Pigeon Cove and Vicinity
^LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. #
#|M? MU 1» *
\ JMe/f ,EjLS $
$ —4 #
I UNITED STATES OP AMERICA. J
HENRY C. LEONARD.
PUBLISHED BY F. A. SKARLE,
nS Washington Strj i
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
H. C. LEONARD,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
press of john wilson and son.
The author makes acknowledgment of indebtedness
to John J.Babson's "History of Gloucester" for pas-
sages of Local history; to the "Encyclopaedia Ameri-
cana" for the extract from its sketch of Capt. John
Smith; to "Youngs Chronicles" for u Anthony Thatch-
er's Narrative," and a few quotations from relations
of other writers ; and to the " Atlantic Monthly " and
several volumes of the poets from Osgood A: Co.'s pub-
lications for much valuable matter. II-' also renders
thanks to Ebi \ bzbb I'ool, of Rockport, for the help of
interesting records, ami for the aid of other neighbors,
whose names are given in connection with their con-
tributions. Moreover, lie would add that he is con-
fident that the artist, Thomas Lee Bi lson, of Albany,
N.Y^and the engraver, John Andrew, of Boston, will
have the praise which is their due for fittingly adorn-
ing these beautifully printed pages,
C O N T E N T S.
— ♦ —
Topography of Cafe Ann 1
Captain .J<>h\ Smith, the Discoverer 'J
Ancient Trees 15
Origin of the Name Cape Ann 17
Sandy Bat 18
First Si [tlers op Sandy Bat 10
First Settlers op Pigeon Cove 'J<>
Ancient I [odses L'l
The Gate 23
Events op mi; Revolutionary War 24
Apteb ihi; Revolutionary \\'\k 28
Pigeon < Iovb II irbob 29
Shore from Skv 30
Events of im: Last War nun England 32
Sea prom Shore 86
First Scmmi b Visitors 40
The First Pigeom Cove Bouse 4t
The Ni.w Pigeon Cove House 4f)
The Ocean View House 47
The Wat to Pigeon Cove: Railroad 48
The Old Stage and Carriage Road 60
Walk- \m> RAMBLES 65
Carriage-rides, Legends and Ballads 69
Ride to Little Good Harbor Beach and Eastern
Ride to Rafe's Chasm and Norman's Woe 85
Ride to Annisquam 92
Ride to Pebble Stone Beach and Long Beach . . . 100
Fishing and Yachting 104
By Yacht to Annisquam, Gloucester, Grape Island,
The Sail to the Isles op Shoals 107
The Sail to Straitsmouth and Thatcher's Islands . 114
Bathing and Swimming 135
Trees and Flowers of Cape Ann 140
Animals and Birds of Cape Ann 157
Minerals of Cape Ann 176
Chalybeate Mineral Water 179
Sea-Animals, Sea- Weeds, and Sea-Mosses 180
The Conclusion 191
I'KiEON COVE AND VICINITY
TOPOGRAPHY OF CAPE ANN.
r*HE promontory called Cape Ann is the wall
between Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich
Bay. The old common road, extending from Sa-
lem, north-eastwardly along the south shore of the
Cape, through Beverly, Pride's Crossing, Beverly
Farms, W< 31 Manchester, Manchester, Magnolia,
Gloucester Wesl Parish, and Gloucester Harbor, to
2 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Rockport, the terminal town, is sixteen miles.
The road parallel with the north shore of the
Cape, extending from Essex or the Chebacco River
to the mouth of Squam River, and from Annis-
quam Village, on the opposite side of the river,
through Bay View, Lanesville, and Folly Cove, to
Pigeon Cove, the north village of Rockport, is
nine miles. Gloucester, including Magnolia, the
West Parish, Riverdale, Annisquam, Bay View,
Lanesville, and Folly Cove, is the principal Cape
town. It is bounded by Manchester and Essex on
the west, by Ipswich Bay on the north, Rockport
on the east, and Massachusetts Bay on the south.
Rockport, including Pigeon Cove, being at the end
of the Cape, except on the west is sea-girt.
Squam River, mainly an inlet from Ipswich Bay,
with its many branches and coves, and the addi-
tion of a short canal on the Massachusetts Bay
side, known as the Cut, separates from Magnolia
and the West Parish all the rest of the Cape. So
the more populous villages of Gloucester, and
together with these the villages of Rockport and
Pigeon Cove, have their seats on an island. They
are reached from the main land by crossing the
railway bridge in the cars, and the bridge span-
ning the Cut, in the ordinary ways of journeying.
The general aspect of the Cape is rugged. West
of Squam River, granite hills and ledges occupy
the entire territory. Many of the elevations of
Magnolia and the West Parish are craggy and
TOPOGRAPHY OF CAPE ANN. 3
bald, but a large portion of them are covered with
forest. Tompson's Mountain is the highest eleva-
tion of the Cape. Climbing to its dome-like top
on a fair day, the curious, without field or opera-
glasses, easily discern Bunker Hill Monument,
Wachusett, Monadnock, Gunstock, and Agamen-
ticus. Among the hills of Magnolia and the West
Parish, there are swamps fragrant with magnolias
and water-lilies, tangled dales and sinuous brooks,
cultivated meadows, apple orchards, and patches
of vegetables and grain. The small neighborhoods
here and there, and the sequestered homes scat-
tered throughout the rugged precinct, complete the
unplanned but picturesque and charming disposi-
tion of things.
Squam River, with its branches and coves, is
bordered partly by salt marshes, and partly by
rocky points, necks and islands. It is also dotted
with a few rocks and small islands. From its
mouth, or connection with Ipswich Bay, westward
to the Chebacco River, stretches Coffin's Beach,
with its hillocks of white sand, thinly tufted
with coarse, innutritious grasses. The hills near-
est to Coffin's Beach and Ipswich Bay are largely
stripped of their once dense covering of wood ; yet,
to the stranger, they present the unique adornings
of granite boulders, clumps of barberry bushes, and
thickets of blueberry and bayberry shrubs.
Eastward from Squam River, to Gap Head and
Andrews' Point, the southern and northern outer-
4 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
most projections of the Cape, the features do not
differ from those of the district which has been
described. From Gloucester Harbor on the south
side of the Cape, to Annisquam and Bay View
on the north side, extends irregularly a range of
hills, some with broad slopes, and others with steep
sides. The highway from Gloucester Harbor to
Annisquam, through Riverdale, runs between
these hills and Squam River. These highlands are
chiefly bare of trees, but warted all over with
boulders of granite, from the size of a lap-stone
to that of a one-story dwelling. They are deeply
gashed across too, at several points, by dells and
ravines, which drain a few bogs and swamps, and
afford shelter and nourishment to willows, alders,
woodbine, clematis, and wild roses.
Eastward from this range of hills, to the end of
the Cape, the same interchange of hill and valley
continues. Moreover, a great part of this back-
ground of Lanesville, Folly Cove, Pigeon Cove,
and Rockport, extending across the Cape from
Ipswich Bay to Massachusetts Bay, is overgrown
with wood. A spur projecting from the south
side of the Cape, between Little Good Harbor
Beach and the head of the harbor, at Gloucester,
far into Massachusetts Bay, bearing the name of
Eastern Point, is the chief protection of the harbor
of Gloucester. Between Gloucester Harbor and
the Rockport line, there are several hills command-
ing broad views of towns, harbors, bays, and
TOPOGRAPHY OF CAPE ANN. 5
diversified regions of inland. One of the highest
of these is Lookout Hill. On the south side of the
Cape, near the Rockport line, is Little Good Har-
bor Beach. It is walled in on the Gloucester side
by the Bass Rocks, and on the Rockport side by
Salt Island. From Little Good Harbor Beach over
a rocky point, within the Rockport line, Long
Beach is reached ; and next, after fording a stream
and passing a crag, Pebble Stone Beach. From
these beaches, and from the coves and points
farther toward Gap Head, there is a fine prospect
of Milk Island, flat and low, and without trees ;
Thatcher's Island, with its tall light-houses ; and a
wide sweep of Massachusetts Bay, and of the
Atlantic outside. From Gap Head, the southern
extreme point of the Cape, across the Gut to
Straitsmouth Island, it is but a few minutes' toil
with the oars.
The road leading from Gloucester Harbor to
Rockport, after crossing the line, passes through a
farm called Beaver Dam. The cultivated part of
Beaver Dam is in a basin, which may have once
been a lake. In the woods bounding this basin
on the south, and shielded from the sea by the
densely wooded hills near Long Beach, is a lakelet
distinguished as Cape Pond. Being the larger of
the only two considerable bodies of fresh water on
the Cape, this plain name is appropriate. It has a J
rim of pebbles and rushes, and high, precijDitous
surroundings of ledge and wildwood. Near its
b PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
eastern end is a bog of alders and cedars, in which
the herons rear their young. A short distance
from this heronry, on the south-eastern slope of
Great Hill, our artist made his sketch of Cape
Great Hill rises from the basin of Beaver Dam,
and from Cape Pond, abruptly. The road passing
through Beaver Dam, which has been alluded to,
runs over its top. The slope of this height east-
ward, the distance of a mile or more to the shore
of Sandy Bay, is gradual. From the top of this
elevation, the traveller's eye is not only turned
backward and downward into the basin of Beaver
Dam, a charming Sleepy Hollow, pent in by encirc-
ling rocky and woody ridges, and into the deep
and shady hiding-place of Cape Pond, to catch a
gleam of the diamond in its rough but beautiful
setting, but it is uplifted from the hollow and the
shadows, and the glint of the almost hidden gem,
to overlook the hills of rock and forest between
Cape Pond and Massachusetts Bay, and a large
extent of the Bay, besides, dotted with white sails.
Then it sweeps eastward to Rockport village, on
the south-east shore of Sandy Bay, and thence
stretches over Sandy Bay, lying between the south
and the north extreme points of the Cape, and far,
far over the wide sea to the horizon.
Northward from Great Hill is Poole's Hill.
Through the valley between these hills, the Glouces-
ter and Rockport Branch of the Eastern Railway
TOPOGRAPHY OF CAPE ANN. 7
runs. Poole's Hill being higher than Great Hill,
the lover of magnificent landscapes and seascapes,
ascending towards its top, is certain of ample re-
ward for his toil.
Northward and eastward of Poole's Hill are
some of the most extensive granite quarries on the
Cape. And between these quarries and Pigeon
Cove Harbor looms the broad, round, smooth form
of Pigeon Hill. This elevation, belonging to the
grade next below Tompson's Mountain, originally
rough with boulders and shaggy with oaks, pines,
bushes, and brakes, is mainly under the hand of
culture. It would be difficult to find richer fields
of grass and grain than Mr. Rowe's and Mr. Eames's
on this hill. The ascent from the south side of
this height is long and easy ; from the east, more
steep and difficult, but in a grassy lane leading
from Mr. Eames's residence ; from the north, still
more abrupt, and part of the way by foot-paths
through wood and pasture. An observatory sev-
enty-five or a hundred feet high on this elevation
would afford a grander view, and perhaps a more
interesting one in minor particulars, than the one
gained by climbing Tompson's Mountain ; for even
now, without the aid of an observatory, the pros-
pect from Pigeon Hill is excelled nowhere on the
New England coast. On this height, the eye takes
in a portion of Massachusetts Bay ; Sandy Bay,
between the horns of the Cape ; the broad offing of
the ocean ; Ipswich Bay, and the long coast of hills,
8 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
headlands, and beaches from the Chebacco River to
Agamenticus ; and the Buttercups, dark blue hills
near the ancient town of York, in Maine. Other
objects belong to this prospect : on the right hand,
the village of Rockport ; farther toward Gap Head,
Norwood's Head ; Gap Head and Straitsmouth
Island ; and southward from these points, That-
cher's Island and Milk Island ; in front, three
miles from the base of the hill, the Salvages, bare,
savage rocks, with heads just lifted above the
water, wearing a fitting name, albeit as it was
anciently spelled and written ; around the foot of
the hill, the beginning of the village of Pigeon
Cove as it is approached from Rockport ; on the
left hand, close to the foot of the hill, Pigeon Cove
Harbor, with its breakwater, wharves and shipping,
and its collection of buildings ; the post-office,
several stores, a few stone-workers' sheds, groups
of fish-houses, and a score of dwellings ; farther
northward, on ascending ground, the continuation
of the village, comprising the comely church and
the spacious and pleasant summer hotels and
boarding-houses ; farther still, northward, Andrews'
Point, the northern termination of the Cape, partly
clad with hardy oaks, walnuts and pines, and laid
out with winding avenues and gravelled walks,
like a park ; besides, more than a score of miles
from Andrews' Point, the Isles of Shoals ; then far
away on the main land, the villages of Essex and
Ipswich; Indian Hill, in Newbury; Powow Hill,
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH, THE DISCOVERER. 9
in Amesbury ; and Newburyport, on the Merri-
mack. Thus are pointed out some of the grander
general outlines, and some of the finer marks and
dots of the prospect from Pigeon Hill, as seen by
the observer on this height in the present day.
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH, THE DISCOVERER.
What this prospect was more than two hundred
and fifty years ago may be conjectured in part from
Captain John Smith's report of his survey of the land
and coast, which he named New England. In 1614,
after passing through manifold trials and perils in
different parts of the world, the strangest of which
were those of service in the armies of Austria, and
those of life with the early colonists of Virginia,
this great adventurer, in command of two ships
sent from England on a voyage of trading, fishing,
and discovery, came to the island of Monhegan, off
the coast of Maine. Leaving most of the men of
the two vessels to fulfil one purpose of the voyage,
— namely, that of catching and curing cod, then
plentiful thereabout, — with a few men in an open
boat, as in former years on the Virginia waters had
been his wont, he started on the hazardous pur-
pose of discovery. He followed the coast from
Penobscot Bay to Cape Cod. Both by his narra-
10 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
tive, and the chart which he made, the extent of
his survey is shown. He sounded and learned the
depth of many harbors. Two of his tarrying
places for brief seasons were Ipswich and Salem,
then known by their Indian names, Agawam and
Naumkeag. While at Ipswich, his eye scanned
the north shore of our Cape from Coffin's Beach,
or the mouth of Squam River, to Andrews' Point.
He does not say in his report that he landed at any
point on the Cape, but it may be believed that he
touched the shore now and then for a moment's
rest while doubling the great headland ; for, though
he traversed a wide bay, and shaped his course to
pass craggy islands and irregular shores of rock
and sand, favored by calm and mild weather, he
had not many or great difficulties to overcome in
order to land. Besides, there were attractions
presented to his mind, influencing him to so name
the Cape and the three islands near its southern
extreme point as to commemorate the kindness of
a Turkish lady, and also certain of his own roman-
tic achievements. Tragabigzanda was the lady's
name, which he gave to the Cape. The three
islands, Straitsmouth, Thatcher's, and Milk, he
called the Three Turks' Heads. A concise chapter
of his life, so written as to help the reader to see
by what memories he was affected while he made
his way around our " fair headland" from Ipswich
River and Plum Island to Salem, should here be
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH, THE DISCOVERER. 11
In this way it runs : " The Emperor " (of Aus-
tria) " being at war with the Turks, Smith entered
his service as a volunteer. A well conducted and
successful exploit obtained for the youthful adven-
turer the command of a company of two hundred
and fifty horse, in the regiment of Count Melclrick,
a nobleman of Transylvania. In this new situa-
tion, Smith distinguished himself by his talents and
bravery ; and his commander passing from the
imperial into the Transylvanian army, he accom-
panied him. At the siege of Regal, the Ottomans
sent a challenge, purporting that the Lord Turbisha,
for the diversion of the ladies, would fight any sin-
gle captain of the Christian troops. The honor of
meeting the barbarian was decided by lot among
the Christians, and fell upon Smith, who accord-
ingly fought and overcame him, within sight of the
ladies, and bore his head in triumph to his general.
A friend of the infidel, upon this, sent a particular
challenge to Smith, who accepted it, and engaging
with him in the presence of the ladies, as before,
slew him in like manner, and sent a message into
the town to inform the ladies, if they wished for
further sport, they were welcome to his head, pro-
vided their third champion could take it. Bona-
malgro appeared as his antagonist, and having
unhorsed him was near gaining the victory ; but
Smith remounted in a fortunate moment, and with
a stroke of his falchion brought the Turk to the
earth, and added his head to the former trophies of
12 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
his prowess. On his return to the Christian army,
he was received in the most distinguished, manner ;
was honored with a military procession of six
thousand men ; was presented with a horse, ele-
gantly caparisoned, a cimeter worth three hundred
ducats, and a commission as a major. When the
place was captured, the prince of Transylvania
gave Smith his picture set in gold, with a pension
of three hundred ducats per annum, and a coat of
arms bearing three Turks' heads in a shield. After
this, the army in which he served was defeated by
the enemy, on which occasion he was wounded, and
lay among the dead. The victors, discovering him
to be a person of consequence, used him well till
his wounds were healed, and then sold him to a
pacha, who made a present of him to his mistress
at Constantinople. Smith conducted himself in so
pleasing a manner as to gain the affections of the
lady, who, to prevent his being ill-used, sent him to
her brother, a pacha on the borders of the Sea of
Azoph, upon the pretence that he should there
learn the manners, religion, &c, of the natives. By
the terms of the letter the brother suspected the
true state of the case ; and in an hour after his
arrival, Smith was stripped, had his head and beard
shaven, and was driven to labor with the Christian
slaves. An opportunity presented itself for his
escape, which he took advantage of with his usual
courage. Being employed in threshing, about a
league from the house of his tyrant, who visited
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH, THE DISCOVERER. 13
him daily, and treated him in the most abusive
and cruel manner. Smith watched his opportunity
while the}^ were together, and despatched him by
a stroke of his threshing instrument. He secreted
the body in the straw, and securing a bag of grain
mounted the pacha's horse, and betook himself to
the desert, where he wandered for two or three
days, until he came to a post, by the marks on
which he made his way into Muscovy, and in six-
teen days arrived at a place on the river Don,
occupied by a Russian garrison. Here he was
Referring in his description of New England to
the locality now known as Salem, Captain Smith
says : " From hence doth stretch into the sea the
fair headland Tragabigzanda, fronted with three
isles, called the Three Turks' Heads." This lan-
guage gives the impression that the discoverer
took pleasure in thinking that he had found a fit-
ting point on the coast to bear the name of his
benefactress. Whittier, our genuine New England
poet, referring to Cape Ann, in his loving tribute
to the Merrimack, presumes that Captain Smith
gave the Turkish name with as much ceremony as
with his little company he could attempt. Thus
he sings : —
" On yonder rocky Cape which braves
The stormy challenge of the waves,
Midst tangled vine and dwarfish wood
The hardy Anglo-Saxon stood,
14 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Planting upon the topmost crag
The staff of England's battle-flag;
And, while from out its heavy fold
St. George's crimson cross unrolled,
Midst roll of drum and trumpet blare,
And weapons brandishing in air,
He gave to that lone promontory
The sweetest name in all his story ; —
Of her — the flower of Islam's daughters,
Whose harems look on Stamboul's waters —
Who, when the chance of war had bound
The Moslem chain his limbs around,
Wreathed o'er with silk that iron chain,
Soothed with her smiles his hours of pain,
And fondly to her youthful slave
A dearer gift than freedom gave."
Proceeding from his reference to the " fair head-
land," and to the " three isles " fronting it, Cap-
tain Smith further says : " To the north of this "
(the fair headland) " cloth enter a great bay, where
we found some habitations and cornfields." Clearly,
in the beginning of this sentence, Ipswich Bay is
meant ; but, as to the meaning of the words follow-
ing, nothing can be positively said. It may be
considered probable, however, that the "habita-
tions and cornfields " were found somewhere on the
north side of the Cape. Tools and weapons of
Indian manufacture, lately found on Folly Point,
on the northern slope of Pigeon Hill, and near
Pigeon Cove, as well as others like them dug in
recent and in former days from the sands of Cof-
fin's Beach, are silent but admissible witnesses
which strengthen the probability.
A^X , IEXT TEEES.
THE OLD CEDAR.
Moreover, let it not be supposed that there
were no fertile, sunny places for corn on the north
side of the Cape in the long ago time in review.
There were here then giant oaks and lofty pines,
which both attested the strength of the soil and
shielded the cornfields from wind and storm.
Many of these majestic trees stood on Andrews'
Point, and were felled and made into keels and
ribs for ships, within the memory of persons still
living. A few of these trees stand to-day to tell
of the ancient forest grandeur of the " fair head-
land." A dozen or more of them are in the Bab-
son pasture, inside the highway passing Halibut
Point. One old oak near Pigeon Cove Harbor,
occupying scant ground between ruts made by
wheels carrying granite to the breakwater, and
Mr. Merchant's coal-yard, if it were like Tenny-
son's " Talking Oak," would no doubt rehearse
the incidents of three hundred years. Still in the
16 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
spring-time it puts forth leaves on its shrivelling
branches, and in the autumn wears its coronal of
richest hue. A red cedar, without question as
THE OLD O.vK.
ancient as this " Old Oak," and showing but a
hint of its former beauty in its top, fashioned now
somewhat like a crow's nest, leans landward over
a wall, near Hoop Pole Cove, seeming to say : " I
have braved and resisted the tempests of three
centuries, of more years than the white men have
been familiar with my surroundings ; } T et now I
must die and give place to the group of hardy
children at my side. May not their life be short-
ened as mine has been by the axe and knife of
irreverent and careless hands." On high ground,
overlooking this tree and Hoop Pole Cove, the
villager sees a thousand objects on land and ocean,
instructive to his thought, striking to his wonder,
and pleasing to his fancy ; but none of these
objects touch his heart more certainly, as with a
human voice of grave and tender tone, than the
ORIGIN OF THE NAME CAPE ANN. 17
" Old Cedar," the age and endurance of which
have been the subject of fireside converse through
generation after generation of his kindred before
ORIGIN OF THE NAME CAPE ANN.
In " Hubbard's Narrative," as given in " Young's
Chronicles," Cape Ann and the Three Islands
near its head are alluded to as having easily set
aside the Turkish names which from 1614 they
had borne. " Neither of them glorying in these
Mahometan titles," says the narrator, Rev. Wil-
liam Hubbard, of Ipswich, " the promontory
willingly exchanged its name for that of Cape
Anne, imposed, as is said, by Captain Mason, and
which it retaineth to this clay, in honor of our
famous Queen Anne, the royal consort of King
James ; and the three islands are now known by
other names." As to the relation of the origin
of the new name, Dr. Young says : " This is a
mistake. The name was altered by Prince Charles,
in honor of his mother, Anne of Denmark. See
Mass. Hist. Coll., xxvi. 97, 99, and xxiii. 20."
Mr. Hubbard died in Ipswich, Sept. 14, 1704,
18 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
The part of the ocean at the end of the Cape
lying between Gap Head and Straitsmouth Island
on the south, and Andrews' Point on the north, in
the first chapter of this book alluded to as Sandy
Bay, has borne this name since the da}^ of the first
settlers around it. It is a semi-circular bay, bor-
dered by a shore notched with little indentations
called Coves. The seaward granite borders of
these coves have been massively and solidly built
upon with stone to a great height, so that safe
harbors for stone-sloops, coasters, and fishing-craft
have been made. The harbor at Rockport, on the
south side of Sandy Bay, is a double one with two
entrances. The harbor at Pigeon Cove, on the
north side, is a single basin with one entrance, and
that is close to the shore, approached from the
south. Two or three smaller harbors between
these two are occupied exclusively by stone ves-
sels. Between the harbor of Rockport and the
harbor of the Granite Company, — the latter, half-
way to Pigeon Cove, — there are three beaches,
separated from each other by narrow, jagged necks
and points of granite. From these beaches arose
the name borne by the Bay.
Across Sandy Bay, from Andrews' Point to Gap
Head and Straitsmouth Island, the distance is
FIRST SETTLERS OF SANDY BAY. 19
about four miles. From Rockport or from Pigeon
Cove eastward to the Salvages, or the Savage
Rocks, it is three miles. The Salvages unfold their
harsh and cruel character when vessels are tossed
upon them by the storm, or when they encounter
them in thick, bewildering fog.
FIRST SETTLERS OF SANDY BAY.
Prior to 1700, the inhabitants around Sandy Bay
were few. There remains to day on Gap Head the
cellar of a house which was probably occupied by
John Babson in 1695. The land which he held at
that point was granted to him to use as a fishing-
station. The wildness of his surroundings may be
imagined from the circumstance that one day he
encountered a bear, which he killed with a knife,
since he had no other weapon with which to deal a
deadly blow, and so free himself from the fierce
animal. Taking off the skin of the bear, and
spreading it upon a rock to dry, at the end of the
neck which is the middle ground between the two
parts of the harbor at Rockport, he gave occasion
to the Chebacco or Ipswich fishermen, passing in
their boats and catching sight of the bloody thing,
to call the neck the name it is known by to-day, —
20 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Babson did not permanently fix himself at his
fishing-station. In 1721 he sold the property and
Richard Tarr was the first permanent settler near
Sandy Bay. It is nearly certain that he located
on the south side of Davison's Run before Babson
began his fishing enterprise on Gap Head.
John Poole soon followed Tarr, and built a
house on the north side of Davison's Run.
Several years rolled by before other settlers
joined these two.
FIRST SETTLERS OF PIGEON COVE.
In the beginning of the seventeenth century a
few persons took up their abode near Halibut
Point, Andrews' Point, and Pigeon Cove ; namely,
Samuel Gott, William Andrews, Joshua Norwood,
Jethro AVheeler, Jethro Wheeler, Jr., and Thomas
Harris. These, and two or three others who
settled near Pebble Stone Beach, were the only
and not very near neighbors of Tarr and Poole.
ANCIENT HOUSES. 21
THE OLD HOUSE.
A gambrel-roofed house near Halibut Point was
the home of Samuel Gott. Being on high ground,
its inmates of the departed years were favored, as
are those who occupy it to day, with a broad view
of land and sea.
Another habitation known as the " Old Castle,"
on the ledge overlooking the harbor of Pigeon Cove,
now surrounded by other dwellings, was the abode
of one of the Wheelers. Architecturally, the
"Old Castle" is unlike the "Gott House," its
front roof being of the ordinary slope, its back roof
descending to within a few feet of the ground, and
its upper story jutting over the lower, in the man-
ner of a block-house. Its craggy site, once wild
and unshorn, no doubt suggested the name by
which it is now called.
Still another house, more ancient perhaps than
these dwellings just described, the residence now of
Joseph Babson, is honored with the distinction of
22 PIGEON COVE AND VICENTTY.
being the " Old House." It stands in a field, a
short distance from the Pigeon Cove House. But
a part of this edifice is more ancient than its ven-
erable neighbors. The tradition is, that this part
was erected in 1692 by two young men, as a safe
retreat for their mother, who had been proclaimed
a witch. So far from the settlements of Salem,
hidden in the deep woods, the misunderstood and
persecuted woman was beyond the reach of the
hangman. Joshua Norwood enlarged and improved
this house, and for some time made it his home.
In 1740 he left it, and moved to Gap Head.
Since then the " Old House " has been several
times modified by additions and adornings, so that
it is admired for its comely modern as well as its
venerable features. Its thick oaken walls, low
rooms, great corner-posts and cross-beams, ample
chimneys, and small window-panes, make a pleasing
contrast with the showy but less substantial dwell-
ings built in the present day. Its extensions
and verandas, overrun with woodbine and flower-
ing vines, and its dark paint, like weather-stain,
are in harmony with its older parts and its
From the beginning of the Pigeon Cove settle-
ment to the Revolutionary War, the gain in popu-
lation was small. The few persons who occupied
the farms between Pigeon Hill and Folly Cove
had communication with one another for many
years only by a rough cart-road and by narrow
foot-paths. Near Pigeon Cove Harbor, where the
good road of to-day begins to ascend toward
the Pigeon Cove House, a gate crossed the way.
Among the records of the town of Gloucester,
there is one item referring to this gate which was
written January 4th, 1722, and signed by three
commissioners and Jethro Wheeler. It is suf-
ficiently interesting to have place here : " Granted
to J. Wheeler about four acres of land joining his
own : And is in consideration of, and full satisfac-
tion for, the way going through his land, and for
his tending and maintaining a good and sufficient
gate or gates for cart or sled to pass through for-
ever, whenever any have occasion to pass over
24 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
EVENTS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
During the eventful period of the Revolutionary
War, some of the sea-fights, and occasional visits
of British men-of-war in search of forage or on
murderous intent, attracted the attention of this
Many of the Cape men, being fishermen and
sailors, and thrown out of employment, engaged in
privateering. And, inasmuch as their first ven-
tures in this new business were made in their own
fishing-craft, and within sight and hearing of their
own homes, the people on shore, especially on the
outermost points, sometimes witnessed the taking
of British vessels. Some of these vessels came
from England, and some from Nova Scotia and
other British Provinces, with supplies for the
British troops stationed in Boston. One Provin-
cial brig, having in her hold coal and iron, and on
her deck live-stock, slowly feeling her way along
in dense fog, and hearing at length the roar of
breakers, dropped anchor off Flat Point. Nothing
being visible for the fog, and the surf at the right
beating against Straitsmouth Island, and the surf
at the left beating against Thatcher's Island, and
the surf directly forward beating against Flat
Point, raved so threateningly, that there was for
the brig but the chance to wait for the fog to clear
away. The fog lifted, but only to give a man on
EVENTS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 25
shore a glimpse of the brig, and to settle down as
before. There was no time lost in making known
at the point where Rockport Harbor now is the
character and situation of the stranger. A fishing-
vessel soon hailed her, and was allowed to make
fast to her side. Then a strong crew, enlisted for
the purpose, too strong for the men of the brig to
resist, broke out from the hold of the little craft
and took possession of the rich prize. The cattle
were landed immediately, and put in the hill-side
pasture overlooking the middle beach of Sandy
Bay. The brig was then taken to Wheeler's Point,
in Squam Harbor. After her coal and iron had
been mostly secured, she slid from her bed near
the shore into the channel and sank.
An ordnance ship from England, bringing to
the British troops in Boston valuable war material,
such as small arms and cannon, and a monster mor-
tar, was captured and brought into Gloucester
Harbor. The ordnance, much needed by the
Americans, was hauled over land to Cambridge,
where it was gladly received by Washington.
But all the sea-conflicts near the Cape were not
successful for the privateers. This is shown by
Mr. Babson in the " History of Gloucester " in his
account of the capture of the " Yankee Hero."
This vessel had been built for privateering at
Newburyport. On a fine June day she started for
Gloucester to " complete her armament and crew.' ,
" On the same day a large ship appeared off the
26 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Cape, which seemed to be clumsily worked, and
to have but few men on board. Supposing she
could be easily taken, the people of Sandy Bay,"
then grown to the number of three or four hun-
dred, "made preparations to board her. They
were urged on by Lieutenant Poole, who on this
occasion showed more valor than discretion. He
persuaded Captain Rowe, against his own better
judgment, to join in the enterprise ; for the latter
had some suspicions that the vessel was a ship-of-
war in disguise. Every mechanic, fisherman, and
farmer, that could be found, was enlisted, to the
number of twenty ; and, having procured three
fishing-boats, they proceeded fearlessly to the at-
tack. They had scarcely left their moorings,
when the 4 Yankee Hero ' hove in sight, coming
round Halibut Point. The boats steered directly
for her ; and, upon getting alongside, the men
were received on board by Captain Tracy," the
commander, " who eagerly declared his readiness
to attack the British ship. The boats were sent
back, and the brig made all sail and stood towards
the ship; into which, as she got within cannon-
shot, she let off a broadside. The ship immedi-
ately opened two tiers of ports, and sent such a
broadside in return as satisfied our Cape men of
their mistake. Poole wished to board the ship,
and carry her sword in hand, or die in the attempt ;
but his advice of this reckless measure was un-
heeded, and a fight commenced almost under the
EVENTS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 27
ship's guns. The brig maintained the contest about
an hour ; at the end of which, having spent her
ammunition, she struck to the British frigate ' Mil-
ford,' of thirty-six guns. The brig's last gun was
filled with pieces of iron, spikes, and a crowbar.
The latter, being the only missile left on board,
was thrust into the gun by Poole, who when he
went on board the frigate as a prisoner discovered
this new implement of Avar sticking through the
bits of her windlass. It was called by the British
sailors the ' Yankee belaying pin.' '
Early in August, after the Bunker Hill battle of
the 17th of June, 1775, a British sloop-of-war, the
" Falcon," several days hovered round the north
shore of the Cape. She spent her time while in
Ipswich Bay impressing men from vessels and
boats, and sending barges to the shore here and
there to take cattle and sheep. One day she sent
a barge to Coffin's Beach to get sheep from Major
Coffin's farm. The sturdy major, and five or six
of his neighbors whom he had mustered, from be-
hind sand-hills fired well-aimed rifles so rapidly at
the approaching enemy, that the latter, believing
that a much greater force withstood them, beat
a retreat. Afterwards the same barge went into
Squam Harbor to cut out a vessel, supposed to be a
West Indiaman, deep in the water with a valuable
cargo ; but the vessel was found to be heavily
laden with sand. Subsequently the "Falcon"
sailed into Massachusetts Bay, and entered Glouces-
28 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
ter Harbor, holding in hand a West Indiaman,
which she had captured, as a prize, and pursuing
another, to double her success. But she was so
hotly opposed by the brave men on shore, that
she fled to sea, leaving the two Indiarnen, several
barges, and thirty-five men as the cost of her
AFTER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
Forward from the close of the Revolutionary
War, the population at the end of the Cape, within
the limits of the territory known since 1840 as
Rockport, increased rapidly. Mr. Babson, the
careful and thorough historian of the Cape, records
the " striking fact " that this " latest settled por-
tion " of the Cape " had, up to 1840, outstripped all
the older localities in a proportionate increase of
population." " This growth," he says, "is attrib-
uted to the success of the shore-fishing for most of
this period, to persevering industry in agriculture,
and the quarrying of stone ; to all of which the
economy and other good habits of the people have
been important auxiliaries."
PIGEON COVE HARBOR. 29
PIGEON COVE HARBOR.
Since the shore-fishing could be carried on only
in small boats, and the people became ambitious
to engage in larger business, the artificial harbors
which have been mentioned were built to afford
anchorage and shelter to vessels of heavy tonnage.
These harbors of Rockport and Pigeon Cove were
badly damaged by the great storm of 1841. At
Pigeon Cove, the wall which received the brunt of
the storm gave way and fell, and the vessels in
the harbor were destroyed. A higher, firmer, and
more extended barrier now occupies the place of
the one demolished, and one would not suppose the
sea would ever rise to such a pitch in wrath as to
make this great work of thirty years in building,
and still in building, a ruin. But some idea of
the force of the sea in the time of wind and tem-
pest may be got, by visiting at the end of Andrews'
Point an immense block of granite, of a hundred
and fifty tons' weight, which, in the disastrous day
for the harbor, was wrenched from its solid bed,
and whirled over twenty yards to the spot where
it lies. The huge block would seem more ex-
posed in its new place than where it had been
packed thousands and thousands of years, but there
it rests during the toughest gales, warding like a
giant the blows of the waves, or, unaffected, tak-
ing all their poundings till their rage is spent.
30 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
SHORE FROM SEA.
THE VILLAGE AND ANDREWS' POINT.
The town of Rockport to day, the town of two
villages, which are almost united by a chain of
habitations stretching from one to the other on
a single road, as seen from vessels crossing Sandy
Bay, or from the Salvages, three miles from shore,
or from the steamers and other craft, large and
small, passing the outermost points of the Cape, is
one of the prettiest of the sea-board towns. Seven
churches and chapels, representing different forms
of Christian belief; the town-house, ample and
convenient for the purposes of the building ; the
school-houses, erected and used to answer the ends
of education ; the extensive steam cotton-mill, built
SHORE FROM SEA. 31
of granite, and made imposing with two massive
towers ; the isinglass and glue factories ; the hide
factory ; the granite quarries on the woody middle
and northern background, advertising themselves
to the eye through scores of lofty derricks, and to
the ear through powder-blasts loud as reports of
heavy ordnance ; and the hotels for summer visitors,
on the high grounds north of Pigeon Cove Harbor,
— all these prominent objects, together with the
more numerous and less marked, belonging to the
plan of the town, indicate the achievements of a long
series of peaceful years. How great have been
the victories of peace ! A charming picture to the
vision of the passing mariners from every commer-
cial land ; especially to that of the increasing
thousands, who, every midsummer, while resting
from the toil of hand and brain, and avoiding the
fervors and pestilences of the crowded cities, not
only resort to the places of pure air and grateful,
cooling breezes for comfort and health, but also
indulge the inclination for yachting, and for enjoy-
ing from point to point, as they sail, the fine views
of the shore from the sea : views to be kept in
memory as better than wealth, or all that one
might gather and hoard in a lifetime of unbroken,
The sketches of the sea-fights of the Revolu-
tionary War will not be forgotten. Such bloody
encounters are exceptional and startling, and strain
the nerves ; but if, for right and justice, they
32 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
must take place, they take on and wear the dignity
and glory of lofty endeavor, of generous and noble
self-sacrifice. Stories of such conflicts will be
written in books and repeated among the tales of
the fireside from year to year for centuries.
EVENTS OF THE LAST WAR WITH ENGLAND.
It has been seen what the old seafaring men of
the Cape did, scarcely more than a cannon-shot
from the abodes of their wives and children, in the
first war with Great Britain. So something should
be related here of the similar action of their sons
on our waters in the last war with the same
" In August, 1813," (Mr. Babson's History is
again quoted), "the British ship ' Nymph,' then
cruising off the coast, commenced depredations
upon the fishermen and coasters, and occasioned
considerable alarm among the inhabitants. She
made several captures ; but her captain released his
prizes upon the payment of a ransom, for the pur-
pose of raising which the masters of three coasters
and six fishing-boats were ashore at one time. The
amount then required was two hundred dollars for
each vessel. Resistance in all these cases was, of
course, useless ; but in one, in which the force of
EVENTS OF LAST WAR WITH ENGLAND. 33
the enemy was less formidable, our people de-
fended their property successfully. Some time in
August, one of the enemy's cruisers, of about sixty
tons, called the ' Commodore Broke,' stood into
Sandy Bay, with the intention of taking one or
more loaded coasters then lying at anchor there.
Having neared the shore, and wishing, perhaps,
first to try the courage of the people, she fired sev-
eral large and grape shot into the village ; upon
which the men of the place assembled on the
Neck, and from the north-easterly part of the old
wharf, where they had a small cannon, began to
fire upon the enemy with that, and also with their
small arms. At this time the captain of the
cruiser had commenced to sweep out of the bay ;
but the Cape men did not let him escape without
showing him a token of their spirit and skill, for
the first cannon-ball they fired at him entered the
schooner under her transom, and passing under
deck came out near her stern above water. The
firing upon the vessel was kept up from Bear-
skin Neck, and the men at Pigeon Cove gave her
several musket-shot as she passed their shore, but
she got off without further damage ; and our
people, by their bravery, preserved a considerable
amount of property.
" A more important affair occurred in September
at Sandy Bay. The people at that place had, in
the spring of this 3 T ear, erected at their own ex-
pense a fort on the point of Bearskin Neck, and
34 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
procured for it three carriage-guns, which were
placed in charge of a corporal, with a detachment
from one of the companies at the Harbor "
(Gloucester). " On the 8th of September, the
British frigate ' Nymph ' took one of the fishing-
boats belonging to the place ; and her skipper
(Captain David Elwell) was compelled to act as
pilot for two barges, full of men, which the captain
of the frigate determined to send in to get posses-
sion of the fort. These barges started from the
frigate about midnight, and, hidden from sight by a
dense fog, were rowed with muffled oars towards
the Neck; and, having reached it, one of the
barges proceeded into Long Cove, and landed her
men at what is called the 4 Eastern Gutter.' The
enemy then marched to the fort ; took the sentinel
by surprise ; made prisoners of the soldiers, four-
teen in number ; spiked the guns, which they threw
out of the fort. The other barge went into the
old dock on the western side of the Neck ; where
her men soon encountered some of the people of
the village, who had been roused by an alarm given
by a sentinel stationed on the Neck, not far from
the houses. It was now daybreak, and a clear
morning. Several musket-balls were fired at this
barge by three of the Cape men, who got in return
cannon and grape shot, but received no injury
from them. To silence the alarm-bell, which was
now ringing, several shot were fired at the belfry
of the meeting-house, one of which struck one of
EVENTS OF LAST ¥AE WITH ENGLAND. 35
the posts of the steeple. But this attempt had
a disastrous and nearly fatal termination for the
enemy ; for the firing of their large gun caused a
butt to start in the bow of the barge, which soon
began to fill with water, and finally sank just as
the men got her in near the rocks back of the pier.
The officer in command, and a few of his men, ran
across the Neck, and seizing a boat made their
escape. The rest, a dozen or more, were made
prisoners. In the mean time, the men who took
the fort had, with all their prisoners, or a part of
them, got into then barge, and were on their way
back to the frigate."
Soon after, an exchange of prisoners was effected ;
and the British captain gave his word that
through the rest of the autumn the fishermen toil-
ing on their fishing-grounds should not be molested.
He will be remembered as having honorably kept
These are some of the few instances of attack
from the sea, and of resistance from the land, at
the end of the Cape, in the last struggle of our
nation with the mother country.
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
SEA FROM SHORE.
AFTER A STORM, FROM CATHEDRAL ROCK.
But what now is the sea-view from the shore,
unfolding the magnificent results of many years of
peace, corresponding with the shore-view from the
sea, which has been described ?
The commerce of the world is largely represented
on our offing and in Massachusetts Bay. Outward
bound and inward bound ships, barques and brigs,
belonging to all sea-bordering lands, are almost
daily seen from our own windows. Some are
gfoingf to or coming from the distant East Indies
SEA FROM SHORE. 37
and Japan ; some to or from Eastern or Western
Africa, or the Cape of Good Hope ; some to or
from Asia Minor, or Egypt, or Southern Europe,
or Northern Europe, or Great Britain ; some to or
from Brazil, Chili, Peru, California, the Sandwich
Islands, Australia ; and some to Borneo and other
spicy islands of the Pacific sea. Often within
view, added to these larger craft bearing rich
cargoes and scented with foreign odors, are the
countless smaller vessels of the Canadian Dominion
and of our own coasting and fishing fleets ; and,
together with these, the steamships and steam-
boats that plough the Atlantic between Boston and
Liverpool and other European ports ; between
Boston and the principal cities of Maine ; and Bos-
ton and St. John's ; and Boston and Halifax. Now
and then comes a rare day for the display of white
sails, when the pomp of peace on the sea is sur-
veyed as excelling the grandest exhibition of naval
warfare the world ever saw. There has been a
week of storm, and all the harbors of Massachu-
setts Bay are crowded with vessels waiting for fair
weather. At length the sky is clear, and the
morning sun shines upon a thousand steaming
decks. The wind blows steadily from the west.
Presently the whole bay is covered with sails
driving toward the open sea. After gaining the
wide space of our offing, they disperse in splendid
style, in all directions. Or the mackerel-fleets are
busy with lines and nets in Ipswich Bay, and near
38 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
the Salvages. The observer on shore, sitting in his
veranda, and sweeping with his vision from right
to left the interesting spectacle, counts five or six
One having a home by the sea is continually
reminded of broad relationship and boundless
society. While strengthened and deepened in
local attachments, he is made more and more a
cosmopolitan. If he travels far into the country
and sojourns among the mountains, being a lover of
Nature in all her forms and moods, and quick to
discover and appreciate her grander or more beauti-
ful arrangements, her wonderful though common
lights and shadows, he readily, now and then,
indulges the fancy that a house on some slope he
sees, shielded from the north and east winds by
lofty peaks, fronted by meadows through which
there is a stretch of river into the distant southern
horizon, and glorified at the close of every fair day
by the rays of the descending sun, would be a
delightful home ; and he does not wonder that so
many persons of abundant means retire from the
artificial life of the closely packed towns, to enjoy
the quiet pleasures of a place like this. And his
fancy is not so wild as many would deem it ; but
he is not led away by it so far, that he loses the
thought of the superlative advantages of his sea-
side habitation. He returns to the shore of the
heaving main, thinking that here he can have lone-
liness or society according to his wish. If, in the
SEA FROM SHORE. 39
ordinary sense lie have no connection with neigh-
borhood, he yet, in looking day by day upon the
sea, will feel that he is in communication with the
ends of the earth, that the pulse of the most distant
lands give answer to his questioning touch, that he
exchanges thought with a great brotherhood, not
only in the gay fleets that so often pass his eye,
and in the "sister commonwealths" of the conti-
nent behind him, and in the proud realms of
Europe, but in far-away Hindostan, Sumatra,
China, and Japan. Living by the sea, he is at
once apart from the haunts of men, and a cit-
izen of the world. At the " ocean's edge," he
may, and does perhaps, go farther and see more
than many who sail abroad. Thoreau reports
him as singing this charming strain : —
" My life is like a stroll upon the beach,
As near the ocean's edge as I can go ;
My tardy steps its waves sometimes o'er-reach,
Sometimes I stay to let them overflow.
My sole employment 'tis, and scrupulous care,
To set my gains beyond the reach of tides,
Each smoother pebble and each shell more rare,
Which ocean kindly to my hand confides.
I have but few companions on the shore,
They scorn the strand who sail upon the sea ;
Yet oft I think the ocean they've sailed o'er
Is deeper known upon the strand to me.
The middle sea contains no crimson dulse,
Its deeper waves cast up no pearls to view :
Along the shore my hand is on its pulse,
And I converse with many a shipwrecked crew."
40 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
FIRST SUMMER VISITORS.
About the time when Sandy Bay and Pigeon
Cove were set off from Gloucester, and became
the town of Rockport (1840), Richard H. Dana,
Senior, looking for a pleasant summer retreat, found
Pigeon Cove, and took up his abode here for
the season. In 1842 William Cullen Bryant here
joined his venerable friend, and spent the summer
with him in delightful rambles on the shore, in the
pastures, and in the woods. Mr. Brackett, the
sculptor, also came, and moulded a bust of Mr.
Bryant. That was a summer to be remembered by
the village people ; for men with seeing vision and
acutest faculties and clearest utterance made a
survey of their little seaside hamlet and its envi-
rons, interpreted the marvels all about them, and
shed the light of their presence upon the common
things of sea and land always within sight. Since
then our woods have a charm which they did not
seem to contain before : our ledges, crags, and
boulders, mottled with moss ; our hills and pastures,
adorned with groves of pine and oak, and with
patches of huckleberry and bayberry bushes ; our
bold and sloping granite shores, perpetually kept
clean by the washings of the sea, — have meaning
and value far above the usual estimate which men
set upon such possessions.
FIRST SUMMER VISITOES. 41
Mr. Dana and Mr. Brackett had rooms in the old
tavern on the south side of Pigeon Cove Harbor,
then kept by William Norwood, Jr. Mr. Bryant
sojourned in the " Old House " with John Wheeler,
at that time its owner. In later summers Mr.
Dana chose the " Old House " as his tarrying
place, the seaside inn having been discovered and
occupied by families from one neighborhood in Bos-
ton. Mr. Bryant soon bought a seashore home,
near Flushing, on Long Island, and did not again
visit Pigeon Cove. Mr. Dana continued his visits
a few seasons, and then built a summer house for
himself on the south shore of our Cape, within the
limits of Manchester. Though both were in man-
ner reserved and retiring, they yet crossed the
thresholds of some of the homes in the village, and
of others sequestered in the woods near the village,
and so discoursed with the inmates of these abodes
that their words are still recalled and repeated with
pride and pleasure. A chance meeting with Mr.
Dana on a fair day in the shade of the pines, or on
a stormy day on the shore of the sea, was a benedic-
tion ; for, in either case, in choice words and pleas-
ant tones he interpreted the look and voice of
Nature. Listening to his talk of Washington
Allston, after the going down of the sun till into
the morning hours of one and two, was an experi-
ence of deepest and most enchanting entertainment.
A starry summer night with a poet whose " temples,
wan and gray," had long worn a glorious crown,
42 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
with a sage of song, telling the rare story of the
great artist, cannot pass from the memory into
the realm of things forgotten. The low room in
the " Old House," dimly lighted by a wick soon to
flicker in the socket and go out, was illumined in
such wise that there was no need of lamp or taper
to lend it radiance.
One selection from Mr. Dana's poems will not
be here out of place. It shall be
" Come, hoist the sail, the fast let go !
They're seated side by side ;
Wave chases wave in pleasant flow :
The bay is fair and wide.
The ripples lightly tap the boat.
Loose ! — Give her to the wind !
She shoots ahead, — they're all afloat :
The strand is far behind.
No danger reach so fair a crew ;
Thou goddess of the foam,
I'll ever pay thee worship due,
If thou wilt bring them home.
Fair ladies, fairer than the spray
The prow is dashing wide,
Soft breezes take you on your way,
Soft flow the blessed tide !
Oh, might I like those breezes be,
And touch that arching brow,
I'd toil for ever on the sea
Where ye are floating now !
FIRST SUMMER VISITORS. 43
The boat goes tilting on the waves ;
The waves go tilting by ;
There dips the duck, — her back she laves ;
O'erhead the sea-gulls fly.
Now, like the gulls that dart for prey,
The little vessel stoops ;
Now rising shoots along her way,
Like them, in easy swoops.
The sun-light falling on her sheet,
It glitters like the drift
Sparkling in scorn of summer's heat,
High up some mountain rift.
The winds are fresh ; she's driving fast
Upon the bending tide,
The crinkling sail and crinkling mast
Go with her side by side.
Why dies the breeze away so soon 1
Why hangs the pennant down ?
The sea is glass ; the sun at noon.
— Nay, lady, do not frown ;
For, see, the winged fisher's plume
Is painted on the sea :
Below, a cheek of lovely bloom,
Whose eyes look up at thee.
She smiles ; thou need'st must smile on her;
And, see, beside her face
A rich, white cloud that doth not stir.
What beauty and what grace !
And pictured beach of yellow sand,
And peaked rock and hill,
Change the smooth sea to fairy land.
How lovely and how still !
44 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
From that far isle the thresher's flail
Strikes close upon the ear ;
The leaping fish, the swinging sail
Of yonder sloop sound near.
The parting sun sends out a glow
Across the placid bay,
Touching with glory all the show. —
A breeze ! — Up helm ! — Away !
Careening to the wind, they reach,
With laugh and call, the shore.
They've left their foot-prints on the beach ;
But them I hear no more.
Goddess of Beauty, must I now
Vowed worship to thee pay *?
Dear goddess, I grow old, I trow :
My head is growing gray."
THE FIRST PIGEON COVE HOUSE.
The number of summer visitors so increased,
that Mr. Norwood left the tavern on the south side
of the Cove, and opened a house in a pleasanter situ-
ation, six hundred yards up the ascent, on the
north side. At first he and his accomplished wife
had rooms for a few families only ; for their house
was but of the common style in New England, fifty
and sixty years ago : square, with large chimney-
stack in the centre, roof front and rear sloping
THE FIRST PIGEON COVE HOUSE. 45
from the chimney to the eaves equally, and the
front entrance between the two front rooms. But
this house was enlarged to accommodate new-
comers with the old, till it became the building of
many gables which we see in our artist's represen-
tation. After Mr. Norwood's death, Mrs. Norwood
remained in it many years as the hostess still,
successfully fulfilling the duties of her place, and
winning the respect and commendation of the
large number from all quarters of the land who
tried the comfort and entertainment of her home-
Several other homes of the neighborhood also
entertained strangers ; so that Pigeon Cove, though
not departing from simple, unfashionable ways,
donned a habit somewhat new, and became widely
known as a watering-place.
Gentlemen, whether with or without families,
came to Pigeon Cove, not to waste their substance
and wear their life out in excesses and follies, but
for rest and quiet and healthful pastimes ; for
ocean-view and seaside ramble ; for good air from
over the brine, and healing whiffs from the bal-
samic pines ; and for all the pure and sweet
pleasures which can be had where rural and ma-
rine attractions and charms are so singularly and
happily brought together. Clergymen and many
of their intimate friends were accustomed to spend
their summer vacations here. They came from
all the Chiistian communions ; but to dwell to-
46 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
gether here as children and brethren of one fam-
ily. The remembrance of them is nndimmed,
and their names are repeated without recourse to
leaves of record. A list of shining names : Drs.
E. S. Gannett, Cyrus Bartol, J. F. Clarke, T. B.
Thayer, Kirk and Stone, of Boston ; Drs. Chapin
and Bellows, of New York ; President Wayland
and Bishop Clark, of Providence ; Dr. Hill, of
"Worcester ; Dr. Allen, of Northampton ; and Revs.
Thomas Starr King, Charles H. Leonard, J. G.
Adams, C. H. Fay, and A. D. Mayo. Of the
literary men, are readily recalled Richard Froth-
ingham, Jr., Edwin P. Whipple, James T. Fields,
T. W. Higginson, and the brothers Durivage.
Also come to mind, with these, a host of bank-
ers, merchants, lawyers, school-teachers, inventors,
and others of every occupation from many of the
principal cities and villages in the nation : from
Boston and vicinity, Salem, Lowell, Worcester,
Springfield, Cincinnati, Dayton, Chicago, St. Louis,
Peoria, Alton, New Orleans, Augusta, Ga., Castle-
ton, St. Albans, Troy, Nashua, Manchester, Port-
land, Hallowell, and Calais.
THE NEW PIGEON COVE HOUSE.
In 1866 Mrs. Norwood retired from the Pigeon
Cove House. Mrs. E. S. Robinson took her place
THE OCEAN VIEW HOUSE. 47
as owner and hostess. In the spring of '71 Mrs.
Robinson moved from its site the many-gabled
edifice, and bnilt on the same spot a larger and
more attractive house. This new house was fin-
ished and opened for visitors the next July. It
is a spacious and convenient building, and hand-
some withal, wearing proudly the old, familiar
name, — Pigeon Cove House.
THE OCEAN VIEW HOUSE.
In the same spring, too, the Ocean View House
was erected, and immediately opened for visitors.
It is but three hundred yards from the Pigeon Cove
House ; a comely building, commanding a broad
view of the ocean. Its proprietors are Frank B.
Babson and Co.
Including with these hotels Mr. Swett's cosey and
comfortable home, with accommodation for twenty-
five or thirty persons, and several other dwellings,
with room for four, or six, or ten, or twelve, and
keeping in mind the fact that all these homes, large
and small, are filled in midsummer with sojourners,
and the reader will judge that the little parties
of thirty years ago have grown to be a great and
48 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
THE WAY TO PIGEON COVE: RAILROAD.
THE VILLAGE CHURCH AND JAMES EDMUNDS S HOUSE.
Being in Boston, the tourist takes the Gloucester
and Rockport train at the station of the Eastern
Railway. In the brief time of an hour and
thirty minutes, he is drawn by the locomotive
away from the heat, dust, and noisomeness of the
city, to the pure, cool air of the ocean ; to the
breezy points jutting into the sea from the end
of Cape Ann ; to the grateful repose and un cor-
rupting fascinations of Pigeon Cove. Though the
train rolls on the track at a rapid rate, the jour-
ney is enjoyable for fine landscapes and bright
glimpses of the sea ; for interchange of town and
field, tilth and orchard, marsh and upland, hill and
valley, pasture and forest. Charlestown, Somer-
ville, Everett, Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere, one
after another, are recognized by a glance. The
hills of Saugus, bordering the marsh which is
traversed, and one of the villages of Saugus look-
THE WAY TO PIGEON COVE: BAILROAD. 49
ing down from its elevated site, on the left ; Chelsea
Beach flanking the marsh, and like a parapet de-
fending it against the assaults of the sea, on the
right ; serpentine creeks, bright as silver, dividing
the marsh into many sections, and, with the grass
and reeds swept and shaken by the wind, present-
ing pleasing contrasts of light and shade ; island-
like acres covered with wood, dotting the sea of
grass ; isolated but memorable Nahant, across the
water from Chelsea Beach; Lynn, with outspread
wings broad and white, and sparkling as if
sprinkled with crystals ; Swampscott on the
heights toward Massachusetts Bay, and, nearer,
presenting Mr. Stetson's place with its beautiful
elm ; the rugged pastures, wearing, with the com-
mon robe of grass and clover, shreds of heather,
and plumed with slender, dark-green savins, and
holding stubbornly against innovation the space
between their southern bounds at Lynn and
Swampscott, and their northern at Peabody and
Salem ; and the ancient towns of Salem and Bev-
erly, connected by bridges across the mouth of a
river, — all, as the cars rush along on the iron
way, come to the vision with the silence and
rapidity of thought, but with distinct outlines, and
unconfused objects within the outlines, touched
by gleam and shadow under the sky of sun and
At Beverly the train is switched off from the
Eastern Road upon the Gloucester and Rockport
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Branch. From this point to the terminus of the
Branch, the diversity of point, crag, beach, bay, and
islands, offset by hill, valley, rock, and forest, is
sufficiently interesting to please the most discern-
ing: observer. Nowhere is there a ride of sixteen
miles by rail more picturesque than this from
Beverly to Rockport and Pigeon Cove.
THE OLD STAGE AND CARRIAGE ROAD.
VIEW FROM OVERLOOK.
The railway ride is only excelled by that of the
old-fashioned stage, or of the private vehicle, on
the old common road stretching along the same
scalloped shore. Unlike the railway, this road
conforms to the indentations of the shore, and
winds over little elevations and through the val-
leys separating them. For room, comfort, and
expedition, whatever the weather, the cars are
THE OLD STAGE AND CARRIAGE ROAD. 51
preferred ; but some fine and delightful things have
been given up. On fair days in June, July, or
August, or in September or October, the memory
goes back to the stage-times of Addison Center,
Jacob B. Winchester and Edward H. Shaw. They
had strong, well-upholstered stages, and good
horses ; and they were careful, skilful drivers. Mr.
Center and Mr. Winchester drove between Salem
and Gloucester; Mr. Shaw, between Gloucester and
the end of the Cape. It was a favor to have a
seat on the box with either of these gentlemen
of the whip. Going to Gloucester from Salem,
the stage started from the Essex Coffee House.
Leaving the staid and quiet city by the way of
Washington Square and Beverly Bridge, such
names came to mind as Derby, Higginson, Salton-
stall, Bowclitch, Peabody, and Hawthorne. Derby
Wharf, ships from Sumatra and Canton, the East
India Marine Hall, the Custom House, the " Scarlet
Letter," followed, in recollection, a reverie of the
olden times, of the witches and Gallows Hill.
Passing through the sombre, quiet old street of
Beverly, a thought was given to Dane, and another
to the younger Rantoul. Onward through Beverly
Farms and Manchester, the eye wandered in every
direction, while Jacob B. Winchester related quaint
stories in a quaint way. Islands and lighthouses ;
some of the steeples and roofs of Marblehead;
new summer residences here and there, peejDing
through the loop-holes of woody hill-tops, or the
52 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
avenues of trees connecting them with the high-
way ; brooks and little inlets spanned by stone
bridges ; small, half-moon beaches ; coves, bordered
with rocks and kelp ; a pond within a few rods
of the salt waves, its whole surface starred with
water-lilies ; grove after grove of oaks and pines,
barberry and bayberry bushes, on the roadsides
and in the pastures, — these were some of the
objects of the route which made it pleasant and
even enchanting. Proceeding from Manchester
with a steady trot, the enchantment became almost
bewildering, because of the wildness and variety
at every turn. Besides, in the very heart of
the most picturesque section of the route, where
sea and shore vie with each other to produce mar-
vellous and charming effects, it was known that
through the tangle of woodbine and wild roses on
the roadside, and then over the thickly wooded
ridge, hidden in the swamps among the hills on
hills toward the north, the magnolias were wast-
ing their " sweetness on the desert air." Approach-
ing Gloucester by Fresh Water Cove, and over
the great elevation at Steep Bank, at once came to
view Stage Rocks, Squam River, the town, the
harbor, and Beacon Pole or Governor's Hill, behind
the west end of the town ; and then Eastern Point,
across the harbor, stretching southward into Massa-
chusetts Bay. If the Cut was crossed at sunset,
some of the gleams which Epes Sargent's vision
caught in the gloaming at the close of a summer's
THE OLD STAGE AND CARRIAGE ROAD.
day came to the traveller's eye. Thus this son of
Cape Ann sings : —
" Look ! All the lighthouses
Flash greeting to the night. There, Eastern Point
Flames out ! Lo, little Ten Pound Island follows !
See Baker's Island kindling ! Marblehead
Ablaze ! Egg Rock, too, off Nahant, on fire !
And Boston Light winking at Minot's Ledge !
Like the wise virgins, all, with ready lamps ! "
THE OLD PIGEON COVE HOUSE.
From Gloucester to Rockport and Pigeon Cove
in the twilight or early evening, fanned by the
sea-breeze, and smiled on by the stars, was a natu-
ral and agreeable ending of the journey. The
waves advancing and retreating on Little Good
Harbor Beach broke the stillness with laughter.
The great rocks, looming in the darkness, grew to
awful proportions; the hollow of Beaver Dam
rang with peepings of countless frogs. On the
summit of Great Hill the lights of Straitsmouth
Island and Thatcher's Island welled out their
liquid rays upon the sea. At the base of the hill
the village lights were a sign of welcome ; lan-
terns, swung in the rigging of vessels on the ocean,
54 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
rose and sank with the rising and sinking billows.
Around the base of Pigeon Hill, the straggling
houses were torch-bearers showing the way; and
the restless waves, at hand, whispered now softly
and now harshly, and anon lifted their voices
angrily, as if in dispute with the crags and the
pebbles confronting them along the shore. Pigeon
Cove Harbor was smooth and silent, reflecting the
stars and holding a fleet of vessels and dories within
its thick and lofty wall. The stage ascended the
hill, passing the few dwellings with lighted halls
and parlors, and stopped at the gate of the Pigeon
Cove House. From the door of the inn came forth
the earlier comers to welcome the later. From the
inside and from the outside of the stage, these
latter alighted and exchanged greetings with the
former. So ended fittingly the rare ride of a late
afternoon and an early evening in the stages, on
the old stage road from Salem to Pigeon Cove.
WALKS AND B AMBLES.
WALKS AND RAMBLES.
The walks and rambles near Pigeon Cove are as
charming for variety and for answering the ends
of out-door exercise as the clearest seeing and
most wisely discriminating pedestrian would desire.
Naturally the nearest are the first to try. These
are made easy to those who are not accustomed
to the rough paths of pasture and wood. Since
the purchase of Andrews' Pasture and the exten-
sive adjacent grounds, by Eben B. Phillips and
George Babson, these proprietors have improved
their tract by laying it out with broad avenues
and winding walks. These avenues and walks arc
nicely graded and gravelled. From the hotels into
the principal avenue, — that is, Phillips Avenue,
— it is but a step. The mile's walk of this wide
and smooth road is circuitous, partly through
groves of oaks and pines, and partly over open
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
grounds, fragrant with sweet ferns, bay berry shrubs,
and wild roses, and affording fine views of the sea
from Thatcher's Island to A^amenticus, and a view
of the long coast to this mountain in Maine, from
Ipswich Beach and Plum Island.
It is an easy and pleasant walk to the Break-
water. On this outer wall of Pigeon Cove Harbor,
the near scene of fishermen at the wharves, and of
stone-sloops loading with granite to take to Boston
and other cities, is entertaining to those who have
not often looked upon it, and even to those to
whom it has been a long time familiar. Turning
about and looking in the opposite direction, the
never uninteresting ocean, the always-the-same
and yet the ever-changing expanse of waves, glori-
ous in the sun and gay with sailing craft of every
description, is surveyed admiringly. From the
Breakwater the marginal path is followed along
the shore to Singers' Bluff, which overlooks the
sea but a few hundred yards from the hotels.
WALKS AND RAMBLES.
Thence the walk is continued by the Bath, where
the bathers in picturesque costumes are cheerfully
plunging into the sea or dancing in the surf ; by
the Blue Streaks, veins of trap, some a few inches,
others several feet through, which cross the granite
Cape from north to south ; by Chapin's Rock and
Gully, the former at low tide half in the water,
the latter a great notch cut into the shore of solid
granite where it is highest and boldest ; by Ocean
Bluff, the outermost footing of Andrews' Point,
the farthest Cape Ann projection toward England ;
thence around Hoop Pole Cove to the Old Cedar ;
and so by Cedar Avenue, Phillips Avenue, and
Ocean Avenue — where the Salvages are seen as
a brooch on the bosom of the sea — back to the
place of setting out.
At the going down of the sun many walk the
58 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
little distance on the old road of the village to Sun-
set Rock in the Babson pasture. Here the specta-
cle of the setting sun, and of the colors that slowly
fade while the evening's shades are falling, is the
more than reward for strollingj; a few rods. Re-
turning, Strawberry Hill is climbed. Here Straits-
mouth and Thatcher's lights on the right, and
Ipswich and Newburyport lights on the left, are
almost equally distinctly seen ; and far over the
waves the eye catches the gleam, appearing regu-
larly every few minutes, of the Isles of Shoals
revolving light. Those who are vigorous enough
for the ramble go to Halibut Point, following the
shore from Andrews' Point around Hoop Pole
Cove, or by the way of the village road and Cap-
tain Gott's Lane ; or go to Folly Cove, and Folly
Point, and the Willows , and thence return by
Jumper's Lane, and by a footpath through the
woods to Edmunds and Lane's quarry, and then
by a quarry-road leading to the village in the rear
of Overlook, the Old House, and Edmunds's Hall ;
or go to the top of Pigeon Hill by the lane ascend-
ing from Mr. Eames's house, or through the woods
in a footpath on the northern side of this elevation ;
or go to the wood-sheltered home of the Knutsfords
by the carriage way of the Old House, and by
grass-covered cart-paths and footpaths the rest of
the distance ; or go to the quarries on the west
and on the south side of Pigeon Hill, by quarry-
roads, in the shade of a young and thrifty forest
WALKS AND RAMBLES. 59
all the way ; or go to the Moving Rock in the rear
of Lanesville, half way to Annisquam, through the
woods. This curiosity is a boulder of perhaps
eighty tons, — so poised on a ledge just appear-
ing above the sward that when pushed against by
the shoulders of a man, or pressed by a man's
weight upon it, first on one side and then on the
other, as one would rock a boat, it will perceptibly
vibrate. Under extraordinary pressure its oscilla-
tions are seen many yards off. Leaving the Moving
Rock, the ramble is continued to Annisquam. or to
the head of Goose Cove, an inlet of Squam River ;
and thence by an old wood-road to Rockport, and
thus again to Pigeon Cove. Sometimes ramblers,
who know the highest and purest enjoyment of
rambling, spend day after day in the woods, pur-
posely losing themselves in the complexity of inter-
secting paths to get the surprises here and there
of new views of the sea, and of old views too,
frequently not recognized as familiar till the
maze of the forest is left behind. In a sunny
opening they pick berries, while the pigeons prate
on the limbs of the nearest pines, and the " che-
wink " and scratching of the ground-robin come
to their ear from the dry leaves beneath the sur-
rounding underbrush. Ascending a knoll where
the golden dust of the sun is sifting through the
tops of the beeches, they see the ruffed grouse
stepping lightly in the path, and hear the sudden
whirr of his wings as he flies into the hemlocks
60 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
across a swale thick with alders and brambles.
Sitting upon a rock in the shade of a group of oaks
to rest, they listen to the singing of a score of red-
eyed vireos in the clumps of 3 r oung maples and
birches at hand. Climbing a towering ledge and
overlooking the tops of the trees around its base,
they see the silver of a lakelet walled in by hills ;
and from a higher point, looking farther, they dis-
cern miles on miles of rocky pasture, and sheep
and cattle scattered grazing, or in the shade of
boulders chewing the cud. Approaching the low-
lands, where the blueberries are found, or the
rarely explored mysteries of Brier Swamp, they see
the forms of children moving in the thickets, and
hear voices rising upon the air, indicative of care-
less mirth and freedom from restraint and fear.
At length, unknowingly nearing home, their at-
tention is attracted by the clinking of a thousand
drills and the sounding blows of a thousand ham-
mers. Soon they see the derricks above the low
trees, the sparkle of the sea through the network
of the foliage, the busy workmen themselves in pit
and shed, and finally the whole fair prospect of
village and ocean and scores of sails.
T. TV. Higginson pays a fine compliment to
the foot-paths of our Cape in one of his " Atlantic
Monthly " papers. " What can Hawthorne mean,"
he says, " by saying in his English diary that an
American would never understand the passage in
Bunyan about Christian and Hopeful going astray
WALKS AND E AMBLES. 61
along a by-path into the grounds of Giant Despair,
from there being no stiles and by-paths in our
country ? So much of the charm of American
pedestrianism lies in the by-paths ! For instance,
the whole interior of Cape Ann, beyond Glouces-
ter, is a continuous woodland, with granite ledges
everywhere cropping out, around which the high-
road winds, following the curving and indented
line of the sea, and dotted here and there with
fishing hamlets. This whole interior is traversed
by a network of foot-paths, rarely passable for
any wagon, and not always for a horse, but ena-
bling the pedestrian to go from any one of these
villages to any other, in a line almost direct, and
always under an agreeable shade. By the longest
of these hidden ways one may go from Pigeon
Cove to Gloucester without seeing a public road.
In the little inn of the former village there used to
hang an old map of this whole forest region, giv-
ing a chart of some of these paths which were said
to date back to the first settlement of the coun-
try. One of them, for instance, was called ' Old
Road from Sandy Bay to Squam Meeting-house
through the Woods ; ' but the road is now scarcely
even a bridle-path, and the most faithful worship-
per could not seek Squam Meeting-house in the
family chaise. Those woods are at last being dev-
astated, but when I first knew that region it was
as good as any German forest. Often we stepped
almost from the edge of the sea into some gap in
62 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
the woods ; there seemed hardly more than a
rabbit-track, but presently we met some wayfarer
who had crossed the Cape by it. A piny dell gave
some vista of the broad sea we were leaving, and
an opening in the woods displayed another blue
sea-line before ; the encountering breezes inter-
changed odors of berry-bushes and scent of brine ;
penetrating farther among oaks and walnuts, we
came upon some little cottage, quaint and shel-
tered as any Spenser drew ; it was built on no
high-road, and turned its vine-clad gable aw^ay
from even the foot-path. Then the ground rose
and other breezes came ; perhaps we climbed trees
to look for landmarks, and saw only, still farther
in the woods, some great cliff of granite or the
derrick of an unseen, quarry. Three miles inland,
as I remember, we found the hearth-stones of a
vanished settlement ; then we passed a swamp
with cardinal flowers ; then a cathedral of noble
pines, topped with crows' nests. If we had not
gone astray, by this time we presently emerged on
Dogtown Common, an elevated table-land over-
spread with great boulders as with houses, and
encircled with a girdle of green woods and an outer
girdle of blue sea. I know of nothing like that
gray waste of boulders ; it is a natural Salisbury
Plain, of which icebergs and ocean currents were
the Druidic builders ; the multitude of couchant
monsters give one a sense of suspended life ; you
feel that they must speak and answer each other
WALKS AND RAMBLES. 63
in the silent nights ; bnt by day only the wander-
ing sea-birds seek them on their way across the
Cape, and the sweet-bay and green fern imbed
them in a softer and deeper setting as the years go
by. This is the " height of ground " of that wild
foot-path; but, as you recede farther from the
outer ocean and approach Gloucester, you come
upon still wilder ledges, unsafe without a guide;
and you find in one place a cluster of deserted
houses, too difficult of access to remove even their
materials, so that they are left to moulder alone.
I used to wander in those woods summer after
summer, till I had made my own chart of their de-
vious tracks, and now when I close my eyes in this
Oldport mid-summer, the soft Italian air takes on
something of a Scandinavian vigor ; for the inces-
sant roll of carriages, I hear the tinkle of the
quarryman's hammer, and the veerj^s song, and
I long for those perfumed and breezy pastures,
and for those promontories of granite where the
fresh water is nectar and the salt sea has a regal
Before dropping the subject in hand, a few images
in the memory should be presented. Reverting to
the walks and rambles of the summers long since
departed, royal companions reappear to the vision.
One of these was Thomas Starr King. Who of
the compan} r that used to ramble with him will
ever set foot on our shore, or hear the stir of leaves
and the twitter of birds in our woods, without a
64 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
thought of him ? Sometimes the ramblers rested
an hour in the shade of the pines where the sleep-
ing sea, whispering as if in dreams, just made itself
heard. Then he of youthful but regal presence,
and of marvellously musical tongue, read the poe-
try of Wordsworth or the prose of Ruskin, making
more vital and glowing the thoughts of either.
Once, after a stroll, and a refreshing bath, the
same audience gave ear to the same orator and
interpreter, in the amphitheatre-like pit of Cha-
pin's Gully. None of the company so favored then
will ever forget the spell of the moments while he
recited the stirring, musical lines, then new to all,
of Tennyson's " Bugle Song." These woods, rocks
and waves, these men with swelling hearts and
tearful eyes, will never again see the like of him
who is now among the translated.
: Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, Sea !
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.
Oh well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play !
Oh well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay !
And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill ;
But oh for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still 1
WALKS AND RAMBLES. 65
Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, Sea !
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me."
Magician of the sea as well as of the mountains,
Starr King found means for enchantment in cliff
and wave, in storm and calm. No change of mo-
tion or color on the ocean's face escaped his sight.
He observed every shape and hue of mist on the
headlands, or of cloud in the sky. He marked,
too, the characteristics of seafaring men and of
old dwellers on the storm-beaten shore. The old
English words, not obsolete here, and the uncon-
ventional frankness of these children of the Cape,
afforded him material for both grave reflection and
keen amusement. " When did you come into the
cove with these hake? " inquired he of one stand-
ing knee-deep in the water, taking these fish from
his dory, as the result of his industry through the
night. "About dawning," was the ready reply ;
and a pleasing one to the questioner, though given
in the style of pronunciation not authorized by
Worcester or Webster. His humor, always sunny,
never sombre, always kindly, never unfriendly,
quickly caught and had its fun with quaintness.
He named one, whom he often met, the " Poet of
the Cove ; " another, the " Socrates of Cape Ann."
The Poet's " Lines to a Blue Jay in the Winter "
brought out the inimitable smile of his face and
66 PTGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
eye, and the merry tones of his laughter. These
were the first four : —
" The jay, he came with his blue back,
And his long forked bill,
And to a granary he hied,
All for to get his fill."
The blunt observations of the Philosopher often
won his applause. Sometimes this man of Socratic
plainness made a single verb solve a matter not yet
explained. For example, when asked to account
for the fact that the days of summer are longer
than the days of winter, in agreement with the
theory that the earth revolves around the sun, he
promptly answered, " Fool, don't you know that
the earth wabbles?" At another time, describ-
ing the eloquence of Rufus Choate, and with
what ease for effect this pleader could use the
muscles of his face, he said, " The cant of his
countenance drew tears from everybody's eyes."
Encounters with this sage, who was in no degree
bound by the conventionalities of polite society,
but who withal had a kind heart, and was often
benevolent in deed, frequently to the witty and
brilliant young clergyman was something more
and better than a pleasant pastime. The latter
engaged in talk with the self-taught Philosopher
with unusual zest, liking him because he was kin
to Bryant's " genial optimist," — the " white-haired
ancient," who was not only " pithy of speech,"
but " merry when he would."
WALKS AND RAMBLES. 67
Another image, — the venerable Dr. Gannett,
strong, positive, earnest, often vehement, but in
the drift of his life sweet and winning. However
severe he may have seemed to some when he was
called to do the grave and honest work of preach-
ing God's uncompromising word, he was one of
the wisest, gentlest, and kindest of the many who
came summer after summer to sojourn here, — the
presiding joy-evoking, mirth-inspiring genius of
social gatherings and simple pastimes.
Others, still of the living on the earth, are not
forgotten ; nor are the occasions on which they
were prominent actors. Kev. J. F. Clarke, on a
fine Sunday morning, beneath the broad canopy of
an ancient oak, preaching, in the most eloquent
because in the most simple and natural manner, to
a circle of attentive and deeply moved men and
women seated around him on the sward ; and Dr.
E. II. Chapin and Rev. J. G. Adams, one after
the other, addressing a gathering of hundreds at
even-tide on the rocks bordering the sea. These
living shapes stay near our woods and on our
shores. Their voices for ever blend with the
breathings of the forest and with the utterances
of the sea.
The following lines, entitled " Sabbath Even-
ing by the Sea," were written at the closing
hour of the "day of days," on one of the great
rocks of our shore, in July, 1851, by Rev. J. G.
68 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
" Alone, my God, alone with thee,
At this bright Sabbath evening hour,
Where the strong voices of the sea
Declare thy greatness and thy power !
I have been in thy courts to-day,
Where mortals meet, thy name to bless,
And where with one accord they pay
Their homage to thy holiness.
Now to these outer courts I come,
Alone at this rock-altar, Lord,
Beneath this ample evening dome,
To hear thee speak thy wondrous word.
That word the waves are uttering clear,
In their full accents at my feet,
While notes of woodland warblers near
Are with thy glorious name replete.
On sunlit spire, and roof, and shore,
And sail that stains the dark, blue sea,
And red horizon spread out o'er
That emblem of eternity, —
I read thy brightness, God of love,
And in this matchless temple raise
Anew my feeble thought above,
In silent evening prayer and praise :
Thy mercies to my soul extend,
Whose strength is nought without thy power
Loved ones and dear from ill defend,
And draw to thee, at this blest hour.
To friend and foe thy peace be given ;
The weak make strong, the simple wise,
Be to the poorest wealth of heaven,
To lameness strength, to blindness eyes.
As sheds the sun its rays divine
O'er hill and shore and widening sea,
So may thy truth in mercy shine,
Wherever man on earth may be.
As flow these everlasting waves,
Bearers of life from shore to shore,
CARRIAGE-KIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 69
So may that grace which seeks and saves
Flow full and free the wide world o'er ;
Till in this temple, all thine own,
No soul shall false or faithless be ;
But man's heart-worship at thy throne
Complete the world's great harmony ! "
CARRIAGE RIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS.
THE "FARM" HOUSE.
The large division of our Cape east of Squam
River being an island, " the ride round the Cape,"
as the fifteen mile circuit of the high-road here is
called, whether by the way of Folly Cove, Lanes-
ville, Bay View, and Annisquam, or, in the opposite
direction, by the way of Rockport, Great Hill, and
Beaver Dam, commands water- views almost the
whole distance. If the choice be to ride in the lat-
ter direction, the water-views are on the left hand,
and, till the top of Great Hill is reached are
70 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
mainly those which are within sight of every home
at Pigeon Cove. From the top of Great Hill the
blue line of Massachusetts Bay is seen stretching
southward beyond where the forest-covered ridges,
toward Little Good Harbor Beach, seem to meet
the horizon. On the right of this hill-top point of
observation are the steeps and hollows near, and
the valley and elevations beyond, thickly strewn
with the boulders which occasioned the conversa-
tion many years ago between the astonished visitor
from the country, and the stage-driver then on the
road. " Where did they get the stones of which
these walls were built ? " asked the stranger.
" Why, don't you see stones enough everywhere
about here ? " responded the awakened native.
" Yes," rejoined the stranger, " but who has ever
missed any?" Descending the steep southern
slope of the hill, and passing the farm buildings
and the fields of Beaver Dam, encircled by stony
and woody ridges, and the old road to Dogtown on
the southern border of the cultivated acres, the
meadow where the beavers in the olden time built
their dam, and lived unmolested in their curious
habitations, is seen as the site of new industrial
works erected by the hands of man. Continuing
southward in the shade of trees over the line
between Rockport and Gloucester, and then over a
little ascent, farm-houses toward the coast appear ;
and down a narrow carriage-way, leading from
the main road and these scattered dwellings to
CARRIAGE-RIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 71
the sea-sicle, Little Good Harbor Beach, Salt
Island, and Bass Rocks are disclosed. Ascending
another elevation, the roof of John J. Babson's
pleasant home, on the slope descending to the
beach, shows itself above the fruit-trees of culti-
vated, and the dense growth of trees and shrubs
of uncultivated grounds. On the summit of this
ascent a huge, dark rock rises from a broad base in
the earth to a great height, making a grand object
on Mr. Babson's background, or for the study or
the wonder of the traveller on the road winding
round it. Moving onward, the habitations scattered
along denote the nearness of Gloucester Harbor.
Toward the great Bay, near Bass Rocks, there is a
cluster of new abodes. From the elevated point
of this pretty neighborhood, a rocky ridge extends
to Eastern Point light. On the right of the road,
higher and more rugged than this ridge of Eastern
Point, rises the ridge of which Lookout Hill is a
noticeable feature. Entering the village, the head
of the harbor is almost touched by the carriage
wheels. Then it is a long, winding way through
the unique village of buildings above buildings,
overtopped by school-houses and churches, on one
side ; and dwellings, stores, store-houses, wharves,
and fishing-vessels, on the other; and across the
harbor, on Eastern Point, the growing counterpart
of fishing-vessels, wharves, store-houses, stores, and
houses above houses on the ridofe.
Whether the ride continue from the Custom
72 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
House and Post-office building through Front
Street, the principal street of business, or Middle
Street, the fine street of churches, and off from
which but a few yards the Town House stands,
the inference of the observer, from objects attract-
ing his attention on either hand, will be that the
old town has kept pace with the other towns
on the Massachusetts coast in maritime enter-
prise, and in intellectual and religious progress.
Though, like Salem, Gloucester has lost her old
importance in commerce, she also, like Salem,
has made amends for her loss in new ways of
effort on sea and on land. And as to her advance-
ment and leadership in the march of spiritual
freedom, her distinction is honorable and univer-
sally acknowledged. It is not surprising that,
in the past days of superstition and fear, she
was affected, as were other places not far distant,
by dark beliefs and bewildering or harrowing fan-
cies. She was not alone in her dread of super-
natural foes, as none of the places of the earth
to-day are alone in error and wandering.
In his History of the Cape, Mr. Babson refers to
the period of "the Salem tragedy." He says that
although then "our people were drawn into no
very intimate connection " with it, yet " they were
not saved from great excitement and alarm."
" About midsummer, 1692," he adds, " Ebenezer
Babson and others of his family, almost every
night, heard a noise as if persons were going and
CARRIAGE-EIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 73
running about his house. One night, on his return
home at a late hour, he saw two men come out of
the house and go into the corn. He also heard
them say, 4 The man of the house is come now, else
we might have taken the house.' The whole
family went immediately to the garrison, which
was near, whither the two men followed. They
were heard and seen about the garrison several
nights. One day Babson saw two men who looked
like Frenchmen ; and at another time six men
were near the garrison, whereupon several went
in pursuit. Babson overtook two, and tried to
shoot at them ; but his gun missed fire. Soon
after, he saw three men together, one of whom had
on a white waistcoat. He fired, and they all fell ;
but, as soon as he came close to them, they all rose
up and ran away, one of them discharging a gun
as he went. One of these strange beings was at
last surrounded by his pursuers, and all means of
escape were cut off. He approached Babson, who
shot at him as he was getting over the fence, and
saw him fall from it to the ground ; but, when
Babson came to the spot where he fell, the man
could not be found. Afterwards several were
seen lurking about the garrison, and great dis-
coursing in an unknown tongue was heard in a
swamp near. After this, men were seen, who
were supposed to be French and Indians. Babson
was fired upon on his way to the harbor to carry
news ; and finally, after enduring these disturbers
74 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
of the peace of the town for a fortnight, the people
sent abroad for help. July 18, sixty men arrived
from Ipswich to assist in the protection of the
town, and the deliverance of it from these myste-
rious invaders ; but it does not appear that any
of the latter were taken, which can scarcely be a
matter of surprise considering that they were too
ethereal to leave a footprint upon the soft and
miry places over which they were pursued."
" All these occurrences," says Mr. Babson, " and
many others, were reported by the minister of
the town to Rev. Cotton Mather, and were pub-
lished in his ' Magnalia.' " The poet Whittier,
having also read the strange story in the " Mag-
nalia," sings it in the following ballad : —
"From the hills of home forth looking, far beneath the tent-like
Of the sky, I see the white gleam of the headland of Cape Ann.
Well I know its coves and beaches to the ebb-tide glimmering
And the white-walled hamlet children of its ancient fishing-town.
Long has passed the summer morning, and its memory waxes old,
When along yon breezy headlands with a pleasant friend I strolled.
Ah ! the autumn sun is shining, and the ocean wind blows cool,
And the golden-rod and aster bloom around thy grave, Rantoul !
With the memory of that morning by the summer sea, I blend
A wild and wondrous story by the younger Mather penned,
In that quaint Magnalia Christi, with all strange and marvellous
Heaped up huge and undigested, like the chaos Ovid sings.
CARBIAGE-BIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 75
Where the sea-waves back and forward, hoarse with rolling pebbles,
The garrison-house stood watching on the gray rocks of Cape Ann ;
On its windy site uplifting gabled roof and palisade,
And rough walls of unhewn timber with the moonlight overlaid.
On his slow round walked the sentry, south and eastward looking
O'er the rude and broken coast-line, white with breakers stretching
Wood and rock and gleaming sand-drift, jagged capes, with bush
Leaning inland from the smiting of the wild and gusty sea.
Before the deep-mouthed chimney, dimly lit by dying brands,
Twenty soldiers sat and waited, with their muskets in their hands ;
On the rough-hewn oaken table the venison haunch was shared,
And the pewter tankard circled slowly round from beard to beard.
Long they sat and talked together, — talked of wizards Satan-
Of all ghostly sights and noises, — signs and wonders manifold;
Of the spectre-ship of Salem, with the dead men in her shrouds,
Sailing sheer above the water, in the loom of morning clouds ;
Of the marvellous valley hidden in the depths of Gloucester
Full of plants that love the summer, — blooms of warmer lati-
Where the Arctic birch is braided by the Tropic's flowery vines,
And the white magnolia-blossoms star the twilight of the pines !
But their voices sank yet lower, sank to husky tones of fear,
As they spoke of present tokens of the powers of evil near ;
Of a spectral host, defying stroke of steel and aim of gun ;
Never yet was ball to slay them in the mould of mortals run !
76 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Thrice, with plumes and flowing scalp-locks, from the midnight
wood they came, —
Thrice around the block-house marching, met unharmed its vol-
Then with mocking laugh and gesture, sunk in earth or lost in air,
All the ghostly wonder vanished, and the moonlit sands lay bare.
Midnight came ; from out the forest moved a dusky mass, that
Grew to warriors plumed and painted, grimly marching in the
' Ghosts of witches/ said the captain, ' thus I foil the Evil One ! '
And he rammed a silver button from his doublet down his gun.
Once again the spectral horror moved the guarded wall about ;
Once again the levelled muskets through the palisades flashed out,
With that deadly aim the squirrel on his tree-top might not shun,
Nor the beach-bird seaward flying with his slant wing to the sun.
Like the idle rain of summer sped the harmless shower of lead.
With a laugh of fierce derision, once again the phantoms fled;
Once again without a shadow on the sands the moonlight lay,
And the white smoke curling through it drifted slowly down the
' God preserve us ! ' said the captain, ' never mortal foes were
They have vanished with their leader, Prince and Power of the
Lay aside your useless weapons ; skill and prowess naught avail ;
They who do the Devil's service wear their master's coat-of-mail ! '
So the night grew near to cock-crow, when again a warning call
Roused the score of weary soldiers watching round the dusky hall :
And they looked to flint and priming, and they longed for break
of day ;
But the captain closed his Bible : ' Let us cease from man, and
pray ! '
CARRIAGE-RIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 77
To the men who went before us all the unseen powers seemed
And their steadfast strength and courage struck its roots in holy
Every hand forsook the musket, every head was bowed and bare,
Every stout knee pressed the flagstones as the captain led in
Ceased thereat the mystic marching of the spectres round the
But a sound abhorred, unearthly, smote the ears and hearts of
Howls of rage and shrieks of anguish ! Never after mortal man
Saw the ghostly leaguers marching round the block-house of
Another Gloucester story of marvel, which from
a later date (1745, the year of the expedition
against Louisburg) has been repeated to the pres-
ent time, is thus related by Mr. Babson : —
"No account of the part borne by Gloucester
in the expedition to Louisburg would be complete
without the story of Peg Wesson. The popular
belief in witchcraft had not then ceased, and Peg
was reputed a witch. She lived in or near an old
building on Back Street, called the Garrison ; and
there, just before the departure of the Gloucester
soldiers for Cape Breton, she was visited by some
of them, who, by their conduct towards her,
aroused her indignation to such a pitch, that, on
their departure, she threatened them with ven-
geance at Louisburg. While in camp there, these
men had then: attention arrested by the singular
78 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
movements of a crow that kept hovering near
them. After many attempts had been made in the
usual way to kill the bird, it occurred to one of
them that it must be Peg Wesson ; and, if so, that
no baser metal than silver would bring her to the
ground. He accordingly took his silver sleeve-
buttons from his wrist and discharged them at the
bird, which fell wounded in the leg and was soon
killed. Upon their return to Gloucester, they
learned that, at the exact moment when the crow
was killed. Peg Wesson fell down near the Garri-
son House with a broken leg ; and that, when the
fractured limb was examined, the identical sleeve-
buttons fired at the crow under the walls of Louis-
burg were found, and extracted from the wound !
Such is the story of Peg Wesson. And, incredible
as it may seem that it ever was received as truth,
some now living can testify to the apparent belief
in it with which it was related by many persons
not more than fifty years ago."
Leaving the fine old town, and winding or zig-
zagging homeward on the Squam River side of
the circuit, the river soon shows its mirror-like
surface or its innumerable sparkling waves. Near
the Green where once the Meeting-house of the
old Town Parish stood is the ancient house, with
rear roof descending lower than the front, which
was built and occupied by the minister of the
parish, Rev. John White, soon after his settlement,
in 1702. The road leads through Riverdale, near-
CARRIAGE-RLDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 79
ing the brook from Cape Pond which flows through
a lovely meadow into Tide-Mill Pond, and thence
into Mill River, an inlet from Squam River. Farm-
houses and green fields please the eye. Con-
spicuous among the farms is the Pearce Farm,
lying between the road and the brook and mill-
pond. The frame of the smaller of the two barns
near the house is that of the church which was
erected for Rev. John Murray by the people
to whom he ministered. The frame was taken
from the old site at the harbor, corner of Spring
and Water Streets, in 1805. Pole's Hill — a steep
hill of stone, overlooking road, farm-houses, fields,
meadow, and brook at its base, and a wide area
of land, river, and sea around — is a sufficiently
novel form among the thousands of ledges and
cliffs on our granite promontory to tarry by and
examine awhile. Proceeding from Pole's Hill
across Tide-Mill Bridge, and then up from the
valley through the village, passing a church, to an
altitude at which most of the smaller branches as
well as the main tides of Squam River are com-
prehended by the eye, one of the most charming
prospects of the Cape is surveyed. The white
caps of Ipswich Bay are nodding like the plumes
of a mighty host in the northern distance. The
hoar sand of Coffin's Beach, and the blue, green,
and amber of Squam River, near its mouth, shim-
mer in the sun's burning rays. The village of
Annisquam nestles on its narrow strip of earth
80 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
between Lobster Cove in front and the high steep
ridge behind, screening it from the storms of the
Ba}r. Approaching this cosey and qniet village,
the eye turns southward, attracted by the splendor
of the river, with its many coves and creeks ; the
glowing red of the crags, jutting from island and
point; and the chocolate and emerald of reedy
shore and grass-covered marsh. " All these coves
and inlets," as one not long since remarked, in a
metropolitan sheet, " make the scenery bewilder-
ing in beauty ; and the six-mile drive over the neck
of the Cape, from Gloucester to General Butler's
house, which stands on a lofty bluff where its every
window commands a perfect sea-picture, is across
a rocky road which lies so high, and with such a
wilderness of meadows in every shade of vivid
greens and rusty reds, interspersed with glittering
arms of the sea, and still, silver lagoons of salt
water, reflecting and repeating the sky, that one
almost feels in a land of sorcery, travelling a road
that hangs midway between earth and heaven."
A little onward, and a tide-mill and the bridge
crossing Goose Cove are passed. Still further, and
the choice is presented to drive over the bridge
spanning Lobster Cove to the village of Annis-
quam, or more directly toward home, on the pine-
bordered way, on the east side of this long,
river-like inlet, to the church at its head. Near
the church, the view down the Cove and across the
river to the marsh, and then to the gray hills, and
CARRIAGE-RIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 81
to the dark woods beyond, in the West Parish, is
worthy of many minutes' delay. There should be
no haste on a tour of pleasure. Moving again, the
next point of interest is Bay View, and is presently
gained. On the bluff off the road, just as it
descends into the hollow of Hogkins's Cove, are
the handsome residences of General Butler and
Colonel French. In the hollow of the Cove are
the buildings, wharves and vessels of the Cape
Ann Granite Company. From this point to Plum
Cove (so named for the beach plums once in
abundance growing near it, but now seldom found),
the distance is but over one broad-backed ridge.
Here is a pretty beach, and a stretch for the
vision across Ipswich Bay to the main-land coast.
Another elevation ascended, and the dwellings of
Lanesville, which are strung along on the winding
way nearly a mile, are passed. Here there is an
artificial harbor for small vessels, and extensive
granite quarries. Moreover, from half the length
of the village, the grounds, chiefly cultivated, grad-
ually descend to the shore of the bay ; and so for
this distance the view of the water is unbroken.
Some of the quarries are at the roadside. Back
of the quarries are dark woods. From Lanesville
to Folly Cove the road shears the edge of a little
meadow, cuts a belt of woods, which from the
forest of the Cape's interior extends to the ocean's
strand, and at the same point passes through a
long and beautiful arch of willows. This arch is
82 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
the admiration and joy of the hundreds who every
midsummer pass through it and enjoy its shade.
From the Willows into the sheltered and shady
dale of Folly Cove, it is but a few rods by a group
of houses veiled in part by fruit-trees, ancient wil-
lows, and shrubbery. This dale, which is the centre-
ground of the little village, since dwellings straggle
over the ascents hemming it in, is the loveliest se-
questered nest of the whole route. A fine grove
on its background fills the space from ridge to
ridge. A brooklet flows through the mowing
between the grove and the road, and under the
road, and then through another field of grass and
clover into the Cove. The tidy and comfortable
houses stand embowered with apple-trees and
lilacs. The vista to the sea is first narrow, and
then wider between rocl^y headlands. Through
it the villagers see the play and the terror of the
waves, the awful force of the storm, and the peace
and beauty of the calm. Ascending from this spot
of quiet and repose, where tree and ocean, and
waves and roses, all but touch each other, the eye
sees before it another and higher elevation. The
road with many curves leads over it, separating
Halibut Point from inland meadow, pasture, and
wood. Climbing the road, the " Old Oaks " of
the pasture, the " Meadow " below them, and
" Sunset Rock " above them, give their silent but
eloquent salutations as the kindliest of friends.
The farm-house and barns on the opposite side of
CARRIAGE-RIDES, LEGENDS AND BALLADS. 83
the way, with their surroundings of field, garden,
and orchard, and their adornings of elms and of
flowering vines, are a grouping of things in accord
with each other, within a rare region of land and
ocean, which no artist would wish to change.
Finally, from the "Farm" to Pigeon Cove is the
last and pleasantest stage of " the ride round
the Cape." Sometimes it is on the old road, to
the grand sea views and to the merry welcome of
home. Sometimes a detour, near Strawberry Hill,
determines the last step homeward shall be over
Phillips Avenue, with the unequalled ocean view
on one side, and the varied beauty of oaks and
pines, climbing brambles, pasture-lilies, and wild
roses on the other. Either way is a fine and
cheerful ending of a circuit which, for various
and unique scenery, and the blending of rural and
marine characteristics, cannot be paralleled.
84 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY,
RIDE TO LITTLE GOOD HARBOR BEACH AND
Not unfrequently the ride of the circle is
branched by digressions. One of these is to Little
Good Harbor Beach ; and thence, if the tide be
low, over the Eastern Point road to Eastern
Point lighthouse. Epes Sargent says the name
of the beach was given by an Indian, whose col-
lection of English words was small. By " little
good " he meant bad. But the beach is wide and
clean, being exposed to the long lines of charg-
ing waves : is good from the same causes that
made the anchorage, in periods of rough weather,
bad. The Eastern Point road being; on hi oh
ground, it commands at the same time a fine view
of Gloucester and its excellent harbor, and a
RIDE TO KAFE S CHASM.
splendid prospect of Massachusetts Bay, its vessels,
rocks, islands, and portions of its distant South
Shore. At the lighthouse the vision adds other
views to its new list, taking in Norman's Woe,
Baker's Island, Lowell Island, the promontory of
Marblehead, and far up the bay, between the
north shore of this headland and the south shore
of Cape Ann, the city of Salem.
RIDE TO RATE'S CHASM AND NORMAN'S WOE.
Another digression from the ride round the
Cape is from Gloucester by the way of the Cut,
Stage Rocks, and Steep Bank, to Rafe's Chasm
and Norman's Woe. From the Cut is followed a
little way the old road to Salem. A long hill is
climbed. Near the top dense woods allow but
glimpses of cottages and mansions wrapped in
shade. Descending the western side of the hill,
86 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
and at its base curving to easily pass a spur of the
wood-clad ridge on the right, the road traverses
the romantic region of Fresh Water Cove and
Magnolia. Here an old path, running from the
main road diagonally, leads to a high shore of
pitch-pine shrubs. At this point are seen the won-
drous Chasm, the bold, craggy shore of Norman's
Woe, and a little off from shore the rock island of
Rafe's Chasm extends into the ledge from the
bay more than two hundred feet. Near the bay
it is ten feet wide. Toward its termination it is
irregular in width. From the highest part of its
walls to the lowest spot left bare when the tide is
out, its depth is about sixty feet. On a calm clay
this fissure in the jagged ledge gives an impression
of irresistible force, — of the Power that rules the
ocean, and that makes the earth to be at peace or
to toss and shake with mighty throes. On the day
of tempest, rushing into it violently, spouting spray
EIDE TO NORMAN* S WOE. 87
many feet into the air, like hugest monsters of
the deep, and making a noise like the thunder
of the clouds, the waves reveal somewhat of the
might and terror which are hidden in the earth,
the air, and the sea, and incite the beholder and
listener to say : —
O Father ! — " who forgets not, at the sight
Of these tremendous tokens of thy power,
His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by ?
Oh, from these sterner aspects of thy face
Spare me and mine, nor let us need the wrath
Of the mad unchained elements to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate 1
In these calm shades thy milder majesty,
And to the beautiful order of thy works
Learn to conform the order of our lives."
Alluding to Norman's Woe, Mr. Babson says :
" It is a large rock lying a few rods from the shore,
and connected with it by a reef of rocks which the
sea leaves bare at low water. The tradition, that
a man named Norman was shipwrecked and lost
there, has no other confirmation than that derived
from the name itself. A William Norman was an
early settler of Manchester ; and a Richard Norman
is shown by the probate records of Essex County
to have sailed on a voyage from which he never
returned home, some time before 1682. The dole-
ful name applied to this spot may commemorate a
misfortune to one of these individuals." With less
hesitancy as to the credence to be given to the
tradition about this rock, Mr. Sargent says : —
88 PIGEON COYE AND VICINITY.
" From the main shore cut off, and isolated
By the invading, the circumfluent waves,
A rock which time had made an island, spread
With a small patch of brine-defying herbage,
Is known as Norman's Woe ; for, on this rock,
Two hundred years ago, was Captain Norman,
In his good ship from England, driven and wrecked
In a wild storm, and every life was lost."
Having first the tradition, and next, connected
with the rock, the name, and finally the probate
record, there is something to apprehend. That the
probate record tells its story without detail may
not be regretted, since now there is scope for infer-
ence and conjecture ; or for the genius of the poet
to put in song all the particulars of an event not
alone in kind, in reasonable and pleasing order.
The carefulness of the historian is praiseworthy ;
but the vision of the poet often finds the essential
which is hidden in mystery. This the poet sings
in an ode or in a ballad ; and thus he makes a long-
ago and almost mythical event a grand or touching
lesson for his own generation, and the generations
to follow it. So Longfellow's " Wreck of the
Hesperus " may here have space, as a fitting sequel
of what others have said and sung of the Rock of
Norman's Woe : —
" It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintry sea ;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.
RIDE TO NORMAN'S WOE. 89
Blue were her eyes as the fairy -flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm
With his pipe in his mouth,
And watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke, now west, now south.
Then up and spoke an old sailor
Had sailed the Spanish main,
; I pray thee, put into yonder port,
For I fear a hurricane.
Last night the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see ! '
The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the north-east ;
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
r Come hither ! come hither ! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so ;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow.'
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat,
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.
90 PIGEON CO YE AND VICINITY.
' father ! 1 hear the church-bells ring :
Oh, say, what may it be ? '
4 'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast ! ' —
And he steered for the open sea.
' father ! I hear the sound of guns :
Oh, say, what may it be 1 '
' Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea! '
' father ! I see a gleaming light :
Oh, say, what may it be 1 '
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed,
That saved she might be ;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept,
Towards the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land ;
It was the sound of the trampling surf,
On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.
BIDE TO NORMAN'S WOE. 91
She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side,
Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board ;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank : —
Ho ! ho ! the breakers roared !
At day-break, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes ;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow !
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe '. "
92 PIGEON COYE AND VICINITY.
RIDE TO ANNISQUAM.
The ride to Annisquam, five miles of the already
described tour round the Cape, reversed, on any
fair day, is delightful. Beside the pleasure on the
road from Pigeon Cove to the resting-place for the
horses at Squam Point, there may be the additional
pleasure of crossing Squam River in a dory, and
then of a stroll on Coffin's Beach and among
the clumps of barberry bushes and savins on the
ascending adjoining grounds. On the beach, the
roving may extend more than a mile to Two
Penny Loaf, a white hillock of rock and sand near
the mouth of Chebacco River. Across the Che-
bacco glisten the sands and shells of Ipswich
Beach. In this river, not far from the Loaf, is
the island where Rufus Choate was born. At the
head of the marsh, through which the river flows
with many turns, the village of Essex rises to
view, with a front of half-built fishing-schooners on
RIDE TO ANNISQUAM. 93
the stocks, and others launched and afloat, being
equipped with masts, spars, rigging, and sails. Off
from the beach, the ramble may continue into an
old, shady, uneven road, seldom travelled, which
follows the northern base of Meeting-house Hill
toward a highway leading to Essex. In this out-of-
the-way locality, in an ancient farm-house, once
lived Master Tappan. In his early manhood he
was Daniel Webster's school-master. In the sum-
mer of 1841, though advanced in years, his tall form
was erect, and his strength equal to walking up the
hill to worship on Sunday. On a warm day of
that season, he sat in his door facing the road and
the hill, enjoying the cool shade of the overhanging
trees and the breath of brine wafted from the sea.
He responded with dignity and urbanity to the
salutation of a rambler passing, and then pressed
him to stop for rest and refreshment. His dis-
course was chiefly of the past ; but he was not
unmindful of current events, nor was he unaffected
by the picturesque surroundings of his secluded
abode. An hour with this gentleman of the old
school, in retirement deepened and shadowed by
hill, cliff, rock, tree, shrub, and vine, and sweet-
ened by the mingling odors of marsh and upland,
was a pleasant episode of an afternoon's excursion.
The meeting-house on the hill — now, alas *
among the things that were — was a substantial
edifice of oaken frame, without steeple or any
other ornament outside ; with plain galleries,
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
square, high-partitioned pews, and a high pulpit,
fronted by the deacons' seat, and overtopped by a
sounding-board within. On the sounding-board
THE OLD CHURCH.
was the date "1713." Formerly the now grass-
grown road over the spot where this ancient house
of worship stood was much travelled, and the
people of the West Parish ascended it from both
the east and west sides of the hill. In the past
time, which has been recalled, there being no
dwelling-house near, the worshippers from the
scattered abodes and the little neighborhoods
around the hill seemed, to one sitting on the door-
step of the church waiting for them, to rise out of
the ground, or singly and in groups to come forth,
as if rocks, shrubs, and thickets had suddenly
turned into human beings in every form and guise,
from blooming childhood to hoary age. Literally,
the swallow, as a swallow, unchanged, had found
a place in God's house where she might rear her
young ; for in service-time the twitterings of the
swallows, flying through the broken windows to
RIDE TO ANNISQUAM. 95
and from their nests on the lofty plates, mingled
with the prayers and hymns of the gathered assem-
bly. Even the shy golden-winged woodpeckers
had cut holes from the outside into the gables
above the cross-beams ; and so was heard through
the ceiling, as an accompaniment of the sounds of
devotion, the clamor of their young for food.
In 1846 F. A. Durivage thus wrote of this
venerable fane : " The old church stands in a
clearing on a small plateau of considerable eleva-
tion, commanding an extensive prospect in every
direction. It was formerly surrounded, we were
told, by a clump of beautiful oak-trees ; but every
vestige of these has disappeared, and it is now
guarded only by one tall Lombardy poplar, that
stands like a sentinel near a corner of the edifice.
The building is almost square, with a single pitch
roof, unpainted and somewhat decayed, but built
throughout with strong oak timbers. The win-
dows, with one exception, are square, and distrib-
uted rather irregularly. The glass is more than
half gone, many panes having been dashed in by
the pebbles of profane, vagrant boys, who ramble
hither on sunshiny afternoons, with small thought
of the sanctity which should hedge about the place.
There stood, for it was incapable of change, the
horse-block, a natural step of granite, whence in
olden time many a goodly dame stepped lightly
into her seat on the pillion strapped behind the
saddle of the sturdy horseman, who escorted her to
96 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
meeting. We entered the church through an
aperture in the door which had been caused by
the demolition of a panel, and found ourselves
standing opposite the pulpit, above which hung a
sounding-board of considerable pretension, bearing
the date of the erection of the building, and
among some queer old pews with very high sides,
causing them to look like little wells in which the
piety of the olden time was sunk, the same little
wells being fenced round with pegs screwed into
the heavy top-rails that surrounded them. We
saw the old chair where the old deacon had sat
under the droppings of the sanctuary, and whence
he rose to c deacon ' out the psalm, reciting two
lines at a time, which were then sung, and fol-
lowed by two more from the deacon until the
whole stent had been accomplished. . . . We heard
a pleasant chirping voice in the middle aisle, and
there we beheld one of the humblest of God's
creatures, a little squirrel sitting in the centre of
the building and looking round him with his bright
and fearless eyes. He was not long stationary,
but scurried away through the church as if he had
a perfect right there, and perhaps a better one than
ours. A merry little sexton he is for the old
deserted church which he held and holds as his
citadel, even though the jays and pigeon-wood-
peckers have beleaguered him, and driven their
sharp bills quite through the plastering, and
though sometimes the north-east blast must roar
EIDE TO AKNTSQUAM. 97
outside the building, and whistle through its
crevices, and tear the gray, moss-grown shingles
from the roof, and shake the old crazy walls in the
winter season with a fury that must make his little
heart beat dreadfully. But no ! such guiltless
creatures have no fear of Nature in her darkest
moods ; and the deadly tube of the roving gun-
ner has more terrors for them than the wildest
storm that ever swept the shore and sea. ... As
we leisurely turned our steps homeward through
the forest, we thought, as we looked upon the scene
around us, of Bryant's beautiful lines : —
' Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy
Existence, than the winged plunderer
That sucks its sweets : the mossy rocks themselves,
And the old ponderous trunks of prostrate trees,
That lead from knoll to knoll, a causeway rude,
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots
With all their earth upon them, twisting high,
Breathe fixed tranquillity. The rivulet
Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed
Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks,
Seems, with continuous laughter, to rejoice
In its own being. Softly tread the marge,
Lest from her midway perch thou scar'st the wren
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind,
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee
Like one that loves thee, nor will let thee pass
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.' "
Returning from Meeting-house Hill toward
Squam River, overlooking Ipswich Bay and the
estuary where river and bay unite, the lighthouse
98 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
and the cove and beach close by, and the river's
channel leading by cove, beach, and point into
the sheltered harbor, the whole scene is so fair
and peaceful to our company of explorers that it
hardly seems to them credible that there were days
in the past when the villagers across the tide were
thrown into deepest distress and sorrow by tales
of the capture or murder of their absent friends on
the sea by pirates, and sometimes were uplifted to
the highest rejoicing by the arrival of their fathers,
brothers, and sons alive and well, who had been
supposed among the dead lying upon the bottom
of the deep. The story of Captain Andrew Hara-
den and his crew illustrates both the hardness
and the courage of those days.
They sailed from Annisquam, in the sloop " Squir-
rel," in the spring of 1724. Near the middle of
April they were captured by John Phillips, who,
as a pirate, had become a terror in our waters.
Captain Haraden's vessel being new, Phillips de-
cided to remain on board of her with his prisoners,
and ordered his men to remove every thing from
his own craft, and leave her to the winds and
waves. The sloop not having been wholly finished,
and there being carpenters' tools on board, the
pirate set Captain Haraclen to the task of complet-
ing the work left undone. Thus there were instru-
ments in the captives' hands with which to regain
possession of the sloop and their own liberty. A
plan was devised to accomplish this end, and
RIDE TO AKKESQUAM. 99
immediately executed. One of the pirates was
thrown overboard by an athletic sailor as the sig-
nal for action. Then Captain Haraden with an
adze struck down Phillips, another with a broadaxe
killed Phillips's boatswain, and others threw over-
board the pirate's gunner. At this point of the
struggle, the rest of the pirates gave themselves
up as prisoners. Soon after, the " Squirrel " sailed
into Squam River, steered by the steady hand of
Captain Haraden, having the prisoners and the
heads of Phillips and his boatswain on board.
Subsequently two of the pirates were hung at
Charlestown Ferry. Two others were sentenced
to death, but were withheld from the gallows for
a time, to be recommended to the king's mercy.
The rest were set at liberty as men who had been
forced to assist in evil work.
Recrossing the river to take seats again in the
waiting carriage, no stain of blood is seen on
wave or rock ; and among the honest, kind-hearted,
cheerful folk of the village, more is heard of the
words and acts of the good pastor — who many
years, till he died, led his flock by the still waters
and in the green pastures of love and peace — than
of the sanguinary conflicts which the sturdy fore-
fathers of the long-ago, ruder days could not
At home again, and the day being nearly done,
W. H. Hurlbut shall sing an evening song : —
100 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
" On the tall cliffs the dying sunlight glows,
And stains with dolphin hues the waveless bay ;
And stars peep forth that lead the night's array,
Where in mid-heaven the deep'ning purple grows.
How cool an eve attends this burning day !
How sweet a peace the troubled wave subdues !
O troubled, burning heart ! canst thou refuse
To be as calmly hushed to rest as they 1 "
RIDE TO PEBBLE STONE BEACH AND LONG
The ride to Pebble Stone Beach and Long Beach
is also five miles. A great part of the way is over-
looked from Pigeon Cove, since it is the road to
Rockport around the seaside base of Pigeon Hill,
and along the shore ; passing, with other dwellings,
the old Rowe House, the quarries of the Rockport
Granite Company, the high, wood-covered ledges
extending from the base of Poole's Hill to the
ocean, and the beaches beyond, lying between
storm-defying crags ; and then onward from Rock-
EIDE TO PEBBLE STONE BEACH, ETC. 101
port over Cove Hill, meandering across the high
and, but for the orchards, the bare region of farms,
to a flat ledge, overlaid with green turf, close to
Here the horses remain, while the excursionists
ramble over the beaches. Several yards to the
left from this spot is Emerson's Point. From this
point south-westward to Brier Neck is the good
mile length of Pebble Stone Beach and Long
Beach. They are separated midway by a brook,
and by a jagged pile of granite called Cape Hedge.
From the turf-clad ledge, where the horses wait, to
Cape Hedge, the beach is a marvel. The pebbles,
smooth and oval, from the size of canister-balls to
the size of hundred-pounder shells, above the hard
sand exposed at low tide, have been thrown up by
the waves into three high and wide terraces, one
upon another. At high tide, when the waves
driven by the storm roll in upon them, the pebbles
are set in motion from end to end of the beach.
When the waves charge up the terraces, the peb-
bles are pushed upward, and some of them are
thrown over the crest of the highest terrace.
When the waves retreat, the pebbles turn and
follow them till again met by another charge,
making a noise on the whole line like the rattle of
musketry when the firing of an army, after the
discharge of the one volley beginning an engage-
ment, is continued briskly but irregularly. While
the thumps of the breakers on Cape Hedge strike
102 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
the ear like the thunder of a battery, the contin-
uous clatter of the thousands of pebbles all astir
complete the imitation of the din of battle.
Between Cape Hedge and Brier Neck, the half
mile of Long Beach is of sand, and wide and
smooth; but behind the sand, hardened by the
tramping waves, are sand-knolls thrown up by
the winds. Long Beach is backed by a marsh.
On rising ground behind the marsh, and spread-
ing over hundreds of acres receding to Cape Pond
and Beaver Dam, is a grand wood but slightly
damaged by the ruthless axe.
Cape Hedge and Emerson's Point command a
view of Milk Island and Thatcher's Island. Fol-
lowing the shore from Emerson's point northward,
the ramblers next gain Loblolly Point and Lob-
lolly Cove. Here Straitsmouth Island and the
Salvages strike the vision. The next advance is
to Flat Point and Whale Cove. Often excursion-
ists resort to the former for its magnificent pros-
pect. One event connected with the latter took
place in March, 1798. A great whale, seventy-six
feet long, was driven upon the beach in this cove.
While the oil of this monster was being secured,
many persons, attracted by the novelty, visited the
cove ; several from Gloucester, there being snow
then, by means of sleighs. Since then the place
has been Whale Cove.
Onward again, and Gap Cove and Gap Head are
reached. This is the southern extreme point of
RIDE TO PEBBLE STONE BEACH, ETC. 103
the Cape. Across the channel called the Gut is
Straitsmouth Island. It is said by elderly persons
hereabout that in 1772, in a gully near this point,
a pot of gold nuggets was found. As the value of
the nuggets was some thousands of dollars, the
place where the pot was found may be marked by
some writer of imaginary stories as one scene in
the history of some bold buccaneer who ended his
career on the gallows, or by going to the bottom
of the sea with his ship under the broadside of a
From Gap Head is the finest view of Pigeon
Hill to be attained anywhere on shore. The hill,
rising from the bay, is a beautiful background for
the houses on the road curving around its eastern
base ; and, together with these abodes and their
foreground of ledges, crags, and boulder-strewn
beaches, and with the village north of it, from the
little artificial harbor beginning to overrun the
broad area of Andrews' Point, presents a view to
the eye across the bay so truly splendid that one
might consider himself as not in a frivolous pursuit
for seeking with pains the point commanding it.
The way back to Pebble Stone Beach is so long,
the ramblers prefer a shorter path to the high-road,
where the carriage will meet them, according to an
arrangement with the driver.
Homeward returning, they see a steamer from
Boston passing the Salvages ; and another, off
Straitsmouth, following in her wake ; also a fleet
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
of yachts with all sails set, bound for the Isles of
Shoals. A dark cloud rises in the west. The ear
catches the rumbling of distant thunder. The
horses trot more briskly. The yachts this after-
noon will make Pigeon Cove, and there lie in
safety through the night. The ramblers, enriched
and invigorated from what they have seen and
done, are presently at home recounting the scenes
and adventures of the afternoon's jaunt.
FISHING AND YACHTING.
PIGEON COVE HARBOR.
These diversions are as often enjoyed on our
waters as they are wished for. The kinds of fish
FISHING AND YACHTING. 105
near the shore, and off in deep water, are sufficiently
numerous to satisfy the amateur in the art of fish-
ing, however fond he may be of variety. One
almost anywhere on the shore, with a rod of the
usual length, easily draws from the sea such fry as
perch or cunners, and not unfrequently the golden
rock-cod. At several points, also, tautog are
caught in like manner. Near Dick's Dream and
Ocean Bluff, even deep-water cod, weighing ten
and fifteen pounds, have been taken with a strong
line thrown out from the shore. Here the descent
from the shore is abrupt and deep, so that this
chief of the fish sought for the table approaches
much nearer the unsubmerged rocks than it is
accustomed to do. Sometimes schools of mackerel
come so near to the shore that, by rowing upon
them in a dory, the exciting sport of catching a
large number of these most beautiful of the finny
inhabitants of the sea is enjoyed. Going in a sail-
boat or yacht a little way from shore, and dropping
anchor where cod and haddock abound, are the
simple necessary preliminaries before pulling from
the depths of the bay a good fare of these favorite
species. Occasionally blue-fish appear in the bay.
The yacht makes swift headway before the stiff
breeze, and the spoon at the end of a long line fol-
lows over the surface of waves, imitating the
silver-sided herring darting from wave to wave
from its pursuer. The artifice is successful : the
voracious fish is hooked, and soon, by hand over
106 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
hand, strong, and skilful exertion, is drawn over the
rail and secured. Sometimes, in the vicinity of
the Salvages, a halibut takes a hook baited for cod,
and is caught. Then follow the struggle of this
immense flat fish to escape, and the counter-effort
of vigorous arms to haul the fish to the sea's sur-
face and the vessel's side. Presently the captive
rises to sight and within reach ; and, gaff and
tackle being promptly used, is soon on deck.
BY YACHT TO ANNISQUAM, GLOUCESTER, GRAPE
Half-day or all-day voyaging in pleasure-boats
and yachts is one of the delightful diversions of
the summer sojourn at Pigeon Cove. One enjoy-
able sail is around Andrews' Point into Ipswich
Bay, passing the indented north shore to Annis-
quam and Gloucester, by the way of Squam River.
Beating into the bay, and then into the river,
against the wind, and returning with sails filled
before the wind, illustrate common alternations in
human life. Another sail is across the bay to the
mouth of Ipswich River and Grape Island, or into
the Merrimack up to the fair city of Newbury-
THE SAIL TO THE ISLES OF SHOALS. 107
THE SAIL TO THE ISLES OF SHOALS.
Another is a sail of twenty-one miles to the
Isles of Shoals. This voyage, if accomplished in a
single clay, affords but a brief time for a survey of
the cluster of islands, now greatened and glorified
by the pen of one who in childhood became familiar
with their bold hard features, and also with their
warmth and beauty in hollows and nooks ; their
delicate though unpretentious tokens of tenderness
toward hearts needing the sunshine and blessing of
smiles, in fragrant shrubs and bright-hued flowers,
in mosses of colors unattained by the painter's art,
in violets and pimpernels of blue and scarlet sheen
unknown to their genera away from the pure
atmosphere of the enfolding sea. How much of
wonder and enchantment one intelligent and lov-
ing mind discerns, where whole generations have
overpassed, seeing only barrenness and desolation !
How to the vision unveiled uprise and glisten the
dew-besprinkled grass-blades and gold-bedecked
mullein-stalks, amid the waste of rough, unshapely
rocks and moss-bound mould ! And to the same
vision how through the darkness and terror of the
storm come revealings foretelling the advent of
a fair, sweet day, when the whole sky shall be
bright ; and the earth and the sea, no longer in
shadow, shall rejoice for the end of doubt, the
108 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
establishment of reverent confidence and faith in
the Father ! Of course Mrs. Thaxter's " Wreck
of the Pocahontas," which appeared in the " Atlan-
tic Monthly," April, 1868, should follow these
reflections : —
"I lit the lamps in the lighthouse tower,
For the sun dropped down and the day was dead ;
They shone like a glorious clustered flower,
Ten golden and five red.
Looking across, where the line of coast
Stretched darkly, shrinking away from the sea,
The lights sprang out at its edge, — almost
They seemed to answer me !
O warning lights, burn bright and clear,
Hither the storm comes ! Leagues away
It moans and thunders low and drear, —
Burn till the break of day !
Good night ! I called to the gulls that sailed
Slow past me through the evening sky ;
And my comrades, answering shrilly, hailed
Me back with boding cry.
A mournful breeze began to blow,
Weird music it drew through the iron bars,
The sullen billows boiled below,
And dimly peered the stars ;
The sails that flecked the ocean floor
From east to west leaned low and fled ;
They knew what came in the distant roar
That filled the air with dread !
Flung by the fitful gust, there beat
Against the window a dash of rain:
Steady as tramp of marching feet
Strode on the hurricane.
THE SAIL TO THE ISLES OF SHOALS. 109
It smote the waves for a moment still,
Level and deadly white for fear;
The hare rock shuddered, — an awful thrill
Shook even my tower of cheer.
Like all the demons loosed at last,
Whistling and shrieking, wild and wide,
The mad wind raged, and strong and fast
Rolled in the rising tide.
And soon in ponderous showers the spray,
Struek from the granite, reared and sprung,
And clutched at tower and cottage gray,
Where overwhelmed they clung
Half drowning to the naked rock;
But still burned on the faithful light,
Nor faltered at the tempest's shock,
Through all the fearful night.
Was it in vain ? That knew not we.
We seemed in that confusion vast,
Of rushing wind and roaring sea,
One point whereon was cast
The whole Atlantic's weight of hrine.
Heaven help the ship should drift our way !
No matter how the light might shine
Far on into the day.
When morning dawned, above the din
Of gale and breaker boomed a gun!
Another! We, who sat within,
Answered with cries each one.
Into each other's eyes with fear
We looked through helpless tears, as still
One after one, near and more near,
The signals pealed, until
110 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
The thick storm seemed to break apart,
To show us, staggering to her grave,
The fated brig. We had no heart
To look, for naught could save.
One glimpse of black hull heaving slow,
Then closed the mists o'er canvas torn
And tangled ropes, swept to and fro
From masts that raked forlorn.
Weeks after, yet ringed round with spray,
Our island lay, and none might land ;
Though blue the waters of the bay
Stretched calm on either hand.
And when at last from the distant shore
A little boat stole out, to reach
Our loneliness, and bring once more
Fresh human thought and speech,
We told our tale, and the boatmen cried, -
' 'Twas the Pocahontas, — all were lost !
For miles along the coast the tide
Her shattered timbers tost.'
Then I looked the whole horizon round, —
So beautiful the ocean spread
About us, o'er those sailors drowned !
' Father in heaven,' I said,
A child's grief struggling in my breast,
' Do purposeless thy creatures meet
Such bitter death 1 How was it best
These hearts should cease to beat 1
wherefore ! Are we naught to Thee ?
Like senseless weeds that rise and fall
Upon thine awful sea, are we
No more then, after all ? '
THE SAIL TO THE ISLES OF SHOALS. Ill
And I shut the beauty from ray sight,
For I thought of the dead that lay below.
From tbe bright air faded the warmth and light,
There came a chill like snow.
Then I heard the far-off rote resound,
Where the breakers slow and slumberous rolled,
And a subtle sense of Thought profound
Touched me with power untold.
And like a voice eternal spake
That wondrous rhythm, and 'Peace, be still ! *
It murmured, 'bow thy head, and take
Life's rapture and life's ill,
And wait. At last all shall be clear.'
The long, low, mellow music rose
And fell, and soothed my dreaming ear
With infinite repose.
Sighing, I climbed the lighthouse stair,
Half forgetting my grief and pain ;
And while the day died sweet and fair,
I lit the lamps again."
Homeward bound from the group of islands, the
talk of the voyagers so runs on matters connected
with the history of the group, that for some time
the swift progress of the yacht is not noticed.
One questions if Captain John Smith, on his way
along the coast in 1614, erected the pile of stones
on Appledore. Another refers to the day when
the population of the islands was much larger than
at the present time ; and the inhabitants, who were
then engaged in the fishing business, were suffi-
ciently enterprising to be connected with ships
112 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
from Spain and other foreign countries in commer-
cial relations. Still another tells a tale of the
wreck of a Spanish ship on one of the reefs of the
Shoals : which is followed by a fellow for his story
from a companion at his elbow, — namely, that a
ship from Spain, many years ago, was wrecked on
Andrews' Point, between Dick's Dream and Cha-
pin's Gully ; that before she wholly went to pieces
one of her masts fell over her bow upon the shore,
so that all her crew were saved from the waves by
passing over it to dry and substantial footing ; and
that, at intervals, since the ship was wrecked, vil-
lagers visiting the place of the disaster have there
picked up Spanish silver dollars, which were very
much worn from long tossing to and fro on the
ledge beneath the furious breakers. Then is re-
lated by one, who never omits on fit occasions to
mix the humorous with the grave, the story of the
preacher who, in the olden time, once discoursing
to the Isles of Shoals congregation, so aroused one
of his hearers through the force of nautical speech,
as to get from him such a response as he would
have given a skipper on board a fisherman. The
preacher was representing the case of the sinners
before him as that of sailors on board a vessel
in a storm. The picture was drawn with a bold
hand. Torrents poured, and whirlwinds churned
the sea. There seemed no space between the next
ascent upon a billow and destruction upon an un-
yielding and merciless reef. At this point of
THE SAIL TO THE ISLES OF SHOALS. 113
imminent ruin, " What shall we do ? what shall we
do ? " cried the minister. Jack, who had weathered
many a storm, and had not so long been an Isles of
Shoals man without learning what would be the
chance for life in the stress and strait so powerfully
brought home to him, promptly answered, " Histe
for's'il and jib, and scud for Squam, sir."
The moon rises, and the " multitudinous " waves
turn to silver before her luminous disk ; and the
headland, toward which the yacht advances uner-
ringly, lifts itself more and more above the sea,
presenting its line of points and coves to the impar-
tial ray spreading over sea and land from the
earth's serene and constant satellite. At midnight,
her precious freight being fanned by cool breezes,
and cheered by the welcome of waves tapping the
wharves and the hulls of sloops and schooners in
the harbor, the stanch little craft arrives at her
buoy, there to lie through the night in repose.
The voyagers, too, thankful for the pleasures of
the day without alloy, are soon in their places of
rest. " All good is from above."
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
THE SAIL TO STRAITSMOUTH AND THATCHER'S
THATCHER ISLAND LIGHTS.
The distance to Straitsmouth Island being but
three miles, and, after doubling Straitsmouth, to
Thatcher's Island but two miles more, the whole
course is under the eye of the village. Gliding
out of the harbor, the yacht careens to the wind
pressing her sails, and then onward shoots over the
waves toward Straitsmouth lighthouse, as an arrow
goes to its mark. The swift sailing is exhilarating.
A few rods from the landing place in the Gut the
sails are lowered and the anchor dropped. Then
the shore is reached in a dory ; and the lighthouse
at the other and outer end of the island, by a third
of a mile walk. The view from the lantern, and
the ramble from point to point, though mainly not
differing from views and rambles on the bare heads
and bluffs of the Cape across the narrow channel,
are yet curious and strange in a degree, for being
connected with an insulated spot. The island is
so small that on any part of it, and which ever way
the observer turns, the waves of the great sea are
THE SAIL TO STRAITSMOUTH. 115
present in awful upheavings and clashing^, or in
gentle swirls among the rocks covered with kelp
and moss, and in the stealthy creeping of the rising,
and in the almost silent stealing away, of the falling
tide. Here with the cleanness of rock and turf,
with the wholesomeness of the air, and with the
sense of boundless relationship, and of life without
end, the heart sings under standingly " The Spell
of the Sea:" —
"With moon and stars, at morn and eve,
In sunny wind or shower,
How often hath it worked in me, —
That m} r stery of the kingly sea,
With joyous spells of power !
Oh, it is well sick men should go
Unto the royal sea ;
For on their souls, as on a glass,
From its bright fields the breath doth pass
Of its infinity.
My mother taught me how to love
The mystery of the sea ;
She sported with my childish wonder
At its white waves and gentle thunder
Like a man's deep voice to me.
Then in my soul dim thoughts awoke,
She helped to set them free ;
I learned from ocean's murmurings
How infinite eternal things,
Though viewless, yet could be.
In gentle moods I love the hills,
Because they bound my spirit;
But to the broad blue sea I fly
When I would feel the destiny
Immortal souls inherit."
116 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Whether by doubling Straitsmouth, or passing
through the Gut separating this island from Gap
Head, the short extension of the sail to Thatcher's
is not a less interesting division of it. On this
course, the track of coasters between the Cape and
Thatcher's is traversed ; and it is but a navigable
river's width to the parallel track of steamers and
ships passing into and out of Massachusetts Bay by
the guidance of Thatcher's tall twin towers. Low
in the bay, like a great raft, south-westward from
Thatcher's is Milk Island. Sometimes a few cat-
tle and sheep are ferried over to the latter from the
Cape, for the scant herbage growing on it among
the rocks. The shore of the former, all round, rises
from the sea like a massive wall such as no might
or skill of man ever reared. Near the one slope
where small boats may land, the yacht is left to
ride at anchor, while the voyagers see and learn all
they may within the jagged rim which through all
the years withstands the fury of tempest and wave.
In 1635, nineteen years after Captain John
Smith named Straitsmouth, Thatcher's, and Milk
Islands, the Three Turks' Heads, Thatcher's, the
middle and largest of the three, became the object
of the early colonists' sorrowful attention, because
of an event the like of which had not before hap-
pened in New England. In Dr. Alexander Young's
" Chronicles of the First Planters of the Colony
of Massachusetts Bay," is a narrative of this
event, which was written by Anthony Thatcher,
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 117
whose name the island now bears. It is entitled
" Thatcher's Narrative of his Shipwreck." A
large part of it should be repeated to our excur-
sionists, for nothing can be better or more touching
to their minds than the sufferer's own manner of
telling the sad tale.
" There was a league of perpetual friendship
between " Mr. Thatcher and his " Cousin Avery "
(who " was," said Increase Mather, "a precious
holy minister") "never to forsake each other
to the death, but to be partakers of each other's
misery or welfare, as also of habitation, in the
same place." They with their families came from
England together. Upon their arrival in New
England, they tarried awhile in Ipswich, but
finally took up their abode in Newbury, notwith-
standing Mr. Avery had been " invited to Marble-
head." There was no church " planted there as
yet, but a town appointed to set up the trade of
fishing." Though the promise was held out that
Mr. Avery should become in due time the pastor
of the Marblehead church, he was not inclined to
leave Newbury. The good man shrank from what
he believed would be a difficult work. For a time
he did not rise to the heroic purpose to spend his
strength where the need for it seemed the greatest.
" But " (in the language of Mr. Thatcher) " being
solicited so often by the men of the place, and by
the magistrates, and by Mr. Cotton, and most of
the ministers, who alleged what a benefit we might
118 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
be to the people there, and also to the country and
commonwealth at length, ... we thither consented
to go. They of Marblehead forthwith sent a pin-
nace for us and our goods."
The pinnace went to the then best known port
near Newbury for the minister and his friend, and
their wives and children. Mr. Thatcher's words
are: " We embarked at Ipswich, August 11, 1635,
with our families and substance, bound for Marble-
head, we being in all twenty-three souls ; viz.,
eleven in my cousin's family, seven in mine, and
one Mr. William Eliot, sometimes of New Sarum,
and four mariners. The next morning, having
commended ourselves to God, with cheerful hearts
we hoisted sail. But the Lord suddenly turned
our cheerfulness into mourning and lamentations.
For on the 14th of this August, 1635, about ten at
night, having a fresh gale of wind, our sails being
old and done were split. The mariners, because
that it was night, would not put to new sails, but
resolved to cast anchor till morning. But before
daylight it pleased the Lord to send so mighty a
storm as the like was never known in New Eng-
land since the English came, nor in the memory of
any of the Indians. It was so furious that our
anchor came home. Whereupon the mariners let
out more cable, which at last slipped away. Then
our sailors knew not what to do; but we were
driven before the wind and waves.
" My cousin and I perceived our danger, and
THE SAIL TO THATCHER^ ISLAND. 119
solemnly recommended ourselves to God, the Lord
both of earth and seas, expecting with every wave
to be swallowed np and drenched in the deeps.
And as my cousin, his wife, and my tender babes
sat comforting and cheering one the other in the
Lord against ghastly death, which every moment
stared us in the face and sat triumphing upon each
one's forehead, we were by the violence and fury
of the winds (by the Lord's permission) lifted
up upon a rock between two high rocks, yet all
was one rock. But it raged with the stroke,
which came into the pinnace, so that we were
presently up to our middles in water, as we sat.
The waves came furiously and violently over us,
and against us, but, by reason of the rock's pro-
portion, could not lift us off, but beat her all to
pieces. Now look with me upon our distress and
consider of my misery, who beheld the ship broken,
the water in her and violently overwhelming us,
my goods and provisions swimming in the seas, my
friends almost drowned, and mine own poor chil-
dren so untimely (if I may so term it without
offence) before mine eyes drowned, and ready to
be swallowed up and dashed to pieces against the
rocks by the merciless waves, and myself ready to
accompany them. But I must go on to an end of
this woful relation.
" In the same room whereas he sat, the master of
the pinnace, not knowing what to do, our foremast,
was cut down, our mainmast broken in three
120 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
pieces, the forepart of the pinnace beat away, our
goods swimming about the seas, my children be-
wailing me as not pitying themselves, and myself
bemoaning them, poor souls, whom I had occa-
sioned to such an end in their tender years, when
as they scarce could be sensible of death. And so
likewise my cousin, his wife, and his children ; and
both of us bewailing each other in our Lord and
only Saviour Jesus Christ, in whom only we had
comfort and cheerfulness ; insomuch that, from the
greatest to the least of us, there was not one
screech or outcry made ; but all, as silent sheep,
were contentedly resolved to die together lovingly,
as since our acquaintance we had lived together
44 Now as I was sitting in the cabin-room door,
with my body in the room, when lo ! one of the
sailors, by a wave being washed out of the pinnace,
was gotten in again, and coming into the cabin
room over my back cried out : 4 We are all cast
away. The Lord have mercy upon us ! I have
been washed overboard into the sea, and am got-
ten in again.' His speeches made me look forth.
And looking towards and seeing how we were, I
turned myself to my cousin and the rest, and
spake these words : ' O cousin, it hath pleased
God to cast us here between two rocks, the shore
not far from us, for I saw the tops of trees
when I looked forth.' Whereupon the master of
the pinnace, looking up at the scuttle-hole of the
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 121
quarter-deck, went out at it ; but I never saw
him afterwards. Then he that had been in the
sea went out again by me, and leaped overboard
towards the rocks, whom afterwards also I could
" Now none were left in the bark, that I knew or
saw, but my cousin, his wife and children, myself
and mine, and his maid-servant. But my cousin
thought that I would have fled from him, and said
unto me, 4 O cousin ! leave us not, let us die
together,' and reached forth his hand unto me.
Then I, letting go my son Peter's hand, took him
by the hand, and said, ' Cousin, I purpose it not.
Whither shall I go ? I am willing and ready here
to die with you and my poor children. God be
merciful to us and receive us to himself ; ' adding
these words, ' The Lord is able to help and deliver
us.' He replied, saying : 4 Truth, cousin ; but
what his pleasure is we know not. I fear we have
been too unthankful for former deliverances. But
he hath promised to deliver us from sin and con-
demnation, and to bring us safe to heaven through
the all-sufficient satisfaction of Jesus Christ. This
therefore we may challenge of him.' To which I
replying said, c That is all the deliverance I now
desire and expect.'
" Which words I had no sooner spoken but by
a mighty wave I was, with the piece of the bark,
washed out upon part of the rock, where the
wave left me almost drowned ; but, recovering my
122 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
feet, I saw above me on the rock my daughter
Mary, to whom I had no sooner gotten but my
cousin Avery and his eldest son came to us, being
all four of us washed out by one and the same
wave. We went all into a small hole on the top
of the rock, whence we called to those in the pin-
nace to come unto us, supposing we were in more
safety than they were in. My wife, seeing us there,
was crept up into the scuttle of the quarter-deck
to come unto us. But presently came another
wave, and, dashing the pinnace all to pieces, carried
my wife away in the scuttle, as she was, with the
greater part of the quarter-deck, unto the shore ;
where she was cast safely, but her legs were some-
thing bruised. And much timber of the vessel
being there also cast, she was some time before
she could get away, being washed by the waves.
All the rest that were in the bark were drowned
in the merciless seas. We four by that wave were
clean swept away from off the rock, also, into the
sea ; the Lord, in one instant of time, disposing of
fifteen souls of us, according to his good pleasure
" His pleasure and wonderful great mercy to me
was thus. Standing on the rock, as before you
heard, with my eldest daughter, my cousin, and
his eldest son, looking upon and talking to them in
the bark, when as we were by that merciless wave
washed off the rock* as before you heard, God, in
his mercy, caused me to fall, by the stroke of the
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 123
wave, flat on my face ; for my face was toward the
sea. Insomuch that, as I was sliding off the rock
into the sea, the Lord directed my toes into a joint
in the rock's side, as also the tops of some of my
fingers, with my right hand, by means whereof,
the wave leaving me, I remained so, hanging on the
rock, only my head above the water ; when on the
left hand I espied a board or plank of the pinnace.
And as I was reaching out my left hand to lay
hold on it, by another coming over the top of the
rock I was washed away from the rock, and by
the violence of the waves was driven hither and
thither in the seas a great while, and had many
dashes against the rocks. At length, past hopes
of life, and wearied in body and spirits, I even
gave over to nature ; and, being ready to receive in
the waters of death, I lifted up both my heart and
hands to the God of heaven — for note, I had my
senses remaining perfect with me all the time I was
in the water — who at that instant lifted my head
above the top of the water, that so I might breathe
without any hindrance by the waters. I stood bolt
upright as if I had stood upon my feet ; but I felt no
bottom, nor had any footing for to stand upon but
" While I was thus above the water, I saw by me
a piece of the mast, as I suppose, about three foot
long, which I labored to catch into my arms. But
suddenly I was overwhelmed with water, and
driven to and fro again, and at last I felt the
124 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
ground with my right foot. When immediately,
whilst I was thus grovelling on my face, I, presently
recovering my feet, was in the water up to my
breast, and through God's great mercy had my
face unto the shore, and not to the sea. I made
haste to get out, but was thrown on my hands with
the waves, and so with safety crept to the dry
shore. Where, blessing God, I turned about to
look for my children and friends, but saw neither,
nor any part of the pinnace, where I left them,
as I supposed. But I saw my wife about a butt
length from me, getting herself forth from amongst
the timber of the broken bark ; but before I could
get unto her, she was gotten to the shore. I was in
the water, after I was washed from the rock, before
I came to the shore, a quarter of an hour at least.
" I will proceed on in the relation of God's good-
ness unto me in that desolate island on which I
was cast. I and my wife were almost naked, both
of us, and wet and cold even unto death. I found
a snapsack cast on the shore, in which I had a
steel and flint and powder-horn. Going further,
I found a drowned goat ; then I found a hat, and
my son William's coat, both which I put on. My
wife found one of her petticoats, which she put on.
I found also two cheeses and some butter driven
ashore. Thus the Lord sent us some clothes to
put on, and food to sustain our new lives, which
we had lately given unto us, and means also to
make fire ; for in a horn I had some gunpowder,
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 125
which to mine own, and since to other men's
admiration, was dry. So taking a piece of my wife's
neckcloth, which I dried in the sun, I struck fire,
and so dried and warmed our wet bodies ; and then
skinned the goat, and having found a small brass
pot we boiled some of her. Bread we had none.
" There we remained until the Monday following;
when about three of the clock in the afternoon, in
a boat that came that way, we went of! that deso-
late island, which I named after my name, Thatch-
er's Woe, and the rock, Avery his Fall, to the end
that their fall and loss, and mine own, might be had
in perpetual remembrance. In the isle lieth buried
the body of my cousin's eldest daughter, whom I
found dead on the shore. On the Tuesday follow-
ing, in the afternoon, we arrived at Marblehead."
In some way, which cannot be explained here, a
rock, a mile inside the Salvages toward Rockport,
and more than two miles from Thatcher's Island,
has become known as " Avery's Rock." Being
always under water, its locality is only revealed at
low tide by the breaking and foaming of the waves
which pass over it. But the true Avery's Rock,
or " Avery's Fall," according to Mr. Thatcher's
narrative, is very near the south shore of Thatcher's
Island, or " Thatcher's Woe," as the sorrowful
man felt inclined to name it. One of the interest-
ing quests of visitors on the island is for this rock
with features corresponding to the description in
the narrative. And, while looking down upon it
126 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
from one of the bold cliffs of the island, one is
moved to read to his companions who are already
seated around him this " Swan Song of Parson
Avery," by Whittier : —
" When the reaper's task was ended, and the summer wearing
Parson Avery sailed from Newbury, with his wife and children
Dropping down the river harbor in the shallop ' Watch and Wait.'
Pleasantly lay the clearings in the mellow summer morn,
With the newly planted orchards dropping their fruits first-born,
And the homesteads like green islands amid a sea of corn.
Broad meadows reached out seaward the tided creeks between,
And hills rolled wavelike inland, with oaks and walnuts green :
A fairer home, a goodlier land, his eyes had never seen.
Yet away sailed Parson Avery, away where duty led,
And the voice of God seemed calling, to break the living bread
To the souls of fishers starving on the rocks of Marblehead.
All day they sailed : at nightfall the pleasant land-breeze died,
The blackening sky at midnight its starry lights denied,
And far and low the thunder of tempest prophesied !
Blotted out were all the coast lines, gone were rock and wood and
Grimly anxious stood the skipper, with the rudder in his hand,
And questioned of the darkness what was sea and what was land.
And the preacher heard his dear ones, nestled round him, weeping
' Never heed, my little children ! Christ is walking on before
To the pleasant land of heaven, where the sea shall be no more.'
All at once the great cloud parted, like a curtain drawn aside,
To let down the torch of lightning on the terror far and wide ;
And the thunder and the whirlwind together smote the tide.
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 127
There was wailing in the shallop : woman's wail and man's despair,
A crash of breaking timbers on the rocks so sharp and bare,
And through it all the murmur of Father Avery's prayer.
From his struggle in the darkness with the wild waves and the
On a rock, where every billow broke above him as it passed,
Alone, of all his household, the man of God was cast.
There a comrade heard him praying, in the pause of wave and
'All my own have gone before me, and I linger just behind •
Not for life I ask, but only for the rest thy ransomed find !
' In this night of death I challenge the promise of thy Word !
Let me see the great salvation of which mine ears have heard !
Let me pass from hence forgiven, through the grace of Christ, our
' In the baptism of these waters wash white my every sin,
And let me follow up to thee my household and my kin !
Open the sea-gate of thy heaven, and let me enter in ! '
When the Christian sings his death-song, all the listening heavens
And the angels, leaning over the walls of crystal, hear
How the notes, so faint and broken, swell to music in God's ear.
The ear of God was open to his servant's last request :
As the strong wave swept him downward, the sweet hymn upward
And the soul of Father Avery went singing to its rest.
There was wailing on the mainland, from the rocks of Marblehead ;
In the stricken church of Newbury the notes of prayer were read;
And long by board and hearthstone the living mourned the dead.
And still the fishers outbound, or scudding from the squall,
With grave and reverent faces the ancient tale recall,
When they see the white waves breaking on the Rock of Avery's
Fall ! "
128 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
With reference to Thatcher's Island, Mr. Bab-
son says : "It is estimated to contain about eighty
acres, most of which have patches of good soil,
affording rich pasturage for a few cattle. In 1714
it was purchased by Rev. John White for a hun-
dred pounds. He sold it in 1727, to Joseph Allen,
for a hundred and seventy-five pounds. In 1771
the Colonial Government became its owner at a
cost of five hundred pounds, and proceeded in the
same year to erect two lighthouses and a dwelling-
house on it. The lights were lighted for the first
time Dec. 21, 1771. At the commencement of
the Revolutionary War, the keeper of the lights
(Kirkwood) was forcibly removed from the island
by Captain Rogers's company of minute-men, as
a person inimical to the patriotic sentiments gen-
erally held by the people of the town. After a
lapse of time the lights were relighted, and have
ever since thrown forth their friendly beams to
greet the anxious mariner, and in the darkness of
night direct his way over the pathless sea."
A few years since, the ancient lighthouses were
taken down, and new ones erected in their places.
Together with these two unusually tall towers of
stone, there are substantial and comfortable dwell-
ings for the keepers and tenders of the lights, and
a building for the steam-engine, which, through
the hours and days of thick vapor or fog, sounds
the fog-horn to apprise approaching vessels of their
situation and danger.
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 129
The lighthouses are round towers, and so the
ascent to their lanterns of necessity is spiral.
From the balconies around the lanterns the views
are magnificent. But these costly shafts, uplifted
so high from their solid foundations toward the
heavens, are not chiefly noticeable for enabling the
vision of man to overlook so much of land and
sea, but for the power and splendor of their lights.
Far over the sea these lights are descried by ships
homeward bound from foreign ports, by fishing-
craft from the Gulf of Labrador or from the
Banks of Newfoundland, and by coasters follow-
ing the long and irregular shore from the British
Provinces and the ports of Maine to Massachusetts
Bay. Nearer, from the windows of hundreds of
dwellings, they are beheld night after night through
the years, almost as having the thought and care
of human forms, and as taking into themselves the
watchfulness of anxious thousands on shore, and
holding it far out over the waves in flames which
never become dim. The sea-birds, attracted by
the splendor of these quenchless flames, fly with
such force against the plates of glass which pro-
tect the flames from wind and storm, that they fall
dead upon the rocks around the towers. As moths
and millers are drawn to the lamp in the parlor,
so the wild goose, the brant, the black duck, the
loon, and the coot are drawn to the glowing lan-
tern on the lighthouse tower. But how much of
the world's interest, of man's concern, is blended
130 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
with the rays which stream from the lofty tower
on the ocean's edge of rock and sand ! Longfellow
has not in too glowing numbers told his story of
the Lighthouse : —
' The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point, some miles away,
The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.
Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
In the white lip and tremor of the face.
And, as the evening darkens, lo ! how bright,
Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
With strange, unearthly splendor in its glare.
Nor one alone : from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean's verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o'er the restless surge.
Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night-o'ertaken mariner to save.
And the great ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o'er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 131
The mariner remembers when a child,
On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink ;
And when, returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o'er ocean's brink.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
Year after year, through all the silent night,
Burns on for evermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light !
It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace ;
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.
The startled waves leap over it ; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.
The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
Of wings, and winds, and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.
A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
Still grasping in his hand the fire of Jove,
It does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,
But hails the mariner with words of love.
' Sail on ! ' it says, ' sail on, ye stately ships !
And with your floating bridge the ocean span ;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse ;
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man.' "
Having spent a few hours rambling over the
island, — now indulging grave reflections, and now
bright and cheerful fancies ; now musing over a
132 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
broken spar lodged among the rocks where the
tide ebbs and flows ; and now observing the bril-
liant hue of the pimpernel, unfolded in the sun-
shine, and giving no hint of cloud or rain, — the
voyagers return to the yacht ; and, after running
westward by Pebble Stone Beach and Long Beach,
and then tacking and making a sweep around Milk
Island, sail homeward, passing the true " Avery's
Fall," as well as the south and east shore of
Thatcher's Island, and following the shore of the
Cape to Gap Head, and thence on a straight course,
crossing Sandy Bay, to the harbor of Pigeon Cove.
This ending of the little voyage is sometimes
unusually interesting and exciting for the appear-
ance of whales, — now and then a school of six or
eight, — spouting and playing hide-and-seek but
two or three hundred yards from the yacht. One
fair September day, in 1870, a party of Philadel-
phians, in a pleasure-boat, just departing from
Thatcher's Island, began to converse playfully of
the hidden monsters that might come to sight ;
perhaps too near the boat for the comfort of the
passengers. A gentleman on board with them, who
had been a long time familiar with the sea around
our headland, said that he had seen almost every
summer the kind of whales called blackfish, between
Thatcher's and Straitsmouth Islands, and in Sandy
and Ipswich Bays. Some of the company doubted,
or affected to doubt, his word, and gently asked,
" Have you not been telling a fish-story ? " But
THE SAIL TO THATCHER'S ISLAND. 133
scarcely had this question escaped from their lips
before a noise came to the hearing of the persons
in the boat like the rushing of a wave up the
ascending floor of a beach, but more sudden and
not at all prolonged. Looking for the occasion
of the noise, and seeing two whales passing Flat
Point on their way to deeper water, " There are
two of the monsters now," said he ; " and, as luck
would have it, you have a fine chance to see with
your own eyes these immense creatures of the ocean,
now diving to the bottom of the sea, and now rising
to its surface, expelling water through the holes in
their heads from their closed capacious mouths."
A long while the excursionists watched the gam-
bols of the huge pair ; and when the whales had
gone a mile away, distinctly came to the hearing
of the curious gazers the sound of the spray which
they threw into the air with great force.
When Massachusetts Bay and Ipswich Bay are
thronged with menhaden, herring, or mackerel,
moving within sight of the shore from point to
point in schools, the extent of which is denoted
by the darker shade and bubbling of large spaces
of the ocean's surface, then the whales are likely
to appear in the same waters, devouring these
smaller inhabitants of the sea by hundreds in every
onset. But the whales in turn become game, and
are pursued also ; and the menhaden, herring, and
mackerel are no longer with fright shooting in
every direction from their wide-open jaws. The
134 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
fishermen, in boats quietly following them, with
dexterous aim and thrust harpoon them. Some-
times, not having the whaler's instrument and line
at hand, with aid of rifles, fowling-pieces, and lusty
shouting, they drive them into some shallow bay
or cove, where the terrified monsters run aground,
and so are easily captured. Not many years since
five or six whales were in this manner driven
ashore near Bay View. When the tide went down,
they were left "high and dry," like stranded ships.
The large quantity of oil obtained amply repaid
the fishermen for their exercise of energy and dar-
ing. While the chase was progressing, since it had
not been engaged in out of mere wantonness, but
for honorable profit, the witnesses of it on the shore
were not unwilling lookers-on, and would not have
called Mr. Bergh to stop it, had he been at the
time within hailing distance. The sailing and
rowing were quite as skilful as horsemanship on the
race-course, and certainly, in the judgment of the
humane, ended in results not less noble.
Here ending discourse about whales, a few
words from Rev. Francis Higginson's Journal,
written in 1629, after he had crossed the ocean
from England to Salem, will not be inapposite.
Said the brave and enthusiastic minister to his
countrymen at home : " Our passage was both
pleasurable and profitable ; for we received instruc-
tion and delight in beholding the wonders of the
Lord in the deep waters, and sometimes seeing the
BATHING AND SWIMMING.
sea round us appearing with a terrible countenance
and, as it were, full of high hills and deep valleys ;
and sometimes it appeared as a most plain and
even meadow. And ever and anon we saw divers
kinds of fishes sporting in the great waters, great
grampuses and huge whales, going by companies
and puffing up water streams. Those that love
their own chimney-corner, and dare not go far
beyond their own town's end, shall never have
the honor to see these wonderful works of
BATHING AND SWIMMING.
SALVAGES FROM OCEAN AVENUE.
The facilities on the shore of Pigeon Cove for
bathing and swimming should not be overlooked.
It is but a short walk from the hotels and the vil-
136 PIGEON COVE AND VICLNITY.
lage homes to the Bath. Here the granite shore is
as clean as the pure water of the ocean can wash
it ; and there are hollows and basins in the rocks,
and, over a barrier of stones outside of them, a
smooth granite floor across which are stretched
strong ropes made fast at each end to iron bolts
driven into holes drilled deep into a ledge or boul-
der. Every incoming tide brings to the granite
floor and to the hollows and basins a new supply
of cool, pure brine for the bathers. Every out-
going tide takes away the last water dashed over
them by the waves, leaving them clean and to
be wholly supplied again, on the return of the
untainted, wholesome sea. Ascending from the
bathing floor and basins to the clothing rooms of
the bath-house, at the brink of the high ground
above them, there is no need of a second bath to be
rid of clinging sea-weed and sand. And as to the
safety of still-bathing or surf -bathing here : the
first case of drowning has not yet occurred. After
fair trials on the beaches, as well as here on the
rocks, the majority of bathers prefer the clear, pure
water, and the clean, firm footing of the Bath at
The Gentlemen's Bath is at Hoop Pole Cove,
near the cove-end of Dawn Avenue. The descent
from the avenue to the water is easy. The
slightly sloping granite under water being thickly
carpeted with Iceland moss, the footing for bathers
who cannot swim is soft and agreeable. The boul-
BATHING AND SWIMMING. 137
ders out in deep water, shaggy and maned with
sea-weed, are admirable seats for tired swimmers,
and immovable piers for the use of divers. Here,
so near the outermost point of the Cape, may be
enjoyed the full benefit of bathing and swimming.
There is no spot on the globe more apart from
unpleasant aspects or from disagreeable odors.
Fanned by sea-breezes, inhaling pure air, catch-
ing the healing perfumes which steal from the
pastures to the shore and become one with the
breath of the sea, bathers and swimmers here
attain the utmost enjoyment, the very ecstasy of
their recreation. It is surprising how many living
within sight of the sea know nothing of this rapt-
ure. How few of the millions of men on the earth
could sing from their own hearts these lines ! —
"And I have loved thee, Ocean ! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like bubbles, onward : from a boy
I wanton'd with thy breakers, — they to me
"Were a delight ; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror, 'twas a pleasing fear.
For I was, as it were, a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane — as I do here."
Writing of the Bath at Pigeon Cove, Mrs. N. T.
Munroe says : " One of the principal businesses as
'well as pleasures of the sea-shore is bathing. To
come to the sea-shore and not bathe would be the
play of Hamlet, with Hamlet left out. And here
they come tripping down with bathing-dresses on
arm and bathing-hats on head. A few moments
138 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
suffice for change of dress, and then they come
forth from the bathing-houses a merry company.
" Some bathe from a sense of duty, others for
pleasure and excitement. You can tell the dif-
ferent motives of the bathers at a glance. The
former go into the water as they would into a
dentist's chair. They nerve themselves up to it.
They stoop down, take off the hat, which they fill
with water and pour over head and shoulders,
then catching the rope they venture three or four
plunges, and the thing is done, the duty is per-
formed : they come out, and go dripping back to the
bathing-house, ' a damp, moist body.' Now none are
left but those who bathe for the love of it. It is
pleasant to watch them. After the first plunge and
its accompanying screeching and catching of breath
and shivering, then comes the pleasure of the thing.
Sit down on the wet rock, and let that great wave
come tumbling in over you, and the fine spray
sprinkle you. It is exhilarating. How cold the
water when it first dashed over you ! What a
glow now pervades your whole system ! How
strong are the waves, and yet they are compara-
tively nothing on this fine summer day. Think of
their power in storm and tempest. Think of your-
self, a poor, shipwrecked mortal, clinging to this
cold, hard rock while the great waves are thunder-
ing in upon you, and the surf smothering you, — no
foot-hold, your hands torn and bleeding, and not able
to clutch the cruel rock ; — don't you feel a pity for
BATHING AND SWIMMING. 139
yourself? Or what if you were on one of these
rocks, surprised by the tide, and seeing no way
to get off? You see the water rising slowly and
surely ; you calculate how long before it reach
your waist, your arms, your neck, your mouth ; —
and you are smothered — dead ! Ah ! a fearful
grave is this of the cold, cold sea. Prometheus
chained to his rock, 4 the vulture at his vitals ; '
Andromeda, ' bound on the sea-girt rock which is
washed by the surges for ever,' waiting for 4 the
mystical fish of the seas' to come and devour her;
Simeon Stylites standing on his pillar, ' a sign
betwixt the meadow and the cloud, that he might
have the meed of the saint's " white robe and the
palm," ' — might, to be sure, beseech the cold, surg-
ing waves to cover them, and end their horror and
their agony. But all this bounding, beating life of
ours cries out against being thus swallowed up
by the waters. It was a most distressful cry, that
of David: 'All thy waves and thy billows are
gone over me ! '
" But here the water is pleasant and agreeable :
we stretch out our arms and embrace it ; we catch
the crystal drops as they come showering down,
and we have breath enough to say with Byron,
' And I do love thee, Ocean ! '
" But even bathing must have an end, and at last
we come forth from the surf, ' dripping and very
wet ; ' and this business — pleasure — of the day is
140 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN.
THE NEW PIGEON COVE HOUSE.
The trees and flowers of our Cape attract the
especial notice of visitors. Coming to a region
of ledges and boulders swept by ocean winds
from almost every quarter, expecting to roam
over a gra} r waste and to survey from every point
of view only barrenness hemmed in by the blue
sea, they marvel on beholding extensive tracts of
woodland, making so beautiful a contrast both
with the gray, mossy stones, and the blue or the
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 141
white-crested waves. Even the pastures, which
have been a long time shorn of their ancient syl-
van beauty, are not naked. They have put on a
mottled garment of sumac-trees, barberry-bushes,
bayberry-shrubs, sweet-ferns, huckleberry patches,
high and low blackberries in braid and tangle, and
white clover, and the common upland grasses in
broad folds and spangled scarfs. At some points
close to the sea, the woods are majestic. Else-
where the stunted yellow-pines, in connection with
the rocks and the sea, seem just as admirably in
place, and remind one of what Ruskin observes
in admiration of the stone-pines of Italy. In the
more extensive woods, the oaks, maples, birches,
and pines, common in other parts of New England,
are found. The hickory grows in every woodland
tract, the butternut in a few places ; but the
chestnut is nowhere seen. Some divisions of the
forest are almost entirely covered with beeches.
There is a thrifty grove of oaks in the Lanesville
woods, — the result of the attempt of one man to
raise a grove from the sowing of acorns. He lived
to walk in the shade of these trees. There are
white-pines here and there, in groups, which over-
top all other trees of the forest. And on many
knolls and slopes there are groves of young white-
pines, so thickly planted that the ground which
they cover is but sparsely flecked with sunlight.
Walking on the dry, red needles, beneath their
dense green roofs, one tries in vain to get a glimpse
142 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
of the sky. In these groves there is the stillness
of far-off woods, where no man passes by, — the
stillness which is only broken by the note of a tiny
flycatcher, or the soft, sweet song of the hermit
thrush. The tupelo, or crab-tree, — in the Middle
States called the sour-gum tree, — grows both in
moist places and on high grounds. It is a beauti-
ful tree, both for the fashion of its branches, and
the gloss of its dark-green leaves. Its limbs stretch
out from the trunk all round, horizontally, the
topmost farthest ; and all, from the trunk to the
outermost twigs, with angles, giving a gnarled
effect : so that the tree is wide and flat on the top,
and gnarled throughout. It is the first of the
trees of the forest to show, amid the general green
and shade, the flame of ripened leaves. Before
the white-birch exhibits a single leaf of orange,
before the maple of the swamp holds out to our
sight its earliest spray of scarlet, the tupelo is a
beacon in full blaze, lighting up the sylvan shad-
ows as the pillar of fire lighted up the gloom
of night. The elm towers gracefully from the
deep soil of our meadows and ravines, but most
of the elms of our streets and homesteads were
brought from abroad ; many from Ipswich, and
some from far-off valleys of New Hampshire and
Maine. The ash is a common tree in our woods;
and when the various colors of the autumn leaves
are brightest, its delicate amber is presented in the
gorgeous display. The hemlock, justly praised by
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 143
Downing as one of the more beautiful of the ever-
greens, is as much at home on our rocky slopes and
ridges as on the banks of the Mattawamkeag, or
the hills and promontories around Umbagog or
Moosehead Lake. The red-cedars, or savins, are
thickly scattered over many of the pastures. Their
dark-hued, taper shapes, rigid and erect, alike
through calm and storm, through summer's heat
and winter's cold, scarcely showing from year to
year a change from growth, are the Stoics of the
realm of trees. To them it is all the same, if the
air be bland and sweet, or rigorous and bitter with
tempest and hail. Of all heights, from the tiny
ones of two feet to the full-grown of fifteen and
twenty, they stand on hill-tops, ledges, and slopes ;
on the edges of precipices ; here and there clinging
to the perpendicular front of a precipice, their
foothold but a crevice or crack midway from the
ground or brink ; singly and in groups over acres
on acres of granite steeps and rugged undulations.
They are ever inflexible, Avithout perceptible muta-
tion, whether the sward is green and sprinkled
with white-clover blossoms, or wearing a hoary
covering of frost and snow ; whether the purple
finches come in the fervid season to dwell and sin^
on their fragrant, evergreen branches, or the quails
in the frigid months to cuddle on the ground
beneath them. And there are flowering trees and
shrubs which fulfil charmingly a part of the be-
neficent appointment of God, that the hard and
141 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
rough places of the earth should be clothed and
adorned. Conspicuous among these are the locusts.
When in blossom, these trees, in groups near many-
dwellings, and in rows by the roadside, are as
snowy clouds, hanging low, and touching roof and
wall, and trailing along the ground. Far around
them the air is laden with their perfume. The wild
red-cherry, the shad-bush, the alders, the sumacs,
the barberry-bush, the elders, the wild-roses, and
the laurels, all present their show of beauty in
their appointed seasons. The mountain-laurels in
our woods, as thrifty and rank a short distance
southward from Cape Pond as anywhere in Mary-
land or Virginia, in their midsummer time of put-
ting forth flowers, crowd upon the rambler in the
widest forest path with their splendid display.
In the swamps of the West Parish of Gloucester,
they vie with the magnolias in giving the wildest
and most neglected nooks the magnificence of an
It is delightful to read in Parson Higginson's
Journal of his voyage across the Atlantic, bearing
the far-back date of 1629, his account of the trees
and flowers near and upon our Cape. " On Fri-
day, the 26th of June : The sea was abundantly
stored with rockweed and yellow flowers, like
gilliflowers. By noon we were within three leagues
of Cape Ann ; and, as we sailed along the coasts,
we saw every hill and dale and every island full
of gay woods and high trees. The nearer we
TREES AND FLOWERS OF GAPE ANN. 145
came to the shore, the more flowers in abundance,
sometimes scattered abroad, sometimes joined in
sheets nine or ten yards long, which we supposed
to be brought from the low meadows by the tide.
Now what with fine woods and green trees by
land, and these yellow flowers painting the sea,
made us all desirous to see our new paradise of
New England, whence we saw such forerunning
signals of fertility afar off." After describing the
slow progress of the following day, and much
trouble late in the afternoon, because of " a fearful
gust of wind and rain and thunder and lightning,"
" We had a westerly wind, which brought us,
between five and six o'clock, to a fine, sweet
harbor, seven miles from the headpoint of Cape
Ann ; . . . where there was an island, whither
four of our men with a boat went, and brought
back again ripe strawberries and gooseberries, and
sweet single roses." When the Sabbath and its
rest and worship had passed, and the ship pro-
ceeded toward Salem, " It was wonderful to be-
hold so many islands, replenished with thick woods
and high trees, and many fair green pastures."
The good parson's particular notice of the
" sweet single roses," which were brought to the
ship from Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Har-
bor, as well as his previous observation of the but-
tercups that floated to the ship's side from Ipswich
Bay, was but a hint to his friends in England of
the profusion of floral gifts from the Creator's hand
146 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
on every rood of our rocky Cape ; for the same
lavishment of flowers on this " fair headland " is
witnessed to-day. In whatever direction the florist
strays, the wild-flowers hear his step, and wave
to him their showy and bold, or timid and
modest signals of recognition and welcome. The
rich may withhold from him such favor and en-
couragement as they might bestow; for the flowers
will come to him with their silver and golden cups,
and make him opulent. The holders of place,
and dispensers of position and honor, may deny
his ability to take upon himself responsibility and
trust, and refuse to clothe him with the robes of
power ; for the flowers will lead him into paths
traversing fields of the noblest and most delightful
employment, and will bring to him, as the best and
most glorious symbols of eminence, their own royal
blue and purple and scarlet. The door-keepers
and guardians of refined and polished society may
fail to perceive his intellectual and spiritual fitness
for the order of life to which he would be admitted ;
for the flowers will open to him their own wide
gates, arched with vines and decorated with leaves
and blossoms ; grant him admission to companion-
ship which cannot be lowered by the dross of envy
and jealousy, or the alloy of vanity ; receive him
with acclamations which, though silent, are heard
by his inward ear ; pass by him in gay processions,
waving flags of every hue, and swinging censers
filled with the sweetest incense. With them he
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 147
will have the wealth, place, distinction, employ-
ment, society, pomp, and aroma, which no change
or revolution in the world of human life can affect.
The trailing arbutus in the Magnolia Woods
comes in the spring with its sweet benediction ;
the hepatica, in the same locality and almost every-
where. The white flowers of the blood-root deck a
few sunny slopes. The dog's-tooth violets swing
their golden bells. The delicate wind-flowers
tremble to the lightest breeze. The yellow cow-
slips star the swamps. The blue violets tuft the
fields, pastures, and roadsides. The dandelions
smile on the lawn, in the edge of the wood, in the
mowing, on the shore of the sea, on the border of
every path, and in the very track of passing feet.
The innocents, or quaker-girls, come in swarms,
whitening the sward. The saxifrage holds up to
be seen its modest little cyme. The yellow violets
show themselves cautiously on a few sunny slopes.
The columbines adorn the ledges and cliffs, grow-
ing where the soil is gravelly and thin, and from
cracks and crevices in the steep fronts of granite
piles of every height. The white violets spread in
squads over many moist or springy places. They are
precious though tiny flowers, both for delicacy and
exquisite fragrance. The nodding wake-robins,
coming with the warmth and glory of summer, hang
their heads in thickets by the wall, or in the shade of
the woods, as if ashamed of their own unpleasant
atmosphere. The smiling wake-robins spring up
148 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
in the pines, a cheerful crowd with white, pink-
tinted faces, rejoicing in the certainty of gladden-
ing the eye and the heart of the rambler seeking
them. The sweet-brier rose, or eglantine, here and
there charily, and the more common wild-rose,
everywhere generously, unfold their charms while
the fervors of summer increase. The crimson past-
ure-lilies, with flecks of black within their cups,
burn as so many thousand torches, not to consume
or destroy all surrounding life, but to illuminate
the broad and sober areas of close-cropped grass,
ledges and boulders, interspersed with extensive
divisions of densely growing huckleberry-shrubs
and blackberry-vines. The pitcher-plant, in the
wildest swamps, brings forth its superb gift, — a
beautifully fashioned pitcher, filled with water, in
one hand, and a curiously constructed, splendid
flower in the other. The cardinal lobelias, arrayed
in scarlet, stand in line like red-coated soldiers
on the brink of a brook, overtopped by a rear line
of black alders. The contrast as seen across the
brook is striking. But the eye is not always seek-
ing such contrasts. It often turns from the scarlet-
clad cardinals, though they exhibit their splendor
all along the marge of a lakelet or stream, to ex-
amine the shy little blossoms which hide in the
grass, or are content to share a lowly, unattractive
spot with gravel and sand. The pimpernel, in a
bare place by the sea, often overswept by the spra}^
never crowded by the flowers that love and cling
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 149
to fertile spots, that enjoy taking part in grand
displays, lives to be useful as well as to adorn its
sterile home. It is " the poor man's weather-glass,"
telling him when to close his doors and windows
against the storm, and when to open them again for
the free ingress of the beneficent sunshine, and of-
the breeze from the sea, redolent with brine. The
modest bellworts of the wood, the simple blue-e} T ed
grass of the swale, the humble primrose of the
pasture, and many other common, lowly flowers,
scattered over our sea-girdled territory, keep the
florist busy in his charming pursuit, throughout
the summer, and richly reward him for all his
painstaking and study. The twin-flowers, both
beautiful and sweet, are not the least attractive of
the manifold wonders in the South Woods. Lin-
ncea borealis, — the union of the great botanist's love
with the fairest hue of the northern sky, — how
suitable a name for these flowers so charmingly dis-
posed on the slender, creeping, trailing branches of
an evergreen plant, which cover the roots of decay-
ing stumps and little mossy mounds ! The orchis,
the iris, the water-lilies, as well as the earlier yel-
low lady's-slipper of June, and the taller, queenlier
lady's-slipper of July, are soon followed by the
autumnal flowers. Before the days of autumn
come, or the reign of the dog-star ceases, the gold-
en-rods begin to change from green into yellow,
and earth and sea and sky to show premonishing
signs of the nearness of September and October.
150 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Group by group the autumnal flowers appear : the
golden-rod with full and showy plumes in every
part of the landscape ; the asters, in their style as
conspicuous and as abounding ; the fall dandelions,
sprinkled over all the acres from the hill-tops to
the sea ; — all uniting with the ripening apples and
pears of the orchards, the painted tupelo, ash, oak,
walnut, birch, maple, and beech of the forest, the
sumac, ivy, bramble, and. woodbine of the less
covered grounds ; the barberry-bushes in clumps,
on the knolls and slopes of the pastures and along
by the walls, with depending clusters of blood-red
berries ; the sky and clouds, gorgeous with all the
colors of the rainbow at every going-down of the
sun, — all uniting with these objects to give the last
days of the harvest-season, ere they pass away, a
sober but rich and befitting splendor. But even
when the autumnal magnificence is with the past ;
when the November frosts have done on the hills
and in the meadows their blighting and numbing
work, and the sky is dun, and the earth is cold,
now and then come days of golden sun and golden
haze, when the rambler, beginning to climb through
the beeches the northern slope of Pigeon Hill, sees
the herb-robert still green and adorned with flow-
ers just blown, on rough rocks deeply embedded in
dead leaves ; and making his way, afterwards, to
the sea, he discovers on a low bush a "sweet sin-
gle rose," and farther, on the " ocean's edge," a
pimpernel of brightest dye.
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 151
Here is annexed a list of the Trees, Shrubs, and
Plants of our Cape, which have come under the
notice of Mr. Calvin W. Pool, of Rockport, during
the last ten or twelve years. Having promptly
responded to a note asking for it, Mr. Pool says : —
" The list is, I think, quite accurate as far as it
goes ; but it does not include perhaps more than a
quarter part of the plants which may be found
" It shows how far I have gone in the analysis of
the plants of this town, — a work which I take up
as leisure and inclination prompt me.
" I have given first the scientific name (according
to Gray) and then the common or popular name of
" Probably, had I more time, I could enlarge the
list very considerably ; but, as it is, it gives a very
good idea of the Flora of the town."
Acer Pennsylvanicum Striped Maple.
„ spicatum Mountain „
,, saccharinum Sugar ,,
,, rubrum . . , Bed ,,
Robinia Pseudacaeia Locust.
Prunus Pennsylvania Wild Eed Cherry.
,, Virginiana Choke Cherry.
,, serotina Black Cherry.
Nyssa multiflora Tupelo Tree.
Fraxinua Americana White Ash.
,, sambncifblia Black ,,
Ulmus Americana American Elm.
Carya alba Shellbark.
152 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Quercus alba White Oak.
,, ilicifolia Scrub ,,
,, rubra Red „
Fagus ferrugiuea American Beech.
Carpinus Americana Hornbeam.
Betula alba White Birch.
„ excelsa Yellow „
,, lenta Black „
,, pumila Low „
Populus tremuloides American Aspen.
., balsamifera Balsam Poplar.
Pinus rigida Pitch Pine.
„ strobus White „
Abies Canadensis Hemlock Spruce.
„ alba White „
Juniperus Virginiana Bed Cedar.
Sassafras officinale Sassafras.
Myrica cerifera Bayberry.
Comptonia asplenifolia Sweet Fern.
Juniperus communis Juniper.
Clematis Virginiana Virgin's Bower.
Berberis communis Barberry.
Rhus typhina Staghorn Sumac.
,, venenata Poison ,,
,, Toxicodendron ,, Ivy.
Ampelopsis quinquefolia Virginian Creeper.
Rhamnus catharticus Buckthorn.
Spiraea tomentosa Hardhack.
Rosa lucida Dwarf Wild Rose.
„ Carolina Swamp Rose.
Pyrus arbutifolia Choke Berry.
Amelanchier Canadensis Shad Bush.
Hamamelis Virginica Witch Hazel.
Cornus altemifolia Dogwood.
Lonicera ciliata Fly Honeysuckle.
Diervilla trifida Bush „
Sambucus Canadensis Common Elder.
„ pubens Red-berried Elder.
TREES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 153
Viburnum nudum Withe Rod.
„ dentatum Arrow Wood.
„ acerifolium Maple-leaved Arrow Wood.
,, lantanoides Wayfaring Tree.
Cephalanthus occidentalis Button Bush.
Gaylussacia resinosa Black Huckleberry.
Vaccinium vacillans Low Blueberry.
„ corymbosum Swamp „
Cassandra calyculata Leather Leaf.
Clethra alnifolia White Alder.
Kalmia latifolia Mountain Laurel.
„ angustifolia Sheep Laurel.
Ilex verticillata Black Alder.
„ glabra Inkberry.
Nemopanthes Canadensis Mountain Holly.
Anemone nemorosa Wind Flower.
Hepatica triloba Liver Leaf.
Thalictrum divicum Early Meadow Rue.
,, Cornuti Meadow Rue.
Ranunculus bulbosus Buttercup.
„ acris Tall Buttercup.
Caltha palustris Marsh Marigold.
Coptis trifolia Gold Thread.
Aquilegia Canadensis Wild Columbine.
Nymphsea odorata Water Lily.
Nuphar advena Yellow Pond Lily.
Sarracenia purpurea Side-saddle Flower.
Dicentra cucullaria Dutchman's Breeches.
Corydalis glauca Pale Corydalis.
Capsella Bursa-pastoris Shepherd's Purse.
Cakile Americana Sea Rocket.
Viola rotundifolia Round -leaved Violet.
„ lanceolata Lance-leaved ,,
,, primulaefolia Primrose „
„ cucullata Common Blue ,,
„ pubescens, Downy Yellow ,,
., tricolor Heart' s-ease, Pansy.
154 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Helianthemum Canadense Frost Weed.
Drosera rotundifolia Sun Dew.
Hypericum perfoliatum Saint John's Wort.
Arenaria peploides Sea Sand Wort.
„ serpyllifolia Thyme-leaved Sand Wort.
Cerastium nutans Chiekweed.
„ arvcnse Field Chiekweed.
Spergularia rubra Spurrey Sand Wort.
Malva rotundifolia Common Mallow.
Oxalis stricta Wood Sorrel.
Geranium maculatum Wild Cranesbill.
Geranium Robertianum Herb-Robert.
Impatiens fulva Jewel Weed.
Trifolium arvense Stone Clover.
„ pra tense Red ,,
„ repens White ,,
Plantago major Plantain.
„ maritimus Seaside Plantain.
Lathyrus maritimus Beach Pea.
Apios tuberosa Wild Bean.
Agrimonia eupatoria Common Agrimony.
Potentilla argentea Silvery Cinque-foil.
„ Canadensis Common Cinque-foil.
,, anserina Silver Weed.
Fragaria Yirginiana Strawberry.
Rubus strigosus Wild Red Raspberry.
„ villosus High Blackberry.
„ Canadensis Low ,,
Epilobium angustifolium Great Willow-Herb.
(Enothera biennis Evening Primrose.
„ pumila Smooth „
Saxifraga Virginensis Early Saxifrage.
Cicuta maculata Spotted Cowbane.
Aralia nudicaulis Wild Sarsaparilla.
Cornus Canadensis Bunch Berry.
Linnsea borealis Twin Flower.
Mitchella repens Partridge Berry.
Oldenlandia casrulea Bluets.
Eupatorium perfoliatum Boneset.
TKEES AND FLOWERS OF CAPE ANN. 155
Achillea millefolium Yarrow.
Leucanthemum vulgaiv. Ox-eye Daisy.
Artemisia Absinthium Wormwood.
Lappa major Burdock.
Ciehorium intybus Succory.
Krigia Virginica Dwarf Dandelion
Taraxacum Dens-leonis Common Dandelion.
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower.
Specularia perfoliata Venus's Looking-glass.
Vaccinium oxycoccus Small Cranberry.
Gaultberia procumbens Creeping Wintergreen.
Pyrola rotundifolia Round-leaved Pyrola.
Chimaphila umbellata Prince's Pine.
Monotropa unitlora Corpse Plant.
„ hypopitys False Beech Drops.
Statice Caroliniana Marsh Rosemary.
Trientalis Americana Star Flower.
Lysimachia stricta Loosestrife.
Anagallis arvensis Pimpernel.
Ctricularia cornuta Bladderwort.
Verbascum thapsus Common Mullein.
Linaria Canadensis Wild Toad-flax.
,, vulgaris Butter and Eggs.
Chelone glabra Snake Head.
Mimulus ringens Monkey-Flower.
Veronica peregrina Purselane Speedwell.
Gerardia purpurea Purple Gerardia.
,, flava Downy False Foxglove.
Pedicularis Canadensis Wood Betony.
Melampyrum Americauum Cow Wheat.
Verbena hastata Blue Vervain.
Mentha viridis Spearmint.
„ piperita Peppermint.
Nepeta Cataria Catnip.
„ Glechoma Ground Ivy.
Brunella vulgaris Fleal-AU.
Leonurus Cardiaca Motherwort.
Calystegia sepium Hedge Bindweed.
Cuscuta Gronovii Dodder.
Solanum Dulcamara Bittersweet.
Kicandra physaloides Apple of Peru.
156 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Apocynum androssemifolium Spreading Dogbane.
Asclepias Cornuti Milkweed.
„ obtusifolia Wavy-leaved Milkweed.
Phytolacca decandra Pigeon Berry.
Urtica urens Stinging Nettle.
Arissema triphyllum Indian Turnip.
Symplocarpus foetidus Skunk Cabbage.
Zostera marina Grass Wrack.
Orchis blephariglottis Yellow-fringed Orchis.
Spiranthes cernua Ladies 1 Tresses.
Corallorhiza multiflora Coral Root.
Cypripedium acaule Lady's Slipper.
Iris versicolor Blue Flag.
Sisyrinchium Burmudiana Blue-eyed Grass.
Smilax rotundifolia Greenbrier.
,, herbacea Carrion Flower.
Polygonatum biflorum Solomon's Seal.
Smilacina racemosa Soikenard.
„ stellata ....
Convallaria majalis Lily of the Valley.
Ornithogalum umbellatum Star of Bethlehem.
Lilium Philadelphicum Orange-red Lily.
„ Canadense Yellow Lily.
Erythronium Americanum Dog's-tooth Violet.
Uvularia perfoliata Bellwort.
Streptopus roseus Twisted Stalk.
Pontederia cordata Pickerel Weed.
Goodyera repens Rattlesnake Plantain.
Adiantum pedatum Maidenhair.
Osmunda regalis Flowering Fern.
„ cinnamomea Cinnamon ,,
ANIMALS AND BIEDS OF CAPE ANN. 157
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN.
Something again from Rev. Mr. Higginson. In
a narrative following the journal of his voyage,
from which some selections have been made, he
wrote for the information of his friends in England
concerning the " earth of New England, and all the
appurtenances thereof." The paragraphs contain-
ing what he had learned of the animals and birds
of this region are interesting.
" For beasts, there are some bears, and they say
some lions ; for they have been seen at Cape Ann."
(As to the lions, they were put in the woods of the
Cape by the imagination of some timid persons. The
writer had been misled by hearsay.) " Also here
are several sorts of deer, some whereof bring three
or four young ones at once, which is not ordinary in
158 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
England ; also wolves, foxes, beavers, otters, mar-
tens, great wild-cats, and a great beast called a
molke, as big as an ox." (" Molke " is probably a
mistake of the printer for moose.') " I have seen
the skins of all these beasts since I came to this
Plantation excepting lions. Also here are great
store of squirrels, some greater, and some smaller
and lesser ; there are some of the lesser sort, they
tell me, that by a certain skin will fly from tree to
tree, though they stand far distant."
" Fowls of the air are plentiful here, and of all
sorts as we have in England, as far I can learn, and
a great many of strange fowls, which we know not.
Whilst I was writing these things, one of our men
brought home an eaole which he had killed in the
wood : they say they are good meat. Also here are
many kinds of excellent hawks, both sea-hawks
and land-hawks ; and myself, walking in the woods
with another in company, sprung a partridge so big
that through the heaviness of his body could fly but
a little way : they that have killed them say that
they are as big as our hens. Here are likewise
abundance of turkeys, and exceeding fat, sweet, and
fleshy ; for here they have abundance of feeding
all the year long, as strawberries (in summer all
places are full of them) and all manner of berries
and fruits. In the winter time I have seen flocks
of pigeons, and have eaten of them. They do fly
from tree to tree as other birds do, which pigeons
will not do in England. They are of all colors, as
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 159
ours are, but their wings and tails are longer; and
therefore it is likely the}' fly swifter to escape the
terrible hawks in this country. In winter time
this country doth abound with wild geese, wild
ducks, and other sea-fowl, that the great part of
winter the planters have eaten nothing but roast
meat of divers fowls which they have killed."
Of the animals mentioned by this clergyman of
the olden time, only the red foxes, stone-martens,
and some of the squirrels remain on the Cape.
Long ago, the bears, moose, red deer, beavers,
otters, wolves, and wild-cats were exterminated, or
they retired from the increasing and spreading
towns into the distant wilds of the north and north-
east, where the White Hills keep ward over their
w T oody retreats, or the upper rivulets of the Andros-
coggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot, reflecting the
smile of heaven, meander through their dark range
of shelter and subsistence. The foxes in our woods,
being so few, are scarcely a terror to the ruffed
grouse setting on her nest of eggs, or luring her
chickens from under-brush and shade into sunny
spots where the footpaths intersect. The stone-
martens, though hunted and trapped every winter
for their valuable fur, are still numerous on the
sea-shore, where they have safe recesses, inaccessi-
ble hiding-places, and sinuous passages beneath the
rocks, and where daily the constant tides bring to
them fishes and crabs, and now and then small lob-
sters. The red and striped squirrels in the forest,
160 PIGEON CO YE AND VICINITY.
and near the cornfields, suddenly apprise the ram-
bler that his coming is observed. The gray and
flying squirrels are seldom seen. Beside these
foxes, stone-martens, and squirrels, are two species
of rabbits, more numerous, perhaps, than the stone-
martens ; the larger having their burrows in rocky
and bush-covered steeps, around morasses thickly
overgrown with alders ; the smaller having theirs
in the pastures, nearer the habitations of men,
under the low branches of the dwarf white-oaks
and the stunted yellow-pines. There are also, in
different localities, musk-rats, weasels, moles, and
other little quadrupeds, but not in numbers to
occasion special remark.
But of the birds, or of their kinds, there is no
diminution. Mr. Higginson did not write to his
friends in England of the birds in the new land,
serving in use and song instead of the sky-lark,
nightingale, robin, starling, and linnet. But his
oversight is not more remarkable than that of
thousands to-day. It is not certain that every sec-
ond or fourth or eighth person, meeting and con-
versing with his neighbor in the present time, in
attempting to enumerate the different classes of
land and water birds, would accomplish more than
Mr. Higginson did. Even Dr. Palfrey, in his
" History of New England," gives a surprisingly
small list of birds. Hundreds of persons in every
village or town, who know the robin, oriole, blue-
bird, cat-bird, blue-jay, wren, song-sparrow, chip-
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 161
ping-sparrow, crow, blackbird, and barn and chim-
ney swallows, do not dream that these are but a small
beginning of the list that might be made on any
summer's day within a mile of their own homes.
The red-eyed and the warbling vireos build their
nests and sing their songs in the maples which
shade their own lawns and door-steps ; but they do
not distinguish them from other birds. They have
not been accustomed to separating the birds into
families, and observing the near relationship of
some, and the wide differences of others. They
have had no experience of the pleasure of telling a
bird, near or distant, by his flight or his song. If
the golden-winged woodpecker on the aged oak
or tupelo, beyond the garden wall, makes the air
of the spring morning ring with his many times
quickly repeated note, they only think indiffer-
ently, "It is the noise of some bird ; " though
the ornithologist is lifted up from sleep or despon-
dency by the happy sound, exclaiming delightedly,
" It is the laughter of the golden-winged wood-
pecker ! " and looks forth from his window eagerly
to catch sight of his gold and scarlet adorning, and
the crescent of jet across his breast. The Balti-
more oriole in the elm, sounding his call like a
gay trumpeter ; the bobolink, showering his notes
ecstatically over field and meadow ; the wood-
thrush, from a swelling throat pouring flute-notes
in the shady seclusion of the hemlocks and pines ;
and the brown thrasher, singing royally on a
162 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
branch overstretching a thicket of aiders and bram-
bles, — an inimitable composition, — are not in their
minds connected with pleasant memories, and do
not seem to them as so many friends with marked
bnt pleasing differences, each reminding them in
his own way of the landscapes and the joys which
cannot be forgotten ; though the true friend and
lover of these songsters calls over their names as
a mother would the names of her children, in each
name seeing an image unlike any other, in each
name hearing a voice unlike any other, and seeing
and hearing in all the names together a choir
bringing to him all the pleasant summers of his by-
gone years, and bringing to him, too, a cheering
promise of the fairer and sweeter years, when the
last winter shall be forever over and gone, and
" all the worlds shall summer " in the smile of the
The pleasure and profit of rambling on foot, of
journeying in a carriage, or of sailing in a yacht,
are augmented by a view of every form and aspect
of the region traversed or compassed. Animation
and vigor come into the mind from the landscapes
and the skies at every point of the progress. Hill,
wood, rock, tree, shrub, and flower on the earth,
and fleecy clouds, clear spaces of blue, and broad
stripes and scattered stains of gold and crimson in
the heavens, impart something which locomotion
solely, or journeying or voyaging as with bandages
over the eyes, would not bring. This something is
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN.
supplemented by the beauty and music of the birds ;
for they are everywhere around, — in the trees, in
the thickets, on wall, roof, rock, beach, wave, —
in the air with motionless wings making circles, or
with vigorous plying of wings darting from tree to
tree, or swiftly passing from point to point. One
is more agreeably affected in March by the glance
of the first bluebird's wing, or by his earliest sim-
ple notes, than he can employ words to tell.
Later, his heart is touched by the conversation of
the social, excited swallows on the eaves. The
robin's song comes to his ear as freighted with a
message from a land of perpetual summer. The
blackbirds in the elm's lofty top, on a breezy day,
rising and sinking with the branches, and whistling
like the wind sweeping through the rigging of
ships, stir him to new effort, to brave and cheerful
164 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
renewal of exertion to fulfil the ends of life. The
chickadees, never idle, always singing their brief,
happy song, teach him the lesson of confidence and
persistency. As he passes the brook's fringe of
alders, the redstart springs from the shade, and
alighting on a twig, unwittingly winning admi-
ration, illustrates the success of the overtaken
wayfarer's unexpected brilliant thought. The
song-sparrow, near the wayside cottage on the
top of the gate-post, or by the sea on the peak
of a boulder, with head uplifted, and breast
adorned with a single black spot, trembling with
joy, sprinkles the air with clearest and brightest
drops of melody. The titmouse, busy among the
leaves of the maple in the wood ; the wren, guard-
ing his little domicile in the pear-tree of the gar-
den ; and the ruby-throated humming-bird, darting
from flower to flower on the vines climbing the
cottage-wall, — are minute marvels of beauty and
activity, turning the thoughts to Him who made
them as ever mindful of his wee and slender
creatures, observing the least one's mishap or fall.
The goldfinches on the thistles as truly find pro-
vision from God's kind hand as the red-winged
blackbirds among the reeds and flags of the
meadow. The call of the quails in the mowing,
in the grain, and in the pasture-cover, is associated
with the leafy months of June and July, and with
the ripening grasses and perfected berries of
August ; with the perfume of red-clover blossoms,
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 165
yellow barberry tassels, brilliantly dyed honey-
suckles, and new-mown hay ; and with the flavor
of strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries, rasp-
berries, and high and low blackberries. " More
wet ! " here and there thrown forth with force from
their beaks, is often, during the midsummer heat, a
fitting prayer both for themselves and human kind.
In the period of berries, the wild pigeons visit
our Cape in flocks. They are less numerous than
in former years, but may be seen sometimes in con-
siderable numbers in several of their old haunts ;
particularly in the pines and the pasture south of
them, between Pigeon Cove and Lanesville, within
and around Brier Swamp, and in the wood between
Folly Point and Lanesville one way, and tire Wil-
lows and the Ipswich Bay shore the other. But a
few summers ago there was, one day, a gathering
of two thousand people in this last-named locality,
listening to a speech concerning the political affairs
of our nation. The speaker, General Butler, stood
on a slight elevation in the shade of a wild cherry-
tree. It seemed that the tree had been previously
visited by pigeons, for its top was thickly studded
with black cherries, and in the usual afternoon feed-
ing time of these birds a large flock of them
alighted in every part of the tree ; and, although
evidently surprised to find so great a company of
men and women on the ground beneath them, and
to hear the general's husky voice sending forth
sentences like rattling shot, they made no haste to
166 PIGEON CO YE AND VICINITY.
fly away. Many minutes passed before they
returned to their roosts in the tall white-pines of
Brier Swamp. The picture of the quiet crowd
listening to the orator, the many-colored costumes,
the surrounding tall trees and the thick under-
brush, the shining waves of Ipswich Bay discerned
through a rift of the wood, and the wild pigeons,
some with reddish, and some with pale-blue breasts,
distributed throughout the cherry-tree's top, is a
novel and exceedingly pleasant one in the memory.
On the day following that of the gathering, from a
cover of oaks and pines near the cherry-tree, a young
sportsman shot fifteen of this flock of pigeons.
Most of those who learn that in the early times the
wild pigeons were numerous in our woods suppose
that the name of our Hill and Cove thus naturally
and easily enough came into use : that the former,
when covered with wood, was first called Pigeon
Hill ; and that then the latter, being at the foot of
this elevation, got the name of Pigeon Cove. But
there is a tradition which sets this supposition
aside ; namely, that in the long ago time, when the
Cove had no name, immense flocks of pigeons,
coming over the sea from New Hampshire and
Maine toward the Cape, were enveloped and over-
whelmed by a storm, and becoming exhausted
fell into the waves ; so that after the storm had
ceased, large numbers of the dead birds were
brought by the waves into the Cove, and thrown
upon the rocks and beach. Hence the little inclen-
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 167
tation became Pigeon Cove ; and then the height
ascending from it Pigeon Hill.
There is no season here without the companion-
ship of birds. The " many-wintered crow," the
blue-jay, the quail, the golden- winged woodpecker,
the chickadee, the snow-bunting, the snow-bird,
and the lesser red-poll, come into our orchards and
about our dwellings almost every day of the se-
verest winter. Also in the winter often appear in
the yellow pines of Andrews' Point, and of other
similar localities, the pine grosbeaks and the rose-
breasted cross-bills, vigorously tearing to pieces the
cones of the pines to get their food, and as happily
loquacious as the English sparrows on Boston
Common. Some of the robins stay on the Cape in
the winter, retiring in times of extreme rigor to
warm places in swamps and fens ; on days of bland
airs and melting snow, coming out on the bare spots
of ground near the village homes, seeming de-
lighted for the few spring-like hours on the sward
and tilth. The ruffed grouse in winter seeks the
shelter of the cedars or hemlocks, content with his
perch and his evergreen roof, since he is free to
go forth to fill his crop with the buds of the black-
birch whenever wanting them. Sometimes, after
the snow has been falling for hours, wishing for a
warmer place than the evergreen's top, he dives
from his lofty branch into a hillock of light snow,
making, in this single plunge, a hole two or three
feet deep, in which he is as comfortable as an
168 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Esquimau wrapped in furs. He is seldom seen
till in May, when the forest leaves begin to unfold,
and " the shad-bush, white with flowers, to brighten
the glens." In that time of returning warmth and
expanding beauty, he attracts attention with proud
airs and bright display of russet and mottled plu-
mage. If the rambler is in doubt as to his where-
abouts, his vigorous drumming in a sunny nook
soon makes it known. This noise from his beat-
ing wings is
" A sound like distant thunder : slow the strokes
At first, then fast and faster, till at length
They pass into a murmur and are still."
Not only the woods, pastures, orchards, gardens,
lanes, and roadsides are haunts of birds, but also
the marshes, beaches, islands, rocks, coves, and
bays. The sand-peeps in flocks on the wing skim
the shallow pools of the beach, and, rising from the
beach for a distant flight, suddenly turn and glance
to the sun like the leaves of a poplar when struck
by a gust of wind. The plovers and curlews, utter-
ing plaintive calls, fly from creek to lagoon over
the marsh, and from the marsh to the beach.
They follow with rapid feet the retreating waves
down the slight descent of hard, smooth sand, and
then returning scarcely keep out of the ripple and
froth of the upward advancing brine. The gulls,
some sitting lightly on the undulations of the sea,
and others wheeling and soaring in the air, in calm
and storm are equally out of danger. They laugh
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 169
while the tempest blows. Their peace and safety
are the same, whether they sail with the wind,
or make way against it ; settle to the still water
within the wall of the harbor, or to the white-
capped waves of the troubled sea. Hundreds of
the smaller gulls, or sea-swallows, fly about the
islands and the lonely rocks off the Cape, filling
the air with their piercing screams. They gather
on the cliffs, which rise bare and gray out of the
ocean, like parti-colored doves on the roofs of
barns. On the coming of a boat toward their sea-
girt retreat, they rise like a cloud, making vehement
protestations against the intrusion. Though they
have lofty battlements and bartizans, their best
and most powerful resistance is their anxious and
mournful cry, their confession of weakness and
In the spring flying northward, and in the
autumn southward, the water-fowls pass our Cape
by thousands, — some by the way of Squam River,
the larger number around the whole distance of
the indented shore. Stopping to rest and feed
awhile in Ipswich Bay, large numbers of gray coots,
white- winged coots, sheldrakes, black- clucks, and
brant, near Ipswich Beach and Plum Island, gather
into one mass, covering a broad expanse of waves.
Yachters and fowlers sailing toward the raft of
birds, seeing their lively motions, and hearing
their quacking and whistling, like the wild noises
of a storm, grow eager and excited. As the yacht
170 PIGEON COYE AND VICLtflTY.
approaches the birds, they begin to rise into the
air by scores and fifties and hundreds. The sports-
men, then, with double-barrelled guns, bring many
of them down, and with dip-nets secure them,
while sailing on to repeat over and over the same
When a breeze freshens, or the north-west or
east wind sweeps the Bay, small and large flocks
one by one break off from the great mass, continu-
ing their long journey. In September and October,
passing Halibut Point, Andrews' Point, the Sal-
vages, Gap Head, and Straitsmouth Island, the
birds are shot by fowlers waiting for them in dories,
and behind cliffs and boulders.
One golden autumnal day, Dick, the Welshman,
on a cliff waiting for birds, had had no luck, and
so under the shelter of a rock fell asleep. And
sleeping he dreamed of his excellent position, and
yet of watching for birds hour by hour in vain ;
of seeing them either too high overhead, or too far
out from shore. At length there came a change.
He saw flock after flock just above the waves, com-
ing directly to pass his resting-place. This was too
much for deep repose. He grasped his gun, which
lay by his side, and springing upon his feet dis-
charged it ; but at random, and only to arouse him-
self from his dream, and to discover how near to the
edge of the cliff above the roaring sea he stood ;
and to behold the swift flight of a flock of white-
winged coots from immediately under his astonished
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 171
Upon the verge of winter, southward, and in
early spring, northward, flocks of wild geese,
slowly beating their wings and making a great
din, pass over our Cape. In most instances they
are high in air. Sometimes, however, they are so
weary and borne down with weight of ice and
snow on their wings, as to seek shelter and rest in
Squam River or Cape Pond. Once a flock of wild
geese, thus tired and heavily burdened, having
dropped at night into this latter water, by morning
were held fast by the rapidly forming ice, and so
were easily captured by some sportsmen who had
witnessed their descent.
" The migration of birds," . . . one says with
becoming reverence and modesty, ... "I know not
how to give an account of it, it is so strange and
admirable." Who else of all the thousands of
thinking men could speak of this thing so hidden
in mystery more wisely ? William Cullen Bry-
ant's lines " To a Water-fowl" reveal how much
nearer the poet gets toward it than any one de-
pending solely on the guidance of what is called
positive science : —
"Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Ear through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way 1
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
172 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking bidows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side ?
There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast, —
The desert and illimitable air, —
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end ;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows ; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form ; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright."
This discursive talk of the birds of our Cape
should be followed by a list of birds, and a list of
birds' eggs, kindly furnished by Mr. G. P. Whit-
man, of Rockport. In intervals of relief from
business, this gentleman attains the highest and
happiest end of diversion. His collection is the
result of but two years' occasional searching, and
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 173
is numbered according to the list of the Smith-
sonian Institution : —
LIST OF BIRDS FOUND ON CAPE ANN AND SURROUND-
Loon, or Great Northern Diver.
Arctic Tern, or Sea-swallow.
COMMON BIRDS ON CAPE ANN NOT YET OBTAINED.
Great Horned Owl.
PIGEON COYE AND VICINITY.
Green Black-cap Flycatcher.
Great Northern Shrike.
Long billed Marsh Wren.
Black- throated Bunting.
W T ild Pigeon.
Great Blue Heron.
Wilson's Stormy Petrel.
Puffin, or Labrador Auk.
ANIMALS AND BIRDS OF CAPE ANN. 175
Glaucous Gull. Laughing Gull.
Great Black-backed Gull. Pomarine Skua.
LIST OF BIRDS' EGGS FOUND ON CAPE ANN AND NEIGH-
Cooper's Hawk. Field Sparrow.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Indigo-bird.
Black-billed Cuckoo. Bobolink.
Golden-winged Woodpecker. Cow-bird.
Chimney Swallow. Orchard Oriole.
King-bird. Baltimore Oriole.
Pewee. Crow Blackbird.
Least Flycatcher. Common Crow.
Wilson's Thrush. Blue Jay.
Maryland Yellow-throat. Quail.
Golden-winged Warbler. Night Heron.
Redstart. Semi-palmated Plover.
Barn Swallow. Piping Plover.
Cedar-bird. Least Sandpiper.
Cat-bird. Least Tern.
Brown Thrash. Arctic Tern.
Purple Finch. Roseate Tern.
Iii remarks, Mr. Whitman says : " Dr. Samuels
speaks of the turnstone as seldom seen in number
more than two or three. But Mr. H. W. Woods
and myself have seen flocks of twenty-five and
thirty on Milk Island and elsewhere. They are
very common here in the spring and in the fall."
Referring to the list of eggs : " This is my list of
eggs found on Cape Ann. There are many birds,
beside, accustomed to breeding here. I have in
my collection of eggs, obtained both here and else-
where, one hundred and thirty-two kinds."
176 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
MINERALS OF CAPE ANN.
OCEAN VIEW HOUSE.
Since the whole Cape is composed of granite
hills and ledges, streaked with trap, blotched with
porphyry and quartz, and overstrewn with boul-
ders, the mineralogists have here a rare field.
They pierce and rive the huge and grand forms, to
obtain the more precious minute ones within them.
They get the purest quartz crystals from the solid
heart of the quarry, and moon-stones from narrow
crevices downward thirty feet from the top of the
ledge. They have found on the Cape specimens
of more than thirty classes of minerals, three of
which have been discovered nowhere else. Incited
MINERALS OF CAPE ANN. ITT
by the ever visible hints of the various substances
which are secreted in the ledges, blocks of granite,
and boulders and pebbles around them, they
advance from the first steps of their study and
search, until by means of correspondence and
exchange they bring together specimens of min-
erals from all parts of the earth.
There are two valuable private cabinets of min-
erals in our own town. One of these, containing
over two thousand specimens, belongs to Dr.
Edward Barden, son of the late Rev. Stillman Bar-
den ; the other, containing thirteen hundred speci-
mens, is the property of Mr. William J. Knowlton.
Mr. Barden, while faithful in the sphere of cleri-
cal duty, added to his fund of inward wealth, and
extended the range of his usefulness, by walking
forth frequently in close companionship with Na-
ture, finding sermons of deep meaning and brilliant
expression in her stones.
Young men looking for employment and pleasure
above the plane of idleness and frivolity, following
the lessons and example of this enthusiastic clergy-
man, rising every year in the ascending road of
science, soon ascertained such employment and
pleasure to have been always nearer to them than
they had supposed.
Mr. Knowlton has been to the pains of furnishing,
for the gratification of such as are interested in
mineralogy, the following
PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
LIST OF MINERALS WHICH HAVE BEEN FOUND OX
White Feldspar Crystals.
Green Feldspar Crystals (supe-
rior to any found in this coun-
Smoky Quartz Crystals (very
black, and closely resembling
the St. Cothard specimens).
Green and Purple Chlorophane.
Granular Magnetic Iron.
_ ^ .', > In boulders.
New to science,
and found only
in this locality/
us of the min-
erals of Nor-
way and Swe-
CHALYBEATE MINEEAL WATEE.
CHALYBEATE MINERAL WATER.
A spring of Chalybeate Water was discovered
near the termination of Andrews' Point in the sum-
mer of 1872. The following is the State Assayer's
testimony as to its composition and qualities : —
State Assayer's Office,
Boston, Sept. 5, 1872.
I have made a chemical analysis of the water from the Springs
at Ocean View, Pigeon Cove, Mass., and find that one imperial
gallon (ten pounds of it) yields one hundred and twenty-eight grains
of solid matters, of which the most important is Oxide of Iron,
which exists as a Carbonate, and Sulphate of Iron.
The Oxide of Iron in a gallon of water weighs twenty-four
grains. The other matters are Sulphate of Soda, Chlorides of
Sodium and Caicium. The water is a true Chalybeate Mineral
Water, having decided tonic properties.
C. T. Jackson, M.D.,
PIGEON COYE AND VICINITY.
SEA-ANIMALS, SEA-WEEDS, AND SEA-MOSSES.
The wonders of the sea are beyond computation.
At whatever point approached, they more and
more unveil to the vision. Though the curious,
searching for them, never look farther over the
lowest tide-line than they can see, they walk to
and fro on the granite stairs slanting into the
ocean as on the border of a broad demesne
of forest, pasture, field, and garden, adorned
with all manner of vegetation, from minute and
delicate plants, rivalling the most frail and tender
flowers on the land, to the rankest and tallest
growths, swayed by the tides, as are the trees and
shrubs on the hillsides by the winds ; and stocked
with creatures innumerable, some of which roam
about in quest of food, selecting from time to time
new places of rest, others abiding throughout their
lifetime on the same spots, thousands of them
clinging to the sides of rocks, thousands dwelling
within shallow basins on the shore, thousands
inhabiting deep and shadowy dens a little removed
from the shore.
SEA-ANIMALS, SEA- WEEDS, AND SEA-MOSSES. 181
A few seals occasionally show themselves near
the terminal points of the Cape, but oftener near
the mouth of Squam River. Their round heads
just appearing above the waves, and, on attract-
ing attention, suddenly sinking out of sight, are
almost the only signs of the presence of these inter-
The Crustacea upon and near our coast are
various and numerous. The lobsters, generally,
are two or three hundred yards from low-water
mark. At this distance from the shore the traps
for catching them are set. Some of them come so
near to the shore as to be occasionally caught by
persons fishing for cunners with hook and line.
Frequently very small lobsters find their way, or
are thrown by the waves, into the hollows of the
shelving shore. These cavities are filled with
water, and cushioned and lined with mosses. The
diminutive lobsters, together with crabs, blue-
shelled clams, innumerable mussels and barnacles,
in these superbly furnished and painted places
of abode, make a happy or an amusing family.
Often the rambler is arrested by the beautiful
exhibition of a natural aquarium. On him is not
put the care of keejring it in good condition, or of
bringing it daily new supplies of water : the un-
failing and unvarying tides fulfil the need. The
hollow in the sloping granite, more ancient than
any habitation of man, with appointments and
decorations which the hand of man but poorly
182 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
imitates, is the palace of these mailed and blazoned
little creatures. And the rambler peers into it, —
into every apartment of it, into every corner of it,
— while with hand or cane he parts the gold and
amber curtains, or lifts the green and purple screens,
to favor his curiosity to the utmost : all this he
does without encountering opposition, or the frown
and " Begone ! " of offended exclusiveness. " Don't
destroy us, don't molest us with rude hands," say
the innocent inmates of the many-roomed and
gorgeously adorned abode ; " but look upon and
learn of us to your heart's satisfaction and con-
tent. Occupy all the time you desire in attaining
a knowledge of our forms and our modes of life,
our employments and pleasures, our customs and
Many persons on the Cape have for years added
largely to the pleasure and profit of life in the
common employments, by studying and gathering
specimens of the plants and mosses of the sea.
Most of these persons are ladies. They have
visited repeatedly every point, cove, and beach of
the Cape, and every island and sea-girt rock near
its shore, to obtain for their books the surprising
variety of mosses which in every storm the waves
cast upon rock and sand within their reach. This
brief allusion to their diversion and study is scarcely
a hint of the greatness of their work. Looking
over, from the beginning to the end of their books,
their splendid collections, the dullest person would
SEA-ANIMALS, SEA-WEEDS, AND SEA-MOSSES. 183
catch something of the inspiration rendered in
these lines "On a Book of Sea-mosses," by James
T. Fields : —
" These many-colored, variegated forms
Sail to our rougher shores, and rise and fall
To the deep music of the Atlantic wave.
Such spoils we capture where the rainbows drop,
Melting in Ocean. Here are broideries strange,
Wrought by the sea nymphs from their golden hair,
And wove by moonlight. Gently turn the leaf.
From narrow cells, scooped in the rocks, we take
These fairy textures lightly moored at morn.
Down sunny slopes outstretching to the deep,
We roam at noon, and gather shapes like these.
Note now the painted webs from verdurous isles,
Festooned and spangled in sea-caves, and say
What hues of land can rival tints like those
Torn from the scarfs and gonfalons of kings
Who dwell beneath the waters ? "
Mrs. Maria H. Bray, of West Gloucester, cheer-
fully responding to an invitation to do so, fur-
nishes the following paragraphs concerning the
sea-animals and the sea-mosses which have at-
tracted her attention from time to time.
" The shores of Pigeon Cove, Rockport, and
Thatcher's Island, offer to the seaside naturalist
many curious and interesting forms of plant and
animal life, — among which are to be found a large
variety of algae, a vast order of plants known as
flowerless ; 4 but only so,' says Prof. J. L. Russell,
4 because the organs, which are large and promi-
nent in most other plants, are in these rudimentary
184 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
and minute, requiring the most patient research
with the microscope to detect them.'
" Yet notwithstanding the difficulty of finding
the floral parts of these so-called flowerless plants,
there are portions of the sea-weeds which have, at
certain seasons of the year, little bodies containing
definitely formed granules which answer for seed ;
and on these characters, varying in each genus, the
study and the arrangement of the several species
to a great degree depend.
" The sea-weeds have no roots. Many float upon
the surface of the ocean ; and others, firmly affixed
to the bottom, or to stones and shells, are only
anchored for security ; their nourishment being
derived from the atmosphere and from the water
in which they are periodically or continually im-
" Once these plants, the number of kinds it would
be impossible to definitely state, were considered
of no value ; but, in later days, intelligent inquiry
and patient scientific research have unfolded their
great value. They have both medicinal and fer-
" Growing in great luxuriance in all the tide-pools,
and upon all the rocks that are submerged by
every incoming tide, is the Cliondrus erispus;ov the
Carrageen moss. Its tough, forked fronds are of a
dark brown, some of them a lovely crimson ; others,
especially under water, iridescent. It is sometimes
called Irish, and sometimes Iceland, Moss. It is
SEA-ANIMALS, SEA-WEEDS, AND SEA-MOSSES. 185
highly esteemed for its edible and nutritious prop-
erties. The name Carrageen arises from the fact
that these properties were first demonstrated in
Carrageen, Ireland. During the months of July
and August a large amount of this moss is thrown
upon the shore, where in rain and sun it becomes
bleached and fit for use.
" In the tide-pools — many of them, particularly
about Thatcher's Island, curious natural aquariums
— the botanist can study and admire a great many
species of algae. After one of the north-east
storms, so frequent on this coast during the spring
and autumn, he will be well repaid for clambering
over rocks and wacling through pools along the
shore searching for them. In this way choice col-
lections of sea-mosses have been secured. Some-
times one finds among our own northern mosses
a southern habitat, brought hither by winds and
" A common alga, and one of the most beautiful,
is the Ptilota serrata. It is found in every season.
It is usually of a deep reel. Its strong, tough
fronds make it a desirable variety to arrange in
baskets or in shells. It is easily raised from the
paper on which it has been floated out.
" Another attractive alga, much sought after for
the herbarium, the Callithamnion Amcricanum, is
" The Desmarestia aculeata is abundant at Lob-
lolly Cove. The name is from Desmarest, the
186 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
French botanist. It is a pretty alga. In the young
state its branches are covered with very delicate
green filaments. Older branches lose these, and
become spiny and hard. The finest specimens are
obtained during the late winter months and in the
" The Desmarestia beridis is also found in the
same locality. This has all the branches ar-
ranged in pairs, and lacks the fine, soft filaments
of the Desmarestia aculeata.
" Beautiful specimens of Ptilota elegans are ob-
tained at Thatcher's Island. It grows upon some
of the large rocks. It is generally concealed from
view by a heavy growth of Fuci. The deep chasm
near the North Tower is one of the best places for
collectors searching for this alga particularly.
" Another curious and interesting specimen, al-
ways found after a storm among the huge Lami-
7iaria, is the Sea Colonder (Agarum Turner i). Its
fronds are thin and tender, and pierced with
numerous holes. ' It grows when undisturbed,'
says Prof. J. L. Russell, 4 at the depth of ten
fathoms of water. To find its seeds, one must
select the old and battered specimens cast up in
early winter, in the thickened portions of which
they form dark-colored patches.'
" In the Delesseria order, named for Benjamin
Delessert, the French naturalist, a favorite variety
is the D. sinuosa. Its fronds are often varied in
color. Perfect specimens of this alga are found in
SEA-ANIMALS, SEA-WEEDS, AND SEA-MOSSES. 187
almost any of the tide-pools. It is found also in
spring and autumn on the beaches. ' The fruit,'
says Prof. Eaton, ' is not very common. Like
all other red algae, the fruit is of two kinds and
always on separate plants.'
" The Cladophora areta and the Ulva latissima
are two fine varieties. The latter is a bright
green, growing plentifully on the rocks of Straits-
mouth and Thatcher's Islands. Lightfoot says that
in the Scottish Highlands it is bound about the
temples in fevers, and is thought to induce sleep ;
and in the Western Isles it is stewed with pepper,
vinegar, and onions as a dish for dinner.
" The large family of Polysiphonia, of many forms
and sizes, is well represented along the coast.
The Greek name signifies ' many tubes.' Several
varieties of this family, and also the Rhodomela
subfusca, Euthora cristata, Ceramium rubrum,
Rhodymenia palmata, together with many other
named and unnamed algae, have their habitat in
some of the natural aquariums and tide-pools, or
after a storm they drift to the shore from their
homes beneath the billows to reward the naturalist
for his labors.
" Several forms of zoophytes are found at Thatch-
er's Island, and in some localities near Rockport
and Pigeon Cove. The name implies animal and
plant in one. Some of the varieties partake so
largely of the plant life in structure and growth
that they are often classed with the algae.
188 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
" The polyps known as the sea-anemones are of
the most beautiful of the zoophyte family. Fine
specimens are found on the water-side of or under
the large boulders over which the tide daily rises
near the Western Head of Thatcher's Island. They
are also found in some of the crevices of Loblolly
Cove. They are of various colors : some are pale-
yellow, and others dark-brown, orange, and pure
" Prof. Verrill, in the ' Sea-Side ' number of ' The
American Naturalist ' for 1868, writes thus of the
sea-anemone : ' It makes a very pleasing pet in
confinement, and, if allowed plenty of room and
fresh sea-water, will expand almost constantly. It
feeds readily upon the flesh of all sorts of shell-
fish, and will not refuse bits of raw beef. And, if
necessity compels, it will live for months or even a
year without food ; but, curiously enough, it will
continually grow smaller and smaller, so that a
specimen at first five or six inches high, and two in
diameter, may thus be reduced to the height of an
inch and the diameter of less than half an inch, the
number of tentacles and chambers being proportion-
ately reduced. In the confinement of an aquarium,
or even in a jar or bowl of sea-water, one of these
marvels will soon make itself at home, and, fixing
itself on one side of the vessel by its base, will
expand its feathery plume of tentacles day after
day in search of tiny prey ; and woe to the unlucky
creature, be it animalcule, shell-fish, shrimp, or fish,
SEA-ANIMALS, SEA-WEEDS, AND SEA-MOSSES. 189
that comes in contact with its crown of gorgon
tentacles armed with myriads of poison-darts,
deadly to all creatures destined to be its prey.
When fully expanded, this species has a very
graceful form, which cannot fail to please any one
who has a taste for the symmetry and beauty of
" Jelly-fishes, star-fishes, sea-urchins, and snails
are on the shores without number. The last
named (Littorina pallata) are alwaj^s found on
the wet rocks and moist sea-weed, about the size
of large peas, of color dark-brown, and sometimes
yellow. The cockle (Purpura capilus) is much
larger than the snail. Its shell is thick and strong.
The colors are white, yellow, and brown ; and some
of the shells are beautiful, banded with all these
hues. The cockle is said to be the species from
which the celebrated Tyrian purple was obtained.
In using it for bait when fishing for dinners, the
fingers become stained with purple.
" Several of the Mytilidce, or Mussel family, have
their home among the sea-rocks. The large variety,
called the horse-mussel, is always an object of
interest to the naturalist.
" Razor-clams, lobsters, several species of crabs,
are natives of our shores. The most remarkable
member of the crab family is the hermit or soldier
crab. It is called the soldier-crab because of its
pugnacious and belligerent characteristics. Prof.
E. S. Morse gives the following description of
this animal: —
190 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
' The hermit-crab, like other members of the
class Crustacea, increases in size through a process
called "moulting." The hardened crust outside
does not grow : it is only a hardened skin, as it
were. Now as the body within increases in size,
the outside shell must be thrown off. This throw-
ing off of the outside crust is called "moulting,"
and takes place at certain times.
4 Our hermit-crab has still another stage to go
through after moulting ; for, when this process has
taken place, it finds its coiled shell too small for it,
and must go back on that tiresome search called
" house-hunting." Back and forth it travels on the
beach. Here it meets one altogether too large ;
and an amusing sight it is to see it drag its soft
and helpless tail from the shell to try another to
see if it fits. Sometimes it meets with a shell that
is apparently just the thing, but unluckily it is
already occupied by a brother hermit ; and so,
without any apologies, it proceeds by force to eject
its tenant. A fight ensues, and oftentimes ends in
the ejectment and mutilation of the occupant.'
" In this brief sketch of the marine forms of plant
and animal life, I have omitted to mention many
other interesting species, which the naturalist will
do well to look for, and so secure a large variety
of specimens, both for the cabinet and the aqua-
THE CONCLUSION - . 191
Thus the regions of land and sea around Pigeon
Cove have been partly surveyed. Readers at a
distance, unused to the peculiar aspects and changes
of these regions, need not think they have been
described in the strain of exaggeration. Those
who have lived longest on our promontory bear
within their minds the most numerous and the deep-
est impressions of the marvels connected with it.
The far-away-inland dwellers, among the moun-
tains and on the prairies, would find here the most
glowing and enthusiastic descriptions more than
confirmed. " It is salt," said the Indian preacher
who had come from the north side of Lake Erie to
see his brethren in Christian faith near the Atlan-
tic, and to see the Atlantic too. He had not
doubted what he had heard and read of the salt-
ness of the sea, but he wanted the certainty of a
taste of it. Standing on the rocks and looking
into the sea, he expressed surprise and admiration,
the water was so clear. Scooping a little of it
with his hollowed hand, and tasting it, " It is salt,"
he said ; and his countenance brightened. As to
this one thing he had not been deceived. Nor had
he been deceived as to many, many wonders of the
ocean. For every curious and marvellous tale ; for
every Indian tradition, legend, and myth which he
had to tell, he soon learned that he could get in
192 PIGEON COVE AND VICINITY.
return many a pleasing surprise, many a mysterious,
impressive lesson. At Overlook, on an evening in
autumn, to a group of listeners seated before a
glowing grate, he sang some of the hymns of the
Delawares, playing on the piano his own accom-
paniments. He also repeated a series of myths.
These were alive with the spirit of poetry, and
brilliant with the colors of the imagination. So
well did he relate his Pagan fictions, that to those
who heard them the high-wrought recitals of Long-
fellow's Indian epic will no longer seem overdone.
Afterwards, at the seaside, it was his turn to be
entertained. Here, indeed, he was .drawn by the
new flavor and odor of brine, the splendor of
countless waves, and the ceaseless rote of the
beating surf, into a boundless realm of wonder and
The Indian visitor's word often comes to mind.
The sea is salt. Moreover, it never loses its savor.
It is the same year after year, — a conservator of
the world's life and vigor; and, through innum-
erable forms and mutations, a minister of blessing
to the minds and hearts of men.
" The world is too much with us ; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers :
Little we see in Nature that is ours ;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon !
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon ;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers :
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune ;
THE CONCLUSION. 193
It moves us not. Great God ! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn ;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."
Cambridge: Press of John Wilson and Son.