-
tense excitement by the announcement that Jonas Longley
Parker, collector of taxes and a well-known citizen of that
town, had been murdered during the previous evening, in a
thick clump of pines, just east of the village. Robbery was,
undoubtedly, the object of the atrocious crime, as Parker was
wont to carry large sums of money about his person. It is
known that the murderer took a pocket-book containing
several thousand dollars from a side pocket in his coat, while
he overlooked a wallet in his trousers with $1,635. Large
rewards were at once offered for the criminal, both by the
town and State authorities. Several persons were arrested at
different times on suspicion, but their guilt was not estab-
lished. A full account of the affair is given in Potter's His-
tory of Manchester, New Hampshire (pp. 619-624).

Jonas L. Parker, the victim, was a native of Groton, and
born in the house, near the Cow-Pond meadows, where Mrs.
Susanna (Blood) Prescott was cruelly murdered during the
night of November 11, 1885. His remains were brought to
Groton for interment in the Parker tomb, on the north side of
the old Burial Ground.


The town records contain the following entry :

Jonas Longley Parker, son of Jonas L. Parker and Elizabeth, his
wife, born in Groton, Feb. loth, 1810. Murdered and robbed at
Manchester, N. H., at about y^. past nine o'clock in the evening of
the 26th of March, 1845, ^g^d 35 years.


[email protected]* Fitch's bridge over the Nashua river at Groton, was carried
away by the freshet, a day or two since.

" Lowell Weekly Journal and Courier," March 7, 1851,


Rooms of the Historical Society, Oct. 27, 1887.

My dear Dr. Green, — I write down at your request the
anecdote of Luther Lawrence which you heard me narrate some
time ago.

Luther Lawrence was an intimate friend of my father, who
esteemed him very highly. I have seen him at my father's house
in my early childhood ; and I remember often hearing my father
speak of him, after his death, especially of his wisdom and hu-
manity in his provision for the well-being and moral character of
the operatives, during the early days of the cotton manufacture at

The story is this : Mr. Lawrence, when a young lawyer, lived at
Groton. He started one day to go to Boston in a chaise. Mr.
Dana, better known as Judge Dana, then also a young lawyer, was
his companion. They stopped late in the forenoon at Watertown
to bait their horse and get some dinner. There was an ordination,
I believe, perhaps a dedication, going on in the town, a great affair
in those days. People had come from far and near. The green
about the church was filled with carriages, and the church crowded.
Dr. Channing was to preach the sermon.

Mr. Lawrence observed to Mr. Dana that he would like to hear
the sermon, but he supposed it would be impossible to get in. An


old chap named Samson Woods, a well-known character of that
period and a neighbor of the two lawyers, was in the bar-room.
Said he, " You can come with me, I'll get you in." Woods started
for the church, and the young men followed with some hesitation.
When they came to the middle door, leading to the broad aisle,
Woods marched boldly up. The door was guarded by two con-
stables, who crossed their staves to prevent his entrance. "You
have seats reserved here for the clergy, I believe," said Samson.
" Yes," hesitatingly replied one of the constables. Woods passed
in, and Lawrence and Dana were following when the ofificial staves
were again interposed. Woods turned round, with great dignity,
" You will admit my deacons, of course." " Yes," said the officer,
still more reluctantly. Lawrence and his companion went in, but
as they passed, he heard one of the constables say to the other,
" There must be a hell of a church somewhere."

Geo. F. Hoar.


More than thirty years ago I received a letter from William
Boynton Wait, Esq., Vice-President of the Merchants' Na-
tional Bank of Little Rock, Arkansas, telling me that he was
born at Groton in the year 1808, and making inquiries about
the town. I at once began a correspondence with him ; and
he subsequently wrote me from Little Rock, under the date
of March 11, 1884:

My father, Levi Wait, was born at Groton, February 26, 1780,
and died in Albany, N. Y., December 22, 1823. He was married
to Betsey Jones, of Acton, April i, 1807. My mother was the
daughter of Hannah Jones, whose first husband, Capt. Isaac Davis,
was in command of the Acton company at Concord Bridge, where
he fell on April 19, 1775. I believe he was the first officer killed
in the Revolution.

My father moved with his family to Albany in 181 7; and in
1824, when I was sixteen years old, I went to Boston consigned by
my mother to the care of her old Groton friend, Abraham Moore.
He placed me in a grocery store, where I remained until July 1S29,


and then I came West to Cincinnati. While in Ohio I was a store
or steamboat clerk until December, 1830, when I came here to take
a clerkship in a store at the old Post of Arkansas. I have been in
trade or business of some kind in Arkansas since the year 1834,
most of the time at this point.

During the early part of the year 1887 I happened to be
in Little Rock, when I availed myself of the opportunity to
call on Mr. Wait. I found him to be a gentleman of the
old school, who well represented the dignity of the town of
Groton. The years sit lightly on his shoulders, and he would
pass for a much younger man than an octogenarian. He has
accumulated a handsome fortune, which he is now enjoying
in leisure and with liberality. He told me that he was born on
Farmers' Row, in the house occupied by J. K. Bennett, — as
laid down on Mr. Butler's Map, — near the road leading to
the Red Bridge, but which in my boyhood was known as the
Amasa Sanderson place. Mr. Wait has been at Groton but
once in seventy years, and that was soon after the late War
of the Rebellion, when he came with a son to revisit the
scenes of his childhood. He became a resident of Arkansas
six years before it was admitted into the Union as a State.


In " The New-England Chronicle : or. The Essex Gazette "
(Cambridge), September 14, 1775, is given a list of American
prisoners, who had been taken at the Battle of Bunker Hill
and confined in Boston jail, with their places of abode.
Among the names are the following from Groton and its
neighborhood :

Lieut. Col. Parker Chelmsford.

Capt. Benjamin Walker .... Chelmsford.
Lieut. Amaziah Fassett .... Groton.


Oliver Stevens Townsend.

Amasa Fisk Pepperell.

Archibald M'Intosh Townsend.

David Kemp Groton.

Stephen Foster Groton.

The list comprised thirty-one persons, of whom twenty had
died at the date of the newspaper, including all those men-
tioned above. Captain Walker died on August 15.


It is a painful duty for us to record this week the death of this
most estimable man.

Friday afternoon, Jan. 23, at about a quarter of five o'clock.
Judge Bennett breathed his last. Friday preceding his death he
attended to his court duties, and Saturday he was prompt at his post
at the usual hour of opening of court in the morning. Saturday he
was much weaker than on the preceding day, and from that time he
grew weaker and weaker until death ended his suffering. For nearly
a year previous to the death of the Judge he could not speak above
a whisper, which was an indication that the disease of which he died,
consumption, had become fairly seated. For a number of years
previous to this he had not enjoyed good health.

Mr. Bennett was a graduate of the class of 1853, of Harvard Col-
lege. The junior year of his collegiate studies was spent at Yale
College, in New Haven, Conn. While attending to his studies at
Harvard College he held the prominent position of Professor of
Latin, Mathematics and the Classics at Mystic Seminary, in Med-
ford ; and at the close of his usefulness in this institution of learning,
he became Principal of the Hopkins classical school in Cambridge,
and taught one year, when it was, by special act of the legislature,
discontinued. This classical school was under the supervision of the
trustees of Harvard College.

During his stay in Cambridge he attended the Law school, and
when he closed his law studies he moved to Boston and practised
law on Court street, in the office of Lyman Mason. He also had
offices at Groton and Groton Junction.


He was an excellent scholar and a man possessed of high literary
attainments. By his studiousness he became an expert as a trans-
lator, and could read and translate fourteen or fifteen languages,
among them the Sanscrit, Norse and Anglo Saxon. A number of
his translations from the German and other languages have been
published ; and they were eagerly sought for by the press. He has
written for the Bibliotheca Sacra, Congregationalist and other papers,
and received the award for the prize article which he wrote for the
Bibliotheca Sacra. He has been a valuable contributor to this paper
for some time past.

He served as one of the Trustees of Lawrence Academy for ten
years or more, and held a number of offices. He was a member of
the executive committee, committee of finance, examining committee,
and was secretary of the Board of Trustees, which offices he held at
the time of his death. He was a member of the Board of School
Committee of Groton, for a number of years, and closed his connec-
tion with the Board last fall. A large portion of the school reports
were written by him from year to year, extracts from which were fre-
quently incorporated in the report of the Board of Education. In
the earlier part of his hfe he taught school in Groton. He was a
member of the Groton Musical Association since 1858. He was
a member of the Orthodox church, clerk of the parish a number of
years, and had been superintendent of the Sabbath school.

He was appointed Judge of the First District Court of Northern
Middlesex at Ayer, by Governor Washburn, July, 1872, which posi-
tion he held since the court has been established. It was a good
selection and he was admirably adapted for this post of honor.

Owing to his continued ill health, and by the advice of his physi-
cian, he moved to Ayer with his family about two months ago. His
remains were taken to Groton for burial, and the funeral services were
held at the Orthodox church. By the request of Mr. Bennett, the
Rev. Wm. M. Parker of West Boylston, formerly the pastor of this
church, preached the sermon and his remarks of the deceased were
very appropriate and just. His death has cast a gloom over the
entire community. If he had lived till next month he would have
been forty-three years of age. He was a gentleman, a scholar, a
good citizen, a man of excellent judgment and good common sense.
His place cannot be easily filled. Groton and Ayer mourn his loss.
We sadly miss him.

[" Public Spirit," Ayer, Thursday, January 29, 1874.]


Judge Bennett was the son of Josiah Kendall and Lu-
cinda (Nutting) Bennett, and born at Groton, on February
4, 183 1.


In the spring of 1832 the following Act was passed by the
General Court of Massachusetts; and under the authority of
the enactment a company was organized at Groton for the
manufacture of starch.

A mill was built for the purpose on the Groton side of the
Squannacook River, three-quarters of a mile above the village
of West Groton, but the undertaking did not prove to be a
success. It stood on the site of the present paper-mill in
that locality; and the place is shown on Mr. Butler's Map of
Groton. It was expected that this new industry in the town
would help the farmers of the neighborhood by encouraging
the cultivation of potatoes which were to be used in making
starch, but the scheme was a failure.

All Act to incorporate the Dana Manufacturing Company.

Sec. I. Be zV enacted by the Senate and House of Represefitatives,
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, That
Oliver Sheple, Samuel Dana, Samuel Dana, Jr., Oliver Shepie, Jr,
James Dana, and Washington Sheple, their associates and assigns
be, and they hereby are constituted a corporation and made a body
politic, by the name and style of the Dana Manufacturing Company,
for the purpose of manufacturing cotton and woollen goods, iron
wares, and starch from any materials, in the respective towns of Gro-
ton and Shirley in the county of Middlesex, and for this purpose
shall have all the powers and privileges, and be subject to all the
duties and requirements contained in an act passed the twenty third
day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and thirty, entitled " an act defining the general powers and duties of
manufacturing corporations.

Sec 2. Be it further enacted, That the said corporation may take


and hold such real estate, not exceeding in value the sum of two
hundred thousand dollars, and such personal estate not exceeding
in value two hundred thousand dollars, as may be suitable and con-
venient for carrying on the business aforesaid.

[Approved by the Governor, March 13, 1832.]

The building was subsequently used as a paper-mill, and
burned many years ago, on June 7, 1842. Soon afterward
another mill was erected on the same site, which was bought
on October 22, 1852, by Lyman Hollingsworth of Jephthah
Richardson Hartwell. The plant was sold in 1881 by Mr,
Hollingsworth to Messrs. Hollingsworth and Vose, of Boston,
who still own it. The senior partner of this firm is a nephew
of the former owner. The product of the mill is a Manilla
paper of high grade, of which about three tons are made
daily. On August 7, 1889, I visited the mill when they were
making a paper, which is sent to England in boxes, for the
manufacture of sand-paper, and very likely to be returned
here in that form. In the stock-houses there were two
hundred tons of old cordage, more or less, ready to be
ground up and used in connection with "wood pulp," which
enters largely into the composition of the article. Last year
a new dam, a solid granite structure in place of the original
one, was built ; though, in times of low water, steam-power
is required to turn the machinery.

The direct road from the village of West Groton to the
paper-mill, — perhaps three quarters of a mile in length, —
was laid out by the County Commissioners on April 13, 1838.
An attempt was previously made by interested persons, in
the spring of 1832, to have the same piece of highway built,
but it did not meet with success, as it was then adjudged by
the Commissioners to be " not of common convenience and
necessity." Of course the road was opened in order to accom-
modate the business of the new factory.

The paper-mill on the Nashua River, at the Paper Mill Vil-
lage, was originally a wooden structure, and built in the year
1 841 by Oliver Howe, who owned the saw-mill and grist-mill
in close proximity; and here the manufacture of Manilla


paper was carried on. During more than a century there has
been a dam at this place across the river, and in early times
there was, also, a ford known as the Stony Fordway or Stony
Wading-place. Among the Massachusetts Archives at the
State House is a rough plan, made probably about the year
1740, which gives the names of the bridges, etc., in this neigh-
borhood, at that period. It is found in the volume marked
on the back " Maps and Plans " (XVI. 6), and bears the
catalogue number 1482.

About the year 1846 the property, on which stood these
several mills, was sold to the brothers John Mark and Lyman
Hollingsworth ; and on September i, 185 1, Lyman sold his
share to the other brother, John Mark, who rebuilt the paper-
mill, making it of brick, but the building was very soon after-
ward burned. The following item is taken from the " Boston
Daily Journal," Monday, June 7, 1852:

Paper Mill Burnt. We learn that a paper-mill, dwelling-
house and out-buildings adjoining, situated in Groton, and owned-
by Mr. J. M. Hollingsworth, were totally consumed by fire on
Saturday [June 5].

The mill was at once rebuilt, and soon again in operation.

J8^-J. M. Hollingsworth's extensive and costly paper mills, at
Groton Junction [Paper Mill Village], are nearly ready to go into
operation. Mr. H. intends to manufacture first quality book paper,
employing about 35 hands.

" Lowell Weekly Journal and Courier," May 20, 1853.

On March 7, 1865, Mr. Hollingsworth, just before his death
on April 6 of that year, sold the property to his brother Ly-
man ; and eleven years later it was burnt for the second time.
The "Boston Evening Journal," Friday, May 26, 1876, has
the following account of the fire :

Mill Burnt at Groton, Mass.

The large paper mill of Lyman Hollingsworth at North [?]
Groton was destroyed by fire on Thursday afternoon [May 25].
It gave employment to about fifty workmen and was valued at


^140,000. The insurance is placed in the following companies :
Etna, Hartford, and Phoenix of Hartford ; Home of New York ;
North British and Mercantile ; Springfield Fire and Marine ; Fire
Association of Philadelphia ; Meriden Fire ; Roger Williams of Provi-
dence, and Shawmut of Boston. It is divided as follows : On mill,
$50,000; machinery, $24,000, and on stock, covering the probable
loss, $8,000. It is not yet known how the fire occurred.

The mill was again rebuilt, this time by Lyman HoIIings-
worth, and the manufacture of book paper continued, now
with a daily product of about five tons. On December 13,
1 88 1, the establishment was sold to Messrs. Tileston and Hol-
lingsworth, of Boston, and in July, 1889, by them transferred
to the Tileston and Hollingsworth Company, of Boston, a cor-
poration organized under the laws of the Commonwealth.

During the autumn of 1882 Messrs. Tileston and Hollings-
worth caused a suitable stone to be placed by the wayside,
near the mill, bearing the following inscription, which will
explain itself:







May 8, 1709,




For many of the facts in this article I am indebted to
Charles William Jenks, of Boston, who for a long time was
connected with the mill. After graduating at Harvard Col-
lege in the Class of 1871, he came to Groton and remained
ten years, during which time he was engaged in the business
of paper-making at this mill. Mr. Jenks writes me, under
date of September 28, 1889:

I was at Groton from the year 18 71 to 1881. When I went
there we thought two tons a good day's run, but when I came away


we had nearly doubled that amount, without any radical change in
the mill, being assisted in the increased product by the use of wood
pulp. I think the mill now makes about five tons, steam-engines
having been put in.


William Austin, Jr., whose death is recorded below, was
a son of the Honorable William and Charlotte (Williams)
Austin, and born at Charlestown, on September 15, 18 11,
and died at Groton of typhoid fever, on January 8, 1835, ^t
the house of Mrs. William Farwell Brazer. He graduated at
Harvard College in the Class of 1831, and, while yet an un-
dergraduate, as well as afterwards, he had taught District
School, No. I. For several years he was engaged to a young
lady of Groton, who took care of him during his last illness.
His father vi?as the author of " Peter Rugg, the Missing Man,"
a tale of some note, which first appeared in the "Norfolk
Republican" (Roxbury), September 8, 1827, and the two
succeeding numbers, though it was afterward considerably
enlarged and otherwise changed, and printed in " The Boston
Book" for the year 1841. It was said that a remark of the
son, when a lad, prompted the writing of the story.

In Groton, 8th inst. Mr, William Austin, Jr. of Charlestown, 23,
a graduate of Harvard University, of the class of 1831.

" Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot," January lo, 1835.

On the 8th inst. Mr. William Austin, Jr. 23.

The many friends of Mr. Austin will need no recital of the striking
and interesting traits of his character to quicken their recollection of
all that he was, and no portrait of ideal excellence to enhance the
sense of their loss. The world at large, unconscious of his merit,
will deem his praise but the customary tribute to the departed, or
ascribe it to the partial voice of friendship. But it is imposed as
a sacred duty on the witnesses of his mental and moral worth, that
they do not permit his virtues to pass with him unacknowledged to
his untimely grave. His character was most rare and estimable.


Whatever may have been his share of what are generally considered
brilliant qualities, he possessed in an uncommon degree for one so
young, those which the well-disposed and thoughtful usually acquire
only with .increasing years and experience. He was most remark-
able for the strength of his religious principles, and his constant appU-
cation of them in all his actions, even the least important. Many
may perhaps be found, who would as readily as he avoid injuring the
rights or feelings of another ; but he did not stop here ; those who
have not witnessed can hardly realize how active was his benevolence,
and how constantly he was devising means to confer obligations, as
far as in his power, on all with whom he had any connexion.

In 1 831, on leaving the University, at which he had been distin-
guished, he engaged in the office of instruction, for which he was
highly qualified, though not by his talents and acquirements alone.
His zealous industry had rendered him a very respectable scholar

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Online LibrarySamuel A. (Samuel Abbott) GreenFacts relating to the history of Groton, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 16 of 18)