Showing posts with label antiques journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label antiques journal. Show all posts

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Clark-Kingsbury Home Medfield MA

Kingsbury Homestead Medfield, Massachusetts

My Grandmother, Mildred Mabel Phelps daughter of Melissa Cross Davenport and Frederick Winsor Phelps (1877-1947) grew up in this Medfield home known as the Clark-Kingsbury Farm Historic District.  
Her mother died of typhoid when Mildred was 9 months old. 
Mildred's family was living in Peterborough, New Hampshire.  Her father was working for the railroad company that the Phelps family owned. 
Mildred went to live in Medfield with her aunt Lillian Phelps Kinsbury (1869-1951) married to Allen Alanzo Kingsbury (1865-1952)

Lillian Phelps Kingsbury (1869-1951) daughter of Francis Henry Phelps (1840-1877) and Esther Antoinette Hall (1846- 1938) and husband Allan Alonzo Kingsbury (1865-1952) son of George Williamson Kingsbury (1838-1912) and Olive Atarah Smith (1839-1925)

Mildred Mabel Phelps born June 8 1909 Peterborough, NH died June 8 1995 Lynn, MA
The photo from This Old Town: The long history of Girl Scouts in Medfield shows Medfield Troop I “Red Rose” in 1920. In the top row are: Florence Johnson, Mary Kennedy, Muriel Holmes, Ruth Hunt, and Grace Wilbur. In the second row are Grace Kelly, Captain Evelyn Byng, Lucy Newell, Laura Mills, Marjorie Doane, Lieutenant Gwendolyn Morse, and Dorothy Allen.
In the third row are Ester Peterson, Frances Tubridy, Marjorie Platt, Dorothy Gardiner, Edith Mills, Marion Kelly, Threta Platt, Doris Cobb, and Mildred Weiker. Seated are Winifred Griffin, Lois Heard, Betty Crooker, Gertrude Leroux, Ruth Sauer, Mildred Phelps, and Carolyn Hamant

  Kingsbury Homestead 1931

Courtesy Theresa Knapp.

Priscilla Kingsbury with Robert Levi Berry, JR at Kingsbury Pond

Robert Levi Berry

Robert Levi Berry, Jr with his dad Robert Levi Berry, SR in Medfield at the house

Mildred Phelps, Robert Berry and Francis

              Read More about the Mystery Lady (believed to be Lillian Phelps Kingsbury)
Grave A A Kingsbury


Kinsgbury-Lord House Ipswich MA  

See Kingsbury genealogy: the genealogy of the descendants of Joseph Kingsbury of Dedham, Massachusetts, together with the descendants in several lines of Henry Kingsbury of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and our Canadian cousins

On Saturday, January 5, 1924, a fire almost completely destroyed the original church building. The Kingsbury, Greene, and Crossman memorial windows, along with the Communion silver, the old bell, some flags, the pulpit, and a few other furnishings were the only items to survive. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Joseph Kingsbury was one of the three Kingsbury brothers who sailed to America on the ship known as the Talbot which was part of a fleet of four ships under the command of Gov. John Winthrop. they set sail March 27, 1630 from Southampton, England, and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, about July of 1630. Gov. Winthrop was not satisfied with Salem and the fleet moved down the coast eventually settling in Shawmut (now Boston). About 1635 they sent an exploring party up the Charles River and they established a settlement at Watertown. John and Joseph Kingsbury were part of this party. The community flourished and they quickly organized in what was referred to as a "Contentment" recording all events. The Kingsbury brothers were apparently of strong pioneer stock and considered Watertown too crowded. A small band of like minded individuals again used the Charles River which turned South just beyond Watertown and settled in what is now Dedham. They petitioned the General Court on 9-5-1636 for a large tract of land to form their community. The petition was granted on 9-10-1636 and the name Dedham was assigned by the court.

(NOTE: Current county boundaries have Dedham and Needham in Norfolk County, but prior to 1800 Norfolk County did not exist and all of this area was included in Suffolk County. Apparently, on 8-18-1636, before the group left Watertown, theymet at the home of John Dwight and drew up a Covenant for their political organization. John Kingsbury signed the Covenant that day, but Joseph did not sign until1637, after he arrived in Dedham. The Dedham town records for 11-1-1637 indicate that Joseph Kingsbury deeded part of his land to the town for the purpose of building a town meeting hall. In 1638 the records show that Joseph Kingsbury deeded one acre of his land abutting on High Street to the town of Dedham for a church site. A second structure for Old First Parish Church was erected on the same site at the corner of Court and high Streets in 1763. In 1819 ownership of the church passed to the Unitarians.The records go on to note that Joseph was in turn given an acre of land to replace that which he had given for the church. However, this land was rocky swamp land and the land he gave the church was prime land. Joseph held against the town fathers for some time and apparently this was the basis for a long feud between Joseph and the Church fathers. In several official writings of the church Joseph Kingsbury is noted as having a bad temperament and was not allowed into the church fellowship. For his part, Joseph appaently did not want to be part of this church body. Later Joseph was again called upon for land and he granted another acre of his land to the town for a burying place. With this in mind, there is some question as to why Joseph was buried in Norfolk. Among the records of Dedham it is noted that the first child born in the Community was Ruth Morse, born 7-3-1637 and Mary Kingsbury, born 9-1-1637 was the second. The Church of Dedham was "gathered' on 9-8-1638, but Joseph was not one of its originators. In fact, he was apparently rejected at the time because he was considered too worldly and "the Lord left him into a such a distempered passionate flying out on one of the Company that we thought him unfit for the church". This could refer back to the problems over the tract of land for the church. Millicent Kingsbury was accepted into the church on 4-24-1639 and Joseph finally admitted on 6-26-1641. In the writings of Arthur F. Kingsbury in 1912, it is interesting to note that the majority of the descendants of Joseph
Kingsbury for a period of over 275 years lived their lives within a 15 mile radius of Dedham. Joseph was apparently a skilled metal worker and mechanic, in addition to his farming endeavors. A young man who trained under him, Robert Crossman, married his daughter Sarah. In 1638 he as not admitted to the Dedham Church because he was "too much addicted to the world", but on the 9th of the 2nd month 1641 the church wa persuaded of repentance and faith and he was received. Perhaps in keeping with his long feud with the church, Joseph was buried in Norfolk Cemetery.

Will dated 22 March 1675, proved 1 June 1676, bequeaths to sons Joseph, John, Eleazer and Nathaniel, wife Millicent; daughter Sarah Crossman; son-in-law Thomas Cooper of Rehoboth; to grandchildren Elizabeth Brewer; sons-in-law Robert Crossman and Nathaniel Brewer. Refers to deceased brother John Kingsbury.

Dedham Births & Burialls recorded in Boston 1635 - 1643
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
The Register of the Births and Burialls in DEDHAM from the Yeare 1635 unto the Yeare 1643.

Mary the daughter of Joseph Kingsbury & Millecent his wife borne 1 (7) 1637.
Elisabeth the daughter of Joseph Kingsbury & Millecent his wife was borne 14 (7) 1638.
Joseph the son of Joseph Kingsbury & Millecent his wife was borne 17 (12) 1640.

From the "Great Migration Newsletter":
Joseph Kingsberry (De): Joseph Kingsbury of whom mention was made before that he was left out of the foundation of the church for some cause there mentioned? was admitted to Dedham church on 9 April 1641 [DeChR 24-25]. On 18 July 1637, the town of Dedham authorized Ezechiell Holliman of our society to turn over his lot, as also that which he purchased of Raffe Shepheard, unto John Kingsbery & Joseph his brother? [DeTR 1:32]. On 1 September 1637, ?Mary, the daughter of Joseph & Millicent Kingsbury? was born at Dedham [De VR 1]

Built in 1755 by John Bird. It was built on 216 acres which is now known as Bird Hill. John lived in the house with his wife Mary Lyon. The land and house have both changed over the years. Some of the low areas have been filled in and high ground has been leveled. Some of the original farmland was used for a glue factory and then the land was subdivided into many different building lots in 1810 when the property was sold to John and Joseph Kingsbury.

Needham Fire Company, Hose 1, 1898. The members of Fire Company, Hose 1 sit for a portrait at the Abell Photo Studio. They are: G. Horace Pierce, Alger E. Eaton, Fred N. Mills, Edgar Pierce, Henry A. Kingsbury (Chief), Alston R. Bowers, Charles C. Barnes and H. Howard Upham.

More Family Photos of Phelps Kingsbury, Berry & Davenport

In Medfield Robert Levi Berry SR & Mildred Phelps


Mildred Phelps University of Michigan1926 Sorority

Melissa Cross Davenport Phelps

Francis Whiting Kingsbury wife of Lewis Hall Kingsbury son of Samuel and Hannah (Hall) Kingsbury of Walpole, Mass., and was born on September 28, 1814, the youngest of nine children; married Eunice A. daughter of John Aldis and Judith (Richards) Haven, of Dedham, who died in June 1882. In November, 1887, he married Frances M. Whitney. He died in Boston on December 9, 1892, as the result of an accident which occurred on the 8th, while he was there on business for the Dedham National Bank.
He received a common school education in his native town, and after following various pursuits while living in Allegheny County, New York, he came to his uncle, Mr. Hall of Framingham, and with him visited his oldest sister, Mrs. J. N. E. Mann, of Dedham, on Christmas Day, 1838. From this time he has been actively identified with Dedham history. In the spring of 1842, he became a clerk in the Registry of Deeds and continued in that capacity until September, 1844, when he was appointed as clerk in the Dedham Bank. In December, 1846, Ebenezer Fisher Jr., cashier of the bank resigned, and Mr. Kingsbury was chosen to fill his place, entering upon his duties on January 1, 1847. Upon the reorganization as a National Bank in January 1865, he was elected President to follow Dr Jeremy Stimson. In 1873 at the request of Mr. John H. B. Thayer, the retiring cashier he assumed the duties of that position, with Ezra W. Taft as president. In January, 1885, he was again elected President and continued in that ofiice until his death. For thirty years Mr. Kingsbury has served the town as Treasurer, and in all the offices which he has held, has shown marked character and ability. He was a member of the Dedham Historical Society from September 5, 1865, to the time of his death. From Dedham Historical Society Register

Charles Herbert Kingsbury son of William Prescott Kingsbury and Madeline Florence Brown

Lillian Phelps Kingsbury and Allen Alazona Kingbury Children:

Francis Henry Kingsbury (1889 - 1969)

Carlton Winsor Kingsbury (1893 - 1963)

Amos Clark Kingsbury (1897 - 1955) 


Medfield book by Richard DeSorgher now on sale Richard is Medfield's new Selectmen and local Historian

Article on Willis Phelps Railroad

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Iron Working in Early New England

A private collector of ironware shares his knowledge and passion with John Fiske From New England Antiques Journal

The rolling and slitting mill. Sixteen-foot water wheels, each with a sluice, turn the upper and lower rollers, which have to rotate in opposite directions. The water wheels can only turn in the same direction, so two huge gears are needed to reverse the rotation of the upper roller.

We don’t usually think of seventeenth-century New England as industrialized. Of course, it wasn’t, but with one exception, and that exception was huge and important: the iron industry. The Hammersmith Iron Works (later known as Saugus) on the Saugus River at Lynn, Massachusetts (1646-1668) was one of the largest industrial complexes in the world.
The works was the brainchild of John Winthrop Jr., the son of the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He had discovered ore deposits in the Boston area, and was encouraged by the Massachusetts government to establish an ironworks as a vital part of its plan to make the Colony as self-sufficient as possible, and, in particular, independent of England and its corruption. In 1641 Winthrop sailed to England to form the Company of Undertakers of Iron Works in New England, to raise the necessary capital from Puritan sympathizers, and to recruit skilled iron workers. The company was granted a monopoly.
After trying, but failing, to establish a works at Braintree, Winthrop was replaced by Richard Leader, who decided that the Saugus River was the ideal spot for his enterprise. At the navigable head of the river, there was a steep enough fall to provide water power. There was ample iron ore in the surrounding bogs, and seemingly limitless timber for fuel.
After its bankruptcy in 1668, the Hammersmith Ironworks fell into decay and all but disappeared. In 1943 local citizens formed an association to recover and restore it. Archeological excavation began in 1948, and by 1954 the site had been restored, the main buildings had been replicated, and the site, now called the Saugus Iron Works, was opened to the public. The collector seated me in a comfortable overstuffed chair before showing me his collection. “You’ve got to have the background,” he said. “You can’t understand iron without it.” He turned his eyes to the ceiling to focus his thoughts. I was taking notes so rapidly that I could do no more than glance at the bits of his collection that surrounded me – a fireplace thickly hung with iron, a hutch table packed with hollowware, a corner cupboard with brass and bronze. There was iron all over the house, in the garage, the basement, just everywhere.

Miniature posnets, probably toys. All with round sprues, thus probably before the 1760s, when the gate sprue became common. The gate sprue was a straight line that was easier to break off than the traditional round sprue. One of them shows the girl’s initials formed by pressing nails into the casting sand.

 Toaster with 11 hearts used for bread or cheese, probably Connecticut, second half of the 18th century. Toasting was a way of preserving bread or cheese to make it last longer. “Did you know that these early iron works were called ‘plantations’?” he asked. “You see, they were like the tobacco plantations in Virginia because they were living-working complexes for as many as 400 people. As well as the iron works, there were cottages for the workers and their families, a plot of land for each family, farm animals and chickens, a church, a one-room schoolhouse (sometimes doubling as the church). blacksmith’s and carpenter’s shops, a pottery, a grist mill, a company store where workers and their families could buy on credit against their future wages (an effective way of binding them to the plantation) and, of course, the iron master’s house overlooking and overseeing the whole complex. It was like a benevolent feudal barony. They liked to keep the iron workers separate from the locals, so an iron works was as far as possible a self-sufficient, self-contained community. A company town, we’d call it today.
“Relationships between the company town and neighboring town weren’t always the best. The iron workers were a hard-working, hard-living bunch of men. Their lives were made up of three things,” he told me. “Working their 12-hour shifts, six-and-a-half days a week; hunting and fishing – their wives and children tended their plots of land – and visiting the town taverns for frolic and jollification of every kind.” His words were tactful, but the collector’s eyes left me in no doubt that what went on under that word “jollification” was much less pretty than the word itself. Disputes, sometimes violent, often sexual, were inevitable.
“Iron workers were a different breed of people and that could cause resentment,” he explained. “To start with, they weren’t Puritans. The skilled workers had been recruited in England and certainly hadn’t come over here for religious reasons. Some 60 of them were Scottish prisoners of war, captured by Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar and sent over against their will. They didn’t like the somber clothes of the Puritans, and ignored the sumptuary laws that dictated the proper mode of dress in the Colony. They didn’t like going to church, and got away with it because the furnaces had to be kept “in blast” 24/7, so the General Council of the Massachusetts Bay Colony had to allow them to operate on the Sabbath.”
Other causes of friction were more substantial. There was competition for fuel. The plantation’s colliers needed huge quantities of wood for the charcoal to fire the furnaces, and the surrounding forests were rapidly denuded of trees. More than 230 acres of hard-won farmland had been flooded by the dam built across the Saugus River to control the flow of water to the plantation’s water wheels. After heavy rain, this could cause more flooding in local fields and thus cause the farmers to lose their crops. Then there was the constant, deafening noise of the trip hammer, the clatter of the bellows and the roar of the furnace. Most of the Puritans had come from agricultural communities, and industrial life was completely alien to them. An iron works was not the best sort of neighbor, particularly if you wanted a contemplative religious life.
Cast iron figural andirons, late 17th/early18th century. The figure wears a “pilgrimish” sort of cap.

Two spiral broilers. The collector has only seen three of this form, and owns them all.

 Food choppers. The exceptional chopper on the left is for cabbage, the circular one is for vegetables in general. Both are from the mid-18th century. The other two are early 19th century, from Vermont.

The early iron ore came from bogs. Using long-handled clam shovels from small boats, workers would dredge these bogs sometimes as deep as 15 feet to obtain the iron-rich mud. Incidentally, the collector told me, most of today’s cranberry bogs in New England and New Jersey were once iron bogs. “Bog iron” was used until the mid-eighteenth century when it was exhausted in New England, and was replaced by ore from mines. The first commercially successful iron mine was dug in Salisbury, Connecticut, in 1731.
The dredged mud, which was 35 to 50 percent iron, was dried by roasting to leave lumps of bog ore. It was critical that all water was expelled, because steam could explode in the furnace, causing immense damage. The lumps of bog ore were then crushed in the stamping mill, along with flux, which was basically a calcium carbonate that helped the production of slag. Slag, the non-ferrous part of the ore, melted first (at about 1300 degrees Celsius) and could be drawn off to leave the pure iron ore. This melted at 1500 degrees, and dripped into a crucible, a sandstone pot about four feet wide and two feet high. The furnace had to be kept “in blast” 24 hours a day, if it cooled, or went “out of blast,” the iron and the slag solidified into a useless “salamander.” This clogged the furnace, and removing it could be difficult. In the worst cases, part of the furnace had to be dismantled and rebuilt.
Once every eight hours or so, the crucible was tapped to allow the molten iron to flow down troughs scraped in the sand floor of the furnace shed. Some of the iron was allowed to cool in cylindrical molds with small channels on either side. The smaller molds, of about 40 pounds, were called “pigs,” and the larger ones, up to 300 pounds, “sows.” From above, the cylinders of cooled iron looked like sows suckling their piglets, hence the names. “Pig iron” cast in this manner was very hard and brittle.
Some of the molten iron was directed to molds shaped in the sand floor to “puddle cast” objects such as firebacks and the uprights of andirons. Other molten iron was carried in ladles to the “flasks,” the two-part wooden or clay molds used for making hollowware in the adjoining casting shed.

Much of this cast iron, however, went through more processing to turn it into wrought iron. First it went to the forge, or “finery,” where it was heated again to get rid of any carbon from the charcoal. It was heated enough to turn it spongy rather than molten, and in this state was called a “loop.” The hot loop was put on an iron plate and hammered with sledge-hammers to expel impurities. It next moved to the trip hammer, or “helve,” a huge, 500-pound, water-powered hammer that pounded it into a square block known as a “bloom” that was, in turn, worked and shaped into an “ancony” that resembled a large dumbbell with square ends. The ancony went to the “chafery” where it was again heated and pounded into wrought iron bars, roughly four feet long, three or four inches wide and an inch or two thick. Wrought iron is softer and more malleable than cast iron, and has a fibrous structure, often clearly visible, that enables it to be bent in a way that cast iron cannot. These wrought iron bars, known as “merchant bars,” were sold all over New England. Blacksmiths used the merchant bars to meet the local demand for everyday items such as broilers and toasters, horse shoes, farming tools, mending iron, or hinges and door latches. These utilitarian objects showed little stylistic variation, so it is often impossible to date them with any precision or to tell which part of New England they came from.

Four flesh forks used for broiling meat. Toasting forks (for bread) are of much lighter gauge iron. The lower two are from the first half of the 18th century, the upper two from the second.
Spatulas and a fork. The upper spatula is initialed “WS” and is dated on the handle “1704” making it one of the earliest known; the lower is dated 1791. The fork is mid-18th century.
About ten percent of the bar iron went to the rolling and slitting mill, one of only 12 in the world. Rollers flattened the iron into plates that could be cut with shears and sold as sheet iron for the manufacture of dishes, tools and utensils. Slitters were disk cutters that cut the plates into strips. One important product of the slitter was nail rod that went to “naileries” for the production of the cut nails that replaced hand-forged rose-head nails late in the eighteenth century. Even before mass-produced cut nails displaced the rose-head, nail rod gave the makers of rose-head nails, often farmers keeping themselves busy in winter, a better product to start with. Nails were not made at Hammersmith: labor costs in England were much lower, so it was more economical to ship the nail rod to England and then bring the nails back to Massachusetts!
By the time I got up from the chair to view the collection, I’d become fully aware that something as basic as iron was the product of a technologically advanced and capital-intensive industrial process. It consumed huge amounts of raw material; bog iron in New England lasted for only about 100 years. Mines solved the problem for a time, but during the eighteenth century, they had to be supplemented by ore imported from Sweden, Scotland, Russia, Spain and elsewhere.
The process also required good water power. The original ironworks needed nine or ten water wheels (Saugus today needs seven) to power all the heavy machinery. There was, of course, a serious drawback to water power in New England: the streams froze in winter, causing the works to shut down for the winter months.
Iron making required a large and varied labor force. At its peak, Saugus employed more than 170 men. The cocks of the roost were the 35 to 50 highly skilled workers who operated the furnaces, foundries and forges. Supporting them were wood cutters, colliers, teamsters and boatmen, carpenters, molders (who made the two-piece molds for hollowware), and laborers. Lower in the hierarchy were the women. With the help of the children, they kept house, tended the animals and grew the vegetables, and sometimes worked at the least skilled jobs in the iron works – smoothing and cleaning rough castings and so on. Perhaps Hammersmith was too big for its own good; its debts piled up and its investors did not get the returns they’d hoped for. But there was a silver lining to its closure; its skilled workers spread across New England and into New Jersey taking their skills with them, thus establishing the iron industry that was to become one of the powerhouses of American wealth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The Saugus Iron Works is open every day except major holidays. Entrance is free. For more details call (781) 233-0050, or visit Our thanks to Curtis White, Chief Interpreter at the site.