Wednesday, August 16, 2017

William Lloyd Garrison’s internships with Lynn Cobbler Gamaliel Oliver and Newburyport Cabinetmaker Moses Short

William Lloyd Garrison was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts December 1805 son of Abijah Garrison and Frances Maria Lloyd. William’s father vacated the scene early on leaving his mother “Fanny” to care for family.

Some sources say Fanny chased Abijah out of the house fed up with his binge drinking. William noted that his fiery, red bearded, sea fearing father had a taste for culture, romance, and liquid spirits.
It is evident from William’s letters and biographies that he adored his mother.  She was a beautiful, but William recognized early on why one was drawn to her. It was “for her personal attractions,” but, “her mind was of the first order—clear, vigorous, creative, and lustrous, and sanctified by an ever-glowing piety. How often did she watch over me — weep over me — and pray over me!”

William appreciated “her constant approbation, through all my stormy career,” and grateful for her inspiration and strength. Fanny was tenacious, extremely independent and a spiritualist spitfire for “only a canon ball could kill Fanny Garrison.” (Francis Jackson Garrison)

The Great Awakening philosophy of former revivalist George Whitefield still permeated in Newburyport among the Baptist. Fanny embraced it and perhaps the mystical energy force compensated for the financial hardship.  Pauperism ignited an appetite in the Garrison clan, especially in William who”ate the bread of poverty and grew strong on it.” (Parrington)

The strong willed Fanny promoted her skills and took up the calling of nurse.  She stayed on living with Captain David Farnham and his wife Martha Johnson Farnham on School Street in Newburyport after Abijah deserted . Martha Farnham was a huge blessing and looked after the children while Fanny worked. The two women bonded on all levels–they worshiped together and made Molasses candy to sell which fed all the little mouths in the household.

Martha also had a daughter, Harriet Farnham born a year before William. Harriet and William’s remained lifelong friends: “Born under the same roof with Harriet, growing up with her from childhood, and for many years an inmate of her parents’ family, she was almost like an own sister to me, and always treated me very much like a younger brother.” (Boston Public Library Archives)

Birthplace of William “the house standing on the easterly side of School Street, next to the meeting-house and vestry of the First Presbyterian Society” John J Currier “Ould Newbury: Historical and Biographical Sketches” published 1896 

Fanny also trusted William to be cared for by Deacon Ezekiel Bartlett, a Baptist minister and good friend. Deacon Bartlett invested in William’s education and welfare.  Deacon Bartlett had his hand in carpentry and wood working. William accompanied him on his jobs and assisted which paid for his room and board.

For extra coin William sold apples from a little stand outside the Bartlett home on the corner of Merrimack and Summer Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Before William was able to follow his true calling Fanny arranged apprenticeships in two vocations---One was at the cobblers bench in Lynn, Massachusetts and second was with a carpenter living on Ann Street, Newburyport (now Atwwod Street).

In between the two apprenticeships, William also did a stint in Baltimore as a “chore-boy.” The family located in 1815 with Paul Newhall, a shoe manufacturer in Lynn to open a shoe business.  The business failed and William was back in the Port.

In 1814, a year before Baltimore,  William was placed with Gamaliel Wallis Oliver, a Quaker shoemaker in Lynn, Massachusetts. Oliver had a shop connected to his home on Market Street. William was small in stature for a boy his age and the work proved to be physically challenging. His knees trembled under the weight of the lapstone and Oliver released from the obligation.

In 1818, at age 12, William was apprenticed with Moses Short to learn the trade of cabinetmaking. Fanny would have known Moses from the Baptist church group. 

Martha Farnham held prayer meetings at her home and according to Henry Mayer, author of “All on Fire William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery,” across the way a group of artisans prayed at the house of carpenter Moses Short.

Moses Short’s home taken by the current owner Dixie Patterson. The house is located at 8 Atwood Street. Several generations of Shorts lived there. In the first photo Patterson puts up her plaque and the Moses Short house is now on the historic register. Atwood Street was once called Anne Street as noted in John J Currier’s History of Newburyport: “Anne Street, changed to Atwood Street about 1856-57.” From the Newburyport town records and census Moses Short was listed as both cordwainer and carpenter.  Photo from Newburyport Preservation Trust

And below are records from the Newburyport Archival Center Church Records Thanks to Bob Richard and Sharon Spieldenner for the help! Church Records Moses Short, carpenter on Ann Street, now Atwood holding meetings.

By 1805 when the Garrisons arrived in Newburyport the two prayer groups merged and organized a church, “issued a call for a minister, and found a regular place of worship in a schoolhouse on the river flats below the port.” (Mayer) The church records have the meetings recorded and one reference is also noted in Memoir of Elder by Rev. John Peak that a room was secured in home of Captain David Farnham on School Street. Also the formation of the first Baptist Church:

The Baptist Church with which I now commenced my ministerial labours, was constituted in May, 1805, consisted – of eighteen members, chiefly males, and was called Newbury and Newburyport Baptist Church. They held their meetings in a school-house within the bounds of Newbury, in a district called Joppa. As yet they had no society connected with the church for the support of preaching. They adopted the articles of the First Baptist Church in Boston. They were but a feeble band of loving disciples. I agreed to serve them one year for no other compensation than a weekly contribution, on condition that the meeting should be removed to the centre of Newburyport, whenever a convenient place should be obtained.

A society was soon organized, and application made for the use of the town-house, which was granted. Our congregation now increased four to one. The contribution at Joppa, amounted to about one dollar per week, and at the town-house, to nearly five on an average. But some of our good brethren in Joppa, were incommoded by the removal of the meeting; but I visited them often and preached at their houses, and they ajoin became reconciled. The attention of the people increased through the winter, and our prospects were more encouraging….Brother Thomas Crocker was the deacon.
Fanny wrote a letter to her son James about finding William a suitable career “as he does not incline to go into a store. His reason is this: he says unless he has a capital when he is out of his time, he will not be able to commence business, but if he has a trade, he can go to work and help maintain his M[other]: a very good resolve for a child of fourteen.”
The Short family were known in the community, especially for their innovative trades. Several generations had laid down roots and the family were part of Newbury’s early settlement.  Besides a long line of cabinetmakers, the Shorts were cobblers, maritime merchants and millers. Their day ledgers survive and are housed at Peabody Essex Museum, Winterthur, and Historic New England.

It was at the shop of Moses Short’s cousin, Charles Short* that William was most likely had his training. Charles was son of Joseph Short, a cabinetmaker in Newburyport whose furniture is still widely known today. Charles exchanged work and supplies with his father who had a shop on the wharf in Newburport.

Almost all of Charles’ brothers were cabinet makers working in Newburyport with their father Joseph. Some were contracted out to Abner Toppan, a well known cabinetmaker.
Martha Fales in “The Shorts, Newburyport Cabinetmakers,” cites the account book of  George Short, working in shop with his father Joseph charging brother Charles Short in 1816 for a Bible, a case with 14 drawers, a case for work, copper for a chest, a tool chest 38 drawers inside, and foe work bench & stuff for the same.

There are newspaper ads for Charles Short’s shop and cabinetmaking enterprise (Published below). Although Charles did travel, he operated his own shop in Haverhill, Massachusetts. William stayed with Charles and his wife Rebecca George Short (d. of Benjamin George and Hannah Nichols).

William did perform his work duties and the Shorts treated him well. Family accounts say he made a toy bureau and helped at veneering. He lasted about six full weeks, but he was homesick for Newburyport, and he had a mission calling him.

While banging the hammer and staining the wood during those six weeks William conjured up a plan to defect. He obviously put hours of thought into it. No doubt he made a few practice runs and calculated the time it would take him to cross the long bridge. He also familiarized himself with the stage-coach route times.

He assembled his worldly possessions in a handkerchief and hid the bundle among the pumpkin vines to recover when he was ready to execute “the big escape.” On the day he to he busted out he started his chase with the stage coach. He followed the trail by foot and managed to keep up. He plodded on between stops and repeated the operation, and managed to gain several miles. The passengers in the coach were wondering how so small a lad could keep along with it. (Wendall & Francis Garrison)

Back in Haverhill, the little fugitive was missed, but Short guessed where he took off to.   Moses set out to catch the dodger–he took a ” short ” cut to beat the coach and recouped his apprentice.

The affair ended well after William confessed he was not cut out for the job and longed to return to Port. Short promised to release him on one condition, he had to return to Haverhill and take his leave in a regular and proper manner, so that neither of them might be compromised. William agreed and followed up with a suitable resignation. He finished on good terms and ended up back at Uncle Bartlett’s.

Shortly after his Garrison started on his true path. In the autumn of 1818, Ephraim W. Allen, editor and proprietor of the The Newburyport Herald placed an ad "wishing a boy to learn the printer's trade."  

William quickly presented himself as a candidate for the position. He secured a seven-year apprenticeship as a writer and assistant editor under Allen.  

After great toil, endurance, and lots of “Yankee ingenuity,” William Lloyd Garrison found himself doing what he was meant to do. He became the editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, which he founded with Isaac Knapp in 1831. The rest is history….. 

Below from In Memory of Garrison December 9, 1905

In September of 1834 William married Helen Benson Garrison d. of  George Benson and Sarah “Sally” Thurber Abolitionist and Wife of William Lloyd Garrison

 Made by Fanny Lloyd Garrison Historic New England circa 1815


Gamaliel W Oliver, son of Hubbard Oliver and Rebekah Wallis. He married Charlotte Breed, daughter of Samuel Breed and Theodate Purington.  Lynn MA Vital Records and The Register of the Lynn Historical Society Volume 1 pg 106. Wednesday, January 31, 1849 Gloucester Telegraph (Gloucester, Massachusetts)

Below is some information on Oliver family from posting in the newspaper “A Marriage of [Mrs Rebecca Thayer; Mr. Wm. Oliver” Beverly, MA September 1, 1866

Martha Farnhum for assisting Garrison family Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records

Moses Short (1781-1849) was the son of Nicholas Noyes Short and Elizabeth Morse (d, of John Morse and John Kelley). Grandson of Nicholas Short and Hannah Noyes (d.of Joseph Noyes and Hannah Wadleigh). Gr Grandson of John Short, JR and Johanna Jackman (d. of Richard Jackman and Elizabeth Plummer married May 27 1708) Gr Gr Grandson of Henry Short, JR and Sarah Whipple (d. of Lt John Whipple and Sarah Kent). GR GR GR Grandson of Henry Short and Anna Glover. 

This complex dressing box with fitted interior is dated 1694 and was made as an acknowledgment of the wedding of Henry and Anne Short of Newbury, Massachusetts. Interesting features include a looking glass, secret drawer locks and a hidden drawer.

Moses Short Married on April 3 1803 in Salem, Massachusetts to Jane Chandler d. of Captain William Chandler and Hannah Lowel. Moses Short in 1850 Census Newburyport, Massachusetts listed a Carpenter. He was living at the Atwood Street house. Below Marriage Records

 The Vital Records Newburyport MA Birth of Moses Short 1791 and births of children born to Moses Short and Jane Chandler

 Vital Records Haverhill Massachusetts SHORT Family

Martha Fales in “The Shorts, Newburyport Cabinetmaker,” published by Essex Institute Historical Collections noted that the Short descendants had a stamped card table from Charles Short. Fales also mentions an ad dated December 1, 1821 from the Haverhill Gazette below is a similar one dated August 5 1820 and two photos of Labeled Charles Short card table in private collection Salem, Massachusetts. Also see Grecian Pembroke work table and mahogany looking glass frame made by Capt. Charles Short, Haverhill. From “Transactions of the Essex Agricultural Society from the President Timothy Pickering” Press of Foote & Brown, 1818. Below: Charles Short's Cabinetmaking business location when William Lloyd Garrison was under internship in Haverhill, Massachusetts 1817 Advertisement

While in Haverhill Charles suffered losses due to a fire 1827 below are two accounts as published in the Haverhill Gazette

A few Short Family Furniture Cited Notes and Examples and Descriptions. Below referenced from “American Cabinetmakers: Marked American Furniture, 1640-1940″ William C Ketchum.

Displayed in the “Newbury Furniture” exhibition at SPNEA’s One Bowdoin Square Gallery, May 2, 2000 through October 6, 2000. “This rocking chair, whose removable slip seat concealed a potty hole, was almost certainly a custom order, perhaps made for an invalid. The chair is labeled by the Newburyport furniture maker Joseph Short and is inscribed with the date 1806. Rocking chairs had been in use at least since the middle of the eighteenth century, but this may be one of the earliest surviving dated rocking chairs. Although rockers were often added to chairs some time after they were made, the way the chair legs are tenoned into the rockers suggest that these are the original.”Historic New England

A FEDERAL INLAID MAHOGANY CARD TABLE LABELLED BY JOSEPH SHORT (1771-1819), NEWBURYPORT, MASSACHUSETTS, 1795-1810 fetched $9,200 in Christie’s Auction January 2000 no photo or history available.

Short House located on High Road in Newbury, Massachusetts when SPENEA, now Historic New England owned it. The Short House is one of five 17th century dwellings located near Newbury’s Upper Green. SPNEA’s William Sumner Appleton approached the owners about ways to preserve the property as early as 1917. Built by Nathaniel Knight in 1717. A two-story house of the older type with plain pitched roof and large square chimney in each gable end. The house was in the possession of SPNEA until the late 1970s, when it was sold. The original segmental-arch door pediment, with its dentils and stop-fluted pilasters in the Doric order, intrigued curators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art so much that they were able to acquire the original front door and surrounding architectural work to install in the American Wing.

Obit for Charles Short’s wife Rebecca George Short 1796-d. of Benjamin George and Hannah Nichols published in Salem Gazette

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