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South Yarmouth, Massachusetts 

No land of beauty art thou, Old Cape, 

But a prouder name we crave, 
The home of the purest, bravest hearts. 

That traverse tlie dark blue wave. 
Then cherished for aye shall thy mem'ry be. 

For where'er through life I roam, 
My heart will turn, like a wearied bird, 

To my own, my Cape Cod home. 

— E. J. Dudley. 

Reminiscences Gathered and Edited by 

S. Xat^rence Jenkins 

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Copyright, 19 lo, 
I3v Cliarios Warner Swift. 



There's a gently flowing river, 

Bordered by whispering trees, 
That ebbs and flows in Xobscussett, 

And winds through Mattaelieese. 

Surely the Indians loved it, 

In the ages so dim and gray. 
River beloved of the pale-face, 

Who dwell near its banks todayl 

They pass on,— the generations— 

Thou stayest, while men depart; 
They go with thy lovely changes 

Shrined in each failing heart. 

Beautiful old Bass river! 

Girt round with thy murmuring trees; 
Long wilt thou flow through Nobscussett, 

And wander through Mattacheese. 

— Arethusa, South Dennis. 


At the sound of thy name, what fond mem'ries arise 
Of the scenes of my childhood, 'neath soft summer skies! 
At each sail on thy surface, or walk on thy shore, 
Thy quaint beauty impressed me as never before. 

Of the Afton and Tibor the poets have sung; 
For the Avon and Danube their harps they have strung. 
May the the singer be blest, whosoe'er he may be. 
Who shall sing the just praises, dear river, of thoe! 

— Daniel Wing. 

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The idea of putting: upon paper various items of information 
and interest that mij-ht be gathered of South Yarmouth, formerly- 
known as "Quaker Village," was suggested by a former resident 
of the place who had been greatly interested in a conversation with 
the late Orlando F. Wood, then one of its oldest residents. Recog- 
nizing the fact that our old men are one by one passing away and 
much interesting and valuable information is being lost, I suggested 
to Mr. Wood that he describe the village as it was when he was 
a boy and I would write it down. So, seated in his big chair in 
the cozy quarters which he liked to designate as the "0. B. S. 
club," and surrounded by a few congenial listeners and good 
friends, he took each street and described its appearance at that 
early period. 

I wish to state at this point, however, that I have not relied 
entirely upon Mr. Wood's account, but have had valuable assistance 
from :Mr. Daniel Wing, who has for years made a study of the 
history of South Yarmouth. 

One is apt to think that these country villages change but little, 
but he has only to let his mind wander back even so short a time 
as twenty-five years to see that many changes have taken place, and 
that the Quaker Village of that period was a far different place 
than that of today; fifty or seventy-five years have brought about 
great changes. 

There is one thing that I cannot but remark, and that is the 
"youngness" of the present day residents. Even when I was a boy, 
a man or woman who had reached the age of fifty years was 
considered "old;" now, he or she is simply in the prime of life 
and best able to enjoy it. And still more strange, none of those 
whom I considered old in my boyhood days ever seemed to grow 
any older! In those days, a man who had reached the age of fifty 
no longer thought of mingling with the young in society. It was 
his duty to set the example of sedateness and propriety, as if it 
were a sin to grow young in heart as he grew older in years. 
My father was fifty years old when I was born, and he was con- 
sidered so old a man that his friends told him he would never 
live to see me grown up. And yet he did live to see me pass my 
thirtieth birthday. I remember that he was a much younger man 
at heart when he was eighty than he was at sixty, and gr<^w far 
more liberal in his views during the last twenty years of his life. 
In these days it is rarely wo find a man under seventy-five who 
carf's to Ije thought "old." 

Jiefore taking up the appearance of the village, street by street, 

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as described by Mr. Wood, it would be well to give a bit of the 
history of South Yarmouth, gathered from various sources, par- 
ticularly from a series of articles by Mr. Daniel Wing, a former 
resident, which were published in the Yarmouth Register. 

According to Mr. Wing, the town of Yarmouth, in 1713, set off a 
tract of land "for ye Indian inhabitants to live upon," which 
included the land from Long pond to Bass river, and from the old 
Y'armouth road to the lands now owned by Joseph Chase; in fact, 
what is now the most populous section of the village. The Indians 
having been killed off by small pox, the town authorized the 
selectmen in 1778 to sell these lands, reserving a tract for Thomas 
Greenough, one of the survivors. Greenough afterwards sold more 
or less of this land, the first of which was to David Kelley, great- 
grandfather of the present David D. Kelley, in 1700, and was about 
two acres; on the southwesterly corner of which the structure 
now known as the "cellar house" was erected. 

In 1713, when the town of Yarmouth reserved for the native 
Indians 160 acres, the Indians, according to Mr. Alden in his 
"Memorabilia of Yarmouth," equalled the whites in population, but 
disease thinned their ranks and in 17G7 there were but six wig- 
wams inhabited in the whole township. In 1787 but one wigwam 
was inhabited and that was on the grounds now owned by the 
Owl club. 

Speaking of Indians reminds me that "Nauhaught, the Deacon," 
the subject of Whittier's poem of that title, lived in South Yar- 
mouth on the south side of Long pond, near the Yarmouth road, 
and the swamp on the opposite side is today known as "Sarah's 
swamp," being named for the Deacon's daughter. All are familiar 
with the story of how he was attacked by several black 
snakes that began to twine about his legs. One of 
them reaching his head, Nauhaught opened his mouth, and 
the snake putting his head inside, the Indian bit it off, 
whereupon the blood streaming down from the decapitated snake 
alarmed the rest and they fled. Even to this day traces of an old 
trail may be seen in the vicinity of Swan pond, where an Indian 
meeting house once stood. "It is probable," says a writer, "that it 
was on this path that Nauhaught had his encounter with the 
snakes." Mr. Alden visited him in his last days and asked him if 
he was resigned. "Oh yes, Mr. Alden," he replied, "I have always 
had a pretty good notion of death." 

Upon the records of the town of Yarmouth may he found under 
date of November 17, 1778, "Voted, that the charge made by Hk' 

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Indians having the small pox, be paid out of the town treasury. 

"5th. Then voted that all their effects be sold to pay their 
charge of having the small pox, and the land formerly belonging 
to the Indians to live upon be sold or leased. 

"6th. Concerning the Indian land — Voted that the town impower 
the selectmen to lease or sell the Indian land or reserve a piece 
for Thomas Grccnough as they shall think proper." 

Some of the Indians of South Yarmouth were first buried on. 
land afterwards owned by Robert Homer, but when it was proposed 
to use the land for salt works, it so grieved Cato, a negro, whose 
wife Lucy was an Indian, who occupied the last wigv^-am in South 
Yarmouth, that the bodies were disinterred and buried with the 
others on a hillside near Long pond, which spot is now marked by 
a monument of boulders bearing the inscription: 
"On this slope lie buried 
the last native Indians 
of Y'armouth." 
When the bank back of the monument was dug away for the pur- 
pose of making a cranberry bog, several skeletons were found, 
together with pieces of coffins, showing that the burial place was 
comparatively modern, although the general idea remains that it 
was also an ancient burial place as well. Certainly it must have 
been a part of their old hunting grounds, those old woods, border- 
ing upon the largest pond in the vicinity, which was full of fish 
and the resort of water fowl, and we can well imagine that it 
would be an ideal spot for the last resting place of the members 
of the tribe that once held possession of all these lands. 

At the time of Orlando Wood's first recollections, there were but 
few trees in the village excepting wild cherry trees that bordered 
the streets, and here and there an apple orchard, evidences of 
which may now be seen in the yard of Captain Joseph Allen, 
which trees, although at least one hundred years old, still bear 
fruit of excellent quality. The cherry trees in front of what is' 
known as the "Katy Kelley house" on Bridge street, I am informed 
by Seth Kelley, were old trees when his father was a boy, which 
would be very ni^arly if not quite a hundred years ago. Trees for 
ornamentation evidently were thought to be too worldly for those 
old Friends; to them, there was no place for a tree unless it bore 
fruit, and the idea of ornamenting streets or grounds with trees 
was something not to be thought of. 

Beginning at Bridge street, Mr. Wood says there was no dwelling 
beyond it. The "rope-walk" extended to the Friends meeting 

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house on the main road, hut all below it, to the river, was given 
over to fields and gardens, large portions being used for corn-fields. 
The present street leading to the David Kelley house was not 
opened, nor were any of the present houses on that street built. 
The "toll-house" of course was not built, nor even thought of, 
and the first house on the street, from the river, was the house 
in which Mr. Wood was born, on the spot where now stands the 
paint shop of Manton H. Crowell. The garden of this house was 
the spot where the bank building now stands. This house was 
undoubtedly the residence of the first David Kelley, who died in 
1816, an enterprising man who bought several acres of the Indian 
lands. It was a one-story house, with a large unfinished chamber 
on the second floor, in which were several beds, as was the 
custom in those days. IMr. Wood remembers that a storm blew out 
one side of the house and he saw some of the neighborly women 
standing in the breech admiring the view of the river. 

Mr. Wood's father was Zenas Wood and his mother was Mercy 
Hawes of Yarmouth. He tells a story of his grandmother Lydia, 
or "Liddy" as she was called, that shows that even in those early 
days "love laughed at locksmiths." It seems that her parents were 
strict Quakers, and Liddy, against their objections, had met and 
fallen in love with a young man of West Barnstable. There was 
evidently no objection to the young except that he was not a 
Friend, and Liddy's parents could not be reconciled to her mai-ry- 
ing "out of the meeting." But .ove will find a way, and when the 
old folks went to monthly meeting one day, Liddy quietly packed 
up some of her belongings in a bundle, mounted a horse and rode 
away to West Barnstable, hiding there in an old grist mill — which 
was standing up to a few years ago — where the young man met her 
and took her to the parson's. Her father refused for a long time 
to forgive her, but the mother finally brought about a reconcilia- 
tion and Liddy went back to her meeting. This old grist mill was 
the same that received a grant from the town of Barnstable in 
1G89 of eight or ten acres at Goodspeed's riv(n' and the benefit of 
the stream forever on condition that the parties interested "should 
set up a fulling mill on the river and maintain the same for twenty 
years and full and dress the town's cloth on reasonable terms." — 
(D. Wing.) The story is told that Aunt Liddy dreamed one night, 
during her last years, that she saw the vessel on which had sailed 
a favorite grandson, coming up Boston harbor with the flag at half 
mast and that the boy was dead. A few days later brought tidings 
that her di'cam was but the forerunner of sad news. 

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I remember, rather vaguely, Zenas Wood as a man of whom the 
school boys stood in awe, because they imagined that he possessed 
certain authority and powder to arrest them for any misdemeanors 
of which they might be guilty. 1 also remember that he had a tall 
flag pole in his garden and a flag which he used to raise upon 
patriotic occasions, even as Mr. Wood delighted to do later. Mr. 
Wood informed me that he, Orlando, was born upon a day of general 
muster, and that upon that eventful occasion, Uncle George Baker 
shot off one of his arms by a careless handling of his musket. I 
can just remember the old man myself. The stump of his arm 
was a great curiosity to me, and the deft way in which he man- 
aged to saw wood, which he used to do for my father. In this 
old house on Bridge street the late David Kelley lived after he was 
lirst married, and later Zeno Baker and others. At the foot of 
Bridge street v^^as a wharf, to which large vessels were often 

The next house on Bridge street was that owned by the late 
Thomas Collins, then belonging to Abiel Akin, blacksmith, grand- 
father of the late Peleg P. Akin, who came from New Bedford 
previous to 1800. He had formerly owned the "cellar house," 
where the late David K. Akin was born. Previously it was occu- 
pied by a potter named Purrington, and the second story was used 
as a sail-loft. After Abiel built the Collins house and moved into 
it, the "cellar house" was occupied by one of his children, and 
during a storm the good woman of the house used to take her 
children and go to her father's to stay, for fear that the house 
would blow over! However, the old house has weathered many 
a storm since those days and still stands as probably one of the 
most substantial dwellings in the village. Certainly it is one of the 
most interesting old landmarks of the place. The Collins house 
was also known as the "Amos Kelley house." 

The only other house standing at that time on Bridge streot, 
according to Mr. Wood, was that known as the "Kate Kelley house."' 
It was built by the father of the late David Kelley, and afterwards 
became the home of his daughter Catherine, of whom the older 
portion of the community have many pleasant memories. 

As has been said, back of these houses, on the right hand side 
coming from the river, was nothing but open fields excepting upon 
the road leading to the Friends meeting house, where stood the 
"rope-w^alk," which extended from the head of Bridge street to the 
meeting house grounds. For a description of this old business 
enterprise I am indebted to the late i^fephen Sears and to Mr. Wing, 


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although Mr. Wood recalled the old building because he worked there 
when he was a boy. It was built in 1802 by David Kelley the 
first and Sylvanus Crowell, and the business of making rope was 
carried on for a number of years, — more than twenty-five at least. 
At that time there was a large fleet of coasting and fishing ves- 
sels that sailed from Bass river, and there was a great demand 
for the product of the rope-walk. The "walk" was, perhaps, 
twelve feet wide and seven feet high, with port holes that could 
be closed by inside shutters. At the north end was the power 
house, operated by horses to do the heavy work, such as the 
making of cables and standing rigging. At the opposite or south 
end was the store house for manufactured goods, etc. Mr. Sears 
recalled a visit to the place when a lad, and seeing two men and a 
boy spinning. The men had large wisps of hemp about their 
waists which they attached to the twisting machine, kept in motion 
by the boy, and walking with their backs to the machine, paid out 
the material for some two or three hundred feet, and then re- 
turned to the wheel, hanging the newly spun thread to hooks. Mr. 
Sears thought that the men received two cents a thread for 
spinning and the boy forty cents a day. The tarring plant was 
outside the main building. When the business of rope making 
became no longer profitable, the building was occupied for the 
making of oil cloth, a man by the name of Jacob Vining being 
the manager, and Stephen Wii.g the designer and pattern maker. 
He (Wing) had always a taste for artistic work of a like nature, 
which showed itself in the painting of signs, lettering and design- 
ing. When this business was given up the structure was taken 
down and the land gradually sold for building purposes, and on 
the site of the old rope-walk stand today the dwellings built or 
occupied by 3Iorris Cole, James F. Kelley, William Haffards, Joseph 
Crowell, Bartlett White, Charles Farris, Nelson Crowell, the dry 
goods store of E. D. Kelley and the grocery store of David D. Kel-- 
ley. In those early days the rope-walk was a convenient passage- 
way to the meeting house in stormy weather and as the owners 
were themselves Friends, they allowed the worshippers to pass 
through it, a favor I fear no one of the present day would offer 
if the building still stood and was owned by other parties. 

In looking back to those days I am struck with the fact that 
there were many opportunities offered to keep the young men at 
work and at home. The Quakers were not a sea-going people as a 
rule, but they were full of business ideas and promoters 



of many industries. In addition to rope making, there 
was the salt industry, the fishing business was excel- 
lent on our coast, shoe making establishments employed many 
young men, as did a tailoring shop, a magnesia factory, a tannery, 
and other opportunities were not wanting; while on the other hand, 
today there is liardly anything for a young man to do who wishes 
to live in his native place. 

On the opposite side of the road from the rope-walk was a 
"stretch" of pine woods; tall large trees such as one rarely sees now. 
These woods extended down to the "flatiron" in front of the house 
known as the "David Chubbs house." 

When the old David Kelley house on Bridge street was torn 
down a portion of it was used in building that now owned by 
Frank Crosby, and about the same time the house of Charles Bax- 
ter was built, and here he lived and died as did his wife, Aunt 
Betsey. At present it is occupied by Mrs. Hathaway. Next to it 
was the house in which Mr. Tripp, one of the earlier school 
teachers lived, now occupied by Mrs. Crowell, the mother of our 
postmaster, who at this date is ninety-four years old, and in ex- 
cellent health. 

And now, while we are in the vicinity, it is well to speak of the 
Friends meeting house, which was then the principal place of wor- 
ship, and to within a few years of the birth of Mr. Wood, the only 
place of worship in South Yarmouth. It was built in 1809. Nearly 
one hundred years before, the soMety built a meeting house in 
what is now South Dennis, on a hill overlooking the river. 
Dennis then being a part of Yarmouth, the old meeting house was 
that of the Yarmouth Quakers, and more particularly those of 
South Yarmouth. All the Quakers from the comitry round, 
says Mr. Wing, used to attend services there, those from Harwich 
coming on what is still known as "Quaker path," while those froni 
the vicinity of "Indian town," now kncAvn as "Friends village," 
came on the road leading by "Dinah's pond" and crossing at tiie 
"second narrows" in a boat kept there for the purpose. When 
the present structure was built the old meeting house was sold and 
floated down the river to its mouth and converted into a dwelling 
house. It is now standing and is known as the "Waterman Baker 
house." Its age of nearly two hundred years makes it an object of 
interest to all. 

In those early days the Friends meeting was largely attended, 
both sides of the house being filled at every service, on Sundays 
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duty not to be present. On Fifth day, or Thursday, the children 
in the schools were excused for the purpose of attending meeting, 
and the young men left their work to attend. 

It is told of the late David Kelley, that when a young man and 
working in the rope-walk, one Fifth day he did not attend meeting 
as usual. There was much whispering and smiling among the 
others, and it turned out that on that particular day his pro- 
posed marriage to Phoebe Dudley was announced. She was a niece 
of Robert and Daniel Wing, senior, and came from Maine to teach 
school in South Yarmouth, and it was here he first met her. If 
I am not mistaken, the last marriage ceremony performed in the 
old meeting house was that of the oldest daughter of the late 
Henry G. Crowell. A visitor to the old cemetery is struck with 
the simplicity and neatness of the enclosure, the care taken of the 
grounds and graves, and above all with the fact that there all 
are equal; there are no costly monuments proclaiming to the world 
the wealth of him who sleeps beneath, no carved eulogies recit- 
ing the worldly deeds of the sleeper; only a simple stone with 
the name and date of birth and death, and each stone is like 
every other in size; the richest man in the place— when he was 
living — having no more costly stone than his neighbor who had to 
toil early and late to support his family. I think there are few 
more impressive resting places for the dead than this little cem- 
etery of the South Yarmouth Quakers. 

My own memories of Quakei meeting are very tender. My father 
did not belong to the meeting, although he always attended, and 
in his later years sat upon the second seat facing the congregation, 
an honor accorded him because of his life-long attendance and 
because of the great respect with which he was held by the inem- 
bers of that meeting. As a boy, I was required to attend on First 
day, and I remember well how long that hour of quiet seemed to 
me, and how the sighing of the pines back of the meeting house 
would often lull me to an inclination to sleep, and with what in-- 
terest I watched Uncle David Akin and Aunt Ruth Baker to see 
if they showed any signs of shaking hands, which was the closing 

The old meeting house is closed; all the old Friends are sleeping 
in the little cemetery. Only a few of the younger members of 
the meeting remain, and they are so few that to hold services could 
only cause feelings of sadness as they sit there in solemn silence 
while their minds harken back to the years that are not, and to 
the faces of those who once filled the seats. 


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Placing the "gridiron" was the house of David Cliiibb, 
a portion of which was the tailor shop of Alexander Hill- 
man, attached to the house now occupied by Frank Collins, of 
which I shall have more to say later on. The house has been 
added to from time to time until it reminds one now of the 
"house of the seven gables," although how many more gables than 
seven it has I am still at a loss lo say. A large barn is near it, 
and when I was a boy there used to bo a stencilled notice facing 
tlie door bearing this information: 

"My will is good. 

My word is just, 
I would if I could, 

But I cannot trust." 

David Chubb drove the stage coach for many years and was a 
well-known personage in the vicinity. And speaking of the stage 
coach, reminds me that within my recollection the stage coaches 
ran down the Cape from Hyaanis on the south side, and from 
Yarmouth on the north, and I can see them now, lumbering 
through the village. I used to envy the driver holding the reins 
of his four horses and snapping his long whip as he dashed 
around the corner, with almost invariably a boy clinging to the 
trunk rack, while some less fortunate urchin sang out. "Whip be- 
hind!" To me it seemed like a bit of the circus outside the tent. 
There are men living in the village who can remember going all 
the way to Boston in the stage coach, a journey which consumed 
a whole day. Sometimes passengers went by vessel from Yarmouth, 
a ball on the top of a flag pole on one of the hills, which could 
be seen from the village, announcing the departure of such a ves- 

Daniel Wing in a recent article to the Register speaks of the 
great severity of the weather in tiiose days and of hearing older 
people tell of walking to the roof of the rope-walk upon frozen 
snow drifts on the way to the schoolhouse, which stood on the left 
hand side of the road near the village of Georgetown. I remem- 
ber hearing similar stories of big snow drifts; one of whii'h was 
near the foot of Bridge street, so high that an arch was cut into 
it, tlirough which the stage coach passed. Even within my own 
recollection the winters were much more severe than those of th(5 
pi'esi'iit time. 


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Going back to Bridge street, we come to the street that runs 
past the house of Thomas Collins to that of the late Peleg P. Akin. 
There was no building opposite the Collins house, nothing but an 
open field; but on the corner of the next street leading to the 
river and to the "cellar house," or near the corner, stood the 
grocery store of Thomas Akin and the postoffice. There were 
but two mails a week and these came by the way of Yarmouth 
and were brought over by carrier. Postage was higher in those 
days and I have in my possession letters, without envelopes, with 
postage marked twelve and a half cents. Mr. Wing writes me, "I 
remember very well the Thomas Akin store when it was on the 
site here described. The stone wall was very much the same as 
now, except in front of the store it was removed so as to allow of 
passage under the store piazza and into the basement. I used to 
think, when a boy, that the incline leading up to the store on the 
other side, together with the stone wall and the stairs, was a very 
grand combination and looked upon it with greater wonderment 
than I experience now in viewing structures twenty times as high." 

Next to Thomas Akin's store, this side of it I think, nearer the 
corner, was David Akin's jewelry store, one part of which was 
used by Alexander Hillman as a tailor's shop until he moved 
across the street to the house now occupied by Frank Collins. 
Later this little building of David Akin's was moved to Bridge 
street and used as a postoffice. It is now the dwelling house of 
Uriah Sears. Thomas Akin was succeeded as postmaster by David 
Akin, who in turn gave way to John Larkin. Peleg P. Akin was 
postmaster when the postoffice was in the grocery store, now used 
as a library room, and he in turn gave place to Bernard L. Baker, 
who held the office for many years. In the meanwhile, however, 
the little building had become the postoffice again and continued 
so until the appointment of the present postmaster, J. W. Crowell, 
who moved into new quarters. 

Down this street, leading to the "cellar house," at the wharf, 
was the blacksmith shop of Charles and Timothy Akin, the village 

"Uncle Timothy," said Mr. Wood, "was a very keen and witty 
old Quaker, and very fond of a joke. One day he carae to my 
grandmother's house and said, 'Liddy, I want thee to get thy pota- 
toes and dumplings all ready tomorrow and I will bring thee a 
goose.' My grandmother thanked him for his kindness, and the 
next day Uncle Timothy appeared and said, Tjiddy, here is thy 
goose; it is rather tough and will need a deal of cooking.' And 


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he pulled out from under his coat a tailor's iron goose 1 I don't 
know what my grandmother said, but she kept the goose and it 
was in the family for many years." 

Uncle Timothy was a practical joker and many were the pranks 
he played upon one and another of the villagers. Although some 
of his jokes resulted in a sacrifice of material, he was always 
ready to make good the loss, and seemed to count himself the 
gainer though the fun cost him several hours of labor. "On a cer- 
tain occasion he partly filled a gun barrel with water, securely 
closing the muzzle and inserting a plug in the tube so slightly as 
to allow of its removal by a slight pressure from within. One 
day Uncle Robert, a boat builder and intimate friend and frequent 
visitor of Uncle Timothy, called at the smithy and entertained him- 
self, while engaged in conversation, by blowing the huge bellows at 
the forge. Just then it occurred to the smith that it was a favor- 
able opportunity to try that gun barrel, so, with other irons, he 
carefully laid it on the fire, and going out of the shop he took a 
position where he could watch the development of events within; 
Uncle Robert, meanwhile, ignorant of the preparations, blowing 
away as if great results depended upon his diligence. As the 
heat increased, the water in the gun barrel began to boil and the 
pressure of steam became so great that the plug was forced from 
the tube, and the issuing steam, after the manner of Hero's 
engine, caused the gun barrel to leave the fire, sending it in the 
air in so zig-zag a course as to defy all attempts at predicting 
where or when it would finally alight. Uncle Robert, who was 
somewhat corpulent, was entirely taken by surprise, and not 
knowing what the infernal machine might do next in its mad 
career about the shop, crawled under the bellows to get out of the 
way, in which awkward position he was found by the blacksmith, 
who just then happened (?) to come in to see what on earth was 
to pay!" (Cape God News, 1887.) 

Across the street from Thomas Akin's store was the house of 
Alexander Hillman, (now occupied by Frank Collins) and attached 
to it was his tailor's shop in which he employed a dozen or more 
women and boys, the latter being apprentices who were learning 
the trade, among them being Mr. Wood. Asking Mr. Wood who 
worked there at that time, I found that many of the women I 
knew as wives of prominent men in the village were among the 
number, and others came from Yarmouth, Dennis and Brewster. 
Evidentlv some of them were not satisfied with their boarding 

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places, as the following prayers were written by two of the tailor- 
esses, who possessed a streak of humor in their make-up: 

"Lord of love, look down from above i 

And pity us poor creatures; 
Give us some meat that is fit to eat, '< 

And take away the fish and potatoes!" , ' 

"Lord make us able 

To eat all that is on the table, ' ■ 

Except the dish cloth and ladle!" 

Alexander Hillman afterwards removed to New Bedford, where he 
continued the tailoring business. 

Next to this house was that of Cyrenus Kelley, grandfather of 
William R. Farris, a former resident of this place. It 
later on became the property of William White, and is now occu- 
pied by his son, Edwin M. White. Cyrenus Kelley was a carpen- 
ter by trade, and had a shop back of his house. William White 
was one of a large family that descended in direct line from 
Peregrine White, the first white child born in New England, and 
one of the sons, I think Captain Osborn White, has in nis 
possession the cane that belonged to the said Peregrine. William 
White's direct line from the "iMayf lower" is as follows: 

1 William White with his wife Anna came over in the Mayflower. 

2 Peregrine, first white child born in New England. 

3 Jonathan White. 

4 Joseph White. ^> 

5 Deacon Joseph White. 

6 Peregrine. 

7 Alfred, William, Perry, Rufus, etc. 

On the opposite side of the street was the house of Zeno Kelley, 
now occupied by Mr, G. W. Tupper. Mr. Wood remembers Uncle 
Zeno very well because he gave him five dollars a year to milk his 
cow, and he remembers that one night he forgot to milk. How 
little things remain in our memories— things that happened long 
years ago— while events of yesterday are even now forgotten! 
Uncle Zeno also built and occupied for awhile the house opposite, 
known as the "Edward Gifford house," one of the most picturesque 
old houses in the village. He conveyed the premisfs. says Mi'. 
Wing, in 1805, so that the building is somewhat over- a huadrod 


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years old. Uncle Zcno also built the house formerly used as a 
Methodist parsonage, standing opposite the church on Main street, 
but which when erected occupied the present site of the late Mrs. 
Sarah Bray residence. 

Uncle Edward Gifford had a large family. One of them— his 
daughter Sarah R.— I remember quite distinctly as the village 
dressmaker; a very bright and witty old maid and a great favorite 
with all who knew her. I recall that at one time, I think it was 
during the Civil war, she had company to tea and her mother, a 
hospitable old Quaker lady, said to the young women present at the 
table, "Girls, eat all the butter thee wishes, but I'm dreadful 
afraid it will hurt thee." And the eating of too much did hurt 
the pocketbooks of many of our parents during those times when 
everything was high and money scarce. Mr. Wing has sent me 
some of the bills received by Wing & Akin in those days for goods 
from the wholesalers, and from them I find that the consumer 
must have paid about sixty cents a pound for butter, one dollar a 
gallon for kerosene oil, thirty-five cents a pound for sugar, and 
other things in proportion. It is a wonder that our fathers were 
able to live and bring up large families of children. Evidently 
they were living the "simple life." 

The street to the water from Edward Gif ford's was then a private 
way and led to the ferry landing whicli was near the cooper shop 
of Frederick P. Baker. This cooper shop was built about seventy 
years ago and was at one time the scene of great industry. One 
of the sights of my boyhood days was to watch the cooper as he 
fashioned his barrels, which seemed more wonderful in the various 
stages than most anything within my experience. I look back to 
my recollections of Mr. Baker with a great deal of pleasure. He 
was always one of the most cordial in greeting me when I came 
home on my vacations from the city, and I recall many a pleasant 
chat with him in those days when it meant so much to a boy to 
be noticed by an older man. 

The charter for the ferry was granted to David Kelley, and the 
boats later on were run by "UnchV Elihu Kelley, who lived on the 
opposite side of the river. The rates were two cents for a single 
passenger and twenty-five cents for horse and carriage, which were 
taken across the stream in a flat bottom boat. "He had a skiff for 
passengers and a scow for teams." said Mr. Wood, "and a conch 
shell was tied to a post at the landing, wliiidi was blown when the 
ser\ ices of I he ferryman were nee .led. The mischiesous boys would 

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often blow the conch to get the oM man out." Mr. Wing has this 
to say of Uncle Elihu: 

"Although Uncle Elihu's accustomed place in the Friend's meeting, 
which he regularly attended though not a member, was upon the 
'rising seats,' he was evidently averse to talking much of his 
religious views, for it is related of him that, when questioned upon 
that subject by a travelling preacher while the ferry boat was in 
mid-stream, the old man pretended to be very hard of hearing 
and replied as he poled the boat vigorously, 'Yes, about half way 
across;' and upon a repetition of the inquiry, he said, 'Yes, yes, 
about half way across, half way across,' and so evaded the ques- 

He was very much opposed to the building of a bridge, declar- 
ing that he could see no sense or reason in such a thing; but the 
bridge was built and the old ferryman's occupation was gone. The 
bridge was built in tS32, and as the old man lived until October, 
1841, he had many chances to cross it if he so wished. Mr. Wing 
further says, "The several roads leading from the main highway 
to the river had been but private ways, but even the one leading 
to the ferry had a gate across the upper end, upon which Tom 
Lloyd, the schoolmaster, had painted the words, 'To the Ferry,' 
but the establishment of a bridge necessitated the laying out of 
a public way, and to this need the Bridge street of today douDt- 
less owes its origin." 

As I have said, the bridge was built in 1832, and the late Peleg 
P. Akin told me that he was the first to cross it, being carried 
in the arms of his nurse across a planking. Mr. Wing, in one of 
his Register articles, gives an interesting account of the old toll- 
house and also of the present building, which I copy in full, as 
probably no better account could be written. 

"Relegated to a position in the back yard near the river's edge, 
the original toll-house connected with the Bass river lovv^er bridge 
now serves as a general storehouse. Its successor, moved a little 
back from the site occupied by it previous to the time when hy 
action of the state legislature the bridge was made free, is a more 
pretentions building, which furnished a residence for the toll- 
keeper. It formerly had an extension of the roof over the side 
walk. Upon this projecting roof was a larpe sign giving the rates 
of toll for all possible combinations of vehicles, passengers and 
quadrupeds. The first toll-keeper whom I remember was Micajah 
Baker, who also served in later years as telegraph operator. Tlie 
toll-house was a favorite resort evenings for men and boys. On 

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throe sides of the room wore wooden honches which were gener- 
ally filled, while Mr. Baker occupied a chair tipped back, in the 
part of the room farthest from the outer door. A stone water 
pitcher always stood upon the shelf close by, which was exceed- 
ingly popular, especially when the tobacco smoke was thicker than 
usual; Mr. Baker used to declare that boys walked all the way 
from Provincetown to drink out of that pitcher. The writer well 
remembers one evening when the pitcher seemed to bo nei-dected 
more than usual; but the cause was apparent when it was learned 
that there was no water in it. After a time a schoolmate volun- 
teered to fill it. Ho took the pitcher, was gone about the usual 
length of time, returned and set it in its accustomed place. The 
first one who sampled the contents, made a wry face, quite per- 
ceptible to the knowing ones, but said nothing and resumed his 
seat. The explosion came when the second person stepped for- 
ward, and then the fact developed that the pitcher had been filled 
with salt water from the river. The joke was greatly appreciated, 
but that boy wasn't asked for a long time to fill the pitcher again. 
Occasionally, during the long winter evenings, the shrewd boy 
trader having molasses candy and cornballs for sale came in. and 
trade in that line was generally lively for a time. As the hour 
for the coming of the evening mail drew near, the attendance in 
the room gradually diminished, and when word came of its aetual 
arrival, there was a general rush for the postoffiee. David Smith, 
a Mr. Gaboon and another person whose name I do not. now recall 
served as toll keepers after Mr. Baker." 

Of course the river has always entered largely in the life of the 
village, but even this has changed in the course of years. Bass, 
which were once plentiful in the river, have long since passed 
it by. and within my recollection one could catch quantilii's of' 
bluefish with a hook and line from the banks at the mouth of the 
river. Clams, quahaugs and oysters were once to be had in return 
for a little labor; now even the clam is found in small numbers, 
while the other two are almost strangers. The "oldest inhabitimt" 
can remember when the river was almost devoid of eel-grass that 
makes it now so shallow, while the salt marshes were not in evi- 
dence to a great extent, the shores being clear white sand. 

On the street leading to the ferry lived Captain Benjamin Tripp, 
and his son, Joseph Tripp, lived in one half of the bouse or in 
the ell. Captain Tripp commanded the schooner "Polly" and was 
in til." lumber ianini'ss. 


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The street beginning at the residence of the late Peleg P. Akin, 
now owned by his daughter, Mrs. G. W, Tupper, and continuing 
down to what is known as the "magnesia factory street," was then 
merely a passage way and was called "Cat alley." On one side 
was Uncle Zcno's apple orchard, and below the Edward Gifford 
house were salt works as far as what is now called the "red 
house," and on the shore were two salt mills, one owned by Edward 
Gifford and the other by Prince Gifford, his brother. 

The Lewis Crowell house came next. The "red house," also 
known as the "witch house," was built, says Mr. Wing, by Joseph 
Crandon, generally known as "Old Cran," and sold afterwards to 
Samuel Farris, great-grandfather of .William R. Farris. Captain 
Isaiah Crowell bought the place in 1808 with a strip of land ex- 
tending from the river to Main street, the northwesterly portion 
of which is now owned by the Owl club, the building now their 
headquarters having been erected in 1S27. 

An interesting story is told of the porch of the "red house." It 
seems that in 1812 the owner desired to build a porch as an 
addition to his house, and sent to New Brunswick for the lumber. 
When the vessel bringing the lumber reached Chatham it was 
pursued by a British privateer. The captain ran his vessel a^ihore 
and he and his crew escaped in boats. The privateersmen, seeing 
that the cargo was only lumber, sailed away, having first, however, 
set fire to the vessel. The captain and crew of the burning ves- 
sel, seeing the enemy disappear, returned to it, put out the fire, 
floated the craft and proceeded on the voyage, delivering the cargo 
in due time. Some of the timbers were charred, but were used and 
may be seen to this day if one is inquisitive; at least they were 
seen by the men who were working upon the house a few years 
ago. Levvis Crowell lived in this house until he died, and after 
him, his son, Captain Hatsel Crowell, who was lost at sea. Hatsel 
had three children; the oldest became a sailor and disappeared, 
no one ever knowing his fate; the other two grew up and both died 
of consumption. Since that time the house has had many occu- 
pants but at present is the summer residence of Charles D. 

Mr. Wood says he well remembers when the Isaiah Crowell 
house was Ijuilt, (1830) as he and anotlier boy were sent to Deimis 
to inlorm the Friends that there would be a "raising" in the 
morning and a P'riends meeting ii the afternoon. It was T>aiah 
CrowL'lTs gi'andcliild who was the last person to be married in I lie 
meeting liouse. He was captain of a ship in early life, and in liio 


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war of i8I2 his vessel was captured off St. Johns, Newfoundland, 
by a British cniiser. He had made several successful voyages pre- 
viously, which had brought hirn in a large amount of money, so 
that, for the days and the place, he was considered a wealthy man. 
He was for thirty-seven years director of the Yarmouth National 
bank, and for eighteen years its president. His son, Henry G. 
Crowell, lived at the old homestead for many years. He was a suc- 
cessful business man in Boston and held many positions of trust 
under both state and city governments. 

Coming back now to the street that runs past the front of the 
Peleg P. Akin house to Main street, we find that the spot now 
occupied by the dwelling of Captain Joseph Allen was Uncle Zeno 
Kelley's apple orchard, and the space was filled with trees, which, 
as a lady who well remembers them said, were full of pink and 
white blossoms in the spring time, and she never passes the spot 
but she seems to see them and smell their fragrance, as she did 
in the days of long ago. As I have said before, these trees, or 
those that remain, though very old, still give forth fruit in their 
season. , 

Pointing out the house now occupied by C. F. Purrington, Mr. 
Wood said that when he was a boy it was owned and occupied by 
Robert Wing, a boat builder. His shop is now Mr. Purrington's 
woodshed. "The land was bought of David Kelley, senior, in 1810. 
The frame of the building was originally intended to be erected on 
the old ferry road in West Dennis." (D. W.) His barn then 
stood near Main street, nearly opposite the town pump, and was 
moved to its present location by Mr. Fearing, who owned the 
place later on. He was a large, stout man of rather genial dispo- 
sition, I believe. He had a fine garden and grapery in which he 
took much pride. A man told me that when he was a boy, Uncle 
Robert hired him to take away a pile of stones from one end of 
his garden and place them at another spot, and when he had fin- 
ished the work to the old man's satisfaction, he told him to take 
them back and place them where he found them; this was his way 
of helping a boy to earn a little spending money. The house re- 
mained in the Wing family for many years, and was at one time 
the homo of Franklin Fearing, who married Maria Wing, a sister 
of Stephen and Daniel Wing. Mr. Fearing was the proprietor of 
the magnesia factory, of which I shall have more to say later on. 
He was a man of more than ordinary education for this section in 
those days; a man of great intelligence; a man of genial dis- 


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position, kind-hearted and a thorough gentleman. He served as a 
member of the school board for many years. 

Opposite the Robert Wing house and next to the orchard was 
the pump and block shop of Prince Gifford, which was afterwards 
made over into a dwelling house in which Captain Jonathan Sears 
lived, and later on Bernard L. Baker, for many years the village 
postmaster. Prince Gifford was a very stern and austere Quaker 
with — as was not uncommon with the Friends in those days— but 
little sympathy for other religious beliefs than his own. It was 
this rigidness that was, in my opinion, the main reason why the 
Friends have gradually lost their footing in this country; it did not 
appeal to the young, and when the religious world became more 
liberal the Friends found it hard to give way. It is true that 
they too have grown more liberal, that the Friends do not insist 
upon the strict observances and penalties of years ago, but the 
change came too late. And yet after all, to me there are no 
sweeter memories than those of the old Friends and of their meet- 
ings. When Prince Gifford built his shop, he insisted that it 
should be built close to the line of the orchard and of the side- 
walk, and so it was built, as may be seen today. The house next to 
the shop was built by Uncle Zeno, who lived there for awhile. b\it 
it afterwards became the property of Prince Gifford and his chil- 
dren still occupy it. 

Next to this house was a little country store kept by Silas 
Baker and later still by his brother, Braridock Baker. 

Next to the store and on the corner of Main street was a small 
house also built by Uncle Zeno. Afterwards it was purchased by 
the Methodists for a parsonage, although previously it was owned 
by David Wood, who was the village blacksmith and whose first 
shop was near the cellar house, but afterwards he used his barn 
for the purpose. Mr. Wing recalls his business advertisement, 
which read somewhat as follows: 

"Diamonds of the finest water. 
Horses shod on scientific principles 
at the shop of David Wood." 

He moved to New Bedford and was for many years a letter car- 
rier in that city. Previous to its removal, this liouse was, accord- 
ing to Mr. Wing, occupied by "Jim Hudson," later by Timothy Akin, 
David K. Akin and his wife Rachel, Doctor Green, and Silas Bakor 
and his wile Rulh H. 

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Silas Baker pilofed (lio first stoaml)oat that ovor sailed into 
Boston. It was a sort of seow, with no declv, and wood was used 
for fuel. Coming from the westward and arriving off Bass river, 
Captain Baker was lak(-n on board as pilot around the Capo. My 
own recollections of Silas Baker are not very clear, but I remem- 
ber his wife. Aunt Ruth, who was the principal speaker at the 
Friends mer-ting for a groat many years. She was a kindly old 
lady, and at New Years used to have a liberal supply of coinballs 
and other tempting things for tlie children who came to wish her 
a "liappy new year." I can remember seeing her walking to Quaker 
meeting leaning on the arm of Uncle Silas; and I can remember 
her speaking in meeting and how I used to watch her as she 
deliberately untied her Quaker bonnet of drab, passed it to the 
one sitting next to her, and then rising and in a voice of remark- 
able clearness spoke the words that came to her mind, I remember 
that she very often had something to say to "my dear young 
friends." I recall them all now,— Aunt Betsey Akin, Aunt Rhoda 
Wing, Aunt Tamsen Gifford, and aftei'wards Aunt Lizzie Stetson,— 
as they sat upon the "high seats." To me there were never such 
beautiful women to look upon, excepting my own mother: they 
always gave mo' the impression that they indeed communed with 
God. We have all remarked the beautiful countenances of the Sis- 
ters of Charity that we have seen upon the streets; they may 
not have regular features, they may not possess the physical linos 
of beauty, but there is something in their faces that makes one 
think them beautiful: and that was the impression upon my yotuig 
mind when looking at those older women of the Fiiends in their 
quaint but becoming attire. I could not tell you why it was so, 
but the impression has always remained in my memory. 

To the outsider, the men of the Quaker meeting always appeared 
stern and sedate, but they were by no means free from tho spirit 
of life and enjoyed thoir joices a;id bits of humor as well as 
anyone. They were just, but sharp in business and generally got 
the best of a bargain. At tlie same time, they were full of kindness 
and hospitality and I think this world, bounded by the limits of 
South Yarmouth, was better, morally and socially, at that lime 
than it will ever be again. 

Before leaving the house of Silas Baker, later the property of 
Mrs. Sarah Br'ay, I wish to speak of Aunt I'anny Wliehlen, a rel- 
ative of Aunt Ruth's who li\ed with her many years. Aunt I-"anny 
was what many call a "sliouting .Meifiodist," and scemod to enjuv 
her rcliL;i(»;i in proper! ion to the noise she coulil n.iake in ex- 

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24 • i :• —OLD QUAIvER VILLAGE— 

pressing her feelings. Undoubtedly she was a very excitable 
woman by nature and found in this way an escapement valve for 
her pent up feelings. I have sometimes thought that living in a 
quiet Quaker family was too much for her and that after repress- 
ing her emotions for a whole week she let them flow forth at the 
regular Sunday night prayer meetings. I well remember her as 
an old woman, going to meeting in winter with her foot stove in 
one hand and a huge muff and cane or umbrella in the other. She 
sat in one of the side pews near the pulpit and was always 
present at prayer meetings, for in those days there were preach- 
ing services morning and afternoon and prayer meeting in the 
evening on the Sabbath. At these latter services Aunt Fanny was 
in her element and her "amen!" and "bless the Lord!" were inter- 
jected at all times. I am sorry to say that those of the younger 
generation saw much to smile at, and I suppose I was not any 
better than the other unregenerates, who did not understand that 
it was simply her way of expressing her joy and happiness. One 
of her favorite expressions was "Praise be to God!" and one even- 
ing while she was speaking some young people, unable to restrain 
their mirth, left the church, whereupon Aunt Fanny, pointing her 
finger at them, cried out, "There they go, straight to hell! Praise 
be to God!" 

Going back to "Cat alley" and to the new house built by Isaiah 
Crowell, we find but three houses on the street leading to Main 
street, the first being that occupied by the Owl club, which was 
built in 1827 by Daniel Wing, senior, the father of the present 
Daniel Wing. The ell of the house has been raised since those 
days, and the present social hall of the Owl club was formerly a 
barn. Daniel Wing, senior, was born in Elast Sandwich in 1800. He 
was the youngest of ten children of whom four have lived in 
South Yarmoutli, viz.: Rose, wife of Zeno Kelley, Robert, George 
and Daniel. Daniel came to South Yarmouth in 1823 or 2A and 
tended salt works. In later years he associated himself with Silas 
Baker under the firm name of Baker & Wing and was interested 
in several fishing Aessels that fitted out from Bass river. They 
also carried on the business of general country store in the build- 
ing between the Prince Gifford house and that of Silas Baker. He 
was a very popular man in his day and had many friends. He 
died in 18i2. 

Mr. Wing gives the following description of the country store 
spoken of above: 

"They dealt in gi'ain and must have had the usual difficulty in 


getting back sundry ba?s loaned to customers, for a notice posted 
in this store by a young clerk, Joseph Dudley by name, ran as 

'No bags to lend; no bags to let; 
You need not tease; you need not fret; 
You need not twist; you need not wring; 
For you'll get no bags from Baker & Wing.' 

This clerk, who w^as quite a mechanical genius, devised a plan for 
keeping loafers from sitting on the dry goods counter, which was 
at once original, unique and decidedly effective. Certain needles 
connected with levers were concealed below the field of action, and 
the apparatus could be set in motion by a person sitting at a desk 
near the front window." 

Opposite the Daniel Wing house is one now occupied by Frank 
L. Baker. When .Mr. Wood was a boy. Doctor Green, one of the 
two physicians of the place, lived there, and I am of the impression 
that he built it. He used to go about the country on horse back, 
his medicines in his saddle bags, and was a most popular physi- 
cian and man, I should imagine from what I have been able to 
learn. The house afterwards came into the possession of Loren 
Baker and later still into the hands of his son, A. H. Baker, a 
man of whom those who knew him will always have the kindest 
of memories. 

Between this house and that of David K, Akin. Mr. Wood told 
me, used to stand the little schoolhousc maintained by the Friends, 
although previously it stood on the land now occupied by Captain 
Whittemore (formerly Elisha Taylor's). Among the teachers were 
H. P. Akin, Rebecca Akin, Mary Davis, Sylvia G. Wing and Eliza- 
beth Sears. I remember the little building when it stood on the 
road leading to the magnesia factory. It was afterwards taken by 
Peleg P. Akin and used in the making of additions to his house. 
I do not know whether there are any photographs of the little 
building in existence, but it was very small with an entry on the 
front, and I should imagine could not contain more than twenty- 
five pupils at the most. 

On the corner of the street, facing Pleasant street which runs 
now to the lower village but at that time only as far as the 
house of Orlando Baker, stood and still stands the residence of the 
late David K. Akin, (now the property of Captain Joseph M. Lewis) 
a staunch old Quaker and a man for those days of wealth and 

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26 i ' ; : • —OLD QUAKER VILLAGE— 

importance. He was president of the Yarmouth National bank for 
many years and one who commanded the respect and trust of the 
community. As liis residence was next to that of my father's, I 
have most vivid recollections of him as a kindly, genial gentle- 
man, who was always a warm friend of all the members of my 
father's family. I have previously spoken of the little jewelry 
store that he kept on the street leading to the cellar house, which 
building is now standing on Bridge street. I have most interesting 
recollections of a pear tree that stood in his garden, near to the 
line of my father's fence, which, when I was a boy, was loaded 
down with tempting fruit, which he liberally gave to me from 
time to time. 

His son, Peleg P. Akin, lived in the Zeno Kelley house on the 
road leading to the ferry, where he died in January, 1903. The 
present generation is familiar with his life and it is not necessary 
for me to insert any eulogies of him in this place. He was a 
man of a naturally retiring disposition, never coveting honors, 
and yet never shirking the duties of public trusts thrust upon 
him. The savings bank of the place owes much to his fidelity 
and because of the fact that the depositors had the utmost confi- 
dence in his word. It was not his money that made people speak 
well of Peleg P. Akin; it was the worth of the man and the man 

Opposite the house of David K, Akin was and is an open field, 
and at the lower end, near the river, was a public "pound" in 
which were put stray cattle, but that disappeared years ago, as 
there were no cattle to put in it, but in those days there were 
large droves of cows that were driven to different places for pas- 
turage; one place in particular I remember being "old field," for- 
mely called "Kelley's Neck," in West Dennis. Every morning a 
boy collected the cows from different parts of the village and 
drove them over to that place and every night went for them, 
always finding the cows patiently waiting at the gate to be driven 

liefore leaving the David K. Akin house I would speak of three 
negroes who were at one time brought from the South by this old 
Friend and who for years lived in South Yarmouth. Eli and Noah 
Morgan and their cousin, Dempsey Ragsdale, were slaves, whom 
their master wished to set free. (This was of course before the 
war.) David Akin brought them North and took charge of the two 
Morgan boys, who were at that time 16 or 18 years of age, while 
David Kelley took Dempsey, who was nearly white. They all 




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attended school in the village, made rapid progress in their studies, 
and at length started out to make their own ways in the world. 
Dempsey went to sea and from what I can learn, was soon lost to 
view; Eli became master of a vessel, and Noah went into business 
in New Bedford, and both became men who were greatly respected 
wherever they were known. Previous to this, David K. Akin had 
taken into his house a young colored girl named Lizzie Hill, who 
was a great favorite with everyone who knew her. She grew up 
with the other young people and in later life married and went 
as a missionary to Africa, where she died. 

The next house to David K. Akin's was that of Elisha Jenkins. 
This house was probably built by Cyrenus Kelley, at least it was 
of him that my father bought it. It is with some hesitation that 
I write of my father, as my account might be tinged and biased 
by the deep affection I have for his memory, but in another 
place I shall take the liberty of inserting one of Mr. Daniel Wing's 
letters to The Register, that, coming from one outside the family, 
may be taken for an honest opinion of my father as a man and 
as a citizen. He was born in West Barnstable, and in his early life 
worked at his trade in the South, but eventually drifted to South 
Yarmouth, where he set up the business of shoemaking. He mar- 
ried Mary G. Crowell of West Yarmouth; her two sisters, Sophie 
and Harriet, married South Yarmouth men, and the three houses or 
homes were on the same street. In his early days my father 
was considered an excellent singer; he was always very fond of 
music, and it is from him that T get my taste for the same art. 
Both my father and mother were exceedingly fond of reading, 
which taste was handed down to all of the children. 

I have only one story to tell of my father, which I heard from 
my mother: 

One winter's day a man came home with him to stop all 
night. I do not recall his name, but I think he was one of the 
many who had worked for my father. Anyway, he was going out 
to join the Mormons and evidently hoped to secure a convert. He 
and my father sat up all night discussing and arguing religious 
questions, while at the same time, the guest was trying to con- 
vince his host of the truth of the new doctrine and urging him 
to leave all, go with him and become a Latter-Day Saint. "And 
that," said my mother, "is as near as we came to becoming Mor- 
mons." Not very near, for I fancy that my father did not get the 
worst of the argument. 

Nearly opposite my father's house was that of Captain Emery 

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Sears, according to Mr. Wood, which later on became the property 
of Zeno Baker. Mr. Wood could tell me no particulars of Captain 
Sears, but I recall Zeno Baker veiy well. He was a man of excel- 
lent education and in winter, when he did not go to sea, he taught 
school. He taught in the present building, in the old red school- 
house, in Dennis and other places, and was, for those days, an 
excellent teacher of the commoner branches. He was also a 
superior penman and the pages of the secretary's records when he 
was on the school board are beautifully written. 

I remember two stories he used to tell of his experiences as a 
teacher; one was of a note he received from the parent of one of 
the pupils, which read: 

"pies smiss Mary to recis." 

The other was of a boy who had two brothers, Coley and Luke. 
One day they were all absent, and the next day upon being ques- 
tioned as to the reason, the boy replied, "Coley, Luke and I, sir, 
we stayed home from school, sir, 'cause Sally had a sore toe, sir." 
But why Sally's infirmity should prevent the boys from attending 
to business I never learned. 

It was from a tree in the corner of the lot next to Zeno Baker's 
that all the so-called "silver leafs" came. I think the original 
was brought from Maine. We acknowledge they are often a 
nuisance, but at the same time what would the village have been 
without them? They are handsome trees, they grow rapidly, they 
have done much to beautify our streets; we wanted just such a 
tree, but we did not want so much of them. 

Next to Zeno Baker's was the house of George Wing, a brother 
of Robert and Daniel Wing, senior, now the property of Mrs. 
Chase. Its appearance then was much like that of its neighbors. 
At one time it was occupied by Joseph Rowland, who came from 
New Bedford, belie\ing that one could find peace and an absence 
of temptation in a village of Quakers. 

Then came the house of .James Davis, recently moved nearer the 
river and changed beyond recognition of its former self. He had 
an adopted daughter, Amelia B. Russell; a son, Russell Davis, and a 
son, William P. Davis, foi' many years cashier of the First Nation- 
al bank of Yarmouth. Russell Davis was one of those eccentric 
people who are found in every country village. He was known as 
"Lord Russ," and stories told of his eccentricities would fill a book. 
In appearance he was short and thick set, with a merry, laughing 
face and the rolling gait of a sailor. He was an old bachelor, but 


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report said that he had had his romance like most others. After 
the death of his father he built himself a house in the fields near 
the river, half way between the upper and lower villages. The 
living room was decorated or papered with pictures cut from mag- 
azines and illustrated papers, which were not inartistically arranged 
or grouped. In one corner of the room was his berth or bunk, 
similar to those on board ship, for although he had never been to 
sea, he delighted in everything pertaining to it, and in his leisure 
hours fashioned some of the most beautiful of miniature ships. He 
was a great reader; one might say of him that he devoured books, 
often sitting up all night to finish a story that particularly pleased 
him. One of his peculiarities was to imagine himself a poet, and 
as the result, he wrote so called poems without number. Unfor- 
tunately, he had no idea of rhyme or rhythm, which at times re- 
sulted in making his effusions rather amusing reading. He was 
always ready to read them at the meetings of the "Lyceum" and 
they were published in the local papers from time to time, which 
gratified his pride and really hurt no one. 

Across the road from the James Davis house was that of Orlando 
Baker, which Mr. Wing considers as one of the oldest in the place, 
116 years at date of writing. According to Mr. Wing, it was built 
by Michael Croweil, and conveyed to Benoni Baker and his uncle, 
Obed Baker, in 1799, the former of whom lived there when he was 
first married. Michael Croweil was in active business in 1792. He 
was an uncle of Lewis Croweil and lived in a hollow between Cap- 
tain Zeno Baker's and the river. He also owned the tract be- 
tween Main street and the river and between the town landing and 
a line not far from the old magnesia street. Lewis Croweil lived 
there before he moved to the "red house." Orlando Baker's gar- 
den came across the present street leading to the lower village, for 
Pleasant street ended at his garden and the street leading to the 
magnesia factory. His farm sheds were down that street on the 
other side of his garden. He was one of the original members 
and a pillar of the Methodist church; a man who lived, to the 
best of his ability, upright before God and man; more than that 
none of us can do. 

Between the two houses of Orlando Baker and Elisha Jenkins, 
who by the way, married sisters, was an open piere of land just 
wide enough for a building and Elisha Taylor of West Yarmouth, 
who also married a sister, purchased the same and built the house 
now owned by Captain James L. Whittemore. 'Squire Taylor, as 
he was called, no\er did any manual labor in his life; his father 

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left him a lilLle money and by a life of almost pemirious savin? 
he accumulated a fair fortune, the income of which supported him 
and his wife. For many years he was a victim of the "shaking 
palsy," which affected both his limbs and his speech, so that it was 
almost impossible for a stranu.H- to understand a word he said. Tii 
his younger days he was consiclered a man of sound judgment and 
just. He served the town as selectman for twenty-six years. 
which showed that his townspeople appreciated his worth, or else 
showed that in those days there was no great desire for office, 
and considering that there was no money in it and very little 
glory, it is not to be wondered at that men were kept in office for 
a quarter of a century. A position of that kind in these days 
carries with it precious little glory, but the financial reward is by 
no means small in proportion to the amount of work it entails. 

Leading from the Orlando Baker house was a road to the river, 
and at the foot of it was the magnesia factory, Init not in M\\ 
Wood's boyhood days, for it was not built until 1850. The first 
factory was burned two years later and then the second structure 
was erected by its owner, Franklin Fearing. After his death the 
Wing brothers carried on the business for a time, but the 
rapid diminishing of the salt works made it impractical to con- 
tinue it and the building was taken down. 

From this point until we come to the place where now stands the 
summer residence of Freeman C. Goodeno, there were no dwell- 
ings, excepting upon the main street. All the land was covered 
with salt works, which business, as far as South Yarmouth is 
concerned, must have begun about 1811, according to estimates made 
by Mr. Wing, although the making of salt by solar evaporation 
dates back to 1770, and in 1802, according to the reports of the 
Massachusetts Historical society, over forty thousand bushels of salt 
were thus made on Cape Cod, several years before South Yarmouth 
had built its first \at. Tu 1837, 30.5,000 bushels of salt were manu- 
factured in the town of Yarmouth valued at §110,000, so that it 
can be easily seen that when the industry got fairly on its feet 
it increased I'apidly and was a financial success. 

From the house of Selim Baker (now Osborne White's) fo the 
house of Hatsel Crosby, tlu-re w.-re no houses, but a large area of 
salt works extended to the river, not to mention many other 
"stretches" of works farther down, oven to the lower village and 
on the other side of Main sti'es't clear to tlie woods. H was — or 
rather would be today — a novel sight: those lon^c lines of co\ei'cd 
vats containing sail walei' in \ai-ious stages of evaporarion, while 

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on the shores were at one time eight mills, whirling and pumping 
water from the river. 

It is a great pity that a few of the salt works and at least one 
mill could not have been preserved. Few have any idea of the 
picturesqueness of the river at that time; artists were not long in 
finding it out and for awhile they were often seen in this region. 
Then came the era for improving things, and, as is generally the 
case, the improvements have cost far more than could ever be 
realized at the time. The actual value of an old mill as a market- 
able piece of property was not great, but its value in attracting 
people to the village and in making it something differ- 
ent from other villages was untold. The salt works were a 
never-failing source of pleasure to the boys; they furnished "slides," 
to the detriment of one's clothes; they furnished fascinating places to 
play robbers and pirates; the "coolers" in w^hich salt was handled 
made splendid canoes, and there were almost a thousand and one 
entertainments that the salt works and the surroundings furnished. 

Having made our tour of the side streets of the village, wo come 
back to the corner of Main and Bridge streets. On the Long pond 
road, the left hand side going to Yarmouth, was the house of 
Amos Farris, but on the right hand side there was nothing but pine 
woods down to the house of David Chu])b; then we came to the 
house of James Covill (later Isaiah), whore Sidney Chapman now 

Next to it was Reuben Farris's house. Ho was the miller. It is 
a low one story house, with a kitchen that goes thi"> whole length 
of it, and other smaller rooms on the same floor. It was 
thought in those days that the kitchen was the principal and most 
important part of the house, and in some respects it is still. 
Uncle Reuben was a Universal ist, and naturally in a community of 
Friends and Methodists he was not religiously at home, so when 
the Universalist church was built in South Dennis he att.Midcd 
services there. The next tenant of the house was his son Samuel, 
who also succeeded him as miller, and later on his grandson, 
William R., lived tliei'e for a number of years. 

The next house, that of Mrs. R. D. Farris, was not built until 
185G, and the store not until IHGG. R. D. Farris was, in the earlier 
days, a successful merchant. He learned tli(> trade of harness 
maker of Benjamin Hallett in Yarmouth, the old shop now b'Mng 
next to A. Alden Knowles's store, I believe, and used by Mr. 
Knowles as a carriage house or barn. His first stoi'e or shop was 
a little building now usi.'d by Mrs. Phoebe Farris as a woodhouse. 

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He gradually added tinware, stoves, etc., and finally groceries. He 
was naturally a trader, being shrewd and watchful to keep up with 
the various changes. His first wife was Mercy Easton, and, as he 
has often told, they went to housekeeping in one room of his 
father's house. Later on he built the Mrs. Phoebe Farris house 
and later still the one next to the store. 

At the head of Bridge street on Main, was a house occupied by 
Richard Kelley and later by the Widow Hovey, who kept a board- 
ing house, and later still by William Crocker, Loren Baker and 
then by Braddock Baker, whose heirs owned it until it was bought 
by Abiel Howard, torn down and the present house erected. 
Braddock Baker kept the general store previously run by Baker & 
Wing. He was a short, heavy man, with stooping shoulders which 
impressed him firmly in my boyhood mind. He was one of the 
original members of the Methodist church, and undoubtedly did 
much to put it on its feet when it was young and struggling. I 
can remember that both he and his wife were speakers at the 
prayer meetings, and I also remember that when I was a boy, on 
being sent to his store in the morning and not finding him in, I 
would go to his house and generally find him at family prayers. 
My errand or presence never shortened the service, and I had to 
wait until the last verse had been read and the last "amen" said. 
He had several children, among them Darius Baker, judge of the 
Supreme court of Rhode Island, who at one time was my school 
teacher. One little thing I remember in connection with the Judge 
was that one day I took up a volume of Shakespeare which he 
had been reading, and being too young to know anything of the 
merits of the great bard, although a book of any kind possessed a 
fascination for me, I asked if it was "good." He turned to me and 
said very impressively, "We do not speak of Shakespeare as 'good'; 
it is very interesting." That was a lesson for me, and I never 
forgot it. 

In the late Mrs. Delyra Wood's house lived William Farris, father 
of Allen Farris, who lived farther down the street. His' wife, Aunt 
Liddy, was a large woman, a good, motherly soul, who was one of 
the greatest talkers I have ever known. She would come over to 
my mother's house as far as the door, in too much of a hurry to 
come in, and there she would stand and talk for half or three- 
quarters of an hour. Her daughter, also named Liddy, and wife 
of Zeno Baker, was one of the smartest women to work and one 
of the kindest of neighbors. I shall never forget Aunt Liddy Baker, 
for she spanked me for stealing her pears, and strange to say, my 

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mother whipped me for the same offense when I got home! 

The present Methodist church is but little over sixly years old, 
so that we can hardly speak of it as "old." It was not standing 
when Mv. Wood was a boy, and was built after I was born, so 
we will simply say it is growing old. 

But in the yard or enclosure leading to the present schoolhouse 
there was a building, "the little red schoolhouse," the old district 
schoolhouse, which now stands back of the bank and is used as 
a storehouse. Here Mr. Wood went to school; here Mr. Wing 
went to school, to Zono Baker as teacher. Mr. Wood remembers 
David Kelley as his teacher at one time, and Sophia Crocker of 
West Barnstable. Tlie curriculum was not extended, but the "three 
Rs" were well taught and the ground work well laid for a higher 
education if the pupil was ambitious to go farther than the dis- 
trict school could take him. Spelling schools and spelling contests 
were popular in those days, and the old schoolhouse witnessed many 
an exciting time in such diversions. 

The present schoolhouse, built in 1855, ended the usefulness of 
the old building, wdiich was removed to another location and used 
for more ignoble purposes. The marks of the seats, the depres- 
sions in the floor, the names written on the plastering, are still 
there. The fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the present 
schoolhouse took place in June, 1905, and was participated in by all 
the pupils of the public schools of tlie town. 

The house of Zenas Wood, in which his son, Orlando Wood, lived 
during the last years of his life, stood next to the schoolhouse 
grounds, and was built by Moses Burgess. He came from West 
Jiarnstable, worked at his trade, that of a carpenter, and built for 
himself this house. Later, he moved back to his old home. Or- 
lando F. Wood was a notable example of a young old-man. He 
was born in the village in 1825 in a house that stood upon the 
spot now occupied by the paint shop of Manton H. Growoll. As 
a boy he attended school in the little old red schoolhouse which 
stood on the present school grounds, at the little Friends' school- 
house which stood on land of the late David K. Akin, between his 
house and that now occupied by Frank L. Baker, and at the 
"academy." Ho went to sea when a boy, the principal incident of 
which was that he fell from aloft and narrowly escaped death. He 
worked in the "rope-wnlk" and later learned the tailor's trade in 
Soutli Yarmouth, which trade he practised in Xew Bedford and 
Boston, eventually reluming to his native village, where he lived 
iniiil his death in I!M1, at the age of 8G. 



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Next to the Zeiias Wood liouse stood the shoe shop of Elisha 
Jenkins, my father, and it is to Mr. Wing that I am indebted 
for the following, which was published in the Yarmouth Register: 

"Tlie shoe store now owned and occupied by j\Ir. E. T. Baker 
and situated on Main street, is an enlargement of the long, low 
building where, some years ago, shoes were both made and 
sold. At one time a number of young shoemakers from Lynn 
were employed there. They were full of fun and frolic, and in 
those days of practical jokes, if a neighbor's horse was found in 
the morning, gaily striped with bright colors, or if some sailor 
man was unable to open any of his outwardly swinging doors 
because of a chain cable passed entirely around his house and at- 
tached to an anchor set deep in the lot on the opi>osite side of 
the street, the mischief was quite likely to be charged to the 
shoe-shop employes. 

"So far back, however, as the memory of the writer reaches, 
Elisha Jenkins was the proprietor and sole occupant. A man of 
more than ordinary intellectual power, a deep thinker, possessed of 
a wonderful memory, a reader of good books, a lover of history, 
intensely patriotic, fond of young people, instructive in conversa- 
tion, the writer will always feel indebted to him for the pleasure 
of many an hour spent in his company. All through the Civil 
war, when news of more than ordinary interest was expected, the 
arrival of the evening mail would almost invariably find an at- 
tractive audience assembled at his shop, listening with breathless 
interest as some one read aloud the latest news from the seat of 

"I can see now the rack of lasts at one end of the room, with 
a wooden bench in front of it; cases of boo!:s (long-legged ones) 
standing here and there; the cobbler's bench of the proprietor in 
the southwest corner, with its depressed seat and its square com- 
partments for wooden pegs, iron nails, shoemaker's wax, bundles 
of bristles, and its usual assortment of awls, hammers, etc., while 
the drawer beneath contained pieces of leather and supplies of 
sundry sorts. 

"The Thanksgiving proclamation of Governor George N. Briggs 
with 'God save the Commonwealtli of Massachusetts' in bold type 
at the bottom, hung on the south wall for years and seemed to 
become one of the fixtures of the place. The wooden post in the 
centre of the room, close by the wood burning stove, was used 
when a customer came in and ordored a new pair of boots or shoos 
to be made expre^^sly for him. \\'ith his hiM>l against the post. 


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the length of the foot was marked on the floor with a knife. 
Close by was the tub of water in which the pieces of leather 
were soaked to make them pliable. The north room contained a, 
stock of boots, shoes and rubbers, mostly arranged upon shelves on 
two of the side walls. Congress boots were unknown to the 
earlier times, and as a boy, the writer can remember with what 
pleasure he went there each autumn to be fitted to a pair of long- 
legged boots, having square patches of red morocco at the top in 
front, and with a stout strap on either side of each. No costlier 
pair since has ever quite equalled in splendor those specimens of 
long ago. Such were some of the attractions for a boy; the features 
which in later years made deepest impressions upon the memory 
were the conversations with the genial proprietor." 

Ebenezer Hallett's house and tannery stood on the spot where 
now stands the house of Reuben K. Farris. It was a low, double 
house, and back of it was a tannery. Later on, Leonard Under- 
wood, a Friend, purchased it and the tannery was discontinued. 
He was a carpenter and lived there but a few years, moving to 
Fall River. When the house was torn down Allen Farris built 
the large double house still standing. 

There was nothing in the way of buildings until we came to "Mill 
lane." The Isaiah Homer house had not at that time been moved 
from Yarmouth, but there were two houses on the northeasterly 
side of the lane. One of these was occupied by Samuel Eaton Kel- 
ley, and was afterwards moved to the corner of Main street, and 
is now the home of Captain Alonzo Kelley; the other is still 
standing and was occupied by James Covill and others. 

Isaiah Homer moved from Yarmouth and was one of our most 
respected of citizens. He had a little shoe shop in one corner of 
his yard on Main street and there he worked for years. He was 
a man who, even in his old age, showed remarkable powers of 
physical endurance and I have often watched him with admii'ation 
as he walked off as smartly and lightly as would a much younger 
man; there was no sign of physical decrepitude. Ho was born on 
the North side in an old house that was undoubtedly the first 
church built in Yarmouth, that is, the framework was the same if 
nothing else; it is known now as the "Hannah Crowell house" and 
is one of the historical relics on the north side of the town. The 
family possesses many old relics of the Homer family, but none of 
them more curious than a bill of sale of a negro, dated Feb. 20, 
1776. In it F. W. Homer acknowledgps receiving from his father, 
Benjamin Homer, forty pounds for two-thirds of a negro named 


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"Forten." According to the late Charles F. Swift, "Forten" lived 
to see his race declared free. 

On the opposite side of Mill lane, on the corner, lived Josiah 
Baker, James Lewis, "Uncle Levi" and others. Of these and their 
families I have nothing to say. 

The old grist mill that stood at the head of the lane was run 
in Mr. Wood's early days by Reuben Farris and in my early days 
by Samuel Farris, his son, and by Romegio Lewis. It was orig- 
inally on the north side of the Cape and was moved to its present 
location in 1782. The people of South Yarmouth made a great mis- 
take when they allowed it to be sold and taken from the village. 
It is now in West Yarmouth on the land of the late Mr. Abell and 
attracts much attention from visitors from all parts of the country. 
A similar mill stands in the lower village. 

Coming to the house now occupied by Ernest P. Baker, Mr. Wood 
said, "In my day old Cato, a negro, had a small house on that lot, 
in which he lived with his daughter. His wife was a full- 
blooded Indian, and at one time they had a wigwam on the land 
which was the garden of David K. Akin, and next to the house of 
Elislia Jenkins." Alden, in his "Memorabilia of Yarmouth," speaks 
of old Cato as living in a wigwvam there in 1797, and he also 
says that in 1779 there was a small cluster of wigwams about a 
mile from the mouth of Bass river. According to -Air. Wing, Cato 
was living in 1831. 

Daniel Weaver's house (now Mrs. Matilda Smith's), was then 
standing. He was a weaver by name and by trade, and wove car- 
pets, probably the once favorite rag carpet. I thought it was he, 
but have since been corrected, who invented a perpetual motion 
machine, which he exhibited to a select company in the academy. 
The company assembled, the machine was produced, but somehow 
it refused to work; the exhibition was a failure and the machine 
went the way of thousands of similar inventions. 

I do not know how old the Heman Crowell house is, which when 
Mr. Wing was a boy was occupied by Minerva Crowell, who had 
three children; Laban Baker owned the other half of the house. 

The Frank Homer house was occupied by John Cannon and by 
Yenny Crowell, grandfather of the late Mrs. Henry Taylor. It is 
related that it was here that his son, Yenny Crowell, met his wife. 
She was passing through the village and stopped to get a glass 
of water; the son saw her, and afterwards married her. Both 
father and son were tall, spare men of rugged frames and great 
endurance. Once upon a time, at a revival meeting, one of the 

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women exhorters and singers asked Uncle Venny if he did not like 
music? He was honest, and replied that he liked singing but he 
hated to hear it murdered! 

In the present house of Mrs. Albert White, although now much 
changed of course, lived Dr. Apollos Pratt, an eccentric old coun- 
ti^y practitioner. The stories told of the old man are without 
number, many of them very amusing. He had two daughters; one 
became the wife of Captain Scleck H. Matthews, and the other the 
wife of Freeman Matthews. The doctor was given to telling won- 
derful yarns; among others, he told of a patient of his who had 
been given up as incurable, but he disemboweled him, killed a 
sheep and substituted the intestines, and the man got well. On 
being asked how it seemed to affect the man afterwards, he said, 
in no way particularly, except that "he had a h 1 of a hanker- 
ing for grass!" One evening while talking with one of his 
familiars, they agreed to see who could tell the biggest lie. The 
other man said he could see the man in the moon. "Well," said 
the doctor, as he gazed earnestly at the sky, "I can see him wink;" 
which certainly required the better eyesight. Mr. Wood said he 
had frequently seen the old man sitting in a rocking chair by the 
window, the floor being worn in ridges where he had rocked back 
and forth, year after year. He died in 18G0, aged 83 years. 

On a short street in the vicinity of the present Staudish hall was 
a little house belonging to Ormond Easton, which was later moved 
to the river opposite the magnesia factory, and was known as the 
"Noah Morgan house." 

There was no house from Dr. Pratt's to that of Barnabas Sears, 
the space being filled with salt works. The Isaiah Crocker house 
was not built then nor was that of David Sears. 

The Barnabas Sears house, according to Mr. Wing, originally 
stood in a field near James pond and was built by Ebenezer 
Baker. It was moved to its present location in 1753 by John 
Kelley, senior. This is the second oldest house in the village; its 
curved rafters, low eves and ancient appearance make it an object 
of great interest to visitors. Barnabas Sears had five sons: Seth, 
who died while a young man, John, Stephen, Barnabas and David, 
all of whom lived near the old homestead, and for years his 
daughter, Elizabeth Stetson, lived in the house. Aunt Lizzie, as 
she was called, was the last of the Quaker preachers of the 
South Yarmouth meeting, and to hear her prayers brought me as 
near the throne of God as T ever expect to be in this world. Her 
words were earnest and simple, but her very earnestness, and her 



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firm belief that her words were heard by the Father, impressed 
me greatly. She was a large woman, and tall, almost masculine 
in many ways, and when she was a girl it is said that she was 
equal to any man in riding a horse or managing one. Of her the 
following story is told: 

When she was a young woman, she was riding through the 
woods one day when she came upon a minister leading his 
horse from the blacksmith's. "Why don't thee ride thy horse in- 
stead of leading him?" she asked, "Because," said the minister, 
"he won't allow me to put the bridle over his head, and he bites 
and kicks so I am afraid of him." "Give it to me," she said, with 
a look of contempt at his ignorance, and jumping from her horse 
she whipped off her apron and flinging it over the horse's head 
deftly adjusted the bridle. "There, friend, a little brains used in- 
telligently may be useful in other ways than in writing sermons," 
she said. "True," replied the minister, "but unfortunately, I do 
not wear aprons." 

Although the houses of the sons of Barnabas Sears were not in 
existence seventy-five years ago, they were men who were looked 
up to in the community. Barnabas, Jr., and John K. were carpen- 
ters and builders, and at one time they had a steam sawmill back 
of their house near the woods, called the "Pawkunnawkut mill." 
Stephen was for many years a teacher, and served the town as 
selectman and as school committee. David, "Uncle David" as most 
of us called him, was one of the most genial souls among us and 
needs no words of introduction to those for whom these pages are 

The next house from Barnabas Sears, senior, was that now oc- 
cupied by Charles L Gill, who purchased it from the estate of 
Reuben J. Baker. Mr Baker, familiarly known as "Blind Reuben" 
because of his loss of eyesight when a boy, was the son of Captain 
Reuben Baker, whose wife, Louisa, afterwards married William 
Gray. In many respects he was a remarkable man, for in spite 
of his blindness he carried on a successful grocery business for 

Next to this house was that of Captain Freeman Baker. Mr. 
Wing says that opposite this house, in the middle of the main 
road, was a house belonging to the Widow Marchant, the travelled 
'roadway passing on either side. 

The Baptist church was then standing, but it bore no resem- 
blance to the church of today. It stood with its eaves to the 
street and had no belfry or steeple. It bore no evidence of paint 



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without and was very plain within, as plain as the Friends meet- 
ing house. Aunt Lizzie Stetson named it "The Lord's barn." Mr. 
Wing lias this to say of it: 

"At times there was no regular service there, but the young 
people of the village nearby could count with a certainty upon 
the annual temperance meeting as long as Barnabas Sears, senior, 
was living, for his interest in the temperance cause was deep and 
abiding, as indeed it was in the religious society of which he was 
a devoted member. Either side of each aisle was a row of old- 
fashioned pews with high backs. The pulpit was a long, box-like 
affair, some two and a half or three feet above the floor level, 
with steps leading up to it on its riglithand corner. A door at 
the head of the steps kept out those not eligible to that enclosure, 
and a seat along the front of the pulpit was known as the "dea- 
con's seat." The pews at the lefthand side of the pulpit faced tlie 
front of the building, while those in the opposite corner faced the 
pulpit. A lot of lighted tallow candies placed in different parts of 
the room did their best to overcome the natural darkness of the 
place, and when with blackened wicks hanging to one side they 
seemed ready to give up the task, the ever-watchful Father Sears, 
even then an old man, would go around with a candle snuffer and 
carefully remove the charred portions of the wicks and so brighten 
up the place until his services in that line were again needed. 

"Father Sears was a thoughtful, earnest man, highly respected 
by both old and young, and although his quaint language would 
provoke a smile, it was not a token of disrespect, but often of 
pleasure, caused by the reviving of features that all realized were 
rapidly passing away. On one occasion, when some of the smaller 
portion of the audience became somewhat restless and began to 
leave the room, Mr. Sears stopped the exercises and in his usually 
dignified manner said, "All those who want for to go out will go 
out, and all those who want for to stay in will stay in," T think 
there was no more passing out until the close of the meeting, and 
the quaint language and impressive manner remain in my memory 
as a pleasing feature of the occasion. 

"The Baptist church in South Yarmouth was organized in 182L 
The structure itself dates back to the year 182G, when it was 
built at a cost of 6600, the whole amount being paid by Rev. 
Simeon Crowell and Captain Freeman Baker, the former being the 
first pastor there." 

In ISGO extensive alterations were made in it, and in 1891 it was 
again remodeled and put in its present shape. Mr Wood spoke of 


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the church as "Uncle Sim's church," and says that he attended 
Sunday school there and that Lurania Lewis was his teacher. 

He also attended Sunday school at the old Methodist^ rnectinir 
house which stood farther up the road towards West Yarmouth, 
and of wdiich the only present reminder is the cemetery. This 
church, which Mr. Wood calls "Uncle Siley's church," was huilL by 
Silas Baker, senior, who came from Harwich. He died in 18 ii, 
aged 78 years. In a measure. Uncle Siley ran the church to suit 
himself during his life, as, having built it, he thought he had the 
right to do. The Rev. Mr. Winchester was the preacher and Elisha 
Parker was ^Ir. Wood's Sunday school teacher. The worshippers 
"Who came from any distance brought their luncheons and made it 
an all-day duty. On one occasion Mr. Wood had his lunch stolen 
from the pew, which awful crime he remembered all his life, for 
he had to go hungry. The choir was in the long gallery at the 
hack of the church, and a big bass viol was the accompaniment for 
the singers. 

There were two little schoolhouses a little way below or beyond 
the church; one of them near the residence of Jerry Eldridge, the 
other I cannot place, but they were not more than a hundred yards 

Returning up Main street on the opposite side, Mr. Wood said 
there were no houses until we got to that of Mrs. Cyrus While, 
formerly occupied by her father, Captain Barnabas Eldridge, who 
died in 18 iG, aged 4G years, and then a long strip of field laud 
until we came to the little old house that was always known as 
"the old maids'." The occupants of the house were known as "the 
three old maids" although two of them had been married. Robert 
Homer married one of them after a courtship of forty years, and it 
is said that he remarked that he wished he had courted forty 
years longer. These old ladies had very amusing ways and w^ere 
the victims of many practical jokes at the hands of ungodly boys. 
On one occasion they were routed out of bed in the middle of the 
night by some young men who asked if they had seen a red and 
white cow pass that way. They had not, and the young men were 
advised to go over to "Brother Freeman's and ask him." The 
young men I'etired, the door was shut and the old ladies presum- 
rdtly had returned to their beds, when again came loud rappings 
at the door; another procession from the bedrooms, and there stood 
the same young men, who said that they thought they would come 
h:ick and tell them that "Brother Freeman" had not seen the cow! 
1 tiave thought it a gJ-'Nd pity tlial those old ladies coul.l not 

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have sought comfort in a few swear words. When the last of this 
trio died, the contents of the house were sold at auction and among 
other things an old bureau, in the lining of which the purchaser 
found a $100 check which proved to be good and was collected. 

The present building of Mrs. Sturgess Crowell was then standing, 
occupied by Captain Elisha Baker, as was the house occupied by 
Elisha T. Baker. Of the latter, Mr. Wood said that he remembered 
that Solomon Crowell had a little dry goods store in one of the 
front rooms; later it became the property of Mrs. Baker's father, 
Captain Frederick White. 

Then we come to the old house known as "Major Dimmick's," 
formerly owned by Major D. Baker, "Major" being his name and 
not his title as one might infer. Old Uncle Amos Baker lived there, 
but what relation he was to J^Iajor I do not know. 

The house of Peter Goodnow was not standing, but his father 
had a house by the river exactly upon the spot where is now the 
summer residence of his grandson, Freeman G. Goodnow. 

The Hatsel Crosby house was built with the front door on the side, 
the carpenter, Job Otis of New Bedford, who drew the plans, having 
the idea that Main street ran north and south ordered the front 
door on the south side, supposing that it really would be facing 
Main street and upon the front side of the house. It was built by 
Uncle Russell Davis, who lived there with his wife Phoebe. He 
was a brother of James Davis, and a Quaker preacher. Hatsel 
Crosby came from Brewster and went into the salt making business. 
He married several times and had a large family of children, 
none of whom, however, live in South Yarmouth. He died in 
189G, aged 89 years. 

From this point to the house of Selim Baker the section was 
given up to salt works, and all of the houses on this side of the 
street are comparatively new. Selim Baker's house was built some 
years before the salt works were taken down. He was a carpenter 
by trade, a man prominent in church affairs and much respected. 
His daughter, Mrs. Osborne White, lives in the house, which has 
been, greatly changed. 

The Academy came next; it sat well back from the street. It 
had a belfry and a bell— the only school building in South Yar- 
mouth that ever did — and w\as quite an imposing looking structure. 
It was built in 18i'i and owned by the citizens of the place, and 
was used as a private school, the idea of its promoters being to 
furnish better educational facilities for their children than could 
be fomid at the district school. That its reputation during ils 

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short career was high was shown by the fact that a large nuinl)er 
of pupils came from away. It ceased to exist as a school when 
the present public schoolhouse was opened in 1855, and was con- 
verted into a dwelling house in 1862, after having been moved close 
to the street, by the father of the present Zonas P. Howes. Mr. 
Alonzo Tripp was the first teacher, and Mr. Adams the last. 

The house formerly belonging to Mrs. Elisha Parker and now to 
the heirs of Benjamin Homer, was built by William P. Davis, but 
be did not live in it many yeart for he accepted a position in 
the Yarmouth National bank and was cashier of that institution 
from 1875 to 1895. He also was town treasurer for over fifty years. 
Elisha Parker, who bought the house of him, was then living in 
the lower village. He was at one time in the shoe business, and 
later during the Civil war was very successful in the wool business. 

The next house was that of xVunt Mima Wood, which stood near 
the spot where now stands the house formerly occupied by Dr. 
E. M. Parker. She was the widow of Tilson Wood, and her son 
David used to wheel her to Friends meeting in a wheelbarrow; she 
died in 1841. Frank Wood built the present house. He was a 
stone mason, and did the stone work on the abutments of the Bass 
river bridge, and split the stone for the foundations of his own 
house from boulders on Town Hills. He died in 1853, aged 50. 

We now come to the place from which we started, the corner of 
Main and Bridge street. The house on the corner was built in 
4831 by Abiel Akin for his son Joseph, who was a brother of David 
K., aTid like him interested in salt making. Joseph Akin had three 
children, Catherine, Frederick and Charles, the last of whom only is 
living. Catherine Akin was a remarkable woman in many respects 
and especially in the ambition she possessed and in the power of 
will that enabled her to fit herself for a position in the world 
which she occupied. When hardly more than a girl she began to 
teach in the little district school in Georgetown, studying nights 
to keep ahead of her classes. Later she was the principal of a 
iKxirding school which became famous as "^liss Akin's school" in 
Stamford, Conn. Throughout her life her friends remained loyal 
to her and her pupils loved her and became her friends. She was 
always very fond of her native village, and it is in the old Quaker 
cemetery, within siglit of the river she loved, and where the ever 
murmuring pines sing a requiem, tlmt she sleeps. 


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One old Quaker forbade his son to go upon the ice, but in 
coming from school they passed the pond, and his companion, 
venturing upon the ice, fell through and would have been drowned 
but for the aid of the boy who had been forbidden to go. He 
did not dare to tell his father about it for fear of the con- 
sequences, but the old gentleman heard of it, and while commending 
his son for saving his companion's life he thrashed him soundly 
for disobedience. 

The old Quakers were averse to worldly music; to them it was 
one of the snares of the evil one. It is related that one of them 
beat his son soundly for playing upon a jews-harp, and when 
some of the apprentices in a neighboring shoe shop got possession 
of a fife and drum he closed all the windows and doors to keep 
out the sinful sounds. 

Another good old Quaker lady was so worked up over the 
singing of hymns at the Methodist church, which she could hear 
from her house, that she declared she "had rather hear it thun- 

Two young men who did not possess as much of the Quaker 
sanctity as they should, considering their bringing up, but who did 
possess a deal of worldly desires, shut themselves up in an old 
salthouse and while one played on an old flute the other danced 
a breakdown. Then they came forth, feeling that for once they 
had been like other fellows and thoroughly wicked! 

The late Catherine xVkin used to delight in telling the follow- 
ing story, and although it loses much of the real humor it 
possessed when told by herself, for she was an inimitable story 
teller, it will give one an idea of the strictness of those early 

It seems that Miss Akin had a piano in her father's house, an 
innovation looked upon with a great deal of disfavor by the old 
Quakers, and while they did not openly make objections, it was 
known that they thoroughly disapproved of it. Miss Akin's mother 
had a gathering of the Friends to tea, and on that occasion it was 
thought best to close the piano, so that even the sight of it might 
not cause offense; its cover was put on and books and other things 

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arranged so that it would not be too noticeable. In the eveninfr 
someone, probably more worldly minded, asked Miss Akin to play 
something, which she of course declined, evidently having been 
coached by her parents, and her father said that perhaps the 
others would not approve of it. "Well," said Aunt Ruth, after a 
pause, "thee might play something if thee played it very slow." 
What she played, whether it was a quick-step in the time of "Old 
Hundred" or the "Dead March" from "Saul" I do not know, but it 
evidently gave satisfaction. Someone told Miss Akin that they saw 
Uncle Silas and Aunt Ruth, at another time, standing by the win- 
dow while she was playing, but what they thought of it slie never 

As in all country villages, occasionally there has been one whose 
mind has given away, and years ago there was a man who went 
insane upon religion. One of the pleasures of the boys in the 
country is the ringing of the bells the night before the Fourth of 
July, being unable to restrain their patriotic feelings longer than 
the last stroke of the bell at midnight. One night they had stolen 
into the Methodist church, made their way up the dark stairs and 
begun to ring the bell, when in walked the aforesaid "crazy man" 
carrying a long butcher's knife with which he threatened the boys. 
He told them to kneel down while he prayed, and said that if they 
attempted to leave he would cut their ears off. And there he 
kept them for hours, kneeling in fear and trembling, while he 
prayed for them, knife in hand, glancing about from time to time 
to see that the boys were properly devout and attentive. It was 
the most quiet "night before the Fourth" that had been known 
for several years, for the boys were in no mood to continue the 
bell ringing when the last "amen" was said and they were released. 


Quoting again from Mr. Wing: 

"The breakwater was built about the year 1837 from material 
which came mostly from Dinah's pond. A continual hawser of 
about four and a half inch size was stretched from the mouth of 
the river to the breakwater site and by its help the scows were 
pulled to and fro. This undertaking proved a failure on account of 
the formation of sand bars on the in-shore side. 

"Work was suspended and the structure has never been com- 
pleted according to the original plans. A wooden building which 


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was erected upon the central portion of the breakwater was set 
on fire and destroyed by sailors some years ago. 

"According to tradition both the old pier and the breakwater 
have received great quantities of smuggled goods in the years of 
long ago. 

"During the war of 1812-15 some of the smaller vessels of the 
English fleet visited this part of the coast and demanded a 
thousand dollars as tribute money. A committee endeavored to raise 
the money by subscription and at last succeeded in securing the 
whole of the amount required. This they sent to the English in 
two installments by a citizen known as "Uncle Abner." The object 
of the business portion of the community was to impress upon the 
minds of the enemy that none but poor ignorant fishermen dwelt 
thereabouts, in order that they might escape the requisition of a 
larger sum. Tlie messenger was well chosen, and an address was 
sent to the "Commander of the British Squadron on the coast of 
Boston Bay" etc. On returning to shore the messenger stated that 
he had been kindly received; was taken to the cabin and that he 
not only delivered the written address but spoke to some length 
to the assembled officers, who listened respectfully, evidently much 
moved by his words of pleading for the poor fishermen. Before 
leaving, the British agreed not to molest any fishing vessel that 
could show a license from Uncle Abner. The English kept their 
word and vessels having the requisite permit from Uncle Abner 
were not disturbed." 


The following extract from the "Collection of the Massachusetts 
Historical society," Vol. YIII, which is headed "A Description of 
Dennis in the County of Barnstable. September, 1802," has been 
handed to ma by Mr. Freeman C. Goodnow, a former resident of 
the village and at the present time the owner of a summer cottage 
here, will be found of interest as it gives a good d(iseription of the 
old pier as it was in 1802, and judging from it we should infer 
that the pier was built in the vicinity of 1800, 

"Half way between the river's mouth and the end of the bar, 
stands a pier 37 feet long and 31 feet broad, on which is a store. 
There is good anchorage 2 cal)les length east of it and 12 feet of 
water at low tide. Common tidos rise hei-e 4 feet. Such is Bass 
river. The harbor which it affords miglit be improved by art. 
•Mr, Sylvanus Crowell, who lives in Yarmouth and wlio built Uic 

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pier, has endeavored to confine the water of the river within the 
main channel and to prevent it flowing through the marsh on the 
eastern side, but his laudable attempts have hitherto failed of suc- 
cess. Persevering labors may perhaps, in time, effect the wished 
for object." 

When the old pier disappeared I do not know, but the irregular 
piles of rock were a guide to those entering the river, for if the 
rocks could not be seen then there was sufficient water to' enter. 
During the War of 1812 it must have been a busy place, vessels 
discharging cargoes, fishermen taking in salt, and purchasing sup- 

From this same article quoted above: 

"On the Yarmouth side (of Bass river) there are six wharfs, 
three near the mouth of the river and three north of it. There 
are here twenty-one vessels, one brig sails immediately for the 
West Indies, ten coasters from 30 to 40 tons burden sail to Boston, 
Connecticut or the Southern states and thence to the West Indies. 
Tbe other ten vessels are fishermen, one of a hundred tons, the 
rest are smaller. The fishing vessels go to the Straits of Belle 
Isle, the shoals of Nova Scotia or Nantucket sound. On a medium, 
a fishing vessel uses 700 bushels of salt in a year. One or two ves- 
sels are annually built in Bass river, chiefly on the western side." 

The article closes with these words: 

"These facts in addition to those which have been made already, 
and which will hereafter be mentioned in this volume, show the 
present flourishing state of the South shore of the county of Barn- 
stable, a part of Massachusetts not often visited and little known." 


of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Sept. 3 and 4. 1902. 

The exercises began on the evening of Sept. 3 with a social 
gathering of welcome to the visitors and the friends of the society. 
The pastor at this time was Rev. A, J. Jolly, who made the opening 
address of welcome. Addresses were made by several of the former 
pastors, and letters read from many who were unable to be present. 
Members of the choir and others furnished enjoyable music. 

The celebration was continued on Wednesday afternoon, and in 
the evening there was a religious service at which the Rev. L. B. 
Bates, D. D., preached the sermon, music being furnished by mem- 
bers of the choir in former days. 

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of the Erection of the Present School Buildings. 
June 9, 1905. 

The celebration took place in Lyceum hall, Yarmouthport, in the 
afternoon, and all the children of the schools were present and took 
part in the exercises. The speakers were Mr. George H. Gary of 
Boston and Mr. Stephen Sears of South Yarmouth. Prayer was 
offered by the Rev. Arthur Varley, Mr. E. W. Eldridge presided, 
Mr. W. A. Schwab gave the address of welcome, and an original 
poem, of which the following is a part, was read by Mr. E. 
Lawrence Jenkins: 

The Old School Buildings. 

Fifty years the staunch old buildings 

Weathered have the rain and snow; 
Stood amid the storm and sunshine, 

Watched the seasons come and go. 

Fifty years within those class rooms. 

Children have been taught to climb 
Up the grand old path of knowledge, 

Leading to the heights sublime. 

Fifty years of grand, brave service, 

Teaching thousands ow to live; 
Storing in their minds the knowledge 

That to others they might give. 

Fifty years have seen the passing 

From their portals to the world, 
Thousands of young men and maidens, 

With their banners bright unfurled. 

And they stand today, those buildings. 

Just as strong and true as then; 
They were builded upon honor, 

They were built by honest men. 

And a thought it is most pleasant. 
They were builded thus to last. 

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E'en as character was builded 
By those pupils in the past. 

* * * • 

Fifty years have others labored 

At the tasks now set for you; 
Many more will follow after, 

Many more these tasks will do. 

May you then strive in the doing 

Just the very best you can; 
Study hard, each day improving, 

Each for each, as man for man. 

* * * « 

Honor to those staunch old buildings, 

Honor for the work they've done 
For our fathers and our mothers. 

And their children, every one. 

The anniversary hymn was written by Mr. E. F. Pierce, principal 
of the high school. 

Tune: "Fair Harvard." 

Far, far through the mists of the hurrying years, 

Away to those days ever dear, 
Fond memory guides us and sings to our ears 

Of that work, sure, far-seeing and clear. 
And shall we forget in this circle so bright, 

Those builders of fifty years gone? 
With steadfastness, foresight, with eyes toward the light. 

They builded for children unborn. 

We breathe the same air of the murmuring seas; 

We tread paths that their footsteps have worn: 
These loved scenes, this dear sclioolhouse, these whispering trees, 

Speak to us, as to them, of life's dawn. 
So, while onward we press, life's full duties to meet. 

Wheresoever our lot may be cast, 
We remember in honor, in gratitude sweet. 

The braNe work of the mfMi of the past. 

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The following interesting article has been, received from Mr. 
Daniel Wing which gives valuable information. 


About the year 1714 there stood on the highway a short distance 
north of Kellcy's bay in what is now a part of Dennis, but was then 
within the boundaries of Yarmouth, a small building owned and 
occupied by the Society of Friends or Quakers as a meeting house. 

For about a century, possibly more, the meetings there were 
attended by members coming from various directions; some of 
them from sections quite distant from the place of worship; and 
there is yet an old roadway in that vicinity known to the older 
generation as "the Quaker path." 

With the opening up of the Indian reservation in South Yar- 
mouth for settlement by whites, the centres of population were 
affected somewhat, and the present Friends' meeting house was 
built in 1809 for the better accommodation of the generation of 
that time. 

In accordance with the custom prevailing in those days, the burial 
place was located in each case upon the grounds adjacent to the 
place for worship. 

In 1875 the grounds of the old site were surrounded by a neat 
wooden fence; but in 1901 the writer received a letter saying, "Alas! 
the fence has fallen; who will restore it?" In 1903 a new wooden 
fence was built, enclosing, however, only that portion of the 
grounds which had been used for burial purposes. 

And now the question forcibly presents itself: Who will, in the 
coming years, see that this ancient cemetery is properly cared for 
and protected? 

For many years the grounds of the South Yarmouth meeiing 
house were enclosed by a wooden fence; but this was eventually 
replaced by a more durable construction of stone and iron. 

The earlier Friends nowhere showed their traits of modesty and 
simplicity more prominently than in their meeting houses and burial 
grounds. The former were marked examples of architectural sim- 
plicity and the latter showed a complete abstinence from ostenta- 
tion and vain glory. 

To these early Friends, Death leveled all human distinctions, and 
in the grave, sinner and saint restod alike so far as outward man- 
ifestations were concerned. A simple mound of earth marked tho 

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last resting place, and no tablet was allowed to distinguish ono 
burial from another. 

Years passed, and a rule was adopted allowing the placing of 
headstones not exceeding eighteen inches in height, with simple 
inscription showing name and age. This occurred not far from 
the middle of the last century. Today although 

"No storied urn nor animated bust 
In grandeur stands above their silent dust, 
The lowly headstones, standing row on row, 
Reveal to us all that we need to know." 

From the earliest days, this place of burial, although owned 
and controlled by Friends, has been essentially a village cemetery. 
Of the first thirty-one adult burials there, less than one-half 
were members of the Friends' society, and when the number of 
burials reached two hundred and sixty-six, less than one-third 
were members by birthright or otherwise. 

The privilege thus extended to persons not connected with them 
by ties of religious belief, shows great neighborliness of feeling and 
emphasizes the thought so prominent in the minds of the early 
Friends, that at the grave human judgment should end, and that 
the merits or demerits of the deceased should be left to God, who 
judgeth not as man judgeth. 

Each succeeding year the membership grows perceptibly less, and 
to one who remembers events connected with those honored people 
of the past during a period of nearly seventy years, a review of 
the former days brings a feeling of deep sadness. 

It seems but yesterday those scenes were laid, 
And yet it needs no prophet's wondrous aid 
To show us that those goodly scenes of yore 
Have long since passed and will return no more. 

Maywood, 111., 1915. , Daniel Wing. 

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And now we come to the last words. 

The editor confesses that there is much more that mipht be 
said; there are many names that might claim a place within 
these pages,— men who were an active part of the building up 
of the village, and who occupied positions that entitle them to the 
remembrance of the public, but the plan of these reminiscences 
is to picture the earlier aspect of Quaker village, rather than 
to form a series of biographies, although the editor confesses that 
at times he has been led away from the original idea. He also is 
well aware that more information could have been procured if he 
had known where to apply for it, but a public appeal through the 
Yarmouth Register failed of responses except in one instance. He 
has done what he could, only regretting that much that is of value 
and interest must, in the course of years, be hopelessly lost. The 
errors that may occur in any of the statements arc such tliat 
could only come from incorrect information; the editor has pre- 
sented it as given to him by various people, as they have heard it 
or it has been handed down to them. 

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