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History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts
edited by Simeon L. Deyo.
1890. New York: H. W. Blake & Co
TOWN OF WELLFLEET.*
Formation and Description. — Pioneers. — Early Town Action. —The Revolution. —War of 1812. — The Fisheries.—Population.—King's Highway. — The Eastham Line. — Town House. — Shipbuilding. — Town Records. — Life Saving Station and Lighthouse. — Early Business Interests. — Wind Mills. — Civil History. — Schools. — Churches — Cemeteries. — Wellfleet Village. — South Wellfleet. —Biographical Sketches.
* The manuscript to page 812 was revised by Simeon Atwood.—Ed.
THE territory comprising this town was formerly included in Eastham, and until the period of its separation their political history is inseparably interwoven; but so far as possible the historical facts pertaining to the territory of the present town, from its first settlement, will find a place in this chapter. Prior to 1644 the territory of Wellfleet had been purchased of George, sachem, successor to Aspinet, and was known as Pononakanet. Here, when the purchase of lands to and including Herring brook, with its meadows, had been made, the committee of whites asked the Indians whose lands were those down the Cape, to which the answer was, "Nobody's." "Then they are ours," was the reply, and Wellfleet was the last territory paid for at this end of the county.
Billingsgate was an early name given to the present territory of Wellfleet, which unexplained cognomen still clings to some of its surroundings. At Billingsgate point, where the first lighthouse was subsequently erected, Captain Standish and the men from the Mayflower landed on their way to the main land, and in many ways this territory has been made historic in the annals of the county.
The rapid settlement of this part of the ancient town induced its inhabitants to apply to the court in 1722 to be erected into a separate church parish, which was granted the following year. The importance of this parish, and the distance from the center where the town meetings were held, induced the inhabitants of the new parish to attempt the formation of a separate town. At the first meeting held for this purpose, March 9, 1761, they appointed Captain Elisha Doane agent "to get this precinct set off as a district." He, with Daniel Cole, Richard Atwood, Joseph Atkins, James Atwood, Jonathan Hiller, Eleazer Atwood, Zoeth Smith, Jeremiah Mayo and Samuel Smith,
sent a petition to the proper officers of Eastham, who, after properly obtaining the wishes of the people, consented that "the precinct be set off as a district as far as Blackfish creek." This condition not being satisfactory to the petitioners, on the first of November, 1762, another meeting was held in this precinct, at which another committee of seven men—in part the same as at first—was appointed to assist Captain Doane, the agent, in petitioning the general court for an act of incorporation. Order of notice was served on the town of Eastham, and the matter was brought before the May session of the court, which resulted in an act, passed May 25, 1763, which formed the north precinct of Eastham, according to its known bounds, into a district, with all the privileges, powers and immunities of a town, except that its people must join for a time with Eastham in the election of a representative. The same act of incorporation designated August 4, 1763, for the election of its first officers. The warrant for the calling of this meeting was issued by John Freeman, of the old town, to Elisha Doane, of the new. Among other transactions of the meeting, Major Doane, Ephriam Covel and Samuel Smith, jr., were appointed a committee to settle all affairs between the two towns. Wellfleet was joined with Eastham in the election of a representative the few years that elapsed before the legal removal of this restriction. The dividing line of the former parish bounds, as enacted in the incorporation, is substantially the same now between the towns.
The north line, separating the new town from Truro, was "From a heap of stones on Bound brook island, which heap is called the westernmost bound; and from thence easterly by old marked trees, and some newly marked, in the old range, to the sea on the back side," which also remains, relatively, the same bounds.
Having the town of Wellfleet encompassed within its present limits, it may receive a more minute description. It is about eight miles in length from north and south, with an average of three in width, bounded south by Eastham and Wellfleet bay, east by the Atlantic ocean, north by Truro and west by Cape Cod bay; and it is ninety-five miles from Boston by land, sixty-five by water, with a distance of thirty-one miles from the court house of the county. The ocean coast is a high bluff, presenting no indentations for harbors; but there are three on the bay side, each presenting facilities for the commerce of the town. River harbor is in the north part of Wellfleet bay, Duck Creek harbor opens into the last named bay near the center of the town, and Blackfish creek, also a harbor is in the south part—all connected with the bay, which itself furnishes a secure anchorage for vessels of larger tonnage. The creeks are small, the largest being Herring brook in the north part. This, with another creek, forms two islands—Bound Brook island in the northwestern part, surrounded
by the creek bearing its name, and Griffin's, surrounded by Herring brook. Two other islands of importance are Lieutenants, at the mouth of Blackfish creek, and Great island between Cape Cod and Wellfleet bays. Of the nine ponds within the limits of the town, six aggregate 225 acres: Herring pond, of 19; Higgins, of 25; Gull, 95; Long, 34; Great, 42; and Hopkins, 10 acres—all in the northeastern part of the town. The two first named only have outlets. The surface of the town is not only indented by ponds, but from Eastham a range of broken hills extends through into Truro, which show a Titanic war of the elements in ages past. The soil, once more fertile than now, is light and sandy and still susceptible of profitable cultivation. The oak and pine, which, generations ago, were of heavy growth, have been cut off, leaving the soil to the ravages of wind and water. The eastern portion of the town is now fringed with a small growth of pines and a few oaks. Large bodies of salt marsh are found along the western side of the town, around the harbors and coves. The town has two villages, which with their wharves and business places, will form a considerable portion of its later history.
As has been stated, Wellfleet in 1763, commenced its career as a corporate body, but to give the names of all the original settlers of its territory, is an impossibility, for the proprietors' records of old Eastham made no distinctive separations that are now recognizable in the divisions of lands, nor in their civil affairs. Among those here when the town was incorporated we find Sylvanus Snow, who was living in the south part and continued to pay rates in Eastham; we also find here: John Witherel, William Dyer, George Ward, Moses Hatch, Thomas Newcomb, George Crisp, John Rich, John Yates and John Doane. Prior to 1800 we find here: Ebenezer Freeman, Joseph Ward, Jonathan Young, Thomas Doane, Moses Wiley, Thomas Gross, John Atwood, John Treat, Elisha Eldridge, Samuel Brown, Benjamin Hamblen, James Cahoon, Benjamin Young, Daniel Mayo, Eleazer Hamblen, David Cole, Captain Winslow Lewis, Thomas Holbrook, Elisha Cobb, Timothy Nye, Dr. Samuel Nutting, Samuel Waterman, Jonathan Higgins, Major Elisha Doane, Samuel Smith, Jeremiah Mayo, Zoeth Smith, Jonathan Hiller, Eleazer Atwood, Joseph Atkins, Richard Atwood, Daniel Cole, Hezekiah Doane, Elisha Holbrook, Reuben Rich, Ephraim Covel, Eben Atwood, John Swett, James Atwood, Thomas Young, Joseph Pierce, Joseph Higgins, Naaman Holbrook, William Chipman, Ezekiel Holbrook, William Knowles, Thomas Paine, Barnabas Freeman, Reuben Arey, Lemuel Newcomb, Jeremiah Bickford and others. Many of these last mentioned pioneers had, prior to the erection of the town, placed primitive headstones to the graves of their fathers, as the oldest two burial places of the town will attest.
At the first meeting the people voted to lay out another road through the town, and for the building of the bridge over Duck creek. Samuel Smith and Major Elisha Doane gave one-half the timber from wood on their lots, Rev. Mr. Lewis giving the other half. This road, now the main street of the village, began at the King's highway, a little to the eastward of the northeast arm of Duck creek; and in 1764 was extended northward of the old meeting house hill to Samuel Hatch's dwelling, and to high-water mark at a landing place. In 1765 an article was added to the town meeting warrant, asking for the suppression of the sale of strong drink; but the proposition was negatived, as the existing laws were considered sufficient. In 1770 rigid penalties were enforced to suppress the sale, especially when the Indians were the purchasers. The fishing privileges received attention, and petitions were sent to court, asking for the protection of oysters during the summer months. The alewives of Herring brook were protected by the action of the people, and their votes were approved by the court of sessions.
The stirring times of the revolution effected the young town, perhaps, more than sister towns, for the fisheries had become more important; but it is recorded that these patriotic citizens sustained the action of the continental congress, and resolved not to purchase or use imported articles. John Greenough, the schoolmaster of the town, had procured two damaged chests of tea at Provincetown, one of which he claimed was for Colonel Willard Knowles, of Eastham, and, notwithstanding the schoolmaster's avowals of unintentional wrong, he was compelled to make a written confession of his error, and for several years was under censure for political malfeasance. The town in 1776 was blockaded, its fisheries crippled by the British privateers, its vessels idle, the town destitute of bread and other necessaries; still, when Rev. Isaiah Lewis read to his congregation, on the 25th of August, at the close of his sermon, the declaration of independence, there was not one dissenting opinion expressed. In 1783, after the treaty of peace, the Wellfleet people engaged again in their chosen avocations on the waters, and became prosperous and wealthy.
The affairs of the town were promptly administered during the few subsequent years; a new bridge was built over Duck creek, the bounds were more definitely defined between this town and Truro, and school and church received substantial support. During the war of 1812 the town joined with others of the lower part of the Cape in asking to be excused from military duty, except at home in evading the attacks of cruisers. Improvement in town affairs attested the energy of the people as soon as this war cloud was dispelled. The old roads, eighteen in number, were properly surveyed, and their bounds placed on record; in 1828 a bridge was built across Blackfish creek;
in 1831 permission was given to B. Y. Atwood to build a wharf at Black rock, and to Isaiah R. Baker to build a bridge from Griffins island to the main land. At this time, total abstinence from intoxicating drinks was the desire of the town, and the wholesome rule was observed by closing every place for their sale.
The main industry of the town from the earliest period had been fishing in its various branches. Whaling was largely carried on until its decline. In 1802 the town had only five vessels in the whaling business, which carried salt, so that if they failed in loading with whale, they could turn to cod fishing. These vessels were as large as one hundred tons, and many smaller ones engaged in mackerel and other fisheries. Mackerel fishing has been an important industry— the town for years past being the leading town in the business, which has declined to one-tenth its former magnitude in the catch and in the number of vessels engaged. The Wellfleet oyster was important in the market during the latter part of last century, when they were native to the bay; but soon after the revolutionary war a rapid decline in the quantity commenced, and after a term of years the industry ceased. The only approximation to the Wellfleet oyster for many years past, is obtained by planting from other localities the seed, which is permitted to grow and fatten for market. Thirty years ago forty vessels were engaged in supplying the Boston market with this bivalve from Wellfleet. In the year 1889 the cultivated oyster grounds covered about thirty acres,—the seed planted being forty-five thousand bushels.
The blackfish—a species of whale—often visits Wellfleet bay, Rev. Levi Whitman has left the record that in 1793 he saw four hundred of these fish lying upon the shore of the bay at one time, and the full-grown ones would weigh five tons. A barrel of oil could be averaged from every fish. We have no further record of these schools of fish until within the memory of the present residents; but they often appear in large numbers, the last being in 1885. That year a school of 1,500—old and young—entered Wellfleet bay and were driven into Blackfish creek, where they were killed. Hundreds of men in boats surrounded the school, and frightened them into the narrow and shallow waters of the creek, where they were left on the beach by the receding tide. They were sold for fourteen thousand dollars and the money was divided among those who assisted in the capture and killing.
The fishing business in its every branch that was so remunerative years ago, has steadily declined to its minimum during the very few last years, and from the former one hundred vessels owned here only about twenty, chiefly of the smaller class; at present belong to the town.
In population the town from 1730 to the last census shows an increase prior to 1850 and then a gradual decline. In 1730 its population was 600; in 1764, 928; in 1775, 1,235; in 1800 it had decreased 28; increased to 1,386 in the census of 1806; was 1,402 in 1810; 1,472 in 1820; 2,046 in 1830; 2,377 in 1840; 2,411 in 1850; 2,322 in 1860; 2,135 in 1870; 1,875 in 1,880; and 1,687 in 1885. This decline is accounted for in more than one way, but the Rev. Mr. Whitman's statement of 1793 is applicable in showing the trend of prosperity. He then wrote: "There have been within the memory of those now living, born in this town, small as it is, 32 pairs of twins and 2 triplets." Up to that time the proportion of births to deaths had been three to one, while the present records show almost the reverse. The summary of 1888 gives thirty-six deaths for the year, and only fifteen births.
The King's highway was the appellation given by the old citizens to the principal road through the town, and it is so designated by the present residents. It runs northerly into Truro, but is not as much used at the present day as the county road, laid out to Truro from the village of Wellfleet. The old road was used as the stage route from Eastham to Provincetown, and was the continuation of the county road of two centuries ago, as laid along the Cape in the early settlement of the town.
The perambulation of the lines of the town is the work of the selectmen every few years. The only serious difference in these lines that appears on the records of the town was in the line between this and Eastham in 1885. In going over the line that year it was found that the boundary assumed by the Eastham authorities was over five hundred feet to the north—they taking Indian creek mouth instead of the monumental stone of 1828, and from which point the line extending westward would include the Billingsgate lighthouse within Eastham. The controversy arose from placing a fish weir within the disputed territory. Proper surveys were made and the boundary was established from the monument, which not only left a strip of the beach five hundred feet wide to this town, but also placed the light clearly within the limits of Wellfleet. The old line was established by act of the legislature and approved by the governor in May, 1887. Billingsgate lighthouse was on an island to the southward, where it was undermined by the waves in 1856, and was re-erected in 1857 on its present site.
The first and only town house was a plain building forty by fifty feet, erected soon after 1830 on the site of the present school house at the head of Duck creek. It was sold in 1869 to James Swett and by him to Simeon Atwood, who removed it to Mayo's beach, where it did service as a fish storage house, and may still be seen as an adjunct of the group of buildings now belonging to the Commercial Wharf
Company. Near where the town house was erected, a poor house was built about the same time. This has since been modernized and a woman is given the use of it as a dwelling for her care of the premises, the town having no other use for it at present.
The building of vessels has not been a permanent industry at any time in the history of the town, but in the revival of the fishing interest about forty years ago a few were built by a master builder named Rogers. They were built at the Duck Creek harbor, on the north side, and were named: Simeon Baker, built in 1848; Benjamin Baker and Jesse Y. Baker, in 1849; George Shattuck, in 1850; Isaiah H. Horton and Richard R. Freeman, in 1851; Varnum H. Hill, in 1852; and the John S. Higgins, in 1853. These were vessels of from sixty to one hundred tons burden, the material for their construction being imported. In 1863 a schooner was beached on Great island, and from the wreck Giles Hopkins built the Louie A. Swett. The Clara D. Swett was subsequently built by Theodore Brown and Nathaniel Snow.
The town has ever been careful of its records, which are models of neatness and are kept safe from fire. In 1860 the vote was made to copy in proper books the old records of births, deaths and marriages; in 1869 voted to take a large amount in railroad stocks; in 1856 to build a new foot bridge across Duck creek; and every year were votes to gravel and grade the roads. Another proof of the desire to build up the town was in the vote of 1887 to give four hundred dollars annually for five years to a shoe manufactory, besides exemption from taxation. One was started in a building erected by enterprising citizens, near the present depot, and was continued a few months. Cummings & Howes, of Orleans, carried on the manufacture of clothing there six months, when a Boston firm in the fall of 1889 commenced a pants manufactory.
The description given of the east coast of the town would imply that it is a dread to navigators. About midway of the stretch of coast is a government life saving station effectually equipped and manned—the Cahoon Hollow station, under the care of Captain Daniel Cole. The government also, about 1839, erected a lighthouse at the head of Wellfleet bay, known as Mayo's Beach light. A few years ago the present separate tower was erected a few rods northward of the first, which was a portion of the residence. William N. Atwood, a maimed soldier, was the keeper for a number of years prior to his death, and his widow still holds the position.
The present wharf business will appear in the village history, but the apparent security of the harbor at the mouth of Herring river led to the early establishment of the fishing business there, which was long ago discontinued. Prior to 1840 the River Wharf Company erected a wharf, packing houses and a fitting-out store, which in 1845
was purchased by George Baker, Thomas Hopkins, David Baker, Nehemiah Baker, Naphtali Rich, Elisha P. Atwood, N. Rich, jr., James Moore, Hawes Atwood and Solomon Harding, as a company, who continued over ten years in the business. The partners commenced selling their shares, and after a few years the business was discontinued. A store, on Bound Brook island, established in 1835 by Joel Atwood, was subsequently purchased by the River Wharf Company, when they engaged in business and was kept by them several years as a branch store. These, with a store established last century, constitute the old stores of the west part of the town before the present village of Wellfleet had assumed to be its principal business center. The store referred to was started by Mary Mayo, in the present residence of Laura A. Taylor, some time in the last half of the last century. The house was built in 1766, was enlarged in 1800 while the lady was in trade, and she continued until her death, about 1839. This house, erected by the Mayo's, is a model of the honesty and industry of the ancestors of the present generation, for the bricks of the chimney and the plastering, made from materials on the premises, are as good as they were 124 years ago.
In the eastern and central portion of the town were early stores. Soon after 1800 Aunt Druzilla Laha had one in the woods, northwest of Pierce's hollow, near the site of the old wind mill. Benjamin Wetherell ran one on the stage road east of Duck creek, very early in the century. As to the store that was said to have been kept on Great island nearly one hundred years ago, we can hardly credit the tradition; but the dry goods of that day may have been a necessary contingent with the whalers and fishers of that part.
The old tavern and store called the Pierce stand, still standing in Pierce hollow, is the most ancient. This house was built about 1712 on the King's highway, by Isaac Pierce, and was soon after opened as a house of entertainment. Many of the oldest residents of the present day remember when Joshua Y. Pierce still continued the old tavern—closing about fifty years ago. His sign, "Entertainment by J. Y. Pierce," is still one of the relics of the old mansion. At that time—the latter part of the last century—this hollow along the main highway was the most conspicuous part of the town. The probate court was often held in the southwest room of the old mansion, and after the meeting house was erected at Duck creek this hollow was the important center. About 1835 the village of Wellfleet commenced, and business centered there.
The wind mills of the town, although among things of the past, were important to the people of that day. The one at Pamet point was long ago demolished. The last miller was Thomas Higgins, subsequent to 1830. Samuel Chipman had another east of the present
village, near the King's highway, and the last of its existence was about 1839, when its ancient timbers were perverted to other uses. The latest-built mill is now the octagonal tower of the so-called Morning Glory—a summer residence near the bay, owned by Mrs. Hiller. Samuel Ryder owned the original mill that was erected on Mill hill in 1765, which, in 1838, was torn down to make room for a better one; and the latter, prior to 1870, was moved and converted into the residence mentioned.
CIVIL HISTORY.—There was not the opportunity for full civil privileges to the people of this part of the old town until its separation, when its own distinctive officers could be chosen—when it could, by its own franchises, select officers who would co-operate in the advancement of this particular territory, an evidence of which is shown by the action of the first town meeting held August 4, 1763. Not only were the roads and schools at once advanced in number and usefulness; but application was successfully made for the appointment of a justice of the peace, and the Indian affairs were better managed. The fisheries that had been heretofore carelessly neglected by the old town, were placed under restrictions that not only would give better results to the people, but prevent the wasteful slaughter of the fish.
In 1774, at a town meeting called in response to the resolves and proceedings of an important revolutionary meeting in Boston, Winslow Lewis, Hezekiah Doane, Elisha Cobb, Joseph Higgins, Naaman Holbrook, Samuel Smith and Ezekiel Holbrook were chosen to consider the feelings of the town and report at a future meeting. Bold and patriotic resolves were made, which were endorsed by the vote of the town and a copy ordered sent to Boston. Another town meeting, December 19th of that year, was called to receive the report of the committee sent to Barnstable to the county congress, and hearty co-operation in all its resolves was voted by the people. Not every one voted to sustain the continental congress at the sacrifice of every blessing, but the feeling was nearly unanimous, and the small minority could not raise an effective opposition to the patriotic impulse of the majority. The town voted that the officers, holding military commissions under the crown, resign, to which they complied.
May 22, 1775, a representative was chosen, in open town meeting, to meet in the provincial congress to be holden the last Wednesday of that month, and the attitude he should take upon the questions that might arise in regard to the articles of confederation was left entirely to the wisdom and prudence of that representative. The plan of government was accepted by the town in a unanimous vote on the 19th of May, 1778. The town meeting of 1779 negatived a proposition to ask the court for an abatement of the state tax, and May 22, 1780, the new state constitution was rejected by a large majority
in the town meeting called to consider it. In 1795 the revised constitution was approved by a unanimous vote. For years subsequently the town was united in the administration of local affairs, the church, the fisheries and the welfare of the Indians. In 1800 the town by a majority of votes forbid the straying of sheep, but the division of feeling in this case was of a personal, not political character—the same as was shown in 1807, when the friends of Rev. Mr. Whitman wished to increase his salary and it was promptly negatived; but the town voted to give him a good suit of clothes throughout, with underclothing complete, not even forgetting the extremities to be encased in boots and hat. The action of town in 1814 was harmonious in relation to war matters, and in 1820 Reuben Arey was sent to convention for the revision of the state constitution, which revision, when submitted, was approved with the exception of two articles.
In 1874 the selectmen, upon the petition of the people, appointed a committee of twenty-two persons to tender to General Grant a proper reception when he should arrive in the town. The president, his wife, Secretary Belknap, Postmaster General Jewell and others stopped here and were introduced by Dr. Thomas N. Stone to the citizens, who gave them a hearty reception.
The principal officers of the town since its incorporation will be found in the following lists, one year being the term of service when no time is given. The deputies and representatives have been: Willard Knowles, elected 1767, serving 2 years; in 1768 Elisha Doane was elected and served 3 years; in 1769, Thomas Paine, 5; 1772, Barnabas Freeman, 10; 1774, Naaman Holbrook, 2; 1776, Elisha Cobb; 1777, John Greenough, 2; 1780, Winslow Lewis; 1785, Jeremiah Bickford, 8; 1787, Hezekiah Doane, 3; 1793, Samuel Waterman, 5; 1797, Reuben Arey, 5; 1801, Lemuel Newcomb, 3; 1803, Reuben Rich, 2; 1809, Josiah Whitman, 6; 1810, Beriah Higgins, 5; 1829, Benjamin R. Witherell, 3; 1831, Joseph Holbrook, 3d, 2; 1833, Freeman Atwood; 1834, Ebenezer Freeman, 2d, 5, and Joseph Higgins; 1835, Amaziah Atwood; 1836, Richard Libby, 2, and Jonathan Hickman; 1837, John L. Daniels; 1838, Atkins Dyer and Nathan Paine; 1839, Nathaniel B. Wiley and Solomon R. Hawes, each 2; 1841, Seth H. Baker, 2; 1843, Isaac Paine, 2; 1845, Caleb B. Lombard, 3; 1846, Robert Y. Paine, 2; 1850, Ebenezer Freeman; 1852, William Cleverly; 1853, Richard Stubbs, 2; 1854, Israel Pierce; 1855, Thomas H. Lewis; and in 1856, John Y. Jacobs. After 1857 two or more towns were joined in a district, and the representatives' names for the district appear in Chapter V.
The names of the selectmen, dates of election and years of service, from first to last, are given in the following list: 1763, Elisha Doane, 8 years, Reuben Rich, 3, and Samuel Smith, 8; 1765, Zoeth Smith, 9; 1769, Naaman Holbrook, 8; 1770, Jonathan Young, 10; 1771, Eleazer
Atwood, 4; 1772, Hezekiah Doane, 5; 1775, Elisha Cobb, 5; 1777, Winslow Lewis and John Swett; 1779, Joseph Smith, 5, and Barnabas Young; 1780, Thomas Holbrook, 20; 1781, William Cole, 6; 1787, Lewis Hamblen, 13, and Reuben Arey, 10; 1799, John Witherell, 6; 1800, Thomas Higgins, 3d, 6; 1804, Lemuel Newcomb, 5, Hezekiah Rich and Matthias Ryder, each 3; 1807, David Holbrook and Stephen Atwood, each 2; 1809, Joseph Holbrook, 12, Beriah Higgins, 5, and Freeman Atwood, 8; 1813, Jeremiah Newcomb, 2; 1814, Elisha Brown, Robert Kemp, 2, and Edmund Freeman; 1815. Reuben Rich; 1816, Moses Hinckley and Josiah Whitman, each 3; 1817, Samuel Ryder, 2; 1819, Reuben Arey, 8; 1820, William Cole, 3, and Joseph Holbrook, 5; 1823, Freeman Atwood, 4; 1827, Joseph Higgins, Benjamin R. Witherell, and Thomas Hatch, each 2; 1828, Micah Dyer, 4, and Solomon Arey; 1829, Moses Lewis, Cornelius Hamblen, and Thomas Higgins, 2; 1830, George Ward, 3, and Samuel Higgins; 1831, Ebenezer Freeman, 2d, 3; 1833, Reuben Arey, jr.; 1837, Caleb Lombard, 8, and Thomas Higgins, jr.; 1838, Elisha Freeman, 8, Amaziah Atwood, 4, and John Newcomb, 4; 1841, Knowles Dyer, 3; 1844, Bethuel Wiley, 6, and George Ward, 2; 1847, John Newcomb, 3, and Edward Hopkins, 5; 1850, Giles Hopkins; 1851, Bethuel Wiley and Elisha W. Smith, each 3; 1852, Elisha Freeman; 1853, Edward Hopkins, 5; 1854, John Newcomb and John C. Peak; 1855, Elisha W. Smith, and Benjamin Oliver, 6; 1856, R. Y. Paine, 17; 1858, Isaiah Cole, 2; 1860, Jeremiah Hawes, 4, and Edward Hopkins, 5; 1864, John Chipman; 1865, Thomas Higgins, 3, and Benjamin Oliver, 2; 1867, John R. Higgins; 1868, Robert H. Libby, 3, and Eleazer H. Atwood, 2; 1870, Barnabas S. Young, 10; 1871, N. C. Nicholson, 11; 1872, William Stone (elected after Paine died), 5; 1877, Thomas Newcomb, 4; 1880, Warren Newcomb, 10; 1881, Winslow Paine, 7; 1882, Noah Swett, 3; 1885, Barnabas S. Young, 6; 1885, R. H. Libby; 1887, George T. Wyer; 1889, E. P. Cook, 2.
The town clerks in succession have been elected as follows: In 1763, Elisha Doane; in 1766, Richard Smith; 1767, John Greenough; 1774, Hezekiah Doane; 1778, David S. Greenough; 1781, Jonathan Young; 1783, Samuel Waterman; 1822, William Cole; 1823, Josiah Whitman; 1833, Ezekiel Hopkins; 1840, Giles Holbrook; 1846, Nathaniel H. Dill; 1848, Dr. Thomas N. Stone; 1850, Nathaniel H. Dill; 1855, John W. Davis; 1859, Noah Swett; 1868, James T. Atwood; 1877, Daniel C. Newcomb; 1885, E. C. Newcomb.
The treasurers have been successively elected as follows: 1763, Elisha Doane; 1768, Ephraim Covel; 1769, Ezekiel Holbrook; 1799, Lewis Hamblen; 1810, Samuel Waterman; 1822, Jeremiah Newcomb; and since 1823 the clerk has been also the town's treasurer.
The treasurers of the precinct prior to the incorporation of the town were: John Rich, elected in 1723; Samuel Brown, 1727;
Jeremiah Mayo, 1730; Israel Young, 1733; Daniel Mayo, 1742; and Elisha Doane from 1757 to 1762.
schools.—Prior to the organization of the town the territory comprised one district, and school had been kept alternately in different parts, that all the pupils might have like privileges; hut after the division from the parent town, Wellfleet at once assumed the prerogative of placing the schools upon a better basis. The share of public money in the hands of the treasurer of the old town that belonged to this was at once handed over to the treasurer of Wellfleet, and the best master they could hire was placed over the schools, he to "board round" and teach in divisions. At this early day no school houses adorned the landscape, and the schools were kept at private houses. In 1763 it was agreed that terms of five weeks each be kept at James Atwood's, Joseph Atkins', Joseph Pierce's and Zoeth Smith's, and the remainder of the six months at Widow Doane's. Where all of these ancient settlers' residences were cannot be definitely told at this time, but they were scattered about the territory, and the school was thus divided to accommodate all the children of the town.
In 1768 John Greenough was employed to teach a grammar school one year, the school "to be attended by such only as learn Greek and Latin." The school for teaching "reading, writing and cyphering" was located in four different parts of the town, between 193 families—in the south part were 48 families, in the middle division 48, on Holbrook neck, the islands and Pamet point 49, and in the northeast part 48 families. The sum appropriated was forty pounds. This gentleman, Greenough, fell into disfavor, politically, and in 1774 another teacher for the grammar school was secured. This year the town was divided into eight school districts, and an agent or committeeman appointed for each. In 1775 Doctor Nutting was employed in the grammar school, four hundred pounds, old tenor, being appropriated for all schools, and this amount, yearly increased, reached seven hundred pounds, old tenor, in 1780. The eight districts were: I., the two islands, with the families of Joseph Hatch, Thomas Higgins and Payne Higgins; II., all the families from the first district westward of the county road and north of Joseph Pierce's; III., all east of county road and north of Rebecca Thomas'; IV., to include Moses Lewis, Samuel Waterman, and all west of the road from Simeon Atwood's to Barnabas Young's; V., from the limits of the fourth district to Seth Hopkins; VI., to include David Holbrook, Samuel Baker, Elisha Bickford, and all southward as far as the residence of Simon Newcomb, jr.; VII., Joseph Smith and southward, to include James Brown and Samuel Watts; VIII., all the rest to Blackfish creek.
In 1807 a better classification of the pupils was effected and the districts were reduced to five, with a teacher in each, besides the
central grammar school. In 1827 a new district was formed in the south part of the town, making seven schools in all, and four hundred dollars was the appropriation for teachers. This amount was increased gradually until it reached six hundred dollars in 1835, and one thousand dollars in 1840. In 1844 the town supported ten schools, having school property valued at $131,000. In 1857 the sum raised was twenty-six hundred dollars, and in each of the two succeeding years twenty-eight hundred dollars, with six hundred pupils in twelve schools.
In 1860 the truant act was enforced with effective results, and in 1861 a prudential committee was elected in each district, which should furnish a proper teacher and have the supervision of the school. The districts were so numerous and the expenses of maintaining the required terms of school so great that in 1865 it was voted that all the school property be purchased by the town. A committee of seven—Thomas Higgins, Dr. Thomas N. Stone, Barnabas S. Young, George B. Saunders, John W. Davis, Alvin Paine and John Swett—was appointed to perfect a plan for joining the several districts. They reported at a future meeting, and three competent men were chosen to appraise the school property, and in 1866 the district system was abolished. The vote was to build a new primary between districts No. 1. and No. 2; that a grammar school be established in No. 3, and that districts No. 1 and No. 2 have equal rights therein; that No. 4 have a primary, with equal privileges in the grammar school; that No. 5 and No. 6 have each a primary; that a new school building be built on the site of the old academy, to contain two schools—one to be equal to a high school and open to all who earned an entrance by scholarship, the other to be a grammar school for districts 5, 6 and 7; that the Island and Pamet districts be converted into one and a primary built near Elisha Atwood's, with a foot bridge built across the marsh to accommodate the pupils. Ten thousand dollars was voted to carry out this change, and Thomas N. Stone, Nathaniel H. Dill, Richard R. Freeman, David Wiley, Jesse Y. Baker, John Smith, R. Y. Paine, E. H. Atwood and Warren Newcomb were appointed a committee to build the necessary houses and complete the change.
In 1879 the further combination of the schools was effected. Sylvanus Dill, Winslow Paine, David Wiley and William L. Paine were appointed a committee to act with the selectmen in choosing a site and erecting a house that should be central for the south districts; but a disagreement in the opinions of these men led to the formation of a new committee, who moved one of the old houses to the north side of Blackfish creek to serve the combined schools. The report of the school committee at this time said: ''We believe that at no time
within the service of the oldest of your committee has there been such an interest taken by the scholars in their school as now." A boys' school was taught during the winter, the high school was well filled and an assistant was employed. Two grammar and seven primary schools gave ample instruction to the pupils of the town. The salaries of the teachers aggregated $3,605.30, with current expenses that swelled the money paid for schools to over four thousand dollars.
In 1882 retrenchment was the cry of the times, and the general school committee was more prudent in the use of funds, greatly lessening the expenses. In 1883 the books, maps and globes cost $150, and the amount received from the state school fund exceeded that of any former year. In 1885 a special class was again formed for boys who could attend only during the winter term, and it was productive of much good. Repairs were made to the buildings, and the expenses aggregated $4,640.
For the year 1888 the number of schools was considerably reduced, the town still furnishing to the diminished number of scholars the advantages of past years. The question of removing the high school building to the village was aggitated in 1888 and 1889, the measure was finally adopted and the building located on Main street in 1889. For 1889 one of the primaries was discontinued, the two at South Wellfleet were united, and the two grammar schools consolidated. The two primaries in the west part of the town were continued and the entire outlay for teachers, during a school year of thirty-four weeks in the primaries and forty weeks in the higher branches, was about thirty-five hundred dollars, reducing the number of regular teachers from ten in 1888 to seven for the past year.
Since the incorporation of the town the efforts of its inhabitants have been to sustain the best of schools, and most liberally have the people yearly given for their support.
CHURCHES.—One meeting house sufficed in Old Eastham for three-quarters of a century, but when in 1718 a new meeting house was to be erected at the old center this part of the old town asked to be established as a separate parish. A precinct was formed in 1722 and a meeting house erected at Chequesset neck, which site is marked by the old town grave yard, just west of the present village of Wellfleet. The house was small—twenty feet square—but sufficed for the time.
Rev. Josiah Oakes, who had preached since the precinct was formed, was requested to continue his ministry longer, and in 1727, on account of some differences, was dismissed. John Sumner labored one year, and the pulpit was then supplied by David Hall, Ezra Whitmarsh and others. In 1730 Rev. Isaiah Lewis was settled, filling the pastorship until his death in 1786.
In 1735 a new meeting house was begun and was finished in 1740,
near the head of Duck creek where the next old burying place was laid out, and still remains to mark the spot. In 1765 an addition of eighteen feet was made, and a porch was built in front, with a steeple and vane. In 1767 the parsonage lands near the first meeting house were sold and the proceeds invested as a ministerial fund, and the church on Duck creek was again repaired in 1792.
Rev. Levi Whitman succeeded Mr. Lewis until 1808, when he was dismissed. The next pastor was Rev. Timothy Davis who served until April, 1830. The subsequent pastoral service has been rendered by Stephen Bailey for eight years; by supplies until 1840: by Revs. John Todd, 1843; Charles C. Beaman, 1846: George Denham, 1853; Samuel Hopley, 1857; Asa Mann, 1860; George F. Walker, 1863; Samuel Fairley, 1868; Emory G. Chaddock, 1874; Jeremiah K. Aldrich, 1879; Cassius M. Westbrook, 1885; Daniel W. Clark, 1888.
The meeting house was enlarged in 1806, and the additional pews sold for more than the expense: but in 1829 a better and larger house was erected there, and a tower and bell added. In 1850 another move was made to erect a new church, and the contract was let. The present house of worship in the village was built that year, the material of the old building being used as far as practicable. In the year 1873 this fourth and last church of the society was remodeled and repaired outside and in, a place for an organ added in the rear, all painted, and vestries added. The carpeting, repairing and additions cost over ten thousand dollars, which was paid by subscription.
In December, 1879, the steeple and town clock of the meeting house were blown into the street, and were replaced in a more substantial manner.
This society of 168 years standing is the most ancient of the town. The church has a membership of 180 and maintains a nourishing Sunday school. In the old days it was the practice for the minister in charge to perform the duties of church clerk. Giles Hopkins was elected to this office and kept the records until 1878, when Simeon Atwood, the present clerk, was chosen. Mr. Atwood's connection with the church music of this society is somewhat phenomenal from the number of years it covers. When a lad of seven he was alto singer in the church, and for full forty years has been leader of the choir and organist.
The Second Congregational Society was organized December 4, 1833, in the south part of the town, forty-two members withdrawing from the First church for that purpose. A commodious meeting house had been erected, which, with the repairs since made, still remains, and is the only one in South Wellfleet. Supplies filled the desk for three years, succeeded by Enoch Pratt in 1836, Isaac Jones in 1837, Solomon Hardy in 1838, and Wooster Willey in 1842. Isaac A. Bassett
was settled in 1842, remaining one year; and after a few supplies Henry Van Houten was ordained in 1844, succeeded in 1849 by Stephen Bailey. In 1852 Ezekiel Dow was settled, remaining two years, when in 1854 Enoch Sanford was called. After three years Joseph H. Patrick was settled, and preached until 1862, when William E. Caldwell was called. In the spring of 1865 he was succeeded by H. M. Rogers, who remained two years. The ministers from that time have been: 1867, William Brigham; 1869, J. W. C. Pike; 1872, William Leonard; 1877, supplies; 1878, B. F. Grant; 1880, J.P. Watson; 1885, Joshua L. Gay, who remains at this date. In 1861 a new pulpit and other internal improvements were added to the meeting house.
The Methodist Episcopal Society of Wellfleet, was organized in 1802. Rev. Robert Yallaley Provincetown, visited the town in 1797 and preached several times. Reverends Rickhow, Weeks, Broadhead, Snelling, Willard and others followed, and in 1807 this was made part of the Harwich circuit. Rev. Joel Steele was the first minister to travel the circuit; he was succeeded by Rev. E. Otis; he by Rev. Joseph A. Merrill up to 1810. In 1811 this church was made a circuit with Truro, which continued to 1827, when it was made a station by itself. The society was organized with three members—Abigail Gross, Thankful Rich and Lurana Higgins. Ephraim Higgins was the first-class leader. Accession to the membership followed, and in 1816 a church edifice was erected on the hill north of the village, which was the first house of this denomination in the town. From 1817 to 1824 the society grew, and in 1829 their house was enlarged to thirty-eight by sixty feet, with seventy pews on the floor, and galleries on both sides. In 1842-3 great revivals occurred and all the churches received large additions of members. The old house being too small for the worshippers, a new one was erected and dedicated December 5, 1843. This was the most elaborate church edifice on the Cape at that time, the site being changed from near the burying ground to the present one in the village. Rev. Paul Townsend preached the dedicatory sermon.
The following list indicates what pastors have served the society, and the year they came: In 1812, Robert Arnold; 1813, Elias Marble; 1814, B. Otheman: 1815, Thomas C. Pierce; 1816, Orin Roberts; 1817, Benjamin Keith; 1818, Ephraim Wiley; 1820, Edward Hyde; 1822, L. Bennett; 1824, J. G. Atkins; 1825, Lewis Bates; 1827, Joel Steele; 1829, B. F. Lombard; 1831, N. S. Spaulding; 1832, Squire B. Haskell; 1833, H. Brownson; 1834, W. Emerson; 1836, B.F. Lombard; 1837, H. Perry; 1839, J. M. Bidwell; 1840, Paul Townsend; 1842, J. Cady; 1844, G. W. Stearns; 1846, John Lovejoy; 1848, Cyrus C. Munger; 1849, Samuel Fox; 1851, John Howson; 1853, J. E. Gifford; 1854, Erastus Benton; 1856, E. K. Colby; 1858, E. H. Hatfield; 1860, James Mather; 1862,
John Howson; 1863, A. N. Bodfish; 1865, William V. Morrison; 1867, Charles Nason; 1869, Walter Ela; 1870, A. J. Church; 1873, C. S. Macreading; 1875, A. P. Palmer; 1878, Edward Edson; 1881, Samuel M. Beal; 1883, Samuel McBurney; 1884, George A. Moss; 1886, Angelo Canoll; 1888, Charles S. Davis.
In 1819 a Methodist camp meeting was held in South Wellfleet, and from 1823 to 1825 it was held on Bound Brook island, then was removed to Truro. These meetings rapidly increased the early membership.
The First Universalist Society, Wellfleet, was organized January 7, 1840, by electing Justin Taylor moderator, and subsequently, at the same meeting, he was elected treasurer of the society, with Martin Dill clerk. Subsequent meetings were held at Lyceum Hall, the rules and by-laws were adopted, and preaching was provided. In 1844 the old Masonic Hall was purchased of Peter Snow, who had previously purchased the same of Adams Lodge, and it was remodeled into a suitable place for worship above, with a school room on the first floor. Here the society held services until 1863, when the Sons of Temperance Hall was purchased, which was named Union Hall in 1866, and has been known as such since.
The supplies for the pulpit, prior to the removal in 1866, had been: In 1839, Reverends E. Vose, J. B. Dodds, N. Gunnison and others; J. Grammer and James Gifford in 1840; Mr. Foster and others in 1841; Stillman Barden, Sylvanus Cobb and B. H. Clark up to 1845, and S. Pratt occupied the desk the greater portion of the time during the years 1856 and 1857. Rev. J. P. Atkinson followed in 1857. Occasional meetings were held, and when the society had purchased the present Union Hall, as has been stated, Rev. A. W. Bruce and William Hooper occupied the desk first, the latter organizing a prosperous Sunday school. The society had supplies until the settlement of H. A. Hanaford in 1874. who remained until 1876, when W. C. Stiles preached for a year. Occasional supplies were obtained until Rev. Donald Fraser, of Orleans, became a regular minister in 1887, concluding his labors in the autumn of 1889.
A ladies' aid society was established soon after the inception of the church, and to that the prosperity of this religious organization is largely due.
CEMETERIES.—The first ground for burial was the one on Chequesset neck, where the first meeting house was erected. At present but few stones stand to mark the graves of the early settlers, and these bear dates of burials in the year 1716. When the meeting house was rebuilt at the head of Duck creek, another ground was laid out, which is now seldom used except to reunite the ashes of members of an old family. The burial place for the south part of the town was laid out
adjacent to the Second Congregational church, and is still used. The fourth, now in use, is the Pleasant Hill Cemetery—the Methodist burying place—just out of the village, near where their first meeting house stood. Near this, in 1858, May 24th, was instituted the Oak Dale Cemetery, of several acres. Under the instigation of Dr. Thomas N. Stone, a stock company was formed by the enterprising citizens, and has resulted in a creditable improvement on former grounds. The association having the management is governed by a constitution and by-laws, with competent officers, chosen annually. Benjamin Oliver was the first president, succeeded by John Chipman in 1862. Stephen Young was elected in 1874, and continued president until 1885. The present officers Isaiah C. Young, pres.; John Swett, vice-pres.; Simeon Atwood, sec. and treas.
VILLAGES.—Not until the present century had far advanced did the present commercial center—Wellfleet village—indicate its importance. Hitherto the small business of the town was scattered, but the drifting sands having effectually closed Duck and Herring creek harbors, the business naturally clustered around Duck creek and the head of Wellfleet bay. The early important center was west of the present village, in the vicinity of the first church. Wellfleet village is picturesque in its winding streets, substantially built dwellings, towering churches, and its beautiful appearance from the bay beneath. It aspires to street lamps on streets that bear high-sounding names, and has business-like airs, with its two-score sails moored at its several wharves. Its importance will be seen as the reader proceeds.
As early as 1800 the manufacture of salt by solar evaporation was commenced around Duck creek and the bay shore of the village. East, in the cove, was the plant of Samuel Smith, and near Mr. Kemp's was that of Isaac Baker, afterward sold to David Atwood, who also owned others. Benjamin Witherell had works on the shore southwest, and Amaziah Atwood's were where Timothy Daniels now resides. Deacon Whitman ran a plant in the neighborhood of Wells E. Kemp's, and Moses Dill's was opposite where Jeremiah Hawes resides. East of the last, where Warren Pierce resides, were the works of Freeman Bacon, which, after falling into the hands of Wells E. Kemp, were discontinued, and destroyed soon after. On the island south of Dill's plant was that of Stephen Bailey, and on the point adjoining the residence of E. I. Nye was Joseph Holbrook's. The long row of vats east of Jeremiah Hawes' residence once belonged to Henry Baker. On the bay Cornelius Hamblen also built and operated works.
Of the extinct wharves in Duck creek the spiles of one erected about 1830, by John Harding, are still visible; and of the one built by
Samuel Higgins near the railroad crossing of the creek, time has left no evidence. On these the business of fishing and repairing small craft was successfully carried on for years. Passing westward to the bay the busy wharf of Theodore Brown attracts attention, and here since 1864 he annually repaired over one hundred vessels; but the decline in fishing has lessened this branch, and latterly he has built large scows and small craft for weir fishing. In 1865 he built at this wharf the Clara D. Swett, a schooner of thirty-three tons—the largest built by him since he completed his trade with Giles Hopkins.
The next west is Commercial Wharf, the oldest of the village, built in 1835 by Paine G. Atwood and Elisha G. Perry, who did business there until 1853, when the Commercial Wharf Company, composed of twenty men, purchased it. R. R. Freeman was the first president of the company, John Swett the second, and from 1880 Michael C. Burrows has presided. Noah Swett was agent under the company until 1880, when Isaiah C. Young was appointed, who was succeeded by Freeman A. Snow in 1889. The present directors are Charles A. Gorham, Parker E. Hickman and Jesse F. Snow.
The Central Wharf was built and incorporated in 1863 by a stock company of sixty shares, which have changed hands, leaving only about one half of the shares in original hands. Stephen Young was the agent prior to Robert B. Jenkins, who assumed the duties of the office in 1883. The first president, Parker Wiley, was succeeded in 1868 by Warren Newcomb, who still fills the office. Three directors are elected annually, the last being Charles A. Gorham, George Baker and Samuel W. Kemp, with James Mott clerk. This wharf is three hundred feet long, is kept in good order and has been a very successful enterprise.
On the opposite side of Duck creek Enterprise Wharf, the first one at Wellfleet, was erected prior to 1837, where a successful fishing trade was conducted by Benjamin Rich and Stephen Young. This wharf was abandoned about 1862.
The Mercantile Wharf, erected in 1870, is the last along the north shore of the bay. Sixty shares comprised the stock for its erection. The store is controlled by the company. The first president was Richard R. Freeman, succeeded in 1886 by J. H. Freeman, who in turn was succeeded in 1887 by R. R. Freeman, jr., the present incumbent. J. H. Freeman acted as agent and clerk until 1885, when Samuel W7. Kemp was appointed to succeed him. The acting president is a director, and with him R. R. Higgins, David Y. Pierce and Charles W. Swett were last elected. The mackerel trade has been very successfully and largely carried on at this wharf, which was enlarged in 1883 to accommodate its large business. The business of these wharves is greatly affected by the dullness of the trade occasioned by the decline in fishing.
Next to the lighthouse are the oil works of E. P. Cook, Newel Rich, S. B. Rich and William Newcomb, which were established in 1873. The blubber of the blackfish and other species of whale was tried out by the old process the first year, and steam works were then added, by which better results were obtained. Among other important processes, they have smaller machinery for manufacturing watch oil from certain parts of blackfish, combined with parts of other fish. A small wharf is connected with the works.
Another industry in connection with the wharves has been important; but like them, is having a season of depression. In 1875 Nehemiah H. Paine engaged in seine-making near Central wharf, with James A. Young as a partner during the first six years. More repairing than manufacturing has been done for the past few years.
Of the stores pertaining to the territory of the present village, those of the present century are the most important. Those prior to 1800 were principally on the King's highway or in the western part of the town. As early as 1832 the late Simeon Atwood built the corner building below the bank, on Commercial street. Here, with Mr. Dyer, under the firm name of Knowles Dyer & Co., a prosperous grocery trade was carried on. In 1850 the present Simeon Atwood, his son, built the hardware store adjoining, and in 1851 the interests of these three men in both stores were united, the firm name remaining the same. These three gentlemen also carried on a branch store at what is now Commercial wharf.
The present store at the Commercial wharf is carried on by the Central Trading Company, with Charles Young, agent. Samuel Higgins kept a store early in the century near the present depot, subsequently adding a lumber yard. From the depot along Commercial street we find Charles A. Gorham in a grocery trade. The building was erected in 1863 for John R. Higgins, who continued trade until 1865. In 1869 James H. Gorham, father of the present merchant, filled the store with goods, and continued in business until his death in 1888. Northerly, on the east side of the same street, F. A. Wiley, after a business of four years in Truro, established, in 1852, the present store and painting business, continued by Daniel F. Wiley, his son. In 1857 Nathaniel, a brother, became partner with F. A. Wiley, and the business was increased by the addition of other branches. This partner sold to Daniel F. Wiley in 1885, who, at the death of his father in 1888, succeeded to the entire business. On the same side of the street is the old store of Nehemiah M. Baker, a building moved from Eastham about 1865, now occupied by Oliver H. Linnell as a factory and salesroom for marble work. He started this industry in 1873, in the shop on the Joshua Atwood place, and in 1879 moved to Reuben C. Sparrow's place of business, combining undertaking
with the marble trade. In 1885 he purchased his present place, where he continues. The undertaking portion of Mr. Linnell's business was early started by John Harding, who sold to Reuben C. Sparrow in 1858. On the same side of Commercial street is the wholesale plant of George Baker, who started in the coal trade in 1873 near by, and in 1875 purchased the present place of business, which was formerly the office of the stage line to Provincetown, and which had been moved from Yarmouth to Orleans, thence to this village by Samuel Knowles, the last mail contractor. On this site in 1875 Mr. Baker added nails, lime, cement, plaster and other articles to his trade, which he continues. Everett I. Nye has a large factory for iron work on this side of the street, which, with the carriage manufactory of A. H. Rogers opposite, adds variety to the importance of this street. On the west side H. P. Higgins has a boot and shoe store, and Allen Higgins a clothing store that he moved a few years ago from near the residence of Timothy Daniels. On the same side Simeon Atwood built and opened in 1850 a hardware store, in which in 1864 he took his brother, A. T. Atwood, as a partner, under the firm name of S. Atwood & Co.
On Main street the principal place of business is that of P. W. Higgins, whose store is west of the churches, adjoining the residence formerly occupied by Rev. Timothy Davis. Mr. Higgins commenced in 1854, remodeled the old office of Doctor Mitchel into more store room and continues in the dry and fancy goods line. Between the churches, south side, Giles Holbrook began trade in 1847, which he continued until his death in 1850. The estate continued until 1868, when G. W. Holbrook purchased, built on, and added other lines of goods. Opposite this store Reuben Higgins commenced trade before the civil war and discontinued after a few years. In 1881, after the building had been used for other purposes, the firm of Newcomb & Gordon opened a grocery store, which is continued. On the opposite corner, in October, 1884, D. A. Matheson of Provincetown, opened a branch clothing store, with P. D. Chisholm, manager. On the corner of Main street and Holbrook avenue a store building was erected about 1866 for Albert W. Holbrook, who established a store which was subsequently changed in 1883 to a grocery by George C. Williams & Co., as now. Henry S. Cook succeeded Holbrook in the store business and removed it to Main street, as now. John Swett started, in 1876, a custom clothing store, where he not only manufactured but kept clothing and furnishing goods until 1885, since which date he continues the custom department. The Doctor Stone drug store and jewelry store of Albert Rice, and the confectionery store and news stand of A. C. Mott—both near the post office—complete the principal places of business of Main street.
The post office is the most frequented place. The office has been
moved about from the King's highway, from dwelling to store, but has been for years kept in a central place by itself. The office was established January 1, 1798, and the first postmaster was Lewis Hamblen. Reuben Arey was appointed October 1, 1810; Josiah Whitman, December 28, 1815; Jesse Holbrook, March 22, 1839; Richard Libby, April 22, 1840; Giles Holbrook, August 2, 1841; Enoch Higgins, August 16, 1845; John W. Davis, September 4, 1850. Allen Higgins succeeded Davis and was in charge in 1854; and prior to 1860 A. B. Fish and Dr. H. J. Huff had been appointed. In 1861 George T. Wyer was appointed, who held until 1876, when George F. Manter succeeded. In 1886 James Chandler was appointed.
This village has a very pretty depot, the business of which has been in charge of James A. Swett since 1872. He was preceded by Richard N. Atwood for nearly two years.
The Masonic fraternity established Adams Lodge here 1796, which surrendered its charter, and after an interim of half a century was revived into the present flourishing Lodge of the same name. After the institution of the first, in 1798, the Masonic brotherhood opened a stock company of forty shares for the erection of a hall. Those who took the stock were: Thomas Holbrook, Lewis Hamblen, Solomon Harding, Lemuel Newcomb, Warren A. Kenrick, Hezekiah Doane, James Bickford, Joseph Pierce, jr., Thomas Gross, Philip Higgins, Richard Higgins, Stephen Atwood, Jeremiah Newcomb, Samuel Waterman, Matthias Ryder, jr., Thomas Higgins, 3d, Matthias Ryder, Barnabas Young, jr., Samuel Ryder, Eleazer Higgins, John Young and Beriah Higgins. The hall stood on the site of the high school building, near the present Union Hall, and was the Masonic Hall before referred to.
The names of the first two masters of the old lodge are not known. The succeeding presiding officers were: Samuel Waterman, 1798; Lewis Hamblen, 1799-1800; Lemuel Newcomb, 1801-2; Joseph Pierce, 1803-4; Thomas Higgins, 1805-1807; Lemuel Newcomb, 1808, then 1811-12; Lewis Hamblen, 1809; Samuel Waterman, 1810; and in 1813 the charter was surrendered. In 1823, January 28th, nine surviving members divided the proceeds of the treasury. The hall was subsequently sold to the Universalist society and long ago razed to the ground.
In January, 1866, another Lodge of the same name was instituted, which received a charter in 1867. The fraternity assembled in the school house on the corner of the Truro road, adopted their by-laws, and hired Union Hall, which they occupied until the present fine Masonic Hall was erected in 1877, except during the last year, when they occupied Bank Hall. The Masonic Hall was built by a stock company of three hundred small shares, which were taken mostly by the
fraternity, and it cost about three thousand dollars. It contains a beautiful room above for the sessions, with refreshment and necessary rooms below. The masters have been: Napthali Rich, 1866-67; George T. Wyer, 1868-69; Warren Newcomb, 1870-1872; Eben T. Atwood, 1873-1874; John M. Crillis, 1875-1877; Daniel Williamson, 1878-1879; William N. Stone, 1880-1881; N. Franklin Lane, 1882-1883; Theodore Brown, 1884-1885; John M. Freeman, 1886; O. H. Linnell, 1887-1888; H. H. Newton, 1889. The officers elected for 1890 are: Everett I. Nye, M.; Charles A. Clark, S. W.; Isaiah C. Doane, J. W.; William H. Tubman, S. D.; Stephen King, J. D.; Theodore Brown, treasurer; Warren Newcomb, secretary; Robert B. Jenkins, chaplain; and Melville W. Grant, tyler.
Wellfleet Council, No. 946, Royal Arcanum, was instituted January 28, 1886, with twenty-four members. A. H. Rogers was the first past-regent, succeeded by the following regents: H. P. Harriman in 1886, H. H. Newton in 1887, 0. H. Linnell in 1888, and C. L. Rodman in 1889. The officers elected for 1890 were: W. H. Tubman, R.; W. J. Powers, V. R.; D. F. Wiley, O.; C. L. Rodman, sec.; A. H. Rogers, col.; M. D. Holbrook, treas.; F. W. Snow, chap.; Jesse S. Snow, G.; Nelson E. Dyer, W.; and George H. Young, S. The present membership is thirty-two. The Council meets in Odd Fellows' Hall.
The Wellfleet Marine Benevolent Society was instituted January 28, 1836, by banding together and paying dues yearly, for the relief of distressed mariners, their widows and orphans, and any others who may join. At the time of its organization many shipwrecked sailors needed temporary assistance and the benefits now extend not only to that class, but to others whether belonging to the society or not. Between 1840 and 1890 the society had disbursed $10,190 to those in need, and this does not include the proceeds of annual entertainments given to the outside needy. The members each pay one dollar a year for sixteen years, for a life-membership, or twelve dollars at the time of joining. The amount held by the society in its treasury is $1,872. The first officers were: Richard Arey, pres.; Collins S. Cole, sec., and Nathan Paine, treas. It has a committee, elected annually, to manage its affairs. The first who served will show some of the original members—Levi Young, John Newcomb, Isaac Paine, Giles Holbrook, William Stone, Bethuel Wiley, Hezekiah Doane and Samuel Smith.
The Odd Fellows Lodge is the continuation of an old one of Truro, where it was instituted in 1849 as Fraternal Lodge, No. 132. In 1872 the following persons petitioned the Grand Lodge for one at this place: Elijah W. Atwood, George Baker, Newell B. Rich, John M. Freeman, John M. Crillis, N. Frank Lane, Nathaniel Snow, jr., Joseph Rodolph, John G. Higgins, Mulford Rich, jr.; and these were the
charter members of the re-instituted lodge of Wellfleet on the 14th of October. It's presiding officers have successively been: Mulford Rich, jr., George Baker, Nathaniel Snow, jr., John M. Freeman, Samuel R. Higgins, Philip Higgins, jr., Robert H. Libby, James M. Mott, Hezekiah D. Baker, Harlem P. Higgins, Arthur H. Rogers, Newell B. Rich, A. H. Rogers, Zenas H. Jones, jr., Everett I. Nye, Charles S. Young, J. W. Freeman, George F. Manter, George Baker, and for 1889, Everett I. Nye. The elective officers for 1890 are: Harlem P. Higgins, N. G.; John W. Freeman, V. G.; B. S. Young, sec.; and Charles S. Young, treasurer. The Lodge numbers seventy-five.
The village is not without substantial financial institutions, the most important being the Wellfleet Savings Bank, instituted March 3, 1863, and which accommodates the business of the town. Richard R. Freeman was the first president and continued until his death in 1886, when he was succeeded by Simeon Atwood, the present president, who was its treasurer until 1871 when Thomas Kemp, the present incumbent, was appointed. Its board of twelve trustees has remained nearly the same, the only change having been caused by death or disability. They are: Simeon Atwood, Isaiah C. Young, James Swett, John Swett, H. P. Harriman, Jesse H. Freeman, Robert H. Libby, Alvin F. Paine, Warren Newcomb, Samuel W. Kemp, Giles W. Holbrook, and W. H. Tubman.
Another important corporation is the Wellfleet Marine Insurance Company, which was established in 1864 under the existing laws of the state. The first officers were: James Swett, president (who was really the prime mover in its organization); Noah Swett, secretary; and directors—R. R. Freeman, Knowles Dyer, George B. Saunders, N. Rich, jr., Jesse Y. Baker and John R. Higgins. It was organized with a capital of sixty thousand dollars, and conducted a successful business. In 1885, by the laws then enacted, the company, in order to do business, was compelled to incorporate, which was done under the same name, and by a special act placing the capital at one hundred thousand dollars. James Swett continued the president until 1886, and was succeeded by Thomas Kemp. Noah Swett filled the office of secretary until 1872, from which period until 1886 Thomas Kemp was secretary. After Mr. Kemp was elected president, Charles W. Swett was the secretary until 1888, when the present incumbent, Charles A. Collins, was elected. Ten directors, who meet quarterly, have the direction of the business, which, during a quarter of a century, has been very successful and satisfactory. Their office is in the rear of the bank.
The early importance of the shipping interests induced the appointment of deputy collectors for this port, who successively have been: Reuben Arey, Josiah Whitman, Collins S. Cole, Richard Libby,
Thomas Newcomb, T. L. Hickman, Simeon Atwood for twenty-seven years until 1887; Solomon R. Higgins until 1889, and again Simeon Atwood.
The old taverns have been given as scattered in the town, and not until the present village was marked as the center did a tavern assist in the growth. Over sixty years ago Colonel Joseph Holbrook erected a house where the present Holbrook Hotel stands, which, about 1830, was purchased by Martin Dill. He opened it as a house of entertainment, adding to it at times until it was enlarged to its present form. Mr. Dill continued until his death about forty years ago, when Henry A. Holbrook became owner and proprietor. After his death in 1874 his widow and son, Martin D., continued until 1885, when Lorenzo N. Godfrey purchased it, and in 1889 he resold it to Martin D. Holbrook. It is the only hotel ever kept in the village, except one which was kept at an early day for a short period just beyond the school house by Thomas Holbrook. Thomas Holbrook, 2d, some fifty years ago, after doing an oyster business under the Franklin House in Boston, returned to his native place here and for a short time his sign, "Franklin House," swung from the building now the residence of Mrs. Charles F. Higgins.
South Wellfleet, a post hamlet and railroad station of the south. part of the town, adjoins the south bank of Blackfish creek, and has within its limits a landscape of gentle undulations and fertile soil. It is distant three miles from the main village, with which it is connected by a good carriage road. The territory was early but sparsely settled, and through it the King's highway made, in early times, an important rural settlement, with its old-fashioned houses of refreshment for the weary fisherman and long absent whaler. Traditions of the finding of the ill-gotten gains of pirates in the sands at the mouth of Fresh brook still linger in the minds of the residents, giving a silvery sheen to the prosperity of the village. Aunt Lydia Taylor's store or tavern, or both, is remembered by the elder people, although the house long ago succumbed to the march of improvement. Then the weekly horseback mail carrier plodded along the sandy road, and the people must gather as often at Aunt Lydia's to enquire the news; and in early stage time the dusty traveler found an unstinted measure of relief under her roof. Reuben Arey had still another of these stores about 1820 at his house, where he kept the post office. Daniel Higgins, not wishing Aunt Lydia to do all the mercantile business, started another just after the war of 1812; and about 1815 Hezekiah Rich engaged in the same line of tea and cracker business just north of the others, at what was called Dogtown by the old residents. His store was necessary, for here the town used to do military duty, with an
occasional adjournment to Aunt Lydia's, near where the church now stands. The last to be mentioned was that of Deacon Newcomb. in his house over by the brook, where the weary fisherman sought comfort.
The residents mingle with the other villages in their secret orders, and none are established here. The ladies have a Social Union, owning the hall which was built for a school house and bought in 1888. The society was organized in 1881 and is a nourishing social and benevolent institution. For 1889 the president was Mrs. W. L. Paine; vice-president, Mrs. H. H. Paine; the secretary and treasurer, Miss Nettie S. Paine.
The only store in the hamlet now is that recently owned by Alvin F. Paine, deceased, where his son Isaac keeps a general stock of goods. The building was erected about 1844 by Collins S. Cole, who carried on a mercantile business until his death in 1870, and it was continued two years longer by his family. In 1872 the South Wharf Company rented it in connection with their store at the wharf, and purchased it in 1876. In 1880 the plant was purchased by Alvin F. Paine.
Battelle & Little (Boston men) built a wharf on the south side of Blackfish creek, for which, with the fitting-out store connected with it, Richard Arey was agent several years. About 1845 Collins S. Cole took the store and Nathan Paine the wharf, both of which, after a few years, were taken by Smith, Newcomb & Saunders. Smith sold to Isaac Paine and the firm was Paine, Newcomb & Saunders. Still later, Newcomb sold to Alvin F. Paine, and the firm of Saunders & Paine continued until 1866. That year the Southern Wharf Company, of forty shares, was formed, and the stock was taken up to the amount of $5,000. They continued in the fishing and mercantile business until 1880, when A. F. Paine became owner. This wharf extended about one hundred feet along the creek. A few piles mark the spot of this once important place of traffic.
A post office was established here early in the present century, with Reuben Arey, jr., postmaster, appointed January 29, 1829. He was succeeded by Alexander T. Cross, appointed June 1, 1836; Daniel W. Davis, January 14, 1837; Isaiah G. Ward, May 14, 1840; Reuben Arey, November 11, 1841. Stephen A. Hatch, appointed October 14, 1846, kept the office at his house until Jonathan Doane was appointed, June 1, 1857. In 1861, after the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency, Stephen A. Hatch was re-appointed and was succeeded by William Ward in 1873, who kept the office at the depot. In 1887 the present incumbent, Arthur G. Newcomb, was appointed. Mr. Newcomb is also the station agent and performs all the duties, as did Mr. Ward, his predecessor.
The village and surroundings have attracted the notice of pleasure seekers, and it is fast becoming a favorite spot for summer resorts.
Simeon Atwood.—The Atwood family has been a prominent one in the concerns of Wellfleet from the earliest period of its history. The great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch—Ephraim Atwood—was here in the early part of the eighteenth century: and his grandfather, Simeon, born in 1756, was a citizen of the precinct before Wellfleet became a town. His father, also named Simeon, was born in 1792, married Ruth Newcomb, also of Wellfleet, and nine children were born to them, viz.: Maria Gould, born 1818: Richard Newcomb, 1820: Ruth Newcomb, 1822: Simeon, 1825: William Kemp, 1827: Timothy Davis, 1830: Ruth Newcomb. 1833: Ebenezer Tilton, 1835: and Mary Ann, born 1837.
Simeon Atwood, born July 27, 1825, was educated in the common schools, took the inevitable train of Cape boys at that time on board a fishing craft, until 1850, when he entered into the stove and hardware business in his native town. A year later he associated himself with Knowles Dyer & Co., who had been in the grocery trade here since 1832. The firm consisted of Knowles Dyer, Simeon Atwood, and Simeon Atwood, jr. In 1864 the firm dissolved, and the business was conducted at the old stand under the firm name of Newcomb & Kemp—Newcomb being a son-in-law of Dyer, and Kemp a son-in-law of the senior Atwood. During the same year, Ebenezer T. Atwood, his brother, was admitted to the business with (the present) Simeon Atwood, and it was continued under the firm name of Simeon Atwood & Co. until 1877, when Ebenezer alone assumed and carried it on until 1882. That year the old firm bought the business; the firm now being composed of Simeon Atwood and William H. Tubman.
In 1860 Mr. Atwood represented the district in the legislature, and was appointed by the speaker on the committee on the valuation of the state, which held a session of one hundred days in the fall of that year. In 1861 he was appointed deputy collector and inspector of the customs for the port of Wellfleet, and has held that office continuously (except for three months during Johnson's administration, and twenty months during Cleveland's) to the present time. He has also held a commission to qualify civil officers since 1856, and of justice of the peace since 1865. Mr. Atwood has never held town offices, as he has often been solicited to do, his other official relations to the general government precluding, for most of the time, his so doing. He has, however, acted as moderator of seven successive town meetings.
Mr. Atwood has also been a pioneer and an active participant in the principal business enterprises of the town since he came upon the stage of action. He assisted in procuring the charter for the Wellfleet Savings Bank, was its first treasurer, resigning in 1870, on
account of the pressure of other business. He was elected a director of the bank in 1871, and in 1887 was chosen its president, which position he now holds. In 1880 he was chosen a director of the Wellfleet Marine Insurance Company, still retaining the position. He has also been for the last twenty-eight years a director of the Barnstable County Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Not only the public, but individuals have for many years been accustomed to seek Mr. Atwood's counsel and assistance in their business concerns. During the last twenty-five years he has settled as many as fifty estates, as administrator, executor or trustee, and has given his advice in many more. From 1860 to 1870 he was the purchasing agent for C. Nickerson & Co., fish dealers, of New York, his transactions averaging seventy-five thousand dollars annually during that time. Originally a member of the whig party, he organized the republican party of the town in 1857, serving for several years as chairman of the town committee. As early as 1833, when but a lad, he joined the choir of the First Congregational society of Wellfleet, and in 1850 was chosen as chorister and organist, still filling those positions. He united with the church in 1864, and was chosen one of the deacons in 1872. The public trusts and positions of honor and responsibility filled by Mr. Atwood, as thus enumerated, indicate his reputation and standing in the community, and render words of mere compliment or eulogy superfluous. It is but proper to add, that in his social and personal relations he has fitly supplemented his public responsibilities.
Mr. Atwood married, December 5, 1848, Mercy Waterman, daughter of Joseph Higgins, of Wellfleet, and has one daughter, Mary Steele Atwood, who married William H. Tubman: and they have also one daughter, Mabel Steele Tubman.
George Baker, born in France in 1823, came to Boston in 1834, and to Wellfleet in 1836. He followed the sea from 1836 until 1872, twenty-five years as master of vessels, and now keeps a lumber and general builders' supplies store at Wellfleet. He is having a cranberry bog made, which will be the largest bog in this town. It will contain twenty acres, and will cost ten thousand dollars complete. He married Mercy H., daughter of Thomas Higgins. Their five living children are: Thankful H., Mercy H., Margaret S., Clara E. and Ada A. Four died: two in infancy, and Maria T. and George.
Benjamin Brown, born in 1820, in Penobscot, Me., was a son of Stillman Brown. He was a sea captain, fishing and coasting, from 1847 until 1885. He married Martha A., daughter of Samuel and Lucy (Newcomb) Higgins. Mr. Brown died in 1888, leaving four children: Benjamin, Walter L., Chester E. and Eunice B. (now the widow of M. Ryder).
Theodore Brown, one of ten children of Theodore and Cynthia
(Atwood) Brown, and grandson of George Brown, was born in 1825. He followed the sea for twenty-one years, and since he was thirty years old he has been a ship carpenter. He married Mercy S., daughter of John Sparrow.
Collins S. Cole was a son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Smith) Cole. He was a sea captain in early life, and from 1841 to his death in 1868 was a merchant at South Wellfleet. He was a representative in the legislature and held various town offices. He was twice married; first to Mary Jinkins, daughter of Joseph and Jerusha Holbrook. By her he had two sons: William H. and Collins S. The latter died in infancy.
William H. married Cindrilla, daughter of Deacon John and Sally Newcomb, and died in August, 1871, leaving three children: Mary A., Charles F. and William H. Collins. Cole married for his second wife Ann Gibbs, daughter of Deacon Jonathan and Jerusha Hapgood, of Marlboro, Mass. He left one daughter, Julia A., who married Samuel Atwood. She has twin sons: Everett H. and Collins S. C.
Daniel Cole, born in 1844, is a son of Nehemiah and Sabrey D. (Pierce) Cole, and grandson of Daniel Cole. He followed the sea from 1853 until he retired to become keeper of the life saving station. He has been on the Cahoon Hollow life saving station since January, 1873, except one year, and has been keeper of the station since 1880. He was in the war from November, 1864, to July, 1865, in Company K, Twelfth Illinois Infantry Veteran Volunteers, Fourth division, Fifteenth army corps. He married Harriet E., daughter of William E. Blodgett. They have two sons living: Nehemiah T. and Daniel W., and lost one infant daughter.
Isaiah Cole, son of Isaiah Cole, died in 1872, aged sixty-one years. He was a master mariner until a few years prior to his death. He married Rachel A., daughter of Obediah and Phebe (Young) Doane, and granddaughter of Sylvanus Doane. Alvin L. Drown lived with Mrs. Cole from the death of her husband until her death in 1890.
Edwin P. Cook, born at Cohasset, Mass., in 1843, is a son of Ichabod and Lucinda A. (Stoddard) Cook. He came to Wellfleet in 1859, where he has been engaged in several lines of business, including lumber merchant, fish merchant, wrecker and oil manufacturer. He is now (1889) chairman of the board of selectmen. He married Eliza P., daughter of William H. Hopkins. They have three sons: Arthur R., Herbert H. and Ralph E.
Timothy A. Daniels, born in 1807, is a son of John L. and Hannah (Atwood) Daniels. He was in Boston several years engaged in the oyster business, after which he followed the sea, in the fishing business, about twenty years, being master of vessels a part of the time. He was a merchant at Wellfleet about ten years, since which time he has lived retired. He married Azubah, daughter of Joshua and Polly
(Pierce) Moody. Their three children are: Timothy A., Mary A. and Olivia.
James H. Gorham, born in 1821, in Barnstable, was a son of Charles Gorham. He was a master mariner until 1868, and from that time until his death in 1888, he was a grocery merchant at Wellfleet. He married Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Oliver. She died leaving two sons: James H., jr., who was lost at sea, and Charles A. He married for his second wife Thankful F., daughter of David and Abigail (Holbrook) Newcomb, and granddaughter of John Y. and Thankful (Freeman) Newcomb.
Charles A. Gorham, born in 1845, is a son of James H. and Sarah (Oliver) Gorham, and grandson of Charles Gorham. He began going to sea at the age of thirteen, and was master of vessels from 1863 until 1886. Since that time he has been a merchant in Wellfleet, where he succeeded his father in the grocery business. He married Dorcas C., daughter of Michael Rich.
Lewis Hamblin, son of Cornelius and Sarah (Baker) Hamblin, and grandson of Cornelius Hamblin, was born in 1832. He went to Boston at the age of fourteen, where he was engaged in a wholesale drug house until 1853, when he went to Australia, where for twenty-two years he was a farmer and merchant. Since 1887 he has resided at the old Hamblin homestead in Wellfleet. He married Aurelia A. M. Owen, in Australia.
Albert H. Harding, son of Solomon and Eliza (Hill) Harding, and grandson of Solomon Harding, was born in 1838. He has followed the sea since boyhood and has been master of vessels for more than twenty-five years in coasting and fishing. He married P. Maria, daughter of Josiah and Nancy (Holbrook) Snow, granddaughter of Ambrose and great-granddaughter of David Snow. Their only child is Walter A.
John R. Hawes, son of John, grandson of Jeremiah, and great-grandson of Jeremiah Hawes, was born in 1823 and died in 1886. He followed the sea from 1831 to 1884, as master of coasting vessels for many years. His first marriage was with Hannah C., daughter of Bethuel and Nancy (Brown) Wiley. She died in 1863. They had three children: George W. and Asa F., who died; and Nancy F., now the widow of Henry B. Eaton. Mr. Hawes' second marriage was with Abbie B., sister of first wife.
Parker E. Hickman, son of John and Sarah (Wilson) Hickman, and grandson of Jonathan Hickman, was born in 1839. He has been master of fishing and coasting vessels since 1866. He married Francis A., daughter of Solomon C. and Betsy G. (Smith) Wiley, and granddaughter of John, who was a son of Lewis Wiley. They have one daughter, Clara I., who was married to Thomas Young.
R. R. Freeman.—Richard Rich Freeman, so frequently mentioned in the preceding pages as identified with the business of Wellfleet—especially its mercantile and banking history—a son of Edmund and Betsey (Rich) Freeman, was born at Wellfleet December 17, 1813, and was in the eighth generation of descent from Edmond Freeman, the English progenitor of those bearing this family name on Cape Cod.
John Freeman, born 1627 in England, was a son of Edmond and Elizabeth Freeman. He married Mercy Prence, and their son. Edmund, born 1657, resided at Tonset, and died December 10, 1717. Edmund's son, Ebenezer, married Abigail Young, and their son, Isaac, born 1737, married Thankful Higgins, and died in 1760. Edmund, son of Isaac and Thankful Freeman, was born March 2, 1757, married Ruth Wiley, and gave his own name to the second of their six children, born January 6, 1780. The younger Edmund was married in 1802 to Priscilla Rich, and again, in 1812, to her sister, Betsey, and died January, 1870, aged ninety years.
Their son, Richard R., the subject of this sketch and portrait, married Rebecca, daughter of Thomas and Martha (Swett) Higgins of Wellfleet in 1836, and reared a family of nine daughters and two sons, of whom four daughters and one son survive.
The business life of Mr. Freeman is largely the history of his native village, where he was always looked up to as a substantial and representative man of affairs. His beginnings were small, but he became the builder of his own fortune, and acquired through shipping and kindred industries, a generous estate. His support was broadly given to the Congregational church, and by his life as a Christian gentleman he has left indelible marks for good upon the town and the age in which he lived.
Noah S. Higgins, born in 1828, is a son of Noah and Annie (Kemp) Higgins, grandson of Thomas and great-grandson of Thomas Higgins. He has followed the sea since 1836, and has been master since 1850 of fishing and coasting vessels. Since 1882 he has run a packet from Wellfleet to Boston. He married Abigail, daughter of Jeremiah Newcomb. Their children are: Byron E., Elizabeth D. (Mrs. C. H. Dyer), John H., Alice (Mrs. W. W. Cobb), and Fred A.
Payne W. Higgins, son of Samuel and Lucy (Newcomb) Higgins, grandson of Payne and great-grandson of Jonathan Higgins, was born in 1825. He followed the sea until 1850, since which time he has been a merchant at Wellfleet. He married Maria P., daughter of Ebenezer and Hannah (Newcomb) Freeman, and granddaughter of Isaac Freeman.
Martin D. Holbrook, born in 1846, is a son of Henry A. and Susan N. (Atwood) Holbrook, and grandson of Allen; and great-grandson of Anthony Holbrook. Mr. Holbrook has kept a livery stable since 1870,
when he succeeded his father in the business. He married Betsey J., daughter of Thomas Young. Their children are: Lizzie M., Grace G., Hattie A. and Henry A. Mr. Holbrook's father Henry A., kept the Holbrook House from 1852 until his death in 1875. Since that time, with the exception of four years, it has been run by Mr. Holbrook and his mother.
Robert B. Jenkins, son of Payne and Olive (Ryder) Jenkins, and grandson of Lot Jenkins, of Barnstable, was born in 1837. He began going to sea at the age of eight years, and from 1856 until 1883 he was master of vessels. Since that time he has been agent for the Central Wharf Company. He married Lucretia F., daughter of Lewis Higgins. Their children are: Robert B., jr. and Edith M.; one infant daughter having died.
Samuel W. Kemp.—The ancestry of this citizen of Wellfleet is traceable to the state of Maryland, where the name early and prominently appeared. At the age of twelve years, Robert Kemp came from that state under the guardianship of Captain Paine, a resident of the eastern part of this town. Here the lad grew to manhood, marrying Anna, daughter of his guardian, and filling positions of trust among his townsmen during the first of the present century. As late as 1814 he was chosen by the town to be one of a committee of safety, with full powers to meet any flag of truce from any ship of war sent by an enemy of the United States, and adjust any demands or controversies for the town of Wellfleet. Here he lived and reared eight children: Thomas, John, Nathan, Barzillai, Robert, William, Wells, and a daughter, all of whom are dead.
William, the sixth son of Robert Kemp, married Nancy A. Ryder, and they had children: William, Wells, Samuel, who died in infancy; then Samuel W., Matilda, Mehitable, Olive and William, named after the first William, who died at the age of twenty. Wells, still living, married Mercy L. Atwood, and had three children: William, Susan, now deceased, and Mattie E. The mother of these three children died, and Wells married Minerva Pervere for his second wife. Matilda, the oldest of the daughters of William Kemp, married David Y. Pierce, and James, their only child, died before her. Mehitable, the next daughter, married Daniel C. Newcomb, and still survives. Olive, the youngest daughter, still alive, married James Wiley. Their children are: Lillian A., Alvin L. and James A. Wiley. The last William died at the age of five.
Samuel W. Kemp, born April 9, 1831, was the fourth son of William and Nancy A. Kemp. He received but a limited education at the common schools of his native village, going to sea at eight years of age, and attending school three months of each winter during the ten succeeding years. At twenty he was a master in the
oyster and fishing business, which position he ably filled until he was thirty-three years old. He preferred sailing his own vessels, and while in the fishing business had the schooners R. R. Higgins and Eunice P. Newcomb successively built. In 1864 he turned his attention to coasting, and had the large schooner Anna Lyons built at Chelsea, and in which he sailed seven years. In 1871 he had the three-masted vessel Charles H. Lawrence built, in which he coasted from Maine to New Orleans until 1882, when the vessel, while under the care of his mate, was wrecked at the mouth of Boston harbor. In 1883 he made four voyages to Baltimore, and the next year he assisted J. H. Freeman, agent of the Wellfleet Mercantile wharf. He had been on the sea forty-tour years as boy, mate and master, three-fourths of the time in command; and so successful was his mastership, and so marked his integrity, that he had only to select his vessel if he would longer follow the sea. In January, 1885. after the resignation of Mr. Freeman, he, by the urgent wish of the stockholders, assumed the agency of the Mercantile wharf, which position he now satisfactorily fills. He is a director of the Wellfleet Savings Bank, a member of Adams Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and is identified with the social and business interests of the town. He endorses the acts of the republican party in his political preferences, and substantially supports the Congregational church. He never assumes to be a leader or dictator in the affairs of the town; but when he places his foot upon the quarter deck, his relation to surroundings seems to change, and he appears to have been born to be master.
In 1854 he married Eunice P., daughter of Lemuel Newcomb, of Wellfleet—an old and influential resident. Of their four children, the only survivor is Nannie A., who married Arthur H. Rogers, of Orleans, and has two children—Herbert K. and Euna W. Rogers. The residence of Captain Kemp is pleasantly situated, on Main street of Wellfleet village, where, in that social enjoyment he so loves, he is surrounded by his loving household.
Major Oliver Libby was born in Wellfleet in 1829, and is a son of Richard and Hannah (Holbrook) Libby. He went to New York city at the age, of fourteen, where he has been engaged in business since that time. Since 1852 he has been in the restaurant and oyster business. He was a member of the Seventy-first New York State Militia from 1857 until 1866, was promoted from corporal of Company C., step by step, until December, 1863, when he was elected major of the regiment, which office he resigned in April, 1866. He was thrice called to active service during the war, acting each time as an officer. He married Sarah J. Dudley, of Boston. Their children are: Jennie N. and Walter E. Since 1876 Major Libby has had a summer residence in Wellfleet.
Oliver H. Linnell, born in 1849 in Orleans, is a son of Oliver N. and Adaline G. (Rogers) Linnell, and grandson of Josiah, who was a son of Thomas Linnell. Mr. Linnel began to learn the trade of a marble worker in 1869, and in 1873 he opened a shop in Wellfleet, to which he has since added the undertaking business. He married Augusta T. daughter of Ephraim T. Knowles. She died leaving two daughters: Ada A. and Flora I.
Charles W. Newcomb, son of Thomas E. and Lucy J. (Atwood) Newcomb, and grandson of Thomas Newcomb, was born in 1853. He has followed the sea since 1865, as master of coasting vessels since 1877. He has two sisters: Lucy E. (Mrs. George A. Snow), and Almira T.
Alvin F. Paine, son of Isaac and Catharine (Ryder) Paine, and grandson of Thomas Paine, was born in 1837 and died in February, 1890. He followed the sea from 1849 until 1863, and from that time until his death was a merchant. He was a deacon of the Congregational church in South Wellfleet and a prominent and trusted citizen. He married Eliza F., daughter of Scotter Foster. They have had three children: Isaac, Mabel F. and Alvin F., jr.
Edward E. Paine, born in 1849, is a son of Winslow, grandson of Nathan, and great-grandson of Thomas Paine. He has followed the sea since 1860, in the fishing and coasting business. Since 1874 he has been master of vessels. He married Lydia C., daughter of Uriah H. and Huldah (Jerauld) Dyer. They have two children: Winslow A. and Frank A., one son having died in infancy.
William L. Paine, son of Nathan and Dorcas C. (Lombard) Paine, and grandson of Thomas Paine, was born in 1822. He followed the sea from 1832 until 1866, as master ten years. From 1867 until I880 he was fish inspector, and also connected with the Southern Wharf Company. He was three years a member of the school committee. He married Phebe K., daughter of Solomon Snow. Their children are: William L., jr., and Frederick M.
Nehemiah H. Paine, son of Nehemiah H. and Rebecca L. (Rich) Paine, and grandson of Ephraim and Hannah (Collins) Paine, was born in 1840. He followed the sea from 1854 until 1874. He married Lauretta, daughter of Collins Cobb. They have two children: Ida F. and Frank H.
Franklin H. Pervere, son of Isaac and Phebe (Higgins) Pervere, was born in 1831. He began going to sea at the age of fourteen, attaining to master six years later. Since 1865 he has been on coasting and foreign voyages. He married Martha, daughter of James H. Atwood. Their two children are: Arnold J. and Ruth A. (Mrs. A. C. Mott).
Joshua A. Rich, born in 1820, is the only surviving son of Joseph S., and grandson of John Rich. He has followed the sea since 1831.
He was master of coasting and fishing vessels from 1845 until 1872, since which time he has run a packet between Wellfleet and Boston. He married Olive C., daughter of William and Thankful (Cole) Newcomb. They have one son, David C., and lost three children in infancy.
Newel B. Rich, born in 1831, is one of twelve children of Samuel and Polly Rich, and grandson of Isaac Rich. He has been a sail maker since eighteen years of age, having been in business for himself since 1852. Since 1881 he has also been engaged in weir fishing. He married Mary A., daughter of Mulford, granddaughter of Mulford, and great-granddaughter of Ephraim Rich. Their two children are: Ada M. (Mrs. W. A. Rich) and Benjamin S. One son died—Charles N.
Winfield S. Rich, born in 1862. is a son of Solomon A. and Jemima (Newcomb) Rich, and grandson of Aaron Rich. He graduated from Wellfleet high school in 1878, and has been employed teaching since 1883. Since September, 1887, he has been principal of Yarmouth high school.
Frederick W. Snow, son of Ambrose and Polly (Swett) Snow, and grandson of Ambrose Snow, was born in 1837. He has followed the sea, in fishing and coasting, since 1847, having been master since 1861. He married Eunice C. Oliver. She died and he married Adaline A. Higgins. Their children are: Addie W., Eunice 0., Celia S., Christibel, Frederick A., David B. and Roland S.
Freeman A. Snow, son of Ambrose and Polly (Swett) Snow, grandson of Ambrose, and great-grandson of David Snow, was born in 1838. He followed the sea from 1849 until 1888, with the exception of two years. He was master after 1862. He is now (1889) agent for the Commercial Wharf Company, also chairman of the board of directors of the Central Trading Company. He married Achsah L., daughter of Jeremiah N. Freeman. Their only daughter, Nellie M. (Mrs. J. E. Crowell), is deceased.
Jesse S. Snow, son of Ambrose and Polly (Swett) Snow, was born in 1851. He has followed the sea since 1861, as master of vessels since 1870, in the fishing and coasting business. He married Mary E., daughter of Isaac and Polly (Kemp) Freeman. They have two sons: Albert E. and Edgar L.
James Swett—This family name was transplanted in 1630 from the Isle of Guernsey, in the English channel, to Newburyport, in the New World; and in 1670 two brothers, descendants of the name, came to the Cape, Benjamin, one of them, settling in Wellfleet, and Noah, the other, in Truro. They were seafaring men, and from them have descended the family name in Barnstable county. Benjamin, grandson of the first of that name who settled here, married, and from him descended the subject of this sketch.
Noah, the son of the last Benjamin, was born in Wellfleet in 1743, and had five children: John; Benjamin, Joseph, Martha and Susanna.
Joseph, the third son of Noah, born in 1778, married Bethia, daughter of Dea. Jonathan Higgins, of Pamet point, and was a prominent sea captain. He was drowned while passing from one vessel to another in a small boat, in Provincetown harbor, his wife surviving him fifty years. They had eleven children: Joseph, Benjamin, Bethia, Sally, Polly, James, John, Noah and Betsey H., who grew to mature age; and Ezekiel and Noah, who died in infancy. The first nine of these children married, and during their lives filled places of honor in the business, civil and domestic relations of life. Much of their success is due to the teachings of a godly mother, who so indelibly impressed the seal of her faith upon their young minds as to sensibly affect their whole lives for integrity and honesty of purpose. A short sketch of each of these children is given in the nine succeeding paragraphs:
Joseph, who still lives, married Susanna Rich, of Truro, and of their six children, James and Susan survive.
Benjamin married Jane L. Cole, daughter of Isaiah Cole, and died in 1842 of yellow fever, at Havana. Of his five children two survive—Benjamin and Malvina.
Bethia married Israel Pierce, and of their fourteen children eight survive. Their names are: James, William, Alonzo, Sylvanus, Benjamin, Melzar, Warren and Edward.
Sally married Elisha Mayo for her first husband, and after his death married John Chipman. Four children of the second marriage survive: John, William, Joseph and Sarah.
Polly, still living, married Ambrose Snow, and eight children survive: Ambrose, John, Frederick, Freeman, Noah, Jesse, Ellen and George.
John, residing at Wellfleet, married Clarissa A., daughter of Simeon and Rachael Baker, and the surviving children are: Lucy M., John A., Charles W., Jerry P., Clara E. and Alice P. Mr. Swett has long been identified with the religious, civil and business interests of the town, and is one of its old and respected citizens. He followed the sea from 1829 until 1859, twenty years of the time as master of vessels. From 1859 until 1884 he was a merchant at Wellfleet.
Noah, the youngest son of this group of children, is a resident of Watertown, Mass., and the cashier of the Union Market National Bank there. He had been prominently connected with the business interests of Wellfleet prior to his removal to his present place of residence. He married Louisana A., daughter of Isaac Rich, and their surviving children are Melville and Clara, both of whom are married.
Betsey H., the youngest, married Jesse S. Newcomb and died leaving two daughters—Ida and Mary—surviving her. Ida has since died.
James Swett was born November 13, 1816, near the Wellfleet line, in Truro, and at the early age of seven went to sea. The loss of his father when he was ten years old taught him that he must sustain life's battles without a father's assistance, and this tended to give him the self-reliant characteristics which made him so successful in after life. At nineteen he was master of a vessel, which position he filled over a quarter of a century with marked success, retiring with a competency in the year 1861. He continued to deal in mackerel and shipping for years, and his firm, keen judgment rendered his ventures in business very remunerative—much to the envy of his contemporaries. His word was equal to a bond in all transactions. He was a director in the Provincetown Bank several years; also is now one of the directors of the Wellfleet Savings Bank. On the 17th of January, 1849, he was made a life member of the Boston Seaman's Friend Society, by the Congregational church of Wellfleet. He is also a life member of the Wellfleet Seamen's Benevolent Society. In 1864 he was the prime mover in the organization of the Wellfleet Marine Insurance Company, of which he was president over twenty years, with the most eminent success. The history of this society is given in that of the village of Wellfleet.
He married Sarah D., daughter of Dr. William Stone and sister of the late Thomas N. Stone, M. D. She died October 6, 1880, much lamented by the church in which she had been a shining light for thirty-seven years, and mourned by a large circle of friends. By this marriage eight children were born: Nancie D., born May 3,1842, died at the age of thirteen; Eleanor W., born August 8, 1844, who died at twenty; Sarah D., born April 11, 1847, married Edwin Collins and has two children—Charles A. and Nellie; James A.; Anna E., born July 27,1854, married Captain Anthony Freeman; Willie S., born July 31, 1856, who died at the age of nine; Frank H., born September 31,1859, now in business at Chicago; and Nancie D., born August 21, 1861, who married L. W. Hathaway and died at the age of twenty-eight. Mr. Swett married for his second wife Susan F. Small, daughter of L. B. Crockett of Deer Island, Me., on the 17th of July, 1883. He has always taken a deep interest in the affairs of the body politic; but preferred his social and business relations to those of official trusts. He has been foremost in the enterprises of his town, and a liberal donor in the cause of religion. To worthy suffering humanity he has ever been a charitable friend, not allowing one hand to know the gifts of the other. He is cautious and conservative in the formation of friendships as well as business plans; but when once established he is firm
and reliant to the end. He and his wife reside in their pleasant home on the Truro road, in the outskirts of Wellfleet village, and in the evening of his days he enjoys the confidence of all who know him.
His son, James A., born February 28, 1849, has been station agent at Wellfleet since 1872 and express agent since 1873. He married Mary L., daughter of S. L. Lyman of Chatham. They have one son, George R.
Freeman A. Wiley, born in 1820, was a son of Nathaniel P. and Matilda P. (Mayo) Wiley. Mr. Wiley kept a paint store at Wellfleet from 1854 until his death in 1888, under the firm name of F. A. Wiley & Co. He was married to Mary C. Harding. Their children are:
Isaiah H., Daniel F. and Edith G. (Mrs. James M. Atwood). Daniel F. became a member of the firm of F. A. Wiley & Co. in 1885, and since the death of his father continues the business at the same place. He married Hattie P., daughter of Solomon A. Rich.
Barnabas S. Young, son of Noah and Betsey A. (Freeman) Young, grandson of Noah and great-grandson of Stephen Young, was born in 1840. He followed the sea from 1849 until 1883 in fishing and oyster business, having been master of vessels six years. He married Nancy W., daughter of Josiah S. and Nancy (Holbrook) Snow. Their children are: Wilmot 0., Florence A. and George A.
Isaiah C. Young, born in 1846, is the only child of Barnabas S. and Hannah (Cole) Young, grandson of Noah and great-grandson of Stephen Young. Mr. Young followed the sea for fifteen years prior to 1872, in the fishing and oyster business. Since that time he has been engaged in the same business on shore. He was agent for the Commercial Wharf Company from 1879 until 1889. He was representative two terms—1886 and 1887—and is now county commissioner. He has been several years a member of the school committee. He married Emma G., daughter of Warren and Nancy (Dyer) Newcomb. Their two daughters are Ada F. and May E.
Noah Young, son of Noah and Betsey A. (Freeman) Young and grandson of Noah Young, who married Sarah Paine, was born in 1845. He followed the sea for thirty years, fishing and coasting. He is now a farmer, owning and occupying the homestead of his father and grandfather. He married Emma M., daughter of Isaac Paine. Their children are: Sarah P., Austin C., Emma M., Nora F., Isaiah C. and Helen Francis Young.