Town Memorials | Winthrop, Massachusetts
HOME Veterans Wars and Forts Civic Schools Street and Corners People
Storefronts Hotels Maps Books Search Sources

The History of Winthrop Massachusetts
by William H. Clark

Winthrop Centennial Committee Winthrop, Massachusetts

Note: THE author desires to express appreciation for the kindness of many people who have cooperated in preparing this history. In particular, gratitude is due: Mr. Channing Howard, Mr. Sidvin Frank Tucker, Mr. Frank K. Hatfield, Mr. Brendan J. Keenan, Mrs. Sarah L. Whorf, Rev. Laurence W. C. Emig, Rt. Rev. Richard J. Quinlan, Rev. R. S. Watson, Rev. Ralph M. Harper, Mrs. Alice Rowe Snow, Rev. H. Leon Masovetsky, Mrs. Emilie B. Walsh, Mr. Charles A. Hagman, Miss Dorothy L. Kinney, Sgt. Paul V. Albely, Mrs. Mary Alice Clark, Mr. William F. Clark, Mr. Preston B. Churchill, Mr. Benjamin A. Little, Mr. Joseph F. O'Hern, Jr., Mr. Eugene P. Whittier, Mr. Albert J. Wyman, and Mrs. Evelyn Floyd Clark.



1   Geography and Geology   3  
2   The Indians     26
3   John Winthrop     47  
4   Discovery and Early Settlement   53     
5   Colonial Development of Winthrop   80
6   Point Shirley    89
7   The Town of Chelsea     95 
8   Winthrop Up to the Revolution   100 
9   Winthrop in the Revolution   125
10   The War of 1812     141
11   Winthrop in the 19th Century   143  
12   Transportation     181  
13   Revere Copper Company Works   199 
14   Winthrop Churches     202  
15   The Second Fifty Years   223  
16   Winthrop   Public Library   251
17   Winthrop Pageant Association   254
18   Winthrop   Newspapers     257 
19   Police Department     259 
20   Fire Department     262
21   Yacht Clubs     264
22   Winthrop Banks     270  
23   Winthrop Schools     273 
24   Winthrop Community Hospital   289
Appendix A - Annals of the Town   301 
Appendix B - Town Officers   307 



YOUR Anniversary Committee takes great pleasure in presenting the first complete history of our Town.

It has long been a matter of regret by our citizens that the historic events credited to our Town have never been chronicled and published. The author, Mr. William H. Clark, has long been recognized as outstanding, particularly in the field of historical writings. A former resident of our Town, he has devoted a great deal of time in intensive research necessary to the production of a work of this importance.

Planning many events to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the granting of the Charter to our Town, the Committee feels that the publishing of this volume will be the most important. Other events scheduled will pass on and become but memories, but the History will be a permanent memento of the Centennial celebration of our fine New England community.

History Committee  


Chapter One


SITUATED almost due east of down-town Boston, within clear view of the Golden Dome of the State House on Beacon Hill, the town of Winthrop is one of the smallest communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is so in point of size alone. On the town's one thousand and seventy-five acres some eighteen thousand people live -- thus making the little town by the sea one of the more important of the State.

Winthrop, is a beautiful town. Its location between the Atlantic Ocean on the East and Boston Harbor on the West is alone enough to establish the fact. Even more, Winthrop is a town of gentle hills which, although now built over with about 4,000 houses, gives almost every window a wide prospect over miles of ocean, marsh and a city just far enough away to be remote and yet near enough to be conveniently reached within a half-hour or so. Probably one of the greatest factors concerned in the production of Winthrop's charms are the many elms and maples lining her 36 miles of streets and shading most of her homes and all her public buildings.

There are wealthier towns in the Commonwealth than Winthrop but few more financially fortunate. By many years of self-sacrificing service by public-spirited citizens who have served the town largely without pay, the town is practically without debt; nearly all the streets are paved and have sidewalks while the municipal establishments, schools, library, town hall, fire houses and all the rest are paid for in full.

Winthrop is known as a town of homes. This is true because there is practically no industry in the town at all. The town is emptied of mornings by perhaps ten thousand men and women who go into Boston to their various occupations. At evening, they return home. This is a common condition of many of the suburbs around Boston and certain uncomplimentary critics have described these suburbs of Boston as being mere bedrooms for the City.

However true this may be, Winthrop does maintain its own spirit and integrity. As it is a pleasure to live in Winthrop, so is it a distinction. This is the result of the town's many years of


history, a history free of the scandal and difficulties which have affected at one time or another, most of Boston's suburbs.

This is remarkable, because Winthrop has a long, long history. Actually, this town observes its centennial this year. That is so because it became legally a separate town in 1852, when it was parted from the present City of Revere. Previously, Revere (and Winthrop) had been a part of the present City of Chelsea -- just as Chelsea (and Revere and Winthrop) had been a part of the original settlement of Boston.

That takes the history back to 1630 but this is merely the white occupation of this area. The first whites who visited Boston Bay of demonstrable certainty were hardy fishermen from Britain, France and Portugal. These doughty seamen came here to catch the great cod which then flourished in great numbers. In tiny vessels, hardly more than present-day yachts, they sailed westward in the Spring, landed a few men on shore, in such bays as Boston Harbor and built huts. 'Then, while the rest of the men fished, the shore detail dried the fish in the sun, made barrels into which they packed the fish and did some trading with the Indians, exchanging trinkets and liquor worth a few pence for furs worth great price. Then, when the Fall storms came, the fishermen sailed home with their fish and furs. This business' certainly flourished during the latter part of the fifteen hundreds and these fishermen were often on hand to welcome the "discoverers and explorers" when they arrived somewhat later.

There is a reasonably good probability that there were white men here even before the fishermen. These were, of course, the Vikings or Norsemen who did sail along the Nova Scotia and New England coasts in and about the year 1,000. The Norse sagas describe settlements made somewhere along shore, tell of the battles with the Indians and while they cannot tell of the gradual extinction of the colonies, the tragic fate of these first settlers in America is grimly for shadowed in the poems. There is some evidence that Irish explorers may have visited New England also at about the same era. The trouble is. no trace exists of these primary colonies. There are opinions, of course, but no definite proof has been found -- nor does it seem likely that such will ever appear.

No one has ever found proof that the Norse ever visited Boston Harbor -- but it seems unlikely that the little dragon ships of the Vikings, coasting down from Nova Scotia, could have missed Boston Harbor as they explored on to the south. Thus it is probable that the Norsemen must have at least visited Winthrop's beaches and found refreshment and rest in our forests while they enjoyed the abundance of game and sea-food then blessing this region.


Before the white men, Winthrop was, of course, home to Indians. Indeed, the future town, with its wealth of fish, clams and lobsters, was a favorite resort in the summer for many Indians who apparently were seated in the hills back from the shore during the winters. There is some evidence of importance that the tribesmen the Puritans found here, were not here very long, being comparatively newcomers. Lacking a written language, indeed any language which would have made accurate history possible, the story of the Indians can only be pieced together out of legends and some archeological material. This last is very scanty, too, for the Indians, being very primitive people, had little of permanent importance to leave behind when exterminated by the whites.

It is likely that the Indians here in 1600 were interlopers. They seem to have been fierce and warlike people who drove up from the south-west and forced the then holders of this area northward along the shore. It is considered probable that the evicted Indians may be the present day Esquimaux, or at least have been absorbed into the Arctic tribes. And there is some further evidence that even the exiled people were not the original inhabitants of this area, for some recent archeological studies have given evidence of the presence of a people of great antiquity. Because these people dyed their skeletons before burial with a red pigment, they are known as the Red Paint People. Almost nothing is known of them.

Winthrop, when the first white people came here, was a place of striking beauty. This is made clear in the accounts of those first on the scene. Unfortunately, there were few Puritans sufficiently interested to write in any detail of the geography - or indeed of anything save the formal, legal records. Men were commonly not educated in such facilities in those days, articulateness was not a characteristic of the early 17th century. Even so, the men who could write were much more concerned with winning homes and establishing a commonwealth. They were too busy to write, even if they could have done so.

The important things about these descriptions is not so much that they were mere off-hand comments, fragments of a few sentences included in writing of much graver material, as that one and all they were markedly enthusiastic. For example, the Puritans wrote home from Boston in glowing terms. One worthy wrote: " ... So pleasant a scene here they had as did much refresh them; and there came a smell off the shore like the smell of a garden." It must have been pleasant and refreshing. Imagine a weary, endlessly-long tossing upon the ocean, cramped and confined, ill and sick of the horrible food which alone was possible on long voyages in those days. And then to


see the green hills around Boston Bay, rich with heavy forests, and to look overs ide and see the translucent water, filled with fish. Probably at morning and again at evening, deer would come out of the forest and stand on the beach to see what manner of creature was disturbing their peace. Then to land on the beach, to walk on solid ground once again and to feast on fresh meat and to enjoy the strange but delicious flesh of lobsters -- and even to have a plate of steamed clams -- not to mention great steaks of familiar fish such as cod.

Of these fish and these sea-foods, a colonist, Francis Higginson, wrote, "The abundance of sea-food are (sic) almost beyond believeing and sure I should scarce have believed it, except I had seen it with mine own eyes. I saw great store of whales and grampusses and such abundance of mackerels that it would astonish one to behold, likewise codfish in abundance on the coast, and in their season are plentifully taken.

"There is a fish called bass, a most sweet and wholesome fish as ever I did eat; it is altogether as good as our fresh salmon and the season of their coming was begun when first we came to New England in June, and so continued about three months' space. Of this fish, our fishers take many hundreds together, which I have seen lying on the shore to my admiration; yea, their nets ordinarily take more than they are able to haul to land, and for want of boats and men they are constrained to let many go after they have taken them, and yet sometimes they fill two boats at a time with them.

"And besides bass, we take plenty of scate and thornbacks and abundance of lobsters, and the least boy in the plantation may both catch and eat what he will of them. For my own part, I was soon cloyed with them, they were so great and fat, and lucious. I have seen some (lobsters) that weighed sixteen pounds; but others have, divers times, seen great lobsters as have weighed twenty-five pounds, as they assure me. Also here is abundance of herring, turbot, sturgeon, cusks, haddocks, mullets, eels, crabs, mussels and oysters. Besides there is probability that the country is of excellent temper for the making of salt; for since our coming, the fishermen have brought home very good salt, which they found candied, by standing of sea-water and the heat of the sun, upon a rock by the sea-shore; and in divers salt marshes that some have gone through, they have found some salt in some places crushing under their feet and cleaving to their shoes."

Francis Higginson, who incidentally was a minister and thus a man in whose writing confidence can be placed, also had this to say of the native plants and the behavior of crops: " ... the aboundant encrease of corne proves this countrey to be a


wonderment. Thirtie, fortie, fiftie, sixtie, are ordinarie here; yea, Joseph's increase in Egypt is outstript here with us. Our planters have more than a hundred fold this yere... What will you say of two hundred fold and upwards? Our Governor hath store of green pease in his garden, as good as ever I eat in England. Thecountrie aboundeth naturally with store of roots of great varietie ... , Our turnips, parsnips, and carrots are here bigger and sweeter than is ordinary to be found in England. Here are store of pomions (squash), cowcumbers and other things the nature of which I know not .... Excellent vines are here, up and down the woods. Our governor (John Winthrop) hath already planted a vineyard with great hope of increase. Also mulberries, hurtleberries, and hawes of whitethorn filberts, walnuts, smallnuts, near as good as our cherries in England; they grow in plentie here."

The Reverend Mr. Higginson's botany and horticulture may be slightly awry but there can be no mistaking the fact that the settlers found Boston a fair and pleasant land and one which was fruitful in the bargain.

Another excerpt, from an unknown writer, has this to say along the same line: " ... This much I can affirm in general, that I never came to a more goodly country in my life. . .. it is very beautiful in open lands mixed with goodly woods, and again open plains, in some places five hundred acres, some places more; some less, not much troublesome for to clere, for the plough to go in; no place barren but on the tops of hills; the grasse and weedes grows up to a man's face; in the lowlands and by the fresh rivers, abundance of grasse, and the large meadows without any tree or shrubbe to hinder the sith. .,. Everything that is here eyther sowne or planteth, prospereth far better than in Old England. 'The increase of corne here is farre beyond expectation, as I have seene here by experience in barly, the which because it is SO' much above your conception I will not mention. . .. Vines doe grow here plentifully laden with the biggest grapes that ever I saw; some I have seen foure inches about ... "

This gentleman may have been a bit enthusiastic, but again, he was pleased with his new home.

One of the better sources of information about the early days of Boston and vicinity is William Wood's New England Prospect. Wood spent some four years in this neighborhood and published his book in 1634 at London. It is one of the best sources of information about the Massachusetts Bay Colony, if for no other reason, it being the only thing of its kind. In Wood's book appears a fair map of this area on which for the first time Winthrop's former name of Pullin Point is shown, together with


the name of Winnisimmet, which is the original name for Chelsea and Revere.

Wood had this to say, in part, about his new home. Speaking of strawberries, he alleged, the colonists "may gather halfe a bushell in a forenoone ... verie large ones, some being two inches about. In other season, there are Gooseberries, Bilberries, Rasberries, Treacleberries, Hurtleberries, Currants ... the (wild grapes) are very bigge, both for the grape and the cluster, sweet and good." In what is now Dorchester, Wood said there was "very good arable ground, and hay grounds, faire corne-fields, and pleasant gardens with Kitchin-gardens." Boston, he pointed out, was blessed by "sweet and pleasant Springs" ... which as may be noted, was the very reason that John Winthrop and his associates chose the site for settlement after a failure across the Charles River at what is now Charlestown.

Yet another interesting account of colonial days is that of John Josselyn, published in 1675. In his book New England Rarities, which is hardly noteworthy for its restraint, John has much to say about apples and cider; for example," ... I have observed with admiration that the (apple) Kernels sown or the succors planted produce as fair & good fruit without grafting as the tree from whence they were taken; the Countrey is replenished with faire and large orchards. It was affirmed by one Mr. Wolcutt (a magistrate established in Connecticut after leaving Boston) that he made five hundred hogsheads of syder out of his own Orchard in One year. Syder is very plentiful in the Countrey, ordinarily sold for Ten Shillings a Hogshead. At the tap-houses in Boston I have had an Ale-quarter spiced and sweeted with Sugar for a Groat .... The Quinces, Cherries, Damsons set the Dames at work. Marmalade and preserved Damsons is to be met with in every house. . .. I made Cherry wine, and so many others, for there are a good store of them both red and black. ... "

In passing, it may also be noted that the colonists planted many pear trees, not only as a table fruit in season but also as a means of making a pear-cider, commonly known as perry. On the very best authority, the reader may be assured that perry when properly aged can give a most gratifying result for the moment, although gastrically it is worse than even very hard cider.  

The colonists were devoted to their fruit trees, perhaps feeling that the familiar fruits of home were an establishment of civilization in the wilderness. Indeed, it has been said that the church bell and the apple tree crossed America hand and hand as the tide of settlement moved westward. William Blackstone, who lived near what is now Boston Common on the side of Beacon Hill, had an apple orchard well established before the Puritans


came in 1630. John Winthrop hastened to plant his island off shore (Governor's Island) with a garden in which apple and other fruits were set out. Out in present Roxbury, Justice Paul Dudley planted a garden in which he reported, he grew eight hundred peaches upon a single tree and that he grew pears "eight inches around the bulge." Gardens, very much in the English style, became common in Boston proper, once the colonists were firmly established, and caused visitors who expected sod-covered huts of logs to greet them, to write with astonishment of the beauty and prosperity of the infant colony. Governor Bellingham built a garden along what is now Tremont Street and here he reared the very first "greenhouse" in America. Thomas Hancock had a "magnificent plantation" on the site of the present State House. One other well-known early garden was located in the present South End where Perrin May had a "famous orchard." His fruits were of tremendous size but uncharitable neighbors said this unexampled fertility was due to the fact that May trapped house cats and used one at least at the base of each tree for fertilizer. May, however, was probably one of the first to make use of sea weed, such as kelp for fertilizer; that material sounds better for plant food than pussy cats.

While many other references could be listed, these will show how pleased the settlers were with the Boston area and we can infer that Deane Winthrop and a few other settlers in Winthrop itself experienced the same good fortune. Certainly there is no reason to suppose that Winthrop was any different from the adjacent territory and crops must have flourished here as easily and as prosperously.

From these early accounts, it would seem that the abundance of wild life was even more remarkable. General Benjamin Butler, that unfortunate man more celebrated for his acid tongue than for his many accomplishments and services once remarked that the storied hardships of the first settlers were largely imaginary for there was so much wild life about in the woods and on the beaches, as well as in the sea and the rivers, that they could have starved only if they were lazy enough to fail to pick up what was lavishly laid out before them.

Deer were certainly very abundant. Indeed a quotation from William Wood's New England's Prospect, probably written about 1634, makes this dear, while at the same time explaining how Deer Island and Pullin Point, Winthrop's first name, were so called.

"The last Towne in the still Bay (Boston Harbor) is Winnisimmet (variously spelled); a very sweet place for habitation and stands very commodiously, being fit to entertain more planters than are yet seated; it is within a mile of Charles


Towne, the river (Mystic) only parting them. The chief islands which keepe out the winde and the sea from disturbing the harbours are, first Deare Island, which lies within a flight shot of Pullin Point.

"This Island is so called because of the deare which often swimme thither from the maine, when they are chased by wolves. Some have killed sixteen deare a day upon this island. The opposite shore (across Shirley Gut) is called Pullin Pointe, because that is the usual channell Boats use to passe threw into the bay (Boston harbor); and the tide being very stronge, they are constrayned to goe ashore and hale their boats, by the sealing, or roades, whereupon it was called Pullin Point. ... "

Perhaps it should be noted that spelling was a matter of somewhat individual whimsey in those old days, at least at the hands of the Puritans and their associates. Few men could read or write well; many could not do either at all. When a man was actually compelled to write, it was a task of considerable labor, not merely because it was unaccustomed work, but because the author, while he might have a fairly good oral vocabulary, had only a general idea of how the words he used should be spelled. So, when he came to a word he did not really know, he was apt to spell it as it sounded to him. Thus much of the old writing is somewhat original. Then too, these writers made use of many words which have since been lost and forgotten save by scholars.

Next to deer, perhaps a major game source was the wild turkey. These were big birds and very delicious. Then, they were abundant in and about Boston. At a single shot a man or boy could bring home 20 pounds or so of the most highly prized meat. Wood wrote, in 1634, " ... forty, three score, and even a hundred in a flock ... There have been seen a thousand in one day ... " Characteristically, the settlers did not value what was so plentiful and Josselyn in 1672, about fifty years later, wrote " ... the English ... having so destroyed the breed that it is very rare to meet a turkey in the woods." Of course, today, the wild turkey is unknown in all New England.

Just as the settlers exterminated the turkeys, so they were profligate with other game. Deer very soon became scarce; bear were nearly exterminated, save in the depths of the Maine woods. Probably the greatest waste of all was in wild birds.

The passenger pigeons are a classic example. Today, not one is known to be alive anywhere. When the settlers came, reports Wood, there were "millions and millions." Indeed, many later writers in other parts of the country where hunter's guns were just beginning to roar, reported that the earth was literally shadowed as by a cloud when a flock of pigeons passed overhead. Other writers speak of vast areas of the forest which were


swarming with the birds to such an extent that the ground was soiled inches deep for hundreds of acres while the noise of the birds was that "of a rushing river tumbling over a rapids". It is even reported that the birds, who were certainly gregarious, nestled so closely together and in such numbers, that their combined weight stripped giant oaks and maples of their larger boughs. These pigeons were shot, netted and trapped and so squandered that within a few years, as civilization moved westward, they were literally wiped out of existence.

The importance of wild fowl as a source of food was made evident in 1632, just two years after settlement, when the General Court ordered, "That noe person whosoever shall shoote att fowle upon Pullin Point (Winthrop) or Noddles Island (East Boston), but said places shall be preserved for Jobe Perkins to take fowle with netts."

No one in New England at least, now practices the ancient art of fowling but it is one of the oldest of arts, being described in the Middle Ages as an "ancient and honorable mystery." Boys were apprenticed to master fowlers and thus learned the profession. Primarily it consists of taking birds alive by means of nets, snares and various devices such as bird-lime -- which last consisted of smearing the branches where birds roosted in numbers at night with a sticky paste which held them fast until morning when the fowler picked them off like fruit from a laden apple bough.

Certainly few fowlers ever had a more luxuriant opportunity than Jobe Perkins at Pullin Pointe and Noddles Island. The section then was heavily wooded, the beaches were numerous and there were the great unspoiled salt marshes -- ideal attractions for many kinds of birds. What is now Belle Isle Inlet -- what is left of it -- was then a much deeper tidal estuary winding between the salt marsh grasses. Although no description of Perkins' work remains, it is to be imagined that he built a frame work of light saplings for several hundred yards along and over the creek. This frame work was wide at the open end and narrowed down to a very small diameter at the farther end. Perkins and his aides would wait until there was a considerable flock of birds, say at about where the present Winthrop-East Boston bridge is now and then, in row-boats, drive the birds into the net and force them deeper and deeper into its constrictive diameter until, at the end, they could pick up the birds by hand -- taking them alive to Boston market.

What happened to Perkins' concession, how much he paid for it and similar questions cannot be answered, but certainly Winthrop's first fowler had unlimited stock.

Back in those days, before the wasteful habits of the settlers


could make any serious depletion of wild life noticeable, the marsh and forests teemed with birds. Winthrop, its woods, fields and beaches, was a nursery for multitudes of birds. Indeed, on the ledges and sands of the outer beach, the great auk, now extinct, and such other birds as the gannet, shag, cormorant, puffin and many kinds of gulls and terns, not to mention many more lesser birds were at home. The wildness of the Winthrop beaches and rocks can be attested by the fact that they were also home to such animals as walrus and various types of seals. It was a hunter's paradise indeed.

Here too were seen in considerable numbers the white swan, the sand hill crane, the heron, the brant, snow geese, Canada geese and such ducks as mallards, canvas backs, eider, teals, widgeons, sheldrakes and many others. Most of these commonly bred in Winthrop then, although of course the great breeding grounds then as now, were to the north. Yet each Spring and Fall, during the migrations, the sky was filled with clouds of these birds and Winthrop's marshes often sheltered countless thousands of them at night.

It must have been a magnificent sight then, to go out in the early morning, or late in the twilight, to see and hear the geese and duck in their hosts. How they must have deafened the ear with their clamorous calling and the beating of their wings must have sounded like constantly rolling thunder. Morton reported in 1642, "I have often had a thousand (geese) at the end of my gun."

Plover and the smaller birds, such as sandpipers and the like, were so numerous and so small as to be hardly fair game. Yet they, with the passenger pigeons previously mentioned, were often taken and used in making pies -- which was a sort of massive dish consisting of several pounds of bird flesh baked between thick layers of biscuit -- like crust in a lordly dish. This was a hearty meal and may be relished today, in a dwarfed and pale copy, in our modern chicken pie.

These smaller birds were very easy to kill, although many hunters regretted wasting "their shotte upon such small fowles." Morton reports " ... sanderlings are easier to come by; because I must go but a step or two for them. I have killed between foure and five dozen at a shoote, which would load me downe." There were larger plover, known then, and the names are still heard amongst old timers, as "humilities" and "simplicities." Says Wood again, "Such is the simplicitie of these smaller birds that one may drive them on a heape, like so mannie sheep, and seeing a fitte time, shoote them. The living, seeing the dead, settle themselves in the same place againe, I myself, have killed twelve score (240) att two shotts."


Of course birds were far from being the most important source of wild food. Deer was probably the great food staple. When the Puritans came the woods of Winthrop were teeming with the gentle animals as the name Deer Island attests but the animals were very soon exterminated and from then on, the only deer that came into Winthrop were refugees from the still unspoiled forests of what are now Saugus, North Revere and Malden. Soon these forests were emptied also and that was the end of deer in our section.

The moose was commonly seen in Winthrop too, in the early days, but this huge creature, larger than a horse, very soon vanished at the end of the settler's guns. There were elk and caribou also, in very limited numbers probably, and they did not long satisfy the settlers' hunger for meat because they are creatures of the wilderness -- even more so than the moose. Of the four animals the deer alone has managed to survive in numbers in New England. Indeed, it is said that there are more deer in New England today than there were when the settlers came. The reason is, of course, that the deer is comparatively small, very agile, and has managed to adapt himself to feeding on the fringes of the farm. Any hunter will tell you that deer in open, that is farming country, are much larger than the forest deer as for instance in the depths of the Maine woods.

There were many small animals in Winthrop at the beginning and these managed to survive longer than did the bigger creatures. Such were rabbits, squirrels and raccoons. The first was used for meat after the deer vanished, the raccoon was exterminated for its fur but the squirrel remained and still remains because he is of no value for either fur or food. Of course in Winthrop today, with practically every inch occupied by houses there is no possibility of any wild animal, save mice and rats and squirrels existing. What is left of the marshes and the outer beach still provides resting places for migrating water fowl hut the glory of wild life that once made Winthrop noted has vanished.

Fish took the place of game as a source of food as the larger wild animals. were destroyed. And for many years, Winthrop was a splendid place for fish and for sea-food; it was not until contemporary times that the pollution of the harbor ended this.

A mere catalog of the fish that have been and still are caught off Winthrop shores, though seldom now in the harbor exemplifies this sea-given wealth of the town: bluefish, bream; catfish, cod, dogfish, eels, hake, flounders, haddock, herring, mackerel, mackerel shark (one typical of several small species), perch, pollock, porgy, sculpin, shrimp, skate, smelt, tuna, tautog and many more. As for shellfish, oysters once abounded; they


soon vanished. For many years, these have remained: clams, crabs, lobsters, quahogs, scallops, sea clams and many more less edible species. Of small interest now but formerly valuable for oil, were such as whales, porpoises and blackfish.

A catalog of wild animals of Winthrop, made by the late George McNeil, includes such as: bats, chipmunks, field mice, fox, gray squirrel, red squirrel, mink, moles, muskrat, rabbit, rat, skunk, weasel, woodchuck-plus of course the old deer, moose, elk and caribou. As for snakes Winthrop now has a very few harmless ones, such as blacksnakes, green snakes, garter snakes and possibly a few more but in the beginning, Winthrop had various slightly poisonous adders, such as the striped adder and the house adder while, sad to say, the virulent rattlesnake was once a nuisance, although scarcely a peril. The poisonous snakes were quickly killed and none have been reliably reported for the past century.

Geologically, Winthrop is part of the general New England region which is one of the oldest, that is unchanged, portions of the earth's crust. Geologically, the basis of Winthrop runs back many millions of years, being part of the Appalachians, the mountains which are the mere stumps of what were once lordly peaks five miles high or more. Specifically, the New England Acadian Section, is Pre-cambrian and elder Paleozoic in character. Many ages ago, the rocks were crushed and folded like paper in a mountain building process. Up through the shattered rock then poured rivers of igneous rock which, however, seldom broke through the then existing surface. These "domes" or intrusions cooled in place and, when subsequently uncovered by erosion and glacial action, comprise the present day granite so characteristic of much of New England.

Since the mountain building, there have followed uncounted years and ages of erosion of various types. At least a mile-thick layer of surface has been removed in the process, much more of course from the higher elevations. Thus the original snow-capped mountains were ground off and washed away to mere hills, or even obliterated. Much of New England became a flattish peneplain -- known as the Cretaceous peneplain for its being formed in that period. Much of New England during the time was sunk beneath the ocean.

Next followed another period of stress and strain and New England was crumpled upward again. Volcanoes erupted, lava flowed and, when the motion ceased, most of New England was lifted bodily perhaps 2,000 feet with the worn away mountains once more respectably high. Oddly enough this uplift was not equal but was highest in what is now Vermont and lowest in


what is now the Cape Cod area. Thus all New England was tilted from northwest to southeast.

Once again followed another long period of erosion. Rivers carved themselves new valleys and, along shore, the ocean pounded rock to sand and built great beaches. This period was that of the Tertiary and the resulting peneplain is known by that name. It came to an end with a very slight upheaval which served to elevate the north west and broaden the lower reaches near the Ocean. Perhaps, as a very general statement, the shore line then was an average of 100 miles farther to the east. It was a remarkable shore line, especially along the southeastern Massachusetts coast. Several now placid rivers, like the Charles, tore great canyons in the rock near the ocean, making gorges as great as those of the present Grand Canyon of the Colorado. These gorges still remain -- under the ocean.

It was during this period that the sea alternately invaded the shore and then retreated, over swings of thousands of years. The present period is one in which the ocean is sweeping in and this has given us the characteristic drowned valley type of coast. Rivers have been shortened and the salt water has entered into their valleys making tidal estuaries. As the land subsided, high spots on ridges would remain above water, making numerous islands, often connected one with another and with the mainland by a higher ridge, thus forming peninsulas.

Of course much of this outlined geological history is necessarily obscure since nearly all of its features have been obliterated by glaciation. It is to glaciers that Winthrop owes its form and character.

This planet of ours has experienced several "ice ages," perhaps seven, so far. When the world went into one of these cold periods, sheets of ice, sometimes a mile in thickness, would creep down out of the north and in their coming -- as well as in their departure, when the climate warmed again -- they profoundly changed the face of things.

The last glacier, which created Winthrop and its vicinity, came during the Pleistocene age and receded from here something like 25,000 years ago. This great ice sheet, which apparently originated in the Laurentian region to the north and north-west, moved slowly, very slowly, in a northwest-southeast direction.

It overwhelmed everything in its path. Tops of mountains were sheared off, loose rock, soil and sand picked up and carried along -- as snow from the edge of a plow. The mass of rock at its forefront acted like the cutting blade of a titanic bulldozer and cut off the topsoil and the 'hills and pushed the mass ahead of itself.


Even more, the ice changed the shape of the mountain masses it could not level. As it climbed up the northwest side of the hills, the cutting edge created a long smooth slope. At the top, the final several hundred or thousand feet was sheared away. Then, as the ice sheet tumbled down the southeast side of the mountains, it fell so easily that the side remained steep. Indeed, if the southeast angle is projected upwards, and a similar angle projected from the base on the northwest side, it is demonstrated that the point where the lines intersect indicate the original height of the mountains. What are now a thousand or two feet high, were once mountains four and five thousand feet high. New England was once as lordly mountainous as Switzerland -- long ago. The Alps are very young as mountains go. Eventually they too will be worn to stumps but by then New England may grow a new crop of snow-covered peaks.

Finally, when, after many years, the ice edge reached about as far as present New York City, the climate turned warmer. The ice halted and then began to retreat; which is to say, the ice melted away.

No living being can image the terrific confusion the ice left behind as inch by inch it retreated hack into Canada. Streams of water gushed across and out from under the ice in massive torrents. This was the tool, these vast masses of swiftly rushing water, which carved New England into what is, more or less, its present face. You see, as the ice halted, it left at a standstill the masses of rock and sand, clay and loam, which it had carried along as it moved south. This it promptly deposited, forming what is known as the terminal moraine at its southeasterly edge and its lateral moraine at its easterly edge. According to some geologists, this terminal moraine formed Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket -- for example.

The melted ice rushing through and over these moraines shaped them into outwash plains, kames and eskers. In places the ice water washed the moraine completely away; in others it shaped the mass into domes and hills with valleys between. Just as the wind after a snow storm drifts the soft snow into weird shapes in an hour, so through many years the water shaped the moraines into various forms. Of course, the process thus begun has continued ever since for wind, rain, frost and sun constantly erode the face of the earth -- tearing it down and preparing for another age of mountain building, perhaps a million years from now, perhaps tonight. New England is staid and quiet geologically now; but it may erupt into fire and flame at any moment as the rock beneath our feet awakens once again. The hills may seem eternal but to the geologist, a thousand years is but the tick of the second hand on a clock.


So far as Winthrop is concerned, when the ice sheet retreated from here, it created all our hills. These are a very peculiar type of formation-for, while most hills are at least in part masses of rock, our hills are made up of sand, pebbles, small boulders and clay -- "unconsolidated till" is the technical name, meaning loose soil.

These hills are known as drumlins. They were not forgotten by the retreat of the glacier at the end of the ice age but were made during the ice age itself when, as the climate fluctuated, the glacier's edge alternately advanced and retreated over short distances -- perhaps a few hundred feet rather than several hundred miles as in the general advance and final retreat.

Take a piece of bread, a small piece, and roll it lightly back and forth on the table. The bread will form a sort of thick and pointed cigar. That is how drumlins were made. The glacier rolled back and forth beneath its edge great heaps of debris and thus what now resembles half footballs resulted.

Winthrop's hills are all drumlins, so are the hills of Revere, East Boston and Chelsea. So are many of the Islands in the harbor -- what is left of them. Specifically, Deer Island, Great Brewster, Long Island and the now vanished Apple and Governor's Island were all drumlins. So is Point Shirley, Great Head and the four hills at the Highlands with a smaller group or pair of the drumlins making up the Center and Court Park sections.

Of course, time and the ocean have not dealt kindly with the drumlins. Being soft as compared with rock, they have been greatly eroded. An example of erosion has been the cut of Highway C 1 through the western end of the drumlin which is Orient Heights. This cut was originally wide enough only to keep the sides in permanent shape but rain washed away the soil until the road below was badly mudded over on the east side. Not until the bare soil was sodded over was this erosion stopped.

As the ice went away, the bare drumlins, until grass covered them and checked wind and rain erosion, washed down filling the space between the hills. Thus the salt marsh between Winthrop and Beachmont and between Winthrop and East Boston and Revere was brought into being. Drainage of tidal waters formed Belle Isle Inlet and its "tributaries." Indeed, until the marshes were recently choked with debris from the airport and the pumping of mud to form the oil farm and Suffolk Downs, the marshes were in miniature a complete river basin, save that the current alternately flowed in and out. Then the marshes open to the sea were closed away by the formation of what is known as barrier beaches and the placid marsh was allowed to build itself up to high water level, by means of silting with humus formed by the annual decay of the marsh grasses and weeds. A cross section


of these marshes gives a complete description of the geology of the past 25,000 years or so for the different layers of silt, sand, blue clay down to the bed rock far below to a geologist are as complete a history as if it had been written and published by man.

Probably the greatest agent which affected the drumlins was the ocean. The waves, especially during storms, battered them and ate mercilessly away at their substance. Orient Heights, protected by its marshes, is a good illustration of a drumlin which has not been much damaged by erosion. Only man has corroded its majesty. Great Head is a good example of a drumlin of which the ocean has destroyed about half of its length. Cherry Island bar, off Beachmont, is an example of a drumlin which has been completely leveled by the waves. Of course, Apple Island and Governors Island are examples of drumlins leveled by man -- the Airport consumed their substance.

As the ocean chewed away at exposed drumlins, the water carried away the sand and clay and the smaller pebbles while the larger boulders dropped down and were actually built into a sort of breakwater which gave some measure of protection against the waves. Of course, it was not adequate protection and hence in modern times we have been compelled to build sea walls along the shore front from Revere Beach, past Beachmont, around the Highlands and right down to Point Shirley. The damage winter northeasters sometimes do to even these modern sea walls, shows that we have reined back, not entirely halted the ocean. However, if the walls had not been built, it is altogether likely that Beachmont Hill, the Highlands and Point Shirley would all have been washed away -- as indeed they may be yet, unless we keep the sea walls in constant repair.

These rocks formed reefs which alter tidal and storm currents so that the sand and small pebbles washed out are deposited along between the drumlins. Thus our beaches came into being, composed of the ruins of the drumlins between the reefs -- as between the end of Beachmont and the Highlands, between the Highlands and Great Head and between Great Head and Point Shirley. As breakwaters and sea walls are built, the currents are altered still further. Thus in some places the beaches are being lowered and in others built higher. For example, the beach along the Crest, between the Highlands and Cottage Hill, has been notably elevated in the past few years since the breakwater was built off shore. Probably, within a few more years, what was the area of water between the shore and the breakwater will be filled in and Winthrop Beach will be that much wider. This formation


of reefs and beaches is a continued process. Every storm makes changes; and every change has its consequences. Undoubtedly we can keep the present area of Winthrop, and perhaps even persuade the ocean to enlarge it rather than wear the shore line away. However, it must be remembered that this will only be so if constant vigilance is maintained and the walls and breakwaters kept in repair.

These drumlins, when the Puritans arrived must have been very attractive, especially to sea-weary eyes. The hills stood up out of the levels of the salt marsh, not bare and shabby as we know them now, but clothed in heavy forests, probably of white pine, oak, birch and maple. This forest cover gave the soil protection against erosion and thus the hills had accumulated through the many centuries a rich and fertile humus. The subsoil, being of unconsolidated till, was "tight" and thus the food elements put into the soil by the forest did not leach away -- as it does in sandy and loose soils. The Indians, of course, had cleared little areas here and there by fire for their corn but they were not farmers. They much preferred to live by hunting and fishing and hence while they did plant corn, beans and pumpkins, they did not "farm" in the sense that large, cleared areas were utilized.

The scene is so different now, with buildings, many of them not designed to be attractive, covering all the drumlins, with roads cutting through the hills, with ugly skeletons of electric wire poles strung everywhere -- and with every forest tree cut down long since, that we descendants of the Puritans cannot realize how the town and its neighborhood did look 330 years ago. Mellen Chamberlain in his History of Chelsea visualized the aspect of his town by writing: "While the bold bluffs of Winnisimmet were untouched by the leveling hand of man, and the great hills of the main, toward the north, and the lesser heights to the east, south and west, stood at their original elevations, and covered with primitive forests, the situation must have been one of scarcely paralleled beauty and interest."

Channing Howard, Winthrop engineer for many years, has written the following description of our town: "Here was bold bluff and sandy beach along the outer shore against which lapped the never still waters of the open sea, and the broad expanse of salt meadows and placid winding creeks in the distance, and the hills of varying height in our own territory, and the higher hills to the north ... Bordering us by the south and west lay splendid waterways for future commerce ... all kinds of landscape which the heart could wish, either for the eye of beauty or for the most


utilitarian of purposes, except the proverbial New England babbling brook and a rock bound coast. Neither of these exists, or did exist in our borders."

Of course, under this original beauty and wealth of forest and game, some colonists found things they did not like too well. Their comments are particularly illuminating, both in reference to geography and to wild life, previously described.

One of the original settlers of the Puritan colony at Charlestown, was Anne Pollard, who died in 1725 at the age of 105. She claimed she "was the first to jump ashore" from the Winthrop party in the passage from Charlestown to Boston in 1630 and afterwards said she remembered the site of the future city as being "very uneven, abounding with small hollows and swamps, and covered with blueberry and other bushes."

The same thickets were described by Captain Edward Johnson, writing about 1640. He said that "At their first landing the hideous thickets in this place were such that wolves and bears nurse up their young from the eyes of all beholders."

The section was famous for its good springs and clear, sweet water. The Indian name for Charlestown, Mishawum, means "a great spring" while Boston's Indian name, Shawmut, means "living fountain." There was indeed a great spring near Blackstone's house at about the present locality of Louisburg Square while there was "the great Spring" in Spring Lane, a little alley now running down from Washington Street just parallel with Water Street to the United States Post Office Building. When the foundations of the new Post Office building were put into place, the engineers were reported to have had some trouble with the waters of this spring -- which were still flowing under the buildings and pavements of modern Boston.

Wood had much to say about water in the Boston section. Writing in 1634, he remarked: " ... for the countrey it is as well watered as any land under the Sunne, every family, or every two families having a spring of sweet waters betwixt them.: which is farre different from the waters of England, being not so sharpe, but of a fatter substance, ... : it is thought there can be no better water in the world, yet dare I not preferre it before good Beere, as some have done, but any man will choose it before bad Beere, Wheay or Buttermilk. Those that drink it (Boston's spring water) be as healthfull, fresh, and lustie, as they that drinke Beere; these springs be not onely within land, but likewise bordering upon the sea coasts, so that some times the tides overflow some of them ... "

Wood was much interested in the trees comprising the forests in the vicinity of Boston, including Winthrop by inference. Indeed, he wrote the following verses about the local trees:


"Trees both in hills and plaines, in plenty be,
The long liv'd oake, and mournful Cypris tree,
Skie towring pines, and Chestnuts coated rough,
The lasting Cedar, with the Walnut tough;
The rozzin dripping Firre for masts in use,
The boatmen seeke for Oares light, neate grown Sprewse,
The brittle Ashe, the ever trembling Aspes,
The broad-spread Elme, whose concave harbours waspes,
The water-spungie Alder, good for nought,
Smalle Elderne by th' Indian Fletchers sought,
The knottie Maple, pallid Birtch, Hawthornes,
The Horne bound tree that to be cloven scornes;

Within this Indian Orchard fruites be some,
The ruddie Cherrie, and tee jettie Plumbe,
Snake-muthering Hazell, with sweet Saxaphrage,
Who spurnes in Beere allayes hot fevers' rage.
The Diars Shummach, with more trees there be,
That are both good to use, and rare to see."

To conclude this chapter, somewhat out of chronological development, it should be pointed out that Winthrop, although almost in the shadow of the State House, and more or less a part of Boston until 1852, was actually rather remote from the future city for some 200 years.

The two islands which are now East Boston, were never part of Winthrop or of any interest to Winthrop people. Actually Winthrop was tied to Revere as a pensinsula, and Beachmont and adjacent Revere, another peninsula, was tied to Chelsea, and Chelsea itself was also a peninsula, reaching Boston by means of a ferry over the Mystic and Charles rivers. Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, a series of three peninsulas, extended to the east and north of Boston but was sharply cut off from Boston by estuaries.

The natural way of Winthrop people to go into Boston was, of course, by water -- row boats and sailing boats afforded the most rapid and the easiest way to town. There was considerable need of visiting Boston, too, for Winthrop was in the beginning and ever since has been dependent upon the City. Today, to drive to Boston, we go over the Belle Isle Creek bridge to Orient Heights and thence the length of East Boston and into the city through the Sumner Tunnel. There was no bridge over Belle Isle Creek until 1839. Of interest is also the fact that the road across the marsh between Orient Heights and Beachmont, was not built until 1870, while the road which gave a direct route from Chelsea to Revere was not constructed until 1802.

Boats served passengers and small loads of freight between


Winthrop and Boston, or Revere, or Chelsea, but the moving of heavy loads was difficult. For example, previous to the Revolution, if a Winthrop farmer, and all Winthrop people were farmers then, wanted to take a load of hay or a dozen beef cattle into market, he could drive only by a very roundabout way.

He would leave Winthrop by what is now Revere Street and pass along the eastern and northerly side of Beachmont to what is now Crescent Beach, Revere. Then he would go up Beach Street to what was then Chelsea Center, then over into Malden, to Medford via Everett, across the Mystic River into Somerville and on into Cambridge. Crossing the Charles near Harvard Square, he would finally arrive in what is now Brookline and then, turning east again, go through Roxbury and so into Boston by way of Roxbury Neck. This was described in the writing of the day to be about fourteen miles although today it would seem to be a much longer trip. In contrast, a sailing boat with a fair wind could make the trip in under an hour while a row boat could certainly reach Boston from Winthrop in an hour.

This roundabout travel continued for perhaps a century because Winthrop and Revere were very small, farming sections. During these hundred years, many changes took place. The forests were wiped out. The soil was placed under cultivation -- although with the primitive tools, with only horse and oxen to do what man's awn muscles did not, agriculture was exceedingly primitive. At about 1711, for example, a carefully made map located only four houses in Winthrop, one in Beachmont, two in other parts of Revere and four on the water's edge in Chelsea.

To serve the needs of these farms, several roads were laid out. These roads are not to be thought of as being real roads in the modern sense of a paved highway over which automotive vehicles roll at 40 to 50 miles an hour -- when the police are not around. These roads were mere dirt tracks, hub-deep in mud in the Spring, dusty in hot weather and frozen tangles of ruts in Winter. Indeed, farmers used these roads as little as possible, save in Winter, when snow covered the roughness. All heavy moving possible was held until snows were deep and over the smooth surface sleds skidded more easily than at any time of year. Actually, the first roads were just rutted tracks which were called roads because they were rights of way and because the more objectionable stumps and rocks were removed.

Until bridges were built, these roads were primarily fixed by running from one fordable place in a stream to the next. They avoided the steepest grades and made detours often a long way around to make their way across the marshes. As for foot travelers, almost everybody walked, or else rode horseback -- for to ride in the huge-wheeled carts over the rough surface of the


roads was sheer torture. Of course, it must always be remembered that Winthrop people commonly went to and from Boston by water -- safe, swift and easy. Winthrop people even went to church by boat, sailing up Belle Isle Inlet and down what is now the upper part of Boston harbor, near the present oil farm wharves and the gas tanks to as near Beach Street as possible. It was there, on Beach Street, near the present corner of School Street, behind the Library and the High School, that the First Church was built in 1710. Before that when Winthrop went to Church, services were either held in private homes, or else people sailed across the harbor to the churches at Boston itself -- about as near as the old Chelsea Church. This Rumney Marsh Church, which became Unitarian, is still standing, although somewhat reconstructed during its 250 years. It is the present home of Seaview Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

As Boston grew, and other towns, particularly to the south, as Plymouth, Taunton and the like developed, and as other towns, as Framingham and Worcester to the west, and Lynn, Salem and Newburyport to the north developed, the problem of land transportation became acute. Mails had to be carried and passengers clamored for stage coaches. Thus, of particular interest to Winthrop, the old Salem Turnpike was built -- probably the first real road in what is now the United States.

This pike ran from the Winnisimmet Ferry over the Mystic, between Charlestown and Chelsea to Salem. Basically, it was an old Indian trail, as indeed most of the early highways in New England were. The settlers used these trails and as such they served well enough for men and women on foot or on horse-back -- but of course no wheeled vehicle could roll over them until they were widened and smoothed. The Old Salem Turnpike which has been considerably moved about since the early days, was picked out a number of years ago by Channing Howard of Winthrop and Mellen Chamberlain of Chelsea.

"Starting at the old ferry site, this road continued past the old ferry tavern (Taverns were an integral part of travel in the 18th Century) eastward by the Shurtleff farm mansion house, along what is now Hawthorn Street, up the present line of Washington Avenue, around Slade's Corner where the Carter farm mansion stood, and where the road leading to Medford and Cambridge branches to the west (now County Road) and on to Sagamore Hill, now known as Mount Washington, past the Pratt House and thence through to North Revere, Cliftondale, Saugus, and Lynn to Salem. When the road across the Lynn marsh was built, the Salem pike was relocated to go across Chelsea, probably what is now Broadway, straight down Broadway, Revere and so into Lynn. This saved many miles. Today the highway of


Route One, skips through the rear of Orient Heights, slides across Revere to cross the old pike at right angles and so to North Revere, Saugus and Danvers to the North." To reach Revere, Salem and even Newburyport, it is now necessary to turn right off the highway. In the old days, highways were built to connect towns; now they are built to avoid towns.

The first road in Winthrop of which there is any official record (probably the officials merely recognized an existing fact, when they got around to it) came in 1693 when the Selectmen of Boston, "Iaid out" a road which began at "Bill Tewksbury's gate" (there are many spellings of the name Tewksbury) at Pullin Point, along the shore by Beachmont to Crescent Beach and thence, turning left, up Beach Street, Revere, to the Chelsea church where it joined the Boston and Salem road.

By the time the Revolution came, this was about the physical condition of Winthrop, Revere and Chelsea. Men used the roundabout roads when they had to do so; otherwise they sailed or rowed boats. This may seem strange, because Boston in 1775 was the largest and most prosperous city in the colonies. The reason is that Winthrop, and to a minor degree less, Chelsea and Revere, were still farming communities -- actually one town.

In the early part of the 19th Century, Chelsea had grown and, as a separate town had its center with a town hall and a church at what is now Revere Center. A bridge was built across the Charles between Charlestown and Boston in 1785 -- before that the only way to leave Boston by land was out Roxbury Neck. Then when the Boston-Salem turnpike was built in 1802, a bridge was built over the Mystic between Charlestown and Chelsea. These conveniences to travel north and east resulted in a great development for Revere and Chelsea but Winthrop, being way out farther to the east was still aside from the stream of travel and commerce and hence drowsed along until almost the end of the 19th century as a peaceful farming community. The growth of Chelsea and Revere was so great that in 1846, Chelsea consented to Revere splitting away. Winthrop, of course went with Revere, a sort of tail to the dog.

At mid-century, just a hundred years ago, the third great geographical change was accomplished, Winthrop people, who had by then increased in number, began to chafe under the rule of Revere. Revere, for its part, was not at all concerned with the square mile of marsh and drumlins which was Winthrop and so, in 1852, Winthrop was established as the present town -- a separation which recent years have proved to be an excellent thing.

Winthrop at that time was still primarily agricultural. From time to time there had been attempts to establish industry


but all failed. sooner or later and Winthrop has remained practically industryless. From most points of view this has proved to be good -- for it has prevented the town from suffering the various evils and discomforts of industrial concentration. Economically, of course, there are disadvantages but on the whole Winthrop is very fortunate to be a town of homes alone.

Being so near Boston, Winthrop could not long continue to remain agricultural. Land increased in value to a point where it could not be profitably farmed. Outside pressure became so great that an opportunity developed for the division of the farms, and the subdivisions of the divisions so that almost every square foot of land, town property and marshes aside, became a house lot. There are few towns which are so thoroughly well built up as Winthrop is today -- just as there is no area of comparable charm so easily accessible to Boston.

The development of Winthrop out of farms to homes was made possible, by the establishment of transportation. Steamers plied for a time between the town and the city, but primarily it was the railroad which made the town's metamorphosis directly possible. Today the rails have been torn up and private cars and the bus line, feeding the Rapid Transit system at Orient Heights carry the load. Few communities are so thoroughly emptied of mornings and so filled up again at night in two brief peak loads as is Winthrop. But transportation is a story for a subsequent chapter.


----------------- Top

Chapter Two


MUCH of the modern, popular idea of the Indian stems from the idealized and imaginative figures created by the motion pictures. The Indian actually was very far from a noble savage. Judged by white standards, the redskin was mean, cruel, dirty and -- in short, vermin. The old saying, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" was a judgment based upon experience.

There can be no doubt that, according to their own lights, the Indians were justified in attempting to retaliate upon the white settlers. Any man worth his salt would fight by whatever means possible to save his home, his family and himself from brutalization and exile. No critic of the Indian, however bitter, would deny that the Indian was a first-class fighting man.

The trouble was that the Indian culture was so different from the European that the two could not exist side by side. On one ground alone, economic, this is abundantly clear. The Indians were primarily hunters. To subsist as such, a hunting culture requires comparatively vast areas of forest and water. The European culture was basically agricultural; a few acres would support a person. Thus New England could support a multitude more Englishmen than it could Indians. Now, to practice agriculture, it is necessary to destroy the forest cover, to allow the sun to strike in upon the soil. A hunting culture requires the forest be undisturbed. So -- conflict was inevitable and, given the superior weapons and social organization of the English, the result was inevitable. The Indian had to go. The manner of going can be criticised as having been far too brutal and bloody but sentimentalists of the 20th Century do not realize what the handful of whites faced.

There they were, a few men, women and children clutching grimly to a hand-hold along shore, practically safe only under the guns of their ships. Home and safety was not as now, perhaps 14 hours' flight away, but weeks and weeks of weary and uncertain voyaging over perilous seas in tiny ships. The settlers had to depend upon themselves. It is true they had muskets against the Indian bow and arrow and tomahawk-and scalping


knife. It is true that every able-bodied man and boy was a member of the militia, practically ex officio. It is true that the Indians could not withstand an attack by a body of militia.

But, the Indian traditionally followed a policy of strike and run. No one knew when at dawn, they would wake, if they did, to the sound of the warwhoop with their homes afire over their heads. So, the settlers were compelled to fight the Indians Indian fashion. They had to match savagery with even more brutal savagery. The only thing the Indian feared, and thus respected, was strength greater than he possessed. In other words, the Indian had to be shown it was not good business to kill a white man, woman or child. The showing consisted of the settlers killing Indian men, women and children. When the Great and General Court of Massachusetts put a bounty on Indian scalps just as it did on wolves and wildcats, it was not mere savagery but sober business. The Indians killed for scalps; the settlers must be encouraged to do likewise.

The early history of New England is bloody and bitter with its series of Indian wars -- with the Indians eventually being instigated and led by first the French and then the British. It is one of the ugliest chapters in human history -- but it must be read in light of the fact that conditions, social, religious, economic and moral, have changed greatly since the last warwhoop died away and the Indians were herded into reservations. In passing, it may be of interest to know that the Indians of New England, after being reduced to a mere fragment, are today increasing in numbers again. There are more Indians in New England now than there were in Civil War days.

The occupation of this area by humans before Boston was settled is obscure. Apparently, the original inhabitants, so far as is known, were the so-called Red Paint People. Graves have been found in Maine with the skeletons dyed red and with pots of red pigment buried close beside.

Evidently, the Red Paint People were pushed out or exterminated by a nation of small-statured and swarthy aborigines who occupied at least all of northeastern America. How long they were here, where they came from -- and all the rest, is a matter of mere legend.

Very likely, the small, dark people were in turn pushed out, by the familiar Indian of recorded history. These Indians, the red-skins, may have migrated out of Asia long, long ago, crossing into Alaska via the Bering Straits. Slowly these Indians made their way down the Pacific Coast, going southward until they either came into conflict with the tribes of Mexico, possibly the Mayas and the Incas, or their predecessors. Anyhow, the tide of red Indians turned left and came eastward across the Rockies


and into the great Mississippi Basin, There, they moved north as well as east. Finally, a portion of them occupied the Northeast, pushing out the small, dark people mentioned. The exiles seem to have gone north and east and it is possible that they are today either the Esquimaux or else their blood runs in Esquimaux veins.

The red Indians in the North East were members of what is called the Algonquian Nation -- an immense but very loose con-federation of tribes. Practically, the only reason for such a nation being established by scholars is that the tribes so united spoke a language with a common or Algonquian stock.

For greater concern, the Eastern Indians were so-called forest Indians which is to say their culture, being dependent upon the forest which covered their holdings, was very different from the culture of the Indians of the Great Plains, where trees were almost unknown, where the staff of life was buffalo. It is these Plains Indians, such as the Sioux, proud, fierce, eagle-nosed, and very accomplished fighters, that set the standard of the popular idea of the Indian. Eastern or woods Indians did not have horses to ride, nor did they wear the picturesque war bonnet. They were extinguished with comparative ease while the Sioux, for example, stood off the Army of the United States, such of it as was employed, for more than a generation.

The Indians of New England were sharply divided into various tribes -- although this word is actually a very loose term. The white settlers from England had a habit of naming the Indians according to the locality in which they lived, being particularly fond of naming a "tribe" after a river -- as the Kennebecs and the Penobscots in Maine. The French settlers also bestowed tribal names and the result was that historians are somewhat confused, since often the same group of Indians were given two or even more names. Thus the Indians who lived in Winthrop and vicinity have not been positively identified as to their tribe. There is a general understanding that they were members of the Massachusetts tribe but that is indefinite. Perhaps, as some authorities assert, the Indians of Metropolitan Boston were Pawtuckets. The point is unimportant. The serious point is that these Indians when the Puritans came were in a sorry condition. This was a very. fortunate circumstance -- for the settlers.

The old Norse sagas speak of the fighting quality and the strength and numbers of the Indians. Armed with swords, the Vikings, who were the best fighting men of Europe at the time, were no match for the savages -- who probably overwhelmed the Norsemen by sheer force of numbers and thus extinguished the colonies, or colony. Certainly, after the experience of the Vikings, Europeans had a healthy respect for the red men.


No one knows how many Indians lived in and around Boston in the early days. Fishermen had frequented the coast, including Boston Bay, for many years prior to "discovery" and settlement. These traded with the Indians somewhat and, on the whole maintained a friendly relationship -- since the fishermen did not try to settle permanently. From reports of these rough and ready spirits, strange tales found their way into the British mind. The woods of New England were imagined to be filled with wild beasts as horrid as anything a modern geologist can imagine while the Indians were counted as being "numberless as the leaves upon the trees."

One of the first and, possibly best estimates of Indians numbers, although it is probably greatly exaggerated, is that made by the Sieur Des Monts, who anchored his little ships off the Winthrop shore, towards Noddle's Island, in 1605 and named Boston Harbor, Port St. Louis, and claimed the area for the King of France.

Des Monts asserted that Boston was the center of a vast Indian population, one numbering between 150,000 and 200,000 souls. There may have been that many Indians then in all New England, although that too is very doubtful. The country simply would not support that many humans in a hunting culture.

The description Des Monts gives of the Indians at Boston is interesting -- if he was a poor census taker. He said that around about the harbor some thirty thousand fighting men were busy carrying fire and massacre into the villages of neighboring tribes, while they stood ready, to use his terms, to repel any attempt at settlement. The Indians, he reported lived in villages of bark houses, each large enough to shelter 30 or 40 persons, with the entire village fortified by a stout palisade of logs. These logs, poles is probably the better term, for the Indians did not have the tools to handle heavy timbers, were in turn surrounded by deep ditches. Entrance into the village was by a single plank (log is probably the better word) laid across the ditch and giving into a very narrow gate. Thus each village was very easily defended, against the stone-age weapons of the Indians themselves In actual combat with the settlers later, the villages were of course death traps, for just as they kept other Indians out so they kept the inhabitants caged. The white militia, as in King Philip's War, simply surrounded the village stealthily and then, at a signal, discharged their muskets into the village, setting it ablaze. Any Indian trying to escape was shot down and so the entire village was wiped out, men, women, children and dogs.

Of the Islands in the harbor, Des Monts speaks particularly, saying that they were occupied by Indian villages surrounded by fields of corn, beans, squash (pumpkins) and tobacco. Great


fleets of canoes swarmed out of the various inlets of the harbor to examine the little ship of Des Monts (it weighed but 17 tons) and the French admiral, awed by the display of Indian might, determined that fair and rich as Boston was, it could not be settled in face of the fierce Indians. So he turned north, after visiting Cape Cod, and settled the French in Acadia. Thus Indian curiosity over a white man's ship prevented the French taking possession of New England.

Captain John Smith, the great English adventurer, when he visited New England in 1614-15, had this to report to his backers of Boston and vicinity. "The country ... is the paradise of these parts, the sea coast as you pass shows you all along large corn fields and great troops of well-proportioned people. We found the people in these parts kindly but in their fury no less valiant."

A year later, a French trading vessel, probably very small by modern standards, anchored off Lovell's Island. A war party attacked the ship and killed the crew with the exception of four men who were taken as wild animals might be captured. Under careful guard, the unlucky Frenchmen were taken from one Indian village to the next and exhibited to the curiosity of the savages. Undoubtedly, the squaws were not kind. The fate of the slaves is not known; likely enough it was not merciful for the four were seized in retaliation for a raid by a Captain Hunt in 1614. Hunt seized about twenty Indians and took them to Spain where he sold them into slavery.

Had John Winthrop, and the Pilgrims at Plymouth for that matter, attempted settlement during these years, the fate of the two first towns might have been very different. It seems unlikely the proud and able Indians of eastern Massachusetts would have allowed white men to seize their land and level their forests. However, about 1617 or 1618, a fierce pestilence swept through the Indian villages. Possibly it was smallpox; probably it was a European disease which was communicated to the Indians by some fisherman or sailor. In any event, the Indians were very nearly wiped out of existence; only an impotent handful remaining.

And these few suffered further destruction at the hands of a very fierce tribe from Maine, the Tarrantines. The Tarrantines and the Massachusetts tribe were traditional enemies. For many years, the Massachusetts had been strong enough not only to hold the Maine Indians at arm's length but also had inflicted serious harm by almost annual raids. When the Tarrantines learned of the pestilence, they swept down and completed the ruin of the once very powerful Indians, particularly those along the coast of Massachusetts. Probably not three hundred fighting


men were left of all the Massachusetts tribe in 1620 when the Pilgrims came and in 1630 when the Puritans arrived.

Winthrop was certainly one of the choice items of Indian real estate but there is no knowledge of any particular activity here. In fact, there never was any Indian trouble within the limits of the town.

Certainly Indians lived here and probably in the Summer months, this was an Indian summer resort for members of friendly Indian groups. Indians commonly established two residences. During the warm months, they resorted to the sea shore, where they lived on fish and clams and lobsters. In the Fall, they returned inland, harvested the crops which they had planted in the Spring and then settled down deep in the forest to live the cold, starving months away with the help of wild game. When Spring returned, they planted their gardens and left once more for the seashore. Probably Winthrop was one such resort although there were unquestionably Indians in permanent residence here -- not very many, because there was not sufficient forest area to support a large village.

The Winthrop Indians at about the time of the pestilence were under the chieftainship of Nanepashemet (variously spelled). He probably ruled from a tribal village in Lynn or Saugus but after the Tarrantine attack had completed what the pestilence began, this chief moved his headquarters inland and erected a fortified village on the banks of the Mystic just north and west of the present Medford Square. This was tidal area then, for the lock at the Square had not been built -- of course. Here the chief was attacked by raiding Tarrantines in 1619, and although he and his men fought valiantly, they were all slaughtered.

He left a widow, the Squaw Sachem, and three sons; Nonohaquaham, Montowampate, and Winepoykin, or as they were better known to the English, Sagamore John, Sagamore James, and Sagamore George, respectively. The widow more or less retired to Salem and left the government of the stricken tribe to her three sons. Winthrop's Indians came at first under the jurisdiction of John, who was a kindly man and admired the English. He wore English clothes and was apparently converted to Christianity.

James, who took over after John's death, was much less friendly to the settlers. It is reported, although no confirmation can be found, that James led an attack upon Samuel Maverick's farm in Chelsea. He was the first settler in Winnisimmet, preceding the Puritans. Maverick was a stalwart soul and he repulsed the Indians so fiercely that there was never again any trouble with the Indians in this area. That may be the reason


for no Indian trouble here but it would be more pleasing to believe another explanation. This one runs that the Indians here were attacked by an epidemic of smallpox in 1633. The victims were abandoned by their own people but the white settlers moved in and nursed the Indians at the risk of their own lives. Despite stories to the contrary, Indians do feel gratitude and did exhibit that virtue. Hence this may explain why there never was any trouble here. Of course, Boston was too big for an Indian attack and Winthrop was under the shadow of the big town. Also, there were very few Indians left hereabouts when serious Indian troubles came.

Anyhow, James did not like the English at all, feeling that they would complete the ruin of the Massachusetts tribe that the pestilence and the Tarrantines had so well begun. His animosity failed to amount to anything, however, for he died very soon. The third brother, Sagamore George, then took over the reins of Indian government and he at once began to make trouble for the settlers at Rumney Marsh and Pullin Point. Being comparatively well educated, he substituted the courts for the tomahawk and for some ten years he kept the settlers in an anxious state. George contended the settlers held their land by illegal title. He brought suit after suit in the inferior courts and filed petition after petition with the General Court. These were all eventually dismissed but at the time the legality of the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony itself was in question in Parliament.

Undoubtedly, the English kings had been careless with their gifts and charters-but then no one had the least idea of the extent of America. After all, gifts and charters were just words on paper concerned with a miserable wilderness three thousand miles overseas. So the settlers at Pullin Point, just in case, gave in to Sagamore George for the sake of security and purchased their lands from him, for trifles, on June 4, 1685. Soon afterwards, the suit was dismissed in the British courts and the validity of the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter affirmed. So the Pullin Point settlers once again received new titles to their lands from the colony and so rested secure.

There is eyebrow lifting over the small payments the whites gave the Indians for the lands. However, there is no evidence that the settlers dealt unfairly, in this particular at least, with the Indians. The Indians were satisfied with what they accepted; they had to be, for under the General Court all men, red or white, were treated with impartiality. Any Indian could recover property unjustly held by a settler.

It must be remembered too that the Indians were the object of official as well as much individual and private concern and


loving-kindness, to use the old word now unhappily out of use. Indeed, it was one of the objects of Boston to Christianize the Indians. The bringing of the Gospel to the Indians was as earnestly projected as were the missionary labors of the Catholic Church in Spanish dominions to the south. Methods differed between Mexico. and Boston but zeal was the same. It was duty to bring the word of God to the heathen and the Puritans did what they could.

However, the Boston Indians were different in character from the limp and indifferent Indians of Mexico and Peru. The New England savage was a brave and stalwart person who would rather fight than do most anything else. They were stubborn and conversion proceeded slowly indeed. Aside from the character of the Indians, the Puritans faced an impossible task.

Just for an example, Christianization meant adopting the white man's ethics. This meant work, hard work and regular work, for idleness was a very grave Puritan sin. The Indian would labor long and hard when hunting or fishing. Then he rested, between feasts and games and dances. Now and then he took time off to enjoy a little fighting with an enemy tribe. It was their way of life. Regular employment was utterly abhorrent. The Indian, once he was crushed into impotence, was finally allowed more or less officially to go his own way.

The fear and hatred of the Indian still persisted, however, and in King Philip's war -- the final attempt of the Indians to push the whites back into the sea -- it was thought advisable to herd the Indians together in a safe place so there would be no depredations, however friendly and spiritless the Boston Indians professed to be. So, in November of 1675, the General Court established what amounted to a concentration camp on Deer Island. Here several hundred Indians were unceremoniously confined. Neither food nor fuel was provided.; they had to make the most of what the little Island offered. For two years the Indians were thus kept out of harm's way, at the cost of their great privation and downright suffering. It is not a pleasant picture.

During the years of joint habitation by whites and reds, no settler ever thought of making any record or preserving any tools and materials of the Indian. They were merely tolerated and soon were liquidated -- those left alive joining larger villages to the north and west. Then for many years the Indians were completely forgotten. During the past 100 years, particularly during the past two decades, under the inspiration of Sidvin Frank Tucker, custodian of the Town Museum in the Public Library, some amount of Indian relics have been collected and preserved.


One of the outstanding "finds" was made in 1888 when, under the direction of Channing Howard, town engineer for many years, Indian graves were uncovered while grading was in progress for the construction of the Boston, Revere-Beach and Lynn Railroad. The site was at about the platform of the Center Station, where today Jefferson Street runs into Woodside Avenue. Harry Whorf, then a boy recently brought to Winthrop by his family, was intensely interested, and joined Mr. Howard in photographing the graves' contents. These consisted of some ten graves, each about three feet deep. In addition to the skeletons of men, women and children, some pottery, arrowheads, stone tools and the like were preserved. One Indian did not die in his bed for an arrowhead was found imbedded in his spine. The materials were turned over to the Peabody Museum at Harvard for preservation.

Sometime later another skeleton was found when the foundation was dug for the Edward B. Newton School on Pauline Street. Of interest is also the fact that an old deed gives as one boundary the old Indian fort, which was about where the present Baptist Church is located. This was not a fort at all in the modern sense; probably being nothing more than a wooden palisade with, perhaps, a ditch on the outside.

Just how the Indians in Winthrop lived must be surmised since there is no record. However, it is probable that they lived like the other Massachusetts Indians in nearby areas.

In appearance, the Massachusetts Indians were of "decent aspect." They were between five and six feet in height and had the characteristic aquiline features. The bust of an Indian used by the National Shawmut Bank of Boston is considered a reasonably good, although idealized, portrait of a local Indian. The Indian women were hardly handsome, by European standards, but "reasonably attractive." Some of the settlers, following the example of the earlier seasonal fishermen from Europe, entered into relations with these squaws and described them as being "handsome and well-formed, well-mannered and continent."

Contrary to popular opinion, these Eastern forest Indians did not wear feathers to any extent-certainly not like the war bonnets of the Sioux. Boys wore their hair long until manhood and then cut it off variously, leaving the scalp-lock. It is likely that the shape of the "hair cut" was something of a tribal badge so that one scalp could be distinguished from another.

Both men and women were fond of decorating themselves in various ways. In the green of the Summer forest and the black and white of Winter, color was highly prized by these primitives. While some of the warriors chose to burn patterns


of scars on face and abdomen by means of irons heated in a fire, most decoration consisted of the application of various pigments, usually native earths. Much of this painting was done on the face. Men excelled at this art and any really serious decoration was their masculine prerogative. The various reds and blacks and yellows as well as the patterns used, had religious, military and social significance. Black was reserved for war while red was more or less social. Whites, blues and yellows were also used. Women used black for mourning alone. To make themselves attractive, they commonly used blue upon their cheeks, instead of the rouge our women use.

Clothing ran through a wide latitude; it was chiefly a matter of the weather. In Summer, and indoors when the huts were warm enough, commonly nothing at all was worn. Usually, however, both men and women seem to have considered a sort of breech garment as the foundation of their apparel. These "pants" were made of various animal materials, such as buckskin, tanned until soft and pliable. Very frequently, the skins of various wild animals were employed, either shaved of fur or with the fur left in place. When going into the Woods, as hunting, the men wore leather leggings to protect their shins. These, as most tanned garments, were often painted with more or less geometrical designs in blue and red and yellow.

On their feet, men and women usually wore the Indian moccasin. The style of these varied from tribe to tribe. In warm weather the moccasins were low-cut but in the Winter they were higher, something like the snow-pacs familiar in Canada today. When snows were deep, leggings were worn by both men and women, often being held in place by leather straps which fastened upwards to the bottom of the breech clout like garters. This strapping was peculiarly a woman's attire, however; men usually scorning such limitation of freedom of action.

We hear much about buckskin shirts. Apparently the Indians did not use them until they came to copy the shirts worn by the settlers. Instead, when the weather was cold, the Indians simply draped the upper part of their bodies in a robe-like wrap made of fur. These robes hung about the shoulders and were belted in at the waist. For outdoor wear, they were short enough to reach to the knees but indoors the robes were long enough to actually trail upon the ground. Raccoon skins were highly prized for these robes and wild-cat was also popular. Only wealthy Indians could afford such garments.

Usually the robes were of deerskin or moosehide, tanned to a remarkable whiteness which afforded a good background for the ornamental Indian paintings. The robes were not stitched on the right side at all and only a little on the left. Thus the right


arm was usually bare and the left arm could be bared quickly when need for action arose. In coldest weather, robe was piled on robe. The Indians, inured to even New England weather from birth, were doubtless comfortable enough -- for the settlers often remarked that they would appear nearly naked in chilly weather and yet be thoroughly warm.

Probably the Indians were like birds and animals; they obtained body heat by eating heavily in cold weather and more lightly when the season was warm. However, the Indians, like all wild creatures, seldom stinted themselves. They ate what there was when it was available. Then they would sleep until hunger woke them again. Then they would gorge themselves and sleep. This process continued until war or the need for obtaining more food spurred them into activity.

The settlers often referred to the Indians as dirty. This was only the careless use of a derogatory adjective, for the Indians as a whole were cleaner about their person than the average settler. They bathed freely and frequently and brushed their teeth mornings with a "brush" made by chewing the end of a twig until it was frayed. The men did not shave. Indian men do not have heavy beards, like white men, to begin with, and what hairs did sprout were carefully, if painfully, plucked out one by one. The hair of the heads of women (men wore just a scalp lock) was worn long and was naturally black, thick and coarse in texture. This hair was frequently dressed with animal fat to make it glossy like the plumage of a crow. It was odoriferous.

Contrary to the usual idea, these Massachusetts Indians did not live in tepees or wigwams. Instead they lived in very unromantic huts. These were of two kinds -- the long house and the round house.

The long house, usually the Winter abode, was rectangular in shape and was about 25 feet in width and as long as was necessary to accommodate the several families who built it and shared it. Some may have been as much as 100 feet in length. The idea of these community dwellings was that since each family maintained a fire, the long house, for all its flimsy construction, was usually fairly warm. These were the original American tenements, although horizontal instead of vertical. Sanitary arrangements were very simple; the whole outdoors was just outside.

These long houses were built by setting up parallel walls of frame-work of poles lashed together. The roof united the walls and held them firmly in place, being built of limber poles bent in an arch so as to give a round arch form to the cross-section. The framework was covered not with skins but with


sheets of bark. Birch was the best, since it peeled off easily in great sheets. The bark, cut into convenient squares, was dried under pressure and then sewn to the framework with leather thongs.

Round houses, which were for Summer use as a rule, were much smaller, since they were usually used by individual families or, at the most, two or three closely related families, such as married children come home to live with the old folks. These round houses were hemispherical, being made by setting a circle of limber poles in the ground and then bending them inwards to the center where they were lashed together. Bark was used to sheathe them often although mats woven of marsh grass and reeds were also employed. These same mats were sometimes used indoors in Winter as floor coverings at the point where people sat or slept -- usually the same place.

The round houses had two doors; usually one to the south-west and one to the north-east. Thus in warm weather, the prevailing south-west wind could blow right through. When the weather was foul, the doors could be closed. Long houses usually had as many doors as there were families living inside -- and each family used its own door. These doors were just holes in the walls which were covered by a curtain of skins.

In the Summer, the Indians kept all fires outside, for they were used only for cooking. In the Winters, in the long houses, each family had its own fire. A hearth was made by building a low platform of stones in the middle of the family's space. There was a hole directly above in the roof and some of the smoke found its way out -- eventually. The rising current of warm air effectually kept rain and snow out of these holes.

The government of the Indians was very simple and very strict -- violation of the code was punished by fines of furs or by the imposition of servitude to the injured person for a fitting period of time. Theft was considered a very grave matter if it was from a member of the village. Theft from an enemy was considered an admirable matter. Murder was not regarded too seriously and could be paid off by fines as a rule, if members of the victim's family did not take immediate and private revenge. One murder was considered wiped out by another.

As a rule, the village, or tribe, was ruled by two great chiefs, with subordinate chiefs in other villages subject to the largest one. One of these chiefs was a sort of political leader, a sachem. He was the arbiter of most things and held stern rein over all his subjects. Commonly, this chief held office by right of heredity, although, in case of a vacancy, a political leader could be chosen out of the ranks -- the choice usually being made on the basis of demonstrated wisdom and ability.


The other chief was the war leader. He was chosen not by heredity but by his demonstrated ability. He must be a skilled warrior, of course, and have plenty of scalps to attest his prowess. More important, however, was his skill in organizing and leading a raid, plus his ability to plan and maintain the defenses of the villages. Sometimes these two types of chiefs were united in a single person but usually the heredity, political chief was not considered able to lead the warriors.

Under the chieftains were the elders of the tribe, who sat as a sort of council. With them sat the warriors, who could take part in councils. It is not clear how voting upon a decision was made, if at all. However, every least detail of the community life was determined in these councils with the political chief or sub-chief, in the case of a subsidiary village, as a sort of moderator. All Indians were passionately devoted to oratory and the council would sit for hours listening with delight as various members expounded their opinions in prose of inordinate length and ornamentation. A gift for oratory was priceless to the Indians and their great orators were, commonly, their great leaders; the gift of fluency and articulateness was the passport to advancement within the tribes.

To the settlers, the Indians were savage heathens. Nevertheless, the Indians did have a very real and a very serious religion which they lived devoutly. Indeed, few white men were ever so conscious of the other world as were the Indians. Of course, the Indians had no formal theology or church. They all believed, instinctively, in a Supreme Being -- who was for all His indefiniteness, a very real influence in their lives. He was vague and far away but was the ultimate arbiter of their future in the Happy Hunting Grounds.

Just as real, was the Indians' sense of evil. This was not personified as Satan, for the Indians did not employ anthropomorphism in their religion.

Both these forces, the first for good, and the other for bad, were operating for the Indian through minor units. For the sake of simplicity and understanding these forces were associated with the forces of Nature and with wild animals. Each Indian had a guardian spirit who was always with him and was ready to help him in peril or in case of real need. At the same time, evil influences were constantly waiting to attack him, to lay traps for his unwary feet. To gain the support of the good, the Indian commonly resorted to prayer, not necessarily formal in the Christian sense. Also, since there is always a good deal of magic entering into a primitive religion, they resorted to carrying amulets of one kind or another. There should be no mistaking the religious personality of the Indian, however. Voices spoke



to him in the winds, in the forest and on the water. The behavior of birds and of animals was always indicative of warning or, equally so, advance word of good fortune.

And according to their lights, the Indians observed their religion faithfully. It was not a one-day a week religion at all; it was constant all his life. Certainly he burned, murdered and tortured his enemies; that was the Indian way. But he was honorable, decent, kindly and even heroic -- to members of his family and of his tribe. Beyond that pale, he was at eternal war and in war everything went -- if he chose to behave as a veritable demon against his enemies, that was laudable. If he failed and was captured, he underwent his tortures stoically -- for he would have done precisely the same to his prisoners, if the case was reversed.

This religion was in a sense administered by the medicine men. These may be considered as clergy. They were in the sense that they led in tribal prayers during council and gave counsel on ethical matters when desired, although most Indians made their own peace with God. Actually, the medicine men were more than priests. For one thing they were doctors. Perhaps their practice was worthless, for praying out an evil spirit with appropriate ceremonies and dances may not be as efficacious as a dose of sulpha drugs -- but at least the patient was made to feel better, and that is commonly a good part of the battle. Then too the materia medica of the Indians was far from being contemptible. They knew the herbs of the fields and forests as part of their professional training and many an English settler called upon Indian herb lore when sickness struck. Indeed, herbs are still widely used today; some of them being an integral part of modern medical treatment.

Finally, the medicine man was the tribal teacher. His duty was to preserve the traditions and the myths of his group. Of course Indians did not have any means of recording such things. Picture writing is well enough for elementary statements but it cannot replace the printed word. The Indians were very largely dependent upon tribal lore for their continued existence as a community, even as a tribe. Their religion, their history -- all that they were and would be was crystallized in these legends and myths. It is a great loss to America that much of this material is now lost forever. What remains indicates great beauty and a remarkable understanding of creation. Perhaps America might have had a Homeric epic -- but strictly American.

The medicine men, who passed on their considerable knowledge by word of mouth down through the generations, taught the children what it was fit and proper they should know. Then, when the tribe was in council, they would be called up to propitiate


the spirits and also to recite such matter of history or legend as was appropriate to the particular circumstances. Upon this "information" the Indians commonly based their decisions -- unless a great orator arose in opposition and swayed them with his tide of fluent ideas and images. Indian medicine men should not be dismissed with contempt as magicians. They were that -- but they were also priests, doctors, teachers, historians and wise counsellors.

The men of the tribe had their own sphere of duties sharply prescribed -- as did the women. Children were allowed to play at will until they were old enough to take on their share of duties. They were cute and playful as puppies and very commonly treated with great indulgence, provided they did not over-step the bounds of good behavior.

The men had as their first job the duty of protecting the family and the tribe. Every boy was brought up to be a fighter and he spent his boyhood learning how to fight successfully. Next the men had the duty of providing food. This was no idle matter for it was often arduous to an extreme. There is a great difference between a high-powered rifle and a bow and arrow; just as there is between a split-bamboo fishing rod and a sparkling, trout-fly and a rude line twisted of bark fiber with a bone hook at the end. The men also had the job of making their own weapons, their canoes and the clearing of land for planting.

Women had their duties, too; there was a very sharp division of labor between the sexes, Perhaps the greatest humiliation. which could be heaped upon a captured warrior was to force him to perform women's work under the eye and the jeers of the squaws -- who incidentally, usually performed the torture of captives, for they were more ingenious in causing excruciating pain than were the dignified warriors.

Women cared for the houses and the children, wove mats and made boxes of bark, they prepared the bark coverings for the houses, they gathered seeds, roots and berries, they tanned the skins and made leather and, amongst many other chores, cultivated the gardens. It is common to think that the warriors loafed while the squaws worked. This is not true, save in the old sense that "man works from sun to sun; woman's work is never done."

The Indian agriculture is hardly worth the name; gardens is the better term. Aside from tobacco, the Indians grew principally just three staple crops -- corn, beans and pumpkins. The corn was very poor in quality compared to modern hybrids. The beans were probably of the type now known as "horticultural." Likely enough some of the old-time strains of these variously colored and marked beans are still grown in remote farms in


the hills of New England. The pumpkins were far from the Blue Hubbards or the Red Turbans of today. Instead they seem to have been miserable little pumpkins of very small food value.

Lacking tools, fertilizer, insecticides and fungicides, Indian gardening was reduced to its simplest terms. The braves prepared the ground by killing trees. They could not chop them down; either they killed them by chopping a girdle around the trunk or by setting fire to the woods. Commonly gardens were moved about for fresh ground every few years; thus avoiding the need for fertilizing and also missing insect and disease troubles.

The squaws then took over. Without a plow of any kind, they just took forked sticks, or a bent stick to which a shell or sharp bone was lashed, and scratched holes here and there among the dead trees and stumps. Into each hole went a few grains of corn, a few beans and a few pumpkin seeds. The corn grew up and provided poles upon which the beans climbed. The pumpkins sprawled along the ground. This was a three story agriculture. Interestingly enough, typical corn fields with all three crops growing together, or two of them, may still be seen in the hill farms of New England. It saves space and labor. There is a story that the Indians did fertilize each hill by putting a fish at the bottom. This is rather doubtful because the decayed fish the first few months would hinder rather than help the crop. Instead of fertilizing this way, the Indians just moved their garden patch to a new spot whenever the crops ran down. It was a very good way indeed -- for the virgin soil, although acid in pH value was very rich and fertile -- and corn, beans and pumpkins do not mind a mildly acid soil. And of course the ashes from the burned trees provided a fertilizer rich in potash as well as neutralizing the acidity somewhat. Indian agriculture was crude but it was effective. The corn and beans were dried and stored for winter use; the pumpkins were kept for a while but not very long for they spoiled easily. Sometimes the crops were stored in birch bark baskets or in baskets woven of canes from the marsh or red ash splints. Usually, however, large amounts were admirably stored by burying them in a pit beyond the reach of frost and of rodents.

As hunters, considering what tools they had, the Indian men were marvelous. The bow and arrow was the major tool and some of these were magnificently made. An arrow sent from a stout bow would knock over a deer or a bear, fox or wolf, much better than even a high-powered rifle can today. The reason is, of course that the shocking power of an arrow is far greater than that of a small, if high-speed bullet. Bows were usually made of walnut or ash, and strings were deftly twisted


from moose sinew. Often they were beautifully decorated. Arrows were made of various wood, such as cedar and ash, which could be split straight. Elder shoots, being straight, were sometimes employed, especially in hunting small game. Sharp triangles of marble, flint or quartz were employed as arrow heads although as soon as possible, the Indians traded with the whites for brass and copper for this purpose. Bits of bone, deer antlers, spines of horse-shoe crabs and many other things were also employed for arrow heads but of them all, save metal, the flint head was considered best -- if flint could be found. Eagle feathers were used for war arrows while turkey feathers served for hunting.

Deer were hunted by stalking with the bow and arrow but they were also driven into traps where they could be clubbed to death. Bears and other animals were as a rule trapped although no Indian would hesitate to shoot an arrow into a bear and then leap upon the infuriated animal with only his knife. Moose, and all the rest, were hunted similarly. Trapping was used in Winter, especially, because in warm weather it was difficult to preserve any quantity of meat very long. It could be, and was, cut into strips, sun dried and then smoked, but the resulting product was sort of an emergency ration and fresh meat was greatly preferred. The Indians, after the settlers came, found they vastly preferred cow to deer, bear and moose, and a great deal of friction resulted.

As fishermen, the Indians were equally skilled. Hooks and lines were used but not commonly. Instead, the Indians wove nets, built traps and even shot fish along the shore or in brooks with bow and arrow. This was something of an art, due to the refraction of the water -- but then the Indians had to be good fishermen and hunters, or else they would starve. Fur bearing animals were taken at first only for clothes but when the white traders came and offered muskets, blankets, rum and all manner of gimcracks, then the Indians turned to hunting for fur in a big way, often neglecting to provide food for their families in sufficient amount.

The Indians in Winthrop, as all along shore caught cod and haddock and eels and the rest in season in quantity. These were split and dried for winter use. Clams, oysters and lobsters were taken and enjoyed as well. Winthrop Indians were very fortunate in this respect for they could find sea food along the beaches at all times of the year. Often after a bad storm, they would simply just walk along the beach as the tide went out and pick up all they and their families could eat.

Wild roots and berries were taken, enjoyed in season, and dried for storage to some extent. Primarily, however, the Indian


was a meat and fish eater with his corn and beans as a supplementary ration. Commonly, most of the year they feasted in plenty but sometimes in the hitter deeps of the Winter, they went hungry for considerable periods. They were really not provident; being rather childish on the whole. They trusted to the forest, the streams and the beaches to keep them fed.

In war, the bow and arrow was employed somewhat but the typical Indian battle was a brief hand to hand struggle, launched by a surprise attack, usually at dawn. Knives, made of sharpened quartz or flint were silent and the Indian dearly loved to kill silently. War clubs were used too. These were made from the basal sections of small trees, a ball-shaped knob being carved out from the thickened portion where the roots branch off. They were a formidable weapon, although not as silent as a knife. The tomahawk was of various kinds. An English axe was dearly prized as a weapon, because it would take and hold an edge. Before steel became available, the Indians made their tomahawks in two major types. One was simply a hammer. This was made of a lump of stone, spindle shaped, inset into the end of a cleft handle and then lashed in place. This was a clumsy but useful weapon. The other type of tomahawk consisted of the same cleft stick with a thin wedge of stone lashed in place. This stone was quartz or flint, split as much as desirable into a plate, and then with the edge chipped off painstakingly and finally whetted to a cutting edge by endless abrasion against another "hone" of the same or a harder stone. Some of these tomahawks were beautiful, light, well-balanced and formidable weapons.

Indians had little use for transportation facilities on land at least. They simply picked up their burdens, and walked. On water it was very different, for they made canoes. Some of these were dugouts; sections of great logs, cut down and hollowed out by burning and scraping. These were heavy and awkward craft, liable to capsize. The real Indian accomplishment, probably the flower of the Indian culture, was the birch bark canoe. The framework was of cedar poles, carefully split and shaven to proper size and evenness. The sheets of birch bark were lashed over the framework with root fibers and any holes sealed with spruce gum. The result was a craft so light it could be easily carried on a man's back and yet large and strong enough to carry considerable burdens with ease in water of surprisingly little depth. The settlers, marveling and soon building their own, used to say, "a good canoe was one which could float across a meadow in a heavy dew." The most interesting thing about these frail but very strong and seaworthy canoes was the perfection of their lines. The design has never 'been improved upon -- and probably never will for it was completely functional


and was developed through many generations of practical employment.

The Indians made fire by striking a spark from two stones and allowing it to fall upon dry tinder made from shredded bark. The best stones were dual in nature -- one was a lump of iron pyrites; the other a flint. There was some use of the bow-drill, too, but in general, the Indians avoided this difficult means of making fire by always keeping at least one burning in every village. Elderly squaws were the fire tenders and were held strictly accountable.

Household utensils were crude. Bowls were carved out of wood, basswood being favored. Spoons were also made of basswood. The settlers soon adopted the Indian's bowls and spoons. Baskets, bags and boxes were made of woven grass, ash splints and the like and served many purposes. Some pouches were also made of deerskin. Birch bark was freely employed for baskets and boxes, too. All these things were handsomely dyed with colors taken from roots, barks and berries. Sometimes designs would be made of porcupine quills, also dyed in bright colors. Some clay and pottery vessels were made, too, but the Indians lacked heat enough to bake clay properly and their pots were both clumsy and fragile. Meat and fish were cooked by being turned on a spit over hot coals. Sometimes stews would be made in earthen pots but not very often. For ovens, a hole was dug in the ground, heated by an intense fire, and then, the food was placed on top of the coals, properly protected, and the hole covered over until the food was done. Sometimes fish, for example, would be wrapped in clay and thrust into a fire. When the fish was done, the clay would be cracked off, taking the skin with it -- and there the fish would be ready to eat. Naturally, when traders and settlers came, the Indians eagerly traded off land and furs for copper and iron pots. Only a musket or steel axe was more prized than a brass kettle or iron pot.

Most Indians existed upon what was available under their hands. There was some inter-tribal trading, however. Flint from Michigan has been found in Indian graves in New England. Probably much material as flint passed hand to hand from tribe to tribe over lengthy periods. The Indians did not use money in our sense. Instead they employed barter; trading what they had for what they wanted. Wampum, made of bits of shell beads woven into strips of intricate design, was hardly money in the sense we use the term. It was simply an article which had value; just as did a bear skin, a beaver pelt or a fine tomahawk.  

For just a final word about the Indians; they were not always dull and stolid; such was their attitude towards strangers. Indeed, Indians were fond of amusement and played as strenuously   


as they fought. The beaches, such as those at Lynn and Revere were great meeting places for inter-tribal contests. In the Summers, when food was abundant and living easy, probably hundreds of Indians would assemble and pass not days alone but weeks in ceremonious sportings.

These contests were both by individuals of ambition, determined to distinguish themselves, and by groups of young warriors from rival tribal groups who sought to gain honor. Often a line was drawn in the sand and this line represented neutral ground. Before any contest, whether group or private, the contestants would stand on either side of this line, and express amity. By this means any danger of a reprisal by those who had been defeated was prevented -- for according to his lights, the Indian was an honorable man.

In the center of this line, also, a tall pole with cross arms, probably the stubs of branches, was erected, and on which the contestants or their advocates would hang their wagers on the forthcoming game or trials. Sad to say, the Indian was an inveterate gambler and would often wager all that he possessed upon a single game. The contests were mostly of a crude nature, according to white witnesses. There were races -- running, leaping, shooting and other tests -- even contests for oratory and singing -- for the Indians had their own music strange as it may have sounded to English ears. The most interesting game of all for the Indian was a sort of football. The ball, about the size of a basketball, or smaller, was kicked into the air at the start of the game. The object was to keep this ball in the air while at the same time the contending teams attempted to advance it beyond the "goal" line of the other team. The Indians played this game on the sand in their bare feet so there was seldom any harm done by a misplaced kick. There seems to have been no limit to the number of contestants and the games must have frequently degenerated into a rowdy business.

The Indians were also very fond of their own games of chance and often wagered their entire possessions upon what corresponds to the turn of a card in modern play. They had a sort of dice game played with bits of bone but one of the most popular was a game called hub-hub. To play this, the Indians sat in a circle and one of the players took a wooden bowl into which he dropped a number of flat pieces of bone, painted white on one side and black on the other. The "dealer" then struck the bowl smartly on the ground causing the bones to fly into the air. Allowed to fall back to earth, the number of white pieces turned up determined the player's score. Then he passed the bowl to the player on his right and so on around and around the circle for hours. The players all made a great noise by merely shouting


the word Hub-hub-hub in a sort of chant. Thus the word Hub-hub was applied by the English to the game.

A great part of the interest in these Summer sports encampments lay in the great feasts which were a nightly feature. While the braves played or watched the sports, some of the squaws would catch lobsters or dig clams while other braves would come back from an early morning hunting or fishing trip with meat, birds and fish. Then the savages, as darkness ended the sports, would join in a mighty feast; stuffing themselves till they could hold no more. Whereupon they rolled over and slept until the next morning brought more sports and the evening brought another feast. Pity the poor savage!

It may be remarked that the settlers, who, as said, did not approve of either idleness or gluttony, discouraged these sports and, when liquor was obtained by the Indians the resulting melees were enough to justify the authorities in putting a stop to them. However, this official frown did not interfere with young Englishmen horse racing on the sands of Revere Beach early in the mornings when no one was about.


----------------- Top

Chapter Three


JOHN WINTHROP, the man for whom our town was named, is one of the least appreciated leaders of the settlement of America. Men who accomplished much less have been more honored. Personally, he was a man of great strength of character and yet, modest, quiet and kindly. Undoubtedly, he exemplified sincere and deep religious convictions. He also demonstrated an assured belief in the supreme importance of his leadership of the establishment of Boston. It is difficult to distinguish between the two parts of his personality, because they were closely related -- but it is certain that he found strength in both. He was in great need of support of both religion and an awareness of the importance of his work. He suffered domestic bereavement, financial and administrative troubles, constant checks and disappointments -- yet he laid the solid foundation of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. He was "The Father of New England" and beyond all doubt, a great man of the beginnings of the United States.

In the Cambridge Modern History, Winthrop is described as follows: " ... Cast in the same mould and trained in the same school as John Hampden, John Winthrop represented all that was best and most attractive in Puritanism. His definiteness of mind and his constructive statesmanship were invaluable to a young Colony, while his modesty, humility and sweetness of temper enabled him to work with men of a narrower and more austere cast of mind, and to moderate what might have been evil in their influence."

John Winthrop was born 12 January 1588, near Sudbury, Suffolk, England, a descendant of Adam Winthrop, to whom the manor of Groton, formerly a part of the property of the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds, had been given by Henry VIII. Winthrop entered Cambridge University in 1602 but studied there only a short time for, when but 17 years of age, he married Mary Forth, daughter and heiress of John Forth of Great Stambridge, Essex. Mary, who was four years older than her husband, bore John Winthrop three sons and three daughters. She


died in 1615. About Mary very little is known. John Winthrop simply said she was a "right, godly woman."

Within six months of her death, Winthrop married his second wife, Thomasine Clopton of Castleins Manor, Groton. She died a year and a day later and her child, a daughter, died soon after birth. Of her, Winthrop wrote: " ... She was a woman wise, modest, loving, and patient of injuries. She was truly religious, and industrious therein; free from guile, and very humble-minded. Her loving and tender regard of my children was such as might well become a natural mother; as for her carriage towards myself, it was so amiable and observant as I am not able to express."

Then, in 1618, John married, at Great Maplestead, Essex, Margaret, daughter of Sir John Tyndal. With Margaret he lived in great happiness, until June of 1647 when she died. Early in 1648, John married, for the fourth time, Martha, daughter of Captain William Rainsborough, and widow of Thomas Coytmore. One son was born of this fourth union. In all, his four wives gave him sixteen children.

Of the four wives, it was Margaret, the third, with whom he lived for thirty years, who exercised the greatest influence. She was the wife for whom he had the greatest affection, apparently. Certainly, it was due to her influence that his original religious attitude, one characterized by typical, self-accusing Puritan extremes, was tempered by common-sense. John in his youth was very zealous and this attitude continued for several years. While at Cambridge he had planned to take holy orders but his practical father persuaded him to turn to law instead and, probably, encouraged his first marriage as a means of turning him to more worldly interests. Accordingly, John Winthrop was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1628 -- an experience which undoubtedly was of considerable value to him when he became the leader of the Colony at Boston.

John Winthrop was, of course, a very earnest Puritan -- and such in a day when religion was of more influence than now. Thus, when Parliament was dissolved in 1629, he was profoundly depressed, fearing not only for the welfare of all England politically, socially and economically, but also seeing the end of liberty. He wrote in fact that "evil times are come when the Church must fly to the wilderness." From this he went on to propose to prominent Puritan leaders that a colony in New England should be erected in so far as possible as a self-governing unit. Thus, he pointed out, not only would religious and political freedom be assured but there, overseas, in the howling wilderness, a new England could be created, an England purged of all but the good and true. This proposal of Winthrop's was of great


importance because it directed the attention of the promoters of the Boston Colony to him, particularly as good material for its leader.

John Fiske, in his The Beginnings of New Enqland, reports. " ... On 26 August, 1629, twelve men among the most eminent in the Puritan party held a meeting at Cambridge and resolved to lead an emigration to New England provided a charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the government established under it could be transferred to that country. On examination it appeared that no legal obstacle stood in the way. For Governor, the choice fell upon John Winthrop, who was henceforth to occupy the foremost place among the founders of New England. Winthrop, at that time 41 years of age, was a man of remarkable strength and beauty of character, grave and modest, intelligent and scholarlike, intensely religious yet withal liberal in his opinions and charitable in disposition. When his life shall have been adequately written he will be recognized as one of the very noblest figures in American history. . .. "

Under Winthrop's leadership, as is well known, Boston made remarkable strides and became the first city in America. Within a year of his appointment as Governor, he had organized 17 ships voyages from England and brought over more than a thousand settlers. Within four years, he had led the planting not only of Boston but twenty other towns and villages on the shore of hills around the Bay. Many permanent houses had been built, some roads were laid out and the military defense of the Colony was well prepared.

By 1636, led by Winthrop, Harvard was founded, the first and the greatest of all American universities. Perhaps more Important, hardly had the settlers had time to look around them, than Boston Latin School was established, the first "high school" in America. In truth, the Puritans were sober, earnest and industrious people and Winthrop was the leader who could organize their abilities and qualities into accomplishment.

By 1643, so well had Winthrop labored-and his course was not smooth -- Boston had 16,000 inhabitants. This is more than all the other colonies in English America at that time lumped together.

Winthrop Town can well be proud of the man for whom it is named. Practically every historian writing of colonial New England testifies to the man's merit. Reginald W. Jeffery, in his History of the Thirteen Colonies of North America" writes, "John Winthrop's character was of the best, and he is revered as one of the strongest and certainly one of the most lovable of the early settlers in America. He was a thorough Puritan. Like his brethren, he showed humility but unlike so many he was


sweet-tempered and moderate. As a man of wealth, of good birth, and of great ability, Winthrop was the most remarkable Puritan statesman in Colonial history."

As a sidelight on John Winthrop, in contrast with formal historical writing, here is an excerpt from a letter written by one of his associates, Thomas Wiggin. "John was a discreet and sober man, wearing plain apparel, drinking plain water ordinarily, ruling with much mildness, and putting his hand to any ordinary labor with his servants."

John Winthrop died at sixty-one, worn out by a life of hard work, great responsibility, constant anxiety, and many sorrows. Few Boston men have died and left behind such a deep and general sense of loss. With the Governor in his tomb, were successively buried his son, John Winthrop, Jr., Governor of Connecticut also in his time, and Wait Still Winthrop, Chief Justice of Massachusetts.

It would not be fair to John Winthrop to picture him, even in so brief an accounting as this, as a man of sober business alone. He was that-and few men have displayed such an awareness of the responsibilities they carried. He was also a warm, loving and gentle man, a leader our town did well to honor.

Bancroft in his History of the United States makes one of the better characterizations of Winthrop, "It was principally the calm decision of Winthrop which sustained the courage of his companions. His nature was touched by the sweetest sympathies of affection for wife, children, and associates. He was of a sociable nature; his home was his soul's paradise; and works of mercy were the habit of his life. . .. "

This is exemplified in his letters whilst separated from his wife. He had gone before in order to prepare a home for her and their children.

Here are a few examples of letters between John Winthrop and his wife, Margaret. Because of their length, only excerpts can be given. Like great literature, these letters read as fresh and sound, as sincere as if they were written yesterday, not 300 years ago.

John to Margaret: "Being filled with joy of thy love ... I am constrained to ease the burden of my mind by this poor help of my scribbling pen, being sufficiently assured that, although my presence is that which thou desirest, yet in the want therof these lines shall not be unfruitful of comfort unto thee .... "

Margaret to John: "My most sweet husband, How dearly welcome thy kind letter was to me I am not able to express. The sweetness of it did so refresh me. What can be more pleasing to a wife than to hear of the welfare of her best beloved, and how


he is pleased with her poor endeavours? I blush to hear myself commended, but it is your love that conceives the best and makes all things seem better than they are .... "

John to Margaret: "My dear wife, Thy sweet letters . . . how welcome they were to me. . .. Here where I am I have all out-ward content and most kind entertainment; only the want of thy presence makes me weary of all else, so dear is thy love to me. . . . I have nothing to send thee but my love, neither shall I bring thee anything but myself, which I know will be best welcome ."

These first excerpts were from letters written while John was in London and elsewhere on business associated with his practice of the law, and with his activities in organizing the colony in New England. During their long separation, the letters continued, as fully affectionate and as sincere as before.

John to Margaret: " And now, my sweet soul ... it goeth very near to my heart but I know to whom I have committed thee, even to Him who loves thee much better than any husband can ... who can and, if it be for His glory, will bring us together again with peace and comfort. Oh, how it refresheth my heart to think that I shall yet see again thy sweet face in the land of the living, -- that lovely countenance that I have so much delighted in and beheld with such great content! ... I shall not avoid the remembrance of thee, nor the grief for thy absence. Thou hast thy share with me; but I hope the course we have agreed upon will be some ease to us both. Mondays and Fridays, at five of the clock at night, we shall meet in spirit until we meet in person. Yet if all these hopes should fail, blessed be our God that we are assured we shall meet one day, in a better condition. Let that stay and comfort thy heart. Neither can the sea drown thy husband, nor enemies destroy, nor any adversity deprive thee of thy husband or children. Therefore I will only take thee now and my sweet children in my arms, and kiss and embrace you all, and so leave you with my God. Farewell. ... "

On November 2, 1631, after more than a year of separation, Margaret Winthrop arrived at Boston together with several of his older children. It was a great day for John Winthrop, yet in his Journal, he simply wrote: "There came in the ship Lyon, the Governor's wife, his eldest son and his wife, and others of his children, with other families, being in all about 60 persons, who all arrived in good health .... We kept a day of thanksgiving at Boston."

Margaret lived with John at Boston for fifteen years. On June 13, 1647, she fell ill of an "epedemic sickness," which exhibited the symptoms of a cold and slight fever. On the 14th


she was dead; on the 15th she was buried. For the third time, sorrow struck John Winthrop at his most vulnerable point. He simply wrote in his Journal, though it is clear from his letters as quoted in very small part what he must have felt, these few words: "In this sickness the Governor's wife, daughter of Sir John Tyndal, knight, left this world for a better, being about 56 years of age: a woman of singular virtue, modesty, and piety, and specially honoured and beloved of the country."


----------------- Top

Chapter Four


AS PREVIOUSLY stated, the first white persons to actually live for part of the year in New England, and by inference, in what is now Winthrop, were fishermen. These hardy adventurers, probably to the number of 5,000 a year, each Spring left England, France, and Portugal, sailed their cockleshells westward and fished all summer. Details lived ashore, made barrels and dried and salted the fish and traded with the Indians. When Fall came, the fishermen sailed home again and had many weird and wonderful tales to tell of the strange lands three thousand miles overseas. Thus, when an official exploring expedition prepared to "find" America, it was in the taverns of Bristol, Plymouth and similar towns, that information, and perhaps even pilots, were obtained by the "discovers." Of course, it should be realized that these official expeditions were not actually for the purpose of original discovery. Everyone knew there were wealthy lands overseas. These expeditions went out to claim the lands for the Crown and to gather exact information about them. This information was then used by the various corporations and companies which undertook actual settlement.

As also said, it may be that the real discoverers were the Northmen who came, possibly, to New England and certainly to Acadia about 1002. This is fascinating legend but no satisfactory proof has yet been found of the business. Also legends exist in Wales and in Ireland, which indicate the possibility that Welsh sailors at one time, and also that Irish sailors at another, visited America. Indeed, it is likely that seafarers along European shores were now and then blown out of their course and eventually sighted land, which was some part of the North American continent.

Aside from the fishermen, the shores of New England were neglected. Spain and Portugal had been given the non-Christian world by Rome and these two nations zealously guarded their respective realms. British and French sailors found profitable occupation in what amounted to piracy in taking the laden vessels of these two countries, particularly those of Spain. In addition,  


neither Britain nor France were colonizing nations. What interest they did have in the New World was that of trade.

The first official recognition of New England came in 1602 when Bartholomew Gosnold visited the coast and, while he did not explore it at all, he did take back such glowing reports that the cupidity of other English voyagers was awakened. It was Gosnold's rich cargo of furs and sassafras bark that caused this interest. Here was opportunity for trade.

Captain Martin Pring was sent directly to New England in 1603 for furs and sassafras and then in 1605 Captain George Weymouth was sent to do some exploring -- and to pick up what he could by way of furs. Meanwhile, politicians in London had been busy and the Scotchman, James I, thought little of giving the first of several and very confusing "gifts" of tremendous areas to his favorites as well as to companies who made "deals" of one kind or another with those in positions of influence. The first two companies were known as the London Company and the Plymouth Company. The Plymouth Company, being composed of business men, rather than of peers of the realm, as was the London Company, lost no time in attempting colonization. In 1607, the ill-fated Popham colony was founded in Maine.

In 1614, the dismal failure of the first venture was offset by Captain John Smith, who made the first, real exploration of the New England coast between Cape Cod and the Penobscot in Maine. He traded as he explored and reaped a fortune from his private venture with the Indians, bringing back to London 11,000 beaver skins, 100 marten pelts and the same number of otter hides. It was Smith that gave the name of New England to our section of the world and his great interest in the country, as well as his demonstrated profits, inflamed interests in New England to fever pitch.

Misfortune accompanied him on an official voyage there on behalf of the Plymouth Company and the original organization applied for a new and more definite charter and, after some maneuvering, obtained a grant of land from the 44th to the 48th parallels of latitude from the Atlantic to the Pacific! Thus 40 Englishmen were given an empire by the scratch of the pen by a Scotch King.

Up to about this point, fishing and trading had been the only motives for interest in New England. Then religion entered the picture and in 1620 the Pilgrims established Plymouth and the Puritans in a few years, founded Salem, Charlestown and, finally, in 1630, Boston. Thus New England came into being.

Of the career of these settlements, of the struggle for empire with the French, of the bitter French and Indian Wars, which were in large part a reflection of wars between Britain


and France on the soil of bloody Europe, the story of Winthrop has little concern.

The field of this book, from this point on, necessarily narrows down, first to Winnesimmit, then to Revere and finally to Winthrop itself.

Probably the first settler in Winnesimmit was the strange character known as Samuel Maverick. Almost nothing is known of Maverick, save for his association with Boston. Where he came from, who he was, and what he had for his principal business -- all these and many more questions are simply matters of conjecture.

At any event, when a very young man (he seems to have been born in 1602) he arrived at what was to be Boston and built himself a house at what is now Chelsea. The site was on the banks of the Mystic River at or near the present location of the United States Marine Hospital. This house, built probably in 1624 and certainly not later than 1625, was fortified, for this was then a wild and savage country in sober fact. It is reported that the Indians did attack Maverick but he gave them such a warm and spirited reception that they never molested him again.

It was at this house that Maverick entertained Governor Winthrop and his party when they came up from Salem into Boston Bay on June 17, 1630. The Maverick House was reported to be still standing in 1660 but nothing is known of it thereafter.

With Samuel Maverick was Elias Maverick, probably a brother. He seems to have lived in the old house with Samuel and he died in Winnesimmet 8 September, 1684. Nothing much is known of this Elias.

To leave Maverick for the moment, there appear to have been other settlers in the Boston area, possibly remnants of the unfortunate colony of Weston and Gorges in Weymouth. One of these was William Blackstone, who built himself a house above what is now Boston Common, probably at about the present Louisburg Square. There, when John Winthrop arrived, he found Blackstone pleasantly seated with an orchard of apple trees. The Puritans apparently approved of Blackstone but he did not like them too well. He sold out in 1635 and went south into the wilderness and built a cabin in what is now Cumberland, originally a part of Rehoboth. He is said to have remarked as he departed, "I came from England because I did not like the Lord Bishops, but I cannot join with you because I would not be under my Lord Brethren."

Thomas Walford, a blacksmith, was another independent soul. He settled alone in what is now Charlestown, possibly across the Mystic from Maverick. He did not like the Puritans and did not prosper with them, once being fined for "contempt


of authority." This fine he paid by collecting the bounty on a wolf. He finally was jailed for debt and, when released, moved up into New Hampshire.

Other settlements were made as at Nantasket by Thomas Gray in 1622, and that of Captain Wollaston, in the present City of Quincy. These have little concern with the North Shore and only one is of interest, that at Wollaston. There, led by Thomas Morton, the settlers enjoyed life in a manner the Pilgrims and Puritans could not approve. The Pilgrims sent Miles Standish to cleanse the place but finally Governor John Endicott came up from Salem in 1628 and so severely lectured the Merrymount folks that they were "convinced of the evil of their ways."

Of all these, however, Maverick was the outstanding citizen. One reason was that Maverick was always at odds with the Puritans while, at the same time, he was too energetic and too powerful to treat lightly. He was a man of great affairs, for the times, promoting fishing, farming, trading with the Indians and, as a merchant, importing cargoes direct from Europe -- not England alone. He was withal very hospitable and while the Puritans did not accept his hospitality to any extent, the captains and officers of vessels coming into Boston made free of it and the nights were merry with revelry. Doubtless Maverick was a thorn in the flesh of the good people of Boston.

Then too, Maverick was suspect by the Puritans because of his association with David Thompson. Thompson, a relic of the unfortunate colony Gorges attempted at Weymouth, was appointed his agent by Gorges. Gorges held a sort of title to the Boston area, and much more, and the Puritans lived for many years in fear of being dispossessed by Gorges, and then by his heirs.

Thompson was known to be doing what he could in Gorges interest and, while he lived peacefully enough in his home on Thompson's Island in the Harbor, yet he was hated by many of the Boston people as the focal point of their fears. Maverick, who probably held titles to his lands in Winnesimmit through Gorges, was a friend and associate of Thompson. Thompson lived quietly but Maverick went away on voyages. He was constantly active in many fields and commonly received visitors from England and sent and received his letters independently of Boston. So, it was feared that Maverick, too, was plotting the ousting of the Puritans. Thus, when the Gorges' patent did come into the English courts and the battle dragged its weary way through endless technicalities, Maverick was regarded as an enemy spy in Boston's very bosom.

Thus in time, as Maverick proved harmless enough, although far from being cleared of suspicion, he became the target


or various items of abuse by the Boston magistrates. These were trifling matters but probably were intended to give Maverick the idea that his company was not appreciated. One ordinance against him is of particular interest, since it affected the future Winthrop. The General Court in September, 1635, ordered "That the necks of land betwixt Powderhorne Hill and Pullen Poynte, shall belong to Boston, to be enjoyed by ye inhabitants forever." This order placed, not the present Chelsea, but all of what is now Revere, Orient Heights, Winthrop, and the "isles of Apple, Snake and Deare" in control of Boston. Boston never did question the legality of Maverick's holding in Winnesimmit but this order served notice that the rest of the peninsula and appendages thereto were not regarded as his. It was a mere legal gesture but it could have been important subsequently.

Of course to a man of proud spirit and vigorous activities, this petty sniping and hostility exhibited by Boston was most distasteful. So, in 1635-36, Maverick sold his property in Chelsea to Governor Bellingham and removed to Noddles Island; that part of East Boston not then being considered part of Boston. Here he built another house and continued to enlarge his activities. However, Boston, assuming authority it did not possess, ordered Maverick to take up his habitation across the harbor within the town itself. Evidently the magistrates thought it best to keep a close eye upon the suspect.  

Maverick, however, being far from a Puritan, did not choose to live cheek by jowl with his neighbors and so sailed away to more congenial surroundings in Virginia. Shortly afterwards, the charter problem was finally adjudged in favor of Boston and with some evident stirring of conscience, the orders affecting Maverick were countermanded and a letter was sent to him in Virginia requesting him to return.

After Samuel Maverick left Winnesimmit, his ''brother'' Elias continued to reside in the village, building himself a house, where he resided with his father-in-law, William Stidson. This branch of the Mavericks lived in harmony with the Puritans and passed their lives peacefully, so far as is known. Stidson is of particular interest to Winthrop, not alone because he established the first ferry between Chelsea and Boston, but also because he received one of the original allotments of land at Pullen Poynte.

While there never was any serious Indian trouble in or immediately adjacent to Boston, probably because of the impoverished condition of the Indians and the rapid increase in strength of the settlers, there was a constant series of legal difficulties with the red skins. Apparently the Puritans took their responsibilities to the Indians seriously and gave them equal


treatment in the courts. This may have been one reason why there was no trouble locally, for the Indians were shown that they could expect justice if they could demonstrate misbehavior on the part of the settlers.

For example, it was forbidden to sell arms or ammunition to the Indians. On 4th September, 1632, one Richard Hopkins of Boston sold a musket, a pistol and some ammunition to Sagamore James of Saugus, now Lynn. The Puritan magistrate declared .no sale, repossessed the firearms and publicly whipped Hopkins and branded him on the cheek with the Indians as interested spectators. Then in 1633, a smallpox epidemic, as related earlier, swept through the Indian villages. Many settlers, including Elias Maverick and his wife, braved the disease to nurse the pestilence-both to the gratitude of the Indians and the good name of the settlers.

Aside from a fondness the Indians had for cow meat in place of venison, which resulted in many petty difficulties, the chief cause of friction between the reds and the whites was that of land titles. Legally, of course, title came down from the King of Great Britain. However, to make doubly sure, especially with the Gorges suits either pending or threatening, it was the common practice for the Puritans to also "buy" their lands from the Indians. While the Indians had a decent respect for the territory held by other tribes, they apparently could not grasp the white idea of a small freehold, such as a farm. Accordingly, for a red coat, a brass kettle, an axe and such things, Indian chiefs, in whom the English chose to consider title rested, would sign a deed by making their mark -- or their names if educated -- as they were after a fashion eventually.

Thus, the three brothers who succeeded each other in turn as chiefs of the local Massachusetts Indians doubtless sold land to the settlers in heedless fashion. Perhaps they did not know they were selling land; perhaps they considered the gifts as tribute-a sort of rent. However, they were perfectly willing to sell the same land over and over again to anyone who wanted it. Thus the chief Sagamore George doubtless continued the practice of taking what he could obtain of goods in exchange for titles. The business became so very much confused that no one knew what was what; if the Indian titles were of any value at all, which was doubtful, although regarded as worth while as an anchor to windward in case of trouble with the British Crown. In any event, it was finally determined to systematize the part of the business concerning the Indians and in 1685, the heirs of Sagamore George were persuaded to sign a deed, which released forever their interest in all lands "at or near Winnesimmit, Rumney Marsh and Pullen Poynte to such as are


entitled to the same by long possession and legal descent from such persons as originally purchased from ye Indian sagamores". This ended the trouble with the Indians and quashed any further legal actions by the Indians who were continually bringing what amounted to nuisance suits over land in the lower courts and even petitioning the Great and General Court itself.

Perhaps at this point, to keep the record clear, since Pullen Poynte did become a part of Boston, it is well to give a very brief account of the establishment of the future city.

Governor Winthrop and his party arrived not at Boston but at Salem on 12 June, 1630. Salem had been previously settled by Endicott. A few days later, Winthrop's party sailed up past Nahant into Boston Harbor and established themselves on the banks of the Charles in what is now Charlestown. Here the drinking water was bad and the party suffered from rattlesnakes and wolves. Across the Charles, as mentioned, William Blackstone was settled and in enjoyment of fair acres and excellent springs. We have no record of the exact day when the Puritans crossed the Charles to Shawmut, or Trimont, as Boston was then known, but on 17 September, 1630, the General Court ordered that the name of Trimountain "shall be changed to Boston." The name of Boston was in honor of the city of Boston in Lincolnshire, England, home to many of the settlers.

The first mention of Pullen Poynte in Boston records is the report of an inquest into the sudden death of a William Putnam. He had been on a fishing trip to the Winthrop Shore and was stricken ill. Death overtook him swiftly. The inquest found that death was due to natural causes.

A year later, In 1632, came the previously mentioned order reserving all the wild fowl at Pullen Poynte to Jobe Perkins, a fowler, and forbidding everyone else to hunt or shoot there.

Whether or not Boston actually had legal title to Winnesimmit is open to question but Boston assumed that such was the case and, since there was no one to dispute them, save possibly Maverick, the writ of possession stood. Possibly the reason of this action became evident in 1634 when the Clerk of the Court of Assistants made this entry in the Book of Possession-a sort of Registry of Deeds:

"1634. Winthrop, Dean, Pullen Point, about 120 acres." This grant was made before this young son of John Winthrop's was of age, or even before he had come to America. It is also a revelation of the way in which leaders at Boston acquired large holdings of land in various areas adjacent to Boston. In Winthrop's case, not wishing to have it all under his own name, he employed that of his son. Thus began, unbeknownst to the man concerned, Deane Winthrop's association with the town


of which he was to be the first distinguished citizen. He was not the first resident, however.

That distinction belongs to one William Cheseborough. Cheseborough, a constable of Boston, was in 1635, appointed herder to serve at Pullen Point from May to November. Boston folks, even then were a bit pressed for room and it became the custom, and. remained such for many years, for them to pasture their cattle during half the year across the harbor on Noddles Island, Hog Island and in Winthrop. The pasturage was good; there was abundant water, and neither Indians nor wolves in any serious number to bother the herds. However, it was adjudged wise to have a herdsman in attendance, just in case. The mere presence of a white man would keep the Indians away and the wolves, if any, were learning that the settlers' muskets meant sudden death.

The business began on February 23, 1634-35 (old style dating) when the Court ordered, "It is agreed by special consent that all barren cattle whatsoever, (except such as are constantly employed in draught), weaned calves twenty weeks old and weaned mayle kidds, shall be kept abroad from off the Necke, and for everyone unput away within a week after warning, 2s and 6p shal be paid for every week not put away; and our brethren, John Stampford, William Cheseborough and William Boston to take care for the observing of this order.

"Item: That there shallbea little house built and a sufficiently payled yard to lodge the cattell in of Nights at Pullin Poynte Neck before the 14th day of ye nexte second month (April 14, 1635.)

"Item: That all the drye cattell that are put unto our brother William Cheseborough for keeping at Pullen Poynte Necke, until the first of the ninth moon (November 1st) shall be at the rate of 5s a head unto him."

The house and palisaded yard were promptly erected and thus the first house was built in what is now Winthrop. Most likely the site chosen was somewhere just below the present Town Hall for the fresh water swamp there, above where the Winthrop Center railroad station was, offered a good natural water supply and abundant grass. Possibly the house was on the Court Park side of the swamp rather than up towards the-Town Hall site.

In any event, we can picture the little house with its stockaded yard in a natural clearing on the edge of a little swamp, with all about the heavy primeval forest. Deer abounded. The woods were filled with turkeys and partridge and pigeons while the air nights and mornings must have resounded with the cries of teeming wild fowl from the harbor's edge and from the marsh. For a hunter it must have been a paradise. And it was


not remote at all, for then as now, Boston was hardly more than an hour's row across the harbor or an even briefer sail if the wind favored.

Of course, we have no picture or description of the house the colony built but judging from similar houses elsewhere, of which descriptions exist, it was a one-room house, built of logs with a roof covered with shingles (Shakes) split from great drums of soft pine or cedar. The house had few windows and but one door, all stoutly made so to be proof against Indian arrows. In each wall, numerous loopholes for musket shots were cut. The palisade or stockade was made of stout logs set on end and firmly tied together with cross beams. The gate, large-enough to just admit one cow at a time, was very heavy and solid and held shut by bars fitting into sockets. It was more a fortress than a house -- but so far as is known was never molested by the Indians.

But there was constant fear of such raids and real peril of depredations from wolves, bears and wild cats. Boston built a heavy fence across Short Beach, in Beachmont, the only land connection between Winthrop and the mainland. This kept the cattle, sheep and goats from roaming too far. Cheseborough constantly went armed and greatly increased his income by the heads of wolves he shot, for there was a bounty on the great, grey dog-like creatures then.

The cattle, goats and sheep, as if aware of their peril, kept together and, as night came on, returned to the stockade willingly. Cheseborough counted them inside and then barred the gate. If any were missing, it was his job to go in search of them, a job in which he was aided by two great dogs, especially trained to fight wolves. These brave animals would hold wolves off and by their barking bring Cheseborough and his musket to the kill.  

Cheseborough kept bachelor hall and lived in the plainest fashion. The chief item indoors was a rude fireplace built not of stone but of small logs daubed with clay. Probably a large flat stone served as the hearth and the fire box itself was lined with flat slabs of slate or shale picked up on the nearest beach and split apart with the blow of a hammer. For furniture, the table was hung from the poles of the rafters on thongs or rope -- a way of keeping crawling things out of the food. The bed was just a bunk built into a corner of the one room with a mattress of hemlock twigs covered with hay or straw and blankets. For chairs there was just one -- a stool made of a slab of plank with four or three legs inserted into auger holes. Three legs were better than four because on the rough floor three legs were more steady. Floors were usually of the existing dirt beaten hard by usage, although 


in better huts the floor was of the puncheon type. This means that stringers of poles, hewed flat on one side were laid and to them a floor of pole or logs, all of about the same diameter and also hewn flat on one side, were pegged. It was less smooth and even than a dirt floor but it was much warmer in winter.

There was no silverware; indeed no forks at all, for they were then unknown. Instead, Cheseborough used his hunting knife both to cut and to convey solid food to his mouth. Liquids he ate with a wooden spoon, probably, although there were silver and pewter spoons at Boston. China plates were known but similarly restricted in use. Undoubtedly Cheseborough used the common utensils of the time -- wooden bowls carved from basswood or birch and for meat and fowl a wooden trencher -- which was an oblong chunk of wood with a bowl-like cavity carved into its substance. House-keeping was of the simplest. Perhaps he swept out his floor now and then with a besom -- a broom made by tying a few handsful of birch twigs to a stick. His knife he cleansed by plunging it in the ground. His spoons, bowls and trenchers he just cleaned by wiping out with grass or hay and then, on occasion, scouring them with sand and water. Soap could be had, of course -- the settlers made it themselves from grease and wood ashes -- but it was seldom an item included in bachelor housekeeping.

It must not be thought that Cheseborough was a poor man; indeed, he became wealthy and influential in later life and was then possessed of lands of his own and a house in Boston. Besides he had a cash income from his work as a constable. Cash then was hard to come by and would purchase far more than it does today. Nor is it to be thought that he lived poorly. Indeed, many a modern family lives on much less and on a far less varied diet than this first bachelor resident of Winthrop.

He had his ale -- and the Puritans brewed very good and strong ale, according to accounts. He probably did not have much whiskey, if any, but he did have brandy, which was imported from England until the settlers began making their own. It was not illegal then, and there was no tax. The Puritans are sometimes considered to have been Prohibitionists, They were not such. They considered that indulgence in any food or drink to the point of gluttony was bad and they forbade it -- for a church-state is always ready to forbid anything considered bad. All the Puritans insisted upon was moderation. Beer or ale was the common drink, after cider and perry, which might or might not be hard. Wine was used by those who could afford it and brandy was saved for special occasions, perhaps medicinal, as after a chill or a fright.

Probably Cheseborough lived on a high protein diet for meat  


is easiest of all things to cook and there was plenty in great variety all about him -- deer, bear, partridges, turkeys and ducks. He could vary his diet with vast quantities of fish and help himself to lobster, clams and oysters. Boston harbor then ran crystal clear and it teemed with shellfish as well as cod, flounders and many more fish. From Boston he obtained his carbohydrates, as well as his beer. He carried a stock of huge loaves of whole wheat bread on a hanging shelf; great loaves of dark color and solid substance that "stuck to a man's ribs in noble fashion." He also carried a store of corn meal, the Indian staple the settlers had learned to use. With this meal he could boil himself a dish of porridge or mush which, sweetened with maple sugar and seasoned with a dash of salt and possibly with a daub of butter -- for he was a herdsman-made a solid breakfast. If he wanted fresh bread he could mix up corn meal, milk or water, salt, and drippings and bake it in a reflecting oven before his fire. This is the famous corn pone, Johnny cake or corn cake, still enjoyed by Yankees and also in the deep South -- although today Yankees add sugar and down South they do not. Also from corn meal he could make Indian pudding -- a mixture of corn meal, molasses 'and other simple things which he baked for hours before his fire and then, when it was a rich brown, ate at night with cream. Cheseborough ate very well!

In addition, he had his clay pipes and a store of Virginia tobacco, light brown in color, or of black Trinidad leaf from the Indies. He reports he was worried lest he found too much solace and comfort in his pipe. For reading he had his Bible, which, next to the musket and the axe was the most important item in any Puritan dwelling. Besides, he could visit Boston at will, provided his visits were irregular so that thieves could not know when he was away, and provided he returned before dusk, for the wolves and the Indians were to be feared only at night. And Boston was but an hour away. Beside his cabin stood an old, tar soaked barrel which, in case of need, he could fire. The night watch would see the flame in Boston and help would be his within the hour. By day a column of smoke would serve the same purpose.

For clothes, Cheseborough wore the common garb of the day -- doublet and hose, and heavy shoes and a large, high crowned hat. These hats were wonderful things. The brim was wide enough to act as a small umbrella; they were heavy enough to remain firmly in place in an ordinary storm; they gave enough shade from the unaccustomed hot sun; and in the crown there was storage place for small articles of particular value. In cold or wet weather, he wrapped himself in a cloak. At first, these clothes were all of English make but, as settlement progressed,


the Boston sheep gave their wool and the housewives somehow found time to take the wool and card it, spin it, dye it, weave it and make clothes after the established pattern. Women really worked in those days. One reason why a man might have several wives was simply that a household could not be operated without a woman to cook, clean, weave, mend, knit, preserve, milk, make cheese and butter and so on and on in an endless chain that did run in sober truth from dawn to dark. There was no unemployment then for anyone. Indeed, the colonies constantly suffered from a labor shortage, even with indentured servants and slaves -- although there never were many of them in New England. The climate was too cold and since a slave was property, full value could not be obtained from them. Slavery was not economically profitable in New England. There were slaves, of course hut they were mostly house servants in homes of wealth. There was an attempt made to enslave after a fashion or else to hire Indians to work -- but this was a dismal failure. The Indians, once their bellies were filled, would not work until they were hungry again. Besides the law forbade their mistreatment. The early solution was the bondsmen or the indentured servant. The first were criminals -- you could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread in England then -- who were given the choice of transportation overseas and working out their penal sentences as laborers.

It is to the glory of New England that the Puritans treated these criminals fairly. They had to work but they were decently treated; the law saw to that. No man could be mistreated, ill clothed or allowed to go hungry. If a child was concerned, and some bond servants were children, the law at Boston saw to it they were sent to public school. When the term of punishment was ended, they became free citizens and could if they wished acquire land and become respectable citizens.

The indentured servants were men, women and children who sold their services for a specified time for the sake of transportation overseas. They were bought as slaves, in that the settlers wanting hands purchased their time for the sake of their labor. These too were well treated under the law and when their time was up they took their place in society without the slightest stigma of any kind.

Cheseborough in fact, while herding Boston's cattle in Winthrop, had a bondsman with him as a servant. He was an Irishman who chose five years of servitude in America to escape the rope in Ireland. Cheseborough kept him as a helper with the cattle and also employed him to act as a messenger to Boston as well as to go and fetch needed supplies. There was seldom any attempt made by these bondsmen or indentured servants to escape. The woods for all settlers were filled with terrors, far more


of the imagination than of fact. Besides, there was no point in escaping for they were assured of fair treatment and, when their time was up, they became free men and were free to come and go and to rise in position in direct proportion to their industry. Of course, there were rogues, there always are, but these were few and far between. The reason for this is that the English courts did not send murderers and major felons -- most of the unfortunate bondsmen were people who fell into debt or were convicted of political irregularities or of disrespect of authority, usually religious. In fact, most of the bonds people were stouthearted, ambitious in that they were rebellious, and able people. They became in sober fact good citizens and their descendants doubtless played a part in the Revolution. The indentured servants were even better fitted for colonization for at the least they had spirit and strength of character. Else they would not have been willing to sell themselves for sake of an opportunity to advance in a new world.

One of Cheseborough's Irish bondsman's jobs was to keep his master's weapons bright -- for when men depend upon weapons for food and even for life itself they must be sharp and weIl polished and oiled. Cheseborough wore, when fighting, a light armor consisting of a steel cap, a breast plate, a back-piece and tasletts. These were black lacquered and very plain in finish as became a good Puritan. It was the Cavaliers who had their armor gaily decorated, just as they wore their doublets slashed to allow their silken undergarments of crimson, gold and blue to show through to the admiration of the ladies, and just as good Puritans cropped their hair while the Cavaliers wore their hair long, curled and perfumed. Of course the greatest difference in dress between the two parties was with the women -- but even so, in those days, the men, especially if gentlemen of means, outdid their wives and ladies in finery. A glory passed from the world when it became the custom to allow men to wear color only in their neckties.

In addition, Cheseborough had the common sword, known as the cut-and-thrust, a compromise between the delicate thrusting rapier of the gentleman and the heavy slashing saber of the professional cavalryman. This sword had to be kept polished and bright. So did the dagger that Cheseborough wore at his belt whenever he went abroad; men wore daggers then as they do wrist watches today, for they were not dressed without one. Then there were the muskets, the powder horns, the flints, the bullets and the chunk of lead out of which more bullets could be made when needed. Muskets had to be cleaned and oiled; the powder had to be kept dry and a store of flints and bullets always ready. This all required the most meticulous attention for, while


a single shot often supplied food enough in the form of a deer, for days, weather permitting its preservation that long, a man's life often depended upon his musket firing on the instant when needed. Sword and dagger were secondary weapons, already reduced to hardly more than traditional value. It was the musket which gave the settler his advantage over the Indian -- that and his ability to fight under military discipline.

The housekeeping of Constable Cheseborough has been related in detail not so much because it was the first home, of a kind, in Winthrop, but because it was indicative of life as it was lived by the early settlers. With minor variations it was also the life that was followed for generations as settlers went westward, leapfrogging in their turn over settlers who had preceded them. In Boston itself, and in a measure in Winthrop, too, since the town was so near to Boston that it was economically a part of it from the very beginning, life ameliorated greatly as Boston grew and grew.

It must be remembered that while the Pilgrims were poor people in large part, and labored under a debt for their transportation for several years, a debt which they struggled to discharge, Boston settlers were in many instances from families of wealth and circumstance. They brought with them such refinements of civilization as could be transported, china, glass, silver and the like -- even rose bushes for the garden and fruit trees for the orchard. Life in Boston, as Colonial trade flourished mightily, became civilized to an astonishing degree at an amazingly early stage of development. Some of the more prosperous merchants maintained mansions whose elegance was unequalled in America, for more than a century and a half. Winthrop, as said, shared in these luxuries and conveniences, although modestly for Winthrop was a farming section until it became what it is now, a town of small homes.

Cheseborough did not long remain a brother, as he was called in his writs, although he advanced in circumstances, soon becoming, for example, an official of the General Court in the matter of land allotments, and, also a commissioner to assess taxes. He seems to have become dissatisfied with Boston for in 1638 he moved out to the new town of Braintree and from there went on to the still newer town of Rehoboth, while in 1649, he became the first settler of the town of Stoughton, Connecticut.

Up to 1636, there was no general ownership of land in Winthrop, save perhaps for the quasi-legal reservation of land held by Governor Winthrop in the name of his young son, Deane Winthrop. In point of fact, the entire area of the future town, title to which was claimed by Boston, was held by the city. This was also true, incidentally of Revere and Chelsea, save for those


portions held by Samuel Maverick and his "brother" Elias -- and there was much uncertainty about their titles.

From time to time, the magistrates did give permits for hunting, for pasturing, for cutting wood for fires and for timber but these were held on a strictly lease basis. In 1635, even these permits were practically cancelled in their entirety by an order of the General Court that "noe further allottments shall be granted unto any new comers, but such as may likely to be received members of the congregation." This was official sanction of the theocratic government, in which ministers came to exercise an inordinate influence, a system in which a man had to be a member of the established church, Congregational, in order to be franchised. The Puritans came to America to escape the influence and tyranny of the Established Church of England, Episcopal, and promptly formed their own theocratic order as soon as could be. Underneath, there was of course a vast difference, for the men and women who had dared the Atlantic, who had suffered the hardships of pioneering, were of independent mind and spirit. The very air of America infused liberty into all Americans. None the less, it required many years and much wrangling before the divorce of the state and the church was accomplished. There was some persecution, too, as of Baptists and Quakers, but Boston's history is at least not blood-stained in the matter of religion, in bright contrast to the black pages of blood-soaked Europe and even their mother country, England.

This first ordinance of 1635 was followed shortly by notice that the lands held by Boston would soon be broken up into allotments. The ordinance read: "It is agreed that noe Wood shall be felled att any of the Islands nor elsewhere, until they be lotted out."

Boston by then had its first engineer, Thomas Grives, who came up to Boston from Salem. Reports Boston records: "Hee is well able to surveigh and sett forth lands, make any sort of fortyfications, knows about iron ore and Iron workes, mynes & Mineralls, and can fynde salt sprynges." He must have been a useful man with so much land waiting to be divided up among so many new settlers, with iron mines (bog iron) deposits to be developed, and still verdant, the warm belief that the new country was rich in great mines of gold, silver, emeralds, diamonds and what not. The Spaniards had found these; why not the English?

With the work of "lottments" as a whole, this book has no concern; only Winthrop need be reported here. The work began, legally, in 1634, when it was voted: "That Mr. Winthrop, Mr. Coddington, Mr. Bellingham, Mr. Cotton, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Colborn and William Balstone (the title of Mr. was reserved for


gentlemen in those days so evidently Balstone was not such) shall have the power to divide and dispose of all such lands belonging to the towne as are not yet the lawful possession of any particular persons to the inhabitants of the towne according to the Orders of the Court, leaving such portions in Common for the use of newcomers, and the benefit of the towne, as in theire discretion they shall think fitte."

The work of laying out the lands at Rumney Marsh, which then included Winthrop, was assigned in 1635 to a committee including William Hutchinson, Edmund Quinsey, Samuel Wilbore, William Cheseborough and John Oliver. The same year the General Court laid down the rule that persons of modest estate should be given land near to the city, such as at Muddy River, now the fair town of Brookline, the wealthiest of all the Commonwealth. Thus only the wealthy families, at least those who had capital enough to build houses and employ servants to bring their wild land into cultivation, were given the large allotments, which being large, were necessarily in outlying areas. Rumney Marsh and Pullen Poynte fell within this latter classification and the grants given were good sized.

The first allotments at Pullen Poynte were made in May of 1636, when Sir Henry Vane, mysterious Royalist at large in Boston then, and John Winthrop received the first two allotments. The majority of the allotments were held up for almost another year and were not announced until January 9, 1636-37 (O.S.). These comprise the so-called "Great Allottments att Rumney Marsh and Pullen Poynte."

As far as Winthrop was concerned, the following grants were made at that date: John Ollyvar, "fifty acres at Pullen Poynte"; Mr. William Brenton, "twenty acres at Pullen Poynte"; Mr. Edward Gibbon, "four score acres at Pullen Poynte, if it is there to be had." Six months later, June 12, 1637, there were laid out for Mr. William Pierce, "one hundred acres of upland and marsh land at Pullen Poynte Neck"; Mr. Edw. Gibbon, "eight acres of upland and marsh land"; John Ollyvar, "fifty acres of upland and marsh"; Mr. William Brenton "three score and four acres of upland and marsh, and one hundred acres on the other SIde of Mr. Aspinwall's (At Rumney Marsh)." Also, "Edward Bayts hath fourteen acres laid him out there (at Pullen Poynte Neck) ."

On November 13, 1637 " ... also there is granted to the Governor, Mr. John Winthrop, the two hills next Pullen Poynte with some barren marsh adjourning thereto, provided that it be no hindrance to the towne's setting up a ware in Fisher's Creek or fishing basse there."

On January 8, 1637-38, allotments were ratified by the General  




Court as follows: "At Pullen Poynte Necke: William Stidson, 30 acres; Edward Bayts, 14 acres; Ralph Hudson, 12 acres; Thomas Matson, 28 acres; Mr. Edward Gibbons, 110 acres. At Rumney Marsh and Pull-en Poynte: Richard Tuttell, 161 acres; John Glover, 49 acres; William Dyar, 42 acres; Samuel Cole, 105 acres; William Brenton 164 acres; William Aspinwall, 164 acres. At Pullen Poynte Necke: Mr. William Aspinwall, 22 acres; John Sanford, 6 acres; Thos. Bottolph, 14 acres; Mr. John Winthrop, Sr., Governor, 50 acres; John Ollyvar, 50 acres; William Brenton, 64 acres; Elias Maverick, 12 acres; Thomas Fayreweather, 34 acres; William Pierce, 100 acres; and the remainder from the latter's line to Pulling Poynte Gut, to Governor John Winthrop, say 120 acres." Thus the future town of Winthrop was divided amongst its first proprietors, some of whom, possibly, never set foot on the land which had been given to them.

These grants were somewhat indefinite and more or less informal but the General Court on September 29, 1645, adjusted the situation by passing this motion: "Whereas the several grants of house lots and other lands recorded in the two books, are entered only as granted to the parties themselves without mention of heirs, it hath been thought fit to be declared and ordered, that all grants were and shall be intended to be estates in fee simple with all due and usual privileges."

These grants of land were part of the method of settling and developing the vast emptiness of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. For example, a prime requirement of gaining permanent property rights to the grant was that of building a "house" on the allotment concerned within a fixed period. The definition of the word "house" was somewhat elastic for about all that was required was a hut in which humans could live. Usually two years were allowed for the building of the "house" although the General Court was not too strict if the person concerned was in good standing in the colony. For instance, Edward Bayts, or Bates, who was mentioned as being given a grant of 14 acres at Pullen Poynte in January of 1637-38, instead of building his house sailed away to Sable Island to hunt walrus, black foxes and red cattle. He failed to get home again to Boston in time to build his house and so "prove" his grant at Winthrop. So the General Court on March 30, 1640, cleared away the resulting legal difficulty by granting him an additional six months to put up his house.

Thus, it can be assumed safely that by 1640, the future Town of Winthrop was built up one way or another for every one of the grantors listed must have had a house on their property. Some of these may not have amounted to much: for a log cabin, or even an Indian lodge of poles and sod was enough. Such as


these doubtless fell apart within a brief period but Winthrop was actually established permanently by 1640 -- although more than two centuries had to pass before it became an independent town in its own right.

Of course, most of these early property owners were non-resident. Of these, Governor John Winthrop was the most important locally. He built a house on the southern side of Great Head and undoubtedly spent some time at his "country" retreat -- as he did at his Governor's Island establishment, known as "The Governor's Garden," and at his Ten Hill Farms in Rumney Marsh. Of interest is a note in his diary for 1634 concerning four Irish greyhounds trained to kill wolves: "The dogs killed an old wolf this morning in our neck. She made more resistance than both the former (wolves)." Evidently there really were wolves in Winthrop.

Probably the most celebrated individual receiving a grant at Rumney Marsh was Sir Harry Vane, that most enigmatical of Puritans. He came to Boston in 1635 and although but 24 the following year, defeated Governor John Winthrop for the job of leading the colony -- although Winthrop ousted him the following year. Sir Harry Vane returned to England in 1637 and exercised his charm there until he became one of the Puritan leaders of the Revolution. After the Restoration, Sir Harry was sent to the Tower and lost his head -- literally.  

William Aspinwall built himself a "little house at Pullen Poynte," as Governor Winthrop's colorful diary again relates. On January 13, 1637-38: "About 30 persons of Boston going out in a fair day to Spectacle Island to cut wood. The next night N. E. Wind with snow and then N. W. (wind) two days. It froze so hard as to leave only a narrow channel by which 12 got to the Governor's Garden. Seven men were carried in a small skiff out of Broad Sound to the Brewsters, when, after being without food or fire two days, they got to Pullen Punte and to a little house of Mr. William Aspinwall's. Some lost fingers and toes and one died."

The Aspinwall allotment was from Quincy Avenue to the Beachmont line. He was a solid citizen in the beginning, being one of the first members and a deacon of the First Church of Boston, a cachet of importance. However, he became one of the supporters of Anne Hutchinson and Dr. Wheelwright and left Boston for Rhode Island in 1638. Subsequently he returned to Boston and 'became a member of the "Fifth Monarchy," expecting to share in the Battle of Armageddon and to witness the establishment of Christ's Kingdom on Earth.

Unlike Aspinwall, another prominent non-resident of Winthrop was Captain Robert Keayne, who came over to Boston in


1635. He was a merchant tailor and affluent. In London, he had been a member of the Honorable Artillery Company and in 1638, he was a leader in the organization at Boston of the famous Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. He was the first captain of the organization. Many times a member of the General Court from Boston, he was prominent in business but managed to find plenty of time to enjoy his country place at Winthrop.

For variety in this account, there were three minor personages: John Cogan, who married the widow of Governor Winthrop and thus acquired property at Pullin Poynte; William Duer, a male milliner, whose wife, Mary, was persecuted for being a Quaker; and Richard Tuttle, whose sister Dorothy, became the wife of John Bill and the mother of James Bill, the family which at one time owned the whole of the main part of Winthrop and, for a long period, were the leading family. The Bill House, down near Ingalls Station, stood for centuries, being torn down finally about 1930.

An important early non-resident property owner was Major Edward Gibbons, who built a comfortable farmhouse in the Thornton Park section, about where Winthrop Street and Pleasant Street and Washington Avenue now meet. The Gibbons house was probably one of the largest and better-built structures in Winthrop's early days. Governor Winthrop's diary illuminates the Gibbons' establishment. In the winter of 1641-42, the diary relates, when Major and Mrs. Gibbons lived at Pullen Poynte, "the frost was so great and continual, that all the bay was frozen over; so much and so long, as the like, by the Indian relation, had not been these 40 years, and continued from the 18th of January to the 21st of February; so horses and carts went over in many places where ships have sailed. Captain Gibbons and his wife, with divers on foot, came riding from the farm at Pullin Poynte, right over to Boston, the 17th of February, when the ice had thawed so much as the water was above the ice half a foot in some places."

The Gibbons property extended from about the present corner of Winthrop and Pleasant Streets to the creek and the harbor on all sides, and the fishing rights thus entailed were of great value. In those days, when the harbor was crystal clear and the bottom was sand and gravel rather than mud, the residents of Winthrop made great catches of bass, herring, mackerel, smelt, flounders and the like.

Gibbons, a friend of Governor Winthrop, was one of Boston's most prominent merchants, ship-owners and soldiers. He was considered as a lamb saved from Satan, for in his youth he was somewhat wild, indeed, he was one of the most active settlers


at Mount Wollaston and one of its merry men, before Winthrop and the Puritans came to Boston. At Boston he settled down and became a pillar of respectability, serving as a member of the General Court and being a captain of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.

Gibbons was devoted to military activities -- as indeed was the obligation of every able-bodied man in Massachusetts. He very early in this residence at Boston became the captain of one of the two regiments of militia into which the manpower of Boston was organized, and by the time of his death in 1654, he had risen to the rank of major-general of the colony troops. The colony's militia were about two-thirds musketeers. These were distinguished by their muskets -- large-bored matchlocks with a rest to set in the ground so as to support the heavy piece while firing. The soldiers carried a lighted "match," a flexible length of fibre impregnated with nitre and tars, between the fingers of the left hand. The match burned slowly and carried a hard coal which was placed in the grip of the cock or hammer and was brought down upon the priming of powder in the uncovered pan of the musket by the pressure of the trigger. Each musket had to be loaded slowly between shots and they were crude weapons which covered a wide target. Since almost anything from slugs to bird shot could be used, the weapons were efficient in that they usually hit what they were aimed at in a short range, but they were very inefficient in that the range was very limited and in that they were so slow to load that the Indian's arrows could do great damage -- if the Indians stood the first volley. Usually the matchlocks were a "one-shot" weapon; either the soldiers won at the first volley or they used swords and daggers for the second assault -- especially if the Indian charged instead of running -- as they usually did.

These colonial musketeers seldom wore steel armor, as was the custom in England, for armor was scarce and hard to come by in New England. Instead, the soldiers wore heavily quilted doublets under thick leather coats. These garments would sometimes turn an Indian arrow unless it was fired at close range. The musketeers wore a belt of bandoliers across the left shoulder and commonly suspended from this belt some dozen little leather cases. One case carried a high quality powder for use in priming the muskets; the other eleven held coarse powder, balls, slugs, shots and wads, all of which were rammed into the barrel of the muskets. By varying the charge of powder, as well as the character of the balls or shot, the muskets could be adapted to killing men, deer, bear, small animals or birds. It was a powerful weapon for the times and upon it depended the supremacy of the settlers over the Indians, as well as a part of


the colony's supply of food. In addition to the muskets the soldiers carried swords and daggers. The bayonet was not then in use.

The other third of the Massachusetts militia were pikemen. These soldiers were half-armored, since they had to withstand an assault until they came within reach of the enemy. They wore the conventional plain bascinets, breast and back pieces, and tasletts, which protected the thighs. Their principal weapon was the pike, a spear with a steel point on a staff about fifteen to eighteen feet in length. In addition, these soldiers carried a cut-and-thrust sword, a dagger and a pistol or two. These pistols were long and very heavy and delivered a very powerful blow. The attack or defense was very simple. The pikemen charged or stood fast to receive a charge. The first assault was with the pistols which served to break the ranks of the enemy. Then the enemy was stabbed with the pikes and, finally, attacked with sword and dagger. As horses became plentiful enough, the pikemen were mounted and depended more and more upon sword and pistol, riding down the enemy with swinging sabres. The Indians feared and hated this cavalry, for while they would stand assaults from infantry, they could not face mounted men.

The organization of the militia was very simple. Every man was obliged by law to arm and equip himself as a musketeer or a pikeman and to have always ready his arms, ammunitions and equipment. He was liable to be called at any time for any military service. Even if a man was too infirm or aged to take the field, he was obliged just the same, if the head of a household, to provide and to maintain arms and ammunitions for all the men in his house.

When Gibbons died in 1654, the inventory of his estate showed: personal arms, "a leading staff, French gun, Spanish sword and dagger, and powder horn": in his artillery rooms, "seven matchlock muskets, six harquebuses (probably flintlock muskets), seven pistols, one crossbow, one longbow with arrows, a dart or javelin, a pole axe, five glass grenades, one Indian bow, a Brazil Chief's two suits of mail, one complete corslet and pike, 16 pieces of old armor, four brass guns, one iron gun and their carriages, and a little Biscayan shallop" (a small, light boat, used often as a ship's tender, and often so made as to be readily taken into parts and re-assembled when needed).

This same inventory throws a light on Gibbons's farm at Winthrop. Listed were: "two white-faced oxen, four four-year old red steers, two three-year old steers, one bull and two yearlings, one two-year old heifer, one three-year old heifer, five cows, a mare and colt, one boar, six sows and hogs, seven small hogs, ten pigs, two fat hogs, one ram, two old and five young ewes,


seven cocks and hens." Such was the livestock on what was Winthrop's first real farm.

Gibbons's interest in military adventures at length cost him dearly. In June of 1643, Entinne de la Tour came into Boston harbor in the great ship Clement out of LaRochelle, France. Evidently he entered through Shirley Gut for a French gentleman, on board, recognized Mrs. Gibbons, her children and some servants as the ship ran along near Snake Island. The water then was much deeper than now and even the so-called great ships drew but little water. LaTour sent a ship's boat ashore to speak with Mrs. Gibbons, but she became alarmed and fled with her children and servants to Governor's Island where she took refuge with the Governor, John Winthrop, who was in residence. LaTour followed and Winthrop perforce made him welcome-for LaTour's guns could have battered Boston to bits at will. The Governor sent Gibbons's servants across to Boston to warn the town of trouble with the response that several boatloads of the Governor's Guard came over to the Island. After supper, which was amicable enough, Winthrop sent Mrs. Gibbons and her children home to Winthrop and escorted LaTour over to Boston.

LaTour apparently had no wish to attack the town but instead sought help to attack Sieur D' Aulnay, who was blockading LaTour's city of St. John, New Brunswick, in an attempt to oust LaTour from possession. Of course, Boston could not enter into the squabble officially but Winthrop, to rid Boston of LaTour was willing to allow private arrangements to be made. Gibbons was eager for the adventure and he, with Captain Thomas Hawkins, his partner in the ownership of the ship Seabridge, 14 guns; the ships Philip and Mary, 10 guns each, and the ship Greyhound, with four murderers, or swivels, contracted to fit their vessels for sea and battle and to hire 70 musketeers for land service-all for 200 pounds, Sterling, and so oust D' Aulnay and restore LaTour to his property. They were later joined by one Captain Chaddock, a privateersman, from the Bahamas.

The expedition did indeed put LaTour into St. John but at a heavy financial loss to Gibbons, probably in excess of 2,500 pounds, Sterling. Captain Chaddock took a pinnace from D' Aulnay and sailed back to the West Indies, where the vessel was blown up and all on board were lost. Boston considered the tragedy a judgment upon Chaddock's men, who had offended the good Puritans by their "blaaphemies and indecencies."

Gibbons, while pressing his claim against LaTour for payment of the expedition, was busy at home with his merchant voyages and tradings and also serving as a "warden" of the port of Boston. This was the time of the war between Cromwell and


Charles I and, as always, men fought and died in America because of wars bred and waged in Europe. Boston harbor was then without defense and merchant ships were easy prey to any armed ship which could offer reasonable excuse for piracy. One Captain Stagg, master of a London ship which loaded fish at Boston for Panama, had a letter of commission from Parliament and took advantage of a helpless Bristol ship, loyal to Charles I, capturing it by weight of superior metal. Boston officials, strongly pro-Cromwell, did not enjoy their harbor being used for such naval purposes but, being helpless, had to allow Captain Stagg to depart with his prize.

To prevent such an event again, Boston authorized General Gibbons " ... to keep the peace ... and allow no ships to fight in the harbor without authority." This commission was more a paper business than a real harbor police authority but it legalized Gibbons to employ his own ships or those available to revent any more piracy in the harbor -- if he could.

While Gibbons was thus busy with public and private affairs at home, in 1644, D' Aulnay returned to St. John and besieged the fort there while LaTour was away. LaTour, it should be explained, was a Protestant and with Catholics in favor in France, he was practically outside the protection of the Crown of France. Anyway, led by LaTour's heroic wife, St. John put up a stubborn defense but D' Aulnay carried the place by assault. While D' Aulnay lost but 12 men, he butchered every man, English or French, that he captured. Lady LaTour was shamefully treated, together with her children -- one of the blackest events in the despicable history of religious war. Finally, she died after three weeks of captivity. Her children were sent to Paris.

LaTour lost not only his family but all his property and jewels and plate to the value of a quarter of a million dollars. Thus bankrupt, LaTour was plainly unable to pay Gibbon's claim of $12,500 for past services. Ironically, it was at this time that Gibbons, as the military head of the Boston Bay Colony, was compelled to furnish a military guard of honor for the ambassadors of D' Aulnay, who came to Boston to seek repayment from the General Court for the harm done by the expedition Gibbons had led to drive D' Aulnay out of St. John earlier. These claims were settled at a small cost and then Gibbons turned to his business again, sending out trading expeditions while he lived at home in his spacious mansion at Boston. However, he never prospered after his commission for LaTour and when he died in 1654, he was far less wealthy than he had been 20 years before.

Wentworth Daye, a neighbor of Gibbons's owning 25 acres just west of the Thornton Station, returned to England during the Civil War, where he fought under Cromwell. Edward Bayts,


or Bates, was brought over to Boston as a bound servant of John Leverett. He soon obtained his discharge and was made a freeman and established himself as an enterprising mariner. He, however, joined with Anne Hutchinson and so lost his right to bear arms.

William Brenton was another landowner in Winthrop who fell into trouble because of Anne Hutchinson. He was a very substantial citizen of Boston, an associate of John Cotton, the great Puritan divine. He gained considerable wealth for the time, served as a member of the General Court, and was a select-man of Boston for ten terms. However, when Anne Hutchinson was punished, he sold out his property at Boston, including his land at Pullen Poynte and removed to Rhode Island where, later, he became governor and very prominent in business.

John Sanford, a son-in-law of Anne Hutchinson, was disarmed by the authorities for his support of her heresies and eventually sold his property at Boston and at Winthrop and removed to Rhode Island. Thomas Fayreweather, who came over with Winthrop, became a solid man of Boston and owned much property. He served as commander of Castle Island. In 1639, Valentine Hill, one of the principal real estate traders of early Boston, acquired some Winthrop property but never identified himself with Pullin Poynte to any extent. Elias Maverick, who was granted some land at Winthrop, was principally identified with early Chelsea, being a brother of Samuel Maverick and one of the first settlers of Chelsea.

There would be little point in thus briefly commenting upon other non-resident property owners of Winthrop but there are a few who merit some mention. One was Captain William Pierce, to whom was allotted the great part of what is now known as the Highlands. He was one of the principal navigators who explored and transported settlers into New England. He made his first voyage to Plymouth Colony in 1622 in the ship Paragon and a year later, came to Plymouth in the ship Anne. The ship brought a cargo of badly needed food and supplies and a day of thanksgiving was held to express gratitude for his ship's safe voyage. He made another voyage to Plymouth in 1625, and towed a smaller ship behind his own across the Atlantic-a most remarkable accomplishment for the time. In 1629 he brought the famous Mayflower across and in 1630 he was captain of the Lion, one of John Winthrop's fleet of ships which brought the first major number of Puritans across the ocean.

Ordered back to England at once with a second ship, the Ambrose, as consort, Pierce in the Lion met a gale on the Grand Banks and the Ambrose was dismasted. By superb seamanship, Pierce took the hulk in tow of his Lion and brought both ships


safely to England. Business arrangements delayed the return voyage and Boston was in desperate need of food and supplies before the relief ships came into Boston harbor. Winthrop had ordered a day of fasting and prayer but the sight of the Lion coming in through Shirley Gut changed the day to one of Thanksgiving. The following year, the Lion was the means of another day of Thanksgiving for on that voyage, Pierce brought over Winthrop's wife and eldest son.

Captain Pierce was considered one of the most skillful navigators of his period and became one of the great men of Boston. He was a partner in many ventures with Boston merchants and sailed on voyages not only as a ferry service between England and Boston but also down into the West Indies. He became a trusted friend of Winthrop and other public men of Boston and in turn became a member of the town of Boston's board of selectmen.

In 1639 he published "An Almanac for the Year 1639. Made for New England by William Pierce, Mariner." A 16 page booklet, it was the first book of its kind published in America. The press was owned by Mrs. Jose Glover, later the wife of Henry Dunster, president of Harvard College, and the mother of Deane Winthrop's wife. His Boston home was on what is now State Street, at the corner of "Change" Avenue, then known as Pierce's Alley. In 1637 he built on his land at Winthrop the salt-box house that was later sold with all his land to Deane Winthrop and is known today as the Deane Winthrop House. The sturdy captain was killed in a sea battle in 1641 while "sailing the Spanish Main".

The Reverend John Oliver was a surveyor before becoming a minister. A member of the General Court from 1630 to 1640, he was one of the committee chosen to allot lands and also he was directed to layout the grants. He too was a follower of Anne Hutchinson although he does not seem to have suffered much because of that. A graduate of Harvard College, he married a daughter of the famous Increase Mather and thus allied himself with authority. Upon his death in 1646, Governor Winthrop eulogized him as follows: "A gracious young man, not fully thirty years of age, an expert soldier, an excellent surveyor of land and one who, for the sweetness of his disposition and usefulness through a public spirit, was generously beloved and greatly lamented. "

About a third of the men who received grants at Pullen Poynte were followers of Anne Hutchinson and most of them sold out their holdings or lost them when they migrated to Rhode Island. The Hutchinson controversy did not much concern Pullen Poynte for the loss of property owners was not locally serious as they were largely non-residents. However, it was an important


matter in the sense that the original holdings were broken up into smaller lots and thus the number of property owners was increased. Anne Hutchinson, a woman of admirable character and one who won the respect and devotion of practically all of Boston by her ministrations to the sick, had the misfortune of possessing religious convictions which differed from those held by men in authority. The matter was comparatively slight. Established ministers preached that the piety of a man was evidenced by his outward conduct in matters of speech, dress, walk, hair-fashions and other points of behavior. Anne Hutchinson simply held that this was not necessarily correct for a hypocrite could easily pretend to spiritual grace by conforming to established conduct and manners. The resulting controversy got out of hand and for the sake of the peace of Boston, the General Court banished the leaders of Anne Hutchinson's party and disenfranchised other members. Disenfranchisement was serious punishment in the period for it meant the loss of the right to bear arms, as well as virtual excommunication -- for in those days the state was the church and the church was the state.


----------------- Top

Chapter Five


PROBABLY the most distinguished of the early permanent residents of Winthrop as distinguished from summer visitors and part-time residents, was Deane Winthrop, whose name is now indelibly attached to the oldest house in town.

The Deane Winthrop house, which is on Shirley Street, just in from Fort Banks, was, as mentioned, built by Captain William Pierce. The date cannot be fixed too definitely. Probably it was built about 1639, possibly as early as 1637 but certainly no later than 1640, for the famed mariner died in 1641 fighting the Spaniards in the West Indies on a private venture of his own: Spain probably considered him a pirate but the line between peaceful merchant seamen and pirates was not too carefully drawn in those days and no questions were asked.

The fact that the house is still standing after more than 300 years attests the excellence of its construction. It is likely that Captain Pierce brought over much of the materials in his ship, the Lion, or the more famous Mayflower, which he also commanded. The frame especially was imported for it is of oak and the details of its fabrication seem to be beyond the ability of local artisans of the time. There were good carpenters in Boston in the first decade of settlement doubtless, but they had neither the tools nor the time to work great oak beams, sills and posts the way these were produced.

On the contrary, some of the floor boards and some of the siding, which has been exposed during repairs, are of amazingly wide pine boards. Thus it is likely that these parts of the building were locally produced from the tremendous pumpkin pines which once graced the vicinity. Some of these pines were well over 100 feet in height and boards were cut from them all of a yard wide, sometimes 40 inches, although such are exceptional. The chimney, which is noteworthy for its majestic proportions, is made of brick of different size and composition from those burned locally; thus they too likely enough were imported. The mortar used is still strong and shows no sign of disintegration from age; possibly it was made right on the Winthrop beaches


for some settlers burned clam shells to make lime -- and very good lime it was.

Deane Winthrop, who was born at Groton, England, March 16, 1623, remained at school in England until 1635. From that year, until his death in 1704, he claimed Boston as his residence although he spent some time in other parts of New England, such as Ipswich, Mass., New London, Connecticut, and Groton, Mass. -- being one of the founders of that town. However, ever since 1634, his father, Governor Winthrop, had held a tract of land at Pullen Poynte for him, and in 1647, Deane Winthrop inherited all of Governor Winthrop's lands at Winthrop.

First of all, Deane Winthrop lived in the small house which his father had built on Crystal Cove on the south side of Great Head. From accounts of the times, Crystal Cove deserved its name then, having a sand and gravel bottom, not mud, and being filled by tidal water which was literally clear as crystal. It was here that he set up the first "telegraph station" for he could see both Boston across the harbor and out over the ocean for many miles. Whenever a ship came up over the horizon he would hoist a bush to a tall pole and thus inform Boston that a ship was approaching the harbor.

He married Sara, daughter of the Reverend Jose Glover, and step-daughter of The Reverend Henry Dunster, president of Harvard College. By this marriage, he became the father of nine children. His second wife, Martha, widow of Captain John Mellows, survived him, dying in 1716.

Deane Winthrop, unlike some of his brothers, who were very active leaders in politics, did not care for public toil and trouble but was content to live quietly on his Winthrop farm. For the most part, his days did pass peacefully but now and then there were visitors and sports. For one instance, on the night of November 28, 1682, in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, a ship commanded by a Captain Horton was dashed ashore at or near Great Head. Thirteen of the ship's company were drowned, four who did get ashore, froze to death while cowering in the snow, but six managed to make their way to the Deane Winthrop House, all in a pitiful condition, their clothing frozen to their bodies and their lives nearly extinct. However, before the Winthrop fireplace they soon thawed out and they were soon revived by the generous hospitality of Deane Winthrop. The ship was a total loss and very little of her cargo was saved, including some $1,000 in silver. It is reported even now that once In a while an age blackened silver coin is found on the beach.

In 1687, the famed jurist, Samuel Sewall, he of the diary, bought Hog Island, known as Orient Heights today, and leased it to Jeremiah Belcher, the founder of the present Belcher families


in Winthrop. Sewall thus became a neighbor of Deane Winthrop and the two visited each other on occasions, although because of Winthrop's advanced age, the Judge did most of the visiting. Like all families in Winthrop at the time, they traveled by water if at all possible, sailing up and down the tidal creeks and across the harbor to the city. It was much easier so, than to take the rough and weary roundabout way by road.

The families lived very well, as for example, on October 1, 1697, the jurist's diary records a luncheon of bread and butter, honey, curds and cream. For dinner, very good roast lamb, turkey, fowl and apple pie. After dinner sang the 121 Psalm. A glass of spirits ... stood upon a joint stool, which Simon W. (Willard) jogging it, fell down and broke all to shivers. I said it was a lively emblem or our fragility and mortality "

Again Sewall's diary records, July 11, 1699, " went with (the Reverend) Mr. Willard to Mr. Deane Winthrop's, now 77 years old. Between one and two Mr. Willard married Atherton Haugh and Mercy Winthrop .... Gave very good advice and exhortation; especially most solemnly charged them not to neglect family prayer. Between three and four, Major General Fitz-John and Mr. Adam Winthrop came ... Sang a Psalm together. I set St. David's tune; sang part of two Psalms, and concluded with the last four verses of the 115. When Mr. Willard asked Mr. Winthrop's consent to the marriage, he also complimented me respecting Atherton Haugh. I said I was glad he had found so good a family and so good a wife, and after when I saw the bridegroom and the bride together after the wedding, I prayed God to bless them, and give them such an offspring wherein the names of Haugh and Winthrop should flourish .... The wind was against us going home so 'twas nine o'clock before we landed. Were four hours on the passage. . .. "

By 1702 Deane Winthrop had outlived all his brothers and most of his children. His last act of public service was as a member of a committee to layout and to limit the "highways" between Pullin Point Neck and the County Road at Winnisimett. These "highways" were of course mere rutted cart tracks, through pastures, mowings and orchards and at every farm was blocked by a gate to keep cattle from straying. Drivers had to stop, open the gates, drive through, and then stop and shut the gates behind them.

The committee's report gives a graphic picture of the "highways". It reads in part: ". . . We . . . do . . . judge it the most convenient way, and which will be the least damage to those persons through whose land the ways runs, and therefore do by our joint agreement determine: that the way shall begin at the Waterside on the east side of Joseph Bill's House, and run


through the said Bill's ground over the Plain, then into James Bill's land by the head of The Little Swamp, and by another little swamp lying on the easterly side, from thence northerly by a round pond and in Joseph Bill's ground and so through the land of Joseph Bill to a little gate on said Joseph Bill's hill, by Mr. Winthrop's and through the said gate into Mr. Winthrop's ground, down to a rock in the brook, and from thence to the gate. in the parting line between Mr. Winthrop's land and Major Townsend's farm, and so through said gate on the southerly side of said hill to the end of said hill, where the way runs onto the beach .... "

The "Little Swamp" and the "another little swamp" were both filled in when Pauline Street and the area adjacent to the old Winthrop Center railroad station were built. The section on the lands of Deane Winthrop was of course, the beginning of the present Revere Street.

Deane Winthrop died on his birthday, March 16, 1703-04, (O.S.) at the age of 81. Of his nine children, only one son and three daughters survived him. He was buried at the old church on Beach Street, Revere -- at the time the only churchyard in the vicinity.

The property passed for several years successively down through his children and grandchildren and their issue until it was acquired by Governor James Bowdoin through a mortgage transaction. In 1790, at Bowdoin's death, his daughter, Elizabeth, Lady Temple, wife of Sir John Temple, became the owner. Lady Temple willed the property to her daughter, Elizabeth Temple Winthrop, wife of Tyndal Winthrop, son of Governor John Winthrop of Connecticut. Thus after about a century, the property once again came back to the Winthrops. Elizabeth later married the Reverend Benjamin Tappan, minister of the Winthrop Church at Charlestown. Upon her death, the estate was bought by Deacon David Floyd. The Floyd family had been residents of Rumney Marsh since 1630 odd but were established in Winthrop also by this purchase in 1854 -- although the Deacon had lived in the house for years before he purchased it. All of his family were born in the old house, including his seven sons, all of whom were more than six feet tall. This was a famous family as for instance upon one occasion when the Deacon went to the State House to speak in protest against some invasion of private rights by the State, a newspaper printed an account and said,"he stood there (at the hearing) backed by 48 feet of Floyds."

It was due to the Floyds, in fact, that the old house is still standing, unlike early buildings which have vanished. A nephew of the Deacon's, David Floyd, in 1906 managed to acquire the


property again for the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association as a permanent historical monument. The Association at first leased the property but eventually was able to purchase it outright. Thanks to this group, the house was repaired and it is now safely protected against time and the weather and although 300 years old and more should continue for many years to come -- one of the oldest houses in Greater Boston.

To return to the development of Winthrop, beginning in 1638, Winthrop's first real estate speculator went to work. He was Richard Tuttle, or Tuttell, a business man of Boston. Within two years, his assiduous purchasing of available parcels became so noticeable that it was feared by some in Boston that his acquisition of land in Winthrop, in Revere and elsewhere would preclude the proper development of the areas. So it was agreed upon at the 1639 session of the General Court that the sale of any of the allotments at Pullen Poynte and Rumney Marsh must be passed by the General Court if the title was to be valid.

It happened at this time that Dorothie Bill, relict of John Bill, who came to Boston about 1638, was living at the home of her brother, the same Richard Tuttle. She had a son, James, who was very active in purchasing land at Winthrop. Just what the connection between James Bill and Richard Tuttle, or where the necessary capital came from, was never made clear but it is a fact that by 1671, James Bill owned almost all of what is now Winthrop; his neighbor, Deane Winthrop, owning what Bill did not. In addition, this James Bill, probably the most important Inhabitant of early Winthrop, from the economic point of view, owned considerable other property elsewhere, including wharves, fishing vessels, two negro slaves, several houses, cattle, sheep and swine, and, in Winthrop, 80 acres of arable land and 170 acres of pasture.

This holding in Winthrop he gave by an indenture just before his death to his four sons, James, Jr., Jonathan, Joseph and Joshua, reserving a life interest. It is likely that these sons were already established in Winthrop and living in the several houses on the Bill Farms. These houses certainly included: the Gibbons House, previously mentioned, at the foot of Thornton Hill, the Whittemore house near the water at what is now the foot of Sargent Street, and the Oliver house in the northerly part of the town.

James Bill, Sr., died very soon after thus arranging for the disposition of his property, although son Joshua managed to pre-decease him at that. Thus three sons divided most of Winthrop among themselves.

James Bill, Jr., took the land south of present Madison Avenue and Jefferson Street and east of Bellevue Avenue to the


creek at the foot of Washington Avenue -- Lewis Lake now. This included the Major Gibbons house and farm buildings at Thornton Park to be.

Jonathan took the land west of Sargent Street and Somerset Avenue and up to about Hermon Street and thence out to Crooked Lane, which was then the name for the present Belle Isle Inlet. He thus obtained the Oliver House, and shortly it became known as the Bill House, which stood on Beal Street until about 20 years ago. Efforts were made to preserve it, but they collapsed and the building was torn down as a fire menace.

Joseph took a wedge of land between Sargent Street, Bellevue Avenue and the waterfront, which included the house near the shore, which ultimately became known as the Whittemore House. He also took a large parcel east of Jonathan's land and north of the Town Hall site, the area including the present Fort Banks area.

The marsh land between Winthrop, Revere and Orient Heights was divided equally between the three.

The division can be visioned by assuming that the lands of the three converged at the old center of the town. The present Methodist Church is built on what was part of James' property; the present Town Hall is on Joseph's land; and the Baptist Church is on that of Jonathan, probably. The property lines as given on a plan made by William Johnson in 1690, as shown on a modern map of Winthrop, illustrate this.

The old Bill House, now but a memory, could have been preserved like the Deane Winthrop House had there been sufficient interest. The old building, which endured for just about 300 years, certainly played an important part in the history of the town: perhaps because the Bills and successive owners were more active than those who lived in or owned the Deane Winthrop House. The house was probably built about or before 1639 by the Reverend John Oliver, whose grant included much of the area from Beal Street down to Belle Isle Inlet, including the little cove in the creek near what was the Pleasant Street Station. This cove was known for many years as Oliver's but later was called "schooner dock" because schooners used to come in at high tide, tie up to the bank of the creek and then rest in the mud until ready to sail out again at an appropriate high tide.

James Bill, previously mentioned, purchased the house from the Oliver heirs in 1666 but through a mortgage transaction, the Bill family lost the house to James Pitts of Boston, son-in-law of Governor Bowdoin. He was the father of LindalI Pitts who later inherited the property. During all these years, it is probable the house was leased by John Tewksbury and, later by his sons, John, James and Andrew. John Tewksbury, Jr., eventually


purchased the old house from the Pitts heirs, thus bringing it back into the Bill family, for his wife was Anna Bill, daughter of Jonathan Bill 2nd. The Tewksbury family continued to own the house until about the opening of the present century when it was sold to a Mrs. Hanley. After her death the house was unoccupied and went to such ruin that it had to be torn down.

Thus briefly traced, the early permanent settlement of Winthrop was made by two outstanding families; those of Deane Winthrop and James Bill. So far as is known, the Winthrop family ceased to have any interest in the town after the death of Deane Winthrop and the settlement of his estate-but the BiIl family continued active for many years. The Bill name died out in due course but it was continued through intermarriage with three other families who came to Winthrop at an early date -- the Floyds, Belchers and Tewksburys. These three families, whose name still continues in Winthrop, had a way of absorbing other families, as they did the Bills, besides marrying each other's sons and daughters. It must be remembered that Winthrop in the beginning was a very small farming town and it continued as such, despite its nearness to Boston, within the memory of men still living.

The coming of the Tewksburys to the Bill House and of the Floyds from Rumney Marsh to the Deane Winthrop House has been described. The Belchers came into town when Joseph Belcher married Hannah BiIl. He built a house where Sunnyside Avenue is today. His home became known as the "Parliament" because it was a frequent meeting place for the Bills, Tewksburys and the Floyds to talk over political matters. Belcher, who had the title of "Ensign" from his active service in the French and Indian wars, was an older man than most of his contemporaries and far more widely experienced, having traveled far. Thus he was something of a local leader.

The only exceptions to this relatively exclusive family settlement of Winthrop were the families of Deacon John Chamberlain and of Benjamin Whittemore.

Deacon Chamberlain, so called because he was the first deacon of the church at Rumney Marsh, had been active and prominent in Revere for many years when in 1733 he purchased the James Bill farm and with it the old house of Major Gibbons. His daughter Susanna, married John Sargent of Malden and they, living at the Gibbons house, raised daughters, one of whom, Mary, married James Tewksbury, another, Susanna, married Samuel Floyd, and a third, Elizabeth, married David Belcher. Thus the Floyds, Belchers and Tewksburys continued their reign.

The Whittemores came into Winthrop and occupied the Joseph Bill house on what is now Johnson Avenue and lived there




some quarter of a century. A large family was raised and one daughter married a Floyd but no record of any Whittemore, other than this one, is to be found after 1760.

During the entire 18th century, as the name of Bill gradually vanished, the town came into the entire possession of the Belchers, Floyds and Tewksburys. Thus there was practically no growth in the town-to-be during that century; just the natural increase of the three families, which, relatively, was considerable -- for those were the days of big families. Real estate transactions were almost nil, being simply the recording of titles upon the death of elder people who bequeathed their property to their children variously. And this condition continued to be dominant into the 19th century too. This is evident in the census taken at Pullen Point in 1840, nearly two centuries after James Bill came to Winthrop.

That census showed a population of 156, of which number 142 were descendants of James Bill, although not of his name. There were 31 families, some of which were then not Floyds, Belchers or Tewksburys but the three families accounted for 29 of the 31 families. Of this number 15 were Tewksburys with 79 members -- or more than half of the total population; 9 were Belchers with 40 members; and 5 were Floyds with 23 members. Out of the total population of 156, the three old families thus accounted for 142 persons. Of course today, the situation is very different. Even proportionately the three old names are vanish-ing as more and more people move into town from East Boston, Chelsea, Revere and elsewhere.


----------------- Top

Chapter Six


WHILE the main section of Winthrop was developing as has been described, what is now Point Shirley was not inactive but for the sake of clarity, the growth of this distinctly separate part of the town has been kept until this point.

To modern eyes, accustomed to travel by railroad and by autos and planes, the Point is the most remote part of Winthrop -- a barren waste of sand and rock, were it not tightly packed with houses. In the 17th century, the situation was exactly reversed for then most travel was by water and the Point and adjacent Deer Island were not only easily accessible from all points by water but were also the gateway to the harbor itself. Land at the Point was considered the most valuable of all. Then too, because of its sandy and rocky character, the Point was without trees or even heavy growth of bushes. Hence there was no need of felling thick forests in order to clear the land -- as was the case elsewhere. Certainly Governor Winthrop considered the Point as the most valuable part of the area for when the allotments were made as described, he took the Point and Cottage Hill for his own. No other man had more influence and power than did this first Governor of Boston so he must have considered Point Shirley choice indeed.

Another feature which made the Point desirable, was the adjacent marsh land. These marsh and water properties not only afforded a private way by boat into the harbor and hence to Boston but they also provided fish and in season, water fowl. Then, perhaps more important, the marshes, whatever the season may have been for upland hay, gave a heavy and certain crop of marsh hay which found a ready market amongst the farmers of the time-although today scarcely if ever used. Finally, the ocean beaches not only gave clams and other shellfish but provided heavy crops of kelp and other seaweeds which were highly regarded as fertilizers for the rather poor soil of the farms. In fact, just as many farms at Rumney Marsh included a section of woodland in Saugus for firewood, so did the same deeds give the farmers the right to gather kelp for fertilizer on Revere Beach. Marsh and beach property really was valuable then.


However, for the first century of its existence, nothing of importance occurred at the Point, save for the ordinary round of agricultural affairs and incidents concerned with the heavy shipping which passed through the Gut or passed between Deer and Long Islands. The Point, like the rest of Winthrop, was remote and secluded from the world, although it lay within sight of Boston itself across two or three miles of sheltered water.

Then in 1753, a proposal of great importance was made. In 1720 it seems, Joseph Belcher Jr., a grandson of the Joseph Belcher who married Sara Bill, purchased the extremity of the Deane Winthrop estate -- that part which included what is now Point Shirley but was then known as the Gut, or more formally, as the "Gutt Plein". This was an area of 140 acres of upland and beaches and 10 acres of marsh. In 1748, this property was sold to Thomas Pratt, who had visions of a great enterprise. The exact nature of his plans became known in 1752 when he conveyed the property to a syndicate organized by Thomas Goldthwait, who planned to establish an extensive fishery at the Point.

The news electrified Winthrop, for the members of the syndicate included men of prominence at Boston. Colonel Thomas Goldthwait, the leading spirit of the business, was merchant, selectman, commissioner of the Land Bank, representative to the General Court, truck master, judge of the court of common pleas and many things more. A man of great enterprise and undoubted ability, he was particularly prominent in the affairs of Chelsea and also was a leader in the fishing business. He was a paymaster for the Army at Crown Point and discharged the difficult task of settling accounts with some 4000 soldiers over a three year period. Later in life he became interested in the District of Maine where he was Captain at Fort Pownall, at the mouth of the Penobscot, justice of the Lincoln County Court, colonel of the Second Maine regiment and the first moderator of the first town meeting at Belfast. While in command at Fort Pownall in 1775, he allowed a British sloop of war, the Canceau, to dismantle the works. Boston did not approve of this at all and the Colonel was dropped from the rolls of the new Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as accused of being a Loyalist. Soon after, he sailed to England where he died in 1799.

Associated with him at Point Shirley was a half-brother, Ezekial Goldthwait, who was town clerk of Boston for 20 years and Suffolk County registrar of Deeds for thirty years more.

Next was John Rowe, of Rowe's Wharf fame, a noted patriot and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, from 1768 to 1787. He was also a selectman of Boston. Then there was Henry Atkins, a Boston selectman, too; Nathaniel Holmes, a prominent businessman of Roxbury; John


Baker, yet another Boston selectman; Ralph Inman, a wealthy Tory of Cambridge, James Pitts, an eminent Boston merchant; Thomas Greene, a leading Boston merchant; Thomas Hancock, uncle of John Hancock, an opulent Boston merchant and, later, John Hancock, one of Boston's great merchants and patriots -- who took his uncle's place upon his death in the enterprise at the Point.

Seldom has a more distinguished group of men been directly concerned in the affairs of Winthrop. Boston, naturally, gave the syndicate every encouragement, leasing it Deer Island for additional space, for a period of years at a very nominal rental.

The company planned to build extensive warehouses, wharves, dwellings and the like to accommodate the large number of families they anticipated employing. It was alleged shortly that the syndicate was paying more attention to the construction of "luxurious villas" at the Point for the leaders of the enterprise than they were in providing adequate quarters for the help. Be that as it may, in addition to the "villas", a church, a store, warehouses, wharves and dwellings for the employees were constructed on an ambitious scale. It is recorded that in 1775 the famous minister, Reverend Mathew Byles preached there. He was soon after denounced and proscribed as a Loyalist -- as indeed were many prominent and wealthy Boston men. It should be remembered, that with a few exceptions, of which John Hancock was a shining example, many wealthy Bostonians, as in other American cities, had little to gain and much to lose in a Revolution. So they were either active as Loyalists, if they had the courage of their convictions, or else lukewarm and fence sitters so far as possible in dealing with the patriots who, as always has been the case in revolutions, were, so far as the rank and file went, farmers, clerks, fishermen and the like who had nothing to lose but their lives and liberty to gain.

By late summer of 1753, the company had its buildings fairly well readied for actual operation and in addition had housing for 50 workmen and their families. So it was determined to encourage public relations by a grand "house warming" to which prominent and influential Bostonians were invited, together with their ladies. There is no record of any of the four families of Winthrop being invited, although they may have been. The officials of the colony were all invited from Governor Shirley and his lady, on down to members of the General Court.

The Boston News Letter, September 13, 1753, printed the following news report, in part: "On Saturday last, His Excellency, Governor Shirley, did the Proprietors of Pulling Point the honour of dining with them at the said Point, where a very elegant entertainment was prepared for him; he was attended


thither by the Proprietors of Pulling Point and a number of gentlemen of distinction from town; he was saluted with 15 guns from Castle William as he went down, and the same number when he returned; and was received at the Point with all the demonstrations of joy that so new a settlement was capable of. His Excellency expressed great satisfaction on finding so considerable an addition to that valuable branch of trade, the 'Cod Fishery', and he hoped the gentlemen concerned would meet with such success as to make ample returns for so noble an undertaking."

At the entertainment, the Proprietors, after securing "leave from his Excellency", gave the name of Point Shirley to what had been Pulling Point. This publicity in a sense backfired, as publicity often does, for besides encouraging investors to join the syndicate, it also made the Point a noted Summer resort -- a quality it has continued to possess more or less, ever since that time, 200 years ago.

A later writer describing the affair was less prosy than the staid reporter of the News Letter. His account ran, in part: "We may imagine the rowing gallies crowded with rich costumes and gay uniforms, the saluting cannon from Castle William, the new buildings at the Point gay with flags, the stately courtesy of the reception, the ceremony of the banquet, the abundance of good cheer, the loyal and gallant toasts drunk in huge bumpers of port and Madeira, the convivial throngs around flowing punch bowls, and the flowery after-dinner speeches .... "

Unfortunately, "it was apparent that the new company was not a success at first, as the Town of Chelsea (of which Point Shirley was then a part) voted to remit its taxes in 1753 and 1754."

But by 1755 the business was apparently prospering, for the residents of the Point that year were substantial enough to demand a share in the town government of Chelsea. Accordingly, Chelsea town meeting voted to increase the number of selectmen to five, including one from the Point. Thomas Goldthwait, who as managing director of the company, had taken up residence at the Point, was accordingly elected to represent the Point and he continued in office until 1763 when the organization virtually ceased operations.

But for the moment in 1755, the fisheries company was prosperous so, in addition to a selectman, the Chelsea town meeting also gave the Point the right to have a constable and a road surveyor from amongst the residents of the "furtherest East." Hard times soon returned to the fisheries enterprise and in 1758, the Boston Town Meeting passed a motion to inquire into the affairs of the company. Thereupon the Proprietors officially acknowledged


that they were not doing as well as had been hoped. The reason advanced was that the company was prevented by the French war from sending fishing vessels out. Indeed, some of the company's vessels had been captured by the French off the Maine coast. However, the statement expressed the belief, that, once the war was over, the fishing company would be very prosperous. However, the reverse was true. The company was doomed to failure.

Just why the enterprise failed is not known. Contemporary critics laid the blame at the door of the proprietors, saying they were so fond of pleasure and good times they neglected the business. This is a common allegation, however, and seldom true. In this case it is particularly unlikely because the members of the company included many prominent business men who were out-standingly successful in other enterprises. Certainly men of such calibre would not permit their capital to be wasted in a venture given to pleasure rather than to sober labor. The buildings of the fisheries, being far too empty in 1759 were used in part to quarter troops while in 1762 and again in 1767, probably, warehouses were made into barracks to house Acadians removed in that tragic exile from Nova Scotia. The persecuted French could hardly have been comfortable in the old buildings.

While the proprietors continued hopeful of resurrecting the business after its formal close in 1763, until about 1809, when the shareholders took the property in lieu of their investments, the Point continued to prosper as a summer resort. So well did it do in that respect that a Benjamin Wheeler, hopeful of building a huge development on the Point, quietly acquired all the fisheries property from the individual directors and shareholders. He was a little ahead of his time.

One of the most prominent summer residents at the Point in the later part of the 18th century was Governor John Hancock, who built himself a villa next to the old brick house standing today on Siren Street. Here, as evidence, a friend at Boston sent a letter to Mrs. Hancock, addressing it "Att Point Shirley, via Apple Island."

In 1764, a violent and virulent epidemic of smallpox raged at Boston and struck the inhabitants with fear. The Governor and the Executive Council promptly named the Point as a site for a smallpox hospital and accepted the offer of the fisheries company to make use of their buildings. There was more nonsense than sense practiced in the care of smallpox then and the citizens of Chelsea, including no doubt the residents of the main part of Winthrop, cried out in horror at the idea. However, the following arrangement was finally agreed upon by Boston and Chelsea, by then a separate town: "March 7, 1764, We the subscribers,


having hired Point Shirley of the Proprietors for an Innoculation Hospital, do oblige ourselves to pay to the town of Chelsea 18 pence la wfull money, for every person that shall be innoculated on said Pointe, on condition the said town do at their present March meeting Vote and Grant said Physicians liberty to innoculate on said Pointe, with the exception that the sum of two shillings be the amount paid to the town for each patient treated .... " Rather elaborate and confusing rules and regulations, especially as there was more than one method of inoculation used. The medical way was primarily that of drawing a needle and thread through pustules on the body of an afflicted person and then drawing the same needle and thread through the arm of the person to be inoculated. Crude no doubt but it usually worked if the patient being inoculated did not die in the process. The other method of innoculation, much more popular, is revealed by Chelsea town meeting making an appropriation of nine shillings and seven pence for rum for Richard Stowers of Worcester during his "last sickness of the Small Pox." Rum was then very cheap, perhaps a shilling a gallon, so it must have been well liked as a medical treatment.

The smallpox incident gave the summer resort business at the Point a case of poor publicity and many of the summer residents lost interest in the Point. Then, gradually the families who had been employed at the fisheries moved away and from some 300 people in 1760, less than two families remained by 1780. The buildings fell into decay and soon collapsed. Such was the Point when the Revolution came along and because of its position commanding the entrance to the harbor, the Point once again entered the limelight.


----------------- Top

Chapter Seven


TO ROUND OUT the history of Pullen Point up to the Revolution, mention must be made of the development of the general area of which future Winthrop was a part.

As has been mentioned, Pullen Point, together with Rumney Marsh and Winnesimmit were a unit which was in turn a part of the Town of Boston. This group of two future cities and a town, was usually referred to as Rumney Marsh alone, or else was known as District 13 of the Town of Boston; After about a century of being a minor part of Boston, District 13 became restive and began seeking independence. The first petition for separation was filed in 1735 and was denied although the report of the committee appointed by Boston was complimentary enough: " ... We find that they (residents of District 13) are a very industrious people, growing in their substance and estates, and too valuable a member to be severed from the body. . .. "

Undaunted, District 13 tried again in 1738 and were as promptly turned down by the Selectmen of Boston. Persistent, the leaders of the movement promptly petitioned the General Court and, lacking any real reason for separation, alleged that the storms of March prevented the residents of District 13 from attending the Boston town meeting -- and thus they were being deprived of their liberties and being taxed without representation. It was, patently, a flimsy reason and the committee of the legislature promptly tossed the petition out the window.

However, enough political manipulations were engineered to bring the petition onto the floor of the General Court, to override the adverse committee report, and to pass the petition November 27, 1738. Officially, the new town of Chelsea was incorporated with Pullen Poynte and Rumney Marsh included as part of the new corporation.

It seems as if the separation was not wise. The new town, covering comparatively a large area, was very thinly settled. What was more serious, it was mostly an area of farms and the properties of the farmers were inadequate to provide the municipal services which Boston had provided. Nothing remained, however, but to organize a town government and on March 5,


1739, a town meeting was held and officers elected. Among these was a member of the Floyd family and one of the Belchers.

It soon was evident that the assets of the new town of Chelsea were inadequate to support a government and so, in 1742, Chelsea petitioned for the annexation to their corporation of Hog and Noddle Islands -- which is now East Boston and Orient Heights. The petition to the General Court alleged that the area was necessary for the welfare of Chelsea and that the two islands were always considered part of District 13. Hence Chelsea was being unjustly deprived of an area which it legally owned. The General Assembly denied the petition with vigor. At the same time, Chelsea itself was split by a petition from the northern part of the new Town, the Pan Handle, who wished to secede and join the large and prosperous town of Saugus. The first petition from the Pan Handle was made in 1735 but the wishes of the residents there did not prevail until 1841.

Thus the new town of Chelsea or Winnesimmit as it was still called, failed to put itself on its feet, as is evident by petitions to the General Court praying for a reduction in valuations so as to lessen the burden of State taxes. The General Court apparently took the attitude that Chelsea had made its bed and must lie upon it.

The earliest census figures known of the new town are those of 1763, 29 years after its incorporation. Then there were but 54 dwellings and 70 families, and 419 people. Of these 195 were under 16 years of age; voters numbered 78, slaves 43; horses 49, oxen 61, cows 213, hogs 9, and sheep 1622. It is questionable if these figures, especially as to animals, are correct, for certainly 70 families would have more than nine hogs among them, as pork was one of the mainstays of colonial life. Possibly since taxes were based on livestock, the true number was not always reported -- or else all but the pigs saved for ·breeding were killed off before the day for making assessments.

Indeed, the citizens commonly made a poor face whenever they went, hat in hand, to the General Court seeking abatement of taxes. Once Chelsea claimed: " ... that from the northeast to the south bounds of said township they lie exposed to the open ocean, whereby the rage of the sea destroys acres of the lands, and some of the best of the lands of said township are lost every year."

Twice specific reference is made to Pullen Point in these petitions. It was pointed out in 1749 that the town was being charged ten pounds for educating the children "living in those branches of the town called the Rocks and Pullen Point."

Again, Point Shirley's lamentable plight was described, in part as follows: "When the valuation was taken in 1772, there


was a part of our town called Pleasant Point (which is a new name for Point Shirley), that then had about 20 good dwelling houses, some stores, warehouses and barns, and some vessels at that place for carrying on the fishery business, and there was in that part of the town some twenty families, and as many rateable polls, able to pay public taxes; all of said stores, warehouses, barns and vessels are lost and gone, and a great part of said dwelling houses are torn or fallen down, and those few, that remain, are so torn to pieces and out of repair that there is not any fit for the poorest people to live in, so that there are but two families, and two rateable polls, that are able to pay any public taxes there."

During this period, of about a hundred years, the center of the three towns to be, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, was at Revere Center, where the first church and the Town House were located at or near the corner of present Beach Street and School Street. The future City of Chelsea was inferior not only to Revere but to Winthrop, for it consisted most of this period of but four farms. Indeed, it was not until 1836, after the farms were taken in hand by real estate operators, that Chelsea began to grow. The four farms were purchased in part, the area broken up into streets and house lots and industrial sites, in the now familiar fashion. Chelsea began to grow so lustily that what had been for some 200 years the least of the three sections, soon became the greatest of them all -- as it is today in point of wealth and population.

Back in the early days of Chelsea, Rumney Marsh was veritably the center of the town. Residents of Pullen Point, lest they sailed across the harbor to Boston, or made the endless trip by land way out through Harvard Square, went to Revere Center. Usually, although there was a road of sorts, around via Beachmont and Revere Beach and up Beach Street, they went by boat, passing down Crooked Lane, as Belle Isle Inlet was then known, into Chelsea Creek and making a landing at the Old Tide Mill just off the Revere Beach Parkway near the gas tanks of the Suburban Gas and Electric Company. This must have been a very pleasant passage in those days for there were no roads to block passage, no sewers, no Suffolk Downs and no oil farms. It was a lovely, wide-open sweep of salt marsh, threaded by numerous creeks of clear water and inhabited in season by multitudes·of wild fowl. The horrid fate which has overtaken Belle Isle Inlet and the wide marshes is of course, altogether a modern development, coming mostly in the early 30s of this century. The writer as a boy hunted and fished on the Winthrop and Revere Marshes, little knowing the abomination which was soon to befall his paradise.


To return to municipal governments, Suffolk County, of which Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are the component parts, has been established as a most unique arrangement, greatly to the advantage of Winthrop if not to the advantage of Boston tax-payers. This arrangement, to step out of chronological order for the moment, dates back to 1831, when the town of Chelsea (which then included Revere and Winthrop) was annexed to Suffolk County, which originally was what is now the City of Boston. At the moment the two cities and town to be which made up Chelsea had a population of 771, so the tax returns from the starveling town were insignificant. No City of Boston father then ever dreamed that within a century the town of Chelsea would become two cities and a town with a combined population of about 125,000 and would thus comprise a rich source of taxes.

Chelsea was indifferent, at least professedly so about the idea of joining Suffolk County and so was able to drive a bargain. In return for the loss of any share in the county tax returns, the area was to be forever relieved of any county taxation and would be given free county services. Of course Chelsea deeded to Suffolk all its property used for county purposes -- but this amounted to very little, certainly.

Thus today, Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere are given a free ride in county matters. Of course we do not vote for the County officials, who are the Mayor and Councilmen of the City of Boston. These officers have jurisdiction over all county matters, save county roads and bridges, which for lack of other officials, were made the responsibility of the County Commissioners of Middlesex County. Thus Winthrop citizens, residents of Suffolk County, cannot vote for their own county officers but do vote for the Middlesex County Commissioners. Only Yankees could have worked out such an arrangement.

This is particularly true in that, without a cent of cost, Winthrop, Revere and Chelsea now enjoy the delightful spectacle of seeing Boston pay for its police courts, jails and such public charges as fall to the account of Suffolk County. Of course, the City of Boston, long suffering from various maladministrations, extravagant political programs and the like, which have resulted in a terrific tax rate, every now and then seeks to have the contract broken and so tap the rich taxable resources of Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. Perhaps it is unfair for the overburdened tax payer of Boston to support Suffolk County entirely. Certainly Boston is justified in seeking redress but, yet, a contract is a contract.

Several times, Boston has attempted to swallow Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. This has consistently failed of being anything but talk, because Revere, Winthrop and Chelsea are perfectly


happy with the status quo. Then, again, Boston has sought to have the contract set aside as being against the public interest and so compel the now exempt area to pay its share of county taxes. This effort, so far at least, has failed. A third attempt by Boston is even simpler ---to expel Winthrop, Revere and Chelsea from the County and then, since we cannot be left homeless for a county, to have us join Middlesex County. It is to be imagined that Middlesex County, one of the largest and most prosperous in the Commonwealth, while they might welcome Winthrop, has no great hunger for Chelsea and Revere. So this essay has also fallen down. What will be the eventual outcome is something of course that cannot be guessed but at present it seems unlikely that anything can be done to upset the contract written so lightheartedly in 1831.

During the late 17th century and in the 18th up to the Revolution, although Pullen Point remained what would be termed by modern standards, a sleepy village of farmers, there was considerable development, although growth was slow and small comparatively. Of course Winthrop was isolated geographically and, even more limiting to its development, it was owned by three or four closely related families who were not hospitable to outsiders wishing to come to town. Land simply was not for sale. Thus we have the picture of Pullen Point, one which endured for many years, of Americans largely of English ancestry who lived very quietly and on the whole comfortably and happily, content with their lot.


----------------- Top

Chapter Eight


ALTHOUGH BOSTON was so near that Winthrop could not escape the influence of the hustling life of what was then the largest town in the Americas, on the whole the Bills, Belchers, Floyds and Tewksburys lived just about as their grandfathers and great-grandfathers had done, asking little and expecting nothing much from outside their own family groups.

They had no church, no school and no store and depended upon each other whenever need arose. In single word, Winthrop was an island off to the north east of Boston and went its own way, content if not molested.

The houses were all well-built and comfortable by colonial standards, although modern Winthrop families would not want homes without running water, sanitary conveniences, electric lights and refrigerators, and the like, including of course oil burning furnaces. The old-timers were content with a spring within walking distance for their water supply, candles for lights and so forth, with only fireplaces for heat. Often the only fireplace in common use was the huge one in the kitchen; often the rest of the house was unheated and the idea of heated bedrooms just did not occur to anyone. Although wild game, save for sea fowl, was soon extinct, Winthrop tables were spread abundantly if in limited variety. In addition to sea food, the farms must have been productive for many a Winthrop farmer, starting out as a tenant, soon saved enough to purchase the property. Then, of course, Boston was only a hour's row or sail in good weather, so the luxuries and staples of the large town were available to anyone with produce to barter.

There was plenty to barter, too, for the Winthrop farm families were distinguished for their industry, as successful farmers must be always. In addition to general farming, which provided a surplus of food for which there was a ready market in Boston, the Winthrop farms specialized then in sheep raising which gave plenty of wool for which there was then an avid market. It may be that it was the Winthrop sheep farmers who helped establish Boston as the great wool trading center of the United States --


which it has remained, although most of its other activities, once of national eminence, have been taken elsewhere in large part.

In addition to sheep, Winthrop farms bred cattle for beef, which, when salted, was eagerly sought as provision for ocean going ships. Dairy cattle were maintained in numbers and while there was then no market of consequence for fluid milk, Winthrop's butter and cheese went to Boston on a regular schedule more or less. Oxen were the beasts principally favored, as they would do more work on less food than horses could do and Winthrop's farms were so small that the superior speed of horses was not necessary.

A main crop was salt marsh hay which was very abundant in the damp center of the town and in all the marsh lands to the north and west. Because of the poor roads to market, the hay was usually loaded upon scows, or gundalows, and towed by row boats or sail boats up the harbor or through Crooked Lane to the Mystic River, whence they floated upstream with the tide to various towns where farmers purchased the lush grass from the salt meadows. Indeed, the owners of the marshes had trouble with farmers from Malden and Saugus who, wanting such hay, poached upon Rumney Marsh and Winthrop meadows until driven away.

Kelp was also a highly saleable product for it was favored as a fertilizer -- the salts of potassium, calcium, phosphorous, iodine and the like, making the land rich. Indeed, the use of kelp today would benefit many impoverished acres, acres whose mineral salts have long since been consumed. Loads of this kelp were ferried up the Mystic and Charles and sold to the farmers. Residents of Rumney Marsh and Winthrop had the right to gather this kelp but it was necessary for the local men to strictly prohibit outside farmers from raiding the beaches.

The same was true of clams. Even way back then, when clams were exceedingly abundant, the right to dig them, which was restricted to residents, was a valuable possession and the beaches had to be guarded to keep outsiders from poaching. In addition, nearly every Winthrop farmer owned a fishing boat, usually probably nothing more than a sturdy dory, and in slack times on the farm, the farmer and his boys would row or saiI offshore a ways and catch cod -- then very abundant. These cod were split, cleaned, salted and dried and sold at Boston. There was then a very great trade in New England salt codfish and it was one of the great staples of commerce of colonial days especially for trade with the West Indies where it was swapped for molasses which was brought back home and made into rum -- again a great staple of trade for New England rum was deservedly popular, not only locally but in Europe. It was very cheap


also in those days before taxes, for a shilling, which was about 25 cents, would buy a gallon of it. Historians have asserted that New England society and business moved in a bath of rum for it was used freely at all types of meetings, even church gatherings when business was discussed. Not a barn or a house could be raised at a neighborhood bee without rum.

Just as they went to church, the residents of Rumney Marsh and of Winthrop had their choice of two places at which to buy or barter merchandise. Probably for small purchases, Revere Center, near the Town House and the First Church and the School, was the usual place. Often parties rowed or sailed up Belle Isle Inlet around the northern side of Orient Heights to the old tide mill. Nearby was an inn whose tavern was unquestionably a most popular place in which to warm oneself in winter after the long voyage or to cool oneself in summer after the hot sun on the water. Since church, town meetings and such social gatherings as Chelsea boasted were centralized at Revere Center it is likely that this tavern, long since departed, was one of the busiest and most frequented spots in all of Winnisimmitt.

However, for more general supplies, especially textiles, window glass, hardware and things in quantity, Winthrop people usually sailed across to Boston. There was much individual traffic, naturally, since the Big City was always in plain view and the star-bright Mecca for a Saturday night. There was also more or less community traffic, too. Parties would be made up of men and women and they would sail over for more sedate visits. Commercial enterprises were very common too. Neighbors would get together, arrange for a boat of some size and load it with salt 'beef, salt fish, eggs, poultry, mutton, fresh beef, butter, dressed lamb, fresh vegetables in season, and all the other produce of Winthrop farms and sail over in time to catch the morning market at Boston. Business transacted, the men would take the shopping lists their good wives had prepared, carefully deposit their purchases back on the boat, leave some of the surplus cash with a sober individual trusted to guard the common property and then visit the bright lights of the time. Boston was a very busy, very prosperous and most enterprising town then and afforded just about all the pleasures the flesh is likely to desire. So the men of Winthrop enjoyed themselves thoroughly, each after his wishes. Women very seldom were allowed on these business trips but the boy who was allowed to go along was by that very act promoted to a man's estate. It was something like an Indian lad being officially recognized as a brave.

Probably the development of Winthrop, held back as it was by its distinctly agricultural economy and its ownership by a very few inter-related families, did not require the building of


roads -- as the rutted, muddy and dusty ways were then called. In the account of Deane Winthrop's life, mention was made of the laying out of the first official road across WinthropB -- other than Shirley Street, which was of course, inherited from the Indians. The first Winthrop public way, as related, started at the shore at about the corner of Johnson and Somerset Avenues, followed approximately the line of the latter Avenue to Woodside Avenue and then passed along the present route of Winthrop and Revere Streets to the town line at Short Beach.

Below Metcalf Square it passed between two swamps. One was near the site of the Center railroad station, a bog filled with reeds, cat-tails, frogs, snakes and the like and made gay in summer by numbers of red-winged blackbirds. The other swamp, to the north, was the site of the present Ingleside Park. Both swamps required considerable fill when they were "drained" but especially in the case of Ingleside, the filling was difficult. There is a story that a dump cart left standing overnight when the railroad bed was being made, sank in the mud and was never recovered. Modern residents of Winthrop will recall the trouble experienced in the filling of Ingleside baseball field. There are stories extant of bottomless holes in Ingleside -- but such stories exist of such swamps almost everywhere.

There was a pond in what is now the Playground between the Edward B. Newton School, the Center School and the Junior High School. This was always filled with water and boasted a thriving colony of gold fish who doubtless were the target for many a generation of young anglers with a length of thread and a bent pin. This pond was used for watering cattle commonly and it is reported that, when Hermon Street was filled in, by the present Town Hall, Uncle Samuel Belcher refused to give up his right of way across the proposed street from his pasture in back of the Town Hall unless a stone tunnel was provided so his cattle could pass freely from the pasture to the pond. This tunnel was built and still remains, although both ends are today buried. This passage was often known as Bull Run, although the writer has heard it called, perhaps inevitably, the Milky Way.

Until along about 75 years ago, when the pressure from outsiders who wanted house lots, so they could live in Winthrop, too, became sufficiently strong, the old farms and the few estates into which some of them had been broken, opposed any considerable development. Winthrop was still a country town and there was no need for good roads. The original way laid out by the committee of which Deane Winthrop was a member in 1698, previously mentioned, sufficed for many years.

But some sort of progress could not be denied, for, although there were no horses in any number, there were great, lumbering


farm carts towed by patient, plodding oxen. Indeed, the first horse-drawn vehicle of which any record has been discovered, did not appear in Winthrop until about 1800. This was a pleasure chaise, a yellow-bodied, two-wheeler chaise, with leather springs, owned and doubtless very proudly driven by John Sargent Tewksbury. It probably created as much excitement and envy in Winthrop as did the first automobile a century later.

Once horse drawn vehicles appeared, the road situation had to be adjusted and regularized and so in 1824, Winthrop's two roads were officially recognized -- which perhaps was of importance principally in that they became a definite charge upon the tax-payers for maintenance and improvement -- if any. The record of the vote at town meeting may be of interest. It reads in part: "The Selectmen have carefully looked over the Farm of James Bowdoin, Esq. (the old Deane Winthrop place), occupied by Mr. Hugh Floyd, in Order to Lay Out an Highway Thro said Farm to Point Shirley and as Mr. Bowdoin has maid (sic) an offer to make the said way good at his own expense, Provided the Town Consents to Let it Go by the Farm House upon the Line of Highway formerly run to Point Shirley Gate (the present Shirley Street)." The detailed description reads " ... from Short Beach (Beachmont) to Winthrop Farm, thence Easterly to Point Shirley Gate, thence Southerly around the east Side of Great Head to Point Shirley Wharf." This location is almost identical with the present Revere and Shirley Streets to Point Shirley and was the old Indian trail used long before the Puritans came. The other road in Winthrop was the one previously mentioned which ran up Sargent Street from the water and across lots to Metcalf Square and thence down Winthrop Street to the junction at Shirley and Revere Streets, only those names were not then in use, nor for years afterwards.

All farmers are proverbially short of cash, and Winthrop people of the time were apparently no exception to the rule for as far back as Revolutionary days, when roads were first made a charge upon the tax payers, it was made possible that residents of any town could have the privilege of working out a portion of their taxes by laboring upon the public roads. In this Winthrop was no exception for there is on record a vote at town meeting, in 1784 which read: "Voted, that the Pulling Poynte and Pleasant Punte people (Point Shirley) Shall have Liberty to work out that part of their highway Rates (that is not presently worked out) early next Spring."

There was also in force in the early days of Winthrop, the old custom of inspecting town boundaries. It is an old English custom which the Puritans at Boston carefully incorporated into


the body of Massachusetts law -- although it has long since been forgotten, though still a legal requirement, probably.

It was on November 11, 1647, that the General Court laboriously enacted " ... that once in three years, three or more persons of each town, appointed by the selectmen of their town, should 'go ye bounds betwixt said townes, and renew their markings, wch (sic) shall be a great heape of stones, or a trench of six feet longe and two foote broade, ye most ancient towne to give notice of meeting for perambulation, wch time shalbe in ye first or second month (March or April, old style), upon paine 5 pounds for every towne ye shall neglect ye same.' "

The perambulators were generally men of substance who owned property and thus were dependable to preserve the interests of their respective towns. Pullen Poynte then had no border to perambulate but some of its leading men were selected from time to time to perambulate the lines between Revere and Malden, Reading and Saugus, which borders were at times in need of the services of disinterested perambulators. Some of these men were: Lieut. John Smith, a son-in-law of James Bill, 1668 and 1669; Deane Winthrop, 1671; Capt. John Floyd, on every committee from 1684 to 1738; Lieut. Jonathan Bill, 1689; and Jeremiah Belcher and Jose Winthrop, in 1702. The job of perambulator was considered both an honor and a sinecure for it commonly paid well, as evidence a bill for two pounds, nine shillings and six pence for the committee which ran the line between Rumney Marsh and Lynn. This bill included horse hire and dinner. This compares with the payment received by a Rumney Marsh assessor of twelve shillings, about three dollars, for his services to the town from March 10th to June 10th of 1713. In 1712 Joseph Belcher received only 58 shillings, about $15, for collecting the entire tax. for 1712. Of course a dollar was worth more then than now but still collecting taxes was mean, slow work then, as now. In those days before the Revolution, the constables served as tax collectors. In the Winthrop Public Library there is a document which is of interest on the point. It is signed by "Sam'l Pratt, collectors" -- a man whose spelling may have been weak but whose determination was stout. The demand reads, in part " ... Ms Wedow Tukesbeary, Provene tax, Town and county raits (one pound, eleven shillings one penny) March 11,1753. I gue yoy one month to get your rait in· and no longer."

One other official in the provincial days, an official whose work was unpleasant indeed, was that of tithing man. These officials, who have long since vanished from the rolls of Winthrop, were responsible for violations of the law and in case of their failure to prosecute offenders, they themselves were liable


to be fined. Not only were the duties exacting but were such as to make the office holders personally unpopular.

Tithing men were established by the General Court in 1675, as follows: "The selectmen of every town shall choose some sober and discrete persons, to be authorized from the County Court, each of whom shall take charge of ten or twelve families of the neighborhood, and shall diligently inspect them, and present the names of such persons as transgress the law, receiving as compensation for their services one-third of the fines allowed, if faithful in the discharge of their duty; Otherwise to be liable to the same fine." By 1679, the duties of the tithingmen were increased and they were ordered to seize liquors sold without a license, and also "to present the name of all single persons that live from under family government, stubborne and disorderly children and servants, women of ill repute, typlers, Sabbath breakers, by night or by day, and such as absent themselves from the publicke worship of God on the Lord's Dayes, or whatever the course or practice of any person or persons tending to debauchery, irreligion, prophaneness and atheism among us, wherein by omission of family government, nurture and religious duties and instruction of children and servants, or idleness, profligate, uncivil, or rude practices of any sort."

Naturally, this was a very unpopular task for any citizen to undertake and the Selectmen of the town experienced so much trouble in finding men who would serve as tithingmen that the General Court ordered a fine of 40 shillings imposed upon every man who refused to serve after being appointed to office.

This had the happy effect of opening up a new source of revenue of the towns because most of the men selected paid their fines rather than serve and bring down the displeasure of their neighbors. As far as the Town of Chelsea was concerned, the first set of tithingmen chosen were: James Bill, Sr., John Grover, Sr., Elias Maverick and William Ireland.

Rumney Marsh and Winthrop were served in the early days by a grist mill whose machines were powered by the tide. Most mills in New England were driven by faIling water but there is not and never was a stream of sufficient size and fall to turn a mill wheel in or near Winthrop. Probably the first grist mills in the vicinity of Boston were powered by the wind but that proved unsatisfactory for there was either too much wind or not enough. The tide which has an average rise and fall of about nine feet in Boston Harbor was a cheap and abundant source of power. All that was needed was a tidal stream which could be closed by a dyke. A sluice way would admit water to flood the pond upstream and then, as the tide went out, the water could be passed out through the water wheel. Such tide mills were in operation


along the New England coast by 1650 but it was not until after 1700 that Winthrop citizens and Rumney Marsh folk joined in seeking a tide mill of their own. The town had been served by the mill of Timothy Sprague in Malden but it was a long drive with a load of corn and service at the mill was not good. In 1721, the General Court was petitioned to allow the people to build a tide mill of their own at the point where Mill Creek empties into Chelsea Creek. Today the Slade Mill, still tide powered, stands at the site, which is beside the Revere Beach Parkway, across from Forbes Lithograph Company and near the gas tanks. Permission was granted in 1722 but nothing was done until 1735 when the first tide mill was put into operation. It was owned and operated by Lieut. Thomas Pratt, who a few years later purchased the Winthrop Beach and the Point Shirley sections of Winthrop. He was originally associated in the mill venture with other citizens and it was operated for many years but apparently with less and less profit. In 1790 the town was asked to excuse the mill from taxes and in 1792 the town was requested to purchase the mill as a public utility. Both requests were refused. So in 1795, the mill shut down and the whole site went to ruin, a condition which continued until 1835 when the Slade Spice Company purchased the property and erected the mill which has been in operation, more or less continuously, ever since.

This grist mill added greatly to the importance of Revere Center for it was in close proximity to the church, the town house, the school, the burying ground and Jonathan Hawks' tavern. Hawks was a son-in-law of the first known Floyd in Rumney Marsh, Captain John Floyd, and very likely his tavern was the most popular spot in all Revere to be. It was at the corner of School and Beach Streets, about where the Congregational Church stands today, and since it was but a step off the old Salem Turnpike, doubtless many travelers north and south turned aside -- probably just to water their horses. All of Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, having business at the Center just so dropped in to bait their beasts, and possibly to have a bite and a sup for themselves before going on about their business. So in Colonial Rumney Marsh, Hawkes' tavern was the Times Square of the day where good fellowship was always available, day or night, and where all the news of the moment was passed along from one person to another. The importance of this last cannot be over-estimated for while Boston was not long without its "newspapers" they were little things, more opinion than news, more argument than information, and for real news in the modern sense, it was places like a tavern on the turnpikes that served the people. There a man could learn what his neighbors were doing, who had been born, married and died, what the local


scandal might be -- and what the Governor at Boston and the King at Whitehall were up to now. Today with a half dozen editions of huge newspapers every day and with radios broadcasting "news" every time a knob is turned, it is impossible for anyone in Winthrop to appreciate the dual service of a tavernfood and drink for the body and also food and drink for the mind.

No description of Colonial Winthrop and its adjoining area would be complete without mention of slavery. There were slaves here -- although they were comparatively few and the institution was not commonly regarded with favor. Most slaves were house servants and were treated with comparative kindness and generosity and it was the customary thing for a wealthy man to give his slaves their freedom when he made his will.

Without laboring the point, one reason for this situation was just that slavery was not economically profitable in New England. Slaves did not stand up to the cold east winds and the rain and snow and, since they were a valuable investment, they required more outlay for their support then they commonly produced in income. Agricultural labor, indeed labor of all kinds, was very scarce in Colonial America but even so, in the North, slavery did not pay. Body servants and house servants, more or less parasitic, were another matter but just because such slaves were limited to homes of wealth, themselves limited in number -- so the number of slaves was never great. New England ships, especially those from Newport, and some from Boston, Salem and Newburyport, did trade in slaves and profit hugely at times, but their market for black flesh was mostly in the South and in the West Indies.

The tar brush of slavery apparently first touched Winthrop in 1637 when Captain William Pierce, the first owner of Winthrop Highlands and the man that built the Deane Winthrop House, carried a number of captive Indians, Pequots they were, down to the West Indies, where he sold them as slaves. This was probably a poor bargain for the Spaniards for New England Indians were proud men who would fight rather than work and were constitutionally incapable of continuous labor. Captain Pierce invested some of his profits from the trip down in a number of negro slaves which some British sea captain had imported into the Tortugas. These negroes were put on the market at Boston-a perfectly legal business, then-and all the slaves were purchased. Samuel Maverick, then at East Boston, purchased several.

At Pullen Poynte, James Bill, Sr., had two slaves soon afterwards. James Bill, Jr., had at least one slave and in the will of Jonathan Bill, two negro men are mentioned, and also a negro woman. When Joseph Bill's estate was divided amongst his


children, Titus " ... negro man, and late servant of Joseph Bill, hath faithfully served him all such time as he was his servant, do by these presents the said Titus manumit, and set at liberty, and free from all and every claim. . .. " Deane Winthrop had a black man, named Primas, a black woman, Margaret, and a colored boy, Robin. Evidence of the kindness and consideration with which these slaves were treated locally is abundant. In 1743 Elder Watts' negro woman was received into full communion at the Rumney Marsh Church and baptized with the name of Phillis. In 1758 Captain John Sale's negro man, Caesar, was similarly admitted, as were several other negro slaves and some free negroes. The slaves of- different owners were permitted to marry. Sometimes the pair belonged to the same owner; again, one of the couple might live in Winthrop and the other at Boston. Children, if any, apparently became the property of the owner of the slave wife. Of course if either owner wished to sell husband or wife or child, there was no legal bar. The situation was harsh basically but most Boston slave owners were humane and the force of public opinion was so set against slavery that no known abuse is on record.

Indeed, color was not much of a difficulty in the early days. Job Worrow, a free negro, was in fact a member of the band of Minute Men who mounted guard at Point Shirley in 1775. He was married in the Rumney Marsh Church and lived to be a century old. He died a pauper but was given burial in the old Rumney Marsh Burying Ground where all Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop were interred, if desired. There was some segregation, of course, for the color line was drawn. Perhaps it would have been more noticeable if the proportion of black to white had been greater. Evidence of this lies in the fact that a burying ground for blacks was provided on a piece of land which is now lost in the modern business of Fort Banks.

Two other somewhat important details of colonial life in Winthrop yet require brief description -- church and school.

Modern education is so much a matter of fact that its comparative excellence is taken as a matter of course. It is difficult to realize but when Winthrop was a little farming community 300 years ago education was made free to all and required by law. At the same time most of the world beyond our wilderness treated education with indifference. The truth is, in the Old World an education was considered a privilege of the gentry. Common people in much of the world just were not expected to know how to read or write. Indeed, the ruling classes did not want their subjects to be able to read and write; they might imbibe dangerous ideas!


However, Boston was settled by men of different opinions.

The leaders of the Colony were for the day well educated men (women were not considered worthwhile educating). It is the habit to sneer at the strait-laced old Puritans; unjustly in most instances. These leaders of the infant colony, struggling for its existence on the fringe of an unknown continent with forests filled with savage men and savage beasts, realized that success of their dreams of freedom and wealth depended only upon their own efforts. Britain in the days of sail was at least a month away -- and indifferent about the fate of its sons overseas, sons, it must be said, who were not always in good standing at home.

What would happen, the leaders of Boston Bay asked themselves, when their time came? Who would take over the reins of government? Ignorant boors? Education was the answer to the problem and education there must be. And education there was. Laws were passed which made it mandatory upon heads of families and selectmen and everyone else concerned that every child must be taught to read and write. Towns must provide schools at public expense for the General Court instead of fearing an "educated" citizenry believed that such an "enlightened" citizenry was the hope of survival for the colony. But that was only the beginning. Leaders must be trained; leaders of church and state. So secondary schools, such as far-famed Boston Latin, were established to prepare boys for college, and to assure a supply of clergymen and politicians, Harvard itself was established at a time when the colonists hardly knew where their next meal was coming from. The world has witnessed few more praiseworthy items of sacrifice and devotion than this exhibited concern for future generations. Today Harvard, sprawling over priceless acres, is the wealthiest educational institution, it is reported, in the world. It is fashionable to devise and bequeath money or property to its endowment fund. This fashion was established soon after 1630 when various men who owned land in Winthrop and at Rumney Marsh gave of their estates to assure higher education in the wilderness they were determined to mould into their heart's desire.

Among these benefactors were: John Newgate, father-inlaw of the Reverend John Oliver, first owner of the Bill House, and the man who owned much of Rumney Marsh; John Cogan, who owned the farm at Rumney Marsh that was acquired by the Floyds; Governor Bellingham, who at one time owned much of what became Beachmont; Captain Robert Keane, an extensive land owner at Rumney Marsh; and James Penn, who owned much of Beachmont, Short Beach and Winthrop Highlands. It was the bequest from Penn that educated many famous men, including Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.


The first school, probably something like the present grammar school of eight grades, which was kept in Rumney Marsh, came into being about 1647 when the General Court passed a law making it mandatory for every town in the Colony to establish a school. This proved to be a very difficult matter for Rumney Marsh, whose children were scattered from the tip of Point Shirley to Reading and from Malden to Lynn. Where was the school to be set? At the Center, which was at the present corner of Beach and School Streets? How then could young children come in from Black Anne's Corner at one extremity and from Point Shirley at the other? School there had to be but apparently, the matter was never satisfactorily settled. There was a good enough school at Revere Center beginning about 1708 when the Selectmen of Boston hired Thomas Cheever to teach school at his home. He was an exceptional young man; graduating from Harvard at the age of 19. He taught reading, writing and arithmetic to an average of about 22 scholars a year.

This school was continued in one form or another by Boston until 1739 when Chelsea was incorporated and from then on the obligation was lifted from Boston. Doubtless the school was continued by the tax-payers of Chelsea, for the law required them to do so, and probably an arrangement was worked out by which school was kept interchangeably between Rumney Marsh and Pullen Poynte. In 1739 it is recorded that Belcher Hancock taught at the Poynte and at Rumney Marsh. Nothing more is known of the school until 1749 when Joshua Bill is recorded as the teacher. This came about doubtless because most of the school children then at the Poynte were members of the Bill family and Bill was hired to teach all the children because he had for years taught his own. This saved the Town money and it also gave the Bill children better schooling since the younger ones could not possibly attend school regularly way over at Revere Center.  

An interesting note appears in Chelsea's record late in 1749 when it was voted to keep a "woman's school" at Pullen Poynte. By this phrase is doubtless meant a Dame school or one taught by a woman in her own home. Captain Oliver was authorized by the Town of Chelsea to "agree with Mrs. Ann EIlitt (sic) as soon as may be to keep said school for three months as reasonable as he can, she being the person the people of the Poynte are most desirous of having. Mr. Samuel Pratt to supply the school with half a cord of wood."

This was not a happy business for Mrs. Ellitt could not find a place to board at the Poynte, On December 12, it was voted that Captain Oliver was to agree with Joshua Bill to keep school at his house for three months and that he was to compound with


Mrs. Ellitt on the easiest terms he can, and so obtain from her a relinquishment of her contract to teach the school. She seems to have been a capable woman and probably would have made Winthrop an excellent teacher for she obtained nine pounds, then a good lump of money, in exchange for her contract. Bill seems to have carried the school along but various women did teach now and then as in 1764, when Mrs. John Sargent, daughter of Deacon John Chamberlain, taught and as when Mrs. Andrew Tewksbury taught a term in 1765.

Pullen Poynte all along believed itself shabbily treated by Chelsea in the matter of the expenditure of school tax money and in 1766 the Chelsea town meeting finally agreed and voted "To allow the people of Pulling Poynte their proportionate part of the school money, they laying out the same in schooling their children."

Nothing is known accurately of the first school building in Winthrop, if there was one, save for a record of a payment made to Hugh Floyd, tenant at the Winthrop Farm. He was given seven pounds and ten shillings for material and labor in making "two seats for the school, making a writing table, mending schoolhouse windows and supplying half a cord of fire wood.", In 1770, records which have been preserved show that the school was taught by Joseph Cummings and in 1776 and 1777 the school was taught by a woman, one Mary Angues (sic).

By 1779 there were sufficient children to require under the State law a 12-week session each year. It seems that school was still being kept in a room of one of the various farmhouses at the Poynte as, for this particular year, it is definitely recorded that school was held in the Bill House on Beal Street. Possibly school had always been kept there. Anyhow, the Bill House was the first school of record in the present town of Winthrop.

The school teacher, possibly Nathaniel Mountford, faced 22 children and all of them cousins save three. The youngest scholar was five; the oldest 17, which is the age when young ladies at least were then thinking about being married. The original roll of scholars has been preserved and runs as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1779

"This day opened a school att Mr. John Tuksbery's at Pullen Poynte to teach Reading, Writing and Arithmetick.

Came this day: Jno. Tuksbery's
Jona. Bill Tuksbery, 13 yrs.
Sarah Tuksbery, 11 yrs.
Thos. Tuksbery, 8 yrs.
Hannah Tuksbery, 6 yrs.


Anna Tuksbery (writing only) 17 yrs.
Polly Tuksbery (writing) 15 yrs.
Jas. Tuksbery's Children.
Jas. Tuksbery, 9 yrs.
Molly Tuksbery, 7 yrs.
John Sargeant Tuksbery, 5 yrs.
Josiah Gleason's Children (Wife Sarah Tuksbery)
Jacob Gleason, 10 yrs.
Joshua Gleason (Writing only) 17 yrs.
Susan Gleason, 7 yrs.
Hannah Gleason, 13 yrs.
Seth Wood's Children (wife Susana Bill) Hanna Woods,
9 yrs. Seth Wood, 7 yrs.
Andrew Tuksbery's Children
Andrew Tuksbery, Jr. 17 yrs.
Susanna Tuksbery, 13 yrs.
Elizabeth Tuksbery, 8 yrs.
Carter Tuksbery, 11 yrs.
Mr. Sargent's boy - Thomas Bowman
Mr. Davison's Son - George Davison
Na. Belcher, Jr's Son, John Belcher

Memo: -- Kept school till Saturday, the 28th of March included which was six weeks and four days, 1779, and was obliged to desist (for want of fireing and Bill Tuksbery's being sick) all except Jnos. Children.

Memo: Jona. Bill Tuksbery dyed att one o'clock in the morning the 6th"

In 1805, John Sargent Tukesbury (the name is variously spelled), son of James Tewksbury, offered the town a plot of land where the Post Office now stands, as a site for a schoolhouse. The offer was graciously accepted and a building erected.

A description of this old school was written by Lucius Floyd and was published in the Winthrop Visitor in 1912. It reads:

"The schoolhouse where I was educated stood on the site of the present Town Hall, a building with seats and desks made of two inch planks that extended the entire length of the room, so that scholars tumbled rather than walked to their places.

"The first winter I attended school there were 27 pupils; I was five years old and others were 21. We commenced at the same place each term; its close finding us little advanced. Our experiences were like those of the frog trying to escape from a well; jumping up three feet in the daytime and falling back two feet at night.


"A stove where big, two-foot logs were burned, occupied the center of the room, a boy was sent to Uncle Samuel Belcher's old well and on his return, equipped with the sparkling beverage and a rusty dipper, went about the room dispensing it much as they serve the sewer diggers of today.

"It was in this (school) building that Bishop Gilbert Haven of the Methodist Episcopal Church taught school and the old pine teacher's desk (he used) is in the historical collection of the Winthrop Public Library."

The story of education in Winthrop from 1800 on is discussed in a subsequent chapter.

Much more important than education was religion for where the first concerned only children, religion was the staff of life of everyone -- or was supposed to be such. The musket, the axe and the Bible were the three legs of the tripod upon which Boston Bay Colony rested and of the three, religion was easily the most important, to judge from attention given it. Indeed, church membership was all important for without it, a man or woman could not be a citizen. The Colony, through its General Court, assumed it had the right to confer citizenship and church membership was required as evidence of an applicant's probity and value. In those days a citizen did not seek as much as he could from the state; the idea was, on the contrary, what could he contribute to the state? The word Commonwealth, now meaningless, in those days meant much for a citizen was expected to contribute his share to the common wealth -- and good behavior, decency and the plain virtues were part of that contribution. The church thus came to be a branch of government and it was in fact a town institution for it was supported by tax money. Those were the days when attendance at church was necessary evidence of the proper observance of the Lord's Day. Most of Winthrop was put to considerable inconvenience for there were no churches north and. east of the immediate precincts of Boston for many years. Thus Winthrop folk faced a watery trip across the harbor to the Old North Church on Sundays or else had to go to a church in Malden. Being practical people, such attendance was not strictly required by law for it was enough for Winthrop people to meet together at their homes and conduct divine service, even if it was nothing more than a reading of the Scriptures, prayers and the singing of psalms-which, after all, save for the presence of an ordained clergyman, is about all most Protestant services are. From time to time however, Pullen Poynte was visited by preachers and the presence of an ordained minister of a Sunday was certain to bring out every able-bodied man, woman and child in the section.


Of course Winthrop had no church as such but a room in one of the farm-houses served and it was a welcome opportunity for all the relatives to see each other dressed in their Sunday best and with leisure before and after service to pass the time of day. Sunday was a serious business then; sermons were long and tiresome, for often a preacher's ability was gauged by his proficiency in bringing down fire and brimstone upon his audience who no doubt needed it as much as is the case today. A good scare was salutory religion.

Two early references to worship at Rumney Marsh, for which Winthrop may also be read. One is by Letchford in 1641 who wrote, "Where farmes or villages are, as at Romney Marsh ... there a Minister, or a brother of one of the congregations of Boston ... preacheth and exerciseth prayer every Lord's day, which is called prophesying in such a place. .. ." Again, in Keaynes Mss, it is to be read, " ... early in 1640, a motion was made by such as have farmes at Romney Marsh, that our brother Oliver (Reverend John Oliver) may be sent to instruct their servants 'and to be of help to them, because they cannot many times come thither (to Boston) nor sometimes to Lynn, and sometimes nowhere at all ... '." This is the Reverend Mr. Oliver, soldier, preacher, surveyor and favorite of Governor Winthrop's, who was one of the original allottees of land at Pullen Poynte and is believed to have been the builder of the Bill House which stood for so long on Beal Street.

Most of the residents of Pullen Poynte in those days were members of the Boston Church and some of them, after 1657, were drawn to a church at Malden which was organized at that time. The Old North Church of Boston, famed in history, which was built in 1650, was a favored church for Winthrop people, especially during the pastorate of Reverend Dr. Cotton Mather, famed Puritan divine and one of the great men of the early Colony. While no proofs have been found it is altogether Iikely that the Reverend Thomas Cheever, who taught school at Rumney Marsh as early as 1709, also preached at the Marsh as well as at Pullen Poynte.  

Of course Rumney Marsh and Pullen Poynte people wanted a church of their own because of the distance involved in getting to church. In 1705, a petition was presented at the Boston Town Meeting asking that a church be erected at Romney Marsh but the matter was postponed until 1709 when the Town Meeting finally granted a hundred pounds towards erecting a building. The appropriation was opposed by many Winthrop people because it was still a considerable distance from their section over to Revere Center and they did not like being taxed to support a church which they did not care to attend. Once they were


in a boat, they said, it was easier for them to go to one of the Boston churches than to go to the proposed church at Revere Center.

Among the objectors were James Bill and his four sons, Jonathan, James, Jr., Joseph and Joshua, who all attended the North Church at Boston. Their objections received no attention at all for the work of building the Rummey Marsh Church went ahead with zeaL The land, on Beach Street, nearly opposite present Payson Street, was given by Lieutenant Joseph Hasey, an ancestor of the James Tukesbury family in Winthrop. The building, which is still standing, and is now owned and occupied by Seaview Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, was completed in 1709 and is the oldest meeting house in Suffolk County. Life was rugged in those days for no reference is made to any attempt to heat the edifice until after 1S00-and sermons were very long in those days and the winters at least as cold then as they are now.

In the first 110 years of its existence the church had but four ministers and three of them were men of extraordinary talent and strength.  

The first minister was the Reverend Doctor Thomas Cheever, son-in-law of James Bill of Pullen Poynte and a noted Harvard graduate, soldier, surveyor, teacher and clergyman. He served his charge for 32 years, being retired at the age of 80 years at his own request.

The second minister was the Reverend Mr. McClenachan, a Scotchman, who preached for six years. He was not too happy in his charge.

The third minister was Reverend Phillips Payson, a descendant of John Eliot's sister Mary. Eliot, it will be remembered, was known as the Apostle to the Indians. He was a most distinguished scholar, the Reverend Mr. Payson, and very particularly noted for his familiarity with astronomy, then in its infancy, and also with divers dead languages -- which were much more important then than now. His fame as a teacher was widespread and many distinguished men of New England sent their sons to his private school to prepare for college. The eldest son of General Warren, of Bunker Hill fame, was educated at the Payson school at the expense of the United States Government. During the Revolution, this worthy cleric served the patriot cause variously lending the force of his cultivated pen, enlisting troops and actually leading his neighbors into armed conflict with the British.

The fourth of this first quartet was Reverend Joseph Tuckerman, who distinguished himself later on in life by organizing the Benevolent Fraternity of Churches for the support of


a city mission at Boston for Christian work among the poor. In 1812 he was also instrumental in forming the first charitable society in the United States for helping seamen, especially in their religious and moral advancement. Another later clergyman was the Reverend Horatio Alger, who is now chiefly known to fame somewhat curiously as the father of Horatio Alger, Jr., the bestselling author who drew boy's attention about 100 years ago with his classic books depicting the highly moral tales of newsboys, bootblacks and the like.

Since the residents of Pullen Poynte were taxed to support this church and their attendance was required each Lord's Day; unless there was good reason to the contrary, this was the first church which served Winthrop. It was here that Winthropites made their way, weather permitting, down Belle Isle Inlet and up Chelsea Creek -- just as it was here that they came to inter their beloved dead in the first regular burying ground.

Among the names of the first members of the Rumney Marsh Church were some still familiar in Winthrop. The list includes: Lieut. John Floyd, Ensign Joseph Belcher, Deacon John Chamberlain, William Sargent, William Hassey, Samuel Tuttle and Hugh Floyd. The last named left ten pounds in his will to procure a silver communion service for the church. David Floyd, a great grandson of the very first Hugh to settle in Revere, and a resident of Pullen Poynte, joined the First Church of Rumney Marsh in 1817. At this church all his children were baptized:

David, Henry, Thomas, Edward, Phillips Payson, Mary, Mrs, David Belcher, and Mrs. Lucy Abbot -- to use the married names of the last two daughters.

Ensign Joseph Belcher, the first of the name at Pullen Poynte, brought his son Jonathan II, to the church to be baptized in 1718. Captain John Tewksbury, a commissioned officer in the War of 1812, and a grandson of the first Pullen Point Tuksbery, was the sexton of this church for many years. He was born in the old Bill House but later established himself at Chelsea.

Although the First Rumney Marsh Church was much nearer to most of Winthrop than other churches about, it was still a chore to reach church in inclement weather and from time to time bits of evidence are found which show that the authorities were not unmindful of the difficulty. For example, in the voluminous church records is found an item, dated May 22, 1753, "That Mr. McClenachan (the church minister) be allowed to preach once a month, for six months, to the people of Pullen Poynte, and no longer, without the town's consent." Possibly the people were persuaded that it was better to have the minister brave the elements than the women and children of Winthrop


families. It is odd how, amidst the seeming autocratic rule of the church, the stern common sense of the people breaks through and the ministers are told what they too must do!

Then, again, in June of 1757 it was voted: "That the money to be taxed on the Inhabitants and lands at Point Shirley, for the support of the ministry, this present year shall be applied to that purpose among themselves." Again in May of 1761, the church reimbursed Thomas Goldthwait five pounds to repay him for what he had paid out for preaching at Point Shirley. This vote and payment was probably due to the fact that the Fisheries Company at that time had built a church for the accommodation of its employees and officers then living at the Point.

Of considerable interest in Winthrop were the Boston visits made by the English evangelist, George Whitefield in 1740, 1744 and 1754. During one of these visits, he was a guest at the Bill House, where he had an opportunity for needed rest. However, as reported by Mrs. Mary Priscilla Griffin in her little book "Winthrop Days," ... "he delivered one of his remarkable sermons under one of the apple trees to the assembled people." There was, at the time, an orchard of fruit trees in the rear of the house.

Although none of the islands near Winthrop belong to the present town, they have played a part in the history of the community. Deer Island, in April 1634, was taken officially by Boston, together with Long and Hog Island -- and Spectacle Island was annexed the following March. Deer Island today is occupied by a fort, a pumping station of the Metropolitan Sewer and by the city prison. The first use of the island as a penal institution came in 1641 when pigs and goats allowed to roam through Boston's streets, were ordered seized and "sentenced to Deer Island for a time."

Also, until 1690, the island was leased to various Pullen Poynte farmers who used parts of it at various times. Among these farmers were: Edgar James Penn, Rev. John Oliver, Major Edward Gibbons and James Bill. In 1675, as reported, neighboring Indians were put in a concentration camp during King Phillip's War, to keep them out of trouble. The Point Shirley Fishing Company held parts of the Island between 1752 and 1761. During the Revolution Andrew Tewksbury, son of the first John Tewksbury, built a house and lived there for a time. In 1848, Boston erected its first jail on the Island.

In early days, the Gut, separating the Island from Winthrop ran very swiftly and was deep enough to allow the passage of ships, including war ships during the Revolution and the War of 1812. For many years in the 19th Century, the little steamers plying between Boston and Bass Point, Nahant, used the Gut


regularly. But by the opening of the 20th Century, shifting tidal currents and storms began to fill in the Gut and to diminish the tide race. Finally, during World War Two, when the Army built a huge fort and other units, on the Island, the Gut was filled in and is now nothing but a memory.

Noddles Island, now East Boston and hardly recognizable as an island at all, was variously known as Bereton Island and also as William's Island, because these two, in succession, occupied it, being In their time, the sole residents. In 1633, the General Court selected the title "Noddles Island" -- the name supposed coming from William Noddle, who was an employee of William Bereton, but who had made a claim to the Island. However, Maverick received the Island on condition that he pay the Governor annually, "either a fatt weather, a fat hogg, or forty shillings in money." The Mavericks sold the Island in 1656 and it went through various hands, including Sir Thomas Temple's. He was at onetime royal governor of Nova Scotia. His nephew, Robert Temple, who bought Governor Winthrop's Ten Hill Farm, was a tenant on the Island. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Governor James Bowdoin, and thus came into the ownership of the Deane Winthrop House. A son, Sir John Temple, was made the first British Ambassador to the United States after the Revolution. It is believed he was born on Noddle Island.

In 1670, the Island was acquired by Colonel Samuel Shrimpton, who owned a great deal of real estate in Boston and was probably the wealthiest Bostonian of his day. He was a stout personage and once worsted the tyranical royal governor Andros, in a legal battle. During the Revolution there was considerable military activity on the Island. It has been fortified at various times but never was really important in war. In 1832, the famed East Boston Land Company acquired the island and began its modern development.

Hogg Island, successively known as Susanna Breed's Island, Belle Isle, and finally as Orient Heights, was part of the Gorges Grant of 1622 and the property of Sir William Bereton but leased at a nominal rental to Boston in 1634. When the Great Allottments were made the Island was mentioned several times but no exact records have been found. Apparently Elias Maverick held 20 acres at the time. In 1687, Judge Samuel Sewall owned the Island and his tenant farmer was Jeremiah Belcher, founder of the Belcher name in Winthrop. For many years the Island was owned by members of the Breed family who farmed it somewhat extensively.

John Breed, the first of the family concerned, was a man of mystery; no one knew anything about him, save that he had ample means. In 1816, he applied to the General Court for


authority to build a bridge across Chelsea Creek from the northern end of the Island to Chelsea, paying the cost personally. There was much opposition but the General Court agreed and the bridge was built. People did not want the river closed to boats and harassed Breed by various means, including the attempted passage of a scow too wide for the draw. A suit for costs for the "enforced idleness" of the scow was brought. After John Breed's death, the bridge was allowed to fall into ruin. John Breed died mysteriously; his body was found a long time after death struck him. A large sum of money he was known to have had had vanished. His housekeeper also disappeared. It was believed that she had poisoned him but there was no proof and the matter was dropped. Boston did not have a medical examiner in those days. The housekeeper finally returned home and lived quietly -- but she bequeathed considerable money to her heirs.

In 1876, the unoccupied land on the island, which included almost all of it, was sold to the Boston Land Company, and a considerable development initiated. In the nineteen thirties, the Boston Port Development Company took over the top and the north and east sides of the hill, including the marshes and a very great development followed. The creek was filled in and huge oil farms and the present Suffolk Downs race track was built on the reclaimed marsh while a great housing development was organized on the upland, culminating in the construction of a tremendous housing project in 1951.

Governor's Island is no more; it was scraped into the water a few years back to enlarge the East Boston Airport.

The original 70 acres of the Island was known as Conant Island, for Roger Conant, who was at Plymouth by 1623 and in Salem in 1627. In 1631 Boston took it for "publique benefits and use". It was at this time that the Island first came into the news. The ship Friendship on July 29, 1631, ran aground on the Island when outward bound. It was alleged to be the consequence of a farewell party on board the night before. Major Gibbons and others were arrested for "abuseing themselves disorderly with drinking too much strong drinks aboard the Friendship & att Mr. Mavacke his house at Winettsemt. . .. " The major paid a fine of twenty shillings.

Governor Winthrop rented the Island in 1632 for a nominal yearly rental and on condition that he plant an orchard and vineyard. In consequence the Island became known as the Governor's Garden. Later the rental was changed to be "A hogshead of the best wine that shall growe there ... to be paide yearely after the death of said John Winthrop, and nothing before." However, the vineyard did not flourish -- wine grapes cannot be grown


successfully in or near Boston -- but the orchard did well and the terms of the annual rental were changed to read two bushels of apples, ... "one bushel to the Governor, & another to the General Court in winter, -- the same to bee the best apples there growing".

In 1808, the Federal Government purchased six acres on top of the Island and constructed Fort Warren. Somewhat later, the Army took over the entire Island. Of course the fort was worthless as soon as modern ships carried heavy rifles and so the coast defense forts were moved on out to the limits of the harbor -- most of them being worthless again in these days of the airplane.

Bird Island, which has been so washed away by the tides that it is today nothing but a shoal, and all but dredged away at that, was once of value agriculturally. Early Boston records mention it being leased to various persons between 1650 and 1718. It is also reported that the little island off the East Boston shore in the lee of Governor's Island was used for a gallows-site to hang pirates. The bodies were dipped in pitch and then hung in chains from the gallows until they disintegrated. This was intended to be a warning to all outward bound seamen to behave themselves. There is no confirmation of this use of the Island.

Apple Island, with its familiar "feather duster" elm tree as its crown, and its tangled thickets of purple lilacs, is another island that has vanished. It also was scraped away to help fill in the East Boston Air Port. Although hardly more than an arrow flight from Pico Beach, it always was remote and mysterious, possibly because of the people who lived there. It remained the property of Boston from the beginning until 1723 when it was sold to Thomas Hutchinson, who erected farm buildings and put a farmer and his family in residence. Water was short on the Island and the farm did not prosper. It passed through various, more or less uninterested hands, being used almost as common land by Winthrop farmers who ferried cattle across for pasturage. About 1814, an Englishman, William Marsh, moved in and took over the Island. He built a house and lived there very quietly with his family for 20 years. The daughters of the family were captured by Winthrop young men in time and the sons of the family were all living elsewhere when Marsh died in 1833 at the age of 66. He never left the Island during his residence there. The story went that he had been the commander of a ship of the British Navy during the War of 1812. At the conclusion of the war, he bought a small ship, raided the West Coast of Africa, packed his hold with slaves and brought them to the West Indies. At the time, Britain punished slavers by


 death so he could not return home and chose to live in obscurity on Apple Island.

After his death the Island was deserted again. The house gradually fell apart and vanished. Various people owned the Island but did little or nothing with it until 1867 when the City of Boston purchased it and held it idle until the Airport was built.

Castle Island, across the Harbor, belonged to the Colony and State until ceded to the United States in 1798. In 1634, Boston sought to protect itself by erecting a fort of earthen banks on the Island. This was followed by one of stout pine logs which in turn was followed by one of brick. In 1634, the fort was abandoned but the next year the Frenchman, La Tour, previously mentioned, gave Boston a bad scare and the fort was rebuilt. In 1701 a really substantial fort of brick was put up and named Castle William, for the time it was adequate. During the Evacuation of Boston, March 17, 1776, the British Army blew it apart but in 1797 it was rebuilt and named Fort Independence. It is said it was used as a place of confinement for felons until the State Prison was built at Charlestown in 1805. About 1800 it was given to the Federal Government and the present quaint fort, a wonder in its day no doubt, was erected in 1801-1803. The guns of the Fort commanded the harbor as far east as Point Shirley.

The fort was abandoned but allowed to stand as a monument about the time of the Civil War. A causeway and pier have been built and the Island is now part of the Boston City Park System although flanked by a vast marine installation which is part of the Army Base of the First Service Command -- a huge dock and warehouse facility.

Spectacle Island, so named for its being shaped like a pair of spectacles, was owned at least in part as early as 1666 by James Bill of Winthrop. He sold out that year to his brother, Thomas Bill, who had lived with him at Pullen Poynte. In 1681, Thomas transferred about half of the Island to his son Samuel. By trade, Thomas Bill was a lighterman and he used Spectacle Island in part as a source of sand and gravel which he brought into Boston for building purposes. The Bill family retained ownership of the Island until 1741. The balance of the Island's history is not pleasant, aside from the two lighthouses on its northern side fronting the ship channel. The City of Boston has used it as a site for a pest hospital (1720-1739) and later used it as a dump for garbage and trash -- although not lately. When the wind was in the south, the result was somewhat objectionable to Winthrop.

Snake Island, what there is of it, is distinguished only by the fact that it has always been a part of Winthrop. It is now


a bit of swampy grass with a few shrubs surrounded by a sea of mud and silt -- these resulting from the filling in of the airport beyond. Formerly it was surrounded by clean sand and gravel, a good, hard bottom on which carts and cattle could be driven to and fro at low tide. It has been used, particularly in the early days, as a pasture but its six acres (originally) were too small to support any other farming. It was owned before 1690 by Captain Edward Hutchinson, who disposed of it in his will. He valued the Island at 30 pounds. Major Gibbons owned it originally for it was part of his grant when Winthrop was "allotted". After Hutchinson, the Bill family owned the Island but used it only for sheep pasture, apparently.

This chapter of Winthrop in the days before the Revolution may be closed by a reference to the town's share in the Colonial Wars. Since Winthrop was very small and a town of farms, and also because it was out to the east and apart from the main routes of travel, this share was not at all important.

During the Indian Wars, Winthrop's sole share seems to have been to act as a sort of wall to aid in the confinement of the Indians imprisoned on Deer Island during King Phillip's War. The Colony simply dumped the Indians upon the bleak shore and left the wretched people to their own devices. Since neither food or shelter were provided, it became the Christian duty of Winthrop people to do what could be done, especially upon James Bill and Major Edward Gibbons who at the time were conducting farming operations on the island. No record has ever been found of any resident of Pullen Point serving in these "Indian Wars".

During the French War, however, Winnesimmet, of which Pullen Poynte was then a part, was ordered to keep a store of arms and ammunition on hand in case of an attack by the French and it was ordered to raise a quota of six men -- these to be impressed unless volunteers offered themselves. The town, to prevent impressment, voted to raise 36 pounds by taxation to pay bounties to the six men, apparently six pounds each. Six pounds was then worth a great deal more than $30 is today. Just who the six men were is not known, probably at least one of them came from Pullen Poynte, if the volunteers were proportionate to the rest of the town. Colonel Thomas Goldthwait, then a resident of Point Shirley as the manager of the Fisheries, was a member of the Chelsea Board of Selectmen at the time.

The major part of Boston and vicinity, in this war was the famed expedition against Louisburg. Some 32 ships carried the men to Nova Scotia and apparently companies from Essex and Middlesex Counties came to Point Shirley where they camped


for three weeks while being drilled and waiting the sailing of the fleet.

When the war ended, about 1,000 Acadians, men, women and children, were shipped into Boston and distributed amongst the various adjacent towns in proportion to their respective size. Chelsea doubtless had a quota of them although the only record known is a bill sent to the Provincial authorities for food "soplyed to the frensh peopel" for two years.

In 1762 Pullen Poynte was specifically mentioned for the Council advised "that the Governor permit a new arrival of 46 sick Acadians to go ashore at Point Shirley with the approbation of the selectmen of Chelsea or one of them, there to remain until further order".


----------------- Top

Chapter Nine


DURING the century before the Revolution, the character and the population of Pullen Poynte changed very little, save for the brief extravagance of the Fisheries at Point Shirley. The future town was fairly well divided up into farms and these were by 1775 so much re-divided that further division was impracticable. The families of John Tewksbury and his sons, John, Jr., and James, and his sons-in-law, Joshua Gleason and Thomas Cleavery, together with the families of Charles Bill and his brother-in-law, Seth Woods, occupied the northerly and westerly half of the main portion of the area. Jonathan Belcher and his son, Jonathan, Jr., occupied the southerly and easterly side together with Hugh Floyd, who had leased the old Winthrop farm, although he also owned farms in Revere and in Malden, being a man of considerable means for the times. Andrew Tewksbury and Nathaniel Belcher were then farming on Deer Island and, although legally citizens of Boston, considered themselves citizens of Pullen Poynte.

These few families made up the entire population and were all inter-related by blood and marriage so that Winthrop was actually occupied by the one clan. There were no newspapers to tell these farmers, their wives and children, what was going on. Hence a trip to Boston with produce to sell or barter, or a visit to Hawke's Tavern at Beach and School Streets at Revere Center, was productive of what news there was about. Doubtless the people of Pullen Poynte were greatly astonished when they awakened the morning after the Boston Tea Party and found their harbor beaches littered with smashed tea chests and covered with tea leaves like so much sea-weed. Perhaps they were able to salvage some of the tea in chests which had not been effected by sea water.

The arrival of the British fleet with troops. to occupy rebellious Boston was also beyond doubt a matter of surprise to Winthrop. They were all good patriots, being farmers, but they greeted the occupation with pleasure in the main, for the troops had to be fed and thus a new and lucrative market for Winthrop's meat, eggs, vegetables and butter was offered. There was


nothing at all disloyal in trading with the British redcoats -- at least until actual hostilities broke out. Then such trading was unpatriotic and apt to lead to reprisals.

Later, this trade proved of great embarrassment to all the farmers about Boston. If they sold produce to the British, they faced bodily harm and the ultimate confiscation of their property after victory was won. If they did not sell, the redcoats would raid the farms, seize the livestock and confiscate everything they wanted.

Chelsea, like all other towns, made due preparation to drive the British away. The citizens were enlisted to fight, after the familiar colonial custom of requiring military service from every able bodied man. The muster roll of Chelsea, preserved at the State House, counts about 80 men, not including Pullen Poynte. These were the Minute Men and their company was ultimately merged into a regular company, whose officers were commissioned by the General Court the 26th of June, 1775, and assigned to Gerrish's regiment.

There is another muster roll preserved at the State House of which Chamberlain, Chelsea historian, remarks: "In the Revolutionery archives ... (are) the names of 17 men who on the day when their brothers at Concord 'fired the shot heard round the world', and inspired by the same love of liberty, performed their duty at the beginning of the War of the Revolution by standing guard over the northern part of Boston arbor, in that part of Chelsea called Pullen Poynte." These 17 men probably comprised all the entire adult and able-bodied men of Pullen Poynte.

The record lists these men as follows: "A Roll of the men that kept Guard at Pullen Poynte in Chelsea by order of Captain Sam'l Sprague from April 19, 1775, till discharged by there officers: Andrew Tewksbury, John Sargent, Jonth. Belcher, Nath. Belcher, Jr., Thos. Cleavery, Josiah Gleason, John Tuksbury, Seth Wood, Wm. Brown, Charles Bill, Jonth. Belcher, Jun., Nath. Belcher third, John Tukesbury, Jr., Joshia Gleason, Job Worrow, Nath, Sergent, James Tukesbury, This may sertify that the above persons was (sic) ordered to keep a Guard at Pullen Poynte in Chelsea, being part of my company. By me, Samuel Sprague, Capt."

On April 30, 1776, the General Court ordered the Treasurer of Massachusetts to pay the men a total of 34 pounds for their services for one month.

All but two of the 17 were related by blood or marriage. Included were the first of the Tewksbury and the Belcher name to settle in Winthrop and the last of the Bills. The two not related were: William Brown, probably a hired farm hand, and Job Worrow, a negro.


It never has been clear why Captain Sprague ordered the Pullen Poynte members of his Chelsea company to guard the point. What 17 men armed with muskets could do against a disciplined force of British Army regulars, or even against an armed ship using Shirley Gut, is debatable -- but mount guard they did for 30 days.

One of the colorful local figures of the dawn of the Revolution was Reverend Phillips Payson of the Chelsea Church at Revere Center -- which was Winthrop's. church too, at the time. As previously stated he was an able man, much respected for his preaching, his writing and his leadership but he entered the hearts of his parish the day of Lexington and Concord, when he announced, "In this, the dawn of Freedom's Day, There is a Time to fight and pray."

His actions were as good as his words. The news of the bloodshed at Lexington and at Concord spread like wildfire and various companies and groups of Minute Men hurried to join the fray, or at the least to harass the British retreat. These irregulars, who were mostly excellent shots with their rough guns, did real damage to the bewildered and faltering British.

At the head of a number of men, probably all his parishioners, the minister joined in the conflict in Cambridge at a section known as Menotomy. The Chelsea men intercepted a convoy of provisions and supplies which Lord Percy, British commandant, had sent to the relief of Colonel Smith's retreating column. A dozen regulars had been assigned to guard the convoy but the group under the Reverend Dr. Payson killed one of the soldiers and captured all the rest together with the badly needed food, ammunition and other supplies. Though this was the reverend gentleman's only armed action, he continued to give devoted service from the pulpit and with his pen to the patriotic cause.

Aside from the armed services, which drew men from all parts of Chelsea as the war wore its way along, the chief local difficulty was over a matter of food supply for the British. They lived on the country and, as was said, if farmers would not sell food to them, they were forced to go and take it. The farmers of Winthrop, Revere and East Boston used the pastures near the shore as well as the Islands of the harbor for their livestock and these animals would doubtless be seized by the British. So the local Committees of Safety ordered all livestock taken off the Islands and driven inland for safety. Twenty five men from Captain Sprague's Chelsea company were detailed to the job. They had orders that if the livestock could not be moved, it was to be killed or otherwise destroyed.

On May 27, 1775, they went to work and by June 2 had not only cleared away most of the livestock from the Islands and


from Winthrop, Chelsea and Revere but had also seized and destroyed military supplies and several houses which could have been seized and held by the British had they ever determined to establish outposts on the north and east side of the harbor.

The major moving day was May 27, 1775. An extra large detachment of troops was sent from headquarters at Cambridge to undertake the work. These included men from New Hampshire as well as local militia. The column was commanded by Colonel John Stark of New Hampshire, afterwards of Bennington, Vermont, fame.

From Hog Island, Colonel Stark took 400 sheep and ferried them over Chelsea Creek and drove them to a safe place for the moment. Then he took his men to Noddle Island to take the cattle there, cattle which had been rounded up by the British foragers and were held under British ships' guns until needed. The patriots seized a few live cattle and were driving them off when the British became alarmed, especially when the patriots began to shoot the rest. The meat could not be kept long in those days and thus the provisions would be lost.

The British commander sent a schooner out, armed with four six-pounders and a dozen swivels, and crowded with marines hastily gathered from various war ships in the harbor. The schooner hurried around the bend of East Boston and sailed up Chelsea Creek so as to try to cut the rebels off from escaping via Chelsea or Revere. Additional marines were put into 11 barges, each of which carried a swivel in the bow. In addition, 400 regulars were rushed across the harbor and landed on Noddle's Island to take the rebels from the rear when they started to retreat and to follow them as they ran. The schooner, the barges and the regular army detachment opened a heavy fire upon the patriots who retreated into a ditch in the marsh where they could wait hidden from sight.

The unsuspecting marines and regulars, advancing across Noddle's Island, were soon within range and our men arose and poured a withering fire into the British ranks. Many regulars were killed and wounded and this halted the advance of the 400 regulars, what was left of them. The patriots, not being able to withstand the heavy shot from the ships, which began to fall among them, withdrew to Hog Island. The British regulars stayed safe on Noddle's Island although they continued to fire across the creek separating the two Islands.

Having cleared Hog Island of cattle of all kinds, the patriots withdrew to Chelsea Neck and sent for reinforcements while they made a stand against the schooner and water-borne marines now coming up Chelsea Creek.  

General Israel Putnam, with three hundred men and two


four pounders, was dispatched to the rescue and upon arrival, about 9 o'clock in the evening, took command, being senior to Colonel Stark. The British had continued to reinforce their men, both on Noddle's Island and on the water, by additional barge loads of marines and the patriots along shore and the marines afloat exchanged a galling fire. The British soldiers of the time were trained to fight in mass formation and to shoot like machines, perhaps not even taking specific aim. The Americans, on the contrary, were individuals and all well trained shots. Thus they fought in more open order and usually hit what they aimed at. The British in the schooner withstood the exchange of shots for two hours and then fled in small boats down the Creek. The marines in the barges bravely took the schooner in tow and attempted to draw out of range with their oars. However, the tide was against them and progress was so slow and the patriots' fire so warm that they cut the schooner loose. She drifted ashore on the Chelsea side and was seized by a party of patriots led by Isaac Baldwin who, after looting her, burned her. The loot consisted of four 4-pounders, important sections of rigging, sails, clothing and money; "the sailors and marines having left in great haste".

The battle continued through the night, weirdly illuminated by the burning of a large barn, filled with hay, on Noddle's Island. The British brought up 12-pound cannon, which dropped their shot into the crowd of people gathered in Chelsea to watch the battle. Small arm fire rattled along all but incessantly. Towards dawn the firing slackened and stopped, but the British warship, Somerset, all the following forenoon continued to fire shot into Chelsea -- although there was nothing there to damage save a few widely scattered farmhouses.

By noon of the second day, the battle was broken off and the patriots withdrew to their respective headquarters. It was noted that one Joseph Green, who lived in a house near the Boston and Maine Railroad Bridge, near Slade's Tide Mill, where the American Artillery was put to work to check the British advance, fed the troops during the battle: He was later reimbursed by the General Court.

For such a long battle and with about 1,000 men engaged upon each side, it is most remarkable that not a single American was killed and either three or four only were wounded, one by the bursting of his own musket which, apparently, he had charged too heavily. The British, on the contrary, suffered heavily. Accounts of losses vary and there is no official casualty list. Gordon, in his History of the American Revolution, says that at least 200 British were killed. The New Hampshire Gazette reported that between 200 and 300 were killed and wounded. Since the British


were sitting ducks in their barges floating on Chelsea Creek, and fully exposed to the American Marksmen, who were sheltered on the banks of the Creek, these figures do not seem unreasonable. Putnam won the rank of major general as a result of this battle of Chelsea Creek. This, the second battle of the Revolution, has been strangely disregarded by the historians of the war. Of course, it lacked the drama of Lexington and Concord, and the bloody defeat of Bunker hill, but it was a demonstration of the will and the ability of the patriots to fight and to win.

One result of the battle was to convince the patriot leaders that Chelsea and all its parts was indefensible against determined British seizure, so an order was issued just after the battle by the General Court asking people occupying Islands and the coast in the vicinity to move their cattle to safe points inland. On July 10, 1775, the following order was issued: "The Commanding officer of Chelsea is, ... to direct all cattle at Pulling Point, Shirley Point and the intermediate space between Powderhorn Hill and the Sea, to be driven off". As a result, it is likely that Pulling Point was entirely depopulated for the moment. Original documents still in existence show that John Tewksbury, James Tewksbury, Andrew Tewksbury, the heirs of the Bill family and John Sargent "obeyed the order of the Generall" and removed their families and cattle and flocks to places in Lynn, Saugus and Malden out of the way of the troops of King George. There were other families at the Point then but there is no record of their removal. However, it is practically certain that they also complied. After an exile of about seven weeks, the Winthrop farmers returned home with their families and their livestock and settled down in peace.

The various Winthrop families presented bills to the General Court, for their forced removal. James Tukesbury's bill was for 17 pounds, 16 shillings and 2.5 pence. It was carefully itemized. Other bills presented are in the historical collection at the Deane Winthrop House. The farmers, apparently, were repaid for all expenses involved in moving their stock and their families, the cost of boarding both and also for any loss sustained.

Why the farmers returned is not known; no reason has been discovered. Several reasons have been suggested, however. First, the left wing of Washington's Army rested in Chelsea and the marshes to the east and north afforded a natural barrier to troop movements. Second, detachments, perhaps outposts of Washington's men, were stationed in various parts of Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. Third, the drubbing the British received in the battle of Chelsea Creek gave the British a healthy respect for the patriots. If the rebels, the British reported, would only


stand up in close formation in the accepted fashion, they could be quickly and easily killed. But the rebels did not follow accepted procedures of "civilized" war; they scattered to cover and shot very well. Finally, the Americans were fighting on their home grounds while the British were three thousand miles away from their home base and dependent upon a supply line which reached all the way back to England. The British were caught in a trap which Washington was daily building tighter. Thus it is no wonder the red coats did not raid the farms any longer.

Apparently Pullen Poynte suffered no military damage of consequence all through the occupation of Boston, but it was seriously affected by a British device of attempting to control a smallpox epidemic which broke out in Boston. The device was simply this: The British just loaded smallpox cases, along with aged and infirm persons, into small boats and landed them sick and destitute, upon Winthrop's shore. For instance, " . .' . on the 30th day of November, 1775, 300 people, sick, aged and infirm, with women and children were landed on Point Shirley". Today, with smallpox held under all but total control, we cannot comprehend the fear everyone then had for this fearful disease, and they lived or died just about in accordance with the quality of the nursing. Only men and women of real Christian spirit would serve as nurses.

It was one thing for the British colonies to place Indians in concentration camps and leave them to starve or subsist as best they might, it was something else for the British to put Americans in something the same position. Thus the Americans were compelled to do what possibly could be done and the very difficult task was met with courage and fortitude. The new State government, or what passed for such, organized a committee to take charge of the matter and Point Shirley was virtually sealed off to prevent the spread of the smallpox " ... to other places of this Colony, which appears to be the intention of our Enemies."

Arrangements were made to remove the inhabitants of the Point from their homes, together with their furniture "as shall have been sufficiently smoked and cleansed .... " The "poor of Boston" and all others set ashore at the Point by the British that were "quite free from infection" were also to be smoked and cleansed .and allowed to depart or were removed and placed m homes willing to receive them at the public expense. Due time was required from all persons at the Point, who had "been in the way of receiving the pox" before they were to be allowed freedom.

Further directives allowed the Committee in charge of the "pest" houses at Point Shirley to "make use of any old, decayed


Stores, barnes or fish Houses, as fuel for the relief of the slck, and distressed, and if necessary, to take down any public building there, for the Purpose aforesaid." Such supply of fuel was shortly exhausted and the General Court, which had authority, in February issued another directive. "We desire you (John Tukesbury, evidently in charge of the unfortunate) would Cutt down any Trees on Hon. James Bowdoin's farms (Winthrop Highlands) for the use of the Distressed poor now at Point Shirley and we will hold you harmless."

John Tuxbury (as the name was spelled in another document) on February 7,1776, sent an order to Ebenezer Hall, Esq., which read "Please to send down one barrill of your best bisquitt when you send ye two barrills of Rum." This order was counter-signed by Daniel Sigourney, one of the members of the committee in charge appointed by the General Court. Thus it is clear that the infant State was assuming all responsibility of sheltering, feeding and housing the sick and the poor.

This was a considerable burden, considering the chaotic financial situation. For example, the bills John Tukesbury presented to the Court for the first month of the deportation from Boston, possibly November of 1775, included nearly half a ton of mutton, a large quantity of corn meal and various other cartloads of supplies to a total of 107 pounds, 6 shillings and 6 3/4 pence. It is to be remembered that food was relatively cheap then.

After a time the pest abated and the Committee of the General Court was finally able to remove the sick from the Point, holding all suspicious persons however, until they were demonstrably free of the disease, or else down with it. Those who did suffer so were then removed to the regular Smallpox Hospital at Cambridge. It is to be remembered that then, smallpox was constantly appearing among the inhabitants of Massachusetts, burning usually as a low fire -- but a fire which at times flared up into a conflagration. Hence smallpox hospitals were maintained regularly like tuberculosis hospitals today and each town had, or shared with an adjoining town, a pest house for use during epidemics.

After the British evacuated Boston, March 17, 1776, under the threat of Washington's cannon from Dorchester Heights, the smallpox still continued a major threat. Chelsea, seeking to protect itself, passed a series of orders which forbid making use of the Point, or any portion of the town as a smallpox camp or hospital. Doctors. and citizens were specifically forbidden to establish private hospitals even in a single room of any house. This order was annulled in 1783, in favor of Dr. John Warren, and other physicians associated with him, and they were allowed


to establish a smallpox hospital at Point Shirley -- but the operation of the hospital was limited to one year.

While the departure of the British freed Boston and the mainland, it must be pointed out that the British Navy controlled the ocean. American shipping was at a standstill, save for American privateersmen. In a very real sense, these privateers (ships taken from merchant service, armed and sent out by authority of the Continental Congress to prey upon British shipping) did a marvelous job. They hurt John Bull's merchants very badly in their vital spot, their pocket books, and the clamor for cessation of hostilities was one of the reasons for Britain's willingness to sign a peace after Washington's victory at Yorktown.

It was one episode of this privateering that brought Winthrop its one real naval battle of the War. This was the brilliant victory gained by Captain James Mugford, Jr., a victory gained at the cost of his own life.

The business began in 1775 when a British frigate, the Lively, sailed into Marblehead, then famous for the quality of its daring sailors. It was the custom of the British Navy to keep its manpower at strength by the practice of impressment -- since no sailor in his right mind would endure the brutal treatment, the foul food and the perils of service. A squad of sailors, heavily armed, led by a commissioned officer usually, would go ashore at night and descend upon a tavern and seize whatever able-bodied men were to be found. These were marched under threat of death if they bolted, to the shore where they were taken aboard the ship needing men. Many of them, being so brutally treated that they were unconscious, had to be carried aboard. In the morning they were brought before the Captain at the break of the quarter-deck and he picked out the men he thought would be useful. The rest, mostly old and infirm, were dumped ashore. These impressed seamen were then a part of the British Navy and compelled to obey orders for as long as was necessary.

In this Marblehead raid was one young man, James Mugford. He had been but recently married and when his bride heard the horrid news, instead of bursting into tears, she, like a stout Marbleheader, took a dory and rowed out to the frigate. There she faced the Captain and so gallantly pleaded for her husband, that Mugford was released forthwith.

While aboard the frigate, Mugford learned of the approaching arrival of supply ships from England for Boston. Angered at the British, he conceived the idea of taking out a ship and capturing. one of these. An acquaintance, Archibald Selman, owned a little schooner, the Franklin, a tiny craft which was


regularly employed in fishing. Selman, also indignant no. doubt, listened and an agreement was made with General John Glover to commission the schooner as a privateer to prey upon British shipping. Otherwise, the Franklin would have been a pirate. The agreement, informal as it was, made the schooner a ship of the United States Navy.

For six shillings a month per ton, Selman agreed to furnish the ship and to bear all expenses. The hope of profit, of course, came from the sale of any vessels and their cargoes seized. The danger was the loss of the ship -- and of the death or capture of all her crew. This was a risk carelessly borne, for life was very cheap in those days, even more so than now, and the profits for "lucky" privateers were enormous.

The Franklin, hardly more than a yacht by today's standards, was fitted out with four small cannon, two swivels, 16 muskets, 12 pistols and 16 cutlasses. Under Captain Mugford, the crew consisted of a minimum of 17 men and a maximum of 30. In such a craft this handful of Marbleheaders, all experienced fishermen, sailed away. On Friday, May 17, 1776, (no superstition there) the Franklin, fell in with the British supply ship Hope, out of Cork, Ireland, and loaded with powder and ammunition. She was an ordinary merchant ship of 300 tons burden, armed with six cannon and carried a crew of 17.

The action, which took place only a few miles off shore, and all but under the shadow of the guns of a British fleet lying at anchor off Nantasket, had to be swift and decisive. Mugford's tiny ship could never hope to escape from the fleet which would come out like angry hornets at the first sound of cannon. The Hope did surrender without much fuss and Mugford sent a prize crew aboard. The British fleet, as anticipated, began chase but Mugford, headed north in great haste. Boston was the only port of any size held by Americans. Anywhere else, the British would simply follow him in and retake the Hope and probably hang Mugford and his crew on the spot without the formality of a trial. So, sailing past the usual entrance to Boston harbor, as a ruse to keep the British ships standing out to sea to cut him off to the north and east, he came about just beyond the present Graves Light and made for Shirley Gut. Unfortunately, he missed the narrow entrance and the Hope went aground on Fawn Bar, hard and fast.

The British, not knowing the channel either, hesitated about following Mugford into the shoal waters, preferring to wait until high tide. This gave Mugford an opportunity. He sent word of his plight to Boston by the Franklin and the value of his prize, and soon a swarm of small boats came down the harbor and through the Gut. The bulk of the priceless powder was loaded


into these small boats and taken to safety at Boston while the so lightened Hope was soon able to slide off the bar and follow them into safety. The value of the cargo was set at between 40,000 and 50,000 pounds. It consisted mainly of 25 tons of gunpowder, 1,000 stands of arms, a number of carriages for cannon, entrenching tools, some dry goods and provisions. To the patriots, the cargo was beyond price.

Why the Hope left the rest of the British supply fleet, which went to Halifax is unknown. There were rumors that the, master of the Hope deliberately sought capture by the Americans but all evidence found fails to support this allegation. Probably the story was put out as British propaganda to cover the loss of the Hope which certainly should have been protected as she neared Boston, probably on the way to the British fleet at Nantasket. Certainly, the pursuing British detachment could have sent small boats in while the Hope lay in plain sight for hours on Fawn Bar with the patriots busy as hornets unloading her. It would seem that the British were just attempting to cover their failure.

Anyhow, no propaganda could cover the next episode, On the evening of May 19, 1776, the Franklin, her crew anxious for more prize money, sailed once more, in company with the Lady Washington, another schooner with 25 men armed only with muskets and pistols. The British fleet was patrolling off shore, for Boston was under blockade, but the two hoped to slip out to sea under cover of darkness. However, the Franklin's luck was out and she grounded on practically the same spot as had the Hope. All attempts to refloat her failed.

The British learned, somehow, of the plight of the Franklin and started off a series of boats loaded with marines. The Franklin could do nothing but fight where she was. Boarding nets were rigged, the shrouds were soaped so that no marine could climb aboard that way, and the guns were all double-shotted. As the British boats approached, with their regular beat of oars rowed with all but mechanical precision, Mugford swung the Franklin around by means of the windlass and waited.

The British came within earshot and Mugford warned them to keep off. "We are friends come to visit you," a mocking voice replied. Probably there were 13 boats bearing more than 200 men in the attacking force. Depressing his cannon until they bore just ahead of the boats, now dashing to the attack, Mugford ordered "Fire!" and his cannon exploded. The effect was great but the British were held in strict discipline and the officers ordered the boats on until the bows of each rubbed against the sides of the little Franklin. She was like a fox surrounded by a pack of snarling dogs. The crew of the Franklin, although under a constant hail of musket bullets, fought bitterly with their own


muskets and then with pike, axe, marlin spike and sword, killing, killing and killing! For over an hour the savage struggle continued; neither side would give in.

Finally, the British began to withdraw, dropping away on the strong current racing out of the Gut. Just at the moment of victory, Mugford fell, shot through the side. "We have won," he cried, "Don't give up the vessel." Just as he died, the British withdrew altogether and the black night fell silent.

Captain Cunningham, in the Lady Washington, who had refused to flee before the British came, had just as bravely defended his schooner. On his ship no man was killed or wounded, and the only casualty on the Franklin was the death of Captain Mugford. This seems strange in view of the fierce struggle and the fact that the British lost 70 men killed.

This battle was apparently the only one fought at Winthrop. It is appropriately honored by a bronze tablet erected at the southerly end of the Shore Drive by Deane Winthrop Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.

In May of 1776 an earthern fort was built at Point Shirley in an effort to command Shirley Gut but no record exists of any shots ever being fired from it. The fort was on the easterly end of the low hill near the corner of Shirley Street and Tafts Avenue. Until a few years ago, traces of the fort were still evident.

In June of 177 6, Washington, determined to drive the British fleet away, ordered the islands and the shores on both sides of the harbor entrance to be occupied by troops, half of whom were drawn from the Continental Army and half of whom were local militia. The fire thus. opened upon the British fleet proved so annoying that they put out to sea and ended the blockade. They fired a single shot before leaving and on their way past Little Brewster sent a boat ashore to burn the little lighthouse then upon that island.  

Point Shirley was occupied at this time by a company of militia under Captain Benjamin Blaney of Malden. Some 57 men were in this company, members of the Malden Militia. They held the Point for three days and drew pay for that time and for 20 miles of travel.

During the Revolution, the greatest number of Chelsea's soldiers and officers came from Revere Center for Chelsea itself was then a very small place, as was the present town of Winthrop.

Captain Sprague who commanded the Chelsea forces in the beginning, was an old man (63) and unable to continue actual fighting after the struggle became organized under Washington. The balance of his service, after the first year, was considerable but civil in nature. His wife was Rachel Floyd, daughter of John Floyd III by his first wife, Mary Tuttle. Her great-grand-


father was Captain John Floyd, the first of the Floyds in this section and the ancestor of the present-day Floyds of Winthrop. The Tewksburys also trace descent from Captain Sprague through his daughter, who married Captain Stowers.

Other Chelsea men in the Revolution included: Lieutenant Watts, a relative of Governor Bellingham, through whom the Beachmont property of Bellingham came into. the Watts' family; Samuel Clark, who fought throughout the war and became a captain; Joseph Green, son-in-law of Captain Sprague and his son Joseph Junior, who but 17 when he enlisted, was an enthusiastic soldier; Sergt. Samuel Floyd, whose wife, Susanna Sargent, lived in the old Gibbons House at Thornton before her marriage; Captain Joseph Cheever, who with his brother Nathan and his half-brother Joshua, also. fought throughout the war; various members of the Pratt family, including Daniel, John, Ezra, Joseph, Samuel Hatton Pratt, Thomas and Caleb. The latter was also a son-in-law of Captain Sprague. It would seem that, as in Winthrop, the Chelsea Revolutionary soldiers were related commonly by ties of blood and marriage.

Among others, was Sergt. Abijah Hastings. He finally became a lieutenant and after the war, besides being a selectman, moderator and town clerk of Chelsea, taught school at Pullen Poynte during the years between 1785 and 1797.

Mention should be made also of the Sales family, who once gave the name of Sales Farm to all of Beachmont, John Sales Jr. served in the war and his father was a member of the Provincial Congress in 1775-1778. John Sales Jr. married Sarah Floyd, daughter of John Floyd III and sister of the wife of Captain Sprague. Aside from harassing the retreat of the British from Concord on April 19, 1775, it is probable that the only serious engagement of most of the Chelsea Company, aside from those who served later under Washington, was the Battle of Chelsea Creek. For example, during the battle of Bunker Hill, the Company stood guard on the Chelsea shore to prevent any flanking attempt on that side. For the balance of the war, the company served as guards, within their own town.

After the British evacuation of Boston, the great burden of the war was lifted from Chelsea but the community did its full share in supplying men, money and supplies for the Continental Army as the war flowed south past New York and Philadelphia until the triumph at Yorktown. The constant and continued demands for men and money made by the Continental Congress upon Massachusetts nearly exhausted the resources of the state while, at the same time, trade and commerce were practically extinct. Money was something that no one possessed,

Locally, the effects of the war were clearly to be seen. With


many men away, farms were neglected of necessity and as labor grew scarcer and scarcer the state found increasing difficulty in finding men to meet the military quotas. Grass undoubtedly grew in the roads -- but then, they were dirt roads in those days. To raise men, the government offered bounties and good ones, but, notwithstanding this inducement, Chelsea in 1778 and 1779 was compelled to resort to a draft to gather men. Times were hard, bitter hard, and the support of the war became difficult to an extreme, but none the less, Chelsea met her quotas for men and money faithfully.

Pullen Poynte was particularly unfortunate. As recorded, in May of 1775, the inhabitants were forced to vacate their homes at a time when spring planting was underway. The families were away but seven weeks, it is true, but this was the critical time and as a result much of the year was lost so far as crops were concerned. Thus impoverished, the inhabitants labored under not only heavy taxation and loss of manpower but the loss of markets for what they did raise in subsequent years.

And in addition Pullen Poynte was levied upon to supply food for military forces stationed on guard duty. The commissary department of Colonel Baldwin's regiment, from which unit the guards were drawn, kept records of this requisition which includes sheep sent them to care for until needed. We read in these papers that the following Winthrop residents supplied sheep as follows: Seth Wood, 17; Jonathan Belcher, 43; David Belcher, 156; Andrew Duxbury (Tukesbury) 73; Nathaniel Belcher, Jr., 38; James Tukesbury, 83; John Sargent, 39; and John Tukesbury, 63. It is of record that Winthrop farmers were paid for whatever property was taken and for their services, too.

As a result of the lamb and mutton diet supplied to the soldiers, sheep began to be scarce as the war progressed with a resulting shortage of wool for clothing for both the military and civilians. Thus a committee was appointed, consisting in part of Captain Samuel Sprague, John Tewksbury, Joshua Cheever, Andrew Tewksbury and David Belcher, to obtain wool with which to weave blankets for the army. An order was also issued that " ... no person shall be allowed to sell wool out of town, till the inhabitants of the town be supplied with wool, both for their own use and for the use of the soldiers."

After Yorktown and the securing of American Independence, peace and quiet descended upon Pullen Poynte -- a peace which has not been broken in all the years since. No hostile foot has ever stepped again on Winthrop soil and no shot has been fired in war inside the town. We have done our full share in all the wars of the United States but they, at least until the present, have been far away.


Accordingly, Winthrop people returned to their farming and for nearly a hundred years remained quiet, successful and self-reliant farmers. The town grew but slowly and, save as the various developments of the vast growth of the nation came into town, things changed but little -- and then with exceedingly great conservatism. Winthrop was content to be left alone just as much as was possible. It looked at Boston across the harbor and was perfectly happy for Boston to be at least that far away.

Storms came and went, just as did the seasons. Now and then, ships were wrecked upon the beaches or on nearby islands. For example, in that bad winter of 1786-87, on December 4th, amid a blinding northeaster, a packet brig from Maine went ashore on Lovell's Island. The crew and the 13 passengers reached shore safely, but finding no shelter, froze to death during the night, all save one man, Theodore Kingsley who managed somehow to stay alive. The next morning, with snow still falling heavily and a northerly gale blowing, the brig Lucretia endeavoring to make the harbor, missed the Gut and piled up on Point Shirley Beach. Five of the crew leaped ashore but perished soon after in the deep drifts, being soaked to the skin. The rest of the ship's company, waited aboard the ship and, after the storm ceased, reached shore easily and found shelter safely.

Such wrecks, an eclipse of the sun, an earthquake -- these were the things of moment in Winthrop's history until, at last; the rising tide of industry touched the town to be. Russell Sturgis, born August 17, 1750, down on Cape Cod, had long been a citizen of Boston. He knew the process of extracting salt from sea water and he explored the abandoned fishery company's building at Point Shirley, with the idea of establishing there a salt works. Salt was more precious then than now, for the present salt mines were not worked and the only common source was salt taken from the warm waters of the West Indies. The market was brisk for it in those days, when refrigeration was unknown, salt was used as a preservative of food. Beef was corned as were other meats and foods while the salt cod industry consumed comparatively vast quantities. Salt was then worth making.

On March 22, 1803, Sturgis purchased rights at Point Shirley for $1200 and a year later he was joined by two other men, Elisha Baker and Nathaniel Parker, who were owners of land at the Point. It is not known when the manufacture of salt was actually begun but the work was carried along for several years, finally coming under the management of Samuel Sturgis, younger brother of Russell Sturgis, probably about 1811. The venture was not too successful for the works depended upon the heat of the sun evaporating salt water pumped into wooden tanks. Every


time it rained the tanks had to be covered or else the salt concentrate would be diluted. While no records of the operation are known, it does seem likely that the sun down at the Point would hardly be ardent enough, on a practical basis, to permit salt making save in the warmest weather. Apparently the salt works managed to eke its way along for some ten or fifteen years and then gradually languished away, leaving room for Winthrop's biggest industry, the copper works, organized later by the descendants of the patriot, Paul Revere.

It may be of interest that at about this time salt making from sea water was an active industry in America, especially at Cape Cod. Yarmouth alone in 1845 produced 74,000 bushels.


----------------- Top

Chapter Ten


WINTHROP was not greatly affected by this final chapter of the struggle of the Colonies for equality as a nation with reluctant Britain. The chief effect of the war was economic. In the beginning, because the war was not at all popular in New England, due to the Embargo and other restrictions upon commerce (which badly hurt the New England merchant marine, then in its initial flowering) the astute British saw hope that New England would secede from the United States and rejoin the Empire. So Boston and other New England ports were not blockaded. However, despite the Hartford Convention and other symptoms of disaffection with Washington, New England remained loyal and accordingly the British blockaded Boston in 1813, by sending the Shannon and the Tenedos to shut off commerce -- which they did.

At the time the United States ship Chesapeake, under command of the immortal Lawrence was being repaired in Boston harbor and the vessel was apparently trapped, though safe enough under the guns of the harbor forts. However, the United States Navy, despite its gallant actions, was greatly outclassed by the British Navy and the Chesapealce was badly needed at sea. How could she escape?

When readied for sea, the Chesapeake was sailed down the harbor into President Roads, ready for a dash to sea when opportunity offered. Winthrop people manned the hills, such as Great Head and watched the Shannon and the Tenedos and on May 31, 1813, saw only the Shannon on patrol. Word was sent to Lawrence, who was dining at Boston. He rowed down the harbor and made his ship ready for battle with the Shannon. The next morning, Lawrence put out and the Shannon stood in to meet him. Winthrop people jammed Grover's Cliff and Great Head to see that rare spectacle, a sea battle. The action took place about five miles off Boston Light. The sound of cannon was clearly audible at Winthrop and the destruction of the unfortunate Chesapeake was clearly to be seen. The battle lasted for but 15 minutes, beginning just before six o'clock in the afternoon.

Winthrop had another grand-stand seat for another naval


episode of the war. The famous Constitution sailed past Shirley Point and up the harbor April 23, 1814. A few days later several British ships established a blockade off the harbor entrance. It appeared that the famous frigate, most gallant of American warships, and among the most fortunate, was closely bottled up and rendered harmless. We had but few vessels left in service by that time; the American Navy was virtually swept from the ocean.

Summer went by and autumn was well spent before the Constitution stirred to action. Winthrop was astonished one morning to see a party from the ship making a survey of the Gut. Was the Constitution going to attempt to slip out by the side door of the harbor? The Constitution drew 27 feet and the surveyors found enough water at high tide.

One other barrier remained: where was the ship to clear the outer islands: could it be done without risk of the British fleet cutting her off, as would be done if an attempt was made to go out through Broad Sound past the Graves, where there was plenty of deep water. Between Green Island and Little Calf Island is a passage known as Hypocrite Channel. The British warships would not dare to try that narrow way, all ledges, but perhaps there would be water enough for the comparatively smaller Constitution. So the surveyors sailed out and measured Hypocrite Channel. There they found plenty of water, as much as 84 feet, provided the ledges could be navigated.

On December 17th, an easterly wind swept the coast, bringing unusually high tides and forcing the British fleet to haul off shore a little to avoid being caught on a lee shore. This was all that Commander Steward was waiting for. He dropped down from Long Wharf an hour before high water and, with the wind most fortunately shifting to the westward, slipped out to sea and sailed between the Devil's Back and Half Tide Rocks and navigated through Hypocrite Channel. The British fleet came racing up but it was too late; the Constitution safely put the Brewsters behind her and with a great westerly filling her sails went scudding safely out into the open Atlantic. It should be said that this detailed account is legendary.

It should be noted that the correct spelling of Fawn Bar is with a w. When the street Faun Bar Avenue was named, someone made a mistake and used a u instead of a w.

As the war ran along, aside from the fact that American commerce was virtually halted in its peaceful pursuits, save for the privateers who once again ravaged British trading ships on the high seas, with great gallantry and remarkable success, Winthrop's life was quiet. Prices were depressed due to poor business conditions -- but that, as always, affects farms very little, comparatively, and Winthrop was still a farming town.


----------------- Top

Chapter Eleven


DURING most of the nineteenth century, Winthrop continued to "jog along" as a quiet, peaceful community, for the most part. There were some lively battles in town meeting, as those over the transportation problem, and there were various other controversies of a minor nature. Probably the great event of the century, aside from things like the Civil War, (in which Winthrop did its share as a part of the State and the Nation) was the establishment of the town as an independent corporation. The really important change, the gradual growth of the town as first summer residents moved in, and then as permanent citizens came in large numbers, came about so quietly that Winthrop was hardly aware how rapidly it was growing and how tremendous the change in its economy had become. New faces appeared but the townspeople became really aware of what was happening mostly in town meeting when the citizens were called upon again and again to deal with such problems as water, sewers, schools, fire department, police department and all the other details of a town of size and importance.

Since the relation of the 19th century's growth would involve much duplication and cross-references if told in chronological order, this account of Winthrop's story will from this point forward adopt the accustomed historical method of presenting first, a brief, conventional account of the period up to modern times and then, "back-tracking," to relate in separate chapters, such portions of the story which appear to require more detailed treatment, as for example, the account of transportation, the schools and the churches.

As had been said, and this was particularly true between the War of 1812 and mid-century, Winthrop's life was very uneventful. It was still mainly agricultural. The salt works, as described, flourished and then languished for perhaps 30 years; the closing date is not certain. This single "industry" in turn gave place to the Revere Copper Works in 1845. While they endured, until 1869 they were rather important to the Town. Once again, as just before the Revolution, industry shifted the town's center of population and influence down to the Point. This was perhaps


Winthrop's only major industry in all its three centuries of being and when the company closed down to move its plant elsewhere, it was feared that the town had suffered a crippling blow. Of course such was not the case for Winthrop's beauty and nearness to Boston, despite transportation difficulties, apparently destined to be a chronic illness, made it clear that the town was selected to be a town of homes in modern times -- just as it had been a section of farms for two centuries.

Perhaps the most important political development came in the Forties. For many years the present City of Chelsea had included, as stated, Revere and Winthrop. In the beginning, Revere Center was the important section of the town of Chelsea, or Winnisimmet (variously spelled) but Chelsea had since 1830 experienced a remarkable growth and by 1840 greatly overshadowed Revere and Winthrop. Chelsea had a population in 1840 of 4600 people and at town meeting voted taxes and spent the money on itself; leaving Revere and Winthrop, who could not control either taxation or expenditures, "out in the cold." Naturally, Revere and Winthrop-to-be smarted under this situation and in 1845 Joseph Stowers and 95 others of Revere Center petitioned the General Court to incorporate their section of the old Chelsea town as a new town to be known as Cushman. David Belcher and 36 others, residents of Pullin Point (also variously spelled), signed a remonstrance in which they presented their objections. They pointed out that their portion of the town had been to great expense and trouble to obtain a road to Boston by way of Orient Heights and East Boston; that their part of the proposed new town would be entirely separated from Chelsea (Ferry Village) by Belle Isle or Breed's Island, and that for all purposes they would be obliged to go through East Boston or through the proposed new town of Cushman to reach their town center at Ferry Village.

The General Court agreed that it would not be advisable to leave Pullin Point isolated from its town center at Ferry Village by the creation of the new town of Cushman and so a committee was appointed to investigate. The committee presented a lengthy report and suggested that if Revere-to-be wished to leave Chelsea, there was no valid objection-but that instead of limiting the proposed new town to just Revere Genter, the new town should. also include the "Two Points"b--bby which they meant Pullin Point and Point Shirley. This seemed reasonable enough to the General Court and legislation was passed accordingly, being approved by Governor George N. Briggs, March 19, 1846.

Somewhere in the process, the proposed name of Cushman was lost and the new town emerged as North Chelsea. The name was subsequently changed to the present, Revere, in honor of


 Map 145

Paul Revere, he of the midnight ride, but Winthrop was not concerned in that for they remained a part of North Revere only for six years. These were years of considerable change. Winthrop found a new market in the industrial growth of Ferry Village and also in the development of East Boston, where the great Cunard docks were built in 1840 -- and other very considerable waterfront building began. This was the age of the flowering of the American merchant marine when East-Boston-Built clippers ruled the ocean as the most beautiful creations of human hands, as well as the fastest sailing vessels that have ever voyaged the world around, commercially. Then the copper works gave Winthrop its own growing market and the coming of Taft's Hotel to the Point brought in hosts of summer people -- many of whom admired the peaceful town and some of whom came back to become residents.

In 1851, a really great political development began. Pullin Point people were far from pleased with being ruled by Revere and felt they were big enough to stand in their own boots. Hiram Plummer and others signed a petition to the General Court to have Chelsea Point (by which was meant the present town of Winthrop) set off from the new town of North Chelsea and annexed to Boston. Evidently other Winthrop people even then had no great desire to link their fate with that of Boston and David Belcher and 56 others immediately signed a remonstrance. Representative Edward Floyd presented both petitions to the legislature and that body referred them to the next session. This gave Winthrop people time to think things over and when the General Court of 1852 assembled, the people of Chelsea Point or Pullen Point, were apparently all agreed to ask for their establishment as a separate town under the name of Winthrop. The bill met with little opposition and was passed easily with very few negative votes and signed by Governor George S. Boutwell, March 27,1852. The only question in the minds of the legislators, and in some of the town's inhabitants, too, was: Could such a small area as Winthrop was (and is) properly support itself?

The new town was referred to as "The Little Republic," a crystallization of this doubt.

However, Winthrop soon set that doubt aside, for 11 days after the town was incorporated, the first town meeting was held in the school building, erected in place of the original school built in 1805. The town was speedily organized and set about managing its affairs with a dignity and efficiency which has now, for a century, always characterized the conduct of its public affairs. Few towns in Massachusetts have been better managed than has Winthrop, largely because of the large number of able and public-spirited men and women who have served in office, with very


small compensation and, usually, with none at all. Of course, much of the town's high standing depends upon the continued interest taken by the citizens in town affairs. Winthrop has remained true to the town meeting (in late years of the representative form) and thus any citizen has the right to stand up and speak his mind. Many of them have frequently done so and will probably continue to do so. Thus, in the Boston Traveler of March 12, 1859, we read that there was considerable opposition to "lavishing $700 on the schools" out of a total budget of $1,850.

The first board of selectmen were: David Belcher, John W.  Tewksbury and Hiram Plummer. Edward Floyd was the first town treasurer and Warren Belcher the first town clerk. School committee men were: Henry Fay, George Washington Tewksbury and David Floyd. Highway surveyors were: David Floyd, Charles S. Tewksbury, Thomas S. Tewksbury and George Washington Tewksbury. Constables were: George G. Belcher and George F. Clifford. Field drivers were: Josiah Floyd, William W. Shaw and Henry C. Smith. Fence viewers were: Thomas S. Tewksbury, J. W. Tewksbury and Fred Davis. The final official elected was John Carter, sealer of weights and measures.

John W. Tewksbury, perhaps because of his eminence as first selectman of the new town, built himself, soon after 1852, a house on Shirley Street near the present Winthrop Yacht Club. This house, now the Colonial Inn, was very large and elegant for the time and distinguished by a planting of poplar trees. In the yard of the present Inn is mounted an old cannon. So far as can be learned, no person knows anything definite about this piece of ordnance.  

The copper works were in full blast in 1852 and their payroll contributed considerably to the prosperity of the town, although the smoke from the furnaces was often found objectionable. In 1853, H. B. Tewksbury built the first sidewalk in Winthrop, laying a strip on Main Street 167 feet in length. Outside this strip he planted six elm trees. These seem to have constituted the first planting of "public" shade trees -- a practice which soon spread to other sections of the town, and a practice which has contributed so very much to the comfort and beauty of Winthrop.

By 1854 there were 48 pupils in the Winthrop schools, including 12 Tewksburys, a dozen Belchers and nine Floyds. The little school built in 1805 had been found much too small to serve such a number and a new school was built in a few years. This also served as a town hall in 1852 but a new town hall, proper, for the needs of the new town was clearly desired and so, that year a contract for a new town hall was given to George Shaw. The Shaw family, who came to Winthrop from Vermont, had


been active in Winthrop for some 15 years previously, erecting many new homes in town.

In 1856, this school was sold and moved and on its site, the new town hall was reared, the building which served so long and so well though it cost but $4,990.50. At first, the first floor was devoted to two school rooms and town officers and town business was conducted on the second floor. The new building was put into use in 1856 and occupied until the present Town Hall was built in 1929. The Old Town Hall was torn down and the present Post Office building erected on its site. It is of interest to note that the old School building still exists and is the upper portion of the dwelling numbered 278 on the west side of Winthrop St., opposite George St.

When the late David Floyd in 1902 prepared an address commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Town, he was fortunate in being able to talk with seven surviving voters of 1852. He reports that they told him much of the changes the 50 years had brought as well as describing Winthrop as it was in 1852.

That year 1852 Winthrop had 45 dwelling houses and there were 62 property owners whose holdings were valued at $182,428. Town taxes and state taxes together in 1852 amounted to $1,539. As said the little school house of 1852 gave way to the new combined


town hall and school and that year also, a new one-room school house was built at Point Shirley.

The old timers also reported that in 1852, the only organizations in the new town were the two school districts, an antislavery society, a temperance society and a lyceum association. In the years which followed six churches were built and a large number of lodges, clubs and other organizations came into being. Most of all they tell of the real estate development which was conspicuously led by Dr. Sam'l Ingalls, when he bought the then called Wheeler Beach and re-named it Ocean Spray. Of interest at the moment chiefly is the fact that much of the town was strictly temperance, if not prohibitionist altogether. In fact, Dr. Ingalls, when he offered land in his Spray development for sale, expressed himself as follows: "There shall be one sea girt resort (at least) where the fiend of the still shall not hold court."

His example was endorsed by other real estate operators who commonly inserted prohibition clauses into the deeds they gave. That these sentiments were no bar to sale (of land) is demonstrated by the fact that people eagerly purchased the lots, which, probably, they would forfeit if they indulged themselves with liquor.

There were many customs of old times which persisted into mid-century days, although never heard about in modern times. One was the Election Day Shoot. At the time there were many robins, blackbirds, swallows and other song birds now few but very happily protected by law. In those days, despite the wee size of the songsters, and their beauty, it was the custom to shoot them for food. Probably the tiny bodies, plucked and cleaned, were baked in a pie. Anyhow, on Election Day many Winthrop men took their shot guns and killed as many birds as they could possibly find. It should be noted that this was not the real Election Day but the day of the drum-head election of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company on Boston Common in May. When the day ended, the weary Winthrop hunters trudged home with or without their bags of birds and their wives served them as a special Election Day pie with supper. Apparently not too many birds were slaughtered, for the outing was a sort of convivial affair, frowned upon by the staid and sober. This was before the days of the Audubon Society.

The other old custom, apparently of French Canadian background, was the chivare. Whenever a bridal couple retired for their wedding night, it was the habit for their friends to surround the house silently and then, at a signal, break out with as much noise as possible -- bells, horns, dishpans, drums, shotguns-whatever would make as much racket as possible was


used. After the serenade was carried along to the point of exhaustion, the celebrants would knock at the door and demand entrance. Inside, hardly to their surprise, they found refreshments waiting, and much of the night was spent in proper celebration. This custom has been unknown in town for many years.

Although it seems unlikely today, Winthrop was once the home port of a number of small ships, such as schooners, which spent much of the year in trading and carrying up and down the New England coast. In winter, these little ships commonly ran ashore at Thornton Station and spent the winter on the soft bottom there. Captain Lucius Floyd of the Malvena reported his fellow captains and their ships as including: Captain George W. Tewksbury of the Ant, Captain Josiah Floyd of the Hershel, Captain Lorenzo C. Tewksbury of the Marion, Captain Harry Pierce of the Quickstep, and Captain Henry Tewksbury of the Irene.

Sand and gravel formed an important product which was "exported" from Winthrop in mid-century days, particularly. The small schooners (and later scows which were moved about by steam tugs) came into Winthrop and, run ashore at high tide, loaded their holds with sand and gravel at low tide. The present muddy harbor bottom gives no hint of the fine and clean sand and gravel which once covered the harbor flats. Just so, the present, polluted waters give no idea of the sparkling and crystal clear tide which once flooded in to fill our shores twice daily. At one time, Captain Lucius, Floyd reported, he saw twenty gravel boats ashore at Winthrop loading gravel, mostly for Boston. Much of this gravel was removed from between Thornton and Sunnyside and Snake Island. Before that, cows often walked across to Snake Island to graze on the lush grasses then growing there. Now the bottom is covered ankle deep in slime and silt, largely from the filling in of the East Boston Air Port.

Education consumed a large part of the town's annual budget in the early days, just as it does now. Then teachers received the large salary of about $4.75 a week -- but then a man who received a dollar a day from dawn to dark considered himself well paid and many men worked for 50 cents or 75 cents a day at ordinary labor, and brought up families on that wage, too. The two teachers when Winthrop became a town were Miss Sarah Underhill at the Center and Miss Harriet N. Copeland at the Point, Other teachers, who followed these two, included: at the Center, Lucy Bartlett, Dianthe T. Heath, and Augusta Wilson, and at the Point, Miss Marcia Barett. Another early teacher was Mary. Priscilla Ryder who taught at the Center between 1855 and 1857 and then resigned to marry Sidney Griffin. She became the author of a little Winthrop History


"Winthrop Days", from which the writer has borrowed abundantly.

The school committee in 1856 was Daniel Long, David Floyd and Isaac C. Hall. This committee distinguished itself by building a new school at Point Shirley at a cost of $635.86 and by hiring a man teacher, Nahum W. Smith. It seems it was felt that a man was needed to properly discipline some of the older boys! This year there were 54 regular pupils in the two rooms on the first floor of the new town hall and 18 at the Point. During the next few years teachers came and went in rather unpleasing numbers. The School Committee issued a statement regretting the too frequent changes in personnel and the parents spoke about the situation in Town Meeting -- but the changes in teachers continued. Late in 1860 Samuel Wiggin became a teacher and conditions especially in respect to discipline, greatly improved. Unfortunately, he stayed but a year and was followed by Mrs. O. M. Blodgett, who was also a stern disciplinarian. Probably the good woman would be mortified could she know that her immortality today rests upon a couplet coined by one of her students:

"Here I stand before Miss Blodgett.
She's going to strike but I will dodge it."

Meanwhile the dark threat of the Civil War was looming ever blacker. Winthrop, like all New England towns of moderate circumstances, was brimmed with both men and women of ardent abolitionist sentiments. For the time temperance was side-tracked as a political issue and all good people joined in denouncing slavery. Doubtless, no one anywhere in the North considered that the South would secede; everyone believed that slavery could be ended by legislation -- as it had been wiped out peacefully long before by the British Empire. But, when Fort Sumter was fired upon and the Stars and stripes hauled down in April of 1861, then Winthrop, like all other towns rolled up its sleeves, determined to support President Lincoln in "preserving the Union".

Locally, the war was in part very beneficial, for the need for copper started a great boom in the copper works at Point Shirley. The great furnaces smoked furiously and were shut down, for over-haul, only every 14th day. The men employed worked so hard that they found it difficult, or their families did, to obtain supplies and so the custom grew up of vendors coming into town with wagons loaded with provisions and supplies of all kinds. These vendors also served all Winthrop homes as they made their creaking way to and from the Point.


Two of these vendors were outstanding because of their eccentricities. One was a Mrs. Croak. Perhaps this was her real name, perhaps not. Anyhow she possessed a voice of some harshness and marked masculinity which reverberated along the streets in rather an unpleasant fashion as she hawked her wares vociferously. It was alleged by the uncharitable that at times Mrs. Croak was the victim of indulgence in alcoholic beverages. Perhaps that explained her deep, husky voice.

The other conspicuous vender, despite Winthrop's strictly enforced temperance, appeared now and then at the Point with a wagon with a large barrel on the back. This barrel had a faucet or spigot in place and it is reported that this vendor, "Old Man Mackin", did a thriving business at the Point where the workers at the furnaces commonly suffered from parched throats. For regular groceries, Winthrop depended upon Long & Johnson, General Store, situated at about where the Catholic Church is now.

One of the conspicuous characters of the day was Captain William Tewksbury. He cultivated a dairy farm on Deer Island and his residence there brought him fame as a life-saver for ships were being wrecked on the Island now and then, and amateurs in small boats were always getting themselves into trouble, then as now. He received the medal of the Massachusetts Humane Society for saving the lives of seven men in 1817. It has been passed down through the family as one of its most cherished possessions and is now in the possession of Mrs. Florence Tewksbury Crosby.

Captain Tewksbury labored under some difficulty in his agricultural operations. His cows were on Deer Island, his milk customers were in Winthrop and in East Boston. So, he had to ferry his milk across the Gut, load up his wagon there, hitch the team of horses he maintained on the mainland and then deliver his milk. Few dairymen, it is believed, employ a rowboat as part of their standard equipment.

Because of Winthrop's relatively small population, in the Civil War, the town, according to official records kept at the State House " ... furnished 72 men ... which was a surplus of eight over and above all demands. The whole amount of money expended by the town on account of the war, exclusive of state. aid, was $10,744."

Heading the list of Winthrop's soldiers, was William Francis Bartlett. As a side light on the man who became one of the great men of the Union Army, it is related that one winter day when the snows were deep, he coasted to school -- and as boys will do, became a bit late. He hurried to get to his seat before the final bell. However, he noticed a huge drift beside the school door.


Climbing to the top of the drift, he coasted down towards the door but, speeding much more rapidly than he had imagined, he coasted right into the school room and, when he stood up, found his teacher, Mr. Nahum Smith, standing before him. Most boys would have been flustered and tongued-tied. But not the boy Bartlett. Even then he exhibited the presence of mind which helped make his military career spectacular. He took off his hat, bowed to the teacher and politely apologized-and was, it is to be hoped, forgiven, although the account fails to say whether or not he was given a taste of the teacher's ruler.

Bartlett was commissioned in the Union Army, and from the rank of captain, by his valor and ability, rose through various ranks to the star of a brigadier general. Beyond question, he is Winthrop's most distinguished soldier. After the war, Governor John Albion Andrew, Massachusetts' able war governor, came to Winthrop, and at a special meeting at the Town Hall, presented General Bartlett with a handsome sword and, in his address, named Bartlett as "Massachusetts' most valuable soldier".

It is difficult to list the soldiers from Winthrop because of the system by which drafted men could hire a substitute to go and fight for them by paying them a bounty. For example, George Smith, employed at the Revere Copper Works at the Point, hired a substitute to take his place. This substitute, whose name is not known, was killed in his first battle!

Other Winthrop men hired substitutes, too -- it was the common practice of the war. These substitutes, often called "bounty men", were quartered in a special camp on Deer Island where they "enjoyed themselves" until called to duty. Many of these were killed, for casualties in the Civil War were relatively heavy, and the very poor medical service was unable to prevent sickness or to properly care for wounded men. In addition, the infamous Confederate prisons cost the lives of many Union soldiers unfortunate enough to be captured. Since the bounty men were often carried under names other their own, some of these who gave their lives for their country (at a price) sleep in nameless graves.

The town report of 1863, lists the following Winthrop men who served as volunteers: Leander Hicks, Oliver Kelly, Edward Dyer, Henry Reed, Charles Hicks, Daniel Neil, Robert Walker, George Matthews, C. W. Hall, James A. Bryant, Edward March, John Hodgdon, Henry King, Charles Danick, William Lewis, Charles Wood, William Holden, and James McDonald. Later, Channing Howard and others expended a great deal of effort in compiling as accurate a list as possible and these names are preserved on the monument to the Winthrop men in the war.


The monument now stands in front of the new Town Hall, opposite the Library.

At home, the war brought hardships and tears -- war always does. A Soldiers' Aid Society was organized and worked at raising money, by means of fairs and entertainments, to do what could be done by way of contributing money and supplies, especially for ill and wounded soldiers, who needed help very greatly. A G.A.R. Post was organized after the war and the town faithfully continued its support of the soldiers. For many years, the men in blue were a feature of the annual Memorial Day parade. Gradually the ranks thinned until only a few remained and they no longer marched but rode in automobiles over the line of march of veterans of later wars. Today, not one remains after all, the war was fought nearly a century ago. The Union Army did take in lads of a seemingly impossible tender age but any veteran of the Civil War today must needs be now in his late nineties at least and few men reach that dignity.

Of local interest during the war, was the use of Winthrop as a proving ground for field artillery manufactured at the Alger Foundry at South Boston. The Army took a block of ground including Cutler Street and Ocean Avenue, near the present Shore Drive and a huge target was set up on Grover's Cliff at about where Fort Heath is today. Day after day field pieces would be fired and the town echoed and re-echoed to the crash of the cannon. In the years that have followed, many people have amused themselves by visiting Grover's Cliff to search for the cannon balls thus expended. Some have been found.

In the period after the Civil War one of the main points of controversy was the proposal to establish a lunatic asylum in the town. Dr. Walker, superintendent of the Boston Lunatic Asylum, became convinced that Winthrop Highlands was an ideal place in which to build a new asylum -- which Boston badly needed. The area at the time was mostly waste land, or pasture, and many of the committee felt that it would be wrong to isolate the insane of Boston in such a "forbidding place" exposed as it was to the "fury of the Atlantic and all the winds of heaven". Indeed, the committee as a whole refused to even take the trouble to go down to Winthrop to examine the site. Dr. Walker, clever as well as stubborn, finally won his committee over to the extent of going down to Winthrop by baiting his trap with the promise of a splendid dinner at Taft's Hotel -- by then becoming famous as a place where magnificent food was available.

So in the fall of 1868, the committee did come down, explored Winthrop Highlands and visited Taft's for dinner, or supper as it was commonly called then by less fashionable people. The expense account turned in to the city included $135 for carriages


and $1,009.35 for the dinner. It must have been really something, for prices, even at Taft's were very low in those days when a quarter of a dollar would buy all a man cared to eat in an ordinary eating place.

Still the committee was set against Winthrop as the site of the new hospital. Doctors Stedman, Tyler, Choate, Butler, Nichols and Jones stood as firmly against Winthrop as Dr. Walker was for it. To gain outside support, Dr. Walker commissioned a photographer to take panoramas of Winthrop from the top of Summit Avenue. These photographs, the first such ever made, have been preserved and copies are now safely treasured by Sidvin Frank Tucker, curator of the museum at the Winthrop Public Library. Today these are of priceless value. To speak of early photographs, there is another set of views now in the office of Eugene P. Whittier, Jefferson Street realtor, which are of interest and value.

After the war, education, which had continued to languish in difficulties during the period of hostilities, was reorganized in part. In 1867 there were 137 pupils attending the primary department and the grammar school at the Center and the single school at the Point. Truancy, which plagued early days, had been largely checked, because it was reported that only seven other children of school age remained unschooled that year. H. S. Soule, Lucius Floyd and Charles S. Tewksbury were the school committee that year.

The next year, an attempt was made to encourage scholarship by naming the top ten pupils and bestowing honors upon them. At the Center school, the ten were listed as: Alfred Tewksbury, Willie Piper, Alice W. Magee, Amanda Floyd, Leonhard Shouler, Abiel C. Treworgy, Millard Sawyer, Granville Turnbull, Marilla Belcher and James Boylan in order. At the Point, the ten were, respectively: Alice Long, Mary J. Caton, Ensign Tewksbury, Eugene Finigin, Fred Carney, Wallace Wyman, Daniel Carney, Thomas Porter, Henry Cay tan and William Flanagan.

It was at this time that Winthrop schools had their first singing teacher, Miss H. J. George. Regular teachers were then paid $307.50 a year. Miss George received $13.00 in 1868 -- so she could hardly have devoted much time to her task.

This was, as just mentioned, the period when Orray Augustus Taft was making his hotel at the Point world famous. He was also careful to make friends in Winthrop, especially as he looked to local young men, such as George Paine, to shoot local game birds to keep the Taft larder well stocked. His sisters, Ella and Clara, were favorites of Taft when they were little girls and he often sent his carriage up to the Paine Farm. They would drive down to the Point, be entertained graciously, and then


be driven home again in grand style, all to the envy of other little Winthrop girls.

An example of Taft's devotion to his business came in the, great gale of September 9, 1869, a storm which left a trail of great destruction all around Greater Boston. In Winthrop, it is reported that the famed Gibbon's Elm, which used to stand near the old Thornton Station, was split in half and felled to the ground. However, a subscription list was passed around and expert workmen raised the two halves, and when in position, bolted them together. At least, that is the story told by old time residents. The story adds that, within a few years, the rejuvenated tree had grown so well that the heads and nuts of the bolts were covered over by the annular growth of the tree.

Point Shirley was hard hit by the gale. When the gale struck, Taft himself was busy in the great kitchen giving the final delicate touch of his master hand to a dish of upland plover, ordered by a party of eminent gentlemen who were half-way through one of Taft's magnificent meals. They had "discussed the chowder and the game courses" and were waiting for the birds. The guests, as the wind howled, looked out the big windows of the dining room at the many small boats in distress until. the view was obscured by a cloud of spray, rain and dust. The windows quivered, the stout timbers of the hotel shook and, suddenly there was a terrific crash. The great kitchen chimney had blown over and tumbled down through the kitchen skylight.

Mrs. Taft rushed into the kitchen to see what had happened. Amid the debris of pots and pans, dishes and all the rest, stood Taft himself, whitened by mortar, blackened by soot and surrounded by bricks. He had escaped without injury' and he was holding aloft his dish of upland plover. "See," he cried, "the birds are unhurt." So he cleaned up himself a bit and served the birds and somehow managed to complete the rest of the meal. His ideal, service for his guests, was maintained, his integrity as a host was untarnished and though his kitchen was ruined, there would be no question but what Tafts' always gave its patrons whatever they might want, whenever they wanted it.

Up to this time Winthrop homes were supplied with water by wells or springs. It was in 1889 that some houses had the first water piped into them. The City of Boston, then operating the prison at Deer Island, requested permission from the Town to lay water pipes through the streets. Some residents, whose homes were upon the pipe line, took advantage of this opportunity and had the water laid into their houses, thus assuring themselves of adequate water at all times -- a blessing that wells and springs do not always give.

Two very significant events soon occurred which definitely


ended Winthrop as an industrial town and made it reasonably certain that it would develop as a town of homes. As stated, the efforts of Dr. Walker to build an insane asylum had failed, despite the reported visit to Taft's Hotel, and despite a second visit in 1870, when but $702.56 was charged by Mr. Taft for entertaining the committee. Boston did buy much of the Highlands, including a part of the Old Deane Winthrop Farm, but nothing was ever done and the City eventually resold the land.

The first of the two significant events was the abandonment of the Revere Copper Works. While the company employed a watchman, Alexander Haggerston, for many years, the furnaces went out in the spring of 1869 and were never relighted. Various reasons were given for the abandonment, including the difficulty and the cost of transporting ore and the metal to and from the Point. Whatever may have been the real reasons, operations were transferred to and continued at the plant at Canton, Mass. From many points of view, it was fortunate for Winthrop. Not only was the Point being gradually transformed into a black, slag heap (much of the slag is still there) but the poisonous fumes from the furnaces made it impossible for any grass or other form of plant material to thrive on the Point and the fumes, when the wind was right, plagued the rest of Winthrop seriously.

The second significant event was the forced abandonment of the kerosene manufacturing plant which had been erected and was operating on the easterly side of Pleasant St. opposite the present Pleasant Park Yacht Club. Kerosene was then an important distillate of crude oil; as important as gasoline is now, for almost all houses used kerosene for lamps. Until electricity (1888) and gas (1901) came, it was the principal illuminant. The distillation of kerosene created a nuisance which the people of Winthrop found objectionable. Not only was the odor disagreeable, but there was considered to be danger from explosions. In 1871, several leading residents brought suit against the kerosene plant asking them to show cause why they should not be closed as a public nuisance. Moorfield Storey, able attorney for the kerosene company, appealed the decision of the Court, which was in favor of Winthrop. The very Wednesday following, the kerosene plant exploded and most of Winthrop was shaken by the blast. No great damage seems to have resulted. Residents next prepared to take action within the town and force the kerosene company out by means of a local ordinance. However, the company's representative appeared at Town Meeting and alleged that a new distilling process, the invention of a certain Dr. Charles T. Jackson, had now made the distillation process entirely


odorless. The company asked for a chance to demonstrate the new process and the plan to oust them was dropped.

However, as the months went by, it was found that the odor was as bad as ever and Winthrop concluded that the unknown Doctor's invention, if any, was a failure. Plans were made to take up the ousting process again, this time with vim and vigor. The proprietors of the kerosene company realized that, while they might win a legal battle, Winthrop people had made up their minds the plant must go, and so, to save time and trouble, the plant was closed down and the kerosene smell departed from Winthrop forever. Only Spectacle Island remained to trouble the sensitive noses of Winthrop people.

The seventies were a period of considerable trouble in the schools. Some citizens found the schools needed various improvements although no one could agree upon what the improvements should be -- a common situation. Dr. Sam'l Ingalls visited every school room in town in 1872 and reported on conditions on the whole favorable. Dr. George B. Emerson, noted educator, also investigated the schools and he shocked the many critics by saying that, in his opinion, Winthrop schools were the best in the State. He was a real authority and his word silenced some of the critics.

One of the chief troubles with the Winthrop schools in the seventies was overcrowding; no one questioned that but most citizens did not want to spend the money to build a new school. In 1872, J. B. Samuels prepared plans for a four room school to be built near the Town Hall above the circular pond then there. The cost was set at $10,564 but the project was abandoned because of the expense.

That year, however, the town was willing to spend money on roads and it was ordered by Town Meeting that a new street should be built connecting Pleasant Street and Winthrop Street, the road being laid out in sweeping curves instead of in a straight line because such a street would be more attractive. The work was done under plans made by Whitman & Breck, an engineering firm, which has been succeeded by the present firm of Whitman and Howard-a firm which has served the Town well and faithfully for nearly a century now.

This new street, which was eventually named Pauline Street, was built in the late summer and fall of 1872 and a human skeleton was found at the point where the street and the Narrow Guage formerly intersected. The skeleton was in reasonably good condition and interest was added when the skeleton of a dog was found beneath that of the man. Experts came down from Harvard University and found that the bones were those of an Indian who had been buried there about 1550. Another skull


was, found nearby. Similar skeletons had been found a bit earlier of the estate of Doctor Sam'l Ingalls and, also, previously mentioned were the other skeletons found later at the Winthrop Center Station of the Narrow Guage.

While Winthrop was growing rapidly, it is still of interest to note that, in these seventies, Winthrop found much to boast about in the excellence of its agriculture. The Town was still a town of farmers apparently. In 1870 corn 10 feet four inches in height was measured and the potato crop that year, using the Early Rose variety, was found to be "The Best in Massachusetts" -- on what authority is not stated. David Blaney gathered 440 bushels of potatoes from just two acres; most of the tubers weighed between a pound and a half and two pounds. The local farmers attributed their success to the fact that they still used kelp and rockweed for fertilizers just as Winthrop farmers always did. As told in detail in the next chapter the seventies were the period when the horse-drawn stages were replaced first by the horse cars and then by the steam railroad which was eventually taken over by the Narrow Guage.

While Taft's has been frequently mentioned, perhaps it was not until the Seventies that the far-famed establishment reached the pinnacle of its glory. Old residents have spoken of the steady parade of glittering carriages and prancing horses which drove through Winthrop streets, to and from the Point, and there is an account of one August day, when a slick, white United States Revenue (Coast Guard) cutter dropped anchor off the Point and sent a party of 34 officers and their guests ashore to the Point Shirley Pier to dine at Taft's, The same day, a tug from the Boston Navy Yard brought down a party of 20 officers and their charming guests, while six handsome yachts also dropped anchor off the Point and their owners and guests swelled the assemblage eating at Taft's. Indeed, Taft's by this time was world-famed. Any gourmet who came to Boston felt obliged to visit Taft's; probably no other restaurant on the North Shore before or since enjoyed the reputation and prestige of the Point Shirley establishment.

Probably few Winthrop people were in the custom of dining at Taft's frequently but everyone in town talked about the extravagant bill of fare. Really fantastic legends grew up; one of which was to the effect that Taft's boasted it could supply any guest with any Item of food that might be desired. Certainly the 42 dining rooms and halls in the rambling building were served from a most elaborate kitchen, larder and cellar. A menu now in the collection of the Winthrop Public Library offers a most astonishing variety and abundance of foods. A visitor has recorded, according to a letter at the Library, that Taft gratified


his curiosity by taking him back stage and showing him 24 varieties of fish and 29 varieties of game. The list reads: turbot, deep sea flounder, Spanish mackerel, sea trout, rock bass, striped bass, black bass, blue fish, Mexican bonetta, mullet, weak fish, chicken halibut, black flounder, sand flounder, sole, plaice, smelts, rock cod, haddock, eels, paper shell clams, pearl shell clams, grass frogs and soft shelled crabs. The list of game: Illinois chicken grouse, chicken partridge, Erie black duck, Erie summer duck, Erie teal, woodcock, upland plover, dough birds, brant, Jersey wilIet, godwit, jack curlew, seckelbilled curlew, beetlehead plover, redheart plover, chicken plover, winter yellowlegs, summer yellowlegs, brown backs, grass birds, jack snipe, sand snipe, rock snipe, peeps, humming birds (served in walnut shells), chickens, and beef (in all forms) .. This must have been a rather poor day in the Taft larder for menus which have been preserved show lobster, oysters, and the like, as well as turkey, goose, venison, moose, bear and other gamey meats. The vegetable list was probably not as exhaustive as that of modern hostelries because the nation had not then begun to grow winter vegetables in the South but certainly as far as sea food and game, both bird and animal went, Taft's had everything there was available.

Probably few alive in Winthrop can remember October 1, 1878, the day when George S. Taft, son of O. A. Taft, married Cara Mayo of Chelsea. The wedding reception was held at the hotel and it was probably the most brilliant affair ever held in Winthrop, at least as far as eatables and drinkables went. Taft had invited many of his favored clients and, with everything on the house, it is not likely that those fortunate enough to have an invitation sent regrets. More than 200 guests, including many notables from Boston, attended and dined and danced to the music of the Germania Band until an early hour. It is to be added that George S. Taft died September 19, 1884, six years later.

A picture of Winthrop in 1873 is given by some verses attributed to Dr. Sam'l Ingalls:

"We've schooners and sloops and flat boats and scows,
Fishermen, lobsters, chickens and cows,
Men that kill snowbirds for the table at Taft's,
And hunt for wild geese in dories and rafts.
Some that raise cabbages, turnips and peas,
Some live by their wits, some follow the seas,
Judges and lawyers and clergymen too,
And six hundred others, all good and true."

This same year, the political future of Winthrop was under discussion. At one town meeting the question was: Shall Winthrop join Middlesex County? At the second meeting the problem


was: Shall Winthrop accept annexation to the City of Boston? The Town enthusiastically rejected both. In 1874 the Winthrop schools served 123 scholars.

These seventies were also the period of an energetic real estate development at Ocean Spray. George Woodman of Boston had previously discovered the attractiveness of the beach and its little bluffs and had established what seems to have been a tent colony used by his family and some friends during the summers. In 1875 Dr. Sam'l Ingalls purchased the 43 acres originally owned by the Wheeler estate. The adjoining area, owned by Captain J. W. Tewksbury, was also, at the same time, divided up into cottage lots.

By June the sale was on and lots were bought and cottages built in a most pleasing manner. In 1876 the sales continued, as did the building of cottages and the new residents of the town invited everyone in town to a monster clambake to celebrate the first anniversary of the development. Reports indicate that "a most enjoyable time was had by all". The clambake became an annual custom and was continued for a number of years. In 1878 the development continued with unabated success and the Winthrop Brass Band, led by Albert W. Richardson, was engaged to play once a week for the pleasure of the summer colony. On the Fourth of July a noisy and brilliant celebration was staged under the direction of a committee composed of such men as Captain Ryder, William A. Clisbee, Allen Atwood (who is said to have invented hamburg steak), Noah Little, and J. H. Jessup who is the inventor of a candy package which enclosed a trifling prize to the delight of the children. The night was gay with fireworks. The first display came from Ocean Spray, then came bursts from Great Head, from Taft's down to the Point, from Nahant, and from the home of Benjamin Franklin Dean on Great Brewster and finally from the homes of Augustus Ross on Middle Brewster.

When August 29, 1878, came near, a strong committee was formed to organize the second clambake. By late afternoon a crowd estimated at 10,000 had gathered from all parts of Greater Boston, said to be the largest number of people ever assembled in Winthrop up to that time. After the clambake, all the houses at the Spray were illuminated with red and green lights and a huge calcium lamp spilled white light from a pole 60 feet high above the home of Alexander McDonald. The Winthrop Band gave a "grand concert" at the new bandstand and then paraded, tooting and pounding away with all its might, through the streets of the Spray. As an illustration of real estate publicity in those days, Dr. Ingalls, the promoter, published a piece in the East Boston Advocate in which he declared " ... Just across the water


you can almost shake hands with Nahant, while your eye catches the smoke of the moving palaces" -- presumably steamers. He added a description of yachts as " ... white wings of the floating argosies of the bay and the spray that glistens in the sunshine over the Brewsters and the Graves".

It was at this time that a plan was launched to build the Point Shirley Ship Canal. James Alexander, local head of the Cunard Line, was back of the idea to cut a waterway through Point Shirley Beach right to the East Boston docks. The Boston Land Company, was another sponsor. Help was asked from the Legislature and a public hearing was held February 28, 1877. Plans called for a canal 250 feet wide to run in from deep water between Great Fawn Bar and Winthrop Bar, to cut through Point Shirley Beach just beyond the present Ridgeway [Ridgway] House, and then, crossing the flats, between Apple and Snake Island, and over Bird Island flats into East Boston. This was before the present ship channel from the Graves in between Lovell's Island and Deer Island Light was dredged and some support was given the Point Shirley Canal. Eventually, the idea was abandoned.

In 1878, John Wingate Thornton, prominent genealogist and writer, died. He was the founder of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and built himself a large house at the Southeast corner of Pleasant Street and Main Street, called by youth of the present day the ghost house, because it was so long unoccupied. About any old and empty house, stories are likely to accumulate. The house, long an eyesore, was finally torn down within the past few years to make room for the housing development now occupying the site and the adjacent area. Thornton gave his name to Thornton Station and to Thornton Park, when that former farm land was developed into house lots.

The summer of 1878 was also important as marking the beginning of the development of Great Head into house lots. The roomy period the Tewksbury family had so long enjoyed had ended, once the railroad reached the Head. A tent city sprung up around the Tewksbury houses and cottages were built, in increasing numbers as the years went along. Indeed, the name of Cottage Hill was given to what had always been called Great Head.

The winter of 1879 brought the deaths of several prominent Winthrop people. The first was Captain Haskell P. Higgins, aged 68. He had been a prominent mariner for many years. Next was Jeremiah Glidden, a prominent cattle dealer and the oldest member of Saint Andrew Lodge, AF and AM. Then Lucinda H. Newcomb passed away, followed by Edward Floyd, usually known as Squire Floyd. He had filled every town office


and was honored and respected by the entire town. He was the father of Amanda Floyd, who recently died at her well known house on Main Street at the foot of Hermon Street. Nathaniel Wales died in March. At his services at the Baptist Church, his sister, a Miss Wales, passed away while two days later, another sister, Mrs. Sarah Tewksbury, died.

On March 20, 1879, the first of what has proved to be a series of major fires destroyed Ford's Hotel at the Beach. Winthrop did not have a fire department at the time and the host of volunteers who hopelessly fought the hotel fire and barely managed to save an adjacent livery stable, pointed the need for an organized department. Several other hotels at the Beach burned during subsequent years until most of what was a remarkable series of large summer hotels were destroyed by fire. Winthrop Beach came to be considered the danger spot of the town.

During the summer of 1879, on July 16, a species of tornado, or at least a very severe thunder and lightning tempest, caused havoc in Winthrop. The storm was featured by a heavy fall of hailstones and by vivid and continuous flashes of lightning while the thunder boomed almost continuously. The wind reached a force estimated to be in excess of 60 miles an hour -- only a little short of a hurricane. A house at Point Shirley was blown down and its occupants, the Delaney family, were sheltered for the night by Miss Mollie Haggerston, now Mrs. Mollie Lougee. Chimneys at the Shirley House were blown over and the tent village at Great Head was destroyed as all the tents were blown away. The Emerson estate lost many of its fine trees and the town as a whole suffered similarly. Shipping all over the harbor was badly hit and more than 20 persons were drowned.

That same summer, a public hall for "religious and social purposes" was built at the Beach and the new pavilion was dedicated with a church service conducted by Reverend T. H. Goodwin, pastor of the Baptist Church. The pavilion, which was on Tewksbury Street, was built by Captain Charles S. Tewksbury. The Winthrop branch Post Office reported that in July, 1879, 5604 letters and 2187 newspapers went through its windows.

That year also saw the construction of St. Leonard's Hotel on Sturgis Street, now the New Winthrop Hotel. The lumber, salvaged from the Boston Coliseum, was lightered down the harbor from Boston.

The Eighties opened with a demand for adequate school buildings. The Point, with but 11 pupils, was not overcrowded but the Center was very much so, and had been that way for years. Reverend Leonard P. Frost was chosen as principal of the High School, probably the most beloved teacher in Winthrop's annals. He was sufficiently strict and yet kindly, exemplifying   


that divine spark of fire which marks the difference between a real teacher and a drudge. How vividly he impressed himself upon his pupils, and how real the affection expressed for him was, is shown by the foundation of the Frost Association by his pupils. For many years, these pupils have held an annual meeting of the Frost Association although the number has dwindled and dwindled until only a handful now remain. Frost's portrait hangs now in the Winthrop High School, the genius of Winthrop's educational system.

Finally, the Town Meeting bowed to the inevitable and agreed to build a new school. The building was completed for the fall term of 1881, a four-room grammar school which cost the tax-payers $5,963.43, less than half of what it costs to build a very small private residence in town at the present time. The site was that of the present E. B. Newton School.

When the foundation was dug, additional Indian relics were discovered, some of which were removed privately and have been lost. Others have been preserved. Evidently, although proof is still not definite, the area was once an Indian village.

The year 1881 brought the death of George B. Emerson, one of Winthrop's most distinguished citizens. He was a leader in the establishment of the State Board of Education, which made it possible for Horace Mann, the great educator, to accomplish so very much. Emerson was, of course, a teacher in his own right, being for a time principal of a high school at Boston, but his interests ranged far beyond the classroom. He was the president of the Boston Society of Natural History and, of his various books, one of the more valuable to most people was his "Report on the Trees and Shrubs of Massachusetts."

His horticultural interests were expressed not only in this book and in his work as a trustee of the famed Arnold Arboretum, but also in the devotion with which he planted his Winthrop estate. It is said he set out more than 1500 trees of various species and varieties, many of which he imported from Northern Europe. The site of his house, at a point between the present Emerson Road, Birch Road and Loring Road, is said to be marked by a large tulip tree which he planted. He had a long driveway, reaching out to Pleasant Street, which he planted with parallel rows of specially selected trees. On his estate also were seven large native willows, mostly in a damp hollow towards the harbor side. One of these, until it fell before the axes of house builders, was known as the "Love Making Tree" from the fact that his daughter, Lucy, was courted by her future husband, Judge John Lowell, amid the branches of the tree. Lest it be considered unbecoming for a maiden in that period to climb trees (probably none ever did, publicly) it should be explained that


Emerson had built a platform up in the giant branches of the Willow, a platform reached by a perfectly proper flight of stairs. Emerson also experimented with the Scotch or red pine as suitable for naturalization in New England. Many thousands of them are now growing in various sections. The writer does not know if any of the Scotch pines planted by Emerson still remain; they would be very old trees now if so. However, the planting of this valuable timber tree in New England can be credited to Emerson certainly.

In this connection it may be of interest to note that on January 8,1881, a group of gardeners met at the Town Hall and formed the Winthrop Horticultural, Agricultural and Floricultural Society. Washburn Weston was president, Samuel Ingalls and Thomas Floyd were vice presidents, David Floyd 2nd, was secretary and Isaac C. Hall the treasurer. Despite the ambitious aims indicated by the organization's name, little was accomplished -- at least no records have been discovered.

This same year of 1881 also ended the career of another great man who had been associated with Winthrop for some years, Father James Fitton, who died September 15. Father Fitton first became a part of Winthrop's life in the days of the Point Shirley Copper Works when he established a Catholic chapel on Triton Avenue and each Sunday drove down to celebrate the Mass. When the copper works closed down in 1869, the chapel was moved to East Boston but Father Fitton's piety, unselfish devotion and sterling character had so impressed the people of Winthrop that, when he celebrated his golden jubilee, December 23, 1877, many Winthrop citizens joined in the observance.

The next year, 1882, was remarkable for two things: First, it marked the first attempt to make it legal to sell liquor in town. Then, as for many years thereafter, East Boston was the nearest oasis for the thirsty who could not see why they should be compelled to travel so far for a bit of refreshment. In the March Town Meeting several long and impassioned as well as logical speeches were made in favor of license but Winthrop was sternly set against granting the desired privilege. The vote was 96 to 2. Second, that year Winthrop was given its first newspaper when on May 27, 1882, the Beachmont and Winthrop Visitor and Revere Beach Chronicle was published. This paper eventually became the Winthrop Sun, which has continued publication without a break. Other papers have been the Winthrop Review, and the present Winthrop Transcript.

In education, 1882 was also of importance in that it brought the first graduation from the Winthrop High School. Indeed, this was a busy year for it also brought the formation of other


organizations. The Winthrop Yacht Club came into being, being led by such yachtsmen as George Tyler, Charles Chamberlain, Isaiah Whorf and Captain Willie Floyd. Yachts in this club included such sloops as the Idler, Ella May, Nellie G. and the Ino.

This year, too, the Winthrop Baseball Association was formed -- the game was just becoming popular -- and the first game was played with Chelsea. Of interest is the fact that the ball game was preceded by a track meet. Chelsea won the ball game, 13 to 8, and then in the evening fireworks were exhibited. It was a great day for picnics while many Winthrop homes entertained friends. Taft's, it is recorded, was host to something like the occupants of 1500 horse-drawn vehicles of one kind or another. Taft is reported to have cooked more than 1,000 game birds that single day.

This same year brought great activity all along the Beach.  Many celebrities, as well as the near great and just plain people, enjoyed the proximity to the waves and the ocean breezes. Nat Goodwin, a famous actor at the time, spent his summers at Ocean Spray for many years.

Soon after July first every available cottage was occupied and the hotels were comfortably filled from then on until Labor Day. The St. Leonard, operated by J. E. Gove, was host to hundreds, as was Ford's Hotel, operated by Mrs. A. W. Cotton. The Shirley House, on the Shore Drive, was operated by Mrs. J. P. Howard. Great Head that year had comparatively few houses on its sides but most of the grassy area was crowded with tents in which families spent the summer, apparently with pleasure.

The next year, 1883, brought the first known baseball game between Winthrop High School and an outside team. Chelsea High sent its team to Winthrop and went home, beaten 12 to 4. On July 31 of that year, Winthrop had one of its very few murders. The body of Mary Phal, a "girl", was found under the trestle of the railroad skirting Great Head's ocean exposure. Three men and a girl had been seen walking out on the trestle late the night before but the identity of the men was never learned and the murder was never solved. Taft at this time was at about the pinnacle of triumph. On August 17 his guests at a special banquet sat down at 2 :45 and did not leave the table until 7 :30 in the evening. Taft distinguished himself by offering to pay $1,000 to anyone present who could name one edible bird found in North America, a specimen of which he could not instantly produce. No one claimed the prize. For souvenirs, Taft presented his guests with humming birds cooked and packed in walnut shells.

In 1884, the Broad Gauge Railroad having ceased operations, a move was launched to make its right of way a boulevard all


along Winthrop Beach to Great Head. The Town Meeting agreed and so did the County Commissioners and so the road from Revere ran unbroken right along the Beach to the beginning of Great Head.

This year, 1884, also brought the purchase of the property of the Revere Water Company's property in Winthrop by the Town and by November many citizens had water piped into their homes -- thus beginning the present town water system which has been operated so efficiently ever since.

Just as 1884 opened, Winthrop people were delighted at the completion of the bridge from the foot of Washington Avenue. to the Winthrop Beach railroad station across the outlet of the present Lewis Lake. This was a great convenience for many because, before the bridge was built, it was necessary to walk all around town via Magee's Corner and Shirley Street to reach the Beach and Great Head. Richard Shackford was the contractor concerned. Today, with the road filled in solidly, save for a culvert, many people fail to realize that the distance from River Road to the site of the former railroad station was once open water and then spanned by a bridge.

Towards the end of 1884, Winthrop was amazed at the report that a human skeleton had been found buried at the foot of Woodside Avenue. Investigation disclosed, however, that no murder was involved for the bones had probably belonged to one Thomas Dwife, a British marine killed in the battle at Shirley Gut when Captain Mugford beat off a British attempt to capture his stranded schooner, the Franklin. The British soldier's body had drifted ashore at the foot of Woodside Avenue and had been buried where it was discovered. Identification was made by the presence of a bronze badge with the British coat of arms -- a sort of buckle or fastener employed as part of the uniform belt British marines then wore.

The summer of 1885 again brought many famous summer visitors to town. Thomas A. Edison spent several weeks at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Gilliand at Woodside Park. The late W. F. Stover, then a boy employed by his father at Stover's Drug Store at the Beach, was electrified one day when the great inventor walked in and asked to have a chemical mixture prepared. BIll Stover, because of his youth, was not able to mix the chemicals so Edison stepped in behind the counter and mixed the brew himself.

Other famous summer visitors were members of the Vokes family who operated the then celebrated Vokes Bijou Theatre at Boston, a theatre then directed by Commodore Tyler of the Sunnyside Yacht Club.

This year brought renewed demand for the establishment


of an organized fire department. Three fires in succession were responsible for this agitation. In March the home of Millard Smith on Washington Avenue burned to the ground. An alarm was sounded properly enough for help but somehow, most volunteer fire-fighters thought tile bell was being rung to summon the Band of Hope-so no one paid any attention to the bells. Then in October, the home of Charles A. Sibley on Harbor View Avenue, where the Metcalf house now stands, burned to the ground. The adjacent cottage of J. Osburn was seriously threatened but the citizens who came to the rescue managed to save it. Then, the following January, 1885, the barber shop of Berry Mitchell caught fire. Fire Warden Ensign Tewksbury responded to the alarm at 3:45 in the morning on a bitter cold night, with his "Johnson pump" but he and his helpers could do nothing effective.

Of course it was alleged that a firebug was loose in town such frequently happens when several unexplained fires occur. This spurred the townspeople to action still more. The residents of Winthrop Beach, perhaps because of the greater fire hazard there, were the first to act. In a special meeting, February 9, 1885, they organized a fire company and purchased a hose cart which they named the "Woodward". Ensign Tewksbury was made foreman of the Company and W. A. Rogers, secretary. Other members included Captain Hamilton and George Moore.

The men at the Center, somewhat chagrined because the Beach had taken effective action first, met February 17 and organized their own fire company with Webb Richardson the foreman and Benjamin Tappan Floyd and D. W. Thomas assistant foremen. The Center company, seeking revenge upon the Beach group, alleged that the Beach had acted improperly in naming their hose cart for a living person and so named their cart for a person who never even existed -- "Governor Bartlett". The name was duly and beautifully painted on the side of the vehicle. Thus Winthrop's Fire Department may be said to have come into being in 1885 with two volunteer hose companies.

The years 1883 and 1884 respectively brought the deaths of two of Winthrop's leading men. John William Tewksbury passed away February 12, 1883. He had seen Winthrop grow from a few farms to a thriving suburban community and he had taken part, full part, in this development. He gave, among other benefactions, the land upon which the Union Congregational Church was erected. Dr. Samuel Ingalls was killed June 11, 1884 when hit by a light locomotive at the junction of Winthrop's two railroads, the Narrow Guage and the Broad Guage at Ocean Spray. A native of New Hampshire, a graduate of Bowdoin College, Dr. Ingalls had practiced the medical profession at


Nashua, Providence and at Boston, coming to Winthrop to practice in 1857 at the age of 39. He enlisted in the Civil War from Sandwich, N.H., and served as a volunteer surgeon in the 5th Massachusetts. While he was in the service, his first wife died, leaving him with three children. On March 23, 1865, he married the widow of William Shaw, one of Winthrop's first important contractors and builders. Dr. Ingalls served the town as selectman, school committeeman and in various other capacities.

Probably the great feature of the Eighties in Winthrop was the beginning of a comparatively huge real estate development. In 1882 Great Head, or Cottage Hill as it was soon named, was surveyed for house lots and the owners, Gerry Tewksbury, J. W. Tewksbury and the Wyman Brothers offered their respective properties for sale. In May of 1883, the Revere Copper Company sold 40 acres of Point Shirley to Governor Hale of New Hampshire and J. B. Alley -- and the beginning of modern Point Shirley got underway. The same Spring William B. Rice purchased Great Head from the owners above and engaged Whitman and Breck to layout the streets. This was a difficult job, because of the steep grades but in time streets appeared where it had been opined that no streets could ever be. Soon after, Rice planted 150 trees on the hill and began building a pier 250 feet long out into the sea. Then, only a few weeks later, he purchased the City Farm, thus becoming the largest property holder in town.

This City Farm, which had been owned for years by the City of Boston as the proposed site for the insane hospital previously mentioned, was part of the large area once owned by Deane Winthrop, and earlier by Governor John Winthrop. It took in just about all of the present day Highlands as well as much of what is now the Winthrop Golf Course. Whitman and Breck were given the contract to layout the property in streets and house lots and to undertake the sale of them.

The townspeople found much to regret in the passing of the Winthrop Farm from what amounted to all but public use. It had been for many years a bird hunter's paradise. Here for generations, Winthrop nimrods had shot plover, yellowlegs, brant, ducks arid geese. Of particular loss was the passing of Corney's Pond,a shallow body of cat-tail and sedge bordered water much frequented by ducks and geese. According to the late Charles Floyd of Locust Street, the pond, long since filled in, was at about the foot of Sewall Avenue.  

In December of 1883, several great storms badly eroded the base of Grover's Bluff, next to Beachmont and to the amazement and delight of the people a number of gold coins were found washed up upon the beach. Just how many coins were found will never be known. Charles Fredericks of Beachmont did find a


Spanish coin which he sold, it is said, for $50. One jeweler in Boston is reported to have bought several of these coins for $200. All in all, according to the late George F. Floyd, about $1,000 worth of coins were found.

Of course this find touched off another hunt for buried treasure, for Winthrop's shores are popularly believed to have been chosen as the hiding place for pirate loot. No proof of this has yet been found. More likely the coins washed up in the storms of 1883 had been buried in the sands at the base of Grover's Bluff for some sixty years. They could have come from either one of two ships wrecked at about that time. One was the lost Dutch ship, name unknown, which in 1825, smashed on Nahant's rocks. Wreckage from that ship did drift across to Winthrop and Charles Sturgis found part of the stern cabin on Point Shirley Beach from which he recovered a gold watch and chain. It is possible that there were gold coins on board. The other wreck was that of a brig, believed to have been the Ann & Elizabeth, which broke up upon Shag Rock, off Nahant, in 1829. Wreckage from this ship was reported by Captain Tewksbury on Deer Island and a contemporary newspaper reported a story to the effect that a colored boy, then an inmate of the Chelsea almshouse, found a long plank with a bag of gold attached. No one claimed the money and the boy was allowed to keep his treasure. If so, it may be hoped that he used it sensibly. Luck like that is so seldom employed properly.

One of the other great features of the Eighties, aside from the building of the loop line of the Narrow Gauge, which is described in a subsequent chapter, was religious activity. Beginning in August of 1885, Episcopalian Services were held at the Town Hall but when Thornton Park development was opened a few years later, the members of the church seized the opportunity to acquire land at the corner of Buchanan and Bowdoin Streets and to build an adequate church. Ground was broken August 6, 1889 and the first services. were held December 8, 1889.

The Congregational church at the Beach was having difficult times because it was so subject to seasonal variations -- plenty of attendance in the summer but very little the rest of the year. However, the tiny chapel built in 1878 was much too small so on Sunday July 22, 1888, a special meeting of the congregation appropriated $770 for a new building. Since John W. Tewksbury had provided the land, it was planned to name the new 40 by 57 foot structure the Tewksbury Memorial Chapel. A bell was obtained from the old copper works and stored to await the necessary belfry. The building was started late in the year and completed in time for services Washington's birthday, 1889,


when the bell was rung for the first time for worship rather than work. The first summer service was held June 9, 1889, with the Reverend Frederick McFee preaching to 72 parishioners. The chapel was dedicated June 27 with a distinguished gathering of Congregational clergymen officiating.

Catholics living in Winthrop, save for the brief summer services held at the Point, were under the difficulty of going to East Boston to attend Mass. A five o'clock in the morning service was held on holy days to serve those who were working. It was the custom for those attending this Mass to meet at Bennett's Bridge (over Belle Isle Inlet) at about 4:15 in the morning so as to continue their journey together. There had been agitation for a Winthrop Catholic Church for some time and land was purchased for the purpose in 1881 by a Mr. Jessup. Finally, in the fall of 1886 ground was broken and by January of 1887 a very good building was completed under the direction of Father Hugh O'Donnell. The new church was dedicated June 19, 1887, with the name of St. John the Evangelist, and many people from East Boston joined Winthrop Catholics in the ceremonies. There were but 12 Catholic families then permanent residents of Winthrop and it was determined that the new church should be operated only during the warmer months, when summer residents helped swell the congregation. This arrangement was continued until 1895 when the Catholic families in Winthrop, permanently, were numerous enough to require a church the year around.

Sunday school for Catholic children was held in various homes, such as those of Stephen Boylan and William J. Robicheau, until the church was equipped to meet the need. For many years there was agitation for a parochial school but work upon this school was not begun until 1951.

For many years, Winthrop's Unitarian Church was of great influence in the town, not so much because of the size of the congregation but because of the outstanding character and importance of the members. E. S. Read was the prime mover in the formation and construction of the church. He announced that, if his fellow Unitarians would make a relatively small contribution, he would give the necessary thousands for the building of a church on Hermon Street, opposite the present Legion Hall. The funds were immediately raised and on September 12, 1889, the new church was dedicated. The church continued with a gradually diminishing membership until the depression of 1929 when it was found necessary to discontinue services. In 1930 the congregation met for the last time and deeded the property over to the Town of Winthrop for civic uses. It is now occupied by various organizations and fills, temporarily at least, part of the need for a civic building.


In 1886, Marcena Belcher, Winthrop-born resident of Philadelphia, offered the town a drinking fountain which he desired to have placed in front of the town hall-at about where there is presently that little triangle of land supporting the centennial elm tree. He died October 23, 1886, before the fountain could be erected, so the work was postponed for another year. The next spring a foundation of granite blocks was erected and the fountain opened for use in May of 1887. It was a bronze female figure with a drinking cup and pitcher. The residents of the town, who remember the vanished fountain with some nostalgia, considered that it lent a very "artistic appearance" to the neighborhood.

The winter of 1888 brought one of the greatest storms in modern times. It struck New York City with unparalleled ferocity but Winthrop did not escape easily. The morning after March 12, residents visiting the Beach found the Shore Drive buried under piles of sand and gravel, where great holes had been torn out where bulkheads had collapsed beneath the pounding of the surf. Of immediate importance was the fact that hundreds of live lobsters had been washed up upon the beach. In 1889 the government built the lighthouse on the tip of Deer Island, nearest to Long Island, and Winthrop residents had a new light to see at night after February of 1890.

One of the great needs of Winthrop was a sewer system. The town was becoming so populous that the old cesspools were no longer adequate. So in 1885, Town Meeting considered several plans and finally voted to build a sewer from Locust Street to a point off Winthrop Bar. September 14, 1885, Whitman, Breck and Company were authorized to survey the location of the sewer and to estimate the cost of construction. The length was found to' be just short of two miles and the probable cost set at $26,153. This was considered satisfactory by the townspeople and it was decided to ask the permission of the General Court to borrow the necessary money. However, the matter dragged on and on as abjection after objection was raised. The first Winthrop sewer was not built until 1889, when the work was accomplished under the direction of Channing Howard, who later became town engineer as well as a member of the engineering firm of Whitman and Howard. Five miles of sewer pipe were laid and a great storage tank was installed under Winthrop Beach. Within a few years the vast Metropolitan Sewer came down through the town and ran out to the pumping station on Deer Island, thus making the storage tank useless. It is probably still in position underthe sands of Winthrop Beach, its presence unsuspected by the thousands of bathers disporting themselves in the surf and sunshine. If and when the tank does collapse, it


will undoubtedly be washed full of sand and gravel so that even then, its presence will not be detected.

Very little is ever heard of it but Winthrop once had a torpedo factory -- not the modern torpedoes used by submarines but paper and fabric-wrapped bundles of gravel and an explosive and detonated by a percussion cap. This torpedo factory, which was established in a house on Putnam Street, now a dwelling, was never of much importance but alarmed the people of the neighborhood in February of 1887 when a small amount of powder exploded when it was being mixed by an employee. The factory was operated for about 30 years but went out of business as the market for this type of torpedo vanished.

There were still a few Winthrop people who continued the struggle to have beer, wine and liquor sold in town, although voted down overwhelmingly at each town meeting. In 1887 only one lone man had the courage to stand up in town meeting and vote wet. That year the assessors announced that the population of the town had climbed to 1573 as opposed to 1043 in 1880.

That winter was unusually cold and for several days the harbor was so heavily iced that the ferry boats were unable to cross. On June 17, 1889, the Aphelion Society built itself a new clubhouse at the Beach. This all but forgotten group was a sort of improvement society for the Winthrop Beach area and had extended itself to cover Cottage Hill as development there began. It looked after the physical condition of the area, such as their annual cleaning bee when they collected all waste and discarded materials both from the beach and from all the houses. (There was no town ash collecting service, then.) Probably they had considerable political influence also, for any organized group is always respected by officials seeking election or wishing to retain public office. Most important of all was the Society's social activities. They ran various types of "better class" entertainments and frequent clambakes. At these the emphasis was always placed upon "decency and decorum" and everyone seems to have had a good time.

The years 1886 and 1887 were remarkable for two things. One, as mentioned, was the discovery of Indian skeletons in a burial ground at or near the site of the old Winthrop Center Railroad Station. Professor Putnam of the Harvard University anthropological museum hurried down to preserve and study the find, apparently a sort of Indian cemetery. He found himself in need of a photographer but none could be readily found of sufficient skill in Winthrop. Finally some one said that Harry Whorf was very good. So Professor Putnam asked to have Whorf called. Harry Whorf, then a student in the Winthrop High School, was excused from his classes and hurried over to the


consternation of Professor Putnam who did not know that Harry was a mere boy. However, Harry Whorf easily convinced the good professor that he was a good photographer and, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, the Professor and Harry went to work. The photographs were of amazing quality and the professor used them widely, even making lantern slides with which to illustrate one of his lectures. This, publicity went far and wide although one New York paper spoiled things somewhat by saying that a remarkable anthropological discovery had been made "at Winthrop on Cape Cod."

The other event of importance was a trio of marriages in which three leading citizens took themselves wives. On June 9, 1886, David Floyd II, married Miss Belle Seavey and departed on a wedding trip to New York and Washington. A few days later Captain Samuel G. Irwin, the leading local figure in Winthrop's struggle for transportation, married for the second time, Miss Mary E. McGill. Then, on November 6, 1889, Channing Howard, member of the firm of Whitman & Breck (now Whitman and Howard) married Miss Gertrude M. Creech. Channing Howard, manager of the firm of Whitman & Breck, who had been very active in building Winthrop's sewer, railroad and in laying out real estate developments, had become a permanent resident of the town and settled down to be the town's engineer. He has been responsible for all the town's engineering work for nearly 60 years and is still the man upon whom the town depends in matters engineering.

That 1889 was also the time when Frank W. Tucker, another of the old guard who helped make Winthrop what it is today, retired from the carriage making industry. He turned to real estate and to civic matters and distinguished himself as a keen historian who did much to preserve the early annals of the town. He was given a reception at the Town Hall by his former associates in the carriage trade and presented with a silver service.

This was also the period in which the little town library began to show signs of real development. The town had provided funds for the purchase of some books and the citizens used them freely. A new cataloging system was installed in 1888 and that same year Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge of Nahant made a gift of books which was cherished for years. In 1889, the library reported it had 2,200 books upon its shelves.

It was also the period when the fire department accomplished some progress -- largely in response to public pressure. In 1886 Frank W. Tucker designed and built a new ladder truck, which was named the "Deane Winthrop". It is described as being both handsome and sturdy. The truck was hardly commissioned than it was called out to fight a blaze in the Pleasant


Street home of Isaiah Whorf. The fire had obtained a good start however and, despite the volunteers' best efforts, serious damage resulted.

In 1887, a fire alarm system was installed with boxes, 12 in number, located in different parts of the town. This was an effort to overcome the time loss between the discovery of a blaze and the calling out of the volunteers. These boxes made it desirable to call out the companies by number rather than name. The fire laddies, who were inordinately proud of their respective organizations and distinguished themselves by intense rivalry, objected strenuously to becoming mere numbers and threatened to resign if they were not permitted to keep their original designations. The Selectmen, after consultation, found it was possible, after all, to allow the boys to have their own way.

One of the most illuminating incidents in the history of the final portion of the 19th century, occurred the Night Before the Fourth, in 1888. It was customary then to observe the Great Day by acts of vandalism, of a mild sort, during the night before. As long as no harm was done, no one seriously objected -- just as no one then considered it necessary to save the eyes and fingers of children by prohibiting the use of fire-crackers of dangerous strength.

Anyhow, this particular Eve, a gang, personnel unknown, of course, descended upon the Cottage Hill Depot. This structure, then abandoned, had a pair of stairs leading from the platform, where the old tracks had run to the foot of Cottage Avenue, some distance above. The young men concerned pulled up these stairs, ripped up a number of old ties and piled everything thus obtained against the walls of the wooden station. They then saturated everything with kerosene and touched it off. In a few moments all the Beach Section was painted crimson by the roaring and rushing flames. The fire department was not even called out, as they could not have saved the old station and there was no apparent danger of the flames spreading to other buildings. As for law and order, the town's lone policeman had already been incautious enough to permit himself to be seized by the mob and he had been cooled off by immersion in the town trough.

A really serious fire broke out on Great Head in zero weather in January of 1890. The fire started in the cottage of J. T. Gilson and spread rapidly to adjacent cottages owned by E. C. Miller on Faun Bar Avenue and the J. T. Gray house on Crystal Cove Avenue. All three were largely destroyed. Trouble began when the firefighters arrived and found that the new hydrants were fitted with couplings which did not fit the hoses. Then the bitter weather caused everything, including the firemen, to be sheeted in ice as soon as water was laid on. C. G. Bird had a very narrow


escape when one of the cottages collapsed and a flaming wall nearly engulfed him. Charles W. Gray, a Mr. Harris, janitor of the Winthrop Yacht Club, and C. E. Birkmaier all suffered from exposure. As a result, the next Town Meeting featured agitation for better organization of the fire department and for better equipment -- but nothing was accomplished at the time.

This period also brought agitation for more and better schools. The residents at the Beach demanded that they have a school of their own. To satisfy this clamor the little school so long at the Point was moved up towards the Center as far as Irwin Street. The people at the Highlands, then becoming comparatively numerous also, cried out for a school of their own and a little building was erected on Almont Street. In 1886 the High School graduated a class which listed several names of youngsters who in the years that followed became important in town. The class consisted of : Fannie Hanley, Jessie Douglas, Nellie Floyd, Fired Chamberlain, Harry Aiken, Warren Belcher and Maud Stevenson.

In 1886 there were 208 students in all the schools and 49 pupils in the high school under Principal F. B. Spaulding. He was followed after one year of service by E. R. Harding. If some teachers were still following the original design of Winthrop schools of a rapid turnover of personnel, there were teachers who did come to stay. Such was Miss Lillian S. Wilkins of East Boston who came to Winthrop as a teacher January 14, 1889. She remained in service for many years. She began her work as a teacher when, that day, she opened the new Beach school situated over the old Fire Station next to the Colonial Inn, a building now a private residence. She had five scholars.

The high school graduation of 1890 witnessed the presentation of diplomas by W. J. Stover, chairman of the school committee, to: Nellie Bacon, Jennie Bird, May Floyd, Ernest MacGowan, Winnie Tewksbury and Harry C. Whorf. At this point it is desirable to mention the Whorf family, one of the most talented families ever in Winthrop. Harry Whorf, who became the father of three sons who have become nationally prominent in the diverse fields of art, drama, and archeology, was himself a man of many talents. For many years, beginning as a mere boy when he photographed the Indian skeletons, as just mentioned, he was one of the most distinguished residents, ably assisted by his charming wife, Sarah Lee. The town is the richer for this family, although none of the sons now live in Winthrop.

The year 1890 brought the end of the once important Sea Shore Home at the Beach. For years this charitable institution had been serving unfortunate children of Boston by giving them a summer at the oceanside. This was considered well enough


by residents so long as there was plenty of room along the beach. But beginning early in 1890, many beach residents found reason to complain of "sanitary conditions". Protests became more and more vigorous as the summer wore on until finally, the management of the Home closed its doors August 19; 1890.

This period saw Captain James Flanagan, Winthrop's lifesaver, make his twelfth rescue; an event which was noted by the Massachusetts Humane Society giving him its cherished medal.

The Winthrop Yacht Club was experiencing considerable difficulty with the flats between Point Shirley, Short Beach and Snake Island so an appropriation was obtained to dredge a 35 foot channel, 3,900 feet long from Rice's Wharf, used by steamboats making Crystal Cove, and the outer edge of deep water off Snake Island. Finished by June 30, 1891, three feet of water remained in the channel at low tide.

In 1891 also, Channing Howard was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Winthrop Public Library and he, together with David Floyd, were responsible for the construction of the present Frost Public Library Building, which was in its day one of the best town library buildings in New England. It was designed by the late Willard Bacon, prominent architect. It is still in service, almost unchanged, although the number of books have reached about 35,000 and the population served is ten times what it was then. Plans for an addition, it may be added, have been prepared, but the present high cost of construction has led the Trustees to postpone operations.

On October 4, 1890, one of the very few robberies in Winthrop occurred. The Post Office safe was blown open and some $55 was taken. Some of the money lost was the personal property of the Postmaster, Warren Belcher, who served in that capacity for over 50 years.

One of Winthrop's most famous residents at this time was Captain Gilman C. Parker, master of the ill-fated Marie Celeste which was wrecked under such mysterious circumstances that the enigma became one of the most famous of sea stories. Hailing from Winthrop, he had been in prosperous condition for many years but in this period he suffered grave financial reverses and accepted a job as gate tender at the Winthrop Beach railroad station. His friends subscribed to a fund to help him but he suffered so very greatly from his misfortunes that he died in July of 1891.

This was the time when the Washington Avenue Bridge was filled in. It had been planned to purchase fill but Boynton Brothers, who were dredging the harbor channel in to Rice's Wharf supplied the fill free of charge and the bridge soon was nothing but a memory.


It was in November of 1890 that the Winthrop Police Department was definitely established by the appointment of Silas P. Fales as chief of police. The job, imagined to be a sinecure, developed into one of some difficulty.

In July of 1891, hoodlums once again distinguished themselves in observing the Night Before the Fourth. A gang of boys and young men attacked Patrolman George Matthews and when Chief Fales came to the rescue he too was beaten seriously. This angered most of the sober citizens in town and plans were made to end such nuisance forever. The plan succeeded and the Night Before, just as Hallowe'en, has become a pale shadow of what it once was.  

The year 1890 also saw the beginning of the construction of the great North Metropolitan Sewer. In May of that year, gangs of Italian laborers were sent down to the Point and built a village of crude shacks. The first bricks were laid on June 6th and the sewer was built with remarkable expedition. This same year the United States Army began building our first two harbor defense forts, although actual construction did not begin until the following year. Huge rifles were put into place at Fort Heath and a mortar battery was built at Fort Banks. Fort Heath became outmoded by the time World War II arrived and the 16-inch rifles were removed when a new fort was built out on Nahant, and another constructed out on Deer Island. How much value even these new forts, scarcely ten years old, now have is problematical.

Fort Banks' mortar battery, a tower of strength during the Spanish-American War, when Winthrop people, like most Bostonians, were afraid of the guns of the Spanish fleet, until the ships were easily destroyed at Santiago, was worthless even by the time of World War 1. The Fort was used as a reception center in World War II and was also the site of the Hospital of the First Corps Area. In 1950 Fort Banks was withdrawn from active use, but the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, caused it to be re-activated in 1951. Its value today is chiefly administrative.

William H. Gardner (Billy) began to attract attention in the Nineties by his work as an amateur dramatist and composer. He saw one of his first plays, "Hearts of Long Ago" presented to the public and went on to write other plays and songs; one of them at least destined for immortality; his "Can't You Hear Me Calling, Caroline".

As has been said, in the beginning, when all Winthrop was farms each family raised its own fluid milk as a matter of course. In the 19th century, however, as Winthrop began its transformation to its present condition, there began to be a number of families without milk of their own and hence an opportunity arose


to sell fluid milk in Winthrop. William Tewksbury was, as noted, Winthrop's first milk man. He kept his cows on Deer Island and rowed across the Gut with the milk to his barn on the mainland where he kept his horses and carts. He was followed in the business by William Floyd. After many years as Milkman No. 2 he transferred his mantle to Nelson Floyd. Nelson Floyd developed the business from a few cows which he at first pastured in what is now Thornton Park and from a barn in the back of the family property on what is now Willow Avenue, to a very thriving establishment with barns on Buchanan Street. This business was operated by him until the early Nineteen Twenties when it was purchased and operated by William Johnson who about 1930 sold out to the Hood Company, thus ending Winthrop's milk business which had been operated profitably for just about a century.

The Nineties brought the departure of one of Winthrop's leading families, the Lorings. As a boy and young man, Judge Loring had gunned along the wild Winthrop shore. One day in 1845, he and his wife, returning from Nahant to Boston on the steamer line which then operated through the Gut, suggested that they consider Winthrop as the site of their permanent home. She assented and in 1847 George B. Emerson, Judge Loring's friend, helped him select the site which became the Loring estate. In June of 1890 Judge Loring died and his family soon left town. Two of his sons grew up in Winthrop -- Dr. Frank Loring and Dr. E. G. Loring. The new home of the family was at Washington, D. C., where the Judge and his family had also maintained a home because of his work there as a justice of the court of claims of the United States.

As is nearly always the case when a town is more or less sharply divided into sections, as Winthrop is, for all its capsule size, one section every now and then, is apt to become indignant over fancied wrongs -- as for example neglect in the expenditure of tax funds. In 1892 this was the case with Winthrop Highlands. Citizens circulated a petition to have themselves incorporated into a new town. They thought they were being that badly treated by the Center.

However, the Highlanders made it clear that they would drop the petition -- which did not have the ghost of a chance of winning support in the General Court anyhow -- if the Town Meeting would give the section a better sewer. But this, too, was self-evidently absurd for the Great Metropolitan sewer was just about completed, giving Winthrop a really good system -- all the town had to do was to make appropriate connections into the great brick tunnel under its streets.

Two things worried the town about this sewer. One was


the presence of the disreputable shacks built by the laborers and the conditions of the streets which had been dug up. This was soon adjusted for the Board of Sewer Commissioners from the State House came down and directed that conditions in Winthrop be restored to the "status quo".

The other point of concern was that the laws establishing what has become in modern days the Metropolitan District Commission, made it clear that the cost of developments, of maintenance, and of operation, were to be borne by the towns and cities concerned. For example, Winthrop was just told that it was required to pay sums which were spent by the Commissioners. This, it was alleged loudly was "taxation without representation" -- the cause of the Revolution. However, nothing was done and the Metropolitan District Commission continued on its path and has become a very large and very important agency -- and the towns and the cities in the District still pay what they are told to pay. Fortunately, the Commission has been, in the past, officered and staffed by men of high ability and character.

Trouble with fires continued in the Gay Nineties, even though the Beach Company equipped itself with a new hose wagon and a cooperative arrangement was made with Revere to help each other in time of need. Two fires demonstrated that fire-fighting was still not all that it should be. In the summer of 1891, the Devoe stables were burned to ashes and 16 valuable horses were lost. A few months later, the Hotel Hawthorne caught fire at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Despite the prompt attendance of both Winthrop Fire Companies and a Revere Company, the hotel burned down. The water in the hydrants failed after 40 minutes.

The Nineties were the years of ambitious cruises by yacht clubs and in 1891, the Winthrop Yacht Club fleet, led by the flagship, Commodore Cushing's "Nymbus", cruised to Camden, Maine. These long summer cruises have long since been given over and most of the marine activities of the town's yacht clubs now are confined to the racing of small boats.


Another half century of Winthrop's history remains but at this point the running narrative will be broken to include various chapters which are concerned with particular developments of Winthrop. Then the running narrative will be continued to the present time.


----------------- Top

Chapter Twelve


WINTHROP has one of the oddest histories of transportation of all the towns and cities in Greater Boston. In consideration of the very short distance to Boston, it is strange that we have had so much difficulty with transport. One trouble is that the town is emptied each work-day morning and then filled up at night. We have two peak loads. Between, them, there is little travel.

It is also strange that, in the days when the electric street car served so many communities so very well, Winthrop was without any such service. In short, our history of transport, which runs from stage coach and sailing ships, through railroads and steamboats to motor buses, is unparalleled. The Winthrop Visitor in the early part of this century, commenting upon the failure of an attempt to build a street car line, remarked editorially, "We have as varied and peculiar a history (of transport) as any town in the world. We put it large and repeat -- in the world".

As remarked in earlier chapters, for the first two centuries of Winthrop's history, travel and transport was either by water or overland through Beachmont, Revere, Everett, Medford, Somerville, Cambridge and Brookline down Roxbury Neck to Boston -- a long way around over roads which were hardly worth the name. This overland route was all of 20 miles -- a day's trip, each way.

In the state as a whole, transportation flourished as various inventions of the industrial age were put into practice. Boston had the first turnpikes and stage coaches in the nation-and also the first steam railroad. For a time, canals flourished and Boston again, with the "ditch" to Lowell, led the country. Just so, Boston when the time came had some of the first street railroads, first horse cars and then electric railways -- but Winthrop was so small and so indifferent that all these improved means of travel passed the town by for years.

It may seem amazing to modern citizens of Winthrop but in the first third of the 19th century Winthrop's transportation system had changed but very little from the 17th century. Lucius


Floyd says that there were but three public ways in the town: Revere Street, Shirley Street and Winthrop Street, which last ran only as far as where the Town Hall is located. He wrote, in part, " ... houses were reached by cart paths running in all directions, the line fences crossing the town ways and making travel tedious. Only three houses were on the public streets. I remember driving from my house (The Deane Winthrop House) to Jos. Belcher's on Sunnyside when I had to open and close nine gates and bars. When C. L. Bartlett first came here to live, he drove to Boston and encountered six gates and bars." Winthrop then was just a farming community, beautiful and well cultivated, but as for roads, there were nothing but rutted tracks. There were 16 farms in town and 15 yoke of oxen were used to provide motive power. Horses were seldom seen, until at least the time of the Civil War. Deacon David Floyd, father of Lucius Floyd, owned the first horse in town, Lucius reported.

The beaches were empty, save for wrecks of ships or stranded whales. Dr. Ingalls reported that when he bought 43 acres of land at the Spray in 1875, to "inaugurate a city by the sea, the only apparent use of the long stretches of beach between the hills was to enforce the mandate of the mighty Jehovah by staying the proud waves of the aggressive ocean and affording the neighboring farmers abundance of kelp, rockweed, etc." Until the doctor came to town no one had dreamed of building cottages along what is now the crowded boulevard. There were no houses at all on Winthrop beach, save that there were two Tewksbury houses and John Flanagan's at the foot of Great Head.

The fisheries and the salt works at Point Shirley had collapsed and thus the farmers had no need for transport other than what their oxen and their boats provided. What few letters came into town were carried by a man on horseback, whenever there was any mail at all. As late as 1852, when Winthrop became a town, there were still but five public streets -- Beach Street, Shirley Street, Winthrop Street, Main Street and Pleasant Street. By mid-century the trip to Boston had been shortened to eight miles, via the road through Beachmont to Revere Beach and then to Revere Center and into Boston through Chelsea and over the bridges which by then crossed the Mystic and the Charles. Yet the roads were still so poor and the oxen so slow that Lucius Floyd remembered, it was customary to start, say with a load of hay, from Winthrop by two or three in the morning if it was hoped to make the round trip in a day.

The minister and the school teacher and many other people going by foot, as most people did prior to 1839, commonly came and went via Belle Isle (Orient Heights). By planning to arrive at Belle Isle Inlet at low tide, men could walk across the gravel


bottom by just taking their shoes and socks off. A boat was commonly kept at Schooner Dock, near the old Pleasant Street Railroad Station for the use of anyone wanting to cross but It was noted that the boat was almost always on the wrong side of the inlet. Evidently there was not traffic enough to pay a living wage to a ferryman.

As a sidelight on these visiting ministers, the late A. Theodore Tewksbury, used to tell a story of his younger days. At the time he speaks of, the Winthrop Methodist Church was served by a non-resident pastor who was a farmer in a neighboring town. He farmed all week and preached in Winthrop on Sundays. Tewksbury said this minister once concluded an earnest and lengthy prayer with this sentence: "Lord bless North Chelsea, bless Winthrop and touch lightly on Point Shirley".

In 1835 the General Court granted permission to build a bridge across Belle Isle Inlet from Breed's Island (Orient Heights) to Chelsea Point, which was then the usual name for Winthrop, replacing the colonial Pullin or Pullen or Pulling Poynte. The Winthrop end of this bridge was. at what is now the western extremity of Main Street. The bridge, which was 20 feet wide was built with money raised by subscription. Lest it may seem that the size and importance of Winthrop at this time has been somewhat slighted, it might be well to point out that all of Orient Heights was just one farm and had but two houses. Noddle Island (East Boston) had just one house and eight inhabitants. Beachmont was the Sales Farm and had but two houses.

The Winthrop bridge was authorized in 1843 by the Legislature to be a toll bridge and it remained such until its purchase by the City of Boston in 1851. During those years, traffic flowed across the bridge in volume sufficient to support both the bridge and a tollman. Some of these tollmen were: Samuel Hatch, Henry H. Fay, Cyrus T. Moore and Henry Bates. According to the old toll bridge sign, now preserved in the Winthrop Public Library, the rates were: hack, 17 cents; carryall, 10 cents; chaise, 8 cents; wagon, 6 cents; oxteam, 6 cents; 2-horse team, 8 cents; man on horseback, 5 cents; horse, mule or cow, 2 cents; person on foot, 1 cent; sheep or swine .5 cent and, school children, free. In 1849, for example, the tolls reported were as follows: foot passengers, 4740; sleighs, 577 (over a period of 40 days); teams, 5960; horseback riders, 232, hacks, 176; omnibuses, 25; oxteams, 30; yoke of oxen, 3, cattle, 10, and pigs 20.

The freeing of the bridge from tolls was an important political battle; free bridges and temperance were the political highlights in 1850 and Edward Floyd was elected on a free bridge ticket to the 1851 General Court. This was at the time when the


East Boston Ferry was instituted and the road through East Boston and Orient Heights from the ferry to the bridge was completed. Thus Winthrop, about 220 years after its first occupation by white men, had a direct road to Boston. This was the beginning of the end of Winthrop's isolation and existence as a purely farming community.

The first evidence of the break in the solid agricultural front was the purchase of land for estates. George B. Emerson, educator and naturalist, together with his friend, Edward C. Loring, justice of the United States Court of Claims at Washington, and later its chief justice, purchased what is now Court Park and, in 1847, built fine country homes. Emerson's son-in-law, Judge John Lowell, also soon became a summer resident. In 1850, Hiram Plummer and his son-in-law, Charles L. Bartlett, the father of Major General William F. Bartlett (Winthrop's Civil War hero) settled at what is now Bartlett Park and built other attractive homes. Other newcomers, whose interest in Winthrop was aroused by the fact of improved transportation, at about this time included: Washington F. Davis, William Wood, and Dr. George S. Carter, who built at Sunnyside. The Lawes-Piper-Huckins house was erected on Main Street in 1857 and also the Lawton House was put up nearby and Dr. Ira Warren built on Pleasant Street. These newcomers drove in to Boston most mornings and drove home at night, thus establishing a custom which a century later now distinguishes nearly everyone in Winthrop. They were the town's first commuters.

Of more general importance in transportation was the work of Albert Richardson. A native of New Hampshire, he came to Winthrop in 1841 as a youth, with the rest of his family. In 1848 he started the first stage and express line, running between Maverick Square, East Boston and Point Shirley. Subsequently he extended the west end of his line from Maverick to Scollay Square, making use of the East Boston Ferry. He ran two regular trips a day with the fare being 15 cents to Winthrop and 25 cents to Scollay Square. There was considerable business, particularly at the Point, what with the Revere Copper Works requiring service and with Taft's famous restaurant bringing down many a bon vivant from Boston. Sometimes diners at Taft's required a special trip to take them home after a convivial evening -- for which special service five cents extra was charged. Maybe there were tips, too.

After nine years of operation, Richardson sold the stage line to John Lane of East Boston but he very shortly sold to David P. Matthews of Main Street, Winthrop. Matthews did not find the operation of a stage to his liking either and in 1863, right in the middle of the Civil War, he sold to Elijah and Leonard



Winthrop and Boston Omnibus for Tafts' Hotel


O. Tewksbury, familiarly known to Winthrop people as Lije and Len. These two gentlemen operated the stage for about ten years, apparently selling out for $2,000 to the horse railroad in 1873. This definitely ended the stages to Point Shirley although there was another line from Orient Heights to Winthrop Center for 11 years after this date.

The first stage, which was driven by Albert Richardson himself, was a three-seated carryall which provided room for nine or ten passengers, perhaps more if they did not mind too much being crowded. This carryall was drawn by a team of pony-horses -- by which seems to be meant a pair of horses of comparatively small size but some agility. This was replaced in time by a thorough-brace stage coach which was drawn by larger and stronger horses. Then came a "Great Eastern" coach which was a cumbersome and lumbering vehicle that had but one virtue -- its capacity, like the present buses, seems to have been unlimited. O. F. Belcher has recorded that, as a boy, he once counted 52 persons aboard including many on top. This practice of carrying passengers aloft caused the coach to sway considerably, for all its slow pace, and many feared it would tip over. It did once, in East Boston, as a letter from Mrs. Judith C. Tewksbury reports. No one was seriously injured.

The first railroad to serve Winthrop was a horse-car line known as the "Winthrop Railroad Company". It was first chartered by the General Court in 1861 but it encountered financial difficulties and fully ten years were occupied in raising the necessary capital, reported to have been $100,000 - which seems to have been considerable for the times. Finally, in 1871 and 1872, the road was built and cars, looking something like the old electric cars some of us may remember in Boston, were put into operation, tugged by two horses-usually broken-down, old hacks. The road started well, the management reporting that it carried 5,000 passengers the first month. Commencing at Taft's famed Hotel at the Point, it ran along Shirley Street to what is now Revere Street, to Magee's Corner, then up Winthrop Street by the Town Hall to Payne's Corner (Washington and Pleasant and Winthrop) and then the length of Pleasant Street to Main Street over the bridge to Saratoga Street, through Breed's Island and the Fourth Section to the corner of Saratoga and Chelsea Street where it ran over the tracks of the Metropolitan Horse Railway to Maverick Square and the ferry. The horse and car barns of the road were on Revere St. at Magee's Corner. The promoters and first officers seem to have been William A. Saunders of Cambridge, William H. Kimball of Boston, Charles Durham of Chelsea, W. R. Stockton of Cambridge and representing Winthrop, John Belcher, Richard Shackford and Charles N. White. The


Reverend J. W. Dadmun was president and Dr. Samuel Ingalls, superintendent. These last two gentlemen, residents of Winthrop, were very highly respected and gave the management the standing necessary to attract local capital.

The promoters were willing to supply the brains and the knowledge, but they experienced much difficulty in persuading Winthrop people to pay up the necessary money. Finally, on August 28, 1871, the town put up $20,000 to start the road operating but was to receive seven per cent interest and a first mort-gage. The road was built and did start running but it was, at least to modern eyes, much over-capitalized and could not possibly succeed with the small population Winthrop had then. No sooner did the road start than debt began to pile up and on July 24, 1873, despite objectors complaining that it was idle to "throw good money after bad", the town meeting, July 24, 1873, voted 67 to 23 to supply $'15,000 more, in return for stock. The town's people managed to protect themselves however, by having six leading men of the town personally pledge themselves as sureties. With this endorsement the money was paid over by the town.

The fare from Maverick to Winthrop was 25 cents, and to the Point 35 cents. The line appears to have carried about 65,000 a year which would mean a median income of less than $25,000 annually. After costs, interest, depreciation and the rest, it is doubtful if this was adequate. The line ran seven daily trips in summer and five in the winter. What happened in a heavy snowstorm is not on record; doubtless there were difficulties. One pair of horses pulled a car from Point Shirley to Magee's Corner and from there fresh horses pulled the car to Maverick and returned. The Reverend J. W. Dadmun, who was very prominent in town, had built himself a house on Winthrop Street (the one known as the David Floyd House) and lived in some style with attractive gardens. He was chaplain at Deer Island Prison and residents looked on with misgivings as each Saturday afternoon, a private horse car came to his door and carried him to the prison (at least to the Gut) and then, on Sunday afternoon, brought him home again. This was really something to do with the town's money!

It soon became clear that all was not well, indeed far from well. The road failed to pay its interest obligations and in 1875 town meetings were held to see what the town could do. Those who had money invested, suggested that the town pay the interest. The value of this was just that if the road failed, Winthrop would be left without any public transportation to Boston. Those who did not have money invested, demanded that the Town foreclose its mortgage and operate the line as public utility. The


meetings were rather warm and cross-fire of arguments became personal and frequently descended to insult and invective. Finally, after several inconclusive meetings, on December 6, 1875, the town moderator, Lucius Floyd, accepted a motion to put the problem to the vote: should the mortgage the town held be foreclosed? Lucius Floyd called the roll name by name and the vote was 51 to 43 for foreclosure. Thus Winthrop became the owner of the horse car line.

At another town meeting, January 17, 1876, a motion was made that the town should proceed against the unfortunate six citizens who had pledged themselves as security of the second town loan of $15,000, but this was defeated by a vote of 44 to 17. The road was in a pitiful condition and nothing remained but to sell off the assets for as much as possible and so reimburse the town -- if it could be done. Meanwhile, plans were broached for another stage line to carry passengers and the mails while plans for a steam railroad were being pushed. Many Winthrop citizens lost what was a great amount of money for the times. Hermon Tewksbury was, in particular a large subscriber. Another large investor was George B. Emerson. He, however, managed early in the business, while the line was still "a going concern", to dispose of much of his stock for land on Nantasket. Mr. Tewksbury joined him in this enterprise.

The Town, which was then poor enough, felt the blow badly and as the tax rate went up to meet the cost of the line, the citizens paid and paid and paid until the last of the necessary "sinking fund" was retired in 1905. Negotiations to sell the line progressed slowly and poorly. No one wanted to pay anything for a line which had gone bankrupt. On February 14, 1876, the town voted to receive bids, thus bringing the matter to a head. Several offers were received but all were refused by the town meeting. Finally, direct negotiations were held with S. G. Irwin and J. L. Putnam. These too fell through and the town meeting finally voted to sell the line at public auction and to take what it could get -- provided that the purchaser would operate the line, or some other conveyance, for five years from Winthrop to Winthrop Junction, which was then used to describe Orient Heights where a railroad connection to Boston could be made. On January 1, 1877, Captain Samuel G. Irwin bought the line for $12! He had privately purchased the twelve horses, the cars, buildings and all the other equipment previously for $2600. So Winthrop cut its losses, provided itself with stop-gap transportation and made do until June 7, 1877 when the first steam trains began to operate.

Captain Irwin then sold the horses and equipment, tore up the rails and disposed of the property. Winthrop's first railroad

became but a sorry memory -- and a few rotting ties here and there. During the year 1876, the stage and street car were run intermittently by the Railroad Company (for the Town), by Butman and Matthews, and by Irwin. A new stage line was also established in 1877, late in the year, which ran from Winthrop Junction, up Pleasant Street to perhaps Payne's Corner. Thus the west side of the town was served. This line, which was operated successively by C. N. George, Sam L. George and the Burnett Brothers, continued until 1888 when the steam railroad built its loop all around the town. There was also, from time to time, even as late as 1910, coach or public carriage line from the Winthrop Beach railroad station out to the Point, Samuel L. George, E. W. Tewksbury and Noyes and Colby operated these, in turn.

The Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad, hereafter as was the common practice, called the Narrow Gauge, because of its 3-foot gauge, was chartered in 1872 and was built first as a single track from East Boston through Orient Heights, Revere Beach and Point of Pines to Lynn. It was first operated July 29, 1875. Hourly service was very successfully maintained. Winthrop's troubles with its horse car railroad having become by then acute and distressing, Winthrop became enthused over the prospect of having its own steam railroad which would have a junction at Orient Heights (Winthrop Junction) with the Narrow Gauge.

The Boston, Winthrop and Point Shirley Railroad was accordingly duly incorporated in 1876, the prime promoters being John L. Butman of Fitchburg and Samuel G. Irwin of Winthrop. A survey was run, that year, the line was laid out and construction undertaken immediately. The first steam train puffed along June 7, 1877 over the little line. This was the "peanut train" of affectionate memories. It ran only as far as between Winthrop Junction and the foot of Buchanan Street, halting at the edge of the marsh off River Road.

There were three stations: "Pleasant Street", where the later station was; "Winthrop", near Magee's Corner; and "Buchanan", where the line terminated for the moment.

The next year, the line was pushed across the marsh (the fill remaining for many years as the "dike" across the golf links). "Shirley Station", across from Buchanan Street, was built and the following year, 1879, the line was pushed along the beach towards Great Head. The tracks crossed Nevada Street, Cutler Street, Ocean Avenue and Irwin Street where another station was built and named "St. Leonard's", after the St. Leonard's Hotel, which is now known as the New Winthrop Hotel. Parenthetically, this huge wooden pile was built of wood


taken from the Peace Jubilee building at Boston and brought down the harbor and into Crystal Cove on scows. Some reports say it was rafted down.

The railroad then crossed Sturgis, Underhill, Perkins and Tewksbury Streets where the "Great Head Station" was built. Nearby was the Lawrence cottage, which later became Young's Hotel. Construction continued annually. Charles Street was crossed as well as Moore and Beacon Streets and the line came out upon the beach and there "Cottage Hill Station" was built to accommodate a real estate development, begun before 1883, by William B. Rice, H. T. Whitman and others. By 1883 the road was carried around the eastern side of Great Head on a trestle and yet another station was built, called "Short Beach", which was about where the present Ridgeway [Ridgway] House is today. Eventually the line was extended clear down to Point Shirley!

Meanwhile, in 1880, the route across the future golf links was changed and the line followed a route from where the present town sheds are now near Magee's Corner, by reversed curves eastward to Shirley Street near Neptune Avenue where the "Ocean Spray Station" was built, and then along the edge of Shirley Street to join the route previously described. Another branch line was proposed by Dr. Ingalls and others, to go south along Winthrop and Main Streets to about where Ingalls Station was later built and thence to "deep water" at the edge of the Bartlett estate, a distance of about a mile and a half. The road was incorporated with the title of the Boston and Winthrop Railroad, but it was never built.

Fares on the Narrow Gauge were: from Winthrop Junction (Orient Heights) to the Ocean Spray House Station, 10 cents, to Great Head Station 15 cents, and to Point Shirley 20 cents. Special through rates to Boston, including monthly commutation tickets, were provided.

This, road, despite the need for public transportation, did not please the people of the town. Often, in winter, it did not operate at all. The late David Floyd wrote on this point: "Sometimes the steam road was not operated in winter, and then the people depended upon the numerous vehicles that were run by the good natured and obliging Sam George. For some time there was uncertainty about the railroad tracks, which were made of pieces of angle iron fastened on the corners of wooden stringers; and these had a way of gliding off on the marshes at high tide; and from first to last although its convenience was not questioned by those whom the route accommodated, a series of ups and downs marked "its history".

From the beginning, several Winthrop people were associated with or employed by the road, and a few or these continued to be


active until the final fatal day in 1940. Frank N. Belcher began to work on the road in March of 1883; his brother, Walter, at about the same time, and James W. Davis was one of the first engineers. Joseph J. Cyr, engineer, was one of the first men in the cabs of the Narrow Gauge locomotives, beginning in 1875, and John R. Sullivan, probably the most familiar of all Narrow Gauge men to Winthrop people, was an office man from the early days. When the Narrow Gauge finally ceased operation, Frank Belcher was still running trains as a conductor and John Sullivan was the superintendent.

Frank Belcher told Channing Howard (he and the late Frank Hanscomb) : "ran the road in the winter of 1885, paying the running expenses which were just about covered by the fares received, but we had no salaries until business picked up in the summer, when we received our salaries by deducting same from fares and turning in our salary receipts for the amounts which were due us instead of cash taken up by me on the train". In the winter of 1884 several Winthrop citizens, who wanted the early morning train to keep running, agreed with the road to guarantee 15 fares for each trip. At the end of several months, this group had to pay 70 cents each extra to keep their agreement. Business had extreme ups and downs. In contrast with less than 15 fares on the train just mentioned, on Saturday, July 21, 1882, the little line carried 1,850 passengers. Clarence A. Parks was president at first, and his son, Edwin, was a conductor and acting superintendent.

Winthrop for a time also had a standard gauge railroad. This was the Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad ("The little road with the long name"), which ran from a connection with the Eastern Railroad (now the Portland Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad, via Newburyport and Portsmouth) in Revere to Point Shirley. The genius of this line was Alpheus P. Blake, who was an indomitable character. He not only conceived, pushed and built this particular line, but he was interested in other enterprises which he promoted with indefatigable zeal all along the North Shore. He was a man of striking appearance, tall and thin, and possessed of remarkable persuasive abilities. He was a poor boy from New Hampshire when he came to Boston and became interested in the development of what was then the new town of Hyde Park. From this he went on to take the leadership in the development of the North Shore, particularly between Boston and Lynn. He was doubtless a very able man, but he grew somewhat self-willed as success piled upon success and he began to quarrel with the directors of the Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad, and, after


three years, resigned as president and left the directors to do the best they might with the railroad. It was operating successfully when he quit but it soon after fell upon evil times and was eventually abandoned.

The road was incorporated by the General Court in 1883 and was swiftly and not too well constructed, according to reports. The line came up from the Point of Pines, along Revere Beach and crossed the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn by means of a trestle at about where Eliot Circle is now, near the southern end of Revere Beach. Near this point the "Great Ocean Pier", something after the order of the Steel Pier at Atlantic City, had been built and was being well patronized. From here the road went across the marsh below Beachmont Hill, where parts of the embankment are still to be seen. Running along Short Beach, it continued north of the farther Highland hills, along where Sewall Avenue now is, and then took to the beach again, at a point east of Grovers Avenue until it reached the later route of the Narrow Gauge. There was no bridge at the time, and the town, about 1885, built a timber bridge which was replaced by the present bridge built by the Metropolitan District Commission in 1899.

From this point the broad gauge line ran southwesterly to the then Ocean Spray Station of the Boston, Winthrop and Point Shirley (Narrow Gauge). Here, parenthetically, Dr. Samuel Ingalls was killed June 11, 1884 -- the man responsible for the development of Ocean Spray, the man that developed also the railroad which killed him.

From this junction, a three-rail line went along, the broad gauge line and the narrow gauge line sharing the same road-bed by the simple expedient of laying a third rail and using one outer rail of the three in common. It saved money! This unique system enabled the broad gauge line to reach the southerly section of Point Shirley at very small expense.

At first, as has been said, the broad gauge line was prosperous. In the summers of 1884 and 1885 it carried thousands of patrons, being helped greatly by steamship connections. Steamers ran from Boston to the Point of Pines (then a charming place), and also to the Great Ocean Pier near Eliot Circle, from which also there was, from time to time, even as late as 1920, a line still running to Bass Point, Nahant. Another steamer line connected for Boston with the road at Point Shirley. Two steamers apparently made 11 round trips a day between the Point and Litchfield's Wharf at 466 Atlantic Avenue. The two, named the Philadelphia and the Baltimore, are described as having about 300 passenger capacity each.

However, despite its seeming prosperity, and perhaps because


Alpheus P. Blake had withdrawn, the Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad ceased operations after 1885. Probably there was no valid reason for its existence in the first place, for Winthrop was served by its own railroad, while the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn and the present Boston and Maine served Revere adequately. Actually, there were many little railroads and some longer ones, too, which were built in New England in the middle section of the 19th Century, which had no economic reason for being. They mostly failed at the expense of the too optimistic stockholders. Many people in the days of the great railroad boom had the fond hope that the steel rail was a magic wand which created business where none had existed -- and where, hindsight demonstrated soon enough, none could exist.

Beginning in 1883 Winthrop's little railroad fell upon hard times and was variously reorganized until the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn took over. One of the leading movers in this consolidation was Samuel W. Hale, former governor of New Hampshire, who was said to own a majority of the Winthrop lines' stock. He had recently purchased a large part of Point Shirley, taking over the property of the Revere Copper Works, split it into small cottage lots and was busy having auction sales in 1884. The old road received a bad blow on Thanksgiving Day, 1885, when a great northeasterly raged. Much of the track of the line was along the beaches and so exposed to the fury of the tumultuous ocean. Probably a large part of the line, at least that along the beaches, was washed away.

For a time, the peanut train was operated again as far as the trackage permitted, probably to Ocean Spray Station and then, as stated, in 1886, the Narrow Gauge took over. Edwin Walden of Lynn, president of the Narrow Gauge, and John A. Fenno of Revere, the treasurer, in the winter of 1885 walked the right of way and examined the entire town and determined it would be good business to add the Winthrop line as a branch of the trunk road. The legal tangle was unsnarled, proper Legislative sanction was obtained and on July 1, 1891, the merger was completed.

Meanwhile the Narrow Gauge had begun to build its "loop" around the town and this was completed in 1888. This line stayed inside the beaches and so was safe from storms. This was a one-track circuit and nine railroad stations were placed in operation -- to serve which the town built five new streets. The loop flourished very well, so well that it was double tracked in 1903, giving Winthrop people the pleasure of deciding, when going to town, which train going which way they cared to take. Good cars,


good service and a feeling of satisfaction that at last Winthrop had permanent transportation pervaded the town and helped to bring many new people into residence. Fares to Boston began at 20 cents, but in 1890. they were reduced to 15 cents, in 1894 to eight cents and in 1899 to five cents. Business was that good.

The first public indication of trouble appeared in 1918 when fares went to seven cents and then were soon boosted to ten cents. The railroad was electrified in 1928 in an attempt to cut expenses by eliminating the steam locomotives -- those odd but pleasant little fellows that puffed and chugged so sturdily around town, day and night, on amazingly regular and dependable schedules. However, it has been alleged that the electrification was accomplished at a cost described as being somewhat excessive, and the road continued to slide down and down. Various reasons were given, chief of which seems to have been a falling off of patronage due to the increased use of the private automobile. Costs of operation were high, too. The ferry system from East Boston to Rowes Wharf on Atlantic Avenue, was very costly.

To look back for a moment, probably everyone in Winthrop considered the Narrow Gauge with affection. It served us all so long and so well! In sad contrast with the present, there were always seats in the Winthrop trains; no one stood. The ride was smooth and adequately rapid and the ventilation was sufficient. Then that ride across the harbor was really a delight. On hot afternoons, coming home, particularly, the fresh harbor breezes, which swept through the ferries from bow to stern, revived the wilted commuters amazingly. The after deck, sheltered from the wind and the rain, was a sort of town forum where groups of men gathered for a smoke and to debate town affairs and to exchange news. It was altogether a delight to ride the Ashburnham, the Brewster, the Dartmouth and the Newtown -- as the last four in the service were named. Good, study boats they were, too, navigating the harbor whatever the weather without fuss or bother. Their familiar walking beams pumped up and down; paddle wheels churned and they slid back and forth on a shuttle that seemed as eternal as taxes.

Thus, when beginning about 1938, it became known in town that the Narrow Gauge would find it necessary to close down unless aid was given, Winthrop people refused to believe it. The Narrow Gauge was just part of the scheme of things! It could not fail. Various proposals were brought up in Town Meeting again and again, but enough Winthrop citizens refused to believe what they were told. Finally, late in 1939 the management announced they would close down soon after the first of the year, and warned the town to take steps to provide itself with public


transportation. Despite the vital need for transport, for, as said, most of Winthrop goes into Boston of mornings and returns at night, nothing was done. Finally, early in January, the Narrow Gauge set the fatal date and then there was a mad scramble to do something.

Proposals ranged all the way from the town's purchase of the line to Orient Heights to bringing in the Boston Elevated. No one wanted the EI, because of several reasons, most important of which were two: the EI's habit of having huge annual deficits which were assessed upon the taxpayers of the towns and cities served, and also the really unpleasant and uncomfortable transportation provided in street cars and buses. Finally, just a few hours before the time limit set by the Narrow Gauge, the State Department of Public Utilities gave the Rapid Transit Company authority to operate a bus line from Point Shirley to Maverick Station of the East Boston Tunnel of the Elevated. Winthrop was shocked and stunned, not so much because of the fact that the fare to Boston would be doubled but because many still refused to believe that the Narrow Gauge would actually quit.

Most of us still remember that final train which circled the town late Saturday night, January 27, 1940. Normally the midnight train, then the last from East Boston (later services operated only from the Heights) would take about 30 minutes at the most to make the loop. This trip took well over an hour as gangs of young men and some women, too, blocked the tracks at each station and the train was put into motion only with great difficulty. Probably there had never been so much patronage as on that train. When it left the Heights, it was literally jammed with patrons who wanted to say they had ridden on the final train. There was some vandalism; some windows were smashed, some seats were ripped out, and even a few normally law-abiding citizens helped themselves to mementoes. It was a most exciting ride.

Never again did the whistles of the trains echo in Winthrop. Never again were the crossing gates raised and lowered at the four crossings. The road was finished. This was at the beginning of World War II, so steel was precious. The ugly steel pylons which had supported the overhead trolley wire, were ripped down. The wire itself was reeled up and sent to war, for copper, then as now, was very scarce. The motors under the cars were taken off and sent to service elsewhere. Such cars as could be sold were knocked down to the highest bidders (some are reported to have been taken as far away as Brazil). Finally, the steel rails were ripped up. Some ties were removed but most remained, for old ties are not worth the cost of removal. The


Town covered over the crossings with smooth asphalt and filled in the several bridges (overhead crossings) to save the cost of maintenance. The Narrow Gauge was dead. The right of way can be traced here and there, where it has not been built upon or otherwise employed, but even such marks will not long continue as roads which are proposed are finally constructed.

The morning after the final train, the town found itself served with buses. The Rapid Service line had scoured most of Massachusetts apparently, bought, begged and perhaps borrowed enough buses to move Winthrop's thousands during the two peak hours. Some of the buses were old rattle-traps which lurched and pounded and backfired and smoked like fury. Some of the drivers, wherever the company managed to find so many so quickly, did not even know the routes. In one case at least, the writer had the duty of guiding the driver of his bus from Thornton Park to Maverick. It was wonderful!

Gradually the line acquired new and good buses and service settled down to normal. People who had said they would never permit buses in town, as they had always refused to have electric street cars, found themselves packed in and standing, much of the time, from their homes to Maverick and then standing again from Maverick to wherever they rode on the Elevated. However, it was service and the town settled down to make the best of it. Bus lines are particularly liable to snow troubles. The town kept the roads remarkably clear, and what interruption of traffic there was, and it was never very serious, came in East Boston where the streets were seldom well cleared quickly enough.

It seemed that with buses the service should be stable again. For a time, all did go well, but there was some difficulty as the line claimed it was not financially successful and proposed to adjust the matter by reducing schedules. The Public Utilities Committee was given various petitions, and the town officials, although they lacked support from the town, in that few citizens bothered to appear at the public hearings, managed to keep the schedules reasonably good and the fares down to the original dime.

This was so until 1951, when the fare was raised to 15 cents to Maverick, making a total fare of 30 cents from Winthrop to Boston -- 60 cents round trip -- for the Elevated, too, raised its fares from the traditional dime to 15 cents.

However, fares have dropped a nickle to 25 cents one way, for the Elevated has completed its extension to Orient Heights. A line swings out from the East Boston Tunnel underground to about where the Airport is. From there it parallels the B. & A. tracks to Day Square and from there it goes across to the site


of the former Harbor View Station and picks up the old right of way of the Narrow Gauge to Orient Heights. Buses from Winthrop now run only to the Heights and the fare, at the time of writing, is a dime. Service may be rapid, but every Winthrop rider, as he changes from bus to tunnel train at the Heights, will still sigh for the good old days on the Narrow Gauge when there was a seat for everyone.

To this account of transportation should be added a few more items. Since the Narrow Gauge was not particularly interested in express or freight carriage, there was for many years a considerable express business to and from Boston. Wagons were used at first and then motor trucks. The survivor of this activity into the present day is Tewksbury's Express (established in 1880), operated for many years by Fred Russell and lately by Bill Floyd. This business has shrunken somewhat because most of the supplies in Winthrop, as well as most other purchases made in Boston, come into town by motor trucks operated by the Boston dealers or the organizations themselves, as the First National Stores and the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.

At one time, perhaps until about the end of the 19th century, much freight, especially of bulk, was brought down from Boston by sloops and scows. This has practically vanished as the harbor has silted in, and since motor trucks do the work more cheaply and much more rapidly. In the final decade of the 19th century, there was a steamship line which operated from Crystal Cove and from Cottage Park to Boston. It must have been a delightful summer sail, but the silting in of the harbor, the uncertainty of navigation at stated hours because of the tides, and the competition of the Narrow Gauge made this steamer transport for passengers merely a summer interlude.

Mention must be made also of the Point Shirley Street Railway. This was the little electric car line which ran from the Winthrop Beach Station of the Narrow Gauge to the extremity of Point Shirley. It was built in 1910 by Herbert L. Ridgeway [Herbert N. Ridgway], famed for his operation of various amusement installations at Revere Beach. Most Winthrop people will remember his "Pit", where almost anything could happen to you --and usually did -- all in a harmless, thrilling way. This line was originally built with a trolley underground, sort of a third rail reached through a slot from above. This did not prove satisfactory because of water flooding the underground slot, and so the system was changed over to that of powering the motors by storage batteries. There is no record of financial operations available but it is doubtful if any profit was ever produced. The Ridgeway [Ridgway] family may have considered it a plaything more or less, but to the people


of the Point the cute, little cars, bouncing and jumping along, were of great value. Eventually the Narrow Gauge took over the line and, towards the end, which was in 1930, ran it at a loss. To cut the loss, the railroad disposed of the cars (there were two of them), scrapped what could be sold, and substituted buses. These buses were operated by the railroad until 1940, when the Rapid Transit line took over and ran its own buses.

Finally, mention should be made of the "Enos Elevated", which was proposed for Winthrop in 1885. This was laughed away, but serious attempts to build electric street car lines were made in 1891, 1893 and 1899. Winthrop people refused to have them at any price.


----------------- Top

Chapter Thirteen


PAUL REVERE, patriot and Revolutionary War leader, was a man of many talents. He was an accomplished silversmith, a map-maker, a publisher and, among other things, a coppersmith and business man. Some dozen years before his death in 1818, he established the firm of Paul Revere and Son, with his son, Joseph W. Revere, as a partner. A plant was established at Canton for rolling and processing brass and copper, and the Boston office was at 22 Union Street. After Paul Revere's death, Joseph W. Revere continued the business alone until 1828 when he formed the Revere Copper Company in association with his nephew, Frederick W. Lincoln, son of Deborah Revere Lincoln, Paul Revere's eldest daughter.

The Canton plant owned by Paul Revere and Son originally, supplied the firm with copper for fabrication by rolling ingots of the metal but this was an expensive method of obtaining the basic material. Thus the Revere Copper Company established in 1828 by merger with a James Davis, determined to smelt its own copper ingots. However, the plant at Canton was not suitable for smelting, because in the roasting of the ore, noxious fumes are given off, fumes which damage and distress the neighborhood. The Company looked about for a site which would be suitable in that the fumes would escape without harm and also for a site to which the ore could be cheaply transported. At the time, copper ore was largely imported from Chile and other South American countries, for the American copper mines had not then been discovered. This meant that the site of the smelter should be on deep water so the ships from South America could unload directly into the smelter cars. Point Shirley offered all these advantages, for the sulphurous. fumes would "be blown out to sea" and the water at the harbor side of the Point, near the foot of Shirley Street, was then deep enough to float ocean-going sailing ships.

So in 1844, the Revere Copper Company agreed to buy most

* Material for this chapter contributed by Sidvin Frank Tucker.


of Point Shirley and petitioned the General Court for the right to increase their stock . . . "together with the right to possess real estate in their corporate name in Boston Harbour, to the amount of $100,000 for the purpose of erecting furnaces and such other buildings as may be necessary for the smelting of copper from the ore and manufacture of the same ... ".

The General Court had no objection and work was started immediately, with the plant being spread over some five or six acres. A wharf was built out from about the foot of the present Otis Street and from it vessels "of the largest size" unloaded the ore from Chile. The furnaces were of ultra-modern design for 1845 and were among the first American smelters which were successfully operated on the techniques then in fashion in Europe. The Revere Copper Works employed chemists to test the ores before smelting and to check the process all through its various stages-a real advance for American copper smelteries.

Several years ago, in an excavation at the Point, a very large and heavy iron mortar and pestle, which had been used by these chemists, was found on the property of Mrs. Mollie Haggerston Lougee at the Point. Mrs. Lougee presented the relics to the Winthrop Public Library Museum. She is a daughter of one of the original employees of the Revere Copper Works.

The entire plant was surrounded by a board fence about five feet high, and a small railroad was built from the wharf through the various buildings of the works to move heavy material swiftly and easily. The plant consisted of twenty-four roasting ovens and twelve shaft furnaces. The ovens had a capacity of about 20,000 tons of copper annually, when under normal operation.

Labor costs by modern standards were very low. For example, the wage scale in 1860 for a furnace crew was:

One overseer, $2.50 a day
One assistant overseer, $1.75 a day
Four laborers, $1.00 a day, each
Fourteen furnace men, $1.75 a day, each
Fourteen assistant furnace men, $1.25 a day, each

The Copper Works continued to operate successfully through the Civil War, when the demand for copper was very great. The large number of men employed there, and their families, required additional housing and the company built several dwelling houses, some of which are still in use as residences. Point 'Shirley then was the most important section of Winthrop. At about this time considerable deposits of copper were found in Michigan and other states and, to protect the American mining investors, a duty was placed by Congress on South American copper ore. After the metal scarcity caused by the Civil War had come to an end, and prices had dropped back to "normal",


the duty made the importation of copper ore prohibitively expensive and the operations at Point Shirley became more and more abbreviated. Finally, in 1872, the plant shut down completely.

For some time, the Copper Works were entrusted to caretakers but the Revere Copper Company finally commissioned George B. Elliot to sell the entire property, which included most of the Point. Mr. Elliot sold the property to Governor Hale of New Hampshire. Hale was interested in railroads and in real estate developments and he believed that the Point could be made into a very popular summer resort if good transportation were provided. He had plans for a railroad and for steamers from Boston and Nahant. Mr. Elliot some time later formed the firm of Elliot and Whittier (Eugene P. Whittier) and this firm led in the development of the Point as a residential section as well as a summer resort. The firm of Elliot and Whittier, now Elliot, Whittier and Hardy, has been active in Winthrop to the present time.

There are still many vestiges of the old copper works at the Point. Sheets of black slag, looking like plates of black lava, litter the beaches on the harbor side and also cover a large area in and around the end of Shirley Street. Now and then, someone digging a foundation for a new house or digging in their garden,

strikes the base of one of the ovens or furnaces -- as was the case with Mr. Harold Winter, of Elliot Street.


----------------- Top

Chapter Fourteen


NOTE: In the interest of accuracy, the following accounts of Winthrop churches have been prepared at my request by representatives of each individual church. They are arranged in order to correspond to the dates of their respective establishment-



By LAURENCE W. C. EMIG, Minister

A Methodist minister came to Pullin Point, Friday, January 17, 1817, "to preach the gospel". The Reverend Daniel Fillmore made the somewhat difficult journey by boat from Boston or on a "one hoss shay" through Charlestown, across the bridge to Chelsea, thence to Rumney Marsh (now Revere). On April 21, 1818, a meeting to organize a Methodist Society was called to order by John Sargent Tewksbury, moderator. Bill Burrill, Joseph and Samuel Belcher were appointed a committee of this new church.

For sixteen years the Methodist Society met regularly on Sunday in the Pullin Point School House which stood on, or very near, the site now occupied by the Winthrop Post Office.

A revival swept through the village in 1832 that brought many into the Society of Methodists. The first church edifice of the First Church of Winthrop was erected on Winthrop Street, near the corner of Madison Avenue, and was dedicated November 19, 1834. When Winthrop became a town in 1852, a print of this first church was incorporated in the town seal. Twice this building was on fire and both times saved. It was never completely torn down and later became known as the "MacNeil Block".

Ground breaking ceremonies for the second church building were held September 14, 1870, on a new site where now stands


the Methodist Church. Dedication services were held June 22, 1871. "The few fishermen and farmers were increased by Boston merchants seeking a summer home. Thus by slow degree the hamlet and congregation were built up."

In January 1916, twenty-four members of the Ladies' Social Union as well as the Sunday School Board "appealed for increased accommodations in order that their efficiency might not be restricted nor their development prevented". The Board of Trustees were of the same mind. The cornerstone of the third church building was laid November 10, 1929. With gratitude to God and with great rejoicing, loyal and devoted members and friends entered the new building Sunday, June 1, 1930. The new church is New England Colonial in architectural style. The Sanctuary has a seating capacity of over 400. The new edifice includes the Seavey Chapel, the Parlor, the Burnside Room class rooms modern kitchen and kitchenette and Assembly Hall. This building venture of faith was completed at a cost of $225,000.

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow" was the doxology in the hearts of the people assembled for the mortgage burning ceremony March 12, 1946.

At the 155th session of the New England Conference of the Methodist Church held May 1951, First Church of Winthrop reported: members in full connection, active and inactive 985 Church School enrollment all departments 407, Young People's Societies 110, Woman's Society of Christian Service 230. Long


many have been the prayers and sacrifices since Methodist preaching began, when one standing on the hill, later known as Floyd Hill, could see all of the thirteen houses of Pullen Point.

A violin, a flute, a bass viol accompanied the choir and congregation who sang at the dedication of the first church building. Today worshippers are uplifted as they sing accompanied by the organist at the console of an electric pneumatic, three manual organ with 25 cathedral chimes and a Deagan Vibra Harp.

When the first Methodist preacher came to Winthrop pulpit utterances in churches set forth denominational differences in proclaiming the unsearchable riches and far-reaching influence of the gospel. Today in our town the spirit of cooperation prevails. Christian Churches are members of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Stalwart pioneers have built churches and our beloved community. We are united in fellowship of faith in the One True Living God.

The writer of this sketch acknowledges full measure of indebtedness to historians of our church in Winthrop, David Floyd 2nd, and Mrs. Sarah Lee Whorf, who at the celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Methodist Church in Winthrop placed this paragraph at the beginning of a more comprehensive and very interesting historical statement: "In the annals of any community there are certain endeavors, or events that stand out clearly as of great moment, each like a landmark that points toward a definite goal."



The beginnings of Catholicity in Winthrop actually go back to the days before the Civil War. In the years just before the Civil War and until the year 1866, there was at Point Shirley an industry known as the Revere Copper Works. A number of Catholics were employed by this concern. In fact, early statistics indicate that at the time of the Civil War, there was a Catholic population of about one hundred and fifty people in what is now the Town of Winthrop. The great majority of these Catholics lived in the Point Shirley Section of Winthrop.

The records of the Archdiocese of Boston indicate that from 1853 to 1854 Catholic services were conducted by the Reverend Patrick Strain, who was then the Pastor of a Catholic parish that included all the territory of the present cities of Chelsea


and Lynn. Point Shirley in these early Church records was designated as a Church Station.

During the years of the Civil War, the Reverend James Fitton one of the extraordinary early churchmen of New England, was the pastor of all East Boston. Father FItton was an indefatigable worker. In his zeal for souls, we are told, he came twice each month by horse and carriage from East Boston to Point Shirley to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the Catholics who worked in the Copper Works. In due time, under the direction of Father Fitton, a modest Chapel was built at Point Shirley, described as being located close to the water's edge. In the year 1866, when the Copper Works dosed, the Chapel was placed on a scow and moved to East Boston.

Between the years 1866 and 1887, the few Catholics who lived in Winthrop, had to go to East Boston for religious services. They either journeyed by stagecoach or walked to the Star of the Sea Church in East Boston, which was then the nearest Catholic Church to Winthrop. In these early years, we are told, Catholic children would walk to the Star of the Sea Church for Mass at eight o'clock in the morning and would remain for Sunday School and Vespers in the afternoon. During these difficult years, Catholicity in Winthrop was kept alive by the ardent faith and devotion of a few Catholic families who considered. no sacrifice too great in order that they might practice their religion.

In 1881, when the Reverend Michael Clarke was the resident Pastor of the Star of the Sea Church in East Boston, he arranged with a Mr. Jessup, a well-known confectioner of Boston who lived at Ocean Spray, to purchase the land which is now the site of the present St. John the Evangelist Church and Rectory. This site is the geographical center of Winthrop. Shortly after the purchase of this land, Father Clarke was appointed Pastor of the newly established parish of the Sacred Heart in East Boston. He was succeeded by the Reverend John O'Donnell, who, in turn, was succeeded by the Reverend Hugh Roe O'Donnell, a priest who is still remembered with affection by many Catholics of Winthrop and East Boston because of his sturdy character and inspiring priestly leadership.

Father "Hugh Roe", as he was affectionately known by his parishioners, began the construction of a Church in Winthrop early in the spring of 1887. This Church was dedicated under the patronage of St. John the Evangelist on Sunday, June 19, 1887. It became the third church edifice of the town of Winthrop in 1887. The new church at first was open only on Sundays during the summer months for religious services because, in the year 1887, there were only twelve families in addition to twenty Catholic individuals who permanently lived in Winthrop. However,


during these years, Winthrop was the summer home of many distinguished people who carne here to live during the vacation months. Many of these were Catholics and their generosity made possible the erection of the first St. John the Evangelist Church in the year 1887.

The establishment of good transportation connections with the City of Boston through the extension of the famous "Narrow Gauge Railroad" in 1886 contributed greatly to the growth and development of Winthrop so that in the year 1895, the Catholic population was large enough to warrant keeping the Church open on Sundays throughout the entire year both winter and summer. Mass was celebrated in the Church every Sunday morning by priests who came from the Star of the Sea Church in East Boston. Sunday School classes were conducted after Mass under the direction of the Sisters of Mercy who taught in the Star of the Sea Parochial School.

Worthy of note, also, was the establishment of Winthrop Council, No. 162, Knights of Columbus, on March 22, 1896. Two of the charter members of Winthrop Council Knights of Columbus are still active members of St. John the Evangelist Parish -- Mr. Frank H. Jenkins and Mr. John J. Kennedy.

On January 3, 1907, St. John the Evangelist Parish was made a permanent parish with a resident pastor. Reverend John H. Griffin was appointed the first resident pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church. The appointment of Father Griffin as the first pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church was a very happy one. For seventeen years, Father Griffin had served faithfully as an Assistant at the Star of the Sea Church in East Boston. Frequently he had come to administer to the spiritual needs of the Catholic people of Winthrop. He came, therefore, to Winthrop not as a stranger 'but as a friend and admirer of the people of Winthrop both Catholic and non-Catholic.

Father Griffin was a priest of great energy, vision and courage. He was a tireless worker. He loved people and during his eighteen years as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church, he endeared himself to all the people of Winthrop both Catholic and non-Catholic.

In 1907, Father Griffin completed the building of a new rectory, which still remains the parochial residence of the priests of St. John the Evangelist Parish. Shortly after being appointed the first pastor of the new parish in Winthrop Father Griffin with remarkable courage and foresight began plans for building a new and larger Church. He realized that the wooden Church, which was then being used as the parish Church, would soon be inadequate to meet the needs of his steadily growing parish. And


so in 1911, the old Church was moved to the rear of the parish property. In later years, the old Church served well as St. John's Hall and it was with sincere regret that it had to be razed in March of 1951 in order to provide the necessary land for the new St. John the Evangelist Parochial School which is now under construction.

It was a gigantic task that Father Griffin undertook when he began the construction of a new Church. He planned no ordinary Church. He wanted a Church that would be outstanding in architectural beauty and which would care for the Catholic people of Winthrop for many years to come. He personally supervised its construction and diligently collected the large amount of money needed to pay for the construction of this new Church. It was not until May 6, 1923, that the new St. John the Evangelist Church was dedicated by His 'Eminence, William Cardinal O'Connell, the late and distinguished Cardinal Archbishop of Boston.

St. John the Evangelist Church today is recognized as one of the most beautiful Catholic Churches of the entire country. It is an inspiring red brick structure. Romanesque in style, while betraying signs of Spanish influence in its fine campanile and in the unusual decoration of its interior, it represents an unusual blending of the old and new in church architecture. Its colorful marble altar and beautiful sanctuary with the striking crucifixion scene, dominate the entire Church and give unusual beauty and grandeur to the interior of the present St. John the Evangelist Church.

Father Griffin in addition to completing the construction of the new St. John the Evangelist Church also provided a beautiful Chapel at Point Shirley to care for the needs of the permanent residents of that part of his parish as well as for the many visitors who came to that section of the town during the summer months. This Chapel known as St. Mary's by-the-Sea was built in the year 1924, the year before Father Griffin was called to his eternal reward on April 23, 1925.

No record of the history of St. John the Evangelist Church would be complete without mention of the late Mr. Timothy J. Mahaney. For forty-three years "Tim Mahaney", as he was known to everyone, served as sexton of St. John the Evangelist Church, going back to the years of Father Hugh Roe O'Donnell in 1887. He was Father Griffin's "right arm." Under Father Griffin's supervision, he was the builder of the present Rectory, Church and Chapel of St. John the Evangelist Parish.

During Father Griffin's pastorate, it is also worthy of note that the Winthrop Catholic Woman's Club was inaugurated in 1920.


Father Griffin was succeeded as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish by Rev. T. O'Brien. Father O'Brien continued the extraordinary work of Father Griffin. He added to the beauty of St. John the Evangelist Church and completed the construction of the Chapel at Point Shirley. Father O'Brien was a priest of great ability, of strong personality and of exceptional oratorical ability. He is gratefully remembered today by many of the men of the parish because of all that he did to provide them with wholesome recreation facilities when they were boys and young men of St. John the Evangelist Parish. It was during Father O'Brien's pastorate that Winthrop Court No. 287, Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters, was established in Winthrop. Father O'Brien was called to his eternal reward on January 25, 1931.

Father O'Brien's successor was the Reverend James A. Crowley, who came to St. John the Evangelist Parish after a very successful pastorate in St. Peter's Parish, Plymouth. In God's divine providence, Father Crowley's years in Winthrop were not long. On February 17, 1934, Father Crowley was called to his eternal reward. Father Crowley will always be remembered by those who were privileged to know him as a noble, Christian gentleman and a kind and holy priest. St. John the Evangelist Parish is indebted to Father Crowley for his vision in purchasing additional property for the parish which is now being used as the site of the new St. John the Evangelist Parochial School.

Father Crowley was succeeded as pastor by the Reverend Mark E. Madden, who came to Winthrop after successful pastorates in the Blessed Sacrament Parish, Quincy, and in St. John's Parish in Canton. Father Madden also made his contribution to the growth and development of St. John the Evangelist Parish. Father Madden came to Winthrop with a reputation for unfailing kindness and charity. He served in Winthrop during the depression years of the late thirties, and was always ready to extend a helping hand to anyone who needed assistance. He purchased additional property for the parish and was planning the construction of a Parochial School when he was taken from active duty by a long and protracted illness which confined him to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Brighton for six and one-half years. During these years he submitted patiently and humbly to God's Holy Will until his death on July 2, 1945. Father Madden will always be remembered by all who knew him as a kind and generous priest and a devoted shepherd of souls.

On July 17, 194D, the Right Reverend Richard J. Quinlan was appointed Pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church by His Eminence, William Cardinal O'Connell. Monsignor Quinlan


carne to Winthrop from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. For fifteen years, before assuming the pastorate of St. John the Evangelist Church, he served as Supervisor of the Parochial Schools of the Archdiocese of Boston. Monsignor Quinlan's efforts since coming to St. John the Evangelist Parish have been devoted to making plans and collecting sufficient funds to begin the construction of a modern, first class Parochial School and Social Center for all of his parishioners. Work on this new school was begun on March 19, 1951. The work of constructing the new school, as well as a Convent to provide living accommodations for the Sisters of St. Joseph, who will teach in the new school, is rapidly nearing completion. The cornerstone of the new school was laid and blessed with inspiring ceremonies on Sunday afternoon, October 14, 1951, by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Richard J. Cushing, D.D., Archbishop of Boston. The new St. John the Evangelist School will be ready for occupancy in September, 1952.

The priests and people of St. John the Evangelist Parish in this year of 1952 look back with grateful hearts to the many years that have marked the steady growth and development of Catholicity in Winthrop. They are grateful to Almighty God for the many blessings conferred upon their parish during these eventful years. They are grateful to the devoted priests and generous parishioners of the past, who by their prayers and sacrifices have made possible the St. John the Evangelist Parish of today. They are grateful to their non-Catholic friends and neighbors for their understanding, friendliness and encouragement through the years.

The priests and people of St. John the Evangelist Parish are very happy that the opening of the new St. John the Evangelist Parochial School will take place in the year 1952 -- the Centennial Year of the Town of Winthrop. The opening of the new school will mark the culmination of the prayers and labors of the priests and parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Parish for twenty-five years. The new school will not only be a fitting monument to Catholicity in Winthrop but it will be worthy of the noble, patriotic and religious traditions of the Town of Winthrop which in this year of 1952 proudly looks back to one hundred years of devoted service to God and Country.



In 1867 a group of people withdrew from the one Protestant church in Winthrop and formed a Baptist Society, which held meetings in the Town Hall with the Rev. Mr. Davis, a Free Will Baptist minister from Beachmont, as preacher.

About four years later a group of seven men and five women holding closed communion ideas, and led by Dr. Horatio S. Soule, began meeting in the Grammar School. On October 21, 1871, they voted themselves. into a Baptist Church, formed a Society, and in April, 1872, extended a call to the Rev. F. A. Lockwood of North Springfield, Vermont, to become Pastor. Even before the Rev. Lockwood's arrival Dr. Soule had established a church school which still functions and has had the following men as Superintendents:

H. E. Soule 1871-1884
E. E. Crosby 1885-1887
J. W. Cordes 1887-1890
J. T. Whitman 1890-1891
W. Colton 1891-1894
C. P. Floyd 1894-1898
W. B. Ray 1898-1904
C. H. Leach 1905-1907
J. P. Margeson 1908-1930
W. A. Hodgkins 1930-1941
J. E. Davis 1941-1950
Miss Elizabeth Law 1950-

Both Pastor and people strongly desired their own house of worship, so land was bought at a cost of $177.40 and the vestry was dedicated for services on May 19, 1872. In July of that year a Council of Churches formally recognized the group, then nineteen members, as the "First Baptist Church of Winthrop". The building was completed at a cost of $12,224.48, and was dedicated May 5, 1873, with only $300 indebtedness.

In January, 1897, the church became a corporation and the present kindergarten and primary rooms were added to the vestry. The further addition of a large church parlor was made in 1928, and in October, 1943, the church voted to buy the adjacent house and land for a parsonage.

The following men have faithfully served us as pastors during the years:

Rev. F. A. Lockwood 1872-1874
Rev. M. N. Reed 1874-1875
Rev. D. M. Crane 1876-1878

*Material from Rev. R. B. Watson, Pastor


Rev. F. H. Goodwin 1879-1880
Rev. W. T. Thomas 1880
Rev. E. F. Merriam 1880-1882
Rev. F. M. Gardner 1882-1884
Rev. George B. Titus 1884-(Supply)
Rev. H. G. Safford 1885-(Supply)
Rev. A. B. Thombs 1886-1888
Rev. G. W. Fuller 1888-1895
Rev. W. M. Smallman 1896-1900
Rev. A. V. Dimock 1900-1904
Rev. F. M. White 1904-1913
Rev. W. J. Day 1913-1934
Rev. L. W. Williamson 1934-1936
Rev. A. R. Meserve 1937-1942
Rev. A. A. Forshee 1942-1943 (Interim)
Rev. C. A. Bartle 1943-1951
Rev. R. B. Watson 1951

At present, 1951, the First Baptist Church is remodeling, and refinishing to the value of several thousands of dollars, the Parsonage owned by the Church on Hermon Street. This building was purchased in 1943. The Church is entirely free of debt.



The first people who came to Winthrop Beach lived by the sea because they loved it, and when the Sabbath came they worshipped God in one of their homes by the sea. It seemed very appropriate that the first sermon ever preached here was on the text: "The Sea is His and He made it." This was given in 1878, by Rev. S. Burnham in Captain Charles Tewksbury's farmhouse. As time went on, a pavilion was built by John Tewksbury on the site of the present church, and later on, given to the residents. Here on Sundays divine services were held, on week days' entertainments were given.

The names of the first committee can now be read on the sign hoards of the streets of this section, as Underhill, Perkins and Tewksbury Streets. Many faithful workers have labored hard to upbuild and support this church and none harder or more faithfully than Deacon Anson Streeter and his good wife. Constantly would he go to and fro from his home to the church,


carrying wood, building fires and making things comfortable for the congregation.

Little by little, money, labor and materials given by many willing hands, made the present church possible. First, home gatherings, then a pavilion, then additions and improvements to that, and next in 1889, the taking away of the pavilion and the building of the Tewksbury Memorial Chapel. This chapel was dedicated by Dr. Gordon of the Clarendon Street Baptist Church. Then instead of having only summer services, it was decided to hold winter meetings also. The building was partitioned off in one end, and a cozy room was made, the heating being done by a large stove.

As years went on, more enthusiasm stirred in the hearts of the people. A decision was reached to form a church society. Mr. E. T. Underhill, chairman of the Board of Trustees that had managed the church property up to this time, offered the Tewksbury Memorial Chapel as the place of worship for the newly planned church society. Dr. Gage, who was chairman of the committee to gather names of persons wishing to be church members, proposed the motion, "That we are ready to proceed to take necessary steps toward the organization of a church of the Lord Jesus Christ, which shall be a Union Congregational Church." Later on the church was so named.

In 1896, a Council of delegates from seventeen churches met. Seven distinguished ministers were present, and two of them, Dr. Charles E. Jefferson and Dr. Alexander McKenzie, were famous. At the organization, 21 members stood up to form the church. It was very impressive as the writer of this article knows, being one of the charter members. The charge to the people was given by Rev. Alexander McKenzie, and true to the nautical spirit of the place, it was in ship-shape style. He compared the building of our church career to the launching of a boat, and the members were the sailors with oars in their hands. He told us the progress of our boat depended upon us; we must attend to the rowing, and keep our oars dipped in the ocean and "pull together". One cannot pull his oar in the opposite direction from the sailor next to him without making serious trouble for the boat. Then we must be guided by the captain who is the minister whom we call to take charge of the boat. He knows all the ropes and has studied the chart: we must do his bidding. To obey the captain is the way to make a successful voyage.

Our first captain was Rev. Arthur Truslow, a fine young man from Brooklyn, New York. The Ladies' Aid struggled hard and not only helped the church in every way possible, but sent away missionary barrels, and for a time supported a native


preacher in India. Up to the time that Mr. Truslow remained in 1899, the church building set low upon the ground, was un-plastered and settees were used.

In 1901, Rev. James J. Goodacre came and took charge, and with the great help of Mr. George Mitchell. and many others, money was raised and borrowed to put a granite foundation under the church. A second-hand pipe organ was installed and the building put in fine order. A vestry kitchen and a class room were made in the basement; so we had a well-equipped church home.

Our next captain was Rev. Alexander L. McKenzie. He worked hard and freed the church of debt. Well I remember when he held the mortgage and burned it in a spectacular manner at our annual church supper, amidst great applause from happy members.

Again we lost our captain and the ship floundered along as well as it could until the Rev. Seeley Bryant became our faithful captain. By this time, the crew was large and many oars were needed, and it was harder for all to keep in stroke. But we tried hard and Captain Bryant kept us all busy and our ship ploughed along in a great channel of service and sacrifice.

The great war in 1914 found us with Rev. Walter Sherman in charge. He organized new departments in the church and instilled his great religious enthusiasm into all the workers, and we certainly kept our oars busy. When our country entered the war, many of our young men went overseas, and finally our minister too felt the call, and amid tears and prayers, we let him go. While he was away the Rev. George Soper came to us, a dear, good man who sent his only son to the war and who received news of his death in almost the first battle. Those were days full of heartaches. We kept our sewing machines busy working for the Red Cross and the Ladies' Aid. After the war, Mr. Sherman came back for a while but finally left us, to the sorrow of all, for a larger field of service.

Then came Rev. Thomas Middleton, a very brilliant preacher. But God took him from us after a short pastorate of less than a year.

The Rev. Ralph Haughton came next in November, 1919. He was a fine, earnest Christian man who served the church well.

Then Rev. Thomas Street came to us. He also was a fine preacher, who did his work well, and leaving for a larger church in the West was greatly regretted. Rev. Martin E. Van de Mark came in 1924. The young folks rallied around him, and the Christian Endeavor became extremely flourishing and the church sailed along proudly with every sail set to catch the breezes sent from Heaven, and also like the old Roman ships, each member


of the crew kept his oar in position and pulled hard to help Captain Van de Mark all he could.

During all these years, the Sunday School was a very vital part of the church, run by consecrated superintendents and assisted by faithful teachers. The Men's class also has been extremely helpful in the church and community, being often found assisting needy families and generous in many ways, about which they say little. The Get-Together Club is also a very helpful society in the church, composed of younger married women. They have fine times and are always on the watch to do good. Too much cannot be said in praise of our faithful choir. For many years they have given their services for the good of the church. The new pipe organ that was installed in the summer of 1931 has been a fine addition to the church.

During the past 20 years, the ministers have been: Rev. Clement B. Yinger, Rev. Dr. Eugene Gilmore, Rev. Rowland Adams, Rev. Carl Smith and the present pastor, Rev. Henry J. Chandler.

In the Spring of 1950 ground was broken for a parish house at the rear of the church. The building was dedicated November 29, 1951.



There was no Episcopal place of worship in the town in 1884 and "Jimmy" Nelson, with a few other earnest families, discussed the possibility of establishing one.

In May, 1885, Mrs. Annie Wentworth, in behalf of this little group, consulted Bishop Paddock regarding the matter; and shortly Rev. John S. Beers, the Diocesan Missionary, was sent to look over the field. Mr. Beers came to Winthrop, surveyed the field and conducted the first service on August 30, 1885, in the old Town Hall. Mr. Beers wrote, "There was a pouring rain, but twenty-three persons were in attendance and fourteen communicated".

Flowers were placed on the improvised altar-from the garden of "Mr. Ellsworth of Ocean Spray". An offering of $4.20 was received. Other services were held on the Sundays of October 11, 18,25, and November 1st.

These ardent souls then decided "with some fear and trembling" to go on; so the new Mission of St. John the Evangelist came into being. It was named in honor of St. John's, Charlestown, dear to the hearts of the Wentworth family. The name


"St. John the Evangelist" was abbreviated later, presumably because our Catholic brethren, in 1887, built and named their church, St. John the Evangelist, while it was not until 1889 that our present church was built.

Rev. John C. Hewlett, of Roslindale, became our first Rector. He took charge November 8, 1885, becoming the first clergyman serving St. John's regularly. It had been recorded that "four families only had expressed an active interest in establishing a church", and these were the Nelsons, Wentworths, Joscelynes and Hartleys. Thus was St. John's launched through the faith of a few stout young hearts leading the way.

Mr. Hewlett continued until May 23, 1886, and was followed by Rev. Benjamin Judkins, a retired clergyman of sixty-five, living in Westwood. The Board of Missions had brought him from retirement and he took up the charge of Trinity in Concord, Mass., together with St. John's in Winthrop.

On October 29, 1886, the first regular officers of the Mission were appointed as follows: Warden, James C. Nelson; treasurer, Stanley Wyman; clerk, Nathan Clark; executive committee, George E. Joscelyne, J. Harry Hartley, Alvah M. Norris, P. S. Macgowan.

Mr. Judkins continued with St. John's until May, 1887, when he resigned to give all of his time to Concord. The attention of St. John's was then drawn to St. Paul's of Beachmont, which was under the care of Rev. Herman G. Wood, who had been in charge of St. Paul's since March, 1887. A vote of the Board of Missions in April, 1887, states: "Voted that the Board hears with satisfaction the contemplated union of Winthrop and Beachmont and expresses its willingness to appropriate at the rate of $200 per annum from the date of such union."

Mr. Wood took charge of St. John's June 1, 1887, in connection with his work in Beachmont, being the first Rector to live among us. With his coming and with the beginning of financial aid from the Board of Missions, a period of great activity and progress began for this New Mission, which by this time had grown to thirty families.

Mr. Wood's first service for St. John's was held in the Baptist Church June 3, 1887. Our Baptist brethren, through Dr. Horace Soule, had generously offered the use of their Church School rooms for the New Mission, until such time as St. John's could build its own church. For over two years it continued to be our Church home.

Finally, enough money was raised, and on December 1, 1887, the lot on which the Church now stands was purchased. A committee was appointed consisting W. H. Wentworth, Horace R.


Tewksbury and C. A. Barrett, who, with Mr. Wood, struggled with an amount of perseverance that no discouragement could thwart. Finally, on August 6, 1889, ground was broken, the cornerstone was laid on August 29th, and the first service held December 8, 1889 in the new Church.

In November 1892, Mr. Wood decided that he should give all his time to St. Paul's, and the following January Rev. C. M. Westlake took over the work of St. John's, remaining here until October 1894. It was during Mr. Westlake's rectorship and at his instigation that the Altar Guild was formed at Easter time, 1893, by Mrs. C. A. Barrett.

On October 15, 1894, Rev. Joseph Carden became rector of St. John's and immediately made his personality felt. A policy of independence was embarked upon, and gradually St. John's relinquished the financial aid that the Board of Missions was giving. During Mr. Carden's rectorship, the Rectory was built in 1896. A new organ, displacing the reed one, was installed in 1898 through Mr. Carden's energy in selling 100 "shares" at $12 each. Electric lights were put in the church in 1900. In 1901 the Parish, having become fully self-supporting, St. John's was incorporated as a parish, giving up its Mission status, and the following year the Parish was admitted to membership in the Diocesan Convention with a voice in Diocesan affairs.

It was during Mr. Carden's rectorship that two names familiar to us today became first associated with St. John's. In the Fall of 190.0, Walter P. Simonds became a teacher of a class of boys in the Church School, later becoming Superintendent and church warden. In 1903, Sidney E. Blandford became Warden, following the death of Perry A. Lindsay. To Miss Annie L. Morgan, for many years supervisor of our Church School, goes the distinction of having given the longest continuous service to St. John's.

A man beloved by all came among us February 1, 1906, Rev. Charles W. Henry. He was a great worker among the younger people and organized various groups. The parish grew under his guidance so that it was necessary to enlarge the church in October 1908. A Parish House had long been desired, and in June, 1910, the lot was bought. A fund for the building was started by the Young Women's Guild, which quickly raised $479; other organizations followed suit. Many generous gifts were made, notably those by members of the Forsyth and Murrell families; the hall of the Parish House being named "Forsyth Hall" and the lower, floor "Murrell Gym", in recognition of that fact.

Mr. Henry was called to Andover June 1, 1914, and we again


had the problem of securing another rector. During the following months, various clergymen were suggested, resulting in the happy selection of Ralph Moore Harper, of St. Paul's Cathedral, who came to us October 1, 1914.

Much has transpired in the past 38 years; concretely, the mortgage on the Parish House was completely paid off several years ago through the leadership of the late Leslie E. Griffin, the church interior improved, the organ remodelled, a Church School of 350 is operated that is probably second to none in the Diocese. Not the least of Mr. Harper's policies is his plea for a large delegation to the Church Conferences at Wellesley, Mass., and Concord, N. H., each June.

The Dean of the Winthrop clergy, Mr. Harper is a beloved and highly respected citizen of Winthrop.

Men and Women from St. John's in the Religious Field

Miss Anna Silberberg left in 1930 for St. Mark's Mission at Tenana, Alaska. She later married, and her husband, Rev. Wilfred C. Files, is now Rector of St. Stephen's Church at Fort Yukon, Alaska.

Richard P. McClintock, ordained 1929 in St. John's by Bishop Slattery, served at St. Paul's Church, Lancaster, N. H., later in Auburndale, Massachusetts, and now is Rector of Trinity Church, Watertown, New York.

Samuel A. McPhetres, ordained in the West in 1930, served in a Missionary field in Durango, Colorado, and is now Rector of Holy Trinity Church at Juneau, Alaska.

Albert Jenkins, ordained by Bishop Sherrill at St. John's March 11, 1944 is now Rector of St. Mattias Church, Whittier, California.

Eleonora Whipple left to enter the Sisterhood of St. Margaret in Louisburg Square, Boston, in 1924 and is known as Sister Eleonora Margaret.

Ralph L. Tucker, ordained by Bishop Nash October 15, 1947 at St. John's. Served for a year in the China Missionary field, from where he was evacuated with his wife and two children when other missionaries left through the Communist uprising. Served at Salt Lake City for a year and now Rector of St. Mary's Church, East Providence, Rhode Island.

John C. Harper, son of St. John's Rector, and Thomas Lehman are now preparing for the Ministry at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge.

Miss Marion Grout, R.N., is a nurse at the Church Hospital at Fort Yukon, Alaska.



By Rev. H. Leon Masovetsky

The history of Congregation Tifereth Israel is the history of the Jewish Community of Winthrop, for from the Synagogue emanated the creation of the many branches of activity that go to make up the Jewish sector of the Town of Winthrop.

The first Jewish family on record in Winthrop is that of Moses H. Schwartzenberg, who took up residence here in 1883. Because there were less than 10 Jewish families in Winthrop before the dose of the nineteenth century, we hear of no community activity. Mr. Schwartzenberg, who was Chairman of the Winthrop Town Government Association, took a considerable part in the Water Works fight. The case was so important that it finally went to the Supreme Court.

It wasn't until after the Chelsea fire in April of 1908 that the Jewish population in Winthrop began to grow. The hardships of those early Jewish settlers after the Chelsea fire can readily be imagined. Coming from a community where close to half the population was Jewish and Synagogues abounded everywhere, they were put to the test in their new environment where they were but a small minority.

In April 1909 about a dozen men met for the purpose of finding a place where Jews might worship in accordance with their faith. For several years, religious services were held in private homes. It wasn't until September 9, 1912 that a meeting was called in the home of Samuel Shpunt, where the Congregation Tifereth Israel was organized. In 1913, the membership of Tifereth Israel had grown to 75. The first officers elected were:

Samuel Shpunt, President; Israel Sisson, Vice-President; Jacob Abrams, Treasurer; Adolph Blumenthal, Secretary. On December 30,1912 the newly formed Congregation applied for a charter which was granted January 3, 1913.

After many difficulties, a lot of land was bought on Shirley Street on October 10, 1914. On August 22, 1915 the cornerstone of the Synagogue was laid, and on Rosh Hashanah of 1916 the services were held in the new Synagogue.

Rev. Herman Ben Moshe was the first Cantor and teacher to serve the Congregation 1920-1923. Rev. Joseph Snapper served the Congregation 1923-1927, as Cantor and Preacher, and Mr. Ben Ami was the first principal of the Hebrew School.

In February of 1925, the Congregation felt the need of a Community Center which would house every Jewish endeavor in charity, brotherhood, and Jewish education for young and old. The Ladies' Auxiliary which had been organized during the first


years of Congregation Tifereth Israel and was of great help in the building of the Synagogue now came to the aid of the Community center by presenting to the Congregation the lot of land on the ·cornerof Pearl and Shirley Streets. On November 1, 1925, the cornerstone was laid and on December 5, 1926 the dedication ceremonies for the new building were held.

With the coming of Rev. H. Leon Masovetsky to Winthrop, July 1, 1927, a new chapter of activity opened in the Jewish Community. The Hebrew School, which then consisted of less than 40 children, grew into a five-day week school for over 125 children, a three-day week school of 35, and a Sunday School of over 100. Along with Rev. Masovetsky, who has served as principal of the Hebrew School for the past 25 years, Mrs. Rose Levine served as Superintendent of the Sunday School until 1949. Mr. Barnet Kramer has served as Chairman of the Board of Education. The Hebrew School also created a Library in Judaica which has the promise of developing into one of the finest of Jewish libraries in New England.

The Jewish population of Winthrop, which numbered about 200 families in 1927, grew to over 800 families at present. In 1935, after much ado, a Zionist District was organized in Winthrop which, from its insignificant beginnings, has become one of the most important Zionist districts in New England, and had a worthy share in the creation of the Jewish State of Israel.

The Hadassah Chapter of Winthrop, which is the Women's Division of the Zionist movement, celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1951 and is recognized as one of the foremost chapters in the country.

In 1939, the first Inter-Faith movement was held in the Community Center to which the entire clergy of the town and all the parishes were invited. The Inter-Faith movement is now an important factor in cementing good will and brotherhood in the Town of Winthrop.

During the war years 1941-1945, the Jewish Community of Winthrop, under the chairmanship of Mrs. Leon Masovetsky served Forts Banks, Heath, and Dawes by instituting special services for the Jewish boys in the United States Armed Forces every Friday night. Rev. Masovetsky conducted their Religious Services at the Synagogue, and Mrs. Masovetsky, with her committee, served them 'an elaborate Sabbath meal in the Community center.

For sixteen years, Rev. Masovetsky served as the only Spiritual Leader for the Jewish Community, being the Cantor and preacher at the Synagogue and Principal of the Hebrew School. In 1952, Rev. Masovetsky will have completed 25 years of service in our Community.


By 1942, the Jewish Community had grown so that the first ordained Rabbi was engaged by Congregation Tifereth Israel. Rabbi Nathan Glustein served the Community for three years.

In 1948, the Synagogue engaged Rabbi Simon L. Eckstein to head the Jewish Community of Winthrop. His appearance brought new life to the community. The Synagogue now numbers close to 500 members. The Brotherhood membership rose to 550. The Brotherhood News grew to become the all-embracing Jewish Community Bulletin, which is one of the finest periodicals of its kind in the State. The Hebrew School was augmented by the addition of the Daily Kindergarten, and the Rabbi's study has become the focal point of all Jewish endeavor in Winthrop. Rabbi Eckstein does not limit himself to his leadership in Winthrop. He is a recognized leader in Greater Boston and is President of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council. Rev. Sidney A. Gordon has been serving the Synagogue as Shamash (Ritual Director) since 1935, and is highly esteemed by everyone.

The lay leadership of the Jewish Community at present is as follows: James L. Goldberg, President of Congregation Tifereth Israel; Samuel Harmon, President of Tifereth Israel Brotherhood; Mrs. Florence Goldschmidt, President Winthrop Hebrew Ladies Auxiliary and Sisterhood of the Tifereth Israel; Mrs.

Frances Rudginsky, who served as first chairman of the Winthrop Hebrew School Council, is now succeeded by Mrs. Frances Groman.

The past presidents of Congregation Tifereth Israel were: Samuel Shpunt, Israel Sisson, Abraham Marcus, Moses M. Lourie, Louis Mitnick, Philip Kravetz, Jacob A. Rosenbaum, Nathan Goldberg and Max T. Gold.



By Emilie B. Walsh

The Board of Directors of The Mother' Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, called a meeting on December 10, 1915, of members of The Mother Church residing in Winthrop for the purpose of organizing a Christian Science Church in Winthrop, "for the public worship of God for the healing of sickness and sin, according to the teachings of the Bible and of Science and Health with Key to Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy" (By-Laws of the Winthrop Church).

At subsequent meetings Readers, officers and By-Laws were voted upon and accepted. An Executive Board was also elected and sixty-eight members, thirteen of whom were recognized Christian Science Practitioners, signed the Association paper or the Charter of the Church. First and Second Readers have been elected every three years since the formation of this democratically governed church.

The Winthrop church was incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts, under date of December 22,1915. The first church service was held in Wadsworth Hall on January 2, 1916, while the Sunday School for children, up to the age of twenty years, was held at the same hour in the Board of Trade Hall, Wadsworth Block. On January 23, 1916 the location of the Sunday School was changed to Columbia Hall, Wadsworth Block.

A free public reading room was opened on February 21, 1916 at 29 Jefferson Street, Winthrop, where it remained until October 21,1918 when it was moved to a store in Wadsworth Block. This reading room is now located at 71 Jefferson Street and is open daily from one until four-thirty except on Sundays and holidays.

Free public lectures have been held yearly in accordance with the Manual of The Mother Church, sometimes twice in one year. The first lecture was held in the Winthrop Theatre, November 12, 1916.

A building fund was started by the church January 1, 1918, and the land now occupied by the church edifice at 165 Winthrop Street was purchased on March 6, 1920. Additional Sunday School space was required from time to time and secured by the addition of several of the Odd Fellow's club rooms in Wadsworth Block, adjacent to Columbia Hall.

The church voted to accept plans for a new colonial type church home, with a seating capacity of approximately three hundred and thirty, on September 19, 1922. Church services were held in the basement of the new building for the first time on November 4, 1923, the Sunday School being held in Social Hall


in the Masonic Building until the spring of 1924. The reading room was made ready in the church and the furnishings moved in on November 1, 1923. The Sunday School convened in the unfinished church auditorium during the summer of 1924 and the years 1925 and 1926. The work on the interior of the auditorium progressed as the funds came in, and church services were first held upstairs in the auditorium on Thanksgiving Day, 1926. Thereafter the Sunday School occupied its own quarters downstairs in the edifice.

In the year 1924 Sunday evening services were held during July, August and September, and for a number of years thereafter they were held during July and August, but have since been discontinued. Church services and Sunday School are held each Sunday morning at 10 :45. Testimonial meetings are held every Wednesday evening at eight o'clock.

The church was dedicated, free of debt, on November 30, 1930, at which time the following announcement from "The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany" by Mary Baker Eddy was read: "This church is hereby dedicated in faith unfeigned, not to the unknown God, but unto Him whom to know aright is life everlasting.' "


----------------- Top

Chapter Fifteen


DURING the first half of the 20th Century, the period of Winthrop's second fifty years as an independent town, the community experienced many developments. In the main, the town simply mirrored the cavalcade of events which it encountered as part of the State and as part of the nation. Within the town's own control, in general, Winthrop continued to enjoy the same placid existence and steady growth which has always been its characteristic. In the sense of great and dramatic events, Winthrop has had no history and is thus, as the old saying has it, fortunate.

For the sake of simplicity, the fifty years now ending may be divided into a few periods, which are actually periods of state and national origin. Until about 1914, the town enjoyed that calm and quiet era which ran from the Spanish-American War (hardly more than a squall so far as Winthrop was concerned) to the outbreak of the First World War. This was a halcyon time and its days seem so calm and peaceful in retrospect that no one now much over 50 can but look back upon them without a degree of nostalgia. Undoubtedly there were troubles enough and to spare then, but in contrast with the past 35 years, they were happy beyond anything we now alive are likely to know again.

Then there was the brief but poignant period of World War I when, for the first time, America marched on to the world stage and played its part as a world power. Probably no one then realized what was to result when we poured our money, our natural resources and our young men overseas. Possibly, few Americans yet realize what has resulted.

Next came the twinkling twenties when, like adolescents, we all went on a merry spiral of pleasure and profit, each according to his opportunities and desires. No matter what stock a man purchased, no matter what real estate he acquired, prices went up and up -- until the crash came that dreadful day in 1929.

Thus came the next decade which, roughly, covers the time of the great depression-when nothing was worth much in money. Winthrop, with few families of wealth, did not share more than modestly in the prosperity of the Twenties, but as jobs collapsed and wages contracted, for those who still clung to a payroll, Winthrop


did suffer severely. To many Winthrop residents, the worst of the depression years were then like a nightmare, and they still seem like a bad dream. Gradually, of course, we worked our way back into prosperity again, and then marched upwards into a kind of prosperity once more when the next period opened-that of World War II.

With fear and some panic but with mounting incomes, Winthrop people watched the great horror engulf more and more of the world. Like the rest of the nation, Winthrop in large part hoped that we could stay at comparative peace -- a hope which vanished that Sunday in December of 1941 when our radios told us that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. The tremendous upsurge of patriotism which swept this indignant nation soared as actively in Winthrop as elsewhere, and we were so busy during the following years until VE Day and VJ Day that we had little: awareness of what was happening to the town, the state and the nation.

Just so, in the present period of "peace", we are so harried, so busy, so fearful, that we cannot understand what is taking place. Certainly the world we knew, when the town drowsed under its elms and upon its beaches when the century opened, has gone forever. We have been so twisted and broken in the tumultuous years that it will be several generations before an adequate historical analysis of what has happened to us can be attempted.

For this reason, it would be idle, particularly in a history of a single community, to attempt any such analysis. About all that can be of present value is a simple, narrative account of what seems to have been important locally during these years. No historian can judge his own times adequately.

During the first decade or so, so very little happened that those happy and fortunate years lump themselves together in a golden haze. Probably the outstanding features of these years in Winthrop were two in number: the very great increase in population and the change from a "summer resort" to a year 'round town.

Many things also hinged upon these two points-the building of the boulevard along Winthrop Beach, the development of Cottage Park, Court Park, the Highlands and other residential properties, the growth of the schools, and all the rest, but, fundamentally, it was the increase in population that caused the demand for houses and more houses, and civic services and all the rest.

As the 19th century drew to its close, fully half of the houses in town were habitually closed for the winter, Of course, once the Narrow Gauge was firmly established, residents began commuting


regularly to their jobs in Boston, but these were largely men of comparative importance, not men of subordinate position and employment. The year-round citizens of the town, by which is meant those who took part in town meeting and worked mostly within the town, such as store-keepers, builders, masons and the like, were still few in number. Gradually the number of permanent residents grew, and soon after the close of the Spanish-American War, the number of these residents began to boom.

In 1855, for example, Winthrop was a pleasant summer resort which attracted 407 summer residents from Boston. They moved into residence along in Mayor early June and remained until mid-September or early October. The permanent residents of the town were farmers, as they had been for more than two centuries, plus some fishermen who occupied the Boston harbor side of the town.

During the following 20 years the population of the town increased but 220. The farms were still being cultivated as in the beginning and transportation was still inferior. By 1880, however, transportation began to improve and by 1890 the population had consequently mushroomed to 2,726. People came for the summer months, found the Narrow Gauge gave reliable transportation and found the town so attractive a place to live that they built, purchased or rented homes and settled down to stay.

The need for civic services on a larger scale was exemplified in the building during the next decade of the Shore Boulevard, which forever ended any possibility of Winthrop Beach being commercialized. With unusual common sense, the town so limited development along the too familiar summer resort lines (like Revere Beach), that residences became physically attractive. Restrictions were written into each deed which made it mandatory that houses be attractive, substantial and, hence, desirable. Another factor which attracted many new residents was the determination of Winthrop people that the town was not to be industrialized. The Revere Copper Works with its noxious fumes, the kerosene factory with its odors -- these crystallized opinion against any other such development. Winthrop was to be a town of homes -- and nothing else. The wisdom of these attitudes on the part of Winthrop people is demonstrated in the population figures. Between 1890 and 1900, Winthrop increased in population by 225 per cent, and in the ten years between 1900 and 1910, the population rose from 6,058 to 10,132. Winthrop thus by 1910 was well developed and its character firmly fixed. It had become the town we know today.

It was largely during this period that the development of the town culminated in the present familiar eight sections --


which is a large number after all for a town of only a little more than 1,000 acres. Much of this development traces back to Civil War days, but it was only during the first part of the 20th century that the various sections were more or less completely built up.

One of the latest of the sections was Court Park, made from the Lowell, Loring and Emerson estates. It was laid out with great care and restrictions were written into each deed, so that the houses had to be built above a minimum cost. This resulted in the section being characterized by substantial houses. The Thornton and Cottage Park sections, older in age, are marked by houses of a more traditional style, counterparts of homes built in New England villages all along shore from Provincetown to Eastport. It was in these two divisions that many of the older permanent residents made their homes, and thus a few houses well over a century old stand beside and amid houses of the typical style of the 50s and the 60s and, of course, those of much later date. Some of these houses are probably the very best of Old Winthrop. Such, for example, is the McKee house on Washington Avenue opposite Thornton Park. It is not an old house but it was built in the old fashion, by master craftsmen, who put the mansion together with painstaking care and used only the very best of materials.

Running from the corner of Washington Avenue and Winthrop Street, Pleasant Street follows the harbor side, more or less, in a grand quarter circle down to meet Main Street near the bridge to East Boston. Here are found other sections of Winthrop. Such is the Villa, the Sproule Estate, Sunnyside, Cottage Park and the rest. Although largely enclosed now by houses of much later vintage, a few of the Victorian type villas remain -- bulky, ornate but proud and sturdy -- relics of the days when wealthy Boston families selected Winthrop for their summer residences. The Center of the town, now largely business, although only comparatively such, occupies a sprawling and indefinite section and is very mixed in character. In with stores, banks, schools, town buildings, churches and the like are many homes, some very modest, others more pretentious.

Opposite the Center, across the former marsh, now Lewis Lake and the Golf Links (the latter leased from the town by the Winthrop Golf Club) are the Highlands and the three sections of the Beach, so called from the railroad stations which formerly served them -- Ocean Spray, Playstead and the Beach. The Highlands, with its three hills, two of them bluffs partly washed away by the surf, are the relatively open section of the town. Where house lots at Thornton and the Center, for example, might run


about 5,000 square feet; at Court Park, at about 6,000 feet; and at Cottage Park up to perhaps 10,000. feet; in the Highlands, particularly on the outer two hills, a 15,000. foot lot is not uncommon, although some of them in recent years have been subdivided. There are very few building lots left in Winthrop. The Highlands is well gardened as a whole, because of the larger area available for most homes. The town, as a whole, however, is also well gardened, and a planting of street trees, maples and elms for the most part, made about 1880, has greatly beautified the entire town, save along the ocean front where winds are too severe to permit tree growth. For many years, up to 1951, these trees were under the care of the late Millard Smith, tree warden, who devoted his life to working for the town.

The three sections of the Beach, really all one, are built up in sharp contrast. The older buildings, for the most part, are summer cottages made over into winter homes after the time of the Chelsea fire, when a large number of Chelsea families, burned out, moved into that section of the town. In with these are a few old houses; very large in size and made over into apartments now. At one time there were a number of large and prosperous hotels along the Beach, hut most of these were burned down and the hotel business was not rebuilt on its original scale. The New Winthrop, formerly the St. Leonard's, is the only large summer hotel still remaining, although it is hardly a hotel in the former sense. Winthrop does have two hotels, however, -- the old Cliff House, largely for summer people, and the Winthrop Arms, a year round hotel, which is largely an apartment-type hotel. Both are on the ocean side of the Highlands, adjacent to Fort Heath.

This fort, which occupies an ideal site on the outermost point of Winthrop into Broad Sound, has had a varied career recently. Built originally to protect Boston and the northernmost fort armed with 16-inch rifles, at the time of the Spanish-American War the largest cannon made, it fell into disuse, although it was alerted during World War I. In World War II, again alerted, it came to be used as an experimental base for radar development. About 1948 it was announced by the War Department that the fort would be abandoned. High hopes were held by real estate development experts that the area could be turned into a magnificent new "park", and it was fairly well agreed that the War Department would give title to the town and the town in turn would sell the area to home owners through an agent. However, just at the last minute, the War Department changed its mind, as the Russian situation became stormy and the Korean War broke out. Since that time, highly secret experiments have been


carried out at Fort Health -- about which nothing can be printed or even discussed.

Beyond the old Winthrop Beach Station of the former Narrow Gauge, the Beach runs along to the base of Cottage Hill -- or Great Head, as the abbreviated drumlin is properly known. This was one of the first real estate developments in Winthrop, after Playstead and Ocean Spray, and the houses now stand on relatively small lots of land. Many of them are small and of the cottage type, being in part summer cottages made over into permanent homes. The great steel standpipe, atop Great Head, dominates not only the Beach but the entire town, being the first part of Winthrop to come up over the horizon for sailors running westward in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Below and beyond Great Head is the narrow stretch of Point Shirley Beach, formerly washed over by surf in every major storm but now well protected by a sea wall -- which wall, in fact, now runs almost unbroken all the way from Short Beach, in Beachmont, around the Highlands along Winthrop Beach, around Great Head and down the length of Point Shirley.

The oldest part of Winthrop in the point of occupancy other than farming, the Point has continued mostly a summer section until very recently. There have always been a few year round residents, of course, but it is only yesterday that the section was transformed from its three centuries as a summer colony to a permanent residential section. There are still a number of summer cottages, some of them not large in size, although they are rapidly being removed or rebuilt.

Probably, the distinguishing feature of modern Winthrop, the feature which became fixed by 1900, was the limitation of entry and egress to just two roads. This was the natural geography caused by the fact that three-quarters of Winthrop is bordered by ocean and harbor while the other quarter is salt marsh. The original road in and out of town was the barrier beach reaching over to Beachmont. For years this was a narrow and often badly surf-washed road, called the "Missing Link", because the boulevard coming over from Revere Beach did not connect with the Beach Boulevard in Winthrop.

When the "Missing Link" was finally built, providing a double road, -- the outer for pleasure cars, the inner and lower road for commercial traffic, -- Winthrop had a first class road available out of town for the first time in 300 years.

The other road was that over the bridge at Belle Isle Inlet, which formerly ran parallel with the Narrow Gauge trestle bridge. Both were low and closed the waters of Belle Isle Inlet to yachts at high tide, so that Beachmont could not sail its few pleasure


boats in and out under the bridge save at half tide. When the tide was all the way out, the Inlet was so shallow that it was not navigable at all.

This bridge, whose history has been previously related, is even today a more or less patch-work affair. Some ten years ago, it was planned to build a new road and a new bridge from Orient Heights, as the old bridge was in poor condition. However, Fritz Westlin, superintendent of streets, repaired the bridge so very well that it is still giving good service and it seems likely that it will continue to do so for years to come, although inadequate for the traffic it carries.

Perhaps if industrial development had been (or is for that matter) permitted, the salt marsh between Belle Isle Inlet and Fort Banks would have been filled in. Then other roads might have been built to meet the road between Beachmont and Orient Heights. If the projected development plans for the Revere and Boston side of Belle Isle Inlet ever come to fruition (the area is well filled in now) then Winthrop's marsh may be developed also. As a point of fact, since Belle Isle Inlet has been filled in under Suffolk Downs and the oil farms in Revere, there is no longer any value in keeping the creek open between Beachmont and Winthrop, for it is now nothing more than a drainage ditch and gradually filling in itself. Undoubtedly the development when it comes, especially in Boston, will be industrial, now that the plan for a Venetian village, with each little home bordering on a canal, has been abandoned. William J. McDonald, genius of the Boston Port Development Company, largely the man who originated the placing of the oil farms and Suffolk Downs, has passed away and future development of the marsh will be less imaginative and more realistic.

While Winthrop was thus by 1910 clearly divided into at least eight sections -- or perhaps more truly into four parts -- Highlands, Beach, Center and the Point -- the town was maintained as a unit by two things. First, and the factor which is still operative, the Town is so very small that people know each other personally to a much greater degree than is ordinary in an urban bedroom. The second factor was that everyone for many years used the same transportation. Today the buses and private cars have ended this means of unity but while the Narrow Gauge operated, men and women met each other several times a week at least and thus the town was tied together by hundreds of individuals who knew each other well. Indeed, the place of the village store, which was the original forum of the small New England town, was taken over in good part by the ferries. The after deck, sheltered from the wind and the weather,


was a sort of club room where, night and morning, men on their way to and from their work in Boston, discussed and in good part settled the town's business. In the cabins, the women folks gossiped similarly and although they did not vote until after the suffrage amendment, they had just as much influence over the way their men voted back in 1900-1915 as they always had and have.

On May 27, 1912, the people of the town were notified that Old Winthrop was coming to an end and that New Winthrop was beginning. Of course no one knew that this was the case; the announcement simply said that an old elm down near the Thornton Station must be cut down. The newspaper accounts did not mention that the elm concerned was the famed Gibbons elm which is believed to have been planted at the time the Gibbons homestead was erected just about 300 years before. This famed tree, which reached tremendous size, having a circumference at breast height of about fifteen feet, had been ailing for a long while. Its branches were broken and brittle and since houses had been built near it, these branches presented a hazard. In any heavy wind they might come crashing down. So, for safety's sake, since repairs were no longer practical; it was considered best by the town to remove the tree. With the passing of this tree, went one of the last links with the colonial days. A large number of people visited the tree during its last days and numerous requests were made for chunks of wood as mementoes. Many of the mourners came on the Narrow Gauge and used the Thornton Station. Not one of the passengers could have known that the railroad itself was doomed to extinction, also. Winthrop when the Gibbons elm came down, passed from childhood into maturity. How long the town's maturity will continue, perhaps the history written in 2052 will be able to forecast.



In August of 1914 World War One began in actuality what the dropping of the Gibbons elm presaged. There was of course no indication of this in the town's behavior, for Europe was far away in those days before airplane trans-Atlantic crossings and atom bombs. We were seated comfortably at the ringside and few had fears at first that we would be involved. So in 1914 Winthrop went its usual placid way. There were 186 new buildings constructed that year, sidewalks and streets were paved, and a new bridge was built over Belle Isle Inlet at a cost of $45,517. The prevention of dust by the use of oil on the streets was actually an object of concern; the Selectmen wanted $2,300 but the Town Meeting provided only $1,500. Another point of great concern was whether or not all the Town property should be covered by an individual series of insurance policies or by one blanket policy. The supporters of the blanket policy won out as they proved that they would save the Town $594.84. The collection of ashes was even then a vexed item of town business although it amounted to only about $2.00 a year per house -- about four cents a week. One point that, strangely enough, caused much argument was the action of the Town in retiring the horse drawn fire engine for a motor vehicle. Opponents of the change claimed the motor truck could not be depended upon to start; proponents said the truck would start if properly managed and claimed the advantage in speed overcame all objections. Anyhow the change was made and the two horses were given to the Park Department and the Street Department respectively. It was not considered decent to sell the horses to private hands for fear they would be abused. Meanwhile, the conflagration in Europe was spreading.

In 1915, the Town still continued on its easy, careful way, the town officials talking about economy but, unlike at other periods, really being economical and having the interest of the town at heart. For example, in reporting upon a concrete wall on Locust Street, the Selectmen asserted that the cost was high but pointed out that in reality the wall was a good investment and ended danger of law suits which had been threatened. Just so, the Selectmen declared that the sea wall along Shirley Street beyond the Winthrop Yacht Club was "a first class construction ... and would serve for many years". It is still in service today, 37 years after. Much was said about continuing the program of road building and of the value received for the money spent. It is to be remembered that some 90 percent of Winthrop's streets then were dirt roads and only the main streets were


hard-surfaced, oil-bound gravel. The Selectmen agreed that such roads were expensive to build but pointed out that the citizens demanded good, dust-free, all weather roads, especially since the automobile was "becoming more common". When town officials spent money they had good reason and obtained good value. It was this habit of genuine public service by both elected and appointed public officials which distinguished Winthrop -- as it does today -- and it is one of the reasons why the Town has enjoyed a comparatively low tax-rate. Few towns, even in New England, have been as well managed and served so well by its officials as Winthrop. Our town rates very high financially and our history is most pleasingly free from any taint of corruption. Any citizen can always be proud to. say, "I come from Winthrop!".

However, this year of 1915, the first shadow of the War in Europe was cast over the Town. Agitation of preparedness had swept over the United States and the Militia was being refurbished and enlarged. Two military companies were accordingly formed in Winthrop: the Winthrop Machine Gun Company and a detachment of the Mounted Scouts. Winthrop was the first town in the State to have a machine gun company. The town financed these two organizations but was reimbursed by the State in large part. Both companies obtained full membership quickly and a waiting list was established for late-registrants.

The following year, 1916, war was very near and the Winthrop Machine Gun Company, then under the command of First Lieutenant Richmond G. Stoehr, was called into action along with the Mounted Scouts at the Mexican Border. The Selectmen officially commended Winthrop's 61 young men who were sent to the border for "their remarkable record of efficiency and high standing ... ". Meanwhile the town went along as always, building new roads, sea-walls and maintaining schools, town departments and the rest at their usual high level. Rising costs upset the budget by $500 and the Selectmen pointed out that despite the high level of general prosperity, poor relief charges remained about the same as before, having been kept down only by the most careful scrutiny of all applications for aid. The war was making itself felt in rising costs and in scarcity of labor. The town dug down liberally into its pockets to support the many war activities which were being established -- Liberty Bonds, War Savings Stamps, Red Cross, war gardens, food conservation (Hooverizing) and all the rest.

It was in 1918 that the full impact of the war was felt. A summary was given by the Selectmen, as follows, in part: "During the last 18 months, many of our Citizens have entered


the (armed) Services to the number ... 1100. Many of them going overseas and in desperate encounters, the balance holding themselves in readiness to follow, we have a great deal to be thankful for that no more of them had to face the enemy, many of them did, however, and faced them bravely, but we deeply regret there are some of them that will never return and we wish to impress forcibly upon you all that for those who do return too much cannot be done for them. . .. "


By 1920 Winthrop had fairly well put the War behind itself -- as much as any war can ever be forgotten in such a short time -- and the town was busy worrying about higher costs. Wages were going up in a futile essay to keep pace with the rising cost of living. There were demands for higher wages for school teachers and other town employees. In a word, things were getting back to normal. No new streets were built because of the high cost of materials for the town tried with all its strength to preserve its tax rate of $24.50, one of the lowest in the state. Grading and resurfacing was carried along as it was felt that it was poor economy to allow streets to fall into too great disrepair. As the Selectmen pointed out, however, "The unfortunate necessity of building two new schools the past year, together with the most unusual times ... have made us approach the 3% debt limit and we will necessarily have to continue our plans and work with caution. The considerable increase in the Town's valuation now brings it to $18,229,450, a satisfactory figure. The population of the Town by the 1920 National Census is 15,455."

On October 19, 1920, the Town suffered a grave loss in the passing of Winthrop Magee. He served as Selectman 16 times and also as Representative to the General Court twice. He was memorialized officially as one of the great servants of the Town.

By 1922, however, street work could be no longer postponed, because autos were becoming numerous and holes in the streets were becoming objectionable and dangerous. So a considerable road repair project was carried out, including the repair of Main Street which had been in poor shape for several years.

From time to time there have always been, and probably always will be, difficulties between owners of land abutting on the water and people wishing to use the beaches. It was this year that the Town settled one of these quarrels by spending $250 and acquiring title to the land and flats at the end of Bartlett Road. This ended that street-end-shore controversy and secured


to the people of the town the right to use the beach without question.

Because of the increased costs, the tax rate was lifted to $27.60 amid howls of anguish and with explanations by the town officials that it cost more to run the Town just as it cost more for the protesting individuals to run their households. The Selectmen on this point said, "The Town of Winthrop still stands ... in a good position, financially ... having one of the lowest tax rates of like municipalities and being advanced above the average in school buildings, streets, sidewalks, sewerage, drainage and water works ... and such material things."

In 1923 finances was still the problem of the Town. Citizens demanded better streets, more sidewalks and all the rest but objected to the tax rate being raised. So, as always, a sort of compromise was followed out by the town officials: really important work, such as repairs, was carried along, while a small percentage of the new construction demanded was carried out. lt was this year of 1923 that the "Missing Link" was finally completed and opened for traffic. The Selectmen reported that it was "a much needed and long sought improvement" but then, typically, added " ... however, it opens up some new problems: 1st, we must pay $45,000 towards the expense, 2nd, the widening of Revere Street seems to follow ... as a necessity, 3rd, the influx of traffic in the summer into our peninsula will make serious problems, 4th, (the resurfacing and drainage of) Revere Street from the north end of the Upland Road to the Revere City Line requires rebuilding." Everyone wanted the "Missing Link" built and struggled for some 20 years to have the Metropolitan District Commission do the job but after the link was built, everyone regretted the fact because of the extra costs and the new problems resulting.

Indeed, Winthrop because of its official carefulness in management was in excellent shape. Things were so well in 1924 that the Selectmen issued an official pat on the back for the Town, saying: "We feel proud that our Town is in the front rank in the towns of the State in regard to streets, schools, finances, fire apparatus and policing. Our school facilities, with the addition of the new Junior High School, rank second to none .... Our low tax rate, and our ability to stay within our borrowing capacity, has made the town financially sound. With the addition of the new pump, our Fire Department is completely motorized and modern in every way. . .. Our population ... for 1924 is 15,540; our valuation $21,458,000 and our tax rate $26.50."

There was one sour note in the situation, however, and this received official recognition in 1925 when the Selectmen pointed


out that the Town Hall was both too small and too old. Of course nothing could be done about it immediately or, the following year, when there was plenty of talk and general agreement that something must be done. The town continued to grow and to share in the general prosperity that was blessing the nation. Revere Street was widened so that six vehicles could pass abreast and other streets were re-surfaced and sidewalks and sewers were constructed to meet pressing demands. Still a tight rein was kept on expenditures and the tax rate rose but 50 cents while in other towns it went up to a much greater degree.

During 1927 it was finally determined that a new Town Hall had to be built and a committee headed by Elmer Dawson, one of the most valuable public servants the Town has been fortunate to have, went to work, selecting a site on Hermon Street flanking the Library. Plans, architects and contracts required this unpaid committee to devote a great amount of time and labor. It has been the work of public-spirited committees such as this one that has given the Town such an excellent establishment and provided such remarkably good and economical government. The Town has always been fortunate in having men willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the community. This year also saw the completion of the Great Head Sea Wall at a cost of $75,000. The wall was so built that, if ever desired, a 40-foot street can be run along between the wall and the foot of the cliff.

For the first time in many years, transportation ills became very serious. There had been troubles, as everyone remembers but, no one realized how serious the Narrow Gauge's plight really was until its sale was announced prior to electrification in 1926. The Selectmen urged the townspeople to regard the transportation situation seriously, pointing out that the railroad was all the public transport the town had and that most of the town, working in Boston, was desperately dependent upon the well-being of the road. The hope was expressed that electrification would help the road but a somewhat pessimistic attitude was expressed. Of interest was the fact that, despite the highest level of prosperity the State had ever enjoyed, the town's public welfare burden continued to mount each year and the Selectmen warned that conditions would probably be such that more and more tax money would be required as the years went along. Despite all these expenses, however, the town was able to lower its tax rate by 50 cents -- which pleased everyone.

During the next year, 1928, the last of the boom period although no one knew it, things went along smoothly. The New Town Hall was under construction, a re-zoning of the Town was


worked upon and the electrification of the Narrow Gauge did result in more rapid and better services as had been hoped. The Point Shirley Street Railway was abandoned and bus service substituted and everyone concerned was delighted although the old "Toonerville Trollies" as they were called, had become a picturesque feature of the Point that some people were loath to lose. In announcing the Town valuation at $25,654,300 and the tax rate at $26.70, the assessors were quick to add that the average tax rate in 1928 for the 40 cities and towns in the Boston Metropolitan District was $29.37.

Then came 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression. Of course, it was not reflected in the official business of the Town -- that year. Indeed, the Town was never more prosperous. A committee was appointed, with Frank K. Hatfield as chairman, to represent Winthrop in the forthcoming Tercentenary Celebration with the plan that Winthrop should take a very active part in the observances. The New Town Hall was officially accepted by the Selectmen in September and the old town hall site was leased to the United States Post Office, which planned to erect a modern Post Office, something badly needed.

The new Town Hall, the projected new Post Office and an awakened interest in re-planning the town's civic center caused other alterations in Metcalf Square, named for Richard Metcalf, who was one of the first Winthrop boys killed in World War One. He was the only son of Dr. Ben Hicks Metcalf, a very prominent physician and active and influential in Town for many years. He founded the Metcalf Hospital which subsequently became the Winthrop Community Hospital. The Square was re-Iandscaped, the monuments were re-located, new walks were laid out, and the unsightly electric light and telephone poles were removed, the wires being laid underground. Subsequently, the old Methodist Church across the Square was replaced by the present gracious brick building of classic Colonial design. Thus the Town's civic center has become one of such beauty that Winthrop has something more of which to be proud.


The first year of the Depression found most of Winthrop, save those who by then were unemployed or otherwise suffering from the economic debacle, unaware of what had happened. High Federal officials continued to issue statements that "prosperity was just around the corner" and even the best informed citizens believed that certainly the trouble would not long continue. It was considered patriotic to assume that the worst was "already over" and to act as if things were just about to return to normal.


However, there was unemployment and consequent suffering in Winthrop during 1930 and a committee known as the Emergency Committee on Unemployment was formed, largely as a sort of registry at which unemployed men could learn of odd jobs available within the town. The Welfare Department found itself faced with a staggering load and Mrs. Marion Johnson, in charge of that work, under the Selectmen, found her work very difficult because when the budget was set up for the year, the Selectmen and the Advisory Board had no idea of the great increase in expenses which was to develop. Similarly, the Soldiers' Relief and Military Aid Department, in charge of Charles A. Hagman (who, incidentally has served the town as Clerk of the Board of Selectmen from 1920 through the present time -- one of the longest unbroken terms of service in the history of the Town) found the burden of its work greatly increased.

However, the usual work of the Town was operated at about the same level as before with considerable work being done in street building and maintenance, sewer construction, edgestones and the like. The Winthrop Tercentenary Committee, led by Frank K. Hatfield, represented Winthrop very creditably in the Boston observance commemorating 300 years of the area's existence. In addition, the Winthrop Community Hospital began construction of its present building, the old wooden properties which were the original Metcalf Hospital being hopelessly overcrowded. A limited campaign for funds was undertaken to raise the $50,000 additional required to meet the cost of construction above the amount raised in the original fund campaign in 1926. During the year, the town lost two of its well-known servants: James Stewart Carr, selectman from 1913 through 1917, died on May 29; George Douglas, town accountant for 28 years to 1930, died September 18.

In the Fall of 1931, the unemployment situation had become more serious than had been thought likely, although it remained true that Winthrop, being a town of homes without any industry, was relatively much less affected by the depression than were many other towns where mills and factories shut down. Nevertheless, although the appropriations of the Soldiers' Welfare Department, and the Public Welfare Department were greatly increased, and the Old Age Assistance Bureau, under State Law, was organized, and immediately put into operation, there were still insufficient funds available. Accordingly, the Winthrop Unemployment Committee was organized under the leadership of Preston B. Churchill and this writer. A meeting was called at the Town Hall and representatives of all the town's organizations were invited to join in this new committee. The purpose


of the committee, fundamentally, was to make available to persons in need the generosity of the private citizens of the town. The aid was to be given in secret so that no public record would be made. The committee was organized with Preston B. Churchill as chairman and this writer as treasurer and executive secretary. An office was established at the town hall and a direct mail campaign for funds was organized. Probably no effort in Winthrop in recent years attracted such universal support. Practically every organization contributed support and funds poured in as soon as the need became known. An employment agency was organized, a door to door collection of food and clothing was conducted and, in strict secrecy, families in need were given fuel and food. Often these necessaries of life were given without being requested by the parties concerned. The only criterion was that of need. The work of this unemployment committee attracted wide attention and was highly praised by State officials of the State Unemployment Committee.

The business of the Town was conducted about as usual. Several storms in March caused extensive damage to the Beach section and an extra expense of $10,000 was incurred in removing sand and gravel from the street and in repairing holes washed into the streets by the surf. Revere Street was widened and rebuilt from Magee's Corner to the Highlands Bridge. There was also dredging to widen and deepen the channels to the Cottage Park Yacht Club and the Winthrop Yacht Club, the materials being used to initiate the development of the Point Shirley Playground. The Town lost a leading public servant in the death of Leon C. Guptill, who had served as Town Solicitor for 15 years.

During 1932, the unemployment situation continued to increase in gravity and the three members of the Board of Selectmen -- John J. Murray, Preston B. Churchill and Gordon G. Fullerton -- took over the work of the large, representative committee which operated the work the year before. This writer was appointed chairman and Preston B. Churchill, treasurer. Demands upon the committee were very heavy but the towns-people continued to support the work with remarkable generosity. Nearly $5,000 was raised in cash and spent for coal and food and several thousand dollars' worth of food and clothing were collected and distributed at a store donated for the purpose. The original policy of strict secrecy and impartial distribution was maintained.

In other matters the Town continued to progress. Considerable discussion was experienced over the plan to build a breakwater off Winthrop Shore Drive in an attempt to end once and for all the annual storm damage. Streets, sewers, storm drainage


sidewalks and the like were extended with the idea that it was better to thus afford employment than to "give" cash help to needy citizens. The United States Post Office was finally completed on the site of the old Town Hall and dedicated with considerable ceremony, September 24, 1932, under the direction of a committee headed by G. Wallace Tibbetts, former selectman. In March, the Town lost one of its most distinguished citizens, William H. Gardner, known to hundreds of Winthrop people as "Billy". He was a merchant in Boston but was well known as a poet and musician. His "Can't You Hear Me Calling, Caroline?" is probably the most popular of his lyrics although some of his more classical pieces are firmly established in American musical history. He also devoted much time to newspaper writing; his "OId Timer" column in the Review being popular for many years.

The next year, unemployment relief work was still operated under the authority of the Selectmen with Preston B. Churchill as treasurer and this writer as chairman. Some $5,000 in funds and in food and clothing were collected and distributed but the task in Winthrop as well as in all the nation was taken over by the Federal Government and its various alphabetical agencies. The Winthrop Unemployment Committee during the Winter acted as distributing agent for Federal commodities such as coal and food but the important change was the provision of funds with which the Town was able to carry out various public construction items at Federal expense.

This Federal Public Works Administration provided pay roll money with which, for example, a sewage pumping station was constructed. Sewers and drains were built, roads resurfaced and similar work carried out. About 350 men and 75 women were so employed -- work which required considerable time and planning by the Selectmen and the superintendent of streets, Timothy J. Mahaney.

The important construction during the year was the building of about 1,000 feet of stone breakwater in three sections off shore from Ocean Avenue. The State appropriated $125,000 for this and the town $25,000. The Town lost five of its public servants during the year: James C. Nelson, tax collector, 1924- 1933; William E. Hewitt, trustee of the public library, 1915-1932; Alfred Tewksbury; public servant in various capacities -- assessor, registrar of voters, selectman, park commissioner, auditor, moderator, representative to the General Court -- 1887-1933; Orville E. Johnson, M.D., distinguished physician, town physician and member of the school committee, 1909-1929; and Albert B. Dunham, registrar of voters, 1898-1933. It may be pointed out that these gentlemen were typical of the public servants of the


town in the length of time they were employed by or gave their time to the town.

During 1934, the Federal Unemployment aid was of considerable importance. Selectman William H. Walsh served as the local Emergency Relief Administrator with Theodore C. Naedle as assistant administrator. A total of $182,500 was supplied by the Federal agencies as payroll, for the 12 months ending March 31st, and in addition there was a weekly distribution of foodstuffs, including meat, cheese, flour, eggs, vegetables and other staples as well as fuel and clothes. The work projects. included filling and grading at Miller Field and Ingleside Park, the construction of drains, repair and reconstruction of the sewer system, painting of public buildings, various mapping and surveying projects and various sewing and clerical projects which provided steady employment for about 40 women. The Public Welfare Department's load increased from 172 families or 683 persons in 1933 to 246 families, or 738 persons in 1934, yet due to various items of aid from Federal agencies, the cost to the taxpayers remained at about the same level. Of significance to the town was the fact that the sale of wines and malt beverages became legal for the first time in its history. The resignation of William H. McNeil as chief of police brought the temporary appointment as chief of Howard A. Tewksbury and the subsequent permanent appointment of William F. Pumphret, the present chief.

The next year, 1935, the Federal aid continued of vital importance towards helping provide for the unemployed of the town. The Emergency Relief Administration was succeeded in the Fall by the Works Progress Administration. The Selectmen, representing the town, had a special study made during the Summer in an effort to map out a program of work which would both give employment and give the town permanent benefits, and a special town meeting was held in September to provide funds for materials to be used in the various projects, Washington providing the payroll. Nahant Avenue and part of Highland Avenue were thus built and rebuilt, the fire alarm system was extended, Point Shirley Playground was completed and the Lewis Lake landscaping was carried out. In addition, there were various other smaller projects, mostly of the "white collar" variety.

The Selectmen reported, "The Town is in excellent condition financially", but despite the successful efforts to keep the tax rate from increasing, the Board sounded a grim note of warning that the Works Progress Administration was scheduled for liquidation by the middle of 1936. If the agency did end, then the town would be faced with a serious financial burden because "we


have a very definite moral and legal responsibility towards those who are in need of assistance and encouragement, which cannot be avoided .... " Two prominent citizens passed away during 1934. Dr. Ben Hicks Metcalf, chairman of the Board of Health, 1907-1910 and from 1913-1922. He was a major in the United States Army and the most outstanding medical man of the community for many years. Albert S. Smith, secretary of the Board of Health from 1913-1934 and also a leader in the construction of the Winthrop Community Hospital. The Works Progress Administration in 1936 continued to afford a backlog of work which met the needs of the unemployed as much as possible. Streets were repaired, sewers and drains were built, schools were painted and decorated and various other projects afforded necessary employment without which the town's expenses would have been much higher. There was considerable criticism of the various Federal alphabet agencies, but the town accepted what was offered as the best means of solving the depression problem.

For many years Ingleside Park had been a serious problem, being a marshy area in part and supposedly "bottomless pit". Various attempts had been made to fill the swamp so that the park could be used at will in all seasons, but the filling had not been satisfactory. When the dredging of the Cottage Park-Pleasant Park channel was undertaken, the town was able to pipe in about 60,000 yards of fill at a cost of but $10,187.50 -- just a quarter of the total cost -- the State paying the balance. This fill killed the aged willows along Pauline Street but it did make most of the park solid at last. The year brought the death of Henry J. Barry, selectman, 1928-1929; town solicitor, 1932, and Advisory Committee, 1931, 1933 and 1936.

With 1937, the sorry condition of the Narrow Gauge became critical. The road filed a petition in bankruptcy and various plans were broached to keep Winthrop supplied with transportation. The town hired a traffic engineer to study the situation and another plan was offered by which the Boston Elevated would be required to take over the Winthrop Branch. This latter plan was both strenuously opposed and warmly supported. It was clear to some citizens that something would have to be done immediately, yet the majority of the citizens felt that the old Narrow Gauge would somehow keep running. Shirley Gut which had naturally filled in so that it was practically dry at low tide was the target of some discussion. The town sought to have the State dredge the Gut open again to prevent adverse tidal action on adjacent beaches -- but nothing was accomplished. The Work Progress Administration continued to meet payrolls on certain types of work and this remained a major help in maintaining


the town's tax rate at about the same low level. The Lewis Lake Project, the Great Head seawall and the Point Shirley playground, three such major projects were brought nearly to completion during the year and plans were made for other projects, although the uncertainty of the continuation of the Works Progress Administration caused much concern, as before.

Taxes, the next year, 1938, became a pressing problem. Changes in State assessments, over which the town had no control, threatened to boost the local tax rate by $3.00 and the threatened end of the Works Progress Administration, which paid into the town in wages about a quarter of a million dollars annually, also might mean a considerable boost in town expenditures. The Selectmen pointed out that the day was not far distant when the town would have to stand on its own feet and meet all expenses by local taxation.

The great event of 1938 was the great "hurricane" of September 21st. An estimated 128 trees were blown down along the highways, uprooting 259 feet of edgestones and breaking up 4,563 square feet of granolithic sidewalk. In general, the town escaped lightly but for a few days Winthrop was in a sorry shape. In regard to transportation, the Town Meeting agreed with the Transportation Committee that, if necessary, the town should appropriate money to subsidize the operation of the Narrow Gauge. There was considerable opposition to this plan, but it seemed the only thing that could be done to keep the road operating.

The problem of transportation was the great business during 1939. The Town Meeting opposed the Elevated taking over the Narrow Gauge. Many weary and endless conferences followed with officials of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn R.R. and also with the State House, and it was agreed unofficially that perhaps adjustments could be made which would change public opinion in Winthrop and cause the town to accept the Elevated. The people as a whole still held firmly to the belief that somehow the railroad would keep running and that the town would not have to accept service by Boston Elevated buses. Apparently, the townspeople were determined not to allow buses to operate on the public ways. Matters, however, came to a crisis on December 18th, 1939, when the Narrow Gauge requested the Federal Court to grant leave for the road to cease operations on January 10, 1940. A special town meeting was called on December 18th to take action but it was still felt that the road could be saved and so no action was taken.

It was just at this time that the town lost four public servants whose combined terms of office totaled about a century.


The four who retired were: Timothy J. Mahaney, who had held almost every office in town and closed his career as superintendent of streets; Harry W. Aiken, who was town treasurer for many years; Fred W. Tewksbury, who was an employee of the town practically all his life; and Warren H. Belcher who was chief of the Fire Department for a great many years.

As 1940 opened the Narrow Gauge was the topic of the moment. The Federal Court gave the railroad leave to abandon its service on January 27, 1940. A Town Meeting was held on January 8 which again refused to accept the Elevated service and adjourned after arranging for a new transportation committee. Probably at least half the people in town refused to believe the Narrow Gauge would cease operations. Another town meeting was held January 26, the day before the road was to cease operating, and $15,000 was appropriated to help the Narrow Gauge keep operating. This money was never used for at midnight on the 27th the road did stop.

Anticipating the situation, the Selectmen had arranged with the State Department of Public Utilities for 60-day emergency permits authorizing bus service when the road did stop. Several bus companies offered their services but the State Commissioners gave the Winthrop-Boston permit to the Saugus Bus Company, who became the Rapid Transit Company. This company commenced operations promptly between Point Shirley and Maverick Square with a ten-cent fare. The original permit was good for but 60 days, so on February 19, 1940, the Selectmen gave a permanent permit to the same company. The company also obtained a permanent license from the City of Boston despite much opposition from the people of East Boston.

The end of the Narrow Gauge left Winthrop without direct transportation to Lynn, although a number of Winthrop people work in that city. The State Department of Public Utilities issued an emergency 60-day license to the Service Bus Company for a line from Winthrop Highlands down Revere Beach to Lynn. When the emergency license expired, the Lynn City Council refused to allow the bus line to operate in Lynn and hence the Winthrop people riding to and from work were forced to change to Eastern Massachusetts buses at the Point of Pines -- and to pay an extra fare. After a great amount of difficult negotiation, the situation was eventually adjusted -- since, after all, it was an injustice to Winthrop people on the part of Lynn and yet the profit involved to the Eastern Massachusetts Company amounted to practically nothing.

In passing, it may be remarked, from the personal experience of the writer, that the bus service has been adequate if


unpleasant when compared with the old Narrow Gauge. Buses are crowded and there has been a most marked change in the conduct of Winthrop people as they jostle in the Grand Rush to get into a bus, especially at Maverick coming home during the rush hour in the evening. On the other hand, the bus company has a most difficult job because the bulk of the traffic comes in a morning and in a late afternoon peak and, traffic conditions through East Boston being what they are, the drivers have very great trouble in keeping to schedule -- especially when snow and ice snarl up traffic into worse knots than is normal. Early in January, 1952, work was completed on the extension of the Elevated to Orient Heights. Winthrop buses now operate only to the Heights. Certainly, Winthrop people are pleased to be at last freed of riding through East Boston. However, the crux of the problem still remains -- fares. As the Elevated extension was being completed, the state permitted the bus company to raise fares so that the round trip for Winthrop people to and from their jobs in town reached 60 cents a day -- 15 cents for the bus and 15 cents for the Elevated and the same on return. This was something of a hardship for many people. However, this matter is not history but news, and cannot be discussed in a book of this character, for it is both complicated and contemporary. It may be said, however, that the town for years fought with the Narrow Gauge to keep fares down from rising too far from the 5-cent ride we once enjoyed and the town has struggled with the Rapid Transit line ever since its inception to keep fares down. It is true that the town has not been conspicuously successful -- but think what the fare might have been if the battle was not waged!

It was in 1940 that the Town was forced to give over its attempts to have Shirley Gut reopened. The Town Board of Health considered it necessary to have the strong tidal currents restored and the five yacht clubs in town ardently supported the plan to have the Gut dredged. However, the City of Boston, with its prison on Deer Island, opposed the cutting of the road across the Gut and then the United States Army constructed a fort and other installations on Deer Island and made it clear that the Gut would not be opened again, for without the road the fort would be useless. So the Gut passed into history -- at least for the present.

The town in 1940 began serious pressure to have the North Metropolitan Sewer, originally built through the Town 45 years previously, reconstructed. Some $8,000,000 -- of which the town was assessed some $250,000 -- had by 1940 been spent on improving the old sewer beyond the town, and yet nothing had been done


by 1940 to help Winthrop, save ten years of talk and planning. An attempt was made in 1940 also to have the town construct and operate its own electric light and power plant because of the alleged high rates charged for such service by the Suburban Gas and Electric Company. The Town Meeting, save for a few votes, almost unanimously refused to proceed in the matter, especially after the Suburban granted a $30,000 a year reduction in rates. The year was marked by the passing of a distinguished citizen, Fred. G. Curtis, selectman and school committeeman.


By the time 1941 opened, the great conflagration which was World War II had profoundly affected the world's economic health. In America, the war had practically wiped out the depression -- whether for good or evil cannot as yet be determined, because, economically, the war may still be considered as continuing. Works Progress Administration funds were sharply reduced and eventually withdrawn. It was the opinion of those in authority at Washington that defense activities were providing so much employment that there was no longer need for the depression financing which had continued for so long. Briefly, the cessations of WPA caused some hardships in Winthrop, since a number of men and women had come to rely upon WPA work for their permanent livelihood. Before long, however, the men concerned were largely absorbed again into industry. Women were not so readily absorbed but most of them did in time find regular employment.

During the first two-thirds of the year, the town, after considerable discussion, voted to purchase the portions of the real estate of the Narrow Gauge known as the Battery Marshes, and the Thornton flats. The town also appointed a committee to consider acquiring the right of way and other real estate, such as the old car barn lot between Main Street and the Marsh, and the sites of the stations. The titles concerned were in a some-what confused legal condition and a great amount of time and work was needed to clear the titles so that the town could take possession. Further confusion resulted when the Army announced it was taking by eminent domain a portion of the right of way near Fort Banks. This action ended the possibility of the town taking the right of way for use as a circumferential highway -- as had been suggested.

For some time, during the war in Europe, Winthrop had had a civilian defense organization which, for practical purposes, was clearly inadequate to the needs of the town. Winthrop being an island of homes completely surrounded by military objectives,


was certainly in a dangerous position should a real or even a token attack be made by air or submarines. Thus, on December 4, the Selectmen called a special conference to consider enlarging the defense organization. On December 7th came Pearl Harbor and thus when the conference was held the following night, the need for a really effective defense organization required no explanation. The responsibility was given to Percy L. Sterling as chairman of the Committee of Civilian Defense and he organized a large and active committee in a short time, giving Winthrop the benefit of an efficient committee,

The chief officers of the committee included: Frank C. Gorman and Fritz E. Westlin, vice chairmen; Thomas H. Fielding, secretary, and John W. Fielding, Chief Air Raid Warden.

During 1942, Winthrop was drawn deep into the greatest concentrated effort this nation has ever made. Fighting Japan in the Pacific and Germany on the Atlantic, and having made our industrial plant an arsenal not for ourselves alone but for Britain, France and Russia, we experienced a profound alteration in our way of life. The greatest wrench came, of course, to the men and women who enlisted or were drafted into the armed services. Some 1,300 Winthrop residents were in the armed services by the end of the year. The local Civilian Defense Committee was greatly enlarged and strengthened and developed under the energetic leadership of Percy L. Sterling. Indeed, to the original defense committee, transformed into the Winthrop Committee on Public Safety, were added two other divisions -- the war services division and the social services division. Percy L. Sterling was appointed chairman of the Public Safety Committee; Frank C. Gorman, vice-chairman, and Edwin Lane, secretary. Then, of course, there were established the draft board and the rationing board. Both of these committees, whose members gave their time and energy in amazing amounts to their difficult and thankless jobs, performed admirably. With gasoline, fuel oil, meat, sugar and all the rest rationed strictly and very honestly, the war came into every Winthrop home, in addition to the homes who lost members to the armed services. Winthrop was at war. It gave gladly of what was required of it and marked up a record second to none in the Commonwealth.

During the year, the regular business of the town had to be continued within the limitations of the emergency. The old Winthrop Center Station, long an eyesore, was leveled away. Jefferson Street was extended to the new business section and the new property was landscaped to make a small but attractive park. The old railroad bed from the station site to Pauline Street was designed as a parking place, but after being paved, it has turned


out that it is used much more as a roadway. The Army dug a deeper channel in from the main ship channel to Rice's Wharf for use of army marine transport to the reactivated forts on the harbor islands. This new channel has proved to be of considerable value to the members of the Winthrop Yacht Club.

During 1943, the main activity of the town was, naturally, the day by day employment of its energies in meeting its obligations in the winning of the war. The town still had to be operated and thus the year was a very busy one for everybody. The work of the selective service board and the rationing board continued to be of vital importance. The town, once again, was very fortunate in the calibre of the men who gave their services. The draft board consisted of: Carl 1. Nelson, chairman, Charles J. Brown, William H. Walsh, George W. Downie, Frederick H. Clark, Frederick J. Muldoon, Government Appeal agent; Dr. Daniel J. O'Brien and Dr. Richard Metcalf, examining physicians. The rationing board was comprised of: John A. Orrall, chairman; Fred J. Devereux, Leslie L. Dunham, Thomas H. Fielding, Simon Fleisher, Edward Gluckler, T. Gilbert Hetherington, Lewis M. Hollingsworth, Arnold T. Malone, Henry F. O'Connell and Abraham Runstein.

By 1944, the town had about 2,300 young men and women in the armed services and 35 others had given their lives for their country. Bond drives, salvage drives, various financial campaigns, including the USO, the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, the Visiting Nurse and the Polio Fund -- all these and more were generously supported. Many women, some of them former registered nurses but mostly women without previous medical training, gave many thousands of hours of service at the Community Hospital. Since the Army had taken over the National Guard (militia), all communities were authorized to organize a state guard unit, and Winthrop provided itself with one of the best disciplined and efficient companies in the State -- the 13th Company, 23rd Regiment, Infantry, Captain John C. Ashworth. This company was not only organized to protect the town in case of military trouble but also to serve in case of need. Such a case of need did come during the hurricane of September 1944. The storm did considerable damage to the sea side, especially along by Sturgis Street and towards the Highlands. The cost to the Metropolitan District Commission for repairs to the boulevard was $46,221.

The year also brought repairs to the Belle Isle Inlet Bridge at a cost of $16,000. Notice was served that the Logan international Airport was to be enlarged, destroying Governor and Apple Islands and coming within a comparatively short distance


of the Winthrop harbor shore. When the development was completed, many residents of the Court Park section and adjacent area found the noise of planes objectionable -- but nothing can be done about the nuisance. The several bridges under which the railroad formerly passed had become the complete responsibility of the town and it was evident that the cost of maintenance would be considerable. So, at a cost of only $11,659 the bridges were all eliminated by being filled in permanently. Despite the heavy charge the town was under, the tax rate was kept low comparatively, being set at $27.60. The town was also notified that a surplus of $250,000 had accumulated and was invested in war bonds.

Victory came in 1945 and the town began to change over from its war economy to peace time activity. At first a depression was feared and plans were discussed for finding employment again, but, fortunately, as of 1952, there has been no need again for priming the pump of employment by another WPA. To help the returning veterans the Selectmen appointed Charles A. Hagman, clerk to the Board for many years and a veteran of world War I, director of the Veterans Advisory Board. The number of veterans returning during 1945 was far from being the total of Winthrop's contribution. Hence plans for a monster welcome home celebration were deferred until 1946 when it was anticipated that practically all of the boys and girls would be home.

On November 29-30 a great storm swept up the coast and Winthrop Beach was once again badly damaged, particularly off Hawthorne Avenue. Great sections of the boulevard were washed away to a total of some 300 feet north of the boulevard, houses were washed from their foundations and tons of sand and gravel were washed over the streets of the Beach area. The Selectmen pointed out to the Metropolitan District Commission that an extension of the breakwater was required to protect the Beach from this all but annual storm damage. The five sections of the breakwater then in use had demonstrated that the barriers protected the beach adequately, so it was requested that three additional sections be constructed to protect the balance of the Beach.


While 1946 was the first year of what it was hoped would be "peace", much of the town's activity was still centered on service men and the final closing down of war-time activities. The Veteran's Center at the Town Hall, under the direction of Charles A. Hagman, had some 1,000 veterans of World War I and some 2,300 veterans (the list is, even in 1952, incomplete)


of World War II in its charge. The Center was not only an information bureau but also a place where veterans could obtain help in adjusting themselves to civilian life as well as in their relations with the Federal Veterans' Administration.

Another veterans' need was for housing, and early in 1946 the Selectmen took advantage of the Federal Public Housing Authority to provide emergency housing for veterans and their families. On the old Battery Station site, three eight unit buildings were erected at a cost to the town of $2,500 and to the Federal Government of $60,000. By this means 24 veterans and their families were provided with housing at a cost to them of but $24 monthly; certainly not more than 50 per cent of the charges made for privately financed housing of equivalent character.

Another veterans' project was World War II Memorial Square, which was built on the former canyon of the Highlands Station of the Narrow Gauge. Bids were sought for the filling and landscaping, but the lowest bid was about twice the amount of money available. Whereupon, Fritz E. Westlin of the Street Department took over the work with town labor and completed the project well within the original appropriation.

The year 1947 brought Winthrop's highest tax rate up to that time -- $37. The cost of living was beginning to rise and so was the cost of government. After many years, in the Twenties and Thirties, of a tax rate in the twenty-dollar bracket, in 1946 the tax rate leaped to $29 and in 1947 it skipped up another two dollars. The proud, old days, when Winthrop officials provided adequate government and kept the rate down had ended. The town finally joined the procession of nearly all Metropolitan Boston towns towards higher and higher taxes. There were adequate reasons for the jumping taxes. First of all, money was growing less and less in value or prices were going higher and higher -- which is about the same thing and has the same effect. Second, people were coming to demand more and more services from the town and these services cost money. In the 1850 period, Winthrop spent less than $2,000 for schools; in 1947, total expenditures for schools were $489,847.10!

In 1948 the tax rate jumped two dollars more to $39 -- going up! As an aftermath of the war, veterans' housing continued to be a major problem. There had been much dissatisfaction with the original 24 units of emergency housing and it was felt that something better had to be done for the veterans and their families. At a special town meeting, June 14th, the Winthrop Housing Authority was established with Edward R. Thomas, chairman, Henry E. Moynihan, Lawrence S. Burke, Richard E. Johnson and George W. Thompson. This committee


at once went to work and devoted itself with most remarkable diligence to working out a start towards a solution of the housing problem.

With the 100th anniversary of Winthrop as a town approaching, the Board of Selectmen appointed a committee of three to begin consideration of proper observance of the occasion. The committee included: Frank K. Hatfield, Brendan J. Keenan and Sidvin Frank Tucker.

In 1949, the tax rate reached $42! One outstanding feature of the year was the work of the Winthrop Housing Authority which, despite many difficulties, accomplished a most remarkable job in constructing housing units near the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets, and a third unit on Main Street down towards the old car barn of the Narrow Gauge Railroad and towards the Battery Station. The excellence of the brick and wooden units speaks for itself.

During 1950, the threat of another war caused the establishment of a new Civil Defense Committee. The threat of war and the need for national defense caused the country to re-establish an organization something like that which served so well in World War II. During 1950 the town gave $5,400 for the operation of this committee and in 1951 another appropriation was given.

As an example of the growth of the town in its 100 years of existence as an independent community, the 1950 report of the assessors gave the total valuation of real and personal estate as being $25,148,000.00.; the total to be raised by taxation, $1,063,946.00; the tax rate as being $42.00; total of property exempt from taxation (General Laws, Chapter 59, Sec. 5) as $3,532,781.49; and the total value of town property as $3,262,240.00; total number of taxpayers, real and personal, 3,918; number of autos taxed, 5,551; total number of dwellings, 3,690; and total number of dogs, for a final example, 876.


----------------- Top

Chapter Sixteen




IN 1854 a group of literary folk organized the "Winthrop Lyceum" and in connection with it established a library. The officers were: President, William W. Shaw; Librarian, Warren Belcher. The Finance Committee consisted of: H. B. Tewksbury, John Belcher, Lorenso Tewksbury, G. S. Shaw, G. G. Belcher, H. H. Fay and W. W. Shaw.

The library contained some 600 volumes. These books were circulated and for a time the Lyceum was accorded the privilege of storing the books in a room at the then Town Hall.

As time went on the benefits of this library to the members of the "Lyceum" developed a desire in other townsfolk for a "Public Library". The Lyceum evidently took the lead in this, for, in October, 1882, they appointed a committee of townsfolk to consider the matter. The committee was: David Floyd, 2nd, Chairman; E. F. Merriam, Secretary; Samuel Ingalls, Treasurer; L. L. Crane and Warren E. Belcher.

In November 1883 there is a notation that the Selectmen granted the budding Public Library Committee the use of the room in the Town Hall where the Lyceum stored its books, for a free reading room --"except evenings when it had been granted to the Band". This Committee apparently functioned as Library Trustees for a time. Some books were donated by over thirty-five persons, the Tewksburys, Belchers and Floyds being represented. The Committee labored until May, 1885, when the town voted to establish a Public Library and elected the following to serve as Trustees for the newly born Public Library: Three years, John Ritchie and P. S. Macgowan; two years, L. L. Crane and W. F. Wells; one year, H. S. Soule, M.D., and David Floyd, 2nd. The first Board meeting was held May 26, 1885 in the then Town Hall.

Apparently some work had to be done before the new Library could formally open, for there is another notation that the Public Library opened January 26, 1886 with 379 volumes, in


a room in the Town Hall formerly used by the Grammar School. This location was occupied until October, 1896, when the Trustees accepted the offer of the School Committee to use rooms in the then new High School, which is the present wooden Primary School building adjoining the Junior High School. In January, 1898, there were 4,875 volumes, and the then Trustees were: Alfred Phinney, David Floyd, 2nd, Channing Howard, Frank W. Tucker, Isaiah Whorf and Francis A. Ingersoll.

In 1898-99 the new Frost Library Building, of which Willard M. Bacon was the architect, was built and furnished at an approximate cost of about $25,000. The new building was occasioned by the generous gift of $10,000 by Mrs. Eliza W. Frost in memory of her husband, Morril Frost, provided the town raised the balance. There were contributions for the furnishings from various sources, one of which was $171 from Miss Rosetta Key and her associates. Of this gift the building committee said: "This donation deserves more than passing notice", because it was the result of giving entertainments. The dedication was held June 27,1899. My wife tells me she well remembers when she, as one of the school children, marched in a column through the Library rooms in the School, had her arms filled with books, as did all the children, and continued the march to the new Public Library, prior to its dedication, with the books. So our school children performed a service, since the removal of 5,000 books was quite a job.

Until 1902 those who had served as Trustees of the Public Library were:

Trustees First Elected
John Ritchie 1885
Levi L. Crane 1885
Walter F. Wells 1885
Dr. Horatio S. Soule 1885
David Floyd, 2nd 1885
Frank W. Tucker 1886
Isaiah A. Whorf 1887
Charles A. Grant 1888
Channing Howard 1889
Nathaniel C. Fowler, Jr. 1892
Alfred Phinney 1894
Winthrop L. Marvin 1897
Francis A. Ingersoll 1898
Rev. Joseph A. Carden 1900
Dr. Orville E. Johnson 1902
Dr. Ben H. Metcalf 1902


Librarians have been: Miss Minnie K. Tewksbury, Mrs. Emma C. Tewksbury, Miss Flora L. Pomroy, Miss Bessie F. Cordes, Miss Alice Munday, Miss Ina E. Nelson and the present Librarian, Miss Dorothy L. Kinney.

It is natural to note that the three "native" families have been represented in the library activities of the town, whether private or public. The first Librarian of the Lyceum was a Belcher; a Tewksbury was a member of the first Finance Committee of the Lyceum, and a Floyd was a member of the committee for the first Public Library. The writer feels he has something in common with the "native" families, for when he first came to Winthrop in 1900, he lived in the Deacon David Floyd house, married a great-granddaughter of the Deacon, and is attempting to carry on historical works in which David Floyd, 2nd, Harry C. Whorf, Channing Howard, Frank W. Tucker, and others have done their part. Although the writer and the late Frank W. Tucker were neighbors and friends for many years, with a common interest in the history of Winthrop, they were not relatives as their names might imply.

The Library has served the town to the limit of its ability -- greater usefulness can and will be given with any increase of the means to do so.

There is a great need for a larger building, as the book shelves are crowded to overflowing and facilities for quiet reading in the Library are at present inadequate. It is only by the capable service of the present Librarian, Miss Dorothy L. Kinney, with her willing staff that excellent service continues to be given to a town of 20,000 with a Library that was built for a population of 5000.

The town looks forward, therefore, to the time when an addition to the Library building will make it possible to have better facilities for the adult reader -- more space for Museum possessions to preserve the color of a vanishing period -- and increased literary service to our townspeople. A few years ago plans were drawn for a substantial addition to the westerly side of the present Library. It is the expectation that when building costs are less prohibitive than they are today, the town will be asked to make the necessary appropriation to carry the plans through.


----------------- Top

Chapter Seventeen


ONE OF the most ambitious community enterprises in the long history of Winthrop in the field of entertainment was the Winthrop Pageant Association -- the inspired work of Harry C. Whorf. A series of these pageants were presented during 1919, 1920 and 1921, and the entire town supported the projects, buying tickets, acting in the "plays" and furnishing the music -- not to mention the many persons who devoted their time and energy to the monotonous, arduous and unrecognized matters of organization and detail.

The first pageant was entitled "America in the World War", written and personally directed by Harry C. Whorf. This was originally presented for Winthrop's Fourth of July "Victory and Welcome Home Celebration" in 1919 and was repeated by practically the same amateur company on August 8th. The repeat performance at Fort Banks was for the benefit of the United States Army Relief Society and as a testimonial to the author.

This was in essence a musical and dramatic presentation presenting the history of the United States in World War I. Part One, 1914 to 1916, was in two episodes; the first was "Peace and Unpreparedness" and the second, "Neutrality". Part Two, 1917, also in two parts, depicted "The Gall to Arms" and "Mobilization of the Country's Resources", Part Three, 1918, displayed "The Nation at Arms". Part Four ran between 1917 and 1919, representing "Victory" and "Welcome Home". Part Five, "Now and Forever", had three parts: "In Memoriam", "Old Glory" and the finale, "Lights Out".

The pageant was directed by Harry C. Whorf, James A. Reynolds was ballet master, D. A. Ives, conductor of music, H. V. Grandin, superintendent of construction, A. J. Pilling, chief electrician, Daniel Gogan and George Alcorn, lighting experts, and the stage managers were: Mrs. Cora Holahan, George Burns, Leon C. Guptill, Fred Ramsey and Walter Kelty. The committee's leaders included: Harry C. Whorf, general chairman; Leslie E. Griffin, treasurer; Harry E. Wright, H. Dwight Hall, Mrs. Christine Patterson, Mrs. J. F. Howell, Captain A. N. Harrigan,


Lieutenant H. L. Miller, A. J. Pilling, Sidvin F. Tucker, Mrs. Grace Boyson, Mrs. Sarah Lee Whorf, Mrs. R. E. Sproule, Captain D. W. Hickey, William Godfrey, H. V. Grandin and many others.

The 1920 pageant marked the formation of the Winthrop Pageant Association, established to operate annual pageants -- since the 1919 presentation had been So successful. The president was Harry E. Wright; vice president, Mrs. Cora M. Holahan; secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth F. Jones; treasurer Leslie E. Griffin; executive board, Sidney E. Blandford, Judge Charles J. Brown, George D. Burns, Daniel E. Cogan, Mrs. Hollie Dutch William H. Gardner, Mrs. Adele W. Howell, Christine G. Patterson, Mrs. Ella K. Russell, Mrs. Grace C. Shorey, G. Wallace Tibbetts and the officers above. The membership committee, who collected a dollar membership from many citizens of the town, was Judge Charles J. Brown, David Belcher, Richard R. Flynn: William W. Colson and Dean G. Freeman. The publicity committee was Mrs. Grace Damon Boyson, William H. Gardner, Reverend Ralph M. Harper, Frederick G. Dews and Harold F. Lewis.

The pageant was entitled "1920, or Faith in America", and was again presented on the Fourth of July at Fort Banks for the benefit of the United States Army Relief Society, Coast Artillery Branch. Written and directed again by Harry C. Whorf, it was an ambitious project presenting in a series of episodes the outstanding features of American History. After two introductory episodes, it ran from the Pilgrims in 1620 through the Spirit of 1776, Lincoln and the emancipation to World War I, and concluded with a dramatic vision of the future of the nation. Hundreds of amateur actors, singers, dancers and musicians all participated. Probably few community undertakings gave so much pleasure to so many people, not only the audience but the participants as well.

The third pageant and the second presented by the Association was entitled "America First", and given again at Fort Banks on the evenings of July 4th and 5th, 1921. Written and directed by Harry C. Whorf, it was for the benefit of the United States Army Relief Society, Coast Artillery Branch, the Military Hospital Aid Association, and the Winthrop Branch of the American Red Cross. The Association officers in 1921 included Harry E. Wright, president; Mrs. Christine Patterson, vice president Leslie E. Griffin, treasurer; Mrs. Elizabeth F. Jones, secretary; Charles R. Bennison, Sidney E. Blandford, George D. Burns, Mrs. Leon P. Dutch, William H. Gardner, Mrs. Anthony F. Holahan, Mrs. James F. Howell, Alfred J. Pilling, Mrs. Ralph W.


Shorey, G. Wallace Tibbetts and Sidvin F. Tucker, executive committee; Matthew W. Walsh, Alfred Tewksbury, Rudolph B. Bennett, Dion K. Dean and F. Temple Scott, membership committee; Sidvin F. Tucker, business manager; and Edward G. Richardson, Frederick G. Dews, William H. Gardner, Victor A. Davis and Richmond C. Stoehr, publicity committee.

Again written and directed by Harry C. Whorf, the pageant was in twenty-six sections, divided into a prologue and four parts. The first represented "Early Times", beginning with the Indians and running through the exploration, the witchcraft mania, colonial period, the Revolution, the birth of the flag and the establishment of the nation. Part Two was the "Era of National Expansion", running through the Civil War. Part Three was the "Era of Prosperity", so called, and brought the nation's his-\tory through World War L The Fourth and final part, entitled "The Present", represented the nation on the verge of what was to be the time of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.

This pageant was managed by the following: Harry C. Whorf, director, D. A. Ives conductor, James A. Reynolds, ballet master, Herbert Causer, Andrew Chandler, Walter Kelty, G. W. Tibbetts, W. N. Hall and Mrs. Cora N. Holahan, assistant stage managers, Alfred J. Pilling, chief electrician, Arthur E. Griffin, lighting expert, George A. Douglas, stage carpenter, Henry E. Keough, steam effects, Harry E. Wright, general manager, Sidvin F. Tucker, business manager, Edward G. Richardson, publicity manager, Miss Marion Mulloy, Mrs. Eddie Dunn and "Twink" Rowe, coaches of ballet numbers.


----------------- Top

Chapter Eighteen




THE Beachmont and Winthrop Visitor and Revere Beach Chronicle commenced publication on Saturday, May 27th, 1882. For two years it was published from May through August by W. S. Hanson and J. H. Hartley, Mr. Hartley being the editor. On January 4, 1884, J. H. Hartley started to publish it as a year-round, weekly newspaper. On September 5, 1885, S. E. Gowell purchased the entire stock belonging to Mr. Hartley's printing business. Mr. Cowell published The Visitor beginning September 11, 1885, with A. L. Slawson as editor until 1886, when Mrs. S. E. Cowell became editor. For a time Mr. J. H. Hartley continued to publish a newspaper called the Winthrop Gazette.

The Winthrop Sun was first published Friday, September 16, 1892, with F. J. Moses, as editor. Three years later Mrs. Hattie Tucker Floyd became assistant editor and continued in that position for a number of years. Ernest H. Pierce, publisher of the paper, succeeded Mr. Moses as editor in 1900. A new office was opened in Winthrop May 4, 1901, with Herbert E. Emerson as manager, later editor.

December 9, 1905, the two newspapers were consolidated as the Winthrop Sun and Visitor when the proprietor of the Winthrop Sun purchased the Visitor from Mrs. Cowell, Herbert E. Emerson became editor and proprietor; Ernest H. Pierce, associate editor for about a year and a half from 1915-1917. The name of the newspaper was changed to the Winthrop Sun, December 21, 1918.

Mrs. Jessie L. Leonard became managing editor, when the newspaper was taken over by the Winthrop Sun Publishing Co., June 26, 1920. She had been on the newspaper staff as social editor. Edwin H. Leonard was business director. He had had a long career in printing, advertising and newspaper work when he retired from the Sun in August, 1938. His son, Ries E. Leonard succeeded him as business manager, and Mrs. Violet A.Leonard became editor.


The Winthrop Review was first published January 25, 1919 with George H. Russell, as editor, and V. A. Davis, as associate editor. In August, Mr. Russell became the editor and publisher until July 15, 1927, when the Review Publishing Co. purchased the paper, and it was published under the direction and editorship of William H. Fielding and his sons, Thomas H. and John W. Fielding. In 1936, it was published by the Massachusetts Linotyping Corporation, Mr. Fielding being president and treasurer, his sons the editors. Mr. Fielding died in 1940 and the Winthrop Review was published under his sons' direction until June 8, 1944.

A new newspaper, the Winthrop Transcript, was started June 15, 1944, by Thomas H. Fielding and John W. Fielding. This was taken over by Robert S. Remer, August 22, 1946. Since December 15, 1949, Andrew P. Quigley of Chelsea has been the publisher and general manager of the Winthrop Transcript with Mr. Remer as editor.


----------------- Top

Chapter Nineteen




THERE is no mention in the early records of constables or police, or any police action. The first entry of any police action is made in the report of 1856, which shows an expenditure of $1.25 to transport a prisoner to Boston, showing there must have been a crime and an arrest. In the next few years there is no mention in the town reports of any police or even constables; the report of 1859 shows that $6.25 was spent for the purchase of five pairs of handcuffs. Again, in 1864, the report shows that $5.22 was spent for six constables' badges.

It would appear from town reports, as shown above, that the Selectmen must have appointed persons to act as constables, who acted as police, for in 1865 the report by the Selectmen states that several men were appointed to work several nights during the summer, and also states that the sum of $2.00 was paid for the arrest and transportation of a prisoner to the station house. The town reports for the next five years mention from time to time expenditures of money to maintain public order. In the year of 1869 a record is made of a trip to the Westboro Reform School of a young boy, which would mean a crime, and arrest and conviction, but the cost of this trip was hidden away, in of all places, the Poor Fund. In 1870 an item of $72.58, a sizeable sum for those days, was spent for police, without record. Mention is made in the reports from 1870 to 1888 of the appointment of constables to enforce the Lord's Day Law at the various beaches in the summer months, and the employment of special police on the Night Before the Fourth to prevent malicious damage to property.

In the year of 1888, in their annual report, the Board of Selectmen recommended that the town appropriate a sum of money so that they could appoint a regular police force of a Chief and a few men. In 1889, the town did appropriate the sum of $300, and the Board appointed H. W. Tewksbury as Chief, J. C. Small, H. C. Hamilton, S. P. Fales and P. P. Floyd, Jr. as


police officers. These men were employed part time and it is interesting to. note from the records, that the Chief received for his work that year, just a few pennies less than a patrolman receives for a week's work in 1952. In the first annual report of the Chief of Police, dated 1889, he reported 14 arrests (12 males. and 2 females), and the cost of maintaining the department was $107.00 out of the $300 that the town appropriated. One of the two females arrested was caught selling intoxicating liquor to some of the young blades of that time.

In 1892, because of the many complaints the Selectmen received from citizens, a regular day and night patrol of three men was established.

It was the practice of the Board of Selectmen to appoint, each year, all the department including the Chief, and the turnover in the department was great. From 1906 until the year 1910, there was agitation to. give the policemen some security by placing them under Civil Service, and in the year of 1910 the Town Meeting voted to accept the Civil Service Act for the police, with the exception of the Chief. The office of Chief was an appointive office until 1919 when that Office and its Chief were placed under the Act. The Chief of Police at that time, William A. McNeil, served until his retirement in 1933. In 1934, William F. Pumphret, the present Chief was appointed.

Prior to 1900, a police officer on patrol, when he needed to communicate with the police station, went to the nearest public or private telephone. In 1901 or 1902, the town placed their own telephones on electric light poles for the use of the police. These were located in four or five of the town squares. This method was invaluable in the early hours, when other telephones were not available, but was replaced in 1916 by a system which is still in operation. The system is called the Gamewell system, which is in use by all police departments throughout the country to-day. This system increased the efficiency of police procedure greatly as not only could the patrolmen's method of patrol be planned so that his route was recorded on a signal tape, but if needed he could be recalled to the station (or sent where needed). In 1948, the Gamewell system was supplemented with a two-way radio system, so that in 1952 the department operates with the New England Telephone service to receive and transmit calls, the original Gamewell signal desk to receive and transmit to route patrolmen and the radio to. transmit and receive messages from the radio patrol cars, ambulance and Fire Chief's car.

Up until the year 1904, all police work was done on foot, and in that year, when the Chief requested the town to buy a horse and team -- they purchased two bicycles. The bicycles allowed the men to answer calls for assistance more quickly but when


they made an arrest, they had to find a cart, passing team or failing this -- carry the man on their backs to the station. In 1907, the City of Springfield gave the town one of its old horse drawn patrol-wagons, and about 1919 this was replaced with a motor driven patrol wagon. Automobiles were first put into use in 1922 when a Ford touring car was purchased. The first ambulance in use by the department was a combination ambulance and patrol-wagon purchased in 1928, and was in use until 1948.

In the one hundred years, just past, the department has seen many changes in the 'keeping of the peace' but is proud of its record of maintaining a quiet and peaceful town to the enjoyment of all Its citizens, while at the same time maintaining a low record of arrests.


----------------- Top

Chapter Twenty



FROM 1852 until 1885 there is no record of any organized fire department in the town. During this period fires, what few there were, were extinguished by fire wards and citizens. At the time of a fire, the fire ward in his respective district had the power to command any citizen to assist in extinguishing the fire, using water buckets, hose reels, or any other appliances available.

In 1885 the system of fire wards was abandoned and a board of fire engineers was appointed by the selectmen as provided by law. This board, to consist of not less than three or more than twelve, must be appointed in April each year to take effect May 1. This board then meets and elects a chief who with the other engineers has complete charge of the fire department. We are still operating under this ntiquated system.

On October 21, 1888, the first horse drawn hose wagon was purchased at a cost of $394. On June 1, 1891, a second horse drawn wagon was purchased at a cost of $390. The first horse drawn ladder truck was purchased May 10, 1892, at a cost of $300. The first steam pumping engine, horse drawn, was purchased November 4, 1908, at a cost of $6,000. The first motorized apparatus, a combination chemical and hose wagon, was purchased September 28, 1910, and cost $3,800. From this time on more modern apparatus was purchased until at the present time we are completely modernized as far as apparatus is concerned with the following 

One pumping engine, 1000 gallon capacity, cost $18,000
One pumping engine, 750 gallon capacity, cost 14,550
One pumping engine 500 gallon capacity, cost 8,000
One aerial ladder truck, 65 foot, cost 14,595
One city service truck (ladder),
One Chief's car,

The first permanent fireman was appointed in 1898 and the manpower has steadily increased until at the present time there are sixteen permanent firemen consisting of a deputy chief, captain, and fourteen privates, also thirty-three call firemen. The


permanent men are all under Civil Service and must take a competitive examination to qualify for appointment and promotion.

The working conditions have steadily improved. The first permanent men had a day off in seven which was about 144 hours on duty each week. The town accepted the two platoon law which reduced the hours to 84 each week and in 1948 further reduced the hours until the men are now working 70 hours each week.


----------------- Top

Chapter Twenty-One



FOR nearly 75 years now Winthrop has been home to an energetic yachting fraternity. The several yacht clubs are not only prominent in matters maritime but also play a leading part in many civic and social affairs.

Winthrop would not be Winthrop without its yacht clubs. All summer long there are evening yacht races with big races each Saturday, Sunday and holiday. The whole program culminates in a huge three-day regatta over Labor Day when the Winthrop Yacht Clubs in turn are host to all the yacht clubs of Boston Harbor. Then, after the racing ends for the season, the clubs variously arrange for a series of dances and parties which run through the Winter.


The oldest club is the Winthrop Yacht Club. On July 18, 1884, W. S. Chamberlin, C. B. Belcher, Albert E. Prince, Charles S. Tewksbury, Clarence H. Billings, F. L. Woodward, George H. Payne and Ensign K. Tewksbury, all boat owners living in or spending their summers at Winthrop, met to organize a yacht club. On July 24, they applied for a charter to form a corporation to be known as the Great Head Yacht Club.

The facilities of the young organization consisted of a pier opposite Tewksbury Street. There was no channel from deep water to the landing so the boats could not be taken out except at high tide. The first clubhouse was built in the year 1886 behind the pier. The accommodations of this one and one-half story building were a hall in the upper part with a large room below containing one billiard table, one pool table and a large cast iron station stove. Between the large room and the pier were lockers for the members to use for storage of their gear.

The year 1890 saw the clubhouse moved from its original site to the present location. This time instead of resting on solid land it was placed on piles twenty feet from the street from which a plank platform was constructed to serve as a bridge.


The following year through the efforts of Congressman Henry Cabot Lodge a channel connecting the new pier with deep water was dredged forty feet wide and six feet deep.

On March 26, 1891, Governor William E. Russell approved the act changing the name of the Great Head Yacht Club to the Winthrop Yacht Club.

The clubhouse was enlarged in 1894 by adding a front that extended to the street and two bowling alleys. This work was done under the direction of George E. Leighton who was then the Treasurer. In the spring of 1895 the State enlarged the channel to fifty feet width and seven feet depth.

In December, 1903, the clubhouse was destroyed by fire. Through the efforts of Commodore William D. Allen, Vice-Commodore Samuel C. L. Haskell and Treasurer Edgar H. Whitney the spirits of the members were not allowed to droop; a new and better building must be built. Willard M. Bacon was chosen by the members of the Board of Directors to be the architect for the new clubhouse. The membership was divided into committees to go out and get bids on the construction or furnishings for the various parts of the building. No money was spent unless approved by the whole membership of the Club in a regular or special meeting. In this way all the members had a part to play in the design and furnishing and everyone knew what was going on. With appropriate ceremonies under the direction of Commodore William D. Allen the clubhouse was dedicated July 4, 1904.

The year 1913 brought a change in racing boats at Winthrop through the construction of six one design sail boats known as the "Winthrop 15-foot Class". Up to this time racing had always been accomplished with one or more handicap classes. These one design boats were built for racing and were owned by the Club the first year. The second year they passed into the ownership of one or more members for each boat.

With the declaration of war in 1917 a change was seen in the easy going life at the Club. Ten members and eighteen sons of members entered the armed services with two members in the State Guard. The hall in the clubhouse was turned over to the Army for their use, one unit of the Engineers making it their headquarters.

The mortgage of the present clubhouse was burned in 1925. This year marked the start of the second one design class, the "Winthrop Hustlers".

1927 marked the first of the series of three-day regattas held over the week-end of Labor Day under the joint auspices of the Winthrop and Cottage Park Yacht Clubs. These races are open to all the sailboats in Boston Harbor.

In 1931 the people at Point Shirley desired a playground


and the Club a new basin. Through co-operation between the Town and the Club both desires were realized. 1934 brought an enlarged channel sixty feet wide and nine feet deep.

The organization which started sixty-five years ago with eight members and as many boats has now 300 members and 100 boats. From a pier without building or floats it has progressed to the present large, well-appointed club-house with its large area of floats and equipment; from a bay from which boats could only be taken at high tide to the present basin and channel where any boat may come and go at any stage of the tide.


On May 28, 1902, a group of Winthrop men met to discuss plans for the forming of a Yacht Club. A committee was appointed to confer with the Lewis Estate for the purchase and sale of the estate landing, where the Winthrop and Boston Steam-boat Company used to come in for passengers.

The first club house was the ticket office on the pier. This house was used from 1903 to 1907. The second meeting was held in this house on June 2, 1902, when it was voted to become a permanent club and to be chartered. There were 73 chartered members at the time of organization. Arthur T. Bliss was elected Commodore on June 9, at the third meeting. A. E. Whittemore was elected Vice Commodore and, at this time, is the only original charter member now living in Winthrop.

The landing and adjacent land was rented from the Lewis Estate for the sum of $100 a month for 10 months, with an option to buy. There was some friction between the members about purchasing the landing, but on July 14, 1902, it was voted to lease the property and $15,000 in bonds was raised for the erection of a building. Bids were opened for the erection of the new clubhouse on October 13, 1902. The bids ranged from $600 to $14,000.

At the first meeting of Directors on June 18, 1902, it was voted to. "supply a barrel, faucet, and ice; also to hire a piano for three months for $30, including moving." The Board of Directors were G. S. Tolman, Orlando F. Belcher, Frederick W. Walsh, A. T. Bliss, A. E. Whittemore, and August Becker.

The first annual club meeting was held in the Town Hall on July 14, 1903, and the club had, at that time, 291 members.

The second clubhouse, which was erected in 1908, was totally destroyed by fire in 1926. The third and present building was erected in 1928. The club is active all year around, and serves as a community club, as well as a Yacht Club.

One of the early class of boats at Cottage Park Yacht Club


was the "I" class, and in' the middle 20's, the Cottage Park 15 footer was very popular, as well as the Coot class. The "I" Boat class was one of the most prominent classes in Massachusetts Bay racing for years but, through fires and sinkings, most of them were lost and the class finally disbanded.

The club served as the Coast Guard Auxiliary base for Boston Harbor during world War II. The Auxiliary boats guarded all port entrances, etc.

Mr. Channing Howard, well known Winthrop resident, was one early member of the club and is now an honorary member.


Organized in 1908 and incorporated in 1909, the Point Shirley Yacht Club's charter members included William Bradford, John Simpson, Bernard FarreIl, Tom Davidson, George Floyd, Eric Swenson and Frank Walker.

The clubhouse was built by George Floyd, one of the members, on a site at the Point next to the old railroad pier. The members of the club enjoyed deep water for their boats at all times, which made it the only club in the town with the facilities to handle large yachts on every tide.

The club membership was formed mostly of summer residents and the club was the scene of much social activity in season.

The clubhouse was totally destroyed by fire in the early thirties, to make it the third yacht club in the town to be so ruined.

A few members succeeded in building a small cottage on the original site but were forced to disband shortly before the second World War, and the club was sold and made into a summer cottage.


On August 12, 1910, Henry B. Fiske, Fred J. Karrer, Nathaniel T. Freeman, Charles E. Clarke, Ely Moore, Augustus E. Wyman, Gilbert W. Rich, William A. Clisby, Leonard T. Farris, Charles S. Winne, Hugh B. Shaw, and others, held a meeting at the home of Henry B. Fiske, corner of Main and Pleasant Streets, to organize a yacht club. During this meeting, Henry B. Fiske was made permanent Chairman and Nathaniel T. Freeman permanent Clerk.

At a meeting held at Commodore Fiske's home September 18, 1910, it was proposed to contact Jeremiah Green in regard to purchase of land fronting on Pleasant Street.


A Flag Raising was held on September 27, 1910, on the Club Pier near the southwest corner of Pleasant and Main Sts.

On September 29, 1910, the members voted to draw up a set of By-Laws. Application for Charter was made October 12, 1910, and granted November 1, 1910, and from then on, the club was known as the Pleasant Park Yacht Club.

The properties of the new organization consisted of a pier and float near the southwest corner of Main and Pleasant Streets, on the land of Jeremiah Green. On May 3, 1911 a License was granted by the Harbors and Land Commission to drive piles for the new club house on the present location. Work was started on the building in the early part of June, a one-story clubhouse was completed August 2, 1911. All piles and sills for the building were donated by Charles Rogers.

The clubhouse was dedicated September 2, 1911. The ceremonies consisted of a reception to visiting Yachtsmen, presentation of house keys, by Charles S. Winne, Chairman of the Land and Building Committee, and a Dedication address by the Hon. Joseph Walker, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In the year 1924, under the leadership of Commodore Louis DeGraves, new life was instilled in the club and things progressed very rapidly from then on.

The building was enlarged in 1926, by the adding of another story. This improvement gave the club a beautiful main hall, a reading room, and a directors' room. Since 1940, the club has installed a Commodore's locker and Ladies' lounge on the first floor. Later on, on the second floor, a fine enclosed sun room was added where the members and Regatta Committee can observe yacht racing, and which also gives a beautiful view of the Boston Harbor and Logan Airport.

August 2,1930, the Town of Winthrop held its Tercentenary celebration in which the Pleasant Park Yacht Club took a prominent part. In the parade, some fifty members participated with a large float and had a duplication of the schooner Franklin built on top of the float. During the parade the history of Captain Mugford and the schooner Franklin, and the Battle of Shirley Gut was distributed by six sea-scouts to all spectators of the parade. The Club was awarded third prize by the Judges; the prize, being cash, was donated to the Winthrop Community Hospital.

On March, 1935, the club made its first appearance in the class yacht racing game and the Regatta Committee had Samuel S. Crocker design a new boat which was accepted and was called the "Radio Class".

Nothing has brought about more interest and action in the


Pleasant Park Yacht Club than the introduction of the "Radio" boats.

The members now enjoy a private parking area for their automobiles, 100' x 60' in size, which is enclosed by a chain-link fence. It is hoped, with the completion of the Logan Airport, that the Club will have the finest waterway in Massachusetts, with 32' of water in depth at low water. This work has been completed.

The Club now has a closed membership of three hundred members.

This data was compiled by Commodore John W. Hendricks, and Ex-Commodore George J. Hamilton, and owing to incomplete early records of the club, some of the history may have been omitted.


In 1914 a dozen men living in the Highlands section of the town met at the home of Ralph Halford for the purpose of organizing a yacht club. They succeeded in raising the initial capital under the direction of the first Commodore, William Keith. The charter members consisted of William J. Clark, Eugene Somerby, Alfred Mortimer, Louis Leitch, Walter Grundy, Ralph Halford, Bert Statham, Bert Clough, Frank Gorman, John Orral and William· Keith -- many of whom still reside in Winthrop.

The Club was very active in town affairs during its early history and sponsored a team in the town bowling league for many years.

The location of the original clubhouse was chosen on the north shore of the Highlands. The site was blessed with a deep water basin but storms wrecked many of the members' boats and the others quickly moved their craft to the safer precincts of the inner harbor.

The clubhouse was narrowly saved from being destroyed by fire when quick action by the members extinguished a fire started by an oil burner.

The club remained active until the beginning of World War II at which time the members turned the facilities of the club over to the local U. S. O. Committee for the use of soldiers stationed in the town. The clubhouse later became a private residence.


----------------- Top

Chapter Twenty-Two



WINTHROP has been very fortunate in its banks; they have not only been successfully operated but they have attracted to their management men of sound judgment and probity. It may seem unusual that three banking institutions should have flourished under the very shadow of Boston's comparatively vast financial foundations. None the less, the Winthrop Savings. Bank and the Winthrop Cooperative Bank have done precisely that and seem destined to continue to do so indefinitely. The third financial institution, the Winthrop Trust Company, after years of service to the community finally did become a victim to modern banking development. Of its own free will and without the slightest difficulty or embarrassment to any depositor, this third bank recently closed its honored career and became a part of the First National Bank of Boston. The only difference to the patrons of the Winthrop Trust Company was that they used a check with a different imprint. Indeed, the shift was a convenience to the patrons of the former Trust Company because the imprint of the First National Bank made their checks of value everywhere and the resources of New England's largest bank became available-if ever needed.


Winthrop's senior bank, the Co-operative, is now in its 45th year, having been organized in 1907 and opened for business March 6th of that year in a small room in Wadsworth Block. There was but one employee (without salary then). He was Almon E. Whittemore, the treasurer-- as he is today although the bank now occupies half of its own modern building down near the old Center Station and lists assets of $3,517,243.61. Probably it would be next to impossible to ascertain how many Winthrop homes have been financed by this one bank; present loans on real estate total $2,460,506.40.

In 1907, which was a period of financial distress, Winthrop


was a rapidly growing town of homes. There was no co-operative bank to finance home ownership; the nearest such institution was in the adjacent city of Revere. Clearly there was need of such a bank in Winthrop. So, after some discussion, a group of men met on the night of January 10, 1907, at Masonic Hall and formed the Winthrop Co-operative Bank. The signers of the Articles of Association included many of the leading citizens of the Town-Almon E. Whittemore, Preston B. Churchill, Walter P. Simonds, Channing Howard, Joseph E. Davison, Ahrend C. J. Pope, Joseph L. Newton, Edward B. Newton, Edward J. Clark, Frank F. Cook, William G. McNeil, Henry Hutchinson, Herbert G. Flinn, M. Austin Belcher, Jeremiah Green, Charles G. Craib, Harry W. Aiken, Henry J. Wright, Henry M. Belcher, Elmer E. Dawson, David Floyd, Amos W. Shepard, Charles C, Hutchinson, Frank W. Atwood, Frank P. Anthony, John R. Neal, James C. Walker, Hallie C. Blake, Browning K. Baker, Jr., Edward S. Freeman, Henry F. Rich, B. L. Colby, Louis A. Radell, and William G. Grant -- all men of distinction and standing in the town, business men for the most part and men who were, had been or were to be officials and leaders of the town. The capital was fixed at a million dollars and shares were established at $200.

Equally important with the incorporators were the men and women who served as officers and employees, for many years in most instances. As said, Mr. Whittemore was the first treasurer and still serves in that capacity. Attorney Edward A. Thomas was made a director in 1909 and served until 1930. His son Edward R. Thomas presently serves in the same capacity. The late Miss Gertrude A. Manning (Mrs. John Newman), became a clerk in 1910 and later was elected assistant treasurer, a position she held until 1932. Miss Alice Visall joined the bank as a clerk in 1919, succeeding Mrs. Newman as assistant treasurer, and still serves in that office. Such terms of service are demonstrative of the bank's stability and exemplify the position the bank has held and holds in Winthrop.

Present officers include: Dr. Harvey A. Kelley, president; Edward A. Thomas, vice president; Almon E. Whittemore, treasurer; Alice M. Visall, assistant treasurer; and as directors, the above and: Edward A. Barclay, John C. McMurray, Clarence E. Tasker, Norman W. Davis, Harry R. Dodge, Charles W. O'Keefe and George W. Thompson.


A mutual Savings Bank -- one of the group whose depositors have never lost a cent of their money -- the Winthrop Savings


Bank shares the same bank building as the Winthrop Co-operative Bank and, in a large sense, shares the same management.

Like its associate institution, the Savings Bank has attracted the very best of Winthrop's financial talents and, similarly has enjoyed the services of officers and employees who have devoted many years. to their responsibilities. Such is Preston B. Churchill, the treasurer, who to most Winthrop people is the bank. He left his office as Town Clerk 28 years ago and has continued as Treasurer of the Bank ever since that time.

The Winthrop Savings Bank was formed February 9, 1914, at a meeting of citizens at 73 Jefferson Street. Present were such prominent men as: Ahrend C. J. Pope, Edward A. Thomas, Joseph L. Newton, Almon E. Whittemore, Charles A. Grant, William G. Grant, John W. Ramsey, Garfield L. Charlton, Henry Hutchinson, Thomas J. Hayes, Frank F. Cook, Lewis R. Dunn, Leslie E. Griffin, Alfred F. Henry, J. Frank Hodgkins, Allen E. Newton, John T. Totman, Timothy D. Sullivan, Jeremiah Green, Kilburn C. Brown, Elmer H. Bartlett, John A. Hutchinson, Elmer E. Dawson and W. C. Johnson.

These men voted to organize the Savings Bank and elected Almon E. Whittemore as temporary clerk and Joseph L. Newton as temporary chairman, both to serve until permanent officers were chosen.

Thus launched, the bank went quietly and carefully on its way and has continued to serve the people of the Town through the present time, accepting deposits from one dollar to five thousand. At the present time, assets total $2,918,015.59 with 5,355 depositors having a total of $2,615,599.12 on account, together with a surplus of $264,054.47.

Almon E. Whittemore is president, Frank N. Belcher and Brendan J. Keenan, vice presidents; Preston B. Churchill, treasurer; Miriam L. Flinn, assistant treasurer; and Edward A. Barclay, clerk. Directors are the above and Leslie E. Griffin, Edward A. Thomas, Arthur H. Curtis, Clarence E. Tasker, Harry R. Dodge and John C. McMurray.


----------------- Top

Chapter Twenty-Three



Head of the English Department, Winthrop Junior High School

The story of Winthrop schools tells of growth and transformation, from the simple village school to a complex urban education system.

THE earliest residents of Pullin Point may have made arrangements for schooling in old Boston or tutoring at home. The first sure record we have of a school in Winthrop -- that is, on Pullin Point land-is the manuscript roll of twenty-three scholars at John Tewksbury's house, starting February 3, 1779, and including four of his own children, to learn reading and writing. A few of the children came for arithmetic. The house was the old Bill house, dating from about 1637, which stood on the site of the present 29 Beal St., near Lincoln.

With the first church and the plow and sailboat on the town seal, the designer included a one-room schoolhouse which must represent that erected in 1805 on part of the lot where the town hall was later to stand. While no record of its cost or size seems to have been kept, it was said by Lucius Floyd to have been twenty by twenty-five feet, with plank seats and desks extending lengthwise, over which the scholars tumbled to their places. We have the statement of David Floyd that the people built in 1847 "a better building entirely from their own resources." By that time the name Chelsea Point was current for the area, and the Main Street bridge -- a toll bridge for several years -- was in use. School had been fairly regular, on the evidence of its list of scholars for its twenty-sixth winter term, 1840, which is in the historical collection at the Winthrop Public Library along with the 1845 list. In his address at the opening of the exhibit, as part of the fiftieth anniversary in 1902, Mr. Floyd mentioned a school kept at Point Shirley in the eighteenth century by John Sale, and a schoolhouse erected there in 1834, ten years before the building of the Revere Copper Company's works there.

When North Chelsea was incorporated in 1846, including


what later became Revere and Winthrop, the Pullin Point school was District No.2, and the report for 1851 lists 37 children there, 18 at Point Shirley. The first appropriation for Winthrop's own schools was $400.00; this grew to $600.00 in 1856, the year a town hall was built with the purpose of providing two separate rooms for the grammar and the primary school. Each of these two schools now enrolled over thirty pupils; and that at Point Shirley had more than fifteen, in a new one-room building.

Throughout the early years there was a constant changing of teachers. They were chiefly women; some came from Normal School, some had had no training or experience. They came for small weekly pay -- but went, more often than not, because of ill health. When men were secured, it was likely that they would teach just a season or two to get funds for their own further education. The committees of those days, elected for only one year, often commend the work done despite the wide span of age and level assigned to one teacher; they earnestly tell both the teachers and the parents what is wrong. Attendance was a constant problem: "too many marks for tardiness and absence." During the winter of 1857-58 the primary school of 39 pupils averaged only 21 present; and the committee in 1860 charged the mother with the responsibility of sending the child "punctually and constantly to school."

The same committee, questioning the need of more than half a year of school time for boys of grammar school age because so much of a boy's practical education was to be had at home on the farm, yet recommended for them a male teacher, notwithstanding the greater expense. And though the primary school suffered in "order and energy" from its teacher's ill health, the report emphasizes in italics, Not a scholar has died during the year. The poignant implication is not lessened as one observes the record of the town's payments to men serving in the Union Army and to their families requiring aid.

Singing lessons were begun during war days. A Mr. Wiggin, secured to teach grammar school, formed classes in history, physiology, natural philosophy (forerunner of today's general science course), and algebra; and in 1863 taught Latin. Despite praise and an increase in salary, he remained less than three years.

Attendance prizes were offered in 1864, and as a further incentive (in 1867) an honor class of ten pupils was formed, to be announced on Examination Day.

When the town again voted (1868) to employ a man for the grammar school, which had an average attendance of fifty, the annual appropriation for schools reached $1,000.00. This


was augmented by receipts from the State School Fund and the new Dog Tax. Rental of the Town Hall for preaching services, lectures and dances brought revenue but increased the housekeeping problem. To overcome crowding, 22 of the older children were moved upstairs in the hall as a grammar school in 1870, an intermediate school of 51 was formed, and 40 were left in the primary school. The next year's report asserted, "We practically have a high school," for seven branches seldom offered in grammar schools were being taught here. The season was memorable for other reasons, too: not one teacher resigned; drawing was made a study required by law; and the Ladies Union Circle earned and donated $125.00 for teaching vocal music in the town.

During the 70's the village schools continued to grow up. Requirements of pupils for entering Boston's higher schools influenced the list of studies. More systematic operation is indicated by the issuance in March, 1878, of the school committee's penwritten "Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Public Schools of the Town of Winthrop," concerning hours, ceremonies, playground rules, suspensions, and excuses for absence, tardiness, or "dismission." To these was appended the grammar school course of study, naming not only the basic "R's" but United States history, geography, algebra, physiology, and astronomy; natural philosophy reappeared in 1880.

Conditions for learning in the Town Hall were hardly ideal. Noisy repairs and alterations were made during school hours instead of at vacation time. Overcrowded primary and intermediate rooms prevented proper attention to grading and classifying. Pupils had to be advanced too soon into the grammar school. This met in an over-large room, the music hall, often "unclean and odorous" from other meetings. Bids for erecting a schoolhouse were asked in 1872. When the building was finally erected in 1881, at a cost of less than $6,000.00, the selectmen referred to it as "an ornament and credit to our town" and praised "the gratifying success of our schools," also calling attention to the increase of building enterprise on the "Heaven blessed Peninsula." During twenty years the population of Winthrop had almost doubled.

The wooden Pauline Street schoolhouse originally had four rooms, housing Principal Leonard P. Frost's grammar school of 34 pupils, an intermediate school of 45, and a primary school of 68; after reorganization in 1883 the fourth room accommodated a high school class. McGuffey's readers were among the textbooks used, and Worcester's New Pronouncing Spelling Book was the source for training local spellers for contests with grammar school representatives of Chelsea and Revere.


Under an act of 1873 which provided for supplying books at public expense, the Winthrop schools began in 1884 loaning pupils free books and writing materials. That year the Point Shirley school, having dwindled to four pupils, was closed and the children transported to the Centre, where to everyone's satisfaction they progressed much better, having the stimulation of a larger school group.

In June, 1884, after the customary public examinations, the high school graduated ten students in its first class, and the following June five more. Two of these fifteen became teachers. Early graduations included recitations and original essays, and music both vocal and instrumental.

Further school accommodations soon became imperative. In the decade after 1875 (when summer settlements at Ocean Spray and Winthrop Beach began) the population increased 118 per cent -- Winthrop being the second fastest-growing town in the Commonwealth. In 1887, after a temporary overflow room of primary children had become necessary, 75 pupils were assigned to the new Almont Street building, serving the Highland section. The next year fifteen were accommodated in a hall over the hose house near The Colonial Inn. And the Pauline Street School took on a more imposing look as its size was doubled and a clock tower added.

By now the town's annual appropriation for school expenses amounted to $6,700.00. The internal organization of the system was developing. To retain teachers, the committee adopted a limited policy of annual pay increases based on service. The course of study was printed for public information. The grammar school course of 1890 undertook the two-fold task of providing for both the students who were about to leave school and those who would continue to the high school. The local offering was conformed as nearly as possible to that of Boston, for a number of our children attended Boston schools a part of the year. Some promotions were permitted without examination, on the basis of good standing, but a child's standing would be lowered by absence and tardy marks. Today's children might be shocked to know that three recitations counted as a full day.

Such was the situation when Frank A. Douglas became principal of the grammar school in 1890. At the close of that year the town had eleven separate "schools" (rooms) meeting in three buildings, staffed twelve teachers including a special teacher in drawing. The total membership was 527; average attendance 396; and the high school graduated eight, the grammar school fifteen.

The high school was yet too small to permit full college preparation, but the possibility of sending pupils above the


ninth grade to East Boston had little appeal. So when the Shirley Street School was opened in the fall of 1892, the high school was moved to two rooms in that building. This move made possible the complete grading of the Pauline Street School after it had been enlarged in the panic year of 1893 to ten rooms, one intended as a music room. The majority of the ninth grade class graduated that year went on into high school, which now began offering two four-year courses, called the English (general) and College courses. A two-year Business course was established in 1894. By the end of 1895 it was reported with satisfaction, "We can now fit pupils for any of the New England colleges." Furthermore, complete grading had been accomplished and uniform courses developed for the classes meeting at the Center, Highlands, and Beach. (The sectional names were thus applied.) Supervisors were in charge of music, drawing, and penmanship.

These developments had been effected under the one-day-a-week direction of Superintendent M. K. Putney, of Revere. He resigned in 1895 to give full time to duties there; and Mr. Douglas, whose active leadership had accomplished the organization in the grades, became superintendent of all schools below the high school. That fall Ervine D. Osborne came to Winthrop as principal of the high school, responsible directly to the school committee.

Winthrop's first high school building was erected in 1896 -- the three-story frame structure familiar to more recent classes as the Center School. It was designed by Willard M. Bacon and cost nearly twenty thousand dollars. Besides classrooms, the building provided a second-floor assembly or study room of seventy desks, a laboratory room for chemistry and physics, and a large hall on the third floor with folding settees for about 450. Corridors and entry ways were lighted by electricity. Pupils donated over a hundred dollars for an electric "programme clock."

With the opening of the high school building, the public library books housed in the Town Hall since the library was established in 1885 were moved by two hundred school children to two rooms in the high school; the library occupied this space until June, 1899, when children again carried the books (about four thousand) to the new Frost Public Library building. The community set about using the new building for larger numbers of high school students. Twenty-one of thirty finishing grammar school in 1897 entered high school. Other indications of a general improvement in standards were evident. Both the "Business" and the "English" course had been lengthened to four years. Teaching vacancies at all grade levels were being filled largely by experienced graduates of State Normal Schools. Laws


of 1898 made compulsory the attendance of children of ages seven to fourteen during the entire school year and required a certificate of age and schooling for part-time employment of those past fourteen. For "notifying persons under fifteen years of age from being at large after certain hours in the evening," the town meeting that June established a curfew bell; but the date suggests its objectives concerned matters other than the perennial problem of tardiness and its interference with classes. Truancy had been reduced effectively,

The annual report proudly displayed two photographs -- one of the High School and the Pauline Street School, taken across the round pond, and the other of the "Shirley School" -- as the name was lettered on the new sign. This and the "Highland School" also newly bearing its signboard, had been enlarged by two rooms each. The town was by now investing over twenty thousand dollars a year, and in 1900 expenses passed the twentyseven thousand mark. Increase of accommodations had been needed about every other year. The staff had grown to 29 and four special teachers, and the pupils numbered 1,066 -- Center, 615; Beach, 194; Highlands, 126, and High School, 91. Like that of 1890, the 1900 census found Winthrop one of the fastest growing towns in Massachusetts. For 1901 further classroom additions were imperative, four rooms to the high school and two more to Shirley Street.

Of the June graduates in 1901, 45 of 55 went on to high school, and September registration in the town totalled 1,150.

To conform with the law, Winthrop now had to have a superintendent over all the schools, and Mr. Douglas was so elected. Seriously the high school problem of serving the whole body of students was being faced. Prepared dictionary study was required of all. Work was intensified; a stronger commercial course developed; home study assigned, in the upper grammar grades as well. Here the fundamentals of arithmetic, reading, daily expression received fresh emphasis. As a sign of the times, the vertical writing system in use for several years was modified to a "medial slant."

Ervine D. Osborne, returning to the principalship after three years' absence, adopted a plan of afternoon sessions for high school students needing consultation and make-up work. Athletics assumed importance, Winthrop soon developing champions in the popular new game of basketball. But the buildings were again overcrowded, though the rate of growth was slackening, and the laboratory was relegated to the high school basement.

While the building of a new high school was in progress, fire totally destroyed the Pauline Street building on Sunday morning,


January 27, 1907. Temporarily, classes were doubled up, the town hall being used for first grades. The new high school at Pauline Street and Waldemar Avenue was rapidly constructed, and in September opened its doors -- an edifice of red brick and Indiana limestone, with exposed ceiling beams in Elizabethan style, costing over $88,000.00.

By another September (1908) the approximate site of the fire-ravaged Pauline Street building was occupied by a new brick schoolhouse for the grammar grades. Like the high school buildings, old and new, it was designed by Willard M. Bacon, who also planned the Frost Library and the Center Fire Station. Its clock was the gift of Edward B. Newton; in whose honor the school was named. He was the chairman of the school board for seventeen years until his death in 1911.

Although sewing and mechanical drawing classes had been started in 1896, the schools had had no shop room. This now was provided in the Edward B. Newton School and a shop program initiated in 1910, later to be extended very importantly by Mr. Wells and Mr. Sheehan in the High School and Mr. Banham in the Junior High.

With the grammar grades in the brick building, the wooden building, renamed the Center School, now housed the first five grades in its twelve rooms. The Shirley Street School consisted of eight grades in eight rooms, and the Highland School on Almont Street had seven grades in five rooms. Total registration was 1,720, of whom 248 were in the high school years.

The high school had won certificate rights of the New England College Board. Courses of study now provided freedom of election for the junior and senior years in four curriculums:

Classical, Latin-English, Technical and Normal, Commercial. The graduates of 1909 would remember their class trip to Washington and probably the lunch counter conducted by the school janitor, Mr. Tewksbury. They would recall, too, the medical inspection of pupils started in November, 1906, by Dr. O. E. Johnson, and the scarlet fever epidemic that forced closing of the schools in the spring of 1908.

Good health had prevailed generally during the 80's and 90's. Health measures in the schools of those days included the special vaccination undertaken by Dr. Ingalls (of the selectmen, then acting as board of health) when smallpox attacked Boston in 1882·lawful instruction in preventive measures to combat tuberculosis; and the requirement of vaccination prerequisite since 1901 for admission to school.

In the new high school there was physical instruction for boys; they had a gym for basketball! A library had been organized, too, and catalogued (1910). Gradually the ninth


grade was merged into the high school, making complete the transition to an "8-4" system.

In October, 1914, Mr. Osborne died from an injury; he had seen the high school enrollment grow to nearly 550 and was expecting the erection in 1915 of the three-story ell which provided more classrooms and manual training rooms. His successor, Edward R. Clarke, fostered citizenship training. Debating, the High School Congress, the monthly Echo, girls' physical training were added. Evening school was a regular part of the town life now, attracting well over a hundred students. Stenography and Americanization classes appeared in the evening program.

Wartime difficulties were numerous: First the infantile paralysis scare of 1916 delayed the fall opening till October 2. In 1917 severe weather and coal prices combined to extend the winter vacation. Influenza kept the schools closed in October, 1918. Exhibitions for parents gave way to activities ranging from military drill, home gardening, and farm work to sewing, printing, and clerical work for war committees. Yet in 1918 the high school graduated 104, and 34 of them entered higher institutions. Domestic science was serving four times its prewar enrollment, a cafeteria had been inaugurated, and shop work had vastly expanded. Even in those days, however, assembly and library facilities were known to be inadequate, and because of inadequate salaries, chiefly, Winthrop lost as many as forty-five teachers in two years.

Fire destroyed the Almont Street schoolhouse on January 17, 1920. Mr. Bacon was again called on, to design the present brick Highlands School of ten rooms which was erected at Crest and Grovers Avenues and opened February 14, 1921. Increasing prices made its original cost about $240,000.00. A brick south wing of four rooms was added to the Shirley Street School at a cost of $75,000.00.

On completion of these two projects, the year 1921 passed without interruption to the schedule. Regular teachers' meetings could be resumed; courses given locally for teachers in service are mentioned, as are vocational guidance, school savings, concerts and a radio broadcast by the high school orchestra. Athletics prospered -- basketball, football, track, and girls' hockey.

The school enrollment exceeded 3,000, demanding further accommodations, and the town voted to build a junior high school. It opened in September, 1925, with N. Elliot Willis as principal, a post he held until his retirement in 1951, and as sub-master Orrin C. Davis, now the superintendent of schools. First housing the seventh and eighth grades, next season it welcomed a new seventh and retained the other classes as the eighth and ninth. With these three grades from the entire town in one building,


the schools were placed upon a "6-3-3" plan of elementary, junior high and senior high school.

Activity was the junior high school keynote. A school traffic squad was organized; a school bank, and many clubs, teacher-sponsored but pupil-officered. Soccer and basketball schedules were played. In the shops of senior and junior high school's numerous furnishings and' fixtures were made for this building and others.

At this period many practices since familiar are first recorded. Teachers were studying the project method; student teachers from Boston campuses came to learn and to help; Mothercraft was established, and public library branches were set up at the Highlands and at Shirley Street. Annual examinations for seriously retarded children were instituted. Senior glee choruses and operettas became a custom, the. orchestra conducted by Mr. Willis found a rival in the band which played on Fort Banks field at the Thanksgiving Day game, instrumental music classes were started. Safety campaigns of 1928 warned not only of automobiles but of the newly electrified trains on the Narrow Gauge road.

In 1927, Mr. Douglas, whose thirty-five years of service, thirty-one of them as superintendent, had spanned the development of the whole school system and included the erection of every school building remaining in use, retired and turned over his duties to Mr. Clarke. Frederic C. Loomis became principal of the high school, which could point to a strong record of seniors passing college entrance examinations. Three Winthrop men among four finishing at Harvard that year graduated cum Laude. And in the competition for business positions as they became more scarce, Winthrop graduates were being chosen by employers. . .

In the junior high school there was a supervised-study time added to each period, lengthening the day with the double aim of lessening home study and reducing failures. Growth of the student body required construction of a six-room extension, which was opened in December, 1929. In the use of the gymnasium for assembly purposes, lack of auditorium facilities had already been felt; but forestalled by the depression, this need still exists. To provide for increased school population, however a six-room addition was made to the Highland School.

Even during depression days, local teachers and administrators grew professionally through co-operation with schools of education, attendance upon national conventions, election to state and national offices. During the Massachusetts Tercentenary observance of 1930 the holidays for the parade on Constitution Day and that of the American Legion on October 7


must have delighted the pupils. In the tradition of making school facilities of widest use for desirable community activities, Boy and Girl Scouts used the buildings after class hours for meetings. Community organizations and individuals established graduation prizes for citizenship and specific excellences in junior and senior high schools.

In 1931 the fall enrollment exceeded 3,400, the largest grade being the eighth; the staff was reduced by five teachers, however, and retrenchment brought a salary cut of five per cent to all, plus the ruling that marriage of women teaching here would be understood as a resignation of their position. The high school eliminated post-graduate students, except those needing college preparatory work. The evening school, previously attracting many unemployed, was discontinued for lack of funds. The Winthrop Teachers Association produced a play that earned $333.00 for unemployment relief.

In the national celebration of the Bicentennial of George Washington, Superintendent Clarke served as statewide chairman for schools, and Winthrop made Washington's career the basis for many of the year's studies and assemblies.

In 1933, when the state began a program (the Chadwick Clinic) for early detection of tuberculosis, no town or city was found with a lower tendency than Winthrop to this disease. Since 1929 it had been the policy to give all entering children health examinations and to refer to the family physician any defects that were discovered. The immunization against diphtheria, given each November, had protected over 1,400 children since 1923, only two of whom had contracted even a mild case. And in 1935 audiometer testing became a regular practice for discovering defective hearing; at first the school nurse, and later speech teacher, gave instruction in lip reading to those found to need it.

Retirement in 1934 closed the public school careers of two prominent members of the Teachers Association: Miss Martha L. Eveleth, forty years a teacher in the high school, and Miss Lillian S. Wilkins whose remarkable record of forty-five years included service first at the Great Head (Where she had as many as six grades, in the one room over the hose house), later at the Almont Street, Center, and Edward B. Newton buildings.

For four years the cut in teachers' salaries remained in effect, though not so drastic as the cuts in some other communities. This and other economies kept local expenditures per pupil more than fourteen dollars below the state average (1935). W.P.A. projects meanwhile provided some renovation and redecoration of buildings. To meet the surge of juvenile population the Shirley Street School was rebuilt and enlarged (1936),


utilizing the two brick wings already in place, and providing an auditorium. A modern feature was the installation of a public address system with radio receiver in each room.

While the senior high school retained many pupils who in normal times might have found work, various. problems arose. To serve the enlarged student body, a three-shift lunch period was arranged. Supervised study became an afternoon routine for any with failures or absences to offset. Numerical markings gave way to a simpler system of letter marks. Course-of-study pamphlets were issued to aid pupils and parents in deciding on selections, while daytime and evening exhibitions of physical training, arts and crafts stimulated parental interest and cooperation.

When Suburban Spelling Bees were inaugurated, Winthrop soon became prominent. Local representatives won the 1935 championships for ninth and tenth grades, and the next year for tenth and eleventh grades and the grand championship as well. Winthrop received still wider recognition in The Nation's Schools, which published a full article on the official opening of the Shirley Street School, which was in January, 1937, the month when salaries were restored to the pre-depression basis. June of that year was the effective date for a law providing pensions for school employees other than teachers (whose state retirement plan dates back to 1914).

Elementary teachers co-operated on detailed revision of courses in geography and English, and a reading class was established for handicapped readers revealed by achievement tests. The long-promised shower baths for boys were installed at Senior High, and later the showers and dressing rooms for girls. After the erection of steel bleachers for 1,800 spectators at Miller Athletic Field, Winthrop High football achieved the greatest financial success in its history to date. More than 90 per cent of its student body belonged to the Athletic Association, and the Winthrop Theatre echoed with the cheers of the rally preceding the Thanksgiving Day game with Revere.

On October 15, 1938, the town was shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Superintendent Edward R. Clarke. His successor as superintendent was the high school principal, Arthur E. Boudreau, who had headed the Science Department for five years before becoming principal after the death of Frederic C. Loomis on June 1, 1935. Eber 1. Wells had also passed away in 1938, after serving the town as head of the manual training program since 1910. The head janitor, Arthur S. Tewksbury, had retired with a record of forty-eight years of service.

The new superintendent vigorously pressed the revision of the curriculum to provide for both the college preparatory and


the general student. He set up a Department of Guidance, formally systematizing and extending the efforts previously inaugulated to aid pupils in making adjustment to school, learning up to their capacity, and establishing personal goals for school and career. A permanent record for each pupil was begun, showing his abilities, achievements, health, handicaps, and personal interests. The guidance program has been a schoolwide effort enlisting every counselor, nurse, and subject teacher to personalize the services of the schools for the individual boy and girl. Specific attention has thereby been directed to the difficulties of slow and handicapped learners; and the positive recognition of the more able students has permitted offering to them wider opportunities to realize their educational possibilities, often through winning of scholarship privileges.

Frequently, pupils with special aptitudes requiring trade training beyond that available locally have been assisted to secure entrance into trade and vocational schools elsewhere in the metropolitan area. In 1942 there were thirty such persons, and in the mid-forties the number exceeded fifty. Meanwhile, local attendance figures consistently stand above 90 per cent of membership, and an average of 96 per cent was reached in 1945.

Even in the early war years while air raid drills, patriotic programs, and war savings campaigns had first claim on everyone's time and energy, curriculum-building continued to progress. For all grades uniform outlines were developed in spelling, English, reading and literature, and arithmetic. Since then, desirable modifications in the light of experience have helped hold for Winthrop an enviable record of sound preparation in the basic subjects. Typical of the undertakings in these fields is the operation of the reading program, where all teachers were given a special methods course, textbooks at varying levels of difficulty were secured for each grade, and a highly effective teaching program adopted, with an expanded time schedule in the early junior high grades where the reading interests and abilities of early adolescents need full development.

The war stimulated the teaching of social studies like world history and geography, of map reading and basic aeronautics and Spanish. At the same time, pupil interests were met with expanded opportunities in music and dramatics courses. A course in vocations became part of the ninth grade work for non-college pupils, and has since been made available to all. In the junior high school carefully chosen teachers undertook the task of helping small groups of pupils having marked difficulty in basic subjects.

Specific wartime activities were both curricular and extracurricular.


A unit of the Victory Corps was set up in the High School. Basic higher mathematics, physics, aeronautics, first aid, and chemistry were emphasized for their war service values; drafting for its importance in industry; home economics for nutrition, music for morale. A town wide pageant with music, presented at Miller Field, gave a thousand children personal opportunity for patriotic expression. School employees and pupils bought war bonds and stamps in amounts increasing from $50,000.00 in 1942 to nearly $106,000.00 in each of the two following years. While transportation shortages were acute, intramural athletics largely replaced interscholastic contests, and even the hours of the Junior High School were changed because of the emergency.

Not only did local teachers serve as special instructors and wardens in the Air Raid Precautions work, but teaching and maintenance staff, administration and school committee all furnished members to the armed services. While Superintendent Boudreau was on military duty, Miss Addie I. Willard, as Acting Superintendent, effectively headed the united effort of Winthrop school personnel to encourage attendance and maintain a: high achievement standard despite the pressure of outside activities and the temptation to leave school for work during the labor shortage.

Throughout the emergency, as noted before, attendance was high, though the unrest of the times made classroom work more difficult. The older pupils exhibited a seriousness of purpose, few leaving except to enter the armed forces. The Victory Corps operated as many as nineteen different projects. Specific training aided boys to qualify for all programs offered by Army, Navy, and Air Corps. The school also sponsored the written examination for CAA private pilot license.

All schools had surprise fire drills and air raid alerts. Library facilities for children in all the elementary schools were expanded, and the reading of music and part singing in the grades were taught with full vigor, while music in the high school continued under difficulties as the supervisor and successive band leaders were called for military service.

A renewal of basketball enthusiasm gripped the town as Winthrop won the Northeastern Conference Championship in two successive years and reached the semi-finals in the Tech Tournament.

The strain of the war years was acute upon teachers performing extra duties at home as well as those away in military service. During 1946 Miss Mary Byrne of the Newton School, and Frank E. Reed of the Senior High School passed away. In 1945 death had taken Mrs. Mabel Howatt Hurley, thirty-one


years head of the Senior High School Typewriting Department and Placement Bureau. There were also numerous resignations and retirements.

Miss Willard became the superintendent in July of 1945, following the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel Boudreau to continue his educational work in aviation. After a year as superintendent she herself retired, having completed thirty years of service here, as teacher, elementary principal and superintendent.

Orrin C. Davis, her successor as superintendent, brought to the post a long experience of local school problems. Coming to the High School as a teacher in 1923, he later was sub-master of the Junior High School and principal of the Highland School and then of the Senior High School, as well as serving as a personnel officer in the Navy. His leadership has continued the complex work of harmonizing the business and educational aspects of the schools.

It had become difficult to secure experienced teachers or to retain those already in the system. As living costs advanced, minor temporary increases in pay failed to meet teachers' needs. In 1945 major action on the salary schedule was imperative. The first such change by the school committee since 1921 was a revision adopting standard starting salaries, step increases, and maxima based on various degrees of preparation. Next, elementary and secondary school teachers were placed on the same basis. And early in 1947 the town voted to pay women on the same basis as men teachers. This move made the local system more attractive to women candidates, and further advances urged by the Teachers Association as necessary in face of higher costs of living were adopted in large measure, together with businesslike sick-leave provisions for school personnel.

Among recent developments in the operation of the schools are specific plans to assure every child entering school the most favorable chances of success right from the start. In line with practice elsewhere, the entering age has been set at five years and eight months. Winthrop has successfully pioneered in holding a pre-primary summer school to accustom children to the idea of school. Specialists in remedial reading instruction are employed in the elementary schools. A special handwriting system in the primary grades is proving its effectiveness.

Throughout the town, guidance activities, co-operation with the four Parent-Teachers Associations, weekly parents' afternoons and scheduled open-house evenings co-ordinate home and school influences for the good of individual pupils.

Revisions of the curriculum have become a routine. The three "R's" are strongly emphasized and around the basic core is a varied program. Phonics have assumed renewed importance


in spelling and reading classes. Reasoned experiments are made with expanded services and modified methods. In the senior high school years the curriculum tends to present more flexible opportunities for more students for personal growth through subjects which supplement the books, such as shop work, art, music, and dramatics. In the basic subjects at all levels audio-visual aids are employed --  motion pictures, film strips, records and recorders if available. Library space in existing buildings is being better utilized.

As for activities more often noticed by the public, auto driving is taught as a valuable part of the senior high safety program. A fifty-piece band, uniformed by citizens' subscriptions, has represented Winthrop in the music festivals of New England. Major and minor sports are scheduled at their regular seasons for both interscholastic competition and intramural on the athletics-for-all plan. The 1951 football season was Winthrop's best: The Business Department of the Senior High School effectively places its graduates in positions, and an unusually large proportion of graduates go on to higher schools and colleges.

The benefits of evening school have been offered to local adults for many years, long under the supervision of Walter H. Donahue. Expansion to include arts and crafts and English besides the usual business subjects took place in the 30's. Americanization classes were transferred to the Shirley Street School in charge of its principal, Preston L. Chase until the need diminished with the advent of federal government classes for aliens in 1942.

The evening school enrollment in 1940 reached 260 including 60 from Fort Heath for pre-officer training in advanced mathematics. First aid classes and sheet metal work were offered in 1941; but in 1944 the attendance was sharply reduced because of urgent employment and military service.

A very flexible evening school for veterans was opened in January of 1946, enrolling as many as 70 in a dozen subject courses. Twenty-eight veterans completed work for the high school diploma, twenty-seven in all used their credits to gain college entrance.

The regular evening school reopened in 1947 and in 1948 was greatly expanded as the Winthrop Center for Adult Education. Headed by Arthur W. Dalrymple, the Center has followed a policy of growth and flexibility. To meet the trend to recreational education, it has offered at least two dozen courses to an enrollment in excess of 300.

What about school property and equipment? Careful budgeting of purchases is a regular practice. Essential laboratory


and shop equipment and office appliances have been bought to modernize the tools of education. Cost of textbooks has forced purchases to a minimum, sharply curtailed to permit imperative repairs to aging buildings. Principles of decorative art and color values have guided the renovation of classrooms. Current shortages in critical materials and skyrocketing prices have prevented such planned expenditures as for new lighting and furniture. New construction seems a certain requirement for the future, as the upward trend in enrollment is felt in the elementary grades. Facilities the secondary schools need -- especially gymnasium, home economics, and auditorium facilities -- would benefit the whole town. Now operated at an annual cost of over half a million dollars, Winthrop schools represent a big business enterprise.


----------------- Top

Chapter Twenty-Four



ANY history of the Winthrop Community Hospital would be incomplete without a reference to the beloved physician who erected and conducted the first hospital in Winthrop, Dr. Ben Hicks Metcalf. Graduating from the Harvard Medical School in 1894, serving an internship at the Boston City Hospital and acting as assistant port physician for Boston Harbor, Dr. Metcalf became a resident of Winthrop in 1897 and began his long and successful practice.

The good doctor, when answering calls, found no facilities for proper care of the sick. The small 15 bed hospital erected by him at the turn of the century was Dr. Metcalf's response to practical community needs.

For the next fifteen years the Metcalf Hospital met this need, and served the growing Town of Winthrop without becoming too great a financial burden upon the good doctor. Here was established the first training school for nurses. Here, also, many of the young physicians taking up practice in a rapidly growing community found an open door and a cooperative workshop.

Throughout the intervening years, great and revolutionary changes were being effected, the consequences of which, even those then living and participating, were unaware.

The Metcalf Hospital was affected by World War 1. Observe the change -- tragic, indeed -- wrought within the lives of those responsible for the Hospital. Dr. Metcalf had an only son, Richard F., then a student at the Harvard Medical School. No doubt, the father looked forward to the time when Dick would take his place as the community physician, carrying on his work and his hospital. Dick laid aside his books and went to war. In 1918 he gave up his life on the battlefield.

The father, too went forth to war, as did his fine associate, Dr. Raymond B. Parker, both serving for eighteen months overseas. Dr. Metcalf was gassed twice and on his return home was so ill that, in order to live, he was forced to reside in a higher and drier climate than Winthrop's.

While Doctors Metcalf and Parker were in war service,


the hospital carried on as best it could under the direction of Miss Sally Laidlaw, superintendent and Miss Virginia Wry, secretary.

Few, if any, in the community realized how serious was the condition of Dr. Metcalf's health, and so many of his patients and friends expected him to resume practice and carryon the hospital. At the time even the good doctor himself assumed he could go on, and handicapped as he was, made the attempt. It was without avail, for slowly he came to the realization that he could not go on, and in the early fall of 1921 announced the necessity of closing the hospital on the 31st of December.

The community was shocked by this announcement. The first reaction, particularly among the many patients of Dr. Metcalf, was "What will we do without Dr. Metcalf?" Soon a few representative citizens were beginning to realize the importance of the hospital to the town, the nearest other hospital being in Chelsea, five miles away. Moreover, increasing automobile travel and increasing population spelled an increasing number of accidents. There was also an increasing tendency to utilize hospitals for childbirth. With this in mind, thinking citizens who hitherto had evinced little or no interest in hospitals in general and in the Metcalf Hospital in particular began to ask themselves the question, "What are we going to do?" The situation was made more difficult by an articulate and influential group in the community who countered in rebuttal, "You are being governed by your fears. Winthrop is a healthy community. Boston is well equipped with hospitals. Winthrop does not need a hospital. Hospitals cost a lot of money. Why add another financial burden upon a none-too-rich community? The Metcalf Hospital is a wooden fire trap. It is located on a busy and noisy thoroughfare. If we are to have a hospital, let us have a new one on a suitable site in a less congested area."

A number of citizens under the chairmanship of one of Winthrop's first citizens, Elmer E. Dawson, began to hold meetings, and a sincere effort was made to bring about a reasonable degree of unanimity as to the decision to he made. Finally, opinion crystallized sufficiently to warrant the calling of a public meeting at the Winthrop Theatre on Sunday afternoon, January 8. This was attended by 200 citizens. Harry Sperber, resident of the Beach section, pledged $1,000. Thereupon, Matthew C. Walsh, Allen E. Newton, and Harry E. Sperber, were elected as a committee to solicit cash and pledges for the project. At the next meeting on January 22, this committee reported that it had held eight meetings, had consulted with physicians, with architects as well as with many citizens, and that because there was


a division of opinion as to the course to be followed, it was submitting two plans:

A -- to remodel the Metcalf Hospital for 30 beds at a cost of $52,400 (including cost of real estate at $35,000, cost of alterations and improvements at $19,900, and working capital of $7,500.) .

B -- a new fireproof hospital for 30 beds at a cost of $110,000 (including cost of new site at $7,500, building at $99,000, furnishings at $5,000 and a working capital at $7,000).

As a result of this meeting the committee sent out 3,900 letters with a report of studies, plan, estimates of cost and a reply postal card requesting an expression of preference and also an expression of willingness to contribute. The committee also requested attendance at a public meeting to be held at the Winthrop Theatre on February 12. On that day 300 citizens assembled. The report from the questionnaire was as follows:

673 persons replied.
444 persons favored Plan A, and of them
107 persons would contribute.
171 persons favored Plan B, and of them
53 persons would contribute.
58 persons did not favor either plan.

After the report had been read it was voted that the report be accepted, that six members be added to the committee, that the committee be authorized to solicit funds and have full power to put into effect Plan A.

The committee included Elmer E. Dawson (chairman), William H. Gardner (secretary), Harriet D. Ahern, Sidvin Frank Tucker, Leon C. Guptill, Frank G. Dewes, Mabel Davison, Matthew C. Walsh, Lloyd A. Patrick, Dr. Bernard W. Carey, Judge Charles J. Brown, Preston B. Churchill, Albert S. Smith, William N. Jenkins, Harry Sperber, Thomas W. Berridge, Eugene P. Whittier.

On February 22, 1922, Elmer E. Dawson resigned as chairman due to pressure of other duties. The following officers were elected: Preston B. Churchill (chairman), Albert B. Smith (secretary), William H. Gardner (treasurer). A campaign committee to put into effect Plan A was appointed as follows: Sidvin Frank Tucker, Harriet D. Ahern, Mabel Davison, Eugene P. Whittier,Thomas W. Berridge, Harry Sperber, and Preston B. Churchill.

March 11, 1922 -- Committee commences a campaign for funds to put into effect Plan A. Object -- $60,000 to include cost of Nurses' Home. Dates April 5-April 15.


April 15 -- Committee reports slow progress. Total sum subscribed in cash and pledges-$10,000.

April 25 -- Board of Trade, under the leadership of Charles R. Bennison, announces a Hospital Benefit Dinner to be held at the Cliff House. Several of the fraternal and civic organizations pledge support.

May 17 -- Maypole Dance at Cliff House under auspices of Board of Trade. Entire proceeds to go to Hospital Fund. Cost of use of hotel and orchestra donated by Cliff House Ass'n and Board of Trade.

June I -- In spite of hard work on the part of more than 100 persons and the assistance of churches, clubs, fraternal bodies, etc., only slow progress was being made in raising amount of money needed to purchase Metcalf property. Total receipts (cash and pledges)-$20,000. The formation of the Hospital Committee and its efforts to raise money for the taking over of the property influenced Dr. Metcalf to postpone the closing of the hospital until July 1.

July 15 -- A new start is announced by the Hospital Committee under the chairmanship of G. Wallace Tibbetts to raise a more modest objective ($35,000) under the professional direction of Frederic Courtney Barbour of New York.

August -- At a Victory Dinner held at the Cliff House a seven-day campaign showed additional subscriptions received in the sum of $16,950.25.

September 23 -- Public Farewell Reception to Dr. Metcalf.

Prior thereto agreement of sale executed by Dr. Metcalf and the Hospital Committee.

September 29 -- Hospital received its charter.

October 10 -- Organizational Meeting of Corporation. Trustees elected for 3 years: Allen E. Newton, G. Wallace Tibbetts, Bernard W. Carey, M.D., Frederic G. Dews, Israel Sisson, Elmer E. Dawson, Harriet D. Ahern, William H. Gardner. Trustees elected for 2 years: Nelson Floyd, Alphonso W. Belcher, J. Stewart Carr, Sidney E. Blandford, Maude R. McClintock, Eugene P. Whittier, Albert S. Smith, Leslie E. Griffin. Trustees elected for 1 year: Alice S. Farquhar, Bernard F. McElligott, Artemus B. Reade, Thomas Davidson, Thomas W. Berridge, George W. Coldsmith, Charles H. Whitney, William N. Jenkins. Secretary: Sidvin Frank Tucker.
Treasurer: Preston B. Churchill:
Approximately $19,000 was paid in on this date.

October 11 -- Trustees elect for President-Eugene P. Whittier; 1st Vice-President-Harriet D. Ahern; and 2nd Vice-President-Allen E. Newton. Committee named to organize a


Ladies' Hospital Guild; Harriet D. Ahern, Alice S. Farquhar, Maude R. McClintock.

October 19 -- Title passed from Dr. Metcalf to Winthrop Community Hospital. Purchase price $25,000-$15,000 cash and balance on mortgage.

October 23 -- First Executive Committee appointed: Frederic G. Dews, William H. Gardner, Dr. Bernard W. Carey, G. Wallace Tibbetts, Preston B. Churchill, Sidvin Frank Tucker, Eugene P. Whittier. Mary J. Jahnle, in charge of Maternity Unit at Malden Hospital, appointed Superintendent. Work of alterations renovations, and general improvement of hospital having been started a month previously, plans for reopening the hospital shortly after New Years were announced.

January 1-2, 1923 -- 0pen House in renovated hospital building.

January 3 -- First day of operation. Mrs. Nina Kempton was first patient. Charles E. Holmes was first male patient. A son to Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Pierce, was first child born in new hospital.

February 9, 1923 -- Hospital statistics for first 29 days show 28 admissions with a daily average of 10 patients. The need of segregation of maternity cases and babies is evident from beginning. Plans are made to equip 170 Winthrop Street, now used as Nurses' Home (formerly Metcalf residence) as Maternity Unit with delivery room and crèche. Cost estimated at $1,277.25.

March 3 -- Appeal to subscribers to remit as promptly as possible m order to utilize 170 Winthrop Street as a Maternity Unit provision must be made to house nurses.

March 30 - Deed conveying 68 Fremont Street (rear of 174 Winthrop Street) to Hospital Corporation, purchase made possible by the generosity of several good friends of the hospital who appreciate the very great advantage that will accrue to the hospital.

May 7 -- First Linen Ball under the auspices of the recently incorporated Winthrop Community Hospital Aid Ass'n -- a great social and financial success under the chairmanship of Mrs. Ahern. Officers: President, Maude R. McClintock; Vice-President, Harriet D. Ahern; Secretary, Alice S. Farquhar; Treasurer, Mrs. Louis A. Radell.

October 10 -- Annual Meeting of Corporation (10 months in operation) 395 patients were admitted. Three buildings were renovated and equipped and put in operation. Total assets -- $55,197.03; Liabilities -- $16,970.06 (including balance due on mortgage $15,790) net worth -- $38,226.97. Profit and loss account showed total operating income of $17,648.04 and expense


of $18,701.11 with a net loss including interest paid of $1,412.42, a record of real accomplishment against great odds. Quoting from the annual report: "While on every hand we have received the highest praise for the care accorded our patients, we realize our present plant is inadequate; we have neither the available room nor the facilities to care properly for a large number of patients. The buildings are lacking in means of convenience to provide the quiet, the comfort, and the service to more than our present capacity. Much of the time during the past three months the hospital has been crowded."

In spite of the difficulties experienced in the accomplishments so far attained, the Hospital Trustees realized, much sooner than was expected, that the hospital would have to be enlarged or a new site and new building would become necessary in a not too far distant future. During the fall, a desirable hospital site became available on Lincoln Street. Large and suitable areas even then being extremely scarce, and no prospect of funds becoming available, the Trustees approved the signing of an agreement of sale for the purchase of the Tocker Farm (so called) lot of 76,000 square feet.

April 8, 1924 -- Title passed from Matilda Tocker to Trustees of Winthrop Community Hospital.

October 10 -- In anticipation of a campaign to raise funds for a new hospital and realizing the handicap of the present type of corporation (stock corporation) steps were taken to reorganize the hospital into a corporation of members. To G. Wallace Tibbetts and Leon P. Guptill was assigned the responsibility of effecting the change.

January 21, 1925 -- Annual Meeting, first under the new charter. A stock corporation for a charitable non-profit institution is contradictory. Many subscribers objected; a few even took their stock. With the hospital constantly requiring additional funds, issuance of stock is cumbersome and expensive. Tax officials are confused and question the non-profit character of the institution so long as it continues as a stock corporation entitled to tax exemption. The hospital requires a renewing means of membership to provide an annual income and to give new life to the institution. Consequently, with the same officers and membership being divided into four groups; Annual ($5), contributing ($10), sustaining ($25), all annual memberships; and life ($250). Each member has one vote in the corporation meetings.

The report of 27 months' operation of the hospital shows 1,325 admissions; 228 births, 182 accident cases; in 11 months 169 cases in X-Ray Department. Daily average has been as high as 41 patients. In May of 1923 the Metcalf Home was


opened, providing 10 more beds. Experience shows 75% of patients request private rooms.

Not only has the need for a hospital in Winthrop been proven beyond any question of doubt; it is evident now that the demand for beds cannot be met without a new plant. The site having been secured, the next step was to decide upon the type of building to be erected, the cost of it, and equipment. To that end the Executive Committee was authorized by the Trustees to consult an architect and submit a tentative design and estimate of costs.

May 12, 1925 -- The Trustees decide to start a campaign in the fall to raise $150,000.

August 29, 1925 -- The well-known firm of Stevens and Lee of Boston and Toronto is selected as architects of the proposed new hospital. A bulletin is being sent to every resident in town giving the citizens much interesting information. The active support and cooperation of David W. Armstrong, Superintendent of the. Worcester Boys' Club and manager of the fund raising campaign of the Worcester Welfare Federation is enlisted by the Hospital. Campaign Headquarters are opened in Odd Fellows Hall.

September 27 -- New hospital campaign opens with a mass meeting in Winthrop Theatre. All churches give up evening services so that all may attend. 9th Coast Artillery Band provides music. Speakers are Congressman Charles L. Underhill, Somerville; David W. Armstrong, author of plan; and Eugene P. Whittier. It was decided to hold a 10-day campaign with report meetings daily. Campaign closed with a mammoth celebration. Church bells rang. The Army Band and Boy Scouts led a parade of nearly 200 cars ablaze with red lights. This was generally conceded to be the greatest event in Winthrop since the World War One Armistice Day. Final figures for the campaign were $154,784.50 in contributions and pledges payable in or within three years. The Campaign Committee: Eugene P. Whittier, Chairman; Preston B. Churchill, Treasurer; G. Wallace Tibbetts, Sidvin Frank Tucker, Thomas F. Burke, Leslie E. Griffin, George W. Goldsmith, and Matthew C. Walsh.

December 11, 1926 -- Up to this time the Trustees carried on the hospital, patiently waiting for payments or pledges for construction of new building. Construction was not to be started until at least $100,000 was in hand.

November 25, 1927 -- Announcement by Trustees that they hope to break ground in the spring is expected to arouse people to pay pledges more promptly. Collections to date total $72,000.

January 23, 1929 -- Annual Meeting. Though the statistics for the past year show an increasing need of a new hospital, payment


or pledges has slowed down. The total now available is $75,000. At least $50,000 more is needed before it would be safe to commence building.

Earlier action undoubtedly would have been taken to get construction started had it not been for the very definite objection on the part of several Trustees to borrowing money; secondly, advancing costs indicated that the ultimate cost of building and equipment would exceed the amount of money available by a very large sum.

December 13, 1929 -- Public announcement from Hospital Building Committee (Leslie E. Griffin, Arthur W. Gibby, Albert S. Smith, Preston B. Churchill, Winfield S. Kendrick, Jr., and Eugene P. Whittier) that final revised plans have had unanimous approval, that bids will be asked for within a month, that it is expected to begin construction on May 12, 1930, National Hospital Day.

January 22, 1930 -- At 7th Annual Meeting, after nearly four and a half years, Trustees announce that construction of new hospital will be started in the spring.

April 7 -- A campaign begins for hospital membership, under chairmanship of Frederick H. Clark, Commander of Winthrop American Legion Post, bringing in $3,349.06 from approximately 600 people. Announcement is made that bid of $133,265 by Drisko and Sons of Boston has been accepted by Trustees; also, that $52,000 is overdue and payable on Building Fund subscriptions.

May 12 -- Simple but impressive exercises marked the turning of the first shovelful of earth for the beginning of construction work. After prayer was offered by Rev. W. J. Wharton, pastor of the Union Congregational Church, Miss Olivia F. Whittier, daughter of Eugene P. Whittier, President of the Hospital, had the privilege, mid the cheers of the large audience, of operating the levers of the huge steam shovel to scoop out the first shovelful of earth. Mr. Whittier introduced Mr. Stevens (the architect) and in order Mr. Drisko (the contractor), Mr. Clancy (Selectman), Mrs. Kinney, (President of the Community Hospital Aid Association), Dr. Mahoney, Dr. Abrams, Mr. McCutchean (Superintendent of Construction). Rev. Ralph M. Harper pronounced the benediction.

June 6, 1930 -- Announcement is made that an appeal for additional funds will be made from June 21 to July 4 under the direction of William H. Clark. G. Wallace Tibbetts is chairman of the campaign. It is pointed out that only 3,000 persons have already contributed to this project; that of the sum so far raised, 25% of the total, has been contributed by 25 men and women members of the Board of Trustees.


June 15 -- The cornerstone of the new hospital is laid. Money needed to complete building still has to be collected. Progress, however, was slow. Although by the middle of October approximately $30,000 was pledged, collections, due to the Great Depression, were slow and inadequate.

January 27, 1931 -- Announcement is made at Annual Meeting that, after a protracted illness, it becomes necessary for Eugene P. Whittier to relinquish leadership. Leslie E. Griffin, First Vice-President, takes over in his place. The continued severity of the Depression requires further postponement of completion of hospital building. Meanwhile, conditions are so bad and collections of bills for service rendered to patients so slow, the accumulated operating deficit makes necessary an appeal sponsored by staff Doctors for $10,000 to keep hospital in operation.

March, 1931 -- Trustees report a total investment in new hospital plant of $108,855.95. Balance due on pledges. of $56,000 would be ample to complete and equip the building. Some people have not paid anything on their pledges and it is feared that due to the continuing depression other partially paid pledges may show considerable shrinkage. Under these circumstances, no progress can be made until more money is available.

April -- Responses to Doctors' appeal to meet operating deficit bring in a meagre $1,926.

August -- It is evident if hospital is to be finished, a mortgage is the only present means by which it can be accomplished, Consequently, Trustees arrange a bank loan of $35,000 with Charlestown Five-Cent Savings Bank.

September -- American Legion Post holds huge carnival at Ingleside Park for benefit of hospital. This nets $4,753.

February 20-21-22, 1932 -- Between 4,000 and 5,000 people inspect the completed hospital.

March 14 -- Transfer of patients from Winthrop Street building begins and is completed during the balance of the month.

July -- Mrs. Mary Jane Jahnle, the capable superintendent of the Hospital for nearly ten years, resigns. During her term of service, she witnessed the continued growth of the institution and played a large and important role in establishing the fine reputation the hospital enjoys.

Miss Marion P. Fussell, R.N., is appointed Superintendent. A graduate of the New England Hospital, she served it as Assistant Superintendent for six years. Then she was Superintendent for two years of the hospital in Ayer, Massachusetts.

Now that the hospital is completed in compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of the various State and Professional bodies governing the conduct of hospitals, steps are taken to


receive the long desired approval of the American College of Surgeons. The hospital having met the conditions of the probationary period, approval is granted in 1935.

The property on the corner of Lincoln Street and Lincoln Terrace, a two-apartment house provides a nurses' home.

March -- The Winthrop Community Hospital League is organized and immediately becomes a most effective auxiliary with the Winthrop Community Hospital Aid Association in support of the hospital.

During the next five years the hospital carries on its work without any phenomenal change. An increasing number of physicians from surrounding communities seek the privilege of admitting patients.

The hospital finds its facilities frequently overtaxed, and the increasing shortage of nurses requires planning for providing adequate nursing service. During 1941 a class of twenty-two ladies is organized under direction of Mrs. Alice Carlz, R.N., to act as Hospital Aids. Another group, Volunteer Nurses Aid Corps, is organized under Winthrop Chapter of American Red Cross under direction of Mrs. Eileen Gore, R.N.

The property at 52 Lincoln Street is acquired to furnish greatly needed quarters for personnel.

During 1942 the urgent necessity of additional beds and the possible prospect of still greater need prompt the Trustees to take steps to build an Annex, which will provide 34 additional beds. The anticipated cost of the addition will approximate $75,000, of which $16,197 will be met by a Government grant, $10,000 will be furnished by the hospital, and $49,000 (the balance) will be secured by a loan from the Government at 3 % with payments on account of principal of $2,000 annually. Additional equipment will cost at least $3,000.

February 1944 -- Wing completed and opened for reception of patients.

The nursing shortage becoming more acute each year, some practical steps had to be taken, so a School for Attendant Nurses was opened under the direction of Mrs. Mildred H. Goodale, R.N., Principal. Due to lack of housing facilities, it is necessary to give over first floor of Annex as a dormitory for students.

August 1945 -- Debt Clearance Fund Committee is appointed by the Trustees under the chairmanship of Eugene P. Whittier. A vigorous campaign was initiated in November. At its close $52,657.86 was received in cash and pledges.

January 23, 1946 -- More than 250 subscribers who donated $100 or more to the Debt Clearance Fund watched the burning of three hospital mortgages at a dinner held at the Copley Plaza Hotel.


June 1946 -- After 14 years of devoted service, Miss Marion C. Fussell resigned as Superintendent because of ill health and died September 17, 1946. Under her expert guidance the hospital grew and early received the Full Approval of the American College of Surgeons. She met the difficult problems of the War Years with courage and patience.

September 1, 1946 -- Miss Dorcas P. Clark, R.N., is appointed Superintendent of the Hospital.

December 1946 -- Title to house at 29 Ingleside Avenue is passed to hospital. Purchase is made possible in part by money from the Debt Clearance Fund. As soon as alterations and repairs are completed, the property will become the Marion C. Fussell Memorial Nurses' Home to which the attendant nurses now housed in the first floor of the Annex will be transferred.

January 1947 -- Because of ill health, Leslie E. Griffin is not a candidate for re-election as President of the Corporation. He became interested in the hospital shortly after it was established and was always among its most generous supporters. Winfield S. Kendrick, Jr., for 16 years Secretary of the Corporation, is elected President.

In April, 1942, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, after much study and consultation with the most responsible authorities prescribed and established new License Rules and Regulations for Maternity Units. In March, 1950, these regulations were made mandatory.

The Trustees had already begun investigation of the changes in techniques and replanning of the obstetrical unit. Early in 1947, Eugene P. Whittier, as Chairman of the Building and Debt Clearance Fund Committees, was authorized to begin consultation with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and to attempt to formulate plans acceptable to them.

In anticipation of the need of funds to pay for changes in plant and equipment, to provide for Sinking Fund payments and reduction of deficit, the time appeared propitious for an appeal for funds.

January 3, 1948-The hospital completed 25 years of continuous service. In spite of seemingly insurmountable difficulties, the plant had steadily grown in size and the facilities for care of the sick had improved and increased each year. The objective of the 25th Anniversary Year was $25,000.

January 4, 1948 -- The Silver Anniversary is celebrated at Hospital Building. During the year the Silver Anniversary Fund totaled $27,728.58.

June 1, 1949 -- Dorcas P. Clark, R.N., tendered her resignation as Superintendent of the hospital and on October 1 following, Mrs. Chilla K. Merrill, R.N., assumed her duties as Superintendent.


In the fall of 1949, the Trustees appointed Lloyd A. Patrick, architect, to draw plans and specifications for alterations, enlargement, and improvement of the Maternity Operating Suite. Eugene P. Whittier, as Chairman of the Building Committee, had numerous meetings with the members of the Hospital Division of the Massachusetts. Department of Public Health. Early in 1950 the completed plans were approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

In September the general contract was awarded to Piper Bros. Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Successively the other contracts were let and orders for additional equipment given. Reconstruction began the first week in October. The work proceeded without interruption to practical completion in mid-April, 1951.

The total cost including equipment reached the sum of $34,473.85. On National Hospital Day the reconstructed Maternity Unit was opened for public inspection. The Winthrop Community Hospital League in a two-year period raised $3,000 for new equipment in this unit.

During 1950, after twenty-five years of devoted service to the Hospital, the few members now comprising the Winthrop Community Hospital Aid Association, decided to disband. Over the years the Association raised thousands of dollars not only for the purchase of linen but for many other urgent needs of the institution. They made and repaired every conceivable type of garment used in the various departments. Diminishing membership through death, advancing years and removals to residence elsewhere, caused their decision. Their contributions in money alone would run into thousands of dollars to say nothing of the thousands of hours contributed freely. The Hospital and the community is heavily indebted to this group of fine women for a magnificent contribution.

January 1, 1951 -- Winfield S. Kendrick, Jr., having served the Hospital during the past twenty-six years as Trustee, Secretary and President declined re-election as President of the corporation. Having ceased to be a resident of Winthrop, increasing business demands upon his time, frequently requiring long trips to very distant points, has rendered it difficult for him to carry the heavy responsibility as President of the Hospital. With sincere appreciation for the long term of service rendered faithfully and ably performed by him, the members of the Board of Trustees regretfully accepted his resignation at the annual meeting. At the same meeting Ernest Bentley was elected President. Under his leadership and guidance, the Hospital faces the future with new strength, confident that the institution will continue and extend its beneficent service to a beloved community.


----------------- Top




1614 -- Capt. John Smith viewed our shores and mapped us and noted us as the "paradise of all those parts."

1621 -- Capt. Myles Standish with 10 Plymouth men and 5 Indian guides visited our harbor and our peninsula.

1624 -- Our peninsula permanently settled by Samuel Maverick, he building a house and "pallizado" on the south slope of the first Chelsea hill at the confluence of the Mystic and Chelsea Rivers -- the first permanent settlement in the Massachusetts Bay territory. Our lands have been recorded as "covered with forest trees" and "a very sweet place for situation". The soil was always good.

1630 -- June 17, Samuel Maverick at his house, as above, entertained Governor Winthrop and party when they came to Boston Bay.

1631 -- Ferry from Boston to the North established (the oldest ferry in the Colonies). This ferry was used by our people in going to and from Boston (except by private boat or the original trail via Medford, Harvard Square, Brookline, Roxbury and the Boston "Neck" until the building of the Charlestown-Chelsea bridge and the Salem turnpike in 1803).

1633 -- The great small pox epidemic -- destroying our local Indians.

1632-34 -- Pullin Point (our earliest name) with Rumney Marsh and Winnisimmet declared a part of Boston.

1637 -- Our land divided and allotted to 15 proprietors. The Deane Winthrop house built by Capt. William Pierce, in or about this year, became-1647-1704-the home of Deane Winthrop, youngest son of the first governor,


Gov. Winthrop and Deane owned a strip of land from Pt. Shirley to the Highlands hills over two miles long.

1641 -- First County road in Colony laid out from the Ferry to Salem.

1675 -- Oct. 30 and the succeeding months, the "Christian Indians" to the number of several hundred were banished to Deer Island for additional security to our people during the then King Philip's War.

1688 -- Charles II having taken away our Charter, Rev. Increase Mather secretly makes a "side trip" down our creeks and shore, boards Capt. Tanner's ship to England, leading to restoration of Charter.

1699 -- Indian trail and cartway laid out by Selectmen of Boston as a town road from the old Boston-Salem road at Revere Centre, via Beach Street to Revere Beach, via shore to Highlands Hills, via Revere St., Magee's Corner and Winthrop Centre to south side of Town at Johnson Ave. shore. The other early Indian trail and cartway was Shirley Street to Pt. Shirley.

1704 -- Deane Winthrop's death -- buried in old cemetery at Revere Center.

1709 -- First Free School, Thos. Cheever, teacher. Schools at Pullin Point in two Bill houses during eighteenth century.

1710 -- First Church built -- still standing at Revere Centre -- oldest church building in Suffolk County.

1732 (about)-- Our First Grist Mill -- tidal power -- foot of Mill Street, Revere.

1739 -- Pullin Point, Rumney Marsh and Winnisimmet set off from Town of Boston as Town of Chelsea.

1752 -- Old Cemetery (now in Revere) deeded to Town -- first burials about 1675.

1753 -- Fishing enterprise started at Pt. Shirley -- and the point named for the Royal Governor, William Shirley. Church built on the hill. Majority of population now at Pt. Shirley. Fishing enterprise not long lived. Pt. Shirley now becomes an "aristocratic summer resort" with the Hancocks, Quincys, Otis' et al summering with us.

1757 -- and thereabouts, many Acadian refugees were quartered at Pt. Shirley and we played our part in the French Wars.


1775 -- May 27, Battle of Chelsea Greek-the second battle of the Revolution. July, Gen. Washington visited Chelsea; here he placed the last outpost of the left wing of the Continental Army besieging Boston. In Nov. some 300 unfortunate patriot refugees. were "dumped" by the British at Pt. Shirley on account of the siege of Boston.

1776 -- May 19, Battle of Shirley Gut when Capt. Mugford was killed. A fort was erected on the hill at Point Shirley and our men participated in defense and war with England.

1805 -- First Municipal building built in what is now the Winthrop area -- a school house 20' x 25' on the old Town Hall site, close to, and south of, the cross-town road of 1699.

1812 -- Salt works established at Pt. Shirley by Sturgis: continued for some 30 years.

1813 -- June 1, Battle between the Chesapeake and Shannon viewed from our hills and our men participated in the second war with England. Constitution escapes through Shirley Gut. (Legend)

1834 -- First bridge from Noddles Island (East Boston) built to main land -- connecting from her Chelsea Street to our Eastern Avenue.

First permanent church building (Methodist Episcopal), in the Winthrop area, built corner of Winthrop Street and Madison Avenue: frame still standing.

1838 -- First steam railroad built through Town of Chelsea: the Eastern Railroad.

1839 -- Bridge from Main St., Winthrop to Saratoga St., Orient Heights built, (was then known as bridge from Pullin Point to Breeds Island). (at first a toll bridge).

1841 -- "Panhandle" set off to Saugus (three miles long).

1845 -- Revere Copper Co. established at Point Shirley. For the second time the majority of population swings to the Point. Copper Company stayed until 1869.

1846 -- Pullin Point and Rumney Marsh erected into Town of North Chelsea.

1848 -- First stage line started, Winthrop to Maverick Square, East Boston by Albert Richardson.

1851 -- Winthrop Ave. (now in Revere) laid out and built from Beach Street, Revere, across the marshes and through


Beachmont to near our present northerly line shortening distance and improving our ingress and egress.

Previously our travel being very much by boat, Belle Isle Inlet was used as a common artery of travel and was called "Crooked Lane".

1852 -- Town of Winthrop set off from Town of North Chelsea -- March 27.

1853 -- Garibaldi resides with us for a time.

1856 -- Town Hall built on old school site at what is now Metcalf Square -- cost $4,990.50.

1861-65 -- Winthrop sent its quota to the Civil War, including 30 of its own sons. See tablet on monument in front of library. Among these men, Winthrop pointed with pride to Major General William Francis Bartlett, presented, March 28, 1864, a sword, in the Winthrop Town Hall by Governor Andrew with the statement the recipient was "the most conspicuous soldier Massachusetts furnished in the Civil War".

1867 -- City of Boston buys Winthrop Highlands and the remains of Deane Winthrop's farm.

1872 -- Horse railway built from East Boston to Pt. Shirley through the Town of Winthrop -- removed in 1877.

1875 -- Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad (narrow gauge) built -- Boston to Lynn passing near Winthrop at Orient Heights, then called Winthrop Junction.

1876-84 -- Ocean Spray, Winthrop Beach, Great Head, Pt. Shirley, Cottage Park and Winthrop Highlands divided into lots and the summer settlements started extensively.

1877 -- Narrow Gauge Railroad (3 ft.) built from Orient Heights into Winthrop and slowly extended to Pt. Shirley by 1884.

1882 -- Winthrop's first Newspaper established-The Winthrop Visitor.

1883-83 -- A broad gauge railroad, the Eastern Junction, Broad Sound Pier and Pt. Shirley Railroad built through the town. Ceased activities in 1885.

City of Boston sells Winthrop Farm.

1884 -- Public water supply introduced -- the Revere Water Company.

1884-85 -- Steamboat line ran Boston to Pt. Shirley, and in the nineties steamboats were run to Winthrop Beach and Cottage Park.


1887-88 -- The Winthrop Branch of the Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad was built.

1888 -- Electricity introduced.

1889 -- Public sewerage system commenced.

1890 -- Fortification begun at Fort Banks, and at Fort Heath soon after

1898 -- Frost Public Library built.

1898 -- Spanish-American War - we sent men.

1899 -- Winthrop Shore Reservation begun -- the beginning of the great sea walls around our town.

1901 -- Gas introduced.

1907 -- Deane Winthrop House purchased and renovated by the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association.

1907 -- Winthrop Co-operative Bank chartered.

1910 -- Water Works System has been taken over by Town and enlarged and extended and water tower built on Great Head.

1910 -- Street railway built, Winthrop Beach to Pt. Shirley - removed 1928.

1917-1918 -- The First World War -- we sent our soldiers to the number of over eleven hundred.

1923 -- Winthrop Community Hospital established.

1924 -- We celebrated with Chelsea and Revere, our Tercentenary Anniversary of settlement.

1928 -- Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad electrified.

1929 -- New Town Hall built -- cost about $200,000.

1930 -- Tercentenary of Boston settlement.

1930 -- Winthrop Community Hospital construction started.

1931 -- Winthrop Unemployment Committee organized.

1932 -- New Post Office completed

1933 -- Federal alphabet agencies organized.

1933 -- Breakwater built off Winthrop Beach - 3 sections.

1934 -- Wines and beer sold in town for first time.

1936 -- Ingleside Park filled in.

1937 -- Narrow Gauge bankrupt

1938 -- Great storm, September 21, (the hurricane)

1940 -- Narrow Gauge ends, January 27


1940 -- Bus lines start, January 28.

1940 -- Point Shirley Gut permanently closed.

1941 -- Pearl Harbor, December 7.

1941 -- Civilian Defense Committee organized, December 8.

1942-44 -- Winthrop deep in helping to win the War.

1942 -- State Guard organized.

1943 -- Logan International Airport enlargement begins.

1945 -- Victory.

1946 -- First Veterans' Housing at Battery Station.

1948 -- More Veterans' Housing projects started.

1948 -- Centennial Committee named.

1949 -- Tax rate climbs to $42.

1950 -- Korean campaign takes Winthrop boys again.


----------------- Top


By Joseph F. O'Hern, Jr.
Town Clerk


1852-1864 Warren Belcher
1864-1866 Edward Floyd
1866-1884 Warren Belcher
1884-1906 Sumner Floyd

1906-1924 Preston B. Churchill
1924-1931 Bessie L. Dodge
1931-1942 Donald S. McLeod
1942-1952 Joseph F. O'Hern, Jr.


David Belcher
Hiram Plummer
John W. Tewksbury

George S. Shaw
James M. Belcher
John Floyd

Albert Richardson
George S. Shaw
David Belcher


David Belcher
Hiram Plummer
George W. Tewksbury

Edward Floyd
Daniel Long
James M. Belcher

David Belcher
Edward Floyd
William H. Long

David Belcher
George W. Tewksbury
H. B. Tewksbury

John Belcher  
Richard Shackford  
David Floyd

John Belcher  
Richard Shackford  
David Floyd

John Belcher  
Richard Shackford  
David Floyd

John Belcher  
Richard Shackford  
D. P. Mathews

John Belcher  
Richard Shackford  
D. P. Mathews

Albert Richardson
Sylvanus Payne
Phillips P. Floyd

John Belcher
Sylvanus Payne
Wm. H. Long

John Belcher
Sylvanus Payne  
Wm. H. Long

John Belcher  
Albert Richardson  
Wm. H. Long

Albert Richardson  
Phillips P. Floyd  
Edward P. Johnson

Edward P. Johnson  
Albert Richardson  
Phillips P. Floyd

John Belcher
Richard Shackford  
Samuel L. George

ohn Belcher  
Phillips P. Floyd  
H. B. Tewksbury


Lorenzo Richardson  
Thomas Floyd  
Herman Tewksbury  

1873-1874 John Belcher  
Herman Tewksbury  
Lucius Floyd  

John Belcher  
Herman Tewksbury  
Lucius Floyd  

Herman B. Tewksbury  
Lucius Floyd  
O. F. Belcher

Lucius Floyd  
John Belcher  
E. S. Read  

Samuel Ingalls  
John Belcher  
Lucius Floyd  

John Belcher  
P. S. Macgowan  
F. L. Woodward  

F. L. Woodward  
P. S. Macgowan  
Lorenzo Richardson  

F. L. Woodward  
Lorenzo Richardson  
Thomas Floyd  

Edmund S. Read  
Samuel G. Irwin  
Stephen S. Smith  

Lucius Floyd  
P. S. Macgowan  
A. W. Richardson  

Lucius Floyd  
P. S. Macgowan  
A. W. Richardson  

Lucius Floyd  
Edward B. Newton  
Charles Hutchinson  

Lucius Floyd  
Edward B. Newton  
Charles Hutchinson   

Charles F. Hutchinson  
Lucius Floyd  
Henry F. Shaneck  

Orlando E. Lewis
Frank E. Peaslee  
Albert Richardson  

Orlando E. Lewis  
Frank E. Peaslee  
Lucius Floyd  


Orlando E. Lewis  
Lucius Floyd  
John R. Neal

Orlando E. Lewis  
Lucius Floyd  
Charles C. Hutchinson

Orlando E. Lewis  
Alfred Tewksbury  
Charles Graib

Orlando E. Lewis  
Alfred Tewksbury  
Alphonso W. George

Orlando E. Lewis  
Alphonso W. George  
Charles G. Graib

Orlando E. Lewis  
Henry Putnam  
Charles G. Graib

Charles G. Graib  
Winthrop Magee  
Ahrend C. J. Pope

Charles G. Graib  
Winthrop Magee  
Ahrend C. J. Pope

John R. Neal  
Winthrop Magee  
Charles H. Pattee

Winthrop Magee  
Ahrend C. J. Pope  
John R. Neal

Winthrop Magee 
Ahrend C. J. Pope  
Chas. L. Ridgway

Winthrop Magee  
Ahrend C. J. Pope  
Edward J. Clark

Winthrop Magee  
E. J. Clark  
D. M. Bristol

Deloss M. Bristol  
Brendan J. Keenan  
Wm. Sanby

Brendan J. Keenan  
Wesley A. Gove  
Wm. Sanby

Elmer E. Dawson  
James S. Carr  
Brendan J. Keenan

Brendan J. Keenan  
William Sanby  
Elmer E. Dawson


William Sanby  
Fred G. Curtis  
Brendan J. Keenan  

Fred G. Curtis  
Brendan J. Keenan  
Walter B. Thayer  

Winthrop Thiagee  
Joseph A. Barry  
James S. Carr  

Winthrop Thiagee  
James S. Garr  
Joshua Remby  

Joshua Remby  
Winthrop Magee  
James S. Carr  

Joshua Remby  
Winthrop Magee  
James S. Carr  

Joshua Remby  
Winthrop Magee  
S. Stewart Carr  

Winthrop Magee  
Timothy J. Mahaney  
Edgar H. Whitney  

Timothy J. Mahaney  
Winthrop Magee  
Thomas Benson  

Harry E. Wright  
Winthrop Magee  
Leslie E. Griffin  

Harry E. Wright  
Joshua Remby  
Leslie E. Griffin  

Joshua Remby  
Harry E. Wright  
Leslie E. Griffin  

Harry E. Wright  
Joshua Remby  
Nelson Floyd  

Joshua Remby  
Arthur W. Gibby  
Artemus B. Reade  

Joshua Remby  
Arthur W. Gibby  
Artemus B. Reade  

Artemus B. Reade  
Joseph E. Hodgkins  
Joshua Remby  

Frank E. Whitman  
Joshua Remby  
Joseph E. Hodgkins  


Frank E. Whitman
Joseph E. Hodgkins
Henry J. Barry

Henry J. Barry
G. Wallace Tibbetts
John P. Clancy

G. Wallace Tibbetts
Preston B. Churchill
John P. Clancy

Preston B. Churchill
G. Wallace Tibbetts  
Gordon G. Fullerton

John J. Murray  
Preston B. Churchill
Gordon G. Fullerton

John J. Murray  
William H. Walsh  
Leonard C. Atkinson

Leonard C. Atkinson  
William H. Walsh  
Roy W. Pigeon

Leonard C. Atkinson  
Chester O'Donnell  
Roy W. Pigeon      

A. Russell Belcher  
Roy W. Pigeon  
Chester O'Donnell      

Roy W. Pigeon  
Walter G. Baker  
David Belcher      

David Belcher  
Roy W. Pigeon  
Walter G. Baker      

Walter G. Baker  
Ross F. Batchelder  
David Belcher      

Walter G. Baker  
Thomas E. Key  
Timothy J. Mahaney      

Thomas E. Key  
Ross F. Batchelder  
Arthur F. Verney      

Arthur F. Verney  
Frederic J. Muldoon  
Roy W. Pigeon      

Roy W. Pigeon  
George J. Hamilton  
Walter Smith      

Walter Smith
George J. Hamilton  
Roy W. Pigeon      


Walter Smith  
Ross F. Batchelder  
Gervaise J. Carlz

Walter Smith  
Ross F. Batchelder  
George J. Hamilton  

Ross F. Batchelder  
Walter Smith  
Horace A. Edwards  

Horace E. Edwards  
Robert E. Kirby  
Walter Smith  

Robert E. Kirby  
Peter W. Princi  
Walter Smith  

Peter W.   Princi 
Walter Smith  
William   E. Pierce  

Peter W.   Princi  
Fred A. Baumeister  
William   E. Pierce  


----------------- Top

HOME | Veterans | Wars and Forts | Civic | Schools | Streets and Corners | People |
Storefronts | Hotels | Maps | Books | Search | Sources |
Additions, Corrections, Comments? Please email