Object of the Month: April 2015 – April 1775 Muster Roll of Hanson Soldiers who Marched on Marshfield

240 years ago, the “shot heard ’round the world” launched the famous battles of Lexington and Concord. Less well-known is a battle that almost came to pass at Marshfield, Massachusetts, where Plymouth County soldiers gathered to fight in the aftermath of Lexington and Concord.

Word of the fighting at Lexington and Concord had reached Plymouth County via messengers on horseback by the afternoon of April 19th, 1775. The majority of towns in Plymouth County, including Pembroke (whose west parish later became Hanson) had Patriot sympathies, and many of them immediately gathered their local militias in response. But Lexington and Concord, thirty some-odd miles away, was not the main concern of Plymouth County residents. They had a threat much closer to home: Three months earlier, in January 1775, Marshfield, the only Loyalist center in the area, had invited a British regiment of over one hundred soldiers to lodge in the town. This was in part due to events which culminated in the fall of 1774, when a mob said to include more than 2,000 Plymouth County Patriots gathered in Marshfield to protest Loyalist Nathaniel Ray Thomas. Thomas escaped to Boston in advance of the mob, narrowly missing a possible attack on his life and estate. Marshfield therefore held the unique position of being the only town in Massachusetts, besides Boston, to be occupied by British troops for a substantial period of time before the Revolutionary War began. The presence of the British soldiers in Marshfield, led by Captain Nesbit Balfour, only served to increase tension in Plymouth County between January and April 1775.

Plymouth’s Theophilus Cotton led the Plymouth County patriot regiment. He gathered the various town militias at Duxbury, allowing both the 19th and 20th to pass without direct action against Marshfield, hoping to either allow more time for additional town militias to gather, or to allow time to see if the British soldiers would simply return to their larger force at Boston. On April 21st, Cotton led the Plymouth County soldiers near the British garrison at Marshfield, and it was estimated by noon on that day that Cotton had 500 soldiers compared to Balfour’s 100. But still Cotton waited. Kingston’s Captain Peleg Wadsworth “greatly dissatisfied by the delay”, drew his men within firing range of the garrison, but felt his numbers were too small to fire on the British.

With additional Plymouth County soldiers gathering around the British garrison, the dramatic siege quickly ended when it was revealed that Capt. Balfour and his soldiers were picked up by boats and brought to Boston. It was later rumored that Balfour claimed “that if he had been attacked, he should have surrendered without a gun”. Although Capt. Wadsworth and many of the Plymouth County soldiers were ready for a fight, no blood was shed at Marshfield that day, compared to the battles at Concord and Lexington in which the colonists suffered the deaths of 49, wounding of 39, and five who were missing, as well as the British who lost 73 soldiers, and had 174 soldiers injured and 26 missing.

49 men from the West Parish of Pembroke gathered under the leadership of Captain James Hatch of Pembroke and joined the march on Marshfield. They served from April 19th until the 29th of April, a total of 11 days. After the hasty departure of the British soldiers from Marshfield to Boston, they left behind supplies which the Plymouth County soldiers confiscated. Patrols were then established to determine that the British would not be returning to their garrison, located on the Nathaniel Ray Thomas estate in Marshfield (later purchased by Daniel Webster). Below is a transcription of Captain James Hatch’s muster roll for his men’s service. The Hanson men were not provided a salary for their service until almost a year later, on 14 March 1776, just as the siege of Boston was coming to an end.

Muster Roll of a Company in Minute Men that Marched from the West Parish of Pembroke to Scituate and Marshfield, on the Alarm of 19th of April, 1775.

Length of service 19 April to 29 April, 11 days.

Captain [£6 per month]. James Hatch.

Lieutenants [£2.8 per month]. Consider Cole, 1st Lieutenant[£4 per month]. Eleazer Hamblin, 2nd Lieutenant [£3 10 s per month].

Sergeant [£2.4 per month]. Caleb Howland, Thomas Fuller, Nathaniel Thomas, Seth Phillips.

Corporals. Daniel Crooker, Samuel Howland, Ephraim Briggs, Lyons Tsar.

Musicians. Ezekiel Bonney, fifer. Isaac Wade, drummer.

Privates [£2 per month]. Increase Robinson, Isaac Beals, Seth Perry, William Cox Jr., Isaac Moore, Isaac Phillips, Christopher Phillips, John Stutson, Isaac Bonney, Reuben Clark, Elijah Cushing 3d, Daniel Child, Eleazer Bisby, David Beals, Leonard Hill, Benjamin Munroe, Thomas Lincoln, Lot Phillips, Ephraim Lindsy, Abraham Josselyn Jr., William Bonney, William Gould, Benjamin Guilliam, Seth Cox, Africa Hamblin, Alexander Soper, Daniel Garnet Jr., William Hayford, Richard Baker Jr., Hezekiah Pearce, Samuel Harden, Jonathan Bonney, Abijah Levett, Gershom Ramsdall, Samuel Gorham, Charles Jewett, Tilden Crooker.

Citation: R. G. Carter, “Muster Roll of a Company in Minute Men that Marched from the West Parish of Pembroke to Scituate and Marshfield, on the Alarm of 19th of April, 1775”, Putnam’s Monthly Historical Magazine and Magazine of New England, Vol. 4 No. 1 (January 1896): 23-24.

1775 Hanson Muster Roll 1

1775 Hanson Muster Roll 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: July 2014 – Pembroke’s Copy of the Declaration of Independence

 

LifeLibertyPursuit

Centuries before the 24/7 news cycle and instant access to global events, do you know how the American colonists came to learn that independence from England had been declared by the Continental Congress? On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to declare independence and formed the new nation of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and edited by Congressional members, was written to provide an explanation for why Congress chose to vote for the revolutionary decision, and the document was ratified two days later on July 4, 1776. After its ratification, Congress ordered the publication of a broadside containing the text of the declaration and arranged for its distribution throughout the colonies. Since the date published on the broadside was July 4, 1776, that date came to represent Independence Day. John Adams, however, wanted July 2nd – the date of the vote – to represent the celebration of Independence Day.

 

The broadsides were distributed far and wide by messengers on horseback and copied in newspapers in all thirteen states. John Hancock sent a broadside to George Washington, who read it to his army at New York on 9 July 1776. The news distributed throughout the newly formed states during the month of July and reached England by August 1776.

 

Massachusetts Provincial Congressman Richard Derby Jr. ordered the following directive for the Declaration of Independence’s distribution in Massachusetts:

 

Ordered that the Declaration of Independence Be Printed and a Copy Sent to the minister of Each Parish of Every Denomination Within this State and that they Severaly [sic] Be Required to Read the Same to their Respective Congregations as Soon as Devine Service is ended in the afternoon on the First Lord’s Day after they shall have Received it and after such Publication thereof to Deliver the said Declaration to the Clerks of the Several Towns or Districts who are Hereby Required to Record the Same in the Respective Town or District Books there to Remain as a Perpetual memorial thereof in the name and By order of the council.

 

From Pembroke, Massachusetts' copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

From Pembroke, Massachusetts’ copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

 

Richard Derby Jr.’s order that the Declaration of Independence be sent, read, and recorded by each Massachusetts town ensured that each community gathered together to learn that they were no longer British colonists, but citizens of the United States of America. Derby’s father, Richard Derby Sr. also played a major role in the distribution of news throughout the Revolutionary War. Derby Sr. was a merchant ship owner from Salem, owner of the schooner Quero which was sent to England immediately following the Battle of Lexington and Concord to offer the patriot version of the battle, which arrived two weeks in advance of the heavier and slower brig Sukey that carried the British army report. Derby’s ships then brought back to America the first news of London’s response regarding the start of the Revolutionary War. Derby’s ships also later brought the news to America detailing the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War in 1783.

 

At a town meeting held at the Pembroke Meeting House on Monday the 29th of July 1776, the Pembroke town clerk John Turner recorded the Declaration of Independence in the town records. At the time Pembroke also included the area which later became the town of Hanson, Massachusetts.

 

Per Derby’s instruction, the Declaration of Independence was read at the First Congregational Church by Rev. Thomas Smith, and at the Second Church in the Pembroke West Parish (today the Hanson Congregational Church) by Rev. Gad Hitchcock. Just two years prior, Rev. Hitchcock had delivered the patriotic election sermon in Boston’s Old South Church to an audience including the controversial Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage. Hitchcock pointedly sermoned from Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” It was said that Hitchcock later joked that his election sermon was a “moving discourse, inasmuch as it moved many of the [Loyalist] congregation out of the house”. The Declaration was perhaps also read at the Pembroke Friends Meeting House at a gathering of Quakers.

 

Since Pembroke town clerk John Turner recorded the Declaration at a town meeting on Monday, it was probably publicly read either the day before at the various churches on Sunday, July 28th, or the previous Sunday, July 21st. It was read aloud to the public in Boston at the State House on Thursday, July 18th.

 

The Pembroke town meeting on July 28, 1776 included the important work of recording the Declaration of Independence as a “perpetual memory” with two other items on the agenda. 10 men had enlisted in Pembroke to serve in the Revolutionary War on a mission to attempt to gain control of Quebec. The state offered a seven pound bounty reward to every soldier who enlisted, so the citizens of Pembroke voted to raise £80 through a tax on the town to provide an additional town bounty for £8 per man “making a bounty of 15 pounds in the whole”. Pembroke citizens also voted to raise £120 to repay the money hired by a committee for a bounty paid to Pembroke men who were sent to New York the previous year.

 

Below are the pages from the town meeting minutes of the reading of Pembroke’s copy of the Declaration of Independence, as recorded by town clerk John Turner. It must have been an incredible moment for Turner, who headed the Pembroke Committee of Correspondence which wrote the “Pembroke Resolves” in 1772 calling for the separation from Great Britain.

 

First page of Pembroke, Massachusetts' copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

First page of Pembroke, Massachusetts’ copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

Second page of Pembroke, Massachusetts' copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

Second page of Pembroke, Massachusetts’ copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

Third page of Pembroke, Massachusetts' copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

Third page of Pembroke, Massachusetts’ copy of the Declaration of Independence. From Pembroke Town Meeting Minutes. Originals held at Pembroke Town Hall. Image courtesy of Family History Library.

 

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in Revolutionary War | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: June 2014 – An Unidentified Object

The Hanson Historical Society’s photograph collection includes an unlabeled photograph of this interesting object, and we are hoping to use the power of crowd sourcing to identify it!

 

Here is the unidentified object:
Unidentified Object

Does anyone know what this object is, sitting upon a table? The letters “N” “W” are inscribed along the top. ID’ing the object might also help to date this image as well. Thanks, history detectives!

Posted in From the Archives | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: May 2014 – Lloyd S. Josselyn and His Bicycle

Top.bmp

Lloyd Sumner Josslyn, 82 years old, in South Hanson after a ride from Hingham.

May is Bicycle Month, so this month’s object is a wonderful photograph of Lloyd Sumner Josselyn and his bicycle.

Lloyd was born in Pembroke on 8 September 1859, the son of David A. and Sophronia F. (Keene) Josselyn. He married in Boston on 6 August 1902, Elizabeth Weston Drake, and they settled in Hanson.

This photograph shows 82 year old Lloyd Sumner Josselyn in South Hanson, Mass. ca. 1942. He had “just returned from a bicycle trip to Hingham”.

His bicycle was a “52 inch wheel, completely nickel plated, ball bearing equipped and with a patent brake arrangement. It cost $150”.

The photograph was donated to the Society by Roland Josselyn on Dec. 27, 1973.

Posted in From the Archives | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: March 2014 – Maud Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham Collection

In honor of Women’s History Month, March’s Object of the Month will focus on a photograph collection of former Hanson Historical Society member Maud(e) Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham. Our archives contain a wonderful small collection of photographs and tintypes of the family members and friends of Maud(e) Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham of Hanson (1891-1978), which have been digitized and are available on the Hanson Historical Society’s Flickr.

Early records list her name as Maud (including her birth and first marriage records), later records list her name as Maude (including her second marriage and death records). Maude was born and raised in Hanson; she married twice and had two children. The Hanson Historical Society also has another collection of the Maude Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell Gorham Family Papers, the majority of which is documentation regarding the death of her son Brandon Brewster Bodell, age 31, during World War II, including his Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.

1. Maud(e) Gilbert Brewster was born in Hanson, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 12 June 1891, daughter of Henry Gilbert and Florence Eveline (Tirrell) Brewster.[[1]] She died in Pembroke, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 22 September 1978.[[2]] She married first in Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 17 August 1911, by H. S. Kilborn, James Gray Bodell.[[3]] He was born in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 June 1889, son of Franklin and Hannah (Gray) Bodell.[[4]] He died in Grafton State Hospital, Grafton, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1957.[[5]] From at least 10 April 1930 until 1935 he was a psychiatric patient at the Taunton State Hospital, Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts, and in 1940 until his death was a patient at the Grafton State Hospital.[[6]] At the time of their marriage, Maude Brewster was a clerk residing in Hanson and James Bodell was a conductor residing in Plymouth. In the 1914 Hanson directory, James G. Bodell was listed as a conductor for the Brockton and Plymouth Railway, boarding with his family in a house on Main Street near Pleasant Street in South Hanson.[7] They probably were divorced or separated by 5 June 1917, when James listed his marital status as “single” for his World War I Draft Registration and was residing in 18 Davis St., Plymouth, working as a cloth examiner at Standish Worsted Company in Plymouth, described as medium height, medium build, dark blue eyes, dark brown hair.

She married second, as his second wife, in Hanson, 21 July 1927, by John E. Berry, Hubert Aubrey Gorham.[[8]] He was born in East Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 31 October 1872, the son of Ephraim A. and Marietta (Rogers) Gorham.[[9]] He died of cancer in Hanson, 16 February 1940.[[10]] At the time of their marriage, Hubert was a cranberry grower, and Maud was a telephone operator, and both were listed as divorced from their former spouses. He married first in Hanson, 30 June 1898, by Ezra N. Smith, Annie T. Damon.[[11]] She was born in Hanson, 11 February 1874, the daughter of Elijah Damon and Phoebe S. Besse.[[12]] At the time of Hubert and Annie’s marriage, he was a laborer and she was a teacher. Annie was formerly a teacher at Primary Schoolhouse #4, now the  headquarters of the Hanson Historical Society [see the Hanson Historical Society’s Primary Schoolhouse #4 exhibit]. Hubert was initiated into the Phoenix Lodge of the Massachusetts Masons on 18 September 1919, and remained a member until his death.[13]

Maude G. Bodell (28, divorced) was enumerated 20 January 1920 in Hanson with her father, Henry G. Brewster (owns home, 59, farmer) and mother Florence E. Brewster (66), with children Brandon B. Bodell (6) and Gertude E. Bodell (4 years, 3 months) and uncle George W. Brewster (56, farm laborer).[[14]]

Maude G. Gorham (38) was enumerated 11 April 1930 in Main St., Hanson with husband Hubert A. Gorham (owns house, has $6,000 in real estate, 57, superintendant of a cranberry bog), and children Brandon Bodell (16) and Gertrude E. Bodell (14).[[15]]

Maude G. Gorham (48, widow, owned home worth $4000, high school graduate) was enumerated 18 April 1940 in Main St., South Hanson.[[16]]

Children of James Gray and Maude Gilbert (Brewster) Bodell, b. Hanson:

i.   Brandon Brewster Bodell, b. 11 Aug. 1913; d. near Metz, France, 29 Sept. 1944. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a surveyor prior to the war. He enlisted as a soldier for World War II in Boston on 19 March 1942. At the time of his enlistment, he was 72” tall and weighed 191 pounds. He was a first lieutenant, in 558th FA Bn, C Battery, army service no. 1170656. Gilbert Hahn reflected on Bodell’s death in The Notebook of an Amateur Politician: And how He Began the D.C. Subway: “We stayed outside of Metz for this forty-five day period. During that time, some of my pals, the other lieutenants in the battalion, took their guns for direct lay missions on the various forts around Metz. My friend Bryce Bowmar, in a heroic episode, fired into those forts at one thousand yards. (He is mentioned in Stephen Ambrose’s book Citizen Soldier.) My other friend who did the same thing, Brandon Bodell, was killed. The concept of the direct lay missions was not ideal, because with separate loading ammunition, a shell from a machine gun or mortar could explode the powder bag (that had to be kept at the gun), so it was highly dangerous”.

ii.   Gertrude E. Bodell, b. 21 Sept. 1915. She married several times and was a beautician.

 

 

[1] Maud Gilbert Brewster birth record (1891), 413:561, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915.
[2] Maude G. Gorham indexed death record (1978), Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003 (www.ancestry.com); Maude Gorham indexed death record (1978), Social Security Death Index.
[3] James G. Bodell and Maud G. Brewster marriage record (1911), 604:205, 604:213, 604:241, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915 (www.americanancestors.org).
[4] James Gray Bodell World War I Draft Registration Card (1917), World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 (www.ancestry.com).
[5] James Bodell indexed death record (1957) 52:124, Massachusetts Death Index, 1901-1980 (www.ancestry.com).
[6] Taunton State Hospital, 1930 U.S. Census, Ward 8, Taunton, Bristol County, Massachusetts, roll 894, page 8A; Grafton State Hospital, 1940 U.S. Census, Grafton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, roll 1650, page 6B.
[7] 1914 Hanson Directory (www.ancestry.com), 136.
[8] 1927 Hanson Town Report.
[9] Male Gorham birth record (1872), 241:14, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915 (www.americanancestors.org).
[10] Hubert A. Gorham death record (1940), Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988 (www.ancestry.com).
[11] Hubert A. Gorham and Annie T. Damon marriage record (1898), 479:565 and 479:589, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915 (www.americanancestors.org).
[12] Annie T. Damon birth record (1874), Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988 (www.ancestry.com).
[13] Hubert Aubrey Gorham Mason Membership Card, Massachusetts: Grand Lodge of Masons Membership Cards, 1733-1990 (www.americanancestors.org).
[14] Henry G. Brewster household, 1920 U.S. Census, Hanson, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, roll 726, page 8A.
[15] Hubert A. Gorham household, 1930 U.S. Census, Hanson, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, roll 940, page 9B.
[16] Maude G. Gorham household, 1940 U.S. Census, Hanson, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, roll 1638, page 62A.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in From the Archives | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: February 2014 – Pomp’s Orchard

To celebrate African American History month, February’s Object of the Month is a transcribed oral history detailing “Pomp’s Orchard”, the cottage and orchard of Pomp, a former slave of the House family. Pomp was an African American slave owned by the House family of Hanson, Hanover and Whitman (then part of Abington) in the late 18th century. He was a young man when slavery was ruled unconstitutional in Massachusetts in 1783. For a time he continued to live and work for various House family members, including the family of Samuel and Hannah (Cushing) House on King St. in Hanson (then a part of Pembroke). Pomp may have been the free person of color residing in the house of Samuel House of Pembroke (now Hanson) in the 1800 Census. By the 19th century, however, the bachelor Pomp had built a small cottage and cultivated a small farm and orchard “across the fields” from the Samuel House house, on a small dirt road which today is known as Glenwood Place.

Pomp’s orchard was remembered almost a century later as a very picturesque property. He built a small wooden cottage, dug a well for water, and on the surrounding quarter of an acre planted berries and fruit trees. He constructed a stone wall which encompassed the cottage and property, and had a gateway at the entrance of the property along the road. Pomp’s orchard was located along the dirt road which was informally called Jackass Place, in honor of the donkey of blacksmith Robert Thomas who lived at the end of the road and was Pomp’s neighbor. The road later was referred to as Josselyn Place, and today known as Glenwood Place.

In 1827, Pomp, went swimming and drowned in a “pond hole” opposite the road from the Nahum Stetson house on King St. (present-day 305 King St.), which may have been the mill pond, known today as Factory Pond. He was buried on the property of the Samuel House family on King Street. It is probable that this burial site was not marked with a gravestone. Its exact location today is unknown, in part because the Samuel House property was subdivided into several lots throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. However, it is probably located near 274 King St.

Shortly after Pomp’s death, Hanson resident Thomas Pratt purchased a house formerly owned by Benjamin White on King Street in 1834, that “stood on the hill just south of the former home of Samuel House on King Street”. Thomas Pratt “had it moved across the fields” to Glenwood Place and placed it by or on Pomp’s orchard, probably in part because Pomp had already cleared and cultivated the land there. Pratt’s house today still stands, as 104 Glenwood Place. In later years, Thomas Pratt shared the story of Pomp and his orchard to his grandson, Lucius W. Arnold, who in the 20th century told Pomp’s story to Hanson historian Joseph B. White for White’s book History of Houses in Hanson, Mass.

Joseph B. White, History of Houses in Hanson, Mass. (1932), Plan No. 3, Site No. L, Pomp’s Orchard. From the collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Joseph B. White, History of Houses in Hanson, Mass. (1932), Plan No. 3, Site No. L, Pomp’s Orchard. From the collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

In Joseph B. White’s History of Houses in Hanson, Mass. (1932), Lucius Arnold reported to Joseph B. White “Between the L. P. Bergin place No. 50 Plan No. 3 and the Caleb Arnold place No. 51 Plan No. 3 [on Glenwood Place] was a quarter acres of land all walled in with a gateway as entrance. Inside the wall was a small cottage and a large variety of fruit, berries, etc. and a well. This plot was occupied and cultivated by an old colored man, formerly a slave in the old James House [sic, Samuel House] family on King Street. He was never married, but gave his whole time in the care of his little farm and cottage. In 1827, he was drowned in a pond hole opposite the Nahum Stetson place on King Street, and was buried on the James House farm [sic, Samuel House farm]”.

Samuel House property on King Street in 1830, where Pomp was buried in 1827. He may have drowned in the Mill Pond (today called Factory Pond). From 1830 Map of Hanson, Mass. Original map located at Plymouth County Registry of Deeds. Photograph courtesy of Donald Blauss.

Samuel House property on King Street in 1830, where Pomp was buried in 1827. He may have drowned in the Mill Pond (today called Factory Pond). Pomp’s orchard was not marked on the 1830 map.
From 1830 Map of Hanson, Mass. Original map located at Plymouth County Registry of Deeds. Photograph courtesy of Donald Blauss.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in African American Families, From the Archives, Historical Sites | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: January 2014 – Barnabas Everson’s Safe

Barnabas Everson Safe. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Barnabas Everson Safe. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

In honor of former Hanson resident Barnabas Everson’s 189th birthday this month, January’s object of the month is a very heavy artifact from our collection which he possessed. Near the entrance to the Hanson Historical Society sits the very large and sturdy safe which belonged to Barnabas Everson in the late 19th century. The front of the safe is personalized with his name, along with a painted pastoral scene, and the following text:

B. Everson

Mosler Safe & Lock Co.

Cincinnatti, O.

Mosler, Gowen & Co., 192 Devonshire St., Boston

The Mosler Safe Company manufactured security equipment, including safes, beginning in 1867. They quickly became internationally known for their high-quality production and strength. The company declared bankruptcy in 2001. Barnabas purchased the safe from a Boston dealer who sold Mosler safes, sometime between the start of their production in 1867, but before Barnabas’s death in 1896. But why did he need such a substantial safe?

In 1888, Barnabas Everson was valued as the 7th wealthiest man in the town of Hanson, and one of Twenty Thousand Rich New Englanders. His assessed value was about $7,700, which would be a value of almost $200,000 today. The sixth wealthiest men in Hanson at the time, in order of wealth, were Joseph White, Elijah C. Thomas, Foster Mills, Nathaniel W. Cushing, Andrew Bowker, and Caleb Barker.

How did Barnabas gain his wealth?

He was born at Hanson on 4 January 1825, the son of Richard Everson (1791-1868), a shoemaker and veteran of the War of 1812, and Mercy Munroe (1794-1880), who lived in a house on the north shore of Maquan Pond. In 1848, he married the widowed Deborah (Bates) Howland (1819-1892). After their marriage, they bought a large farm on Indian Head Street, and they rented out her house on the western shore of Maquan Pond along Indian Head Street. This sparked an interest in real estate, and Barnabas soon began purchasing and selling numerous properties in South Hanson throughout the 19th century. He was also a man of many talents and business interests. According to Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts, “Barnabas Everson attended the district schools of Hanson until he was sixteen years of age. He then learned the mason’s trade, which he followed for a number of years, later learning shoemaking and following it for a few years. Buying a large farm of about three hundred acres, he did an extensive business in market gardening, sending his products to Abington and Brockton. While conducting his farm he built a large sawmill, which was supplied by lumber from his own land. He cut box boards and manufactured shingles, etc. for a number of years, finally selling the mill to the late John Foster. He continued to conduct the farm up to the time of his death, and was always active, and well known throughout Plymouth county. He was a selectman of Hanson for a number of years, and also served as a road surveyor. In politics he was a Republican. Mr. Everson attended the Baptist Church for many years, but the last few years of his life he embraced Spiritualism”. Everson’s sawmill was located across the road from the South Hanson railroad depot. For additional details about Spiritualism in Hanson, see Mary Blauss Edwards’ article “Hanson’s Clairvoyant Physician: Abbie O. Whitmarsh (1829-1921) in Fall 2013’s Tunk.

Although the original donation record for the safe cannot be located, it was probably donated by Hanson teacher and widow Grace Elizabeth (Hanson) McClellan (1886-1969), who was an original founder of the Hanson Historical Society and the wife of Roderic Cameron McClellan (1882-1962), who was the grandson of Barnabas Everson.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: December 2013 – Derailed Snow Plow Trolley

December’s Object of the Month is a photograph of a derailed Brockton and Plymouth Street Railway trolley that was plowing snow off the railroad tracks after a winter snowstorm. The photograph is undated, but was probably taken in the early 20th century, since the Brockton and Plymouth Street Railway was organized in 1900 and reorganized as the Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Company in 1922. The view looks east towards Bryantville Center, in front of a house on Main Street by the Pembroke town line, later owned by Fred Snow.

Mildred Keene donated the photograph to the Hanson Historical Society on May 28, 1965.

Derailed snow plow trolley at Bryantville, ca. 1907. From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Object of the Month: November 2013 – Gad Hitchcock Cradle

This summer, the Hanson Historical Society received a wonderful donation from the Hanover Historical Society: the Gad Hitchcock Jr. cradle, possibly built ca. 1749, made of cherry wood. The cradle belonged to the Pembroke Congregational minister Rev. Gad Hitchcock and his wife, Dorothy Angier.  The cradle was used by their only child, Dr. Gad Hitchcock, who was born at Pembroke (now Hanson), in November 1749. His birth record reads in the original Pembroke town clerk’s records:

“Gad Hitchcock[,] the son of the Revd Mr Hitchcock & Dory Dorothy his wife was [born] November the second anno Domini 1749 old stile” [Julian calendar]. In the “new style” Gregorian calendar, his birthdate was November 13, 1749.

Gad was probably born in the Pembroke West Parish parsonage which Rev. Gad and Dorothy Hitchcock had moved into in the autumn of the previous year when Rev. Hitchcock was called to serve the Hanson community as their minister. The parsonage still stands today, at 909 High St. in Hanson, and is currently occupied by the Hanson Insurance Agency. The cradle remained in the house for several generations of Hitchcock descendants.

Dr. Gad Hitchcock Jr. Cradle, built ca. 1749. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society. Photograph courtesy of Patty Norton.

Dr. Gad Hitchcock Jr. Cradle, built ca. 1749, material: cherry wood. From the artifact collection of the Hanson Historical Society. Photograph courtesy of Patty Norton.

Gad Hitchcock Jr. birth record, 2 November 1749, “Old Style”. Pembroke [now Hanson], Mass. Scanned image of original Pembroke Town Clerk’s records, available courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Postcard of the Rev. Gad Hitchcock House, High St. Courtesy of the Hanson Historical Society Collection.

Gad Hitchcock Jr. grew up in the parsonage. He attended Harvard University, and after his graduation in 1765 became a doctor. He served as a surgeon’s mate in the Revolutionary War, and provided many years of service to the Hanson community as the town’s physician.

Portrait of Dr. Gad Hitchcock (1749-1835). Image courtesy of Dwight Whitney Marsh, The Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family, p. 432.

Portrait of Dr. Gad Hitchcock (1749-1835). Image courtesy of Dwight Whitney Marsh, The Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family, p. 432.

The Hitchcock cradle was originally donated to the Hanover Historical Society by Catharine Tilden Phillips. For additional details, see the Hanson Express article from 20 June 2013 about the society receiving the donation.

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in From the Archives | Leave a comment

Object of the Month: October 2013 – Burrage Fire Truck

Each year during the month of October, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is commemorated by National Fire Prevention Week. Join us in taking a look into the history of Hanson’s firefighting past.

Below is an undated photograph of of the Hanson Hose No. 2 horse-drawn fire wagon taken by the South Hanson Fire Station on Main St. The two horses (named Fred and Dick) pulling the fire wagon were owned by John Ibbitson. The fireman in this photo from left to right are: Charles Burnell, Arthur Brown, Fred Brown, Sumner Josselyn, James Lowery (in the driver’s seat) and Norman MacKenzie (in the passenger seat).

Hanson Fire Hose No. 2 Fire Wagon.  From the photograph collection of the Hanson Historical Society.

Below is a photograph taken in 1910 of the first fire engine from Hose Company No. 3 in the South Hanson neighborhood of Burrage. It was one of the first fire trucks in the state of Massachusetts used to fight forest fires, which could be spotted from afar atop the fire observation tower on Bonney Hill. The firefighters from left to right were: Joseph Dowler, John Jewl, Charles Raby, John Thompson, and James Apply at the wheel.

The Hanson Fire Observation Tower, located on Bonney Hill off of High St. was built out of steel and was forty feet high with a room at the top measuring 10×10 feet, built out of wood and glass. The fire warden would sit in the room, equipped with a map of the area and a powerful set of binoculars, and make telephone calls to nearby fire stations if smoke was spotted in the nearby forest and countryside, which could be viewed for a radius of 15-20 miles. Hanson, Hanover, Marshfield, Pembroke, Duxbury, Plympton, Halifax and Whitman all contributed money for its construction. According to History of the Town of Hanson, in 1913, Cushing Thomas was in charge of the tower, and was on duty Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays which were deemed the most dangerous times for fires to occur. During WWII the tower was used to observe passing planes in addition to forest fires.

Hanson Observation Tower, 1913, From History of the Town of Hanson

Hanson Observation Tower, 1913, From History of the Town of Hanson

[Posted by Mary Blauss Edwards, Hanson Historical Society Curator]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment