DOVER ON THE CHARLES
A CONTRIBUTION TO
NEW ENGLAND FOLK-LORE
BY ALICE J. JONES
"A man may go back to the place of his birth
He cannot go back to his youth."
THE MILNE PRINTERY
NEWPORT, B.. I.
BY ALICE J. JONES
GBATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABE DUE TO
MB. FBANK SMITH OF DEDHAM, THE PUBLISH-
EB8 OF " OUTDOOB8," AND TO THE BOSTON
IN DOVER ON THE CHARLES
"Holds fast the golden mean,
And lives contentedly between
The little and the great."
OVER, a small town in Norfolk
County, Massachusetts, is about six-
teen miles from the State House in
Boston. It borders upon the Charles
River and possesses natural features of
remarkable interest and beauty. Its fertile farms
and comfortable homes illustrate a seldom por-
trayed type of New England life. Some aspects
of home and village life belonging to the first half
of the last century are presented in these pages,
in which customary forms of expression, and the
names and uses of common things are recorded
John Battle, born 1716, married Mehitable Sher-
man of Connecticut. Josiah, their son, born in
Dover, married Lucy Richards, and their second
daughter, Lucy, was my grandmother Griggs.
6 In Dover on the Charles
In the archives of the State House at Boston, as
I am informed by a recent writer, is preserved the
original muster roll of the company which marched
from Dover to Lexington, April 19, 1775, under
Captain Ebenezer Battle of Dedham. The name
of Josiah Battle, private, appears on that muster
roll. My grandmother has told us that her father
was ploughing in his field some distance from home,
when the messenger arrived with the summons to
join his company. The "Minute Man" left his
plough in the furrow, put his horse into the barn,
and then found that his young wife had gone after
the cows. He took his powder horn and musket,
filled his knapsack with "rye and ingin" bread and
sausages, and was on his way to meet the British
before she returned.
Josiah Battle owned a large tract of land on the
east slope of Pegan Hill, divided by the road lead-
ing from Medfield to Natick. He lived on the site
from which John Adams removed to Elmira, about
forty years ago. His six children grew up, married,
and settled on portions of his land, within such
distance of his own house that he could visit them
all in a morning stroll.
Lucy Battle, my grandmother, married Reuben
Griggs of Ashford, Connecticut, the son of Nathan
Griggs, whose uniform and sword hung in our garret,
In Dover on the Charles J
and whose Bible, knives, and queer old spectacles
are now in my possession. Reuben Griggs was a
shoemaker, and worked at his trade in Dover.
After his marriage he took his wife away from
Dover for several years. Between the years 1810-
1815, he lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, and in
Wilmington, Vermont, and afterwards in Ashford,
Connecticut. In Amherst he pastured his cow on
the present site of Amherst College buildings.
Noah Webster, the lexicographer, lived in Amherst,
and my mother, then five or six years old, used to
peer through the garden fence to watch his two
pretty and amiable daughters among their flowers.
I have a letter written to my grandmother by Mrs.
Catherine Whiting of Wilmington, Vermont, in
1815. They were in Ashford on my mother's tenth
birthday, and a friend whom my mother always
held in loving remembrance made for her a little
wooden rocking-chair which her grandson now has
in his possession.
Great-grandfather Battle offered such inducements
that his daughter returned to Dover and settled upon
the farm next to that of Uncle Rufus. I have never
known when and by whom the house was built. I
have the original deed given by the heirs of Josiah
Battle to Reuben Griggs and Lucy, in settling the
estate in 1834. In later years the name came to be
8 In Dover on the Charles
spelled Battelle. The Battelles of Strawberry Hill
and the "West End of Dover," were not of this
Lucy, only child of Reuben and Lucy, married
Hiram Walker Jones, April 4, 1830.
My grandfather, Samuel Jones, of South Natick,
seventh in the line of descent from John Alden,
married Mary Walker of Marlboro. His sister Polly
became the second wife of Lee Claflin, of Hopkin-
ton, and step-mother of William Claflin afterward
governor of Massachusetts, my father's manhood
friend. Lucy, another sister, was the mother of
"Cousin Sally" of Milford, Massachusetts, who mar-
ried the Colonel Johnson for whom I was named.
Sarah, "Aunt Parkhurst," was the mother of our
valued and intimate friends, the "Parkhurst Cousins"
My father was born in South Natick, September
4, 1807. The scenes of his boyhood are depicted in
Mrs. H. B. Stowe's Old Town Folks, but the Jones
family of that book are not our connections. At
the present time, my sister and I have no knowledge
of any relation, however remote, bearing the name
When my father was very young, his mother died,
and he was brought up in the family of Mr. Nathan
Phillips, in West Dedham. Mr. Phillips was a car-
In Dover on the Charles p
penter and builder, and from him my father learned
the trade which he followed until the year 1839.
He built church edifices in many of the surrounding
towns, among them the Unitarian Meeting House
in Sherborn, and the Orthodox, afterward the Cath-
olic Church in North Natick. It was customary
for employers to furnish their men with liquor.
After listening to a lecture by John B. Gough, my
father resolved to depart from the custom, and duly
informed his men of his purpose. He was about to
"raise" a barn for Uncle Rufus Battle. All went
well until the "ridge pole" was wanted and then it
was not to be found. After much search, my father
was informed that it would be forthcoming as soon
as the men were supplied with their "grog." He
stood firm, the men yielded, and the barn was
raised. On that day and occasion the question of
liquor was forever settled between him and his men.
While his men were at work on the North Natick
meeting house, he went to Boston with his team
to buy lumber. While his wagon was loading on
T Wharf, he was struck senseless by a falling tim-
ber, and on the third day after was brought home
accompanied by a physician. He recovered after
months of critical illness, but, one side having been
paralyzed, he was never again able to carry on his
io In Dover on the Charles
He took up farming, added to the land which my
grandfather owned, and altered and improved the
buildings. For many years he was agent for the
Dedham Mutual and other fire insurance companies,
and Justice of the Peace. He held many town and
county offices, including those of Selectmen and
Town Treasurer. He was spoken of as Mr. Jones
or Squire Jones. I feel safe in saying that, an up-
right, self-respecting man of "good judgment," he
was honored and trusted by all who knew him. In
his family he was loved and obeyed, not feared or
dreaded. I never knew him to fly into a passion,
and never heard anybody say "father is cross," but
he could show displeasure, and administer deserved
reproof. He had the gift of managing men so as to
secure the best results from their efforts. This
power was doubtless due to his own mental and
moral poise, and to the care with which he planned
all the details of work. To my mother he was in-
variably courteous and considerate, and as devoted
as a lover. Any differences of opinion between
them were discussed and adjusted in private. We
never dreamed of appealing from one to the other.
"Your mother knows best," or "Your father is the
one to decide that," is all we should have gained by
so doing. As I look back upon my mature inter-
course with my parents, I realize the truth of Miss
In Dover on the Charles n
Mulock's saying that the real friendship between
us must have had its root and nurture in respect on
both sides. His sense of humor made my father a
most entertaining companion, and those who knew
him, even now refer to "Mr. Jones's stories." These
stories included no low jokes or injurious personali-
ties, and I never knew him to utter an oath.
After my brother Waldo's death, followed by
that of both grandparents, my father sold the farm
to Mr. Slavin, the present owner, and removed to
the Stephen Jones place opposite the old Josiah
Battle farm. This Mr. Jones was no connection of
ours. In 1867, he sold this place to H. R. Stevens,
and bought a house in Franklin, Massachusetts,
where he died December 2, 1875, and was buried
in the family lot in the cemetery in Dover.
My mother, born in 1809, was contemporary with
Darwin, Gladstone, Tennyson, Lincoln and Holmes.
The Boston known to Dr. Holmes she knew; the
public events which he noted were the events in
which she was interested. She attended district
schools, for the most part under male instructors,
some of whom were men of marked character. Her
taste for reading, and her intelligent interest in the
world's progress, she owed to "Master" Whitney,
and to the hours in which she read aloud to her
father. To the last year of her life she regularly
12 In Dover on the Charles
perused the daily and weekly newspapers, not only
the local and news columns, but the leading article
and editorial notes, prices current, and especially
the records of the legislature and the "doings" of
Congress. She knew the "views" of all the prom-
inent members of Congress, and was familiar with
the President's policy. She had her opinion of
public men and measures, and her reasons for that
opinion. Fairy tales, and purely imaginative writ-
ings of any sort had no interest for her, from lack of
plausibility. "It is not reasonable" was her sweep-
ing condemnation of any story which she considered
untrue to life. In advanced age, when she was too
feeble to read columns of fine print, she would look
over the evening paper, and by means of headlines,
select the articles which she wished to have read to
her. She enjoyed poetry of religion, patriotism,
and sentiment, and had many favorites in verse.
By those who knew her in youth, I have been
told that she had remarkably beautiful dark brown
hair, and that in the "square dances" of that period
she excelled by her ease and grace. I often imagine
her growing up in these days of colleges and clubs,
where she would have been able to take a high place
among educated women. As it was she did not
lack scope for her abilities. Married at twenty,
she bore eight children, of whom five grew to
In Dover on the Charles rj
womanhood, in a household which included old
people, children, menservants, womenservants, and
In my father's absence or illness, she carried on
his work. During a serious illness, her head was
shaved, and her soft brown hair changed to snow
white bristles. Although only thirty-three years
old, she conformed to the inexorable custom, and
donned the "false front" and close cap which she
wore for the next twenty-five years. Then her
white hair had become fine and soft, her face had
aged to correspond, fashion had changed, and she
thankfully discarded cap and false front.
In temperament she was truly fearless, recogniz-
ing danger, and taking all possible precautions, after
which it was of "no use to worry." Carelessness,
forgetfulness, and foolishness, in her eyes, were with-
out excuse. Foolishness meant the failure to do
under certain circumstances the best we knew or
might have known had we used "common sense."
Praise from her was a reward, and blame a long
remembered punishment. Both mother and father
had a horror of debt, and a realizing sense of the
value of "ready money." A bargain or contract
made, just so much money was then considered to
have been withdrawn from their available resour-
ces. To be entirely out of any one household ne-
14 fn Dover on the Charles
cessity, or to be reduced to one set of napery or
bedding was never within my mother's exper-
She was accustomed to say, "Do your work first,
then play." "Always dress when about your work
so that you will not be ashamed to go to the door
if anybody comes." "Go just as you are'' "Do
your part." "Pay him what he asks." "There is
as much in saving as in earning." "Because you
have money by you is no reason why you should
spend it." "Always keep some money by you."
"Be neighborly but do not meddle." "If you can-
not keep a secret, how can you expect your con-
fident to do so ?" What Senator Hoar in his Auto-
biography says of his mother's true democracy is
equally true of my mother. Captain William Sher-
man the great grandfather of Mrs. Hoar, was my
mother's great, great grandfather.
In her later years, my mother's courage, forgetful-
ness of self, cheerful patience under infirmities and
sorrows, her interest in an ever widening circle of
friends, all are among the memories which we
cherish. She died in Franklin, April 14, 1897, aged
Eveline, the oldest child, after her marriage to
Mr. J. Q. A. Nichols, lived first in East Randolph,
now Holbrook, afterwards in Dover, and about 1862
In Dover on the Charles 15
removed to Elmira, New York, where she died in
1895, surviving her husband fourteen years.
Parthena taught the district school in West Ded-
ham at the age of fourteen. After one year in the
Charlestown Female Seminary, she taught in Lan-
caster, Massachusetts, and later attended the Normal
School with which Dana P. Colburn was connected
in Providence. About 1855 she went to Newport,
R. I., to be assistant in the Boy's High School, Mr.
I. W. R. Marsh, Principal. In May 1864, she be-
came the wife of Mr. Charles E. Hammett, Jr., of
Newport. She died in 1 896, and her husband's death
followed in 1902.
Mary and Arabelle, the children next in age, died
in early youth, and infancy.
Waldo, the youngest child and only son, died
when eight years of age.
Inez Lenore remained with her parents during
their lives, and now resides in Franklin.
Alice, a teacher in the public schools, lived for
many years in Newport, and now lives in Franklin.
"Ghost-like I paced round the haunts ot my childhood."
ROM a country road which curved
around the base of a steep hill, a
circling carriage-drive crossed a grass
plot between a rounded maple and a
drooping elm, and almost touched the
doorstone of a spacious white farm-house.
Some portions of the structure had been erected
at a later date than that indicated by the great stone
chimney and the broad roof which, in the rear, sloped
to the height of the lower story. Natural features,
gentle slopes, sudden descents, and level spaces, all
had been considered in choosing sites for the house
and the detached farm buildings.
"The white rose tree that spent its musk
For lover's sweeter praise."
Across the south front a narrow grassy yard was
enclosed by a white picket fence. On either side
of the gateway stood a tree-like purple "laylock"
bush, whose branches were not so far above the
ground that children could not pluck the thick,
smooth leaves, to rend them with a "smack." The
up-springing sprouts under these trees were often
In Dover on the Charles ij
cut with scythe or sickle, as was the grass, other-
wise cared for by the dew, rain, sun, and snow.
The old peach tree in the corner showed its age
in the peeling bark and yellowed leaves, and its
late-ripening fruit was blotched with mildew even
on its sunny side.
Blush roses faded too soon; cinnamon rose petals,
at their best, were faded, crumpled, and set awry;
"single" red roses fell at a touch; and yet the thorny
thicket against the house was a pretty sight. One
tall bush beside the parlor window bore old-fash-
ioned white garden roses, of stock brought from
France, delightful to sight and smell in their morn-
ing freshness, and delightful to the taste as well in
the mysteriously compounded and delicious sweet-
meat known to us as Grandmother's "conserve of
roses." Close by the house nestled a compact little
bush bearing many crimson blossoms among its
tiny leaflets, the Burgundy or Hundred-leaf rose,
prettier far than its kindred, Province or Cabbage
roses of modern gardens.
Rose-bugs were the enemies of the roses them-
selves, but slug-eaten foliage was happily unknown.
Hips of various shapes and colors succeeded the
roses, and decorated the leafless branches which
stood out against their background of white-painted
i8 In Dover on the Charles
Short blades of wide grass hid the edges of the
sunken door stone, on one side of which grew abed
of grass pinks, overhung by drooping sprays of
flowering almond. No blossoms ever appeared
among the fragrant, finely cut leaves of southern-
wood or boys' love, and I often wondered at the
fact. I know now that Artemesia Abrotanum really
blooms, though I have never seen its flower. Of
the annuals which filled the borders, all have passed
from my memory except tne white and crimson
"globes," the eternal flowers.
Often in the daytime, always at dusk, toads, large
and small, came out from their hiding-places and
hopped over the door-stone. From one direction
or another the monotonous music of unseen tree
toads sounded throughout mid-summer days.
"We see but what we have the gift
Of seeing; what we bring, we find."
A portion of the door-yard boundary was formed
by the front yard fence, next to whose corner post
came the "gap," then the "great gate," and, paral-
lel with a row of young shade trees, the rail-sur-
mounted bank wall which ended at the stone steps
near the corner of the "mill-house."
Once, within my remembrance, a cider press was
set up in this mill-house, but its horse power wheel
was mainly used to run the threshing machines
In Dover on the Charles 19
and winnowing mill. When the men were upstairs
busy with falling grain and flying chaff, one of the
children was stationed below stairs to start and to
stop the horse, and to see that he kept a steady
pace in his journey around the track under the
great wooden wheel. Sometimes duty grew irk-
some to the child, and the wide open door tempted
to a comfortable seat upon its broad threshold.
Then the horse moved slowly and more slowly still,
until his sudden start as he passed the door within
reach of the flourished whip gave a corresponding
jerk to the machinery, and betrayed the culprit to
In the east end of this building the "covered
carriage" and best harness were kept in one room,
and the open "express wagon" in another. Heavy
timbers, empty barrels, harrow, cultivator, wheel-
barrows, wooden horses, and other cumbrous tools
were stored in the power room, the "lower part of
the mill-house." Some years before, the red-
painted carpenter's shop had been removed from
its site near the road. Then bench, tool-chest, and
all implements of the craft were placed in the upper
story of the mill-house, where newly planed boards,
curling shavings, and scattered saw dust testified
to the never ceasing repairs and improvements in
which my father found delight 3
20 In Dover on the Charles
Horserake and mowing machine, alternating
with the roomy yellow sleigh, occupied another
corner of this "mill-house chamber." An ideal
place for play on a hot summer morning was found
in this spacious room, when the wide double doors
stood open upon a grassy plot, among whose gravelly
spaces May-weed, sorrel, rabbit-foot clover, and
five-finger straggled to the wheelruts of the road
beyond. Under the pear tree, at the foot of the
stone steps, stood the carefully supported "grin
stone," its lowest point just touching water in the
moss-covered trough beneath.
"Upon the budded apple trees
The robins sing by twos and threes,
And ever, at the faintest breeze,
Down drops a blossom."
A "pair of bars," in the fence extending from mill-
house to "corn-house" gave entrance to the apple
orchard, separated by stone-walls from the high-
way, the next estate, and "our lane." Its sloping
ground effectively displayed the green, white, and
rose-colored canopy above the dandelion sprinkled
Early "jinctins" (June-eatings?) small, yellow, and
shiny, were the first among the "early" apples,
followed by "early sopsy vines" (Sops-of-wine ?)
Heavy, bulging, purple-lined "fall sopsy vines" no
In Dover on the Charles 21
other baked apples had such color, such juice, or
such flavor. Metcalf sweetings, baldwins, Roxbury
russets, Rhode Island greenings, porters, Newton
pippins, crow's eggs, and Peck's pleasants, on bend-
ing boughs and fruit-strewn ground, I seem to see
"The kindly fruits of the earth."
As a protection against rats and mice, the corn-
house was raised upon four pillars, and entered by
removable steps. Always in perfect order, the
well-filled interior made a pretty picture, which in
memory's reproduction, shows my Grandfather as
the central figure. Scorning one of the new patent
cornshellers, close at hand, and discarding the
customary iron shovel, he preferred to "shell" corn
by means of an iron-edged board which was placed
across the large red tub, and upon which he sat.
In time with his rhythmic rasping, yellow kernels
fell into the bushel measure, and white cobs flew
through the air.
Crevices in the high-slatted bins showed closely
packed ears of yellow "field" corn, and of rice-like
popping corn. By standing on tiptoe, or upon an
overturned wooden measure, we could bury our
hands deep in bins of winter rye, spring rye, buck-
wheat, or oats. Great white ears of sweet corn,
dried and wrinkled, and seed corn of other sorts
22 In Dover on the Charles
were tied together and suspended by their turned-
back and braided husks.
Harvesting implements, cradles, flails, rakes, pitch-
forks, scythes, and sickles; corn-dropper, and canvas
bags for the sower's grain; clean baskets, wooden
measures, and great piles of grain bags; in racks
overhead, or on pegs against the bins, all were ready
Heavy roller, stone-drag, horse-sled, tip-carts,
and farm-wagon, were "under cover" in the "corn
house cellar" which was entered from the lane.
"Bursting with hay were the barns."
Carefully located, commodious, and well-equipped f
the barn and adjoining buildings were planned with
a view to saving labor in necessary work, and with
consideration for the needs of the sheltered animals.
Tom and Bill, the black farm-horses, stood side
by side, opposite Kate's stall and the usually vacant
ox-stalls. In winter all the mows were filled to the
roof above the scaffolds, and two "hay-riggings"
stood against the barred north doors; but in sum-
mer, when both doors were thrown open, the
dangerously tempting hay-cutter and ladders pru-
dently set aside, and the whole wide space awaited
the incoming loads of new-mown hay, then the barn
floor, furnished and peopled by our imagination,
became a charmed spot.
In Dover on the Charles 23
"Mowing away" had great interest for us; rye,
oats, buckwheat, and bush-beans were threshed
under our supervision. Grandfather was expert at
"cradling" grain, and one of the last to give up the
old-time implement; nor was he less skilful in swing-
ing the flail with the hired men on the threshing
floor. Later in the year, corn ears were piled high
between the mows. Except as an excuse for party,
and occasional frolic, husking-bees belonged to the
past, and the men husked the corn on rainy days
and in the autumn evenings.
On one side of the barn floor, under high mows
of English hay, cornstalks, meadow-hay, and bed-
ding straw, were openings through which "feed"
and "litter" were put down for the cows in the light
and airy basement, known as the barn-cellar. Just
at the foot of the stairs was a row of stanchions,
and clean dry stalls, where milking-stools, hoe, fork,
and shovels hung on high pegs, and where air and
sunlight streamed through open doors and windows.
In one corner of this basement was the first of
adjoining hog-pens, the third and last being adjacent
to the cow-yard. This corner pen contained the
main feeding-trough with a contrivance for keeping
back the squealing swine until their food was ready,
and the trough filled. Near by was an overflowing
tub of running spring-water, the clean swill-pails,
24. In Dover on the Charles
and the huge meal-chest, which held cotton-seed
meal, shorts, or corn. Calf-pens, in the north end,
could be entered from outside, and the downward
slope to the door, just reversed the adjacent ascent
to the north barn-door. Sprinkling-pot, brooms,
and shovels were in daily use, and children could
play anywhere on the premises in the absence of
The large "cow-yard" was enclosed on the west
by the barn which overhung the yard, and formed
a covered porch for the cow-stable; along the north
end, on rising ground, a barn-roofed shed, open to
the south, sheltered the salting-trough; on the east
was an embankment, topped by a high stone wall;
at the south end, between the "lane gate" and the
smaller door-yard gate, was the watering-tub which
stood one-half within and one-half without, because
the horses were watered on the door-yard side of
"The noisy masons of the eaves,
The busy swallows circling near."
Adjoining the barn on the west, and on a line
with its south front was the "harness-house," in
which a waiting horse and vehicle could stand pro-
tected from the weather. It contained a work-
bench and all appliances for mending and cleaning
harnesses. Working harnesses, chains, ropes, pulleys,
In Dover on the Charles 25
short ladders, pickaxes, spades, shovels, crowbars,
mud shoes for horses, horseblankets, nose feed-
bags, and other equipments for farm-work were
arranged upon pegs, shelves, brackets, and racks
about the room. A small cupboard held leather
straps, strings, balls of "crow-line" and other twine,
grease for boots and for axles, and bottles for
Litters of young pigs in the cellar basked in the
sunshine which streamed in upon them through the
opened scuttle in the floor. "Be sure to close the
scuttle if the wind changes or a shower comes up"
was the frequent injunction when the men started
for a distant field. Barn-swallows made their mud
nests under the eaves over the wide doorway.
When the birds were busiest at their work, we
watched them from a seat in some wagon, left for
the time in the middle of the door-yard.
''The perched roosts
And nests in order ranged
Of tame villatic fowl."
Next to the harness-house came the hen-house,
clean as whitewash-brush, broom, and fresh gravel
could make it. On one side of the sunny outer
room was the large stone upon which oyster-shells,
"scraps," and bones were pounded; the shallow, oval
iron kettle of water; and the dough-board. On the
26 In Dover on the Charles
other side were the roosts, both high and low.
"Laying" or "setting" hens retired to the inner
room, where box-nests were ranged on a long, wide
shelf. The methodical fowls walked up an inclined
and cleated board to enter the nests from a corri-
dor at the back. Dropping the hinged fronts of
of these boxes, gave access to the nests and their
contents. Setting hens were "broken up," by
temporary imprisonment under a barrel.
Mother hen and her brood were transferred from
the nest to a portable coop, set upon the grass not
too far from the kitchen door. Through spaces
in the slatted front the chickens could run in
and out. and the hen could stretch out her neck
to cluck a warning, to eat grass, or to reach the
dough-dish and the shallow not too shallow dish
of water. Fresh water and shoots of tender grass
besides other food, were supplied several times aday.
A wide board laid on the top of the coop projected
to form an awning, and was kept in place by the
weight of a stone. At the first sign of an impend-
ing shower, somebody ran from the house to "see
to the chickens," to hurry them into the coop, and
shut them in, as for the night, by placing the awn-
ing board upright against the slats with the stone
for a prop. To save the valuable time of one hen,
if two small broods "came off" the same day, they
In Dover on the Charles 2f
were usually placed in one coop. Rats, weasels, and
skunks sometimes invaded the coops at night. In
the day-time by a peculiar signal which was in-
stantly obeyed by the huddling chicks, the hen gave
notice that a dreaded, sailing, swooping pigeon-hawk*
or a stronger, fiercer hen-hawk was circling overhead.
Neither hens nor chickens were allowed to run at
large. In summer the sashes were removed from
the latticed doors and windows of the hen-house
and all sorts of green food was "saved for the hens."
Temporary runs were made for the half-grown
chickens. One of our regularly assigned tasks was
"watching the hens" when they were let out to
ramble for an hour just before dark. Whenever
turkey eggs were "set" they were placed under
hens, since turkeys reared by the more domestic
fowls were less likely to wander and die in the wet
grass or become the prey of prowling enemies.
Guinea fowls were interesting but unprofitable.
No Committee sent by the Agricultural Society
could more surely select the premium flowers and
vegetables, and the soil in highest state of cultiva-
tion, than could an escaped hen in search of a place
"This is the cock that crowed in the morn."
A tiny, disowned chick, just out of the shell, Dick
was brought into the house, wrapped in cotton, kept
28 In Dover on the Charles
in a basket for a few days, and then provided with
suitable quarters in the wood-house, under my
charge. He became my pet, and I became his out
door companion. Grandmother enticed him to her
room to eat flies which she killed and laid between
sheets of brown paper.
Fully grown, long-spurred, gorgeous in plumage,
Dick would escape from his coop and revisit the
scenes of his chickenhood days. However often
repeated, it was somewhat startling to have a bird
of such a feather alight on one's shoulder or top of
the head, or try to perch confidingly upon a fore-
finger. Dick appeared to much better advantage
when he ceased his canary bird tricks, and strutted
into the middle of Grandmother's room, where he
would give a lusty crow and fly upon the desk to
seize his well-remembered paper of flies.
"1 know he will go up all manner of streets."
Tuxus, the pig, was literally brought up by hand.
His first meal was obtained by sucking milk from
my forefinger, and I afterwards fed him with a silver
teaspoon until he was able to drink from a cup, after
which time it must be confessed that he ate like a
pig. He grew and thrived in his little pen, from
which I released him for an occasional frolic. Once
I put him back into his pen on the east side of the
house, passed through the L, and sat down in the
Ih Dover on the Charles 29
west doorway just as Tuxus, having made the cir-
cuit of the main house, came through the gap in
the fence and jumped into my lap. Weeks after
this occurrence, I was sent on an errand, and a group
of boys began to laugh and jeer as I passed them
in the road some distance from home. Looking
back, I saw Tuxus, no longer a little pink-white pig,
making the dust fly from the middle of the road,
and grunting a lesson on manners for the benefit of
the boys, as he raced after me.
"Not Bruce of Scotland,
Not the Bruce of Bannockburn."
Bruce, the black Newfoundland dog, must have
come to the farm not far from the time when I be-
gan to run about out of doors, for he took the charge
of me from that time. He went to school with me
every morning, keeping close by my side, unmoved
by the torments which the larger children who
joined us managed to inflict upon him, but ready
to fly at the throat of the first who tried to interfere
with me. On the first morning, he followed me in-
to the school-house, but his reception was so
boisterous that afterwards he was satisfied to see
me safe within the yard.
A sick man, who watched us from his window,
noted the contrast between the dignity with which
Bruce ignored his tormentors while I was under his
jo In Dover on the Charles
protection, and the manner in which he bounded
through the fields at a safe distance from the road,
on his way home.
"Beeves and homebred kine."
Black Jenny Lind, light-red Fanny Elscler, dark-
red Ruth, old Line-back, Jessie Fremont, and Myra
Clark Gaines, our bovine friends, how well I re-
member, not their looks alone, but their character-
istic ways, for they were born on the farm and
lived long in our service, while many other cows
were bought and sold.
Men drove_the cows to pasture in the early morn-
ing, but one of the children, with Bruce, often went
after them at night. The "old Plain" was an out-
lying pasture within sight across a neighbor's field,
but this line of vision was the hypothenuse of a
triangle whose other two sides were formed by the
public road. Usually all the cows were waiting at
the "bars," and as one end of the upper rails fell to
the ground, the impatient animals clattered over
the lowest rail and filed down the road toward
home. Jennie and Line-back had the trick of
staying far down in the cranberry-meadow, com-
placently feeding until we came to look them up.
Bruce barked long and frantically at their heels
before they would start on a run to overtake their
companions, long out of sight. Our door-yard and
In Dover on the Charles ji
grass-plot needed no lawn-mower, for the cows
were "watched" and allowed to feed, sometimes
without the "great gate," and sometimes within
the enclosure, that they might become cool and
rested, and be in proper condition when the men
came to the barn at milking time.
"The steeds were champing in their stalls."
Tom and Bill, the equine brothers, worked through-
out their lives in double harness, and occupied stalls
side by side except for two nights upon a memor-
able occasion. It was long before the Air-Line Rail
Road was built, and these horses went regularly with
heavy loads to and from Boston, over the Mill Dam,
stopping at the "Corner" for luncheon and rest.
On one of these trips Bill was sold, and soon after
delivered at his new home, the "Corner."
Bereaved Tom refused to eat, but watched and
listened and waited for the coming of his mate.
On the second morning, ungroomed Bill, dragging
a broken halter, was found at the stable door.
Their next separation was caused by Bill's death
many years later. A small ambrotype shoAvs Tom
and the farm-wagon, my father and Bruce inci-
dentally included in the picture. Grown old, faith-
ful Tom was released from labor, and at length
placed in a marked and honored grave.
J2 In Dover on the Charles
I was allowed to drive Kate harnessed to the "top
buggy," but my father was accustomed to say that
a woman could drive a horse wherever a horse
wished to go.
"The harmless necessary cat."
My old Hodge was named for Dr. Johnson's pet
cat. Hodge was a "good mouser," and he could
not understand why he was scolded for catching
song-birds, and praised for bringing in rats and
"All duties, when thoroughly and perfectly done according to a
standard in the soul, become works of art."
At the time of which I write, my Grandfather's
active labors were chiefly confined to the "chip-
yard," a large, well-defined plantain-bordered space,
beside the path between the house and barn.
While the "sledding was good," great loads of
wood and logs were brought from the "Deacon
Haven lot" and the Clark lot woods." Oak, hickory,
hard pine, soft pine, birch, "fencing stuff," and
"apple-tree brush" ranged in high piles at the lower
end of this yard. Toward the house, splitting log,
sawhorse, and chopping block, woodsaw, axe, and
bill hook, bettle and wedges, wheelbarrow and
baskets, all were brought into use. In due time,
the well-seasoned hard wood, oven wood, split wood,
round wood, pine knots, "air tight chunks," "little"
In Dover on the Charles jj
wood, and kindling wood, with the pine needles,
shavings, and chips were systematically housed in
the capacious wood-shed.
"To pick up a basket of chips" was one of the
regular duties of a summer's day, and one which
we often dallied over rather than return to less agree-
able tasks. Standing upon the wood-shed chopping
block enabled one to reach the light ladder, clothes-
line poles, long-handled caterpillar brush, and snow
shovel, which were kept in the racks overhead.
"How could such sweet and wholesome hours,
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?"
Passing from the chip-yard through the back
room to the "west door" brought us under the great
horse-chestnut tree, and near to the bench where
tin cans and pans were set out to dry.
Of the two diverging paths, the one close to the
house led by flower beds and currant bushes to the
Well Curb. This tall white frustum of a pyramid
was erected over a quicksand well which was used
solely as a refrigerator where cans of milk, and pails
of butter, and food were lowered far out of sight
by four stout ropes. Nothing in this well was ever
molested, though the gate in the adjacent picket
fence was but a few yards from the public road.
Milky-juiced cypress spurge sprang up under the
fence. Among the stones at the base of the curb
34 In Dover on the Charles
grew luxuriant stalks of live-for-ever (Sedum Tele-
phium,) from whose carefully bruised leaves we
made and inflated tiny watery bags. No sedum
blossoms were ever seen. Years had passed before
I understood why I found myself able to recognize
so many plants by their leaves with no recollection
of having seen their blossoms. My father never
tolerated weeds, and he cut short their career before
they had time to "blossom and go to seed."
A small butternut tree grew near the well, beside
the currant bushes. Impatient fingers were stained
"butternut color" by the juicy covering of the un-
dried nuts. Circular brooches, sawed from the nuts
and supplied with bent-pin fastenings, were at one
time much in vogue among schoolgirls. This must
have been the period of peach and cherry-stone
baskets, and of braided horsehair rings.
Not far from the butternut tree, flower-beds held
love-in-the-mist; red and "variegated poppies" old
maid pinks and velvet marigolds;gillyflowers; Canter-
bury bells; balsams; single petunias, purple and
white; yellow daffies; prince's feather; honesty; ladies'
delights; and a light-blue star-flower which we
called Star of Bethlehem. I have never seen that
star-flower elsewhere, nor have I seen any recog-
nized description of the plant under that or any
other name, Seed-bearing stalks of honesty, re-
In Dover on the Charles jj
taining only the oval, satiny, dividing membrane
of the pods were carefully gathered, and combined
with dried grasses for winter bouquets.
"It is not simply beets and potatoes, and corn and string beans
that one raises in his well-hoed garden, it is the average of human
Below the horse chestnut tree, half way down
the grassy slope, two "orange sweeting" trees almost
touched the ground with their wide-spreading
branches. Then came more currant bushes, red
and white, a porter apple tree, peach trees, white
and purple plums, quince bushes, more young apple
trees, pear trees, the tub of running water, and
then the vegetable garden. Much below the level
of the road, the garden was enclosed on that side
by a bank wall surmounted by a four-inch rail held
edgewise in iron supports. Against this wall,
behind the well curb, was a sort of wild garden,
where tall black currant bushes, and red raspberry
canes grew among brakes and stalks of caraway,
and bent over low lying bloodroot, coltsfoot, and
All sorts of vegetables for our table were suit-
ably distributed from the rich, heavy soil next to
the road to the higher, drier ground beside the
clothes drying yard. Beets, turnips, onions, pars-
nips, carrots, radishes, newly introduced tomatoes,
3 6 In Dover on the Charles
peppers, squashes, cucumbers, cabbages, cauli-
flowers, lettuce, sweet corn, string beans, peas, early
and late, rhubarb, strawberry tomatoes, and shell
beans, kidney, lima, cranberry, and horticultural;
all these were "handy to the house."
A small plot was devoted to peppermint, spear-
mint, and sage; saffron, valuable for its medicinal
yellow petals, which must be pulled off every morn-
ing; and sives, whose tender, finely chopped leaves
were food for hens. I have forgotten most of the
"roots and herbs," and their uses. Thoroughwort,
tansy, pokeroot, hardhack, mullein, penny royal,
yellow dock, yarrow, wormwood, and pumpkin
seeds I remember to have seen hanging, in paper
bags, against the garret rafters.
"The golden buttercup, the grass, the leaves."
A wide red gate opened from the door-yard into
the "lane," a long, wide, level, grassy, cart-path,
bounded on the east by well-fenced fields of "grass
land" and "ploughed ground," and ending at the
"Clark Lot bars."
Along its stone wall, on its orchard side, wild
red raspberry and thimbleberry bushes were
allowed to grow. Few berries plucked from these
bushes found their way to kitchen or dining-room.
They were destined to be strung like beads upon
long stems of timothy grass, and fated to be eaten
In Dover on the Charles j/
as soon as strung. Young children liked to play
in the sand heap under the corn-house, where they
were out of doors, protected from the sun or rain,
and we all roamed the lane at will.
Here we picked great bunches of yellow-eyed
bird-foot violets, or made bouquets of dandelion
"curls." Buttercups held under each other's chins
usually cast a yellow shadow and proved that we
"loved butter." Fortunes were told by means of
"white weed" petals, but I could never decide
whether "rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief," referred to four or
eight possible husbands, and "chief" in my mind,
was always associated with scalplock and tomahawk.
When three puffs of breath failed to blow all the
tufted seeds from a dandelion globe, the shout
arose, "Your mother wants you ! " If the drop of
juice pressed with thumb nail to the top of one
grass stalk "took off" the drop from the one held
against it, then your "wish would come true."
"I wander in the woodland paths once more."
On the left of the "bars" stretched the dim recesses
of the "Clark Lot Woods." We spent hours at a
time among the hollow trunks, the fallen branches,
the gnarled and mossy roots, and the shifting
shadows, on the borders of these woods.
Acorns, partridge berries, bearberries, checker-
j 8 In Dover on the Charles
berries, wild strawberries, low blueberries, puff balls,
curious fungi and cup mosses, besides Indian pipes,
and many familiar but unnamed wild flowers, were
our successive playthings.
Beyond the woods and the open fronting space,
in boggy regions when entering horses must wear
the clumsy, square, wooden mud-shoes, was the
meadow, the place of turtles, water snakes, musk-
rats, and of historic beavers. There we could not
venture, but were , glad that grandfather dared go
after yellow-blossomed cowslip sprays, a dainty
unsurpassed by young beet tops, "milk weed
sprouts" or "dandelion greens." We went far
enough to find white violets hidden under the
leaves of skunk-cabbage.
"Where the freshest berries grow."
"John Ricker Hill, "long and narrow, the base of
Brown's Hill, was opposite our house and orchard.
What had been left an unsightly gravel bank when
the road was cut through, my father had improved
by building a "face wall" at its foot, and planting a
row of evergreen trees half way up to its level top.
Along its boundary wall, and in many a grassy
nook, the largest strawberries and high blackberries
were gathered as fast as ripened. The reddest,
thorniest of barberries succeeded the wild roses in
the south wall thicket.
In Dover on the Charles jp
"However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep,
and that is a very handsome property."
A trip to Grandmother's valued inheritance, the
Natick Pasture, was an event to be enjoyed in an-
ticipation, as well as in the excursion itself.
There was the bustle of preparation at the barn,
varied with the season and the project. "Salting"
the young cattle; picking sweet apples or juicy,
coarse-grained, puckery "baking" pears; cutting
hay or mowing bushes; mending a "post and rail"
fence, or building a stone wall: any one of these
may have been the serious object of the expedition.
The pleasure seekers in the party had in mind the
short ride through the village street to the Cleave-
land place, and the long, delightful ride, "by right
of way" through fields, woods, and berry pastures,
where jolt succeeded jolt as the wheels passed over
embedded rocks into deep worn ruts. Arrived at
Pegan Hill Lane and the pasture, we revelled in its
berries, fruits, and flowers, gathered hickory nuts
and acorns, and explored the "Indian cellar hole,"
ever with a wholesome dread of snakes. Tired out
at last we sat in the shade to watch the birds and
squirrels, or rehearse the tales of vanished Indians,
until it was time to go home.
"I come to pick your berries."
Cranberry picking began early in September.
Before the bogs were ready for the men and their
rakes, the fruit on the "upland," exposed to the
frosts, lay among the dry and grassy hummocks
like great crimson-purple beads, strung on a woody
thread. Mother and children alike looked forward
to these September days, and the best outdoor ex-
cursions of the year. The first "good" day, before
the dew was "off," found us in the "old plain"
Blueberry and huckleberry bushes, sweet fern,
"mountain cranberries" (bearberries), acorns, lichens,
stalks of pennyroyal, and life everlasting, goldenrod
plumes and aster panicles, all were brushed aside,
or trampled under foot, when we wandered from
the narrow wagon road which led to the low-lying
Luncheon baskets, and wraps safely bestowed
under the old oak tree by the boiling spring, we
hastened to the remembered spots where shining
fruit was scattered over the brown grass among
autumn-tinted leaves, on low-creeping vines. "Pick-
ing by hand" was the rule, but my small, short-
handled rake would sometimes scoop a double
handful from a hollow between hillocks or moss-cov-
ered stones. Our small baskets filled, they were emp-
tied into bags under the oak tree, and filled again.
In Dover on the Charles 4.1
Besides spots "thick" with berries, we found
solitary wild roses blooming among the reddened
hips, fringed gentians, cardinal flowers, curious burs
and pods on leafless stalks, ground birds' nests, and
countless living, crawling, hopping, running, flying
things. Our baskets filled rapidly in spite of all
these side attractions, because we were paid the
highest market price for all we picked. One year
my quarts became bushels, and my bushels more
than filled a barrel. Late afternoon brought my
father and the farm-wagon, into which the tired,
sun-burned, happy pickers clambered among the
heavy bags and baskets, and we went home with
The entire crop gathered and spread in the "barn
chamber" until dry and ''turned red," the hand pow-
er winnowing mill was brought from the mill house
chamber into the door yard, and the cranberries
were freed from dirt and tiny leaves. A trough-
like sieve, set upon trestles of unequal height,
received the berries which were passed along the
incline from one compartment to another, until,
screened and "picked over," they fell into barrels
which were well shaken and then "headed up." All
this was men's work, but women and children were
welcomed as helpers in the tedious picking over.
"To every sweet its sour."
42 In Dover on the Charles
A high, well-lighted basement under the woodshed
and pumproom was known as the vinegar cellar. It
was furnished with hogsheads, barrels, kegs, bungs,
plugs, spigots, taps, mallet, auger, gimlet, measures,
"tunnels," skids, and pails.
In a long row, on a sort of platform, lay hogsheads
of cider in the successive stages of the process by
which new cider was arrested on its way to become
"hard" cider, and was made into sharp vinegar.
A suitable quantity of molasses was added to the
new cider to promote fermentation; froth issued
from the open bung hole in a towering meringue,
a color scheme in cream, yellow, brown, and black;
the first "working" ended, and impurities precipi-
tated or thrown off at the bung, the liquid was
carefully "drawn off," and filtered through a straw-
filled wooden tunnel into a clean cask, and allowed
to work again. This process was continued with
great care and frequent testing until that which
entered the first cask as sweet cider, left the last
hogshead pure cider vinegar which was sold to
regular customers, the principal being Billings'
"We may build more splendid habitations, fill our rooms with
paintings and with sculptures, but we cannot buy with gold the old
Once on the broad stone doorstep, it was easy
In Dover on the Charles 4.3
to press the thumb piece of the great iron latch,
open Grandmother's door, step across the entry,
dimly lighted from above the winding stair-case,
and come into Grandmother's room.
In summer the green blinds were partly closed,
but in winter the south sun shone through the
many-paned white curtained windows upon the box
of growing lavender which stood beside the "noon-
mark" on the window sill. The wooden clock
between the windows, the brass ornamented ma-
hogany desk, the round-cornered two-leaved table,
the long, high-backed red settle, the iron "fire
frame" trimmed with shining brasses, all had be-
longed to preceding generations. Grandmother
valued the old, and took kindly to the new.
Her cooking stove stood at some distance from
the chimney, and the funnel entered the flue high
above the ancient fire place, where she had an
occasional fire upon the hearth. The kettles were
hung from pot hooks on the crane, and bannocks
were baked upon the "bannock boards" set upon
the hearth before the fire and supported by a flat-
iron at the back. She never indulged us with the
sight of meat roasting on a "spit," but she used the
"bake oven," and set the little iron basin on its
three-legged "trivet" over the coals in one corner
of the hearth. This iron basin was always used on
4# In Dover on the Charles
the stove when cream toast or chicken fricassee
was prepared, and beef-a-la-mode could be "warmed
up" just right in no other vessel. The small brass
kettle, bright as gold, guarded by a flat iron ring,
was used on the stove, and no hasty pudding, rye
pudding, or samp can ever equal that which it
contained. When the round-bottomed three-legged
"iron pot" was used as a doughnut kettle, it also
required the encircling ring, being too small for the
hole in the top of the stove. The tiny "iron skillet"
which had three tall legs and a rat-tailed handle
was even then called ancient, and I never saw it
used. Many more quaint and convenient utensils
and much old china and pottery were in Grand-
mother's neat "buttery." The stone mortar and
pestle which the Pegan Indians had used; covered,
wooden hooped pails of different sizes, painted red
or blue, which held corn meal, buckwheat flour, or
dried apples; the "blue piggin" which resembled
a small wooden pail except that one stave rising
above the rest was shaped as a handle; a tall,
"brown earthern pailful pot" held "biled cider
apple sauce." One queer high-shouldered green
glass bottle was kept filled with balm of Gilead
buds steeped in rum, a sovereign balm indeed for
cuts and bruises. From this remedy I first learned
one of life's useful lessons, bravely to bear the
In Dover on the Charles 4.5
present smart for the sake of future healing.
Petty-morel berries (Aralia racemosa) steeped in
New England rum, elderberry wine, blackberry
cordial, cherry rum, black currant jelly, and other
medicinal supplies were always at hand.
Amongthedishesof shining pewter,the large plate,
the quart basin of hammered metal,and the porringer,
all bore my great, great grandmother's initials, H. R.
An ancient round iron "waiter" held the white
teapot which would contain a cupful of water, used
in the time of the Revolution when tea was scarce
and high, an old Delft cup and saucer of corres-
ponding size, and a graceful pointed-nosed cream
white pitcher whose lower half was emerald green.
The beautiful silver teaspoon marked H. R. is four
inches long, and shows that it was wrought by hand,
and the bowl welded to the handle. Another tea-
spoon, belonging to the next generation, is somewhat
larger. The greater the grandmother, the smaller
the spoon. My grandfather always ate from a large
white plate with a wavy edge of deep blue. One set
of steel knives had bright green bone handles. Bright,
deep blue pitcher, sugar bowl and teapot which
showed upon each side a deer without antlers, were
accompanied by handleless cups, and the jet black
"citron sauce" bowl bore a floral pattern in relief.
Close by the covered wood box stood a wooden
j.6 In Dover on the Charles
pail of shavings and a basket of clean chips. The
long disused brick oven was then a sort of cupboard,
but our interest centered in the high chimney cup-
board and its treasures. Here was the wooden
covered book of Indian stories which had the wood
cut of Mr. Dustin and his children;the"American Pre-
ceptor;" the old "Third Part," a school reading book
in my mother's day; "Reuben Kent;" "Little Henry
and his Bearer;" "The New England Primer;" "The
Badge;" and an ancient broadsheet of poetry, "Cat-
skin." Besides these books the cupboard contained
the clasp knife, brass-handled pen knife, and the
pocket Bible which great grandfather Nathan Griggs
carried through the Revolutionary War.
Grandfather's arm chair stood beside the stove
where the light came over his left shoulder as he
sat reading, a blue and white bandanna handkerchief
thrown over his bald head. The green wooden
chairs were decorated with gilding and painted
shells and flowers. Braided rag mats were placed
here and there upon the carpet where the "wear"
was likely to come. Across the plastered ceiling
ran a large painted beam. The walls were made
of wide, matched boards which like the prominent
corner posts, had received many a coat of lead-
In Dover on the Charles 47
In the adjoining bedroom stood the tightly-corded
four-poster, straw-bed, feather-bed, bolster, pillows
with long, overhanging "cases," snowy valance, and
patchwork quilt. The other furniture consisted of
a mahogany bureau over which hung a small mirror,
a low chair, an arm chair, and an ancient table
which folded so that one leaf would double upon
the other or stand upright against the wall. The
edges of the leaves and the front legs were prettily
inlaid with bits of wood.
The blue and white woven counterpane was even
then laid carefully aside because of its associations.
"O how full of briars is this working-day world."
Work inside the house was termed house-work,
earning, and sitting-work. Kitchen, back room, and
cellar, like all other parts of the house, were arranged
and furnished with a view to "making work easy."
Soon after my mother was married, one of the
earliest made cooking stoves was set up in front of
her enormous kitchen fire-place. Its huge cylindri-
cal sheet iron oven threw out overpowering heat
upon the head of the person who used the "elevated
oven," and it was replaced by one improved pattern
after another. From the lettered hearth of the "Bay
State" stove, I took my first lesson in the alphabet.
Spring water was drawn from a faucet at one
kitchen sink, next to which was a large, built-in
4.8 In Dover on the Charles
case of drawers under a wide shelf, a dish closet,
and then the large dry-sink, where dishes were al-
ways washed, and cooking operations carried on.
Pump-room it was always called, but a wooden
faucet took the place of a pump in the large un-
plastered room adjoining the kitchen. One corner
of this room was the laundry and held the necessary
utensils, and supplies. Often used steel-yards, large
and small, hung on convenient nails. Pantry, store-
room, and milk-room combined, occupied an ad-
joining space in this wing. No cruel "one-step
down" led to our wood-shed. Children's arms were
scarcely able to throw back the wide top of the
long meal chest. Standing on tip-toe, we contrived
to reach the wire sieve on the corn-meal side, and
the hair-cloth sieve on the rye-meal side, but we
could not run a sieve along the horizontal bar in
the middle of the sifting section of the chest. A
hugh brick oven, and chimney had, at some recent
date, been built out into the room on one side. An
ancient brass kettle, immense in size and beautiful
in proportions had been deprived of its bail, and
ears, and had become a "set" kettle, in which clothes
were boiled over the fire in the brick chamber
Although my mother always "kept help," most of
them women who could be spared from neighbor-
In Dover on the Charles 49
ing families, yet she tried to instruct her daughters
in the art of house-keeping.
"Cloy the hungry edge of appetite,
By bare imagination of a feast."
Baking day saw long sticks of pine oven wood
burned to coals on the floor of the brick-oven, the
ashes removed, and the "oven broom" plied with
energy, before the long handled shovel placed cakes,
pies and bread within the remotest recesses of the
fiercely heated oven. Later the somewhat cooled
oven was filled again, this time with loaves of brown
bread, rye-bread, fruit cake, pots of beans, and a
brown earthern dish of Indian pudding.
White "bonny" beans were picked over on Friday
afternoon, washed and soaked over night in more
water than could be absorbed. Early Saturday
morning this water was poured off, and the beans
boiled in a large quantity of water, until the wrink
led skins were ready to burst. With a skimmer, the
beans were drained and placed in an eathern pot,
with a small piece of salt pork, selected for its
streak of lean, and gashed across the rind. A little
soda, molasses and mustard were added, and some-
times a morsel of sausage. When put into the oven,
the pork was almost hidden by the beans, and a
sheet of tin was laid over the uncovered bean pot.
A spoonful or two of water was added from time to
jro In Dover on the Charles
time, and, presently, the pot was uncovered, and
the pork brought to the surface to shrink, grow
crisp and flavor the beans, until supper time. Unless
the steam were allowed to escape from the uncovered
pot, the beans might be boiled or stewed, they
surely would not be baked.
Baked sweet apples and milk, very cold, made a
delicious and hygienic supper dish. Hulled corn,
with milk or molasses was a favorite form of food.
Great kettles full of hasty-pudding were easily
disposed of, as "pudding and milk," and too little
remained to serve as "fried pudding" at breakfast.
It was not really fried but was browned on a hot
greased "spider." Buckwheat was never made into
griddle cakes, but into a sort of muffins cooked in the
oven. Roast spare-rib was eaten cold, preferably
with hot baked potatoes. All fat was carefully lifted
from the bowl of cold "drippings," to which water
was then added, with a thickening of flour and water.
The resulting "roast pork gravy" was not greasy,
but savory and wholesome, with potatoes.
For "invited company" mother was sure to make
great piles of those cream-white hot biscuits which
accorded so well with "quartered quince" or "whole
Muslin toast was a favorite supper dish, prepared
with nicety and precision. A rye short cake the
In Dover on the Charles 51
full sixe of the griddle iron, was browned to a deli-
cate crisp, on each side, the thin crust deftly flayed
from the hot side, the denuded surface returned to
the griddle, and the crust placed in the waiting
basin of hot, thickened and salted milk. This
process was repeated until the upper crust of the
cake was reached and ready to be "dipped."
"Into the sounding pails the foaming streamlets descended."
No butter and cheese were made within my
recollection, except for home use. Milk was some
times sold to collectors for city markets, but as a
rule calves were bought and fattened for veal.
Grandmother made sour milk, new milk, sage,
four meal, and "white oak" or skimmed milk cheeses.
Having brought milk to the desired temperature
by setting it in the huge tin kettle on the back of
the stove, it was poured into the immaculate "cheese
tub," with a small quantity of soaked rennet, a
substance prepared from the inner membrane of a
calf's stomach. When the curd was well "set," it
was cut across with the "cheese stick," to allow the
whey to rise and be ''dipped off." Bowls of "curds
and whey" were served at this point to those who
had been impatiently waiting for them.
Meanwhile, the "cheese tongs," a sort of ladder
with two rungs, had been placed across the "whey
tub" to support the large meshed, splint "cheese
52 In Dover on the Charles
basket" over which the ample cheese cloth "strainer"
had been spread. The "wheyed off" curd having
been put into the basket, upon the cloth, and
allowed to drain dry, it was then ready to be
"broken up" with the hand, and mixed with salt.
Again the children begged for "just a taste."
A square of strong cotton cloth, placed over a
"cheese hoop" of suitable size, was well filled with
the crumbled curd. The cloth was tightly twisted
on the top, held in place by the "follower," a
wooden disk smaller than the hoop, and then the
cheese was placed under the requisite number of
"blocks" in the curious wooden cheese press and a
heavy weight hung upon the arm of the press. By
the next morning the follower had followed the
cheese into the hoop, and a corresponding amount
of whey had run out across the grooved shelf of the
When the hoop was removed in order to "turn"
the cheese and wrap it in a dry cloth, a ridge of
curd was found to have filled the space between the
edge of the follower and the hoop. This was
carefully cut off, and the delicious morsels called
'cheese parings" were the children's perquisites.
Removed from the hoops, placed upon thin boards,
and added to the rows upon the shelves, "new," or
"green" cheeses, were regularly "greased" and
In Dover on the Charles 53
"turned," until the rind became thoroughly dry,
smooth, and almost impervious. Dutch or sour milk
cheeses were made by a simple process for imme-
Within my recollection, the dasher churn, the
round wooden butter bowl, and the stone butter
jars were seldom removed from their pantry corner,
but Grandmother had little dairy ways all her own.
A certain ancient brown-glazed jar was half
filled with rich cream, and steady stirring with a
white-wood paddle soon "brought" a lump of
yellow butter, which she "worked" with the same
paddle-like "spatter" on a wooden plate kept for
the purpose, and then the salted and "printed" pat
was set on a certain Ridgeway plate, in its own
stone jar. Making, and, incidentally, eating a
"buttermilk cake" followed as in natural sequence.
"As dry as a remainder biscuit after a voyage."
Hermetically sealed cans and jars had not been
invented. Steam-cooked, kiln-dried, and dessicated
foods were not in the market.
Unless fruits and berries were made into jelly
or preserved pound for pound, they must be dried
for winter use. Drying apples was an important
part of the season's work. "Apple stagings," "ap-
ple boards" and "apple cloths" were brought out
from the store room. Apples were pared, thinly
$4 In Dover on the Charles
sliced, and spread upon cloths laid over boards
which rested upon stagings in the front door yard.
The boards were brought into the house at night,
and on the approach of rain, and were placed upon
the floor of some unused room. In case of long
continued dampness the drying could be finished
in the wide open stove oven. Some of our neigh-
bors "strung "apples and hung the festoons upon
lines over the stove. Peaches, pears, berries of all
kinds, and sweet corn were dried in their season.
Sugar pumpkins were first "stewed" and then
spread upon boards or plates, and dried in the
Catsup and all kinds of pickles were "made"
in due season.
Sweet cider, boiled down to one half its bulk,
was "bottled," and with dried apples made the
spring relish known as boiled cider apple sauce.
"Laying down and putting into the cellar."
In slaughtering time, "Ben Sawin," an expert
at the business of "pig killing" brought his "scald-
ing tub" and other paraphernalia on a low wagon.
Assisted by the "hired men" Mr. Sawin set about
and finished his work, removed the traces, and de-
parted to fill other engagements, leaving my father
to "cut up" and distribute the pork at the
In Dover on the Charles 33
Clean barrels were packed with firm white pork,
and then filled with brine prepared according to
a famous family receipt. A flat stone was placed
upon the top-most layer to secure complete
submersion free from "rust," and a sharp-pointed
iron hook was conveniently hung on the edge
of the covered pork barrel.
"Leaf lard" was tried out in the kitchen, in
an ancient "round bottomed iron pot." Even now
I seem to hear the scrape, scrape, scrape of the tin
cup, as Grandmother tried to dip the hot lard,
drop by drop, from the lowest point at the bottom
of the pot.
Hams were cured in a neighbor's smoke house.
"Sausage meat" was usually crowded into strong
cylindrical cotton bags, from whose firmly pressed
contents thin slices were cut for the "spider" at
breakfast time. A few "skins" were sometimes
"filled." Tin funnel, flat, knobbed piston, and
"breast board," was the apparatus used by Grand-
father with great skill, until the resulting "sausage
links" festooned one corner of the storeroom.
Fruits, vegetables, and winter supplies of all
kinds were unloaded from wagons at the "out-
side cellar door," and wheeled through the "vine-
gar cellar" to their respective places in "apple
cellar," "milk cellar," or "Grandmother's cellar," all
56 In Dtfuer on the Charles
suitably furnished with cupboards, boxes, barrels,
bins, and "swing shelves." One flight of stairs led
from vegetable cellar to kitchen, another from
vinegar cellar to pumproom, and the third from
Grandmother's cellar to the "front entry." Chil-
dren always avoided this last mentioned stairway,
because it was dark, and because a door on the
upper landing opened into a dark space behind
the chimney, known as the "dunce hole."
"Poor lone Hannah,
Sitting by the window, binding shoes."
For some years previous to 1860, "binding
shoes" and "closing shoes," afforded means of earn-
ing money at home. The shoes were cut out, and
then distributed from shoe shops in the larger
towns. No "work on shoes" was ever done in our
house, but I have seen it done in neighboring
houses. A three cornered needle, like the common
glove needle, was used in binding shoes. Thin,
soft leather from which the binding strips were
cut had a sort of ticking stripe in black and white.
Cutting in the middle of the white stripe secured
an even strip of such width that the white edge
was concealed in the seam. This was wholly hand
In "closing shoes," the counter was properly
lapped upon the vamp, and inserted in an iron
In Dover on the Charles 57
clamp, worked by foot power. A sharp blow upon
the handle of the "marking iron" had left in the
leather the marks of sharp teeth to show where
a double row of awl holes should now be made,
through both thicknesses of leather, close to the
clamp. A length of well-waxed "shoe thread" was
threaded with a needle at each end, the left hand
needle passed the right hand needle in the first awl
hole; the thread was drawn out equally on the
sides, and the locked stitch continued to the end
of the seam, and back again in the second row of
holes. Sewing the seam on the other side of the
shoe completed the work. The invention of sew-
ing machines ended this kind of work as it did
many other kinds.
Braiding straw was for many years an easy
and profitable kind of work for afternoons and
evenings, and for visiting. Shining yellow straws
from carefully selected sheaves of rye, freed from
the sheath, severed at each joint, bleached in brim-
stone fumes, and tied in neat bundles were ready
to be "split" and "machined." First made "limber"
by wetting, each straw was deftly split and flat-
tened with one blade from a pair of scissors; and
then, except for half an inch at one end under the
left thumb, it was divided into strands of the
desired fineness by the sharp teeth of the little
5<? In Dover on the Charles
"machine" which was held in the right hand. A
clean white lap towel, a bundle of prepared straws
in a napkin, and a bowl of water were essential
in braiding straw, or "Dunstable" as it was more
Seven "strands" were usual, but some experts
made a "fine 'leven braid." New strands were
inserted at almost every turn, so that one edge
of the finished braid bristled on each side with
slanting ends of straw. On account of its brittle-
ness, the braid could not be reeled, but was wound
into balls, and sent to the "trimmer" before being
sewed into bonnets. Mr. Charles Gowen of Frank-
lin had a trimming machine and carried on a large
business at his shop between 1840 and 1850.
Every industrious woman, rich or poor, so or-
dered her household affairs as to be at liberty
to "sew straw" in the "season" which lasted four
or five months, beginning in November. The
straw shops sent out work, plaster of Paris hat
blocks, straw braid, numbers printed upon cloth,
and thread. Four or five different shapes, and all
sorts of "stock" were brought in the course of the
winter. Coarse, rough-edged Canton was hard
on fingers, and so were notched braid and Coburg;
Dunstable was brittle and showed stitches; Milan
was sometimes easily torn, and even when "firm"
In Dover on the Charles 59
was unprofitable, "paid by the hat;" lace was stiff,
and the wide intricate patterns difficult to
join ; hair braid showed uneven lapping, and was
sewed with horse hair instead of thread. "Flor-
ence" was easy to sew and profitable. When all
these considerations were added to "shapes," and
"price," and "length of season," straw sewers had
topics for conversation in "straw time."
"Stock wagons" from Medfield and other straw
manufacturing centers furnished this employment.
Expert sewers sometimes earned $200 or $300 in a
About 1862, weaving palm leaf for shaker sun-
bonnets was the neighborhood industry. An out-
of-town manufacturer sent out stock wagons, distrib-
uted the material and collected the sheets, strips, and
braid. Village carpenters made the looms; wide looms
for the sheets from which bonnets were cut, and nar-
row looms for the inch wide binding strips. It was
no unusual occurrence for an invited neighbor to
arrive early in the morning, accompanied by some
male member of her family who had her loom on
his shoulder, or in a wheel-barrow. Constant treadle
motion was very fatiguing, continued day after day,
and only robust women could use the wide looms.
I had a narrow loom, but, though I saved my
reputation for industry, I did not amass wealth.
60 In Dover on the Charles
Those who did not weave, braided the notched
braid which covered the seam where the crown
joined the front of the bonnet. The split palm
leaf for the looms and for braiding came in
strands two or three feet long, some black
and some in the natural color. These sun-bonnets
were universally worn by women and children after
adding wide gingham capes and strings.
"The spinster and the knitters in the sun."
"Sitting work" included family sewing, fancy
work, and other forms of handiwork, but at the
date of my story, which ends in 1864, many crafts
had been abandoned.
Over and over again Grandmother has explained
the process of "swingling" and "hatcheling" flax,
and showed us how she used to spin linen thread
on the flax wheel, and yarn from wool or tow on
the "great" wheel. We never meddled with these
spinning wheels, but the reel upon which the spun
yarn used to be wound into skeins was a fascinating
plaything. The crank was twirled round and round
for the sake of hearing the sharp "click," as the in-
dicator marked each completed knot in the skein.
"Blades," or swifts, reversed the reeling process,
and held the skein while it was wound off upon
wads of paper into a ball. Within my recollection
spools were rarely seen. "Hanks" of thread, skeins
In Dover on the Charles 61
of sewing silk, and "sticks" of button hole twist
necessarily gave way to spool thread and silk when
sewing machines began to be used.
A pair of "wool cards," their hooked teeth
pressed and locked together, lay upon the attic
floor until wartime brought every sort of fibre into
use. Then these old-fashioned implements did
good service in "carding" matted cotton and wool
wadding into fluffy rolls for a second period of
Our great-grandmothers learned "marking stitch"
by working more or less elaborate samplers, linen
canvas worked with colored silks.
People now-a-days "tie puffs," a few "tie com-
fortables," and wadded linings are quilted by
machine stitching, but the old-time art of quilting
is almost forgotten. Even as one of the "revived
arts," modern appliances have greatly changed the
operation. Quilting frames, or bars were four
strips of wood, seven or eight feet long, three
inches wide, and less than one inch thick. Each
bar had a strip of "list" firmly tacked to one edge,
and a long row of holes bored at each end. To
"put in" the quilt, the frames were laid in the form
of an oblong, and fastened at the overlapping cor-
ners by wooden pegs, the ends of the bars pro-
jecting more or less according to the size of the
62 In Dover on the Charles
quilt. A chair back at each corner supported the
frame, over which the lining was tightly stretched
and sewed to the list on all four sides. Wool wad-
ding or cotton batting of the desired thickness was
spread upon the lining, and the "outside" laid
upon that. "Marking out" the quilting patterns,
herringbone, diamond, or shell, by snapping a
chalked line, or by marking around a pasteboard
design, was an art in which some women were
enviably proficient. In order to "quilt" an elabo-
rate pattern in one afternoon, a "quilting bee"
was held, and the frames were surrounded by as
many workers as could find elbow room. From
time to time the pegs were withdrawn, and the
sides rolled up to the last finished row, until the
pattern was completed. Then the quilt was "taken
out" and finished by turning in or binding the edges.
A very large bedquilt of printed India cotton,
wadded with wool, lined with homespun linen, and
quilted in herringbone lines one third inch apart,
was made by my great-great-grandmother, Roger
Sherman's sister Mehitable, who died in 1804, aged
ninety years. My mother gave a piece of this relic
to each of her children.
Some other heirloom bedquilts were in the house
and one "album" quilt was made in my childhood.
Usually patchwork was made in leisure hours, in
In Dover on the Charles 6j
simple designs, for the purpose of utilizing scraps
of calico, gingham, or delaine, and of renewing the
supply of bedding. Children were taught to sew
carefully basted squares, "over and over," as one of
the first lessons in needle work.
Grandmother's "rag basket" always held a mat
upon which she was working, and the finished
rugs were worthy of her conscientious skill. Every
strip was cut wide or narrow according to the thick-
ness of the cloth; the strips were pieced flat and
folded smoothly in braiding so as to form even
strands with no raw edges on the right side of the
braid. Only thick, firm, all wool cloth was deemed
worth using. The completed length of, braid was
wound into an immense ball, so that the end in-
tended for the middle came upon the outside
of the ball. The unwinding, the heap of many-
colored braid, and the rewinding interested us
greatly. In "sewing" the mats, the needle was in-
serted so that all stitches were concealed in the
braid and not exposed to "wear."
Home-braided palm leaf hats were worn by men
in the fields. A favorite seat of mine, in the old
pumproom, was an upright bark-denuded log,
known as the hat-block, because these hat crowns
were shaped upon its smaller end.
Husk collars, for working horses, were braided
6$ In Dover on the Charles
from the soft inner husks of the corn. The large
steel needle for sewing these collars was curved at
the double-beveled point, and, in use, was inserted
edgewise, and pushed through by a sort of thimble
fastened to the palm of the hand.
Braided husk door mats were always used at our
outside door. They had many of the qualities
which make modern rubber and woven wire mats
Yarn, once used and crinkled, or poor and slack-
twisted, and two bent rusty needles were given us
when we learned to knit garter stitch, and with
these the most skillful knitter could not make
smooth, even work, and "do a stint" in reasonable
time. Patience and persistence characterized the
teacher, and perseverance the pupil. At length,
with the help of the whirling blades, a great skein
of new yarn was wound, the stitches "cast on"
three needles, and a long woolen stocking was be-
gun. The first stitch was taken off upon the fourth
needle, and then followed knit two, seam two, knit
plain, narrow, seam one in middle needle, slip and
bind, set heel, knit heel, bind off, take up stitches,
knit plain, toe off, run heel and a stocking was
finished from top to toe.
Knitting sheaths were used only by very old
ladies like my grandmother, and were pinned to
In Dover on the Charles 65
the right side at the waist. They were made of
double cloth, velvet or kid, almost triangular in
shape, and held a quill, or quill-shaped roll of soft
leather, into which one end of the fourth needle
was thrust and held while in use. Sometimes the
sheath was attached to a long bag or pocket which
held the ball, and in which the rolled up work
could be placed when the little caps joined by an
elastic cord, had been slipped over the ends of the
needles. We knit the mittens which we wore,
durable but often clumsy.
"Railroad" cotton stockings, so called either
-from the open work effect, or from the way in
which that effect was produced, were made by
knitting a plain top a certain number of inches
long, and then dropping every alternate stitch,
and "toeing off" with the remaining half of the
stitches. Every girl knit one pair when they
were the rage, but I have no recollection of wear-
In my childhood crochet needles were in univer-
sal use. One of my choicest possessions was a set
of six hooks and a bone handle. Every imagin-
able article of use or ornament was crocheted
from yarn, thread, split, single and double zephyr
worsted, and saddler's silk. Germantown wool
afterwards replaced the costly imported Berlin
66 In Dover on the Charles
wools. Thread edgings and insertion trimmed
every sort of garment. "Shells" and "points,"
hairpin lace, serpentine and feather edged braid,
and tape trimming occupied our attention. Table
mats and tidies were made of knitting cotton, or
fine cotton thread. Ladies wore wide flat collars
crocheted from sewing cotton, and from red, blue,
or drab split zephyr. Large, square Shetland wool
shawls in shell stitch, were folded cornerwise, and
worn by ladies as "summer shawls," not in the
house, but in the street and to church. Up to the
time when I was a grown woman, it was con-
sidered unconventional, and even immodest, to
appear in the street with "nothing over the
shoulders," that is, without wearing a shawl, wide
scarf or cape.
Small black or garnet beads were strung upon
skeins of sewing silk, and crocheted around a
pencil into a long flexible bead tube which was
tied in a true lover's knot and the ends neatly
joined, making a very fashionable and clumsy
bracelet. We worked cross stitch on canvas with
colored worsteds, and we did elaborate work with
tatting shuttle and fine thread. Netting had gone
out of fashion, but both wooden and steel netting
needles were in my great-grandmother's work-
basket. All this work of fifty years ago is now
In Dover on the Charles 67
revived. About this time the sewing machine
came into use. The first machine was a chain
stitch machine, turned by a hand crank. Grover
and Baker's foot power machine came next, and
then we came into possession of a Wheeler and
Wilson treadle machine with a lock stitch.
"Here friendship lights the fire and every heart,
Sure of itself and sure of all the rest,
Dares to be true and gladly takes its part
In open converse, bringing forth its best."
Hospitable and neighborly we certainly were,
but there was no unceremonious "running in" on
our part or that of our neighbors. Like all our
visitors, the family habitually used the west "front"
door whose entry opened into both parlor and
dining room. The old "four foot" dining table had
been consigned to the kitchen, and replaced by a
black walnut extension table. The China closet
held a rose-bud tea set, a mulberry ware dinner and
tea set, an oval willow ware platter, several dark
blue plates, and other specimens of English and
"Invited company" was one thing, "unexpected"
company was quite another. Instead of formal
calls, card leavings, and receptions, social courtesy
required that one's visiting aquaintances should be
entertained at afternoon visits, or invited "to spend
68 In Dover on the Charles
the day" at regular intervals. The "time was set,"
the guests brought their work, and "spent the day"
or "spent the afternoon and took tea." Sometimes
one person was invited, sometimes a "party;" some-
times husbands were included and sometimes not.
These visits could seldom be made "on foot."
Every good housekeeper held herself in readiness
to entertain company at any time without notice.
"If anybody should come" was an important if in
the day's work, and in the larder, too. Soon after
one o'clock was the proper time to reach one's des-
tination on these uninvited visits to relations or
intimate friends. To delay until two o'clock was
considered affectedly "genteel." Accustomed visi-
tors from adjoining towns were confidently "looked
for" under favorable circumstances of season or
Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Perry of South Natick, Mr.
and Mrs. Calvin Richards of Strawberry Hill, Dover,
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Barden of Newton Upper
Falls, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Newell of Dover, and
my father and mother comprised "The Old Guard."
They were friends from childhood, and kept up the
friendship and intimate acquaintance throughout
their lives. Mrs. Richards was the last survivor,
dying during the present century.
They were accustomed to meet at each house
In Dover on the Charles 6p
by special invitation at least once a year. They
often made excursions in their own carriages to
Squantum Beach in summer, or went in sleighs to
some distant hotel for supper in winter. When
the sleighing was good, in midwinter, they always
went to Newton Upper Falls, and the party
assembled at our house in the autumn. No
children were invited to these formal gatherings.
"One's treasures always tell such secrets of oneself."
Our parlor, though constantly used, was always
kept ready for company. A brass-trimmed iron
fire frame surrounded the closed up fire place, be-
hind the air tight stove, but side brackets still held
the brass "fire set," shovel, poker, and tongs. The
chimney cupboard contained the family daguerreo-
types and other relics, among them a colored print
of the Burning of the Steamer Lexington.
"Look in the candle stand drawer" was an often
repeated direction. This sewing table with hinged
drop leaves and two drawers was the orderly recep-
tacle of all sorts of sewing implements and sup-
plies. When my mother was married her "bureau,"
according to the fashion of the period, was placed
in this parlor. The "center table" opened out
square, or folded over to one-half its size, and the top
turned around over the box; which formed the top
of the standard.
70 In Dover on the Charles
Some forms of fashionable decoration were not
in our rooms. Painting on glass belonged to an
earlier period. A printed picture was gummed to
a plate of glass, the paper moistened and rubbed
off to the thinnest possible film, and then the out-
lines filled in with a brush so that the vivid colors
seemed to be in the glass itself, Large and elabo-
rate designs were cut with small scissors from white
paper, which was then placed over a dark back-
ground and framed. This work was called papyro.
tamia, and included human figures, birds, and
flowers. "Skeleton leaves" were made by immers-
ing green leaves in water until the veins and fibrous
network could be brushed perfectly clean. When
dried, pressed and arranged on a background they
were framed as pictures. In spatterwork the de-
sign was obtained by laying patterns upon card-
board, and spattering India ink over all the uncov-
ered spaces, producing a white picture upon a
gray background. Pressed ferns were often used
In our dining room was a well filled bookcase
and a table with magazines and newspapers, in-
cluding a Boston daily, the Massachusetts Plough-
man, Dedham Gazette, American Messenger,
Child's Paper, and Farmer's Almanac. Godey's
Lady's Book, Peterson's Magazine, and Arthur's
In Dover on the Charles 71
Home Magazine were then popular, and the fa-
miliar periodicals of the present time were not
in existence. Besides law books and many
other leather covered volumes, I recall Travels in
Africa, Light on the Dark River, Anna Clayton,
The Dales in Newport, Watts on the Mind, Paul
and Virginia, The Russian Boy, and Peter Parley's
Geography, volumes of poetry and essays, and
many school text books.
" Some smack of age in you,
Some relish of the saltness of time. "
My father's slant top desk stood in a dining
room recess. He used steel pens, but in a drawer
were quill pens such as my mother "mended" under
Master Whitney's direction in her school days.
He used blotting paper, but the once indispensable
"sand box" stood in its wonted place. He used
gummed envelopes, but the box of wafers was
opened now and then. He used red bordered
gummed seals on legal documents, but some
papers in the pigeon holes bore diamond shaped
bits of paper fastened with red wafers.
Within my memory my Grandfather never used
the shoemaker's bench and the tools of his trade.
The long, low bench with its hollowed seat, the
leather apron, lapstone, hammer, lasts, awls, pegs,
wax, waxed ends, bristles, rasps, and shears, just
J2 In Dover on the Charles
as he last used them, were kept in the unfinished
"back chamber," among the large chests which
had tills, spring locks and secret drawers.
IFTY years ago, there were no sample
cases, drummers, commercial travelers,
and canvassers, but men went about
peddling all sorts of merchandise.
The lightning rod man was ubiquitous.
Dunlap, the seedsman, sent out an agent who was
regularly entertained at our house on his annual
visit. My father sent to the new dealer, Gregory
of Marblehead, for seeds and plants mentioned in
his catalogues. The tree man, the shoe man, the
skein thread peddler, the root-and-herb doctor, the
ladder man, and the tin peddler came at regular
intervals. In after years we heard of sending for
samples, and of orders filled by mail.
Our well kept Dry Goods and Grocery Store at
the Corner thrived in a modest way. Mr. Laurence
Derby was the first proprietor whom I knew. Mr.
Plummer succeeded Mr. Derby. Mr. Lewis Bliss
followed Mr. Plummer, and changed the location of
the store. At this store eggs and butter were
doubtless disposed of "on account." Every family
had a garden, and there was no sale for perishable
fruit and vegetables.
74. In Dover on the Charles
Twice each week, Hewins, the Medfield butcher
sent his cart through Dover. The fish man came
on Friday. Once each week, Balch, the Medfield
baker, included us in his circuit. Many articles of
food came directly from Faneuil Hall Market in
the returning farm wagons.
My'old hard rubber, or gutta-percha "puff combs"
bear the imprint "Goodyear's patent. 1849." Be-
fore Goodyear's time we had no "hard rubber,"
nothing but the "pure gum." Overshoes at first were
molded, without cloth lining, a hollow mass of
thick, soft rubber not wholly unlike the shape of a
human foot. Tarpaulin and sailcloth were used as
protection from weather. No waterproofs, rubber
bands, hose, waterbottles, tubing, aircushions,
atomizers, and rubber surgical instruments were
made. Imagine the world of today, hospitals,
shops, homes, streets, schools, and playgrounds
suddenly deprived of everything made of rubber
in its countless forms and combinations, such as
were unknown twenty years ago, and then imagine
what must have been true in all departments of life
fifty years ago.
In 1863, Professor Horsfordof Harvard College be-
came the president of theRumford Chemical works
at Providence. This must have been sometime after
Horsford's Yeast became a commercial product,
In Dover on the Charles 75
the first "yeast powder" which we used. It came
in two tin boxes, accompanied by a short tin tube
which was divided into two unequal parts to in-
sure exactness in measuring first the acid, and then
the alkaline powder.
"Before the war" almost everything was sold in
bulk in markets, grocery and hardware stores, and
apothecary shops, and purchases were measured
off or counted out in "dry goods and notions."
In days still more remote this was the universal
custom. Pins were sold by the ounce, and even by
the dozen. I well remember the first paper bags
such as grocers now use, which took the place of
wrapping paper for certain purposes, but these
bags did not have the turned-in corners which
were a much later invention. The makers of those
first paper bags "carried out" the work, and "past-
ing bags" was one of the Dover industries at one
Adhesive paper, and gummed labels are compar-
atively modern. I remember when postage stamps
were not gummed, and when the sheets were not
Cox's gelatine was introduced in 1844, but I
recollect when it began to be sold and used in place
of the sheets of isinglass.
With the invention of porcelain, arsenic and
j6 In Dovtr on the Charles
glass, a great variety of lampshades, vases, and or-
namental articles became common.
The invention of the steaming process of bend-
ing wood, and the introduction of scroll and circu-
lar saws brought about cheap and varied styles in
furniture and woodwork.
"Sinews of War."
In the time of the Civil War, specie payment
was suspended. I had a box of silver coins, includ-
ing half dimes and three-cent pieces, which I ex-
changed at a premium for "paper currency."
These much handled, torn, soiled bits of paper
could not be kept in ordinary purses or pocket-
books, and little books were made, with a leaf for
each denomination, and provided with bands of
tape to hold the "scrip" in its place. Change became
so scarce that postage stamps were used as money,
before sufficient "fractional currency" was sup-
plied. In damp weather, these crumpled bits of
sticky paper were almost unmanageable in spite
of all the stamp books and other devices.
Everybody rejoiced when silver pieces, "new
cents," and nickels came into use. Much later
gold was returned to circulation. I have a hand-
ful of old copper cents, "coppers," in the box in
which my little brother placed them just before
his death "in the time of the war."
In Dover on the Charles 77
"Sparks of Fire."
The first red friction matches were made in Eng-
land in 1827. The matches used in my childhood
were similar to the brimstone matches of the pres-
ent day. I have seen matches which could be
lighted at either end.
Grandmother had a tinder box, steel, and flint
with which fire could be obtained by the tedious
process of striking a spark with the steel against
the flint, and igniting the tow in the tinder box.
Fire upon the hearth, in those days, was carefully
covered with ashes at night, that the coals might
be ready to start the morning fire. It was not un-
usual to "borrow fire" from a neighbor, taking the
live coals home in an iron pan or fire shovel.
About 1805 sulphur matches were first used. They
were ignited by dipping the prepared end in a
bottle of liquid.
"And stretch the hands ot memory forth
To warm them at the wood fire's blaze."
Our parlor, dining room, and two large sleeping
rooms were heated by air-tight stoves ; one chamber
had an open fire place; three bedrooms were well
heated from adjoining rooms, and two chambers
had no means of heating.
My grandmother's foot stove is still in my pos-
session. It is a skeleton wooden box, with zinc
j8 In Dover on the Charles
covered bottom, and perforated zinc panels in the
top and sides. In one side, a door admits an iron
dish filled with live coals upon ashes. In the days
of open fireplaces and draughty floors, this stove
was used as a foot warmer at home, and was car-
ried under one's shawl into the unheated meeting
house on the Sabbath day. Grandmother had, of
course, no rubber water bottle, and she made use
of her footstove all her life.
A certain long, cylindrical stone jug was kept
for the purpose of holding hot water when needed
"in case of sickness," while hot bricks and soap-
stones were always used as bed warmers in winter.
By the rules of the Charlestown Female Seminary,
every student was required to have a soapstone
marked with her name. Our warming pan was a
large pan of shining brass, which had a perforated
lid, and a long wooden handle. At bedtime, in
"old times" long before my day, this pan was filled
with hot coals sprinkled with a little brown sugar,
and moved about among the icy linen sheets until
the bed was comfortably warm.
Peat was used by some families, but coal was
unknown as fuel. Wood stoves were in every
house. For summer use we had a patent flatiron
in which charcoal was burned.
In Dover on the Charles 79
"How far that little candle throws its beams !"
"At early candle light" was a common expres-
sion, and in many houses candles were still used,
but I seldom saw them in our own house, the para-
fine candles of today being of course unknown.
A wall candlestick hung in our garret, and mother
still treasured her snuffer-tray and the snuffer, but
I realize now that she considered candles as relics
of barbarism though she did stir boiled starch
with a spermaceti candle to secure glossy linen.
Once or twice Grandmother "run" some tallow
candles in the set of iron molds, "dipped" some
tallow candles, and told us how she had made can-
dles from "bayberry wax," (myrica cerifera.)
Candles were superseded by sperm oil, and lard
oil lamps, usually "one-wicked," that single wick
tube about the size of an ordinary quill. Well-to-
do people had two-wicked lamps, and lighted both
wicks, when several persons sat around that lamp
to read or sew. The recklessly extravagant, of
whom, in this particular, my Grandmother was one,
on occasion burned "lard oil" in two-wicked lamps
to obtain a clear, steady light. Those wicks
needed much attention. We had a pair of little
lamp-shaped standards carved from wood to re-
ceive the oily, wooden handled pins, or "lamp picks,"
with which the wicks were raised or lowered at fre-
8o In Dover on the Charles
Seldom lighted "Astral" lamps adapted to astral
oil adorned the parlor tables almost everywhere,
but we had a different kind of "tall" lamp for gen-
eral use. We had a useful "nurse lamp." It was
a japanned tin cylinder with a handle and a hooded
opening at one side to admit air. An oil lamp
could be placed inside under one of its inter-
changeable covered tin dishes. No alcohol lamps
were used, and kerosene was unknown at that
We had one of the first camphene or "fluid"
lamps, Their wicks were supplied with metal caps
on account of the extremely volatile nature of the
fluid. Owing to its explosive properties, resulting
in many fatalities, camphene soon went out of use
for illuminating purposes.
It is difficult to realize now how we lived before
"rock oil" became a commercial product, be-
fore the words petroleum, kerosene, and gasolene
became a part of our vocabulary, and before the
by-products of oil refineries, and gas works came
into daily and general use. I well remember the
first kerosene lamps which were sold. As they
had no chimneys, the smoke did much damage and
the light was unsatisfactory. Chimneys were soon
invented, ground glass globes followed, improve-
ments in burners, shades, wicks, and oil multiplied,
In Dover on the Charles 81
and at some date about 1863, we were the happy
possessors of an excellent brass student lamp, the
first one seen in town.
"The fashions of these times."
My grandmother, as I remember her, wore deli-
cate "sprigged" calicoes, or Scotch ginghams, and a
little shoulder cape, when about her work. For
afternoon wear, she put on a gray woolen dress,
between whose surplice fronts lay the soft folds of
a white muslin neckkerchief. A delicate lawn cap
just overlapped the neat "false front," and tied under
her chin. Years after her death it began to be con-
sidered decent for a woman to show gray hair.
Except the insane and utterly abandoned, all women
covered gray hair with false fronts and lined caps,
or else with entire wigs.
On Sundays Grandmother wore her newest silver
gray poplin, and a cashmere shawl, or one of black
"China crape" heavily embroidered above the knot-
ted silk fringe.
A Natick dressmaker, who used to "go out" at
"two and thrippence" (37^ cents) or three shillings
(50 cents) per day, came to the house twice each
year to cut and make "best dresses," silks, poplins,
thibets, and all wool delaines. She cut, basted,
fitted, and made button holes, while less skilful
workers covered piping cord and did the plain sewing.
82 In Dover on the Charles
Dressmaker's charges had "gone up" to seventy-five
cents or one dollar a day, when I was old enough
to require her services.
As late as 1860, the invariable style for the neck
of dresses was a rather low round neck, finished
with a small piping cord. A necklace of gold beads
was worn close about the neck, at some distance
above the dress. Ruffles basted into the neck was
the next style, leading up to low collars of the
Knitting machines had not been invented and
"Jersey" garments were not for sale.
Summer and winter dresses for little girls, under
fifteen, were made with "half-low" necks, and "puffed
sleeves" at the shoulder. A long sleeved apron was
commonly worn in cold weather, and very "dressy"
girls wore white undersleeves extending from the
wrist to meet the sleeve, and held by being tucked
under the tight band. No guimpes were ever seen.
When I first went to school I wore a dress almost
to my ankles and white pantalets of the same length
or longer. Two older girls were considered the
leaders of fashion in our school. Their pantalets
were made of the same material as the dresses with
which they were worn. Mother refused to let me
follow the fashion which she said had long ago been
discarded by my older sisters.
In Dover on the Charles 83
Those were not the days of many styles, nor the
days when the prevailing style was modified to suit
individuals. I have distinct recollections of a
milliner's well fitted show room at North Natick.
It held just two kinds of large bonnets, and two
shapes in children's hats. The broad-brimmed, low-
crowned "leghorn flats" must be trimmed with
wide white ribbon and long feathers. The hideous
white straw "visor caps" must be trimmed with
narrow, colored ribbon, a band around the crown
ending in a rosette among the "artificial flowers"
clustered above the visor. My sister once brought
from Newport pretty, expensive hats of the latest
New York style, small leghorn hats with a fringe
of straw "dangles" around the edge of the brim.
Such misery as my little sister and I suffered during
that summer! All the girls ridiculed our queer
hats, and no idea of latest fashion could be impressed
upon them. This was before the days of paper
patterns, pattern sheets, and fashion books. For
many years our new dresses were one year ahead
of Dover fashions and we had a bitter experience
in being conspicuously out of fashion.
Everybody wore pumpkin hoods, except for
dress occasions and church. They were usually
made of silk, in melon shape, with ribbon bows and
strings. Loosely knit "clouds'" three yards long,
84. In Dover on the Charles
usually of white or chinchilla worsted, were worn
for years by both old and young, twisted round
and round the head, being considered "dressy"
articles of comfort.
When voluminous and distended skirts were in
vogue, before "hooped petticoats" were worn,
women often put on six or seven white petticoats
at once, all full length and stiffly starched. How
cumbrous their bulk, and how burdensome their
Hooped skirts were designed to obtain the
effect without the inconvenience. A white cotton
skirt was made with a half inch hem at the bottom,
and above, seven or eight half inch tucks. Rattan
sticks of graduated lengths were run into hem and
tucks. The canes did not meet at the front by
eight or ten inches, thus allowing for overlapping
when the wearer sat down or passed through a
doorway. "Skeleton hooped skirts," with flat steel
hoops, were soon invented, and one style followed
another with great rapidity.
"Raglans," the universal overcoats worn by gen-
tlemen, such as were worn by Lord Raglan after the
loss of his arm in the Crimea, and cloaks with rag-
Ian sleeves worn by ladies came in about 1855.
"Kossuth" hats, soft felt, were generally worn at
the time when the fame of Kossuth went everywhere.
In Dover on the Charles 85
About 1860, girls' wide brimmed straw hats had
a long narrow ribbon attached to the crown
band in front, and held in the hand or fastened to
the belt so as to bend the hat brim downward over
the face. This ribbon was called a "bridle."
"Our shadow selves."
Paintings and portraits in oil, if good, were beyond
the reach and means of common people. Etchings
and steel engravings were occasionally seen. Paul
Revere's Battle of Lexington, and his Boston Mas-
sacre in color and original frame hung in our dining-
room, as did two flat black frames containing col-
ored prints of sentimental beauties of a bygone day.
Two large gilt frames, made to order in Boston by
Williams and Everett, once contained certificates of
membership in the Norfolk Agricultural Society,
and later held fine chromos of scenes in water colors,
the first of those artistic reproductions whose soft
tints and pleasing outlines in the still untarnished
frames are admired to-day. Crayon and pencil
sketches were found here and there, and so were
cut paper silhouettes.
In 1839 Daguerre announced his discovery of the
effect of light upon silver, and in the course of a
few years "daguerreotype likenesses" became com-
mon. Daguerreotype saloons upon wheels were
drawn from town to town, and they remained in
86 In Dover on the Charles
favorable localities until everybody in the neighbor-
hood had an opportunity to be taken. Then, in-
deed we saw ourselves as others saw us, when dressed
in our best. No attempt at posing or artistic effect
would have been tolerated by the severe critics,
among whom the most severe were the sitters for a
"good likeness." These daguerreotypes cost sev-
enty-five cents each, and sometimes more, exclusive
of the leather covered "case." For an extra con-
sideration the pictures were "touched up" in colors.
The "case" before me contains a group on one plate.
My younger sister in a pale blue dress sits in her red-
cheeked mother's lap, and my yellow gown, which I
never possessed, shows to great advantage as I stand
by her side. My likeness "aged six months," is in
an open oval locket, at the back of which, in a place
for the purpose, are entwined two locks of hair.
Daguerreotypes gave place to Ambrotypes, about
1855. The new process in skilful hands, gave soft,
Then came the period of "tin types." Inch square
tintype pictures of all degrees of hideousness were
"taken" by bushels wherever a saloon took its
station. For serious purposes, larger plates were
used and the results were somewhat better.
Photography by collodion process dates back to
185054, and came gradually into use. Photographs
In Dover on the Charles 87
at first were invariably "carte visite size," and it was
a long time before we heard of "cabinet size."
Only one daguerreotype or ambrotype likeness was
obtained at a sitting, but by means of photography a
negative once obtained could be copied indefinitely.
"For there no noisy railway speeds
Its torch-race, scattering smoke and gleeds."
To ride with father was a treat enjoyed by the
children in turn. Medfield lay five miles to the
southwest, and business often called my father to
Mr. Lorenzo Harding's saw mill and farm, where
there were children of our own age.
Being agent for the Dedham Mutual Fire Insur-
ance Company, my father went to Dedham at regu-
lar intervals, and being also a Justice of Peace he
had business at the Court House. Up to this time
no railroad passed through Dover, and we were
obliged to go to Readville to meet friends from
New York or Newport, and to Wellesley (then
West Needham) or North Natick to meet Boston
trains. Bailey's stage ran from South Natick to
West Needham, having, I suppose, run to Boston
before the railroad was built. The first train on
the Boston and Worcester R. R. ran to West New-
ton in 1833. When the road was completed as far
as West Needham or Natick, the event was cele-
brated by a barbecue which my mother and father,
88 In Dover on the Charles
with all the world, attended. They also attended
the "Opening" of the Cochituate Aqueduct, held
at Cochituate Pond, in 1848, to celebrate the
completion of the aqueduct which furnished the
first water supply to the city .of Boston.
From our house we could see the Air Line R. R.
embankment, and I saw the first train that ran
from Boston to Medfield.
The nearest grist mill was at South Natick, two
and one-half miles north. Groceries, hardware, and
dry goods could be obtained at South Natick, and
the barber and tailor were sometimes employed.
We usually made calls upon Aunt Kingsbury or
Cousin Leonard's family, while my father went
from place to place in the village. At North
Natick were larger stores of every description. I
recall going there for dentistry, millinery, cloaks,
shoes, paper-hangings, carpets, and furniture.
Two or three times each year father and mother,
with one favored child, went to West Dedham, now
Westwood, "to trade" at Ellis Gay's store. Mr.
Gay lived in a well-preserved old farm house, in
one portion of which Mrs. Gay and Mr. Gay's sister
carried on a unique and popular store. From their
often renewed and well selected stock, my mother
was accustomed to buy sheeting, shirting, towelling
calico, gingham, blue denim, table cloths, cotton
In Dover on the Charles 89
and woolen yarn, cotton batting, ticking, ''linen
for bosoms," and "hanks" of thread, besides "pins
by the pound," fans, combs, brushes, "round combs,"
umbrellas, and parasols.
Meanwhile the children belonging to the several
groups of customers peered into mysterious nooks
and cupboards, caught glimpses of the kitchen
where commonplace housework was actually going
on, or sat by the huge fire place trying to decide
whether peppermint pipe would prove a better in-
vestment than cinnamon hearts in return for our
precious "five cents to spend."
Purchases made, the bill "footed up," money
paid, and unwieldy bundles stowed in the sleigh
box or under the wagon seat, we were ready to
pay an hour's visit to Mr. Nathan Phillips, and,
incidentally, to pay our childish respects to Mrs.
Phillips's cookies and preserves.
A few steps from Mr. Phillips' house was Mr.
Lusha Baker's crockery store, a large front room
crowded with earthern ware and China of every
sort, including many "odd" and damaged pieces.
My mother's selection was in the line of pie-plates,
and baking dishes. I have now a small squat black
pitcher which was bought there.
"Pilfshire," a wood lot in the east part of the
town was on a cross road beyond Deacon Chick-
go In Dover on the Charles
ering's. The Deacon's grand-daughters were our
friends, and we always called to see them instead
of going on to the woods where my father in-
spected "fire wood" and fencing logs.
Hunnewell's Gardens in West Needham, now
Wellesley, attracted visitors from far and near. It
was the first show place in the vicinity. Once or
twice a year we used to visit this Italian Garden,
and admire the flowers, the terraces, and Lake
Waban. Mr. Hunnewell died in 1902, aged ninety-
My father was one of those interested in the
formation of the Norfolk Agricultural Society,
whose annual Cattle Show was held at Dedham.
My mother was a member of the Society, as were
my youngest sister and myself. We all went to
the Cattle Show, and inspected the fruit, vegeta-
bles, and fancy work exhibits, while my father
met with the several committees to which he
He "entered" various exhibits, and received a
number of premiums for both animals and produce.
As he made a specialty of "reclaiming meadow
and swamp lands," members of that committee
came to view his fields, and that meant entertain-
ing the gentlemen at dinner. My father took care,
of course, that every part of his farm should be in
In Dover on the Charles gi
the best possible condition and order. When my
Grandmother saw him clearing up the already tidy
dooryard she would say : "Yes, Hiram, it is a good
thing to have the Agricultural men come once in a
while." The Hon. Marshall P. Wilder was one of
the founders of the Society, and its staunch sup-
porter. After years saw horse-racing and various
amusements the important features of the Show,
the place of meeting was changed to Readville,
and my father ceased to take an active part in its
At the breaking out of the Civil War, enlisted
troops from Dover were encamped at Readville
before being sent to the front. We paid a visit to
the camp, although no relatives were among the
About twice each year we went to Boston by
carriage. The horse was stabled near Faneuil
Hall, father went in one direction, and mother
took us to Hovey's, Whitney's, and Newell's shoe
store. Mrs. Haven had been the popular restaurant
keeper, but we were accustomed to seek Copeland's
and its fountain, on Tremont Row.
" That which lured us once, now lureth not. "
Hannibal, the famous elephant, was exhibited in
Barnum's Menagerie at North Natick. I have
never forgotten the immense tent and the great
g2 In Dover on the Charles
number of caged animals, nor my surprise at find-
ing the living animals to look so exactly like their
pictures that they were only mildly interesting.
Hannibal himself was the chief performer in the
One Fourth of July, my sister Eveline and her
husband took me to Boston, where we saw Tom
Thumb at the Museum, and viewed the fireworks
on the Common.
About 1858 or 1860 a Band of Hope was organ-
ized. I have forgotten who was the local leader
under the Rev. Edwin Thompson, advocate and
prime mover. All the children of the town at-
tended the regular meetings which were held in the
"Town House." We signed a pledge, promising
"to abstain from the use of all intoxicating liquors
as a beverage, from the use of tobacco, and from
all profanity." We had blue ribbon badges, and
song books for use in our meetings. The copy
before me is entitled "Thompson's Band of Hope
Melodies, "and bears the date 1860. The following
stanzas were among our favorites. Tune, "Susan-
nah, don't you cry."
"There is a good time coming,
Though we cannot fix the date,
But yet 'tis surely on the way,
At telegraphic rate.
In Dover on the Charles 93
What though the dram shops do increase
And pauper taxes too,
We should not let our efforts cease
While there's so much to do. "
The Rev. Mr. Hanks came to Dover several
times with his Chart and Lecture upon the "Black
Valley Railroad." The Chart represented the
successive steps and stages in a drunkard's career,
from youth and innocence to a drunkard's grave.
There were evening lectures delivered in the
Orthodox Meeting House.
When a division of the Sons of Temperance was
organized, I was over fourteen years of age and
eligible for membership. Initiated into the mys-
teries of the order, my connection with the society
was brief, and I have forgotten all the proceedings
in which I took part.
Among home diversions were checkers, fox and
geese, and jackstraws, the latter being literally rye
straws and not carved from wood or bone. Jack-
stones were common playthings. I was expert at
the game which I carried to "high numbers."
"Stick knife" was a boy's game, but girls were
condescendingly admitted to the game and the use
of the knives. Jump ropes, swings, and kites re-
turned with the seasons. I had a good sled, and
"coasting" was fine sport, solitary in my case.
gq. In Dover on the Charles
When a hard crust formed on deep snow, I could
start from the dooryard and reach the third field,
passing over the tops of fences. On the edge of
South Natick, "Where the flooded Charles writes
the last letter of his name," was "Ben Sawin's
Grove" in which picnics were held every summer.
Auction sales of household goods and farming
tools were sometimes advertised, but they were
outside my experience. Aside from the charm of
buying at a low price, men found an attraction in
the fact that "everybody" would be there. Crack-
ers and cheese were always furnished as a mid-day
"Science and Song."
For many successive years, Prof. William Tilden
of Medfield used to teach an evening singing school
in the Baptist Chapel. He was a good teacher, as
I realized years afterwards, when I was obliged to
drill my class in the theory of music, after the weekly
lesson had been given by the director of music in
in the public schools. Each of Mr. Tilden's pupils
paid a small fee, I think $1.50 for the course of les-
sons, and a new singing book was purchased each
winter. One winter we sang from the Diapason, one
of those books whose pages are wide from right
to left, conveniently held by two persons singing
from one book. The first part contained the scale
In Dover on the Charles 95
exercises and lessons use; then came the songs, glees,
and rounds, followed by hymns and anthems.
Mr. Tilden played the violin accompaniment,
when he was not beating time with his bow,
or using it as a pointer in teaching from the black-
board. While he is not now engaged in teaching,
he is actively interested in Medfield affairs.
"Everything for convenience, nothing for ambition."
Dover had churches, schoolhouses, and a hearse-
house in the town cemetery, but no hotel or other
public buildings at the time of which I write. The
basement story of the Unitarian Meeting House
was the place where town meetings and elections
were held, and it could be hired for entertain-
Nonantum Hall at Charles River Village was a
suitable place for dancing parties, fairs and other
The Post Office was kept in Mr. Isaac Howe's
house at the Centre, a building which was an old-
time tavern kept by Mr. Howe's ancestors. Mr.
Howe's son George succeeded him as Postmaster,
and the office was removed to the Railroad Station.
Dwellers at the foot of Pegan Hill hired a man
to bring the mail once each day to the "Corner"
store, where it was placed in boxes and distributed
by the store-keeper.
<)6 In Dover on the Charles
A circulating library had its place in Isaac
Howe's house from some remote period. It was
always spoken of as the Town Library, but no
books were issued after I was able to read. My
grandfather was fond of books, and my mother
habitually read aloud to him while he worked at
his bench. In this way she read almost every
book in the library before she was twenty years
old, prose, poetry, history, Shakespeare, Cooper,
Rollin, and many more.
"Martello Towers that protect our coast."
The Examining School Committee consisted of
three members, one of whom was chosen for a term
of three years, at the regular "March Meeting."
Each of the four districts, West, North, East, and
Centre, chose a "Prudential Committee Man"
whose duty it was to hire a teacher, secure her
boarding place, take charge of the school property,
provide for fuel, and care of fires. The School
Committee examined the teachers, issued certifi-
cates, and examined the Registers to see that they
were "kept" as required by the State Board of
Education. This committee authorized text books
and courses of study.
I cannot remember the time when I could not
read, but I know that Sargent's Second Reader
and Emerson's Elementary Arithmetic were in my
In Dover on the Charles 97
hands when I sat on the bench in front of the desk
nearest the platform in the North District School
house. The Centre School House, at that time had
a sloping floor, ascending from the teacher's desk
to the rear of the room, and the benches were so
long that six pupils sat at one desk. The North
District having been "set off," it took just pride in
its school and school house, which in construction,
condition, and equipments was said to be excelled
by none for miles around. Playgrounds and fences
were well kept. One corner of the yard was
shaded by two beautiful trees, while a fine old elm
stood near the road, between the trees at either
corner of the fence. Boys and girls played "round
ball," and "four old cat" in the adjoining field, and
ate their dinners and built playhouses in the old
pine grove just beyond. Berries of every kind,
sweet fern seeds, spruce gum, black birch bark,
checkerberries and their aromatic leaves, all these
delicacies were free to all who sought them in the
"hour's nooning." All sorts of wild flowers grew in
the deep woods, pastures, and lowlands, and in
roadside thickets and corners. The "Cleaveland
Lot" was our school garden, and the noon inter-
mission our time for physical culture and nature
study, fifty years before those terms were on every
tongue. Until my fourteenth year, I seldom failed
to attend school the two terms in each year. Be-
sides the lessons which I was required to learn and
recite, like many other children, I mastered by my-
self several subjects as contained in books which I
found in the "School Library," a small case of
books at one end of the teacher's platform. Cut-
ter's Anatomy and Physiology was one of those
books, and Greenleaf's National Arithmetic was
another. This arithmetic contained explanations,
rules and answers, and in my leisure I "ciphered"
through the book, in course. Arithmetical and
Geometrical Progression, Permutation, Alligation,
Mensuration, and all the rest. One of the teachers
was "good" in arithmetic. All my life I have
been grateful to her for teaching me to "reckon in
my head." We used Colburn's Intellectual Arith-
metic, the early edition, of course, and in its use
we were drilled to listen, comprehend, retain, and
reason. We enjoyed the recitation period, as a
college crew enjoys a race. Under this teacher,
the class formed in line across the room, and the
teacher read from the previously assigned chapter
a problem which the pupil at the head was
expected to "solve and explain" later. When she
had read as many examples as there were pupils
in the class, the head scholar was called upon to
recite. First of all he must repeat the example,
In Dover on the Charles 99
"word for word" as it had been read by the teacher.
To change a syllable was to fail. Succeeding in
this he then analyzed the problem according to the
model given for bringing out the principle involved,
and concluded with, "Therefore, if" etc. These
lessons were so graded that one lesson prepared
the way for the next, and failures in class were
"Spelling matches" were a Friday afternoon ex-
ercise. "Spelling Schools" were occasionally held
in the school house on winter evenings, and
matches were sometimes arranged between the
pupils in adjoining districts. Under the direction
of enthusiastic teachers, these contests aroused
general interest. The room was lighted by lamps,
lanterns, and candles carried from our homes.
One boy and one girl were appointed as leaders,
and they took turns in choosing from among the
participants. When all were chosen, the two lines
faced each other, and the teacher began to give
out the words. A failure made, the word was
passed from one side to the other until spelled
correctly. Sometimes it was spelled on the side
where it was missed, and the "side saved." If the
other side spelled it, the leader was entitled to a
choice of pupils from the losing side. When all
were at last ranged on the winning side, they were
ioo In Dover on the Charles
"spelled down," One after another missed and
took their seats. Sometimes "good spellers" would
hold their places through page after page of poly-
syllables, and then "catch words" were considered
"fair." To avoid delay in case of appeal, the reg-
ular text book in spelling was taken as authority.
Speaking pieces was a popular exercise on Fri-
day afternoons. On rare occasions we "spoke
dialogues," and happy were those who were allowed
to take part. We "wrote compositions" upon such
subjects as school, summer, winter, and honesty,
but we realized no connection between our compo-
sition work and the "passing lesson" in Green's
Grammar. Nevertheless, in learning the parsing
lessons, we learned to look for certain forms and
uses of words, to know them when we saw them,
and to give reasons for our classifications. We
studied Cornell's Geographies, and Quackenbos's
History. One summer our teacher taught the girls
all kinds of fancy work, and the older girls made
some elaborate articles. I learned crocheting, and
made a card basket from fine cotton thread, shaped
and starched upon an earthern dish. I also knit a
round "mat" or doily. On the last day of the
term our work was displayed to visitors in the
school room. Among my teachers were Miss Jo-
sephine Mansfield of Lowell, Miss Electa P. Butler
In Dover on the Charles 101
of Maine, Miss Fannie Chute, and Miss Fannie
Hildreth, now Mrs. Bacon. Miss Martha Plum-
mer, now Mrs. Everett, taught at the Centre.
During one long vacation, I went every day to her
home for private lessons in English Grammar.
How I happened to do this, I do not know. It
may have been my own idea, and, possibly, it was
my mother's wish for me to improve my time under
a good teacher. At all events, I studied Grammar
to some purpose, and I well remember the day
when the mystery of "false syntax" on the last
pages of Quackenbos's Grammar became a mystery
solved. The East District, "Strawberry Hill," had
a "good teacher" one winter, and I was allowed to
be her pupil. Deacon Bigelow's farm house was
my boarding place from Monday morning until
Friday night, and my father took me back and
forth each week. Miss Hawes, the teacher, also
boarded there. During the spring of 1863, I
attended the Girls' High School in Newport, R. I.
during a three months' visit to my sister Parthena.
The next fall, with other boys and girls from Dover,
I attended the High School at "Needham Plain,"
going by rail every day. This high school was
newly organized, and was nothing more than an
attempt to make the highest grade possible out of
the material gathered from the ungraded district
102 In Dover on the Charles
schools. The highest class, of which I was one,
studied the usual high school branches, Latin,
Geometry, etc. That year the sessions were held
in one room of a district school house some distance
from the railroad station. The Principal and sole
instructor was the Rev. Silas Bundy Rawson, of
Maine. Later the school was removed to a hall,
over the Post Office near the railroad station, and
Mr. Rawson was succeeded by Mr. Albion Gate.
''And the hillside where the Meeting-house
With the wooden belfry stood. "
The Unitarian Meeting House, the third to be
built upon its site, Meeting House Hill, was dedi-
cated in 1839. J* was one m il e from our house by
road, much less through Uncle Rufus's fields by
the beaten path which came out by the "dam." The
square, white structure had then, as now, green
blinds, a steeple, and a bell. A double row of
horse sheds stood between the edifice and the en-
croaching "pine woods." Grandmother Griggs was
a member of this church, and the family were regu-
lar attendants upon its services. The Meeting
House was comparatively new when I frequented
it, and fully up to the standard of the times.
When the choir rose to sing, of course the congre-
gation rose also, and stood with backs to the pul-
pit, gazing from the hymn books to the "singers"
In Dover on the Charles
seats" in the organ loft at the rear of the room.
Most of the older men stood throughout the long
My Grandmother had seen and heard much of
Mr. Nettleton, the famous revival preacher of Con-
necticut, and she was much distressed by the
strange doctrines which began to be preached
from the pulpit of the Dover church as the Unita-
rian movement spread to that community and
congregation. The Rev. Benj. Caryl, "Priest Caryl,"
was for forty-nine years pastor of the church. I
have a manuscript sermon which he preached in
1802. In 1812 the Rev. Ralph Sanger became the
pastor, and remained in the pastorate almost fifty
years. I remember watching his tall, dignified
figure, as he came "up across" to make a call at
our house, or to pass through our yard, up the
mill house steps, on his way to the "west end of
the town." He was a man of learning, refinement,
and unvarying courtesy, and of great influence in
the community. He was succeeded by the Rev.
Mr. Baker, and he was followed in the pulpit by
the Rev. Horatio Alger, Jr., the writer of books
for boys. Mr. Alger's father was the long-time
pastor at South Natick. The Rev. George Proctor
was the last pastor of whom I have any knowledge.
Those who became dissatifi?cj with Unitarian
104. In Dover on the Charles
doctrine left the First Church, and formed the
Orthodox Society, building a chapel on Meeting
House Hill opposite the old church. My older
sisters united with this church. The Rev. John
Haskell was the pastor whom I knew, possibly the
first placed over the church. His parsonage was
at the foot of the hill, the house since known as
the Dunn place. One of the greatest treats of my
childhood was "going down across" to spend an
hour at Mrs. Haskell's. She was young and very
beautiful, and I am sure, greatly admired and
loved. I was at one time visiting my oldest sister
when Mrs. Haskell called. My sister had just then
given me a small broom, suited to my height. To
show off the new broom, and myself, I set up a
vigorous sweeping directly in front of the visitor.
I shall never forget the Way in which Mrs. Haskell
said: "I see, Alice, that you wish to be thought a
good housekeeper, but you must not forget that
very neat people get their sweeping done before it
is time for company to arrive." Since then I have
found it true that really clean people take neatness
for granted, and do not obtrude their ideas of
Mr. Haskell survived his wife many years, and
died May n, 1902.
The Rev. T. S. Norton succeeded Mr. Haskell.
In Dover on the Charles
His children, Cooley, Gertie, and Lewis were our
schoolmates and companions.
About 1862, Uncle Sherman Battle removed the
Baptist Chapel from Charles River Village to the
"Corner," and the Springdale Baptist Church was
organized. Students fron Newton Theological
Seminary supplied the pulpit, among them some of
the best known divines of to-day. Some years ago
the church was disbanded.
The nearest Roman Catholic Church was at
Saxonville, eight miles distant.
"But when ill indeed,
E'en dismissing the doctor don't always succeed."
Dr. Geo. Caryl, son of "Priest Caryl," was the
only resident physician which Dover has had. He
practiced there form 1791 to 1829.
Old Dr. Gallup of Medfield was a typical old-
school calomel-giving, blood-letting doctor, of whom
I heard much, though I saw him but once.
To save a neighbor's life, my father and mother
once rode more than twenty miles, at night to
Rockville, a part of Medway, to secure the services
of Dr. Nathaniel Miller, the famous surgeon who
died in 1850.
Dr. George Townsend of South Natick was our
family physician, as of most of the townspeople.
Skilful and popular, he drove his fast horses and
io6 In Dover on the Charles
"sulky" for miles around. My earliest recollection
is of the time when he advised me to put the icicle,
which I was holding, upon tha stove to warm it a
little. I regretted taking his advice then, but in
after years I owed much to his care and skill.
One reason why Dover has not had a resident
doctor and lawyer, and a real business and social
centre, is that the outlying districts practically form
parts of the adjacent townships. Many families at
the West End attended church in Medfield, used
Medfield Post Office, and entered into the social
life of that town. Natick and Needham, as well as
Dedham, were the real homes of those who lived
over the Dover Line.
"Strange figures of the long ago,
Come out and take their places."
Between our house and Uncle Rufus's wheel-
wright shop was the shop of Rudman, the black-
smith. Mr. Rudman was an Englishman, and we
took delight in watching him "set tires," and hear-
ing him say, " 'Eat the hiron 'ot, Bill. "
William Green, who came from Connecticut to
work for my Grandfather, married Eliza, the house-
maid. My father built a house for them on land
adjoining the orchard, and afterward sold the
premises to them. In those days, "to live upon
hire" was considered a disgrace, because it "showed
a lack somewhere."
In Dover on tht Char Its
Eliza had marked characteristics. Her "posy gard-
ing" was a wilderness of blossoming shrubs and
plants, luxuriating in the rich, well-tilled soil that
William was wont to prepare. Her living rooms
were crowded with growing plants, which "came
up," "slipped," or "rooted" at her will.
She made "monuments," resembling that on
Bunker Hill, varying in height from six inches to
three feet. Base and shaft were "turned" out of
solid wood, and then covered with putty or white
lead, in which were imbedded sea shells, coral, bits
of colored glass, broken looking-glass, glittering
buttons, mother-of-pearl, sea beans, beads, and
pebbles. Who used these monuments for parlor
ornaments I do not know, but many were sold at
prices ranging from two to fifteen dollars, accord-
ing to size and beauty. Picture frames of all
shapes and sizes she made to order. Some were made
of sea shells; some were covered with kernels of red
and yellow field corn ; others showed a pattern in
beans, red, white, and black ; scales from white
pine cones were arranged to overlap each other,
corner rosettes being made of clustered small
cones ; autumn leaves, pressed and varnished, were
also made to cover frames, or grouped upon a back-
ground to form a picture for the frame. By means
of fine wire and colored worsteds she made huge
io8 In Dover on the Charles
bouquets of "worsted flowers," which were bought
and placed under tall glass shades upon parlor
centre tables. Wax flowers and hair flowers had a
share of her attention. Dover people were not her
patrons. Most of her orders and purchasers came
from the "city."
It was, however, the fashion to display hair
flowers under glass,.but the small bouquet which we
had was kept in a cupboard. Locks of hair from
the head of each member of a family, living or
dead, were combined in these wreaths or bouquets.
Some member of the family was always ready to
tell visitors whose hair was in that rose, and whose
in that lily. Snow white hair and bright red
tresses "made up real pretty." About 1862 wax
flower making was a desirable accomplishment for
On Sundays, a quaint, bobbing two-wheeled
"shay" came by our house from the west part of
Dover. As I recall the brother and sister who were
its occupants, the tall, spare, stiffly erect lady might
have stepped out of an old fashioned novel. Her
large grey or fawn colored silk bonnet had a soft
white ruching in its high-peaked front, and a cor-
ner wise silk shawl draped the straight brown silk
"Uncle Joe Larrabee," as he was affectionately
In Dover on the Charles 109
called, was a conspicuous figure in the community,
especially in the meeting house where he occupied
a pew near the pulpit, and always stood erect
throughout the "long prayer."
Aunt Fanny in her prime did "tailoring," going
from house to house. In later years she "kept
house" in different families whose heads were tem-
porarily absent. Rain or shine, she never ventured
abroad without her large, faded, cotton umbrella, a
protection from sun, wind, or rain as occasion re-
quired. In these days of more convenient umbrel-
las, we have followed her fashion. Around her
black, quaker like bonnet a long, green barege veil
was tied by its drawing string. When not hanging
straight down over her face, this veil was thrown
back and drawn over edgewise so as to hang over
one shoulder, as was the prevailing fashion in her
"Granny Gould," when I first knew her, was an
aged, infirm woman who lived alone in an ancient,
gambrel-roofed cottage near the Old Plain. Grand-
mother looked after her in a neighborly way, and
we often went "over across lots" to carry some del-
icacy and inquire for her welfare. The house, like
everything in its three low rooms, was worn and
time stained. She had never used a stove, and the
fuel which fed the fire upon her hearth was obtained
no In Dover on the Charles
from the peat bogs upon her own premises. She
was tall and large in frame, though much bowed
with age; her black eyes had not lost all their bril-
liancy, and still flashed under her wrinkled brows
shaded by the brown folds of a turban which con-
cealed her hair. Whenever I watched her harm-
less domestic incantations with pot-hook and crane,
brass kettle and iron skillet, poker and tongs, as
she stooped over the ash-strewn hearth before the
cavernous fireplace, she always seemed to me a
veritable witch of the story books.
One morning no smoke ascended from Granny
Gould's chimney, and we learned that the incanta-
tions were no longer needed, for her life of strange
and troubled experiences was ended.
THE RICHARDS FAMILY.
1. Josiah Richards, born 1713, died 1771, mar-
ried Hannah, the "H. R." of relics, died October
2. Children of Josiah and Hannah: Samuel, 1738;
Moses, 1739; Hannah, 1741; Asa, 1743; Sarah, 1745;
Thaddeus, 1747; Josiah, 1749; Solomon, 1751; Mary,
1753; Lucy, 1755, married Josiah Battle of Dover;
Abijah, 1757; Lydia, 1759; Jesse, 1761.
THE GRIGGS FAMILY.
1. Nathan Griggs, Ashford, Conn., married ,
February 8, 1772.
2. Children of Nathan and : Lucy, married
Jared Warner Snow; Phebe; Abijah; Reuben, 1782,
married Lucy Battle, Dover; "Sibbil," married Chap-
man, second, Parkhurst, Conn.
THE SHERMAN FAMILY.
1. Henry Sherman, Colchester and Dedham,
England, born 1580, married Agnes Butler.
2. Henry, son of Henry and Agnes, married
Susan Hilles, died 1610.
3. John, son of Henry and Susan, married Grace
H2 In Dover on the Charles
4. Captain John, son of Henry and Grace, Ded-
ham, England 1613, married Martha Palmer,
daughter of his mother's third husband, and came
to Watertown, Mass. 1634.
5. Joseph, son of Captain John and Martha,
born in Watertown.
6. William, son of Joseph of Watertown.
7. Roger, son of William, signed Declaration of
Mehitable, daughter of William, born 1714,
married John Battle, Dover, Mass., died 1804.
THE BATTLE FAMILY.
1. John Battle, Dover, married Mehitable Sher-
man, died 1800, aged eighty-four.
2. Josiah, son of John and Mehitable, married
Lucy Richards, died 1834, aged seventy-nine.
3. Children of Josiah and Lucy: Betsy, 1782,
married John Brown of Dover; Lucy, 1785, married
Reuben Griggs, died 1864; Josiah, 1787, married
first Sukey , second the widow Goulding; Sher-
man, 1791, married first Hetty , second Miranda
Twitchell; Rufus, 1794, married Lydia Mann; Roger
Sherman, 1796, married Betsy - .
THE WALKER FAMILY.
I. Azariah Walker, probably Marbors, married
In Dover on the Charles
2. Emily, daughter of Azariah and Prudence,
married Jonathan Kingsbury, South Natick. Their
children were, Leonard, Abbie, Jonathan.
Mary, second daughter, married Samuel Jones.
THE JONES FAMILY.
1. John Alden, England, 1599, married Priscilla
Molines, 1621, died in Plymouth, 1680.
2. John, of John and Priscilla, Plymouth, 1622,
married Elizabeth (Phillips) Everill, Boston, 1660,
died in Boston, 1702.
3. John, of John and Elizabeth, Boston, 1663,
married Elizabeth Phelps, died 1730. He was Cap-
tain of a schooner, and was taken captive by the
French. In 1764, the General Court granted to his
heirs a tract of land because of "his extraordinary
services and his sufferings during a long and tedious
4. Nathaniel, of Capt. John and Elizabeth, 1700,
married Mary . In 1731 he owned one half
of a house on Milk Street, Boston.
5. Elizabeth, 1729, of Nathaniel and Mary, mar-
ried Anthony Jones of Hopkington in 1747.
6. Nathaniel Alden Jones of Elizabeth and
Anthony Jones, Hopkington, 1748, married Lois
Claflin in 1770.
In Dover on the Charles
7. Samuel Jones, of Nathaniel and Lois, 1777,
married first, Mary Walker, second, Lurana Sawin.
8. Hiram Walker Jones, of Samuel and Mary,
South Natick, 1807, married Lucy Griggs, April 5,
1830, died 1876.
9. Children of Hiram and Lucy: Eveline Eames,
1831, married 1852, died 1895; Parthena Griggs,
1834, married 1862, died 1896; Mary Malvina,
1839, died, l8 54! Arabelle, 1845, died 1847; Alice
Johnson, 1848; Inez Lenore, 1851; Samuel Waldo,
1854, died 1862.
10. Child of John and Eveline Nichols: Lucy
Griggs, East Randolph, 1853, married Charles S.
Davison, Elmira, N. Y., 1873, removed to Norfolk,
Children of Charles E. Hammett, Jr. and Par-
thena: Waldo Jones, 1864, died, 1865; Philip
Melancthon, 1867, married Marie Louise Plack,
Altoona, Pa., 1893, lives in Portland, Me.
11. Children of Charles and Lucy Davison: Eve-
lyn Lucy, married Alvah Nivison, Caywood, N. Y.,
Nov., 1904; Alice Lenore, Philip Nichols, Ruth
Lowe, Charles Morton, Waldo Burton.
Children of Philip and Louise Hammett: Louis
Plack, Waldo Bertram, Helen.
12. Child of Alvah and Evelyn Nivison: John
Beecher, Dec. 23, 1905.
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