BROOKLINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ANNUAL MEETING, JANUARY 28, 1902
PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY
BROOKLINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
FIRST ANNUAL MEETING.
The first annual meeting of the Brookline Historical Society was held in the G. A. R. Room, Town Hall, Brookline, Mass., on Tuesday, January 28, 1902, at 8 P. M., in accordance with a notice mailed to every member. President Rufus G. F. Candage was in the chair.
The records of the last monthly meeting were read by the clerk and approved.
The President then read his annual address.
Members of the Brookline Historical Society
Ladies and Gentlemen
, - Some ten years or more ago a few earnest citizens of Brookline made an effort to form an historical society. By-laws were framed and adopted, preliminary meetings were held, officers were elected, articles of incorporation were drawn and signed, and record of same duly kept, but the certificate from the State House was not obtained, because it was not asked by the person having the matter in charge, and the Society's incorporation was held in abeyance until April 21, 1901 when our present charter was obtained and this Society was organized with a list of fifteen charter members. There have been added by election since that date 97 members, the roll showing 1 benefactor, 9 life, and 102 annual members - a total of 112 in all.
While we are gratified at this favorable result, we are pained to record that two members, who gave promise of usefulness to the Society - George W. Armstrong and Dr. Edward Steese, - have passed on to fields of labor in a higher sphere, and have become first on the roll of our honored, but lamented, dead.
There has been received for membership fees $480.00 to date, and there has been paid out for expenses $130.80, leaving a balance in the treasury of $349.20, with a number of membership fees yet unpaid.
The Society may well feel proud of its achievements in the first nine months of its life and history, which give promise of still greater in the future.
Three valuable historical papers have been read before the Society at its meetings since its incorporation, - one upon the Devotion family, another upon Elhanan Winchester and family, and the third upon the Walnut-street Burying Ground. It is hoped by your Board of Directors to have a paper read at each stated meeting in the future upon some topic relating to Brookline history.
THE SEAL OF THE SOCIETY.
One of the first duties of the Society was the selection and adoption of a device for its seal. A view of the Devotion House on Harvard street, the oldest structure in the town, erected about 1680, was adopted, and voted to be drawn and engraved. It was drawn by a citizen of the town from a photograph, engraved by another citizen, and is an appropriate device for the seal of the Society. As such may it have a long and useful career, and may the old house long continue to be an historical landmark of our town !
THE MEMBERSHIP CERTIFICATE.
Another matter, though perhaps of less importance in the estimation of some persons, yet important, was a design for our membership certificate.
A rough sketch of what was thought to be appropriate was submitted at a meeting of the Society, was adopted, and a committee was appointed to have it drawn, engraved, and certificates printed from the plate. A report of that committee, which consisted of your President and Vice-President, is before you in the form of the original draft, and in printed certificates.
The engraved plate was made by Mr. William J. Dana, a citizen of our town, and reflects credit upon him and upon the Society.
As some of our members are recent residents of the town, and others may not be familiar with the historical significance of the objects delineated on the border of the certificate, a brief description thereof would seem proper at this time.
THE TOWN HALL.
On the upper center of the border is an outline of Brookline's present Town Hall, erected in 1873, dedicated February 22d of that year, and fittingly represents the government of our town, settled in 1630 as a part of Boston, called Muddy River, and incorporated as a town in 1705.
At the time of its incorporation, Brookline was a hamlet of some fifty families, without a schoolhouse, church edifice, or a public building. The citizens were poor farmers who could ill afford even the necessities of municipal life, to say nothing of its luxuries. Today we have 18 well-appointed school buildings, 15 church buildings and chapels, and 15 other public buildings owned by the town.
The old Town Hall, which the present one displaced, stood upon the same site, but was moved to the west side of Prospect street, where it did service for a quarter of a century as a police station and court room. It was built in 1845, and by vote of the town has been recently demolished.
The first Town Hall built and owned by the town was built of stone, dedicated January 1, 1825, and is still standing on its original site, near the First Parish Church on Walnut street. It has been added to and is now owned by the First Parish, and named Pierce Hall, in honor of Rev. John Pierce, D.D., for fifty years pastor of the First Parish Church.
After the erection of the new Town Hall in 1845, the old stone hall was used for a high school until 1857. One floor of it (it was two stories) had been used for school purposes from the time it was built. Before it was built town meetings were held in school buildings and in the First Parish Church, for the town was the First Parish, and the First Parish the town in early days, and the history of one was largely the history of the other.
THE ASPINWALL HOUSE.
On the left upper corner, as one faces the certificate, is an outline of the house erected by Peter Aspinwall in 1660, and which was held by him and by his descendants of the same name until it was taken down in 1891, after having stood the warring of the elements and the tooth of time for 231 years. Its site was on what is now known as Aspinwall avenue, the southwest side, opposite St. Paul's Church. It was a pretentious dwelling for the age in which it was built, and a conspicuous object of interest to several generations of citizens and to visitors of the town. Our Society fortunately possesses a gavel made from a piece of its oak frame, presented by a fellow-member, Mr. Thomas Aspinwall, one of the last owners of the old house and a direct descendant of Peter, its builder.
A picture of this old house, of the architecture of the early Colonial period, so long a Brookline landmark, is worthy of gracing the chief corner of our certificate where, let us hope, it will remain as long as our Society shall have a record, and that that may be much longer than the old house stood in the town.
THE GARDNER HOUSE.
On the right upper corner of the certificate is an engraved likeness of the Gardner House, which some of us remember standing on Boylston street opposite the lower end of the old Boston Reservoir, on land now owned by Joseph H. White, Esq., said to have been built by Deacon Thomas Gardner in 1705. It was owned by Thomas Gardner, Solomon Gardner, Caleb Gardner, Benjamin Gardner, Elisha Gardner, John Goddard, Benjamin Goddard and his heirs, and was taken down in 1885, and afterwards the land on which it stood was sold to Mr. White.
For many years, as the older members of our Society will remember, this house was occupied by Mr. George W. Stearns, who carried on the Goddard farm, Mr. Stearns' mother having been a Goddard. Some of you may remember, as I do, the blue Dutch tiles around the parlor fireplace, representing Bible scenes. It is to be hoped that some day this Society may be in possession of one or more of them.
THE PUBLIC LIBRARY BUILDING.
On the left center of the border is a representation of the Brookline Public Library building, facing Washington street, erected and first occupied in 1869.
From a small beginning the library has grown to be one of the largest and best of town libraries, it now having between 50,000 and 60,000 volumes of well selected books upon its shelves.
The Public Library was one of the first established in the state under the general statute of 185 1. It was established by vote of the town in March 1857, and was opened in the old Town Hall the following December with 900 volumes on its shelves. The sum of $300 was appropriated to fit up the library, and $934, being $1 for each poll, was voted for its maintenance. Mr. John Emory Hoar, our vice-president, was chosen librarian in November, 1857, and held that office until September, 1871. The growth of the library has been great since those days of small beginnings; two additions have been made to the building, and it is now crowded for room, so that within a few years a new and larger building will be required to meet the increasing demands of more than 20,000 people, soon to be 30,000.
The $934 appropriated by the town in 1857 has steadily, year by year, increased in amount until in 1901 it reached the sum of $17,500.
THE HIGH SCHOOL.
Authority to build the first known schoolhouse in Brookline was given in 1713. It stood on the triangle at the junction of Walnut and Warren streets A part of the present Pierce Hall near by, now belonging to the First Parish Church, was dedicated as a school room January 1st, 1825, and in 1843, at the March meeting, the town voted to establish a high school in that building. That was the first high school of the town, and it continued to be held there until 1857, when it was moved to the corner of School and Prospect streets, to a new building erected and fitted for high school purposes.
The building of 1857 served the town until the present High School building, a view of which graces the right middle border of our certificate, was erected and occupied in 1895. The cost of the building of 1857 was less than $15,000, and that of 1895, with furnishings, exclusive of land, was $225,000.
Mr. John Emory Hoar, vice-president of this Society, was master of the High School from April, 1854, to July, 1888, a period of thirty-four years, reflecting credit upon himself and upon the town. Mr. Daniel S. Sanford, another of our members, has been master from September, 1891, to the present time.
THE FIRST PARISH CHURCH.
On the lower left hand corner is an outline of the First Parish Church, erected in 1806, near the site of the first church edifice reared in 1714, which gave place to this one. In 1848 this church gave way for another on the same site, and that again to the present structure dedicated April 19, 1893, making in all four "meeting houses" that have stood on or near that locality, but that of 1806 is the earliest of which we have a picture.
The first settlers of Muddy River, and of Brookline, worshiped with their neighbors in Roxbury. There were only fifty families in town at the time of its incorporation, and they were poor farmers, therefore the delay in building a church within its borders.
For a period of one hundred and fourteen years, 1714 to 1828, there was but one parish and one church building in the town. The early history of the town is so closely allied to that of the First Parish, that a study of both is necessary to a full understanding of early events.
To some of the older members of this Society, the picture of that church of 1806 brings to mind the long pastorate of Rev. John Pierce, D.D., 1797 to 1847, - who left a valuable mass of historical data as a legacy to those who came after him; of Rev. F. H. Hedge, 1856 to 1872; Rev. Howard N. Brown, 1873 to 1896, and of Rev. W. H. Lyon, D.D., 1896 to the present, and a member of our Society.
THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH.
On the right hand lower corner is an outline of the First Baptist Church erected in 1828, and dedicated November 20th of that year. It stood on the corner of Harvard street, facing what is now Harvard Square, and continued to be occupied for church purposes until December, 1858, when the present Baptist Church building was dedicated.
The old church and the land it stood upon was deeded to the late John Panter, Esq., in part payment for the new church building, which he built for the society. Mr. Panter altered the old church for business purposes and named it "Panter's Building." Later he sold it to Mr. George F. Joyce, and he to Mr. George N. Talbot, the present owner.
The old church, in its altered condition, still stands facing Harvard Square, and is occupied by Mr. F. F. Seamans, T. H. Dyer & Co., The Chronicle printing office, and others.
The speaker well remembers the old church, for it was within its walls he listened to his first sermon in Brookline, delivered by Rev. Wm. H. Shailer, D.D., the pastor at that time.
The old church was a plain structure, painted white on the outside and unpainted within. It had steps leading up to the main audience room as seen in the sketch, with a side door on Harvard street, giving entrance to a brick basement used as a vestry. In front, where Harvard Square now is, was a fenced in yard, covered with grass, planted with trees, and an attractive spot.
THE DEVOTION HOUSE.
In the center of the base of the border stands a view of the Devotion House, represented in outline upon the Seal of our Society as already described.
This ornamental border of our certificate represents three distinctive types of dwellings of early Colonial architecture; two types of early church architecture, and the earlier religious life of the community; two types of modern educational institutions, with the Town Hall, that center from which authority emanates for the government of the town - that center where citizens meet to elect their rulers and discuss administrative methods, and appropriate the money needed for the town's yearly outlay.
These, with the suggestions they afford for the study of the history of our favored town, seem a highly appropriate border for the membership certificate of the Brookline Historical Society.
All owe something to the city or town in which they reside. Their whole duty is not discharged by being peaceful, courteous, kindly and helpful to neighbors, friends, and those with whom they come in daily contact, but they should strive to leave behind a record which may be useful to those who come after them.
Such is the purpose of the Brookline Historical Society, and if all its members enter into the spirit of the work for which it is founded, it will leave behind a helpful record for those who shall sooner or later stand in our places.
In our town have lived men of national reputation, divines, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, educators, philanthropists, orators, lecturers, and authors of literary ability. Those who stood high in the councils of the state and nation, business men, ship owners and shipmasters, and hosts of others who deserve well to be remembered, and a larger number of those who were builders of our town, state, and nation, who have received but slight commendation.
And there have been those who went forth from their homes, many never to return, to light the Indians and preserve their homes in Colonial times; those who fought on land and sea for our nation's independence, who fought in the War of 1812, in the Civil War, and also in the Mexican and Spanish Wars.
Let us not forget any of them; whenever we find things to their credit, let us honor them and ourselves by making a record thereof.
There are few towns in our state richer in historical data than is our own. Few towns have had a more honorable career, and none a greater increase in wealth and prosperity, it being not only the largest in population, but the largest in our country in wealth per capita.
Where much is given, much is required, and it should be the aim of our members to do all in their power to make this Society what it ought to be, a model of its kind.
I may well congratulate the Society upon its present standing in numbers and financial strength, at the end of nine months of organized effort, but in life, whatever we undertake, the order of march is onward, for delays cause depression and loss.
There is no good reason why our numbers should not be doubled or tripled in the year to come if each member does the duty the Society expects. And none of us should relax our efforts to gain a permanent habitation, and an abiding home for our Society.
Compiled by Mr. Walter K. Watkins, Genealogist, and read at the meeting of May 22, 1901.
Edward Devotion, a single man, joined the First Church of Boston 22 March, 1645. He became a freeman in May, 1645. He was a planter, and lived at Muddy River (Brookline). He married shortly after, and it was probably her weak condition that necessitated his wife's baptism, by John Eliot of Roxbury, while her four days' old infant, Mary, was baptized at the First Church in Boston on the same day, 25 Feb. 1648. (Mary, mar. 5 Feb. 166S, John Davis.) Three other children were baptized in Boston, Elizabeth, 20 Apr. 1651, d. 17 Feb. 1679 (mar. Joseph Weld); Deborah, 17 May, 1657, bur. 20 Oct. 1682; John, 24 June, 1659, d. 1732 at Suffield. While there were baptized at Roxbury, Martha, 13 Mch. 1653 (mar. 2 Sept. 1674, John Ruggles) : -
Hannah, 3 Dec. 1654 (mar. 1 May, 1679, John Ruggles);
Sarah, 19 Jan. 1661, d. young;
Edward, 12 July, 1663, d. 12 June, 1664;
Sarah, 18 Mch. 1665 (mar. Joseph Griffin);
Edward, 15 Mch. 1667, d. Nov. 1744;
Thomas, 1 May, 1670.
Mary, the mother, joined the Roxbury Church 6 June, 1652.
Edward Devotion occupied a house owned by Cotton Flacke of Boston, which Flacke, with his wife, Jane, conveyed in 1654 to Devotion with 11 acres of upland. Previously, Devotion had bought, in 1650, from Henry Stevens 20 acres, and about this same time 8 acres, formerly William Salter's, and 12 acres in the 3d division of William Townsend in 1651.
In 1654 he also acquired from William and Margery Colburn 4 acres of meadow.
In 1660 Edward and Mary Devotion sold 8 acres of meadow and upland to Joshua Scottow.
In 1663 he bought from William and Hannah Townsend 10 acres, and in 1677, from John and Margaret Odlin, 10 acres, and in 1682 2 1/2 acres.
There were other acquisitions unrecorded, as in 1696 we find he had land formerly owned by John Cranny, who was the John Gramme allotted 16 acres in 1637. The above grants account for 84 of the 102 acres in his inventory.
Edward Devotion was active in town affairs, his name appearing in 1651 as one of a committee to perambulate the town bounds. In 1654 as overseer of fences and constable. In 1661, 1665, a member of the committee to perambulate the bounds. In 1663, 1671, 1676, again constable. In 1681 a tythingman.
His possessions in land were on both sides of the road from Boston to Cambridge (Harvard street), which was laid out 6 Feb. 1662, to go without the Common Field by Goodman Devotion's and Goodman Steven's houses, following an old way.
His inventory shows three horses, five cattle, and over forty-two sheep and lambs. Debts were due the estate of £277, and the whole valued at £708.14.0.
He left his dwelling and barns (the homestead with lands improved and cattle) to his widow for subsistence, and the bringing up of Edward and Thomas, while she remained a widow. This she enjoyed till her death, 19 Dec. 1713.
His lands were to be to his "sons, equally interested, not to be aliened to others, but to fall to their successors."
Debts due him were proportioned equally to the sons after a payment of five pounds to each grandchild. The good debts to be allowed to continue at interest till Edward and Thomas were twenty-one. Any child or grandchild contesting the will was to forfeit his portion.
He seems to have been subject to fits at the time of his decease, which affected his mind, but signed his will by his mark, during a lucid interval, as testified by the overseers of the will and Rev, James Allen, minister of the First Church in Boston, who was visiting him on the day he signed his will.
He is buried in the Eustis-street Burial Ground, where his gravestone can still be seen with the simple inscription.
There is no recorded division of the lands of Edward Devotion, but a satisfactory division was probably made by the two surviving sons, John and Edward, which, perhaps, is remotely referred to by Edward, jun., in his will in 1744, when his brother's descendants were to quitclaim any rights they might have or pretend to have to the testator's father's estate, John- Devotion (Edward 1), b. 1659, d. 1733, married Hannah Pond, and had baptized at Roxbury Church : -
John, 18 Oct. 1682,
Ebenezer, 19 Oct, 1684, and
Edward, John Devotion was also active in town matters. In 1685, 1690, 1693, 1696, on committee of perambulation. In 1685, 1695, 1699, a tythingman. In 1690, 1700, 1701, a surveyor. In 1703 a fence viewer.
In the Muddy River poor rate for relief of the poor he was rated in 1693 for 13 shillings; in the county rate for house and farm 3 shillings, estate 10 shillings. In the tax list of 1700 he was rated for 1 poll. He was rated in the Province Tax of 1704, and was one of the petitioners that Muddy River be a separate town in that year.
It was perhaps the delay in granting this petition that decided him in changing his residence, as 7 Mch, 1705, we find him spoken of as of Attleboro.
It was at this time he commenced to dispose of his real estate in Brookline, selling within a year all of it, which seems to have been situated both sides of the Cambridge road, and land acquired in the south central part of the town. Deeds recorded show that he sold about 180 acres in Brookline during his life, and of land purchased by him there are records of at least one-third that amount, and it may be inferred a part of the balance was inherited from his father's estate.
Sewall says in his diary, 12 Feb. 1695/1696, "I rode to Brookline with one Ems, a Carpenter, to view the widow Bairstow's house in order to repairing or adding to it. From thence to G. Bairsto's agen to Devotion, to treat with him about a piece of ground to sell it to me and issue the controversy about a way."
8 April, 1706, John Devotion sold to Samuel Sewall, jun., three parcels of land, eight acres of orchard between Sewall's land and Edward Devotion's (south), seven acres of pasture bounded by Sewall and the two brothers, and four acres of marsh. This land was without doubt near the Sewall Farm. It is a question, however, whether any of it was the land desired by Samuel Sewall, sen., referred to in the following letter to Gov. Joseph Dudley, whose daughter the young Sewall married.
Letter from Samuel Sewall to Gov. Joseph Dudley.
3 Jan. I702/3. May it please your Excellency, The stormy weather on Friday last hindered my going to Roxbury to meet Devotion. The next morning he came to Kent's and sent for me thither, where I cheapened his Homested. He seems to offer it for 150£. Saith he has there Twelve Acres. In the Reer it buts upon my Land all the breadth of it. Upon which account I reckon it far more convenient than Braistow's. The House is Raw and unfinished. Are two good Lower Rooms, and one good Chamber. That towards Bairstow's is but a sorry one; Only may see the Windmill go, in it. Barn and Outhousins Ramshackled, Orchard, especially that part towards the River much decayed. Bairstow's Lot he bought of Griggs is cut off from his Homested, which will make it of far less value for any one but me. Yesterday being pleasant I took a view of these things ...
I pray your Advice as to Devotion's Offer. If that be bought, I doe not know but it may be fitted up so as to accomodst our Children. A New house will cost much Money: And then Furniture and Stock for the Land will still be wanting. I am so far from having Money to procure these things, that I am already much in Debt. And the Land with either of the Three Houses in Town (especially if Devotion's be purchased) will exceed my Sons proportion. As to a Deed, I have none drawn, and am not fully resolved in my own mind. One principal preliminary will be my Son's renouncing what might have fallen to him at his Grandmother's decease, as his sister Hirst has done...
18 June, 1703. "my sons house was Raised at Muddy River . . . By that Time got there, had just done their Work, and were going to Dinner in the new House. I drove a pin before Dinner."
1 Apr. 1704. Visited my valetudinarious son at Brookline.
11 July 1704. Son and daughter Hirst, Joseph and Mary, rode with me in the coach to Brooklyn and there dined at my sons with the Govenour, his lady, Mr. Paul Dudley and wife &c.
Hence he did not buy the Devotion lot nor choose that of George Bairstow, for his son's house. Bairstow, with wife Mercy, 17 Aug. 1704, sold to Samuel Sewall, his dwelling, barns, orchard and lands and three acres at Muddy River he had purchased of John Hull.
It was bounded southwest on a piece of land George Bairstow had purchased of Benjamin Eliot, southeast and north by land of John Hull, and on the west and northwest by land of John Devotion.
In reference to the windmill we find that John and Hannah Devotion of Attleborough on 7 Mch. 1705, conveyed a tenement and 28 acres in Brookline with all buildings, a dwelling- and barn, barkhouse mill and mill gear, garden, orchard, &c., to Henry Winchester.
This was bounded west by Josiah Winchester; south by Dorman Morean; east, part by Roxbury School lands, part by Thomas Bishop, and part by Frances White; north by Frances White.
This was a part of the Buckminster estate and had been conveyed in 1702 by Josiah Buckminster to John Devotion. This will perhaps explain the obscurity as to its ownership at this time, mentioned by Miss Woods on page 362 of her "Sketches of Brookline."
In 1714 we find John Devotion at Wetherfield, Conn., and later he went to Suffield, Conn., where he died. His sons John and Edward are found mentioned in the Suffield records, the following relating to Edward, who had been confounded with Edward of Brookline, who died in 1744 :
"17 Oct. 1737 at town meeting Suffield. Granted to Edward Devotion forty shillings in Town pay; for house Room for Goodman Segar and his family for some time past : and untill the next Anniversary Town meeting in March."
"12 Mch. 1738/9 Also voted, and granted to Edward Devotion for house room for Goodman Segar and his family the year past. Two pounds and five shillings in Town pay."
He was buried 23 Sept. 1685, (Roxbury Church Record), in the Eustis St. Burial Ground, where his footstone can be still seen with the simple inscription Edward Devotion. His headstone rested a dozen years ago against a brick building on the north of the yard entirely out of the ground, and broken on both sides, with the following probable inscription partially preserved :
YEARS DIED SEPTEMBER THE TWENTY or 25th
), b. 1668, d. 1744, married and spent his life in Brookline.
Like his father and brother John he was active in town affairs. In 1692 at the age of twenty-four, he was a surveyor of the town, and again in 1697, 1702, and 17 13.
In 1703 and again in 1727, when he was excused, he was chosen constable. In 1706 and 1710 a fence viewer. In 1707, 1723, 1727, 1728, 1729, 1730, 1731, 1735, 1737, 1738, 1742, 1743, a tythingman. In 1709 a hog herd or field driver. In 1714 a grand juryman.
Like his brother he increased his holdings in land, not only in Brookline but in Roxbury, Dorchester and Needham, but his possessions are more easily located.
His acquisitions in land were sold by him before his death and his inheritance of land from his father may be stated as included in 76 acres which he sold to Solomon Hill in 1740 and on which he held a mortgage, not discharged by Hill till 24 May, 1762, when he was released by a committee of towns-men, attornies for the widow. (The original mortgage deed signed by Solomon and Hannah Hill I found in the files of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas of Suffolk.)
Solomon Hill and Hannah Sheldon, both of Brookline, were married in Boston 1 June, 1732. He first appears in Brookline 5 Mch. 1732/3, when he is appointed hogreave, an office often filled by newly married men. His last appearance in the records 10 Dec. 1787, when it was voted to abate his taxes for 1785.
The bounds of the 76 acres granted Hill by Edward Devotion, it "being the Homestead of the said Edward Devotion "were - southerly on the road, or highway; southeasterly upon William Gleason, easterly, northerly and northwesterly upon Samuel Sewall, and westerly on said Hill.
This was passed from Hill to Nathaniel Wheelwright and then to William Marshal, who held it in 1800. In the next century it got into the Babcock family and was known as the Babcock farm.
Devotion married previous to 1719, at which date his wife Mary is mentioned as having a seat in the foreseat of the meeting house.
She was doubtless younger than her husband, as she did not die till 1772. She married, 10 May 1745, Philip, brother of Francis Gatcomb of Boston. He had intended marriage 26 Oct. 1734, to Susanna Williams; if solemnized she must have died within a few years, as he married 26 Feb. 1738, Mary, daughter of George and Genevieve Sire of Boston. She died in 1743, and he then married the widow of Edward Devotion.
He died in 1761, aged 63, and his widow in June 1772, when she was called the widow of "Mr. Gatcomb the baker."
Judge Sewall in his Diary between Sept. 1706 and Sept. 1709, frequently mentions stopping at Devotion's to bait his horse, while on his way to and from Bristol.
Of his education we have no record except that he wrote his name in a fair hand, as shown by his signature on a bond with John Ruggles in 1706. Old age or sickness, however, necessitated his making his mark on a receipt to Solomon Hill in 1739.
That he might have been hot-tempered is shown by his being bound over to keep the peace, especially toward Elizabeth Ellis.
He died 7 Nov. 1744, and is buried in the Brookline burial ground not far from the entrance. His gravestone was placed over his grave, probably some years after his death, as it has the appearance of stones of the last of the eighteenth century, and the date is "Nov. 1744" aged 76 years.
His will follows. An error appears in the phrase "my honored father John," probably through the ignorance of the scribe, who assumed his father to have been John rather than Edward.
) b. 1684, d. 1741, married (I) 9 Aug. 1710, Hannah, daughter of Capt. John Breck of Dorchester; (2) 12 May, 1720, Mrs. Naomi Taylor of Westfield; (3) 8 Oct. 1740, Mrs. Sarah Hobert of , Mansfield. He was dismissed from the church at Dorchester 4 June, 1710, to the church at Suffield, where he was ordained as minister that year. His children were : -
Hannah, b. 4 Sept. 1712.
Ebenezer, b. 8 May, 1714, minister at Windham, Conn.
Hannah, bapt. 29 Apr. 1716.
Mary, bapt. 8 Dec. 1717.
Ruth, bapt. 16 Apr. 1721.
Elizabeth, bapt. 29 Apr. 1722.
Ann, bapt. 2 Aug. 1724.
Jemima, bapt. 14 May 1727.
John, bapt. 12 July 1730.
Keziah, bapt. 10 June 1733.
Devotion (Rev. Ebenezer3
), b. 1714, d. 1771, is the grandchild of his brother John specially mentioned by Edward2
Devotion in his will, 1744.
I, Edward Devotion of Muddy River in the County of Suffolke in New England through the favour and patience of God being sound in judgement and memory do constitute ordein and declare my last will and Testamt in manner and forme following i. e. my Soule which I do believe imortall I do humbly and believing com't into the everlasting armes and mercies of God Father Son and Holy Ghost, my body to be discreetly buried at the discretion of my Christian friends And my outward Estate wherewith it hath pleased the Lord to bless me, my just debts and funeral expenses being first paid I do give bequeath the remainder thereof as followeth.
Imprimis - To my loving and faithful wife Mary Devotion my now dwelling House and barnes now belonging to the homestead for her subsistence and the helping her to bring up my Sones Edward and Thomas this She is to enjoy while she abides my widow my will is that my Lands shalbe to my own Son's equally interested in it not to be aliened to others, but to fall to their Successors. As for what money are out I will that it be proportioned my Grand Children five pounds apiece, the remainder to my own Son's equally proportioned. I will also my beloved wife to be Executrix my son John Devotion to be Executor with my wife during her widow hood; I will and desire that Richard Dana Mr. Thomas Oliver, Nath Sparhawk be Over Seers that this my will be performed, I will also that what moneys I have lent, that I have bond and Security, that such persons duely paying to my Executors the interest of it yearly that they may so enjoy ye said monies till Edward and Thomas my Son's shall be aged one and twenty yeares. This is my last Will and Testament the five twentieth day of September, Sixteen hundred Eighty and five whereunto I set my hand - Written in ye Margent, I will also yt what Child or Children be quarrelsome and not satisfied with what my will is, they shall forfeit their portion: Also it is my will that my daughter Sarah Griffin should have twenty pounds.
Edward Devotion a marke
In the presence of these witnesses Joseph Grigs Samuel Craft, Nathaniel Sparhawk, Richard Dana.
At a County Court held at Boston 27 Oct. 1685.
This will exhibited by Mary Devotion and John Devotion Executors' for probate.
Nathaniel Sparhawke and Richard Dana appearing made Oath that they being present did see Edward Devotion Signe and heard him publish this instrument with the addition in ye Margent to be his last will & Testament and that he was then of disposing mind to their understanding.
Attest Isa Addington Clk
Wee whose names are subscribed, do further testify, that Edward Devotion did say to us that Mary Devotion his wife should have his House barnes with the homestead, which be there said was ye Lands be improved. Also we do affirme that he said his wife should have the stock of Cattel and Sheep that there was upon the Lands. Also he did further Say that his money's which he had he did give to his Grand Children five pounds apiece, and what did remain he did give to his own Son's when Edward and Thomas was at age, to be equally distributed to them. And the reason why not thus set down in his will was the interruption made by some Friends that came to visit him which occasioned the omition thereof by the Scribe and not any alteration in ye mind of the Testator, and we further testifie that when he thus declared himselfe he was to our best judgement, a man of sound judgement and memory.
Nath Sparhawk, Edward Cowell.
At a County Court for
Suffolke held at Boston 27 "Octob" 1685
NathI Sparhawke and Edward Cowell made Oath that Edward Devotion did declare and publish what is above written as a Codicil or explanation of his last will and Testament and that he was then of disposing minde in their understanding
Attest Isa Addington Clk.
I was at Goodman Devotions yt day hee made his will. And discoursed him, he seemed tome as Rationall as att any time I had knowne, him I was yn informed hee had expressed himselfe fully to two of the Overseers wm I saw yr & was yn about to signe it, wch hee did quickly after I was gone. In his fitts I was told he was discomposed in his head, but out of ym hee was very composed, as he was att this time, it being ye time of his Intermission.
In the name of God Amen.
I Edward Devotion of Brooklyn in the County of Suffolk & Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England, Yoeman being aged & infirm. Do make & ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following. Principally and first of all I give & recommend my soul to God who gave it hoping and believing that in the mercy of God through
Jesus Christ my Redeemer I shall receive full pardon of all my sins and an Inheritance among them that are Sanctified. My Body I commit to the Earth to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executors hereinafter named, And as for my temporal Goods and Estate I will that they be Employed & bestowed in manner following :
Imp's I will that all my just Debts & Funeral Charges be well & truly paid by my Executors hereinafter named in convenient time after my decease.
Item. I give to bequeath to my well beloved Wife Mary Devotion the sum of Five hundred Pounds Lawfull money of the Province aforesaid and all my House hold Goods to her her heirs & assigns forever.
Item. I give to my beloved friend Mr. James Shedd the sum of Twenty five Pounds Lawfull money aforesd in consideration of my respect for him.
Item. I give to the Grand Children of my Brother John Devotion deceased the Sum of Two hundred & fifty Pounds Lawfull money out of which sum my will is that the Rev'd Mr. Ebenezer Devotion shall have Seventy five Pounds and that the remainder be equally divided amongst the rest of the said Grand Children provided always nevertheless and my Will is that the said Legacy of Two hundred & fifty Pounds is given &bequeathed to the said Grand Children of my sd Brother is upon this Special Condition that they shall Quit claim to my Executors all the Right Title and Interest that they have, or may pretend to have, of and in all that Estate that came to me by my Hon'd Father John Devotion deceased and in case they refuse to give such Quit claim then my Will if that aforesaid Legacy of Two hundred & fifty Pounds shall cease and be void.
Item. I give to Deacon Edward Ruggles the sum of Seventy five Pounds Lawfull money, and to Mr. Samuel Griffin the like sum of Seventy five Pounds.
Item. I give to the Church of Christ in Brooklyn one Silver Tankard containing one Quart.
Item. As for the Estate which I sold to Solomon Hill and for which he gave me a Mortgage Deed my will is that in case he should not Redeem the said Estate and Discharge the Mortgage within the time limited then and in such case I hereby authorize & empower my said Executors to dispose of >the same together with all my Land in Brooklyn to the Highest Bidders in Order to pay & discharge the aforesaid Legacies and my just Debts.
Item, my will is that in case my Estate shall not be sufficient to pay my Just Debts, Funeral Charges and ye aforesaid Legacies by me given, then in such case my will is that each of the Legacies given in this my will be reduced proportionally, (saving the Legacies given to my wife and my friend James Sheed which are to be first paid without any deduction.)
Item, in case my estate prove to be sufficient to pay my Just Debts, Funeral Charges and the aforementioned Legacies and there should be any overplus left them my will is and I hereby give the sd overplus to the town of Brooklyn towards Building or Maintaining a School as near the Centre of the said Town as shall be agreed upon by the Town. But if the said Town cannot agree upon a Place to set the said School upon then my Will is that the said overplus be laid out in purchasing a Wood Lott for the use of the School and the ministry of said Town forever.
Item, my mind & will is, anything aforewritten to ye contary thereof notwithstanding that the aforementioned Legacies by me given are not to be paid intill the aforesd mortgage Deed given me by the said Solomon Hill be Discharged or (in case he refuse to Redeem ye. said Estate) untill the said Estate by him mortgaged as aforesaid can be conveniently sold by my Executors hereinafter named.
Lastly, I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved wife Mary and my Friend Mr. James Shed of Roxbury to be Executors of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Fourteenth day of June in the Seventeenth year of his majesty's Reign and in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand seven hundred and forty three.
Edward Devotion. (Seal)
Signed, sealed, published pronounced & declared by the sd Edward Devotion the Testator to be his last Will and Testament, in presence of us the subscribes (ye words, can be conveniently being first intelined) James Clark, Nathaniel Gardner, Elhanan Winchester.
Suffolk, S.S. By the Hono'ble Josiah Willard Esq'r Judge of Prob'te &c.
The within written will being presented for Probate by the Executors therein named Samuel Clark & Elhanan Winchester made oath that they saw Edward Devotion the subscriber to this Instrument sign & seal & heard him publish & declare the same to be his last Will & Testament, and that when he so did he was of sound disposing mind & memory according to these Depon'ts best discerning and that they together with Nathaniel Gardner now already set to their hands as Witnesses thereof in the said Testators presence.
Boston Nov'r 27th 1744. J. Willard.
An Inventore of the estate of Edward Devotion of Muddy River, In the bounds of Boston in the County of Suffolk, deceased the twenty eighth day of September, sixteen hundred eighty and five, taken by the persons ^whose names are subscribed in the sequell.
Imprimis, the homestead houseing and ten acres land adjoining thereto, with the orchyard and twenty one acres of land upon the south side of the road that leads to boston at two hundred pounds - 200 00 00 lands lying within the field commonly called
|Boston field, fifty four acres at .
|March by the spring, two acres .
|five acres of land by John Davis in Roxbury
|ten acres of land in Roxbury bounds .
|Sheep & lambs forty two, at ten pounds
|five cows and young cattell, three horse kind
|Sheep let out at eight pounds
|Debts due to the estate
|tenn pair of sheets six pounds
|other articles of furniture .
|cart & wheels & plowes
|Collar & braces & saddles one gun, 3 saws, 2 axes ids .
|Fourteen barrels of siderat foure poui
|tubs & other lumber .
|The sume totall
Probate 27 Octob'r 1685.
Mary Devotion, John Devotion
This is an inventory of the Estate both Reall & personal of Mr. Edward Devotion of Brooklyn, late deceased, Approved by us the subscribers who are hereunder written. Viz :
|fifteen Acres and half of land at three hundred and ten pounds
|Seven acres of land apprized at one hundred and five pounds
|One Negrow at thirty pounds
|One Cow at fourteen pounds
|Wairing Apparil at twenty pounds
|Beds & Bedding at forty pounds
|Tabels & Chairs & wooden ware twenty pounds
|Puter, Iron and brass at twenty five pounds
|One Iron bar twenty five shillings
Memo : There is sundry Bonds due to said estate with interest as pr acct. of Particulars on file £1735.6.6. old ten'r. Besides some desperate Bonds amounting to £53. 7.
Cash old tener £80.15 S.
Date of Probate . . . March 8, 1744.
This is to certify that I have examined the accounts of Edward W. Baker, treasurer of the Brookline Historical Society, and find them properly cast, and that he has charged himself with a balance of two hundred and seventy-five (275) dollars in the Permanent Fund, and a balance of seventy-four 20-100 (74.20) dollars in the Current Fund, which amounts are on deposit in the Brookline Savings Bank and the Brookline National Bank, as per deposit books shown to me.
Charles H. Stearns, Auditor
The committee appointed to nominate officers of the Society for 1902 made the following report : -
For Clerk and Treasurer,
Edward W. Baker.
Rufus G. F. Candage,
John Emory Hoar,
Miss Julia Goddard,
Miss Harriet Alma Cummings,
Mrs. J. C. Kittredge,
Charles H. Stearns,
Edward W. Baker.
Tappan E. Francis,
W. Tracy Eustis,
Albert A. Folsom.
The report was accepted and it was voted to proceed to ballot. The ballot was taken and the candidates nominated were unanimously elected.
, That the Society print the papers on the Devotion family, together with the President's address, Treasurer's report, by-laws, and list of officers and members.
Edward W. Baker, Clerk
Commonwealth Of Massachusetts
Be it known
That whereas Rufus George Frederick Candage, Edward Wild Baker, Julia Goddard, John Emory Hoar, Harriet Alma Cummings, Charles Henry Stearns, James Macmaster Codman, Jr., Charles French Read, Edwin Birchard Cox, Willard Y. Gross, Charles Knowles Bolton, Tappan Eustis Francis, Desmond FitzGerald, D. S. Sanford, and Martha A. Kittredge have associated themselves with the intention of forming a corporation under the name of the
Brookline Historical Society
for the purpose of the study of the history of the town of Brookline, Massachusetts, its societies, organizations, families, individuals, and events, the collection and preservation of its antiquities, the establishment and maintenance of an historical library, and the publication from time to time of such information relating to the same as shall be deemed expedient, and have complied with the provisions of the statutes of this Commonwealth in such case made and provided, as appears from the certificate of the President, Treasurer, and Directors of said corporation, duly approved by the Commissioner of Corporations and recorded in this office;
C, William M. Olin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Ho Ijevcbg rertifg that said Rufus George Frederick Candage, Edward Wild Baker, Julia Goddard, John Emory Hoar, Harriet Alma Cummings, Charles Henry Stearns, James Macmaster Codman, Jr., Charles French Read, Edwin Birchard Cox, Willard Y. Gross, Charles Knowles Bolton, Tappan Eustis Francis, Desmond FitzGerald, D. S. Sanford, and Martha A. Kittredge, their associates and successors, are legally organized and established as and are hereby made an existing corporation under the name of the
Brookline Historical Society
with the powers, rights, and privileges, and subject to the limitations, duties, and restrictions, which by law appertain thereto.
my official signature hereunto subscribed, and the seal of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts hereunto affixed, this twenty-ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and one.
WM. M. OLIN,
Secretary of the Commonwealth
RUFUS G. F. CANDAGE, President.
Committee on Rooms
MRS. MARTHA A. KITTREDGE.
MISS JULIA GODDARD.
CHARLES H. STEARNS.
J. EMORT HOAR, Vice-Pres.
MISS H. ALMA CUMMINGS.
EDWARD W. BAKER, Clerk and Treasurer.
MISS JULIA GODDARD.
Committee on Papers
MRS. SUSAN VINING GRIGGS.
CHARLES H. STEARNS.
RUFUS G. F. CANDAGE, President, ex-officio
EDWARD W. BAKER, Clerk, ex-officio
J. EMORT HOAR.
Committee on Membership
MISS ELLEN CHASE.
CHARLES KNOWLES BOLTON
Committee on Library
ALBERT A. FOLSOM.
WILLARD Y. GROSS.
DANIEL S. SANFORD.
Committee on Finance
W. TRACY EUSTIS.
TAPPAN EUSTIS FRANCIS
JAMES MACMASTER CODMAN, JR.
Committee on Publications
CHARLES H. STEARNS.
RUFUS G. F. CANDAGE, President, ex-officio.
RUFUS G. F. CANDAGE.
CHARLES FRENCH READ.
J. EMILY HOAR.
EDWARD W. BAKER.
BROOKLINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The name of this corporation shall be Brookline Historical Society.
The objects of this Society shall be the study of the history of the town of Brookline, Massachusetts, its societies, organizations, families, individuals, events; the collection and preservation of its antiquities, the establishment and maintenance of an historical library, and the publication from time to time of such information relating to the same as shall be deemed expedient.
Any person of moral character who shall be nominated and approved by the Board of Trustees may be elected to membership by ballot of two-thirds of the members present and voting thereon at any regular meeting of the Society. Each person so elected shall pay an admission fee of three dollars, and an annual assessment of two dollars; and any member who shall fail for two consecutive years to pay the annual assessment shall cease to be a member of this Society; provided, however, that any member who shall pay twenty-five dollars in anyone year may thereby become a Life member; and any member who shall pay fifty dollars in any one year may thereby become a Benefactor of the Society, and thereafter shall be free from all dues and assessments. The money received from Life members and Benefactors shall constitute a fund, of which not more than twenty per cent, together with the annual income there from, shall be spent in anyone year.
The Society may elect Honorary and Corresponding members in the manner in which annual members are elected, but they shall have no voice in the management of the Society, and shall not be subject to fee or assessment.
Certificates signed by the President and the Clerk may be issued to all persons who become Life members, and to Benefactors.
The officers of this Society shall be seven Trustees, a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary (who shall be Clerk of the Society and may also be elected to fill the office of Treasurer), and a Treasurer, who, together, shall constitute the Board of Trustees. The Trustees, Clerk, and Treasurer shall be chosen by ballot at the annual meeting in January, and shall hold office for one year, and until others are chosen and qualified in their stead. The President and Vice-President shall be chosen by the Board of Trustees from their number at their first meeting after their election, or at an adjournment thereof.
The annual meeting of this Society shall be held on the fourth Wednesday of January. Regular stated meetings shall be held on the fourth Wednesday of February, March, April, May, October, November, and December.
Special meetings may be called by order of the Board of Trustees. The Clerk shall notify each member by a written or printed notice sent through the mail postpaid at least three days before the time of meeting, or by publishing such notice in one or more newspapers published in Brookline.
At all meetings of the Society ten (10) members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
The meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be called by the Clerk at the request of the President, by giving each member personal or written notice, or by sending such notice by mail, postpaid, at least twenty-four hours before the time of such meeting; but meetings where all the Trustees are present may be held without' such notice. The President shall call meetings of the Board of Trustees at the request of any three members thereof. A majority of its members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Vacancies in the offices of Trustees, Clerk, or Treasurer may be filled for the remainder of the term at any regular meeting of the Society by the vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting. In the absence of the Clerk at a meeting of the Society, a Clerk pro tempore shall be chosen.
At the monthly meeting in December, a Nominating Committee of three members shall be appointed by the presiding officer, who shall report at the annual meeting a list of candidates for the places to be filled.
The President, or in his absence the Vice-President, shall preside at all meetings of the Society. In the absence of those officers a President pro tempore shall be chosen.
DUTIES OF THE CLERK.
The Clerk shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of his duties. He shall notify members of all meetings of the Society, and shall keep an exact record of all the proceedings of the Society at its meetings.
He shall conduct the general correspondence of the Society and place on file all letters received. He shall enter the names of members in order in books or cards kept for that purpose, and issue certificates to Life members and to Benefactors. He shall have charge of such property in possession of the Society as may from time to time be delegated to him by the Board of Trustees. He shall acknowledge all loans or gifts made to the Society.
DUTIES OF THE TREASURER.
The Treasurer shall collect all moneys due the Society, and pay all bills against the Society when approved by the Board of Trustees. He shall keep a full account of receipts and expenditures in a book belonging to the Society, which shall always be open to the inspection of the Trustees; and at the annual meeting in January he shall make a written report of all his doings for the year preceding. The Treasurer shall give bonds in such sum, with surety, as the Trustees may fix, for the faithful discharge of his duties.
DUTIES AND POWERS OF TRUSTEES.
The Board of Trustees shall superintend the prudential and executive business of the Society, authorize all expenditures of money, fix all salaries, provide a common seal, receive and act upon all resignations and forfeitures of membership, and see that the by-laws are duly complied with. The Board of Trustees shall have full powers to hire, lease, or arrange for a suitable home for the Society, and to make all necessary rules and regulations required in the premises.
They shall make a report of their doings at the annual meeting of the Society.
They may from time to time appoint such sub-committees from their own number as they deem expedient.
In case of a vacancy in the office of Clerk or Treasurer they shall have power to choose the same pro tempore till the next meeting of the Society.
The President shall annually, in the month of January, appoint four standing committees, as follows :
Committee on Rooms.
A committee of three members, to be styled the "Committee on Rooms," to which shall be added the President and Clerk of the Society ex-officio, who shall have charge of all arrangements of the rooms (except books, manuscripts, and other objects appropriate to the library offered as gifts or loans), the hanging of pictures, and the general arrangements of the Society's collection in their department.
Committee on Papers.
A committee of three members, to be styled the" Committee on Papers," who shall have charge of the subjects of papers to be read, or other exercises of a profitable nature, at the monthly meetings of the Society.
Committee on Membership.
A committee of three or more members, to be styled the "Committee on Membership," whose duty it shall be to give information in regard to the purposes of the Society, and increase its membership.
Committee on Library.
A committee of three or more members, to be styled the "Committee on Library," who shall have charge of the arrangements of the library, including acceptance and rejection of books, manuscripts, and other objects tendered to the library, and the general arrangement of the Society's collections in that department.
These four committees shall perform their duties as above set forth under the general direction and supervision of the Board of Trustees. Vacancies that occur in any of these committees during their term of service shall be filled by the President.
The President shall annually, in the month of January, appoint two members, who, with the President, shall constitute the Committee on Finance, to examine from time to time the books and accounts of the Treasurer, to audit his accounts at the close of the
year, and to report upon the expediency of proposed expenditures of money.
These by-laws may be altered or amended at any regular meeting by a two-thirds vote of the members present, notice of the subject matter of the proposed alterations or amendments having been given at a previous meeting.