By Mary Blake Breed (A paper read before the Lynn Historical Society, Nov. 18, 1926.)
It has been said: "That a people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of its ancestors, never achieves anything worthy to be remembered with pride by their descendants.
The name Breed is of ancient origin, for as early as during the reign of Canute the Dane, about the year 1000 to 1100 we learn that a colony of that name came from Germany and settled in England, forming a town called to this day by the name of Breed. The name was spelled Brede. Later the English spelling was Bread and later still in America it was spelled Breed. We have also learned that there was a street named Bread in London and that William Shakespeare lived there at one time. The name is even now often heard in England. Our Ancestor, Allen Breed, was the first and only one of that surname to emigrate to this country. He came with a party under John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts, on one of the eleven vessels which landed at Salem, June, 1630. Also check out Breed Family
Those who came at this time did not flee from persecution, but were voluntary exiles who came to the land of opportunity to live in accordance, not only with their religious beliefs, but to carry out their own ideas and aspirations and to carve a fortune in the new world. Many of them were men of dignity, wealth and reputation. Allen Breed did not stay in Salem, but came to Saugust, afterward Lynn. In 1637, the name Saugust was changed to Lynn. The name Lynn was given in compliment to Reverend Samuel Whiting, who came from Lynn Regis or King's Lynn, England, and was pastor of the First Congregational Church for sixty years. Also check out Breed Family Pride
Up to this time Saugust, which was an Indian name, included what is now Lynn, Swampscott, Lynnfield, Reading, Wakefield and Nahant. The name was changed by an act of the General Court, whose proceeding was very brief and merely read, "Saugust is called Lynn." The General Court, at this time, was composed of those in authority and those who were freemen. Afterward, when the number became too large the House of Representative was formed.
Allen Breed was admitted a freeman and in 1638 had two hundred acres of land allotted to him, as that was the decree of the council that anyone who advanced fifty pounds towards the enterprise should become a stockholder and entitled to that number of acres from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His sons had fifty acres each. Allen Breed was a man of substance, what we call a well-to-do man, and a man of sterling character. In 1640 he went to Southampton, Long Island, with a company from Lynn, receiving a grant of a large tract of land. He soon returned and we imagine as he came across the marshes, that he said to himself, "Here or nowhere is my kingdom." For he settled in the western part of Lynn, and gave to that locality the name of Breed's End, a name it bears to this day ; a portion is called Breed Square. After the World War there was a movement to change the name of Breed Square, but through the efforts of Mr. Warren M. Breed and Mrs. Charles O. Breed, the name remains the same today.
We have always heard of the bleak and cold reception which awaited the emigrants of the Mayflower, when they landed on Plymouth Rock in December, 1620, and we can well imagine how different was the outlook for those who landed in Salem in June, 1630. They found a country fair to see, wooded hills and plains, fertile lands, the blue ocean on one side, the ponds and lakes in the background, and the bright sun over all. The Breeds were home-lovers and settled near the old home of Allen Breed, in the Breed's End part of Lynn, and intermarried with the Ingalls, Newhall, Johnson, Basset, Mansfield and Farrington families, and sometimes with those of their own name. The story is told that one of the Breeds, when he wished to call together those of the name of Breed, would go to the door and blow a horn and the clan would gather from far and near. In 1830 it was found that there were 243 men by the name of Breed in the town of Lynn. At that time, there was a population of 6138.
The early settlers, when they came to the new world, began at once to look about to find how they would build and where they would place their dwellings. As "necessity is the mother of invention," they were equal to the emergency. They found forests, and they felled the trees. Then they dug a pit or cellar, six or seven feet deep. This was lined with boards or logs. Over this they placed a roof, made of poles covered with bark or straw, with spaces left for the light to come in and the smoke to go out. Here they built their rude cottages and had peaceful possession.
It is supposed that when Allen Breed came in 1630, these primitive structures had given place to more comfortable dwellings. The houses of this period were frame houses and Allen Breed built the first Breed homestead in this country. These dwellings were one and one-half stories high. The frames were of heavy oak timber, showing the beams inside. The walls were whitewashed, burnt clam shells were used as lime. The clams were gathered on the beach, taken from the shells and the shells left to be used for this purpose. The fireplaces were made of rough stones. The windows were small, opening outward on hinges. They consisted of very small diamond panes of glass, set in lead, many of them brought from England. These early dwellings always faced the south, that the sun might "shine square." Thus each house formed a sun-dial by which the good matron knew when to call the men from the fields. It was the custom always to dine at twelve o'clock.
"It has been said that the emigrants had no ambition, but were content with small achievements," but was it not their ambition that gave them the courage to cross the ocean and settle in an unknown land? We all know that "no house is so humble that a great man may not be born in it." Some say that the site of the first Allen Breed house was on Breed Square, but as near as we can learn the original Allen Breed homestead stood near the corner of Light Street, on Houghton Square. Of the house we have no record, but we do know that here Allen Breed tilled the soil and it yielded its increase, and at eventide he could stand in his doorway and look afar upon the many acres which he called his own. Here he lived, and died at the ripe age of ninety or more years ; leaving a goodly substance, numerous descendants, and a good name, - more to be desired than riches.
"Nearly three centuries have onward rolled,
Since Allen Breed - a farmer - so we are told
Within this infant township chose a home
And here content he sought no more to roam."
Ensign Joseph Breed, as he was always called, was seventeen or eighteen years old at the time of King Phillip's War and from his participation in this conflict received the title of Ensign. He married Sarah Farrington and continued to live in West Lynn and built a house on South Street not far from the old homestead. They had a family of eleven children, seven daughters and four sons. This homestead was a square old-fashioned house, with a front door in the middle. It had one large chimney, the style of that period. There was also a side door and an end door. After it had been built about one hundred years it was enlarged and remodeled, and lost its colonial style of architecture. The deed of the land on which this house stands was executed Anno Domini 1694, in the sixth year of the reign of their majesties, William and Mary, King and Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland. It was on parchment. This tract of land comprised eight acres, now lying between Elm, South and Ash Streets, and a portion of the land on Summer Street. This homestead stands today over two hundred years old, in a good state of preservation. It is said that the stones in the cellar wall are of unusual size, and that it took six yoke of oxen to move one stone. There was in the garden a peony brought from overseas over one hundred and fifty years ago, and Indians attracted by the blossoms and the fragrance would stop on their way from clam digging and try to barter the clams for the blossoms.
Mrs. Mary Breed, widow of Joseph, who lived to be between ninety and one hundred years old, went there as a bride, and lived there for seventy-five years. The house has always been in the possession of the family.
|photo by Bonnie Kehoe-Gove|
"More than a hundred years ago - the annals read
The people for town clerk chose Ephraim Breed
Who served them many years by which it is shown
That civil service rules were not unknown."
As a young man he went to sea, but returned in time to take part in the battle of Lexington. His homestead stood on South Street on land deeded to Joseph and Samuel Breed in 1694. This old house was inherited by Ephraim Breed from his father Joseph, to whom it came from his father, Ensign Joseph. It was built about 1694. The house was a large old-fashioned one of Colonial style and was inherited with a large lot of land by Ephraim Breed and has been in the family over two hundred years. This house is described as the Ensign Breed house. Mr. Breed was a rich man for those days, a large land-owner. At his death his estate inventoried, mansion house with three acres of land; also one hundred acres on Pine Hill, dungeon pasture and Fresh marsh over four hundred acres. This old house is still standing and in possession of the family. Ephraim Breed had four daughters who married into Lynn families. At this time there was no installment plan, so
"A young man who was so lucky as a maid to win
Built a furnished cage to put her in."
The homes of these families were on North Common Street.
"And these ladies were of such goodly size,
When they walked up the common - some surprise
Would be expressed - people would say,
'See there' -
Here comes the Breed girls in a solid square."
Very likely they went out to spend the afternoon, or to afternoon tea, as we would say. If so, each would carry a tea spoon and cup and saucer. The cups were of the very best china, though very small. The water to make the tea was boiled in a skillet, as it was before the days of tea-kettles.
Ephraim Breed was a gentleman of the old school, an honor to the name of Breed: It was said of him, in his last years, that he often conducted family worship, with the Bible upside down, so great was his knowledge of the Scriptures.
From Independent Chronicle Boston MA February 1777
Colonel Frederick Breed, also a lineal descendant of Allen Breed, was born in 1755. He was a patriot when very young, for on the receipt of the news of the march of the British to Concord, although only nineteen years old, he enlisted in Captain Farrington's company, and bravely did his part. When his term expired, he enlisted again. In 1776, his term of enlistment expiring, he again enlisted and was promptly commissioned as second lieutenant by the Continential Congress. His commission is on file at the Pension Office, Washington. The signature of John Hancock is as bright today as it was many years ago. He was discharged from service January, 1777, with the rank of Colonel. His homestead stood on the corner of Cedar and Boston Streets. It was a large old-fashioned square house, facing the street, some distance back from the roadside, in the midst of grassy sloping grounds and grand old trees. This house was of the hospitable type of its day and if it could speak could tell us many things we would like to know, of the life lived under its roof. Colonel Frederick Breed was not a lawyer but did a great deal of legal work. He was commissioned Justice of the Peace in 1802 and again in 1809. Was Trial Justice of the town and held court in the upper chamber of his residence. In latter years Colonel Breed was reduced in circumstances and applied for a pension. His claim was allowed in 1818, but was revoked in 1820 as he was not entirely without means of support. He died in June, 1820 at the age of sixty-five years. This old land-mark, with its sacred memories, was demolished in 1912.
below Compass, c 1845 Smithsonian Institute made by Aaron Breed
Aaron Breed, another descendent of Allen Breed, was born in 1761, and died in 1817. His homestead was on the corner of Pleasant and Summer Streets. He was of the Quaker faith, but fought in the war of the Revolution and was called "the fighting Quaker." He was the son of Amos Breed, who fought in the battle of Lexington. He was fifteen years in the Legislature. His daughter, Hermione, married George Hood, the first Mayor of Lynn.
Summer Street was right in the midst of the Breed settlement in Breed's End, and on this street you will find to this day a small one and one half story house, close to the street. Here lived Amos Breed, and his wife, who was called Aunt Caroline by everybody. His daughter Antoinette Breed, lived there all her life, and now with her passing the old home becomes the property of strangers. pic below Aron Breed
Joseph Breed, Jr., in the fifth generation from Allen Breed, was one of the substantial Breeds of Breed's End. He was born in 1795. He married Eliza Walden in 1818. His homestead was built on a part of the two hundred acres in the grant of land to Allen Breed on Breed Square. It was a two-story house, painted white with green blinds, Colonial style, with the proverbial Colonial door, on the corner of Summer Street and the Turnpike. Joseph Breed was a man who had the confidence of his friends, for he held many public offices. He was selectman, overseer of the poor, and assessor. He was one of the first school committee. At the time there was only one school in the town. photo below by Sue Walker Imwotim3@aol.com
To this school came the children from far and near. The boys in winter brought a stick of wood over their shoulders, thus contributing to the fire in the fire-place. There were no stoves. Think of a boy of today carrying a stick of wood over his shoulder from Wood End to the Common. The boys from the Eastern part of the town were called "Gulls." Those from West Lynn were called "Alewives." Joseph Breed and his wife lived for sixty years in the old home and had a family of thirteen children. Joseph Breed died in 1879, his wife, ten months later. After the funeral services, the minister and family returned to the house, and as it was to be closed, the minister held a service of Thanksgiving to God for the beautiful family life that had been lived under its roof. Joseph Breed and his wife, Eliza Walden, were married by Bishop Hedding of the Methodist Church Sept. 17, 1818 and had thirteen children, all born in this house, and of whom Mrs. Adelaide Breed Bayrd, born Feb. 24, 1843, still (May 11, 1926) survives and resides at 24 Spruce Street, Malden; she is the oldest living graduate of the Lynn High School. Mrs. Bayrd as well as the other children and her son Frank A. Bayrd were born in what was for two generations known as the "Prophets' Chamber," from the fact that scores of the itinerant Methodist ministers, guests of Joseph Breed, were always assigned to that room. Joseph W. Breed was a son of this Joseph and lived on South Common Street. He was a prominent member of the First Methodist Church.
On Breed Square we find the old homestead of William Breed a landmark for many years, with its broad square front facing the south. At the back of the house there was a large orchard and back of that a large tract of land, extending to what is now Hood Street. This mansion was surrounded with a garden and grassy lawns on all sides. There were two wonderful elm trees in front of the house that attracted much attention. At the time of the September gale many years ago, one of these trees was blown down, and crashed through the roof of this house. Afterward a modern style roof replaced the old one. William Breed's daughter, Mary, married Charles Merritt, and their oldest children were born there. One of the descendants of William Breed has in her possession a chest of drawers made from a cherry tree which stood in the yard. Think of the sentiment in that old chest of drawers.
The Breed boys seemed to look with favor upon the Basset girls, and we know the Breeds are full of sentiment. So it happened that three Breed boys married three Basset girls. They were sisters. It was always considered an ill-omen to change the name and not the letter, but they took the chance and all went well. So it happened that Abraham Breed married Sarah Basset, and James Breed married Rebecca Basset and William Breed married Hannah Basset. From Salem Gazette July 1832
On the corner of Pleasant and South Common Streets lived Theophilus Breed, son of Amos Breed. His son, Theophilis N. Breed, built the dam on Breed's Pond in 1843. Breed's Pond was the original source of Lynn's water supply. This old homestead of the Breed's is still standing, but alas! it has been what is called improved. T. Harlan Breed was a son of Theophilus N. Breed. His homestead was on Harwood Street. He has a son Harlan Breed.
The Andrews Blaney Breed house on Commercial Street was built in 1833 and is standing today. It is on the easterly side of Commercial Street, directly opposite Stickney Street. It was built as a double house, the northerly half being owned by Andrews Blaney Breed and the southerly half by another family. Andrews Blaney Breed was a surveyor of lumber and the first station agent at West Lynn station on the Eastern Railroad (now the Boston and Maine Railroad).
His son, Charles Otis Breed, lived with his father in the Commercial Street house until 1860, when he purchased a house on Neptune Street near Commercial Street. That house has recently been moved back into the rear of its lot. In 1883 Charles Otis Breed built a home on George Street, which still stands. His son is Professor Charles B. Breed, the first President of the Breed Family Association.
Samuel Breed built his homestead on a part of the original grant of two hundred acres to Allen Breed, near what is now the corner of Orchard and Summer Streets. This old house, like many of its day, was one and one-half stories high, surrounded by a large lot of land, containing a garden, back of that a fruit orchard, and back of the orchard, farm lands, extending to the harbor. In this house was born Richard Breed, who married Eliza Ann Breed and lived in the other side of the house, which became a double house, with two doors on front, side by side. Richard Breed's children were all born here. Later, he built a mansion house, on part of this land, inherited from his father, Samuel Breed. Richard Breed was a hay and grain dealer, and carried on a successful business for over sixty years at the old stand on Summer street near the Lynn Common depot. At the death of Samuel Breed the old homestead came into possession of Richard Breed, and was sold by his heirs. His son, Charles Orrin Breed, inherited part of the estate.
From Gloucester Telegraph July 1845 Please contact me for pdf download which I can send
In 1829 Andrews Breed built a house on Boston Street between Mall and Marion Streets. It was one of the show places of Lynn in its day. A large colonial house, with the proverbial pillars extending to the second story, it stood back from the street, surrounded by beautiful grounds, adorned by many beautiful trees. We think that Mr. Breed must have felt as the poet did when he said,
"I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree,
A tree that looks to God all day
And lifts its leafy arms to pray."
Many of these trees Mr. Breed brought from the woods and set out with his own hand. The land extended back to the turnpike. Later the house was removed, when the place was sold and laid out in house lots. Mr. Breed built a house on North Common Street, on the site of the Parson Henchman House. Andrews Breed was elected Mayor of Lynn in 1855 and brought to this office his business experience of many years.
Henry Allen Breed was born in 1798, son of Thomas Andrews and Hannah Newhall Breed. His father moved from Lynn to Salem but soon returned. He was a prosperous man of the day and built the mansion known later as the Healy Estate right back of the Arcade or Boscobel, as it is called now. This house was of stone and stood on a high banking as was the style at that time. It was surrounded by a wonderful garden, enclosed by a high fence. It stood there for many years but its glory has departed. Later he built a cottage house on Elm Street, a very attractive homestead, with its dormer windows and piazzas on all sides. This also stood on a high banking in the midst of a beautiful garden.
Abraham Breed, who moved from Breed's End in Colonial days, married Sarah Basset of Nahant Street, and she may have induced him to purchase a large tract of land on Black Marsh Lane, now Union Street, and to build a house there. He had one son and three daughters, and followed the English custom of leaving his estate to his son, who immediately divided his inheritance with his sisters. Abraham Breed built this homestead some distance back from the street on the right side of lower Broad Street of today. Its spacious grounds were enclosed by a high fence and sheltered a wonderful rose garden, which was enjoyed for many years by the passers-by, as well as the family. Abraham Breed's daughter married William Thompson. The son, Joseph Basset Breed, married and also lived on a part of the land of his father. He had three sons who inherited each a portion of this tract of land. They were Joseph, 2nd, Richard and Henry. Joseph, 2nd, and Henry built homesteads on part of this land. The old Abraham Breed house stood for hospitality on a large scale. The family was very much interested in the anti-slavery movement and the house was one of the links in the underground railroad, for helping the fugitive slave to escape from bondage. This old land-mark went the way of many others and was destroyed in the Lynn fire of 1889.
Below from Boston Journal April 1888
Henry Breed, son of Joseph Basset, moved from Union Street to Green Street. Another son, Richard, built a house on West Baltimore Street. As we pass up Union Street, formerly Estes Lane, we come to an old house standing on a little hill, calmly looking down on the busy thoroughfare at its feet. What changes it has seen. When it was built it overlooked the vacant town-lands clear to the ocean. It was once owned by Dr. Burchstead, about 1723. The next owner was William Estes, whose daughter married Amos Breed, great grandson of Allen Breed the first. In 1784 a document shows that William and Ruth Estes deeded to Amos and Ruth Breed a part of upland on a portion of which stands the dwelling house and mansion house of Amos Breed. In 1807 the Amos Breeds added to their landed possessions. They owned a great deal of pasture land, where is now Pinkham, Lincoln, School and Green Streets. Gradually, these were disposed of by Amos F. Breed who built the house corner of Union and Lincoln Streets. Amos F. Breed was born in 1867, died in 1902. He was interested in many public enterprises especially the Lynn and Boston Street Railway. The old place is now in possession of his grandson of the fourth generation, Amos Francis Breed.
Below from Independent Chronicle & Boston Patriot Auust 1824
In 1830 Exchange Street was called Pine Street, and where we now find the North Shore News Company stood the house of Daniel Breed, wood and coal merchant, father of William N. Breed and grandfather of George Herbert Breed, former president of this association. This house was moved many years ago to Newhall Street to make room for business. Daniel Breed was a pioneer in the wood and coal business and his son and grandson have followed in his footsteps. William Breed, father of Daniel Breed, lived at one time on Nahant, near where the Whitney Homestead now stands. He was a grandson of Samuel Breed, and inherited the property on Nahant.
James Breed was the fifth in line of descent from Allen Breed, and inherited land from his father, between what was then Pine Street, now Exchange, and Silsbee Street. A deed of this tract of land over two hundred years old, is now in possession of Miss Sallie H. Hacker. His house stood in about the middle of that lot. Later, it was moved to Silsbee Street, and later still, after the grade of the street was lowered, it was moved back, and now stands on the court off Silsbee Street, but remodelled ; not a trace of its former architecture remains. James Breed was a tallow chandler, a purveyor of light for those days. He was a staunch Quaker at the time when this sect suffered persecution, in the days of the Revolution. At one time he sat for his portrait. When it was finished he was not satisfied, so unbeknown to his family he sat for another picture. The first time he wore a brown suit - this time gray, - "For," said he, "I am a Friend, and should always wear gray." The last portrait is owned by Miss Sallie H. Hacker and the first one is in possession of the writer. Speaking of Quakers I have heard of a gentleman of that persuasion, of a poetical turn of mind, who is said to have given his son the following invitation to resume the duties of the day. "Arise, John Henry! The sun is gilding the Eastern horizon with sapphire and gold." Of course, the boy responded at once. Week Review Civil War
Isaiah Breed was the oldest son of James and Hannah Alley Breed (pic above) His homestead stood on land inherited from his father, on the corner of what is now Broad and Exchange Streets. This old house stood near the street, enclosed by an iron fence, which was considered quite ornamental in those days. Later, the house was moved back and on a slight rise of ground, approached by a flight of steps. Like all houses of that period, there was a door in the middle and as you entered at the right there were the old style double parlors, which were large, though low-studded. On the other side there was a small room later used as an office by his son, Dr. Bowman B. Breed (pic below)
Isaiah Breed had four sons. Bartlett B., the oldest, built a house on Newhall Street at the time it was cut through Newhall field. Isaiah Clarkson, who built a house opposite, was another son. George Rodman's home was on Broad Street, and Dr. Bowman B., the youngest son's house, was on High Street.
Nathan Breed was a second son of James and Hannah Alley Breed, and as he and Isaiah were brothers it was quite natural that they should build their homesteads side by side. The Nathan Breed house was very pretentious for its day, and was always called "The Mansion." The rooms were very large and well-fitted to carry out the hospitable ideas of its owner. Nathan Breed was a Quaker and noted for his generous hospitality and here were entertained Friends from all over the country, among them many notable people. The "Mansion" stood back from the roadside on a slight rise of ground, terraced to the street. It was at one time connected with the underground railway for freeing the slaves. Nathan Breed was one of the substantial men of his day. We have heard that when a young man he made a vow to the Lord, that if he was successful in business he would devote a part of his wealth to charity. So we have the Child Welfare house for helpless children. This old house, with all its hallowed associations was moved back to make way for business and finally demolished. Miss Sallie Hacker has given us a wonderful pen-picture of its best days. Nathan Breed had one son, Moses S., who built a homestead on Mulberry Street. This street was so named from the mulberry trees on both sides of the way.
On Windmill Hill, afterwards Sagamore Hill, Moses Breed built his house on the "road leading from the Meeting House to Nahant" as Nahant Street was called. This land had been in the family since 1739. The old homestead of his father stood on the left side of the street and was later known as the "Wooldredge Estate." Then Moses Breed built a house on the right side of the street. He owned land from here to the beach.
On Nahant Street still stands the homestead built by Joseph Breed, 2nd, who formerly owned a house on Union Street. It is now in the possession of his descendants. Jabez Breed was the son of Samuel Breed, and brother of Moses Breed. He built his house on Nahant opposite the old Whitney homestead. A few years later, he exchanged with Richard Hood for his home on Nahant Street, Lynn. This old homestead stood near what was called Sagamore Hill, so-named from the Indian Sagamore. Jabez Breed owned about fifteen acres of land in this vicinity. At a wedding given at his house, we have been told that the Indians came and danced around the grand old elm tree which stood on the ground and was an object of admiration for many years, standing in perfect condition until the land was sold.
In 1710, John Basset built his mansion house on what was an open field now the west side of Breed Street. This street was not opened until 1844. John Basset died in 1753.
In 1800, Jabez Breed, who married Mary Basset, lived in the easterly side of this house and Rufus Newhall who had bought a part of the Basset farm, lived in the westerly side. This old homestead was two and one half stories high and had a long sloping roof in the rear called a lean-to. There was a single chimney of immense size for the use of both families. There were two front doors, side by side. At one time, it would seem that the Newhalls and Breeds under this roof had a "falling out," as they used to say. Perhaps the Breeds were a little "set." It could not have been the Newhalls, for one side of the house was painted yellow and the other was minus paint. There was a fence dividing the front yard, that went from the street to the middle of the house. The Newhall part of this house was razed in 1878 and they took with them half of the chimney. The Breed side was razed in 1890.
On the north side of Lewis Street stood the house of Basset Breed, son of Jabez Breed, and on the west corner of Basset and Lewis stood the homestead of Francis Breed. This old house descended in the family, one side owned by one and one by another. One side is like the original and the other has become an apartment house. Elwyn Breed built his house on the south side of Lewis Street.
Asa Breed owned a large tract of land extending from Lewis Street to Ocean Street, when Ocean Street was pasture land. This was farm land and later Breed, Nichols, Foster and Garland Streets were cut through this same territory. Asa Breed had four sons, who built their houses on a part of this land. As we come up Lewis Street from Broad, we find a one and one-half story house, standing on a slight elevation overlooking the busy street, on the corner of Breed and Lewis Streets, on one side of the lot. This old house contained when built, in 1830, two rooms on a floor. There was an addition made as the family grew and as there were ten children, the ell became larger than the house. This was the home of Hiram Nichols Breed, the ninth Mayor of Lynn, - born 1809, inaugurated Mayor of Lynn 1861. He was a public-spirited man, greatly interested in anything pertaining to his native city and held many public offices. Alas, this old homestead with all its memories, has passed to strangers, and is being demolished to make way for the march of progress. The house next belonged to Hiram Breed's brother, Asa L. Breed. (Below from Lynn Legends)
In 1717, we read that Nahant was without any inhabitant. James Mills having died, his family moved from Nahant, and the house and land became the property of Dr. John H. Burchstead who sold it to Samuel Breed, and he built a house near where now stands the Whitney Homestead.
Samuel Breed was small of stature and was generally called Governor Breed. He was born in 1692 and married Deliverance Basset in 1720. His homestead became the property of his son Nehemiah, and his grandson William, who rebuilt the house in 1819. For twenty-four years this house was kept as a hotel by Jessie Rice, and was purchased in 1841, by Albert Whitney, who married a daughter of Mr. Rice.
Leaving Exchange Street we come to Broad Street, once called Wolf's Hill, and here on the corner of Nahant and Broad we find the homestead of James Breed, Jr. Now James Breed, Jr. did not look with favor on the young ladies of Lynn of the Ingalls, Mansfield, Newhall and Farrington families, but wandered afar and took for his bride Phoebe Nichols of Berwick, Maine. He built his house of lumber from the forests of Maine, which was a part of the dowry of Phoebe Nichols. Here he brought his bride and here they lived many years and brought up their family. He and his wife were both prominent Friends and lived and died in that faith. James Breed died in 1853 and his wife in 1863 at the age of ninety-two years. The eldest son, Stephen N. Breed, married Elizabeth, daughter of Frederick Breed and brought his bride to the old homestead. Later James Breed, Jr. built the house at 17 Nahant Street for his sons Stephen N. and James. Stephen N. had a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who became a physician at the time when a woman doctor was almost unknown. Later, Stephen N. Breed moved back to the old homestead and lived there until his death in 1886. James Albert Breed continued to live at 17 Nahant Street. This old homestead is one of the few left and is in possession of his descendants. The old-fashioned garden was a great delight to James A. Breed, who spent many hours among the, flowers. This same garden was laid out in "squares and rounds" and bordered with the old-time box.
At one time it was our good fortune to enter a room of which we will try to give you a pen-picture. We were first attracted by the high wains coating all round the room. Then the window sills and the fascinating window shutters, with little glass knobs to take hold of when you wished to open or close them. The old style door with the panels in the form of a cross, with the gilt key holes and graceful little keys, and glass door knobs. Then the large open fire-place and the wooden mantle above. Round the room we found many pieces of antique furniture. On the tables old daguerreotypes and odd pieces of China, and over all lingered the tender grace of the day which is gone. This room is in a Breed homestead in Lynn in the year 1926.
The Breeds, many of them, settled in Breed's End and the oldest houses we find there. Later, they bought land in other parts of the town. Now we find many Breed homesteads scattered throughout the city. The list of members of the Breed Association shows that those of this name have travelled far and wide, as we have names from nearly every state in the union.
"Those fair homes sheltered by ancestral ties,
Are shrines for dear and sacred memories;
Mid sights and sounds the eye and ear enhance
Who would not like to take a backward glance?"
Miss Breed wrote this paper originally for the Breed Family Association meeting of March 11, 1926.
From Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph October 1858