Samuel A. (Samuel Abbott) Green.

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

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year on the third day of the month.

WHEREAS some Circumstances that must happen will render
it necessary that the Court of Common Pleas, by Law
appointed to be holden at Groton, within and for the County of
Middlesex, on the 3d Tuesday of May Inst, should be adjourned
to some future Day : All Persons concerned are to take Notice, that
the same Court will be adjourned to the first Tuesday in June next,
then to proceed to Business Jurors Parties and Witnesses will govern
themselves accordingly.

By Order of Three of the yustices of the same Court.

N. B. As the Court of Common Pleas will adjourn as above, it is
probable that the Court of General Sessions of the Peace will be
adjourned in like Manner.


Middlesex, ss ) '^~
May 9, 1783 5 1

*HE Clerk of the within mentioned Courts is
[ay 9, 1783 5 J. directed to pubhsh the within Advertisement

in the papers, and to send Copies thereof to the several Parts of
the County.

A Fuller,
Jainies Prescott,
Samuel Phillips Savage.

A true Copy of the Originals filed in the Oftice of the Courts
abovementioned, May 9 1 783.

Attest. THAD. MASON, Clerk

The following Resolution was passed by the General Court,
on May 2, 1787, and is found in the printed volume of" Re-
solves" (p. 280), where the chapter is numbered XXXI.

Resolve adjourning the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, and
Court of Common Pleas in the county of Middlesex^ to the fourth
Tuesday in May inst. May 2, 1787.

Whereas by reason of the sitting of the Supreme Judicial Court,
at Concord, on the second Tuesday of May instant, the sitting of
the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, and Court of Common
Pleas, at Groton, on the Tuesday following, may be attended with

Resolved, That the said Court of General Sessions of the Peace,
and Court of Common Pleas, by law to be holden at Groton, within
and for the county of Middlesex, on the third Tuesday of May in-
stant, shall be holden at Grototi aforesaid, on the fourth Tuesday
of the same month, and that all writs, processes and recognizances,
returnable to, and all appeals made to the said Court of General
Sessions of the Peace, and Court of Common Pleas, appointed by
law to be holden at Groton; and all matters, causes and things, that
have day or that might have had day, been moved or done at, in, or
by the said Courts, at the time so appointed for holding the same,
shall be returnable to, and may be entered, prosecuted, had, moved
and done at, in, and by the said Courts, at the time herein appointed
for holding the same. And the Secretary is hereby directed, to pub-
lish this resolve, in the two next Adams and Nourse's, Halls, and
Charlestown papers.

It is highly probable that Shays's Rebellion, which broke
out in the summer of 1786, had some connection with the


removal of these sessions from Groton. The uprising in
Middlesex County was confined exclusively to this neighbor-
hood, and the insurgents always felt a bitter spite against the
Court of Common Pleas, which they had tried so hard to
abolish. The action of the Legislature in making the change
seems to have been in part retributive.

During the period when the Courts were held here, Groton
was a town much more important relatively, both in size and
influence, than it is at the present time. According to the
National Census of 1790, it was then the second town in pop-
ulation in Middlesex County, Cambridge alone having more
inhabitants. In that year Groton had 322 families, number-
ing 1,840 persons; and Cambridge, 355 families, numbering
2,115 persons, while Lowell had no existence. Charlestown
had a population of 1,583 ; and Newton, 1,360. Reading, with
341 families (19 more than Groton), numbered 1,802 persons
(38 less than Groton). Woburn then had a population of
1,727; Framingham, 1,598; Marlborough, 1,554; and Wal-
tham, 882. Pepperell contained 1,132 inhabitants; Shirley,
^-JT, Westford, 1,229; and Littleton, 854.

The Court House at Concord was burned down early on
the morning of June 20, 1849, during a session of the Court.
The County Commissioners declined to rebuild, and left the
matter to the next General Court. On February 13, 1850,
Mr. Boutwell, then a member of the Legislature, presented to
that body a petition of Nathaniel Pierce Smith and others,
that the terms of the Court of Common Pleas ordered to be
held at Concord, should be held at Groton ; and the question
was duly referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The
subject was followed up, on March 18, by petitions from
Pepperell, Townsend, Shirley, Littleton, and other neighbor-
ing towns, in aid of Mr. Smith's petition, which all took the
same course. On March 26 the committee reported leave
to withdraw, which recommendation was carried on April 8,
after a long debate. One week later the matter came up
again in another form on April 15, when the project for a
change was defeated for the last time.



At my request, some years ago, the late Ellis Ames, Esq.,
of Canton, furnished the following account of the Probate
Courts held here, which forms a fit supplement to this article.

No statute in the Provincial period regulated the times and places
of holding Probate Courts. I suppose the Probate Judges held
their Courts at the Court House on days of which they had before
given notice to the public.

By the Constitution of Massachusetts, which went into effect on
October 25, 1780, the Judges of Probate were required to hold their
Courts at such places, on fixed days, as the convenience of the
people should demand, and the General Court was required from
time to time thereafter to appoint times and places for holding Pro-
bate Courts, until which appointments the Courts were to be holden
at such times and places as the respective Judges of Probate should

The General Court did not, by any law, fix times or places for
holding Probate Courts in Middlesex County until, by a statute
passed June 14, 18 13, a Probate Court was ordered to be held at
Groton on the first Tuesday in March, on the second Tuesday in
May, and on the third Tuesday in October.

A change was made in the law by statute passed February 14,
1822, when the Probate Courts in Groton were required to be held
on the first Tuesday of May, the last Tuesday of September, and
the last Tuesday of December.

By a law passed on March 20, 1832, the Probate Courts at Groton
were required to be held on the first Tuesdays of May and Novem-
ber, which was continued by the Revised Statutes of 1836.

By statute of 1856, Chap. 273, the first Tuesday of November
was changed to the third Tuesday of October. By statute of 1857,
Chap. 78, the Probate Courts at Groton were required to be held
on the fourth Tuesdays of May and September, which last provision
was carried into the General Statutes, and by the statute of March
30, 1866, these two Groton Probate Courts were removed to be held
at Cambridge, since which time no Probate Court has been held at

October 20, 1877.


During my boyhood the sessions of this Court were held in
Mr. Hoar's tavern.

An Act was passed by the Legislature, on June 15, 1821,
authorizing the Judge of Probate to hold a special Court at
Groton, on the second Tuesday of August of that year. After
1858 all the Groton Probate Courts were held at the "Junc-
tion" (now Ayer), until they were abolished by the statute of
March 30, 1866.




November 10, 1897.

On this occasion, as a representative of the family, I have
been asked to say a few words about Francis Green, in whose
memory the bronze tablet, to-day for the first time, is exposed
to public view. It is now the opinion of all persons interested
in the subject, that he was the earliest American advocate in
behalf of the education of the deaf; and the present exer-
cises are intended to commemorate his labors as a pioneer
in this branch of instruction. Under these circumstances a
simple narration of certain events in his life may be in keeping
with the requirements of the occasion, and a short account
of his philanthropic work may be worthy of passing notice.

Francis Green belonged to an old New England family, be-
ing a descendant in the fourth generation from Percival and
Ellen Green, who sailed from London for these shores in the
spring of 1635, and were living at Cambridge during the next
year. He was the second son of Benjamin and Margaret
(Pierce) Green of Boston, where he was born on August 21,
1742 ; and a grandson of the Reverend Joseph and Elizabeth
(Gerrish) Green of Salem Village, now Danvers. His great
grandparents were John and Ruth (Michelson) Green, of
Cambridge ; and his great-grandfather was an only son of
Percival and Ellen Green of that town, and was Marshal-
General of the Colony, following his father-in-law, Edward
Michelson in the office.


Fortunately for our purposes, during the later years of his
life, Mr. Green wrote out some of the main incidents of his
career, telling how he became interested in the deaf, and what
he had done by the aid of his pen toward their education, and
also giving a sketch of his family for several preceding gener-
ations. This account he entitled : " Genealogical and Bio-
graphical Anecdotes of the Green Family, Deduced from the
First American Generation by Francis Green for his Children's
Information, 1806."

Many years ago the original manuscript was placed tempo-
rarily in the hands of my father, the late Dr. Joshua Green, of
Groton, who copied it for the use of his branch of the family.
Without doubt it was indirectly through the copy then made
that the authorship of" Vox Oculis Subj'ecta" — a work well-
known to scholars interested in the education of the deaf —
was first recognized and identified. The simple fact was pre-
viously known that the writer of the book was an American,
and that his name was Green, but nothing more.

Taking some interest in the manuscript myself, and think-
ing that the statements there recorded might be also of inter-
est to others, I made a short abstract of the account, and sent
it to Mr. Chamberlain, editor of "The Gallaudet Guide," a
monthly periodical, then published in Court Square, Boston,
and devoted to the cause of the deaf. The article was printed
in the number for November, i860, and — as I had hoped, but
hardly expected — it attracted the attention of two or three
persons, who cared enough about the matter to write to me
for further facts concerning Mr. Green's history. Among
these correspondents was Mr. Samuel Porter of Hartford, at
that time the editor of the " American Annals of the Deaf
and Dumb " (Hartford), who is still living at the advanced
age of nearly ninety years. In a letter from him, dated De-
cember 27, i860, he wrote, asking for more details, and also
expressing his deep interest in the subject. At his request
I prepared another paper, entitled " The Earliest Advocate
of the Education of Deaf-Mutes in America," which appeared
in the "American Annals" for March, 1861. In the main
this account was an amplification of the other one that had


been printed previously in "The Gallaudet Guide." Perhaps
it is not too much to say — and I can give Mr. Porter as
authority for the assertion — that through these two articles the
authorship of " Vox Oadis Snbjecta " became definitely known
to scholars who were studying this special branch of learning.

As a boy, young Green received his education partly in
Halifax, Nova Scotia, and partly at the Boston Latin School,
from which he was admitted into Harvard College during the
summer of 1756. His collegiate course there, however, was
but a partial one, as circumstances beyond his control com-
pelled him to leave Cambridge at the end of his Freshman
year, though he was allowed to take the degree of A.B. with
his class in 1760, a favor granted only under very exceptional
circumstances. The year before his entrance at college his
father had procured for him an ensign's commission in the
Fortieth Regiment, with the understanding that he should
have leave of absence from the army until he had completed
his four-year's course. In 1757, on account of the war with
France, orders came from the Commander-in-chief that all
officers, without regard to rank, should join their respective
commands. On the reception of this news, Green repaired
immediately to his regiment in Halifax, with the expectation
that his leave of absence would be renewed; but in this he
was mistaken. From his father, who was Secretary to Gen.
William Pepperrell, commander of the expedition against
Louisburg in 1745, he appears to have taken a fancy for mili-
tary life. He now made up his mind to join his lot with that
of the army; and in this branch of service he remained for
nine years, selling out his commission in 1766, at which time
he held the rank of lieutenant. During these early years of
his life he was stationed at different places in Nova Scotia
and Canada, and saw some active service in the West Indies.

After leaving the army he took up mercantile pursuits in
his native town, but during the political troubles, then breed-
ing here, his sympathies were with the Crown, and in March,
1776, he left Boston on its evacuation by the British, and sailed
away with the fleet. For a while he lived in Halifax, and for
some time afterward in New York, until 1780, when he took


his departure for England, where he remained for four years
longer. While abroad, he gave much time and thought to
the cause of the deaf, and he wrote a book on the subject, the
same work to which reference has already been made under
the title of" Vox Oculis Subjecta" London, 1783. Returning
to America in 1784, for some years he made his home at
Preston, Nova Scotia, and in June, 1797, he took up his abode
at Medford, where he lived until his death, which occurred
on April 21, 1809.

During these last twelve years of his life, sometimes under
his own signature, and at other times under that of " Philoco-
phos," he wrote much for the newspapers, particularly for the
"New England Palladium" (Boston), on his favorite topic;
and he also made translations from the French on the same
subject, which were likewise printed in the " Palladium."
These various productions from his pen served to call public
attention to a matter that lay near and dear to his heart, and
without doubt they stimulated a sentiment which to-day is
felt throughout the land. It seems almost a suggestion of
fate that the " Sarah Fuller Home for Little Children who
cannot Hear," organized less than ten years ago, should have
been established in the neighborhood of Mr. Green's dwell-
ing place, in a city which, through his writings, is so full of
early associations with this interesting class of boys and girls.

Francis Green was married, first, on October 18, 1769,10
his cousin Susanna, youngest child of Joseph and Anna
(Pierce) Green of Boston, who died on November 10, 1775.
His mother and her mother were sisters, and his father and
her father were brothers, thus forming a double cousinship
between himself and his wife. By this union there were five
children, of whom one was deaf; and through this son the
father became interested in the class of children, which makes
him the subject of these exercises this afternoon. He was
married, secondly, on May 19, 1785, to Harriet, daughter of
David and Sarah (Seymour) Mathews, of New York. Her
father was Mayor of that city during several years of the
Revolutionary period. By this second marriage there were
six children.



By Tempus.

"Time is money," the economist cries.
Take care of the precious minutes,

Lose not a single second as it flies,
For an age is made of minutes.

" Time is money," the prodigal replies,
And then he scatters what he gets.

To care for expense is unwise,

For we 'U take time to pay our debts.

["American Journal of Numismatics" (Boston) for April, 1874.]



Ames, John, 91,

Austin, William, Jr., 190.

Balloons, 157.

Bancroft, Amos, 119.

Bar and Clergy, 181.

Barstow, John, 70.

Bedford, Mass., 77.

Bellows, Albert Jones, 126.

Bennett, Josiah Kendall, 184.

Blitz, Antonio, 192.

Boston, 1828-30, 91.

Boutwell, George Sewall, reminiscen-
ces, I ; visit to Boston, 182S-30, 91 ;
elements of success, 157.

Brick house, first, 100.

Bulkley, Edwin Adolphus, 105.

Bunker Hill, battle, 94 ; prisoners
taken at, 183.

Burns, George J., on " Nonacoicus,"

Butler, Caleb, to Ephraim Abbot, 147.

Canal, Boston to the Hudson, 59.
Chaplin, Daniel, on Battle of Bunker

Hill, 95.
Chaplin, William Lawrence, 85.
Child, Moses, 131.
Church organ, 69.
Church silver, 165.
Council, Ecclesiastical, 17 12, 80.

Dana, James, first case, 150.
Deaf, Francis Green, and education
of the, 207.


Eldredge, Frederick Augustus, 177.
Election of 1839, 22 ; of 1840, 25.
Epitaphs, soldiers', 50.
Ether, first operation under, 147.

Farms for sale, 89.

Farnsworth, Claudius Buchanan, old
pottery, 100.

Farnsworth, Daniel, 194.

Farrar, John, 155.

Felch, David Henry, 132.

Finnegan, Charles A., 73.

First church, dedication of meeting-
house, 1840, 68.

Fitch's bridge, 181.

Fitchburg Records, in.

Frost, Ebenezer Hopkins, in first oper-
ation under ether, 147.

Genealogical items, 148.
Green, Asa and Phebe, 138.
Green, Joshua, diary, 1775, 135.
Green, Francis, " Vox Oculis Subjecta,"

Green, Louisa (Blanchard), 102.
Green, Samuel Abbott, Address, Horace

Mann School, 1897, 206.
Groton, in 1835, 5; bibliography, 40;

early items, 58; by " Listener," 115;

naming of, 128 ; as a shire town,

196 ; Probate Court, 205.


Hall, Stephen, gravestone, in Peters-
ham, lOI.
Hazard, Rufus, 93.



Hill, Clement Hugh, on Joseph Saw-

tell's will, 170.
Hoar, George Frisbie, bar and the

clergy, 181.
Hodges, Almon Danforth, Richards

family, 34,
Holden, Edmund, 114.
Hopkinson, Thomas, first case, 150.
Hops, cultivation of, 102.
Hurd, Isaac, 125.


Indian attack, 1694, 165.
Indian words, 139.


Kinnicutt, Lincoln Newton, some In-
dian words, 139.

Lakin family, 107.

Lawrence, Asa, 97.

Lawrence, Eleazer, 148.

Lawrence, George L., 43.

Lawrence, Henry Lewis, stage-driver,

Lawrence, James, gift of church organ,

Lawrence, Jonathan, bequest, 166.

Lawrence, Samuel, on Battle of Bunker
Hill, 96.

Lawrence, Samuel, Jr., recollections,

Lawrence, Sarah, 194.

Lawrence Academy, 88.

Lawrence family, 78.

Lawrence farm, 63.

Lawrence play-ground, 133.

Leominster, Mass., 78.

Longley, Zechariah, 115.

Lothrop, Samuel Kirkland, reminiscen-
ces, 74.


Massachusetts Hop Company, 102.
Mercy and Mary, 149.
Mulberry trees, 94.


Newspapers, earliest, 172.
Nonacoicus, 55.


O'Brien, James Joseph, story of the

Civil War, 44.
O'Connor, Timothy, 44.

Paper mills, starch factory and, 186.
Park, John, first brick house, 100.
Parker, Jonas Longley, 180.
Parker, William, family, 149.
Parkman, Ebenezer, diary, 163.
Pensioners, Revolutionary, 128.
Perry, Mrs. Sarah (Lawrence), 194.
Physicians, 117.
Pottery, old, 100.
Prescott, Jonas, bequest, 165.


Rebellion, soldiers in the, 53.

Recollections, early, 42.

Revolution, soldiers in, 46 ; sons of the,

52 ; items, 1 14.
Rice, John H., no.
Rice children, captives, 163.
Richards family, 34.
Richardson, Adam, 123.
Richardson, Alpheus, books published,

Road, old Townsend, 92.
Roman Catholic Church, 73.

Sartell, Josiah, bequest, 167, 169.

Sartell, Mary, bequest, 168.

Schoolmaster, 1718, 90.

Seal, town, 171.

Shattuck, Benjamin, 124.

Shepley, Elizabeth, 127.

Shepley, Jonathan, estate, 85.

Silver, church, 165.

South Military Company, 160.

Stacy and Rogers, 172.

Starch factory and paper mills, i86.

Stevens, Peter, 75.

Stone, William Newcomb, 126.

Tarbell, Asa, brick house, 101.
Tarbell children, captives, 163.



Tea tax, 98.

Thayer, William Roscoe, poem "To

Boutwell," 2.
Time, a poem, 216.
Tooker, William Wallace, on " Nona-

coicus," 57.


Union Church, dedication, 70; name,



Varnum, Joseph Bradley, 76.


Wait, William Boynton, 182.
Watertown, Mass., ordination, 181.
West Groton, first church at, 66.
Weston records, 112.
Willard, Elizabeth (Shepley), 127.

Yellow day, 106.


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