William T. (William Thomas) Davis.

Professional and industrial history of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Volume 2) online

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Hamilton ANnKKWs Hill.


Musics Williams and OsitouNr. Hciwes, jh.

BANKIN(t institutions, state and national, 217


DuuLEV P. Bailkv.




C. W. Eli.NST.



•' Ames, Frederick L

/ Benneit. Joshua
•/ Blake, Francis.
J Bi.AKE, George Batv

J Bi.ooi), Hiram A

i Brewster, John
<| Conn, Samuel C.
J CuMMiNGS, John
J Fav, Richard S. . .

i FisKE, Joseph N

i] Gai.i.oui'e, Charles AV

4 Harris, Horatio

^ Hart, Thomas N. ...

J Haven, Franklin

^ Haynes, John C

J Howes, Osborn - .

1 Hint, William I'
J Jackson, Henry C
J Jones, Frank. .
J Lawrence, Abholi . . .

i Lee, Henry

J Lewis, Weston _

^ Little, James L.

i Lord, Georce C.
\ Lotiiroi", Danii-.i
\ Macullar, Addison
1 Xi( kkrson, Joseph

Facing Page


_ TO



. Frontispiece




Facing Page

JNickkrsdn, Thomas 234

J OsiiuR.NE, Francis A 520

J Parker, Charles W . . -554

J Parker, Henkv G. ...422

/ Pierce, Henry L. . 47(1

J Pierce, Samcel S. ...188

•J Poi'E, Albert A. . . 540

y Prince, Frederick H. . ...650

y Randle, John Witt ... - . -;>7G

J Richards, Calvin A 65()

4 RiNDGK, Samuel B. - .2!K)

J RoTcH, Benjamin S. .248

J RoTcii, Artiii I; - - - 648

•< Sears, Joshua .... .128

J Simpson, Michael H. ...276

4 Sinclair, Charles A 646

4 Snow. David 1 74

J Spencer, Aaron W 624

g Stone, Phineas J. . 158

J Thayer, David 668

J Thayer, Nath aniei 98

J Walker, Amasa 38

^ Walker, Tiikophilus W 114

4 Wellin(;t()N, Austin C. _.(i.54

i WiiiTNEV, Henry M .610

i Wok THiNCTcjN, Roland ,596



Ames, Frederick L. . (i96

Bennett, Joshua 633

Bi.AKE, Francis 640

Bi.AKE, George Batv 527

Bi.ouD, HiKAM A. 659

Brewster, John 627

CoKB, Samuel C . 533

CuMMiNGs, John _ . . 595

Fav, Richard S. - - 611

FiSKE, Joseph N 590

Galloui'e, Chari.es W. _ 567

Harris, Horatio _ 550

Hart, Thomas N. 566

Haven, Franklin 380

Haynes, John C. .,, 588

Howes, Osdorn 541

Hunt, William P. . __ 675

Jackson, Henry C 630

Jones, Frank 645

Lawrence, Amioi i . . .505

Lee, Henry 685

Lewis, Weston - - - 596

Little, James L. 516

Lord, George C. _ 606

LoTHROP, Daniel . 555

Macui.lar, Addison _ _ 016

NicKERSoN, Joseph _ 694


NicKERsoN, Thomas 603

Oshorne, Francis A 025

Parker, Charles W. 629

Parker, Henry G . 014

Pierce, Henry L ,_ _5(iil

Pierce, Samuel vS. 599

Pope, Albert A 677

Prince, Frederick H 650

Randle, John Witt 586

Richards, Calvin A _. 656

Rindge, Samuel B 670

Re itch, Benjamin S. _ 609

RoTCH, Arthur 649

Sears, Joshua 523

Simpson, Michael H. _ _ _ . . 675

Sinclair, Charles A. 647

Snow, David 553

Spencer, Aaron W 624

Stone, Phineas J. 551

Thayer, David , __661

Thayer, Nathaniel __ 512

Walker, Amasa _ .679

Walker, Theophilus W 524

Wellington, Austin C 651

Whitney, Henry M. 635

Worthington, Roland 617

Suffolk County.


By Hamilton Andrews Hii.l.

Thri-.k or foiu" years aj^o we chanced to see a learned and elaborate
work, " Bruxelles a Travers les Ages," in which the history of Brussells
was traced and illustrated from the vSilurian epoch, through all the
geologic periods, to the time when mammals and then man appeared
upon the scene, and so on to the present day. In writing of the trade and
commerce of Boston, or of Suffolk county, we do not propose to go back
to prehistoric times; although, for our narration to be exhaustive, it
might well include some account of the fishes of the tertiary period. For
the commerce of these shores had the fisheries as its basis, long before
the arrival of Winthrop's fleet at Salem, or of the Mayflon'cr at
Plymouth. " The settlement of Massachusetts, " saj's Sabine, "is to be
traced directly to the fisheries. " A Boston newspaper writer in 1779
gave this judgment: "The Newfoundland fishery is a source of wealth
as valuable to us, as the hills of Potosi to the Spaniards; " another writer
in a Boston new.spaper, soon after the peace of 1783, in a series of arti-
cles on American commerce, .said that the mackerel fishery "was of
more value to Massachusetts than would be the pearl fisheries of Cey-
lon; " and a writer in the North American Rcvirw in 185-4 expressed a
similar opinion : "The Banks of Newfoundland are, have been, and
ever will be, worth as much to the commercial world as the valley of
the Sacramento, or the auriferous quartz ridges of the vSierra Nevada."

' ' The English resorted to Iceland for the cod previous to the year 1415,
but there is no account of their fishing at Newfoundland prior to 1517."
Long after this period the foreign trade of England was limited to the
Flemish cities and the fishing grounds. In KiO'i Bartholomew Gosnold
steered the first direct voyage across the Atlantic; he made his landfall
near Salem, and, striking across to the opposite cape, he was surprised


18 S[-/-'FOLK COrNTV.

at a lari^rc catch of fish, and gave the nuw well-known name of Cape
Cod to the headland. He was followed, in liiU, by the celebrated John
Smith, who records that he took "forty thonsand " fish which he dried,
and "seven thousand " which he "corned" or pickled, in the waters of
Maine. Before Smith's visit, one or more French vessels are known to
have come to Massachn.setts Bay to trade for furs; in his narrative, he
says of these pre-PilgTim days : ' ' Thirty, forty, or fifty sail went yearly
to America only to trade and fish, but nothinj^: would be done for a
plantation till about seven hundred of your Brownists of Eng'land,
Amsterdam, and Leyden went to New Plymouth; whose humourous
ignorances caused them for more than a year to endure a wonderful
deal of misery with an infinite patience."

When the Pilgrim company was preparing to remove from Holland,
Thomas Weston advised them to go to that part of America with which
he was acquainted, "as for other reasons, so chiefly for the hope of
present [that is, immediate] profit to be made by fishing." Edward
Winslow tells us of an interview between King James and certain
agents, who had been sent from Leyden to obtain his consent to the re-
moval to America. The monarch asked, "What profit might arise?"
He was answered in a single word, " Fishing." Whereupon James re-
plied, " So God have my soul, 'tis an honest trade; 'twas the apostles'
own calling." The same purpo.se controlled the Afayflozc cr \'oya.^ers
when they had arrived at Cape Cod. Some were disposed to settle at
Cold Harbor, between Truro and Wcllfleet, because, with other con-
siderations, "it seemed to ofifer some advantages both for the whale and
cod fishery;" others " insisted that they should proceed about twenty
leagues further, to a place called Agawam, a harbor which was known
to fishermen who had been on the coast." We are all familiar with the
circumstances which brought them at length to Plymouth. In the
autumn of lfi-21, Miles Standish and a party, with Squanto as a guide,
came into Boston harbor in a large open .sail boat or shallop, and
bought 'furs from some Indian women. They have been called the
Argonauts of Boston Bay. On their return to Plymouth they made
report of the pleasant places they had visited, and could not help the
expression of the wish that "they had been there seated." In 11)21
the Plymouth colonists sent a ship to England laden with fish, cured
with salt of their own manufacture, and in the year next following, two
others, with fish and furs.

Emerson wrote in ISO I: " How easy it is, after the city is built, to
see. where it ought to stand ! In our beautiful bay, with its broad and


deep waters covered witli sails from ever}' port; with its islands hospit-
ably shining in the sun; with its waters bounded and marked by light-
houses, buoys, and sea-marks, every foot sounded and charted; with
its shores trending- steadily from the two arms which the capes of Massa-
chusetts stretch out to sea, down to the bottom of the bay where the
city domes and spires sparkle through the haze, a good boatman can
easily find his way for the first time to the State House, and wonder
that Goverxior Carver had not better eyes than to stop on Plymouth
sands. But it took ten years to find this out. The colony of icrio had
landed at Plymouth. It was December, and the ground was covered
with snow. Snow and moonlight make all places alike; and the weari-
ness of the sea, the shrinking from cold weather, and pangs of htmger
must justify them. But the next colony planted itself at Salem, and
the next at Weymouth, another at Medford, before these men, instead
of jumping on to the first land that offered, wisely judged that the best
point for a city was at the bottom of a deep and islanded bay, where a
copious river entered it, and where a bold shore was bounded by a
country of rich undulating woodland."

Isaac Allerton, who gave his name to one of the most prominent
points in Bo.ston Harbor, was the prototype of inany an active and in-
telligent merchant in later years, whose enterprise brought business to
these shores and prosperity to our population. He owned vessels, con-
ducted a fishery at Marblehead, made voyages to different parts of
Maine, established a trading house far within territor}- claimed as
Acadia, and in Connecticut received products of the sea for sale on a
share of the profits. While devoted to trade, he was employed in ar-
ranging the most difficult concerns of the colony both at home and in
England, To cross the ocean two and a half centuries ago was a matter
of vast moment, but Allerton visited the country of his birth no less
than five times in the brief space of four years.

Of the settlement of Boston in the autumn of KjTjO we shall not speak
particularly. From the first it was a centre of life; there were no
drones in the hive; every man as mechanic, agriculturist, mariner,
tradesman or merchant, contributed to the welfare of the little com-
munity. In 1631 corn was constituted a legal tender at the market
price, "except money or beaver be expressly nained." In 11132 Bos-
ton, following in the steps of its English namesake in Lincolnshire,
became a market town ; it was " ordered that there should be a market
kept at Boston upon every Thursday, the fifth day of the week." The



market-place was at the head of what is now State street, and is cov-
ered in part by the Old vState House. The meeting-house— we cannot
say that it overlooked the market-place, it was too lowly for that—
lookc'd out upon it from the south side. The following restriction was
thought to be necessary: " No planter within the limits of this juris-
diction, returning for England, shall carry either money or beaver with
him, without leave from the governor, under pain of forfeiting the
property." In September, 1033, John Oldham, with three companions,
went by land to the Connecticut River, which, on his return, he re-
ported to be about one hundred and sixty miles from the Bay. He and
his party had "lodged at Indian towns all the way," and brought back
some beaver, scmie hemp, which, they said, grew there in great abun-
dance, and was much better than the EngHsh, and some black lead,
"wiiereof the Indians told them there w^as a whole rock." In the
mean time a vessel of thirty tons, the Blessing of the Bay, which Gov-
ernor Winthrop had built at Mystic, w'here he had a farm. Ten Hills,
"coasted Long Island, looked into the Connecticut River, and visited
the Dutch settlement at the mouth of the Hudson, where her people
found a courteous reception, and bartered their commodities for some
beaver. " Thus early did the business men of the future port take pains
to establish communication with places beyond the limits of the colony.
In 1034 the freemen numbered about three hundred and fifty. The
historian says: "They were settling into such employments as their
situation dictated. They cultivated the ground, and took care of herds
and flocks. They hunted and fished for a part of their food. They
W'cre building houses, boats, mills; enclosing land with fences, and
cutting roads throiigh the forest to connect their towns. Their exports
of cured fish, furs and lumber bought them articles of convenience and
luxury in England, and they were soon to build ships to be sold
abroad." Ten thousand bushels of corn were imported this year from
Virginia. The price of this commodity had advanced to four shillings
and sixpence a bushel, and in the winter the currency rate was fixed at
five shillings. In the summer of 1635 Governor Vane "invited all the
masters (there were then fifteen great ships in the harbor) to dinner,"
and he arranged with them that thereafter vessels bound to Boston
.should anchor below the castle until their friendly character could be
ascertained ; that the magistrates should have the first offer of com-
modities which they brought; and that their men might not stay on
shore, except upon necessary business, after sunset.


The Rev. Hug'h Peter had come to New England with Harry Vane
and John Winthrop, jr., and had been settled as minister at Salem.
His keen eye was quick to see the commercial capabilities of the conn-
trv, and he set himself to work to develop them. He "went from
place to place, laboring both publicly and privately to rai.se up men to
a public frame of spirit, and so prevailed as he procured a good sum of
money to be raised to set on foot the fishing business, and wrote into
England to raise as much more." During his residence and ministry
Salem took the lead in maritime affairs, and claimed to become the
capital ; but, after his departure for England, Boston acquired the as-
cendency, and was inade the seat of government.

In l(j;5(i one of Mr. Cradock's vessels "came from Bermuda with thirty
thousand weight of potatoes, and store of oranges and limes." In the
spring of 1638 there were fourteen ships in the Thames loading for
New England, among them the Desire, William Pierce master,
launched at Marblehead two or three years before. In the month of
November, l(i39, a post-office for foreign correspondence was set up
in Bo.ston. It was on the site now occupied \>y the Boston Daily
Advertiser. Richard Fairbanks, then the only inn-keeper in the town,
was postmaster, and was authorized to collect one penny (two cents) on
every letter delivered or received by him. It was "provided that no
man be compelled to bring his letters thither except he please."

By an act passed in 1(339 for the encouragement of the fisheries, it
was provided that all vessels and other property employed in taking,
curing and transporting fish, according to the usual course of fishing
voyages, should be exempt from duties and public taxes for seven years ;
and that all fishermen during the season for their business, as well as
shipbuilders, should be excused from the performance of military duty.
The wisdom of this policy of promotion — not protection — for ocean
commerce soon became apparent. Lechford, in his " News from New
England " (printed in London in 1642), says that the people were " set-
ting on the manufacture of linen and cotton cloth, and the fishing trade, "
that they were "building of ships, and had a good store of barks,
ketches, lighters, shallops and other vessels," and that "they had
builded and planted to admiration for the time." In Ki-tl John
Harrison, from Salisbury, England, began to make rope in Boston.
Until then nearly every kind of rigging and tackle had been brought
from England. The establishment of this industry had a very impor-
tant bearing on the future shipbuilding and shipowning interests of the


town. The Jnisiness went on increasing- for nearly a century, when
fourteen extensive rope-walks were in operation. In December, 1043,
as we learn from Winthrop, five ships, three of them built in Massa-
chusetts, carried "many passengers and great store of beaver" to Lon-
don, being followed on their way by '-many prayers of the churches."
This return movement to England was one result of the success of the
Puritan party there in its struggle with Charles I. At the same time
the emigration to New England was suddenly and utterly suspended ;
" the change made all men to stay in England in expectation of a new
world," Parliament sought to promote the commercial as well as
political freedom of the country, and New England was included in its
legislative provisions to this end. A step still in advance was taken,
says Palfrey, in the development of the trade of Massachusetts when a
Boston vessel brought wines, pitch, sugar and ginger from Teneriffe in
exchange for corn; and another yet, when the Trial, the first ship
built in Boston, being about a hundred and sixty tons, Mr. Thomas
Graves, " an able and a godly man, master of her," carried a freight of
fi.sh to Bilboa, and came home from Malaga in the spring of 1644 "laden
with wine, fruit, oil, iron and wool, which vi'as of great advantage to
the country, and gave encouragement to trade." In 1G45 fishing ves-
sels from Boston ventured as far as to the Banks of Newfoundland.

In 1(144 Winthrop had been succeeded in the governorship by John
Endicott, partly from local considerations, a marked jealousy of the
growing town of Boston manifesting itself in Essex county, and partly
because of serious dissatisfaction outside Boston with Winthrop's course
in negotiating with and as.sisting La Tour, one of the governors of
Acadia, who occupied a fortified position at the mouth of the St. John
River, and who obtained large sums of money and supplies from the
Boston merchants, to their subsequent heavy loss. Edv\-ard Gibbons
and Thomas Hawkins furnished four .ships to him, the Scahridgc, the
Philip and Mary, the Increase and the Greyhoiiiul. We refer to La
Tour and his negotiations with the authorities of Massachusetts Bay for
the purpose of noticing a proposal made by him for free trade between
his ports and the ports of New England, and for an arrangement by
which he might import through New England commodities from
Europe. The recjucst for free trade was complied with; the other was
refu.sed. After the lapse of two centuries, the adjacent colonies were
allowed to transport merchandise from and to Europe through New
England ports, and for a few years, under what is known as the Rec-


iprocity Treaty of 185-1, there was absolute free trade between the
adjacent colonies and this country in the products of the soil, the mine
and the sea.

In the summer of 1 (UT, Governor Peter Stuyvesant, havini;- arrived at
New York and assumed the government there, sent his secretary to
Boston with letters to the governor, ' ' with a tender of all courtesy and
good correspondence."

A few years after this and when, as Palfrey says, England had as
much business on her hands as could easily be managed, and when, if
she should become rigorous to her distant children, they were sure of
being welcomed to the protection of another great Protestant power —
the Dutch — now preparing to contest with her the empire of the seas,
"the Massachusetts people ventured on what was liable to be inter-
preted as a pretension of independent sovereignty. They imdertook
to coin money. The brisk trade with the West Indies introduced a
quantity of Spanish silver, and along with it there was much counter-
feit coin brought into the country, and much loss accruing in that re-
spect. " By the act of June 10, 1<),52, the General Court established a
mint, and appointed as mintmaster John Hull, one of the richest and
most thoroughly trusted men in the colony, an excellent man of busi-
ness, and an extensive shipowner at the time, but who had laid the
foundation of his fortune as a worker in the precious metals.

With !Mr. Hull was associated Robert Sanderson, afterward a deacon
in the First Church, Boston. They were to receive "bullion, plate, or
Spanish coin," and convert it " into twelve-penny, si.x-penny, and three-
penny pieces, which should be for form flat, and square on the sides,
and stamped on the one side with N. E. and on the other side with
XII*, VI"^, and III'', according to the value of each piece, together with
a privy mark, which should be appointed every three months by the
governor and known only to him and the sworn officers of the mint."
The mintmasters took an oath that all money coined by them should be
"of the just alloy of the English coin, that every shilling should be of
due-weight, namely, three penny troy weight, and all other pieces pro-
portionately, so near as they could." The charge for melting, refining
and coining was fixed at fifteen pence for every twenty .shillings. John
Hull made a large sum of money otit of the business, but he put it to a
good use, and it was generally felt that his prosperity was well de-


It would seem that no pieces " square on the sides" were ever coined.
Within a few days after the passage of the order, a committee appoint-
ed to oversee its execution "determined and dechired that the officers
for the minting of money should coin all the money that they minted
in a round form." It is said that the earliest pieces were called in New
England North-Easters. By a second vote adopted in the autumn of
the same year, "for the prevention of washing or clipping," it was
ordered "that henceforth all pieces of money coined as aforesaid,
should have a double ring on either side, with this inscription, Massa-
chusetts, and a tree in the centre, on the one side; and New England,
and the year of our Lord, on the other side." There were as many as
sixteen different dies of the second form of the shilling piece; the coins
are commonly known as pine-tree shillings, but there is no legal au-
thority for this, and the rude form of a tree on the obverse, taken from
the design entered on the journals of the Court, bears no special re-
semblance to a pine. A singular deviation in the legend should be
mentioned: Masathusets is the uniform spelling on the face of the
coins. We have seen this form of spelling in documents of the same
period. All the coins of the various issues preserved the date of the
year when the mint was established, 1052. This money and sterling
money were declared to be the only legal tender, after three months
from the date of the original act.

Fortunately for the colonists, their nominal rulers beyond the
sea were too far away, and too much occupied with their own more
immediate and pressing concerns, to follow them very closely in all
their proceedings, and to hold them steadily and persistently to a strict
account. As one consecjuence of this state of things, the coinage of
money in Massachusetts went on for many years without any serious
protest from England. Cromw^ell took no notice of it during the
period of the Coinmonwealth, and for some time after the restoration
of the monarchy no very pronounced objection was made to it. To
smooth matters over with Charles II, the General Court, in KmT,
ordered the shipment of a present to him, consisting of "ten barrels of
cranberries, two hogsheads of samp, and three thousand codfish."
(Hume says that the usual oath of Charles was "Cod's fish.") During
the administration of Sir Edmund Andros endeavors were used to ob-
tain the sanction of the crown for the continued coinage of silver here,
in view of the imdoubted advantage it had brought to colonial interests.
Finally the (piestion was referred to the master of the mint in London,



who, on prudential considerations, and not as an encroachment upon
the royal prerogative, reported against the local mint, and its opera-
tions were brought to a close.

After the conquest of Ireland by Cromwell, the extraordinary prop-
osition was made by him to the people of Massachusetts to recross the
ocean, and to plant Protestant civilization in the sister island. Writing
to the Protector upon this proposition, in behalf of the General Court,
Endicott said that they would not "hinder any families or persons to
remove to any parts of the world where God called them," but that they

Online LibraryWilliam T. (William Thomas) DavisProfessional and industrial history of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 73)