OLD DARTMOUTH HISTORICAL SKETCH
Being the proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, March 28, 1921
Containing the following reports:
- REPORT OF THE TREASURER, Frederick H. Taber
- REPORT OF THE CURATOR, Frank Wood
- REPORT OF THE HISTORICAL RESEARCH SECTION, Henry B. Worth
- FAIRHAVEN NAVAL ENGAGEMENT, William M. Emery
- THE PILGRIM CELEBRATION, Mrs. William N. Swift
- THE PILGRIMAGE TO PLYMOUTH, Herbert E. Cushman
- SAMPSON’S TAVERN, Elmore P. Haskins
Proceedings of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society’s
New Bedford, Massachusetts
March 28, 1921
The annual meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society was held last evening in the patent room of the Free Public Library, with a very good attendance.
The reports of the secretary, treasurer and curator were submitted, as well as that of the entertainment committee and all contained accounts of an interesting nature regarding the activities of the society.
In his report Curator Wood told of a new innovation, the erection of a number of booths in the east gallery of the whaling museum, and the addition of a large number of gifts.
The election of officers took place, Herbert E. Cushman being re-elected president.
In outlining the program for the coming summer, President Cushman stated that the officers had brought to the attention of the members many things. One thing that has not been mentioned is the condition of the north walls of the building, which are considered dangerous, and might prove a bad thing in case of fire, and he thought it would be necessary to close the two small windows on the first floor and have wire glass placed in the windows of the second floor. He said the society has every reason to be thankful for being so liberally remembered. He estimated that the income the coming year would be between $4500 and $5000. He asked for an appropriation of $500 for the upkeep of the rooms and the use of the special committee, and the amount was voted.
President Cushman said that certain work had been planned for the year, and in June it was decided to have an old fashioned strawberry festival. Then in May, Secretary Worth would have a paper on “Taverns and Old Road Houses,” to be followed in June by Mr. Macomber with a paper on the old bridges and roadways from Plymouth to New Bedford.
After this meeting the president announced that automobiles would take parties from the room of the society to Plymouth to see what is being done down there. In the summer, he announced that one day a week, trips would be made by automobile from this city to Plymouth at a nominal charge. He called the attention of the members to a circular letter received by him from the Pilgrim Progress committee, relative to the 1921 observance of the Pilgrim centenary and celebration, a copy of which had been included in the call for the meeting last evening.
Report of the Treasurer
by Frederick H. Taber
March, 1920-Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 10.03
Dues-Sustaining memberships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 610.00
Annual arrears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86.00
Annual current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1300.00
Annual advance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26.00
Admission fees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1027.25
Dividends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1360.50
Mortgage interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75.00
Sale of postal cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54.40
Liberty bond interest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169.03
Interest on bank deposits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13.35
H. E. Cushman (special) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25.00
N. B. Gas Co. Bond interest (Howland) . . . . . . . . . . 120.00
Commonwealth of Mass. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11.84
Salaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2296.63
Repairing roof, erecting booths and other repairs . . . .1011.34
Wood and coal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 464.38
Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43.56
Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197.40
Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11.00
Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182.52
Telephone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52.25
Antique sign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75.00
Sundry bills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .504.82
Transfer to Howland estate fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97.54
Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107.72
Frederick H. Taber, Treasurer
Examined and approved,
Oliver F. Brown, Auditor.
Report of the Curator
by Frank Wood
This is the eighth annual report that it has been my privilege as curator of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society to present to you, and it is with satisfaction I now say all’s well.
We have done much this past year in the way of repairs. Of this our president will tell you. One piece of construction, however, has come in my province, namely the erection of a number of booths in the east gallery of the Whaling museum. One of these I have already equipped as an old time office; the others will be fitted to show various old time crafts and trades connected with the whaling industry. There will be a sail loft, cooper’s shop, rigger’s loft, and, if it can be arranged, a rope walk. For the cooper’s shop and rigger’s loft we have almost every known tool that was used, and we expect to make the whole exhibit very complete and a very interesting addition to the museum.
A recent accession, and one acquired by purchase, is the fine old tavern sign, antedating the Revolution, now hanging in our colonial room. On one side is painted a ship flying the British flag, on the other a man on horseback and the name C. Elmes Inn. It formerly swung from an old inn in Lakeville, not far from the site of King Philip’s tavern. Notable among our gifts is a valuable collection of furniture and old china including about 60 pieces of Lowesstoft, a bequest of Mrs. Abbie S. Hawes.
We have also received from Miss Flora Jarvis of Kingston, R. I., some beautiful and interesting articles which had been loaned at one time to the Historical society in Kingston, but as Miss Jarvis’s ancestors were old Dartmouth people she very properly felt that they should find a permanent home in the locality of their origin.
We have to thank Mr. Cushman for some 14 cases, and Mr. Hinsdale for one, a quite unusual one, which they have given us. I am finding all of them very useful.
The fame of our society is spreading, and the number of visitors to the museum is increasing from year to year. During the past 12 months more than 4000 pay visitors have passed through our doors.
It is probable that the New England branch of the American Association of Museums will hold their fall meeting with us, and should this event take place, I want to bespeak now the cooperation of the members of the society in making it a pleasant and a profitable occasion.
I sometimes come away a little depressed after visiting museums in other cities. The order which reigns in them, made possible by the number of trained workers and attendants, the adequate safe and uniform cases, the wonderful gifts which they receive from rich, generous, and loyal friends make a deep impression on any one who is interested in the work and who sometimes feels the lack of these things at home.
So since I believe no annual report is complete, and no curator is doing his duty without making a plea for additional help and support, I am going to bring to your attention, in ending this one, a few things that we urgently need if we hope to fulfill in the highest degree the purpose for which we were created. Speaking then in general terms we need more money and a greater interest on the part of New Bedford people. Specifically we need more room, new and uniform cases, windows made fire proof, and more attendants.
A list follows of all the gifts except those above-mentioned which we have received during the year and for which I desire to express our appreciation and gratitude.
- Michael Shea—Sword belonging to General Thompson.
- Miss Caroline M. Dana—Ring bolt from old frigate Constitution.
- Miss Florence L. Waite—Doll and dresses, silver medal and box.
- Mrs. H. E. Cushman—Japanese clay figures.
- Miss Abby Ricketson—Old lamp and quilting candle holder.
- C. A. Baker—Three navigators, two bone blocks and cocoanut basket.
- William C. Phillips—Portraits of John Avery and Frederick Parker.
- Orville Swift—Log books.
- Mrs. Charles Lawrence Barry, Craigville—Victoria plate from Windsor Castle, cup and saucer, Cheshire Cheese Inn mug, scrap book.
- Mrs. Joanna Pierce—Photos, Dr. and Mrs. Colby.
- Bert Swift—Three canes.
- Captain P. W. Lauraette—Name board from wrecked steamer William O’Brien.
- George A. Pemberton—Zulu shield, three assegai, two clubs and knife (African).
- Miss Lena Eppendorf, Brooklyn-Old letters and documents.
- Harry West—Three dolls made of wood (very old.)
- Helen L. Stetson—Portrait of her father (a bequest.)
- The Misses Manchester, Adamsville —Child’s chair and pillion (both very old.)
- Miss Susan L. Smith—Photo of her father, Captain George H. Smith.
- Charles E. Abbott, Brookline-Whaling journal kept by his father, Captain George W. Bourne of Marion.
- Mrs. H. M. Edes, Cambridge—Old deeds.
- Alec DeHart-Journal kept by Dr. Handy, shipping articles ship Lydia, 1795, and old account book, 1795-1800.
- John McCullough-Five old account books, 1795.
- Mrs. Albert W. Holmes—Constitution of an old benevolent society in Rochester (printed in 1811.)
- C. S. Blanchard, Boston—Two photos of bark Ohio (hove down.)
- Lafayette P. Gifford, Westport-Wheel from bark Mattapoisett.
- Malcolm Topham Snell—Portraits of Captain William H. and Abby L. Topham.
- Miss Mary L. Lincoln—Sheraton cup and saucer.
- Henry H. Phillips—Portrait Allen Phillips.
- Heirs of Warren Delano—Glass model of battleship. I received a letter at the time from Frederick Delano in which he said that one of the last acts of his brother, the late Warren Delano Jr. was to get the authority of his sisters to present this model to the society. I would add that it had been in the Delano home, Fairhaven, since 1824.
- Mrs. Sarah J. Wardell—Shell flowers.
- Col. Richard H. Morgan—Cane made from whale’s teeth.
- Clarence Otis Gray, Adamsville—Old pitcher and plate.
- Henry B. Worth—Old Farmer’s Almanacs prior to 1812.
- Manuel F. Santos—Wooden sandals, whip and spoon (African.)
- Burton Ashley—Old iron cannon, placed on the Ladoga.
- Mrs. Maud M. Nelson, New York-Photo of Cook Memorial, Fairhaven.
- Pemberton H. Nye—Oil painting of schooner Republic.
- Dr. Horace M. Brown, Milwaukee—Old deed.
- Miss Sara B. Worth—Toy cradle.
- John B. Santos—Porpoise jaw.
- Miss Rebecca W. Hawes—Door latch from house, southwest corner Water and William Streets, once occupied by Thomas Hazzard. The latch was made by Abraham Smith at his blacksmith shop on Centre Street.
- William C. Sargent, Boston—Speaking trumpet and two log books that belonged to his father, Capt. Aaron C. Sargent.
- Mrs. Ruth A. Macomber—Bird cage, cane, jagging wheel, knitting needle and paper cutter made on board the whaling ship John P. West.
- Mrs. Elizabeth A. H. Potter, Russell’s Mills—A very old woman’s hat.
- A. P. Smith—Niddie noddy and old furrow plow.
- Leland Pierce—Log book, schooner Squirrel, 1769.
- The Heirs of the late Frederick Macey—Solid silver trumpet that was presented to their father in 1880 by the New Bedford fire department.
- Mrs. William H. Battersby, Fall River—China silk, iron skillet and kettle, old books and stone jug.
- Alanson Williston Parks, Sandwich—Case containing revolver and photo of General Richard Ashley Pierce (the revolver was carried by General Pierce during the Civil War.)
- Miss Mary L. Kent—Copy Declaration Independence, published 18?? and which belonged to Rev. Asa Kent.
- Charles W. Clifford-Mahogany secretary.
- William F. Potter-Three old window frames and two very old block makers benches.
- Mayhew B. Hatch-Wag on the wall clock.
- Miss Emma Hall-Pair old spectacles.
- Mrs. Worth B. Ross-Sword presented to Captain F. A. Stall by the San Francisco Vigilant Committee (Captain Stall was a New Bedford man.)
- J. Fred White, Adamsville-Leather wallet that belonged to Deputy Sheriff Roger White of Westport.
- William W. Crapo-Old papers and documents of interest.
Report of the Secretary
by Henry B. Worth
The following report was made by the secretary, Henry B. Worth:
The secretary presents this statement concerning the condition of the society and its activities during the past year.
The number of members remains about the same as a pear ago when the total was 787. During the past year 61 new members have been added, 41 withdrawals and 16 deaths. Membership at present is 795, comprising 47 life and 748 annual members.
Those who have died are the following:
- Charles F. Wing.
- Mrs. Frank G. Tripp.
- Sarah C. Church.
- Gideon Allen.
- Rebecca P. Shearman.
- Arthur R. Brown.
- Carolyn S. Jones.
- Warren Delano.
- P. T. Brownell.
- Mrs. Sarah L. D. Richardson.
- William E. Smith.
- Stephen W. Hayes.
- Eliot D. Stetson.
- Richard Almy.
- Mrs. William H. Russell.
- Thomas Akin.
Meetings of the society have been held as follows:
When W. H. B. Remington presented a paper on New Bedford in the beginning.
In November and December to celebrate Mayflower and Pilgrim anniversaries.
The printed publications have comprised two bulletins. No. 49 contains the record of the last annual meeting and the paper presented by Walter H. B. Remington, city clerk of New Bedford, entitled “New Bedford in the Beginning.” In 1787 the ancient town of Dartmouth was developing in population and wealth entirely on the east edge, along the Acushnet River and the Town House and centre were three miles to the westward beyond the head of Apponegansett. This was not so burdensome for those in Bedford Village but residents of Fairhaven were compelled to travel nearly ten miles through Acushnet, to town meeting or to the town clerk’s office. In the days when the Indians were the only inhabitants, they designated the region by these names:
Acushena was bounded east by Rochester and extended west to Buttonwood Brook.
Apponegansett lay next west, half way to Tiverton.
Acoaxset took the rest of Dartmouth. When the Revolutionary War was over and the people could devote their attention to local problems, they agreed to divide the old town into a west, central and eastern third, and named them Westport, Dartmouth and the east part New Bedford.
Mr. Remington had an interesting mass of town records, beginning in 1787, in the first book relating to New Bedford. From this he compiled much of the annals of the town in its early days, placing before the public the story of New Bedford in its beginning.
Major General Clarence R. Edwards was present and delivered a short address.
Bulletin No. 50 contains proceedings of special meetings celebrating Pilgrim and Mayflower anniversaries.
At the meeting in November, Mrs. Herbert E. Cushman delivered the part of the Mayflower story as comprised in extracts from Bradford’s History, relating to the Provincetown incident.
The meeting in December was of a general character, the special features being the address on the Pilgrims by Rev. Dr. Hodgin, Minister of the First Congregational church. Reading from selections from Daniel Webster’s speech of 1820 by Rev. Frank E. Ramsdell and reading by Colonel H. W. Mason of LeBaron Briggs’ Plymouth Ode.
In this bulletin are three articles of special value. Two on Scrimshaw by Frank Wood, the curator, and Z. W. Pease, editor of The Mercury. The carving of ivory and wood by sailors on whaleships has become one of the lost arts. These articles describe a few of the features of the artistic side of the rough mariners, not always white, whose native ingenuity is always a surprise to the landsman. In the Old Dartmouth Museum is a magnificent collection. Here is the result. Someone ought to describe how wood and ivory were wrought into these beautiful forms and by what class of men such attractive work was done.
Mr. Pease, the accomplished editor of The Mercury, is a devoted student in local history. His wide acquaintance with New Bedford people has given him access to old writings that are not available to every investigator. Occasionally he is allowed to publish records that were almost forgotten. Eighty years ago a group of young men formed a social and literary club and called it “The Blues.” Its meetings covered a period from l845 to 1905, over sixty years.
The compilation from this record made by Mr. Pease and printed in The Mercury was far too fascinating and valuable to be lost in the files of the newspaper, and so it has been included in this bulletin. As a biography of men who became famous in New Bedford during that period and as a glimpse of the private life of men in the literary section of the people, it is without question the most attractive ever published.
When the Old Dartmouth Historical Society was organized, it was not intended to be a financial investment, and while money would be charged in the beginning, as soon as it could be done admissions would be abolished. It has not been possible to accomplish this, except in one particular. The educational section was created to promote historical study in the schools and inspire interest in local history. One of the practical methods of applying this general rule has been to admit free of charge school children in charge of the teacher.
During the past year this privilege has been availed of to an increasing extent. Delegations have been received from the Katharine Street, Knowlton, Congdon, Rodman, Clark Street, Thompson Street, Vocational, Benton’s and the continuation schools.
A group from Tabor Academy and most unusual of all was a delegation of sixty from Edgartown and Vineyard Haven. One of the most appreciative was the Daisy Troop of Girl Scouts.
The entertainment committee which served through the fall and winter season of 1919-1920, continued its work during the fall of 1920 and periodically in 1921 up to the present time. Mrs. Henry B. Worth was added to the committee and regretfully we had to accept the resignation of Miss Grace Dana.
A very interesting paper was read by Mrs. Herbert E. Cushman on November 11th on the signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor. In December a special exhibition of scrimshaw was made and on the first Saturday of the month, a paper was read by Mr. Frank Wood.
A dance around the Lagoda on the afternoon of New Year’s Day brought out a large number of young people and their older friends and the affair was a success in every way.
December 22nd, Forefathers’ Day, we gave an old fashioned luncheon in the Whaling museum to members of the society and their friends. The luncheon was followed by exercises of an appropriate nature in the High school and we feel that the society had a good reason to be proud of its tercentenary celebration.
February is such an uncertain month as regards weather that we decided to omit our usual entertainment on the first Saturday, then on Washington’s birthday we kept open house and in the afternoon served tea and coffee with doughnuts in the Colonial room.
For the 10th of April a paper will be read by Mr. William M. Emery on Captain Nathaniel Pope and the first naval battle of the Revolution. The entertainment committee will act as usual at the tea which will follow the paper.
Fairhaven Naval Engagement
by William M. Emery
April 19, 1921
Members of The Old Dartmouth Historical Society listened with interest yesterday afternoon on a paper presented by William M. Emery on “Captain Nathaniel Pope and the First Sea Fight of the Revolution.” Among those present were several descendants of Captain Pope: Nathaniel Pope and Miss Alice Fish, grand children; Harry Pope and Miss Emily Allen, great-grand children and Nathaniel Pope 2nd., a great, great-grandchild, all of whom are residents of Fairhaven.
After the paper was finished, tea and crackers and coffee and doughnuts were served in the Colonial room. Mrs. Abbott P. Smith and Mrs. Walter S. Allen poured.
Mr. Emery was introduced by the president of the society, Herbert E. Cushman, who said that some time ago William W. Crapo suggested that the society have sketches prepared of the early Revolutionary heroes of this section, and Captain Nathaniel Pope and Walter Spooner, who was a prominent figure of that time in the civil affairs of the town during that period. While it seemed that these two men should go along together as contemporaries it was found that there was so much material that they would have to be taken one at a time.
Mr. Emery’s paper follows:
If the enterprising New Bedford Mercury had decided to begin publication prior to the revolt of the American colonies from the yoke of Great Britain, instead of waiting about a generation later, it might have carried in its edition next following Sunday, May 14, 1775, a scare-head something like this:
FIRST NAVAL BATTLE OF THE REVOLUTION.
Patriots Under Captain Pope in Thrilling Engagement.
Two Sloops Taken by HMS Falcon Recaptured Off Clarks Point.
British Officer and Several Men Wounded—More Than a Score
of Prisoners Brought Into Port—Etc., Etc.
Then would have followed an account to make the blood tingle. With what zest the historian of today would pore over the files for 1775—if they only existed—and read the contemporary narrative of an event which has been given far too little prominence and, like the other local doings of the Revolutionary era, has been engulfed by the story of the disaster visited on the town in Lord Grey’s famous raid of 1778. But there was no local paper at that time, and no newspaper anywhere to chronicle in detail the sea fight off these shores. Early historians gave little heed to the affair, Ricketson treated of it only briefly in his History of New Bedford, and it was not until nearly a century afterwards that anything like a full account was printed-that account being a two-column article in the New Bedford Standard from the pen of Joshua L. Pope of Brooklyn, N. Y., son of Captain Nathaniel Pope of Fairhaven, commandant of the expedition which made the first capture of the forces of King George III, on the sea. It is the purpose of the present writer to rehearse the facts in that article, as well as others bearing on the subject that have been learned, and to tell something of Captain Pope and the patriotic Fairhaven family whence he came.
“In the month following the battle of Lexington, General Gage and his British troops were shut up in Boston by the colonial forces and greatly in need of supplies. Naval vessels under his command were accordingly sent along the coast foraging, among them being the sloop of war Falcon, Captain John Linzee, which was dispatched to Martha’s Vineyard to seize cattle and sheep. In Vineyard Sound the Falcon captured two sloops, one of which was owned in Wareham, and putting crews aboard, used the vessels as decoy cruisers. One of the owners of the Wareham sloop decided to notify the committee of safety of Dartmouth of the presence of the hostile craft in Buzzards Bay, and mounting his horse, rode at full speed in the direction of Fairhaven. A sort of a second Paul Revere, his name, alas, has not, like that worthy’s, been handed down in history or made the theme of legend and poem. But he served a very good purpose.
“On that Saturday afternoon, the two military companies of Fairhaven were engaged in intensive training in a field just east of the village. In the midst of their drill the rider from Wareham arrived, and the announcement of his news was the cause of general excitement. Without delay it was decided that the old sloop Success of 4 tons burthen, then lying at a wharf, should be put into service to intercept the enemy. A call for volunteers was first made, but inasmuch as the entire body of 50 men responded, whereas the number of the expedition must be limited to 25, the participants were drawn by lot. Speedy preparations were made, and the Success left the wharf about 9 o’clock that night. Commanding the party were Captain Nathaniel Pope and Captain Daniel Egery, a carpenter by trade, both of whom, as minute men had responded but a short time previously, to the call for men on the alarm of Lexington battle. Captain Egery, indeed, had commanded a company of those minute men. Because of his nautical qualifications Captain Pope had the helm of the Success and the conduct of the vessel. It was arranged that only the two captains and a boy should remain on deck, with the drummer (nicknamed by the townsmen, Captain Glig) in the cabin, and the 25 men in the hold, out of sight of the unsuspecting Britishers. On discovery of their quarry, a rap of Captain Pope’s foot upon the deck was to be the signal to those below to make ready, and when Captain Pope should have succeeded in placing his vessel in a desired position, a second rap of his foot would be followed by a tap by Captain Glig on the drum in the cabin, a signal for the men to spring out on deck ready to give the British a hearty surprise.
“The Joshua Pope narrative tells how the Success proceeded quietly down the harbor, and goes on to say:
“‘The night continued dark and foggy. At early dawn they heard the crowing of cocks at the east of them on Sconticut Neck, thus defining their position. Just as the gray dawn pierced the fog, a sloop at anchor and but a cable’s length from them was discovered directly under their lee in the tide, which would in a few minutes sweep them upon her. The discovery by the other party soon brought the hail, ‘Ship ahoy. Sheer off You’ll be into us!’ ‘Aye, aye,’ was the response of Captain Pope at the helm, while his rap immediately brought Captain Egery from below, whose glance at circumstances was sufficient, whereupon he disappeared to apprise his men and await the second rap.
“‘Upon the deck of the vessel at anchor were two men, one a sailor, the other a marine in His Majesty’s service, who immediately commenced loading his gun. The sailor now again cried ‘Sheer off, you’ll be into us.’ ‘Aye, aye.’ again responded Captain Pope at the helm, now endeavoring to lay his vessel aboard. On the next instant the tap of the drum brought the eyes of both the sailor and marine to the Success, at the moment the men were tumbling up from the hold.
“‘The marine immediately dropped his gun, and seizing an axe was about to cut the cable. The sailor ran out upon the bowsprit to loose the jib ties, but both were checked by the threats of Captain Pope, who in the next moment, laid the Success alongside her victim, when, grappling the two vessels together, the patriots leaped aboard. There were below eleven officers and men, well armed and prepared for rough work, all of which ample provision was turned over to their captors. With the rise of the sun the fog disappeared and a gentle breeze sprang up at the west. The 13 prisoners were disarmed and placed below. Captain Pope, with one man and the boy, took charge of the prize and prisoners. Both vessels then made for the lighthouse, about three miles from town. It was decided that the prize should be run in, and the Success stand out and look for the second cruiser.
“‘The Success standing out in the bay soon discovered the second vessel at anchor in a cove to the west [beyond Clarks Point] and making sail, ran out for a chase. A near approach evincing their mutual character, the contest began. The commander of the British cruiser being dressed in the livery of the king, and evidently deeming discretion the better part of valor, sought to screen his plumage from the Yankee sharpshooters by standing within the gangway, giving his commands from that quarter, and seldom exposing himself to attack.
“‘This being perceived by Captain Egery he called Shockley, a minute man, and ordered him to present the officer with his card when next he should pop out. He did so, and the commander fell, receiving a shot in the head. The enemy soon struck their colors. The prisoners were soon disarmed, and the Success, with her two prizes, was at anchor before ‘meeting time,'” for be it remembered it was now Sunday morning.’
“The wounded officer, a lieutenant, was cared for by old Dr. Samuel Perry. He had received a gunshot directly in the front of the head, which piercing to the bone, slid on its surface, cutting the scalp, and was found flat, thin and sharp on the back of the head. The officer whimsically declared that he came of a thickskulled family, according to common report in the section where they lived, and he believed the assertion was entirely correct. Several other wounded prisoners also received the ministrations of Dr. Perry.
“The remaining prisoners, fifteen in number, were placed in the lock-up. These were distinctively the fighting men of the British naval force. Six or eight others, sailors, were deemed to be more cosmopolitan, and were set free. Some of them, it is said, took up their residence in Fairhaven, and so far as known, became loyal citizens.”
It may be well imagined that this particular Sunday was not a day of rest and quiet in either of the two villages, Fairhaven and Bedford. Groups gathered everywhere to discuss the momentous event. At that period a large majority of the residents of Bedford were of the Society of Friends, and not only non-combatants by principle, but possessing the wealth and influence, were actively although perhaps covertly, endeavoring to repress the dawning movements of resistance to the government of the crown. A number of them had large commercial interests afloat and exposed to the mercy of the British cruisers. Not more than twenty miles away lay the Falcon possessed of full power of retaliation for the capture of a portion of her forces. Fears took possession of the hearts of many of Bedford’s worthy citizens. Accordingly, on Monday morning Joseph Rotch, Edward Pope (a distant relative of Captain Nathaniel Pope) and others, repaired to Fairhaven and held counsel with some of the timid at the house of Esquire Williams. It was resolved to send the prisoners and captured sloops, with an apology, back to the Falcon at Tarpaulin Cove. Word of this intention somehow reached Captains Pope and Egery, who acted promptly. The spoils of victory were hastily divided and distributed among the captors, and Captain Egery and a squad set out on a quick march with 15 prisoners to Taunton, where he left them in jail. He then proceeded to Watertown to report to the Provincial Congress, which was at that time in session. We are told that the peace party, although foiled as to the prisoners, sent a committee to Captain Linzee with an apology, “making the best story they could.” But nothing came of it. The Falcon remained for a time in Vineyard waters carrying out its original mission, and was heard of later before Bunker Hill on June 17.
It can be added that early in June four more of the British prisoners were taken to Watertown, one being the lieutenant commanding the sloop, who was paroled, another the surgeon, and the others two of the wounded who had been under the care of Dr. Perry, the local surgeon.
In the division of the spoils of war Captain Pope received the commanding officer’s silver trimmed cutlass, and a king’s arm, with its accessories. The cutlass, highly prized, has remained in the possession of his descendants, and is now the property of a great granddaughter of Captain Pope, Mrs. Lothrop Hedge of Fairhaven. The old musket, sad to relate, was loaned to some hunters a number of years ago, and accidentally dropping overboard from the boat, now reposes at the bottom of Buzzards Bay.
A few years before his death Joshua Pope endeavored to interest his friend, William Bradford, the artist, in depicting on canvass the fight between the Success and the second sloop to be captured. The painting was to be based on a little sketch drawn by Mr. Pope, together with suggestions and descriptions contained in a letter to Mr. Bradford, a copy of which has been preserved. The artist never accomplished the work. In his letter Mr. Pope wrote as follows about the sloop Success:
“In that day of small things, many of their coasting vessels were of this class, being of moderate depth of hold: their tonnage measurement was light compared with their capacity for carrying, for much of their loading was upon deck. Two to three men, with a boy to cook, managed them, and these persons all lived under a short and high quarter deck, aft, from which opened out in the center the gangway to the main deck, by doors opening outward to the right and left, and these doors were frequently divided at half their height. The cooking was done in a fireplace of the chimney of brick standing upon the cabin floor on one side of the gangway, the brick cropping out just through the quarter deck where it received upon it a wooden box top susceptible of being adjusted to suit the desired draught.
“In putting this illustration of history on canvas you will please hear in mind that these vessels were probably one to two miles south and westerly from Clarks Point, the time 8.30 to 9:30 a.m., the wind light at south west; the sky clear or nearly so of the fog of the night; the position of the vessels hove to, ‘canvas shaking,’ each heading S. S. W., sun bearing about E. S. E. The sunlight fell upon their starboard sides, and the shaking canvas showed both light and shadow.”
Captain Pope, who was 28 years of age at the time of the sea fight, continued to take an active part in Revolutionary affairs. At a date not recorded he was captured by the British in Long Island sound, and incarcerated on the prison ship Whitby at the Wallabout, now South Brooklyn. There he remained for seven months until exchanged. At the time of capture, his watch, with other effects was taken from him, but was subsequently returned. This watch is now in the possession of Captain Pope’s grandson and namesake, Nathaniel Pope, of Fairhaven, a much prized heirloom, safely preserved to be handed down in turn to the present owner’s grandson, Master Nathaniel Pope, son of Harry L. Pope.
In the possession of Miss Alice Fish of Fairhaven, granddaughter of Captain Pope, is a payroll for an expedition to the Elizabeth Islands. It is quaintly headed, “Pay roll of Captain Nathaniel Pope’s minute company, marched from Dartmouth, Sept. ye 25, 1775, to the Elizabeth Islands, 20 miles.” Edmund Pope, a relative, was first lieutenant of this company. The charge was one penny per mile for forty miles travel and two days’ services; eight shillings and six pence for the captain, and two shillings ten pence for the men; aggregate eight pounds, six shillings, seven pence.
Another of Miss Fish’s highly valued papers is a letter written to her grandfather as a member of the committee of safety. It follows:
I understand by Captain Jenning that you was in want of guns and I have sent by him two 9 lb. guns and some shott, which please to accept and make such use of them as you think best; and if opportunity permits send the shott he has on hand that are two big for your guns to Providence via Howland Ferry and you will oblige.
You and your country’s friend,
March the 18, 1776.
This must have been the famous Esek Hopkins of Rhode Island, who was active in recruiting troops for the war, and was the first commander in chief of the American naval forces, known variously as Commodore Hopkins or Admiral Hopkins. Howland’s Ferry, mentioned in the letter, was where is now located Stone Bridge, Tiverton.
Capt. Pope saw further service in the later years of the war. In the list of Revolutionary soldiers published by the State of Massachusetts are found the following entries concerning him:
“Nathaniel Pope, first lieutenant, Captain Pardon Taber’s company, Second Bristol County Regiment of Massachusetts Militia, commissioned Aug. 10, 1779; also lieutenant in command of a company later commanded by Lieut. Joseph Damon, Col. John Hathaway’s (Second Bristol County) Regiment, entered service Aug. 3, 1780, discharged Aug. 9, 1780; service six days at Rhode Island on alarm.”
There is no portrait of Captain Pope in existence, but there are two excellent portraits of his wife, one of which hangs in the home of Miss Fish, and the other in the home of Mr. Pope, the only surviving grandchildren, both of whom have the pleasantest recollections of their grandmother, who died in 1851. The portraits were executed when she was about 80 years of age. Miss Fish recalls that the artist asked Mrs. Pope’s daughter, “How can I get your mother’s best expression?” and the reply was, “Just say something about the Revolutionary War, and you’ll get all the expression you’ll want.”
Mrs. Pope fully shared the patriotism of her husband. Miss Fish relates that on one occasion after the war, her grandmother was at a dinner where an English officer who had fought in the Revolution was among the guests. Two of his fingers had been shot away in battle. In the course of conversation he remarked, “I heard there were some soldiers in your army who could neither read nor write.” “Well, but they could make their mark,” was the quick-witted rejoinder of Mrs. Pope, glancing significantly at the Britisher’s wounded hand.
Nathaniel Pope rejoices in the possession of a coat worn by his grandfather more than a hundred years ago, which is in a splendid state of preservation. Its color is the fashionable green of that generation, the sleeves are tight fitting, and the garment boasts a bell skirt, familiar in old time pictures, but seldom to be seen in actuality. Mr. Pope also has a pair of dress boots, of the long legged variety, with extremely pointed toes, worn by his father (Joshua L. Pope) at the ball in honor of Lafayette’s visit to New York in 1825. Both coat and boots have been donned by Mr. Pope in late years in various appearances in amateur theatricals.
Captain Nathaniel Pope came from a line of ancestors prominently connected with the history of Fairhaven from its earliest days. His grandfather’s grandfather, Thomas Pope, who came to this country from England, first lived at Plymouth, and settled in Fairhaven about 1670 or a little later. Two of his children, John, and Susanna, who married Jacob Mitchell, were killed by the Indians in 1675.
The information given in this article about the Pope family is drawn from a lengthy genealogical and historical manuscript written by Joshua L. Pope, chronicler of the sea fight, and now in possession of Harry L. Pope of Fairhaven, who kindly placed it at the writer’s disposal. Joshua Pope was born in Fairhaven in 1798 and died in 1883. In early life he removed to Brooklyn, N, Y., becoming a successful commission merchant in New York City, and a man of high standing. For a number of years he served on the boards of trustees of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and the Brooklyn City Hospital. His family history and reminiscences, written after he became 80 years of age, show a keen mind and excellent literary ability. In his account of the first ancestor, Thomas Pope, are the following interesting paragraphs:
“Among the early Indian visitors [to the Pope family] was a small boy who was admired and petted by the family, and in return this boy, on three several occasions, came stealthily to inform them of a contemplated pow-wow, and to be on their guard against possible danger. On the third visit he wished to remain, as he was suspected of tale bearing, and dared not return to his people. This Indian was educated by the family and subsequently became ‘Justice Obadiah,’ and the judicial head to whom was referred by the Indians all commercial differences between them for settlement.
“One of the descendants of this Indian Judge Obadiah, I recollect, a neatly dressed and very aged Indian woman, who, about 1806, 1807-08, came annually for a day’s visit to my father, to our house in Fairhaven. She was in the household of a wealthy family of Friends in New Bedford by name of Tallman.”
Seth Pope (1647-1727), son of Thomas Pope, was one of the proprietors of old Dartmouth in 1694. A merchant and large land holder in Fairhaven, he left a good sized estate. He was representative from the town of Dartmouth to the General Court. His son, Captain Lemuel Pope (1695-1771), grandfather of Captain Nathaniel Pope, inherited Seth’s homestead, wharf, and warehouse, and succeeded his father as a merchant. In 1732 he was commissioned a captain of the militia. Through his whole life the red men remained in considerable numbers in Fairhaven. “By conciliation and patient effort,” says Joshua L. Pope, “the Indians were induced to hut their families upon his lands about him, were in daily intercourse with his family, and were employed in various farm labors. Tradition says that on an occasion of an apprehended invasion, 50 men were ordered to be equipped for service, whereupon he offered to clothe and equip 40 Indians if ten whites would volunteer; only nine presented, and he placed himself at their head with his 40 Indians. He possessed and admired fast horses. Being at Boston the endurance of his horse was challenged, and on a wager he rode home, 60 to 65 miles, in six hours, but to his great regret it cost the life of his horse, which died as he reached home within time.”
One of Lemuel’s grandchildren told Joshua Pope that when a boy he had frequently visited his grandfather’s at fruit gathering and huskings, and that at such times the Indians that were hutted about the farm always joined actively in the frolics, and the great kitchen of the house resounded with their peculiar dances.
It was a family tradition that Lemuel Pope had, at his death, the rank of colonel, and that the governor of the state sent a file of soldiers to pay him funeral honors. His wife was Elizabeth Hunt, sister of Rev. Samuel Hunt, the first ordained minister in Dartmouth. Mr. Hunt, in turn, married Hannah Pope, a sister of Captain Lemuel.
Colonel Seth Pope (1719-1802), father of Captain Nathaniel Pope, married Abigail Church, of the famous Church family that produced the noted Indian fighter, Colonel Benjamin Church. He lived upon his farm, a portion of his father’s homestead on Sconticut Neck, and for 14 years represented the town in the General Court. In 1774 he was appointed on a town committee to report on the matter of British taxation, which was fast growing obnoxious. The report earnestly recommended the non-importation of goods from the mother country, and the raising of funds in aid of Congress. This report was adopted by the town. In consequence of this and other patriotic acts his dwelling was burned by the British in the raid of 1778, having been pointed out to the soldiers by a Tory neighbor.
To quote again from the Pope manuscript:
“In April, 1754, Seth Pope received a commission of lieutenant from Governor Shirley, and in June, 1771, he was appointed coroner of the county. In 1774, amidst the excitement of apprehended forcible resistance to the aggressions of the mother country, I find him identified with the Whigs; and in the spring, by a letter from the major of the regiment of the county, I find his election as lieutenant colonel. If subsequently in military service I am not aware. In an instance of the arrest of Francis Rotch, he appears identified as a member of the committee of safety, and member of the court in the adjudication of his case.”
Francis Rotch was one of the owners of the ship Dartmouth, from which the tea was thrown overboard in Boston harbor.
“I note that in the letter of the major to grandfather he urges the organization of partisan corps of minute men, and in accordance with this suggestion a company of 25 was organized, of which our father was the commander, and their first service was their participation in a secret expedition which captured in Buzzards Bay on Sunday morning, May 14, 1775, an armed force from British sloop of war Falcon and two sloops.
“I was but four years old at the death of grandfather, and yet I recollect him. He frequently came down from the farm, and always to our house. He was a large man, of fine presence, and of that gentle bearing that made his visits a pleasure to us all.
“The circumstances of the death of grandfather’s wife were of [an e]specially melancholy character, and a great affliction to all. In the spring of 1778 at the moment of returning from Boston, he accidentally met a friend, who presented him a handsome orange, for his wife. On reaching home he found the mother of his wife, Mrs. Innocent Church, at his house, and to her the orange was presented. She was shortly afterwards taken with small pox, supposed to have been communicated by the orange, and died on April 17. His wife taking the disease from her mother, died on May 8 following; the mother at the age of 84 years, the daughter 59.”
Captain Nathaniel Pope, third child of Colonel Seth and Abigail (Church) Pope, was born in Fairhaven July 3, 1747, and died in that town July 17, 1817, aged 70 years. He married Oct. 14, 1790, Mary Barstow, daughter of Gideon and Jane (Wilson) Barstow of Mattapoisett, born Nov. 15, 1762, died May 12, 1851, in her 89th year. They had six children: Nathaniel, Wilson, Gideon Barstow, Joshua Loring, Alice and Lucy Barstow. Joshua L. was the father of Nathaniel Pope of Fairhaven, and Lucy B., who married Roland Fish, was the mother of Miss Alice Fish. Wilson Pope was the grandfather of Mrs. Lothrop Hedge.
The following sketch of Captain Nathaniel Pope is from the pen of his son Joshua:
“My father, on approaching manhood, looked to the sea for the cast of his future. First he was of those who went in small vessels for whales, both in the South Atlantic and Northern Ocean, and as the ability came, he became a trader in the West Indies and the colonies at the South. This race for a living was interrupted by the War of the Revolution, in which he was on the side of the Whigs. The first years of the war stripped him of nearly all he possessed, and he was himself a prisoner on board the prison ship Whitby, at the Wallabout, the predecessor of the Old Jersey.
“My mother had been the reliable and first born handmaid of her mother. Father and mother were married in 1790; mother was then 28 years old, father something more than 43. It used to be said that mother was then handsome. I can remember her in my youth, and I can well conceive it true, for in her looks and kindly spirit she was ever the admiration of her children. Father was a well favored man, muscular and near six feet in stature; was pleasant, dignified and a kind father.
“For their home he purchased the house that was ever after our homestead. It was not completed when he bought it, but when he had finished it, it had not its superior in the village. It was built by a baker for the occupancy of himself and his trade, and had a large oven in the basement. This oven proved to be a convenient storage receptacle for conserves. This house was the only house outside the ‘cordon’ that Mr. Rotch had drawn up on the Eastern line of the village. The baker must have been of the Society of Friends, or the innovation would not have been permitted.
“It will be remembered that Joseph Rotch came from Nantucket in 1765, to purchase a site as he desired, for the convenience of his whaling associates, who desired to remove. He preferred Fairhaven village and its shores but the elders declining to admit him on demanding too high price, he went to the rough shore and acclivity of Bedford, opposite, and purchased of the farm of Joseph Russell sufficient, and there planted Bedford, when to requite the Fairhaven men for this disappointment. William Rotch Sen., purchased the lands back of the village, and shut them in by a line bounding the rear of the house lots on the east side of what is now Main Street, and this barrier continued until near the period of the death of William Rotch, his son. I remember in my boyhood to have at times seen old William Rotch come over in his carriage, attended by some of his grandchildren on fancy ponies, as outriders, to visit his farm, extending from this line of the village out to the house of Mr. Mandell, its manager, about a half mile out from our house. It was an aristocratic pageant, which we looked upon with a curiosity not often gratified.
“The field over the wall in front of our house, which reached north to the frog pond and mill pond beyond, also east a quarter of a mile, was never broken, but continued pasture land merely. South of our house to the graveyard the field was alternately in corn and meadows.”
“The ancestral homestead whose location is thus described, is still standing, a well known landmark in the most thickly settled portion of Fairhaven. It is on the south side of Center Street, opposite the Congregational church. Located on a bank above the street level, it is an unmistakable and interesting type of colonial architecture. Around the corner, on William Street, is the home of Miss Fish, situated on what was formerly a part of her grandfather’s estate, and reconstructed from his carriage house.
“At the north,” continues Mr. Pope’s narrative, “at or near where the Unitarian Church now stands [the predecessor of the Rogers Memorial, on Washington Street, now used as a school] was quite an elevation, a hill descending on all sides from its summit. Upon its top was the remains of a cellar pit, said then to have been the cellar of Jacob Mitchell’s house burned in 1675, where Mitchell and wife were murdered by the Indians. They were on their way, and but a few rods down the hill near the frog pond, endeavoring to escape to the block house about one mile north of Oxford; their road lay around the creek, now millpond. They were both shot, and falling from his horse, were subsequently buried at the foot of a pear tree on the spot where they fell. The Mitchell children were saved, and were brought up by an uncle.”
Among the descendants of Jacob Mitchell may be named Edward Page Mitchell, the brilliant editor of the New York Sun, who has been a vital force in American journalism for half a century.
“Some time after the rapid rise of New Bedford, and its incorporation in 1787 as a town, the bridge as now lying across the river was built by a stock company, and the strait uniting the two villages, Oxford and Fairhaven, was built, and carried across the entrance of the creek, and with dam and bridge formed the tide mill pond, with the direct passage north over the mill bridge.
“On the Fourth of July, 1801, the Democrats of Fairhaven instituted a military display, with a copy of the assault and defense of Bunker Hill, selecting for the mock battle the field in front of our house, and the selection was a good one. The hill before named was prepared with masked ramparts of planks, behind which the patriot rebels were to resist the attack of the British forces. In this affair, Captain Noah Stoddard, the leading Democrat of the village, was conspicuous, and his fine horse was loaned for the occasion, that fact exciting some joking at his expense, as his horse was of the attacking party.
“I was then three years old within 15 days, and I well remember that I was placed in a high backed chair with a hand uphold of each post of the chair. It was a glorious scene, that had been looked to with impatient expectation for weeks, by everyone, and dreamed of by all the boys in advance. I remember, as of yesterday, with what eager expectation I watched for, and with what lively gratification I saw the head of the column of the military, as they appeared on the bridge, as they approached and passed over the water, and by the toll house off, and as they worried along, and at last came down to and crossed over the mill bridge, to the tune of the ‘White Cockade’ by the ‘rosy necked’ fife, which I can almost hear now; all this was clearly within my view, as there were no houses to obstruct, the barrier of Mr. Rotch having kept the view open.
“The British army, not in red coats, but in the homespun of Yankee yeomanry, filed in through the wall in front of our house. The force on the hill gathered there noiselessly, through a route in rear of the hills. It was afternoon, when after various marches and counter marches, the attack began; and attack and repulse followed, historically and repeatedly, the dead and wounded in large numbers lying scattered over the field, until at last the hill was stormed with the bayonet and resisted with clubbed muskets, until the flags of the pine tree of Massachusetts retreated down the hill to the frog pond, and the victors had the hill.
“The whole affair was well done, the field and its surroundings were well adapted to the semblance of the original, and the hill was ever after called Bunker Hill.
“To our house were added extensive conveniences in every way, and father was prolific in devising various mechanical features for labor-saving. I was quite small when the ‘porch’ was built, a two-storied addition, and I hourly watched French Taber when building the ornamental door yard fence. I was on hand when Killey Merrihew painted it, and I never smell paint mixed with boiled oil but I think of him and the fence.
“Father owned a part of ship Juno, commanded by Captain Eldredge. He owned a part of Old South wharf, had stock in New Bedford Bank, stock in Bedford bridge, a store at the foot of Center Street, and the lot thence there and into the river. He owned one-third of Palmer’s Island; some four or five acres of very fine land about a half mile southeast of the village; the old farm of forty acres, with the old homestead and its outbuildings and fine orchards; with salt marsh on Sconticut, cedar swamp in Dartmouth, and timber lands in Rochester. These were all of his patrimony.
“With Mr. Jefferson’s administration came restrictions on commerce, which continued with increased and damaging effect to the climax of the war against England in 1812. All this crushing policy to commerce made father and mother at times silent and thoughtful. In 1810 the farm, which had been let out, was retained, and we removed there to work it ourselves. This mother regretted, for it took the girls away from school, and it did not benefit our interests perceptibly, for we did not let our house in town, and returned to it in the fall; but father, I think, felt better to be employed in his old home, and our girls went to a school in Naskatucket. Father had good taste in farming, and at midsummer it was a beautiful place, with its handsome meadows and fine orchards, loaded with fruit.”
This farm was located in East Fairhaven, on the New Boston Road, and was subsequently the Dr. Atwood place.
“We lived there five summers, going out the first of May and returning the first of November. In February, 1815, came peace, and all my brothers were already gone or going from home, and we did not go to the farm, but continued to care for it, shutting up the house, gathering the hay and fruit there, and tilling our lots near home. I think both father and mother liked to be within the sight and sound of the moving of commerce again, although now beyond our reach, except as my three brothers availed of it. Through 1816 the country was with its limited means getting back to prosperity, in regaining its balance, and everybody in their confidence of a peaceful future.
“The year 1817 came, and one day during the hot weather in June, father and myself, returning from the lots to dinner, we found at the house Colonel John B. Barstow from Hanover; he dined and spent the day with us. On this afternoon father took cold from the breeze he courted, and he never went to the lots again; for some days, too unwell to leave the house, he was at last attacked with erysipelas in the head, and died in a few hours on July 17, at the age of 70 years and 14 days.”
The Pilgram Celebration
by Mrs. William N. Swift
July 12, 1921.
Following a meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society, held in the Bourne whaling museum yesterday afternoon, at which several interesting papers were read, about fifty members of the society went to Plymouth in automobiles, to witness the daily Pilgrim’s Progress ceremony enacted in that town, and to view the points of historic interest in Plymouth.
The route from New Bedford was over the bridge, out Huttleston Avenue, north on Adams Street and via the Acushnet Road to the Parting Ways schoolhouse, thence west to Lunds Corner and then to the north via the Quitticas ponds and by Sampson’s and King Philip’s Tavern, to Middleboro. Passing through Middleboro Four Corners the route lay through Carver and thence to Plymouth, going first to the hill to see the monument, thence to Plymouth Rock and then up Leyden Street to the Unitarian Church. While the cars were parked at the foot of Cemetery Hill, the party proceeded up Burial Hill, and there, where the Pilgrims defended themselves during the winter of 1620 and where the first church was erected, the New Bedford pilgrims held a brief service. President Cushman read a portion of the sermon of Robert Cushman delivered on this spot so many years ago.
The return was made through Manomet via Sagamore and the canal. The party making up the pilgrimage included: Mr. and Mrs. Herbert B. Cushman, Mrs. Helen E. Smith, Miss Patty Wilcox, Miss Mary Bradford, Harry L. Pope, Miss Rosamond Clifford, Elmore P. Haskins, Mr. and Mrs. J. Henry Smead, Miss Helen L. Hadley, Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Bonney, Edmund Wood, H. A. Neyland, Miss Maria E. Maxfied, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Parker, Mrs. David B. Kempton, Mrs. Charles R. Price, Mrs. William S. Gifford, Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Howes, Dr. A. L. Shockley and Mrs. Shockley, Miss Helen Watson, Mrs. William N. Swift, Edward L. Macomber, Mrs. Abbott P. Smith, C. P. Ashley, Miss Ella F. Ivers, Miss Ella Read, Mr. and Mrs. George H. Tripp, Miss Anna C. Ricketson, Mrs. Frank Wood, Roland A. Leonard, A. B. Crowell, Miss Anna M. DeWolf, Francis T. Hammond.
President Herbert E. Cushman presided at the meeting held in the Bourne museum. The ceremony which was later witnessed in Plymouth was described in a paper read by Mrs. William N. Swift, which follows:
“Pilgrimages have never altogether gone out of fashion, even in our modern English speaking world. In England in the 14th century, Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims combined a vacation and a sightseeing trip with a feeling of devotion to an inspiring memory in their journey to the shrine of Thomas á Becket. Today this company, gathered here, is planning to see our latter day Pilgrims journey to their shrine on Burial Hill, not to honor a murdered saint, but to give testimony of their devotion to those whose courage made their faith live and wield a mighty influence on our side of the ocean. Every one with a drop of honored Pilgrim blood in his veins is making an effort in this summer of 1921 to go to Plymouth and by his presence there, establish a claim to the title of Mayflower descendant. Many will go taking with them the real spirit of the Pilgrim fathers. They will tread the ground, sacred to the memory of those who made it holy, remembering their privations, their courage, their sacrifices for their faith. They will inwardly resolve that they, too, will keep that faith that their fathers carried across the sea and still fight the good fight.
“If these memorial days mean anything beyond the passing of an idle holiday, is not this the spirit that we should all take with us to Plymouth in honor of those men and women who sailed across the wintry Atlantic in the fragile Mayflower three hundred years ago? This, it seems, must be the thought of the little band of Pilgrim descendants, when making, day by day, their progress up old Leyden Street to Burial Hill. It is this feeling that gives the deep impression of reality and gravity to the simple scene.
“As the town clock strikes five a hush comes over that part of the town through which these present Pilgrims pass. On the last stroke the beat of a drum is heard, pausing for a little and then heard again. People gather quietly along the sides of Leyden Street and group themselves on the steps of the church below the hill; the tap of the drum comes nearer and one sees in the distance the drummer advancing slowly, following him is a little band whose number increases as the Progress is made up the street and more people, men, women and children, come out of their houses and the near-by lanes, the houses built on the site of the pathetic log huts of that first terrible winter and spring. On they come, fifty-two in all. They wear the Pilgrim garb and most of the men are armed, carrying their muskets to protect the little band from lurking animals or Indian foes. Elder Brewster, Myles Standish and William Bradford lead the way. Then follow grave and care-worn women, young and old, some leading little children, young men, one with a little son, a young Puritan maiden whose pure, stern face shows the strength of her unbroken courage. The children are grave, too, but look a little puzzled as if wondering what it all means.
“As the little band reaches the church it turns, taking the old roadway leading around the hill, which it ascends on the north side. As it passes from view, the spectators, leaving the street below, climb the modern stone steps by the church and quietly make their way to the little grassy square among the early graves, the site of the old fort. These are given leaflets with the words of the hymns to be sung.
“As the procession comes in view over the brow of the hill the singing begins, led by a choir of four people, and all present join in singing one of the old hymns. To this simple music the Progress files into the enclosure to listen, reverently, to a psalm or selection read by the clergyman present and then to join in the singing of the second hymn. After the benediction it leaves quietly, as it came, and with the same solemn gravity and takes it way back into the town. At half-past five this Pilgrim Progress is over.
“The Mayflower descendant from New England, the American of Mayflower or Colonial stock from the Middle West or the Pacific slope present at this simple ceremony, no matter how much trouble he may have taken to come, will always be grateful to the townspeople of Plymouth for evoking in him a realization of the loving, courageous spirit of the Pilgrim fathers.”
“Highways, Post Roads and Public Houses of New Bedford before the Arrival of the Railroad Train,” a paper prepared by Henry H. Worth, was read by Elmore P. Haskins. Mr. Worth’s paper is as follows:
“In the early afternoon of July 1, 1840, while farmers were in the hayfield, the first train on the railroad from Taunton steamed into New Bedford. The old order was changing, yielding place to new and the romance of travel suggested by such well known terms as the turnpike, the toll bridge, the Inn and the post-road was to pass into the realm of dreams. It was the signal for the final disappearance of the stage coach and the tavern.
“For fifty years, the inn had been a prominent feature along the Acushnet River. A study of the history of this institution and its accessories reveals the fact that it was divided by the Revolutionary War into two distinct phrases, the exact separation being in the autumn of 1760, when the land speculations on the Acushnet were begun. It had then been one hundred years since the town of Dartmouth was settled and the location was on the east side of the river on a neck of land half a mile south of the Head. The first public work was construction of a road down to the Neck, which is still used as the lane to the river over the Corey farm. Later the bridge was built at the head of the Acushnet where the mills were established.
“To determine the usual lines of travel in the early days of the town, reference may be made to a stirring event which occurred in the summer of 1676, a few weeks before King Philip was shot.
“A rumor had reached Plymouth that the Indians were planning a raid on the Russell garrison, a stockade in South Dartmouth, a short distance south of the head of the Apponegansett, where a small detachment of soldiers was stationed. No challenge was more promptly accepted. Capt. Ben Church gathered together his Plymouth soldiers and friendly Indians and started for Apponegansett. A collision with Philip’s forces took place in Middleboro and the race for the Russell farm began, Church going down the east side of the Acushnet and the Indians on the west. One evening, they were not far from each other and Church was in the woods near Bliss’ Corner. In the early morning Philip decided not to attack the garrison, but to march north. Church promptly followed along the Slocum Road and at Smith’s Mills, both divided their forces, half going on each side of the river to the northward. The warriors left the women near Braley’s Station and went down Sconticut Neck to obtain English cattle. Before their return, the forces of Church had captured all the women and children and marched them to what is now Fairhaven, and before nightfall they had eluded the Indians and had traveled with their prisoners to Sippican.
“This graphic story told by Capt. Church, furnishes much information concerning the ancient lines of travel. Over the same section diversified in every way there were four hundred persons traveling without inconvenience or hindrance. Clearly paths must have extended from the interior to the seashore. The narrative discloses in actual use, pass ways throughout this region in the same location as the roads and highways of 100. This was sixteen years after the town had been settled. No record is found that the town laid out these ways and the small number of inhabitants could not construct such a system. Many miles of the paths were in the woods where there were no English inhabitants. These and other considerations force the conclusion that these paths were selected and used by the Indians and afterwards by the English, and later were merely widened to become the modern roads. These paths extended from the lake region in Middleboro and Freetown to Buzzards Bay through the Necks and Points that indented the shore. The course was crooked because hard level ground was chosen and hills, rocks, ponds, rivers and swamps were avoided. Across the colony was a long trail from Plymouth to Saconit [sic] and also to Newport by way of a ferry across the river at Stone Bridge. It extended from Plymouth to Middleboro and then southward through Rochester, Long Plain, over the Acushnet at its head and thence through Smith’s Mills, Head of Westport, Tiverton to Stone Bridge. Through Dartmouth it was known as the Rhode Island way.
“It is of interest to note the difference between the highways laid out by county or town and those that were based on Indian paths; the former are uniformly straight, passing over all the natural obstacles that the Indians sought to avoid and extending across hills, rivers and swamps and suggest a cost that the colonists had no resources to meet. Two illustrations are Kempton Street, between Rockdale Avenue and Smith’s Mills and the County Road from Westport Factory to the Narrows. Both extend over swamps and hills, across brooks and marshes as straight as a surveyor could run the line.
“There is no way to ascertain when the mail and stage coaches first traversed any section of Dartmouth, but the amount and distribution of the population would not have demanded such service before the Revolution. The inhabitants collected in numerous scattered villages would not furnish business for those special lines. Some information on this subject and on the postal situation and post offices is to be found in the Acts and Resolves of the General Court of Massachusetts, 1692-1702 in an Appendix.
“The earliest transportation by mail was by post carrier who rode horseback, but there is no record nor tradition relating to this activity in Dartmouth. It is stated that the first stage line was operated by Abraham Russell of New Bedford, in 1797, by way of Middleboro to Boston and letters and packages were left at tap-rooms in taverns, at Sproats and Westons in Middleboro, and at Assawampsett at Foster’s, later known as Sampsons.
“One line driven by Rufus Godfrey went by way of Bridgewater, Abington and Quincy. During the century ensuing, other stage lines were operated with terminals at Russell’s Mills, Westport Point, Little Compton, Sandwich, Stone Bridge, Fall River, Rochester and Wareham. The Little Compton stage winding over a circuitous route, accommodating several villages along its line finally ended its career, being the last stage drawn by horses. As Bedford village, later New Bedford was the populous center of Dartmouth, it obviously became the terminal of all stage lines. The points of departure were the well known public houses and in later years the stables where the stages were kept.
“The numerous communications on file in the archives of the state library in Boston prove that during the Revolution there was postal communication with New Bedford, but there is no way to prove how frequent or regular, nor how the post was conducted. There were no notices in Boston papers and New Bedford newspapers did not start until after the close of the war. In 1793 advertisements in the local papers indicated activity. In April Jesse Haskell ‘rode the post’ to Newport by way of Westport, Tiverton, Stone Bridge and Little Compton. In October John Spooner ‘rode the post’ to the same place. The same month Abraham Russell established a stage line to Boston through Taunton to Bunch of Grapes tavern in State Street. Once a week the stage stopped at Col. Howard’s tavern at Bridgewater. At this period mails went to Boston and returned twice a week. In 1797 Benjamin Smith rode the post to Newport and Thomas Terry to Rochester and Wareham, lately rode by Elnathan Foster.
“The animosity of the stage drivers was shown in many attempts to disable the railroad by placing obstructions on the track. This finally became such a menace that the lawyers agreed not to defend any men accused of that offense. One of them, Timothy G. Cotlin, was observed to be in court defending some of the stage men and was criticized for his breach of the agreement. Cotlin replied in a way thoroughly characteristic, that, these men were not the ones but, of course, they were convicted.
“John Faunce, an old man, told the writer that in the summer of 1840 he was at work in a hay field near Faunce’s Corner, and a strange noise was heard two miles to the eastward in the woods. Finally the puffing, screaming object emerged in a cloud of smoke and they beheld the first railroad train bound from Taunton to New Bedford. It was the march of progress sounding the doom of the old order. The stage coach and the tavern would soon become a matter of history.
“The inns and houses of entertainment exerted a powerful effect on the social life of New England. Here sojourned the travelers and here gathered residents of the village. It was the clubhouse of the community. Longfellow wrote the ‘Tales of the Wayside Inn,’ relating to an obscure village in a town of slight importance. The romance was in the theme and not in the place. While the same atmosphere surrounded several public houses in Dartmouth, the local situation was different from what would be observed in many inland communities. It was the purpose of the founders of Massachusetts towns to establish a residential center with the farming regions on the outskirts. Here would be located the meeting house, store, jail, school house, town house, tavern and training green. In Dartmouth there could be no such center because four rivers crossed the town from north to south, dividing the territory into several strips and instead of one center there were over a dozen scattered villages of small size, none of which contained any of the above named town institutions.
“As these villages remained small until near the date of the Revolution, there resulted two consequences to the activities along the highways of the town. Stage lines did not begin as early as elsewhere in Massachusetts and then also public houses were less numerous than in towns that had populous centers. Then Dartmouth was not located on a cross country thoroughfare, but at the end of many connecting roads. The only persons who would patronize local stages and inns would be those who had come on special business from distant places. This patronage before the Revolution would not support either line of activity. So the growth of the stage and public house came suddenly and to its greatest development not far from 1800 when the villages of Dartmouth had become large and vigorous from the establishment of the whaling industry and greatly increased soon after the Revolutionary War. Bedford and Fairhaven started in 1760. Soon all the other villages had increased in size because the whaling business required all the natural products of the soil that were to be found in the more remote regions of the town. This industry was suspended during the war, but was revived as soon as peace was declared. In 1787 the original town was divided into Westport, Dartmouth and New Bedford.
“In New Bedford there were four villages: Bedford, Fairhaven, Acushnet and Long Plain.
“In the north section were forests of oak that were used for building ships; pine for spars and cedar for whaleboats. Iron deposits were in the swamps ready for manufacture into anchors and cables. Nearly one hundred wind and water mills were busy converting these raw materials into merchantable produces. Not only the seaboard villages developed, but every residential center in the interior. Here soon appeared one or more houses of public entertainment, according to the size of the village.
“Bedford village exerted a strong influence on the number of public houses established in the vicinity. Starting in 1760 the first purchaser of land from Joseph Russell was John Lowden, of Pembroke, who had a ship building yard, forecasting the maritime career of the new settlement. This brought seafaring men from every part of the country. When ashore sailors were seeking convivial entertainment. Carriages and fast horses were in demand to reach the secluded nooks in the surrounding country. Near and remote from the highways were taverns and road houses where the observing public or intruding police did not exercise critical suspicions. Hence there were found numerous places in the suburbs a few miles out with bowling alleys and other equipments of entertainment. Much of their patronage come from men engaged in whaling in Bedford and Fairhaven. In the villages was an occasional inn that supplied a more quiet patronage.
“Concerning the public houses of Bedford there is definite information. The list of men in the court records who received licenses to sell liquor is an important source. Then in 1840 Henry H. Crapo compiled interviews with old men, one of whom stated that during the Revolution ‘there were only three taverns in Bedford, all rough places and not fit for gentlemen.’ These can readily be identified.
“John Lowden’s house was on the west side of Water Street at the head of Commercial.
“Avery Parker had the place on the northeast corner of Union and Bethel, operated later as a saloon.
“On the east side of Water Street at the foot of Spring Street was a tavern kept by John Gerrish, under the sign of the Golden Ball for thirty years previous to 1800 and then changed to the American Eagle. In 1819, Barney Corey took the house and displayed the sign of the Swan. Later it was kept by Thomas Cole and designated as ‘Cole’s Coffee House.’
“These were the three mentioned in Crapo’s compilation.
“After the Revolutionary War, New Bedford became a separate town and the whaling business increased rapidly, owing to the removal of the Rotch and Rodman families from Nantucket. They transferred their great wealth and established business and founded the whaling industry on the Acushnet. With this accession came a natural development of enlarged postal facilities and stage accommodations, together with improved public houses. The advertisements in early newspapers furnish an indication of the tendency at this period.
“On the southeast corner of Union Street and Water was a long building, conducted as an inn by several proprietors. 1765 Simeon Nash.
“In 1799 Joshua Crocker displayed the sign of the Swan. Here the stages started. Barney Corey was manager in 1810 and ten years later Henry Pinkham adopted the sign of the Golden Ball. In 1823 Henry Cannon called it the Washington Hotel and then the County House. Joseph B. Peabody was at one time proprietor.
“The brick homestead of William Rotch on the northeast corner of Union and South Second in December 1829, six months after his death, was opened as a hotel by J. Webster and later conducted by a Mrs. Doubleday. Since that time it has been a hotel, but always conducted by tenants and not the owners.
“In 1806 Col. Nathaniel Nelson started a Coffee House on the southwest corner of Union and Fourth Streets, which later was called the Eagle Hotel. It was once owned and operated in the same business by Ichabod Clapp and John Blake and known as the Commercial Coffee House and City Hotel. In 1807 this was the place of departure of the stage line for Boston and in 1810, for the line to Providence.
“The bridge at Acushnet is the oldest public structure in the town and was built from fines collected from the Indians. Here were important mills and the Congregational church. It was a junction of several highways. The Rhode Island way extended over the bridge. The road from Freetown terminated at this point and several from the south on both sides of the river. Such a center would furnish business to several public houses.
“On the north side of the road and east side of the river was a tract that was occupied by a tavern from 1731 by Nathaniel Shepard, Lemuel Mendell, Benjamin Dillingham, Andrew Ritchie and Capt. John Hawes.
“On the east side of the river and south side of the road is a tract of several acres bounded east by a brook. Daniel Spooner, in 1735, owned the entire tract and had a license. Following him John Crandon, inn holder, owned the place. In 1741 through some inadvertence, no person was licensed to sell liquor and a petition of fifty men was sent to the general court requesting that a license be granted to John Crandon as there was no place in the village where liquor was sold. This place was conducted by Crandon and his descendants until 1810, when Amos Pratt became owner and proprietor of the inn. Soon after he sold the land in small lots and a number of buildings were built.
“The third east from the river was a tavern of some notoriety, but was occupied by Capt. Worth Pope in 1810. Later the other owners were Levi Jenny, Lemuel Russell and James Thomas. It was a relief to the neighborhood when the place was purchased by John R. Davis, who kept a store, but did not sell liquor. Other men had licenses for the house to the east, but none of special prominence.
“About a mile and a quarter north of the bridge, and on the east side of the road, near the junction of the White’s Factory Road was a house kept by Jabez Taber. It still has all the appearance of an ancient wayside inn. In 1800 the house was a gambrel roof and Jabez built an addition across the front. Here for forty years he kept an inn, accumulated and lent money, but his guests ceased to come and when he died in 1870, not much of his former property remained. The retired position of the house and the large elms in front, from one of which swung the tavern sign, must have given the famous Jabez Taber tavern an old time atmosphere of the colonial public house.
“A mile further north, at the top of the hill, is the junction of the road to Rochester, and the center of one of the great Pope farms that in 1810 was occupied by Jonathan Pope, who had an inn. His large house was burned within a few years.
“A short distance north on the west side of the road, is a farm owned in 1854 by William Brownell and formerly owned by Abner Vincent and then by the well known Isaac Vincent. The latter in his day, was the greatest dealer in land and money lender in that region. It is said that he was unable to tell how much or what property he owned without consulting his papers. The stages changed horses at his place.
“While Long Plain was not settled by the Quakers very soon, it was dominated by people of that sect, and their meeting house and school was the first in the village. One line of stages followed along this road to Boston. While a number of men had licenses probably for stores there were two that kept taverns.
“On the east side of the road, half a mile north of Perry Hill, was a large gambrel roofed house that belonged to Samuel Sprague Esq., the county lawyer. For fifty years he owned this farm, and at one time had a license to keep an inn, and had a line of stages that ran from New Bedford to Rochester. He was a money lender and left a comfortable estate that he bequeathed to his nephew, Nathaniel S. Spooner Esq., lawyer and judge, who resided at Acushnet.
“In the north part of Long Plain village is a gambrel roof house, known as the Mason house, built by Joseph Cook, who once had a license for an inn. The same house was once occupied by Capt. Ephraim Simmons, who kept a tavern for a short time. Not being a Quaker, when the Friends’ committee came from Providence to establish an advanced school in that village he stoutly refused to sell them any of his land and so they abandoned that location and built the academy in Providence.
“The villages of Oxford and Fairhaven were started in 1760, a few weeks after Bedford. In 1800, when the bridge over the Acushnet was opened, one Boston stage line arranged its route over the bridge to accommodate the public on the east side of the river. Oxford had only one public house. In 1802 Nicholas Taber opened the house on the southwest corner of Main Street and Oxford and from the corner hung the sign:
“RISING SUN INN. N. Taber.”
“For a small community it would surprise any person to learn how many men in Fairhaven had liquor licenses. Most of them were store keepers and their trade must have been with vessels at the wharves. So far as they can be identified, there were only two hotels.
“In 1800 Charles Church opened an inn, with the sign of the Golden Ball, in the house on the east side of Water Street, midway between Center and Washington. In the advertisement in the New Bedford paper, he states as a reason for the venture, that for some time Fairhaven had been destitute of a place of entertainment. Next south in 1764, Capt. Gamabiel Church conducted an inn. James Wing, in 1828, had a hotel in the house on the east side of Main Street, next north of corner of Union. This continued in the same business under management of Wing and later of others as a boarding house.
“William W. Crapo, in 1838, took a stage trip to Boston in Samson’s coach, starting before daylight and at the tavern on Assawampset pond they stopped for breakfast and to change horses. They proceeded by way of Bridgewater and Randolph, changing horses at the relay stations and reached Elm Street tavern in Boston in the afternoon.
“An incident occurred in a hotel in Valparaiso where were gathered American whaleship masters and English naval officers. When it was known that some were from New Bedford, one English officer related an incident that occurred in 1814, when he was a lieutenant in an English frigate on the coast of the United States. The expedition planned to go into a place called New Bedford and burn the town. They sailed into the bay after dark and were proceeding up the river when a startling noise caused them to stop. It sounded like troops crossing the bridge and they concluded that the number must have amounted to several hundred. They concluded that heavy reinforcements had arrived and decided to retire and sailed away out of the bay before daylight.
“One of the American captains said he remembered the affair. A guard was stationed on a neck stretching down into the bay, called Sconticut Neck, and when the frigate was discovered, they began firing their muskets one after another up the neck and when they had given this alarm, the Boston stage from Fairhaven passed across the bridge to New Bedford and very soon the frigate sailed away and in the morning had disappeared. The rumble of the mail coach over the bridge at midnight saved New Bedford from a second raid.”
Mr. Haskins also read a paper concerning Sampson’s Tavern. Both of the speakers of the afternoon were tendered rising votes of thanks.
Before the party boarded automobiles for the trip to Plymouth, each car was equipped with a copy of the following summary of “What to See between New Bedford and Plymouth,” compiled by Mr. Haskins:
The center of the stage coach interests in New Bedford in 1800 and for some time previous was the south east corner of Union and Water Streets. Now wholesale fruit store. Stages started from there.
In Oxford south east corner Main and Oxford Streets opposite Mr. Wilde’s store; only public house in Oxford. Opened 1802 by Nicholas Taber-sign read “Rising Sun Inn—N. Taber.”
In Acushnet, after leaving Parting Ways going toward Lunds Corner. On north side of road—between the interesting old cemetery and the Methodist church. The old Sumerton House, 1712—one of the oldest houses in this vicinity. The large farm adjoining; with house, owned for many years by Thomas Hathaway, great-uncle of Thomas Hathaway of New Bedford.
Coming to the river, south side of the river, first a carriage shop, then modern house; then tavern building, two front doors 14, and 16.
Daniel Spooner 1735; later John Crandon—1810 Amos Pratt.
For this tavern a petition of fifty names was sent to the General Court-1741—for a license to sell liquor. There was no place near to properly (?) quench their thirst.
Opposite corner, north side of road —east river. Old house side to road, large additions to rear—1731 Nathaniel Shephered—Lemuel Manil—Benjamin Dillingham—Andrew Ritchie, Captain John Hawes were successive keepers. After leaving Bell school house corner in Lakeville; at left, on rising ground, quite a distance from road: large hipped roof house—two stories—painted white—1800 taking place of an earlier house on same location, built by William Nelson—son of Sam’l—the first settler in Lakeville.
Purchased about 1855 Captain John Cudworth retired sea captain from New Bedford. Grand children now occupy the house.
Sidney Nelson house—sign on tree Nelson Homestead 1714.
On this farm Captain Church of Dartmouth with 40 men encamped one night 1676—King Philip War.
Fired upon Indians, not caring to risk an engagement, retreated toward Acushnet.
Looking to the left opposite side of road, over the open field, after leaving the Nelson homestead (quite a long way over) are the houses of Morgan Rotch and Albion Brownell. They are on the Highland Road, and near Long Pond.
Stream of water connecting Assawampsett with Long Pond. Small boats can go from one pond to the other.
Captain Church’s men were first fired upon—1676—while crossing this brook. No one was struck by bullets of the Indians.
Foundation of Sampson’s Tavern. Notice fine old elms planted by Uriah Sampson in 1810. Hammered stone front foundation and front steps.
Around wooded point at right is Betty’s Neck. Indian name of Betty-Assawetough.
Nelson’s grove with cottages at the right, head of pond.
Highland Road—Old name Shingle Street—to Beech Woods—Canedys corner to County Road and to New Bedford.
After leaving Highland Road, across an open field, at the left, see a round hill, with flag pole. “King Philip’s Lookout,” also “Sugar Loaf Mountain.”
From here the Indian Patuxson saw Sassamon; Indian preacher, pastor of Church head of Sampson’s cove, slain on the ice, winter of 1675 under orders of King Philip.
Further to the right beyond the Lookout mountain see a water tower. The commencement of a sailor’s home, project given up. A private enterprise, not a state affair.
Taunton water plant. Assawampsett, Long Pond, supplies the city of Taunton.
On the right, just beyond water station fence, opposite side of road, on high knoll, Sassamon’s church location, later, same place.
Pond meeting house—4th Baptist church in Middleboro completed in 1797. Burned about 1870.
Lakeville Town House. At the left, foundation of King Philips Tavern formerly Captain Amos Washburn’s house. Burned in 1919.
Road past foundation old stage road to Boston.
Lakeville Town Library built in part from money furnished by Andrew Carnegie.
Assawampsett school house.
Road past Library and town house, turnpike of 1807, straight past present Lakeville station to Bridgewater.
On the left, old house belonging to Sampson family. Father of Horatio Sampson. A different line from the tavern Sampson.
On the right, second white house on high ground brother of Henry Willis of New Bedford. His father-in-law was the Isaac Sampson who owned this large tract of land. Keeper of Sampson’s tavern “Briggs & Sampson” One of the five old men of the Sampson family. Lived to be 92, died in 1919.
On the left line of low buildings, some little distance from the road: the duck houses of the duck farm of Mr. Conklin, who ships thousands of pounds of ducks each year to Boston.
On the left a large French roofed house, slate roof, built by Mr. Hopkins formerly a shoe manufacturer in New Bedford, later owned by Mr. Eldridge Cushman at one time on the Governor’s Council, now the residence of Mr. Conklin who owns the duck farm.
Upper four corners south west corner, Mr. Higgins store. In 1800 largest store in Middleboro was on opposite corner. This was expected to be the future center of Middleboro.
Road to the right, about two miles to pond, where Pamantaquash and Watuspaquin (father and son) chiefs of the Namasket tribe of Indians had their Wigwam in time of Massasoit & King Philip.
Chester Weston, trustee and manager of the great Peiree estate has his summer home on that location.
Road to the left past Clear Pond and to Old Rhode Island and Lakeville station, and to Myricks.
On the right, near the “Upper Four,” so called, an old hipped roof house, grandfather of Dr. Paun, was the old owner.
On left, Lakeville Sanitarium, state institution, for the tubercular patients, about 10 years old. Note flowers, garden etc. besides modern hospital beds.
Beyond sanitarium, sandy road comes in to Main Road at the left. Old Indian Trail from Mt. Hope came in here and follows the main road through center of Middleboro to Plymouth.
Masasoit, King Philip and their braves strode down this road one foot before the other.
“Court End” on either side of road the finest residence in town. Has always been a center of wealth and culture.
Old Morton’s house, a famous old building was in the center of road when it was straightened. Unfortunately torn down.
Business center, High school. Town hall, Congregationalist church painted white, New Unitarian church, opposite Baptist church, at the rear, on old foundation, new since a fire.
After passing principal corner, banks, etc. on the left, hotel on the right, Y.M.C.A.
On the right long wooden building columns in center. Most unique building in town. Store in 1833. Colonel Peter Peirce former owner, very able business man. Owned large tracts of land and houses. Five sons. From this store as headquarters, three generations, built up a fortune, the bulk of which, said to be between eight and nine hundred thousand dollars, was given to three trustees for the benefit of the town. Chester Weston, George Stetson, Attorney Georg. Peter Peirce requested his sons to give to the town some of their money, because it came from the town. The last of the Pierce brothers. Complied with his father’s request and left his fortune to the town of Middleboro. The family is now extinct.
Former home of Peirce family, large yellow house nearly opposite store. Library given by Mr. Walter Peirce opposite store.
Dr. Putnams church. Lower Green about 1830. Fine old black walnut pulpit, square pews, with doors, Congregational church.
Parsonage next building, same side, still used as parsonage as when Dr. Putnam and his fifteen children occupied it.
Opposite side of road, where now is a low newly shingled house, the site of the old Sproats Tavern. Was an inn for two centuries. Owner ardent patriot in 1776 posted sign, no English sympathizer entertained here (something to that effect.) Benjamin Franklin and many famous men stopped here.
Note No. 1—
E. G. and his brother H. A. Pratt cordially invites the company to examine the fine workmanship of the store, fine old black walnut counters, etc. The Pratt Brothers successors to the “Peirce boys” and formerly employed by them, continue the business under same name. P. H. Peirce & Co.
P. H. Peirce was the Colonel Peter before mentioned. We are indebted to Messrs. Pratt for the information concerning the Peirce family and business. The wife of the present pastor of Dr. Putnam’s church also would be pleased to show the interior of the church to the Pilgrims of 1921.
Note No. 2—
Major Levi Peirce founder of the fortune and family, kept a store at Upper Four corners in 1798. Moved to Middleboro, kept a store there, son Colonel Peter, or Major Levi Peirce built the Peirce academy which at one time, under Professor Jenks, had 400 pupils coming from all parts of the country. Many New Bedford boys were educated here. The Peirces were the chief supporters of the Baptist Church.
The “old Peirce store” contained as great a variety of goods as any department store today. It was almost a joke—what could be found there. A wager of a silk hat was offered that one could not ask for any article of merchandise and be refused. The bet was taken. A pulpit was called for. It so happened that a church was being torn down somewhere near, and Mr. Peirce secured the old pulpit and had it stored on the premises. Their old books show that the store inventory in 1838 was $48,000.
The Pilgrimage to Plymouth
by Herbert E. Cushman
July 11, 1921
The members of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society who took the trip to Plymouth went to the Antiquarian House, formerly the Lothrop House, where they were received by Mrs. George R. Briggs, formerly Miss Helen Taber. About half past five the company rode around the town center to the Cemetery Hill.
It was a daily custom during the summer to form a procession to Burial Hill, where some person, generally a clergyman delivered a discourse compiled from extracts from Pilgrim writings.
Singing of two hymns from the original hymnal of Plymouth Colony, a copy of which is owned by Mr. Arthur Lord, completed the exercises.
It had been arranged by the Committee that on the present occasion the usual program should be followed and that Herbert E. Cushman, President of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society should deliver the discourse. When the hour had arrived Mr. Cushman spoke as follows:
“As a mark of reverence and respect for those who three hundred years ago worshipped in this spot, let us have a few moments of silence.”
* * *
“In the course of Robert Cushman’s short residence of a month at Plymouth in 1621, he delivered a discourse from 1 Cor. X. 24, on the sin and danger of self love.”
He then delivered an abstract of the same sermon, presumably on the spot where it was first presented three centuries before. It was a unique distinction accorded to Mr. Cushman to represent his ancestor in this important feature of the great celebration.
Before a company of Pilgrim descendents, dressed in the habiliments of their ancestors, Herbert E. Cushman stood on the brow of Burial Hill in Plymouth yesterday and read the sermon delivered by the Rev. Robert Cushman near the same spot in 1621. Behind him was the monument bearing the name of his ancestor of nine generations past: before him a company dressed as those who listened to the identical sermon 300 years ago.
Fifty members of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society made the pilgrimage by automobile to Plymouth yesterday and took part in the daily Pilgrim’s Progress ceremony enacted in that town. All wearing the costume of Pilgrim days, they climbed the hill, and were met at the top, as is the custom, by Mr. Cushman.
The scene was most impressive. The historical spot, the little band of pilgrims who might have risen up from the graves on that memorial hill and the words of the sermon delivered in impressive tones, all contributed to produce the atmosphere of the days of the early settlers.
Three old hymns were sung, and a short period of silence preceded the sermon.
The route from New Bedford was over the bridge, out Huttleston Avenue, north on Adams Street and via the Acushnet Road to the Parting Ways schoolhouse, thence west to Lunds Corner and then to the north via the Quittacas ponds and by Sampson’s and King Philip’s Tavern, to Middleboro. Passing through Middleboro Four Corners the route lay through Carver and thence to Plymouth, going first to the hill to see the monument, thence to Plymouth Rock and then up Leyden Street to the Unitarian Church. While the cars were parked at the foot of Cemetery Hill, the party proceeded up Burial Hill, and there where the Pilgrims defended themselves during the winter of 1620 and where the first church was erected, the New Bedford pilgrims held a brief service. President Cushman read a portion of the sermon of Robert Cushman delivered on this spot so many years ago.
The return was made through Manomet via Sagamore, and the canal. The party making up the pilgrimage included: Mr. and Mrs. Herbert E. Cushman, Mrs. Helen E. Smith, Miss Patty Wilcox, Miss Mary Bradford, Harry L. Pope, Miss Rosamond Clifford, Elmore P. Haskins, Mr. and Mrs. J. Henry Smead, Miss Helen L. Hadley, Mr. and Mrs. Charles T. Bonney, Edmund Wood, H. A. Neyland, Miss Maria E. Maxfield, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Parker, Mrs. David B. Kempton, Mrs. Charles R. Price, Mrs. William S. Gifford, Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Howes, Dr. A. L. Shockley and Mrs. Shockley, Miss Helen Watson, Mrs. William N. Swift, Edward L. Macomber, Mrs. Abbott P. Smith, C. P. Ashley, Miss Ella F. Ivers, Miss Ella Read, Mr. and Mrs. George H. Tripp, Miss Anna C. Ricketson, Mrs. Frank Wood, Roland A. Leonard, A. B. Crowell, Miss Anna M. DeWolf, Francis T. Hammond.
President Cushman presided at the meeting in the Jonathan Bourne Museum before the pilgrimage. The ceremony which was later witnessed in Plymouth was described in a paper read by Mrs. William N. Swift.
By Elmore P. Haskins
One hundred and seventy-five years ago before the Eagle Tavern, later known as Sampson’s Tavern, opened its hospitable doors, there was a hostelry near Assawampsett pond.
The name of the proprietor was Pamantaquash, chief of the local tribe of Indians and a favorite Sachem of Massasoit.
Assawampsett was the Indian name for “the place of the white stone.”
When Massasoit went to visit his new found friends at Plymouth to sign the famous treaty, he doubtless consulted with Pamantaquash, dined on his samp, nokake and kippered herring.
After Massasoit came Philip; after Pamantaquash came Tuspaquin in the early deeds spelled Tispiquin, also called Watuspaquin,
He also entertained Princesses and kings, for one day the Indians who lived near King Philip’s lookout, and what later became known as Betty’s Neck, and near Sampson’s Cove, were bidden to a wedding feast. Tuspaquin had married into the royal family and had chosen for his bride Princess Amie, daughter of Massasoit, the daughter of a king. With painted faces, adorned with feathers, beads and wampum belts, their weird cries resounding through the forest they danced their wedding dance before the wigwam of their chief.
Friendly to Whites
Massasoit and Pamantaquash were kindred spirits; both were friendly to the whites. Philip and Tuspaquin, their sons, were also one in temperament and in motive, but they hated the settlers and together planned their extermination. Tuspaquin was a cruel savage and was one of Philip’s most efficient chieftains in King Philip’s War. He was captured, taken to Plymouth, tried and executed. Tuspaquin pond and Squin brook perpetuate his name.
Daniel Ricketson writes, “Our river takes its rise in a richly wooded dell about ten miles from New Bedford and for some distance on its course is known by the humble name of Squin’s brook, so-called from Watuspaquin a noted Sachem of the Nemasket or Middleboro Indians.
In 1673, Tuspaquin and his son, William, gave to one John Sassamon, an Indian, 27 acres of land for a home lot at “Assawampsett Neck.” Dec. 23, 1673, Tuspaquin and his son “with the consent of the chief men of Assawampsett” gave to Assawetough, daughter of John Sassamon, 58 acres of land adjacent.
The settlers changed the name “Assawetough” to the English name “Betty.” To this day, the land not far from Sampson’s Tavern is known as Betty’s Neck.
A Noted Preacher
The Indian, John Sassamon, was the most noted and eloquent preacher of his day. He had studied at Harvard and had assisted the Rev. John Elliot in translating the Bible into the Indian tongue. He had written letters for Philip at Mt. Hope and was pastor of the Indian church at Assawampsett, at the head of Sampson’s Cove.
Philip believed that Sassamon was informing the authorities at Plymouth of the plans that he was developing for the annihilation of the Colonists, and ordered his destruction.
One winter day in 1675, when Sassamon was fishing through the ice in Sampson’s Cove, three Indians approached him. We can almost hear the conversation, with the courteous replies of the preacher regarding his success. We see them count the pickerel in the basket beside him. We see the stealthy savage step behind Sassamon and the foul blow that ended his life. These emissaries of Philip then concealed the body under the ice. There was, however, an actual witness to this deed, for a friendly Indian named Patuckson saw the tragedy.
Saw It from Lookout
A little way up Highland Road, the north boundary of the tavern land, is a hill known as King Philip’s Lookout. It was from this eminence that Patuckson saw the deed, and so testified in the courts at Plymouth. A jury composed of 12 whites and five Indians, pronounced the prisoners guilty. Two were hanged; one upon confession was reprieved.
The execution of these two Indians so enraged Philip that he began his war of extermination a year sooner than he had intended.
One other event associates the tavern with King Philip’s War.
South of the farm is a small stream of water that connects Assawampsett or Great Pond with Long Pond. Captain Benjamin Church, of Dartmouth, with his 40 men, 22 of whom were Indians, were fired upon at dusk one night, while crossing this brook. They chased their assailants into the swamp where in the gathering darkness the Indians escaped. Captain Church encamped that night on the farm of the late Sidney Nelson, in front of whose former residence is the sign “Nelson Homestead. 1714.”
Later they were again fired upon by the scouts of Tuspaquin, and, not caring to risk an engagement, retired in the night toward Acushnet.
To the credit of the settlers of the towns of Middleboro and Taunton, be it said, that because of their humane treatment of the natives, King Philip ordered that the inhabitants of these towns should be the last to be destroyed.
After the close of the war, during which every dwelling and nearly every building in Middleboro had been destroyed, the former settlers gradually returned. On June 27, 1677, 68 of the former inhabitants and landowners, “proprietors of the town of Middleberry” at a meeting in Plymouth, “agreed to make such orders and conclusions as may hopefully have a tendency unto the laying a foundation of a towne and pious society in that place.”
Six years before King Philip’s War, Middleboro had separated from the town of Plymouth and in 1669 had become an independent township.
Its first town clerk was William Hoskins (now spelled Haskins), who held the office for 24 years. There was a salary attached for his record reads: “The town hath agreed that their Clarke shall have a load of fish (herring) brought to his field at Lakenham, at their charge, for his services the year past and so yearly as long as he remains their Clarke and to be brought in season.”
Two hundred and fifty years afterwards his descendent, William Haskins held an important public office in the town of Middleboro, having first served 12 years as selectman and having been elected for three successive terms as a member of the Legislature.
After the destruction caused by King Philip’s War, the towns to whose foundation the 68 proprietors looked forward with so “hopeful a tendency” grew slowly. It was 120 years after the proprietors agreed “to make their orders and conclusions” before the tavern, or “ordinary” as it was then called, was opened by Elias Sampson, in 1798.
By 1770 this part of the town had increased in population more rapidly than any other portion, and had a large number of substantial houses of Colonial type. By 1800 it had more inhabitants than the present center of the town of Middleboro had at that date.
In the diary of Miss Rebecca Scollay we find:
“I remember my first visit to where is now the village of Four Corners.
Not a House There Then.
“There was not a house there then, there was several houses scattered on the way between there and Muttock village. “Morton town was quite a neighborhood with a goodly number of houses. There was a tavern there, kept by Mr. Levi Wood and called Wood’s Tavern.
“There was also a hall at the Morton house where the young used to assemble and have their dances and winter pastimes.
“This in 1775! It is hard to realize that the enterprising and flourishing center of the town was then a densely wooded tract with a few houses at Court End.” (Weston’s History).
The Morton house was built soon after King Philip’s War of 1676 and torn down in 1868 when it interfered with the straightening of the road.
It was not considered strong enough to be moved to a new location.
The lumber, however, was used in the construction of houses on Crossman Street, as was the sound old timbers of the Pilgrim fort employed in the building of the Harlow house, still standing, in Plymouth, on Sandwich Street.
What a shrine this “venerable pile” would have made for the descendants of the Morton family, or a museum for the town of Middleboro, with the furniture of the period in its ancient rooms, the old ornaments upon its walls, and the simple furnishings in the attic, which was once occupied by the slaves belonging to its earlier owners.
The Sampsons were among the prosperous men of the colony from its very beginning. Henry Sampson, who came over in the Mayflower, was assigned land in 1623 and cattle in 1627. He owned a share in the “sixteen shilling purchase” when nearly all of the present town of Lakeville was bought for $267.
Purchased by Mile
We buy land by the rod and are assessed by the foot. Henry Sampson and his associates purchased their land by the mile.
In 1669, with three others he bought a tract, one and one half miles in length and one-half mile in breadth, this deed reads in part: “To all to whom these presents shall come. Wee, Tispiquin, alias Black Sachem, and William, Sonne of said Tispiquin, Indian Sachems, send greetings. We do acknowledge ourselves Jointly and Severally payed and fully Sattisfide.”
The line ran: “One and one-half mile from ye sd Dartmouth path into the woods and from ye said path to extend home to aforesaid pond wch pond is to be the bounds of one end of sd land.”
Sproat’s tavern, which entertained its guests for two centuries, and Putnam’s Meeting House, nearby, were built on the land covered by this deed.
It contains the marks of Tispiquin—William his Sonne—The Samuel—Danniell ye Indian: the mark of old Harry ye Indian, not the first, nor the last time the Old Harry has made his mark and was signed by Wm. Crowe. Possibly the William Crowe whose tablet is the second oldest original stone on burial Hill.
Abraham Sampson, who came over in 1630, was probably a brother of Henry, who came in l620.
He was surveyor of the Colony of highways, constable, freeman of the Colony in 1654. He had five children. His grandson, Isaac, was the father of 11 children. His son, Uriah, father of Elias, who opened the tavern in 1798, also had 11 children.
Born Tavern Keepers
This particular branch of the Sampson family were born tavern-keepers. They possessed that happy combination of genial, attractive personality combined with business ability that makes the tavern-keeper a success.
Their inn was not only popular, but its fine reputation reflected the high character of its proprietors.
The opening was an event in the neighborhood. The stage coaches had commenced to run daily between New Bedford and Boston the year before. The new Pond church was in a flourishing condition. This new venture was an added stimulus to the prosperity of this growing section of the town. Mr. Sampson’s friends and neighbors looked forward to the long winter evenings with games of checkers; to neighborhood gossip over their pipes and cider; and to seeing frequent copies of Boston and New Bedford papers. The soldiers in the neighborhood anticipated the pleasure of comparing experiences in the late war; for the War of the Revolution had ended but seven years before. Some had been in Captain Washburn’s company of eight officers and 49 men, who enlisted from this section of the town for the relief of New Bedford when, in September, 1778, it was invaded by the British and its shipping and many of its buildings were burned.
An Old Advertisement
There is an old advertisement which reads: “New Bedford stage sets off from Waltons and Gales, Bloomfield Lane, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 4 A. M., and arrives at New Bedford at 4 P. M.; leaves New Bedford, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 A. M. and arrives in Boston at 4 P. M.”
Mr. Abraham Russell’s daily line of coaches ran upon the same scheduled time, except that they left New Bedford at four o’clock in the morning instead of 5 A. M.
The stages would arrive at “Sampson’s” in time for a substantial breakfast; returning they would reach the tavern about noon time. The distance from New Bedford to Sampson’s tavern was 14 miles; 52 to Boston. The fare was three dollars each way.
It was on these coaches that the first four-horse hitch ever seen in New Bedford was used. Mrs. Russell had seen such a team in Philadelphia, her native place, and the harnesses were made under her supervision, (Ricketson’s History).
These were the days of small things, there were but 4,361 inhabitants in New Bedford in 1800. But our population gradually increased; there was more and more travel between the two cities, not only by public stage but by private conveyances.
The fine location of this tavern overlooking the largest body of fresh water in the State; ifs broad expanse fringed with forest trees, the white cliffs gleaming in the sunlight on the farther shore, formed a picture that delighted its patrons. It was first known as the Eagle Tavern, and an iron eagle, still preserved, was fastened to an elm free in front of the inn. This may have been made from iron taken from the ore bed in the pond, about a third of a mile from the shore, in front of the present Taunton pumping station. It is recorded that 500 tons of ore a year were lifted by tongs into boats later to be carted to iron furnaces in Middleboro and adjoining towns. This ore was superior in quality to the “bog ore” obtained from the swamps in the town.
Sampson’s was always a sportsman’s tavern. Daniel Webster was an occasional guest and fished on Assawampsett Pond. There were plenty of fish in the pond and plenty of game in the woods. Fox hunters, bird hunters, rabbit hunters gathered there.
In the cool autumn evenings through the smoke of the corn cob pipes, we can see the tired hunting dogs stretched out before the fireplace; we see the mugs of cider in a row upon the hearth. The number of quail and rabbits, the result of the day’s sport, is counted over. After the mugs of mulled cider are emptied, the perch and pickerel caught during the day increase greatly in size, and somewhat in number. One tremendous fish, the largest in the pond, was hooked but got away! It was ever thus since the memory of man runneth not back thereto.
In 1807, a road was opened which insured the success of the tavern for more than a half a century. It was the Turnpike from New Bedford to Boston. This was built in part by a corporation and ran north from the Lakeville town house nearly in a straight line to Bridgewater, then through Abington and Weymouth to Boston. It ran south of the town house past the tavern nearly straight to the Rochester line. Road history reveals that wages were low in Middleboro in 1807.
Ten Cents an Hour
“The town meeting voted to allow for a man 10 cents, a yoke of oxen 10 cents per hour for all work done on the highways and bridges before the first day of July next.—after that period seven cents per hour.”
We fancy that Mr. Sampson, with a vision of prosperous days before him celebrated the opening of the turnpike with a dinner, given to his friends and neighbors and some of the officials and stockholders of the corporation.
Among the guests were General Ephraim Ward, whose former home, still standing, had its walls covered in part with two and a half inch oak plank, to form a garrison house against attacks from the Indians, and, later, adorned with panels from the celebrated “Oliver Hall,” burned by the patriots of Middleboro, Nov. 7, 1778, because Judge Oliver, its owner, their wealthiest and most influential citizen used all his influence in favor of the King.
Captain Amos Washburn, who owned the Washburn house, which later became known as King Philip’s Tavern, was invited; also Major Levi Peirce, to whom was due more than to any other citizen the choice of the location and the early development of the present center of the town of Middleboro. He was founder of the Peirce Academy, celebrated as having had at one time more than 400 pupils coming from all parts of the country.
He, with his brother, Colonel Peter H. Peirce, laid the foundation of the fortune by which their town receives the income of a legacy of more than a half million and enjoys the benefits of a library for which a hundred thousand dollars was given.
The Pastor Was There
In early days in order to obtain a license, a tavern must be located near a meeting house. Elder Ebenezer Briggs, pastor of the Pond Meeting House, of course, was there. These were among the guests of honor who sat above the salt.
We see the Canedys, coming from Canedy’s Corner, “Beach Woods.” They also served in the Revolutionary War. Their father was a famous fighter. He was made captain for holding a fort against superior numbers in the French and Indian War. His epitaph reads in part:
“Silent the warrior lies: he shall no more
Scourge the wild natives on the eastern shore.”
Ben Simon was looking after the horses. He also was a Revolutionary soldier. A simple granite shaft records the fact that he was “the last male of the native Indians of Middleboro.”
The Montgomerys, the McCullys, the Pickenses, the Strobridges, the Mc Cumbers, and many more of the representatives of the town were present.
Colonel Ebenezer Sproat’s tavern, Middleboro, may have sent flowers to adorn the tables of his new competitor, but it is not a matter of record.
We can see the tables loaded with fish caught by the Indians on Betty’s Neck, the venison from Plymouth woods, the quail and partridges, with wild cranberries for sauce. The bread was made from white wheat used only on festive occasions, or when the minister was coming to tea, and there was plenty of apple butter.
The president of the turnpike company was curiously examining the Indian relics in the little cupboards built into the walls, when Mr. Sampson came down from the attic with bottles, contents unknown, taken from a secret closet, covered by a slide, and opened by touching a secret spring. (In later alterations these cupboards and the closet were preserved and remained as a part of the original structure).
There was plenty of cider, for in 1781, 2,144 barrels were recorded as having been made in the town. To add to the supply of drinkables there were l8 “distil houses” in operation.
The light of the candles from the sconces on the walls shone down upon the ruddy faces of the farmers, who, in their homespun best, with keen appetites, joined with the officials of the road in drinking to the long life of the host, the success of the turnpike venture and to the prosperity of Eagle Tavern.
With the opening of this new road, the patronage of the tavern gradually increased to such an extent that several additions were made to the original structure.
The first building was the central portion, and was later extended to the south and to the rear. In 1835 the large north part was added. When completed it had two dining rooms, which, together, would seat 100 guests. There was a summer and a winter kitchen. The lower floor of the last addition was used to entertain large parties and for dancing. In the second story were nine fine sleeping rooms.
There were three barns on the premises; one on the shore side of the road contained stalls for 30 horses.
Besides the daily stage, at one period seven baggage wagons each week, transporting merchandise between the two cities, stopped here.
What stories the stage drivers told, in the bar room and in the barn for 30 horses: Of August suns beating down upon the roof of the coach, of tile dusty, weary passengers within, of the thirsty, sweating horses straining to reach the tavern at the breakfast hour. They told of wintery winds sweeping across the pond, of benumbed hands and aching feet; of snow-blocked roads, when the only approach to the tavern was on the ice at the edge of the pond; of the sad day when the coach broke through and the driver and a passenger were drowned.
A Brighter Side
There was a brighter side to their story, for they told of the cordial daily greetings of Elias, Elias Jr., Charles, or Uriah, proprietors through 54 years. They spoke of the pleasant days in May, or in the bright September weather, when they could hear their passengers chattering pleasantly together; making new friends, discussing the news of the day with their fellow travelers, as so graphically described to us by William W. Crapo. With a favored passenger beside him on his seat, the long road shortened and the driver’s task lost its sense of labor.
The baggage wagon horses could have told the story; for them no trotting smartly to the tavern door for a quick exchange of horses, but of pulling heavy loads over the long sandy roads, urged on by cruel whips and harsh words, with only an occasional rest in the comfortable stalls of the tavern barns.
These were the days when the tavern was full of guests. New Bedford was seeing prosperous whaling days and Sampson’s was the scene of many a frolic. The husking bees and the quilting bees of the earlier times gave way to dancing and wedding feasts, there were skating and sleighing parties. Instead of the beads and wampum belts, and the wedding dance in the open air before the wigwams of the Indians; these dances, the men in broadcloth coats, the ladies in gowns of silk, ornamental with beads and rings of gold, lasted the long nights through, dancing the waxened floor, to the music of violins.
A former bell boy tells of hurrying up the stairs, carrying refreshments to the guests, when one of the row of bells in the bar room rang; of setting pins in the bowling alley and of stepping nimbly aside when they all went crashing down before a well directed ball; of the days when the circus halted there, the circus men, the trained animals and the horses, filling the tavern and barns, to the profit of the tavern-keeper and to the delight of all the boys around.
Rowing by Moonlight
There was rowing by moonlight on the pond; sailing parties were in vogue. To row over and see the Indians on the Indian shore was a never failing entertainment for the tavern guests. The Indians would sell their brooms and ornamental baskets; dressed in native costumes they would show their treasures and their ornaments and boast of their ancestry.
When the tavern was first opened there were 13 families, with about 49 persons, in all, on Betty’s Neck. They raised corn and rye. The women were employed as domestic servants, the men worked on the farms. They were employees, friends, and neighbors of Sampson’s for two generations.
There were Squins and Felixes on Bettys Neck: Squins for the grandson of the Tuspaquin who assisted in the murder of Sassamon, the preacher, married Sassamon’s granddaughter. There were Felixes, for before his death Sassamon had given a deed of his 27 acre home lot to his son-in-law, Felix, and in 1679 Governor Winslow at Plymouth confirmed the title.
About 30 years ago Zervia Mitchell, and her two daughters, Charlotte and Melinda, came to occupy the four acres, all that remain of the 85 acres, gifts of Watuspaquin.
Melinda’s Indian name was Teweeleema. In full Indian costume, accompanied by her mother, she would occasionally come to New Bedford and sell her baskets on Purchase and Union Streets.
Last Descendant of Massasoit
Three hundred years after the landing of the Pilgrims, Charlotte Mitchell, the last descendant of Massasoit, living on Assawampsett Neck rehearses Indian tradition and Indian lore to her visitors, and appears at historic and other functions in Middleboro to show adults and children how Indian women appeared when her ancestors roamed the forests, paddled their canoes on Assawampsett Pond and owned their town.
The land on which Sampson’s Tavern once stood was sold by Thomas Foster to Uriah Sampson by deed dated July 8, 1768. The road on which Uriah Sampson lived was first known as Alden Hill; John Alden owned land here in 1679; also named Shingle Street, for it passed a shingle mill; later called Shockley Hill, renamed by the town, Highland Road.
Thirty years after his father purchased this tract of land, his son, Elias, built the building, and opened a tavern, 1798. Elias senior, continued as its keeper for 23 years; his son, Elias junior, succeeded him, followed by his brothers, Charles and Uriah.
After remaining in the family for more than 50 years, the business was sold to Levi Newcomb Jr. in 1852. He was followed by Abner Barrows; then by Isaac Sampson and Samuel Briggs, under the name of Briggs and Sampson; later by Samuel Briggs; and Henry B. Carpenter.
The tavern was closed in 1869.
Henry B. Carpenter sold it to Josephine Perry, wife of Eben Perry of New Bedford, by deed dated June 28, 1870. It was used as a summer home by Eben Perry and his son, Arthur E. Perry, attorney, for nearly 40 years. The city of Taunton obtained title Sept. 8, 1911, the land being a part of the water shed from which that city obtains water, the buildings were removed.
Had Vivid Recollections
One of the later proprietors who was 92 years old in 1919, had vivid recollections of watching the stage coach unloading its passengers and seeing them hurrying to the ample dining rooms of the inn. In 1846 he had heard the whistle of an engine and listened to its warning bell. He had heard the rumble of the railroad train carrying the tavern guests swiftly and comfortably to Boston town.
He had watched the business gradually decline. He may have seen the coach horses slacken their traces for the last time before the tavern steps, and the driver with his long whip come down from his lofty seat.
The coaches and the baggage wagons with which the leaders and the pole horses struggled for 50 long years in sunshine and in rain disappeared forever from the old stage road.
New Bedford people have always been interested in Sampson’s Tavern and in the country surrounding it. About 1855 Captain John Cendworth purchased the Nelson homestead for a permanent residence. Mayor Botch built a substantial residence near Highland Road. Mrs. William Cook for years had a residence there. Many of our citizens have owned cottages and spent their summer near Assawampsett Pond.
Today, only the foundations of the tavern remain. Standing upon them, the same broad, beautiful view is before us that delighted Sassamon, the Indian scholar: the same outlook that in 1676 was scanned by King Philip from his lofty hill, and, at an earlier day, by Massasoit and Pamantaquash.
And now, around the point to the right, a lone Indian woman, descendant of Massasoit, dreams of the age when her ancestors heard the Great Spirit calling them in the rustling leaves and in the moving wind-swept waters that since the beginning of her race had laved her shore.
The writer is indebted for much of the material contained in this paper to the History of the Town of Middleboro, by Thomas Weston, of the Suffolk Bar; and to Mr. Chester Weston of Middleboro, whose summer home is on the land where Tuspaquin had his wigwam and who is an authority on local and Indian history.