William L. (William Ladd) Chaffin.

History of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) online

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passed over a few unimportant items.

Statistics for 1875.

Manufactories.'^ — One awl manufactory; capital, $1,000, — value
of goods made, $400 ; 2 boot manufactories ; capital invested, $10,000,

— value of goods made, $110,000. Two boot and shoe manufactories ;
capital, $3,500, — value of goods made, $30,900. One carriage manu-
factory; capital, $3,000, — value of goods made, $1,700. One car-
riage, wagon, and cart manufactory; capital, $600, — value of goods
made, $1,840. One clothing manufactory'; capital, $600, — value of
goods made, $2,500. One cotton-batting and shingle manufactory ;
capital, $2,000, — value of goods made, $3,000. Two iron casting
manufactories ; capital, $4,500, — value of goods made, $53,469. Two
lumber manufactories; capital, $5,000, — value of goods made,
^2,751. One lumber and box manufactory; capital, $1,000, — value
of goods made, $1,700. One meal manufactory; capital, $20,000, —
value of goods made, $62,000. One shoe manufactory ; capital, 6,500,

— value of goods, $40,000. One shovel and spade manufactory ;
capital, $400,000, — value of goods made, $1,500,000. One soft-soap
manufactory; capital, $250, — value of goods made, $500. One sur-
veyors' and engineers' instruments manufactory; capital, $1,000, —
value of goods made, $3,700. One thermometer manufactory ; capital,
$900, — value of goods made, $2,800.

1 Industry of Massachusetts, 1865, pp. 85, 86, 87.

2 Massachusetts Census Report. 1875, vol. ii. p. 21.



Occupation.^ — Three of blacksmithing ; capital, $3,630, — value
of goods made, $2,020. Four of butchering ; capital, $6,000, — value
of productions, $9,100. One machinists' works; capital, $10,000, —
value of goods made, $5,000. One of house-painting ; capital, $1,000,

— value of work done, $400. One of paper and wood hanging, —
value of work done, $50. One of tinsmithing; capital, $1,000, —
value of goods made, $1,000. Two of wheel-wrighting ; capital, $270,

— value of goods made, $1,320.

Capital invested in manufactures $500,750^

Total yearly wages estimated $575,683

Stock used in manufacturing $232,501

Value of goods made and work done .... $1,836,150

Males employed in manufacturing 763

Females employed in manufacturing .... 85

The following are the principal farm products : ^ —

Butter 13,567 pounds.

Cider 12,353 gallons.

Firewood 2,601 cords.

Charcoal 9,650 bushels.

Apples 4,013 bushels.

Beef 9,707 pounds-
Corn 1,055 bushels.

Cranberries .... 409 bushels.

Eggs 11,960 dozen.

Hay, English .... 1,076 tons.
Hay, meadow .... 419 tons.

Hops 4,300 pounds.

Milk 100,887 gallons.

Pork 32,145 pounds.

Potatoes 7,708 bushels.

The total value of farm products is reported to be ^100,979.
There were three farms under ten acres in extent, and seventy-
seven above ten acres.* Their value was given as ^312,437.

1 Massachusetts Census Report, 1875, ^ol- "• P- 2i-

^ Ibid., vol. ii. pp. 759, 862. The hinge and cotton-thread statistics are not in-
cluded in these figures.

2 Ibid., vol. iii. p. 37. The items noted include both those that were sold and
those that were used by home consumption.

* For the estimates relating to value of farms and farm property, see Massachusetts
Census Reports, vol. iii. p. 440.

lue, $5,045






„ 1,049



„ 26,514



„ 20,208




They had upon them one hundred and nine houses, and one
hundred and seven barns ; and these with all other buildine-s


were valued at $141,165. The land was valued as follows :

Land under crops
Orchards . . .
Unimproved land
Unimprovable land
Woodland . . .

1,899 acres.



14 „



2,629 M



24 „



2,975 »



There were 1,951 apple-trees valued at $5,852 ; pear-trees, 291,
— value, $566; peach-trees, 20, — value, $50. The total value
of domestic animals on the farms was $34,301 ; of agricultural
implements in use on farms, $10,650.

This History is issued too soon for the publication of the in-
dustrial statistics of Easton for the year t886 ; they have not
yet been published by the State Bureau of Statistics. While
this necessary omission is to be regretted, it is of less impor-
tance than it would otherwise be, because there has not for the
last decade been any considerable change in the business of
the town.




The Old Times and the New. — North Easton village as it is
To-day. — The Ames Memorial Hall. — South Easton village
and the Green. — A Trip through Easton Centre, and a Glance
AT Furnace Village.

WE have now nearly completed our survey of the history of
Easton. How the Wampanoag Indian sachems, Massa-
soit and Philip, sold the land, and the fifty-three purchasers
thereof organized a great Land Company ; how the lands were
divided and settled ; how Clement Briggs, the Randalls, Capt.
John Phillips, the Manleys, and others came here from Wey-
mouth and elsewhere nearly two hundred years ago, built their
log houses, cleared away the forests, erected their mills, organ-
ized a church and incorporated the town ; how ministers came
and went, church controversies arose, and the clamor of tongues
waxed loud and then grew still ; how, led by stirring fife and
drum, our fathers proudly marched the streets on training days,
or faced the foe on bloody battle-fields ; how industries have
risen and prospered, log cabins given place to beautiful homes
and stately mansions, and the old stage-coach been banished
by steam-cars ; how friction matches have succeeded flint and
tinder-box, and the pitchpine torch and tallow dip given way
to gas and kerosene ; how our fathers were content with letters
once a week, and the newspaper was to them a curiosity, while
we may now read the daily papers at breakfast and get our letters
thrice a day ; nay, how we annihilate time and space, and stand-
ing at the telephone may actually converse with friends who are
miles away, — all this is but part of the story of the last two
hundred years in Easton.

We have as yet made no attempt to describe the town as it
is to-day. For residents such description is needless ; but for
those who once lived here and have long been absent, and for







others who have not been here, an attempt at a description must
be made, although the result will necessarily be inadequate.
Carefully prepared maps of the town are given, showing the
location and ownership of dweUing-houses and other buildings,
as also the location of highways, streams, and ponds. In order
to secure sufficient space for names, it was necessary to give the
map of North Easton village on a separate sheet.

The visitor who came to Easton a few years ago by cars and
stopped at North Easton, received an unpleasant impression of
the place at once by alighting in a dark and smoky station, and
seeing only dismal waiting-rooms and surroundings singularly
unattractive. He would now, however, in alighting find himself
upon the platform of one of the most beautiful small railroad
stations in the country. It is the generous gift to the Old Col-
ony Railroad of F. L. Ames ; but the real intent of it is to
beautify and benefit the village where it stands, and its giver
has laid the whole community under obligations for his kind-
ness. It is the work of the noted architect, the late H. H.
Richardson ; is built of Braggville granite, so-called, and brown
sandstone, and has spacious and elaborately finished waiting-
rooms. A heliotype print of it is presented to the reader's at-
tention ; it is a view taken from the southeast, and gives some
idea, though an imperfect one, of the well laid-out grounds about
the station. All the surroundings have been greatly improved.
Concrete sidewalks are laid on Oliver Street, which is north of
the station, and which has recently been widened and straight-
ened. The large Hinge Factory of E. W. Gilmore and the long
substantial stone shops of the Ames Shovel Works give a de-
cided business aspect to this locality.

A little way east of this building are the spacious grounds
owned by Governor Oliver Ames and F. L. Ames. These
grounds are finely laid out. The large stone house at the left,
not far from the entrance, is that of Governor Ames. A few
minutes' walk, leading across the pond by the stone bridge, brings
us in sight of the stately residence of F. L. Ames ; and beyond
this we may see his roomy and handsome stable, beautifully
finished with furniture maple ; and still farther on his extensive
greenhouse, which is justly esteemed one of the most interest-


ing objects of the village, it being kindly open to visitors, who
may find themselves in a moment transported to the tropics,
feasting their eyes upon the sight of the richness and luxuriance
of tropical vegetation, — graceful palms and ferns, wonderful fo-
liage-plants and orchids, exciting constant surprise and admira-
tion. One room in this greenhouse, called the fernery, is so ex-
quisitely beautiful that it brings a strain upon one's vocabulary
if he attempts to give adequate expression to his feelings at the
sight of it. Many tons of porous limestone brought here from
New York State are piled in masses in this fernery, are covered
with mosses, ferns, and vines, and from among them rise tall
palms and Australian tree ferns. The collection of orchids in
this greenhouse is with one exception the most extensive and
valuable in this country.

Leaving the greenhouse and going north by the carriage-way,
we soon arrive at the very unique and interesting Gate-lodge
which stands at the northern entrance of Mr. Ames's grounds.
The view as we approach it is the same as that seen in the
picture which serves as the frontispiece of this book. The ob-
server will notice that it is built of large, roundish, moss-covered
stones solidly cemented together. The circular section at the
right, with its conical roof, contains a lofty room, which is used
for the storage of plants in winter, while the part at the left serves
the purpose of a dwelling, the two sections being connected by
a massive arch of Longmeadow sandstone. H. H. Richardson
was its architect, and it is greatly admired by the many persons
who see it.

Passing under the arch of the Gate-lodge, we are facing the
north, and find ourselves on Elm Street. At the right we may
see the Washington Street Methodist church in the distance,
now unused for regular services. If we went that way we
should find on Washington Street, north of the church, almost a
village of thrifty looking houses. This section is known as the
Other Neighborhood, as Unionville, the Dickerman Neighbor-
hood, the Dark Corner, and Square-top, the last name being
given with reference to the shape of the tower on the church.

Departing from the Gate-lodge and approaching North Easton
village by Elm Street, we pass the tenement houses that bear the
suggestive name of Battle Row, — a name they do not appear



to deserve at the present time, — and leaving E. W. Gilmore's
Hinge Factory and house upon the left, we enter Main Street
opposite the beautiful vine-covered parsonage of Unity Church.
From this point Canton Street diverges to the northwest, while

Main Street extending northward terminates in the woods,

suggesting that Western road, so wittily described by Emerson,
which was first a cartpath, then a footpath, then a squirrel-track,
and then ran up a tree. We shall, however, turn to the left
and go south on Main Street. Unity Church is at our right,
standing upon ground that is just one hundred and forty-five
feet above sea-level, Schoolhouse Hill being forty-seven feet
higher. Beyond the church, which has been described in another
chapter, we go down Main Street, passing several dwelling-houses,
including the large residence with the beautifully kept garden of
Mrs. Oliver Ames, Sr., and also the old Ames homestead, when
we have the Shovel Works on our left, and the attractive grounds
and residence of O. A. Ames on the right. In the valley, on
one side of the street, are the large store and small post-office,
both more useful than ornamental. But we shall strive to keep
the visitor's gaze fixed upon the other side of the street, where
he may see the beautiful Public Library building, which has been
spoken of also in another chapter, and the noble and massive
Memorial Hall, also elsewhere mentioned, before which we must
pause for a few moments. This Hall was built in memory of
Oakes Ames by his children, and was presented by them to the
town. It stands on the solid foundation of a natural ledge, from
the northeast corner of which rises the beautiful octagonal tower,
on whose frieze are carved the twelve signs of the zodiac. For
the entire length in front the building is ornamented with an
arcade having five arches, which rest upon low strong columns
with carved capitals. The material used in the construction of
the first story of this building is the sienite stone from a quarry
only a few rods distant, the second story being finished in hand-
some brick ; the trimmings are of red sandstone, and the steep
imposing roof is covered with red tiles. Over the front dormer
window appears a monogram formed of the letters O. A. The
Hall stands at a high elevation above the road, though near
to it, and is approached by wide stone staircases, terminating
on stone platforms, and so combined with the natural stone-work


as to present a grand appearance. On the first floor of the build-
ing are two small halls ; on the second floor is the main hall,
which, exclusive of a large stage, is fifty-nine feet in length,
forty-seven in width, and twenty in height, — the stage measur-
ing twenty-six by eighteen feet. The upper room is beautifully
finished as a Masonic Hall. The whole building outside, exclud-
ing the tower, is ninety-six and one third feet in length. The
architect of this noble building was H. H. Richardson.

Memorial Hafl was dedicated November 17, 188 r, with inter-
esting exercises ; and on that occasion it was formally presented
by Oliver Ames to the chairman of the Board of Trustees, who
were to hold and manage the building for the benefit of the town
of Easton. The chairman was Lewis H. Smith, who made an
appropriate response to the presentation address of Mr. Ames.
The trustees alluded to are members of a legal corporation called
the Oakes Ames Memorial Hall Association. This corporation
has entire control of all the property, and of its management. The
town can have " the full and free use of said premises, without
payment of rent for all the ordinary purposes of a Town Hall," ^
if it chooses to do so. But the building is not centrally enough
located for town-meeting purposes, and is not likely to be used
for them, the town having just built a new town-hall at Easton
Centre. A fund of two thousand dollars has been given to the
trustees of Memorial Hall, the interest of which may be applied
to the payment of insurance, and the unexpended balance used
for repairs. For several years the Hall has realized about one
hundred dollars annually above expenses, and this sum has been
paid into the town treasury.

In front of this building, in the large triangular piece of
o-round enclosed between Lincoln Street and the two branches


of Main Street, has been built by the Ames Corporation, from
designs by Fred Law Olmstead, an extensive rockwork, or cairn.
It is two hundred and fifty feet long, twenty-five feet high at
one end, and wide enough at the top for a carriage to drive upon
it and turn around. Underneath it is an arch, and from the
highest part of it rises a tall flag-staff. The whole is nearly
covered with vines and shrubbery in the summer-time, and pre-

1 Quoted from the Deed of Trust, which is printed in full in the Town Report of
Easton for i88i.





sents a striking appearance. At the east end Centre Street
diverges from Main Street, running southerly, its northern part
being the location of Carr's market, several stores, Spooner's
building, and John King's boot-shop, beyond which point the
street presents a very neat and attractive appearance.

Near the cairn Main Street curves to the east, crossing the
railroad bridge above the track. In the hollow, northward, on
Mechanic Street, will soon rise to view the new boot-shop, built
for Gould and Closson. On the hill at the right is the residence
of Dr. Cogswell ; the Methodist church is seen a few rods to the
left of the street, and farther on is the Roman Catholic church
and its parsonage. The visitor will hardly fail to notice the
nicely kept grounds of Lucius Seaver, and next it the new dwell-
ing-house of George W. Kennedy. From just beyond this the
view looking northward up the pond to the stone bridge, and
across the lawn and grounds of F. L. Ames, is one of the most
attractive in town.

Before taking leave of North Easton village a word of explana-
tion concerning the picture here given is desirable. The point
of view is the tower of Governor Ames's house, with a portion of
his premises in the foreground. The central object in the dis-
tance is the schoolhouse rising conspicuously above the other
buildings, and the large edifice at the right will be recognized
as Memorial Hall. The long roofs and high chimneys of the
Shovel Shops show plainly at the right, and Shovel Shop Pond
is seen at the left. It may seem strange to have a picture of a
New England village with no church in sight, but Unity Church
is too far to the right, and the Methodist and Roman Catholic
churches too far to the left, to come within the range of this
view. This village is now furnished with street lights, and con-
crete walks are added every year ; it will soon also be provided
with water-works.

North Easton must not, however, longer claim our time, and we
therefore pass on to Washington Street, by which we shall soon
reach South Easton village. Any one who has been to this village
before, and who visits it now, will notice a striking change re-
cently made. Edward N. Morse has taken the Dr. Swan house
for his home, has thoroughly remodelled it, cleared the land,
built about it a strong and handsome wall, secured the straight-



ening of the highway, and is making of the place an extensive
and fine looking homestead. At the right as we continue south-
ward we see the Thread Factory, of which a picture has already
been presented to the reader ; and farther down, at the most
ancient mill-site in town, T. H. and J. O. Dean have their grist-
mill and machine shop. This locality, where Washington and
Depot streets cross each other, is the Green, so called for many
years, the exact site, as already told, of the Rev. Solomon Pren-
tice's Presbyterian meeting-house, part of the lot of land he
deeded for that purpose being now taken for highways. Several
new and excellent houses have recently been built near by. Just
below is Mr. Simpson's wheelwright shop. Depot Street leads
easterly to the Turnpike, where we find the recently built Grand
Army Hall which was dedicated December 9, 1886 ; also a new
shoe-shop, and a cluster of houses up and down the street known
as White's Village.

Taking Depot Street westward, we pass the head of Church
Street, with the old cemetery just in sight, and about a mile
beyond cross the Old Colony Railroad track near the Easton
railroad station. Continuing farther we soon come to the Evan-
gelical church, of which a picture has been given, and we suc-
cessively pass the Soldier's Monument, the new Town Hall, and
the Almshouse. This locality, with about fifteen dwelling-houses,
a railroad station, and the boot-shop of Lackey & Davie, is known
as Easton Centre.

Pursuing our journey nearly two miles southwest of the Centre
we arrive at the Furnace Village, a pleasant and enterprising
place. Depot Street terminates at the Bay road, where it is
crossed by Foundry Street. At this spot is the old corner store
long the property of Joel S. Drake, and just opposite is the new
carriage factory of Albert M. Hayward. A short distance west-
ward from this corner may be seen the foundries of the Drakes
and Belchers, which we do not expect to find ornamental in
their appearance, but which have long added and continue to
add materially to the prosperity of the village. Farther south
on the Bay road is the Kimball store-stand where once stood
the old Kimball tavern, and westward may be seen the two-
story schoolhouse. This neighborhood is enterprising and
thrifty, the village is pleasant, and its inhabitants boast with

EASTON IN 1886. 69 1

apparent good reason that no intoxicating liquors are retailed
within their borders.

We must here close our very imperfect survey of the town,
having noticed the several centres of population. As a whole,
Easton has no reason to shun comparison with the average New
England town ; while its excellent roads, several of its industries,
its educational advantages, and some of its public buildings and
private residences give it pre-eminence over other towns of its




Israel Alger. — Jarvis A. Ames. — Matthew Bolles. — Silas Brett.

— Nelson W. Britton. — Charles H. Buck. — Daniel LeBaron
Goodwin. — Francis Homes. — William Keith. — Jason Lothrop.

— RUEL Lothrop. — Ephraim Randall. — Joshua Randall. —
David Reed. — William Reed. — Nathan P. Selee. — Luther H.
Sheldon. — Simeon Williams. — Bradford Willis. — Martin W.
Willis. — Henry Wood. — Roman Catholic Clergymen: James W.
Conlin. — William T. Doherty. — Edward Farrell. — Michael
J. Long. —John W. McCarthy. — Dennis J. Menton. — John D.

THE present chapter and the three that follow it will be
made up of brief biographical sketches of natives and resi-
dents of Easton who have been devoted to the professions of the
ministry, medicine, or the law, or who were college graduates.
It is customary in town histories to give sketches of such pro-
fessional men as belong to the town ; but while the writer fol-
lows the accepted custom, he recognizes the fact that there have
been many citizens of Easton whose natural abilities and ster-
ling character render them more deserving a biographical notice
than some persons who are written about in the following four
chapters of this History. The Easton reader, as he finds here
some account of men of scarcely average worth or ability, may
feel inclined to complain, and not without reason, that better and
abler men, his kindred perhaps, are not brought into at least as
prominent notice. Yet completeness in the treatment of these
chapters on the professions demands that no omissions should
be made, however little some of the persons treated of may de-
serve to be considered. The deficiency complained of will be
remedied, so far as the writer can do it, in another book, which
will be distinctly genealogical and biographical.

The settled ministers of Easton are not noticed in this chap-
ter, for the reason that they have already been written about in



the accounts of the churches to which they have severally min-
istered. For convenient reference, the names in this chapter
are given in two lists : the first are the Protestant, the second
the Roman Catholic clergymen.

The Rev. Israel Alger,i son of Israel and Rachel (Howard)
Alger, was born in Easton, June 3, 1787. He became early in-
terested in religion, and began to preach in the Baptist church
at West Bridgewater when only nineteen years old. He then
fitted himself for Brown University, from which he graduated in
181 1, receiving later the degree of A.M. He returned home to
preach, but was not strong enough to discharge the duties of a
minister. He therefore removed to Boston and established
a private school, being for a few years master also of the old
May hew School. He was, with one exception, more of a lite-
rary character than any other son of Easton, though his books
were not very original, being mainly adaptations of school-
books, chiefly grammatical and linguistic. He published a new
"Practical Book-Keeper," and in 1821 the "Elements of Or-
thography." In 1823 and 1824 he pubHshed a number of Lind-
ley Murray's works, which he revised and improved ; among

Online LibraryWilliam L. (William Ladd) ChaffinHistory of the town of Easton, Massachusetts (Volume 3) → online text (page 63 of 78)