Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Old South Chapter Daughters of the Revolution Laura Wentworth Fowler at Wolfe Tavern to explore Auld Newbury 1900

Old South Chapter (Boston, Massachusetts).—The Daughters of the American Revolution seek historic facts not only in the dusty tomes of the library, but by pilgrimages to places where Revolutionary history was made. This chapter, Mrs. Laura Wentworth Fowler, regent, enjoyed three "outings" this year. Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Volume 17 1900. The affections of the members of the Old South Chapter cling to the name "Old South;" so it was fitting that they should accept.an invitation from the Old South Historical Society through its energetic president, Mr. Joseph Parker Warren, to join it in its annual historic pilgrimage, which this year was to Newburyport and "Auld Newbury." Newburyport has its memories of Louisburg and the Plains of Abraham. See Captain William Davenport & His Company 1759 Newbury MA
A bomb-shell from Louisburg adorns a street corner, while the "Wolfe Tavern" was the rendezvous of rebellious spirits in the days of the stamp act. A bell, cast by Paul Revere, rang out a merry welcome from the Old South Church, where, in 1775, was formed the first volunteer company organized for service in the continental army. Under the pulpit lie the remains of the Rev. George Whitefield, and a cenotaph in the church bears witness to his many virtues and great eloquence.

The town sent out many privateers during the Revolutionary war. William Davenport's son Anthony Davenport was among them and furnished supplies for the troops at Lexington and Bunker Hill. A little find on the Davenport family from the Boston Post old newspaper.

Also the infamous  Nathaniel Tracy fitted out a great fleet, consisting of 24 cruisers, with 340 guns and 2,800 men. He also contributed $160,000 to the cause of liberty. His fine old mansion is now the public library and museum. The old Dalton house, now the home of the Dalton club, retains its fire-places with their exquisite carvings and Corinthian pillars reaching to the ceiling. In a frame upon the wall is a sample of wall paper similar to that seen in the Quincy house. 
On the label it is stated that it had "been used to adorn the room in which Mary Dalton was married to Leonard White."
By trolley the party, numbering six hundred, were taken through High street, where dwelt Caleb Cushing, Lord Timothy Dexter and other notables, to "Auld Newbury," six miles away, where the inner man, who cannot thrive upon tradition, was refreshed. On return to Newburyport, the birthplace of William Lloyd Garrison, the office of Theophilus Parsons (where Robert Treat Paine and John Quincy Adams were apprentices), and the First Religious Society, a church of pure colonial build, were visited, and then a steamer conveyed the party fifteen miles up the river to Haverhill. From that point, the return to Boston was quickly made by special train.
The three field-days of the Old South Chapter for 1900 will ever be remembered as days of unalloyed pleasure.

The Chapter is entertained by the Daughters in turn, and this season many have received at the "Wolfe Tavern," a hostelry of some historic note, although modern in its present appointments.

     Wolfe Tavern: It dates from 1762, and its first owner and proprietor, Captain William Davenport, raised a company of Newbury men at the time of the French and English War and were present with them when General Wolfe was killed on the Plains of Abraham. After Captain Davenport returned to Newbury he opened a tavern and with a natural enthusiasm for his General he named it the "Wolfe Tavern," and from the cross beam of a lofty pole he suspended a sign bearing the head and bust of General Wolfe surrounded by an elaborately carved and gilded wreath, all the work of his own hands. During the Revolution this sign barely escaped destruction assome thought it "an insult to the inhabitants of this truly republican town." 

Sign is now at the Museum of Old Newbury (formerly the Ould Newbury Historical Society) in Newburyport, Massachusetts Wolfe Tavern History Page

Subsequently the original sign was destroyed by the great fire of 1811, and in front of the present tavern a new sign bearing the portrait of General Wolfe, painted by Moses Cole, a French refugee, was suspended where it now swings. 
By reason of her absence from Newburyport during the winter season, the very capable and gracious Regent, Miss Edith Russell Wills, who has been Regent of the Chapter since its inception, resigned and the Vice-Regent, Mrs. Lawrence Brown, was unanimously elected to succeed her. As Mrs. Brown ably fills the office every indication promises a successful future for the Chapter. From Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, Volume 15

78 High Street Newburyport  Land bought in 1807 by Anthony Davenport and the house built soon afterward, passing in 1838 to his daughter, Mrs. Samuel T. DeFord (Catherine Greenleaf Davenport m1st Damuel DeFord, 2nd Augustus Pearson). It remained in this family until 1871 when bought by John A. Greeley, John Balch Greely and Frances Dunn Cobb and brother to Adolphus. Anthony Davenport, Sr was a famous privateer See Naval records of the American Revolution: 1775-1788*

Photo and information from Family Findings
No woman is better known in Boston’s musical and club circles than Laura Wentworth Fowler, daughter of Amasa Wentworth and Susan (Nowell) Wentworth, born in Somersworth, New Hampshire June 11, 1837. She is a descendant of Elder William Wentworth, from whom Lieutenant-Governor John Wentworth, and Governors Benning and John, Wentworth also descended. Four of her ancestors fought at Bunker Hill, which admits her to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She early displayed rare musical ability, and at the age of eleven began to play the organ in church. Graduating from Abbot Academy, Andover, Mass., in 1860, where she taught music during her course, she took charge of the musical department of Lagrange Female College, Tennessee, but returned North in a year on account of the war, and became teacher of mathematics, languages, and music in the Concord (N.H.) High School.
During her second year here, she was called to the musical department of Monticello seminary, Illinois, remaining four years. Returning East she took charge of the departments of music and painting in Elmira College, New York, which she directed successfully until her marriage, six years later, with William Fowler, a gallant officer of the Union army during the war, who died November 26, 1874. Subsequently she taught eight years in Kentucky. Mrs. Fowler has superior literary as well as musical abilities, and is a prominent member of the N.E.W.P.A. She is a life member of the Bostonian Society, being the first woman admitted; a member of the New Hampshire’s Daughters, director of the Massachusetts Federation of Woman’s Clubs, and vice-president of the General Federation of Clubs of America. She is also connected with a score of other clubs and organizations, among which her favorite is the Abbot Academy Club, of which she is president and founder. Mrs. Fowler is endowed with a charming personality, and her chief characteristics are tact, will, energy, and enthusiasm.

Article published in the October 2, 1953 Newburyport Daily News.

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