BROOKLINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
ANNUAL MEETING, JANUARY 28, 1903
PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY
BROOKLINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SECOND ANNUAL MEETING.
The second annual meeting of the Brookline Historical Society was held in the G. A. R. Room, Town Hall, Brookline, Mass., on Wednesday, January 28, 1903, 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,-The second annual meeting of your Society, I am pleased to report, finds it in a flourishing condition with 147 members upon its roll, a gain of 35 during the year. The losses have been five, three by death, Messrs. John Emory Hoar, your Vice-President, Edward B. Hill, and Mrs. Tirza S. Emerson; and two by resignation, Messrs. Charles Knowles Bolton and Hiller C. Willman, who have removed to other fields of usefulness without the town.
There has been received in the year past for membership fees, the sum of $441.00 and there has been paid out for expenses $141.45, leaving a balance of $648.75 in the treasury January 1, 1903, and there remain a number of fees and dues yet to be collected.
It is hoped and much desired that in the year we are now entering the gain in numbers and financial strength of the Society will be greatly enlarged, as it ought to be, to enable it to do the work it ought to do. If each member will make an effort to bring in one additional, the membership would be doubled, and that does not seem to be a great task in a population of 22,000. Doubling the membership would double the energy and financial ability of the society to perform the work for which it was organized, a work which organized efforts alone can hope to accomplish. Brookline, as it has been before stated, is a rich field of historical research, and only energy and means are needed to enable this Society to till and to reap a bountiful harvest, for the benefit of the townspeople and for all lovers of New England history.
In the year past, eight valuable historical papers have been read before the Society, all of which should be printed and placed in the hands of its members and in New England historical libraries as safe repositories, and they will be, if the funds needed for that purpose shall be forthcoming.
The officers of your Society are much interested m its work and have devoted time and thought to make it a Society of which its members may feel proud. Your president takes this opportunity to thank them, and all members, for their aid and assistance contributed for the success of the Society.
In the year upon which we now enter, as well as in the year past, it will be the aim of your officers and committees to advance the interests of the Society in all ways within their power, and to have a paper prepared and read at each of its stated meetings. In that effort they most cordially invite the aid and co-operation of each and every member. United effort can accomplish much, where unaided individual effort might prove a failure.
The papers read before the Society in the past year have been as follows: - Jan. 28, "The Sewall Family," by Mr. Charles H. Stearns; Feb. 26, a letter describing the battle of Bunker Hill, by Mr. Charles F. Read; March 26, "Mrs. Deming's Journal of the Flight from Boston after the Battle of Lexington," by Capt. O. O. Folsom; April 23, "The Goddard House, Warren street, built about 1730, its Owners and Occupants," by Miss Julia Goddard; May 28, " Machias and some of its Early Settlers," by Mr. Watts H. Bowker; October 22, "Jeremy Gridley, Esq.," by R. G. F. Candage; Nov. 19, "Muddy River or Colonial Brookline," by Mrs. Emeline C. Ricker; Dec. 17, "Brookline Village from 1865 to the Present Time," by Mr. Martin Kingman.
SOME OLD HOUSES IN BROOKLINE
have been demolished in the past with histories, of which, it is to be regretted, no photographs or pictures are known to be in existence. The Andem House of Andem place, erected about 1670 and taken down in 1879 was one of them. That house had an exceedingly interesting history, which at a future day, it is hoped, will be written out and read before the Society.
The old Punch Bowl in the village, built in 1740 by John Ellis, was another old building with an exceedingly interesting history, which it is to be hoped some member of the Society will write up and read for our pleasure and edification. Miss Woods in "Historical Sketches of Brookline" states that "the extent of the patronage of the old Punch Bowl may be roughly estimated from the fact that it was common for a row of teams to occupy the side of the street above and below the tavern, from what is now Harrison place (Kent street) to the gas works (corner of Brookline avenue) in a continuous line, while the men and horses were being fed and rested. The Punch Bowl was not patronized by this class alone, however, but was a famous place of resort for gay parties, not only from the surrounding towns, but even from Boston, and was much frequented by British officers just before the Revolution. The mill-dam, the bridges and the opening of the Worcester railroad, at last took all the business away from the old Punch Bowl. It was bought by Mr. Isaac Thayer about 1833 and torn down."
THE OLD WHITE OR COREY HOUSE, WASHINGTON street.
On the right hand side of Washington street, between Beacon street and the Brighton line, stood a lone house built and occupied by Major Edward White, who died in 1769, aged 76. In that house was born his son Benjamin and his grandson Oliver, who was Postmaster and Town Clerk many years, and whose house at the foot of Walnut street stood until taken down for the extension of High street in the early sixties.
The old Washington street house was for a long time owned by Captain Timothy Corey and his heirs, later by James Bartlett, who sold it with the farm, running up to the top of Corey Hill to the late Eben D. Jordan, who removed the house and improved the land near where it stood. There is no picture of that old house, so far as is known, which is much to be regretted as it was one of the historical places in Brookline. Around that house and its occupants, the Whites, Coreys and Bartletts, center incidents and historical data of the old town of Brookline-a mine of historical wealth which we hope will be worked, and its result laid before this Society at some future day.
THE VINCENT DRUCE OR EBENEZER CRAFT HOUSE, NEWTON street.
The old farmhouse that stood on the Denny Farm, Newton street, was taken down and blotted from the map in 1902, thereby removing the oldest building in that section of the town.
It was built by Vincent Druce in the latter part of the 17th century and had attained to the age of more than two hundred years. In "Brookline a Favored Town" the date of its building is stated to have been between 1660 and 1670.
Obadiah Druce, son of John, and supposed nephew of Vincent, inherited the property and house, and spent the remainder of his life in it. John Druce, the third of that name, was a graduate of Harvard College in 1738, and settled as a physician in Wrentham, Mass. The first John Druce was a soldier in Captain Prentice's company, a troop of horse in King Philip's War, and was mortally wounded in July, 1675, in a battle near Swansea, Mass. He was brought home and died in his own house, aged thirty-four years. His son John, then a child, was probably father of the Wrentham physician.
Deacon Ebenezer Crafts of Roxbury was the next owner of the house. The family and all its branches in Roxbury and Brookline trace their line of descent from Griffin Crafts, who came to this country with the early settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Griffin Crafts' son Ebenezer built the house which until within a year stood on Tremont street, now Huntington avenue, opposite Hillside, with the date 1709 on its chimney. In that house the Deacon Ebenezer Crafts first mentioned, lived in his youth. He married Susannah, daughter of Mr. Samuel White of Brookline. His son, Caleb Crafts, held a Lieutenant's commission in the war of the Revolution. Many of the old military orders which he received are still extant, and Miss Harriet Woods in her "Historical Sketches of Brookline" quotes several of them.
During the greater part of the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Caleb Crafts was in a Brookline company under Captain Thomas White. He was a deacon of the church; he died in 1791, aged eighty-six years. His son Samuel received from his grandfather, Samuel White, a farm on what is now the corner of South and Grove streets, long and until recently known as the Crafts place. Samuel Crafts was about to marry Ann, daughter of Deacon David Weld, when he died at the age of thirty-nine in 1775, and the farm came into possession of his father.In 1791 it was purchased by Lieutenant Caleb Crafts, his brother, who still lived in the Druce house, Newton street, and continued to live there until his marriage in 1812 to his third wife Jerusha, daughter of Benjamin White and Sarah (Aspinwall) White, daughter of Captain Samuel Aspinwall. From him and his first wife Eleanor White, sister of Jerusha, descended the Crafts of South street. His second marriage was to Sarah, daughter of Robert Sharp, from whom descended the Crafts of Washington street. Caleb Crafts died in 1826, aged upward of eighty years, in the house on South street. His son Caleb and a grandson Caleb lived on the South street farm, and the last of the family to reside there were George and his maiden sisters.
The Newton street house was sold by Samuel Crafts, who removed to the lower part of the town. Members of the Crafts family have settled elsewhere, and the name is now nearly if not entirely extinct in Brookline. Mr. William A. Crafts, secretary of the Railroad Commission, who lives opposite Hillside, Roxbury, on Huntington avenue, is of the Newton street family.
The old Newton street house and farm passed in the early sixties into the possession of Mr. Francis P. Denny. He built a new house upon the hill, and the old house was the residence of his farmer, Mr. Charles R. Dow, who lived in it until about 1891, when it was sold by the Denny heirs to Mr. George F. Bouve, who held possession until his death in 1898, when the estate was sold to a company of gentlemen for the purpose of improvement. The farm has been cut up by streets, divided into lots, and several houses have been built thereon and the appearance much changed. A large tract on the north side of Newton street has been purchased by the town for park purposes, and the old house, after an existence of more than two hundred years, has been torn down to give place to the march of improvement.
Like the demise of an historical person, the old house, so long a landmark in that part of the town, has passed away. In writing this meager account of it, one's own feelings are like unto his who is called to write an obituary of a long and well known friend who has gone upon "that journey from whence no traveler returns."
THE CLARK HOUSE, WALNUT street.
Walnut street was first called "the Sherburne Road," and is the oldest road in Brookline, and one of the earlier roads in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was extended to Framingham, then the frontier of civilization, which was considered the bound of Colonial need in that direction, as it was deemed not likely that white people would ever go farther west into the wilderness to make a home. It was at first little if any better than an Indian trail, stretching its winding way from the abode of one settler to another with spaces of forest trees
between, out of which the traveler at any moment was liable to hear the growl of the wolf, or war-whoop of the savage.
And yet, in less than twenty years after William Blackstone had settled in Shawmut and called it Trimountain, Muddy River Hamlet had three highways through it, and the Sherburne Road began to be called "the old road."
The land at the now village end of that road on the right as far as "Cat Alley," and on the left to what is now Cypress street, is said to have been " the great lott," granted to Thomas Leverett, which afterwards became the property of his son Governor John Leverett, governor of the Colony from 1671 to 1673, who used the land for pasturage of cattle. A part of that land later came into the possession of the Whites, who were once numerous in Brookline. John the immigrant was born in England, came to Watertown, and then to Brookline. Some of that name have gone back to the original spelling, ascertained from English records to have been Whyte.
The early settlers on the Sherburne Road began to build west of the present Cypress street, the history of the lower part being more modern. The old garrison house for the protection of the town's early settlement, supposed to be near the center, was just behind the site of the old Clark house on the corner of Chestnut and Walnut streets.
The Clark house was built by Deacon Samuel Clark, son of Samuel, about 1715. He was a carpenter by trade and built the first church edifice in Brookline in 1714, and he was the first to be published in it after its completion. He was married the year after the church was built, and erected his house about that time, as it is known that it was standing a year or two later. Deacon Clark died in 1766, aged eighty-one years.
He had a son Samuel who preceded him to the grave, but left a son, Samuel 4th, who succeeded to the ownership of his grandfather's house and land. He, too, was a Deacon of the First Church, and he married Mary, daughter of Robert Sharp 4th of Brookline. He lived to be sixty-one years of age and died in 1814, leaving the homestead to his son Caleb.
Caleb Clark was born in the old house October 21, 1789, married Nancy Murdock in 1817, and died March 7, 1849, aged fifty-nine years.
At his death the homestead went to his son Samuel, born July 8, 1819, and died September 15, 1898, aged seventy-nine years two months and seven days. He occupied the old house until he built the house in which he died, on a part of the homestead lot, a short distance from the old house.
His daughter Helen, married William S. Cutler of Brookline, and they set up housekeeping in the old house, where their first child was born, this making the sixth generation of the Clark family born within the walls of the old historic house.
When the Cutlers removed to their new house upon a part of the old homestead lot, Mrs. Macallister rented the old house, and she with her family occupied it for a dozen years or more, and until within a few years. After that it remained vacant, and being more or less out of repair, it was taken down in 1902.
We are fortunate in being possessed of a photograph of the old house copied by permission from one owned by Mrs. Macallister, which will be a reminder of that interesting colonial mansion when the present generation, like the dwelling itself, shall have passed away.
THE ASPINWALL HOUSE ON ASPINWALL HILL.
This old house, with its associations dating from the early years of the last century, after occupation for nearly a hundred years, a landmark in the town, was torn down in December, 1900, to make way for the erection of a more modern dwelling. The land upon which it stood and was surrounded originally consisted of forty acres purchased of Mr. Benjamin White in 1788, by Dr. William Aspinwall, who built the house in 1803. Dr. Aspinwall resided in the house until his death in 1823, at the age of eighty years. His body was buried in the Walnut street cemetery.
The spot on which the house was built commanded a fine view of Boston, the Charles River, towns and villages for miles around, and a beautiful part of Brookline in the foreground. It is said that when the house was built there were but six other houses in Brookline to be seen from its front.
Dr. Aspinwall was descended from Peter Aspinwall, the first of the name to settle in Brookline, who built the house in 1660 that stood, until 1891, on what is now known as Aspinwall avenue, opposite St. Paul's Episcopal Church. He was born in Brookline in 1743, was a graduate of Harvard College, and married a daughter of Captain Isaac Gardner of Brookline, the first man killed at the battle of Lexington. The Doctor, also, took part in that battle, and followed the retreating British to Charlestown, and then returned through Cambridge to attend to the removal of the body of Captain Gardner to his late home in Brookline. Dr. Aspinwall was accounted to be a skillful physician with a large practice, and it is said that he frequently rode forty miles on horseback to visit patients. His son Augustus succeeded to the house and estate and continued, with a sister as housekeeper and companion, to occupy the house until his death in 1865, aged seventy-seven years seven months and thirteen days. He was a widower, whose wife died young, leaving no children, and he gave to his garden and greenhouse a tender care in his relaxation from business, which made them famous for the cultivation of roses and other flowers and plants. His love for them amounted to almost a passion, and it seemed as if the affection which might otherwise have centered upon kindred and family found expression and occupation among the roses. He had many varieties, blooming successfully through the seasons, which he shared with his friends who could appreciate their rare beauty. His choice selection of vines and fruit trees was also an attraction of the garden and farm.
Thomas Aspinwall, a brother of Augustus, was a graduate of Harvard and was admitted to the bar, but the second war with England found him in the ranks of the defenders of his country. He was commissioned a Colonel and lost an arm in 1814 in the defense of Port Erie.
In June, 1815, he was appointed United States Consul at London, a place he continued to hold for thirty-seven years until removed by President Pierce. The Colonel died in 1876, at the house of his brother on Hancock street, Boston.
Colonel Aspinwall's son William, born in London during his father's consulship, a graduate of Harvard, a lawyer and man of affairs, was the next occupant of the old house on the hill. He will long be remembered for his activity in matters pertaining to the government, and improvements of the town. He had served the town as a Representative to the General Court, Town Clerk, Selectman, Assessor, Water Commissioner, Trustee of the Public Library, and on many committees. He died October 25, 1892, aged seventy-three years eight months and nine days.
Since the death of William Aspinwall, the old house has been occupied by different parties, not connected with the family of its builder, until it was taken down, never more to be a landmark, or to be known and remembered by future generations.
THE THAYER-MILLER-FOXCROFT HOUSE, KENT street.
The village end of what is now Kent street in early days was a cart road across the Davis farm, from what is now Harvard Square down to the marsh, where salt hay was cut. The Davis farm was a part of a large tract of land allotted to the Rev. John Cotton, the second minister in Boston. It included all the land between the two brooks, from Muddy River westward to the Blake estate. But so far as is known Rev. John Cotton only used the land for pasturage. He left it to his heirs Rowland and Thomas Cotton.
Deacon Thomas Cotton built a house upon the land between Andem place and Kent street some two hundred and thirty or forty years ago, and afterwards sold it to Deacon Ebenezer Davis, who, with his heirs, occupied it until the beginning of 1800, when it was sold to Moses Andem and became known as the old Andem house. After Mr. Andem's death it was occupied by various parties, the last being Mr. Michael Driscoll, who took it down in 1879 for the purpose of erecting on its site the brick block owned by him and his brother James.
Between that old house and Perry's lane, now Aspinwall avenue, there was no house east of Harvard street until 1833
when David R. Griggs, Esq., built and occupied the old mansion house in the rear of the Brookline National Bank building. Harrison place was laid out by Mr. Griggs in 1840, and named in honor of Gen. William Henry Harrison, who was that year elected to the presidency of the United States. In 1837, when Harrison place was only a cart path, though laid out as an unnamed way that year, Mr. Luther Thayer built the house taken down in 1902, but died soon after, and it then passed into possession of Mr. Mellen, the father of Mrs. Charles H. Stearns, who occupied it for several years. After Mr. Mellen's occupancy, it became known as the Foxcroft estate, and was occupied by the Philips family until three or four years ago, when it was sold to Mr. James C. Rooney, who took it down and erected upon its site a three-story brick apartment house.
Through the courtesy of Mr. Rooney, this Society, of which he is also a member, is in possession of a fine photograph of the old house.
In the past year your president has had photographs taken of a number of old Brookline houses, which he takes pleasure in presenting to the Society. It is to be hoped that his lead may be followed by other members of the Society, so that in future no Brookline house with a history worth preservation, shall be torn down and blotted from the map of the town, without the Society having a picture of it.
In the march of so-called improvement, many old houses have been sacrificed, and others must of necessity follow. It is our duty and privilege to preserve their outward semblance through photography, and to commemorate the historical events and incidents surrounding them by written papers, even if not published, to be safely kept in the archives of our Society.
The Society needs a permanent home in which to hold its meetings, display its pictures, collect a library and preserve whatever antiquities may be placed in its keeping. This it is hoped it may have at some future day. It already has a respectable number of books as a nucleus for a library.
Prepared by Miss Julia Goddard. Read at the meeting of the Society, April 23, 1902.
In accordance with the kind wish expressed by our President, Mr. Candage, that I would prepare for the Brookline Historical Society some account of the aged house in which I am living, and which has now received four generations of our family within its walls, I have gladly done my best to draw up this paper, and desire also to acknowledge with sincere thanks the welcome aid vouchsafed me by the Secretary of our Society, Mr. Edward W. Baker, and by my neighbor, Mr. Charles White, both of whom have given me very kind assistance in my efforts to discover the history of the earliest possessor of the dwelling.
In the appendix to the address made by the venerated and Reverend John Pierce, D.D., on the occasion of the opening of the Town Hall of Brookline, on October 14th, 1745, it is set forth that the house of which we are speaking was built about the year 1732 by Nehemiah Davis, who was the son of Ebenezer Davis of Roxbury, and was born June 7th, 1707. At the early age of twenty-one he married Mary, daughter of Samuel Clark, but their life together was sadly short, as she died in 1736, leaving one young son, Samuel. In 1739, her husband married for his second wife Mary Payson, and this union remained unbroken till January 5th, 1785, when Nehemiah Davis died, in the house that he had built so early in his life, and where we may take it for granted that at least four of his five children were born.
I have searched the records of Boston and of Dedham very carefully, to discover in the first place how much land was owned by Nehemiah Davis, in connection with his homestead in Brookline, together with the name of those from whom he bought it, and the dates at which he acquired his various parcels of territory, and I have felt much regret that I have been unable to find recorded no purchase made by him earlier than the last part of the year 1735, when he bought thirty-seven acres of land of Samuel White for "one thousand pounds," and six and one-half acres of John Seaver, Jr., for "two hundred and fifty-five pounds"; yet Dr. Pierce's record sets the time of the building of the house in 1732, about, and we know that Dr. Pierce was famed for his accuracy, so it would seem as though there must have been some transaction of which I have not discovered the details, which possibly might never have been preserved by any system of records whatever, as was often the case at that time.
From 1735 onward, however, Nehemiah Davis continued to purchase land from various parties, especially from Elhanan Winchester and Joseph Winchester, until he finally owned ninety-seven and one-half acres, which would be considered as belonging to his home farm in Brookline, though half a dozen acres of this were salt-marsh, and so not near his dwelling.
The house when he built it consisted of four rooms of very moderate size, on the first floor, the largest of these being the kitchen, with three pleasant windows in it looking toward the west and northwest, and with a very large fireplace, which was still in existence, and in active use too, when I can first remember my surroundings, and stood by it to admire the beautiful blaze of the wood fire, wreathing itself around the huge iron kettle hanging on the heavy crane, ere darting up the dark, wide chimney mouth, where it was lost to view, and where I thought it was such a pity it had to go. Upstairs the long, sloping roof eked out the number of sleeping-rooms to six, by adding two that were built over the wood-shed, partly for summer use, the other four being all supplied with generous fireplaces; and the house was evidently intended to be very comfortable, with its arrangements for warming every one of the eight apartments, none of which had sloping roofs. No doubt the youthful wife of Mr. Davis felt rich and proud when she took possession of the new and pretty abode, which she must have fondly hoped, poor little soul, would be her happy home for many years.
Very retired must this little house have been, since the road that we now call Cottage street, and which conducts to Jamaica Pond, was not in existence till 1763-4.
In 1761 it was voted in town meeting, that the Selectmen of that year "should be a committee to Lay and Stake out a road two Rods wide, from M. Nehemiah Davis' Gate to Roxbury line"; and in 1764 it was, at another town meeting, voted "that ye way from Mr. Nehemiah Davis' Gate to Roxbury Line as stak'd out by the Towns Committee for that Purpose, be Accepted and Recorded." Previous to that time, we must suppose that the way leading from our present Walnut street, then called Sherburne road, to the Davis Farm, could have been little more than a grass-grown lane, it having been laid out in 1700, by vote of the town of Boston, merely to reach the abode of Joseph Buckminster, whose house was situated midway between what was later the Davis Farm and Jamaica Pond. This "highway," so called, was crossed at intervals by two gates, one of which was to be maintained by the said Buckminster, and the other, which was at the northerly end, next Sherburne road, was to be maintained by Josiah Winchester, over whose land the new roadway was laid out.
That part of our present Warren street that passes the house built long ago by Mr. John Warren was then a little grass-grown track, called "Woodward's Lane." I have no doubt it was an outgrowth of the roadway that was laid out to Mr. Buckminster's place, since in the earlier records of the town I can find no mention of its original laying out.
But Mr. Davis spent by no means all of his time on his quiet farm, for he was a man much in request in the town, when public needs were to be cared for, and to them he seemed to give unsparingly of his time and his effort, when called upon to do so. We find him serving the town as Constable, or as Surveyor of Ways, or as an Auditor of Accounts, and he was on an innumerable number of committees, in behalf of the schools and of the church, especially, and was one of those who were appointed to take charge of the Edward Devotion legacy to the town. Also he was one of a committee who were appointed to give instructions to the Representative of the town, as the trying days of the Revolution drew near, and in 1778 he was one of the three men appointed by the town to go to Dedham, and there to confer with the committees of other towns on the important subject of the form of government then lately offered to the people of the state, for their approbation or the reverse. In short, it would be quite impossible to enumerate all the services, whether of greater or lesser importance, that he did for the town, and he continued his career of usefulness till an advanced age. Withal he also paid careful heed to his own personal affairs, and he was a constant purchaser of land; and it is interesting to record that he became an owner, at one time, of the old Punch Bowl Tavern in the village of Brookline, that well-known hostelry in the old days.
But at last the useful and excellent life of this good citizen came to its appointed end, and he died, as we have said, on January 5th, 1785, leaving behind him a carefully drawn up will in which he bequeathed to his widow the sum of Ten Pounds in good silver money, - equal to about seven hundred and fifty dollars in paper money, as the currency was at or near that time - and further declared that in lieu of her right of dower, " she should be comfortably and honorably supported in sickness and in health, in the mansion house where he then dwelt, by his daughters, Mercy Davis, and Louis Child; and in case she was not thus comfortably and honorably supported, then she should have the right to take her dower out of his real estate, and to improve it for herself," while she remained his widow.
He also bequeathed to his grandson, Nehemiah Davis, the sum of fifty pounds for his support, "he being by act of God incapable of providing for himself," and he appointed Captain Joseph Williams of Roxbury as guardian of the person and estate of the said Nehemiah, and also further provided that if any of the fifty pounds were left at the time of his poor grandson's death, it should, under certain circumstances, be given to his granddaughter, Elizabeth Davis, who would appear to have been his favorite grandchild, inasmuch as he also bequeathed to her a silver cup and saucer that, as he said, was her "grandmother Davises." This grandmother thus alluded to had been, of course, his beloved first wife, who had so early died. To his daughter-in-law Sarah Davis, he gave the improvement of the house of his, in which she was then living, so long as she remained his son's widow, but no longer, and he also bequeathed to her-provisionally-a cow, but proceeded to add that if she or any one under her direction, should produce a note of his, for about forty pounds, which he had given about twenty years before to his son Samuel, "and which ought to have been destroyed," then the cow should not be paid her, and moreover his grand-daughter, Elizabeth, should under these circumstances receive none of the possible residue remaining of the fifty pounds, at the death of his poor grandson, Nehemiah. He also bequeathed three or four other and smaller legacies, of no interest to recount, and then gave all the remainder of his estate, both real and personal, to be equally divided between his daughters, Mercy Davis and Louis Child.
As we subsequently find that none of his real estate in Brookline was claimed by his widow, we may feel sure that her daughters carefully provided for their good mother, and as we further find that in the year 1795 the town refused to give the personal estate of Nehemiah Davis, deceased, to Elizabeth Davis, we are led to the conclusion that probably Mrs. Sarah Davis never did produce that note of which her father-in-law spoke, and also that possibly there was something left of the poor grandson's fifty pounds when he died. It is a pleasure to know that this feeble grandson was also remembered with another legacy from a lady, Miss Lothrop, the amount of which I do not know. Also I am happy to state that in 1796, the town reversed its decision concerning Nehemiah's estate, and did give it to Elizabeth Davis, who thus successfully inherited all that her good grandfather had had it at heart to leave her, which included also three pounds in silver, specially given her in his will.
The next eventful change which occurred in the history of the house took place on December 10, 1793, when for the sum of eighteen hundred and fifty pounds the Davis Farm in its entirety, which was held to include also nine acres of land situated in Newton, and therefore not mentioned in the tax records of Brookline, was sold to Hon. George Cabot, who, in 1791, had been chosen Senator of the United States from Massachusetts, and who assuredly bore the most distinguished national reputation of any one who has ever been the possessor of the old house, whose owners have indeed been few, considering its advanced age.
As the history of any house is to a great degree the history of its owners and inhabitants, we shall not stray from our subject in giving certain details as to the life and character of Mr. Cabot, who certainly conferred a distinction upon the pretty cottage, with its charming surroundings of land, by his choice of it as a residence. Let us therefore carefully record that he was the son of Mr. Joseph Cabot, a prosperous merchant of Salem, Massachusetts, who had married Miss Elizabeth Higginson, a direct descendant in the fifth generation of Francis Higginson, the first minister of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a lady of high ability, and very noble character. Their son George was their seventh child, and four little brothers succeeded him in the family of children, who numbered eleven in all, of whom only two were daughters, who must have been esteemed quite as little princesses in their own right, when ushered by a kind and smiling fate into such an overwhelming circle of brothers.
One of these little sisters eventually married Mr. Joseph Lee of Salem, and under his auspices her younger brother George sailed on his first voyages, Mr. Lee being the commander of one of the merchant vessels of that day, and accounted a very strict disciplinarian, not very markedly relaxing his rules even in favor of his young brother-in-law.
Early impressed by the display of unusual ability on the part of his son George, Mr. Joseph Cabot had departed from the usual course followed at that time of sending only the eldest son to college, and had sent thither this younger boy, who had, however, only completed two years of his college course when his father died. Being unwilling to remain a charge upon the paternal estate under these circumstances, he left college, where we may be sure that he was distinguishing himself, even as he had always done at school, and "true to the then custom of his native country and town," set out to seek his fortune on the sea, where he succeeded so well, that even before he was quite of age, he himself commanded a ship. Yet his love of study remained strong within him, and his many leisure hours were thus earnestly improved; and this of course, together with his considerable practical abilities, made of him the distinguished man that he grew to be. In company with his brother-in-law, he soon became a most prosperous merchant, and having quitted his early career as captain of ships, he married in 1774 his double first cousin, Miss Elizabeth Higginson, and their union was long and happy. The country was then entering on the war of the Revolution, and many were the privateers dispatched from the shores of Essex County, "to prey on England's commerce, a pursuit both profitable and patriotic, as the injury done to the enemy was very great and many of these vessels were owned by the Cabots and Lees," and met with good success, much to the credit and to the emolument of their owners. Mr. Cabot having thus become doubly well-known, both as a patriot and as a man of very much ability, it was quite a foregone conclusion that application should be made to him to enter the important arena of politics; and this he consented to do, attending as delegate at many important State conventions, when governmental questions were under serious consideration, and becoming eventually a strong member of the Federalist party. In 1783, he became State Senator, to fill a vacancy unexpectedly occurring among the Essex County Senators, and finished out the term of office, declining, however, to be re-elected; but later he consented, as we have already stated, to become United States Senator in 1791, and shortly proved himself a very able and active member of the Senate, upon whose ability and wise judgment great reliance was placed.
And now, carrying no further our sketch of his earlier years and political life, we will turn to that which connects him with the history of the estate that he purchased in Brookline, and will explain that notwithstanding his great ability for public life, he yet possessed an earnest love for retirement, and for an uninterrupted opportunity to pursue the extensive courses of reading in which he so delighted; and therefore he resolved to make preparation for these future happy years, which he anticipated with longing, and to possess himself of a country place that should be pleasing to him both for its beauty and for its other advantages, and being greatly attracted by the pretty situation and extensive domain of the old Nehemiah Davis place, he gladly purchased it, and at once bestowed upon it the name of "Green Hill," a title which the present occupant has had great pleasure in trying to preserve, as a remembrance both of Senator Cabot and also of the aged house itself, which has been beloved by all who have occupied it for any length of time.
In accordance with information derived from more than one of the older dwellers in Brookline, which would seem to be confirmed by a certain short paragraph discovered in the volume of "Muddy River and Brookline Records," which will be given later, we are led to believe that the picturesque addition made long ago to the front of the little Nehemiah Davis cottage was the very tasteful work of Senator Cabot, whose family needs must have required much more space than that afforded by the narrow limits of the original small dwelling, not to mention the pleasant necessity that was upon him of providing for the comfort of the many distinguished guests, his old friends, whom he so often entertained at "Green Hill," one of whom, Judge Iredell of the Supreme Court, in writing home from Boston to Mrs. Iredell in Philadelphia, admiringly mentions that the estate which Mr. Cabot had recently purchased was a beautiful place.
In order that the large drawing-room, with good-sized bedrooms over it, now built for the old house by its new possessor, should be of greater height than the smaller apartments of the cottage, it was placed on a level three steps lower than they were, and connected with them by a longish hall of sufficiently comfortable width, from which two flights of three steps each ascended, the original old front and side doors of the Davis farmhouse standing at the top of them, where they remain to the present day, and when thrown open, on the occasion of some social gathering, the appearance of the quaint old house is very interesting, and so pleasing as to reflect great credit on the taste and good judgment of Mr. and Mrs. Cabot. The large old-fashioned, two-storied bow window, built to enlarge the dining-room, was constructed, too, either at this time or a few years later, by Mr. Stephen Higginson, Jr., and thus the little abode which worthy Mr. Nehemiah Davis proudly speaks of in his will as "the Mansion house where I now dwell," assumed a little more of the appearance of size usually associated with that title; and if we may place any confidence in the physiognomy of inanimate as well as animate bodies, we may please ourselves by imagining that the older dwelling must have given a cordial welcome to the youthful newcomer that begged to join its untried roof-tree to the patriarchal timbers of the more aged structure, since so sweet has been the air of harmony that has ever seemed to preside over this pretty union of the old with the new.
Though Mr. Cabot had intended to give up all his political duties, when he resigned his senatorship, which, "becoming weary of the asperities of politics," he did in 1796, he found it was really not possible to avoid giving counsel to those of his friends still in political life, who sought his opinion on the many important points that constantly presented themselves for consideration, and his correspondence was voluminous, and occupied his time and thoughts to a degree quite unexpected by him, when he gave up his position in Congress. Finding himself so occupied, he placed the charge of his large estate in the hands of one who was his tenant, yet who, by a certain arrangement made between them, was also subject to his supervision and direction, and Mr. Cabot's busy days were then still more devoted to the consideration of measures and events that vitally concerned the government. Many of the most important letters written by him in his correspondence with the leading men of his time, including General Washington himself, were dated from Brookline; and when we stop to realize that "he was five miles from the nearest post-office," to quote his own words, we may also realize how great must have been the pleasure that he found in his country residence, that he could submit to so many inconveniences and efforts as were a necessary condition of his life there. In summer he delighted in daily drives about the rural country with Mrs. Cabot, and as I am informed by a most kind reply made by Senator Lodge to a letter addressed to him by myself, he also received many visits from his old friends, Fisher Ames, Judge Lowell, Governor Strong, Governor Gore, and many others. I wish I could record that General Washington had ever visited "Green Hill," but that was an honor conferred upon Mr. Cabot's home in Beverly. Of all his friends, none seemed to be so near to Mr. Cabot's heart, at this time, as Mr. Ames. His residence was in Dedham, and many were the visits interchanged between these friends-Mr. Ames coming round to the farm, on his long carriage journeys to and from Boston, and Mr. and Mrs. Cabot, in return, taking many a drive through the quiet leafy lanes to their friend's house, still further in the country than their own.
In examining certain old deeds and papers connected with the history of our old house, it was very interesting to be let into the secrets of the past, so far as to acquire a knowledge of the more important belongings of the house estate, as for instance, its precious possession called "the big well," which was situated on the land now owned by my opposite neighbor, Mr. Francis White, and access to which was granted as a favor to a neighbor who later purchased land of Mr. Cabot. Evidently no fear existed that this treasury of water could ever cease to give of its abundance, and specially favored must any farm have been considered to be, that could boast a water supply sufficient, even in times of drought, to supply needs other than its owner's. The "front field" was also another important adjunct to the estate, and was frequently alluded to in many ways, while several successive deeds most carefully united to preserve a certain -"bridle way," which had its beginning in a spot nearly opposite one of the present drive-ways from the public road to the old house, and wound through all intervening fields and woods to the abode of Mr. John Goddard-this grassy road being enclosed with gates at either end which Mr. Goddard was pledged to keep in proper repair. Many a time, as a very little girl, have I walked that pretty, lonely cart path, holding my father's hand, and watched with interest the careful opening and closing of at least one of those important gates, which never was left open after our passage through it, but as time went on, the little-used road grew fainter and fainter in its outlines, and at last became an indistinguishable part of the fields through which it had long made its way, and sorry I was, though but a little child still, when I could no longer trace with my onward gaze the pretty winding path that I had soon learned to love.
For nearly ten years, "Green Hill" continued to be the truly beloved abode of Mr. and Mrs. Cabot, and then only important considerations connected with their four children, now grown to young manhood and womanhood, wrought with Mr. Cabot to quit the spot, but the isolation of the dwelling, during the severe storms and cold weather of the winters, was so complete as to deprive his daughter, especially, of the society proper to her age, while it also separated the sons, now entering business in Boston, from the home intercourse that was dear to them all; and so in January, 1803, Mr. Cabot gave up the ownership of the place which he had adorned and beautified, to Mr. Stephen Higginson, Jr., and took up his own residence in Boston. Before coming to an arrangement with Mr. Higginson, Mr. Cabot had, however, parted with portions of his lands, but a considerable number of acres passed into the hands of Mr. Higginson.
In closing our account of Mr. Cabot, whose ownership of the old house must ever be one of the most important of the reminiscences attaching to it, it would perhaps be of interest to describe his personal appearance, which was very striking. He was of noble height and size, and of very dignified appearance, and his countenance was considered very handsome, he having blue eyes, a somewhat florid complexion, and
-in his older age-very white hair, which he wore "tied in a queue, as had been his custom from his youth," and he possessed the gift of a beautiful voice, which was low but clear and powerful. His manners, being remarkably mild and courteous, were very attractive; and his attire added to the dignity and elegance of his appearance, as he never forsook the fashion of knee-breeches and silk stockings. In his whole physique and bearing he very noticeably resembled Washington. Such is the description given of him by those who personally knew and remembered him.
To those who may have observed the curve of the road that is so perceptible just in front of the old house, we may explain that the town, in 1794, gave leave to Senator Cabot to change, at his own expense, "the direction of the road leading from the Meeting-House to his Dwelling-house, in such a manner as that the said Road when it passes by said Dwelling-house may be more distant from the same than it is at present, provided that the said alteration shall in no place exceed twenty feet, and shall in its whole extent not exceed twenty Roods." This would seem to be strong confirmation of the assertion that the present front part of the house was built by Mr. Cabot.
Let me also mention in this place how greatly I am indebted to Senator Lodge's delightful history of the life of his great-grandfather, Mr. George Cabot, for much of the information concerning Senator Cabot which I have been able to give.
His successor in the ownership of the house, Mr. Stephen Higginson, Jr., made such a short residence in it that but little scope is given for the history of his life there, but it is interesting to record that during his short stay he joined with other prominent residents of the town, who were presenting gifts to the new church then building for "The First Parish," and gave to it the Southern cherry wood, of which the pulpit and caps of the pews were made, and it may here be mentioned that Mr. Stephen Higginson, Sr., then also a resident of Brookline, generously gave to the church its new bell. Delightful and interesting memories these are to recall.
Mr. Higginson added certain pleasant fittings to the interior of the old house, but I am not certain that he in any way altered its external appearance, although he may have built the large bow window above mentioned; but I have reason to think that the charming care that had been taken of the grounds about the house was not suffered to grow less during his ownership of the place. Deciding not to remain a resident there, he soon sold a large portion of his land to Captain Nathaniel Ingersoll, who erected upon it the delightful house now occupied by Mrs. John L. Gardner; and the old mansion-house, with three acres of land having a very long frontage on the road, Mr. Higginson sold to Captain Adam Babcock, April 14, 1806, for six thousand five hundred dollars. As Captain Ingersoll very shortly after this time married Captain Babcock's daughter, Miss Eliza Babcock, to whom I should surmise that he was already engaged when he made purchase of his land from Mr. Higginson, we may easily imagine how happy must have been the arrangement that enabled the beloved daughter to remain so near to her father and mother.
Like Senator Cabot in his earlier life. Captain Babcock had been a most successful merchant, and a commander of ships. He was born Sept. 27, 1740, and on March 23, 1779, he married for his second wife Miss Martha Hubbard, daughter of Daniel and Mary (Green) Hubbard of Boston, who was born June 13, 1758. Their children were Eliza, who married Captain Ingersoll; Martha Hubbard, who married Mr. George Higginson; Mary Green, who married first Mr. John Gore and secondly Mr. Russell; then came two sons, Henry and Erancis, and after an interval of thirteen years another daughter was born and named Louisa. Not all of these children, however, survived their mother.
For the above dates and names I am indebted to certain ladies who are relatives or connections of Mrs. Babcock.
Possessing a larger share of wealth than fell to the lot of most people at the time in which he lived. Captain Babcock was able to spend much time and taste on the adornment of the place that was especially dear to his wife, "Madam Babcock," as she was always called, whose affection for this, their country home, was both unusual and touching. The period of her later years of residence here is still recalled with great interest by several who are still dwellers in our town, and who love to remember the happy afternoons when they were privileged to be the guests of this kind and lovely old lady, who being then much in years, frequently received her little visitors in her sitting room upstairs, which became more and more her abiding place as time went on; and after welcoming them sweetly and graciously to her presence, she was wont also to delight their childish hearts by tapping gently on the wall near which her chair was always placed, as a signal to her excellent old man-servant of many years, whose name was "Green," to bring the plates of gingerbread and other delicacies, wherewith the little guests were to be amply regaled before being dismissed to their play in the charming garden that surrounded the house. Who is there among us but can imagine all the delightful expectancy of the moments that intervened between the sound of that magic tap and the appearance of the much longed for tray!
Madam Babcock long survived her husband, who died Sept. 24, 1817, and during these years she spent her winters in Boston, where her house stood on the site of what is now the Tremont Building, but a long summer was always passed at the still better loved home in Brookline, and between these, her two residences, she frequently drove in her carriage, built after the fashion of those that we see pictured in the illustrated books of a century ago, with her coachman on his high box seat in front, and Green, her unfailing attendant, standing behind the coach on a platform made for that purpose, and steadying himself by the two long lapels of cloth, or ornamental leather, that were appended strongly to the wide back panel of the chariot, and a very dignified and picturesque appearance must this equipage have presented, as it made its way through the sweet and quiet roads and lanes of Brookline, as they were in the days of old, so rich in overhanging trees that shaded these rural highways, and bounded by the aged and quaintly piled stone walls that were almost hidden in places by the clustering barberry bushes, so gay with yellow blossoms in the spring and with deep red berries later in the year.
Being very fond of flowers. Madam Babcock's attention to her garden was unremitting, and the wide walks, coated with fine red gravel, that were laid out around its western portion were bordered on each side with continuous beds of bright blossoms, among which the gay and various colored rows of tulips, and the large clusters of the single and double white narcissus, shone conspicuous, with roses and honeysuckles hanging thickly over the arched trellises, each set with a turnstile within that was placed as a gateway of entrance to the garden paths on each side of the house, the walks on the eastern side being edged with a tall shrubbery of the old. fashioned white, and also purple, lilacs, that growing later to the height of trees, still survive, and blossom as sweetly now as in the days when they were first set out, although their aged branches and stems require many a prop here and there to sustain them. Two very large syringa trees, set nearer to the house, whose spreading branches covered many feet of ground in their efforts to reach each other, poured their delightful perfume, in blossoming time, into every room whose window opened near them, and together with one large white lilac tree, also planted near by, were the beautiful objects that might offer unfailing delight to the eyes of the aged lady whose chosen apartments always overlooked them. These years of which we now write being the special gala time of beauty to this old place, we will not fail to recount how charmingly the long and luxuriant wreaths of woodbine, swinging on large ropes fastened from pillar to pillar of the two-story piazza, encircled all that part of the house, while a double-flowering cherry tree of noble size that in the late spring, with its thickly hanging clusters of whitest blossoms, resembling tiny roses, looked like the veritable commingling of the soft snows of winter with the summer's green leaves made a beauteous background to the picture. Sorrowful indeed was the heart of the writer of this record when the beautiful tree succumbed to the forces of time and of many a cruel gale of wind, nor have the several efforts that have been made to replace it ever proved successful; yet in memory, as once in reality, it still reigns with sweet supremacy, as the most beautiful object in that dear garden of the olden time.
Being almost if not quite as fond of the birds that inhabited her fair domain as she was of the flowers, Madam Babcock would not tolerate the presence of that cruel household pet, the cat. No such beast of prey would she endure, that should carry havoc and desolation to many a nest; and so being free from the fear of this prowling enemy of their race, her elm trees and shrubs abounded with the homes of the robin and the oriole, and the bird-boxes that were carefully affixed to the upper part of the tall columns of the eastern piazza all had their families of the swallow or the wren, who year after year returned to these abodes, and feared nothing of those who often watched them by the hour together from the nearby windows. And though it must be confessed that the mice too rejoiced and throve during the absence of puss, and that many a corner was gnawed off many and many a door by their sharp little teeth, yet this sort of destruction, though doubtless very objectionable, was much less distressing to the feelings of kind Madam Babcock, than would have been the sad spectacle of many gay feathers scattered, not infrequently, about her walks or piazza, betokening the pitiful death of some pretty and happy songster. The carpenter could mend her doors, and no doubt did so time and time again, much to his content and emolument; but who should bring back, when once caught in fierce claws, the exquisite bluebird or robin-redbreast to its nest in the syringas and lilacs, where it had flown in and out to tend its young all day long, or uttered its dulcet notes of joy and peace from a heart devoid of any apprehension, adding also by its own beautiful life a constant charm to the hours of the dear protectress who had rejoiced to witness its daily happiness? Thus thought sweet, gentle-hearted Madam Babcock, and when the aged house passed from her own to other hands, many a sign manual was found impressed upon it, betokening her long patience and forbearance in behalf of those who tenanted the garden-world about her.
In the days of which we now speak, but few places were kept up with the taste and care that had ever been bestowed upon this one, and therefore it was an object of special remark and admiration to many eyes. By none was it more appreciated than by a little boy who had been used, now and then, to make his way thither across the fields, from the home of his "Grandfather Heath," on Boylston street, and climbing on the gates that enclosed the place, or gazing up the driveway when no barriers chanced to interpose, used to admire profoundly the beauty that lay before his eyes, and would wish and wish again that he might grow to be a man, rich enough to buy that prettiest place that he had ever seen, and to live there himself.
And so the many years, one by one, came and went, and at last brought age and infirmity to dear Madam Babcock, whose eightieth year was by this time nearly completed; and feeling sure herself that her mortal life was now to be very short, she requested to be brought somewhat earlier than usual to the well-beloved place in Brookline, saying that she greatly desired to see the coming of the spring there once more, and again to listen to the singing of the birds, adding also, that if she were going to die, as she felt sure she must soon do, she would rather die there. Her wishes were complied with, and she did see again the blooming of the spring, and once more harkened to the bird songs that she so truly loved; and then, one quiet night, when she was laid down to her accustomed rest, a certain silent messenger, sent from afar, who comes but once to any one of us, unseen and unheard entered the room, and while she still slept, and knew and feared naught of his majestic presence there, her peaceful spirit, all unconscious of the great transition moment, gently departed from the dear home on earth to the beautiful land of heavenly awakening that is both so distant and so near.
Madam Babcock died May 15th, 1838, peculiarly beloved by all those who were so happy as to be numbered among her friends, and leaving behind her a memory so sweet as could endear her even to those who only knew her through the words of others.
And thus for the first time in its history, the aged house was left tenantless, and awaiting with uncertainty the coming of those who, in their turn, should cross its threshold to dwell at home within its walls.
Not long was the time of its waiting, for one pleasant day in the early summer that followed it happened that a friend of Mr. George Howe of Boston entered his office to ask if Mr. Howe could tell him of any suitable place at the seashore, where he could remove his family for the summer, as his only little son was not thriving, and a change seemed necessary on that account. Replying to this question with an expression of regret that he could not give the desired information, Mr. Howe added, "But I can tell you of something else that may perhaps interest you, as it does me. Did you know that the old Babcock place is to be sold at auction this afternoon? I am not intending to be a purchaser myself, but I am really interested to see which way that old place will go, and if you feel the same, suppose we drive out there together. My chaise is already at the door, as the auction is set for only an hour from now." The invitation thus given was eagerly accepted, and the drive was accomplished only a few minutes before the hour fixed for the sale, so that there was only time to make the circuit of the place in haste, to ascertain the boundaries and extent of the land that was to be sold with the house. " Only three acres," said one of these two friends, rather sorrowfully to himself, " but that will be large enough for the children to play in." The auctioneer entered upon his task, surrounded by an eager assemblage, and after a short season of spirited bidding among those who were really intending to be purchasers, the estate was declared sold to the gentleman who had accompanied Mr. George Howe from Boston. And so the little boy who had always so admired and loved the beautiful spot, and had longed to buy it, if he could only be rich enough when he was a man, obtained thus unexpectedly the wish of his heart, and the place passed to the ownership of Mr. Samuel Goddard, in whose family it has ever since remained, a most dear and valued possession.
Read before the Brookline Historical Society, January 28th, 1902.
Your President has asked me to write something of the history of the house I am living in, which is on what was formerly known as the Sewall Farm, I have also added some personal recollections of our town, especially of that part with which I was most familiar, and I shall have to apologize in advance for the plentiful use of the pronouns I and my.
The name Sewall was an honored and respected one in the eighteenth century. It has completely died out as regards the family who occupied this farm; but it is interesting to note the frequent mention of the name in the town records from the incorporation of the little town in 1705 to the year 1767, and the evidently high standing of the family. Samuel Sewall, Jr., who headed the petition to the General Court to establish the town as a separate village or "peculiar" (as the phrase runs) was a son of Chief Justice Sewall, who owned a large tract of land in what is now known as Longwood. Judge Sewall came into possession of this tract, which embraced several hundred acres, through his wife, who was a daughter of John Hull, a princely Boston merchant, though born a poor boy. John Hull in his youth lived in Muddy River Hamlet, in a little house which stood near the Sears Memorial Church, but afterwards removed to Boston, where he amassed a large fortune for those days. Judge Sewall probably never lived on his Brookline estate.
Samuel Sewall, Jr., was the first Town Clerk of the little "peculiar." In 1707 he was chosen Treasurer; and from this date until 1715, he was Clerk, Treasurer, and Selectman. In 1712 he was chosen Representative to the General Court, and in 1713, was one of a committee to agree with Mr. Cotton for a burying place. In 1718, in the apportionment of pews in the new meeting-house, which stood just west of the Parsonage of the First Parish, " Samuel Sewall was given that spott or room next the Pulpit, and valued at five pounds." In 1724 he was again chosen Selectman but refused to serve. In the same year it was voted "ye selectmen and Mr. Sewall and Capt. Aspinwall be a committee to audit ye Treasurer's accounts, and if ye finde them right cast and well avouched to give said Treasurer a full discharge from them." In 1725, he was chosen Moderator, also Clerk and Treasurer, again in 1726 Moderator; and the following year, he, with others, was chosen a committee "to measure the Town, and to Stake Whare the School Houses are to be set." After this date Samuel Sewall's name appears but seldom in the records. He lived in a house which, according to Miss Woods' Historical Sketches and also Dr. Pierce's Town Hall address, was built in 1703, on or near the site of the house I live in; he died February 27, 1751, aged 73 years, and was buried in the Walnut street Cemetery. In digging for drains and other purposes about our house, we have come across the foundations of this old house, which was supposed to have been demolished between 1760 and 1770.
In this same old house also lived for a time Henry Sewall, son of Samuel, Jr., who was born March 8, 1720; he was graduated from Harvard College and made his debut in town affairs by being elected, in 1741, Fence Viewer. In 1745, he was chosen Town Clerk and Treasurer. In 1747, it was voted "that Henry Sewall, Esq., be added to the Church Committee to present the Town's Choice to Mr. Brown." Mr. Brown was the second minister of the town, succeeding Mr. Allen, or Allin, as it is sometimes written. The same year. Major White, Capt. Sewall and Mr. Isaac Gardner were chosen a committee to view the Treasurer's accounts, also in the following year. In 1749, voted, " Henry Sewall. Esq., Isaac Gardner and Nehemiah Davis be a Committee to repair the meeting house." In 1750, "Abram Woodward, Henry Sewall, Esq., and John Newell be a Committee to dispose of a pew." The following year Henry Sewall, Esq., Capt. Benjamin Gardner, Mr. Jonathan Winchester, and Ebeneezer Davis, were a committee on a new minister.
Mr. Brown had a short pastorate. It is interesting to see how frequently the town records make mention of the affairs of the Church, and what a large place it had in the minds of the inhabitants. In 1752, " Samuel White, Edward White, Henry Sewall, Esq., Selectmen and Assessors"; but in 1754, voted "that the Assessors for the last year stand a tryal with Henry Sewall, Esq., for abatement of part of his rates." Even in the good old times human nature was about the same as now.
In 1759, voted "Jeremy Gridley, Henry Sewall, Esq., Capt. Craft, Dea. White, Dea. Davis and Isaac Gardner be a Committee to wait on Mr. Joseph Jackson and acquaint him with these votes." These votes refer to a call to Mr. Jackson to be the minister of the town. (Mr. Jackson accepted the call, and served as minister until his death in 1795. Dr. Pierce succeeded him in 1797: Dr. Pierce died in 1848, so these two ministers' term of office embraced nearly a century). Capt. Henry Sewall, as was his later title, continued to serve the town in various capacities, the last mention of him in the records being in 1767, when he was chosen to dispose of a pew belonging to Zabdiel Boylston, late of Brookline, deceased. This was the celebrated Dr. Zabdiel Boylston who introduced the inoculation of small-pox into this country, and whose remains lie in the Old Brookline Cemetery. In 1762, Jeremy Gridley, Henry Sewall, Isaac Gardner, Robert Sharp, and Thomas Aspinwall were chosen a committee " on receipt of money from the Edward Devotion Estate "; this was the Edward Devotion School Fund about which we have recently heard so much. In the same year -
"Received of Jer. Gridley, Henry Sewall, Isaac Gardner and Thomas Aspinwall, Attorneys of Mary Gatcomb, Executrix of the will of Edward Devotion, late of Brookline, the sum of fifteen pounds and four pence, lawful money for purchasing a Silver Tankard for the Church of ye town of Brookline, according to ye will of Mr. Edward Devotion Dec'd:
May 24, 1762. Robert Sharp A true copy examined Isaac Gardner, Jun'r. T. Clerk."
This tankard is still in use by the Church of the First Parish. Henry Sewall died May 29, 1771, aged fifty-one years. He had three sons and one daughter - Henry, Hull, Samuel and Hannah. Henry and Hull both died at the age of twenty-four, Hull on November 17, 1767, and Henry, October 17, 1772. Samuel, who thus inherited the Longwood estate, was a young lawyer practicing in Boston at the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, and he became so odious as a Tory that he was obliged to leave his native land and ended his days in England. His estate was confiscated, and apparently was leased out to different parties, who paid the taxes on the land and buildings for the rental. It is probable that Henry (Capt. Henry) Sewall was not living on this estate at the time of his depth. The Sewalls also owned a large property on both sides of Walnut street, including what is now known as the Sewall district; the house was probably on the site of the house now owned and occupied by Mr. Stephen D. Bennett. I can remember a house which stood on the site of the present one and which must have been pulled down more than fifty years ago. I find from the tax list of 1763, the oldest list that is known to be in existence, that Henry Sewall was assessed on this Walnut street estate, and lived there until his death in 1771. In this same tax list, at the very end, is this interesting item: -
"for Capt. Sewall's Kent for the year 1762 11 pounds, 12 shillings, 9 pence, Lawfull money."
This probably means the valuation of a negro slave belonging to Capt. Sewall. In 1774 Samuel Sewall (the Tory) was assessed at this same place, Walnut street, and the next year, Hannah Sewall, his sister, appears as the owner. Evidently Samuel had taken himself out of the country. In 1776, Hannah was married to Edward Kitchen Wolcott, and from this date until 1791 Mr. Wolcott was taxed as a resident of Walnut street, or the Sherburne road as it was then called. It is interesting just here to note that on the 14th day of August, 1781, Edward Kitchen Wolcott and Hannah his wife conveyed to a committee of the town a parcel of land "for the purpose and use of the minister of the Congregational Church in said Town of Brookline, whereof the Rev. Joseph Jackson is the present Pastor, and his successors in that office forever to the exclusion of all and every other denomination that subsists at present or may in the future." This was probably on the extreme westerly line of their estate, and the land is still used for a Parsonage of the First Parish.
To return to the Longwood estate. There is a doubt as to when Capt. Henry left this house, but from the same tax record of 1763, we find Elijah Whitney taxed for the property, presumably a tenant; this continued until 1766. The only mention I find of Mr. Whitney in the records is, that in 1765 he and Mr. William Ackers were Fence Viewers. In 1767, and probably this is the date of the building of the present house, Hull Sewall, son of Capt. Henry, appears as the party paying the tax; Hull died this same year, and from 1768 to 1772, Thomas Wyman was assessed for the farm. This Wyman was apparently a builder, for we find in July, 1774, this record: voted, " Whether the Town will abate out of the Rates of Thomas Wyman for the year A. D. 1772, his proportion of charge towards building the tower and steeple of the Meeting House in said Town"; and it passed in the negative, not to allow him any abatement. No ambiguity about that. The question of a steeple or tower to the little church had been discussed pro and con for a number of years, the Town one year voting to build it, only to have the decision reversed the next year.
The three years from '73 to '75 inclusive we find Dr. Eliphalet Downer occupant of the farm. Dr. Downer was a man of substance, and it may be was the same Dr. Downer who afterwards occupied the house in the village known at one time as the Long House, just west of the gas-house, and which is fast going into decay.
In 1775, we find this vote, "June ye 12th, voted, that some method be taken to secure the incomes of ye Estates belonging to the Refugees now in Boston, which lately belonged to said Town," which was evidently meant to include this estate. In the same year, the estate seems to have been divided, for the tax was assessed to Peter Talbert, William King, and John Broderick, and the next year to Peter Talbert, Abraham Brown and Stephen Knight. The 1777 tax record is lost. From 1778 to 1783, the place is taxed to William Campbell; a valuation accompanies the tax list, and we find the estate was assessed as containing 300 acres valued at 8 pounds per acre, house 115 pounds, 2 barns 100 pounds, out-house 8 pounds, or a total of 2658 pounds or $13,290. Campbell was also taxed on 115 pounds " personal"; his name also appears in the town records as Moderator; in 1781, "voted that Capt. William Campbell, Dea. Elisha Gardner and Mr. Samuel Croft be a committee to set the prices on the articles on which Mr. Jackson's Sallery is to be raised and Report to the Town Treasurer once a month." This was during the Revolutionary War, and the poor little town was using every expedient to pay their quota and yet keep their minister's salary intact. In 1782, Campbell was Selectman.
The list of 1784 is lost. In '85 and '86, Joseph Goddard occupied the house; he was the father of Dea. Abijah W. Goddard, who has recently died, aged 97. From 1786 to 1790 the list is lost, but in 1791, our old friend Edward Kitchen Wolcott appears as the party who is assessed for the Sewall estate, which is here called 320 acres. Mr. Wolcott continues to be the party in possession up to and including 1793; '94 and '95 lists are missing. From 1796 to 1802, a new occupant appears, Daniel Larned. The only mention I can find of him in the records is, that Mr. Daniel Larned and Mr. Ebeneezer Richards were in 1796 elected Hogreaves. The 1803 list is also missing, and in 1804, Wolcott and Sterns appear as joint occupants; that is my grandfather's first appearance in Brookline. The same occupants are assessed till 1807 inclusive. The next year Charles Stearns is taxed for two thirds the above amount of land, also in 1809. In 1810 Charles Stearns leaves the Sewall-Wolcott place to take the Aspinwall house and farm, the old house on Aspinwall avenue which has only recently been demolished. From this date until 1821, Mr. Wolcott appears as occupant of the Sewall farm; but this same year, Charles Stearns comes back and buys a portion of the large estate. According to the tax valuation of that year, he was assessed on "12 acres of tillage, raising 300 bushels of Indian corn, 514 acres of English Mowing, Cutting 10 tons of hay, 2 acres of Fresh Meadow with I ton of Hay, 4 acres of Salt Marsh, 2 tons of Hay, 3 acres of Pasturage, keeping two Cows, 20 bbls. Syder, 4 acres of Woodland, 10 acres Unimproved Land, and four acres of Unimprovable "- in all 33 acres. For many years Mr. Wolcott's name had appeared in the town records as holding offices of various sorts, but after 1821, Mr. Wolcott seems to have been lost sight of. When my grandfather first came to the place, he lived in one half of our house, and the Wolcotts in the other. They were land poor; the husband was addicted to the undue use of ardent spirits, and poor Mrs. Wolcott had a hard time. I have heard my grandmother tell of their destitution, and that she had sent in to Mrs. Wolcott many a warm dinner.
Mr. Wolcott had built a house on the farm, standing on a lane which is the extension of Pleasant street, not far from Charles River, which he used as a public tavern, and had also built a race track near by; but it proved a poor investment and after a while it was abandoned. This house was afterwards owned by the Ebeneezer Francis estate, and has only recently been demolished. The house my grandfather bought, the one I live in, was in a dilapidated condition. What with the frequent change of occupants and want of care, the house was very shabby; part of it had been left unfinished, so that in one place one could look up to the roof, there being no floors; the rear of the house came down to one story after the manner of old-time houses.
The farm extended from Harvard street, at its junction with Devotion place, or in our time the Babcock farm; the northwesterly boundary extended in a straight line to Charles River; then along the river front, taking in what is known as Cottage Farm to about St. Mary's street, extended then along what is now St. Mary's street and Sewall avenue, extended to Harvard street. A large portion of this tract was wild land, and I have heard my father, who was then a young lad, tell of being lost in the Cedar Swamp, as the meadow east of the Amory house was called. I give here several votes from the town records concerning this farm. In 1775, voted, " to provide some convenient place to move any Person or Persons that may be infectious in said town." Voted " to build a house for ye above mentioned use." Voted " to build said house on a farm now occupied by Dr. Downer," and in 1777, voted " that seven pounds eight shillings and ten pence, one fourth part of the taxes of William Blaney for the year 1776 be abated to him in consideration of the inconvenience and damage arising from the Public Buildings on Sewall's point, being used for Hospitals for the Small Pox, great part of that year."
In 1825 my grandfather built a new house for himself, and his sons, Charles, Jr., and Marshal carried on the farm. My grandfather's house is still standing on the corner of Sewall avenue and Stearns road; (since this paper was written, this place has been sold, the old house moved away, and a large brick apartment house has been built,) and it is interesting to read, as you probably did in The Chronicle of January 11, an account of the auction sale of the old brick school house in 1824. It was sold piecemeal and my grandfather bought three sides of the building and the underpin
ning, which doubtless went into his new house; he has told me that the house cost about one thousand dollars. Charles Stearns was born in Waltham in 1772 and was taken up on Bear Hill in that town by his mother to see the burning of Charlestown by the British at the battle of Bunker Hill; he lived to be ninety-two years of age.
As I remember our place in my younger days, it was a lovely spot; three great elms shaded the house, one on the south or front, another on the west, and a third, the one still standing, on the east. My grandfather has told me that when he first came to the place, he could reach the top of this last mentioned tree with a rake, thus making the tree at least one hundred and twenty-five years old. Probably no place in Brookline has changed more in its surroundings than ours; Beacon street was not laid out until 1851. Pleasant street was only a lane built to reach the public house which I have mentioned, and on it were but two houses, one on or near the spot where Mr. Le Moyne's house stands at the corner of Browne street, and the other on the corner of Commonwealth avenue, which was torn down about twenty years ago. Pleasant street was a narrow road with a very steep hill where Mr. Le Moyne lives, and in winter time, in the blocking snows of the good old times, was for weeks impassable. We were about five or six hundred feet from Harvard street and the quiet and isolation of the spot seems incredible now when we see the bustle and hear the noises of the electric railroad center at Coolidge Corner. To give some idea of the increase in valuation, I find that in 1845, before Beacon street was contemplated, sixty-eight acres of land with the house and farm buildings were valued at $30,000. Last year my two and one-half acres with house and stable were assessed at $163,500.
Of the three large elm trees which shaded the house, the one in front was the largest and oldest; it towered high above the house, and was a target for the lightning bolts which had struck it several times; this had so weakened the tree that in the gale of 1878, which blew down the steeple of the Baptist Church, the larger part of the old tree was prostrated, its fall luckily being away from the house still a considerable portion was left to shade the house; but when the widening of Beacon street was made in 1887, the tree, the house, stable and about thirty thousand feet of land was taken, and the tree destroyed. The tree on the west, the most beautiful of the three, was another victim of Beacon street; when the road was laid out in 1851, this tree was in the middle of the street, but it was so beautiful and wide spreading, making such a fine shade, that a curve was made in the road, saving for a time the tree and some of the outbuildings of the house; the hill was steeper than it is now, and this spot was a favorite one for teamsters to stop and rest their horses under its shade; but in 1867, it was thought best to straighten the street and the old tree had to go. I well remember the remark of old Mr. David Nevins, who lived on the westerly slope of Corey Hill and who used to drive into Boston over Beacon street every day. On the morning when the men were at work cutting down the tree, he reined in his horse, and in his rough profane way called out, "What in h-l are you doing?" When told, he said, "Well, it has taken God Almighty a hundred years to grow this tree, and you d-d fools can destroy it in an hour." The third tree on the easterly side of the house still stands, or tries to stand; but the change of grade of the widened Beacon street necessitated the cutting of the roots, so that it is slowly dying. As I said, the widening of the street also took in the house; or would have, had I not moved it to its present location about 400 feet southwesterly, where I trust it may stand for many years to come.
As I have said, my grandfather came to the house early in the last century; my father was then eight years old; he spent the rest of his days in this same house, and died there at the age of 84. I was born there and have always lived in it, excepting for the few months when the changes in Beacon street and the house were made; my children were born there, and one grandchild; so five generations of our family have lived under its roof. I have spoken of its isolation when I first remember it; but the house and its outbuildings made quite a village of itself. In the rear of the house and running parallel to it was a big old-fashioned barn over 100 feet long, and at either end of it, extending towards the house, was a line of sheds, making a quadrangle with a large sheltered barn-yard in the center. I can hardly imagine a more beautiful picture than a view on a summer's evening, looking out under this fine westerly elm, towards Babcock's Hill, transfigured by the sunset glow. This old barn and several sheds were destroyed by the laying out of Beacon street.
But the quiet of our place extended over all the northerly part of the town; it was a farming community, and the houses were few and far between. About 1843, as I remember it, on Harvard street, between the Allston line and Harvard Square, on the easterly side, there were George Babcock's, our house, my grandfather's, Mr. Perry's, the old Aspinwall house (these two on Perry's lane), and Mr. Bela Stoddard's, now Albert Lincoln's (six) and on the westerly side, three houses of the Coolidges, Mr. Griggs', a house which stood where Mr. Foster's now stands, the Sharp house, Mr. Thomas Seaverns', and the Baptist Parsonage (eight). Harvard street, or, as it was known until 1840, the Cambridge road, was one of the earliest ways of the town, connecting, as it did, with the road to Roxbury and on over the Neck to Boston. The Mill Dam was built in 1821, but as it was a toll road, it was not greatly used until 1865, when the tolls were abolished.
Harvard street was a common country road of uneven width, with no attempt at a sidewalk, except what had been worn by the passing feet, sometimes three feet above the roadway and sometimes on a level or lower. I well remember a high bank about where Deacon George Brooks' house now stands; between the path and the road was a profuse growth of tansy which regularly came up every year.
In the matter of schools Brookline was very primitive. I have often wished the old primary schoolhouse which used to stand on School street about where Mr. Allen's house is, could be there now, as a contrast to the palatial building that has recently been finished just across Prospect street. As I remember it in my earliest school days, it was an ungraded school with scholars in the winter time, from 5 or 6 to 17 or 18 years; for then the farmers could spare their boys and their hired help for at least a smattering of knowledge; and yet I can remember but few fractious or rebellious spirits among these big boys taught by women teachers. Perhaps nothing in this present age is more marked than the neat and generally tidy appearance of the scholars, in comparison with the garb of the country boys and girls of the earlier days. Coarse woolen frocks, blue overalls, high cow-hide boots, were the outer covering of many a manly, generous soul who perhaps in after years has made a mark in the world.
I quote this from the School Committee's report of March, 1843:-
"Your Committee would also submit the following statistics in regard to the schools separately: -
I. " The School taught by a female in the North district. This School is much the largest of any in the town, and is in a very prosperous condition. It being taught by a female through the year, it secures one great advantage, which none of the other schools have, that of a permanent teacher.
" For a number of years in succession this School has been favored by the same instructress. And justice requires us to say that there seems to be on her part no abatement of interest or fidelity. In the summer term the whole number of scholars in this School was 65, and the average 58, and those were divided into 19 different classes."
The teacher alluded to was my aunt, Catherine Stearns, who taught this school for nearly twenty-five years. Miss Woods in her admirable history has told the story of the old schoolhouse and its surroundings so well that I can hardly add to her vivid narrative. I would, however, like to refer to the old building which is now being dismantled, but which in 1845 was the glory of the town, the old Town Hall. This stood about where the present edifice stands, fronting Washington street, and the hill was dug away to make room for the building. Immediately in the rear, a high gravel bank offered a grand place to run down, for the boys, and girls too, who attended the " Intermediate" School, which was originally built under the Hall, the boys' room opening on the westerly side, and the girls' on the easterly. This was considered a great step in the education of our youth; previous to this, the graduate of the primary either had his schooling finished, or, if his family could afford his time, he went directly to the High. After the Intermediate was started, pupils of nine years (regardless of attainments), were sent to the Intermediate, and at eleven or twelve were supposed fit to enter the High, which was held in the stone building on Walnut street next to the First Parish Church, originally built for a Town House. I went to this Intermediate School for two years, the last few weeks of this time under the teaching of Mr. D. H. Daniels, who was connected with our schools for over forty years. Previous to the Intermediate there were three primary schools in Brookline -the one on School street, the one on Heath street, on the opposite side of the street from the present grammar school, and the one still standing in Putterham (so called) on Newton street-and the High School, which was established in 1843.
In the matter of transportation, our part of the town was entirely dependent upon the old dobbins of the farm, when they could be spared. A trip to Boston was an event of the year; most of the family shopping was done in Roxbury street, and I well remember driving in our old buggy with my mother to Bacon's store, which is still flourishing, I believe. The Brookline Branch railroad was built in 1848, which was opened with a grand celebration, and passengers were carried free for the day the regular fare was a ninepence (12 1/2 cents). Previous to that time an omnibus came down from Brighton through Brookline village, I think twice a day. Brookline also had a line of stages from the village through Roxbury and Tremont street, which had recently been built; these stages made, perhaps, a half-dozen trips a day. I remember the names printed on the sides: " Grace Darling" and "Lady of the Lake." Mr. Glazier was the proprietor of this line of stages; his daughter married our respected builder, William K. Melcher, and, I think, is still living. Various attempts were made to establish an omnibus line over Beacon street, but they each had an uncertain tenure of life, and were finally given up because they did not pay. When I see the thousands who go in and out of the city in the electrics, I often think of the old days, when eight or ten in the stage made a crowd.
The building of Beacon street gave quite an impetus to the growth of our section of the town. In 1854, the Harvard street schoolhouse was built in the triangle formed by Harvard, Beacon and Pleasant streets. It stood on what used to be my father's land, and he had years before set out a number of trees, and it really was an ideal playground for the children. The widening of Beacon street took away this building, and what was left of the school lot, and the discontinued part of Pleasant street was added to my lot; so several of these old trees are now shading my house.
Another great addition to our neighborhood was the opening of the store on the corner of Beacon and Harvard streets in 1857; it was kept for years by William Coolidge, who was for a time one of the Assessors of the town. The old store, with its town pump in front, and its hay scales, was a familiar landmark, and was torn down only a few years ago to make room for S. S. Pierce's mammoth building. The store was a great place to gather the neighbors, who were mostly farmers, on a rainy day or in winter time and many a good story has been told around the old stove. Mr. Coolidge was a Democrat, and several of the near neighbors were of the same political belief; early in the Civil War, as many of you will remember, party feelings were strong and high, and these neighbors were called " Copperheads," and the store was dubbed "The Confederate Crossroads." I am glad to say, however, that as the War went on, there were no better citizens or more zealous patriots than these same Democrats.
By the census of 1840, there were 1265 inhabitants of Brookline; by that of 1900, there were about 20,000; the old farm, as a farm, has disappeared, as indeed has nearly every other farm in Brookline; the old house is still standing, but I imagine it could scarcely be recognized by the old families who have lived in it.
In closing this rather rambling paper, I wish to give credit to Miss Woods' Sketches of Brookline, to Dr. Pierce's Address at the Dedication of the Old Town Hall, to the Muddy River and Brookline Town Records, and especially to the exceedingly interesting papers in the custody of Mr. Edward Baker, who has generously given me of his time in the preparation of this paper.
Charles H. Stearns.
The committee appointed to nominate officers of the Society for 1903 made the following report : -
For Clerk and Treasurer,
Edward W. Baker.
Rufus G. F. Candage,
Miss Julia Goddard,
Mrs. J. C. Kittredge,
Charles H. Stearns,
Mrs. Susan V. Griggs,
Edward W. Baker.
Albert A. Folsom,
W. Tracy Eustis,
Charles F. Read.
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 President's annual address. Treasurer's report, by-laws, list of officers and members, and such papers as have been read before the Society as the Committee on Publications may select.
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
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.