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Incorporated June \J 1^3/ 


Cha]). „/_'T Copyright No. 











' Children of faith, they walked by future licht 
The glory not yet come illumed their way." 



COPyRIGHT, 1900, 

By Laurence Bradford. 

GGt 42 


luitorary of Congre-- 

• "^'■■"t Copies Receiveo 
■JL 23 1900 ^ 

j Copyright en 

... a.../^'^'^^ 


' vered to 


[JUL 25 1900 


'>!• THB 

Stan^isb /Bionumcnt Bssociation, 





"" I ""Ht^ object of this book is to give a brief sketch of tlie town of 
^ Duxbury, mostly for the tourist and summer visitor. Particu- 
larly is it tile intention to give an account of Capt. Myles Standish, 
tlie most distinguished character the town has had, and the monu- 
ment to his memory, which after over thirty years in building has 
at last been completed, the loftiest to a single individual this side 
of Baltimore. The writer has gained his information from the 
long residence of his family in the town and from his acquaintance 
with many of the inhabitants of this and a past generation. .Also 
from the books that have from time to time been published, which 
have been freely consulted, a list of which is appended. Duxbury 
is so closely related to the Plymouth Colony that a history of the 
latter has in it much that relates to this town. It cannot be 
denied that everything connected with these first Colonists has an 
interest for the .American people, and a more romantic sentiment 
is accorded to them than to the settlers of the more prosperous 
sister colonies. The orator, poet, and historian have sought to do 
them honor. Even President Lincoln, born amidst such different 
surroundings, gave them his best mead of praise ; and Daniel 
Webster, who lived and died in the neighboring town of Marsh- 
field, originally a part of Duxbury. said to one of the writer's 
family, with whom he was intimate, that he felt more pride in his 

vi Preface. 

oration at Plymouth on the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the 
Landing of the Pilgrims, than in any one of his other addresses. 
The writer would acknowledge his obligations to Mr. F. B. 
Knapp of Powder Point, Dr. Myles Standish of Boston, and 
L. Boyer's Sons of New York City, for the use of valuable 
plates ; to Mrs. Lucia A. Knapp of Plymouth for pen-and-ink 
sketch, and particularly to Miss Harriet J. Ford of this town, 
for the design of the artistic cover and for pen-and-ink drawings. 


Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1646. Published 
first by the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1856, and later by the state of 
Massachusetts in 1898. 

The Pilgrim Republic: An Historical Review of the Colony of New 
Plymouth. By John H. Goodwin. Boston, 1888. 

The Pilgrim Fathers; ur, The Founders of New England. By \Vm. 
H. Bartlett. An English work published in London in 1853. 

History of the Town of Duxbury, Massachusetts. By Justin Winsor. 
Boston, 1849. 

Memorials of the Sprague Family. By Richard Soule, Jr. Boston, 1847. 

Landmarks of Plymouth. By \Vm. T. Davis. Boston, 1883. 

Memorials of Marshfield, and Guide-book to Its Localities at Green 
Harbor. By Marcia A. Thomas. Boston, 1854. 

Life and Time of William Brewster. By Rev. Ashbel Steele. Phila- 
delphia, 1857. 

L. B. 

Duxbury, June 17, 1900. 


I. TnK Town and Kaki.v Settlers 


III. Elder William Brewster 

I\'. John Alden .... 

v. The Standish Monu.ment 

VI. Captain's Hill .... 

\'II. Old Burial Places . 

VIII. Snirr.uiLDiNG .... 

I.\. Roads 

.\. Maps ... 

.\I. (Jld Houses 

-\II. Antiquaries 

.\III. Kingston and Gree.n 

XIV'. The French Cable 

-\V. 250TH Anniversary 

W'l. The Clam . 



I I 

















Summit ok Standisii Monu.mknt 

Island Ckkek Tond 

WooiJ Roads .... 

Cranijerry Factokv Po.nd . 

a \'if.\v in du.xhury woous 

Di'.xHURV Yacht Cliu, Regatta Day 

Du.xiu'KY Town .Seal. Tailpiece . 

The Alden Hol'SE 

The Stan'oish Moni.ment .... 
Stanuish Relics in Pilgri.m Hall. Tailpiece 

Du.xuuRY Beach 

Standish Monument fro.m Powder Point 

The Alden Burial Stone . 

St.'Vndish's Grave .... 

The Standish Memorial. Tailpiece 

The Winslow House 

Plan of Cellar, Standish's House 

Alexander Standish's House 

Houses of the Ezra Westons 

The Wehstek House 

The Winslow Arms 

The Winslow To.mb. Tailpiece 

Sections of the French Cable 

The French Cable. Tailpiece 

The Cla.m. Tailpiece 



I I I 
. I 14 
I iS 

. I 28 




Tlll'^ I'ilLiriiiis settled first, as is well known, aloni,' Le\-den 
Street, in Plymouth, from the shore to Burial Hill, where 
the\' h;nl built a fort. I'alisades were built on each side of 
this street, allowini; room for gardens, jijates beini^ {placed at two 
side streets. The fort in the rear, and the ba>- as an 0[)eninijj in 
front, would be considered a good military position. Soon, how- 
ever, their numbers so increased that it became necessary to 
separate, more land being needed for pasturage and cultivation. 
The\' scattered around the ba\' shores, keeping as near to each 
other and to I'lymouth as practicable. 

The Indians had been greatl\' reduced in numbers in this 
localit\- by a plague, and the few remaining do not seem to have 
been much at home on the water, as we find little mention of 
their canoeing; while the English were notably more or less 
sailors, choosing their lands near the sea. and showing reluctance 
io move inland, the interior of Pl\-mouth and much of Dux- 
bury being unsettled to this da\-. Captain's Hill earl\- attracted 
attention, with its wide views of the surrounding country, its 
very fertile soil and easy access to Plymouth. Standish, Brew- 
ster and Alden are thought to have settled here as earl\' as 
1630, or before, and soon after others made their homes about 
what was called Morton's B:\v, at the head of which the first 

12 Historic Duxp.urv. 

meeting-house, as the church was called in those da)-s, was 
built, about 1 637. The earliest settlers returned to Ph-mouth 
in winter, as the record says, " to insure their better attendance 
at public worship," and for fear of attacks by the Indians in 
this exposed situation. In about 1632 the Church was gathered, 
the first offshoot of the Plymouth Church, though there was 
no settled pastor till 1637, when the- Rev. Ralph Partridge was 
installed. The old record says: "In the year 1632 a number 
of the brethren inhabiting on the other side of the ba\% at a 
place since called Duxborough, growing wear}' of attending the 
worship of God at such distance, asked, and were granted a 
dismission, and soon after being embodied into a Church they 
procured the Rev. Ralph Partridge, a gracious man of great 
abilities, to be their pastor." 

It is due to the Rev. E. S. V. Huiginn, pastor of the Epis- 
copal Church of Duxbury from 1890 to 1893, that the site of 
the first church building was ascertained. All old residents 
knew that the second b.uilding was on the east side of the old 
burial ground, near the head of Morton's Bay. This is known 
to have been built in 1706, and is shown on a reprint of a map 
made by Chas. Blaskowitz in 1767, alluded to in chapter on 

There was a tradition that the first church building was at 
Harden Hill, a small peninsula on the northerly side of Captain's 
Hill, and even Mr. Justin Winsor, the town historian, was de- 
ceived by this tradition. Mr. Huiginn found the record that 
placed the matter beyond doubt: that the first church was near 
the second, on the easterly side of the old burial ground. 

rili; r<»\VX AND I'-ARLV SE'ITLERS. I3 

The town was incorporated June 7, 1637, old style, or June 
17, 1637, new st\'Io. Ihis is the record of the enactment b\' 
the Go\ern(ir aiul his Council of the l'l\'niouth Colon)': " It is 
enacted b>- the Court that Ducksborrow shall become a town- 
ship, and unite together for their better securit}', and to have 
the privileges of a town, onl\' their bounds antl limits shall be 
sett, and appointed b\' the next Court. " The name Duxbur\-, 
though spelled in \arious ways in earh* times, probably came 
from l)u.\bur\- Ilall, one of the countr)' seats of the Standish 
f.unilx' in I^ni^land. Some good authorities differ, however, 
from this opinion. The Indian name was the melodious one of 
Mattakeeset, which has been happily perpetuated in the name 
of the Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of 
the town. 

The population has greatl\' varied at different times. As 
early as 1643 it was supposed to be about 400. In 1710, also 
by supposition, about I.IOO. In 1770 — 1,152; 1790 — 1.454 
iSoo — 1.664; 1810 — 2,201; 1820 — 2,403; 1830 — 2,716 
1S40 — 2,798; 1850 — 2,679; i860 — 2.597; 1880 — 2,196 
1890 — 1,908; 1895 — 1,966. 

It is noticeil that the decrease has been large since 1 840, 
but it should be considered that only the legal residents are 
counted, while there is an ever increasing pc^pulation of 
summer residents. 

Among the early settlers mentioned b\' the historians are 
the following: 

John I lowland, who nun-ctl to town at an early date, 
haxiiiLr had grants of laiul at Island Creek Pond, also two 

14 Historic Duxburv. 

small islands at Green Harbor, called Spectacle and Ann 
Islands. He seems afterwards to have returned to Plymouth, 
where he died in 1672. A stone of slate on Burial Hill 
marks his resting-place. The following mishap befell him 
on the voyage over, as related by Bradford: "In a mighty 
storm a lusty young man called John Howland was with a 
heele of ye shipe throwne into ye sea, b.ut it pleased God 
y't he caught hould of ye top saile halliards, which hung 
over board, & rane out at length, yet he held his hould 
though he was sundrie fadomes under water, till he was hald 
up by ye same rope to ye brime of ye water, and then 
with a boat hooke, and other means got into ye shipe 
againe, and though he was something ill with it, )-et he 
lived many years after, and became a profitable member 
both in church, and comone wealthe." George Soule, a 
passenger on the "Mayflower," was a man who did good ser- 
vice to the town, frequently serving in the Court of Depu- 
ties, and holding other offices, which prove him to have 
been a man of ability; and he left a numerous posterity, 
who have since been an honor to the town. He was 
granted land at Powder Point. 

In 1637, of the twenty-seven heads of families who came 
in the ship "Fortune" in 1621, the following became pro- 
prietors of land in Du.xbury: Robert Hicks, Thomas Prence, 
Moses Simmons, Philip Delano, Edward Bumpus, William 
Palmer, Jonathan Brewster, Thomas Morton and William 
Basset. The name Delano is evidently of French origin, and 
was originally spelled Delanoye ; some say De la Noye. The 

Tin: Town and Kari.v Settlkrs. 15 

progenitor is said to lia\c been a l*"rench I'rotcstaiit who joined 
the Church at Lcydcn. lie was a hind surve\or, ami much 
respected. He owned hands at Millbrook. 

The first ph>-sician of Duxbury was Comfort Starr, who came 
here about 1638. but afterwards moved to Boston; Samuel 
Seabury was another physician wiio came here before 1 660. 
William Collier, one of the merchant adventurers in luv^dand, 
came over and settled near Standish and l^rewster about 1635. 
He also had land at North Hill. 

George Partridge came to Duxbur\- about 1636. He was 
a respectable )eoman from the County of Kent. England, 
where he owned an estate. He was the ancestor of the George 
Partridge who founded the Partridge Academ\-. Lands were 
granted him at Powder Point. Green Harbor. Island Creek and 
Millbrook. Henr\' Sampson was a }-oung man who came on 
the " Mayflower," but was too young to sign the compact. 
He was admitted a freeman in 1637, ^"<J ^^^cl a large famil\-, 
whose descendants arc numerous and respected in the town 
toda}'. Constant Southworth was a son of Alice Southworth. 
who came from pjiglaml in i'">23. and soon after married 
Governor Bradford. He was an active and enterprising towns- 
man. Christopher Wadsworth was the first constable of Dux- 
bur)', an office that required a man of abilit}' and honest)-, 
and it is said "a i)crusal of the records will at once assure 
us of his worth aiul respectabilit)-, which his numerous de- 
scendants in ever)" generation ha\e well retainetl." I'.tlmunil 
Weston, an enterprising ancestor of a noted famil)', came in 
1639. He lived at Millbrook and Green Harbor, and was 


Historic Duxbury. 

the progenitor of the Ezra Westons alluded to in the chapter 
on Shipbuilding. 

The following is a list of freemen in 1646, the earliest of 
which there is any record : 

John Alden, 
Wm. Basset, 
Wm. Brett, 
Thomas Besbeech, 
Love Brewster, 
Jno. Brewster, 
Roger Chandler, 
Edmond Chandler, 
Wm. Collier, 
Job Cole, 
Philip Delano, 
Lt. Wm. Holmes, 
Thomas Heyward, 
Henry Howland, 
Wm. Kemp, 
Experience Mitchell, 
Samuel Nash, 

John Paybody, 
George Partridge, 
Ralph Partridge, 
Abraham Peirce, 
Joseph Rogers, 
Moyses Symonson, 
Constant Southworth, 
Comfort Starr, 
Captain Standish, 
George Soule, 
Henry Sampson, 
Francis Sprague, 
John Tisdall, 
Stephen Tracy, 
Wm. Tubbs, 
Christopher Wadsworth, 

John Washburn. 

It must be confessed when writing of this old town that 
one necessarily dwells on the past, and those of us who are 
natives are somewhat susceptible to the criticism of an Eng- 
lish author writing of Plymouth: "That the present inhab- 
itants lived on the reputation of its first founders," but in 
reply we might give the words of one of his greatest coun- 
trymen. Lord Macaulay, from whose History of England this 
quotation is taken : " A people which take no pride in the 
noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve 
anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote 




The Town ani» I-Iaria Settlers. 17 

TliouL^fh nuich of the material prosperity of Duxbury 
passed away with the dechne of shipbuildirif^r, the ocean, its 
chief attraction, remains the same yesterday, today and for- 
ever. The waters of the bay are as bhie and the breezes as 
fresh as in those olden days. Many whcj think the old town 
tlull ha\c onl\' to spend a few short years in some crowded 
city or busy town, to long for the fresh salt bree7,e antl the 
sweet smell of the piney woods of old Duxbur}-. The snow- 
drifts are hardlv melted in the springtime when the sons 
and daughters of Du.xbury come back to gather the pink 
Ma)tlowers, natives of these woods, and sweetest of all flow- 
ers to manv who ha\e hunted for them in da)-s of }'outh 
and childhood. In Ma\- when the api)le orchards are in full 
bloom and the roadsides white with masses of the flowering 
wild plum, many of the summer people come back to their 
homes; but when Uu.xbury puts on her summer garb in 
June, and the daisies wa\e on every meadow and hilltop, 
from the blue ba\- back to the thick j)ine woods, then come 
the troops of people, }-oung and old, bent on health and 
pleasure. They bathe in the bay and drive through the 
tangled and mysterious roads of the famous Duxbury woods, 
where they frequently lose themselves, or have to turn about 
in a road that suddenly ends nowhere in particular. Above 
all, the\' sail the ba)'. 

" The bay of great surprises and une.xpected lands. 
Which when you least desire them, roll up their golden sands. " 

Most of our summer friends prefer the shore, but many 
old farmhouses in quiet neighborhoods back from the sea 

1 8 Historic Uuxburv. 

have passed into the hands of city people ; and the fields 
where once the Duxbury farmer toiled, now resound with 
the gay voices of hatless youths and maidens, and the sound 
of the golf and tennis ball. 

Our shore line, eight miles in length from Cove Street to 
the westerly side of Captain's Hill, is thickly scattered with 
pleasant and attractive homes, and designated " The Point," 
"The Village," "Hall's Corner," and "The Standish Shore." 
From Hall's Corner to the Kingston line a road runs up 
and down among the hills and meadows near the sea, full of 
wild beauty and charm, called Border Street. 

From Captain's Hill, or standing in the belfry of the first 
church, one sees before him the apparently unbroken sweep 
of the Duxbury woods as far as the eye can reach. These 
woods are intersected- with winding, puzzling roads that lead 
to the pretty little villages of Island Creek, Tinkertown, 
Tarkiln, West Duxbury, Ashdod, and Crooked Lane, or 
North Duxbury. In these woods are many pretty ponds; 
an illustration of one. Cranberry Factory Pond, is here given. 
There is now a sawmill at the end of this pond, but the 
name came from a cotton or woolen factory that was once 
in the place of this mill. Driving from Kingston on Tremont 
Street, now the State road, one comes suddenly from the 
woods to a simple and appropriate Soldiers' Monument, 
which tells of the brave sons of Duxbury who fell in the 
Civil War. And among the white stones of the cemetery 
many little flags wave over their graves. Near the cemetery 
stands the Unitarian Church, a large building seldom filled 

Tin: Town ani> ICarln" Se'itlers. 


except when suiiie threat occasiijii stirs the town. The 
Town llall stands near b\", and the Partrid^Te Acadcni)', 
nanied for its donor. Geor^^e P.irtridLje, a \'aiueil townsman 
who was born in 1740, j^raduatcd from Harvard College in 
1760, was a member of the Continental Congress ami of 
the Congress of the United States, and was for thirt\' years 


high sheriff of Plymouth Count}-. \\'h\- these important 
buildings were placed in this quiet spot is a question that 
naturally comes to the mind of a stranger, and the expla- 
nation seems to be that this is about the geographical 
center of the town, " and the intention was to accommodate 

Another institution of pride is the Public Library on St. 

20 Historic Duxbury. 

George Street, presented to Duxbury by Mrs. Georgianna 
B. Wright. The building was remodeled and comfortable 
reading-rooms made. Mrs. Wright, her family and others 
gave many books, and these donations, with a testamentary 
bequest by Mr. Henry Winsor of Philadelphia, make a very 
fair collection. 

The Congregational and the St. John's Episcopal churches 
are in the village on Washington Street, and are of the usual 
type of country churches built in this century. Although 
the population is small it is scattered over an extensive area, 
and the Government allows six post-ofifices within the limits ; 
namely, Duxbury, South Duxbury, Island Creek, Millbrook, 
West Duxbury, North Duxbury, and one at the Standish 
Shore in the summer, at the Myles Standish Hotel. Tre- 
mont Street runs from near the Marshfield line to Kingston, 
and is the longest street. It has been taken by the Com- 
monwealth for a State road, and is now being macadamized. 
Washington, a very pleasant and attractive street, runs from 
Powder Point to Captain's Hill, near the shore of the bay. 
and from it branch pretty little roadways down to the water's 
edge. Our bay is a remarkably fine one for boating, owing 
to its sheltered situation ; and there are many places of 
interest for the voyager to visit. 

For many years the yacht races have attracted much 
attention and brought many people to the place. The ex- 
tensive flats which appear at low tide are somewhat of an 
impediment, as many an inexperienced boatman has cause 
to know. But it is a fact that the constant ebb and flow 



riii-. Town and ICarlv Skitlkrs. 


of the title helps to keep the harbor clean and healthful. 
There are places alonf^ the coast where b\- cross action of 
the currents there is but slight nio\'enient of the tide. 
Those who have been to these places, and seen the dead 
and stagnant water along the shore would appreciate this 
great advantage. There is a flourishing yacht club with a 
clubhouse on the \illage shore, that was patronized by 
the noted actress, the late Fann\' l)<i\eni)ort, who had her 
residence here, — a haiulsonie modern dwelling of the 
chateau-like style of architecture, called Melbourne Hall. 
This is Duxbur\- of toda\- : a quiet place of natural and 
characteristic beaut)'; and nian\' come and come again, and 
linger till the leaves begin to fall, and chill)- winds remind 
them that the summer is fjone. 

' There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society, where none intrudes, 
Hy the deep sea, and music in its roar. 
Time writes no wrinkle on its azure brow; 
Such as Creation's dawn beheld, it rollest now." 

22 Historic Duxburv. 



" In the Old Colony days, in Plymouth the land of the Pilgrim, 
To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling. 
Clad in doublet and hose, and boots of Cordovan leather, 
Strode, with a martial air, Myles Standish, the Puritan captain." 

TIE was born in 1584, in the county of Lancashire, Eng- 
■'• ^ land, and belonged to the Standishes of Standish Hall, 
and was the only one of the "Mayflower" Pilgrims of high 
descent, according to the laws of England. His family dated 
back to the time of the Conquest, and is in existence there 
today. Many were knighted and ennobled by peerages dur- 
ing their long existence. Their estates are very valuable in 
mines and land in this county, near the village of Chorley, 
where exists the ancient church in whose vaults lie the 
bodies of many members of this ancient family and the 
ancestors of Myles Standish. 

Many years before his time the family had divided into 
two branches: one the Standishes of Standish, and the other 
that of Duxbury Hall or Park ; and the family early divided 
in their religious beliefs, that of the Standishes of Standish 
being Roman Catholic, and those of Duxbury Hall being 
Protestant. Capt. Myles came from the family of Standish 
of Standish, and that he was heir to some of the family 
estates there is no doubt, as he claimed them himself and 
left his right by testamentary bequest to his son Alexander^ 

Cai'Iain Standish. 23 

the text of which is added further alon^; and this son in 
his turn bequeathed his right to his cliildren. Perhajis the 
Cai)tain was less skillful in (.)btaininLj his le^^al rii;hts than in 
t"iL,ditin;^ with more deadly weapons liis fellowmen. 

Attcnii)ts ha\e been made from time to time to recover 
this propert)', the most important effort being that b\' an 
organized association in 1846, accounts of which arc found 
in the books of Old Colony history, a list of which is appended 
at the beginning of this volume. 

Dr. Mylcs Standish of Boston, who has visited at various 
times the homes of his ancestors in England, Standish and 
Duxbur)' Halls, and whose father was secrctar}' of the 
society formed in this country to recover the property, 
informs me that the litigation between the two branches of 
the famil)' was old even in Capt. Myles' time; that when 
one side got an adxantage of possession o\er the other, the\' 
would destro)' all the legal evidence that might help their 
opponent, and that one suit was in the Courts of Chancer}' 
for three hundred years. 

Of the earl)' life of Capt. M\-lcs Standish we know little. 
The first mention of him is that in (Jueen Elizabeth's time 
he held a commission as Lieutenant in the h'jiglish forces 
that were fighting the Spanish in the Netherlands, and it 
was during the truce that existed between the combatants 
that he joined the Pl)'mouth Pilgrims. It appears that he 
ne\er joined the Pilgrim Church strictK' as a church mem- 
ber, but, be that as it ma\', he full\- and entirel\' cast his 
lot in with theirs, and rendered them inestimable service from 

24 Historic Duxburv. 

the time of his joining them till the day of his death. He 
bore not only all of their hardships, but as Bradford particu- 
larly mentions in his history, was one of those who nursed 
the others through their sickness and sore straits during the 
first winter. He was their military savior on numerous occa- 
sions, as is told in the various histories of the Plymouth 
and Massachusetts colonies ; and he was not less efificient in 
shaping the civil policy, being constantly on the Board of 
Assistants to the Governor, and serving in many other capaci- 
ties connected with the infant Colony. He was chosen the 
attorney of the English Company under the Royal Charter 
of the Great Patent of New England to transfer to the Ply- 
mouth Settlement a charter of their proprietary rights in 
1629, this document being in existence today, preserved in 
the Registry of Deeds office in Plymouth. 

He joined the Pilgrims at Leyden with his wife Rose, not 
long before the sailing of the " Speedwell," and was with the 
settlers in Plymouth after the landing, till he removed to 
Duxbury, which may have been before 1630. It is told 
in the early records that the first settlers lived in Duxbury 
only in the siimmer time, going to Plymouth for the winter; 
and Captain Standish is mentioned in 1632 as one of those 
who promised to live in the town in the winter " that they 
may the better repair to the worship of God." Captain 
Standish settled on a bluff overlooking Plymouth, the site 
of his house being known, and of unquestionable authen- 
ticity, and is particularly described under the chapter on 
Old Houses. Here Captain Standish lived till his death, on 

Cai'iain Mvlks Stankish. 25 

Oct. 3, 1656, being se\ent}'-t\vo years old. Secretary Morton, 
recording his death, sa)'s : "He, growing vcr\' ancient, became 
sick of the stone or stangiillian, wlicreof, after his suffering 
of much dolorous pain he fell asleep in the Lord, and was 
honorabl}- buried at Duxburw" .Although at an ad\anccd 
age, shortl)' before his death he was appointed to lead an 
expedition against the Dutch in the New York Colon}' War 
about to break out between the Dutch and l*2nglish, which 
was averted b\' one of Cromwell's \ictories. lie had held 
the position of Captain Commandant all of his life, ne\'er 
for a moment losing the confidence of the Colony. 

What he might have done on a larger field of action 
it is impossible to sa\-, as it is with most men ; but if 
his actions and abilit)' are to be judged b)- the services 
that were rendered to the ICnglish race, his talents were 
very great ; for if this beginning of making a colon\- 
liad been crushed, it would not t)nl)' ha\e set back the 
progress of the English settlement for a long time, but 
would have set back freedom and liberty to a far greater 

B\' orders latelv issued from the War Department in Wash- 
ington naming the new coast defences throughout the several 
states, the batter\- at Lovell's Islaml, l^oston Harbor, is named 
Fort Standish, in honor, so the report sa}-s, of Capt. Myles 
Standish of Duxbury. 

Here is added the will of Standish, which is interesting, 
as it is about the onl\- writing that has come down to us, 
that we know was written b\' him. 

26 Historic Duxburv. 

The text of Standish's will, a document which will repay 
perusal : 

The last Will and Testament of Captaine Myles Standish, Gent. 
Exhibited before the Court held at Plymouth, the 4th of May 1657, 
on the oath of Captaine James Cudworth ; and ordered to bee Re- 
corded as followeth. Given under my hand this March the 7th 1655. 

Witnesseth these Presents that I Myles Standish senr. of Duxburrow, 
being in Pfect memory yett deceased in my body and knowing the 
fraile estate of man in his best estate. I do make this to be my last 
Will and Testament, in manor and forme following : 

1. My will is that out of my whole estate my funerall charges to 
be taken out and my body to be laied as neare as conveniently may 
bee to my two dear daughters, Lora Standish my daughter and Mary 
Standish my daughter in law. 

2. My will is that out of the remaining Pte of my whole estate, 
that all my just and lawfuU debts which I now owe or at the day of 
my death may owe bee paid. 

3. Out of what remains according to the order of this Gouernment 
my will is that my dear and louing wife, Barbara Standish, haue the 
third Pte. 

4. I haue given to my son Josias Standish vpon his marriage, one 
young horse, fiue sheep and two heifiers which I must vpon that con- 
tract of marriage make forty pounds— yett not knowing whether the 
estate will bear it att Present, my will is that the resedue remaine in 
the whole stocke and that eury one of my four sons, viz. Allexander 
Standish Myles Standish Josias Standish and Charles Standish ; may 
haue forty pounds appeece ; if not, that they may haue proportionable 
to ye remaining Pte bee it more or less. 

5. My will is, that my eldest son Allexander shall haue a dovble 
share in land. 

6. My will is, that soe long they Hue single that the whole bee in 
Ptnership betwixt them. 

7. I doe ordaine and make by dearly beloved wife Barbara Standish,. 

Cai'Iain Mvi.ks Standisii. 2- 

Allexander Standish, Myles Standish and Josias Standish, Joint llxequi- 
tors of this my last Will and Testament. 

8. I doe by this my will make and appoint my louing friends Mr. 
Timoty Hatterly and Captain James Cudworth supervissors of this my 
last will, and that they will bee pleased to do the office of christian 
loue to bee helpful to my poor wife and children by their christian 
counsell and advise : and if any difference should arise which 1 hope 
will not, my will is that my saied supervissors shall determine the same, 
and that they see that my poor wife shall have as comfortable main- 
tainance as my poor state will bear the whole time of her life, which 
if you my louing friends please to doe though neither they nor I shall 
bee able to recompenc, I do not doubt but the Lord will. 

Hy mee Mvles Standish. 

Further my will is, that Martha Marcye Robenson, whom I tenderly 
loue for her grand fathers sacke, shall have three pounds in some 
thing to go forward for her two years after my decease which my 
will is my overseers shall see performed. 

Further my will is, that my servant John Irish, Jr. have forty shillings 
more than his couenant which will appear upon the Towne Booke 
alwaies provided that he continew till the time he couenanted bee 
e.xpired in the service of my exequitors or any of them with their 
Joint concent. 

By mee Mvles Standish. 
March 7th ; 1655. 

9. I give unto my son and heire aparent .\llexander Standish, all 
my lands as heire aparent by lawfuU descent in Ormistick, Borsconge, 
Wrightington, .Maudsley, Newburrow. Crawston, and in the Isle of Man, 
and given to mee as right heire by lawful decent but surruptuously 
detained from me, my great grandfather being a vond or younger brother 
from the house of Standish of Standish. 

By mee Mnles Standish. 
.March 7th, i(')55. 

Witnesse by mee James Cudworth 

The landed possessions of Standish were extensive and his 
property for those times quite larcje, considerini^ that the nuiii- 

28 Historic Duxburv. 

bers of the Pl}'mouth Colony were men of small estate. The 
appraisal was ^^^358.75. His house and farm were valued at 
jCi40. His personalty comprised these articles, which are 
added not alone because they relate to Captain Standish, but 
thinking they will be of interest as giving an idea of how the 
people lived at that early day. 

Two mares, two colts, one young horse, with equipments, two 
saddles, one pillion and one bridle, four oxen, six cows, three 
heifers, one calf, eight sheep, two rams, one wether, fourteen 
swine, three muskets, four carbines, two small guns, one fowl- 
ing-piece, a sword, a cutlass, and three belts. 

Furniture. — Four bedsteads, one little bed, five feather 
beds, three bolsters, three pillows, two blankets, one coverlet, 
four pairs of sheets, one pair of fine sheets, four napkins, one 
table and tablecloth, another table, one form chair, one com- 
mon chair, four rugs, four iron pots, three brass kettles, a fr}'- 
ing-pan, one skillet, a kneading trough, two pails, two trays, 
one dozen trunchers, or wooden plates, one bowl and a churn, 
two spinning-wheels, one pair of steelyards, a warming-pan, 
three beer casks, a malt mill, and personal apparel to the 
value of ^10. 

From this inventory it would seem that the early Colo- 
nists were living m ordinary comfort; and realU', both com- 
fort and wealth are only relative terms in any age, depending 
upon the times, the surroundings and the associations. 

Besides these articles of household use, animals of the 
farm, and arms, there were over £1 1 worth of books, with 
their appraised valuation, as follows: 

Cai'Taix Mm.ks Standish. 

£ s- 

1 lO 


I 10 

1 04 

I 00 




tment, Gos- 

History of the World, and Turkish History 

Cronicle of I'.ngland, and Country Farmer 

History of Oueen Ehzabeth, State of Europe 

Dr. Hall's Works, Calvin's Institutions 

Wilcox's Works, and Mayor's . 

Rogers' Seven Treatises, and French Academy 

Three old Bibles ..... 

Casars Commentaries, Bariffe's Artillery . 

Preston's Sermons, Burroughs' Christian Content 

pel Conversation, Passions of the Mind, The I'hysi- 
cian's Practice, Burroughs* Earthly Mindedness, do. 
Discoveries ........ 

Ball on Faith, Brinly's Watch, Dodd on the Lord's Sup- 
per, Sparks Against Heresy, Davenport's Apology 

A Reply to Dr. Cotton on Baptism, The Cicrman History, 
The Sweden Intelligencer, Reason Discussed 

One Testament, Psalm Book, Nature and Grace in Con- 
flict, A Law Book, The Mean in Mourning, Allega- 
tions, Johnson Against Hearing .... 

Parcel of old books, divers subjects, 4to .... 
•' " " " " " 8vo .... 

Wilson's Dictionary, Homer's Illiad, Commentary on James 
Ball's Catechism ....... 

I 04 



I I 09 

It would -sccin b\- this quite respectable library that Captain 
Standisli was interosteci in nian\- different subjects, and would 
hardl\- help to bear out the argument ad\anced b\' some that 
he was a Roman Catholic in religion. It also shows that, 
however much our ancestors valued books of piet\' in a 
spiritual sense, that their consciences would not allow them to 
place an excessive value on them when acting in the capacity 
of sworn appraisers. 

One of the swords of M\les Standisli is in Pilgrim Hall, 

30 Historic Duxburv. 

Plymouth, having been presented to the Pilgrhn Society by 
one of the Standish heirs in 1824. This sword has had 
quite a history, according to a Jewish gentleman who visited 
Plymouth some years ago, and wrote this description, which 
is here appended : 


This sword is, without doubt, of ancient Persian manufacture, called by 
the Orientals Dharban ; viz., meteor, and the material of which it is made 
is thunderbolt iron. There is not the least doubt that this sword fell into 
the hands of the Saracens at the time of the defeat of the Persian tyrant 
warrior, Kozoroi, when Jerusalem was wrenched from him by the Khalif 
Omar I., 637. The inscriptions and emblems show clearly the above 
facts. On closely examining the sun and moon engraved on the blade, it 
will be seen that faces were engraved inside the sun and moon; and on 
closer examination of the faces, it will be noticed that the engraver did not 
intend to represent them as human, but lions' faces. History says that the 
sun, moon and stars were worshipped by the ancient Persians as the celes- 
tial deities of strength and power, the sun predominant and the lion the 
terrestrial emblem of the sun, whose head, surrounded by his shaggy mane, 
resembles the deity he represents. 

The present Persian coat-of-arms is derived from the mythology of their 
predecessors : the sun rising on a lion's back, crowned with the moon and 
with a circle of stars around her. 

Ancient swords and other weapons were said to have often been made 
from meteoric iron, and it has always been believed by the ancient as well 
as the modern Orientals that that material had an invaluable virtue of good 
luck in it, and a charm to its possessor. It is said by Arab historians that 
the prophet (Mohammed) and his successors were armed with Dharban 
swords ; that when grasped against the enemies of the religion of the faith- 
ful, the warrior had nothing to do but face the enemy, — the sword would 
do the destruction. It was believed by them that the virtue of the metal 
would strengthen them against the fatigue of the muscles, and charm their 
lives from the attack and thrust of the enemy. 

The three inscriptions as seen on the blade (one on the same side with 
the Persian emblems and the other two on the other side) were engraved 

Cai'tain M\les Standisii. 31 

by the Mohammedans, and at a much later period than the Persian 
emblems. They are each different in hand and form. Tiie first named of 
the two is the Mediaval Cutic. 

The interpretation is " With peace God ruled his slaves and with judg- 
ment of his arm he gave trouble to the valiant of the mighty or cour- 
ageous" — meaning the wicked. On the reverse side of the blade are 
the two above-mentioned inscriptions, part of one of which only can be 
deciphered. " In Ciod is all might." The last line that resembles Koman 
numerals is not intended for a date, as one would be led to suppose, but 
is of private signification, not known to anybody excepting the possessor 
who had it engraved. The same with the other on the same side with the 
Mediaval Cufic. A'o one can deciplur it as this is the key to the charm, 
and when once deciphered by anybody besides its real owner, it becomes 
as valueless as a reed. Before closing our remarks, let us notice above 
the two separate inscriptions, and here we find engraved again a com- 
bination of circles intending to represent fire, and a conical shaft to remind 
one of the meteoric metal of which the blade is made. 

N. B. — It is not to be wondered at, then, that European and American 
scholars have failed to decipher the above. Even a medium Arabic 
scholar, and he more advanced than any foreign scholar in the vernacular 
language of his country, cannot decipher all the modern handwritings 
without giving an especial time and hard study, the Arabic language being 
so divided in itself, unlike any other in the world. Anyone brought up in 
one calling cannot decipher the hand of others ; and it will at once be seen 
how difficult and impossible it would be for any professor or scholar to 
master a language that needs almost a lifetime to acquire it perfectly. 

Having endeavored to serve the owners of this valuable relic of the past 
in giving a faithful interpretation of the inscription thereon, 

I remain with the greatest respect their obedient servant, 

J.^.MES RosEDAi.E, of Jerusalem Holv. 

The Massachusetts Historical Societ\' lias a sword tlial 
was presented to them \-ears ago as one that belcMiLjed to 
]\I\lcs Standish. This nia\- be the other one mentioned in 
the in\'ent(>r\-. There are besides in Pih^rim Hall: 

Iron pot brought b\- M\-les Standish in the " Ma_\-flower." 

32 Historic Duxbury. 

Pewter plates brought in the " Mayflower " by Myles Standish. 

There is here a reh'c of Lora Standish, in the shape of a 

sampler; i. e., worsted or silk letters worked on thin canvas. 

Lora Standish is my name. 

Lord guide my heart that I may doe 
thy will. Also fill my hands with such 
convenient skill, as may conduce to 
virtue void of shame, and I will give 
the glory to thy name. 

Box containing relics found among the ruins of the house 
of Myles Standish in Duxbury, presented by James Hall, Esq. 

A piece of the hearthstone of the house of Myles Standish 
in Duxbury, presented by James Hall, Esq. 

There is a portrait of Myles Standish in the possession 
of the Harrison family in Plymouth that can be traced back 
a great many years. It is believed by persons who have 
looked up the evidence, to be a real portrait of the Pilgrim 

Captain Myles was the agent of the town of Duxbury, 
for buying what is now the Bridgewater towns and the City 
of Brockton, or a part of them, which was then called 
Saughtucket. He made this trade with Ousameguin, Sachem 
of Pocanorcket, for the following articles: Seven coats, nine 
hatchets, eight horses, twenty knives, four moose-skins, ten 
and one-half yards of cotton, twenty pounds in money. This 
sale was dated March 23, 1649. 



The tailpiece of this article is the Diixbiiry town seal, 
designetl b)- the writer and adopted the present year in 
accordance with Chapter 256, Acts of 1899, of the State 
Legislature, which ctinipciled all towns to have an official 
seal. M\'les Standish is represented in his military dress, but 
acting in a civil capacit\-, — that of transferring the charter 
and possession of the Colonx's territory, as counsel for the 
English Coiupau)- to the rixiiiouth Colonists. The trans- 
ferring of land under the I{!nglish laws was a \er\' formal 
proceeding, and could onl)- be done in full legalit\' b\' con- 
ve\'ing bodily a portion of the territory from the grantor to 
the grantee, which was accomplished b\' the grantor, his 
agent or representative, breaking off a twig on the premises 
and presenting it to the grantee, who must accept it in 
the presence of witnesses. A portion of this formalit}' has 
come down to our day in the words "lawfully seized," that 
is. put in possession ; and also in the precise instrument 
that is used at the present time as a deed for transferring 
real estate. 

34 Historic Duxbury. 



" Learning is more profound 

When in few solid authors it may be found. 

A few good books digested well do feed the mind." 

BREWSTER was one of the best educated, if not the 
best, of those who came in the " Mayflower." There 
being no regular minister for the Church for some years he 
acted in that capacity as the Church elder. He was one 
of the oldest of the leaders, being fifty-six at the time of 
the landing. He came from a highly respectable family in 
England, and had done much there and in Leyden to build 
up the Church which the Pilgrims formed. The record says 
that in the year 1632 lands were allotted to Brewster in 
Duxbury adjoining those of Captain Standish, and northerly 
from his, on the Captain's Hill peninsula bordering on the 
bay, including what from that day to this has been called 
" the Nook." Here was erected his dwelling, the site of 
which is pointed out in a northeasterly direction from that 
of Captain Standish. He lived here till his death in 1644, 
ministering often in the Plymouth and Duxbury churches. 

He was a scholar when scholars were rare, having 
entered, and received a degree from Cambridge College in 
England. The books of his library show what his scholar- 
ship must have been. He left four hundred volumes; sixty- 

ICldkr Wii.i.ia.m Hrkwster. 


four were in Latin, aiul thirtx'-eiL^ht of these were versions 
of the Sacred Scriptures. Anioni,^ the works in the English 
laiiL^uaL^e were nian\' large folios and cjuartos, some of them 
ha\'ing sixteen Inindred pages. What has become of this 
large library is not known. There is one volume or more 
in the Vale College Librar)-, and very likely others in the 
•oi(.l libraries of New England. An elaborate life of Brewster 
was written b\- the Rew Ashbel Steele in 1857. 

36 Historic Duxburv. 



"The bluebirds in the spring 
Sing their sweet welcoming 

To rouse and charm; 
Where first John Alden came 
Their haunt is still the same; 
Still bears its Pilgrim name: 

John Alden's farm."' 

JOHN ALDEN was one of the youngest of the " May- 
flower " passengers, being only twenty-one when he came. 
He was not one of the Church either in England or Leyden, 
but was hired at Southampton, where the " Mayflower " was 
fitting, as a cooper, to serve the Colonists for one year. 
Some say he was smuggled aboard by some of the adven- 
turers. Anyway he chose to remain with the Settlement, 
and became a valuable member. Directly after the landing 
the Settlement was divided into families for convenience in 
providing for the whole, and Alden was assigned to the 
family of Captain Standish, which gave rise to the romantic 
legend that ^has been told and retold in prose and poetry 
ever since: that the Captain sent him with a proposal of 
marriage to the young and comely daughter of Mr. Mullins, 
and that he fell in love with the maiden himself. However 
that may be, he early in the first year wedded the fair 
Priscilla, whose name and renown has reached our day, and 
whose fair face is seen in many noted pictures, and at last 

Idiix Ai.I)i:n. 


adorns an insurance calendar. Alden i>ro\ed all his life a 
worth}' accession to the coniniunit\', hllin;^ \arious offices of 
trust and responsibilit}', until he died at an acK'anced aj^'e. 
Sept. 12, 1686, anil was at his death the last sur\i\-inL( 
si<.;;ncr of that original compact of government made in the 
cabin of the " Maj'flower " at Cape Cod, November, 1620, 
which rrcsideiit Lincoln said " was the fountlation of the 
Republic." Aldcn earl\- came to Du.\bur\', — it is said in 



w A^duse 

163 I, and settled on land which had been allotted to him near 
the tidal liead of Bluetish Ri\-er, near the salt marshes and 
what was called Eagle-tree Ford, made b\- a fresh-water brook 
called I lounds-ditch, just before its conjunction with the 
ri\'er. He built his house on a small knoll, and the site of 
it is now marked by a stone recording the fact. According 
to W'indsor's Histor\' of Duxburw the second house stood a 
little further to the westward, and the present house, erected 
by his grandson. Col. John Allien, is still further towards the 


Historic Duxburv. 

west. An illustration of this house is added as seen from 
Alden Street. It is a remarkable instance for this country 
that this farm has been held by one family from the first 
settlement to the present time, and the name also has been 
perpetuated, so that the poetical quotation at the head of 
this chapter is literally true, " still bears its Pilgrim name, 
John Alden's farm." Alden's Bible is in Pilgrim Hall in 
Plymouth, having the Anno Domini, 1620. Alden's auto- 
graph is very rare, notwithstanding the many times he must 
have written it on public documents. He was probably 
buried in the old burial place of the town, as we know 
his son, Jonathan Alden, is buried there, as his stone still 
stands today. 


Thk Standish Monument. 39 



" Let the earliest ray of the morning gild it, 
And parting day linger and play on its summit." 

JIIi:\R\' S'rR'KXi:\' of Baltimore uh.. died in 1893, 
• and who did so much to perpetuate llic memory of the 
historical places in rKinouth, once said to the writer: "If 
an)'one deser\'cd a monument it was Capt. Myles Standish." 
And afterwards Mr. Stickney subscribed liberalK' at different 
times towards this object. 

'Ihe i)roject was first started as far back as the latter i)art 
of the decade 1S60-70. Mr. Stephen M. .Allen, a law\-er b}' 
profession, who came to town about that time and bought 
land about Captain's Hill, first suggested the idea, and the 
ground was dedicatetl Oct. 10, 1871. The railroad was 
then just completed, or made ready b\' e.xtra e.xcrtion so 
that the guests were transported as far as South Duxbury, 
there being (juite a ceremon\' on this occasion. The under- 
taking was incorporated May 4, 1872, under the name 
of the Standish Monimient Association ; five months later, 
on Oct. 7, 1872. the cornerstone was laid with appropriate 
exercises, ten thousand jieoplc, it is said, being present. .\ 
very fidl account of the proceedings on this occasion is 
given in a book of newspaper cuttings at the Boston Public 
Libr.iry, — 4443.67. The monument was then begun and 

40 Historic Duxbury. 

worked upon at different intervals for a number of years, 
Nathaniel Adams and L. Miles Standish of Boston giving much 
time and money towards the object. It was built up to about 
seventy feet, and then came to a standstill for a long time. 
The illustration of the Standish grave in the old cemetery gives 
an idea of its appearance at this time. In the year 1889 
another start was made and the outside of the monument 
completed, with the granite statue of M\des Standish placed 
on the summit. Up to this time there has been expended 
$36,000, and of this amount twelve or fifteen gentlemen had 
contributed $30,000. 

Nothing more was done until 1S98, when the interior of the 
monument was completed by putting in the iron stairway, 
making an observation room near the summit, a room at the 
entrance, bronze doors and ornamental windows. This was 
done with money given by the Commonwealth of Massachu- 
setts. The stone steps and granite columns outside and 
making the road was done by a testamentary bequest left by 
Mr. Stickney of Baltimore, for the purpose. 

The monument was designed by Alden Frink, architect, 
and is unique in its conception. Its lines and proportions 
have been commended by professional people who had but 
slight interest in the object, the town, or its surroundings. 

The dimensions are : 

Diameter of base . . . . . . 28 feet 

Diameter of top ...... 16 feet 

Height from foundation to parapet . . 116 feet 

Height of statue on top . . . . . 14 feet 

The Standisii Monument. 41 

The monument is constructed of rough granite from the 
Hallowell quarries. The arch of the entrance is built b>' 
stones contributed b\- the several New England States, and 
bear their names. The keystone was presented by President 
Grant, and represents the United States. 

Hereto annexed are the names of the officers of the Asso- 
ciation who have brought the monument to com[)letion, and 
in this connection the writer would mention the late Mr. 
George Bradford, who in I S90. when the Association was re- 
organized, was the onl\- survivor of the original incorporators. 
Mr. Bradford was the contractor who built the road from the 
town road to the summit, and he lived till the summer of 
1898, when the monument was substantially finished, being 
the only member who had seen its beginning and its com- 

The monument is the highest one built to the memory of 
a single person this side of Baltimore, and has been raised 
mostly by private subscriptions. The situation is a sightly one, 
on a hill that is not high for an easy climb, and is enough 
elevated when reached to show well-defined views of the 
scenery about it. The tract of land which the Association 
owns, o\'er twenty acres in extent, could be attractivel}' laid 
out in paths and open places that would make it a hand- 
some park, and the)- would do it if the\' had the funds. It 
is to be hoped that the list of benefactors will increase, that 
this may be done, which would add much to the enjo\-ment 
of the many people who seek this seaside resort for j)leasure 
and recreation. 


Historic Duxbury. 


President : 
Gen. Wilmon W. Blackmar. 

Secretary and Treasurer : 
Dr. Myles Standish. 

Building Comtnittee : 
Gen. Wilmon W. Blackmar. Dr. Myles Standish. 

J. Myles Standish. John B. Hollis. 

Architect : 
Alden Frink. 

Executive Committee : 

Geo. Bradford, Esq. 
J. Myles Standish, Esq, 
Chas. C. Richmond, Esq. 
Arthur Lord, Esq. 
John B. Hollis, Esq. 
Geo. E. McNeill, Esq. 

Wm. J. Wright, Esq. 
Rev. E. J. V. Huiginn. 
Rev. Edward E. Hale. 
Moses P. Parker, Esq. 
Dr. Myles Standish. 
Winthrop P. Soule, Esq. 

Gen. W. W. Blackmar. 


Captain's Hill. 43 

captain's hill. 

" Scenes must be beautiful which daily viewed, 
Please daily, and whose novelty survives 
Long knowledge, and the scrutiny of years, — 
Praise justly due to those that I describe." 

CAPTAIN'S HILL, on which the monument stands, was part 
of the farm given Captain Standish by the Plymouth 
Colony. At its foot in plain sight is the place where stood his 
house, where he li\ed until his death; and the house said to 
ha\-e been built b}' his son in 1666 still stands near by. 

The hill is about two hundred feet above tide water, and is 
the highest eminence in the vicinit}'. It has had a history 
apart from and since the time of Standish, as it was used as a 
place for signalling in the Revolutionary and 1812 wars, and 
a few years back was clear of trees and underbrush, when 
used for pasturage, as at that time cattle were more plentiful 
than now. 

From the summit of this hill a fme view is given of the bay, 
islands and various places of historic interest in the vicinity, 
which are particularly described in this chapter, as we follow 
around b\- the points of the compass until we have completed 
the circle, noting the objects in view and the location of 
others not so plainl)- seen ; beginning at the Duxbury Light, 
that lies below us in a southeasterly direction at the mouth of 
Duxbur\' and Ph'mouth bavs, and marks the end of a shoal 

44 Historic Duxbury. 

that leads out from the points of land to the northward. This 
lighthouse was not built till 1871, but there is a stone pier side 
of it that was built in 18 13. The light is of the fifth class, 
and thirty-five feet above high water. This side of the light 
is a deep area and good anchorage ground called the Cow 
Yard, which was much used in stress of weather in former 
times, and. will again be used more than ever, should the 
Cape Cod Canal ever be made. Turning now to the east- 
ward, and bearing a little south of east, these highlands lie in 
a bunch, — Saquish Point, Clark's Island and Gurnet Head. 
The nearest, Clark's Island, was named for the mate of the 
"Mayflower," who was said to be the first to place foot upon 
it, on Saturday, Dec. 19, 1620, two days before the landing at 
Plymouth. This was an exploring party from the " Mayflower," 
then lying in Cape Cod Harbor. The next day being Sunday, 
they passed the day in resting, so the histor\' says. Near 
the central part of the island there is a high boulder, upon 
which some years ago the Massachusetts Historical Society 
had cut the words from INIourt's Relation : 


The island contains eighty-four acres of good soil, and is 
much used for pasturage; it has been held by one family since 
1690, and was till a few years since owned by one member 
of that family. In range with Clark's Island, and about two 
miles distant is the Gurnet, a widening out of the beach, and 
much higher in elevation, something like fifty feet above tide 
water, which has a good soil, and in early times was wooded, 

C A IT A IN 's Hill. 45 

a fact spoken of in the chapter on Maps. It is somewhat 
strange that these peninsulas jutting into the bay should 
have a better soil than the land further back in the interior. 
The name Gurnet first appears in Winslow's Relation, printed 
in 1622, but where it gets its deri\-ation is not known. The 
point was earl\- called " the Gurnet's Nose." It has about 
twent}'-seven acres, now considerablx" built upon b\' summer 
sojourners. At the Gurnet's Nose there are two lights called 
the Gurnet Lights, which are much used by vessels coming 
into ^lassachusetts Bay, to get their position. The present 
lights are one hundred and two feet above high water, thirty- 
one feet apart, and in a course northwest and southeast, of the 
fourth class, and show at twelve and one-half miles. The first 
lighthouses were built here by the Prov-ince in 1768; these 
being burned in 1801, others were built in 1803, and the 
present structures were built in 1842. 

This has always been a fax'orite place for a fort. There 
was one in 1776, having six guns from si.x to twelve pounds 
calibre. In 18 12- 15 the fort was mounted with some forty- 
two pounders, and during that time was the quarters of a 
large garrison. In the Civil War a new fort was constructed 
mounting more efficient and heavier guns, and styled Fort 
Andrews. Man\- beliex'e that the " Norseman" visited this head- 
land, as it is told that in 1 003 Thorwald wintered in about 
the latitude of forty-one to fort>--two, which is thought to have 
been in Narragansett or Buzzard's ba\-s. The next spring 
he cruised along an extended promontory, the description of 
which answers well to that of Cape Cod ; within this penin- 

46 Historic Duxbury. 

sula he found a great bay, and upon the western side of the 
bay came to a fine headland. Later on he was mortally 
wounded by the natives, and requested that he be'buried on 
the headland, which is thought by the afore mentioned to be 
Gurnet Head. 

The southern end of this group as it appears from our 
point of view is Saquish, and the outermost, Saquish Head ; 
this promontory was in earh^ times an island, as is mentioned 
in the chapter on Maps. It contains about fourteen acres 
of land, and is also used for pasturage, it being well situated 
for the purpose, and the soil being good. 

The name Saquish is of Indian origin, and means a sort 
of clam, or perhaps is a corruption of an original word. In 
early times the clam was very plentiful on the shores of this 
peninsula. In the Civil War there was a small fort built 
here by the Government, and named Fort Standish. 

Continuing our view from the northern end of Clark's Island 
in range almost due east, is the beginning of Duxbur}- beach 
proper, connecting with the Gurnet peninsula. This stretch 
of beach extends in a northwesterly direction about live miles, 
where it joins the higher lands of Green Harbor. In early 
times it was called Salt-house beach, but the former name is 
now almost universally used. This beach is a long extension 
of sand dunes bare of vegetation, except beach grass, and 
has had the same appearance from the earliest times, except 
a small knoll called High Pines, about one-third the wa\' from 
the end of Clark's Island towards the new bridge in visual 
sight. This knoll has now a small growth of stunted trees. 

.. ; ;♦ 

' < 

Captain's Hill. 47 

but formerly had a large growth of pitch pine, which gave 
it its name, as earh', it is said, as 1637. About a mile out 
to sea from this knoll is High Pines Ledge, w^here many ves- 
sels were lost in past times, more than now, as the greater 
draft of modern vessels makes them keep away from our 
shores. The illustration shows Duxbur\- beach in its sunnier 
aspect ; those who have lived by it for many years cannot be 
oblivious to its harsher outlook, when in former times after 
the storms the waves brought in the bodies from the wrecks ; 
many of these were foreigners, who very likely were along 
our shores for the first time ; some were sailors and some 
were passengers, but whate\cr their different circumstances 
and wherever they may have come from, they were all quietl}' 
buried together in the cemetery, at the town's expense, un- 
named and unknown. 

" Life giving, death giving, which shall it be, 
O breath of the merciful, merciless sea?" 

The beach does not form an effectual barrier against the 
ravages of the ocean in a high storm, as at various times 
the sea has broken through at places. In the time of Daniel 
Webster, and through his exertions, the openings between the 
sand dunes were closed by structures built to catch the sand 
and form a bank or dam to prevent the sea breaking through, 
and was paid for b\- an appropriation of Congress. At this 
time an appropriation was made b\' the town, and the beach 
purchased. It remained in possession of the town till a por- 
tion of it was sold to the French Cable Company in 1869, 
and the remainder sold to private persons in 1871. 

48 Historic Duxbury. 

The barriers not being kept up and repaired, the openings 
have continually widened by the violent storms that periodi- 
cally occur, but it was left for the unprecedented storm of 
Nov. 27, 1898, to do the greatest damage, when the waves 
burst through in many places, leaving gaps over half a mile 
in width, taking the sand dunes down level with an ordinary 
high water. This is the greatest storm ever known, both in 
its violence and the height to which the waves rose, its 
nearest predecessor being the storm of April, 1851, which 
carried away the Minot's Ledge Lighthouse on the Cohasset 

A little north of the range from the northern end of 
Clark's Island, over the beach, at a distance of twenty-three 
miles, on the end of Cape Cod is the town of Provincetown, 
the town-house of which can be seen on a clear day, and the 
shores of the Cape reaching southerly. Cape Cod was named 
by an early navigator, Bartholomew Gosnold, in 1602, because 
of the quantities of that fish which he saw in the vicinity. 

In a direction about northeast from our point of view is 
the bridge that leads from Powder Point to the beach. This 
is half a mile in length, with a draw at the channel to allow 
passage to the bay above, and was built by the town and 
private parties in 1892. A little farther towards the north 
is Rouses' Hummock, quite a high, wooded knoll that w^as 
named for one of the first settlers in early times. This knoll 
is the property of the French Cable Company, and is where 
the cable lands. They have a small building there for some 
of their testing apparatus, but their main building, where their 

Captain's Hill. 


messages are received, is on Washington Street in the town, 
just north of Bhicfish River. In range with Rouses' Hum- 
mock is Powder Point, an early settlement of the town, else- 
where mentioned in the chapter on Shipping and Roads, 


where the Ezra Westons carried on their large businesses. 
The wharf is still there, and some of the buildings, now the 
property of Mr. F. B. Knapp, who has here a large private 
school for boys. 

50 Historic Duxburv. 

In the same range is the mouth of Bkiefish River, named 
early in the settlement. It is a tidal river heading in the 
■marshes back of the village, but also fed by brooks coming 
from the interior of the town. Shipyards were along the 
lower part of this river, and it was here above the bridge on 
Washington Street that the shipping was hauled up the river 
in the 1812 War, to get it out of the way of an attack by 
boats from English frigates that were cruising outside the 
Gurnet. To guard the shipping a water battery was built at 
the mouth of the river on a small peninsula, now the land 
of Capt. James Killian, mounting two twelve-pounders, and a 
few hundred feet above, near Fort Street, back of the present 
post-office, was a small fort mounting three six-pounders ; 
guns were also placed at other points along the shore, all 
manned by Duxbury men ; and besides this force there was 
a garrison of State troops at the Gurnet. There were also 
alarm boats called the " row guard " that plied between the 
Gurnet and Plymouth beach, which were to give the alarm 
on the approach of an expedition from the frigates, which 
was to be answered by the batteries in the villages and a bon- 
fire on this hill. This was to be taken up by signal stations 
in Plymouth and Kingston, to summon the minute men from 
the surrounding country. Along this shore from Bluefish 
River to the peninsula of this hill is now the main settlement 
of the town, and which is alluded to particularl}' in the 
chapter on Shipbuilding, as the place where man}' vessels 
were built, and in the chapter on the Town. Nearer to us 
on this village street, about a mile distant, is the chateau-like 

Captain's Hill. 51 

residence of the late Fanny Davenport, called Melbourne 
Hall. Continuing around in a northerly direction we pass 
over the long reach of marshes that lie between the towns 
of Duxbury and Marshfield, and almost due north four and 
three-quarters miles distant is the home of Daniel Webster, 
where he lived and died ; and in the neighborhood of his 
home and burial place are the historical places of Marshfield 
in other chapters described. 

Continuing around to west of north is the spire of the 
fourth building of the original Church that was gathered in 
1632. This is also the site of the third building, that was built 
in 1787. Almost in direct range is the old cemetery, or burial 
place, near where stood the first and second buildings of the 
same Church, built respectively in about 1635 ^'"id 1706, and 
where the grave of Myles Standish is, the fort-like monument 
now built over it being shown in illustration at the end of the 
chapter on Old Burial Places. Reaching up towards this burial 
ground, bearing more to the northwest from us, is Morton's 
Bay or Hole. Winsor says, in his history, that the name 
comes from a hole in the fiats that can be seen near the 
mouth of the bay, on a chart, westerly from this hill. Quite as 
likely the word "hole" applies to the bay, a common definition 
in early times along the coast for what would now be called a 
bay. This bay and the shore adjacent was very much used b\' 
the first settlers as their landing place, in their communication 
•with Plymouth. 

To the southwest lies the coast used in earh' times for ship- 
building, and salt-making by pumping up sea-water into tanks 

52 Historic Duxbury. 

by windmills ; and it is a curious fact in this connection that 
the old windmill passed on with the spinning-wheel ; but the 
former has had a resurrection in our day, with a more enlarged 
application, which will never again come to the latter, except 
by romantic young women afflicted with the old-time mania. 
Although Mr. Winsor in his history says the first wharf was 
built in the village about 1785, a wharf is shown on this stretch 
of shore-line on the map made in 1768, referred to in the 
chapter on Maps. 

A quarter of a mile off this shore on the flats, and a mile 
from our point of view, are the Cripple Rocks. They are 
particularly noteworthy, as rocks are scarce on the coast here 
between Manomet Bluffs and Cohasset. These are shown on 
the map made in the middle of the eighteenth century, and we 
are sure they are the same often noted by the first settlers ; 
and are something we can feel certain appear the same as 
when first discovered. 

Retracing back to observe objects more distant, one can see 
in a northwesterly direction a high hill, probably one of the 
Blue Hills ; and about in the same range the first church in 
Pembroke and the Whitman water-tower. The town of Pem- 
broke was taken from Duxbury in 171 1. Some little further 
over to the west can be seen the water-tower of Brockton, and 
bearing about west the water-tower of Bridgewater on Sprague's 

A little further south, about southwest, lies the mouth of 
Jones River, named for the captain of the " Mayflower." At 
the head of the estuary part of the river lies the attractive 

Captain's Hill. 53 

town of Kingston, reaching out of which can be discerned the 
spire of the first church, one that would be considered old in 
any other part of the countr)', although it was not gathered till 
1720, and the town not incorporated till 1726. Further on to 
the south is the Plymouth village of Seaside, where is located 
the largest rope walk or manufactory in the country ; so here is 
something modern mixed in with the old landmarks. Further 
on and almost due south is the Pilgrim Monument, that was 
longer in building than our monument here. It was begun 
forty or more years ago, and dedicated only a few years since. 
Further, a little southeasterly, lies the village of Plymouth, 
with all the interesting objects connected with that ancient 

Plymouth Rock, on the shore in front of the town, is thus 
spoken of b\- Alexis de Tocqueville, the most gifted foreign 
author that ever wrote on this country: 

This rock is become an object of veneration in the United States. I 
have seen bits of it carefully preserved in several towns of the Union. 
Does not this sufficiently show that all human power and greatness is in 
the soul of man ? Here is a stone which the feet of a few outcasts pressed 
for an instant, and this stone becomes famous ; it is treasured by a great 
nation, its very dust is shared as a relic, and what is become of the gate- 
ways of a thousand palaces .'' 

Further on southeasterly lies Plymouth Beach, or Long 
Beach. This long neck of land suffered very much in the 
great storm of Nov. 27, 1898, when houses and hillocks 
were carried away by the rough breakers. About southeast 
in visual sight between the end of Long Beach and Saquish 
Head, and on the ocean side of them, lies Brown's Bank, or 

54 Historic Duxbury. 

Shoal, particularly alluded to in the chapter on Maps ; and 
in the same range over six miles distant is Rocky Point 
and the hills of Manomet, which answer the description of 
the coast given by Mrs. Hemans : 

"The breaking waves dashed high 
On a stern and rock-bound coast." 

These highlands were known and commented on by the 
early navigators before Plymouth existed. In this same range, 
between the heads of Plymouth Beach and Saquish, is Dux- 
bury Light ; that was our starting-point in the visual pilgrimage 
we have made around the circle. We have still a few places to 
note at our feet, in the foreground on Captain's Hill peninsula. 
In range with the northern end of Clark's Island is the Myles 
Standish House, a large summer hotel with cottages around it. 
In front of the hotel on the shore is a copious spring of water, 
which the proprietors have named the Myles Standish Spring, 
that is said to be especially pure in its quality. This water is 
sent to the cities, where it is sold in large quantities. This tract 
was without doubt the ancient farm of Elder Brewster, and the 
site of his house is about a quarter of a mile from the hotel, 
southerly. Looking around more to the south, about in range 
with Duxbury Light, is a bluff by the shore covered with 
bushes. This is the site of Myles Standish's house, particularly 
described in the chapter on Old Houses. A quarter of a mile 
nearer to us is the house of Alexander Standish, son of the 
Captain, said to have been built in 1666, which is also described 
in the same chapter. 

Old Burial Places. 55 



" Where heaves the turf on many a mouldering heap, 
Each in his narrow cell forever laid 
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." 

THE first public burial place of the town is now proved to 
be the one on Chestnut Street between Bailey's and Hall's 
Corners. How earl}' the first interment was made it is now 
impossible to say. but without doubt very soon after the settle- 
ment. As it was customary in those times for the church 
building, or meeting-house, as it was then called, to follow the' 
burial place, or the burial place to follow the chiu'ch, and as we 
know the chmxh was here soon after the settlement, we can 
conclude that the burial place must have been established 
soon after. 

The oldest stone is marked 1697, ^ particular description and" 
illustration of w^hich is given further on. This stone is slate, 
and of a kind that was imported from England. That there 
were no stones of earlier date does not prove that the burial 
ground is not old, as there are very few gravestones to be- 
found anywhere in the Old Colony bearing date before 1700, 
which fact is commented on at length further on in this chap- 
ter. Mr. Huiginn, one of our antiquaries, spoke of a grave that 
he found inside this yard carefully stoned, near the southeast 
corner; and this is likely, as he conjectures, that of one of the 

56 Historic Duxbury. 

early leaders, Elder Brewster, or one of the first ministers of 
the church. Mr. Huiginn also locates the first church building 
in the extreme southeast corner of the yard, because of find- 
ing there the marks of a foundation. Up to 1886 nothing was 
done to the enclosure except to keep it surrounded by an 
ordinary post-and-rail fence. In that year the Rural Society, 
a local organization for setting out trees and in other ways 
improving the public places of the town, put up a rustic fence 
on the street side, cleaned up the yard and set out shrubs. 
This yard contains one and one-quarter acres, and is bounded 
by Chestnut Street in front, while rough roads encircle it on 
the other sides, one of them continuing north to Depot Street. 
This road the writer thinks is very old, probably among the 
very first in the town. To the east of the enclosure is a vacant 
place belonging to the town, where stood the second church 

All the burial stones previous to 1700 in this part of the 
country, and nearly all for a hundred years later, were small, 
thin slabs of slate, a foot or so above the ground and half as 
much beneath the surface. Those set previous to 1700 were 
mostly brought from abroad, and were generally Welsh slate, 
which must have made them very expensive, and out of reach 
of the general run of people. 

As the grave of Myles Standish is supposed to be within 
this enclosure, and as the writer had considerable to do with 
investigating the subject, he will here state what came under 
his observation: Previous to 1889 some of the members of 
the Duxbury Rural Society had heard that there was a tradi- 

Old Burial Places. 57 

tion, — that between two three-cornered shaped stones in the 
old burial ground had been buried Myles Standish, and it was 
proposed that some of them should investigate the matter. 
This came to a head in April of the above year by the follow- 
ing persons opening the grave: F. B. Knapp, the writer, 
Prof. A. B. Hart of Harvard College, and member of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society, with the assistance of some 
boys attending Mr. Knapp's school ; and I copy from my diary 
these notes made at the time : 

♦' Monday, April 15, 1889. Opened what purported to be 
Myles Standish's grave at old burial ground, Duxbury, marked 
by two triangular shaped stones. The skeleton found there 
was ascertained to be that of a woman. A trench was dug 
five feet to the south of the skeleton, but no grave found, but 
one was found four feet to the north, the skeleton of which 
measured as follows: In length, from top of skull to end of 
tibia, 5 feet 5^ inches; for foot (estimated), 2 inches; total 
length of skeleton, 5 feet yh inches; length of femur, i foot 
7^ inches; smallest circumference, T,h inches; length around 
the skull, I foot 9 inches; length of tibia, i foot 3g inches; 
length of humerus, i foot i^ inches; length of ulna, loi inches. 
These measurements were made under the supervision of a 

These are all the notes taken. Anyone wishing to follow 
the subject further will find articles by the Rev. I\Ir. Huiginn 
in the Boston Herald of April 27, 1891 ; in the Boston Trati- 
script of May 26 and June 27, 1891 ; also in a pamphlet 
published by Mr. Huiginn in 1892, entitled "The Graves of 

58 Historic Duxbury. 

Myles Standish and Other Pilgrims." Mr. Knapp, who was 
present at another exhumation in company with Mr. Huiginn, 
tells the writer that he was struck with the resemblance in the 
shape of the skulls, shown by the skeleton of the man found, 
as related above, and that of the young woman, marked by 
the triangular shaped stones, and these with the head of an 
old lady present, Miss Caroline B. Hall, who was a descendant 
of Myles Standish. 

The writer in August, 1895, replaced in this old burial 
ground the stone to the memory of Jonathan Alden, dated 
1697, ^^ account of which was published at the time in the 
0/(/ Colony Memorial, a weekly paper of Plymouth, and which 
is here reproduced : 


Mr. Laurence Bradford has lately replaced in the old burial ground in 
South Duxbury a stone to Jonathan Alden, a son of the Pilgrim John 
Alden, and thus relates the history of how this stone came to be lost and 
how he found and has had it reset. 

Mr. Ezra Weston, who formerly lived in and owned the house and 
place now in possession of Mr. Frederick B. Knapp, was a person of 
leisure, and much interested in preserving the antiquities of the town. He 
took great interest in preserving all memorials relating to the early settlers, 
and consequently took much interest in the old burial ground near South 
Duxbury, where many of his ancestors were buried. He had no desire to 
change its ancient look, but wanted it to appear just as it was — the oldest 
burial place of the town, and the site of the Pilgrim Church ; but he had 
the old stones cleaned and many of them reset and recut. If he had ever 
heard that there was a likelihood of Myles Standish being buried there he 
would have enjoyed investigating the evidences and preserving the tradi- 
tion. Mr. Weston found a part of ^ stone to the memory of Jonathan 
Alden, son of the Pilgrim, as above stated, and not knowing where to place it,, 
took it home, where it remained for more than thirty years. Mr. Weston. 

Old Burial Places. 


died in 1852, when the Powder Point house went into possession of his 
brother, Alden Weston. The latter died in 1880, and when his estate 
was settled the heirs found this stone, and thinking the person most 
interested in it would be Miss Lucia A. Bradford, gave it to her. Miss 
Bradford always wanted it replaced in the old burial ground, but did not 
think the place could be found where it would mark the resting-place of 
Jonathan Alden, to whose memory it had been originally placed, so she 
thought of placing it in Pilgrim Hall; thus years went by. She often 
spoke to her nephew, Mr. Laurence Bradford, about it, and how she 
wished that strength would permit her to search the old graveyard for 
evidences of the grave of Jonathan Alden. When Mr. Bradford came in 

possession of his aunts house he found this stone in the corner of the 
parlor, and determined to see if he could find where it belonged in the 
old burial ground. So one day he strolled over the old place until he 
found the graves of the Alden family, which he thought were nearly con- 
temporaneous with Jonathan Alden, and finally found a stone inscribed to 
the memory of his wife. Then he probed the ground in the neighborhood 
and dug up every stone that his bar struck, till at last he found a tiat one 
that seemed to be the part of an old gravestone, which in comparing with 
the inscribed Jonathan Alden stone was found to fit on its broken edge. 
So there was no longer any doubt as to where the stone belonged. Mr. 
Bradford has had a marble pedestal made for the lettered part, and it can 

6o Historic Duxburv. 

now be seen in the southwest corner of the yard, back in its place after an 
absence of fifty years. 

Winsor in his history of Duxbury thus relates who this Jonathan Alden 
was : " Capt. Jonathan, son of John Alden, inherited the homestead ; died 
February, 1697, leaving an estate of 2>°9£- He married Abigail Hallett, 
who died Aug. 17, 1725, aged 81, and was buried in the old burying 
ground, where her stone now stands." 

We would add that there are few stones in the Old Colony 
bearing an earlier date than 1700. This is the only one in 

There are five in Plymouth, a few in Hingham, and a very 
few along the South Shore, in Cohasset, Scituate and Marsh- 
field. The oldest stone of which the writer is informed is in 
the King's Chapel burial ground in Boston, with date 1658. 
The five stones on Burial Hill in Plymouth bearing date pre- 
vious to 1700 are dated respectively 1681, 1684, 1687, 1691 
and 1697; ^"d all of these, with the exception of the one of 
1 68 1, are English stones. Mr. William T. Davis in his " Land- 
marks of Plymouth," elsewhere referred to, mentions in the 
chapter on Burial Hill this interesting fact relating to the 
early funeral customs, — that no religious ceremony was cus- 
tomary previous to 1686; and in this connection it might be 
mentioned that in celebrating the marriage ceremony they 
were more liberal in their ideas than is customary at the pres- 
ent day. Previous to 1700 there were only civil marriages, no 
religious exercises being attached to them. 

Mr. Davis in the chapter above alluded to, thinks that the 
earliest Colonists were buried on their own estates, and that in 
course of time, through neglect or indifference on the part of 

Old Burial Places. 


their descendants, the place became unknown ; or their lands 
were sold to strangers w^ho had still less interest in remember- 
ing the graves of the ancestors of their predecessors. This 
seems less strange when one tries to recall something that one 
of his own family had knowledge of scarce two generations 
back, and finds how uncertain and indefinite is his memory 
regarding the occurrence. 

There are now only one hundred and twenty graves that 



are marked in this old burial ground, according to Mr. R. A. 
Badger, who has catalogued the present stones, his list being 
herewith appended. There were a great many more people 
buried here than this number would show% as the yard was 
used for about one hundred and fifty years as the town's burial 
place, and without doubt many stones formerly existing have 
been broken down and crumbled aw^ay. 


Historic Duxbury. 

An illustration is here shown of the triangular stones that 
tradition says marked the grave of Myles Standish. These 
were removed and the present elaborate monument built in 
their place a few years since by private subscription, a list of 
the donors being given in the Boston Herald of March 4, 1893. 



Date. Age. Date. Age. 

Arnold, Joanna, widow Chandler, Philip .... 1764 62 

James 1766 51 Zeruiah, wife Nathaniel . 1778 74 

Deacon James .... 1755 56 Cushman, David, son 

James, son James and Joseph and Elizabeth . 176S lom 

Joanna 1742 I Joshua, son Joshua and 

Ezra 1789 75 Mercy 1776 12 

Beldad, son Capt. Beldad Delano, Dr. Benony . . . 1738 71 

and Mary 1 780 3 Drew, Anne, wife Samuel . 1745 29 

Alden, Sarah, wife Capt. Frazier, Thomas .... 1782 46 

Samuel 84 Forster, Margaret, wife 

Capt. Samuel .... 1773 72 Samuel Forster, relict 

John 1766 22 of Ichabod Wadsworth 1773 /i 

Abigail, wife Capt. Jonathan 1725 Si Fuller, Sarah, wife Samuel . 1737 25 

Col. John 1739 58 Goold, Mrs. Huldah, wife 

Deborah, daughter Col. of John Goold, Jr., of 

John and Hannah . . 1736 10 Hull 1750 25 

John, son Col. John and Loring, Thomas .... 1739 40 

Hannah 1712 3 Thomas 1717 51 

Hannah, wife Col. John, 1739-40 50 Mary, wife Thomas . . 1739 36 

Jonathan 1697 65 Joshua, son Thomas . . 1750 16 

Bradford, Capt. Samuel . 1777 47 Capt. Joshua . . . 1781 81 

Abigail, wife Gamaliel . 1776 75 Anna, daughter Samuel 

Samuel 1714 46 and Prudence . . . 1779 

Hon. Gamaliel, Esq. . . 1778 73 John, son Benjamin and 

Hannah, wife Eliphalet . 1756 26 Anna 1753 i 

Brewster, Elizabeth, wife Benjamin, son Samuel 

Joseph 1786 83 and Prudence . . . 17SS 4 

Joseph 1767 74 Benjamin, son Benjamin 

Deacon William . . 1723 78 and Anna .... 1743 9 

Old Burial Places. 


Date. Age. 
Loring, Benjamin (stone re- 
newed 1858) . . . . 1781 77 
Benjamin, son Benjamin 

and Anna .... 1759 7 

Anna, wife Benjamin . . 1S04 89 
Sarah, daughter Benjamin 

and Anna .... 1745 2 
Mary, daughter Benjamin 

and Anna 1739 8w 

Peterson, Mary, wife Jacob 1777 61 

Mary, widow Isaac . . 1763 74 

Lydia, widow Jonathan . 1781 92 

David 1760 84 

David, son Jonathan and 

Jale 1 75 1 I 

Jonathan 1765 59 

Kebekah,wife Mr. Reuben 1764 51 

Prince, Thomas .... 1754 69 
Prior, Joanna, daughter 

Jabez and Abigail . . 1757 i 
Deborah, widow Ben- 
jamin 1766 77 

Benjamin 1775 74 

Jabez 1766 68 

Partridge, George . . 1764 62 

Hannah, widow George . 1768 78 

Grace, wife Isaac . . . 1768 
John, son Isaac and 

Grace 1753 23 

Mrs. Mary, wife James . 1727 50 
James (broken stone) 

John 1 731 73 

Robinson, Mary, daughter 

Rev. John .... 1722 16 

Ripley, Sarah, wife Kimball 17S- 39 

Sprague, John 1739 

Teleg 1754 38 

Bethniah (broken) 

Southworth, John . . 1757 65 

Thomas 1743 ^^ 

Deacon Jedaiah . . . 1739 39 

Date. Age. 

Southworth, And. S. (b'k'n) 17 — 71 
Sampson, Lucy, daughter 

John and Rebekah . . 1759 

Rebekah, wife John . . 1759 25 
Deborah, daughter 

Studley and Abigail . 1788 29d 
Seabury, Deborah, widow 

Samuel 1776 83 

Samuel 1762 70 

Wiswall 1768 35 

Stanford, Robert, son Robert 

and Fear 1752 8 

Robert 1774 82 

Soule, Esther, wife John . 1735 95 

Joseph 1763 84 

Standish, Myles .... 1656 

Soule, Joshua 1767 85 

Allethea, daughter Joshua 

and Mary 1771 i 

Luther, son Joshua and 

Mary 1771 5 

Lydia, wife Josiah . . 1763 84 

Josiah 1764 85 

U.ssell, Molly, daughter 

George and Molly . . 1756 18 

Wiswale, Ichabod . . . 1700 63 

Weston, Thomas .... 1776 50 
Mary, daughter Thomas 

and Mary .... 1776 23 

Eliphas 1762 55 

Joshua, son Eliphas and 

Priscilla 1762 14 

Mrs. Priscilla, wife 

Eliphas 1778 64 

Daniel (footstone) 
Walker, Elizabeth, wife 

Samuel 1787 29 

Wadsworth, Capt. Benjamin 

(11 children) . . . 1782 46 
Frederick, son Benjamin 

and Luna 1771 4 

64 Historic Duxbury, 

Date. Age. Date. Age. 

Wadsworth, Ichabod, son Wadsworth, Hannah, daugh- 

Benjamin and Luna . 1780 18 ter Benjamin .... 1771 12 

Selah, daughter Benjamin Selah, daughter Ichabod 

and Luna 1771 i and Anna .... 1754 3. 

Marshall, son Benjamin Robert, son Lieut. Mart 

and Luna 1771 6 and Abigail .... 1776 z 

(broken), son Benjamin Ichabod 1746 59> 

and Luna 1773 '^"^ Mary, wife Deacon John 1749 58 

(broken), son Benjamin Deacon John (footstone) 

and Laura .... 1779 lom Uriah 1784 76' 

(double broken), son Winsor, Deborah, wife 

Benjamin and Laura . 1780 Peter 1785 21 

(broken^, son Benjamin Winslow, Gilbert, son 

and Laura Joshua and Hannah 1775 2 or 12 

(broken top), born 1780, . Hannah, wife Joshua . . 1778 29> 

died same day Salome, second wife 

Ichabod 1771 69 Joshua (with her child 

Anna (footstone) with her) 1781 35. 

There is not a grave of one of the " Mayflower" passengers 
that is absolutely known ; that is, in the Old Colony. It is a 
curious fact that the only one known is in the King's Chapel 
burial ground in Boston, where is the tomb of the Boston- 
branch of the Winslow family, bearing the heraldic devices- 
of this ancient name ; in the vaults beneath are the remains of 
John Winslow, and his wife Mary Chilton of the "Mayflower" 
passengers, who, it is said, in girlish sport was the first to land 
on Plymouth Rock. 

Towards the last of the eighteenth century this old burial' 
ground became less and less used as other places were laid out 
in other parts of the town, the principal one being what is now- 
called the Duxbury cemetery, near the first church, which is- 
now about the only one used in town. This burial ground was 
laid out in 1787 when a church building was here built, for its- 

Old Buriat. Places. 


oldest stone is dated March 28, 1 788, which is also known to 
be its second grave, the sight of the first grave being known 
but unmarked with a stone. This cemetery has been enlarged 
from time to time, and now contains nineteen acres. 

/''■ A^ 

^:^.A/^^_:|f ^,,,^,.A or"' 

66 Historic Duxbury. 



" Build me straight, O worthy master ! 

Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel, 
That shall laugh at all disaster, 

And with wave and whirlwind wrestle ! " 

AS shipbuilding was for so many years the principal business 
of the town, it seems well to treat the subject at some 
length. The south shore of Massachusetts was the scene of 
this industry to a large extent. The shoal water was no 
impediment to the light draft of the vessels of those days, 
and its distance from the larger cities was, no doubt, another 
reason for making it a desirable place for the industry. The 
business was carried on in the Colonial days, but was at its 
most prosperous time from the earlier days of the Republic 
up to the middle of this centur}'. 

During all of its most prosperous times the timber used for 
this purpose was found in the vicinit}', white oak being used 
for the knees and other parts requiring particular strength, 
although we are told that vessels were made almost entirely 
of pitch pine, — that for floors, decks and beams, the best 
oak was onl}' superior. The pitch pine then was superior to 
that now, undoubtedly, because of its being the primitive 

Thinking it would be of interest to the descendants of these 
old shipbuilders to trace out the site of the shipyards, and of 


general interest to all, an article b\' Capt. John Bradford, who 
was nearl\- all of his life a resident here, has been copied from 
the Old Colony Memorial o{ June, 1895. 


" Up ! up ! in nobler toil than ours 

No craftsmen bear a part : 
We make of nature's giant powers 

The slaves of human art. 
Lay rib to rib and beam to beam, 

And drive the treenails free; 
Nor faithless joint, nor yawning seam, 

Shall tempt the searching sea! " 

At the time when the poet nearest to the heart of New 
England was singing his " songs of labor," the axes and 
mallets of many a busy shipward in the little Massachusetts 
town of Duxbur)- were beating time to his measures, as the 
men who wieldeil them acted out the inspiring words of " The 

It is onl)- those who swung those ponderous tools, or who 
dwelt within the sound of their cheerful din, that can full}- 
realize the contrast between that stirring era and the later 
years, that, since the shipbuilding industr)' died out. have 
slipped quieti}', sluggishl}' along, like the tide in Duxbur\''s 
sedge-choked channels. We who know our Duxbur}' well in 
its present ns[)cct are perhaps fond of sax-ing that we lo\-e 
the dear old town just as it is; here we ma\' be " far from the 
madding crowd," and close to nature in sea and shore and 
forest. The very thought of bustling, dri\-ing toil would spoil 
the charm. 

68 Historic Duxbury. 

But let some ancient mariner hold us " with his glittering- 
eye " as he tells the tale of those palmy days when down these 
grassy slopes ship after ship was launched to help 

" to wind the silken chain 
Of commerce round the world " — 
And how can we " choose but hear ? " 

Of the value of the work done in the Duxbury shipyards, 
sufificient testimony has already been recorded. The late 
Hon. E. S. Tobey once said : " To speak of the character of 
the iximerous first-class ships which have been built here, 
would be to- recall the names of the best mechanics and skilled 
artisans of the whole country. To speak of the men who 
commanded those ships, would be to make honorable mention 
of intelligent and eminent navigators who, with the flag of 
the Republic at the masthead, guided their ships into nearly 
every commercial port of the habitable globe. " 

It is one who can claim a modest place among these ship- 
masters, and whose memory extends back to about 1830 or 
1832, who has taken pleasure in recalling and describing 
the scenes of his boyhood and early manhood among the busy 
shipyards of his native town. 

By degrees the wants of the early settlers gave rise to new 
branches of industry, but we find no record of what was long 
the leading business of the town, prior to the year 1720, 
about which time Thomas Prince is said to have established 
the first yard within its limits for the building of vessels, on 
the westerly shore of the Nook, at the foot of Captain's Hill. 
The first vessel built there was a sloop, constructed mostly of 

SmriiUiLDiNG. 69 

Avild cherry. The second \-ard was owned by Israel Sylvester, 
on Bluefish River; tiie third by Benjamin Freeman at Harden 
Hill, a short distance north from the Nook, and near the 
extreme southeastern part of the town. 

Perez Drew owned the fourth \'ard, location not known. 

Samuel Winsor, the first of the name in Duxbur}', and 
Samuel Drew together carried on the fifth yard, on the shore 
of the Nook westward of Captain's Hill. Samuel Winsor had 
previousl\% about 1745-50, built several small vessels on 
Clark's Island. 

The sixth yard was established by Isaac Drew at the west 
side of the Nook. 

John Oldham had a xard at Duck Hill, in the northern part 
of the town, not far from the Marshfield line, where now it 
is mostl}' salt meadow, and the creeks are nearly filled with 
coarse sedge. 

There was still another ship}'ard carried on b}' Capt. 
Samuel Delano below the mouth of IMuefish Ri\-cr, on the 
west side. 

These yards had nearh* all been abandoned before 1830, 
and were succeeded b\' the following, of which the writer has 
personal recollection : 

At the extreme southwest part of the town, between Cap- 
tain's Hill and the mouth of Jones River in Kingston, and not 
far from the residence of Harrison Loring, Mr. James Soule 
had a shipyard, where he built what were then considered 
good-sized vessels, but which woukl now be called small. He 
gave up the business before 1840, I think. 

JO Historic Duxbury. 

The yard of Benjamin Prior, on the southeast part of the 
town shore, near the Nook, was occupied by Ezra Weston, 
and there Samuel Hall built for him several ships. Because 
of the large size of the vessels built there, it was familiarly 
known as the " Navy Yard." 

The ship " Mattakeesett," built about 1833, of 480 tons, 
whose first commander was Capt. Briggs Thomas, was the 
largest merchant vessel that had then been built in New Eng- 
land. Mr. Weston about 1834 established his yard on the 
southerly side of Bluefish River, where Samuel Hall, and after 
him Samuel Gushing, built for him a large number of vessels- 

I recall the names of ships " St. Lawrence," "Admittance," 
" Vandalia," "Eliza Warwick," " Oneco " (in which I made 
my first voyage, 1839), " Hope." I was a boy on board of 
the " Hope" when she was launched, in 1841, and nine years 
later took command of her. She was then ( 1850) the largest 
merchant ship in New England, and took the largest cargo of 
cotton (3,100 bales) that had ever been taken from New 
Orleans. (A picture of this vessel was exhibited at the World's 
Fair, Chicago, 1893.) 

The ship " Manteo," built about 1843, ^^as the last vessel 
built for the Westons (E. Weston & Sons, Gershom B. and 
Alden B. Weston, at that time, Ezra Weston, Sr., having 
died the previous year). There was also a large fleet of 
brigs and schooners, of which I recall brigs " Neptune," 
"Margaret," "Smyrna," " Ceres," "Levant," " Oriole," " Mes- 
senger," "Lion," and schooners "Dray," " Seadrift," "Vir- 
ginia," " Triton." 


Luther Turner liad his wirtl acljoininL,^ Mr. Weston's on the 
east, where he built small vessels. 

Next to Mr. Weston's on the west was Mr. Levi Sampson's 
yard. He built vessels for himself and for Boston parties. 
One ship that was bein^- built about I. S3 5 for Mr. Thomas 
Lamb of Boston, caught fire while on the stocks, and was 
very nearly destroyed, while the " Admittance," in Mr. Weston's 
yard, was in great danger. 

Previous to 1838 another yard was situated where the Odd 
Fellows Hall now stands, and was operated by Mr. Seth 
Sprague, familiarl)- known as " Scjuire Sprague." The vessels 
built there were small, and were launched across the highway 
into the dock alongside the wharf next to W. S. Freeman 
& Co.'s store. 

About 1837 «!■ 1838 Samuel Hall built for Mr. Lamb the 
ship " Narragansett," and for Phineas Sprague & Co. the ship 
" Constantine," in a yard established by him on the east shore 
of the village, just north of the "Navy Yard" before men- 
tioned. In 1840 he removed to East Boston, where he was 
one of the pioneers in the business, and remained for many 
years a noted shipbuilder. 

A short distance north of Mr. Hall's yartl was that of 
Nathaniel and Joshua Gushing, where the>' built vessels for 
various parties. The onl\- name that I recall is that of the 
barque " ALiid of Orleans." 

The building of a drawbridge and dam in i S03 across Blue- 
fish River formed a mill pond above, on which, at the north- 
west end, was the yard of Samuel A. Frazer (original!)- that 


Historic Duxburv. 

of Israel Sylvester), where he built a lar<::je number of vessels 
for himself and various other parties. The peculiar name of 
one was " Hitty Tom," after an old Indian squaw who for- 
merly lived in the neighborhood. He also built the first ship, 
" Hoogly," for Daniel C. Bacon of Boston. 

Deacon George Loring's }'ard was on the southeast part of 
the pond, near the bridge; he built mostly for Charles Binney 
of Boston, and his son, C. J. F. Binney. I recall only the 
iiiames of brig "Cynosure," ship " Grafton," and barque "Bin- 
ney." I remember that the " Grafton," being ver}' narrow and 
-crank, capsized two or three times while they were getting her 
•out of the river. The vessels launched from this yard and Mr. 
Sampson's, just below the bridge, went plump into the opposite 
meadow as soon as they were ot^ the wa\-s. 

Mr. Sylvanus Drew's yard was on the north side of Bluefish 
River. His sons. Captain Reuben and Mr. Charles Drew, suc- 
>ceeded him after his death, about i<S30, and they were followed 
by Sylvanus Drew, son of Charles, and he by William Paulding, 
who built many vessels in the \'ard, mostl\' barques and brigs, 
for the Philadelphia and Baltimore lines and the Mediterranean 
trade. The vessels that I remember as being built there by 
the Drews were ships " Rambler," " Aldebaran," " Boreas," 
■"Minerva," " Chilo," " Susan Drew," " George Hallett," " Ked- 
ron," " Isaiah Crowell " ; barques " Eunomus," " Mary Chil- 
ton," " Hersilia," " Kensington," besides several brigs and 
smaller vessels. The last three vessels built by Mr. Paulding 
were the " Minnette " for a Mr. Prior, and the " Olive G. 
Tower " and the " Mary Amanda " on his own account. The 

Shipbuilding. 73 

last mentioned was named (or his c^randdaughter, Mr. Geo. 
Bates' eldest daughter. He ceased operations in 1867. 

N. Porter Keen, who had previously worked for Mr. Paul- 
ding from 1868 to 1875, occupied the }-ard formerly used by 
Mr. Levi Sampson, below the bridge on Bluefish River. He 
built the last full-rigged ship built in Duxbur}', the "Samuel 
G. Reed," launched in 1869, and commanded by Capt. Henry 
Otis W'insor. This ship is now the barque " Fantee." Other 
vessels built b\- Mr. Keen were the barkentine " Benjamin 
Dickerman," which was about a \-ear on the stocks, and was 
launched in 1875; the " Mary 13. Leach." a whaler; a small 
■schooner, the "1 tell ye"; a sloop, name unknown; while 
the last vessel ever built b\' him in this ward was, though a 
schooner, one of the largest vessels ever built in l)uxbur\\ 

Owing to the mishaps and difficulties attending her launch- 
ing, she was dubbed b\' one of the local wits " Keen's P^le- 
phant." She was launched in an unfmished condition, and 
A\hen she left the ways she went full}' fort)' feet into the 
•opposite marsh, and there stuck fast ; the indentation made b}' 
her bows in the marsh is j^lainl)' \-isible todax'. 

After being hauled out, th-e next high tide, she lay across 
the river close to the bridge, until a lighter load of casks came 
irom Boston, a gang of men digging in the mud about her at 
each low tide. The casks were lashed to a chain running 
around under her bilge, and she was thus floated out to the 
bend of the river off Paukling's wharf, and made fast b}' a 
hawser to one of the trees on " King C?esar's road," as it is 
now called. Mv. Alden B. VV^eston came down there and found 

74 Historic Duxburv. 

her so secured, and feeling aggrieved at the injury done to the 
bark of his tree, cast off the hawser, and she went ashore on 
the opposite point. Some hot words and high feeHngs were 
the results of this incident, Mr. Keen claiming that a vessel in 
distress had a right to use any means to insure her safety; but 
Mr. Weston proved the seeming paradox that she was not yet 
a vessel in distress, and that, having built her up the river, 
Mr. Keen must get her out without injury to or trespass upon 
other people's property. 

She was finally pulled off and towed out of the harbor by a 
steam tug. The injury to the bark of that tree is still visible, 
so that thus early in her career the " Henry J. Lippett " " made 
her mark " in the world. Twenty years later, in October, 
1894, she was run into and sunk while at anchor in Hampton 
Roads. Mr. Keen removed to Weymouth, and built other 
vessels there. 

About 1870 or 1 87 1 John Merritt, Amos Merritt, and 
Warren Standish reopened Mr. Paulding's yard, and built a 
schooner, the last vessel built in that yard. They then went 
over on the village shore to about the location formerly occu- 
pied by Samuel Hall, where they built the schooners " Annie 
S. Conant " and " Addie R. Warner." The latter was built 
for Philadelphia parties, for the fruit trade; she was rigged 
and fitted completely ready for sea while yet upon the stocks, 
but was lost at sea soon after she was launched. She was the 
last vessel built in that yard. The Merritt brothers separated 
from Standish, and at a new location, just south of this, on 
the land of Calvin Josselyn, they built in 1878 or 1879 the 

Siiii'i;uiLDiNG. 75 

barque "Thomas A. Godclard," the last vessel ever built in a 
Duxbury shipyard. 

This rapid enumeratiou will fj^ive some idea of the general 
distribution of the shipyards in which centered the energy 
and enterprise that matle Duxbury for so many years the 
leading town of Plymouth Count}'. To emphasize the fact of 
the great activity during its " palmy days," we have the state- 
ment of the veteran stage-driver " Jake " Sprague, that on a 
certain day in May, 1838, as he drove from Plymouth to 
negotiate the purchase of the Duxbury and Boston stage route 
and property, he counted, between the " Navy Yard " (near 
where the late h'ann\' Davenport's house now stands) and 
the Mill Pond, eighteen vessels in course of construction. 

It will be observed that while most of the older yards were 
established in the neighborhood of the " Nook," or that part 
of the town nearest Plymouth, the later ones were clustered 
quite closely together on the shores of the Mill Pond and 
Bluefish River. 

From the little schoolhouse on Powder Point we young folks 
could hear the clatter and clangor of six shipyards all in full 
blast within less than a quarter of a mile. 

The location of this schoolhouse and of other buildings near 
b}', on piles over marshy land, where at ever\- high tide the 
salt water flowed, was perhaps owing to a peculiarity of Dux- 
bury public roads, at least in the eastern part, where they were 
often run as near as possible to the water, and so near in many 
places as to be overflowed b)- a tide more than ordinarily high. 

The salt water frequcntl)' flooded the road in front of the 

']6 Historic Duxbury. 

house where I was born, and came up into the front yard ; 
therefore it is not strange that I took to the water hke a 
young duck. 

The nearest shipyard to the schoolhouse was the Drews', 
which was a double yard, where often two vessels were building 
at once. Many a wheelbarrow load of chips have I brought 
from that yard ; many a time, at ele\'en o'clock in the forenoon 
and four in the afternoon, have I heard the call of " Grog O," 
whereupon all of the carpenters quit work and adjou.rned to 
the workhouse and "smiled"; man}^ a time have I w^atched 
the launching of the vessels built there. 

The county road ran between the }'ard and the water (of 
course), so that at launching time the ways had to be laid 
across the highway, and all teams were obliged to go up 
through the }'ard around the vessels on the stocks. Of course 
school always adjourned for such an important event, which 
took place generally about i i A.M. (high water, spring tides, 
full and change of the moon). 

The most interesting part of the programme to us small 
boys was what we called " dashing the bottle." A man stand- 
ing on the bowsprit holding by a short lanyard a bottle of wine 
or something of the sort, broke it over the bows just as the 
vessel took the water, at the same instant calling out: " Here's 
success to the good ship — -' Oncco ' I ! " — for instance. 

I can remember when it was the height of m\' ambition to 
be big enough to " dash the bottle," but I never reached that 
exalted position. The next highest mark at which I aimed 
was to be allowed to go cook of the sloop " Reform," Mr. 


Weston's Boston packet, but c\-cn to that honor I did not 
attain. So that I was " kcp' down" in my very youth; thus- 
were ni)^ ambitions crushed, while ni)' x'outhful energies were 
directed to other channels. 

The period of schoolin<^ was brief in those days for the sons 
of hard-working parents, and at a very early age I was released 
from the absorbing labor of fishing for minnows with a bent 
pin through the cracks of the schoolhouse floor, and set at 
the far more irksome task of " turning the wheel in the 

This particular ropewalk was part of a s}'stem of industries 
carried on by the Westons, without a somewhat extended 
notice of which no account of Duxbury shipbuilding could be 
regarded as adequate. Ezra Weston, the second of the name, 
and inheriting from his father the popular title of " King 
Csesar," was for the )-ears 1820 to 1842 probably the most' 
widch' known citizen of I)uxbur>-, and was considered to be the 
largest shipowner in the United States. Daniel Webster so 
rated him in his great speech at Saratoga during the Harrison 
campaign of 1840. 

His ships were then to be seen in all parts of the world. 
He not onl\' built his own vessels, but he controlled nearl\' all 
the branches of business connected with shipbuilding and the 
ownership of vessels. He had his own ropewalk, sparyard,. 
blacksmith shop and sail-loft; brought his timber and lumber 
from Haverhill antl Hangor in his own schooners, or from 
Bridgewater and Mitkllcboro with his own ox or horse teams,, 
and his supplies from Boston in his own packet. 

78 Historic Duxbl'kv. 

His salt came from Cadiz, St. Ubes, and Turk's Island in his 
own brigs. He sent his schooners to the Grand Banks for fish 
in the summer time, and " out South " in the winter for corn. 

He owned a large tract of land on Powder Point, and here, 
on the south side, where Bluefish River widens into the bay, 
with the outlook towards Captain's Hill and Plymouth, stood 
his dwelling-house. Here still remains "Weston's wharf," 
where his new vessels fitted out, and where his packets loaded 
and unloaded, but sparyard and sail-loft, blacksmith shop and 
ropewalk have all disappeared. 

The old Weston homestead was destroyed by fire a few 
years since, and the more modern mansion built by him 
1808-9 is now occupied by Mr. F. B. Knapp. Several miles 
inland towards Pembroke Mr. Weston owned an extensive 
farm, where his farmer raised a large part of the vegetables 
used on board his vessels, and of the beef and pork needed 
for sea-voyages. 

In those days there was no water or steam power used in 
la}'ing up rigging, but all was done by horse-power at one end 
and man-power at the other. 

The spinning of the threads was done by hand. The men, 

usually six at one time, each with a bunch of hemp fastened 

about his waist, all moved with slow step, backward : 

" In that building long and low, 
With its windows all a-row, 

Like the port-holes of a hulk 
Human spiders spin and spin, 
Backward down their thread so thin, 

Dropping, each a hempen bulk." 

It required a good deal of practice for a man to spin an 

Siiii'i;lili)Ing. 79 

even thread, with no weak spots or bunches in it. It was 
monotonous work, the spinninL,^ and the bo\- turning- tlie wheel 
that twisted the threads had a chill time of it; after the men 
had passed out of hearing he heard nothing but the rattle of 
his wheel for twent\' minutes. 

There is an old conundrum : " \\'h\' is a ship aUvax's called 
'she'?" the correct answer to which is supposed to be: 
" Because it needs so much rigging." Not to dwell any upon 
" odorous comparisons," it is undeniable that the rigging forms 
a very important attribute to a vessel that is 

" To feel the stres.s and the strain 
Of the wind and the roaring main.'' 

The first Ezra Weston, although quite an extensive vessel- 
owner, and with various branches of business on his hands, 
managed to have a sort of superintendence of his ropewalk 
until about iSiQor 1820, when he engaged my father, Ephraim 
Bradford, to come o\"er from ri^niouth (where he was foreman 
in the ropewalk of Salisbury Jackson), and he remained in 
charge of the concern until they gave up business, about 1848 
or '50, and the ropewalk was torn down about the latter }-ear. 

" At the end an open door : 
Squares of sunshine on the floor 
Light the long and dusty lane ; 
And the whirling of a wheel 
Dull and drowsy, makes me feel 
All its spokes are in my brain." 

When one length had been spun the bo}- must take the 
separate threads off the wheel, splice two together, antl hook 
them to a big post amidships of the walk, and then walk down 

8o Historic Duxburv. 

the entire length (about three hundred yards), taking in a 
crotched stick the threads that had just been spun, from the 
small hooks overhead where the spinners had put them, and 
laying them all together over into large hooks in the middle,, 
just clear of a man's head. 

Then the boy must carry a fresh supply of hemp to his 
wheel for the men to use for the next thread. From " sun 
to sun" this dull work went on, and that in the longest sum- 
mer days meant from 4.30 A.M. to about 7.15 P.M., with half 
an hour allowed for breakfast and one hour for dinner. ' How 
many boys nowadays know what work like that is? 

When we were laying up rigging there was more excite- 
ment, and though the work was harder, I liked it better. 
Down in the cellar of the ropewalk I rode astride of " old 
Dick," who, harnessed to a long bar connected by a central 
upright " drum " with the heavy machinery above, walked 
round and round in a circle, thus supplying the needed 
power. A fine old horse, old Dick well deserved the substan- 
tial monument which still marks his grave in the sunny pasture 
near the scene of his labors, and bears this inscription : 

" All are but parts of one stupendous Whole, 
Whose body nature is, and God the soul." 

Here lies buried honest Dick, who faithfully served three generations. 
This noble horse was born upon Powder Point, A.D. 18 17. Here lived 
and here died 1846. 

Always welcome were the occasional calls upon the " rope- 
walk gang " whenever extra help was needed elsewhere. 
Sometimes it was in unloading a cargo of salt, much harder 

Shii'Ulii.ding. 8 1 

work, but different. On one of these occasions the monotony 
of the ropewalk boy's existence was still further relieved when 
" old Juba," the horse who was doing the hoisting, stepped 
backward and planted each of his hind feet upon each bare 
foot of the small boy on the ground behind him. 

As his father picked him up to carry him home, old Capt. 
Benjamin Smith, who happened to be near by, recommended 
the genuine sailor's remedy of " tobacco leaves soaked in 

Sometimes we had to help the farmers get in the hay, and 
all hands were needed to work the new vessels, after launching, 
from the shipyard down the narrow, shallow river, an under- 
taking which sometimes required three or four days and nights. 

I think we were nearly a week getting the " Hope " down ; 
but I was no ropewalk boy then. I had been to sea two years, 
and was pretty " salt." 

M)' little grandson asked his mother recently: "Didn't 
grandpa nm aivay X.o go to sea ?" "Oh, no." " //r didjit? 
most boys did." It is easy to imagine how he had picked up 
this idea from some of the stories he had been reading; but in 
Duxburx', in m\' day, the most natural step for a boy to take 
was from the ropewalk, or the wharf to the deck — or the mast- 
head — of a \-essel, and in this way I graduated into the more 
exciting and absorbing career at the early age of fifteen. 

As I look back now to those early days at home, I am 
impressed b}- the fact, usually evident in quiet country places, 
that these hard-working shipbuilders and mechanics, in their 
communit)- of labor and of interests, were almost like one 

82 Historic Duxburv. 

large family. The men who worked side by side in the yards 
lived in the same neighborhood, met again at " the store " 
after tea, and with their families walked together across the 
pastures to the church on Sundays. Their children sat side by 
side on the benches of the district school, and later bound the 
families yet more closely together by marriage. 

There was the usual number of eccentric characters. I can 
seem to see " old Warren " now bending over his wheel- 
barrow. One of those unfortunates, born, as the Scotch say, 
" not all there," he was everybody's butt. How proud he was 
one day of the fact that the Rev. Mr. Kent had spoken to 
Jiini ! And what did Mr. Kent say to him ? " Get out of the 
way with your old wheelbarrow ! " He called Mr. Weston a 
*' darned old rip-er-crip " (h}'pocrite) to his face once, because 
the old gentleman wouldn't let him take chips from the spar- 

It was " Aunt Reeny " Brewster who announced that the 
initials connected with the weather-vane surmounting the tail 
flagstaff on the Point 'stood for " Ezra Weston's New Ship." 

It is worthy of note that during this period of industrial 
activity Duxbury furnished not only ships, but men to sail 
them. Nearly every Duxbury-built vessel was ofificered by 
men who had been born within the sound of axe and mallet, 
had served an apprenticeship at sea from boyhood, and knew 
a ship " from keelson to truck." 

Mr. Weston's captains were mostly from Duxbury or the 
adjoining town of Marshfield. Of those in command of his 
ships when I began my sea life, I know of only two now 



living: Capt. Alfred Kcndrick of Orleans, ninety-three years 
old, and Capt. Alexander Wadsworth of Duxbury, aged eighty- 
five years. Within two \-ears was living Capt. Seth Sprague 
of Marshfield, who died at the age of ninct\'-three, having 
been retired from the sea fift\'-t\vo years. These captains 
belong to a " former generation." Of a later generation 
on!}- two remain, that I know of — Capt. Elisha Sprague and 
myself; these out of thirty-three that I have known and 
talked with. 

[Here follows a list of names of Duxbur\- captains, or of 
the commanders of Duxbury ships, known to the writer, one 
hundred and nine in all, of whom only nine are believed to 
be living now, 1894.] 

W'inthrop S. Babbidge, 
Alvin Baker, 
Daniel Baker,* 
Edward Baker, 
Otis Baker, 
Otis Baker, Jr., 
Daniel Bradford, 
Gamaliel Bradford, 
Gershom Bradford, 
John Bradford, 
Zadoc Bradford, 
Daniel Brewster, 
Job Brewster, 
Joshua Brewster, 
Henry Chandler, 
James Chandler, 
Joseph Cummings, 
David Cushman, 
Elisha Cushman, 

Allen Daw^es, 
Josephus Dawes,* 
James H. Dawes,* 
Amasa Delano, 
Samuel Delano, 
William Delano, 
Alfred Drew, 
Edward Drew, 
George Drew, 
Joseph Drew, 
Joshua Drew, 
Reuben Drew, 
Wm. B. Drew, 
Amherst A. Frazar, 
John Frazar, 
Benjamin Freeman, 
Daniel Glass, 
Kimball Harlow, 
Zara Higgins, 


Historic Duxburv 

Eben Howes, 
Walter Josselyn,* 
Alfred Kendrick,* 
Bailey Loring, 
Henry K. Loring, 
Geo. F. Nickerson, 
Henry Nickerson, 
Joseph Nickerson, 
Henry R. Packard, 
George Peterson, 
Lewis Peterson, 
Wm. Peterson, 
George Prior, 
Henry Prior, 
Geo. P. Richardson, 
Alexander Sampson,* 
Alfred Sampson, 
Erastus Sampson, 
Elisha Sampson, 
Gains Sampson, 
Perez Sampson, 
Simeon Sampson, 
Ichabod Simmons, 
Nathaniel Simmons, 
Wm. H. Simmons, 
Benjamin Smith, 
Jacob Smith, 
Jonathan Smith, 
Jonathan Smith, Jr., 
Sidney Smith, 
Charles Soule, 
Elijah Soule, 
Freeman Soule, 
Nathaniel Soule, 
Richard Soule, 


Simeon Soule, 
Thomas Soule, 
Jedediah Southworth, 
John Southworth, 
Elisha Sprague,* 
Phineas Sprague, 
Seth Sprague, 
Stephen C. Sprague, 
Benjamin Taylor, 
Briggs Thomas, 
Nathaniel Thomas, 
William Thomas, 
Alexander Wadsworth,* 
Eden Wadsworth, 
Martin Waterman, 
Robert Welch, 
Albert Winsor, 
Alexander Winsor, 
Benjamin Winsor, 
Chas. Frederick \^'insor, 
Daniel Winsor, 
Ezra Winsor, 
Greshom Winsor, 
George Winsor, 
Hosea Winsor, 
Henry Otis Winsor,* 
Isaac Winsor, 
Thomas Winsor, 
Zenas Winsor, 
Zenas Winsor, Jr., 
Church Weston, 
Gershom B. Weston, Jr., 
John Weston, 
Nathaniel Weston, 
Wm. Weston, 
Weston, 2d. 

Shipbuilding. 85 

The lapse of years is marked no more significantly by these 
lessening numbers than by the decadence in Duxbury of her 
chief industr}\ Various were the causes which led to this 
decline : the shoal water of the harbor, running out dry at 
low tide, which became a more serious consideration with the 
steadily increasing size of vessels ; the growing scarcity of 
ship-timber in the vicinity ; the growth of the business in 
East Boston, which gradually supplanted not only Duxbury, 
but Medford ; these, and perhaps others, combined, led to the 
abandonment of the yards by the proprietors. 

Quite a little colony of the skilled workmen removed to 
East Boston, which still carries man}' Uuxbur\' names on its 
roll of citizens. 

A stranger visiting the site of those bus}' shipyards would 
find absolutely nothing to indicate that any vessel was ever 
built there; all is stillness, and we who remember the town 
in its prosperous days, when ])uxbur\- ships were known the 
world over, have lived to see the time when a Duxbur}' skipper 
must go to the eastward of Cape Ann to have a twenty-ton 
fishing schooner built. 

The contrast is well expressed in the words of the late Hon. 
George B. Loring, whose love for the town never grew cold : 

"To my }'outhful ear the sound of a hundred hammers in 
the early morning hours, when a day's labor began at sunrise 
and ended with the summer sunset, was a music which I can 
never forget, and which we shall probably never hear again. 
A Duxbury ship was to me a barge of beauty, and whatever 
achievements may be made in naval architecture, the names 

86 Historic Duxbury. 

of Sampson, and Weston, and Drew, and Frazar, and Loring, 
and Winsor, will outshine, in my mind, all the McKays and 
Curriers and Halls that ever launched a ship on the Merrimac, 
on the Mystic, or on the shores of Noddle's Island, and will 
share with John Roach the fame of those American ship- 
builders whose vessels defied the storms of ocean and resisted 
the destructive tooth of time. . . . 

" But the music of those hammers is still. The old shipyard 
in which I used to play, not a chip, or timber, or spar, or plank 
there, but a luxuriant greensward where grass is growing for 
cattle, and herb for the service of man." 

There have been three notable occasions of recent years 
recalling quiet Duxbury to the attention of the outside world. 
These were: the landing there of the French Atlantic cable in 
1869; the laying of the cornerstone of the Standish monument 
in 1872; and the celebration, in 1887, of the two hundred and 
fiftieth anniversary of the incorporation of the town. In honor 
of these events her scattered children hastened home as to a 
Thanksgiving feast, held glad reunion, and spoke warm words 
of loving appreciation. 

And year by year the number grows of those who, knowing 
little or nothing of her years of toil, love her, as we said 
in the beginning, just as they find her now, and ask for no 
more charming place in which to spend a long summer's 

But best of all, in true Duxbury homes the spirit of thrift 
and industry still lives; the sturdy qualities inherent in the 
Pilgrim stock have not become extinct, and thoughtful, earnest 

SlIiriiL'ILDIXG. 87 

lives arc working out the problems of toda)-", and leavenin*^ 
with simple manly virtues the whole community. 

Joiix Bradford, 
Ellen Bradford Stebbins. 

These reminiscences were written b\- Captain Bradford almost 
entire]}' in 1 89 1 , but were arranged in practically their pres- 
ent form 1)\' his daughter in April, 1893, during which month 
Captain Bradford furnished the last of his memoranda. 

On the first da\' of May, 1893, while on a visit to Duxbury, 
death came to him very suddenly, and he fell unconscious by 
the roadside, where in boyhood his feet must often have trod, 
on the way to or from church. E. B. S. 

The writer had the pleasure of knowing Capt. John Brad- 
ford, who belonged to the second generation of the old sea 
captains, and bore a character of geniality and integrit}' worthy 
of an\' of them. He was buried in the Duxbury cemetery, 
where a handsome stone commemorates his memory, with the 
names of the vessels he commanded neatl}' cut on the back. 

There are two anecdotes relating to two of the shij) mer- 
chants mentioned by Captain I^radford worthy to be mentioned. 
The first Ezra Weston, styled King Cnjsar, lived on what is now 
King Caesar's road, in a cottage which was burned in 1886, 
of which I give an illustration on another page. He was one of 
the first to start the shipbuilding industry in the country, as 
his son was the largest one, as stated by Captain Bradford. 
Nevertheless, this King Cajsar was very ignorant outside of his 
special vocation. In the course of his business, which was that 


Historic Duxbury. 

of storekeeper in addition to his shipbuilding operations, he had 
occasion to spell " coffee," which he did without using a single 
letter out of the word, — " kauph\-." 

The other anecdote relates to the large shipbuilder Ezra 
Weston, son of the above, that bears a moral that can readily 
be applied to matters outside of the shipping industry. 

In those days among seafaring people there existed the 
notion that for one to be at all efificient he must have passed 
through the long routine from cabin-boy, through the several 
grades of sailors and ship ofificers, to shipmaster. To make 
any short cut was styled " getting in through the cabin 

It so chanced that Mr. Weston employed a certain cap- 
tain who the seafaring community thought had not passed 
through the afore-mentioned required lines of preparation, and 
sent a protest to the afore-mentioned Mr. Weston, who replied 
that it made no difference to him where his captains came from 
or what their training had been, or whether they had ever been 
to sea at all. If they could sail his ships to a profit he wanted 
them, otherwise he didn't. 

Roads. ♦ 89 



" As the veins and arteries are to the body, connecting all its parts, 
and supplying each with nourishment ; so are roads and paths, to all 
civilized communities." 

A S the roads ai'c abotit the first thing to which a new settle- 
■**■ nient is like!}' to give its attention, it therefore follows, 
if we can find out where they were, we have one of the means 
of tracing where the historical places existed ; and this mat- 
ter of placing the roads is a question of how the wants of the 
community can be in the easiest way brought together, — 
the farming lands with the mill, and both with the chinch, 
and all with the water communication to more distant settle- 
ments. So if a topographic map was placed before us of a 
localit}' that was to be settled, we could beforehand tell \er>' 
nearly where the roads would be. 

A road once formally laid out is likel}' always to remain 
where it was originally placed, for the reasons that controlled 
its first location are liable to hold good until so man\- improve- 
ments arc made along it, that to make any change would 
become too expensive an undertaking. As an illustration of 
this truth the writer would mention that he found in parts 
of the West still new, that some of the roads in use had been 
first made b}' the buffalo seeking the easiest way of reaching 
the river. The first comers naturall}- took these paths, and 

90 Historic Duxbury. 

improv^ed them gradually into roads, so their selection and 
growth became a matter of evolution. Very likely these buf- 
falo paths will sometime become the streets of thriving cities. 
We know that the first settlement of the town was from the 
end of Captain's Hill peninsula, called Brewster's Point, along 
the shore to the old burial ground, near the head of Morton's 
Bay, where stood the church. The first .road or path was 
most likely along this route. 

One of the first wants of the Settlement was a mill to grind 
the corn, and we are told that a grant for the purpose was 
given to Thomas Hilier and George Pollard — names now 
extinct in the town — on a very ston)- brook, later called 
Mill Brook, the pond and power being in existence today, but 
not in use. It is placed where it would naturally be, as near 
the sea marshes as the brook could be readily dammed. It 
is the brook nearest to Morton's Bay that has a good flow of 
water, and a road connecting the two places must have been 
at once laid out. This may have gone a little to the eastward 
of the present roads, but probably went nearly where they 
do; i. e., following the old cross-road from the old burial 
ground to Depot Street, thence along Depot Street to Tre- 
mont Street, and thence to the old mill at Millbrook. 

As Marshfield was settled only a little later than Duxbury 
in the neighborhood of Green Harbor, the road probably con- 
tinued from this mill up the hill where it now nms to Cox's 
Corner, as some of the houses along it at present are very 
old ; then instead of continuing on to the Green Harbor rail- 
road station, it probably turned to the right, passed the house 

Roads. 9 r 

of Mr. K. F. Loring, and thence on to the foot of Duck Hill, 
where there is an old house owned by Mr. George Simmons, 
bordering on the salt meadows. From here there is a private 
road intersecting the regular road to Green Harbor, a short 
distance easterly from the railroad, which is probably nearK' 
the same course the ancient road followed, and likel)- continued 
on to Green Harbor, about where runs the present road. 

Turning now to the Plymouth side of the town, it is known 
where the ancient road crossed the Jones River, which is 
mentioned in the chapter on Kingston, as passing by the old 
Bradford places to the Boston road. This Boston road was not 
formally laid out as the king's highway till 1684, but we know 
a road was laid out from Plymouth to Du.xbury in 1637, and 
this probabl}- went to the east of the present road by the house, 
or near there, of the late Samuel Loring, but crossed Island 
Creek Pond 15rook at the present crossing; for the Court gave 
permission in 1702 to one Seabury "to dam Island Creek 
Pond Brook, on the condition that a passage is made for the 
herrings to pass up and down, and also wide enough for a 
cartway." This was undoubtedly where the Loring tack 
factory is now, on Tremont Street; and although the fact is 
not stated, a mill was likely built here then ; and from this 
crossing the ancient road probably followed Tremont and 
Chestnut streets to the old burial ground. 

The settlement spread naturally along the shore to Powder 
Point, but the Bluefish River formed an obstacle to the con- 
nection of its parts, so each had to seek the county road by 
different ways. We know that as early as 171 5 a road was 

92 Historic Duxbury. 

regularly laid out from Powder Point to the Plymouth road, 
following about the route of St. George Street ; and one was 
probably used long before this time. We also know that there 
was a large public landing-place on the Bluefish River, between 
the cable office and the Howard house. The village had also 
to seek its connection with the Plymouth or county road, and 
it is known where were two of the old roads, one south of 
where Harrison Street is toda}', and one where is now Surplus 
Street; besides there were special roads to individual houses, 
which were quite common in the early times. Finally the 
want became too urgent to be longer neglected to connect 
Powder Point with the village shore, so a road was formally 
laid out in 1798. A bridge then became a necessity, and this 
was built in 1803. 

It is likely that the first roads were really paths, and these in 
time became widened into roads ; this we know to have been 
the case in some instances, and was very possibly so in all, 
and it is known the Indian paths were used in the beginning. 
One was called the Massachusetts path, that led from Plymouth 
to Boston, this being often referred to in the old records. 
There was also a Green Harbor path, that led from Green's 
Harbor to the Massachusetts path, near the Kingston line, 
being substantially over the track of the old road, as described 
above. Mr. Edward Willis of Kingston, who is an authority 
on such matters, tells me that this path was used by Greene, 
for whom Green Harbor was named, as early as 1623. That 
Green was a brother-in-law of Weston, who was settled at 
Weymouth in 1622, and caused the Plymouth Colonists some 



trouble b>- his unjust treatment of the Indians. Green and 
Weston had a boat which they kept at Green Harbor for 
cruising purposes. When they could not go to Plymouth by 
water or did not wish to do so, they would take this path 
to its intersection with the Massachusetts one, and so on to 

94 'Historic Duxbury. 



THE earliest map of this locality was made b}' Champlain 
on his voyage along the coast in 1605. 

This is simply an eye-sketch, and is very inaccurate, but it 
is useful in establishing a few points of historical importance, 
the first being, that Brown's Island or Shoal, off the mouth of 
Duxbury and Plymouth bays, was much less a shoal in 1605 
than it is today, instead of having once been a wooded island, 
as a tradition has it, and as the history of Duxbury maintains. 

Another point decided by this map is, that our Duxbury 
beach was composed of sand-dunes, as it is today, with the 
Gurnet covered with a thick growth of trees, probably pitch 
pines, as it appears that there were no white pines hereabouts 
till the latter part of the seventeenth centur}'. High Pines is 
not shown on this map, but there is little doubt but that it was 
also heavily wooded at that time. Saquish is shown as an 
island, and seems from the sketch to have been slightly wooded, 
as was Clark's Island. Rocky Point Bluff or Manomet in Ply- 
mouth is shown as thickly wooded, as would be surmised from 
its appearance today. Plymouth Town Brook is shown and 
Jones River is indicated, but Duxbury Bay is cut short and 
scarcely shown at all. Plymouth beach is shown much larger 
than at present, and slightly wooded, but conclusions of this 
kind in detail are little to be relied on unless supported by 

Mai'S. 95 

other testimony. Champlain's vessel did not enter Ph-niouth or 
Duxbury bays, coming no further than off the head of Pl}-- 
moLith beach. He writes of seeing Indians, and shows cabins 
and gardens on his ma[), which impHes that the native popu- 
lation was numerous, an intimation that is corroborated by 
other accounts, as it is known that a j^lague decimated the 
inhabitants previous to the arrival of the Pilgrims. 

The next map was made by the celebrated Capt. John 
Smith, who explored the coast in 1614 from the Penobscot 
to Cape Cod. Smith's map, generally considered, was fairly 
accurate, but in particulars was not, as could hardh' have been 
expected. Pl}'mouth and Duxbur}- ba\-s are shown, but on too 
small a scale to give an\' information. He however named the 
place Plymouth; that has since been retained. He also named 
the River Charles and Cape Ann, but the other names that he 
gave to places have long since been changed. 

The next map with which the writer is acquainted is Woods' 
Map of New England, 1634. This is quite accurate in show- 
ing the coast of Massachusetts, Pl}-mouth Ba\' and " Cape 
Codd " on a small scale, and for our purpose is particularly 
interesting in showing Saquish as an island, and the name 
Green's Harbor for a part of Alarshfield. It should be noted 
that this name does not come from the appearance of the 
green marshes, as man\- ha\-e supposed. The next map which 
will be noted is that by Charles Blaskowitz, one of the deput\- 
surveyors of North America, dated 1774, the original of which 
is in Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth. This would be a good map 
today. It shows that Saquish has ceased to be an island, biit 

96 Historic Duxburv. 

the passage between it and the Gurnet is not so completely 
closed as it is today. It shows the Duxbury Church at the 
head of Morton's Bay, some division of the lands, the mill 
and pond at Millbrook, and what seems to be a bridge at 
Bluefish River, although it is known there was no regular 
bridge built there till 1803, and this probably indicates only 
a crossing. Unfortunately the roads of the town are not 
shown, and not many houses or wharves. The next local map 
known is one made by John Ford, Jr., in 1833; this gives 
roads, and dwelling-houses, with the names of owners ; and 
while it has no topographic or hydrographic features, it is 
very accurate for the times, and for what it pretends to be : 
simply a surveyor's map. 

Finally, we will notice the complete map made by the 
United States Government between 1845 ^^'^^ 1870, which is 
both hydrographic and topographic, and reaches the highest 
state of the art. There have been many maps made since, 
all of which have been compiled more or less from the two 
last named. 

Old Houses. 97 



TT is well to begin the description of the old houses of Diix- 
^ bury by mentioning the cellar of Myles Standish's house, 
which has been alluded to as being in sight of the monument. 
This has always been considered our most interesting historical 
spot, as there is no doubt of its being the place where Standish 
lived the last twenty years of his life. This cellar is now about 
seventy feet from the edge of a bank that is about twenty 
feet in elevation above high water mark. This bank shows the 
effect of having been washed away in past times, but the tra- 
ditional account that the sea once flowed between this place 
and Captain's Hill, there forming a neck of land on the easterly 
side of this peninsula, and that the edge of this bank was 
thirty rods distant from the home of Standish, is to be taken 
with much caution. 

The writer is somewhat familiar with the action of tidal 
currents, and the effect of the sea in a course of years cutting 
away banks and shoals. In his opinion there are no indica- 
tions here of the causes that would make such changes possible 
in so short a time. Traditionary accounts unless anchored at 
stated intervals to some proven or scientific data, are of little 
value, and likely to be very far from the facts. After the 
death of Standish his house was burned, about the year 1665, 
so the current report has been, and this tradition is borne out 


Historic Duxbury, 

by ashes and burned articles that have been found at various 
times during the excavations that have been made here for 
many years. 

It was a place of interest over a hundred years ago, long 
before the modern fashion came in of hunting up old-fashioned 



A7£/l5C^/^£6 S^^/'E 

sroA^f w/iiL /IT /I /?£/^r/y or /isY^r/i^T: 

//\/A£A/&T/T'/IA//:) ^rr//V l^/ZPr/y ^ T/Y£S7VA£ 
W/ilL6 /f£A^/l/A/ /IS yy/y^A/ uO/6COt^£/i£/?/A/ 

A GOO/} ST/iT£ or /y^£^£/^y/iT/o/v S£z>yiei?//)/ <:'/yiy 




articles and the record of one's ancestry. The early explorers 
were the Rev. Alden Bradford and the Rev. Benjamin Kent, 
both mentioned elsewhere, and they made their investigations 
many years apart. Mr. James Hall came later, and found 

Old Houses. 99 

many articles by exploring this old cellar. The writer remem- 
bers visiting the collection of Mr, Hall in 1856, or thereabouts, 
which was kept in a small hut or cabinet which he had built 
near this old cellar. 

Mr. Hall gives a description of the cellar and a plan which 
is here reproduced from one in Pilgrim Hall, not in facsimile, 
as the arrangement of text to plan has been changed, and 
the size altered ; besides, Mr. Hall's is more ornamental, and 
printed in colors. The place of this cellar is now marked 
by a stone boulder which is to be suitably inscribed. It has 
for many years been the propcrt}* of Mrs. Sarah Ripley Rob- 
bins of Boston, who greatly prizes it. Near by is the place 
S of the spring, now dry, which furnished the house with water, 


an illustration of which is given in the " Pilgrim Fathers," 
a book published in London in 1853. 

About one-fourth of a mile northwest of the Standish cellar 
is an old house said to have been built by Alexander Standish, 
son of Captain Myles, in 1666, an illustration of which is here 
given. It is a very interesting old house, and outside of its 
historical associations, the writer would call particular attention 
to it as a type of house that was commonly built previous 
to 1700. Although there are none in existence now, there 
can be no doubt that this style of house was sometimes two 
stories, from the following interesting account that has come 
down to us of the dwelling of the Rev. Ralph Partridge, at 
the time of his death, in the year 1658: "This was a two- 
story gambrel-roofed building, somewhat superior to the com- 
mon habitations of the settlers. On the lower floor was the 


.Historic Duxbury, 

parlor, an ordinary room, carpeted, however, and furnished in 
a manner which might be considered luxurious. Here in the 
center was a round table, and another, though of less preten- 
sions, was placed against the wall. In the fireplace were the 
andirons and tongs, and against the wall hung a looking-glass ; 
in the corner was his staff and cane. Here was also kept the 
silver plate, and on the table was placed ' his silver beer cup,' 
which was retained in the family of his daughter Mary as a 


family heirloom. Three high chairs and one wooden one, with 
two cushions, completed the furniture of the room. Adjoining 
this was his study; in the midst was a small table and a desk, 
before which was placed a cushioned stool. Two bookcases 
were placed against the wall, one called his Latin case, wherein 
were arranged his library of about four hundred volumes ; an 
old safe stood in the corner, and various kinds of personal 

Old Houses. ioi 

apparel were scattered round the room. Next to this was 
another, but smaller room, and on this floor was also the 
kitchen. In the cellar below were nine beer casks, affording, 
no doubt, abundance of the beverage to his visiting parishion- 
ers. In the second story was the parlor chamber, furnished 
with a valanced bed, and a cupboard of drawers with a cloth 
upon it. The kitchen chamber had likewise a bed. 

" On each side of these was a small lean-to chamber, having 
in them two beds and one truckle bed, and above all was the 

There is another site of a house that is also interesting, as 
the place where Col. Benjamin Church, the famous Indian 
fighter, was born in 1639, who commanded the troops in King 
Philip's War. This house was in Millbrook, to the left of the 
road just after passing the mill described in the chapter on 
Roads. Colonel Church wrote a book on King Philip's War, 
published in 17 16. 

Another illustration is added of an early house of the same 
type as the Standish house — that of Ezra Weston the ship- 
builder, mentioned in another chapter. This house was at 
Powder Point, and was burned in 1886. A style of house that 
came in about 1700 is given in two illustrations, — that of the 
Alden house and that of the Winslow house at Green Harbor, 
Marshfield. The latter was built by the grandson of Edward 
Winslow who came in the " Mayflower," and is alluded to in 
the chapter on Green Harbor. Another house evidently built 
about this time, now well preserved and in good condition, is 
that of Mr. Eden W. Soule of Millbrook. The general style of 


Historic Duxbury. 

this house was a favorite one at that time : the large chimney 
in the middle, and the rooms about it with fireplaces. This 
manner of building continued in vogue for a hundred years, 
with more embellishments and larger additions, as more room 
was needed or the occupants were better off. About 1800 
another style of house came in which in some instances made 
handsome residences. The sides of the house were wood and 
the ends brick ; instead of the one chimney there were four, 
two at each end, with fireplaces on the lower and upper floors, 
which gave heat to nearly every room. There are many 
houses of this type throughout the town. An illustration of 
one is added, which is one of the best examples of this style of 
building. This is the residence of Mr. F. B. Knapp of Powder 
Point. As one of the less pretentious examples the writer 
would name his own on Tremont Street, built in the year 1808, 
the brick ends having since been covered with wood. The 
pathway to the front door is paved with blocks of lava brought 
from the volcano of Etna, on the Island of Sicily, by the builder, 
Capt. Gershom Bradford. 


o X 

Antiquaries. 103 



A NUMBER of men of the town should be mentioned who 
have devoted their time to hunting up incidents and 
designating localities connected with the town's early history. 

The first one, Alden Bradford, a clergyman by profession, 
was born in IJuxbur}- in 1765. He was secretary of state 
of Massachusetts, 1812-24, and author of various histories of 
the state that are considered authorities today ; a member of 
the Massachusetts Historical Society. In that connection he 
contributed (Mass. Hist. Coll. 11) "Notes on Du.xbury." He 
is the first person known by the writer to have dug on the site 
of Myles Standish's home a hundred or more years ago, for 
relics or information, with what result is not known. 

Justin Winsor, the town historian, was born in Boston in 
June, 1 83 1. He belonged, however, to one of the oldest 
families of Duxbury, his earliest predecessor being one of 
the first shipbuilders. When but nineteen years old, and at 
that time a student in college, Mr. Winsor published his " His- 
tory of Duxbur\%" in the year 1849; and, while it is fifty years 
since, the work stands today, an authority on town matters ; 
in fact, the only history, and to which all turn for information. 
It is not strange that Mr. Winsor should have made some 
mistakes, covering, as his history does, so long a period, and 
treating so many subjects, the information for which ho was 

I04 Historic Duxbury. 

obliged often to get from secondary sources, when the informer 
would not feel the same responsibility for accuracy that he 
did himself. Mr. Winsor showed another trait that is rare 
among more noted men and greater authors, — that of not 
making himself prominent, or constantly present in the words 
of his narrative. Mr. Winsor was for a number of years 
librarian of the Boston Public Library, and later of the Har- 
vard University Library, which position he held at the time 
of his death. 
• Rev. Benjamin Kent, who was pastor of the First Church from 
1826-33, devoted much time to collecting information relating 
to the town, and to gathering articles of historic interest, both 
Indian and those which related to the early settlement ; and 
although he published nothing, Mr. Winsor acknowledges in 
his history, throughout its pages, obligations to Mr. Kent for 
the use of his manuscript notes. Mr. Kent dug extensively 
on the site of the house of Myles Standish, the most curious 
article that he found being a pocket-knife, with the letters 
M. S. cut in the wooden handle. Mr. Kent found unquestion- 
able evidence that the house had been burned, thus confirming 
tradition. Mr. Kent was afterwards librarian of the Roxbury 
Atheucxum, dying in 1859. 

Mr. James Hall was a descendant of Myles Standish, and 
at times excavated in the old cellar of his house, the result of 
his studies and exertions being given in the chapter on Old 
Houses. Mr. Hall's collections were scattered, so his sister 
informed the writer, some having been lost or stolen, some 
given away, and a few deposited in Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth. 



Rev. E. J. V. Huiginn, whose work is more particularly 
mentioned in the chapter devoted to the Old Burial Places, was 
rector of the Episcopal Church in the town from 1890 to 1893. 
Mr. Huiginn spent much time excavating in the old burial 
ground for the grave of Myles Standish, and the site of the 
original church. Mr. Huiginn did a valuable service in having 
the old records published, covering dates from 1642 to 1770, 
in which he was assisted b}' the late Mr. George Etheridge. 
This work consists mostl}' of the acts of town meetings, the 
divisions of land, and the laying out of highways, and was 
published by the town in 1893. 

Dr. Stephen Henry of Marshfield should be mentioned in 
this list, because of his excavations in Green Harbor on the 
site of the old VVinslow house, which is mentioned in the chap- 
ter on Green Harbor. Doctor Henry has a fine collection of 
Indian implements collected in this \-icinity, besides objects 
of interest used in early times. Doctor Henry has other valu- 
able collections, including a very extensive one of coins. 

io6 Historic Duxbury. 



" Till where the sun, with softer fires 
Looks on the vast Pacific's sleep, 
The children of the Pilgrim sires 

These hallowed spots, like us, shall keep." 

A S these towns border on Duxbury, Green Harbor being 
■'*■ originally a part of the town, which also included Marsh- 
field, Pembroke, Hanson, and the Bridgewaters, the historical 
spots near the boundaries will be briefly noticed. 

A little south of where the ancient road to Plymouth crossed 
the Jones River in Kingston, which was near the present town 
almshouse, is an old dwelling that is called the old Bradford 
house, where two roads now intersect. This was the home of 
John Bradford, grandson of Governor William, and is un- 
doubtedly authentic, as it was traced back by the noted and 
accurate antiquary. Dr. Thomas B. Drew, custodian of Pilgrim 
Hall, in Plymouth. This house is of the style referred to in the 
chapter on Old Houses as built about 1700. Doctor Drew 
thought it was built as early as 1674, and says, by tradition, 
an attempt was made to burn it by the Indians during King 
Philip's War ; and further says, in evidence of this, that charred 
timbers were found in the house when repairing it in the early 
part of the present century. Turning at this John Bradford 
house the road runs westerly, and after crossing a brook and 
the railroad intersects with the main road to Duxbury and 

Kingston and Green Harhor. 107 

what was formerly the stage-road to Boston. Just before this 
conjunction of roads is a lane leading to the summit of a small 
knoll ; here is the site of the house where once lived Governor 
Bradford and his son William. This place is marked by a 
large boulder which can be seen from the railroad, and a simple 
sign-board, bearing the following inscription, which is pre- 
paratory to a tablet on the stone : 

This eminence is a portion of the ancient estate of Wm. Bradford, the 
illustrious governor of Plymouth colony, where he had a house before 
1637. Here his son, the Hon. Major William Bradford, lived, and died in 
the year 1704. Wamsutta, the Indian chieftain, tarried here just previous 
to his death in 1662. 

This place, comprising a quarter of an acre of land, is now 
the property of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower 
Descendants, who purchased it, and had ceremonies of dedi- 
cation Sept. 30, 1897. 

To the north of Duxbury, and just over its present line, is 
the adjacent territory of Green Harbor, a portion of the town 
of Marshfield. Here is where Gov. Edward Winslow settled as 
early as 1637, and some say as early as 1632. The site of his 
house, which is near the salt marshes, is known, and is else- 
where referred to as being within water communication of Ply- 
mouth ; this place he named Caresvvell, from the name of the 
estate of his famil}' in England. He was one of the most dis- 
tinguished of the Pilgrim Fathers, and perhaps the ablest one 
of the number. He came from a high standing family, and 
with the exception of Myles Standish, was the only member of 
the first company who had rank above that of yeomen in 
England. He was generally chosen to represent the Colony 

io8 Historic Duxburv. 

abroad, and during one of his sojourns there he was imprisoned 
for a long time, because of his rehgious behefs. He was proof 
against all temptation to leave the service of the feeble colony, 
whether by flattery or bribes, till Cromwell came into power, 
when that great general persuaded him to take command of a 
large expedition sent for the conquest of the West Indias. On 
this expedition he died, May 8, 1655, and was buried at sea. 
The commission given him by the protector, something like 
three feet square, bearing date April 19, 1654, and a pen-and- 
ink portrait of Cromwell, hangs on the walls of Pilgrim Hall in 
Plymouth. He would probably have come back here to live 
had he survived the West India War and the headsman's axe 
of the Restoration. He is the only one of the Pilgrim Fathers 
whose portrait has come down to us, excepting the possibility 
of the one of Myles Standish previously mentioned. This 
Winslow portrait, together with those of Gov, Josiah Winslow, 
his wife Penelope, and Gen. John Winslow, and the original 
Winslow coat of arms from the tomb in Green Harbor, are 
now in possession of the Pilgrim Society and are in Pilgrim Hall 
at Plymouth. His son, Josiah Winslow, remained in Green 
Harbor and lived in his father's house, which he enlarged, and 
made into a sort of fort during King Philip's War, at which 
time he was Governor of the Colony. He continued in the 
office till his death, Dec. 18, 1680, when, according to the 
record, " He was buried on the 23d at the Colony's expense, 
in memory of its endeared love and affection for him." A 
son of this Josiah Winslow was Isaac Winslow, who built the 
present Winslow house about 1700, an illustration of which is 

Kingston and Green Harbor. 109 

given in the chapter on Old Houses. He maintained the 
ability of the family, and held important offices, civil and mili- 
tary, in the service of the Colony; and it was his son, Col. John 
Winslovv, great-grandson of Gov. Edward Winslow, who has 
the unenviable notoriety of removing the Acadians from Nova 
Scotia, which has been immortalized by Longfellow. It would 
be outside the purpose of this account to enter into a narration 
of that transaction. The words and genius of Longfellow have 
given to the occurrence a sad and romantic interest, which will 
outlast any defence that might be made by those whose 
opinions have been softened by a study of the historical facts. 

The cellar of the first house, built as early as 1637, was 
explored very thoroughly by Dr. Stephen Henry of Marshfield. 
It lies in the meadows, a few hundred feet southeast from the 
present house. Doctor Henry thinks it was standing till the 
latter part of the eighteenth century. Doctor Henry unearthed 
articles of pottery, tiles, etc., but the most important article that 
he found was a Catholic medal, or amulet, which he thinks, 
with good reason, belonged to one of the Acadians, as it is 
known that some of them came to Green Harbor with Col. 
John Winslow. 

This ancient family is now extinct; its last surviving member 
to occupy the homestead in Green Harbor was Dr. Isaac 
Winslow, a noted physician, who died in 1819, aged eighty; 
and his grandson Isaac, who died in Boston some years since, 
was the last member in the male line. 

Perhaps a renown greater than any connected with the early 
settlement has been given to this locality by its having been 

no Historic Duxburv. 

the home of Daniel Webster. Mr. Webster came here about 
the year 1827, and lived in the same house to the day of his 
death, Oct. 24, 1852. Some of his ancestors had lived in 
Kingston in the early days of the Colony ; he had, however, 
no pride of descent, having something far grander, as he 
could have remarked with a spirit similar to that of Napo- 
leon's, who dated his family from the battle of Marengo. 
He loved and revered the memory of the Pilgrim Colonists 
and, as mentioned in the preface, considered his oration at 
the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Landing as his 
greatest effort, and old people who were present on that 
occasion have left their testimony, that it seemed to them as 
if a young Jove had descended from the clouds to speak to 
them, so highly gifted in mind and body did he appear in 
this beginning of a career that was to be devoted to expound- 
ing and defending the Constitution of these United States, 
framed in his childhood. 

Aside from its historical associations, Mr. Webster was a 
great lover of the place and its situation. In the first quarter 
of the century, while journeying along the shore, he passed 
the house that was destined to be his future home, and was 
struck with the scenery, which had a sort of wild, uncultivated 
look, partially wooded, wnth an undulatory surface of small 
heights which afforded picturesque views of the sea and the 
extensive reach of marshes. Gazing upon the attractive scene, 
Mr. Webster said to his wife: "I am going to buy that 
place," and suiting the action to the word, immediately turned 
back and began negotiations for it, which he soon brought to 

Kingston and Green Harbor. i i i 

a close by letting the owner name his own price. The place 
was owned by the Thomas family, which had from the earliest 
times been associated with the history of the town, but the 
family having been Loyalists in the Revolutionary War, part 
of the place had been confiscated, and the owner at that time 
had become involved in keeping it up, so that he was glad 
to sell to Mr. Webster, who offered to the old people a home 
in the house as long as they lived, an obligation on Mr. 
Webster's part which he fulfilled to the letter. While the 
place was a good-sized farm, Mr, Webster kept enlarging it, 
until he owned something over one thousand acres. This 
large tract he cultivated scientifically, and spoke of it with 
pride as his farm. lie had herds of cattle of which he was 
very proud, having them severally named, and a short time 
before his death, when he was able to sit out of doors, he 
had them driven past him, calling each by name. 

Here Mr. Webster lived during all of his leisure time from 
his official duties and his legal practice, and here he enter- 
tained his distinguished friends. Whatever were his public 
faults, his broad human sympathies and love of all living things 
were here shown in a marked degree. 

" He prayeth well who loveth well 
Both man, and bird, and beast. 
He prayeth best who loveth best 
All things, both great and small: 
For the dear God who loveth us, ,^ 

He made and loveth all." 

Although he hunted game birds on the shore, he would 
allow nothing to be killed on his farm, and used to say that 

112 Historic Duxbury. 

he never but once acted as a counsel where a Hfe was in 

jeopardy, and this sole instance was the celebrated and most 

atrocious White murder in Salem. He was greatly beloved 

by all the people of Marshfield, with whom he mingled in 

easy familiarity. His last public speech was made to them 

on coming home from Washington, a few months before his 

death. One small extract is a key of the whole, having all the 

felicity of expression that is shown in his most noted addresses : 

I deem it a great piece of good fortune that, coming from the moun- 
tains, desirous of having a summer residence on the seacoast, I came 
where I did and when I did. Many, when they come down through these 
pine woods and over these sandy hills to see us, wonder what drew Mr. 
Webster to Marshfield. Why, gentlemen, I tell them it was partly good 
sense, but more good fortune. I had got a pleasant spot, I had lands 
about me diversified, my fortune was to fall into a kind neighborhood, 
among men with whom I never had any difficulty, with whom I had 
entered into a well-understood covenant, that I would talk with them on 
farming, and fishing, and of neighborhood concerns, but I would never 
speak a word to them, or they to me, on law or politics. They have kept 
their side of the bargain, and I have kept mine. 

It is somewhat remarkable to notice in this last year of the 
century how the fame of Mr. Webster has grown, consider- 
ing, too, that probably the great majority of his countrymen 
now think that many of his public actions of the last twenty 
years of his life were political mistakes. Of the eminent 
public men who lived in his time, from the first quarter to the 
middle of this century, he seems to be the only one whose 
speeches, legal arguments, or writings are much read today, or 
which will have a place in the literature of the language ; and 
perhaps one of the reasons for this is the aptitude of his 
phrases — that however much his words might be weighty 
with thought, their expression was simple and direct. 

Kingston and Green Harijor. 113 

Mr. Webster owned a farm in New Hampshire, where he was 
born aiul bred, which he used occasionally to visit. He once 
said, that in three days of the year he could see all there 
was to be seen up there, but he could find something new for 
every da)' of the year in Marshfield. Mr. Webster had a large 
librar\- in the Gothic addition on the left side of the house 
shown in the illustration ; this he particularly valued, as it was 
[)lanned by his daughter Julia, who died cjuite early in life. He 
had in it many curious and interesting articles presented to him 
by societies and friends ; but he considered as almost the most 
valuable of his possessions the thirteen silver medals which the 
Old Continental Congress had presented on different occasions 
to General Washington ; and this was the way they came into his 
I)ossession : At an early date in the century one of the Wash- 
ington heirs offered them to Congress for a reasonable sum. 
The lawgivers took the matter under consideration, and pro- 
foundly discussed it pro and con, at several sessions. Mr. 
Webster, who was in Congress at the time, feared that the 
purchase would not be made,, and proposed to his wife, who 
was about to buy an expensive shawl, that she should use the 
mone}' in buying the medals, to which she gladly consented. 
Finally after a due amount of consideration Congress con- 
cluded to buy them, — but the chance was gone. The house 
of Mr. Webster, an illustration of which fronts this chapter, was 
burned some twenty years ago, and a more modern residence 
built upon the spot, which his grandchildren inhabited till their 
death. It is now the property of Mr. Walton Hall, a Boston 
merchant. There is only one building left on the place that was 


Historic Duxburv 

there in the time of Mr. Webster. This one is a sort of garden- 
house, in which the Ashburton Treaty with England was made, 
1840-50, Lord Ashburton visiting Mr. Webster at the time. 

A short distance from the mansion is Old Burial Hill, on 
which is the ancient burial ground of the town. In front of the 
enclosure stood the ancient church. There 
was a stone in this yard bearing date 1651, 
but it has long since fallen into fragments. 
The oldest one that can be deciphered now 
bears the date of 1699. In about the cen- 
ter of the enclosure is the Winslow tomb, 
covered by a stone slab, on which is elabo- 
rately cut the Winslow coat of arms, an 
illustration of which is shown as a tail- 
piece to this chapter. The slab containing the original coat 
of arms was so chipped by relic-hunters that it was removed 
to Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth, as previousl}- stated, and a new 
one set in its place, which bears this inscription : 


Dyed Dec. Ye iS, 1680, /Etatis 52. 

Dyed Dec. yc 7, 1703, ^^tatis 73. 

Dyed Dec. ve 14, 1738, /Etatis 67. 

Died April 17, 1774, /Etatis 72. 

Died October 24, 1819, Aged 80. 

Died at Natchez, Aug. 24, 1822, Aged 48. 


This tomb is known to contain the remains of other mem- 
bers of the Winslow famih', but the names of few of them can 
now be ascertained. Within the enclosure are burial stones to 
the memory of other members of this famil}-. 

Forming a part of this enclosure is the Webster lot, con- 
taining the Webster tomb, and stones about it to the sex-eral 
members of the Webster famil}-. This burial ground is neatly 
enclosed with a fence, the proceeds of a fair held in Marsh- 
field in 1854. 

The view from the hill is \-aricd and interesting; to the north 
lies a wide extent of salt marsh, from which the town derives 
its name; to the south and west, woods sprinkled with settle- 
ments, and about two miles distant to the east is the ocean. 

Nearly all the people who knew I\Ir. Webster have passed 
on; but one who was intimate with him as his farm foreman, 
Mr. Porter Wright, still li\es in a cottage that was once a part 
of the Webster farm. 

Near the " Webster place " on the same road, stands the 
pleasant home of the late Adelaide Phillips, the well-known 
songstress, who held a high place among the musical fra- 
ternity. She, too, sleeps on the Old Burial Hill, within sight 
and sound of the sea she loved so well. 

ii6 Historic Duxburv. 



*' I'll put a girdle round about 
The earth in forty minutes." 

A S the North American end of the cable is in Duxbtiry, 
■* *■ a brief description will be given of the company, and 
the ceremonies that took place at the time it was landed, in 
July, 1869. 

The concession for laying and operating this cable was 
granted to Baron Emile d'Erlinger of Paris and Julius Renter 
of London, in 1868, by the French Government, and conveyed 
the right to run a cable from France to the United States, and 
to work it for twenty years, under the conditions that no soil 
other than the United States and France be touched by the 
cable in its transit, and the price of a dispatch of twenty words 
not to exceed twenty dollars. The French Government bound 
itself not to grant any other concessions for lines between these 
two countries during this period. The company was organized 
with a capital of $6,000,000, and it is said that in less than 
eight days the subscription list was filled by the most reliable 
banking houses of Europe. In a very short time the shares 
were selling at a premium of two to three per cent at the 
London and Paris exchanges. The company that manufac- 
tured the Anglo-American cable was given the contract of 
making and laying this one. Routes were surveyed, and the 

The French Cable. 117 

one adopted went from Brest to the southern end of the Grand 
Bank, thence to the French island of St. Pierre, off the south 
coast of Newfoundland, and thence down past Cape Breton 
Island and Nova Scotia to the shore of Massachusetts. The 
length of cable from lirest to St. Pierre is 2,584 miles; from 
St. Pierre to Duxbur\', 749 miles ; the line has a total length, 
therefore, of 3,333 miles from end to end, nearly 1,200 miles 
more than the Anglo-American cable. The bed of the cable, 
extending from deep water off Brest to tlie junction with the 
shore end of St. Pierre, lies on one of those great plateaus 
which are known to exist at the bottom of the Atlantic. This 
plateau is at a depth of about two thousand fatlioms. The 
cable was laid in the arc of a great circle, the most northern 
point being in about latitude forty-eight, and the most south- 
ern point is about latitude forty-two. When approaching the 
Grand Bank it was laid far enough away to insure a depth 
below the grounding line of icebergs. Although the depth to 
which icebergs actuall}' reach is unknown, it is assumed by 
experts to be as low sometimes as ninety fathoms. From St. 
Pierre a line was taken that avoided the anchorage ground 
of fishing vessels, and was in such comparatively shoal water 
that repairs might be easih' made. 

The draught of cable sections shown in the illustration are 
the actual size, and show the manner of construction. 

The central core is composed of copper wires; around this 
are placed gutta percha and Chatterton's compound, the former 
being the insulation material ; around this is wound tarred 
manilla, and o\er all is twisted iron wire, cither bare or co\'ered 


Historic Duxbury, 

by strands of tarred manilla, which is said to be nearly inde- 
structible under the action of salt water. 

The ocean cable No. i is light, weighing only 3,500 pounds 
to the mile. 

The vessel used for carr)-ing and laying this cable was the 

Sscr/o/vs orcAsis 
A'o / S^^sr 7-0 Sr /=>/£/}/!£ '' '-^ "] -"mti ^ ' 




" Great Eastern," the largest vessel ever built, some twenty thou- 
sand tons burden, and this was the best use to which the great 
ship had been put. The cable was stowed in three great tanks. 
The main one held 1,112 miles of cable, the after one 912, and 

The Fren'cii Cahle. 119 

the forward one 728 miles. Ingenious and heavy machinery 
was used for this work, great drums for paying-out and wind- 
ing-up purposes, and large iron buoys for buoying the cable 
when necessary. Three vessels accompanied the " Great 
Eastern " to lay the shore ends, each fitted with similar 
machinery, including grappling irons, tongs, and picking-up 

The "Great Eastern " left Brest about the middle of June 
and reached St. Pierre about the middle of July, while two of 
the smaller vessels, the " Chiltcrn " and the " Sanderia," pro- 
ceeded to Duxbury with the cable for this end, and arrived 
off Rouse's Hummock on Friday, the 23d. It was a beau- 
tiful summer day, the sea unruffled. Two large boats were 
lashed together and a platform built over them, on which 
enough cable was coiled up to reach the shore. To this sort of 
raft was attached a large boat manned with sailors. At a sig- 
nal they were cast loose from the " Chiltern," and the sailors, 
bending to their oars, moved slowly to the beach. People had 
come down from Boston to witness this landing, as well as 
many from the surrounding country, to the number, it is said, 
of a thousand people. When the boats reached the beach the 
sailors seized the cable and dragged it up the beach to the 
Hummock amitl cheers from the people, waving of hand- 
kerchiefs, and an artillery salute from the "Chiltern" and 
" Sanderia." It is said that many of the gentlemen who came 
from Boston also seized hold of the cable and assisted in pull- 
ing it up the beach. A message was at once sent to the 
ICmperor Napoleon in l^'rance, announcing the successful tor- 

I20 Historic Duxbury. 

mination of the enterprise, and an answer was received back, 
showing the connection was perfect. One message was re- 
ceived announcing the rise in the price of cable shares in Paris. 
The City of Boston, thinking the occasion great enough to 
warrant their official action, appointed a committee of aldermen 
and councilmen to make arrangements for celebrating the 
important event. On the da}' succeeding the landing this com- 
mittee, with Mayor Shurtleff, \-isited Duxbury, and tendered 
their co-operation, in the name of the cit}', in celebrating the 
occasion. This was done on the following Tuesda\' b}' a salute 
of one hundred guns on Boston Common, and the displa\' of the 
national colors from the public buildings. A local committee 
had been formed in the meantime, consisting of the late Mr. 
S. N. Gifford, clerk of the Senate, and other gentlemen of the 
town, and arrangements made to have a celebration. A large 
tent was pitched on Abram's Hill, a plateau north of Powder 
Point, to which an extension of Cove Street now leads. This 
spot overlooks the ocean, the Hummock, the track of the 
cable across the marsh, the town, ba}', etc. In this tent 
plates were laid for six hundred guests. In the words of the 
day : " The flags of America, F"rance, and England were grace- 
full}' and lovingly intertwined, a fitting symbol of the senti- 
ments of peace and good-will, which this electric cord binding 
together the three nations, tends to fasten and cement." The 
accounts of the time also sa}' that "among the distinguished 
arrivals were Sir James Anderson, Lord Cecil, Viscount 
Parker, Mayor Shurtleff, Mons. Britsch, a noted French 
electrician. Judge Russell, Professor Pierce of Harvard College, 

The French Cat'.le. 121 

Mr. Watson, the financial agent of the cable companx', and 
many others." 

Governor Claflin sent down a light battery with twenty-five 
men, a banquet followed with the usual toasts, responded to by 
the noted gentlemen present. Messages were received during 
the exercises from the prefect of Paris, addressed to the mayor 
of Boston. The festivities of the da>' were appropriately closed 
b\' an entertainment gi\'en b)' the late George W. Wright and 
his accomplished wife, at their residence, where in additicni to 
the distinguished guests of the da\-, the gox'ernor of the state. 
Governor Claflin, was present. 

The tailpiece following shows a part of the alphabet as 
now used. This is a facsimile of full size. It is on a paper- 
tape seven-tenths of an inch in width, and the operator writes 
off the message as it unrolls. When not recording a message 
the instrument makes a straight line of dots in the middle of 
the tape, as is shown at the beginning and ending, before T 
and after K. The system is a modification of the original 
Morse method of dots and dashes, that were gi\'en b}' sound. 
The same general idea is here followed, dots being abo\'e the 
line and dashes below it. The recording instrument is the 
invention of Sir William Thompson, and has been in use 
since 1877. 

, /"/y '''■■^■- '- 


■-t ^ "•■ ^ 

122 Historic Duxburv. 



"" I "'HIS anniversary occurred on June 17, 1887, and this was 
"•■ also the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill, with 
which the celebration will always be connected. A committee 
was chosen by the town at the annual town meeting of 1886 
to consider the subject, and report at the town meeting in 
1887. This committee comprised Laurence Bradford, Wil- 
liam J. Wright, William J. Alden, Jr., and LeBaron Goodwin. 
This committee devised various ways of raising money, and by 
the next town meeting had collected a considerable sum and re- 
ceived what they considered was sufficient encouragement to go 
ahead, if the town would make an appropriation. An appro- 
priation was made, and the same committee reappointed and 
increased in number. The town's contribution was augmented 
by many gifts from private sources; so, having money enough, 
the undertaking was pushed rapidly. Mr. William J. Wright 
was made chairman of the committee, and it is through his 
exertions that the celebration was made so much of a success. 
The writer was not present, being in Montana at the time, and 
so can give no account of the proceedings from personal knowl- 
edge, but a description is added, published in a Boston paper 
at the time, written by Mr. Wendell O. Hunt, who witnessed 
the exercises : 




For an hour after sunrise on the morning of June 17 the bells of all 
the churches were rung, while at several points discharges of cannon were 
heard. The people were abroad early, and the streets were alive with 
happy groups. Here an old man welcomes his former schoolmates with a 
warm grasp of the hand, and recalls some youthful frolic; there some 
school children of today, with bright faces and white dresses, hurry to be 
ready for their part in the exercises. 

From far and near, by trains, in carriages, and on foot, the number con- 
stantly increased, until the neighborhood of Soule's Corner presented an 
unwonted scene, for here the first exercises of the day commenced by a 
review of the three Grand Army posts, constituting the I'lymouth Rock 
battalion, which took place at 8 o'clock. The day was warm, the sky was 
clear, and everybody was happy and proud. 

At 9 o'clock a concert by the American Band of South Weymouth was 
given at the South Duxbury station. The first train from Boston brought 
a large number of the sons and daughters of old Duxbury, who had 
returned to the homes of their childhood to help celebrate the two hundred 
and fiftieth anniversary of her incorporation. At 10 o'clock the formation 
of the procession began, and at 10.20 a special train arrived from Boston, 
bringing Governor Ames and the invited guests, who were welcomed with 
a salute of seventeen guns. Promptly at 10.45 o'clock the procession 
moved from South Duxbury station, under the direction of James Downey, 
a war veteran of the Thirty-eighth Massachusetts Volunteers, chief mar- 
shal, assisted by the following as aids : Samuel Atwell. Jr., James H. 
Killian, John H. Haverstock. and George B. Wright. 

The procession moved from South Duxbury station by way of Hall's 
Corner and Main Street to the speaker's tent, on the " Harvey Baker " 
field, in the grounds near the handsome residence of George W. Wright, 
in the following order : 

Chief Marshal, James Downey. 

Aids, Samuel Atwell, Jr., James H. Killian, John H. Haverstock, George B. Wright. 

Silver Fife and Drum Corps of Plymouth. 

Collingwood Post, No. 76,0. A. R. of Plymouth, Commander A. O. Brown. 

His Excellency, Governor Ames, and invited guests in carriages. 

American Band of South Weymouth. 

William Wadsworth Post, No. 165, G. A. R. of Duxbury, Commander 

John W. Tower. 

124 Historic Duxbury. 

Martha Sever Post, No. 154, of Kingston, Commander George E. Owens. 

Randolph Band. 

Grand Canton Bunker Hill, I. O. O. F. of Charlestown, Commandant 

Major E. W. Brown. 

Plymouth Band. 

Sagamore Encampment, No. 45, I. O. O. F. of Plymouth. 

Adams Lodge, No. 189, I. O. O. F. of Kingston. 

Mattakeeset Lodge, No. no, I. O. O. F. of Duxbury. 

Citizens of Duxbury and adjoining towns. 

The tent was completely filled, the large audience being seated under 
direction of the committee. The scene was very impressive. Upon the 
platform in front of the table sat William J. Wright, president of the day. 
At his right sat Justin Winsor, librarian of Harvard University, the orator 
of the day, and at his left Rev. Frederick N. Knapp, the chaplain. There 
were also seated upon the platform His Excellency, Governor Ames, Hon. 
Halsey J. Boardman, president of the senate, Hon. John D. Long, M.C., 
Henry B. Peirce, secretary of state, Hon. George B. Loring, Hon. Ben- 
jamin W. Harris, Capt. J. G. B. Adams, sergeant-at-arms, George W. 
Wright, Myles Standish, Colonels Wild and Abbott of the Governor's 
staff, and others. The exercises began at 12.15. R^v. F. N. Knapp 
offered prayer, after which the president of the day, with a neat speech 
of welcome, introduced Justin Winsor, who delivered the oration. 

The oration was followed by the original poem written by Miss Lucia 

A. Bradford, a descendant of Governor Bradford, read by Rev. F. N. 

Knapp : 

The memories of today, 
They take us far away 

To times long gone; 
To times of toil and care. 
To scenes where joys were rare, 
To times of scanty fare, 

To us unknown. 

But here were homes more true, 
Myles Siandish, far to you. 

Than England's halls; 
Though winter's storms were drear, 
Though savage foes were near. 
Yet there was Pilgrim cheer 

Within your walls. 

250TII Anniversary. 125 

The Mayflower-perfumed air 
Bore up the Pilgrim's prayer 

For laliors blest. 
In autumn's chilly dew, 
Our flower of heavenly blue, 
Rose Standish, bloomed for you 

In peace and rest.* 

The bluebirds in the spring 
Sang their sweet welcoming, 

To rouse and charm ; 
Where first John Alden came, 
Their haunt is still the same. 
Still bears its Pilgrim name: 

" John Alden's Farm." 

Here rose the precious fame 
Of Elder Brewster's name 

And works of love; 
From want and woe to save, 
' And the blest hopes he gave 
Of rest beyond the grave, 
In heaven above. 

This closed the exercises of the morning. 

In the afternoon a series of held sports was given under the manage- 
ment of F. B. Knapp. At sunset a salute of guns and bells, and, as a 
grand finale, a beautiful display of fireworks was given in the evening 
on the hill near the HoUis House. The night was mild and free from 
dampness. No summer's evening could have been selected better adapted 
to out-of-door amusements. 

At 9 o'clock Duxbury Hall was thrown open to the public for social 
intercourse, and from that time till midnight there was dancing, under the 
floor direction of Levi P. Simmons, one of the seventh generation of 
Peregrine White ; William J. Alden, Jr., a direct descendant of John Alden, 
and James L. McNaught, and Messrs. David S. Goodspeed, Charles P. 
Dorr and John W. Tower as aids. 

The committee of arrangements consisted of William J. Wright, chair- 
man; William J. Alden, Jr., secretary; Laurence Bradford, treasurer; 
Levi P. Simmons, Hambleton E. Smith, George Bradford, Frederick B. 
Knapp, George W. Wright, John S. Loring, John B. Hollis, Jr., Josiah 
Peterson, Albert M. Thayer, Joshua W. Swift, Benjamin C. Cahoon, 
LeBaron Goodwin and John W. Tower. 

*The fringed gentian blooms about the Standish place in October. 

126 Historic Duxbury. 



" Inglorious friend ! Most confident I am 

Thy life is one of very little ease; 

Albeit men mock thee with their similes, 
And prate of being " happy as a clam ! " 
What though thy shell protects thy fragile head 

From the sharp bailiffs of the briny sea? 

Thy valves are, sure, no safety valves to thee 
While rakes are free to desecrate thy bed, 
And bear thee off, as foemen take their spoil, 

Far from thy friends and family to roam; 

Forced like a Hessian from thy native home 
To meet destruction in a foreign broil I 
Though thou art tender, yet thy humble bard 
Declares, O clam, thy case is shocking hard ! " 

DUXBURY is known by this bivalve where Myles Standish 
was never heard of, and where the stories of the grey 
fathers, if ever heard, would be considered myths ; yet if you 
would go further in a literal sense, the old saw of faring worse, 
might be reversed ; as the writer once found years ago when in 
an out-of-the-way place on the California coast, he was asked, 
on making it known that he was from the Eastern States, if 
he had ever seen the place where those Duxbury ships were 
built? This was too far for even the delicious flavor of the 
clam to have been wafted. 

Perhaps in a homelier vein, too much praise can scarcely 
be given to this denizen of the fiats ; without him the wisdom 
of the early governors would have failed ; the piety of Elder 

The Clam. 127 

Brewster have had a short duration ; the martial valor of Myles 
Standish have been uselessly exercised against the enemies of 
the weak and struggling Colony, and John Alden's pastoral 
virtues never have reached an appreciative posterity. 

W'hat orators and essax'ists ascribe to an all-wise Providence, 
was justl\- due to the clam, or the hii^her influence working 
through him ; in other words, his claims were not acknowledged 
in the sequence. It was the clam that nurtured the infant 
Colony, which is said by some to have contained the seed of 
the Republic, and prevented it from following the fate of like 
enterprises in other parts of the country. 

Daniel Webster, who li\ed just over the line in Marshfield, 
as mentioned before, was a devotee to the excellence of clam 
chowder, often treating his distinguished friends to that 
famous dish ; on such occasions, it is said, he would not 
permit his cook to mix the ingredients and cook the chowder, 
saying that a clam chowder was too easily spoiled to allow an 
unskilled hand to make it. 

The ancient glories of the Duxbur}' clam have now some- 
what departed. W'e are told the sinful marketmen in the 
cities palm. off on unsuspecting purchasers a spurious article, 
that has never hailed at low water, or any other time, the 
Gurnet Lights; be this as it may, we do not now see for sale 
the large-sized white-shelled article that once abounded in 
the markets. The demand exceeds the suppU', and they are 
sought so assiduously, that they have no time to grow. Why 
not protect them? That is easily said; but it is the same old 
story that is connected with the protecting of any marketable 

128 Historic Duxbury. 

product. In the case of the clam, those who wish to protect 
them do not dig them, and those who personally dig, or market 
them, prefer the present gain to some prospective profit, which 
they themselves can never hope to realize, or so they think; 
and also, that if protected, some other fellow will get ahead of 
them. You may say the game is protected ; and so it is with 
the choicest kinds of fish ; for the simple reason that those who 
hunt or angle for them are interested in their preservation. 
Should the time ever come when the liquor dealers wish to 
enforce the law against the unlawful sale of intoxicants, such 
unlawful sale will practically cease. 

" O clam, how humble is thy state, 

In mind, and form, and soul so low ; 

What thought on thee may we bestow, 
And what of eminence relate ? 
To sustain a gormand's palate ! 

And all thy excellences sure, 

Simply to please an epicure ! 
Can we of thee no more relate ? 
Tales of yard-arms in combat crossed, 

Of Duxbury's ancient fame, 

Shall ne'er be mingled with thy name ; 
Nor valiant ships in cyclones lost. 

But thine a greater glory yet: 

A mighty nation to beget." 

JUL S3 1999 


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