|Table of Contents
There being no plantations left on the coast, the Reverend Rogers decided to take a place between Ipswich and Newbury where a land boom had developed. As certain grants on this tract had already been made by these two towns, the newcomers were required to purchase them for 800 pounds sterling. This settlement was first made precisely where the present village of Rowley stands and was called Roger's Plantation, later Rowley, after the English town. Now the company included sixty families. In September of 1639 the town was incorporated. It comprised the territory now occupied by the towns of Rowley, Georgetown, Groveland, Boxford, and Bradford.
Village lots were laid out according to the heads of families and their ability to pay. The whole of the township outside the village was held in "commons." This compact social life was a necessity in a country infested with wolves and bears, where the lurking Indian was always ready to attack the defenseless.
The connection between church and school was very close, and it was not strange to see the two buildings standing side by side. The meetinghouse, which was the place of worship first of all, was also the center for all town business. The pound for restraining cattle occupied a corner, as did the pillory and whipping post. Behind all these lay the burial plot. The first state law relating to common school education was passed in 1642, and five years later it became an indictable offense not to maintain schools. It was not until 1701 that the town voted to have the selectmen provide schools and assess the inhabitants for the cost. The first teacher mentioned in Rowley history was William Boynton, who taught for twenty-four years from 1656, and was helped by the church in exchange for his services in sweeping the meeting-house.
Selectmen had full powers, called "prudentials," to transact all the common affairs of the town, to make orders and impose fines for better managing the affairs of said town, "provided they do nothing contrary to the order the General Court." In 1677 the selectmen were ordered by the Court to appoint "tithing men," each of whom should have inspection of ten families and arrest and confine those who violated the Sabbath. Truly the selectmen were the "town fathers."
By-laws and regulations were numerous, as, for example: all chimneys must be swept at certain periods; a ladder must be kept about each house; no tenant could be taken in except by consent of the town; all town streets must be four rods wide, three rods to be kept clear of wood, carts, etc.; no tree to be cut down without consent of the selectmen; no cutting of grass on common land without consent; the number of hogs was limited by fines, and town brooks must be kept clear. Town meeting regulations included fines for non-attendance and for leaving without permission. No vote was valid if passed so long after sunset that the clerk could not see to record it.
The settlement on the Merrimack was an expansion of the Rowley colony. John and Robert Haseltine and William Wilde were the first men to settle in the valley of the river in 1649, sent by the town of Rowley into the vast wilderness to guard the herds from bear and prowling wolf and the occasional Indians. To protect their charges, the herders carried ten foot pikes and flintlocks. They were hardy and stalwart men, undaunted by the task assigned them. For this service, Rowley allowed each man forty acres of common land, sufficient for twenty or more head of cattle. They might cut a thousand pipestaves annually and timber sufficient for building their houses and fences. In addition, each was to receive two shillings per day for looking after the cattle.
As soon as these pioneers had established themselves and erected rude cabins and shelters for the cattle, their wives and families came from Rowley. The women were worthy helpmates and the looms and spinning wheels which they brought with them were seldom idle. The newly-made linens were spread on grass and bushes to whiten in the sunlight. Thick flannels were made too, for the men must have warm and durable clothing for their out-of-door life.
The first settlement was made in the vicinity of the old burying ground still seen on Salem Street, Bradford. Here stood the first meeting house, with roads to the different sections of the new plantation. Across the river was the little village of Haverhill, settled in 1640, but the heavy forests of oak and pine were so dense that not even a glimpse of John Ward's settlement could be seen.
As the number of settlers increased, the name of the settlement, "Rowley on the Merrimack," was changed to Merrimack, and finally to Bradford. The first mention of Bradford in Massachusetts records is under date of 1675 in a list of expenses for King Philip's War, but the name is mentioned in town records as early as 1665. It took its name from Bradford, England. However, Merrimack was the common designation until 1672. Permission to incorporate was given by the General Court on May 27, 1668, "on condition that they do get and settle an able and orthodox minister and do continue to maintain him." A town meeting was held February 20, 1668, at which a constable, five selectmen, and five overseers were chosen.
In the same year, the Reverend Zachariah Symmes was engaged as pastor, with a salary of 40 pounds, one-half of which was to be paid in wheat, pork, butter, and cheese, and the other half in corn and cattle. For several years, religious services were held in a private house, perhaps in the parsonage. It was not until 1682 that the church was formally organized and Mr. Symmes was ordained. Care of the children was one of the marked features of the first pastorate. In the history of the next fifty years the records of the town show that the most important business transacted was that which had relation to the minister and to the worship of God. It was "as unnatural for a right New England man to live without an able ministry, as for a smith to work iron without fire." Land for the first meeting-house and buryingplace was given by John Haseltine, who moved to Haverhill after a few years' residence in Bradford. (The town granted Mr. Symmes a burying-place for his own proper use.) This first meeting-house was built in 1671, a second a few rods east of the first, in 1705. This house stood till 1751, and was the one left by the members who formed the East Parish. None of these three churches was painted or had a bell or clock, and only the last ever had a stove.
After a long service of thirty-two years Mr. Symmes was growing feeble, and a helper in the ministry was called in 1705. However, the venerable pastor died in 1707, and soon after was succeeded by his son Thomas. Both men were Harvard graduates and descendents of Rev. Zachariah Symmes of Charlestown, who came from England in 1634. Rev. Thomas Symmes was a fine singer and was determined to introduce regular singing among his people, contrary to their prejudices and inclinations. The book from which the Puritans and Pilgrims sang until 1640 was The Bay Psalm Book, which had no tunes, but the people sang "by rote and varied the melody." Fathers sang the remembered melodies to their children, and as there was no instruction in music, the "service of song" degenerated until it became an abomination. Rev. Symrnes introduced "singing in parts." Another trial came later when instruments of music were introduced. This ministry was also attended by two or three considerable revivals. The office of "ruling elder" in this church dates from its early history, and the first deacons were chosen in 1702.
Mr. Symmes' successor, Joseph Parsons, was ordained in 1726 at the age of twenty-five. As successor to one of the most brilliant men of the colony, he faced a difficult task, but he was equal to the occasion. The time had come for a change. The distance from the meeting-house was very great for those who had settled on the river below the island and on the fertile lands toward Newbury and Rowley. The East Precinct, in Bradford, now the church in Groveland, was incorporated June 17, 1726, and the church organized June 7, 1727. One hundred and one members were dismissed from the mother church to form its first colony. Of these, thirty-three members bore the honorable name of Hardy. A rneeting-house was erected immediately after the incorporation, on a site now occupied by the Paul Snow residence. On July 28, 1727, fifty-three females were admitted to membership.
Rev. William Balch, who had been preaching for the church since the preceding November, was ordained pastor, with Samuel Tenney as elder and Richard Bailey as deacon. Mr. Balch was a member of the class of 1724 at Harvard, fifteen of whose forty members were ministers. His pastorate closed with his life in 1792. During the last years of his life a new meeting-house was built on what is now Perry Park. His successor, Rev. Ebenezer Dutch of Ipswich, who had been his colleague since 1779, became full pastor and died in the service of the church August 4, 1814.
The principal business done in this town for many years was the cultivation of the land. Large apple orchards were set out, from the fruit of which a very superior quality of cider was made. Peaches, plums, and pears were also grown. The soil was good, and was benefited by the application of salt hay and "plaster of Paris." Rowley had led the way for the country in the textile industry, when, in 1643, John Pearson built the first fulling mill in America, a business that was carried on in the same spot for six generations. Cotton was imported from the Barbados, and children were employed for spinning. Much use was made of the water power of Johnson's Creek, and at one time there stood on it four saw mills, five grist mills, three fulling mills, and two bark mills. Ship-building was once an important business, and five tanyards were also in operation.
Large quantities of shoes were manufactured and sent to the southern
and middle states and to the West Indies. About one hundred and fifty men
were constantly employed, making fifty thousand pairs of shoes yearly in
small shops. The first product was distributed on horseback, the shoes
being tied up in bundles and fastened to each side of the saddle. Later
the larger shoe firms moved to Haverhill, which was becoming an important
Other industries of the middle and late eighteenth century included chaise-making, coopering, and the manufacture of brass buckles, sleighbells, straw bonnets, and tobacco. The waters of the Merrimack afforded considerable quantities of salmon, shad, bass, sturgeon, alewives, and other fish. The salmon was so esteemed that "it fetched from 75-100 cents a pound in the Boston market."
Although in 1638 Rev. Rogers had secured a title from Masconomet of the Agawam tribe to all land between the Merrimack and Naumkeag rivers, his descendents, in 1700, set up a claim upon the town of Bradford. The claim was allowed by the town and purchase was made for 6 pounds, 10 s, on January 13, 1701. Perhaps in consequence of the wise and equitable dealings of the first settlers and their immediate descendents, with the aboriginal inhabitants, the people of Bradford were spared the horrible massacres which occurred in other places. However, one Thomas Kimball was shot by Indians in May 1676. His wife and children were taken captive, but later returned to their home, through the intervention of Chief Wonnalancet. Three garrison houses, one with palisades, were built at an early period and in these the inhabitants often passed the night when they apprehended any danger from the savages. The last of these who resided here was Papahana, who lived to a great age in a hut near the mouth of Johnson's Creek. The end of King Philip's War marked the end of Indian depredations, All that remained was to pay still another price for the land.
The same cupidity was shown by the English kings in their treatment of the colonists. King James I gave, by letters patent, to certain noblemen and fifteen others, all that part of New England which lies between the Merrimack and Charles Rivers. This charter was to their heirs and assigns forever, and yet, Charles II canceled this charter and compelled the colonies to buy their land over again. The charter was renewed by William and Mary and was broken by George III, who revoked the selfgovernment provision of the original charter and appointed a governor. Under the charter the towns had their own sovereignty and conducted their affairs without let or hindrance. They were freed from taxation for expenses of the home government. Under King James, the whole charter was swept away, and all privileges were vacated and destroyed. It was long before Englishrnen would believe that the colonies could live without the mother country. This idea led to the domineering policy which brought on the Revolution.
12, 13, 14 AN OUTLINE OF GROVELAND HISTORY - THE REVOLUTION TO 1850 15, 16, 17, 18
After the Declaration of Independence, it became a subject of great concern to define principles and fix upon a form of government in this state. The town was not willing that the House and Council should enact a constitution until attested copies of same were exhibited for their inspection and approbation. The constitution was sent to the people, who voted to accept it in 1780.
In 1777 an epidemic of smallpox had broken out in the East Parish, in which Jeremiah Hardy died first. The town built a pesthouse for the victims, of whom ten of fourteen died. The pesthouse caught fire at about the time the survivors returned home. The dead were buried in a plot near Jewett's Crossing but it was not until 1896 that a monument was erected there. In 1736 a throat distemper had carried off 47 children and nine adults. Other outbreaks occurred in 1762 and 1794.
The year 1790 marked the erection of the present Congregational Church
building on Perry Park. The steeple-end faced Main Street, but the main
entrance was on the side porch facing west on King Street. It is this part
of church and town history that has perhaps been most publicized. In 1795,
preparations had been made for the arrival of the famous Paul Revere bell.
This was the eleventh bell cast by coppersmith Paul Revere, famed for making
the plates of "Old Ironsides," the copper dome of the State House, and
two boilers used on Robert Fulton's ferryboats, as well as for his midnight
ride. The bell arrived from Newburyport drawn by ox-cart.
For when this town was East Bradford
So the parish records tell,
The people they vied to-gether
To buy a "meeting house" bell.
And so they went 'round with a paper,
And of silver and gold they got much,
And they hung the bell in the steeple
In the days of good parson Dutch.
And how that they ever did it
Do not ask,-not a man is alive
Who placed the bell in the belfry
In seventeen ninety-five.
But there the old bell's been hanging
For an hundred and twenty years,
And on its side, in raised letters,
Its maker's name-Paul Revere.
And there is another inscription,
As I know you have heard it said,
"To the church I call the living,
To the grave, I summon the dead."
And Oh, with how many voices
It has sounded o'er river and dell,
Since it rung its first call to meeting
Or tolled its first funeral knell.
It has rung in the early springtime
When the earth is awaking from sleep,
And you have heard its loud voice calling
Mid the summer's dust and heat.
It has called from the church on Sunday
For the people to gather there,
And oft on a mid-week evening
You have heard its voice call to prayer.
It was rung when the war was ended,
In eighteen twelve, it is said;
It has tolled the solemn requiem
Over our nation's president dead.
And when the Atlantic cable
Was laid through old ocean's wave,
And when Lincoln's emancipation
Freed the negro from being a slave.
When the Civil War was ended,
And at last there came the release,
With a joyful voice it rang out
The glad news of this nation's peace.
It has rung for independence
With a loud and exultant cry,
As boys had hold of the bell rope
On the night before Fourth of July.
And when all the village is quiet
And asleep without fear of harm,
You have heard its shrill cry at midnight,
The loud clang of its flre alarm.
It has rung for town meeting
And at twelve by the sun at noon
And at nine o'clock in the evening,
Which the young people called too soon.
It has sent out its call on Fast Day,
For the people from eating to cease,
And again on the last of November,
It has rung for the Thanksgiving feast.
And when one died in this village
Whether he were young or old,
The years that he had been living
The old bell in 'the steeple tolled.
And so the bell has rung out
Its message of gladness and gain;
Sometimes it slowly has tolled out
Its message of sadness and pain.
May all the people remember
Whenever its voice they shall hear
That the bell in the old church steeple
Was surely made by Paul Revere.
And may the mothers of Groveland,
As their children stand by their side,
Tell them the old time story
Of this patriot's famous ride.
Long may the bell in the steeple,
With a voice that is loud and clear,
Call to the church the people,
The message of hope to hear.
And if some day in the future
The old bell from the tower shall come down,
I know there will be many a sad heart
Mid the dwellers in Groveland town.
On September 20, 1814, Rev. Gardner Braman Perry was installed in the pastorate which continued until his death in 1859.
During his pastorate many changes were made in the church edifice. The first fixtures for heating were placed in 1822. In 1836 the square pews and high pulpit were replaced by more modern structures. In 1849 the church was removed to its present site, the portico was rebuilt, the two tiers of windows changed to one, the galleries removed and the steeple added.
During the last years of his pastorate, Rev. Perry was assisted by Rev. David Wasson and Rev. Daniel Pickard. Mr. Wasson, because of his unorthodox beliefs, was unsatisfactory to his people and, at the end of a year, in 1852, he and his adherents hired the Methodist meeting-house and formed an Independent Congregational Society. Between 1857 and 1865 prominent members died and the church was closed most of the time. In 1865 the Methodists took it over again. Thomas Doggett was ordained as colleague to Parson Perry in 1857, and in the same year the name of the church was changed from the Second Congregational Church of Bradford to the Congregational Church of Groveland. By her staunch adherence to orthodoxy in 1851 and 1852, the church won the name of "The Ironworks."
It was not until after the Revolution that popular free education was established on a solid and permanent foundation. In 1780 the town voted "one month's schooling at the schoolhouse near John Burbank's in the East Parish." In 1795 the first school committee was chosen in Bradford, but the old fondness for private schools was to continue for many years. In the establishment of these academies, the town of Bradford took a leading part by the building of Bradford Academy in 1803. Eighteen years afterwards, Merrimack Academy was established in the East Parish, through the efforts of Rev. Perry and Dr. Jeremiah Spofford. More than one thousand of the inhabitants of Groveland and vicinity received the greater part of their education in this school. The academy was burned in 1870 and was rebuilt in 1871. In 1878 the trustees leased the academy to the town for ninety-nine years. The town assumed the debts of the academy and enlarged the building to accommodate two schools in the lower story and a town hall in the upper. This was the first town hall, as hitherto all activities had been held in either church or schoolroom.
Since it is to these two prominent men, Rev. Perry and Dr. Spofford, who served the town for so many years, that we owe most of our information about our early history, a few facts about each should be mentioned. Dr. Spofford doctored some families for four and five generations. He held the office of state senator, and was the author of the first Gazeteer of Massachusetts and of Half a Century of the Practice of Medicine in This Place. While studying medicine with other physicians, he did farm work and taught school. In 1835 he was joint owner and editor, with John Greenleaf Whittier, of the Haverhill Gazette. He was a mill-owner, and built the flrst large shoe factory in 1833. With others, he laid out and sold house lots, and had a part in establishing a chain ferry across the Merrimack River. He was one of the original trustees of Merrimack Academy, and personally raised one thousand dollars for its building. He died at 92.
In a day when nearly all took "spirits" occasionally and liquor was sold in all stores, Rev. Perry, nearly alone, practised total abstinence. He strongly opposed slavery. For forty-five years he held a wide reputation among the clergy of the orthodox faith. He was the author of History of Bradford, Mass., from the Earliest Period to the Close of 1820.
The first store of considerable importance in this town was opened by Moses Parker, Esquire, in 1777. This is the store now owned by Charles H. Pike, and is(1950) the oldest store in continuous operation in the United States. Peter Parker and William Greenough had large variety stores and Benjamin and Stephen Parker kept assortments of groceries and English goods. "Heavy" articles were brought here by water from Boston via Newburyport.
The first post office in town was established in this parish about 1810, and was located in Squire Greenough's store on Main Street. Mr. Greenough was postmaster until 1825 and was succeeded by Capt. Benjamin Parker, who removed the office to his store, later the blacksmith shop near the bridge. This same year, this building was moved to the opposite side of the street, where it remained for many years. This post office was then known as Bradford and the one at the other village, established later, was West Bradford. In 1843, perhaps owing to an antagonism between the two villages, an unsuccessful attempt toward division was made.
By 1849 it became evident that, as division would eventually take place,
it would be better to accomplish it before the 1850 census and valuation
were taken for the next decade. Otherwise the town would be without representation
until ten years later. One of the chief arguments in favor of the separation
was the custom observed then of electing a town treasurer and collector
from East Bradford one year, and one from West Bradford the next year,
the town clerk's office being filled in the same way. Each village had
either town clerk or treasurer every year, but a person might have to go
from one end of the town to the other to do business with either clerk
or tax collector. The town house, being located near the center, was too
far away from both villages to accommodate anybody.
Because of the desire of each village to manage its own affairs in its own way, a meeting of the citizens of Bradford East Parish was convened at the vestry of the Congregational Church on Thursday, January 3, 1850, for the purpose of considering a division. After a free discussion, it was voted to petition the Legislature for such a division. A committee was formed to draw up and circulate a petition for signatures previous to the next meeting, January 9, 1850. A majority having signed the petition, at an adjourned meeting on January 14, it was voted to forward this immediately to the Legislature. On February 11, the notice was received to call a town meeting to vote upon the division. As two-thirds of the voters were in favor of division, a committee of five was chosen to take charge of the petition before the committee on towns at the State House. Dr. Spofford opened the case for the petitioners, and, although it was opposed by some, the committee reported favorably, and Dr. Spofford and Joseph Hall of the West Parish prepared a bill for division.
On Monday, February 18, the people were invited to a meeting at the vestry to hear the report of their committee and take measures for selecting a name. Forty-eight names were proposed then and four later. These were reducd to the ten most popular, and after the fifth balloting it was found that the name of "Sumner" had more than two-thirds of the votes. It was immediately declared to be the choice of the town for a name, and the meeting dissolved. But it proved to be one thing to vote that the name of Sumner be adopted, and another to have the committee in charge insert that name in the act of incorporation. Charles Sumner was a young statesman too conscientious to remain in either the Whig or Democratic parties, which were both in favor of human slavery. He had become a "Freesoiler." It so happened that a majority of those who attended the first meeting were Freesoilers, and so carried the day for their favorite. Old line Whigs and Democrats found themselves for once in unison. It must be something else! There were some good men in both parties who were opposed to slavery but who thought Sumner should fight it out in his own party. These men were afterward among his ardent supporters, and twenty-five years later their sons gave the name of Charles Sumner Post to an organization composed of men who had risked their lives in carrying out the principles for which he had been condemned.
At a meeting on the 19th it was voted to ballot for a list of names from which six should be selected. The six names were: Merrimack, Fremont, Newport, Sumner, Waterford, and Bristol. After two unsuccessful ballots, the meeting adjourned to evening. On the second ballot taken that evening, Newport had a small majority, but not the necessary two-thirds. At an adjourned meeting on February 20, the name Groveland appeared for the first time. The whole number of votes cast was 157, 105 being necessary for a choice. Groveland received 106. This settled the matter for a fortnight, during which time the subject was discussed from Flanagan's Bend to Uptack. A meeting was called at the vestry on Wednesday, March 6, at six o'clock. Nearly all the voters were out, and the following resolution was carried: Resolved, That we will adhere to the name of Groveland and sustain it against all the intrigues of those opposed to a division of the town, and such as are willing to aid them, because they were so unfortunate as to prefer a less popular name. This passed in the affirmative, 95 to 60. Tradition has it that Lois Atwood and Angelina Ladd first suggested the name "Groveland," and were supported by Parson Perry.
In order that the new town might organize and elect officers, Justice of the Peace Dr. Spofford, authorized Deacon Nathaniel Ladd to call a town meeting on March 18, 1850. The citizens were determined that each of the three parties should be equally represented in fllling the town offices. A list of town officers was prepared at a caucus held at the vestry on March 14, and a committee of six, two from each party, was nominated to apportion offices to each party. The result was that the Whigs had the first selectman, the third overseer of the poor, and the constable. The Freesoilers were to have the second selectman, the first overseer, also the treasurer and the Democrats the third selectman, second overseer, and the town clerk.
By 1850 the many small mills on Johnson's Creek had gradually disappeared.
In 1859, E. J. M. Hale of Haverhil bought a factory which had previously
manufactured seamless bags and changed it into a woolen mill. This soon
was doubled in size and supplied with a forty horsepower engine. In 1861
he built a new mill, four stories high, to which a three-story addition
was made in 1875. In 1869 Mr. Hale built the third and lower mill, and
supplied it with an engine of 150 horsepower. All the mills contained thirty-six
sets of machinery, including 238 looms for the manufacture of flannel.
There were also outside shops and storehouses and a large number of tenements
for the workers. About four hundred hands were employed in and about the
mills, and the population increased until it had become about one-half
that of the whole town. This was the only larcre industry ever to exist
in Groveland, and, after the discontinuance of the mills in 1928, the town
became a residential community for workers in Haverhill and other nearby
|John G. B. Adams
Isaac N. Adams
George H. Adams
Enoch T. Adams
James J. Anderson
Hiram T. Balch
E. Groveland Bradford
Joseph A. Banks
William A. Balch
C. T. Balch
Edwin F. Berdge
Eugene C. Brown
Charles H. Brown
John E. Brown
John A. Bacon
Marcus M. Chase
Wallace N. Chase
Willard K. Chase
Leonard J. Chase
Amos P. Chase
Charles H. Cammett
John N. Crombie
George C. Curtis
Thomas W. Crombie
George E. Danforth
William G. Eaton
Charles A. Foster
Frank M. Foster
George H. Foster
Hiram S. Foye
Charles C. French
William P. Foster
Albert L. Hardy
Benjamin L. Hardy
Charles S. Hershel
Frank A. Hall
Sumner G. Harlty
Lowell H. Hopkinson
Aaron W. Hardy
William H. Hopkinson
John H. Hardy, lst
James W. Hollister
John H. Hardy, 3rd
David S. Hardy
Asa F. Hardy
John F. Hoyt
John H. Hardy
James P. Ivory
George H. Johnson
Samuel E. Jones
Charles H. Kimball
James M. Kimball
Jeremiah B. P. Ladd
William D. Mitchell
Charles H. Mitchell
Augustus T. Noyes
Darius H. Nelson
Edwin C. Noyes
George A. Ordway
Henry M. Page
Rufus E. Parker
Charles E. Peabody
Samuel T. Perry
William S. Perry
Eustace G. Parker
Gilman N. Parker
Orlando S. Paris
Benjamin F. Pike
Daniel S. Pike
|Oliver S. Rundlett
Elbridge A. Richardson
John P. Rundlett
Henry G. Rollins
Henry C. Rice
Enoch H. Ricker
Edward C. Ricker
William H. Ricker
Thomas W. Spiller
Thomas A. Sides
William 0. Sides
Timothy A. Stacy
Joseph C. Stacy
In the years 1727-1850 the Congregational Church had as pastors Rev.
William Balch, Ebenezer Dutch, and Gardner Perry, and the average pastorate
was forty-four years. Parson Perry's colleagues were Mr. Wasson, Rev. Daniel
Pickard, and Thomas Doggett. After Mr. Doggett's dismissal in 1864, Rev.
Martin S. Howard served until 1868 and was succeeded by Rev. John C. Paine,
1870-1877. Rev. McLean supplied the pulpit for a short time and was followed
by Rev. Augustus Swain, 1881-1887. They were followed by pastors Copping,
Berry, Sloane, Clarke, Dechman, Campbell, Cullens, Beckwith, Weiss, Crook,
Perkins, Craig, and Miller. An organ was secured in 1865, and in 1883 Mr.
Burton Merrill presented the clock, which was maintained at public expense
for many years. In 1883 also, Mr. Gardner Perry led in renovating the church
building and placed the tablet in the front of the auditorium in memory
of his father. In 1910 the chapel was raised and a basement built. A new
organ was given by Mr. Joseph Kimball, and in 1912 the brick mansion left
to the church by Rev. Perry was made into a parsonage. The Sabbath school
dates back to 1819 and Rev. Perry was superintendent until 1832.
In 1873 the St. James Episcopal Church in South Groveland was built and given, complete and ready for occupancy, by E. J. M. Hale, owner of the Groveland Mills, who also left funds for its maintenance. The list of rectors follows: Rev. Samuel M. Emery, 1873; Rev. I. M. Beard, 1873-77; Rev. William L. Himes, 1877-80; Rev. Albert E. George, 1880-88; Rev. J. Cullen Ayer, 1888-90; Rev. Charles H. Seymour, 1891-1900; Rev. I. Newton Phelps, 1902; Rev. Donald Browne, 1903-08; Rev. Henry L. Foote, 1909-11; Rev. Abel Millard, 1912-14; Rev. Charles L. ~ieight, 1917-37; Rev. John H. Philbrick, 1937-38; Rev. Clement Walsh, 1939-42; Rev. Robort McQueen Grant, 1942-44; Rev. John D. Hull has been rector since 1944 and is also rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Georgetown. This church celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary in October of 1948, and has recently made considerable improvement in the building, In the church are two beautiful windows in memory of Mrs. Lucy L. Hale, who died in 1856, aged 38, and of the Rev. Charles H. Seymour, S.T.D., who died December 19, 1900.
A Methodist Church was organized in East Bradford in 1831, and Reverend Charles S. McReading was the first preacher sent by the Conference. The meeting-house was erected in 1833 and in 1881 the building had been altered and improved and was entirely free from debt and in very prosperous condition. The society was continued., but with dwindling numbers until 1907. When services were discontinued, the building was purchased by Lawrence Hardy and used as a hall until demolished in 1932. It was situated at the upper end of, and facing, Elm Park Common. Graduation exercises were sometimes held here, but usually in the Congregational Church from 1900 on.
There was also for a short time in Groveland a Baptist Church, built and maintained by Mr. Charles W. Stickney, on Elm Park and sold to the Grand Army for a hall in 1880. It was henceforth known as Memorial Hall, and, as the Charles Sumner Post dwindled in numbers, the Junior Order took over and maintained it as a hall for many years. It was razed in 1945 after several years of disuse as a hall.
A church was built at Quaker Hale Corner by those who called themselves Separatists but soon embraced Baptist doctrines. The building was dismantled in 1782 in spite of opposition from Groveland and Byfield members, and was moved to the corner of North and Mill Streets, Georgetown.
Reed's Meeting House was built on the Washington (Legion) Hall site in South Groveland in 1860 and was occupied by Baptists and Methodists at various times. Mr. Hale bought this building and gave it away to be removed.
The Haverhill parish of the Roman Catholic Church was formed in 1850 and Rev. John T. McDonnell had in his charge the Catholic flocks of Groveland, Georgetown, and West Newbury also. When St. Mary's parish was established in 1874, comprising the towns of Georgetown, Groveland, and West Newbury, Father Cummins became pastor. It was under his direction that St. Patrick's Church, South Groveland, was built. Mr. Hale contributed the land and a liberal sum toward the cost of construction. During the ten years service of Rev. Father McClure (186878), St. Patrick's Church was extensively improved, and St. Anne's of West Newbury was erected in 1879. Father McClure was a man of broad scholarship and a linguist of no mean ability. After several short pastorates the Reverend Lawrence W. Slattery began his work on October 1, 1898, continuing until May 1908. The West Newbury Church had been detached from the parish in 1891, leaving only South Groveland and Georgetown. Later priests included Reverend Fathers Frances Cunningham, Michael P. Mahon, Patrick J. Durcan, Patrick J. Halley, John McGrath, James Hurley, John W. Spencer, Stephen J. O'Brien, Augustine Hargedon, and Leo O'Day. South Groveland parish now has its own priest and rectory, and has taken over the former Young Men's Temperance Association Building on Salem Street as parish house and recreation center.
In the early days the town was divided into four school districts. The
schools were ungraded and had pupils from ages five to sixteen and older.
District four seems to have been the first to maintain both primary and
grammar schools. Schoolrooms were often too crowded for satisfactory teaching.
The year was divided into two terms, the summer and the winter, which rarely
exceeded twelve and sixteen weeks each. About $1.50 was provided for each
pupil, and teachers' salaries ranged from $24 to $36 per month. In the
school report of 1865, mention is made of the large "foreign element" in
district number 3, "which accounts for the rapid increase in numbers."
In average attendance and in the amount of money appropriated, Groveland
ranked near the bottom of the list of towns in Massachusetts. In 1868 it
was recorded that the winter term of the grammar department was taught
by a graduate of Bridgewater Normal School, and that her methods varied
somewhat from those employed by previous teachers, but she was successful.
School districts were abolished in 1869.
The building now (in1950) used as Town Hall, for many years the High
School, was known a century ago as School-house number 4. For twenty-two
years, two schools were maintained in it-a grammar on the upper and a primary
on the lower floor. The rapid increase of population made it desirable
that some higher education should be provided. Therefore at a town meeting
in 1876, the school committee was instructed to supply this need of a high
school. Mr. Truman B. Rice of Dartmouth was appointed the first principal
and the upper room of School-house number 4 was selected as the best place.
Here the school was opened on April 19, 1876. Two courses of study, the
English and the Classical, were offered, both of which required four years
of study. The standard of entrance was set low and about fifty-five were
admitted. In the spring of 1877 the first graduating exercises were held,
and Mrs. Hattie Friend Sargent was presented the first diploma.
Except for the years 1878 and 1883, each June a class of two or more
have been graduated. Mr. Rice resigned in 1880, and was followed by Mr.
Ellius A. Emerson of Haverhill. Through his efforts, apparatus and material
for teaching chemistry, physics, and physiology were obtained, and these
studies were added to the curriculum. After a year Mr. Emerson resigned
and was followed in succession by Messrs. Bowker, Hutchinson, and Brackett.
Under Mr. Hutchinson the study of music was introduced. Under Mr. Norris
E. Adams in 1888 an entirely new course of studies was adopted. In the
same year too, the school building was thoroughly repaired and painted.
A small room was added in 1892 and in that year a debating society was
formed. The number of pupils had increased so rapidly that in 1893 the
first assistant, Miss Harriet Boynton, was elected. In 1894 one of the
schools downstairs was removed to the town hall, thus adding another recitation
room to the high school. The first superintendent, Mr. Charles W. Haley,
was chosen for the towns of Groveland, Georgetown, and Rowley in 1893.
In 1896 Mr. A. B. Hoag became principal and first created an interest in
school athletics. The "normal" course was added at this time.
In the next ten years the principals were Robert F. Small, Charles H. Phelps, and, in 1899, Mr. Ernest Butterfield. Through Mr. Butterfield's efforts several colleges placed the school on their approved list. At this time Miss Mildred S. Jones became supervisor of music, a very popular teacher for twelve years. Mr. George P. Campbell succeeded Mr. Butterfield and another teacher was added to the faculty. This necessitated removal of the second primary from the remaining lower room. The course of study was again changed to meet college requirements, as the school had been accepted by the New England College Entrance Certificate Board. The school year 1905-06 began under a new staff of teachers headed by Mr. Leicester A. Williams and Mr. Harry W. Chase.
During the summer of 1908 the high school was again thoroughly repaired, a new furnace installed and new apparatus added to the science department. Mr. Guy Colby was principal in 1908-1912 and was followed by J. Edward Hughes, H. P. Marston, 1914-17, Onsville J. Moulton, 1917-20, J. A. L. Derby, 1920-2t, Harold I. Palmer, 1921-25, and Charles Lamb, 1925-28, Alvah 0. Ring, 1928-32, E. Perley Eaton, 1933-38, Alfred F. Gay, 1938-40, Warren S. Darling, 1940-45, Clarence Allen, 1945-50.
On September 26, 1901 the Town Hall building on King Street, containing all grades from the third to eighth in the central part of town, was totally destroyed by fire. After three weeks, temporary quarters were secured for these classes in the George Block and in the Engine House. At the town meeting on November 11, 1901, it was voted to build a two-room school building on the old site at an expense not to exceed $5000 and also to erect a building to be used as a high school on the "gravel ridge" lot, Main Street, at an expense not to exceed $12,000. However, at a special town meeting, January 2, 1902, all previous action relating to building the two schools was rescinded and all committees discharged. The next month a sum of $8,000 was appropriated to erect a suitable building to accommodate the grade schools in precinct one. It was also voted that a sinking fund of not less than $1,000 a year be established, to be used in the erection of a high school building when the sum equalled onehalf the amount of the needed appropriation, said appropriation not to exceed $9,000. At this time, when the population of the two ends of the town was approximately the same, there were four school buildings in the south end, housing four primary schools, and three of grammar grade.
The present four-room Merrimack School building was erected in 1902 and the sinking fund for the high school was continued until, in April 1908, the expense of the smallpox epidemic and the surn of $3,000 for heating, water system, and other improvements in the high school were deducted from this fund. In 1915 the addition was built, making two more classrooms. By 1923 crowded conditions existed in both the Merrimack and high school, and the East School was reopened. A platoon system was adopted in 1921 to provide individual attention and allow better preparation for high school work. The state supervisor suggested a six-year high school building. In 1928 a class of twenty-seven was graduated, the largest class in the history of the school. By 1929 the high school enrollment had declined to ninety-three from a previous maximum of 127, but congestion still continued in the Merrimack School.
The building committee of 1931 selected plans for a high school costing $110,000. The town attempted to borrow $70,000 outside the borrowing limit, but was denied permission by the Legislature. In 1933 it was voted to borrow under the National Industrial Recovery Act to build a $75,000 building, net cost to the town $55,000. As a two-thirds vote could not be Secured, the matter was dropped again.
In 1934 the East School was reopened after being closed a year, and the platoon system was limited to seventh and eighth grades. By 1935 a gradual return to normal conditions in all buildings was noted. Through the E.R.A., P.W.A. or W.P.A. agencies, much work was accomplished in the repair of school buildings, which would have been difficult in the existing economic conditions. In 1937 the school building in South Groveland which had been used for a W.P.A. sewing project, was destroyed by fire. In 1937 the platoon system was abandoned, but enrollment in the high school was beginning to increase.
In 1938 the citizens of Groveland decided to take advantage of a P.W.A.
grant from the federal government for the erection of a new high school
building, which the school committee later decided should also house the
eighth grade from the whole town. The building was to cost $70, 900, of
which the government grant was $31,900, and the cost to the town $39,000.
The site was to be the Ridge Hill lot on Main Street. Just before the new
year of 1939, ground was broken by Ned A. Pike, for many years an ardent
worker for a new building. The building committee consisted of the selectmen:
Thornton E. Pike, John J. Mullen, George F. Parker; the school committee;
H. Granville Knox, Robert H. Crawford, and Loyd C. Boynton, the superintendent,
E. Perley Eaton and also Mrs. Leon E. Jordan and Fred R. Hardy, both former
school committee members.
Other teachers with very long periods of service were: Miss Martha I. Morse, nearly thirty years, Miss Sara Stickney with thirty-three and Miss Hattie G. Wildes with thirty-eight years. Mr. Robert H. Crawford served on the school committee for thirty-nine years and Mr. Albert Wales and Mr. Andrew Longfellow for more than twenty years each. Two families, comprising ten members in all, were one hundred per cent graduates in two generations from the old high school, and another family had graduates of the third generation. Many graduates of the school have reflected credit upon it as alumni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth, Tufts, Jackson, Boston University, Simmons, Middlebury, Universities of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, Amherst, and Bates, as well as of teachers' colleges and business schools.
As we enter 1950 the school housing problem
is again acute in the grade schools because of greatly increased school
population since World War II.
In the fire of April 1900, which demolished
the Page Building, two-thirds of the 1,787 books were lost. The library
was located in the Post Office building
until November when the block had been rebuilt by E. H. George, local contractor,
who owned it.
In 1907 a bequest of $5,000 was received from Captain J. G. B. Adams toward the building of a library, and in 1917 Alfred Langley gave another $5,000, provided the library was built during his lifetime. The new library opened its doors on February 16, 1918. Portraits of Captain Adams and Mr. Langley were hung in the reading room and a suitable clock was a gift of the Village Improvement Society. In 1928 a bequest of $2,000 more was received from the Langley estate. In the same year an oil painting of Benjamin Parker, M.D., born in 1759, grandfather of Dr. W Thornton Parker, was given by Mrs. Thornton Parker, and in the following year a $3,000 bequest from her husband's estate was received by the trustees. It was voted to allow the interest to accumulate toward the building of a children's room in memory of W. Thornton Parker, Jr., who died in 1900, just before his graduation from Harvard. This room was to be located in an addition, which was to contain also various historical exhibits donated to the library from time to time. In 1935 land was purchased for this addition.
In 1921 a recataloguing of books according
to the Dewey Decimal System was done under the direction of a Haverhill
librarian. In 1922 a copy of Gardner Perry's historical sermon was given
to the library by Mrs. Louis A. Woodbury. In 1924 the Red Cross was granted
permission to locate the loan closet of sick-room supplies in the basement
of the library. This has been equipped by a part of the funds from the
annual Red Cross drive.
In 1933 the Junior Order gave property belonging to Charles Sumner Post and previously located in Memorial Hall to the library. Included were the national flag, the charter, and a composite photograph of twenty-eight members of the post. The Civil War collection was installed in a basement room of the library.
In 1938, the fifteenth anniversary of the special town meeting which elected the first board of trustees, a legacy of $2,039.87 bequeathed to the library by Miss Anna Balch, was received by the town. This legacy was named for the donor and the income set aside for the purchase of books. The design for the plates, bearing a picture of the library, was drawn by Miss Annie Kelly, former supervisor of drawing in the Groveland schools.
In March 1900 the town had appropriated $50 to collect and bind the town reports from 1850 to 1900. In 1938 the reports were again brought up to date, and one set was placed in the town rooms, one in the Hale Library and a third in the LangleyAdams Library.
In 1939, after more than ten years of conferences between the town committee and Mr. Arthur Veasey, Groveland Mills, Inc., and others, the town accepted Washington Hall, the books therein, and certain funds to be used for general library purposes for the benefit of inhabitants. In this, the fiftieth anniversary year, the townspeople borrowed 19,084 books from their library as compared to 8,672 books in 1889. At various times branch libraries have been maintained in the South Groveland and East Schools.
The library has been opened for many purposes other than the distribution of books, as, for example, the flrst aid nursing classes and various county extension services. Books from the Massachusetts division of public libraries have been borrowed to supplement the non-fiction works. Mrs. Belle Wood, librarian for more than twenty-five years, has given many hours of storytelling for children.
The installation of oil heat in the library in 1946 made more room available for the accomodation of the loan closet articles. In May of 1949 the room was thoroughly renovated at the expense of the Haverhill Chapter, American Red Cross, under the direction of Mrs. George Mitchell. The interior of the reading room was painted and the woodwork and floors refinished. Outside trimmings were repainted, making a building which the townspeople may be proud to exhibit during the centennial year. There is a growing collection of historical items.
We are indebted for thorough and interesting
reports of library history to Mrs. Ethel M. C. Mitchell, secretary of the
board of trustees since 1902. Dr. Louis A. Woodbury, who passed away in
1916, had served as chairman of the trustees for nearly a quarter of a
century. Attorney C. Russell Commett was assistant librarian for four years
and trustee for thirteen. Miss Mabel E. Benjamin was a faithful member
of the board for twenty-one years and chairman of the book committee from
April 1935 until her death in May, 1949.
At a parish meeting held at the academy in 1838 the matter of enlarging and improving the burying ground and repairing the hearse and hearse house was considered. A committee of nine came to the conclusion that it was expedient to procure an addition and found that Mr. William Balch was willing to sell land on the westerly side of the yard amounting to one and one-quarter acres at $10 per acre, and a piece sufficiently wide for a carriage way on the southerly end. They also received an offer of land on the north of the burying ground from the heirs of Nathaniel Wallingford. To meet expenses of these improvements, appointment of a committee to circulate subscriptions through the parish was recommended. The amount to be raised was estimated at $250. It was voted that the price of the lots be $1 and that the land should be divided by lot.
In 1902 a committee of three was appointed at town meeting to enlarge the cemetery, and four acres of land was purchased from Mrs. Wallingford, one-quarter acre from Boston and Northern Street Railway, to make a straight line in back, and twenty rods of Miss Balch to widen the main entrance. In 1904, $250 was borrowed for ten years to pay the expense. The cost of the lots was $10,,$15, and $20, according to the size.
A book of rules and regulations of the Groveland cemetery commission was accepted and adopted in 1906.
In 1907 the townspeople adopted the name "Riverview," the only authorized name the cemetery had borne after a lapse of 180 years from the first interment made. A Riverview Association was organized under the direction of Thomas H. Renton for the purpose of developing and improving the cemetery. The association planted some 200 shrubs and bushes and laid 2,800 feet of paving along the avenues. Until the year 1913 an annual Riverview Fair was held for raising funds to make improvements. In 1914 Mr. Renton and Mr. Charles Cammett, who had long been interested in cemetery affairs both passed away.
In 1910 an addition was bought from Miss Sarah Balch for $200. This spot on the west side of the cemetery was not to be used for burial purposes, but for a park area. In 1912 the town voted to place signs on the avenues, beginning on the east side of the cemetery. The names were selectd by a committee composed of Mrs. N. E. Ladd, Mrs. Woodbury, Mrs. Cobban, and Miss S. Alice George, and were mostly names of trees. As no money had been appropriated, the signs were not placed until 1914.
On Memorial Day of 1912 the memorial arch given by Miss Sophia Jane Griffith two years before, was dedicated. Considerable masonry work on both sides of the entrance had been necessary. In 1915 the water system, long needed for the proper care of lots and shrubbery was installed. In 1935 through two E. R. A. projects, twenty lots were added and a stone wall rebuilt. Seventy-five stones in the old cemetery were repaired and the lots regraded and seeded. In 1936, through a W. P. A. project, 182 new lots were made at a cost of $8 to the town.
The most recent purchase of land was in 1949 when the commissioners purchased 2.4 acres on the easterly side of the cemetery for $2,000 taken from the "sale of lots" fund. There are now about eighteen and a half acres included in "God's Acre." as the burying ground was called in early days.
In 1927 at the 200th anniversary of the Groveland
Church the late Deacon William B. Ladd said that about 3,800 persons were
buried in the cemetery, including 39 Revolutionary soldiers, 160 Civil
War veterans, five Spanish War, and nine World War veterans, and also the
first three pastors of the church.
The Veto, one of the earliest hand tubs in the country, was built about 1798, and purchased in April 1828 by Dr. Jeremiah Spofford from the town of Roxbury at a cost of $300 for the engine, thirty feet of hose, two axes, and several leather buckets. It was first known as Engine 2 of Bradford. About 1841 the tub was renovated and the name changed to Veto in honor of President Tyler's veto of a fiscal bill passed by a Whig congress. The tub box is about two feet wide and four feet long. The double plunger pumps are cylinders about eighteen inches long, connected into the big air chamber located in the center of the tub. The poles on each end are long enough to accommodate a good crew. The engine was brought from Boston to Newburyport on a sailing vessel, and from there to Groveland on a scow. It was received for the town by a newly-formed fire company.
The first engine house was a small building located on the site of the grocery store at 11 Elm Park. The Veto was later moved to a building on Grove Street, where it remained until the present engine house was built in 1887. In May 1878 the fiftieth annual meeting of the company was held. The engine was found to be much in need of repairs, so the stewards were appointed to inform the selectmen. A satiric item in the news of the year quoted the repairman as saying that several extinct species of marine life were found in the works, "which is good evidence that it is the original bucket tub." Then there is the legend of the discovery of the setting hen in the tub, which prevented it from being used for three weeks.
At the town meeting of 1886 the town voted to buy a fire engine, and disband the old company. It was also voted to preserve the old Veto as a relic. A committee chosen by the town bought a second-hand fire engine, the Hancock, of the town of Lexington, Mass., for $400. Only a short time after the new fire company got started the big fire of May 14, 1887 took place. Eight buildings near the bridge were destroyed. The new fire engine did heroic work while waiting for outside help, and even the Veto was used to wet down adjacent buildings. In 1890 the Veto took part in the parade in celebration of Haverhill's 250th anniversary. At the Page Building fire in 1900, the Hancock engine was still in use. In 1900 and 1901 Rex Chemicals were purchased for both precincts. In 1904 two serious fires occurred, which destroyed the residence of A. S. Barker on School Street and the South Groveland Fire House, the Y.M.T.C.A. Hall, two tenement houses and the Lanen barn. In 1915 a serious fire in the rear of Pike's store spread in the direction of Garrison Street. Extensive forest fires occurred in the years 1895, 1922, 1937, and 1947.
In 1916 the Hancock engine was sold and in 1924 Chemical Number 2 in Savaryville was disbanded. By 1929 sirens had been installed in both ends of town. From 1915 to 1927, under agreement with H. L. MacDonald, a motor truck was furnished by him for fire purposes. In 1927 an agreement was entered into between a voluntary firemen's association and the town, by which the association would operate and care for the trucks for five years if the town would purchase a 400-gallon Seagraves pump. This was the first motor fire pump owned by the town and was purchased for $6,500. A bell system was also installed at no cost to the town except for materials. For five years more than half their salaries was turned back by firemen for the upkeep of the trucks. In 1930 a truck chassis for a forest fire truck was bought for Combination 1, and in 1931 a truck for precinct 2, at a cost of $1,500.
The two fire companies which compose the department at the present time are Combination 1 of the village, at one time the Hancock Engine Company, and Combination 2 of South Groveland, formerly the J. W. Libby Hose Company.
In 1946 a fire truck was purchased for $3,950.
At the town meeting of 1949 it was voted to appropriate $8,500 for the
purchase of a completely equipped fire truck and $1,000 to construct an
addition to the Groveland Fire House to accomodate the new engine. The
Fire Department is under the leadership of a board of three fire engineers.
Members of Combination 1 have cleaned up the Veto and put it in shape for
parades. Red shirts bearing the date 1798 are worn by the firemen at parades
At the town meeting of 1900 an appropriation of $500 was made to have our streets lighted by some public system, and a committee of four was appointed to serve with the selectmen. The committee found that no satisfactory system could be introduced unless a further appropriation was made. At a special meeting in June an additional $500 was voted and the committee given full power to make a contract for five years. A contract was made in September with the Haverhill Electric Co., for 55 twenty-four candle-power lamps, to be used in the streets from dusk until twelve midnight for two hundred and forty or more nights in each year.
In 1905 investigation of the matter of the town furnishing its own lighting system was begun by a committee of five. The sum of $100 was appropriated to pay an electrical engineer to make plans from which might be obtained estimates of the cost of constructing and operating a town lighting plant. In 1907 a municipal light board of three was established and the town treasurer was authorized to hire the sum of $20,000 for the purpose of constructing such a plant and to issue notes, twenty of $500 and ten of $1,000 each. In 1932 the last construction note was paid, leaving the plant free from debt. The value of the plant was $53,905. Current could be procured at every extremity of the town. In 1931 the sum of $5,000 was turned over to be applied to the reduction of the tax rate. Since 1940 about $4,000 annually has been transferred for this purpose.
In 1910 the price of current was reduced to
$.12 and the contract renewed with the Haverhill Electric Co., for three
years. In the years between 1907 and 1920 the number of meters increased
from 45 to 305 and in 1914 the rate was lowered to $.11 per kilowatt. The
candlepower of the street lights has been increased 100 percent. The light
commission still purchases electricty from Haverhill and is charged $.02
per kilowatt. It charges ten cents for the first 25 kilos, then $.05, with
a two cent discount for cash. The minimum charge is $.75 per month, or
It was voted not to accept these provisions and no further action was taken until 1913, when it was voted to petition the legislature to increase the amount of the bond issue authorized in 1903 from $40,000 to $60,000. In March 1914 it was voted to appropriate $50,000 for the purpose of supplying water and to issue thirty notes of the town, but in September this vote was rescinded. A loan of $10,000 under the Acts of 1913 entitled "An Act to Authorize the town of Groveland to incur additional indebtedness for water supply purposes" was voted, the notes to be payable annually and loan to be paid within thirty years. A loan of $40,000 under the Acts of 1903 was also authorized, also to be payable by annual proportionate payments of a size to extinguish the loan within the same time.
In 1942 the City of Haverhill secured complete
control of the Johnson's Pond water rights "for the duration." The amount
of water allowed the Groveland consumer was increased from 2,500 to 4,500
cubic feet, and ten percent discount was allowed for cash on water bill
payments. Original service to 150 customers in 1914 had increased by 1944
to 900 families. The 1914 notes were paid off in 1944. In this year also
the service was extended to West Newbury at a rate of $10 per millon gallons
above our purchase cost.
On January 1, 1949, notice was received from the Haverhill Water Board that the water rate for the town would be increased fifteen percent, increasing the rate for consumers from ten dollars minimum to twelve dollars. Again in 1950, due to an increase in the rate paid to Haverhill, the consumer rate was increased to $17. At the town meeting, extensions on Rollins St. to Grange Hall, and on Salem St. from the junction of Salem and School Sts. to the Georgetown line, involving expenditures of $22,000, were voted.
The year 1914 also saw the introduction of gas into the town by the Haverhill Gas Co.
The Civil War Monument stands on Perry Park, flanked and backed by evergreens given by Mr. Otis Wardwell, a native of South Groveland. Two beautiful spruce trees given by Philip H. Martino were placed on the park in 1928 and have been lighted during the Christmas season. A cannon and pile of balls which had formerly stood in front of Memorial Hall was located between these trees for a number of years, but was donated to the scrap metal collection during the last war.
At the foot or northern end of Elm Park a drinking fountain, a memorial to Dr. Charles W. Spofford, was dedicated in July 1892. It bore the inscription "The Dr. Charles W. Spofford Memorial Fountain, presented to the town by the Village Improvement Society." It was purchased with funds contributed by the Spofford family, and provided for the refreshment of thirsty humans as well as for animals and birds. The removal of the fountain became necessary in 1931, owing to the ravages of time and the coming of the automobile. The following spring the park committee caused this end of Elm Park to be encircled by a concrete curb. Inside the curb the first permanent asphalt sidewalk in town was laid. A bubbling fountain set in a heavy cement slab was placed beyond the sidewalk. The original inscription was restored and placed in the slab. The expense incident to this change was met from the Laura A. Atwood fund left to the town for the care of the fountain.
In 1929 the park bounded by Main, King, and Union Streets and bequeathed to the town by Mrs. Mary E. W. Perry was accepted, and was developed by means of funds raised by a local Better Homes Committee. Shrubbery and playground equipment and a tennis court were placed there in 1932, and for several years a supervised playground was maintained under the direction of Elinore Amazeen.
The baseball field in South Groveland was given by Mr. Arthur Veasey of Groveland Mills, Inc., and that on the high school grounds, formerly called the Ridge Hill Playground, was acquired by the town in 1911 through the efforts of Rev. Andrew Campbell.
Supervised and improved swimming areas have been maintained in recent years at Dewhirst Pond and at the Mill Pond in South Groveland by the Groveland Improvement Society. These ponds have also been safe places for skating. The river was once used for this purpose and also for horseracing.
In earlier days, nearly all the outdoor gatherings
were held at Balch'.s Grove, which was owned by the first pastor of the
Congregational Church. This grove was afterwards purchased-by the Bay State
Street Railway. It is difficult now to imagine the beauty of this place
before the river became a sewer and the natural amphitheater was denuded
of its pine trees. Vaudeville and musical shows were held during the summer
months, which were attended by people from all the surrounding towns and
cities, as well as by the natives. Other attractions were high diving events,
balloon ascensions, a menagerie, swings, and a merry-go-round. Another
favorite diversion of those days was a trip down the river on the steamer
"City of Haverhill" or the "Merrimack" to Plum Island and Salisbury beaches.
Many motor and rowboats were owned and used on the river.
The Merrimack made its last trip on Sept. 28, 1910. The ftrst pleasure boat, also the Merrimack, made its first trip in April 1828.
In 1934 an effort was made to have the town acquire the Pines property for use as a public park, provided Federal aid could be obtained. This move failed because no funds were appropriated by the town and the property passed into private hands, to become a midget auto track. [It was finally acquired by the town in 1974]
In 1925 the town voted to set aside ten acres of the town farm land in addition to the ten acres already set out with trees, for forest production, such land to be planted with white pine seedlings under the direction of the Overseers of the Poor.
In 1927 the care of parks was placed in the hands of the selectmen, who appointed a park superintendent. Recently, a park commission of four members has been appointed annually.
Under the leadership of Dr. Jeremiah Spofford
subscriptions for a chain ferry were taken and a stock company formed,
which operated with profit until the iron bridge was built in 1871, George
Mitchell was the ferryman for many years.
Nine years later, in 1881, this bridge caved in when the lumber team of D. D. Chase and Sons, drawn by four horses was passing over it with a load of shingles. The team was driven by George Whitman who, as the saying goes, "luckily escaped injury." Mr. Charles P. Boynton, Sr., drove the team to shore on the ice.
The commissioners were authorized by the legislature to rebuild the bridge and assess the cost as before. An item in the Haverhill Gazette of 1882 describes the methods applied to test the bridge previous to its opening. At 10: 30 A.M., the signal was given for the advance of the ten assembled teams of oxen and horses, which varied in weight from 6,600 to 10,350 pounds. To the weight of the loads was added weight of the horses and oxen and that of the large number of people on the bridge, so that the gross weight was estimated to exceed fifty tons of dead weight applied to each span, and was left standing there for five minutes.
The average deflection was less than 3/16 of an inch. The bridge recovered itself fully after the removal of the tests. There were five spans, exclusive of the draw, which was 168 feet long, and was rotated on twenty-six wheels, "the movement being very easy and perfect." The testing was done in the presence of the county commissioners and the selectmen, also about a thousand other persons.
Severe freshets occurred as early as 1843, when heavy rains brought the water up twenty feet above its usual level and flooded the roads in the vicinity. In 1846, a great ice dam, extending from West Newbury as far as the present Groveland Bridge, caused the water to back up to a limit never before witnessed. At that time and several times since, at the Paul Hopkinson home, it was possible for a small boat to pass through from the front end out the back door with several feet of water under the keel. The water backed inland so far that year that it was necessary to carry the mail to Haverhill by way of Georgetown woods.
In the freshet of 1869 the rise of waters destroyed
a dam up the river, allowing thousands of logs to escape. The ice jam of
1886 threatened every bridge on the lower Merrimack. The authorities in
Haverhill engaged experts to blow up the ice with dynamite and the experiment
was successful. An unusually severe flood in 1895 submerged portions of
Main Street and the Haverhill side of the river near Groveland Bridge.
The bridge was partially destroyed by fire in 1913 but rebuilt the same
In 1936 the town was isolated for a week and
the loss to property was estimated at $300,000, damage being done to sixty-one
homes. Flooded cellars and even street floors had to be pumped out by the
fire department and cleaned of silt. People on Main Street from "the Spot"
to the center were removed from their homes, some of them by boat. The
National Guard was on patrol duty to prevent looting. Dr. Bagnall directed
the distribution of food, clothing, and fuel, and cleaning of contaminated
areas. The rising river water backed up in two brooks in the south end
of town, expanding and spreading over the area between. It was the worst
flood ever known in this valley. The Red Cross reimbursed the most seriously
aftected for a part of their loss, and the expense to the town was paid
from insurance received after the burning of a South Groveland schoolhouse.
The first committee of three for laying out highways in the town was appointed in the year 1668, The first roads were narrow and winding, but were probably as convenient as those elsewhere at that time, and were made with great labor and expense. Uptack Street was the first road from Rowley to the Merrimack lands and Haverhill and was probably used as early as 1649.
The Newburyport and Boston stage rumbled through Bradford town in 1803, having, according to its announcement in the Merrimack Intelligencer, "the best horses and the most careful drivers." The fare from Boston to Haverhill was two dollars and from Haverhill to Concord a quarter more.
In 1899 management of the roads had passed into the hands of twelve surveyors, each responsible for his district. Thev were appointed by the selectmen. In 1914 the townspeople voted to return to the system of electing three commissioners. This method continued until 1918 when a vote was passed to have the selectmen appoint one road commissioner annually. This method continued until 1933, and from then to the present time the commissioner has been elected annually. With the exception of a four-year period this position was held by Allen G. Twombly, either by appointment or election, from 1918 to his retirement early in 1949 at the age of eighty-nine.
The village streets were named in 1900, and signs were posted. From Mr. Andrew Longfellow we learn that Center Street was formerly called County Road, and Rollins Street was Industry Street. King Street was so named because a resident of the area, Philip Hardy, often referred to himself as "King" Philip. High Street became the now familiar Cannon Hill Avenue, and Prospect Street is now called Seven Star Road. The two sections of Gardner Street used to be Perry and Liberty Streets, and Worcestershire Road was renamed Governor's Road. School Street was originally Jacques Road and then Milk Street. The town farm was located at the end of Pudd'n Bag Lane.
Probably the most extensive road construction in town at one time was the widening of lower Main Street from the bridge to the junction of Main and Broad Streets in 1928. The portion of Main Street just below this point was widened and made a portion of the state highway, eliminating Broad Street, with its dangerous curve. The sum of $12,000 was appropriated by the town toward the expense of building retaining walls, moving houses and paying land damages.
The spendng of the street department is largely controlled by the state and county and directed by state engineers, because of state and county contributions under Chapters 81 and 90. Due to the recent construction of real estate, there are an increasing number of unaccepted streets, for which allowance will have to be made in future budgets.
In the early days of Groveland from 1852 until 1941 there was a short branch line of the Boston and Maine Railroad between Haverhill and Georgetown, connecting the Haverhill to Boston line with the Newburyport to Boston line in Georgetown. A very good service in both passenger and freight transportation was maintained for many years before the days of motor travel. Mr. George Carleton, who died in 1896 had been station master for forty years. Passenger trains were gradually dropped, as other means of transportation came into use. With the abandonment of the woolen mills, freight shipments diminished, but coal and grain supplies for the vicinity, as well as lumber, hardware, and other goods continued to be shipped by rail. Coal was also brought up the river on barges and unloaded at sheds owned by Dewhirst and the Groveland Mills, located approximately in the rear of the present high school site and at Pike's just below the Groveland Bridge on the Haverhill side.
In 1877 the Haverhill and Groveland Street Railway (Horse) was built. This crossed the Groveland Bridge and was afterwards extended to West Newbury. In July 1893 the railway was reconstructed for the use of electricity, and in 1897 was extended to West Newbury. In September of 1896, the electric road from Haverhill to Georgetown was opened.
See this issue No.67 August 1962 of the Transporation Bulletin
- The Haverhill, Georgetown & Danvers Street Railway 1900-1906 by O.R.
Cummings and Gerald F. Cunningham, 28 pages.
Those having charge of this department were known for many years as "overseers of the poor." In 1851 they were authorized at the annual town meeting "to purchase the Conniff farm and to sell the other." This farm was known by the official title of Groveland Almshouse, and later, the Groveland Home. Besides the permanent inmates, many itinerants were fed and sheltered. In the peak year, 1,400 of these were fed and lodged at a cost of $.011/2 each. In 1905 only 65 were accommodated, due to passage of a state law making vagrancy a court offense. The old tramp house is still on the property.
In the annual town report the superintendent gave an itemized account of the household goods in the home, groceries bought, and produce raised and sold. Also, until forbidden by a state law of 1910, the names of those aided and the amounts given them were published in the report. In 1926 the home was discontinued, although occupied by the custodian, until it was sold in 1933 to Homer R. Rowell. In 1933, also, the sum of $15,131.79, bequeathed to the town under the will of Alfred S. Langley, was accepted and the Board of Public Welfare was designated to administer the same. This fund is for the benefit of native-born needy citizens.
After 1927 this department bore the name of Public Welfare department and its expenditures were classified as follows: Outside Relief, Inside Relief, Mothers' Aid (State). To these was added the Old Age Assistance Division in 1931.
Samuel Nelson, John F. Dorgan, and Attorney C. Russell Cammett were Overseers of the Poor from 1919 until the death of Mr. Cammett in 1931.
In 1851, in the oldest records of the company now available, we find George Savary, president, continuing in office until his death in 1854. Mr. Savary was succeeded by Nathaniel H. Griffith as president from 1854 to 1874, and he ~y Moses Foster, who was president until 1899. Herschel A. Spofford served until 1905, Edward Harrington, 1905-1908, William T. Pike, 1908-1923, and Walter Greenough from 1923 to 1929. In 1929 Charles H. Pike was elected to this office and still holds the position.
In the office of secretary-treasurer there have been but few changes. Nathaniel Ladd served from 1851 to 1874, with the exception of the year 1852. Nathaniel Griffith became secretarytreasurer in 1874 and served until 1899, when he was succeeded by Dr. Louis A. Woodbury, who held the office until 1916, being followed in office by his widow, Mrs. Helen N. R. Woodbury. In 1918 the present incumbent, John A. Marshall of Rowley, took office, and is assisted by Mrs. Florence M. Boynton, who was elected in 1945.
On the first of May 1869 Nathaniel H. Griffith, Nathaniel Ladd, Edwin T. Curtis, and their associates were incorporated as the Groveland Savings Bank, and the officers of the company were Moses Foster, president, and Nathaniel H. Griffith, treasurer. After being in operation sixteen years, the bank gradually terminated its affairs.
The Groveland Co-Operative Bank, with offices in Haverhill, recently observed its fifty-fourth anniversary. The officers with one exception, are Groveland residents. Charles H. Pike is president and Harry W. Vaughan, treasurer. John Magee had many years of association with the bank and was president from 1934 to 1944.
In addition to co-operative and direct reduction
mortgage plans, this bank offers home modernization and share loans and,
recently, savings accounts, where shareholders may deposit or withdraw
any or all amounts on deposit. New shares may be purchased dating from
May and November, the limit being forty shares.
|Frederick Harry Arakelian
Elmer Stanley Bagnall
John Lorenzo Blaisdell
George William Boner
Hugh A. Bradley
James E. Bradley
Arthur Lawrence Buckley
Harold A. Buswell
William P, Cannon
Henry Wesley Dearborn
Herbert R. Evans
Henry L. Gardner
Walter Frances Ansell Harriman
|George Hugh Magee
Thomas J. Manning
John A. McAdams
William A. McAuley
William F. McCormic
Daniel E. McGinley
James A. McGinley
George Roy McKinnon
James A. Melvin
Ralph Edgar Merithew
William J. Milligan
William E. Milnes
Ralph L. Milnes
Samuel E. Milnes
George N. Moffitt
George Edward Morris
John C. Morris
John J. Mullen
*William W. Myers (alias William L. Wallace)
Winthrop Lewellyn Nelson
John F. Nickett
Henry I. Nisbett
Ernest J. Nolan
John J. Noon
Matthew G. Noon
Forest H. Packer
Edward H. Parker
Edwin F. Parker
James A. Parker
Aldie L. Peabody
Benjamin J. Peabody
George A. Peabody
Frank Russell Pemberton
Walter L. Pemberton
James L. Pette
Edgar S. Pike Y
Sherman E. Pike
John J. Powers
Charles H. Primrosq
Clayton C. Primrose
*George A. Roberts
The closing event of the program was the historical pageant, "The Spirit of the Church," which was presented in the Pines. The pageant was written by Mrs. Mitchell, and was directed by Mrs. Hazel H. Albertson of West Newbury. Assistant directors were: Mrs. Mitchell, Mrs. Laura Maddock Wood, Miss Barbara 0, Atwood of Haverhill (director of dances), and Mrs. Sabrina F. Gerald (director of music). The costumes for the entire cast were designed by Mrs. Thelma Amazeen Regan, and were perfectly adapted to each period. The pageantry was carried out with historical exactitude, as when the first settlers arrived with ox carts, on horseback, and in horse-drawn vehicles. Several hundred persons participated in the pageant.
A banquet served on Saturday evening, July 2, was the opening event of the celebration. On Sunday a church service of 200 years ago was reproduced at the time of the customary Sunday morning service. Following the Sunday evening Communion service, the congregation went to "God's Acre," where a service of remembrance was conducted near the grave of the first pastor of the church. Former pastors Rev. Bernard Copping and Rev. Archibald Cullens, and also several pastors from neighboring towns assisted in this service.
Into this beautiful grove comes a band of Indians led by Muschonomet Chief Sagamore of Agawam (Agawam being the Indian name of all the land lying between the Merrimack River and Naumkeag (Salem), of which Muschonomet claimed to be native proprietor.) Through the wilderness they have journeyed, on the river they have paddled. 'Tis Muschonomet's first visit in this part of his great domain. The prospect is pleasant-much game in the forest, many fish in the rivers. The Chief Sagamore orders preparations made for a long tarry.
At nightfall around a great campfire the Indians
of Agawam smoke the Pipe of Peace and return thanks to the Great Spirit
in a ceremonial dance. Suddenly a group of fairy dancers comes into the
grove. These dancing fairies symbolize the blacksmiths, the carpenters,
the farmers, the spinners, and the weavers of the industrial life in England
at that time-1635.
The villagers of Rowley are assembling. The Maypole dancers come tripping over the green and the annual festival has begun. A sudden pause in the revelry as they see Ezekiel Rogers, their beloved pastor for many years, leading a large group of their old-time neighbors and friends. Spellbound they watch as Rogers leads his group to the spot where in the quiet of the early morning the voice of God had spoken to him. The group kneel in prayer and then go down to the shore to embark for the long voyage before them.
Ezekiel Rogers and his group journey from Salem to Ipswich where they are welcomed by Nathaniel Rogers and the people of Ipswich. Then the young lovers Robert Haseltine and the dainty Ann, garbed in the precious bridal garments brought from England, come forward, and the first wedding adds interest to the joyful occasion. (Robert and Ann Haseltine married at Rogers' plantation October 23, 1639.)
The voice of God then speaks again to Ezekiel Rogers. He leads his followers immediately into the wilderness to organize a new church and community, which is called Rogers' Plantation, later Rowley. The first herdsmen of the colony are appointed and the building of the town is immediately begun. The Spirit of the Beautiful River (Merrimack) singing and dancing, comes into the forest where the herdsmen are guarding the cattle.
The three men are bewildered. Stories of the fertile valley over yonder have come to them. They decide to leave the Rowley colony and establish a settlement nearer the river. They are joined from time to time by many families who play an important part in the future history of Merrimack, later named Bradford.
The quiet of the Bradford settlement is startled
one dark night in May 1.676 by the sound of the terrible war whoop of the
Indians. Goodman Thomas Kimball is instantly killed. Mistress Mary Kimball
and her five children are marched into the wilderness. The fires are lighted
to burn the mother and one of the children at the stake, but through the
intervention of Chief Wonnalancet (Pennacook tribe, Haverhill), Mistress
Kimball and her children are returned safely to their homes.
The separation and incorporation of East Parish
in Bradford, June 17, 1726 is represented symbolically. The people of the
Mother Church are completing its decoration for a festive occasion. East
Parish, their fair young daughter, ia starting alone today on the journey
of life. She comes into the midst of her friends to receive their good
wishes and Godspeed. Then alone at the portal she receives the blessing
of God and the sanction of the Commonwealth. Kneeling, she speaks in song
her aspirations for the future and, led by the Spirit of the Church, she
goes to East Bradford to establish there a new church and community.
East Parish at once begins the establishment of her church and community. She leads forward the 47 men now separated from the Bradford Church. They hold their first precinct meeting July 4, 1726. The Spirit of the Church voices approval as they call their first minister (William Balch), who arrives from Beverly accompanied by his betrothed. They obtain Mr. Balch and organize the East Bradford (Groveland) Church, June 7, 1727.
During an old-time church service the spirit of religious dissension and disorganization which was prevalent for a time, reaches its climax.
The social event of a week in 1775 is the tea party on the village green. Young girls prepare for the event and receive the dainty cup and silver spoon of the women of the parish as they assemble. Tongues and fingers are soon busy when a gay bevy of young men and maidens arrive, and greetings are again in order. The young people dance the minuet and then assist in dispensing the refreshments of the afternoon, of which the "tea" brewed from the wild loosetrife leaves is doubtfully enjoyed.
Slowly the Spirit of the War stalks across
the village green, bringing to East Bradford gruesome foreboding of the
War of the Revolution. The erstwhile happy group has scarcely recov
64 AN OUTLINE OF GROVELAND HISTORY
ered from the terrible premonitions of the moment when the roll of drums calls the minute men of East Bradford to burry away to the horrors Of war. The men must fight, the women must wait many long weary years ere the Spirit of the Church bids the people return to the duties of their community life.
East Parish would honor her brave minutemen-the living and the dead. She summons the Spirit of Liberty to dignify the occasion. Then in the distance East Parish sees approaching, footsore and weary, another of her minute men, Day Mitchell, whom she had thought would probably never return. He has escaped from the terrible Jersey prison ship, with its horrors of smallpox, and has walked all the way home from Rhode Island carrying his flint lock musket, which he lays at the feet of Liberty and sinks exhausted on his knees.
Then a strain of "Yankee Doodle" arouses the weary soldier. He rises quickly to receive with his comrades the tribute of the Spirit of the Wilderness and her nymphs, who salute the returned heroes with palms of victory. The Spirit of the Church speaks-an instant of reverence and the group marches away.
A fire in this East Bradford store is answered
with the speed of the time by the famous Veto fire engine, purchased in
Excitement prevails in the parish this memorable morning. Heralded by the small boys, the new bell made by Paul Revere is seen coming up the county road from Newburyport. Rev. Ebenezer Dutch and the people of the parish hurry to see it. Lutus Elsarse (Hessian soldier of the Revolution) who is to be the first bell ringer, arrives and is questioned by the boys. Then Pastor Dutch, eloquent in speech, speaks to the assembled group, who listen spellbound, as they seem to hear the Voices of the Future singing a song of the bell.
The rugged life of the Austere Years (symbolized by a group of women) gradually departs, through the influence of Rev. Gardner B. Perry, who came to East Bradford in 1814. Through his influence the comforts and graces of Abundant and Beautiful Years (symbolized by a group of women) are enjoyed throughout the years of the future.
These Abundant and Beautiful Years dance on, bringing to East Bradford much of comfort, beauty and progress, warmth and decorations in the church, improvements in schools, building of Merrimack Academy (1829), the planting of the trees on the common (Perry Park), opening of the chain ferry across the river (1829), laying out the "Corporation Common" (Elm Park) 1832, the organization of the Bible class, which in 1819 developed into a Sabbath school, first for the children of the parish only and about 1831 included the adults.
The women of the parish, organized as the Ladies'
Benevolent Society, give to the church their tribute of a year's toil-the
beautiful chandelier still hanging in the auditorium.
In answer to the call of the Spirit of the Church, the entire Pageant assembles.
The Church of Today (Rev. Frank Crook, pastor), the Church of the Future; the Town of the Future welded from the children of many lands; and the Church of the Past.
The Church. of Today pays tribute to the shining light of the cross of Christ.
In 1880 the Post purchased the former Baptist Church on Elm Park for $1,000 and called it Memorial Hall. In 1895 the building had a value of $4,000 and the debt had been paid off. At that time the membership was sixty-two. Burton Merrill gave a piano; the Relief Corps furnished the parlor and donated the Bible. Commander Paine and Ben. P. Hale gave pictures brought back form Europe and Hon. Zenas Wardwell gave books. Flags were presented to the schools, which some of the veterans would visit annually to tell of their war experiences.
There are no living members of the Grand Army
and the Women's Relief Corps has been discontinued.
For several years there was a lull in interest
and there were hardly enough members to fill the offices. Membership fees
were reduced to twenty-five cents, and the suggestion was made that an
empty treasury and dark streets might revive interest.
A Junior Improvement Society was started to inculcate in the minds of the rising generation a little of the early public spirit. A Junior's lamp was placed on a maple tree at the foot of King Street. In 1892 a Woman's Auxiliary Association was formed and called the Woman's Alliance. This met on Wednesday, alternating with the Ladies' Aid Society of the Congregational Church.
Musical or literary programs were usually given
at the regular meetings and lectures by local residents who had traveled
or had other interesting information, helped to raise funds for the work.
At a lecture in October 1889 an Edison phonograph was exhibited and stole
the show from the lecturer.
We have mentioned elsewhere the gifts of the
society to the library and the schools and the care of public parks. In
1899 the town was asked to appropriate $200 for street lamps, the Village
Improvement to make an agreement with the selectmen concerning the use
of lamps owned by the society.
The pioneer council of the Order in Massachusetts
was Enterprise Council, No. 1 of Haverhill. The new organization met with
little encouragement from the older secret societies, being referred to
as the "Water Street Infants' Association."
During the fall of 1887 Merrimack Council No.
9 at Groveland was instituted, with fifty-two applicants. The first state
parade was held in Haverhill in 1889. Flag presentations to the schools
became popular all over the state. As stated by one of the councillors,
the aim of the order is the uplifting of the standard of American citizenship.
Through its legislative committee it had an important part in the framing
of varous bills for restricting immigration, which at that time was called
"a giant evil." The hope was to make it
forever impossible for foreign nations "to make our country a dumping ground
for their paupers, insane, and criminals."
The word "Junior" has no relation now to the age of members. Nor is the word "Mechanic" to be construed literally, as it refers in no manner to artisans, but embraces every pursuit.
It used to be customary for the fife and drum corps to participate in the Memorial Day Parade.
Among the Groveland members who have held state
or national offices are Albert L. Wales, Herbert C. Waldo, Henry F. Gerald,
and John Cochrane.
The local work of Inasmuch Circle consisted of remembrance of sick and shut-in persons. In the days before public welfare, aid of a more practical nature was given to those in need. Funds for the work were raised almost entirely through the efforts of members at sales and entertainments. Donations have been made to the Congregational Church, with which the circle was affiliated, to the Red Cross, and to the State-sponsored Camp Wampatuck and Gordon Rest in South Hanson.
The fiftieth anniversary of Inasmuch Circle
was celebrated by the presentation of a play, "The Original Ten," describing
the events attendant on the founding. Mrs. Laura Wood Ellis directed
the play and took the leading role. Other parts were portrayed by members of the Circle. The aim of the organization, which is nonsectarian, is "to develop Christian life and activity in ourselves and others." The watchword adopted was "In His Name" and the motto, "Look up and not down. Look forward and not back. Look out and not in, and lend a hand." A small silver maltese cross was chosen as the badge. The gowns worn in the play were of the 1880 period and had belonged to relatives of the members. A short history of the organization, written by Mrs. E. M. Stacy, was read, and also the original report of the first secretary, Miss Ella F. Carleton, in her own handwriting.
Inasmuch Circle has been inactive for about a year.
The society was reorganized in 1926, through the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Woodworth who had recently come to Groveland to live. Forrest Demerritt, now of Merrimac, was the first Master after reorganization and Mr. Woodworth, now treasurer, was the first lecturer.
The meetings were held in Memorial Hall until 1940, then in Junior Order Hall for a time. In December, 1944, the Grange dedicated Groveland Grange Hall, formerly the East Schoolhouse, which had been purchased from the Longfellow estate. The present membership is 135.
Charter members of 1904, still living, are Mrs. James Hibbs, (nee Mabelle Brown), the first lecturer, Mrs. Lottie Abbott, who was secretary, and Frank Stickney.
Those who have served as Masters of the reorganized
Grange are: Forrest Demerritt, Annie Cook, Edward Farrar, Eva Harriman,
Harry Haigh, Norman Bilodeau, Donald Thorndyke, Ruth Woodworth, Francis
Harriman, Ruby Lauder, Bert Blackburn, Henry Gerald, J. C. Joralmon, and
the present Master, Mrs. Albert L. Smith.
The Legion Auxiliary was not organized until
January 25, 1922. The first president was Mrs. Ida Webster, mother of Nathan
M., for whom the Post was named. Mrs. Myron A. Hardy was vice-president.
There were thirty-five charter members and now the membership is sixty-one.
Mrs. Sally E. Johansen is now president and Miss Marion Parker has served
as treasurer for twenty-two years.
"The object of the Club shall be to broaden and strengthen the moral, social and intellectual life of its members and, through them, to make itself a power for good in the community."
Past presidents since Mrs. Bagnall have been Mrs. George A. Webber, Mrs. Walter Greenough, Mrs. Carl W. Adams, Miss Anna Belle Hopkinson, Mrs. Robert S. Foote (Mrs. Walter Brock), Mrs. William Jones, Mrs. Dean Henderson, Mrs. Alan E. Ricker, Mrs. Louis H. Johnson, Mrs. Robert G. Richards, Mrs. Sylvester Kimball, and Mrs. Homer Rowell.
Community services of the club have included the gift of a ticket of membership to a High School senior and, more recently, a cash award at graduation to a senior who has proved herself the best all-round girl. The Club has maintained a community exchange for those who had articles for sale. At one time this committee furnished a list of baby-sitters and young folks willing to do light work. The co-operation of the police in reducing dangers to school children at the street crossings was secured. Entertainments for the blind were held and the Christmas party for children was an annual event for many years. The American Homes committee sponsored classes in nutrition, clothes remodeling, home decorating and home nursing.
Many outstanding programs, both musical and literary, and many style and flower shows have been sponsored by the Woman's Club. A Community Jubilee and a Minstrel Show, "The World's All Right," in which a large cast of townspeople participated, were given in the years 1934 and 1935. For several years, Mrs. Marion T. Rudkin, popular lecturer and book reviewer, was an annual event. Arts and crafts and antique exhibits have proved very popular. A tour of old homes in 1941 attracted one hundred and fifty people and will be repeated on June 17th, 1950. Howard Cullinan of the Herald-Traveler and Alton Hall Blackington have lectured under the sponsorship of the club. Judge Emma Fall Schofield, first woman judge of Middlesex district, was the first guest speaker of the 1939-1940 season.
The first meeting of the reading circle was held on November 22, 1933. These meetings have been held monthly at different homes. The regular monthly meetings of the club have been held in the Congregational vestry on the second Thursday of the month since 1933.
The Club is affiliated with the state federation and sends delegates to these and the district conference meetings.
Members are urged to interest themselves in legislative matters and know how to vote intelligently.
In 1948, the sum of one hundred dollars was
pledged to the Memorial Education Fund of the Massachusetts State Federation
to memorialize the first deceased president of the Woman's Club, Mrs. Martha
On May 9, 1932, a group of citizens interested in forming a Parent-Teacher Association met at the Groveland High School.
Miss Belle Hopkinson called the meeting to order and introduced Mrs. Lewis Hovey, who outlined the work being done throughout the state. Mrs. William D. Twombly acted as temporary chairman and it was voted to form an Association. Mr. Forrest Demerritt was elected President.
In 1934, the Association joined the Haverhill Central Council.
The Hattie G. Wildes Award to a seventh-grade pupil from each end of town was established in 1936, in honor of Miss Wildes, who retired after 38 years of teaching in Groveland. At the same time, the High School Awards were started. In 1946, a Scholarship Fund was established so that a $100 scholarship is offered for a member of the graduating class.
Our Parent-Teacher Association sponsors Cub Scouts and the playground.
The following list of presidents is in the
order in which they have served: Mr. Forrest Demerritt, Mrs. William D.
Twombly, Mr. Perley Eaton, Mrs. Orrin MacKnight, Mrs. Myron 0. Wood, Mrs.
Alan E. Ricker, Mrs. Paul Snow, Mrs. Charles Littlefield, Mr. Sydney O'Neill,
Mrs. Ronald Micklon, and Mr. Elbridge Taylor, newly elected.
1. A Scout is Trustworthy
The Hibernian Auxiliary recently celebrated its forty-ninth anniversary.
The oldest purely social club in town is the
Priscilla Club, started in 1913 by Mrs. Leroy Wood (Berta Parker),
Mrs. J. Bertram Wood (Belle Sawyer), and Mrs. Ralph S. Wood (Marion Worthen),
who invited three friends to join them in sewing for their hope chests
prior to their marriages to three brothers. The membership roll now total
seventeen. Although primarily a social organization, the group has assisted
also in the work of the Groveland Congregational Church. The club
honors twenty fifth wedding anniversaries of its members with special
observances and many of the group are now grandparents.
The Groveland ration board was organized in January 1942 and maintained an office in the town hall. Members of the board were Earle C. Harvey, Frank R. Dewhirst, James N. McPhee, chairman, Edward H. Parker, Paul N. Snow, Walter B. Mikonis and Robert H. Crawford, Jr. Mrs. Shirley G. Lay (Tyler) was chief clerk for two years and was assisted by Miss Dorothea Jones.
The Groveland committee for civilian defense was organized early in 1941 with John J. Mullen as first chairman. Mr. Bingham, chairman and executive director of the organization, was assisted on the executive committee by Town Accountant William R. Shepherd, Fred P. Burnham, John J. Mullen, William W. Dunbar and Lewellyn Nelson. Mr. Nelson served for two years as chief air raid warden and was succeeded by H. Granville Knox.
Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall was head of the medical division and Mrs. Bagnall was chairman of nurses. Mrs. Robert G. Richards was in charge of emergency feeding and housing. An air raid siren was installed on the roof of the town office building School Street, where the report center was located. A medical and auxiliary report center was established in Memorial Hall, Francis H. Fitzsimmons and Mrs. Paul Snow were deputy chief air raid wardens. The organization had a personnel of nearly 150, which included about ninety post wardens.
Mrs. Samuel Milnes was chairman of the surgical dressing class organized on Oct. 7, 1942. Mrs. Warren Toppan succeeded Mrs. Milnes and the classes were discontinued in November, 1944. Mrs. Harriette A. Parker and Mrs. Mitchell served as co-chairmen of the Red Cross sewing classes, who worked on clothing for refugees. Many local women were graduated from the nurses aid classes at the Hale Hospital and did volunteer nursing service at the hospital. A nutrition and canteen course was taught by Miss Addie L. Rowell.
The Red Cross War Fund Campaigns have been conducted annually since the outbreak of the war and each year the town subscribed its quota. A large number of persons were employed out of town on war work. This together with drafts and enlistment demands caused a manpower shortage for the municipal departments. An auxiliary fire department composed of high school boys was organized.
A community service flag and honor roll board
to honor all Groveland men and women in the armed forces, was dedicated
on April 11, 1943 at Elm Park, with Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall as master of ceremonies.
The names were inscribed by W. Arthur Dickie. Bradford S. Blaisdell sponsored
the fund for the flag and honor roll and made arrangements for the dedication.
An honor roll plaque was presented to the High School in June, 1940 by
the class of 1944 and inscribed with the names of 47 graduates from the
new school during the past four years, who had entered the service. Approximately
350 men and women, or one sixth of the town's population served in the
Abbott, Robert M.
*Aiken, Earle L. (deceased)
Anderson, Donald M.
Anderson, James G.
Auclair ' Joseph L.
Bagnall, Richard S.
Bradley, Robert T.
Cammett, Richard N.
DeLisle, Alfred J.
Hartung, John P.
Jackson, Frank M.
Jones, William F.
Kelly, Leo D.
LeFleur, Edward J.
|MacInnis, Donald J.
Maguire, Frank E.
Mahoney, James P.
Mahoney, John J.
Mahoney, Monica c.
Mahoney, Paul T.
Malone, John J., Jr.
Maloney, Francis W.
Maloney, Robert E.
Mansfield, George H.
Mansfield, Leroy B.
Marcinuk, Joseph, Jr.
Mattinson, George A.
McCaughey, Leonard M.
McFarlin, Raymond P.
McEachern, Ruth E.
McGregor, Arthur T.
Melvin, Leonard J.
Mikonis, Paul, Jr.
Milligan, Edwin J.
Milries, Ralph L., Jr.
Milries, Richard H.
Milries, William E., Jr.
Moore, Eugene F.
Moore, James A.
Mooney, Francis T.
Myers, Charles J.
Noone, Matthew E., Jr.
*O'Donnell, Bernard A. (deceased)
Pickard, John F.
*Robinson, Stephen W., Jr. (deceased)
Taber, Sherman E.
Villacaro, Ralph, Jr.
Wallace, Melvin G.
It was the early policy of the town to restrain cattle. It is recorded that in 1685 a pound was to be built "on such part of the meeting house land as the selectmen judge most convenient." The remains of a pound in the west parish could still be seen on the Kennedy farm, Old Groveland Road, as recently as fifty years ago.
There were people of color in town after 1720, perhaps numbering one hundred. They became free in 1780 after the adoption of the state constitution.
Descendents of Lutus Elsas, the Hessian bell-ringer, continued to live in Groveland for many years. Some of our middleaged citizens may remember schoolmates by the name of "Ellis," to which "Elsas" was changed.
When the church was renovated in 1836, the material removed was sold to different men in the parish and many a house standing today contains parts of this building about which its present owner does not know. The end porches were removed, and, it is said, used to build the cottage house in the rear of the "Parker Mansion." The large stone steps at the entrance were sold to William Savary Balch and are now part of the foundation of the Sheldon B. Hickox home in Savaryville. The old windows were sold to Johnathan Balch who used some of them to build a shed in the rear of the King Street parsonage, now the home of Robert W. Lauder. This shed is still standing. The square pews were owned by different families, as were those which replaced them, and were returned to their owners when removed from the church.
In Groveland many evidences of Indians have been found. Their camps were usually located near the river or tributary brooks. On the Martino farm on upper King Street, two small brooks unite to form Argilla Brook, which enters the Merrimack River near the site of the Esty sawmill. The late Mr. Philip H. Martino had in his collection some hundreds of pieces found on his own farm. Beds of charcoal, found while ploughing, were the remains of Indian campfires, and around these were found broken pottery, several types of arrow-heads, axes, knives, and other implements, and two large mortars hollowed out of stone. At the other end of Argilla Brook evidences of an Indian burial ground were discovered by archeologists from Andover Academy.
A guide-post at the southwest corner of Main and King Streets had the figure of a negro painted on it by one William Blodget. The legend on it read:
In the high-wheel bicycle races between Georgetown and Haverhill, the speed record was thirty-eight minutes for the fifteen miles.
In October of 1886 the Hale's Mills in South Groveland were shut down, locking out the workmen, because of an agitation by the Knights of Labor.
From 1893 to 1895, Ambrose and Co. published the Valley Visitor in the bank building on Elm Park. Certain of Dr. Woodbury's articles on the Revolution and the cemetery, as well as the history of the church, the Junior Order, and the Grand Army were published in this newspaper. The town report of 1893 was printed by the same company. Clifford Pike and Lewis Hovey of the Record Press had a printing office in Groveland when young men, and made "flyers" for the Village Improvement Society.
In 1897 the question of building a town hall first came up. it was proposed to buy the Ben Parker place as a site for it. The destruction of the King Street academy building in 1901 left the town without a hall. In 1914 an article was inserted in the warrant to ascertain the cost of changing over and fitting up the enginehouse for town hall and library. In 1915 a committee was appointed to investigate the cost of erecting a building for these purposes. Miss Sophia Griffith made a request to construct such a building, if a suitable location could be found. Also at the 1914 meeting it was proposed to consult the owner of the George Block about selling it for a town hall. The town offices were located in this building until 1940, when the old high school was taken over for this purpose.
In 1899 the town was divided into voting precincts by the Boston and Maine Railroad tracks-ptecinct No. 1, the Groveland side, and precinct No. 2, South Groveland. A town seal was adopted in 1900.
In September of 1938 a cyclone and flood were responsible for irreparable damage to large trees and to buildings and streets. An emergency appropriation was necessary, and Groveland Bridge was closed to traffic for a time.
In 1946 at the town meeting a vote of appreciation was given to Malcolm
F. Fryer for his unremitting efforts to prevent and nullify the establishment
of a Federal Bird Sanctury in Groveland and adjacent territory. The voters
favored a small restricted refuge on Plum Island, provided full protection
was given to individual property rights and to the clamming industry. Local
property taken by the government was finally restored to the owners.
About seventy town officials, friends, and relatives gathered for a banquet at the Tryangle in Savaryville, where Selectman Frank Dewhirst presided as toastmaster. Secretary of State Edward J. Cronin, personally brought greetings from the State Department and presented Mr. Vaughan wtih a beribboned scroll bearing the seal of the Commonwealth. Tributes to his friendly cooperation and faithful service were paid him by his associates, and a purse was presented to him.
In the autumn Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall, for thirty-three years the beloved family doctor of the community, was honored by being named as the state's first "General Practitioner of the Year." His record was outstanding both in his practice in Groveland and in his extraordinary service in local, state and national medical activities. He was interested in the schools and in all civic affairs.
It was with hearts filled with pride and affection that the townspeople assembled in the high school hall to honor Dr. and Mrs. Bagnall at a banquet. He was presented with his portrait. More than seventy-five of his "babies" visited him at his home one afternoon.
In the doctor's own words: "I can think of no service more interesting, worthwhile, or satisfying, than the profession of country doctor. You come to know the members of each family and all their problems and heartaches, as well as their pains. If there were more general practitioners, there would be more happy people and fewer in need of a psychiatrist."
Mass Gov. Maps - http://www.state.ma.us/refshelf.htm#maps
Mass. Communities - http://www.state.ma.us/cc/
Unincorporated and unofficial Massachusetts Communities (Villages) - http://www.state.ma.us/sec/cis/cisuno/unoidx.htm
Merrimack Merrimackalley Planning Commission - http://www.mvpc.org/
Merrimack River Watershed Council - http://www.merrimack.org/
Parker River - http://www.Parker-River.org/
Other Places - http://www.state.ma.us/envir/othrplcs.htm