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Vol. 8
Nos. 3 - 4
Oct. & Jan.
1909 - 10




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OcfohtT'^A T:iiitiarv; 't 909-1




OUR SEAL J. Albert Holmes 49


MEMOIR ., . J . Albert Holmes 56

MR. ELLIOT'S ARMY RECORD .... Levi L, Hawes 64

VICE OCTOBER 31, 1909 . . . . . . . . 69

BER 31, 1909 72



Somervi He Historical Society



Somerville, Mass.

Subscription Price, One Dollar a Year, postpaid.
Single copies, 25 cents.

For sale at 3? Laurel Street. £xcliange list in charge of Mr. William B. Holmes,

60 Heath Street, to whOTn all conkuiunications

regarding exchangres should he addressed.


vSam WAI.TER Foss, Chairman

Frank M. 11 K^ns, ex -officio Mrs. Sara A. S. Carpenter
vSamuel C. Earle, Editor

• b 7 H C


■f, ^^^^h • / ' '




Vol. VIII. OCT., J909, and JAN., I9J0: Nos. 3 and 4.


By J. Albtrt Holmes, for the Committee.

Charles D. Elliot, always inter-
ested in the Historical Society, was
an active member of its Seal Com-
mittee. The Seal as finally adopted
appears for the first time in this issue
of Historic Leaves, and the Somer-
ville Historical Society affectionately
dedicates the first use of it to his

The original drawing of the Seal
was made in i\pril, 1909, by William
Henry Upham, of Somerville, an
artist and illustrator, and a descendant of John Upham, of Wey-
mouth and Maiden, 1600-1681.

It consists of a shield outlined in gold, on which appears
illustrated, also in gold, the launching of the Blessing of the
Bay, the raising on Prospect Hill of the first American flag,
and the Old Powder House. The shield is surrounded by a
looped ribbon of blue, on which in gold letters is the name,
"Somerville Historical Society," and the date of organization,

Regarding the Blessing of the Bay, "Some time in 1631,"
to quote Mr. Elliot, "the governor (Winthrop) seems to have

60 OUR SEAL [October and January,

come to Somerville territory and established himself at Ten
Hills, where he evidently lived during the summers of many
years, Charlestown peninsula, and later Boston, being his win-
ter residence. On July 4, 1G31, he built a bark at Mistick,
which was launched this day, and called the Blessing of the Bay.

"This was at Ten Hills Farm, in Somerville, just east of the
present Wellington Bridge, She was of thirty tons burden,
and was the first craft built in Massachusetts large enough to
cross the ocean. She was constructed of locust timber, cut on
the farm, and was built by subscription at a cost of £145. In
1632 she was converted into a cruiser to suppress piracy on the
New England coast. Her energies were to be particularly
directed against one David Bull, who, with fifteen Englishmen,
had committed acts of piracy among the fishermen and plun-
dered a settlement. She therefore may lay claim to the honor
of having been the first American vessel of war." Mention of
the ship is made several times in the Colony Records up to

The Cambridge Chronicle in 1852 stated that the identical
"ways" on which the Blessing of the Bay was built were still
in existence and in fair preservation. James R. Hopkins,
chief of the Somerville Fire Department, who was familiar with
the locality, and John S. Hayes, master of the Forster School,
together with two firemen, WilHam A. Perry and William A.
Burbank, in May, 1892, secured a portion of the "ways" from
which the bark was launched. Three vases and two gavels
were made of the wood secured, and one of the gavels is now
in the possession of the Historical Society.

From the Somerville Journal Souvenir number, March 3,
1892, we take the following : —

"The Powder House, or old mill, at West Somerville is
unquestionably the most interesting historical relic in Massa-
chusetts, and it has, indeed, but few rivals in New England.
The exact date when it was built is not known. It was origi-
nally a grist-mill, and was probably built by John Mallet, who
came into possession of the site in 1703-'04. In his will, made

1909-1910.] OUR SEAL 51

in 1720, the grist-mill is left to his two sons. The mill was
undoubtedly built several years previous to 1720, and for some
time after that it continued to grind the corn for the farmers
for many miles around.

"In 1747 the old mill, with a quarter of an acre of land,
was sold to the Province of Massachusetts Bay for £250. After
being remodeled it was used for storing the powder of the sur-
rounding towns and of the province.

"The Powder House commemorates one of the earliest
hostile acts of the Revolution. On the morning of September
1, 1774, General Gates sent an expedition to seize the powder
at the magazine, and 260 soldiers embarked at Long Wharf in
Boston and proceeded up Mystic River, landing at Ten Hills
Farm, from where they marched to the Powder House. The
250 half-barrels of powder which the magazine contained were
speedily transferred to the boats and removed to Castle Wil-
liam (now Fort Independence), in Boston Harbor. A detach-
ment of troops also visited Cambridge, and carried off two field
pieces which they found there. The news of the seizure of the
powder spread with great rapidity, and on the following morn-
ing thousands of armed men from the surrounding towns as-
sembled on Cambridge Common, ready to oppose the forces of
the king.

"The Powder House was used for storing powder until the
erection of a new magazine at Cambridgeport." In 1836 it
came into the possession of Nathan Tufts, in whose family it re-
mained until May 28, 1892, at which time it was presented to
the city, together with one and one-half acres of surrounding
land, to which three acres more were added by purchase. One
of the conditions under which the gift was made was that the
Powder House be kept perpetually in repair, and that the land
surrounding it be made into a public park and forever main-
tained as such, to be called the Nathan Tufts Park. The con-
ditions have been fully carried out by the city.

The bronze tablet on the Powder House, setting forth
its history, was placed there by the Massachusetts Society of

52 OUR SEAL [October and January,

the Sons of the Revolution on September 1, 1892, 118 years
after the seizure of the gunpowder by General Gage. "The Old
Powder House is about thirty feet high, with a diameter of
fifteen feet at the base. Its walls, which are of bluestone (prob-
ably quarried on the hillside), are two feet thick. Within, the
old structure formerly had three lofts, supported by heavy
beams. Originally it had but one entrance, that on the south-
west side."

The following is from Lossing's "Field Book of the Revo-
lution'* :—

"On the first of January, 177G, the new Continental Army
was organized, and on that day the Union flag of thirteen
stripes was unfurled for the first time in the American camp,
Somerville, Mass. On that day the king's speech was received
in Boston, and copies of it were sent to Washington, who, in a
letter to Joseph Reed, written January 4, 1776, said : 'The
speech I send you. A volume of them were sent out by the
Boston gentry, and farcical enough, we gave great joy to them
without knowing or intending it, for on that day, the day which
gave being to the new army, but before the proclamation came
to hand, we had hoisted the Union flag, in compliment to the
United Colonies. But behold, it was received in Boston as a
token of the deep impression the speech had made upon us, and
as a signal of submission. So we hear by a person out of Bos-
ton last night. By this time I presume they begin to think it
strange that we have not made a formal surrender of our lines.'

"The flag bore the device of the English Union, which is
composed of the cross of St. George, to denote England, and
St. Andrew's cross, in the form of an X, to denote Scotland.
It must be remembered that at this time the American Con-
gress had not declared their independence, and that even yet
the Americans proffered their warmest loyalty to British justice,
when it should redress their grievances."




Charles Darwin Elliot, son of Joseph and Zenora (Tucker)
Elliot, was born in Foxboro, Mass., June 30, 1837.

Among Mr. Elliot's ancestors were Major Eleazer Law-
rence, Lieutenant Eleazer Lawrence, Captain Jonathan Wade,
Lieutenant Nicholas White, Samuel Scripture, Marshal-General
Edward Mitchelson, Marshal-General John Green, John Nut-
ting, Zachariah Hicks, and Thomas Eliot, all soldiers in the
King PhiHp's or other Colonial wars ; also. Ensign John Whit-
man and Samuel Champney, soldiers in the King Philip's war,
and deputies to the general court ; also. Rev. Nathaniel Rogers,
of Ipswich, Ruling Elder Richard Champney, of Cambridge,
and William Pitt, high sheriff of Bristol, Eng.

Thomas Eliot, above mentioned, was admitted a freeman
of Swansea, Mass., February 22, 1669, and became a member of
the Baptist church under Rev. John Myles ; he was one of the
proprietors of Taunton North Purchase. Of his ancestry no
record has been found. He died in Rehoboth, Mass., May 23,
1700, and his wife Jane, whom he probably married about 1676
or 1677, died in Taunton, Mass., November 9, 1689. They had
five children : Abigaile, Thomas, Jr., Joseph, Elizabeth, and
Benjamin. Thomas, Sr., was a corporal in Captain William
Turner's company in King Philip's war, in 1675 and 1676 ; his
sword, gun, and ammunition are mentioned in the inventory of
his estate. Joseph, his son, was born in Taunton March 2, 1684,
and died April 21, 1752. He married, July 22, 1710, Hannah
White, daughter of John White ; she died March 5, 1775, aged
ninety-two years. Their children were : Joseph, Jr., John, Han-
nah, Samuel, Nehemiah, Abigail, and Ebenezer. Nehemiah,
son of Joseph, Sr., was born March 8, 1719, and 'died December
8, 1802 ; he was at one time treasurer of Norton North Pre-
cinct; he married, September 23, 1747, Mercy White, daughter
of Lieutenant Nicholas White, of Norton; she was born July

*From the latest History of Middlesex Coanty.

54 CHARLES DARWIN ELLIOT [October and January,

7, 1723, and died May 8, 1780. Their children were: Joseph,
Nehemiah, Jr., Jacob, and Mercy.

Joseph, son of Nehemiah, Sr., was born in Norton June 25,
1749; he married, May 7, 1773, Joanna Morse, daughter of
EHsha Morse; she was born September 17, 1751, and died De-
cember 6, 1837. Joseph EHot was a minute-man of the Revo-
lution, and marched at the Lexington alarm, April 20, 1775, for
Boston ; he served through the siege of Boston and, re-enlist-
ing, through the campaign of New York and New Jersey under
General Washington, and as corporal in the Saratoga campaign
under General Gates ; he died of disease while in the service,
December 15, 1777. C. D. ElHot had his powder horn,
canteen, and bayonet, and his letters to his wife while he was in
the army. The children of Joseph and Joanna (Morse) Eliot
were : Joel and Hannah. Joel was born August 30, 1775, and
died at Foxboro, Mass., July 23, 1864; his wife, Mary Murray
(Flagg) Elliot, was born in Cambridge July 14, 1782, and died
in Foxboro January 23, 1865 ; she was daughter of Timothy
and Sarah (Hicks) Flagg, and granddaughter of John Hicks, a
member of the Boston Tea Party, and one of the Cambridge
minute-men "who fell in defence of the liberty of the people,
April 19, 1775," in whose memory the city of Cambridge has
erected a monument in the old historic burying ground near
Harvard Square, where they are buried. A tablet on Massa-
chusetts Avenue marks the spot where John Hicks and three
other patriots were killed by the flank guard of the British.
Joel Elliot lived for many years in Cambridge, having a store
near Harvard Square ; he was at one time a member of the
Cambridge fire department. In 1816 he moved to Foxboro,
Mass., where he became a prosperous farmer; it was he who
changed the spelling of the family name from Eliot to its pres-
ent form. The children of Joel and Mary M. were: Mary
Joanna, Joseph, Sarah Elizabeth, Caroline, Charles Edwin,
Hannah, Timothy, Joel Augustus, and Nancy Maria.

Joseph, son of Joel and Mary M. (Flagg) Elliot, and father
of Charles D. Elliot, was born in Cambridge, near Harvard


Square, January 1, 1807, and died in Somerville, Mass., July 7,
1874. He married, at Mt. Holly, Vt., December 34, 1835,
Zenora, daughter of Stephen, Jr., and Sibil (Lawrence) Tucker.
He built and settled in Foxboro Centre ; he moved thence to
Wrentham, from there to Maiden, and in 1846 to Somerville,
where for fifteen years he was station agent of the Prospect
Street, now Union Square, station of the Fitchburg Railroad.
He was at one time a member of the Somerville fire depart-
ment, and in early life of the state militia ; in his early days
Joseph Elliot was much interested in politics, and was offered
the postmastership of Foxboro, which he declined. He was
identified with the old Democratic party in its contests with the
Whigs, but became a Republican upon the organization of that
party, and voted its ticket the remainder of his life. When
a young man he became a Universalist ; he was a zealous
believer, and was one of the first members of the First Univer-
salist Society in Somerville. He had a wide acquaintance with
the leaders of the faith, among them Rev. Thomas Whittemore,
editor of the Trumpet, who was a frequent visitor in his home.
Zenora (Tucker) Elliot, mother of Charles D. Elliot, was
born in Mt. Holly, Vt., February 10, 1809, and died while on
a visit to that place October 25, 1885, in the same room in
which she was married. She was educated at Randolph Acad-
emy, Mass. In early life she was a Methodist, but
later a Universalist ; she was much interested in religious, lit-
erary, temperance, and soldiers' relief work. She was a re-
spected member of several organizations. Her father, Stephen
Tucker, Jr., was son of Captain Stephen and Abigail (Newell)
Tucker. He was born in Charlestown, Mass., February 14,
1764, and died in Mt. Holly, Vt., December 26, 1828. During
the burning of Charlestown, June 17, 1775, his mother fled with
her children across "the neck" to Medford, constantly threat-
ened with destruction from the British shot and shell which
howled past their carriage. Stephen, Jr.'s, father was a sea
captain, and was absent on a voyage at the time of the battle

5g MEMOIR [October and January.

of Bunker Hill. Stephen, Jr., married Sibil Lawrence, Decem-
ber 20, 1790, at Littleton, Mass. About the year 1795 or 1796
he removed to Mt. Holly, Vt., where he was for many years
town clerk, selectman, and trial justice. Sibil Lawrence, daugh-
ter of Simon and Sibil (Robbins) Lawrence, was born June 10,
1770, and died April 16, 1813 ; in the Lawrence genealogy her
ancestry is traced to John Lawrence, of Watertown, Mass., and
thence by some back to Sir Robert Lawrence, of Ashton Hall,
England, one of the crusaders, knighted in 1191 for bravery at
the siege of Acre by Richard Coeur de Lion. Her grandfather.
Lieutenant Eleazer Lawrence, was prominent in the Indian
wars, and Simon, her father, was a soldier in the Revolution.
The children of Joseph and Zenora Elliot were : Charles Dar-
win, Alfred Lawrence, and Mary Elvira.


By J. Albert Holmes,
Member of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers.

Charles D. Elliot was educated in the schools of Foxboro,
Wrentham, Maiden, and in the old Milk Row School and the
Prospect Hill Grammar School, Somerville, Mass., and in
Henry Munroe's private school on Walnut Street, this city,
which he left to enter, at the age of twelve years, the Hopkins
Classical School, situated at that time on the south side of Main
Street, now Massachusetts Avenue, a few rods westerly from
Dana Street, Cambridge. This school was in existence from
1840 to 1854, and was supported from a fund left by Edward
Hopkins, "for a grammar school in Cambridge." The teacher
during Mr. ElHot's attendance was Edmund B. Whitman. Mr.
Elliot was a member of the first entering class of the Somerville
High School. The front portion of the present Somerville City
Hall was built and dedicated April 28, 1852, as a high school.
The school from 1852 to 1867 occupied the upper floor, and

1909-1910.] MEMOIR 57

afterwards, for a few years, the entire building. It was here
during the years 1853 to 1855 that Mr. Elliot studied, first
under Principal Robert Bickford, 1852-1854, then for a short
period unded a Mr. Hitchcock, who was in turn succeeded by
Leonard Walker in 1855.

Mr. Elliot's engineering education began in the office of
Stearns & Sanborn in June, 1855, and was the result of the
interest in his mathematical ability shown by Daniel A. Sanborn,
a member of the firm, and a near neighbor of the family. The
other member was William B. Stearns, chief engineer, and
afterward president of the Fitchburg Railroad. Mr. Sanborn
was the founder of the Sanborn Insurance Map Company.
The firm afterwards became Stearns & Stevenson, C. L.
Stevenson being the new member. Mr. Elliot studied for his
profession in this ofiice until July, 1859, and most of that time
was devoted to work on locations, bridges, and construction
for the Fitchburg Railroad ; but a part of his time was given
to the city of Charlestown, on sewers and other city work, and
to the Cambridge Water W^orks.

In July, 1859, he was appointed principal assistant under
George L. Richardson, C. E., on the street surveys for the town
of Somerville, and engaged in this work during 1859-1860.
During 1860-1861 he was in partnership with T. Edward
Ames, C. E., afterwards Brevet Major Thirty-sixth Massachu-
setts Volunteers, and some time city engineer of Charlestown.
They had ofBces in Winnisimmet Square, Chelsea, and in Som-
erville. In 1862 he was in the office of J. G. Chase, C. E., later
city engineer of Cambridge, and was most of the time engaged
in running levels, establishing benches, and making plans for
sewers ; also in making preliminary studies and plans for the
Charlestown Water Works. During the year he drew for Gen-
eral Henry L. Abbot, of Cambridge, a plan of the siege of
Yorktown, Va., from notes by General Abbot. The execution
of the plan so pleased the general that he procured for Mr. El-
liot an appointment from the War Department as Assistant

^g MEMOIR [October and January,

Topographical Engineer. (See next paper for Mr. Elliot's war

In January, 1865, Mr. Elliot removed to Cambridge, Mass.,
and entered the office of William S. Barbour. During the year
he was engaged in making railroad surveys from the limestone
quarries to the lime kilns at Rockland, Me.

During 1866 and 1867 he was engaged in the manufacture
of paper collars and cuffs, for which much of the machinery
used v/as either invented or improved by Mr. Elliot, and all the
patterns and designs used were his own. He was possessed
of considerable inventive genius. Besides the machinery
previously mentioned, he planned and made a working
model for a lawn mower. This was previous to the Civil
War, and long before this useful machine was known to com-
merce. Another of his practical ideas which antedated consid-
erably its actual adoption by the War Department, was the use
of plate armor for ships. He invented, shortly before the in-
troduction of ironclads, a device for drawing copper bolts from
ships so as to preserve the bolts ; this device was patented.
Still another practical idea of which he talked, as early as 1869
or 1870, was that of perforated pipes to be built into walls and
partitions, and to be connected with the hose in case of fire.
A patent for some such device has since been granted.

Mr. Elliot removed in the spring of 1867 to Brookline, and
in the autumn of the same year to Newton Centre, Mass.
In 1868 he was in the office of J. F. Fuller, engineer for the
Boston Water Power Company, where he was engaged upon
sewers and other engineering work in the Back Bay. He
formed a partnership in 1869 with William A. Mason, C. E., of
Cambridge, and during 1869-'70 was engaged in general engi-
neering, street and land improvement, and the construction of
the famous Beacon Trotting Park in Allston, now occupied by
the Boston & Albany Railroad roundhouse and yards.

In April, 1870, he removed from Newton Centre to Cam-
bridgeport, and in December of the same year returned to Som-
erville, where he opened an office in the newly-constructed

1^09-l^lO.i MEMOIR 69

Pythian Block, Union Square. It was at this time, when asked
by Ira Hill, the owner of the block, whom he would suggest as
an occupant for the only remaining office in the building, that
Mr. Elliot proposed that a newspaper be started, and upon this
suggestion the Somerville Journal was launched. Previous to
and during the winter of 1870-1871 he attended afternoon and
evening lectures on chemistry, and engaged in laboratory work
in mechanical and mining engineering, at the Massachusetts In-
stitute of Technology.

During 1871-1872 he was chief engineer of the Arlington
Water Works, and in 1872 was elected the first city engineer
of the newly-incorporated city of Somerville. In 1873 he was
engaged in private practice, and employed by Middlesex County
in the widening of Somerville Avenue and the re-location of the
horse railroad from the side to the centre of the avenue, and the
adjustment of the damages incurred by the widening. He was
re-appointed city engineer in 187-1 and 1875. Among the im-
portant engineering works carried on under Mr. Elliot as city
engineer were the construction of the newly-widened Somer-
ville Avenue, the construction of the Somerville part of the
sewerage system for abolishing the Miller's River nuisance,
which involved the construction of an eight-foot sewer in Som-
erville Avenue and the filling of Miller's River by digging oflf
the top of historic Prospect Hill, and the construction of Broad-
way Park.

On January 30, 1875, Mr. Elliot moved into a house which
he had built for himself at 59 Oxford Street, Somerville.
From 1876 to 1880, inclusive, he was engaged in general
engineering, and as an expert in sanitary, hydraulic, and rail-
road work. During 1881 and 1882 he made surveys and plans
for one of the numerous Cape Cod Canal schemes. Following
this and until 1890 he was engaged in making insurance surveys
in Boston and vicinity and in Lynn. In 1887 he was made agent
for the estate of James C. Ayer, of Lowell, and in his capacity as
an engineer made plans of, and sold for the estate, all of its land,

g() MEMOIR [October and January,

in Somerville, amounting to seventy acres.* In 1895-'96
he made for the Metropohtan Park Commission the surveys
and plans for the Mystic Valley Parkway, from Winchester
Centre to the Old Mystic Pumping Station at the western end
of the city of Somerville, and performed for the same Com-
mission some work in the Middlesex Fells Reservation.
From 1887 till his death he was constantly engaged as a
consulting engineer, and employed as an expert by railroads,
municipalities, corporations, and private individuals, and in the
adjustment of damages and awards, and the apprisement of real

His activities covered a broad field, and his recommenda-
tions resulted in many public improvements. His was the first
suggestion to extend the Mystic Valley Parkway from the
Pumping Station near West Medford to the Old Powder House
in Somerville, afterwards constructed by the city and called
Powder House Boulevard. As engineer to the Cambridge
Electric Light Company, 1902-'04, he made a request to the
Charles River Basin Commission that a lock forty-five feet
wide, with a depth of eighteen feet at low water, be constructed
through the new dam at Craigie's Bridge, instead of one of less
dimensions, which was done. He was deeply interested in the
Cross-town boulevard through the eastern part of Somerville,
to connect Middlesex Fells with the reservations south of Bos-
ton, and as chairman of a committee of the Somerville Board

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