Thursday, April 17, 2014

Levi Whiting Phelps

Levi Whiting Phelps was born April 29, 1821 and baptized in the First Church there July 15, 1821. He was the son of Peter Phelps and Mary Newell Phelps. Peter Phelps (son of John Phelps and Achsah Whiting Phelps) was born in Lancaster, July 16, 1774, baptized July 24, and died in Lancaster, March 7, 1847. Peter married Mary Newell in Boston, May 30,1805, Mary was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, May 27, 1784. He passed away March 7 1847. For more info check out Historical Commission Ayer 

Levi W Phelps received his education in the public schools. When he was ten years old he became a farmer's apprentice to Nathaniel Thayer, the leading citizen of Lancaster. He left Mr. Thayer's house when he was fifteen, and was employed on a farm in Sterling during the following two years. The next three years he spent in Leominster, Massachusetts, where many of his relatives have settled, and while there learned and followed the trade of carpenter. He established himself in business in Pepperell, Massachusetts, and became the owner of a saw and planing mill. In 1854 he moved to Ayer, Massachusetts, continuing to have a lumber mill in that town, and at the age of ninety-two years he still carried on his business, although his son and partner had the larger part of the responsibility. He owned one of the most prominent, successful and influential business men in the town. In politics he is a Republican and he was a member of the lodge of Free Masons. He is an active member of the Unitarian church, in which he has held all the important offices from time to time, and to'which he has been a liberal contributor. He is a benevolent public-spirited citizen. He married, January 15, 1853, Thirza Wright, born in Pepperell, March 1, 1833, died April 22, 1905, daughter of Franklin and Amanda (Ames) Wright, of Pepperell.
Emma Augusta, born in Pepperell, March 1, 1854; married Daniel W. Fletcher, and has children:
Ethel, married Ira W. Dwinnell; Howard, married Beatrice Robbins; Frank and Doris.
Ella Francis, born October 26, 1855. She was book-keeper for her father
Lena May, born November 2, 1863; married George M. Moore.
Albert McCallister, born at Ayer, November 9, 1866; carries on lumber manufacturing business, associated with his father; married August 26, 1881, Annie C. Morrison, daughter of Charles and Mary (Cox) Morrison; has one daughter, Bertha M., born January 1, 1900; He was Republican and attends the Unitarian church.

From Groton Historical Series:
BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: Sect. 1. Luther F. Potter, Nathaniel P. Smith, Simeon Ames, their associates and successors, are hereby made a corporation, by the name of the Groton Hotel Company, for the purpose of erecting, in the town of Groton, buildings necessary and convenient for a public house, with all the powers and privileges, and subject to all the liabilities, duties and restrictions, set forth in the forty-fourth chapter of the Revised Statutes.
Sect. 2. Said corporation may hold such real and personal property, as may be necessary and convenient for the purposes aforesaid, not exceeding in amount twenty thousand dollars: provided, that no shares in the capital stock of said corporation shall be issued for a less sum or amount, to be. actually paid in on each, than the par value of the shares which shall be first issued. And if any ardent spirits, or intoxicating drinks of any kind whatever, shall be sold by said company, or by their agents, lessees, or persons in their employ, contrary to law, in any of said buildings, then this act shall be void. [Approved by the Governor, May 2, 1850.]In the spring of 1852, a charter was given to Benjamin Webb, Daniel D. R. Bowker, and their associates, for the purpose of forming a corporation to carry on a hotel at the Massapoag Springs, in the eastern part of this town; but the • project fell through. It was to be called the Massapoag Spring Hotel, and its capital stock was limited to $30,000. The Act was approved by the Governor, on May 18, 1852; and it contained similar conditions to those mentioned above in regard to the sale of liquors. In the spring of 1859, an Act was passed by the Legislature, and approved by the Governor on April 1, incorporating Abel Prescott, Harvey A. Woods, Levi W. Woods, Stephen Roberts, and Levi W. Phelps, their associates and successors, under the name of the Groton Junction Hotel Company, for the purpose of erecting a hotel at Groton Junction, now known as Ayer. The capital of the Company was limited to $15,000, but the stock was never taken. These enterprises are now nearly forgotten, though the mention of them may revive the recollections of elderly people.


  1. Excellent research work and article.

  2. Wow, that was well written. You have done great research!

  3. Thank you for this! I am the great-great-granddaughter of Levi and Thirza (my middle name is Thirza) and am in Ayer now looking for information. You have been very helpful.
    Linda McDaniel