Showing posts with label Rowley MA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rowley MA. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Isaac Colby and Martha Parratt Last Will & Testament

Sources to check out:
Parratt Page 
Check out Notes on Anthony Colby
Our Ancestry Volume 1 By Jan B Young
The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 11 edited by Sidney Perley
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2 by W R Cutter
Colby Generations
Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the State of Maine

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Some New England Mills

From the Archives and Please refer to Coffin and Greeley Tide Mills Project
and my post on Patch Historical Lecture on Water-Powered Mills in Early Salisbury and Newburyport with Paul Turner and Ron Klodenski

NEW ENGLAND has always been more noted for its cotton and paper mills than for its flour mills, and has become famous the world over in these other classes of industrial effort; yet strange to say, what are perhaps the oldest flour mills in the country are located in New England and characteristically prove their sturdiness by their continuous operation.
Two of these are tidewater mills—one located at Rowley, the other at Gloucester, Mass. The one at Rowley, known as the Glen Mill, is the older of these, and has been operated continuously except for a short period, since 1643, that is, 273 years. The exact date of the building of the Gloucester mill is somewhat in doubt, hut it is known to be over 250 years ago. It is called the Riverdale Grist Mill.

Sent to me via Laurie Short Jarvis painted by Mildred Cahoon Hartson (1904-1997), former president of the Nbpt Art Assoc. Her mother was Lula May Short (1883-1944). This is a painting of Mildred's interpretation of the Short's tide mill at Knight's Crossing Newbury, MA . Noted in Mildred's own hand. (Lula May was the daughter of Henri M Short, Henri was the son of Samuel Sewall Short Sr (1848-1926) and on back to first settler of Newbury Henry Short).

Newburyport Herald AD Silas Pearson February 8, 1831 and two pages from History of Newbury MA John J Currier

Private and Special Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Volume 7

List of Patents for Inventions and Designs, Issued by the United States ...By United States. Patent Office, Edmund Burke

 From American Notes and Queries, Volume 5

Also see The New England Quarterly, Volume 9 page 186 
Law of Seashore Waters and Water Courses: Maine and Massachusetts page 26

The Rowley mill, in the ancient parish of Byfield is owned by descendants of Richard Dummer. Even today, after so many years of service, the old mill presents much the same appearance that it did when the river was first harnessed to the wheel and the large round stones took the place of the pestle and mortar.
The original building has been enlarged to meet the demands of the increased imputation, but the same dam, with the identical stones and timbers imedded in the mud, the same waterway and foundation for the wheel-box, stronger with time, though showing signs of age, are still there.
The mill is situated in the midst of a pretty valley, where the waters pour down in between sloping hills, while on either side of the stream, as far as the eye can see, are towering oaks and pines and white birches.


The first Dummer mill in the new world was built at Roxbury, Mass., by Richard Dummer, a rich Englishman, who came to the colony in 1632. He remained in Roxbury until four years later, when he fell into disfavor with the governor because of untimely political activity, and removed to the parish of Byfield. Here he was granted a large tract of land in consideration of the establishment of a grist mill. In 1638 the waters of the Parker River were first troubled by artificial barriers and machinery. John Pearson and Richard Dummer were the original millers of the town, and for a time were partners. Then Dummer acquired the whole interest in the mill.


In 1643-4 Thomas Nelson was allotted 36 acres of land on what is now Mill River for the purpose of erecting a saw and grist mill. The partner of Richard Dummer soon acquired this new mill, and this is the one which is now known as the Glen Mill, and which has been in the Dummer family for so long. It figured largely in the history of the times.
In the King Philip War a large number of men were drawn from Byfield, and with them were carried wagon loads of meal for their own and for their compatriots' fare in the struggle which followed. Still later, in the French.and Indian War, the stone wheels of the old Glen Mill ground the corn into meal for the fighting men of Massachusetts Bay colony.
With the news of the first English depredation, plans were made by the men of the town to join the Continental forces and to send meal to the army. The old Benjamin Coleman house, which is still standing, was made the rendezvous. Here a little later a large wagon was prepared and loaded with meal from Glen Mill—as much as the wagon would hold—and with a guard of patriots the trip to Valley Forge was made and the contents turned over to the quartermaster of Washington's army.
The first Dummer mill on the waters of the Parker River was suspended after a long life, and Samuel Dummer acquired the present Glen Mill in 1817. The family had always been millers, as far back as legend recounts, and so, after a lapse of years during which the mill was out of the family, it was but natural that a member of it should want to get it back again. It has been under the management and ownership of a member of the family ever since.

The old undershot wheel was replaced a number of years ago by a small turbine, but old-fashioned millstones are still used for grinding the corn. Before the old wheel was taken down, the structure and its surroundings represented a typical mill scene of 300 or 400 years ago. The wheel was 35 feet in diameter, and the roof was low and sloping, reaching almost to the ground. The dimensions of the building were much smaller than at present.

The Riverdale grist mills, located at Riverdale, Gloucester, still continue to make their daily grind, as they have done almost unceasingly for the last 250 years, with power supplied by the waters of quaint old Mill River.
These ancient mills, hearing unmistakable signs of the wear of two and one half centuries, form an interesting and important part of Gloucester's history. Situated in the heart of picturesque Riverdale, where Boston residents annually find a summer retreat, the dilapidated buildings and running stream, with its churning foam, have a charm which makes the place more attractive.
The present owners of the mills have made no effort to disturb or modernize them, while annually between their stones thousands of bushels of grain are being ground into flour or meal. Over 25 years ago, the mills were purchased by the late Albert Dodge in connection with the grain business he maintained in the city proper; and after his death, the property was taken over by the Albert Dodge Co., the present owners.
The Gloucester mill was at one time the most important, along the coast, and it was not more than 25 years ago when ships laden with corn plied up the Mill River to have their cargoes ground. see Tide Mill Institute

See Minor Descent for Pearson Genealogy 

 In the early days the means of producing food were of great concern to the settlers of New England, and though there is no record of a grant providing for a mill earlier than 1664 although it is known that one existed—there is a record of a grant in that year by which the inhabitants gave to their pastor, the Rev. John Emerson, "all the rights, privileges, ponds and streams belonging to it and all fresh meadow thereabouts," provided he would keep a mill in operation and repair, and grind the grist of the townsfolk. The Short Pearson Mill was Henry Short (Short Family Group Facebook) and Jeremiah Pearson see Early records of Parker Family Andover

From votes of the town, passed some years later, an inference may be drawn that Mr. Emerson did not for a long period make any use of the grant, for on Feb. 18, 1677, the town voted that a corn mill should lie set up and erected on the sawmill dam and the town give the stream to the saw mill. "Saw Mill Dam" is the place now occupied by the tide mills or Riverdale mills. Copyright. 1916. by The Miller Publishing Co. The Northwester Miller Volume 108

Built on the side of the Glen Mills, and the first fulling mill in America, built by Richard Holmes built in 1642, and known as the Pearson Mill.  see more on Pearson family

check out
The Village Mill 
John M Bishop Blog 
Industrial and Agricultural History of the Parker River Watershed
New Life in the Old Mill Pond
Little Old Mills, by Marion Nicholl Rawson, 1935.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Infant boat industry grew along the Merrimack

Melissa D Berry from Newburyport News

There is no doubt that the watercrafts forged along the magical waters of the Merrimack and Parker rivers could not be matched. In colonial New England, shipbuilding was an “ancient and useful art — one of the first practiced in the New World, where water carriage, for a long period, preceded land carriage” (Sketches of Shipbuilding Currier). Local legends of the shipbuilding trade include Currier, Hardy, Clark, Morrill, Lowell, Webster and more.

The Mass Bay Colony government offered incentives like land grants to build infrastructure, designed to attract the wealthiest, most desirable fellows around. Amesbury, once known as “Jamioca” for the large quantities of rum brought in from the West Indies, was given grant rights along the water covering “1000 acres, 90 feet above the sea” because it had “a constant and extensive water power” source.

William Osgood was granted the “liberty to make use of all the pine timber on condition of his building a saw mill.” It was at this mill that the first planks were flitched for shipbuilding. Robert Quimby received two land grants, but his marriage to Osgood’s daughter sent him floating on a sea of golden opportunity. Walter Taylor (1659) was awarded the right to cut timber on the Common for building vessels. Nathan Gould’s 1658 court deposition confirms that “heaps of boards” were abundant and mentions a vessel built by Mr. Greaves.

George Carr was given the “greatest Hand in ye river Merrimack,” known as Carr’s Island. Carr was a ship builder, and he ran a ferry across the Merrimack. S. L. Redford’s History of Amesbury asserts that historians rightfully credit Carr “as the one who fathered this infant boat industry,” not only in this area, “but along the entire New England coast.”

By 1749, shipbuilding and farming were “the principle branches of businesses and main stay of the people.” At that time, over 600 vessels had been built, many contracted for and sold to English merchants and foreign parties. The Alliance, a continental frigate, was built at Daniel Webster’s yard in Amesbury by William Hackett, “one of the most enterprising and scientific shipwrights; his services were required in many places on account of his superior knowledge in the art.”

Newbury’s early shipbuilding occurred along the Parker River. As town grants were issued, several “ship yards were scattered along the river bank from Pierce’s farm to Moggaridge’s point.” The ship Salamnder was built by Woodman (1675) at the foot of Woodman’s lane. The Johnson family (1695) had a shipyard at the bottom of Chandler’s Lane operated by three generations, and another shipwright was noted at Thorlas’s Bridge in 1723. Stephen Cross, along “with seventeen associate ship-builders from Newbury, went to Fort Oswego, on Lake Ontario, under contract to build vessels there for the government” (Journal 1750).

The largest vessel constructed on land was “The County’s Wonder,” built on Rowley Common under the direction of Capt. Nathaniel Perley. This massive vessel weighed over 90 tons, and 100 yoked oxen were used to draw her down to the river.

In spite of these early achievements, it was not all smooth sailing in the nautical world. The Records and Files of the Quarterly Court reveals nefarious activity ranging from disorderly conduct to debt collection. For example, Walter Taylor was fined for “using cursing speeches” (EC 3:148) on his apprentices Hoyt and Johnson. Samuel Fowler was convicted for “breech of the Sabbath by travel” (EC 6:23). The Osgood, Ring, Hardy and Carr lines were infamously notable in local witchery cases as well.

Ben Franklin (1650-1727) great uncle to Ben Franklin, hired Benjamin Cocker and John Rolfe to repair his sloop, the Benjamin and Katherine. Initially, the sloop’s leaks could not be mended, creating one hull of a problem! Despite this lack of buoyancy, Ben shacked up on board for 14 days as pressure from the pier to pay up made waves, causing a heated dispute over payment. In an attempt at an amicable resolution, Stephen Greenleaf and Nathaniel Clark acted as mediators for both parties at the home of John Hale, but the “gentlemen’s agreement” forged that day would not last. Although the sloop was restored, an attachment was ordered on her for payment past due.

The matter eventually ended up in court, and local folks came forward to testify, including John March, who never received payment for “seven weeks diet and use of his home” (EC 9:93). Leaving a trail of debenture, Franklin sailed out of the Merrimack before his next court date, but his debtees were no dinghies — they capsized Franklin in Boston Harbor. The matter finally settled, Franklin made good in copper and coin (EC 9:249). Records shown below

Last but not least, the biggest catch in local maritime tales is certainly Amesbury’s “Granny Hoyt,” who met her maker when she tried to fire up the hearth by blowing gunpowder from her husband’s ship horn, causing a great explosion and coining the expression, “Quick as Granny Hoyt’s powder-horn.”

Benjamin Franklin case: September 1683 and In November the case was found in favor for plaintiff.

 December 1683

June 1684

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jacob Bailey the Frontier Missionary of Rowley Journal

From History Massachusetts Bay Colony: In 1760, Jacob Bailey, (son of David Bailey and Mary Hodgkins b. April 16, 1731) a native of Rowley, Mass., known as "the Frontier Missionary" who like the greater number of the Episcopal clergy of New England before the Revolution had been reared a Congregationalist. (Americana Journal) He was a graduate of Harvard College, having prepared for the ministry and been licensed to preach, determined to obtain orders in the Church of England and so, through the intervention of friends, took passage from Boston for London in the ship Hind, carrying twenty guns, which sailed in company with six other vessels. Bailey genealogy : James John, and Thomas, and their descendants : in three parts (1899)
Mr. Bailey kept a diary of the voyage and his description of the accommodations which the ship supplied, the life on board, and the men with whom he was brought in contact, is a surprisingly vivid picture of strange and uncouth conditions attending passenger service to England in the mid-eighteenth century. The ship lay at anchor in the harbor and Mr. Bailey went out to her in a small boat. Letter book below
"The wind was blowing strong, and it was some time before we could get on board ship. At length, with difficulty, I clambered up the side and found myself in the midst of a most horrid confusion. The deck was crowded full of men, and the boatswain's shrill whistle, with the swearing and hallooing of the petty officers, almost stunned my ears. I could find no retreat from this dismal hubbub, but was obliged to continue jostling among the crowd above an hour before I could find anybody at leisure to direct me. At last, Mr. Letterman, the Captain's steward, an honest Prussian, perceiving my disorder, introduced me through the steerage to the lieutenant. I found him sitting in the great cabin. He appeared to be a young man, scarce twenty years of age, and had in his countenance some indications of mildness. Upon my entrance he assumed a most important look and with a big voice demanded to know my request. I informed him that I was a passenger on board the Hind, by permission of Capt. Bond, and desired that he would be civil enough to direct me to the place of my destination. He replied in this laconic style: 'Sir, I will take care to speak to one of my mates.' This was all the notice, at present. But happily, on my return from the cabin, I found my chest and bedding carefully stowed away in the steerage. In the meantime the ship was unmoored and we fell gently down to Nantasket....
"I observed a young gentleman walking at a distance, with a pensive air in his countenance. Coming near him, in a courteous manner he invited me down between decks to a place he called his berth. I thanked him for his kindness and readily followed him down a ladder into a dark and dismal region, where the fumes of pitch, bilge water, and other kinds of nastiness almost suffocated me in a minute. We had not proceeded far before we entered a small apartment, hung round with damp and greasy canvas, which made, on every hand, a most gloomy and frightful appearance. In the middle stood a table of pine, varnished over with nasty slime, furnished with a bottle of rum and an old tin mug with a hundred and fifty bruises and several holes, through which the liquor poured in as many streams. This was quickly filled with toddy and as speedily emptied by two or three companions who presently joined us in this doleful retreat. Not all the scenes of horror about us could afford me much dismay till I received the news that this detestable apartment was allotted by the captain to be the place of my habitation during the voyage!
"Our company continually increased, when the most shocking oaths and curses resounded from every corner, some loading their neighbors with bitter execrations, while others uttered imprecations too awful to be recorded. The persons present were: first, the captain's clerk, the young fellow who gave me the invitation. I found him a person of considerable reading and observation who had fled his native country on account of a young lady to whom he was engaged. Second, was one John Tuzz, a midshipman and one of my messmates, a good-natured, honest fellow, apt to blunder in his conversation and given to extravagant profaneness. Third, one Butler, a minister's son, who lived near Worcester, in England. He was a descendant from Samuel Butler, (see pic) the author of Hudibras, and appeared to be a man of fine sense and considerable breeding, yet, upon occasion, was extremely profane and immodest, yet nobody seemed a greater admirer of delicacy in women than himself.
My fourth companion was one Spear, one of the mates, a most obliging ingenious young gentleman, who was most tender of me in my cruel sickness. Fifth: one of our company this evening was the carpenter of the ship who looked like a country farmer, drank excessively, swore roundly, and talked extravagantly. Sixth: was one Shephard, an Irish midshipman, the greatest champion of profaneness that ever fell under my notice. I scarce ever knew him to open his mouth without roaring out a tumultuous volley of stormy oaths and imprecations. After we had passed away an hour or two together, Mr. Lisle, the lieutenant of marines, joined our company. He was about fifty years of age, of gigantic stature, and quickly distinguished himself by the quantities of liquor he poured down his throat. He also was very profane.
"About nine o'clock the company began to think of supper, when a boy was called into the room. Nothing in human shape did I ever see before so loathsome and nasty. He had on his body a fragment only of a check shirt, his bosom was all naked and greasy, over his shoulders hung a bundle of woolen rags which reached in strings almost down to his feet, and the whole composition was curiously adorned with little shining animals. The boy no sooner made his appearance than one of our society accosted him in this gentle language. 'Go you —— rascal, and see whether lobscouse is ready.' Upon this the fellow began to mutter and scratch his head, but after two or three hearty curses, went for the galley and presently returned with an elegant dish which he placed on the table. It was a composition of beef and onions, bread and potatoes, minced and stewed together, then served up with its broth in a wooden tub, the half of a quarter cask. The table was furnished with two pewter plates, the half of one was melted away, and the other, full of holes, was more weather-beaten than the sides of the ship; one knife with a bone handle, one fork with a broken tine, half a metal spoon and another, taken at Quebec, with part of the bowl cut off. When supper was ended, the company continued their exercise of drinking, swearing and carousing, till half an hour after two, when some of these obliging gentlemen made a motion for my taking some repose. Accordingly, a row of greasy canvas bags, hanging overhead by the beams, were unlashed. Into one of them it was proposed that I should get, in order to sleep, but it was with the utmost difficulty I prevented myself from falling over on the other side....
"The next day, towards evening, several passengers came on board, viz: Mr. Barons, late Collector, Major Grant, Mr. Barons' footman, and Mrs. Cruthers, the purser's wife, a native of New England. After some considerable dispute, I had my lodgings fixed in Mr. Pearson's berth, where Master Robant, Mr. Baron's man, and I, agreed to lie together in one large hammock."
Rev. Jacob Bailey: His Character and Works By Charles Edwin Allen

Jacob Bailey like the man of later years although just a little tainted by some social corruption of the times was greatly superior to his surroundings He was very poor of very poor parents and hence socially he was very low for society often grades its members by any standard other than that of moral worth or intellect He entered Harvard College at the age of twenty and graduated therefrom in 1755 at the foot of his class because the Puritan commonwealth of Massachusetts was far from democratic and his social position was at the foot Among his classmates was John Adams at one time his friend and correspondent and whom he again met at Pownalboro when Adams visited the section in 1765 as attorney for the proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase He taught school in several Massachusetts towns having among his pupils a class of young ladies some years before Puritan Boston thought it prudent to admit girls to her public schools. From Collections and Preceding of Maine Historical Society