Samuel Adams Drake.

Historic fields and mansions of Middlesex online

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fair writer received an answer from her friends within forty-
eight hours.

Putnam's old sign of General AVolfe, which he displayed
when a tavern-keeper at Brooklyn, Connecticut, is still pre-

Before we depart from Cambridgeport the reader will permit
us a pilgrimage to the homes of ]\Iargaret Fuller and Washing-
ton AUston. Margaret was born in a house now standing in
Cherry Street, on the corner of Eaton Street, with three splen-
did elms in front, planted by her father on her natal day. The

Putnam's headquarters. 193

large square building, placed on a brick basement, is removed
about twenty feet back from the street. It is of wood, of three
stories, has a veranda at the front reached by a flight of steps,
and a large L, and now appears to be inhabited by several
families. Miss Fuller went to Edward Dickinson's school, situ-
ated in Main Street, nearly opposite Inman, where Eev. S. Iv.
Lothrop and 0. W. Holmes were her classmates. Her father,
Timothy Fuller, and herself are still remembered by the elder
people wending their way on a Sabbath morn to the old brick
church of Dr. Gannett.

Allston lived in a house at the corner of Magazine and
Auburn Streets. His studio was nearly opposite his dwelling,
in the rear of the Baptist church, in a building erected for
him. It was confidently asserted by Americans in England,
that had Allston remained there he might have reached a high
position in the Eoyal Academy ; but he was devotedly attached
to his country and to a choice circle of highly prized friends at

Allston realized whatever prices he chose to ask for his pic-
tures. Stuart only demanded $ 150 for a kit-kat portrait and
$ 100 for a bust, but Allston's prices were much higher. Bein"-
asked by a lady if he did not require rest after finishing a work,
he replied : " Xo, I only require a change. After I finish a
portrait I paint a landscape, and then a portrait again." He
delighted in his art.

He was received in Boston on his return from England with
every mark of affection and respect, and his society was courted
in the most intelligent and cultivated circles. Even the young
ladies, the belles of the period, appreciated the polish and
charm of his manners and address, and were well pleased when
he made choice of one of them as a partner in a cotillon, then
the fashionable dance at evening parties.

Besides his immediate and gifted family connections, Allston
Avas much attached to Isaac P. Davis and Loammi Baldwin,
the eminent engineer. The painting of " Elijah in the Wilder-
ness " remained at the house of the former in Boston until it
was purchased by Labouchiere, who saw it there. It has been

9 M

194 nisTorjc fields and mansions of Middlesex.

repurchased by Mrs. S. Hooper, and is now in the Athenteum
Gailery. jSTo distinguished stranger went away from Boston
Avithout seeing Allston ; among others he was visited by Mrs.
Jameson, who was taken by the artist to his studio, where he
exhibited to her several of his unfinished works and sketches.
It was a most interesting interview.

Allston's " Jeremiah," an immense canvas, with figures larger
than life, was ordered by Miss Gibbs. " Saul and the Witch
of Endor" and "A Bookseller and a Poet" were painted for
Hon. T. H. Perkins. " Miriam on the Shore of the Red Sea,"
a magnificent work, with figures nearly life-size, was executed
for Hon. David Sears. The " Angel appearing to Peter in
Prison " was painted for Dr. Hooper. A landscape and exqui-
site ideal portrait, finished for Hon. Jonathan Phillips, were
destroyed in the great fire of 1872. "PtosaUe," an ideal por-
trait, was painted for Hon. I^. Appleton. " The Valentine,"
another ideal subject, became the property of Professor Ticknor.
" Amy Eobsart " was done for John A. LoweU, Esq. Besides
these the painter executed works for Hon. Jonathan Mason, X.
Amory, F. C. Gray, Eichard Sullivan, Loammi Baldwin, — for
whom the exquisite " Florimel " of Spenser Avas painted, —
Theodore Lyman, Samuel A. Eliot, Warren Dutton, and others.
This catalogue will serve to show who were Allston's patrons.
For each subject the price varied from seven to fifteen hundred
dollars. About 1830 a number of Boston gentlemen advanced
the artist $ 10,000 for his unfinished " Eelshazzar."




" Ye fields of Cambridge, our dear Cambridge, say
Have you not seen us walking every day ?
Was there a tree about which did not know
The love betwixt us two ? "

CAMBEIDGE seems to realize the injunction of a sagacious
statesman of antiquity : " If you would have your city
loved by its citizens, you must make it lovely."

The location of this settlement was, according to Governor
Dudley, due to apprehensions of the French, Avhich caused the
colonists to seek an inland situation. They decided to call it
Newtown, but in 1638 the name was changed in honor of the
old English university town. Cambridge was made a port
of entry in 1805, hence Cambridgeport. It became a city
in 1846.

The broad, level plain where Winthrop, Dudley, Bradstreet,
and the rest bivouacked in the midst of the stately forest in
1631, and looked upon it as

" That wild where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot " ;

where they posted their trusty servants, with lighted match, at
the verge of the encampment, and the moon's rays glittered on
steel cap and corselet ; where they nightly folded their herds
within the chain of sentinels, until they had hedged themselves
round about Avith palisades ; Avhere they repeated their simple
prayers and sung their evening hymn ; where learning erected
her first temple in the wilderness ; and where a host of armed
men sprung forth, Minerva-like, ready for action, — the abode
of the Muses, the domain of Letters, — this is our present walk
among the habitations of the living and the dead.


Old William "Wood, author of the first printed accomit of
Massachusetts, says : — ■

" Newtown was fii'st intended for a city, bvit upon more serious
consideration, it was thought not so tit, being too far from the sea ;
being the greatest inconvenience it hath. This is one of the neatest
and best compacted towns in New England, having many fan- struc-
tures, with many handsome contrived streets. The inhabitants most
of them are very rich."

Old Cambridge a hundred years after its settlement was, as
we have mentioned, the peculiar abode of a dozen wealthy and
aristocratic families. Their possessions were as extensive as
their purses were long and their loyalty approved. Tliey were
of the English Church, Avere intermarried, and had every tie —
social position, blood, politics, religion, and we know not what
else — to bind them together in a distinct community. The old
Puritan stock had mostly dispersed. Many had passed into
Connecticut, others into Boston ; and still others, finding their
ancient limits much too narrow, had, in the language of that
day, " sat down " in what are now Arlington and Lexington,
and were long known distinctively as the " farmers." These
latter, with the fragment still adhering to the skirts of the an-
cient village, had their meeting-house and the College, Avhich
they still kept free from heresy, — not, however, without con-
tinual watchfulness, nor without attempts on the part of the
Episcopalians to obtain a foothold.

It was believed before the Eevolution that the jNIinistry
seriously contemplated the firmer establishment of the Church
of England by creating bishoprics in the colonies, — a measure
which Avas warmly opposed by the Congregational clergy in and
out of the pulpit. Tithes and ceremonials were the bugbears
used to stimulate the opposition and arouse the prejudices of
the populace. Controversy ran high, and caricatures appeared,
in one of which the expected bishop is seen taking refuge on
board a departing vessel, while a mob on the wharf is pushing
the bark from shore and pelting the unfortunate ecclesiastic
with treatises of national law.

The large square wooden house Avhich stands on Main


Street, directly opposite Gore Hall, was built by the Eev. East
Apthorp, I). D., son of Charles Apthorp, an eminent Boston
merchant of Welsh descent. It was probably erected in 17G1,
the year in which Dr. Apthorp Avas settled in Cambridge, and
was regarded, on account of its elegance and proximity to the
University, with peculiar distrust by Mayhew and his orthodox
contemporaries. It was thought that if the ministerial plan
was carried out Dr. Apthorp had an eye to the Episcopate, and
his mansion was alluded to as " the palace of one of the humble
successors of the Apostles." So uncomfortable did his antag-
onists render his ministry, that Dr. Apthorp gave up his charge
and removed to England in the latter part of 1764.

The pleasant old house seems next to have been occupied by
John Borland, a merchant of the capital, who abandoned it on
the breaking out of hostilities, and took refuge in Boston, where
he died the same year (1775) from the effects of a fall.

Under the new order of tilings the mansion became the
headquarters of the Connecticut troops, with Old Put at their
head, on their arrival at Cambridge, and Putnam probably re-
mained there until after the battle of Bunker Hill. It con-
tinued a barrack, occupied by three companies, until finally
cleared and taken possession of by the Committee of Safety,
the then executive authority of the province.

Its next inhabitant was " John Burgoyne, Esquire, lieu-
tenant-general of his Majesty's armies in America, colonel
of the queen's regiment of light dragoons, governor of Fort
William in Xorth Britain, one of the representatives of the
Commons of Great Britain, and commanding an army and fleet
on an expedition from Canada," etc., etc., etc. Such is a faith-
ful enumeration of the titles of this illustrious Gascon as pre-
fixed to his bombastic proclamation, and which must have left
the herald breathless long ere he arrived at the " Whereas."
For a pithy history of the campaign Avhich led to Biu'goyne's
enforced residence here, commend us to the poet : —

" Biirgojnie gaed up, like spur an' whip,
Till Fraser brave did fa', man ;
Then lost his way ae misty day,
In Saratoga shaw, man. "


The house fronts towards Mount Auburn Street, and over-
looked the river when Cambridge was yet a conservative, old-
fashioned country town. That street was then the high-road,
which wound around the foot of the garden, making a sharp
curve to the north where it is noAV joined by Harvard Street.
It was, therefore, no lack of respect to the Rev. Edward Holy-
oke, the inhabitant of the somewhat less pretending dwelling
of the College presidents, that caused Dr. Apthorp to turn his
back in his direction.

The true front bears a strong family resemblance to the
Vassall-Longfellow mansion, the design of which was perhaps
followed by the architect of this. The wooden balustrade
which surmounted, and at the same time relieved, the bare
outline of the roof was swept away m the great September gale
of 1815. A third story, which makes the house look like an
ill-assorted pair joined in matrimonial bands for life, is said to
be the work of Mr. Borland, who required additional space for
liis household slaves. The line of the old cornice shows where
the roof was separated from the original structure. The posi-
tion of the outbuildings, now huddled together in close con-
tact with the house, has been changed by the stress of those
circumstances which have from time to time denuded the estate
of portions of its ancient belongings. The clergyman's grounds
extended to Holyoke Street on the one hand, and for an equal
distance on the other, and were entered by the carriage-drive
from the side of Harvard Street.

As it noAV stands, about equidistant from the avenues in
front and rear, it seems a patrician of the old regime, Avithdraw-
ing itself instinctively from contact with its upstart neighbors.
The house which John Adams's apprehensions converted into a
Lambeth Palace was, happily for its occupant, never the seat
of an Episcopal see, or it might have shared the fate with whicli
Wat Tyler's bands visited the ancient castellated residence of
the Archbishops of Canterbury.

We found the interior of the house Avorthy of inspection.
There is a broad, generous hall, Avith its staircase railed in Avith
the curiously wrought balusters, Avhich the taste of the times


required to be different in form and design. A handsome re-
ception-room opens at the left, a library at the right. Tlie for-
mer was the state apartment, and a truly elegant one. The
ceilings are high, and the Avainscots, panels, and mouldings
were enriched with carvings. The fireplace has still the blue
Dut(di tiles with their Scripture allegories, and the ornament;il
fire-l^ack is in its place.

Directly above is the stats chamber, a luxurious apartmeut
within and without. "We say without., for we looked down
upon the gardens, with their box-bordered walks and their un-
folding beauties of leaf and flower, — the fruit-trees dressed in
bridal blossoms, the Pyrus Japonica in its gorgeous crimson
bloom, with wliite-starred Spiraea and Deutzia gracilis en-
shrouded in their fragrant mists.

" A brave old house ! a garden full of bees,
Large dropping poppies, and queen hollyhocks,
With butterflies for crowns, — tree peonies,
And pinks and goldilocks."

In this bedchamber, which wooed the slumbers of the
sybarite Burgoyne, the walls are formed in panels, ornamentetl
with paper representing fruit, landscapes, ruins, etc., — a species
of decoration both rare and costly at the period when the house
was built. Mr. Jonathan Simpson, Jr., who married a daughter
of Mr. Borland, became the proprietor after the old war. Mrs.
Manning, the present occupant, has lived to see many changes
from her venerable roof, and the prediction that her prospect
would never be impaired answered by the overtopping walls of
contiguous buildings.

"We crave the reader's indulgence Avhile we return for a
moment upon our own footsteps to Dana Hill, upon which we
have hitherto traced the defensive lines. The family for Avliom
the eminence is named have been distinguished in law, politics,
and letters, — from Eichard Dana, of pre-Eevolutionary fame,
to his descendants of to-day.

The Dana mansion, surrounded by beautiful gnrounds, for-
merly stood some two hundred feet back from the present
Main Street, and between EUery and Dana Streets. It Avas a


wooden house, of two stories, not unlike in general appearance
that of Mr. Longfellow, but was many years since destroyed
by fire.

Judge Francis Dana, a law-student with Trowbridge, and
who was succeeded as chief justice of Massachusetts by The-
ophilus Parsons, filled many positions of high trust and respon-
sibility both at home and abroad. The name of Ellery Street
happily recalls that of the family of Mrs, Judge Dana. With
the career of Eichard H. Dana, poet and essayist, son of the
judge, and with that of the younger Eichard H. and Edmund
his brother, grandsons of the jurist, the public are familiar.

When William Ellery Channing was an undergraduate he
resided in the family mansion of the Danas, the wife of the
chief justice being his maternal aunt. It
is said that, although half a mile distant
from college, he was always punctual at
prayers, which were then at six o'clock
through the whole year.
Nik ■ ry. "-^-T ~ "^ — ^ Between Arrow and Mount Auburn
Streets was the estate of David Phips, the
sheriff of Middlesex, colonel of the gover-
nor's troop and son of Lieutenant-Governor
Spencer Phips. A proscribed royalist, his
house, some time a hospital, was afterwards
the residence of William Winthrop, and
is now standintf in fliir preservation. The
estate is more interesting to the antiquary
as that of Major-General Daniel Gookin, Indian superintendent
in the time of Eliot, and one of the licensers of the printing-
press in 16G2, — an office supposed not to have been too arduous
in his time, and not considered compatible with liberty in our
own. What this old censor would have said to many of the
so-called respectable publications of to-day is not a matter of
doubtful conjecture. It was under Gookin's roof, and perhaps
on this very spot, that Generals Goffe and Whalley were shel-
tered until the news of the Eestoration and Act of Indemnity
caused them to seek another asylum.


The large, square wooden house at the corner of Harvard and
Quincy Streets, and which stands upon the extreme limit of
the College grounds in this direction, was the first observatory
at Harvard. It is at present the residence of Eev. Dr. Pea-
body, chaplain of the College. George Phillips Bond, subse-
c^uently professor of astronomy, was a skilful optician, who
had, from innate love of the science of the heavens, established
a small observatory of his own in Dorchester, where he pur-
sued his investigations. He Avas invited to Harvard, and, with
the aid of such instruments as coidd be obtained, founded in
tliis house what has since grown to be a credit to. the Univer-
sity and to America. He had the assistance of some of the
professors, and of President Hill and others. Triangular points
were established in connection with this position at ]\Iilton Hill
and at Bunker Hill. It was the intention to have erected an
observatory on Milton Hill, but difficulties of a financial char-
acter interposed, and President Quincy purchased Craigie Hill,
the present excellent location.

We are now trenching upon classic ground. We have passed
the sites of the old parsonage of the first parish, built in 1670,
and in which all the ministers, from Mr. Mitchell to Dr.
Holmes, resided, taken down in 1843 ; the traditional Fellows'
Orchard, on a corner of Avhich now stands Gore Hall ; tliu
homes of Stephen Sewall, first Hancock Professor, and of the
Professors Wigglesworth, long since demolished or removed, to
find all these former landmarks included within the College

If the reader obeys our instincts he will not foil to turn
aside and Avend his Avay to the Library, erected in 1839-42,
through the munificence of Governor Gore. Witldn the hall
are the busts of many of

" Those dead but sceptred sovereigns, wlio still rale
Our sjjirits from tlieir urns."

The cabinets of precious manuscripts, some of them going
before the art of jirinting, and almost ])Utting it to lilush Avith
their beautifully illuminated pages ; the alcoves, inscribed Avith


the benefactors' names, and garnered with the thoughts and
deeds of centuries, — each a storeliouse of many busy brains,
and each contributing to the aggregate of human knowledge ; —
all these seemed like so many ladened hives of human patience,
industry, and, perchance, of ill-requited toil.


Here is your dainty fellow in rich binding, glittering in gold
title, and swelling with importance, — a parvenu among books.
You see it is but little consulted, — the verdict of condemna-
tion. Here is a Body of Divinity, once belonging to Samuel
Parris, first minister of Danvers, in whose family witchcraft
had its beginning in 1692. His name is on the fly-leaf, the
ink scarcely faded, while his bones have long since mouldered.
Truly, we apprehend such bulky bodies must have sadly lacked
soul ! Many of Hollis's books are on the shelves, beautifully
bound, and stamped with the owner's opinions of their merits
by placing the owl, his family emblem, upside down when he
wished to express his disapproval.

Somehow we cannot take the book of an author, known


or unknown, from its accustomed place without becoming as
deeply contemplative as was ever Hamlet over the skidi of
Yorick, or without thinking that each sentence may have been
distilled from an overworked, thought-compressed brain. But
if one laborer faints and falls out of the ranks, twenty arise to
take his place, and still the delvers in the mine fullow the
allimng vein, and still the warfare against ignorance goes on.

The library was originally deposited in Old Harvard, which
was destroyed by fii'e on the 2-ith January, 1764, and with it
the College library, consisting of about five thousand volumes
of printed books and many invaluable manuscripts. The
philosophical apparatus Avas also lost. This was a severe and
irreparable blow to the College, for the books given by John
Harvard, the founder. Sir Kenelm Digby, Sir John Maynard,
Dr. Lightfoot, Dr. Gale, Bishop Berk-ely, and the first Thomas
Hollis, together with the Greek and Hebrew types belonging
to the College, perished in the flames. Only a single volume
of the donation of Harvard remains from the fire. Its title is
" Douname's Christian Warfare."

A picture of the library as it existed before this accident is
given by a visitor to the College in 1750 : —

" The library is very large and well stored with books but niucli
abused by frequent use. The repository of curiosities whicli was not
over well stock'd. Saw 2 Human Skellitons a peice Neigro's hide
tan'd &c. Homes and bones of land and sea animals, fishes, skins
of diff'erent animals stuff'd &c. The skull of a Famous Indian
AVarrior, where was also the moddell of the Boston Man of Warr of
40 Gunns compleatly rig-'d &c."

"We can only indulge in vain regrets that so many valuable
collections relative to Xew England history have been swept
away. The fire Avhich destroyed Boston Town House in
1747; the mobs Avhich pillaged the house of Governor Hutchin-
son, and also the Ailmiralty archives ; the mutilation of the
invaluable Prince library stored in the tower of the Old
South, of the destruction of Avhich Dr. Belknap related that he
was a Avitness, and AA'hich Avas used from day to day to kindle


the fires of the vandal soldiery ; the plunder of the Court of
Common Pleas by the same lawless soldiery, — all have added
to the havoc among our early clironicles, which the conflagra-
tion at Harvard assisted to make a lamentably conspicuous
funeral-pyre to learning.

After the fire the library was renewed by contributions,
among the most valuable of which was the gift of a consider-
able part of Governor Bernard's private library. John. Han-
cock was the donor, in 1772, of a large number of books, and
also of a carpet for the floor and paper for the walls. The
library and apparatus were packed up on the day before the
battle of Bunker Hill, under the care of Samuel PhiUips,
assisted by Thompson, afterwards Count Eumford, and re-
moved, first to Andover, and a part subsequently to Concord,
to Avhich place the government and many of the students had
retired. Many of the books, however, were probably scattered
in private hands, as Ave find President Langdon advertising for
the return of the apparatus and library to ISIr. Winthrop, the
librarian, early in 1778.

Here are works on which the writers have expended a
lifetime of patient research, and which are highlj' prized by
scholars ; but their laborious composition has failed to meet
such reward as would keep even the body and soul of an. author
together. And here are yet others that have struck the fickle
chord of transient popular favor, requiting theu' makers with
golden showers, and perhaps advancement to high places of
honor. In our own day it is literary buflToonery that pays the
best. Once master the secret how " to set the table in a roar,"
be it never so wisely, and Ave warrant you success. Perhaps it
is because, as a people, Ave laugh too little that Ave are Avilling
to pay so Avell for a little of the scanty Avit and a good deal of
the chalk and saAvdust of the circus.

Among other treasures Avhich the library contains is a copy
of Eliot's Indian Bible, the first Bible printed on the continent
of America, perhaps in the Indian College, certainly on Samuel
Green's Cambridge press, though Avhere this press Avas set up
diligent inquiry has failed to enlighten us. In 1720, as Ave


gather from an English authority, the press was kept either in
Harvard or Stoughton, the only two buildings then existing.

Last, but not least, we have chanced on Father Kale's Dic-
tionary of the Abenaquis, captured, with the priest's strong-
box, at IS'orridgewock, in 1721. Sebastian Eale exercised
great influence over the eastern Indians, among whom he re-

Online LibrarySamuel Adams DrakeHistoric fields and mansions of Middlesex → online text (page 18 of 39)